Monthly Archives: November 2011

Thanksgiving 1789

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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA – A PROCLAMATION

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor – and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.” ']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

When The Technocrats Took My Country

Ross Douthat goes through the interesting exercise of translating what just happend to Italy into American terms, and in doing so underscores just how big the Eurozone shake up is:

The murmurs about Barack Obama being forced out began in Berlin and Beijing. After his party lost the midterm vote, there were hints that a government of technocrats would be imposed on America, to save the country from a debt crisis and the world from a depression.

As the debt-ceiling negotiations stalled out over the summer, a global coalition — led by Germany, China and the International Monetary Fund — began working behind the scenes to ease Obama out of the White House. The credit downgrade was the final blow: the president had lost the confidence of the world’s shadow government, and his administration could no longer survive.

Within days, thanks to some unusual constitutional maneuvering, Obama resigned the presidency and Michael Bloomberg was invited to take the oath of office. With Beijing issuing veiled threats against our currency, Congress had no choice but to turn the country’s finances over to the Senate’s bipartisan Gang of 6, which in turn acceded to Chinese and German “supervision” of their negotiations. Meanwhile, there was a growing consensus in Europe and Asia that only a true global superstate could prevent the debt contagion from spreading …

FOR Americans, the scenario I’ve just imagined is a paranoid fantasy, the kind of New World Order nightmare that haunts the sleep of black-helicopter watchers and Trilateral Commission obsessives.
→']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

It really is all about being “pro-choice”…

If one is to believe the “rumors” currently circulating around Washington, DC—otherwise called “reactions to trial balloons”—the Archbishop of New York, Most Rev. Timothy Dolan, walked away a winner following his meeting with President Obama last week.

Apparently, the Archbishop of New York convinced the President to uphold the so-called “conscience clause” that would allow religious institutions to be exempt from certain healthcare regulations that are to be promulgated by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, on August 1, 2012.

In the crosshairs is the contraceptive-coverage rule which specifies a more general provision in the Obamacare healthcare reform.  It requires all new insurance plans to cover “preventive services”—including birth control and abortofacients—without co-pays, deductibles or other out-of-pocket costs.

Knowing how Washington, DC, works, some Democrat lawmakers have taken note of the administration’s trial balloon and have gone on the offense.

According to an article in the Washington Post, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) raised the issue with President Obama while she was campaigning with him in New Hampshire.  That discussion followed conference calls last week between other top White House officials and members of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus.  U.S. Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO) said:

I think in the 21st century, most people are stunned to hear that we would even be talking about whether women can buy birth control through their insurance policies.  You would be denying millions of Americans the ability to have an essential part of their insurance coverage because of some attenuated religious affiliation of their employer.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CN) opined:

What’s baffling is not just the policy, but the political calculus here.  The effect would be to undermine, if not eviscerate, the energy and enthusiasm of huge numbers of young people, women and independent voters who believe in the President.

The President of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, called it “unthinkable” that the administration would incorporate the conscience clause in the final regulations.

More interesting to The Motley Monk than all of that political posturing is the article’s report of a discussion involving a graduate student, Taina Vargas:

However, if [Catholic] organizations were to be exempted from the federal rule, these individuals would have to continue paying out-of-pocket charges for birth control—about $20 to $30 per month, according to Planned Parenthood.

Taina Vargas would not even have that option. Vargas, a graduate student studying for a master’s degree in diplomacy and international relations at Seton Hall University, said she was surprised to learn that the Catholic institution’s health plan does not cover her birth-control prescription.

“This really is an issue of principle for me,” said Vargas, who is not Catholic.

“If young women like myself choose to be sexually active and don’t want a child right now so we can focus on our education, I think [birth control] is something the university should provide…

I don’t think it’s right for someone else to make this decision for me.”

Even though Taina Vargas is attending a Catholic university, she is “surprised,” citing some unnamed principle that would require Seton Hall to provide her with birth control so that she can be sexually active and not have a child “right now.”

Vargas’ story raises two important questions:

  1. Exactly what does attending a Catholic university mean for someone like Taina Vargas?
  2. What “principle” does she hold that would trump Catholic moral teaching?

The answers are obvious and are precisely why the conscience clause should prevail.  In this instance, when people go to work for or to attend Catholic universities or colleges, they should fully expect those institutions to uphold Catholic teaching unconditionally.

That’s where Taina Vargas may have it correct: It is a matter of “choice.”

If invited, one can choose to work for or to attend a Catholic institution of higher education with full awareness of its animating moral principles.  If one does not agree with those moral principles, they can choose to turn down the invitation.

 

To read the Washington Post article, click on the following link:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/democrats-lobby-against-any-broader-exceptions-to-contraceptive-coverage/2011/11/21/gIQAdHicmN_story.html

Remembrance of Turkeys Past

 

 

 

 

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As we prepare for Thanksgiving tomorrow, and as we recall our blessings and thank God for each and every one, let us also remember the humble turkey and the various disasters that result when that proud bird is not treated with the care that it deserves, dead or alive.    Oldtimers like myself will recognize the above video as part of the famous “Turkey Drop” episode from WKRP, a sitcom from the Seventies.

 

Of course Turkey Disasters are not, unfortunately, restricted to the realm of fiction.    Deep frying a turkey poses various risks.

Here we have a case of the flaming avian:

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William Shatner warns of the dangers of deep frying turkeys:

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Thanksgiving 1863

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If a nation ever needed Divine assistance it was our own America during the Civil War.  Riven in two, the nation must have seemed on a path to destruction by many of those who lived through that terrible trial.  Abraham Lincoln, as he led the United States through that struggle, increasingly found his mind turning to God.  This Proclamation was written by Secretary of State Seward, but the sentiments are no doubt ones in which Lincoln fully joined.

 

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State ']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

We Are Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

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Hattip to Joe Carter at First Things.  A truly remarkable video showing the development of us humans from our conception to our birth.  While I was watching it I thought of Psalm 139:14:  I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.  Tomorrow as we thank God for his manifold blessings, we should always keep in mind our chief blessing:  His gift of life to us.

Lying Worthless Political Hack Hates Catholic Conscience

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It will come as little surprise to faithful readers of this blog, but the Lying Worthless Political Hack, as I affectionately refer to ex-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D. San Francisco), took  the opportunity during an interview with the Washington Post to slam the Church she purportedly is a member of:

On abortion

Pelosi recently was criticized for the way she characterized a bill to amend Republican-proposed conscience exemptions for health-care reform that allow providers to refuse to perform abortions. Pelosi called the measure, which passed last month with some help from Democrats, “savage,’’ and said, “When the Republicans vote for this bill today, they will be voting to say that women can die on the floor and health-care providers do not have to intervene, if this bill is passed. It’s just appalling.”

In retrospect, does she think that assessment went too far? Not at all, she said: “They would” let women die on the floor, she said. “They would! Again, whatever their intention is, this is the effect.’’

Catholic health-care providers in particular have long said they’d have to go out of business without the conscience protections that Pelosi says amount to letting hospitals “say to a woman, ‘I’m sorry you could die’ if you don’t get an abortion.” Those who dispute that characterization “may not like the language,’’ she said, “but the truth is what I said. I’m a devout Catholic and I honor my faith and love it .?.?. but they have this conscience thing’’ that she insists put women at physical risk, although Catholic providers strongly disagree.

On one occasion, she said, laughing, one of her critics on the topic of abortion, speaking on the House floor, said, “Nancy Pelosi thinks she knows more about having babies than the pope. They think like this. And of course I do — I think the pope would agree — and I know more than you, too, mister.’’ ']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Thanksgiving 1908

Theodore Roosevelt, that force of nature that was once President of these United States, was a deeply religious man.  He attended church faithfully his entire life.  (He was Dutch Reformed, but he often attended Episcopal services with his wife.)  He opposed putting the national motto “In God We Trust” on currency, for fear it would cheapen the  noble sentiment, as would be the case, in his view, if it were used on postage stamps or in advertisements.  He was opposed to all religious bigotry as he would state immediately after the campaign of 1908 when the Unitarian Willam Howard Taft came under fire for his religion:

“I did not answer any of these letters during the campaign, because I regarded it as an outrage even to agitate such a question. … To discriminate against a thoroughly upright citizen because he belongs to some particular Church, or because, like Abraham Lincoln, he has not avowed his allegiance to any Church, is an outrage against the liberty of conscience which is one of the foundations of American life. … I do not for one moment believe that the mass of our fellow-citizens, or that any considerable number of our fellow citizens, can be influenced by such narrow bigotry as to refuse to vote for any thoroughly upright and fit man because he happens to have a particular religious creed. … I believe that this Republic will endure for many centuries. If so, there will doubtless be among its Presidents Protestants and Catholics, and very probably at some time, Jews. … In my Cabinet at the present moment there sit side by side Catholic and Protestant, Christian and Jew, each man chosen because in my belief he is peculiarly fit to exercise on behalf of all our people the duties of the office. … In no case does a man’s religious belief in any way influence his discharge of his duties, save as it makes him more eager to act justly and uprightly in his relations to all men.”

A frequent reader of the Bible, Roosevelt once opined that a thorough knowledge of it was more valuable to a person than a college education.

His Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1908 rejoices in the material well being of the country, but notes that there is far more to life than piling up material possessions.  He would have vigorously dissented from the idiotic bumper sticker:  “He who dies with the most toys wins.”  Here is the text of the Proclamation: →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Why Do Those Bitter Clingers Vote Republican?

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Liberal elites frequently profess astonishment at why so many  middle class Americans vote Republican.  Thomas Frank in 2004 published a book, What’s The Matter With Kansas , in which he bemoaned the fact that his fellow Kansans, or former fellow Kansans I should say since he resides in Washington DC, did not share his love of the Party of the Jackass.  Lee Siegel at The Daily Beast has a brilliant column in which he explains the political facts of life to the Liberal elites in the form of a letter from Occupy Harvard to their parents:

The man you think is a “sucker” because he votes for Republican candidates who don’t seem to give a hoot about him will vote for them every time. He looks at you, the crowd of The-Fix-Is-Always-In, and he casts his lot with the crowd of wealth and initiative.

You see, Mom and Dad, they don’t lie about his prospects. They tell him that he has to sink or swim. They don’t disrespect his willpower by promising that government will make life easier for him. They tell him that they respect his individuality. They tell him straight out what you, the liberal elite, know to be true but will never say. They tell him that life in America is winner-take-all, and that they are the people who will let him keep what he has. They tell him that his religion, his wife’s capacity to reproduce, his children—whether they are “successful” or not—are his treasure. They tell him that they don’t care if he is a person of modest ambition, little sophistication, and humble means. What they value is his capacity to change his own life.

 

What you tell him is that he should put his life in your hands. Yet you scorn his religion. You mock his faith in the sacredness of conception. You deride his belief in family. You tell him that his love for hunting makes him a murderer, and that his terror at being economically displaced makes him a xenophobe and a racist. Then you emasculate his hope for the future by telling him that if his ship comes in—that dream of a ship that makes the grinding disappointment of daily life worth living through—you’ll help yourself to a big slice of it. And you expect him to believe your rhetoric about fairness and equality when, all the while, you are accusing him of gullibility in his politics and bad faith toward the least fortunate of his fellow citizens. When, all the while, you are living untouched by your own policies. When you are cushioned against life’s hardness, not by government, but by simply knowing other people in your class. You expect him to buy your talk about equitable distribution of wealth when you are sailing through tax loopholes off into the sunset. For this man, his emotions make all the rational sense in the world. ']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Lessons For America From the European Fiscal Meltdown

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Another fine econ 101 video from the Center for Freedom and Prosperity.   This video exlores the lessons that America can learn from the current European fiscal and debt crisis.

The lessons are very simple:

1.  Higher taxes lead to higher government expenditure and not reduction of government debt.

2.  A value added tax is a recipe for run-away government expenditure.

3.   A welfare state breeds dependency.

4.   Fiscal reform and reduction of government expenditure is impossible once more people are living off the government than are paying taxes to support the government.

5.   Bailouts do not work. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Quas Primas

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QUAS PRIMAS
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XI
ON THE FEAST OF CHRIST THE
KING
TO OUR VENERABLE BRETHREN THE PATRIARCHS, PRIMATES,
ARCHBISHOPS,
BISHOPS, AND OTHER ORDINARIES
IN PEACE AND COMMUNION WITH THE APOSTOLIC
SEE.

Venerable Brethren, Greeting and the Apostolic
Benediction.

In the first Encyclical Letter which We addressed at
the beginning of Our Pontificate to the Bishops of the universal Church, We
referred to the chief causes of the difficulties under which mankind was
laboring. And We remember saying that these manifold evils in the world were due
to the fact that the majority of men had thrust Jesus Christ and his holy law
out of their lives; that these had no place either in private affairs or in
politics: and we said further, that as long as individuals and states refused to
submit to the rule of our Savior, there would be no really hopeful prospect of a
lasting peace among nations. Men must look for the peace of Christ in the
Kingdom of Christ; and that We promised to do as far as lay in Our power.
In the Kingdom of Christ, that is, it seemed to Us that peace could not
be more effectually restored nor fixed upon a firmer basis than through the
restoration of the Empire of Our Lord. We were led in the meantime to indulge
the hope of a brighter future at the sight of a more widespread and keener
interest evinced in Christ and his Church, the one Source of Salvation, a sign
that men who had formerly spurned the rule of our Redeemer and had exiled
themselves from his kingdom were preparing, and even hastening, to return to the
duty of obedience.

2. The many notable and memorable events which have
occurred during this Holy Year have given great honor and glory to Our Lord and
King, the Founder of the Church.

3. At the Missionary Exhibition men have been deeply
impressed in seeing the increasing zeal of the Church for the spread of the
kingdom of her Spouse to the most far distant regions of the earth. They have
seen how many countries have been won to the Catholic name through the
unremitting labor and self-sacrifice of missionaries, and the vastness of the
regions which have yet to be subjected to the sweet and saving yoke of our King.
All those who in the course of the Holy Year have thronged to this city under
the leadership of their Bishops or priests had but one aim – namely, to expiate
their sins – and at the tombs of the Apostles and in Our Presence to promise
loyalty to the rule of Christ.

4. A still further light of glory was shed upon his
kingdom, when after due proof of their heroic virtue, We raised to the honors of
the altar six confessors and virgins. It was a great joy, a great consolation,
that filled Our heart when in the majestic basilica of St. Peter Our decree was
acclaimed by an immense multitude with the hymn of thanksgiving, Tu Rex
gloriae Christe. We saw men and nations cut off from God, stirring up strife
and discord and hurrying along the road to ruin and death, while the Church of
God carries on her work of providing food for the spiritual life of men,
nurturing and fostering generation after generation of men and women dedicated
to Christ, faithful and subject to him in his earthly kingdom, called by him to
eternal bliss in the kingdom of heaven.

5. Moreover, since this jubilee Year marks the
sixteenth centenary of the Council of Nicaea, We commanded that event to be
celebrated, and We have done so in the Vatican basilica. There is a special
reason for this in that the Nicene Synod defined and proposed for Catholic
belief the dogma of the Consubstantiality of the Onlybegotten with the Father,
and added to the Creed the words “of whose kingdom there shall be no end,”
thereby affirming the kingly dignity of Christ.

6. Since this Holy Year therefore has provided more
than one opportunity to enhance the glory of the kingdom of Christ, we deem it
in keeping with our Apostolic office to accede to the desire of many of the
Cardinals, Bishops, and faithful, made known to Us both individually and
collectively, by closing this Holy Year with the insertion into the Sacred
Liturgy of a special feast of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This
matter is so dear to Our heart, Venerable Brethren, that I would wish to address
to you a few words concerning it. It will be for you later to explain in a
manner suited to the understanding of the faithful what We are about to say
concerning the Kingship of Christ, so that the annual feast which We shall
decree may be attended with much fruit and produce beneficial results in the
future. ']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

A Funeral of Sorts: The Last of the Old Translation

Last year on the First Sunday of Advent, I wrote a piece about the passing of the Propers in the soon-to-be-defunct translation of the Roman Missal.  While we had an entire year to say goodbye to the current Ordinary, each Sunday for the past year has presented us with a set of Propers that would never be heard again.  As we have journeyed over the course of the last fifty-two weeks through the new translation of the Ordinary, we didn’t give nearly as much attention to the once-a-year texts.  Yet these prayers, belonging mostly to the priest, are some of the most exquisite and exciting changes in the new translation of the Missal.

Today is the very last Sunday of the lame-duck translation.  Never again will we hear the translation with which most of us grew up.  While many parishes have already incorporated the people’s Ordinary into their Sunday celebrations, this weekend marks the end of the rest.  (Of course if you are one for “long goodbyes,” there is always the opportunity to go to Mass during this week for a series of last hurrahs.)

It seems timely, then, to visit the Collect (or the “Prayer-formally-known-as-the-Opening-Prayer”) for the very last Sunday in the liturgical year: The Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.  The current rendition reads:
Almighty and merciful God,
you break the power of evil and make all things new
in your Son Jesus Christ, the King of the universe.
May all in heaven and earth
acclaim your glory and never cease to praise you.

As far as these things go, it is not all too bad.  Yet the new and improved version does quite a bit more to emphasize the majesty of our Lord and of this great celebration:
Almighty ever-living God,
whose will is to restore all things
in your beloved Son, the King of the universe,
grant, we pray,

may render your majesty service

that the whole creation, set free from slavery,
and ceaselessly proclaim your praise.  


May we, too, be set free from the slavery of a translation that was in desperate need of being cleansed of its iniquities, and may we ceaselessly praise our Lord and Savior, the King of the universe, through this great gift that has been given to us: The New Translation of the Roman Missal.


As a complementary bookend to this last Sunday of the last year of the old translation, I give you the article written, nearly a year ago, on the first Sunday of the last year of the old translation:

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A Funeral of Sorts … every Sunday for the Next Year
November 28, 2010

I feel like each Sunday this year presents a funeral of sorts … a passing of Mass texts that will never be heard again.  Rather than mourning this passing, my heart finds solace in the assurance that these texts will rise again in a more perfect form with the “advent” of the new translation.  While we have a full year to pay our respects to the passing Ordinary, there is a rejoicing of sorts that the current Propers have reached the end of the proverbial line: their days are numbered, their time has passed, and blessed be God for that.


Today, the First Sunday of Advent, provides the first example of such a passing.  The Collect, in Latin, reads:
Da, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus,
hanc tuis fidelibus voluntatem,
ut, Christo tuo venienti iustis operibus occurrentes,
eius dextrae sociati, regnum mereantur possidere caeleste.
The current, Lame Duck Translation (to borrow the phrase from Fr. Zuhlsdorf) … what we all heard at Mass this morning … reads:
All-powerful God,
increase our strength of will for doing good
that Christ may find an eager welcome at his coming
and call us to his side in the kingdom of heaven.
The new translation will read,
Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God,
the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ
with righteous deeds at his coming,
so that, gathered at his right hand,
they may be worthy to possess the heavenly kingdom.
The Mickey Mouse rendering of 1973 lacks a certain dignity when compared with the more new and improved translation.  The later is more faithful to the Latin, but more importantly, it has an aesthetic quality that leaves the Lame Duck version grounded, or perhaps six feet less than grounded.
Let us not prematurely break into the Dies Irae for the passing of the old, decrepit, 1973 translation, for while it seems to have met its certain death with the passing of today’s Sunday liturgy, it pains me to say that its ghost will live on.

Those who regularly pray the Liturgy of the Hours know that the Collect from Mass is often used in the Proper of Seasons and Proper of Saints for the Divine Office.  This is done deliberately, of course, and provides the faithful a perfect opportunity to unite the sanctification of the day found by saying the Liturgy of the Hours with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the source an summit of the liturgy.  If one is faithful to all the hours, the Collect for the First Sunday of Advent is recited four times today (Office of Readings, Lauds, Daytime Prayer, and Vespers), as well as once yesterday (Vespers for the Vigil).

Once the new translation takes effect, there will be a disconnect between the Collect from the Sunday Mass and the Collect found in the breviary.  I sincerely hope that the Bishops allow the new translations to be used during public recitations of the Liturgy of the Hours in order to remedy this disconnect.  Is it possible that new breviaries are printed?  Possible, yes.  Plausible, no.  In the absence of a new printing, a supplement of Collects could be printed to be used alongside the Psalms and Readings from the breviary until such a time that ICEL decides to retranslate the Liturgy of the Hours.  (Don’t hold your breath, by the way.)

All things considered, however, this should not distract us from the burial of these texts that we experience this year.  At least in terms of the Holy Mass, the 1973 “Opening Prayer” for the First Sunday of Advent has met its maker, kicked the bucket, bit the dust, bought the farm, breathed its last, and indeed … croaked.  This is not a cause for mourning, but rather a looking forward to the day of resurrection; for the Latin soul of this prayer is indeed filled with grace, so when it rises again as the 2010 Collect, it will be gloriously triumphant.  We could, in fact, say that that new translation renders the prayer “worthy to possess the heavenly kingdom.”

One Sunday down, 51 more to go.   UPDATE: 51 Sundays down, 1 more to go.

General Washington and the Lord of Hosts

We live in an age where scoffing at religion and believers in God is all the rage.  In some ways the Eighteenth Century was like this time period.  In the Age of Enlightenment much of elite Western European opinion mocked Christianity and some  openly embraced atheism.  It was considered witty and daring and fun by the cultural avant garde.  It seemed much less humorous at the tail end of the century when the French Revolutionary regime for a time persecuted Christians and slaughtered them for their faith.  This type of hostility was much less in evidence in Eighteenth Century America.  Even those, for example Thomas Jefferson, who had doubts about the divinity of Christ, praised His teachings and had no doubt as to the existence of God.

George Washington, the commanding American figure of his day, was a very conventional Christian.  He attended church regularly, said his prayers and read his Bible.  His faith was as much a part of him as his love of his wife, his love of Mount Vernon and his ability to lead men through sufferings in the War of Independence that most of us today would find simply unimaginable.  Pious without being sanctimonious, Washington had no doubt that the fate of America in the Revolution was firmly in the hands of God.

We see this belief in the General Order he issued to the Continental Army on March 6, 1776:

Thursday the seventh Instant, being set apart by the Honorable the Legislature of this province, as a day of fasting, prayer, and humiliation, “to implore the Lord, and Giver of all victory, to pardon our manifold sins and wickedness’s, and that it would please him to bless the Continental Arms, with his divine favour and protection”—All Officers, and Soldiers, are strictly enjoined to pay all due reverance, and attention on that day, to the sacred duties due to the Lord of hosts, for his mercies already received, and for those blessings, which our Holiness and Uprightness of life can alone encourage us to hope through his mercy to obtain. ']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Gettysburg Address: November 19, 1863

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Johnny Cash in the above video does a superb job of reading the Gettysburg Address.  Go here to read my analysis of the Gettysburg Address.  Winston Churchill, certainly the greatest orator of the English language in the last century, deemed the Address, “The ultimate expression of the majesty of Shakespeare’s language.”  Lincoln’s masterpiece of concision packed with thought will endure as long as our American republic does, and the truths it contains will endure far beyond that time period. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Adagio for Brass

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Something for the weekend.  Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings performed with brass instruments.  It makes a fit accompaniment to the above video which reminds us of the veterans who ensured that we enjoy the freedom next Thursday to give thanks to God for that freedom and all the other blessings He has showered upon us in this land.  May we be worthy of their sacrifice.

November 18, 1861: Jefferson Davis Reports

 

On November 18, 1861, Jefferson Davis issued a report to the Confederate Congress on the progress of the War.  It is a fascinating document.  It details how he perceived the War at this early stage.  Here is the text of the report, interspersed with comments by me:

Richmond November 18th 1861

The few weeks which have elapsed since your adjournment have brought  us so near the close of the year that we are now able to sum up its  general results. The retrospect is such as should fill the hearts of our people with gratitude to Providence for His kind interposition in their behalf. Abundant yields have rewarded the labor of the agriculturist,  whilst the manufacturing industry of the Confederate States was never so prosperous as now. The necessities of the times have called into  existence new branches of manufactures, and given a fresh impulse to the activity of those heretofore in operation. The means of the Confederate States for manufacturing the necessaries and comforts of life within  themselves increase as the conflict continues, and we are gradually  becoming independent of the rest of the world for the supply of such  military stores and munitions as are indispensable for war. The  operations of the army soon to be partially interrupted by the  approaching winter have afforded a protection to the country, and shed a lustre upon its arms through the trying vicissitudes of more than one  arduous campaign, which entitle our brave volunteers to our praise and  our gratitude.

The Confederacy would expand its industrial plant enormously during the War, but it could never compete with the industrial might of the Union.  The crop of 1861 was indeed bountiful, and it did small good for the Confederacy since Davis had decided on an informal cotton embargo which it was assumed would convince Great Britain to recognize the Confederacy since the British textile industry relied upon cotton from the South.  It was a ghastly mistake.  With the Union blockade in its infancy, most of the cotton crop of 1861 could have been shipped to Europe and earned much-needed hard currency for the purchase of badly needed supplies and weapons.  Instead, what cotton was not used for domestic purposes in the Confederacy in 1861, simply sat in warehouses and on docks.  This policy was one of the main blunders of the Davis administration in 1861. →']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

Should I Take the Case?

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Hmmm, I just received this in my e-mail.  Should I take the case, it sounds very lucrative!
Dear Counsel

My
name is Isabella Minoru. I am contacting your firm in regards to a divorce
settlement with my ex husband Franklin Minoru who resides in your
jurisdiction.

I am currently on assignment in South Korea. We had
an out of court agreement for him to pay $623,000,00 plus legal fees. He has
only paid me $122,000.00 since.

I am hereby seeking your firm`s
assistance in collecting the balance from him or litigate this matter if he
fails to pay as promised because He has delayed for too long. If you are in the
position to represent me at the moment kindly advice immediately.

Your’s
Truly,
Isabella Minoru. ']);" class="more-link">Continue reading

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