Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas All!

The twenty-fifth day of December.
In the five thousand one hundred and ninety-ninth year of the creation of the world from the time when God in the beginning created the heavens and the earth;
the two thousand nine hundred and fifty-seventh year after the flood;
the two thousand and fifteenth year from the birth of Abraham;
the one thousand five hundred and tenth year from Moses
and the going forth of the people of Israel from Egypt;
the one thousand and thirty-second year from David's being anointed king;
in the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel;
in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;
the seven hundred and fifty-second year from the foundation of the city of Rome;
the forty second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus;
the whole world being at peace,
in the sixth age of the world,
Jesus Christ the eternal God and Son of the eternal Father,
desiring to sanctify the world by his most merciful coming,
being conceived by the Holy Spirit,
and nine months having passed since his conception,
was born in Bethlehem of Judea of the Virgin Mary,
being made flesh.

The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Christmas Sequence from the Dominican Rite.

Joyfully the faithful chorus rejoices,
alleluia, the King of Kings is brought
forth from the womb of the immaculate
one, a wondrous thing!

The angel of counsel is born of a virgin,
sun from a star, sun knowing no setting,
star forever shining, forever bright.

As the star its ray, the virgin brings forth the son in like manner: neither star by its ray nor mother by her son is blemished.

The tall cedar of Lebanon is likened to
hyssop in our valley; the word, spirit of
the most high, underwent incarnation,
taking on flesh.

Isaiah sang it, the synagogue remembers,
yet will never cease to be blind if it
believes not its own prophecies, nor the
those of the sayings of the sibyls.

Wretched one, believe the ancient truth,
why would you be damned, miserable people? Consider the Son, whom scripture teaches; the very one the childbearer bore. Amen.

-- Bernard of Clairvaux

(If Bishop Skylba has a problem with VENI EMMANUEL, this would give him a coronary.)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's A Civil War/Zombie Movie For Pete's Sake!

After a particularly trying week (lots of funerals, an observed holy day of obligation, vows Mass for the SLC lay Carmelites, and a couple of Masses in the Extraordinary form--take that Trautperchild), I am down at mom's and I just watched The Grey Knight (aka The Killing Box). To my knowledge, this is the only occupant of that most esoteric of genres; the Civil War/Zombie movie. The plot is interesting--a battle accidently unleashes forces that turn a Confederate brigade into zombies (albeit intelligent, talking zombies). It is up to a Union officer and his Confederate mentor to stop the menace. It is minimally gory, has some good chills, and has a fairly engaging plot. I first saw it about 10 years ago on HBO. This is the director's cut. Give it a try.

Declaration of Dependence

(More from Zo.)

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Remember The Other Ship Permanently Stationed At Pearl Harbor.

Most people know about the U. S. S. Arizona, sunk at Pearl Harbor, never completely salvaged, and now a memorial. But, did you know that there is another un-salvaged ship at Pearl Harbor that was also sunk on December 7, 1941. She is the U. S. S. Utah, BB-31, a battleship later converted into a target ship. She was accidental sunk as she was not in her usual berth. (The Japanese were instructed not to attack her as she was not considered a worthwhile target.) 58 officers and men were killed when she went down. One of these men, Chief Watertender Peter Tomich was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in saving others as the ship sank. The U. S. S. Utah remains at her berth on Ford Island. (Her bell was salvaged is in front of the NROTC building at the University of Utah.) Read more about her here.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Causes For The Decline of Confession.

Much has been written about the precipitous decline in the use of the Sacrament of Confession over the last forty years. Chief among the causes is, of course, the loss of a sense of sin. After all if we are all good people, just human after all, then what do we need to confess? Also, there is the lack of preaching and catechesis on the sacrament. Then there are the defects in the practice of the sacrament. Among these are the illegitimate use of General Absolution, the poverty of regularly scheduled opportunities for the sacrament, reliance on seasonal communal penance services, and the abysmal and nigh unworkable modern rite. Plenty of blame to go around.

I would add another causes, really a contributing reason for minimalism in scheduling, Saturday evening Vigil Masses. In the old days, Saturday afternoons and evenings were devoted to hearing Confessions. However, with the advent of the Saturday vigil Mass, this was not the case; a Mass needed to be celebrated and prepared for. Confession got squeezed out and unnecessarily so.

There are few reasons for Saturday vigil Masses and many for suppressing the practice. What began as an outreach for people who could not attend Mass on Sunday morning has become a convenience for people who like to sleep in. Further, it is destructive to the special nature of Sunday. It is much better to have a Sunday evening Mass if an evening Mass must be said.