Washington game show impresario, Bill O’Reilly, factors that marriage leads to happiness. Good Gracious me!!

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Grace Kelly was a randy little coquette, born to considerable family fortune, who could bring off, somehow, the look of pretty innocence.  She had the most remarkable neck, an alluring figure, a pretty enough face and an impossibly tiny waistline, all of which, along with other wiles which cannot be mentioned on a family program, she used to best advantage, after much prayer and solitary contemplation at God’s Altar, to marry a Prince of the Blood Royal.  All photo credits: LIFE.


And…Gracie gets her boy!!  In front of God Jesus and His High Altar and a Prince of the Church, Gracie’s plans reach full fruition.  Congratulations are in order!!  Photo credits:  LIFE

From my ever-dutiful Bonnie, I hear today for the very first time of a Mr. William O’Reilly, Washington game show impresario, who, to me, incomprehensibly, connects marriage to happiness. What a singularly hilarious idea!!  Look and listen…


Factoring, Mr. William O’Reilly, some rather well done fender and body work to the face and a fair to middling amount of television make-up, I factor that you and I are about the same age, give or take a pinch.

Factoring far more importantly, assuming William O’Reilly is your born Christian and surname and not a stage name, we share both blood lines over the waters and a fealty to Mother Church that no television game show could possibly tear asunder.

I understand that Washington, constitutionally incapable of addressing issues of any consequence, is these days all afire about homosexuals marrying one another.  I hesitate to ask just why that is the case, as I’ve substantially less than no interest in the answer.  Nana maternal told me early “that subject is impolite and simply not to be addressed by polite people.”

Factor, Mr. O’Reilly, that groups whose members consider themselves as social outcasts will never be satisfied in Courts rulings or Congresses laws simply because what they seek—to be loved–cannot be resolved in Courts or Congresses. It’s just that simple.

There was an expression from our youth ubiquitous that “Jesus either lives in your heart or He does not.”  For those not anointed, this means that love of one’s fellow man either lives in the hearts of individual men or it does not.  If it does not, no Court or Congress can do anything about that.

Bonnie says to me, poor child, her labors ever unrewarded, that in the clip that she watched attentively, Mr. O’Reilly closes his game show by saying “I want everybody to be happy.”

What a cheerful idea—Father Christmas at Easter Sunday!!

Not to dampen the spirit of the Season, William, but I must tell you that happiness and love of one’s fellow man cannot be adjudicated or legislated.  I’m so sorry.

Factor that’s the rub, Billy, because it is.  You are on the right track with this happiness business but you fall a long mile or two short of the mark as, what people, most particularly those who view themselves as social outcasts, really desire, is to be loved.  But that can never be attained by a Court ruling or by passing a law.

That hash now fully settled, kindly explain just how you manage to connect the words marriage and happiness?  As a schoolboy, doubtless you learned that marriage and happiness are antonyms, never synonyms.

Bonnie and I do wish you all best with your game show and likewise Happy Easter!!



John Daniel Begg


Washington DC

Holy Thursday,  28th March, Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi, 2013

Her..o..in.. she’s my wife and she’s my life…


Lewis Allan “Lou” Reed (born March 2, 1942) is an American rock musician, songwriter, and photographer.[1] He is best known as guitarist, vocalist, and principal songwriter of The Velvet Underground, and for his solo career, which has spanned several decades.  Pictured above in a shot to make mamma proud, young Lou progressed to writing and performing this paean to Her–o–in addiction that is both very well done and an extraordinarily sad commentary on America, a commentary utterly ignored in Her white bread wonderland fantasy that “nice people don’t do drugs–it’s only those from the other side–you know, Negroes.”

Attend to this message–and think about its message–and think about America.  I know that the Americans do not like to think, not thinking is one of the American’s greatest strengths as a people, but for this brief hiatus, please indulgence us and THINK ANYWAY:


Lou Reed

I don’t know just where I’m going
But I’m goin’ to try for the kingdom if I can
‘Cause it makes me feel like I’m a man
When I put a spike into my vein
Then I tell you things aren’t quite the sameWhen I’m rushing on my run
And I feel just like Jesus’ son
And I guess I just don’t know
And I guess that I just don’t knowI have made very big decision
I’m goin’ to try to nullify my life
‘Cause when the blood begins to flow
When it shoots up the dropper’s neck
When I’m closing in on deathYou can’t help me not you guys
All you sweet girls with all your sweet talk
You can all go take a walk
And I guess I just don’t know
And I guess I just don’t knowI wish that I was born a thousand years ago
I wish that I’d sailed the darkened seas
On a great big clipper ship
Going from this land here to that
I put on a sailor’s suit and capAway from the big city
Where a man cannot be free
Of all the evils in this town
And of himself and those around
Oh, and I guess I just don’t know
Oh, and I guess I just don’t knowHeroin, be the death of me
Heroin, it’s my wife and it’s my life
Because a mainer to my vein
Leads to a center in my head
And then I’m better off than deadWhen the smack begins to flow
Then I really don’t care anymore
About all the Jim-Jims in this town
And everybody putting everybody else down
And all of the politicians makin’ crazy sounds
All the dead bodies piled up in mounds, yeah

Wow, that heroin is in my blood
And the blood is in my head
Yeah, thank God that I’m good as dead
Ooohhh, thank your God that I’m not aware
And thank God that I just don’t care
And I guess I just don’t know
And I guess I just don’t know

Dear Mommies and Daddies–Lou Reed may not be your cup of tea, we know dears, it’s all so very unsettling to think about those people–but consider this message found in our mailbox this sunny morning in Happy Valley at Washington.

We are much indebted to Delancyplace.com for this useful thought for the day.  We now quote them until, duly noted, cease quoting.

Delancyplace.com writes us about that which is, beyond debate, or even reasonable counter-argument, the biggest and most socially influential, and corrosive, business in the entire world…the biggest business in the entire world–DRUGS, Mom and Dad–attend here:

In today’s selection — the explosion of narcotics use in America after World War II:”The Cold War inadvertently set the stage for the return of narcotics, in devastating strength. For the most part, the Mafia had been bitter enemies of Mussolini, and several men who would become leaders of the American underworld, such [as] Joe Bonanno, were driven into exile by the Fascists. During the Allied Occupation, many of the local mafiosi were returned to power by the Americans, who were in need of a leadership that was equally free of Fascist and Communist taint. This resurrection of the Sicilian Mafia coincided with the deportation of some four hundred gangsters, including Lucky Luciano, who introduced their local counterparts to the lucrative narcotics trade. The Sicilians often worked with Corsican gangsters in Marseilles, where the ‘French Connection’ soon supplied 85 to 90 percent of the heroin that arrived in the United States. The French government did little to discourage it: de Gaulle was delighted to thwart American policy, and the problem of addiction was not significant in France at the time. More sinister was the fact that the narcotics trade helped finance French military and intelligence efforts in its about-to-be former colonies, especially in Indochina, where the ‘Golden Triangle’ was the world’s great opiate producer, along with the ‘Golden Crescent’ of the Near East, from Turkey to Pakistan.”After the war, heroin use was largely confined to a few, narrow sub-cultures — among jazz musicians, most famously — from which it spread, like a rumor or a fad, in a geometric progression. The drug was seen as part of a lifestyle that opted out of the mainstream, whether as a protest against the specific exclusion of blacks from postwar opportunity, or as part of the larger, looser cynicism of the counterculture. Some junkies started because they were shut out of society, others because they didn’t want to join it, and still others because they believed it explained how Charlie Parker played or Billie Holiday sang. Whether the pipe dream appealed to them or the American dream didn’t, once people started, their original reasons didn’t matter. As heroin spread through the larger black community, especially in the northern ghettos, the price went up and the quality went down, even as the addict population exploded. Property crimes skyrocketed to pay for habits, and then violent crimes followed, not only in the competition between dealers, but also disciplinary and debt-collecting functions of the gangs. By the 1960s, changes in the welfare system had accelerated the already extraordinary chaos of the ghettos, in its disastrous effects on patterns of marriage and work, which remain the two greatest bulwarks against criminality. Heroin created thousands of rich killers and millions of derelicts, whores, and thieves. In short, it created crime as we know it.

“In a sense, heroin was one of many white appropriations of black culture, following the same routes of imitation as the blues and hip-hop. But if heroin moved up from the ghetto, cocaine reached down from the white upper classes, offering a mass-market taste of glamour, like designer jeans. Through the mid-eighties, most media coverage of cocaine had an envious quality, as if the chief problem with the party favor of Hollywood parties and Studio 54 was that it was too expensive. Though official anti-drug rhetoric had been fairly constant for decades, it was only in 1986, after the death of basketball star Len Bias, and after crack began to burn through the cities, that action backed up the words. Until then, there was little attention paid to cocaine at the federal level: in 1985, of the hundred agents in the New York office of the DEA, only ten were assigned to cocaine cases, and in South Florida, where the drug had become a seven-billion-dollar industry, the DEA had to have a bake sale to raise money. In other words, until fairly recently, the war on drugs was remarkable for its lack of troops and ammunition, though the casualties certainly abounded.

“The modern cocaine business began when George Jung met Carlos Lehder in federal prison, in 1974. Jung, who was from a white, working-class New England background, had developed a sophisticated marijuana business, in which he bought drugs by the ton in Mexico and flew them all over the country in small planes. Carlos Lehder was a car thief from Colombia, who would join with Pablo Escobar and the Ochoa family to form the Medellin cartel. Jung had a hippie’s soft-minded indulgence toward drug use, believing it to be kind of harmless and sort of a civil right, whereas the fanatical Lehder saw cocaine as the atomic bomb he was going to drop on America. Cocaine, which had been smuggled by the pound, now began to enter the country by the ton, and the Colombians introduced a degree of violence to the trade that would have made the Mafia blanch. Cops were killed by the hundreds in Medellin, and entire families were murdered, sometimes by the ‘necktie’ method, in which the throat was cut and the tongue pulled out to dangle down the chest. Sometime in the early 1980s, someone invented crack, and business got even bigger than anyone could have imagined.

“Cocaine used to cost as much as the best champagne, but crack made the price drop to that of a pack of cigarettes. People fought to buy it and sell it, with more and bigger guns that they sometimes shot without even looking. By the early 1990s, the New York City annual homicide rate had passed two thousand, of which half were estimated to be drug-related. Crack ravaged entire neighborhoods and seemed to claim as many women as men; heroin took a lot of fathers, and now crack took mothers, too. If heroin made the streets unsafe, crack killed people who hadn’t even left their homes, and mothers in the ghettos practiced a kind of fire drill, sending the kids under their beds or into the bathtub at the sound of gunfire. Even as the crack epidemic started to level off, the Colombians began to produce heroin of exceptional quality.

“We’re not back where we started, by any means, but quitting time — for addict, dealer, cop — is nowhere in sight.”

Author: Edward Conlon
Title: Blue Blood
Publisher:  Riverhead Books
Date: Copyright 2004 by Edward Conlon
Pages: 172-174

Blue Blood

by Edward Conlon by Riverhead Trade

Paperback ~ Release Date: 2005-04-05

If you wish to read further: Buy Now




We very much thank Delancyplace.com for this most arresting, and very troubling, missive of today and here cease to quote them.


Drugs are but a part of a fairly short list of issues that most need to be addressed in the American polity–fast behind the forced repatriation of all jobs now held overseas by US-flagged corporations and putting an abrupt end to the American war machine.  None of these issues are ever discussed in Americans political campaigns, debates or flighty television poli-talk shows–ever.

This is the opening salvo of a candidacy that will flood the nation with good jobs, end the war machine and both legalize and give all drugs away free. Yes, free drugs.

Why free drugs, Mom and Dad?  Because the polluting effects of the biggest business on earth cannot possibly have failed to infect and pollute the highest levels of politics, government ministries, the army, the police and all others charged with stopping that which cannot be stopped.

We will visit this issue and the others named, as no one else will, in notes to you, very soon to come.

In the meantime, in between time, we get endlessly to listen to, as Lou has sung for us, “all the politicians making crazy sounds,” about subjects of no consequence, while assiduously ignoring the comparatively few issues that do have consequence.

Meanwhile, Lou, unfamiliar with Jesus, or ambition, or other desire, or anything else of true value, lives myopically and many, many of your kiddies, Mom and Dad, do as well…they are….just.. waiting…on their man:   comme ca:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cb_LyiuC-FEI’m waiting for my man




Got 26 dollars in my hand
Up to Lexington 125
feelin’ sick and dirty
for a day and a life
Huh, I’m waiting for my man

Hey white boy, what you doin’ uptown
Hey white boy, you chasin’ my women around
Pardon me sir, it’s furthest from my mind
I’m just waitin’ for a dear-dear friend of mine
I’m waiting for my man, come on

Here he comes, he’s all dressed in black
PR shoes and a big straw hat
He’s never early, he’s always late
first thing you learn is that you always gotta wait
I’m waiting for my man

Up to a brownstone, up three flights of stairs
Everybody’s pinned you and nobody cares
He’s got the works, gives you sweet taste
then you gotta split because you got no time to waste
I’m waiting for my man

Hey baby, don’t you holler, don’t you ball and shout
I’m feeling good, I’m gonna work it on out
I’m feeling good, feeling so fine
until tomorrow, but that’s just some other time
I’m waiting for my man
I’m waiting for my man
I’m waiting for my man



John Daniel Begg


Washington DC

Tuesday,  26th March, Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi, 2013

Young Brother Billy, lad from school, today admonishes that I must take pay for my writing essays. My word!! And yet, Billy assures it is all very legal to do so.



 A Rogues Gallery of Essayists

Plato 429–347 B.C., left above.  When Socrates was sixty years old, Plato, then a youth of twenty came to him as a pupil. Plato, giant of philosophy, likewise developed a style that became, far later, the modern novel as well as the modern essay.  Of which:  Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, left lower, was one of the most influential writers of the French Renaissance, known for popularizing the essay as a literary genre, and commonly thought of as the father of modern skepticism.  Of which:  “On the highest throne in the world, we still sit only on our own bottom.”

Arthur Christopher Benson (24 April 1862 – 17 June 1925), right lower, was an English essayistpoet, and author and the 28th Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge.  From Mr. Benson–true words for all of us who found school stultifying in terminus.   Of which:   I am sure it is one’s duty as a teacher to try to show boys that no opinions, no tastes, no emotions are worth much unless they are one’s own. I suffered acutely as a boy from the lack of being shown this.”

John Daniel Begg, right upper, born at Washington, 4th January, 1952.  Of which “With all the remarkable words to use in the English language, well, why not just let’s use them all?”

Since I was a wee lad, people of all sorts have told me that I had some sort of gift, or the other, with words.  A novelist I was to be, I suspect.  Or an orator maybe—pray God not that—as that suggests something to do with politics, an avocation that Frank Roosevelt’s mother, Sara, unconstrained by the burdens of public opinion and tart-tongued as few today are, most correctly described as being no fit job for a white man.

I guess friends and foes alike were correct then, as now, in my autumn years, I have discovered that I am, I like being, and others like and in equal measure laud and applaud, an essayist.  All along, I’d thought that with old age would come my grand classic novels. Yet, I find that an essayist can have, in a brief bit, a similar freedom and effect—perhaps even more so.

When I arise in the morning, I go about the city and, noticing things that catch my fancy write about them and dutifully quote others who have written on topics germane to my whimsical discoveries.

Today, I had a chat of many colors and hues with an old school lad, Billy, of whom I am inordinate fond, but likewise frustrated as he is a lawyer and, as with all the men in that line, oftentimes “simply too busy to talk.”  I wonder what these boys are so busy doing.

Billy did give me a moment today and we discussed essay writing and how to make money from it. My word!!  Hard times have come a knockin’ here.  Since early youth, I’ve gotten a severe headache and become despondent by talk of money as my Nana maternal drummed into me that “talk of money is both boring and impolite.”

Billy did get a bit of a laugh from my observation that both the novelist and essayist are the freest man on earth as we can, flick of the wrist; simply kill people we don’t like.  It’s a remarkably fun exercise.  Remarkably.

I said “Billy, for instance, if I do not like you and I am a novelist or an essayist, I simply create a character just like you and kill you without any legal ramifications whatsoever—consider all the dismal briefs filing and courtroom vaudeville acts that would spare you.”

My dears, consider how much delight we can all have with such fully free rein to dispatch, embarrass, mock, even seduce the pretty young wives, of our foes.  And likewise of course, to be pleasant to people if you happen to wake up the right side in the morning.

In this physically beautiful and ambiently nauseating village of my birth, men speak of who is powerful and who is not in Mr. Ferris’ Wheel this day at Washington, but who could debate the supreme power of simply being able to kill your enemies in a page or two, without any legal ramifications whatsoever?

Yes, the novelist can do away with any number of nettlesome creatures in his life—but it often takes him many pages to do so.  But, ah!!–the essayist can do the very same thing with a slight touch of the keys!!

Who here reading doesn’t daily think to himself “I could just shoot that girl?”  We all do, all day long, many times.  When one lives in the singularly rarefied world of literary invention—think it and, hey presto– it is done!  Such freedom!  Such immense latitude to form the world in one’s image and likeness!!

As boys, Billy and I were told that Plato was far more than a foundation philosopher—he was likewise an essayist and a sort of novelist.  Brief essays can accomplish the precise result as do longer novels, but get to do so very quickly.

One of the more amusing Washington cottage industries is the cribbing of other men’s work and calling it one’s own. I know personally any number of men who do nothing else but crib. They are paid, not well, but adequately, for cribbing and, some days when I am asked, “John, not for attribution but mano y mano—do you think Chris is a good writer—yes or no please?”  This question perplexes me, even irritates, and as this is Holy Week I must tell the unvarnished truth—so I answer “how the devil do I know—to my best knowledge, he’s never written anything.”

Perhaps it was with Chris in mind that our de Montaigne wrote:  “I quote others only to better express myself.”

I am no such cribber and I give, loud, long and laudatory credit to those whose work I use in my essays.  To wit, today, we have a brilliant guest with us, a Mr. Arthur Christopher Benson from whom the following explanation of essay writing we now begin to quote and continue to quote until noted by us here otherwise.

Mr. Benson, if you will please do the honors here now?  We thank you for your kindness to us all:




Arthur Christopher Benson

There is a pleasant story of an itinerant sign-painter who in going his rounds came to a village inn upon whose sign-board he had had his eye for some months and had watched with increasing hope and delight its rapid progress to blurred and faded dimness. To his horror he found a brand-new varnished sign. He surveyed it with disgust, and said to the inn-keeper, who stood nervously by hoping for a professional compliment, “This looks as if someone had been doing it himself.”

That sentence holds within it the key to the whole mystery of essay-writing. An essay is a thing which someone does himself; and the point of the essay is not the subject, for any subject will suffice, but the charm of personality. It must concern itself with something “jolly,” as the school-boy says, something smelt, heard, seen, perceived, invented, thought; but the essential thing is that the writer shall have formed his own impression, and that it shall have taken shape in his own mind; and the charm of the essay depends upon the charm of the mind that has conceived and recorded the impression. It will be seen, then, that the essay need not concern itself with anything definite; it need not have an intellectual or a philosophical or a religious or a humorous motif; but equally none of these subjects are ruled out. The only thing necessary is that the thing or the thought should be vividly apprehended, enjoyed, felt to be beautiful, and expressed with a certain gusto. It need conform to no particular rules. All literature answers to something in life, some habitual form of human expression. The stage imitates life, calling in the services of the eye and the ear; there is the narrative of the teller of tales or the minstrel; the song, the letter, the talk—all forms of human expression and communication have their antitypes in literature. The essay is the reverie, the frame of mind in which a man says, in the words of the old song, “Says I to myself, says I.”

It is generally supposed that Montaigne is the first writer who wrote what may technically be called essays. His pieces are partly autobiographical, partly speculative, and to a great extent ethical. But the roots of his writing lie far back in literary history. He owed a great part of his inspiration to Cicero, who treated of abstract topics in a conversational way with a romantic background; and this he owed to Plato, whose dialogues undoubtedly contain the germ of both the novel and the essay. Plato is in truth far more the forerunner of the novelist than of the philosopher. He made a background of life, he peopled his scenes with bright boys and amiable elders—oh that all scenes were so peopled!—and he discussed ethical and speculative problems of life and character with a vital rather than with a philosophical interest. Plato’s dialogues would be essays but for the fact that they have a dramatic colouring, while the essence of the essay is soliloquy. But in the writings of Cicero, such as the De Senectute, the dramatic interest is but slight, and the whole thing approaches far more nearly to the essay than to the novel. Probably Cicero supplied to his readers the function both of the essayist and the preacher, and fed the needs of so-called thoughtful readers by dallying, in a fashion which it is hardly unjust to call twaddling, with familiar ethical problems of conduct and character. The charm of Montaigne is the charm of personality—frankness, gusto, acute observation, lively acquaintance with men and manners. He is ashamed of recording nothing that interested him; and a certain discreet shamelessness must always be the characteristic of the essayist, for the essence of his art is to say what has pleased him without too prudently considering whether it is worthy of the attention of the well-informed mind.

I doubt if the English temperament is wholly favourable to the development of the essayist. In the first place, an Anglo-Saxon likes doing things better than thinking about them; and in his memories, he is apt to recall how a thing was done rather than why it was done. In the next place, we are naturally rather prudent and secretive; we say that a man must not wear his heart upon his sleeve, and that is just what the essayist must do. We have a horror of giving ourselves away, and we like to keep ourselves to ourselves. “The Englishman’s home is his castle,” says another proverb. But the essayist must not have a castle, or if he does, both the grounds and the living-rooms must be open to the inspection of the public.

Lord Brougham, who reveled in advertisement, used to allow his house to be seen by visitors, and the butler had orders that if a party of people came to see the house, Lord Brougham was to be informed of the fact. He used to hurry to the library and take up a book, in order that the tourists might nudge each other and say in whispers, “There is the Lord Chancellor.” That is the right frame of mind for the essayist. He may enjoy privacy, but he is no less delighted that people should see him enjoying it.

The essay has taken very various forms in England. Sir Thomas Browne, in such books as Religio Medici and Urn-Burial, wrote essays of an elaborate rhetorical style, the long fine sentences winding themselves out in delicate weft-like trails of smoke on a still air, hanging in translucent veils. Addison, in the Spectator, treated with delicate humour of life and its problems, and created what was practically a new form in the essay of emotional sentiment evoked by solemn scenes and fine associations. Charles Lamb treated romantically the homeliest stuff of life, and showed how the simplest and commonest experiences were rich in emotion and humour. The beauty and dignity of common life were his theme. De Quincey wrote what may be called impassioned autobiography, and brought to his task a magical control of long-drawn and musical cadences. And then we come to such a writer as Pater, who used the essay for the expression of exquisite artistic sensation. These are only a few instances of the way in which the essay has been used in English literature. But the essence is throughout the same; it is personal sensation, personal impression, evoked by something strange or beautiful or curious or interesting or amusing. It has thus a good deal in common with the art of the lyrical poet and the writer of sonnets, but it has all the freedom of prose, its more extended range, its use of less strictly poetical effects, such as humour in particular. Humour is alien to poetical effect, because poetry demands a certain sacredness and solemnity of mood. The poet is emotional in a reverential way; he is thrilled, he loves, he worships, he sorrows; but it is all essentially grave, because he wishes to recognize the sublime and up-lifted elements of life; he wishes to free himself from all discordant, absurd, fantastic, undignified contrasts, as he would extrude laughter and chatter and comfortable ease from some stately act of ceremonial worship. It is quite true that the essayist has a full right to such a mood if he chooses; and such essays as Pater’s are all conceived in a sort of rapture of holiness, in a region from which all that is common and homely is carefully fenced out. But the essayist may have a larger range, and the strength of a writer like Charles Lamb is that he condescends to use the very commonest materials, and transfigures the simplest experiences with a fairy-like delicacy and a romantic glow. A poet who has more in common with the range of the essayist Robert Browning, and there are many of his poems, though not perhaps his best, where his frank amassing of grotesque detail, his desire to include rather than exclude the homelier sorts of emotion, of robust and not very humorous humour, make him an impressionist rather than a lyrist. As literature develops, the distinction between poetry and prose will no doubt become harder to maintain. Coleridge said in a very fruitful maxim: “The opposite of poetry is not prose but science; the opposite of prose is not poetry but verse.” That is to say poetry has as its object the kindling of emotion and science is its opposite, because science is the dispassionate statement of fact; but prose can equally be used as a vehicle for the kindling of emotion, and therefore may be in its essence poetical: but when it is a technical description of a certain kind of structure its opposite is verse—that is to say, language arranged in metrical and rhythmical form. We shall probably come to think that the essayist is more of a poet than the writer of epics, and that the divisions of literature will tend to be on the one hand the art of clear and logical statement, and on the other the art of emotional and imaginative expression.

We must remember in all this that the nomenclature of literature, the attempt to classify the forms of literary expression, is a confusing and a bewildering thing unless it is used merely for convenience. It is the merest pedantry to say that literature must conform to established usages and types. The essence of it is that it is a large force flowing in any channel that it can, and the classification of art is a mere classification of channels. What lies behind all art is the principle of wonder and of arrested attention. It need not be only the sense of beauty; it may be the sense of fitness, of strangeness, of completeness, of effective effort. The amazement of the savage at the sight of a civilized town is not the sense of beauty, it is the sense of force, of mysterious resources, of incredible pro-ducts, of things unintelligibly and even magically made; and then too there is the instinct for perceiving all that is grotesque, absurd, amusing and jocose, which one sees exhibited in children at the sight of the parrot’s crafty and solemn eye and his exaggerated imitation of human speech, at the unusual dress and demeanour of the clown, at the grotesque simulation by the gnarled and contorted tree of something human or reptile. And then, too, there is the strange property in human beings which makes disaster amusing, if its effects are not prejudicial to oneself; that sense which makes the waiter on the pantomime stage, who falls headlong with a tray of crockery, an object to provoke the loudest and most spontaneous mirth of which the ordinary human being is capable. The moralist who would be sympathetically shocked at the rueful abrasions of the waiter, or mournful over the waste of human skill and endeavour involved in the breakage, would be felt by all human beings to have something priggish in his composition and to be too good, as they say, to live.

It is with these rudimentary and inexplicable emotions that the essayist may concern himself, even though the poet be forbidden to do so; and the appeal of the essayist to the world at large will depend upon the extent to which he experiences some common emotion, sees it in all its bearings, catches the salient features of the scene, and records it in vivid and impressive speech.

The essayist is therefore, to a certain extent, bound to be a spectator of life; he must be like the man in Browning’s fine poem “How it Strikes a Contemporary,” who walked about, took note of everything, looked at the new house building, poked his stick into the mortar.

He stood and watched the cobbler at his trade,
The man who slices lemons into drink,
The coffee-roaster’s brazier, and the boys
That volunteer to help him turn its winch;
He glanced o’er books on stalls with half an eye,
And fly-leaf ballads on the vendor’s string,
And broad-edge bold-print posters by the wall;
He took such cognizance of men and things!
If any beat a horse, you felt he saw;
If any cursed a woman, he took note,
Yet stared at nobody—they stared at him,
And found less to their pleasure than surprise,
He seemed to know them, and expect as much.

That is the essayist’s material; he may choose the scene, he may select the sort of life he is interested in, whether it is the street or the countryside or the sea-beach or the picture-gallery; but once there, wherever he may be, he must devote himself to seeing and realizing and getting it all by heart. The writer must not be too much interested in the action and conduct of life. If he is a politician, or a soldier, or an emperor, or a plough-boy, or a thief, and is absorbed in what he is doing, with a vital anxiety to make profit or position or influence out of it; if he hates his opponents and rewards his friends; if he condemns, despises, disapproves, he at once forfeits sympathy and largeness of view. He must believe with all his might in the interest of what he enjoys, to the extent at all events of believing it worth recording and representing, but he must not believe too solemnly or urgently in the importance and necessity of any one sort of business or occupation. The eminent banker, the social reformer, the forensic pleader, the fanatic, the crank, the puritan—these are not the stuff out of which the essayist is made; he may have ethical preferences, but he must not indulge in moral indignation; he must be essentially tolerant, and he must discern quality rather than solidity. He must be concerned with the pageant of life, as it weaves itself with a moving tapestry of scenes and figures rather than with the aims and purposes of life. He must, in fact, be preoccupied with things as they appear, rather than with their significance or their ethical example.

I have little doubt in my own mind that the charm of the familiar essayist depends upon his power of giving the sense of a good-humoured, gracious and reasonable personality and establishing a sort of pleasant friendship with his reader. One does not go to an essayist with a desire for information, or with an expectation of finding a clear statement of a complicated subject; that is not the mood in which one takes up a volume of essays. What one rather expects to find is a companionable treatment of that vast mass of little problems and floating ideas which are aroused and evoked by our passage through the world, our daily employment, our leisure hours, our amusements and diversions, and above all by our relations with other people—all the unexpected, inconsistent, various simple stuff of life; the essayist ought to be able to impart a certain beauty and order into it, to delineate, let us say, the vague emotions aroused in solitude or in company by the sight of scenery, the aspect of towns, the impressions of art and books, the interplay of human qualities and characteristics, the half-formed hopes and desires and fears and joys that form so large a part of our daily thoughts. The essayist ought to be able to indicate a case or a problem that is apt to occur in ordinary life and suggest the theory of it, to guess what it is that makes our moods resolute or fitful, why we act consistently or inconsistently, what it is that repels or attracts us in our dealings with other people, what our private fancies are. The good essayist is the man who makes a reader say: “Well, I have often thought all those things, but I never discerned before any connection between them, nor got so far as to put them into words.” And thus the essayist must have a great and far-reaching curiosity; he must be interested rather than displeased by the differences of human beings and by their varied theories. He must recognize the fact that most people’s convictions are not the result of reason, but a mass of associations, traditions, things half-understood, phrases, examples, loyalties, whims. He must care more about the inconsistency of humanity than about its dignity; and he must study more what people actually do think about than what they ought to think about. He must not be ashamed of human weaknesses or shocked by them, and still less disgusted by them; but at the same time he must keep in mind the flashes of fine idealism, the passionate visions, the irresponsible humours, the salient peculiarities, that shoot like sunrays through the dull cloudiness of so many human minds, and make one realize that humanity is at once above itself and in itself, and that we are greater than we know; for the interest of the world to the ardent student of it is that we most of us seem to have got hold of something that is bigger than we quite know how to deal with; something remote and far off, which we have seen in a distant vision, which we cannot always remember or keep clear in our minds. The supreme fact of human nature is its duality, its tendency to pull different ways, the tug-of-war between Devil and Baker which lies inside our restless brains. And the confessed aim of the essayist is to make people interested in life and in themselves and in the part they can take in life; and he does that best if he convinces men and women that life is a fine sort of a game, in which they can take a hand; and that every existence, however confined or restricted, is full of outlets and pulsing channels, and that the interest and joy of it is not confined to the politician or the millionaire, but is pretty fairly distributed, so long as one has time to attend to it, and is not preoccupied in some concrete aim or vulgar ambition.

Because the great secret which the true essayist whispers in our ears is that the worth of experience is not measured by what is called success, but rather resides in a fullness of life: that success tends rather to obscure and to diminish experience, and that we may miss the point of life by being too important, and that the end of it all is the degree in which we give rather than receive.

The poet perhaps is the man who sees the greatness of life best, because he lives most in its beauty and fineness. But my point is that the essayist is really a lesser kind of poet, working in simpler and humbler materials, more in the glow of life perhaps than in the glory of it, and not finding anything common or unclean.

The essayist is the opposite of the romancer, because his one and continuous aim is to keep the homely materials in view; to face actual conditions, not to fly from them. We think meanly of life if we believe that it has no sublime moments; but we think sentimentally of it if we believe that it has nothing but sublime moments. The essayist wants to hold the balance; and if he is apt to neglect the sublimities of life, it is because he is apt to think that they can take care of themselves; and that if there is the joy of adventure, the thrill of the start in the fresh air of the morning, the rapture of ardent companionship, the gladness of the arrival, yet there must be long spaces in between, when the pilgrim jogs steadily along, and seems to come no nearer to the spire on the horizon or to the shining embanked cloudland of the West. He has nothing then but his own thoughts to help him, unless he is alert to see what is happening in hedgerow and copse, and the work of the essayist is to make some-thing rich and strange of those seemingly monotonous spaces, those lengths of level road.

Is, then, the Essay in literature a thing which simply stands outside classification, like Argon among the elements, of which the only thing which can be predicated is that it is there? Or like Justice in Plato’s Republic, a thing which the talkers set out to define, and which ends by being the one thing left in a state when the definable qualities are taken away? No, it is not that. It is rather like what is called an organ prelude, a little piece with a theme, not very strict perhaps in form, but which can be fancifully treated, modulated from, and coloured at will. It is a little criticism of life at some one point clearly enough defined.

We may follow any mood, we may look at life in fifty different ways—the only thing we must not do is to despise or deride, out of ignorance or prejudice, the influences which affect others; because the essence of all experience is that we should perceive something which we do not begin by knowing, and learn that life has a fullness and a richness in all sorts of diverse ways which we do not at first even dream of suspecting.

The essayist, then, is in his particular fashion an interpreter of life, a critic of life. He does not see life as the historian, or as the philosopher, or as the poet, or as the novelist, and yet he has a touch of all these. He is not concerned with discovering a theory of it all, or fitting the various parts of it into each other. He works rather on what is called the analytic method, observing, recording, interpreting, just as things strike him, and letting his fancy play over their beauty and significance; the end of it all being this: that he is deeply concerned with the charm and quality of things, and desires to put it all in the clearest and gentlest light, so that at least he may make others love life a little better, and prepare them for its infinite variety and alike for its joyful and mournful surprises.



Benson, Arthur. “The art of the essayist.” 1922. Quotidiana. Ed. Patrick Madden. 13 Oct 2008. 25 Mar 2013 <http://essays.quotidiana.org/benson/art_of_the_essayist/&gt;.

Benson, Arthur Christopher, 1862–1925, English author; eldest son of Archbishop Benson. He was master at Eton (1885–1903) and at Magdalene College, Cambridge (1915–25). His works include poetry; novels; essays, notably From a College Window (1902); critical studies; and biographies of his father and brother Hugh.

See his Memories and Friends (1924); selections from his diary (ed. by P. Lubbock, 1926).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

Read more: Benson, Arthur Christopher | Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/encyclopedia/people/benson-arthur-christopher.html#ixzz2OaqBTz13

Mr. Benson, we thank you for being a superlative guest here today. Charming, witty, informative, brilliant, ever an Englishman.



John Daniel Begg


Washington DC

Monday,  25th March, Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi, 2013

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Oh Babies!! Oh!!! Sisters–Would only that it were the case that love is just a kiss away!

images (22)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBva-z1AsGk”Gimme Shelter”

Oh, a storm is threat’ning
My very life today
If I don’t get some shelter
Oh yeah, I’m gonna fade away
War, children, it’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away
War, children, it’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away
Ooh, see the fire is sweepin’
Our very street today
Burns like a red coal carpet
Mad bull lost your way
War, children, it’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away
War, children, it’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away
Rape, murder!
It’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away
Rape, murder!
It’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away
Rape, murder!
It’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away
The flood is threat’ning
My very life today
Gimme, gimme shelter
Or I’m gonna fade away
War, children, it’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away
I tell you love, sister, it’s just a kiss away
It’s just a kiss away
It’s just a kiss away
It’s just a kiss away
It’s just a kiss away
Kiss away, kiss away



John Daniel Begg


Washington DC

Sunday,  24th March, Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi, 2013

Whose intrusive hand writes upon my wall this night?



Belshazzar’s Feast, 1635. 167.6 x 209.2cm, National Gallery, London.

Artist:  Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn

Whose intrusive hand writes upon my wall this night?

Life, my dears, is a funny old shoe.

Today, we cross yet another bridge back to Babylon.  What draws us so frequently these late-winter days back to that bleak captivity?

A sensible man loves many, many girls in many different ways during the course of a long life.  Beauty inspires the writer, Praise God, Jesus, His beauties to admire always!

In what today in America is an eerily unlettered populace, I was taken up by sharp surprise this morning to receive a letter from the Middle-Western states posted me by my most darling Marie, a girl who knows not the heat of passion for her pulsing through these now aged, creaking bones.

More starling yet, darling Marie of the Middle-Western states, wrote to me in the Biblical Aramaic!!!  On Wednesday!!

Biblical Aramaic!!

On a Wednesday!!

It is always fun to learn new things and likewise uncover or recall the meanings of old things.  We all have often heard of the Old testament Prophet Daniel—primarily his misadventures in the den of the lions–but we are thankful today for the following disquisition on Daniel in Babylon and the very famous origin of the “handwriting on the wall.”

In Daniel’s book, preparing this note to you, dears, as to “the handwriting on the wall, I today read this:

The Book of Daniel, in its most pertinent parts, describing the handwriting on the wall, now follows through the kind courtesy of BibleGateway.com with these necessary caveats:

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® ,used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

The Writing on the Wall

King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles and drank wine with them. While Belshazzar was drinking his wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver goblets that Nebuchadnezzar his father[a] had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines might drink from them. So they brought in the gold goblets that had been taken from the temple of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines drank from them.As they drank the wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone.

Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lamp stand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his legs became weak and his knees were knocking.

The king summoned the enchanters, astrologers[b] and diviners. Then he said to these wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing and tells me what it means will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around his neck, and he will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.”

Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or tell the king what it meant. So King Belshazzar became even more terrified and his face grew more pale. His nobles were baffled.

10 The queen,[c] hearing the voices of the king and his nobles, came into the banquet hall. “May the king live forever!” she said. “Don’t be alarmed! Don’t look so pale! 11 There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him. In the time of your father he was found to have insight and intelligence and wisdom like that of the gods. Your father, King Nebuchadnezzar, appointed him chief of the magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners. 12 He did this because Daniel, whom the king called Belteshazzar, was found to have a keen mind and knowledge and understanding, and also the ability to interpret dreams, explain riddles and solve difficult problems. Call for Daniel, and he will tell you what the writing means.”

13 So Daniel was brought before the king, and the king said to him, “Are you Daniel, one of the exiles my father the king brought from Judah? 14 I have heard that the spirit of the gods is in you and that you have insight, intelligence and outstanding wisdom. 15 The wise men and enchanters were brought before me to read this writing and tell me what it means, but they could not explain it. 16 Now I have heard that you are able to give interpretations and to solve difficult problems. If you can read this writing and tell me what it means, you will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around your neck, and you will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom.”

17 Then Daniel answered the king, “You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else. Nevertheless, I will read the writing for the king and tell him what it means.

18 “Your Majesty, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar sovereignty and greatness and glory and splendor. 19 Because of the high position he gave him, all the nations and peoples of every language dreaded and feared him. Those the king wanted to put to death, he put to death; those he wanted to spare, he spared; those he wanted to promote, he promoted; and those he wanted to humble, he humbled. 20 But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory. 21 He was driven away from people and given the mind of an animal; he lived with the wild donkeys and ate grass like the ox; and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and sets over them anyone he wishes.

22 “But you, Belshazzar, his son,[d] have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this.23 Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways. 24 Therefore he sent the hand that wrote the inscription.

25 “This is the inscription that was written:

mene, mene, tekel, parsin

26 “Here is what these words mean:

Mene[e]: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end.

27 Tekel[f]: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.

28 Peres[g]: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”

29 Then at Belshazzar’s command, Daniel was clothed in purple, a gold chain was placed around his neck, and he was proclaimed the third highest ruler in the kingdom.

30 That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians,[h] was slain, 31 and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two.[i]


  1. Daniel 5:2 Or ancestor; or predecessor; also in verses 11, 13 and 18
  2. Daniel 5:7 Or Chaldeans; also in verse 11
  3. Daniel 5:10 Or queen mother
  4. Daniel 5:22 Or descendant; or successor
  5. Daniel 5:26 Mene can mean numbered or mina (a unit of money).
  6. Daniel 5:27 Tekel can mean weighed or shekel.
  7. Daniel 5:28 Peres (the singular of Parsin) can mean divided or Persia or a half mina oar half shekel.
  8. Daniel 5:30 Or Chaldeans
  9. Daniel 5:31 In Aramaic texts this verse (5:31) is numbered 6:1.

Lions (1)

“Daniel In The Lion’s Den”

Artist– Peter Paul Rubens

Read and recall now the tribulations of Daniel in the den of the lions, shown just above  in the beautiful painting of Peter-Paul Reubens:

The Book of Daniel, in its most pertinent parts, describing Daniel, in his tribulation in the den of the lions, now follows through the kind courtesy of BibleGateway.com with these necessary caveats:

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® ,used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Daniel in the Den of Lions

[a]It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. The satraps were made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss. Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. Finally these men said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.”

So these administrators and satraps went as a group to the king and said: “May King Darius live forever! The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den. Now, Your Majesty, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.” So King Darius put the decree in writing.

10 Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.11 Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help.12 So they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree: “Did you not publish a decree that during the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or human being except to you, Your Majesty, would be thrown into the lions’ den?”

The king answered, “The decree stands—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.”

13 Then they said to the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, Your Majesty, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day.” 14 When the king heard this, he was greatly distressed; he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him.

15 Then the men went as a group to King Darius and said to him, “Remember, Your Majesty, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed.”

16 So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den.The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”

17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed. 18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep.

19 At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. 20 When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”

21 Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! 22 My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight.Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”

23 The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.

24 At the king’s command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.

25 Then King Darius wrote to all the nations and peoples of every language in all the earth:

“May you prosper greatly!

26 “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel.

“For he is the living God
and he endures forever;
his kingdom will not be destroyed,
his dominion will never end.
27 He rescues and he saves;
he performs signs and wonders
in the heavens and on the earth.
He has rescued Daniel
from the power of the lions.”

28 So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus[b] the Persian.


  1. Daniel 6:1 In Aramaic texts 6:1-28 is numbered 6:2-29.
  2. 2.  Daniel 6:28 Or Darius, that is, the reign of Cyrus

Many, many years before the precious flower Marie of the Middle-Western States could draw first breath and call out—Mia, momma!!—I knelt before a rather tiresome Bishop called Hannon, who had just delivered a pre-Confirmation homily so long and so lifeless that very few marriages could best its torture, to be slapped on the cheek and called Daniel, my selected name Confirmation.

For those pagans who later stumble into this private letter to my precious ones, Confirmation in God’s Church is the third and final Sacred Sacrament that makes one a fully fledged Catholic and likewise a Soldier of Christ Jesus.

Well prior to my kneeling before dreary Bishop Hannon to be slapped and Confirmed as Daniel—I had busied myself reading, and copiously so, about Daniel, as he was, as the merciless Sisters Of Charity of Mother Elizabeth Ann Seaton, daily reminded, “to walk beside me for my life long and protect me as I Soldiered for Christ Jesus.”

As I read of Daniel, I took to my young, boyish head, romantic, swashbuckling visions of riding off to soldier and slaughter vile Muhammadans for Jesus Christ, freeing from them the Holy Lands that by all legitimate rights belong only to Catholics, and carrying, with Daniel in attendance, to the Pope of Roma, then, I think, Pope John XXIII Himself, or perhaps it was Pope Paul VI Himself, huge troves of gold, jewels, fine crimson cloths and exotic herbs and spices.

Sad to say, after Bishop Hannon had done with me, life, if that is what in fact it was, returned to status quo ante bellum with the Sisters of Charity of Mother Elizabeth Ann Seaton and went on from there precisely as before Confirmation with Daniel—and went on—and on—and on –and on.

Many years before taking on Daniel for protection while soldiering, I can very much remember, who could ever forget, my very first day of first grade with the Holy Sisters, when stood before the wondering class, as an apparition preceded by no polite introduction, one Sister Dom Bosco, about 4 foot tall, who intoned “I am Sister Dom Bosco, I may be small, but so is the atom bomb.”  Things went downhill from there.  Rapidly.

As my group of lads walked away from first day of first grade, dazed and bewildered, I pulled aside Paul McKenna, the only boy I knew with IQ +65.  “McKenna, I demanded, how long does this go on?”  McKenna, smilingly lit a cigarette and generously handing me a fag of my own—these pilfered from McKenna’s father and were truly wretched going—blunt end Chesterfield Kings they were—awful—but needs must, mustn’t they?

“How long does what go on, you mean the midget nun?”, McKenna asked, jeeringly.  “No, how long does school go on—all of it—how long?”  “School—all of it?—about 16 years—if you’re lucky.”  “Lucky??? 16 years??  “Lucky??”  “What did I do, I’m 5 years old—I’m a minor for Christ’s sake—16 years!”

Luckily later, after the tedium of being fully institutionalized had become a benign, mundane, regularity, I got for a brief, shining moment to saddle up with Daniel to slaughter the cursed  Muhammadans for Jesus Christ and the Roman Pope.  A very, very brief, shining moment.

Yet, men in prison for very long stretches of time remember, for long years after, even the slightest comfort, as I now remember soldiering in my dreams in company of my fellow captive, Daniel.

It should surprise none then that I took avid interest in the prophet Daniel as he had, in his turn, endured the harsh captivity of Babylon and so he readily enough understood my lamentation, as a kindred captive of the Holy Sisters Of Charity of Mother Seaton.

With only my friend, and shortly to be my mentor, Daniel, and vast numbers of Paul McKenna’s father’s Chesterfield King blunt ends, I sat in a shaded, green grove, beside my father’s house and read of Daniel, with restless interest, dreaming of foreign combat.

The complete Book of Daniel is a long but beautiful book and I recommend my readers set apart some time to read that entire work and to reflect upon its powerful meaning.

When you find the time to do that, simply click the following link brought to us under the kind patronage of BibleScpiture.net  rights reserved to them:



Here, we leave Daniel and his book and come back into the world of half-remembered past and listless present.  Prophet Daniel’s  book is a remarkable, yet transitory, respite from that which there truly is no escape–life herself.

Paul McKenna on first day of first grade, was right of course.  I did the full 16 years in the joint.  As did Paul, as did everyone else.   No pardon or parole in those days.  I came out completely institutionalized and fully prepared for the “real world of grown-ups,” in which men sit in offices and watch a clock on the wall, day by day, tick off their remaining hours in this, their latter-day captivity, this, their latter-day Babylon.

I now send this note to you, dear friends.  So that you can acquaint yourselves once more with Daniel, my protector and fellow captive, in this world.  Let him bring you some romantic day-dreaming of soldiering in the sands for a brief hour or so.

While dashing now, fumbling on weakened legs, to make the evening post with this note, I wonder, where are you tonight, sweet Marie, precious flower of the Middle-Western States, quietly unaware of the smoldering passions of your present day Daniel, captive in his own Babylon at Washington?

Life, my dears, remains a funny, funny, old shoe.



John Daniel Begg


Washington DC

Wednesday,  20th March, Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi, 2013

Upon what canvas does my name belong?


A prologue note for the parents and others who are charged with guiding the young:
Do not think that you have done enough, elders, to push your children by saying that the answer to life is to win Wimbledon or to go up to Hav-vad or to Yah–ale or, with Mother’s familial permission, King’s College, now Old Blue, what the Americans, in their youthful exuberance, insist upon calling Columbia, or to take down a rowing blue from Jesus College?
Those are not the answers the young need.
In fact, the young, and many of the elders, do not need answers at all, they need instead a question—one question–they need, instead of being hectored to take down rowing blue, that you ask them an eternal question—every day, on day unceasing, even as, elders, we ask ourselves that very same eternal question:
Where does this name of mine belong—upon just what canvas??

Young medical student Philip Carey, inexplicably infatuated, nay, nay, my dears, bound hopelessly, to a conniving tea room girl, Mildred Rodgers, throws away his entire future as he is unable to escape her, at the very least, socially suspect, blandishments.

Upon what canvas does your name belong?

Here then commences the film version from 1934, starring Leslie Howard, as protagonist, Philip Carey.  Philip is at Paris, studying art.  This night, he buys his teacher a meal and asks the old man back home to look at his work and to give him a straight-forward assessment.  The old man agrees and for a rather long time reviews the paintings set out for him.  This then ensues:

Have you any money?

Blushing—well a little—barely enough to survive on.

Then I must tell you—there is no Talent here.

I see only industry and intelligence.

No talent.

You will never be anything but mediocre.

It is a cruel thing to discover one’s mediocrity only at a late date, believe me, I know.

Do you see this name on this picture—PHILIP CAREY–it does not belong on this canvas?

Go out and find upon what canvas your name belongs.

Ensues then the bondage of Philip Carey and his search for his true canvas.  It is a torturous journey, but in the end, Philip Carey finds happiness and love and freedom from the bonds that tie all of us one to the other without our even wanting it.  Without even knowing it.  Freed because Philip looked in the glass and asked the eternal question of life—upon what canvas does my name belong?

When you look in the glass in the morning, to shave with a razor blade or to brush your hair, what do you ask yourself?  Do you ever ask the question—upon what canvas does my name belong?  You ought to.  We all ought to ask that of ourselves every morning.

Our children and, we ourselves, do not need answers—do not search for answers—ask instead a question—search instead a question–a question only you can answer—a question everyone alone must answer for himself:  WHERE, upon what canvas, does my name belong?

Where does your name belong?  This is the central, indeed, properly understood, the only and eternal question of life.  Discovering where your name belongs—on which canvas—on what avocation—in what trade, in which ministry of the government, on what sports field, in what farm field, in what factory?

Willy Maugham was the best story-teller of my near lifetime.  He wrote one legitimately great novel, Cakes and Ale, another of high top-shelf, The Moon and Sixpence and an absolutely remarkable corpus of stories of every conceivable sort—all of them better stories than anyone else’s of his day to this.  Nobody could tell a good story as well as Willy. Nobody.

His headstone novel, Of Human Bondage, is, indubitably, the best of the last great era of full-length novels.  That great, weighty, novel was a bit much even for Willy’s day, and, in fact, toward the end of his life, he remarked that  it was an antique work in a world moving faster and faster, in which none had the time, leisure or, far worse yet, the interest in, reading so long a story.

Leslie Howard, the greatest force and fixture, bar no one—ever– in motion pictures, distilled down Maugham’s encyclopedic-sized masterpiece into a remarkable hour-long movie, opposite Bette Davis, a girl he loved using in his pictures.  They just clicked together somehow.

Oddly, Howard was very often cast as a stuffed shirt or a milquetoast–likely because he was English and, while tall and lean, was not rugged or powerfully built like Clark Gable and other leading men of his day–see Howard’s Ashley Wilkes in Gone with the Wind.

Joan Blondell had somewhat different memories of Howard: “Leslie Howard was a darling flirt. He’d be caressing your eyes and have his hand on someone else’s leg at the same time. He was adorable. He was a little devil and just wanted his hands on every woman around. He just loved ladies.”  Of which, Howard said himself : “I do not chase after girls, but there have been times I couldn’t quite get away.”

Tinsel Town gossip aside, for now anyway, here is a bit about the novel, the movie and the eternal question—WHERE, on what canvas,  does my name belong?  Abandoning artistic ambitions at Paris, sensitive and club-footed Philip Carey enrolls in medical school and falls in love with a waitress, Mildred Rogers. She rejects him, runs off with a salesman and returns unmarried and pregnant. Philip gets her an apartment and they become engaged. Mildred runs off with another medical student. Philip takes her back again when she returns with her baby. She wrecks his apartment and burns the securities he needs to pay tuition. He gets a job as a salesman, has surgery on his foot, receives an inheritance, and returns to school where he learns Mildred is dying.

Finally, Philip finds comfort in a family that adopts him, as he has none left of his own, and love in the arms of a very sweet young girl, who he must wait to marry until she is of age, called Sally.  In short order we find him a newly-minted doctor with Sally on his arm at picture’s end, bound no more by obsessions he cannot understand and he also finds where his elusive name belongs—and discovers—happiness—on the canvas of medicine after all.

The 1934 adaptation of Willy Maugham’s Of Human Bondage cannot but inspire.  The opening minutes alone posit to us the central question, truly the only question we must ask ourselves—WHERE, upon what canvas, does my name belong?  Many never find out.  Still many more never even think to ask the question.  A dreadful shame, that.

Dear reader—examine yourself—ask—on what artifice, upon what canvas, in what trade or profession does my name belong?  If you discover the answer, you will be free, you will be happy, you will be contented you will be pleasing to God Jesus and, perhaps best of all, what is now called work you will long for with a happy passion and spend every day at your work smiling.  You will have put your name to the canvas God intended for you.

God gives all of us a special gift.  We must search out for ourselves alone what that gift is.  Mom and Dad and teachers and priests can act as guides, but this search is, at the end, ours alone.  This search for our intended canvas, where our name belongs.

I made my discovery as to where my name belongs at age full 60 years.  That despite knowing, intuitively all along, the answer.  Age does not alter the need to search out the answer to the eternal question.  A deliberate search—sometimes lifelong– is required.

We ask parents, educators, public figures, priests, to encourage the people to go on that search for the answer to:  Where, upon what canvas, does my name belong?

If you find out where your name belongs, you will never work another day in your life—your work will be an unrivaled joy and, most of all, pleasing to God.

As it was God who, into each and every one of His Children, put the seed corn that, when it grows, presents us all the opportunity for all of us to work out our own answers to the eternal question—WHERE does my name belong?  Upon what canvas?

Search out that answer—it is in you—if you were, as I am, you will realize, in retrospect, that the answer was right in front of you all along.  You will be amazed, hypnotized by the simplicity of it all.  When you find the answer, your life will be fulfilled, happy, rapturous.

God bless us and direct us.  Teachers, preachers, public figures, parents—your first role is to find your own path—your own answer to the endless question—where does my name belong—upon just which canvas?  When you have done that for yourself—do that likewise for others—instruct the children—guide them—do not lose your way or let the children lose their way.

Do not think that you have done enough, elders, to push your children by saying that the answer to life is to win Wimbledon or to go up to Hav-ad or to Yah–ale or, with Mother’s familial permission, King’s College, now Old Blue, or to take down a rowing blue from Jesus College.

Those are not the answers the young need. In fact, the young, and many of the elders do not need answers, they need instead a question—one question–they need, instead of being hectored to take down rowing blue, that you ask them an eternal question—every day, on day unceasing, even as, elders, we ask ourselves that very same eternal question:

Where does that name of mine belong—upon just what canvas??


Philip’s woes slowly mending, he is adopted by a kindly old gentleman, as Philip has no family of his own left. The gentleman has a pretty daughter, Sally, who is yet too young to wed but who is nonetheless instantly smitten by the young medical man.


Finally free of the bondage of Mildred Rodgers and his club foot corrected, the now freshly-minted, Dr. Philip Carey, and his young Sally walk off together, to wed.  Suddenly, Philip realizes that he has finally found the canvas that fits his name, PHILIP CAREY, MD, and that canvas is medicine after all!!

And now, as a gift from Mr. Willy Maugham who wrote the book, Mr. Leslie Howard who adapted that monumental book so wonderfully to the screen in 1934, and to Miss Bette Davis for her remarkable acting opposite Howard in the film—now, dears, your most just desserts–our movie in full length—Leslie Howard and Bette Davis in Willy Maugham’s masterwork–Of Human Bondage…



John Daniel Begg

At Washington DC

Tuesday, 19th March, Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi, 2013


November 2003 event 012

  • The rich man ought not be taxed at all~~he ought be compelled to employ and train the poor man~~directly~~personally.
  • image002 (20)
  • ~~
    The principal need in America today is~~financial and industrial De-Globalization~~to facilitate the promotion of the possibility for the average man to get and keep a good job with good benefits paid by the employer~~as was done not very long ago.~~


    ~~Bene Nati, Bene Vestiti, Et Mediocriter Docti~~

    ~~La crema y nata~~


    ~~Artista de la conquista~


    ~~In sunshine and in shadow~~I hold tight to the Republican view of time and money~~I write night and day~~yet~~while impecunious~~I am vastly overpaid~~in that taking pay to do what I love is unfair~~to my employer~~in a fair system~~under such circumstances~~I should pay him~~not he me~~I am far, far too old a man to be sexually confused~~praise Jesus~~but I am yet young enough to be politically confused~~is anyone not~~in an absolute sense~~I am a Catholic Royalist~~in a practical sense~~I am a Classical Liberal~~a Gaullist~~a Bonapartist~~an American Nationalist  Republican~~in either sense~~my head is soon for the chopping block~~to hasten my interlude with Madame La Guillotine~~I write without fear~and without favor of~any man~~ 
    Finis Origine Pendet…
    The escape commences…
    September, 1957
    Saint Jane Frances de Chantal Catholic parochial school, called, by anyone of any background, simply: “Chan~al,” a place where, of an autumn day in 1957, school,  for me,  began and ended in the first convening of the first grade in which a tiny nun, one Sister Dom Bosco, appeared before me, just behind the window appearing at far left of this photograph, and piped out this: “I may be small, but so then, is the Atom Bomb.”
    My determination to escape school commenced immediately on hearing about this Atom Bomb business and took 16 dicey and arduous years to finally accomplish.~~
    Non Sibi
    The escape continues…
    September, 1966
    The Cathedral Latin School
    Finis Origine Pendet~
      ~~Κύριε ἐλέησον~~

    Rejoice and Glad!!




    ~The Original Angry Bird~~The Catholic University of America Screaming Red Cardinal Mascot~~



    ~~EX LIBRIS~~

    Quadragesima, Ash Wednesday, 18th February, Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi, 2015

    Website: http://johndanielbegg.wordpress.com







    Tweets: @jtdbegg

    "Jean-Marie Le Pen is a friend. He is dangerous for the political set because he's the only one who's sincere. He says out loud what many people think deep down, and what the politicians refrain from saying because they are either too demagogic or too chicken. Le Pen, with all his faults and qualities, is probably the only one who thinks about the interests of France before his own."~~
    French actor~~Alain Delon

    The Catholic University of America
    Logo of The Catholic University of America.svg
    Seal of The Catholic University of America

    Motto~~Deus Lux Mea Est~~

    Acta Est Fabula

    The escape concludes…


    The Catholic University Of America, Washington, District of Columbia.


    1976, Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi.



    Acta Est Fabula.


    Deus Vult.


    ~~Our Ubiquitous Presence~~

    The Queen~~

    Our Ruler now 63 years on~~

    Simply the best President we could ever hope to have~~

Bi-partisanship at Chantilly: The French don’t mind a bit of horse play to settle their differences.


This sort of direct action in their politics has never bothered the French. These enterprising  young sports at Chantilly are likely fundraising to subsidize the cost of a motor car and some pocket-money for a visit to the wonderful seaside race course at Deauville.  Who can blame them?  Who could blame anyone?

Comme ca

The spring has come and that means indulgence in the most beautiful sport on God’s Green..


 Deauville-La Touques Racecourse, Calvados, France. Internatinal-Meeting-Deauvi.jpg.

images (16)


Ello. ello,  à fond de train !!  Toute la saison du France Galop


Deauville (pronounced: [do.vil]) is a commune in the Calvados département in the Basse-Normandie region in northwestern France.

With its race courseharbour, international film festival, marinas, conference centre, villas, Grand Casino and sumptuous hotels, Deauville is regarded as the “queen of the Norman beaches” and one of the most prestigious seaside resorts in all of France. The closest seaside resort, when coming from Paris, the city and the nearby region of the Côte Fleurie (Flowery Coast) has long been home to French high society‘s seaside houses and is often referred to as the Parisian Riviera. Since the 19th century, the town of Deauville has been a fashionable holiday resort for the international upper class.[1] Deauville is also a desirable family resort for the wealthy. In France, it is known perhaps above all for its role in Proust’s In Search of Lost Time.

Until 1860, Deauville went from the reign of one mayor to another and slowly became famous as horse breeding and racing territory as well as the beatific seaside ambience.  Charles Auguste Louis Joseph de Morny, half brother of the emperor Napoleon III, transformed Deauville into a more travelled resort. Before the death of the Duc in 1865, certain key investments were made that would transform Deauville’s history. Such investments included a railway from Paris to Deauville, the Deauville hippodrome for horse races, and a small casino. Within three years, over forty villas were constructed in the surrounding area, and 200 rooms, as well as other accommodations, were finalized in the Grand Hotel. Also, to the Duc de Morny’s credit, was the construction of a church and a school in 1863. In the same year, “La Terrasse” was brilliantly created. This was essentially a complex for hydrotherapeutic baths and other cures, as well as a 1,800-metre promenade along the seaside.

Following the Duc’s death, Deauville grew gradually, but it was not until the early 20th century when Désiré le Hoc, with Eugene Cornuché, pushed Deauville into another important period of transformation and development. The still-famous Normandy and Royal hotels and the casino opened in the years 1911 and 1913. Renovations were carried out and extensions were made to the hippodrome, telephone lines were set up, the sales of yearlings saw historic highs, and up to 62 English and French yachts occupied the basin. During these successful years many luxury boutiques opened in the streets of Deauville (Coco Chanel‘s first shop), as many stores from Paris decided it was worthwhile establishing themselves in the up and coming Norman resort.

Yes, Deauville herself is very alluring, situated as she is by the sea.  To the minds of many, however—Deauville represents only one thing: the race horseBeautiful race horses!


What better reason to love a place, after all?

God’s Beauty on the hoof!!   To include race photographs of the brilliant, magnificent race mare Goldikova in action!!!!

Read more on BloodHorse.com:



John Daniel Begg

At Washington DC

Monday, 18th March, Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi, 2013

La Marseilles–The National Anthem of France–could very easily be adopted by the latter-day Tea Party American and other, related, patriots among the citizens Americans…. Allons, enfants…

La Marseilles–The National Anthem of France–could very easily be adopted by the latter-day Tea Party American and other, related, patriots of the Americans…. Allons, enfants…

ImageLa MarseillaiseImage

French lyrics

English translation

Allons enfants de la Patrie, Children of the Fatherland, let’s go,
Le jour de gloire est arrivé! The day of glory has arrived!
Contre nous de la tyrannie, Tyranny is against us,
L’étendard sanglant est levé, The bloody banner is raised,
L’étendard sanglant est levé! The bloody banner is raised!
Entendez-vous dans les campagnes In the countryside do you hear
Mugir ces féroces soldats? The roar of these ferocious soldiers?
Ils viennent jusque dans vos bras They come into your arms
Égorger vos fils, vos compagnes! To kill your sons, your companions!
Aux armes, citoyens, To arms, citizens,
Formez vos bataillons, Form your battalions,
Marchons, marchons! Let us march, let us march!
Qu’un sang impur So that an impure blood
Abreuve nos sillons ! Will water our furrows!
Que veut cette horde d’esclaves, What does this horde of slaves,
De traîtres, de rois conjurés ? Of traitors and conjured kings want?
Pour qui ces ignobles entraves, For whom are these vile chains,
Ces fers dès longtemps préparés ? (bis) These long-prepared irons? (repeat)
Français, pour nous, ah ! quel outrage Frenchmen, for us, ah! What outrage
Quels transports il doit exciter ! What fury it must arouse!
C’est nous qu’on ose méditer It is us they dare plan
De rendre à l’antique esclavage ! To return to the old slavery!
Aux armes, citoyens… To arms, citizens…
Quoi ! des cohortes étrangères What! Foreign cohorts
Feraient la loi dans nos foyers ! Would make the law in our homes!
Quoi ! Ces phalanges mercenaires What! These mercenary phalanxes
Terrasseraient nos fiers guerriers ! (bis) Would strike down our proud warriors! (repeat)
Grand Dieu ! Par des mains enchaînées Great God ! By chained hands
Nos fronts sous le joug se ploieraient Our brows would yield under the yoke
De vils despotes deviendraient Vile despots would have themselves
Les maîtres de nos destinées ! The masters of our destinies!
Aux armes, citoyens… To arms, citizens…
Tremblez, tyrans et vous perfides Tremble, tyrants and you traitors
L’opprobre de tous les partis, The shame of all parties,
Tremblez ! vos projets parricides Tremble! Your parricidal schemes
Vont enfin recevoir leurs prix ! (bis) Will finally receive their reward! (repeat)
Tout est soldat pour vous combattre, Everyone is a soldier to combat you
S’ils tombent, nos jeunes héros, If they fall, our young heroes,
La terre en produit de nouveaux, The earth will produce new ones,
Contre vous tout prêts à se battre ! Ready to fight against you!
Aux armes, citoyens… To arms, citizens…
Français, en guerriers magnanimes, Frenchmen, as magnanimous warriors,
Portez ou retenez vos coups ! You bear or hold back your blows!
Épargnez ces tristes victimes, You spare those sorry victims,
À regret s’armant contre nous. (bis) Who arm against us with regret. (repeat)
Mais ces despotes sanguinaires, But not these bloodthirsty despots,
Mais ces complices de Bouillé, These accomplices of Bouillé,
Tous ces tigres qui, sans pitié, All these tigers who, mercilessly,
Déchirent le sein de leur mère ! Rip their mother’s breast!
Aux armes, citoyens… To arms, citizens…
Amour sacré de la Patrie, Sacred love of the Fatherland,
Conduis, soutiens nos bras vengeurs Lead, support our avenging arms
Liberté, Liberté chérie, Liberty, cherished Liberty,
Combats avec tes défenseurs ! (bis) Fight with thy defenders! (repeat)
Sous nos drapeaux que la victoire Under our flags, shall victory
Accoure à tes mâles accents, Hurry to thy manly accents,
Que tes ennemis expirants That thy expiring enemies,
Voient ton triomphe et notre gloire ! See thy triumph and our glory!
Aux armes, citoyens… To arms, citizens…
(Couplet des enfants) (Children’s Verse)
Nous entrerons dans la carrière[11] We shall enter the (military) career
Quand nos aînés n’y seront plus, When our elders are no longer there,
Nous y trouverons leur poussière There we shall find their dust
Et la trace de leurs vertus (bis) And the trace of their virtues (repeat)
Bien moins jaloux de leur survivre Much less keen to survive them
Que de partager leur cercueil, Than to share their coffins,
Nous aurons le sublime orgueil We shall have the sublime pride
De les venger ou de les suivre Of avenging or following them
Aux armes, citoyens… To arms, citizens…

English versification, public domain[12]

Ye sons of France, awake to glory,
Hark, hark! what myriads bid you rise!
Your children, wives and white-haired grandsires.
Behold their tears and hear their cries! (repeat)
Shall hateful tyrants, mischiefs breeding,
With hireling hosts, a ruffian band,
Affright and desolate the land,
While peace and liberty lie bleeding?
To arms, to arms, ye brave!
The avenging sword unsheath,
March on, march on!
All hearts resolv’d
On victory or death!
Now, now, the dangerous storm is rolling
Which treacherous kings confederate raise!
The dogs of war, let loose, are howling,
And lo! our fields and cities blaze! (repeat)
alt: And lo! our homes will soon invade!
And shall we basely view the ruin
While lawless force with guilty stride
Spreads desolation far and wide
With crimes and blood his hands embruing?
To arms, to arms, ye brave!…
With luxury and pride surrounded
The vile insatiate despots dare,
Their thirst of power and gold unbounded,
To mete and vend the light and air! (repeat)
Like beasts of burden would they load us,
Like gods would bid their slaves adore,
But man is man, and who is more?
Then shall they longer lash and goad us?
To arms, to arms, ye brave!…
O Liberty, can man resign thee
Once having felt thy generous flame?
Can dungeons, bolts or bars confine thee
Or whips thy noble spirit tame? (repeat)
Too long the world has wept, bewailing
That falsehood’s dagger tyrants wield,
But freedom is our sword and shield,
And all their arts are unavailing.
To arms, to arms, ye brave!…

[edit]Additional verses

These verses were omitted from the national anthem .

La Marseillaise

French lyrics

English translation

Dieu de clémence et de justice God of mercy and justice
Vois nos tyrans, juge nos coeurs See our tyrants, judge our hearts
Que ta bonté nous soit propice Thy goodness be with us
Défends-nous de ces oppresseurs (bis) Defend us from these oppressors (repeat)
Tu règnes au ciel et sur terre You reign in heaven and on earth
Et devant Toi, tout doit fléchir And before You all must bend
De ton bras, viens nous soutenir In your arms, come support us
Toi, grand Dieu, maître du tonnerre. You Great God, Lord of the thunder.
Aux armes, citoyens… To arms, citizens…
Peuple français, connais ta gloire ; French people know thy glory
Couronné par l’Égalité, Crowned by Equality,
Quel triomphe, quelle victoire, What a triumph, what a victory,
D’avoir conquis la Liberté ! (bis) To have won Freedom! (repeat)
Le Dieu qui lance le tonnerre The God who throws thunder
Et qui commande aux éléments, And who commands the elements,
Pour exterminer les tyrans, To exterminate the tyrants
Se sert de ton bras sur la terre. Uses your arm on the ground.
Aux armes, citoyens… To arms, citizens…
Nous avons de la tyrannie Of tyranny, we have
Repoussé les derniers efforts; Rebuffed the final efforts;
De nos climats, elle est bannie ; In our climate, it is banished;
Chez les Français les rois sont morts. (bis) In France the kings are dead. (repeat)
Vive à jamais la République ! Forever live the Republic!
Anathème à la royauté ! Anathema to royalty!
Que ce refrain, partout porté, That this refrain worn everywhere,
Brave des rois la politique. Defies the politics of kings.
Aux armes, citoyens… To arms, citizens…
La France que l’Europe admire France that Europe admires
A reconquis la Liberté Has regained Liberty
Et chaque citoyen respire And every citizen breathes
Sous les lois de l’Égalité ; (bis) Under the laws of Equality, (repeat)
Un jour son image chérie One day its beloved image
S’étendra sur tout l’univers. Will extend throughout the universe.
Peuples, vous briserez vos fers People, you will break your chains
Et vous aurez une Patrie ! And you will have a Fatherland!
Aux armes, citoyens… To arms, citizens…
Foulant aux pieds les droits de l’Homme, Trampling on the rights of man,
Les soldatesques légions soldierly legions
Des premiers habitants de Rome The first inhabitants of Rome
Asservirent les nations. (bis) enslave nations. (repeat)
Un projet plus grand et plus sage A larger project and wiser
Nous engage dans les combats We engage in battle
Et le Français n’arme son bras And the Frenchman does not arm himself
Que pour détruire l’esclavage. But to destroy slavery.
Aux armes, citoyens… To arms, citizens…
Oui ! Déjà d’insolents despotes Yes! Already insolent despots
Et la bande des émigrés And the band of emigrants
Faisant la guerre aux Sans-Culottes Waging war on the unclothed (lit. without-breeches)
Par nos armes sont altérés; (bis) By our weapons are withered; (repeat)
Vainement leur espoir se fonde Vainly their hope is based
Sur le fanatisme irrité, On piqued fanaticism
Le signe de la Liberté The sign of Liberty
Fera bientôt le tour du monde. Will soon spread around the world.
Aux armes, citoyens… To arms, citizens…
À vous ! Que la gloire environne, To you! Let glory surround
Citoyens, illustres guerriers, Citizens, illustrious warriors,
Craignez, dans les champs de Bellone, Fear in the fields of Bellona,
Craignez de flétrir vos lauriers ! (bis) Fear the sullying of your laurels! (repeat)
Aux noirs soupçons inaccessibles As for dark unfounded suspicions
Envers vos chefs, vos généraux, Towards your leaders, your generals,
Ne quittez jamais vos drapeaux, Never leave your flags,
Et vous resterez invincibles. And you will remain invincible.
Aux armes, citoyens… To arms, citizens…
(Couplet des enfants) (Children’s Verse)
Enfants, que l’Honneur, la Patrie Children, let Honour and Fatherland
Fassent l’objet de tous nos vœux ! be the object of all our wishes!
Ayons toujours l’âme nourrie Let us always have souls nourished
Des feux qu’ils inspirent tous deux. (bis) With fires that might inspire both. (repeat)
Soyons unis ! Tout est possible ; Let us be united! Anything is possible;
Nos vils ennemis tomberont, Our vile enemies will fall,
Alors les Français cesseront Then the French will cease
De chanter ce refrain terrible : To sing this fierce refrain:
Aux armes, citoyens… To arms, citizens…

Plus–La Marseilles has a catchy little beat to it also–makes the blood run–makes one want to march–you know, move your feet! ImageImage




John Daniel Begg

At Washington DC

Sunday, 17th March, Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi, 2013

Our new Papa, Francis 1, lives a life of quiet, humble service, in splendid emulation of his patron, Saint Francis of Assisi and likewise of the Buddha.



Jorge Cardinal Mario Bergoglio of Argentina shown washing and  kissing the feet of AIDS patients, is now most aptly known to the world as Pope Francis 1.  The new Pontiff chose his Papal name in homage to Saint Francis of Assisi, another patron of God’s poor, His cast-off, His abandoned and His dispossessed.

Our new Papa, Francis 1, lives a life of quiet, humble service, in splendid emulation of his patron, Saint Francis of Assisi and likewise of the Buddha.

Our new Pope, Francis I, was trained as a Jesuit, yet he lives the humble and simple life of a Franciscan!!!

The duty of all Catholics, of all Christian followers of Christ, of all good and pious men of all faiths everywhere, is to live their lives as closely as they can in emulation of Jesus and how He lived His Own.  The Church is not difficult or mysterious as some may say.  It is very simple–Live as Jesus lived.

Our new Papa, Francis I, yesterday a Prince of The Church is now today Her Emperor.  We are pleasantly startled to discover this morning that our new Monarch, our Emperor of 1.25 billion Catholics, by far the largest and most influential Empire of this earth, lives his life in quiet emulation of Saint Francis of Assisi, under whose remarkable patronage, Francis I, selected his papal name.

We find likewise this morning that our new Pope did not, as a Prince of the Church, live in the palace at Buenos Aires set aside for his use, but rather in a simple apartment, cooking his own simple meals, taking the bus and trams to his office and spent a great deal of his time ministering to the poor, the outcast, the abandoned and the dispossessed of Argentina.

assisi8 (1)St. Francis of Assisi, patron of the poor people and of the animals and the woodlands, was born a prince, but took a pass on that life to instead serve God, his fellow-man and the animals of the woodlands.  He is the  greatest Saint of God’s Church.

Pope Francis’ patron, Francis of Assisi, must be very proud and happy of our new Pope. St. Francis, himself a prince, lived much of his early life as a wastrel, drinking, gaming and chasing skirts, until one day, in a vision, he was called to serve the poor of mankind and also the animals of the woodlands and the forests.  For his efforts, St Francis is one of the great Saints of the Church and a remarkable example to us all of how our lives are, most appropriately, to be lived.

The Buddha by Odilon RedonThe Buddha by Odilon Redon.  The Buddha, as did St.Francis, rejected his privileged life of Prince Royal, direct in line to his Father King and went off into the woodlands to preach to the poor carrying only his begging bowl for his subsistence.


In like vein, the Buddha, born a prince, intended to be a king, renounced all earthly trappings and lived among the wretchedly poor people with only his begging bowl for his daily sustenance.

Our pope Francis 1 has set for himself a very high bar of expectation in deliberately taking the name of Francis of Assisi, and, by derivation, living in accord with the life road map set out by the Buddha.

Let us take a moment to recall yesterday as we all strive to discern its meaning to ourselves and the world.

These words for our record on these pages historical announced by French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran: “Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum. Habemus Papam”: “I announce to you a great joy. We have a pope.” “HABEMUS PAPAM FRANCISCUM: “We have Pope Francis.”

Likewise for our record historical, this video clip of the newly elected Pope:

Some memories of just yesterday for the record historical…

PBS News hour video of the first appearance of Pope Francis and his first remarks, spoken in Italian, before a huge crowd in St. Peter’s Square in Rome.

This next also for our record historical with, all due good credit as noted, to Reuters:

VATICAN CITY, March 13 (Reuters) – Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected in a surprise choice to be the new leader of the troubled Roman Catholic Church on Wednesday, and said he would take the name Francis I.

Pope Francis, 76, appeared on the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica just over an hour after white smoke poured from a chimney on the roof of the Sistine Chapel to signal he had been chosen to lead the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics. The choice of Bergoglio was announced by French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran with the Latin words “Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum. Habemus Papam”: “I announce to you a great joy. We have a pope”

Francis becomes the 266th pontiff in the Church’s 2,000-year history at a time of great crisis and difficulty. Although a conservative he is seen as a reformer and was not among the small group of frontrunners identified before the election.

He also went against one of the main assumptions before the election, that the new pope would be relatively young.

He is the oldest of most of the possible candidates and was barely mentioned in feverish speculation about the top contenders before the conclave.


He is the first Jesuit to become pope.

The decision by 115 cardinal electors sequestered in a secret conclave in the Sistine Chapel came sooner than many experts expected because there were several frontrunners before the vote to replace Pope Benedict, who resigned in February.

The cardinals faced a thorny task in finding a leader capable of overcoming crises caused by priestly child abuse and a leak of secret papal documents that uncovered corruption and rivalry inside the Church government or Curia.

The wave of problems is thought to have contributed to Benedict’s decision to become the first pontiff in 600 years to abdicate.

Thousands of people sheltering from heavy rain under a sea of umbrellas had occupied the square all day to await the decision and the crowd swelled as soon as the white smoke emerged.

They cheered wildly and raced towards the basilica as the smoke billowed from a narrow makeshift chimney and St Peter’s bells rang.

The excited crowd cheered even more loudly when Francis appeared, the first pontiff to take that name. “Viva il Papa,” they chanted.

“I wasn’t expecting it, but I’m absolutely delighted. It’s a very unique moment. There is a great sense of unity here. It’s great they have come to a decision about who will lead the Church,” said John Mcginley, a Scottish priest from Glasgow who travelled to see the conclave.

“It’s a great moment in history, something I can tell my mum,” said David Brasch, 30, from Brisbane Australia. “He’s got to get the child abuse under control, I don’t know how they’re going to do that. He’s got to unite 1.2 billion people.”

Bands from the Italian armed forces and the Vatican’s own Swiss Guard army paraded in front of the basilica before the new pope appeared.

The secret conclave began on Tuesday night with a first ballot and four ballots were held on Wednesday. Francis obtained the required two thirds majority in the fifth ballot.

Following a split ballot when they were first shut away amid the chapel’s Renaissance splendour on Tuesday evening, the cardinal electors held a first full day of deliberations on Wednesday. Black smoke rose after the morning session to signal no decision.

The previous four popes were all elected within two or three days.

Seven ballots have been required on average over the last nine conclaves. Benedict was clear frontrunner in 2005 and elected after only four ballots.

End Reuters above—all rights reserved them.

“Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum. Habemus Papam”: “I announce to you a great joy. We have a pope.” “HABEMUS PAPAM FRANCISCUM: “We have Pope Francis.”

Best guess here is that the selection by the conclave of Argentinean Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio to be the new Pope Francis 1 suggests the Cardinals wanted a status quo candidate who would not make significant changes in either dogma or governance.

The Bergoglio choice reaffirms the Italian Cardinals’ dominance over Vatican operations and Church culture.

Those expecting sweeping changes will likely be surprised by the selection not so much because Bergoglio is Argentinean of Italian blood, but because of his age, now 76. The view among reformist Cardinals was that a younger, more energetic, Pope was needed to fix the Church’s image and administrative problems.

We had initially thought that the Curia—the Vatican’s powerful bureaucracy–dominated as it is by Italians—wanted to elevate one of their own to the seat of St. Peter.

That said, the choice of Francis I certainly does not leave the Curia with less power or influence.  In point of fact, it is a consistent trait of the Italian mind to control things behind the scenes, behind the throne.

History suggests to us that many powerful men swerve sharply once elevated from those positions that those who put them into them had expected and carefully planned.

In point of fact, both of Pope Francis I’s immediate 2 past predecessors, Benedict XVI and John Paul II, proved a great deal more stronger-willed men to handle than the Curia and others had thought they would be prior to their ascension to the throne.

With that as background for thought, we all hope and pray that Francis I will prove out to be a great and inspirational leader.

We live in a very sad, violent and terribly troubled world.  We pray that Pope Francis I can prove capable of being our most needed moral beacon that helps bring the light of God back to those who have either rejected that light or never knew of it to begin with.

Yes, today we live in a tempestuous, bellicose and cravenly materialistic world.  All happiness and joy seems often to have left us.  We pray that Pope Francis I can prove capable of serving both God and man as a most needed moral beacon who helps bring the light and joy of God back to those who have either rejected that light or never knew of it to begin with.

Pope Francis appears to us to be a man who can inspire the world and the world is in dire need of a Good Sheppard’s inspiration.

In our rather stunning opening pictures in this morning’s note to the group, it is apparent to us that Francis is very capable of bringing just such an inspiration to the world.

We pray God he does just that!!

Our poor, sad world could today very much do with another St. Francis of Assisi.  With another Buddha.

Our Pope Francis I has set for himself a very high bar of expectation in deliberately taking the name of Francis of Assisi, and, by derivation, living in accord with the road map set out by Saint Francis, and likewise, the Buddha.

May Pope Francis I stun this world in living his life as Pope as a man steeped in humility, concerning himself principally with the poor and the animals and the woodlands—all God’s children. As did St. Francis of Assisi, and the Buddha before him, let Pope Francis I lead his flock by his example of humble piety and dedication to those Jesus Christ Himself most loved and among whom He lived His Entire Life—the forgotten, the cast off, the sick, the poor, the abandoned ones.

Let Pope Francis hear this prayer: Be our light, be our example—the world so desperately needs another Jesus, another  St. Francis of Assisi, another Buddha.  In point of fact, this world could well do with over 5 billion mirror-images of these great men!!  Just think for a moment, friends, how that would change the world–how that will change your life!!

Pope Francis—hear this prayer—if you want to be a true servant of Jesus, become as was Jesus, become as was St. Francis of Assisi, become as was Buddha.  Inspire the people of the world to follow you and likewise become like these men!!


May God guide Pope Francis I and bless his Papacy.




John Daniel Begg

At Washington DC

Thursday, 14th March, Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi, 2013

White smoke has risen–we have a Papa!! Pope Francis I. By the grace of God!!


White smoke heralds the news that there is now a new Papa!! 

White smoke over the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City indicating the selection of a new pope. Photo: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez


We have a Papa!!



Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is one of Argentina’s papal candidates. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

CARDINAL JORGE MARIO BERGOGLIO: Bergoglio, 76, has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina, overseeing churches and shoe-leather priests. The archbishop of Buenos Aires reportedly got the second-most votes after Joseph Ratzinger in the 2005 papal election, and he has long specialized in the kind of pastoral work that some say is an essential skill for the next pope. In a lifetime of teaching and leading priests in Latin America, which has the largest share of the world’s Catholics, Bergoglio has shown a keen political sensibility as well as the kind of self-effacing humility that fellow cardinals value highly. Bergoglio is known for modernizing an Argentine church that had been among the most conservative in Latin America.

He is now our Papa!!  And he is a Jesuit.  And his name is now…. 

Pope Francis I.  By the grace of God!!

Let us all pray that God guide his hand and that he has the courage and determination to bravely address the terrible religious and secular problems that have so plunged the people of this world into sadness and darkness for so long a time.

With the white smoke, we pray—let there be light after that white signal—light for the entire world.

God Bless Francis l




John Daniel Begg

At Washington DC

Tuesday, 12th March, Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi, 2013




Harrison and I, on seeing black smoke at Roma just now, turn ourselves to gaiety while awaiting white, some other day soon quick to come, pray God.


Francisco Goya


The Third of May, 1808, Painted in 1814

This painting shows Napoleon’s attack on Spain in 1808. Prior to this, most paintings showed war as being a glorious thing. This painting shows it as being cruel and subhuman.  Note that the soldiers look mechanical whereas the ones being shot look full of life.

In truth, Senor Goya more aptly described the action in a Papal Conclave as we see in this volley of riposte between Harrison and me just now.

We’ll let Harry lead this dance and I’ll follow:

Jack–From Weigel’s article:

The following conclave, in 1914, was another donnybrook, between
anti-Modernist forces and those who sought to reinstate the reformist
approach of Leo XIII. At the end, the leader of the losing party, Rafael
Cardinal Merry del Val, challenged the validity of the election of his
arch-enemy, Giacomo Cardinal della Chiesa (Rampolla’s former assistant), on
the grounds that della Chiesa had voted for himself in an election decided
by one vote. So della Chiesa sat in the Sistine Chapel, in a state that can
only be imagined, while all the ballots were reopened and it was determined
that he had not, in fact, cast the vote that had given him a two-thirds
supermajority – and thus was duly elected pope. When the cardinals came up
to kiss the new pope’s foot, knee, and hand (a ritual that has been
abolished), Benedict XV looked into the face of Merry del Val, the man who
had just publicly humiliated him, and said (without, one expects, much
warmth), “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.”
Not without a certain aplomb, Merry del Val looked into the new pope’s face
and responded with the next verse of Psalm 118, “This is the Lord’s doing,
and it is marvelous in our eyes.” Benedict XV was not mollified, and Merry
del Val was swiftly ejected from the Vatican.


Harry–you know, my Mommy was born at Milano and when I read stories like this, I just laugh and talk to myself in Italian-the gist of which is “the guineas–if you don’t know them at birth–you can never know them.”  Lovey says the only times she can be certain that I am truly angry is when I start, suddenly, to speak in Italian. She will ask ” what did you just say, Thurston?”  and I will say–“what do you mean, Lovey?”  I genuinely don’t remember when I cross over into that–others will ask Lovey–“what did Thurston just say?” and she’ll say “I’ve no idea but he’s really angry so don’t go near him for awhile.”  Ring me sometime soon–thanks for this–it’s hilarious–I’ll send it to the other kids in our group–they need to learn that what they consider to be throwing sharp elbows in this candy store town is a complete joke–if you took the most savage political beasts from this town from the founding of America to Roma and put them in the conclave today, they would be crying for their mommies in 3 seconds–more knives hidden in more places than you could ever imagine in your life–and you can’t leave the room–cloak and dagger where it was invented–when people say, “Geepers, Peepers, things are so factionalized and partisan and nasty here these days at Washington,” the guineas just look at them very quizzically, shake their heads, laugh inside and start to speak Italian to themselves–the true language of really bad political combat–Jack



I’m so glad you enjoyed that. Your commentary was wonderful and
reminded me of one of my favorite quotes of all-time, i.e., Harold
McMillan on observing the Kennedy brothers after the ’61 Inauguration:
“It’s like watching the Borgias and the Medicis take over a
respectable north Italian town.” 🙂

Harry–Now–that’s very funny—it is–I’d never heard that–my family knew them pretty well–jack was an interesting mind–his brothers–I’ll pass–but jack had a good mind and he was interested in talking to people –remind me to tell you someday maybe on the phone a really funny story about myself and jack and my dad and the angelic young Pelosi—her momma always dressed her like it was nancy patricia’s first Holy Comminion—really a riot —she was pretty nice looking girl—hot in fact—in 1958, anyway, also present was pelosi’s daddy—a genuine democrat—back when they actually cared a toss about working people—all of us  in a reception,—jack was just getting set to make that big move—jack was smart and he was a stone, cold hustler—I really liked him—watching him on the stone hustle, he could have passed for a guinea himself–I admire that trait in the Irish in particular Micks born to the Manor—it was likely 1958, 59 or so—story is truly a kick–if you’ve got the time and the dime–ring me–best is 202-557-1064–jack

That’s great, Jack! My grandfather was literally best friends with
Tommy Fitzgerald, Rose’s brother. My father always said it was hard
not to like Jack but he loathed Bobby and Ted (the latter a Harvard
classmate – arrogant, spoiled rotten, and dumb as a post)).
I am stacked up with con calls today but will call soon.

Harry–I’ve written before of my keen admiration for Jack–comme ca:


Harry and I both pray for white smoke from Roma, and soon, pray God be willing that.

May God guide their hands, minds, hearts and souls in the conclave now underway.


John Daniel Begg

At Washington DC

Tuesday, 12th March, Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi, 2013

“Extra omnes” — “Everyone out”


Michael Angelo Buonarroti-Simoni’s stunning masterpiece, The Chapel Sistine, into which the men charged with the selection of the new Papa will seclude themselves beginning this day.

Today, at Roma, the conclave begins. When it does, the command “Extra omnes” — “Everyone out” will be sounded in the Chapel Sistine and the assembled Cardinals, whose Holy task it is to select the next Pope will be left alone with one another, their consciences and The Holy Spirit to guide them.

We thank the Associated Press for these following brief biographies and assessments of the presumed leading contenders:

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Cardinals from around the world gather this week in a conclave to elect a new pope following the stunning resignation of Benedict XVI. In the secretive world of the Vatican, there is no way to know who is in the running, and history has yielded plenty of surprises. Yet several names have come up time repeatedly as strong contenders for the job. Here is a look at who they are:


CARDINAL ANGELO SCOLA: Scola is seen as Italy’s best chance at reclaiming the papacy, following back-to-back pontiffs from outside the country that had a lock on the job for centuries. He’s also one of the top names among all of the papal contenders. Scola, 71, has commanded both the pulpits of Milan’s Duomo as archbishop and Venice’s St. Mark’s Cathedral as patriarch, two extremely prestigious church positions that together gave the world five popes during the 20th century. Scola was widely viewed as a papal contender when Benedict was elected eight years ago. His promotion to Milan, Italy’s largest and most influential diocese, has been seen as a tipping point in making him one of the leading papal candidates. He is known as a doctrinal conservative who is also at ease quoting Jack Kerouac and Cormac McCarthy.


CARDINAL ODILO SCHERER: Scherer is known for prolific tweeting, appearances on Brazil’s most popular late-night talk show and squeezing into the subway for morning commutes. Brazil’s best hope to supply the next pontiff is increasingly being touted as one of the top overall contenders for the job. At the relatively young age of 63, he enthusiastically embraces all new methods for reaching believers, while staying true to a conservative line of Roman Catholic doctrine and hardline positions on social issues such as rejection of same-sex marriage. Scherer joined Twitter in 2011 and in his second tweet said: “If Jesus preached the gospel today, he would also use print media, radio, TV, the Internet and Twitter. Give Him a chance!” Scherer became the Sao Paulo archbishop in 2007 and was named a cardinal later the same year.


CARDINAL MARC OUELLET: Canada’s Ouellet once said that being pope “would be a nightmare.” He would know, having enjoyed the confidence of two popes as a top-ranked Vatican insider. His high-profile position as head of the Vatican’s office for bishops, his conservative leanings, his years in Latin America and his work in Rome as president of a key commission for Latin America all make him a favorite to become the first pontiff from the Americas. But the qualities that make the 68-year-old popular in Latin America — home to the world’s biggest Catholic population — and among the cardinals who elect the pope have contributed to his poor image in his native Quebec, where ironically he was perceived during his tenure as archbishop as an outsider parachuted in from Rome to reorder his liberal province along conservative lines.


CARDINAL PETER ERDO: Erdo is the son of a deeply religious couple who defied communist repression in Hungary to practice their faith. And if elected pope, the 60-year-old would be the second pontiff to come from eastern Europe —following in the footsteps of the late John Paul II, a Pole who left a great legacy helping to topple communism. A cardinal since 2003, Erdo is expert on canon law and distinguished university theologian who has also striven to forge close ties to the parish faithful. He is increasingly seen as a compromise candidate if cardinals are unable to rally around some of more high-profile figures like Scola or Scherer.


CARDINAL GIANFRANCO RAVASI: Ravasi, the Vatican’s culture minister, is an erudite scholar with a modern touch — just the combination some faithful see as ideal for reviving a church beset by scandal and a shrinking flock. The 70-year-old is also one of the favorites among Catholics who long to see a return to the tradition of Italian popes. The polyglot biblical scholar peppers speeches with references ranging from Aristotle to late British diva Amy Winehouse. Ravasi’s foreign language prowess is reminiscent of that of the late globetrotting John Paul II: He tweets in English, chats in Italian and has impressed his audiences by switching to Hebrew and Arabic in some of his speeches.


CARDINAL PETER TURKSON: Often cast as the social conscience of the church, Ghana’s Turkson is viewed by many as the top African contender for pope. The 64-year-old head of the Vatican’s peace and justice office was widely credited with helping to avert violence following contested Ghanaian elections. He has aggressively fought African poverty, while disappointing many by hewing to the church’s conservative line on condom use amid Africa’s AIDS epidemic. Turkson’s reputation as a man of peace took a hit recently when he showed a virulently anti-Islamic video, a move now seen as hurting his papal prospects. Observers say those prospects sank further when he broke a taboo against public jockeying for the papacy — says the day after Benedict’s resignation announcement that he’s up for the job “if it’s the will of God.”


CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN: Dolan, the 63-year-old archbishop of New York, is an upbeat, affable defender of Catholic orthodoxy, and a well-known religious figure in the United States. He holds a job Pope John Paul II once called “archbishop of the capital of the world.” His colleagues broke with protocol in 2010 and made him president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, instead of elevating the sitting vice president as expected. And during the 2012 presidential election, Republicans and Democrats competed over which national political convention the cardinal would bless. He did both. But scholars question whether his charisma and experience are enough for a real shot at succeeding Benedict.


CARDINAL JORGE MARIO BERGOGLIO: Bergoglio, 76, has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina, overseeing churches and shoe-leather priests. The archbishop of Buenos Aires reportedly got the second-most votes after Joseph Ratzinger in the 2005 papal election, and he has long specialized in the kind of pastoral work that some say is an essential skill for the next pope. In a lifetime of teaching and leading priests in Latin America, which has the largest share of the world’s Catholics, Bergoglio has shown a keen political sensibility as well as the kind of self-effacing humility that fellow cardinals value highly. Bergoglio is known for modernizing an Argentine church that had been among the most conservative in Latin America.


CARDINAL LEONARDO SANDRI: Leonardo Sandri, 69, is a Vatican insider who has run the day-to-day operations of the global church’s vast bureaucracy and roamed the world as a papal diplomat. He left his native Argentina for Rome at 27 and never returned to live in his homeland. Initially trained as a canon lawyer, he reached the No. 3 spot in the church’s hierarchy under Pope John Paul II, the zenith of a long career in the Vatican’s diplomatic service ranging from Africa to Mexico to Washington. As substitute secretary of state for seven years, he essentially served as the pope’s chief of staff. The jovial diplomat has been knighted in a dozen countries, and the church he is attached to as cardinal is Rome’s exquisite, baroque San Carlo ai Catinari.


CARDINAL LUIS ANTONIO TAGLE: Asia’s most prominent Roman Catholic leader knows how to reach the masses: He sings on stage, preaches on TV, brings churchgoers to laughter and tears with his homilies. And he’s on Facebook. But the 55-year-old Filipino’s best response against the tide of secularism, clergy sex abuse scandals and rival-faith competition could be his reputation for humility. His compassion for the poor and unassuming ways have impressed followers in his homeland, Asia’s largest Catholic nation, and church leaders in the Vatican. Tagle’s chances are considered remote, as many believe that Latin America or Africa — with their faster growing Catholic flocks — would be more logical choices if the papal electors look beyond Europe.


CARDINAL CHRISTOPH SCHOENBORN: Schoenborn is a soft-spoken conservative who is ready to listen to those espousing reform. That profile that could appeal to fellow cardinals looking to elect a pontiff with widest-possible appeal to the world’s 1 billion Catholics. His Austrian nationality may be his biggest disadvantage: Electors may be reluctant to choose another German speaker as a successor to Benedict. A man of low tolerance for the child abuse scandals roiling the church, Schoenborn, 68, himself was elevated to the its upper echelons of the Catholic hierarchy after his predecessor resigned 18 years ago over accusations that he was a pedophile.


CARDINAL MALCOLM RANJITH: Benedict XVI picked the Sri Lankan Ranjith to return from Colombo to the Vatican to oversee the church’s liturgy and rites in one of his first appointments as pope. The choice of Ranjith in 2005 rewarded a strong voice of tradition — so rigid that some critics regard it even as backward-looking. Ranjith in 2010 was named Sri Lanka’s second cardinal in history. There are many strikes against a Ranjith candidacy — Sri Lanka, for example, has just 1.3 million Catholics, less than half the population of Rome. But the rising influence of the developing world, along with the 65-year-old’s strong conservative credentials, helps keeps his name in the mix of papal contenders.


CARDINAL ANDRES RODRIGUEZ MARADIAGA: To many, Maradiaga embodies the activist wing of the Roman Catholic Church as an outspoken campaigner of human rights, a watchdog on climate change and advocate of international debt relief for poor nations. Others, however, see the 70-year-old Honduran as a reactionary in the other direction: Described as sympathetic to a coup in his homeland and stirring accusations of anti-Semitism for remarks that some believe suggested Jewish interests encouraged extra media attention on church sex abuse scandals. Maradiaga, the archbishop of Tegucigalpa, is among a handful of Latin American prelates considered to have a credible shot at the papacy.


CARDINAL ANGELO BAGNASCO: The archbishop of Genoa, Bagnasco also is head of the powerful Italian bishops’ conference. Both roles give him outsized influence in the conclave, where Italians represent the biggest national bloc, and could nudge ahead his papal chances if the conclave looks to return the papacy to Italian hands. At 70 years old, Bagnasco is seen as in the right age bracket for papal consideration. But his lack of international experience and exposure could be a major liability.


CARDINAL SEAN PATRICK O’MALLEY: As archbishop of Boston, O’Malley has faced the fallout from the church’s abuse scandals for nearly a decade. The fact he is mentioned at all as a potential papal candidate is testament to his efforts to bring together an archdiocese at the forefront of the abuse disclosures. Like other American cardinals, the papal prospects for the 68-year-old O’Malley suffer because of the accepted belief that many papal electors oppose the risk of having U.S. global policies spill over, even indirectly, onto the Vatican’s image. O’Malley is among the most Internet-savvy members of the conclave.

Following is a synopsis of what is transpiring in Roma today, both preparatory to the Princes of The Church retreating from the presence of all others and then the protocol to be followed in their seclusion of The Chapel Sistine.

Cardinals enter the Sistine Chapel on Tuesday to elect the next pope amid more upheaval and uncertainty than the Catholic Church has seen in decades: There’s no front-runner, no indication how long voting will last and no sense that a single man has what it takes to fix the many problems.

On the eve of the vote, cardinals offered wildly different assessments of what they’re looking for in the next pontiff and how close they are to a decision. It was evidence that Benedict XVI’s surprise resignation has continued to destabilize the church leadership and that his final appeal for unity may go unheeded, at least in the early rounds of voting.

Cardinals held their final closed-door debate Monday over whether the church needs more of a manager to clean up the Vatican’s bureaucratic mess or a pastor to inspire the 1.2 billion faithful in times of crisis. The fact that not everyone got a chance to speak was a clear sign that there’s still unfinished business on the eve of the conclave.

“This time around, there are many different candidates, so it’s normal that it’s going to take longer than the last time,” Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz of Chile told The Associated Press.

“There are no groups, no compromises, no alliances, just each one with his conscience voting for the person he thinks is best, which is why I don’t think it will be over quickly.”

None of that has prevented a storm of chatter over who’s ahead.

The buzz in the papal stakes swirled around Cardinal Angelo Scola, an Italian seen as favored by cardinals hoping to shake up the powerful Vatican bureaucracy, and Brazilian Cardinal Odilo Scherer, a favorite of Vatican-based insiders intent on preserving the status quo.

Scola is affable and Italian, but not from the Italian-centric Vatican bureaucracy called the Curia. That gives him clout with those seeking to reform the nerve center of the church that has been discredited by revelations of leaks and complaints from cardinals in the field that Rome is inefficient and unresponsive to their needs.

Scherer seems to be favored by Latin Americans and the Curia. He has a solid handle on the Vatican’s finances, sitting on the governing commission of the Vatican bank, as well as the Holy See’s main budget committee.

As a non-Italian, the archbishop of Sao Paolo would be expected to name an Italian as secretary of state — the Vatican No. 2 who runs day-to-day affairs — another plus for Vatican-based cardinals who would want one of their own running the shop.

The pastoral camp seems to be focusing on two Americans, New York archbishop Timothy Dolan and Boston archbishop Sean O’Malley. Neither has Vatican experience. Dolan has acknowledged his Italian isn’t strong — seen as a handicap for a job in which the lingua franca of day-to-day work is Italian.

Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet is well-respected, stemming from his job at the important Vatican office that vets bishop appointments. Less well known is that he has a lovely singing voice and can be heard belting out French folk songs on occasion.

If the leading names fail to reach the 77 votes required for victory in the first few rounds of balloting, any number of surprise candidates could come to the fore as alternatives.

It all starts Tuesday with the cardinals checking into the Santa Marta residence on the edge of the Vatican gardens. The rooms are simple and impersonal, but a step up from the cramped conditions the cardinals faced before the hotel was put to use in 2005, when long lines would form at the Apostolic Palace for using bathrooms.

At 10 a.m., the dean of the College of Cardinals, Angelo Sodano, will lead the celebration of the “Pro eligendo Pontificie” Mass — the Mass for the election of a pope — inside St. Peter’s Basilica, joined by the 115 cardinals who will vote.

This is followed at 4:30 p.m. with a procession into the Sistine Chapel, with the cardinals intoning the Litany of Saints, the hypnotic Gregorian chant imploring the saints to help guide their voting. After another chant calling on the Holy Spirit to intervene, the cardinals take the oath of secrecy, followed by a meditation delivered by elderly Maltese Cardinal Prosper Grech.

Before cardinals start voting for a new pope, they will swear an oath of secrecy in the Sistine Chapel. It will be administered by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, the conclave’s presiding cardinal. After he reads it, each cardinal elector will touch the Holy Gospels and “promise, pledge and swear” to uphold the oath.

Here’s the full text of the oath:


“We, the Cardinal electors present in this election of the Supreme Pontiff promise, pledge and swear, as individuals and as a group, to observe faithfully and scrupulously the prescriptions contained in the Apostolic Constitution of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II, Universi Dominici Gregis, published on 22 February 1996.

We likewise promise, pledge and swear that whichever of us by divine disposition is elected Roman Pontiff will commit himself faithfully to carrying out the munus Petrinum of Pastor of the Universal Church and will not fail to affirm and defend strenuously the spiritual and temporal rights and the liberty of the Holy See.

In a particular way, we promise and swear to observe with the greatest fidelity and with all persons, clerical or lay, secrecy regarding everything that in any way relates to the election of the Roman Pontiff and regarding what occurs in the place of the election, directly or indirectly related to the results of the voting; we promise and swear not to break this secret in any way, either during or after the election of the new Pontiff, unless explicit authorization is granted by the same Pontiff; and never to lend support or favor to any interference, opposition or any other form of intervention, whereby secular authorities of whatever order and degree or any group of people or individuals might wish to intervene in the election of the Roman Pontiff.”

After the oath is administered and sworn,  the master of papal liturgical ceremonies gives the order “Extra omnes” — “Everyone out” — and all but those taking part in the conclave leave the chapel’s frescoed walls.

During the voting that ensues, each cardinal writes his choice on a rectangular piece of paper inscribed with the words “Eligo in summen pontificem” — Latin for “I elect as Supreme Pontiff.”

Holding the folded ballot up in the air, each approaches the altar and places it on a saucer, before tipping it into an oval urn, as he intones these words: “I call as my witness, Christ the Lord, who will be my judge that my vote is given to the one who, before God, I think should be elected.”

After the votes are counted, and the outcomes announced, the papers are bound together with a needle and thread, each ballot pierced through the word “Eligo.” The ballots are then placed in a cast-iron stove and burned with a special chemical.

That’s when all eyes will turn to the 6-foot-high copper chimney erected atop the Sistine Chapel to pipe out puffs of smoke to tell the world if there’s a new pope.

Black smoke means “not yet” — the likely outcome after Round 1. White smoke means the 266th pope has been chosen.

The first puffs of smoke should emerge sometime around 8 p.m. Tuesday. If they are black, voting will continue, four rounds each day, until a pope is elected.

Whoever he is, the next pope will face a church in crisis: Benedict spent his eight-year pontificate trying to revive Catholicism amid the secular trends that have made it almost irrelevant in places like Europe, once a stronghold of Christianity. Clerical sex abuse scandals have soured many faithful on their church, and competition from rival evangelical churches in Latin America and Africa has drawn souls away.

Closer to home, the next pope has a major challenge awaiting him inside the Vatican walls, after the leaks of papal documents in 2012 exposed ugly turf battles, allegations of corruption and even a plot purportedly orchestrated by Benedict’s aides to out a prominent Italian Catholic editor as gay.

Cardinals heard a briefing Monday from the Vatican No. 2 about another stain on the Holy See’s reputation, the Vatican bank. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who heads the commission of cardinals overseeing the scandal-marred Institute for Religious Works, outlined the efforts to clean up the bank’s image in international financial circles.

Massimo Franco, noted columnist for the leading daily Corriere della Sera, said the significance of the revelations about the bank and the Holy See’s internal governance cannot be underestimated, since they were factors in Benedict’s decision to resign and the major task faced by his successor.

Franco, whose new book “The Crisis of the Vatican Empire” describes the Vatican’s utter dysfunction, said cardinals are still traumatized by Benedict’s resignation, leading to uncertainty heading into the conclave.

“It’s quite unpredictable. There isn’t a majority, neither established nor in the making,” he said — unlike in 2005, when Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had tremendous front-runner status going into the conclave that elected him pope after just four ballots.

Dolan, a possible papal contender, seemed to think otherwise, though, and was bounding with optimism by the end of the pre-conclave meetings and the drama about to unfold.

“I’m kind of happy they’re over because we came here to elect a pope and we’ll start it tomorrow with the holy sacrifice of the Mass, then into the conclave and look for the white smoke!” Dolan enthused on his radio show on SiriusXM’s “The Catholic Channel.”

Errazuriz, the cardinal from Chile, said the key isn’t so much where the next pope comes from, but what he brings to the papacy.

Cardinals, he told AP, are looking for a pope “who is close to God, has love for people, the poorest, the ability to preach the Gospel to the world and understand the young and bring them closer to God. These are the categories that count.”

He argued that Latin America, counting 40 percent of the world’s Catholics, is underrepresented in the college of cardinals. “It doesn’t have 40 percent of the cardinals,” he said.

Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, also a leading papal contender, said he was going into the conclave still rattled by the fact that his mentor, Benedict, had resigned.

“It made me cry. He was my teacher. We worked together for over 40 years,” Schoenborn said during a Mass late Sunday. Nevertheless, Schoenborn said the cardinals had banded together to face the future.

“It makes us brothers, not contenders,” he said. “Such a surprising act has already begun a true renewal.”

We pray that these Cardinals are fully attentive to the direction of the Holy Spirit in their momentous task to select the very best new Papa to help both The Mother Church and our most terribly troubled world.


The mesmerizing ceiling of Michael Angelo Buonarroti-Simoni’s stunning masterpiece, The Chapel Sistine, into which the men charged with the selection of the new Papa will seclude themselves beginning this day.

May God guide their hands, minds, hearts and souls.


John Daniel Begg

At Washington DC

Tuesday, 12th March, Anno Domini Nostri Iesu Christi, 2013