Saturday, May 31, 2008

Photo of New Confessionals

Confessionals at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary

Confessionals at the chapel of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, in Shrewsbury, Missouri. Designed by Duncan G. Stroik, of South Bend, Indiana.

Click image for larger versions.

Friday, May 30, 2008

"In the Eye of the Beholder"

BEAUTY, so says contemporary art theory, "is in the eye of the beholder".

The word "is" indicates a state of being, and the word "in" implies that beauty exists completely in each individual's subjective perception. So according to contemporary theory, there is no beauty "out there", but it all exists completely in our eye, or mind.

We could assume that perception is fairly constant among most people (at least under controlled conditions), but modern theory goes one step further, saying that these perceptions cannot be compared with each other. This is due to the denial of the existence of an objective human nature.

So the contemporary theory completely discounts the concept of beauty. Just because you think something is ugly, doesn't mean that someone else may think it is beautiful.  In other words, if you think something is ugly, shut up.  They don't want to hear your opinion. Or if you insist on stating your opinion, you are obviously a philistine who doesn't understand the contemporary art scene, and are therefore to be excluded.

Now we could have recourse to sociology, and its favorite tool, the public opinion poll, and we could have voluminous data on the perceived beauty of large numbers of artworks.  Imagine an art museum allowing viewers to rate each individual work of art, and eliminating those works that are rated poorly, and putting up works similar to those that are highly rated.  That probably is not going to happen anytime soon, nor should it:  polls are interesting and often worthy, but too many bad policy decisions are made in response to them.

What we get instead is some work of art that everyone hates (experts and public included), yet is still proudly displayed as an exemplar, because individual opinion is suppressed.  Debates on certain topics, especially beauty, are prohibited.

I am reminded of a certain atonal symphonic work, which in my opinion, was unlistenable, and I could tell from the reactions of other listeners that they thought that it was unlistenable, too. But someone told me that he did not want to hear my negative opinion, and wore a forced smile (more of a grimace with teeth gritted), as if he was pretending to be enjoying it.  Or maybe he did not like being in the company of "philistines".

Instead, let's go back to Thomas Aquinas' simple definition of beauty:  "pulchra enim dicuntur quae visa placent" (Summa, I q. 5 a. 4 ad 1) or "for beautiful things are those which please when seen" (New Advent translation).  Note that beauty is a property of things, and hence is a Formal Cause, but it also includes the process of seeing, which is indeed influenced by subjective and relative circumstances.  We ought to note that modern art theory developed in reaction to 19th century art theories that were absolutistic and which denied those personal factors.  The truth, we believe, includes all three factors.

And just because something is subjective does not mean that it does not follow certain laws, which modern theory often denies.  For example, the influence of the color blue has a certain predictable effect on perceived tone value even in colorblind persons.  And when persons, blind from birth, are asked to draw pictures of objects, they will naturally use common artistic conventions, although they never seen them.  And in polls on beauty, taken throughout the world in diverse cultures, have seen strong similarities on what is perceived as beautiful, strongly indicating an objective component to beauty, even if it is only an objective component of human nature and not of the object itself.

We live in a fallen world, and so our perception and judgment of beauty is flawed, but with grace and right reason we ought to be able to improve our understanding and appreciation of it.

Another Cat Photo

Twinkly

My sincere apologies to my readers who don't like cats!

Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Shrine of the Sacred Heart at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - mosaic of Christ 2.jpg

Image at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Existential Crisis

EXISTENTIALISM WAS the fashionable philosophy of the intelligentsia until the 1960s, and still remains a key source of ideas to the present day.  This philosophy centers on the self, coping in an absurd, ugly world, and is a reaction to Enlightenment Rationalism and Scientific Empiricism.

You know the type.   The Existentialist protagonist is a bored, angry, alienated, cynical, profane, violent, and angst-filled teenager, who sees through other people's phoniness with absolute clarity, who often experiments with drugs and sex, and who basically is experiencing an extreme crisis of self-identity.  His future is uncertain.  While this was scandalous in the 1950s, especially when depicted in the 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye, what was once a rare example of problematic psychology in the Enlightenment Age is now unfortunately the norm.

A discussion forum on Walker Percy's book Lost in the Cosmos, was quite illuminating.  This book identifies the core problem of today's society as an existential one, where people lose sense of self and especially their relationship with others and with God, leading to our culture's embrace of violence and disordered sexuality.  One commenter stated that reading the old books on Existentialism, like Percy's, is like reading a radical book which denounces geocentrism: so what?  The fact of 'existential angst' is now well-recognized.  Nearly everyone under a certain age, he claims, is in an existential crisis and knows it, and credits the mass media and education system for this.

Existentialism in film is well established, with well-known titles including:  High Noon, The Graduate, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Taxi Driver, The Matrix, Fight Club, Garden State, A Clockwork Orange, Donnie Darko, Cool Hand Luke, American Beauty, Apocalypse Now, Blade Runner, and the films of Woody Allen, François Truffaut, and Jean-Luc Godard. And many others.  Life, as we have seen, does imitate art, for the crisis of identity for most was preceded by the popular culture.

The key attribute of someone in an existential crisis is overwhelming anxiety, and an existentialist seeks to embrace this anxiety or angst by a free search for 'meaning' or 'authenticity'. But we ought to recall the words from the Mass of Paul VI:  Deliver us, Lord, from every evil, and grant us peace in our day. In your mercy keep us free from sin and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Or in other words, anxiety is due to our fallen nature and is not to be embraced.

Modern Existentialism was founded by the Protestant philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, and this philosophical movement has since split into numerous denominations, with various thinkers — atheist or Christian — jettisoning one particular aspect of the theory or another to suit their taste.  Like the huge Enlightenment armies doing battle against each other, the modern philosophies also conflict with each other, with supremacy being gained through brute force, and not because they are shown to be true.

Existentialism was rejected by Pope Pius XII in his encyclical Humani Generis, dating from 1950.  He instead called for a return to the far richer and more universal philosophy of Saint Thomas Aquinas.  As it turns out, Aquinas also has quite a bit to say about existence and the self, but no one makes films about it.

The Fall of Constantinople

ON THIS DAY in 1453 in the Julian calender, Constantinople, the greatest city in Christendom, fell to the Turk, ending the Byzantine Empire which existed over a thousand years, and ending the history of the Roman Empire.  Subsequently, the Patriarch of Constantinople, the honorary head of the Orthodox Churches, was appointed by the new Muslim masters of the city, ending hopes for reunion between the Churches of the Greek East and Latin West.

In the morning of that day, Catholic and Orthodox knights attended the Divine Liturgy in the Hagia Sophia, the greatest of all Christian churches; in the evening, this building became a Mosque.

The symbols of the city, the star and crescent, subsequently became the symbols of Islam due to this defeat.

Photo of Bishop Du Bourg High School, in Saint Louis, Missouri

Bishop Dubourg High School, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - exterior at dusk

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Photos of the Corpus Christi Procession at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis

ON THE SOLEMNITY of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi), Archbishop Burke led a procession from the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, as a traditional and public witness to the Faith.  Celebrated May 25th, 2008.

Corpus Christi procession 2008, of the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Benediction in Cathedral

Hail our Savior's glorious Body, Which his Virgin Mother bore;
Hail the Blood which, shed for sinners, Did a broken world restore;
Hail the sacrament most holy, Flesh and Blood of Christ adore!

Corpus Christi procession 2008, of the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Procession 1

You have given them bread from heaven;
Having all sweetness within it.

Corpus Christi procession 2008, of the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Procession 3

Let us every moment praise the Most Holy Sacrament.
May our God, present in the Sacrament, be praised now and forever.

Corpus Christi procession 2008, of the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - first station

Sweet Sacrament, we thee adore!  O make us love thee more and more!

Corpus Christi procession 2008, of the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Procession 2

O Jesus we adore you, Who in your love divine,
Conceal your mighty God-head In forms of bread and wine.

Corpus Christi procession 2008, of the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - second station

On that paschal evening see him With the chosen twelve recline,
To the old law still obedient In its feast of love divine;
Love divine, the new law giving, Gives himself as Bread and Wine.

Corpus Christi procession 2008, of the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Archiepiscopal processional cross

O for a heart to praise my God, A heart from sin set free,
A heart that always feels your blood so freely shed for me.

Corpus Christi procession 2008, of the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - candlelight in Cathedral

May the Heart of Jesus in the most Blessed Sacrament
be praised, adored and loved with grateful affection
at every moment in all the tabernacles of the world,
now and until the end of time.  Amen.

Fuchsia

Fuchsia flowers

Flowers of the Fuchsia genus.

Until I just looked it up, I had no idea what color 'fuchsia' is, nor even how to spell it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Nearly 50% of the Officer Corp....

...in the United States Military is Catholic.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1997):
1909 Finally, the common good requires peace, that is, the stability and security of a just order. It presupposes that authority should ensure by morally acceptable means the security of society and its members. It is the basis of the right to legitimate personal and collective defense.

2239 It is the duty of citizens to contribute along with the civil authorities to the good of society in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity, and freedom. The love and service of one's country follow from the duty of gratitude and belong to the order of charity. Submission to legitimate authorities and service of the common good require citizens to fulfill their roles in the life of the political community.

2310 ...Those who are sworn to serve their country in the armed forces are servants of the security and freedom of nations. If they carry out their duty honorably, they truly contribute to the common good of the nation and the maintenance of peace.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Corpus Christi Procession at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis

Corpus Christi procession 2008, of the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - third station

The third station at this evening's Corpus Christi procession; Archbishop Burke, celebrant.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Beautiful Sunset

Sunset over Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

The Blue and the Gray

TWO CIVIL WAR memorials are located near each other in Saint Louis' Forest Park. One is dedicated to the Union side, the other to the Confederate. Here are photos of these monuments, along with their inscriptions.

General Franz Sigel statue, in Forest Park, Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

TO REMIND
FUTURE GENERATIONS
OF THE HEROISM OF THE
GERMAN-AMERICAN PATRIOTS
OF ST. LOUIS AND VICINITY
IN THE CIVIL WAR OF
1861 TO 1865

GENERAL FRANZ SIGEL



Confederate Monument, in Forest Park, Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - front

TO THE MEMORY
OF THE
SOLDIERS AND SAILORS
OF THE
SOUTHERN CONFEDERACY,

WHO FOUGHT TO UPHOLD
THE RIGHT DECLARED BY
THE PEN OF JEFFERSON
AND ACHIEVED BY THE
SWORD OF WASHINGTON

WITH SUBLIME SELF SACRIFICE,
THEY
BATTLED TO PRESERVE
THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE STATES
WHICH WAS WON FROM
GREAT BRITAIN,
AND
TO PERPETUATE THE
CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT
WHICH WAS ESTABLISHED BY THE
FATHERS

ACTUATED BY THE PUREST
PATRIOTISM
THEY PERFORMED DEEDS
OF PROWESS SUCH AS
THRILLED THE HEART OF
MANKIND WITH ADMIRATION

"FULL IN THE FRONT OF WAR THEY STOOD,"
AND DISPLAYED A COURAGE
SO SUPERB
THAT IT GAVE A NEW AND
BRIGHTER LUSTER TO THE
ANNALS OF VALOR.

HISTORY
CONTAINS NO CHRONICLE
MORE ILLUSTRIOUS THAN
THE STORY OF THEIR
ACHIEVEMENTS,
AND ALTHOUGH,
WORN OUT BY
CEASELESS CONFLICT
AND
OVERWHELMING NUMBERS,
THEY WERE FINALLY
FORCED TO YIELD.

THEIR GLORY, "ON BRIGHTEST PAGES
PENNED BY POETS AND BY SAGES,
SHALL GO SOUNDING DOWN THE AGES."

"WE HAD SACRED PRINCIPLES TO MAINTAIN AND RIGHTS
TO DEFEND FOR WHICH WE WERE IN DUTY BOUND TO DO
OUR BEST, EVEN IF WE PERISHED IN THE ENDEAVOR."

ROBERT E. LEE

ERECTED IN THE MEMORY OF
THE SOLDIERS AND SAILORS
 OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES
BY THE UNITED DAUGHTERS
OF THE CONFEDERACY
OF SAINT LOUIS.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Antebellum Lake

Lakewood Park Cemetery Lake, in Affton, Missouri, USA

Stone wall next to a lake, formerly part of the Louis Benoist estate, in Affton, Missouri.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Granting Human Rights to Animals, While Denying them to Actual Humans

SEE THE ARTICLE Should apes have human rights? at the BBC. "An international movement to give them "personhood" is gathering pace," while at the same time these folks are pushing hard for eugenics and euthanasia of actual humans.  

I hereby demand the right not to be governed by people like this.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Photo of Saint Francis Borgia Church, in Washington, Missouri

Saint Francis Borgia Roman Catholic Church, in Washington, Missouri, USA - exterior back

A view of Saint Francis Borgia Church, in Washington, Missouri, from its Franciscan Courtyard. To the left is the newly-enlarged and renovated Jesuit Hall.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Photos of Saint Anthony of Padua Church in Saint Louis, Missouri

HERE ARE PHOTOS of Saint Anthony of Padua Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri.

Saint Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - exterior

According to the parish's Guide to the Church and its Ecclesiastical Art:
St. Anthony's conforms the best laws of ecclesiastical art by combining many beautiful details into a harmonious pattern.  It creates the impression of massiveness when viewed from the exterior.  Two square, well-proportioned Romanesque towers add to this impression.  Inside, however, the church's massiveness seems to melt away by interior of light and color, for a general result of warmth, beauty, and grandeur.  Its harmonious pattern will become more apparent as the single murals and windows are viewed in the ideas the designers had in mind.

The architectural style of the church is Romanesque, borrowed from some representative copy of this architecture in the German Rhineland.  Romanesque style's chief characteristic traits are the rounded arch, the floor plan in the form of a cross and rounded vaulted ceilings, with the circle and curved line prevailing throughout.

St. Anthony's was erected in 1910 at a cost of $175,000 — unbelievable at today's building costs.  And it was completely paid for by 1919.  In fact, on Thanksgiving Day in 1919, the church was consecrated.  (Only a church that is completely paid for may be consecrated.)   Once a year on the anniversary of its consecration, the twelve candles at various places throughout the church are lit.

The columns (or pillars) in the church are made from plaster with a steel beam, painted to resemble marble.  This type of painting is almost a lost art — only one man in the country is now known to be able to do it.

Saint Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - baldachino

From the parish website:
The long history of St. Anthony's begins in 1863 when the first Eucharist was celebrated by Fr. Servace Altmicks, O.F.M. in a house donated by Mr. Whitnell. From these humble beginnings the parish began to grow and the first church was built on the corner of Meramec Street and Compton Avenue. That first church was consecrated by Bishop Hogan in 1869.

The value of education of the children of the parish took a big step forward with the building of the first parish school in the year 1870. In 1883, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet joined the parish and have served it faithfully ever since through their teaching ministry.

As the parish grew and prospered, a new church was begun in 1908 and was completed in 1910. Archbishop Glennon celebrated the first Mass there. This is our present church building used by St. Anthony's community.

There are currently about 480 households registered in the parish.
It ought to be noted that although this is a fairly small parish, this church has many friends and benefactors, including those who formerly lived in the neighborhood.

Saint Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - chapel

Brother Thom graciously gave me permission to photograph the chapel of the Franciscan Friars, located just off of the sanctuary.  Here, weekday Mass and the Divine Office are prayed.

Note the copy of the crucifix of San Damiano, which led to the conversion of Saint Francis of Assisi.  Unusual for Italy, the original crucifix-icon was probably made by a Syrian monk.


Saint Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Statue of Saint Francis

Statue of Saint Francis.

Saint Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - choir stalls 1

These choir stalls were hand made by the early German friars.

Saint Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - choir stalls 2

Saint Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - chapel wall detail

ADORATIO
GRATIARUM ACTIO

Adoration
Thanksgiving

Saint Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - high altar

The view of the high altar from the chapel.

Saint Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - tabernacle

The tabernacle.

Saint Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - crucifix

The canopy over the high altar and crucifix.

Saint Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - tile floor of sanctuary

This tile floor in the sanctuary is original to the church and has been recently restored.  Note the tiles include the design elements of the fleur-de-lis and the Greek cross  fleurée.  Click here for a close-up view of the tiles.

Saint Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - pulpit

Next to the pulpit is a statue of Saint Francis, founder of the Franciscans.  This church has unusual edge lighting, used during weddings.

Saint Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - priest's chair

Priest's chair.

Saint Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Saint Joseph's altar

Altar of Saint Joseph;  to the left is one of the church's several elaborately carved confessionals.

Saint Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Altar to the Sacred Heart

Altar to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Saint Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Saint Anne

Saint Anne with the child Mary is above the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help.

Saint Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - bas-relief of Jesus and lamb

Christ the good shepherd, removing one of his flock from the thorns.

Saint Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - floral stained glass window Saint Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - stained glass window of the Coronation of Mary Saint Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - stained glass window of Saint Philip

These stained glass windows include an abstract floral pattern, the Coronation of Mary as Queen of Heaven, and Saint Philip.  The windows are the work of Emil Frei.

Saint Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - nave

Murals run along entablature over the arches of the side-aisles.  Due to time constraints, I was unable to take any close-up photographs of these paintings.

Saint Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - exterior door

For some of my older photos of the church, please click here, here, here, and here.

Address:
3140 Meramec Street
Saint Louis, Missouri 63118

Et Verbum caro factum est

AND THE WORD WAS MADE FLESH AND DWELT AMONG US — John 1:14

Both ancient Greek and Jew recognized the Logos, or Word, or Mind, or Wisdom of God, through whom all things were made.  That the Word became actually became incarnate and walked among us is a distinctly Christian doctrine.

The Incarnation is the prototype for another kind of word becoming flesh:  in theater, the words of a script become the flesh of actors on the stage; the realm of the spirit and the realm of matter join.  Not just a mere analogy, this enfleshment is done within God's Creation itself, and so the work of actors is properly seen as an act of sub-creation.

The Saint Louis based company, the Theatre of the Word, founded by Kevin O'Brien, takes its name from this incarnational theology.  Kevin has a new anthology series of Christian drama to be shown on EWTN, and will be interviewed by Fr. Mitch Pacwa on Wednesday, May 21st at 7:00 p.m. Central Time.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Trinity Sunday

ON TRINITY SUNDAY, in the Year of Our Lord 2003 (which was the fifteenth of June in that year), I entered the Church and received the Sacrament of Confirmation.

Like many of the well-known literary converts of the 20th century, I read my way into the Church: first by seeking out moral goodness, then later by the truth of philosophy; and then I rediscovered my latent love for the beauty of the Church.  Oddly enough, my conversion, like that of Saint Augustine, was catalyzed partially through the readings of non-Christian authors.

Like most everyone in modern liberal culture, I was inoculated against the real Gospel by a tasteless, low, and lazy version of Jesus that told me that everything was OK — and yet it had the severe side-effect of causing nausea.  Instead I sought wisdom elsewhere, and I found it.  All that is true, good, and beautiful ultimately comes from God, and we are told that if we seek, we shall find.  All through God's grace.

Augustine read his way back into the Church by his reading of the Greek Platonic philosophers, who although pagans, sought the truth and ended up discovering a close approximation to the Christian Trinity.   The mystery of the Trinity is a stumbling block for some, but rather it has a firm philosophic basis.  While these pagan authors gave Augustine a crucial insight into the central doctrine of Christianity, he also saw that Christianity offered an answer to the question that plagued the philosophers:  how does the impure soul ascend to the Godhead?  The Christian doctrines of the Incarnation and Redemption provided the solution to the Platonist's dilemma; these doctrines were latent in the philosophy, but were not discovered by the Greeks.

Greek philosophy should not be considered foreign to Christian thought, something that ought to be cut away to purify the Gospel message.  To the ancient Jewish Rabbis, Greek philosophy was Jewish philosophy; and to many of the Fathers of the Church, the philosophers were considered to be inspired by God, although fallible.  The Greeks, for all of their accomplishments, are mainly known for having written down the philosophy.  Many of the great Greeks, in their youth, studied elsewhere, like in Egypt, where they would have learned under the ancient and rigorous Jewish system of education.

Hot Rod

Red car

Photographed today at Saint Francis Borgia Church's Spring Festival, in Washington, Missouri.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Chicago is in Wisconsin, and other Strange Maps

HAVING LONG BEEN FASCINATED by maps, I find the website Strange Maps a delight. Here are some of my recent favorite maps:

A geographically awful map of the U.S., from Swiss Airlines. Chicago is shown as being in Wisconsin; Little Rock is in Indiana, and Pittsburgh is completely under water.

Thomas Jefferson's proposed names of states in the Northwest Territory. What is now the part of Illinois east of Saint Louis would have been called "Polypotamia".

Plurality religion, by county, of the United States.

Blonde Map of Europe, where fair-hair rules.

Map of the tribes of Germania in Roman times.

The ancient watercourses of the Mississippi River.

A map of global Islamic conquest. Timetable for complete control of the world: 100 years.

A Map of Belgium, as well as a few outlying areas otherwise known as Europe. According to the map, the French speak a dialect of Walloon; Spain is renamed "Summer Belgium".

A geographically unrecognizable map of the United States, from Japan. While this map shows Mexico, there is no Canada whatsoever; even Alaska is an island.

A map of the enclave of Kentucky, south of New Madrid. A long-contested part of Kentucky is completely separated from the rest of the state by a bend in the Mississippi River. It borders Tennessee to the south, and Missouri along the river.

Geography of Baseball loyalties. The Saint Louis Cardinals rules the heart of a surprisingly large part of the Midwest and South.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Question of Same-Sex Civil Unions

THE SUPREME COURT of California has just legalized same-sex civil unions, against the will of the voters of the state, and against all Anglo-American tradition and the ancient moral teachings of all the world's major religions.  But California is known for being quite interesting, if not outright odd.

But for the sake of argument, let's presume that Gay Marriage is indeed a Social Good, that ought to be promoted and preserved, just as real marriage was highly promoted and preserved by diverse civilizations throughout all the world and in all times in history.  Since we assume that Gay Marriage is Very Good, then we ought to likewise think that Gay Divorce is a very, Very Bad Thing.  And the Gay Divorce rate is very high indeed, far exceeding the rate of real divorce. So what can we do to preserve the Glorious Institution of Gay Marriage?  Here are some suggestions:

- Have a six-month waiting period between the application and granting of the marriage license.  This is common sense; "marry in haste, repent in leisure" is nearly a truism.

- To protect the bodily integrity of the Gay Spouses, tests for all known sexually transmitted diseases ought to be required.

- Get rid of No-Fault Gay Divorce.  This has proven disastrous to the institution of real marriage, and so doubly applies to Gay Marriage.

- Gay Divorce shall require a trial by jury, and all issues provoking the Divorce must be publicly aired and debated in minute detail; saving such an Important Institution as Gay Marriage deserves nothing less than the most distinctive, and highly public, legal process of our great nation.  In the United Kingdom, Gay Divorce shall require an Act of Parliament. Certainly the highest deliberative assembly of the Realm ought to have a say in the dissolution of this Most Important Institution.

- Gay Divorce ought to be rare, safe, and legal.  The best method of preventing the horrors of Gay Divorce, which as we believe is so very harmful (since Gay Marriage is so Very Good), is for the supermarket tabloids to publicize, in excruciating detail, unstable Gay Marriages, as a warning and a deterrent.  Gay Divorcees ought to be socially shunned and whispered about behind their backs for causing so much harm to this Magnificent Institution.

- As such a Stupendous Institution (which must be true, for the California Supreme Court threw out centuries of precedent, as well as the rules of formal logic to create it), Gay Marriage must be encouraged by the strongest measures.  Building on the universal principle of "Why Buy the Cow When the Milk is Free", Gay Fornication must be criminalized and the laws strictly enforced, because of the even higher principle of "You Gotta Pay Before You Play".

- Adultery is one of the main causes for divorce, and certainly is most bitter for those involved; therefore it must be strongly discouraged.   So, Gay Adultery must be criminalized, with heavy penalties for harming this Most Important of Institutions.

- Likewise, the civil courts ought to hear Gay Alienation of Affection lawsuits, where the plaintiff can sue a third party for harming their Gay Marriage.  Severe financial penalties for pain and suffering seem entirely appropriate, and ought to be practically unlimited.  Again, for the Good of the Institution, all circumstances must be publicly discussed in minute detail.

- Circumventing the Institution of Gay Marriage is not to be tolerated.  Partners living together as husband and, um, whatever, after a certain time period, will automatically enter a Common Law Gay Marriage.

I suggest that the California State Assembly start work immediately at implementing these common-sense measures!

"Nine men to be ordained priests for the Archdiocese of St. Louis"

SEE THE ARTICLE Nine men to be ordained priests for the Archdiocese of St. Louis at the St. Louis Review:
Archbishop Raymond L. Burke will ordain nine men to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of St. Louis at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 24, at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, Lindell Boulevard and Newstead Avenue in the Central West End.

The Sacrament of Holy Orders will be conferred after the reading of the Gospel of the Mass. An announcement of the new priests’ assignments will be in an upcoming issue of the Review.

The soon-to-be-ordained priests will be Fathers Matthew Barnard, Patrick Driscoll, Brian Hecktor, Michael Houser, Eric Kunz, Edward Nemeth, Kevin Schroeder, James Theby and Noah Waldman.

All have earned master of divinity degrees and master of arts in theology degrees from Kenrick-Glennon Seminary. For the past year, all have served as transitional deacons, which carries the title "Rev. Mr."

This is the largest number of men to be ordained priests for the Archdiocese of St. Louis since nine men were ordained in 1987. In addition, another five Kenrick-Glennon seminarians are being ordained in coming weeks for other dioceses.
First Masses:
[Rev. Mr. Matthew Barnard] will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 25, at Little Flower Parish, 1264 Arch Terrace in Richmond Heights. Concelebrants will include Msgr. John Leykam and Fathers Lawrence Herzog, Theodore Rothrock and Christopher Weldon. Father Rothrock will be the homilist. A reception will be held following the Mass at Little Flower School.

[Rev. Mr. Patrick Driscoll] will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 25, at the
Shrine of St. Joseph, 11th and Biddle streets in Downtown St. Louis. Concelebrants will include Fathers William Pegnam, Robert McDermott and Thomas McDermott, OP. Father Thomas McDermott will be the homilist. A reception will follow the Mass.

[Rev. Mr. Brian Hecktor] will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 25, at
St. Ignatius Loyola Church, 701 Mill Road in Concord Hill. The homilist will be Msgr. Patrick Hambrough. A reception will be held in the parish hall following Mass.

[Rev. Mr. Michael Houser] will celebrate two Masses of Thanksgiving on Sunday, May 25. He will celebrate Mass (in the extraordinary, or Tridentine Latin, form) at 10 a.m. at
St. Francis de Sales Oratory, 2653 Ohio Ave. in South St. Louis, and at 3 p.m. at Ascension Church, 230 Santa Maria Drive in Chesterfield. The homilist at the 10 a.m. Mass will be Father Michael Monshau, OP, and the homilist at the 3 p.m. Mass will be Msgr. Joseph Pins. A reception will be held at 4:30 p.m. at Ascension Parish.

[Rev. Mr. Eric Kunz] will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 25, at
Immaculate Conception Church, 100 N. Washington Ave. in Union. Father Joseph Havrilka will be the homilist. A reception will be held at the parish following Mass.

[Rev. Mr. Edward Nemeth] will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving at 11 a.m. Sunday, May 25, at
St. Gabriel the Archangel Church, 6303 Nottingham Ave. in St. Louis Hills. Father C. Eugene Morris will be the homilist. A reception will be held in the school gym after Mass.

[Rev. Mr. Kevin Schroeder] will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 25, at St. Cletus Church, 2705 Zumbehl Road in St. Charles. Father Brian Fischer will be the homilist. A reception will be held at the parish after Mass.

[Rev. Mr. James Theby] will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 25, at Incarnate Word Parish, 13426 Olive Blvd. in Chesterfield. Father Edward Rice will be the homilist. A reception will be held at the parish following Mass.

[Rev. Mr. Noah Waldman] will celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, May 25, at St. Clement of Rome Church, 1510 Bopp Road in Des Peres. Concelebrants will include Msgr. James Pieper, Msgr. Robert McCarthy, Father John Johnson and Father John Hunthausen, SJ. Father Johnson will be the homilist. A reception will be held from 3 to 4 p.m. in the church hall.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Photo of Saint Anthony of Padua Church, in Saint Louis

Saint Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - sanctuary

The sanctuary of Saint Anthony of Padua Church, in south Saint Louis, Missouri; construction of this large, magnificent church started in 1908, and it has undergone extensive restoration over the years.

Franciscan Brother Thom said that this church will be holding a procession for the Feast of Corpus Christi on May 25th, after the 9 a.m. Mass. This will be the 130th year of the procession.

Photo of Visitation/Saint Ann Shrine, in Saint Louis, Missouri

Visitation:Saint Ann Shrine, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - exterior

Visitation/Saint Ann Shrine, in Saint Louis.

The Shrine of Our Lady of Guadeloupe

THE SHRINE of Our Lady of Guadeloupe, in La Crosse, Wisconsin, nears completion. Click here for photos and video of the new pilgrimage church.
A CORRESPONDENT ASKS if I have any photos of the clerestory windows at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield, Illinois.

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, in Springfield, Illinois, USA - side of nave

I don't have a close-up of just clerestory detail, but you can click the photo to get a larger version.

The clerestory is the upper part of the church's nave, which has a series of windows for illumination.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Not a Loving Alternative

THE CULTURE OF Death often tries to tell us that euthanasia is actually loving; saying that it is loving to end suffering by the act of killing.
OK, for the sake of argument, I'll play along with that game.

Suppose that ending the life of someone who is suffering is indeed loving.  True love, of course, will do anything for the beloved, no matter the cost.  Assuming that you do think that euthanasia is indeed loving, are you willing to forsake everything to accomplish that act?  Are you willing to sacrifice your career, fortune, property, inheritance, freedom, and even your very life itself for it?

No?  Well, then that isn't love.

Plans for the Sanctuary of the Divine Mercy

THE DIVINE MERCY is to be venerated at a remarkable new sanctuary to be built in Chicago.  See the article Second Spring: Chicago's Sanctuary of the Divine Mercy over at Creative Minority Report.

A Most Remarkable Dream

I HAD the most remarkable dream the other day.  This was not my typical incoherent, but visually interesting dream, but rather it was theological in nature!  It was a discourse on the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, quite appropriate for the Feast of Pentecost.

At the loud words HOLY SPIRIT I suddenly woke up, finding myself in church with the priest, in the middle of his homily, looking directly at me and looking somewhat perturbed.

I completely blame my somnolence on the wonderful Mother's Day lunch and good drinks I had earlier enjoyed at my brother's house.  Note to self:  always go to Mass before breakfast.