Wednesday, February 23, 2005

All I can think to say . . . .

about the impending murder of Terri Schaivo was said here.

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of Hell. And lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of your mercy.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro, Er, Uh Something Mori

This is very sad news -- Otto Hiss Obituary. "Why are you weeping? Did you imagine that his blog was immortal?"

Friday, February 18, 2005

Book Group Report: Week Three

The group met last night. There were 8 of us. We coffee and blackberry pie with real whipped cream. (Thanks, Mom!) Here are the subjects we discussed, phrased in terms of the questions raised by the readings. You can find the readings here.


1. Is Gascoyne's "Christ of Revolution and of Poetry" a real person, or a symbol for a non-personal force or aspect of human nature? Gascoyne was a communist, and joined the Party in 1936, one year before he wrote Ecce Homo. (Unfortunately, I didn't know those dates at the time). What is there about Jesus that would move a non-believer to write such a poem? Is Gascoyne's depiction of Jesus ("this horrifying face, this putrid flesh, discoloured, flayed, fed on by the flies) theologically justified? Why is Gascoyne using those images?

2. Do Blake's And Did These Feet in Ancient Time and Kipling's Recessional say things about human society and God's providence? Are their views complementary or opposed?

3. Does Sassoon's The Redeemer have the same literary perspective, the same vantage-point for viewing Jesus, as Gascoyne's, Blake's and Kipling's poems? What is different about Sassoon's viewpoint? Does it speak to anything about Gascoyne's attraction to Jesus?

4. Is there an ambiguity in Sassoon's depiction of Jesus and the soldier? ("He stood before me there; I say that He was Christ . . . an English soldier, white and strong, Who loved his time like any simple chap") Is it intentional? What message does it convey?

5. Where does Hopkins', Plunkett's, and da Todi's poetry fit in? What is their "viewpoint," their point of perspective, from which they view Jesus?

6. What does Shakespeare love so well that the very thought of this love transports him from woe and dissatisfaction to bliss? Is Sonnett XXIX a poetic evocation of St. Augustine's Confessions? ("You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.") Can any love give men what Shakespeare experiences in Sonnett XXIX, even disordered love?

7. Do the Psalms qualify as poetry? How about the litanies? Is there anything different about the "standpoint" of the psalms and litanies? What does it mean for Jesus to quote Psalm 21 in the presence of His mother?

8. What level of relationship do authors like Gascoyne, Sassoon, Blake, etc. and David, Merry del Val, etc. have with their subject? Why are the levels different?

8. Is Merry del Val (author of the Litany of Humility) describing the Blessed Virgin? What does it mean to pray, "That others may become holier than I, provided that I become as holy as I should"? Was the Blessed Virgin tempted by anything? If yes, what does it mean to say she was "tempted"? What does it not mean?

9. Is poetry the ultimate Christian metier? What effect does Christianity have on the arts generally? Is Christianity's impact simply providing "material" for art, or does it have a deeper influence?

Next Week: Selections from Pascal's Penses.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Thanks Everyone!

For voting the Dossier "Most Insightful" in the 2004/05 St. Blog's awards. It means a lot to me that so many people voted, and so think blogging an important part of the Catholic witness. It also means a lot, in a humbling way, to win an award for it.

And thanks to Jimmy Akin and I. Shawn McElhinney for their kind endorsements.

I'd say some things about the other nominees, except I always bungle things like that. Suffice that they're all really good blogs, especially Disputations.
The Definition of Insanity Is Doing the Same Thing . . . . ..

There's a rumor going around that the success of a two-party system depends on having two parties. Somebody ought to clue the Democrats into that one, because they've defaulted to Howard Dean for party chairman. The following's from ABC News via The Curt Jester. My thoughts in blue, everyone else's in black.

A bunch of very stupid Democrats elected Howard Dean chairman of their national party on Saturday, casting their lot with a skilled fund-raiser and organizer whose sometimes caustic, blunt YEEEEAAAAARRGGHHHHHH!!!!! comments can lead to controversy.

The very dumb 447-member Democratic National Committee chose Dean on a voice vote YEEEEEEEAAAAAAARRRGGGHHHH!!!!! to replace outgoing party chief Terry McAuliffe. The former Vermont governor and presidential candidate And abortion doctor. And Planned Parenthood director had promised to press for broader access to abortion and gay marriage rebuild the state parties, press for broader access to abortion and gay marriage take the offensive against Republicans, press for broader access to abortion and gay marriage and better explain party positions on issues like broader access to abortion and gay marriage.

Democrats are eager to renew their campaign to press for broader access to abortion and gay marriage regain political power, though some admit to a bit of anxiety about pressing for broader access to abortion and gay marriage. President Bush just won his second term. Republicans are firmly in control of the House and the Senate. And the GOP is gaining strength in conservative states in the South and West.

"We only have one way to go, and that's up," Georgia delegate Lonnie Platt said.Yeah, they say that in the ninth pit of Hell, too, you pro-abortion fascist.

For Joyce Cusack, a Florida delegate, it's time for Democrats to embrace their party's values like broader access to abortion and gay marriage

"We are trying so hard to be like Republicans and we're not. I think Howard Dean says YEEEEAAARRGGGHHHHH!!!! clearly that we are different," Cusack said. "We are the party of broader access to abortion and gay marriage ordinary citizens and not the elite, we are everyday working folk who want broader access to abortion and gay marriage "

Very dumb Democratic leaders, who were initially wary of a Dean chairmanship, started embracing his leadership after it became apparent he was strong enough to claim the job. Several high-profile Democrats considering a bid for chairman backed out of the race. Yeah, they accepted his candidacy once it became clear that no one else was dumb enough to take responsibility for elections that are starting to look like the drag-race in Rebel Without a Cause. "It was awful," sobbed Nancy Pelosi, "watching poor Terry trying to get his bomber jacket unstuck from the window-lever."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, not always a Dean supporter, said Friday, "He has used the power of technology, the force of his personality and the depth of his ideals to bring new people into the party." We can rebuild the Party Chairman. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world's first Bionic Pro-Abortion-and-Gay Marriage-Party Chairman. Howard Dean will be that man. Better than he was before. Better . . . stronger . . . faster. YEEEARRRGHHHH!

Dean speaking very slowly and using emphatic hand gestures told Democratic committee members Friday that it's important to learn to be more comfortable discussing the party's core values like broader access to abortion and gay marriage.

"The way I hope to deal with that problem, is not to abandon our core principles, but talk about them in a different way, so that nobody realizes what they are" he said.

Democrats are not pro-abortion, but "we are the party in favor of allowing women to make up their own minds about their health care," Dean, an abortion physician, said.Yeah, Dean's gonna electrify the Party. The Democrats are going to empower womyn by "allowing" them to make up their own minds. OK, Howard, while you're taking a break from alienating your core base, let's try this. You say "Freedom," and I'll say "to kill a baby." Ready? Good! No, no, you're doing fine. See how it sounds? Fun, huh? Now, let's go fit you for that Honorary Democratic Party Chairman Bomber Jacket. Now Howard, don't get upset. It's a tradition, like the green blazer at Augusta.

Democrats are not for gay marriage, but "we are the party that has always believed in equal rights under the law for all people," he said. Oh yeah, Dean's gotta gift. The Democrats are for equal rights for all people, no matter how disgusting the gay ones are. OK, Howard, after you've evaded the lynch mob who used to be your core base, let's try this. You say "Equal rights" and I say "so Heather can have two mommies." Ready? Good! No, no, you're doing fine. See how it sounds? Fun, huh. Now, let's pick up that Honorary Democratic Party Chairman Stolen Coupe. No, it's a tradition too, like the Indy pace car!

"We are the party of moral values," Dean said. "There is nothing moral about cutting 300 million dollars that is used to feed starving children." Atta boy, Howard! Keep revving those non-sequiturs right up until Nancy Pelosi drops the hankie! YEEEAAAARRRGHHHHHHH!
Book Group, Week 3

David Gascoyne
(1916 - 2001)

Ecce Homo

Whose is this horrifying face,
This putrid flesh, discoloured, flayed,
Fed on by the flies, scorched by the sun?
Whose are these hollow red-filmed eyes
And thorn-spiked head and spear-stuck side?

Forget the legend, tear the decent veil
That cowardice or interest devised
To make their mortal enemy a friend,
To hide the bitter truth all His wounds tell,
Lest the great scandal be no more disguised:
He is in agony till the world's end,

And we must never sleep during that time!
He is suspended on the cross-tree now
And we are onlookers at the crime,
Callous contemporaries of the slow
Torture of God. Here is the hill
Made ghastly by His spattered blood

Whereon He hangs and suffers still:
See, the centurions wear riding-boots,
Black shirts and badges and peaked caps,
Greet one another with raised-arm salutes;
They have cold eyes, unsmiling lips;
Yet these his brothers know not what they do.

And on his either side hang dead
A labourer and a factory hand,
Or one is maybe a lynched Jew
And one a Negro or a Red,
Coolie or Ethiopian, Irishman,
Spaniard or German democrat.

Behind His lolling head the sky
Glares like a fiery cataract
Red with the murders of two thousand years
Committed in His name and by
Crusaders, Christian warriors
Defending faith and property.

Amid the plain beneath His transfixed hands,
Exuding darkness as indelible
As guilty stains, fanned by funeral
And lurid airs, besieged by drifting sands
And clefted landslides our about-to-be
Bombed and abandoned cities stand.

He who wept for Jerusalem
Now sees His prophecy extend
Across the greatest cities of the world,
A guilty panic reason cannot stem
Rising to raze them all as He foretold;
And He must watch this drama to the end.

Though often named, He is unknown
To the dark kingdoms at His feet
Where everything disparages His words,
And each man bears the common guilt alone
And goes blindfolded to his fate,
And fear and greed are sovereign lords.

The turning point of history
Must come. Yet the complacent and the proud
And who exploit and kill, may be denied--
Christ of Revolution and of Poetry--
The resurrection and the life
Wrought by your spirit's blood.

Involved in their own sophistry
The black priest and the upright man
Faced by subversive truth shall be struck dumb,
Christ of Revolution and of Poetry,
While the rejected and condemned become
Agents of the divine.

Not from a monstrance silver-wrought
But from the tree of human pain,
Redeem our sterile misery,
Christ of Revolution and of Poetry,
That man's long journey through the night
May not have been in vain.


Stark in the pasture on the skull-shaped hill,
In swollen aura of disaster shrunken and
Unsheltered by the ruin of the sky,
Intensely concentrated in themselves the banded
Saints abandoned kneel.

And under the unburdened tree
Great in their midst, the rigid folds
Of a blue cloak upholding as a text
Her grief-scrawled face for the ensuing world to read,
The Mother, whose dead Son's dear head
Weighs like a precious blood-incrusted stone
On her unfathomable breast:

Holds Him God has forsaken, Word made flesh
Made ransom, to the slow smoulder of her heart
Till the catharsis of the race shall be complete.

William Blake
(1757 - 1827)

And Did Those Feet in Ancient Time

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?

And did the Countenance Divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my Bow of burning gold:
Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!

I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land.

Rudyard Kipling
(1865 - 1936)


God of our fathers, known of old--
Lord of our far-flung battle line
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine--
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;
The captains and the kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

Far-called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe--
Such boasting as the Gentiles use
Or lesser breeds without the law--
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget - lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard--
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding, calls not Thee to guard--
For frantic boast and foolish word,
Thy mercy on Thy people, Lord!

Siegfried Sassoon
(1886 - 1967)

The Redeemer

Darkness: the rain sluiced down; the mire was deep;
It was past twelve on a mid-winter night,
When peaceful folk in beds lay snug asleep;
There, with much work to do before the light,
We lugged our clay-sucked boots as best we might
Along the trench; sometimes a bullet sang,
And droning shells burst with a hollow bang;
We were soaked, chilled and wretched, every one;

Darkness; the distant wink of a huge gun.
I turned in the black ditch, loathing the storm;
A rocket fizzed and burned with blanching flare,
And lit the face of what had been a form
Floundering in mirk. He stood before me there;
I say that He was Christ; stiff in the glare,
And leaning forward from His burdening task,
Both arms supporting it; His eyes on mine
Stared from the woeful head that seemed a mask
Of mortal pain in Hell's unholy shine.

No thorny crown, only a woollen cap
He wore—an English soldier, white and strong,
Who loved his time like any simple chap,
Good days of work and sport and homely song;
Now he has learned that nights are very long,
And dawn a watching of the windowed sky.
But to the end, unjudging, he'll endure
Horror and pain, not uncontent to die
That Lancaster on Lune may stand secure.

He faced me, reeling in his weariness,
Shouldering his load of planks, so hard to bear.
I say that He was Christ, who wrought to bless
All groping things with freedom bright as air,
And with His mercy washed and made them fair.
Then the flame sank, and all grew black as pitch,
While we began to struggle along the ditch;
And someone flung his burden in the muck,
Mumbling: ‘O Christ Almighty, now I'm stuck!'

Gerard Manley Hopkins
(1844 - 1889)

Glory be to God for dappled things --
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted & pieced -- fold, fallow, & plough;
And all trades, their gear & tackle & trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled, (who knows how?)
With swíft, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dím;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise hím.

Joseph Mary Plunkett
(1887 - 1916)

I Saw the Sun at Midnight

I saw the Sun at midnight, rising red,
Deep-hued yet glowing, heavy with the stain
Of blood-compassion, and I saw It gain
Swiftly in size and growing till It spread
Over the stars; the heavens bowed their head
As from Its heart slow dripped a crimson rain,
Then a great tremor shook It, as of pain—
The night fell, moaning, as It hung there dead.

O Sun, O Christ, O bleeding Heart of flame!
Thou givest Thine agony as our life's worth,
And makest it infinite, lest we have dearth
Of rights wherewith to call upon Thy Name;
Thou pawnest Heaven as a pledge for Earth
And for our glory sufferest all shame.

I See His Blood Upon the Rose

I see his blood upon the rose
And in the stars the glory of His eyes,
His body gleams amid eternal snows,
His tears fall from the skies.

I see his face in every flower;
The thunder and the singing of the birds
Are but His voice -- and carven by His power
Rocks are His written words.

All pathways by His feet are worn,
His strong heart stirs the ever-beating sea,
His crown of thorns is twined with every thorn,
His cross is every tree.

Jacapone da Todi
(1228 - 1306)

Stabat Mater

By the cross of expiation
The Mother stood, and kept her station,
Weeping for her Son and Lord:
With the nails his hands were riven;
Through her heart the sword was driven,
Simeon's dread, predicted sword.

Oh, that blessed one grief-laden,
Blessed Mother, blessed Maiden,
Mother of the All-holy One;
Oh, that silent, ceaseless mourning,
Oh, those dim eyes never turning
From that wondrous, suffering Son.

Who is of nature human
Tearless that could watch the Woman?
Hear unmoved that Mother's moan?
Who, unchanged in shape and colour,
Who could mark that Mother's dolour,
Weeping with her Son alone?

For his people's sins the All-holy
There she saw, a victim lowly,
Bleed in torments, bleed and die:
Saw the Lord's Anointed taken;
Saw her Child in death forsaken;
Heard his last expiring cry.

Fount of love and sacred sorrow,
Mother, may my spirit borrow
Sadness from thy holy woe;
May it love - on fire within me -
Christ, my God, till great love win me
Grace to please him here below.

Those five wounds of Jesus smitten,
Mother, in my heart be written
Deeply as in thine they be;
Thou my Savior's cross who bearest,
Thou my Son's rebuke who sharest,
Let me share them both with thee.

In the passion of my maker
Be my sinful soul partaker;
Let me weep till death with thee;
Unto me this boon be given,
By thy side, like thee bereaven.
To stand beneath the atoning tree.

Virgin holiest, Virgin purest,
Of that anguish thou endurest
Make me bear with thee my part;
Of his passion bear the token
In a spirit bowed and broken,
Bear his death within my heart.

May his wounds both wound and heal me;
His blood enkindle, cleanse, anneal me;
Be his cross my hope and stay:
Virgin, when the mountains quiver,
From that flame which burns for ever,
Shield me on the judgement-day.

Christ, when he that shaped me calls me,
When advancing death appals me,
Through her prayer the storm make calm:
When to dust my dust returneth
Save a soul to thee that yearneth;
Grant it thou the crown and palm.

William Shakespeare

1564 - 1616

Sonnet XXIX

When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

David, King of Israel
(circa 1010 - 970 B.C.)

Psalm 50 (Douai)

Unto the end, a psalm of David,
When Nathan the prophet came to him after he had sinned with Bethsabee.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy great mercy.
And according to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my iniquity.
Wash me yet more from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my iniquity, and my sin is always before me.
To thee only have I sinned, and have done evil before thee: that thou mayst be justified in thy words and mayst overcome when thou art judged.
For behold I was conceived in iniquities; and in sins did my mother conceive me.
For behold thou hast loved truth: the uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.
Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed: thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow.
To my hearing thou shalt give joy and gladness: and the bones that have been humbled shall rejoice.
Turn away thy face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
Create a clean heart in me, O God: and renew a right spirit within my bowels.
Cast me not away from thy face; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and strengthen me with a perfect spirit.
I will teach the unjust thy ways: and the wicked shall be converted to thee.
Deliver me from blood, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall extol thy justice.
O Lord, thou wilt open my lips: and my mouth shall declare thy praise.
For if thou hadst desired sacrifice, I would indeed have given it: with burnt offerings thou wilt not be delighted.
A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit: a contrite and humbled heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
Deal favourably, O Lord, in thy good will with Sion; that the walls of Jerusalem may be built up.
Then shalt thou accept the sacrifice of justice, oblations and whole burnt offerings: then shall they lay calves upon thy altar.

Psalm 21 (Douai)

Unto the end, for the morning protection, a psalm for David.
O God my God, look upon me: why hast thou forsaken me? Far from my salvation are the words of my sins.
O my God, I shall cry by day, and thou wilt not hear: and by night, and it shall not be reputed as folly in me.
But thou dwellest in the holy place, the praise of Israel.
In thee have our fathers hoped: they have hoped, and thou hast delivered them.
They cried to thee, and they were saved: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.
But I am a worm, and no man: the reproach of men, and the outcast of the people.
All they that saw me have laughed me to scorn: they have spoken with the lips, and wagged the head.
He hoped in the Lord, let him deliver him: let him save him, seeing he delighteth in him.
For thou art he that hast drawn me out of the womb: my hope from the breasts of my mother.
I was cast upon thee from the womb. From my mother's womb thou art my God,
Depart not from me. For tribulation is very near: for there is none to help me.
Many calves have surrounded me: fat bulls have besieged me.
They have opened their mouths against me, as a lion ravening and roaring.
I am poured out like water; and all my bones are scattered. My heart is become like wax melting in the midst of my bowels.
My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue hath cleaved to my jaws: and thou hast brought me down into the dust of death.
For many dogs have encompassed me: the council of the malignant hath besieged me. They have dug my hands and feet.
They have numbered all my bones. And they have looked and stared upon me.
They parted my garments amongst them; and upon my vesture they cast lots.
But thou, O Lord, remove not thy help to a distance from me; look towards my defence.
Deliver, O God, my soul from the sword: my only one from the hand of the dog.
Save me from the lion's mouth; and my lowness from the horns of the unicorns.
I will declare thy name to my brethren: in the midst of the church will I praise thee.
Ye that fear the Lord, praise him: all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him.
Let all the seed of Israel fear him: because he hath not slighted nor despised the supplication of the poor man. Neither hath he turned away his face from me: and when I cried to him he heard me.
With thee is my praise in a great church: I will pay my vows in the sight of them that fear him.
The poor shall eat and shall be filled: and they shall praise the Lord that seek him: their hearts shall live for ever and ever.
All the ends of the earth shall remember, and shall be converted to the Lord: And all the kindreds of the Gentiles shall adore in his sight.
For the kingdom is the Lord's; and he shall have dominion over the nations.
All the fat ones of the earth have eaten and have adored: all they that go down to the earth shall fall before him.
And to him my soul shall live: and my seed shall serve him.
There shall be declared to the Lord a generation to come: and the heavens shall shew forth his justice to a people that shall be born, which the Lord hath made.

Raphael Cardinal Merry del Val
(1865 - 1930)

Litany of Humility

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart,
Hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being loved,
Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being extolled,
Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being honored,
Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being praised,
Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being preferred to others,
Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being consulted,
Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being approved,
Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being humiliated,
Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being despised,
Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of suffering rebukes,
Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being calumniated,
Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being forgotten,
Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being ridiculed
Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being wronged,
Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being suspected,
Deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be chosen and I set aside,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be preferred to me in everything,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may become holier than I,
provided that I become as holy as I should,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.


Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Jesus, hear us.
Jesus, hear us.

Jesus, graciously hear us. Jesus,
graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven,
have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
have mercy on us.

God, the Holy Spirit,
have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, One God,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, Son of the living God,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, Splendor of the Father,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, Brightness of eternal Light,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, King of Glory,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, Sun of Justice,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, Son of the Virgin Mary,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, most amiable,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, most admirable,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, the mighty God,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, Father of the world to come,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, Angel of Great Council,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, most powerful,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, most patient,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, most obedient,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, meek and humble of heart,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, Lover of Chastity,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, our Lover,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, God of Peace,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, Author of Life,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, Model of Virtue,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, zealous for souls,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, our God,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, our Refuge,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, Father of the Poor,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, Treasure of the Faithful,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, good Shepherd,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, true Light,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, eternal Wisdom,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, infinite Goodness,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, our Way and our Life,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, joy of the Angels,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, King of the Patriarchs,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, Master of the Apostles,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, Teacher of the Evangelists,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, Strength of Martyrs,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, Light of Confessors,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, Purity of Virgins,
have mercy on us.

Jesus, Crown of all Saints,
have mercy on us.

Be merciful,
spare us O Jesus.

Be merciful,
graciously hear us, O Jesus.

From all evil,
deliver us, O Jesus.

From all sin,
deliver us, O Jesus.

From Thy wrath,
deliver us, O Jesus.

From the snares of the devil,
deliver us, O Jesus.

From the spirit of fornication,
deliver us, O Jesus.

From everlasting death,
deliver us, O Jesus.

From the neglect of Thy inspirations,
deliver us, O Jesus.

Through the mystery of Thy holy Incarnation,
deliver us, O Jesus.

Through Thy Nativity,
deliver us, O Jesus.

Through Thy Infancy,
deliver us, O Jesus.

Through Thy most divine Life,
deliver us, O Jesus.

Through Thy Labors,
deliver us, O Jesus.

Through Thy Agony and Passion,
deliver us, O Jesus.

Through Thy Cross and Dereliction,
deliver us, O Jesus.

Through Thy Sufferings,
deliver us, O Jesus.

Through Thy Death and Burial,
deliver us, O Jesus.

Through Thy Resurrection,
deliver us, O Jesus.

Through Thy Ascension,
deliver us, O Jesus.

Through Thy Institution of the Most Holy Eucharist,
deliver us, O Jesus.

Through Thy Joys,
deliver us, O Jesus.

Through Thy Glory,
deliver us, O Jesus.

Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world,
spare us, O Jesu.

Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world,
graciously hear us, O Jesus.

Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us, O Jesus.

Jesus hear us.
Jesus, graciously hear us.

Let us pray,

O Lord Jesus Christ, Thou hast said,
"Ask and you shall receive;
seek and you shall find;
knock, and it shall be opened to you";
mercifully attend to our supplications,
and grant us the grace of Thy most divine love,
that we may love Thee with all our hearts,
and in all our words and actions,
and never cease to praise Thee.

Make us, O Lord,
to have a perpetual fear
and love of Thy holy name,
for Thou never failest to govern
those who Thou dost solidly establish in Thy love.


Friday, February 11, 2005

A Reminder

Voting for the 2004/05 St Blog's Awards ends on Friday, February 11, at 12:00 noon EST. The Dossier's been nominated for "most insightful." You can vote for it (or any other blog of your choice) here.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

"Oh, He's Too Frail to Be Pope! He Should Resign!

Via St. Blog's Parish Hall, we read this story about our frail, hospitalized Pope. (Click the link once you get to St. Blog's).

Fr. Thomas Reese and the staff of America magazine, who've been beating the drums on the BBC, PBS, the Washington Post, and New York Newsday and elsewhere, for some procedure by which our Pope and his successors can be influenced to resign, ought to think again.

As I said before: "Every person is indispensable -- even the pope. Even this pope, no matter how much some folks would like him to be the pontifical equivalent of Terri Schiavo."

When contemplating this campaign, it should be understood that there is nothing in the constitution of the Church which prevents the Pope from having already taken steps to prevent the evils which papal-resignation enthusiasts trot out to justify their cause. There is not, however, a procedure in place which would routinely terminate a papacy whose policies have endured "too long" or provide a pope's opponents with an opportunity to challenge him on a new and more direct level.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Random Movie Notes for Lent

I have a collection of Lenten Films. I like movies. They're America's only original contribution to the world of art. Say whatever you like about Lang, Fellini, and the rest. Mozart and Wagner don't make opera any less an Italian art form. Movies are American. I'm an American Catholic (defined, in my book, as a Catholic who by providence has been set down in America), and so I use them for Lent.

Christians in earlier centuries had a similar "collection" of passion plays, stations of the cross, and works of art by the great masters. The Stations are actually on a higher plane, since they're public devotions which are blessed and indulgenced by the Church. But they serve the same purpose as the rest, and the same purpose movies can serve. They excite the mind, fire the imagination, and focus the mind's attention in ways other forms of contemplation do not.

One of my films is, of course, Mel Gibson's The Passion of The Christ. Last year I blogged about it a good deal. You can read those past blogs here, and my whole take on the "Anti-Semitism" charge here. You can also, if you want, look at some yapping I did at the film's less intelligent critics here. I'm going to see it again tonight. My parish has rented a theater, and is holding eucharistic adoration and confessions afterwards. That's how the Church ought to use movies.

We could say all this is trite. But I don't think anyone's holding up medieval passion and devotional plays as the equal of Shakespeare. Catholic art, like anything else Catholic, has one goal and one goal only -- to get a soul into heaven by any means necessary. (That's not relativism, because the goal dictates the range of acceptable means). God used some science fiction, a boy's novel, an undergraduate-level knowledge of classical history, and a comic book about the life of John Paul II as part of His plan to get me into the Church. We can get all snooty about the quality of Catholic art, but most of us would be amazed at the condescending things God does just to get us to pay attention to Him.

It's true that if I imagine myself as being holier than I am, I can imagine myself as someone who wouldn't need films to excite my contemplation of God's agony. But that road ultimately goes nowhere. I can imagine myself as someone who's so holy that God wouldn't have had to experience that agony. As Frank Sheed says, imagination is useful only when it's subservient to the intellect. The fact, the proveable fact, is that I am the kind of person who is so out of whack with reality and justice as to require God's own death to be set right again. "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8 (KJV). That's me, not just the Romans. Christ knew me, knows me, from all eternity before time and throughout time. That's why He chose to die for me.

So I gladly watch some movies during Lent. If nothing else, it's a way to do penance for all the scandalous television I watch. If you're similarly minded, here's my list. In addition to The Passion, I also watch Zeffirelli's Jesus of Nazareth, The Song of Bernadette, and Ben Hur. I wish they'd made the second half of that novel into a film, because that's where the redemptive action occurs and Ben Hur finally embraces Christ. But it's a good film to contemplate the meaninglessness of human life without Him. If I can, I also watch Prince of Foxes, a 1949 film starring Tyrone Power and Orson Welles. That's the boy's novel I mentioned earlier. It never hurts to reinforce old lessons.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Cry Havoc! and Let Slip the Dogs of War

Via the Southern Appeal blog, we learn of the furor over recent remarks by Marine Corps Lieutenant General James Mattis. Mattis, who commanded U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, participated in a panel discussion sponsored by something called the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association. Forgetting that the natural virtues of personal combat, which do not include hypocrisy, are not widely held in modern society, General Mattis made the following remarks about the experience of battle:
"Actually, it's a lot of fun to fight. You know, it's a hell of a hoot. ... It's fun to shoot some people. I'll be right upfront with you, I like brawling."

He added, "You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them."
I'm always behind the news curve, but when I looked around the Internet I wasn't surprised that the General's comments have stirred a slithery nest of morons, frauds, and self-righteous propagandists into a pulsing fit of indignation.

True to its Ratherite nature, the main-stream media spun Mattis' remarks into a story about a knuckle-dragging, blood-crazed redneck who would just as soon shoot up an elementary school as vote Republican. Almost every news outlet went with an identical lead:
"A senior Marine general who commanded forces in Iraq and Afghanistan has been admonished by the commandant of the Marine Corps for saying publicly, ‘It's fun to shoot some people.'" (New York Times

"A three-star Marine general who said it was ‘fun to shoot some people' should have chosen his words more carefully, the Marine Corps commandant said Thursday." (CNN)

"A Marine general who has commanded troops in Afghanistan and Iraq told a forum, ‘It's fun to shoot some people.'" (CBS News)

"A decorated Marine Corps general said, ‘It's fun to shoot some people' as he described the wars U.S. troops are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan." (Baltimore Sun)

"A senior U.S. Marine Corps general who said it was "fun to shoot some people" should have chosen his words more carefully but will not be disciplined, military officials said on Thursday." (Reuters)

"A Marine general who has commanded troops in Afghanistan and Iraq told a forum, ‘It's fun to shoot some people.'" (Union Leader)
So that, according to big media, is what Mattis meant to say -- it's fun to shoot a bunch of people. Not that it's fun to "shoot some people," namely barbarians who, if unrestrained, would plunge the world into a nightmare of hatred, ignorance and unholy power. No, General Mattis said it's fun to "shoot some people," any people, really, just so long as they scream on the way down. Might as well have your fun in a shopping mall as Fallujah. It's true. We got it straight from the New York Times and Dan Rather, who said Mattis' comments "sound downright trigger-happy." Sure, Dan, and you've probably got a downright National Guard memo to prove it.

The other sort of propagandists are playing what may be called the Islamic Variant of the Rather Attack. The Council on American-Islamic Relations said Mattis is a man who enjoys indiscriminately killing Muslims: "[I]t sends a very negative message to the Muslim world that U.S. generals do not care about human life." In a strange coincidence, Al-Jazeera had the same spin: "We do not need generals who treat the grim business of war as a sporting event," said [CAIR's] executive director, Nihad Awad. "These disturbing remarks are indicative of an apparent indifference to the value of human life." Al-Jazeera went Rather one better, reproducing a photo of Lindy England abusing an Iraqi prisoner next to the story on Mattis.

Never mind that Lindy England is looking at hard time. Never mind that Rather's (and CAIR's) "trigger-happy" derision was spewed during the same CBS story which quoted Mattis exhorting U.S. troops during the battle for Fallujah: "If, in order to take out a terrorist, you have to hit, you know, shoot and kill innocent women and children, don't take the shot. Wait for another day." Never mind that Mattis required his staff officers to participate in a reading program intended to give them "a basic understanding of Islam, the region, and the culture." Or that Mattis "has a long record of encouraging Marines in his command to respect Arab culture and make every effort to protect the lives of civilians." Never mind all that, because Mattis is an American. Mattis is a Marine. Mattis is an affront to everything the hypocritically-squeamish culture of the Left holds dear. So Dan gets spastic about Mattis' "downright trigger-happy" remarks, and if a bunch of self-proclaimed victims want to jump on the bandwagon in pursuit of donations from people who ought to know better, that's all right by him. It's fun to ruin some people. The Left will be right up front with you, Dan, because they like brawling.

But Mattis said "fun"! He said it!! How could a decent civilized man say it's fun to kill anyone!!!! Because, in the sense I think Mattis meant, it should jolly well be fun. I remember, years ago, how the Muttawa (Saudi Arabia's official religious police) forced some young girls to burn to death in a fire that had started in a Saudi school. They had to burn, you see, because they didn't have veils on, and it would have been a great offense to allow them onto the streets. Better that they burn. Men like those Muttawa agents -- and the folks who watched and approved -- deserve to be shot. A righteous sense of vengeance demands it, their crime calls out to Heaven for it, and if someone can't take joy from keeping those misogynistic, pseudo-religious thugs from burning more children to death then I don't know what Heaven's for. Now it's true -- and I say this as someone who thinks we weren't justified in invading Iraq -- that there are reasons, good and moral reasons, why we shouldn't invade Saudi Arabia, hunt that scum down, and riddle them with bullets. (There are also good reasons to forego giving the same to our home-grown thugs). But let's not kid ourselves into thinking that such an enterprise, once begun, shouldn't evoke this healthy sense of anger in the men we send to get the job done.

I found it strange to see Dan Rather and others pandering to squeamishness about the nature of war and the souls of warriors. Truly sin makes men ridiculous. There are thousands of "physicians" (and I use the term lightly) who think it's "fun" to provide "reproductive health-care services." To paraphrase Mattis, "if, in order to take out an unwanted addition to the family budget, the cause of unsightly stretch-marks, these men have to hit, you know, slice and dice innocent children, they take the shot. They don't wait for another day." And when they get "downright scalpel-happy," our society applauds them and funds the political interest-groups that watch the "home front" and keep our abortion mills open. Want "disturbing remarks" that are "indicative of an apparent indifference to the value of human life"? You'll get them from William Brennan and Hillary Clinton, not General Mattis. Is there a guilty conscience in men like Rather, and the Americans who will no doubt be as shocked as he is, when they hear of a Marine's love for brawling? Does it cause them to become blind, like mirrors, comfortably condemning in others what really they fear to see in themselves?

I think the revulsion over Mattis' remarks come from the West's taste for dining with panthers, in the culture's hatred of man himself. People who openly praise the unrestricted killing of defenseless children as a brave victory for human rights are likely to have twisted ideas about the morality of combat. For sanity in the matter, I'll rely on soldiers to explain Mattis' words. Soldiers like Ralph Peters, or Robert Scales. For my part, I recall Jean Larteguy writing in The Centurions about having "two armies," one that matches the effete expectations of society and another that fights wars:
I'd like to have two armies: one for display with lovely guns, tanks, little soldiers, staffs, distinguished and doddering generals, and dear little regimental officers who would be deeply concerned over their general's bowel movements or their colonel's piles, an army that would be shown for a modest fee on every fairground in the country.

The other would be the real one, composed entirely of young enthusiasts in camouflage uniforms, who would not be put on display, but from whom impossible efforts would be demanded and to whom all sorts of tricks would be taught. That's the army in which I should like to fight."
That's the army in which any sane man would want to fight, or be defended by, because it's the army that gives him the best chance of being victorious and alive at the same time. It's General Mattis' army. I guess it creates as much shock among liberals as it does among the enemy. Thank God for that. And thank you, General Mattis.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Note on St. Blog's Parish Hall

It's no secret that I hope St. Blog's Parish Hall takes off as a message board. I hope it will be a place where anyone who wants to comment on a blog or post does so, provoking conversation. So I was glad to learn that one of St. Blog's most annoying features is easily disabled.

When you register to post on the board, you will receive a gobbledygook password like FGhJk7C. Of course, it's case-sensitive, so if you type "Fghjk7c," the system won't let you log in. Several people have complained that they can't remember this password. I can't remember mine, either. I was always doing "remember me on this computer" and then looking up the bSpeak email that had my password in it whenever I had to log back on.

But there's a better way to make St. Blog's an easy stop on your internet rounds. After you sign up and receive the gobbledygook password, you go to the site and log in using it. Then click on "Account" and change your gobbledygook password for one you can always remember. So you only have to use the gobbledygook password twice -- once to log in, and once to change it into a password that's comfortable and easy to type.
St. Blog Awards and Other Stuff

The nominations are in and voting will end on February 11, 2005. You can vote here. This blog has been nominated as "Most Insightful." There are helpful links to each blog nominated at the bottom of the page.

There's no word yet on whether John Allen will write a book on the nominating/voting process. According to his book on the other nominating/voting process (which I'm reading and will blog about presently), I'm primarily a "Border Patrol" Catholic with some strong "Salt-of-the-Earth" tendencies. Those are two of his three names for the factions that will shape the next conclave. The other faction is the "Reform" party that thinks Vatican II was really just an organizational pep-rally for Vatican III. Since I don't fancy the idea of a Council that would grant the entire membership of Call to Action peritus status, I don't have much in common with the Reform party.

For the readers who've emailed recently, I'm still working on "Notes on the Lumen Gentium Problem." It will probably take a few days more, given the press of work and other matters. My apologies and thanks for your patience.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

The Benefits of a Republican President

I remember a few years back when Bill Clinton was president. Social Security, we were frequently told, was on the verge of bankruptcy. Decreasing worker payments and increasing boomer retirements were the cause. Only a dedicated, brilliant, and left-wing social servant like Bill Clinton, Al Gore, or Bill Bradley could possibly save us by reforming the program.

But now that George Bush works in the Oval Office, things are looking up. Social Security is just fine and dandy, thank you very much, and there's no reason to change one iota of the program. Oh we might consider tinkering here and there to make it even better than perfect, but really there's no need for alarmed, hasty, or even prompt action on the matter . . . .

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Report from the Book Front

The first meeting of our reading group was last Wednesday. In addition to my father and myself, there were five young fellows between 19 and 24 from the local college. We decided to have weekly meetings on Thursdays (your prayers appreciated). A couple of meetings will be dinner extravaganzas courtesy of myself. Mostly there'll be coffee and light refreshments.

Not having anything to read tonight didn't stop us from talking. We had a lively discussion that lasted about two hours and touched on topics such as Pelagianism and Semi-Pelagianism, whether man has a natural desire for God, the deleterious impact of the culture on Catholic faith, movies, Aristotle's golden mean, whether a purely-dogmatic conception of the faith is enough, "cafeteria" Catholicism, and why fewer people were eating the ginger cookie bars than the chocolate ones.

Our reading schedule's still a bit haphazard. Because most of our members are feckless college students whose pampered lives manage to coexist with the impression that they have too much work on their hands, we've decided to read a series of short works on a weekly basis and only two longer works to be discussed at intervals. (I've suggested readings from Kung, Schillebeeckx and de Chardin unless a Traditionalist who's interested in the group, but who was absent, starts attending. Think of it as scrawling on a mirror, "Stop Me Before I Modernize Again!" I hope he comes. He knows more about Catholicism than most of us).

For next week, we're reading two chapters from Msgr. Robert Hugh Benson's Paradoxes of Catholicism, "Authority and Liberty," and "Faith and Reason." We're also going to pick two longer novels from the following list of six. Explanatory notes for the selection follow each title. Three are "positive" works, by which I mean they affirm Catholic truth in one way or another. They are:
Canticle for Leibowitz (How does the Church endure? Why does the world hate her?)
The Samurai (What does bearing the imago Dei mean?)
Brideshead Revisited (What's faith? Why are we drawn to it? Why are we repelled by it?)
Three are "negative" stories, either wittingly or (in Rand's case) unwittingly dystopian, which provide an opportunity for examining Catholicism's value by comparison to alternatives. They are:
The Fountainhead (Idolatry, lust and cruelty set within America's civic religion).
1984 (A novel about a future we've avoided).
Brave New World (A novel about a future we're embracing).
We had good suggestions from blog readers. JohnK suggested The Screwtape Letters. I'm hoping he (or anyone else) can help us pick a few favorites from the correspondence to read for one week. The Elinor Dashwood suggested Brideshead Revisited, which is on our novels list. Geoff Horton suggsted Benson's Lord of the World, and since we're reading Benson already I hope he'll be satisfied. Margaret Kalb suggested CS Lewis Till We Have Faces, which I've never read. I hope she can follow JohnK and send in recommended excerpts for us to read. And if anybody wants to send in a "Cliff Notes" on our readings, please feel free and I'll be glad to use ‘em.