{    Cnytr   }

{Monday, October 31, 2005  }

.:{All You Holy Men and Women}:.




Et ecce sedes pósita erat in cælo, et supra sedem sedens. Et qui sedébat, símilis erat aspectui lápidis jáspidis et sárdinis : et iris erat in circúitu sedis símilis visióni smarágdinæ. Et in circúitu sedis sedília vigintiquatuor : et super thronos vigintiquatuor seniores sedéntes, circumamicti vestiméntis albis, et in capítibus eórum corónæ aureæ. Et de throno procedébant fúlgura, et voces, et tonítrua : et septem lámpades ardéntes ante thronum, qui sunt septem spíritus Dei. Et in conspéctu sedis tamquam mare vitreum simile crystallo : et in médio sedis, et in circúitu sedis quatuor animália plena óculis ante et retro. Et animal primum simile leoni, et secúndum animal simile vitulo, et tertium animal habens fáciem quasi hóminis, et quartum animal simile áquilæ volanti. Et quatuor animália, singula eórum habébant alas senas : et in circúitu et intus plena sunt óculis, et requiem non habébant die ac nocte, dicéntia : Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus Dóminus, Deus omnípotens, qui erat, et qui est, et qui venturus est.



And, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, LORD God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.



Et vidi in déxtera sedéntis supra thronum, librum scriptum intus et foris, signátum sigillis septem. Et vidi Angelum fortem, prædicántem voce magna : Quis est dignus aperire librum, et sólvere signácula ejus? Et nemo poterat, neque in cælo, neque in terra, neque subtus terram, aperire librum neque respícere illum. Et ego flébam multum, quóniam nemo dignus invéntus est aperire librum nec vidére eum. Et unus de senióribus dixit mihi : Ne fléveris : ecce vicit leo de tribu Juda, radix David, aperire librum, et sólvere septem signácula ejus. Et vidi : et ecce in médio throni et quatuor animalium, et in médio seniórum, Agnum stantem tamquam occisum, habentem córnua septem et óculos septem : qui sunt septem spíritus Dei, missi in omnem terram. Et venit, et accépit de déxtera sedéntis in throno librum. Et, cum aperuísset librum, quatuor animália et vigintiquatuor seniores cecidérunt coram Agno, habéntes sínguli cítharas, et phíalas aureas plenas odoramentórum, quæ sunt oratiónes Sanctórum.



And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.



Et cantábant cánticum novum, dicéntes : Dignus es, Dómine, accípere librum, et aperire signacula ejus : quóniam occisus es, et redemísti nos Deo in sánguine tuo ex omni tribu et lingua et pópulo et natióne et fecísti nos Deo nostro regnum, et sacerdótes : et regnábimus super terram. Et vidi, et audívi vocem Angelórum multórum in circúitu throni, et animalium, et seniórum : et erat númerus eórum míllia millium, dicéntium voce magna : Dignus est Agnus, qui occisus est, accípere virtútem, et divinitátem, et sapiéntiam, et fortitúdinem, et honórem, et glóriam, et benedictiónem. Et omnem creaturam, quæ in cælo est, et super terram, et sub terra, et quæ sunt in mari, et quæ in eo : omnes audívi dicéntes : Sedénti in throno, et Agno, benedictio, et honor, et gloria, et potéstas in sæcula sæculórum. Et quatuor animália dicébant : Amen. Et vigintiquatuor seniores cecidérunt in fácies suas, et adoravérunt viventem in sæcula sæculórum.



And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.



O vere beáta mater Ecclésia, quam sic honor divinæ dignatiónis illúminat, quam vincéntium gloriósus Mártyrum sanguis exornat, quam ínviolátæ confessiónis cándida índuit virginitas! Flóribus ejus nec rosæ nec lília desunt. Certent nunc caríssimi, singuli ut ad utrosque honores amplíssimam accípiant dignitátem, corónas vel de virginitate cándidas vel de passióne purpúreas. In cæléstibus castris pax et acies habent flores suos, quibus milites Christi coronántur.



O truly blessed Mother Church, whom God's mercy doth so illúmine! Whom the glorious blood of victorious Martyrs doth adorn! Whom the ínviolate virginity of so many pure souls doth clothe with raiment white and glistening! Neither roses nor lilies are wanting in thy garlands. Therefore dearly beloved, let us each one of us strive to attain the goodly crown of one or the other of these dignities, either the glistening whiteness of chastity, or the red dye of suffering. In the heavenly army both peace and war have chaplets of their own, to crown Christ's soldiers withal.

R. Sancti mei, qui in carne positi, certamen hábuistis, * Mercedem labóris ego reddam vobis.
V. Veníte, benedicti Patris mei, percípite regnum.
R. Mercedem labóris ego reddam vobis.
V. Glória Patri, et Fílio, et Spirítui Sancto.
R. Mercedem labóris ego reddam vobis.



R. O ye my Saints and Righteous Ones, who have conténded valiantly in the flesh, * I will render you a reward of your labours.
V. Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom.
R. I will render you a reward of your labours.


Sancti Laurentie, Nicholas, Maria Goretti, beata Virgio de Guadalupe, Cecilia, Petre, Agatha, Thomaso de Aquino et omnes sancti, orate pro me!
posted by Lauren, 11:30 PM | link | 1 comments

{Sunday, October 30, 2005  }

.:{Costume Party}:.


Having been recently dragged to a costume party, I must say the cleverest and most hilarious ones were the following:

5. Siegfried and Roy: open tuxedo shirts, gaudy gold necklaces; one carried a white tiger and had fake blood on his neck. Not saints, no, but really funny. [G]
4. Karol Wojtyla: cardinalate regalia, but the guy actually bore an extremely strong resemblance to the young Pope John Paul II, the then Karol Wojtyla!
3. Bono. The guy just looked like Bono. As it was an All-Saints party, I told him that he was St. BONO-face. HAHAHA.
2. toga, grapes, olive-leaf crown, hierarchy of angels pinned to frint of the toga: Pseudo-Dionysus.
1. white shirt, tweed jacket, highland cap with traditional kilt and I-forget-the-official-name-of-the-shoes-and-socks: Duns Scotus.

Scariest costume: greasy wig, moustache, sunglasses, leather jacket, fake accent, weird phrases -- creepy Italian guy!

Extra points awarded to St. Vitus who came with glowsticks (i.e. patron saint of [rave] dancers), a rooster in his picket (patron saint of people who can't wake up early), and a palm.

Hooah for the DHS Dominicans who showed up (with cappa!) -- I dubbed them Sts. Dominic, Thomas aquinas, Vincent Ferrer and Hyacinth of Poland. I think they were there to recruit. Covert operations.

The most obscure person there (besides the odd "I'm St. Charles Borromeo in his college years") was someone who dressed up as the Patron Saint of Bad Weather and Hurricanes. She dressed up as a hurricane. And I have no idea who that saint was. Many points awarded.

I myself was accosted at the last moment my a number of my housemates. Faced with a split-second decision, I hijacked a bedsheet for a toga, was given a palm by a different housemate, and found an unattended stuffed lamb in my closet. A little swish around the neck with a red makeup crayon and voila -- instant St. Agnes! (shocking to say that two people asked "Lamb -- Lamb of God -- are you Jesus?" Jesus indeed! Maybe if I were related to Dan Brown...)
posted by Lauren, 1:14 AM | link | 9 comments

{Saturday, October 29, 2005  }

.:{Weird Uncle Fred}:.


(via iDominican.)

You know, he's that relative nobody's allowed to talk about because he gives the family a bad name. Was he dropped on his head as a child? (Though some suspect it may be more likely that he was tossed.)

Every family's got one.

This is ours.

I mean, excuse me my dear beloved Dominican family, WHAT THE FRIDGE ARE YOU THINKING?

The description, posted on, of all things, Domlife.org, reads as follows:

A new and unique program will bring together Dominican women from around the world to explore the questions of the future of the earth and the Dominican Order’s role in that future. According to its planners, the conference is for Dominican women interested in ushering the Order into its ecological phase “at a time when humanity must choose its future ...” (The Earth Charter)

Sponsored by Dominican Sisters International (DSI) the conveners include Margaret Ormond, OP, Columbus, DSI, Margaret Galiardi,OP, (Amityville) and Patricia Siemen, OP, (Adrian). The group will explore the deepest questions of how the Dominican Order participants in and shapes the coming ecological age. June 16-18, 2006.


Adrian, DSI, Amityville ... yes, those are the Nuns-Who-Don't-Know-They're-Nuns. They won't be around for long, anyhow, with crud like that.

We will listen to Earth, and rethink cosmology, theology and justicemaking as foundational for the Order to move into its Ecological phase.

All together now: WHO CARES?

Come on, this went out with the 60's. Hippie-earth-mother-type is so last decade.

"What is the eath asking of the Order?" To leave it the heck up to the Franciscans, that's what.

We have bigger fish to fry.

Whatever. We're just going to roll our eyes at the weird relative and move on. Because there's no point in beating this to death, and it is not reflective of the Dominican Order. So. Out. Of. Touch.

(I think the rest of us Dominicans need to be LOUDER to drown out the crazed mumblings of a few Michael Foxes. Because they represent themselves through various media moreso than the rest of us Normal uns such that many find them the majority -- this is not the case and Moniales are greatly to be praised for showing that the Contemplative Dominican Life is Here and it's Cool.)

In happier news, one of the priests at my parish wrote a cool book that you should buy.
posted by Lauren, 1:04 AM | link | 9 comments

.:{Epilogue to the Novel}:.




By the way, I find one difficulty with La Boheme seems to be casting -- one wants superfabjouslyfantastic singers for Puccini's soaring score, which usually means that said singers are going to be more mature. However, the story calls for college students.

I found this to be a little weird in the filmed Pavarotti/Freni version -- they're both much older, and a little too huggy.

However a few years ago on Broadway, believe it or not, the opera, entire in its score, was "updated" (set in 1920's America, I believe) and cast with *young* singers and directed by Baz Luhrmann, whom you may know from such films as Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliette and the unmatchably visually brilliant Moulin Rouge (in fact the "L'amour" sign from Moulin Rouge was used in "La Boheme").

Mimi, then, undergoes a metamorphosis from this to this; it takes Momus to a whole different level and totally brings to life Musetta's flirtatiousness.

The actors they found for the Broadway recording were, as mentioned, singing Puccini's music in its entirety (with one or two minor cuts of one line or two in at least one place) and were aaaaaaaaabsolutely marvelous.

One of Baz's best ideas yet. Not sure how it would work out overall, but still a brilliant idea.
posted by Lauren, 12:41 AM | link | 1 comments

{Friday, October 28, 2005  }

.:{An Impassioned Defense}:.




Doing my usual round of blog-checking in a moment that, for once in my life nowadays, is free and not stolen, I stumbled across a "review" of La Boheme, the famous opera by Giacomo Puccini.

Obviously my own bias is going to enter into play in this post -- La Boheme is the reason I love opera.

"W" critiques not the cast (aside from Mimi, played by a black woman who, God bless her, apparently made it hard to suspend disbelief) nor the orchestra, but the plot, remaining silent on the issue of the music.

This, I think, is key. There are several operas I would find 8,000% intolerable were it not for the music -- i.e., the entire corpus of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's music. His librettist ought to have been shot, but the music is always absolutely lovely. I've never heard anything by Mozart that I haven't liked. Opera is not a concert -- nor even an oratorio in the age when opera was "banned", as a friend recently pointed out to me. Opera is an amalgamation of music and words and acting and plot.

And any sort of plot -- evidently, "W", having not done his reasearch and being ignorant of one of the most famous operas next to Don Giovanni and Wagner's Ring-cycle, was expecting lavish Baroque costumes set in an Italian villa. Hence, he was probably rightly disappointed when the curtain opened on a bunch of starving students in the Latin-quarter of 19th-century Paris. Were I expecting the same, I would agree with him. I always find it a rather unpleasant shock when Shakespeare isn't set in the Elizabethan era, and it requires a fantabulous professional-grade performance or a fascinating interpretation to win me over. Rightly so, I would (obviously) posit -- "A Midsummer Night's Dream" set in a raunchy 1950's highschool, while capturing the appearance of something obvious and apparent, misses the spirit of the play.

However, I would kindly point out to W that while I would posit that Italian composers are the best composers of opera and that Italian is the language of opera, a fair number of excellent operas do not fall into the narrow category he places on them -- for example, while La Traviata begins with lavishness and elegance, it gradually descends into the sort of scene on which La Boheme would open -- a desperately poor, scantily-furnished apartment containing a candle, a mirror, and a woman dying of consumption. I may be committing a mortal sin to publically confess that I do not prefer or even like Wagner very much, but his (difficult yet brilliant) opera Parzival is set in the Middle Ages in Germany. While opera may have originally been concieved as pure spectacolo, as the genre has grown up, it has bedecked itself with different jewels.

Secondly, the story was not interesting at all.

Admittedly, the storyline of La Boheme is somewhat static -- it takes place in the same place every act (except for Act II). Its focus is not on the wide world of events -- such as in Tosca -- but it focuses on two sets of couples: Musetta and Marcello, Rodolfo and Mimi. It's rather an intense character study, but granted it takes a little while to get into it.

The curtain opens on Rodolfo and Marcello, a poet and painter respectively, both starving students. It's in the middle of winter, they're freezing, they don't have money for anything. In a witty/tragic bit of dialogue, Marcello is forced to burn a chair for heat -- and Marcello, one of his manuscripts, his source of income for a moment's warmth.

But the point of Act I is the people -- Marcello and Rodolfo have nothing, yet they are happy, and the first act is wonderfully lighthearted. It is, after all, Christmas eve.

"W" continnues,

La bohème, on the other hand, features a series of meaningless love affairs involving lazy, "progressive", dishonest, "starving artists". I couldn't relate to any of the characters who just seemed like a bunch of atheist post-1789 fools who steal, lie, and lech their way through the four acts. Now, I am prepared to give operas an awful lot of slack because I know that they are sort of like Harlequin romances with fancy costumes and classical music. La bohème struck me as totally shallow, however, and was lacking in any of the charms of other operas I've seen.

Lazy? Hardly.
Progressive? They're bohemian! That's part of the point of the opera.
Dishonest? Not quite. It's all in good fun -- it's in a cartoonish kind of way (i.e. when they leave Musetta's henpecked beau with the bill at the restaurant, or when they comically trick the landlord Benoît into leaving without collecting the rent that they don't have anyway). It's cute. Like The Little Rascals, it's neither the time nor the place for chiding. Furthermore, in the sense of justice within the microcosm of the world in the play, the characters had it coming to them -- i.e. like when, in the old Cinderella story, the wicked stepmother dances herself to death because of hot coals that Cinderella puts in her shoes. This is another wrong understanding of common operations within a genre.

Apologies that "W" can't relate to any of the characters. On a superficial level, I personally can relate to them because they are staving artists.

On a wholly different level, I can relate to what I think the librettist intended, the progression and regression of love.

Mimi and Rodolfo are the couple of the opera, though Musetta and Marcello provide an entirely different view on the same occurrence. Mimi and Rodolfo fall in love immediately, and their series of arias ("Che gelida manina"/"SI, mi chiamano Mimi"/"O soave fanciulla") are, musically, the point of the play. These are some of the most famous arias, and have the good fortune not to be so charactured and cliched as "The Ride of the Valkyries" and the "Figaro" aria. It would be a crime to do so. The music soars and grows and passionately sweeps the hearer off his feet. The arias themselves are oh-so-slightly mundane -- if we boil down the lyrics, the two are essentially introducing themselves. But then one misses the poetry of the things (something desperately lacking in Mozart and sometimes over-painted in Verdi):

O soave fanciulla
o dolce viso
di mite circonfuso
alba lunar
in te, vivo ravviso
il sogno ch'io vorrei
sempre sognar!


The lyrics to this opera are so emotionally charged that if one is not involved with the characters, or if one is not paying attention, I think, to the Italian, the English translation just sounds stupid, such as the dialogue immediately following the O soave fanciulla duet.

Musically, the characters' introduction to each other reflects the characters themselves: Rodolfo, this bright, plucky guy who sings with great gusto,

Chi son?
Sono un poeta.
Che cosa faccio? Scrivo.
E come vivo? Vivo!
In povertà mia lieta
scialo da gran signore
rime ed inni d'amore.
Per sogni e per chimere
e per castelli in aria,
l’anima ho milionaria.


(Who am I?
I am a poet!
What do I do? I write.
How do I live? Well ... I live!
In my contented poverty,
I live as a great lord,
squandering rhymes and poems of love.
Through dreams and reveries
I build my castles in the air,
in my heart I am a millionaire.
)

He ends asking Mimi about herself. Mimi is much more quiet, reserved, shy -- musically her piece is almost melancholy, with brushes of color and happiness. Yet, when she begins to talk about the thaw and watching the sun rise over the roofs, her melody grows and grows and grows to such a beautiful, passionate fervor one would never know that she's talking about watching her rosebud in a vase bloom, petal by petal.

But then, almost too soon, her melody retreats in sadness (Ma i fior ch'io faccio , ahimè! non hanno odore.) ... and then expires.

This is Mimi's character, contained in a sonc, which is itself "Si, mi chiamano Mimi" -- "Yes, my name is Mimi". Her music unfolds her very self. This is Mimi.

This is Act 1. Act 2 focuses a lot more on Musetta and Marcello (classic: "Quando men vo"), and is played more for humor. Act 3 exhibits the two sets of lovers in different sorts of tribulations, especially how Rodolfo deals with the fact that Mimi is dying (of consumption, of course, a very fashionable disease at the time).

Act 4 is a direct parallel to Act 1, and is musically similar in the beginning. Likewise, the curtain rises on Marcello and Rodolfo again mourning the fact that they're broke and ain't got nobody (because they've broken up, Marcello because Musetta's fickle like that, and Rodolfo because he can't take care of Mimi). Yet halfway through the act, Musetta bursts in and tells everybody that Mimi is dying. The mood abruptly changes and becomes very, very (melo)dramatic. The shocker is that this is so unlike the characters -- the joy of Act 1 is directly contrasted with the intense sadness of the latter-half of Act 4.

But again, the focus is on the music and the characters, the plot-line is not huge. If one likes the Terminator movies, one should watch Don Giovanni get pulled down to hell -- there's a great chorus of demons there as well. But if one likes for character-driven movies that pair one or two intense elements to make one think, La Boheme is more for that person.

Granted, La Boheme is hardly entirely all up here *taps head*, but it is an examination of a very universal event (love) through these two sets of couples. In the end, Musetta's frivolity drops away as she goes out to sell her earrings for medicine for the dying Mimi, and gives to Mimi her muff to warm her hands (of which in the first act Rodolfo had sung "che gelida manina"). The beautiful last few moments of the opera are a sad parallel to the beautiful last few moments of act 1 -- Mimi and Rodolfo are together, yet under much more tragic circumstances.

For "W" to say that La Boheme "lacked charm" or words to that effect, I must conclude that he was not paying attention. There is a good deal of exchange of wit between the students. Furthermore, I think that if nothin else can be said for La Boheme, one must at least concede that the most amusing characters -- Marcello and Musetta -- are funny or charming.

But in the end, I find it hard to write a defense of the plot of La Boheme, because that's not entirely the point. "Plot" must be qualified for this opera.

The joy in the face of adversity expressed in the first few scenes by the cold and starving college students who burn their furniture and life works just for warmth in the freezing December. And then comes little Mimi amongst liquid gold crescendos, warm and sweet, with a floating and featherlike voice. And then later, Musetta's flitty yet seductive and enchanting waltz...

There is, I think, something to this opera which cannot be ignored, and I find it most depressing that "W" find himself unable to sympathize with sympathetic characters, being unable to "cut the opera some slack" as he says he has attempted to do. I submit that he either did not try or failed in the attemped. Apologies, "W".

One last thing: "W" accuses the opera of "sub-par" music. This leads La Lorenza to conclude that either "W" is unable to hear, is dead, or is German. He also says he intends to avoid Puccini in the future, thus depriving himself of such gems as Tosca (which I submit that he might like, as it fits into his preconceived ideas of what opera ought to be, though is *extremely* melodramatic), Madame Butterfly, Turandot (of "Nessun Dorma" fame), and many others. Even Puccini arias that perhaps aren't all that memorable in themselves still have mounds of merit in at least one song -- here I mean "O Mio Babbino Caro", which I feel a compelling desire to vocalize as loudly as possible, every time I find myself in Florence.

His loss.

This isn't usually the sort of thing for which I write my various apologiai -- usually it's something much more objective, with a nice, ringing "duh!"-quality to it. However I simply could not let this pass me by. It would be like allowing an insult to my mother go unanswered. And hence the title of this post is "An Impassioned Defense" -- notice the Italics scattered all around for emphasis. Were I giving this in address, most of the talking would be done (ala the Italians) with my hands.

Take issue. Pick this apart. Tear it to pieces. I have spoken my peace; now my conscience is at ease and I shall rest easy knowing that my vows to Art I have fulfilled.
posted by Lauren, 11:07 PM | link | 3 comments

{Wednesday, October 26, 2005  }

.:{Shock}:.


Wow, I happen to be up translating Prudentius at 7:30am Rome time, and I turned on Vatican Radio to hear the BEST PRONUNCIATION OF (modern/ecclesiastical) LATIN.

Unfortunately whilst I was in Rome, I never made it to a Latin mass, so I never heard the Italian pronunciation of Latin. The worst adjective Fr. Reggie could come up with is "milky", which is hardly anything.

For those up late, check out the 105 Live schedule and tune into the morning mass if you can.

Note how Latin is pronounced clearly and with continental vowels. Very much based on the pronunciation of modern Italian. But it renders the Latin itself very clear. Even when English-speakers speak Latin after the manner of the Italians, it isn't nearly so understandable because of our awful short vowels (the short "u" and "a" are most tragic) and curved r's (an American phenomenon and a disgrace to language everywhere).

Fabulous.
posted by Lauren, 1:35 AM | link | 8 comments

{Tuesday, October 25, 2005  }

.:{Je m'appelle Cnytr}:.


Salvete --

Bienvenue à mes lecteurs français! Je ne parle pas français -- et je regrette.

Sed Latine loquor!

O fratres Dominicanes Gallici (et alii), legete, ridete, cogitate, disputate, utite.

Novum: Cur "blogs" non sint "Xangas"; "blogs" etiam meliores quam Xangas (Gallice):

Proposons une rapide taxinomie. La jeune fille du « journal extime » écoutera un extrait tiré de l’album American Idiot de Green Day plutôt que Spem in alium de Thomas Tallis. Si elle lit, ce sera le dernier Harry Potter, un soir où elle fait du baby-sitting, alors que les auteurs de blogs pourront se passionner pour Orthodoxy de G. K. Chesterton ou les poèmes du jésuite anglais Gerald Manley Hopkins.

Bref, les auteurs de « journaux extimes » [non les auteurs du blogs catholiques ~LB] sont habituellement moins matures, moins intellectuelles. Elles ne lisent pas d’ouvrages de théologie, et n’ont jamais voyagé en Europe. Et pourtant, certains journaux peuvent être intéressants. Si nous nous plaçons au niveau de la théologie de la vie religieuse, il est étonnant par exemple de voir comment ces jeunes filles se réapproprient un thème aussi présent dans l’histoire de la vie religieuse féminine que celui de devenir « l’épouse du Christ. »
posted by Lauren, 11:49 PM | link | 4 comments

.:{Sts. Crisian and Crispianus}:.




If we are mark'd to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.'
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

~Henry V IV.3
posted by Lauren, 11:39 PM | link | 0 comments

.:{What's Up Around Here}:.


Local Bloggers have some good Schtuff.

For example, my housemate's new blog has a good and very JPII-toned post on To Be Or Not To Be. A Chestertonian who studied in Oxford for a semester (which would make me hate her, but she gave me a coaster with Magdalen Tower on it, so the Lauren Wrath gods are Appeased).

Next, Kevin K's post on Liturgy Class Ramblings is not to be missed. Why Christ, when he said "Do this in remembrance of Me" didn't mean "Do this and sit around and think about me".

And, via Happy Catholic, Jesus, Moses and Lobter from Paragraph Farmer. The best part is Fr. Rutler's letter at the end:

SPARE THE MEAT, SPOIL THE GOSPEL

I was delighted to read the Manichaean ramblings of Daniel Paden, director of the Catholic Vegetarian Society ("Letters," June 2003). It confirmed my theory that fanaticism in Western society alternates between nudism and vegetarianism, both of which contradict the order of grace.

As an optimist, I happily trust that Paden confines his extreme commitments to vegetarianism. Taste is one thing; it is another thing to condemn meat eating as "evil" and permissible only "in rare and unfortunate circumstances." Paden disagrees with no less an authority than God, Who forbids us to call any edible unworthy (Mark 7: 18-19), and Who enjoins St Peter to eat pork chops and lobster in one of my favorite revelations (Acts 10: 9-16).

Does the Catholic Vegetarian Society think that our Lord was wrong to have served up fish to the 5,000, or should He have refrained from eating the Passover Lamb? When He rose from the dead and appeared in the Upper Room, He did not ask for a bowl of Cheerios, nor did He whip up a meatless omelette on the shore of Galilee.

Man was made to eat flesh (Genesis 1: 26-31; 9: 1-6), with the exception of human flesh. I stand on record against cannibalism, whether it be inflicted upon the Mbuti Pygmies by the Congolese Army or on larger people by a maniac in Milwaukee. But I am also grateful that the benevolent father in the parable did not welcome his prodigal son home with a bowl of radishes.

Vegetarians assume an unedifying posture of detachment from the sufferings of vegetables that are mashed, stewed, diced, and shredded. In expensive restaurants, cherries are publicly burned in brandy to the applause of diners. It is not uncommon for people to submerge olives in iced gin and twist the peels of lemons. Be indignant, vegetarian, but not so selectively indignant that the bleat of the lamb and the plaintive moo of the cow drown out the whine of our brother the bean and the quiet sigh of the cauliflower. Vegetables have reactive impulses.

Were we to confine our diet to creatures that lacked sense and do not even respond to light, we could only eat liturgists and liberal Democrats.

The Rev. George W. Rutler
New York City


And a You-Know-You're-Catholic-When from LAMLand.

Enjoy.
posted by Lauren, 9:25 PM | link | 1 comments

.:{But the Pope wears white!}:.


*discussing possibility of being in Rome next year*

Lauren: ... and didn't you X knew somebody who knew Fr. [Carlos] Costa [OP]? Can I meet Fr. Costa? I mean, I met him at the thing, but still. I hear the Pope is hard to see nowadays. If I can't see the Pope, at least I can see the Master General. Which is almost as good. Actually it's probably better. Because he's the Master *General* so the Pope's under him, right?
Zadok: You're a very good Dominican but a very bad Catholic.
posted by Lauren, 9:18 PM | link | 0 comments

.:{Dominicans In Cappas -and- DHS events for DC area folks}:.



This image is from last year's installation of Acolytes, as the Student Brothers' homepage has not yet been updated

The following image is the picture of the brothers who today were installed as lectors, though the picture was from their simple profession at St. Gertrude's in Ohio. The guy with the most hair is now the youngest member of the Province.



Congratulations to the brothers who today at mass were instituted in the order of lectors! God's grace.

At the close of the Year of the Eucharist (*sad that it's over*), this Sunday the DHS will have a holy-40-minutes starting at 5pm, with solemn vespers at 5:40.

Also on Halloween, there will be an All Hallow's Eve prayer vigil and relics procession starting at 7:30pm. Over 400 people came last year, so if you want a seat (and if, like me, you particularly covet those seats in the choir-stalls) get there early. Or you may have to fight me for one. A reception will follow.

A press release (why?) is available here, and the program from last year is here.

Last year on Halloween, I went to the Mozart Requiem in St. Paul's Inside the Walls (but Outside the Church -- Anglicans) with Zadok, which is the secondmost proper way to celebrate All Hallows Eve.

(That actually has a funny quote attached to it.
Lauren: Wow, this is the first year I haven't dressed up for Halloween.
Zadok: What, that isn't a costume?
Lauren: *refrains from killing Zadok* *notices self to be wearing black and white* Okay, fine, I'm a Dominican.
Zadok: A liberal Dominican.
Lauren: *strangled warble of alarm*
Zadok: Hey, you want to scare people, don't you?)

posted by Lauren, 8:58 PM | link | 1 comments

{Monday, October 24, 2005  }

.:{When Dominicans and Franciscans Collide}:.




At least they're wearing their habits.

(Sent to me by iDominican)
posted by Lauren, 8:53 AM | link | 3 comments

{Sunday, October 23, 2005  }

.:{Ice and Snow, Bless the Lord}:.


Praise and exult him above all, forever.

posted by Lauren, 7:38 PM | link | 3 comments

.:{Intercession}:.



Yes, blatantly stolen off some Italian website. The Italians won't know better.

So in about two weeks' time, I will be going to a ballroom dance competition. And, get this, I'll be competing. Ain't that a kick in the head?

My partner and I have been practicing whenever we've a spare moment (I have the best partner ever; I chose ... wisely *pats self on back*): our waltz is good, our tango is improving. I'm hell-bent on winning something, especially since it's a smallish competition and, I'm told, it's much more possible to win something in the beginner's section than in any of the others (bronze, silver, etc).

And so I'm starting to look into what saints to enlist to come to my aid. St. Vitus was suggested me. I don't really "know" S. Vito all that well, but okay.

So upon reading this post, say a quick little prayer to St. Vitus that my partner and I won't make total fools of ourselves on the dance floor. Maybe even, Deo volente, bring home the bacon.

Okay most selfish prayer intention ever, but ... ballroom dancing is COOL.


Jack Vettriano, The Waltzers
posted by Lauren, 6:03 PM | link | 4 comments

.:{La Traviata at the Baltimore Opera}:.




If you live in the VA/MD/DC area, if you have $25*, a student ID, if you love music and spettaccolo, if you have a vendetta against the Kennedy Center's never-less-than-$100 shows, then doll yourself up and hie thee hence to the Baltimore Opera's production of La Traviata. Verdi's score to this heart-wrending opera of love and redemption is a classic and for good reason. Even if one isn't quite sure about the avant-garde set (created by laying the painted scenery on the floor and raising a large mirror at a 65 degree angle or so above the stage), which during some of the less-populous scenes could be a bit distracting, the sweeping, trilling melodies are a pleasure for the most cave-manish, without the super-melodrama of some of the better-known Puccini arias (though it wouldn't be a good opera if somebody didn't kick the bucket). If you don't come out humming the famous toast from Act 1, you haven't been paying attention.


Yes, that background is actually on the stage. You can see the figure of Alfredo reflected at the top from his reclining position fron and center stage.

* One can show up an hour before curtain with one's student ID and obtain whatever tickets are left for half-price. A friend and myself managed to acquire not-nosebleed seats last night, which happened to be the show's opening night. The seats were on a slight angle, so a little bit of the stage was obscured. The mirror-staging helped to overcome this handicap, but it caused a bit of annoyance and a crick in one's neck after too long. Tickets range from $50-$137 full price for La Traviata and the only other worthwhile performance this season, La Boheme, so the student discount is a much needed sedative for what would otherwise send shivers of delight down one's spine and shivers of fear down one's wallet.
posted by Lauren, 1:39 PM | link | 5 comments

{Saturday, October 22, 2005  }

.:{Protestant Pumpkins}:.


Perhaps I'll carve a cucumber on Halloween...

(Hat tip: Happy Catholic)
posted by Lauren, 2:14 PM | link | 0 comments

.:{I read Cnytr for the Articles}:.


[A discussion about the naming of theological journals]

Seminarian: I like the name 'Blackfriars' - that's a great name for a journal.
Priest: That's 'New Blackfriars.'
Seminarian: Right. And 'The Thomist'. That's a particularly fine name for a journal. You buy it and you feel entitled to call yourself a Thomist. It's about more than just a journal, you're buying an image, a lifestyle. Not unlike 'Playboy' for example.
Priest: [Name] ... surely you're not telling me that you read Playboy.
Seminarian: What I'm saying is that I occasionally read 'The Thomist'. I look at it for the articles.
posted by Lauren, 2:01 PM | link | 1 comments

.:{Oxford University Press Fall Sale; Other Reference Works for Medievalists}:.


Dig this -- Oxford University Press is having a sale. A BIG sale.

A sale such that the Oxford Latin Dictionary is nearly 70% off its normal price at $125.

A classicist can't afford not to buy it.

It's a little less useful for Medieval Latin, I'm told, as it mostly focuses on pagan Latinity down to about 200AD. I suppose the Oxford classicist snobs figured the Language got too bastardized after that (and they'd probably be right).

Buy it buy it buy it! And I get nothing from that link, btw (*sad and broke*).

It would Behoove the Medievalist, I think, to have, if not the Oxford Latin Dictionary, the current Lewis and Short, which has a goodish smattering of later and patristic Latin useages. This, supplemented with Latham's Medieval Latin wordlist is, I think, ideal. Also the NEATEST THING I have EVER seen is the Handbook of Dates; in class we had an exercise using this book, to translate "Datum Parisius anno domini MCCLXXIV, die mercurii ante inuectionem sancte crucis" and such dates; the above translates to "Dated Paris, the year of the Lord 1274, Wednesday before the invection of the Holy Cross". Using the Handbook, one can look and find that the Wednesday before the invection of the Holy Cross in the year 1274 fell on May 9th. Also very cool/interesting/useful/hard-to-find is the "Orbis Latinus". Actually tihs is fairly indespensable, though the online version is not complete. The Orbis tells one the names of various places in Latin, i.e. Salopiensis comitatus; Shropshire, England. Go figure.
posted by Lauren, 8:55 AM | link | 18 comments

.:{An Account of St. Martin}:.




This week's Latin translation exercise was an account of the famous encounter of St. Martin and the beggar.

In order to show the value of Latin, I shall post the text with my own translation, a bit looser than the one I gave my teacher, because he doesn't like my oft-archaic verbiage.

Images are taken from the lower church of the Basilica di. S. Francesco in Assisi.

Quodam itaque tempore, cum [Martinus] iam nihil preter arma et simplicem militie uestem haberet, media hieme que solito asperior inhorruerat adeo ut plerosque uis algoris extingueret, obuium habet in porta Ambianensium ciuitatis pauperem nudum. Qui cum pretereuntes ut sui misererentur oraret omnesque miserum preterirent, intellexit uir deo plenus sibi illum, aliis misericordiam non prestantibus, reseruari. Quid tamen ageret? Nihil preter chlamydem qua indutus erat habebat; iam enim reliqua in opus simile consumpserat. Arrepto itaque ferro quo accinctus erat, mediam diuidit partemque eius pauperi tribuit; reliqua rursus induitur.

Interea de circumstantibus ridere nonnulli, quia deformis esse truncatus habitu uideretur. Multi tamen, quibus erat mens sanior, altius gemere quod nihil simile fecissent, cum utique, plus habentes, uestire pauperem sine sua nuditate potuissent.

Nocte igitur insecuta, cum se sopori dedisset, uidit Christum chlamydis sue qua paruperem texerat parte uestitum. Intueri diligentissime Dominum uestemque quam dederat iubetur agnoscere. Mox ad angelorum circumstantium multitudinem audit Iesum clara uoce dicentem: Martinus adhuc cetechumenus hac me ueste contexit.

Vere memor dominus dictorum suorum, qui ante predixerat -- Quamdiu fecistis uni ex minimis istis, mihi fecistis -- se in paupere professus est fuisse uestitum et, ad confirmandum tam boni operis testimonium, in eodem se habitu quem pauper acceperat est dignatus ostendere.




At a certain time, although Martin carried nothing beyond his arms and the simple garb of the military, he had, in the midst of a winter that raged more bitterly than usual that it slew many by the strength of its chill, an encounter with a naked beggar in the gateway of the city of Amiens. Since the beggar kept crying out to the passers-by to have mercy on him and since they all went past the wretched man, Martin, a man full of God, knew the beggar to be reserved for him, because others showed him no mercy. What could Martin do? He had nothing save the military cloak in which he was clad, for he had given away the rest of his posessions in similar work. So he seized the sword girt at his side, divided it down the middle and gave a part of it to the poor man, clothing himself again with the remainder of it.

Meanwhile, several of the by-standers laughed, because he looked deformed in his truncated vestiture, but many who were of a more serious mind sighed deeply that they had not done something similar, particularly since they owned more than did he, and could have clothed the beggar without their own nudity.

That night, when Martin had gone to sleep, he saw Christ in the cloak, the garment with which he had clad the beggar. He gazed ardently at the Lord and was bid to recognize the vestiture which he had given away. Near a multitude of angels standing about, he heard Jesus saying in a loud voice: "Martin, yet a catechuman, has clothed me with this garment."

Indeed the Lord is mindful of his words, who once before had preached "As long as you have done this for one of these least ones, you have done it for me"; he declared that Martin had clothed Him in the form of the beggar and, to confirm the evidence of so good a deed, he condescended to show His very self in the vestiture that the beggar had received.
posted by Lauren, 12:21 AM | link | 1 comments

.:{This Will Keep Me Employed}:.


Bishops ask pope to save Latin.

Hat tip: Jeff!

Yes sirs, this is part of what I want to do with my life -- re-teach the Church Latin!

By the way, the last paragraph just shows how STUPID people get without Latin:

On Friday afternoon, the synod was discussing a proposal to make a symbolic but possibly significant amendment to the text of the document. Instead of beginning with a salutation to the Church's 'Brothers and Sisters', a group of participants suggested it should read 'Sisters and Brothers', so as to underline a new commitment to women in Catholicism .

*head cocked to the side; eyes glazed over; drool emitting from corner of mouth*
posted by Lauren, 12:15 AM | link | 4 comments

{Thursday, October 20, 2005  }

.:{Why I Really Don't Like This Banner}:.




Romans 10:12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and bestows his riches upon all who call upon him.

Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 3:11 Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scyth'ian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in all.

(RSV)

The term "Neo-Cath" was first used divisively by Fr. James O'Leary in his post "The Rise of the Neo-Caths" (even though it's not there anymore). Fr. O'Leary himself introduces this term specifically to distinguish the territorial "us" from the "them".

Unfortunately, people took it and ran with it without thinking it through. By using and even embracing this term, they perpetuate the division and the discord, essentially saying "Yeah well we don't WANT you to play on our playground, So there! Pbbbbt!"

When one describes oneself as a Catholic, nothing ought to go before the term "Catholic" unless it properly describes the Rite to which one belongs; last time I checked, there is no Conservative Rite, no Liberal Rite, and no Neo-whatever Rite. It implies that WE are the only REAL Catholics, which is a HUGE judgment on the rest of the Catholic Church that absolutely nobody is qualified to make. It's a blatantly evil division in the church, "MY piece of the Catholic Church is better than YOUR piece of the Catholic Church". One may as well say that since I attend St. Thomas Aquinas church, only *I* have the Essence of Catholicism, whereas you over there at the church with some non-POD name are not actually Catholic.

"Welcome to the REAL Catholic Church" -- what the heck is that? False in so many ways. Furthermore the term itself is intrinsically flawed: "Catholic" means "Universal", but if we put a qualification on the universal we no longer have a universal but a particular and the term loses all meaning and is an empty, hollow and useless word, a word which conveys no reality and therefore falls short of its purpose and is then by definition evil.

The "definition" of a "Neo-Cath" also contains big problems:

* That we "tend to sexual puritanism . . . vocal advocates and practitioners of a strictly-interpreted concept of sexual fidelity, with a strong emphasis on procreative sexuality"
* that we engage in " combative apologetics . . . [devoting] treasures of ingenuity to proving that the Church has never changed her teaching on anything -- not on usury, slavery, torture, the Inquisition, the Crusades, and above all not on sexual matters" (what's this preoccupation with sex?)
* that we are "'young fogeys' -- [taking] a delight in sporting old-fashioned references, such as Chesterton, Belloc, C.S. Lewis, Garrigou-Lagrange . . . [yearning] for an idealized church of Pius XII, a vibrant flawless Catholicism that never was"
* that we "combine biblical and magisterial fundamentalism . . . in complete contempt of biblical scholarship and hermeneutics"
* that we are "ideological and political rightists [whose] papolatry commonly goes hand in hand with Busholatry"


Not only does it limit this "real" group to a very few (even an age restriction), it ties up the definition with politics (as do the terms "conservative" and "liberal"; these terms are proper to politics and not to theology in any way, shape or form).

Furthermore, it (appears to) take far too seriously what is not meant to be taken seriously. I.e. I am a Lewisite -- I LOVE C.S. Lewis. But C.S. Lewis is by no means the be-all end-all of anything, nor is he going to be my ultimate source of faith and salvation. I am an Aristotelian, and ditto.

The section on "young fogeys" incorporates into a definition what is actually accidental. Perhaps this is the case that the face of the young church loves Belloc and Chesterton and Garrigou-Lagrange (though to be fair, my mother reads G-L and I have never; my mother has had three children and wouldn't be considered a "young fogey"), but that is not what makes a "Neo-Cath", nor should it. In fact, that's a really stupid thing to include. Because if I follow what they're saying completely through, what it tells me is that if I don't like Belloc, I'm not a "Neo-Cath" and I'm not in the "REAL Catholic Church".

Perhaps it's all just in fun?

But why is there this need to segregate the "us" from the "them"? Why even bring it up? What's the point?

There is no point, ultimately. When the time comes, Aristotelian, Platonist, Neo-Plantonist, Thomist, conservative, liberal, Kantian, Cartesian, Nominalist, New-Historical Critical, Liberationist, Literalist, Realist will all fall away, and what will be asked is "Did you love Me?"*

(Now some people may be mistaken -- I included the Good and the Bad and the Ugly together there for a reason -- but one cannot say that all the Cartesians will say "no" and go immediately to Hell without collecting $200. )

* But not everyone who says "Lord, Lord" will be saved; obviously this presupposes Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy of every individual person (and remember our own salvation is our first concern). In this post I am not trying to say that "All religions are equal" or that "everybody who has warm fuzzy feelings for God is going to go to heaven", I am talking very specifically about the Catholic Church, and assuming that people reading this blog are catechized enough to know how to live their life according to how the Magisterium directs and makes an attempt to live the good life. I'm talking about people like, for example, Zadok (on whom I can pick because I won't offend him personally): someone who is not an agnostic, athiest, protestant, buddhist or anything other than a Catholic who is trying to live a Catholic life as is a poor sinner depending on God's mercy like all the rest of us. There. Long disclaimer. I refused to be accused of things I'm not saying.

Updated to add: The image comes from http://www.catholicpillowfight.com/; the image is linked to the website, so I didn't think I needed to provide a text link, but here it is anyway.
posted by Lauren, 2:53 PM | link | 8 comments

.:{The Scots are on a Roll}:.


You're the top,
You're the Roman Canon;
You're the top,
You're the Creed in Latin;


Behold the rest of the creation by Boeciana at Laodicea.
posted by Lauren, 9:44 AM | link | 0 comments

.:{No Secrets Here}:.


Jordan at Contemplating the Laundry posts about the huge line over which Victoria's Secret has veritably leapt.

Others have said that even prior to now VS has done some inappropriate things, i.e. modeling their "angel" lingerie on prime television hours, and perhaps posed their models too seductively in catalogues, etc. I think the t.v. spot was inappropriate, but the catalogue never bugged me too much, and I used to think that, although too prominent, there were bigger fish to fry than VS.

However, now they've crossed the line to simple women's lingerie to exhibitionist pornography. The news video clip (warning: it may be a little rough) to which Jordan links looks like they were filming the interior of the Porn shop in Amelie-- the sort of trashy garters-and-thigh-high boots one has no excuse to wear unless down on one's luck and walking the corners.

From an article in the Post:

"Well," said Steina Rubin of Bethesda, "I find it just totally disgusting." And, no, she would not be shopping there. "I'm not entering a whorehouse," she said. "I come to the mall with my daughter. It's disgusting. And I'm from Europe !"

Whoa. That's pretty bad.

Seriously, there's no way to get around it. If the first VS could have been described as a "legitimate business" before, this one cannot, if only because of the store's mannequins which suggest, among other things, lesbianism and sado-masochism. And there are "adults only" sections of the store, though no age limit is required either for the whole store or for these sections.

What's worse is that the store is next to a movie theatre -- forget taking the kids to see Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. If nothing else, that's what some of the people are complaining about:

Some shoppers said they have an issue not with what the store was selling but with the proximity of the displays to the mall's public areas.

Something must be done about this. Suggested: email VS, write VS, boycott VS. Evidently they want their customers so de-feminized and de-humanized that they won't be able to think but throw piles of cash in their direction.

What a stereotype to put on women, too. At least in the old store they sold sweaters and socks.


The address to write:

VICTORIA'S SECRET
North American Office
P.O. Box 16589
Columbus, Ohio 43216-6589

I should mention that this is a *test market*; if YOU complain (and YOU, yes you, right here, right now, sitting in your computer chair; not somebody else, YOU. Nobody else will do it unless you start) then YOU will be the deciding factor, YOU will help make the world a decent place for normal people and children. Complaining today will have the "new" VS in the can tomorrow.
posted by Lauren, 9:15 AM | link | 3 comments

{Wednesday, October 19, 2005  }

.:{No wonder the Italians have problems with liturgical music}:.


Matt once complained to me that Italian liturgical "music" often is one note held while they rattle off many syllables, unintentionally after the manner of chant (i.e. the chanted line of the Magnificat ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes).

In some random Googling, I found this Italian website with a translation of the famous Beatles' song "Yellow Submarine". What was originally a very simple affair becomes exessively complicated:

Nella città dove sono nato,
Viveva un uomo che andava per mare,
E ci raccontò della sua vita,
Nella terra dei sottomarini.
Cosi navigammo verso il sole,
Finché trovammo il mare verde,
E vivemmo sotto le onde,
Nel nostro sottomarino giallo.
Viviamo tutti in un sottomarino giallo,
Sottomarino giallo, sottomarino giallo.
Viviamo tutti in un sottomarino giallo,
Sottomarino giallo, sottomarino giallo.
E i nostri amici son tutti a bordo,
Molti più di loro vivono alla porta accanto,
E la banda comincia a suonare.
Viviamo tutti in un sottomarino giallo,
Sottomarino giallo, sottomarino giallo.
Viviamo tutti in un sottomarino giallo,
Sottomarino giallo, sottomarino giallo.
Poiché facciamo una vita comoda,
Ciascuno di noi ha tutto quanto gli serve,
Cielo blu e mare verde,
Nel nostro sottomarino giallo.
Viviamo tutti in un sottomarino giallo,
Sottomarino giallo, sottomarino giallo.
Viviamo tutti in un sottomarino giallo,
Sottomarmo giallo, sottomarino giallo...
posted by Lauren, 11:21 PM | link | 0 comments

.:{Why Monks Wear Pants -or- Why Men Shouldn't Wear Skirts}:.



The Scots have the same problem. The Queen looks none too comfortable, here...

"At the end of Bernard [of Clairvaux]'s speach, Konrad threw himself weeping at Bernard's feet and took the cross -- a sign of his acceptance. They then proceeded to carry him out on their shoulders, which must have been a magnificent sight because monks didn't wear pants."
~Dr. S from my old University

The Waffling Anglican offers a most amusing post (though not exactly on this topic; I myself have chosen to isolate this point). I can't decide if it's because of the beuracracy, the Anti-Christ, or the line:

"When I was a young monk. I climbed up a ladder to have a look at something and two girls whistled and said what good legs I have. I haven't climbed up a ladder since," [Father Sutch] told Wednesday's Daily Mail.
posted by Lauren, 9:45 PM | link | 4 comments

.:{Saint Luke and the Virgin}:.




Being swamped with work on this end, I haven't been able to keep up with all the liturgical Awesomeness that's been occurring recently.

However I did stumble accross this interesting image of St. Luke, and thought it might be of interest if slightly tardy:



From the National Gallery in London, St. Luke painting the Virgin by "a follower of Massys".

According to legend, Saint Luke painted the Virgin and Child and he is therefore often depicted at an easel or with brushes and palette in hand. The theme was especially popular with Netherlandish painters of the 15th and 16th centuries.

Not being very familiar with Netherlandish art, I had entirely missed this phenomenon -- it is, as Zadok notes, "cute" -- I had never thought of Mary sitting for her portrait, or, in the woodcut Zadok, posts, appearing.

Some even call St. Luke the first iconographer, and assert he also painted Sts. Peter and Paul.

The icon of Our Lady said to be painted by St. Luke resides in S. Maria del Popolo (OR in S. Maria Maggiore, I've heard both but seen neither) in Rome, and according to this page (which I admit I have not read thoroughly *disclaimer*), the famous icon is apparently bound up with the famous Regina Caeli:

During St. Gregory the Great's pontificate (A.D. 590-604), in the year A.D. 597, this icon was carried in procession to Hadrian's tomb during a time of a great plague. Upon arrival at the destination, a choir of angels was heard singing:

Regina coeli, laetare, alleluia;
Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia;
Resurrexit sicut dixit, alleluia.

(Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia;
For He Whom you did merit to bear, alleluia;
Has risen as He said, alleluia.)

To which St. Gregory replied:

Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.
(Pray for us to God, alleluia.)

Then St. Michael appeared over the tomb, with sword drawn -- and put his sword back in its sheath as a sign of the end of the pestilence. This appearance of the Archangel is the reason why Hadrian's tomb is now known as Castel Sant'Angelo.


Medieval manuscript icons of the same: One and Two. I find the latter particularly delightful.

posted by Lauren, 9:00 PM | link | 2 comments

.:{Ha!}:.


Via Andrew Cusack, we have hope that the British Isles Are Not Entirely Hell-bent (which, until now, has been under question):

A 19-year-old Scot takes matters into his own hands:



He adds that anyone who feels they require said prophylactic

should consult their local abstinence rep., who will gladly furnish you with a bucket of cold water. Because if you're going to act like animals, then we've got to treat you like animals...


Hear hear!
posted by Lauren, 2:23 PM | link | 3 comments

{Monday, October 17, 2005  }

.:{Ack}:.


What's with this?

I thought we were expecting the opposite from John Roberts?
posted by Lauren, 7:40 PM | link | 2 comments

.:{A Short Response}:.


A short response to this article.

This has been hashed-over so many times that all that needs to be said is the following:

If you believe that The Da Vinci Code is in any way historical, interesting, or "good literature", then, strictly objectively speaking, you are stupid, and its your fault that your children will go to community college, flunk out and spend the rest of their lives at home, squandering your daily income.

Thank you for continuing to demote the general literacy of the world
.

Any one with half a brain can discern this, it's practically First Principles. But as I say, it's been hashed over enough times that I don't need to go into it again.

(*cough* sorry, relative of mine, but you are objectively wrong.)
posted by Lauren, 4:29 PM | link | 1 comments

.:{Slow blogging...}:.


Blogging will be sparse because of school, papers, the last couple midterms and Matt of the Holy Whapping visiting. Hopefully La Traviata won't be sold out on Saturday.

In the meantime, some clergy-shirts and mantillas:

Aquinas and More Catholic Goods - For all your Catholic needs

Black, Tab-Collared, Long-sleeved Clergy Shirt, Wi

Black, Tab-Collared, Long-sleeved Clergy Shirt


Aquinas and More Catholic Goods - For all your Catholic needs

Black Rectangle Mantilla

Black Rectangle Mantilla



And this is a really good book:


Aquinas and More Catholic Goods - For all your Catholic needs

God's Human Face

God's Human Face
posted by Lauren, 1:51 AM | link | 1 comments

{Friday, October 14, 2005  }

.:{Trauma!}:.


'American Girl' Assailed for Teaming with Pro-Abortion Charity

(Agape Press) The spokesperson for a pro-family group says she was disturbed to find that a toy manufacturer esteemed by Christians has joined with a pro-abortion, pro-lesbian group. And a Chicago-based pro-life organization is hinting at a boycott against that toy maker if the partnership is not dissolved soon.

...

Kathryn Hooks, director of media and public relations for the American Family Association, says American Girl has long been treasured by Christians for emphasizing traditional family values with their dolls. But now, Hooks notes, American Girl has partnered with a charitable group called Girls Inc. to sell a bracelet known as the "I Can" Band. Under the arrangement, American Girl is donating 70 cents of every bracelet purchase ($1) to the charity, as well as a $50,000 lump sum.

The AFA media spokesperson says the problem is that Girls Inc. promotes a social agenda that is distinctly contradictory to that of American Girl. "Girls Inc. has clearly stated support for Roe v. Wade and 'every young woman's right to choose.' They are pro-abortion, pro-choice without a doubt," the media spokesperson says. "That is made clear on their website."

Hooks is referring to an advocacy statement on the Girls Inc. website addressing "reproductive freedom," which states: "Girls Incorporated supports a woman’s freedom of choice, a constitutional right established by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 in Roe vs. Wade."

According to Hooks, Girls Inc. also offers girls resources encouraging lesbianism and bi-sexuality. One of their publications states, "The emergence of a lesbian identity is an ongoing process, rather than an event." In addition, advocacy statement pages on the website state the group endeavors to eliminate "homophobia and other forms of discrimination" and that girls have a right to "positive, supportive environments and linkages to community resources for dealing with issues of sexual orientation."

Hooks says American Girl's affiliation with Girls Inc. is particularly disturbing because the latter's website reaches out to girls as young as six years old. And that is why, she says, the American Family Association is encouraging parents to take action.

...

And like AFA, the Pro-Life Action League is encouraging parents, grandparents, and other family members to write to Ellen Brothers to object to the company's support for Girls Inc. "While Girls Inc. has some good programs," Scheidler says, "they also support abortion, oppose abstinence-only education for girls, and condone lesbianism."


I used to love American Girl dolls as a kid -- in fact I still have all three of mine. They were wonderful dolls -- in addition to being beautiful, they fed my growing interest in history (one of the dolls was from Colonial Virginia in the time of the Revolutionary War, one lived during the victorian era before prohibition, one was a 19th century Mexican [shutup, Zadok[ -- all their stuff was super-accurate and just cool).

This is not like my dubious verbal balk at amazon.com where there was some nebulous connetion between company and product, American Girl is very much promoting the "I Can" bracelet (with cheesy feminist slogans like "Believe in your strength", "Believe in your power"; these are seven-year-old girls! What power? I could probably knock 'em over with one hand tied behind my back) and making no secret -- nay, advertising -- its new link with Girls Inc.

A visit to Girls Inc, a click on "Take Action" and then "Advocacy Statements" and then "Girls have the right to express and appreciate their bodies" brings up this website , which, among other things, contains the following:

We recognize the right of all women to choose whether, when, and under what circumstances to bear children. Reproductive freedom and responsibility are essential to other rights and opportunities, including pursuit of education, employment, financial security and a stable and fulfilling family life. Restrictions of reproductive choice are especially burdensome for young women and poor women. Girls Incorporated supports a woman’s freedom of choice, a constitutional right established by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 in Roe vs. Wade.

This is no small link. Something like this screams for an (organized!!) boycott which, I argue, is not an irrational or impossible choice: American Girl sells fairly expensive toys, it's not anything anyone needs.

Good grief, people. Can't anybody do anything right nowadays?

Hat-tip: The Waffling Anglican
posted by Lauren, 8:04 AM | link | 4 comments

.:{Yes, I caved}:.


So I'm advertising on the site now. Look on the sidebar under the Dominican shield.

I can't stand canned advertisements, so I wrote my own. I hope they won't mind.

Update: Part of the reason I like this site is that it's one of the few places one can buy a tridentine missal (even for children!) without supporting the schismatic Society of St. Pius the X (SSPX).

And, okay, if I have suggestions, I suggest the following:

Four Loves and Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold,


"The Four Loves" plus "Till We Have Faces". I am convinced that these two books must be read together to be understood properly (similarly the "Abolition of Man" must be read with "That Hideous Strength"). "Till We Have Faces" is a deep and challenging and beautiful book, the height of Lewis' writing. Forget Naria, forget the Space Trilogy, "Till We Have Faces" is literally the culmination of Lewis' classical and logical education coupled with his Christian conversion (and my own personal thing of muthos). I got this book one evening when I was 13, and I did not put it down until the next morning. I have read this book many times on my own, and even a few times for class. It is, as I say, difficult in a way that Narnia is decidedly not, and beautiful, esp. coupled with "The Four Loves".

If you can also lay your hands on a copy of Lewis "Experiment in Criticism", it's quite pertinent to the discussed-below article, "How To Read".
posted by Lauren, 12:19 AM | link | 3 comments

{Thursday, October 13, 2005  }

.:{Inculturation}:.


Dominicanus, an Australian Dominican father, has a post about inculturation (where, being in Australia, they have, I imagine, had to put up with a lot of "Aboriginal" nonsense) and how it's just not done correctly these days and therefore comes off as camp. He makes the very good observation --

Inculturation will happen of its own accord. Self-conscious, romantic, Western notions of the rituals of noble savages being purer than our nasty Roman Rite ought to be put into the trash can with Rousseau.

I don't know that it could have happened under the Old Rite, but I think he's definitely correct in re: the Novus Ordo.
posted by Lauren, 7:31 AM | link | 4 comments

{Wednesday, October 12, 2005  }

.:{St. Dominic Image}:.




This Random St. Dominic Image brought to you by the letter "J" for the former Quodlibeta blogger.

Why is the person on the right holding a burning trash can? One expects homeless people to start circling around it.
posted by Lauren, 9:14 AM | link | 7 comments

.:{For goodness sake...}:.


Rocco Palmo has totally stepped over the line, implying -- almost explicitly saying -- that traditional liturgical garb is connected to narcissism and homosexuality --

You'll note that he's wearing a cassock with a shoulder cape. Some of you may love that on a priest, but it is a red flag of the strong, repressed, univocal (i.e. boot them out now) clerical closet if ever there were one. It screams "Oh, this one really thinks something of herself" -- from about 15 miles away.

And the comment-boxes are, as usual, ugly as they tend to get when any manner of traditionalism is attacked.

The anti-papal tiara rant(s), while tiresome and overly lengthy and repetitive, were at least on some level understandable. The case in question with this certain priest is perhaps understandable, but the issue seems to be raised in a way that implies universal causality -- the pathology causing what some people would defend as manifestations of PODity.

Why even raise the issue?
posted by Lauren, 9:10 AM | link

.:{Save the Date}:.




December 3rd -- ARMY NAVY FOOTBALL!

Go Army! Sink Navy!

(ugh, and, like, try to win some games before then too, okay?)
posted by Lauren, 9:03 AM | link | 2 comments

{Tuesday, October 11, 2005  }

.:{This Woman Gets Bitchier With Age}:.


It isn't enough that Yoko Ono broke up the Beatles, but she still publically slams Paul McCartney.

...Yoko, 72, suggested that Lennon was a far better singer than his fellow Beatle, and went on to pour scorn on McCartney's lyrics.

There were gasps of astonishment at yesterday's Q Magazine Awards in London as she took to the stage and went on the attack.

'I'll tell you a story about John,' she told the audience. 'He often used to wake up in the middle of the night and ask me, "Why do people cover Paul's songs so much, but never mine?"

'I used to tell him, "It's because you are a talented songwriter. You don't just rhyme June with spoon. And you are a very good singer - lots of people would be too afraid to cover one of your songs.

'Then I would make him a cup of tea, and he would be okay. I just miss that sort of moment that we had.'

Her stinging criticism of Lennon's former bandmate and songwriting partner stunned the room filled with stars including Jimmy Page, Ray Davies, Paul Weller, Robin Gibb, Liam and Noel Gallagher and Coldplay.

Although McCartney's lyrics have often been seen as more simplistic than Lennon's, he never actually rhymed June with spoon.

But he came pretty close. In the song She Came In Through The Bathroom Window, which featured in a medley on the Abbey Road album, Sir Paul did rhyme 'spoon' with 'lagoon'.

The first verse goes: 'She came in through the bathroom window/ Protected by a silver spoon/But now she sucks her thumb and wanders/By the banks of her own lagoon.'

Yoko's comments perpetuate a row with McCartney which has been raging since she started dating Lennon in the late 1960s.

In the last few years she has threatened to sue him when he changed the famous Lennon/ McCartney writing credit around and in December banned him from using Yesterday on a solo album of love songs because it was a Beatles number, forcing him to scrap the project.


Though I have personally favored Paul since I encountered the genius of the Beatles (despite a brief flirtation with Ringo Starr, because c'mon, he's just cute A Hard Day's Night and, my favorite, Help!), it is in incredibly poor taste. Proof that she only married him for the fame and money and that she did, in fact, break up the legend that was the Beatles.

Furthermore, John Lennon, left to his own resources, sounds like the same thing over and over again. Paul was the diversity of the group, wanting to try out new genres (my all-time favorite Beatles' song is the obscure "Honey Pie" from the White Album because of its '20s sound) and new instruments, not being mired down by one thing or another.

John gives us "The Ballad of John and Yoko" (undoubtedly the biggest public whine, predating even "emo") which only got on the "1" album because Yoko was stomping on somebody's toes with her evil stiletto heels.

It's true that John and Paul influenced each other a lot -- I believe John saved "Yesterday" from Paul's initial lyrics, "Scrambled eggs, oh my baby how I love your legs"... yes, that would have been a disaster. Their playing off one another gives us, in the later years, "Dear Prudence", "Julia", "I've Got A Feeling" -- probably some of the not-better-known songs to the casual observer, but the Beatles devotee values greatly the John-writing-like-Paul and Paul-writing-like-John songs.

I would argue that some of the all-Paul-all-the-time songs are some of the most beloved of the Beatles -- "When I'm Sixty-Four" (who hasn't said, at one point, that they want that at their wedding?), "Hey Jude", and the most covered song in history, "Yesterday".

There's a reason why Paul gets covered more than John -- he writes better and lovelier songs. Who the heck wants to cover "Why Don't We Do It In The Road"?

No, Yoko, you keep thinking that. Keep making money off your dead husband; we Beatle girls will go on drawing moustaches on your picture.

The Beatles are dead. Long live the Beatles.
posted by Lauren, 11:28 PM | link | 4 comments

.:{Bertie Gets it Right}:.




I was stunned by the man's resource.

"It's brain," I said; "pure brain! What do you do to get like that, Jeeves? I believe you must eat a lot of fish, or something. Do you eat a lot of fish, Jeeves?"

"No, sir."

"Oh, well, then, it's just a gift, I take it; and if you aren't born that way there's no use worrying."


According to this article fish is good for the brain.
posted by Lauren, 11:20 PM | link | 0 comments

.:{New Slogan?}:.


"Men Can't Help Acting On Cnytr"

This is what I got via the Slogan generator.

If that's so, why aren't I swamped with proposals??

Hat tip: Happy Catholic
posted by Lauren, 4:50 PM | link | 2 comments

{Monday, October 10, 2005  }

.:{Some funny things with which no one can argue}:.


The correct way to take out one's rage on a blogger. Try it with www.cnytr.blogspot.com (p.s. the wasps are really gross)

Also, clever.

We are translating Prudentius in Latin class and I am finding him Difficult.
posted by Lauren, 11:55 PM | link | 0 comments

.:{And just to keep the atmosphere light}:.


Lauren: *dazed, having just come out of mass* Here's a random question.
FrOP#1: Shoot.
Lauren: If you're the pope, can you excommunicate yourself? I mean I think you can, but what do you do then? If the pope is excommunicated, who does he get to reconcile him?
FrOP#2: .... that is a random question...
FrOP#1: Here's a random answer -- BLUE!
posted by Lauren, 9:34 AM | link | 15 comments

.:{How To Read}:.


I suspect that the education of the many has actually left them most lamentably illiterate. By "illiterate" I do not mean that they are not able to read in the sense that they are unable to put together sounds of letters and syllables of words to read and form coherent sentences, but that many are unable to understand the fullest meaning of words, sentences, metaphors, forms of literature.

It is quite clear that not every written work can be read in the same way. For example, one does not read non-fiction or informative works the same as one reads fiction -- these two different genres clearly require different reading styles. No one takes Nancy Drew seriously, or expects that the ancient gods appear on the battlefield anymore (not even "neo-pagans", as their "gods" are hollow shells of their own ego). A further example of this is poetry, seemingly the bane of those who "don't like" to read because they "don't get" poetry. For example --

Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

--Robert Frost (1874-1963)

Clearly this poem is about more than the botanical life-cycle -- the reference to Eden makes it apparent that it also reflects the fall of man, and in a broader sense it speaks of the elusive golden age and the almost inevitability of corruption.

Yet even in the circle of "poetry reading" are different poems meant to be read in different ways --

When my love swears that she is made of truth,
I do believe her, though I know she lies,
That she might think me some untutored youth,
Unlearned in the world's false subtleties.
Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young,
Although she knows my days are past the best,
Simply I credit her false-speaking tongue;
On both sides thus is simple truth supprest.
But wherefore says she not she is unjust?
And wherefore say not I that I am old?
Oh, love's best habit is in seeming trust,
And age in love loves not to have years told:
Therefore I lie with her and she with me,
And in our faults by lies we flattered be.

--William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

(Note: if one climbs the central stairs of the UVA library in the stacks up to the top, the door leading to the roof has this poem written in between various graffitical "Joe wuz here" and "for a good time call" inscriptions; this amuses me greatly.)

Shakespeare is fond of wordplay -- "lies" and "habit" are the key words, the poem hinges on their double-meaning.

Furthermore, one does not have the same expectations of William Shakespeare that one has of Robert Frost and vice-versa, as the two were coming from vastly different eras and were writing for vastly different ends (using quite different forms though both employ iambs). Era and surroundings most definitely influence poetry, though it does not constrain poetry.

The same is true of non-poetic works, though sometimes this can be more elusive. Yet one does not pick up a Medieval French romance expecting it to be a rolicking tale like The Lord of the Rings: one would be quite surprised by Chretien de Troyes' seemingly erratic organization. Similarly one does not pick up The Man Who Was Thursday expecting a straightforward presentation -- I did, at first, but after a few dozen pages realized this wasn't like a C.S. Lewis tale and, by the end, had figured out what Chesterton was doing. Had I persisted in my error, I should think Chesterton a madman.

The difference, of course, is genre. Sometimes it takes a bit of detective work to figure out said genre (like in the case of my misunderstanding Chesterton), but sometimes it is clearly understood or can be clearly picked-out in its historical context: we know that Ovid and Vergil had an agenda concerning Caesar Augustus; furthermore, the middle ages stuck to a relatively narrow array of genres.

Reading the text alone is often not enough -- knowing the historical context and being able to fit in literature with the age-old literary "conversation" is true literacy.

When this literacy is lost, the goodness of literature becomes a confusing chaos and can seem even evil and deceptive. On the one hand, Plato's Republic may seem like a supremely evil work, if taken at face-value. How are we to read the Republic? This is a question to which many have proposed varied and contradictory answers; I myself still struggle with the Republic. It's something that will be debated forever, like "Did Socrates exist?" -- except that the latter question (when reduced to mere history) is inconsequential and irrelevant.

The ancients propose the most problem for us. Though we build on the foundations they have laid for us, we nonetheless often furrow our collective brow at the hieroglyphs etched on said foundations.

This, I think, is the problem that many people face with scripture.

Scripture is one of the universal texts that everybody (in the Western World, at least) has read every where and at all times.* And scripture, everybody except Calvinists will admit, is a difficult work. Obviously the meaning is not clear and apparent to all, nor is it "simple" (unless we reduce it to the general principle of "love", but we need the particular forms of that universal to understand and to function). The fractured Protestant world is enough to exhibit this to us.

(* Don't dispute me on this claim, you know very well what I mean. )

One of the interesting things about scripture is the many genres contained therein -- poetry, practical advice, narratives, geneology, allegory, et cetera. And so it requires an educated person to read Scripture and understand it with any intelligence: however, given the spiritual component to scripture, there is plenty that we may not understand. But on the other hand, given the corporeal component to scripture (i.e. that it was written through men and for men -- but, of course, not by men), Scripture is accessible to us.

When reading scripture literately, many things must be taken into consideration (and thus we have the various schools of exegesis which focus clearly on one or more aspect of scripture) -- many of which I have just mentioned because, after all, scripture is firstly a literary work: the Word was not given us in the form of a movie or a phone call or in a solely (though at least partially) oral tradition (this presents mor difficulties which I shall not address here), but it comes to us through writing. Litteras. Literature.

Yet it was not, as is established, men who composed scripture, but the Holy Spirit -- and thus, breathed into every word is Divine Inspiration (lit. in-spiro, to breathe into). But the scriptures didn't fall from the sky, they were written through men -- similarly the Word became Incarnate: fully God and fully man. Arius, making Christ created and less than God, separated us from God such that we had no hope of relating to Him. Neither was He solely God (for the same reason), nor solely Man (making the crucifixion irrelevant); the scriptures are not invented-by-man (making them pointless), but they have their human component as well. Man is likewise composed of the spiritual and corporeal -- it is fitting that the word of God be so.

What this means is that we immediately see in scripture is corporeal; the spiritual is found within.

And so, as with other forms of literature, we can expect different things from the different genres contained within scripture, for it is clear that scripture is not entirely literal (a heresy of the Protestants) -- i.e. "Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates" (Ps 24:7), "I am the door" (John 10:9). Gates do not have literal heads, nor do we worship Christ as an actual talking block of wood on a hinge. The former is an anthopomorphic way of speaking of gates -- attributing human qualities to inanimate or non-human things; the second is Christ, in the context of a narrative, speaking in parable.

This is in no way to claim that scripture is false or that scripture lies -- this would be an untutored and illiterate understanding. All of Scripture does not claim to be entirely literal -- there are places where attention is being called to the actual facts of the events, such as John 21:24 -- This is the disciple who is bearing witness to these things, and who has written these things; and we know that his testimony is true. But this is, again, in the context of a narrative of sorts. The psalms, by their very nature, do not claim to be literal -- no poetry does; literal poetry would deny the essence of poetry. Emily Dickenson's "There is no Frigate like a Book" does not invite the reader to surf with his favorite copy of Gulliver's Travels, nor is Frost's "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening" only about a fork in the road on his journey home... as has been discussed above.

There is a myth common to mankind, implanted somehow in our psyche; this myth is about how the wickedness of the earth prompted Divine wrath to purge the world of evil, yet spare a man and his wife for their virtue. For a number of days and nights the earth was flooded, but the man and his wife were safe on their boat. After the wind and the rain had ceased and the waters subsided, the boat came to rest on the top of a holy mountain. With the help of the Divine, the man and his wife with the blessing and protection of the Divine re-people the earth, which is never to be flooded again.

The "flood narrative", as it has come to be called, appears in many traditions: in the Roman tradition, it is Deucalion and Pyrrha. Ovid describes this in his Metamorphoses and uses it as a lesson in piety and fear of the gods (among other things). But the Hebrew tradition of the flood narrative with Noah and his wife expresses much more -- the waters cleanse the earth, like the baptismal waters in which we die to the world and rise to new life in Christ. The ark of Noah is a symbol of the Church. This narrative, with which every civilization is familiar, has new life breathed into the human narrative -- there is no way the human author could have known, short of particular divine revelation, of Baptism, of the Church, etc.

But the flood narrative does not claim to be literal, nor should it. A number of things in the narrative express to the reader that there is importance beyond the literal -- i.e. the number of days and nights of rain being 40, a sacred number.** If this myth (and myth is not necessarily untrue) were taken at face value, it would have little relevance for us today, as it would describe merely a historical event with coincidental and possibly accidental resemblences to salvation history. The narrative comes to life when understood as it is, as the muthos redeemed by the Holy Spirit, as a sign of God watching over his Church. There is no error in that.

(** A few things tip off a person reading or listening to a story as to its genre: i.e. when the story starts "once upon a time", or when the hero does something fantastic in threes or sevens or other numbers. In fairy tales, this is a small or cute detail; in divinely-inspired scripture, it takes on actual meaning)

Properly understanding genres, one sees that in the context of the Gospels -- a series of events in the life of Christ -- that miracles occur. There is little figureativity outside of parable-speech, as the concern is for communicating accurately the deeds and events of Christ's life.*** It would do violence to the text of the Gospels to assert that one event is taken literally and another is not.

(*** And this is why the 6th chapter of John's gospel, specifically the Bread of Life discourse, is unique. In other places of the Gospel Christ speaks figuratively ("I am the door" etc), but in John 6 he calls great attention to the fact that here he is being quite literal.)

All of this so far, by the way, can be found in Dei Verbum. NB 11: In composing the sacred books, God chose men and while employed by Him (2) they made use of their powers and abilities, so that with Him acting in them and through them, they, as true authors, consigned to writing everything and only those things which He wanted.

With all of this in mind, the educated Catholic can now turn to the falsity of the recent Times article. For the 40th anniversary of Dei Verbum, the Bishops of England and Wales, and of Scotland, have prepared a teaching document, The Gift of Scripture, which claims nothing beyond what I have above, which is nothing beyond what the church has understood forever, namely to assert that it is heresy to say that there are no miracles, that gates have heads, and that scripture can err. The blatant labeling by the Times of what in scripture is "True" and "Untrue" is blatantly false.

Pope Leo XIII says in Providentissimus Deus, "Dictated by the Holy Ghost, [scripture] contains things of the deepest importance, which in many instances are most difficult and obscure." (Emphasis added) Clearly not all of scripture can be understood in a strictly narrative and literal sense, otherwise it would be, as Calvin said, easy and apparent to all (though this is not true, as said above). Furthermore in I-I Q.1 Art.9 of the Summa Theologica, St Thomas Aquinas answers objection 2, which reads:

Further, this doctrine seems to be intended to make truth clear. Hence a reward is held out to those who manifest it: "They that explain me shall have life everlasting" (Sirach 24:31). But by such similitudes truth is obscured. Therefore, to put forward divine truths by likening them to corporeal things does not befit this science.

St. Thomas responds:

The ray of divine revelation is not extinguished by the sensible imagery wherewith it is veiled, as Dionysius says (Coel. Hier. i); and its truth so far remains that it does not allow the minds of those to whom the revelation has been made, to rest in the metaphors, but raises them to the knowledge of truths; and through those to whom the revelation has been made others also may receive instruction in these matters. Hence those things that are taught metaphorically in one part of Scripture, in other parts are taught more openly. The very hiding of truth in figures is useful for the exercise of thoughtful minds and as a defense against the ridicule of the impious, according to the words "Give not that which is holy to dogs" (Matthew 7:6).

Question 10 of the same article deals with whether scripture may be expounded in many senses.

The Times claims that the Church now claims that parts of scripture are false. Yet as been shown above, this is both untrue (as it explains the Catholic right understanding of scripture) and impossible (because not every part of scripture is meant literally and therefore when one says "this is not literal" it is a non sequitur to say that he means "this is false").

And so the mis-quoting Times and other wrong understandings of scripture may be clearly refuted with literacy, Pope Leo XIII, and St. Thomas Aquinas.
posted by Lauren, 9:23 AM | link | 13 comments