Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Shakespeare, the master craftsman

At this time last semester, for a course on the tragedies, I posted my first Shakespeare paper -- a commentary on how important the structure and literary devices contained therein were to the opening lines of Romeo and Juliet. In that post, I indicated that I wasn't sure how much I liked Shakespeare. Well, a semester later, I liked him enough to sign up for a course in the histories and comedies. Part of the reason I did so is the respect I've gained for what he's able to do with the English language. That first paper said a lot in terms of meter. This current paper, which is pretty much the same assignment but treating Richard II, focuses mainly on the Bard's use of rhetorical devices. And the praise I give him is genuine!

Franz S. Klein
Prof. Jane Carducci
English 514: Histories and Comedies
23 January 2008

Richard II Translation Exercise

Shakespeare’s Text:

“White beards have arm’d their thin and hairless scalps
Against thy majesty; boys, with women’s voices,
Strive to speak big, and clap their female joints
In stiff unwieldy arms against thy crown;
Thy very beadsmen learn to bend bows
Of double-fatal yew against thy state;
Yea, distaff women manage rusty bills
Against thy seat: both young and old rebel,
And all goes worse than I have power to tell.” (Richard II, 3.2.112-120)

Modern Prose “Translation”:

“Old men have covered their bald heads to defend themselves against you; youth with weak voices attempt to appear brave before you as they hold shaky knees with their stiff arms; your very own old men learn to take up hard-to-bend bows in defiance of you; Yes, weaving women hold long-unused pikes in defiance of you: both those who are old and those who are young rise against you, and the situation is more dire than I can am capable of describing.”

Textual Commentary:

Of the lesser-studied passages in Richard II, Scroop’s lines to a despairing King Richard upon his return to England make for a fair study in William Shakespeare’s expert use of the literary devices and metrical structures – a skill that makes him the foremost writer in the English language. In this passage, Richard returns from Ireland to discover that his army has abandoned him. Scroop’s words are hardly reassuring, and it is this very intimation of the utter hopelessness of the situation that breeds such a fertile ground for literary art. As this exercise will clearly demonstrate, much of this fertility would go to waste in the absence of the literary structures, and especially the literary devices, that Shakespeare employs.
Scroop’s passage consists of a warning to the king that is pure hyperbole in one sense but that elicits an otherwise unachievable, deadly serious accuracy in another. This is because, at least in part, the exaggerated elements of this passage provide the very basis of its accuracy. This becomes undeniably clear when Shakespeare’s text is compared to my modern “translation.” True, both versions convey exactly the same facts, namely, that every single person in England -- from the oldest to the youngest -- has abandoned Richard, leaving him friendless in the face of Bullingbrook’s onslaught. But at the same time, Shakespeare’s facts mean so much more.
This is because only hyperbole can truly capture the utter hopelessness of Richard’s situation. True, Shakespeare’s “[w]hite-beards” (3.2.112), are what I call “[o]ld men,” but the Bard’s attention to what makes them elderly -- their white beards -- overstates the case in a way my matter-of-fact passage can’t. The same is true for “boys, with women’s voices” (113), who are somehow far more than my “youth with weak voices,” or for the “beadsmen” (116) who have become additional “old men,” or even for the “distaff women” (118) transformed, as they are, into mere “weaving women.” The same holds true for their instruments of uprising, such as “bows/ Of double-fatal yew” (116-17) and “rusty bills” (118). In no way can “long-unused” convey the reality of “rusty” in this context. The fact that these pikes are rusty connotes an ancient hatred that has long lain unacknowledged, while “long-unused” simply states a fact about the bills. Similarly, “double-fatal” means so much more than “hard-to-bend.” The bows might be hard to bend, after all, but Richard shouldn’t be so concerned with the quality of the bows as with what they could do to him – hence Shakespeare’s “double-fatal.” These exaggerated images are undeniably powerful, and there are reasons this is so.
Chief among these reasons is the fact that Shakespeare uses hyperbole only when it really means something. His white bearded men and women-voiced boys are extremes that emphasize the totality of the king’s abandonment. England has abandoned its king, not merely from the oldest to the youngest, but from the whitest hair on the old men’s beards to the highest note of its youths’ voices. Only in this totality of abandonment does Richard’s totality of despair make sense: “Let’s talk of graves, of worms, of epitaphs...” (145). The situation is decidedly extreme, and only in imagery such as what Shakespeare utilizes can such extremity be maintained.
The Bard’s hyperbole is initially grounded in his use of synecdoche. Shakespeare takes the most identifiable part of an old man -- his white beard -- and uses it to represent the whole. Traditionally, the white beard of an old man signifies the wisdom that has come with his old age. Thus, when an old man pays his respects to someone, one knows that that person is important. Scroop reports not that the white-bearded old man have taken up arms, for they have gone even farther in arming “their thin and hairless scalps” (112). There could be no greater affront to a king than to have those who are wisest put cover their heads in his presence. Suddenly Richard’s identity crisis becomes clearer, for wisdom herself has covered her head in his presence. To have people take up arms against a king is certainly a normal occurrence, but to have those who are wisest no longer recognize him surely gives credence to the king’s doubts. And while the same idea is visible in my “translation,” the lack of synecdoche makes it less extreme, meaning that Richard’s extreme reaction would seem senseless if I “translated” further.
In a lesser way, synecdoche continues to play a role in this passage in reference to King Richard. While the white beards arm their heads against his “majesty” (113), the boys speak against his “crown” (115), the beadsmen are attacking his “state” (117), and the distaff women lay siege to his “seat” (119). All four of these terms -- majesty, crown, state, and seat -- are a part of the king’s “second body,” that of the office of God’s anointed king, for which Richard has been chosen and consecrated. “Majesty,” here, refers to the reverence due to Richard’s office, “crown” to his power to rule, “state” to the dominion he rules, and “seat” to his legislative power. Strip the king of his majesty, crown, state, and seat, and he will no longer be king in anything but his divine anointing. For each of these “parts” of Richard’s “double body,” I substituted a simple second person pronoun, which indicates that all these people are rising against the person of Richard. But what Shakespeare’s passage conveys is that they are attacking King Richard. Only Shakespeare’s use of synecdoche leaves nothing untouched in regard to the totality of an anointed Richard’s abandonment. And taken together with the other elements of synecdoche, it now makes sense that Richard is undergoing an identity crisis: “How can you say to me I am a king?” (177).
The hyperbolic imagery of this passage also gains strength through Shakespeare’s use of oxymoronic phrases. Nothing could be more paradoxical than boys with women’s voices striving to “speak big” (114). Certainly beadsmen, or elderly pensioners, would strike an odd pose in learning “to bend their bows/ Of double-fatal yew” (116-17). No less strange would be the image of distaff-women taking up “rusty bills” (118) in the battlefield. Oxymoronic on a larger scale -- in fact, infuriatingly so for Richard -- is how all these people stack up against the divine right of kings. Richard’s power is to be inviolable, but he is paradoxically falling to whitebeards, boys, beadsmen, and distaff-women. Furthermore, the instruments each takes up are those least useful for them. Boys are expected to speak big despite their inability to do so, feeble old men have bows of yew that they would be unable to bend, and women are armed for the battlefield. Certainly some vestige of these oxymorons remains in my “translated” passage, but it is no more than a faint vestige.
Containing 17 lines, missing a volta, and having no rhyme scheme apart from its concluding couplet, Scroop’s speech is certainly not a sonnet, nor any other poetical form. And given that some lines contain an extra foot (112, 113,) or syllable (120), or are missing a syllable (116), neither does Shakespeare appear overly concerned with maintaining a strict pentameter. Nor does he seem overly concerned with maintaining the iambs, as emphatic openings like “Strive” (114) and “Yea” (118) evidence. Even so, any movement from poetry to prose involves a loss of structure. Without the regularity of the passage’s structure, Scroop’s words fail to achieve a pattern and become monotonous. And Shakespeare’s exceptions to iambic openings like “Strive” and “Yea” serve a purpose in breaking up the alternative monotony that poetry could potentially convey. Likewise, the startling concluding rhyme of “rebel” (119) and “tell” (120) indicates that Scroop has finished and it is Richard’s turn to speak. Thus, there is a reason even less polished portions of Shakespeare’s plays, such as this one, appear within a metrical structure.
Certainly Scroop’s speech can’t claim the polish of some of Richard II’s other, more famous passages. But its structure and literary devices give evidence to why Shakespeare is considered a master writer. Although it contains exactly the same facts as Shakespeare’s passage, my modern prose “translation” fails to convey Richard’s utterly hopeless situation and becomes monotonous, structureless prose. Only through Shakespeare’s master use of hyperbole, synecdoche and oxymoron can the extremity of Richard’s situation be conveyed to the reader. And while anybody may be capable of using these devices, only a master writer can use them in precisely the right place and to precisely the right degree.

Work Cited:

Shakespeare, William. Richard II. The Riverside Shakespeare. 2nd ed. Eds. G. Blakemore Evans et al. Boston: Houghton, 1997.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ovid on abortion

On his blog "What Does the Prayer Really Say?"Father Zuhlsdorf had an enlightening post today where he provided a few elegies from the classical poet Ovid. While I knew there was a socially conservative strain amongst some of the thinkers of that age, like the satirist Horace, I honestly didn't know how closely it resembled today's culture. Here, of course, I'm talking about the horror of abortion.

From Father Z, Here's Ovid, Book II, Elegy XIV:

Where’s the joy in a girl being free from fighting wars,
unwilling to follow the army and their shields,
if without battle she suffers wounds from her own weapons,
and arms unsure hands to her own doom?
Whoever first taught the destruction of a tender foetus,
deserved to die by her own warlike methods.
No doubt you’d chance your arm in that dismal arena
just to keep your belly free of wrinkles with your crime?
If the same practice had pleased mothers of old,
Humanity would have been destroyed by that violation.
And we’d need a creator again for each of our peoples
to throw the stones that made us onto the empty earth.
Who would have shattered the wealth of Priam, if Thetis,
the sea goddess, had refused to carry her rightful burden?
If Ilia had murdered the twins in her swollen womb,
the founder of my mistress’s City would have been lost.
If Venus had desecrated her belly, pregnant with Aeneas,
Earth would have been bereft of future Caesars.
You too, with your beauty still to be born, would have died,
if your mother had tried what you have done:
I myself would be better to die making love
than have been denied the light of day by my mother.
Why rob the loaded vine of burgeoning grapes,
or pluck the unripe apple with cruel hand?
Let things mature themselves – grow without being forced:
life is a prize that’s worth a little waiting.
Why submit your womb to probing instruments,
or give lethal poison to what is not yet born?
Medea is blamed for sprinkling the blood of her children,
and Itys, slain by his mother, is lamented with tears:
both cruel parents, yet both had bitter reason
to shed blood, revenge on a husband.
Say, what Tereus, what Jason incites you
to pierce your troubled body with your hand?
No tiger in its Armenian lair would do it,
no lioness would dare destroy her foetus.
But tender girls do it, though not un-punished:
often she who kills her child, dies herself.
She dies, and is carried to the pyre with loosened hair,
and whoever looks on cries out: ‘She deserved it!’
But let these words vanish on the ethereal breeze,
and let my imprecations have no weight!
You gods, prosper her: let her first sin go, in safety,
and be satisfied: you can punish her second crime!

This elegy comes from someone unenlightened by Divine Revelation whose reflections are based purely on Natural Law. We know in our hearts that abortion is wrong -- that it violates our own desire for dignity. As Ovid wrote, not even a "lioness would dare destroy her foetus." The U.S. bishops have made today a day of prayer and penance for the horrible sin of abortion. Thousands have gathered in Washington D.C. to protest. Please take at least a moment today to pray that we may end this slaughter and reverse Roe v. Wade!

Franz Klein

25 years of the 1983 Code

Today's VIS feed included the article posted below about hte 25th anniversary of the 1983 Code of Canon Law. I don't think Canon Law is something everyday Catholics think about very often, unless they're trying to fix an irregular marriage. But really, the Code is more than a set of arbitrary rules -- as my Canon Law professor put it when I was studying in Rome, the Church is a very real entity in the world, and it needs laws to function as such. Something I really came to appreciate about the 1983 Code was its focus -- as this article points out -- on the lay faithful. The Church isn't all about the hierarchy; rather, the hierarchy exists to proclaim the Gospel and give grace to the laity. Hearing the Gospel and receiving the sacraments are among the most fundamental rights we lay Catholics have. The Code gives us these rights. But we mustn't forget about the duties that come with these rights! While I don't envy my friends who are studying Canon Law, I do appreciate what the Code gives to our beautiful Church.


VATICAN CITY, 22 JAN 2008 (VIS) - In the Holy See Press Office at midday today, a press conference was held to present a forthcoming congress on the theme: "Canon Law in the Life of the Church, research and perspectives in the context of recent Pontifical Magisterium". The event has been organised to mark the 25th anniversary of the Code of Canon Law which was promulgated on 25 January 1983.

Participating in the press conference were Archbishop Francesco Coccopalmerio and Msgr. Juan Ignacio Arrieta, respectively president and secretary of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.

"Twenty-five years ago, the long process of revising the 1917 Code of Canon Law came to an end", said Archbishop Coccopalmerio, explaining how the revision "had been announced by Pope John XXIII on the same day he proclaimed the celebration of Vatican Council II" and how it aimed "to re-examine the central corpus of the Church's legislative code in accordance with doctrinal aspects contained in the conciliar documents".

The archbishop then went on to consider differences between the Code of Canon Law and the legal codes of nations. The former, he said, "contains the law of the Church, just as a State code contains the laws of a particular nation. And it is called 'Canon Law' because it is made up of 'canons', which are equivalent to the 'articles' of a State code".

However the Code of Canon Law "is not just a collection of norms created by the will of ecclesiastical legislators", it "indicates the duties and rights inherent to the faithful and to the structure of the Church as instituted by Christ".

And the legislator, having identified fundamental duties and rights "also establishes a series of norms that have the aim of defining, applying and defending [those] duties and rights".

"For this reason", the archbishop went on, "the Code of Canon Law is like a large and complex painting depicting the faithful and the communities within the Church, and defining the identity and 'mission' of each. And the painter of this work of art is the ecclesiastical legislator" whose model comes "from the doctrine of the Church and from ... Vatican Council II, as Pope John Paul II taught us when he promulgated the current Code".

Turning his attention to some of the "novelties" of the 1983 Code with respect to that of 1917, Archbishop Coccopalmerio mentioned Canon 208 whence, he said, "arise many tangible consequences that concern all the faithful and especially the lay faithful: all are called to play an active role in the Church". Other novelties include "the definition of matters concerning the Roman Pontiff, the College of Bishops , the Synod of Bishops and the episcopal conferences".

The 1983 Code of Canon Law, said the archbishop, was, "like all human works, ... perfectible". Hence one of the aims of the current congress is "to identify certain points in need of a little restoration".

In closing, the president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts enumerated the functions of his dicastery: "helping the supreme legislator (the Pope) to keep Church legislation as complete and up to date as possible, ... overseeing the correct application of current laws" and "helping the Pope in the delicate process of interpreting norms".

For his part, Msgr. Arrieta affirmed that the aim of the congress is "to undertake a purposeful study ... into the progress of the application of the Code, and of all the other norms that the various offices of the Roman Curia and individual legislators have produced over the last 25 years".

The congress will begin with an "overall assessment of the development of these norms" presented by Cardinal Julian Herranz, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, who is, said Msgr. Arrieta, "the historical memory on this subject, having followed the entire process personally since Vatican Council II".

The secretary of the pontifical council highlighted how, due to the time limits of the congress, only some offices of the Roman Curia had been chosen to study the process of the Code's application over the last quarter of a century. Thus, for example, Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, will speak on the theme: "Acceptance and operation of Canon Law in the mission lands. Cultural encounters and technical limitations".

Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops will deliver an address on: "Universal law and the production of norms at the level of particular Churches, episcopal conferences and particular councils", while for his part Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, will turn his attention to: "The formation of ministers of God: the teaching of Canon Law".

Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council "Cor Unum" will give a talk entitled: "Spontaneity of charity. The needs and limits of normative structures".

On Friday, 25 January, before their scheduled audience with the Pope, Cardinal Franc Rode C.M., prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, will address the gathering on: "Consecrated life and normative structures. Experience and perspectives of the relationship between general norms and particular statutes". For his part, Cardinal Peter Erdo, archbishop of Budapest , Hungary , and president of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences, will speak on: "Rigidity and elasticity of normative structures in ecumenical dialogue". Following a brief debate , the congress will conclude with a contribution from Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B. on the theme: "Canon Law and the pastoral government of the Church. The role of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts".

The congress, which is due to be held in the Vatican's Synod Hall on 24 and 25 January, will be attended by members of episcopal conferences, and by professors and students of Canon Law from Italy and the rest of the world.
OP/CODE CANON LAW/... VIS 080122 (980)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

"Vintar" Center literary contest

I've taken this information from an Italian-language announcement posted at Agenda Italiana:

ROME (The Catholic Times) – The “Vintar” Center of Studies for Culture and Communication in Rome has announced an international poetry and prose competition called “Beyond the Threshold of Hope.”
According to its press release, the competition was inspired by Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical “Spe Salvi” and a desire to pay homage to Servant of God Pope John Paul II.
“The organizers desire to promote a reflection beginning with meditation and with the teachings about hope in the pontificate of John Paul II, and continuing through the last encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI,” the release stated.
The Italian Center’s competition will accept entries in foreign languages, including English.
There are two poetry categories. Poetry of “religious inspiration” should be submitted to, while poetry “inspired by human values” should be submitted to Poetry in both categories should not exceed 30 lines.
In the narrative prose category, either children’s stories or accounts “inspired by human values” not to exceed 10 pages may be submitted to Scholarly works of a literary, philosophical, historical, scientific or theological nature should be submitted to
Participants may submit in multiple categories, and should include a curriculum vitae that lists their educational and professional background, as well as contact information. Submissions must be received by Feb. 28.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Talking about Spe Salvi

Together with Father Sam Martin of La Crosse, I'm a guest on Relevant Radio's Connecting with the Bishop program this weekend to talk about Pope Benedict XVI's encyclical, "Spe Salvi." Although the program already aired on Relevant Radio already yesterday and today, it will be rebroadcast tomorrow at 9 a.m. on these stations: 1570 AM (La Crosse), 93.9 FM (Wisconsin Rapids), 92.9 FM (Wausau) and 1050 AM (Eau Claire).

I got to listen to about half the program today, and I think it went pretty well. Hopefully listening to it -- if you're in range of one of the La Crosse Diocese stations -- will encourage you to read the encyclical itself, which can be found at this link:

If you need more encouragement from the bishop, here's an article from the Dec. 27 issue, where Bishop Listecki urges La Crosse Diocese Catholics to read the letter:

Bishop to diocese: Pope’s new encyclical on hope was written for you
By Franz Klein
Staff Writer

LA CROSSE – Between Christmas and New Year’s, people usually slow down just a little. The hectic planning and buying that preceded the holidays has come to an end, and there’s even a slight lull in activity.
Most people like to visit family and friends, and maybe even to relax and take in a little football. But Bishop Jerome E. Listecki is asking Catholics to put on their reading glasses for a few extra hours during the Christmas Octave.
“As bishop of this diocese, I would encourage people to read the encyclical ‘Spe Salvi,’” Bishop Listecki said in a recent interview.
Published Nov. 30, “Spe Salvi” (“Saved by Hope”) is the Latin title for Pope Benedict XVI’s second encyclical – a letter about an important issue and addressed to bishops, clergy, religious and all the lay faithful.
Pope Benedict’s first encyclical, “Deus Caritas Est,” (“God Is Love”) dealt with the theological virtue of charity, or love. Similarly, “Spe Salvi” addresses the theological virtue of hope.
But Bishop Listecki says the encyclical isn’t so much about abstract theology as it is an identification of the principal modern spiritual malady – materialism – and the pope’s proposition of hope as its remedy.
“The pope is giving us a further articulation of the crisis of our times,” Bishop Listecki said. “Today we have an overconfidence in the material world, almost to the denial of the spiritual. Modern society places great reliance on human progress, something that needs to be challenged.”
According to the bishop, there’s a reason Pope Benedict released an encyclical about the trouble with relying on the material and ignoring the spiritual at the beginning of Advent. It’s at Christmastime, after all, when people spend hours shopping but tend to forget the reason for the season. And when people forget to include Jesus in their lives, they lose hope.
“Denying the spiritual is like living a half truth where full satisfaction will never be achieved,” Bishop Listecki said.
According to the bishop, the pope is calling us to place our hope in Jesus Christ, Who took human flesh – and through Him to place our hope and trust in God the Father, Whom we cannot see. If we do so, Bishop Listecki said, we will be strengthened by hope and able to live out our faith in the world.
“This God Who has become one with us points to the ultimate trust that is manifest in our extension of self in living for others,” he said.
Bishop Listecki noted that this means no one can be a follower of Christ on his own. Rather, there is always a need for mutual support, for giving and receiving – for living out the Gospel as a member of the community. Hope, the bishop explained, is more than an idea – it’s a way of life that bears its witness of eternal realities to the world.
“Living for others is the performative utterance of the Gospel that manifests the mystery of God’s presence and our confidence or hope in its fulfillment,” the bishop said.
Containing just over 19,000 words, ”Spe Salvi” is only one-third the length of the average novel. And Bishop Listecki says it’s not too difficult to read, either. In order to better grasp the pope’s message, he suggests reading it aloud, either as a family, in a group, or even alone.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

An inside look at India

A member of our young Catholic group here in La Crosse embarked on an extraordinary journey a few months ago to work with the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta for a year. I wasn't aware of her blog until quite recently. Havilah Krump is chronicling her work at Where Is The Gold. As you'll notice if you check out her blog, Havilah has the habit of making light of some very serious stuff, which almost makes it more heartbreaking to read. Please keep her, the MCs, and all Indians in your prayers.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Seminarians on pilgrimage

Two of my very good friends, who are also seminarians at St. Paul Seminary in the Twin Cities, are currently on pilgrimage in the Holy City. Both Jon Sorensen and Deacon Gary Kasel have been posting some pictures and commentary as they travel. You can follow along on their pilgrimage on the SPS blog.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Bishop Listecki on the emergency contraception legislation

From today's Catholic Times:

Bishops Listecki, Morlino oppose emergency contraception bill
By Franz Klein
Staff Writer

LA CROSSE, Wis. (Catholic Times) – Bishops Jerome E. Listecki of La Crosse and Robert C. Morlino of Madison have broken from the Wisconsin Catholic Conference’s neutral stance on legislation that would force hospitals to dispense potentially abortifacient drugs to rape victims.
The WCC articulated its position on Assembly Bill 377/Senate Bill 129 – “Compassionate Care for Rape Victims” – Sept. 6, 2007, in testimony by conference associate director Kim Wadas before the Assembly Committee on Judiciary and Ethics.
“Some perceive our moral and ethical principles … preclude Catholic health facilities from making contraception available to rape victims. This is not the case,” Wadas told the committee that day.
Breaking from the WCC stance, Bishop Morlino first made public his opposition to Assembly Bill 377 – “Compassionate Care for Rape Victims” – in a Dec. 17, 2007, letter to legislators reprinted in the Dec. 20 Madison Catholic Herald. After several paragraphs explaining why circumstances had led him to make the move, the letter cited Bishop Listecki as “find(ing) himself completely in accord with the sentiments that I have expressed.”
“So I urge you, by this letter, to oppose AB 377,” Bishop Morlino concluded.
While the Catholic Church believes a woman has a right to protect herself from becoming pregnant as a result of rape, the two bishops fear that potentially inadequate conscience protection could force Catholic hospitals to dispense emergency contraception without allowing them to conduct testing to determine whether pregnancy has already occurred.
The Catholic Medical Association, which is the nation’s largest association of Catholic doctors, has questioned whether testing capable of determining whether fertilization has occurred even exists.
The Assembly measure passed a preliminary vote Dec. 11 only to be stalled by a procedural objection. The final Assembly vote will now take place Jan. 16. Its companion legislation, SB 129, is making its way through the Wisconsin State Senate.
In his letter, Bishop Morlino explained that the Catholic Conference’s neutral stance had been reached to “protect women who are victims of rape, while also protecting the possible pre-born human being, by affirming the necessary conscience exemption for institutions and individuals with regard to appropriate testing, so as to avoid abortifacient emergency contraception.”
But he added that the Assembly’s rejection of an amendment that would have provided such a conscience exemption makes the Catholic Conference’s position “moot,” and has caused it to expire.
In an interview with The Catholic Times following the publication of Bishop Morlino’s letter, Bishop Listecki affirmed that the grounds that made neutrality possible were gone.
“What the neutrality position was meant to articulate has been turned around by some to see it as a confirmation for the legislation,” Bishop Listecki said.
In an earlier letter to legislators dated Oct. 24, 2007, Bishop Morlino attributed this shift in perception to “some in the mass media – in seeming collaboration with Planned Parenthood.”
“Perceptions in our world are often everything,” Bishop Listecki said in his interview. “Neither I nor any bishop in Wisconsin wants to be perceived as being for legislation that goes against the teachings of the Church.”
Bishop Morlino also acknowledged this perception, writing, “Our conference’s neutrality stance has also unintentionally provoked scandal among Catholics who have been persuaded by statements in the media that we are becoming less fervent in our defense of the dignity of pre-born human life.”
Both bishops emphatically deny that this is the case.
Contacted by The Catholic Times, WCC executive director John Huebscher said the Catholic Conference is retaining its current stance of neutrality. “We respect the concerns raised in (Bishop Morlino’s) letter,” he said. “They certainly underscore the passion of the bishops in affirming human life. At the same time, the Catholic Conference has not changed its position on the bill.”
Heubscher added that there are no plans to revisit the matter as a conference.
Heubscher said the WCC’s neutrality is based on the unanimous opinion of the state’s diocesan attorneys that a current conscience exemption contained in Wisconsin Statue 253.09 would allow Catholic hospitals and individual physicians to “opt out” of the possibly abortion-inducing treatment the legislation would require.
While Bishop Listecki shares the lawyers’ opinion, he said he was breaking from the Catholic Conference’s stance of neutrality because “even legal opinions fall to (legislative) decisions that go contrary.”
“I don’t think we can go forward on something that’s merely a legal opinion,” Bishop Listecki explained. “We don’t want to exist in a climate of maybes.”
According to Bishop Morlino, the fact that so many anti-life legislators refused to vote for an earlier version of the bill that included a conscience exemption amendment indicates that they consider the protection offered by Statute 253.09 to be inapplicable to the present situation. “If this were assured, there would be no reason why the Assembly would have rejected conscience clause exemption protection for the reasons they gave,” the bishop wrote.
Pro-Life Wisconsin legislative director Matt Sande agreed. He said in a Catholic Times interview that the current conscience clause contained in Statue 253.09 was “intended to keep physicians and hospital employees from being forced to participate in sterilizations and surgical abortions.” “It’s not going to be enough. That’s our opinion,” he said.
Thus, Sande said, pro-lifers are grateful for the courageous stand of Bishops Listecki and Morlino. “We pray that it will be effective in turning votes, in causing legislators who support the bill to reconsider,” he said.

Monday, December 24, 2007

A final pre-Christmas post

Twin brothers and priests of the Diocese of Green Bay, Wis., my good friends Fathers Ben and Joel Sember also blog at Holy Priesthood. While Father Ben Sember is still in Rome finishing his Canon Law Degree, Father Joel Sember is immersed in parish work.

Father Joel often posts his homilies on the blog, and I found his homily for the Fourth Sunday of Advent to be particularly compelling. He notes, "We all want Jesus to be born, but we don't want him to be born to us." It's worth a listen during these final hours before we celebrate the Saviour's birth.

Merry Christmas!

Catholic Radio International

I wanted to briefly put in a plug for Catholic Radio International -- a Catholic radio ministry with some excellent programs available for free on its Web site. CRI co-founder and president is Thomas Szyszkiewicz, formerly editor of the paper I write for and now based somewhere deep in the wilderness of Minnesota (although not too far in, since he seems to be connected to the Internet!).

The Catholic Times connections abound... Former CT assistent editor and current correspondent Joseph O'Brien hosts one of CRI's programs -- called "Cover to Cover," O'Brien's program airs readings from books written in the Catholic Literary Tradition.

A few more notable programs include "The Heart of the Matter," and "UltraSound," and "Thread of Grace."

Need something to listen to over Christmas? Then check out CRI!

My letter from the Minneapolis Star Tribune

A couple people have written to me regarding a letter of mine that appeared in the Dec. 22 Minneapolis Star Tribune. I wrote to the paper regarding the controversy at my alma mater, the University of St. Thomas over the removal of the sitting archbishop as ex officio chairman of the school's Board of Trustees. I'll refer you to this post for the background.

And here's my letter from the "strib":

As an undergraduate student at the University of St. Thomas from 2000-2004, I can vouch for the Rev. Dennis Dease's list of Catholic-identity accolades (Opinion Exchange, Dec. 11).
St. Thomas has indeed done much to promote and preserve its Catholic identity.
But in responding to Kathleen Kersten's Dec. 6 column, neither Father Dease nor Archbishop Harry Flynn addressed her central concern: How is the university's Catholic identity preserved by a change in the bylaws that removes the sitting archbishop as chairman of the board of trustees?
Archbishop Flynn promised in his letter that the board would always include bishops or priests. But unless this promise appears in the bylaws, it's only as good as his five-year term.
As a proud graduate of St. Thomas, I am deeply concerned for the university's future as a Catholic university. Like Kersten, I believe the preservation of the university's Catholic identity is key to maintaining a true diversity in education.
No list of accolades, and certainly no word-of-mouth guarantee from an archbishop with a coadjutor, will assure me that St. Thomas won't cave in to secularization. Until I see the sitting archbishop written back into the board's bylaws, any guarantee of the university's continued Catholicity to me seems ill-founded, inaccurate and ludicrous.*

* Just a note on the rather strong language of "ill-founded, inaccurate and ludicrous": Here I am resonding directly to Archbishop Harry Flynn's claim that "[a]ny rumors or speculation about the 'de-Catholicization' of the University of St. Thomas are ill-founded, inaccurate and ludicrous."

Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas or something else?

A tip of the hat goes to Veritatis Splendor for this one:

Just received via e-mail... had to share (slightly edited)!

To My Liberal Friends:
Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2008, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere . Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

To My Conservative Friends:
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

More on Bishop Listecki's stance on the emergency contraception legislation

As I reported yesterday, Bishop Robert Morlino of Madison and my own shepherd, Bishop Jerome Listecki of La Crosse, have broken ranks with the Wisconsin Catholic Conference's neutral stance in regard to a bill that would force Catholic hospitals and physicians to administer potentially abortifacient drugs such as the morning after pill.

I had the opportunity to interview Bishop Listecki this afternoon for an article that will appear in the Dec. 27 La Crosse Catholic Times. I will include a brief quote from that interview below, but since this interview belongs to the paper and not to me, Catholic Times editor Dan Rossini has asked that my quote be merely a teaser and not a story prior to the article's publication in The Catholic Times. Any citation of this by news sources should cite a Catholic Times interview that will form the basis of a complete article to come on Dec. 27 .

Bishop Listecki told The Catholic Times that he, like Bishop Morlino, believes the Conference's neutrality was abrogated by the new situation brought about by the lack of a conscience clause amendment. Like the Madison bishop, he acknowledged that many Catholics had become confused by the neutrality position. "What the neutrality position was meant to articulate has been turned around by some to see it as a confirmation for the legislation," he said. "Perceptions in our world are often everything. Neither I nor any bishop in Wisconsin wants to be perceived as being for legislation that goes against the teachings of the Church."

The Dec. 27 article will be posted on this blog. It will include additional comments from Bishop Listecki as well as exclusive quotes from Wisconsin Catholic Conference executive director John Huebscher and Pro-Life Wisconsin legislative director Matt Sande.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Bishops Morlino, Listecki, come out against emergency contraception legislation

It's in the Dec. 20 Madison Catholic Herald, which isn't yet available online, but Bishop Robert C. Morlino has separated himself from the Wisconsin Catholic Conference's officially neutral stance in regard to AB 377 -- legislation that would force Catholic hospitals to administer emergency contraception to victims of rape even when this could cause an abortion. The bishop's stance comes in the context of a letter to "Members of the Wisconsin Legislature" dated Dec. 17 and included in very small print on the "official" page. (Perhaps in small print due to late-breaking inclusion?) (See my article about Father Kubat's lecture on the issue in Chippewa Falls here.)

According to the letter, the bishop feels himself to be at liberty to disagree with the WCC because the state's Catholic Conference had a neutrality stance in regard to legislation that included conscience clause amendments that would have allowed Catholic hospitals to conduct "appropriate testing." The State Assembly has subsequently rejected these amendments.

"The hoped-for effect of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference's earlier stance of neutrality on this bill was to protect women who are the victims of rape, while also protecting the possible pre-born human being, by affirming the necessary conscience exemption for institutions and individuals with regard to the appropriate testing, so as to avoid abortifacient emergency contraception," Bishop Morlino wrote.

The bishop adds these important lines: "It is my judgment as Bishop of Madison that the earlier position of neutrality did not have its hoped for effect, and so it is now moot, and this neutrality position has now expired. Our conference's neutrality stance has also unintentionally provoked scandal among Catholics who have been persuaded by statements in the media that we are becoming less fervent in our defense of the dignity of pre-born human life."

And of all the words in the bishop's letter, here are the most important of all: "So I urge you, by this letter, to oppose AB 377."

Praise God for the bishop's strong and courageous stance against a scandalous statement that has indeed caused confusion among Catholics. I am grateful to Bishop Morlino for these words.

Writing from La Crosse, I am additionally rejoicing given this sentence from the letter: "I might add that Bishop Jerome Listecki of LaCrosse [sic] finds himself completely in accord with the sentiments that I have expressed."

Now, putting on my reporter's hat for the Catholic Times, I have to see if there's any way to get the word out about Bishop Listecki's position before it's too late to matter.

Thank God for answered prayers and for faithful shepherds!

La Crosse Diocese: Chance to see the pope in New York

The following letter was posted on the Diocese of La Crosse's Web site:

D i o c e s e o f L a C r o s s e

Office of the Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia
December 5, 2007
To: The Pastors and Parochial Administrators of the Diocese of La Crosse
Re: April 20, 2008 Solemn Pontifical Mass

Dear Brothers in Christ,

In his November 20, 2007 letter to the Bishop’s of the United States, His Eminence, Edward Cardinal Egan, Archbishop of New York, proposed the tentative schedule of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, while he visits the United States (and in particular New York City) next April. As part of the itinerary, the Holy Father will visit Ground Zero on Sunday morning, April 20th to pray for the victims and heroes of the World Trade Center tragedy. Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Journey to the United States will culminate that afternoon with a Solemn Pontifical Mass at Yankee Stadium. Bishop Jerome E. Listecki has been invited to concelebrate the Pontifical Mass and, as a matter of collegiality, he desires to invite you and your parishioners to partake of this special occasion in New York City. Ever since the announcement of the Holy Father’s Apostolic Journey, many requests for tickets to attend the Solemn Pontifical Mass have been received both at the Office of the Cardinal in New York and at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, D.C. Needless to say, space is limited.

Bishop Listecki has been asked to provide no later than January 1, 2008 an indication of the number of tickets the Diocese of La Crosse would like to request. I ask you therefore to submit to me by 3:00 p.m. Friday, December 28th a fairly accurate indication of the number of tickets your parish would like to receive. Only requests submitted by the pastors and parochial administrators of the Diocese of La Crosse will be considered. The Bishop will not accept solicitations directly from your parishioners. You will not necessarily be guaranteed the number of tickets requested, but this will serve as a valued figure in determining the number of tickets the Diocese will receive in toto. Upon receiving from the Office of the Papal Visit the final allotment of tickets, I will work diligently with Bishop Listecki and the College of Deans to distribute equitably the Diocese’s allocation of available tickets.

With sentiments of fraternal esteem and wishing you a blessed Advent season, I remain Yours sincerely in Christ,

Very Rev. Msgr. Richard W. Gilles, V.G.

Talk to your pastors if you want to go to see the pope!!!

Spe Salvi condensed

Here in La Crosse, Bishop Jerome Listecki is about to issue a call to Catholics to read the pope's new encyclical, "Spe Salvi." Yesterday I was hard at work on an article about the bishop's request, which will appear in our Dec. 27 issue. On Thursday Father Sam Martin, chaplain at La Crosse's Aquinas High School, and I will be guests on the bishop's radio program (this won't actually air until January) to talk about the encyclical. In preparation for the article and radio appearance, I spent part of yesterday trimming down the encyclical to my favorite parts. If you haven't had time to read it in its entirety, check out these paragraphs -- and then click here to read the whole thing!

Selections from “Spe Salvi”

Not only informative but performative
“Only when the future is certain as a positive reality does it become possible to live the present as well. So now we can say: Christianity was not only ‘good news’ – the communication of a hitherto unknown content. In our language we would say: the Christian message was not only ‘informative’ but ‘performative.’ That means: The Gospel is not merely a communication of things that can be known – it is one that makes things happen and is life-changing. The dark door of time, of the future, has been thrown open. The one who has hope lives differently; the one who hopes has been granted the gift of a new life. (n. 2)

Hope means knowing God
“To come to know God – the true God – means to receive hope. We who have always lived with the Christian concept of God, and have grown accustomed to it, have almost ceased to notice that we possess the hope that ensues from a real encounter with this God. (n. 3)

A gift we receive in baptism
“According to (the dialogue of baptism), the parents were seeking access to the faith for their child, communion with believers, because they saw in faith the key to ‘eternal life.’ Today as in the past, this is what being baptized, becoming Christians, is all about: It is not just an act of socialization within the community, not simply a welcome into the Church. The parents expect more for the one to be baptized: they expect that faith, which includes the corporeal nature of the Church and her sacraments, will give life to their child – eternal life. Faith is the substance of hope. But then the question arises: Do we really want this – to live eternally? Perhaps many people reject the faith today simply because they do not find the prospect of eternal life attractive. What they desire is not eternal life at all, but this present life, for which faith in eternal life seems something of an impediment. To continue living forever – endlessly – appears more like a curse than a gift. (n. 10)

Trying to understand heaven
"In some way we want life itself, true life, untouched even by death; yet at the same time we do not know the thing towards which we feel driven. We cannot stop reaching out for it, and yet we know that all we can experience or accomplish is not what we yearn for. … Inevitably it is an inadequate term that creates confusion (Eternal Life). ‘Eternal,’ in fact, suggests to us the idea of something interminable, and this frightens us; ‘life’ makes us think of the life that we know and love and do not want to lose… . To imagine ourselves outside the temporality that imprisons us and in some way to sense that eternity is not an unending succession of days in the calendar, but something more like the supreme moment of satisfaction, in which totality embraces us and we embrace totality—this we can only attempt. It would be like plunging into the ocean of infinite love, a moment in which time—the before and after—no longer exists. We can only attempt to grasp the idea that such a moment is life in the full sense, a plunging ever anew into the vastness of being, in which we are simply overwhelmed with joy. (n. 12).

False hope of progress, materialism
"Francis Bacon and those who followed in the intellectual current of modernity that he inspired were wrong to believe that man would be redeemed through science. Such an expectation asks too much of science; this kind of hope is deceptive. Science can contribute greatly to making the world and mankind more human. Yet it can also destroy mankind and the world unless it is steered by forces that lie outside it. … Man's great, true hope which holds firm in spite of all disappointments can only be God – God Who has loved us and Who continues to love us ‘to the end,’ until all ‘is accomplished’ (See John 13:1 and 19:30). (nn. 25, 27)

Learn hope through prayer
“A first essential setting for learning hope is prayer. When no one listens to me any more, God still listens to me. When I can no longer talk to anyone or call upon anyone, I can always talk to God. When there is no longer anyone to help me deal with a need or expectation that goes beyond the human capacity for hope, he can help me. (n. 32)

We don’t suffer alone
“To suffer with the other and for others; to suffer for the sake of truth and justice; to suffer out of love and in order to become a person who truly loves—these are fundamental elements of humanity, and to abandon them would destroy man himself. … Bernard of Clairvaux coined the marvellous expression: Impassibilis est Deus, sed non incompassibilis – God cannot suffer, but He can suffer with. Man is worth so much to God that he himself became man in order to suffer with man in an utterly real way. … Certainly, in our many different sufferings and trials we always need the lesser and greater hopes too – a kind visit, the healing of internal and external wounds, a favorable resolution of a crisis, and so on. In our lesser trials these kinds of hope may even be sufficient. But in truly great trials, where I must make a definitive decision to place the truth before my own welfare, career and possessions, I need the certitude of that true, great hope of which we have spoken here. For this too we need witnesses – martyrs – who have given themselves totally, so as to show us the way – day after day. … I would like to add here another brief comment with some relevance for everyday living. There used to be a form of devotion – perhaps less practiced today but quite widespread not long ago – that included the idea of ‘offering up’ the minor daily hardships that continually strike at us like irritating ‘jabs,’ thereby giving them a meaning. … Maybe we should consider whether it might be judicious to revive this practice ourselves. (n. 39-40)

Purgatory and prayer
“Our lives are involved with one another, through innumerable interactions they are linked together. No one lives alone. No one sins alone. No one is saved alone. The lives of others continually spill over into mine: in what I think, say, do and achieve. And conversely, my life spills over into that of others: for better and for worse. So my prayer for another is not something extraneous to that person, something external, not even after death. In the interconnectedness of Being, my gratitude to the other – my prayer for him – can play a small part in his purification. And for that there is no need to convert earthly time into God's time: in the communion of souls simple terrestrial time is superseded. It is never too late to touch the heart of another, nor is it ever in vain. In this way we further clarify an important element of the Christian concept of hope. Our hope is always essentially also hope for others; only thus is it truly hope for me too. As Christians we should never limit ourselves to asking: how can I save myself? We should also ask: what can I do in order that others may be saved and that for them too the star of hope may rise? Then I will have done my utmost for my own personal salvation as well. (n. 48)

Now that you're inspired, read it!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Joyce and Apostasy: The Ecclesiastical Overtones of Bloom's 'Conversion'

The completion of this paper comes as a relief, since with it I have completed my academic semester. I can also say, definitively, that my enthusiasm of Joycean studies also ends with the passing of this class. As I read Ulysses this past semester, I shared some of what I found in this book with my fiancee, who was understandably horrified. The reasons for her horror are the same reasons the book was banned from being printed here in the United States for many years. My own horror, however, has to do with what this paper is about. In 5,393 words, I hope to have summarized why this book is cited by so many people who have left the Church. As an expose, I hope it can be helpful as a guide for any faithful Catholic who reads Ulysses. If my professor thinks this paper is academically sound, I'm hoping to revise it for publication -- so feel free to comment.

Franz S. Klein
Professor Chris Buttram
English 613 – James Joyce
15 December 2007

Analyzing the Ecclesiastical Overtones of Bloom’s ‘Conversion’

Some critics contend that James Joyce’s Ulysses is inaccessible to readers living outside the ethos of twentieth-century Catholic Ireland. Although any number of annotated texts and “keys” have attempted to render accessible the inaccessible, no annotation could ever convey the feelings an Irish Catholic of this era would have had upon encountering sacred scenes through the irreverent eyes of Joyce’s Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus. Helping create the ethos of Ulysses was Joyce’s use of Latin, the official language of the Catholic Church and something every believer of that era was accustomed to hearing.
Although in Ulysses Joyce almost always uses Latin in ecclesiastical contexts, his own knowledge of the language was far more advanced. Most schoolchildren learned the rudiments of Latin, but very few frequented the elite halls of Belvedere, and even fewer sat in the magnificent aule of the University College of Dublin. At Belvedere, Joyce’s daily lessons would have included rote memorization from the Latin poets (Sullivan 81). And later, at the University College of Dublin, Joyce was awarded second-class honors in Latin after demonstrating proficiency in the writings of Ovid, Cicero, Livy and Horace (159). According to Corinna Del Greco Lobner, Joyce wrote in a matriculation-year essay that Latin was “the recognized language of scholars and philosophers, and the weapon of the learned” (140). When Joyce’s abilities are added to the fact that almost all the Latin in Ulysses is the ordinary, everyday Latin of the Church, it seems that he did not include Latin simply to show off. Rather, his use of the language had a very specific purpose that practically begs for analysis. While the Latin of the classical poets would be alien to the Irish ethos, the Latin of the Church – heard every Sunday at Mass – was part of the being of every Irish Catholic. Joyce was writing for Ireland, and therefore his use of Latin in Ulysses conforms to the Latin of the Irish, which was the Latin of the Church.
In Joyce’s day, Mass was always celebrated in the Church’s official language, and was frequented at least on Sundays under pain of mortal sin. As a child, Joyce proved intensely devout. Years after Joyce had died, his older sister, Sr. Gertrude Mary Joyce,[1] recalled, “Jim was the most religious of us all. As a matter of fact, he scared the rest of us with the intensity of his faith and some of his religious practices. He was a daily Mass-goer and he used [to] spend at least one hour in thanksgiving after Holy Communion” (qtd. in McGarry 62). In James Joyce, Richard Ellmann notes that the mysterious refinements of the liturgy captured Joyce’s imagination as a young student at Belvedere:
[H]e learned precisely the order of the priest’s functions, studying the technique of benediction as closely as Stendhal’s archbishop. He took part in a procession to the little altar in the wood, wearing appropriate vestments and bearing the boat of incense. The majesty of the Church excited him and never left him…. Yet questions had begun too, fostered by his father’s mocking anticlericalism; for the moment they expressed themselves, Joyce says in A Portrait, merely as puzzlement over the fact that his holy teachers could be guilty of rage or injustice. (30)
Even as Joyce’s Catholic faith subsequently collapsed in real life, Ellmen says the author’s “faith in art… grew great” (50). Thus, in a 1917 Zurich conversation recorded by Georges Borach, a mature Joyce – merely a year away from beginning to serialize Ulysses – commented, “I profess no religion at all. Of the two religions, Protestantism and Catholicism, I prefer the latter. Both are false. The former is cold and colorless. The second-named is constantly associated with art; it is a ‘beautiful lie’ – something at least” (326).
In Ulysses, therefore, it seems Joyce was bent upon exposing that “beautiful lie” for what he saw it to be. The primary target, of course, would be the Church’s most beautiful, most sacred mystery – that which had captured Joyce’s imagination as a child and possibly continued to exert an influence over him – namely, the Mass.
Apart from Buck Mulligan’s mock “Mass” which appears in the opening chapter, Ulysses’ most thoroughly described Mass is the real one Leopold Bloom observes in the Lestrygonians chapter. Whilst digesting Martha’s latest letter, Bloom is walking down Cumberland Street. Noticing that the back door is open, he enters All Hallows Church and observes communicants at the altar rail:
The priest went along by them, murmuring, holding the thing in his hands. He stopped at each, took out a communion, shook a drop or two (are they in water?) off it and put it neatly into her mouth. Her hat and head sank. Then the next one. Her hat sank at once. Then the next one: a small old woman. The priest bend down to put it into her mouth, murmuring all the time. Latin. The next one. Shut your eyes and open your mouth. What? Corpus: body. Corpse. Good idea the Latin. Stupefies them first. Hospice for the dying. They don’t seem to chew it: only swallow it down. Rum idea: eating bits of a corpse. Why the cannibals cotton to it. (66)
Despite being baptized again as a Catholic before marrying Molly, Bloom’s thoughts express ignorance of what is taking place. He initially displays his ignorance by calling the Host a “thing,” and then by improperly placing an indefinite article in front of the word “communion.” Surely Joyce made his Irish Catholic readers laugh when Bloom ponders whether the Hosts are in water. It is only after the priest utters the Latin word Corpus[2] that Bloom expresses – or perhaps gains – the knowledge that the priest is distributing Corpus Christi, or the Body of Christ.
Joyce’s decision to show Bloom growing in knowledge is no accident, for such a pattern emerges in this scene, wherein Bloom approaches the church, comes to source of its power, is repulsed by it, and finally rejects it. His initial approach comes from curiosity. Exiting Cumberland Street, he steps onto the church’s porch, presumably to read the announcement about Father John Conmee’s sermon on St. Peter Claver and the African Mission.[3] From there, “[t]he cold smell of sacred stone called him. He trod the worn steps, pushed the swingdoor and entered softly by the rere” (66). Even as he observes and learns, Bloom’s curiosity remains, propelling him to greater and greater discovery. But his curiosity comes to an abrupt end with the utterance of that single Latin word: Corpus. With the utterance of that word, Bloom’s curiosity and mystification turn to scorn: “Good idea the Latin. Stupefies them first” (66). When Bloom hears a fragment in English a little later, he thinks, “English. Throw them a bone” (67).
With the priest’s utterance of Corpus, Joyce inverts knowledge and its possessors. While the bent hats and heads are likely more cognizant of their catechism than Bloom, none of them has the grasp of Latin he evidently possesses. Whereas previously it seems Bloom had struggled to understand the sacred mystery that captivated him, suddenly he owned the gnostic key that all these devout old women lacked – and thus was able to reject and scorn what remained mysterious to them but which he now understood. The mystery had lost its hold, its “kind of kingdom of God is within you feel” (66). Earlier, as Bloom stood on the church’s porch reading the announcement regarding Father Conmee’s sermon, he had wondered how the faith would attract the “heathen Chinee” (65). But at the end of the scene, as Bloom observes the exit of two worshippers who “dipped furtive hands in the low tide of holy water” (68), perhaps he feels his question to be satisfactorily answered in the subtle and mysterious hegemony of a single Latin word.
The answer this scene intimates for Bloom is the first stage in his struggle against authority in general. According to J. Mitchell Morse, Bloom’s journey in Ulysses isn’t simply an opportunity to point out tyranny but moreso to showcase Bloom’s ability to rise above it: “He rises by defiance, by disobedience, by standing apart from and against all its values” (1031). While Morse believes much of Bloom’s later self-assertion in the Circe chapter is already latent in his early action, “all his movements of detachment, difference, self-assertion, freedom, are interspersed with other movements of self-denial, self-abasement, false adaptability, and open defeat” (1032). Thus, he traces Bloom’s day from his initial deference to Molly and his cat, both of whom he placates with food (51, 55). But even in the midst of these capitulations, Bloom plants the earliest seeds of defiance in his scorning of Latin and rejection of the mysterious power of the Mass. At the conclusion of the Lestrygonians chapter, after Bloom has servilely capitulated to Molly and his cat, he begins to assert himself by doing something for himself – namely, taking a bath: “Enjoy the bath now: clean trough of water, cool enamel, the gentle tepid stream. This is my body” (71). Unlike the worshippers who receive the Corpus of Christ and furtively dip their hands in holy water, Bloom finds his own “stream of life” and acknowledges his own body: “He foresaw his pale body reclined in it at full, naked, in a womb of warmth, oiled by scented melting soap, softly laved” (71).
Bloom’s rejection of Church’s primacy and spiritual authority in this chapter seems to help plant the seed that will lead to open rebellion as he grows bolder throughout the book. A nominal Catholic, Bloom’s connection to the Church is much more tenuous than his connection to Molly, or even to his cat. He doesn’t risk losing much in terms of acceptance through this private, interior rebellion. For this reason, Morse writes, Bloom was able to take this first step,
since the leading motive of his life up to the day we see him has been to be accepted by the world. For one who, like Bloom, is inherently different from worldly men, the search for acceptance is as delusive as the conscious search for happiness; it has in fact led him not to acceptance but to rejection. Since he is not a creative person, he does need to be accepted; but only when he accepts himself, asserts his very real superiority, defies his rejecters and stand on his own terms does such a markedly different man become acceptable. (1031)
Interiorly Bloom is now on the way to making this self-assertion. In Joyce’s narrative, what was merely a scornful thought at Mass has become an alternative source of spiritual strength as Bloom enters the bath water and says – not shrouded in the mystery of the Church’s Latin but in plain English – “This is my body” (71).
Bloom’s fight against the mysterious spiritual hold of Latin and the Church continues at Patrick Dignam’s burial service in the Scylla and Charybdis chapter. At the service, Father Coffey prays, “Non intres in judicium cum servo tuo, Domine”[4] (85). Bloom reflects, “Makes them feel more important to be prayed over in Latin” (85). While the meaning of the Latin words is not overly important to the passage as a whole, the fact that the priest prays them in Latin is significant. Bloom’s reverie focuses once more on what he feels to be false authority on the part of the Church through the hegemony of the mysterious, which is contextualized in Latin-language ceremonies. Bloom notes that the priest balances a “little book against his toad’s belly” (85). Regarding Father Coffey he further notes that he has “a belly on him like a poisoned pup” (85). His internal monologue continues, “What swells him up that way? Molly gets swelled after cabbage. Air of the place maybe. Looks full up of bad gas. Must be an infernal lot of bad gas around the place” (85). Bloom’s comments are sandwiched between more snatches of the priest’s Latin prayers: “Et ne nos inducas in tentationem”[5] (86), and “In paradisum”[6] (86). Given Bloom’s reflections on Latin, it is perhaps significant that expelled gas and these phrases appear together. To the uneducated masses, the Latin phrases convey authority from on high and are veiled in mystery. But to Bloom they have become expelled, evil-smelling gas – something let loose by swollen-bellied priests.
Less fleshed-out references tying Latin to Church authority occur throughout Ulysses. The Nausicaa chapter, for example, begins by following Father John Conmee as he leaves his presbytery. Perspectives are reversed here, since elements of the Mass are seen through the eyes of a priest rather than an agnostic like Bloom. Father Conmee’s thoughts about the late Patrick Dignam’s son, however, show that even the Mass viewed through a priest’s eyes is going to be less than favorable: “What was the boy’s name again? Dignam. Yes. Vere dignum et iustum est”[7] (180). Although in the Mass this text indicates that lifting up one’s heart to the Lord is “worthy and just,” in this context the two words show Father Conmee to be full of himself. Father Conmee is referred to as “[t]he superior, the very reverend John Conmee S.J.” (180). This superior and reverend man cannot even remember Dignam’s name at first – and when he does remember, it is not out of compassion but because his late father was “useful at mission time” (180). Dignum here in the Nausicaa chapter refers to “worthiness,” and is intended to highlight Father Conmee’s self-perceived state of being. Father Conmee furthermore symbolizes the whole Church, which Joyce viewed through what he considered to be its ill-founded pomp. Joyce chooses the word dignum precisely because it comes from the Mass, whence Father Conmee as its officially appointed celebrant and the Church as its propagator achieve their “worthiness.”
During the Lestrygonians-chapter liturgy, Bloom watches whilst the priest purifies the chalice. “Wine,” Bloom muses. “Makes it more aristocratic than for example if he drank what they are used to Guinness’s porter or some temperance beverage…” (67).[8] Not only is the wine used at Mass aristocratic in Bloom’s eyes but equally so is the Latin language, since it similarly separates the priest from the people. In the Aeolus chapter, Stephen is present with the newspapermen when J. J. O’Molloy brings up the “Imperium romanum” (108). While disparaging reference is made to Roman law and Ireland’s political situation as a cowed subject of Britain, the subheading “KYRIE ELEISON” (110) makes this passage additionally relevant to the spiritual authority of the Church as expressed in the Mass. As O’Molloy elaborates on his comments in “THE GRANDEUR THAT WAS ROME” (108), Judaism and imperial Rome are tied together:
What was their civilisation? Vast, I allow: but vile. Cloacae: sewers. The jews in the wilderness and on the mountaintop said: It is meet to be here. Let us build an altar to Jehovah. The Roman, like the Englishman who follows in his footsteps, brought to every new shore on which he set his foot (on our shore he never set it) only his cloacal obsession. He gazed about him in his toga and he said: It is meet to be here. Let us construct a watercloset. (108)
Although O’Molloy’s comment seems overtly political, the Church also unites Judaism and imperial Rome in her liturgy. All Joyce’s literature rebelled against what he perceived as political (British) and ecclesiastical (Catholic) imperialism. Since Pope Adrian IV conceded Ireland to Britain with his Laudabiliter bull, the two were intimately linked in the author’s mind.
Some of Joyce’s strongest condemnations of the imperialism of Britain and the Catholic Church come from a series of articles published in Italian in a Trieste evening newspaper, Il Piccolo della Sera. In the edition that appeared on May 19, 1907, for example, Joyce wrote,
Ireland, weighed down by multiple duties, has fulfilled what has hitherto been considered an impossible task – serving both God and Mammon, letting herself be milked by England and yet increasing Peter’s pence (perhaps in memory of Pope Adrian IV, who made a gift of the island to the English King Henry II about 800 years ago, in a moment of generosity. (qtd. in Mason 121)
Although Joyce’s bitterness at Britain welled up from the core of his Irish being, Ellsworth Mason says Joyce’s view of the Church “comes as a considerable surprise” (118). After all, Ireland had fought to remain faithfully Catholic as part of its struggle for self-identification in contradistinction to Anglicanized England. Mason relates this hatred not only to Pope Adrian’s Laudabiliter bull, which ceded Ireland to England, but more contemporarily to the Church’s condemnation of the illicit divorce of Charles Stewart Parnell – a condemnation that killed Parnell’s political career, and with it the hopes of a politically independent Ireland. Thus, Joyce wrote in an article that was printed on September 5, 1912, “In his final desperate appeal to his countrymen, he [Parnell] begged them not to throw him as a sop to the English wolves howling around them. It redounds to their honor that they did not fail in this appeal. They did not throw him to the English wolves; they tore him to pieces themselves” (qtd. In Mason 137).
One of the most powerful imperial hegemonies – politically or ecclesiastically – is language, something the professor harps on during his discussion of Greek and Latin in the Aeolus chapter: “We serve them. I teach the blatant Latin language. I speak the tongue of a race the acme of whose mentality is the maxim: time is money. Material domination. Domine! Lord! Where is the spirituality?” (110). To the professor, Latin represents empire, domination, and lack of imagination – both that of Britain and of the Catholic Church. But he holds out hope for the Greeks and their language, even as he acknowledges that “[t]hey went under”: “A smile of light brightened his darkrimmed eyes, lengthening his long lips. –The Greek! He said again. Kyrios! Shining word! The vowels the Semite and the Saxon know not. Kyrie! The radiance of the intellect. I ought to profess Greek, the language of the mind. Kyrie eleison!” (110).
The phrase Kyrie eleison,[9] is the only Greek that remained in the Roman Mass after it began to be celebrated in Latin following the fourth century legalization of Christianity. It is entirely possible, therefore, that Joyce was holding out hope for a Church that retained a sliver of non-imperialism in her Romanized liturgy. Mason, for one, argues that such a hope indeed remained for Joyce: “Joyce shows a distinct sympathy for Catholicism as a religion…. [H]e sees a profound truth at the heart of Catholic philosophy, and Catholicism as a constructive force in the lives of men” (118). John Peradotto is another scholar who holds out hope for Joyce and Catholicism. Peradotto’s argument is based on the liturgy as presented in Ulysses. He notes, “We know that Joyce was particularly fond, presumably on purely aesthetic grounds, of the Holy Week liturgy” (322). He cites Stanislaus Joyce’s biography, My Brother’s Keeper, wherein the author’s brother records that Joyce would attend without fail the Church’s Holy Thursday and Good Friday services: “He understood it as the drama of a man who has a perilous mission to fulfill, which he must fulfill even though he knows beforehand that those nearest to his heart will betray him” (qtd. in Peradotto 322).
As evidence that the mysterious power of the liturgy continued to have a hold on Joyce, Peradotto makes a connection between the word “tenebrosity” (322) that appears in the Oxen of the Sun chapter and the Church’s own Tenebrae service, which occurs during the Sacred Triduum that precedes Easter:
Midway in Stephen’s ‘chanson’ stands a word which provides an invaluable clue to the interpretation of the tone and construction of the entire section. That word is “tenebrosity.” The passage can be shown to be clearly fashioned after and inspired by the Tenebrae service of the Roman Catholic liturgy… This fact, as far as I have been able to investigate, has not been exploited by any of the critics or annotators of Ulysses. (322)
A particularly mysterious and ancient liturgy, the Tenebrae service involves the recitation of Matins and Lauds before a candelabrum containing fifteen lighted candles, one of which would be extinguished following the recitation of each psalm. At the completion of the service, a single lighted candle would be carried behind the altar to symbolize the death and burial of Christ. As Peradotto points out, the final word of the psalm then chanted is vitulos, or “oxen."[10]
The theme of Tenebrae, which means darkness, is indeed mentioned in the passage Peradotto cites: “This tenebrosity of the interior, he [Stephen] proceeded to say, hath not been illumined by the wit of the Septuagint nor so much as mentioned for the Orient from on high Which brake hell’s gates visited a darkness that was foraneous” (322). As Stephen proceeds, he mentions several salvation history accounts that could appear during Triduum-service lectiones, such as Moses being “saved from the waters of the Nile” (322), and Christ, who “would… not accept to die like the rest and pass away” (324). Perhaps most telling, though, are the Latin phrases that mark the otherwise bawdy passage as a religious service, such as “Orate fraters, pro memetipso” (322), and the blessing as the “service” ends: “Benedicat vos omnipotens Deus, Pater et Filius” (346).
Peradotto makes a connection between the “black crack of noise in the street here” as “[l]oud on left Thor thundered: in anger awful the hammerhurler”[11] (323) and the noise of hymnals being banged against the pews at a Tenebrae service to simulate thunder (323-24). According to Ellmann, Mrs. Conway passed on a number of superstitions to the young Joyce, among them being a fear of thunder: “The thunderstorm as a vehicle of divine power and wrath moved Joyce’s imagination so profoundly that to the end of his life he trembled at the sound” (25). Of all the Church’s services, perhaps the annual Tenebrae service, in which such a thunderous affect occurred, was the liturgy that affected Joyce most and continued to have an affect on him the longest.
But though Peradotto’s argument for the presence of a Tenebrae service in the Oxen of the Sun chapter is compelling, it seems clear that Stephen (and Joyce, for that matter) is rejecting even the shackles of this liturgy’s mysterious power over him. Stephen’s apostasy is most clear in his actions. Clearheaded though he may be, Stephen exuberantly presides over a drunken party, not a religious service. The conversation deals with sex throughout – and not only sex, but sex in a manner prohibited by Church teaching: “Copulation without population!” (345). And as the Tenebrae service intensifies, so too does their party: “Burke’s! Burke’s!” (346). Although they cry “Shout salvation to Jesus” (349), this Tenebrae “service” conducted by Stephen heads towards final apostasy and not religious devotion. Stanislaus Joyce reached a similar conclusion in regard to his brother, writing, “I am convinced that there was never any crisis of belief. The vigour of life within him drove him out of the Church, that vigour of life that is packed into the seven-hundred-odd quarto pages of Ulysses” (qtd. in Benstock 417). Even so, the question of whether Joyce was haunted by his Catholic faith continues to tantalize scholars. His sister, Sister Gertrude Mary Joyce, says he was reconciled to the Church on his deathbed (McGarry 62). Bernard Benstock says that arguments like this should be set aside, with criticism focusing solely on “evaluating the ‘religious’ content of his finished work” (418).
In the finished work of Ulysses, indications in the later chapters all point towards complete apostasy – an apostasy already experienced by Stephen which, with his help, is to set Bloom free. By transitioning his focus onto Stephen, in these later chapters Joyce abandons the timidity of Bloom for a more confident rejection of the Church’s authority. In Oxen of the Sun and especially Circe, Bloom witnesses Stephen’s own blasphemy through his increasingly drunken haze. As Stephen mocks religion through his own personification of it, Bloom sees clearly what he had begun to reject privately. In this chapter, for example, Stephen is transformed into “His Eminence Simon Stephen cardinal Dedalus, primate of all Ireland” (427). What had appeared to be harmless “gas” in Father Conmee has become Cardinal Dedalus’ “bloated pomp” (427). According to Lynch, Stephen is a “cardinal’s son” (427). Stephen actually corrects him, calling himself a “[c]ardinal sin” and making reference to the dissolute “Monks of the screw.”[12] Instead of tolerating those who are useful at mission time, Cardinal Dedalus complains about the mites crawling all over him and cries, “I’m suffering the agony of the damned” (428). Even as outrageous as he appears through Bloom’s drunken blur, Cardinal Dedalus receives “Don” John Conmee’s approbation: “Now, Father Dolan! Now. I’m sure that Stephen is a very good little boy!” (458).
The strangeness of Bloom’s drunken haze in the Circe chapter makes it a true crux interpretum, but it seems that things eventually come to a head in the figurative celebration of a Black Mass as Bloom is attempting to help Stephen avoid the soldiers’ cross examination. Whereas the phrase Introibo ad altare Dei would normally introduce the Mass, here Father Malachi O’Flynn intones, “Introibo ad altare diaboli”[13] (489). Joyce’s stage directions further elucidate the contents of Stephen’s dark imagination:
On an eminence, the centre of the earth, rises the fieldaltar of Saint Barbara. Black candles rise from its gospel and epistle horns. From the high barbacans of the tower two shafts of light fall on the smokepalled altarstone. On the altarstone Mrs Mina Purefoy, goddess of unreason, lies, naked, fettered, a chalice resting on her swollen belly. Father Malachi O’Flynn in a lace petticoat and reversed chasuble, his two left feet back to the front, celebrates camp mass. The Reverend Mr Hugh C Haines Love M.A. in a plain cassock and mortarboard, his head and collar back to the front, holds over the celebrant’s head an open umbrella. (488-89)
Stephen threatens any who would oppose this new Mass: “I’ll wring the neck of any fucking bastard says a word against my bleeding fucking king” (488). And whereas Bloom merely stands by during the Lestrygonians-chapter Mass, here he desperately accosts Cissy Caffrey in his attempt to save Stephen from the soldiers: “Speak, you! Are you struck dumb” (488). But Caffrey cries, “Police!” (488). With clear overtones of Christ’s crucifixion, it seems that Bloom is enamored with Stephen and wants to prevent whatever self-sacrifice Stephen’s conjured-up Black Mass represents.
According to Catholic theology, every Mass is re-presentation of Jesus’ redemptive crucifixion and death at Calvary. It becomes necessary, therefore, to ask who Stephen’s “king” might be. From the scene that quickly escalates in Stephen’s imagination, there are several specific elements pointing to Christ’s crucifixion. Foremost among them is Bloom himself, whose desperation to save Stephen from the authorities reminds one of St. Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane: “Simon Peter, therefore, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his ear”[14] (John 18:10). Then, with Caffrey unwilling to speak up, Stephen’s imagination takes off: “Brimestone fires spring up. Dense clouds roll past. Heavy Gatling guns boom. Pandemonium… The midnight sun is darkened. The earth trembles. The dead of Dublin from Prospect and Mount Jerome… appear to many. A chasm opens with a noiseless yawn” (488). Similarly, after the death of Jesus, St. Matthew relates,
And behold, the veil of the temple was rent in two parts from the top all the way to the bottom, and the earth quaked and rocks were rent. Graves opened and many bodies of the saints who were sleeping arose and, leaving their tombs after his resurrection, they came into the city and appeared to many[15] (Matt. 27:51-53).
Despite Caffrey’s having proclaimed Stephen’s innocence (490), Private Carr accosts him all the same: “He rushes towards Stephen, fist outstretched, and strikes him in the face. Stephen totters, collapses, falls, stunned. He lies prone, his face to the sky, his hat rolling to the wall” (491). Like Caffrey in regard to Stephen, Pilate said of Jesus, “I don’t find in him a cause”[16] (John 19:6). Even so, Jesus was crucified – as is Stephen. And like Christ’s first converts, Bloom takes Stephen as his own “professor” (491), his own teacher of a new-found faith in human reason: “Bloom, holding in his hand Stephen’s hat, festooned with shavings, and ashplant, stands irresolute. Then he bends to him and shakes him by the shoulder” (496).
Like the old order, Stephen’s new order finds its driving force in the celebration of a sacred meal. During Stephen’s vision, Father Malachi O’Flynn raises a “blooddripping host” and says, “Corpus meum” (489). Connected with his passion and death was a similar action by Jesus, who told his disciples at the Last Supper, “Hoc est corpus meum”[17] (Matt. 26:26). Although Bloom had scorned in the Lestrygonians chapter Father Conmee’s utterance of Corpus – and therefore Christ’s own redemptive crucifixion and death – here he is enthralled by Father Malachi O’Flynn’s ”Corpus meum” (489). Unlike Father Conmee, though, Father O’Flynn’s version doesn’t refer to a higher power, since the Reverend Love, serving as deacon, “raises high behind the celebrant’s petticoat, revealing his grey bare hairy buttocks between which a carrot is stuck) My body” (489). Unlike the God-man Jesus, Father O’Flynn’s corpus is merely that – his disgustingly human body. The beauty, the majesty, the mystery of the Flesh of the God-man has been inverted, turned on its head. The mystery of the God-man Christ has been replaced with the worship of Stephen’s reason. As Stephen puts it, his Mass is “[t]his feast of pure reason” (490).
An analysis of the occurrences of Latin through Ulysses indicates a complete apostasy on the part of Bloom. Certainly any careful reader could follow Bloom from his initial servility through the assertiveness he possesses at the book’s completion. But an Irish Catholic of Joyce’s time would have been especially sensitive to the religious overtones Latin and liturgy contained therein. On the face of it, Bloom’s “conversion” is positive, since his current state is clearly unhealthy for both him and his interpersonal relations. But it should be clearer now that Joyce intended to convey far more than a story of self-improvement. Bloom’s character stands for freedom from religious oppression. From persecution and death to resurrection and evangelization, Stephen’s character provides for Bloom the example he needs to abandon the old order and take up a new one. Only by the redemptive power of Stephen’s sacrifice at the hands of Private Carr can Bloom disobey and defy the hegemonic influences that surround him.
The pivotal moment of disobedience, of course, comes in the form of a Black Mass – a complete inversion of everything the Church holds sacred in her own liturgy. Now Bloom no longer needs Latin and the Church, for he has a religion of reason founded upon the redemptive sacrifice of Stephen his savior, whom he takes into his own house like a zealous, new convert. Through Stephen’s influence, Bloom abandons his previous meekness and makes demands for his own corpus. Whether Bloom’s new self-assertiveness is a powerful argument for being liberated from the spiritual authority of the Church is too large a question. But it is worth noting, that Molly was impressed at least by Bloom’s request for breakfast: “Yes because he never did a thing like that before…” (608).

Works Cited

Benstock, Bernard. “The Final Apostacy: James Joyce and Finnegans Wake.” ELH 28 (1961): 417-437.
Biblia Sacra iuxta Vulgatam Clementinam. Madrid: Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos, 1999.
Borach, Georges. “Conversations with James Joyce.” Trans. Joseph Prescott. College English 15 (1954): 325-327.
Ellmann, Richard. James Joyce. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1983.
Gifford, Don. Ulysses Annotated. 2nd ed. Berkley: California UP, 1988.
Joyce, James. Ulysses. Eds. Hans Walter Gabler et al. New York: Random House, 1986.
Lobner, Corinna Del Greco. “James Joyce and the Italian Language.” Italica 60 (1983): 140-153.
Mason, Ellsworth. “James Joyce’s Shrill Note. The Piccolo della Sera Articles.” TCL 2 (1956): 115-139.
McGarry, Patsy. “A Question of Faith.” Irish Times 16 June 2001: 62.
Morse, J. Mitchell. “The Disobedient Artist: Joyce and Loyola.” PMLA 72 (1957):1018-1035.
Peradotto, John. “A Liturgical Pattern in Ulysses.” MLN 75 (1960): 321-326.
Sullivan, Kevin. Joyce among the Jesuits. New York: Columbia UP, 1957.


[1] Joyce’s older sister entered the Sisters of Mercy missionary congregation at the suggestion of Joyce – in New Zealand, she recalled, because Joyce had suggested, “’Why not do something really heroic and witness at the uttermost ends of the earth?’ She asked where he meant. ‘The Antipodes – and New Zealand, in particular. You can’t get much further than there,’ he said. ‘And that is how I came to be here,’ she said” (McGarry 1-2).
[2] The full phrase Bloom partially overheard would have been, “Corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam tuam in vitam aeternam. Amen.” (“May the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ guide your soul to eternal life. Amen.”)
[3] Like many details in Ulysses, Joyce borrowed Father John Conmee from real life, where he was rector of Clongowes Wood while Joyce was a student there (Sullivan 28).
[4] “Do not enter into judgment with your servant, O Lord” (Ps. 142). According to Gifford, these words would be pronounced shortly before the coffin is lowered into the grave (118).
[5] “Lead us not into temptation” (From the Lord’s Prayer).
[6] “[May the angels lead you] into paradise” (Beginning of a popular prayer often recited or sung during the burial service).
[7] “It is truly worthy and just.” This phrase would be an altar boy’s response to one of the priest’s invocations immediately before the Liturgy of the Eucharist: “Sursum corda” (“Lift up your heart”).
[8] Wine would be connected to Britain, which was settled by the Romans, whereas Guinness could almost be considered the national Irish beverage. Gifford notes that Dublin’s brewery occupied forty acres in 1904 (95).
[9] “Lord have mercy.”
[10] The last verse of the Miserere, Ps. 50:21, reads, “Tunc acceptabis sacrificium iustitiae, oblations et holocausta; Tunc imponent super altare tuum vitulos” (“You shall thereupon accept a sacrifice of justice, oblations and burnt offerings; They shall place upon your altar oxen”).
[11] In Scandinavian mythology, Thor was the god of thunder and lightening, and therefore represents thunder here (Gifford 421).
[12] “An eighteenth-century society of Irish lawyers, statesmen, and intellectuals that also called itself the Order of St. Patrick… The affectation of monkish habits was apparently a way of lending the spice of ‘violation’ to the society’s pursuit of pleasure” (Gifford 499).
[13] “I shall go up to the altar of the devil.”
[14] “Simon ergo Petrus habens gladium eduxit eum et percussit pontificis servum et abscidit eius auriculam dextram” (John 18:10).
[15] “Et ecce velum temple scissum est in duas partes a summon usque deorsum et terra mota est et petrae scissae sunt et monumenta aperta sunt et multa corpora sanctorum qui cormierant surrexerunt et exeuntes de monumentis post resurrectionem eius venerunt in sanctam civitatem et apparuerunt multis” (Matt. 27:51-53).
[16] “Ego enim non invenio in eo causam” (John 19:6).
[17] “This is my body” (Matt. 26:26).