Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Saturday, 28 February 2015

From the Press Office

I'd like to clarify some remarks made yesterday by....

That Imaginary Dinner Party

I believe the 36 Questions That Lead to Intimacy, or whatever they're called, (so glad I knew what that concept was before watching Big Bang...) include the famous, who would you like to have dinner with?
Himself and I have have only settled so far on, (we limited it to living persons,) the Pope Emeritus, Tim Gunn, Barry Humphries, (he can dress as he likes,) and a dear friend who is witty, learned, interesting and above all so very, very kind.
Now I think I'd like to add Damian Thompson to the guest list,  (though he probably wouldn't care for me,) and after this in the Spectator I doooooo so hope he'd except!

It's not for his remarks about Cdl Pell, or Vatican finances, as I'm trying not to form any opinion on that because of ad hominem affections and antipathies and indifference.

No, it's for this impossibly perfect, snarky descriptive term:
The "Carry On" Synod on the Family
Carry On, Cardinal!
 . .
 Image result for carry On movies
Is that Cardinal Marx? He's ever such a nice man....

Two Years Ago

I love Pope Francis, I really do.
But how I miss Papa Benedict...
Two years ago I sat in a chair I'd slept the night in, watching the television at hospice.
Not quite crying, wondering and waiting, as the Rose faded and the Pope boarded the helicopter.

This is always going to be an awful time of year for me,  a second November.
Pray for the Holy Suffering Souls, to the Holy Triumphant Saints, with the Holy Militant ones...

Pray for me, as I will for thee, that we may merrily meet in heaven.
Image result for "pope benedict' "a white rose" flowers

Mardi Gras? How About Février Gras? Oh, Heck, L'année Gras!

(No, patently I do not speak French, can read it a very little.)
From the same thread as referenced below, a usually sharper-than-that commentator explains that pre-Lent, ( the existence of which startled me when I went to an EF 2 years ago and saw purple, and didn't get to attempt to sing along on the Gloria I had finally learned,) is pretty much moot, since it "act[ed] as a counterpoint to Carnival revelries that now mostly survive only as tourist spectacle here and there."

It seems to me that the license and extravagance of the festivities that once might have preceded Lent for a few short weeks are now a world-wide, 24/7/52 phenom.

There's almost always a Dakota Johnson or Kardashian or Beyonce or a Channing Tatum to be seen serving as.... a bead target, Mr.
 Image result for throw me some beads mister
In this country at least, "binge" has ceased to be a pejorative.
And there is not one night of the year that you couldn't find groups of  merry-makers in any city in the US, behaving and dressed in a way that not that long ago would have brought a blush to the cheek of the mayor of Rio.

"Survive?" No, the "Carnival revelries" are doing just fine, thank you, in fact, thriving,  propagating like rabbits, as a pope might say.

Not Rosary, But SYLLABLE Counting!

Whaddya think of THAT, Holy Father?
So I'm reading along on a blog, (yes, yet again fretting about the lectionary and its paucity of needed repetition, and what exactly will I be doing tomorrow at RelEd, when, lucky dog that I am, I am going to be able to re-use the Abraham/Isaac sketch so that MAYBE they'll remember it, add a bit with 3 Apostles post-Transfiguration sounding like Steve Martin's dumb "what was that?" guy, and if one of my good ten year old orator's is in attendance, finish up with Paul's "what's anyone else gonna be able to do about it if I put myself on God's side?" exhortation) and I come across, (note use of historical present,)  a thread about the relative amounts of scripture in EF and OF.
The syllable counting was a  joke, sort of, but was actually done.
The blog in question is not one I read anymore, so I don't recognize "voices" the way I do on Chant Cafe, or such, but I found myself reading one combox denizen and thinking, wow, well put, and, more important, good insights, and wouldn'tcha know?

Mons. Wadsworth.

Because Fr Ruff says, " the unreformed rite has as much or more Scripture if you tally the big chunks repeated over and over every Sunday (such as the Last Gospel), but the reformed rite has much more Scripture being introduced week by week," which is just the problem, in my book.

I feel as if, instead of seeing how much of it we could get through if we spread it out over 156 weeks instead of 52, the guys in charge should have asked William Goldman to do what he did with Morgenstern's masterpiece, fabricate an Only The Good Parts version of the Bible, (yes, I know it's a literary conceit, not something he really did.)
Three four readings, YES! (the psalm, count the psalm or canticle!)
Hearing the Prodigal Son once every three years, NO! (yes, I know that in the year that it is read it may be read twice, but if your parish always does Year A because of RCIA it won't have been, so even if your family never misses a Sunday, and start schlepping you to Mass 2 weeks after your birth, by the time your first confession rolls around it is possible you have heard it proclaimed only twice, and that on one of those occasions you were 2 years old.)

About the continuous weekday Ordinary Time readings I am of two minds, so I will weigh in on neither side of that, but I have no ambivalence about the need for more repetition on Sundays and Major Feasts.
Maybe range rather than quantity is a better modality for comparison or comment. Clearly the OF adopts a wider range of Scriptural texts in an obvious fulfilment of what was mandated in Sacrosanctum concilium, yet its presentation of Scripture is often based on quite different principles from those which underpin the EF.
An example of this would be the almost universal preference for the lectio continua of the ferial lectionary when a memoria is kept, in preference to the selection of readings from the commons. In the EF, this is not a possibility and the range of Scriptural texts associated with the celebration of saints is narrower and yet one might argue that the identification of certain scriptural texts with the celebration of certain mysteries is very ancient and might even be considered part of a primitive liturgical kerygma.
If this is the case, then the narrower range does not necessarily mean a lessening of the importance of the use of Scripture in the liturgy but rather the presentation of a different paradigm. The combination of Sacrosanctum concilium and Verbum Dei brings a revolution in our understanding of the way in which Scripture is integral to our celebration and understanding of the liturgical mystery. My personal sense of this, as someone who regularly celebrates in both forms, is that we have a long way to go in beginning to experience many of the aspects of this important element of the liturgy as described in these two fundamental decrees of the Council.

Yoseph Daviyd

New, (only to me,) blog, from the perspective of a convert from Agnostic to protestant to Catholic to Catholic-Getting-A-Theology-Degree.
Not really current as Mr Grey is obviously WAAAAAAAAAAY busy, but I'm going to enjoy looking through his articles and apologetics.

What Is At Stake?

Is our credibility what really matters? Isn't the salvation of souls what matters? the hell with what anyone else thinks, the hell with credibility, with popularity.
If God is for us, who can be against us?
He who did not spare his own Son
but handed him over for us all,
how will he not also give us everything else along with him?
I came upon ... well, I'm just forever stumbling onto things i should have read weeks, months, sometimes years ago. How did I miss these matters at the height of their currency?
I am easily distracted.
Image result for dumb distracted dog
Anyway, Zenit reporting on Fr Lombardi castigating Sandro Magister led me this,
about Jean Cardinal Daniélou.
It is some weeks old.
And the good cardinal? Long gone.
He died before I was aware that the Church consisted of much more than my family and my town and my parish - and people who thought and believed and acted, and were,  pretty much as we did and were.
Oh, there were some with bad taste, but....

Anyway, talk about having no credibility! He died, wink wink nudge nudge, at the house of a woman, wink wink nudge nudge, where he had gone to dispense charity, wink wink nudge nudge,because her husband, wink wink nudge nudge,was in need of  money for bail, wink wink nudge nudge.
Oh, and did we mention she was a hooker?

Well, his brother, (gay but pretty un-marginalized, except, apparently, by some of the family,) had this to say:
“Jean was always perfectly kind toward me. All throughout his life he held remorse over the way in which the family had treated me and left me without support. He said this often to friends we had in common. When my friend Raymond died, he confided to Pierre Gaxotte, in the hallways of the French Academy, that he was very sad, thinking that I would be deeply wounded by this.

“Being appointed to the rank of cardinal was a liberation for Jean. He was finally free of the Jesuitical constraint under which he had certainly suffered. The last years of his life were the happiest.

“His death and the scandal provoked by it, when he had become one of the leading figures of the Church, was a sort of posthumous vendetta, one of those favors that the gods bestow on those whom they love. If he had died just a little while sooner or later, or if he had been visiting a lady of the sixteenth arrondissement under the pretext of works of charity, instead of bringing the revenue of his theological writings to a poor and needy woman, there would have been no scandal.

“Jean had always dedicated himself to disregarded people. For a certain period he had celebrated a Mass for the sake of homosexuals. He tried to help prisoners, criminals, troubled young people, prostitutes. I deeply admired this ending of life similar to that of the martyrs, whose fragrance rises to heaven amid the opprobrium and sarcasm of the crowd.

“He died as true saints die, in ignominy, in mockery, in the disdain of a spiteful and vile society. During the last years of my brother’s life I was living near Rome and was, in the opinion of the clergy, an apostate*
[see below] of a certain stature. There were some who mistook us for each other and some critics had even attributed to my brother my book ‘L'Érotisme divinisé,’ saying: ‘It smacks of the spirit of the Jesuits, however.…’ My brother saw to demonstrating that scandal is not given by our beliefs or actions but by the irony of the gods, who laugh at this jumble of rules for living and so-called ‘truths that must be believed,’ the paternity of which men attribute to them.”
*Well, yeah, he was. Not because of his sexual attractions, but because he was convert to an "eroticized" form of Hinduism.

Friday, 27 February 2015


Does this not have a fairly specific meaning in the language of my tribe, in Catholish?

Is it correct to label every disagreement with a person who has some authority in the Church "dissent"?

Is it honest to advance a claim of some sort of parity between disagreeing with a pope's magisterial encyclicals and a lack of "enthusiasm" for a pope's ideas?

I don't think so, Cdl Wuerl, I really don't.
And I don't believe you honestly think so, either.

Treating the Neighbors and Strangers Better Than Family?

From Sando Magister:
Last February 9, the basilica of Saint John Lateran, the pope’s cathedral church, hosted the pilgrimage of thanksgiving of the Dominican congregation of the “Most Holy Name of Jesus” of Fanjeaux, France, for the fortieth anniversary of its foundation. In addition to two hundred religious woman, the pilgrimage was attended by 950 of their students and about a hundred teachers and parents. But the Dominicans were not able to celebrate Mass in any church of Rome. The fact is that the sisters in question belong to the female branch of the Lefebvrist community, and that the Mass they wanted to celebrate was the one of the preconciliar rite. It did no good - the sisters say - that their cause was supported by “reiterated requests” from the pontifical commission “Ecclesia Dei.”

The matter is rather unusual in a diocese like that of Rome in which important churches, like Saint Theodore on the Palatine Hill or Saints Vincent and Anastasius at Trevi have been entrusted to Orthodox communities, and where even the parishes host the ceremonies of non-Catholic Coptic or Romanian communities. But this ecumenical inequity should come as no surprise, if one considers that in the Catholic camp there are some - like the prior of Bose, Enzo Bianchi, or the theologian Gianni Gennari - who disparagingly apply the description of “schismatic” only to the Lefebvrists (who are no longer excommunicated but do not yet have a canonical “status” in the Catholic Church), while the Christians of other confessions who formally are no less “schismatic” than the Lefebvrists are amicably called “brothers.”
I don't know anything about these Dominican sisters, but they must be very threatening to someone....

Putting a New Key On a Keyring

Gotta admit, this one is pretty clever, (but is every bright idea a "hack"?):

"Repurposed, But Respectful"?

I have the TV on in the background as I'm doing a little office work, (I have discovered that when dealing with local government, checking out the requirements as outlined online, stopping in to the actual office to get a FAQ sheet, making a few phone calls to make certain and listening to recorded instructions,  checking out face-to-face with the person to whom you will ultimately apply for the matter within a matter of a half an hour -- all this  is no guarantee whatsoever that when you gather and sort your papers and drive over and take a number and wait to be called and actually try to acquire the license/exemption/registration/permission you will have with you any of the documentation or information you will need - or will need all the documentation or information that you have with you.)

Since  we're trying to organize things a little better, HGTV is often of fairly immediate interest.

The program, "You Live In What? is not of actual immediate relevance, but is usually really interesting.

I was only watching with half an eye and listening with half an ear, so I don't know the location of one such surprise-inducing domicile, or the name or background of its owner, but on a program titled "Bank, Airplane Hangar, Chapel" I heard the narrator say something to the effect that a chapel sanctuary had been repurposed in a way that was "respectful," and looked up suddenly to see a carved wooden altar with a clearly visible "IHS" which had been rebuilt into a bar.... which the desecrator owner said, "gives a new meaning to the term 'holy water.'"

Wouldn't a bunch of shofars make a cool mobile?
Can you imagine what lovely wallpaper pages from an antique Qur'an would make?

Would that be "respectful" repurposing? Would that be on national television? (Albeit basic cable)

I have long wondered why it is considered acceptable to make a lamp or a bowl for jelly beans out of a likeness of the Buddha.
Image result for buddha lamp

Would either of these Martin Luther's, or copies thereof "respectfully" be made into a lamppost or a hitching post and shown on HGTV?
Image result for statue of martin luther king jr Image result for statue of martin luther

School Lunches, Phoney Outrage and the Catholic Blogosphere

I really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, wish Catholic tweeters, face-paceters, and bloggers, including the ordained such as WT  - whoops, I nearly gave in to my inner Bazillian there! - WDTPRS would either stop with the politics, or stop with the religion.
You know why?
Because it's hard to take seriously the expounding on doctrine, corrections on Liturgy,  professions of faith and suggestions for examination of conscience, (all of which may be not only sincere, but true and necessary,) when they give in to their basest instincts to spread lies, disinformation and calumny about those with whom they disagree on politics.

Is a first lady any more responsible for a lousy school lunch than for illiteracy? or increasingly normative illegal drug use? or, going wy back, just not enough wild flowers?

And besides, it's dishonest .. and you'd have to be awfully stupid, or rather, more interested in mocking or criticise your political enemies than in, oh.... REALITY... not to notice that, um, all this countries are, de facto, different countries.
Ya know?
So if these "typical" lunches were authentic, they wouldn't have all been photographed in, like, the same place.
Even if you saw these separated in four images with captions, um... the backgrounds, and trays are all the same. (Of course maybe the EU has standardized school lunch room tables...)
What children in other countries eat (clockwise from top left): Ukraine's version of sausage and mash; Brazil's plantains, rice and black beans; beetroot salad and pea soup in Finland and steak with beans and carrots in France (photo courtest Sweetgreen)

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Addled Adolescents and Profiling

There is nothing stupider or more heedless than a teenage boy, yet by chasing after the affection and esteem of these creatures,, teenage girls often manage to one-up even them.
What is to be done?
Pull a reverse A and F and allow no one under a certain age wearing a hajib to leave the country?

 Of course not.

But isn't a little bit of profiling called for?

When I was young I travelled in a country that was experiencing a wave of terrorism at the hands of people who shared my ethnicity, as indicated by my surname in my very recently acquired passport.
I was female, travelling alone,  and like many young who travel, carrying all my baggage with me at all times.
I was exactly the sort of person who, the authorities were finding, thought it romantic to carry something dangerous or valuable, either knowingly or unknowingly, for a brand spanking new foreign boyfriend.
I was often singled out for especially thorough searches at check-points, transportation hubs, museums.
 It never occurred to me that this was unfair.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015


Did you know IKEA offers a cabinet pull called Fåglavik?

Thrifted an island for the kitchen, fantastic, solid piece of furniture, but missing hardware, so I'm on  a hunt, (it would be very easy to spend more on the six handles than on the piece itself, and that's not even counting the 4 casters we'd like to add. Thank you, God, for eBay - who's the patron saint of Those Interwebs? for that matter, who's the patron saint of tightwads?)

I know it's Lent, and all....

... but St Patrick's Day is coming! and this just made me grin like an idiot!

I really want to get back to Ireland, (and I promise Himself, I won't make you follow me up too many hills. I mean, it's not Glastonbury :OD)

He Looks More Like His Brother Each Time We See Him, Doesn't He?

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Like an Old Pair of Good Shoes....

I'm getting comfortable with it, you know?

I changed my home page when I sign on the internet to the headlines on Zenit, figured since I needed to use something, and small amounts of information about numerous matters was my preference -- unlike with most portals, news media, etc., the chances of my being greeted by a cat video, a Kardashian, or  "news" of a crime chosen for its weirdness or horror rather than its actual newsworthy-ness were slim to none.

What I am, regularly, greeted by is what I'm coming to expect, a headline that begins, more or less, Vatican Clarifies Pope's Remarks.

So, I am not a discomfited by those thoughts of OhNoHeSaidWHAT? as once I was.

I only recently moved from an area where far too many of my friends and my neighbors and my colleagues, (and you see, I worked for the Church,) used Pope Francis's neo-logistic verb.

And they were, frankly, racists. Ethnicists? Nationalists?

I don't for a minute think the Holy Father harbors such feelings - I think he likes to chat, and sees no need to consider the impact, for good or ill, every word of his, literally, EVERY WORD, will have.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Prayers for Priests

Let's all just say a prayer for Fr Timothy Scott and the rest of the Basilians, and shut the... flock up?
I mean, what is going on? not just this little incident.
The threats of lawsuits from one side, the calling for firings from the other, the hurling of anathema -- let's all remember it's Lent, and think about our own sins. (I'm going to try, for my part, to stop playing the Grammar Gestapo, the Part of speech Police, the Deputy of Diction and Viceroy of Vocab.)

Twitter is simply a bad idea... spontaneity is not really a value in communication. They might as well have called it "Blurter."

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Humpty Dumpty says, in a scornful tone, "When I use a word .....

....it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less."

Do they pay the "writers" at the Daily Beast? Are they receiving money because they are putatively professionals who know what words mean, and how to string them together to make them mean something even more?

Maybe it's me.... ("perhaps it is I"?) My grammar and diction are pretty careless, my vocabulary is shrinking, and I've no doubt been incorrect in what I thought a word meant more than once...

BUT --

The linked piece says that a comic's jokes "explicitly imply" something.



Um, no.

At least, I think... because if I say you "imply" I am (quite explicitly,) saying that you are saying something implicitly.


Saturday, 21 February 2015

Love for the Liturgy and Latin and the Lord

I call your attention to a post which talks about the trendy fashionista persona of the average traddie.
Image result for fashion victim
Nah, I'm yanking your (censer?) chain.

The writer says that a certain blogger says, a certain website in Czech says, a certain archbishop says, a certain pope says, that if the "younger generation" is attracted to the Extraordinary Form, it's probably just a "fashion" so "it is a matter that does not need that much attention," we can just wait the kids out with  "patience and kindness" till they kick their "addiction."

You know, to the "fashion."

Okay, a basket full of caveats, because of the second, third- fifth-hand nature of the report, and the fact that translation[s/] are involved, and you know how selective quoting can deceive....

But let's say the word "fashion" was used.


The passion for ephemera that has been the very hallmark of Catholic liturgy in the US for almost my entire life, the crass hawking of the latest, greatest of-the-moment sacchro-sacro-pop "ritual music," the liturgy committees settling on "themes" for Masses, the Rite of MakingItUpAsWeGoAlong at the parish of St Thewaywedoithere -- all that is signs of timelessness?

And singing a Latin chant out of my great-grandfather's Liber Usualis, in the same way as someone I don't know in a country to which I've never been sang it a millennium ago, while a priest celebrates a Mass essentially unchanged for centuries? THAT'S a "fashion"??????????

As my friend Inigo would say,
"I don' thin' that word means what you thin' it means."