Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Saturday 20 October 2018

From the Silence of the Soul...to the Silence of God in His Glory

Probably familiar to any of my online friends, (I'm soooooo out of things) but this is a new blog to me, Canticum Salomonis.
What caught my eye was this message from the great Cardinal Sarah to the Association Pro Liturgia.

It is entitled From the Silence of the Soul United with Christ, to the Silence of God in His Glory
A small taste:
I would like us to reflect together on one of the essential elements of Gregorian chant, namely sacred silence. At first it might seem paradoxical, but we shall see that if Gregorian chant, which you defend and promote with so much zeal, has great importance, it is due to its indispensable capacity to draw us into the silence of contemplation, of listening to and adoring the living God. From the silence of the soul that is united to Jesus, to the silence of God in his glory: this is the title of this brief message that my friendship and support extends to you today. In fact, we shall see that Gregorian chant and its splendid visible raiment, the illuminated manuscript of the liturgical book, is born out of silence and leads back to silence.

Friday 30 March 2018

"Saying 'Yes' to the Whole Task of the Priesthood"

In case there actually ever was  anyone foolish enough or agenda-driven enough to believe Father Benedict was "only a theorist of theology with little understanding of the concrete life of a Christian today," an ivory tower, airy-fairy academic, totally lacking in a pastoral heart, or even, as I have actually heard claimed, in pastoral experience, his own words remembering his days as a seminarian when he considered these very questions should disabuse them of that notion:
It became clearer and clearer to me that there is more to the priestly vocation than enjoying theology, indeed, that work in the parish can often lead very far away from that and makes completely different demands. . . The Yes to the priesthood meant that I had to say Yes to the whole task, even in its simplest forms.
Since I was rather diffident and downright unpractical, since I had no talent for sports or administration or organization, I had to ask myself whether I would be able to relate to people-whether, for example, as a chaplain I would be able to lead and inspire Catholic youth, whether I would be capable of giving religious instruction to the little ones, whether I could get along with the old and the sick, and so forth. I had to ask myself whether I would be ready to do that my whole life long and whether it was really my vocation.
Bound up with this was naturally the question of whether I would be able to remain celibate, unmarried, my whole life long. . . I often pondered these questions as I walked in the beautiful park of Furstenried and naturally in the chapel, until finally at my diaconal ordination in the fall of 1950 I was able to pronounce a convinced Yes.
(And not for the first time, God bless everyone who creates Magnificat )

Having read it only yesterday morning, it was fresh in my mind when my own pastor preached last night about his  joy in the idea of the priesthood, his ordination and his First Mass when the immense privilege of being called to "do this in memory" of the Great High Priest gave him such joy.
(Oh, and I am slightly, no, very ashamed. I arrived at church, saw no chairs and thought, not bothering with the mandatum, great.... and then when Mass began I realized he was sick, had obviously dragged himself out of bed to come say Mass and then hear confessions, and that he all but needed to altar to brace himself and remain upright.I should remember better than most how difficult is the life of the man who sacrifices his whole life to be Alter Christi.

Pray for priests!!!!!

Tuesday 6 March 2018

Tiny Victories

(Seriously, it's been that long since I blogged?)
After almost a year of singing them, offering to teach them whenever I was thanked or complimented, making copies to use at church, telling people they could take them home, making recordings both fine and feeblish amateur for those put off by thinking they need to sound like... oh, Chanticleer, writing a simple article when requested by TPTB, after all this -  three timid voices, (regulars, I judged from the sound, but I didnt want to turn around and put them on the spot,) sang along with the seasonal Marian Antiphon at the end of Mass.

Just my opinion, but Ave Regina Caelorum, being the most "hymn-like," is the easiest of the four for anyone not already familiar to sign along with.

Wednesday 28 June 2017

Not MORE Catholic Than the Pope, Certainly, But Not Less, Either.... a Dead Heat, Maybe

New members of the PontificalAcadamy for Life? Turns out Nigel Biggars is just one more bad egg in the carton.
- Katarina Le Blanc of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, who uses stem cells taken from human embryos fertilized in vitro;
- Japanese Nobel laureate Shinya Yamanaka, who in spite of his fame for producing pluripotent stem cells artificially has by no means rules out continued research on the use of embryonic stem cells, and explains why in an article in the scientific journal “Cell & Stem Cell.”
- the Israeli Jew Avraham Steinberg, who admits in some cases abortion and the destruction of embryos for scientific use;
- Maurizio Chiodi, a leading Italian moral theologian, who in his book “Ethics of life” makes allowances for artificial procreation, if it is supported by an “intention of fertility.”

Saturday 27 May 2017

"My" Mass... Surprisingly Little Relationship to the Coloring Book I Was Given When I Was Five

The author of the newly published book from OSV, “Bored Again Catholic: How the Mass Could Save Your Life,” [Timothy P. O’Malley] wants to reignite an appreciation in Catholics who may have short attention spans at Mass or find the rituals repetitive and dull.
The director of Notre Dame’s Center for Liturgy says,
“For years, my students have told me that they’re bored at Mass.” ...
Many of them come from parishes with active youth ministry programs, where the kids felt fed and uplifted. But in college, they feel less enthusiastic and worry their faith lives are receding.
“What people understood by ‘active practice of Faith,’ especially young adults,” he said, “was that faith was supposed to be exciting all the time; you were supposed to be perpetually entertained.” 
And that hasn't worked?
I am shocked, I tell you, SHOCKED.
Why, why... it's almost as if although each of us was told the world revolves around him, OTHER people think it revolves around them, and when we all get out into the real world -- well, someone forgot to tell the rest of the world.

Here's my take on it, (I'm developing this idea for Sunday school):

The Mass is the Source and Summit of the Faith.
It is the ritual in which/place where/means by which, we can most intimately join ourselves to another human being. (Ha. You thought was sex, didn't you?)
Mirabile dictu, that other human being is also God. (This union occurs to a great extent even if we don't receive Communion, but never mind that for now.)
A mind-blowingly miraculous event occurs, for everyone, but even if you were the ONLY one - JUST FOR YOU.
Yes, it, no, not "it", "HE", He is nourishing, but don't compare Him to food for the body, this Food for the soul is easier to understand as analogous to food for the mind.
In short, think of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as a book.
Think of it, of Him, as a book.
THE Book.
It is as a volume filled with "all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."
So we have this Book.
Oh.... and it's hard to understand. Because it's.. well, it's pretty big.  Because It is wherein are contained ALL THE TREASURES OF WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE.
All of them.
So, we better translate it into our mother tongues, we'll "get" more if it that way.
But we don't. Because we can't. Because He contains ALL THE TREASURES OF WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE.
Which is... you know. beyond us?
But we think we should somehow understand it.
And then there are children.
So instead of, I dunno, teaching us to read, you gave us books in which you had scribbled all over those "incomprehensible" words with crayons, pictures and colors you thought we'd find to our taste,and you pasted on stickers, and you gave us more markers and crayons and spray paint and ribbons and firecrackers and kites and kiddie pageants...
And then you wondered why people didn't ever recognize, much less appreciate the Book. when they encountered it in the real world
Where they weren't the center of the universe
In any language.
They couldn't understand it.
And they didn't "want" it.
So yeah, VCII liturgists and RelEd directors, and priests, and music directors, and Catholic school teachers, and USCCB-types, and random bishops (I know some  of them fought this drift.)...
You got a lot of 'splaining to do.
And you best not do it by handing out crayons...

Friday 12 May 2017

"The Summer of Love Rape"

In "The Real Thing," Tom Stoppard had a line, something to the effect, "what 'free love' is free of is love."
All I can say is, yup.
 I reads lot of magazines, or at least, I skim them. A friend, because of her profession, subscribes to a few in which I am interested but too stingy to buy, so I asked her to give me her back issues now, instead of throwing them out, and when I finish, I'll bring them to the nursing home.
She gets about a dozen a WEEK.
So, as I said, I skim.
But the March Vanity Fair stopped me in my tracks.
There's a piece about 1967, the so-called Summer of Love, (I thank the Lord that it passed without the notice of my prepubescent self,) a conversation amongst some glamorous or artistic women of the time, about how Fashion, with a capital " f," was completely altered for all time by the hippies and rock stars and feminists and models.
That's what the piece is SUPPOSED to be about, at any rate.
But what jumped out at me was all these empowered women telling tale after tale of sexual assault, coercion, rape, belittlement...
How, after the talk turned that way, did the author, Sheila Weller, not see that the real story was not about bell bottoms and boho blouses?
Vanity Fair is not, after all a fashion mag.
 "If someone forced himself upon you, it was almost as if you had to pay for your sins; you accepted it."
When women spoke at DDS meetings about need for equality men would shout them down, "Take her off the stage and f*** her!"
 "I remember being made to feel bourgeois by[my much older husband] if I exhibited discomfort with the freewheeling sexuality."
"Rather than fighting, you just closed your eyes and gave in."
One of the more prominent of the women does NOT, of course, reference her own notorious autobiographical confession that the entire time she was THE outspoken icon of empowerment she was herself a submissive, abused woman.

I'm surprised, even in a climate that doesn't want to admit that there is any movement toward sexual expression on which the brakes ought to be applied, this hasn't occasioned any comment, so far as I can see - because I was aware of the issue, I knew there was some too-ing and fro-ing about the movie star cover girl and whether showing her breasts in the fashion shoot contradicted her brand of feminism. (And no, I concur with her that it doesn't; although it's a damned silly looking dress.)

Friday 21 April 2017

A Little Corollary to the Point Below

It is dishonest to not concede your opponent's valid points, and unless you are up for state high school debate teams champions, in other words, IF  YOU  ACTUALLY  WANT  TO  CHANGE  HEARTS  AND  MINDS? it's also counter-productive.

God's Church and Climate Change

No, not what you think.
As a.... okay, I'm going to say it, as a self-identified liberal Catholic I believe that a Catholic can be a faithful Catholic and not believe in man-made climate change, or that there is anything we need do about it, or that there is anything we can do about it, (which is heresy to many if not most other liberal Catholics.)
I should add, this opinion is balanced by what I, as a self-identified conservative Catholic believe - that a Catholic can be a faithful Catholic and believe in BIG Big Government as the best way to bring about God's kingdom on earth, (and that of course is heresy to many other conservative Catholics.)
But neither of these are relevant - my Faith may influence my judgment on these matters, but it does not ordain them,
Unlike say, "it's okay under certain circumstances to faciliate a woman's murdering her own unorn child," these are matters on which people of good will may disagree.

But all that is beside my point, (it is, as Sheldon Cooper would say, its own point.)

No, my point is that I read a link pointing to an ultra-conservative and (less ultra- but still strongly Traditional,) Catholic site, and immediately thought to myself, "gee hope it's a piece by Miss X, but not by Fr. Y or Mr Z."

Why? you may ask. (And even if you wouldn't, I shall answer.)
Because while I am equally likely to agree with/be interested in/learn something from all the contributors to the site, some of them are MEAN.
They are rude, condescending, given to name calling, assuming malice where ignorance or dullness would suffice to motivate, and just plain nasty, MEAN  AS  A  SNAKE.
And these are people I feel are more on the side of the angels than not, (although there are, of course, some extremists who take things so far they become utterly wrong.)

And similarly, on certain aspects of civic discourse, and what I happened to be reading of most recently was ecological disasters in the offing, the people who I believe are more on the side of the angels than not, (although there are, of course, some extremists here who take things so far they become utterly wrong,) are also given to name calling, assuming malice where ignorance or dullness would suffice to motivate, and just plain nasty.
When did smart, well-meaning people stop knowing that saying,"If you think that you are stupid and crazy and evil, let me tell you what you should think," is, uhm... a damned poor way to win converts to ones point of view?
(Don't answer, it was rhetorical, I know - something to do with expulsion from a Garden.)

As another side note, I have often had recourse in conversations as to why people have left one religious denomination or another, (since it is truly shocking to me how many people will lay blame for their apostasy at the door of personalities and practices rather than dogma and discipline that derives from doctrine,) to asking if a "mean" chemistry teacher would have caused them to doubt the periodic table, or if a nasty physics teacher negates the law of gravity.
Truth is truth, even wearing an ugly dress.

Saturday 15 April 2017

The Harrowing of Hell

A reminder that just because it is quiet and still, just because I can see nothing good coming of events, it does not follow that nothing is happening...

Friday 14 April 2017

"Here might I stay and sing of Him my soul adores..."

My song is love unknown,
my Savior’s love to me.
Love to the loveless shown,
that they might lovely be.
Oh, who am I that for my sake,
my Lord should take frail flesh and die?
            He came from heaven’s throne
            salvation to bestow;
            but they refused, and none
            the longed-for Christ would know.
            This is my friend, my friend indeed,
            who at my need, His life did spend.
Sometimes they crowd His way
and His sweet praises sing,
resounding all the day
hosannas to their King.
Then, “Crucify!” is all their breath,
and for His death they thirst and cry.
            Why, what has my Lord done
            to cause this rage and spite?
            He made the lame to run
            and gave the blind their sight.
            What injuries, yet these are why,
            the Lord Most High so cruelly dies.
With angry shouts they have
my dear Lord done away;
a murderer they save,
the Prince of Life they slay.
Yet willingly, He bears the shame,
that through His name all might be free.
            Here might I stay and sing
            of Him my soul adores:
            never was love, dear King,
            never was grief like Yours.
            This is my friend in whose
                            sweet praise,
            I all my days would gladly spend.

Thursday 13 April 2017

"Now the power, Now the vessel brimmed for pouring..."

In an eMail from Magnificat - I'm not sure that the artwork isn't the greatest benefit of the magazine.
No, that would be the reflections.
Though it might be the obscure saints on various themes. Oh, except it's probably....
(Sometime I feel as if I am advertising for Magnificat, but really, you should subscribe.)
Anyway, this reminded me of the heartbreaking statue of the Man of Sorrows at St John Cantius, the same kind of stillness and power.

"Now the power, Now the vessel brimmed for pouring; Now the body, Now the blood..."

(Hymn text, by the way, which has nothing, so far as I know, to do with Magnificat, by Jaroslav Vajda.)

"The Thursday of Mysteries"

Isn't that a beautiful way to describe today?
I've only just learned it.

I appreciate that word "mysteries" used synonymously with "sacraments," very much.
At Eastern Rite liturgies I've always thrilled a bit at the phrase, "I will not reveal Your Mysteries to your enemies," as if we were suddenly plunged by the universality and sacred timeliness/timelessness of the Sacrifice into penal times, or the first century and were willing to die rather than betray the goings-on in the catacombs to the authorities.
One doesn't see it much in the West, although the sheet music from which I first learned the Bruckner Locus Iste translated sacramentum that way, IIRC.
This is, I promise you, not about aesthetic snobbery, but the music that will happen tonight at any of the Roman Catholic churches within reach will be so jarringly bad or inappropriate that I was casting about for an alternative, and my default Byzantine parish seems not to be having any liturgy tonight, can that be possible?
(Here, I can prove, at least to my own satisfaction that it's not snootiness on my part - if it were not a thousand miles away I would attend an Extraordinary Form Mass I used to hear with some regularity, where the propers that are not sung recto tono or to a psalm tone would be unrecognizable they would be rendered so badly, by a choir that included on singer with a voice like an electric cheese grater. The appropriate done badly by worshipers giving their best is more fitting than the inappropriate done well by worshipers giving their favorites.)
Anyway, I found a church, (of a rite that I don't know well at all,) whose bulletin gives a time for Liturgy of  Thursday of Mysteries.
(And between Holy Orders and Eucharist, and washing of the feet - do Easterners do that? dont know -  our evening will be filled with Mystery.)
Was this Father Hardon?
"A mystery is not a truth about which we can know nothing. It is a truth about which we cannot know everything."

The Three Graces

Not, not those!

I think I shall always be bothered by the imprecision of Pope Francis' words, for as long as his pontificate persists. The sound bites often seem Hallmark-ish, ("Hallmawkish"?) and I think it behooves a spiritual leader to take note of common words more specific meaning within his particular "faith tradition."
(It's why I had such a visceral reaction to being asked to sing Ruth Duck's As a Fire Is Meant For Burning.... really??!?#?? NOT to "preach our creeds"?)
Yes, words mean different things in different contexts, but as a Catholic, in the context of catechesis, (which homiletics is,) you wouldn't, for instance, talk about a skanky ballet dancer as being "graceful."
So Francis' talk of the Gospels at the Chrism Mass...
"A single word - Gospel - that, even as it is spoken, becomes truth, brimming with joy and mercy. We should never attempt to separate these three graces of the Gospel: its truth, which is non-negotiable; its mercy, which is unconditional and offered to all sinners; and its joy, which is personal and open to everyone,"
...seems off to me.
Because yes, those three things are sharing in God's love, freely given (the simplest definition of Grace,) but, and pardon me for putting words in the Holy Father's mouth, but I wonder if what he really meant was a reference to the Theological Virtues, which do indeed seem to correlate with what he called "graces."
Because holding on to Truth is the essence of having Faith, our confident Hope cannot but fill us with Joy, and the granting of Mercy to others, (and ourselves!) is the highest good of Love in Action, (the way I describe Love/Charity/Christian Love to my religious education kiddos.)
And, of course, what sets the Theological Virtues apart is that they cannot be obtained by human effort, but are infused by God into a person freely given, (and in need of unwrapping, as I like to tell them.)

(Is it so wrong that on the cusp of Papa Ratz's birthday, at this, as at nearly every instance in which Francis says something that starts to make sense to me and cuae me to think in a new way, my wish is to know how his predecessor would have teased out the theme and crafted it into some all but perfect gem of theology for the blundering but trying, like me? Ah, well, if wishes were horses....)

Tuesday 11 April 2017

"You don't believe any of this....?"

Himself started watching something last night that looked interesting to me, but as I've more or less given up tv, (though yeah, I check the weather, and whether or not our country had gone to war....,) for Lent, I left the room.
He turned it off shortly afterwards, I asked what gives? and he said, "Oh, you know, the kind of programming they put on this time of year, we're being utterly objective and scientific and historical about all this Jesus stuff, and they make a big deal about anything that contradicts the Bible or common understanding, but if any hard facts support Christian tradition they downplay them...."
"Oh,"... he added, "and you know how they get jackasses or crazies for all the talking-head parts."
Yep, yep, I do know...
But, Department of Silver Linings, we don't have an Established Church in the US.

Few things in life are more reliable than that the BBC will celebrate Holy Week by running a story which causes controversy about Christianity; the only thing more reliable is that it won’t do the same about Islam during Ramadan. The latest, to be found here reveals that nearly a quarter of ‘Christians’ do not believe in the Resurrection. However, 1 in to people with no religion said they sort of believed in some way int e Resurrection, prompting this: ‘The Church of England said it showed many people held religious beliefs.’ I fear what it really shows is the failure of the Established Church in this country to do much in the way of religious education. One of the more remarkable bit of the piece was a vicar saying that: ‘”I think [people answering the survey] are being asked to believe in the way they might have been asked to believe when they were at Sunday school.’ Quite apart from the fact that it is doubtful that many people even go to Sunday School, one wonders quite what she thought was being taught at Anglican Sunday Schools? Then, with all the confidence of a modernist who doesn’t know better, she pronounced: ‘”So to ask an adult to believe in the resurrection the way they did when they were at Sunday school simply won’t do and that’s true of much of the key elements of the Christian faith.” She tells us that” And an adult faith requires that it be constantly questioned, constantly re-interpreted, which incidentally is very much what modern church is actually about.’ Indeed, and in that apercu lies much of what has gone wrong with the Church of England.
One wonder, then - if asked in a survey, does the quoted vicar think the Anglicans of the UK would deny that they loved their Mums? Because, of course, they wouldn't love them in the same way they had when they were children....

"The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, According to Saint...."

Notice, the reader* never says, "according to our beloved music director, Gary 'Gonzo' Garryman," or even, "according to the greatest composer of sacred music who ever lived, and one heck of a producer of talented and multitudinous off-spring, Mr. J. S. Bach."

I had to write this for a friend whose parish musicians decided that an ominous, drum roll or cadence like that used for military funerals might be a swell thing to add to the reading of the Passion on Sunday.
He was hoping to persuade someone in charge to read it prior to this Friday's performance.
Maybe it will be of use to someone else.
In Chapter V of the General Instruction Of The Roman Missal, (GIRM, it will be in the front of the Missal in the sacristy, the big red book that used to be called the Sacramentary until the newer translation finally came out,) paragraph 313 is very explicit:
313. The organ and other lawfully approved musical instruments should be placed in a suitable place so that they can sustain the singing of both the choir and the people and be heard with ease by everybody if they are played alone. It is appropriate that before being put into liturgical use, the organ be blessed according to the rite described in the Roman Ritual.[123]In Advent the use of the organ and other musical instruments should be marked by a moderation suited to the character of this time of year, without expressing in anticipation the full joy of the Nativity of the Lord.In Lent the playing of the organ and musical instruments is allowed only in order to support the singing. [emphasis supplied] Exceptions, however, are Laetare Sunday (Fourth Sunday of Lent), Solemnities, and Feasts.
Using a drum during the reading of the Passion (this is me talking now,) not only violates that in letter and in spirit, it is tacky and cheesy in the extreme, it is the equivalent of adding sound effect, or dum-dum-DUM fanfares like for Youtube squirrels.
"Gee, maybe next year, every time Judas' name is mentioned, let's have Villain's-Entrance-Music, like from a silent movie!!!!!!!"
The Passion at Mass or at Good Friday liturgy is not a performance.It does not call for creativity.It calls for reverence and obedience.Anyone who would do anything that tacky would probably add water sound effects for the Washing of the Feet, in the Mandatum.
*I said "reader" instead of "deacon or priest," because for the Passion, it is uniquely possible that a lay reader will licitly do this.

Friday 31 March 2017

When Promiscuity is Your Sacrament, and You're Terrified of Normalcy

I guess it's to be expected that those omalophobic souls who make a cult of despising virtue, or chastity, or even such a bourgeois habit as commitment, would be screaming on Those Interwebs about that strange, evil guy who, you know, does strange, evil things and set himself strange, evil rules of conduct, because he has these strange, evil notions about a strange, evil institution called marriage, and has this strange, evil superstition that there's such a thing as temptation, and he loves his strange, evil wife enough that he wants to avoid both it and the chance of giving people who delight in that sort of thing excuses to gossip, (not that the previously mentioned omalophobia sufferers have any particular affinity for dishing...)

Do you REALLY see in another person's fidelity or continence an inherent reproach to the way you've chosen to live your life?
Are ya maybe... projecting?

I wonder if there's the odd chance that any of such screamers read today's lectionary?
The wicked said among themselves, thinking not aright:"Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us;he sets himself against our doings,Reproaches us for transgressions of the lawand charges us with violations of our training.He professes to have knowledge of Godand styles himself a child of the LORD.To us he is the censure of our thoughts; merely to see him is a hardship for us,Because his life is not like that of others,and different are his ways.He judges us debased;he holds aloof from our paths as from things impure.

Damon LInker on Those Who Have A Problem With Mike Pence's "Rules"

Learning new things, (and learning that I'm not learning some i ought... what's Storify?)
A columnist named Damon Linker created a Tweetstorm in response to the Mike Pence Actually Takes Steps To Help Insure His Marriage Is Never Imperiled And How Dare He? nonsense that's going on on Those Interwebs, (and even, i fear in some print media.)
And it's great and ought to be in a more readily readable form, (which I gather this mysterious Storify would do.)
About this surprisingly intense controversy about Mike Pence's marital habits.
The man currently VPOTUS said 15 years ago that he never dines alone w another woman, or attends an event where alcohol is being served.
The implication being that this could place him in a condition of temptation with someone other than his wife.
I'm a secular liberal & think it's a bit extreme, yet I don't find this scandalous. In fact, I consider it admirable.
But not many other secular liberals, who have been expressing unrestrained outrage, feel this way. The question is why.
I think it's because this difference is rooted in profoundly different, perhaps incompatible, anthropologies (visions of human nature)
For Pence, I surmise, human beings are fallen, prone to temptation and sin, in a state of moral degradation.
Place a man alone with a woman w no one around, esp if he's in a position of power, & he'll be tempted to be unfaithful to his wife.
Confronted w facts of human nature, there are 2 options: first, faith in God, which is real and powerful, but (given sin) unreliable.
Second option: act to avoid temptation. Don't place yourself in a situation where you'll be tempted to betray your marital vows.
The secular liberal outlook is very different. It is, broadly speaking, Kantian.
Despite obsession w sex, gender, etc., we believe morality involves overcoming bodily inclination/desires, which everyone is free to do.
So there's no reason not to immerse ourselves in sexualized culture, have (married) men & women work tog in all settings (dine w alcohol)
They might experience temptation, but there are internalized universalizable moral principles like "don't cheat!" to keep them in line.
One morality-abiding, bodily transcending subject should be able to have dinner w another w/o incident. Right?
This shld be possible, b/c as Kant says, it must be possible to do what ought to be done, follow principle, overcome nat inclination.
Pence's way of living denies all of this. It denies we're able to restrain ourselves with any reliability.
We need God's help, and we need to keep ourselves away from situations in which we will be tempted to cheat.
I could understand if secular liberal Kantians rolled their eyes at Pence. But why the anger about it?
I don't buy that it's because of a grand injustice to women. He could meet w a woman at the office with coworkers around.
Why isn't that an acceptable accommodation? Like how when I teach college, I'm told not to shut my office door with a student.
Isn't that the same kind of double standard? Yet there's no outrage. It's seen as a prudent measure to protect young women & male profs
The reax w Pence is disproportionate, even given the intensity of partisan rancor at the moment.
So what's really at stake? I think secular libs intuitively understand their Kantian outlook is being challenged by Pence's behavior.
And there is considerable, obvious evidence on Pence's side.
From T Kennedy @ Chappaquiddick, B Clinton & the blue dress to campus sexual assault, not to mention behavior outside modern West, …
Everywhere we see examples of people (esp men) NOT acting like good Kantians, ignoring universal principles, acting on desires.
The secular liberal response is invariably to implore the bad actors, "Act better! Do what's right!" And yes, wouldn't that be nice?
But what if this is a battle that can never be fully won on these terms?
What if it's *possible* to act morally w/o external social/cultural support, but more diff than most secular liberals like to believe?
What if morality requires more social & cultural supports & encouragement than secular liberals are willing to live with?
What if morality requires social & cultural supports that limit individual freedom & that secular liberals are unwilling forgo?
In that case, Pence's simple rules for marital living become an enormous challenge and provocation.
He's called the liberal bluff. Like saying: "If you want to make marital fidelity more likely, you might need to accept less freedom."
And that is simply an unacceptable proposition. Hence the anger, the mockery, the derision, the defensiveness.
It's the response of someone who's been forced to confront possibility that all good things might not go together as easily as hoped.
The freedom of atomistic individualism can be delightful, but it requires/presumes an awful lot from people.
Perhaps it requires far more than most of them can give, at least with any reliability.
Perhaps Pence's more morally traditional outlook has something in its favor—namely, realism.
That would mean the liberal outlook is more fragile, weaker in its foundations than most liberals are willing to accept.
And when you point that out to someone who's heavily invested in that outlook, response is what we've seen: anger and defensiveness.
FWIW, I think liberalism is better off being made aware of its weak spots, and incorporating norms/practices that shore them up.
Even if that req (modestly!) curtailing liberal individualism. In that sense, the (somewhat extreme) Pence example is salutary. //ENDIT
Does one correct spelling, fill out acronyms when one does this?
Not sure, maybe will fix later.

Wednesday 29 March 2017

A "Game-changer" for Eczema Sufferers? Still can't play....

I rejoice to hear of this, and I hope it brings many people back to the land of the living[normally].
U.S. regulators have approved the first powerful, injected medicine to treat serious cases of the skin condition eczema.
The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved Dupixent (dupilumab) for moderate or severe eczema, which causes red, fiercely itchy rashes on the face, arms and legs.
In three studies of the drug including a total of 2,119 participants, one-third to two-thirds achieved clear or nearly clear skin. About 4 in 10 had itching decrease sharply, bringing better sleep and reducing anxiety and depression.
That said, it costs more annually than our household AGI, so there's that...

Thursday 23 March 2017

Reblog: "I'm not a Trad, but..."

I am in a very different place, (literally and figuratively,) from when I wrote this, and I'm coming to understand, and sympathize with, people on both extremes of this issue, the True Believers in the Liturgy Wars.
An Extraordinary Form Mass, a regular celebration of the Mass of the Ages has just become available to me, not too far away, and on a weekday so it doesn't usually interfere with either my parish duties, (voluntary) or my familial duties, (voluntary and yet on compulsion.)
But at the same time I am experiencing a reprieve from the sadly perfunctory and weird liturgies that are my usual lot with beautiful and careful Masses said by someone who is at about the furthest one can go in the other direction  from the EF while still being obedient and rubrically correct.
And thrown into the mix, a one-off Are-you-kidding-me Eucharistic celebration complete with off-the-leash pets, and a little labyrinth-induced game of Find the EMHC.
(Someone, PLEASE! what is with modern church architecture that encompasses aisles that dead end????!?@??)
But I think most of this, other than that dealing my employment, still holds true:
If I ...were free to participate where and when and how I would, the Extraordinary Form would not be my first choice.But now, praise Benedict and the motu proprio, I am at least entitled to ask for that, whereas I am not entitled to ask for the Ordinary Form with the Ordinary sung in Latin.Or the Ordinary Form with the priest facing ad orientem. Or the Ordinary Form with no jokes. Or the Ordinary Form without being asked to squawk Lord of the Dance. Or the Ordinary Form without a glad-handing rotary convention inserted where the Pax Christi is offered. Or the Ordinary Form where no adolescent in a football jersey will address me from the sanctuary. Or the Ordinary Form with no mention of Jambalaya or sports enthusiasms.So I am asking for the Extraordinary Form.And my aspirations are rightful.

Heroes Mourned