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September 12, 2007


Old Dominion Tory

Excellent first post, Irish Elk. Welcome aboard!
Although mindful of Georgetown's current identity crisis, I always will have a soft spot for the place after spending a summer there, teaching in one of those "young leader" programs. In the older parts of the campus--e.g., Gaston Hall, Dahlgren Chapel, the Jesuit cemetery--one cannot help but walk a little slower, speak a little softer, and think a little harder; put another way, they cause one to be a little more contemplative.

Robbo the Llama Butcher

Years ago I heard a performance of Berlioz's Requiem at the Basilica. It was absolutely packed and way too hot, plus the crowd included a good many small children.

Well, I can take Berlioz or leave him alone, but I must say that I've never seen a more spell-binding musickal performance in my life. The audience - packed like sardines, many (including self) standing the whole time, kids and all - were absolutely hushed the entire way through. One could almost scoop the Spirit out of the air with a spoon. And when the performance concluded, there were a few seconds of complete "Be still and know Me" silence.

Truly amazing.

Mrs. Peperium

I only know Berlioz as the piano-playing kitten in The Aristocats.

Hey Robbo, I see you're famous now:


Robbo the Llama Butcher

Yes, you never really have any idea who's reading your stuff, do you?

Basil Seal

Holy Cow! Links and pictures...What will be next? Talkies? Very nice IE, I knew Georgetown was a Jesuit school but I was not aware that Georgetown was a Catholic School...


Paleo-ontology? Mon dieu!

Also it should be emphasized that stealing the Georgetown clock hands (made of wood, I'm told) involves SCALING the clocktower, an offense in itself punishable by expulsion, the actual stealing of the hands punishable, of course, by double expulsion.

Mr. Peperium

Golly. I get the feeling Mr. Elk or Mr. Mastodon or whatever he calls himself is going to fit in just fine.

Have not had the chance to click on all the links yet; will do that tomorrow at work when no one is looking. I'm beginning to think of this blog as a table full of convivial company. A large table, of course--extending with Christine's sojourn, all the way to France--but still a table. You all make me want to write more and better.

And as for our table being a tad over-large; as Franklin said, if we cannot drink together we can at least drink seperately.

Mrs. Peperium

Mr. Poulos, an email from someone expressing interest in you in a professional capacity has arrived in the inbox of PP. Stay tuned.

Robbo, check out the comment thread about you over at Stand Firm. A heavy hitter have been flushed out. Father Kimmel. He's hitting right on target and then some. I never would have thought we'd ever see something like this. Amazing.

Old Dominion Tory

Alas and alack, the fellow with whom Father Kimmel was exchanging views jumped the tracks in the end, unleashing a torrent of the all too familiar criticisms of The Church--e.g., Our Lady, the Inquisition (*sigh*).

Robbo the Llama Butcher

Nooooobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Alas, I'm saddened by the the level of vitriol bubbling there. I know that some of you have no problem with sticking pins into little Luther dolls or spinning round three times and spitting over your shoulders every time Henry VIII is mentioned (it's a joke! A JOKE!!), but I'm going to have to figure out the ropes of an ecumenical household, as the Missus has no desire whatever to swim with me. (Of course, this may change. I haven't told her so, but my sooper-sekret plan is to try and entice her by example.) I suppose this'll be one of the things to be sorted out in RCIA.

Old Dominion Tory

Robbo, My advice is to take a lot of notes with an eye toward parlaying this situation into EWTN's first sitcom. "Dad's converting! Mom and the kids are sticking with the Episcopalians! The laughs come fast and furious on 'It's Ecumenical!'"

Robbo the Llama Butcher

Speaking of laughs, I'd note re my earlier reference to the Spanish Inquisition that the skit is done infinitely better on the album "Another Monty Python Record" than it is done in the "Flying Circus" episode.

Mrs. Peperium

"but I'm going to have to figure out the ropes of an ecumenical household, as the Missus has no desire whatever to swim with me. (Of course, this may change. I haven't told her so, but my sooper-sekret plan is to try and entice her by example.) I suppose this'll be one of the things to be sorted out in RCIA."

Robbo, I was lying in bed having just returned from the hospital where I had been kept overnight for observation due to premature contractions with RKFDIL when the phone rang. It was the pastor of the Church we were hoping to do RCIA in. He asked me why I wanted to become Catholic. I said, "Because I've come to understand it is the fullness of the Truth." He responded with, "That understanding is a gift from the Holy Spirit." He told me to stay in bed and take care of my baby and my conversion would happen in due time.

My advice, if I may offer some more, is to get Father M. spell out in indeliable ink what it would truly mean for you to participate in the sacramental life. I would say it means weekly attendence at Mass, observance of High Holy Days, confessions (quarterly is good - monthly really spiffy) and prayers. And then beyond that, loving your wife and children to the very best of your ability. Their conversions will happen if they are meant to happen. You must be braver than you've ever been and trust God on this one. Not a small task for anyone.

And ask Father M. about the St. Joseph prayer. You might really enjoy that one. If you need a prayer partner on that one, just shoot an email into the inbox...


Mrs. P -- that's me: professional! Capacious, too! A-and...ecumenical, I suppose.... Penny for your state secrets. (Oops...am I about to be 'banned' again?)

Mrs. Peperium

My state secrets, like all good state secrets, are available for a price...or to a really good-looking spy who can fly planes, rides horses, and mix a lady a drink...oh and speaking a little Italian will help too...


Communism was just a red herring!

Robbo the Llama Butcher

My dear Mrs. P -

Got it in the proverbial "One". But quarterly? Monthly? I was under the impression that confession was a weekly matter.

For self, of course, weekly (at least) would be far more appropriate.

Mrs. Peperium

Confessional weekly? Achi-machi...Yikes...oh gosh...Robbo, you're going to like Rome...it's not a prison.....Okay, now I'm no expert but the requirement for confession is once per year to remain in good standing. And that one time can even be something called (I think) a communional service...which is a new-fangled thingummy where you make a public statement of error and afterwards you go up to a priest and tell of at least one sin privately...I'm not advocating this as the best way for confession but you must understand that if the Church says this is alright, then it is alright...you don't have to swallow the Tylenol without the water so to speak ...(Father M. please jump in and correct where I'm off) Now only mortal sins are required to be confessed...though venial are very good to confess...and you must do a proper examination of conscience to determine your confession...I think if you start off a once a month you'll find that is a good discipline...then there's Divine Mercy Sunday and confessing before Holy Week and Advent to be in the proper frame of mind as well...and I like to go to confession before any travel...just to be in good traveling spirits...Wait until you're in line for the confessional and you meet a Catholic who hasn't been in something like 24 years -you can always tell these sorts because they are very nervous. Tell them they have nothing to fear because you were a protestant for 40 years and God didn't strike you down when you went in...puts them at ease every time...

Fr. M.

Actually, Mrs. P., every week for confession is a very good thing. I go every week. Mother Theresa and Pope John Paul II used to go every day. A prison? Quite the opposite-- it is very freeing. Think of it as something as routine as a house cleaning (some people change the sheets and vacuum once a week and others have the have to have the health inspector come to take away all the cats and the stacks of newspapers and debris). It is as necesssary as regular doctor visits-- sometimes, unfortunately, it has to be an emergency room visit, sometimes it is a routine check up and sometimes it is preventative. When one goes to confession one is required to confess all one's serious (i.e. mortal)sins. What a penance service should be (which occurs usually at Lent and Advent) is, perhaps, a communal examination of concience(communal meaning read aloud), an act of contrition and a scripture reading, then everyone goes off to one of the several visiting confessors. This is good to bring in the crowds who only go twice a year but it is better to get into the practice of frequent confession. The whole "Just-say-one-sin-you-really-need-to-work-on" stuff is a pointless modernist experiment which is, more often than not,an avoidance of the sins that really need to be dealt with.

Fr. M.

Mrs. P., It's catching... Confession Fever. Have a gander at what the LMC wrote over at the Llamas...

Mrs. Peperium

Here is is:


Father M., I must be honest here, there is something we need to discuss : The Super Convert.

When someone like Robbo comes from a church with almost no discipline - where one does not even need to be baptized to participate in what few sacraments the church still observes, the Catholic life can be a overwhelming one. Especially, if you realise you've been really off track with your own life.

A common reaction is to go the other way and be super human Christian... I'm not talking stridency. I'm talking nutsville. Seeing sin where there is no sin.

Yes, confession is good for the soul. Weekly confession is a great discipline as long as it is a sincere discipline not being used by religious whackos to to beat others with.

Robbo is joining a Church where you have communicants like St. Therese of the Little Flower who never commited a sin...achi-machi..or Pope John Paul II and Mother Therese who went to confession daily...and then people like me in the pew who can't even speak Latin much less list the major Saint days or even tell you the differences between the Franciscans, Dominicans, Carmelites, or Jesuits...I just know to avoid the Jesuits....

Old Dominion Tory

I thought of Robbo over the weekend when I saw an episode of EWTN's "The Journey Home," the guests in which were Thomas Howard and his wife. Dr. Howard was an evangelical who became an Episcopalian and, later, a Catholic. His wife did not swim the Tiber, however, until a decade after his conversion. Neither one exhibited any bitterness about that "gap." So, an ecumenical household can be made to work--and can end up with all parties in The Church.
As to prayer, I have been trying to work the Angelus into my day. It only takes a minute (literally). http://www.ewtn.com/Devotionals/prayers/Angelus.htm
Also, if you're attracted to the Rosary, Robbo, it is entirely fine to pray a decade--Our Father, ten Hail Marys, and the Doxology (some might add the Fatima Prayer)--whenever the mood strikes you.

Robbo the Llama Butcher

I solemnly promise I won't go all Ev'lyn War-y and try to out-Catholic the Pope.

Speaking of Latin (and my local church has a Tridentine Mass), I used to have a tape of Haydn's Mass In Time Of War. It was performed by some East Bloc orchestra and choir, and I would positively swear that their pronunciation was classical rayther than Church. (For instance, they sang "ex-kel-sis" instead of "ex-chel-sis".) I always wondered if this was at the behest of the local Commies, perhaps to dampen the notion that a good Soviet client state was somehow endorsing religion. On the other hand, it might have been simple ignorance.

Mrs. Peperium

Hey, don't knock my beloved Evelyn or you'll have a black eye and I'll be doing an emergency visit to the confessional this afternoon...

Mrs. Peperium

Hey Robbo, looks as if it's the Left who will make schism happen:


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