Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Mozart, Masonry and Catholicism

From National Catholic Reporter:

According to historians, Mozart was initiated into a Masonic lodge in Vienna at 28, and eventually became a Master Mason. He wrote at least eight pieces of music for the Masons. Conoscenti also detect influences of Masonry in his famous opera "The Magic Flute."

Mozart joined despite the fact that Pope Clement XII had prohibited membership in 1738, and this antipathy is still alive. In 1983, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith reiterated: "Faithful who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion."

One understands, therefore, why links between the pope's favorite composer and the Masons make Catholics nervous.

Yet Mozart also composed some of the most famous Roman Catholic Masses and other liturgical scores in Western history, more than 60 pieces of sacred music altogether. How to reconcile these two aspects of his biography has long been a puzzle.

Once again, Schönborn is at the center of the debate.

Speaking July 16 in Chieti, Italy, at the opening of a Mozart festival, the Austrian cardinal asserted that "there's no foundation for his frequently mentioned membership in the Masons." (Read more.)


From Catholic World Report:

Born on January 27, 1756, he was baptized the next day as Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, at St. Rupert’s Cathedral in Salzburg. He would later drop the Johannes Chrysostomus (added by custom because he was born on the feast of St. John Chrysostom), and change the Greek Theophilus to the Latin equivalent Amadeus (one who loves God, or one who is loved by God).

Wolfgang and his sister were raised in a devout and strictly observant Catholic household. Their parents, Leopold and Anna Maria, encouraged family devotions and prayer, fasting, regular attendance at Mass, frequent confession, the veneration of saints, and other typically Catholic devotions.

Leopold was a moderately successful composer himself, and a teacher of music, working as a court musician for the Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg. While Leopold and Anna Maria had seven children, all died in infancy except Anna Maria (affectionately called “Nannerl”) and young Wolfgang.

Herr and Frau Mozart were always concerned for the spiritual well-being of their children. Leopold once wrote to his wife and son on their way to Paris in 1777, “God must come first! From His hands we receive our temporal happiness; and at the same time we must think of our eternal salvation.” These words were written out of fear that Wolfgang had become “a little lax about confession.” Leopold saw it as his duty to impart to his children the truth of the Catholic faith, and to instill in them a personal piety that they would maintain throughout their lives. (Read more.)


How to Start a War

 From Townhall:

Every new American president is tested to determine whether the United States can still protect friends such as Europe, Japan, South Korea and Israel. And will the new commander in chief deter U.S. enemies Iran and North Korea -- and keep China and Russia from absorbing their neighbors?

Joe Biden, and those around him, seem determined to upset the peace they inherited. Soon after Donald Trump left office, Vladimir Putin began massing troops on the Ukrainian border and threatening to attack. Putin earlier had concluded that Trump was dangerously unpredictable, and perhaps best not provoked. After all, the Trump administration took out Russian mercenaries in Syria. It beefed up defense spending and upped sanctions.

The Trump administration flooded the world with cheap oil to Russia's chagrin. It pulled out from asymmetrical missile treaties with Russia. It sold sophisticated arms to the Ukrainians. The Russians concluded that Trump might do anything, and so waited for another president before again testing America. (Read more.)


Medical Mystery of Usermontu

 From Ancient Origins:

When the Rosicrucian Museum acquired a sealed ancient Egyptian coffin back in the 1970s, they were unaware that it still contained a mummy. In addition, investigations revealed that this mummy was not the original owner of the sarcophagus – it belonged to a priest named Usermontu (‘the power of Montu’) – and that long after death, the mummy had been placed in Usermontu’s coffin. Nevertheless, the mummy of unknown origin has come to be known by the name of the original sarcophagus owner.

Analysis of the embalming procedure revealed that ‘Usermontu’ was an upper-class Egyptian male who lived during the New Kingdom of Egypt (between 16th–11th century BC). His mummified remains are 5ft (1.5m) tall and display traces of red hair.

In August 1995, Professor C. Wilfred Griggs from Brigham Young University, Utah, and a team of experts, carried out x-rays on six mummies housed in the Rosicrucian San Jose Museum in advanced of a lecture he would be giving there, including the mummy of Usermontu. They were stunned when the x-rays revealed that one of the mummies had a 9-inch metal pin in its left knee. Brigham Young University (BYU) reports that it was impossible to see that the metal implant was ancient from the x-ray alone, leading Professor Griggs to believe that the pin had been placed there in more modern times to reattach the leg to the rest of the body.

"I assumed at the time that the pin was modern. I thought we might be able to determine how the pin had been inserted into the leg, and perhaps even guess how recently it had been implanted into the bones," Griggs says in a report released by BYU. "I just thought it would be an interesting footnote to say, 'Somebody got an ancient mummy and put a modern pin in it to hold the leg together. (Read more.)

Monday, April 19, 2021

Love Letter to My Home

From Galerie:

The house is really exceeding expectations and has accommodated us all in a sustained way. There’s enough space, so we can all go in separate directions. We move all around, changing week by week. We didn’t expect to spend weeks on end here, and we change things around. The coffee table becomes the puzzle table, and it’s constantly changing. And we had to move things for the ducks. I’m learning to be easygoing about that in a way that I probably historically have not been. But the attic is the only place with a television. So making something out of that room is the next project—turning that into somewhere we can really hang out

My home makes me feel safe. That’s been the biggest gift—to seem safe and at ease. It seems corny, but it’s true. (Read more.)


How Catholic Men Can Rise Up

 From Crisis:

You may have to try a few different times to create something viable. Two years ago, I attempted to gather a men’s group precisely with the hope that these men would feel what I’m feeling and want to discuss these serious matters and sharpen each other for battle. It failed, for various reasons. But it was worth attempting. And I have found my “sharpening” in smaller, incidental interactions with men—other fathers in our homeschooling group, fellow men in my parish, online discussions, etc. 

I think that, optimally, you’d find at least two other like-minded people in your parish who see the same problems and have the same sense of urgency to do something about it. These allies, by the way, don’t have to be exclusively men. There are many women who feel the same and want the abuses stopped and the Gospel preached unabashedly. Work together—just don’t let the women do all the work. It’s unseemly and part of the problem. I know the phenomenon that tends to happen when the women come in—the men go out. We see it in sports and clubs and altar serving. Be aware of it and fight against the tendency to just let the women handle it. Get in and stay in the fight, even if you’re not leading it. (Read more.)

More HERE.


The Incompatibility of Catholicism and Feminism

 From Crisis:


Why the Middle Ground is So Elusive

  From Chronicles:

As with many terms, a lack of context distorts the true meaning. The assemblymen who sat on the right did indeed favor retaining the king, but for a reason that constitutes the opposite of “governmental power.” King Louis XVI was known in France at that time as “The Restorer of Liberty.” After the tyrannical reign of Louis “I am the State” XIV and the wishy-washy rule of Louis XV, Louis XVI extended freedoms to French entrepreneurs to an extent never before known. His predecessor had asked French businessmen what the state could do for them, and they had famously answered, “Laissez-nous faire”—“let us make our own way”—and this, of course, is the origin of “Laissez-faire,” the byword of free-market economics. But it was Louis XVI, not Louis XV, who acted on it, withdrawing regulations and lowering taxes so as to encourage the flourishing of businesses. That is why those sitting on the right wanted the king to remain connected to his head, so that he might continue to ensure the liberties of the French middle class. Freedom from government control was the desire of the right-sitters.

What did the left-sitters want? Equality.

For leftists then as for leftists now, there is no true freedom when people are divided by class and condition. Freedom as independence from state control is for them superficial freedom, freedom in name only. Until people are made equal—as the Terror made them equal under the blade of the guillotine, destroying wealthy businessmen, ordinary shop owners, landlords, servants, and priests—there can be no freedom, because the critical point is that equality is fundamental to true freedom. Neither “liberality,” nor “compassion,” nor any other shortcut definition of the left will do, because this is the common denominator: For the left, there can be no real freedom without equality as a starting place, while for the right, freedom is the starting place, the fundamental social condition required for a just world. Equality enters into it, but only in the sense that in a truly just society, every individual is free in a degree equal to all others; if one person has the right to pursue happiness, all people do.

By now it should be clear that a “middle ground” between left and right can no more be found than can a middle shape between a square and a circle. How could there be compromise between a view that sees freedom as the one essential ingredient of a just society, and the view that freedom is meaningless without the prior elimination of all inequalities? There simply cannot be. (Read more.)

Sunday, April 18, 2021

R House

I do not care for modernist design but this house in Malaysia is interesting. From Habitus Living:

When it comes to writing about residential architecture, one quickly becomes attuned to spotting the hallmarks of a good project story. Is it climate-responsive, for instance? Is it in keeping with the perennially popular ideals of modernist design? Better yet – is an architect’s own abode? In the case of R House by Ken Yeang, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’ to all three.

Ken Yeang describes himself as “an ecologist first, an architect second”. So, when it came to designing his family house in Malaysia, a climate-responsive design was imperative for the house to be at one with its tropical context. Treating the project as an exercise in bioclimatic experimentation, Ken created a comfortable, modern family home with passive solar design at its core.

Originally designed in 1985, R House was ahead of its time in terms of sustainable architecture – and belies the modest abode one might expect. Heralding a distinctly modernist design, R House comprises a sprawling, linear form. It’s a far cry from the small footprint commonly expected when the motive of sustainability is involved, but accommodating a family of eight – three generations of one family, plus a housekeeper – the house’s scale might be grand, but not superfluous.

With windows for walls; a seamless flow between indoors and out; and a show-stopping swimming pool splicing the floorplan in two, R House is deeply grounded in its tropical environs. It’s climate-responsive design elements like these that grant the residence its passive design credentials as well as its powerful sense of place. “The swimming pool serves as an evaporative cooling device,” says Ken, adding, “for good cross-ventilation, the side walls at the ground floor are sliding glass panels that can be adjusted to control airflow throughout the house.” (Read more.)