Saturday, January 19, 2008


The Owl Takes a Break.

I will be away from the blogosphere for a little while - something about candles and burning both ends. After six months in two parishes, my candle needs a little bit of re-waxing, so I'm going on vacation - see you soon.

Friday, January 18, 2008


Just looking through various blogs I see on Amy Welborn's blog something very wonderful: Apparently Allen Hunt, who was the Pastor of the third largest United Methodist Church in the world, in Atlanta, Georgia, is becoming a Catholic. Those of us who were born Catholic - who take so much for granted, who argue and worry about so much - forget the "one thing necessary." Mr. Hunt now loses job, friends, salary, social position - possibly even his house, I don't know - all because he sought the Truth - and the Truth has set him free - that's courage! I am delighted to say in my own little corner of Vermont nine people will also be making the same journey as Mr. Hunt at the Easter Vigil - the Church is alive! Welcome home, Mr. Hunt!


I have Man-flu - otherwise known as a severe cold. Needless to say, like all men - I feel like death, I have yet to call for the priest - but I will keep you posted.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Marini's Rock Tour Cancelled

Archbishop Marini performs one of his hits from the '70's

The upcoming series of concerts in the United States by the famous star of the 1970's 'Soft Rock' movement, Archbishop Piero Marini, has been cancelled. The elderly crooner is said to be "shaken, not stirred."

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

How Bad is the Sistine Chapel Choir?

While much attention is being devoted to the orientation of the Holy Father's Mass in the Sistine Chapel (last post), my attention was distracted by a subject that has bothered me for years - the awful wailing that comes from what is purported to be a choir. Readers of this blog (all three of them) will know that I would rather have my tongue removed with pliars by Michael Bin Mooren than criticize anything to do with the Pope. But I suspect he may agree with me. Years ago, when I was a mere schoolboy, studying in an Anglican boarding school, our school chaplain used to take great pleasure in trying to irritate me (the only Catholic in our Divinity 'A Level' class) by saying that an average Anglican small Cathedral Choir was better than the Sistine Chapel Choir. As I recall he used to describe them as "a couple of fat Italian squawking boys." In my youthful desire to defend Holy Mother the Church, I used to try and valiantly defend the little chubby fellows. I suspect even then I knew he had the winning argument. Pope Benedict should recruit a good Anglican Choirmaster from one of the Cathedrals and get the music sorted out - we know the Italians can sing - why is it so bad in St. Peter's?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Benedict continues the "Reform of the Reform."

This morning the Holy Father baptized a number of babies in the magnificent setting of the Sistine Chapel. Much attention has been devoted to the fact that they didn't bring out the portable wooden altar, but actually used the altar that has been there for hundreds of years. That meant, of course, that he celebrated Mass 'ad Orientem,' which is why, I suppose, the web is full of comment. Before anyone gets too hot under the collar about "going back in time, forgetting Vatican II...etc, etc," - the celebration of Mass facing the East is a perfectly valid option in the reformed Missal of Paul VI - otherwise the rubrics would not direct the priest, at several points in the Mass to "turn and face the people." The importance, of course, is that the Pope is leading by example - not legislating, not demanding - but saying - "this is part of the heritage of the Church - you are free to follow." The deeper meaning is the underlying theme of this pontificate, from one of the architects of Vatican II, Joseph Ratzinger - the hermeneutic of continuity, not rupture. The interesting fact is that the new 'conservatives' are the former liberals - they are doing everything they used to accuse the old 'conservatives' of doing: refusing to change, being rigid, appealing to the "past" (even if the past is only the last 40 years). I suppose it shows that the use of these political labels is pointless. The important thing, in this time of confusion, is the ancient motto of the Church: "ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia." I know when the chips are down, as we say in the Mother country - I will look to Rome and Peter - because only Peter received the unfailing promise of Christ - Peter is the Rock!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Splendid News from Rome

According to reports spreading across the blogosphere, the Beatification of the great convert, John Henry Cardinal Newman is "imminent." This is from the mouth of Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. This would be a tremendous boost for the weary and struggling Catholic Church in England and, as Pope Benedict has decreed that beatifications should take place in the native land of the Beatified, presumably the ceremony will take place in Birmingham (England, not Alabama!). The moment the location is confirmed, I will be booking my ticket. Venerable John Henry Newman, Pray for us!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Run, Owl, Run!

Sometimes the spotlight of history catches you in its beam and you have two options; to retreat and spend time with your family, or to accept that fate is demanding a response and to run with it. After announcing that I would endorse two outstanding candidates for President and Vice-President of the United States, I was overwhelmed by the popular demand that I accept the will of the people, and offer my services as the next President of the United States of America. I am, of course, uniquely qualified for the position. I think it is important, at this stage in the race, to not expect a detailed description of all my qualities, suffice it to say, they are legion. I will run on a platform of change: change of underwear, change of toothbrushes, change of hairstyles. I believe the use of the word "change" should be enough, in itself, to get me elected by a handsome majority. Some may say there are serious obstacles to my candidacy: I am not a citizen, I am a Catholic priest, I believe in eternal truth, that some things are always right, and some things are always wrong - I would say that I still believe in a place called hope. My friends, what we are seeing here is a popular revolution, where a candidate is called forth by popular acclaim to serve, and not to be served. My Vice-Presidential running mate, Senator Robot Lobotoma joins me in asking for your support and your money. Our slogan will be: Senator McCain may have the straight talk express - what we are offering is the slick talk express.

I am the Owl of the Remove and I approve this message.

My candidate for Vice-President

Former Vice-President Thomas Riley Marshall won over the Owl with two gems; the famous, and eminently wise slogan, "what this nation needs is a good five-cent cigar," and the clincher for me - "if you look at me as a wild animal, be kind enough to throw peanuts at me."

With two men of this quality running for office, and now endorsed by a man without a vote, how can we go wrong?

By the way, they both also have the distinct advantage of not supporting the murder of babies.

Owl endorses candidate

With all the frenzy over the border in New Hampshire, it is time for the Owl to endorse a Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidate. My candidate for President is none other than former President Warren G. Harding. I was particularly struck by the wisdom of one comment, which secured the highly infuential vote of the Owl: "I am not fit for this office and never should have been there." This is a man we can vote for with confidence.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Feast of Blessed Andre

Today, as we all know, is the Solemnity of the Epiphany - it is also the Feast Day of Blessed Brother Andre Bessette, the Founder of the world's largest Church dedicated to St. Joseph, the Oratory in Montreal. He is almost a local saint in these parts - related to various people in the parish - and Montreal is just 90 minutes away. Brother Andre used to spend some of his Summer just up the road in Richford visiting his family. For all who have a devotion to St. Joseph, the Oratory is a 'must-see' destination.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Kim Jong Il goes on the Wagon

Christopher Hitchens converts to Islam

Christopher Hitchens in sober mood.

Last night I had a very curious dream; I wonder, perhaps, if it might be a prophecy? Christopher Hitchens was giving the eulogy at the funeral of Kim Jong Il, the "great Leader" of North Korea who is, as far as I know, not yet dead. I was wearing a set of earphones and could hear the North Korean interpreter in the background while England's leading drunken atheist was talking. The curious part of the dream (if the previous section is not curious enough), was that the funeral appeared to be a Muslim ceremony, and Hitchens was praising the Islamic credentials of the late, loony Korean. Hitchens himself seemed to have become a follower of the Prophet. I suppose that means he will have to give up the whiskey. As my friend, the sainted Pastor of Park Avenue, so famously said to the inebriated Englishman: "you will either die a madman or a Catholic!" According to my dream, the former has taken place.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

1. To become more Pickwickian.

2. To affect an air of indifference to life's travails.

3. To discover if an acquired taste is worth acquiring.

4. To pass from the Purgative to the Illuminative way.

5. To encourage the wearing of spats.