26 February 2010

Thomas Takes Some Steps

The little guy has taken a few steps before, when he has had to in order to get what he wants, but has shown little to no interest in actually learning to walk. He's a pretty proficient crawler, so I guess he figures there's not much point to moving around all wobbly-like on two legs when he's got four. Here he gives it a shot, though, perhaps mostly for the sake of the attention that it brought him:

Some of the still shots are pretty great, too:

Here's the little lineman in a three-point stance. He looks fierce.


Can I interest you in a pickle?

22 February 2010

The Ottaviani Intervention

[Update: I noticed something rather humorous. I posted this link on the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, i. e. on the feast day that celebrates papal authority. And I did so in order to offer some explanation as to why I regard this Pope Paul VI's prudential decision to issue a New Order of the Mass as particularly imprudent. Ironic, no? It's a good thing we didn't follow the Bad Catholics advice to eat beer-butt chicken to symbolize Peter sitting on his throne. Foregoing the meat on account of Lent would have left us looking pretty sedevacantist!]

I've added a new link (The Ottaviani Intervention) to the sidebar, beneath the picture of the Latin Mass in the section entitled Tridentine Mass.

The Ottaviani Intervention is the name popularly given to the critical study of the New Order of Mass issued by a group of twelve theologians in the interim between the promulgation of the Novus Ordo in April 1969 and its coming into effect in November 1969.

I could write my own introduction to this work, detailing my discovery of it and other similar works almost by chance during my senior year at College, its primary place in setting me upon an intellectual and spiritual journey to Catholic "traditionalism", etc., but it would probably be better to simply reproduce the attached cover letter sent to the Pope and signed by Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci.

Letter from Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci to His Holiness Pope Paul VI

September 25th, 1969

Most Holy Father, Having carefully examined, and presented for the scrutiny of others, the Novus Ordo Missae prepared by the experts of the Consilium ad exequendam Constitutionem de Sacra Liturgia, and after lengthy prayer and reflection, we feel it to be our bounden duty in the sight of God and towards Your Holiness, to put before you the following considerations:

1. The accompanying critical study of the Novus Ordo Missae, the work of a group of theologians, liturgists and pastors of souls, shows quite clearly in spite of its brevity that if we consider the innovations implied or taken for granted which may of course be evaluated in different ways, the Novus Ordo represents, both as a whole and in its details, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as it was formulated in Session XXII of the Council of Trent.

The "canons" of the rite definitively fixed at that time provided an insurmountable barrier to any heresy directed against the integrity of the Mystery.

2. The pastoral reasons adduced to support such a grave break with tradition, even if such reasons could be regarded as holding good in the face of doctrinal considerations, do not seem to us sufficient. The innovations in the Novus Ordo and the fact that all that is of perennial value finds only a minor place, if it subsists at all, could well turn into a certainty the suspicions already prevalent, alas, in many circles, that truths which have always been believed by the Christian people, can be changed or ignored without infidelity to that sacred deposit of doctrine to which the Catholic faith is bound for ever. Recent reforms have amply demonstrated that fresh changes in the liturgy could lead to nothing but complete bewilderment on the part of the faithful who are already showing signs of restiveness and of an indubitable lessening of faith.

Amongst the best of the clergy the practical result is an agonising crisis of conscience of which innumerable instances come to our notice daily.

3. We are certain that these considerations, which can only reach Your Holiness by the living voice of both shepherds and flock, cannot but find an echo in Your paternal heart, always so profoundly solicitous for the spiritual needs of the children of the Church. It has always been the case that when a law meant for the good of subjects proves to be on the contrary harmful, those subjects have the right, nay the duty of asking with filial trust for the abrogation of that law.

Therefore we most earnestly beseech Your Holiness, at a time of such painful divisions and ever-increasing perils for the purity of the Faith and the unity of the church, lamented by You our common Father, not to deprive us of the possibility of continuing to have recourse to the fruitful integrity of that Missale Romanum of St. Pius V, so highly praised by Your Holiness and so deeply loved and venerated by the whole Catholic world.

A. Card. Ottaviani
A. Card. Bacci

After such an introduction, by Cardinal Ottaviani, no less, long-time head of the Holy Office (now called: The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith), I had to read on.

21 February 2010

Spring Is Here!

Not only have Pitchers and Catchers reported to Spring Training for the Tigers, with full squad workouts beginning on Tuesday, but today dawned bright and blue and topped out around 8 degrees (47 F). Katie and I had our first catch in the Hofrichterhaus field behind the school. Magnificent!

20 February 2010

Pictures from semester break

A limited view of an impressive palace in Madrid, with lovely gardens and a beautiful blue, sunny sky.

This is the city of Avila, not far from Madrid. We went to Avila because St. Teresa lived there, so we saw her birthplace, her convent, relics, and a museum about her.

Buckingham palace, London

Big Ben (and my classmate, Dierdre)

More 0f London's fantastic gothic architecture

19 February 2010

That Galatians Paper

After complaining about the trouble I was having toward the end of last semester with that essay on Galatians 3:13, I forgot to post you all a link to it. Whether or not any of you faithful readers will be impressed by it I cannot say, but it turns out that the Prof. in question was sufficiently pleased. And that's the important thing, after all, isn't it? ;-)

Oddly enough, it seems that google.docs was able to handle the Hebrew characters, but not the Greek ones, so please just ignore that strange garbled column near the beginning of the essay, and trust me that it looked quite normal on the paper version that I handed in.

So, without further ado:

"Made a Curse for Us"

Martin Luther and St. Thomas Aquinas
on the Interpretation of Galatians 3:13

In their attempt to establish the biblical foundation for the Reformed doctrine of penal substitution, the authors of a recent apologia for penal substitution appeal (among other things) to St. Paul's words in the Letter to the Galatians, where he writes that, "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us – for it is written, 'Cursed be every one who hangs on a tree'" (Gal. 3:13). Referring to the same verse, another defender of penal substitution even poses the rhetorical question, "Could substitution be expressed any more clearly?" In fact, Martin Luther's most powerful exposition of his doctrine of penal substitution may be found in his commentary on precisely this verse. Though it surely does support such a doctrine to some extent, it is a real question whether this text really "proves" penal substitution. A careful look at the text together with a comparison of the respective interpretations of Martin Luther and St. Thomas Aquinas suggests that there is little grounds for using this verse as a "proof-text" for penal substitution, nor indeed, for any particular theory of the atonement.

Read on via the link on the sidebar.

18 February 2010

All Your Church Are Belong to Us

Great article by Mr. Zmirak (co-author of the Bad Catholic's Guides) over at Inside Catholic: All Your Church Are Belong to Us offers a clear, albeit by way of an unusual analogy, explanation of why "traditionalists" get so worked up about non-essential things like the direction in which the priest faces, the language of the Mass, the presence of females in the sanctuary, the distribution of Communion by the non-ordained, and above all the prayers themselves of the Mass, when the really essential things (the validity of the Holy Sacrifice and the Real Presence in the Eucharist) are the same in any case. Good reading.

17 February 2010

Ash Wednesday

Grant us, O Lord, the grace to begin the Christian's war of defense with holy fasts: that, as we do battle with the spirits of evil, we may be protected by the help of self-denial. Through Christ our Lord.

The beginning of Lent has this year coincided almost exactly with the beginning of a new semester. Our first day of classes was actually yesterday, on Shrove Tuesday. Speaking of which, we had a lovely carnival yesterday with some friends who joined us in partaking of big delicious pulled-pork sandwiches.

The class lineup this semester is an interesting one for me. The required class load mercifully drops from 5 to 4 for those in the last semester of the STM program, in view of the additional time required for writing a thesis. Of the 4 classes assigned for this semester, however, I have already taken classes (at Ave Maria) equivalent to 3 of them. Hence, I basically have 3 electives:

Church History II (year 2);
Philosophy of History (year 3);
Catholic Social Teaching (year 3);
while my only assigned class is Sacraments I: Eucharistic Body of Christ (year 5).

The really interesting part is that two of these are intensive block courses later in the semester. So for now I have only one class per day. Pretty nice. Although the last two weeks of April, and the first three of May will be pretty intense. If I were intelligent I'd probably finish the thesis by mid-April...

Laxenburg and Mariazell

Our excursions with Nana and Mrs. Brown included Laxenburg - the nearby Habsburg Palace, and Mariazell - the greatest Marian shrine in Central Europe.

Schloss Laxenburg has a huge garden, complete with a man-made lake. Katie was testing the strength of the ice for potential skating.

The sun was going down as we left the gardens to find a good restaurant. Many thanks for the fine meal!

On the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin (Candlemas), we made the 2+ hour drive to Mariazell, which took even longer on account of the thick blanket of snow that we encountered as soon as we started into the mountains (almost the whole drive is through the mountains). Above is an example of the scenery passing by out the van's windows. Below the magnificent shrine comes into view.

14 February 2010

Quick Katie note

I am back from a wonderful trip to London, Oxford, Madrid, and Avila, with 3 other girls from school. Hopefully I will post pictures and a few highlights soon.

Trying to get ready for the quickly approaching semester now, which starts on Tuesday, after seemingly well-going finals ended the previous semester. (Don't have all the grades back yet, though, so hard to tell on some of them.)

Feast of St. Valentine

And to Lisa:

To celebrate Lisa's birthday we had an amazingly delicious lunch at Club 1516 in Vienna, an English style pub that cooks beef the right way (and doesn't mix it with pork). After such an event, supper wasn't even worth it, but Katie still made a cake and Maria decorated it. She wanted to write letters on it - and the only ones that she knows well are M, A, R, and I. The A even turned up twice. It was cute. The 26 candles almost burnt the whole thing up before we could serve it, though. It looked like Greek Saganaki.

13 February 2010

Austria & Bavaria

Here's a little project we've been working on putting together off and on since this Summer. A video of pictures and music from our Summer vacation with Peter and Sara. We tried to set the whole thing to the music of the Kaiserlied, but couldn't find a non-copyrighted version of it. Hence, a Mozart concerto will have to do.

05 February 2010

Another Semester in the Books

Nana and Mrs. Brown left us yesterday morning (Thursday). I trust they made it home safe and sound, although we haven't heard anything since. We had a few more adventures with them, pictures of which will hopefully be forthcoming: Don Giovanni at the Vienna State Opera House on Sunday, Laxenburg on Monday, and Mariazell for Candlemas on Tuesday. Maria misses her Nana, and has taken to sleeping all night in the bed we moved into her room for Nana to sleep on. That's her bed now, and she says that Thomas can sleep in the child's bed in her room. I had my last exam of the semester this morning - it was on Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews - and then drove Katie and three of her friends to the metro station to send them on their way to London and then Madrid.

03 February 2010

Korrektur eines Bloges

I received in my mailbox this afternoon an anonymous "Correction of a Blog." I think that the post in question was that of the 30th of January, which I entitled Another Day in Vienna. In that post, speaking of the Graben, I remarked that the city of Vienna had been enlarged with the money gained from Richard the Lionheart's ransom.

Here is what I received:

A vast amount of gold was paid to the Duke of Austria for the life of Richard, which caused quite a bit of an economic crisis in England. For Austria, however, it turned out to be quite beneficial: The Babenbergs were keen developers of their Alpine chunk of forest called Austria and used the money wisely for all sorts of useful things. They also founded the city of Wiener Neustadt with the ransom money, still one of Lower Austria's economic powerhouses.

I stand corrected: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.