Monday, September 27, 2004

In passing 

Has anyone noticed that Frances Kissling, the head (and essentially only member) of so-called "Catholics for a Free Choice," happens to have a name remarkably like Quisling?

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Thursday, September 16, 2004

On Academia 

On Tuesday (the Exaltation of the Cross, in fact) I found out that I passed my second and final qualifying exam! I am very happy that (a) I never have to take one again, (b) I can now forget all topology and concentrate on algebra, and (c) I spent no more of this past summer studying than I did.

In honor of my success, here is a treat from Belloc on universities (in which I hope one day to work) and professors (which I hope one day to be):

Beware of shifty-eyed people. It is not only nervousness, it is also a kind of wickedness. Such people come to no good. I have three of them now in my mind as I write. One is a Professor.

And, by the way, would you like to know why universities suffer from this curse of nervous disease? Why the great personages stammer or have St Vitus' dance, or jabber at the lips, or hop in their walk, or have their heads screwed round, or tremble in the fingers, or go through life with great goggles like a motor car? Eh? I will tell you. It is the punishment of their intellectual pride, than which no sin is more offensive to the angels.

What! here are we with the jolly world of God all round us, able to sing, to draw, to paint, to hammer and build, to sail, to ride horses, to run, to leap; having for our splendid inheritance love in youth and memory in old age, and we are to take one miserable little faculty, our one-legged, knock-kneed, gimcrack, purblind, rough-skinned, underfed, and perpetually irritated and grumpy intellect, or analytical curiosity rather (a diseased appetite), and let it swell till it eats up every other function? Away with such foolery.

LECTOR. When shall we get on to ...

AUCTOR. Wait a moment. I say, away with such foolery. Note that pedants lose all proportion. They never can keep sane in a discussion. They will go wild on matters they are wholly unable to judge, such as Armenian Religion or the Politics of Paris or what not. Never do they use one of those three phrases which keep a man steady and balance his mind, I mean the words (1) After all it is not my business. (2) Tut! tut! You don't say so! and (3) Credo in Unum Deum Patrem Omnipotentem, Factorem omnium visibilium atque invisibilium; in which last there is a power of synthesis that can jam all their analytical dust-heap into such a fine, tight, and compact body as would make them stare to see. I understand that they need six months' holiday a year. Had I my way they should take twelve, and an extra day on leap years.
--Hilaire Belloc, "The Path to Rome"

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Tuesday, September 14, 2004

The Exaltation of the Cross 

--Adam of St. Victor

Salve, Crux, arbor vitae praeclara,
Vexillum Christi, thronus et ara!

O Crux profanis
  Terror et ruina,
Tu Christianis
  Virtus es divina,
    Salus et victoria!
Tu properantis
  Contra Maxentium,
Tu praeliantis
  Juxta Danubium,
    Constantini gloria!

Favens Heraclio,
Perdis cum filio
  Chosroen profanum.
In hoc salutari
Ligno gloriari
  Decet Christianum.

Crucis longum, latum,
  Sublime, profundum,
Sanctis propalatum,
  Quadrum salvat mundum
  Sub quadri figura.
Medicina vera,
Christus in statera
Crucis est distractus,
Pretiumque factus
  Solvit mortis jura.

Crux est nostrae libra justitiae,
Sceptrum regis, virga potentiae,
Crux coelestis signum victoriae,
Belli robur et palma gloriae!

Tu scala, tu ratis,
Tu, Crux, desperatis
  Tabula suprema;
Tu de membris Christi
Decorem taxisti,
  Regum diadema!

Per te nobis, Crux beata,
Crux cruore consecrata,
  Sempiterna gaudia
  Det superna gratia! Amen.

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