Thursday, June 29, 2006

Poetry is Lacking

When I was a youth
I never learned poesy
Until I was in
7th or 8th grade,
In what was then called Junior High
Or now called Middle School.

It was an English Lit class
But was mainly about poetry
Of the modernist type
Such as free verse
(Just like this)
And concrete poetry
Which I shall not illustrate,
And the poems of
Edward E. Cummings
Who always wrote
In annoying lowercase.

Never once did I hear
In that class
Of iambic pentameter
Or dactylic hexameter
Like was taught to
My Catholic friends;
Instead I was told that
Rhyme was not needed,
Nor any structure at all:
We had to color
Outside of the lines.

(Nowadays Rappers
Rhyme every line;
What once was deficit
Is now an excess.)

To this very day
I am unable to perceive
Meter in lines,
No matter how hard I try,
And can't hear where
Accents ought to go.
It is due to classes
Like the one I attended
That white men have lost
All sense of rhythm.

But that English teacher,
A young Hippie Chick,
Suggested that I read
A most interesting book
"Lord of the Rings",
by J.R.R. T.!
It was not Modernist,
In the least;
A dangerous book
Against all that is new,
Filled with poetry,
in the Classical Sense,
And a plan of the Divine,
Banned in the Public School.

California Missions


The feastday for Blessed Junipero Serra is this Saturday. He was a Spanish Franciscan who started the missions in Alta California.

I took the photos of two of the missions last year while I was living in northern California.

Flooding


This is a map of the United States Geological Survey's real-time stream gauges. Look at the northeast—those black circles are record-high floodwaters for this day. Click to go to the USGS website.

There have been deaths and widespread destruction, with many losing their homes and business.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

58th Annual Outdoor Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, July 8th-16th, 2006

We invite you to be
with us everyday of the nine days of
our outdoor Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel

We hope you will be able to join us each evening in
A pilgrimage to Our Lady's Shrine
and participate with us in the
Daily Sacrifice of the Mass
beginning at 8:00 p.m.
in the Garden of Carmel
We are offering to you as
Your own Special Day of Prayer

JULY 8th
for you and your loved ones and all your intentions.

THE ROSARY IS RECITED IN THE AIR-CONDITIONED CHAPEL EACH EVENING AT 7:15 P.M. PRIOR TO THE OUTDOOR NOVENA SERVICES FOR ANYONE WHO WISHES TO ATTEND AND AT 7:55 P.M. THROUGHOUT THE YEAR.

HOLY MASS WITH THE OPPORTUNITY TO RECEIVE THE EUCHARIST WILL BE OFFERED EVERY NIGHT AT 8:00 P.M. WITH NOVENA PRAYERS AND HOMILY.

A PLENARY INDULGENCE IS GRANTED FOR EACH VISIT MADE TO OUR CHAPEL FROM NOON ON JULY 15TH THROUGH JULY 16TH UNDER THE USUAL CONDITIONS OF CONFESSION AND HOLY COMMUNION WITH PRAYERS FOR THE HOLY FATHER'S INTENTIONS.

Discalced Carmelite Nuns
Carmelite Monastery
9150 Clayton Road
Saint Louis, Missouri 63124-1898


This is always a big event; arrive early for the Rosary in the beautiful chapel, unless you want to kneel on the hard floor for 25 minutes (which is anyway a good mortification). Blessing of the Brown Scapular is offered during the Novena. Mass is held rain or shine; this time of year you can expect at least one night of rain, so you might want to bring an umbrella and something to kneel on.

The Carmelites follow the example of St. Elijah, the Old Testament prophet associated with Mount Carmel in the Holy Land, and the Blessed Virgin Mary, under her title of "Star of the Sea", based on 1 Kings 18:41-45. The Discalced Carmelites live under a strict rule, with "discalced" meaning "shoeless".


Links:

A brief history of the Carmelites
Official website of the Discalced Carmelites
Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Saint Louis
Order of Carmel Discalced Secular in Saint Louis (home of the Podcast "Meditations from Carmel")

"Scientists urge evolution lessons"

See the article Scientists urge evolution lessons over at the BBC.
The world's top scientists have joined forces to call for "evidence-based" teaching of evolution in schools.

A statement signed by 67 national science academies says evidence on the origins of life is being "concealed, denied, or confused" in some classes.

It lists key facts on evolution that "scientific evidence has never contradicted".
The evolution debate is polarized into two completely incompatible points of view, which is not helpful, since it tends to force people to go on one side or the other. The politics of the teaching of evolution is therefore quite ugly. Science and religion are seen as mutually incompatible and everyone must choose one or the other.

One one hand we have the extreme fundamentalistic view, which sometimes sees the world as being very young, with one date being the overly-specific 10 a.m., on Thursday, October 26th, 6006 B.C. which comes from the Anglican Archbishop James Ussher. This view sees evidence such as fossils and light from distant galaxies being inherently deceitful. Most antievolutionist opinions tend to be quite skeptical of reason. A moderate "Intelligent Design" or ID theory isn't the same thing as Aquinas' Proof of the existence of God from the order (or design) In nature. It reportedly tends to be a type of "God of the gaps" argument, that grants to God only those actions that are not scientifically explainable.

On the contrary, the modern scientific view, supported by the liberal establishment, posits purely natural and material forces guiding evolution, with any change occurring purely by chance. This usually is atheistic and naturalistic (that is, denying the world of the spirit, so is a type of monism).

The trouble with a "God of the gaps" argument is that it concedes the working of Divine Providence in favor of the purely materialistic scientific explanations. Here Faith and Reason are strictly opposed: if reason explains something, then that is out of the realm of faith. But this is a recent theory, and unfortunately is a theory accepted by much of Reformation religion. The older, traditional argument is found in Catholicism, and indeed, in many major religions and systems of thought predating the Enlightenment: the traditional idea of the Natural Law does not concede anything to materialistic atheism.

The currently fashionable Postmodern philosophy denies reason and truth, but is a strong proponent of the teaching of evolution. Logically, they wouldn't say that it is true but will support it for these reasons: it promotes atheism, it makes life appear meaningless, and it allows immorality, especially sexual immorality. You can act like an ape if you are an ape.

Fundamentalism and Liberalism are similar since they both set up an opposition between grace and nature, which is why the debate is framed in terms of religion versus science. Both theories tend towards monism. The traditional Catholic view is that grace builds on nature, and that nature has been created very good. In this view, there is no opposition between grace and nature, religion and science, or faith and reason. Nearly one hundred years ago, G. K. Chesterton said it well in his book Orthodoxy:
Evolution is a good example of that modern intelligence which, if it destroys anything, destroys itself. Evolution is either an innocent scientific description of how certain earthly things came about; or, if it is anything more than this, it is an attack upon thought itself. If evolution destroys anything, it does not destroy religion but rationalism. If evolution simply means that a positive thing called an ape turned very slowly into a positive thing called a man, then it is stingless for the most orthodox; for a personal God might just as well do things slowly as quickly, especially if, like the Christian God, he were outside time. But if it means anything more, it means that there is no such thing as an ape to change, and no such thing as a man for him to change into. It means that there is no such thing as a thing. At best, there is only one thing, and that is a flux of everything and anything. This is an attack not upon the faith, but upon the mind; you cannot think if there are no things to think about. You cannot think if you are not separate from the subject of thought. Descartes said, "I think; therefore I am." The philosophic evolutionist reverses and negatives the epigram. He says, "I am not; therefore I cannot think."
Not surprisingly, the idea of evolution has never been much of a problem among Catholics; instead, it is the meaning attached to evolution that is important. Far from being a new theory, evolution was proposed at least 2500 years ago, and has cropped up in numerous forms over the centuries; the arguments for and against it have therefore been well established since antiquity.

Traditional Catholic teaching says that "science is the virtue of conforming the intellect to reality". The modern idea of science is sharply limited to only that kind of knowledge that can be derived from the scientific method of repeated measurements. The modern definition is a very narrow slice of the traditional definition, although it must be said that it is a very well developed slice.

Likewise, the modern theory of evolution is a narrow subset of the traditional theory of change and development; it's merely a special case of a broader theory. That biological organisms change under their own nature is the dogma of atheistic evolution, but it is an acceptable part of the traditional theory, which includes more. A traditionalist can believe or disbelieve in God or science whenever he feels like it, while a modernist must always believe in science.

This is very much the case in other subjects: modern poetry does not rhyme, and contemporary rap music always rhymes. But the older traditional theory of poesy allowed both rhyme and its lack. Classical architecture allows for order, symmetry, and proportion, and would allow exceptions: modern architecture only allows the exceptions. All of the modern arts are a strict (and very narrow) subset of the traditional arts. Modern morality and liberal religion use only subsets of the traditional forms. So Modernism is a narrowing of culture.

A big problem is the blurring of the distinctions between evolution, intelligent design, and development.

Many arguments for evolution are, in fact, intelligent design arguments. We used to go about in dugout canoes, now we have luxury cruise ships; the Wright Brothers' flyer is now a widebody airline jet. But these are all human designs! Likewise for animal breeding, which is very a much an intelligent human design activity.

The development of an acorn to an oak tree is sometimes portrayed as 'evolution', as is the transformation of animals in the children's game Pokémon. But both of these are development, and are goal-driven development at that: they don't happen by accident and indeed are highly predictable.

There is a third, elite, group in the evolution debate. They confuse evolution with human intelligent design, and plan to seize "evolution" from nature and make it a tool of man. These "visionaries", "thinkers", and "gurus" are transhumanists who wish to conquer human nature and put it under the control of technology. Already abortion is used to eliminate certain genetic diseases, including most notably the "disease" of being a female. According to this article:
"Two choices lie ahead. One is between directed human evolution and the natural kind, the other is whether to allow or promote speciation."
This is human intelligent design under the guise of evolution. "True evolution" of any kind takes millions of years according to scientists; what these folks are actually proposing is forced breeding. Promoting speciation? Whatever for? We live in an era when some propose that human rights be given to apes, Perhaps soon some humans will lose that status and instead be reduced to slavery. It's happened before.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Photos of Saint Monica Church, in Creve Coeur, Missouri

Here is Saint Monica Church in Creve Coeur, Missouri, located about 17 miles west of downtown Saint Louis.




This is one of five Catholic churches in the suburban town of Creve Coeur, with this parish being founded in 1872. While the church building is fairly recent, an old cemetery is behind it.

It is located on Olive Boulevard, formerly known as Olive Street Road (as an extension of Olive Street in downtown Saint Louis), and Central Plank Road, since it was covered in wood planks. It was originally an Indian trail that directly connected the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.




YOUR EARS WERE OPEN
TO THE CRY
OF HER HEART
O GOOD OMNIPOTENT

Confessions 3, 11, 19-20


This is a statue of Saint Monica (born in 333 at Tagaste, North Africa; died in 387 at Ostia, near Rome), mother of Saint Augustine of Hippo, Doctor and Father of the Church. She is shown here in the orans prayer position (which is one of the most ancient symbols of the Church), interceding for her wayward, lazy, and faithless son. Her prayers were answered. She is the patroness of mothers with disappointing children.




Creve Coeur is French for "broken heart", and the town shares its name with nearby Creve Coeur Lake, the largest natural lake in the state. Local legend states that the name comes from a lovelorn, broken-hearted Indian girl, stricken with grief over her unrequited love for a French furtrapper, who jumped to her death at Dripping Springs, a waterfall on a cliff next to Creve Coeur Lake. Alternatively, the name may come from Fort Crèvecoeur, about one hundred miles north of here on the Illinois River, the first European structure in what was once known as Lower Canada. According to Flemish priest Louis Hennepin, "Our Fort was also very near finish'd; and we nam'd it the Fort of Crevecoeur, because the desertion of our Men, and the other Difficulties we labour'd under, had almost broke our Hearts."


Address:

12136 Olive Boulevard
Creve Coeur, Missouri 63141

Thursday, June 22, 2006

11 Miles Wide

Here is a web page showing a scale model of a hydrogen atom. Now, hydrogen atoms are very small, and protons are much smaller, and electrons smaller yet. The proton fills the computer screen, while the electron is a single pixel in size, roughly 11 miles (!!!!!) to the right. Yep, that's how big the picture is, and your brand-new 82-inch widescreen HDTV is completely inadequate for displaying it. I wouldn't recommend printing that page.

Undeserved praise

But thanks to Wolftracker at Kansas City Catholic for his kind comments.

A New Religion

The Episcopal Church is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion, headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury; the Church of England is a part of the communion and is headed by Her Royal Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, who also appoints the Archbishop. The Anglican Church changed its name in the United States to "Episcopalian" after the American Revolution, and was at one time the largest denomination in the nation: now it is less than 1% of the population, and is dropping sharply.

The Anglican Church was founded by King Henry VIII, after unsuccessfully getting a decree of annulment of marriage from the Pope. Through threats and the use of force, the King removed his nation from the Catholic Church, even though he faced nearly universal opposition by his advisors, bishops, and the people..

The Anglican Communion has a loose creed, and there is wide divergence of practice. And one end are the Anglo-Catholics; who have a Catholic theology and a very English art style; many of these are actually becoming Catholic. The Catholic Church has a provision for married Anglican priests and also for retaining much of the Anglican liturgy. At the other end of the Anglican Communion is what must truthfully be called a new religion, which has redefined the word "Christian". The governing body of the Episcopal Church has been taken over by the progressives, and they are changing the organization in horrible ways.

See the article: HOD Upholds Discharge of Resolution D058 on the Uniqueness of Christ
By 578 to 242 the House of Deputies refuses to consider, resolution D058 entitled, "Salvation in Christ Alone"
(Found through Dawn Eden)

They call themselves Christian but they repudiate Christ.

One of the most famous Anglicans of the 20th-century was the philosopher C. S. Lewis, who defined "Mere Christianity" as what has been believed by nearly all Christians in all times and places. The leadership of the Episcopalians do not retain even the "mere" form of Christianity: instead they are reconstructed pagans, who sacrifice their infants in the fiery furnace of the altar of Moloch.

Recently a local Episcopal diocese ordained three new priests, all of them women, and one of whom was a practicing witch.

The other day the Episcopal Church elected Katharine Jefferts Schori as the primate, or leader of the U.S. church, the very first time a woman has been elected to that role. The ordaining of women as bishops is quite recent, and Schori has very little experience in church leadership or even pastoring. However, she is very practiced in following political correctness. She supports homosexual unions, abortion, euthanasia, the practice of pagan spiritualities, and supports the ordination of practicing homosexuals. She even refered to "mother Jesus". She was born and raised Catholic, being taken out of the Church by her parents at age eight.

She narrowly won via a split in the vote: she had six male opponents. Women are often crucial cogs in pushing political correctness: most men, myself included, will never strongly oppose a woman out of a sense of chivalry, and so can get away with far more than another male could.

As a result, the Episcopalians will be further split, and many souls could be lost because they won't leave the church where they grew up, but their minds will be poisoned. Why should the Catholic Church practice ecumenism with these people? Instead, evangelization and conversion is need now, and quickly.

Christ, indeed, welcomed many into his discipleship, including drunks, thieves, and prostitutes, and he did not welcome the self-righteous Pharisees. However, he said "Your sins are forgiven, go and sin no more". Apparently, the leadership of the Episcopal Church no longer believe in sin.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

"Recovered memory" now admissible in Missouri lawsuits

See the article: Ruling spurs repressed-memory debate. Due to a recent ruling by the Missouri Supreme Court, lawsuits alleging sexual abuse that are beyond the statutes of limitations, can be brought to trial if the plaintiff had "repressed memories".
David Clohessy was watching a movie when he says the first memory came back to him - a horrible image that he says remained deep in his subconscious for more than 20 years.

The memory was of sexual abuse at the hands of a priest. Clohessy was 12.

"If you had asked me before that movie if I had been abused, I would have said 'no,'" Clohessy said. "And I would have passed a lie detector test, too. That's how repressed those memories were."

In 1991, Clohessy filed a lawsuit against the priest. Because of the Missouri statute of limitations, the case was thrown out a few years later.

But last week, the Missouri Supreme Court broke with precedent and allowed a man to proceed with a lawsuit based on repressed memories.
We all have memories that we would like to forget. And sometimes, bad memories can be forgotten for a very long time. But we usually remember that we have bad memories and by force of will, keep those memories in the subconscious: if they flow in our minds, we can train ourselves to let them flow back out again, instead of obsessing about them. But this new theory of repressed memories says that due to trauma, we can forget completely that something bad happened, and it can only be recovered by therapy.

"Repressed memory therapy" was most famously used by therapists of purported UFO abductees and those who have claimed to live past lives. It was later applied to child sex-abuse cases. It was originally proposed by Sigmund Freud, founder of psychiatry, who later abandoned the theory in favor of the more orthodox Id, Ego, and Superego model of the psyche.

Amnesia does occur, but it is very rare, and usually involves brain trauma or disease. If not outright fraud, I would suspect that these "recovered memories" are actually false memories.

Most notoriously, "recovered memory therapy" derives from psychological warfare techniques pioneered by the Communists during the Korean War. After the war, large numbers of former prisoners of war had communist sympathies; it was later determined that this was due to various psychological therapies. Americans soon learned these lessons very well, and started applying them to our own citizens, with disastrous results.

A patient approaching therapy is often given a large list of general symptoms, such as headaches or sleeplessness, which anyone could have. The therapist will then declare that the patient is a victim of child sexual abuse. A patient is told that they are "in denial" if they do not think that this abuse actually happened. The patient is told to ignore feelings and actual memories, and will then explore the "abuse" with the therapist. After months or years of therapy, the patient will have a "recovered memory" of abuse. Objectively, it is certain to be a false memory.

Trial lawyers love recovered memory, since it increases greatly the pool of potential plaintiffs in lawsuits. Not surprisingly, trial lawyers and the psychological profession are close political allies, and both cooperated in the revolution in law and psychology back in the early 1970s. Follow the money:
...Patrick Noaker, a lawyer from Minnesota who has filed more than 2,000 clergy or school sex abuse cases nationwide...
is a big supporter of recovered memory therapy.

Nearly the only target for these new kind of lawsuits is the Catholic Church. Even though sex abuse rates are far higher in public schools, they typically have sovereign immunity or statutory limitations that makes lawsuits impossible or unprofitable. Protestant denominations and independent religions are just too small to make them a likely target: no deep pockets. Besides, Catholicism is just too weird for many Americans, so it is unlikely to get any sympathy.

The trial lawyers also have allies in the media and in the National Teachers Association. The media is guaranteed juicy stories while the NEA's competition is eliminated.

At one time, the American legal system was based on the concept of justice, which is the objective virtue of giving people their due. Not surprising, the American system of justice comes from England, and its system of justice came from Catholic moral theology. Under this old system of justice, a person had to be proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, of guilt before he could be punished. And the criminal act itself had to be a violation of the objective moral law. Also, the context of the act and the mental state of the defendant had to be taken into consideration. The punishment had to be proportional to the wrongdoing.

The legal revolution of the 1970s changed all of this. First, the crime no longer had to be a violation of the moral law; now the theory of "positive law" is used, which is just a form of amoral social control and power politics. Also, a person no longer has to be guilty of a crime to be charged: this is most evident in environmental, narcotics, EEOC, and RICO cases. Finally, the standards of evaluating a defendant's mental state and circumstances has changed violently. Punishment is now proportional to the financial means of the defendant. The law has moved from a Christian to a socialist model.

These cases are taking place under the civil, and not criminal law. In criminal cases you need a much greater burden of proof of wrongdoing compared with the civil law; also, you can get money in a civil case, whereas you can only send someone to prison in a criminal case. Trial lawyers can get rich off of civil cases.

Ironically, our civil (or equity) law system originally came from Roman Catholic ecclesiastical courts back in England. The Crown would only punish criminals, while the Church would attempt to address wrongs: for example, by making someone give back money they had stolen. The Church thought that the State was virtuous enough to handle these equity cases, and so mostly got out of the law business; obviously, it was wrong! The Church could be financially ruined by the institution that it started.

I have the greatest sympathy for actual victims of child abuse, and punishments should be severe and in the criminal justice system. Bishops and others who cooperate with this abuse should be prosecuted as accessories. Members of the media who have knowledge of this abuse should not be granted journalistic immunity. Only the confessional is inviolate; fortunately, in most of these cases, the abusers were well-known for their acts. It is completely injust to make parishioners pay for abuse that was perpetrated decades ago by clergy that are long dead. If someone has "recovered memories" of abuse, I feel very bad about what they think happened to them: however, they should try to objectively determine the truth.

And to the trial lawyers: if you want to destroy the Church, it will never happen and it shall be victorious. And, money can buy all that money can buy, but it can't buy happiness or true love. I would guess that most of these trial lawyers are agnostics or atheists, but they should consider the possibility that some day they may have to defend themselves in front of the Supreme Judge of Heaven.

Corpus Christi Procession at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis

The main Corpus Christi procession this year in Saint Louis was on Sunday, June 18th, 2006 at the Cathedral Basilica.


Saint Louis's Latin Rite Catholic cathedral, dating from 1917, with the exterior done in the Romanesque style.



The front door, decorated for the Feast.



The side of the cathedral, showing the semicircular drum of the west transept.



High-ranking Knights of Columbus, in ceremonial costume, wait in the narthex.

The mosaics here show the life of the Saint, King Louis IX of France, after whom the City of Saint Louis was named.



A view inside of the cathedral basilica. Unlike the exterior, the inside is in the Byzantine style and is covered with mosaics. In the background is All Souls Chapel, decorated in black granite, and is built above the tombs of several of the bishops of the Archdiocese.



A view of the sanctuary.



Archbishop Burke giving the homily.

The idea for a joyful Feast of Corpus Christi (Body of Christ in the Eucharist) was started by a nun, St. Juliana of Mont Cornillon, in Belgium. Her idea suitably impressed the Bishop of Liège, who ordered a Mass for that occasion. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote the Office for this feast, which was considered one of the most beautiful in the calendar.



The procession. I only went half a block because of pain from a twisted ankle. Faithful Catholics in centuries past would go travel on pilgrimage for many miles on their knees.



Here is a short video of the start of the procession. Warning: the "YouTube" video hosting site contains lots of junk.

Monday, June 19, 2006

"whatever falls away from goodness ceases to be"

Here is a selection from The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius, the greatest philosopher of late antiquity:
'See, also, from the opposite standpoint—the standpoint of the good—what a penalty attends upon the wicked. Thou didst learn a little since that whatever is is one, and that unity itself is good. Accordingly, by this way of reckoning, whatever falls away from goodness ceases to be; whence it comes to pass that the bad cease to be what they were, while only the outward aspect is still left to show they have been men. Wherefore, by their perversion to badness, they have lost their true human nature. Further, since righteousness alone can raise men above the level of humanity, it must needs be that unrighteousness degrades below man's level those whom it has cast out of man's estate. It results, then, that thou canst not consider him human whom thou seest transformed by vice. The violent despoiler of other men's goods, enflamed with covetousness, surely resembles a wolf. A bold and restless spirit, ever wrangling in law-courts, is like some yelping cur. The secret schemer, taking pleasure in fraud and stealth, is own brother to the fox. The passionate man, phrenzied with rage, we might believe to be animated with the soul of a lion. The coward and runaway, afraid where no fear is, may be likened to the timid deer. He who is sunk in ignorance and stupidity lives like a dull ass. He who is light and inconstant, never holding long to one thing, is for all the world like a bird. He who wallows in foul and unclean lusts is sunk in the pleasures of a filthy hog. So it comes to pass that he who by forsaking righteousness ceases to be a man cannot pass into a Godlike condition, but actually turns into a brute beast.'
We now live in an age where men are taught that they are mere animals, and that they ought to act like them.

Boethius, however, teaches us that virtue is the minimum requirement for being fully human.

Neo-Nazi Satanists Set Off Bombs in University City; News Media Yawns

See the article: U. City neighborhood calm after threats, crude bombs
Police are patrolling the streets and residents are remaining calm in a University City neighborhood of several Orthodox Jewish families that has been the target of threatening letters and homemade bombs.

Karen Aroesty, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, said four letters were left on cars the week of June 6 in the neighborhood just to the north of Delmar Boulevard between Old Bonhomme and North and South roads, which has four synagogues. The letters appeared to be photocopies and said, "We are the people your mother warned you about," and "We know your every move." They were signed, "The People," and had "666" at the bottom.

Though the neighborhood has several Jewish families, a Catholic family in the 8100 block of Balson Avenue received one of the letters. A resident of the home, who did not want her name used, said a swastika was also written at the bottom of the letter. Her husband found it the morning of June 8 on his windshield and notified police.
It's strange that these bombs were set off over a week ago, and this is the first mention. Also, it's strange that the article makes out these bombings as nothing special, and nothing to be worried about.

The charge of Anti-Semitism is rarely leveled against those who attack Orthodox Jews. Likewise, attacks against Catholics are also ignored, because "they deserve it". These are bombs folks! Shouldn't these be considered hate crimes? Or can you only commit a hate crime against a politically correct oppressed class?

University City is an inner-ring suburb of Saint Louis, Missouri, and is named after Washington University.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Reformation is Over

See the article: Christian Reformed Church to resolve historic judgment about Catholic mass
Grand Rapids, Jun. 16, 2006 (CNA) - While the U.S. Catholic Bishops are currently meeting to discuss slight changes to the mass, delegates of the Christian Reformed Church in West Michigan are discussing how to resolve a historic condemnation of the Catholic mass, which appears in their Heidelberg Catechism.

The Protestant catechism declares that the Catholic mass is “a condemnable idolatry” and, essentially, that it denies that Christ's crucifixion paid for humanity's sins once and for all....[but] advocates said the catechism got the Catholic mass wrong in the midst of the Reformation's theology war.
Oops! Just a misunderstanding! Sorry!

There was the same sort of misunderstanding about Luther's doctrine of justification, and the Orthdox understanding of the meaning of the filioque clause in the Nicene Creed.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Cute Kittens and Geopolitical Military Strategy

I must be getting mellow with age. I really enjoy the web site Cute Overload, which specializes in photos of cute animals.



But then again, I still like sites like this, this, and this.



But mix together cute cats and conflict and you get Kitten War! Kittens compete head-to-head for the title of cutest cat: you can vote and submit your own photos.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Flag Day

You Have Something to Complain About?

See the article: Many IT professionals feel traumatized by the daily grind. According to FARK.com, "In other news, 97% of Police, Firefighters, Soldiers, Doctors, Nurses, Coroners, Medical Examiners, and High-School teachers feel IT professionals are whiney pansies".

Coming Soon to the U.S.

See the article: Church of England Warns New Laws Will Force Church to Bless Gay Unions
LONDON, England, June 12, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Church of England has raised the alarm against new government proposals that will force churches, groups, and individuals to provide services to homosexuals, including blessing "marriages" or civil partnerships, or providing communion under pain of legal prosecution.

The 2006 Sexual Orientation (Provision of Goods and Services) Regulations, which are due for adoption October 2006, prohibit the discrimination of services based on sexual orientation, in the same manner in which discrimination based on race or sex is illegal.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Disclaimers

  • All photos and text on this website are the property of Mark Scott Abeln and may not be reproduced without written permission.

  • The author does not speak for the Roman Catholic Church, the Latin Rite, the USCCB, the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, Knights of Columbus, Cardinal Mahoney, or any parish, oratory, or chapel, religious order, or any ordained or consecrated person whatsoever. All the opinions stated are his alone.

  • The author has a general policy to be tough with ideas and soft with people, and does not intend to be offensive.

  • The opinions here are for entertainment purposes only and are not guaranteed for any fitness of use, either materially or spiritually.

  • All text or photos that are not owned by the author are clearly marked and are used under the "fair use" doctrine. Anything that might be a copyright violation is unintended and, with reasonable proof of violation, will be promptly corrected.

  • The opinions stated here are intended to be based on traditional Catholic Christianity, as far as the author is aware, but he is not a theologian. Use at your own risk.

  • The author does not claim to be a good Christian. You can call him a hypocrite and Pharisee if you like.

  • Although the author often writes about virtue ethics and morality, he does not claim to be in fact either virtuous or moral. He is most definitely a sinner.

  • Although the opinions stated here are well-reasoned and insightful, they are the opinions of the author alone, although you really should agree with him.

  • The opinions stated here may not be the actual opinion of anyone, including the author, since the author is taking pain pills for a sprained ankle, and he feels really, really good right now.

  • If a million monkeys type at a million keyboards for a million years, eventually they would produce Shakespeare's Hamlet. It is a theoretical possibility that the author, by sheer probability, could have typed an article identical to someone else's.

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Monday, June 12, 2006

Canada Rejects Nuremberg Code

See the article That was then, this is now, by Hilary White
The Nuremberg Code's requirement for voluntary consent from human research subjects has been highly influential in the development of national research ethics policies. However, strict adherence to the Nuremberg Code would curtail some types of socially important research and research involving children and adults not able to consent for themselves.

... Consequently, some research may proceed without the voluntary consent of the research subject.
THAT is why we call this ths "Culture of Death".

"School Vouchers Worth Considering in St. Louis"

See the article School Vouchers Worth Considering in St. Louis over at Urban Review.
"What we need is a discussion around how to best educate all of our kids, not just those that can afford to move to better districts in the suburbs. If that means setting up a system where the public school system must compete to attract students then so be it."

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Photos of Saint Ambrose Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri

Here are photos of Saint Ambrose Church in Saint Louis, Missouri. It is the parish church of the "Hill" neighborhood, a place that retains much of its Italian immigrant flavor, with many excellent restaurants and tiny, but well-kept homes.



The church was built in 1926 out of brick and terra cotta, and was inspired by San Ambrogio Church in Milan, Italy, and is in the Lombard-Romanesque style.




A number of churches in the area, dating from the early 20th century, are decorated with terra cotta, which is an unglaized pottery material.




Saint Ambrose of Milan, Italy, (ca. 340–397) is one of the Latin Fathers of the Church, and was instrumental in the conversion of Sant Augustine.




Italian immigrants started moving here in the 1890s. For a while, they attended the nearby Saint Aloyisius Gonzaga church (started in 1892, now destroyed) which was a German parish.

Il Pensiero, an Italian-language newspaper, is available at business throughout the neighborhood.




LOCVS ISTE SANCTVS EST
"This place is holy"








Fatima shrine.




This school.





Address:
130 Wilson Avenue
St Louis, Missouri 63110

Friday, June 09, 2006

Tiffany Chapel

The Lion and the Cardinal has photos of chapel designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany for the Chicago Exhibition of 1893. Tiffany also designed the side chapels at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Isaac Walton on Angling

The Compleat Angler by Isaac Walton (1593-1683) is a classic on the art of fishing. What I think makes it admirable is its breadth of knowledge, art, and poetry, but this was the norm in days past. The book is a dialogue, and is filled with language that is simultaneously lofty and homey, and its characters often sing or recite scripture, literature, and poetry. This is no dry book for specialists; in fact, there is much to reward a browser.

To the ancients, to all the great premodern cultures, and to nearly everyone who has ever lived besides ourselves, art is a personal virtue of making things well. All things made, if made well, are art.
O, Sir, doubt not but that Angling is an art; is it not an art to deceive a Trout with an artificial Fly ? a Trout ! that is more sharp-sighted than any Hawk you have named, and more watchful and timorous than your high-mettled Merlin is bold ? and yet, I doubt not to catch a brace or two to-morrow, for a friend's breakfast: doubt not therefore, Sir, but that angling is an art, and an worth your learning. The question is rather, whether you be capable of learning it? angling is somewhat like poetry, men are to be born so: I mean, with inclinations to it, though both may be heightened by discourse and practice: but he that hopes to be a good angler, must not only bring an inquiring, searching, observing wit, but he must bring a large measure of hope and patience, and a love and propensity to the art itself; but having once got and practiced it, then doubt not but angling will prove to be so pleasant, that it will prove to be, like virtue, a reward to itself.
Art, in the classical sense, is a virtue of a person; this virtue is developed with theoretical knowledge, and much practice. But a person must have natural inclinations to do an art well: just as we expect a man to be tall to be a good basketball player, a good angler must have hope and patience. Once a person acquires the virtue of an art, it is then a part of that person, whether or not they are actually doing the art. Finally, we know that a skill is a virtue when it gives pleasure to do it.

The Art of Angling comprises contemplation and action. The ancient distinction between the contemplative and active life is seen today in the charisms of our religious orders: members of contemplative orders pray and keep silent in the cloisters of a monastery; while members of active orders teach, preach, or care for the sick. Contemplation is truly ancient and almost forgotten; ever since the French Revolution, the life of contemplation has been the enemy of the industrialized socialist state.
And for that, I shall tell you, that in ancient times a debate hath risen, and it remains yet unresolved, whether the happiness of man in this world doth consist more in contemplation or action? Concerning which, some have endeavoured to maintain their opinion of the first; by saying, that the nearer we mortals come to God by way of imitation, the more happy we are. And they say, that God enjoys himself only, by a contemplation of his own infiniteness, eternity, power, and goodness, and the like. And upon this ground, many cloisteral men of great learning and devotion, prefer contemplation before action. And many of the fathers seem to approve this opinion, as may appear in their commentaries upon the words of our Saviour to Martha.

And on the contrary, there want not men of equal authority and credit, that prefer action to be the more excellent; as namely, experiments in physick, and the application of it, both for the ease and prolongation of man's life; by which each man is enabled to act and do good to others, either to serve his country, or do good to particular persons: and they say also, that action is doctrinal, and teaches both art and virtue, and is a maintainer of human society; and for these, and other like reasons, to be preferred before contemplation.

Concerning which two opinions I shall forbear to add a third, by declaring my own; and rest myself contented in telling you, my very worthy friend, that both these meet together, and do most properly belong to the most honest, ingenuous, quiet, and harmless art of angling.
Angling, to us moderns, is overwhelmingly contemplative. When do we ever spend waking moments in complete silence? Perhaps we should consider who today practices the art of angling: country people, certainly, especially if they are unsophisticated; also, professional men, who need time alone from the stresses of their career; and finally, parents who want to spend quiet time with their children. And who would sneer at even the concept of angling? Perhaps they would be the modern sophists, cynics, skeptics, drug addicts, hedonists, and those who have overwhelming pride and self-esteem.

Walton says that it is quite fitting that Christ's first Apostles were fishermen:
And that they be fit for the contemplation of the most prudent, and pious, and peaceable men, seems to be testified by the practice of so many devout and contemplative men, as the Patriarchs and Prophets of old; and of the Apostles of our Saviour in our latter times, of which twelve, we are sure, he chose four that were simple fishermen, whom he inspired, and sent to publish his blessed will to the Gentiles; and inspired them also with a power to speak all languages, and by their powerful eloquence to beget faith in the unbelieving Jews; and themselves to suffer for that Saviour, whom their forefathers and they had crucified; and, in their sufferings, to preach freedom from the incumbrances of the law, and a new way to everlasting life: this was the employment of these happy fishermen. Concerning which choice. some have made these observations:

First, that he never reproved these, for their employment or calling, as he did the Scribes and the Money-changers. And secondly, he found that the hearts of such men, by nature, were fitted for contemplation and quietness; men of mild, and sweet, and peaceable spirits, as indeed most Anglers are: these men our blessed Saviour, who is observed to love to plant grace in good natures, though indeed nothing be too hard for him, yet these men he chose to call from their irreprovable employment of fig, an, and gave them grace to be his disciples, and to follow him, and do wonders; I say four of twelve.

And it is observable, that it was our Saviour's will that these, our four fishermen, should have a priority of nomination in the catalogue of his twelve Apostles, as namely, first St. Peter, St. Andrew, St. James, and St. John; and, then, the rest in their order.

And it is yet more observable, that when our blessed Saviour went up into the mount, when he left the rest of his disciples, and chose only three to bear him company at his Transfiguration, that those three were all fishermen. And it is to be believed, that all the other Apostles, after they betook themselves to follow Christ, betook themselves to be fishermen too; for it is certain, that the greater number of them were found together, fishing, by Jesus after his resurrection, as it is recorded in the twenty-first chapter of St. John's gospel.
More scriptural support:
And if this hold in reason, as I see none to the contrary, then it may be probably concluded, that Moses, who I told you before writ the book of Job, and the Prophet Amos, who was a shepherd, were both Anglers; for you shall, in all the Old Testament, find fish-hooks, I think but twice mentioned, namely, by meek Moses the friend of God, and by the humble prophet Amos.

Concerning which last, namely the prophet Amos, I shall make but this observation, that he that shall read the humble, lowly, plain style of that prophet, and compare it with the high, glorious, eloquent style of the prophet Isaiah, though they be both equally true, may easily believe Amos to be, not only a shepherd, but a good-natured plain fisherman. Which I do the rather believe, by comparing the affectionate, loving, lowly, humble Epistles of St. Peter, St. James, and St. John, whom we know were all fishers, with the glorious language and high metaphors of St. Paul, who we may believe was not.

And for the lawfulness of fishing: it may very well be maintained by our Saviour's bidding St. Peter cast his hook into the water and catch a fish, for money to pay tribute to Caesar. And let me tell you, that Angling is of high esteem, and of much use in other nations. He that reads the Voyages of Ferdinand Mendez Pinto, shall find that there he declares to have found a king and several priests a-fishing. And he that reads Plutarch, shall find, that Angling was not contemptible in the days of Mark Antony and Cleopatra, and that they, in the midst of their wonderful glory, used Angling as a principal recreation. And let me tell you, that in the Scripture, Angling is always taken in the best sense; and that though hunting may be sometimes so taken, yet it is but seldom to be so understood....
Angling is much recommended to the priesthood:
....And let me add this more: he that views the ancient Ecclesiastical Canons, shall find hunting to be forbidden to Churchmen, as being a turbulent, toilsome, perplexing recreation; and shall find Angling allowed to clergymen, as being a harmless recreation, a recreation that invites them to contemplation and quietness.

....I say, this good man was a dear lover and constant practiser of Angling, as any age can produce: and his custom was to spend besides his fixed hours of prayer, those hours which, by command of the church, were enjoined the clergy, and voluntarily dedicated to devotion by many primitive Christians, I say, besides those hours, this good man was observed to spend a tenth part of his time in Angling; and, also, for I have conversed with those which have conversed with him, to bestow a tenth part of his revenue, and usually all his fish, amongst the poor that inhabited near to those rivers in which it was caught; saying often, "that charity gave life to religion ": and, at his return to his house, would praise God he had spent that day free from worldly trouble; both harmlessly, and in a recreation that became a churchman.
A large percentage of the book is poetry. These verses are from Jo. Davors, Esq.:
Let me live harmlessly, and near the brink
Of Trent or Avon have a dwelling-place
Where I may see my quill, or cork, down sink
With eager bite of Perch, or Bleak, or Dace;
And on the world and my Creator think:
Whilst some men strive ill-gotten goods t' embrace;
And others spend their time in base excess
Of wine. or worse. in war and wantonness

Let them that list, these pastimes still pursue,
And on such pleasing fancies feed their fill;
So I the fields and meadows green may view,
And daily by fresh rivers walk at will
Among the daisies and the violets blue,
Red hyacinth, and yellow daffodil,
Purple Narcissus like the morning rays,
Pale gander-grass, and azure culver-keys.

I count it higher pleasure to behold
The stately compass of the lofty sky;
And in the midst thereof, like burning gold,
The flaming chariot of the world's great eye:

The watery clouds that in the air up-roll'd
With sundry kinds of painted colours fly;
And fair Aurora, lifting up her head,
Still blushing, rise from old Tithonus' bed.

The hills and mountains raised from the plains,
The plains extended level with the ground
The grounds divided into sundry veins,
The veins inclos'd with rivers running round;
These rivers making way through nature's chains,
With headlong course, into the sea profound;
The raging sea, beneath the vallies low,
Where lakes, and rills, and rivulets do flow:

The lofty woods, the forests wide and long,
Adorned with leaves and branches fresh and green,
In whose cool bowers the birds with many a song,
Do welcome with their quire the summer's Queen;
The meadows fair, where Flora's gifts, among
Are intermix", with verdant grass between;
The silver-scaled fish that softly swim
Within the sweet brook's crystal, watery stream.

All these, and many more of his creation
That made the heavens, the Angler oft doth see;
Taking therein no little delectation,
To think how strange, how wonderful they be:
Framing thereof an inward contemplation
To set his heart from other fancies free;
And whilst he looks on these with joyful eye,
His mind is rapt above the starry sky.
The catholic imagination sees beauty and goodness as proving truth.

The book does have lots of information on fish, for example:
The Trout is a fish highly valued, both in this and foreign nations. He may be justly said, as the old poet said of wine, and we English say of venison, to be a generous fish: a fish that is so like the buck, that he also has his seasons; for it is observed, that he comes in and goes out of season with the stag and buck. Gesner says, his name is of a German offspring; and says he is a fish that feeds clean and purely, in the swiftest streams, and on the hardest gravel; and that he may justly contend with all fresh water fish, as the Mullet may with all sea fish, for precedency and daintiness of taste; and that being in right season, the most dainty palates have allowed precedency to him.
The book is full of scientific information, of widely-varying quality including direct observation by the author to myth and wild hearsay, and from authorities ancient and modern. It also offers excellent practical advice on angling and the spiritual life as well as what lies between. We shouldn't be surprised by this, because ancient life was not so compartmentalized: everything in this book is centered around virtue.
I will not forget the doctrine which you told me Socrates taught his scholars, that they should not think to be honoured so much for being philosophers, as to honour philosophy by their virtuous lives. You advised me to the like concerning Angling, and I will endeavour to do so; and to live like those many worthy men, of which you made mention in the former part of your discourse. This is my firm resolution. And as a pious man advised his friend, that, to beget mortification, he should frequent churches, and view monuments, and charnel-houses, and then and there consider how many dead bodies time had piled up at the gates of death, so when I would beget content, and increase confidence in the power, and wisdom, and providence of Almighty God, I will walk the meadows, by some gliding stream, and there contemplate the lilies that take no care, and those very many other various little living creatures that are not only created, but fed, man knows not how, by the goodness of the God of Nature, and therefore trust in him. This is my purpose; and so, let everything that hath breath praise the Lord: and let the blessing of St. Peter's Master be with mine.

Sunset at Creve Coeur Lake, in Saint Louis County, Missouri



A fisherman at Creve Coeur Lake.

Summer Camp for Boys by the Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem

See the article Summer Camp for Boys by the Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem at AMDG.

The Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem is a relatively new religious order that celebrates the traditional Latin Mass with a semi-monastic life. They are also known for hosting symposia and for teaching the Faith via the classic philosophy of Thomas Aquinas. They have started a school for young men who are discerning a vocation to the priesthood, in a traditional, rigorous manner.

I haven't visited the Canons Regular for a while, but I understand that they have a new chapel at their priory where they hold daily Mass; Sundays they are at the Passionist Monastery nearby: see the website for details.

The Canons Regular are located in a somewhat isolated area, and so their existence isn't very well known yet.


Address of Priory. Click for a Google map. However, it does not show the correct address; instead take the winding drive just north of the round school building shown in the aerial photo.
1635 Kehrs Mill Road
Chesterfield, MO 63005


Passionist Monastery for Sunday Mass:
15700 Clayton Road
Ellisville, MO 63011

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Destruction of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga Church in Saint Louis, Missouri

In July of 2005 the Southside Deanery of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis closed and reorganized many parishes. One of the parishes closed was Saint Aloysius Gonzaga Church, in the ethnic Italian 'Hill' neighborhood. Ultimately, the church was not be reused, although many fought strongly to keep this historic church intact. The parish dated from 1892.

The church is now almost completely destroyed. If you have tender feelings for this old parish church, you may not want to see these photos.





This was a familiar view of the church, sited at the end of Magnolia Avenue. Click for map.




Only the façade and tower remain, with the narthex inside.




A small neighborhood will replace the church. The original plans were criticized for being too nondescript.




A view from a window in the narthex.

ST. ALOYSIUS
PRAY FOR US




PEACE TO ALL WHO ENTER HERE

Peace no more.




This is all that is left of the church.















Saturday, June 03, 2006

"Stigmatized for Decades, French Has Renaissance"

See this article from the New York Times: Stigmatized for Decades, French Has Renaissance
People of French descent poured into Maine and other New England states from Canada beginning in the 1870's and became the backbone of textile mills and shoe factories. But a backlash developed, stereotyping them as rednecks, dolts or inadequate patriots. In 1919, Maine passed a law requiring schools to teach in English.

French-Americans had a saying: "Qui perd sa langue, perd sa foi" ("Who loses his language, loses his faith"). But many assimilated or limited their children's exposure to French to avoid discrimination or because of a now-outmoded belief that erasing French would make learning English easier.

"There was just a stigma that maybe you weren't as bright as anybody else, that you didn't speak English as well," said Linda Wagner, 53, of Lewiston, who takes classes to reclaim language lost as a child.
During the Enlightenment, it was noticed that states where everyone had the same nationality (including language and culture) were more stable and better organized than polyglot countries. As is usual with academic theories, description soon passes to prescription. Starting with the Reformation, and growing quickly after the French Revolution, this new kind of nationalism attempted to eliminate all regional variations and sub-groups within countries, particularly by universal single-language education.

This is the situation that developed in the United States, as well as in most civilized countries. Particularly in the U.S., foreign language studies greatly declined, and were sometimes banned, due to this kind of nationalism.

Language education in the U.S. typically starts in high school, after children lose their innate ability to learn languages without accent. Also, students, if they study languages at all, tend to study only one modern language in depth.

By contrast, the classical grammar school model of education would teach young children the basics of many languages, including both ancient and modern languages. Under this older model, it was typical for students to learn English, Latin, ancient Greek, French, and perhaps others, all before they enter high school. However, if we were going to get back to this style of education, it would leave less time for values clarification and critical thinking skills!

What we see here in Maine, and what was experienced in Quebec, Scotland, and Wales in the 1970s, is a new type of nationalism, one based on Marxist 'oppressed class' conflict:
"It's almost like I found religion," said Mr. Marquis, 68, suddenly choking with emotion. "My religion, No. 1, was French. I have a personal movement in my heart for it."
This is very clear: this new kind of nationalism is for political purposes. We see the same thing along the southern U.S. border, with the oppressed illegal immigrant class seeking 'reconquest' of the southwest. This kind of nationalism was encouraged in Quebec with the "Quiet Revolution": the French were given much freedom, government money, and a strict language code all in exchange for losing their Catholic Faith. Typically associated with this new kind of nationalism is a divide-and-conquer quest for autonomy.

This new 'left' nationalism only accepts school instruction in its native language. The old 'right' nationalism imposes school instruction only in the official state language.

Both, of course, are wrong.

Instead, multiple language should be taught in depth, starting at an early age. This is far better than contemporary 'multicultural' education, because children will be able to actually converse with those of other cultures instead of just feeling "nice" about them. Of course all American students should learn English fluently: but they should also be able to speak and read several other languages also. Neither type of nationalist likes this, however. It's far better, they think, keeping the kids stupid.

[Alas, I am one of the stupid, having rejected every attempt to teach me anything other than English.]

Patriotism should be taught, and not just nationalism.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Photos of Soldiers Memorial in Saint Louis, Missouri



This is the Soldiers Memorial in downtown Saint Louis, Missouri. This is a monument to those who died during the Great War; it contains a military museum, which has artifacts from all of the wars, including Iraq. It was dedicated by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1936 and opened to the public on Memorial Day, 1938.

The inscription over the entrance reads "TO OUR SOLDIER DEAD".

This building is in the Art Deco style; with flattened and stripped-down Classical elements, as well as some streamlining. The building exterior and sculpture are primarily limestone with granite foundations and stairs.

It was designed by the firm of Mauran, Russell & Crowell, who also designed numerous other distinctive buildings in downtown Saint Louis, including the Federal Reserve Bank, AT&T building, and also the U.S. Court House and Custom House, which also has the 'flattened classical' Art Deco style like the Memorial. Members of this firm were educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and l'École des Beaux Arts in Paris. See article on architect John Lawrence Mauran.

Some sculpture here was done by Hillis Arnold (1906-1988), who also made a statue of Mary at nearby Fontbonne University, the tabernacle at Saint Anselm Parish, and a sculpture at the pre-Vatican II Modernist church Resurrection of Our Lord (reformed in 2005 as the Vietnamese language parish) in Saint Louis. Having lost his hearing as an infant, his mother encouraged his artistic ability; he taught sculpture and ceramics for thirty-four years at Monticello College in Illinois. He is primarily known as a religious sculptor, and advocated Symbolism, an artistic movement involving spirituality, imagination, psychology, and dreams, and Expressionism, where an artist expresses emotion in his work, especially anxiety.

Arnold also sculpted the World War II memorial located in front of this building.

A monument across the street from the memorial commemorates the place where the American Legion was founded in 1919.




These super-heroic figures flanking the entrances were done by Walker Hancock (1901-1998). Here is a Greek warrior with the winged horse Pegasus. During an interview in 1977 the artist said:
Well, I can tell you, at some length, if you don't mind, about one of my early experiences, my largest early experience, which was the St. Louis Soldiers' Memorial. The architect came to me with a design for a building, done in the style of the day, which was a kind of Art Deco, but a very ponderous architectural mass. Very good, I think for its kind. And they said, "Now we want winged horses on both sides of these entrances. What do winged horses mean?" And I said, "Well, the only winged horse that I know of was Pegasus, and that meant poetic inspiration." And they said, "Well, it can't mean that on this building. What can we make a winged horse mean?" And I thought, "Well, if you put figures beside the winged horses you might suggest that they have a certain meaning." So, that idea was agreed upon, and I made the models and they were approved by the architect, the sketch models, then the scale model, and we had finished three, there were to have been four altogether, a male and a female figure on each side of the building. I had reached the last one, which in my sketch was female figure shown bearing a floral offering of some kind, a wreath. And, they said don't bother submitting the scale model, we're in a hurry, just go ahead, it will be approved, everything is all right, and we'll get it out as fast as we can. So I did this figure of the woman, in which I changed what had been in the sketch to a figure of a child. This I had in my studio in New York, at the time I was living in my studio on 20th Street.
Hancock received a classical education, and studied at Washington University, and at Paris and Rome. He did a considerable amount of Christian religious sculpture and worked with the noted Anglo-Catholic architect Ralph Adams Cram.



A very muscular woman. This and the previous statue are on the south side of the memorial, symbolizing courage and vision. The statues on the north side symbolize loyalty and sacrifice. These aren't quite classical virtues, and they certainly aren't modern virtues.

These figures look almost like comic-book superheros. This may not be a coincidence: the Golden Age of comic books started in the 1930s, and the various arts and styles were highly entwined. This memorial was dedicated in 1936. Superman appeared in 1938, and Batman in 1939.

Real humans never looked like this, at least until the development of the scientific practice of body sculpting and the use of steroids.




This style of architecture was completely rejected soon after the Second World War in favor of Modernism, for it was associated especially with the architectural works of Albert Speer, who designed numerous buildings and monuments for Nazi Germany.

These superhero sculptures are similar to those done in German between the wars, especially those done for the Berlin Olympics of 1936; and it must be admitted that these sculptures do have uncomfortable connotations, such as paganism and the cult of the body.

However, this style was popular throughout the civilized world: Germany, the United States, Britain, China, and Argentina among others all had this stripped-down Classical style. After the Second World War, Marxist theorists successfully proposed the acceptance of Modernism instead of Classicism, but this Classical style was also popular in the Marxist Soviet Union. Perhaps this could be called the architecture of the rise of "big government".

Most famously, the German Bauhaus style was proposed as the alternative to the Classical tradition: as the theory goes, the Nazis hated the Bauhaus, which supposedly makes it good. Even though the Nazis shut down the Bauhaus, due to its Marxism, its style was wildly successful in that country between the wars, specifically in industrial design, which after all was the primary focus of that school. The German war machine was Bauhaus, even if its government buildings were not.

Ultimately, Modernism proposed the erasing of history. This is why history is no longer taught in the public schools, and why Modern buildings are devoid of any symbolic or historical detail. While it is true that conflicts due to ancient ethnic hatred makes us want to sometimes forget the past, this was a strongly misguided effort. Modernism is associated with the idea of inevitable progress, and so was embraced by both the capitalists and socialists: they think that things are always getting better, and that the past was bad and is best forgotten. However, as any dedicated student of history soon finds out, the same mistakes have been made over and again, and that any notion of 'progress' had better be concrete. Hence we have the concept of a living tradition: we learn from the past and carefully try to improve on it.

The American military officer training schools are well known for their emphasis on science and mathematics, but they also have strong emphasis on history, the humanities, and especially the classics. The American military is an institution that has a great deal of respect for the past.




The memorial, as well as many surrounding government buildings, monuments, fountains, and plazas, was funded by a 87 million dollar bond issue approved in 1923; $6 million was set aside for this memorial.

In 1923 the Great War was seen as a horrible disaster, never to be repeated, and was the "war to end all war". This era had pacifist patriotic songs, and those who profited from the war were called "merchants of death". A great memorial to the American soldiers who helped bring this awful war to a quick end was certainly appropriate. There was a great hope for peace, progress, and prosperity in the coming years.

The $6 million was quickly spent buying up the property for the Memorial, and it took ten years to obtain additional funding and start construction.




When the memorial opened in 1938, things had gone horribly wrong, and everyone knew that the peace was soon to end. Opinion was divided over the relative merits of Fascism and Communism, (and what were the alternatives?) but a war would certainly settle the matter.

With the development of air power, it was assumed that any future war would be very quick and decisive. Little did they know that the new war would not be quick, and that the losses were far greater than what was suffered in the First World War. Also in this new war the notion of chivalry was gone, along with the old monarchies who supported it; with the new populist governments in control of Europe, civilian populations were then directly targeted.




A cenotaph, or empty tomb, made of somber black polished granite, memorializing the 1075 Saint Louisians who lost their life in the Great War. The names are inscribed on the sides.

This is in the loggia, or open-sided center, of the Memorial. Like the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., this building is based on a Greek temple, entered from the side instead of the end. Ancient Greece was admired because of its democracy; but the lessons of Greek history and its failed democracy were forgotten. Personal greed and lack of virtue ended the independent state of Athens, and by war it became incorporated into a vast empire.

The building is in the form of a Greek temple, and in those Greek temples sacrifices were offered to the gods. The symbolic value of this is quite strong, although it can approach State idolatry: during the Civil War, women were said to "place their husbands and sons on the altar of the Nation", that is, offering them in blood sacrifice. Indeed, the cenotaph is inscribed "THOSE WHO MADE THE SUPREME SACRIFICE".

Sacrifice is not the exception, but the rule, with the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross being its most perfect form. Nowadays we don't like the idea of self-sacrifice; instead we force it on the weak or helpless.




The ceiling of the loggia. The gold mosaic star is dedicated to the mothers of the soldiers.

The red of the ceiling is far stronger that is shown in this photo: for whatever reason, my camera now has difficulty photographing red.




Louis IX, King of France, namesake and principal patron of the city.




The east and west wings of the building contain a military museum, filled with weapons, uniforms, and various artifacts, including captured spoils of war. The city fortunately has done some recent maintenance and updating of the exhibits. The museum has free admission. There are also some public offices in this building.







The literature calls this a 'pylon' but that isn't right. These urns are at the four corners of the building, and their bases are inscribed with the names of battles fought by Saint Louisians.




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1315 Chestnut Street
St Louis, MO 63103