Monday, December 31, 2012

The change of the year

Alfred, Lord Tennyson In Memoriam cv, published in 1850.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Does the Pope have a pink bathroom?

(There was a splurge post on Pius xii in this place for a few hours this morning which will be edited and reposted later, in case you are wondering).

As is now known all over the interwebs Pope Benedict xvi has written an op-ed [registration required] for the Financial Times which L'Osservatoro Romano helpfully reproduces.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

New Testament mss online

Dr. Rod Decker of Baptist Bible Seminary in Pennsylvania posts links to recent additions to online digital images of NT manuscripts.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I think they must import them on thumbdrives

When I was at Merton, at the end of every Michaelmas term (October-December), the Chaplain organised a Carol service which was usually well attended. One year I heard one of the Chapel regulars remark sadly that a lot of people came to hear and sing the old favourites – Once in Royal, Silent Night ect – only to be disappointed, because this was an Advent carol service as was appropriate, since this was long before even the Great Antiphons, much less Christmas itself.

Apparently the alma mater is keeping up the practice.
The beginning of Advent is celebrated with a particular solemnity at Merton. For its second recording the college choir explores the musical riches that adorn this most special time in the church’s year, centring on a newly commissioned sequence of Magnificat antiphons from seven leading composers.
Naturally, although I heard about this weeks ago, I did not get round to ordering the thing until this morning and so of course I missed my opportunity to have people coming out here for Christmas to bring the CD with them and save on postage.

The OU shop sells it for £14 ($21.48AUD) whereas Amazon UK charges £9.46 ($14.58AUD), both delivered free in the UK. Amazon UK will also let you download the whole thing for £6.49 ($10.01AUD), will give you the same privilege for $8.99 ($8.53AUD), for £7.99 ($12.32AUD). iTunes in the US offers it for $9.99 ($9.48AUD), in the UK for £7.99 ($12.32AUD) but in Australia for $16.99, i.e. £11.02 and $17.91USD. Of course this is nothing like the grossest example of price gouging on Australian iTunes.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Better be on the safe side of Father Christmas

You Better Watch Out—St. Nicholas is Coming to Town

Archbishop Nicholas attended the first Ecumenical Council at Nicaea (325), where he allegedly assailed the heretic Arius.
Good thing they remembered to put in that allegedly. St Nicholas is pretty litigious I hear, and apparently the Nicaean Imperial Court will clobber anyone who reports matters sub judice.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Lord of the Rings, Appendix B, on your Mac

You can get a barebones anniversary list of events in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings on your Mac. Not immediately obvious how I import it into Calendar.

Slightly more information e.g. what the "cat" command in the terminal means (I know I was dying to know) at The Mac Observer.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Keep a close eye on that Kerplakistan situation

It's like a rejected plot from 24.

The family of a Karuan national critically wounded in a drive by shooting weep outside an evacuation centre on the troubled Island Nation of Karu. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

My Yoke Is Easy, My Burden Light.

From time to time I have been invited to weddings on Sundays – typically in the early afternoon – at which a Nuptial Mass is celebrated. All Catholics are obliged to attend Mass on Sundays but, by a special rule, one can fulfil one's obligation by attending Mass on Saturday evening. The propers of that Mass (readings, changeable prayers etc.) are almost always the same as those of the Sunday, even though it is on Saturday evening. Mutatis mutandis this applies for those Feasts designated "Holy Days of Obligation" ("Days of Precept" in the old terminology) which happen to fall on a weekday. In Australia such occasions are limited to Christmas Day and the Solemnity of the Assumption on August 15th.

I had always assumed that, to fulfil an obligation to hear Mass on a given day, Catholics must hear the Mass of that day. Wedding Masses have their own prayers and readings, therefore a Wedding Mass on a Sunday would not fulfil my Sunday obligation, and so I would still have to attend Mass elsewhere on Sunday morning or Saturday evening. With the children, and dressing for the wedding, and so on, this can be quite tough.

It turns out my assumption is false. Edward Peters (whom I mentioned the other day) explains things.
…a few folks who correctly remind others that there are two attendance obligations coming up seem also to assert that the type of Mass attended determines which attendance obligation can be satisfied thereat, as in, for example, a Mass of Anticipation for the Second of Advent, celebrated at 5 pm next Saturday, can only be applied toward one’s Sunday obligation, not toward Immaculate Conception. That’s an error arising from confusing the canonical obligation on people to attend Mass with the liturgical obligation on priests to celebrate the Mass called for by the rubrics. The people’s canonical obligation to attend Mass is satisfied by their “assisting at a Mass celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite on the [day required] or in the evening of the preceding day…” (c. 1248 § 2). The law says nothing about what type of Mass is celebrated, only, that it must be a Mass in a Catholic rite.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Scrooge on the second Sunday of Advent

Yes, deep down, if I had the hide, this is probably me.
When someone says “Merry Christmas” even five minutes before sunset on Dec. 24, remind them that “Advent is a season of penance, fasting and prayer, to remind us of the hopeless misery of the human condition that Christ came to rectify—for those who accept Him. But the path is straight, and narrow, and few do travel it.” Then smile and say “But hey, Merry Christmas!”

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Mankowsi: Why the Immaculate Conception?

The truth is often at right angles to the common perception. Fr Paul Mankowski sj asks "Why the Immaculate Conception?" in Women for Faith & Family, Vol v.1 (1990).
There is a strain of feminist Mariology which feels repugnance at the dogma of the Immaculate Conception because it views the notion as demeaning to women. Orthodox theologians were so scandalized by the particularly feminine dimension of sinfulness (according to this school) that they found it necessary to cook up the idea of an immaculate conception in order to sanitize the event of the incarnation. I hope I have shown that this way of thinking has got things exactly backwards. In articulating its belief that Mary was free of original sin, the Church is thrusting the Blessed Virgin into the heart of the problematic struggle of temptation and grace; it is the opposite of insulation. It is not some angelic perfection, but her humanity which is vindicated by Pius IX’s definition - her dependence on merits of Jesus Christ, her constant reenactment of the drama of Adam’s choice, a drama which is no less dramatic for its happy ending, a drama which ultimately includes us all, in the vision of the Woman clothed with the sun, crushing the serpent at the worlds’ end.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Newman's hymns updated

Once upon a time on The Daily Telegraph blog of Damian Thompson, called Holy Smoke (now folded into his current blog, same stuff, different name), which was mostly to do with Catholic matters, there was a trolling anti-Catholic commenter called Bosco. Another commenter called Eccles sprang up to poke fun at Bosco. He claimed to be Bosco's dimmer half brother. Together they caused trouble for the moderators. Eccles soon got his own blog.  In one post, Eccles interviews Cardinal Newman and gets him to update some of his works.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Not having ears to hear

In a fit of false piety (it's been known before) I decided not to post on the story of the brawl between two retired priests in Perth.

However lay canon lawyer, Edward Peters, discusses the canonical aspects of the case, which seem quite interesting.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Shakespeare, the horror, the horror

Fun with the consequences of a stocktake, or something:

(Taken at Kinokuniya in Sydney).

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

AP, AAP…what's the diff?

Noting clueless use of wire feeds by the Australian media is becoming a hobby of mine. You would at least think that when they use them, the media could at least get the name of the source right. Er…no.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Swanee and I

For some reason this video has reappeared in 9Raw's RSS feed. So of course I am reposting it.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A taxi driver writes...

Prince Philip speaks for all men.

It is an awkward but little-discussed matrimonial duty which has sorely taxed all but the most dexterous of husbands. Now the Duke of Edinburgh has spoken out about the “infernal” problem of undoing jewellery clasps. Prince Philip voiced the feelings of put-upon spouses everywhere when he complained to an award-winning silversmith over the time-consuming nature of the task – and how it can all so easily go wrong.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Not quite as strange as reading old TV guides

I like to post about the stupidity of the Australian media. David Knox at TV Tonight (a job that seems to require non stop television watching) mentions another example.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

As Christmas approaches...

Every Christmas or Easter there is some new book either debunking or calling into question some central aspect of the birth or death of Our Lord. For this Christmas, the Pope has a cunning plan.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Jerry Seinfeld used the word really a lot, hence this scene from 30 Rock:

Monday, November 12, 2012

Proper Treatment of a Blessed Pope and a Blessed Cardinal

A few weeks ago I mentioned the Breviary Propers for the Diocese of Cologne. Blessed John Paul II has, with the consent of the Holy See, been inserted into the Liturgical Calendar of the United States as an optional memoria. That page has links to the Mass Propers in Latin and English (and Spanish) and to the Breviary Propers ditto, all from the Vatican website. These are all within the pages of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Nevertheless there is no mention of these Propers on the English page. I mention that because in all the other languages of the Vatican site there is a link to all the material pertaining to John Paul II's beatification and liturgical cult: Italian, German, Spanish, French, and Portugese. Even the Latin page has a link to the decree of 2nd April 2011 De cultu liturgico in honorem Beati Ioannis Pauli ii, papae, tribuendo.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The U.S. Presidential election

What I regret is the missed opportunity for the Private Eye front cover:

Four Mormon Years

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Bye-bye Barack?

Voters at Last Get to Have Their Say

Not actually true since the USA has early voting, postal voting etc. etc. – all the easily corruptible paraphernalia to make life easier for homo piger.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

It will make everyone extremely happy

About a month ago I posted something on a pair of articles by Jeffrey Tucker discussing the baby steps for the (re)introduction of Gregorian chant. At the Chant Café he reviews the Lumen Christi Missal. This is an ambitious missal, including chant settings in English for every Mass of the year (including the Proper of Saints) with the Simple Gradual, various ritual and devitional chants and scarcely a hymn in sight. So far as I can tell there isn't anything not in English. The publishers have posted a preview. It is superb.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Fairfax exclusive: China moves its capital! Australia moves its Parliament!

Australian print media is carved up between Fairfax Media and News Ltd. Some of Australia's oldest newspapers are owned by Fairfax, The Sydney Boring Herald was founded in 1831 The Arrggh in 1854. Local lefties regard Fairfax Media as basically good (like "our" ABC) and News Ltd as utterly evil. Anyway that's enough background for the non Australians.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Pluscarden Resurrection

YouTube user bened1ct2s (surely it should be spelt bened1c2s? this bloke at any rate) provides us with the bulk of a film of the inaugural Mass (in the modern era) at Pluscarden Abbey.

New Liturgical Movement says the the liturgical stuff begins at 4:00 but surely what precedes are the Gathering Rites?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A local paper for local people

Behold the Post Newspapers, a family of local papers serving the suburbs of Perth. Turning to the issue of the Cambridge Post (the youngest member of the family) of 21st April 2012 [PDF, and a rather heavy one at that].

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I'm so hungry I could eat a Hippo

If you were Goodwill Zwelithini, King of the Zulus, you might get to do just that.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Thank Meg and Mog for complete audiobooks

Once upon a time you could get readings of books on LPs. Each record would be no more than an hour long, which meant a single full length play by Shakespeare could span three or more discs. Once the audio cassette came in, you could carry the spoken word with you, always provided you remembered the Walkman personal stereo. Now of course you can carry hundreds of audiobooks on a device the size of a pack of cards. The space saving of an abridged version – a full length reading of A Christmas Carol (one of Dickens' shorter works) would straddle at least two cassettes – is now insignificant.

Apparently the growth of unabridged recordings was down to one person, Helen Nicholl, the writer of the Meg and Mog series.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Propers done properly

In the Hall of Merton College hangs a portrait of a clean shaven man staring intently at a book on a stand to his right. It is the Franciscan theologian John Duns Scotus, reputed to have been a Fellow – or at any rate a member – of the college in the thirteenth century. I remember Jasper Griffin remarking during a seminar at Merton, as the sounds of first year lawyers celebrating the end of examinations wafted up into the room, that such things had been happening "since the days of Duns Scotus". Not that he intended any approbation  of the practice of "trashing". Being a Balliol man I think he was amused by Merton's claims to seniority and was using Scotus' name as a facetious authority to a widespread but officially disapproved practice.

On (presumably) 8th November 1997 I was walking with a friend to college for breakfast when we fell into step with the Chaplain. He remarked that it was the Feast of Blessed John Duns Scotus (hence my guess of the date). The Chaplain was CofE of course, and both of us were Catholics, but we had to confess we knew nothing about him. "Well he did believe in the Immaculate Conception," said the Chaplain. "So on the side of the angels?" I ventured. "Yes, but not on the side of God," was the testy reply.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Back to the future of space exploration

In a dozen juvenile novels (that's novels for young people, not novels written when he was young), Robert Heinlein laid out a manifesto for the exploration and colonisation of the solar system. Arthur C. Clarke supposedly remarked that the Moon landings justified all science fiction to that date. Everyone expected colonies on Mars, generation ships etc. by 1985. But, for various reasons, the exploration of space has been left to unmanned vehicles, while human activity has stopped at the low earth orbit of the International Space Station.

(Speaking of unmanned vehicles, there is some blogger buzz – but no confirmation from NASA – that Voyager 1 has in fact finally left the solar system).

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Clerical Fashion

Fr Zuhlsdorf mentions the recent clerical fashion show. Frederico Fellini got there first.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

What? Another One?

When I was at school, my English teacher once referred to Christopher Tolkien as publishing manuscripts from "out of a trunk in the attic". I thought this was an excessively cynical way of looking at The History of Middle Earth, and still do.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

More cricket pitches!

36-Dish Australian Telescope Array Opens for Business
The Australian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) is now standing tall in the outback of Western Australia, and will officially be turned on and open for business on Friday, October 5, 2012 . This large array is made up of 36 identical antennas, each 12 meters in diameter, spread out over 4,000 square meters but working together as a single instrument. ASKAP is designed to survey the whole sky very quickly, and astronomers expect to do studies of the sky that could never have been done before.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Learning from the experts

It's funny that  they only hire total morons, who know nothing about liturgy, to organise the Papal Liturgies, especially when these liturgies are not even taking place other in the Roman Rite. Consider the Pope's visit to the Basilica of St Paul of Harissa in Lebanon (Melkite I believe) and thank goodness the real experts are on hand to provide criticisms in the comments to this post:

Papal Liturgy and Music in the Maronite Rite.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Following the example of the locals

TRH the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge recently spent some time in Brisbane on their way back from a tour of the Pacific Islands.

To be precise they spent 90 minutes.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Commander Bill King

A lot of the Daily Telegraph military obituaries are of blokes who did something fantastically heroic at Arnhem, then went home, became accountants and grew roses for the rest of their lives. Commander Bill King...not so much:

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The despotism of Gregorian chant

In advance of our wedding, my wife and I agreed that I would be responsible for making decisions about the liturgy. I reached for the Roman Gradual and started selecting chants. We hired a church musician to put together a choir (he wept for joy when we told him what we wanted) and who helped us with choosing some polyphony.

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Prince of Wales, the German Bishops, and Cardinal Newman

The Daily Telegraph in London is held up as a conservative newspaper. It is far more conservative than any Australian daily. And yet in a piece dated 3rd October 2012 (£1m from those who die without wills passes to Prince Charles's estate) we find this:
More than £1 million has passed to the Prince of Wales’s Duchy of Cornwall estate in the last six years from people who died without making a will or having an heir, latest accounts show. Under powers dating back to medieval times, the Duchy is entitled to all unclaimed property and estates left when someone dies in Cornwall, in an arrangement known as bona vacantia. In the last financial year alone, £552,000 passed to the Duchy under the ancient law, which was put in place when the Duchy was created by Edward III in 1337 for his son and heir, Edward, the Black Prince.

Note the oogedy boogedy of "dating back to medieval times" and all that crap about the Black Prince. This is not some part-time hack. The author is Gordon Rayner "Chief Reporter". Note the sense that this is all something rather strange and peculiar. It may not help matters to observe that bona vacantia is in fact a concept far older than the Middle Ages, something that can be confirmed by the obscure modern practice of looking things up on Google.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Religious differences

Further to yesterday's post, somebody recently sent me this video. I had never heard of Emo Philips. I like the cultural translation of famous horses' names in the subtitles.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cats and Dogs

A while ago somebody sent me this video of a dog discovering all the bacon is gone.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A very long memorial service

From NASA's Image of the Day Gallery:
Armstrong Memorial Service
Attendees of the memorial service for Neil Armstrong sing a hymnal, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012, at the Washington National Cathedral. Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon during the 1969 Apollo 11 mission, died Saturday, Aug. 25. He was 82. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Monty, RIP

Queen's corgi motion 'a mockery', says MP Walt Secord

"This makes a mockery of parliament."

Good to know an ALP MP is worried about making a mockery of Parliament.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Sung Mass with the Benedictines of St Louis in 1964

(From Chant Café)

Speaking of Dom Guéranger and the EBC, this is a video of Mass at St Louis Priory – now St Louis Abbey – in 1964.

American local TV stations still broadcast significant religious events. I once saw a recording of the installation of a Bishop of a diocese in the Western USA. This included an embarrassing incident where it turned out the Apostolic Mandate – absolutely necessary unless those involved wanted to get excommunicated – had been left in someone's car, parked in a distant location. Since the major parties all had radio mikes, if you turned up the volume of the TV you could hear the panicked discussions

From about 4:40 in the video below is an interview of the then Prior of St Louis Fr Columba Cary-Elwes. St Louis was founded from Ampleforth (hence the English accent) and my recollection is that Fr Columba came back to Ampleforth and was still alive when I was at the school. Ampleforth was founded (at several removes) from Westminster. I like the deadpan way Fr Columba handles the matter of the reformation at 9:00. "This is the famous Westminster Abbey? But that's not still a Benedictine Monastery is it?" "No, I'm afraid not. Henry the Eighth and Elizabeth the First have changed all that."

Friday, September 7, 2012

Star Wars Episode VI – Blue Harvest

Because you are desperate to know what the poster would look like if the decoy title for Return of the Jedi was the real title.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Solesmes and an English Benedictine

I have mentioned the Graduale Triplex before. It is one of many books of chant produced by the community at Solesmes. Charles Cole posts photographs of the place where these books were produced, and presumably still are: Atelier de Paléographie Musicale.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Pity the poor commies

To be elected Pope it is not necessary to be a Cardinal, although only Cardinals may elect a Pope. The last time they elected someone not of their number – in the Conclave that elected Urban VI (born c.1318 reigned 1378-1389) — the consequences were not happy. You do not absolutely have to be a Cardinal to become Pope, but it certainly helps. George Weigel tells us how Karol Wojtyła became Cardinal-Archbishop of Kraków. Wojtyła (in case you didn't know) went on to be Pope John Paul II and an instrument in the collapse of communism in eastern Europe. He describes a conversation between the Polish regime's chief communist ideologue, Zenon Kliszko, and one of the few serving Catholic politicians. Weigel states that Kliszko was Marshall (or Speaker) of the Sejm (Parliament) but apparently at the time that was Czesław Wychech. According to Jonathan Kwitny in chapter 1 of Man of the Century, Kliszko was "minister of religious affairs" (lower case in original). (That link might not work since the New York Times has a delayed firewall: the same link should be the first result of this search). Anyway, Weigel:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Our cousins across the Tasman

I daresay many Americans are unaware that Australia fought in the Vietnam War. I daresay many Australians are unaware that the Kiwis went too.

Monday, September 3, 2012

After your Master's in doodling

A leftie Australian news/opinion site called (naturally) Independent Australia just published a Facebook interview by Carl Scrase of independent musician Brian Ritchie.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Stallions! In Space!

A few days ago some people were surprised I thought this was a parody. It is a spoof; a real advert but a spoof.

Space Stallions is a parody. He-Man, Ulysses-31, Thundercats ect ect ect. All rolled into one. Actually its production values are a little too good.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The size of Curiosity

In case you were wondering. About the size of a HumVee someone said.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Why didn't they take the tram?

The Curiosity Rover seems to have missed Mars by a long way and has ended up in Adelaide. Its now heading for Glenelg.

(Loving the name of the reporter).

Friday, August 24, 2012

Ss Thomas Plus et Ioannes Piscator

The Familia Sancti Hieronymi or Family of St Jerome is an organisation from Clearwater in Florida on the western side of the Florida peninsula. It is
…a canonical association dedicated to the advancement of the Latin heritage of the Catholic Church, as it is reflected in the Church’s liturgy, in its sacred music, in its devotional life, in its official documents, and in its propagation of the Faith.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Makes Lord of the Rings look like Dora the Explorer

In 2010 I started reading George R. R. Martin's series A Song of Ice and Fire. It's a calque (as T. A. Shippey would say) on the Wars of the Roses, extremely complicated and highly addictive. I read the whole published series and then re-read them again last year in preparation for volume 5. Like many others, the only reason I haven't finished it is because the author hasn't either.

For some people this is a problem.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What a lovely man

Dinesh D'Souza writes:
He was a bit flustered, and soon informed me that his young son was sick with a chest condition.  He pleaded with me to send him $1,000 to cover the medical bills.  Since George was at the hospital I asked him to let me speak to a nurse, and she confirmed that George’s son was indeed ill.  So I agreed to send George the money through Western Union.  He was profusely grateful.  But before I hung up I asked George, “Why are you coming to me?”  He said, “I have no one else to ask.”  Then he said something that astounded me, “Dinesh, you are like a brother to me.”
George's surname is Obama. He has an actual brother, of whom you might have heard.

Lee Habeeb writes:

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

That guy again

So there is this new movie called Celeste and Jesse Forever. I think the actor is Jesse Eisenberg, or maybe Michael Cera.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Professor full stop

Professor J. Budziszewski of the University of Texas at Austin writes an occasional column for the online Christian magazine (oh, all right, webzine) Boundless. He generally writes under the pseudonym Dr Theophilus. It was from his writings I learnt the definition "love is a commitment of the will to the true good of another". It might be from somebody else but I heard it first at the feet of Dr Theophilus.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

"He used an adjective"

A profanity in Dickens.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ronald Knox's Particular Dialogue

While he was teaching at Shrewsbury School, Ronald Knox made a number of contributions to its newspaper, The Salopian. One of them was 'A Particular Dialogue' – a conversation between different Greek particles, and combinations of Greek particles, designed to illustrate how they were used.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Dining etiquette in Space

Not a problem that had occurred to me:
Always have a loaner spoon available. In weightlessness, it is easy to lose things. It is not unusual in a group of six for someone’s spoon to have floated off. Having a clean loaner spoon allows for the evening to continue and the conversation to flow. It is rude to give your guest a loaner spoon caked in crud from the last time it was used. The lost spoon is usually found by morning, stuck to a ventilator inlet screen, and your guest will appreciate it being returned.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Governors General's house?

Sir Jerry Mateparae, David Johnston, and Quentin Bryce are Governors General.  In Australia Stephen Brady is head of the Governor General's staff. Taking that together consider the following. Mateparae, Johnston and Bryce club together to buy a beachfront house in Hawaii. Is it the Governors General's House?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Life of the Queen


Friday, August 10, 2012

I love Americans

(The pro-life ones certainly).

I can't quite see this initiative working. But God bless them for trying. How unlike our own "Captain Catholic" shufflers.

Note to Australian readers. Despite the mention of "senators" and "dollars" in this video, this applies to the United States only. Apparently they have dollars and senators too. Yes I know – it is really confusing.

Note to British readers. the Pro-life Alliance (note the hyphen) mentioned is not the organisation for which I used to work.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Tolkien Songs by Colin Rudd

So there's this bloke with a guitar and a webcam. He does straight versions – no parody, no funny effects – of songs from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. In a few cases they are just sound playing against a black screen.

It's a shame about his politics, he has a song up in honour of Fidel Castro for crying out loud! The songs are reminiscent of the style of acoustic Led Zeppelin, or the Vagabond Crew song "I Was Only 19". Better than a ropy adaptation of a phrase from one of Tolkien's letters.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

One Small step etc.

Because you wanted a collection of sounds from NASA.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fr Cassian Folsom OSB : From One Eucharistic Prayer to Many

A striking omission from Archbishop Annibale Bugnini's memoir The Reform of the Liturgy 1948-1975 is any discussion of the reordering of churches. Striking because things like the demolition of the High Altar in St Patrick's Cathedral in New York, or the Rood Screen in St Chad's Cathedral in Birmingham, are precisely the sort of things that most Catholics noticed as the reform was underway, whether it gave them joy or pain.

Archbishop Bugnini does use building (and, sotto voce, demolition) as a metaphor.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The unpatented tablet

Clearing out some old clippings at work I came across the following article from the Townsville Bulletin reprinted from (I guess) a Colorado newspaper. It turns out that Roger Fidler is a little bit famous on this point. In a nutshell he probably invented the iPad.

…Fidler had a chance to patent his tablet idea way back when, but took a pass. He believed it should be left unprotected so that the entire newspaper industry could benefit from it. Unfortunately, none of the high-powered brains running the newspaper business 20 years ago took him up on that offer…

Friday, August 3, 2012

Voyager 1 and 2 Are Leaving

(This is not an update, I am just very late.)

Given how easily everyone zips around space in SciFi and how many planets they can visit which are 100%  like specific parts of Earth (but not Earth as a whole), it is surprising that no extra-solar planets had been certainly observed until 1992 (an early candidate found in 1988 was not confirmed until 2003) and so far nothing made by man has actually left the Solar System.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Searching the Septuagint

To teach New Testament Greek, you need to have a handle on the Greek of the Septuagint.

Created, Gathered, Pleasing – The Collect for the 18th Sunday

A few years ago I came across a useful document on the website of the Committee on Divine Worship of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. At the time they were concentrating on the third typical edition of Missale Romanum (for what we now call the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite) - i.e. the Latin original. Now their focus seems to be entirely on the newly issued English translation and I have been unable to find this document on the website at present. It consisted of extracts from the March-April 2002 newsletter of the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy (as it was then called) which included the noteworthy changes to Missale Romanum made in the editio typica tertia. Thanks to the Wayback Machine, the document is still available.

Included was the remark that "some prayers, such as the collect for the 18th Sunday of the year, have been corrected." At the time I was gathering texts for the Divine Office for the celebrations inserted into the calendar in 2000. The collects at Mass are by design the same as the concluding prayers in the Liturgy of the Hours on the same day. A change to the Missal in this respect means a change to the Breviary. Naturally I looked up this corrected prayer.

It was a matter of one word.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Corvopolis is where?

The Roman Martyrology today – to pick a day at random – has the following at number 14:
Eboraci in Anglia, beati martyris Thomas Welbourne, qui…
 At 15:
In urbe Nam Định in Tunquino, Sanctorum Dominici Nguyễn Văn Hạnh (Diêu)…
Where on earth are these places?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Papal Tiara Is Still in Use

A bit late for the Feast of Ss Peter and Paul but this is how they did it in Rome. A few seconds into this video you can see the Papal Tiara being worn…

(From Chant Café)

The economics of recycling

When my workplace replaced its computers I volunteered to take them to be recycled. (I was the boss, it was a political campaign organisation, that was the sort of stupid thing you do). They sat in my flat in Homebush Bay. Then when I moved to much smaller accommodation they took up a corner of my parents' place before coming with me when I moved to my present home. Eventually I got round to finding a good place to recycle them...which turned out to be in Homebush Bay a short drive from my old flat.

While I was living there, in a block that was pretty much the last building on the road before the Parramatta River (and no bridge at the end of it) I was puzzled by the amount of traffic that went past at all hours. I surmised there was a brothel or something tucked away in the industrial estate at the end of the road. It turned out there was in fact a collection of recycling depots* down there and the traffic was trucks taking stuff to be saved from wastage.

*(A grove of recycling depots?)

A brief primer on the merits of recycling from The Corner at National Review by Veronique de Rugy. She refers to an article in the Washington Examiner, this is a more up to date link.

Some more links:

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The English Day for Life

When I lived in England, there was a Day for life when the Bishops urged us to consider the effect of dog fæces on the streets. Not much has changed. JPII's request is one of those rules nobody keeps.

Bresson and Dreyer

The Tarkovsky site, linked to in the previous post, is part of a family of sites called Masters of Cinema which themselves have some kind of connection with the cinephile DVD and Blu-Ray series of that name produced by Eureka Video.

The other members are and I have, and have seen, almost every film produced by Robert Bresson including The Trial of Joan of Arc. Given that the script is based on the transcript of the trial could we say Joan is a co-screenwriter? Perhaps not.

The only Dreyer film I have seen is The Passion of of Joan of Arc from 1928. Given its depiction of English soldiers as British Tommies, only 10 years after many of those Tommies died defending France, it is not surprising that it was banned in the UK at the time of release. It disappeared until a print emerged in a Norwegian lunatic asylum, of all places.

Tarkovsky Tarkofski Tarkovski Tarkovskij Tarkowski

When my family cannot decide what film to watch, I put on Tarkovsky's Mirror until they come up with an answer.

Behold: a mine of information on the work of Andrei Arsenyevich Tarkovsky, is committed to bringing you the most extensive information on Andrei Tarkovsky found anywhere on the World Wide Web. We are dedicated to researching, preserving, and disseminating information related to the film-making career of Andrei Tarkovsky. We aim at providing uniquely interesting material, not easily accessible elsewhere (e.g., use our our Links section if you are looking for a Filmography). This is accomplished by, through our extensive network of contacts, obtaining permission from filmmakers, film crew members, authors, editors, researchers, and photographers to use and publish their material here. The Webmasters themselves are fluent in several languages (Russian, German, French, Swedish, Polish, Norwegian, Danish, English), making possible translation into English material otherwise only available in foreign languages.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Queen and Tolkien

This story, about the Queen's visit to the Midlands, caught my attention.
Her Majesty unveiled a plaque commemorating her visit to the cathedral after a special Worcestershire-themed service led by the Bishop of Worcester the Right Reverend Dr John Inge, which included the audience singing an excerpt from JRR Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings to Elgar’s Land Of Hope And Glory before finishing with the National Anthem.
What, I wondered, could that have been?

Inside an illuminated manuscript

I have not been to Chartres Cathedral since its restoration. Medieval churches were a riot of colour. Not the "gothic" gloom of today.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

When the Triplex isn't enough

A few weeks ago I had occasion to mention the Roman Gradual. The Monks of Solesmes are responsible for the modern edition. For various technical reasons [insert flannel] to do with new discoveries in the correct interpretation of the notation of plainchant, they also produce the same book with the neumes (the signs) from the earliest manuscripts added. This is called the Graduale Triplex - because it records the notation of the manuscripts of Laon, St Gall and Einsiedeln. The introit for the Mass of Christmas during the Day looks like this:

Monday, July 16, 2012

On C(utting) C(olouring) D(rawing)

We are starting over...

It is hard to tell to what extent, if any, this is exaggerated for effect. Since the author is an American priest it is perfectly posible he is closing down the standard programme (oh, all right, program) of sacramental instruction to replace it with something that might actually work.

I  no longer intend to prepare children for First Communion and Confirmation. There will no longer be First Communion and Confirmation classes. How and when will the children receive Communion and Confirmation? They will receive when they are ready.  When are they ready? They are ready when they want the Sacrament. How do we know they want the Sacrament? When they understand it, can tell the pastor what it is and why they want it. If they are not in ongoing religious education and they are not coming to Mass on regular basis, they don’t want the Sacrament.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Higgs boson

The first thing to say about the Higgs boson is that the stress is on the first word. Boson is a thing named after a person, not a person who was Higgs' colleague. More importantly it should never have been called the God particle as Br Consomalgno sj explains.
"The name 'the God particle' was given to it as a joke by Leon Lederman," the Vatican astronomer recalled. "It was basically a provocative title for book he was writing on particle physics. He said that if there was a particle that could exist that could explain all the little things we wanted to explain, it would be a gift from God. It is a metaphor and has nothing to do with theology."
(If you click through to that story you will see a picture of something even harder to find than a Higgs boson - a Jesuit brother in a dog collar).

I watched two videos meant to explain the significance of the possible find. They start from different ends. One goes through everything and then arrives at a discussion of the Higgs field. The other starts with the Higgs field and conveys the same information form there. I learnt a few things and learnt more things I would never understand. I also learnt that young physicists like stop motion animation. Some prefer it digital, some prefer it real.

Pot calls the dishwasher black

China questions Australia's asylum policy

Where. Do. You. Start?

Perhaps here?

Two words: Lao gai.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps

I am beginning to work out how he did it.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Plainchant joke

On 22nd November 1903, St Pius X issued Tra le Sollecitudini, an instruction on sacred music.

The ancient traditional Gregorian Chant must, therefore, in a large measure be restored to the functions of public worship, and the fact must be accepted by all that an ecclesiastical function loses none of its solemnity when accompanied by this music alone.
Today, 9th July 2012, I reckon it is a safe bet that in most parishes you will never hear Gregorian Chant. And this is not because they are getting by on a diet of Palestrina and Mozart. (Nor because it isn't Sunday). Tra le Sollecitudini seems to be wasted ink. The Vatican website does not even have an English version.

For those unfamiliar with the terminology of Catholic liturgical books, the parts of the Mass to be sung by the people (or by the choir on behalf of the people) are printed in a book called the Roman Gradual.

Q: Why is it called the Roman Gradual?
A: Because it is being implemented slowly.

(A post on The Chant Café warned me I might have to assert copyright to this joke, which I have been making for a few years now).

A man who once met a woman who had known Beethoven has just died

George Isserlis (father of the cellist) died on 25th June 2012. From the Telegraph obituary:

Thus, in 1923 George Isserlis landed in Vienna — where he met a 102-year-old hausfrau who had known Beethoven when she was a little girl (and hated him).
Mme Calment (the oldest human who ever lived, patriarchs excepted) said she once saw Van Gogh buying paints in her uncle's shop in Arles in 1888. Nor did she think much of the famous artist.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Our friends the Cane Toads

As a rule of thumb I don't watch online videos over ten minutes and from four minutes onwards I am less and less likely to click play. I also am not a big fan of ad hoc debates where at least one of the parties has barely a clue, nor do I particularly like watching ambushes.

But this is a really good job. Some ladies in support of the feral US Nuns* were holding a protest outside the Cathedral Church of St Augustine in Kalamazoo, Michigan. One of them has two theology degrees and 16 years teaching experience (only some of it?) at collegiate level. With a video camera running (held by a friend of hers) she begins a discussion with the Parochial Vicar. It lasts 18 minutes.

He doesn't make mincemeat of her. He's too gentle. But it is quite a show. I found it at What Does the Prayer Really Say? so in case the video after the break dies you may find a replacement from links there.

*So far as I know this is an Australianism. You know what feral animals are like, good things gone wild in a new environment?  - a great metaphor for whacky sisters.

Charles Cole

I was at school with Charles Cole, who was in my older brother's year.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

NLM on Cathedral Liturgy

When I lived in London I used to visit Westminster Cathedral regularly.  One afternoon I heard Gregorian chant coming over the speakers. It was not piped music but actual live singing of the Divine Office. A friend of mine who knows these things remarked that (a) all Cathedrals are supposed to have public recitation of the Divine Office and (b) Westminster is pretty much the only Cathedral in the world that does. When in Rome I have attended Vespers at the Basilica of the the Holy Cross in Jerusalem* and again at the Basilica of the Floating Ceiling. In the former case it might only have been happening because I turned up on the Feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross. The point is that my friend is pretty much right.
*(Despite the name this church is in Rome.)

Anyway the New Liturgical Movement blog has an essay on the subject.
I have said this several times in the past, but most American cathedrals are essentially overgrown parish churches, and this paradigm has so ensconced itself in our liturgical consciousness that many bishops see their cathedrals as model parish churches for their diocese.
It's one of those rules nobody keeps.

(I am pretty sure New Liturgical Movement can be translated by something better than Novus Liturgicus Motus).

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Mankowski: Silk Purses & Sow's Ears

(I am sure the apostrophe in the title is misplaced)

Arguing with inclusive language loonies, the best I could come up with is that they never seem to worry about the gender of Satan, all his works and all his empty promises. For a better essay see "Silk Purses & Sows' Ears: 'Inclusive Language' Comes to Mass" from Women for Faith and Family viii.4 & ix.1, by Fr Paul Mankowski sj.

This is one of those essays when you want to keep cutting and pasting (funny that, considering the first paragraph). But here is a line of argument that had not already occurred to me:

ABC bias on euthanasia

A while ago somebody sent me a post on the MercatorNet blog, Careful! - a blog on euthanasia. It contained a video interview with Bishop Anthony Fisher op. The blog describes him as being "interviewed by a right-to-die activist." I suppose the post writer simply went by the content of the questions and drew the obvious conclusion. The interviewer, Quentin Dempster, is a journalist with the ABC and presumably has pretensions to neutrality. This was not extra-curricular activity. The interview was part of regular ABC programming. 

Bishop Fisher does a very good job dealing with the questions. Dempster is someone who describes obedience to the Fifth Commandment as hardline but as the folk at Careful! say, Bishop Fisher hits the questions right out of the park (in Australia, since you ask, we would say "hits them for six").

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tui sunt caeli, et tua est terra

Doubtless you have often wondered how we know the size of the universe. Never fear, the Royal Observatory at Greenwich can tell you.

Coin operated TV

I'd always keep a jar of coins next to the Foxtel IQ. This article describes the very beginning of cable TV

"Pay TV is Here", Michael M. Mooney, National Review, 5th June 1962.

Two very different Pay-TV systems are now on the horizon: the Zenith-RKO ("Phonevision") system which starts its three-year Hartford test this month — also called the "over-the-air" system; and Paramount Pictures' "Telemeter" system, which has been running in Etobicoke, Canada since February 1960 and is scheduled to open next in Little Rock, New York, and San Francisco — the so-called "wire system."
In the "over-the-air" Zenith-RICO system, a subscription decoder (a box about 8 by 10 by 4 inches) is wired in and sits atop the set. The subscriber pays an initial installation charge of about ten dollars. Prices for an evening's programs will vary between 25¢ and $1.50; the price may include "double features," or a feature and a short, etc.
Subscribers receive advance notice of subscription programs, by direct mail, or through newspaper ads that give program details, hour and date, and a special three-digit code number for each subscription program, and the price for tuning in. When he has decided on his program, the subscriber turns on his decoder and rotates a dial until the proper code combination appears in a small window in the front of the decoder. Picture and sound then come through loud and clear.
When subscription programs are not on, Channel 18 in Hartford will send out conventional commercial programs, sponsored or sustaining. At any time, even when subscription programs are on, the viewer may switch his set to conventional commercial programs, then back to the subscription program at will, without additional charges. In effect, therefore, the Pay programs are "added attractions" on the TV set for which the consumer must pay if he wants them. There are conventional commercial stations in Hartford to compete with the new Pay TV station.
Initial installations of the decoders at Hartford are to be of the “credit” type. The decoder makes an electronic record each time it is tuned to a subscription program. At monthly intervals the subscriber removes the billing tape from the decoder and forwards his payment for the programs he saw.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Origenal work

Between 1933 and 1941 Sir Frederic Kenyon published descriptions of 12 papyrus manuscripts, the Chester Beatty Papyri, principally containing texts of scripture. Number xii included an otherwise unknown homily by St Melito of Sardis. Sir Frederic gave it the title "On the Passion". This was corrected to "On the Pasch" after the discovery of the Bodmer Papyri in 1952. Fourteen years after that the homily was published in Sources Chretiennes 123. Extracts were used in volume ii of Liturgia Horarum (1971) for the Office of Readings on Maundy Thursday and Easter Monday.

I mention all this because a 12th century Greek manuscript in the Bavarian State Library has now been identified as a series of homilies on the Psalms by Origen of Alexandria. See the article by Catholic World Report and also this blog post which includes instructions on how to view pictures of the entire manuscript.

Lionel at Forget the Channel says:
The importance of this find cannot be overestimated.
Plus there's this bloke called Benedict, living in Rome, who used to have something to do with Bavaria:
[Origen] was a true "maestro", and so it was that his pupils remembered him with nostalgia and emotion: he was not only a brilliant theologian but also an exemplary witness of the doctrine he passed on. Eusebius of Caesarea, his enthusiastic biographer, said "his manner of life was as his doctrine, and his doctrine as his life. Therefore, by the divine power working with him he aroused a great many to his own zeal" 
I wonder how long before we get an edition.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Yo, Omar

They made The Wire into a musical, all five seasons. No sign of Scott Templeton though...

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Unlocalised news

As a father of young children I was interested to see the following in my news feeds:

Senator asks airlines to drop seat fee for kids
Senator Charles Schumer is urging airlines to allow families with young children to sit together without paying extra.
Relevant / Sun, 27 May 2012 14:04:53 GMT
Maybe we will take that Tasmanian trip after all. The trouble is that his name doesn't appear among current Senators. Click through to the story and you get the following:

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Ancient Versions of the Bible

A couple of days ago I referred to Vetus Latina.    Michael Marlowe has a comprehensive directory of resources for information on ancient versions of the Bible. Some of the links are dead but you can turn up some real gems of information.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Patrick Madrid has left the building

If Patrick Madrid, Isaiah Berlin, Jack London and Paris Hilton were all on an aeroplane it would presumably be nothing like this.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Vetus Latina : The Old Latin Bible

Before Jerome and the Vulgate  - and long before Urban VIII - there was the Old Latin Bible. Strictly speaking I think it is more a case of old Latin Bibles since there were several versions circulating of at least some of the books. Jerome himself produced two versions of the Psalms, the first a revision of Old Latin version and the second a direct translation of the Hebrew. (The whole matter of the Latin psalms, particularly as they have been adapted for liturgical use is extremely puzzling and I have never got it straight).

In Callista : A Tale of the Third Century Newman describes the home of a Christian living near Carthage just before the Decian persecution struck.

Prince takes a phone call

Prince Rogers Nelson himself is woken up by one of his entourage. Worth it to hear how he ends the call. Via Tim Blair. No idea how to make it embed in widescreen.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The end of the Euro?

Some talk of the Grexit. Others think all the Euro countries should go their own way: Grexeunt omnes pursued by a bear (market). Heheh.

Flying in the face of truth

My moral theology class wanted to hear stories about my time in the Oxford movement and I had promised to spend some time doing just that. Nevertheless they did have an exam the next day and I wanted to be sure that they were able to use technical terms properly. So I opened the class as follows:

But first - business - economy, class, is the term from moral theology to discuss the telling of a falsehood. It is distinguished from lying because it is sometimes held that the telling of a falsehood may not be wrong - i.e. a lie - but still a falsehood hence economy. This is why Newman has a discussion in an appendix to the Apologia on the Economy. He is not discussing the balance of trade or anything like that.

Caine's Arcade

Reminds me of someone.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Mankowski: What Went Wrong?

Robert Conquest says somewhere that the “behavior of any bureaucratic organization can best be understood by assuming that it is controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies". Of couse, he means enemies of the organization: the idea of a bureaucracy being taken over by its enemies fills me with a mixture of hilarity and dread.

That reminds me of Fr Paul Mankowski SJ's paper from July 2003 (I blog slow but exceeding fine): What Went Wrong?
In thousands and thousands of pages of records one scarcely, if ever, is edified by a pleasant surprise, by discovering that a bishop’s or superior’s concern for the victim or for the Faith was greater than that known to the public, that the engines of justice were geared up and running at full throttle, but in a manner invisible to those outside the circle of discretion. Didn’t happen.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A brief shock

Putting into a browser gave an alarming result. It seemed the alma mater had closed down.

I had left out the ox.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Naming South Australia

Somebody was asking I was boring somebody about Adelaide names. Tim Blair attributes the observation of the peculiarities of the names of Adelaideans to Alex Buzo. Examples (some of them spoofs, d'uh): Bright Greene, Pullen Hare, Falkland Waugh, Clayvel Badcock, Steele Hall. Blair also passed on a method of creating your own name for when you move to that bright thrusting city of the late 1950s. All this comes up again because somebody thinks South Australia should change its name (note to non Australians, Adelaide is the capital of the state of South Australia). Naturally Blair is on the case.

Kyrie eleison ©

One of the things boring in an interesting way I would like to understand is how copyright law applies to the liturgical books. This post nibbles at the edges. The title says it all: The Catastrophe of Catholic Copyrights.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Hyperdox Herman

You need a Facebook account for this. (Yes yes, I know). He has an archenemy Cradle Christopher. Hilarious.

The last word in wills and testaments

Today's EelsDeals™ is a whopping 65% off a computerised Will programme. It is called the Will-O-Matic. Since we are dealing with lawyers we have to be careful, but it is a surprising choice of name. And that is all I will say.

From the email:

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Universe is 93 billion light years across

(That's 28 billion parsecs if you are Luke Skywalker.)

The size of the Universe, and all that it contains:

Copyright 2012. Magnifying the Universe by Number Sleuth.

Presumably they meet on Wednesdays

Vatican Insider, 6th  May 2012
The response sent to the Vatican on 17 April by Bishop Bernard Fellay will be examined in the next few days by the cardinal and bishop members in Ordinary Session of the Congregation of the Doctrine for the Faith, commonly known as Feria Quarta.

Living first and foremost as the beneficiary of a bounty

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Introduction to Christianity, Ignatius (2004).
Part Two: Jesus Christ, Excursus: Christian Structures
4, The law of excess or superfluity, (p. 260).

…he who is always calculating how much he must do to be just adequate and to be able to regard himself, after a few casuistical flicks, as a man with a nice, white shirtfront, is still no Christian. And similarly, he who tries to reckon where duty ends and where he can gain a little extra merit by an opus superogatorium is a Pharisee, not a Christian. Being a Christian does not mean duly making a certain obligatory contribution and perhaps, as an especially perfect person, even going a little further than is required for the fulfillment of the obligation. On the contrary, a Christian is someone who knows that in any case he lives first and foremost as the beneficiary of a bounty and that, consequently, all righteousness can only consist in being himself a donor, like the beggar who is grateful for what he receives and generously passes part of it on to others.

We are all Americans now

(And not in a good way.)

From Vatican Insider:
She could have been Britain’s First Lady but she chose to become a Benedictine nun. 44 year old Laura Adshead dated British Prime Minister, David Cameron, from spring 1990 to summer 1991. In 2008, after seeing her life slip more and more deeply into a spiral of gossip, alcohol and drugs, the dazzling blond decided to take her vows as a Benedictine nun, becoming Sister John Mary.
Did anyone tell this "First Lady"?

I do not think it means what you think it means

(In case you don't know who Craig Thomson is.)

The statement:

The correction:

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Why do I keep deleting the Safari icon from the dock? Perhaps my subsconscious is trying to tell me something. Or perhaps it is because it is directly below where I pinch the corner of excessively large windows to shrink them.