Wednesday, October 31, 2012


                                            St Stanislaus Church, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Whenever one attends a Catholic Mass in the ancient rite of the Church one's reaction is generally awe, an awe brought upon by the majesty and quiet reverence of that Rite which in all its essentials dates from the time of Christ.  Sometimes, however, that sense of awe and beauty is broken by something discordant.  The usual culprit is the music, often ill-chosen or badly played, which keeps one's attention away from the central point of the Holy Sacrifice.  There was not, however, a single discordant note at the Wedding Mass of Mr Andrew Thompson and Miss Maria Guenzel held at St Stanislaus Church in Milwaukee on October 27th which this writer was privileged to attend.  At that Mass the music melded perfectly with the solemn actions performed at the altar.  It was an integral part of the Mass.  It was Catholic music.  It was music that didn't take away from the Mass.  On the contrary the work of this choir at that celebration actually enhanced the Mass and permitted the believers to be totally enveloped in the mysteries.

Interior of St Stanislaus

That minor miracle was accomplished by master choir director Lawrence Stich whose good taste, sense of balance and thorough knowledge of Church music mark him as one of the most accomplished kapelmeisters of his generation.  His Palestrina Choir forces were brilliantly led and equally brilliantly accompanied by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra's Lee Erickson, who provided sensitive organ playing, majestic when required and delicately hushed when the moment demanded it.  It is well known that not only is Erickson the highly (and justly) acclaimed choral director for the MSO but that he is also an exceptionally gifted organist.  The combination of Stich and Erickson, therefore, was sure to provide top-notch results. 

And it did.

                                                                                Lawrence Stich

                                                           Lee Erickson

The Mass chosen was Rene Quignard's Short Mass in Honor of St John the Baptist and its melodies haunted the lovely 19th Century church on Milwaukee's South side.  The composition was written in the mid-20th century but its ties to the early Christian centuries are evident.  That continuity is what makes the listener believe that such sounds could have been heard at the time of Christ.  Though modern it is, paradoxically, ancient.  The listener is drawn into the entire history of his Faith.  It is the music not only of the 20th century but of the 13th and the 3rd.  And the 21st.  With music such as this one is connected with his Christian ancestors in every time and in every place.  For sheer beauty, for that odd combination of desolate sadness combined with inner exaltation it would be hard to better the Quignard Mass, and it would be harder still to better the performance given here.  Every moment of the music expresses perfectly where you are at the Mass.

Conductor Stich drew out every nuance of this work.  The composer quite clearly meant his music to meet not only aesthetic but spiritual needs. The Kyrie opens the Mass with a heart-breaking and simple statement: Quignard is asking us in his music to beg Our Lord's mercy, and maestro Stich helps us to implore it.  The actions at the altar combined with this sad Kyrie humble the faithful and offer time for reflection.  But then the mood changes to joy and gladness with the towering Quignard Gloria.  Here the Palestrina Choir shone.  Their voices had that rare quality - yes, let us call it a spiritual quality - which enabled them to give glory to God in true fashion.  [One almost hesitates to say this but there were not a few handkerchiefs taken out of pockets during this moment.]
Maestros Stich and Erickson discussing the score
  The Canon of the Mass is introduced with a gorgeous Sanctus, again brilliantly conducted, sung and played.  It must be stated that the final "Hosannah" prior to the Consecration was one of those unforgettable moments when the Mass and the music which adorns it act as one.  Lee Erickson's organ playing perfectly matched the singers throughout the Mass but especially at this moment.  The church now plunged into silence awaits the sacred moments of the Consecration.  After the unbloody sacrifice is accomplished, Stich's singers and Erickson's playing rise slowly in unison to bring these solemn moments to their conclusion.  Their efforts help the priest bring us right to the foot of the Cross.  And then afterwards there is the Angus Dei before Holy Communion, beautiful solos by soprano Mary Brown and the conclusion of a wedding Mass that would not have disgraced the marriage of a Monarch.
Stich with soloist Mary Brown
This writer has personally heard this Mass performed on other occasions in other venues but has rarely heard it done so well.  Stich's skill in filling the church with sound using only a rather small grouping, as here, was never more vividly on display.  It is a testament to an artist who knows the importance of balance and knows how to coax great singing out of his choir.  He demands a lot of his Palestrina Choir and whether it is by sheer talent or sheer talent combined with a determination to show him they can not be defeated the Choir delivers with tremendous power.  Yes, acoustics play their part.  But there must be something filling that acoustical space.  The Palestrina Choir filled it with the song of Angels.

Memorable too was Lee Erickson's opening processional for the entrance of the bride, appropriately setting the stage for the proceedings.  It thundered so as to highlight the great beginning moments, then gave way to the quiet, haunting Propers sung by the men's schola under maestro Stich.  I would not hesitate to say that in its small way this combination of Stich and Erickson at a Solemn High Wedding Mass echoes the more feted collaborations of renowned classical artists.   

                                                           Rev. Father Benoit Jayr

Though more of a music review we cannot neglect to mention that the lucky Milwaukee couple, Andrew Thompson and his new bride Maria, were equally well-served by a gorgeous and reverently arranged Mass in the historical Gregorian Rite performed by Rev. Father Benoit Jayr, a French priest assigned to the parish.  It is the Rite that nourished the Church for untold centuries and it is the Rite that will nourish the Church once again thanks to certain courageous actions taken by the present Pope.

But a Mass, after all, is about the unbloody sacrifice of Christ on the cross and it is the main focus of the wedding day.  It is the Sacrament that is being administered.  How appropriate therefore that this majestic yet mystical ceremony should be adorned with equally mystical music in another kind of perfect wedding, the wedding between a Solemn High Mass in the historic rite of the Church and the glorious music offered by a talented Choir under the direction of a fine artist.  True Church musicians can enrich the rubrics at Solemn High Mass where the beauty of the sounds they bring can stir the very soul.

And as for the wedding Mass at St Stanislaus on October 27th last,  soul-stirring it most certainly was.


While Catholics stagger and stumble from one outrage after another coming from certain quarters in the Church the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano once again jumps right in with another exercise in cultural cluelessness.  Now it is extolling the virtues of the newest James Bond film, with special emphasis on those lovely Bond girls!

RT reports:

Can someone please find me a sick bag?

With thousands of beautiful, touching, well-made films to talk about (all of them made prior to 1970 of course), films which could be the subject of intelligent and meaningful discussion, the Vatican newspaper instead chooses to write about such mind-numbing rubbish as the Bond films...and those hot Bond girls (who have not been so hot lately anyway).

Bond girls.  Seriously discussed in the Pope's newspaper.

Just go ahead and keep on making the Church a laughingstock, you erstwhile editors of the Vatican newspaper.  Keep extolling the virtues of rock music (an oxymoron if ever there was one), childish literature, bad music, poor architecture and stupid motion pictures.  "We must engage the culture", say these liberal churchmen.  Yes, we agree.  But engage in it to uplift it.  Instead of praising such things as the latest mindless Bond movies and all those sexy gals adorning it how about praising some films that will uplift as well as entertain, films made by people with brains and original ideas, films made by artists?

Perhaps that is asking too much.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


The major news outlets routinely ignore these grotesque murder stories so it will not be surprising if any of my readers have not heard of this atrocity.  It is unpleasant to even think about it, let alone write about it.  But we choose to write about it so that we can wake up to the reality of a savagery that is metastasizing in this nation.  As painful as it might be to face the facts, we must: crimes against whites are now at epidemic levels.

The perpetrators of this horrendous crime are rarely pictured or identified.  And the underlying reason for that is sadly obvious: in order to not offend the delicate feelings of some segments of our population, facts will be hidden from public outrage.  But the more they are hidden, the more the outrages will continue.  The NAACP will rush to offer excuses; they will use the tiresome cry of "racism".  The news media and the government will lie about it.  That is to be expected.

This story is but the small tip of an iceberg of evidence that this nation is imploding.  I say that in all sorrow.  But I cannot refuse to face the facts.  When one is criticized for pointing out that black-on-white crimes are growing more and uglier with each passing month, illustrating the horrible state of affairs among blacks, a state of affairs that Walter Williams laments about courageously and constantly, then we know that honesty is to be the first casualty of any attempted discussion on the matter.  But to those Americans who are past the age of 50: do you recall living in a land that saw things like this happening on an almost daily basis?

Christian nations, too, have their crime problems.  History informs us of that quite clearly.  But perhaps only in American does such unspeakable behavior seem to be almost a norm.  And if it tells us nothing else, it says that we had better start doing a better job of converting our countrymen to the Faith.   

Yes, the thought of America becoming Catholic is a utopian one.  But that is no excuse for refusing to try.  In the meantime, however, we must warn our children to stay far away from people like those pictured in the article.  Do not worry about being called names for doing so; be more concerned for your children's lives.

[Note: Though the website from which this article was taken tends to have a rather depressingly atheistic style, and often carries articles which this writer cannot agree with, it does on the other hand provide news that is being systematically hidden by everyone else and is therefore a valuable resource...if for no other reason than it may save the life of you or your loved ones.]

Thursday, October 18, 2012


One wonders just how much longer the world is going to sit by and tolerate the slow martyrdom of Arabs - Arab Christians, as well as Arab non-Christians - in the Holy Land.  Every single day some outrage or another is perpetrated against these people (dutifully covered up the Unfree Press), and no one seems to trouble themselves overly much.  True, one must go to alternative sources to discover the truth but that is not any great effort if one is serious about knowing the facts.

For those who can stand the stench of this story, it is here:

Fully supported by the US "neocons" of both political parties, the occupiers of Palestine continue to treat their non-Chosen subjects like dogs.  But this writer is fully convinced that God is watching these sufferings, just as He watches various religious leaders fall over themselves as they attempt to outdo each other in dialoguing with the persecutors of these innocents.  Those religious leaders who bow before wailing walls and visit synagogues and allow themselves to be insulted by their inferiors are also being watched by "large and awful faces from beyond", as Belloc famously said.  But God, as always, will have the last laugh.

It does offer some comfort that some of the persecutors slowly begin to change their minds and begin to see the reality of the evil of their actions. We at The Eye Witness recommend the video below.  It is long, over an hour, but it is well worth viewing.  You might send it to some "Christian Zionists" you know, both of the Catholic and the Protestant persuasion.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


                                                       The ruins of Walsingham Abbey

The Vatican's friendship with the European Union is a one-way street, unsurprising when one considers the intense anti-Catholicism of that most masonic European super government.  Rome treats this entity with respect, with exuberance and not a little obsequiosness.  And the EU treats Rome with contempt.  When you dance with the devil you had better be prepared for the stiletto which will soon glide noiselessly into your back.

The knifing has now begun in earnest: 

Under pressure from the EU, the Vatican will now, after twenty centuries, be forced to pay a property tax.  On top of the financial ruin caused by Rome's seeming tolerance of homosexual predators in its clergy comes this next blow.  It is a blow that will cripple the Church.  It could pauperize the Church.  How many churches and monasteries will now be sold off to pay for this?  This is a well-orchestrated assault (instigated by the money-lenders and financial oligarchs who perch atop the ramparts of global governments) because it comes right on top of the increasingly vicious anti-Catholic moves being made by the American government in such areas as its infamous Obamacare.

Rome could have prevented this; it could have put away its Gaudiam et Spes and its Nostra Aetetes and  its "openings to the world", still being celebrated by the clueless and the geriatric, and instead started to once again don the cope of prudence.  Looking across the wasteland that was once a thriving Church those who celebrate the fifty year anniversary of what Scottish commentator Gerald Warner has perfectly called the Second Vatican Catastrophe might as well be looking at the landscape post-Mount St Helens.  Craters and ash.  Where the Church was historically wary of "global" initiatives, which it correctly saw as The Enemy in its midst, now it welcomes them with open arms, paying homage to entities like the United Nations and now the European Union.  Where the possibility of a Christ-less world government filled the ancient Church with horror now it treats the looming reality as the last hope of mankind.  It has even at times used its language.  In certain of its diplomatic endeavors todays Vatican has even adopted the "CE" and "BCE" jargon intended to erase "AD" and "BC" in calendar dating, another slap in the face of the Divine Founder of the Church.  Not all Vatican officials use these insulting designations to be sure, but a great many do.  This writer has personally seen documents from the Vatican addressing women with the meaningless appellation "Ms", instead of the appropriate and respectful "Miss" or "Mrs."  The idiotic "Ms" was devised by the cackling harridans and trulls of the Women's Movement in the 1970s, and some in the Vatican dignify such absurdies with their usage of it.  Not even a simple respect for the English language can be found among some prelates any longer.

Of such seemingly minor things can emerge major trouble.  Thus, the new tax applied to Vatican property.  And just as surely as Mary's little lamb followed Mary, look for municipalities in the United States to start doing the same.  Blasted and beaten to the ground by the modernism which is at present ruling the Roman roost, which has brought shame and ruin to the Church, the Holy See will now have to face this new assault.  An assault that could have been avoided.  With its opening of the windows Rome signalled a truce with the world.  How can we now be shocked when that truce is broken by those gnats and blood-sucking mosquitoes who flew into those windows once they were opened?

An enemy has done this, we read in the Gospels.  That enemy has been safely ensconced in the highest circles of the Church since at least the mid-1800s.  Was it not, after all, Saint Pius X (under the prodding of the saintly Cardinal Merry del Val) who ordered the Oath Against Modernism one hundred years ago?  He saw how long and how deep the problem was and reacted by issuing the famous oath, now a dead letter since the pontificate of Paul VI.  This latest crisis did not have its origins in Vatican 2.  The Second Vatican Catastrophe was merely the pus that began to flow out of a sore that had been festering for decades.  We forget, too, that many of the urgent reforms initiated by St Pius X were undone by each of his successors, to a greater or lesser extent, until we have reached the point today in which there can actually be a pro-homosexual "Mass" said in numerous churches left unhindered by such prelates as Nichols and Dolan.  We have reached the point where a viper in sheep's clothing - Cardinal Wuerl - can discpline and humiliate a loyal priest for doing the job he was ordained to do.

The pleadings of the faithful before and after Vatican 2 were ignored by the Vatican.  The evils were left virtually untouched, and the dark flowering occurred.  And now we see the results.

Shall we lose hope?  Of course, no.  It has almost become a cliche to say that :the Gates of Hell will never prevail against the Church".  Cliche or not it happens to be perfectly true.

Or as one worldly-wise commentator said when glancing over the mediocrities in high places in God's Church, "They ain't permanent."

                                                     The pilgrimage to Walsingham Abbey

Saturday, October 6, 2012



This writer had the occasion the other day to peruse some reviews of a new video disc release of a classic film from the 1940s to gauge the general opinion of the overall quality of the product.  One review startled me.  It said, "I will watch an occasional classic movie but I draw the line at black and white."

Goodness.  He draws the line.  At black and white. 

One supposes that this gentleman would ignore a museum exhibition of Rembrandt's charcoal sketches on the premise that he must draw the line somewhere, as these sketches are in black and white.  Ansel Adams' famous photographic studies of the American southwest, photographed in black and white, would elicit no remorse from that gentleman if all the prints and negatives of the man's work were suddenly burned by some zealous guardian of the public, whose job it would presumably be to protect the young and innocent from having to view non-color images.

While such pig-ignorance can be pitied such opinions need not detain us overlong.  For those of my readers who are not afraid to indulge in the glories of rich, lustrous black and white photography allow me to recommend the visual feasting in store for those who are fortunate enough to view the work of Mexico's finest motion picture photographer, the late Gabriel Figueroa.

The Fugitive (1947)

Another illustration, as if one were needed, of the reason why this writer calls film "the oil paint of image capture".  And while these digitized photos look lovely on your computer screen, you should see them projected, on a large screen, in 35mm.  If ever such opportunities to see classic works of cinema on film present themselves in your city, where the digital downgrade steamroller proceeds apace, take them, because if the corporate pirates and media shysters have their way they will soon be unavailable.

The photots above, from John Ford's gorgeous 1947 film THE FUGITIVE, starring Henry Fonda, Dolores del Rio and Pedrom Armendariz, and photographed by a great artist, Gabriel Figueroa.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012


It often bemuses this writer to watch the leaders of the Catholic Church, from high to low, showing little to no interest in calling to the attention of the world the seething hatred shown to Jesus Christ by those "chosen" folks who have occupied the Holy Land since 1948.   No atrocity committed by the occupiers is severe enough to merit much attention in the Church.

Not only do they not point out these atrocities very often but they positively fall over themselves prattling on about these people being "our elder brothers in the Faith", though I wonder which "Faith" they are referring to since these people have been rejecting their one and only Savior for about 2,000 years.  Indeed the Catholic Church, in an act that can only be described as suicidal, even recognized as legitimate the forced takeover and ethnic cleansing of the Holy Land by establishing diplomatic relations with this illegal state of Israel in the year 2,000 (the significance of the year cannot be overlooked).  And as part of that diplomatic recognition the Sovereign Pontiff, John Paul II had to demean himself and the entire Catholic Church by publicly apologizing for the supposed "sins" committed by the Church against this once-chosen people.  Revulsion is too weak a word to describe the reaction of many Catholics to this rather sick-making act of toadying.  And sadly our current Pontiff is carrying on this suicidal legacy by lending his august presence at Jewish temples, meeting with these murderers of the innocent every time they waltz into the Vatican (which is quite a lot of late) or making the ritual obeisance to the "wailing wall".  This obsequiousness shown by our Church leaders to those who hate and revile Our Lord Jesus Christ is nothing short of mind-boggling.

Cowardice undoubtedly plays a huge part.  Fear of the media, which is tightly controlled by these same elder brothers, is another.  But vile treason is certainly not to be discounted.  I cannot conceive of the present Pontiff as a traitor to his faith; I can, alas, conceive of at the very least his terror of the media.  But I most certainly can accuse some senior prelates of being traitors to the Faith and a disgrace to their cloth.

It would be most interesting to hear their reactions to this little story, on today's RT:

Their reactions?  I suspect the sound of crickets chirping will be much more likely.

To be sure no murders were involved in this particular incident, but the native population of the Holy Land has experienced plenty of that at the hands of the occupying army.  Need I add that many of those who were killed by the IDF were Christians?   Yes, that has to be stated, because American ignorance of what is actually happening in that sad land is simply staggering and that ignorance is kept on the boil by the White House, Hollywood, the news media, the deluded Christian Zionists and irrational clowns like Robert Spencer.

But even as our Holy Father, Benedict XVI, changed the traditional Good Friday prayer for the conversion of the Jews clearly under Jewish pressure (sad to relate, but quite true), let us politely ignore that disastrous Papal decision and offer our prayers and sacrifices for the conversion of these tragic people.  But while praying let us not keep silent about their perfidy, and let us not sweep stories like the one reported above under the carpet.

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