Monday, July 23, 2012

Smoking Priests

It is, of course, enjoyable on occasion to be confirmed by the men in cloth that cigar smoking is--in moderation--not only not a vice, but perhaps even conducive to virtue.  This was not always the case.

Here are some modern Catholic clerics who engage in the fine art of cigar smoking.

Fr. H Setter, St. Mary's Church, Derby, Kansas
"I don't know about you, but I think it's time to light one up!"
"Remember . . . keep your smoking holy!"

Fr. Josef Farrugia, Vienna.
"Sometimes a cigar is better than incense"
"Manchmal sind Zigarren besser als Weihrauch"

Augustinian Canon Manfred Hofians of the Klosterneuburg Monastery.
"A cigar is like a conversation with a woman.  Cigars help me to bear the privations of celibacy."

Fr. Philip Cascia (deceased), St. Anthony's Parish, Connecticut.

Prelate Professor Dr. Alfred Sammer
His motto: "ora et fuma," pray and smoke.

There are others for whom I have not found pictures, including Maximilian Timothy Heffron, who is the "Fumarius" of his monastery.  Additionally the German Dominican Wolfgan Ockenfels (Trier) smokes six half-Toscanos per day and he uses his ethical whiles (he is an ethicist) to persuade other that there is a vice in not smoking cigars.  For Ockenfels, smoking has a "symbolic religious meaning," and he believes that they may have a role in Heaven (and their absence a role in Purgatory). Archbishop Reinhard Marx from Munich is supposed to be enjoy a nice cigar and red wine.

Of course, those at St.HOLGS are blessed to have their own smoking priest, Fr. James Farfaglia who is both our heart and our brain and our cigar smoking hero:

 Fr. James Farfaglia, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Corpus Christi, Texas
Tu es sacerdos in aeternum secundum ordinem Melchizedek

This information and the photographs is derived from European Cigar Cult Journal (2009)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

In Defense of Urinals and Pissing Against the Wall

News just recently hit the internet that the U.S. Navy’s new class of air craft carriers—the Ford Class carriers—are going to be designed without urinals.  Which highly-placed Naval bureaucrat made this decision has not been disclosed—probably for his (her?) own safety’s sake.  It is said that the change is intended to improve the sailors’ quality of life, but it is difficult to see how removing urinals is much of a benefit to men, who, of course, represent the vast majority of persons on carriers.  

This move is—alas, I fear—motivated by latent, or perhaps not so latent, misandry.  It might be motivated by political correctness gone amok.  It could also be motivated by an effort to feminize the Navy, in line with the general tendency toward the feminization of society and anti-Christian animus.  Finally, an particularly ominously, it could be some incipient Islamism—the first sign of dhimittude rearing its ugly head as we accommodate to the urination practices of the Muslims.  In any event, this latest assault on the tradition of urinals is something which, I believe, must be resisted: for the sake of urinals and for the sake of men and the virtues of masculinity.  Conservatism of our mores and our culture demand it.  Indeed, it may be required for the preservation of our Christian manliness.

This move against urinals should be fought on artistic grounds.  We should do everything we can to recruit the aesthete on our side.  Urinals are beautiful.  They are a mainstay of serious art.  For example, Marcel Duchamp’s piece Fountain (1917) was nothing but a sideway-placed urinal signed “R. Mutt 1917.”  Many—including the German literary critic Peter Bürger who wrote Theory of the Avant-Garde (1974), so he must know—consider Duchamp’s piece a vanguard of the avant-garde, which though it sounds like a tautology is not really a tautology.  The value of the urinal has been recognized by the avant-garde, and so it has had to be defended from those who have tried to gain fame by urinating on its or by destroying it.  Additionally, Marcel Duchamp approved the making of a number of replicas in the 1960s, which can now be seen in a number of museums around the world.  Given the fact that the urinal has been used for art, we might suggest that the bureaucrat who made the decision not to put urinals on the Ford class carriers is nothing but a philistine.  

Indeed, we can go further.  Goethe stated that a philistine “not only ignores all manners of life which are not his (her) own, but he (she) also demands that the rest of mankind should fashion its mode of existence after his (her) own way.”  The philistine in Goethe’s day argued that it was foolishness to suggest the need for horse and carriage because he (she) had feet.*  Likewise, the modern philistine argues that it’s foolishness to suggest the need for a urinal because God has given him (her) a . . . . [censored].

The urinal has been embraced by other artists.  Ernest Hemingway—the man who wrote the Old Man and the Sea, for example, converted a urinal from the famous Sloppy Joe’s bar—a bastion for free thinkers and drinkers in the age of Prohibition, and a place he frequented and whose urinals he as frequently used—into a water fountain for his cats, from which even now they drink.  So Hemingway preserves urinals for his cats, but our Navy cannot preserve urinals for its sea dogs?  I think our unimaginative fellow (fella) bureaucrat at the Navy could learn a thing or to from the free-thinking Hemingway.

This latest attack on urinals is nothing other than part of a pattern which—I fear—is accelerating.  As an example of this, one might point to the famous street urinals in Paris—the so-called vespasiennes.  In the 1930s, there were 1200 of these in service, and up until the 1990s these urinals were a sufficiently common site throughout the city.  However, progressively these male-oriented vespasiennes were replaced with unisex Sanisettes--the name sounds hideous, like a receptacle for sanitary napkins.  Today, there is only a lone vespasienne remaining in the entire city of Paris—on boulevard Arago—and it is still used by hearty, biblical men.  

There are some pockets of hope.  I don't want to be a Debbie (Dick, Peter, Jimmy, Johnson) Downer.  The Dutch seem to buck the trend a bit, they have some very attractive pissoirs situated throughout their cities which are self-cleaning and are on hydraulic lifts, so that they can be hid at the touch of a button.  London and Belfast have followed the lead of the Dutch and—in an apparent effort to cater to the manly drinkers at the pubs—have placed these high-tech “Urilift” urinals in strategic areas.  The enlightened mayor of Marikina City in the Philippines Bayani Fernando installed some delightfully pink street urinals in his city,** and, when appointed chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, he installed the urinals in the capital.  Now, here’s a real manly Statesman!  A man who relieves himself in a pink urinal is very secure in his masculinity!

The banning of urinals from the U.S. Navy Ford class carriers is also deeply anti-Scriptural.  Moderns have already “cleansed” our Scripture from the references to men as “those who pisseth against the walls.”  The modern translations disguise it.  Compare, e.g.,as I do below for you, the New American Standard Bible with the old Douay Rheims (which in this regard mimics the King James).  This seems part of a demonic plot.  First, sever the Biblical tie between pissing against the wall and manhood.  Second, sever the cultural tie between pissing against the wall and manhood.  

τάδε ποιήσαι ὁ θεὸς τῷ δαυιδ καὶ τάδε προσθείη εἰ ὑπολείψομαι ἐκ πάντων τῶν τοῦ ναβαλ ἕως πρωὶ οὐροῦντα πρὸς τοῖχον

כֹּה־יַעֲשֶׂה אֱלֹהִים לְאֹיְבֵי דָוִד וְכֹה יֹסִיף אִם־אַשְׁאִיר מִכָּל־אֲשֶׁר־לֹו עַד־הַבֹּקֶר מַשְׁתִּין בְּקִיר׃

haec faciat Deus inimicis David et haec addat si reliquero de omnibus quae ad eum pertinent usque mane mingentem ad parietem

May God do so and so, and add more to the foes of David, if I leave of all that belong to him till the morning, any that pisseth against the wall.

1 Samuel 25:22.

Now look at the modern translation (New American Bible):

May God do thus and so to David, if by morning I leave a single male alive among all those who belong to him.

Another example of this vicious trend:

πλὴν ὅτι ζῇ κύριος ὁ θεὸς ισραηλ ὃς ἀπεκώλυσέν με σήμερον τοῦ κακοποιῆσαί σε ὅτι εἰ μὴ ἔσπευσας καὶ παρεγένου εἰς ἀπάντησίν μοι τότε εἶπα εἰ ὑπολειφθήσεται τῷ ναβαλ ἕως φωτὸς τοῦ πρωὶ οὐρῶν πρὸς τοῖχον

וְאוּלָם חַי־יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר מְנָעַנִי מֵהָרַע אֹתָךְ כִּי לוּלֵי מִהַרְתְּ [כ וַתָּבֹאתִי] [ק וַתָּבֹאת] לִקְרָאתִי כִּי אִם־נֹותַר לְנָבָל עַד־אֹור הַבֹּקֶר מַשְׁתִּין בְּקִיר׃

alioquin vivit Dominus Deus Israhel qui prohibuit me malum facere tibi nisi cito venisses in occursum mihi non remansisset Nabal usque ad lucem matutinam mingens ad parietem

Otherwise as the Lord liveth the God of Israel, who hath withholden me from doing thee any evil: if thou hadst not quickly come to meet me, there had not been left to Nabal by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.

1 Sam. 25:34
Now look at the modern emasculation:

Otherwise, as the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, who has restrained me from harming you, if you had not come so promptly to meet me, by dawn Nabal would not have had a single man or boy left alive.

Without question, the Hebrew, the Greek Septuagint, and the Latin Vulgate are correctly and literally translated by the Douay Rheims.

Other scriptures that identify men as those who "pisseth against the wall" are 1 Kings 14:10, 16:11, 21:21; 2 Kings 9:8.

Finally, we must fight against the demise of urinals because it is incipient Islamism.  Many in the West do not know, but urinals are a Western invention. Except in extreme circumstances (necessity is a defense), Muslims are encouraged to follow the example of their "prophet" who urinated in a manner contrary to the men of the Jewish (and Christian) Scriptures.  One of his wives--his favorite A'isha--relates in a hadith considered authentic (sahih): "Whoever tells you that the Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah upon him) used to urinate standing up, do not believe him.  He only ever used to urinate sitting down."  

Christian men! Western men! Traditional men! Cultured men!  Unite to save the Urinal!

*“Der Philister negiert nicht nur andere Zustände, als der seinige ist, er will auch, daß alle übrigen Menschen auf seine Weise existieren sollen. Er geht zu Fuß und ist sein Leben lang zu Fuß gegangen. Nun sieht er jemand in einem Wagen fahren. "Was das für eine Narrheit ist", ruft er aus, "zu fahren, sich dahinschleppen zu lassen von Pferden! Hat der Kerl nicht Beine? Wozu sind den die Beine anders als zum Gehen? Wenn wir fahren sollten, würde uns Gott keine Beine gegeben haben."  Letter to Rimer, Aug. 18, 1807.  
**The pink color is genius.  It helps disguise the pink urinal cakes.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Difference between a bird with a cigar and a cigar with a bird

The pictures below show the difference between a cigar with a bird and a bird with a cigar:

Cigar with a bird

Bird with a cigar

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A Crack Shot and a Good Smoke

Happy Fourth of July all you Brothers of the Leaf!  Thought you all might enjoy an old postcard of Uncle Sam resting on the Fourth of July with a huge stogie in his mouth and a long-barreled rifle aimed at some threatening enemy.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Smokin' an' Writin' fer da Pope

BOTL: I stumbled across this article in the "Culture" section of L'Osservatore Roman.  You can find the original here, but I have cut and pasted it because of its unusual content.  The story is about Antonietta Klitsche de la Grange, the first female writer for the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano.  (A novelist, she wrote a type of fictional series a la Honore de Balzac.)  She smoked cigars, which is unusual.  It is a shame that this was not given greater emphasis in the piece.
The first woman to write for the Osservatore Romano

Smoked cigars
and wrote for the Pope

Antonietta Klitsche de la GrangeWho knows if Guido Reni will manage to rid himself of the vice of gambling and if Baldo, his youngest and most fragile student, will understand in time the plot of Madam Vittoria and her daughter Alberica, before he is trapped in an unhappy marriage? These are some of the questions that today, 144 years later, make one quickly scroll down the digital pages of the archives, just as they did in January 1867 for readers of L'Osservatore Romano who immediately looked to the bottom of the front page for their favourite Soap Opera (ante litteram), An Episode in the Life of Guido Reni, by Antonietta Klitsche de la Grange.
A reading of our newspaper from a century and a half ago reserves many surprises: ads for balsams, cosmetics and hair dye, Russian stocks, second-hand gigs, steam boat trips on the Nile in Upper Egypt, lotteries to finance the missions and charitable works, besides serial stories which aimed to attract new readers and make them faithful to the paper.
Indeed, the so-called “fogliettone”, or “serial story” (from the French feuilleton), considered a lesser genreand found at the bottom of the page, was introduced by Honoré de Balzac. In 1831 he considered it a good means of creating suspense before a book's publication. Thanks to the custom of serial stories published in newspapers and magazines, works such as Les Misérables by Victor Hugo, Mystères de Parisby Eugène Sue or The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, were born.
Glancing through the minute and sometimes wobbly print of L'Osservatore of the 1800s, the lively and quick prose of the author brings to life stories about the bad guys mercilessly enact their wicked plans and the good ones confront the troubles of life with courage and a spirit of sacrifice, “sublime in content, firm in pain”; two-dimensional characters, without real artistic value, who, however, manage to capture the attention of the reader through freshness of dialogue and a good plot.
The smug smile of the modern reader in front of the ingenuous 18th century-prose soon gives way to the curiosity to learn simply “how it is going to end”. Will the crafty Alberica, a social climber without scruples, succeed? Or will the young and beautiful Stefania, whose naivety stretches the limits of obtuseness and who was shielded from the dark plots of the Tibaldi da Renzi family, get the upper hand? Stefania is the fiancée of Baldo, the most promising of Guido Reni's students, who from the beginning was in love with her but ready to give her up in order not to betray the friendship of his young colleague, who a few years earlier had introduced him to the Bolognese Master's studio.
Dialogues and action scenes enrich the long descriptions of glimpses into 17th-century Rome and in accordance with Horace's delectando docere. These descriptions do not lack references to paintings and works of art which readers in the mid-18th century could see in the churches of their city, complete with precise foot notes. The dated vocabulary and the archaic style take nothing from her capacity to “hook” readers and hold their attention for long periods of time.
Antonietta Klitsche de la Grange claimed she wrote quickly without re-reading the text (“she dictated her stories to the first literate person she found, or jotted down her thoughts as they came, and considered re-reading and editing a kind of handicap or admission of incapability”, her great-grandson, Rodolfo Palieri, noted with a dose of irony). In fact, the dialogue often retains that sense of just having been spoken.
From her pen, some 40 novels came, published in installments in periodicals such as “The Friend of Families”, and “Arcadia”, (signed with a pseudonym, Asteria Cidonia) and later published in volumes by Vigoni.
An Episode in the Life of Guido Reni marked the beginning of her collaboration with L'Osservatore Romano on 2 January 1867; that the writer was to continue for a long time by sending in stories fromLeone, the Bricklayer to A Fatal Romance. Her biography, too, reads like a novel: granddaughter of Luigi Federico Cristiano di Hohenzollern (known to historians as Luigi Ferdinando) and Maria Adelaide de la Grange, daughter of Teodoro Klitsche de la Grange, who came to Rome to serve under Pius ix after the Battle of Waterloo and subsequently became Brigade Commander of the King’s troops in Naples.
Antonietta (described as “a tall, valkyrie brunette with strong features and dark eyes”) fell in love, reciprocally, with the Papal Zouave, Emanuel de Fournel, a French official who, however, died shortly thereafter, with his brother in the combat in Viterbo. From that moment, Antonietta considered herself, “a widow, abandoning forever any idea of marriage” and Palieri adds, “like George Sand, she began to smoke cigars” spending much of her life, “between the mines and the forests of Tolfa”, in Allumiere, where her brother Adolfo, a geologist and archeologist, lived.
In accordance with her last wishes, the inscription on her tombstone in the cemetery of Verano, Rome, reads: “Lived unmarried, wrote much, suffered greatly and now happily reposes in God”.

Nobody who has an abstract standard of right and wrong can possibly think it wrong to smoke a cigar.

The following essay by G. K. Chesterton is entitled "On American Morals."  In it, he distinguishes between custom and convention and moral principles.  He takes to task an article by Miss Avis D. Carlson who viewed smoking and tobacco (and drinking) as an evil without ever considering whether it was evil as a result of an unthinking [Puritan-derived] convention, or whether it was in fact evil based upon moral principles.  Based upon moral principles, and not relying on mere convention, G. K. Chesterton insists that smoking cigars cannot be considered wrong.  I have underlined some portions of the article for those who want to get to the meat.

America is sometimes offered to us, even by Americans (who ought to know better), as a moral example. There are indeed very real American virtues; but this virtuous attitude is hardly one of them. And if anyone wants to know what a welter of weakness and inconsequence the moral mind of America can sometimes be, he may be advised to look, not so much to the Crime Wave or the Charleston, as to the serious idealistic essays by highbrows and cultural critics, such as one by Miss Avis D. Carlson on "Wanted: A Substitute for Righteousness."* By righteousness she means, of course, the narrow New England taboos; but she does not know it. For the inference she draws is that we should recognize frankly that "the standard abstract right and wrong is moribund." This statement will seem less insane if we consider, somewhat curiously, what the standard abstract right and wrong seems to mean--at least in her section of the States. It is a glimpse of an incredible world. 

G. K. Chesterton with cigar in hand

She takes the case of a young man brought up "in a home where there was an attempt to make dogmatic cleavage of right and wrong." And what was the dogmatic cleavage? Ah, what indeed! His elders told him that some things were right and some wrong; and for some time he accepted this strange assertion. But when he leaves home he finds that, "apparently perfectly nice people do the things he has been taught to think evil." Then follows a revelation. "The flowerlike girl he envelops in a mist of romantic idealization smokes like an imp from the lower regions and pets like a movie vamp. The chum his heart yearns towards cultivates a hip-flask, etc." And this is what the writer calls a dogmatic cleavage between right and wrong! 

The standard of abstract right and wrong apparently is this. That a girl by smoking a cigarette makes herself one of the company of the fiends of hell. That such an action is much the same as that of a sexual vampire. That a young man who continues to drink fermented liquor must necessarily be "evil" and must deny the very existence of any difference between right and wrong. That is the "standard of abstract right and wrong" that is apparently taught in the American home. And it is perfectly obvious, on the face of it, that it is not a standard of abstract right or wrong at all. That is exactly what it is not. That is the very last thing any clear-headed person would call it. It is not a standard; it is not abstract; it has not the vaguest notion of what is meant by right and wrong. It is a chaos of social and sentimental accidents and associations, some of them snobbish, all of them provincial, but, above all, nearly all of them concrete and connected with a materialistic prejudice against particular materials. To have a horror of tobacco is not to have an abstract standard of right; but exactly the opposite. It is to have no standard of right whatever; and to make certain local likes and dislikes as a substitute. We need not be very surprised if the young man repudiates these meaningless vetoes as soon as he can; but if he thinks he is repudiating morality, he must be almost as muddle-headed as his father. And yet the writer in question calmly proposes that we should abolish all ideas of right and wrong, and abandon the whole human conception of a standard of abstract justice, because a boy in Boston cannot be induced to think that a nice girl is a devil when she smokes a cigarette. 

If the rising generation were faced with no worse doubts and difficulties than this, it would not be very difficult to reconcile them to the traditions of truth and justice. But I think the episode is worth mentioning, merely because it throws a ray of light on the moral condition of American Culture, in the decay of Puritanism. And when next we are told that the idealism of America is to set a "standard" by which England must transform herself, it will be well to remember what is apparently meant by a standard and an ideal; and that the fire of idealism seems both to begin and end in smoke. 

Incidentally, I must say I can bear witness to this queer taboo about tobacco. Of course numberless Americans smoke numberless cigars; a great many others eat cigars, which seems to me a more occult pleasure. But there does exist an extraordinary idea that ethics are involved in some way; and many who smoke really disapprove of smoking. I remember once receiving two American interviewers on the same afternoon; there was a box of cigars in front of me and I offered one to each in turn. Their reaction (as they would probably call it) was very curious to watch. The first journalist stiffened suddenly and silently and declined in a very cold voice. He could not have conveyed more plainly that I had attempted to corrupt an honorable man with a foul and infamous indulgence; as if I were the Old Man of the Mountain offering him hashish that would turn him into an assassin. The second reaction was even more remarkable. The second journalist first looked doubtful; then looked sly; then seemed to glance about him nervously, as if wondering whether we were alone, and then said with a sort of crestfallen and covert smile: "Well, Mr. Chesterton, I'm afraid I have the habit." 

As I also have the habit, and have never been able to imagine how it could be connected with morality or immorality, I confess that I plunged with him deeply into an immoral life. In the course of our conversation, I found he was otherwise perfectly sane. He was quite intelligent about economics or architecture; but his moral sense seemed to have entirely disappeared. He really thought it rather wicked to smoke. He had no "standard of abstract right or wrong"; in him it was not merely moribund; it was apparently dead. But anyhow, that is the point and that is the test. Nobody who has an abstract standard of right and wrong can possibly think it wrong to smoke a cigar. But he had a concrete standard of particular cut and dried customs of a particular tribe. Those who say Americans are largely descended from the American Indians might certainly make a case out of the suggestion that this mystical horror of material things is largely a barbaric sentiment. The Red Indian is said to have tried and condemned a tomahawk for committing a murder. In this case he was certainly the prototype of the white man who curses a bottle because too much of it goes into a man. Prohibition is sometimes praised for its simplicity; on these lines it may be equally condemned for its savagery. But I myself do not say anything so absurd as that Americans are savages; nor do I think it would matter much if they were descended from savages. It is culture that counts and not ethnology; and the culture that is concerned here derives indirectly rather from New England than from Old America. Whatever it derives from, however, this is the thing to be noted about it: that it really does not seem to understand what is meant by a standard of right and wrong. It is a vague sentimental notion that certain habits were not suitable to the old log cabin or the old hometown. It has a vague utilitarian notion that certain habits are not directly useful in the new amalgamated stores or the new financial gambling-hell. If his aged mother or his economic master dislikes to see a young man hanging about with a pipe in his mouth, the action becomes a sin; or the nearest that such a moral philosophy can come to the idea of a sin. A man does not chop wood for the log hut by smoking; and a man does not make dividends for the Big Boss by smoking; and therefore smoking has a smell as of something sinful. Of what the great theologians and moral philosophers have meant by a sin, these people have no more idea than a child drinking milk has of a great toxicologist analyzing poisons. It may be a credit of their virtue to be thus vague about vice. The man who is silly enough to say, when offered a cigarette, "I have no vices," may not always deserve the rapier-thrust of the reply given by the Italian Cardinal, "It is not a vice, or doubtless you would have it." But at least the Cardinal knows it is not a vice; which assists the clarity of his mind. But the lack of clear standards among those who vaguely think of it as a vice may yet be the beginning of much peril and oppression. My two American journalists, between them, may yet succeed in adding the sinfulness of cigars to the other curious things now part of the American Constitution. 

I would therefore venture to say to Miss Avis Carlson that the quarrel in question does not arise from the Yankee Puritans having too much morality, but from their having too little. It does not arise from their drawing too hard and fast a line of distinction between right and wrong, but from their being much to loose and indistinct. They go by associations and not by abstractions. Therefore they classify smoking with vamping or a flask in the pocket with sin in the soul. I hope at least that some of the Fundamentalists will succeed in being a little more fundamental than this. The men of Tennessee are supposed to be very anxious to draw the line between men and monkeys. They are also supposed by some to be rather too anxious to draw the line between black men and white men. May I be allowed to hope that they will succeed in drawing a rather more logical line between bad men and good men? Something of the the difference and the difficulty may be seen by comparing the old Ku Klux Klan with the new Klu Klux Klan. The old secret society may have been justified or not; but it had a definite object: it was directed against somebody. The new secret society seems to have been directed against anybody; often against anybody who drank; in time, for all I know, against anybody who smoked. It is this sort of formless fanaticism that is the great danger of the American Temperament; and it is well to insist that if men must persecute, they will be more clear-headed if they persecute for a creed

*Avis D. Carlson was a contributor to Harper's Magazine.  You can read the cited article here.  Biographical information on her may be found here.