Tuesday, February 28, 2006

ecusa's future (and present)

Its good to know we are in "full communion" with these people. Just the sort of thing torward which ECUSA should be aiming and to which we should be open [irony bell]. Their video is particularly enlightening. You might want to sprinkle your computer with holy water before and after watching. Here is an interesting quote:

Lisa’s chanting and teaching has [sic] taken her all over the world. She has sung in many sacred sites including Chartres Cathedral in France, Sakya Monastery in Tibet, Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, ancient stone circles in England, and in many temples in Egypt, including inside the Sphinx and The Great Pyramid in Cairo. Lisa sang at the World Festival of Sacred Music, the Americas, in honor of his holiness the Dalai Lama in 2000, and again in the World Festival 2002, in Los Angeles.

Nice to see Grace Cathedral right where it belongs, beside other "sacred sites" like Stonehenge and the Great Pyramid. I imagine Chartres is included because it has a Labyrinth.

John O'Sullivan has a trenchant little analysis.

Monday, February 27, 2006

keeping a holy lent -- part i: theory

What is Lent for?

Lent is instituted in the Church that we may “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3.18).

Contrary to superficial appearance, Lent is therefore not a sorrowful time. It is a time of Joy. The word “Lent” comes from the Anglo-Saxon word for Springtime. The season of Lent is a time, while beginning with the darkness and rain of penitence and self-denial, yet ending with the full flowering of Easter morning.

It is important to remember, therefore, the Joy of what George Herbert called the “feast of Lent,” because it is a time of spiritual joy. It is an opportunity to engage with the enemy, to subdue him in those things which keep us from the grace of God. In one of those reversals typical of our religion: the outward fast is an inward feast; the outward continence is inward and ecstatic intercourse with the Bridegroom.

Father Congreve, SSJE, in the 19th century compared the joy and hope of Lent to the joy and hope of an army which rounds a bend in the road and sees for the first time the battle lines of the enemy arrayed in front of it. It is a heady hope, tempered perhaps by the realization of what actually is at stake, but a hope and a joy no less for that.

“But Lent rallies us, reminds us of the seriousness of our moral life, of the reality of sin, of bad tendencies of our childhood not conquered yet, of the strength of sins of the flesh, of pride and temper, of love of the world, of cowardice in confessing Christ, of sloth and depression, of neglect of prayer and the sacraments. As we look up, Lent shows us the way to God and our heavenly country, and right across that way, cutting off our road to God and holiness, lies our sin. So Lent brings us to face the enemy and prepare for battle. And hope is the very soul of a battle: the men intend to win that position now held by the enemy at any cost. So in your case, suppose there is sloth, or unbelief, or ill will, or some other vice: your Lent battle means your hope to wrest that position from the enemy. That sin, that indifference, or bad temper, shall be conquered by God’s help. There is no evading the issue; that sin is going to conquer me, and separate me from God for ever, or I am going to conquer it.”

So too, a great part of the joy of Lent is the realization, upon beholding the sin lying between us and God, separating us from Him, is the force of the realization that we are not our sin. Sin is no part of our identity in Christ. We are not of that camp lying across the path. We are in God’s army, and not in the camp of the enemy. A great part of the joy of confronting our sins in their full array is the force of the fact that we are separated from them, by the grace of God, that they are there only to be conquered, and we are by contrast here only to conquer them.

And that, by the way, is a common misconception these days: that in Christ sin and evil are denied (cf. ECUSA). The truth, though, is that our Lord’s suffering and death on the cross do not deny it. The cross looks at sin and death full in the face. The cross acknowledges the horror and the hideousness of sin and evil. Our crucified Lord acknowledges it, confronts it head on, and destroys it. And likewise he does not look at us and say “you are not a sinner,” but rather sees the truth about us: that we are wretched sinners. But the power of the love of God for us in his Son is so awesome precisely because it does not deny our sinfulness, but instead overcomes it in God’s own glorious, loving perfection. The cross of Christ has the power to change us, to re-create us. And Lent is about cooperating with that power and submitting to it.

Lent is about the blossoms of the tree on which our Lord hung, blooming not only in our memory, but in our will and intellect as well. Continuing with the martial analogy, Father Congreve says “So Lent means that you are not going to play at soldiering any longer, but that you take up Christ’s Cross in sober earnest, and begin to follow Him closely. As you strive by prayer and self-denial to follow, you are keeping well up with our Leader, Who knows who is with Him, and the swing of the march of His companions cheers you.” To take up our cross daily and follow Jesus (Luke 9.23) really means to take up his cross in our own circumstances. Lent means our active use of what God has brought about on the Cross in our lives through the grace of the sacraments. “The energy of every Christian’s Lent resolution is the stirring up of the life of God that is in him – the calling up of the power of Christ’s victory over sin, and putting it forth under new circumstances.”

What is Lent for? It is for growth in grace and knowledge of the Lord, for progress toward him in his perfection.

How is this undertaken? Remember that Christ is our Life and Truth, but is also the Way to our Life and Truth. As perfect God, Jesus is our destination; the goal, the prize, the end of the road is a share in the divine nature. And as perfect Man, Jesus is our way to himself as God. He is both the journey and the destination.

In this life, we are concerned immediately with the journey, never keeping our eyes off of the destination, so that we may not wander from the path (1 Corinthians 9.24ff). Lying in our path is sin. Sin is arrayed against us in the road, cutting us off from our destination. But because our Lord has blazed this trail and faced this foe for us, we know that what defeats the enemy that is sin, is the suffering and death of Jesus.

Lent is about this confrontation in its particularity, in our own lives. We are, in imitation of our Lord, and through his power, to deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow him.

Read Father Congreve's text, Of Advance in Lent, here.

Next: How is this done? Retirement, Prayer, Fasting, Repentance, and Almsgiving.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

nerdy computer stuff

For those of your who use Firefox, the other day I downloaded a "feed reader" extension called Sage. I highly recommend it. It consolidates and manages the task of keeping up with the fifteen or so blogs I look at. And its the only thing that comes remotely close to replicating the excellence with which Safari handles RSS feeds.

collect of saint matthias

A couple of days ago was the feast of St. Matthias, the Apostle. Here is the very relavent collect:

O Almighty God, who into the place of the traitor Judas didst choose thy faithful servant Matthias to be of the number of the twelve Apostles: grant that thy Church, being alays preserved from false Apostles, may be ordered and guided by faithful and true pastors. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

Friday, February 24, 2006

another band you might like

Prompted by Father Lee's recent post on the Sufjan Christmas stuff, I thought you might like to know about another band: Page France. This is from the Pitchfork review:

Christian music continues to steal into the secular world in the guise of elegant folk-pop, led by Sufjan Stevens' definitive document, the masterful Illinois. It doesn't diminish Stevens' accomplishment to say that it took me a long time to warm up to it. It was so utterly poised that it came off with a certain sterility-- the seamless contours of its surface held the listener at a remove. Page France's warm and inviting Hello, Dear Wind has the same striking imagery and deft arrangements with none of the remoteness....

Nau is a true prodigy-- at age 21, he's writing songs with uncommon theological complexity. Let's spell it out in no uncertain terms-- in 21st century America, Christianity has been hijacked by some evil men. Jesus said that it's easier to fit a camel through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter Heaven. But in an age of mega-churches that lavish money on high-end AV equipment and contributions to PACs that would undo every social program designed to counteract uneven wealth distribution, Jesus' central teachings of compassion, forgiveness, and charity have been forsaken. His national face has become that of a cruel tyrant, peering down upon humankind with the miser's disdainful grimace.

Hello, Dear Wind accentuates the common traits of Christian music that is able to penetrate the secular world, with an unfettered joy that would scan to conservative Christians as almost pagan. It deploys Christian tropes poetically and not pedantically, brimming with reiterative Biblical imagery -- angels and burning bushes and trumpets, but also circuses, kings and crowns, wind, trees, and fruit. Here's an excerpt from "Chariot", Nau's take on the Rapture, locating all of its poetry in hallucinatory animation, not dread: "Dance like elephants as he comes to us through a fiery golden rain / With a violin and a song to sing as he brings for us our wings/ Now he's one of us, plays the tambourine, breaks the bread for us and sings."

Nothing's perfect in pop culture. But certain corners of it are rather encouraging these days. Buy the album here. St. Matthias, pray for us.

this should be interesting....

The 75th General Convention will be asked for an up-or-down vote on the recent decision by the Executive Council to approve membership for the Episcopal Church in an abortion rights organization.

On Feb. 11, clergy and lay delegates to convention in the Diocese of San Diego asked General Convention, which meets June 13-21 in Columbus, Ohio, “to confirm or deny” the Executive Council decision to join the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) on behalf of the Episcopal Church. That decision was made during a regularly scheduled Jan. 9-12 meeting in Des Moines, Iowa. Although the resolution approved by delegates in San Diego took no position on abortion itself, debate on whether to disassociate from the Executive Council decision is under consideration in at least two other dioceses.

From Canon Harmon.

more cartoon violence, this time perpetrated by christians

"Dozens of charred, smoldering bodies littered the streets of this bustling commercial center on Thursday after three days of rioting in which Christian mobs wielding machetes, clubs and knives set upon their Muslim neighbors.

Rioters have killed scores of people here, mostly Muslims, after burning their homes, businesses and mosques in the worst violence yet linked to the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad first published in a Danish newspaper. The violence in Nigeria began with attacks on Christians in the northern part of the country last week by Muslims infuriated over the cartoons.

Read more at the NY Times or (preferably) at Father Lee's blog.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

prayer, common prayer, and the book thereof

Beloved, I have put together a little group of college students of my cure to learn about and discuss the Book of Common Prayer. We met for the first time tonight. Here is the little handout I wrote up for our first meeting to get us going. I wound up running my mouth for about 45 minutes about the history of Christianity in Britain, but overall I thought that it was not unsuccesful. I am learning to measure successes by a different standard in the ministry... Some of you may take issue with some of this. Some of the historical bits may be wanting.

On Prayer in General

Lancelot Andrewes (sometime Bishop of Chichester and of Winchester, b.1555 – d. 1626) on Prayer:

‘Of all the parts of God’s service, prayer justly challengeth the first place.’

‘Prayer is good as it keeps us from sin.’

What is prayer for? As Andrewes said, it is good because it “keeps us from sin.” And as I have said before, it is sometimes helpful to think of “sin” as those things which keep us from remembering God.

When sin is thus understood, prayer can be seen as a chief means of overcoming sin. In other words, prayer is a means of remembering God constantly.

If one were constantly and perfectly to remember God, one would be perfectly holy, or without sin. This is the state to which Christians are urged, both in the Tradition of the Church, as well as in the Bible. Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5.17 that we should “Pray without ceasing.” (In the Vulgate: sine intermissione orate. Pray without an intermission.)

Because Christians have always lived busy lives, we have come up with helps to a constant remembrance of God. Our tradition has invented ways to “pray without ceasing.” In order for our work, and our study, and our relationships not to be a distraction from God, we need to find ways of making them holy. We need to find ways of making our work, our study, and our relationships themselves to be occasions of remembering God.

Common Prayer

“And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And Jesus said to him, “You have answered right; do this, and you will live.” (Luke 10.25-28)

The twofold love of God and neighbor is the core of the Christian alternative. There is a sense in Christianity of our being in it together – with God, and with one another. Thus it is appropriate that prayer, the project of constantly remembering God, should involved not just me and God, but me, the rest of the Church, and God. Thus prayer is properly always “common.”

Consider that at our church, we gather on Sundays to worship. But because we are using the same words for our prayer that are, in essence, being used by millions of Christians around the world, Sunday by Sunday, we are in a very real sense praying with them. Our prayer and theirs is the same.

And note that both the prophet Isaiah and John the Theologian (author of Revelation) have visions of heaven, where the saints of God and the Angels cry “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts; Heaven and earth are full of your glory.” The fact that we use these same words in our prayer is meant to show us that our praying activity is united to the praying activity of the saints who have died, and of the Angels in heaven. It is meant to show us that by praying, we share in their closeness to God (they are described “around the throne” of God).

The Book of Common Prayer

The very first Christians worshiped as Jews, since they were Jews, reinterpreting the typologies of the prayers and rituals of the Old Testament in light of Jesus. In this they likely followed the pattern of Jesus himself. Very early, though, the common prayers of Christians were codified and written down. This is evidenced in, for example, the Didache (“Teaching”), a work written probably around the year AD 70 (the Didache is reckoned as a part of the New Testament by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church). It contains prescriptions for how to say the prayers at the Eucharist, and how to Baptize people.

When Christianity was officially recognized by the Empire, the writing of prayer books and the elaboration of ritual rapidly expanded. With the development of monasteries in the 200’s and subsequently, it expanded further.

A Synopsis of the Evolution of the Book of Common Prayer:

Pope Gelasius I (AD 490’s) developed a “Sacramentary” or Prayer Book for the Church at Rome. It is called the “Gelasian” Rite. It became very popular in France was modified over the centuries, and de-Romanized. It evolved into what is known as the Gallican Rite. Pope Gregory the Great produced a definitive rite in around the year AD 500. This rite was sent by him to England with the Benedictine monk who would become the first Archbishop of Canterbury: Augustine. A few centuries later, the monk Alcuin of York (a teacher of Charlamagne) combined features of the Gelasian, Gallican, and Gregorian prayer schemes into a single scheme which then went back to Rome and became the basis for the scheme used by Roman Catholics until 1970. It was likewise this scheme that was in use in England, implemented peculiarly according to the customs of Salisbury Cathedral (the “Sarum Use” of the Roman Rite) in the 1540’s when Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer invented the first Book of Common Prayer in 1549.

“Thus the liturgy of the Book of Common Prayer is directly continuous in substance with that liturgy brought to England by St. Augustine of Canterbury, in 596, which in turn is continuous with the liturgical traditions as developed by the Church in Rome from the days of the Apostles.”

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

on a whim...

I have changed the title of this blog from "Whitehall" to "Anglican Catholic." I think the latter makes more sense; and given that the address is anglicancatholic, &c, and so forth.

There was a brief moment of hesitation over whether it should be "Anglican Catholic" or "Catholic Anglican." But given that the my most fundamental desire is to be a catholic Christian, I went with the former. I.e. I would give up being Anglican, if I had to, for the sake of being catholic. But I would not give up being catholic for the sake of being Anglican. (It seems to me that the latter is what I am being asked to do by the New Episcopalianism. They seem to have decided that Episcopalianism is, in essence, Liberal Protestantism, and there is no room for Anglican Catholics or Angican Evangelicals anymore. Cf. previous posts on the incoherence / hypocrisy of "inclusivity" thus formulated.)

If anyone was wondering, the Blog was called "Whitehall" because St. Charles Stuart was martyred at the Banquetting House at Whitehall. I had some vague notion about the contemporary Anglican Situation being in the spiritual neighborhood of St. Charles' martyrdom. I.e. of Anglican Catholicism being left to little but gibbeting. I still think that. But perhaps the title is not the place for equivocation / obfuscation.

whit stillman is alive... and living in paris

For those of you who have never seen the movies Metropolitan, Barcelona, or Last Days of Disco, you should. They are three of the best movies ever. And by "best movies ever" I mean "my favorite movies ever." Particularly Metropolitan, which the Criterion Collection released on DVD (for the first time) last week. Hoozah. Well, it turns out that Stillman, who hasn't been heard from since Last Days of Disco opened in 1998, has been living in Paris, writing a bit, and eating pâte feuilletée or something. Behold! a recent interview:

JH: Can you say anything about the project that’s close to happening?

WS: The two things that are getting close have never been mentioned. And I think that’s good. One of these two will go ahead soon. They’re very different and don’t take place in the United States or France. Both are set in the past.

Read the whole thing here.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

deadliest cartoon 'protests' yet: muslims massacre christians in nigeria

This is inexcusable. It is sick and evil. At least now we know that people in the darnedest parts of the world are aware of what we are up to in the West.

Deadly protests over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad spread in Africa, killing 16 people in Nigeria on Saturday a day after claiming 11 lives in Libya.

Many of those who died in northern Nigeria were Christians, killed after a Muslim protest over the cartoons turned violent and rioters torched churches, shops and vehicles, police and local officials said.

It was the bloodiest protest so far over satirical cartoons of the Prophet, first published in a Danish newspaper, that Muslims regard as blasphemous.

“They went on the rampage, burning shops and churches of the Christians. The protesters killed the others. Some were even killed in the churches,” said Joseph Hayab, north-west secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

The row over the cartoons also forced two ministers out of their jobs in Europe and the Middle East after 11 people died in the Libyan town of Benghazi in clashes on Friday between police and protesters who had tried to storm the Italian consulate.

Read the whole thing here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

this morning's rant: existence, faith, reason, the holy ghost, et alia

For background, see my previous rant about the spirit of Nietzsche. These go together.

To be perfectly honest, one thing that annoys me to no end is puerile insistence one hears too often in Episcopal circles that we prize reason. We congratulate ourselves all the time for being reasonable or rational than.... someone. Who? I suppose we are thinking of The Fundamentalists, whom we typically take to be anyone who is more theologically conservative than we are.

How many ECUSA priests are there who do not believe in the Virgin Birth? How many who don't believe in the Resurrection? Spong and Righter are probably the most famous examples of this kind of self-consciously "rational" Episcopalian. The notion is that the real messiahs were Pascal and Galileo. They delivered us from our bondage to superstition.

Now thinking this sort of thing is all fine and good. But not as Christians. The problem with this kind of nonsense, in the Church, is that it creates a false dichotomy between "reason" and "faith." It embraces the former and sweepingly dismisses the latter, labelling it "superstition." It will embrace elements of "faith," but only those it deems "rational" -- like commands to love your neighbor as yourself. (Though again, this "love" is purged of "irrational" elements, mostly having to do with purity.)

The problems with this scheme of "rationality" are many. Here is one: by identifying ourselves as "Christians" we announce that we share things in common with other people called "Christians." This is simply an aspect of the linguistic activity of predication. If you say "That thing is green," then you are announcing a particular commonality between that thing and other things identifiable as "green." That thing, in other words, shares a set of characteristics shared by other things called "green." So when we say things like "I am a Christian" we are announcing our affinity with other things called "Christian." Looking at the preponderance of things (people) in the universe called "Christian" we find that they are characterized chiefly by beliefs about things that are at odds with the scheme of "rationality" I have outlined above.

Christianity is an overarching belief in the veracity of a narrative: in broad terms, that God created the heavens and the earth, that he gave man dominion over the earth, that man sinned, that he made a covenant with a particular nation, that within that nation, his Son was born and died on the cross to deliver us from our sin and sinfulness, that he ascended back into heaven from whence he came, and that at some point in time he will return to judge us.

Its a story. If you believe that story, historically, you were called a "Christian." But the thing about Christianity, is that it is a kind of General Unifying Theory of Everything. The ECUSA "Rationalists" treat rationality as though it were some potential in the human mind only recently discovered, and since its discovery, it has been found so useful as to trump everything else. But the problem with this notion is that Christianity has accounted for human rationality from the outset. There was never an account of human rationality lacking in the cosmic narrative related by Christianity and believed by Christians. The problem is in thinking that a hermaneutic of "rationality" is somehow progressive. Because I have been reading Origen (and becuase Origen is one of the earliest Christian systematic theologians), I will cut this rant short with Origen's account of rationality (again, from De Principiis):

For all knowledge of the Father, when the Son reveals him, is made known to us through the Holy Spirit....

God the Father bestows on all the gift of existence; and a participation in Christ, in virtue of his being the Word or Reason, makes them rational. From this it follows that they are worthy of praise or blame, because they are capable alike of virtue and of wickedness. Accordingly there is also available the grace of the Holy Spirit, that those beings who are not holy in essence may be made holy by participating in this grace.
Does it not seem that the ideological trajectory of the powers of ECUSA is backward in this scheme? That it erases the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the faithful by denying the distinction between "virtue and... wickedness"? And doing so, partly, under the rubric of rationality -- a grace, like existence itself in Origen's scheme, available to all humanity, and not just to Christians. But this accounts, too, for the pluralism so close to the hearts of ECUSA's dominant paradigm. No one religion or belief system is better than another (and ours is better than no other). Becuase the Holy Spirit operates in ours no more than it does in any other -- which is to say that it does not operate in ours. We do not distinguish between virtue and wickedness.

Origen is clear:

...the working of the power of God the Father and God the Son is spread indiscriminately over all created beings, but a share in the Hoyl Spirit is possessed, we find, by the saints alone. Accordingly it is said, "No man can say that Jesus is the Lord except in the Holy Spirit."

The judgment of God on his people is seen in his taking his Holy Spirit from them. Thus we beg him in our penetential rites: "Cast me not away from your presence and take not your Holy Spirit from me" from Psalm 51. Because an ontological marker of God's people is the gift of the Holy Spirit. But then, the notion of "ontology" isn't very popular among the pundits of the New Religion. It, and talk of "essences," is seen as oppressive. So you see? When Origen says "those who are not holy in essence may be made holy by participating in this grace," the existence of essences is (incoherently) denied. So there is no such thing, in the New Scheme, as "holiness in essence." And there is therefore no need for the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit. (And thus no need to call Jesus "Lord.")

In short: the New Religionists rage against the possibility of renewal by the Holy Spirit. Their rage is thereby likewise rage against callign Jesus "Lord." Calling him Lord, distinguishing between virtue and wickedness... these things just aren't done by people "enlightened" by the spirit of "reason."

Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

a tumid, pop-culture / literary excursus

I have sometimes claimed that Will Oldham (a.k.a. Bonnie 'Prince' Billy) is a post-Christian version of John Donne. I stand by this claim, vague as it is. What I mean, in essence, is that their corpora are thematically similar (i.e. the concerns and tone of their work are similar). They are eaten up with God and eros. Oldham, though, being post-Christian, has been apropriately described as "God-haunted." I don't think he's a Christian. But I think he asks the right questions.

Compare Donne's poem "Break of Day" with the lyrics of Oldham's song of the same name:


'TIS true, 'tis day ; what though it be?
O, wilt thou therefore rise from me?
Why should we rise because 'tis light?
Did we lie down because 'twas night?
Love, which in spite of darkness brought us hither,
Should in despite of light keep us together.

Light hath no tongue, but is all eye ;
If it could speak as well as spy,
This were the worst that it could say,
That being well I fain would stay,
And that I loved my heart and honour so
That I would not from him, that had them, go.

Must business thee from hence remove?
O ! that's the worst disease of love,
The poor, the foul, the false, love can
Admit, but not the busied man.
He which hath business, and makes love, doth do
Such wrong, as when a married man doth woo.

And here by comparison / contrast, is Oldham:

I know the sun's about to come up
I close my eyes anyway
My mouth is dry and the sheets are cold
And will be still come break of day

You called me up just to surprise me
To hear my voice, see what I'd say
I only whispered then hung up
Whispered "wait til break of day"

At break of day I'm ending all of it
And so don't say you've had a ball
Dawn is mine, but I will share it
With whatever bird will wear it
On her body bare and pink
Now what do you think of break of day

I locked my door, I should unlock it
What if you should come this way
And in and have a drink and dancing
Dancing till the break of day

And then to bed we'd dance towards
And tiredly kiss and roll in hay
But waking in the evening I see
You left after break of day

At break of day I'm ending all of it
And so don't say you've had a ball
Dawn is mine, but I will share it
With whatever bird will wear it
On her body bare and pink
Now what do you think of break of day

[Chorus x2]

I hate myself when I'm alone
It's just with you I feel okay
And so tomorrow you'll feel sorrow
When I am gone at break of day

Very different in a sense. But the subtext is similar. In both, the speaker discusses the pain of separation that comes in the morning, as contrasted with a nightful (to coin a phrase) of lovemaking.

Donne is a Christian, and in his poem, it is the lover who is the agent of the leaving, causing the speaker pain ("wilt thou therefore rise from me?"). In contrast, Oldham (the post-Christian) begins in a state of confused separation. The sheets are cold, and the lover (presumably) calls on the telephone: a connection postponed by the speaker who "whispered 'wait till break of day.'"

It is "business" that Donne identifies as the fifth column within love:
He which hath business, and makes love, doth do
Such wrong, as when a married man doth woo.
The speaker in the Donne poem, moreover, is probably feminine:
...I loved my heart and honour so
That I would not from him, that had them, go.
The speaker of the Oldham song is, by contrast, masculine. And it is he that is the agent behind the separation that obtains between the speaker and the lover throughout the song. It is he that postpones the telephonic connection at the beginning, as the sun is about to come up: "wait til break of day." (There is, moreover, in the Oldham song the ominous declaration that at the break of day the speaker is "ending all of it." Does he mean he is ending relationship(s), or his life?) And it is the speaker who, in the end of the Oldham song who says that he hates himself when he is alone. This hatred is reversed when he says "Its just with you I feel okay." But the feeling okay is again reversed in the final two lines of the song:
And so tomorrow you'll feel sorrow
When I am gone at break of day
Lastly (for the moment), and most tellingly, there is the Oldham song "The Risen Lord." Salvation is kind of worked out in the Oldhamesque, at the end of that song:

Lo ! I am flesh, and the blood that races
Is me in the narrows of my wrists.
Lo, I see fear in the twisted faces
Of men, they clench fear in their fists !

Lo ! on the other side of the grave
I have conquered the fear of death,
But the fear of life is still here ; I am brave
Yet I fear my own breath.

Now I must conquer the fear of life,
The knock of the blood in my wrists,
The breath that rushes through my nose, the strife
Of desires in the loins' dark twists.

What do you want, wild loins ? and what
Do you want, warm heart ? and what
Wide eyes and wondering spirit ? – not
Death, no not death for your lot !

They ask, and they must be answered ; they
Are, and they shall, to the end.
Lo! there is woman, and her way is a strange way,
I must follow also her trend.

Monday, February 13, 2006

father is engaged

About a week or so ago, I asked my best friend of ten years, MM, to marry me. She said yes, making me the happiest man in the world. To celebrate, I am doing something I rarely do: I am posting a picture of myself. Ecce! That's my beautiful fiancée with me. In my left hand is a sack full of Anglo-Catholicism. In MM's left hand is some champagne and an egg.

something from origen

Origen has a tarnished reputation. But I like him. For one thing, those doctrines for which he is most often indicted (the preexistence of human souls, Apokatastasis, or the eventual redemption of all free creatures, including the devils, and some other one) had not been systematically considered by the Catholic Church, and so Origen could not have been straying beyond the boundaries of orthodoxy with regard to things around which there were, at the time, no boundaries drawn by the Church.

There is also the fact that Origen is among the white-robed martyrs: he suffered torture, and eventually died for the faith.

At any rate, I am reading Origen's On First Principles just now. Here is an interesting and edifying passage:

Thus the working of the Father, which endows all with existence, is found to be more glorious and splendid, when each one, through participation in Christ in his chacter of wisdom and knowledge and sanctification, advances and comes to higher degrees of perfection; and when a man, by being sanctified through participation in the Holy Spirit, is made purer and holier, he becomes more worthy to receive the grace of wisdom and knowledge, in order that all stains of pollution and ignorance may be purged and removed and that he may make so great an advance in holiness and purity that the life which he received from God shall be such as is worhy of God, who gave it to be pure and perfect, and that that which exists shall be as worthy as he who caused it to exist. Thus, too, the man who is such as God who made him wished him to be, shall receive from God the power to exist for ever and to endure for eternity. That this may come to pass, and that those who were made by God may be unceasingly and inseparably present with him who really exists, it is the work of wisdom to instruct and train them, and lead them on to perfection, by the strengthening and unceasing sanctification of the Holy Spirit, through which alone they can receive God.

In this way, then, through the ceasless work on our behalf of the Father, the Son, and the Holy spirit, renewed at every stage of our progress, we may perchance just succeed at last in beholding the holy and blessed life; and when after many struggles we have been able to attain to it we ought so to continue that no satiety of that blessing may ever possess us; but the more we partake of its blessedness, the more may the loving desire for it deepen and increase within us, as ever our hearts grow in fervour and eagerness to receive and hold fast the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

for all the world to see!!!!

I may not have been to Israel or Rome lately, but I have been sitting in my little chair, saying the Daily Office twice daily. Here is a picture of the view for your edification.

I'm also considering starting an Anglo-Catholic blog ring. There doesn't seem to be one. Though there are quite a few Anglo-Catholic bloggers out there. Any thoughts or suggestions?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

father paul zahl again nails it: ecusa hypocrisy & the death of grammar

I have tried for a long time to understand how it is possible that our leaders talk so freely about "inclusion" but never include us. They talk feelingly concerning "pluralism" and "embrace" but there is no embrace for us.

Thus recently, someone at a conference was regaling his listeners about a recent episcopal consecration in the Pacific Northwest, and saying how wonderful it was to see every ethnicity and every gender possibility and every "identity" represented so extravagantly at the service. I raised my hand and asked, "How many theological traditionalists were present?" The speaker paused, and then said – before he had time to suppress it – "Well, uh... none."

Read the whole thing at Fr. Zahl's blog.

Note Fr. Zahl's having devoted the last few years simply to trying to get the opposition to show a little tenderness, to be generous and charitable. I remember when he came to BDS in 2003 (?) and preached at a community Eucharist. His sermon was an exhortation to that very thing. And I also remember how the loudest advocates of "radical inclusivity" were the same ones who mounted a protest at Fr. Zahl's very presence on campus. It wasn't his message that they objected to being proclaimed on campus: it was him. I remember them saying so quite straightforwardly. We had to have an anger-management session before he came. People were, according to one student, "mad and sad" that he had been invited because, in the words of another student, "he is against who certain people are." ("Who certain people are" was spoken with a kind of emotional gravity, as though vocally italicized. I remember it very clearly.) I also recall very clearly the consensus of my classmates expressed in a colloquium that the opponents of the ordination of women should no longer be tolerated in the Episcopal Church. It was time for them to go. Only the inclusive should be included. That's what "radical inclusivity" is taken to mean.

Of course its nonsense. It is a grossly hypocritical inconsistency. But no one can bear having that pointed out. It is always someone else who is a hypocrite. Never me. But this is ECUSA's new religion. One is often told about the mystical wonder of "holding [mutually exclusive] things in tension." This is understood to be the essence of Anglicanism. It is actually thought that the apex of Anglican virtue is Incoherence. And perhaps they're right. But if so, Anglicanism is doomed to die.

The principle embraced by the Radical Inclusivists -- that mutual exclusivities must be held in tension, that this is the meaning of Anglican (and Christian) Inclusion -- is Satanic. It is a denial of the condition of possibility of human language and of human life. The connection between life and language was not invented by Wittgenstein. Its in Genesis.

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2.7)

Which immediately precedes

And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. (Genesis 2.19)

The divine breath of life, in virtue of which men are living souls is the grammar of human language. The Naming of the Beasts is impossible until man is animated by the Spirit breathed into him by God (in Hebrew "breath" and "spirit" are the same word). And at bottom of human language, likewise, is the relationship of opposition and distinction, what is often expressed as the Principle of Non-Contradiction or the Law of the Excluded Middle, a scholastic formulation of which is
eadem est scientia oppositorum. One and the same is the knoweldge of opposites. It is from this principle that we are able to differentiate, one thing from another, and ourselves from l'autre. It is this principle that is the basis for the fundamental recognition of our being distinct from God -- and it was rage against this principle that manifested itself in Lucifer's non serviam.

It is this kind of spiritual angst that one sees in the power of ECUSA's hypocrisy and incoherence: rage that unnames the beasts by sucking the spirit of life from man, and reducing him to the dust of the earth. It killeth. It seeks to take the Spirit of God out of the waters of baptism, rendering the matter of creation chaotic, formless, and void, by a childish insistence that God's spirit not brood over these waters of our autonomy. This petulant rage undermining life and language denies the basis of obedience to God's command "thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."

Nietzsche dreamed of murdering God by these means. In Twilight of the Idols he says "'Reason' in language — oh, what an old deceptive female she is! I am afraid we are not rid of God because we still have faith in grammar." ECUSA is losing its faith in grammar. Its dream is an incoherent one. Inclusion through exclusion, and monotonous diversity. In
The Gay Science, Nietzsche tells of a Madman who announces the death of God.
The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. "Whither is God?" he cried; "I will tell you. We have killed him -- you and I. All of us are his murderers.... Is there still any up or down? Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? has it not become colder? Is not night continually closing in on us?.... Who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent?.... What after all are these churches now if they are not the tombs and sepulchers of God?"

i am but a vessel through which god drones on indefinitely

. . . .

I cannot be faulted for the self-love you hear in my voice. That self-love is God's alone, for He taketh great pleasure in an audience, and in the airing of His thoughts before it. My seeming indifference to your flagging interest is, in truth, my Father's. For my Father rarely considers His listeners. And the tired rhetorical devices I use and tame shaggy-dog stories I tell are my Lord's, as well.

It is He who has chosen me to spin His pointless yarns. It is He who said, "Michael, read at length from the Holy Bible's more prosaic stretches, and follow it with a lecture that shall continue until you are tired and then begin again, one that you shall deliver in a voice with no tonal modulation." And I have answered his call. Verily, I am doing the Lord's droning.

. . . .

Read the whole thing here, at the Onion, via Canon Harmon.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

the rome report: more on the priest murdered in turkey

The Rome Report: More on Fr Andrea Santoro

They caught the perpetrator. Guess what is motive was?

incoherent, mainstream islamic hatred and violence spreads

Bear in mind that I acknowledge that the Danish cartoons were indeed offensive to Muslims, and for that reason, if for no other, also in very poor taste. But this insane violence is ridiculous. It is petulant, dangerous, and wicked. And until the Islamic media stops its farcical, paranoid, freewheeling, and repulsive maligning of Jews and Judaism (as distinct, for the sake of argument, from the state of Israel), I'm sorry, but their ranting lacks any semblance of moral credibility.

Here is an excerpt from the NY Times article today, about the spread of the violence:

Meanwhile, several hundred Iranians attacked the Danish Embassy in Tehran, hurling firebombs and chanting, "God is great," and "Death to Israel," while the police watched.

What? How does this make sense? It doesn't. Its diabolical nonsense. Here's more:

As the facade of the building burned and young men managed to climb around the razor wire protecting the diplomatic compound, a voice broadcast by loudspeaker told the crowd that the cartoons were a Zionist conspiracy, orchestrated by those "afraid of our fundamentalism."
You don't have to be a Zionist conspirator to be afraid of this kind of fundamentalism. Its a kind of fundamentalism, after all, that apparently brooks absolutely no criticism, no difference. It does not even tolerate itself: scores of Muslim protestors, and innocent bystanders are themselves being killed as part of the riot "process."

It does not bode well for Western / Islamic (non)relations that the governments in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, Dubai, the UAE, and elsewhere not only tolerated the violence, but facilitated and helped to organize it.

Lastly, in Turkey,

a Catholic priest was shot dead on Sunday in the Black Sea port of Trebizond by a young man shouting, "God is great!"

I am not optimistic about the future.

The cartoon is from here, by way of here.

Monday, February 06, 2006

into great silence

There is a documentary coming out that I have been itching to see. You should see it to. It is called "Into Great Silence" and is about the monks of the Grande Chartreuse, in the French Alps. The lives of Carthusians are probably the most austere of Roman Catholic monks. Though cloistered, Carthusians live for the most part as hermits, in separate cells. Typically they leave their cells only about three times a day, for a conventual mass and part of the office in choir. The rest of the office is said by the monks in their cells, where likewise their meals are taken, except on feasts. Apparently they spend four or five hours a day in prayer. They live in total silence, apart from the singing of mass and office, and for a weekly recreational period.

Attention drawn to the trailer by the folks at the SotHW.

Look at the trailer for this documentary here. It looks compelling. Read more about the success of the movie in Germany here. Here is an excerpt from the BBC article:

"I think they simply do it because they choose to... become close to God," says the film's director Philip Groening.

"It's a very simple concept, the concept is God himself, is pure happiness, the closer you move to that, the happier you are."

. . . .

The monks have avowed almost total silence, interrupted only by what one of them called "the terror of the bell".

"Once you accept the fact that when the bell rings - you just don't think about it - you just get up and go and do whatever that bell requires you to do, then, every moment that you have is a pretty permanently present moment," he says.

"You don't have to sort of plan, like 'What do I do in two years?... Where do I want my career to be in 15 years?' And the absence of language makes something - the moment itself becomes very, very strong."

pornography: our culture's self-inflicted wound (more dangerous than radical islam)

I believe that pornography, especially the unrestricted flow of it through the internet is one of, if not THE most destructive forces in our society -- destructive both of individuals and of society itself.

Read the whole thing at Zenit. Biretta tip to Canon Harmon.

Pornography's Corrosive Growth

Children and Marriage at Risk in a Connected World

NEW YORK, FEB. 4, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Long-standing concerns over pornography's corrupting influence are being confirmed by recent studies. In past years restrictions on sexual content in the media were rejected by many secular observers. But the flood of Internet pornography is leading to second thoughts.

On Tuesday the New York Times reported about growing concern over the effects on children. The article reported on the findings published in last July's issue of the journal Pediatrics, in a study titled "Impact of the Media on Adolescent Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors."

The journal admitted little is known about the effects of the media on adolescent sexual behavior, mainly because of a lack of research on the subject. There is no doubt, however, that young people are immersed, often without parental supervision, in a media culture abundant in increasingly graphic sexual content.

Perhaps it is no coincidence, therefore, that each year nearly 900,000 teen-age girls in the United States become pregnant and that the rate of sexually transmitted diseases are higher among teen-agers than among adults.

The risks don't end there. "Data suggest that sexually active adolescents are at high risk for depression and suicide," the Pediatrics report states. "Early sexual experience among adolescents has also been associated with other potentially health-endangering behaviors, such as alcohol, marijuana and other drug use."

Regarding the Internet, the report noted that one national survey of 10- to 17-year-olds found that one in five had "inadvertently encountered explicit sexual content, and one in five had been exposed to an unwanted sexual solicitation while online."

Canadian concerns

The Pediatrics report confirmed worries raised in a study published in November 2004, in a study published by the Canadian Institute for Education on the Family. Author Peter Stock, in a document titled "The Harmful Effects on Children of Exposure to Pornography," cited evidence published by a hospital in the Australian city of Canberra.

The hospital's child-at-risk assessment unit documented a dramatic increase in the number of children engaged in "sexually abusive behavior." In the mid-1990s the unit saw two or three cases a year. By 2000, that had risen to 28, and by late 2003 the unit had more than 70 cases. The hospital's unit manager Annabel Wyndham commented, "We think this is a new thing of the modern world, because of access to the Net and -- to be truthful -- combined with some pretty terrible parenting."

Stock also noted that in March 2004 police uncovered cases of sexual assault perpetrated by children on other children in the Hamilton, Ontario, area. All of the victims were under the age of 12 and the oldest perpetrator was 13. In all the cases, the aggressors stated they were imitating behavior they had seen portrayed on pornographic cable television channels and on the Internet.

. . . .

There is also concern that viewing pornography will distort the sexual development of children and adolescents. Pornography not only does not give an adequate vision of human sexuality, but it also dehumanizes women.

. . . .

Studies published in research journals indicates pornography consumption is associated with these six trends, among others:

-- Increased marital distress, and risk of separation and divorce;

-- Decreased marital intimacy and sexual satisfaction;

-- Infidelity;

-- Increased appetite for more graphic types of pornography and sexual activity associated with abusive, illegal or unsafe practices;

-- Devaluation of monogamy, marriage and child rearing;

-- An increasing number of people struggling with compulsive and addictive sexual behavior.

Although Internet pornography is commonly consumed by one household member in a solitary fashion, Manning argued, the impact of sexually explicit material is felt by the entire family, and the community in general.

Survey data collected at the November 2002 meeting of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers in Chicago looked at the impact of Internet usage on marriages. At this meeting, 62% of the 350 attendees said the Internet had been a significant factor in divorces they had handled during the previous year.

They also observed that 68% of the divorce cases involved one party meeting a new love interest over the Internet. And 56% of the divorce cases involved one party having an obsessive interest in pornographic Web sites.

more cartoon commentary

Articulate commentary on the Cartoon Imbroglio by Christopher Hitchens, the professional cynic, sot, and social critic is to be found here. Apart from some overstatements (the executive ought to confine his comments to constitutional self-description), and false implications (that the pagan tradition of the Antigone is "much older than any monotheism"), it is a trenchant little essay, as his essays often are. Of course, I cannot endorse his sweeping anti-religiosity, which can sound itself rather like an exagerated, babyish tantrum, but there are large nuggets of insight here nevertheless. An excerpt:

I am not asking for the right to slaughter a pig in a synagogue or mosque or to relieve myself on a "holy" book. But I will not be told I can't eat pork, and I will not respect those who burn books on a regular basis. I, too, have strong convictions and beliefs and value the Enlightenment above any priesthood or any sacred fetish-object. It is revolting to me to breathe the same air as wafts from the exhalations of the madrasahs, or the reeking fumes of the suicide-murderers, or the sermons of Billy Graham and Joseph Ratzinger. But these same principles of mine also prevent me from wreaking random violence on the nearest church, or kidnapping a Muslim at random and holding him hostage, or violating diplomatic immunity by attacking the embassy or the envoys of even the most despotic Islamic state, or making a moronic spectacle of myself threatening blood and fire to faraway individuals who may have hurt my feelings. The babyish rumor-fueled tantrums that erupt all the time, especially in the Islamic world, show yet again that faith belongs to the spoiled and selfish childhood of our species.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

a thousand years of darkness....

For those of you who think that the West has nothing to worry about from Islam, click here to see some pictures from the recent protests / riots in London over the admitedly provocative and perhaps insulting cartoons recently to appear in European newspapers -- and at least one Middle Eastern newspaper. Read more here, and here; and see all of the offending cartoons here.

The most striking poster to me is perhaps the one reading "Freedom Go to Hell." I am a bit of a Marxist about the propaganda of religious ideologies in these sorts of instances. They scream their incoherence to the heavens. And those engaging this kind of propaganda are surely aware of their incoherence, though of course this does not stop them. I mean, it is the freedom damned by this young zealot that enables him to damn it, dammit [excuse me - that was irresistable]. But he lives by a meta-creed that finds revenge, and specifically the massacring (their word, not mine) of offensive journalists, a relatively higher priority than, for example, a free press. Needless to say, I think they are wrong.

Pardon me, but I do tend to prize the liberalism at the bottom of Western civilization -- the liberalism that protects, and in some sense prizes, the drawing of offensive cartoons and, at the same time, the vilest kinds of protest. And I believe that the rhetoric ubiquitous in the Middle East, and more and more common among Muslim communities in Europe, manifests a fundamental divergence between the worldviews of Islam and Western Liberalism. In this conflict, I unequivocally side with the latter.

Read Mr. Andrus's commentary, with more links, here.

See more Reuters photos of the protests here. Frightening.

Friday, February 03, 2006

yea, sewanee's right!

I pinched the whole post that followeth from what might quite possibly be the best blog ever (cf. previous post, or sidebar under "classics"). I post it because Fr. Ward was my spiritual father during my undergraduate years at Sewanee, and is the man most responsible for my seeking ordination. Now he is retiring and it seems like the end of an era. You can buy one of Andrew Lytle's more interesting and colorful books here. I believe he was also one of the peripheral figures of the New Criticism. (Don't be alarmed that he is not featured in the Wikipedia article; neither is Allen Tate.)

Read the whole thing here.

Some of you in the comments expressed comfusion over what was what. So I have edited. The red bits are Prof. McKay's. The Green bits are Fr. Ward's essay. The italicized bits are me, Fr. WB. I hope this makes things more intelligible.

If you spend at least 5 minutes around me, you will find out that I went to Sewanee. Sorry, The University of the South.
I got the alum magazine yesterday and perused it for a while. Normally I don't pay attention to most of the articles, but sometime they are good.
So, I was trolling around in this thing and saw that Father Ward is retiring (has retired?) and a note that said to see his essay on pages XX-XX. I was intrigued enough to check it out. I didn't read all of it, but this anecdote struck me immediately. For those of you who don't know, Andrew Lytle was an author, key member of the Southern agrarian literary movement, English professor at Sewanee, etc.

The late afternoon sun glinted off Anrew Lytle's glasses as he rattled the ice against the sides of his silver julep cup. We were sitting in rocking chairs on the porch of his home in the Assembly, engaged in one of the informal tutorials that was a significant part of my undegraduate education.
Mr. Lytle leaned back in his rocker and said, "Son, there is a triple pun on the word 'spirit.' There is a spirit of the group, such as a fraternity, or a football team, or even this University. We catch this sense of the word when we quote the Latin translation of the opening verse of the 133rd Psalm as the motto of the school: 'Ecce Quam Bonum--Behold how good and pleasant it is when brethren live together in unity.'
"Then, there is the Holy Spirit of the Living God."
Andrew raised his cup, took a deep drink, and said, "And then there is this good bourbon."
With that he laughed, slapped the arm of his chair, and began to rock back and forth more vigorously.
"Sometimes in some places these three come together in one. I have been privileged to live in such a time and place."

Amen, Mr. Lytle. May I be as good a teacher as you were. And may my julep cup (one of the 8 or so that I have) runneth over. Hell, all eight--may all eight runneth over.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

the best blog ever?

Perhaps. Visit my dear friend, Professor McKay's blog. Ask him lots of questions about the independent uses of the subjunctive. He likes that. So confident am I of the unimpeachable quality of his blog that I have given it its own section in the sidebar: classics.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

candlemas - the feast of the purification of the blessed virgin / presentation of our lord in the temple

Today being Candlemas, I thought I would post the text of the Alma Redemptoris Mater. I have been trying, by God's grace, to say the final Antiphons of the BVM after Evensong, and the Alma Redemptoris Mater is dispensed with after the second Evensong of Candlemas (the first Evensong being on the eve of the Feast, and hence Candlemas having already begun as I write), until Advent. The text that followeth is taken from the Anglican Breviary. Say goodbye, beloved, to the Alma Redemptoris Mater until Advent! (Though, praise God, we needn't say goodbye to our Lady. We will hail her in prayer, beginning at Compline tomorrow and until Wednesday in Holy Week, with the Ave, Regina Caelorum). Anyway, the Alma Redemptoris Mater:

Kindly Mother of our Redeemer; great portal of heaven ever open, the sea's far-shining star: O succour thy people who though fallen strive to rise again. O thou who hast brought forth, to all nature's wonder, nature's Lord, thine own Creator: Mother yet a Virgin ever more, who at Gabriel's speaking didst receive the Ave: towards us sinners shew thy pity.

V. After child-bearing thou remainedst a pure Virgin. R. Mother of God, intercede for us.

Let us pray.
O God, who by the child-bearing of a pure Virgin hast bestowed upon all mankind the rewards of everlasting life: grant, we beseech thee; that we may know the succour of her intercession, though whom we have been found worthy to receive the Author of life, even Jesus Chgrist thy Son our Lord. R. Amen.

V. May help divine + be with us all, for ever abiding. R. Amen.

yale, machu picchu, and the peruvian government's law suit

An interesting story. MM and I saw the exhibit last week. Interesting, though it portrayed native people over edenically, and (for the most part) the European Christians as bloodthirsty war criminals. The Incas were talented pot makers.

NEW HAVEN, Jan. 26 — By any conventional measure, Yale's exhibition about Machu Picchu would seem a windfall for Peru. As one of the most ambitious shows about the Inca ever presented in the United States, drawing over a million visitors while traveling to half a dozen cities and back again, it has riveted eyes on Peru's leading tourist attraction.

Yet instead of cementing an international partnership, the exhibition, which returned to the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale in September, has brought a low ebb in the university's relations with Peru. At issue are a large group of artifacts that form the core of the show, excavated at Machu Picchu in a historic dig by a Yale explorer in 1912. The government of Peru wants all of those objects back.

Read the whole thing here. And hide any Peruvian antiquities you've got lying around your house.

the daily office

I am loath to post anything ever again because I love that engraving of St. Charles from the last post. However, I have a question to those of you who pray the Daily Office and who use the in-course, monthly Psalter (if there are any of you out there). What do you do (and is there a standard thing to do) when it is the 31st day of the month, as it was yesterday? I.e. the monthly Psalter is arranged such that Psalm 150 is read at Evensong on the 30th day, leaving nothing for the 31st day. Yesterday I read the Psalms from the lectionary Psalter (66-68 I think). But is there some other way to do it? Its not a super important point, but as it happened yesterday, I was reminded that it is sometimes an issue.

Another question: is there a regularized psalmody for Sext (a.k.a. "An Order of Service for Noonday"), apart from the three Psalms, or whatever, that are actually printed in the office in the BCP? I suppose there is the Anglican Breviary's weekly Sext psalmody. But you would think the BCP would provide some scheme for the offices it recommends....