On trembling

31 05 2011

Yo he repartido papeletas clandestinas,
gritando: ¡VIVA LA LIBERTAD! en plena calle
desafiando a los guardias armados.
Yo participé en la rebelión de abril:
pero palidezco cuando paso por tu casa
y tu sola mirada me hace temblar.

– Ernesto Cardenal

(I passed out fliers in secret,
Shouted “Long live freedom!” in the middle of the street
Openly defying armed soilders.
I took part in the April rebellion:
But I am afraid when I walk by your house,
When only a look from you makes me tremble.)





St. Expedite

26 05 2011

More on the saint via the Lonely Goth blog:

“In the same family, you can find a Chinese Taoist, an Indian Muslim, a metropolitan Catholic, an African witch doctor and a Tamil Hindu,” I was told by a Tamil Catholic priest. “It all makes a lot of work for the priesthood: we are continually having to explain to our parishioners what is and is not Christianity.”…

In 1931 a box of sacred relics arrived from the Vatican. Somewhere in transit the label detailing the saint’s name had been lost, and the only indication as to its contents was a stamp on the side reading, in Italian, “ESPEDITO” (expedited). So began the cult of St Expedit, whose popularity grew year by year, until what had started as a clerical error ended with St Expedit becoming Réunion’s unofficial patron saint, a saint whose unwritten biography has come to crystallise the most profound hopes and fears of the island’s multiple ethnicities.

There are now about 350 shrines on Réunion dedicated to St Expedit. They sit beside every road junction, crown every hilltop, lie deep in the bottom of the island’s wildest ravines.

The local Catholic Church has given the saint the trappings of an early Christian martyr, with a silver breastplate and a red tunic. Hindus treat St Expedit as an unofficial incarnation of Vishnu; those wanting children come to his shrine and tie saffron cloths to the grilles.

More exotic still, some of the island’s sorcerers have given the cult a slightly sinister aspect by decapitating the saint’s image, either to neutralise his power or to use the head in their own incantations. According to Loulou, the sorcerer at Ilet des Trois Salazes had a small oratory in which he kept several heads of St Expedit.

“He used them to cast spells,” said Loulou. “We were all terrified of him: everyone believed he had very strong powers. But in the end the people kicked him out because he began to demand bribes not to cast spells on us all.”

“Weren’t you frightened that he would take revenge on you?”

“We took precautions,” replied Loulou. “We used stronger magic. We sent someone to the grave of La Sitarane in Saint-Pierre. It is the most powerful grave on the island. With La Sitarane on your side, no one can harm you at all.”





Catholic history FAIL

24 05 2011

I was browsing around for more information about this CD of Gallican chant of the clerics of Auxerre Cathedral in the 18th century. From information I read about years ago on another website, this was the chant composed by exiled Jansenist clergy who wanted to preserve the pure chant traditions of the French Church against the Jesuits and other future ultramontanist forces.

I cannot confirm the information, other than this review from Gramophone from some years back.

However, I did manage to find a free track from this record at this site, as a soundtrack for, of all things, the Litany of the Sacred Heart. Now, all you novice church historians should know that the Jansenists despised the cult to the Sacred Heart, the much loved weapon of their mortal enemies, the Jesuits. Not sure if this person posted this out of irony, but I at least got the joke.





Notes on personal religiosity

23 05 2011

There are four tendencies that have influence, which I rank in ascending order of importance:

1. The post-Vatican II church: To tell the truth, I have never taken the modern Catholic church seriously. I mean, “never”. Even as a child, I knew all of it was rubbish. That goes for the modern Mass, the new catechism, any pope after Pius XII, and so on. If I have any affiliation with it whatsoever, it is because of nostalgia and an affinity for things not the modern church. It sometimes still keeps trinkets of the atavistic past (that pull on my heart strings) and it can defend values that I don’t find so bad at this point (tolerance, pluralism, etc.) But as a thing in itself, I find it all completely ridiculous.
Read the rest of this entry »





Some Philip Glass for your Friday

20 05 2011

An organ transcription of the end of the opera, Satyagraha.





This is not a liturgical post

19 05 2011

It is with some reluctance that I comment on Geoffrey Hull’s book, Banished Heart: Origins of Heteropraxis in the Catholic Church. I am not really interested in liturgy (as I have stated before), nor did I find the book all that compelling. Nevertheless, even my newly recovered philosophical orientation has not prevented me from pursuing a broad range of interests. A book that claims to analyze the degeneration of the religious ethos of the West can thus be of some interest to me.

Read the rest of this entry »





Some Guillaume de Machaut

13 05 2011




Phyllis et Aristotles

11 05 2011

ONCE upon a time, Aristotle taught Alexander that he should restrain himself from frequently approaching his wife, who was very beautiful, lest he should impede his spirit from seeking the general good. Alexander acquiesed to him. The queen, when she perceived this and was upset, began to draw Aristotle to love her. Many times she crossed paths with him alone, with bare feet and disheveled hair, so that she might entice him.

At last, being enticed, he began to solicit her carnally. She says,

“This I will certainly not do, unless I see a sign of love, lest you be testing me. Therefore, come to my chamber crawling on hand and foot, in order to carry me like a horse. Then I’ll know that you aren’t deluding me.”

When he had consented to that condition, she secretly told the matter to Alexander, who lying in wait apprehended him carrying the queen. When Alexander wished to kill Aristotle, in order to excuse himself, Aristotle says,

If thus it happened to me, an old man most wise, that I was deceived by a woman, you can see that I taught you well, that it could happen to you, a young man.”

Hearing that, the king spared him, and made progress in Aristotle’s teachings.

AND they lived happily ever after. Source





Pancho Sierra

10 05 2011

Short videos on the famous gaucho healer, who would heal with a glass of water and a little faith.





The Linguists

5 05 2011

I liked this film very much. It reminds me of my suggestion to my in-laws to stick a tape recorder in front of my wife’s dying grandmother to get some words of her Creole French on a recording for posterity. (They say it can’t be released, because it is a conversation between her and my wife’s father fussing about a relative.) Such things make me sad. Even though French is not a dying language, it is in these parts.