Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Friday, 29 January 2010

What every wife likes to hear...

"You kinda look like Jake La Motta."

I love having allergies...


Friday, 22 January 2010

"The Worship of the Singers"

If only all the discouraged Catholic music directors and choristers and organists could know and embrace this! The great Dr.Mahrt writing about sung Vespers:
Attendance at vespers is pretty sparse; at first this was a disappointment, but I became reconciled with the fact that the Divine Office is principally the worship of the singers; [emphasis added] it is conducted without congregation in many monasteries. Among the benefits are a radically different sense of the psalm texts of the Mass propers for the singers, which comes from chanting whole psalms regularly, as well as a much expanded view of what the liturgy is about.
Thomas Day, IIRC, says something similar in reference to the praying of the Seven Last Words, I believe.

(Gaude [sp?] in reference to the time it was taking to build his masterpiece - something like, my client is patient and has all the time in the world, it expresses a similar, deeper understanding of for Whom we should do what we do.)

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Not just insane and curmudgeonly myself, but a carrier...

I seem to have infected Himself.
He is more insistent about finding a different parish than I, and the latest crise is over, "The Lord IS with you."
I've tried explaining that that is minor, minor, minor compared with what else we've encountered, that we are otherwise fortunate, but to no avail.
(Strangley, I don't think he was as jarred by "and became A man" and "for us AND for our salvation" as I was. Different strokes... those bothered me because they were a disruption of the rhythm of what we were all reciting corporately.)


I was just thinking about what a pain passwords are when I'm scrambling about as I am at present, and what do I read?

Ah, well....

But seriously, I thought I was lazy, but I have never once used "123456" or "password."

And "princess"?


Noel Goemanne, Dead st 83

(H/T to Christus Vincit)
Noel Goemanne has died.
One of the bright spots in Catholic music over the last half century.
Requiem aeternam dona eum.

Speed Dating Jesus

An old post from a blog unfamiliar to me, (came across it searching for I-Remember-Not-What on the timesuck that is Google...) that prescribes for a fault of far too many liturgies at which I have found myself -- WHAT IS YOUR HURRY, FATHER??!?#??&!?
Have we as Catholic’s gotten caught up in the speed-reading, speed-dating, speed-(fill in the blank) of life? Most Catholics don’t go do mass on a daily basis, so the one mass we attend on Sunday should in fact, be the highlight of our weekly spiritual journey with Christ.
The Mass should be the one time and place where we give our body, mind and soul to our Lord…leaving the Blackberry’s, to-do list, and worries of our life at the door. Ironically I recently heard a priest give a homily on this very subject. It was very good…he pointed out that we are always on the clock, we are always speeding in our cars from one place to another and missing out on some of the most important things in life…good conversation, good food prepared with care, and good relaxing prayer.
The irony being, this same priest is so incredibly caught up about starting the liturgy exactly on time and always badgering the music ministers, readers, lectures about keeping up the “pace” of the mass.
The Slow Mass movement?
Yeah, I could get behind that...

"Be Certain, Not Right"

OMGosh, it's like they were SPYING on my childhood!

(This has long been the family motto, if you can't be right, be wrong at the top of your lungs.

We, the Louds, are, as the skinniest Loud brother say, pronouncers of "TRUFAX," things that sound vaguely correct, but of which the speaker has no actual knowledge; or opinions and guesses expressed as if factual.)

The Evil Futurists' Guide to World Domination: How to be Successful, Famous, and Wrong

You want to be a futurist, but you're afraid of being wrong. Don't worry. Everyone has that concern at first. But here, I've brought together ideas drawn from a number of books and articles that will help you succeed without having to be right. All you have to do is follow the simple principles laid out below.

Be certain, not right. People love certainty. They crave it. In experiments, psychologists have shown that "[w]e tend to seek advice from experts who exhibit the most confidence – even when we know they haven’t been particularly accurate in the past." We just can't resist certainty.

Further, confidence and certainty aren't things you arrive at after logical deliberation and reasoning: as UCSF neurologist Robert Burton argues in his book On Being Certain, certainty is a feeling, an emotion, and it has a lot less to do with logic than we realize. So go ahead and feel certain; if other people mistake that for being right, that's their problem. But before too long, people who listen to you will become invested in believing that you're really an authority and know what you're talking about, and will defend your reputation to salvage their own beliefs.

So no matter what you do, no matter what you believe, be certain. As Tetlock put it, in this world "only the overconfident survive, and only the truly arrogant thrive."...

Claim to be an expert: it makes people's brains hurt....

No expertise, no problem...

Get prizes for being outrageous, (I really like that one)

One of my sisters, though well into her fourth decade, is still a Brain in search of her own Pinky...

Monday, 18 January 2010

New waiter, but serving the same fine cuisine...

The incoming bishop of Brussels sounds a corker:
The long-awaited announcement of the successor to the retiring Catholic archbishop of Brussels, Cardinal Godfried Danneels, has sparked an unusual outcry in Belgium. The new archbishop, André-Mutien Léonard, is sometimes called “the Belgian Ratzinger” for his conservative views. Danneels ranks as one of the last liberal prelates in a Church hierarchy that has turned increasingly traditional under Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict.

Léonard has beene a controversial figure in Belgium for his critical stands on homosexuality, same-sex marriage and condom use. He has been an outspoken opponent of abortion and euthanasia, both of which are legal in Belgium, and criticised the Catholic universities of Leuven and Louvain for their research into assisted reproduction and embryonic stem ...Deputy Prime Minister Laurette Onkelinx, who is the country’s health minister...[said] "Léonard has already regularly challenged decisions made by our parliament.”...
[His] appointment could upset the balance between secular and religious that Belgium has found. ... He is against abortion and euthanasia … The pope’s choice could undermine the compromise that allows us to live together with respect for everyone.”

Oh... respect for everyone except the unborn, the old, the useless, the disabled, the ill.

"One of the Good Guys"

This is so dumbfounding, I hardly know what to think:
Peter Planyavsky, formerly of St. Stephen’s cathedral in Vienna [is] liturgically speaking... one of the good guys.
He pushed hard for congregational singing and the presence of a cantor, even and especially at Latin High Mass.
He composed “orchestral responsorial psalms” for congregation and choir so that the Liturgy of the Word would not be dwarfed by a Mozart Sanctus and Agnus.
He labored mightily for the development of vernacular repertoire for the reformed liturgy.
He once told me that the first time he heard a Eucharistic prayer in German, tears rolled down his face at the fulfillment of a long-held wish.
Now, after his departure from the cathedral under less than pleasant conditions, his memoirs appear. ...The shock is that the author considers himself an agnostic, in the sense of not affirming the Christian faith.
[emphasis supplied]

(Incidentally, a very promising new blog, impressive list of potential contributors.)

Now, what exactly is dumbfounding? by what am I shocked?
Not by that which shocked Fr Ruff, certainly- I don't know the musician in question, after all.
I think what I find so surprising is that he is shocked, that he doesn't see that such a liturgical agenda might very well betoken a lower than normal level of interest in worshiping the Triune God in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, as such.

Oh, an after admitting that I don't know, the musician, I will nevertheless go on to say he seems a bit... sour? I mean yes, we all burn out, and this is in translation and may not catch the tone the author intended, but
I have developed a manner of Sunday-antipathy and feastday-antipathy, an all-encompassing “solemn-mood-neurosis,” which only now, after the end of my work for the cathedral, I am able slowly to break down. This sort of thing is clearest at Christmas, for which I have long since lost any joy. This is connected not only with the heavy workload between December 24th and 26th, but especially with the four-week bombardment in all greetings, homilies, and conclusions of liturgies with, oh! what bell ringing and angel-singing ecstasy which was to materialize “soon” or “shortly” or “in a few hours.” Furthermore, you wouldn’t believe how many thoughtless fellow humans, who knew exactly what occupation I had, have wished me “happy vacation” on December 24th.

Oh, no!
How very thoughtless of them, not to know that a cathedral music director and Catholic liturgist was merely play-acting at being a Christian, and therefore the season of joy was nothing but overtime so far as he was concerned.!

So, no love for Christ, but apparently not a super-abundance of love for the music, either?

Very sad.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Marie Antoinette of Palm Beach

In the Palm Beach Post of Jan 10, a socialite, (name deleted to protect the obtuse,) was quoted as saying, wisely and thoughtfully, that there was no reason to be abashed at rich people partying at festive charity events while children were starving in Europ.... oops, wait, I was channeling my Grandma.

Miss Socialite von Partygoer referred, rather, to the suffering in Haiti, "Should we fell bad to be at Tiffany [sic] for a party? No. If we weren't rich we couldn't help... [we'll] all go home and write a check."

But then Miss Socialite von Partygoer is quoted as going on to say, rather unfortunately, "Besides, Haitians are great survivors. These wood houses they live in, they can rebuild them in five minutes."

The people have no South Beach Diet approved food, Your Majesty!
Let them eat Lean Cuisine...

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Father Stravinskas knocks one out of the park, and suggests we seize this chairos

In the current America Magazine the editor of The Catholic Response, mounts a vigorous defense of the new translation, and provides a response to the somewhat whiny essay of Father Michael Ryan in the same periodical.
When the English Missale Romanum appeared in 1970, it was clear we had been handed a paraphrase instead of a translation. As a young priest required to use these texts, I quickly determined that something needed to be done to return to the people of God what Father Ryan dubs “their baptismal birthright”—that is, an English liturgy that seeks to convey all the depth, truth and beauty of the original Latin. By 1992, I had assembled a team of scholars who produced an alternative translation of the Ordinary of the Mass and presented that effort to the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy in Washington, D.C., and the Congregation for Divine Worship in Rome. Hostility was the response from Washington—copies of our draft were gathered and destroyed at the bishops’ meeting—while Rome expressed a guarded interest in our project.

Ultimately, the Holy See came to the realization that many of the vernacular translations of the liturgy were problematic. (English was not the only example, just one of the more egregious.) In 2001 the Congregation for Divine Worship promulgated Liturgiam Authenticam setting forth a coherent philosophy of translation. The document called for revised translations in keeping with these norms and the establishment of an oversight committee, Vox Clara, to ensure the fidelity of future translations...
What curial officials and the pope are arguing for, with the enthusiastic support of junior clergy, is not a moribund “rubricism” but a genuine ars celebrandi that makes the sacred mysteries palpable. Not a few observers have noted that much of the liturgical change that occurred after the council—both officially sanctioned as well as in explicit violation of church law—would have been unthinkable to the council fathers. What is required now is a careful re-building process. Is this “turning back the clock”? In some sense, it is. Permit me a mundane example. If a man is told by his physician that he must lose 50 pounds or face serious problems, he must “turn back the clock” to the time when he was lighter in order to save his life. Mutatis mutandis—that is what the church at the highest levels is calling us to do.... We are warned by Father Ryan to expect “discredit to the church” and “disillusionment to the people” if the new translation sees the light of day. He tells us of the “chilling reception” it has received in South Africa, in spite of a “careful program of catechesis in the parishes.” I beg to differ. There was no “program of catechesis” to speak of in South Africa and, in fact, some liturgical observers even argue that the translation was thrust onto the faithful precisely to cause a negative reaction. Having conducted several workshops on the new texts over the past year, I can only attest to very positive reactions, from clergy and laity alike.

How did the final texts receive such overwhelming support from the American bishops, if they are so bad? Father Ryan contends that the bishops were just “worn down” by the Holy See and so caved in. I disagree. The majority of the bishops saw the merit of the work and were tired of the delaying tactics of a vocal if tiny minority of opponents. Is this translation perfect? Of course not. No translation is, but we ought never make the best the enemy of the good. It is a vast improvement over the uninspiring, banal and all-too-often theologically problematic texts we have been using for nearly 40 years. The New Testament speaks of chairos, an especially fortuitous moment. We are approaching a liturgical chairos for English-speaking Catholics, which we should embrace with gusto.

Editorials and Parish Bulletins

I don't want to read earnest testimonials as to why all Catholics should consider eating organic produce; anymore than I want to read a pastor's screed aimed the Homeland Security program ending with -- and THESE are the people we should trust to run our health care system?


... in my generally happy life include learning that a parish that had a tolerable choir and music program only a few years ago, has allowed the Clapping Gloria that deformed its Lifeteen Mass, then, to similarly besmirch ALL its Masses that have music now.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Garlic and Perfume

Wonderful and woefully under-attended recital, absolutely charming patter by paterfamilias of the Burowksy [sp?] clan, that taste in music is not always what those of us with more education and experience in music might wish, but what can you do -- the stench of garlic is always stronger then the scent of the finest perfume.

Sunday, 10 January 2010


Seeing my mother and her personality... quirks? through new eyes, and more, hearing her and them through ears sharpened by a longish separation, and also a bit from Himself's POV... well, let's just say I hope i have a better understanding of what he hears day in and day out, and what he puts up with.

Yeah, I married a saint...

Friday, 1 January 2010

Long Live Concrete!

There are oxen in my bed.
Many, many oxen!

(Good Christmas present...)

O Sanctissima, ora pro nobis

'Cause we could sure use your prayers...
Wishing my 3.2 regular readers a joyous and prosperous new year.