Friday, November 01, 2002

All Souls
I'm not sure that I will be able to blog tommorow, so I will post for All Souls Day now.

The Golden Prison - Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

WEEP not for me, when I am gone,
Nor spend thy faithful breath
In grieving o'er the spot or hour
Of all-enshrouding death;

Nor waste in idle praise thy love
On deeds of head or hand,
Which live within the living Book,
Or else are writ in sand;

But let it be thy best of prayers,
That I may find the grace
To reach the holy house of toll,
The frontier penance-place,—

To reach that golden palace bright,
Where souls elect abide,
Waiting their certain call to Heaven,
With Angels at their side;

Where hate, nor pride, nor fear torments
The transitory guest,
But in the willing agony
He plunges, and is blest.

And as the fainting patriarch gain'd
His needful halt mid-way,
And then refresh'd pursued his path,
Where up the mount it lay,

So pray, that, rescued from the storm
Of heaven's eternal ire,
I may lie down, then rise again,
Safe, and yet saved by fire.

The Dream of Gerontius, also by the Venerable, is too long to blog here completely. IMHO, it would make fine reading for All Souls Day.
St. Philip Post- Part Three
Catacombs of San Sebastiano

It was during this time, with Philip spending his days and nights in service and prayer, that one of the great events of his life occurred. One of his favorite places to pray was the Catacombs of San Sebastiano, where he could withdraw from the busy pace of the city above and also be reminded of the lives of the early Christians. On Pentecost, 1544, while Philip was immersed in prayer in the catacombs, he had a mystical experience in which a ball of fire appeared and went down his throat to his heart. He then felt this fire within him, and his heart seemed to be expanding to hold it. While this was very much an experience of the spirit, it had marked physical aftereffects, including an inner heat which astonished many, and heartbeats which, when Philip was at prayer or otherwise spiritually moved, were audible to bystanders, sometimes to the point of making the room shake.

St. Philip Neri Quotes:
"He who runs away from one cross will meet a bigger one on his road."
"In the matter of purity there is no greater danger than not fearing the danger: when a man does not distrust himself,
and is without fear, it is all over with him."
"Not everything which is better in itself is better for each man in particular."
"Fathers and mothers of families should bring up their children virtuously, looking at them rather as God's children rather than
their own; and to count life, and health, and all they possess, as loans which they hold from God."

From the homily
Deacon Michael was preaching again today. The part of the homily I found most memorable was when he remarked that in a few minutes, we would be enacting the scene from the first reading: gathering around the Lamb of God in our earthly liturgy as the victorious ones in Heaven do in the Heavenly Liturgy. This is not original, of course, but it is something we need to be reminded of continually. There's a good book on this subject, by Dr. Scott Hahn .

Blessed All Saints Day !
All Saints Meditation- Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.
1. PLACE yourself in the presence of God, kneeling with hands clasped.
2. Read slowly and devoutly
Apocalypse, chap. vii. verses 9-17.
3. Bring all this before you as in a picture.
4. Then say to Him whatever comes into your mind to say; for instance:—

"They are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His Temple." "They shall not hunger nor thirst any more;" "The Lamb shall lead them to the fountains of living waters."

(1) My dear Lord and Saviour, shall I ever see Thee in heaven? This world is very beautiful, very attractive, and there are many things and persons whom I love in it. But Thou art the most beautiful and best of all. Make me acknowledge this with my heart, as well as by faith and in my reason.

(2) My Lord, I know nothing here below lasts; nothing here below satisfies. Pleasures come and go; I quench my thirst and am thirsty again. But the saints in heaven are always gazing on Thee, and drinking in eternal blessedness from Thy dear and gracious and most awful and most glorious countenance.

5. Conclusion.—May my lot be with the saints.

Thursday, October 31, 2002

For the Feast...
This is the vigil of the Feast of All Saints.

Relics of Saints - Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

"He is not the God of the dead, but of the living; for all
live unto Him."

"THE Fathers are in dust, yet live to God:"—
So says the Truth; as if the motionless clay
Still held the seeds of life beneath the sod,
Smouldering and struggling till the judgment-day.

And hence we learn with reverence to esteem
Of these frail houses, though the grave confines;
Sophist may urge his cunning tests, and deem
That they are earth;—but they are heavenly shrines.
Meat-and-Potato Catholics
This is from the October 2002 issue of First Things.

(The following report is submitted by our ubiquitous correspondent George Weigel.)

Outraged commentary quickly followed Bishop Timothy M. Dolan’s June 25 remark that his first priority as the tenth Archbishop of Milwaukee would be to talk with those “meat-and-potato Catholics” who are “the strength of any diocese.” Bishop Dolan, whose fondness for the table is not entirely disguised by clerical black, made the comment at a press conference introducing him to his new archdiocese, where he was to be installed on August 28.

Meeting in emergency session, the executive committee of the Catholic Theological Society of America adopted a resolution condemning Dolan’s “insensitivity to our animal companions” and asserting that vegetarianism was “the more excellent way of Christian nutrition.” The Society noted that it had banned steaks from its banquet menus for decades, substituting tofu salads as “more responsive to the moral demands of sustainable development,” a point argued in the Society’s study of eco-ethics, “People Are the Problem.”

In a signed editorial in the liberal Catholic magazine Commonwealth, editor Margaret McGillicuddy Steinflyte claimed that Bishop Dolan’s statement of priorities was “redolent of the boys’ locker-room ambiance of this pontificate.” A “preferential option for ‘meat-and-potato Catholics,’” Ms. Steinflyte claimed, would “disenfranchise” those hundreds of “brie-and-chardonnay, spirit-of-Vatican II Catholics” who form the core of her magazine’s regular readership. In a separate article in the same issue, Commonwealth columnist Paul Bauhaus suggested that the “extravagant carnality” of “Bishop Dolan’s gustatory imagery” and its “attempt to sacramentalize a body function, eating” was in fact a “sly strategy” for “sneaking John Paul II’s theology of the body” into an archdiocese where it was hitherto unknown—“which has certainly been a blessing for Milwaukee.”

A close student of the American hierarchy, Father Thomas Reach, S.J., told the Washington Post that, while it was customary for a “hefty bishop” to follow a “lean bishop” in Milwaukee, he was concerned that Bishop Dolan’s reference to “meat-and-potato Catholics” would “reinforce Milwaukee’s image as a stolid, bowling-alley town—an image my colleagues at Marquette, a university in the Jesuit tradition, have worked so hard to erase.” Moreover, Fr. Reach noted, to “lay such stress on meat and potatoes” was “pastorally insensitive,” given Milwaukee’s “longstanding commitment to frozen custard as the signature local dish.” “Bishop Dolan’s claim to be a man of tradition is somewhat questionable, given his failure to even mention frozen custard at his inaugural press conference,” said Fr. Reach.

Criticism was also heard from Catholic commentators in the secular press. In a bitter attack on Bishop Dolan, James Careall, the Boston Globe columnist, argued that “meat-and-potatoes Catholicism” is inherently anti-Semitic, “as John Chrysostom made unmistakably clear in his fourth-century sermon on Acts 9:9-16.” Veteran Washington Post columnist Mary McGrouchy wrote in a more elegiac mode. “With John XXIII and the Kennedy White House, we thought, we prayed, that we had put ‘meat-and-potatoes Catholicism’ behind us,” Ms. McGrouchy reminisced. “When will Catholicism in America develop even a surface level of sophistication?”

Maureen Dowdy was in a less gentle mood on the New York Times op-ed page. “Bishop Dolan’s adolescent wisecrack is of a piece with President Bush’s fondness for cowboy boots. When are these guys going to grow up?” Following a pattern established in the first months of 2002 on the Times’ op-ed page, Bill Killerbee took Ms. Dowdy one better, with a biting critique of Dolan’s “slash-and-burn ecclesiastical style, reminiscent of such scoundrels of Catholic history as Torquemada and Pope John Paul II.”

This firestorm of deprecation was challenged by Stanislaw Miesozerny, a cattle and dairy farmer in Dodge County, northwest of Milwaukee. “I think what Bishop Dolan said is great,” Mr. Miesozerny, a 1962 Marquette University philosophy major, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Everyone who studies the Summa understands that beef cattle achieve the ‘final end’ of their existence as New York Strips at the Outback. That’s just good Thomism.”

“Besides,” he continued, “these vegans want us to abstain from all milk products. And you know what that means for Wisconsin. I’m looking forward to Archbishop Dolan endorsing our campaign to change Wisconsin’s license-plate slogan. ‘America’s Dairyland’ is a little lame. My meat-and-potatoes Catholic friends think it ought to be ‘Eat Cheese or Die.’”
My Results From the Beliefnet Quiz
1. Eastern Orthodox (100%)
2. Roman Catholic (100%)
3. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (84%)
4. Orthodox Quaker (81%)
5. Seventh Day Adventist (77%)
6. Orthodox Judaism (59%)
7. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (58%)
8. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (54%)
9. Islam (52%)
10. Hinduism (51%)
11. Jehovah's Witness (48%)
12. Sikhism (42%)
13. Bahá'í Faith (40%)
14. Liberal Quakers (35%)
15. Jainism (31%)
16. Reform Judaism (28%)
17. Unitarian Universalism (26%)
18. Mahayana Buddhism (22%)
19. Theravada Buddhism (21%)
20. Neo-Pagan (18%)
21. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (17%)
22. Nontheist (15%)
23. Scientology (13%)
24. Secular Humanism (12%)
25. New Age (12%)
26. Taoism (10%)
27. New Thought (9%)

Apparently the
Beliefnet quiz can't tell the difference between Catholic and Orthodox. A question involving the papacy or the filioque might help there.
St. Philip Post- Part Two
Beginnings in Rome

After two to three years, Philip told Uncle Romolo that he appreciated his kindness, but he was not cut out to be a businessman. Philip, now about 20, headed for Rome.
He supported himself by tutoring the two sons of an expatriate Florentine customs officer named Gaelotto del Caccia, and attended theology classes at the Roman University. After a time, he ceased attending classes, and devoted the time to intensive prayer and service, most particularly helping the sick in Rome's hospitals and the pilgrims who came to Rome. Philip, with the help of his confessor, Fr. Persanio Rosa, established the Confraternity of the Most Holy Trinity for the Pilgrims in 1548, specifically to look after the weary and often destitute travelers. This proved to be an important task, most particularly in the Holy Year of 1549, when huge numbers of pilgrims flooded the city.

Throughout his life in Rome, Philip, though later known for his affability and sense of humor, lived a life that was abstemious in the extreme. His room was always sparsely furnished, and his food consisted almost entirely of bread, olives and maybe a few other vegetables. He almost never ate meat, until his old age, when his doctor ordered him to do so, and he drank wine which had been watered a great deal, or even plain water- very untypical for a 16th century Italian. His clothes were known for being simple and rather cheap, which was remarkable enough in an age when display in clothes was everywhere, even among clerics, who instead of wearing the prescribed cassocks , tended to compete with laymen in wearing the styles of the day, complete with silk linings and gigantic ruffs. (When the Pope decreed that priests should dress simply, cynics quipped that now clerics would have to leave their velvet boots at the door of St. Peter's.)

St. Philip Neri Quotes:
"Cheerfulness strengthens the heart and makes us persevere in a good life; therefore the servant of God ought always to
be in good spirits."
"A man without prayer is like an animal without the use of reason."
"We must never trust ourselves, for it is the devil's way to get us to feel secure, and then to make us fall."
"To be without pity for other men's falls, is an evident sign that we shall fall ourselves shortly."
It figures. I make what is probably my most ill-considered posting so far, and it's the one Blogs4God notices.

Wednesday, October 30, 2002

St. Philip Post- Part One
I promised earlier to blog about my being a Secular Oratorian. However, I've been trying to figure out where to begin. After all, most people don't know what an Oratorian proper is, let alone a Secular one. I thought of the article I have written for the Oratory's new website, on our founder, St. Philip Neri. The new site itself is not up yet, but I'm going to blog from the article. There will probably be some changes before it goes on the website, but I'll blog it as is in small parts, along with quotes from St. Philip himself.

Who was St. Philip Neri?

Philip Romolo Neri was born July 21st, 1515, in Florence, in what is now Italy. (Italy did not become a united country until the 19th century.) His parents were Francesco Neri, a notary, and Lucretia da Mosciano. He was the third of five children, but the oldest and youngest children died when they were infants. Philip was taught by the Dominicans of San Marco, a community probably best known for the great artist-friar Blessed Fra Angelico.
Florence had been an independent republic, but in 1532, when Philip was 17, the powerful Medici family conquered the city. Since Francesco Neri had been prominent among those who opposed the Medici regime, he sent his son away, probably hoping that Philip would be able to prosper better in a city where his family's politics were not a liability. Philip went to San Germano, a busy trading city at the foot of Monte Cassino, home of a famous Benedictine abbey. His 'uncle Romolo', (actually, a cousin of his father) was a merchant in San Germano, moderately wealthy and without any children of his own. Philip's father sent Philip there to learn the business. He most likely hoped that Romolo Neri would eventually leave his property to his 'nephew'.
We know little about the time Philip spent in San Germano, but from the few details we have Philip seems to have been far more interested in prayer and his relationship with God than in becoming a wealthy merchant. He spent time in various chapels in the area, and became familiar with the Benedictine community there. It is thought that Philip gained some of his understanding of stability, as well as his love for the Church Fathers, from this contact with the ancient Order of St. Benedict.

St. Philip Neri Quotes:
"Well ! When shall we have a mind to begin to do good?"
"He who wishes to be perfectly obeyed should give few orders."
"To mortify one's passion, no matter how small, is a greater help in the spiritual life than many abstinences and fasts."
Taken from If God Be With Us: The Maxims of St. Philip Neri, ed. Fr. Frederick Faber, C.O., Gracewing)

Big Ol' Bird
Now this is interesting. I liked the way this was reported over on "" as "Gwaihir spotted in Alaska"....

Which Personality Disorder Do You Have ?

Which Personality Disorder Do You Have?

brought to you by Quizilla
Now this is not a surprise at all. I actually have a mild to moderate case of OCD. Thanks to Zorak for the link.
Jesuit Martyrs List
This post is incredible, simply because of the sheer number of Jesuit martyrs this past century. Thanks to Mark Sullivan at Ad Orientem for this amazing compliation.

Sorry for the rant
I think I may have been out of line yesterday. After all, all we have is a secular news source, and we all know how reliable they are, don't we ? There is one thing that does tell in favor of this couple: since there are quadruplets, it seems they did not 'selectively reduce the embryos', i.e. kill a couple of the unborn children in order to 'give the others a better chance.'

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Things like this are one of the reasons I'm glad I'm not in charge
This is repulsive. My natural inclination would be to deny these children Baptism unless the 'parents' were to give them up for adoption by a married couple. It's terribly unpastoral of me, I know. Then again, I'm not a pastor !
It may seem less than charitable as well. However, it seems that nobody is giving these guys any indication that they are living in sin, causing horrific scandal, and poised to continually give scandal to these children. Also, these poor little ones were 'manufactured' rather than conceived naturally, which is sinful as well.
However, it isn't up to me. That's probably a very good thing. If it were up to me, I'd be tempted to take a lot of smoldering wicks and dunk them in ice water and rip apart a good many bruised reeds. I fear it wouldn't be limited to cases as utterly sick as this one, and I'd end up turning the Church into a sect. See Enthusiasm by Msgr. Ronald Knox for what I mean by that.
What I can do is pray: that the eyes of all involved may be opened, that the children may truly be brought up in the Faith (though it seems unlikely it will happen), most of all that the Lord of Mercy might purify my heart, so that I may see with love untainted by anger and revulsion:
Kyrie, eleison!
Christe, eleison!
Kyrie, eleison !

Monday, October 28, 2002

or Very Important Passage....
"Conscience has rights because it has duties; but in this age, with a large portion of the public, it is the very right and freedom of conscience to dispense with conscience, to ignore a Lawgiver and Judge, to be independent of unseen obligations. It becomes a licence to take up any or no religion, to take up this or that and let it go again, to go to church, to go to chapel, to boast of being above all religions and to be an impartial critic of each of them. Conscience is a stern monitor, but in this century it has been superseded by a counterfeit, which the eighteen centuries prior to it never heard of, and could not have mistaken for it, if they had. It is the right of self-will. "
- Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., from A Letter Addressed to the Duke of Norfolk on Occasion of Mr. Gladstone's Recent Expostulation ....published in 1875 !
IMHO, except for the 'eighteen centuries' part, this could have been written now rather than 127 years ago.
Added Links
I've added some more links on the right. The one to the Oratory ministry is the only current page. I'm actually helping to create a new one. (No, I haven't suddenly become a tech whiz. I'm writing text for the new site.) The official Confederation of Oratories site is in Italian. I've sent them some requests about getting it translated, but I've had no response as of yet. As for "The Red Songbook of Westmarch"... well, I'm afraid parts of it are a bit crude. However, other parts are very funny, so I'm linking to it anyhow. (I can't hear certain songs now without hearing some of these parodies in my mind !)

Sunday, October 27, 2002

150. Compline
Te lucis ante terminum

Translated by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

NOW that the day-light dies away,
By all Thy grace and love,
Thee, Maker of the world, we pray
To watch our bed above.

Let dreams depart and phantoms fly,
The offspring of the night,
Keep us, like shrines, beneath Thine eye,
Pure in our foe's despite.

This grace on Thy redeem'd confer,
Father, Co-equal Son,
And Holy Ghost, the Comforter,
Eternal Three in One.
Music at noon Mass
Processional Hymn : "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling"
Offertory : "O Lord My God, To Thee"- Jacques Arcadelt (1510-1568)
Communion : "Panis Angelicus" - Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921)
Recessional Hymn: "Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise"
A bit of an explanation is probably in order. While the congregation sings the Processional and Recessional hymns along with the choir, it's up to the choir members to sing the more difficult Offertory and Communion pieces. The congregation also sings, or rather chants, the various "Mass parts": the Kyrie, the Gloria, etc.
This week was a bit unusual in that Camille Saint-Saëns is a much more modern composer than the ones whose works we usually sing. Jacques Arcadelt is a more typical choice.