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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Killer Whale

One possible explanation for the surprisingly dismal turnout of Republicans this past election,which cost Mitt Romney the presidency, was the mind-numbingly stupid decision of the Romney organization to entrust its get-out-the-vote efforts on Election Day to an untested and unworkable high-tech software program called Orca (via Breibart):

Project Orca was supposed to enable poll watchers to record voter names on their smartphones, by listening for names as voters checked in. This would give the campaign real-time turnout data, so they could redirect GOTV resources throughout the day where it was most needed. They recruited 37,000 swing state volunteers for this. 

 It didn't work.

I worked on the Colorado team, and we were called by hundreds (or more) volunteers who couldn't use the app or the backup phone system. The usernames and passwords were wrong, but the reset password tool didn't work, and we couldn't change phone PINs. We were told the problems were limited and asked to project confidence, have people use pencil and paper, and try to submit again later. 

 And chaos ensued.

By 2PM, I had completely given up. I finally got ahold of someone at around 1PM and I never heard back. From what I understand, the entire system crashed at around 4PM. I'm not sure if that's true, but it wouldn't surprise me. I decided to wait for my wife to get home from work to vote, which meant going very late (around 6:15PM). Here's the kicker, I never got a call to go out and vote. So, who the hell knows if that end of it was working either. And so went the election: In fact, Orca diverted scarce resources that would have been better used physically moving voters to polling places. By a rough calculation, Romney lost the election by falling 500,000 to 700,000 votes short in key swing states. If each of the 37,000 volunteers that had been devoted to Orca had instead brought 20 voters to the polls in those states over the course of the day, Romney would have won the election. 

 All of which should serve as caution to never, ever, ever let naive, if well-meaning, geeks persuade you the high-tech solution is always best. Even the Obama campaign, to its credit and despite its crowing about their technical savvy, relied on good old-fashioned feet-on-the-ground for its voter turnout efforts; and as anyone who works in show-biz will tell you, the tech-rehearsal is as vital as the cast rehearsal.

The Republicans will have four years to mull over this fiasco.

Before the election, there was much fear-mongering on the Democratic side about the Republicans’ supposed plans to suppress turnout among Obama voters. After the election, GOP strategist Karl Rove accused the Obama campaign of “suppressing the vote” by running a negative campaign against Romney that kept voters at home.
The truth is much worse. There was, in fact, massive suppression of the Republican vote--by the Romney campaign, through the diversion of nearly 40,000 volunteers to a failing computer program. 
There was no Plan B; there was only confusion, and silence.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Class with a Capital K

Joe Biden rarely disappoints (from the MailOnline).
'Did your son always have balls the size of cue balls?' Biden's bizarre question to father of Navy SEAL who died in Benghazi attack
The father of one of the Navy SEALs who was killed in the Libya consulate attack has criticised the White House reaction to his son's death - especially a bizarre and obscene comment Joe Biden made to him.Charles Woods, father of Tyrone Woods, said he thought Barack Obama had 'no remorse' over the attack and felt Hillary Clinton was 'not telling the truth'.And he revealed that at the ceremony for the return of Tyrone's body, the Vice President approached his family and asked, 'Did your son always have balls the size of cue balls?'Mr Woods added that the President seemed cold and distant at the time, saying: 'Shaking hands with him, quite frankly, was like shaking hands with a dead fish.' 
Is there anyone in the Obama Administration who possess what might pass for compassion and decency?

(Hat tip to Justin Martyr)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cancel Their Vote

A wise person once posited if every high school student were required to take and pass one course each on the Constitution and economics, the left would be a minimal political presence in this country. Even if an overstatement, that requirement would certainly lead to less idiocy of the likes below and far too prevalent in our republic (from Democratic Underground--where else?--via the Instapundit).
Let’s say that you have the ability to print your currency using your computer printer, and every merchant accepted your printouts as a valid exchange for goods and services. You need to pick up your dry cleaning? You printout a $20 bill and your cleaners hand over your garments without question. Same would be true for your mortgage, groceries, car note, etc. Your creditors even accept your printouts as payment on your debts. 
Given this, how can you ever be broke? Answer, you cannot be broke. The U.S. government is not in debt simply because it can create currency to pay off the debt, and our creditors gladly accept our currency as payment on our debts. You see, the world needs our dollars because the world needs oil, and in order to buy oil, you need dollars, which means that the world needs to stockpile dollars, and that means that the U.S. can print all of the money that it wants without incurring massive hikes in interest rates to attract lenders.
Breathtaking, isn't it? On November 6th there will be vast numbers of our citizenry who actually subscribe to drivel like that filing into the polling places. Keep it in mind when considering whether or not to vote yourself.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

State Cuts Obama Loose

Fleeing the sinking ship:
The State Department now says it never believed the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was a film protest gone awry, giving congressional Republicans new fodder for criticizing the Obama administration's initial accounts of the assault. 
The State Department's extraordinary break with other administration offices came in a department briefing Tuesday, where officials said "others" in the executive branch concluded initially that the protest was based, like others in the Middle East, on a film that ridiculed the Prophet Muhammad. That was never the department's conclusion, a senior official told reporters...
This has to be at the behest of Secretary Clinton, no doubt after counsel with her husband. Time is catching up with Hilary; she's got one last stab at the presidency in 2016 and the last thing she needs is to be dragged down with the spiraling Obama Administration. Since, however, the State Department also has a lot to answer for in this debacle, she may not be spared.

Still, I wonder if we'll see more of this in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

And Speaking of Sad Decline...

I recently fulfilled my Sunday obligation at the Catholic church in Delhi, NY. The pastor, whose theology is pure post-Vatican II reformist, skipped the Gloria. For whatever odd reasons, he will not recite the Penitential Act/Kyrie and the Gloria in the same Mass, one or the other but not both  (I suppose a complaint could be filed with the Bishop but with this one sitting on throne, why bother? He's far too busy closing churches, anyway). Father loves to sprinkle his homilies with pithy facts and quotes. In this homily he made sport of the Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay colonists for espousing temperance (they did not; they drank, often in staggering amounts), attributed H. L. Mencken's famous definition of Puritanism to W. C. Fields and then, best of all, attributed Belloc's even more famous quatrain on Catholicism ("Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine..."--which Father botched royally) to E. E. Cummings, of all people! To make it all perfect, Father also informed us Cummings was a Catholic convert. Huh? The things one learns!

One of the advantages of living in New York City (which helps offset the many disadvantages) is one doesn't have travel far to find a decently celebrated Mass, Tridentine or even Novus Ordo. It pays, however, to get out of town on occasion and be reminded just how dismal the state of the priesthood and liturgy is in most Catholic parishes. It's makes you grateful if your situation is a more fortunate. On a happier note, it's my observation most younger priests these days take liturgy far more seriously than their predecessors and seem much better read. The problem should solve itself over time (Deo volente).

Monday, October 08, 2012

The Sad Decline of Mainstream Media

The New York Times, in a piece on the decreasing popularity of college bars, has appended an editor's note:
An article on Thursday described the effect of social media use on the bar scene in several college towns, including the area around Cornell. After the article was published, questions were raised by the blog IvyGate about the identities of six Cornell students quoted in the article or shown in an accompanying photo.

None of the names provided by those students to a reporter and photographer for The Times — Michelle Guida, Vanessa Gilen, Tracy O’Hara, John Montana, David Lieberman and Ben Johnson — match listings in the Cornell student directory, and The Times has not subsequently been able to contact anyone by those names. The Times should have worked to verify the students’ identities independently before quoting or picturing them for the article.

Boy, those Times reporters are getting dumber and dumber. Any fool could have told them the real names of those individuals are Ima Hoare, Connie Lingus, Anita Woody, Dick Hertz, Heywood Jablome and Ben Dover, respectively.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

The Happiest Olympic Worker

It's nice to see dry sardonic humor lives on in Blighty.

Thanks to Archbishop Cranmer.

Sinking Below the Rest?

A tip o' the hat to my pal Inigo Hicks for bringing to my attention what he suggests could be the "worst piece of classical music ever written," The Peacemakers by Karl Jenkins. Bro. Hicks suggests listening to snippets of the work, which can be found here. Being as there are so many candidates for the distinguished superlative posited by Hicks, all composed within the last forty to fifty years, I withhold judgment, only observing that the work to me sounds like praise music composed by Gustav Mahler at gunpoint.

In Praise of the English Missal

The estimable Shawn Tribe, proprietor of the New Liturgical Review, has posted an appreciation of the English (i.e. Anglican) Missal, an appreciation that is well placed. First published in 1912, at the height of the Anglo-Catholic movement in England and America, the English Missal is, to over simplify perhaps, an Anglican adaptation of the 19th century Missale Romanum and is used in place of the Book of Common Prayer by A-C parishes desiring to worship in Catholic manner but within the Anglican tradition. The Missal's creators took as much as possible from Thomas Cranmer's Book of Common Prayer and added, in Tudor-style English, those things Cranmer and other reformers left out, e.g. the propers. Not surprisingly, the language and liturgy are uncommonly beautiful and combined with the rich musical tradition of Anglican worship, make for a celebration of the Mass that is much admired, even by Catholics, from the Pope on down.

Tribe makes the praiseworthy suggestion the English Missal be used in the Anglican Ordinariate. He also suggests, however, that since the Missal has only been used by Anglo-Catholics, thus is not familiar to other Anglicans who may come to Rome, it should not be the "sole liturgical book of the Ordinariate," rather be "made available as an additional option, a kind of 'Extraordinary Form.' There I disagree.

The Church needs fewer, not more, English versions of the Mass. Neither of the present ones with which I am familiar, the Novus Ordo and Book of Divine Worship (which is presently used by the Anglican Ordinariate) are satisfactory. The N.O., although undeniably improved by its new translation is still fatally defective, in English, Latin or any other language, because of its baleful protestantism. We're stuck with it for now, I suppose, but I have fond hopes it might someday be suppressed.

The Book of Divine Worship is also flawed, even with its employing what appears to be language of Thomas Cranmer's Prayer Book. The sad reality, however, is it is based on the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, a horrendous revision that in many ways marked the beginning of the end for the Episcopal Church. As I understand it the Episcopalians rewrote the entire 1928 Prayer Book using banal modern English (and, worse, banal modern theology). Then, as a sop no doubt to "reactionaries" offended by their vandalism, "retro-translated" parts of it back into Cranmarian English, resulting in a clunky and ungainly hybrid. A poor choice to use as its model, the Book of Divine Worship suffers mightily as a result and is best replaced.

It seems to your Bloviator there ought be but one English Mass in use by the Church, one that is fitting and beautiful. That is found in the English Missal. The Church should use it, making whatever necessary changes so to conform with Catholic practices (starting with the prayers for the Pope, I should think) and require its use in all Anglican Use parishes. Perhaps, in a distant future, it might be required in all churches where the Mass is celebrated in English, Anglican Use or otherwise.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

The Face that Launched a Thousand Ships?

More Republican-inspired hatred:

Facebook photo of Mitt Romney leads to domestic abuse charge

Crystal Gray told police her boyfriend, Lowell Turpin, had been argumentative all day. Gray had planned to walk to the Breadbox, a convenience store, with her brother and her brother's girlfriend. Turpin accused her of going to the Breadbox to meet someone she was having an affair with...

Turpin became more incensed at Gray when he noticed her on her Facebook page on the laptop the couple both used. On her page was a picture of a man Turpin did not recognize. He demanded to know who the guy was, accusing his girlfriend of communicating to friends on Facebook in order to have an affair. When Gray told him the man in the photo was Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee, Turpin did not believe her...

According to Gray, Turpin then hit her in the face with a closed fist. At that point Gray's brother intervened and then Gray, her brother, and her brother's girlfriend, left the home.

The accused: no doubt a Democrat and a victim too, of course.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

We No Like Squaw Yellow-Hair!

Via Instapundit we learn that Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democratic Party's savior of the late Ted Kennedy's Senate seat from the heretical Republican usurper Scott Warren, will be giving a keynote address at the Democratic National Convention next month in North Carolina. Ms. Warren was considered a star candidate and shoo-in by the Dems until word got out she falsely claimed, for the sake of affirmative action expediency, to be 1/32 Cherokee. Her campaign took a real hit as she and her claque frantically and clumsily attempted to explain away, entirely unsuccessfully, this opportunistic stunt.

The controversy has at last died down some. Wouldn't it be droll, then, if at the Democratic convention intrepid souls managed to sneak their way into the hall just before Squaw Warren's speech and once inside, don war paint and stereotypical "Injun" duds in tackiest 1950s Hollywood B-movie western manner and run about whooping and hollering unkind words "Indian style" until ejected or arrested or both? It could prove to be the highlight of an otherwise paralyzingly dull convention and would revive the issue enough to keep it fresh though Election Day (please note your Bloviator does not advocate this or any other possibly unlawful behavior--that would violate Church teaching! He merely entertains the possibility of the event).

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Diary of a Papist Convert: Forgive Me All My Sins. Again. And Again. And Again. And...

Recently a friend told me of a conversation he had with a priest friend of his. Concerning confession, my friend asked the priest how he managed hearing the litanies of transgressions from all those people over all those years without becoming jaded or worse. The priest replied that he actually rather enjoyed it but that two things struck him: one, how so many people confess to the same sins over and over again; and two, how deeply unhappy most people are.

I can't think of a better testament to our fallen nature. Still, what strikes me, a convert, about confession is how restoring it is to the soul and making us, at the least, less unhappy. Kneeling and reciting sotto voce one's sins (yes, it's usually the same ones over and over again for me, too), getting them off my shoulders and onto the Lord's, serves to rasa the tabula, as it were, rather like a spiritual rebooting. It clears the detritus out of the system.

My preferred place of penance is the Confession Mill (as I like to call it) run by the good friars at the Church and Friary of St. Francis of Assisi on West 31st Street in Manhattan. Nearly all the day long on any weekday one can duck into the basement, pop into one of the comfortable little rooms there, confess, be absolved and on your way in a matter of minutes. It's a popular spot so the friars, mindful of long lines, move things along smartly.

I confess (if you will) one of sticking points for me deciding whether or not to swim the Tiber was this business of confession. While I had been told and had read it was not a painful procedure, deep down in me was the fear I was an entirely differently case and when spilling the beans would be hear a great roar from the priest: "You did WHAT??????? Out, you damned and filthy sinner!!! Never darken my doorway again!!!"

To my great relief that was not the way it turned out.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

It's Only a Matter of Time

From your Bloviator's home town comes word that a priest there, Fr. Michael Moynihan, will soon be a guest of the taxpayers for embezzling funds from his parish, using the money to live the life of Riley along with"roommate."

I suppose we ought be glad no adolescent boys were involved in this particular case of priestly malfeasance, just another man. Less gladdening is the mere four months Fr. Moynihan will spend in the pokey despite his filching $400,000 grand from his parishioners, forging signatures and repeatedly lying to investigators when caught. More disheartening, however, is that for which there is no legal penalty: Moynihan's bringing yet even more scandal upon a scandal-weary Church.

What seems unfathomable is how this priest, along with all the other renegade priests we've heard about over the years, could, despite their vows, engage in such heinous behavior while at the same time administer the sacraments. How do they sleep at night? The bright side is most of those busted these days are getting on in years, post-Vatican II reformer types nearing or in retirement. It brings to mind the Holy Father's insistence that good liturgy is a bulwark against scandal; that priests who observe the rubrics to the letter, eschewing the nonsense we see in so many Catholic churches, seem less likely to get themselves into personal trouble.

I offer a pleasant irony: in my Episcopalian days, when visiting a strange church, I could, by noting the age of the priest, fairly accurately predict how the service would celebrated. If he were old, there would be no nonsense. If he were young, God help us. In the Holy Catholic Church it's quite the opposite.  That bodes well for the future and is worth keeping in mind next time you're forced to endure liturgical dancing, horrible music or endless extemporizing from a blathering old fool in the pulpit. The actuarial tables are on our side.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Let's Resume with an Easy Question

Hello, I'm back. Let's hope for good this time or at least for an extended stretch. So to ease back into blogging without overly stressing the grey matter, I shall initially eschew the usual thumb-sucking M.U.T.* piece in favor of a simple query: in all of moviedom is there a funnier scene than that in The Lady Eve (which I watched for the first time a couple of nights ago) where burly, 300-pound, gravelly-voiced contrabasso Eugene Palette whistles and sings "Landlord Fill the Flowing Bowl?" No, I didn't think so: maybe its equal, perhaps, but none funnier.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Epic Struggles of Our Life's Journey

Some recent commercial correspondence with Amazon and Amazon vendor The Deal Rack :

Correspondence from Amazon:
Here is a copy of the e-mail that you sent to The Deal Rack. Order ID 105-9428362-3853848: 1 of Harvard Square Pullover Hooded Nylon Pouch Jacket HS138 yellow Medium [ASIN: B006HT2WBI] ------------- Begin message ------------- Dear The Deal Rack and [Bovina Bloviator], This email is being sent to you by Amazon to notify and confirm that a return authorization has been requested for the item(s) listed below. The Deal Rack, please take action on this return request in the Manage Returns section of your seller account. You can also respond to the buyer by replying to this e-mail. [Bovina Bloviator], the information below is confirmation of the items that you have requested to return to The Deal Rack. No additional action is required from you at this time. Order ID: 105-9428362-3853848 Item: Harvard Square Pullover Hooded Nylon Pouch Jacket HS138 yellow Medium Qty: 1 Return reason: Defective/Does not work properly Buyer comments: Lower hem torn. Request received: May 21, 2012 Sincerely, Amazon Services ------------- End message ------------- For Your Information: To help arbitrate disputes and preserve trust and safety, we retain all messages buyers and sellers send through for two years. This includes your response to the message above. uses filtering technology to protect buyers and sellers from possible fraud. Messages that fail this filtering will not be transmitted. We want you to buy with confidence anytime you purchase products on Learn more about Safe Online Shopping ( and our safe buying guarantee (
Correspondence from The Deal Rack:
Dear [Bovina Bloviator], Thank you for contacting The Deal Rack. We have received your email and will respond to you within one business day. We answer emails and the phone Monday through Friday from 9:30AM to 5:30PM EST. Thank you again for contacting us. We will write you back shortly. ___________________________ The Deal Rack Name Brand Clothes for Less Service: M-F 9:30AM-5:30PM 888-755-7225 (toll free) ------------- End message ------------- For Your Information: To help arbitrate disputes and preserve trust and safety, we retain all messages buyers and sellers send through for two years. This includes your response to the message above. uses filtering technology to protect buyers and sellers from possible fraud. Messages that fail this filtering will not be transmitted. We want you to buy with confidence anytime you purchase products on Learn more about Safe Online Shopping ( and our safe buying guarantee ( [commMgrTok:A2C3WYFACM9NLG]
Further correspondence from The Deal Rack:
Dear [Bovina Bloviaotor] - Amazon Marketplace, Thank you for your email and interest in The Deal Rack! I'd be happy to help you. This email acknowledges our receipt of your return request. You will receive an additional email through Amazon with return information including your Return Authorization Number (RA#) and our returns mailing address once your request is reviewed by our returns department. This review could take 1 - 2 business days. Please rest assured that as long as your initial request was received within 14 days of the receipt of your order, your request will not be denied for exceeding our return policy time period. For your convenience, our return policy follows below. Let me know if you have any other questions. Remember that we do refunds for all returns. Thank you for giving us a try and we hope you'll keep shopping with us! RETURN POLICY: If you are unsatisfied with an item (other than wholesale bulk lots) for any reason, return it within 14 days of purchase in new, unworn, and unwashed condition with original tags attached (if applicable) for a full refund of the purchase price (excluding shipping). We apologize that we cannot do exchanges and offer refunds only. All underwear is NOT returnable. Wholesale bulk lots may be returned only if defective. All returns must have a return authorization (RA) number that we issue and must be shipped directly to us. We cannot refund returns that are either not shipped to our returns address or do not have an RA number. Please allow 10 business days for your credit to process. In the event that you need to make a return because of a mistake that we made, we will refund round trip shipping and/or take whatever other steps are appropriate Let me know if you have any other questions & thanks! Best, Marc ___________________________ Marc Schmidt The Deal Rack 888-755-7225 (toll free) Name Brand Clothes for Less :::500A000000A2nSQIAZ:::
Correspondence (the end of it, I had assumed) from your humble Bloviator to The Deal Rack:
Dear Marc,
Thank you for your message. This seems an absurdly elaborate protocol for an item that cost  $3.28 (plus $4.85 shipping). Frankly, it's not worth it. I will keep the item as it is and trouble you no longer with my business. That should be to the benefit of us both, I should think.
Yours sincerely,
[The Bovina Bloviator]
But it was not the end of it. I guess Marc wanted the last word:
Dear [Bovina Bloviator] - Amazon Marketplace, I'm sorry that an acknowledgement of your submitted return request along with an expected time frame when to expect your return merchandise authorization is anabsurdly elaborate protocol, however this is how our returns process works. A customer makes a return request, the seller acknowledges that request, then reviews said request to provide either an approval or denial, it's a rather simple standard returns process. If you no longer wish to return the item you can cancel your request with Amazon at any time in the manage returns center. Best, Marc :::500A000000A2nSQIAZ:::
Oh dear, rather snippy, Marc seems. He seemed friendlier, if a tad prosy, before. I must have hurt the poor fellow's feelings. Ah, well, perhaps this will bring our drama to a quiet conclusion:
Dear Marc,
I shall do as you suggest.
Your obedient servant,
[The Bovina Bloviator]
UPDATE: Apparently it's not that easy.
Dear [Bovina Bloviator], Thank you for contacting The Deal Rack. We have received your email and will respond to you within one business day. We answer emails and the phone Monday through Friday from 9:30AM to 5:30PM EST. Thank you again for contacting us. We will write you back shortly. ___________________________ The Deal Rack Name Brand Clothes for Less Service: M-F 9:30AM-5:30PM 888-755-7225 (toll free)
I am afraid.

UPDATE 2: La Commedia è finita! Amazon gave me a refund even though I cancelled the return request. Bravo.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Out of the Dog House?

In June of last year I alerted readers Fr. John Hunwicke, a most excellent Church of England cleric who had hopes of being ordained into the priesthood of the Catholic Church, had been thwarted in his hopes, owing most likely to opposition from.the so-called  "magic circle" bishops, who may have taken offense at Hunwicke's frequent take-no-prisoners attacks on the more egregious post-Vatican II reforms.

Now it appears, Deo gratias, that Fr. Hunwicke and his opponents have mended fences. Over the transom (via good Professor Tighe) comes word that Fr. Hunwicke's name appears on the list of candidates to the priesthood into the Anglican Ordinariate for the year 2012. This is splendid news.

Some years ago a C of  E  bishop (I cannot remember whom) complained to a friend and counterpart in the Catholic Church: "We send you our best and you send us your worst." These days it cannot be any other way.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

They Just Don't Get It at Georgetown U

Or perhaps they do. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will be the commencement speaker at the Georgetown University Public Policy Institute's graduation ceremony on May 18th. This has to be a deliberately provocative move. Even in the cocoon of academe the Georgetown administrators must surely have picked up the occasional stray rumor Ms. Sebeleus is more than a little controversial; that when told told by her bishop to chose between advocating for abortion and receiving at communion, she elected the former; that she is responsible for the Obama administration's recent order Catholic employers must provide for contraception, abortifacients and sterilization in their employee health plans.

The Georgetown Jebbies and other administrators, by inviting Secretary Sebeleus to speak are sending a clear message to Holy Church they feel not the least bound by her teachings, nor by the inevitable protests arising from the faithful over their willful flouting of them. It is a mystery to this writer that observant Catholic parents would consider, even briefly, sending their children to that formerly Catholic institution.

UPDATE: is it possible this is merely a cynical stunt by the Georgetown administration, extending an invitation to Secretary Sebeleus knowing full well they must withdraw it (with "deep regret," no doubt) later on when pressured from above? They may then bewail the "crushing of dissent" or  some-such by the Church and earn street creds with the campus radicals.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Don't Sugar Coat it, Governor...

Tell us what you really think. Chris Christie, Governor of the State of New Jersey, in fine form.

Monday, April 09, 2012

In a Mysterious Way

If you have never seen director Pier Paolo Pasolini's movie The Gospel According to Saint Matthew (1964) I urge you to do so. I had been meaning to see it myself for many years but, notwithstanding the judgment of the critics, put it off, hesitant, leery even, over what it might contain given Pasolini's notoriety as a firebrand Marxist atheistic hedonist. I finally got over my qualms, however, and watched it last night. It is an extraordinary achievement.

Pasolini cast no professional actors in this picture, instead using local amateurs, friends and family (his own mother plays, beautifully and movingly, the older Virgin Mary). He shot the picture in southern Italy (rejecting the Holy Land as "commercialized") and put together a wonderfully eclectic score wherein I recognized the music of Bach (Mass in B-minor and Saint Matthew Passion), Mozart (Masonic Funeral Music), Prokofieff (score to--ironically--Alexander Nevsky), the singer Odetta and a Congolese setting of the Mass, Missa Luba.  The dialogue (in Italian), with a few minor exceptions, is directly and exclusively from Matthew's Gospel (the DVD I watched had English subtitles using the King James version, an inspired choice). Combined with astonishing performances from the non-professional cast, we have, in my opinion, the greatest Gospel depiction in cinema, unlike any other I have seen. It moved me to the quick.

Pasolini was brutally murdered at the age of 53, the result of rough trade with a 17-year-old male hustler. I suppose it is a wonder, given his notorious and sordid existence (his last picture, the graphically extreme Salo, made shortly before his death, would likely have had no trouble passing Justice Potter Stewart's test), Pasolini could also be the author of such a moving and loving work of religious art like The Gospel According to Saint Matthew. For me, however, he also serves as a reminder all of us have God in us and thus are capable of godly things. Whatever Pasolini's ultimate fate, let us give thanks and praise to God for the good things he did and pray for the repose of his soul. A Happy Easter to all.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Diary of a Papist Convert: Vigilantes

Jeffrey A. Tucker of the splendid Chant Cafe points out something so obvious it's no wonder that many of us have failed to notice it: the Mass celebrated on Saturday evenings (or afternoons) should not be called a "vigil" Mass. True vigil Masses are celebrated before Easter and the Feast of St. John the Baptist; most Sunday Masses celebrated on Saturday are more accurately referred to as "anticipated" Masses (which hardly trips off the tongue but neither does "Extraordinary Form"--whaddya gonna do?).

The anticipated Mass (there now, that wasn't so hard, was it?) is a creature of the post-Vatican II reforms and for once this hidebound conservative has little cause for complaint--in principle, mind you. I recall my in my youth first observing the then-odd sight of worshipers filing into our neighborhood Catholic church on Saturday. I also recall my younger brother and I, who as budding Episcopalians naturally were  being carefully (if subtly) taught the myriad joys of anti-Catholicism, gleefully dubbing the service the "Get It Over With Mass" (obviously a case of envy projection). Later on, of course, I learned attendance at Sunday Mass was obligatory for Catholics and to that end Holy Church took efforts to make fulfillment as convenient as possible. That seemed reasonable to me, even if the Mass were to be celebrated the evening before.

As a Catholic, my only real objection to the Get It Over With Mass is, for reasons I do not know (but I'll bet Novus Ordo bears at least partial culpability), it has become the repository for some of the most egregious abuses in modern Catholic worship: for clergy, sloppy, even slovenly, liturgy; for laity, arriving late, wearing dress tank tops and chattering non-stop throughout. Part of the reform of the putative reform, which steadily continues its course albeit at a glacial pace, is for traditionalist Catholics to be ever-vigilant (if you'll pardon the expression) to these abuses and lovingly shaming the perpetrators thereof into larnin' to behave.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

They Trusted Him

In an interview conducted by James Tarranto in the Wall Street Journal Cardinal Timothy Dolan decries his betrayal by the President of the United States:
At the end of their 45-minute discussion, the archbishop summed up what he understood as the president's message:

"I said, 'I've heard you say, first of all, that you have immense regard for the work of the Catholic Church in the United States in health care, education and charity. . . . I have heard you say that you are not going to let the administration do anything to impede that work and . . . that you take the protection of the rights of conscience with the utmost seriousness. . . . Does that accurately sum up our conversation?' [Mr. Obama] said, 'You bet it does.'"

The archbishop asked for permission to relay the message to the other bishops. "You don't have my permission, you've got my request," the president replied.

"So you can imagine the chagrin," Archbishop Dolan continues, "when he called me at the end of January to say that the mandates remain in place and that there would be no substantive change, and that the only thing that he could offer me was that we would have until August. . . .
I suppose it's a stretch and disrespectful to boot to liken His Eminence and his fellow bishops in the USCCB to the character of Flounder (less so the President to Otter) in the movie Animal House. Neverthless, this scene comes to mind.

To be fair, Dolan, though he evinces little or no concern for our present horrendous liturgy, is far brighter than most of the bishops in the USCCB, whose decades-long attempts at grafting leftist ideology to the moral teachings of Holy Church has, at last, yielded little else than their being shown for fools. The only charitable thing that might be said of the USCCB is they strike this former member of the Episcopal Church as not being quite as dumb as their counterparts in that institution. That would be a stretch indeed.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

They Never Disappoint

Who but looniest of the loony left would question the veracity of these words, spoken by the Pope to the press on his way to Cuba: "Today it is evident that Marxist ideology in the way it was conceived no longer corresponds to reality." Who, I ask? Why the Jesuits, of course! From their America Magazine, referring to an article in Reuters (emphasis added): "Reuters reports on Pope Benedict's upcoming trip to Cuba, and says that the Pope is offering Cuba the church's assistance should it move away from communism, which he claims no longer works."

Sunday, March 18, 2012

If Your're Free on the Evening of Monday the 26th...

You may wish to come to this (from the Church of Holy Innocents in New York City):
On Monday, March 26th, on the Solemnity of Annunciation, the retired bishop James C. Timlin of the Diocese of Scranton will celebrate the Solemn Pontifical Traditional Latin Mass at 6pm, and will also administer the Sacrament of Confirmation to several candidates. All are welcome!
I wonder the last time the Sacrament of Confirmation was administered in New York using the traditional Latin rite; decades ago, I should think. Please consider attending if you are in the area. Not only will you be witnessing an historic occasion, you will also be showing support of the good efforts of clergy and laymen of  Holy Innocents in restoring traditional worship to its proper place in Holy Church.

Incidentally, your Bloviator will be singing with the Holy Innocents Schola Cantorum that evening. You should consider attending regardless.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy Saint Patrick's Day (Part 2)

Your Bloviator lunched today with friends in midtown, just off Fifth Avenue, and so found himself plunged into the midst of the Saint Patrick's Day parade. After taking in countless idiots attired in big dopey green top hats or big dopey green spectacles etc. and later observing wearers of same shrieking vile obscenities to no one in particular, puking the vast quantities of green beer funneled down earlier, something unfortunate ocurred: the exquisite and finely-honed Episcopalian snobbery I thought I had rid myself forever upon reception into the Holy Catholic Church flooded my soul anew.

I love Ireland: the country, the people and the culture but for the life of me cannot understand how it came to be acceptable, in the United States anyway, the birthday in heaven of a great nation's patron saint be desecrated by myriad yahoos making such bloody asses of themselves.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Guinness is Good for You

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Your Bloviator's mother told him when she lived in Ireland in the early 1950s the pubs were closed on March 17th. It was, after all, a solemn religious holiday. Not anymore, of course, but it wouldn't hurt to say a prayer to that good Englishman on your way to the pub or parade tomorrow.

Meanwhile, have some fun with this.

Archbishop of Canterbury to Resign.

The Archbishop of Canterbury will be resigning his office to become Master of Magdalene College at Cambridge, January 2013. I cannot say I blame him.

I know several people who have had dealings with His Grace the Archbishop and to a one they report him as a warm, engaging and erudite personage, in other words ideally suited for the academy. But oh in what sorry he state he leaves the Church of England and the Anglican Communion! How much of the blame can actually be laid at his feet is not easy to determine but Canterbury's tale is cautionary one: do not look to academics to lead you out of your woes; consult with them by all means but think twice before putting them in charge.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Another "Reform" Biting the Dust?

Inch by inch (and much too slowly for this ageing boomer) the reform of the reform plods along:
Rome, Italy, Mar 8, 2012 / 03:58 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo said he is delighted to have first-hand papal approval for changing the order by which children in his diocese receive the sacraments.

“I was very surprised in what the Pope said to me, in terms of how happy he was that the sacraments of initiation have been restored to their proper order of baptism, confirmation then first Eucharist,” said Bishop Aquila, after meeting Pope Benedict on March 8.


Bishop Aquila said he made the changes because “it really puts the emphasis on the Eucharist as being what completes the sacraments of initiation” and on confirmation as “sealing and completing baptism.”

When the sacraments are conferred in this order, he said, it becomes more obvious that “both baptism and confirmation lead to the Eucharist.” This sacramental assistance helps Catholics live “that intimate relationship of being the beloved sons and daughters of the Father in our daily lives,” he added.

The Bishop of Fargo said the changes have also distanced the Sacrament of Confirmation from “some false theologies that see it as being a sacrament of maturity or as a sacrament for ‘me choosing God."
Well huzzah, huzzah! I often wonder whether many of the post-Vatican II reforms were perpetrated for sheerly contrarian reasons: being antithetical to the old ways sufficed. That some of the most radical reforms were rammed through so quickly (astonishingly so when you consider how slowly Holy Church usually moves in such circumstances) would suggest it and that putative reformers also knew the ol' window of opportunity would soon be slamming shut.

When I was a young Episcopalian the order was similar to the Catholic Church's at the time: baptism, confirmation and, finally, Holy Communion (as we called it). It made sense: one should not receive until capable of understanding what it is occurring. I have never read or heard an explanation of the present order (baptism, communion, confirmation) that did not soon devolve into touchy-feely mush. Let us hope the rest of the Church follows the good Bishop Aquila's example. All should benefit, save, perhaps, for photographers peddling mawkish "First Communion" portraits.

Thanks to Justin Martyr.

UPDATE: I was wrong to blame the Vatican II reforms for the change in the order children receive the sacraments; it goes back much earlier. See the comments.

Monday, March 05, 2012

"Nice Little Church You Got Here...

...Shame if something happened to it. By the way, we got a friend we want you to pray for."

That, at any rate, is the possible explanation for this: Church in Havana celebrates mass for health of Venezuelan dictator.

h/t Instapundit.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Thus Begins Feminism's Age of the Baroque

A stunning scholarly breakthrough from the Midlands of England:
In her paper “Intersex and Ontology, A Response to The Church, Women Bishops and Provision”, Dr Susannah Cornwall of Manchester University argues that it is not possible to know “with any certainty” that Jesus did not suffer from an intersex condition, with both male and female organs.

“There is no way of knowing for sure that Jesus did not have one of the intersex conditions which would give him a body which appeared externally to be unremarkably male, but which might nonetheless have had some “hidden” female physical features.”
Seriously, in all honesty, this can't go on much longer, can it? "Things fall apart; the center cannot hold," and all that?

With thanks to Let Nothing You Dismay.

Friday, March 02, 2012

They Have Only Themselves to Blame

Paul A. Rahe tells it straight:
The Blunt-Nelson amendment failed to pass the Senate today for one reason and one reason only. The supporters of abortion-on-demand are serious about the matter. They will do what it takes to punish at the polls any Democrat who crosses them. The bishops of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States have spent almost four decades intimating with a wink and a nod that they are not really serious about this question. In the process, they have made themselves politically irrelevant
On a more hopeful note, Rahe suggests the current head of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Dolan, "appears to have a backbone." We shall see. Dolan is a likable man but I've never been a huge fan because he seems to take zero interest in the state of the liturgy. As the Pope has said, bad liturgy, more than anything else, is responsible for the morass in today's Catholic Church. If, however, Cardinal Dolan sees to it the likes of Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi, who claim to be Catholic while at the same time promoting contraception and abortion, are actually ex-communicated, he will have done a wonderful thing for Holy Church.

Thanks to Professor Tighe.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Clarity at Last

From the Telegraph:
Killing babies no different from abortion, experts say

Parents should be allowed to have their newborn babies killed because they are “morally irrelevant” and ending their lives is no different to abortion, a group of medical ethicists linked to Oxford University has argued.

The article, published in the Journal of Medical Ethics, says newborn babies are not “actual persons” and do not have a “moral right to life”. The academics also argue that parents should be able to have their baby killed if it turns out to be disabled when it is born.
Of course this is utterly appalling (although methinks the "medical ethicists" are being deliberately provocative so to gin up debate and draw attention to themselves; they will certainly succeed). Still, in a perverse way, a great service for abortion foes has been rendered by the medical ethicists by their brutally giving the lie to abortion proponents' assertion the issue is a matter of a "woman's right to choose" or "control over her body." The report strips away such euphemistic twaddle and lays out the argument bare: Resolved: it is morally acceptable to kill unwanted children, in or out of the womb.

Perhaps we will now see more clarity in the abortion debates.

Thanks to Justin Martyr.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Gates of Hell Shall not Prevail against It.

Hackers, led by an outfit with the original tag "Anonymous" try and fail to attack the Vatican website on World Youth Day.
Hackers initially tried to take down a website set up by the church to promote the event, handle registrations and sell merchandise. Their goal — according to YouTube messages delivered by an Anonymous figure in a Guy Fawkes mask — was to disrupt the event and draw attention to child sexual abuse by priests, among other issues.

The videos, which have been viewed more than 77,000 times, include a verbal attack on the Pope and the young people who “have forgotten the abominations of the Catholic Church.” One calls on volunteers to “prepare your weapons, my dear brother, for this August 17th to Sunday August 21st, we will drop anger over the Vatican.”
No dice:
A core group of roughly a dozen skilled hackers spent three days poking around the church’s World Youth Day site looking for common security holes that could let them inside, the report says...

In this case, the scanning software failed to turn up any gaps. So the hackers turned to a brute-force approach — a so-called distributed denial-of-service, or DDoS, attack that involves clogging a site with data requests until it crashes. Even unskilled supporters could take part in this from their computers or smartphones...

On the first day, the denial-of-service attack resulted in 28 times the normal traffic to the church site, rising to 34 times the next day. Hackers involved in the attack, who did not identify themselves, said through a Twitter account associated with the campaign that the two-day effort succeeded in slowing the site’s performance and making the page unavailable “in several countries.” Imperva disputed that the site’s performance was affected and said its technologies had successfully siphoned the excess data away from the site.

Imperva executives say the Vatican’s defenses held up because, unlike Sony and other hacker targets, it invested in the infrastructure needed to repel both break-ins and full-scale assaults.
From the early days of radio onward, the Vatican's use of technology has shown remarkable sophistication.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Looking for the Fire Escape?

Fame-seeking atheist Richard Dawkins says he's now not sure God doesn't exist! I wonder if he's come down with a fatal illness.

Diary of a Papist Convert

I apologize to my readers (if there are any remaining!) for the prolonged radio silence. There have been no crises in my life, of faith or anything else; I simply have not felt an urge lately to put anything down in writing (though there have been several abandoned attempts) and the longer one goes without blogging the easier it is not to. Recently, however, there was a joyous occurrence for me that I, if you will indulge me, humbly believe ought be shared.

This past Friday I finally screwed up the courage and made my way to my first choir practice at the Church of the Holy Innocents in New York City. I had long ago been invited to do this but had lost heart at every attempt, often while on my way to the church. My notion (or "out," really, providing me wth the courage this time) was to sit in at rehearsals for the foreseeable future and simply follow along until I eventually gained enough facility and confidence to take part, I having little experience in plainchant and square notes. Alas, to my great horror, the choir leader promptly dismissed that wimpy notion and told me sing along right then and there. There was thus no out and no way out. I sang along, both at rehersal and in the Extraordinary Form Mass immediately following.

To my astonishment I didn't do too badly. I made more than a few flubs but none of them terribly disruptive and by Mass's end felt a sense of elation as never felt before. I had not realized how much I missed making music (your Bloviator is a frustrated musician) and doing it for the glory of God only heightened the experience. And while my voice is mediocre at best, just short of a caterwaul, God did kindly compensate for that by blessing me (although sometimes it seems like a curse) with perfect pitch, which is helpful when singing a cappella.

So I am now a proud member, two evenings a week for now, of the choir at the Church of the Holy Innocents in Manhattan, the only church in New York where the Extraordinary Form is celebrated seven days a week. Deo gratias.

Saint Cecilia pray for us.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

There Goes the Neighborhood

Roman and Anglo-Catholics in the Baltimore area may wish to attend Mass Sunday morning at Mount Calvary Church at 10:00 a.m. so they may, in addition to worshiping and receiving the sacraments--as well fulfill their obligation, pray for the clergy (rector above) and parishioners at that church as they are received into the Holy Catholic Church. The activities for the day are as follows.

Solemn High Mass on Sunday, January 22, 2012, at 10:00 am, the parishioners and clergymen of Mount Calvary Church will make their profession of faith and be confirmed as Roman Catholics and members of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter by the first Anglican Use Ordinary of the United States, Father Jeffrey Steenson.

Solemn Evensong at 4:30 pm, with Father Dwight Longenecker preaching.

Gala receptions will follow both liturgies.
Given that this is an Anglo-Catholic parish going over to Rome, we can only believe both liturgy and receptions to follow will be nothing short of spectacular. Come and pray, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness and have a rollicking good time. Deo Gratias!

Wherever the Catholic sun doth shine,
There’s always laughter and good red wine.
At least I’ve always found it so.
Benedicamus Domino!
― Hilaire Belloc

h/t Daniel Page

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Behaving Like Christians

The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland has released a statement outlining the terms of agreement reached with the parishioners of Mount Calvary Church of Baltimore as they part from the Episcopal Church and join the Holy Catholic Church via Anglicanorum Coetibus. Given the rancor and litigation other parishes have suffered when attempting to leave the Episcopal Church, the parishioners of Mount Calvary could scarcely have done better. They will keep most of their property (paying an undisclosed sum) and the diocese will have right of first refusal should they wish to dispose of it in the future. Seems fair to me.

Most important, the statement is a model of grace and decorum and ought serve as a paradigm for the Episcopal Church in her future dealings with parishes that wish to depart. From the statement's closing paragraph:
The Rev. Canon Scott Slater, on the bishops’ staff and part of the mediation team representing the Episcopal diocese, said, "This has been a thoughtful, prayerful, and respectful process by all three entities, and I am pleased that we have reached a solution that meets the needs of all three groups."
Amen, Amen.

Thanks to Augustine.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Diary of a Papist Convert: the Anglican Way

Thanks to Father Rutler for alerting me to this splendid (and brief) piece by George Weigel: Converts and the Symphony of Truth, in which the author celebrates the varieties of religious experiences of Catholic converts. It seems the experiences of those converting, not surprisingly, nearly equal their number. Coming as I did, however, from a quasi-WASPy Anglican background, I had most empathy with Evelyn Waugh, who, as Weigel relates, "became a Catholic with, by his own admission, 'little emotion but clear conviction': this was the truth; one ought to adhere to it." Quite so. While I will confess for years having a bit of envy for those who had some dramatic experience, an epiphany of sorts, that suddenly infused them with a true and lively faith, mine was undramatic: a years-long process of discernment consisting of questioning, reasoning, reading, consultation and prayer, eventually leading me to the Catholic Church, with no fireworks. So be it and thanks be to God.

Even more gratifying, though, in Weigel's essay is his description of a common thread running through the diverse tales of conversion:
that men and women of intellect, culture and accomplishment have found in Catholicism what Blessed John Paul II called the “symphony of truth.” That rich and complex symphony, and the harmonies it offers, is an attractive, compelling and persuasive alternative to the fragmentation of modern and post-modern intellectual and cultural life, where little fits together and much is cacophony.
There is no doubt of that. The times we live in are as corrupt, superficial and shallow as they were before my conversion but I find them now just a bit more bearable, armed as I am with the full Catholic faith and the promise of salvation to those who live by Church teachings (not always easy, of course).

Next weekend, I will have the great pleasure of witnessing the reception of an entire Episcopal parish, Mount Calvary Church in Baltimore, and its rector Fr. Catania, an old friend, into the Holy Catholic Church by the newly appointed American Anglican Ordinary, Msgr. Steenson. Priest and parishioners have gone through a period of discernment similar to mine, reasoned and deliberate (it's the Anglican way--I give you Cardinal Newman). Holy Church will be richer than she already is by this happy occurrence and I pray those good people will find themselves enriched as well.

Monday, January 02, 2012

They Must be Nuts--They Enlisted, Right?

Interesting that so many in the media, when reporting on the recent fatal shooting of a Mount Ranier park ranger, find it newsworthy that the deranged suspect was (his body was found earlier today) an "Iraqi War Veteran." What is the relevance of his military past? Do you recall it being reported of crime suspects they were veterans of the Second World War or the Korean War? No, the military background of perps only began attaining relevance at the time the media turned against the military and, more pertinently, the draft, and has become a vital fact now that the nation's conflicts (especially those for which presidents named Bush may be blamed) are fought by an all-volunteer army. What a stunning coincidence.

Imagine That

An entertainer by the name of Cee Lo Green, engaged by NBC to entertain the assembled throng in New York's Times Square this New Year's Eve, got himself into a bit of trouble for altering the lyric of one of the ditties he crooned, John Lennon's, "Imagine." It seems he changed a stanza in this treacly ode to atheism from "nothing to kill or die for / and no religion too" to "nothing to kill or die for / and all religion's true." Lennon fans are crying blasphemy.

I doubt, however, Mr. Lennon, who was a cynic but no dummy, would have been terribly ruffled over this controversy (certainly his estate receives a nice royalty check whatever the words sung). Lennon would have known, even if Mr. Green does not, the multi-culti substitution of "all religion" for "no religion" changes the meaning not one wit, as an idiot quoted in the Rolling Stone account (and are you as astonished as I to learn that tired old relic of the 'sixties is still extant?) nicely, if entirely inadvertently, confirms:
"The whole point of that lyric is that religion causes harm," tweeted someone with the handle @geekysteven. "If 'all religion's true' it would be a pretty bleak place.
Sing it, brother!