Notes from Mass

Here are some notes from today’s* Traditional Latin Mass for the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost, offered at St. Norbert’s Parish in Roxbury, WI:

1.) During my Confession, the priest told me to say Psalm 50 (aka 51) for my penance. That’s King David’s famous psalm of repentance. I went to the parish bookshelf in hopes of finding a Bible, but one didn’t turn up. Then I tried the table at the back of the church covered in devotional literature. I saw a small, antique-looking volume entitled “Extensionist Manual.” I figured it was put out by Catholic Extension**, which is an outreach organization directed at small rural parishes like the one I grew up in. Without knowing precisely what an “Extensionist Manual” would contain, I cracked the book open. It opened immediately to Psalm 50, in a section entitled “Penitential Psalms.” So a big thank you to Catholic Extension.
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We Weren’t Born Yesterday, and Neither Were Our Vices

Over at the Rad Trad*, I read the following quotation from a Fr. Butler (presumably deceased — RIP). He was complaining about modern customs that leave many people too psychologically damaged for the monastic life:

“Opposed to the supernatural values of poverty, virginity and obedience in religious life, are the modern tendencies towards material acquisitions, sexual promiscuity, and the revolt against authority. This is the Age of Selfishness. Artificiality of custom and pettiness of concern cramp the natural generosity of youth.”

I get so sick and tired of reading things like this. When in history has anyone ever written, “People nowadays are all so normal, well-adjusted, chaste, happy in poverty, and obedient to superiors. What an age to be alive!” When? Seems like everyone observes the sins known from the Fall onward and opines that it must not have been that way before. The medieval aristocracy strikes me as a class naturally prone to “material acquisitions, sexual promiscuity, and the revolt against authority.” Oh, and dueling over slights to honor, and blood-feuds, and dynastic wars fought over hereditary claims to rule countries they might never have visited before. And yet some will tell you that that was the heyday of monasticism.


Feast of St. Anthony of Padua, Roman Style

Happy feast day to St. Anthony of Padua, my first patron saint! Nine years ago, I was in Rome, and I guess at least one local festival was postponed until the following Sunday, June 17. I remember it well. Reggie’s Latin class had gone to Ostia for the day, but I needed to head back to Rome to make it to Mass; Reggie’s schedule made virtually no allowance for Mass. I wanted to go to the Latin Mass at San Gregorio dei Muratori, literally a hole in the wall church in the Campo Marzio.

To make it to Mass on time, I had to skip out of Ostia before our tour even reached the site where St. Augustine and his mother, St. Monica, had their famous vision. The class was going to read St. Augustine’s account of the vision in his Confessions while standing at the very site where it occurred. And I left for Rome too late to make it to San Gregorio, or at least I foolishly missed my bus near the statue of Skanderbeg, and had to go to Mass at San Saba instead. 169

Skanderbeg. For St. Anthony, continue reading.

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St. Norbert in the Driftless

As a New Liturgical Movement article reminds me, yesterday (June 6) was the feast day of St. Norbert of Xanten. St. Norbert is the patron saint of St. Norbert Parish in Roxbury, WI. The parish was founded by Fr. Adalbert Inama, a 19th-century missionary priest who is regarded as the Apostle of the Four Lakes Region.* Fr. Inama belonged to the Premonstratensian Order, also known as the Norbertines because they were founded by St. Norbert. So a Norbertine priest named the parish after the founder of his order. To add to the name game, Fr. Inama shared his Christian name with St. Adalbert, the first Archbishop of Magdeburg, a see that St. Norbert later held.

In addition to being one of the best-preserved historic churches in the Driftless Area, St. Norbert’s is also a hub for the Traditional Latin Mass, which is offered there on weekdays and on Sundays (click the parish link above for the schedule). The parish is served by the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest, which was founded in Spain (here’s the website of their founder). I think the missionary heritage at St. Norbert’s is heartening. St. Norbert held the see of St. Adalbert, the Apostle of the Slavs. His spiritual son Fr. Adalbert Inama came from Austria to serve the German-speaking Catholics of the Driftless Area. Now a Spanish order has taken the baton. Continue reading

Three Argumentologies

The inspiration for this piece is a traditional Chinese painting called “The Vinegar Tasters.” The painting shows three men tasting vinegar. One has a sour expression, one a bitter expression, and one a pleasant expression. The three men are the philosophers Confucius (for whom life was sour), Buddha (for whom life was bitter), and Lao-Tzu (for whom life was joyful).

In this post, I propose three metaphors for three styles of argumentation — three “argumentologies,” if that’s a word (?) — that typify the Dominicans, the Franciscans, and the Jesuits.

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