Thursday, August 31, 2006

From the mystical climate of Catholic Europe...

Ever invite someone (i.e. a Catholic) to a Mass in Latin? They will look at you like you just asked them to spend the night in a haunted house! This is a weakness underlying the American Catholic culture of today. A sad flaw of my generation is the establishment of a veritable cult of continuing change (almost everybody has come to expect all things to just keep on changing without end). We must be "patient in tribulation" as Saint Paul counseled (Romans 12:12).

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Orange trees from this Spaniard...?

Ciao amici and meet Saint Dominic (he's from Spain)! I have always been so entertained by the lives of the saints! Read about his life and you will be ever so inspired. Once, an Italian Dominican exclaimed to me: "Well, didn't you know that orange trees were brought to Italy by Saint Dominic?!"

The mighty "galero rosso" with its 30 tassels!

Everytime I enter a cathedral in a cardinalatial see, I look up to try to find the hanging galero hats (it's actually kind of fun)! The best is to see Cadinal Spellman's galero in N.Y.C. (his was Pacelli's!) or even the ugly one they made for Bernardin in Chicago!

The galero was presented (until the updating era of the 1960s) in public consistory to every new cardinal. When the cardinal would die, it was carried before his coffin and then placed at the base of his bier during the funeral rites. Then, it was hung from his cathedral ceiling to denote that once a cardinal (now dead) once had jurisdiction there. The joke was that as soon as the hat would eventually drop to the floor some day, then the prelate would enter the heavenly kingdom!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Forays of today: more concrete and brick monolith?

The eye-catching pictorial detail of these traditional old churches is great (they actually have a Catholic ethos)! The evolution of American church architecture is sometimes fun to see. By the end of WWI, English parish Gothicism was losing its exclusive hold on church design. Other archaeological strains were being looked into (with the growing pull of the commercial styles - boo!). They say that Romanesque work, with its brief insurgence, probably was because it so naturally supported the 1920s fascination with the interaction between roughly blocked-out forms and finely executed detail. The church in the photo is a tour de force of eclectic archaeologizing - American craftsmanship!

To be a bride of the Christ...

So, has the Catholic Church really been so unfair to women? Sometimes we forget that the Catholic sisters wielded more power than any other block of women in the history of our nation. They were a backbone of the nation in establishing and maintaining hundreds of primary and secondary schools, universities, orpanages, hospitals, clinics, conservatories of music, etc. Our sisters were the most educated block of women in the nation. They met the educational standards of the state and they gave. The Master is here and He calleth thee? See:

Saturday, August 26, 2006

My kind of cornerstone: in Latin!

I've always been a fan of the book, The Seven Storey Mountain, by Merton. I'd like to share this one line from the book: "How does it happen that even today a couple of ordinary French stonemasons, or a carpenter and his apprentice, can put up a dove-cote or a barn that has more architectural perfection than the piles of eclectic stupidity that grow up at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars on the campuses of American universities?"

Why be Catholic in the Europe of today...?

Europe has an inheritance of tradition (Catholicism). All that the (Protest)ant churches of today/yesterday can agree upon is (at least) one thing: that they remain in "protest" of something they still believe to be Cathoilic (this much they can at least agree upon).

Where did this phenomenon arrive from? Why this self-appointed task of Martin Luther (an archetype) to break from the one (Christ)endom? He felt bound by no corpus of history or the collective wisdom of the past or of the legacy of tradition. For him, the prescriptive codes of ancestral experience existed to be selectively followed or wholly rejected entirely - subject to his whim. On what grounds can this mortal, like the so many others, suddenly refashion the existing order?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The American Catholic Centre...

When I see this building in Washington, D.C. I get so excited that I can almost hear in my head that music that we all love that's used to announce the Fox movietone!

Welcome to the Catholica Universitas Americae! This is the Centrum Nationale Culturae Catholicae! Caldwell Hall is where so many American theologians, philosophers and canonists have received their education!

Chinese Catholics...

My thoughts and prayers are always with the persecuted Church in China. Imagine being a faithful Catholic under the Communist fist? See the Kung Foundation: I have met both Joseph and Agnes Kung and they are stellar warriors for Christ! May Cardinal Kung pray for us all!

To waltz over the cobblestones of Rome...!

FYI to tourists/pilgrims: don't ever be in a hurry to get anywhere while in Rome! Sometimes I feel like a walrus (marine mammal allied to the seals) while attempting to move nimbly through the streets of Rome as people don't get out of your way and sometimes you trip over the cobbles!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Today is Pivs Confirmation saint!

Today I feel rather proud as it's the Feast of Pope Saint Pius X, my Confirmation saint! When I was confirmed in A.D. 1992 by His Grace Robert Carlson, Auxiliary to the Archbishop of Saint Paul, I recall his delight in having a Pius X in the bunch! FYI:

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Before the culinary delight - first make a catch!

Because Italy is surrounded by the sea, except in the North, and where, in that region there are large lakes and rivers, fish make up an important part of the diet, and the fish section of the menu offers a wide and varying array of fish and seafood dishes throughout the country! Renowned seafood can be caught and cooked by yourself once you have locals show you the ropes!

La vita Italiana...frutti di mare!

Here I am with La Magda on my terrace! She cooked the octopus that her dad had caught that same day for us! It was a delight (so old school to hunt and then eat the seafood the same day)! We hosted lovely dinners on our terrace and La Mag always did a fantastic job with her special native insight with Italian cooking (passed on through the generations)!

The fruits of our hunting in the sea near Rome!

Well, this is it! Each morning we hunted for octopi and then we'd eat it for cena! La Magda made us this lovely June meal and we dined together on my terrace as the sun was beginning to set! The vino was from the Cantina Cerveteri north of Rome and the Republica de Cuba cigar was nice, too (Habanos!)!

Roman tailored - only the best!

It is such an honor for me while in Rome to lay out the sacred vestments for the sacred ministers of the altar! Each item is so holy as each is blessed and so used in the rites! I place each vestment down in the order in which they are donned. Do you like how I layered the cord cincture (hint: it's in the form of an "M" for Maria)?! The Church has given us so much!

You study in Rome?

If you are called to study philosophy or theology in Rome, then consider the Dominican Univeristy (! We students enjoy its private gardens! In fact, we're the only Pontifical Univeristy in Rome with such green space amid the rooftops of the centro storico!


Everyone is a link in the chain! Remember the great quote from John Henry Cardinal Newman: "God created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another...I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught."

American altar boy carries the torch in Rome...!

Here's me in Rome at the hallowed "Mass of Coronation!" It was last prayed in A.D. 1978, the year of 3 popes! But, when Lolek passed on to his reward in A.D. 2005, we sang this Mass in Rome in honor of the installation of the new German Pope! I was so proud to be Christ's "page" at the altar during this historical Mass! Can you see me on the right in the sanctuary of the Lord! The 1800s vestments with the Baroque altar cards were da bomb, too!

Conflagration between the Church and Her enemies!

Today as with yesterday, one can still see the tension seen between morals and party platforms. Of course our job is to seek the Catholic moral framework when we vote in America as in Italy!

Once I heard an American eulogizing the Lodges of the Freemasons and so my reply was: "Well Jerry, look at the mighty Masonic holds in the Italy of today!" The doctrinaire constancy, anti-Catholic furies, reckless affections and chimerical plots of the Masons makes me want to barf! An Italian once pointed out to me that their dogmatic teaching can reasonably be called their own "theology."

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Long live Catholic Sweden!

Wow! Italian granite in the New World! Nice to see some old Latin in this wicked cornerstone!

Study the legends...!

The future never needed the past more than it does today! Imagine a world enlivened by the wisdom of Socrates, Aristotle, Cicero, Saint Augustine, Saint Thomas, Dante, Shakespeare, Madison, Cardinal Newman and T.S. Eliot...! Study the theology of the Church today as a hobby!

March for Christ...!

Have you ever been on a pilgrimage!? They're great! My Canadian friend asked me to invite all on the annual pilgrimage to the Shrine of Notre-Dame-du-Quebec (September 2, 3, 4, 2006: This is a 62 mile trek to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of the Cape which will start in Saint-Joseph-de-Lanoraie (a town on the St. Lawrence River east of Montreal, near the place where St. Isaac Jogues and his companions fell into the hands of the Iroquois in a.D. 1642). Pilgrims follow in the footsteps of saints and martyrs in prayer, contemplation and cameraderie!

The menace of Islam...

In former years everyone read the Communist Manifesto to understand the threat to civilization. Today some are now starting to read the Qur'an.

In Rome I got to know a Lebanese Christian really well. He was born in Beruit and now he's a seminarian living in Rome who has read the Qur'an and now with fright he often explains it. He shared this line with me: "Fight and slay the unbelievers wherever ye find them. Seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem of war." -Qur'an, Sura 9:5

Monday, August 14, 2006

Two German angels...

This cute little sweetie is just the best! She woke up early, held this standard up with a smile and said to everybody: "Hey guys, who's the boss!?" Still laughing I asked if she could tell the audience what her hobby was as she beamed, "I grow idle when there are no heretics to vex me and so I like refuting the fallacies of the adverseries of the Church while defending the historical truth of Scripture!"

Awe yeah: tomorrow is here!

Friends: meet our future! This little warrior barked to us today that soon he'd be a lord reverend cardinal of the Holy Roman Church! Then, in a fit about modern vestments he exclaimed: "Horse feathers - liberal Barney vestments are for the birds!" He then went on to tell us that the antique vestments of yesteryear are the only way to go because, "filagree is cool with the fine gold and silver twisted wire!"

They guard the Pope!

Hey, are these guys working or just eating doughnuts? At leat the bikes are BMWs! The old school cavalry look with the riding breeches (laced below the knees) and boots with spurs is really kind of cool!

The Sistine Choral from the Vatican!

The Vatican Choir in Rome is one of the great choruses of the world! It originated in A.D. 1483! In addition to singing the modern music of the mighty legend Fr. Lorenzo Perosi, it sings with deepest understanding the musical compositions of Palestrina and Vittoria, which are the culmination of centuries in developing unaccompanied choral music in Italy and Spain (the music of Palestrina and Vittoria is the highest expression the world has ever known of this kind of music) and it's all sung a capella or alla capella (in church or chapel style) with no instrumental accompaniment, or if used occasionally, the instruments play the same notes that the singers sing! The Sistine Choir, being authentic and singing with such restraint and fervor, rules the roost!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Congratulations to Rachel and parents...

My former neighbor, Michelle, just had a baby yesterday! It's her first and a new girl! Hearty congrats to her, her spouse and family! Prayers are requested for the new little soul, Rachel. If we were Italians, this little girl could call me zio (uncle), because everyone has a million uncles in Italy! Many thanks!

La dolce vita...?

Welcome to the Italian spa world! Lucky for me I had connections at this resort, si? Here I am trying to be cool in my new 100% linen beach shirt that I bought from a vendor on the beach selling coconut! All that was on my mind at this pool was how soon I could take a ride on a "ketch" again (a fore-and-aft rigged vessel with mainmast and mizzenamst, etc.)...

La bandiera Italiana...

This summer Italy won the hallowed World Cup (that's soccer for you Americans)! So this year especially one often sees the Italian flag raised in the wind! Their national anthem is l'Inno (a must hear!). Sometimes I hear l'Inno in my mind when I see the tricolore!

Rowboat from the Sea...

Even after the Etruscans and Carthugians and the Romans, etc., there still remains in Italy these cool old wooden boats! Do you like the oil base paint?

Shipwreck near to Rome?

Can an award be won for this enchanting photo? This seagoing vessel built by an Italian shipbuilder never made it to port and so was washed ashore! I looked for dead dudes, but didn't see any.

Hawaii or Italy...?

Imagine how the Creator made Italy: She is surrounded by the Ligurian Sea...the Tyrrhenian Sea...the Mediterranean Sea...the Ionian Sea...and the Adriatic Sea! How blessed could She be?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Enjoy the hinterland...

Every pilgrim or tourist to Italy does a lot of walking. But those who know me know of my marathon walks along the coast. When I'm bored, I sometimes walk for hours along the sea. With their being so little real estate development in Italy, one can enjoy the natural seashore even with cropland often bordering it!

Aqua fortis...

Wow, cool motorboat! Do you seen the light on the back? The old guys take these boats out before dawn to catch fish!

An aqueous life in Italy is such a blessing! I was always aquatic as a kid while spending summers at our cabin in St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. But, the sometimes transparent bluish green of the sea is better than any Wisconsin lake!

Aqua vitae...

I so love the Tyrrhenian Sea! Because the water is so calm, one can usually see a constellation of colors instead of just crashing waves as with the Pacific and Atlantic. The color, usually green-blue in hue, is of such brilliance!

Deus benedicat te!

Latin is so much fun (our cherished heritage!) Doesn't it just glow on this shinny cut of marble? When I sign my letters I sometimes write in Latin: Dominus Benedicat Te (May the Lord bless you)!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Minnesota in Italy and the world...

Can you see the "3M" on the black rubber? Being from the North Star state, Minnesota, I always find myself rather proud when I stumble upon one of these in the streets of Italy. I boast to my surprised friends: "Guess what?! These are from 3M - Minnesota Minning and Manufacturing - from my state!"

An Italian: Christopher Columbus!

Pater Patriae! I went to Genoa to see the port where Christopher Columbus learned how to sail. It was a delight! There, with many Latin American tourists, I even made a visit to the house where he once lived, now a small museum. "Nice to know Columbus was an Italian," I exclaimed to a Genovese. Her reply: "Yes, America was discovered by an Italian who was lost!"

Might of Mother Russia's Rome!

Zeal...ardor...fervor: meet our Russian Catholic brothers and sisters in the Faith! The Soviet milieu, ever engaged in warfare, was all about assuring the most effective mobilization and utilization of the national manpower to destroy Christianity. Always under seige, but never taken, a city set atop a hill, the Church survived and today we see the new generation of Russian Catholics who now seek solidarity with us (!

Antica e e Roma!

Yes, this is Rome: old and new (we're just sour because we wish Roma Beata had been spared of the '60s!). Actually, an expat friend of mine calls modern art in Rome "ratbite fever" (an infectious disease following the bite of a rat with ulceration, relapsing fever, rash, etc.)!

Pope J.P. II lived here while a student in Rome!

Nice Roman palazzo, eh? This is where the young Father Wojtyla lived from 1946 - 1948. He arrived at Rome's famed Stazione Termini on the train from Poland in the autumn of '46. The war had just ended and it was his first trip outside of Poland. Through the train windows he saw the war destruction even as Poland lay in ruins. So, while in Rome, he was a guest priest here at the Belgian College!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Homemade hair style?

I had to carry on with a circumspect manner even after seeing this totally cool hair! My own reaction was:"Ma, che bella!" With filial affection the bridegroom was so proud of this bizarrely juxtaposed hair style of his new bride! Only in Italy, friends!

Rich Roman damask...glorious!

From the elite Roman tailors - Giovanni Romanini (purveyors to the Popes from Pius VI to our modern era)! FYI: this is a Roman style cope and just as about Roman as they come!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Old world Italy...

Ah, life on the Mediterranean basin! It sure is nice to live in the Eastern Hemisphere! Our everyday routine: I watch as Pino catches octopi in the morning while his wife, Anna, cooks them in the late afternoon for dinner! La Magda cooks really well, too!

Hunting in the sunny Tyrrhenian Sea!

To hunt for the eight-armed octopus is dangerous...and fun! However, most species are rather small and, usually, timid and inoffensive. I only hunt on a sunny day, in the early morning, when they're all out!

Eminent in the wisdom of the sea: it's Pino!

All of the sage counsel that I receive in hunting for octopi comes from this legend, Pino. He's been hunting sea creatures since the 1950s! A son of the port of Rome, Civitavecchia, he knows how to catch, clean and cook octopuses in "the" authentic Italian manner.

Ulcerate in gli Stati Uniti?

Like I sometimes quip to my parents: "Either I can make money and pursue an ulcer back home or vacation in Italy while earning myself a degree!" Their reply: "Is the beach an infringement on your studies?" I laugh: "I attend a preeminent Pontifical University of renown (I just hope I can get a job after!)!"

Mediterranean world!

Just west of Rome is the sea! Being near to the sea is fun: one can feel, hear and smell the sea breeze and see such lovely flowers! And, it always feels just a little more fresh to be near to the sea!

Military splendor of a bygone era!

Only on the streets of Rome does one see anything this cool! As I took the photo, i heard the guardsman jest: "Hey, do you want to buy this?"

Nice epitaph of a Cardinal!

Ever read such a niiice epitaphium/funeral Latin?! Inscribed in marble are these nice words about Enrico Cardinal Dante, Master of Ceremonies to Popes Pius XII, John XXIII and Paul VI. He was born in Rome and died in Rome: a true Romano! May he now pray for us as we pray for him!