Howdy.

Many of you have been asking us when it will be possible to subscribe to the magazine. The answer is today. Subscriptions can be purchased here for sixty dollars. We invite readers of means who would like to subsidize our efforts to make the magazine available to those who have taken vows of poverty (and to lessen the number of tedious fundraising emails that so many small periodicals are always sending out) to purchase a more expensive “Solidarity” subscription.

If you have any questions, please send us an email at subscriptions@thelampmagazine.com. We are especially interested in learning the names of seminarians and religious who would like to receive complimentary subscriptions.

We would like to thank everyone who gave to our initial GoFundMe campaign. Not many quality print magazines have gotten off the ground with $21,000 and an editor and publisher both working full-time jobs. We continue to be heartened by the remarkable amount of interest this project of ours has generated.

On to the polls. About two thirds of you say you slept with a stuffed animal as a child. A quarter of you claim never to have done so. Five percent of you say that you still do. Around forty percent of our readers were baptized as infants and have never fallen away from the Catholic faith (like our publisher); a quarter of you were born Catholics, left the Church, and returned (like our editor); another quarter still are converts (like our editor’s wife); the remainder are not Catholic. Eighty percent of you prefer “soft” (as opposed to “hard”) tacos. Our editor is of one mind with the reader who asks “What are hard tacos?”

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:

• It has been fifty years since the promulgation of the New Order of Mass by St. Paul VI.

At least seventy-one people have been arrested in Paris as of this writing on Thursday amid protests of the French government’s new pensions scheme. Why is it that, for example, members of the United Auto Workers in this country never throw smoke bombs or set fire to the vehicles of strangers? It calls to mind the following anecdote of Lord Palmerston: “A Frenchman, thinking to be highly complimentary, said to Palmerston: ‘If I were not a Frenchman, I should wish to be an Englishman’; to which Pam coolly replied: ‘If I were not an Englishman, I should wish to be an Englishman.’ If we were not Americans, we would certainly wish that we were.

By the end of next year, something called “5G” will be available in as many as thirty American cities. We do not know what this technology is or why anyone might need it, but we suspect that it will result in millions of people being told that they simply have no choice but to purchase new telephones. The reporter who brought this news to our attention writes: “Reporting for this item took place at Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Summit in Maui, where I moderated a session on Wednesday. Qualcomm paid for my travel-related expenses.”

• Campaigners for online privacy argue that records of websites visited by children should not be kept longer than thirty days.

• An attraction at an amusement park built at a cost of more than one billion dollars malfunctioned eighteen minutes after its opening. The ride has been described as “one of the most immersive, ambitious and technologically advanced . . . ever created.” We’ll stick to the carousel.
 

***
 

News:

• Permit us a lengthy quote from a recent scientific study:

Previous work has demonstrated that people are more likely to trust “deontological” agents who reject harming one person to save many others than “consequentialist” agents who endorse such instrumental harms, which could explain the higher prevalence of non-consequentialist moral intuitions. Yet consequentialism involves endorsing not just instrumental harm, but also impartial beneficence, treating the well-being of every individual as equally important. In four studies (total N = 2086), we investigated preferences for consequentialist vs. non-consequentialist social partners endorsing instrumental harm or impartial beneficence and examined how such preferences varied across different types of social relationships. Our results demonstrate robust preferences for non-consequentialist over consequentialist agents in the domain of instrumental harm, and weaker – but still evident – preferences in the domain of impartial beneficence. In the domain of instrumental harm, non-consequentialist agents were consistently viewed as more moral and trustworthy, preferred for a range of social roles, and entrusted with more money in economic exchanges. In the domain of impartial beneficence, preferences for non-consequentialist agents were observed for close interpersonal relationships requiring direct interaction (friend, spouse) but not for more distant roles with little-to-no personal interaction (political leader). Collectively our findings demonstrate that preferences for non-consequentialist agents are sensitive to the different dimensions of consequentialist thinking and the relational context.

Buried underneath all this ridiculous verbiage is (if we understand the learned authors correctly) the sentiment that some of us prefer that persons we love be kind to others as well. What an extraordinary notion!

• Halloween is long gone, but Frankenstein is always with us.

• Booth Tarkington has joined H.P. Lovecraft, Jack Kerouac, various science-fiction writers, the author of an infamous and rather unfunny novel about self-abuse, and John Quincey Adams in the Library of America.

• Clive James, who died last week at the age of eighty, was perhaps the last living person who could accurately be described as a “man of letters.” We invite readers who are unfamiliar with his work to begin with “A Blizzard of Tiny Kisses,” one of the most amusing book reviews ever published.
 

Lines (prose):

Night which Pagan Theology could make the daughter of Chaos, affords no advantage to the description of order: Although no lower then that Masse can we derive its Genealogy. All things began in order, so shall they end, and so shall they begin again; according to the ordainer of order and mystical Mathematicks of the City of Heaven.


Though Somnus in Homer be sent to rowse up Agamemnon, I finde no such effects in these drowsy approaches of sleep. To keep our eyes open longer were but to act our Antipodes. The Huntsmen are up in America, and they are already past their first sleep in Persia. But who can be drowsie at that howr which freed us from everlasting sleep? or have slumbring thoughts at that time, when sleep it self must end, as some conjecture all shall awake again?

– Bʀᴏᴡɴᴇ

***
 

What should I think of? I asked myself as I opened my umbrella. How should I occupy my imagination that harsh, dusky, sloshy, winter afternoon, as I walked to Bedford Square? Should I think of Arabia; of Albatrosses, or of those great Condors who sleep on their outspread wings in the high white air above the Andes?


But a sense of guilt oppressed me. What had I done, or left undone? And the shadowy figures that seemed to menace and pursue me? Yes, I had wronged them; it was again those Polish Poets, it was Mickiewicz, Slowacki, Szymonowicz, Krasicki, Kochanowski;—and I’d never read one word of all their works!

– L.P. Sᴍɪᴛʜ

***

How delicate are the tender shoots unfolded layer by layer. Of what a whiteness is the last baby one of all, of what a sweetness his flavor. It is well that this should be the last rite of the meal—finis coronat opus—so that we may go straight on to the business of the pipe. Celery demands a pipe rather than a cigar, and it can be eaten better in an inn or a London tavern than in the home. Yes, and it should be eaten alone, for it is the only food which one really wants to hear oneself eat. Besides, in company one may have to consider the wants of others. Celery is not a thing to share with any man. Alone in your country inn you may call for the celery; but if you are wise you will see that no other traveler wanders into the room. Take warning from one who has learnt a lesson. One day I lunched alone at an inn, finishing with cheese and celery. Another traveler came in and lunched too. We did not speak—I was busy with my celery. From the other end of the table he reached across for the cheese. That was all right! it was the public cheese. But he also reached across for the celery—my private celery for which I owed. Foolishly—you know how one does—I had left the sweetest and crispest shoots till the last, tantalizing myself pleasantly with the thought of them. Horror! to see them snatched from me by a stranger. He realized later what he had done and apologized, but of what good is an apology in such circumstances? Yet at least the tragedy was not without its value. Now one remembers to lock the door.


Yes, I can face the winter with calm. I suppose I had forgotten what it was really like. I had been thinking of the winter as a horrid wet, dreary time fit only for professional football. Now I can see other things—crisp and sparkling days, long pleasant evenings, cheery fires. Good work shall be done this winter.

– Mɪʟɴᴇ
 

The mail:

S. writes: “I have just made my first temporary vow of consecrated virginity. I will need all the prayers I can get for this next year of discernment!”

From E.: “Please pray for D.G. She signed up for RCIA after having been away from the Faith for many years (she was baptized but not confirmed). I’ve been assigned to be her mentor, but have not met her yet as she continues to not show up for class.”

Nɪᴄᴏʟᴇ also requests prayers for RCIA candidates at St. Michael’s in Waterloo, Ontario and for help in finding a sponsor.

A Rᴇᴀᴅᴇʀ writes: “This is a strange one, but I ask everyone who actually hopes for eternal life with God to please pray for me. The thought of existing forever terrifies me. I am scared of dying and scared of surviving death. I can’t think my way out of this, and any prayers would be greatly appreciated.”

Another asks: “Will you have any Eastern Catholic contributors or articles related to the Catholic East?” The answer is yes, certainly.

We ask readers to pray for all bishops, for Devlin “Duck” Hodges, for the intentions of the Holy Father, for those who have lost children to miscarriages, for a reader in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan seeking a good-paying job, and for all those devoted to Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

— W.B., M.W.