Saturday, May 16, 2009

Pluscarden Abbey - Scotland

Ran into this while I was looking for something else!

It is a recycled church building that got caught up in the Reformation in Scotland. It had no roof probably for about three hundred years. A new roof was put on it in the late 1940's. The modern stained glass is something else.

The church is also home and a the center of worship for monks. The complex that is restored and rebuilt is only I would say twenty percent of the orignal monastery complex.

Pluscarden Abbey

It is located near Elgin in Scotland. Looks like a delightful place to visit for prayer and meditation.

Of Angels Demons and Private Drinking Clubs

I liked the movie The DaVinci Code because it presented a fresh face on history. People these days do not seem to know what history is or was. Certainly in our cookie cutter institutions of education K-16, tests are all that seem important and not a holistic approach to education and knowledge.

Dan Brown in his book The DaVinci Code managed to put everything unrelated in western history for the past millennium including the contents of his dog’s pooper scooper bag into a connect the dots mirage of bullshit called history.

This secular trashing of the RC Church as some sort of megalithic source of all conspiracy and injustice for the past thousand years was far from being totally accurate. Albeit the Church of Rome has had a finger or two in the pie of European corruption and injustice over many a century but give me a break, give Rome a break too.

The crux of the conspiracy in the DaVinci Code centered around whether the sex life of Jesus via Mary Magdalene was real or imagined. This we will never know short of eternity. Proof does not exist. Speculation is not history.

What the DaVinci code did both as a poorly written book and an interesting suspense movie was to create a rebirth of the knowledge of the past with examples like the Crusades, the Knights Templar and the Cathars.

While it is easier to make stuff up like Dan Brown the further you go back in history with less documentation and documentable oral history, this carrot stew of Dan Brown and Ron Howard, Angels and Demons, now in the theatres takes the cake.

I have not seen the movie or read the book. The movie might prove interesting in terms of a suspense drama, music and City of Rome landscape dotted with many Renaissance and Roman buildings still standing.

What has turned me off to the whole matter is this talk about some obscure secret organization called the Illuminati who have waited centuries for revenge on the Vatican and perhaps the institution of Christ’s Church, Roman style.

Whoever or whatever the Illuminati once was, it probably was one of hundreds of secret brotherhoods that sprang up in the seventeenth century and as a reaction to political and religious warfare that resulted from the Protestant Reformation and the Church of Rome’s refusal to communicate or negotiate or recognize and change corrupt church practices.

It’s the middle of the seventeenth century, the powers that be agreed by treaty, Peace of Westphalia 1648, to recognize state sovereignty over religion and for overlapping countries with overlapping religions to grant limited religious freedom. It was the start of modern day Europe after almost continuous warfare for one hundred and thirty years.

In places like Germany, which was a hodge podge of countries and state religions, it was no doubt very awkward for intelligent people such as students in University towns to openly express political and or scientific points of view. It was in this atmosphere that brotherhoods, fraternities and secret intellectual organizations sprang up. In a tavern with like minded people you could discuss politics and science and not be subject to too much scrutiny.

The basis of these private drinking clubs at Universities and in the larger cities of Europe was a fertile ground where the Masons were founded in London in 1717. This coming together of Englishmen was in fear of the new German born king on the throne. They decided to band together in more or less secret alliance to discuss religion, science and politics.

Rosicrucians of that period were another secret order of the day and it began in a university atmosphere where the cutting edge scientific breakthroughs of Mining, Chemistry, Hydraulics, Engineering and Mathematics could be discussed without fear of Inquisition or local church leaders telling you that you can’t discuss this or that etc.

The religion of Swedenborgism is a Christian based belief system that looked at the bible in terms of a fresh mind and in light of all these recent scientific breakthroughs that would have been considered Alchemy less than a century before.

Getting back to the Masons, who are maligned as part of some global conspiracy thing, it started in London just as a young Ben Franklin was wandering around penniless and working as a printer – a backpacker stuck in Europe. He no doubt got a hold of freshly printed Masonic rituals or knew people in the organization. Little wonder he was a charter member of the First American Mason’s lodge in Pennsylvania in 1732. This private drinking club organization spread to the other twelve countries, I mean colonies, along the east coast of North America. These days such things are called social and or business networking.

So when Dan Brown’s pooper scooper bag is empty and they start talking about Illuminati, Anti-Matter and the Vatican in the same breath, it is just not a believable mixture of stuff for me.

I just saw a promo on cable promoting this new exciting movie Angels and Demons. You’ve got Ron Howard using the word “zeitgeist” and Tom Hanks using “gestalt”-
which is totally over my head. When I hear words like that I think of a Woody Allen movie and I think “Boring!”

I’ll wait to watch it on HBO in three months, same place where I waited to watch the DaVinci Code. Enough said.

Dies Irae - Day of Wrath - Notre Dame

Dies Irae - Day of Wrath – Day of Judgment

At Notre Dame, belief in the sanctity of life, a Sacred, a genuine heartfelt belief by many, would seem by the very nature of the modern age to has been corrupted, co-mingled, marshaled to champion politics, the Profane.

More so than the death of innocents through abortion is the death of Civility in the American Town Square, once real and now virtual. It would seem that there is a culture of death of sorts on both sides of this matter.

Dies Irae as a hymn is part of the ancient pre-Vatican II Mass for the dead.

On these matters that I would prefer not to touch with a ten foot pole, I turn to art, music, poetry...

I choose this very modern poetic translation of Dies Irae from the very dead language of Latin.
The day of wrath, that day
which will reduce the world to ashes,
as foretold by David and the Sybil.

What terror there will be,
when the Lord will come
to judge all rigorously!

The trumpet, scattering a wondrous sound
among the graves of all the lands,
will assemble all before the Throne.

Death and Nature will be astounded
when they see a creature rise again
to answer to the Judge.

The book will be brought forth
in which all deeds are noted,
for which humanity will answer.

When the judge will be seated,
all that is hidden will appear,
and nothing will go unpunished.

Alas, what will I then say?
To what advocate shall I appeal,
when even the just tremble?

O king of redoutable majesty,
who freely saves the elect,
save me, o fount of piety!

Remember, merciful Jesus,
that I am the cause of your journey,
do not lose me on that day.

You wearied yourself in finding me.
You have redeemed me through the cross.
Let not such great efforts be in vain.

O judge of vengeance, justly
make a gift of your forgiveness
before the day of reckoning.

I lament like a guilty one.
My faults cause me to blush,
I beg you, spare me.

You who have absolved Mary,
and have heard the thief's prayer,
have also given me hope.

My prayers are not worthy,
but you, o Good One, please grant freely
that I do not burn in the eternal fire.

Give me a place among the sheep,
separate me from the goats
by placing me at your right.

Having destroyed the accursed,
condemned them to the fierce flames,
Count me among the blessed.

I prostrate myself, supplicating,
my heart in ashes, repentant;
take good care of my last moment!

That tearful day,
when from the ashes shall rise again
sinful man to be judged.

Therefore pardon him, o God.
Merciful Lord Jesus,
give them rest.

( )