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Internet People: William of Orange

Seen at Eye of the Tiber:

Susan: Hey William of Orange what are you doing in this site

William of Orange: I’m actually a double agent. Trained by the Jesuits for twenty years, I lived an ascetic life with mortifications that would make Josemaria Escriva look like a self indulgent throw-back to Woodstock. I’m part of an elite group philosophic counter terrorists. In addition to extreme physical training, I had to memorize the entire Summa, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and all the encyclicals up to Pope JP II.

I infiltrate the strongholds of anti-Catholicism (I once provided IT support for James White in order to gain access to his personal computer). We gather intel on all heretical groups and rank non-Catholic groups in order of threat relevance. For example: the Foursquare Gospel Church has a ‘TR’ (threat relevance) of 347. They could move up at some point, but it is unlikely. What makes them less threatening than, say, the Anglican Church, is not their relative obscurity, it’s their crappy worship music. The musicians they attract are only ever capable of playing tired early 1920s and mid-depression hymns long since abandoned by the Methodists. The dissonance of their badly tuned cheap guitars accompanied by the staccato rhythms of the pastor’s nephew on drums awkwardly trying to play along with music discarded before his grandfather was born poses no threat to Catholic liturgy – even those lefty parishes that insist on including Ashes by Tom Conry on Good Friday. We also specialize in writing very long sentences.

Like a cold war era spy drinking potato vodka in an anonymous speak easy that doubles as the front for a safe house in East Germany, this forum is the only place where I can allow (only a part) of my real identity to be known despite the fact that I must still do so using extraordinarily long strings of words lest my commitment to the use of verbosity flag even in the slightest.

I would surely appreciate it if you kept this under wraps.

Dominus Vobiscum


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Another Way Mecca Copies Jerusalem

A lot of people have pointed out that the activities involved with the Islamic Meccan pilgrimage today seem to be an attempt to copy the experience of a pilgrimage to either Jerusalem (by Jews or Christians) or to Petra (by pagans).

At the Hypotyposeis blog, there are two posts about something that St. Clement of Alexandria (in his book Stromateis) says was a Jewish custom: they would make seven circuits around the Temple before entering it. (And this would be similar to what the Israelites did while waiting for the walls of Jericho to fall, in the Book of Joshua.)

In one post, the Hypotyposeis blog relates this passage in Clement to an ambiguous Greek word, periboloun, which can mean either “going around a circuit” or “a covering wrapping around something.”

This would obviously be a more understandable reading, because seven different materials that acted as “coverings” or “veils” were used for the Temple’s Tabernacle.

His latest post relates the circuit idea itself to a passage in the Jewish historian Josephus, which talks about the “seven purities” observed in the process of approaching the Tabernacle. This is the idea of increasing levels of purity being required of those entering further and further into the courts of the Temple.

Either way, it seems clear that there was an idea floating around the Middle East that Jews circled around the Temple or the Tabernacle. Since ritual circuits were common in paganism and at Christian pilgrimage sites and shrines, it would be pretty normal to try to transfer a Jerusalem custom to the Kaaba, in order to make some kind of point to Jewish people. (Whether or not it would be understood as intended.)

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EWTN Choir: “Cantate Domino” at Offertory

Today is the Feast of St. Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr, and patron saint of church music.

If you watch EWTN’s Mass today, the small choir (five men, seven women) is doing some very lovely stuff. I don’t know which “Cantate Domino” they did, but it was very nice.

A lot of the great choral music repertoire for Mass is really not all that complicated or long. It is really good to hear EWTN setting a good example for what church music can be.

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Pope Zachary Said, That St. Boniface Said, That St. Virgilius Said, That….

Excerpt from Pope Zachary, Epistola 11, to Archbishop Boniface.

Migne, SL 89, 945-947.

….Meanwhile, Your Brotherly Reverence writes that you have learned of a certain priest of Irish birth, Samson by name, who, wandering from the way of truth, is saying and affirming that one can make a Catholic Christian by imposition of an episcopal hand, without mystic invocation or the laver of regeneration. But he who says this is empty of the Holy Spirit and foreign to the grace of Christ, and should be thrown out of the sacerdotal fellowship. For who can be Catholic without being baptized in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, according to the Lord’s command, and who can so be consecrated through the imposition of a hand? Expel this man, and any such men preaching condemned things to the holy Church of God.

And if one holds a doubt that those men who were baptized by heretics, may not have been baptized in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, inquire into the truth of the matter. If they were baptized wrongly by sacerdotes and this is without doubt, according to the mandate handed down to you from Our predecessor of good memory, Pope Gregory, and the sacred canons, do not omit to complete the baptism, lest they perish forever; but let them be saved by a better evangelical consecration.

[More stuff about the Frankish bishops and saying hello to them.]

But greet them all in turn, my dearest, with the kiss of Christ’s peace, because We have sent letters with Our love and thanks to those doing apostolic work.

On the other hand, it has also been intimated by Your Fraternal Holiness that this Virgilius — and We do not know if he is to be called a priest! — has acted wickedly against you in this way: that he has confused you by wandering himself away from Catholic doctrine; inserting himself with Odilo, Duke of Bavaria, so that he could seed hatred between him and you, affirming that, freed up by Us, he alone would obtain a diocese, and be quit of those four bishops which your fraternity had ordained over there; which never was true, because iniquity lied to him.

But concerning his perverse and iniquitous doctrine, which he has spoken about, against God and his own soul. If it should be made clear that he has confessed to such things — that there may be another world and other humans under the earth, or [another] sun and moon — these things — after holding council, drive him from the Church, deprived of the honor of a sacerdote.

And also, We have sent summoning letters to the aforesaid Duke, writing him that he should present himself to Us, and a strict investigation is required; if he should be found straying, he will be condemned by canonical sanctions. For he sows painful things; they reap themselves. And as it is written, “For perverse thoughts separate us from God, but his proven power reproves the unwise.” (Wis. 1:3)

But concerning the abovewritten Samson, and the priest Virgil, We have examined what Your Holiness has written. We wrote them indeed, as was proper, warning them; for trust is granted more to Your Brotherhood than to them.

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Messing with the Blessed

I didn’t want to post this on Sunday, because it would sour the day.

Some people have a compulsion to make the lives of holy people miserable. Holy people make them look bad and feel small. It’s not anything the holy people do; it’s the lack in themselves that these people feel. People who already know they are not perfect are usually able to bathe in the goodness emanating from holy people. That’s why criminals and nogoodniks often are attracted to saints, and sometimes can be influenced into turning their lives around. But people who already think they are better than anyone else, and then are slammed in the face with evidence that they’re not? Oh, they don’t react well. They are often the persecutors of the saints.

So yeah, sometimes it’s the Christopher Hitchens of this world who hate the Mother Teresa’s, because of irreligiousness, and sometimes it’s the Sauls and ardent pagans of the world, because of excessive disagreement and zeal for religion. But a lot of times, it’s the bishops of Rouen, the ones who say they are Christian but aren’t much.

Problem is — the compulsion doesn’t end when saints die. There’s always somebody trying to rip up the memory of the saints, or use and abuse them, or distress those who love them.

So here’s a lovely story from the Detroit Free Press, documenting a learned Capuchin of the order Blessed Solanus Casey spent his life serving. This man has all the advantages that the beatus did not. He’s got degrees out the wahooey. He lives in comfort. He’s got three jobs at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago: Duns Scotus Professor of Spirituality, professor of liturgy and music, and Director of the Ecumenical Doctor of Ministry Program. Trusting his expertise, the Capuchins asked him to help design the Solanus Center housing the beatus’ tomb, and to design and coordinate the Beatification Mass. See what he did with his opportunity to help out. I can hear Mother Angelica rolling over in her grave, all the way down in Alabama.

Opened 15 years ago next to the monastery where Casey stayed, the Solanus Casey Center draws thousands every month who look to Casey for support and healing. Every Wednesday, it has a service for those who seek help for themselves or loved ones suffering from illnesses.

After the beatification, attendance at the center may double as it draws more visitors from outside Michigan…

Edward Foley, a Capuchin friar who is coordinating Saturday’s liturgy and chaired the committee that designed the Solanus Casey Center, said Casey’s simple and prayerful personality will be reflected in the beatification ceremonies.

The center is “elegant, but not flashy,” like the Saturday mass and ceremonies will be.

“We want it to be rich and full, but not presumptuous,” said Foley, who teaches at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. “He was a very simple guy. He answered the door. … We tried to choose music that’s very accessible.”

The services will be in English, Vietnamese, Chaldean, Tagalog, and Spanish, reflecting the multicultural makeup of the Archdiocese of Detroit, which oversees 1.3 million Catholics in southeastern Michigan. The center contains statues and symbols from not only Catholic backgrounds, but African-American, Protestant, Japanese, and Muslim activists or traditions, among others.

There will be no use of the Latin language in the Saturday ceremonies, said Foley, noting that Father Solanus, of Irish descent, “failed his Latin exams.”

As I have pointed out elsewhere, Fr. Solanus didn’t know any Spanish, Vietnamese, Tagalog, or Chaldean. He did know a fair amount of Latin, compared to the average parishioner or priest today, and had many favorite songs and hymns in Latin. He lived and died before Vatican II, so the Ordinary Form was not the Mass he knew. On the other hand, no Irish was used at Mass, either, and the only Irish music at Mass was an instrumental piece written forty years after he kicked the bucket. He played fiddle with great enthusiasm, and there were no violin pieces. He wrote little songs and hymns and religious poems, but none of those were used at Mass.

Father Solanus did have a fairly easygoing attitude toward Protestantism. When he healed a Protestant man’s eyes from total blindness, he just said that the man ought to get more serious about serving God, at least to the extent of attending his Protestant church every Sunday, instead of just when he felt like it. But he certainly wasn’t in favor of promoting Muslim or pagan stuff!

So why would you mess with a dead man, especially when the dead man is doing verifiable, huge miracles, that happen right in your face? What kind of pathetic tantrum do you have to pull, to do evil to a man who never hurt you at all? Wouldn’t it be easier to clean out your own soul, rather than do your best to make a house of prayer to God into a home for untrue abominations?

And couldn’t you just take five minutes to put together a Mass program that is nice and dignified and leads thoughts to Heaven?

Blessed Solanus Casey took the name of St. Francis Solano, who was a great Hispanic musician and composer as well as a great evangelist to the Indians. St. Francis Solano made such beautiful music that it protected him in the howling wilderness, because the wildest and angriest tribes of the Amazon wanted to hear the hearttugging music he made.

Blessed Solanus longed to sing and play like the angels, but the Lord gave him other gifts instead. Why couldn’t you have given a musician’s understanding love to him, and given him a gift in heaven of the kind of music he longed to play on Earth? Heck, if you wanted to be multicultural, why not give a nod to the Mass music of St. Francis Solanus?

Accessible? BS. St. Francis Solano was accessible to people who’d never heard Western music before. Sacred beauty has instant access to the heart and mind of humanity, and is pleasing to God. Deliberately picking “simple” music (that isn’t) is yet another sneer at Blessed Solanus Casey, from yet another superior who can’t stand his own feelings of inferiority.

The good news is that 65,000 friends of Blessed Solanus Casey attended his beatification Mass, and that all of them had the opportunity to go to Confession with the priests of the archdiocese, right there, upstairs in Ford Field. Souls were saved, and thanks were given to God for His goodness. The spitefulness of the world can’t touch the beatus now.

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A New Japanese Rice Strain Bred to Feed Africa

Here’s an interesting NHK news story about a Japanese/African agriculture conference.

Takashi Oritani, a Japanese rice specialist, has spent long years breeding a quick-maturing Japanese strain of “wasei” rice with an African rice, in order to make rice that can finish growing before Africa’s two-month rainy season ends. This rice is designated E111. The news video also shows a taste-test for the rice.

Oritani has also done experimentation with a strain of rice designed for Mongolia, and nicknamed “Chinggis Gold” (after Genghis Khan).

There seem to be a lot of biology and agriculture scientists with the family name “Oritani”.

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“He will not let His beloved see decay”

In preparation for his beatification, and in order to obtain first degree relics for veneration in various places, Blessed Solanus Casey’s remains were exhumed this summer for the second time. (The first time was back in 1987, when he was being made a Venerable, and being transferred from the Capuchin cemetery to a special tomb.)

And it turns out that Blessed Solanus’ body is still one of the incorruptibles. They were even able to have his relatives officially identify him from his face.

Dr. Werner Spitz, a Detroit pathologist who happens to be Jewish, was called upon to act as a medical witness. He said that it was the best-looking 60 year old corpse he’d ever seen!

Incorruptibility serves as a visible sign of God’s love working through a holy person’s body as well as his soul, making him like Christ. Since we believe that our bodies will be resurrected on the last day and made new in Christ, it is a demonstration of the reasons for our hope. It also shows that, if Christ can work through a body to keep it partially or completely undecayed, He can certainly work miracles through bodily relics.

Here’s the amazing story of the miracle worked at Bl. Solanus Casey’s tomb for a Panamanian woman, which got him his beatification. She didn’t go there to pray for herself. But Blessed Solanus insisted on healing her genetic disease anyway! Vocally! And he got it done in an instant!

He is still following a path that’s clear to God, even if not to us!

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