Defending the 12th century since the 14th; blogging since the 21st.

Catholicism, Conservatism, the Middle Ages, Opera, and Historical and Literary Objets d'Art blogged by a suburban dad who teaches law and writes stuff.

"Very fun." -- J. Bottum, Editor, FIRST THINGS

"Too modest" -- Elinor Dashwood

"Perhaps the wisest man on the Web" -- Henry Dieterich

"Hat tip: me (but really Cacciaguida)" -- Diana Feygin, Editor, THE YALE FREE PRESS

"You are my sire. You give me confidence to speak. You raise my heart so high that I am no more I." -- Dante

"Fabulous!"-- Warlock D.J. Prod of Didsbury

Who was Cacciaguida? See Dante's PARADISO, Cantos XV, XVI, & XVII.

E-mail me

Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Blogroll additions:

* The Reactionary Epicurean. A youthful paleocon and a true "axis[t] of Eve," will match wits, and share passions, with this old neo-con neo-Ron. Welcome, R.E.!

* Adam Solomon. Beethoven, Bruckner, and flamenco guitar! Yes, it's a new springtime of blogging among Yale's conservative undergraduates!

Soprano Christine Brewer has a voice critics have described as "brilliant" and "golden," yet she admits that her mind sometimes drifts during long performances.

In the middle of a recent five-hour production of Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde" at the San Francisco Opera, the 52-year-old singer started daydreaming and lost her place. She got excited, she says, then sped up and began singing the lines of her co-star, who started cracking up.

WSJ on why "prompters," though rarer than they once were, are still necessary.

(And we thought the Met had problems with TRISTAN....)

Monday, April 21, 2008
FOX NEWS: Yale University has threatened to pull a senior student's controversial "abortion art" project from an exhibition Tuesday unless she admits she lied about artificially inseminating herself and inducing miscarriages to produce the piece.

Notice the desperate search for some reason to find the project objectionable other than the proposition that killing babies to produce bloodflow for an art project is morally fileable under "Mengele":
Last week, [Art School Dean Robert] Storr issued a statement saying that Shvarts' piece "is not an acceptable project in a community where the consequences go beyond the individual who initiates the project and may even endanger the individual."
How, exactly, do "the consequences go beyond the individual" if the fetuses who (according to the artist) may or may not have been conceived and herbally aborted to create the project are of no legal standing? Presumably the inseminators had no trouble giving consent, and no one is required to view the exhibit. Is Yale suddenly turning paternalistic here?

Or is Dean Storr dropping his ideological guard and granting these hypothetical fetuses human status, if only for purposes of spin?

Notice too that the maximum penalty under discussion is that Ms. Svartz's work of "creative fiction" (which Yale says it is, and she doesn't) will be "pulled" from "an exhibition." If you or I presented an unacceptable senior project, wouldn't we flunk and fail to graduate? Is that rule no longer in force, or is there an "art" exception or an "abortion" exception to it, or both?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Saturday, April 19, 2008
Pope Benedict said today in New York:
The spires of St. Patrick's Cathedral are dwarfed by the skyscrapers of the Manhattan skyline, yet in the heart of this busy metropolis they are a vivid reminder of the constant yearning of the human spirit to rise to God.
Always seemed that way to me.

No link available, but the Arlington Catholic Herald says the Holy Father is carrying, on his U.S. visit, the cross-staff carried by every Pope from Bl. Pius IX to Paul VI.

Friday, April 18, 2008
Emma Watson turns 18, sends YouTube greeting from Levesden Studio, where HBP is shooting

The Holy Father's historic visit to a synagogue on New York's Upper East Side today had traffic consequences throughout the neighborhood. Insiders tell your blogger that the humorous among New York's Jews (the vast majority of them) called the result "Yidlock."

Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Don't miss what the fundie blogs are saying about the Pope's visit! The Reformed Reader says: "What is the proper term for this? Undoing the Reformation? Abandoning the Reformed faith?..." Troyspace gives us "Comment on Antichrist Pope and 'Closet Catholic' U.S. President" (note role of Bavarian -- ! -- Illuminati, and of Skull & Bones). A site called Romans 5:9 offers a poem. And The Independent Conservative says "antichrist One has landed" and promises to show you "Why This Event is Nothing to Cheer About!" Why, this Pope has even visited synagogues -- they've got it on tape!

Like they say, the goof is out there.


Fröhliche Geburtstag!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008
The good, the many, and teh gay

So it starts: did Pope Benedict, speaking to reporters on the plane en route to the U.S., simply promise "no more pedophile priests," as in this account, or did he also draw a distinction between pedophilia and homosexuality, as in this account, calling forth this comment on WDTPRS, but also this one?

All seem to agree, at least, that the Holy Father said: "It is more important to have good priests than many priests."

Monday, April 14, 2008
Harry Potter and the Ensequelpedia of Doom: Plaintiff Rowling says she's so "decimated" by alleged copyright violator Steve Vander Ark, creator of the HP Lexicon, that she may not be able to finish her own Potter encyclopedia, which, the Telegraph gives us due warning, "would include material that did not make it into the novels."

Go, Steve!

Hamas Cleric Predicts Rome Will Be Conquered By Islam. Read it through, keeping in mind traditional Muslim code-words for Jews, and you'll see I'm not the only one who understands "Catholic neo-Zionism."

Friday, April 11, 2008
A Say-the-Black-Do-the-Red-Letter Day

Today I finally met Fr. Zuhlsdorf, and he met me!

Frankly I've been wondering what to do with this blog, since, what with one thing and another, the web has lately been affording me other venues in which to express myself on matters that would once have gone here.

But after hearing Fr. Z., I see that this blog still has a purpose: no where else do I comment with any regularity on Catholic matters as such; and, while I of course reject the idea that "spiritual" and "secular" either can or should be compartmentalized in a Catholic's life -- that would run contrary to the great ideal of unity of life -- nonetheless there is much that I can and should say in support of the New Evangelization that JPII called for and the New Liturgical Movement that, in Fr. Z's view, Pope Benedict is calling for.

And what is this New Liturgical Movement?

Fr. Z. brings together two facts: One, there are a lot of relatively new lay movements and associations in the Church, much blessed by recent Popes. Two, there was once something called "the liturgical movement," gathering steam throughout the first half of the 2oth century and typified by Romano Guardini (acc. to Fr. Z.; I think Card. de Lubac was a mainstay as well) which had some good ideas, some not so good, and bore some good fruit, much not so good.

Pope Benedict's idea (Fr. Z. says, and obviously I think he's on to something) is that because lex orandi lex credendi, and because liturgy does so much to anchor our Catholic identity (or to loosen it, in the case of bad liturgy), and because the present mood in the Church is demonstrably favorable to new movements, there can and should be a parish-based revival of good liturgy, with the Extraordinary Form/Tridentine Rite/Traditional Latin Mass as the spearpoint.

That's the genius of Summum Pontificum, you see. By cutting bishops out of the process and making the revival of the old liturgy a parish matter, the Pope has swung open the door to parish-based movements for its revival, and, by extension, for revival of other good liturgical pratices. (Fr. Z. reports on his blog cases of priests starting to say the N.O. ad orientem after experiencing the Trid, and similar developments.)

Some people will be called to make this form of renewal their main apostolate. That won't be my case, but I will take (as I have long taken) a strong interest in it, and will devote some of this blog to it. That, plus the military adventures of Jonathan Lee; opera for beginners; politics for Catholic neo-cons (or should I say, Catholic neo-con neo-Rons); and Harry Potter.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008
OK, I am now so-o-o-o-o-o for McCain...!

Btw, the last time my son, LCPL "Jonathan Lee Morris" USMCR, was deployed, I blogged about it virtually nonstop for months. This time I haven't said a word about it. Strange how these things work.

Well, he's goin' again. Been training out at Pendleton (where LCPL James McCain is also based), and will ship out for the sandbox -- Anbar Province, again, but a different part of it -- in a week or two or three; exact date is OP SEC. (And probably unknown, if you ask me!)

Back in mid-to-late November, Lord willing.

Sunday, April 06, 2008
Charlton Heston, 1923-2008

Everyone knows about Moses, Ben-Hur, and the NRA; many know about his Cardinal Richelieu, the role that introduced fans to what he looked like with his shirt on. But few know that he was also dedicated to the stage, and to bringing Shakespeare to the movies.

His stage roles included Macbeth, Captain Queeg in his own production of The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, and More in A Man for All Seasons.

Shakespeare-wise, he played Mark Antony in a 1970 Julius Caesar that was flawed but still worth watching. Heston himself was excellent, and John Gielgud (Cassius in the 1955 film) was awesome as Caesar. However, casting Jason Robards as Brutus when he was still recovering from the bottle, and pairing the utterly American Robards with a Cassius straight out of the RSC (the marvelously craggy Richard Johnson), was not a good idea. And the direction had a sort of faux-deMille quality that was already outdated by 1970. (Heston was not responsible for the casting or the direction, btw.) However, throw in Diana Rigg as Portia, Richard Chamberlain as Octavius, and Robert Vaughn as Casca, and I refuse to blame myself for having enjoyed it.

Next, concluding reasonably that Julius Caesar needed its sequel, Heston directed and starred in (and probably financed, truth be told) his own movie of Antony and Cleopatra, co-starring Hildegarde Neil -- but was unable to find a commercial distributor for it. It also featured Eric Porter as Enobarbus, and John Castle (Geoffrey in The Lion in Winter!) as Octavius Caesar.

Heston also did a star-cameo as the Player-King in Branagh's Hamlet.

He was also (like the recently-departed Paul Scofield) married to one woman for decades.

Here was a Caesar. When comes such another?

Photo: Supporters of Pakistan's largest Islamic party Jamate-e-Islami burn the effigy of Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders during a rally in Karachi, Pakistan.

What exactly are they mad at: that Wilders publicized passages in the Koran that call for the slaughter of "unbelievers," or that he thinks that's a bad thing?

(Btw, Mr. Wilders's 8mm enterprise is not exactly news any more, even on the streets of Pakistan. I'm guessing this particular rent-a-mob was timed for Monday's papers.)

Thursday, April 03, 2008
New Bishop for Mobile, AL, replacing Archbp. Oscar Lipscomb: it's Bp. Thomas Rodi ("Ro-DEE"), currently of Biloxi.

What's he like? Una Voce Southern Mississippi said last fall:
Bishop Thomas Rodi of the Diocese of Biloxi, stated in response to an inquery, that Father Jon Noone, Pastor of Annunciation Parish in Kiln, Mississipppi, will begin offering the Traditional Latin Mass on the First Sunday of Lent, 2008.
So, you know, it ain't his first ro-DEE-o.