Monthly Archives: July 2008

The No-Ches

The Anchoress posted today about one of her son Buster’s adventures — and his anti-Che T-shirt.

Oh, Anchoress. Please, please, get Buster or somebody else to put a big “Buenas” above that face and symbol.

Heck, you could even (though it would be very wrong) put out Christmas cards with a “La”, the symbol, and then “Buena”.


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Translation: “Il Cantico del Bene” by St. Joseph of Cupertino

St. Joseph of Cupertino, a Franciscan poet? Yes, there’s more to our favorite flying saint than levitation, bilocation, and miscellaneous wonderworking! He also wrote poetry, according to his hometown’s website. In fact, his hometown — which prefers the spelling “Copertino” — apparently sells some kind of CD of musical settings or music-backed recitations of his poetry.

Here’s one of his most famous works, the “Canticle of the Good” (“Il Cantico del Bene”), along with my attempt at a translation. I don’t speak Italian and have relied on Google Translate, so ‘attempt’ is the word.


Chi fa ben sol per paura
non fa niente e poco dura.

Whoever does good ’cause he’s too scared not to
Does nothing hard, though he really ought to.

Chi fa ben sol per usanza
se non perde, poco avanza.

Whoever does good ’cause good habits stayed,
Won’t get lost, but no progress made.

Chi fa ben come per forza
lascia il frutto e tien la scorza.

Whoever does good only when forced to it
Eats rind, leaves fruit to rot where he threw it.

Chi fa ben qual sciocco a caso
va per l’acqua senza vaso.

Whoever does good with a random flail
Goes to fetch water without a pail.

Chi fa ben per parer buono
non acquista altro che suono.

Whoever does good to look good to friends
Buys himself nothing but noise in the end.

Chi fa ben per vanagloria
non avrà già mai vittoria.

Whoever does good just for empty pride
Has made himself play on the losing side.

Chi fa ben per avarizia
cresce sempre più in malizia.

Whoever does good only out of greed
Makes his malice grow and lets it feed.

Chi fa ben con negligenza
perde il frutto e la semenza.

Whoever does good in a careless way
Will lose both fruit and the seed, I’d say.

Chi fa bene all’indiscreta
senza frutto mai s’acquieta.

Whoever does good to the indiscreet
Gets no peace and no fruit that’s sweet.

Chi fa ben per solo gusto
mai sarà santo né giusto.

Whoever does good just for his own pleasure
Will become just and a saint — When? Never.

Chi fa ben sol per salvarsi
troppo s’ama e non sa amarsi.

Whoever does good just for his salvation
Loves none but himself in God’s whole Creation.

Chi fa ben per puro amore
dona a Dio l’anima e il cuore
e qual figlio servitore
sarà unito al suo Signore.
Gesù dolce Salvatore
sia lodato a tutte l’ore
il supremo e gran Motore
d’ogni grazia donatore.

Whoever does good purely out of love
Gives heart and soul to his God above.
And what’s the servant son’s reward?
To be united with his Lord.
O Jesus, sweet Savior,
Each hour may we praise your favor,
O great, supreme Mover,
Of every grace the Giver.

St. Giuseppe Desa of Copertino, pray for us!


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From Our Home Office in Clairvaux….


10. Demonstrations and marches are good.
Eucharistic and saint-day processions are bad.

9. Incense at home to cover up that marijuana smell is good. Yay, Sanskrit chant!
Incense in church to waft prayers to Heaven is bad. Boo, Gregorian chant!

8. Renovating old houses and antiques to their original condition is good.
Maintaining old churches in their original condition is bad.

7. Indoctrinating children from birth to love peace is good.
Baptizing children soon after birth, and teaching them the Christian faith, is bad.

6. It’s good for kids to learn a second language. Bilingual education is great.
It’s bad for kids to learn Latin. Teaching Mass parts in Latin or Greek is abusive.

5. Early music is good, especially on the original instruments and for its original purposes.
Early music in Mass is bad, especially on the original instruments and for its original purposes.

4. Grassroots movements are good.
Grassroots traditional religious movements are bad.

3. Diversity and experimentation is good.
Diversity within religious tradition is bad.

2. Alternative lifestyle choices are good.
Chaste alternate lifestyle choices are bad.

And the number one contradictory attitude of the Sixties Bunch?

1. All life is sacred, and every person has worth and is good!
Babies we don’t want are bad.

UPDATE: Curt Jester and Rich Leonardi both have additions to the list. Motu Proprio translated this list into German.


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Wide World of Medieval Recreation

SCA Today is a rather nice medieval/SCA news site; I just dropped by it for the first time in a long while. Since I’m awake, I thought I’d link to some stories that might be of interest to folks who come to my blog.

A Classical Studies professor has written a book on the social significance — to ancient Roman women — of the clothes and fashions they chose to wear.

In the SCA, folks simulate medieval fighting. They have thus created a rather strenuous martial art, with real armor, real shields, real helmets, and “swords” that function as clubs made out of rattan and duct tape. (Rattan weaponry can still break bits of other people. Hence the armor.) Push for Pennsic (a Midrealm SCA event that prepares the kingdom’s fighters for melee fighting in units at the Pennsic War in August) was up in Wapakoneta this year. The local newspaper did a quite nice article, and my old barony’s gold and ermine are showcased in the photo. 🙂

An article on that oceangoing Viking longship that sailed last summer.

A 3D virtual cathedral at Duke.

Some undisclosed ancient-lineaged family in Tokyo had socked away a full Muromachi period ms copy of The Tale of Genji. Then an even older ms, which had been thought lost during WWII, finally surfaced. Geez! Check your ancestral attics more often, will ya?!

Another nice newspaper article on SCA doings, this one focusing on a local group’s educational efforts directed at the general public.

Astronomers recalculate the date of Caesar’s invasion of Britain. ‘Cause time and tide wait for no scholar.

Austin SCA members try keeping the canonical hours at a camping event. You’ll note that this wasn’t a super-serious attempt (there are public domain medieval books of hours and translations of them, but they apparently didn’t try to read any real liturgies of the hours). But just keeping the rhythm of a day in this way would be pretty enlightening. Also, you will note that they didn’t do it out of anti-Christian mockery, and apparently didn’t suffer any anti-organized religion backlash. Both of these things can certainly happen in the SCA (or did in my day), although most folks are polite and keep any anti-religious sentiments to themselves.

The illustrious theater track at Pennsic will grow in luster once again, as a group plans to produce A Man for All Seasons. (In 2009. Not this year.)

Medieval scriptorium safety tip: Don’t lick the cinnabar paintbrush. (Or breathe the cinnabar when you grind it up to make the paint, or use the paint in an unventilated area. Cinnabar is mercury.)

Finally, if you feel the need to count your blessings, you might want to check out this little girl, Avery. She’s the daughter of an SCA guy, according to Joe Bethancourt (whom I know), and she’s had some very severe cancer. There’s a matching fund you can donate to. There’s also an update blog, which for some reason is behind a consent wall. (I guess because it’s “disturbing” to read about a little girl with cancer and a father trying to make a home for his kids and accept help graciously.)

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Ouch. Filker in Need.

Tom Smith, one of the Michigan filkers from way back and purveyor of songs both hilarious and serious, is been in the hospital and doing time in physical therapy. (Well, he always said he’d do a lot for Christine Lavin, but I don’t think “ripping important body parts” was in his plans.)

His condition is serious, it’s going to last the summer, he needs money but can’t practice his trade, and so filkers (okay, the Livejournal filkers — I sure didn’t hear about it) have been raising money for him. Follow the link above, and learn all.

If you don’t know Tom, take it on faith that this is a good collection of songs, and collect the extra good karma points for it being a benefit album. If you do know Tom, you know darned well they’re good songs. Either way, you should do this.

Finally found this out via Girl Genius and Kaja Foglio.

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When I Grow Up, I Want to Be a Fireman… No, a Policeman… on a Horse… No, Wait, I’ll Be a Cowgirl. Who Fights Like Joan of Arc. Except with Magic….

I have been reading St. Therese of Lisieux’s autobiography, The Story of a Soul, for my podcast, Maria Lectrix. I have been enjoying it a great deal, and possibly identifying with the story a little too much for a flawless reading. (Sorry, folks. I know, it’s a pain.)

However, every feminist and Therese-loving bone in my body has just revolted.

Now I’m aware that, for some reason, some feminists think that Therese was oppressed, because she had a brief longing to become a priest. (A goal which soon changed back to her primary dream of being a nun, and left her mostly with a great sympathy for priests and their work, and a desire to pray for them. Which she did in heaven to such effect that priests consider her one of their patron saints.) Apparently in the same spirit, one of my listeners has decided that St. Therese’s brief longing to do great deeds like Joan of Arc was quashed by cruel sexism. (In fact, it just soon changed back to her primary desire to be a nun, and she believed she had received special teaching from God on the subject of her momentary desire and why such great ambition was useful to a nun.)

Nobody ever seems to believe that St. Therese’s desire to become a girl hermit in the wilderness was quashed by cruel, cruel eeeeeevil sexism. But that one lasted for several years of structured make-believe play and was shared by someone else! Much more credibility than the priest or the Joan of Arc thing. (Though, frankly, every girl wants to be Joan of Arc sometime. She is the closest saint to a Mary Sue, but more sensible, more forced to face reality, and alas, deprived of purple eyes.)

You’ll notice that nobody ever seems supportive of St. Teresa of Avila’s desire to go on crusade as a missionary as a kid, with her brother as a knight or a missionary, and convert all the Muslims. And Jews too, which is interesting since her family were Converso Jews. What’s more, our strong-minded Teresa and her brother actually set out on the journey to Palestine before they got caught and brought back, as I recall. (Cruel, eeeeevil parents and relations!)

I’ve rambled quite a bit here. So I’d better just state my points.

Hello? Hasn’t anyone here been a kid? Is sexism the only reason any female ever reconsiders a potential career? Isn’t it sexist to assume that sexism was the problem, when all the evidence is against it?

And does anyone believe that Mademoiselle Therese Martin, a damsel so frail and easily swayed from her purpose that she planned out and attempted to strong-arm the Pope (to his face!) into doing her will (!) was prevented from doing great deeds in the world by sexism????

First of all, we are not talking about some kind of purdah country. Therese was born in 1873. In France, where plenty of women meddled in politics and literature and art, and did great deeds.

If Therese Martin had been convinced that it was God’s will for her life to do worldly great deeds or save France with military power, WWI would have been over before anyone figured out that the French army usually didn’t take orders from bourgeois ladies who hadn’t gone to the military academy. We’d have seen Therese studying military strategy and history for years ahead of time. Then we would have seen her placing artillery and leading the French Foreign Legion on death or glory charges, or hovering over the landscape in a balloon.

(And if she had decided to go into the mistress business, she probably would have turned into the Anti-Bismarck, and France would own Europe all the way to Budapest. So… probably a good thing for Luxembourg that she didn’t emulate Madame Pompadour.)

Also, her dream of being a missionary sister (yup, she went through a lot of ambitions) was certainly not anything farfetched. Frenchwomen traveled all over the world in the missions, and they certainly did all sorts of “great deeds”. Only her health and her desire to stay near her family stood as barriers to this — but of course, there are plenty of sisters who managed to finagle their way into mission orders and overseas to rough posts despite ill health. Again, if Therese had felt that God called her to the missions during life, she would have been in Pago Pago before anyone had time to blink. But again, what really happened was that Therese discarded the momentary ambition for her real goal of becoming a nun, and was left with nothing but sympathy for missionaries’ work and a great desire to pray for them. (And so, yep, she’s a patron saint for the missions.)

Therese Martin was a bright, imaginative young person who dabbled in all sorts of career dreams. She returned again and again to her dream of serving as a Carmelite nun in a cloister, and in the end chose it with such force that she dragged everyone in her way, from the Pope down, into making her dream come true, and promptly. (Not as promptly as she’d have liked, mind you, but considerably more promptly than anybody thought it could have occurred.)

Sexism? Oh, please. She was too busy getting Jesus’ will done to _notice_ sexism, much less let it block her from doing precisely what she thought God intended her to do.

If there’s an -ism villain in Therese’s story, it’s ageism, seeing as people cruelly denied her constant requests to enter the convent at the age of seven and then again, as a pre-teen. Cruel, cruel eeeeevil ageism.

(And considering how young she died, you could argue that Therese was right to have been in such a hurry.)


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The Hours for St. Magnus and Companions, Martyrs

In a book of Icelandic sagas. Pretty cool, eh? The Mass propers are listed, too.

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Yeehaw! Hoody-hoo! Pop the champagne, sing Te Deum, and dance the non-liturgical happy dance of joy!

All ye English-speaking Catholics, praise the Lord! 2010, subito! 🙂

Break into rap, brothers and sisters!

I have sinned
through my fault,
through my fault,
through my most grievous…
through my fault,
through my fault,
through my most grievous fault….

Long, long ago before the sin of Babel,
Understand the same tongue, everyone was able
But we had too much pride
Our minds were changed inside
So He confused the tongues that we used.

But then the Holy Church, she’s born on Pentecost,
And mankind gains back what we had lost
So even though we come from every tongue and land,
When you speak the Gospel, we can understand —
Peter, speak the Gospel, and we’ll understand!

The mystery of faith….
I believe.
I believe.

The mystery of faith….
I believe.
I believe.

So ev’rybody come to the Mass and hear it!
“Peace be with you.” “And with your spirit.”
Ev’rybody come to the Mass of Benny,
Where Christ’s blood’s “poured out for you and for many”.
Christ’s blood’s “poured out for you and for many”.

Now everyone who comes from an English-speaking nation,
Will fin’lly get to hear a more literal translation,
The changes are substantial — like “consubstantial” —
But hearing what Mass really says is an essential!

Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof,
but only say the word
and my soul shall be healed.

Rejoice and be glad, and give God the glory
Because now we get to hear all of the story.
Translation we can trust?
It is right and just!
Just! Just! Just!

Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to people of good will.
We praise you, we bless you,
we adore you, we glorify you,
we give you thanks for your great glory.

So ev’rybody come to the Mass and hear it!
“Peace be with you.” “And with your spirit.”
Ev’rybody come to the Mass of Benny!
Where Christ’s blood’s “poured out for you and for many”.
Christ’s blood’s “poured out for you and for many”.

“Go forth, the Mass is ended.”
“Thanks be to God.”

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Cantiones Sacrae by Joseph Mohr, S.J.

Here’s Cantiones Sacrae, an interesting book of Latin hymns and “devotional chants” for the whole church year, arranged for simple harmony. There seem to be huge numbers of settings for “Tantum Ergo Sacramentum” and similar hymns. The real piece of awesomeness is that it has a hymn specifically for St. Stanislaus Kostka. (Man, these Jesuits stick together….) Also, for St. Aloysius Gonzaga.

There’s some music also apparently designed to be sung _over_ private Masses, which seems… unnecessary.

But anyway, there’s a lot of interesting stuff here, which doubtless those people more musical than myself will understand better than I and find useful.

Musica Sacra: Monatschrift is another Catholic hymnbook I found on All the forematter is in German, but the hymns seem to be mostly in Latin. There seem to be hymns for pretty much every feastday.

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Dogs and Cats and Biblical Proportions

Enbrethiliel has a good post up about animals and God. (It must be good; she links to me.) 🙂

It is lucky for dogs that we Catholics accept Jewish scriptures written in Greek — because Jews in Israel didn’t think much of dogs, but the writer of the Book of Tobit thought that of course Tobit should have a dog. So if you’re Catholic or Orthodox, pets are scriptural. If you’re not, you have to rely on human tradition. 😉

Here’s an interesting article on the Book of Tobit in the Dead Sea Scrolls and St. Jerome’s tail-wagging addition.

Cats have been important helpers of humanity for a long time, and Pope Benedict XVI isn’t the only churchman who’s liked them. For example, there’s the 9th century Irish monk at Reichenau who wrote a little poem about his cat, White Pangur (Pangur Ban). (More translations.) Apparently Pangur Ban (along with his monks) is a main character in an old kids’ Celtic fantasy series by Fay Sampson. Looks interesting.


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Begin the Beguine Tourism

There are still beguine houses (beguinages) and beguines in Belgium.

I want one, darn it. Or a house of canonesses.

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French Holy Cards Blog

If you like looking at holy cards, here’s a “blogue” all about French ones. Of course, it’s in French, but I think you’ll get the general idea. 🙂

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Good TV News, Bad TV News

Bad news: I missed the season finale of Avatar, the Last Airbender, and all the latest episodes, too.

Good news: In a stunningly sensible move, someone has hired David James Elliott (Harm on JAG) to play a medieval knight in a medieval knightly romance miniseries named Mirabilis.

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The Universality of Wandering Thoughts

Carney’s translation of “Is mebul dom imradud” (By an anonymous monk, about 1000 AD.)

A shame on my thinking
How it wanders away
It will cause me embarrassment
on Last Judgement day.

At psalm time it rushes forth
on a pathway that’s odd
running, raving, misbehaving
in the presence of God.

To merry women’s company
(the unvirtuous kind),
through wood and through cities,
faster than the wind.

When road is smooth it travels
merrily and gay,
but passes just as easily
the impenetrable way.

It needs no ship to journey
and the seas go by,
jumps with but a single leap
from solid earth to sky.

Put a fetter on its leg,
chain it to prayer?
Yes! But in a minute’s time
it’s no longer there.

Little use in beating it,
plying whip or rod:
like an eel’s tail it slips away
from my grasp and from God.

No chain and no dark dungeon
will hinder its course;
it laughs at seas and fortresses,
is mocking of force.

Dear Christ, lord of chastity,
chain thinking in place
with power of Spirit septiform
and all His grace.

Make, great elemental God,
the heart be still,
that You be my only love
and I, Your will.

May I come to Christ at last,
and then to see
that He is no unsteady thing,
nor wandering, like me.

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