Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Do-it-yourself Mysterium Fidei?

After I had been at my last parish for some time, a choir member asked why we never sang the "Mystery of Faith" that he liked.

I tried to use all of the (then four) "official" ones in English, (Latin was a no-go,) and used the settings from the (mostly horrible,) Ordinairies in the parish rep when I had to, and those from Mass settings I was teaching them when I could.

So I asked, which one is that?

He hummed a tune, with some garbled words and in the combination I eventually recognized the Lucien Deiss "Keep In Mind."

I just said we could certainly use the piece sometime as the Fearsome 4th (option,) but not in  place of one of the prescribed texts there, and thought no more of it.
Can't recall if I ever programmed it in some other capacity.
This parish had a lot of silly habits, wasn't sure where they came from, and no one could ever tell me where they were authorized. (There's a reason "parochial" means what it does....)

Listening to a Mass on EWTN from the Archdiocese of Miami today, and whaddya know?
They sang the Deiss K in M instead of any of the, (now different,) "official"versions of mysterium fidei.

Was this a common liturgical.... prank? (It doesn't rise to the level of an abuse, I suppose.)

Or was there some kind of allowance made to sing other songs, or insert other acclamations at that point either by our national conference, or universally?

Friday, 21 November 2014

Needy and Wanty

It took several years of marriage, but eventually the one of us who didn't already know it learned the difference between wants and needs.

We laughed like a couple of loonies when a captive supervillain on The Tick could finally take no more of his logorrheic jailer, Maiden America who defended herself with more whining, "I can't help it if I'm emotionally needy," and he sneered back, "You're not needy, you're wanty!"

In talking with my CCD kids about setting priorities, and competing goods, I frequently remind them of the importance of distinguishing between wants and needs.

All that said, a British abortion provider who was apparently genuinely afraid for her safety because of the unpleasant way another woman laughed at her, claims that, "One in three women in the UK will need an abortion in their lifetime and we should be supporting them."

I just ask, "need"?

The reporter allows the assertion to go unchallenged.

Is it a wonder that I was abslolutely certain that the actress who played Helen Burns in the 1973 mini-series of Jane Eyre was going to grow up to be Inspector Lewis's Boss?


As the build-up to Christmass begins, my thoughts turn to Scroogeapalooza, the nearly annual event in which Himself and I watch as many filmed versions of Dickens' gems as we can stand, some of them, more than once.
It is a once-a-year indulgence.

Until now.

Last week, bad weather and bad backs let to an orgy of viewing which began with the mediocre George C. Scott movie of Jane Eyre which Himself had picked up for a dollar somewhere, (for a fine actor, Scott managed to give flavorless or just plain wrong-headed renditions of some iconic characters, viz. Christmas Carol above.) followed by the palate-cleansing entire 11 part mini-series of Jane Eyre, with the incomparable Zelah Clarke, (and the too-hot-to-play-Mr-Rochester Timothy Dalton, who is nonetheless perfect somehow, he captures the mercurial man to perfection.)

And thus is a new tradition born! (Bronte's biggest hit, along with Much Ado About Nothing and Jane Austen's Persuasion are, as we old folk say our our soap operas, "my stories."

Since we already have our Winter Film Festival for Two in place, we decided Janeapalooza should henceforth after its inaugural iteration, be a spring event, and in place of Scroogeapalooza's repast of home-made Christmass cookies and hot toddies, (alas! no smoking bishop!) we would feast on potato farls, (probably rolls,) Stilton, (probably whatever blue is affordable,) and white cider, (which, yeah, we probably can't get in this country.)

We haven't watched them yet, but we also have the Charlotte Gainsbourg/William Hurt movie, (very fine, IIRC,)  the Wilson/Stephens, (silly and pretty much misses the point of the novel, maybe all the points of the novel,) as does the Wasikowska/Fassbender version. (I admit, I have the two of them a bit jumbled up in my memory.)
An internet  search reveals that there are many more, we'll check out Virginia Bruce later.
We're looking for the Samantha Morton/Ciaran Hinds which I liked a great deal.

Interested to learn that the actress who plays "Dame" Fairfax in the Clarke/Dalton is Aunt Reade in a tv series with Sorcha Cusack, of which I've only seen a bit so far.

Himself decreed than in light of our having them to hand, we should not limit ourselves to eponymous Jane movies, but also include costume dramas from sources written by a Jane, so multiple versions of Persuasion, P&P, S&S, and Emma will provide for our viewing pleasure.

Am I the worst slacker I know? Perhaps.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Really? Forced steilization is an "outdated" policy?

I know journalists are not responsible for their headlines, and the word "outdated" does not appear in the editorial itself, but an opinion piece under the byline of the paper's Editorial Board ran  in the New York Times titled "India's Lethal Birth Control."

It is about the callous way that nation promoted a coercive sterilization program, in which the lives of women were granted all the value and dignity... well, that you would expect.
You know, women received invasive surgery in unhygienic circumstances, and the governmental perpetrators sent them home immediately with pain killers and maybe antibiotics.

Perhaps laced with rat poison.

As one does.

And the subtitle of the editorial, both on the web and in the email of headlines I receive daily was, "Official policies of forced female sterilization are not only outdated [emphasis added] but dangerous."

Get that?

The policies are "outdated."

Surely someone with some kind of editorial authority oversees those emails and subtitles, no?

The editorial board of the New York Times, or at least whoever they trust to write their headlines and subtitles, says that once upon a time, such policies would have been appropriate, but now we've moved past that.

That's what I'm reading, boys.

Archbishop Cupich's Installation Mass

The program for the liturgies for the new Bishop of Chicago was made available on the archdiocesan website, but I just got around to watching the dvr..
Shame about the insane cold.
I suppose it is inevitable that these "big" Masses have the flavor, liturgically and musically speaking, of a parish potluck, wherein one is thrilled that Mrs. S concocts, (and will always bring,) a world class pineapple upside-down cake, pleased that decent pieroghi will abound and good swedish meatballs will probably make an appearance courtesy of Mr. K, and shuddering in anticipation of that bizarre gelatin salad the F. family always brings.

In that light, the Windy City Mass did not disappoint.

But let's hear it for that magnificent, and  laudably diffident cantatrix with a voice as glorious as her hair!

(A note, I am in no way impugning the delectibility, dare I say, the charms? of good jello salad.... I may even try to create on for Thanksgiving. Do you suppose the other family members will think i am being ironic?)

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Mudblood Catholic on Why He Is a Catholic

NewToMe blog, 'sgonna supply some very interesting reading ahead.
[I]f it is precisely the discharge of the office [of Pope],not the character of the man, that receives the graces promised by Jesus, then we may -- in my opinion, should -- expect everything not covered by those graces to go wrong, even with the Popes, sooner or later. Following Peter's career, I'd say that most of them went wrong sooner, and generally later as well. I think, too, that that applies to the Church as a whole. Romano Guardini, a theologian of the last century who influenced many important figures in the Church (such as Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis), once said, "The Church is the Cross upon which Christ is crucified; and who can separate Christ from His Cross?" I think that is exactly the right way of looking at it. I might say, as a sort of supplement, that, in the Church, everything that can go wrong, will go wrong, but that there is a scarlet cord of truth that will not break, and from that scarlet cord the whole house hangs as the city crashes down around it.
And that is why I am not greatly perturbed by the real wickedness of the Church.
The man is a good writer, interesting thinker, and communicates at a level that my obtuse self can get soemthing out of.
And addresses matters with which we've all struggled.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

"Forsaking All Others"? Sologamy and Tiring of Waiting for Mr. Person Right

I thought I had accidentally stumbled into The Onion, or one of Eye of the Tiber's very best pieces of satire.

But no, First Things was serious!

Sologamy's a real thing!

“I... promise to enjoy inhabiting my own life and to relish a lifelong love affair with my beautiful self.”

I have maligned a public figure with the worst wig hair, (that my pretty imaginative, if I do say so myself, self can image, ) in the world by thinking that he had achieved and displayed an utterly  unmatchable egotism, but no.
And for that I am sorry.
What is going on here? In the Christian tradition, marriage has historically been understood as a lifelong, conjugal covenant between a man and a woman, a union of love that involves the giving of oneself to God and to others. Today the institution of marriage, which has flourished not only among Christians but across many religious traditions of the world, is being challenged from many angles and by many practices. Until quite recently, these were all regarded as inimical to human flourishing in society. Such practices include so-called same-sex marriage, polygamy, incest, polyamorous relationships of various kinds—and now sologamy.
In some ways same-self marriage is the logical outgrowth of what cultural critic Christopher Lasch described in his 1979 bestseller The Culture of Narcissism. Lasch, building on Sigmund Freud’s classic essay “On Narcissism” of 1916, applied the term to the sense of grandiosity and excessive self-love that seem to mark not only psychologically disordered individuals but post-sixties American society as a whole.
I guess it was to be expected...

"CBS Evening News" Getting Gorier?

I know "if it bleeds, it leads" obtains in most news broadcasts, but it seems lately that CBS, (the one we tend to watch in the evenings,) has made some conscious decision to show more graphic footage and photos in the last few days.

The sheer amount of blood, the pictures of the dead in the Jerusalem cleaver attacks was shocking, and last night the photo of Emmet Till's body was really horrifying, sickening. I had long known about his Mother's brave decision to have an open coffin and  show the world what had been done to her child, but I didn't need to see it.

I think I have heard warnings n the past before some disturbing video or picture appears, but if there was one last night, I missed it.

Anyone else noticed new editorial effort?
(Of course, only people of a certain age watch television news...)

"Killing me softly..."

Pope Francis has incontrovertibly spoken out on the evils of of the Culture of Death, for those who felt he was somehow soft on crimes against life.

The dominant thinking sometimes suggests a false compassion, that which believes it is helpful to women to promote abortion; an act of dignity to provide euthanasia; a scientific breakthrough to produce a child and consider it to be a right, rather than a gift to welcome; or to use human lives as guinea pigs, presumably to save others...
We are living in a time of experimentation with life. But a bad experiment. Making children rather than accepting them as a gift, as I said. Playing with life. Be careful, because this is a sin against the Creator: against God the creator, who created things this way...
Fidelity to the Gospel of life and respect for life as a gift from God sometimes require choices that are courageous and go against the current, which in particular circumstances, may become points of conscientious objection...

There is no human life that is more sacred than another, just as there is no human life qualitatively more significant than another just by virtue of having greater resources, rights and economic and social opportunities."

Would that he had called out the heinous Belgian attack on life, if not when it happened, then in this address to Association of Italian Catholic Medical Doctors.
And perhaps I malign him, perhaps he did say something when the putatively Roman Catholic King of the Belgians signed into law the elimination of a lower limit on the age of children who can be offed by the medical establishment, and the media failed to report it?
I never found anything, but that doesn't mean it did not happen.

Just like Cardinal George!

“I said what?”[he] asked those gathered. “There’s no way I just said that. OK, that’s just weird. Seriously, what the heck is it with me? Am I trying to change doctrine or something? How am I gonna explain this to my secular friends? Oh boy, I can see their faces now. I bet they’re just itching to ask when I’m gonna .....”

Thank you, Eye of the Tiber - we laugh because we care.....

"Say the Black, Do the Red"

I forget, sometimes, how insular I, how insular my interests can be.

Himself was admiring our deacon's ars celebrandi, and was informed that it was hard come by, that in seminary the liturgical training had pretty much consisted of being told to say the black and do the red.

Himself thought that was one of the wittiest, most original aphorisms he'd ever heard.

Why Does EVERYONE Need To Know How To Write Code?

Was doing a little scrabbling around the Those Interwebs because I have a bee in my bonnet -- now there's an expression past its sell-by date, forget bonnets, per se, I'm nearly the only woman I know besides Queen Elizabeth who still wears a hat, so there's your answer, Elaine Stritch.
Not that I know-know the queen, but... where was I? (Bloggo, ergo, digresso.)

Oh yes...
So I'm reading a little about GoFundMe et al, which are starting to irk me for reasons I won't go into now, and I come across a fundraising effort that by its very existence is, in effect, the implicit statement that every educated person needs to know how to code, or at least to know how to code as well as an hour of computer science will accomplish, (I think. I admit that I didn't finish reading the page.)

Do they?
I should ask, do we? since I certainly can't do it.

One site, which more or less accepts the necessity of such knowledge as a given, compares the skill to typing.

But actually, we didn't all need to know how to type.
Truth to tell, more people need to know there way around the old qwerty keyboard now than did in the days when it seems that typing was taught to almost everyone in public schools.
The success stories seem to center around creating apps, building websites and entering the gaming industry, which don't seem to me to be universal aspirations.

I have a friend who told his second grade teacher, (true story - I've seen the letter sent home,) that he didn't need to learn how to spell because he'd have a secretary to do that.

As it happens he doesn't, what he has is a spellchecker. And while he has reached the sort of lofty position where he would have had at least one if not several secretaries, he is, in fact, in an industry whose egalitarian facade precludes such notions as "boss" and "secretary" or "assistant."

Instead he is a member of a "team" on which his signing bonus and salary dwarf those of his playmates.
And he uses a keyboard himself.

But he still can't spell worth a darn.

Now, he can write code like Dante could write Italian, elegantly, indicatively, but that's what he does.

Do I need to write code? does every schoolchild?

Any more than we need to know how to pluck a chicken? or build an internal combustion engine? or can peaches? (Of course, I understand from the survivlaists that when the Barbarian Hordes of the Coming Apocalypse are at the door, I'll be eating my words - since I'll have precious little else to eat. Oh, well...)

I'm sure I'm wrong, and if so I'd love to know why.

Breaking News from HuffPo!!!!!!

The crack journalists at Huffington Post breathlessly reports that a new study indicates that if you believe what your faith tradition teaches, you are more likely to ..... well, believe what your faith tradition teaches.

Monday, 17 November 2014

PC Run Amok, or a Lack of Empathy?

I did a review once with a soprano who was reluctant to sing "Alabamy Bound" because she was sure the lyric "heebie-jeebies" was anti-Semitic.

I have been in conversational groups when someone gasped aloud at the word "niggardly."
(Actually, now that I think of it, someone watching a mini-series of Jane Eyre with me recently may have started slightly.)

But I also know from experience that I am not the first to acknowledge that someone who is sensitive to a perceived slight may actually have a point, I tend to roll my eyes like a heather and say, or at least think, oh, get over yourself.

Which is all a long-winded way to ask, Is "illegal" a racial slur?

Is it true of a restaurant with the word in its name, that, "this is a place that's going to instill violence in our community"?

The restaurant is going to instill violence?
Three weeks shy of opening his newest Illegal Pete's in Old Town Fort Collins, restaurant owner Pete Turner came to Fort Collins on Wednesday to listen to a crowd of concerned residents who asked that he change his business' name.
The Boulder-based restaurant with six locations in Boulder and Denver is modeled after Mexican food from San Francisco's Mission District, specifically over-sized burritos. The name Illegal Pete's, Turner said, is a literary reference to a bar in a novel he read as an English major in Boulder. "Pete" also refers to his own name and his father's. When he started the restaurant in 1995, Turner hoped the name would be ambiguous enough to spark people's interest, perhaps referring to counterculture activity.
But on Wednesday, 30 or so community members explained the negative context of the word illegal, or the "I-word," as some referred to it, and its importance, down to its use as the name of a restaurant.
"Since I know the context, and I have been labeled with (the word illegal), it makes a huge difference to me," said Lucy Gonzalez, 25. As part of a wider effort to "drop the I-word," Gonzalez and others believe that any use of the word "illegal" connected to people should be stopped.
Maybe it's just my background, but coming from a family with generations of alcoholics, I would assume a restaurant/bar with called "Illegal Whatever's" would be pursuing a speakeasy or roadhouse vibe.

I don't know, I've had a discussion, a disagreement? more than once in which I tried to explain that my expressing an opinion/preference/dislike in many, if not most cases was not to be seen as even the slightest hint that said opinion/preference/dislike should have any bearing whatsoever on the actions of another.

This may be related to the topic at hand, or I may need a nap.

Oh, and just to let you know, although I alos have been insulted, I have been labeled -- with one syllable of your name, my beloved restaurant, don't change a thing for me, (your burgers sing for me.....)

I've Mentioned Eccles Before...

"Eccles is Saved" is a mostly funny blog that I don't always get.
Usually when I fail to comprehend what is humorous about it, the cause is my unfamiliarity with British politicians, tv personalities, and customs.

I accept that, I'm American, even if I can google and wiki my way into some limited  knowledge, the specific attitude or opinion being referenced by the short-cut of name-dropping is just beyond my ken.


But I learn that there I have a greater problem -- things that are so absurd as to leave no doubt whatsoever that they are fiction, figments of Eccles whimsical wit, (at least in my mind)?

Some of them  prove true!!!!!

Yes, in that bastion of free-thinking, that glory of the educational system, Oxford University, many of the little darlings, students, members of one of its constituent colleges believe that a debate on the subject of abortion and the growth of Britain's "abortion culture" may prove too damaging to some peoples' "mental security," and must be suppressed.

The main objection from some potential protestors may just be the debates participants... oh dear, "two cisgender men."
A protest group, entitled "What the f^ 
 Alas, verifying that this was not a jape of Eccles has led me down a rabbit hole... what the deuce is a university "arranged marriage system"?

I mean, I can more or less figure out what, but seriously? why? did it ever accomplish its purpose?

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Trying Not To Overthink the Vatican Politics/Job Placement.... Thingum-a-bob

One opinion piece,  referenced by a prominent blogger said:
American Cardinal Raymond Burke was removed last week from the head of the Apostolic Signatura (the Church’s judicial court in Rome), and appointed to the ceremonial post of chaplain to the Knights of Malta – a charity group. The Vatican gave no reason for this unusual demotion and redeployment – seldom are Vatican officials removed from their posts.
But Cardinal Burke's immediate predecessor, Agostino Vallini, when removed from the same post as Burke, was, if my maths are correct, (and they very well may not be,) was all of 68. (I don't know if Vicar General of Rome is a kewl thing or not to be.)
Achille Silvestrini was 68.

I'm wondering if all the blogging,  news, petitions, etc, are just a means of attacking... well, whomever one wishes to attack.

You Can Be Anything! You Can Become Anything! You can Do Anything!

Don't know about you, but I have been affirmed that way most of my life.

I've tried to impart to my CCD kids the ways in which that is true, and the ways in which it is not.

We cannot all go to Stanford. We cannot all be scientific geniuses. We cannot all be movie stars. We cannot all be NBA phenoms. We cannot all be.... well, fill in the blank with virtually anything.
It's not a matter of resolve or will, of setting goals and accomplishing them.
I could have practiced until my feet were bloody, and starved myself anorectic, I could not have been a ballerina.  Himself could never have been a mathematician. A dear friend who is mentally disabled could never have gotten a college degree.
We all have gifts and talents and aptitudes, but we also all have certain lacunae in our potentialities. God does not hand out the same skill set to every soul and body He creates.

There is nothing that everyone can do.  Right?

Not quite -- there is one aspiration that we all HAVE been given the wherewithal to achieve.

We can all be saints.

All of us.
Every one ever created.
I used to read a message board on which a woman declared, "I'm not  raising my kids to get them into Harvard, I'm raising my kids to get them into Heaven," and was walloped for conceit and sanctimony by most of the other participants. (The Interwebs is full o' bullies.)

But she was absolutely right, and her attitude toward her objective, her obligation as a Catholic parent was absolutely right.

I was thinking about it this week because of a triumph-over-adversity feature that's been on the news, ("I wanted to show that you can do anything you want, if you just set your mind to it!") and a Newman Society story about a Catholic college hosting a lecture called "Moving Beyond the Gender Binary."

Because, you know, individuals can "engage in different kinds of gender expression," and whatever is expressed is, or should at least be honored as if it is.

To do otherwise would be.... what?

Political correctness decrees that one respects others  madnesses as somehow revelatory of truth, you know, greater truth than those of us who think there are two sexes, or that surgically removing healthy limbs is evil, or that marrying an inanimate object is crazy, are capable of understanding.

Marry whom you wish, consider yourself what you wish, become whom you wish with help from a surgeon.

Yes, I am just a big ol' a squasher of cockroaches dreams....

Now THAT's Catholic...

The communion service at the nursing home felt like real, live, normal, actual Catholicism for the first time today -- one of the Alzheimer wing residents just walked out, right after receiving.

Friday, 14 November 2014

So "Progressive" As Not To Remain In The Teaching Of The Christ

For all that I whinge about the lectionary cycle, and the reluctance of many celebrants to use readings proper to the sanctoral cycle when there is an option, (and even when there isn't...)  weekday Mass has a real power in the continuous readings sometimes, and it is remarkable how often the seeming randomness of my days seems connected to the Lesson or Prophecy.

And sometimes, there is an admonishment that I really needed to be given that day.

And sometimes, I must admit, I wonder if the Holy Spirit is being ironic.

Many deceivers have gone out into the world,
those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh;
such is the deceitful one and the antichrist.
Look to yourselves that you do not lose what we worked for
but may receive a full recompense.
Anyone who is so “progressive”
as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God.

Oh, really ?

Like the news, only important...