philosophymom (philosophymom) wrote,

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Don Camillo and "Father Z"

Something like a decade ago, I ran across the blog of Father John Zuhlsdorf (aka "Father Z), an uber-conservative Catholic priest whose reactionary views on liturgy & theology and take-no-prisoners presentation thereof have gathered him quite the Internet following. I suppose he might frustrate me if I were a Catholic (and still somehow me), but as a liberal Protestant, I don't have a dog in most of the fights he participates in. Thus, I have the luxury of simply finding him interesting and provocative to read, and even better to listen to (there's a podcast). It helps that the good Father is personable, erudite, and talented: back when I was a more regular listener, I enjoyed the humor and the musical and literary accessories of the podcasts even when my more-or-less evangelical self didn't connect to every bit of the content. In fact, I used to link to some of those podcasts on my old blog, because (and here comes the point of my post) he would occasionally include in them a story or two from my beloved Little World of Don Camillo.

Now, Fr. Z was and is a busy chap with an important agenda, so his Little World feature was a pretty infrequent one. Indeed, there were only nine episodes between 2008 & 2010 in which he read, in a lovely baritone that would be the envy of half the DJs on NPR, a story or two by Guareschi. After that, there was nothing ...

Until almost eight years later! I'd long been out of the habit of checking for Don Camillo content from Fr. Z, and then, on a whim, I went to his site yesterday and discovered that, just over a year ago, he'd read another pair of the stories, including one of my very favorites, on an installment of the podcast.

In honor of the new content, I'm linking to all ten of the Fr. Z episodes featuring tales from the Little World. I've put them in reverse chronological order, so newest is at the top. And if, as you listen, you are curious about the old-fashioned, fuzzy-sounding bumper music the host employs for this feature, I can tell you that it's the theme from the 1950s Don Camillo movies starring Fernandel & Gino Cervi, audio ripped straight from DVDs of the old flicks (I have some clips that are even fuzzier and warblier, lifted from VHS tapes). Happy listening!

  1. 12 August 18: Fr. Z begins the episode with a segment that includes an almost 11-minute (4:01-14:44) reading from Peter Kwasniewski's Noble Beauty, Transcendent Holiness: Why the Modern Age Needs the Mass of Ages. The author and Fr. Z seem to share a hive mind (he refers to it as a "Vulcan mind meld"), and the excerpt we're treated to is some highfalutin stuff. I say that as a college philosophy professor with a theology degree; Fr. Z is very confident in his audience!
         The segment with the two Don Camillo stories, "The Meeting" and "The River Bank," begins at 17:29. Well, it having been "more than seven years" since Don Camillo's last appearance in the 'cast, the first four minutes are devoted to introduction; the reading itself starts at 21:58 and goes on for the remaining 25 minutes of the episode. Enjoy!
  2. 05 December 10: Fr. Z's latest Guareschi reading, of "The Procession," begins at 33:50 into this 46-minute podcast (the intro. is at 32:00) and runs till the 44:30-mark. At the top of the 'cast, our host considers some then-impending changes to the Eucharistic prayer in the English-lang. Mass.
  3. 24 June 10: After a six-month gap, Don Camillo re-appears in Fr. Z's playlist. "Men and Beasts" starts at 13:28, and it's a long one. In honor of the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, the program begins with a relevant sermon by St. Augustine of Hippo and a couple settings of hymn-of-the-day Ut queant laxis.
  4. 03 December 09: Much shorter podcast than usual, but there was still room for the DC story "Nocturne With Bells." It begins at about 14:05. If you listen from the top of the 'cast, you'll also hear a letter from St. Francis Xavier to his superior and friend St. Ignatius of Loyola (founder of the Jesuits).
  5. 09 September 09: Just one Don Camillo tale this time: "The Avenger," beginning at 34:30. Before that, our host offers textual and musical analysis of the Compline hymn Te lucis ante terminum, complete with lovely chanting (his) and obligatory raised eyebrow at the post-Vatican II reworking of the lyric. Bonus: a related passage from Dante, beautifully read first in Italian and then in Dorothy Sayers' translation.
  6. 7 March 09: The stories in this episode are "The Return to the Fold" & "The Defeat," and they start at 30:00. Wind back just a little, to 27:30, if you also want to hear the 2:30-min. helpful intro. (for newbies) to the Little World. You should start at the beginning of the 'cast, however, if you're interested in a reading from Gaudium et spes (The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World), a Vatican II document considered controversial by at least some of Fr. Z's core constituency.
  7. 01 November 08: In this second installment following Fr. Z's three-month hiatus from podcasting, the two Don Camillo stories "Rivalry" & "Crime and Punishment" begin at 30:45-- on the heels of a very interesting 8-minute musical "collage." Starting off the program is an All Saints' Day sermon by the Venerable Bede.
  8. 04 August 08: The Don Camillo stories "Out of Bounds" & "The Treasure" start just after 27:00 (immediately following a nice bit o' Vaughan Williams) and run to the end of the hour. First, though, Fr. Z devotes 25 minutes to an interview with "His Hermeneuticalness" Fr. Tim Finigan, a priest and blogger freshly returned from Merton College, Oxford, where he'd led a conference on the traditional Latin rite.
  9. 29 July 08: The Don Camillo segment, comprising the stories "On the Trail" & "Night School," commences at about 15 seconds before the 34:00 mark of this 42-minute 'cast. Before that, in honor of St. Martha's Day, Fr. Z gives St. Augustine's sermon on the tension between contemplation and action as illustrated in the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10.
  10. 25 July 08: Fr. Z introduces Guareschi's tales and reads three chapters from The Little World ("The Little World," "A Confession," & "A Baptism"), all of which takes up the first 25 minutes of the program. The balance of the hour features traditionalist Roman Catholic answers to voice-mail questions about liturgy and doctrine.

One thing, though: There's just one thing I question, though: whence cometh Fr. Z's insistence that the big priest's official/canonical surname is "Tarocci"? I'd always thought that "Camillo Tarocci" was just the pseudonym the character adopted for his USSR adventure (Comrade Don Camillo). But, while I yield to no fellow-average-American-fan in my geeky obsession with the minutiae of the Little World, I've gotta admit that Fr. Z's knowledge of Italian gives him a decided advantage in this area. So, did any other English-only readers think "Tarocci" was supposed to be DC's real last name?
Tags: christianity, guareschi
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