{    Cnytr   }

{Tuesday, May 31, 2005  }

.:{Kicking Butt and Taking Names}:.

I would just like to say, yes thank you, this is my bishop and he is super cool. I think my three favorite people in the church hierarchy are

1. the Pope
2. Cardinal Schoenborn
3. Bishop DiLorenzo.

For the first time in forever, someone actually GIVES a darn about the complaint letters!

The Richmond Diocese will flourish under this guy -- this is wonderful. We're sstill feeling the rercussions of badness, and so it may be a little preemptive to sing my new song ...

Our diocese is an awesome diocese
It's headed by a really cool bishop
His name is DiLorenzo
Our diocese is an awesome diocese
posted by Lauren, 7:48 AM | link | 5 comments

{Monday, May 30, 2005  }

.:{In an Ecclesiastical Procession}:.

The St. Francis of Assisi Corpus Christi procession

In an Ecclesiastical Procession
by Charles Williams

In an Ecclesiastical Procession

Whither ascend we now with trumpets blowing,
    And banners stiff, and incense flung abroad,
And priests upon the chanting crowd bestowing
    Blessing, and all the ministers of God?

What eyes are open in this congregation
    To see, beneath the candles' holy fire,
The victim whom we bring here for oblation,
    Behind the singing children of the choir?

Before the sacrificial priest, bedizened
    With ceremonial garb of antique guise,
What offering is borne, with cord imprisoned
    And bound with scarves upon his mouth and eyes?

Up to the altar wheels the long succession
    Of figures, moving pathwise with the sun:
Dreadful our road of ritual progression,
    Who are the heirs of all that priests have done.

Be blind, ye folk! the knives of ancient slaughter
    Drip redly here beneath the carven Christ.
Lo, Agamemnon, mourning for his daughter!
    Lo, Heil with his children sacrificed!

Lo, where the Aztecs reach the blazing altar,
    Lo, where the Druids chapleted pass by! --
Night is upon us, sing ye lest we falter,
    Knowing what blood herein we justify;

What shrines, what prayers, what terrible oblations,
    What red and overflowing stream that runs
Throughout these aisles from ancient dispensations; --
    On us that blood be and upon our sons!

Sing, Christian folk, how for your sins' remission
    Died Innocence, of all these deaths the sum,
Of the fierce dooms, the guilty lives' perdition,
    Which were his forerunners in heathendom.

The walls dissolve, the walls dissolve about us!
    Jungle and mountain monstrously arise,
Man's past is dark within us, and without us
    Sparkles from stormy and barbarian eyes.

Sing, Christian folk! your Christian priest advances, --
    Drown with your chant the noise of wilder drums
Calling us back to whirl of heathen dances:
    Wheel and pause we, -- lo, the victim comes.

Faster and faster censers swing before us
    Upon the paths our painted fathers trod,
Louder and Louder lifts our tribal chorus, --
   Sing, Christian folk, your Christian hymns to God.
posted by Lauren, 1:26 PM | link | 0 comments

{Sunday, May 29, 2005  }

.:{And now a word from our sponsors}:.

This blog brought to you (on the feast day of Corpus Christi) by

Sr. Thomas Aquinas of the Most Holy Eucharist* -- Lauren B, TOP

*Not actually a nun but still gets a cool religious name.

Sit, Jesu dulcissime, sacratissimum corpus tuum et sanguis dulcedo et suavitas animae, salus et sanctitas in omni tentatione, gaudium et pax in omni tribulatione, lumen et virtus in omni verbo et operatione, et finalis tutela in morte.

posted by Lauren, 2:10 AM | link | 0 comments

.:{Corpus Christi}:.

The Office of Corpus Christi
as written by St. Thomas Aquinas

Among the immeasurable benefits, which the goodness of God hath bestowed on the Christian people, is a dignity beyond all price. For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is unto us? The only-begotten Son of God was pleased to make us partakers of his divine nature ; that is, he took our nature upon him, being himself made man that he might, as it were, make men into gods. And this body, which he took from us, he gave wholly unto our salvation. For, on the Altar of the Cross, he offered up his body to God the Father, as a sacrifice for our reconciliation, and thereon he shed his own blood for our redemption ; that is, his blood is the price whereby he redeemeth us from wretchedness and bondage, and the washing whereby he cleanseth us from all sin. And for a noble and abiding Memórial of this his so great work of goodness, he hath left unto his faithful ones the same his very Body for Meat, and the same his very Blood for Drink, with which we are fed under the forms of Bread and Wine.

O how precious a thing then, how marvellous, how health-giving, yielding royal dainties, is the Supper of the Lord. Than this Supper can anything be more precious? Therein there is put before us for meat, not as of old time, the flesh of bulls and of goats, but Christ himself, our very God. Than this Sacrament can anything be more marvellous? Therein it is that Bread and Wine become unto us the very Body and and Blood of Christ ; that is to say, perfect God and perfect Man, Christ himself, is there under the veils of a little bread and wine. His faithful ones eat him, but he is not mangled ; nay, when the veil which shroudeth him in the Sacrament is broken, in each broken fragment thereof remaineth the whole Christ himself, perfect God and perfect Man. All that the senses can reach in this Sacrament, all these abide of bread and wine, but the Thing is not bread and wine. And thus room is left for faith. For Christ, who hath a Form that can be seen, is herein taken and received not only unseen, but seeming to be bread and wine, and the senses, which judge by the wonted look, are warranted against error.

Than this Sacrament can anything be more health-giving? Thereby are sins purged away, strength is renewed, and the soul fed upon the fatness of spiritual gifts. This Supper is offered up in the Church, both for the quick and the dead ; it was ordained to the health of all, all get the good of it. Than this Sacrament can anything yield more of royal dainties? The glorious sweetness thereof is of a truth such that no man can fully tell it. Therein ghostly comfort is sucked from its very well-head. Therein a Memórial is made of that exceeding great love which Christ shewed in time of his sufferings. It was in order that the boundless goodness of that his great love might be driven home into the hearts of his faithful ones, that when he had celebrated the Passover with his disciples, and the Last Supper was ended, then, knowing that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end, and instituted this Sacrament. For this Sacrament is the everlasting forth-shewing of his death until he come again ; this Sacrament is the embodied fulfilment of all the ancient types and figures ; this Sacrament is is the greatest wonder which ever he wrought, and the one mighty joy of them that now have sorrow, till he shall come again ; and thereby their heart shall rejoice, and their joy no man take from them.

Deus, qui nobis sub Sacraménto mirabili passiónis tuæ memóriam reliquísti : tribue, quæsumus, ita nos corporis, et sanguinis tui sacra mysteria venerari ; ut redemptiónis tuæ fructum in nobis jugiter sentiámus : Qui vivis et regnas.

O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament hast ordained unto us a memorial of thy Passion : grant us, we beseech thee, so to venerate the sacred mysteries of thy Body and Blood, that we may ever know within ourselves the fruits of thy redemption. Who livest and reignest with the Father.

Sacris solemniis juncta sint gaudia,
Et ex præcordiis sonent præcónia ;
Recedant vetera, nova sint ómnia,
Corda, voces, et opera.

Noctis recolitur cœna novíssima,
Qua Christus creditur agnum et azyma
Dedisse frátribus, juxta legitima
Priscis indulta pátribus.

Post agnum typicum, expletis epulis,
Corpus Dominicum datum discipulis,
Sic totum ómnibus, quod totum singulis,
Ejus fatémur mánibus.

Dedit fragílibus corporis ferculum,
Dedit et tristibus sanguinis poculum,
Dicens : Accípite quod trado vasculum ;
Omnes ex eo bibite.

Sic sacrifícium istud instituit,
Cujus offícium committi vóluit
Solis presbyteris, quibus sic congruit,
Ut sumant, et dent ceteris.

Panis Angelicus fit panis hóminum ;
Dat panis cælicus figuris terminum ;
O res mirábilis : manducat Dóminum
Pauper servus et húmilis.

Te, trina Deitas unaque, poscimus ;
Sic nos tu visita, sicut te colimus :
Per tuas sémitas duc nos quo tendimus,
Ad lucem quam inhábitas. Amen.

...subito audivit ab imagine crucifixi, ad quam conversus dictus frater orabat, prolatam clarius istam vocem: "Bene scripsisti de me, Thoma, quam ergo recipies pro tuo labore mercedem." Scripserat enim de Christi Incarnatione, Nativitate, Passione, Resurrectione et Ascensione. Et respondit Thomas: "Non alia mercedem accipiam nisi teipsum."

I will accept no other reward unless it is Thyself.
posted by Lauren, 1:51 AM | link | 1 comments

.:{Sanctissimum Sacramentum}:.

From the Corpus Christi procession of Thursday in Rome; see Zadok for more details.
Listen to the Tallis arrangement of O Sacrum Convivium

O Sacrum Convivium in quo Christus sumitur: recolitur memoria passionis eius; mens impletur gratia et futurae gloriae nobis pignus datur.

V. Panem de caelo praestitisti eis;
R. Omne delectamentum in se habentem.

Oremus; Deus, qui nobis sub Sacramento mirabili Passionis tuae memoriam reliquisti; tribue, quaesumus, ita nos Corporis et Sanguinis tui sacra mysteria venerari, ut redemptionis tuae fructum in nobis iugiter sentiamus: Qui vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Illuminated Byzantine manuscript of Christ giving communion under a baldacchino

posted by Lauren, 12:22 AM | link | 4 comments

{Monday, May 23, 2005  }

.:{So Long And Thanks For The AnnoyingTheme Song}:.

The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy: An Incoherent Review

It is ...the story of a book, a book called The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - not an Earth book, never published on Earth, and until the terrible catastrophe occurred, never seen or heard of by any Earthman. Nevertheless, a wholly remarkable book. In fact it was probably the most remarkable book ever to come out of the great publishing houses of Ursa Minor - of which no Earthman had ever heard either.

Not only is it a wholly remarkable book, it is also a highly successful one - more popular than the Celestial Home Care Omnibus, better selling than Fifty More Things to do in Zero Gravity, and more controversial than Oolon Colluphid's trilogy of philosophical blockbusters Where God Went Wrong, Some More of God's Greatest Mistakes and Who is this God Person Anyway?

In many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Eastern Rim of the Galaxy, the Hitch Hiker's Guide has already supplanted the great Encyclopedia Galactica as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, for though it has many omissions and contains much that is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate, it scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important respects. First, it is slightly cheaper; and secondly it has the words Don't Panic inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover.

But the story of this terrible, stupid Thursday, the story of its extraordinary consequences, and the story of how these consequences are inextricably intertwined with this remarkable book begins very simply.

Last evening, I saw for the second time The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, the movie adaption of the book by the late Douglas Adams (I was unaware that he had died of a heart attack in May of 2001 -- eat your beans, folks).

I think one of the most brilliant things they could have done was cast Stephen Fry as the Narrator/voice of the Hitchhiker's Guide. One of the more hilarious things about the book is its inclination to random interjections; an example is the following, though it is not found in the movie itself but during the credits. Only Stephen Fry could, with his oh-so-dignified voice that made him so excellent a choice for Jeeves, bring out the full whatsit of this passage:

It is of course well known that careless talk costs lives, but the full scale of the problem is not always appreciated.

For instance, at the very moment that Arthur said "I seem to be having tremendous difficulty with my lifestyle," a freak wormhole opened up in the fabric of the space-time continuum and carried his words far far back in time across almost infinite reaches of space to a distant Galaxy where strange and warlike beings were poised on the brink of frightful interstellar battle.

The two opposing leaders were meeting for the last time. A dreadful silence fell across the conference table as the commander of the Vl'hurgs, resplendent in his black jewelled battle shorts, gazed levelly at the G'Gugvuntt leader squatting opposite him in a cloud of green sweet-smelling steam, and, with a million sleek and horribly beweaponed star cruisers poised to unleash electric death at his single word of command, challenged the vile creature to take back what it had said about his mother. The creature stirred in his sickly broiling vapour, and at that very moment the words I seem to be having tremendous difficulty with my lifestyle drifted across the conference table.

Unfortunately, in the Vl'hurg tongue this was the most dreadful insult imaginable, and there was nothing for it but to wage terrible war for centuries.

Eventually of course, after their Galaxy had been decimated over a few thousand years, it was realized that the whole thing had been a ghastly mistake, and so the two opposing battle fleets settled their few remaining differences in order to launch a joint attack on our own Galaxy - now positively identified as the source of the offending remark.

For thousands more years the mighty ships tore across the empty wastes of space and finally dived screaming on to the first planet they came across - which happened to be the Earth - where due to a terrible miscalculation of scale the entire battle fleet was accidentally swallowed by a small dog.

Those who study the complex interplay of cause and effect in the history of the Universe say that this sort of thing is going on all the time, but that we are powerless to prevent it.

"It's just life," they say.

The unknown Martin Freeman as Arthur Dent was also an excellent casting choice, as was Zooey Deschanel as Trillian. Zooey could have left her name alone and been perfectly acceptable in the Galaxy of Douglas Adams.

Giving the overdone CGI of many movies (*coughSTARWARScough*) a decided miss, they took the older route of puppetry (a field largely dominated by Jim Henson's comany, though you can tell somewhat less) for many of the creatures including the ill-tempered and bureaucratic Vogons.

The Vogons in addition to the circumstances of Arthur and Trillian's first meeting seem to poke at everything that's wrong with British society as a whole. However the whole movie to me says "We're British, we're stupid, we know it and we like it" in a hilarious and Pythonesque way. (Adams himself was a huge fan of flying circus; "For years I wanted to be John Cleese," he said. "I was most disapointed when I found out the job had been taken").

Thumbs-ups to the movie, it still had some questionable aspects. For example, the "Point of View" gun, while cute, provided an entirely unnecessary sidetrack in the form of Humma Kavula (a character invented for the movie, played by John Malkovich who really reminded me strongly of a sinister Elton John) which ultimately went nowhere. One could argue that the sidetrack helped to establish the general anti-theistic tone of the book within the context of the movie (though much less virulently so, such that the average moviegoer would not be offended by it whilst the average reader, upon reading the book, might). But even that went nowhere as well.

On the whole something about the main characters didn't gel quite as well as they did in the book. Certainly they had to add something to tie the whole thing together so as not to make it seem like "Three Guys, a Gal and a Robot Pointlessly Running Around Through Space", and so the tacked-on-at-the-end fuzzy love-interest between Trillian and Arthur begs an eye-rolling (Arthur does have a crush on Trillian throughout the movie, but the end result is poor).

However, much praise to the whole planet-making bits -- much more vast and awesome than I could have imagined. This is an example in which movies-of-books do their job.

On the whole, I give the movie a 2.7 out of 5 stars. It's really strong and great and hilarious when it sticks to the book, but weakens when it tries to needlessly compensate. Mind you, I don't say that the best books-turned-movies are ALWAYS and necessarily best when they mindlessly reproduce the contents of the book on screen -- i.e. the Harry Potter movies, and Sense and Sensibility which I will with some shame admit I like more than the Jane Austen book, despite the bad wigs.

The first half of the movie is lacking something, but the second half of the movie is, I think, worth the price of admission. Fans of the book may be a bit disappointed, but the average moviegoer may not be.

Ignore the "So Long and Thanks For All The Fish" number at the beginning. If you must, stay for the credits and listen to the Neil Hannon jazz-lounge version. Then you'll also get the bit with the Galactic Fleet being swallowed by a small dog.
posted by Lauren, 11:59 AM | link | 1 comments

{Friday, May 20, 2005  }

.:{And all that time you thought it was lilies...}:.

St. Dominic holding a flowering branch of an orange tree*

I know I owe a post about Oliver Cromwell and ... something else, but I got this question from a reader:

I had a question, which coincides with some random - possibly Dominican - trivia. I had seen this relic cross on ebay which happens to have this piece of paper inside that reads, "Lignum Arboris S.P. Dominici" Now, I am a Latin-sort-of-person, so I realize this is translated as "Wood of the Tree of the [our] Holy Father Dominic." But, this could not make sense to my Dominican brain, which knows of no such thing. It could be "Lignum Arboris" and "S.P. Dominici," seperated, indicating different relics, but this cannot be the case because there is only one piece of wood. Or, for some odd reason I could be mistranslating and this could be "Arboris Lignum Dominici," as in "Of the Lord," but that leaves the S.P. alone. Or, lastly, it could be a forgery by a person who doesn't know Latin, and is spouting nonsense. Can you make hide or tail of this conundrum?

Yes indeed I can. Here comes the Cnytr to save the day!

In most cases, liturgical Latin can/should be read in the least complicated way possible; Lignum Arboris S.P. Dominici is literally "The wood from the tree of (our) Holy Father Dominic".

The tree referred to is an organe tree planted in the cloisters of S. Sabina all'Aventino (the Dominican church in Rome, also the location of one of the oldest known crucifixion scene in the world; this website says of the S. Sabina bookstore, "It is of special interest to those interested in Dominican spirituality." Respondeo dicendum: duh.)

Photos of S. Sabina may be found on op.org here with this one being a picture of said orange tree directly. Upon visiting S. Sabina, it is possible to look through a hole in the wall across from the doors to the church; through this hole may be seen the orange tree.

The orange tree pictured is said to be a direct descendant of the one planted in Rome by Our holy Father Dominic (Sanctus Pater Noster Dominicus = SPN etc) in 1220. Apparently this was the first of its type to be planted in Italy. The Villa Sciarra in Rome has an orange grove grown in commemoration of the bringing of the plant to Italy by St. Dominic.

This site with a bit of a lecture by a Fr. Gregory Anderson OP incorrectly calls it a lemon tree, but correctly identifies that the tree in the Oakland, CA priory is taken from the tree in the S. Sabina cloisters.

On Notre Dame's server is St. Dominic and the Order of Preachers by the Very Rev. J. B. O'Connor, OP, PG, which says:

We can readily believe that more than once since his Order had been firmly established, the saint had cast a longing glance in the direction of Spain, and yearned for the opportunity of implanting in the soil of his native land a branch of that religious tree which in so short a space of time had matured, blossomed and borne abundant fruit in the other countries of Europe.

This may or may not be a specific recollection of the orange tree planted in S. Sabina, but the likening of the Order of Preachers to a flowering/fruit-bearing tree taken from Spain which then takes root in the rest of Europe has a fruitful (haha) analogy in the orange tree. Whether or not St. Dominic actually did bring the first orange tree to Rome or whether the Dominicans spread in Rome like an orange tree doesn't really matter (and I prefer to think the former).

And there you have it.

*Note: No, not really
posted by Lauren, 11:18 PM | link | 12 comments

{Wednesday, May 18, 2005  }


Are birettas a warning sign?
The last five young men I've bumped into who shared the same (liturgical) interests all happened to be seminarians, or on their way to the seminary. Is it possible for a young man to think such things as birettas (here standing for the category of All Things POD) and NOT be a seminarian?
I think birettas are cool -- I'm a priest/seminarian!
I think birettas are cool; I'm not a priest/seminarian ... yet.
I think birettas are cool and I'm not a priest/seminarian.
I think birettas are cool, and I don't know what a girl is.
I don't like/don't care about birettas. I am a priest/seminarian and I like VOTF.
I don't like/don't care about birettas; I am a layperson considering the seminary but I won't be accepted because I don't like birettas.
I don't like/don't care about birettas; I am a bad Catholic.
What's a biretta/priest? (I am a Jesuit)
I am Matt from the Shrine of the Holy Whapping. I defy every category ever made.
I think birettas are cool and I'm a girl.
This Poll by MaraJade
Click here to view results
posted by Lauren, 11:15 AM | link | 12 comments

.:{Prayer Breakfast}:.

Archbishop Chaput AND President Bush.

If anyone will be at the Catholic Prayer Breakfast Thursday morning, look for me and my mom.
posted by Lauren, 2:43 AM | link | 3 comments

{Tuesday, May 17, 2005  }

.:{Axe a stupid question...}:.

Zadok: So they haven't interviewed you? How do they know you're not an axe murderer? Do they have an exhibit of the Hall of Axes? You should work in the Hall of Axes.
Lauren: What, would they have famous axes throughout church history?
Zadok: Yes, first there would be St. Joseph's axe. Then the axe the child Jesus used to chop down the cherry tree.
Lauren: Then the axe Martin Luther used to nail the 95 theses to the Witternburg church doors.
Zadok: The axe they used to burn Galilei.
Lauren: Then the axe Pope Innocent III used to unite the papal states.
Zadok: Then there was the axe that Paul VI put on the altar as a gesture of humility and poverty. But the current pope uses a knife instead of an axe beacuse St. Peter would have used a knife to gut fish.
Lauren: St. Francis' axe of peace--
Zadok: Oh yes, the Axe of the Apostles!
Lauren: *groan*
Zadok: You should blog this.
Lauren: *thinking* It's your funeral...
posted by Lauren, 2:18 PM | link | 1 comments

.:{Back to the land of the living}:.

O bloggians -- thanks much for your patience! Between packing and driving two days and then finishing a 12-page paper I am now finished with sophomore year (yay! no longer a wise-fool!). UD has us read so much for class that I haven't done my own reading since spring break; I can now return to my regularly scheduled reading.

And speaking of which, I have apparently been tossed a baton. Thank you, by the way, for the heads up -- I'm still discombobulated, and I'm not quite sure when I'll get recombobulated; if I've missed anything else important (birthdays, civil wars, papal elections), drop me an email and I'll get it in another five years.

And so, yet another meme. I still don't know what that words means and Wikipedia didn't help.

1. Total Number of Books I’ve Owned: Hum. Books *I've* owned... before I went to college, I sat down and made an excel list of title, author, cover-type and publisher of every book that I personally (and not mom and dad) have owned. At the time, the list came to exactly 415, and at I have given some (duplicates -- one original) away, and acquired around 100 or so more since I updated before I went to Rome. I'ma guesstimate I have around 600 books. How the heck am I going to tote those around in my car as I move???

Ah well. Given the percentage of those books that have been acquired from other Dominicans, I'm going to guess this is a fairly common problem in the Family...

2. Last Book I Bought: I told myself I would not buy any more books because I am absolutely, totally and completely flat broke.

That lasted about five seconds. Then I saw Umberto Eco's "How to Travel with a Salmon and Other Essays" on Amazon.com marketplace for less than $2. Hardback. New. There was no excuse for me not to buy it, and so I did. Hahahaaa!

I did have "Salt of the Earth" by Ratzinger in the shopping cart, too, but that was full-price and it took forever to ship. In fact, that's the only reason I cancelled that order. But it's good I did because as I said, I am absolutely, totally and completely flat broke.

...Oooo, sale at the used book store!!!!

(I have a friend who gave up buying books for Lent. Maybe I should try that next year...)

3. Last Book I read: The last book I read for school was probably the Chevalier de la Charrette for the hundred millionth time because that was the subject of my 12-page paper. Before that it was Elle Wiesel's Night, which scared me to death (I find Nazis horribly frightening; movies like "Schindler's List" and books like "Night" give me nightmares); I had to pick up Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy after that. But then I didn't want to sleep because I find Boethius riveting and I haven't read him since highschool.

But I think the last book that I read for pleasure that I actually finished was Spiritual Friendship by Aelred of Rivaux.

4. 5 Books That Mean Alot to Me:

1) The Last Command by Timothy Zahn. To date I've read it at least six times over. Yes, it's a dorky Star Wars sci-fi book that I last read in 9th grade. However, I find the plot to be intriguing and the writing to be excellent. Or, at least I did in 9th grade. I'm afraid to read it again in my newfound enlightenment in case I don't like it, but my 10th grade impression of it was stupendous. Timothy Zahn's writing style greatly influenced my own in my early writing, and still, in a way, does.

Also, I corresponded some with Zahn. How cool is that?

2) The Divine Comedy (esp. Purgatorio) by Dante. The first time I read Dante was in, I think, freshman year of highschool. I was highly struck by the Purgatorio -- it seemed so relavent and tangible, I didn't know works by dead guys could do that. In that respect, Dante probably opened the door of (serious) Western Literature to me, and I liked it. I think the rest is history.

Also, that following summer was the first time I went to Italy -- Rome, Venice, Verona, Orvieto and ... Florence! I hated Florence the first time I went. It was midsummer, and there was no place to hide from the sun; I held my short-sleeved over-shirt over my head to block the sun. I'm sure I looked like an idiot, but it couldn't have been hotter if some diabolical galactic kid were frying me with a giant magnifying glass.

Despite the heat frying my brain, I somehow managed to find and enjoy ... Dante's own house, complete with Italian graffitti ("abandon hope, all ye who enter here"). There was almost nothing there, but still! It was Dante's house! There was also Dante's church, now sadly a Dante museum and not a church. Perhaps the heat seared Florence and Dante into my brain. Whatever it was, I will never forget my first reading of Dante, and encounter with the city he loved like a woman that drove him to drink. And exile.

3) Outlines of Romantic Theology by Charles Williams. This book changed my entire way of seeings things and my perspective on life; I can say with 100% certitude that I would not be the person I am today if I had not read this book.

The other two are more difficult...

4) The entire corpus of CS Lewis. No I haven't read the entire corpus of CS Lewis, but I can't think of one book of his that isn't massively important to me in some way, shape or form: from the Chronicles of Narnia which shaped my young imagination to The Four Loves which shaped my young adult theological mind to 'Till We Have Faces and Lewis' literary criticism which formed my adult mind. After I got Till We Have Faces, I could not sleep until I had finished it. And so I didn't. There are very few authors to whom I will give that sort of attention.

5) St. Thomas Aquinas. You knew it was coming. Some accuse Aquinas of being dry or dull. I admit at times he can be hard to read, and that most translations of his works into English is very often terribly confusing. When I find myself facing this problem, however, I usually find it cured by digging through the Latin.

My senior year of high school was probably the first serious encounter I had with Aquinas (the first thing I read by Aquinas ever was "Whether Scripture has one sense or many", which we read before reading Dante's letter to Can Grande which we read before the Divine Comedy). This first brush with Aquinas was in Latin. And I was definitely smitten. I still can't get enough of anything Thomas Aquinas, especially if it's in Latin. It's easy Latin, yes, but the concepts are not easy. And I find the extreme organization thrilling. ;)

St. Thomas Aquinas is so much more than the Summa, but this is probably the most widely-available and easily accessible of his works.

Also, I have three words for you: O. Sacrum. Convivium.

5. Tag 5 people and have them do this on their blog.

Let's see how much Zadok will blab about Newman; furthermroe I look forward to the responses of the Oligarch, Cacciaguida, Elinor and Matt of the Holy Whapping.
posted by Lauren, 10:26 AM | link | 7 comments

{Thursday, May 12, 2005  }


Christ as a conquering Roman hero ("you shall trample the young lion and the dragon") and beardless like Apollo: Archepiscopal chapel, Ravenna

I was going to write this in response to this post at AMDG, but it got too long.

This is in response to someone's comment in the St. Louis paper:

Those pagan Catholics

[blahblahblah, snip] ... to the person that [
sic; speaking of a person the pronoun should be who ~L] said "go back in history," if you do you'll learn that most of the Catholic church's doctrines are based on paganism.

I think they'd need to define "dogma" [note: I catch my own error later] more than pagan -- I'd venture to say about 85% of the time people have no idea what they're talking about when they say "dogma". *I* don't know what I'm talking about when I say dogma, but randomly I've pulled this off the newadvent.org Catholic Encyclopedia (which is not a Catholic Dictionary -- I think there should be one of those):

Revealed truths become formally dogmas when defined or proposed by the Church

In that case, let's take the first thing that comes to mind -- the Divinity of Christ. (Here I am thinking of the Councils)

Now, this is far from perfectl...

There are many dying-god or son-of-god myths all over various pagan mythologies: this seems to be a common motif. There is Osiris, Hercules (who is not resurrected), Balder, Mithras, and I'm sure a few others but those are the only ones I can pull off the top of my head. Only Mithras comes anything close to Christ (shedding his blood on behalf of his believers).

But the point of the Incarnation is that it is fundamentally and wholly Redemptive of all parts of man (talking now about Reality and not significatio), and myth (muthos) is an integral part of man and man's understanding of himself and of history and of the supernatural. And so likewise when man was redeemed, so was myth.

Saying that "most of the Catholic church's" -- oh he says "doctrine", oops, but that works too -- "doctrines are based on paganism" isn't all that bad, if understood properly (which I'm sure this person wasn't); and pagan, I take it, in the true sense of the word and not in the wiccan nature-worship of the day.

The myths were not, as CS Lewis once said to Tolkien, "lies breathed through silver". More like (though Tolkien didn't explain it in quite so scholastic terms) imperfect participations in the divine truth of salvation history.

St. Thomas Aquinas says the primary (but not by a long shot the only) sense of scripture is the literal. If we take this seriously, then we take it that there was an Abel ... Isaac actually carried the wood up the mountain where he was to be led to his own slaughter. These were real men, says Aquinas, and they also signified Christ. They are a more perfect participation in the divine truth of salvation history on one level, but not mere abstract literary figures. We are accustomed to thinking of Christ as their fulfiller and redeemer -- obviously they point to the truth of Christ and of the redeption.

Likewise, muthos can (and often does) point to a profound Truth in their significationes; in this case, it is the Truth of Christ the Son of God's suffering and death.

I've been meaning to write more on this ... perhaps as time frees up (I should be studying for my last final tomorrow morning -- oremus pro invicem!) I can expand on this, especially the glaring question of "what exactly is muthos?" as it is most definitely not a dismissive/pejorative term ("oh that's just a myth"), and it is not necessarily false: in fact I'd say most of the time myth is mostly true. But this still wants definition before I assert its truth. However I am going to cop out and save that for another post.

In the meantime, if you can stand some virulently athiest/anti-Christian/anti-organized religion cheap unscholastic potshots, a picture essay "From Apollo to Jesus Christ" is interesting in comparing the different depictions of Christ worldwide; however instead of giving you a direct link to the page, I give you the Google search for "Christ Apollo".

Just ignore the words and look at the pictures.

(I can't believe I just said that.)
posted by Lauren, 1:29 AM | link | 11 comments

{Tuesday, May 10, 2005  }

.:{For anyone who might be facing a history final}:.

Having trouble remembering stuff about Protectorate England? Can't get the dates of the final days of Charles I and the rising of Cromwell?

Then enjoy the Monty Python Oliver Cromwell song... proving against all reason that Chopin is, in fact, singable.

(That's his Polonaise #6 the "Heroic"; I don't like the recording of it, but it was the only one I could find. If you can get your hands on Vladimir Horowitz, I think he is much superior)

Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England (and his warts!)
Born in 1599 died in 1658 (September)...

That song got me through my Irish history exam. That, along with the philosopher's song, are all I need for my college education. Thank you, Oxford-and-Cambridge-educated Monty Python.

Edited to add: Olivercromwell.org is a good source for many things Cromwellian, i.e. various quotes: on the horrific decimation of Drogheda: "This is a righteous judgement of God upon these barbarous wretches, who have imbrued their hands in so much innocent blood..."; on the dissolution of the rump Parliament: "Take away that fool’s bauble, the mace"; from a fellow MP on his style of dress: "Cromwell wore a suit of plain cloth which seemed to have been made by an ill country tailor."

Also apparently under his rule (though, asserts the site, not by Cromwell personally), Christmas was abolished.

John Milton wrote a sonnet "To the Lord General Cromwell" -- Sonnet XVI.

And yet for all that, the year after his death the Protectorate collapsed and the Stuart monarchy was (for a short time, at least) restored. Tut. That's what you get, I suppose, for being a regicidal fanatic and a Puritan.

I'm rather glad he did not emigrate to Connecticut as the BBC reports, but wouldn't it have interestingly changed the course of history, especially in Ireland? (Oh, I'm sure probably more so in England, but having just finished Irish history class, I'm more focused on that side of the pond.)
posted by Lauren, 12:22 AM | link | 9 comments

{Monday, May 09, 2005  }

.:{Irish Wiki}:.

The featured article on Wikipedia today is abou Irish Poetry . Mostly interesting, but they neglect to mention that Ossian is a forgery of the 18th/19th century and not a real Irish epic poet.

I have just discovered Wikipedia, the editable encyclopaedia, and it is my friend. The poorly formatted bulleted list at the end of the entry on penal law is my contribution with a bit of a paraphrase from the Catholic encyclopaedia on the matter, as is the link to the act to prevent the further growth of Popery.

Yet somehow in the midst of this, I have also discovered the Uncyclopedia and it's entry on Logic. Even more, erm, interesting is the article on Sauron, the Lord of the Dance and, in the same vein of dancing, the Happy Dance.

Heh. Enjoy.
posted by Lauren, 1:18 PM | link | 1 comments

.:{A Psalm for finals}:.

The professor is my quizmaster, I shall not flunk.
He maketh me to enter the examination room;
He leadeth me to an alternative seat;
He restoreth my fears.
Yea, though I know not the answers to those questions, the class average comforts me.
I prepare my answers before me in the sight of my proctors.
I anoint my exam papers with figures.
My time runneth out.
Surely grades and examinations will follow all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in this class forever.
posted by Lauren, 8:43 AM | link | 3 comments

{Sunday, May 08, 2005  }

.:{New Acolyte}:.

Congratulations to certain unknown persons in the Irish college obsessed with anonymity who today may or may not have had the ministry of Acolyte conferred upon them.
posted by Lauren, 8:50 AM | link | 1 comments

{Saturday, May 07, 2005  }


AP - Fri May 6, 8:52 AM ET
Tiziano (surname not available), a Swiss Guard, hold his child Lorenzo at the entrance of the Clementina Hall, at the Vatican City, Friday, May 6, 2005. Pope Benedict XVI, ahead of a ritual-filled swearing-in cerimony at the Vatican scheduled for later in the day, greeted 31 new members of the Swiss Guard, the elite corps that has helped protect pontiffs for centuries. (AP\Plinio Lepri)

I think the only thing sweeter than a husband holding his baby is probably ...

... a grandfather with his first grandchild.
posted by Lauren, 8:36 PM | link | 1 comments

.:{Ask a stupid question, get a stupid answer ;)}:.

I was going to leave this in Zadok's comment box, but the thing said it had too many links.

Zadok proclaims that he doesn't like the Pre-Raphaelites. Respondeo dicendum ...

Dude, that's totally only Dante Gabriel Rosetti. Tell me The Accolate and God Speed by Edmund Blair Leighton, Silver Favorites and that other one by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, and Flaming June and The Painter's Honeymoon by Sir Frederic Leighton "consist of slightly sulky and unattractive women in period costumes scowling at the artist". Infidel. Nesciens. Neanderthal. :P
posted by Lauren, 8:15 PM | link | 11 comments

.:{Exam time}:.

And so it begins -- in 10 minutes I shall be working out my Greek exam in fear and trembling! Oremus pro invicem!
posted by Lauren, 4:15 PM | link | 1 comments

.:{"It's only a model..."}:.

Oh the things you find when you don't want to study...
posted by Lauren, 1:40 AM | link | 2 comments

{Friday, May 06, 2005  }

.:{Catholic Universities}:.

CUA and Pope John Paul II
UD and Pope John Paul II

CUA faculty on JPII and BXVI
UD on the election of BXVI

No comment.
posted by Lauren, 1:55 PM | link | 5 comments

.:{Prayers and a thingie}:.

Would you believe my first exam is on Saturday, and I've come down with something yucky? Actually I started getting it a few days ago and feel better this afternoon, but still. C'mon!

And so I request your prayers.

And a new thingie. Since *cough* no one has passed the baton to me, like the little wicked attention-stealing youngest child that I am, I'm filching it out of the Old Oligarch's back pocket while he's not looking. Heheheheee...

"List five things that people in your circle of friends or peer group are wild about, but you can't really understand the fuss over. To use the words of Caesar (from History of the World Part I), 'Nice. Nice. Not thrilling . . . but nice.'"

1. Pirates of the Carribean/Johnny Depp: Usually I like dumb movies, espeiallt if they are satirical/farcial. PotC has got to be one of the dumbest movies I've ever seen, and not in the way British comedy is dumb. I throw Johnny Depp into this same "what's the deal?" category. When covered in makeup and not speaking (i.e. Edward Scissorhands) he's Not Bad. But when he actually opens his mouth (i.e. Chocolat) or tries to act (i.e. anything) he's nothing more than supposed eye-candy, and even then he's not all that good-looking. Yet girls my age go batty over him. I don't get it. I think both are a mind-control plot by aliens to take over the world.

2. Anything theological that's been written post-reformation, with the exception of the Inklings and a few members of the Roman curia and the Pope: No, seriously, what's the deal? I think the same things were much better said more clearly, concisely, and completely before Luther. A few exposes on the thoughts of the scholastic and medieval philosophers are alright, but other than that ... shrug. Especially if we're talking 19th century. That stuff rots my teeth.

3. The beach: The beach is alright. The beach as opposed to The Shore. I think The Shore is top-notch. But the beach -- big sandy thing, isn't it? Gets in your shoes. Lots of people running around getting sunburnt, advertising way more than the average person cares to know, usually without merit. Dead things wash up and then you step on them and they're either squishy or sharp and it's generally unpleasant. Ick.

4. The Franciscans: Just kidding. Sort of. ;) (I'd say the Jesuits, but who wants to be a Jesuit anymore? *snort*)*

5. college parties/getting drunk: This makes me the local square. But really... why be a lemming? Seriously -- a social gatherine with a bunch of people you don't know in a place you've never been to. Some guy's usually off in the corner playing his guitar and a bunch of other people you don't know are being loud and noisy and standing on a table. The people you do know are chatting up/being chatted up and you can't bother them. The one thing everybody has in common is that they seem to be drinking and/or getting drunk. Usually the first person to get drunk (or rather, I've observed it more often as a group phenomenon) gets ridiculed by other drunk people and tricked into doing stupid things.
What's the deal with getting drunk, too? Doesn't it strike people as being kind of stupid? Woo, alcohol, big deal. The way some people act around it, you'd think they'd never seen or heard of the stuff before. "Duuude, what's this? Hey whoa ... it majorly inhibits the rational faculties!" Yeah, you're a big man now, aintcha? So you get drunk. You wander around like an idiot and wake up with a headache the next day and worship the porcelain god that evening. What's the appeal? Seriously? Doesn't that seem like a major opportunity for blackmail? Even if people are getting drunk with you, you still smell nasty and wake up with a headache.

Oh yeah, not to mention the fact that it's a mortal sin. But even, theoretically speaking of some alternate universe, if it weren't, there seems to be 0 appeal to it.

Not to say alcohol = evil. Au contraire. Chesterton disagrees. St. Clement of Alexandria disagrees:

One Artorius, in his book On Long Life (for so I remember), thinks that drink should be taken only till the food be moistened, that we may attain to a longer life. It is fitting, then, that some apply wine by way of physic, for the sake of health alone, and others for purposes of relaxation and enjoyment.

For first wine makes the man who has drunk it more benignant than before, more agreeable to his boon companions, kinder to his domestics, and more pleasant to his friends. But when intoxicated, he becomes violent instead. For wine ... mixes the acrid and base humours with the agreeable scents.

It has therefore been well said, "A joy of the soul and heart was wine created from the beginning, when drunk in moderate sufficiency."

Therefore in no way am I advocating being a killjoy. I don't think this is unreasonable, but many of my peers do. Alas.

Update: Consider the baton passed to Zadok, Quodlibeta (if he's not already gone!), the Angry Twins, Disputations (if he does that sort of thing), Happy Catholic and Philokalia Republic.

(There, now Zadok can stop whining. ;) )


*note -- I'm kidding. If you take offense at this I shall ridicule you into social oblivion.
posted by Lauren, 2:22 AM | link | 9 comments

{Wednesday, May 04, 2005  }

.:{Fr. Foster on the Pope}:.

Saturday saw the resumation of the Vatican radio broadcast The Latin Lover with Fr. Reggie Foster. Pieces of it are so hilarious, I had to type them out. Behold:

Veronica Scarisbrick: When the journalists heard Pope Benedict speaking in Latin the day after his election ... they all spoke about a revival of Latin, but that’s not so, is it?

Fr. Foster: John Paul II had his first speech in Latin, John Paul I had his first speech in Latin, Paul VI his first speech in Latin, so it’s tradition. The journalists said “ahhhh!! The return of LATIN!” Well.. *growls* ... really no return of Latin!

Veronica Scarisbrick: Does he have a particular style in Latin?

Fr. Foster: I don’t know yet.

Veronica Scarisbrick: You haven’t spoken to him yet.

Fr. Foster: No no no no no …


Veronica Scarisbrick: The Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum, do you think people understand that?

Fr. Foster: Well I mean, most people would … they would just take it for granted. I mean, everyone understands that kind of Latin which is ... a dog could understand that!

Veronica Scarisbrick: I don’t think so.

Fr. Foster: I think so!


Veronica Scarisbrick: I have the speech here, Fr. Foster, in Latin. It was the first speech of the Holy Father the morning following his election …

Fr. Foster: I’ve gone through this with my students, I had this in class yesterday… by the way, I wrote it. I mean, I wrote it! … No, it’s very simple and clear, we hope!

Veronica Scarisbrick: You translated this from what?

Fr. Foster: From Italian. Most people say it’s very clear and simple and runs along. Depends on the inflection of his voice, I can hear his voice … if you pronounce it well, A dog could understand it.

Veronica Scarisbrick: Pope Benedict XVI Does he speak Latin with a German accent at all?

Fr. Foster: Oh for sure! Oh … real square and chunky … it’s chunky! That’s German! Even at the balcony up there; “boeh” “baehm” – it wasn’t kind of fluidy, milky like Italian, it was very chunky. That’s his language and his nature and everything else.

posted by Lauren, 6:25 PM | link | 8 comments

{Tuesday, May 03, 2005  }


Hurrah for the Angry Twins who seem to have cracked Ebay!!! Here is an excerpt from their post:

"We understand that the listing of the Eucharist was highly upsetting to
Catholic members of the eBay community and Catholics globally. Once
this completed sale was brought to our attention, we consulted with a
number of our users, including members of the Catholic Church,
concerning what course we should take in the future should a similar
listing appear on our site. We also consulted with members of other
religions about items that might also be highly sacred and inappropriate
for sale. As a result of this dialogue, we have concluded that sales of
the Eucharist, and similar highly sacred items, are not appropriate on
eBay. We have, therefore, broadened our policies and will remove those
types of listings should they appear on the site in the future.

As always, we welcome and appreciate the assistance of the community in
upholding the rules of our site. Should you see another Eucharist
listed on our site, we encourage you to notify us so we can take
appropriate action.
Further, we encourage you to directly communicate
with the seller. Members are often unaware that a particular item is
offensive to others. A respectful e-mail to the seller is often all
that is needed for the seller to voluntarily remove the item. We
believe this modification strikes the appropriate balance between
respect for our community’s values and our goal of providing an open
marketplace offering practically anything on earth."

posted by Lauren, 11:15 AM | link | 0 comments

{Monday, May 02, 2005  }


Thanks to Fr. Sibley for pointing out EWTN's St. Jerome and the lion doll (how cute!). Though I'm a bit jealous they have a St. Francis doll and not even a St. Thomas Aquinas doll. The Dominicans are so neglected, sigh...

However, though I think the St. Padre Pio doll isn't all that, erm, pretty ... where else can you buy a doll wearing a fiddleback chasuble?
posted by Lauren, 1:15 PM | link | 7 comments

{Sunday, May 01, 2005  }

.:{To keep you happy in the meantime}:.

With the last week of class and then a week of exams coming up, I have no idea what the posting's going to be like. The last time I said that, we suddenly had a new pope, so that shot everything. But having not posted about Pius V (see Moniales instead -- and note why the Pope wears white!) or about Catherine of Siena, this should give you an idea. I'm also dying to write a review of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but school must come first.

However in the meantime, I have this that I borrowed from The Angry Twins:

posted by Lauren, 11:36 AM | link | 3 comments