Friday, October 23, 2009


Dear Noah,

I suppose you're likely NOT a memephile, so I'll just have to point to that comment wherein I declare myself an authoritarian (if not an authority) when it comes to jargonisms. Perhaps you'll find it interesting.

We used to have such lovely words as "gentlewoman" and "trencherman"; and we've got plenty of adjectival constructions, such as "male student" (if you think of "student" as a noun) and "student teacher" (if you think of "student" as an adjective). So why, when speaking of clerical orders these days do we talk of (notional) "women clergy", "women priests", and so forth? Back "in the day", we might speak of "priestesses"; I suppose nowadays that would be considered viricentric/andronomial, or even chauvinist? Or is it perhaps considered paganizing? Do we not like the plain reminder that, for all the echoes of Christianity in paganisms so many modern folk read backwards, there's plenty of pagan custom that Christianity simply never blessed?

Incidentally, Watercloset breeders take note: your task has become so much simpler!

Yours truely,
An Oxford reader; if attrocious speller

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Imagine, if you will, the following counterfactual: Nikita Kruschev secretly visits Hawaii to talk to a local hippy commune about modern farming techniques; President Johnson gets to hear about it, has an angry talk with Kruschev about it on the Red Phone, but news of the event leaks and then Johnson lets it be known around the world in no uncertain terms that Heads of State can't just waltz around doing whatever they want and saying whatever they want in any Country they please, but really ought to let the local officials know beforehand and get their permission, etc. And I'm sure that most of the free world would privately agree with LBJ while publically laughing about Niki's daring stunt; and thankfully the MAD policies would keep us all from burning up quickly or freezing and starving under a dusty-red sky and poison rain. Nonetheless, we understand and aprove the principle, in a sensible context.

So, nowadays Presidents of the United States like to pull their own stunt visits to places like Free Iraq and the Republic of Kabul; but many Catholic bishops, the Church's dukes and princes, take their duty and right to govern the Particular Churches rather more seriously. It's scandal sufficient when bishops fall into and preach heresy; but to then impose their unrepentant selves under a cloud of episcopal dignity on the flock of a brother bishop goes remarkably farther to both erode episcopal dignity in general and undermine any of that other bishop's efforts to correctly teach and govern those in his care.

It's the same principle, only the stakes are much more dire --- the immortal souls of all people, not just our comfort in this life.

a tired reader of Fr. Z

Monday, October 5, 2009


Dear Photons,

You may recall that Seraphic encouraged such young folks as hope to marry to blog Joyfully. That is, to blog with JOY

So, to balance the irk --- ahem ---


expressed some time ago, I would like to report to you Light Quanta that this latest pre-weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting one or two charming folks who are trying --- among other things --- to make representations of the visible spectrum, such as this:

stand for the beauty and goodness and dignity and ensouledness, etc. of such diverse people as these

I hope you'll agree, this effort is cause for great joy!

a rainbow amateur