Sunday, September 30, 2007

Forget the Iowa Caucases and the New Hampshire Primary

Forget the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, the real polls are open already: what do we call the old mass now that that great liturgical liberal, Benedict XVI, has clarified that priests can say the mass as it said at the Second Vatican Council (which used the Missal of 1962.) Fr. Z. is conducting a poll as to what that mass should be called. My first choice lost out in the initial round (the Mass of John XXIII.) In the runoff, the top three choices are:

1) the Tridentine Mass
2) extraordinary form/use (forma extraodinaria)
3) the Traditional Latin Mass or TLM

You can vote on his blog, What Does The Prayer Really Say? The blog is a great resource to find out whether Rome (which speaks in Latin) really said what your local liturgist said Rome said.

I voted for #2. That is what Benedict called it. The "Tridentine Mass" suggests that this form dates back to the Council of Trent which is wrong by at least a thousand years. The "Traditional Latin Mass" is OK but distracts us from the fact that the ordinary form (what we have in almost every parish, every Sunday) is supposed to be in Latin most of the time and should be celebrated in a manner that preserves the tradition of the Latin rite.

Uwe Michael Lang, Latin: vehicle of unity between peoples and cultures

Thanks to Rorate Caeli have this article from Obervatore Romano. It was translated by Fr. Anthony Forte who tells us, "Uwe Michael Lang traces the historical evolution
of the liturgical language in the Roman rite"

vehicle of unity between peoples and cultures

Uwe Michael Lang

The cultural and political unity of the Mediterranean world was a providential factor in the diffusion of the Christian faith. In particular, the diffusion of the Greek language in the urban centers of the Roman Empire favored the proclamation of the Gospel. The Greek spoken in the East and West was not the classic idiom, but rather the simplified Koiné, the common language of the various nations of the eastern part of the Mediterranean word: Greece, Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt.

Koiné Greek was also the language of the urban proletariat of the West that had emigrated from the eastern territory of the Empire. Rome had become a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural city. In it lived there also lived a permanent Hebrew population, that seems to have spoken principally Greek. The language of the first Christian community in Rome was Greek. This is shown by Paul’s Letter to the Romans and by the first Christian literary works that saw the light in Rome, for example the First Letter of Clement, The Pastor of Hermes and the writings of Justin.

In the first two centuries there arose several popes with Greek names and the Christian burial inscriptions were composed in Greek. During this period, Greek was also the common language of the Roman liturgy. The shift to Latin did not begin in Rome, but in North Africa, where the converts to Christianity were in the majority natives of Latin mother language rather than Greek speaking immigrants. Around the middle of the third century this transition was much advanced: members of the Roman clergy wrote to Cyprian of Carthage in Latin; Latin was also the language in which Novatian compose his De trinitate and other works, citing an existing Latin version of the Bible. No reference is made here to the so-called Apostolic Tradition, attributed to Hippolitus at Rome, because of the uncertainty of its date, its origin, and its very author.

It would seem that in the second half of the third century in flow of immigration from the East to Rome had diminished. This demographic change involved a large increase of the native Latin speakers in the life of the Church at Rome. This notwithstanding Greek continued to be used in the Roman liturgy, at least at a certain level, until the second half of the 4th century; this is evidenced by a Greek citation of the Eucharistic prayer by the Latin author Marius Victorinus, dating back to 360.

Around this period, however, the transition to Latin was in a very advanced phase; this result is most evident by an author otherwise unknown who wrote between 374 and 382, who maintains that the Eucharistic prayer at Rome referred to Melchizedek as summus sacerdos – a title that sounds familiar to us from the latter Canon of the Mass.

The most important resource for the history of the first Latin liturgy is Ambrose of Milan. In his De sacramentis, a series of catechesis for the newly baptized held around 390, he cites exactly the Eucharistic prayer used at that time in Milan. The passages cited are the most ancient form of the prayers Quam oblationem, Qui pridie, Unde et momores, Supra quae, and Supplices te rogamus of the Roman Canon. Elsewhere, in De sacramentis, Ambrose underlines his desire to follow the use of the Roman church in everything; for this reason, we can be certain that this Eucharistic prayer was of Roman origin. Also in the sermon of Zeno, bishop of Verona from 362 to 372, there are traces that attest to the geographic diffusion of this original form of the Roman Canon.

The literal formulation of the prayer cited by Ambrose is not always identical to the Canon that Gregory the Great promulgated at the end of the 4th century and came to us with a few modifications of little importance with respect to the more ancient liturgical books, especially the old Gelesian Sacramentary, dating back to the middle of the 8th century, but retaining an echo of a more ancient liturgical use. In every case the differences between the two texts are by fare less than their similarities, given that the almost three hundred year that intervened between them was a period of intense liturgical development.

The passage from Greek to Latin in the Roman liturgy came gradually and was completed under the pontificate of Damasus I (366-384). From that point the liturgy at Rome was celebrated in Latin, with the exception of a few reminders of the more ancient use, as the Kyrie eleison in the Ordo and the readings in Greek in the papal Masses. According to Octavus of Milevi, who wrote around 360, there were more than forty churches in Rome before the edict of Constantine. If this information is correct, it would be reasonable to think that there was a Latin speaking community in the 3rd century, if not before, that celebrated the liturgy in Latin, in particular the reading of Sacred Scripture.

The Psalms were sung in Latin since the original and ancient version used in the liturgy have acquired such an aura of sacredness that Jerome corrected them only with great caution. Then he translated the Psalter from Hebrew not for liturgical use, as he said, but to furnish a text for scholars and discussion. Christine Mohrmann suggests that the baptismal liturgy was translated into Latin from the 2nd century. There can be no certainty on this point, but it is clear that there was a period of transition and that it was long.

Mohrmann introduces the useful distinction between, first, "prayer texts", where the language was above all a means of expression, second, texts, "destined to be read, the Epistle and the Gospel", and, third, "confessional texts", as the Creed. In the prayers texts we find primarily modes of expressing ourselves; in the others primarily forms of communication. Recent research on language and rite, as the work of Catherine Bell, confrim the intuition of Mohrmann that the language has different functions in different parts of the liturgy, that go beyond mere communication or infromation. These theoretical reflections help us to understand the development of the first Roman liturgy: those parts in which the elements of communication were prevalent, as the reading of Scripture, were translated first, while the Eucharistic prayer continued to be recited in Greek for a much longer period.

"Sociolinguistics" – a relatively new academic discipline – warns us to the fact that the selection of one language in respect on another is never a neutral or transparent question. As a consequence it is important to consider the change from Greek to Latin in the Roman liturgy in its historical, social and cultural context. The history of antiquity has indicated that the formation of liturgical Latin was part of a wide ranging effort of Christianization of the culture and of the Roman civilization.

In the second half of the 4th century the more influential bishops in Italy, above all Damasus at Rome and Ambrose at Milan, committed to Christianizing the dominant culture of their time. In the city of Rome there was a strong pagan presence and especially the aristocracy continued to adhere to the old customs, even if nominally they had become Christians. Rome was no longer the center of political power, but its culture continued to have roots in the mentality of its elites.

The 4th century is now considered a period of literary rebirth, with a renewed interest in the "classics" of Roman poetry and prose. The emperors of the 4th century cultivated this Latinitas, and there was also a recovery of Latin in the East. With characteristic tenacity, Rome maintained its ancient traditions.

In relation to which, the popes of the late 4th century promoted a project conscious and inclusive of appropriating the symbols of the Roman civilization on part of the Christian faith. Part of this attempt was the appropriation of the public space by means of impressive building projects. After the emperors of the Constantine dynasty had opened the way with the monumental basilicas of the Lateran and Saint Peter, as well as with the basilicas of the cemeteries outside the city walls, the popes continued this building program that transformed Rome into a city dominated by churches.

The most prestigious project was the construction of a new basilica dedicated to Saint Paul on the Via Ostia, by replacing the small Constantinian building with a new church similar in dimensions to Saint Peter. Another important factor was the appropriation of the public time with a cycle of Christian feasts along the course of the year in place of the pagan celebrations (see the Philocalian calender of the year 354). The formation of the Latin liturgy was part of this all inclusive effort to evangelize the classical culture.

Christine Mohrmann recognizes in this the the fortuitous coming together of a rebirth of the language, inspired by the newness of revelation, and of a stylistic traditionalism strongly rooted in the Roman world. Liturgical Latin has the Roman gravitas and avoids the exuberance of the style of prayer of the Eastern Christians, which is found also in the Gallican tradition. This was not an adoption of the "vernacular" language in the liturgy, given that the Latin of the Roman Canon, of the collects and of prefaces of the Mass, were remote from the idiom of the common people. It was a strongly stylized language that an average Christian in Rome of late antiquity would have understood with difficulty, especially considering that the level of education was very low by the standards of today. Moreover the development of the Christian Latinitas would have made the liturgy more accessible to the people of Milan or Rome, but not necessarily to those whose mother tongue was Gothic, Celtic, Iberian or Punic.

It is possible to imagine a western Church with local languages in its liturgy, as in the East, where, joined to the Greek, were also used Syrian, Coptic, Armenian, Georgian and Ethiopian. In every way the situation in the West was fundamentally different; the unifying force of the papacy was such that Latin became the sole liturgical language. This was an important factor favoring ecclesiastic, cultural and political cohesion.

The Latin liturgy was from the beginning a sacred language separated from the language of the people; and the distance became greater with the development of the national cultures and languages in Europe, not to mention mission territories. "The first opposition to the Latin language," Christine Mohrmann wrote, "coincided with the end of Medieval Latin as a "second living language", that was replaced by a truly ‘dead’ language, the Latin of the Humanists. And the opposition of our days to liturgical Latin has something to do with weakening of the study of Latin – and with the tendency toward ‘secularism’ "("The Ever-Recurring Problem of Language in the Church", in Études sur le latin des chrétiens, IV, Rome, 1977).

The Second Vatican Council wished to resolve the question by extending the use of the vernacular in the liturgy, above all in the readings (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium, art. 36, n. 2). At the same time, it underlined that "the use of the Latin language … is to be preserved in the Latin rite" (Sacrosanctum Concilium, art. 36, n. 1; cfr also art. 54). The council Father did not imagine that the sacred language of the western Church would be replaced by the vernacular.

The linguistic fragmentation of Catholic worship in the post-conciliar period has been pushed so far that the majority of the faithful today can only with difficulty recite a Pater noster together with one another, as can be noted in the international reunions in Rome or Lourdes. In an epoch marked by great mobility and globalization, a common liturgical language could serve as a vehicle of unity between peoples and cultures, besides the fact that liturgical Latin is an unique spiritual treasure that has nourished the life of the Church for many centuries. Finally, it is necessary to preserve the sacred character of the liturgical language in the vernacular translation, as the instruction of the Holy See Liturgiam authenticam noted in 2001.

Translation provided by Father Anthony Forte.
posted by New Catholic at 1:53 PM

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


From the Vatican News Service:


VATICAN CITY, SEP 26, 2007 (VIS) - In his general audience, which was held this morning in St. Peter's Square in the presence of more than 20,000 people, the Pope resumed the catechesis he had begun last week on St. John Chrysostom.

This Father of the Church was appointed as bishop of Constantinople, capital of the eastern Roman empire, in the year 397 and immediately began planning the reform of the Church. said the Pope. "The austerity of the episcopal palace," he added, "had to be an example to everyone." In fact, thanks to his "concern for the poor," the saint "was also known as the 'Alms-giver' ... and he created a number of highly-regarded charitable institutions."

"As a true pastor, he treated everyone cordially. ... In particular, he always showed tender concern for women and particular interest in marriage and the family. He invited the faithful to participate in liturgical life, which his creative genius would make particularly splendid and attractive." However "despite his kind heart, ... because of his continuous dealings with the civil authorities and institutions, he often found himself involved in political questions and intrigues, ... and was condemned to exile" where he died in the year 407.

"Of St. John Chrysostom it was said," the Pope continued, "that God caused people to see in him another Paul, a Doctor of the Universe. ... Chrysostom's ideal vision is clearly expressed in his commentary to the first pages of the book of Genesis," in which he meditates upon "the eight works accomplished by God in the sequence of six days." The saint wishes "to lead the faithful back from the creation to the Creator, ... the God of condescension ... Who sends fallen man a letter: Holy Scripture."

The bishop of Constantinople also refers to God as "tender Father, Doctor of souls, Mother and affectionate Friend." In the end "it is God Who descends towards us, He takes bodily from, ... dies on the cross, ... and truly becomes God-with-us, our brother."

"In addition to these three stages - God Who is visible in His creation, God Who writes us a letter, and God Who descends towards us - there is a fourth stage in the life and activity of Christians: the vital and dynamic principle of the Holy Spirit Who transforms the reality of the world. God comes into our lives ... and transforms us from within."

In his commentary to the Acts of the Apostles, St. John Chrysostom proposes "the model of the early Church as a model for society, creating a social 'utopia' ... and seeking to give a Christian soul and a Christian aspect to the city. In other words, Chrysostom understood that it was not enough to give alms, to help the poor one case at a time, rather that it was necessary to create a new structure, a new model for society ... based on the new Testament. For this reason, we may consider him as one of the great Fathers of the Church's social doctrine."

With St. Paul, St. John Chrysostom "supported the primacy of human beings, including slaves and the poor." This contrasted with the structure of the Greek 'polis' where "vast sectors of the population were excluded form the right to citizenship;" in the Christian city, on the other hand, "all are brothers and sisters with the same rights."

At the end of his life St. John Chrysostom returned to the theme of "God's plan for humanity," reaffirming that "God loves each of us with an infinite love, and therefore He wants everyone to be saved."

AG/CHRYSOSTOM/... VIS 070926 (610)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Benedict to His New Brother Bishops: Above all, Br Men of Prayer


VATICAN CITY, SEP 22, 2007 (VIS) - This morning in Castelgandolfo, the Holy Father received participants in the traditional meeting of bishops who have been appointed over the course of the last twelve months. With them, he reflected on the apostolic and pastoral nature of a bishop's life of prayer.

After highlighting how "the chief place in the life of a successor to the Apostles must be reserved for God," the Pope told the bishops to reserve a special mention for priests in their prayers, "that they may persevere in their vocation, faithful to the priestly mission with which they have been entrusted.

"How edifying its," he added, "for each priest to know that his bishop - from whom he received the gift of priesthood or who is in any case his father and friend - remains close to him in prayer and affection, and is always ready to welcome him, listen to him, support and encourage him. Nor," he continued," in a bishop's prayers, should there ever be lacking a supplication for new vocations. They must be asked insistently of God, that He may call 'whom He will' to the sacred ministry."

"Where men and women are constantly rushing and lose themselves, where people live as if God does not exist," the Pope told the newly-consecrated bishops, "create places and moments for prayer where, in silence, in listening to God through 'lectio divina,' in individual and community prayer, mankind can meet God and enjoy a living experience of Jesus Christ Who reveals the true face of the Father."

The Holy Father exhorted the bishops "to make the cathedral an exemplary house of prayer, especially liturgical prayer, where the diocesan community united with their bishop can praise and thank God for His work of salvation, and intercede for all humankind."

"Be men of prayer," Benedict XVI concluded. "In appealing to God for yourselves and for your faithful, have the trust of children, the boldness of a friend, and the perseverance of Abraham, who was tireless in his intercession."


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Today is the Feast of St. Maurice

Today is the Feast of St. Maurice, the patron of soldiers and swordsmiths. Legend has it that he was a member of the Theban Legion sent to the Rhine Danube frontier to suppress a revolt by the Bagandae in Gaul. After their victory, they were ordered to sacrifice to the gods in thanksgiving, an order they could not obey. The legion was decimated. After the third decimation, they were killed in their entirety.
He is usually depicted in armor and sometimes as a black. Read about him in the Catholic Encyclopedia.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

John Chrysostom: Coherence between Ideas and Real Life

John Chrysostom:
Coherence between Ideas and Real Life

From the Vatican News Service

VATICAN CITY, SEP 19, 2007 (VIS) - In his general audience, held this morning in St. Peter's Square, the Pope continued with his series of catecheses on the subject of the Fathers of the Church, focussing today on St. John Chrysostom.

The Pope began by recalling the fact that this year marks the 16th centenary of the death of St. John Chrysostom, who was born in Antioch, in modern-day Turkey, in the year 349. "Called Chrysostom, meaning 'golden-mouthed,' for his eloquence, it could be said that he is still alive today through his works," the Holy Father observed.

"Ordained a deacon in 381 and a priest in 386, he became a famous preacher in the churches of his city; ... 387 was John's 'heroic year'," said Benedict XVI, the year of "the so-called 'revolt of the statues' when people destroyed the imperial statues as a sign of protest against the rise in taxes."

The Holy Father then went on to observe how this saint "was one of the most prolific of the Fathers, of him we have 17 treatises, more than 700 authentic homilies, his commentaries on Matthew and Paul, and 241 letters. He was not a speculative theologian. He transmitted the traditional and certain doctrine of the Church at a time of theological controversies, caused above all by Arianism, in other words the negation of Christ's divinity."

"His is an explicitly pastoral theology," the Pope continued, "in which he shows a constant concern for coherence between thought expressed in words and real existence, This, in particular, is the common thread of the magnificent catecheses with which he prepared catechumens to receive Baptism."

Benedict XVI indicated how "St. John Chrysostom was concerned that his writings should accompany the integral - physical, intellectual and religious - development of the person."

In his works, the saint highlighted the importance of childhood because it is then "that inclinations to vice and virtue appear. For this reason the law of God must, from the beginning, be impressed upon the soul 'as upon a wax tablet'."

Childhood, said the Pope referring to the saint's writings, "is followed by the sea of adolescence in which the gales blow violently as concupiscence grows within us." Then comes courtship and marriage, about which the saint points out "that a well prepared husband and wife close the way to divorce: everything takes place joyfully and children can be educated to virtue. When the first child is born, he or she is like a bridge: the three become a single flesh because the child brings the two parts together and all together they constitute a family, a little Church."

Finally, the Pope recalled how the saint used to address his writings to the lay faithful who, "through Baptism, take on the priestly office, royal and prophetic. ... This lesson of Chrysostom on the authentically Christian presence of the lay faithful in the family and in society is today more important than ever."

AG/ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM/... VIS 070919 (510)

Monday, September 17, 2007

From the Vatican News Service: The Tenth Inter-Christian Symposium between Catholics and Orthodox

Theologians representing Rome and the Orthodox are meeting in continuation of a dialogue of two decades. Benedict XVI hopes these talks "will contribute to upholding and corroborating the real - though imperfect - communion that exists between Catholics and Orthodox, so that we may reach that fullness which will one day enable us to concelebrate the one Eucharist."

St. John Chrysostom pray for us.

VATICAN CITY, SEP 17, 2007 (VIS) - The Holy Father has written a Message to Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, for the Tenth Inter-Christian Symposium between Catholics and Orthodox, which is being held from September 16 to 19 on the Greek island of Tinos.

The symposium, organized every two years by the Franciscan Institute of Spirituality at Rome's Antonianum Pontifical Athenaeum, and by the faculty of theology at the Aristotle University of Thessalonica, Greece, aims to study Catholics' and Orthodox' shared patrimony of faith and tradition. The current meeting - which has as its theme "St. John Chrysostom, a bridge between East and West" - coincides with the 1,600th anniversary of the death of that saint, considered as a Father of the Church in both East and West.

In his Message, the Pope expresses his happiness at the fact that the gathering is being held on Tinos "where Orthodox and Catholics coexist fraternally," and he recalls how "ecumenical cooperation in the academic field contributes to maintaining an impetus towards the longed-for communion among all Christians.

On the subject of ecumenical cooperation, the Pope points out how "Vatican Council II recognized in this field an opportunity to involve the entire People of God in the search for full unity."

The Holy Father then goes on to refer to St. John Chrysostom as "a valiant, illuminated and faithful preacher of the Word of God, ... such an extraordinary hermeneutist and speaker that, from the fifth century, he was given the title of Chrysostom, which means golden-mouthed. A man whose contribution to the formation of the Byzantine liturgy is known to everyone," and whose mortal remains "after complex historical events have, since 1626, rested in St. Peter's Basilica."

"In 2004," Pope Benedict writes, "my venerated predecessor John Paul II donated part of the relics to His Holiness Bartholomew I, ecumenical patriarch, so that the great Father of the Church could be venerated both in the Vatican Basilica and in the church of St. George in Fanar."

The symposium will consider St. John Chrysostom and communion with the Church of the West, studying a number of current problems. This, writes the Pope "will contribute to upholding and corroborating the real - though imperfect - communion that exists between Catholics and Orthodox, so that we may reach that fullness which will one day enable us to concelebrate the one Eucharist.

"And it is to that blessed day," the Holy Father adds in conclusion, "that we look with hope, organizing practical initiatives such as this one."


Sunday, September 16, 2007

European Liberalism

"The liberal believes in the permanence of humanity's imperfection, he resigns himself to a regime in which the good will be the result of numberless actions and never the object of a conscious choice. Finally, he subscribes to the pessimism that sees in politics the art of creating the conditions in which the vices of men will contribute to the good of society."

-Raymond Aron quoted by Richard John Neuhaus who reads this as Augustinian in sensibility.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross

Today, The Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, is the day Pope Benedict set as the Liberation Day for the Extraordinary Usage of the mass of the Latin Rite (i.e., the mass according to the Missal of John XXIII, sometimes called by the misnomer "the tridentine mass.")

I heard a marvelous mass on EWTN this morning. How better to start the day than with Gregorian chant. I would love to get a podcast of the beautiful homily!

The New Liturgical Movement informs me that there is a DVD of it from EWTN. To find more follow the link. [Added this Sunday morning.]

The mass ended with "Lift High the Cross!" This was neither Latin nor Chant, but a great hymn. You can here it on two sites:

The Oremus Hymnal

and The Cyber Hymnal

I bounced into my classes with more life than all semester!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Wichita's Catholic Homeschoolers Have a New Web Site

The Holy Family Home Educators, Wichita's Catholic homeschoolers, now has a website at . They meet monthly alternating between the east side (St. Thomas Acquinas) and the west side (St. Francis Asissi.) They ar every active. The year just started off with a beautiful mass at Newman's chapel.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Benedict's Wednesday Address: GREGORY OF NYSSA: AIM OF MAN IS TO BE LIKE GOD


VATICAN CITY, SEP 5, 2007 (VIS) - This morning, the Pope travelled by helicopter from his summer residence at Castelgandolfo to the Vatican, where he landed shortly before 10 a.m. He then went to St. Peter's Square where he presided at his weekly general audience, attended today by 16,000 people.

Continuing his series of catecheses on the Fathers of the Church, the Holy Father returned to consider the figure of St. Gregory of Nyssa (335-395) - who had also been the subject of last week's catechesis - highlighting how the bishop saint always "showed a highly elevated sense of man's dignity."

For St. Gregory, "man's aim is to make himself like God ... through love, knowledge and the practice of virtues, ... in a perpetual and dynamic adherence to good, like a runner stretching forwards."

However, "the perfection that makes us participants in God's own sanctity is not something granted forever," the Holy Father warned. Rather it is "a permanent journey, a constant commitment to progress ... because complete likeness to God can never be achieved, The history of each soul is that of a love ... open to new horizons, because God continually expands the possibilities of the soul, so as to make it capable of ever greater good."

"In this journey of spiritual ascent, Christ is the Model and the Master Who shows us the beautiful image of God. Looking at Him, each of us discovers ourselves to be 'the painter of our own life' in which our will undertakes the work and our virtues are the colors at our disposal."

"The value that St. Gregory gives to the word Christian is very important," said Pope Benedict, "because a Christian is one who bears the name of Christ, and one who bears the name of Christ must be like Him also in this life. ... But Christ, Gregory recalls, is also present in the poor," and he invites people to recognize the dignity of the poor, precisely because "they represent the Person of the Savior."

The Holy Father concluded by saying that "the path to God, then, passes through prayer and pureness of heart, and through love for others. Love is the stairway that leads to God."

At the end of the audience, the Holy Father greeted participants in various languages. Then, addressing Missionaries of Charity who have come to Rome for the tenth anniversary of the death of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, he highlighted how "the life and witness of this true disciple of Christ ... are an invitation for you and for the entire Church always to serve God faithfully in the poorest and the most needy."


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Graham Greene's The Honorary Consul

I just (8/8) finished Graham Greene's The Honorary Consul. Starts slow, ends with a wallop!

What is love? What happens when someone can't or won't love?

Powerful stuff.

It takes place in Argentine during the 1970s. the action is in a fictional border town across the Parana from a Paraguay ruled by a repressive dictator. The protagonist, who seems to have more trouble with the sixth commandment than with the ninth, finds the reality of love, the selfless giving of one's self for another, beyond his ken.

Nick Allen at Bloomberg Reports MI5 Was Watching George Orwell

Nick Allen tells us, "George Orwell Was Right; Big Brother's Agents Were Watching" him!

Britain's MI5 was keeping tabs on George Orwell. In 1984, he gave us the vision of a world dominated by Big Brother who controlled ever part of our lives. Mr. Allen details the contents of MI5's files.

It is not widely known, but Orwell's original tittle for the book was 1948, but that was rejected by his publisher.