Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Making Sense of the Senseless

We need to have a conversation about this. We cannot solve problems until we know their root, and we cannot know the root of a problem unless we examine it and discuss it.

It was being brought up by hate-filled parents.
It was homophobia.
No, it was easy access to assault weapons,
The government didn't keep good enough tabs on its citizens.
No, the government is oppressing us by keeping tabs on us and our guns.
Not enough care available for the mentally ill.
The problem is the PC refusal to recognize dysphoria and deviance as disordered and in need of care.
Militant Islam that seeks to destroy its enemies
¿Por qué no todos ?
Why can't they all be discussed? why must conversation be shut down on any of these possibilities? why are people so afraid of what they will find?
You, crazy ACLU lawyer-types - I'm willing to discuss it.
You think Christianity is to blame, that if Christians didn't advocate for traditional marriage and resist being told they must recognize and even serve activity they regard as an abhorrent sin the Orlando gunman would not have behaved as he did, that my praying for you is one cause - wanna discuss it? wanna tell my how prayer is hateful?

Monday, 13 June 2016

Me, at 7: I Looooove Root Beer My Snarky Little Brother: Yeah? Then Why Don't You Marry It?

What hicks we were!
Little did I know that what he suggested was possible.!
Earlier this month, a professor at Santa Monica College led students in an ‘EcoSexual Sextravaganza’ in which participants ‘married the ocean.’
Amber Katherine, a philosophy professor who helped organize the May 14 event, explained to Campus Reform that the purpose of the “wedding” was to bring about a deeper love for the planet through “ecocentric passion and even lust.”
The ceremony began with ... a former SMC student, proclaiming to those gathered at Santa Monica Beach that “today we stand upon this holy earth and in this sacred space to witness the rite of matrimony between the sea and us all.”
Next, leaders of the event distributed rings to the students, announcing “with this ring, I bestow upon the sea the treasures of my mind heart and hands—as well as my body and soul. With the power vested in us, we now pronounce you ‘married to the sea.’”
Oh. Or would that have been a mixed marriage? I mean, the body is what? about 60% water? But alas, no root beer at all...

A mug like that.....? Forget that mug and find another, One of your own kind, Stick to your own kind!

And the Lord Replied, "What Else Have I Been Doing?"

I cannot be the only one who mused fondly on some less-than-competent liturgical music programs from ones past or present this morning during the Responsorial Psalm, and thought, hmm.... good thing we don't often sing much of the Mass on weekdays.
Lord, listen to my groaning.

St Anthony, find us the Lost Chord?

Thursday, 9 June 2016

I don't need to imagine it...

“A wedding party where no wine makes the newlyweds ashamed, imagine you finish the wedding party drinking tea!’ Francis said, noting, “The wine is necessary to the party.”
Actually, I think it was a bit warm for tea, I may have had Diet Coke. Pretty sure Himself had coffee. Saw no reason to make the evangelical neighbors and the alcoholic in-laws uncomfortable or in need of fabricating a polite excuse for beating a hasty retreat from the reception.

And you know, morning.

Understand his point though.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Sometimes, You Just Don't Know Against Whom To Root

Wealthy, conservative, wishes-he-were-still-closeted activist does battle against How-Is-Two-People-having-Sex-In-What-They-Think-Is-Private-NOT-Newsworthy? media outlet.
Former compared elite universities to the pre-Reformation Catholic Church.
“You have this priestly class of professors who aren’t doing a whole lot of work, supported by a system dedicated to convincing people to buy indulgences and amass enormous debt for the dubious salvation that a diploma represents.”
But the latter, Gawker is.... well, Gawker.

I think I'll just concentrate on a journey where the path to Virtue and Rectitude is better marked - who gets my vote in the 2016 Presidential Election.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Catholic Cultural Currents, and Words

What does it mean to "conserve," to wish to "conserve"?
Could we say that sometimes the opposite of "conservative" is "neglectful" or even "destructive"?
If you disparage others as "scrupulous," are you saying it's better to be "negligent"?
Is the opposite of "nostalgia-hankering" perhaps "novelty-chasing" or "trend-infatuated"?

If you insist on setting yourself apart from those you deride as "pro-life," what does that make you? How would you like to identify yourself, vis a vis your position on "life"?

And what does it say about a Catholic who

When you speak of opinions outsiders may have of the Church, do you say, "They are known for the...." when it is aspects which you condemn or disavow, but ask "What do they say about us now?" (The way in '50s sitcoms when Junior drove Mom crazy she'd ask Dad, "What do you think YOUR son just did?")

Just wondering....
As Santayana said, or at least should have, 
Those who fail to appreciate history are doomed to be embarrassed when they look back on the present.

The Catholic Fringe Unraveling On Both Selvages, and Overplaying One's Hand

A bit of hubbub of late over some ordained persons' calling out of some unordained persons, in some cases by name, (one of said ordained persons being in the habit of threatening unordained persons with civil lawsuits,) following the unordained persons having called out other ordained persons by name, some consecrated persons by name, and even, in several cases, an installed person whose name is... well, known to virtually the entire world.
Some of all of this is deserved, other instances are unfair, some of it is bullying and clericalist, some of it is barking mad.
Hardly is anyone in these wars ever 100% wrong, there are often good reasons, up to a point, and very often, perhaps usually, good intentions. (We must assume that last, until the assumption is proved wrong.)
Even the ill-intentioned will begin with the reasonable and kind and inarguable.
Sometimes people give themselves away, of course, frequently by overplaying a hand,
Ah ha, the observer says to himself, I was with you up till now, you first point was undeniable and laudable but I see now that that was merely a set-up to this balderdash, an attempt to lull us into amiability so you could sneak in some poppycock.
Man cannot keep himself from Going Too Far.
Been discussing the failed 1998 translation a great deal with a friend lately,
While I admit there are some clunky moments in the one in use today, I overall drastically prefer it to the rejected one.
But there are other words and phrases spurned by TPTB that I would have endorsed, and more, endorsed the agenda behind them - but the reformers, as so often, went too far.
They knew, they had to know, that eventually, when push came to shove the Catholic Church was not going to allow the Anglophone Catholic Church, no matter how many of us like to think of ourselves as an autonomous sect, NOT to say, "I believe," and "and with your spirit," and "for you and for... many," (I actually think they could have sneaked that one in with "THE many.") Perhaps not on this go 'round, but eventually, and couldn't we finally have a few decades of liturgical calm now?
(Oh, and for the record, sometimes clunky is waaaaaaay better than curt.)
I digress.
Anyway, the Rad-Trad fringe has a lot of right on its side, and honest, it is possible to decry the feminization of ministry, and see it as a wedge issue for the impossibility that looms so large in the spiralist agenda*, the ordination of women, without despising women. (I promise you, I am not a self-hating gyno-American.)
But likewise, it would be easier to believe die-hard traditionalists oppose women in Holy Orders on loving theological grounds is so many of them did not openly display such contempt for women. Protestations that no, of course not, women are not held in less regard by the Church would be so much more credible if Aquinas hadn't said we were “deficiens et occasionatus”, if so many functions besides the confection of the Eucharist were not reserved to priests, and oh, yeah, the priesthood is reserved to men.
A contributing factor in the social recognition of the role of women is a greater appreciation of their responsibilities in the Church: their involvement in decision-making, their participation in the administration of some institutions and their involvement in the formation of ordained ministers.
Well, yeah.... it could be.
And it could have been.
For centuries.
And the longer it took the Church, it still takes Her, to come 'round, the harder it is to believe that Her denial of the presbyterate to women isn't just part and parcel of Her denigrations and ignoring of other charisms woman might have to offer Her and all of mankind.
Anyway, among the much criticized bloggers, there's a fellow who in a newish thread is arguing against "sacramental trans-genderism,"
Good for him, good turn of phrase, and he's right, mostly.
But he can't let a side comment go without answering it with this stupidity:
universal suffrage was one of the worst ideas in human history. Personally, I'm all for head of household landowners being the only ones allowed to vote. They have the most skin in the game.
That's right.
Not everyone who is entitled to vote knows what he's dong, so let's limit it.
Oooh. Interesting.
I.Q. test?
Determining the potential voter's logical acuity or moral fiber?
By wealth and ownership of material goods.
And he caps it off with the inanity about "skin in the game."
Um, no. LITERALLY wrong.
His ideal voter may have capital staked, he may have money on the game, but we each of us, literally, have one, our own, skin in the game.
His idea is as contemptible as the idiot's in the UK who think young people's votes should count more than that of their elders in the BREXIT referendum, since they'll probably live longer with the consequences.
(*Those who hold it might prefer the phrase "progressive agenda," but it aint' progress when you're going around in circles.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

A Catholic Publication On Traditionally Masculine Roles - Not What You Think

 A periodical that regularly and peevishly revisits the women's ordination non-issue has an editor who deep down seems to understand that to insist that the idea that women's worth can only be properly acknowledged by having them assume male roles is... well, not only wrong, anti-feminist, and cock-eyed, - IT ACCOMPLISHES THE OPPOSITE FROM THE DESIRED EFFECT:

The idea that schools need to somehow “make” girls interested in [science, technology, engineering and mathematics]... reaffirms the social narrative that STEM is a prestigious boys’ club that girls must break into, and a girl’s intelligence is only validated once she excels in one of the more complex “boy subjects.”...
the STEM obsession is less about equality and more about masculinity.
[A female economist muses] "what does it say about me, as a staunch feminist, if I’m relying on masculinity to convey my worth?”
The underlying belief, whether STEM advocates realize it or not, is that traditionally male-dominated fields are more valuable to society than those that have traditionally appealed to women.... a field’s overall pay drops when women enter it in greater numbers. ...
Society simply undervalues jobs once women start doing them.
Do you think the rest of the editorial staff will finally see the clericalism of which they are guilty, that it is the notions THEY float that contribute to the denigration of not just women's roles, but all roles and offices proper to the laity?
Will they promote the Church's understanding of apostolate?

Friday, 3 June 2016

Suicide on Rise? Especially Among Women? Among GIRLS? No, Really?????

Yes, of course, we've all read about it in the past few months.
We know, you know, 'cause people study it.
And they study it, since, umm... it's bad. right?
Kristin Holland, a behavioral scientist at the Center for Disease Control, believes there are multiple factors contributing towards the increase in suicide rate, and mental health is only one of them.
“Many people view suicide as a mental health problem, but many people who die of suicide do not have a mental health problem. It’s a public health problem,” she said.
According to Holland, the economic recession of the late 2000s and the increase of substance abuse are some of the factors leading to more frequent incidents of suicide.
The report also says that the increase in suicide rate was higher among females (45% increase) than males (16% increase), narrowing the suicide rate gap between the two genders.
The report also states that for women, the highest percent increase in suicide rates was among those ages 10–14 (200% increase)
How can that be, when we as a society are telling them it's wrong? I mean, we are, aren't we? We wouldn't romanticize it, or celebrate those who commit it or encourage it, or anything like that, would we?

Is it possible that in the modern world suicide is most acceptable, as long as you meet certain standards of education, class or beauty?

Sunday, 29 May 2016

"I Suffered Quite a Lot As a Goat"

Sure, why not.......?
When the rat race became too much for [an eejit the Daily Mail has decided to enable/humor/exploit] he quit London and became a goat... in Switzerland. The 35-year-old spent a year creating prosthetic 'goat legs' that would allow him to roam the Alps comfortably on all fours and an artificial stomach that would enable him to blend in and 'eat grass'. [the eejit]  said..."I was constantly falling over, and of course I had to eat grass."
Well yes, there is that.
'When I first had the idea a lot of people called me crazy, but I was fed up with my life anyway and I needed a break. I was jobless and I had a lot of personal problems, and I found everyday life so stressful.... as he was not keen on meat he decided against becoming a dog.
eejit]  said the idea of 'being an elephant had appealed' but then he realised they 'seem to have the same problems we do - they get sad, they get upset and they can even suffer from post-traumatic stress. That was exactly the sort of thing I was trying to get away from.'
Eventually he settled on the idea of being a goat....
'I learned something important, and that is that even goats have a hard life and need to fight for their existence. Every day was tough, and that is something that just is part of being alive.
'The one other thing I reckon I found is that goats are better people. They live much more in the moment than we do, and show us that we really do need to learn to be a bit more relaxed about life.'
Now he has written a book
Of course he has.
But wait, didn't Barth cover that?


Saturday, 28 May 2016

The Enemies of Christ?

This never hit me before:
 The Lord said to my Lord:
         "Sit on my right:
                  Your foes I will put beneath Your feet."
Who are the foes, the enemies of the Lord?
Surely, even though we are sinners, we are not His enemies, for He loves us. He loves us unconditionally. All of us. Every single one of us. Even when our actions are unforgivable in the sight of man, God forgives us!
His ways are not our ways, He is as far above us as the heavens are above the earth but His intention is that NONE of us shall be put "beneath his feet."

No human being is created with the destiny of becoming a footstool, He created not a one of us with that intention.
Perhaps Muhammed greets Christians and Jews and Yezidi in that place of Endless Day and says sheepishly, sorry about that, and all embrace.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

"Bread of Fatness and Royal Dainties"

I am yet always surprised at differences in traditional practices of piety, probably always shall be.

Was inspired, chanted Ecce Panis... aloud during Communion procession this morning, (often hum or sing so quietly that at most the man next to me is aware - although yesterday one of the celebrants noticed the Ave Verum...) was delighted that some joined in, and after Mass in thanksgiving chose a litany from a book someone had given me, to pray silently.

Had never come across this version of a Litany of the Most Blessed Sacrament -

Wheat of the elect,
     Kind of lovely...
Wine of which virgins are the fruit, 
    Hmmm, odd visual evoked there...
Bread of fatness and royal dainties,
     Okay, wait... WHAT?
Clean oblation,
    Oh, okay, "clean," that's different, not "pure"? or "spotless"? or... where was I?

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Bathroom Wars and Snack Crackers

So I just discover a really tasty cracker to which I am not allergic.

Then I discover that they are, to put it mildly, dear, (and the expensive box is tiny.)
THEN I discover someone else offers something similar.

But only one store around here seems to carry them.

Oh well...
Anyone know any copy-cat recipe for the Blue Diamond?

A Hymn and My Happy Place

I think of myself as a fussy, quick-to-compare-and-criticize person, as do most who know me, and I truly am.
That is why it is such a marvelous state of affairs that a tiny and welcome surprise can make me happy all day - please join in a hymn of thanksgiving, number 34 in the missallette.

I think I would willingly and joyfully sing the words of a washing machine owner's manual to PICARDY.
Add to that tune the glorious translation of Gerard Moultrie of the ancient words from the Liturgy of St. James, and I am transported.
Let all mortal flesh keep silence, And with fear and trembling stand; Ponder nothing earthly minded, For with blessing in His hand ,Christ our God to earth descendeth Comes our homage to demand. 
King of kings, yet born of Mary, As of old on earth He stood, Lord of lords, in human vesture, In the body and the blood; He will give to all the faithful His own self for heavenly food. 
Rank on rank the host of heaven Spreads its vanguard on the way, As the Light of light descendeth From the realms of endless day, Comes the powers of hell to vanquishAs the darkness clears away. 
At His feet the six winged seraph, Cherubim with sleepless eye, Veil their faces to the presence, As with ceaseless voice they cry: Alleluia, Alleluia Alleluia, Lord Most High!
It is a shame that those who pursue, perhaps favor, a liturgical minimalism are unaware that the most minimal of embellishment, the tiniest extra effort, lengthening the Mass by mere seconds, is often enough to lift it, and the spirits of the congregants into an entirely new realm.

Monday, 23 May 2016

"Demythologizing the Papacy"

And absolutely fascinating report by the wonderful Edward Pentin on a presentation by Archbishop Georg Gänswein.
Archbishop Gänswein, who doubles as the personal secretary of the Pope Emeritus and prefect of the Pontifical Household, said Benedict did not abandon the papacy like Pope Celestine V in the 13th century but rather sought to continue his Petrine Office in a more appropriate way given his frailty....
Drawing on the Latin words “munus petrinum” — “Petrine ministry” — Gänswein pointed out the word “munus” has many meanings such as “service, duty, guide or gift”. He said that “before and after his resignation” Benedict has viewed his task as “participation in such a ‘Petrine ministry’.
“He left the Papal Throne and yet, with the step he took on 11 February 2013, he has not abandoned this ministry,” Gänswein explained, something "quite impossible after his irrevocable acceptance of the office in April 2005.“
Instead, he said, "he has built a personal office with a collegial and synodal dimension, almost a communal ministry...
“Therefore he has also not retired to a monastery in isolation but stays within the Vatican — as if he had taken only one step to the side to make room for his successor and a new stage in the history of the papacy.” With that step, he said, he has enriched the papacy with “his prayer and his compassion placed in the Vatican Gardens....
“So it is not surprising,” he said, “that some have seen it as revolutionary, or otherwise as entirely consistent with the gospel,  while still others see in this way a secularized papacy as never before, and thus more collegial and functional, or even simply more humane and less sacred. And still others are of the opinion that Benedict XVI, with this step, has almost — speaking in theological and historical-critical terms — demythologized the papacy.”
I will not deny that I miss Pope Benedict every day, but I utterly denounce this insistence on pitting the theology and faith and Catholicity of Francis against that of Benedict, or vice versa.
Different styles, different ways of expression, (there is no doubt to which I incline,) different personalities... different reserves of prudence? of the prudence of reserve?  but they are brothers in arms.
Cooperatores Veritatis , indeed.
The unseemly backroom machination against the popes are no surprise, but I did not know about the sister who had been killed in the car accident.
That is the kind of blow that can be hard to bear at any stage in life.
Any way, good read, thank you Catholic Register.
I am finding, with the raging partisanship that seems to have invaded every kind of social and institutionalized information supplying, that there is very little that we can depend on.
Sometimes our enemies tell us the truth, and our allies lie.
Did you hear what....? Well, no, so and so said that what really.... But it said in.... But were there actual quotations, or did someone mischaracterize... Yes, he wrote that but in context he clearly....
And yes, I have been troubled by some things actually said, and other things imputed to Pope Francis, and I don't always think he has phrased things as felicitously as he might have, or taken into account likely misinterpretations.
But so long as neither Ratzinger nor Gänswein has turned on him, neither shall I dare to do such a thing.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

You Know That the Rulers Lord It Over Them, and the Great Ones Make Their Authority Over Them Felt

Sorry, but you know how it is, when something sticks in your craw, and new objections to it continue to bubble to the surface.
Anyway, guess - was this...
“The light of Christ reflected in the Church must not become the privilege of only a few elect who float enclosed within a safe harbor ... for the elite, the clean, the perfect and the saved.”
.... said by a layman decrying the scourge clericalism, or a presbyter annoyed at how "empowered" those uppity laymen are becoming? DON'T THEY KNOW THEIR PLACE???!?

Oops. There. I've given it away.

What Kind of "Brand Reputation" Ought the Mystical Body of Christ to Have?

"Pope Francis has succeeded in rebranding the public profile of the Church, according to a Vatican PR aide" 
Isn't that a lovely way for a priest to have put it, for him to describe his own efforts on behalf of the Church...
"His positive tone isn’t always reflected...."
Reflected, huh? Vampires have some trouble of the same sort, although I always thought that might be because they don't exist.
Thee are statements that need to be taken with a grain of salt. Or salt and light.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

Decision Fatigue, and Catholish Charities

Some people wear grey t-shirts every day, trying in vain to protect themselves against "decision fatigue."
I haven't taken it upon myself to tell the world what's trending, with what topics it should concern itself, so  burden is somewhat lighter than that of such movers and shakers, but it seems to me that the shade of the fabric I pull over my head in the morning is not just a relatively easy choice to make, it's an actively pleasant one, even if the pleasure is very small - it is virtually impossible that ten minutes, or ten hours, or ten years from now I'll be kicking myself and moaning, "Periwinkle? WHY, why, why, why.....?"
Other choices are neither easy nor pleasant, so when the day starts, it's nice to get something like t-shirt color under my belt, so to speak - decision-making successfully navigated!
My current decision fatigue comes from the apparent elasticity of the word "Catholic," with an upper case "C."
I used to think that persons and institutions calling themselves "Catholic" were, you know... actually Catholic in thought and practice. Naif!
Alas, there is no guarantee that the word means anything of the sort nowadays. My time, my efforts, my charitable dollars, (few though they may be,) - how can I know they do not support practices I abhor?
I must research for myself.
Several times recently Himself has bemoaned finding himself aligned with people with whom he is not used to agreeing, because those who more usually share stances seem to have gone off the deep end, more intent on pushing the agenda of a bizarre ideology than in improving the world and the lives of those in it in commonsensical ways.
And I know how he feels, but I'm also aware that it is virtually, perhaps literally impossible to live in the world without compromising ones principles at least to the degree required to some times collaborate with those with whom one disagrees, perhaps even on fundamental issues.
Aren't we glad when Der Schränker in "M" organizes other criminals to guard the children?
Shouldn't Melanie take Belle Watling's money in the noble cause of fighting for the Glorious Confederacy?
Don't the good Daniel Craig and the evil Harrison Ford justifiably band together against a common enemy in Cowboys and Aliens?
Sorry about the tangent. Anyway, I came to terms some time ago with the fact that if you need mosquito nets to save lives and the only NGO with mosquito nets to sell in that part of the world also provides abortions, you may end up temporarily engaging in commerce with someone who provides abortions.
You are not yourself doing or endorsing evil, and you hold your nose when you materially, remotely, mediatedly cooperate with it.
But when you complacently enter into a long term relationship with the devil?
Now sometimes the people who make you aware of what's going on may not be people with whom you'd necessarily wish to associate, either, but I think you must be grateful to them for opening your eyes.
The Lepanto Institute, for instance, are provocateurs, and I'm told not above stretching a point to connect the dots as they demonstrate the webs of cooperation that allow certain kinds of evil to flourish unchecked by, indeed, supported by good people.
And they may be a bit to quick to try to establish guilt by association.
But they are right too often to ignore, and I think they're going to be a go-to for me in days ahead.

Right now, I don't need them to spill the goods, I can be disappointed all on my 'onesome.
A family member asked me to join in helping a medical charity.
The "Catholic" board chairman, when I asked point blank where they stood on the use of embryonic stem cells for research or therapy because "I can not support that," said absolutely not, no way, never, that's important to me too.
Come to find out, I don't know whether the chair is lazy, deceitful, or ignorant, but the groups they bankroll actively lobby for money for the development of new embryonic stem cell lines, and laws protecting such development, and actually pursue such research themselves.

Gonna go live in a cave...

God, Send Us Many Holy Priests!

I think there is something really ugly about a bureaucrat who feels he must suck up to current higher-ups by denigrating former, or who cannot find a way praise and encourage current subordinates without insulting former.
I'm not going to hold the seminary rector responsible for a loathesome example of the latter up to contempt by naming him, but I want to post in its entirety a reply from a former seminarian, now hard-working, dedicated and zealous priest (Lord, send us many more such!):
This article, written from an interview given by the out-going Rector of my former seminary, is very hurtful. The men who were formed in and ordained from Theological College over the past 10 years are some of the best and most pastoral men and priests that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Inventing a false dichotomy between a love for the Church's traditions and a love for the people of God is a manipulative, ideological tool used to push forth one's personal agenda.
I have known Father [X] for many years, and have a great deal of respect and admiration for him personally, but this public interview he gave with an openly dissenting "Catholic" publication warrants an alumnus response.
As one of the many cassock-wearing, Communion-on-the-tongue-receiving, Latin-loving, Extraordinary-Form-Mass-saying young priests that have passed through the halls of Theological College, allow me to say plainly to anyone who would agree with the tone and sentiment of this article that you have deliberately and painfully pigeon-holed men who love the Church and cast us to be pompous little monsters simply because we have a different theological/liturgical outlook than you. You condescend towards us as if we were not thinking, opining, and sincere men. You gossip about us, ensuring that we are "put in our places" and "taught a thing or two" by your confreres. You confuse our strong convictions with arrogance and accuse us of being staunch when we are trying more than anything else to be faithful, helpful, and loving.
But let's be quite honest...you don't really know us because you never took the time to get to know us. You saw us when we were in the seminary chapel or over breakfast...but that's about it. Have you seen us at 2:00 AM in the hospital? Have you seen us working late into the night on a funeral homily? Have you seen us giving up our one day off a week to visit with a lonely elderly parishioner? Have you seen us on our knees at night before the tabernacle weeping because we just buried a child earlier that day? Have you seen us celebrate four Masses on a weekend, hear hours of confessions, and still show up to Sunday evening Youth Ministry? Have you seen us wear the same pair of socks two days in a row because we simply ran out of time to do laundry? Have you seen us muster a smile even when we're exhausted, or miss Christmas with our families because we're assigned 300 miles away, or forget to eat dinner because there's another meeting to go to? The answer is no. What you see are the cassocks and birettas and fiddleback chasubles and accuse us of being "out of touch." Well the reality is, you are guilty of the very thing you accuse us of. You ignore our humanity, our struggle, our sincerity, and you fixate on external things to make your judgments.
As difficult as it is at times, I love being a priest with my whole heart. Not because it offers me an exalted status or any privileges, but because it offers me, and the people I serve, the means by which to attain salvation. I love the people I serve to death, and I would do anything within my means to help them. If you look at my cassock and presume otherwise, I can only feel sorry for you.
Myself and the other men who were indirectly insulted in this interview are the ones on the battlefield. As parish priests, we work hard, sacrifice hard, and try daily to live solely for God in Jesus Christ. Instead of insinuating that Theological College had to somehow put up with a decade or more of rigid, overly-conservative, and ideological seminarians, why not offer us a word of encouragement and perhaps even a prayer or two?

Friday, 13 May 2016

Thinking About Evil, Dabbling in Heresy ; Is Evil a Verb Rather Than a Noun?

I had a philosophy teacher once, a religious sister, who gave me high marks, suggested I might want to "go into" philosophy or theology, and said that I was an original thinker.
(How the undergraduate mind preens under such a gaze....)
I was horrified when I was older to read something I had written in that class, on which she had given me thoughtful, constructive and mostly admiring feedback, and see that what I had written was heretical, outright, no-question-about-it heresy.
And she had no problem with it !!!!!!!!

So I just wanted to say upfront that I am wary when I have thoughts on certain matters.

But a question occurs to me, would it be correct to say that Evil is "not a noun"? that is, not a thing, for God Who is all good and hates nothing He has created, and therefore never created an evil thing,

Therefore, Evil cannot be a created, (or even, perhaps, imagined,) thing,  a noun - it must be a verb, must be action.

Evil must be the doing, not the thing itself.

So the devil, a created being, was not created as an evil thing, but instead chose to engage in evil actions, to feel prideful, to disobey, and to try to provoke such actions in other beings.

Likewise, we, human beings, are never evil, (though it sometimes seems so,) we are good, but we continually are given choices, and too often choose to act in ways that are evil.
Evil is always then, an action that is a Fail, (and sometimes, quite literally, a failure to act - act in a way that would be Good, that would further God's hopes for us.)

Judas, Stalin, that bully at school - no one is created to be bad, they are all created Good by God Who is Himself all Goodness, and they choose to walk down another path.

Does any of that make sense? is it anything even approaching correct?