Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Galeros in the news

Whose galero is this?
Hint: this galero hangs in NYC, though not in a cathedral

I'm happy to report the extremely long drought of galero-related news has at last ended: last Sunday in Chicago, Cardinal George's galero was raised above the sanctuary in Holy Name Cathedral.  Cardinal George, who died on April 17, had received the galero as a gift but, sadly, never wore it, perhaps fearing to fall afoul of Pope Paul VI's "Instruction on the Dress, Titles and Coat-of-Arm of Cardinals, Bishops and Lesser Prelates," which among other things, banned the galero.   Pope Paul VI, though an estimable pope in many respects, was not much given to mirth or whimsy, a quality which shines with particular clarity in this Instruction.

The present pope is cut from very different cloth, though one suspects he may be even less galero-friendly than Paul VI was.  In naming Pope Francis its "Best Dressed Man" of 2013, Esquire magazine noted approvingly his ''black shoes and unadorned, simplistic regalia.''   A black shoed, "unadorned" pope seems unlikely to top off his "simplistic regalia" with a galero, or look approvingly upon those who do. 

However, Esquire's reference to Francis's regalia as "simplistic" may be unintentionally telling. Webster's dictionary defines simplistic as "not complete or thorough enough: not treating or considering all possibilities or parts."  That strikes us as perfectly apt.  The red shoes, capes and hats Pope Benedict was mocked for wearing were not only traditional, which, for the leader of a 2000 year old Church, has value in itself, but also red to recall the martyrs' blood which helped the Church grow.  We would thus urge Francis to consider more "possibilities and parts" in his regalia. We would further urge Francis to permit more "possibilities and parts" in the regalia of cardinals, too.   Indeed, we'd recommend Francis instruct cardinals as follows: "If you've got a galero, flaunt it."   And if you don't got a galero, get thee to a galerory.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Beverly Sills and the Production Lodges of South America

Everything You Need to Know

The internet is funny and kind of mysterious.  Somebody for some reason (probably hoping to make lots of money) went to the trouble of translating the Wikipedia page for Beverly Sills into another language and then back into English.  Then they put that material, plus a lot of other weird Beverly Sills-related text into a book called "Beverly Sills 108 Success Facts."  Here are a few typical sentences:

In South America, she chanted in the production lodges of Buenos Aires and Santiago, a musical performance in Lima, Peru, and emerged in some performances in Mexico City, containing Lucia Di Lammermoor with Luciano Pavarotti.  On November 9, 1971, her execution in New York City Opera's manufacture of  The Golden Cockerel was telecast live to wire TV members.

Here are those sentences as they appear in Wikipedia:

In South America, she sang in the opera houses of Buenos Aires and Santiago, a concert in Lima, Peru, and appeared in several productions in Mexico City, including Lucia di Lammermoor with Luciano Pavarotti. On November 9, 1971, her performance in the New York City Opera's production of The Golden Cockerel was telecast live to cable TV subscribers.

"Beverly Sills 108 Success Facts" is available from Amazon, and the Kindle edition costs only $24.99.

The publisher, Emereo Publishing, does this a lot.  As of August, 2014 there were 2,441 similar books for sale on Amazon.  My advice is don't buy these.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

For that obscure Christmas music lover on your list

There are some nice songs on this cd, the most interesting of which is "Huron Carol" by St. Jean de Brebeuf, the Jesuit missionary and martyr.  It's Canada' s oldest carol (1642 AD), and fairly popular up there (covered by Crash Test Dummies, among others), but rarely heard down here in the lower 48.  Brebeuf composed the lyrics in Wyandot, the Huron language, which he'd worked tirelessly to master, but they are sung here in English, alas.  The English translation dates from 1926, and appears to be a bit on the fanciful side.  Google translate doesn't work on Wyandot, so this is difficult to confirm (though the use of " 'twas" is a tip off).

Here is the first verse in Wyandot:

Ehstehn yayau deh tsaun we yisus ahattonnia
O na wateh wado:kwi nonnwa 'ndasqua entai
ehnau sherskwa trivota nonnwa 'ndi yaun rashata
Iesus Ahattonnia, Ahattonnia, Iesus Ahattonnia.

And in English:

'Twas in the moon of winter-time
When all the birds had fled,
That mighty Gitchi Manitou
Sent angel choirs instead;
Before their light the stars grew dim,
And wandering hunters heard the hymn:
"Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria."

"Gitchi Manitou," the Algonquin word for God, appears in the third line of the translation, even though Huron and Algonquin are totally different languages, and St. Jean de Brebeuf didn't use the Huron word for God in his carol.

The Huron were allies of the French, and were all but wiped out by the ferocious Iroquois, the allies of the English who also martyred St. Jean de Brebeuf (martyrdom is a mild, polite term for the beastly violence inflicted upon de Brebeuf).   The Huron language has pretty much disappeared, too, though it is partly preserved in a Wyandot dictionary compiled by none other than St. Jean de Brebeuf.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

God chooses the weak to confound the strong

Brendan Kelly

Brendan Kelly had Down Syndrome and died last year at 15 of leukemia.   Yet in his short, pain-filled life, Brendan established a world-wide reputation for sanctity, counting popes and senators among his friends.   Though in his amazing life Brendan worked miracles, perhaps his greatest achievement was to demonstrate the irresistible power of sacrificial love. (h/t Creative Minority Report)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

See you again when we hit 200,000, Al!

Al was doing this a lot; not sure why

We just waved goodbye to Al Gore who, as inventor of the internet, is obliged to congratulate every blogger who reaches the 100,000 page view plateau, which we did a little while ago:

Looks like today's the day

That this blog finally reaches 100,000 page views. 

Unfortunately, no one guessed it would happen on November 9, so we will save the prize, a rosary handmade by the Sisters of Carmel, for the contest to guess when this blog will reach 200000 page views.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

"This isn't Spain, you know."

Thomas More and the Duke of Norfolk, from "A Man For All Seasons"

In Tudor times England liked to flatter itself that it was an enlightened nation ruled by law, by contrast with Spain, which the English considered a benighted land of autocratic brutality.  So, in "A Man for All Seasons," when Thomas More confesses to the Duke of Norfolk that he is afraid, Norfolk replies "This isn't Spain, you know. This is England."   In fact, it would be in England where the rights of the vibrant and popular Church would be trampled, its property seized, its priests and other faithful put to death (Thomas More among them), and where crushing fines would be levied upon Catholics, and their rights restricted in other ways.  The Duke of Norfolk himself barely escaped execution. That legal formalities were often observed doesn't obscure the autocratic brutality of these acts.

America, like Tudor England, flatters itself that it's the land of the free, with a government of laws, not men.   In California, at least, this is no longer the case.  There, in August, the Department of Managed Healthcare (!) ordered all elective health plans in the state to cover elective abortion.  "All" of course includes health plans administered by religious institutions, even those with objections to elective abortions based upon their religious beliefs.  In other words, California permits a mere bureaucratic body, not even its legislature, to trample on rights guaranteed to its citizens and churches by the first amendment to the US Constitution.   Six churches have filed lawsuits.

Meanwhile, the shadows lengthen and deepen.