24 July 2010


Note to bloggers, Facebookers, tweeters, and any other members of social media networks: this is something to avoid rather than something in which to indulge.

20 July 2010

Don't be a seathog.

It's simple: if you're on a crowded bus/train/metro/subway, and the seat next to you is free, move over and let someone sit--especially if that someone is elderly or pregnant. (Even better, give up your seat for someone who is elderly or pregnant--but these days, that would take a saint.) I remember on the city bus in Oxford some years ago I watched as an older woman walked down the aisle of a crowded bus looking for a free seat. A 20-something man sat by the aisle, his backpack and notebooks spread out on the window seat. Not only did he not bother to notice her, when she asked if she could sit there, he pointed to his things and shrugged his shoulders. (I'm embarrassed to say the guy was American.) She eventually found a seat elsewhere, but I was pretty much ready to give that kid a flogging (with the whip I carry in my purse particularly for such occasions).

For some reason, I don't think this sort of thing would have happened 70 years ago.

17 July 2010

17 July 1794

We know the story well. On the day following the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, 1794, sixteen Carmelites from Compiègne, singing the Veni Creator, mounted the scaffold one by one and were beheaded. To justify their condemnation, the tribunal had produced as proof of their treason a picture of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus along with one of the deposed king, taken from the convent wall.

You can read the rest here.

14 July 2010

Love This...

Hymne à la Vierge

Pierre Villete's composition remains one of my favorites. And what better way to remember Bastille Day than to honor the Lady whose intercession brought that bloody revolution to an end, and who continues to love and watch over this country in spite of its forgetfulness of Her care?

I Wear Black on Bastille Day

Gerald Warner of The Telegraph shares his thoughts on Bastille Day:
Bastille Day or, as the comic singers who take it seriously prefer to call it, the Fête de la Federation, is the embarrassing event that exposes the cultural, moral and constitutional bankruptcy of what was once the greatest civilisation in Europe.

When you are reduced to celebrating the murder by the canaille of Paris in 1789 of the French equivalent of the Chelsea Pensioners, you are inadvertently advertising the sinister origins of the dysfunctional state you are trying to prop up with a mythology as grotesque as it is pathetic. The Umpteenth French Republic is the one entity whose absorption by the European Union is not to be regretted.

Pompous parades will today celebrate the event that triggered the French Revolution, that is to say, the most appalling bloodbath anterior to the Russian Revolution. Seven prisoners were released from the Bastille—four counterfeiters, an accomplice to murder and two lunatics—whose return to the community was hardly beneficial. The attack on the prison, reserved for the well-off, was orchestrated by the Marquis de Sade and Camille Desmoulins on behalf of the Nine Sisters masonic lodge.

There followed the September massacres, the marriages républicains in which people of opposite sexes were stripped naked and lashed together in obscene postures before being drowned, mothers forced to watch their children being guillotined and the massacre of 400,000 Catholic royalists—the majority of them women and children—in La Vendée. Sounds like the perfect excuse for a celebratory knees-up.

There are two countries called France. One is the sluttish Republic—"Marianne"—the other is the timeless, civilised doyen of Christendom, the nation of Clovis and St Louis, of the Valois and Bourbon kings, the Catholic and monarchic civilisation that fell with Charles X in 1830 but still defiantly survives in many enclaves. That pulse will beat quietly today while the heirs of the sans-culottes strut their stuff, proclaiming French nationalism under the figurehead of a Hungarian president and his Italian wife.

It is all hollow, even on their terms: the lodges and the heirs of the Jacobins have migrated to Brussels and are working on a more ambitious project, still aimed at the de-Christianisation of Europe and the elimination of freedom and tradition. France without its monarchy and the Church of which it was proudly termed the Eldest Daughter is a desert.

Today is when the posturing Pantaloons bedecked with tricolour sashes enjoy their 15 minutes of fame. God send, at some time in the future—however distant—the restoration of the glittering monarchy whose downfall in blood is so vulgarly celebrated today. Long live the present-day heir of the Bourbons, the Duc d'Anjou, rightful King of France. Vive Louis XX.
Well-said. (The coat of arms above is that of la Département de la Vendée.)

11 July 2010

The New American Religion

Moralistic Therapeutic Deism:
1. "A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth." 2. "God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions." 3. "The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself." 4. "God does not need to be particularly involved in one's life except when God is needed to resolve a problem." 5. "Good people go to heaven when they die."

That, in sum, is the creed to which much adolescent faith can be reduced. After conducting more than 3,000 interviews with American adolescents, the researchers reported that, when it came to the most crucial questions of faith and beliefs, many adolescents responded with a shrug and "whatever."
The five points above are generally what I hear from the pulpit at most Masses I've attended, which is one of the reasons I've quit going to Novus Ordo Masses and am back to Mass in the extraordinary form, with its rock-ribbed sermons filled with truth and a rich understanding of the faith--that, and the fact that I can no longer stand the way the Eucharist is treated in most parishes, by laity and, frankly, by some priests. It drives me absolutely nuts when I see priests grabbing fistfuls of consecrated hosts and doling them out among communion bowls, sometimes dropping hosts onto the altar, then using those same hands to wipe their noses and touch all manner of things before the ablutions. Aaaargh! Perhaps the reason 70% of Catholic laity don't believe in the Real Presence is because our priests, God love them, don't believe it either--or at least don't act is if they do. Time was only the thumb and forefinger were allowed to touch the consecrated Host, and afterwards had to be held together, touching nothing else, until the ablutions--and if a Host was dropped, the area would be immediately covered with an altar cloth, and after Mass, the priest would inspect the area where the host fell; if any remained, he would place it in the chalice or on the paten, wipe it with his fingers, and put it in his mouth to ensure no bits remained. He would then use holy water to wipe the area, remove the cloth to have it washed and pour the holy water down the sacrarium. In my few years as a Catholic, I've seen a few Hosts dropped--but only once have I ever seen the area properly purified, and that was at a traditional Latin Mass. Seeing that purifying ritual, so carefully and tenderly done by this FSSP priest, moved me to no end. One was left with no doubt whatsoever that the priest believed. Would that all parishes could set such an example! Unfortunately, we're stuck--in most cases--with moralistic therapeutic deism.

06 July 2010

This is why...

I stopped receiving communion in the hand (the first 5 minutes are instructive--after that, the speaker gets a little weird, but he does make good points)...