30 December 2009

In the News

It seems that a beloved friend of ours is making headlines back in Michigan. Stick to your guns, Fr. Robideau!

A Big Package!

A big package arrived from Michigan today! Maria opened one of the gifts, and the rest we put under the tree with the others that are awaiting the Epiphany.

Here's a big "thank you and I love you" smile!

29 December 2009

St. Thomas of Canterbury

Let us rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a festal day in honor of blessed Thomas the Martyr: at whose martyrdom the Angels rejoice, and praise the Son of God.

How Christmas flies bye! The fifth day of the Octave is already upon us. Aunt Barb and the boys are off to Salzburg, and Katie is on her way to Norcia, and thence to Roma. On St. Stephen's day, we heard the Cardinal offer Mass at the Stephansdom; for the feast of St. John we gathered in the Moses Room at the Schloss for cookies, caroling, and the drinking of St. John's Wine, duly blest by Fr. Yurko; Childermass was a quiet day - everybody slept in, we did some grocery shopping, and walked around the pleasant streets of Baden.

Today's menu features minced meat pie. What better way to honor the great St. Thomas a Becket, who died for the liberties of the Church at the hands of the English crown, than to eat something outlawed by Oliver Cromwell for being too popish.

The high-shoe lord's of Cromwell's making
Were not for dainties - roasting, baking.
The chiefest food they found most good in,
Was rusty bacon and bag-pudding.
Plum-broth was popish, and minced pie
Oh, that was flat idolatry!

27 December 2009

St. John's Wine

Blessing of Wine
On the Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist
From the Rituale Romanum (1962)

If the blessing is given privately outside of Mass, the priest is vested in surplice and stole.

V. Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini.
R. Qui fecit caelum et terram.

V. Dominus vobiscum.
R. Et cum spiritu tuo.

V. Let us pray. If it please you, Lord God, bless + and consecrate + this vessel of wine by the power of your right hand; and grant that, through the merits of St. John, apostle and evangelist, all your faithful who drink of it may find it a help and a protection. As the blessed John drank the poisoned potion without any ill effects, so may all who today drink the blessed wine in his honor be delivered from poisoning and similar harmful things. And as they offer themselves body and soul to you, may they obtain pardon of all their sins; through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

V. Lord, bless + this creature drink, so that it may be a health-giving medicine to all who use it; and grant by your grace that all who taste of it may enjoy bodily and spiritual health in calling on your holy name; through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.

V. May the blessing of almighty God, Father, Son, + and Holy Spirit, come on this wine and remain always.
R. Amen.

The priest then sprinkles the wine with holy water.

The painting of St. John the Evangelist with the Poisoned Cup is by Alonso Cano, 1636. Musee de Louvre, Paris.

26 December 2009

More Visitors!

Aunt Barb and the boys arrived safely and on schedule this evening. Katie picked them up at the airport and brought them to Trumau in time for leftover Lasagna dinner. Tomorrow Vienna again, the next day who knows, and then they're off to Salzburg and the Tirol for some skiing.

25 December 2009

Christmas Videos

A small explanation: Maria often pretends that she is an animal in the zoo, and because one of the outfits she received for Christmas was made of polar fleece, and has a picture of an Eis Baer on the tag, that was the game she played when wearing it.

Merry Christmas!

Although it made for quite a late night, we were delighted to be able to attend midnight Mass at the Kapuzinerkirche in Vienna - the church where the royal Habsburgs are entombed. 'Twas a Solemn High Mass of the Tridentine Rite, offered by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, and accompanied by choral gregorian chant. The reading of the Last Gospel was followed by Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht.

To bed at 2:30, and awakened by Maria at 8:00. A reading of Luke's account of the birth of our Lord. And then presents, coffee, and cinnamon rolls.

Thomas looking exceptionally... healthy? in his new Irish sweater from Aunt Betsy

24 December 2009

Christmas Eve

This day you shall know that the Lord will come, and save us: and in the morning you shall see His glory.

The Nativity Scene

Rolling out the ravioli

Ready to cook

Decorating the Christmas tree

Here Comes Thomas!

22 December 2009

Maria on Her Tricycle

I haven't done a whole lot of video uploads, but this is kind of fun.

Cleaning Day

Part of preparing for Christmas around here is cleaning up the apartment. Lisa and Katie did most of the work, but the kids were helpful, too.

Maria washing down the cupboards

Thomas putting a bowl on his head

20 December 2009

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad! We love you!

Rorate Sunday

Well it seems that Sunday is the only day that I manage to post anything here lately. The thesis writing is progressing, though. I've written about 18 pages of what will eventually be a 60+ page thesis. The working title is,

Distinguishing St. Thomas Aquinas's Doctrine
of Vicarious Satisfaction from Penal Substitution

Rather a long subtitle, I know, by I wanted to be specific. I'm almost finished with the first section, in which I first review the New Testament's statements about the Cross of Christ (it is clearly presented as a vicarious redemptive sacrifice). Then, I offer a summary of St. Anselm's influential satisfaction-theory of the atonement, focusing on his understanding of satisfaction as precisely in contrast to punishment (i.e., for Anselm, justice is served either by punishment or by satisfaction). The final part of this first section is then to set out the contrasting position of the Protestant Revolutionaries (especially Calvin), for whom satisfaction is punishment. This is the theory known as penal substitution, wherein justice is said to be satisfied precisely when punishment is inflicted. I do not dwell on Luther and Calvin here, but rather take up the more interesting case of Hans Urs von Balthasar, one of the most influential Catholic theologians of the 20th century, whose idea that Christ's descent into hell was an experience of damnation as such amounts to a restatement of penal substitution (a horrific and most impious idea).

That's my progress so far, minus the part on von Balthasar. If I can get that finished in the next few days I can send it off to grad. schools by the Jan. 2 deadline and then the pressure will be off for a little while.

The second section of the thesis is on St. Thomas's systematic doctrine of the Cross of Christ as a work of vicarious satisfaction. Interestingly enough, Thomas walks a bit of a via media between Anselm on the one hand, and the penal substitution folks on the other. For him, the cross is not a punishment (poena) simply speaking, but it is poena satisfactoria.

Section three turns from Thomas's systematic texts to his biblical commentaries to see how he understands the Scriptural passages often used as proof of penal substitution by its proponents, specifically the Old Testament images of the Passover Lamb, the Scapegoat of the Day of Atonement ritual, the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53, and the Cup of God's wrath. In the new Testament, especially difficult verses are from 2 Cor. "God made him who knew no sin to be sin," Gal. 3 "Christ was made a curse," 1 Pet. "He bore our sins in his body on the tree," and especially Christ's cry of abandonment upon the Cross.

Perhaps I'll upload the first section when I finish it this week, as I'd be glad of any comments / critiques / suggestions.

13 December 2009

Gaudete Sunday

After a lovely Latin Mass at Heiligenkreuz this morning, we came home to celebrate Gaudete Sunday with a big brunch followed by cookies, eggnog, and decorating of the tree. Lacking rose colored ornaments, we added red.

12 December 2009

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Patroness of the Americas

Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun? As the rainbow giving light in the bright clouds, and as the flower of roses in the days of spring. Alleluia, alleluia. The flowers have appeared in our land, the time of pruning is come. Alleluia.

O Holy Mary, Virgin Mother of God, who as Our Lady of Guadalupe didst aid in the conversion of Mexico from paganism in a most miraculous way, we now beseech thee to bring about in these our times the early conversion of our modern world from its present neo-paganism to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of thy divine Son, Jesus Christ, starting in the Americas and extending throughout the entire world, so that soon there may be truly "one fold and one shepherd," with all governments recognizing the reign of thy Son, Jesus Christ the King. This we ask of the Eternal Father, through Jesus Christ His Son Our Lord and by thy powerful intercession - all for the salvation of souls, the triumph of the Church, and peace in the world. Amen.

11 December 2009

We're home

Well, Thomas was released from the hospital this afternoon. He did spike one more fever last night, but the labs from this morning show the infection is clearing, so that should take care of the fevers. Thanks for all the prayers. The hospital we were in was quite wonderful, they gave us a private room because I'm nursing him, and made me a sort of pseudo-patient so I could sleep in a regular bed next to him, but it's very good to be home. At first all Thomas wanted to do was sleep, which is fine in a hospital, but for about half of yesterday, and all of today, he wanted to get out and crawl around and make trouble. It's good to see him acting himself again, and good that we're home where he can play all he wants.

10 December 2009

Thomas Update

The good news is that it isn't the swine flu. I'm told that the little guy has both strep throat and bronchitis. He's on antibiotics, and should be fine soon, but they're keeping him in the hospital to keep an eye on the fever. Thanks for the prayers!

09 December 2009

Prayers Please

Lisa took Thomas into the hospital in Eisenstadt this morning, because of a fever that reached 40.1 (that's just a bit over 104 Fahrenheit). They'll be there for the next couple of days so that the medical folks can keep an eye on him. Maria and I were there this afternoon, and he seemed okay - just a little bit frustrated with the I.V. running out of his hand. They got rid of the fever, but hopefully they can also get rid of whatever caused it.

08 December 2009

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Of the Blessed Virgin Mary

I will rejoice greatly in the Lord, and my soul shall be joyful in my God: for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, and with the robe of justice He hath covered me, as a bride adorned with her jewels.

First of all, let me wish a blessed patronal feast day to the U.S.A. My idea a few weeks ago was to have a big American celebration: hamburgers, spicy chicken wings, watery beer, etc. But I forgot, and today the stores are all closed, so we'll eat whatever we have in the fridge. Maybe next year.

Katie and I took Maria to Eisenstadt for Mass this morning (Lisa stayed closer to home with Thomas, who has a fever). Eisenstadt is the city where Joseph Haydn lived and worked for most of his life. Mass heard his Harmoniemesse at the Haydnkirche, pictured below.

It was a bit rainy out, but that didn't stop us from having lunch under some umbrellas at the local Adventmarkt after Mass. Below is Schloss Esterhazy, (former?) residence of the noble Hungarian family of that name, whose court musician Haydn was.

Upon returning home in the early afternoon, Maria helped Katie and I pick out a good Advent Tree for our living room, and we decorated it with purple ornaments.

06 December 2009

St. Nicholas's Day

Maria and Thomas were both pretty excited about what they found in their shoes this morning.

A couple of car loads of us went to Vienna this morning for Mass at the Stephansdom. We were lured by the promise of Haydn's Rorate Coeli Mass to be followed by visits to a couple of the city's many Adventmarkts. Beautiful as the Mass was in many ways, I must say that the alternation between spoken German and sung Latin (to the music of Joseph Haydn no less) is a little bit strange. Afterwards, when we finally made it to the Christkindlemarkt am Rathausplatz we were pretty hungry:

Huge baked potatoes piled high with chili con carne, bacon and onions, and ham and garlic sauce, respectively.

Das Wiener Rathaus

We stopped by another Adventmarkt in front of Schloss Schoenbrunn

Maria was a little bit afraid of St. Nicholas

Back at home, finally, we had a drink in honor of the good saint

05 December 2009

St. Nicholas Cookies

While spent spent the day writing at the Schloss, the three ladies here worked away making cookies for tomorrow's feast of St. Nicholas.

Stirring the cookie dough

Adding the decoration

Awaiting St. Nicholas's arrival

04 December 2009

St. Barbara

As well as being the feast day of St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop, Confessor, and Doctor of the Church, today is also the feast of the very popular St. Barbara. At least, that is, on the traditional calendar of the Roman Church. She, alas, with many other popular favorites (e.g. St. Christopher, St. Valentine), fell under the axe of the liturgical deformers. I've mentioned before, I think, that the overhaul of the calendar of saints is, in my opinion, one of the most grievous aspects of the post-VII liturgical deform. I say this because it reached not only into the public liturgy of the Church, but also into the private "liturgy" of the domestic church. The various customs which prevailed throughout much of the Church, by which the people marked the days and seasons, were suddenly felt to be on only a thin foundation. How does one still cut branches from an apple tree, to put in a vase and to water until Christmas, waiting for them to blossom with the coming of the Messiah, if St. Barbara has no more feast day?

Ostensibly acting in the name of the people, for the sake of the people, the liturgical "experts" proceeded to alter almost everything within their reach (it was only an intervention of the pope which prevented the liturgical commission from obliterating even the Roman Canon, the beating heart of the Church's spiritual life) according to their intellectualist notions of how things should be, and in doing so, ripped the rug right out from under the feet of the people whom they claimed to represent.

29 November 2009

Happy 40th, Novus Ordo Missae

...and many more! Wait... hmmm...

40 years ago today, the Novus Ordo Missae officially came into being in the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Paul VI's Apostolic Constitution Missale Romanum (3 April 1969) specified the First Sunday of Advent of that year as the date on which these things would go into effect.

Especially interesting is what the pope said in a general audience in the days just before the First Sunday of Advent, in an address now entitled Changes in Mass for Greater Apostolate. It's interesting to reflect upon his words with the benefit of 40 years of hindsight. He begins:

Our Dear Sons and Daughters,

We ask you to turn your minds once more to the liturgical innovation of the new rite of the Mass. This new rite will be introduced into our celebration of the holy Sacrifice starting from Sunday next which is the first of Advent, November 30.

A new rite of the Mass: a change in a venerable tradition that has gone on for centuries. This is something that affects our hereditary religious patrimony, which seemed to enjoy the privilege of being untouchable and settled. It seemed to bring the prayer of our forefathers and our saints to our lips and to give us the comfort of feeling faithful to our spiritual past, which we kept alive to pass it on to the generations ahead... [read the rest]

Happy New (liturgical) Year!

Happy Advent everybody,
with love from Maria!
Well, Jake, Christina, and Gabriel are back in Michigan after passing almost a whole week with us in Trumau. It was lovely having you here! (and John was happy to meet his little nephew at last.) Here are some pictures from their time here.

21 November 2009


After allowing Papou and Yia Yia to relax the rest of the day on Friday, we spent Saturday with them in Vienna.

In front of the Stephansdom

We enjoyed going inside of the Hofburg for the first time. Our tour included the Silberkammer, the Sisi rooms, and the Imperial apartments.

Maria and Thomas have had enough of museums, it would seem.

I've also finally taken some of Katie's pictures from our recent trip through Italy for the ordination of one of the Benedictine monks of Norcia. I've posted a few of them and back dated it to Oct. 31, so scroll down to see them.

20 November 2009

Papou and Yia Yia

Arrived safely and on time yesterday from Milan. It seems that they quite enjoyed their time in Italy and we're certainly enjoying having them here.

16 November 2009

Happy Birthday, John

So, we took some pictures of John on his birthday, but they're still on Katie's camera, and I don't know where her USB cord is, so I'll have to wait a bit to post them.

Happy 26th Birthday, John! We love you!

11 November 2009


Having discovered that Martinmas is the traditional harvest feast celebration in this part of the world, rather like Thanksgiving, which in fact derives from it, is in the U.S.A. We've decided to have a feast today. Goose (Martinigans) is the traditional food, but having found none of it in the grocery stores of Traiskirchen, we decided to substitute duck. They are both birds that swim and honk a lot, anyways.

I think this is actually Lisa's first attempt at something like a thanksgiving dinner, though, which is rather exciting. At this point, the preparations seem to be going well. As well as three ducks currently in the oven, there's already an apple pie and fresh bread rolls on the counter; potatoes are boiling down on the stovetop for mashing; sausage stuffing is next on the list, and salad is coming with the guests.

Oh, and one of my favorite newly discovered Martinmas traditions is the drinking of the years new wines.

02 November 2009

Back from Norcia

We've just returned from a wonderful weekend in Norcia, Italy. The occasion was another priestly ordination of an I.T.I. graduate / Benedictine monk. We left early on Friday morning and managed to stop for lunch in Padua, where we visited the basilica of St. Anthony, and for dinner in Assisi, where we were only able to visit the basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli at the bottom of the hill - it being too late in the evening to venture up into the town.

Regarding pictures... I'm afraid there will be very few forthcoming in the near future since I left the camera unattended beneath the statue of St. Benedict in the middle of the piazza. We haven't seen it since, and at this point it seems unlikely that we'll see it again...

Ah well, though, perhaps we'll be able to steal some of Katie's pictures of the trip to post here.

31 October 2009

Our Trip through Italy

Here are some belated pictures of our trip through Italy to Norcia for the ordination of Fr. Thomas Bolin, O.S.B. These were taken by Katie, since our own camera disappeared on the trip.

After a 6:00 departure on Friday morning we stopped for Lunch in Padua, Italy, in order to venerate the relics of St. Anthony. Below, Maria with one of her favorite saints ("A" is for Antony, a friar wise and kind. He never had a penny, but he never seemed to mind...)

Helping each other to get through the long car ride.

We also stopped briefly in Assisi. It was too late in the evening to venture up onto the hill, since most of the churches would have been closed anyways, but we did make it into Santa Maria degli Angeli in time for the end of Vespers.

Maria and Aunt Katie celebrating Sebastian's birthday at dinner in Norcia.