30 January 2010

Anglicanorum coetibus and the Queen

Damien Thompson reports that Queen Elizabeth sent Lord Peel to have a secret meeting with the Catholic Archbishop Vincent Nichols.
There have been rumours that the Queen is dismayed by the Anglican drift towards homosexual blessings and women bishops. Perhaps she felt that she needed an adviser answerable only to her to convey information impartially – particularly given that she will probably meet Pope Benedict in Scotland, either at Balmoral or Holyrood, when he visits Britain in September. (The discussion between Lord Peel and the Archbishop is unlikely to have been about this meeting, however, since the Scottish Catholic Church is independent of England and Wales.)

At any rate, the spokesman for Archbishop Nichols insisted tonight that the meeting was a success. “It gave the Archbishop the opportunity to correct some of the misunderstandings about the Apostolic Constitution created by misreporting in the media,” he told me. “It was a very successful meeting and mutually beneficial.”

26 January 2010

The Minefield of Caddishness

France is debating a ban on the donning of full Muslim veils in public buildings, including schools, post offices, hospitals, and the like.
Last week [Sarkozy] called the niqab, the form of veil worn in France, “contrary to our values and to the ideals we have of women’s dignity”. Parliament is expected to act on the proposals in the spring.

If they become law women with covered faces would be refused public services such as transport, university classes and benefits.
France has the highest Muslim population in Europe, and Islam is the second largest religion there. France has made little secret of courting Muslims--a rapidly growing population compared to the declining birthrate among ethnic French--to help fill the workforce and pay taxes. It's common to see Muslim women in the streets in jeans and t-shirts with only their hair covered--less common to see full Muslim garb and niqab. But a growing number of fundamentalists are donning these, and it is beginning to alarm the French people. Two-thirds are against the full veil. Ever since Sarkozy's comment that "the burqa is not a religious sign, it is a sign of the subjugation, of the submission of women...it will not be welcome on our territory," and, perhaps bouyed by Switzerland's recent vote to ban minarets, France's parliament has had a heated debate over the possibility of banning this Muslim dress. A vote is expected in the Spring. Switzerland has expressed the possibility of also banning the burqa, following France's lead.

You will have, of course, your naysayers. One NPR commentator complains,
Sarkozy's real motives are to protect and preserve secular French culture. He wants to stop French identity from being Islamicized. In the process, Sarkozy is sending a very clear message to future Muslim immigrants: you want to move to France? Then be ready to let go of your ways, and take on ours.
How quickly these people catch on!

22 January 2010

"I don't know. It is a song of God."

Some in France are angered at U.S. "occupation" of Haiti, which has resulted in conflicts between each country's relief efforts, with priority going to American military, while French airbus hospitals and evacuation flights are being delayed.
The Elysée palace and Foreign Ministry are trying to calm the fuss, but the annoyance is palpable. Haiti may be in the US back yard, but France, the former colonial power, sees it as part of its overseas family. The Pearl of the Caribbean, as the colony was known, is part of la Francophonie, the French-speaking commonwealth that is run and financed from Paris. Haiti's writers, artists and musicians have close links to la Metropole and some 70,000 immigrants live in France.
Apparently, President Sarkozy has stepped in to defuse the situation, praising America's relief efforts and pledging with President Obama to be united in their rescue mission in Haiti.

In spite of the dissension, the account of the near-miraculous rescue of Hoteline "Natalie" Losana, trapped in rubble for eight days, reveals that, on the ground, French and American crews are working together harmoniously.
Jean-Philippe Oustallet, from Biarritz, one of the first to reach her, said that the slab came to rest 2cm above her head and 10cm above her chest. She must have cried out every day but no one heard her until late on Tuesday morning.
We saw “Natalie’s” head first. Even from 30ft away, we could see that she was smiling. She was talking to her brother on her mobile phone. The Haitian team grasped the handles of her stretcher. The French formed two lines up a sloping slab to the flat section of roof from which her rescue had been organised. As they applauded, dust rose from their gloves. As she drew near, we heard her singing.

At first it was hard to believe. Her lips were scarcely moving, but the sound was unmistakably hers. The French followed her out, their faces caked in dirt, tears welling up for some, flowing uncontrollably for others.
As she went over the edge, Ms Losana filled her lungs and sang loudly enough for those below to hear over the generators. She was still singing at the bottom. I asked no one in particular what it was. “I don’t know,” said one of the exultant crowd of Haitians who helped her into the waiting ambulance. “It is a song of God.”

20 January 2010

If you happen to be in the Hamptons the nights of February 26-27 and want something to do, consider the Sixth Annual Collection of Sartorial Excellence, at which the well-dressed gentleman will be given four demonstrations daily on Proper, Old-Fashioned Ironing, and will have the chance to attend seminars on everything there is to know about socks, neckties, and underwear. Master tailors will discuss drafting bespoke shirt patterns and the differences between bespoke and factory made shirts, while a shoe expert will compare style and quality of numerous kinds of footware.

(via Easy & Elegant life)

19 January 2010

Touché pas à mon curé!

The liberal bishop of Evreux in Normandy was booed by angry parishioners when he announced that their beloved parish priest of 23 years, Fr. Francis Michel, would be their priest no longer, and their parish would be dissolved. The bishop's purported reason for moving Fr. Michel was because of a priestly shortage, but everyone knew the bishop was unhappy with Fr. Michel's traditionalist ways, and with his implementation of the Motu Proprio by occasionally celebrating Mass in the Extraordinary Form. According to the SSPX, Fr. Michel had also at one point given the dissident group use of his church, one of the moves that alarmed the bishop and has led to the current crisis.

Evreux, one of the most sinister dioceses in France, has seen declining numbers at Mass, fewer vocations, and parish after parish closing. The one bright spot of vibrant orthodoxy was at Fr. Michel's church in Thiberville, where he has served for over two decades--and thus the open revolt when Bishop Nourrichard arrived (in his rainbow chasuble) to announce that Fr. Michel would be curé no more.

See the dramatic episode on video here, followed by a portrait of Abbé Francis Michel and his supporters.

The bishop has continued to allow Fr. Michel to say Mass in his parish, as he awaits an appeal to Rome on the bishop's decision.

January 19

1419: Nearly four years after the Battle of Agincourt, Henry V completes his reconquest of Normandy with the surrender of Rouen.

1839: The British East India Trading Company is given Aden, occupying it and ending pirate attacks against British shipping to India.

1920: The United States votes against joining the League of Nations.

2010: Scott Brown wins "Ted Kennedy's seat", breaking the Democratic filibuster-proof majority in the Senate and tolling the death knell for Obamacare...
A bit of good news amidst the tragedy...

15 January 2010

Nos Petits Frères et Soeurs

Nos Petits Frères et Soeurs (or Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos) has maintained a presence in Haiti for over two decades, and is dedicated entirely to serving sick and poor children. Founded by Fr. William Wasson in 1954, NPH now operates in eight countries. It has established two hospitals, both of which have been badly damaged by the recent earthquake, and a school in Haiti. Fr. Rick Frechette, the well-known Passionist priest who helped establish the St. Damien Hospital of NPH in Haiti, who became a doctor in midlife because of his frustration at the lack of medical professionals in the poverty-stricken country, has issued a statement on the disaster:
We...had 18 funerals today. One for John who works at our St. Luke program. We miss John very much. He often stopped at my door to tell me the milestone of his developing baby, which delighted him no end.... Another was for Johanne's mother.... All the others were of unknown people who were sadly rotting by the wayside.

Other sadnesses... the death of Immacula, or only physician assistant, who worked at our huge outpatient side of our hospital. The death of ALL but one of Joseph Ferdinand's brothers and sisters, the death of the husband of Jacqueline Gautier as he was visiting a school which fell and all the students (all died), the death of our ex-pequeño Wilfrid Altisme who was in his 5th year of seminary for priesthood. Other stories of deaths of people who are dear to us keep coming in.
You can donate to NPH's efforts here.

New Archbishop of Brussels

<< L’évêque André-Mutien Léonard a été désigné comme le nouvel archevêque de Belgique.... André-Mutien Léonard, qui célèbrera cette année son 70e anniversaire, est évêque de Namur - le plus grand évêché de Belgique. Il est réputé très conservateur et se situe entièrement sur la même ligne que le pape Benoît XVI. C’est la raison pour laquelle il est parfois surnommé le « Joseph Ratzinger belge ».

Léonard est controversé notamment à cause de son franc-parler, très intelligent et un bon communicateur. Il parle plusieurs langues, fait preuve d’ambition et de fermeté en tant qu’évêque, possède un engagement social fort et est apprécié par la famille. >>

13 January 2010


We've only recently returned from an extended stay down south. On the way, we passed by this lone tree, wedged at the intersection of two rural roads in the midst of acres of cornfields somewhere in the deep Midwest. If you look closely, you might notice something odd...