Author Archives: suburbanbanshee

David Drake’s New Project

He’s writing a novel about a roving warband, and trying to figure out how such a thing would actually have worked historically.

He offered it to Tor and was enthusiastically accepted. (Which isn’t surprising, considering that Tor badly needs some kind of good news and popular author, after the black eye they’ve been giving themselves this year.)

Hopefully the boycott will be over by the time this book comes out, a few years from now.

I definitely don’t hate Tor, because I don’t hate its founder. I just think they have a serious personnel problem (ie, they hired jerks, or allowed nice people to become unprofessional jerks without reining them in).

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Venerable Hanna Chrzanowska

She’s the nurse who invented a new parish healthcare system, using both nurses and ordinary people, as her retirement project.

While under Communist rule.

So it seems that maybe we can route around socialist healthcare.

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Safety Tip

True fact — St. Thomas Aquinas was fine as long as he walked everywhere, like a proper Dominican friar. When he was ordered in old age to go to Rome super-quick, and was put on a horse by his brethren, he ended up absentmindedly bashing his head against a tree branch on the road, getting concussed, and eventually dying at the nearest monastery.

So don’t think and ride.

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“Intra Arcana” by Pope Clement VII – Partial Translation

I post over at the Catholic Answers forums under the name “Mintaka”.

Somebody was asking about the papal bull “Intra Arcana,” so I translated a good chunk. It goes on for three or four more pages about how to recruit clergy for the New World missions, but this is most of the stuff that is getting discussed on Wikipedia.


Clement, Servant of the Servants of God,

To Our dearest son in Christ, Charles, King of the Romans and the Spanish, elected as the Emperor:

Health and the Apostolic Blessing.

Among the secrets of Our heart and mind for a long time since, going back over many things —

For that, and for the greatly renowned memory of Ferdinand the Catholic King, your maternal grandfather; for the guardianship and exaltation of the Catholic Faith; and for the propagation of the Christian Religion against the Moors and other enemies of Christ’s Name;

On behalf of this Holy See which governs it, upon which We preside by the Divine Kindness; hoping you (who adhere to the same Royal King in the Spains and the Sicilies, on this side [of the ocean] and beyond it, and prove to be the Advocate of our Church the Bride) will be supported by it in His footsteps; and his renowned works will be supported; and for greater growth of the said Faith by the excelling of the terrestrial army and the maritime fleet,

Inasmuch as it is so that the dwellers on those islands vulgarly named the Spannolas, which were discovered under this King Ferdinand, may be led back to the knowledge of the Faith; but also beyond that, for [the dwellers on] each one of the other islands in the Indian Ocean which were absolutely unknown until now; which [islands] may not unmeritedly be called “the New World;” which you have placed under your leadership and your auspices by your authority;

And the peoples of them having found nothing of the Christian Religion; you have managed recognizing and watching over the recognition for them with all care and diligence, thus far;

And following on this, we entrust the barbarous nations to you, until you take them to the Workman of all things, and they be recognized by God the Creator; driven along not only by edicts and admonitions, but also by arms and forces (if only so the work will [be able to] exist); so that with all care of bringing it about, their souls may become partakers of the Heavenly Kingdom.

Wherefore we deservedly introduce this [document], to grant it to you with the most eager soul, through which the honor of Your Highness may increase and your pleasing regard; and receiving to yourself suitable Ecclesiastical persons for Ecclesiastical benefices, may you be able to provide for them.

The motu proprio is not on account of your earnestness, or that of another for you about this offered petition, but simply out of Our Own liberality; so that by Our authority, from precisely whatever experienced bishops and archbishops will be chosen; for the Ecclesiastical persons; and also whosoever and howmanysoever and whatsoever kind of Ecclesiastical benefices with an office or a boundary of an office, you will name them for this through yourself;

Also We wish them to have any Apostolic dispensations obtained and awaited whatsoever; the kinds and values of these benefices; and the courses of these kinds of dispensations for pronouncement, and on these persons and each one of them, to whatever excommunications, suspensions, and interdictions, or other Ecclesiastical sentences, censures and punishments exist by law, or by any human occasion or broad case;

If by those in whatever way they are knotted up from the effect of validity [of Sacraments], We absolve them from these grave matters, following the making of the nomination to them; and We wish them to be absolved; and We announce it in each cathedral (except Liege, which is run by Our dear son Erardus, titular Cardinal Priest of St. Chrysogonos) and in each college church which has been conferred Canons and prebends by the Apostolic Privilege on the towns, lands, and villages in your patrimony of Flanders which remain subject to you….

[And it goes on from there, as the Pope basically gives the king authority to run a recruiting drive for getting clergy to come to the New World. Pretty much anybody clerical is encouraged to come, and in return they get absolved of everything bad they’ve done or whatever canon law legal trouble they’re in, back in Europe. So it’s sorta like the Crusades or the Wild West. Also the “dear son” bit is in the pastoral sense, not the biological one.]

This isn’t a teaching document; it’s a grant of permissions and privileges to one particular person and his kingdom, for the purpose of promoting missionary work and keeping “the work” safe.

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Serra Canonization and Papal Mass in DC

If you want to see the credits for the music or follow along with the rest of Mass, here’s the official Papal Mass program for today’s canonization Mass.

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An Early Christian Woman on Reason and Scripture Study

“Come,” [Sistelius] said, “and I too will say a word to you, which once I heard in Lycia – the piety of a woman who was well-versed in the Scriptures, and prudent, and who taught the things of the Lord wisely. What I heard I will declare to you all.

“For this hospitable and prudent woman, who always sought after understanding, used to say, ‘Someone who seeks the truth above all should not be afraid or disturbed by the heights of reason.

“‘But when someone supposes that he has descended into the depths, and into difficult reasonings, he gives up and, as it were, turns back halfway, and because he has not attained understanding he becomes slothful, and, as it says in the Gospels, leaves his tower half-built. Therefore it is well to be patient and undismayed. For the one who seeks the goodness of the Scriptures with patience will see more clearly.

“‘So also the prophet Elijah – after that spirit which rent the mountains and the rocks, and after the earthquake and after the fire, he then perceived the still small voice of that spirit – proceeding from one thing to the next until he came to the truth.

“‘So casting away darkness, and sanctified in soul, let us ascend from understanding to understanding as from step to step: that is, from the mountain wind (which is like unbelief); to searching the Scriptures, as if entering the earthquake; and thence to the fire, that is, the unquenchable fire of love; and being made capable by it, let us proceed to the attainment of greater things; until we reach the summit, that is, the sanctification of the Holy Spirit.’

“And I wondered and said, ‘O wise woman, I marvel at your sagacity and serenity and reverence, and above all at your wisdom.’

“And she smiled and said, ‘As there are certain wise interpretations of Scripture, from these it is shown that one who studies the Scriptures should not be dismayed.’”

— From St. Methodius of Olympus, “On Leprosy.” Translated into English for the first time by Ralph Cleminson and Andrew Eastbourne, 2015. Edited and published by Roger Pearse.

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Our Lady of Aberdeen – in Brussels

The miraculous statue of Our Lady of Aberdeen is one of the few British statues of Mary that survived the Reformation.

After a great deal of miracle-enforced reluctance to destroy the statue, it was thrown out of Aberdeen’s cathedral, hidden in various places, and kept in a private home. The family converted to Catholicism after seeing all sorts of miracles take place. Finally, a Scottish official working for the court of the Archduchess Isabella in Belgium got hold of the statue and shipped it out of Scotland. The ship was wracked by storm and had to fight the Dutch, but it got through. Shortly afterward, the Archduchess fought the Dutch and won a great battle. In gratitude, she named the statue Our Lady of Good Success (Notre-Dame de Bon Succes) and clothed it in her own finery and jewels. It has been famous in Belgium ever since.

Here she is. It’s a statue of Mary holding the child Jesus, along with a bunch of golden grapes (foreshadowing the Eucharist), while playing with her son’s foot (which will tread on the Serpent). Jesus is tugging on His mother’s headrail and blessing the world. The statue is painted, in the medieval style. You can visit Our Lady of Aberdeen at the parish church of Notre-Dame de Finistere, in Brussels.

Unfortunately, current Belgian law says that old churches are the property of the state, along with all their contents. Aberdeen asked many times to get it back, but Belgium has always refused. This was a sore spot that grated on people so much that a Highland regiment in WWI actually plotted to lift the statue and take it home. However, on seeing the devotion of locals, the regiment lost heart for their plan and decided to leave the statue in its home away from home.

Here’s a prayer to Our Lady of Aberdeen from St. Mary’s Cathedral in Aberdeen. (Her feast in Aberdeen is July 9th.):

“Our Lady of Aberdeen, Mother of God, Queen of Heaven, we thank you for your intercession on our behalf in the past. With renewed confidence we turn to you again, asking that you may through your Son, help to strengthen our faith and guide us in our resolve to carry out his will.

We commend to you our Holy Father, Pope Francis, and our Bishop, N., and ask that you may look favourably upon their intentions.

We pray for all the needs of the Church; that you may bring about unity among men in the love of your Son.

Our Lady of Aberdeen, we pray for those who rule us, we pray for our neighbours, our families and ourselves that the peace of Christ may reign among us, always.

Our Lady of Aberdeen, Our Lady of Good Success, pray for us.”

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