Monday, June 30, 2014

“I read the news today, oh boy …” (End Of June Edition)

Vice President Joe Biden and his press secretary, Darren Criss, educate the public on shotgun use while politicians and pundits broadcast warnings of flying robots and spies. At least it certainly looks that way, thanks to the magic of The Gregory Brothers and their collaboration known as Schmoyoho, who "songify" the news to make it almost palatable.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on planet Earth:

Some people think that putting "Euro stickers" on their cars makes them look well traveled. Others think it just makes them look obnoxious. One thing for certain, is that many who travel to exotic places this summer will need a refresher in how not to behave. [Slate]

Every now and then, a story comes along where you have to believe there's more to the story than it being told. In this case, it also begs a question, as to why certain employees of the Environmental Protection Agency failed to at least submit an environmental impact statement before they, uh ... [Government Executive]

The town of Swett, South Dakota, with a population of two, is up for sale. Get it now, before the wealth from the oil boom in North Dakota starts to spread south. [Rapid City Journal]

Would you like weed with that? A Maryland woman who ordered a meal at a Sonic Corp fast-food restaurant got something extra with her French fries. Too bad she wasn't in Colorado. [Reuters]

And that's all the news that fits. As the week goes on, stay tuned, and stay in touch.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sometimes you feel like a nut ...

Today, the Christian world celebrates the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul. The Church of Rome reserves this day for ecumenical celebrations with the Eastern Orthodox, as a sign of hope for unity between East and West. In the reformed Roman calendar, it is recognized as a solemnity, and is a holyday of obligation in many countries (if not the United States). The traditional Roman calendar notes it as a double octave of the first class. In both cases, its celebration displaces that of the Sunday of the year. In other words, it's definitely up there on the food chain.

And speaking of food ...

The world of Catholic new media has plenty of meditations on this day. This writer has decided on a different approach:

At the train station in Naugatuck, Connecticut, candy and ice-cream shop owner Peter Paul Halajian used to meet the commuter trains carrying baskets full of fresh hand-made chocolates. The most popular of his candies was a blend of coconut, fruits, nuts, and chocolate that he called Konabar ...

Eventually Peter Paul merged with Cadbury, which later merged with Hershey. Not only is there a recipe for the Mounds and Almond Joy confections on the internet, but you can also bake a cake out of them, with recipes to be found here and here.

Personally, I can't think of a better way to celebrate this feast than to bake a cake out of something that says "Peter Paul," unless the gang at Fisheaters has a better idea.

But hey, that's just me.

Friday, June 27, 2014

In Corde Jesu

Today, Catholics of the Western tradition celebrate the Feast of the Sacred Heart.

Outside of devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary, there is none more popular or more identified with the traditional piety of Catholic life than this feast, occurring on Friday of the week following the Feast of Corpus Christi. It was on that earlier feast when a Novena to the Sacred Heart would begin, culminating in the Mass and Office of today.

“Christ’s open side and the mystery of blood and water were meditated upon, and the Church was beheld issuing from the side of Jesus, as Eve came forth from the side of Adam. It is in the eleventh and twelfth centuries that we find the first unmistakable indications of devotion to the Sacred Heart. Through the wound in the side, the wound Heart was gradually reached, and the wound in the Heart symbolized the wound of love.” (1917 Catholic Encyclopedia)

There were various monastic communities who took up the devotion, but the real tip of the biretta has always gone to St Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-90), a Visitation nun who had a vision. While praying before the Blessed Sacrament, she saw Our Lord with his heart beating openly, and the sight of it all sent her into a spell of ecstasy. “He disclosed to me the marvels of his Love and the inexplicable secrets of his Sacred Heart.” To say the least.

But perhaps the finest explanation of this vision can be found in an episode of The X-Files, a detective series that ran on The Fox Network for nine years, and to this day has a formidable cult following. It is from the series' sixth season, and is entitled "Milagro" (6X18), originally airing on April 18, 1999. It seems there were people being murdered by their hearts being removed by hand. FBI Special Agent Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) visited a Catholic church, and coming across the image of the Sacred Heart, she runs into this unsavory fellow who explains the story behind the image to her. A piece of the dialogue, from the mysterious writer named Philip Padgett (John Hawkes), describes a vision:

I often come here to look at this painting. It’s called “My Divine Heart” after the miracle of Saint Margaret Mary. Do you know the story ... The revelation of the Sacred Heart? Christ came to Margaret Mary, his heart so inflamed with love that it was no longer able to contain its burning flames of charity. Margaret Mary ... so filled with divine love herself, asked the Lord to take her heart ... and so he did, placing it alongside his until it burned with the flames of his passion. Then he restored it to Margaret Mary, sealing her wound with the touch of his blessed hand.

His account portrays an almost sensuous quality to the Saint's reaction to this vision, in a way that one might rarely hear or read anywhere else. And just when we thought the influence of Christendom had faded from the popular culture (unless you include images created in tattoo parlors). Hope breeds eternal ...

A common practice in many Catholic homes until the mid-20th century (including mine), was the "Enthronement of the Sacred Heart," in which the family placed the appropriate image of Christ on the wall, and together recited the necessary prayers, pledging the consecration of the family and the home to Him, in return for special graces. Fisheaters has a good explanation of the whole she-bang, just in case it makes a comeback.

It could happen.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Loose Lips in the Loggia (Saints John and Paul Edition)

This is a chart showing the number of Jesuits worldwide. The über-trad upstarts at Rorate Caeli contend that the falling numbers are more evidence of all that is wrong with the Church since Vatican II. The assumption, of course, is that the key to solving the problem is to have more Jesuits.

While they're discerning the flaw in this line of reasoning, here's what's bouncing around the bandwidth of believers lately:

Marc Barnes thinks that "popes should resign more often," employing arguments that fail to take into account why so few have ever resigned up to now. [Bad Catholic]

“New Catholic” continues his anonymous crusade for the Truth, in the matter of the Holy Father's kinda-sorta excommunication of the Mafia. It seems that no particular names are mentioned. Neither is his. Or is it hers? [Rorate Caeli]

Caleb Alexander (no relation, probably) discusses how troublemakers in discussions on the internet are so often encouraged by the attention they get. [Barefoot and Pregnant]

This looked like a joke upon first glance, but no, it's serious. [Corpus Christi Watershed]

Finally, Pope Francis tells theologians that the “sensus fidelium” does not mean a majority opinion. After all, “who are they to judge?” [Catholic Herald]

Well, that's our story and we're stickin' to it. Remember to attend Holy Mass this Sunday. Until the next weekly chattel of church chat, stay tuned, and stay in touch.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Ole Slew Foot: Update


Here is the latest information from the Miami Township Police Department and the Ohio Division of Natural Resources:

Young male most likely from Kentucky. 2-3 yrs. of age around 85 lbs. Not causing any damage or harm. Law enforcement is monitoring situation and we will only move the bear if a situation arises.

Dispersal of sub adult male bears occurs annually, typically a result of being driven off by their mother as she prepares for the breeding season. Young females have smaller ranges and seldom venture as far as males to establish territories. We do often get dispersing bears from neighboring states, Kentucky, West Virginia and Pennsylvania where the bear population is very healthy.

If a bear is sighted, individuals should contact the Division of Wildlife District Office (937-372-9261) to report the sighting, and then leave the bear alone. Enjoy this rare appearance at a safe distance. Do not approach or impede the bears movement.

Some bear reports in Ohio are associated with nuisance situations. When people remove potential food sources, conflicts with bears often diminish. Moving bird feeders higher, removing uneaten pet food, keeping trash inside until pick up day, and cleaning up after grilling out all help to deter bears from frequenting an area and becoming nuisances.

Art-For-Art’s-Sake Theatre: 500 Years of Female Portraits in Western Art

Time once again for our usual midweek feature.*

If you enjoy the great works of art in Western civilization, you will also enjoy this captivating three-minute journey through more than half a millennium of female portraits, and how the beauty of the human face has evolved in its depiction over the years. You are challenged to see how many of the ninety paintings you might recognize, and to test your memory against the list found here.

The soundtrack is Bach's “Sarabande from Suite for Solo Cello No 1 in G Major” performed by Yo-Yo Ma. The video is produced by Philip Scott Johnson. H/T to Goodnet.

* Formerly "our usual midday Wednesday feature."

Ole Slew Foot Comes to Town

Like many other parts of the United States, the eastern outskirts of Cincinnati have been subject to slow but steady suburban and exurban growth, from the end of the second World War to the present day, particularly since the completion of Interstate 275 in the 1970s (also known as the Cincinnati Bypass, formerly known as Circle Freeway). With such encroachment comes the reduction of untamed wooded acreage, and the subsequent conflict of man with nature, as deer are sighted invading people's backyard gardens, and the migration of coyotes from the northern and western regions makes its way to the east and the south.

But the people of Clermont County, just east of Cincinnati, and where this writer's hometown of Milford is located, were not ready for their latest visitor.

Miami Township Police are no longer searching for a male black bear Tuesday but a police presence still remains to stop the bear from going any further north.

The Ohio Division of Wildlife plans to let the bear go naturally. The wildlife division said they've had calls about black bear since Friday but Tuesday is the first time it has interacted with humans ...

Apparently, the two-year-old, 85-pound bear swam across the Ohio River from Kentucky in search of a mate. He would have a hard time finding one, as black bears are an endangered species in Ohio. Nonetheless, state wildlife officials were tracking him, especially once he had encountered humans at an outer suburb less than five miles east of the house where I grew up. The plan as of last night, was to wait until he emerged from whatever deep woods where he was hiding (probably more scared than anyone in the surrounding cul-de-sacs), capture him, and release him into a more remote area.

Who knows, maybe the Ohio Division of Wildlife will arrange a blind date for him.

And so, this bluegrass rendition by Jim and Jesse, of a country classic by Johnny Horton, is dedicated to our furry friend, who will hopefully find a more suitable venue for letting nature take its course.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Twelve Revisited

Last Saturday, we noted the twelfth anniversary of this venue, and gave some indication as to the changes that would be seen here. We have noticed a consistently high volume of viewing during the mid-morning, especially in the middle of the week, which can only mean that most of you (besides having embarrassingly short attention spans) are screwing around at your jobs as much as some of you might suspect your average civil servant who shall remain nameless is doing.

And so, in a vain attempt to compensate for your bad habits, our regular features will be moved to a publishing time of anywhere between 9:00am and 10:00am Eastern USA time. This may change how some features are presented.

One might suspect you'll survive the adjust ... oh, look who's picking another fight on Facebook!!!

Monday, June 23, 2014

“I read the news today, oh boy ...” (Saint Etheldreda Edition)

If you want to know what a real news talk show looks and sounds like on television, watch Megyn Kelly of Fox News Channel pull no punches with former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz Cheney. This includes him taking the hard questions like a man and not being a big crybaby, as in “Boo hoo, Fox News is picking on me again!”

Meanwhile, elsewhere on planet Earth:

Today is the feast of Saint Etheldreda, a princess from East Anglia, England, who lived in the seventh century, and who is the patroness of widows and the University of Cambridge. Her intercession is called upon for ailments of the neck and throat. [SQPN]

On the other hand, at a place other than planet Earth, the first humans to venture into outer space will most likely be the beneficiaries of a private endeavor, as opposed to an official government program, in which case they might be cited for trespassing. You have to wonder who will be there to write out the ticket. [Vice]

And now, back to planet Earth for something equally exciting, featuring a guy wearing a suit filled with Mentos (the Freshmaker!) and dropped into a tank of Diet Coke. [Sploid]

Finally, a young boy in Mississippi stepped up to the mic during a church’s Preschool Graduation, wasting no time singing his way through all of the books in the New Testament. And then ... [Country Music Nation]

And that's all the news that fits. As the week goes on, stay tuned, and stay in touch.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Lauda Sion Salvatorem

... is a sequence prescribed for the Mass of the Feast of Corpus Christi. Upon the institution of the feast for the whole of the Western church in 1264, Pope Urban IV commissioned Saint Thomas Aquinas to compose hymns for its Mass and Office, including Pange lingua, Sacris solemniis, and Verbum supernum. Our featured hymn tells of the institution of the Eucharist and clearly expresses the Catholic belief in the Real Presence.

While the feast was traditionally honored on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, exactly sixty days after Easter, its celebration as an "external solemnity" on the following Sunday has long been tolerated, especially in countries where elaborate processions of the Blessed Sacrament would be better facilitated than on a weekday.

The feast is also a public holiday in Austria, Brazil, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Haiti, East Timor, parts of Germany, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Panama, Peru, Poland, San Marino, parts of Spain and Switzerland, Grenada, Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago.

Not too shabby.

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Lauda Sion Salvatórem
Lauda ducem et pastórem
In hymnis et cánticis.

Sion, lift up thy voice and sing:
Praise thy Savior and thy King,
Praise with hymns
    thy shepherd true.

Quantum potes, tantum aude:
Quia major omni laude,
Nec laudáre súfficis.

All thou canst, do thou endeavour:
Yet thy praise can equal never
Such as merits thy great King.

Laudis thema speciális,
Panis vivus et vitális,
Hódie propónitur.

See today before us laid
The living and life-giving Bread,
Theme for praise and joy profound.

Quem in sacræ mensa cœnæ,
Turbæ fratrum duodénæ
Datum non ambígitur.

The same which at the sacred board
Was, by our incarnate Lord,
Giv'n to His Apostles round.

Sit laus plena, sit sonóra,
Sit jucúnda, sit decóra
Mentis jubilátio.

Let the praise be loud and high:
Sweet and tranquil be the joy
Felt today in every breast.

Dies enim solémnis ágitur,
In qua mensæ prima recólitur
Hujus institútio.

On this festival divine
Which records the origin
Of the glorious Eucharist.

In hac mensa novi Regis,
Novum Pascha novæ legis,
Phase vetus términat.

On this table of the King,
Our new Paschal offering
Brings to end the olden rite.

Vetustátem nóvitas,
Umbram fugat véritas,
Noctem lux elíminat.

Here, for empty shadows fled,
Is reality instead,
Here, instead of darkness, light.

Quod in cœna Christus gessit,
Faciéndum hoc expréssit
In sui memóriam.

His own act, at supper seated
Christ ordain'd to be repeated
In His memory divine;

Docti sacris institútis,
Panem, vinum, in salútis
Consecrámus hóstiam.

Wherefore now, with adoration,
We, the host of our salvation,
Consecrate from bread and wine.

Dogma datur Christiánis,
Quod in carnem transit panis,
Et vinum in sánguinem.

Hear, what holy Church maintaineth,
That the bread its substance changeth
Into Flesh, the wine to Blood.

Quod non capis, quod non vides,
Animósa firmat fides,
Præter rerum ordinem.

Doth it pass thy comprehending?
Faith, the law of sight transcending
Leaps to things not understood.

Sub divérsis speciébus,
Signis tantum, et non rebus,
Latent res exímiæ.

Here beneath
    these signs are hidden
Priceless things,
    to sense forbidden,
Signs, not things, are all we see.

Caro cibus, sanguis potus:
Manet tamen Christus totus,
Sub utráque spécie.

Flesh from bread, and Blood from wine,
Yet is Christ in either sign,
All entire, confessed to be.

A suménte non concísus,
Non confráctus, non divísus:
Integer accípitur.

They, who of Him here partake,
Sever not, nor rend, nor break:
But, entire, their Lord receive.

Sumit unus, sumunt mille:
Quantum isti, tantum ille:
Nec sumptus consúmitur.

Whether one or thousands eat:
All receive the self-same meat:
Nor the less for others leave.

Sumunt boni, sumunt mali:
Sorte tamen inæquáli,
Vitæ vel intéritus.

Both the wicked and the good
Eat of this celestial Food:
But with ends how opposite!

Mors est malis, vita bonis:
Vide paris sumptiónis
Quam sit dispar éxitus.

Here 'tis life: and there 'tis death:
The same, yet issuing to each
In a difference infinite.

Fracto demum Sacraménto,
Ne vacílles, sed memento,
Tantum esse sub fragménto,
Quantum toto tégitur.

Nor a single doubt retain,
When they break
    the Host in twain,
But that in each part remains
What was in the whole before.

Nulla rei fit scissúra:
Signi tantum fit fractúra:
Qua nec status nec statúra
Signáti minúitur.

Since the simple sign alone
Suffers change in state or form:
The signified remaining one
And the same for evermore.

Ecce panis Angelórum,
Factus cibus viatórum:
Vere panis fíliórum,
Non mittendus cánibus.

Lo! bread of the Angels broken,
For us pilgrims food, and token
Of the promise by Christ spoken,
Children’s meat, to dogs denied.

In figúris præsignátur,
Cum Isaac immolátur:
Agnus paschæ deputátur
Datur manna pátribus.

Shewn in Isaac's dedication,
In the manna's preparation:
In the Paschal immolation,
In old types pre-signified.

Bone pastor, panis vere,
Jesu, nostri miserére:
Tu nos pasce, nos tuére:
Tu nos bona fac vidére
In terra vivéntium.

Jesu, shepherd of the sheep:
Thou thy flock in safety keep,
Living bread, thy life supply:
Strengthen us, or else we die,
Fill us with celestial grace.

Tu, qui cuncta scis et vales:
Qui nos pascis hic mortales:
Tuos ibi commensáles,
Cohærédes et sodales,
Fac sanctórum cívium.

Thou, who feedest us below:
Source of all we have or know:
Grant that with Thy Saints above,
Sitting at the feast of love,
We may see Thee face to face.

Amen. Allelúia.

PHOTOS: Celebrations of the Feast in Greenville, South Carolina, USA (First Annual Southeastern Eucharistic Congress), in Antigua, Guatemala (Infrogmation), in Poznań, Poland (Radomil), and in Vaduz, Liechtenstein (Joyce Chan).

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Now We Are Twelve

This little corner of the Catholic blogosphere is twelve years old today, but why the hell should you care?

If you are reading this right now, there is a one in ten chance that you are genuinely interested in occasional enlightened commentary on issues of faith and culture, by someone who does not merely regurgitate what they read somewhere else. By extension, this assumes you have an attention span longer than the 140-character limit for creating messages on Twitter. This is not always the case, however, and we have the data to prove it.

The rest of you would probably rather read about the ongoing pissing contest between the so-called “NEO-CATHOLICS” with Mark Shea leading the troops, and the so-called “NEO-TRADS” (although I cannot imagine what is so "NEO-" about any of them, as opposed to "PALEO-") with Michael Voris holding the banner high (except for the brief interludes when The Remnant decides he is selling out, then all bets are off), voicing outrage at the lack of charity, if not the lack of clarity, just so someone can make some smart-@$$ comment on Facebook, and get everybody all stirred up again, and continue being indignant for the foreseeable future.

Here, on the other hand, this writer has managed to stay above the fray, and will continue to do so, as various aspects of this controversy are explored in the future.

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Maybe you want to read a dramatic conversion story. It seems that everybody has one these days, which makes you wonder how anybody became a Catholic before the internet. Surely the angels and saints in Heaven rejoice at the news of a lost sheep having been found, and that will not be disputed here. But one has to wonder whether it matters how famous the converted are because of it. Speaking of which, how about my conversion story?

Born on December 28, 1954, at about 7 in the morning, in Cleveland, Ohio. Baptized three weeks later at Christ the King Church in East Cleveland. Family moved to the Cincinnati area in the spring of 1956. Received first Holy Communion in October of 1962, in the midst of the Cuban missile crisis, when we were asked to offer it up for world peace, and when everything was in Latin. Received the Sacrament of Confirmation, taking the name "Mark," in the spring of 1965, the first year that any part of the Roman Mass was in English (which is to say, very little).

End of story.

While there is some value to the witnessing of those still among us in "this valley of tears," if the lives of the saints are not enough to assist us in the pursuit of virtue, then all the wannabe celebrities in the world of Catholic new media, who at the end of the day are simply making money talking about themselves, will hardly turn the trick. The fact is, none of us really knows when we will be called home, and there is no guarantee that anyone outside the bosom of Mother Church will be assured of eternal salvation, even if they would have had their own totally-Catholic reality television show in an alternate timeline, if only God had given them a few more years to wise up. And although every worker in the Lord's vineyard receives the same promised wage at the end of the day, regardless of their hours of labor, what is described above may be the singular consolation of being a "cradle Catholic" without a tale to tell for fun and profit.

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The past twelve months have been devoted to reflection here at man with black hat. The promotion on Twitter has been less aggressive, and readership is down by just under half of what it was at this time two years ago. About once every month (well, most months anyway), something is published that gets a great deal of attention. But most of the time, we could post photographs of kittens and draw just as big a crowd. And then we have that pesky day job that takes up at least forty hours a week; forty-eight if you count commuting time. All that just because I have to earn a living. Oh, the humanity ...

What of the future?

In the next one to two years, this venue could evolve into something very different from what it is at present. All of the regular weekly features are currently under review, and some of them may simply be retired, no matter how much yours truly is personally amused by them. Except for certain holiday devotions (the 12 days of Christmas, the mother of all Novenas, etc), one possibility is to simply go to nothing more for most of the year than one or two significant articles in a week, plus a weekly posting of a video of artistic or cultural import, with illuminating commentary. There is also the prospect in 2014 or 2015 of a weekly videocast. It would cover many of the same subjects usually covered here, and the regular installments would be no more than three minutes in length.

We shall see what tomorrow brings. Stay tuned, and stay in touch.

Friday, June 20, 2014

FAMW: OK Go “The Writing on the Wall”

OK Go is back with a new music video that lives up to the incredible visual trickery we have come to expect from them. This one took three weeks and a huge team to create and over fifty attempts to get just right -- if only for this week's Friday Afternoon Moment of Whimsy.

(H/T to 22 Words.)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Loose Lips in the Loggia (Corpus Christi Edition)

The big story in the world of Catholic new media this past week (if only off the beaten path) is the threat to close and sell off Manhattan's Holy Innocents Church, where parishioners spent a gazillion dollars to restore its interior and lavish painted mural ceiling, merging it with the "inclusive" (depending on your point of view) Saint Francis of Assisi parish, while also keeping open another nearby "inclusive" parish, Saint Francis Xavier. To the casual observer, a sin that cries to vengeance is a heresy that Cardinal Dolan can live with, but not the Traditional Mass.

Michael Voris his featured here once again taking twice as long as necessary with his own report on the subject. Of course, as is usually the case, there is another side to this story, which is featured below, but this writer cannot help but wonder whether a certain high churchman in Gotham isn't having yet another "Oops-I-Did-It-Again" moment.

Meanwhile, here's what's bouncing around the bandwidth of believers lately:

Pope Francis said that Christians do not exist outside the Catholic Church. Really, he said that, and was rather unambiguous about it. For once. [Now The End Begins]

… which begs the question, are we living in the end times? The short answer is, yes, for nearly two thousand years. Father Dwight Longnecker provides a longer one. [Standing On My Head]

There is often either a right way or a wrong way to go about things. With respect to the controversy highlighted above, what follows is the view from a certain Catholic in Brooklyn, with a few key points of reasoning mysteriously overlooked. Can you find them? [Catholic in Brooklyn]

More on the madness in Manhattan, this time from a traditionalist Anglican source. [Virtue Online]

In yet another instance of foot-in-mouth disease, former Speaker of the House and "ardent Catholic" Nancy Pelosi, having demonstrated in the past not knowing Augustine from a hole in the ground, has ordered the Archbishop of San Francisco not to participate in a pro-marriage rally. His Excellency begs to differ. [CatholicVote]

Finally, we simply cannot help ourselves whenever there appears any report of a kerfuffle involving the Archbishop of New York, His Immenseness Timothy Cardinal Dolan, and so we bring you, once again, our usual tribute for such occasions. [man with black hat]

Well, that's our story and we're stickin' to it. Remember to attend Holy Mass this Sunday, and stick around to march in the Corpus Christi procession, especially if it's in a town where they stop traffic for it. Until the next weekly chattel of church chat, stay tuned, and stay in touch.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Art-For-Art’s-Sake Theatre: Schmoyoho “Herp de Derp”

Time once again for our usual midday Wednesday feature.

Schmoyoho is a collaboration of our pals The Gregory Brothers, with a little help from several of their equally-madcap friends, especially Bean and Stephon, who star in this music video as a commentary on being socially acceptable -- or not. “This channel is where we songify our world, because everything is better as a song!” And so it goes.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Loose Lips in the Loggia (Ember Week Edition)

The week of Ember Days near the end of the Easter season has traditionally been devoted to the ordination of deacons and priests. Many of us have seen young men bestowed with Holy Orders of late. It is then that they learn their first assignments; indeed, that other priests and deacons learn of any re-assignments.

Meanwhile, here's what's bouncing around the bandwidth of believers lately:

The gospel passages in recent weeks have told of Our Lord leaving his disciples, and of the coming of the Holy Spirit as “the Paraclete.” You only think you know what is meant by the Greek word paraclesis. [The High Calling]

Well, there he goes again. Pope Francis said that "rigid traditionalists and cafeteria Catholics" aren't really Catholics ... [Seasons of Grace]

… or did he? [The Crescat]

Religion journalist Abby Carr reveals something that at least one Christian teen could have told her forty years ago, that youth groups actually drive Christian teens to abandon their faith. [CharismaNews]

The Psalmist wrote that “He who sits in the heavens laughs.” (2:4) And there's a reason. [Te Deum laudamus!]

Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke once headed an advisory board to the bishops' conference on the priest child-sex-abuse scandal, and once accused the Archbishop of Chicago of being “disingenuous” about what he knew about the crisis. And speaking of disingenuous ... [Chicago Sun-Times]

Finally, a conference held recently devoted a great deal of discussion to the prospect of women as deacons. Unfortunately, the panel of experts did not include someone who has studied the subject in some detail WITHOUT preconceived notions. Prepare to be enlightened. [man with black hat]

Well, that's our story and we're stickin' to it. Remember to attend Holy Mass this Sunday. Until the next weekly chattel of church chat, stay tuned, and stay in touch.

Monday, June 09, 2014

“I read the news today, oh boy …” (Whit Monday Edition)

If you're going to watch this clip of Stephen Colbert about that whole Bergdahl business, it helps if you don't take the news too seriously. Neither side of the issue is spared on this one. Not that deserting one's post isn't a serious thing, but so is support from the home front as a factor in an expedient conclusion to our involvement. How many of you planted victory gardens this past spring?

Don't all raise your hands at once. Meanwhile, elsewhere on planet Earth:

The rebellious spirit that has made the Lone Star State what it is today lives on, as the "Come And Take It" flag made famous by the Battle of Gonzales, the birthplace of the Texas revolution, waves proudly from a treehouse that the city of Austin is trying to take down. [The Libertarian Republic]

It's one of those stunts we might have pulled at Scout camp when we were kids, before telling the Scoutmaster it was in the name of science. What happens when you boil a bottle of Coke? [The Blaze]

While driving from Arizona to Michigan, a 62-year-old man discovered his girlfriend was dead in the passenger seat, so he decided he wanted to keep driving. [KRMG Radio]

We all know how protective a good father can be about his daughter, but what if the young man who needs to be taught a lesson … is her teacher? [BizPac Review]

If anyone from Australia is reading this, please tell me why I would want to live there if all this stuff can kill me. []

Finally, let's all welcome the Central Intelligence Agency to Twitter. Operating out of its headquarters in northern Virginia, the CIA has kept the world safe for (or from, depending on your point of view) democracy since 1947. [Hot Air]

And that's all the news that fits. As the week goes on, stay tuned, and stay in touch.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Novena: Postlude

Da virtutis meritum,
da salutis exitum,
da perenne gaudium.
Amen. Alleluia.

Give them virtue's sure reward;
give them thy salvation, Lord;
give them joys that never end.
Amen. Alleluia.


Come, O Holy Ghost, fill the hearts of Thy faithful, And enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.

V: Send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be created,

R: And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.

Oh God, Who didst instruct the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Ghost, grant us in the same Spirit to be truly wise and to ever rejoice in His consolations, through Jesus Christ Our Lord.


(To see the novena in its entirety, click here.)

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Novena Day 9: The Fruits of the Holy Ghost

Da tuis fidelibus
in te confidentibus
sacrum septenarium.

On the faithful, who adore
and confess thee, evermore
in thy sevenfold gift descend.


The gifts of the Holy Ghost perfect the supernatural virtues by enabling us to practice them with greater docility to divine inspiration. As we grow in the knowledge and love of God under the direction of the Holy Ghost, our service becomes more sincere and generous, the practice of virtue more perfect. Such acts of virtue leave the heart filled with joy and consolation and are known as Fruits of the Holy Ghost. These fruits in turn render the practice of virtue more attractive and become a powerful incentive for still greater efforts in the service of God, to serve Whom is to reign.


Come, O Divine Spirit, fill my heart with Thy heavenly fruits, Thy charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, faith, mildness, and temperance, that I may never weary in the service of God, but by continued faithful submission to Thy inspiration, may merit to be united eternally with Thee in the love of the Father and the Son. Amen.

Our Father ... Hail Mary ... Glory Be ...

(To see the novena as completed to the present, click here.)

Friday, June 06, 2014

Novena Day 8: The Gift of Wisdom

Flecte quod est rigidum,
fove quod est frigidum,
rege quod est devium.

Bend the stubborn heart and will;
melt the frozen, warm the chill;
guide the steps that go astray.


Embodying all the other gifts, as charity embraces all other virtues, Wisdom is the most perfect of the gifts. Of wisdom it is written “all good things came to me with her, and innumerable riches through her hands.” It is the gift of Wisdom that strengthens our faith, fortifies hope, perfects charity, and promotes the practice of virtue in the highest degree. Wisdom enlightens the mind to discern and relish things divine, in the appreciation of which earthly joys lose their savor, whilst the Cross of Christ yields a divine sweetness according to the words of the Savior: “Take up thy cross and follow Me, for My yoke is sweet, and My burden light.”


Come, O Spirit of Wisdom, and reveal to my soul the mysteries of heavenly things, their exceeding greatness, power and beauty. Teach me to love them above and beyond all passing joys and satisfactions of the earth. Help me to attain them and possess them for ever. Amen.

Our Father ... Hail Mary ... Glory Be ...

(To see the novena as completed to the present, click here.)

D-Day Plus 70

Seventy years ago today, the world saw the largest invasion in human history, as the Allied troops crossed the English Channel and landed on the beaches of Normandy in France. Despite heavy resistance from a surprised and well-equipped German stronghold, it was the beginning of the end of the German plans for world domination. If a medium such as Twitter had existed then, the events would be followed live here, including the actual CBC radio broadcasts: @CBCDDayLive

One of the most influential men in the life of this writer, an expatriated Jew from Vienna who joined the British Commandos and served with great distinction, was there on the beach, and survived to tell the tale. My own account of knowing him, and the impression he made on my life, can be found in the account entitled “My Art Director, The Inglourious Basterd.”

Meanwhile, to see how the scene above, and so many others in the vicinity, appear today, click here.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Loose Lips in the Loggia (Special “Hot Button” Edition)

If you've been following the world of Catholic new media, you know two things. The first is that the current pontificate is giving both the so-called "neo-Catholics" and the so-called "rad trads" plenty of ammunition to use on the other. The second is that if it didn't, they'd both have to make something up. Some people even post a variation on Facebook of something they said in the same venue two days earlier, just to sit back and watch the comments pile up.

So, this edition of Loose Lips is dedicated to the few, the proud, the ones who need to grow the hell up. And on that promising note … here's what's bouncing around the bandwidth of believers lately:

Katrina Fernandez has conceded to her place on the Patheos Catholic Channel strictly for "comic relief," but lately she may be the only one who doesn't have to. This week, she calls for a pax upon this house (and just when some of you were having SO much fun). [The Crescat]

Kevin Tierney is a “papal traditionalist” (as we used to call them) who notes the long term consequences of high vitriol in low places, when it comes to discussing matters of the Faith, and why he stopped blogging at the end of last month. [Common Sense Catholicism]

Vittorio Messori claims that “Ratzinger did not withdraw to a private life. Here is why we truly have two Popes.” He then proceeds to describe what he calls a “diarchy.” Someone needs to ask those yahoos at Rorate: “DUUUDE? DIARCHY?? THAT'S NOT EVEN A REAL WORD!!!” [Rorate Caeli]

Joe Heschmeyer knows that the only thing worse than having two popes, is having no pope, and for a really really long time. He also says that (if only beyond theory) a sustained state of sedevacantism is impossible. He's not the only one, but he said it lately, so ... [Shameless Popery]

Mark Shea wants all the rad trads out there to know, that he really does not care about what happens to the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, and he will keep posting about it, and telling them why he really does not care, until everybody on Facebook stops sending him hundreds of comments each time he tells them that he really does not care. Really. [Catholic And Enjoying It]

And last but not least, Frank Weathers isn't phased about recent events, nosiree Bob! He knows that Saint John of the Cross has a perfectly good explanation for the kerfuffle, how “what happened last week in the Catholic blogging world is all one big rookie mistake.” Fortunately, he elaborates. [Why I Am Catholic]

Well, that's our story and we're stickin' to it. Remember to attend Holy Mass this Sunday. Until the next weekly chattel of church chat, stay tuned, and stay in touch.

Novena Day 7: The Gift of Counsel

Lava quod est sordidum,
riga quod est aridum,
sana quod est saucium.

Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
on our dryness pour thy dew;
wash the stains of guilt away.


The gift of Counsel endows the soul with supernatural prudence, enabling it to judge promptly and rightly what must be done, especially in difficult circumstances. Counsel applies the principles furnished by Knowledge and Understanding to the innumerable concrete cases that confront us in the course of our daily duty as parents, teachers, public servants and Christian citizens. Counsel is supernatural common sense, a priceless treasure in the quest of salvation. “Above all these things, pray to the Most High, that He may direct thy way in truth.”


Come, O Spirit of Counsel, help and guide me in all my ways, that I may always do Thy holy will. Incline my heart to that which is good; turn it away from all that is evil, and direct me by the straight path of Thy commandments to that goal of eternal life for which I long. Amen.

Our Father ... Hail Mary ... Glory Be ...

(To see the novena as completed to the present, click here.)

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Novena Day 6: The Gift of Understanding

Sine tuo numine
nihil est in homine,
nihil est innoxium.

Where thou art not, man hath naught,
nothing good in deed or thought,
nothing free from taint of ill.


Understanding, as a gift of the Holy Ghost, helps us to grasp the meaning of the truths of our holy religion. By faith we know them, but by Understanding we learn to appreciate and relish them. It enables us to penetrate the inner meaning of revealed truths and through them to be quickened to newness of life. Our faith ceases to be sterile and inactive, but inspires a mode of life that bears eloquent testimony to the faith that is in us; we begin to “walk worthy of God in all things pleasing, and increasing in the knowledge of God.”


Come, O Spirit of Understanding, and enlighten our minds, that we may know and believe all the mysteries of salvation; and may merit at last to see the eternal light in Thy light; and in the light of glory to have a clear vision of Thee and the Father and the Son. Amen.

Our Father ... Hail Mary ... Glory Be ...

(To see the novena as completed to the present, click here.)

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Novena Day 5: The Gift of Knowledge

O lux beatissima,
reple cordis intima
tuorum fidelium.

O most blessed Light divine,
shine within these hearts of thine,
and our inmost being fill!


The gift of Knowledge enables the soul to evaluate created things at their true worth -- in relation to God. Knowledge unmasks the pretense of creatures, reveals their emptiness, and points out their only true purpose as instruments in the service of God. It shows us the loving care of God even in adversity, and directs us to glorify Him in every circumstance of life. Guided by its light, we put first things first, and prize the friendship of God beyond all else. “Knowledge is a fountain of life to him that possesseth it.”


Come, O Blessed Spirit of Knowledge, and grant that I may perceive the will of the Father; show me the nothingness of earthly things, that I may realize their vanity and use them only for Thy glory and my own salvation, looking ever beyond them to Thee, and Thy eternal rewards. Amen.

Our Father ... Hail Mary ... Glory Be ...

(To see the novena as completed to the present, click here.)

Monday, June 02, 2014

“I read the news today, oh boy …” (Pomp and Circumstances Edition)

A lot of the kids are graduating from college, high school, grade school, pre-school (huh?) right about now, so here's some inspiration for them in case they get a real loser for a commencement speaker like those poor kids in Topeka. Admiral William H McRaven, USN, Commander of the U S Special Operations Command, has some wisdom inspired by the Navy Seals for his alma mater, the University of Texas at Austin.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on planet Earth:

John Tyler was President of these United States from 1841 to 1845, but his grandchildren are still alive today. You have to wonder how they pull it off. [Mental Floss]

If you're wondering how many extra shots of expresso you need with that cup of high-priced joe in the morning, here's a concoction that will last for ... [The Washington Free Beacon]

A man in Port Orchard, Washington, suspected of robbing a woman at a Washington ferry terminal, friended her on Facebook the next day. Creepy. [AP]

You've seen those maps of the USA telling you how first names have changed over the years. It's only natural that you can now use them to tell a woman's age, which should either cut down on awkward moments, give up the game for women who don't want you to know, or all of the above. [FiveThirtyEight]

Advanced safety and guidance features in automobiles once unimagined a decade ago are now standard, but "the final solution" is coming soon, courtesy of the folks at Google. Can you say "liability issues"? [Time]

Finally, His Catholic Majesty King Juan Carlos of Spain (yep, they really call him that, and the Queen gets to wear a white mantilla for a papal audience) has abdicated his throne in favor of his son, Philipe. Americans are unaccustomed to monarchy, but it does have its place, even in this century -- believe it or not. [The Telegraph]

And that's all the news that fits. As the week goes on, stay tuned, and stay in touch.

Novena Day 4: The Gift of Fortitude

In labore requies,
in aestu temperies,
in fletu solacium.

In our labor, rest most sweet;
grateful coolness in the heat;
solace in the midst of woe.


By the gift of Fortitude, the soul is strengthened against natural fear, and supported to the end in the performance of duty. Fortitude imparts to the will an impulse and energy which move it to undertake without hesitancy the most arduous tasks, to face dangers, to trample under foot human respect, and to endure without complaint the slow martyrdom of even lifelong tribulation. “He that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved.”


Come, O Blessed Spirit of Fortitude, uphold my soul in times of trouble and adversity, sustain my efforts after holiness, strengthen my weakness, give me courage against all the assaults of my enemies, that I may never be overcome and separated from Thee, my God and greatest Good. Amen.

Our Father ... Hail Mary ... Glory Be ...

(To see the novena as completed to the present, click here.)

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Novena Day 3: The Gift of Piety

Consolator optime,
dulcis hospes animae,
dulce refrigerium.

Thou, of comforters the best;
thou, the soul's most welcome guest;
sweet refreshment here below.


The gift of Piety begets in our hearts a filial affection for God as our most loving Father. It inspires us to love and respect for His sake persons and things consecrated to Him, as well as those who are vested with His authority, His Blessed Mother and the Saints, the Church and its visible Head, our parents and superiors, our country and its rulers. He who is filled with the gift of Piety finds the practice of his religion, not a burdensome duty, but a delightful service. Where there is love, there is no labor.


Come, O Blessed Spirit of Piety, possess my heart. Enkindle therein such a love for God, that I may find satisfaction only in His service, and for His sake lovingly submit to all legitimate authority. Amen.

Our Father ... Hail Mary ... Glory Be ...

(To see the novena as completed to the present, click here.)