"It was the custom on Christmas Eve for all the people to bring to the church their offerings to the Christ-child; and when the greatest and best offering was laid on the altar, there used to come sounding through the music of the choir the Christmas chimes far up in the tower. Some said that the wind rang them, and others that they were so high that the angels could set them swinging. But for many long years they had never been heard." From Raymond MacDonald Alden's Why the Chimes Rang. "A beautiful tale that conveys the very spirit of giving," it was "described as 'the one perfect book for children' when it was first published in 1909." The story was adapted for the stage in 1915 and performed by us gradeschoolers as part of the Christmas Pageant at the Exeter Day School in the early Fifties. Nowadays it would be called a Winter Holiday Program, and you probably wouldn't be allowed to perform a play that had anything to do with what used to be called "the true meaning of Christmas." Mavo Bunker lllustrations from Why The Chimes Rang available online at The Rosetta Project. Color illustrations of selected pages available at Google Book Search.
"In reality, our sacred church bells are the forerunner to instant messaging and texting," writes PewSitter.com's Hugh McNichol, who has "a modest proposition to put forward" when Pope Benedict XVIs Shepherd I touches down at Andrews Air Force Base at 4 p.m. on Tuesday:
The simultaneous ringing of all Catholic Church bells across the entire country.
"Instead of sending an instant message," writes McNichol, "Every Catholic parish in the country should ring their church bells for ten minutes to joyfully welcome the Bishop of Rome":
The tradition of ringing bells not only will show prayerful support and warm welcomes to the Holy Father, it will also provide an opportunity for American Catholics to illustrate their support of our great American exercise of religious freedom. From a historical perspective as well, it allows American Catholics as citizens to recall foundational events in our American history that permitted this free exercise of our Catholic identity, recalling the great announcement of independence proclaimed by the Liberty Bell in 1776.
Much thanks for the heads up from Miss Kelly, who notes:
I agree with Whispers in the Loggia, ten minutes is a bit much. Three or four minutes is plenty and would still be a wonderful way to mark this significant visit.
Please pass the word to your own priests, pastors, nuns, deacons, everybody!
Get Cardinal Seán on the phone! and* let the "tintinnabulation that so musically wells from the bells, bells, bells, bells" give the lie to the clueless chatter of effete elites like Barack Obama, who revealed what he really thinks about small-town America the other day at a fundraiser where he apparently figured no one but fellow travelers would be listening:
“You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.
And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
Allahpundit at Hot Air has a brilliant rave about it:
What’s most offensive? The condescension displayed here by the intelligentsia’s candidate of choice? The sheer breadth of the stereotype, which would send Team Obama screaming from the rooftops if a white politician drew a similarly sweeping caricature of blacks? The crude quasi-Marxist reductionism of his analysis, which he first introduced in his speech on race vis-a-vis the root causes of whites’ “resentment” -- namely, exploitation by the bourgeoisie in the form of corporations and D.C. lobbyists? Or is it the shocking inclusion of religion, of all things, in the litany of sins he recites? What on earth is that doing there, given His Holiness’s repeated invocations of the virtues of faith on the trail? Note the choice of verb, too. Why not just go the whole nine yards and call it the opiate of the masses?
Fox News Democratic strategist Kirsten Powers puts her finger on what's wrong with this picture:
"They are things that I think in a liberal world sound totally normal, and outside of that world I don’t know that he appreciates how it sounds. And it just sounds very elitist, and it sounds like he’s looking down on people.”
We've had Obama's number from way back in December of 2006, of course, when -- in effect -- he called us a racist, but when a person of the left like Kirsten Powers gets it, let the chimes ring!
*They don't call us "Queen of the Segueway" for nothing.