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Friday, September 28, 2007

Goodness . . .

Reaction to my last post was a tad more than expected. To all who e-mailed, thank you, I have have tried to answer each of you individually ("Minuteman," my response to you was bounced back for some reason). To those who commented, grateful thanks for your encouragement and solace, I am astonished and gratified at your solicitude.

Answers to a couple of FAQs.

Regarding RCIA: the priest whose care I am under has exempted me from it, a privilege he often extends to Anglicans, he tells me. Nevertheless, I have been attending the classes his parish offers because (apparently unlike so many others) they are informative and stimulating. This week's class, for example, was on grace and there was much discussion of it in the form found in Flannery O'Connor's stories. Hardly boring, that!

Where I attend Mass: I am blessed (in this case, at least) to live in Manhattan where quality Catholic worship is readily available. I find myself attending St. Agnes's on 43rd Street for their superb celebration of the old Latin Rite and Fr. Rutler's Church of Our Saviour where the N.O. is used. The mediocre English is regrettable but otherwise the ritual, music and preaching are superb. Fr. Rutler has announced the Old Rite will be celebrated at Our Saviour when they can figure out where to schedule it. He is a very busy man.

Finally, a personal note to JAC: hearing from you was especially gratifying and due credit is acknowledged. I wonder if you recall a rather heated debate we had back in 2003 about the state of the Episcopal Church. You and I argued vociferously (at that point a fair amount of Hendrick's gin had worked its way into the conversation) the appropriateness of leaving the Episcopal Church. I was against, you were for. That'll larn me. It would be a joy to see you on on the other side of the Tiber but regardless, you'll always be my favorite priest (and you're up against some powerful competition).

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Good-bye to All That

The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church met in New Orleans last week, first with the Archbishop of Canterbury and then among themselves to draft a response to the Primates' requests made in Dar es Salaam last February that they cease and desist their wayward behavior. Yesterday they issued their report. You can read the Episcospeak version here; I won't take the trouble breaking it down (essentially, it's the same old slop) because it doesn't concern me much anymore and besides, why bother when the able Captain Yips and Christopher Johnson have already done it themselves--anything I can do, they can do better.

It is possible, however, some people, possibly numbering as high as the middle single digits, may wonder what the Bovina Bloviator is doing about it. Here's what: anticipating the HOB report issued yesterday, last week I sorrowfully wrote my most excellent rector I was leaving the Episcopal Church and undergoing instruction to be received into the Holy Catholic Church.

For regular readers this revelation is letting the cat out of the cellophane bag (to borrow a Walt Kelly expression), but I am truthful when I relate leaving the Episcopal Church, despite her wretched excesses of the past thirty years, has been a gut-wrenchingly difficult decision and one I have not rushed into. I was baptized a Christian in the Episcopal Church and my earliest memories of Sundays are being in an Anglo-Catholic church in Connecticut, standing while the grownups were kneeling, barely clearing the top of the pew (and gnawing on the top of said pew, I confess) and my dear mom, whenever I squirmed (frequently) propping the Prayer Book (1928) or the Missal in front of me, pointing out where we were and thus giving me my first reading lessons; that and of learning to roar out the glorious hymns found in the 1940 Hymnal.

Alas, those days are long gone and the Episcopal Church has, while so many of us shamefully stood by, transformed itself antithetically. As an Anglo-Catholic, I have long thought, like the Rt. Rev'd Steenson, "Anglicans ought to be directed toward the goal of reunification with the Catholic Church." When I was a boy, this was a distinct possibility. Now the chances of it are just about nil.

So it's off to Rome for me. I do not labor under the illusion all is milk and honey on the other side of the Tiber. It is not, the Roman Catholic Church, especially in the United States, is beset with woes, lousy liturgy and music being among the less egregious. But the Holy Catholic Church possesses something the Episcopal Church does not: sound doctrine, along with a Pope (especially the present one) and magisterium to ensure that it remains so. Sound doctrine will make it possible for me (I pray) to tolerate Masses where the priest sits in the Captain Kirk chair while the miasmal excrescences of Marty Haugen and David Haas waft into the nave. And while my heartbreak over what happened to the Episcopal Church will remain with me to the end of my days (as I suspect it will for Fr. Kimel), at the same time I look forward with great joy to embracing the full Catholic Faith. I ask your prayers.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Another One Goes to Rome

The Rt. Rev'd Jeffrey Steenson, Bishop of the Rio Grande, announced via a letter to his clergy that owing to his concerns over "where the Episcopal Church is heading" he will resign his position by the end of the year and enter the Roman Catholic Church. Read the whole thing.

That make three Bishops in under a year (one was retired) who have poped. Dare I say there might be a trend developing here?

(Thanks to Stand Firm)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A Grim Milestone

It was one year ago today this blog was first foisted upon a blissfully ignorant public which, for the most part, remains blissfully ignorant of it. There are, however, those few of you who make the occasional visit here and for that I can only offer my warm thanks and, of course, mea maxima culpa.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Just a Coincidence?

Newsweek has an interview with another woman who claims to be a Roman Catholic priest. Her "ordination" took place recently at the Eden Theological Seminary in Webster Groves, MO. Webster Groves is also the home of Christopher Johnson, proprietor of the well-known Midwest Conservative Journal, and who has thus far not denied attending the ceremonies.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

More Smoke from the Thurible

• This Sunday past, 5 P.M. at Fr. Rutler's Church of Our Saviour in Manhattan: Solemn High Mass in the traditional rite of the liturgical books of Blessed John XXIII; absolutely magnificent and, in time, to be regularly celebrated in that glorious church.

• From this week's Spectator, a piece by Damian Thompson:


Next Friday, 14 September, the worldwide restrictions on the celebration of the ancient Latin liturgy of the Catholic Church will be swept away. With a stroke of his pen, Pope Benedict XVI has ended a 40-year campaign to eradicate the Tridentine Mass, whose solemn rubrics are regarded with contempt by liberal bishops. In doing so, he has indicated that the entire worship of the Church — which has become tired and dreary since the Second Vatican Council — is on the brink of reformation. This is an exciting time to be a Catholic.


But in many … dioceses it was still easier to track down a witches’ coven than a traditional Mass. And, depressingly, the one curial cardinal who really cared about these things was heading for retirement.

Only he didn’t retire. He became Pope instead.

Read it all.

Is it mere fortuity the Episcopal Church is plunging into the abyss at the same time the Catholic Church, especially in the U.S., is poised for splendid rebirth and growth? Who can say but regardless, these are exciting, even heady, times indeed.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Operator, Get Me AIsha 6-7272

Reactionary cuss I am, for years I've had my eye out for a old-fashioned black rotary-dial desk telephone like the one I dimly remember in the house I grew up in; that would be a Western Electric Model 302, in the off chance you're interested. Unfortunately, old telephones are highly collectible, even fairly common ones like the 302, hence they are also highly priced and I could never bring myself to shell out the big bucks usually asked for them, especially if they worked. Last week, up Bovina way, I happened on a yard sale and there, nestled among the old percolators one always finds at those things, was a gently used Model 302 for sale for the princely sum of $5.00. The seller couldn't warrant it worked but claimed it had the last time he used it--twenty-five years ago. So I took a chance. It worked fine except the ringer was silent and a slight rewiring of the guts fixed that. I love the thing: it weighs a ton and has a loud but cheerful bell that will wake the dead. This particular phone is 54 years old and will likely outlast me.

It probably comes as no surprise I am not a fan of cell phones. I actually have one but it's the cheapo kind and you pay for every call made or received so it's just for emergencies. The only good reason I can see for upgrading would be for the ability to download ringtones, some of which are truly marvelous, this one especially: the Infidelphone which you can listen to here (Warning: not safe for politically correct workplaces or if you happen to be in a mosque).

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Just Asking

Archbishop Cranmer has a fine piece on the "European Day Against the Death Penalty," to be foisted on the hapless populace October 10th. Poland is opposed, requesting the festivities also include a discussion on abortion. No surprise at all, the Eurocrats have rejected Poland's request. A question: why do those so opposed to the taking of life from the guilty frequently so favor the taking of life from the innocent?

(Thanks to the Damn Yankee Infidel)

Friday, September 07, 2007

A Poor, Infirm, Weak, and Despised Old Man

I have tried to steer clear writing on the state of the Episcopal Church lately but an exception is in order in the case of the retired Bishop of Newark, John Shelby Spong. He recently issued a jeremiad against the Archbishop of Canterbury which is breathtaking in its rudeness and rant. Understandably, Anglican conservatives in this country are in an uproar. They ought not to be, it isn't worth it.

Spong is old. As Bishop of Newark he oversaw radical innovations which have pushed the diocese into a tailspin from which it has little chance of recovery. Calcified but ardent he continues preaching apostasies and seems not to notice at the same time he insists the Church will die unless she adopts his innovations, the Church is dying because she has adopted his innovations. Spong must be aware of the wreckage and rot in his midst but cannot acknowledge it because doing so would be de facto admission he is in large part responsible. Instead, he blusters, bluffs and pretends: living in a world where it is perpetually 1976, where he, as a leader of the Church of rich, old-line WASPs, the Republican Party at prayer, is her prophet; crying out in the fairways the gospel of social justice. That world, of course, is long gone and the present world, to his consternation, increasingly passes him by. He continues cranking out book after book, all telling the same story and all bought by the same people whose numbers, however, owing to Father Time and flue epidemics, are declining precipitously.

So what is the self-centered Spong to do? It gets increasingly difficult for him to get the attention he craves; making outrageous theological pronouncements no longer does it, he's squeezed that lemon dry. Even his fans these days temper their praise of him by gently distancing themselves after proclaiming his brilliance. Poor fellow: he has become the tiresome drunk at a party who after long overstaying his welcome, ignored by the other guests, plants a lampshade on his head and starts singing, loudly and badly, his old college fight song. Once again he is the center of attention but only briefly as the other guests, appalled, politely excuse themselves and hurry out the door.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Let Them Eat Tofu

I've written before of environmentalism being a quasi-religious cult for rich lefties and the latest evidence of that are the plenary environmental indulgences known as as carbon offsets. An outfit in England calling itself offers a quick and convenient way for the well-to-do to offset their size-16 carbon footprints by means of a variety of handy calculators to determine how much CO2 their activities generate. Calculated as well are the monetary costs necessary to obtain absolution. Click the checkout button, choose the payment method (most major credit cards accepted) and bingo, a donation is made to one of the many projects ClimateCare sponsors to sop up transgressions, a payment of the debt which the sinner owes to Gaia.

Of the many projects under the aegis of ClimateCare, one is truly a standout, revealing the true feelings environmentalists have for their fellow passengers on spaceship earth, particularly those who have to fly tourist. It's called the "Human Energy Project"and the mission is to . . . well, why not quote directly from the ClimateCare website:

Sometimes the best source of renewable energy is the human body itself. With some lateral thinking, and some simple materials, energy solutions can often be found which replace fossil fuels with muscle-power.

How it works

Every source of human energy will be different, and the number of applications are hugely varied. The example below is from our project in India promoting treadle pumps for irrigation, to replace [dirty] diesel power.

The treadle pump is a simple device which uses human power to pump water from wells, streams and lakes. One person - man, woman or even child - can operate the pump by manipulating his/her body weight on two treadles and by holding a bamboo or wooden frame for support. These pumps displace the diesel pumps that are more commonly used.

And there is the real genius of ClimateCare: not only does it offer well-off socialists in the west a salve for their consciences, due to extravagant living, by shaking them down for donations, the money is then used to dissuade (apparently through "lateral thinking," a pensive activity I confess I am not familiar with but assume is akin to re-education) the foolish notions of impoverished but uppity wogs they, too, can use use CO2-producing machinery to ease somewhat their grinding existences; notions that puts them at cross purposes with their betters by offsetting the offsets/indulgences they have so conscientiously purchased and must be, well, offset themselves. Friar Tetzel himself would doff his cowl in awe and admiration of such audacity.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Letting Sleeping Dogs Lie

The Queen of service workers Leona Helsmley, recently died, was laid to rest not long ago. Last week her will was read and not surprisingly, many of Mrs. Helmsley's survivors were stiffed (if you'll pardon the expression). There was, however, one glorious exception: Mrs. Helmsley's little dog Trouble who will soon be richer to the tune of $12 million thanks to a bequest from her late owner. Mrs. Helmsley, nobody's fool, may have had good reason to bestow upon her beloved poochie such a handsome sum. There may be a legal battle ahead to determine Trouble's final resting place.

In her will, Mrs. Helmsley directed upon Trouble's death the dog's remains be interred alongside the late Mr. and Mrs. Helmsley's. But there's trouble ahead: apparently most cemeteries have strict policies against the burial of animals in grounds intended for humans. The outfit that runs the cemetery where the late Harry and Leona reside have that policy and recently stated they have no intention violating it by entertaining the late Mrs. Helmsley's request. Mrs. Helmsley may be dead but her litigious spirit lives on; there will certainly be a lawsuit against the cemetery to force it to inter Trouble in the Helmsley tomb. I imagine most legal experts wouldn't give the lawsuit much chance of succeeding but I think it may have a fighting chance if plaintiffs invoke the old equitable doctrine of laches, sleeping on your rights. Plaintiff's counsel could correctly insist cemetery management's permitting its policy to be violated in the past nullifies any future attempts at its enforcement. How so, you might ask? By permitting Mrs. Helmsley to be buried on the cemetery grounds without protest, management surrenders its right to prohibit the bitch to be buried alongside her.