Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Monday, 31 August 2015

There is Nothing New Under the Sun, My Fellow Liturgical Musicians

Wait...  here we are with a new book treating of beloved characters from an old book... hmm, I shall have to consider the paradox.
Let us exchange the previous axiomatic cliche ['zat redundant?] for "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose."

I don't read novels anymore, literally, none.
About twelve years ago I went from voracious consumption mostly of literary novels and classics, never fewer than a half dozen stacked up on the floor on my side of the bed, didn't matter as long as they were light enough, (literally, of a low enough weight, so as not to strain wrists or eyesight in bed,) several a week, (when is the new AN Wilson coming out, I must know!!!!!!!! and oh, look I never read this Charlotte Bronte novel, PLEASE let it be as good as Villette!!!!!) to zero.
 I still read tons, but just, somehow, not novels, and I can't figure it out.

But that's really not my point.

Himself is crazy for his Kindle, and is reading Go Set... and made me read a passage that had me in stitches.
From the time of Jean Louise’s earliest ecclesiastical recollection, Maycomb had sung the Doxology in one way and in one way only:


a rendition as much a tradition of Southern Methodism as Pounding the Preacher. That Sunday, Jean Louise and the congregation were in all innocence clearing their throats to drag it accordingly when out of a cloudless sky Mrs. Clyde Haskins crashed down on the organ

PraiseGodfromwhomall Bles—sings—Flo—w

PraiseHimallcreatures He—re Bee—low

PraiseHimaboveye Heav’n—ly Ho—st

PraiseFatherSonand Ho—ly Gho—st!

In the confusion that followed, if the Archbishop of Canterbury had materialized in full regalia Jean Louise would not have been in the least surprised: the congregation had failed to notice any change in Mrs. Haskins’s lifelong interpretation, and they intoned the Doxology to its bitter end as they had been reared to do, while Mrs. Haskins romped madly ahead like something out of Salisbury Cathedral.
Jean Louise’s first thought was that Herbert Jemson had lost his mind. Herbert Jemson had been music director of the Maycomb Methodist Church for as long as she could remember. .... He had devoted thirty years’ spare time to his church, and his church had recently rewarded him with a trip to a Methodist music camp in South Carolina.
Jean Louise’s second impulse was to blame it on the minister. He was a young man, a Mr. Stone by name...
Mr. Stone had long been suspected of liberal tendencies; he was too friendly, some thought, with his Yankee brethren; he had recently emerged partially damaged from a controversy over the Apostles’ Creed... [but he] was tone deaf.
Unruffled by Herbert Jemson’s breach of allegiance, because he had not heard it, Mr. Stone rose and walked to the pulpit with Bible in hand.
[Jean Louise] felt amusement turning into indignant displeasure and she stared straight at Herbert Jemson throughout the service. How dare he change it? Was he trying to lead them back to the Mother Church? Had she allowed reason to rule, she would have realized that Herbert Jemson was Methodist of the whole cloth: he was notoriously short on theology and a mile long on good works.
The Doxology’s gone, they’ll be having incense next—orthodoxy’s my doxy. ...
Mr. Stone had pronounced the benediction and was on his way to the front door when she went down the aisle to corner Herbert, who had remained behind to shut the windows. Dr. Finch was faster on the draw:
“—shouldn’t sing it like that, Herbert,” he was saying. “We are Methodists after all, D.V.”
“Don’t look at me, Dr. Finch.” Herbert threw up his hands as if to ward off whatever was coming. “It’s the way they told us to sing it at Camp Charles Wesley....The music instructor... taught a course in what was wrong with Southern church music. He was from New Jersey,” said Herbert....
“He said we might as well be singing ‘Stick your snout under the spout where the Gospel comes out’ as most of the hymns we sing. Said they ought to ban Fanny Crosby by church law and that Rock of Ages was an abomination unto the Lord....He said we ought to pep up the Doxology.”
“Pep it up? How?”
“Like we sang it today.”...
“Apparently,” [Dr Finch] said, “apparently our brethren in the Northland are not content merely with the Supreme Court’s activities. They are now trying to change our hymns on us.”
Herbert said, “He told us we ought to get rid of the Southern hymns and learn some other ones. I don’t like it—ones he thought were pretty don’t even have tunes.”
Dr. Finch’s “Hah!” was crisper than usual, a sure sign that his temper was going. He retrieved it sufficiently to say, “Southern hymns, Herbert? Southern hymns?”....
“Now, Herbert,” he said, “let us sit quietly in this sanctuary and analyze this calmly. I believe your man wishes us to sing the Doxology down the line with nothing less than the Church of England, yet he reverses himself—reverses himself—and wants to throw out … Abide with Me?....What about When I Survey the Wondrous Cross?”
“That’s another one,” said Herbert. “He gave us a list.”
“Gave you a list, did he? I suppose Onward, Christian Soldiers is on it?”
“At the top.”
“Hur!” said Dr. Finch. “H. F. Lyte, Isaac Watts, Sabine Baring-Gould.”
Dr. Finch rolled out the last name in Maycomb County accents: long a’s, i’s, and a pause between syllables.
“Every one an Englishman, Herbert, good and true,” he said. “Wants to throw them out, yet tries to make us sing the Doxology like we were all in Westminster Abbey, does he? Well, let me tell you something.... your man’s a snob, Herbert, and that’s a fact.”
“He was sort of a sissy,” said Herbert.

Catholics More Catholic In Their Thinking If Practicing Catholicism, Survey Shocker!

So says a Knights of Columbus/Marist poll.
Both practicing and non-practicing Catholics see the following issues as important, although practicing Catholics are more likely to see the value of these issues:
    • Daily prayer (96 percent/practicing vs. 79 percent/non-practicing).
    • Following the teachings of the Church (93 percent/practicing vs. 70 percent/non-practicing).
    • Receiving the sacraments (93 percent/practicing vs. 61 percent/non-practicing).
    • Attending Mass regularly (89 percent/practicing vs. 42 percent/non-practicing).
In addition, 83 percent of practicing Catholics think it is important to belong to a parish andabout half of non-practicing Catholics (48 percent) see this as important. About three quarters of practicing Catholics (72 percent) believe it is important to go to confession at least annually, and about four in 10 (39 percent) of non-practicing Catholics say the same.
A more notable contrast was in beliefs about the Eucharist. About two-thirds of practicing Catholics (65 percent) say the Eucharist is the true presence of Jesus Christ. On the other hand, a similar number of non-practicing Catholics (64 percent) say it is just “a symbol.”
I'll tell you, the only faintly surprising thing, at least if you follow his coverage by either saecualr or Catholic media, is about the Holy Father.

If you took newspapers and Catholic bloggers at their word, you would "know" that "conservative" Catholics hate Pope Francis.

But I think it is safe to say, that what are termed "conservative" Catholics, you know, the ones who were thought to be clutching their pearls at Laudato Si, are more faithful regular in their Mass atendance, reception of the sacraments, etc.
(No, I don't have a poll or survey to cite just now.)
But guess what? approval of Francis goes up among  the practicing.
Among all Americans, Pope Francis enjoys an approval rating of nearly six in 10 (58 percent). Among non-practicing Catholics the number grows to seven in 10 (70 percent), but among practicing Catholics, the number jumps to more than eight in 10 (83 percent).
That's right. Sorry to disappoint you neo-con Catholic newsmen and rabid anti-Francis bloggers on the one hand, and the never-saw-a-heresy-you-didn't-give-equal-time-to progressive presbyteral talking heads on the other, in other words, all you bemoaning "papal positivism," for one reason or another.

Catholic Schools Promoting Catholic Teaching - the Unmitigaged Gall !!!!

Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Springfield IL seems to be under the impression that those schools in his purview are for the creation of virtuous persons!

Oh, my God, is there no end to the wickedness of Papists?

He seems not to understand that his Church is just a collection of arbitrary rules and suggestions, that have no place in the making of moral and ethical decisions!
How dare he foist his opinions and his beliefs on people who are just looking for a cheap alternative to prep schools, (as indicated by the way, according to stats provided by one of the secular news outlets that has its panties in a bunch the percentage of non-Catholic attending Catholic school in the diocese jumps from elementary to high school,)?

And if parents of a child in the school are publicly flouting what those wacky Catholic Christians is mandated by God's law or by natural law he's, oh my God, I can hardly bring myself to type this --- he's insisting that they dialogue!
Yes, that's right, you're not seeing things, he wants them to come in for a [shudder] MEETING.

Because, you know, the Worship of God and Salvation of Souls.

Oh the humanity!

Do you suppose the Catholic parents of a child in an evangelical protestant school are within their rights to insist that when the kiddies are doing art projects, or working on memorization that utilize scripture, that they not use the KJV, or NLT or NIV,  little Mary Bernadette will use the NAB, thank you very much?
Or is it only Catholics who provoke these diatribes when they promote a way of life that's, um, Catholic?

Can you imagine if an Islamic school in the US told the owner of a liquor distributor who wished to enroll his kids in a madrassa to be prepared, that the were not going to avoid  the Muslim teaching on alcohol just to please him?
Or a Christian Scientist, (or do I mean Jehovah's Witnesses?) school agreed never to mention their attitude toward blood transfusions?
Or a group that engaged in ecstatic dancing promised a parent of a denom that forbade dancing that they would water down or gloss over  their religion for him?

Or any religion whose teachings included any stances that were counter-cultural which ran a school?

Would the State Journal-Register be whinging about that?

Here's the document for Springfield that parents are asked to sign.
Oh, you're not Catholic? Who is forcing you to enroll your kids there?

There's an old saying in community theatre that too many star wannabes and drive-by members of the organization don't realize that it's more about "community" that "theatre."

Well, many parents, Catholic and non-, and of course the secular media, don't understand that Catholic Schools are and should be more about Catholicism than Scholarship. The latter is an accidental, and its purpose is to reinforce the former.

The money thing, the tithing?
I don't know about any of the parochial and high schools in Springfield, but in any other diocese of which I've had any knowledge even the out-of-parish, out of the Faith tuition didn't begin to cover the actual costs per student.

The sacrifices made by the teachers, (most could get much better money elsewhere,) and the average PIP, (most of whom, childless or not, do not have children in the schools in question,) are to build up the Faith, to build up the Church, to produce good Catholic, to - I can hardly believe this needs saying and I know when it is said it is roundly mocked - TO SAVE SOULS.

Here endeth the rant.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

If ONLY Clothes Made the Man! Gotta See a Man About a Cassock

(I say "if only" because I have one, and if it had superpowers, I'd gladly give it away.)

This is really quite fascinating, a writer, in Esquire Magazine, puts on the "uniform" of different occupations, and discovers that, if the cassock only change him a bit, it certainly changes the people around him.

A quibble -
The salesclerk was a former Dominican priest. There is fashion among the priests, he said. It's rare for an American priest to wear a cassock outside the church. But, he said, it's becoming more common: "It used to be considered a little vain. But you go to the seminary now and young priests insist on the cassock. They're more conservative and they want to be seen as committed."
He thought I could pass. "Just look like you're going somewhere on church business."
At that, the third-generation owner of the store stepped out of her office to tell me that she disagreed. "No priest would wear that in public."
Ummm... I'll grant her, it's rare most places in this country, but the trouble is, this was done in Chicago, one of the few cities where you actually can see such a thing, and the man doesn't have to be from the Eastern Churches.
Generally, when you wear a uniform, no one will touch you. Except the priest. People will touch a priest. On the wrist mostly. It happened to me twelve times, just a tap in the middle of a conversation. An assertion of connection, an acknowledgment of some commonality I could not fathom. Weirdly, the priest's outfit was the most physically demanding uniform to wear. All day with the hugging, and the kneeling to speak to children, and the leaning in for the selfies....
 sweeping the city with the hem of my cassock hither and yon was more like being a beautiful woman than it was representing myself as a celibate guy who lives in a two-room apartment in Hyde Park. I'm telling you: People lingered in their gaze, without lust. I was a fascination, looked at fondly so many times that fondness itself seemed the currency of the world to me. It made me like the world better....
People want to believe.  Especially people in need. All day long, I was faced with homeless men, homeless families, crouched in the street. Sometimes they reached up to me, touched my wrist. Twice I was asked for a blessing that I could not give. Not in the way they wanted. I started wishing that I were capable of performing a service for the world. And I found I could not do nothing. The uniform comes with some responsibility; otherwise, it is just a party costume. I started kneeling down, holding out a ten-dollar bill, and saying, "I'm not a priest. But I feel you." And I couldn't do it once without doing it a couple dozen times....
It's easy to put on a cassock. And it's really not easy to wear one at all.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Wishing You Well is Not the Same Thing As Endorsing Your Ideas

I get it, that the Holy Father thinks he should be able to say, or have someone say on his behalf something nice to any person who communicates on him.
He SHOULD be able.
Why is this even necessary?

But it is.

Francis has been popin' for a couple years now, and he knows, and everyone on his staff knows - It. Just. Doesn't. Work. That. Way.

Everyone else is working an angle, and he, or rather in this case, she doesn't mind skewing yours to work hers.
the Vatican Secretariat of State did not intend in any way to support “behavior and teachings which are not in accordance with the Gospel,” and using the Vatican response [to the author of a book about "gay" penguins talking care of a "Little Egg" as a couple] to imply otherwise “is completely out of place,” said Fr. Ciro Benedettini, deputy director of the Holy See Press Office...
The Holy See statement came in response to a media frenzy following reports that Francesca Pardi, author of a children’s book supporting gay adoption, received a letter from Pope Francis that allegedly encouraged her to keep up her work....
It includes the story of two gay penguins who adopt a baby penguin, among other non-traditional animal families.
Pardi is the author of a series of books supporting the notion of gay family, including “Why do you have two moms?” And “What is Dad’s secret?”
Pardi wrote a letter to Pope Francis, enclosing the catalogue of the books published by the publishing house “Lo Stampatello,” which she co-founded with her girlfriend....
Pardi said in a Facebook post that she had received “a private letter written by Msgr. (Peter) Brian Wells in the name of Pope Francis, on Vatican letterhead.”
She said that the letter was addressed to her and to her girlfriend, Silvia Maria Fiengo. She claimed that the Pope “had thanked her” for the “delicate gesture” and expressed wishes for “an always more fruitful activity in the service of young generations and the spread of genuine human and Christian values.”
Pardi added that the Pope gave her and Fiengo the Apostolic Blessing. Numerous media outlets covered the story by saying that the Pope was offering his support for Pardi and her book.
However, the Vatican says that the letter signed by Msgr. Peter Wells, assessor to the Secretariat of State, is not an indication of papal support.
Thanking people for their “delicate gesture” is part of the formula that is generally used whenever the Pope is offered a gift.
“(T)he Secretariat of State does not want in any way to back behaviors and teachings not in accordance with the Gospel,” Fr. Benedettini said. This is reflected in the letter’s wish for more fruitful activity “and the spread of genuine human and Christian values.”
He also said that the Secretariat of State addressed the reception of the letter “with a simple and pastoral style,” and later “clarified (that) it was a private response, and for this reason it was not intended for publication (as it unfortunately happened).”
[and this was a surprise to anyone at the Vatican?????]
As far as the papal blessing, Fr. Benedettini clarified that “the blessing is for the person and not for (any) teaching against the Doctrine of the Church on gender ideology.”
He added that the Church’s position on gender ideology “has not changed, as the Holy Father reiterated many times.”
Image result for crazy penguin
What IS Dad's secret????

(Just to be clear, I like penguins. Just remember, penguins get cheated on and they're adorable. I’d like to apologize for possibly making penguins seem like jerks, because 99% of them are stand-up guys.)

Speaking of Mollie Sugden...

... wouldn't Mrs. Slocumbe have made a hella nun?
Not really a nun, a sister.
A religious SISTER.
In the United Sates.
She would have whipped the LCWR into shape, there would have been no need for the visitation.

Heck, there wouldn't have been any need to form the CMSWR. 

In fact, she could have popped over to Rome and slapped the Curia into submission faster than poor Cdl Pell, or Pope Benedict or Pope Francis for that matter, ever dreamed of doing.

I would have been a shame if she were habited, though, what with her crowning glory and all....

Catholic Curmudgeon says....

A Catholic curmudgeon, (that would be me, incidentally, not the blogger of that name, or your favorite Christian crank.. not the "a" rather than "the," I make no claims to primacy in my persnickety prattle,)...

Where was I?

Oh, yes.
I was perusing my personal liturgical calendar, you know, birthdays of friends, memorials of favorite saints, anniversaries of family divorces, remembrances of outstanding moments of Himself and my own mythos, (which he counts almost as important as the release schedule of Star Trek movies.)

Most especially, this time of year the local public school calendar needs coordinating with Sunday school lessons, and Church holy days, (and/or excuses for snacks.)

And I know this all came about like, a month ago, and the ship has sailed.


In my role of self-centered fault finder, I've decided that a Church that does not have room in its busy, busy life to celebrate the Real Presence, or some other day of note apart from a weekend when "ya hafta go to Church anyway," which obligation some 3/4 of us ignore, ON any given weekend to which we have shunted a Holy Day lest that obliviousness with which we shall observe it on said weekend  interfere with our workaday weekdays, did we not transfer it from its Thursday or whatever. 'Cause, you know, obliviousness takes up a lot of our energies.

Where was I?

Oh, yes.
I've decided that if we don't really have time or energy for Corpus Christi or the Ascension, we don't really have time or energy for a new holy day recognizing the cult of St Erda, or Blessed Gaia, or the Sacrament of Ecology.(And I say that as a crazed recycler/re-user/repurposer, who thinks federal taxes on gasoline ought to be raised hard as that might be on me personally, with a fairly eensie carbon footprint.)

Oh, and I feel the same way about "Catechetical Sunday."

I think a Eucharistic procession with Exposition and Adoration would afford the Church more "catechesis" than all the classes taught by all the teachers in all the religious ed programs, and all the sermons preached by all the priests in all the parishes in the US put together.
And I am unanimous in this.

Did your Mom ever have two hearts? or four kidneys?

Pretty sure mine didn't.

I still wish they'd change "selling" to "trafficking in" ...

Male Celibacy is the Problem

If only there were women in the mix. 
If only sandwich eaters and television pitchmen were allowed to marry.

Oh, wait....

Soylent Green Planned Parenthood Clinic Workers and Hand Washing

Frankly, I'd be fine if something like that that were the straw that broke the camels back and led to the shuttering of the facility.

Is focusing on such trivialities harassment? Indubitably.

Let's not foget that Al Capone finally went to prison for tax evasion.
If the person responsible for this -
 Image result for capone's handiwork
  - was finally brought down by accounting, well, there - math DOES have a purpose.

(Thought I'd give the Nazi metaphors a rest....)

Friday, 28 August 2015

"Letters, we get letters, we get stacks and stacks of..."

Someone wrote to an advice column in the Paper of Record, that she felt betrayed by a co-worker, to whom she had expressed, (on the Book of Faces, I think,) her eagerness to be quit of her job.
The co-worker had passed this on to the boss.

Some people maybe should avoid social networking?
Just sayin'.

A newsletter I receive contains a Letter to the Editor that has alerted me to what may be a sinister conspiracy that the epistolarian has noted.

Thank God he or she has called this to the attention of responsible Catholics! Else, where might this linguistic madness end? Imagine using the Universal Church's official language in Her liturgies, the horror!

But now, hopefully, someone will be "watching."
You know, and "addressing."
A group.
For about two years or so, quite a number of churches have started using Latin for the "Holy, Holy" and "The Lamb of God" in their Sunday liturgies.  Why?
Even the election of Pope Francis has not stopped this trend.  Is any group watching the liturgy and addressing apparent attempt to bring back Latin? 
[name redacted to protect the imbecilic innocent]
(In all seriousness, this is so dim-witted I wonder if the poor thing accidentally stumbled into a Mass in, oh, I dunno, Spanish)
(And while the subject is the Holy Father and languages, does Pope Francis always address the English-speaking pilgrims at the Angelus address in Italian? or did the tv station just use the wrong clip?)

The Universal Call to Holiness

We virtually always proclaim the "continuous" lectionary readings on weekdays, regardless of the feast or memorial, and it disappoints me.

But I am a contrary cuss, and when I arrived at Mass and found I was to do the readings from 1 John and Matthew 23, I was disappointed at that. (I suspect they had been timed and gave promise of saving us all 17 syllables, maybe a good 8 seconds.)

Not that 1 John isn't the most gorgeously consoling sequence of words ever.
But I had prepared and wanted to read this -
This is the will of God -- your holiness.

Hmmmm, maybe I should invite this playah to come and stay...

They weren't ripe when we hit the road and now those that are still edible, (to humns,) won't be by Sunday.
Himself said that they had begun to form... "banana beer."
Well, at least we'll get a loaf or two, sorry the others went to waste, little guy.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

"Don't Look and It Won't Scare You"

When I was a child, and one of... well, of very many children, and TV was one of our mostest favoritest things in the whole wide world, no one always got to watch what he or she wanted to watch.
Sometimes ones preference prevailed, sometimes that of my brother whohasnotasteorsensewhatsoever, sometimes a younger child since he or she would be put to bed first leaving his or her elders a half hour more of prime time...
And sometimes, naturally, a parent would make a unilateral decision.
(Frankly, this is one of the great lessons one absorbs growing up in a large family, without even being conscious of it, "I don't always get my way. NOR SHOULD I." I digress.)

My oldest brother was a big fan of Creature Features. (Not sure if that was it's real name.)

I watched it quite a bit, and if was tame enough, or we were quiet enough, my parents allowed it.

I liked "monster movies." I really, really liked them,a long as they weren't, to use the technical term, "ookie." I like chills and thrills and horror, particulrly in a "period" setting,  but not slime and never gore.

My oldest sister really didn't like such things, and some of us littler ones liked some kinds but not others, but regardless - although if it was noticed and judged too intense it might be shut off, or certain people might be removed from the vicinity, but since since each of us had already essentially made the choice to watch and since movies in the olden days parcelled out the shocks and the effects, and filmmakers and television directors did not go out of their way to make even the sound effects realistically sick-making as they now do, the parental solution was not infrequently to state the obvious - "Don't look and it won't scare you."

Don't look and it won't scare you.

That still works today, and it's not bad advice in some matters.
There are many scenes in movies as they are now made from which I turn away, during which I create noise in my own head so as not to hear screams and cries.
(Even in some not-so-new movies, I just thought - Peeping Tom, anyone?)

And I thought for quite a while before I decided to post the picture of tiny, tortured baby parts with my #CallHimEmmett post.

But I thought it was important, self-censoring of images of that horror is a weapon the enemy uses to allow us and those we would persuade of it evil to ignore the abomination of the deliberate abortion of our fellow men.
Often on television or internet a news anchor will use a "warning" that's in reality a teaser - that "before we roll this footage, we must warn our viewers, some of the images you are about to see may be..." tempts many, ooh, can't wait, wonder what....?

So yesterday, when Himself asked, as he does almost everyday with black humor, what's the atrocity du jour? and the answer in the news made his question hideously apt, I have to say that the forbearance shown by most outlets in not playing, (in an unending loop as they do for most of the barbarities they are lucky enough to have caught on camera,) the video bid-for-fame-and-immortality made by the racist who murdered the reporter and cameraman was both surprising and appreciated.

Don't look and it won't scare you...

Maybe some of us are doomed to just go through the rest of our lives perpetually scared.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

"It's a Boy!"

Call him Emmett.
Image result for planned parenthood "it's a boy"
And call him Daniel, and him Jayden, and her Marisa, and him Benjamin, and Keisha, and Trey, and Moses, Ava, Chloe...

Because names are that important.  How different it is to say, “These are the aborted babies: Daniel, Jayden, Marisa, Benjamin, Keisha, Trey, Moses, Ava, Chloe …” than to say, “Fifty million babies have been aborted.” (It’s actually closer to 60 million. God help us.) Even I, a lifelong ardently pro-life pro-lifer, get lulled into an almost settled unhappiness when faced with the abortion statistics (all numbers, of course) instead of the devastation and horror I should always have when presented with this information. But now, when I think of Emmett? I’m going to think of that one individual baby, and the gruesome specifics of his death, and the injustice and evil of it all.
Names have power. But more than that, being named=being loved and known and wanted, and that sense doesn’t come from nowhere. God tells us, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5)

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Whacha lookin' at?

This is a piece about "great" hymns.

I agree with some choices, don't know others, (seemingly, from the author's choices, the list is complied out of a protestant experience,) actively dislike others, but  I find these kinds of lists to be very valuable -- when I was the go-to wedding guy for music at a parish, I was always very keen about trying to have the B & G program congregation music, particularly a congregational hymn somewhere if it was a mixed marriage - there are many protestant hymns that are fully compatible with Catholic theology, and it was the best way I could think of to make the ceremony respectful of another "faith tradition," to use the buzz word.

But I'm citing the article for another reason, a really fine turn of phrase, wording that is "neat," in the most basic sense of that word.
Truly excellent music angles our attention heavenward
Love that - "angles."
We're all looking at so many things, trying, actually to "multitask" by looking at man things at once.

And we're not "bad", we're not bad people because we're looking at that which is not the most important, it's HARD to focus correctly and and it's difficult to stay focused.

But the wrong POV,  the giving of attention to lesser matters, (much less to wrong things,)  is actually harmful. Harmful.

And sometimes all we need to do to eliminate risk of that harm, to give ourselves the right prospect, is to change the "angle."
Maybe only a degree or two? that may be sufficient! It could be that all you need to do is-
"Angle your attention heavenward!"
And liturgical music does that.
So the question is - what are you looking at?
And when truly excellent music angles our attention heavenward? It changes you. And when enough lovers of God collectively listen to the words and the music—it can cause a shift in the Body, the Church. It changes us.

"My Twelve-Star General"

My little, heavy, extremely cheap, and now awfully old tablet is the place from whence I observe Those Interwebs when I am travelling, so lots of doors portals are closed to me until I get home to reliable wifi and javascript and computer voodoo and other matters I cannot comprehend, Too Wonderful For Me, Far Too Lofty For Me to Reach.
So this did not escape my notice, but did escape my gaze until now.
A commentor or two is offended by it, by I think it's quite funny and pretty wonderful, and I'm getting warm fuzzies about Our Lady just now, so perhaps I fool myself, but I think she's enjoying such Catholic hijinx too.

Like, you may be cool, but you will never 
be star-crowned Mary standing on the moon
 stabbing a demon-serpent through the skull 
with a cross-shaped spear cool.

(I am left wondering exactly how a Catholic former Orthodox worships happily in the area where she seems to live, but many make sacrifices to belong to the OHCA... Sadly, the burden of the sacrifices one feels one makes liturgically actually fall on the entire Church, whether its members know it or not, and are even, sometimes, an affront to the Blessed Trinity, but I digress.)

If I were still in the dreamingaboutperfectweddings stage my neices are all in at the moment, I would think about what a kewl headpiece this could be for a bridal veil -

2. Our Lady of La Salette 
(or, Pretty Sure Our Lady Is Also an Elven 
Warrior Maiden,Probably Kicked Morgoth 
in the Shins)

"St John Vianney and the Necessary"

Perhaps I am just an awful person.
Perhaps there is something a bit askew about the way my mind works.
Perhaps I have seen 1776 too many times.

There is a lovely essay by Julie Machado about holy priests, and how they are like Mothers, putting their children's needs before their own.

But its title led me to believe it was going to answer a question I have always had, concerning how in the world a confessor who spends every waking moment in "the Box," attends to, er... bodily functions.

(We'll just let it pass, shall we? )

Speaking of Money...

... summertime is often pretty rough on charities and non-profits.

Sometimes, this is good news, (I received an email that one organization's "cash flow has been reduced to a trickle," and since they never saw a flirtation with dissent they didn't support....)

But think of the organizations that help feed the poor who during the school year have access to other sources of meals.
Think of parishes whose regular contributors may attend Mass elsewhere during vacation times, (or yeah, may give themselves a vacation from God during the summer...)
St Vincent dePaul Society.
Catholic Charities

Stock Market News

No, no, this isn't about the amazing bouncing ball that is the Dow. Or the S & P. Or the Nasdaq.

Keep calm and carry on, and all that.

This had escaped notice last week in all the sturm und drang caused by China's financial discombobulation.
New York (AFP) - S&P Dow Jones Indices announced Thursday a new share index to serve the increasing focus of Catholics on socially responsible investment.
S&P DJI said the new SP 500 Catholic Values Index is designed to follow the 2003 Socially Responsible Investment Guidelines from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, which stress responsible stewardship of economic resources, fighting poverty, human rights and adhering generally to Catholic Church ethics.
The index, which includes about 90 percent of S&P 500 companies, screens out those tied to pornography, stem cell research, weapons production, military sales and child labor, as well as other unsustainable practices.
(Wouldn't it be a riot if it turned out that virtue brought rewards other than itself?)
As for me and my household, we, if we had any, would have dumped all our available lucre into a fund reflecting such an ethic yesterday morning. I know, I know, you shouldn't "try to catch a falling knife," but that fact is, most across the board sell-offs are the result of momentar panic, and will more than correct within a half year or so. Keeping and carrying is the way to play it...

Saturday, 22 August 2015

"Little Ships" Failing In Their Duty To the Fleet

I have never been a true "Traditionalist" in the current Catholic meaning of the term.
For a long time, I was pretty unaware of the sectarianism among those who call themselves Catholic, unaware to the point of obtuseness I now know.
I was a secular musician, and nomadic enough to attend an enormous number of different parishes, chapels, monasteries since I never failed to fulfill my "obligation," (and in fact, was devout enough in a detached way, to attend weekday Masses as well,) -- and I thought the vast differences I observed were mostly due to aesthetics and the taste, or lack thereof, of the priest and music director.

If it was available to me, I was glad to go to a Mass in Latin but this was simply because the music that one heard with Latin lyrics was almost invariably better music than the music one might encounter sung in English or Spanish.
I don't think I was actually aware that there was an "old rite" and a "new rite" and if I was, I would have said that the essential difference was the language in which it was offered.

My impression from childhood was that the Mass changed a whole lot every few months anyway - Oh, new laminated "pew cards" this week, different words for the Creed now.
Oh, Father is coming down and walking around  in the aisles during his sermon now.
Oh, a woman is doing the readings now.
Oh, the other priests don't come over from the rectory now to distribute communion, one of them just stands there and we move past him rather than him moving past us.
Oh, the servers just sit around doing nothing during Mass now.

You know, like that.
So as I heard Mass in a multiplicity of venues, the differences I encountered at first just seemed more of them same. Gradually, I realized that the idiosyncrasies observed were not a result of changes the Church, big "c", had made, but  peculiarities of this church, little "c", this parish, this priest, this part of the country.
So that Latin Mass I had attended? it not just wasn't the same Mass, it wasn't the same Church, there were "Catholics" who were not in communion with Rome, or were in communion with Rome by their own reckoning but wasn't it a shame? there wasn't a real Pope in Rome at the moment.

But wait - this chapel, this other one, did recognize the same Pope as I - but the Church doesn't recognize them?

As I said, as I came to understand exactly what had been occurring in Catholicism, I wasn't really a Trad because - well,  I think A reform was necessary. It just wasn't THE reform that we got.

And I also began to love the old form, but without hating the new one, (I did hate the new theology that many of its supporters incorrectly believed was at its heart and was necessary.)

But Lordie, it was hard to keep track of! who ARE these people? where do THEY stand?
And of course, it wasn't black and white, there were profoundly orthodox people with a laissez faire attitude toward liturgy, there were preservationists who would do anything to support truly Catholic sacred music who were more or less atheists...
I actually made myself a kind of "scorecard", showing the continuum of players in the game, from right-wing crazies with their own Pope Skippy in Arkansas to leftist loonies who thought Gaia and Yahweh were the power couple of the cosmos , so I could remember, as I read, where, judging from their alliances, (yeah, guilt by association,) they were coming from, since even stopped clocks are right twice a day, and even an idiot may teach you something profound and true.

What a scandal, this lack of unity.

I confess I find it somewhat more difficult to suss out the positions of those on the right flank of Catholicism's host, the Ecclesia Militans, (have to use the Latin so no one thinks I'm referring to a particualr media-savvy faction,) because of the heat, even anger I think I see there.

So I am grateful to Bishop Athanasius Schneider, who always seems able to respond to others with both charity and precision, (I love that in our Pope Emeritus as well, and wish, wish, wish, wish that dear Francis, so gifted in the former seems incapable of the latter.)
The current situation of the Church is similar to that of the Arian Crisis in the 4th century: there is a naval battle in the night, where the enemies of the Church attack vehemently the big ship of the Church, whereas in the same time little ships of several true Catholic groups attacks one another, instead of make a common defense against the enemies.
(And that, dear reader, is as good a defense as you are likely to find, for us all to, um... face the same way.)

Sunday, 16 August 2015

How To Boil a Frog

Amnesty International has adopted a proposal calling for the decriminalization of the sex trade, to promote "human rights" and "equal protection" for sex workers.
This proposal instead gives amnesty to pimps, brothel owners and sex buyers by recognizing everyone in sex work as “consenting adults.” Men and women in the vulnerable position of selling their bodies for sex should be offered services and solutions to provide them with safe alternatives.
But as Cindy McCain, the chairman of the Human Trafficking Advisory Council of the McCain Institute for International Leadership, continues in the Washington Post -
The proposal instead legalizes their exploitation. Amnesty International says that people who engage in sex work often do so because they have been marginalized and have limited choices. The decision to sell one’s body for sex made in the absence of better circumstances is not a human right. A buyer or trafficker who takes advantage of someone’s lack of choice for their own financial or sexual gain is an exploiter of human rights and should be criminalized.
Sex work and sex trafficking cannot reasonably be separated. Sex work fuels the demand for commercial sex, which is the indisputable driving force behind the sex-trafficking industry. Supply will always meet demand, and in this equation, supply is too often vulnerable men and women, and, at its very worst, children. Under the group’s proposal, sex traffickers and brothel owners could operate with immunity for facilitating what they say is consensual sex work. Protections should not be afforded to those who prey on a person’s vulnerability or lack of basic needs. Decriminalizing sex work would put those in the sex industry, and vulnerable populations around the world, in greater danger by giving no authority to go after those who exploit others for personal profit
It's not as if society's refusal to name virtually any sexual activity at all, no matter how loathsome, as indecent hasn't set us one this path.
I'm guessing that was the reason for the NYTimes op-ed piece by the lap dancer - it was published by way of greasing the skids for this newest outrage.
And we're accustomed to outrages, so really what is a little more?
Gradualism can be useful, huh? Soon, nothing will make us jump out of the pot.

Image result for boil a frog
I missed the piece in the Times to which Catholic World Report refers here-
The new policy would also theoretically encourage better health care for women in prostitution and reduce the stigma involved with the industry.
Preceding Amnesty's decision, the New York Times published a piece on the slippery slope of the sex industry – calling it a vague, gray area, especially when it comes to its decriminalization.

“Can we really draw a bright line between a person who has casual sex, in private, with various lovers, and a person who has sex in private, with various short-term and long-term lovers, from whom she accepts monetary support?” the piece asks, arguing that private, consensual acts – whatever they may be – have a right to be protected.

Friends of the Archbishop?

I think it is lovely when any child is baptized, and particularly wonderful if there is a family friend who can perform the sacrament.
And it's cool when multiple children from the same family receive sanctifying grace and are initiated into the Church at once, which often happens when parents convert and are new to the Faith.
And of course, if the family friend is of long standing and now just happens to be Pope, well....

But can someone explain how old friends of the Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires never got around to having their daughter until she was NINE YEARS OLD? couldn't some priest who was a friend of the family have suggested she receive the sacrament?
In a whirlwind trip, Lucas Schaerer and his family – friends of Pope Francis from his time in Buenos Aires – traveled to the Vatican, where the Pope baptized their daughters, Simona and Charo.
“The ceremony was beautiful and simple…Francis celebrated Mass and then we went to a sitting room, where we spoke for a long time,” Argentinian journalist Mercedes Ninci, a close friend of the couple, recalled in comments posted to the Vatican blog Il Sismografo Aug. 12.....
According to the journalist, Lucas and his wife Ana have known the Pope for some time, and are both active members in “The Alameda” Foundation. Dedicated to fighting against human and drug trafficking, the organization is well-known in Latin America, and has always had Francis’ strong support....

Lucas and Ana sent the Pope a sonogram image of their baby when they found out they were pregnant. Once the Pope received it, she said, he offered to baptize the baby when she was born....
After arriving to the Eternal City Aug. 5, the couple returned to Buenos Aires on the 10th.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Moral Equivalency

No, no, no, not that one.
(Gee, Archbishop Cupich is taking a lot of heat for his hyperbole, which I still would like to think was a dumbing down of Catholic social teaching for secular audience.)

I was very privileged to be able to watch an opera as it was being performed over five thousand miles away - THANK YOU, MEDICI TV!!!!! (we live in a marvellous age.)

Anyway, Fidelio offered some real treasures, and some real pleasures, chief among them the remarkable Jonas Kaufmann, surely the finest actor currently performing on the operatic stage, perhaps the finest in the history of opera as it can be known on film and on tape.
His entrance, vocal since he was not visible at first, (I hope that was not just a matter of the camera focusing on the wrong thing, an all too frequent occurrence in operatic stage production on TV or in movies nowadays,) was like nothing I have ever witnessed before, disturbing and electrifying and heart-breaking.
As Florestan beings his prayer, "Gott...." instead of the noble, devout, and essentially confident forte one expects, there was a sound, so soft, it at first seemed some of the added sound effects in this production, is it mechanical? a door or pulley moving, the small whine of metal on stone? is it an animal? no, it's human, and it grows, it seems to last forever, becoming louder, stronger, richer until it is clearly a faith-filled cry from the heart -
The heart of a madman? a prisoner, who through torture and isolation, through starvation and hopelessness has almost nothing left of his humanity except for his faith in God?
Whatever, it was astounding.

The production as a whole... well, yes, there was plenty to love, but my overwhelming reaction was,
WHAT THE HELdentenor?????????
Okay, two characters have shadow selves, maybe their inconsistencies and incomprehensibilities are the incoherent way the political prisoner thinks of his tormentor and the love he may never see again.....? okay...

But then, at the end, the "happy ending," that glorious music, that joyous outpouring - the chorus is invisible, perhaps only imagined by Florestan? the principals are all in darkness, (same?)
Then why in blazes is Dream Laurie Shadow Leonora frantically signalling the audience, down front and center, in a spot? Who is imagining that?

So, I was curious about the reviews, and the reactions of the opera cognoscenti around the 'web (I had only seen a headline about "boos.")
Well, this opera-blogger, (yeah, finally getting back to the title of this post,) seemingly pretty knowledgeable about opera gave this opera-lover, (me,) a What The Fach moment...
Beethoven's Fidelio is an opera designed to provoke outrage. Any production that doesn't provoke is a betrayal of the composer. Salzburg's new Fidelio is provocative, but that's exactly how it should be. Fidelio is an opera about ideas. Like it or not, Claus Guth's production does engage with the ideas and ideals central to any genuine engagement with the opera. He presents an unusual take on the piece, but nonetheless one which is valid and thoughtful. If we dismiss ideas because they don't fit our own, we're no better than the Don Pizarros of this world.[emphasis supplied]
In case you're unfamiliar with Fidelio, Pizzaro is the villainous, torturing, would-be murderer who has held the noble Florestan a political prisoner, incognito for two years.

So, hows that for an asinine moral equivalency claim?

If you reject the nonsense of the purveyors of  regietheater, you are no better than a villainous, torture-loving, despotic would-be murderer.
So the Salzburg patrons who booed? yeah, same circle of hell as, oh... maybe ISIS.

The Paper of Record

It should be obvious that all the kvetching I do about the New York Times is proof of all the reading I do in the New York Times, so that yes, I do depend on it a lot, it is of authentic vlaue to me.

That is not to deny that it can be advocacy journalism at its very worst. (Of course its funniest moments are when its writers are trying desperately to be both advocates/partisans and news providers/truth tellers and the two role are irreconcilably in conflict with each other and it is obvious to everyone but them.)

Anyway, am I the only one who boggled at its Op-ed page's offering a platform to a struggling worker alerting the Times readership to the oppression of the capitalists under whom she struggles?

Oh, wait I misspoke, she and her sisters are not under anyone, they're kinda on top of them, you know - because they are giving lap dances.

And I was also somewhat taken aback by the diction of the front page piece about the AirBnB user assaulted by his hostess who, I think they put it, was "born male" but "lives as a woman."

PC to the last, the Times insisted on using feminine pronouns for the rapist, despite his obviously having male genitalia, and said rapist's contention that his victim was cool with everything until buyer's remorse set in over their "consensual" sex, because, you know the victim was prejudiced against "women" with penes. (Yeah, I did it, I used those scare quotes...)

Oh, those transphobic travellers, they make things so difficult for the real victims.

(Has the Times in the past had sympathy for parents who don't think boys pretending to be girls using the girls' restroom is fair to actual girls? or for women complaining about men who dress as women using the women's locker rooms at gyms? Why, no. No, they haven't. Because, well, you know... "the real victims here.")

Let Us Not Just ADMIT, But Let Us Send Out Engraved Invitations to the Impediments to the Marriage of True Minds When Those Impediments Come A-Knockin'

I've already gone off on a German cardinal's statement at the so-called "Shadow Synod," in acceptance of serial monogamy, yeah, I used to love you but you know how it is, let's be adult about this.
This phrase, however, was contained in another theologian's intervention, a theologian the aforementioned cardinal quotes extensively and approvingly -
the indissolubility of marriage is not a prescriptive aspect which is brought from outside; it is rather a request that spouses make to themselves, when they trust in their love.
"To themselves"?
No, to each other, surely!
But allowances must be made for translation, perhaps that is the sense of what Schockenhoff.

But another objection I have is that a it's hell of a lot more than a "request." It is a pledge, it is a promise, it is a covenant.

The request is made, and the response to the request is contained in courtship and proposal.

A Christian marriage is saying that the two have moved beyond the stage of request into donation and reception.

Is my understanding of the sacrament a cousin of the confused theology of eternal security, of "Once Saved, Always Saved"?
Am I proposing "Once Loved, Always Loved" and "Once Loving Always Loving"?

I think I am. The way his coreligionists might describe a flagrantly, publicly sinning televangelist, (well, he must not have been REALLY saved...) I look at anyone to whom the phrase, "fall out of love," is applied as never having "really" loved.
The Sacrament of Matrimony is a sacrament, a reflection of and a sharing in God's marriage to, and love for, His bride precisely because it IS an ever-fixed mark, it DOES look on tempests wihtout being shaken, it is NOT Time's fool.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Bulwer-Lytton Contest Winners

 Some wonderful stuff, (good for reading on any dark and stormy night such as this,) and the Grand Prize, written by one Dr. Joel Phillips of West Trenton, NJ, is a doozy.
But strangely I've lost my appetite.
 Seeing how the victim's body, or what remained of it, was wedged between the grill of the Peterbilt 389 and the bumper of the 2008 Cadillac Escalade EXT, officer "Dirk" Dirksen wondered why reporters always used the phrase "sandwiched" to describe such a scene since there was nothing appetizing about it, but still, he thought, they might have a point because some of this would probably end up on the front of his shirt.
I have to admit, I don't really get the Sci-Fi winner?
The gravitational pull up here on Mars is much less than it is back at home base, of course, so your tongue sticks to the roof of our mouth and everyone sounds like Eleanor Roosevelt. 

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Well, let's just say "confusion" abounds...

From the Catholic Herald this morning, (Scelata said that Catholic Herald said that National Geographic said....)
If you are puzzled, even disoriented by the Holy Father’s conduct of his pontificate (and I stress at the outset that what follows is not intended as an attack on it) you may be reassured by an article in this month’s National Geographic magazine, which contains some possibly indiscreet remarks by the Pope’s spokesman, Fr Federico Lombardi, which indicate that you are not alone. I say “possibly” indiscreet, since as he is the Pope’s director of communications, maybe what he says is something the Holy Father doesn’t mind us knowing.
This is from an account of a conversation between the Pope’s spokesman when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Federico Wals, and Fr Lombardi. “So, Father,” the Argentine asked, “how do you feel about my former boss?” Managing a smile, Fr Lombardi replied: “Confused.” He described the contrast between the way Pope Benedict would give an account of a conversation with some world leader and the way Pope Francis does it.
After meeting with a world leader, the former pope would emerge and rattle off an incisive summation, Lombardi tells me, with palpable wistfulness: “It was incredible. Benedict was so clear. He would say, ‘We have spoken about these things, I agree with these points, I would argue against these other points, the objective of our next meeting will be this’ – two minutes and I’m totally clear about what the contents were. With Francis – ‘This is a wise man; he has had these interesting experiences.’ Chuckling somewhat helplessly, Lombardi adds, “Diplomacy for Francis is not so much about strategy but instead, ‘I have met this person, we now have a personal relation, let us now do good for the people and for the Church.’”
No one knows all of what he’s doing, according to Fr Lombardi. “His personal secretary doesn’t even know. I have to call around: One person knows one part of his schedule, someone else knows another part.” The previous day, the Pope had hosted a gathering in Casa Santa Marta of 40 Jewish leaders – and the Vatican press office learned about it only after the fact. Fr Lombardi shrugged his shoulders and simply said: “This is the life.”
"This is the life...."
That's an expression you usually hjear from someone with a beautiful view, a comfortable perch, his feet up, and a tall, cool beverage to hand... or someone who is simply resigned?

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Pro-Choice? Changing the World, One Heart At a Time

This is the kind of good news we need.
Listen to Ruben Navarrette Jr at Daily Beast -
For the last 30 years, I’ve supported abortion rights. This year may be different.
The only thing I hate more than talking about abortion is writing about it. It’s no accident that, in 2,000 columns over a quarter-century, I have never—ever—written about abortion. I’ve avoided the topic like a root canal. 
But that is getting harder to do with the release of what are now five gruesome, albeit edited, undercover videos by The Center for Medical Progress depicting doctors and other top officials of Planned Parenthood discussing, and even laughing about, the harvesting of baby organs, as casually as some folks talk about the weather.
It’s jarring to see doctors acting as negotiators as they dicker over the price of a fetal liver, heart, or brain, and then talk about how they meticulously go to the trouble of not crushing the most valuable body parts. This practice is perfectly legal, and for some people, it is just a business. With millions of abortions each year in America, business is good.
Who could forget Dr. Mary Gatter, council president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Medical Directors, when, in Video #2, she tells undercover investigators that it isn’t about the money—before she zeroes in on dollars and cents? 
“Let me just figure out what others are getting, and if this is in the ballpark, then it’s fine,” Gatter said. “If it’s still low, then we can bump it up.” ...

I want a shower....
in the latest video, Abby Johnson, the former clinic director of that same Planned Parenthood office, said her branch made about $120,000 a month selling aborted fetus tissue and organs.
All for the sake of research, no doubt. Make that a long, hot shower with lots of soap.
The videos were produced by The Center For Medical Progress after a 3-year investigation into Planned Parenthood. While many Democrats—most notably, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest—claim that they haven’t seen the videos so they don’t have to comment, others on the Left admit to having seen them.
Hillary Clinton, who recently came to the defense of the organization as doing a lot of good in the field of women’s health, called them “disturbing.”...
I’m pro-choice. At least I thought I was until recently. These days, each time, I express concern, outrage, disgust, or horror over another video—which should come with warnings that they may produce nightmares—some supporter of the organization responds by attacking me and insisting that I was never really pro-choice to begin with. 
Defenders of Planned Parenthood are trying to deflect criticism away from the organization and onto those who produced the videos. In the minds of true believers, those are the real culprits—guilty of releasing illegally obtained and “heavily edited” videos with the intent of destroying a valuable organization that provides essential health services to millions of women. The organization has hired an expensive Washington, D.C.-based PR firm to do damage control, and the firm quickly tried to pressure television networks to stop airing the videos. ...
After all this, I still consider myself pro-choice, as I have for the last 30 years. I staked out this position during my freshmen year in college. Even then, I understood the abortion debate was a tug-of-war between competing rights—those of the mother versus those of an unborn baby. I sided with the mother. And I tried not to think about the baby.
All this was happening in the 1980s, which was a particularly tense time in the abortion debate. Americans were at each other’s throats. Protesters picketed the offices of abortion providers. Clinics were bombed or set on fire. Doctors who performed abortions were being threatened. The Moral Majority, Operation Rescue, and the Republican Party seemed an intolerant lot. I couldn’t imagine siding with them, so I lined up on the pro-choice side. 
I arrived there for a simple reason: Because I’m a man. Many will say that this is not a very good reason, but it is my reason. Lacking the ability to get pregnant, and thus spared what has been for women friends of mine the anguishing decision of whether to stay pregnant, I’ve remained on the sidelines and deferred to the other half of the population.
Over time, I made refinements—going along with waiting periods and parental notification laws at the state level, and coming out against the barbaric practice known as partial birth abortion. 
As I’ve only realized lately, to be a man, and to declare yourself pro-choice, is to proclaim your neutrality. And, as I’ve only recently been willing to admit, even to myself, that’s another name for “wimping out.”
I suspect more than a few men have thought of "pro-choice" as their only choice - wasn't it presumptuous, wasn't it paternalistic of them to have any opinion that in any way limited a woman's options, to inject themselves into a matter where women were the ones who would have to bear... well, everything? bear the pain, bear the consequences, bear the meroies, bear the guilt, bear the lost opportunities, yes, bear the child?
But neutrality in the face of evil is not going to cut it.
One at a time, people will open their minds, open their hearts - and they will not come down on the side of evil.
Because people are not evil, God di not make us that way. We are created for glory.

Hmmm... I have only just noticed that that post on which I commented is nearly five years old.

Why did a link to it pop up this morning?

Those durn  interwebs......

A Love Story

A priest on the Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name -- at least, not in most chanceries.

Well, that rules out the first one that popped into your head, doesn't it? (Admit it!)

Hmmm... what could it be? what would be frowned upon in most of the halls of power of American Catholicism? they're a pretty enlightened bunch, right? forgiving of human foibles, morally flexible, in that who-am-I-to-judge way.

What in the world would cause them to be getting all judgy?

Of course! you know what it is -
“So what do you think of the Tridentine Mass, Bishop?” Sweat began to form on my brow...
It is a scene which has happened to me many a time, and which is very familiar to young priests all over the world. All of a sudden, I was no longer just one priest among others. I was a marked man. I had committed the not very original sin of being one of “those priests,” the kind who celebrated the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. I was an enigma to the many friends I had made in the communities who enjoy exclusive use of the pre-conciliar liturgical books...
And I was a mystery to my brother priests and even some of my parishioners who couldn’t square the man they knew as their friend, who seemed so jovial, fun-loving and open-minded...
At dinner, my dear father in God, the successor to the apostles, shared with us, “I remember the Tridentine Mass when I was a boy. I served that Mass. I still remember the responses: Introibo ad altare Dei; ad Deum qui laetificat juventutem meam. But it was not beautiful. We had priests who said Low Mass in fifteen minutes and had no idea what they were saying. I lived through all of that. I am done with that. I like the English Mass, and I don’t want to go back.” One can hardly argue with another man’s experience: it is what it is, it is his experience, and you can’t discount that.
Then the priest who launched the cannonball turned the discussion to the contemporary adherents of the extraordinary Mass, “They’re all crazy. They’re just nostalgic for a past they have never known. And most of them are just the walking wounded."...

they would always see my penchant for the “Trad” thing as a character flaw, a foible, an inexplicable eccentricity. 
Fr Smith is a delightful writer, (and wonderful speaker, any opportunity you have to hear him preach, or deliver and address, take it!)
"Inexplicable eccentricity" :oD
Go read the rest of the blog post, and learn how a Baptist kid discovered the glories of liturgical prayer, Catholicism and the Roman Rite and "fell in love."

They Just Don't Get It, They Don't Understand What "Pro-Life" Means

Watched a movie yesterday, I'd been vaguely interested in it when it came out a number of years ago, but never gotten around to it.
It was a four-boxes-of-kleenex tear-jerker, a bit manipulative - how could it not be? it was about a dying girl, and her sister who had been genetically engineered, no, that's not fair, designed? well, chosen, presumably from a group of sibling embryos all the rest of which were disposed of, to be grown for spare parts a "savior sibling" for the sick child.
The younger child was suing her parents for emancipation rather than be forced, or at least coerced into donating a kidney.

As is my wont, I did a little research afterwards, what else have I seen him in? what's the source material? what did the critics think of this?

That last has always been of interest to me, how was a work received by those whose business, whose life's work it is to judge a work of entertainment or art?
This fascinates me even more in the past year, trying to fathom how mass delusion, even psychosis, seems to sometimes take hold of the world of film criticism as a whole.

Because, Boyhood.

(Twelve years to shoot it? Watching it felt like twelve years of my life I'll never get back.)

I digress.
So, I'm readin a few reviews...
The late Roger Ebert was one of the few top critics who thought well of My Sister's Keeper.
But this really threw me for a loop -
Although “My Brother’s Keeper,” ... is an effective tearjerker, if you think about it, it’s something else. The movie never says so, but it’s a practical parable about the debate between pro-choice and pro-life. If you’re pro-life, you would require Anna to donate her kidney, although there is a chance she could die, and her sister doesn’t have a good prognosis. If you’re pro-choice, you would support Anna’s lawsuit.
Not just "NO" but HELLLLLL NOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

The Pro-Life movement is, above all, about the dignity of a human life, the dignity and rights of each individual life.
It is about fighting against the commodification of any one human person, even if it is that person's mother who is trying to usurp ownership.
Should the sibling want to help, to save the sister's life?
Sacrifice is a momentous thing.
Sacrifice is a great good, a noble action.

But it is only sacrifice to give up what is truly your own to give. 
Nobody else should dare demand it of you, no one can lay claim to your body, nobody can "require" such a violation of your autonomy.
(And that includes your mother, regardless of on which end of her birth canal you currently are.)

Bing's Translation Abilities on Facebook are Really Something

남미 이스턴 미시간 대학 성악과 교수
A friend was tagged in a photo and Facebook tried to tell me the caption meant "the South American Ziplock Eastern Michigan University of Michigan."
Image result for ziplock

I wonder if they offer any advanced degrees at their Ziplock campus...

Tuesday, 11 August 2015


Those wacky curial officials at the Vatican are at it again.
Remember when the Pontifical Council for Culture brought us this?
Well, their buds over at the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization have announced the official song for the Year of Mercy!
(It's by the composer of this.)

Mercy, indeed...

"The Blood and Bone of the Liturgy"

Great metaphor, huh?
 "Sacred music is the blood and bone of the liturgy, the carrier of its organic life."
Dr Peter Kwasniewski has an excellent piece at New Liturgical Movement,
Sacred music is so massively and thoroughly important that it is hard to know where to begin. Music is the very language of the soul, its most intimate and exalted expression. Sacred music is the blood and bone of the liturgy, the carrier of its organic life, the texture of its being, the architecture of its prayer. If something goes wrong with music, as Plato saw long ago, the culture is lost. If something goes wrong with liturgical music, as Ratzinger saw so clearly, the cultus is depressed and devalued. It is like arguing about the sanctity of human life, or heterosexual marriage: if it isn’t obvious to you that a child is a person with dignity or that only a man and a woman can marry, then where can our argument go next? There are some things so basic, so close, so intimate, so all-pervasive, that we do not know where to begin, and once begun, we hardly know where to end. Music, and liturgical music, is just like that.
and I strongly urge everyone to read the entire piece, (I have that feeling of a kind of hopeless confusion over What To Do with my present situation in life, and I'm letting it spill over into everything else. I digress.)

Perhaps even more important to read is the comment by a gentleman named Thorfinn, (sounds a little Tolkeiny, doesn't it?)
I think part of the 'middle ground' you're missing is the pool of faithful Catholics who would like to rediscover traditional music but who think a motet is a very small something your neighbor may have in his eye. (I just looked up the definition but am no wiser.) If pastors & music directors have formed "battle lines", we're innocent bystanders excited to rediscover traditional Catholic hymns... but who understand Gregorian Chant as something monks do that used to come on CDs. Nearly every Reform of the Reform item calls for an "Idiot's Guide" for those of us on the other side of the generational gap.
I have found, more often than not, that anyone established in a position of any authority, a pastor, a DRE, a choir director, any of these who is ignorant of the Church's musical patrimony and the rubrics and theology that govern its current use is willfully ignorant, and too intent on defending his fiefdom to consider becoming better informed.
He or she would spend a fortune and take endless workshops about what GIA is peddling regarding handbell choirs before picking up and reading an article about the propers.

But your average choir member, or PIP? people like Thorfinn?
THAT'S where we can make a difference, people who already know and love the Lord's liturgy, but have the sense that something isn't quite right, something needs to be fixed.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Seriously? "Violated" Their "Privacy"?

We already knew - they have no shame, no sense of decency.

But, as we can see here, we can just leave it at, they have no sense. Period.

Planned Parenthood,
in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota sent out a letter to news outlets warning them that airing the sting videos can lead to a violation of patient privacy, according to KVLY-TV in North Dakota.
The Center for Medical Progress ...
has used footage obtained through deceit and unlawful behavior,... footage yet to come is expected to represent an extreme violation of patient privacy by including footage of post-abortion fetal tissue ...
When your network decides whether to consider this story newsworthy, or whether to use any of this footage at all, we urge you to keep this in mind: The extremists who entered Planned Parenthood labs under false pretenses violated research protocol, and, worse, violated the privacy of patients involved. Those patients' privacy should not be further violated by having this footage shared by the media.
Whose privacy, exactly?
Does someone who donates her own tissue, (say, a tumor, or blood, or some other blob of cells,) to be used for research have an expectation that it won't be seen by ... strangers?
How specific, exactly are the authorizations PP gets from women upon whom they perform abortions?

Do those performing or facilitating research, (whether medical, cosmetic pharmaceutical or journalistic,) know the name or anything else of the owner of  patient who provided that tiny liver, or brain, or hand they are observing?

Again, I ask, whose privacy? who's being violated?

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Every Unborn Child "Bears the Face of Jesus Christ"

Another bishop on record regarding the Planned Parenthood videos revealing the abortion provider's commodification of human beings.

Statement from Bishop Gerald Barbarito[Diocese of West Palm]:
Disturbing Investigative Videos at Planned Parenthood
The investigative videos regarding Planned Parenthood's involvement in the marketing of human organs and tissue obtained from aborted babies is gravely disturbing and unsettling. 
The matter emphasizes the truth of Pope Francis' assertion that abortion is the product of a "throwaway culture" and that, in his words, "Things have a price and can be sold, but people have a dignity; they are worth far more than things and are above price." 
The horrifying videos are reason for all of us to renew our commitment to the sanctity of life at every stage, especially within our "throwaway culture." 
We need to realize ever more fervently the words of Pope Francis, that "Every child who, rather than being born, is condemned unjustly to being aborted, bears the face of Jesus Christ, bears the face of the Lord, who even before He was born, and then just after birth, experienced the world's rejection." We commit ourselves to, in the words of St. Pope John Paul II, "a culture of life," and we reject "a culture of death," which frighteningly continues to ferment in our society.

"Out of Compassion for the Waywardness That is Ours"

Sometimes a phrase just jumps out at you during mass, you know?

The preface used by our celebrant this morning seemed completely unfamiliar to me, I've never given much thought to the prefaces, is there a pattern to how priests select them in Ordinary Time, I wonder?

But I've been dwelling, of late, on suffering, and how no soul seems to escape it, everyone has his "passion" to undergo, not only Christ, not only great saints...

So God-With-Us endured not just His own, but each of ours.
He chose, not just to suffer, but to share our suffering.
For out of compassion for the waywardness that is ours, He humbled himself and was born of the Virgin; by the passion of the Cross He freed us from unending death.
Who could have imagined such a thing? that a creator would do this for his creations?

To have "compassion"  - to suffer with.
Do we, can we, eve take on others' pain?
Does Christ's compassion for us not demand that we try?

But isn't waywardness an odd thing for Him to have seen in us and chosen to suffer with us?

We don't perceive waywardness as suffering, do we?

Doesn't the word summon up thoughts of a kind of footloose free-spiritedness, a desirable independence?
Doesn't contemporary man usually look on rebellion against, say, parental authority as a not only admirable, but more or less necessary break from childish submission?
Thinking outside the box, making up your own mind, learning to trust your own judgement, deciding for yourself what's right and what's wrong - those are all good things, doncha think?
I mean, yeah, you might make the occasional misstep, but no biggie...
You certainly will not die, your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, who know good and evil. 
When you get down to brass tacks, waywardness is just another form of pride.
And like all sin, pride separates us from the Father.

And that is what the Son chose to suffer for us, beyond the physical agony - separation from the Father WITH WHOM HE WAS ONE.
Can you imagine the desolation of the Three Days?
And yet that is what He did for me and you.
Thinking of it in that way makes it mighty hard to brush off any deviating from the pathway, to forget that even minor excursions on my part contribute to the weight of His cross.
Out of compassion for the waywardness that is ours, He humbled himself and was born of the Virgin; by the passion of the Cross He freed us from unending death, and by rising from the dead, He gave us life eternal.