The Grand Harmony

posted by Kaihsu Tai on September 12th, 2012

By chance, a copy of Lee Teng-hui’s The Road to Democracy: Taiwan’s Pursuit of Identity (1999; ISBN 4569606512) came into my possession. In the book, a great deal is made of the former president’s being a Christian. From the Afterword:

… I was able to embrace Christianity because it allowed me to deal with the inner contradictions I had previously struggled in vain to resolve. The moment that is addressed by Christianity is what one might call “reversal of the order of the self and the other.” The most important aspect of this teaching is embracing the God within each of us. By recognizing the inner spirit of God that forgives others through profound love, our tendency to self-centeredness dissipates, and the spirit of love and care to others flourishes.

While I can agree with him on this, I disagree with him on another point. As Lee’s 1996 electoral rival Peng Ming-min put it: Those who risked their lives to cross the Formosa Strait from the continent in earlier centuries … did not do it to extend the territory of China, but to find a new way of life.

Regardless of these disputes, this is really an excuse to post the following ancient Chinese socialist classic, with which Sun Yat-sen and the gentlemen mentioned above could perhaps all agree. It is a text which many of my schoolmates would know by heart. From the Book of Rites at the chapter on ceremonial usages, English translation by James Legge:


When the Grand course was pursued, a public and common spirit ruled all under the sky; they chose men of talents, virtue, and ability; their words were sincere, and what they cultivated was harmony. Thus men did not love their parents only, nor treat as children only their own sons. A competent provision was secured for the aged till their death, employment for the able-bodied, and the means of growing up to the young. They showed kindness and compassion to widows, orphans, childless men, and those who were disabled by disease, so that they were all sufficiently maintained. Males had their proper work, and females had their homes. (They accumulated) articles (of value), disliking that they should be thrown away upon the ground, but not wishing to keep them for their own gratification. (They laboured) with their strength, disliking that it should not be exerted, but not exerting it (only) with a view to their own advantage. In this way (selfish) schemings were repressed and found no development. Robbers, filchers, and rebellious traitors did not show themselves, and hence the outer doors remained open, and were not shut. This was (the period of) what we call the Grand Union.

posted by Kaihsu Tai in Books, Catechism, China, Hagiography | on September 12th, 2012 | Permanent Link to “The Grand Harmony” | Comments Off on The Grand Harmony

Carl Paulson, RIP

posted by Mike on July 2nd, 2012

Carl Paulson, legendary stained glass artist and Catholic Worker, has died.

Carl Paulson
Carl Paulson and Worcester Bishop Robert J. McManus at the 2008 Catholic Worker National Gathering in Worcester. Carl was recognized at the event as “the oldest Catholic Worker.”

The obituary below was sent in by Ken Paulson.
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Näin sanoi Minna Canth

posted by Kaihsu Tai on June 27th, 2012

Kuinkahan kauan ihmiset sokeudessa vaeltavat ja antavat kirkon ja pappisvallan sekoittaa pois totisen puhtaan uskonnon. Jospahan tulisi, jospahan tulisi toinen Kristus raikkaamaan maailmaa taas. Ja tällä kertaa se saisi olla nainen!

Just how long will people in their blindness roam and let the church and the clergy confound true, pure religion? What if, just what if another Christ were to come and revivify the world! And this time as a woman!

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posted by Kaihsu Tai in Creative Resistance, Finland, Hagiography, Heresy | on June 27th, 2012 | Permanent Link to “Näin sanoi Minna Canth” | Comments Off on Näin sanoi Minna Canth

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

posted by Mike on March 17th, 2012

It’s an annual tradition here at Pie & Coffee to repost this video of “The Real Saint Patrick.”

In today’s Give Us This Day essay on St. Patrick, Robert Ellsberg writes:

Patrick’s thirty years as a wandering bishop are the stuff of legend. He is justly honored as the patron of Ireland. But it is well to remember that Patrick was the victim of Irish injustice before he became the symbol of Irish pride. His spiritual conquest of Ireland followed the prior victory of love over the anger and bitterness in his own heart.

Rocco Palmo covers the feast day in the Saint Patrick’s Day Capital of the World, New York City.

This week in Worcester Magazine, Scott Schaeffer-Duffy noted it’s the 15th (I think) anniversary of the local Catholic Workers being banned from the St. Patrick’s Day parade:

As a proud Irish-American, Worcesterite, and avid runner, I am delighted to see Worcester’s Saint Patrick’s Day Parade grow with the addition of the Celtic 5K Road Race. As a member of the Saints Francis & Thérèse Catholic Worker community, I still do not understand why the Parade Committee banned us from carrying an icon of the saint with his words, “Killing cannot be with Christ.” That banner was carried in two parades prior to it being banned, and the Parade Committee gave us the Spirit of Peace trophy in 1994 and Book of Kells Award in 1995. The idea that excluding Saint Patrick’s call for nonviolence makes the parade, which includes many military units, more “fun,” as the current Committee Chair suggested in WoMag, is sad, especially in the context of Ireland’s long bloody struggle and our own wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Irish winner of the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize, Mairead Corrigan Maguire, joined many others in appealing unsuccessfully to the Worcester Parade Committee to welcome our banner. It still mystifies me why they do not.

(This banner is still held at the side of the parade, and various local dignitaries still stop by for a kind word. This St. Patrick’s Day politics is weird stuff.)

Also, here’s the only known audio of Catholic Worker co-founder Peter Maurin. He’s reading his essay “Makers of Europe,” also known as “When the Irish Were Irish.”

Cardinal Newman talk at Worcester Catholic Worker

posted by Mike on May 15th, 2011

The Significance of Cardinal Newman

Come see a slide presentation by Mike True on the recently beatified John Henry Cardinal Newman, Catholic convert, theologian, and extraordinary voice for conscience and faith.

Wednesday, May 18: 7:00 pm

SS. Francis and Therese Catholic Worker
52 Mason Street, Worcester, MA 508 753-3588
Refreshments to follow. Free and open to the public.

Mike True, a professor emeritus of English at Assumption College, is a devoted admirer and student of Newman.

Bernard E. Gilgun: Worcester’s Catholic Worker Priest

posted by Michael Boover on April 26th, 2011

Father Bernie Gilgun, at age 84, quietly breathed his earthly last in the company of family and friends at the Grenon ICU Center of the University of Massachusetts Hospital in Worcester in the early afternoon of Easter Monday, April 25, 2011. Father Gilgun was widely known for his holiness, his preaching, and his love of the poor. His loss is acutely felt by his followers who viewed him as wise priest, expert leader in prayer, and teacher.
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Father Bernard Gilgun, RIP

posted by Mike on April 25th, 2011

Just got word that Father Bernie Gilgun, Catholic Worker and priest, has died. He had suffered a stroke over the weekend.

Here’s a remembrance from Michael Boover. There are many older Pie and Coffee items about him.

Father Bernie Gilgun prepares for mass
Father Bernie prepares for mass, 2006

Update: The wake will be on Thursday, April 28, 2011 from 3:00-7:00 PM, and the Mass of Christian Burial on Friday, April 29, 2011 at 11:00 AM, both at Saint Anne’s Church in Shrewsbury.


508 #137: Jeff Barnard

posted by Mike on December 3rd, 2010

This week’s show is a “highlight reel” of the late Jeff Barnard’s appearances on the show. Produced by Mike Benedetti and Nicole. Co-hosted by Brendan Melican. Featuring Jacob Berendes, Kevin Ksen, Anne Lewenberg, Nat Needle, Bruce Russell, and Scott Zoback. Like the episodes from which it was compiled, this show has a tremendous amount of complaining about the newspaper.

This program will be cablecast on WCCA TV13 in Worcester at 7pm tonight, and on the homepage at

Audio: mp3 link, other formats, feed

Video: Downloads and other formats

Contact info.

Clips from episodes 10, 19, 37, 38, 40, 42, 46, 47, 50, 51, 100, 114, and 131.
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Jeff Barnard, RIP

posted by Mike on November 28th, 2010

Jeff Barnard: December 8, 1948- November 28, 2010

Just got word that my friend Jeff Barnard passed away today after a long battle with cancer.

Like so many newcomers to Worcester, I first got to know Jeff though his writing on Wormtown Taxi. We became friends after many a Friday morning talking for hours on the phone for the 508 show, and after all-too-few hours talking face-to-face over a coffee or a beer.

I will remember his generosity, eloquence, and good humor.

We will miss, you, Jeff.

Dan Dick and Me: The Old Rascal with a Good Old “catholic” Cause and the Young Catholic Rascal Who Admired Him

posted by Michael Boover on August 5th, 2010

Daniel Eggleston Dick, a good old union man of eighty-six well lived years, died in the early afternoon of July 26th surrounded by his large family and a few close friends in Worcester, Massachusetts. I was blessed to be among those gathered at Dan’s bedside when he breathed his last. What a gift and privilege it was to be with him and his family at this most sacred time. This was a special grace that I had not anticipated receiving and that I will never forget. That’s why we call grace “amazing” I suppose. It is sheer gift and shows up as a surprise.
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