Kiss me, I'm Catholic.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

What's Your Medieval Personality?

You are a "nervous" Melancholic, with an abundance of black bile. Melancholics are characterized by the element of Earth, the season of Autumn, middle-aged adulthood, the color blue, and the characteristics of "Cold" and "Dry."

If you were living in the Age of Faith, perfect career choices for you would be contemplative religious, theologian, artist, or writer.

See: Melancholic, Choleric, Sanguine, Phlegmatic.

This is a cool personality test. I haven't seen it anywhere else on St. Blog's, but it's the most insightful, useful and Catholic one I've come across. It's the only one I've taken that really describes me - very accurately, in fact. The description of each of the temperaments seems to be taken from a book by one Rev. Conrad Hock. He applies the temperaments to education and the spiritual life and comes up with some interesting observations.

Confession is a great burden to the melancholic, while it is comparatively easy to the sanguine. The melancholic wants to manifest himself, but cannot; the choleric can express himself easily, but does not want to.

Sigh... How true.

A lot of the "characteristics of the melancholic" listed on this site are also listed as "symptoms of ADD" in other places. When I was a kid, a lot of these traits made school difficult for me, and I was diagnosed with ADD and put on Ritalin for five years. Now I find it easier to put on a sanguine face when dealing with people, but it is difficult and feels a bit dishonest.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Biretta Poem

This is possibly the most POD thing Seamus Heaney has ever written.

The Biretta

Like Gaul, the biretta was divided
Into three parts: triple-finned black serge,
A shipshape pillbox, its every slope and edge
Trimly articulated and decided.

Its insides were crimped satin; it was heavy too
But sported a light flossy tassel
That the backs of my fingers remember well,
And it left a dark red line on the priest's brow.

I received it into my hand from the hand
Of whoever was celebrant, one thin
Fastidious movement up and out and in
In the name of the Father and of the Son AND

Of the Holy Ghost... I placed it on the steps
Where it seemed to batten down, even half-resist
All the brisk proceedings of the Mass -
The chalice drunk off and the patted lips.

The first time I saw one, I heard a shout
As an El Greco ascetic rose before me
Preaching hellfire, Saurian and stormy,
Adze-head on the rampage in the pulpit.

Sanctuaries. Marble. Kneeling boards. Vocation.
Some made it looked squashed, some clean and tall.
It was as antique as armor in a hall
And put the wind up me and my generation.

Now I turn it upside down and it is a boat -
A paper boat, or the one that wafts into
The first lines of the Purgatorio
As poetry lifts its eyes and clears its throat.

Or maybe that small boat out of the bronze age
Where the oars are needles and the worked gold frail
As the intact half of a hatched-out shell,
Refined beyond the dross into sheer image.

But in the end it's as likely to be the one
In Matthew Lawless's painting, The Sick Call,
Where the scene is out on a river and it's all
Solid, pathetic and Irish Victorian.

In which case, however, his reverence wears a hat.
Undaunting, half domestic, loved in crises,
He sits listening as each long oar dips and rises,
Sad for his worthy life and fit for it.

Like Gaul, the biretta was divided into three parts... What a suprising way to start! Good poetry sneaks up and clobbers you like that. The conceit of the biretta being a boat - it seems arbitrary, based solely on the shape, but Heaney pulls all sorts of meaning out of it.

Thursday, January 20, 2005



by Hilaire Belloc

It freezes- all across a soundless sky
The birds go home. The governing dark's begun:
The steadfast dark that waits not for a sun;
The ultimate dark wherein the race shall die.

Death, with his evil finger to his lip,
Leers in at human windows, turning spy
To learn the country where his rule shall lie
When he assumes perpetual generalship.

The undefeated enemy, the chill
That shall benumb the voiceful earth at last,
Is master of our moment, and has bound
The viewless wind it-self. There is no sound.
It freezes. Every friendly stream is fast.
It freezes; and the graven twigs are still.

I can hear all my friends telling me to quit the hyperbole.

And I can hear myself telling them right back, "But I'm from California!" Yes, I know that San Francisco is chilly, that it snows in the Sierra Nevada - thus the name - but I only go to those places once in a blue moon.

There's been a little skiff of snow since I got back, but it's all melted now. I'm started to get disapointed. If I'm gonna be cold, I want to have some pretty snow to look at.

I hope it won't be windy for the March. But if it is, we can offer it up, naturally.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Back to old Virginny...

I'm blogging from the east coast once again, having arrived at Christendom last night.

*yawn* I'm still tiiiiired...

The whole college will be going to the March for Life next Monday. Does anyone reading this blog plan to attend?

Monday, January 10, 2005


Check out this Spanish priest's photoblog of his journey to Compostela. (And this great article on Compostela and its history: Pilgrimage to the Stars)

This could be a great trend: we already have the phenomenon of Rome-blogging; hopefully we'll see more such pilgrim-blogging in the future.

This Spanish priest has two other blogs, Ecclesia de Trinitate and Mar Adentro. I have been wondering lately whether we English-speaking Catholics have the one and only St. Blog's Parish, or whether there are parallel-parishes in other languages. There are a couple of Spanish-language blogs in St. Blog's, namely Esperando Nacer and Santificarnos. Now, Santificarnos has a good-sized list of links to Catholic blogs in Spanish, but most of these blogs have few or no links, which is definitely not the case for Catholic blogs in English. Spanish bloggers just don't have the sheer mass that English bloggers have achieved, therefore a niche that is also a large, thriving community is unlikely to develop.

I did some Google research, and was a little surprised at the language breakdown of blogging: most blogs are written in English, of course, but Spanish is only the sixth most popular language. Portuguese and Polish rank higher, so there ought to be some more good Catholic content out there... but I don't read those languages, so it would be difficult to discover.

Still, it warms my heart just to know that there are 1717 blogs written in Latin.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Penzance Parodies Old and New

Zadok the Roman seems to have found the first extant Catholic parody of "I Am the Very Model of A Modern Major General." It was written in 1951 by none other than Msgr. Ronald Knox, and runs thus:

I’m the sort of man they make an Apostolic Protonotary –
I’ve written reams and reams of prose, and quite a lot of poetry:
To walk on garden-rollers is among my minor glories,
And I used to be prevailed upon to write detective stories;
I can also punt canoes (or, as they say in Greenland) kayaks,
And had quite a flair at one time for composing elegiacs;
I can look up trains in Bradshaw*, on occasions locomotory,
As undoubtedly becomes an Apostolic Protonotary.

In short, when I’ve unravelled all the complicated mystery,
About what the Holy Office does, the Rota, the Consistory;
When I’ve studied more theology, and don’t get quite so drowsy on
Attending learned lectures which discuss the Homoousion;
When I’ve somehow put behind me (with my poor command of French) a list,
Of authors whose philosophy is known as Existentialist,
When my learning on a multitude of themes is less bucolic –
There’s ne’er a Protonotary will be so Apostolic.

(Notice the way all the parodists have to get 'Homoousion' in there somehow. The Whapster version has 'the substance Homoousios.')

Then comes the parody I turned up in Michael Novak's first novel, published in 1961 - The Tiber Was Silver. (Major teen angst at the North American College on the eve of Vatican II.) He has the seminarians sing,

I'll be the very model of a Doctor of Theology,
As positively certain as a Doctor of Biology.
I'll catalogue the Summa with new IBM machinery
And pop statistic certitudes like buttons in a deanery.
I'll study probabilities and probably pontificate
On what we'll find in outer space or on the moon (at any rate).
I don't think evolution's true but will not try amending it;
To make a monkey of myself has few points recommending it.
I've figured every problem out from books and texts and manuscripts
Until the year twelve thirty-one (when Thomas reached the age of six).
I've only seven centuries more to add to my anthology.
I am the very model of a Doctor of Theology!

These creative Roman seminarians also make up a parody of "Three Little Girls From School," which they sing while doing the can-can in their cassocks, with their birettas worn "rakishly at the back of their heads." Ummmmm... no comment. Overall, the book is an odd mixture of passive-aggressive rebellion against "pre-Vatican II rigidity," with unabashed triumphalism - Romanist aesthetics being so dang cool, how could anyone not gloat about them?

Then there is the Whapster version, which is the longest and uses the most outlandish words (extra points for putting in straight Latin and making it scan... sort of...)

I am the Very Model of a Modern Vicar-General

from the Penzance Codex of St. Gilbertus of Sullivan
translated by Matthew of the Holy Whapping and Lauren of Cnytr

I am the very model of a modern vicar-general,
I've information liturgical, ecclesial and clerical,
I quote the Popes of Latium and councils ecumenical,
From Chalcedon to Vatican, with subjects esoterical.

I'm very well aquainted too in matters sacramentical,
I know the sin occasions both the distant and proximical:
About the Nicene Credo, I'm teeming with a lot of views:


With many complex facts about the substance Homoousios!

Chorus of Seminarians: With many complex facts about the substance Homoousios,
With many complex facts about the substance Homoousios,
With many complex facts about the substance Homoousi-ousios!

I've very good recessional, antiphonical canticles,
I know the secret names of all the Jesuit conventicles,
In short in matters liturgical, ecclesial and clerical,
I am the very model of a modern vicar-general!

Chorus of Seminarians: In short in matters liturgical, ecclesial and clerical
He is the very model of a modern vicar-general!

I know salvation history, King David's and the Sampson locks,
I answer hard sed contras, and own a pair of scarlet socks.
Respondeo dicendum every Vatican concilius,
All liturgics I can celebrate in Romanist basilicas.

I can tell undoubted Augustines from Bossuets and Zwinglians,
I know a Sarum Epiklesis and excommunicate the Arians,
Then I can hum the Sanctus if I've heard the mode ex nihilo,
And sing in tono recto Pax Domini cum spiritu tuo!

Chorus of Seminarians: And sing in tono recto Pax Domini cum spiritu tuo,
And sing in tono recto Pax Domini cum spiritu tuo,
And sing in tono recto Pax Domini cum spiritu tuo!

Then I can write encyclicals in a monastical scriptorium,
And pontificate the meaning of St. Paddy's grand loriculum,
In short in matters liturgical, ecclesial and clerical
I am the very model of a modern vicar-general!

Chorus of Seminarians: In short in matters liturgical, ecclesial and clerical,
He is the very model of a modern vicar-general!
In short in matters liturgical, ecclesial and clerical
He is the very model of a modern vicar-general!

If you want to utterly short-circuit your brain, read the Presbyterian version and Tom R's version, written from the perspective of some frightening chimera he calls "Catholorthodoxy." By the time the Unitarians get to it, you know it's time to quit.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Quiz Thingie - I only posted it because I got a weird result

Your Brain Usage Profile:

Auditory : 50%
Visual : 50%
Left : 47%
Right : 52%

Meredith, you are one of those rare individuals who are perfectly "balanced" in both your hemispheric tendencies and your sensory learning preferences. However, there is both good news and bad news.

A problem with hemispheric balance is that you will tend to feel more conflict than someone who has a clearly established dominance. At times the conflict will be between what you feel and what you think but will also involve how you attack problems and how you perceive information. Details which will seem important to the right hemis- phere will be discounted by the left and vice versa, which can present a hindrance to learning efficiently.

In the same vein, you may have a problem with organization. You might organize your time and/or space only to feel the need to reorganize five to ten weeks later. [Uh huh.]

On the positive side, you bring resources to problem-solving that others may not have. You can perceive the "big picture" and the essential details simultaneously and maintain the cognitive perspective required. You possess sufficient verbal skills to translate your intuition into a form which can be understood by others while still being able to access ideas and concepts which do not lend themselves to language.

Your balanced nature might lead you to second-guess yourself in artistic endeavors, losing some of the fluidity, spontaneity and creativity that otherwise would be yours. [Gyah! Too true...]

With your balanced sensory styles, you process data alternately, at times visually and other times auditorially. This usage of separate memories may cause you to require more time to integrate information or re-access it. When presented with situations which force purely visual or purely auditory learning, increased anxiety is likely and your learning efficiency will decrease.

Your greatest benefit is that you can succeed in multiple fields due to the great plasticity and flexibility you possess.

Christ Is.

One of the many cool things about Our Lady of Peace in Santa Clara is that the bulletins are actually worth reading. Our pastor, Fr. Mallo, writes a short meditation/exhortation in each of them. This Sunday it was on Joy... part of it went, "Joy, the gigantic secret of the Christian, is spiritual and supernatural, and arises from meditating on the mystery of the incarnate Word." (Fr. Mallo is a big Chesterton fan; it's sweet to hear him quoting GKC in his sermons with an Argentinian accent.) I found this quote from the end arresting:

Ultimately, joy springs forth by considering that God is; that Christ is, Take heart, it is I (Mk 6:50); that truth prevails over lies, good over evil, beauty over ugliness, love over hate, peace over war, mercy over vengeance, life over death, grace over sine... in short, being over nothingness, the Virgin over Satan, Christ over the Antichrist, God over all.

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