Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Is Cliven Bundy...

.... an illegal user of public lands for grazing animals for his private gain?

Or is he merely an undocumented one? Maybe his trespass is an act of love.

Wisdom and compassion from....

.... that's right.

Happy Birthday!

Monday, 14 April 2014


(Which loosely translates, appropriately enough, "For God's sake, SAVE us!")
I believe this photo is actually from 2013, but the parish involved had a jolly Palm Sunday again this year. And besides, I like wolves. (Almost as much as I like NETTLETON)
1. Take some flour, and some water, Mix them well in to a paste,
Then recycle some old news print, Tear it! let there be no waste.
Dip longs strips into the mixture, Place them where they need to be
Bring a puppet into being, Show your creativity.
2.How to use these gentle giants? What their purpose? What their use?
Are they toys? a science project? For the stage? Don't be obtuse!
We'll parade them to the altar, Where they'll stand in proud array!
What priest shortage? we'll just build one Out of more papier mache!

"Wherever the Catholic Sun doth shine...."

I finished and filed my taxes.
Then I made a silly comment on a blog about white wines.
Then I thoguht about celebrating finishing my taxes.
Then I considered the fact that it was Holy Week.
Then I came across this:

Funny stuff.
But actually, of the six mentioned that I would drink, only three tell truths, (f'rinstance, don't care much for chianti, and never met a breadstick I didn't like)

Cheers! And benedicamus Domino!

"Conservative or Liberal?" "I can't answer that..."

"..., on what issue?"
"Well, humanist or Christian?
"It is a great thing to be a member of the Church of Both/And.""
Today, having a clear faith based on the Creed of the Church is often labeled as fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, that is, letting oneself be "tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine", seems the only attitude that can cope with modern times. We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one's own ego and desires. 
We, however, have a different goal: the Son of God, the true man. He is the measure of true humanism...."
            - The Future Pope Benedict
An interesting, if not exactly new essay linked by a Facebook friend.
In private life and public policy alike, there exists a particular category of truths that grown-ups and grown-up governments will respectfully acknowledge. For conservatives this amounts to mere common sense. Actions have consequences. Privileges entail responsibility. There is no free lunch. At day’s end, accounts must balance. Sooner or later, the piper will be paid. Only the foolhardy or the willfully reckless will attempt to evade these fundamental axioms.
Conservatives take human relationships seriously and know that they require nurturing. In community lies our best hope of enjoying a meaningful earthly existence. But community does not emerge spontaneously. Conservatives understand that the most basic community, the little platoon of family, is under unrelenting assault, from both left and right. Emphasizing autonomy, the forces of modernity are intent on supplanting the family with the hyper-empowered—if also alienated—individual, who exists to gratify appetite and ambition. With its insatiable hunger for profit, the market is intent on transforming the family into a cluster of consumers who just happen to live under the same roof. One more thing: conservatives don’t confuse intimacy with sex.....And they need to recognize that the political left includes people of goodwill.
                       --Andrew Bacevich
Although, I haste to add, I'm not with him on many of his specifics, and more importantly, on issues with which I believe I do concur with his positions, that I do not agree with some of his assessments of which ships have sailed, (eg, the government sanctioned private murder of the unborn.)  The reach of that thread upon which God has only to twitch is so much greater than the mind can imagine.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

MUST READ: A Pastoral Letter from Joseph Caiaphas

Holy Week reading from Mrs. Donnelly, I believe?
Anyway, brava!
His Eminence Joseph ben Caiaphas the High Priest writes:

I apologise for having to trouble you in this way, as we approach the sacred festivities. Regrettably, we are experiencing considerable difficulty with some of the more recent members of the Sacred Sanhedrin, who seem determined to take an undesirably stringent approach as regards some of the complex moral issues in the Torah. I am not sure how they became members of the Sacred Council of the Seventy. One suspects one may have been impeded from attending the meeting considering their candidature.

One or two of these new members of the Holy Sanhedrin seem not to appreciate adequately that we are obliged to maintain good relations with the powers that be, with the Procurator’s court. If we annoy Governor Pontius Pilate with undiplomatic comments about the exposure of infants, porcine stock-raising, the mercy killing of the chronically sick, or the sexual variations common in Greek culture, we will simply alienate him and his administration.....

The Romans run a vast multi-cultural and multi-ethnic empire, and have to allow for all tastes and practices in both sexual and medical matters. For many years the Sanhedrin has unanimously agreed that we should cooperate with their attempts to build a broad-based and tolerant society, helping to promote the common good.
That fine blog lives on.

Father Rocky Hurts Feelings...

Sure he does, that must be the problem...

Seriously now, what can it mean when a Catholic priest is described as belonging to "an orthodox division" of the Church? It reminds me of a moronic complaint in my old diocesan newspaper that some spoil-sport prelate had tried to insist that Mass had to be "sober" and "dignified."
Ya see what the opposites of those are, doncha? Anyway, Catholic News Agency provides proof that the man how got the Prout students' parents' knickers in a twist is a Big Ol' Meany:
I am writing in response to the “Marriage outside the Church.”
I am appalled and disgusted that you would recommend that “all of his Catholic relatives protest and refuse to attend his wedding, unless he gets married in the Catholic Church.”
ARE YOU KIDDING ME . . . who do you think you are?
 You apparently don’t have any idea how stressful weddings are (I’m in the middle of planning a big one right now) and then you want to heap all of this stress on the poor guy. My biggest problem with this scenario is that your family is supposed to be your support and your soft place to fall and then you go and tell his family to turn against him in what is supposed to be a joyous time in his life. The question doesn’t mention if they are getting married in a church or by a JP or what but nevertheless you should attend the wedding no matter what. Instead of using intimation and ultimatums, why not use mentoring and support, even if it’s after the wedding. He is not going to come asking for advice or guidance from people that decided it wasn’t important to even come to his wedding.
This kind of thinking is what sends Catholics running, screaming away from the Catholic Church. My husband and I are Catholic. I was not Catholic when we got married and we got married in my protestant church. We are coming up on our 30th wedding anniversary and if his family refused to attend our wedding that would have been devastating to him and it probably would have created a failed marriage. We have attended wedding ceremonies in different religions to support our friends.
Catholics need to get a grip . . . it’s not your way or the highway. There are other fabulous churches out there and I think we all need to work together to spread the word of God. If all Catholics were more accepting and open minded, and worked to get along with other protestant religions and other religions in general, the world would be a better place to live.

I think you and I agree on the basics and want strong marriages that will last. Having joined the Catholic Church, I’ll bet you’re also eager for everyone to become a Catholic.  But some of your big-hearted statements raise concerns
You should “attend the marriage no matter what?”  What if one of them is already married?  What if both are men?  No matter what?
The vehemence of your emotion regarding my answer to the marriage question is something I have learned to weather after 20 years in the priesthood.  People don’t like to be told no.  I know from personal experience that it can be dangerous business defending the clear teachings of Christ and the Church about marriage.  St. John the Baptist learned that too.

I regret that you did not read my answer carefully.  What I advised all depends on the word “if.”  Such a small word, I know, but it has great meaning.  For the record, I wrote: “If all of his Catholic relatives protest and refuse to attend his wedding, unless he gets married in the Catholic Church after having received adequate preparation, I’ll bet THAT will get his attention.  More likely, his Catholic relatives are split on the issue, and so the confusion just continues.”

I know of cases where a Catholic was going to get married outside of the Church and almost all of his relatives protested.  Because of the unanimous reaction of the family members, that young man came to his senses and chose to be sacramentally and validly married in the Church.   However, that rarely happens.  Usually most of the relatives acquiesce, and we go from confusion to confusion. Nearly 70 percent of Catholics do not attend weekly Mass, rarely if ever go to confession, and remain quite uneducated about the faith and Church requirements about marriage.  If they knew that spouses who get married in the Church, and make their best effort to practice as Catholics – attending Sunday Mass, confessing at least once a year, avoiding artificial birth control – were 10 times more likely to have a successful marriage, they would do their best to encourage their relatives to get married in the Church.
I am happy that you and your husband are happily married after 30 years.  It’s possible he received a proper dispensation at the time to get married to you in a protestant Church ceremony.  That can be allowed.  It’s wonderful that you became a Catholic, but you can not be a Catholic on your own terms.
Back to the original question: should you attend the wedding when the Catholic gets married outside of the Catholic church?  That all depends on the circumstances.  In no way can you foster a Catholic’s defection from the Church.  If your attendance will serve to keep open the lines of communication with the hope of bringing him/her back to the Catholic Church, then the answer could be yes.  But if everyone refuses to acquiesce, I’ll bet he’ll change his mind.
Finally, as to your remark that “Catholics need to get a grip,” while not altogether theological, it certainly manifests a common attitude today.  We do have a grip, and what we grip is the cross of Christ, sometimes known as Truth. 
If Catholics were interested in a popularity contest, then we would mimic the mega-Church approach with Starbucks and big screens, and never, ever, say a word about divorce, abortion, homosexuality, or gay marriage.  But Jesus challenges us to be more courageous than that.  If he were interested in being popular, he would have changed his teaching on the Holy Eucharist.  As it was, he issued an ultimatum to his followers:  “Do you also wish to go away?”  He did not need them.  He does not need us.  We need him.  We need his Church.  We need his truth.  It’s the only thing that will set us free our selfishness and fear.
(I should add that I disagree strenuously with anyone who says that is the right approach in every case... even those of us who are imprudent need to make prudential judgments sometimes. And Fr Hoffman makes that clear.)
Anyway, Relevant Radio could use a donation.

It is not just in America that we have "Winking Catholics"

Great Britain, in fact, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales seems to be loaded with'em.
Although Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth stated in an interview that denying Communion to someone engaged publicly in grave sin is an “act of mercy” and a “medicinal” remedy for Catholics, and that "when people are not in communion with the Catholic Church on such a central thing as the value of life of the unborn child and also in terms of the teachings of the church on marriage and family life – they are voting in favor of same-sex marriage – then they shouldn’t be receiving Holy Communion,” those bishops without chests hastened to reassure British pols that no, no, they had no intention of acting on the beliefs of the Church.... you know, as if they actually held them.

'Cause you see, receiving communion isn't an act of ultimate intimacy with our Lord Jesus Christ Who gives His Body and Blood for us for Catholics..... nah, it's more like sharing rubber chicken with the other Rotarians, and even some guests who aren't Rotarians, and in fact, think organizations like the Rotarians are kinda silly, and maybe even wrong about some things.

So it really doesn't matter what you do, or what you believe.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Weddings and "Show-offs"

My family, why I don't know, seems to have weddings in Lent, and so we've just had one. A priest friend was vetoed from presiding because he is, in the words of one of the familial PTB a "show-off."
And we've also all just seen the Youtube video of a priest at a wedding doing his Rufus Wainwright, (why RW's is not the archived performance of the lovely Leonard Cohen song " Hallelujah", I do not understand...)

And Catholic bloggers, musicians, and liturgists are all, well, many, yammering about it.
Now, it is unclear to me when or if this song happens in the liturgy, so I am not even certain it is inappropriate: is it before? after?

But could someone please explain how in the name of all that's holy or otherwise, how a celebrant bursting into "special material" during or in the temporal vicinity of a wedding is ""an example of pre-conciliar liturgy" modified or not?

Pre-conciliar is this dude's all-purpose criticism, I'm starting to think, like some kids I know who call things for which they don't care "communist" or "queer" and mean the same thing by either word.

"God Bless America"

An odd thing, I noticed on my stats page that a long-ago post about singing "God Bless America" received a little spike in interest -- but that post was not in reference to the parish, nor the diocese, nor the state, nor the time zone where I engaged in my most recent pique at "liturgical" music!

Is it me?

Do I somehow traipse around the country and just FIND these places?

"Mmmm.... ham!"

Any Catholics out there might want to read 31 Things You Thought About During Mass I haven't thought of quite all of them, but yeah, way too many.
No, of course not "GUI", but...

24.  I can’t believe those people who leave right after Communion…they should stay for the end of Mass and the recessional hymn.

25.  And the recessional hymn is…no!…”Lord of the Dance”?…Can I leave now before my ears throw up?
lord of the dance

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

"I believe in.... no, no, not REALLY, it's just something we say!"

Some time ago I observed a group of catechumens, all of whom had been attending sessions for a minimum of four months, under the guidance of a Winking Catholic.
(You know the type, a transcript would reveal unimpeachable explication of magisterial teaching, so there would be no hints of the eye-rolling, smirking and finger quotes sketched in the air that accompanied the words to assure the newbies that, nah, we Catholics don't really believe that.)
Anyway, the degree to which said WC had communicated the splendour of truth to the catechumens can be gauged by one of them suddenly waking up and saying, "Wait a minute.... you're talking about Jesus as if he was God or somethin'."

There was an incident about which I was not going to write, had I not read about all the Winking Catholics with whom the poor teachers and clergy of the Diocese of Charlotte must deal.
I prepared a little more carefully for the CCD class on Matrimony than I had on any of the other sacraments, because I knew what a minefield it could be.
I actually wrote out talking points to make certain that I phrased things in positive rather than negative ways, (e.g., relationship of man and woman a permanent symbol of relationship of Christ and Church, rather than condemnation of homosexual relationships, which some in this age group would have no understanding of anyway, or discussion of decrees of nullity, ditto); that I used examples and pronouns in such a way that no one could feel personally attacked, judged, described;  that my statements were utterly in keeping with what the Church teaches -- but most of all, I planned several different iterations of the principles that unless the Blessed Mother pops in, everyone in the room is a sinner and that while sinful actions may be observed and even at times judged, ONLY God knows the heart and passes judgement on persons.
I had it better phrased than that, honest...
Anyway, the minefield was intensified by several children who asked, repeatedly over the course of the hour and a half, about divorce. There are enough students for whom I have multiple home phone numbers that I guessed there were probably irregular situations, but I was actually more worried because there are students with close relatives in open same-sex relationships.

None of this seemed to be an issue, however.


Then every teacher in the program was sent a letter, thanks, we know it's a difficult and important job, but you need to teach your classes what the Church teaches, and we have resources to help you do exactly that, and if you can't, we thank you again but good-bye.

And because of that class I decide I must actually go to the priest who wrote the letter and ask, is it I? and was it on this subject?
Because it would not have completely surprised me completely if we had to revisit part of that lesson.

But no, everyone's quite pleased with how that week went, and there have been no letters from home.

Weeks pass.

Then a father arrives, can I speak to you in the hall, my kid says you said, I'll show you my marriage license, why did you ask him if....

Anyway, I was glad to be able to use the NYTimes blogging teacher line about, I promise not to believe every thing your kid tells me happens at home if you promise not to believe every word he tells you about what happened in class.

Anyway, all straightened out, and actually, in  conversation the two of us were able to discern what was really going on -- all of his closest friends parent's are divorced, ALL of them, and several very recently and every time anyone raises a voice the child becomes terrified that that are going to divorce, and maybe they aren't "really" married.

This guy seems to be doing a really good job not just of of living the Faith, but of trying to pass it on to his children.

Which is a WHOLE lot better than the You-Can't-Teach-My-Kid-That-Catholic-Stuff that seems to be going on elsewhere, particularly at Charlotte Catholic High School.

And to those parents, I would like to say what I said to some children in a parochial school choir I directed, when they all came in one week complaining that their parents had been upset by telling them that they were obligated to get their kids to Mass every Sunday, "I'm footing the bill for you to go to that school, they don't tell me what to do, I tell them."

Your parents are wrong. They pay less than 40 percent of what it costs for you to go to school here, and I and the little old ladies on fixed incomes and the young couples who don't have any children yet, who put money in the collection basket every week foot the bill for you to go to this school, and we are only doing that because we care that you are being brought up to be a good, faithful, practicing Catholic. If your parents just want an inexpensive alternative to a private school, I'm not going to subsidize it, and apparently the pastor and principal agree with me. Please tell your parents that.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Apparently some things ARE intolerable...

Brendan Eich was forced out as chief executive of Mozilla, because he donated once donated $1,000 to support a bill retaining the traditional definition of marriage Andrew Sullivan, of all people, had this to say:
“If this is the gay rights movement today — hounding our opponents with a fanaticism more like the religious right than anyone else — then count me out”
Guess what, Mr Sullivan? It is.

Sunday, 30 March 2014


For the very first time as a married woman, and the first time as a home-owner, I am about to entertain a household full of people (family wedding, LENT, don't I know it?)

Himself is a twitter because we, okay, because I am a slob.

He just harvested bananas, than which, (fresh, non-corporatedesignedforeaseoftransport,) there is little tastier.
So while making banana bread I performed an amazing trick, after the first, (fats, liquids, sugars,) stage i turned off the mixer, the better to sift, my dear.
And while I was doing so, the mixer jumped off the counter, (bad enough,) and somehow landed on its switch and began spinning for all it's worth, spraying the kitchen with a silken mixture of dark brown sugar, sour milk, eggs and mashed bananas.
Okay, I washed the little rugs, but the rest of it?
Dropped a cleaning wipe on the floor, and swabbed it around with my foot.


Yeah, I dust that way sometimes, too....

(Oops, just realized, the incident caused me to omit the cinnamon and allspice. Tant pis.)

Friday, 28 March 2014

Real Boys vs. Real Brats

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Dr. Janet Sasson Edgette for saying the unthinkable:

 that in many cases boys behave like little monsters not because they're boys but because someone, parents, sociologists, school administrators, family psychologist,  kindly blogging priests, whoever - someone thinks rude, or monstrous, or selfish, or thoughtless, or violent behavior is something the little darlings must be allowed to get away with in order to grow up to be manly men.
By mistaking unchecked behavior for undeveloped behavior, we allow unacceptable behavior in boys and men to be seen as just another part of “being a guy.”
The knightly virtues need to be taught, (in my probabluy worthless opinion)

Orthodoxy Vs. Ideas?

Is it me, or does this:
Catherine Pepinster, [the editor]  has written that [the Tablet is a place] "where orthodoxy is at home but ideas are welcome.”
implicitly state that only that which is opposed to orthodoxy is,  (or perhaps, has) "ideas"?
That the orthodox have no idea....?

Well, at least these idea-filled people, "the Tablet’s editor, staff, directors and trustees all disassociate ourselves from [the ugly] remarks made by Robert Mickens and Chris Grady.” (I don't believe the latter is a journalist, per se, just someone with ideas who is heavily quoted on certain Catholic blogs.

God doesn't care about that stuff...

From this morning's Office of Readings, which seemed to speak directly to me, as I prepared to watch another video from the MOOC I am taking, where we are discussing the absolute need for beauty, and what the Church, and through Her, God asks for:
Bezalel and Oholiab and all the skilled craftsmen whom the Lord had endowed with the skill and perception to carry out all that was required for the building of the sanctuary, did their work exactly

Bezalel made the ark of acacia wood, two and a half cubits long, one and a half cubits wide, one and a half cubits high. He plated it, inside and out, with pure gold, and decorated it all round with a gold moulding. He cast four gold rings for the ark, attaching them to its four feet: two rings on one side and two rings on the other. He also made shafts of acacia wood plating them with gold; and he passed the shafts through the rings on the sides of the ark, for carrying it. Also he made of pure gold a throne of mercy, two and a half cubits long, and one and a half cubits wide. For the two ends of this throne of mercy he made two golden cherubs; he made them of beaten gold, the first cherub for one end and the second for the other, and fastened them to the two ends of the throne of mercy so that they made one piece with it. The cherubs had their wings spread upwards so that they overshadowed the throne of mercy. They faced one another, their faces towards the throne of mercy.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

"Deprived of Ones Gift of Spiritual Awareness"

So many words, when just one would do: CURED.

You know how it is when you look for something, and follow a link, and there's something totally unconnected on a side-bar, but you open another tab, oh, and what's that" I'll just look at that for a minute and, wait, let me check out this link, but...

And before you know it, you are interested in something you weren't even enough aware of before to be UNinterested.

And you don't even know how you got there.
It may have started with something about CS Lewis, but I can't remember now.

Anyway, I understand this was last year, but did the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church REALLY say that St Paul done wrong when he cast out a demon?
Paul is annoyed at the slave girl who keeps pursuing him, telling the world that he and his companions are slaves of God. She is quite right. She’s telling the same truth Paul and others claim for themselves. But Paul is annoyed, perhaps for being put in his place, and he responds by depriving her of her gift of spiritual awareness. Paul can’t abide something he won’t see as beautiful or holy, so he tries to destroy it. It gets him thrown in prison. That’s pretty much where he’s put himself by his own refusal to recognize that she, too, shares in God’s nature, just as much as he does”maybe more so!
Oh my stars and garters.

"The least of these?" "Disadvantaged?"


"I was grateful to have the opportunity to speak with him about the responsibilities that we all share to care for the least of these."
"The theme that stitched our conversation together was a belief that... the quality of empathy, the ability to ...to care for someone even if they don’t look like you or talk like you, that that’s critical."
"He has tried to focus the Church instead on helping the world's disadvantaged."

 "I was extremely moved by his insights about the importance of us all having a moral perspective" 

Like the news, only important...