Friday, March 28, 2008


(referencing the title- No, not me! I don't expect that for years yet hee hee hee)

With a daughter who is about to enroll in College to study Biology (read Evolution)I'm interested in Catholic Scientists more than ever. It really is amazing when you think about the contribution that Catholics have made to science- Mendelson, Louis Pasteur, Marie Curie and I'm sure there are huge numbers that we don't know about.

It's also a reminder that you can spend your whole life's work on something that will remain in obscurity until years after your death. And you can persevere anyway. If you have the Faith.

This article is from the Catholic Register.


The Courageous Man Who Saw How Faith Gave Birth to Science


March 30-April 5, 2008 Issue | Posted 3/25/08 at 12:48 PM

St. Augustine, St. Albert the Great, St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Thomas More are living testaments to the compatibility of scholarship and sanctity.

In the modern era, however, we witness a disjunction between the two.

There are great honors and material rewards for outstanding scholarship these days, and they can easily go to one’s head.

For this reason, Msgr. George Rutler has opined that it may be more difficult for a Ph.D. holder to get into heaven than a rich man.

Sanctity requires a great deal of humility. On the other hand, it is most tempting for the scholar to allow his works and prizes to lead him in the opposite direction of humility, toward pride.

William F. Buckley Jr., who came to know a wide variety of interesting people in his time, named Gerhart Niemeyer as the best example he had ever witnessed of a man who combined the virtues of scholarship with the virtues of sanctity.

The fact that Niemeyer is not exactly a household word is a good indication of the relative scarcity of holy scholars that populate the modern landscape.

In the interest of reminding (or introducing) the present world of a holy scholar who should not be forgotten, let me highlight the life and works of that most extraordinary example of scholarship wed to sanctity, Pierre Duhem.

Pierre Maurice Marie Duhem was born June 10, 1861, in Paris. He distinguished himself as one of the most brilliant students ever to attend the highly prestigious Ecole Normal Supérieure. Of the 800 or so graduates in France in 1882, he was and remained throughout his years at Ecole, first in his class in the science department. His doctoral thesis on thermodynamics, unfortunately, contradicted the position of the chemist Marcelin Berthelot, who was a powerful figure in the French academic establishment at the time.

Though Duhem’s position was later vindicated, Bertholet ensured not only that the thesis would be rejected, but that Duhem would never teach in Paris. Duhem wrote another thesis, of a more mathematical nature, that three examiners accepted. But his career was permanently hampered as a result of his clash with Bertholet.

Duhem, ostracized by his own peers, never did teach in Paris. He spent the last 22 years of his life as a professor of theoretical physics at a provincial school, the University of Bordeaux. His magnum opus is his Le Système du monde: les doctrines cosmolologiques de Platon à Copernicus (The Structure of the World: Teachings on Cosmology from Plato to Copernicus).

The first five volumes — each more than 500 pages in length — were published in consecutive years, from 1913-1917. Although another five volumes were ready for publication when Duhem died in 1916, they were not published until four decades later (1954-59).

The reason for the long delay in publishing the last five volumes of this masterpiece, which is without parallel in its field, was due to the strong opposition by influential academics who did not want to consider the demonstrable fact that modern science cannot be divorced from its religious foundations.

In the intervening years between the publication of the first and second group of five volumes, many studies of medieval science were conducted — by Anneliese Maier, Marshall Clagett, E. Grant, Alistair Crombie and others. These studies served to extend and confirm Duhem’s work and add credibility to his central thesis concerning the continuity between Medieval and modern science.

As a result of Duhem’s pioneering research and the contribution by other historians of science, the value of studying medieval science is now well established and can no longer be dismissed by honest scholars.

Templeton Prize winner, Stanley Jaki, who holds doctorates in both physics as well as theology, has this to say about Duhem’s work: “What Duhem unearthed among other things from long-buried manuscripts was that supernatural revelation played a crucial liberating role in putting scientific speculation on the right track. … It is in this terrifying prospect for secular humanism, for which science is the redeemer of mankind, that lies the explanation of that grim and secretive censorship which has worked against Duhem.”

Peter Hodgson, who is university lecturer in nuclear physics at Oxford University, has this to say about Duhem’s scholarly accomplishment: “The work of Duhem is of great relevance today, for it shows clearly the Christian roots of modern science, thus decisively refuting the alleged incompatibility of science and Christianity still propagated by the secularist establishment. Science is an integral part of Christian culture, a lesson to be learned even within the Christian Church.”

Duhem’s study and documentation of the Christian origin of modern science has been deliberately neglected because it is unwelcome both to the disciples of the French Enlightenment and those of the Reformation. For different reasons, they would like to paint the Middle Ages as dark as possible.

Duhem’s work is all the more prodigious when one realizes that he had no research assistant at his disposal or dictaphones or even ball-point pens. Furthermore, he often had to use his left hand to hold firm his trembling right hand.

When he passed away at age 54, he had left to posterity 40 books, 400 articles, and 120 large-size notebooks, each 200 pages long, containing excerpts from medieval manuscripts.

“On a more personal level,” writes Hodgson, “Duhem is an example of Christian fortitude in the face of many setbacks and sorrows.”

He lost his wife and second daughter after less than two years of happy married life. Although his health was never strong and his workload was demanding, he nevertheless found time to visit and help the poor and the sick. He was popular with his students and the children of his friends. A throng of simple folk attended his funeral in his ancestral village of Cabrespine.

In a most unusual tribute to Pierre Duhem, Francis Kelly has produced a biography in verse form of this faithful Catholic, physicist, mathematician, philosopher and historian that ends with the following words:

“Though he has gone, we feel his wraith

Inspiring us to trust our faith

And, with his courage, life to face

Now in our time and in our place.

And now it’s time to say amen

And end this story of Duhem.”

Donald DeMarco is adjunct professor at Holy Apostles College and seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut,

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Easter Preparations

How does the Yummy Mummy Prepare for Easter?

3 months beforehand

1. Start thinking about colors that her son and daughter look well in. Search websites of boutique clothing for children. Finalize color scheme.

2 months beforehand

Make hair and nail appointments and contemplate whether your children should have haircuts a few days or weeks beforehand. After all you don't want a "too studied" look.

Start shopping for your own dress, shoes and accessories.

Start shopping for your husband. Evaluate new fashion trends.

1 month before hand

Schedule photo shoot of your son and daughter with the premier photographer. Evaluate his or her credentials. Sets. Order proofs.

How the mother of eight gets ready for Easter

3 months before hand

Has absolutely no idea that Easter is coming. Still recovering from Christmas.

2 months before hand

Realizes that Lent is immiment. Tries to think how THIS Lent will be one of deepening spirituality, recollection, penance.

Tries to assign some spiritual reading to each child. Hopes he or she will follow through.

1 month beforehand.

It's still Lent isn't it. Perseveres. Starts to attribute every difficulty to the fact that is IS LENT isn't it.

The Night of the Easter vigil

Congratulates herself on the fact that the teenagers want to attend the Holy Thursday Tenebrae, Good Friday Services and Easter Vigil Mass.

Husband says that "they only want to get away from us."

Dismisses this notion immediately.

Does a quick mental inventory of what is actually clean and still fits. If dress pants are too small for teenage son, rails against son for growing. How could he?

Decide that the distinction between black and blue are too subtle for the average, Easter-morning-eye and a blue blazer and black dress pant will be just the thing.

Mends each of three ties for the boys. Congratulate self on the fact that they are still viable. Hope that no one recognizes they wore these same ties for Christmas. And the Easter before that. Feel congratulatory about the fact that they WERE brand name ties and good quality. Resolve to buy brand names again.

Does a white wash in a vain attempt to whiten school uniform shirts that have major ring around the color. Uses bleach in desperation and in spite of husband's cautions that bleach will ruin the septic system. Hopes that only ONE small wash of bleach will have no impact. Resolves not to mention such a worrisome possibility to spare husband any further stress. In dismay realizes that shirts have come out of the said wash in exactly the same condition as they went in.

Septic system status- unknown.

Lament the fact that NO ONE sells lacy little girl tights anymore. Well at least not the day BEFORE Easter.

Realizes there is not yet the time to buy all those spiritual Easter gifts for the Easter baskets- rosaries, missals, new veils for the girls, Saints books and promise that come their birthdays! it will all come out right.

Congratulate self on the fact that the 4 year old asks, "What is that?" when he sees BACON being placed in the refrigerator for Easter Brunch. And realize that, after all you have not indulged the children too much if they do not recognize bacon.

No, it's not negligence. It's spiritual superiority.

Makes the jello salad and thanks God that they have been invited to Grandma's for Easter dinner. The alternative (having to cook) is too dire to contemplate.

Recognize that somewhere, in all this morass of humanity is sanctification and try not to think it has been squandered.

The Catholic Bishops, Elliot Spitzer and the Traditional Catholic Family

Now how could I resist this article?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Baby Chicks are here

We ordered a dozen Rhode Island Reds, like the one above. And in a moment of insanity I ordered an additional 25 meat chickens Cornish rock hens (I think) and 12 turkeys. (white big leg or something like that).

And lest you be impressed, we have absolutely no idea what we are doing.

But I found this website:

Keeping a Backyard Flock

I think I have the same chicken raising philosophy as one of this friends who keeps hers under a truck cab mounted on cinder blocks. Now that's Vermont efficiency.

At first I made the mistake of checking the local UMASS extension office. And the first article that came up was Avian bird flu. Don't handle live poultry and all that. Thanks. Very reassuring.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Reading Faithful Departed

This is a great book. I expected a great book. But it has exceeded my expectations.

I'm happy to report that I may have been the first human being to be in Cambridge (the People's Republic if there ever was one!), sitting on a park bench outside the "Marxist Education Building" (and no, I am not making this up) and the office building that housed the "Abortion Access Project" (ditto) and reading The Faithful Departed: The Collapse of Boston's Catholic Culture.

Why is it great?

1. Well written
2. Well reasoned
3. History is explained in an interesting way. (and how often does that happen?)
4. "Corruptio optimi pessima" (corruption of the best is worst) great synthesis of why the abuse scandal so horrified us.)
5. Explanation of the anti-Catholic foundation of the founding of America
6. Fair

A dear friend got me this book. I am reading it slowly. It's a book to be savored.

Order it from Amazon. Get the First Edition.
It will be worth more.

And a tip to those who are "in the know" or want to be "in the know". When this book was first available for pre-order on Amazon it was selling $14 and change. Then it went up to $15 and now it's $17. It's available for as much as $39 used!

And if you want to know why I was in Cambridge, well my daughters had a dance lesson at the Dance Complex. They are studying Kathak dance: a form of Indian storytelling dance.

Traditional Catholics infiltrating Cambridge. Look out.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Protecting Your Daughter

This weekend we were listening to the Taylor Swift Song, Picture to Burn and I was heartened by this line,

"... if you come around here saying sorry to me, my daddy's gonna show you how sorry you'll be!"

and then the chorus:

"if you're missing me,
you'd better keep it to yourself
cause coming back around here
would be bad for your health..."

and then I thought back to the part of Wendy's Shalit's first book, "A Return to Modesty" (a must read for every parent of a teenage daughter)where she quotes a paragraph from Glamour magazine, June 1998, by a young man who has his girlfriend's father drive them to a hotel, he wrote, "Prepared to trust me with his only daughter but not with his brand new Volvo, he shook the very foundations of parental propriety by offering to drive us to the hotel."

Then I guess it's not surprising that Drudge has a developing story about the fact that 25% of all teenage girls have a sexually transmitted disease.

And it seems like parents have abandoned any thought of protecting their teenage daughters. Because I guess it's not cool. And you definitely won't be a yummy mummy if you try to stand in the way of what your teenagers want, or you think they want.

And why don't I live in Victorian times?

If I had to give ten reasons why a teenage girl should not become sexually active I would start by saying

1. It's a mortal sin. And you will go to hell. Now I know this only applies to those of use who still believe in sin, self control and hell. We are a small but stubborn group.
2. Don't let yourself be taken advantage of by someone who does not care about you. Because if he did care about you he would marry you first. Like the chapter in Josh Harris' book, "I Kissed Dating Goodbye"- "ready for the sack but not for the sacrament".
3. Don't open yourself up to disease
4. Don't open yourself up to heartbreak
5. Enjoy the protection of propriety. You likely will not see it modeled among your peers but you have read Jane Austen so you know what it's all about.
6. Don't have a child when you are still a child. 50% of women who attempt abortion were using birth control at the time of conception. This is Planned Parenthood's own statistic. If you have sex you will have a baby, eventually.
7. Don't put yourself in the painful position of giving a child up for adoption
8. Don't distract yourself from your education
9. Don't miss the fun of being young, being carefree and a having a pure courtship
10. Believe that you are special and should save yourself for someone who is deserving of you. Your future husband.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Poor Elliot

Mr. and Mrs. Elliot Spitzer

Spitzer is governor of NY.

The Take Down.

Things must have been really rough at home. Must be why Elliot felt compelled or entitled to pursue a tryst with a "petite pretty brunette".

Perhaps Elliot felt trapped. Unfulfilled. But people in politics never seem to appreciate irony.

Strangely enough it couldn't have happened to a nicer, more deserving guy.

Spitzer has a history of misusing his power, for example when he tried to use State Police Travel records to embarass the Republican Senate Majority Leader. The matter was investigated and Spitzer fired someone and made this statement:

I will not tolerate this behavior,"[39], "ethics and accountability must and will remain rigorous in my administration,"[40] and that "I have always stated that I want ethics and integrity to be the hallmarks of my administration. That is why I requested that the State Inspector General review the allegations with respect to my office, and that is why we have fully cooperated with both inquiries."[52

In spite of a press conference this afternoon Mr. "Ethics and Integrity" Spitzer has not resigned because Democrats don't resign, even when impeached.

New Yorkers sure know how to pick 'em.

Friday, March 07, 2008

The Art of John Waterhouse

O woman! lovely woman! Nature made thee
To temper man: we had been brutes without you.
Angels are painted fair, to look like you:
There’s in you all that we believe of heaven,—
Amazing brightness, purity, and truth,
Eternal joy, and everlasting love.

~ Thomas Otway, Venice Preserved, Act i. Sc. 1.

A beautiful woman is a practical poet, taming her savage mate, planting tenderness, hope and eloquence in all whom she approaches."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. “Beauty,” The Conduct of Life (1860).

The eternal feminine draws us upward.
--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

We become what we see. William Blake

Thursday, March 06, 2008

My Favorite Coloring Books

...and on a much lighter note.

This coloring book gives a simple outline of classical masterpieces and a bit of information on the artist.

Amazon has it.

Medieval Tapestries- you will want to color in this one. And for the mother who longs to visit the Cloisters in NYC and probably never will, this may satisfy you.

From Dover

A Walk in the Woods by Dot Barlowe.

This book is really beautiful and has so many delightful scenes from the New England woods, like the porcupine sleeping on a tree branch on page 28. Would be an excellent addition to a natural science curriculum.

Another book by Dover.

And finally The Children's Garden of Verse coloring book.

Also from Dover.

And I just discovered Brighter Vision Learning Adventures. Every month you receive a packet with a workbook, hardcover story book and puzzle for about $11. The workbook and puzzle were great and worth it eventhough I was unimpressed with the hardcover storybook this month. The trick to these is if you do not want the monthly selection DO NOT OPEN IT. Just write Return to Sender and the company pays return shipping. You are out nothing. My 4 year old is loving this. Finally he has school work like the older kids.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Most Hated Man in American Catholicism

Fr Leonard Feeney.

Why is this?


In Phil Lawler's book, the first of many, we his ardent fans and admirers hope! entitled:

The Faithful Departed:

And if you haven't ordered it yet- WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR????

Fr. Neuhaus of First Things wrote a review. The whole thing is here.

But the part that captured my eye was:

Fr Neuhaus says (after glowing praise of the book)

I differ with Philip Lawler on a number of points in his telling of the story. For instance, his treatment of the 1940s conflict between Father Leonard Feeney and Cardinal Cushing is, I think, too uncritical of Father Feeney. Feeney was out of line in the way he pressed the claim that only Catholics can be saved.

And what struck me was this. We are talking about priests- a handful of whom have become familiar names- Shanley, Geoghan, who were serial abusers of children. Men who left a wake of human destruction who exploited childhood innocence, who manipulated and cheated and who were able to continue their careers of child abuse for decades and then we have Fr. Feeney. (The man that Fr. Neuhaus can really become exorcised about!)I mean child abuse is bad and all but then we have Fr. Feeney!

And what did Fr. Feeney do?

- teach the Catholic Faith
- adhere to its tenets inspite a loss of human respect, a safe career path, a reputation built on his talents, political considerations and plead for the conversion of souls.
- do what he thought was right
- remain steadfast
- speak alone as a voice crying in the wilderness
- accept the abandonment of friends and his religious order (and we know how THAT turned out!)

Versus child abusers.

Right, wrong or insane, how does Fr. Feeney even merit the ire of Fr. Neuhaus?

It's simple.




If you are confused about the events that surround the case of Fr. Feeney I think there is only one thing that you need to know. Fr. Feeney was never asked to retract anything that he taught.

IF, Fr. Feeney were a heretic he would have to retract what he had erroneously taught.


Didn't happen. Couldn't happen. Won't happen.