Mailbag Time: March Edition

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It’s time for the March edition of Mailbag!  Without further ado. . .

You speak of many gentlemanly endeavors.  I would like to suggest that letter writing, a lost skill for most of us, must be recovered especially as a Catholic Gentleman.  I have recently attempted to recover it myself, because as a priest in training it always seemed clear to me that people take great solace and consolation from a hand-written letter or note. It seems more intentional and sincere. It allows for prayer intentions to be passed on in a very concrete way; which is how I have taken to using it now that I’m no longer on any social media. C.S Lewis, Tolkien and the like would do such things with their correspondence and I so greatly admire them and have a thing Catholic/Christian English Literature of the 19th and 20th century. 

So just a thought that I would pass on, when you have a chance in your busy schedule to write on such a topic. I couldn’t agree more.  

Letter correspondence is a lost art.  There is something intensely personal about a letter as opposed to an e-mail or text message.  A man penning a letter has time to carefully think about each word.  I think that fact alone should make the letter more meaningful from the recipient’s perspective.  Anyone can send an e-mail or text.  Only a committed man can sit down at a desk, pen out his thoughts, find a stamp, and deal with an insufferable quasi-federal agency to have it delivered to the dear recipient.

You also hit wonderfully on the idea of pen pals.  I read the Brownson-Hecker correspondence in college, which I now have a copy of sitting on my shelf, and I have to say that the idea of men communicating through traditional correspondence over the years as their ideas, philosophies, and circumstances change is without parallel.  Letter correspondence is the extraordinary form of communication.   You can certainly expect three or four posts on this subject and perhaps a letter in the mail.

For three guys who love Chesterton you simply don’t seem to know him that well.  He almost certainly would have embraced marriage equality.  

Chesterton supporting “marriage equality?”  You can’t reason with stupid.  This letter made me remember the Baronius Press Apologetics and Catholic Doctrine, by Archbishop Michael Sheehan, who writes:

[I]t is a waste of time to argue with one who refuses to listen, or with one who seriously defends an absurdity, who maintains, for example, that a great work of literature is a mere chance arrangement of words or that thieving and bribery are not vices.  Folly is mere imbecility, mere incapacity of understanding, while prejudice acts like a break on reason, impeding its natural movement. . .People of such views, however, are rare.  They suffer from some twist of the mind and are abnormal.

Is there a way to subscribe to the blog via email?  I think my husband would be interested in reading but he doesn’t use a “reader”– or “tweet”, so I think an email subscription would be the way to go, but I cannot find that option on the blog.

Not currently.  We will add that to our list of “fixes” for our June meet up.

What is your daily consumption of whiskey? I’m kind of worried of the health and psychological issues (i.e., possibility of addiction) regarding spirit consumption.

Not counting social events, perhaps one drink two nights a week.  I do not have a strict “drink limit” but it is difficult to find a quiet moment to enjoy a drink and a book with family and work commitments.  Speaking personally, I find that my palate deteriorates pretty quickly after the first drink so it becomes more difficult for me to truly appreciate a fine scotch on the second drink.  I have no problem with second and third martinis in social situations.  My rule with drinking is that I only do it when I am happy or contemplative — never when I am angry or upset.  I think this is a healthy rule to follow because it immediately alleviates some of the concerns of alcoholism.

For those Catholics who might have a problem with addiction, please consider making use of the resources available.  The Fathers of Mercy have a nice list of some of the many programs available for Catholic men suffering from addictions.  In particular, please consider asking your spiritual director about the Calix Society.

Is there objective reverence in the Mass?

In a recent interview, Cardinal Raymond Burke noted that “confusion” appears to be spreading among the faithful on many of the Church’s most controversial issues.  We are occasionally exposed to arguments from faithful Catholics who rationalize or attempt to mitigate the objective impiety of those from the Dark Ages of the Church.  From time to time we will repeat and respond to these arguments on this forum to help avoid further confusion.

The question has arisen as to whether objective piety and reverence exist in worship.  Those making the argument that no objective reverence exists state that each individual expresses reverence in a different fashion, and that what might be reverent for one individual might not be reverent for another.  For example, while a Traditionalist might find kneeling to be the most reverent manner of worship, someone born in the 1950s might consider standing to be the most reverent manner of worship.

The Church has never accepted this line of reasoning and has consistently affirmed the opposite.  While reverence might be expressed in slightly different fashions in different cultures, an objective sense of reverence is still manifested in the mores of each culture and is not a mere product of individual preference.  This reasoning has lead Cardinal Arinze to repeatedly state, for example, that while liturgical dance may be acceptable in some circumstances in African and Asian cultures, it is never acceptable in European or American cultures and that “the people discussing liturgical dance should spend that time praying the rosary.”

At its core, Mass is a community event where we come together for adoration, contrition, thanksgiving, and to petition the Lord for our needs.  Not everything is irreducible to individualism.  The Mass serves a higher purpose than the individual fulfillment that is the aim of “folk Masses” and the like.  The Church’s recognition that different cultures have different ways of expressing adoration, contrition, thanksgiving, and petitions is an acknowledgement of the human condition as it has come to be over a period of thousands of years.

In contrast, when an individual or parish seeks to “remake” cultural norms through folk worship, typically what is changed is how much reverence is owed to God and not whether an action is objectively more or less reverent.  Consider, for example, the practice of parishes that stand during the consecration.  The argument for standing during the consecration runs something like this:

American culture is different from the antiquated Western culture that gave rise to the practice of kneeling during consecration.  Whereas Catholics of old would kneel in the presence of royalty, and therefore kneel before the real presence of our Lord, Americans stand in the presence of political royalty, such as the President, and therefore should stand in the presence of our Lord.

It is easy to see how this logic is flawed.  Americans do not kneel before the President because the President is a public servant and not a king.  Instead, Americans stand to show respect for the Office of the President, which is charged with leading the country.   Kneeling is still objectively more reverent than standing, but in American culture standing when the President enters the room conveys both a sense of equality and respect.  The analogy is improper insofar as it is applied to worship of God because we should not presume a sense of equality with God.

So too the many deviations from Western liturgical norms can often, if not always, be reduced down to a confusion over the amount of reverence owed to God, not to whether something is or is not objectively reverent for each individual.

Good Catholic Goods: Portraits of Saints

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Today I would appreciate the opportunity to take a moment to alert our readers of the online Catholic art shop Portraits of Saints.  Portraits of Saints is a small, family-owned business that creates and sells artistic depictions of the most interesting saints and figures in Catholicism.  At $15 a piece, the prints are surprisingly affordable, and the shop generously donates 10% of sales to the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter to help support the training of new priests.

My wife and I first encountered Portraits of Saints when looking for a print of our daughter’s namesake for her nursery.  The portraits are classically done, vivid, and bring dignity to those they represent.  After purchasing a picture for our daughter, my wife returned to the store a few weeks later to buy me a picture of St. Jose Maria for my office, a picture every Catholic gentleman should have near his workplace.

The shop does an excellent job of providing images of both well-known and obscure saints.  Flicking through the images, several times I turned to the Catholic encyclopedia to learn the backstory of a more obscure saint.  Through the depiction of non-mainstream saints, the shop encourages its visitors to learn more about Catholic history.  I might add that men and women who are recognized by the Church for their practice of heroic virtue inevitably have extremely interesting backstories.  My one complaint might be that the portraits of the angels are a touch feminine, but on the whole the images certainly help me contemplate the heroic virtue that so many men and women have practiced before us.

My hope is that we can have the creator of Portraits of Saints on for an interview soon.

The Crumbling of Western Civilization: Gender Identity and Natural Law

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While many readers of this blog might consider themselves genuflexual, I daresay not one has even heard of the term “flexual.” Less timid than the bisexual, the flexual is one who is sexually attracted to two or more genders. The more blissfully sheltered amongst us might now be scratching their heads in confusion. “More than two genders?” Rest easy, Wesleyan University is here to enlighten you (and to give the flexual a full array of choices). This formerly Methodist institution of higher learning has just announced a new housing option for its student body:

Open House is a safe space for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Queer, Questioning, Flexual, Asexual, Genderfuck, Polyamourous [sic], Bondage/Disciple, Dominance/Submission, Sadism/Masochism (LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM) communities and for people of sexually or gender dissident communities. The goals of Open House include generating interest in a celebration of queer life from the social to the political to the academic. Open House works to create a Wesleyan community that appreciates the variety and vivacity of gender, sex and sexuality.

One wonders if the writer of this statement is himself polyamorous given his spelling error – the polyamorous are always trying to include too many U’s. Speaking of letters, while I appreciate Wesleyan’s helpful shorthand for referring to these students, LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM, I think I’ll refer to them simply as “men and women” for the duration of this post. As the western mind continues down the steep slope of dissolution, and as theories of gender and sexuality reach ever darker depths, we are tempted to throw up our hands and have a good laugh at the absurdity. But as Christians that laughter is unavoidably tinged with sorrow at seeing so many of our brothers and sisters, wounded by original sin, unable to assert their true identity as Men, both male and female, made in the image of God.

The ever expanding list of genders and sexual orientations bore me more than anything else. Sooner or later this nonsense loses its shock value. So I must give credit to Wesleyan for breaking through my jadedness and eliciting laughter when I read the above statement on their website. Well, not so much the statement on Open House as what followed immediately after the statement. This appears to be a standard warning included at the end of all their online descriptions of housing options on campus:

Lead Paint Disclosure — Housing built before 1978 may contain lead-based paint. Lead from paint, paint chips, and dust can pose health hazards if not taken care of properly. Lead exposure is especially harmful to young children and pregnant women. Before renting pre-1978 housing, landlords must disclose the presence of known lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards in the dwelling. Tenants must also receive a Federally approved pamphlet on lead poisoning prevention. The pamphlet may be viewed at: http://www.hud.gov/offices/lead/library/enforcement/pyf_eng.pdf. The University recognizes that any housing built prior to 1978 may contain lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards. By accepting your housing contract, you are affirming that you have reviewed the pamphlet Protect Your Family from Lead In Your Home.

In one breath Wesleyan declares proudly its provision for violent sexual activity, and in the next breath warns about the dangers of lead paint. “We hope you sadomasochists have a grand time inflicting pain on each other in perverse sexual encounters, just don’t eat the paint chips!” This probably offends a tiny group of fetishists out there who have replaced the post-coital cigarette with a handful of lead paint chips from the windowsill; and they’ll have protected minority status by next semester. I suppose we should be grateful that institutions like Wesleyan haven’t yet lost track of all our natural law inclinations.

Sanzio_01_Plato_AristotleWhat do we mean when we talk about our natural law inclinations? First we should make a quick sketch of what natural law is, and to do that we must look at it in relation to the eternal law. St. Thomas says, “the eternal law is nothing else than the type of Divine Wisdom, as directing all actions and movements.”  S.T. Ia IIae, Q. 93, a. 1.

In other words, the eternal law is how God knows the world to be, from the atom to the rock to the tree to man. Put even more simply, the eternal law is God, because his knowledge is not something other than himself. Already we are talking about God in terms of the Creator who governs His creation according to His perfect knowledge, so we need to account for the participation of his creatures in that divine governance. That is what natural law is: creaturely participation in the eternal law. There is nothing in creation that is exempt from that law, and when a free creature misuses his freedom to step outside of that law he surely does not find happiness. The reason is because humans are inclined to the natural ends that fulfill us on a purely human level, to say nothing of the graciously superadded end of beatific vision.

Now we get right down to it. What are the natural law inclinations that we have by our very nature as men? They are the inclinations to life, coupling, and truth. St. Thomas arranges them according to what we have in common with all substances, with animal substances, and with rational substances. To paraphrase the Common Doctor very roughly, like all substances man seeks to preserve his existence; like the animals he pursues the goods of sexual intercourse and the fruits of that coupling; as a rational being man is inclined to know the truth about God and the truth about himself as a social being.  S.T. Ia IIae, Q. 94, a. 2.

In this setting human acts are virtuous when they are directed to man’s natural ends, and vicious when they act contrary to them. This is no mere moralizing; it doesn’t take much to see that acting against inclinations to life, coupling, and truth does not lead to human flourishing. Suicide doesn’t fulfill you, the misuse of sex doesn’t serve the full purpose of those energies to propagate the species, and human relationships break down with deceitfulness.

We must remember that man’s participation in the natural law is not angelic; we participate as Titian: Adam och Eva.creatures comprised of both body and soul. That body is an instrument of the soul by which the soul exercises its powers of intellect and will (think truth and love, with the necessary condition of life).

What implications does that have? It means that the natural law is written into our very body, inclining it to the goods God has created for it. So when the man with same-sex attraction claims exemption because he says his inclination is not to women, but to other men, we can easily refer the question back to his own body.

We see the natural law, the proper ordering of human nature as created by God, embodied in his own flesh: man is made for woman, and woman for man.  No other combination brings sexual expression to its obvious fulfillment, the conception of new human life (even if the act be distorted and mechanized in a laboratory).

Original sin has made our passions unruly, and so our desires can be both dis-ordered and inordinate. This sad truth applies as much to the man who engages in sodomy as the lecherous man who won’t be faithful to his wife.  It applies to the drunk, the prideful, the liar, and the cheat.  In other words, we are all affected because we are all sinners.

Some of those sins which act contrary to life, coupling, and truth have more immediate effects.  The sin of the glutton who eats too much red meat may take decades to kill him, while the lunatic who eats the steak and the steak knife is likely to face more immediate consequences.

It seems this is the likely reason why educated people, like the administrators of a college, will warn against consuming lead paint chips in the same statement that provides a permanent location for men and women to engage in dangerous sexual activity.  The consequences of bad sex aren’t always immediate, but the pleasure is.  So how are we genuflexuals to respond to all this ugliness?  Go to Confession, root sin out of our own lives, and do prayer, penance, and fasting for those who will not.

Irish Whiskey Review: Teeling Small Batch

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The Teeling family started making whiskey in Ireland in 1782, when Walter Teeling founded a distillery in Dublin.  In the 1980s, John Teeling bought the rights to Irish whiskey brands such as Tyrconnell (which we’ve reviewed before) and made these whiskeys in a distillery on the Cooley Peninsula. Jim Beam bought the Cooley Distillery in 2012, but Jack Teeling (who owns Teeling today with his brother, Stephen) convinced Jim Beam to sell them several thousand barrels of aged whiskey from the distillery, which gave the new family-named brand a head start in creating their first batches.  The Teeling distillery, which will open to visitors in 2015, is the first new distillery in Dublin in 125 years.

The whiskey we are reviewing today is Teeling’s Small Batch, which is aged in bourbon barrels and finished in rum casks, making it, like all of Teeling’s whiskeys, more unique and interesting than others in Ireland.

Type: Irish Whiskey
Proof: 98
MSRP: $40

Color: Autumn Straw
Aroma: Honey, salt, mist, and notes of pear. Very light.
Palate: Strong, a bit spicy, with floral and mild citrus notes.

Andrew: Of all the Irish whiskeys I’ve had, this might be my favorite. Teeling is lighter and less harsh than many Irish whiskeys, and brings a unique and fresh flavor profile to a genre of whiskey which we have historically found rather uninteresting.
Michael: I think Teeling has the most potential of any Irish whiskey we’ve reviewed thus far.  It seems like there is some room for the brand to turn out a more refined product over the next several years, but given that this particular project only began in 2012, color me impressed.

Verdict: Jupiter, the 6th level of Paradiso.

BPI: Golden Rose

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Halfway through Lent the Church offers us a day of joyful respite as we prepare for the final few weeks leading up to Easter. On this Sunday, the priest wears rose vestments, and the Introit begins, “Lætare Jerusalem”. It is also traditionally on this day that the Holy Father blesses the Golden Rose, a sacred, gold ornament given to significant churches or shrines, or distinguished persons such as Catholic kings and queens loyal to the Holy See.

Pope Innocent III spoke about the significance of blessing this ornament on Lætare Sunday:

As Lætare Sunday, the day set apart for the function, represents love after hate, joy after sorrow, and fullness after hunger, so does the rose designate by its colour, odour, and taste, love, joy, and satiety respectively.

One of the many notable recipients of the Golden Rose was Servant of God, Isabella the Catholic, Queen of Castile and Leon, who received the blessed ornament in 1493 from Pope Alexander VI. Queen Isabella’s cause for canonization was opened in 1974

Since Pope Paul VI the Golden Rose has been given only to churches or shrines, and the last individual to receive the ornament was Charlotte, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg (from Pope Venerable Pius XII in 1956).

The beauty of the rose is a sign of Christ’s splendor and majesty, and yet the thorns that surround it remind us of His Passion. On this Lætare Sunday, the rose vestments and the tradition of the blessing of the Golden Rose give us a preview of the joy of Easter which is fast approaching.

Will an End to Clerical Celibacy Save the Church?

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In the modern day, where seemingly everything is possible, some quarters of the catholic population are suggesting that an end to priestly celibacy is the cure to what ails the Church.  The delusional remnant of the dark ages of the Church envisions the end of clerical celibacy as leading to a bounty of vocations, a revolution in pastoral care, and the key to unlocking the “gifts” modern times have to offer.  Like many suggestions from fifty years ago, if implemented, and end to priestly celibacy will almost certain have the opposite effect, weakening the Church rather than strengthening Her, and leaving Her sons and daughters without the strong leaders Christ intended intended them to have.

A few points for consideration:

1.  The current number of priests is more than able to sustain the Catholic population. 

Using statistics from the United States for demonstrative purposes, in 1965 there were 58,632 total priests for a Catholic population of 46.3 million.  Regular Mass attendance was 55%.  If Mass attendance is proportionate to Catholics in good standing (i.e. Catholics who practice the Faith and do not identify as part of the religion for mere cultural reasons), then there was one priest for every 434 Catholics in good standing.

In comparison, in 2014, there were 38,275 priests for a Catholic population of 66.6 million.  Regular Mass attendance is 24%.  Again using regular Mass attendance as a proxy for Catholics in good standing, we find that there is one priest for every 418 Catholics.  In other words, the Catholic today should have greater — not less — access to the Sacraments and pastoral care than his father or grandfather had.

2.  Married priests will almost certainly decrease the quality of pastoral care in parishes. 

A married man cannot study, pray, and provide pastoral care to parishioners in the same manner a celibate cleric can.  Families are extremely time intensive ventures.  So are parishes and preparation for the priesthood.

Married men will not obtain the same formation at seminary that unmarried men currently enjoy.  A man with a family cannot immerse himself in his studies, formation, and prayer life to the same extent that a celibate man can.  It is simply a matter of the number of hours in a day.  Men who enter seminary in the married state will also likely require careers to provide for the members of the family, potentially opening the door to a “night-seminary” scenario.  On the whole, married priests will almost certainly be less prepared for the priesthood and less able to provide pastoral care to parishioners than their celibate counterparts.

3.  If the practice of clerical celibacy would prevent a man from becoming a priest, then he is unfit for the priesthood under any circumstances. 

Men with deep character flaws are unfit for the priesthood.  It is not a flaw for a priest to have natural inclinations for a woman; but a man who cannot accept and fulfill his vocation (enter seminary and become a priest) because of an unnatural attachment to the hope of someday having relations with a woman has a deep character flaw and is therefore unfit for the priesthood.

Almost by definition, therefore, those who say that a married priesthood will produce more vocations (i.e. men who would not otherwise become priests) are seeking to convince the Church to ordain to the priesthood men with deep character flaws.

4.  A married priesthood will not prevent pedophilia. 

The argument that a celibate priesthood leads to pedophilia is an argument attractive only to those who the Creator did not grace with intelligence.  There is no evidence that celibacy leads to pedophilia.  The Catholic Church embraces celibacy for millions of young men who live outside the married state — millions of young men who shockingly lead rational, sane, existences even without relations.

Musical Chairs: Swapping Lord of the Dance for Panis Angelicus

It is our pleasure to introduce a new series to the blog: Musical Chairs.  We hatched the idea for this series a few weeks ago with the basic premise that it would allow us to explore a host of reverent, and in many cases ancient, liturgical hymns largely forgotten by modern parishes.  The idea is to lightly mock a “hymn” hatched in the dark ages of liturgical “music” (1960s-80s) and suggest a fitting alternative.  Michael will do the mocking and Andrew will suggest song worthy of the Mass.

Michael: In our first post we suggest swapping Lord of the Dance with Panis Angelicus.  The Lord of the Dance, which is not approved for Catholic worship, was written in 1963 by Sydney Carter.  Carter drew the song’s melody from the American shaker song Simple Gifts.  The lyrics of the song were inspired by the Gnostic Acts of John, polytheism, and the Hindu god Shiva.

In the Gnostic Acts of John, Jesus is reported as leading His disciples in a dance shortly before His death.  While not historically accurate, the dance symbolizes the mistaken Gnostic belief that Jesus did not die on the cross because He either (1) never took human form or (2) “switched” with other physical matter, perhaps another person, so that it only appeared that He was being crucified when in reality another person or other matter took His place on the cross.

Carter’s work also presupposes that there are many gods and many paths to heaven.  In other words, the song was inspired by polytheism.  Carter himself wrote about The Lord of the Dance that:

I see Christ as the incarnation of the piper who is calling us. He dances that shape and pattern which is at the heart of our reality. By Christ I mean not only Jesus; in other times and places, other planets, there may be other Lords of the Dance. But Jesus is the one I know of first and best. I sing of the dancing pattern in the life and words of Jesus.

Finally, the song is inspired by the imagine of the dancing Hindu god Shiva, a statue of which sat on Carter’s desk as he composed the lyrics.  Shiva compounds the Gnostic influences of the song because in Hindu tradition Shiva is “limitless, transcendent, unchanging and formless.”

These inspirations caused the Carter to remark that “I did not think the churches would like [The Lord of the Dance] at all. I thought many people would find it pretty far flown, probably heretical and anyway dubiously Christian.”  “Dubiously Christian” appears to be a quite charitable characterization.  “Polytheistic and certainly heretical” would constitute a much fairer description.

Andrew: Panis Angelicus is the sixth stanza of the Angelic Doctor’s hymn for Matins of Corpus Christi, Sacris Solemniis. The entire hymn is a beautiful expression of faith in, praise of, and love for Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. The hymn finds its place alongside two other hymns Saint Thomas wrote for the feast of Corpus Christi: Verbum Supernum Prodiens for Lauds (its well known fifth verse begins “O Salutaris Hostia”), and Pange Lingua Gloriosi for both Vespers.

Federico Barocci's "The Institution of the Eucharist"

Federico Barocci’s “The Institution of the Eucharist”

The penultimate verse of Sacris Solemniis begins “Panis Angelicus” and is often set aside and sung on its own.

Panis angelicus
fit panis hominum;
dat panis caelicus
figuris terminum;
O res mirabilis:
manducat Dominum
pauper, servus et humilis.

Lo! the Angelic Bread
Feedeth the sons of men:
Figures and types are fled
Never to come again.
O what a wondrous thing!
Lowly and poor are fed,
Banqueting on their Lord and King.

In 1872 the Belgian Catholic composer César-Auguste-Jean-Guillaume-Hubert Franck put these beautiful words to the music that we often associate with the hymn today in his Messe à trois voix, Opus 12. Combining a tenor, harp, cello, and organ, Franck attempts to do justice to the immense beauty and mystery conveyed by the prayer of Saint Thomas.

There is little reason to choose a modern “hymn” over a beautiful rendition of Panis Angelicus, a hymn given to us by the Angelic Doctor.

The Catholic Gentleman: Risk

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IMG_0324Risk is a game every Catholic Gentleman should know how to play.  Released by Parker Brothers in 1959, the game of global conquest is a genuine piece of Americana from the era.  From its simplistic rules to the antiquated, 1940s map of the world, the game is perfect for any gathering of gentlemen.

The rules of Risk are very simple.  Each player is allotted a certain number of territories and armies.  At the beginning of each turn, a player is given reinforcing armies equal to the number of territories he holds divided by three.  Bonus armies of various amounts are given to players who hold entire continents.  Each player has an incentive to be fairly aggressive as odds favor the attacker.

IMG_0330Generally speaking, attackers may roll up to three dice while defenders may roll up to two.  The lowest attacking roll is discarded and the two remaining attacking die are compared to the two defending die (highest v. highest and lowest v. lowest).  Tie goes to the defender.  Each player must remove one army for every match-up lost and the battle continues until either the territory is taken or the attacker gives up.

At this point I should say a brief word about statistics.  As schoolchildren we would frequently debate whether the attacker or defender has the better odds.  The attacker has an extra die but the defender wins all ties.  In this scenario, the defender will have to remove two armies a little over 37% of the time.  Each player will have to remove one army nearly 34% of the time.  The attacker must remove two armies nearly 30% of the time.  It pays to be aggressive when larger battles seem imminent.

The true fun with the game Risk, however, has nothing to do with statistics.  It is the intrigue that occurs between battles.  Groups of weaker players gang up on stronger ones to preserve global balance.  Alliances are made solemnly and broken frivolously.  Friendships come to the table strong and lie dead on the floor by the end of the night.  In other words, a good time is had by all.

If I was to pair Risk with a whisky, I think I would have to choose Yamazaki, a traditionally made product with a world of flavor, perfect for a night of dice throwing, laughter, and great conversation with friends.

Blog Updates: Twitter and List of Reviewed Whiskies

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We are pleased to announce two new updates to the blog format.  First, on the left sidebar we have fixed the twitter function so that readers may see our recent tweets, follow us, and tweet at us from one location. Second, Andrew has painstakingly indexed all of the whiskies we have reviewed since the creation of Whiskey Catholic into a “Whiskey Reviews” page, found near the top right of the screen.

Our readers will be happy to know that in the course of indexing our past reviews we found quite a backlog of reviews ready for publication, which we will release after Lent is over.  We will only produce one review during Lent — an Irish whiskey on St. Patrick’s Day.