Sunday, January 25, 2009

Jubilemus, exsultemus...

the bishops of the SSPX, long thought excommunicated by many, were at last declared by Rome to be free of this excommunication, in a document signed on my feastday, no less! :) Te Deum Laudamus!

Saturday, January 24, 2009
Decree of the Congregation for Bishops


By way of a letter of December 15, 2008 addressed to His Eminence Cardinal Dario Castrillón Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, Mons. Bernard Fellay, also in the name of the other three Bishops consecrated on June 30, 1988, requested anew the removal of the latae sententiae excommunication formally declared with the Decree of the Prefect of this Congregation on July 1, 1988. In the aforementioned letter, Mons. Fellay affirms, among other things: "We are always firmly determined in our will to remain Catholic and to place all our efforts at the service of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which is the Roman Catholic Church. We accept its teachings with filial disposition. We believe firmly in the Primacy of Peter and in its prerogatives, and for this the current situation makes us suffer so much."

His Holiness Benedict XVI - paternally sensitive to the spiritual unease manifested by the interested party due to the sanction of excommunication and trusting in the effort expressed by them in the aforementioned letter of not sparing any effort to deepen the necessary discussions with the Authority of the Holy See in the still open matters, so as to achieve shortly a full and satisfactory solution of the problem posed in the origin - decided to reconsider the canonical situation of Bishops Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson, and Alfonso de Galarreta, arisen with their episcopal consecration.

With this act, it is desired to consolidate the reciprocal relations of confidence and to intensify and grant stability to the relationship of the Fraternity of Saint Pius X with this Apostolic See. This gift of peace, at the end of the Christmas celebrations, is also intended to be a sign to promote unity in the charity of the universal Church and to try to vanquish the scandal of division.

It is hoped that this step be followed by the prompt accomplishment of full communion with the Church of the entire Fraternity of Saint Pius X, thus testifying true fidelity and true recognition of the Magisterium and of the authority of the Pope with the proof of visible unity.

Based on the faculties expressly granted to me by the Holy Father Benedict XVI, in virtue of the present Decree, I remit from Bishops Bernard Fellay, Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Richard Williamson, and Alfonso de Galarreta the censure of latae sententiae excommunication declared by this Congregation on July 1, 1988, while I declare deprived of any juridical effect, from the present date, the Decree emanated at that time.

Rome, from the Congregation for Bishops, January 21, 2009.

Card. Giovanni Battista Re
Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Las fotos estan un poco mezcladas en el album, asi que aca tienen un resumen rapido:
8: subimos a Mt. Eden, un volcan extinguido en Auckland
9: fuimos al valle de los volcanes y vimos unas cataratas
10: hizimos el tongariro crossing, cruzando una montana volcanica
11: almorzamos con las monjas y tomamos el ferry
12: vimos unas focas y pancake rocks

Thursday, January 8, 2009

These past few days have been full of happenings. Lucia left us on the Feast of the Epiphany, (what better day to travel, no?) to join the teaching Dominicans in Wanganui, New Zealand, half a world away! Mom went with her as escort and to take a well-deserved two weeks' vacation; and so the family was left with me as new oldest sister and surrogate Mommy. The first half-day was the hardest, right after Lucia's departure; but the visit of a friend from Texas the next day, where we discussed music for the next Polyphony Jam Session, was so much fun I forgot to be miserable, and now I'm just trying to keep the housework going with some help from my homeschooling sister Rocio and my brother Ignacio, who has not returned to college yet (nor have I, we both start Monday.)

In the midst of all this, a sonnet has been fermenting in my mind for a couple of days. The last line came first (isn't it funny how that happens?) and today at last I sat down and wrote it.

The Pianist's Prayer
or, Prelude and Fugue

The music lies unclosed before my eyes;
My fingers swiftly touch each ivory key,
And once again the wondrous harmony
Flows forth through me, that sprang from one more wise.
The harmonies progressing fall and rise
And melody from melody with glee
Flees, as I often, all too often flee
God's graces, and his mercies do despise...

Dear Master, dear Composer, dearest Lord,
End thou my fugue from thee with sweet accord,
That no false note of mine offend thine ear;
O, by thy grace so generously given,
That earth may but the prelude be to heaven,
Lord, make my heart thy well-tempered clavier.

--January 8, 2009

Friday, January 2, 2009

Seven Quick Takes - Friday...

After reading the weekly "quick takes" posts from our cyber-friend Jen over at Conversion Diary for quite some time, I thought I'd try it too. So here we go.

This week has been crazy because it seems so short! Sunday and Monday were the end of the Polyphony Jam Session down in Dickinson, Texas. We had a blast, singing a four-voice Mass by William Byrd at two High Masses on Sunday, not to mention the Gregorian High Masses on Friday for St.-Stephen-mas, and St.-John's-mas on Saturday... and then there was the actual jamming until midnight and past every night, and games and skits and a conference... I wish we could have them last a week! Hopefully that will be how these Jams end up...

I'm still trying to make sense of the fact that Lucia, my one and only, awesome big sister, is leaving us on the Feast of the Epiphany; bound to no less fair place than New Zealand, to join the Dominican Teaching Sisters of Wanganui. I guess it'll hit me when it happens.

The above leads to the third thing in my head... that I will be playing Mom to the other nine kids for two weeks when Mom and Lu leave. Help!!! What nineteen-year-old ever had nine kids?! :-)

New Year's Eve and Day were so much fun! We stayed up to welcome the year, of course, and toasted in champagne (if we were old enough) and sparkling cider (if we weren't.) And we played music, music and more music; jazz and blues and classical, arias, folk-songs, you name it! (Even some Byrd polyphony!) And on New Year's Day, we just had a great day as a family, begun with High-Mass of course, and ending with our soon-to-be-postulant giving us an Irish slip-jig (filmed by another sister) as a keepsake.

I'm thinking I really need to practice piano more... I think one of my New Year's resolutions should be to set myself a time to play only scales, and refuse to let myself get out of it! Alas, if only my choleric side would dominate my sanguine side more in this regard!

Mom and Lucia just came home from some last minute shopping for Lu's postulant clothes, and the little boys (ages 7 and 5) promptly put on her brand new black stockings. Bless their hearts... (smack)...

I'm wondering if I'll be able to learn a Prelude and Fugue by Bach in two months. I guess I can. We pianists at college are doing a concert of all the Preludes and Fugues in Book II of the Well-tempered Clavier, and I picked the one in F Major, which I've never even heard before... and I still don't have the score! It should be very... interesting... trying to get it learned and memorized before March, when, I believe, the concert is set to happen...

The Tayle of Ye Adventures in Ye Lande of Texas

Once upon a tyme, a fayre mayden traveled to ye land of texas wythe heer elder systers twain, and heer brother, a myghty knyte, was theer escorte through weel and wronge. Together theye traveled, long and far bye a trayne, til anon theye cam unto the Land of Texas. There theye alighted at a small towne named Longview, where theye learned that theyre escorte, the good Friar Gregory, had bene loste on ye waye. Theye therefore consulted amongst themeselves, saying, "Let us sally forthe from this place, and seek an inn where we maye dine." Off theye started, and had not gone eer yet a myle when they saw, riding towardes theme at ay swyft pace knights* twain. Most Courteouslye theye were greeted bye these strange knytes, who asked of theme theere purpose in thys lande. "For in this place," theye warned, " Are many ruffians and evil knytes, who woulde fain rob ye of all your treasures, even unto your lute.** Therefore, let us conduct you unto a place of refuge, there to awayte this honorable friar." The fayre maydens and theyre brotherknyte being of accord, ye strange knytes took the mayds appilion, as theye hade no chargers. One of the knytes being also a mage of greyte power, removed from hyse robes a magic myror, with wyche he spake at lengthe wythe the good Friar, telling hyme of ye place of refuge to whyche theye tooke the fouresome. The Friar, being at first afraid, was at lengthe consoled that sayde fouresome hade done nought of mischeife to be in the custody of a mage, for theye were yet younge and full of high spyrits. At lengthe he came unto the place of refuge, the Whataburger inn, and, having partaken of a meal and tayking theere leave of the strange knytes, the foursome, now under the winge of Friar Gregory, continued on theere journee.

**Ig's guitar.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year! and some more Luthien

All right, this is really crazy. Two recent posts relating to the Tale of Beren and Luthien, one in the works, and now this! But I really couldn't help it. Since reading the Philosopher at Large's elucidation of it, the Lay of Leithian has become for me a sort of touchstone for right thinking about love. And I have been thinking about love quite a lot.

Anyhow, I just happened to read a quote from Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C. (whose book, A Right to be Merry, I recently finished) that speaks of the contemplative vocation in this wise:

Consecrated spousal love pertains to the core of the heart, and it can make suffering demands, demands in their turn made desirable just because of love. It is a blessed circle and expressed in the ring circling the Poor Clare’s finger. The ring bears the outline of a heart. And of a cross. Spouseship is, in the end, the most beautiful expression of power, the unleashing of such love and willingness to suffer the lot of the Bridegroom as alone makes for the triumph of womanhood in whatever vocation.

--from Forth and Abroad, by Mother Mary Francis, PCC.
Found at

I found the paragraph rather difficult, especially the two sentences I italicized above. "Suffering demands" doesn't make syntactical sense to me even yet, though I think I understand what she means; but love as a "beautiful expression of power" is strange enough conceptually. So I began to look for a concrete application to make sense of it with, and the first thing that popped into my head fitted so well that I thought I would share it; Luthien's words to Beren when she catches up to him, as he is about to cross the plain to the Dark Lord's fastness without her:

Not thus do those of elven race
forsake the love that they embrace!
A love is mine, as great a power
as thine, to shake the gate and tower
of death with challenge weak and frail
that yet endures, and will not fail
nor yield,
unvanquished were it hurled
beneath the foundations of the world.
Beloved fool! escape to seek
from such pursuit; in might so weak
to trust not, thinking it well to save
from love thy loved, who welcomes grave
and torment sooner than in guard
of kind intent to languish, barred,
wingless and helpless him to aid
for whose support her love was made!'

--"The Lay of Leithian," lines 3346-3361. From The Lays
of Beleriand,
by J.R.R. Tolkien.

I think the correspondences between the italicized lines are fairly self-explanatory, but the implications of those correspondences are something I'll have to think and write about in more detail, and after some sleep. So that's all for now.