Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

"Learning Fundamentals Of Catholic Doctrine"

From Eye of the Tiber, too funny:
VATICAN–It was announced today that a second synod, tentatively scheduled for mid-January, will solely focus on learning the fundamental teachings of the Catholic Church.
The news comes just days after Pope Francis asked synod participants to “speak clearly,” encouraging them to speak openly.  “Let no one say, ‘This can’t be said, they will think this or that about me.’ Everything we feel must be said, without fear,” Francis said. After reading the badly translated, and what many have called “severely flawed” report called Relatio Post Disceptationem, Francis has since regretted the decision to ask the synod fathers to speak openly, supposedly overestimating their intelligence.
An adviser to Pope Francis has since suggested that before moving on with another synod on the family, that the synod fathers learn some of the basics of Catholicism.
At press time, Pope Francis has issued a statement to those who will be participating in future synods, saying, “Let everyone say, ‘This can’t be said, they will think this or that about me.’ Everything we feel must be kept quiet, with fear, especially if you are going to make a Kaspar out of yourself.”
Can't remember where I heard it but someone said it was important for the Cardinal to remember that each of them was a "Prince of the Church," not "the Prince Harry of the Church."

Which is worse for a committed Catholic?

To be "doctrinaire"?

Or to be "doctrine-LESS"?

Wanted to Create a Mess? "Mission Accomplished!"

I'm liking Bishop Tobin of Providence more and more.
He has a pretty down to earth take on the just past Extraordinary Synod.

Among other thoughts, (one of which was a friendly dig at a heterodox periodical and at a sometimes over-wrought and over-combative priestly blogger whose initials are "Father Zuhlsdorf"):
— Have we learned that it’s probably not a good idea to publish half-baked minutes of candid discussions about sensitive topics, especially when we know that the secular media will hijack the preliminary discussions for their own agendas?
— I wonder what the Second Vatican Council would have looked like and what it would have produced if the social media had existed at that time......

— Wherever he serves, Cardinal Burke will be a principled, articulate and fearless spokesman for the teachings of the Church. ....
Relax. God’s still in charge.

No Official English Version of the Rite of Exorcism?

There are a few liturgical matters on the USCCB's fall meeting agenda.
The bishops will vote on a revision of the current (1989) translation of the rite of dedication of a church and altar, vote on the first-ever official translation of the current rite of exorcism, and discuss modifications to the Revised Grail Psalms, which are eventually expected to be used in a revised English translation of the Liturgy of the Hours.
In addition, the bishops will consider a new supplement to the Liturgy of the Hours, which would take into account saints canonized in the last three decades, and discuss ministry to those with Celiac disease.
I remember how much work it was to put together orders for completely sung LotHs for the Triduum at my old parish.
There were differences of opinion as to what versions of the psalms and canticles I should be setting, and what were the easiest tones for a congregation, and whether the psalm prayers needed to be there, and finding proper hymns...

Liturgical wasteland in which I now reside, I didn't appreciate that parish enough at the time....

But enough -- really? there was no English exorcism option?

No wonder nobody does'em....

USCatholic Shilling for Assisted Suicide?

The "catholic" periodical understandably covers the Brittany Maynard, killing-herself-in-a-few-weeks-and-hoping-to-convince-others-to-do-the-same-or-at-least-to-vote-for-laws-condoning-the-actions-of-those-who-want-to-commit-suicide story..

But for readers wishing to get the "full story" they link to the same commercial from the Hemlock society Care and Compassion that all the news channels showed.

(Compassion, IIRC, means "to suffer with," so it seems an odd name for the Hemlock society to have chosen. since its member work hard to see to it that there isn't anyone with whom they might have to suffer.)

Laudably, a (presumably Catholic,) reader reminds us how watching, and waiting with and praying with and being with the dying can be "a truly graced time," though not easy.

I suspect many suicides think they are saving someone else from the suffering others experience observing their suffering.

It is not a stretch to think there are even those who would not kill themselves if they didn't feel obligated not to put their loved ones and the system through it all, to save them the trouble and the cost. (I believe I recall some politicians hoping to save healthcare costs have even said as much about the "duty" of the old or sick.)

But the phrase that stood out for me in Caitlyn Schmid gloosy take on suicide was the phrase, Maynard’s death is inevitable.


As if there were someone whose death was NOT?

Are there some of us who are going to get out of this world alive, Ms Schmid?

Then there's your story.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Sleep in the Lincoln Bedroom, Loiter in the Sistine Chapel, Dine With President Bush...

... or any recent US president.

All of these can be/could have been yours, if you pony up.

Let's be honest about what is for sale or rent.

Sealed With a Kiss

Adoremus Magazine has the USCCB's CDW's explanatory note about the Circular Letter  from its Vatican counterpart trying to rein in the silliness that pervades the exchange of peace at too many parishes.
The history is interesting to me.
Full disclosure, my current parish generally omits the Peace, but it is in the interest of shaving 15 seconds off the time the pastor spends in church rather than for any theological or liturgical leanings.
Fuller disclosure, I HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATE the Exchange of Peace, but again, not for any actual theological or liturgical reasons, but for the circus it has almost always been in my experience. If every place performed the gesture with the attitude I experienced at a monastery, once, and once only, I would be leading the charge to get my pastor to instate the practice, with proper catechesis.
But the level of reverence and the depth of religious fervour and the gist of most vocalization by the participants is about the same as all those things as they are performed at the K of C Pancake Breakfast that might follow.
There is no religious ritual enacted, there is no prayer being made
School Mass, IME, are the worst, but Sundays, when the ritual dialogue is likely to be, Hey, how are ya? see you at the scramble next Saturday, got a foursome already? is not much better.

But apart from its typical practice, what is the reason it is so despised by those who line up on the more formal side of the liturgical and cultural divide?
And apart from the chance to stick it to those people, what is the reason it is so championed by those who line up on the other side of the liturgical and cultural divide?

It strikes me as so much in political conflict does, positions chosen to maintain party lines, not for any real principle. (Else, why would you have people who think the government impinges on ones freedom by regulating business practices, but not by regulating sexual practices? And vice versa?)

There're a lot of cases of, Well, if HE likes it, I'm ag'in' it! going around.

Sometimes, the same seems to go for the placement of the Pax - there is one school of progressive liturgical thought that seems to despise any practice in which the Latin Church might be like Her more So this caught my eye:
Among early Christians (e.g., Tertullian), the kiss of peace was seen as a seal placed on prayer. This gesture became a stable element of the liturgies of the early Christian world, including in the city of Rome. At Rome, it may have initially occurred after the Prayer of the Faithful which concluded the Lit-urgy of the Word. In such a position, the kiss of peace was viewed as a sign of mutual love before offering sacrifice (Mt 5:23-24). The Eastern liturgical families retained this placement and adopted this perspective.
For reasons not entirely clear to liturgical scholars, the exchange of peace in the Roman Rite developed along different lines and with a different theological emphasis. In North Africa, Saint Augustine was already familiar with the practice of exchanging peace after the Eucharistic Prayer. In a letter written in the year 416, Pope Saint Innocent I, responding to a list of liturgical queries from Bishop Decentius of Gubbio, writes that in the Roman liturgy, the only proper moment for the exchange of peace is after the Eucharistic Prayer and before Communion. Instead of the emphasis on reconciliation as found in the Eastern liturgies, St. Innocent justifies this placement as an expression of the assembly’s consent to what the priest has just prayed in the Eucharistic Prayer, and the community’s “seal” on the priest’s sacred actions — an embodied extension of the Great Amen (cf. Epistola 25 Decentio Augubino 1, 4).
(Speaking of Adoremus, r.i.p., Helen Hull Hitchcock, what an enormous, enormous service she performed for the Church in America. May the Lord reward her!)

'Cause That's What the Theater-going Experience Needs

Himself alerted me to this, it doesn't bother me particularly in this case, because, well.... Mamma Mia

But the handwriting is on the wall, "public entertainment" is a different animal than it was just a short time ago, and it will not be getting better any time soon if ever.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Bravo, Bishop Farrell

Exactly right, we help because we are catholic".
I am sure that some of you have heard the news that Ms. Louise Troh, her son and nephews are now out of the 21-day quarantine period for Ebola. We thank God that they are now and have always been symptom free. You may remember that Ms. Troh was the fiancée of Thomas Eric Duncan, who lost his battle with Ebola ... Ms. Troh and her family found refuge at our diocesan Conference and Formation Center in Oak Cliff where they stayed in one of the casas in a remote corner on the grounds.
 I was asked by reporters this morning why I said yes to the request from Mayor Mike Rawlings and Judge Clay Jenkins to offer housing for Ms. Troh and her family.  I told them that I did pause to think of all of the possibilities but that when I asked myself “What would Jesus do?” I knew that we had to help.  Certainly, the Catholic Church has a long history of helping those in need and Ms. Troh and her family were and remain in need.  Another reporter referenced the fact that the family is not Catholic.  I explained that we don’t help because someone is Catholic, we help because we are Catholic

R I P, Oscar de la Renta

I know nothing about the man personally, except that, fairly unusually for a male designer of our time, he was married.
To a woman.

But anyone who created such beauty in the world deserves our thanks, and now prayers.

A Suggestion, in the Interest of Comprehension

It would make me very happy if every time someone within Vatican City had something to say or write for public consumption, if they would arrange for  that elderly Bavarian gentleman who lives there to take the time to ghostwrite it.

Get him to agree, whether he holds the same position as you or not, Cardinal X or Monsignor Y, to do us all the service of making it possible for the world at large to at least understand what the heck it is you are trying to say?

I know we should all strive for "reading for comprehenison," as teachers said in the antediluvian times of my schooldays, but it must be said that many highly placed persons seem to make little effort at writing for comprehension or speaking for comprehension.

I make allowances for those trying to communicate in non-native languages, but couldn't the translators be appointed for, I don't know... fluency?

"No One is Forced to Be a Christian"

A new (to me,) blog by a Father Bede Rowe, (who has a charming Father Brownish avi,) highlights this bit of commonsense from the Pope Emeritus, spoken back when he was plain ol' Joe Ratz.
When, for example, in the name of non-discrimination, people try to force the Catholic Church to change her position on homosexuality or the ordination of women, then that means that she is no longer allowed to live out her own identity and that, instead, an abstract negative religion is being made into a tyrannical standard that everyone must follow... 
The danger is that reason - so-called Western reason - claims that it has now really recognized what is right and thus makes a claim to totality that is inimical to freedom...
No one is forced to be a Christian. But no one should be forced to live according to the "new religion" as though it alone were definitive and obligatory for all mankind.
Common sense... what a lovely concept.

Bread into Stones, Stones into Bread?

 At first I thought somehow, the anti-fruitcake invective was staring early this year, but the conversation has naught to do with that much maligned holiday delicacy.
Not this is a reference to Christians, but not Christmass. (And while we're at it, okay, yeah, there is a lot of bad fruitcake out there, and it can be rock-like, but good fruitcake, which the naysayers have never been fortunate enough to experience, is what the Seraphim dine on in heaven. and show forth their perfect goodness by sharing with the Thrones and the Cherubim instead of bogarting it.)

It seems to me that only the temptation to make bread out of stones was explicitly condemned by the Lord....

For we've read,
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards He was hungry. And the tempter coming said to Him: If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. Who answered and said: It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God.

But never,
Then Melvin was led by the spirit to buy that cute 1/2 condo in West Hollywood. And when he had lived there forty days and forty nights, he wanted to check out the view and opened his blinds and caught sight of his neighbors Steve and Todd across the way who were surprisingly.... acrobatic in their nocturnal activities and kinda noisy and apparently always kept their blinds open. And the tempter coming said to Melvin: If thou  hast a problem with that, command that that stale asiago baguette be made stone, and pitch it through their window, that'll get their attention, but seriously, what were you expecting in this neighborhood?

Anyway, I don't take "bread into stones" as a meaningless catch-phrase as someone, can't recall who, sneered.

Stones are very useful indeed.

Can't build a house out of bread.
Throwing bread at the sandhill cranes will not drive them off your lawn, it will encourage them.
Bread is not useful as a weight in the bottom of garden pots.
And don't even get me started on how abysmally bread works in a French drain.

No, particularly as the paleo- diet is trending, and what with glutenaphobia, there are many people who will have more use for stones than for bread. 

Just sayin'

Twitter Hates Me the Way the Biggest Bean Hates the Cardinal

Not exactly, my computer hates Twitter, or at least some script running thither.

So, that's an excuse for why I don't know what I'm talking about.
I hesitate to comment on something I have not read first hand, because there are so many secondary sources that quote selectively and unfairly to try to malign those who have differnt opinions than they.

But, she who hesitates is often lost, eh? so I'm just going to jump in and comment on something, oh, I guess my info is now third hand. And the linked video is gone.

Any way, Fr Martin is, ISTM, a nice man who is wrong about virtually everything.

But no fair reading of the twitter exchange examined here could claim that he "invoked" schism in speaking about the great Cardinal Burke.

The Biggest Bean, apparently a journalist or academic of some sort? on the other hand....

I'm trying to decide, if I use that as an example in my Sunday school class, where sin and God's mercy are the topic this year -- is this Faggioli guy guilty of "detraction" or "calumny"?

There is nit-picking and there is nit-picking....

A friend pointed out that my scrutinizing of the phrase  "meticulous language" from Pope Francis, was probably misplaced, that he may really have been taking aim at those in the Church
getting their undercrackers in a knot about the import of  "welcome"  vs. "provide for."

Sunday, 19 October 2014

"I don' thin' that word means what you thin' it means"

CNN claims Catholicism is "a religion that has long ostracized homosexuals."

Seriously, have they ever attended any kind of Catholic gathering?

Has Some Jesuit Spy Been Looking at My Blog on the Pope's Behalf?

Oh, those sneaky Fiddlebacks.... just yesterday I pined for someone in the Vatican "more aware of words, more careful of expression, more precise of thought," and what did the Holy Father do in his speech for the closing of the Synod?

He denounced giving in to the "temptation to [make] use of meticulous language." 

Heaven forbid one parses ones words in an effort to prevent misunderstandings....

Microwave Muffins in a Mug

There are reasons I never tried this before - they're, or at least seem to be single serving, simple, an swift shortcuts; geared, more or less to the young and single, the college student, the struggling actor...

I don't have a tiny studio apartment, with the sparsely equipped kitchen, I don't need to grab a quick bite before running out to a class or scrambling to enjoy urban nightlife or rushing to a second or third job.

But Himself has set himself an awfully ascetic regimen, in the morning his breakfasts are very specific, and in the evening desserts are seldom welcome - shall I make a pie or coffee cake and consume the entire thing myself?

So, two days ago I tried one of the recipes that clog the internet, and had the most wonderful little, gooey, warm chocolate cake! Then this morning I managed a really tasty oatmeal muffin, fantastic!

Himself has a set of large microwave-safe mugs
that he uses for soups or cereals which work perfectly, (no chance of over flow,) and all the recipes seem pretty much the same, 1/4 cup of flour, meal, or bran, or a combination thereof; an egg; about 2 Tablespoons of liquid and/or fat; sugar or sweetener, more or less depending on whether you heading for cake territory or muffin, and whatever flavoring or mix-ins seem apropos.
The cake needs tweaking, but the muffin experiment was 1/4 cup total  oatmeal and oat bran, a Tablespoon of maple syrup, an egg, a dash each of vanilla, cloves and cinnamon.
Mixed all together in the mug with a fork, and added a sprinkling of Trader Joes orange-flavored dried cranberries, and microwaved for 2:30 minutes, (veeeeeeeeeery low powered microwave.)

I plan on gaining twenty pounds or so in the next month :oD !

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Deathbed Conversions

Are there any stories about people asking to become Baptist on their deathbeds? or Unitarian?

I've stopped reading much fiction, (unless you count online news, ;oP) but i used to be voracious, or varocious, as a Jeopardy contestant once described herself, and while there seem to be man such Catholic cases in literature as well as real life, I can't recall anything else.

Or did anyone ever vow, that if they escaped some dire strait they would enter any Church other than the Catholic one?

Funny thing, doncha think?

"And the family would like...."

At the CMAA forum they are discussing a miscommunication regarding providing the music sung prayer at a funeral amongst family/music director/parish offic/funeral home.

I had one where two people showed up in the loft at about the half hour mark, one had been asked to sing, "by her brother and she specifically wanted Hail Mary Gentle Woman,"  and the other, "by her son and she especially wanted the Schubert Ave Maria, and Somewhere Over the Rainbow, but I told her you probably wouldn't."

Both soloists were known to me, so it would have been touchy working it out, and I honestly don't remember how we did so.

But I don't think anyone stopped talking to me forever that day.....

Like the news, only important...