Howdy.

Last week we asked how well you know your parish priest. Two in ten of you feel your pastor knows you well; another three feel he knows a fair bit about you; two more say he at least knows your name. Not bad, say we, not bad—especially considering that, of the remaining three, one of you is not a Catholic. Four in five readers report that their faith has a strong or even dictatorial bearing on their “media consumption” (what an awful phrase): you don’t enjoy art you find immoral. Some comfort foods beloved by our readers are: pasta, pizza, macaroni and cheese, chili, tacos, fried chicken, chicken soup, goetta, paczki, borscht, Käsespätzle, buttered popcorn, green curry, mashed potatoes, chocolate, bierocks, egg rolls, meatloaf, bacon-wrapped stuffed grilled peppers, P.B. & J., baklava, and Grandma’s corn chowder. Half of these are family traditions.

This week’s poll can be found here.

As always, feel free to send us questions here or newsletter items (especially your prayer requests) here. Follow us on Twitter at @thelampmagazine.

Numbers:

• Snakes, evolutionary theory posits, once had legs; a new study has found evidence that snakes walked the Earth for about seventy million years years.

• Less than ten percent of foreign aid from the European Union actually reaches the poorest countries where it is most needed.

• Two in five Americans have, after Googling their symptoms, accidentally diagnosed themselves with a serious disease from which they do not suffer.

• A vast majority of Americans—eighty-six percent—believe that local news should be accessible to everyone.

• What the advocacy organization GLAAD defines as “LGBT characters”—lots of acronyms here—now account for one in every ten permanent prime-time TV characters.

Two is the number of times we used the noun “clime” in last week’s newsletter. We invite readers to decide, in the manner of old-fashioned German biblical “critics,” whether this should properly be attributed to either the Bormanist or the Waltherist strain of authorship within the Lampian corpus.

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News:

• It is interesting to note that homeschooling, which has always seemed to us a peculiarly—and delightfully—American practice, one bound up in the history of New England self-reliance and in the grave necessity of the frontier, is gaining popularity in Italy.

• Conspiracy theories are very popular these days. We are not sure what to make of the fact that those who use the social networking platform Reddit to discuss conspiracy theories are alleged to be less angry and less hostile than other users. It may be hip to be square, but is it crazy to be sane? This offends both our reason and our aesthetic sensibilities.

• The archbishop of Toyko sees a great opportunity for evangelization amid the collapse of traditional family life in Japan, a country in which less than one percent of the country is Catholic.

• We commend to readers’ attention the following remarks made by an American senator on the nature and limits of liberal political economy, which draw upon the teaching of Pope Leo XIII. There is nothing especially striking in what he says, but one cannot happen upon a politician in this country quoting a pope without thinking of Dr. Johnson’s famous words concerning dogs who walk upon their hind legs. It is amusing to find Senator Rubio’s views dismissed as “stale” and “half baked” by persons who have spent three quarters of a century peddling the same fantastical economic theories.

Lines:

’Twas in heaven pronounced—it was mutter’d in hell,
And echo caught faintly the sound as it fell;
On the confines of earth ’twas permitted to rest,
And the depths of the ocean its presence confess’d.
’Twill be found in the sphere when ’tis riven asunder,
Be seen in the lightning and heard in the thunder.
’Twas allotted to man with his earliest breath,
Attends at his birth and awaits him in death:
Presides o’er his happiness, honour, and health,
Is the prop of his house and the end of his wealth.
In the heaps of the miser ’tis hoarded with care,
But is sure to be lost on his prodigal heir.
It begins every hope, every wish it must bound,
With the husbandman toils, and with monarchs is crown’d.
Without it the soldier, the seaman may roam,
But woe to the wretch who expels it from home!
In the whispers of conscience its voice will be found,
Nor e’en in the whirlwind of passion is drown’d.
’Twill not soften the heart; and tho’ deaf be the ear,
It will make it acutely and instantly hear.
Yet in shade let it rest like a delicate flower,
Ah, breathe on it softly—it dies in an hour.

– Cᴀᴛʜᴇʀɪɴᴇ Mᴀʀɪᴀ Fᴀɴsʜᴀᴡᴇ, “Riddle on the Letter H”

***

Die Blätter fallen, fallen wie von weit,
als welkten in den Himmeln ferne Gärten;
sie fallen mit verneinender Gebärde.

Und in den Nächten fällt die schwereErde
aus allen Sternen in die Einsamkeit.

Wir alle fallen. Diese Hand da fällt.
Und sieh dir andre an: es ist in allen.

Und doch ist Einer, welcher dieses Fallen
unendlich sanft in seinen Händen hält.

———

The leaves are falling, falling as from far,
As if far gardens in the skies were dying;
They fall, and ever seem to be denying.

And in the night the earth, a heavy ball,
Into a starless solitude must fall.

We all are falling. My own hand no less
Than all things else; behold, it is in all.

Yet there is One who, utter gentleness,
Holds all this falling in His hands to bless.

– Rɪʟᴋᴇ, “Herbst”

***

Our Garden Spot is always bright and pretty
(Of course it’s rather soggy when it rains),
And only thirty minutes from the city
(Of course you have to catch the proper trains).
We’re through with Grasping Landlords, rents, and leases
(Of course there’s still a mortgage debt to pay).
At last we know what True Domestic Peace is
(Of course you can’t compel a cook to stay).
Our Little Home is always nice and cozy
(Of course the furnace needs a lot of care).
The country keeps the children fresh and rosy
(Of course the schools are only middling fair).
The Country Club is glorious on Sunday
(Of course it’s overcrowded now and then).
We see a play on Broadway every Monday
(Of course we have to leave at half past ten).
It’s lovely having grass and trees and flowers
(Of course, at times, mosquitoes are a pest).
Yes, life is life out here in Rangely Towers
(Of course Some People like the city best)!

– Aʀᴛʜᴜʀ Gᴜɪᴛᴇʀᴍᴀɴ, “Our Suburb”

The mail:

Mᴀᴛᴛʜᴇᴡ requests prayers for Nadia, a young woman who died alone at the age of twenty-three.

Cʟᴀɪʀᴇ writes: “Requesting prayers for a safe (and quick, with God’s mercy) delivery for my sister in two weeks and for myself in seven weeks. St. Raymond Nonnatus, ora pro nobis!”

Mᴀᴛᴛʜᴇᴡ ꜰʀᴏᴍ Cᴀɴᴀᴅᴀ asks: “Will you be having any Canadian content? A small bone thrown our way keep us warm in this seemingly desolate (liberal) wasteland. I’m guessing with the magazine just staring it will stay small but it Canadian Catholic content that is faithful and well written is unheard of up here; an untapped market!”

A good question! Our editor, who spent much of his young life in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, is warmly disposed towards all things Canadian, from Labatt Blue to Ian and Sylvia. So the answer is that we certainly hope to have Canadian readers and contributors and articles touching upon Canadian subjects.

From an Aɴᴏɴʏᴍᴏᴜs Rᴇᴀᴅᴇʀ: “Please add prayers for the conversion of sinners, including my wife; and for the perseverance of all converts, including myself.”

Another Rᴇᴀᴅᴇʀ writes: “If I understand correctly, Peter Hitchens will write a piece for an early edition of the Lamp. Will there be opportunities for other non-Catholics to contribute something that supports or is sympathetic (or at least not inconsistent) with orthodox Catholicism?”

The answer is yes. A good Catholic magazine is, by definition, a catholic one. We are good two-tired Thomists here with what philosophy professors might call a “robust” sense of the natural. One need not be a Catholic to write on certain topics of interest to our readers.

We ask readers to pray for the people of the Congo, where thousands continue to die from a recent outbreak of measles; for the suffering souls in Purgatory; for the Catholic hierarchy in Japan; for the intentions of the Holy Father; and for all expectant mothers, including—a last-minute scoop!—the wife of our editor.

— W.B., M.W.