Archive for the 'General' Category

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 32,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 4 days for that many people to see it.

In 2010, there were 49 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 166 posts. There were 109 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 5mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was May 19th with 217 views. The most popular post that day was Catholic Tradition.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for don bosco, gabriella’s blog, euthanasia, tu es sacerdos in aeternum, and maggio mese della madonna.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Catholic Tradition May 2010


The worship of … nothing September 2009


The best of FULTON J. SHEEN May 2009


Their song fills the universe September 2009


Tutto si paga! October 2009


The Eden of touch

We share a hymnal at Sunday Mass
Shoulders rubbing, heads leaning
Together toward each other

Our eyes meet in “Panis Angelicus”
I touch her bare arm in “Jubilate Domino”
We smile through Latin hymns

And the slow dour notes of the organ
Lighten for a moment with the sound
Of her voice singing soft and fragile

God the almighty lives at
That instant in the sweetness
Of words sung in her whisper

And I am filled with prayers of thanksgiving
For that Eve and this Adam
In the Eden of touch

(by Doug Tanoury)

Mercoledi delle ceneri

Digiuno e astinenza 

Con quest’oggi inizia un tempo particolarmente favorevole per avvicinarci a Dio: una marcia che dura 40 giorni, che può cambiare davvero qual-cosa di importante nella nostra vita. Cambiare, convertirci: sono le parole che in questi giorni Dio rivolge a ciascuno di noi in modo più insistente. E volgere il nostro cuore a Dio, convertirci, significa essere disposti a fare di tutto per vivere come lui spera che noi viviamo, a essere sinceri con noi stessi, non tentando di servire due padroni, ad amare Dio con tutto il nostro cuore. Tutto questo nella situazione normale di vita che conduciamo. La vera conversione si manifesta nel comportamento: i desideri di miglioramento devono venir fuori nello studio o nel lavoro, nel come viviamo in famiglia, nei piccoli sacrifici offerti a Dio che rendono più piacevole agli altri stare insieme a noi, nel frequentare la Messa la domenica e ogni volta che ci è possibile, negli atti di carità.

Che questa quaresima sia per tutti noi un’ottima occasione di cambiamento.


Not meant for a child?

I remember my first Bible. The book had a fragrance to it, not like paper from a mill, but something like perfumed parchment. That set it apart as holy. ‘The Poky Little Puppy’, after all, did not have fragrant red-dyed pages. Moses with tabletsOn the inside of the front cover was a drawing of a man with a long beard and horn-like shafts coming from or penetrating into his forehead. The man was climbing down a mountain. He was carrying big tablets of stone, that began “I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have strange gods before Me”. I did have an inkling, even then, of what that meant: a childlike intimation of the Being beyond beings, of the God who made all and rules all, who Himself was strange because He was God, while all the ‘strange gods’ were not gods at all, as strange as they might be. On the inside of the back cover was a similar drawing of Jesus standing on a hillside, preaching to people below. This time the caption began “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” . I’m still working on that one.

There were special laminated pages set between the Old Testament and New Testament, illuminated with small drawings and red letters, for recording births, baptisms, confirmations, marriages, and deaths. My name is there, in my father’s handwriting, as are the names of my brother and sisters. That alone gave me an idea as to the importance of the book. Here was something that had to do with what for me were, and still are, the mysteries of birth and death, not to mention the marriage between a particular woman and a particular man, without whom I would not have come to be.

That such love and reverence should be accorded a book, a family Bible, isn’t surprising. Perhaps it should be. Nobody would think of recording births, marriages, and deaths in laminated insets of Darwin’s ‘Origin of Species, or Marx’s ‘Das Capital’.

CreationI remember reading “In the beginning God created heaven and earth, and the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God moved over the waters”.  I didn’t even know what “waters” meant. I imagined darkness like a sea, and God brooding upon the sea. I found it strange that the “earth” was there but wasn’t there. But the words that fixed their wonder in my mind were those first three: “In the beginning.” Then came the words that flooded my mind, strange words that no storyteller I’ve known would conceive: “Then God said, “Let there be light”, and there was light”.

Moses in the bulrushesI didn’t stop there. I read on. I read about Adam and Eve and the serpent. I read about Cain and Abel. My eyes were dazed by the great lists of begats, of unpronounceable names, living prodigiously long lives, and occasionally inventing metalwork or settling in the land of Edom, named after a cheese. My child’s mind was fascinated. I read about Abram and Sara, and how hard it was for her to get a child, though I had no idea why she couldn’t get one from the same place where other people got them. Tobias and the fishI read about concubines, and had no clue what they were, though they all seemed to be women, like secretaries. I read about Lot and Mrs. Lot, and their visitors, and the rain of fire from heaven.  Moses in the wicker basket, the burning bush, the staff of Aaron, the gnats and locusts and boils (what are boils?), the frogs and the angel of death – then the ten commandments, the golden calf … finally I stalled at the law of purity in Leviticus. “What does the word is-sue mean?” I asked my mother. “Let me see” she said, taking the book and considering. She paused, and gave me an odd look. “I don’t know” She said.

SamsonAfter that I stopped reading in order, but bounced around the book – reading about Gideon, about Samson and the honeycomb in the carcass of the lion (the business with Delilah I found pretty dull and incomprehensible but a lion carcass and a honeycomb, that was another story entirely), about Tobias and the fish and I remember how sad I felt when the prophet Elisha was mocked by a gang of rotten boys and he cursed them and they were eaten up by some bears.

What was so exciting about the stories? Not the things I could imagine already, but the mystery of it all. They were not Disney tales easily understood, and easily forgotten. These stories were rooted in the heart of our humanity. The imagination of a child opens out to the half hidden, the unsearchable.

It is therefore a grave mistake, even if only for the sake of education, to suppose that schools should be neutral with regard to the being of God. An even worse mistake is to provide for our children, though with good intent, “children’s Bibles” and “children’s liturgies” that end up starving the imagination and stifling the faith.

A child will be aware from church, from family life and from his reading, of the tremendous mystery of that Father who is utterly different from us, yet Who knows our inmost thoughts. But the child for whom God has been reduced to a googly-eyed cartoon of a smiling old man will reject the cartoon as he grows older, believe me,  just as he rejects dressing up as Batman and running around the house in his shorts.

So please, please, let’s not throw Baltimore out and let Sesame Street in – not with our Bibles, not with the catechism, not in our Churches, not in our Liturgy.

Eybl - Girl reading


There is a widespread attitude today which maintains that art, in all its forms, occupies a privileged position with respect to conventional morality – that it is separate from and superior to that morality, and not subject to its standards. This attitude is completely erroneous.

Censored music CDThe philosopher Jacques Maritain provides us with a plain and pointed response to this shallow and impoverished way of looking at things simply by calling attention to the common sense truth that the artist is a man before he is an artist. His point is that the artist is first and foremost a rational agent, a human being, and as such he is subject to exactly the same moral obligations as is the rest of humanity. His status as an artist gives him no special moral privileges, and least of all does it place him entirely outside the realm of conventional morality.

There are two immediate implications of this, the first having to do with the artist’s personal life, the second having to do with his professional life as an artist. The artist does not have leave to become a liar, a depraved person, or a thief, no more than does any other man. And as far as his professional life is concerned, the artist has to meet the same basic obligation as does every other human fabricator – that is, he must make sure that the products of his hands reflect the truths of the moral order. Just as no artist has a license to act immorally in his personal life, so too he has no license to produce immoral works of art.

Beautiful films - Lord of the ringsThe responsibility of the artist in this regard is especially grave, for in many cases he is someone who has been gifted by God with unusual talents, and because of this fact he is able to have a particularly powerful in-fluence on other people. And the greater the talents, the greater the influence, for good or ill. And anyone who thinks he is immune to the deleterious effects of immoral art is only kidding himself or herself.

Beautiful films - The Sound of MusicAn artist, if he uses his talents as they were intended to be used, can be a formidable force for good in any society, and indeed, if he is a truly outstanding artist, his influence can extend across many societies and down many centuries. One thinks of the positive impact of poets such as Dante and Shakespeare, of musicians such as Haydn and Mozart. On the negative side, if an artist abuses his God-given talents, he can be the cause of deep and enduring evil. What if an artist should choose not to live up to his moral responsibilities as an artist? What if he adopts the attitude described above and claims that art is not bound by the rules of moral law? He decides to use his art as a means of actively undermining the principles of conventional morality. Should the society in which such an artist lives and practices his art consider itself helpless in the face of irresponsibility of this kind, an irresponsibility that often parades itself as ‘artistic integrity’?

Censored book coverNot at all! Every society has not only the right, but the solemn duty, to protect itself against influences which, if left unchecked, could conceivably lead to the very dissolution of that society. And few things can prove to be more harmful to the health and well-being of any society than blatantly immoral art.

‘But, my goodness’, you might ask me, ‘you certainly are not talking about censorship, are you’?

I certainly am. We have been so bamboozled by carelessly liberal ways of thinking that we have to come to believe that censorship is the most heinous thing on the face of the earth. This is nonsense. As has been recognized by all sound thinkers since at least the time of Plato, censorship is a perfectly legitimate, and necessary, way by which any society seeks to protect and preserve the moral well-being of its citizens.

No smoking!We are able, with much zeal, to unconditionally outlaw smoking in public places (which is a very strong form of the censorship of behavior), and yet see fit to allow, in the name of ‘freedom of speech’, the rampant proliferation of the most pernicious and soul-polluting kind of pornography.

Talk about not having one’s priorities straight!

Columbus Day

Beneath the surface of several Catholic holidays in October are truths and memories that bring a maelstrom of protest from the modern world … so, let’s celebrate them!

Saying goodbyeColumbus Day, although a secular holiday, merits our attention for several reasons. First, the holiday owes its existence to the efforts of U.S. Catholic citizens, particularly the Knights of Columbus. Though the Knights were instituted as a fraternal benefits organization, they were very keen to dispel anti-Catholic prejudice in the U.S. and one way to meet  this goal was to emphasize America’s debt to Catholic figures, starting with its papist discoverer.

Pope Leo XIII celebrated the four hundredth anniversary of Columbus’ maiden voyage with these stirring remarks:

Nina-Pinta-Santa Maria“… But there is, besides, another reason, a unique one, why we consider that this immortal achieve-ment should be recalled by us with memorial words. For Columbus is ours; since if a little consideration be given to the particular reason of his design in exploring the ‘mare tenebrosum’ … it is indubitable that the Catholic faith was his strongest motive … so that for this reason also the whole human race owes not a little to the Church”.

Ironically, after winning the battle for Columbus Day, many Catholics today would prefer not to be associated with either the man or his holiday (most Latin American countries commemorate the date of Columbus’ discovery as the ‘Dia de la Raza’ – the day of the Race, that is, the day the races met) with a clear allusion to the bleak events that followed Columbus’ discovery.

What then should we make of Columbus in light of his spotty record?  Five things:

Colombus landingFirst, it is clear that Columbus was not a good administrator on land, and his incompetence led to cruelty. In fairness, however, before his undisciplined men des-troyed relations with the native Taino or Arawaks, his goal was to protect them from the cannibalistic Caribs (one of the most savage peoples in the Americas) who were fast advancing. Indeed, the Caribs remind us that the first step in assessing the Columban legacy is overcoming any assumption that either side in the conflict has a monopoly on evil.

Second, it is important to remember that many of Columbus’ contemporaries also deplored his deeds. Queen Isabel certainly did, which is why Columbus’ third return to Spain was in chains, and Spanish law, thanks to the Church’s teaching about the full humanity of Native Americans, consistently condemned the actions of rapacious colonists. This is significant, for no other civilization has shown such a capacity for healthy self-criticism as the Catholic.

Columbus back in SpainThird, despite tragic costs, the benefits of European contact with the New World did far more good than harm. This is particularly true in the realm of evangelization. Columbus’ genuine zeal to convert all peoples to Christianity should be commended rather than condemned. To depict all New World conversions as forced and foreign is, ironically, to patronize people of color, who were and are every bit as capable of seeing the beauty, truth, and goodness of the Gospel as their unwashed invaders.

Fourth, despite his flaws Columbus was a devout Catholic who, as Pope Leo XIII noted, was motivated by his Faith. His favourite prayer was Jesus cum Maria sit nobis in via (May Jesus, along with Mary, be with us on the way) and he always made sure his men received confession and Holy Communion.

world-map-1600Finally, Columbus Day praises not Columbus’ exploitations on land but his exploits on sea. We know that he was exceptionally courageous and resourceful, and we know that he was an outstanding seaman. There is nothing wrong with raising a glass to genuine courage and persistence, as long as one does not go on to use these to excuse other crimes and misdemeanors. I wonder if much of the animus against Columbus today really springs from a contemporary disdain for honour that would like to purge manhood of its chivalry and daring. As the historian Warren Carroll notes: “It is right to criticize the failings of heroes, but wrong to deny their greatness and the inspiration they can give”.

And if there is any note of sorrow or regret to be struck on this otherwise celebratory occasion, it should not be for the exceptional evil of the white man or the Catholic faith but for the universal darkness in man’s heart so aptly explained by the doctrine of original sin. Yet, thanks be to God, this spiritual blight is never allowed to dwarf the triumph of the Cross, which providentially uses both vessels of honour and dishonour to meet its goals.

I would like to wish you all a serene and enjoyable Columbus Day tomorrow.

Boswellia Sacra

Standing about 15 feet high, with thick stems and dense branches, the Boswellia Sacra looks like a shrub that needs pruning. Slash the trunk and a thick resin oozes out; wait a day or two and the resin will harden into nuggets that look like rock candy. These nuggets are the raw material of incense.

boswellia sacra

For thousands of years the Boswellia trees of Oman have provided the incense that burned in the temples of Egypt, Babylon, Athens, Rome, and of course the holy Temple in Jerusalem. Today, the incense burned in our parish churches at a solemn Mass, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, or at a funeral probably came from Oman. (Yemen has planted groves of Boswellia trees and exports incense, but Oman still dominates the market).

In the temple rituals of the ancient world incense played a symbolic and a practical role. Because it was rare, expensive, and would be completely consumed by fire, it was considered a suitable sacrifice to the gods. Furthermore, priests and people hoped that their prayers would rise to heaven like the great clouds of sweet-smelling smoke. Then there was the practical dimension of burning incense: in temples where animals were sacrificed and their carcasses burned, incense helped mask the stench.

incensoBoth the Old and the New Testaments tell us that incense is pleasing to God. In the book of Exodus God commands Moses to build a small, gold-plated altar specifically for burning incense every morning and evening (Exodus 30:1-8). In St. Luke’s gospel we read that St. Zachary the priest was about to offer incense in the Temple in Jerusalem when the archangel Gabriel appeared to announce that he and his wife Elizabeth were about to have a son, the future St. John the Baptist (Luke 1:8-13). And the book of Revelations describes a scene in Heaven in which an angel burned incense in a censer, “and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints … before God” (Revelations 8:3-4). In spite of biblical endorsement of the practice, there is no evidence that Christians during the first three hundred years of the Church used incense at Mass. Most probably Christians worried that clouds of incense billowing from their little house-churches would have attracted unwanted attention. Another reason could be that among the early Christians incense stirred up unhappy memories. During periods of persecution, Roman magistrates always offered a Christian the chance to save his or her life by burning a few grains of incense before an image of a pagan god and Christians who refused were executed.

preparing incenceFor reasons that are hard to pin down, by the late 4th century the Church in the East had begun to use incense in worship. Etheria, a nun from present-day France who in 381 began a lengthy pilgrimage to the Holy Land, tells us that incense was burned in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. As the bitter memory of incense’s link to the era of persecution faded, the Church in the West took up the custom, too, censing everything that was considered holy — the bread and wine, the altar, the crucifix, the book of the gospels, the celebrant of the Mass and the sacred ministers, and the congregation.

Today incense serves the same purpose as it did when Moses burned it in the desert — it pays homage to all that is holy, and symbolizes our prayers ascending to God.

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Another beautiful day! Praise the Lord.

August 2019
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The most beautiful thing this side of heaven!


e-campagna: Io sto con il Papa


Dopo due millenni di studi, di ricerche e di esplorazioni scientifiche, la genesi del canto gregoriano resta un mistero irrisolto



The story of our salvation!

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INDIFFERENTISM is a mortal sin; a condemned heresy. That's the Catholic view of the matter. INDIFFERENTISM paves the way to MORAL RELATIVISM. I have been accused of the opposite of ‘Indifferentism’, which is defined as ‘Rigorism’, and the charge is not without some merit. I believe in a rigorous following of Church doctrine and in strict accuracy in proper Catholic catechesis, and I openly attack watered-down Catholic doctrine and catechesis whenever and wherever I encounter it. Many friends scold me saying that for me it’s either my way or the highway. But here’s the thing … it’s not my way; I didn’t make up all (or any of) the rules of Catholicism. I’ve been told “you’re too rigid in your doctrine,” as if it were my doctrine. When it comes to Catholic catechesis, there is only one Church teaching, and it is represented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I’m prepared to defend any item in it, against any opponent. I draw the line at ‘indifferentism’ and ‘moral relativism’. All belief systems are not the same. The ones who push it the most are the ones who seek to replace it with something less. Again, indifferentism paves the way to moral decay. Don’t let it seep into your thinking. May you please God, and may you live forever.

“Oremus pro beatissimo Papa nostro Benedicto XVI: Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.”

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The Catholic Church doesn’t need progressives, Nor does it need Reactionary Conservatives - It badly needs Catholic Traditionalists that practice faith, hope and charity. So don’t be shy! Come forward.

“When Christ at a symbolic moment was establishing His great society, He chose for its corner-stone neither the brilliant Paul nor the mystic John, but a shuffler, a snob, a coward - in a word, a man. And upon this rock He has built His Church, and the gates of Hell have not prevailed and will not prevail against it. All the empires and the kingdoms have failed because of this inherent and continual weakness, that they were founded by strong men and upon strong men. But this one thing - the historic Catholic Church - was founded upon a weak man, and for that reason it is indestructible. For no chain is stronger than its weakest link.”
(G.K. Chesterton)

Anno Sacerdotale

Pope Benedict XVI has declared a “Year for Priests” beginning with the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on June 19, 2009. The year will conclude in Rome with an international gathering of priests with the Holy Father on June 19, 2010.

Quest'anno sia anche un'occasione per un periodo di intenso approfondimento dell'identità sacerdotale, della teologia del sacerdozio cattolico e del senso straordinario della vocazione e della missione dei sacerdoti nella Chiesa e nella società.

Let your light so shine before men that, seeing your good works, they may glorify your Father in Heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

In Domino laudabitur anima mea.

"That sense of the sacred dogmas is to be faithfully kept which Holy Mother Church has once declared, and is not to be departed from under the specious pretext of a more profound understanding."- Pope Leo XIII, Testem Benevolentiae

Nessuno di noi entrerà in Paradiso senza portare con sé un fratello o una sorella. Ciascuno di noi deve uscire dalla folla e reggersi sulle proprie gambe, fiero di essere un Cattolico e capace di testimoniare la sua Fede.
Ci stiamo comportando come se la Fede Cattolica fosse un affare privato. Questo non è affatto vero. Penso che potremo andare molto, molto lontano, se riusciremo a convincere tutti i Cattolici a farsi carico della salvezza del mondo intero.
Il mondo ha bisogno di essere salvato e deve essere ciascuno di noi a farlo.

Cantate …

Cantate Domino canticum novum. Cantate Domino omnis terra. Cantate Domino et benedicite nomini Ejus. Annuntiate de die in diem salutare Ejus.

Causa nostrae laetitiae

“We can believe what we choose. We are answerable for what we choose to believe”.
(John Henry Newman)

Pueris manus imponit

Iesus vero ait eis - Sinite parvulos, et nolite eos prohibere ad me venire - talium est enim regnum caelorum.

“There is another essential aspect of Christianity: the interior, the silent, the contemplative, in which hidden wisdom is more important than practical organizational science, and in which love replaces the will to get visible results”.
(Thomas Merton)

Lo Spirito Santo

Uno dei Suoi nomi è "Consolatore"!


Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin. All hope consists in confession. In confession there is a chance for mercy. Believe it firmly. Do not doubt, do not hesitate, never despair of the mercy of God. Hope and have confidence in confession.

“Almeno sei volte durante gli ultimi anni mi sono trovato nella situazione di convertirmi senza esitazione al cattolicesimo, se non mi avesse trattenuto dal compiere il gesto azzardato l'averlo già fatto”.
(G.K. Chesterton)

"Whatsoever I have or hold, You have given me; I give it all back to You and surrender it wholly to be governed by your will. Give me only your love and your grace, and I am rich enough and ask for nothing more."

(St. Ignatius of Loyola - Spiritual Exercises, #234)

"Mia madre è stata veramente una martire; non a tutti Gesù concede di percorrere una strada così facile, per arrivare ai suoi grandi doni, come ha concesso a mio fratello e a me, dandoci una madre che si uccise con la fatica e le preoccupazioni per assicurarsi che noi crescessimo nella fede".
J.R.R. Tolkien scrisse queste parole nove anni dopo la morte di sua madre.

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)

“Beati sarete voi quando vi oltraggeranno e perseguiteranno, e falsamente diranno di voi ogni male per cagion mia. Rallegratevi ed esultate perché grande è la vostra ricompensa nei cieli”.