Tuesday, July 31, 2007

cat drinking from toilet
Some of my cats, I was told today, are Maine Coon Cats. They are very big, friendly, and amusing cats.

Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem to Leave Saint Louis

The Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem, a religious order living under the Rule of Saint Augustine, apparently will be leaving the Archdiocese of Saint Louis because of the pending loss of their priory due to real estate development. For the time being, Dom Daniel will be teaching with the Norbertines in Silverado, California (in the Los Angeles area), while the fraters will be starting theological studies at the Angelicum in Rome. A new postulant to the CRNJ will also be living with the Norbertine Fathers.

The Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem are not disbanding, but rather are very poor and in need of funding.

For full details, go to AMDG and click the images.


Update: Good News-- Traditional Mass in West County Will Continue Despite Canons' Departure

Feast of Saint Ignatius of Loyola

Saint Ignatius of Loyola Roman Catholic Church, in Concord Hill, Missouri, USA - statue of Saint Ignatius of Loyola

Statue of Saint Ignatius of Loyola.

Today is the feast day of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus.

Life of Saint Ignatius.

The Jesuits were the premier religious order of the Counter-Reformation and were noted for their missionary adventures and their many schools and universities. However, the order has fallen on hard times since the Second Vatican Council.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Photos of Holy Family Church, in Port Hudson, Missouri

HERE ARE PHOTOS of Holy Family Church, in Port Hudson, Missouri. This rural parish is in Franklin County and is about 71 highway miles west of downtown Saint Louis. It is one of the westernmost parishes in the Archdiocese.

Holy Family Roman Catholic Church, in Port Hudson, Missouri, USA - exterior

According to brochures distributed in the church:
In 1871 the church building began and by 1872 the construction was completed. The bricks were made from the clay from what now is the cemetery at Holy Family, and the work was done by the parishioners.

From 1871 to 1908 the Mass was celebrated at Port Hudson once a month on a Monday by a Jesuit missionary priest from Washington. Mass was in German.

In 1918 the present choir loft and sacristy were constructed. In 1932 the steeple was built to replace a bell tower that stood in front of the church.

The school was built in 1936.

The wood altar which had a larger table to the front of it was installed in 1953. Because of changes in the liturgy the altar was remodeled in 1965.

Our church is presently decorated with the liturgical symbol of the anchor. This ancient Christian symbol proclaims (Hebrews 6:19) that Jesus is our anchor in every generation, keeping us steady with God in an unstable world.
Holy Family Roman Catholic Church, in Port Hudson, Missouri, USA - golden cross on tower

Atop the tower is a nice golden botonée (or budded) cross with solar monstrance-like symbol superimposed.

I was unable to determine the origin of the community's name; Port Hudson is a very unlikely Missouri place name, and it is not actually a port, nor could it be. Perhaps it was named after the Siege of Port Hudson, a major battle in the Civil War.

Holy Family Roman Catholic Church, in Port Hudson, Missouri, USA - nave

This church is very small, with 18 pews. According to the 2007 parish census, this church has approximately 311 Catholics.

Holy Family Roman Catholic Church, in Port Hudson, Missouri, USA - sanctuary

Holy Family Roman Catholic Church, in Port Hudson, Missouri, USA - crucifix and tabernacle

Holy Family Roman Catholic Church, in Port Hudson, Missouri, USA - tabernacle

The holiest place in the cosmos.

Holy Family Roman Catholic Church, in Port Hudson, Missouri, USA - statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary

A wonderful little statue of Mary, shown here crushing the serpent's head.

Holy Family Roman Catholic Church, in Port Hudson, Missouri, USA - Station of the Cross

Station of the Cross, carved out of wood.

Holy Family Roman Catholic Church, in Port Hudson, Missouri, USA - anchor-cross symbol

The anchor-cross symbol, "as an anchor of the soul, sure and firm".

Holy Family Roman Catholic Church, in Port Hudson, Missouri, USA - school

The school.

Rejoice In The Awesome
Wonder of the Lord
In Loving Memory of
Rita Rappé

Mass times:
Monday and Wednesday: 8:00 a.m.
Saturday (Vigil): 7:00 p.m.
Sunday: 10:00 a.m.

Confession:
Prior to Saturday evening Vigil Mass.

Address:
124 Holy Family Church Road
New Haven, Missouri 63068

Saturday, July 28, 2007

A Night Battle

The chaos in the Church since the Second Vatican Council may be likened to a night battle, where navies clash while being unable to distinguish friend from foe, and the good is battered with the same ferocity as the heretic.

From De Spiritu Sancto, by Saint Basil the Great (ca. 329 - 379):
To what then shall I liken our present condition? It may be compared, I think, to some naval battle which has arisen out of time old quarrels, and is fought by men who cherish a deadly hate against one another, of long experience in naval warfare, and eager for the fight. Look, I beg you, at the picture thus raised before your eyes. See the rival fleets rushing in dread array to the attack. With a burst of uncontrollable fury they engage and fight it out. Fancy, if you like, the ships driven to and fro by a raging tempest, while thick darkness falls from the clouds and blackens all the scenes so that watchwords are indistinguishable in the confusion, and all distinction between friend and foe is lost. To fill up the details of the imaginary picture, suppose the sea swollen with billows and whirled up from the deep, while a vehement torrent of rain pours down from the clouds and the terrible waves rise high. From every quarter of heaven the winds beat upon one point, where both the fleets are dashed one against the other. Of the combatants some are turning traitors; some are deserting in the very thick of the fight; some have at one and the same moment to urge on their boats, all beaten by the gale, and to advance against their assailants. Jealousy of authority and the lust of individual mastery splits the sailors into parties which deal mutual death to one another. Think, besides all this, of the confused and unmeaning roar sounding over all the sea, from howling winds, from crashing vessels, from boiling surf, from the yells of the combatants as they express their varying emotions in every kind of noise, so that not a word from admiral or pilot can be heard. The disorder and confusion is tremendous, for the extremity of misfortune, when life is despaired of, gives men license for every kind of wickedness. Suppose, too, that the men are all smitten with the incurable plague of mad love of glory, so that they do not cease from their struggle each to get the better of the other, while their ship is actually settling down into the deep.
Saint Basil then tells us that the fight against the Arian heretics of his time led to extreme divisions among the orthodox, leading to this night battle, where friend and foe cannot recognize each other.

We have a similar crisis since the last Council. Pope Benedict refers to Saint Basil's 'night battle' in a recent question-and-answer session. Here he describes the modern night battle after Vatican II:
One side was of the opinion that this cultural revolution was what the Council had wanted. It identified this new Marxist cultural revolution with the will of the Council. It said: This is the Council; in the letter the texts are still a bit antiquated, but behind the written words is this “spirit,” this is the will of the Council, this is what we must do. And on the other side, naturally, was the reaction: you are destroying the Church. The – let us say – absolute reaction against the Council, anticonciliarity, and – let us say – the timid, humble search to realize the true spirit of the Council. And as a proverb says: “If a tree falls it makes a lot of noise, but if a forest grows no one hears a thing,” during these great noises of mistaken progressivism and absolute anticonciliarism, there grew very quietly, with much suffering and with many losses in its construction, a new cultural passageway, the way of the Church.
In the chaos of this period, which led to schism, nihilism, and factionalism, there was another way, but it was a quiet, humble way.
Thus it seems to me that we must learn the great humility of the Crucified One, of a Church that is always humble and always opposed by the great economic powers, military powers, etc. But we must also learn, together with this humility, the true triumphalism of the Catholicism that grows in all ages.

...we can go forward joyously and full of hope.

Photos of Immaculate Conception Church, in Augusta, Missouri

HERE ARE PHOTOS of Immaculate Conception Church, in Augusta, Missouri. The church is about 48 highway miles west of downtown Saint Louis, and is located in the southwestern corner of Saint Charles County, off of the scenic Missouri Route 94.

Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, in Augusta, Missouri, USA - exterior front

The church and its outbuildings sit up on a ridge northwest of the main town of Augusta. The parish dates from 1851, while the town of Augusta dates from 1836 and was then known as Mount Pleasant. Founded by a follower of the frontiersman Daniel Boone, the town was originally a steamboat landing, but a change in the course of the Missouri River in the 1870s left Augusta landlocked. Augusta is located on top of the bluffs overlooking the Missouri River valley, and the views there are spectacular.

About half of the inhabitants of Augusta claim German ancestry, and this was originally a German language parish.

Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, in Augusta, Missouri, USA - nave

This is one of the physically smallest churches in the Archdiocese; according to the latest census, this parish has approximately 400 Catholics.

Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, in Augusta, Missouri, USA - sanctuary

Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, in Augusta, Missouri, USA - crucifix and painting of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Above the crucifix is a painting of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, in Augusta, Missouri, USA - tabernacle

The tabernacle.

Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, in Augusta, Missouri, USA - Station of the Cross

Station of the Cross.

Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, in Augusta, Missouri, USA -  Stained glass window of Saint Isidore, Farmer

Stained glass window of Saint Isidore, Farmer.

Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, in Augusta, Missouri, USA - stained glass window of Saint Agnes; statue of Sacred Heart of Jesus; confessional

Stained glass window of Saint Agnes, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and the confessional.

Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, in Augusta, Missouri, USA - statues of Saints

Some of the "great cloud of witnesses" are next to the Cross; these statues are on the choir loft.

Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, in Augusta, Missouri, USA - stained glass window of Holy Ghost as dove

Stained glass window above the front door shows the Holy Ghost, in the symbol of a dove.

Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, in Augusta, Missouri, USA - exterior side

Augusta is one of the premier wine grape growing regions in Missouri, and native grape varieties found in this area make excellent wine. Wine making was brought to Missouri by Catholic missionaries, and was widely practiced by European immigrants from various nations, and serious commercial grape growing in Augusta started in the 1840s. The wineries in this town are well worth visiting. The quality of Augusta wines has increased dramatically, and local vintages have been declared "best of the U.S." at competitions in Germany.

Mass times:
Monday - Friday: 8:00 a.m.
Saturday (vigil): 5:00 p.m.
Sunday: 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m

Address:
5912 South Highway 94
Augusta, Missouri 63332

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Sunflowers, near Pacific, Missouri
A field of sunflowers, off of old U.S. Route 66, near Pacific, Missouri.
(Click photo for larger version.)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Photos of Assumption Church, in New Haven, Missouri

HERE ARE PHOTOS of Assumption Church, in New Haven, Missouri. The church is in northern Franklin County on the Missouri River and is about 63 highway miles west of downtown Saint Louis.

Assumption Roman Catholic Church, in New Haven, Missouri, USA - exterior side

According to the 2007 census, this parish has about 1,059 Catholics.

Assumption Roman Catholic Church, in New Haven, Missouri, USA - side door detail

Side door into the church.

Assumption Roman Catholic Church, in New Haven, Missouri, USA - mosaic of Blessed Virgin Mary

ASSVMPTION BLESSED VIRGIN

Mosaic over the front door.

Assumption Roman Catholic Church, in New Haven, Missouri, USA - exterior back

This church is made of an unusual brownish limestone, which is not commonly used in the area; but I did see an outcropping of this stone nearby.

According to a local history:
New Haven was founded in 1836 as a riverboat stop on the Missouri River called "Miller's Landing." Founder Phillip Miller operated a wood yard on the river to fuel the steamboat trade. The arrival of the "Iron Horse," the Union Pacific railroad, in the 1850s, brought more commerce and activity to the area. In 1856, town fathers changed the name from Miller's Landing to "New Haven," reflecting the growth of the town from its origins as a steamboat stop.

German immigrants helped settle the area through the 19th century, many of them coming from the Borgholzhausen, Germany area. Today, New Haven maintains an active Sister-City partnership with Borgholzhausen.

New Haven continued to grow through the 20th century. The town is home to several beautiful churches built in the 1800s and early 1900s, and much of the original downtown district, dating from the late 1800s, remains. Both the downtown area, as well as a residential neighborhood near downtown are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The town is named after New Haven, Connecticut.

Address:

603 Miller Street
New Haven, Missouri 63068


(Note: the Google map linked here is incorrect. The actual church location is two blocks north on Miller Street at the corner of Maiden Lane.)

"Age-appropriate, science-based sex education"

A U.S. PRESIDENTIAL candidate stated, at a Planned Parenthood forum, that sex education is appropriate even in kindergarten:
"But it's the right thing to do, to provide age-appropriate sex education, science-based sex education in schools," Obama said at last week's forum.
A rival candidate is attempting to appeal to conservative voters by stating his opposition to this. However:
Romney's assertions got enough traction that Obama was asked about it in the Democratic debate Monday night. Obama responded by saying Romney himself had held the same position on sex education in 2002. As a candidate for governor that year, Romney had checked a box on a Planned Parenthood questionnaire saying he supported age-appropriate sex education about both abstinence and contraception in public schools.
(Considering all of the front-runner presidential candidates, I would say that no matter who wins, we lose.)

What is "age-appropriate" sex education, and who decides? Clearly, the term is used in a context of educational theory, and not in our commonsensical notions of what is good for little kids. Age-appropriateness for kindergarteners merely means that the educational goals — whatever they are — are pursued in a manner that is most effective with children of that age. So what are the educational goals?

Most philosophies state that happiness is the Greatest Good of Man, and modern philosophy states that pleasure and contentment best define happiness. Sex is pleasurable, therefore, we teach sex-ed to make children happy, while drugs and popular entertainment will make children contented. This is opposed by the traditional definition of happiness as blessedness. Remember what Christ tells us about blessedness.

Also, what does "science-based" mean? The Catholic view of science is that it is "the virtue of the conformance of the intellect to reality", but that is not the modern view of science, which rather claims that knowledge can only be gained through observation and experimentation. And so, what exactly will our kindergarteners observe, and what kind of experiments will they perform? This fits in well with our current philosophy of Educational Progressivism, which emphasizes "learning by doing". According to Wikipedia, "a progressivist teacher desires to provide not just reading and drill, but also real-world experiences and activities that center on the real life of the students." Uh oh. Imagine the possibilities. Especially when children are prohibited from telling their parents about what is taught.

Contemporary sex-ed teaches "safe touch". What is taught is basically this:
If someone touches you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable,
then that person's act is inappropriate.
This seems good, right? Why should anyone object to this?

But if that is true, then this logical conditional is also true:
If someone touches you in a way that does not make you feel uncomfortable,
then that person's act is not inappropriate.
Bingo. Couple this popular teaching with the current push to reduce or eliminate the age of consent, then we end up with a pædophile's paradise. Traditional moral teaching does not put the judgment of goodness solely on the shoulders of potential child victims, nor does it base morality on feelings.

It should be noted that much of so-called Children's Rights legislation is written in a way that seems good on the surface, but is noxious when taken to its logical conclusion, as we see above.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Photos of Saint Ignatius of Loyola Church, in Concord Hill, Missouri

HERE ARE PHOTOS of Saint Ignatius of Loyola Church, in Concord Hill, Missouri. The church is in Warren County, and is about 63 highway miles west of downtown Saint Louis.

The hamlet of Concord Hill is unincorporated, and it gets its mail out of Marthasville. This is a rural region of the state, and is the westernmost county in the Archdiocese of Saint Louis.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola Roman Catholic Church, in Concord Hill, Missouri, USA - exterior

This church was founded by Jesuit missionaries and is named after the founder of their order. This church was built in 1930, but Jesuit mission activity here dates from at least 1838; a mission church was built on this land in 1840; it became a diocesan parish in 1857.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola Roman Catholic Church, in Concord Hill, Missouri, USA - banner

Celebrating 150 years
Saint Ignatius
1857-2007
For the Greater Glory of God

September 2, 2007
Sesquicentennial Celebration Mass
Parish Center Dedication and Dinner

Saint Ignatius of Loyola Roman Catholic Church, in Concord Hill, Missouri, USA - cornerstone

AMDG✝
1930

MOST. REV. J.J. GLENNON D.D. ARCHBISHOP
REV. A.H. PVETTER PASTOR

AMDG = Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, Latin for "To the Greater Glory of God", a motto of Saint Ignatius.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola Roman Catholic Church, in Concord Hill, Missouri, USA - nave

According to a pamphlet in the church:
A tract of land was purchased by Rev. Peter J Verhagen, Provincial of the Jesuits, from the St. Louis Land Office On October 1, 1840. He deeded this land to Archbishop Peter Kenrick on July 18, 1857. The original lot of 40 acres thus became the property of the St. Louis Diocese.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola Roman Catholic Church, in Concord Hill, Missouri, USA - sanctuary

Saint Ignatius of Loyola Roman Catholic Church, in Concord Hill, Missouri, USA - Christ the King

Above the sanctuary is Christ the King, an image from the Apocalypse.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola Roman Catholic Church, in Concord Hill, Missouri, USA - tabernacle

The tabernacle.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola Roman Catholic Church, in Concord Hill, Missouri, USA - apse

The ceiling of the apse has nice decoration; click on the photo to see more detail.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola Roman Catholic Church, in Concord Hill, Missouri, USA - statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary Saint Ignatius of Loyola Roman Catholic Church, in Concord Hill, Missouri, USA - statue of Saint Joseph

Flanking the altar are statues of Mary and Joseph.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola Roman Catholic Church, in Concord Hill, Missouri, USA - stained glass window Saint Ignatius of Loyola Roman Catholic Church, in Concord Hill, Missouri, USA - stained glass window

As might be expected in a church built in 1930, most of the windows are abstract and modern, like this one to the left, and the following rose window. The window on the right is one of four in the sanctuary, and they represent the four creatures in the Apocalypse, interpreted as being symbols of the four evangelists.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola Roman Catholic Church, in Concord Hill, Missouri, USA - rose window

Rose window above the choir loft.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola Roman Catholic Church, in Concord Hill, Missouri, USA - statue of Saint Ignatius of Loyola

Statue of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, born as Inigo Lopez de Loyola (1491-1556) and founder of the Society of Jesus.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola Roman Catholic Church, in Concord Hill, Missouri, USA - door in narthex

Door in the narthex.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola Roman Catholic Church, in Concord Hill, Missouri, USA - flowers

The church grounds have many flowers.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola Roman Catholic Church, in Concord Hill, Missouri, USA - cemetery crucifix

Crucifix in the church's new cemetery is dated 1957. Burials in the old cemetery predate the parish and date from at least 1818. Since the locations of many of the early graves are now unmarked, the old cemetery can no longer be used, leading to the opening of a new cemetery in 1946.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola Roman Catholic Church, in Concord Hill, Missouri, USA - school

The parish school, which started in 1872. Behind this building is a parish hall, now under construction. In the great Catholic tradition, the tuition of this school is negotiable.

Mass times:
Monday, Wednesday - Friday: 8:00 a.m.
Tuesday: 7:30 p.m.
Saturday (Vigil): 7:00 p.m.
Sunday: 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.

Address:
701 Mill Road
Marthasville, Missouri 63357

Noble Metals for Sacred Vessels

THE USE OF SPECIAL sacred vessels in the Mass goes all the way back to the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper and beyond that in Jewish Law and Temple ritual. That we ought to have vessels set aside for sacred use, and that they ought to be made of nonporous, worthy, and durable materials, derives from ritual purity laws, theology, and practical considerations.

Ritual purity laws, which kept God's people separate and distinct from the Gentiles, were specifically abrogated by Christ, but these ancient laws also had the practical effect of hygiene, as well as demonstrating the sacral quality of ritual.

Theologically, we ought to consecrate vessels for the Mass — set them aside for sacred use only — to specifically give honor to the Lord, and to avoid confusion, and these should be well-made for their very specific use.

The General Instructions of the Roman Missal, third typical edition, 2002, chapter VI, tells us about the materials to be used for sacred vessels:
328. Sacred vessels are to be made from precious metal. If they are made from metal that rusts or from a metal less precious than gold, then ordinarily they should be gilded on the inside.

329. In the Dioceses of the United States of America, sacred vessels may also be made from other solid materials that, according to the common estimation in each region, are precious, for example, ebony or other hard woods, provided that such materials are suited to sacred use and do not easily break or deteriorate. This applies to all vessels which hold the hosts, such as the paten, the ciborium, the pyx, the monstrance, and other things of this kind.

330. As regards chalices and other vessels that are intended to serve as receptacles for the Blood of the Lord, they are to have bowls of nonabsorbent material. The base, on the other hand, may be made of other solid and worthy materials.

331. For the consecration of hosts, a large paten may appropriately be used; on it is placed the bread for the priest and the deacon as well as for the other ministers and for the faithful.

332. As to the form of the sacred vessels, the artist may fashion them in a manner that is more in keeping with the customs of each region, provided each vessel is suited to the intended liturgical use and is clearly distinguishable from those intended for everyday use.
Note that the United States has an exception to the general rule, which is distressingly familiar in contemporary Catholic practice. However, to avoid excessive abuse, the exceptional rule for the US reiterates that the material used should be precious, durable, distinctive, and nonabsorbent. For whatever reason, some Catholics are repelled by the notion of gold sacred vessels, and instead are attracted to plain wood or pottery, or even common household dishes and cups.

An artistic illustration of this modern bias against precious sacred vessels can be seen in the 1989 film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Here, the heroes and villains race to find the Holy Grail, the wine cup used by Christ in the institution of the Eucharist and also used to catch drops of His holy blood from His Cross. At the film's climax, the characters must choose among a series of cups, only one of which is the true Grail, and the only one that will give life. The villain wrongly chooses a bejeweled golden chalice, and dies, while the hero correctly choses a "simple carpenter's cup" and lives. (However, this plain wooden cup has a gilded interior, making the cup nonporous and hence suitable for sacred use, which I think was a fine detail.) But what is believed to be the actual Holy Grail is found in Cathedral of Valencia, Spain, and is neither common or lowly, nor is it made of gold. Rather, it is made of dark agate; a hard, durable, precious, non-porous, and decorative form of quartz, a material well-suited for making sacred vessels.

Although gold has been the material of choice for sacred vessels both in the Church and at the Jewish Temple, by no means is it the only acceptable material, as the reputed true Grail shows us, as well as many acceptable examples of sacred vessels in history.

Other recent norms regarding sacred vessels are found in Inaestimabile Donum (1980):
16. Particular respect and care are due to the sacred vessels, both the chalice and paten for the celebration of the Eucharist, and the ciboria for the Communion of the faithful. The form of the vessels must be appropriate for the liturgical use for which they are meant. The material must be noble, durable, and in every case adapted to sacred use. In this sphere, judgment belongs to the episcopal conference of the individual regions.

Use is not to be made of simple baskets or other recipients meant for ordinary use outside the sacred celebrations, nor are the sacred vessels to be of poor quality or lacking any artistic style.
and in Redemptionis Sacramentum (2004), which quotes the two previous excerpts:

[117.] Sacred vessels for containing the Body and Blood of the Lord must be made in strict conformity with the norms of tradition and of the liturgical books. The Bishops’ Conferences have the faculty to decide whether it is appropriate, once their decisions have been given the recognitio by the Apostolic See, for sacred vessels to be made of other solid materials as well. It is strictly required, however, that such materials be truly noble in the common estimation within a given region,[206]so that honour will be given to the Lord by their use, and all risk of diminishing the doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharistic species in the eyes of the faithful will be avoided. Reprobated, therefore, is any practice of using for the celebration of Mass common vessels, or others lacking in quality, or devoid of all artistic merit or which are mere containers, as also other vessels made from glass, earthenware, clay, or other materials that break easily. This norm is to be applied even as regards metals and other materials that easily rust or deteriorate.
Some people, it seems, just don't get it, and have to be reminded of the requirements in ever more specific detail. This shows a lack of common understanding.

Traditionally and logically, precious metals typically ought to be used to make sacred vessels for the Mass. A great practical advantage of metals is that they can be melted and formed to arbitrary shapes, unlike wood or stone which start as preexisting lumps, which may or may not have interior defects.

The metal used ought to be noble and precious, which generally can be thought of as being beautiful, uncommon, and highly stable, and not just merely expensive. Monetary sacrifice for the greater honor and glory of God is admirable, while the desire to merely own valuable items is not.

In chemistry, the noble elements are those which do not easily react with others, and these are typically are found in nature in their native state, and not in chemical compounds. Gold, platinum, silver, and copper are mined from the earth in their elemental form, and have been used by man since the remotest of antiquity. Gold is the gold standard of precious metals since it is easily worked and does not tarnish. Silver tarnishes, but not too much, and it polishes quite nicely, while copper can tarnish so much as to be unusable, so is probably not too good for sacred use.

Many metals are mined as chemical compounds which must be transformed back into metal, usually via heat. Very many metals, like tin, iron, lead, and zinc, have been known from antiquity because they are easy to extract: but if they are easy to get out of a chemical compound, then they also easily revert back to a chemical compound. This means that they easily corrode or react with things such as wine, making them unsuitable for sacred vessels. Iron, exposed to moisture, quickly turns into rust.

Other metals are so difficult to extract from their ores that they haven't been discovered until recently. But this is good: if it is hard to extract them, then they also strongly resist reverting back into an ore, and so may be useful to our purpose. An example of this is titanium, which is a strong, beautiful, and lightweight metal. Another is aluminum, which is considerably less attractive and does not polish well, although it is quite easy to work.

Lithium, sodium, and potassium metals explode on contact with water. Not good materials for making sacred vessels!

God reveals himself in two books: sacred scripture and in nature, and the order and harmony found in nature reveals a noble hierarchy analogous to the heavenly hierarchy. One of the joys in learning chemistry is the great order and harmony among the elements, which is illustrated by the Periodic Table of Elements. The usefulness of this arrangement is profound: similar elements are found together in the table; for example, silver and platinum are both adjacent to gold in the table, and these three elements make up our most common precious metals. Nickel, copper, and zinc, all considered good for making durable, inexpensive coins, are also adjacent to each other on the table.

So by looking at the table of elements, we should be able to discover other worthy metals that may be suitable for making sacred vessels. Adjacent to gold, silver, and platinum are ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, and iridium: we should not be surprised that these are all precious metals that can be used in making fine vessels, either directly or as part of an alloy.

Chemistry also distinguishes a hierarchy of nobility in metals: when dissimilar metals are placed together in an electrically conducting liquid, such as salt water, an electric battery is created, and one metal will electrically corrode at the expense of another. The corroded metal is called the active, or sacrificial metal, while the other is the noble metal. This relative measure of corrosiveness can be used as a guide to selecting worthy materials for use in sacred vessels. Here is a rough hierarchy, listed from most to least noble:
  • Palladium
  • Platinum
  • Gold
  • Zirconium
  • Silver
  • Titanium
  • High-grade stainless steel
  • Nickel-copper alloys
  • Nickel
  • Bronze
  • Copper
  • Tin
  • Brass
  • Chromium
  • Lead
  • Iron
  • Steel
  • Cadmium
  • Aluminum
  • Uranium
  • Beryllium
  • Zinc
  • Magnesium
As we would expect, our old friends platinum, gold, and silver are near the top of this list and are the first choices in worthy materials used for sacred vessels. Certainly, palladium, which is similar to platinum, is easy to work, and is used in jewelry-making ought to be investigated, along with other similar metals.

Titanium has been most famously used in military aircraft, and is difficult to work, but it is a light, beautiful, and strong metal that ought to be investigated, especially if new techniques of forming it are perfected. For the time being, titanium can be used in architecture for extremely durable and attractive roofing and cladding.

Zirconium (its name comes from Arabic, meaning gold-like) is used mainly in nuclear reactors, but may also be suitable for liturgical use. It is both strong and easy to work.

It's hard to determine if stainless steel is worthy or not. Although it is a semi-precious metal, corrosion resistant, can be worked, and is moderately attractive, it still has the crude name "steel". Perhaps some alloys might be useful.

Copper and its alloys are widely used in the arts, because of their beauty and workability, but I would consider them to be at the bottom of acceptability in use in liturgical vessels, and they would need to be gilded. They are very good, even if common metals. Nickel-copper alloys might be the most suitable in the group.

By all means, avoid the reactive metals at the bottom of the list. They are either healthy nutrient minerals or deadly poisons, but their corrosiveness means that they aren't suited for sacred use.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Photo of Saint Dominic Savio Church, in Affton, Missouri

Saint Dominic Savio Roman Catholic Church, in Affton, Missouri, USA - exterior
THE PARISH OF my childhood neighborhood is Saint Dominic Savio.

I noticed that the kids who went here tended to be better educated, more athletic, more mature, and less cliquish compared to the children in my public school. This impressed me very much!

This parish dates from 1956. It is located in suburban Affton, Missouri, about ten miles southwest of downtown Saint Louis.

Photos of Saint Vincent de Paul Church, in Dutzow, Missouri

HERE ARE PHOTOS of Saint Vincent de Paul Church, in Dutzow, Missouri, located in southeastern Warren County, about 53 highway miles west of downtown Saint Louis.

Saint Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church, in Dutzow, Missouri, USA - exterior

This church dates from 1874.

Saint Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church, in Dutzow, Missouri, USA - sign

ST. VINCENTS KIRCHE

Dutzow was the first German settlement in Missouri, and this was originally a German parish. Germans started coming here in the 1810s, seeking inexpensive land and freedom from Absolutism. Later waves of German immigrants came here in the wake of the revolutions of 1848, the Liberal reforms of Bismark, and the two World Wars.

The local faithful were ministered by the Jesuits since 1839, and the first church was built in 1842.

Click here for an engraving of the church, published in 1895
.

Permanent European settlement in this locale was French and dates from about 1763. The frontiersman Daniel Boone (1734-1820) lived out his last years a few miles from here.

Saint Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church, in Dutzow, Missouri, USA - nave

Saint Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church, in Dutzow, Missouri, USA - tabernacle

The tabernacle.

Saint Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church, in Dutzow, Missouri, USA - stained glass window Saint Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church, in Dutzow, Missouri, USA - statue of Saint Vincent de Paul

Stained glass window; and a statue of Saint Vincent de Paul (1581-1660).

Saint Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church, in Dutzow, Missouri, USA - station of the cross

Station of the cross.

Saint Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church, in Dutzow, Missouri, USA - stained glass window of the Good Shepherd

EGO : SVM : PASTOR : BONVS ET : COGNOSCO OVES : MEAS
ET : COGNOSCVNT : ME MEÆ Joh: X 14

I am the good shepherd; and I know mine, and mine know me.

DONATED BY THE MARRIED LADIES SOCIETY 1918

Saint Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church, in Dutzow, Missouri, USA - cemetery

Cemetery adjacent to the church.

Saint Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church, in Dutzow, Missouri, USA - view from a distance

As seen here from the valley floor of the Missouri River, the church sits up on a bluff and is safe from the periodic violent flooding of the river.

This region is called the "Missouri Rhineland" due to its resemblance to the Rhine River valley in Germany; and like its namesake, this region is also excellent for growing grapes. This is a tourist area and there are several wineries and inns nearby.

Mass times:
Monday: 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday - Friday: 8:00 a.m.
Saturday (Vigil): 5:00 p.m.
Sunday: 7:30 a.m., 10:00 a.m.
Holy Days: 8:00 a.m., 6:00 p.m.

Confession:
Monday: 7:00 p.m. - 7:15 p.m.
Saturday: 4:15 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.

Adoration:
Wednesday: 3 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Address:
7602 South Highway 94
Marthasville, Missouri 63357