Subscriptions to the magazine continue to roll in. We were especially gratified by the numbers of religious who have expressed an interest in receiving complimentary copies. Subscriptions can be purchased here for sixty dollars.
As before, if you have any questions about subscriptions, please send us an email at email@example.com.
On to the polls. About ten percent of you chose a career while you were children; about the same number did so as adolescents or teenagers. Half did so in high school or while attending university; the rest at some later date. Only half of you say that you changed your minds. A more or less exhaustive list of the careers our editor considered from childhood on before falling into his current profession would include McDonald’s, shoe sales, paleontology, archaeology, computer science, film direction, novel writing (concurrent with construction or farm work), academia (Restoration and eighteenth-century British literature), and the law. About two-thirds of you say that most of your friends belong to the same faith as you; eighty-five percent say that the faith of their friends is an important aspect of their friendship.
This week’s poll can be found here.
• Eating hot red chili peppers regularly may reduce risk of death by thirteen percent. We have never been entirely sure what “risk of death” means.
• A new study posits that one half of American adults will be obese by 2030.
• More than twenty-eight percent of English secondary schools are in the red.
• French labor unions, angry about government pension reforms, have cut power to more than one-hundred fifty thousand homes, schools, and businesses this week in an effort to gain a more favorable position in negotiations.
• A federal ban on cockfighting is being resisted in Puerto Rico, where the blood sport employs some twenty-seven thousand people.
• Pew reports that the United States has the world’s highest percentage of children living in single-parent households—nearly one in four.
• Gavin Ashenden, formerly chaplain to Elizabeth Windsor, will be received into the Catholic Church this Sunday.
• Archbishop Bernardito Auza has issued an interesting statement on the threat posed by an arms race in outer space. We also look with the horror on the possibility of future star wars.
• In rebel-controlled northeastern Burma, where Christians have long been persecuted, it was recently announced that while religious buildings belonging to Baptist sects will be allowed to re-open, Catholic churches must remain closed.
• Scientists say that nearly six thousand years ago pitch was used as chewing gum in Denmark.
• The Supreme Court will soon rule in two cases involving the rights of the Church.
Lines (prose and verse):
They [the Fathers] inculcated with becoming diligence, that the fire of martyrdom supplied every defect and expiated every sin; that while the souls of ordinary Christians were obliged to pass through a slow and painful purification, the triumphant sufferers entered into the immediate fruition of eternal bliss, where, in the society of the patriarchs, the apostles, and the prophets, they reigned with Christ, and acted as his assessors in the universal judgment of mankind. . . The honors which Rome or Athens bestowed on those citizens who had fallen in the cause of their country, were cold and unmeaning demonstrations of respect, when compared with the ardent gratitude and devotion which the primitive church expressed towards the victorious champions of the faith.
The humour of the Hymn is rather rustic: cattle theft is the chief joke, cattle theft by a baby. The God, divine as he is, feels his mouth water for roast beef, a primitive conception. In fact, throughout this Hymn we are far from the solemn regard paid to Apollo, from the wistful beauty of the Hymn to Demeter, and from the gladness and melancholy of the Hymn to Aphrodite. Sportive myths are treated sportively, as in the story of Ares and Aphrodite in the Odyssey. Myths contained all conceivable elements, among others that of humour, to which the poet here abandons himself. The statues and symbols of Hermes were inviolably sacred; as Guide of Souls he played the part of comforter and friend: he brought men all things lucky and fortunate: he made the cattle bring forth abundantly: he had the golden wand of wealth. But he was also tricksy as a Brownie or as Puck; and that fairy aspect of his character and legend, he being the midnight thief whose maraudings account for the unexplained disappearances of things, is the chief topic of the gay and reckless hymn. Even the Gods, even angry Apollo, are moved to laughter, for over sport and playfulness, too, Greek religion throws her sanction. At the dishonesties of commerce (clearly regarded as a form of theft) Hermes winks his laughing eyes. This is not an early Socialistic protest against “Commercialism.” The early traders, like the Vikings, were alternately pirates and hucksters, as opportunity served. Every occupation must have its heavenly patron, its departmental deity, and Hermes protects thieves and raiders, “minions of the moon,” “clerks of St. Nicholas.” His very birth is a stolen thing, the darkling fruit of a divine amour in a dusky cavern.
Lully, lulley, lully, lulley
The fawcon hath borne my mate away!
He bare him up, he bare him down,
He bare him into an orchard brown.
In that orchard there was a hall
That was hanged with purple and pall.
And in that hall there was a bed,
It was hung with gold so red.
And in that bed there lieth a knight,
His wounds bleeding day and night.
By that bedside kneeleth a may,
And she weepeth both night and day.
And by that bedside standeth a stone
CORPUS CHRISTI written thereon.
We ask readers to pray for all expectant mothers (including for the sister of a dear friend of the magazine), for the world’s poor amid our annual festival of mindless consumption, for the intentions of the Holy Father, and for the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles.
— W.B., M.W.