Saturday, February 22, 2003

Annual Huge Shindig tonight...
The Pittsburgh Oratory has a retreat house in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, called Rednal. (For any Venerable Newman fans out there, yes it is named after the Birmingham Oratory's retreat house.) In order to finance improvements and upkeep for this wonderful place, there is the annual Rednal Benefit Dinner, which is being held tonight. ( As Fr. Drew would undoubtedly put it, one could also call it "a slightly belated birthday party for Venerable Newman !" ) This means I am going to be enjoying good food and lots of conversation, since the turnout is usually somewhere around 150 to close to 200 people.
There are some cool pictures of Rednal here .

The Feast of the Chair of St. Peter
is today. There is information on the feast here .
The homily today was, of course, on the See of Peter as God-given source of unity. Among other points in his homily, Fr. Bryan mentioned that this was important in his own conversion to Catholicism.

"So it is; the course of ages has fulfilled the prophecy and promise, 'Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth, shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.' That which in substance was possessed by the Nicene Hierarchy, that the Pope claims now. I do not wish to put difficulties in my way: but I cannot conceal or smooth over what I believe to be a simple truth, though the avowal of it will be very unwelcome to Protestants, and, as I fear, to some Catholics. "

Letter to the Duke of Norfolk- Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

Friday, February 21, 2003

I'm still ambivalent about the War
but this post by Mr. Bettinelli is just too good not to link .
From the growing Things are Getting Even Worse Across the Pond department
Mr. Shea and various others have posted this link . Apparently, the British Government is taking the Clintonian position: this sort of thing isn't really sex. Therefore, they un-reason, why shouldn't the kids have all the fun they want ?
I was reminded of something the inimitable Fr. Neuhaus wrote in First Things , all the way back in 1998.

Britain’s New Labor government has a few tried and failed ideas of its own. Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, brings to my attention that Her Majesty’s Government promoted a first-ever Sexual Awareness Week. An official explained, "Young people are less likely to have early sex if there is good communication about the subject at home. We are emphasizing that sex is fun and talking is the key to a healthy sex life." Right. "It’s really fun, kids, so don’t do it." I can’t help thinking that it’s a sad commentary on the younger generation when they have to be instructed to take an interest in sex. What’s really interesting, however, is the assertion that talking is the key to the thing. "Brits do it verbally." It’s downright kinky.
From the homily
Fr. David celebated the noon Mass today.
What struck me most in the homily was his remark that, like many of the people in the readings from Genesis this past week, we let ourselves be caught up in illusions fostered by the sin of pride. We each try to make our own little universe centered around our own desires. Christ, on the other hand, is Reality. Through His teaching, but even more through the Cross, and most of all, through Him coming to us, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, we are given the grace and strength to dismiss these illusions and live for Him.
Happy Birthday, Venerable !
"John Henry Newman was born in Old Broad Street in the City of London on February 21, 1801, and was baptized in the church of St. Benet Fink on April 9 of the same year. His Father was a London banker, whose family came from Cambridgeshire. His Mother was of a French Protestant family, who left France for this country on the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. He was the eldest of six children, three boys and three girls. "
Autobiographical Memoir, Chapter One
Lane Core has a great set of links to commemorate the day.

As a birthday gift, I would request that, if they wish, readers would pray for his canonization. The following would work nicely.

Eternal Father, You led JOHN HENRY NEWMAN to follow the kindly light of Truth, and he obediently responded to your heavenly calls at any cost. As writer, preacher, counsellor and educator, as pastor, Oratorian, and servant of the poor he laboured to build up Your Kingdom.

Grant that through your Vicar on Earth we may hear the words, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter into the company of the canonized saints."

May You manifest Your servant's power of intercession by even extraordinary answers to the prayers of the faithful throughout the world. We pray particularly for our intentions in his name and in the Name of Jesus Christ Your Son our Lord.


Please report any favours received to:
The Postulator, The Oratory, Hagley Road, Birmingham B16 8UE, England

The Feast of St. Peter Damian, Cardinal and Doctor of the Church
is today. There is information on him here . As he was known for his scathing denunciations of clerical sexual perversion, asking for his intercession right now may be particularly timely.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

For Thursday
Holy Communion
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

1. My God, who can be inhabited by Thee, except the pure and holy? Sinners may come to Thee, but to whom shouldst Thou come except to the sanctified? My God, I adore Thee as the Holiest; and, when Thou didst come upon earth, Thou didst prepare a holy habitation for Thyself in the most chaste womb of the Blessed Virgin. Thou didst make a dwelling place special for Thyself. She did not receive Thee without first being prepared for Thee; for from the moment that she was at all, she was filled with Thy grace, so that she never knew sin. And so she went on increasing in grace and merit year after year, till the time came, when Thou didst send down the Archangel to signify to her Thy presence within her. So holy must be the dwelling place of the Highest. I adore and glorify Thee, O Lord my God, for Thy great holiness.

2. O my God, holiness becometh Thy House, and yet Thou dost make Thy abode in my breast. My Lord, my Saviour, to me Thou comest, hidden under the semblance of earthly things, yet in that very flesh and blood which Thou didst take from Mary. Thou, who didst first inhabit Mary's breast, dost come to me. My God, Thou seest me; I cannot see myself. Were I ever so good a judge about myself, ever so unbiassed, and with ever so correct a rule of judging, still, from my very nature, I cannot look at myself, and view myself truly and wholly. But Thou, as Thou comest to me, contemplatest me. When I say, Domine, non sum dignus—"Lord, I am not worthy"—Thou whom I am addressing, alone understandest in their fulness the words which I use. Thou seest how unworthy so great a sinner is to receive the One Holy God, whom the Seraphim adore with trembling. Thou seest, not only the stains and scars of past sins, but the mutilations, the deep cavities, the chronic disorders which they have left in my soul. Thou seest the innumerable living sins, though they be not mortal, living in their power and presence, their guilt, and their penalties, which clothe me. Thou seest all my bad habits, all my mean principles, all wayward lawless thoughts, my multitude of infirmities and miseries, yet Thou comest. Thou seest most perfectly how little I really feel what I am now saying, yet Thou comest. O my God, left to myself should I not perish under the awful splendour and the consuming fire of Thy Majesty. Enable me to bear Thee, lest I have to say with Peter, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!"

3. My God, enable me to bear Thee, for Thou alone canst. Cleanse my heart and mind from all that is past. Wipe out clean all my recollections of evil. Rid me from all languor, sickliness, irritability, feebleness of soul. Give me a true perception of things unseen, and make me truly, practically, and in the details of life, prefer Thee to anything on earth, and the future world to the present. Give me courage, a true instinct determining between right and wrong, humility in all things, and a tender longing love of Thee.

Jeff Miller
has an interesting post in which he comments on a certain professor who is trying to press 'children's stories', in which he apparently includes The Lord of the Rings. I'm less of a hawk than many at St. Blog's, but making arguments from a misreading of the Professor annoys me. Mr. Miller's comments are on the money. Appeasement is not really in the vocabulary in The Lord of the Rings . One of my favorite passages occurs when King Théoden of Rohan confronts Saruman after the battle of Helm's Deep. (WARNING: A BIT OF A SPOILER !)

Saruman has been trying to get the King to come over to his side.
" 'But my lord of Rohan, am I to be called a murderer, because valiant man have fallen in battle ? If you go to war, needlessly, for I did not desire it, then men will be slain. But if I am a murderer on that account, then all the house of Eorl is stained with murder; for they have fought many wars, and have assailed many who defied them. Yet with some they have afterwards made peace, none the worse for being politic. I say, Théoden King : shall we have peace and friendship, you and I ? It is ours to command.'

' We will have peace, ' said Théoden thickly and with an effort. Several of the Riders cried out gladly. Théoden held up his hand. 'Yes, we will have peace,' he said in a clear voice, 'we will have peace, when you and all your works have perished-and the works of your dark master to whom you would deliver us. You are a liar, Saruman, and a corrupter of men's hearts. You hold out your hand to me, and I perceive only a finger of the claw of Mordor. Cruel and cold ! Even if your war on me was just-as it was not, for were you ten times as wise you would have no right to rule me and mine for your own profit as you desired-even so, what will you say of your torches in Westfold and the children that lie dead there ? And they hewed Háma's body before the gates of the Hornburg after he was dead. When you hang at a gibbet at your window for the sport of your own crows, I will have peace with you and Orthanc. So much for the House of Eorl. A lesser son of great sires am I, but I have no need to lick your fingers. Turn elsewhither. But I fear your voice has lost its charm.' "
("The Voice of Saruman", The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien)

This is not to say that the Professor was unaware that war, even if it issues in victory, leaves wounds that are often unable to be healed. (He was, after all, a veteran of WWI who lost some of his closest friends at the front.) Much of the end of The Lord of the Rings shows this. However, he was also aware that in certain situations, peace is simply not an option. The problem is deciding when that type of situation exists.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

It's only a cartoon...
but at least one of the characters has good taste .

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

Yet more bewilderment as I am overwhelmed with choices
Now people are posting favorite future saints . (Note: Direct link is not working on the last one-some scrolling may be required)
Well, my top spot is glaringly obvious...
1. Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman, Founder of the Birmingham and London Congregations of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri
I pray for his canonization every day, attend a weekly Mass for that intention, and happily blog from his writings over and over. And I've met the postulator, the Very Reverend Paul Chavasse, C.O., currently Provost of the Birmingham Oratory and thus the Venerable's successor.

After that, things get a bit more tricky.
I could simply list the four current Oratorian beati and leave it at that. But then there's all those wonderful Blessed and Venerable Martyrs of England and Wales. And the Blessed of the day, Fra Angelico. And Mother Teresa. And Eve Lavalliere. And Demetrius Gallitzin. And someone who will never be canonized because he wrote anonymusly, the author of The Cloud of Unknowing...

The Feast of Blessed John da Fiesole, O.P., better-known as "Fra Angelico"
is today. There is information on him here .
I mention him not only because I think his paintings some of the most lovely things this side of Heaven, but because some of his best work was done for the Dominicans of San Marco in Florence. Those particular friars were the ones who educated a young Florentine boy by the name of Filippo Neri....
More scary stuff from across the Pond
posted by Mr. Longenecker .

It shut down the library yesterday, which is why I couldn't blog.

Sunday, February 16, 2003

Guilty pleasures
A few of mine...
Those cheeseburger links they sell at Sunoco stations
"The Official Fanfiction University of Middle-earth" by Camilla Sandman
Certain 80's music
and I even have a link to a guilty pleasure on the left:
The Red Songbook of Westmarch .
A sample from that last.....

to the tune of GASTON
from the Disney animated feature BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
(as sung by the Witch-King of Angmar)

Sunday, November 28, 1999 by William H. Hsu

"I have still this to say... you do not know your peril!"
- The Two Towers, Ch. 7 (Helm's Deep)

SCENE: The Barad-Dur, some years after the Quest of Erebor. SAURON and
the WITCH-KING OF ANGMAR are taking afternoon tea on a platform near
the pinnacle.

"SAURON: Who do they think they are?! The White Council has tangled
with the wrong Maia! No one dares to assail Sauron!
WITCH-KING: Heh, darn right!
SAURON: Assaulted! Thwarted! Driven out of Dol Guldur! Why, it's
more than I can bear!
WITCH-KING: Er, more blood?
SAURON: What for? Nothing helps! Without my Precious, I'm a Shadow
of my former self!
WITCH-KING: Who, YOU? Never! Sauron, you've got to pull yourself

Gosh, it disturbs me to face you, Sauron
Though I'm the great Morgul-King
Every bad guy'd love to be you, Sauron
Even without the One Ring!
Where has the twinkle gone, oh my liege,
From your terrible Lidless Eye?
Everyone still fears and dreads it, Sauron
Not just Nine Mortal Men doomed to die!

No one's strong like Sauron
Sings fell songs like Sauron
And in snow-flinging no one's arm's long as Sauron's!
For there's no Lord of Darkness so evil
Twisted, abhorred, cruel, and foul
He makes those puny Balrogs look feeble
And he teaches these lost souls in Mordor to howl!

No one prods like Sauron!
Plays "dark god" like Sauron!
No one stands up like a lightning rod like Sauron!

Numenor really fell for my machinations!

My, what a guy, that Sauron!
Give five hurrahs, give twelve hip-hips!
Sauron makes the Elves flee Middle-earth in ships!

No one's breath's like Sauron's
Preys on death like Sauron
No one brings on the Akallabeth like Sauron! ....... "
The 'list your favorite saints' thing
is going on on certain Catholic blogs . (Note: on the second two blogs, direct link is not working properly and a bit of scrolling may be necessary.) Unfortunately, getting the list down to five men and five women would be really tough for me. The Forty Martyrs of England and Wales alone would put me way over the limit for the guys, and then there's my little list of Oratorian saints, beati, and venerabili. Plus St. Jeanne Darc, St. Augustine of Hippo, St. John Cassian... I'd be up to a hundred in no time flat....

From St. Philip Neri
"Lord Jesus, let me get through today, and I shall not fear tomorrow."
Lane Core
has some great links to sermons by the Venerable Newman.
No music at noon Mass
because our organist/choir director got snowed in.....