Thursday, November 27, 2008

This most American of Feasts

To prepare myself to celebrate tomorrow, I have been watching the DVD of the 'John Adams' series. This is the quintessential American celebration, and a wonderful gathering of family and friends - a Happy Thanksgiving to all the ex-subjects of His Majesty!
I think a Norman Rockwell picture is called for....

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Bellocian Pre-Thanksgiving Supper

"The best meal in the world is bread, salt, wine, and an onion (which needs no cooking)."

Hilaire Belloc - 'On Cooking'

Guess what I'm having for supper?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Holbein 'St. Thomas More'

Holbein 'Thomas Cromwell'

Pligrimage to NYC

The next Archbishop of New York/Westminster

I have been rather remiss since I got back from my two day pilgrimage to NYC over two weeks ago - very little blogging - life is just too hectic even in snowy Stowe (yes, it's already snowing and we will not see green grass until April). My kind and generous host, the next Archbishop of New York, Father George Rutler, welcomed me into his modest and simple rectory. I celebrated his morning Mass for him on Veterans Day - celebrating Mass in a city parish is certainly quite different from rural Vermont, with people wandering in and out during Mass and rather 'sotto voce.' Then I made my annual visit to the Frick Gallery, principally to see the Holbein 'St Thomas More.' It has almost an iconic quality and I was able to spend several minutes close to the picture. Right next to the Thomas More is Holbein's portrait of Thomas Cromwell - the two contrasting portraits show more powerfully than any photograph sanctity and cruel, naked ambition. I wonder if Cromwell was happy with his portrait? I had forgotten that the Frick also had El Greco's 'St. Jerome,' and the Fra Philippo Lippi 'Annunciation.' I then repaired to an "Irish" pub for a light collation before having a wonderful supper with a good friend. On the Wednesday, my 14th anniversary, I concelebrated with the sainted Pastor, did a few touristy things and ended my day with some bubbly and good conversation with the next Archbishop of Westminster.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hurricane Scott

Lots of news about my friend and fellow parish priest, Father Jay Scott Newman. Father Newman spoke to our priests two years ago and was a huge hit with some - and the forerunner of the anti-Christ to others. Following the controversy down South, where the hospitality is both legendary and real, the truly depressing part of the story is where the diocesan authorities first back up one of their priests for preaching the faith - and then denounce him. Speaking to my RCIA group this evening, the subject of St. Thomas More came up........somehow it seems that not much has changed since the 16th Century.

p.s. - Hurricane Scott has been downgraded to a tropical storm.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


I am off tomorrow for a little two day pilgrimage to New York City. I will be staying with the Blessed Pastor of Park Avenue where, on Wednesday, the Feast of St Josaphat, I will celebrate my 14th anniversary as a priest.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Thank God for the Bishops

Tremendous news from the USCCB: given the 'confusion' about the issue of abortion and Holy Communion - thank goodness our Bishops have come out with the kind of strong, firm and clear leadership we have come to love and respect from the USCCB - they have decided to cut the discussion about the issue from the agenda. It is, apparently, now no longer an 'issue' - so refreshing!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

"and Saul approved of his death." Acts Ch 7

Some random thoughts after Tuesday night - I haven't felt like writing anything up until now. I have been trying to work out, principally through prayer, what is the spiritual meaning of this election, because there is a profoundly spiritual meaning.

1. The fact that Catholics, or sacramentalized pagans, were responsible for the election of the most anti-life candidate this country has ever seen, is of great consequence. It means that Newman's phrase about the "mass apostasy of the faithful" has come true. One blog used the phrase the "repudiation of the Bishops." So the Bishops who taught, like Bishop Finn, that one's soul could be imperiled by this vote, were repudiated. Strangely, I have been very circumspect about this, because it is obvious to me that a great punishment is coming. I am not, by nature, overly apocalyptic, but I'm afraid I completely agree with Michael O'Brien, who is, I think, something of a mystic, that, although Felsenburgh may not be the anti-Christ, he is "one of the key figures who will usher in the great time of trial and the last and worst persecution of the Church."

2. It is also clear that, just like in England during the Penal times and the time of the English Martyrs, we now have accomodationist bishops who will become the equivalent of the "official Churches" in post-war Eastern Europe - and an emerging Church of the Martyrs with, thank God, a John Fisher or two. Also, as one of my priest friends commented to me, he can already identify the people in his parish who will happily betray him to the authorities. Luckily, I think we can also identify the people who will protect us.

3. The role of the media has been truly disgraceful throughout this campaign. The mainstream media will become an even more effective tool in the assault on the Church.

4. Preaching and teaching will have to be fearless - despite the consequences.

5. Prayer and fasting - that should be obvious, but many of us, myself included have done too little of both.

6. Will we be Saul, or will we be Paul?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Lord of the World

President Felsenburgh

Powerful Writing

Check out the newsletter from the great Catholic novelist, Michael O'Brien, which Father Mark has on his blog Vultus Christi. Father Mark's blog is probably the most spiritual on the net - and the O'Brien piece is prophetic. Then go to National Review Online and read Fr. Rutler's piece on reading Benson's 'Lord of the World' again - suddenly the rise of Julian Felsenburgh makes sense - I wonder if we are ready for what is coming - and it isn't going to be good for faithful Catholics - but the "blood of the martyrs ......etc, etc."

Our Lady of Lepanto

Today, more than ever - Our Lady of Lepanto - pray for us!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Belloc on Wine

Last year, when I was at home, while searching the bookstores around Charing Cross Road, I found a wonderful collection of Belloc essays I had not seen before. It's called "One Thing and Another, A Miscellany from His Uncollected Essays," chosen by Patrick Cahill. My copy is a First Edition, published in 1955. It was rather expensive - the equivalent of $50 - but well worth it. Most of the essays were being printed for the first time. My favourite Belloc essay of all time is, of course, 'A Remaining Christmas,' but this collection has a couple that come close. 'Autumn in England' is magnificent, but my favourite in this collection is: 'Advice to a Young Man in the Matter of Wine.' Suitable for reading out loud, as I did recently when some friends came to dinner, Belloc writes of three main rules "the observance of which are of life-long value in the use of wine. The first, the most essential canon, is that wine of every sort, so long as it is pure, must be taken seriously as a chief element in life. It is the concomitant, and perhaps the foundation, of all our culture." If you didn't like Belloc before, why wouldn't you love him after than sentence? Here's the best paragraph in the whole essay:

"For your plain man one bottle of red wine at a meal is a just measure. Indeed, it is thus that the bottle came to be what it is, holding one meal's provision, about one-sixth of a gallon. It is enough - but not too much. It is the very symbol of temperance."

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Forces of Mordor are Gathering

The rise of Julian Felsenburgh seems almost inevitable - but there are still faithful hobbits!