My mother stopped going to Mass in the early 1970’s, just about the time that Souls and Bodies ends. It is not that she lost her faith. It is, as she probably would have said, that her faith lost her. She just could not stand it anymore. It broke her heart to go to Mass, to be forced to hold hands and listen to banalities and hear the blustery aging cantor belt out Kris Kristofferson’s “Lord, Help Me Jesus,” she who was raised by an aunt and uncle, skilled amateur musicians who played classical sacred music on organ and violin in their small French-Canadian parish in Maine. She stopped going, she would have told you, because there was no use in confessing that she had missed Mass, since she had no firm purpose of amendment. She had no intention of going back. And she never really did, until she died in 2001, her Requiem Mass in the funeral home chapel, led by some splinter SSPX fellow from somewhere in East Tennessee, not mentioned in the obituary since they were convinced the diocese would shut it down if they heard.
… is curing varnish.
St. Joseph Church in Andale, Kansas, isn’t actually a “new” church. The current building was probably built during the first quarter of the 20th century (the parish history is vague on specific dates). However, it was damaged by a lightning-caused fire last year and has only recently been reopened after repairs and renovations.
Unlike most of the churches that I’ve been photographing, St. Joseph actually looks like a Catholic church, not a box or a spaceship.
The panorama is best viewed in the full-screen mode.
Here’s another example of a faddish round church built in the later 20th century, All Saints in Wichita. It’s not ugly, but it reminds me more of main deck of a spaceship than a place of worship. It was dedicated in 1965, a year before the debut of the original Star Trek, so it’s probably safe for altar boys to wear red cassocks.
To view the detailed interactive panorama, click here.
Incidentally, the pastor of All Saints, Fr. Hien, whom I remember as an energetic and cheerful seminarian, is a refugee from Viet Nam who’s had an interesting life (PDF).
Items of interest I came across recently.
The post-war conservative movement in the United States has not turned back the clock a single minute and has succeeded only in gradually lowering marginal tax rates as same-sex marriage became law in all 50 states….
If anyone else was interested in creating something like The Lamp it would have existed already. (In point of fact, something like it did exist in the late ’60s and early ’70s: Brent Bozell’s Triumph, almost certainly the only publication in which one could have read things like the traditionalist Catholic case for Black Panther militancy.1)
Bonus link: Elizabeth Scalia on Paul McCartney and Christianity.
One of my ongoing projects is to make panoramas of Wichita area Catholic churches. Here are three recent ones of churches built in the 1950s and 1960s. None of them look like traditional churches, but they serve their purpose, and any of them would be preferable to the Taj Mahony.
The St. Jude (completed in 1967) website claims that its architecture was ahead of its time. Well, maybe, but to me it looks like your basic shoebox.
St. Margaret Mary (dedicated 1955; the “dropped” ceiling dates to 1992), with its ceiling cutout spanning the length of the church, is a variation on the shoebox.
The circular Christ the King (dedicated 1968) is definitely not a shoebox. It looks to me like something you would find on another planet built by friendly aliens. The parishioners I’ve spoken to are proud of it, and you can certainly do worse.
Click on the names of the churches at the lower left corners of the images to see the panoramas larger.
Are there vocational counselors in the Vatican? It occurs to me that Pope Frankie’s job is an inadequate outlet for his talents. He probably would find a position such as, say, company spokesman for the UN more suited to his abilities.
Post title of the day:
. . . Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the nasty Gestapo and all the apparatus of Nazi rule, we clean-shaven Britons shall do our utmost best to be tolerant of this brute force. We shall even consider waving the white flag. We shall abandon France, we shall flee from the seas and oceans; while the enemy attacks, we shall make buttered scones and tea, while agreeing with everything superior feminists say without making one compliment about their appearances. Yes, there will be no derriere-gazing, breast-ogling, barbecuing or catcalling at these disinfected venues; any signs of romantic heterosexuality will be quickly flushed down the toilet bowl, with castration being the order of the day; we will act like obedient little eunuchs and keep our mouths shut and not hold the door open for any woman. And we shall lie in the sun on the beaches suntanning our toxic pale bodies, while shaving our legs with Gillette razors; and we shall plant daffodils in the fields and in the streets; we shall run screaming in the hills; we shall surrender for fear of toxic masculinity, and we shall worship our State masters, who love docile, brainwashed, easy-to-control, emotional, neutered clone-zombies; and if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would be ordered to hide in sheltered ports, until, in Gaia’s good time, the New World Order, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of those pyjama-wearing, beta-males rattling their chains with joy.
Bonus high-culture music video (via Joseph Moore):
On September 1, 2018, this successor of Gregory I, who saw Latin civilization crumbling, and Leo IX, who grieved at the loss of Constantinople, and Pius V, who pitied souls lost in the heretical northern lands, implored and lamented: “We cannot allow our seas and oceans to be littered by endless fields of floating plastic. Here, too, our active commitment is needed to confront this emergency.” The struggle against plastic litter must be fought “as if everything depended on us.”
(Via William Briggs.)
(The linked panorama is composed from five photos taken with a fisheye lens. I also made a much larger panorama from 37 wide-angle shots (printed at 300 dpi, it would be nearly eight feet wide and four feet high), but it’s larger than I want to upload to this site, and it has some annoying glitches.)
The big 360° panorama I did yesterday didn’t turn out properly, and I’m not publishing it. I did salvage a piece of it, above. It’s the altar of St. Anthony Church in Wichita, east of the central business district.1
St. Boniface parish was erected in 1886 to serve German-speaking Catholics in the Wichita area, and a wooden church was built the next year. Franciscans took up residence around 1890. When a more permanent church was built during the first decade of the 20th century, it was named for the Franciscan St. Anthony of Padua. Nowadays the best place in the area to find German Catholics is western Sedgwick county, and St. Anthony has become a center of Vietnamese Catholic activity.
Update: Here’s the quick and dirty version of the panorama, using five images taken with a fisheye lens rather than 37 at the wide end of a cheap but sharp zoom. It’s much smaller and less detailed than the large one, but it gives you an idea of what the interior of the church looks like. I hope to return soon to the church, preferably on an overcast day, and make a full-size panorama that meets my standards.
A hundred years ago today, Muriel Spark, my favorite Major Catholic Writer of the 20th Century,1 was born in Edinburgh. To celebrate, the Scottish literary magazine The Bottle Imp has published an issue devoted to her writing. Overall, the articles are interesting, readable and free of academese, though of course no substitute for reading Spark herself.
If you haven’t read Spark, do so. Before she was a novelist, she was a poet, and her prose is a pleasure to read. Her novels are precisely as long as they need to be and not one word longer. Her best-known, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, is a good one to start with, as is Memento Mori, a funny story about old people dying. (There’s more to it than that, of course.) There are also her short stories.
Accumulated odds and ends:
Is Obama Catholic? No, and Dennis McDonough is an idiot.
Is the Pope Catholic? That’s a much more interesting question. Edward Feser supplies some useful background, including notes about Popes Honorius, John XXII and Liberius.
Hyperplay will provide hours — well, minutes — of fun for the mathematically inclined and the easily entertained.
Those who sing pray twice; therefore it stands to reason that those who sing bad modern church songs commit heresy twice.
A note on Nathaniel Hawthorne from Flannery O’Connor:
… Hawthorne couldn’t stand Emerson or any of that crowd. When one of them came in the front door, Hawthorne went out the back. He met one of them one morning and snarled, “Good Morning Mr. G., how is your Oversoul this morning?”
O’Connor may be the greatest Catholic writer of fiction of the 20th century, but the book of hers I most enjoy is a collection of her letters, The Habit of Being.
It was my good fortune half a lifetime ago to spend time around Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete, who passed away recently. Cardinal Seán O’Malley, in his homily at Lorenzo’s funeral, tells some stories that illustrate one side of Lorenzo’s memorable personality.
It was also around that time when Lorenzo first met Cardinal O’Boyle the Archbishop of Washington. Lorenzo and I spent a lot of time at St. Matthews Cathedral where I was working with Rosario Corredera and the Hispanic community. Lorenzo used to drive me very often. One day, as he was wont to do, Lorenzo parked in the Cardinal’s parking space… (Any ‘no parking’ sign was an invitation to Lorenzo.) At that moment Cardinal O’Boyle was approaching and confronted Lorenzo: “who are you,” he asked. Lorenzo replied: “I am the Cardinal”. Cardinal O’Boyle, who was something of a curmudgeon, answered back: “I am the Cardinal!” To which Lorenzo said: “yes, you are the day Cardinal; I am the night Cardinal.”
It is no wonder that after his first Mass, Lorenzo’s mother asked me to bless her new apartment. I said, “But, doña Conchita, your son was just ordained.” She said, “Yes, padre, but I think he is joking.”
There’s more at the Cardinal’s site. (Scroll down to “Tuesday.”)
For those of you who use your computer to make noise, Native Instruments is offering a nice little compressor for free through the end of the year. NI’s Mikro Prism is another interesting freebie, a soft synth with a distinctive sound.
(Via man with black hat.)
Something I came across this morning: Christian “popular” music that isn’t embarrassing. ((Although there are many good musicians who are seriously religious, the only one marketed as a “Christian” performer whom I enjoy listening to is Phil Keaggy, a superb guitarist and pretty good singer and songwriter.)) In 1976, Sister Irene O’Connor, a Franciscan nun in Australia, recorded the album Fire of God’s Love, playing every instrument and singing every vocal part. It wasn’t exactly a runaway hit in its day, and the vinyl now is a fabulous rarity. Here’s the reverb-drenched “Fire (Luke 12:49)” from the album:
Far more listenable than anything the St. Louis Jesuits and their ilk ever produced (faint praise, yes). You can listen to two more tracks here, but apparently that’s all there is of the album that’s online.
Remember “St. Patrick’s Bad Analogies“? Here it is again, this time with illuminating captions. (But where’s Voltron?)