The Year of Faith

Today begins the Catholic Church’s Year of Faith, proclaimed by Pope Benedict as “a summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one Savior of the world.” It’s a time for the study and teaching of the Christian faith and for dedication to the New Evangelization. I invite all believers to join me in these aims, and non-believers to seek and ask questions (even critically). I know I have a lot to learn, too; and I am looking forward to a year committed to delving deeper and deeper into the faith.

Pope Benedict’s apostolic letter proclaiming the Year of Faith, Porta fidei, is a wonderfully edifying and uplifting read. This section in particular stood out to me:

During this time we will need to keep our gaze fixed upon Jesus Christ, the ‘pioneer and perfecter of our faith’ (Hebrews 12:2): in him, all the anguish and all the longing of the human heart finds fulfilment. The joy of love, the answer to the drama of suffering and pain, the power of forgiveness in the face of an offence received and the victory of life over the emptiness of death: all this finds fulfilment in the mystery of his Incarnation, in his becoming man, in his sharing our human weakness so as to transform it by the power of his resurrection. In him who died and rose again for our salvation, the examples of faith that have marked these two thousand years of our salvation history are brought into the fullness of light.

Peccavimus: We have sinned

Piero della Francesca, The Penance of St. Jerome (c. 1450)

The Penance of St. Jerome (c. 1450), by Piero della Francesca. (

Today I discovered a new composer, and was immediately inspired to share him with my friends, and one thing led to another, and before I knew it, I’d translated the text of this overpoweringly beautiful and stirring motet. I thought it was worth sharing with you all.

I don’t know how many of you worldwide have access to Spotify; but I certainly hope many of you are able to hear this. Even if you can’t, I hope you enjoy the text. I highly recommend Spotify. With it I am able to explore and discover so much music, listen to whole records, all on a grad student’s budget.

This is from the CD TYE: Missa Euge Bone / MUNDY: Magnificat, from Naxos’s Early Music collection, performed by the Oxford Camerata under Jeremy Summerly (one of my favorite ensembles). This is the motet “Peccavimus cum patribus.”

Christopher Tye (c. 1505 – c. 1572) was an English composer and organist, who lived right in the thick of the English Reformation. He served as Doctor of Music at both Cambridge and Oxford, and as choirmaster and organist of Ely Cathedral. He apparently had Protestant leanings, but served faithfully through the reigns (and religious tumult) of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I. Later in life he took holy orders and served as Rector of Doddington, Cambridgeshire. This motet was composed, I suppose, under the Church of England, but I’m okay with that. It hit me especially powerfully in the penitent mood I’ve been in lately.

I’ll translate it a little bit by bit. I wasn’t happy with the English translation on ChoralWiki.

Peccavimus cum patribus nostris, 
iniuste egimus, iniquitatem fecimus.
Tuæ tamen clementiæ
spe animati ad te supplices confugimus, 
benignissime Jesu.

We have sinned as our fathers,
we have done unjustly, and committed iniquity.
Nonetheless driven by hope of your mercy
We flee to you in supplication,
Kindest Jesus.

Qui ut omnia potes
ita omnibus te invocantibus 
vere præsto es.
Respice itaque in nos infelices peccatores,
bonitas immensa.

Who just as you are able to do all things
So to all who have prayed to you
You are truly present.
Look upon therefore us unhappy sinners,
O boundless goodness.

Respice in nos ingratissimos miseros, 
salus et misericordia publica; 
nam despecti ad omnipotentem venimus,
vulnerati ad medicum currimus, deprecantes 
ut non secundum peccata nostra facias 
neque secundum iniquitates nostras retribuas nobis.

Look upon us most ungrateful wretches,
O salvation and mercy for all;
for we despicable ones into your omnipotence come,
Having been wounded we run to your healing [or to the Physician],
Praying that you do not do according to our sins
Neither according to our iniquities repay to us.

Quin potius misericordiæ tuæ antiquæ memor 
pristinam clementiam serva, 
ac mansuetudini adhibe incrementum 
qui tam longanimiter suspendisti 
ultionis gladium, 
ablue innumerositatem criminum, 
qui delectaris multitudine misericordiæ.

Rather remembering your compassion of old
Retain your former mercy,
And add increase to your gentleness
With such long-suffering having held back
The sword of vengeance,
Wash away the countlessness of our offenses,
You who are delighted by a multitude of mercy.

Ingere cordibus nostris 
tui sanctissimum amorem, 
peccati odium 
ac cœlestis patriæ ardens desiderium, 
quod magis ac magis crescere faciat 
tua omnipotens bonitas. Amen.

Pour into our hearts
Most holy love for you,
a hatred of sin,
and a burning desire for the heavenly kingdom,
Which by your omnipotent goodness
Make to grow more and more. Amen.

Of good report

Murillo, Rebecca and Eliezer, 1650

Rebecca and Eliezer (1650), by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

—Philippians 4:8

I’m having a pretty good day. So I thought I would share a few good things that are going on now.

    The First Hebrew Primer

  • Part of my penance this week is to devote a considerable length of time to spiritual study — a burden on my time but a joy to my soul. And so, in addition to my studies of the daily readings and working my way through the Old Testament, I thought it would be a good time to dust off my Hebrew book, a study that would be of great benefit to my understanding of Scripture. I started working through the book (Simon, Reznikoff, and Motzkin’s The First Hebrew Primer) right before I began grad school, and got through the first few chapters — enough to know the alphabet — before the grad school monster clobbered me. I am reviewing now and planning to advance further, and I’m glad to find that I still have the basic skills I attained before (reading and writing right to left, understanding and writing the alphabet). It’s mentally exhausting, but exciting!

  • Just for the heck of it, I refreshed my memory of the Roman calendar, to date the headings of my Hebrew notebook (it was originally a Latin notebook). Hodie est dies Martis, ante diem XIX Kalendis Septembris, anno Domini MMXII, sive MMDCCLXV ab urbe condita. I should probably pick up the Hebrew calendar now, too.

  • Speaking of Latin: this is a pretty wonderful find on Google Books: A Copious and Critical English-Latin Lexicon (1849), by the Reverends Riddle and Arnold. Ah, I love free, old books, especially when they are as rich a trove as this.

  • Esplorazioni 1

  • Speaking of Rome: I received on interlibrary loan two massive red tomes — not from Rome, from Emory University; but originally from Rome: Esplorazioni sotto la Confessione di San Pietro in Vaticano (1951) — the official report of the excavations under St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican uncovering the tomb of St. Peter. This is it. Contained herein are a wealth of technical descriptions, diagrams, and photographs: this is the primary source on which all the books I’ve read so far are based. One challenge: it’s in Italian. But that will only add to the adventure of exploring the scavi in greater depth and unlocking their mysteries.

    (My desk is never really this neat. I shuffled off the contents just to take these pictures.)

    Below are a few quick snapshots from the books. I hope to be able to share some more highlights in the weeks to come.

    Esplorazioni 2 Esplorazioni 3 Esplorazioni 4
  • Do you like the paintings I post on here? has fast become one of my favorite websites ever. The wiki’s goal is nothing less than to collect and catalog high-resolution images of the works of all the masters; to tag them and document them and share them. I post images from it almost daily. Whoever uploaded the great collection of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo is singularly responsible for bringing him, in the course of a few months, from being unknown to me to being one of my favorite painters ever.

  • Ware, The Orthodox Church

  • I’m reading a wonderful book on the Orthodox Church, The Orthodox Church by Metropolitan Timothy (Kallistos) Ware. I am not very far in (past the Seven Councils), but he is delightfully snooty toward the Roman Catholic Church and toward the non-Chalcedonian Orthodox, who don’t count.

All right. There are many other great things to share, but I will save some for tomorrow! Other things to do.

Logos Bible Software for Catholics: A not entirely selfless plug

Logos Logo

Blog friends, I want to show you something cool. I was recently introduced by Jimmy Akin's podcast to Logos Bible Software for Catholics. I have long slavered over Logos’s incredible software libraries, with bibles and lexica and commentaries galore — whole books by the hundreds loaded up on the cart. Unfortunately, their scholarly packages are well beyond my price range. Oh, to convince my academic librarians that advanced Bible study materials were necessary for my degree in American history… (Or to be a seminarian at an institution with resources.)

Logos Catechism Package

Recently, Logos has been making forays into the Catholic market. Jimmy Akin had an interview with Dr. Andrew Jones, Logos’s Catholic product manager, and on their recommendation, I promptly splurged on Logos’s Catechism of the Catholic Church Collection. It contains nine volumes of rich, Catholicky goodness — the Catechism; the collected documents of the Councils of Trent, Vatican I, and Vatican II; the Catechism of the Council of Trent, the Sources of Catholic Dogma, and a couple of Catholic Bibles (the Douay-Rheims-Challoner and the Revised Standard Version, Catholic Edition) — All for the unbelievable price of $50, with a discount tacked on for listening to Jimmy (listen to the podcast above, and you can get it, too). And it is pretty amazing. Not only do I have the Catechism and all of these other works at my fingertips, but they are hyperlinked to each other. Every Scripture reference in the Catechism pulls up the referenced Scripture in a popup. Best of all for me are the hyperlinks to the Sources of Catholic Dogma — the assembled nuggets of tradition from every pope and every council and every other writer over every age who had anything relevant to say and on which Catholic dogma is founded — it pulls all of this up with the click of a button. And the apps for the iPad and Android are very sleek. It even remembers what page I’m on between my different devices. The end result: I can carry my entire library of Catholic dogmatic works with me everywhere I go, and pull references up in seconds! I heartily recommend this thing. And they have a lot of other valuable Catholic publications, with more being added all the time!

Logos Missals

Now, as my title suggests, plugging this software isn’t entirely selfless. The way Logos puts out new products is by offering them for pre-order, gathering interest in them, and then when enough people have signed on, they put the item into production. This past week they sent out another offer I couldn’t turn down: the Missals of the Roman Catholic Church — all three of them — for $60 on pre-order. That’s the new, third edition English Roman Missal, as well as the underlying Latin of the current missal — and for you traditionalists (I know there are several of you — and really, when offered the opportunity, who doesn’t want to be a traditionalist?), the 1962, pre-Vatican II Latin Missale Romanum, largely unchanged since Tridentine days. To buy all of these in book form — if you could even find a 1962 missal; believe me I have looked — and the new missal alone costs $70 — overall might cost as much as $500 — but $60! I want it! And I can’t get it until more people pre-order it! Don’t you want it, too?

Other stuff I really want, but can’t afford (donations gladly accepted):

And so on and so forth. There’s a lot of good stuff here. I’m like a kid in a very expensive candy store.

Check out, too, Logos’s Catholic site, and their blog, Verbum.

My first blog awards!

I am very surprised and grateful to be nominated for a couple of blog awards, from my new friend The Catholic Nomad:

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Commentator Blog Award

The Commentator Blog Award

The instructions for accepting these awards are to link back to the nominating blogger, share seven things about myself, and then recommend a few other blogs to accept the awards as well.

The Catholic Nomad is a wanderer in search of the sacred — and what better companions could there be on this Catholic journey than a nomad and a pilgrim? She blogs about her travels, observations, and experiences, in beautiful, insightful, and heartfelt prose. I am honored to know her and to be on this road with her.

So, seven things about me? Are you sure you want that? Okay, here goes. (And no, you next people don’t have to write this much. I am just long-winded.)

  1. I’ve actually been using the online handle “LonelyPilgrim” for some ten years. “Lonely pilgrim” is the English translation of another handle I had — in Sindarin. I had no idea at the time I chose it how apt the name would be. I have always been on a quest seeking God, and during my years wandering between churches, I considered myself a pilgrim in search of my true home. Now that I’ve found it, it is only fitting that the Catholic Church is commonly called a “Pilgrim Church” — a Church of pilgrims, on a journey to our salvation.

  2. I grew up in an Assemblies of God church, of the Pentecostal family of the Christian faith. Yes, that includes speaking in tongues, dancing, clapping, hand-raising, and in general being very excited and emotional about faith. The church I grew up in is a very loving place full of people who love God and love their neighbor, and I will be most thankful for it always, and to my parents, for raising me up in a loving Christian environment.

  3. My confirmation saint is Paul. But I have very many favorite saints, and wrestled with the choice for a little while. Other considerations were Gregory the Great (patron of teachers, a compassionate pastor, and all in all a wonderful human being), Thomas Aquinas (patron of academics, and brilliant), Bernard of Clairvaux (with whom I fell in love as an undergraduate; he represents to me the best balance of emotion and reason in faith), Francis of Assisi (a wonderful example of humility, charity, and service), and Bede (patron of historians, with whom I also fell in love as an undergraduate). In the end, though, there could be no choice but Paul. That story is yet to be told.

  4. I am the first Catholic in my family within living memory, vertically speaking. That is, to my knowledge, none of my ancestors have been Catholic before me since the Reformation. (Surely they were before that, but I am not able to trace any of my lines that far.) My heritage is mostly English, Scottish, and Scots-Irish, all good Protestant stock. There are also a few drops of German Lutheran and possibly a little dab of French Huguenot. My recent ancestors have all been Baptist and Methodist, including several Baptist preachers and Methodist ministers. It did bother me, very briefly, to think that I was betraying my heritage and that my ancestors might be disappointed with me for my conversion; but convinced of the truth of Catholicism, and desiring a reunion of all Christians, as I know there is in Heaven, it seemed right and proper. I did have a beloved great-uncle and great-aunt who were Catholic. He, my Granddaddy’s brother, converted after marrying her. They were both very loving and Christian people and I believe they paved this road for me.

  5. The road to my conversion as an historian was just as long and varied as my road to the Catholic Church. In high school, I gave no thought to studying history as a profession, though I realized I was fascinated by it, largely by way of my genealogy. At university, I began my career with the intention of studying biology/pre-med and going to medical school; this notion was short-lived. I then spent several years studying computer science, since computer programming had been and continues to be a hobby in which I have an aptitude. It was only through stumbling into Latin that I found my way to studying history. I began my historical journey fascinated by the ancient world; then was drawn to the Middle Ages, especially the history of the Church; then finally was pulled into what I’m professing to study now, the history of the Southern United States. But my interests remain all over the place, and the Church is drawing me a great deal again these days.

  6. I like languages a lot. My undergraduate minor was in classical studies. Though my doings in school now have little to do with languages, I make it a point to study whenever I can. I’ve been studying Latin (both Classical and Medieval) now for about nine years, Ancient Greek (both Attic and Koine) for about seven, and I’m little more than a dabbler in Biblical Hebrew, but I can read the alphabet. I have also poked at, and can read, in decreasing degrees of proficiency, Italian, French, Spanish, and German, and maybe a little bit of others here and there. I dream of being panlingual.

  7. Some of my other hobbies include genealogy, cemeteries, photography, books (both reading and collecting), coffee and tea, travel, music, and watching movies and TV shows (but only on DVD or Netflix; I’m a huge fan of The X-Files and Joss Whedon and Doctor Who and Star Trek). If I’ve gotten to know you, or if you introduce yourself below, you’re welcome to add me on Facebook or any of the above linked sites.

Now, passing on these awards: I hereby nominate for these awards (again, the presentation speech is not a requirement — just something extra I added because I like to bless people who have blessed me):

  • Living an Ecumenical Life, by Ken Ranos, a Lutheran (ELCA) seminarian whose openness to ecumenism inspired me to pursue it, too. He found me and followed me before I even stepped out of the blog-closet, and has been a most welcome and active commentator.

  • Steak and a Bible, by Julia. Because what could be more inspiring than a steak and a Bible? I think possibly to her chagrin, she has given me a lot to think about and write about. And her blog itself is fearless at tackling what’s wrong in evangelical Christianity today — an effort I greatly applaud (not because I dislike evangelical Christianity, but because I love it).

  • Catholic Cravings, by Laura, a baby Catholic taking her first steps, with a lot of passion and joy and thought as she learns and journeys. She also has been a great commentator.

  • All along the Watchtower, by Jessica, with Chalcedon451. She is Anglo-Catholic and has so much enthusiasm and an infectious curiosity about all things Catholic and Orthodox and Early Church. And she has been so, so kind in her comments.

Peace be with you all!

Dropping the mask

This nom de plume I’ve been using, Paul Pilgrim, is getting a little burdensome and inconvenient.

Initially, while I was in the process of converting, my blog was semi-anonymous, only known to a few, select, trusted friends, and anybody else who randomly happened by. I was kind of timid of having to defend my nascent faith before I was ready. My blog then was known as Catholicus nascens, a “nascent Catholic,” or “A Catholic being born.”

I also realized that I had a problem with pride, and wanted these writings to be more about Christ and His Church than about me. So “Peregrinus” it was: a Pilgrim, a Stranger, a Foreigner. That sums up how I’ve felt all my life: wandering, never knowing where I was going, never fitting in anywhere. I felt an immediate connection when I learned that the Catholic Church calls itself a “pilgrim church”: for we are all pilgrims, sojourners in this life, seeking after our salvation.

After I entered the Church, and I became The Lonely Pilgrim (realizing that “catholicusnascens” was a mouthful and a handful), I changed my name here to Paul Pilgrim. Paul is my confirmation name; a pilgrim is what I am. But now that I’ve come out of the blog-closet to my friends on Facebook and Twitter, the nom de plume requires an extra step of explanation: “Here’s a link to my blog, and oh yeah, Paul Pilgrim is me.” And then I have to explain why I call myself that. And rather than being humble, it feels a bit pretentious. My Twitter has my real name on it anyway, so any alias is useless and confusing. I was only keeping it because I liked the name; but yeah, I am just me, not Paul Pilgrim.

So hi. I’m Joseph.

Giving y’all a Tour

I posted a new page last night that may be of interest to folks who are new here are or who are just passing through: A Brief Tour. It’s a description of the categories in my blog I consider most important to what I’m about, a listing of my favorite posts that I hope you will read, and my top posts by number of views.

Also, a couple of random links of things I found that are awesome: