Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Catholic Worship - "not a syllogism, but a poem" H.L. Mencken - The Faithful Skeptic

"Let the reverend fathers go back to Bach. If they keep on spoiling poetry and spouting ideas, the day will come when some extra-bombastic deacon will astound humanity and insult God by proposing to translate the liturgy into American, that all the faithful may be convinced by it." H.L. Mencken - Holy Writ

Last night, I read H.L. Mencken's article Holy Writ.

This morning, I checked my sump pump. Everything is A-Ok! Thanks be to God and Zoeller Cast Iron Quality!

I know what packing a pump is, but I can not pack a pump. I know who the Achaeans are in Homer's Odyssey, but knowing that they were the Greave Wearing Greeks pitted agin the Sons of Troy does not get a pump packed.

First of all who would pack a pump? Anyone who might need a fluid sealing pump in a building or industry. A pump that conveys water, oil, or anti-freeze needs to be packed in order that the seal be tight and thus fluid flow like a river.

A great number of my family know how to pack a pump ( male and female; many of their spouses, or immediate family members have heard the term. As children, it was an accepted part of the mystery of labor, just as the Transfiguration, Consecration, and Pentecost ring recognition in the soul of the collective Catholic Faith of the family. The Faith is practiced in ritual - we participate in Mass. The priest officiates - he transforms bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ and we all consume at the hands of the priest and his Deacons and Eucharistic Ministers. A skilled tradesman understands that fluids must be conducted to essential moving parts and reservoirs in order to heat,cool and transfer fluids as required. The arcana of the packing of the pump is understood by me and accepted on faith, having participated in its rituals. I am no pump priest. I screw things up, by not paying attention, taking short cuts, or not having the proper set of tools.

Likewise, Vatican II turned the pumps over to screw-ups. By that I mean - liturgy since 1966 has been erased: The Word of God and Worship is amateur hour. Priests are preachers and social engineers. Really. The Mystery of Faith? What Mystery? All can and should be known - ask any Kennedy Clan member, or cradle Catholic suburban columnist. Faith is fashion.

What has fashioned faith has been skepticism -"Who's to Say?" The Who's To Sayers are the High Priests of Dialog. We must dialog. Always?

What I know could be fit into a gnats-ass. I know that I can not pack a pump. I my Zoeller Sump Pump looses its seal and goes out - I replace the pump with a spare and take the Cast-Iron Zoeller to be re-packed.

I attend Mass officiated by a priest who understands liturgy is mystery and prayer and ritual must match the sublime nature of Transubstantiation - "that wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the Body, and of the whole substance of the wine into the Blood ."

For Centuries, the Transubstatiation was celebrated by the greatest music and poetry Mankind was capable of producing. Vatican II cashed that in for "Sons of God/Hear His Holy Word . . . gather round the table of the Lord" and other Sesame Street ditties. Oh, Hell, Yeah! Kick up stool, Cuz! Jesus is pourin'! That Man from Gal-A-Lee!

Prior to that a Ugandan could go to the universal Mass in County Kerry, Stausbourg, Gooli-Barranga, Queensland, and the Solomon Islands. Latin was debunked. I still find myself transported from the gangways and alleys of Chicago to a much better place than a liturgical Fred's Dance Barn, with a Latin Missa Papae Marcelli.

Funny, so did HL Mencken, a Baltimore born and baptized German Catholic who became the icon of American Skepticism. Mencken wrote this -

The Latin Church, which I constantly find myself admiring, despite its frequent astounding imbecilities, has always kept clearly before it the fact that religion is not a syllogism, but a poem. It is accused by Protestant dervishes of withholding the Bible from the people. To some extent this is true; to the same extent the church is wise; again to the same extent it is prosperous. Its toying with ideas, in the main, have been confined to its clergy, and they have commonly reduced the business to a harmless play of technicalities—the awful concepts of Heaven and Hell brought down to the level of a dispute of doctors in long gowns, eager only to dazzle other doctors. Its greatest theologians remain unknown to 99% of its adherents. Rome, indeed, has not only preserved the original poetry in Christianity; it has also made capital additions to that poetry—for example, the poetry of the saints, of Mary, and of the liturgy itself. A solemn high mass must be a thousand times as impressive, to a man with any genuine religious sense in him, as the most powerful sermon ever roared under the big-top by a Presbyterian auctioneer of God. In the face of such overwhelming beauty it is not necessary to belabor the faithful with logic; they are better convinced by letting them alone.

Preaching is not an essential part of the Latin ceremonial. It was very little employed in the early church, and I am convinced that good effects would flow from abandoning it today, or, at all events, reducing it to a few sentences, more or less formal. In the United States the Latin brethren have been seduced by the example of the Protestants, who commonly transform an act of worship into a puerile intellectual exercise; instead of approaching God in fear and wonder these Protestants settle back in their pews, cross their legs, and listen to an ignoramus try to prove that he is a better theologian than the Pope. This folly the Romans now slide into. Their clergy begin to grow argumentative, doctrinaire, ridiculous. It is a pity. A bishop in his robes, playing his part in the solemn ceremonial of the mass, is a dignified spectacle, even though he may sweat freely; the same bishop, bawling against Darwin half an hour later, is seen to be simply an elderly Irishman with a bald head, the son of a respectable saloon-keeper in South Bend, Ind. Let the reverend fathers go back to Bach. If they keep on spoiling poetry and spouting ideas, the day will come when some extra-bombastic deacon will astound humanity and insult God by proposing to translate the liturgy into American, that all the faithful may be convinced by it.

Mencken knew that Everyperson is no pump packer. Why pretend.

Pump packing prevents leakages. There are four main factors that affect its functionality: quality, packing material, mechanical condition and installation and lubrication. Poor quality materials may damage equipment. Packing material should correspond to working conditions. Good mechanical condition of equipment ensures packing's longevity. Proper installation and lubrication ensure efficient operation of the pump. Basic packing types are: flax (low-quality), non-asbestos (medium quality, common in irrigation pumps), Ameri-lon (high quality), GFO (for industrial pumps), chemical resistant (high quality) and high-temperature (high quality).

InstructionsThings You'll Need:
Protective gloves
Packing hooks
Emery cloth
Pencil and paper
Follower - N.B.

Get what you need for every
project at HomeDepot.com
Use packing hooks to remove the old packing. Do it carefully to prevent damage to the shaft.

Clean the shaft and stuffing box with Emery cloth.

Inspect the shaft for damage. If there is any damage, replace the parts in accordance with manufacturer's directions.

Measure the shaft and the stuffing box bore diameters with a meter, and write down the dimensions.

Subtract the shaft diameter from the bore diameter, and divide the result by two to get cross-section size. Write the size down. Consult the measures when choosing packing materials.

Cut the packing into rings with a mandrel. The mandrel should have same dimensions as the shaft.

Lubricate the rings. Use a clean cloth and a lubricant to do this.

Insert the first ring into the stuffing box using the mandrel. Repeat the procedure for all rings.

Install the follower with your hands. The follower is an oval metal component with a hole in the middle. The hole accepts the shaft. Follower's purpose is to transmit shaft motions to valve motions.

Start the pump and watch for leakages. Tighten the bolts to decrease leakages to a minimum, but do not stop them completely. That may damage the package. Pump package prevents leaking, and keeps waste out of water.

Reduce the leakages gradually during the first hour or two after installation of the packing material.

1 comment:

Jim Bowman said...