Thursday, October 10, 2019

The Tradition and Etiquette of Calling Cards

10 October 2019 (ORCNS) - The calling card, or visiting card as it is sometimes known, is almost a lost custom in modern society. Yet, like the oaks that have seen kings and wars and plagues come and go, the calling card refuses to die. The calling card, distinct from the business card, is left when paying social calls. It has quite a few other uses that are part of its centuries-old tradition as well. Even in today’s rushed, sterile society…
and perhaps even more so because of the modern hurried, faceless environment…the calling card remains the mark of a lady or gentleman of class and distinction. To use calling cards is to have self-respect and respect for others. It is a reminder to those you encounter that you are thinking of them, despite your busy life. No lady or gentleman should leave the house without calling cards.

On a business card, one normally sees the name of the company, perhaps a logo, the individual’s name, and a full array of contact information. By comparison, the calling card is quite plain. Most traditionally, cards are white, with the name printed in black ink in block text or a script (rarely if ever should “Old English” or overly fancy fonts be used). There ends the required inclusions. Some sort of small heraldic emblem may optionally be placed in the corner or the top center. An address may be put in the bottom right corner, but this is not obligatory and typically superfluous. Telephone numbers and email addresses ought also to be avoided, but especially today they are often included. Most traditionally, an individual writes the address or telephone or internet information by hand at the time that the card is presented…and only when those pieces of information are needed. In any case, the bottom left should be left blank.

Style of the Name on the Calling Card

A calling card should indicate how you should be introduced by, for example, a butler or valet. So, names should be written out in full. Middle names may be omitted or abbreviated as needed. Other than Mr. and Mrs., titles should be spelled out except where space is a concern. For nobles and royals with styles such as Excellency, and Highness, these are typically omitted, as they are generally “implied” by what is on the card.

Boys who do not have titles of nobility simply have their name inscribed in the center of the card. They may adopt “Mr.” upon reaching the age of majority. Girls who do not have a title of nobility use “Miss” until they marry. The modern female business title of “Ms.” has no place on a social calling card.

Married women of gentlemen have their names inscribed as “Mrs.” followed by the full name of their husband. The possible variations for the wives of knights and nobles are too numerous to discuss in detail here. However, a good rule of thumb is that the wife’s card follows the same general style of the husband’s. This varies by the customs of the country of origin of the title and should generally not vary according to the country of residence or visitation.

Names should also never exceed a single line. Titles and, on occasion, offices such as Mayor or Governor may be written on another line or lines below the name as needed. Ultimately good taste and functionality determine the final layout of the card.

Exceptions exist, of course. For example, U.S. military officers, who are often expected to have calling cards, have a specific set of rules to follow. For junior officers, the name is in the center of the card, with the rank and branch of the service in the bottom right. For senior officers, the rank is placed before the name on the same line, with the branch in the bottom right. General and Flag officers may write “General” or “Admiral” with only their last name in the center of the card if they choose.

Joint Spouse Calling Cards

Married couples may also have calling cards. These may be used, along with the couple’s individual cards, when paying a formal visit. The joint card may also be used for gift enclosures. Joint cards are inscribed as “Mr. and Mrs. John Smith” or in a similar fashion for those with noble titles.

Use of Calling Cards

Calling cards are used, of course, when paying a formal call on someone. In the most formal circumstances, an attendant will take the card of the visitor to the host. It is also used to announce the visitor. When the host is not at home (which may mean simply “not receiving visitors”), a calling card says “I was here.”

When one receives an invitation that did not say r.s.v.p. or have a reply card, and one cannot attend, it is customary and polite to send one’s calling card by post to arrive on the day of the event or shortly before.

Cards may also be used as gift enclosures, to express condolences, or to give congratulations. They can also be used to convey information or to send/leave very brief notes.

In cases where one is leaving a card for a good friend with whom one is on a first name basis, one may cross out the parts of the name on the calling card except for the first name. Or, if there is a nickname, the entire name can be crossed out and the nickname written by hand above it. This is by no means obligatory. Notes may also be written on the front and/or back of the card.

Those Curious Initials in the
Bottom Left Corner

To make communication easier, a system of abbreviations in French developed over the years. These are written by hand in the bottom left corner of the card…which is why that corner should always be left blank in the printing process!

p.r. (pour remercier) 
To indicate thanks. (Should never take the place of a proper letter/note of thanks.)

p.f. (pour feliciter) 
To express congratulations.

p.c. (pour condoler) 
To express sympathy.

p.p.c. (pour prendre congé) 
Used when taking leave for the season or permanently. Though these may be left or sent as an advance notice, they should never be used solely in place of a formal call.

p.p. (pour presenter) 
To present another person. This should be accompanied by the card
of the person being presented.

To wish a Happy New Year.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

The Church and the Death Penalty -- Modern & Historical

8 October 2019 (ORCNS) - The death penalty is certainly a controversial topic in Catholicism today. Unlike some issues, though, there is actually plenty of room for disagreement. Good Catholics may hold divergent views on this topic as long as they are well-grounded in doctrine and theology, with a love of humanity in the model of Christ. As Pope St. John Paul II expressed, there is little if any actual need for the death penalty today. However, this was not always the practice of the Church during the different circumstances that existed in the past. Though obviously no element of the Church today imposes a death sentence, it was a different matter in earlier periods of Church history.

Reigning from the late 1800s to just after the turn of the 20th century, Pope Leo XIII stated that the church possessed the right to impose the death penalty and that it was just to impose it for offenses such as spreading heresies, for the damage to the soul is by far greater than anything a murderer could ever do. However, Leo also made it clear that the Church in her mercy, following the example of Christ, does not actually impose such a penalty or promote it being imposed. That was just over 100 years in the past, which, in the span of Church history, is not that long ago. Even with Leo's justification of the death penalty as a right of the Church, it was clear that its ultimate purpose was for the good of souls, and it was further made very clear that the Holy Church is merciful and would not and should not actually impose such a penalty or promote it being imposed.
Torquemada, Grand Inquisitor

Earlier in church history came an institution that enemies of the church, Protestants, and indeed modern society have all continually slandered. Truly, the Spanish Inquisition is the subject of much "fake news," both centuries ago and still to this day. If one actually considers the reality of what the Grand Inquisitor Tomás de Torquemada actually did, it paints a different picture. He was in fact known as a man of great piety and caring for others, and he softened the whole interrogation method so that it was quite mild by the standards of the day. And, the conditions of interrogation were highly controlled and limited, unlike those of the civil state. As Blessed Fulton Sheen pointed out some years ago, the church has vices, but at any given time in history, the church's vices are far better and far better meaning than those of the civil state. 

In the case of the Inquisition, the death sentence was only ever imposed for repeat offenders. When they were at the stake, they were given the chance to repent. If they did, they were immediately strangled. That seems certainly harsh to modern ears, but at the time the point was to prevent them from being able to sin again, thereby helping to ensure their salvation. Only if they did not repent were they then burned at the stake – but even that had its spiritual purpose. The hope of those at that time was that the flames would give them a picture of the flames of hell, thereby prompting a last-minute repentance before actual moment of death. Of course, this seems surely thoroughly odd to most modern ears, but it is not right to judge another age by the standards of this age. The Church, of course, promotes salvation and repentance exclusively through non-violent means now. 

Throughout the Church is history, even when a death sentence was involved, whether related to the Church or criminal proceedings of the civil state, the Church was far more interested in the condition of souls and in mercy than in the laws of man. Today that same sentiment remains, following the example of Christ.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Argentinean Bishop of the Patriarchal Household - Obispo de la Casa Patriarcal en Argentina

BUENOS AIRES 7 October 2019 (ORCNS) - Su Excelencia Monseñor Alejandro Paulo Rodrigues, Obispo de San Fernando en Buenos Aires, fue nombrado Obispo titular de la Casa Patriarcal por Su Alteza Imperial y Real Don Rutherford, Archipríncipe de San Esteban más temprano de este año. El Obispo tiene un ministerio activo con sede en Buenos Aires, Argentina, al servicio de los pobres y los necesitados. A continuación se presentan fotografías de una ordenación a las órdenes menores de varios de sus seminaristas.

His Excellency Monsignor Alejandro Paulo Rodrigues, Bishop of San Fernando in Buenos Aires, was named a titular bishop of the Patriarchal Household by His Imperial and Royal Highness Don Rutherford, Archprince of St. Stephen earlier this year. The Bishop has an active ministry based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, serving the poor and those in need. Below are photographs from an earlier ordination to the Minor Orders of several of his seminarians.

Mons. Rodrigues