Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Friday, 27 April 2007


I don't have much more use for the playwright than for the '80s group after whom the collection of one-acts was named.

But it was quite enjoyable, very nice performances.

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Pie to Die

We interrupt this blog for a commercial.

I don't suppose anyone who reads this will find this of use, but if you are in the Chicago area, on the south side (I thought the town was actually Evergreen Park, but their card says "Chicago,") there is a pie shop to write home about....

Jimmy Jamm at 1844 W 95th St ([773] 779 - 9105) makes a sweet potato pie to die for.

Support this new business.

Go eat one.

'dja miss me?

I was still not quite recovered from Easter, and this past weekend, beginning with a rather fraught run-through on Friday night and continuing through a funeral, a wedding, a wedding meeting, an opening night, a reception, four Masses, a dash to church because I had forgotten to put something away (wherein I found myself in the middle of a private Baptism,) a matinee and a durst-not-miss-it reception and finishing with a Monday morning funeral.... well, I am not apologizing for sleeping 12 hours Monday night and 10 last.

I am again required to put in an appearance at LitCom meetings with all the other Demi-Clerics (wonderful word, or concept I found on that snippy, snarky but oft times useful site, RPI.)

But I come to them with a new found wisdom -- I am much happier having come to terms with the fact that my input is not really wanted.
Any judgement, facts, expertise, skill, knowledge, education, any informed creativity or aesthetic sensibility -- any of those I could or would bring to the discussions would get in the way of those making the decisions.

So get over your own bad self and get on with your life.

Saturday, 14 April 2007

I must remember...

... when I am throwing myself a Pity Party because I am tired/sick/over-worked/under-appreciated, that our poor priests had nearly as much to do Holy Week as I, they had four parishes to do it in (I had members of all four parishes to deal with, but for the most part, they came to me, I only had to schlep materials elsewhere for three rehearsals.)
And they are 67 and 72!
And when I was feeling exhausted Easter morning I looked at that lovely holy, little man on TV and remembered that he was 80, for the love of God! Eighty and keeping up that schedule! Msgrs Marini and Ganswein, I know the angels are doing it, but do you watch over him as well!
These thoughts are occasioned because I was called about an "emergency" that turned out to be merely an extra service that Fr had actually already told me about, and had forgotten.
And he's Fr. Boss, Fr Associate can do a variation on that old truism that POTUS has X hundred million bosses, and the Veep has X million and one.
O Jesus, Eternal Priest;
keep all Your priests within the shelter of Your Sacred Heart,
where none may harm them.
Keep unstained their anointed hands
which daily touch Your Sacred Body.
Keep unsullied their lips purpled with Your Precious Blood.

Keep pure and unearthly their hearts sealed with the
sublime marks of Your glorious priesthood.
Let Your holy love surround them and shield them
from the world’s contagion.
Bless their labors with abundant fruit,

and may the souls to whom they have ministered
be their joy and consolation
and in Heaven their beautiful and everlasting crown.
O Mary,

Queen of the clergy,
pray for us;
obtain for us many holy priests.

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Laughing presently....

Himself is good, really good.
He could be great if I could direct him, but that is another matter (besides, he won't take my direction...)
It'll all be all right. L E is dlightufl to work with, and we've all, the enitre cast, made great strides, I think.
It will be a show of which to be proud.
I'm glad we got Equity permission.

Wrenovating a Wreck

Shawn Tribe at the New Liturgical Movement http://www.thenewliturgicalmovement.blogspot.com/ (one of the greatest of all blogs,) links to a temporary renovation shown on video


Among the comments is on by a Fr. Christopher G. Phillips
One more example of the fact that it doesn't take a lot of money, just some good taste and imagination (which might be harder to find than money, now that I think about it...)

My thoughts on it -
Fr Phillips reminder that such efforts do not take a great deal of money is not an insignificant point.
At the risk of sounding anti-capitalist, and admittedly going off topic, let us consider what, (or who,) drives the worst excesses of the post-conciliar liturgy.

Cui bono?

Does it benefit a publisher if I chant the responsorial to a Gregorian psalm tone, when I can point the verses and make copies, ( if need be for my choir and cantors, for a few pennies at the local office supply store,) instead of buying 30 copies of the Celebration series at 11.95 a pop?

Who would favor having the beloved antique embroidered silk banner that matches the altar clothes repaired by the immigrant tailor who set up shop down town, when a garishly bright nylon NEW one can be bought from a company that espouses a faux naïf style of lettering that implies that nobody at the manufacturers possesses a ruler much less any actual training in art?

What worship space consultant is going to say, "Very nice, and it nearly complies with the rubrics, but I would lose the fake ficus tress in the sanctuary, and you should get a crucifix that is not eclipsed by that statue of St EthnicaPatrona," when he can have months of work overseeing obliterating the mural with new paint, tearing out the baldachino, and designing a set of stations for which you need your "scorecard" to check the numbers and figure out what each is intended to depict?

What paid liturgist is going to say, "first, let's get everybody on the same page doing the red and saying the black before we worry about extras" when he can put his own stamp on or even "create" new "vibrant" rituals to meet the liturgical needs of this Catholic Community (which are so very different from every other parish, that what some old Italians or Poles or Germans, envision [and 'most all of them men, did you notice? as if they could ever understand what women look for in a liturgy,] doesn't really apply in OUR parish?

What Director of Catechesis is going to know enough to take the Compendium and elucidate it for the varying ages and education levels of his or her parishioners, abstracting what each is capable of understanding now, when he is being sold a bill of goods that so much more can be learned from a trip to L.A. in the middle of the winter to experience the wonder that is the modern religious ed conference?

Monday, 9 April 2007

Big, Strong, Healthy Women of Faith

That is what I should strive to be, hey?
Interesting piece by Elizabeth Lev in Zenit, and if I endorse her wisdom I can have that cheeseburger I have been jonesing for all through Lent, (but would this also mean I shouldn't work on putting together that faith-filled diet program, the Little Weigh?)

When Thin Wasn't In
While the trash people [a modern art display] were occupying the Piazza del Popolo, young women of Giacometti-like thinness were heading for Milan’s annual fall fashion previews. Last week, style pundits were abuzz with the news that Allegra Versace, the 22-year-old daughter of the famous fashion designer Donatella Versace, suffered from anorexia.
The news sprinkled gasoline on an already heated discussion about young women and body image, especially after the recent deaths of such rail-thin models as 21-year-old Brazilian Ana Carolina Reston, and the Uruguayan sisters, Luisel and Eliana Ramos, who died within six months of each other. They were 22 and 18, respectively.
Europe has been responding to the growing concern that fashion and the media promote an impossible body image to young women, causing them to become obsessed with weight and ultimately succumb to eating disorders.
Last September in Madrid, excessively thin models were banned from fashion shows as officials imposed a required body mass index of 18 or over (15 indicates starvation). London and Milan are considering following suit.
But the fashion world, which claims to cater to women, won’t give up the skinny model without a fight. Modeling agencies decried discrimination against models and “the freedom of the designer.”
It is hard to see what is empowering or beautiful in skeletal figures teetering precariously along a catwalk. These victims of the whims of fashion designers (who tell them to wear ball gowns one day or tar and feathers the next) seem physically unsubstantial, unable to resist the tempests and hardships of life.
Up until the last century, images of female beauty drew mainly on the physical resilience required for bearing children. But the world of fashion, which reached its zenith just as the birth rates started to drop, has no interest in this aspect of female beauty. No children equals more money, more money equals more clothes, and more profits for the industry.
The result is models who look like children, yet who are paraded before women as the ideal femininity. They encourage women to remain like children -- self-absorbed, unable to feed themselves, unwilling to shoulder adult responsibilities.
Five hundred years ago, Michelangelo gave us an ideal of female beauty while painting in the Sistine Chapel. Already stressing the co-responsibility of man and woman in the salvation of humanity, by putting Eve in every scene with Adam, the Renaissance artist, wrongly deemed a misogynist by uninformed critics, empowered women more than any slick advertisement in a glossy magazine.
Side by side with the great protagonists of the Old Testament, Michelangelo frescoed Judith and Esther, heroines because of their beauty and their virtue. No will-o'-the-wisps here, a long neck and graceful pose indicate femininity, but these women are strong and determined. Judith's arm is strong enough to wield the sword that will save her people.
The most stunning examples of female beauty are the sibyls. The Delphic Sibyl sits in one of the first niches from the main door holding her scroll. While her face boasts the small mouth, large eyes and regular features still admired today, she clearly could not model any designer jeans. Yet her energetic pose, dynamically twisting in two different directions, emphasizes the strength of her body.
The last sibyl in this row, the Libyan Sibyl poses with her back toward the chapel. Her waist is slim and her hips are full, while her pointed toes perch at the edge of her niche elongating the line of her limbs. But the breadth of her shoulders and extension of her arms as she turns to close the book of prophesies, seems like a wingspan ready to propel her off the chapel wall. With the fiery colors of her robes, she looks like a bird of paradise perched above the altar.
Michelangelo's portrayal of women was innovative in his own time. Most artists, like Raphael, represented women with soft flesh and round curves, physically weaker and more susceptible to temptation. But Michelangelo saw in both men and women the vocation and capacity to live virtuous and holy lives. He created men and women who look ready to resist sin and forge ahead on the path to heaven.
Far from encouraging women to starve themselves to attain an impossible physical form, Michelangelo incites women to nourish themselves with faith and exercise heroic virtue to achieve the very real goal of paradise.

I have run the marathon...

.... I have fought the good fight.
Well, I don't know about that. I don't know that the fight was "good", so few fights are, and I don't know that I put up any resistance to the Forces of Dimness.
But it's over.
Holy Week is a bear.
Resurrexit, sicut dixit.
That is the main thing, and that is the constant, so all the rest is of little matter, or should be.
But I was disappointed in how little time for prayer I found in the liturgies, and I was not to blame for most of it.
Usually I have to be honest, and say that I am in the same boat as Toby, that we have only ourselves to blame if we "find that [we] cannot enter prayerful into the liturgy" as she drama-queened in that most enlightening of conversations all those years ago in front of the mural.
The dog and pony aspects were kept to a minimum, but they were in evidence.
The arbitrariness ('zat a word?) of various manufactured events, the noisiness and garishness and brightness (although my objections to the latter may be lingering effects of shingles...)

Good Friday was the best, of course... it saddens me because I used to take so much joy in the Vigil, and I could not do that now even as a civilian.

And between Coward and shingles, I could not take refuge even in those few times that I had decided to allow myself, in the sanctuary of another sanctuary.

Well, next year in Jerusalem, eh? ("Next year West of the Loop" just has no resonance...)

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Congratulation, Cardinal Bertone

But can you imagine what I THOUGHT this headline in the NYTimes was about?

Italian Named to Oversee Papal Rites


Yes, I thought Msgr. Marini, the RadTrads favorite punching bag, was leaving for a nice quiet retirement... but no, not the Master of Ceremonies, but the Camerlengo (whose services, God willing, will not be needed for a looooooooooong time.)

Sunday, 1 April 2007

Papa Ratz and the Katz

Are they really named Anton and Siegfried?

Is it Ordinary time yet?

I am exhausted. And nasty, really tart tongued, and short tempered. It has less, truth be told, to do with the Holy Week marathon (coupled with Coward,) than with a relapse -- I had thought I was in the home stretch of the shingles, they were less painful for a couple days and today -- ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH!!!!!!!!!
Real agony.
On the other hand -- O, how I love my choir. They KICKED on the Gluck De Profundis, absolutely KICKED.
It was beautiful, and moving, and quite, quite marvelous.
And God answered my prayers, too windy to do the procession outside (on the other hand I will be DAAAAAAAAAAAYs cleaning up the back yard...)

Cluster rehearsal, not quite so good, and I also think liturgically a lot of what we are doing leaves a great deal to be desired, but what can I say, it's out of my hands...

Oh, and a blog called Suburban Banshee has a top ten signs that the Motu has got you manic --

-- and one REALLY tickled me: during meetings at work, you doodle complicated allegorical pictures involving the Holy Spirit, eucharistic messenger angels, and scantily clad women labeled Una, Sancta, Apostolica, and Ecclesia who are feeding treats to St. Corbinian’s bear.

Trad soft-core, no?