Archive for June 2020

Feast of Blesseds Humphrey Pritchard, George Nichols, Richard Yaxley, and Thomas Belson (July 5)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED GEORGE NICHOLS (1550-JULY 5, 1589)

BLESSED RICHARD YAXLEY (CIRCA 1560-JULY 5, 1589)

English Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1589

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BLESSED HUMPHREY PRITCHARD (DIED JULY 5, 1589)

Welsh Roman Catholic Martyr, 1589

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BLESSED THOMAS BELSON (CIRCA 1564-JULY 5, 1589)

English Roman Catholic Martyr, 1589

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Nichols, Yaxley, Pritchard, and Belson = Martyrs of England, Scotland, and Wales (November 22)

Nichols, Yaxley, Pritchard, and Belson = Martyrs of Oxford University (December 1)

Nichols, Yaxley, and Belson = Martyrs of Douai (October 29)

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What I cannot say in words I will seal with my blood.

–Blessed Humphrey Pritchard, July 5, 1589

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Once upon a time, being a Roman Catholic priest in England was, by law, committing treason.  The verdict was always guilty.  Torture preceded execution.  The sentence was always hanging, drawing, and quartering.  Lay members who assisted priests risked arrest, torture, and execution via hanging.

Blessed George Nichols, born in Oxford, England, in 1550, graduated from Brasenose College, Oxford University, in 1573 then taught at St. Paul’s School, London.  After our saint converted to Roman Catholicism, he matriculated at Douai College, Rheims, France, in 1581.  Nichols joined the ranks of priests in September 1583.

Blessed Richard Yaxley also became a priest.  He, born circa 1560 in Boston, Lincolnshire, England, was a son of William Yaxley and Rose Langton (Yaxley).  Our saint studied at Oxford University and Douai College.  He received the sacrament of ordination to the priesthood on September 21, 1585.

Nichols and Yaxley returned to their homeland as underground priests.  Nichols arrived in late 1584.  Yaxley returned in 1586.  Two of their helpers were Blessed Thomas Belson and Blessed Humphrey Pritchard.  Belson, arrested for taking information to a Roman Catholic priest, spent time in the Tower of London.  He, released and banished, returned to England.

Above:  The Flag of Wales

Image in the Public Domain

The Catherine Wheel Inn, Oxford, was a meeting-place for Roman Catholics.  Pritchard was a pot-boy there for 12 years.  During that time, he helped many priests evade authorities.  A false convert betrayed our four saints in early 1589.  Authorities arrested the four saints together.  Belson, apprehended with Father Nichols, his confessor, joioned the priests and Pritchard in prison.  All four saints endured tortures.  Father Nichols, approaching his martyrdom, heard the confessions of a highwayman named Harcot and reconciled him to God and Holy Mother Church.  All five died in Oxford on July 5, 1589.  The priests were the first to receive the crown of martyrdom.

The Church has officially recognized these four saints.  Pope John Paul II declared them Venerables in 1986.  The following year, he beatified them.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

THE FEAST OF JOHANN OLAF WALLIN, ARCHBISHOP OF UPPSALA, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT GENNARO MARIA SARNELLI, ITALIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MISSIONARY TO THE VULNERABLE AND EXPLOITED PEOPLE OF NAPLES

THE FEAST OF HEINRICH LONAS, GERMAN MORAVIAN ORGANIST, COMPOSER, AND LITURGIST

THE FEAST OF PAUL HANLY FURFEY, U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, SOCIOLOGIST, AND SOCIAL RADICAL

THE FEAST OF SAINT PHILIP POWEL, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1646

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyrs

Blessed Humphrey Pritchard,

Blessed George Nichols,

Blessed Richard Yaxley, and

Blessed Thomas Belson

triumphed over suffering and were faithful even to death:

Grant us, who now remember them in thanksgiving,

to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world,

that we may receive with them the crown of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 51:1-12

Psalm 116 or 116:1-8

Revelation 7:13-17

Luke 12:2-12

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 714

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Feast of Sts. Dionysius of Alexandria, Eusebius of Laodicea, and Anatolius of Laodicea (July 3)   Leave a comment

Above:  Ancient Alexandria

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT DIONYSIUS OF ALEXANDRIA (CIRCA 190-265)

Patriarch of Alexandria, and Church Father

Also known as Saint Dionysius the Great

His feast transferred from April 8 and November 17

mentor of

SAINT EUSEBIUS OF LAODICEA (DIED CIRCA 268)

Bishop of Laodicea 

Also known as Saint Eusebius of Alexandria

His feast days = July 3 and October 4

predecessor of

SAINT ANATOLIUS OF ALEXANDRIA (DIED 283)

Bishop of Laodicea

Also known as Saint Anatolius of Laodicea

His feast = July 3

St. Dionysius of Alexandria/the Great mentored St. Eusebius of Laodicea and St. Anatolius of Alexandria/Laodicea.

These three saints lived during times of imperial persecution and doctrinal formation.  Doctrines did not descend fully-formed from Heaven.  No, people, debated them.  Councils and synods convened and issued statements, thereby defining orthodoxy.

We modern Christians stand on the shoulders of Sts. Dionysius, Eusebius, and Anatolius, who, in turn, stood on the shoulders of others.

St. Dionysius the Great, born in Alexandria, Egypt, circa 190, learned the Christian faith there.  He studied under Origen (185-254) at the catechetical school.  St. Dionysius, a priest, succeeded Origen as the head of that school.  After Origen returned from a visit to Pope St. Zephyrinus (reigned 198/199-217) in Rome, St. Dionysius encouraged Origen to resume teaching at the catachetical school.  St. Dionysius served as the Patriarch of Alexandria, starting in 248.

St. Dionysius maintained orthodoxy while remaining gentle toward penitent heretics.  He argued against baptizing former heretics; laying on hands then welcoming penitent heretics back into the fold sufficed for our saint.  The heresies du jour were Novatianism, Sabellianism, and Adoptionism.

Novatianism led to a schism.  Circa 250, Novatian argued that the church had no power to pardon mortal sins, therefore there was no forgiveness after baptism.  He also held a subordinationist view of the relationships within the Trinity.  The second point was not unique to Novatian; literal readings of certain Pauline passages supported subordinationism.  And some of the Ante-Nicene Fathers, orthodox according to the standards of their time, were subordinationists.  The greater issue was the Novatianist schism, which persisted into the 500s.  St. Dionysius wrote to Novatian to encourage him to return to the fold.  Our saint also wrote to Fabian, the Bishop of Antioch, to discourage him from supporting the Novatianist schism.  St. Dionysius’s efforts partially healed the schism.

Sabellianism was a variety of Modalistic Monarchianism, another Trinity-related heresy.  Circa 215, Sabellius defined the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as temporal projections, or “dilations” in an attempt to maintain strict monotheism.  St. Dionysius wrote against this heresy, too.

St. Dionysius, as the Patriarch of Alexandria, endured imperial persecutions.  Decius (reigned 249-251) persecuted the church.  Our saint, incarcerated in 250, went on to live as a fugitive in the desert until 251.  A few years later, Gallienus (reigned 253-268) launched another persecution.  St. Dionysius spent 257-260 in exile in the Mareotis desert.

St. Dionysius left a written legacy.  Repentance was a favorite theme in many letters.  He also composed a commentary on Revelation.

St. Dionysius died of natural causes in Alexandria in 265.

St. Eusebius of Alexandria/Laodicea had been a deacon under St. Dionysius.  Circa 255, during the Valerian persecution, the imperium sentenced St. Eusebius to Kefro, Libya.  He avoided his sentence by going on the lam.  Years later, in 260, our saint risked his life as he ministered to the sick of Alexandria during a plague.

St. Dionysius was till ill to travel to the Second Council of Antioch (264), so he sent St. Eusebius in his stead.  The purpose of the council was to condemn Adoptionism, a heresy from the previous century.  As Paul of Samosota wrote in 260,

Mary did not bear the Word, for Mary did not exist before the ages.  Mary is not older than the Word; what she bore was a man equal to us, but superior in all things as a result of the Holy Spirit.

–Quoted in Linwood Urban, A Short History of Christian Thought (1995), 76

In other words, according to Adoptionists and Paul of Samosota in particular, Mary was not the Theotokos, the Bearer and Mother of God, for Jesus became the Son of God when God adopted him.  Adoptionists disagreed about when God adopted Jesus.

Sts. Dionysius and Eusebius disagreed with the Adoptionists.

St. Eusebius did not return to Alexandria.  Shortly after the Second Council of Antioch (264), he became the Bishop of Laodicea (now Latakia, Syria), near Antioch.  He died in Laodicea in Syria circa 268.

Above:  The Tetraporticus (Erected in 183), Latakia, Syria

Photographer = Allamlatakia

St. Anatolius of Alexandria/Laodicea was a polymath.  He was a famous writer, mathematician, scientist, philosopher, and teacher.  Our saint, an erstwhile public servant in Alexandria, was also the founder and head of the Aristotelean school in that great city.  During a Roman military siege of Alexandria in 263, Sts. Eusebius and Anatolius successfully negotiated with the army for the release of innocents.  In so doing, St. Anatolius became persona non grata in Alexandria.

St. Anatolius found greener political pastures in Caesarea, Palestine.  There he was the assistant to the bishop.  In that capacity, our saint was passing through Laodicea in Syria, en route to the Third Council of Antioch, in 268.  St. Eusebius had died recently.  St. Anatolius, much to his surprise, became the next Bishop of Laodicea.  He remained in that office for the rest of his life, until 283.

Emphasizing relationships and influences is one goal of mine here at the Ecumenical Calendar.  A particular chain of influences germane to this post follows:  St. Clement of Alexandria (circa 150-circa 210/215) to St. Alexander of Jerusalem (died 251) and Origen (185-254) to St. Dionysius the Great/of Alexandria (circa 190-265) to St. Eusebius of Alexandria/Laodicea (died circa 268) and St. Anatolius of Alexandria/Laodicea (died 283).  It is a chain of influences worth celebrating.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

THE FEAST OF JOHANN OLAF WALLIN, ARCHBISHOP OF UPPSALA, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT GENNARO MARIA SARNELLI, ITALIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MISSIONARY TO THE VULNERABLE AND EXPLOITED PEOPLE OF NAPLES

THE FEAST OF HEINRICH LONAS, GERMAN MORAVIAN ORGANIST, COMPOSER, AND LITURGIST

THE FEAST OF PAUL HANLY FURFEY, U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, SOCIOLOGIST, AND SOCIAL RADICAL

THE FEAST OF SAINT PHILIP POWEL, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1646

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God of compassion, you have reconciled us in Jesus Christ, who is our peace:

Enable us to live as Jesus lived, breaking down walls of hostility and healing enmity.

Give us grace to make peace with those from whom we are divided,

that, forgiven and forgiving, we may ever be one in Christ;

who with you and the Holy Spirit reigns for ever, one holy and undivided Trinity.  Amen.

Genesis 8:12-17, 20-22

Psalm 51:1-17

Hebrews 4:12-16

Luke 23:32-43

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 737

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Feast of St. Heliodorus of Altinum (July 3)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Site of Ancient Altinum, Near Venice, Italy

Image Source = Google Earth

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SAINT HELIODORUS OF ALTINUM (332-390/400/407)

Associate of Saint Jerome, and Bishop of Altinum

St. Heliodorus of Altinum comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via St. Jerome (c. 347-420).

St. Heliodorus, born in Dalmatia (now Croatia) in 332, became a Roman soldier then a friend and associate of St. Jerome, translator of the Bible into Latin as the Vulgate.  St. Heliodorus followed the great translator to the Holy Land and helped to finance that translation project.  He must have been able to deal well with difficult personalities, for St. Jerome was irascible and intellectually arrogant.  St. Jerome was, to quote Holy Women, Holy Men (2010), “seldom pleasant” and “never dull.”  St. Jerome also admitted his failings, though.

St. Heliodorus moved to Italy.  He lived as a hermit in Aquileia for years.  Later, he served as the Bishop of Altinum, a small town near the eventual site of Venice.  Our saint vigorously opposed Arianism, one of the more persistent heresies.  Jesus was fully human and fully divine, as well as the Logos of God and NOT a created being, our saint insisted.

St. Heliodorus died in Altinum between 390 and 407.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 29, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS PETER AND PAUL, APOSTLES AND MARTYRS

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Almighty God, you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses:

Grant that we, encouraged by the good example of your servant Saint Heliodorus of Altinum,

may persevere in running the race that is set before us,

until at last we may with him attain to your eternal joy;

through Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 15

Hebrews 12:1-2

Matthew 25:31-40

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 724

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Feast of Arthur Henry Messiter (July 2)   Leave a comment

Above:  Trinity Church, Wall Street, New York, New York, 1900

Image Source = Library of Congress

Image Contributor = Detroit Publishing Company

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-det-4a08581

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ARTHUR HENRY MESSITER (APRIL 12, 1834-JULY 2, 1916)

Episcopal Musician and Hymn Tune Composer

Arthur Henry Messiter comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Methodist Hymnal (1966).

Above:  St. John’s Episcopal Church, Poultney, Vermont

Image Source = Google Earth

Messiter was a church musician.  He, born in Frome, Somersetshire, England, on April 12, 1834, was a son of George Messiter and Marion S. Malin (Messiter).  Our saint studied at a private school then studied music in Northamptonshire for four years.  He immigrated to the United States of America in 1863.  Messiter was a chorister at Trinity Church, Wall Street, New York, New York, before leaving to serve as the organist at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Poultney, Vermont.  After a stint as the organist at St. James the Less Episcopal Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, our saint began his service (1866-1897) as the organist of Trinity Church, Wall Street, New York, New York.

Messiter’s service while at Trinity Church, Wall Street, was distinguished and not restricted to the parish level.  He maintained the highest standard of English cathedral music at Trinity Church.  Our saint also shared that high standard with the denomination.  He served as the music editor of the 1893 musical edition of the 1892 Episcopal Hymnal and as the editor of the Choir-Office Book:  The Daily and Occasional Offices and the Order of Holy Communion Set to Anglican and Plain-Song Music as Used in Trinity Church, New York, New York (1891).  Our saint also arranged The Psalter:  Pointed for Singing and Set to Music, According to the Use of Trinity Parish, New York (1889).  Messiter also composed MARION, a hymn tune usually paired with the text, “Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart.”  Furthermore, our saint, music historian at Trinity Church, wrote A History of the Choir and Music of Trinity Church, New York, from Its Organization to the Year 1897 (1906).

Messiter married Margaret S. Gaddis (1842-1938) in 1871.  They had a son, Arthur M. Messiter (1878-1898).

Messiter, aged 82 years, died in New York, New York, on July 2, 1916.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 29, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS PETER AND PAUL, APOSTLES AND MARTYRS

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially Arthur Henry Messiter)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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Feast of Blessed Antonio Rosmini (July 1)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Antonio Rosmini

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED ANTONIO FRANCESCO DAVIDE AMBROGIO ROSMINI-SERBATI (MARCH 25, 1797-JULY 1, 1855)

Founder of the Institute of Charity

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Pray that God in his mercy may give me patience to carry my cross though it be to the end of my life, and that I may never think hardly of those have brought it on me.

–Blessed Antonio Rosmini, quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997), 284

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Blessed Antonio Rosmini, a priest, a scholar, a philosopher, and an Italian patriot, was usually embroiled in ecclesiastical controversies.

Our saint, born in Rovereto, Italy, Holy Roman Empire (when it was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire, to quote Voltaire), on March 25, 1797, came from wealth and lower aristocracy.  His family’s money came from silk manufacturing.  Rosmini, a graduate of the University of Padua, joined the ranks of priests in 1821.  Then he wrote and studied at Rovereto (1821-1826) and Milan (1826-1828).

Rosmini started getting into trouble immediately.  He opposed state interference, such as the nomination of bishops, in ecclesiastical matters.  The Church, our saint insisted, must be independent of all states and an arm of none.  That position offended many powerful people.

Nevertheless, Rosmini had powerful allies, too.  One of these was Bartolomeo Alberto Cappellari (1765-1846), also known as Pope Gregory XVI (1831-1846).  Gregory XVI approved Rosmini’s new order of priests, the Institute of Charity, founded on February 20, 1828.  St. Magdalena of Canossa (1774-1835), foundress of the Daughters of Charity, had, in 1820, invited our saint to found a similar order for men.  He accepted, eight years later.  The founding of the Institute of Charity was a response to one of the church’s problems–the inadequate education of priests.

Rosmini, a capable philosopher, countered John Locke.  In particular, our saint wrote in response to Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding.  Rosmini’s rebuttal was A New Essay Concerning the Origin of Ideas (1830).  Another major work that proved to be more controversial was Treatise on Moral Conscience (1839).  Rosmini was in trouble with elements of Holy Mother Church for that work from 1839 to 1854, when the Church exonerated him.

[NOTE:  I choose not to paraphrase Rosmini’s philosophy.  Instead, I refer you, O reader, to the article about our saint at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy for those details.]

Two other controversial works were Five Wounds of the Church (1832) and A Constitution Based on Social Justice (1848).  The latter work anticipated Catholic social teaching that Pope Leo XIII (reigned 1878-1903) established.  The five self-inflicted wounds of the church were:

  1. The separation of the priests and the people at Mass.  Rosmini favored liturgical renewal that entailed the transition to vernacular language in the Mass.
  2. The Inadequate education of priests.  Rosmini addressed this problem in the Institute of Charity.
  3. The disunity of bishops.
  4. The nomination of bishops by secular authorities.
  5. The enthrallment of the Church to wealth.

Rosmini’s reputation in the Church was improving until 1848.  Pope Pius IX (reigned 1846-1878) was initially a liberal and a reformer.  During the first two years of his pontificate, our saint’s support for Italian unification was not a liability either.  In 1848, however, Pio Nono became a reactionary.  The following year, the Church listed Five Wounds of the Church (1832) and A Constitution Based on Social Justice (1848) on the Index.

Rosmini, 58 years old, died in Stressa, Piedmont, Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia, on July 1, 1855.

Rosmini’s official ecclesiastical reputation has varied postmortem.  He was officially exonerated from 1854 to 1888-1889.  Then Pope Leo XIII condemned some of our saint’s propositions.  The Vatican exonerated our saint again in 2001, during the pontificate of Pope John Paul II.  Then Pope Benedict XVI declared Rosmini a Venerable in 2006 and beatified him the following year.

Rosmini was ahead of his time.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 29, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS PETER AND PAUL, APOSTLES AND MARTYRS

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Almighty God, we praise you for the men and women you have sent

to call the Church and renew its life [such as Blessed Antonio Rosmini].

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your Church and proclaim the reality of your kingdom;

through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 37

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Coming Eventually: “New” Saints with Feast Days in July   Leave a comment

Above:  All Saints

Image in the Public Domain

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The COVID-19 pandemic has granted me much more free time than I anticipated I would have when 2020 dawned.  I have spent that free time in a number of ways, including the following:

  1. I have watched some entertaining and poorly made science fiction movies from the 1950s and 1960s.  I have watched the entire run of Jon Pertwee’s Doctor Who serials (1970-1974).  (By the way, critics of “wokeness” in current Doctor Who would have strong emotional and physical reactions if they were to watch the Jon Pertwee serials closely.  Barry Letts made his positions obvious.)
  2. I have transferred the contents of PUNS BLOG to SUNDRY THOUGHTS and deleted PUNS BLOG.
  3. I have written about many saints at this weblog and posted many lectionary-based devotions through the end of the next liturgical year at spinoffs of this weblog.
  4. I have blogged my way through The Chronicle:  News from the Edge (2001-2002).
  5. Off-blog, I have been taking notes for Revised Common Lectionary-based discussions for Sundays through the end of this liturgical year.
  6. This morning, I started taking notes for Propers 23-25, Year A, otherwise known as October 11, 18, and 25, 2020.  (I intend to complete those notes today.)
  7. I have been leading weekly discussions of lectionary readings via Zoom since May.
  8. I have applied for employment in four cities, all of them sites of universities.  (I would starve intellectually outside of a college or university town.)
  9. I have started reading two books by E. P. Sanders.  I have been reading Jesus and Judaism for my book group.  I have been reading Paul and Palestinian Judaism because I want to do so.
  10. I have been avoiding other people as much as possible since some time in March.  Some days, I have seen other people only through windows.

I have also been working on saints with feast days in July.   I have taken notes on some and drafted posts in ink and longhand on most of those.  I have made plans to take notes on more saints and to draft more posts in ink and longhand.  I have yet to decide when to start writing posts based on these drafts.

More saints are on the way, O readers.

Shalom!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 20, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH AUGUSTUS SEISS, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER, LITURGIST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF ALFRED RAMSEY, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF CHARLES COFFIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF HANS ADOLF BRORSON, DANISH LUTHERAN BISHOP, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM JOHN SPARROW-SIMPSON, ANGLICAN PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND PATRISTICS SCHOLAR

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Disenfranchisement in District 6 of Athens-Clarke County, Georgia   Leave a comment

The State of Georgia has disenfranchised the residents of District 6 of the Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County.

Until a few weeks ago, my councilman was Jerry NeSmith.  He ran for a third term, and I voted for him.  Why not?  NeSmith was a man who did much to build up the community, especially vulnerable members thereof.  He was, according to his colleagues, a bridge-builder.  And NeSmith was responsive to his constituents.  He even sent out nightly emails about COVID-19/Coronavirus, including the most recent numbers for Athens-Clarke County.  NeSmith died suddenly at home on the weekend before the election.

I understand that a dead man cannot be my representative.  However, I insist the fair course of action after a dead candidate has won an election is to hold a new election, not to do what state law specifies:  declaring the losing candidate the winner.  Per state law, the votes of the majority who voted for NeSmith are void.  The losing candidate will join the council forthwith and start his full term in January.  There will be a special election for the last two months of NeSmith’s second term this November.

I resent the State of Georgia for disenfranchising all of us in the majority of voters of District 6 who supported NeSmith.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 19, 2020 COMMON ERA

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Remaining Positive and Focused on the Morally Justifiable   Leave a comment

Above:  The View from the Camera Built Into a Computer on my Desk, June 14, 2020

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We live in times of rapid social and political change.  Change–even that which is morally proper–causes disorientation and disturbance.  Sometimes we ought to be disturbed.  Injustice ought to disturb us. The root word of “conservative” is “conserve.”  Whether one’s conservatism is morally defensible depends on what one seeks to conserve.  Sometimes one should conserve x.  In certain times, reform is proper.  On other occasions, however, only a revolution is morally defensible.  Yet, even in those cases, nobility must extend beyond the cause and encompass the methods, also.

Call me politically correct, if you wish, O reader.  Or call me a radical or a fool.  If you call me a radical and a revolutionary for justice, I will accept the compliment.  I support what Martin Luther King, Jr., called

a moral revolution of values.

I favor the building of a society in which people matter more than money and property.  I favor social and political standards that brook no discrimination and bigotry while granting violators of those standards the opportunity to repent.  I favor altering society and institutions, inculcating in them the awareness that keeping some people “in their place,” that is, subordinate, underpaid, poorly educated, et cetera, harms society as a whole.  I support building up the whole, and individuals in that context.  I oppose celebrating slavery, discrimination, racism, and hatred, whether past or present.  I stand (socially distanced and wearing a mask, of course) with all those, especially of the younger generations, who are rising up peacefully for justice.  The young will, overall, have an easier time adapting to morally necessary change than many members of the older generations will, no matter how devout and well-intentioned many older people may be.  To quote a cliché,

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

St. Paul the Apostle offered timeless advice for confronting evil:

Do not be mastered by evil, but master evil with good.

–Romans 12:21 (The New Jerusalem Bible, 1985)

May all who seek a more just society pursue that goal with shrewdness, courage, and goodness.  To create a better society without incorporating goodness into methodology is impossible, after all.  May all who reshape society remain positive and focused on the morally justifiable.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 15, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN ELLERTON, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF CARL HEINRICH VON BOGATSKY, HUNGARIAN-GERMAN LUTHERAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF DOROTHY FRANCES BLOMFIELD GURNEY, ENGLISH POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT LANDELINUS OF VAUX, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; SAINT AUBERT OF CAMBRAI, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP; SAINT URSMAR OF LOBBES, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AND MISSIONARY BISHOP; AND SAINTS DOMITIAN, HADELIN, AND DODO OF LOBBES, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONKS

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The Chronicle: News from the Edge (2001-2002): Final Thoughts on the Series   Leave a comment

Above:  Rena Sofer as Grace Hall

A Screen Capture

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The entire series is available here, for free.

My recommended viewing order, hyperlinks to posts about individual episodes, and my notes on the internal chronology of the series are here.

The Chronicle:  News from the Edge (July 14, 2001-March 22, 2002) was one of those series that should have lasted longer than it did.  Its home was the Sci-Fi Channel, before that channel became Syfy.  The Chronicle, alas, did not garner sufficient ratings to get a second season.  The series, therefore, ended on a cliffhanger, as some other science fiction series I watched also did.  Who else remembers Earth 2 (1994-1995) and The Invasion (2005-2006)?  And let us never, ever speak of The Starlost (1973-1974), who probably plunged headlong into that “Class G solar star” because their would-be saviors were idiots.

The Chronicle had potential.  The actors delivered otherwise ridiculous lines well.  Stories were wonderfully unlikely yet, in the universe of the series, true.  The concept of the stories at a tabloid modeled on the Weekly World News being true provided fodder for a series that could have run for seasons.  The major characters fit well in that crazy world.  Jon Polito’s Donald Stern was properly authoritative and mysterious.  Curtis Armstong, as Sal the Pig-Boy, stole most of the scenes he was in.  Reno Wilson, as Wes Freewald, quoted Star Wars movies better than anyone else. Chad Willett, as Tucker Burns, fit into the bizarre universe of the World Chronicle very quickly.  And Rena Sofer was really cute.

At the end of the last episode, A Snitch in Time, our characters were at turning points.  Grace Hall had run off with boyfriend Louis Phillips, in the witness protection program of the twenty-fourth century, to 1945.  Tucker Burns had broken up with Kristen Martin.  Detective Hector Garibaldi had served a warrant on Donald Stern, who he suspected falsely for murders.  What would have happened at the beginning of the second season that never was?

I have a few ideas, all of them rooted in the only season produced.

  1. Donald Stern, the series established, is very well-connected.  All he needs to do to get himself and all others falsely accused out of legal troubles and cause Garibaldi to have many regrets is to place one telephone call.  That plot line would have resolved in the first episode of the second season.  Why not?  The U.S. Marine Corps owes him favors.  Stern taught Pope John Paul II how to ski.  Stern can also intercede with the Supreme Pontiff to get an audience for someone.  And who knows how many U.S. government black operations programs he Stern has been involved in over the decades, perhaps centuries? And he has alien devices and weapons in the basement.
  2. Grace Hall would not have returned.  She had found her soulmate, a time traveler from the twenty-fourth century.  Grace had long feared that no man would accept her after hearing her stories of alien abductions, so she kept ending relationships after three weeks, at most, for years.  Dennis stuck with Grace for the better part of a year before he moved to Canada off-screen.  Grace Hall and Louis Phillips were supposed to be in relationship.
  3. Tucker Burns may have remained apart from Kristen Martin.  His previous girlfriend, Shawna Fuchs, may never have accepted The Chronicle as an accurate publication, but, at worst, she would have blithely tolerated it.  Kristen, however, briefly considered accepting the truth of what she had witnessed before choosing to reject that truth.  That decision helped to set the stage for her cooperation with Detective Garibaldi.  So did her love for Tucker, though.  Tucker should have recognized that, to be fair to Kristen.

I prefer to write about series I like.  Nevertheless, I do not pretend that any series is perfect.  A review of my episode posts reveals some gently critical comments.  I would have preferred to skip some of the episodes produced and seen episodes about stories either mentioned in passing or that constituted subplots.  For example, I wish there had been an episode about the woman who grew horns after contracting Mad Cow Disease.  And an episode devoted to that man who channeled living actors with dead television careers would have a hoot.

C’est la vie.

I will return to The Chronicle one day.  It is a series worthy of repeated viewings.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 10, 2020 COMMON ERA

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The Chronicle: News from the Edge (2001-2002): Broadcast and Production Orders   1 comment

Above:  The Title Card

A Screen Capture

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WITH REMARKS ON THE OPTIMUM VIEWING ORDER

(Production order is in parentheses.)

The entire series is available here, for free.

  1. Pilot (01)
  2. What Gobbles Beneath (06)
  3. Here There Be Dragons (08)
  4. Baby Got Back (03)
  5. He’s Dead, She’s Dead (07)
  6. Bermuda Love Triangle (11)
  7. Only the Young Die Good (10)
  8. Bring Me the Head of Tucker Burns (12)
  9. Let Sleeping Dogs Fry (02)
  10. Take Me Back (13)
  11. Touched By an Alien (14)
  12. Pig Boy’s Big Adventure (17)
  13. The Cursed Sombrero (16)
  14. Tears of a Clone (18)
  15. I See Dead Fat People (04)
  16. Man and Superman (15)
  17. Hot from the Oven (09)
  18. The Stepford Cheerleaders (05)
  19. The Mists of Avalon Parkway (19)
  20. The King is Undead (20)
  21. Hell Mall (21)
  22. A Snitch in Time (22)

I have paid close attention to visual cues (such as dates on front pages of editions of the World Chronicle) and to dialogue.  I have kept notes about these cues in longhand.  My main regret is one about which I can do nothing, for only versions of all 22 episodes of The Chronicle to which I have access are of a certain video quality.  The images are not the clearest ones possible, so some dates are blurry.  Consider that caveat, O reader, when I recommend a viewing order of episodes.  In the event that I will have access to cleaned-up, sharp versions of these episodes, I will gladly incorporate the newly-available information into my data set and, as necessary, revise my notes and recommended viewing order.  I will rejoice if The Chronicle ever becomes available on the new Peacock streaming service. This series is a production of NBC/Universal, so why not?

With few exceptions, I recommend viewing these episodes in broadcast order.  As I have already written in this series of blog posts, I understand that production order does not necessarily equate to proper viewing order.  For example, one should watch the first two broadcast episodes in broadcast order; the second episode picks up shortly after the first one.  The second broadcast episode, What Gobbles Beneath, was the sixth one produced.  On the other hand, the discrepancy between production order and broadcast order produced an arc plot contradiction.  Touched By an Alien (the fourteenth episode produced and the eleventh one broadcast) contains a reference to Hot from the Oven (the ninth episode produced and the seventeenth one broadcast) IN THE PAST TENSE.  Within in the universe of The Chronicle, Touched By an Alien occurred in the Spring of 2001, and Hot from the Oven took place in late September 2001.  Oops!

My recommended viewing order is this:  Watch the episodes in broadcast order, WITH TWO EXCEPTIONS.

  1. Move The Stepford Cheerleaders (the fifth episode produced and the eighteenth one broadcast) to immediately following Baby Got Back (the third episode produced and the fourth one broadcast.
  2. View Let Sleeping Dogs Fry (the second episode produced and the ninth one broadcast) between the third and eighth episodes broadcast.

Viewing the 22 episodes of The Chronicle in this order should eliminate as many internal chronological inconsistencies as possible.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 10, 2020 COMMON ERA

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