Saturday, August 30, 2008

ΆΓΙΟΣ ΝΙΚΌΛΑΣ

Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - icon of Saint Nicholas

Icon of Saint Nicholas, at Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri

Friday, August 29, 2008

Photos of Our Holy Redeemer Church, in Webster Groves, Missouri

Our Holy Redeemer Roman Catholic Church, in Webster Groves, Missouri, USA - exterior front at dusk

Our Holy Redeemer Roman Catholic Church, in Webster Groves, Missouri, USA - exterior side at night

Holy Redeemer Church, in Webster Groves, Missouri.  The parish, founded in 1886, is about 12-½ miles southwest of downtown Saint Louis.

THANKS DAD

You know why.

A Note to Fellow Bloggers

MANY FELLOW BLOGGERS have lately lamented that their readership is way down, and so some have grown discouraged, to the point of cutting back on their writing activities, or giving it up all together.

No, your readership is not down. Rather, it has gone up, probably by a lot. You just don't know it.

Many bloggers, including me, use the free Sitemeter widget for tracking website visitors. This is a useful little tool, and has many interesting statistics, even if there is the tendency to obsess over the numbers.

However, many blog readers, including me, and especially those who read plenty of blogs daily, use RSS feedreader software to read their favorite blogs. RSS technology bypasses your attractive blog design and merely posts your articles. Crucially, Sitemeter doesn't track RSS feed readers, and so may miss some of the voracious readers out there.  You may be missing the bulk of your readership.

Keep up the good work!  Especially Catholic writers, you might be inspired by the Decree on the Media of Social Communications from the Second Vatican Council, Inter Mirifica.

A Note to My Readers

I AM ALWAYS DELIGHTED to meet my website's readers out in real life. Regrettably, those who meet me may not be delighted in turn, due to my attitude which may seem to be standoffish, aloof, or annoyed.

Alas, this is not due to any hostility on my part, but rather due to a kind of shyness that I've had since the second grade. I'm not much of a people person, unless I'm with folks I've known for a long time. That is why I have a blog: it is a solitary activity, right?

Actually, I am delighted to meet everyone. I just might not show it!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Photo of the Jarrot Mansion, in Cahokia, Illinois

Jarrot mansion, in Cahokia, Illinois, USA - exterior front

The Jarrot mansion, in Cahokia, Illinois, which was constructed in 1807-1810. This is located next to Holy Family Church, founded in 1699.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Photos of Saint John the Baptist Church, in Gildehaus, Missouri

HERE ARE PHOTOS of Saint John the Baptist 'Gildehaus' Church, in the unincorporated community of Gildehaus, in eastern Franklin County, Missouri. The church is about 46 highway miles west of downtown Saint Louis.

Saint John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church, in Villa Ridge (Gildehaus), Missouri, USA - exterior 2

According to a parish history:
St. John's 'Gildehaus', as it is know in the area, was founded in 1839 as a mission called St. John the Baptist by the Jesuit Fathers. It is called St. John's 'Gildehaus' to honor John Dietrich Gildehaus and his wife Anna Clara, who in 1848 donated by deed the original property consisting of about 10 acres. In 1865, Dietrich bequeathed the remaining 23 1/2 acres of the so-called church farm to be passed to St. John's Church upon the death of his wife, Clara. The property in total encompasses about 33 1/4 acres. In February 1939, ownership of the property was passed from St. Louis University (the holding corporation of the Jesuit Missions) to the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Archbishop John Joseph Glennon...

The parish is located in a rural, unincorporated area of Franklin County, Missouri. The parish boundaries are in the townships of Union, St. John's and Boles.

The present brick church was built in 1863. The rectory about 1875. Both church and rectory are still of sound construction.
Saint John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church, in Villa Ridge (Gildehaus), Missouri, USA - nave

According to the 2007 Status Animarum, or ecclesiastical census, this parish has about 2,695 Catholics.  Five Sunday Masses are held.

Saint John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church, in Villa Ridge (Gildehaus), Missouri, USA - altar

Judging from historical photos, the sanctuary has been redecorated several times.

Saint John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church, in Villa Ridge (Gildehaus), Missouri, USA - history

Small statue of Saint Jude, in biblical dress and with the flame of Pentecost upon his head.  He is patron of lost causes.  Saint Jude, pray for us.

To the right of the altar is a list of Bishops of the Archdiocese and pastors of the parish; to the left, not shown, are a list of Popes and a continuation of the list of pastors.

Saint John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church, in Villa Ridge (Gildehaus), Missouri, USA - statue of Saint Joseph

Saint Joseph and the Christ Child.  Above the statue is an episcopal coat of arms, with the motto Miles Christi Sum, I am a solider of Christ.  To the left of the statue is a banner, reflecting the considerable affection many have for this parish.

Saint John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church, in Villa Ridge (Gildehaus), Missouri, USA - station of the cross

The Xth Station of the Cross:  Consider how Jesus was violently stripped of His clothes by His executioners. The inner garments adhered to his lacerated flesh and the soldiers tore them off so roughly that the skin came with them. Have pity for your Savior so cruelly treated....

Saint John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church, in Villa Ridge (Gildehaus), Missouri, USA - stained glass window Saint John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church, in Villa Ridge (Gildehaus), Missouri, USA - stained glass window 2

Two stained glass windows.  One has roses, which are beautiful, fragrant, and with thorns, and
are a symbol of the Virgin Mary and her suffering.  Below are carpenter tools symbolic of Saint Joseph.  The other window has a phoenix, symbol of resurrection, and a serpent in a cup, symbol of Saint John the Apostle.

Saint John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church, in Villa Ridge (Gildehaus), Missouri, USA - memorial

Pfc. EDISON R. WARNEBOLD
382nd INF. 95th DIV. U.S.A.
KILLED IN ACTION
OKINAWA, PACIFIC ISLAND
APRIL 21, 1945

Greater love than this no one has,
that one lay down his life for his friends.
John XV - 13

Saint John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church, in Villa Ridge (Gildehaus), Missouri, USA - pipe organ

Pipe organ and choir loft.

Saint John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church, in Villa Ridge (Gildehaus), Missouri, USA - exterior 1

Saint John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church, in Villa Ridge (Gildehaus), Missouri, USA - shrine of Our Mother of Sorrows

Mother of Sorrows 1873.  One of several small shrines on the parish grounds.

Saint John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church, in Villa Ridge (Gildehaus), Missouri, USA - outdoor cross

Cross, 1963

Saint John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church, in Villa Ridge (Gildehaus), Missouri, USA - cemetery

The parish cemetery.

Saint John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church, in Villa Ridge (Gildehaus), Missouri, USA - view from parking lot

A view of surrounding country as seen from the church.

This parish is well known for its Sausage Festival, held on the fourth Sunday in October.


Address:
5567 Gildehaus Road
Villa Ridge, Missouri  63089

"must keep the traditions alive"

WHAT DO Popes Benedict XVI and John Paul II, Vladimir Putin, George W. Bush, and Hillary Clinton have in common?

They all had their portraits painted by Igor V. Babailov.  

Babailov, born in 1965, is a proponent of a realistic style of painting.  He is generous in sharing his technique, which strongly emphasizes sketching from life.  To him, and indeed to entire tradition of the arts, in East and West, art is a virtue that requires intensive practice as well as the humility to study and precisely duplicate the art of those who came before.  His view of art is not esoteric gnosis, and outsiders are not philistines.
As the spiral of modern art history continues to wind down, we can see the increasing demand for tradition in the visual arts. Although much damage to academic education has been done, there are more and more artists, organizations and schools around the world trying to bring the traditions back, to restore the values left to us by the Old Masters.

Ultimately, the aim of such schools of Realist art should be to train artists who are able to draw to a very high standard; have a deep understanding and knowledge of anatomy, perspective and composition as foundations for great painting; have positive attitudes toward life and nature, and see it and express it in their works with uncompromising truth; and have a great knowledge of the Old Masters' methods and techniques, and apply them to their own works in order to preserve these methods for future generations of artists.


Why we must keep the traditions alive, by Igor Babailov
While painting portraits of the wealthy and powerful may have little to do with the promotion and improvement of the liturgical arts, the long tradition of art as a virtue is of incomparable value over the contemporary view of art as an expression of the artist's feelings. It also allows us to have a more objective way of judging the objects of art.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Beati Pauperes Spiritu

Saint Ambrose Roman Catholic Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - Beati pauperes spiritu

One of the Eight Beatitudes at Saint Ambrose Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri.
The nature then of Christ's teaching is attested by His own holy statements: that they who wish to arrive at eternal blessedness may understand the steps of ascent to that high happiness. Blessed, He says, are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3). It would perhaps be doubtful what poor He was speaking of, if in saying blessed are the poor He had added nothing which would explain the sort of poor: and then that poverty by itself would appear sufficient to win the kingdom of heaven which many suffer from hard and heavy necessity. But when He says blessed are the poor in spirit, He shows that the kingdom of heaven must be assigned to those who are recommended by the humility of their spirits rather than by the smallness of their means. Yet it cannot be doubted that this possession of humility is more easily acquired by the poor than the rich: for submissiveness is the companion of those that want, while loftiness of mind dwells with riches. Notwithstanding, even in many of the rich is found that spirit which uses its abundance not for the increasing of its pride but on works of kindness, and counts that for the greatest gain which it expends in the relief of others' hardships. It is given to every kind and rank of men to share in this virtue, because men may be equal in will, though unequal in fortune: and it does not matter how different they are in earthly means, who are found equal in spiritual possessions. Blessed, therefore, is poverty which is not possessed with a love of temporal things, and does not seek to be increased with the riches of the world, but is eager to amass heavenly possessions.
Sermon 95, Saint Leo the Great.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

War for Platinum

THE WAR BETWEEN the Republic of Georgia and Russia is now supposedly in a cease-fire, but tensions remain high, and blame for the war's start is being spread worldwide. 

Unlike ages past, where wars were more often than not localized disputes between individual rulers, nowadays far too many people feel the need to participate in, or at least influence the outcome of each war, leading to the spreading of war and betrayal of friends. The cause of war is ultimately sin, and an unfortunate side-effect of our Enlightened Age is that the consequences of the sins of the few are imposed heavily on the many.

"No war for oil" is often heard these days, and Russia now has control over several oil pipelines that traverse Georgia, but this war may just as easily be explained away for democracy, justice, freedom, or ethnic solidarity.

Ameren UE Labadie Power Plant, in Labadie, Missouri, USA

The Labadie power plant, owned by Ameren UE, is located on the outskirts of the town of Labadie, Franklin County, Missouri, and supplies electricity to the Saint Louis region. This plant entered operation in 1970 and burns coal.

No war for oil, but war for platinum?  It could be likely.

The power plant shown above burns coal, which evaporates water into steam, which spins turbines, which generate electricity.  Although modern power plants like this one can do this conversion relatively efficiently, the process is limited by the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which prohibits the complete extraction of energy from heat.  Most of the energy, in principle, must be wasted and is sent down the adjacent Missouri River as warm water.

Burning something just to extract its energy is rather crude, and one particularly clever device that directly converts a fuel's energy to electricity — and bypassing some of the bad effects of the dreaded Second Law — is called a fuel cell.  Just like a regular D-cell alkaline battery in a flashlight, a fuel cell uses chemical reactions to directly make electricity. Instead of a battery cell that has its chemicals sealed inside, a fuel cell replenishes the chemistry with a continuous flow of fuel into its interior, making it relatively lightweight and long-lasting. Plenty of common fuels can be used in these cells, depending on design, including hydrogen, alcohol, natural gas, propane, gasoline, coal gas, and so forth.

Fuels cells are by their nature efficient in converting fuel into electricity.  They have excellent potential for fuel savings, both in commercial power generation and in transportation.  Since they operate cleanly and quietly, more and smaller power plants can be placed close to customers, reducing the tremendous loss of electricity dissipated over power lines; even individual homes can operate a fuel cell.  This technology means that we can have the electricity we need, with far less consumption of fossil fuels and very little pollution.

But there is a catch.  Fuel cells require significant amounts of platinum as a catalyst, so much so as to make up much of the total cost of the cell.  Platinum is one of the most noble and beautiful of metals, is very rare, very precious, and very expensive.  You could probably store all of the world's reserves of the metal in your basement.

Platinum ore is found in Canada and the United States, but primary deposits are in the Witwatersrand of South Africa and the Ural Mountains of Russia.  The Russians, especially, know the value of what they have, and only recently relaxed control over the flow of platinum to the world market, but prices remain at the whim of government policy.

Perhaps the latest relaxation in the price of platinum takes some of the world's pressure off of Russia's Putin, but the Caucasus region is rich in fossil fuels and precious metal ore, and he no doubt would like to reassert Russian control over that region for financial gain.  And others will attempt to prevent him from doing so.

Please note that a current major use of platinum is for automotive catalytic converters, which reduce the emission of pollution from vehicular exhausts. Add to this the demand for platinum for efficient fuel cells, and the world's production of platinum becomes intimately and crucially tied to international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  As saving the environment has become the new summum bonum, or greatest good of man (even justifying draconian population control programs), war for platinum is also quite justifiable to our utilitarian elites.

Instead, rather pray for peace and turn off the lights whenever you leave a room.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Photo of Our Lady of the Holy Cross Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri

Our Lady of the Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church, in Saint Louis (Baden), Missouri, USA - wide view of interior

Holy Cross, in the Baden neighborhood of the City, is one of the very finest churches in the region.  Click photo for a larger version.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Ineffable Name of the Lord

Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - pediment detail
Tetragrammaton, on the pediment of the Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France (the Old Cathedral), in downtown Saint Louis, Missouri.  Photo taken in August of last year.

FAITHFUL JEWS will not speak the name of the Lord — יהוה in the Hebrew alphabet, (called the tetragrammaton, transliterated as YHWH in English) — for fear of taking the Lord's name in vain. And so it was also in Christianity, where translations of the tetragrammaton universally substituted 'The LORD" or equivalent.

But modern translations of the Bible do speak what was once unspeakable — ineffable — and this found its way into the liturgy.  This is considered novel, offensive to some, and is harmful to the faith by removing a level of meaning from the language, and risks lowering the Faith to the level of the pagans.

Now, from the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments comes the following directives (facsimile of the original here):
1. In liturgical celebrations, in songs and prayers the name of God in the form of the tetragrammaton YHWH is neither to be used or pronounced.

2. For the translation of the Biblical text in modern languages, destined for liturgical usage of the Church, what is already prescribed by n. 41 of the Instruction
Liturgiam authenticam is to be followed; that is, the divine tetragrammaton is to be rendered by the equivalent of Adonai/Kyrios: "Lord", "Signore", "Seigneur", "Herr", "Señor", etc.

3. In translating, in the liturgical context, texts in which are present, one after the other, either the Hebrew term
Adonai or the tetragrammaton YHWH, Adonai is to be translated "Lord" and the form "God" is to be used for the tetragrammaton YHWH, similar to what happens in the Greek translation of the Septuagint and in the Latin translation of the Vulgate.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Photo of Saint Louis University Hospital Chapel, in Saint Louis, Missouri

Chapel at Saint Louis University Hospital, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - nave small

Chapel, at Saint Louis University Hospital (formerly known as Firmin Desloge). Designed by Ralph Adams Cram.

Chapel at Saint Louis University Hospital, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - nave side

Work as Prayer

The wisdom of the scribe depends on the opportunity of leisure; and he who has little business may become wise.
How can he become wise who handles the plow, and who glories in the shaft of a goad, who drives oxen and is occupied with their work, and whose talk is about bulls? He sets his heart on plowing furrows, and he is careful about fodder for the heifers.
So too is every craftsman and master workman who labors by night as well as by day; those who cut the signets of seals, each is diligent in making a great variety; he sets his heart on painting a lifelike image, and he is careful to finish his work.
So too is the smith sitting by the anvil, intent upon his handiwork in iron; the breath of the fire melts his flesh, and he wastes away in the heat of the furnace; he inclines his ear to the sound of the hammer, and his eyes are on the pattern of the object. He sets his heart on finishing his handiwork, and he is careful to complete its decoration.
So too is the potter sitting at his work and turning the wheel with his feet; he is always deeply concerned over his work, and all his output is by number. He moulds the clay with his arm and makes it pliable with his feet; he sets his heart to finish the glazing, and he is careful to clean the furnace.
All these rely upon their hands, and each is skilful in his own work. Without them a city cannot be established, and men can neither sojourn nor live there.
Yet they are not sought out for the council of the people, nor do they attain eminence in the public assembly. They do not sit in the judge's seat, nor do they understand the sentence of judgment; they cannot expound discipline or judgment, and they are not found using proverbs.
But they keep stable the fabric of the world, and their prayer is in the practice of their trade.
— Sirach 38:24-34 (RSVCE)  (found in the Greek Septuagint version of the Old Testament)

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Beijing

THOSE OF US of a particular age may recall when the the capital of mainland China changed its name from Peking to Beijing. Renaming things is a particular passion for Commie revolutionaries, so this particular move wasn't surprising. But what was surprising was the speed at which this new name was adopted in the United States: at first, primarily, by those we ought to expect, namely Communists, pinkos, and fellow-travelers, especially in the news media, who sneered at linguistic conservatives who preferred the old word.

I ought to note that this isn't a trend merely among Marxists. The name of the country of Qatar, long pronounced 'ka-TAR', (and this is the pronunciation in my dictionary) became nearly universally 'cutter' in the broadcast media, following Condoleezza Rice. So what if that is the way locals say the name? We say it otherwise. Should we insist that the French say "United States" instead of États Unis?  Should we call Germany Deutschland?  Such is the power of the mass media.  But certainly, when traveling to foreign lands and using the local language, one ought to use the local pronunciation, for that is the polite thing to do.

The name of the Chinese city means, both now and then, "Northern Capital". What did change was the system used for converting Chinese ideograms into roman letters, replacing systems developed by Europeans with the homegrown Pinyin system. This system varies greatly in places from Latinate pronunciation:  for example, 'd' in the Pinyin system is pronounced 't'.

Under the new system of spelling, the word Beijing is pronounced, roughly, 'Peking'.  The Chinese themselves didn't rename their capital.  So nothing really changed, and the joke is on us.  Perhaps the Chinese are irritated that Westerners started using a new name for their city.

Francis Field

Washington University, in Saint Louis, Missouri - Francis Field gates

Francis Field, at Washington University, in Saint Louis County, Missouri, site of the 1904 Olympic Games.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Blogspot Error

Due to a problem with the Blogspot service, you can't view this blog's main page. No idea when it will be back. This problem is afflicting a large number of other blogs.

UPDATE -   CORRECTED

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Photo of Soulard Market

Soulard Farmer's Market, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - exterior view of main building

Soulard Farmers Market, in Saint Louis, Missouri. Site of a market since 1779, here you can buy fresh produce and live animals.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Photo of Saint Francis Xavier Church

Saint Francis Xavier Church, at Saint Louis University, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - nave

Saint Francis Xavier (College) Church, at Saint Louis University, in Saint Louis, Missouri

Statue of the Virgin

Saint Gabriel the Archangel Roman Catholic Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary

At Saint Gabriel the Archangel Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri

Welcome

WELCOME to Saint Francis de Sales Oratory, in Saint Louis, Missouri, these priests of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest:

Reverend Father Michael Wiener, Esq., as Rector, and
Reverend Father Laurent Jantaud, as Vicar.

Late of the Oratory, Fr. Karl Lenhardt is assigned to the Institute's seminary in Gricigliano, Italy as Spiritual Director for the seminarians and for the Sisters Adorers of the Royal Heart; and Fr. Avis will be Rector of Old St. Patrick's Oratory in Kansas City. They will be missed.

More information at Saint Louis Catholic.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Photos of Downtown Clayton, Missouri, at Night

HERE ARE PHOTOS of downtown Clayton, Missouri, taken after sunset.

Downtown Clayton, Missouri, USA, at night 3

Clayton is the county seat of Saint Louis County, which is a separate political entity from the City of Saint Louis.  This shows the top of the old county courthouse, illumined by the last light of the day.

Downtown Clayton, Missouri, USA, at night 2

One of the newer buildings in Clayton.

Downtown Clayton, Missouri, USA, at night 5

Another county government building.  I wouldn't expect this building to be to the taste of my readers, but it is striking against the dark blue sky.

Downtown Clayton, Missouri, USA, at night 8

Taken from the parking lot of Saint Joseph Church.

Saint Joseph Roman Catholic Church, in Clayton, Missouri, USA - exterior front at night

Saint Joseph's is built on the highest hill in Clayton, but now tall buildings rise above it. 

Downtown Clayton, Missouri, USA, at night 9

Within living memory, Clayton had a small-town feel, with low rise buildings like the one in the center of this photo, and downtown was surrounded by single-family homes.  The streets were lined with a variety of shops, and the town basically shut down at 5:00 p.m.  Nowadays, high rise buildings define downtown, and the shops have been replaced by restaurants and bars, which are open until late in the night.  The homes in surrounding neighborhoods are being demolished and replaced by condominiums.

Downtown Clayton, Missouri, USA, at night 12

This surviving classic Clayton shop with illuminated interior is an antique store.

Downtown Clayton, Missouri, USA, at night 10

Downtown Clayton, Missouri, USA, at night 14

Sodium vapor street lighting is so yellow that it makes color photography rather difficult.  So here are black and white photos instead.

Downtown Clayton, Missouri, USA, at night 15

Downtown Clayton, Missouri, USA, at night 17

Downtown Clayton, Missouri, USA, at night 18

Downtown Clayton, Missouri, USA, at night 19

The newest high-rise building in Clayton.

Downtown Clayton, Missouri, USA, at night 20

Downtown Clayton, Missouri, USA, at night 21

A nice place to sit down, in Shaw Park.

Downtown Clayton, Missouri, USA, at night 23

Clayton city hall.