Based in London; Formerly of New York, Buenos Aires, Fife, and the Western Cape. Saoránach d'Éirinn.

2004 September

A writer, blogger, historian, and web designer born in New York, educated in Argentina, Scotland, and South Africa, and now based in London. read more

All Sorts of Craziness

Well my godson is excommunicate. Having become a Freemason, he has now decided to attend the high Anglican church in town instead of the Catholic parish (Which at least is preferable to his remaining a Freemason and claiming to be a Catholic).

His godmother (a good friend of mine) and I tried to postpone his entry into the Church because we were afraid just this kind of thing would happen. We didn’t think three months of instruction were enough, but at the end of the day, we thought he was completely on board.

Everything else seems to be going fairly well though, minus the grim weather that hangs round these parts this time of year. Ah, to be in New England this time of year, rather than old Scotland.

Also, Tori informs me that Michael Davies has died, so we must all say a few prayers on his behalf at the next opportunity.

On a lighter note, Fr. Patrick Burke’s talk last night at Canmore went exceptionally well. The subject was “Can We Prove the Existence of God?” and Fr. Burke handled the matter with his usual alacrity and humour.

For those who don’t know of Fr. Burke, he is a graduate of St Andrews, having been Convenor of the Union Debating Society during his tenure as an undergraduate. He then went on to the Pontifical Scots College, I believe, and then the Gregorian. Fr. Burke is currently editor of Faith magazine and a parish priest in the Archdiocese of St Andrews.

Fr. Burke is one of our most popular speakers, evidenced by the fact that the Common Room at Canmore was filled to capacity, with three or four others standing in the hallway outside. Next week is Fr. Luiz Ruscillo, also of the Faith movement, also one of our popular speakers. Also, Fr. Luiz has only recently taken up saying the Tridentine rite.

If any of you receive Mass of Ages, the very well-produced magazine of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales, you will no doubt have noticed an article on the Schola Cantorum Universitate Sancti Andreae – aka Scusa, Sophie von Hauch’s splendiferous chant choir. Definitely worth a read.

That’s all for now. There’s work to be done…

September 30, 2004 9:52 am | Link | No Comments »

Return to St Andrews

Well, I have returned to the old gray town and it is much as I have left it. Our apartment is simply splendiferous and I’ve already got my Stars-and-Stripes, Union Jack, and Rhodesian flag hanging from the walls. It’s a bit messy, half-full bottles of absinthe, Bulgarian wine, and empty glasses and the like, but we make do.

Last night, at about two o’clock, we were invaded by a contingent of the Officer Training Corps which included the infamous Paddy Levack, our man David Watt, and a good few others, including Jen, Charlie, and Emma. A bit insane, but good fun nonetheless.

Have to get out the old gown and give it a good dust off, for there is a debate tonight. It’s on some ridiculous topic, but they’ve got good speakers lined up. Peter Blair and I had to truck up to Safeway today to purchase £61.87 worth of sherry and port for the event. No worries, the Union reimburses us.

Must go!

September 22, 2004 12:16 pm | Link | No Comments »

Vote Pacelli/Sheen in ’04

How often do you get two of your favourite people (saints?) together in the same photograph? Here we have Blessed Pius XII and the Servant of God Fulton Sheen.

Listen to some of Fulton Sheen’s brilliant talks, which you can find here, here, and here.

I think my favourite is God in Search of Man, which mentions Thompson’s the Hound of Heaven.

September 16, 2004 9:53 am | Link | 1 Comment »

Blessing the Hounds in Virginia

Photo: National Geographic

September 15, 2004 4:24 pm | Link | No Comments »

NYU – Old & New

As we all know, New York University is a slighlty scattered urban institution based around Washington Square. It likes to bill itself as “having the city as your campus” which , of course, is a cheap cop-out for not having a real campus. Being ever-progressive, NYU has torn down all their historic buildings such as University Hall (seen above) on Washington Square.

What is not very well known is that New York University, founded as a bourgeois alternative to the then-aristocratic Columbia, decided to build a new university campus in the late 1890’s designed by McKim, Mead, and White. Columbia had just done the same thing, moving from Midtown around St. Patrick’s Cathedral to Morningside Heights, and NYU apparently felt the need to keep up with the Joneses. (more…)

September 13, 2004 5:52 pm | Link | No Comments »

The BS&UC et cetera

With all the Yanks that are at St Andrews these days, I have a proposal to make. We infiltrate and take over the British Schools and Universities Club, raise some funds and thereby purchase a comfortable Upper East Side townhouse to use as our club quarters, and declare that straw boaters shall permanently, yes permanently, be in season within the confines of the Club. Perhaps the straw boater bit is a bit of an affectation, but otherwise it might be a sound idea.

It’s an idea at least. Perhaps I’ll just start my own private club (a la Boodle’s). And speaking of Boodle’s, the Foreign Aid Society of BASMOM recently held their annual dinner at Boodle’s. Anyone have any clue what sort of order or whatnot the sacerdotal chap in the middle would belong to? I don’t believe I’ve ever seen such a get-up myself. Though I remember seeing two priests from the Brompton Oratory in Country Life that were dressed vaguely similar.

Yet another reason why Christopher Bertram and I need to write the Field Guide to the Catholic Church.


September 13, 2004 5:47 pm | Link | No Comments »

The University Church, Dublin

It is said that Newman was not a fan of the gothic revival. When he had this church built for his Catholic University of Ireland in Dublin (since then merged into the Royal University of Ireland which became the National University of Ireland, University College Dublin), he certainly made sure it was über-byzantine. Though beautiful on the inside, it has possibly the least imposing facade of any church I’ve ever seen. Perhaps that adds to its charm.

September 13, 2004 5:31 pm | Link | No Comments »


Didn’t they all say this at the time of the last election?

September 12, 2004 11:03 pm | Link | No Comments »

Alaska’s Largest Church

When you have a chance, why not take a gander at the official website of the oldest and largest Christian church in our northernmost state?

September 12, 2004 5:20 pm | Link | No Comments »

Random Good Times

A band of merrie gentlemen haunt the Lizard Lounge late on a Thursday evening. (more…)

September 12, 2004 12:02 am | Link | No Comments »

The Other September 11th

¡No Pasaran! has a post very much worth reading on Chile’s would-be dictator, Salvador Allende (seen above, helmeted, in the last photo taken of him alive). Many left-wing urban intellectuals both in the Americas and Europe fawn over Allende as the heroic democratically-elected savior of the proletariat who was cruelly overthrown by the reactionary military just moments before a Socialist paradise would have been achieved. Nothing could be further from the truth.

While there can be no question that Pinochet’s rule was extremist and questionable in its use of torture, one need only to look at Chile today in comparison to its neighbors and ask themselves what went so right with Chile that went so wrong with Argentina et alia. Anyhow, read the post.

September 10, 2004 8:02 pm | Link | 1 Comment »

Decline and Fall

Belgian politicians are seeking to introduce euthanasia for children. It brought to mind this passage from St. Paul:

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Ephesians 6:12

This is a battle in a war that probably won’t end any time soon.

September 8, 2004 11:57 pm | Link | No Comments »

Going… Going…

… not yet gone. Cardinal Egan and his abomination squad have begun demolishing the Church of St. Thomas the Apostle in Harlem. St. Thomas is one of New York’s architectural gems, especially known for its perpindicular gothic vaulted ceiling. It has been determined that the stained glass, the worth of which may reach into the millions, cannot be removed, and so will be lost with the rest of the church. The altar is already gone, although in honesty, it was the least attractive feature at St Thomas, a bit frilly.

Preservationist M.H. Adams: The church is “the most significant structure to be destroyed in the city since Penn Station.” quips “At least the moneychangers didn’t try to sell the temple.”

Gabriel Meyer, the fourth generation at Mayer of Munich (the firm that made St. Thomas’s windows), told Cardinal Egan in a letter:

Throughout my professional and private life I was taught and came [to] the conviction that the Roman Catholic Church has been “the Mother of the Arts”. Please excuse, if I now boldly say: The demolition of St. Thomas the Apostle Church would be a highly barbaric act and no economic interest could excuse such wrongdoing.

But it would seem that Egan’s bureaucracy will trump history, Christian charity, and appreciation for beauty. The property will not be sold, but will be replaced by apartments to bring revenue into the Archdiocesan treasury. Cardinal Egan has done much since he ascended to the episcopal throne of our great metropolis. By this, and many other actions, he has shown his allegiance, and it is not to Christ.

September 7, 2004 9:23 pm | Link | No Comments »

Novy Dvur

(Via Fr. Jim Tucker) The Telegraph reports on the new monastery at Novy Dvur.

I have to say I rather like it. My only issue is that it ought to have a giant, massive crucifix floating above the altar. I know the whole point is supposed to be minimalism and absence but it’s ridiculous for the central feature of a church to be the absence of anything. The central feature of both The Church and any church should be Christ. So put some Christ into it.

Or perhaps if the entirety of the church were to be covered wall to wall in great pulchritudinous and polychromatic murals except the sanctuary, which would remain completely blank and white, thus focusing on the other-ness of the Eucharistic sacrifice compared to our world.

More photos. (more…)

September 6, 2004 4:57 pm | Link | 2 Comments »

Pining for Andreanopolis

Photo: Peter Tweed

Just over a fortnight to go, but a number of things I miss about St Andrews:

The people (too many to mention), wearing academic gowns, torchlit processions, dinner parties, St. Salvator’s Chapel, three-piece suits at Chapel, lady preachers making fools of themselves at Chapel, the after-Chapel bit of sherry, tweed, the Kensington Club, tweed, the ruins of the Cathedral, tweed, the Pier, the East Sands, the West Sands, Castle Sands, the Castle, the Castle Tavern, the Central, Broon’s, Ma Bell’s, not so much the Westport but their beer garden instead, eating at the Golf Hotel, reading the magazines in the common room of Canmore, reading everything else in the library of Canmore, big dinner thursdays, avoiding the Students Union at all costs, Queens Gardens, the Quarto, the Bouquiniste, chips, the late movie on Wednesday nights, anything and everything Richard Demarco is involved in, plotting reaction, writing the Mitre, reading the Mitre, reactions to the Mitre, St. Leonard’s Chapel, candlelit compline, the Scores, Boots’ meal deal, the evangelists in the streets, Parliament Hall, St. Mary’s Quad, St. Katharine’s Lodge, St. John’s House, the King James Library, the Bunk Room in St. Mary’s, Professor Haldane’s house, the hallway chat after the daily Rosary, the Parish garden, Fr. Halloran’s black vestments and the fact that he still uses them, the Latin Mass in Edinburgh and everything that goes with it, the Telegraph, the Spectator, making fun of people, being made fun of, evensong at Holy Trinity, the Renaissance Group, St. Salvator’s Hall, Hamilton Hall, University Hall, Lower College Hall, the Old Union Diner, Butts Wynd, St. Salvator’s Quad, North Street, Market Street, South Street, the Pends, the Cemetary, the cloister, the chapter house, driving up and down the Fife coast, awkward people, the Whiskey-tasting Society (oh boy!), unapologetic support for the monarchy, international diplomacy, an appreciation for Chesterton, representing New York abroad, beautiful and charming South African tutors, Dean’s Court, champagne, the Royal & Ancient, innocent decadence, Kinburn Park and the lawn bowling club, Bishop Kennedy’s tomb, the Buchanan, falling asleep in lectures, doing the crossword in lectures, inscribing the Sacred Heart of Jesus, monarchist slogans, or anachronistic pro-Rhodesian graffiti onto lecture hall desktops, tea after Mass, Country Life, the Kate Kennedy Procession, buying the papers at J+G Innes, formal events, wearing the old school tie, the Annual Boules Match in St. Mary’s College, the Younger Hall, plotting to start a croquet club, people willing to sacrifice their lives for their country, my complete inability to write an essay without Jameson’s, paninis from Cherries, Luvian’s wine shop, all the alleyways, the Byre Theatre, the bar at the Byre, Pimm’s on the lawn, Christianity being taken seriously, incessantly amusing people, life in St Andrews. Life in St Andrews!

September 5, 2004 7:59 pm | Link | No Comments »

Good Times in New Haven

More Yale fun today, and because I was stupid enough to leave the top bit of our brewing apparatus back home, I shall be up again tommorrow evening.

Quite sadly, thanks to traffic on I-95, we missed our reservation for luncheon at Mory’s, and so ate at a more than satisfactory Italian place instead. Nothing like penne basilico and a bloody mary on a Saturday afternoon in New Haven, eh?

Nonetheless, Adam and his friend Neer have an exceptional apartment on Park Street in New Haven, just across the street from Yale’s Pierson College. It’s on the top floor, giving it a great view of some gothic towers, and its got some some neo-classical woodwork to boot.

However the best thing of all about the apartment is that the previous owners, for no known reason, left a two-seater choir pew on the fire escape. With misericords and everything, although not ornate. Robert O’Brien would be jealous. So today we dusted the thing off, cleaned it up, and hauled it into the apartment. It fits in perfectly, especially since it blends in with all the woodwork.

I mean really, what luck! I doubt when I move into our flat in Southgait Hall in a few weeks that there will be any random ecclesiastical furnishings lying about from previous occupants. Of course, within a few days of us living there it will no doubt be full of Leon’s army things, Y*****’s art, and my newspapers.

Adam’s filling out his law school applications, and Neer his medical school applications, and it being their last year, I offered to take the choir pew off their hands once the academic year is over. Perhaps then I shall turn my room into a would-be Pluscarden.

September 4, 2004 11:10 pm | Link | No Comments »

Sacred Architecture, Holy Architect

Every now and then, the Tablet has articles which are spot on. Read about the Blessed Antoni Gaudi in this week’s edition. Well worth a read.

September 3, 2004 7:13 pm | Link | No Comments »

The Mass Returns to York Minster

On Friday, May 16 of 2003, the Carmelites offered a mass in York Minster to commemorate the 550th anniversary of the Papal bull ‘Cum Nulla’ allowing the Order to enroll nuns and the laity. York Minster used to be home to a Carmelite congregation, kicked out when the Minster – the largest Gothic cathedral in northern Europe – was appropriated by the government. It survives today as the cathedral for the Archdiocese and ecclesiastical province of York. The official website conveniently makes no mention of the great church being nicked from the Carmelites, but at least they let them offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in their old home.

York Minster was in the news not too long ago, when Canon Professor Edward Norman – one of their clerics and supposedly one of Anglicanism’s leading intellectuals – decided to swim the Tiber (so to speak). (more…)

September 2, 2004 2:48 pm | Link | 1 Comment »
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