Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Doncha just LURV reality shows?


Death Shapes a Reality Show

Impending death and organ donation are the attractions of a planned Dutch reality show that has been condemned as unethical and tasteless, The Associated Press reported.

But the BNN network plans to proceed with the program on Friday, saying it believes that the show will draw attention to a shortage of organ donors.

At least one parliament member said he would ask the government to block the broadcast of the “Big Donor Show,” produced by Endemol NV, creator of the “Big Brother” series.

On the show a donor identified only as Lisa, 37, who is terminally ill with an inoperable brain tumor, will hear interviews with three candidates, their families and friends before deciding who will receive one of her kidneys. “We know that this program is super-controversial, and some people will think it’s tasteless,” said Laurens Drillich, chairman of BNN, “but we think the reality is even more shocking and tasteless: waiting for an organ is just like playing the lottery.”

Marieke Saly, a spokeswoman for BNN, said there could be no guarantees that the donation would actually be made, but said “the intention” was that the transplant would be carried out before Lisa died. Under Dutch rules, her designation of a recipient would become invalid after her death.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Wishy washy? Right...

So much to-do! about the phoenix-like reappearance of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, and evidence of a flip-flop, back-pedaling, back-tracking, what have you on the part of the Holy Father.
Right.... because he's so unsure of what he wants to do, and has so little time to think about it, and is so ignorant, and such a greenhorn on the workings of the Curia, and so lacking in a POV, and so...

I am put in mind of the production that wished to almost but not entirely re-cast; but OH! you can't fire pink contracts without cause! They're iron-clad!
Nor can you humiliate and alienate people you may need again, down the road.

But what you can do, is close the production for two weeks.
Oh, and look! It's a brand new contract! a brand production! (which just happens to look suspiciously like the old production.)

God bless, God speed Abp. Fitzgerald, and now let's go about this (VITAL! absolutely VITAL!!!!!!) task the right way.

Need I add? I am appalled by right-wing nut jobs who don't want "dialogue," which they seem to have mis-defined in their Funk and Wagnells, as a synonym for "compromise" or "capitulation." It's not that they think peace at any cost wrong -- any intelligent person does -- it's that they think peace is utterly worthless, they actually prefer the idea of conflict, they aren't even interested in the possibility of conversion of hearts.
How can you evangelize if you eschew conversation?

God preserve Benedict the Great!

Friday, 25 May 2007

Bravo, your Excellency!

Archbishop Chaput delivers the platonic ideal of commencement speeches :

(Though it isn't a commencement speech, per se, but rather, was delivered a Path to Peace Foundation seminar “Catholic Students and the Common Good: Building a Better World” in New York on May 22, 2007)

A few highlights:

As college students, you’re already young adults. In a few years you’ll have jobs and families. Some of you will be doctors, teachers, or business leaders. Some of you will go into politics or the military. Many of you will have children. And all of you will be responsible.
What I mean by “responsible” is this. St. Paul tells us: “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Cor. 14:20). You’re about to inherit the most powerful nation in history. Each of you has the talent, goodwill, and energy to use that power well.
But the problem is that much of American culture right now is built on an adolescent fiction. The fiction is that life is all about you as an individual—your ideas, your appetites, and your needs. Believe me: It isn’t. ....God made you for a purpose. The world needs the gifts he gave you. Adulthood brings power. Power brings responsibility. And the meaning of your life will hinge on a simple, basic choice. Will you engage the world with your heart and brains and faith, and work to make it a better place—not just for yourself and the people you love but also for people you don’t even know whose survival depends on your service to the common good? Or will you wrap yourself in a blanket of noise and toys and consumer junk, and stay a child?
God gave you a free will. How you use that gift is your choice—but it’s a choice you won’t be able
to avoid. And that choice has consequences....
People who take the question of human truth, freedom and meaning seriously will never remain silent about it. They can’t. They’ll always act on what they believe, even at the cost of their reputations and lives. That’s the way it should be. Religious faith is always personal, but it’s never private. It always has social consequences, or it isn’t real. And this is why any definition of “tolerance” that tries to turn religious faith into a private idiosyncrasy, or a set of personal opinions that we can have at home but that we need to be quiet about in public, is doomed to fail.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Who knew? my shoe's faboo!

Seriously, did you ever think of me as in any way shape or form a...., a....., well, a ....HIPSTER?
But me and my jazz shoes are apparently all that.
They're comfortable, they're boyish (you know I always yearned to play trouser roles,) and, new appeal!, they're a fraction of the price of organ masters.
(Yes, I buy bottom of the line Capezios or Danskins, NOT the Midas-touched, Midas-level-resources-required-to-purchase lovelies featured in the pages of the NYTimes, but ya can't have everything.
And if ya did, where would ya put it?)


The New Phone Books Are In!!!!!!

(Oooh, sorry, I was channeling The Jerk.)

Actually, the new psalter is in, and first I apologize for whining on TNLM, mine HAD arrived, but for some reason was sent attn: Bookkeeper, so I never looked at the box sitting on the mail drawers at the rectory.

And secondly, let me at first blush pronounce myself well PLEASED.

Fine job, Fr Martis*, well done, I think the Mundelein Psalter is gonna have legs. Beautifully produced, too, lovely binding paper print and layout, immensely readable.

And, perfect timing, I have a funeral tomorrow with a request for a psalm we never do, and for which the Dread Hymnal Gather offers a pleasant but skippy-dippy Joncas setting.

Himself didn't quite grasp the concept that this doesn't so much allow me to do something I didn't heretofore, but that it saves me IMMENSE amounts of work -- I was doing what the music books any sensible parish church purchases should have already done.

Thank you, Fr Martis et al and God bless you!

*Quite deservedly pointed out to me the last time I went to Mundelein as the epitome of Father Whatawaste. The Holy Spirit knows what He (or She,) is about -- the first fruits, the best of the harvest belong to the Almighty.

Monday, 21 May 2007

A Tale of Two ...

One, the family asked that everything that could be done in Latin, would be.
The other, the family requested a song in the place of the psalm, as well as a deviation from the normative rite in these parts, the Missa Albenda.
Fulfilling the requests of neither of these families affected anyone so much as me, (and my choir, of course.)
But the latter was, not just allowed, but transmitted to me by the same person who denied the former with the reasoning that this is the "way we do things" here, it's "valid" and we're not going to change.
I don't contest his right, but I do question his consistency (he is such a kind person, why does "pastoral" sensitivity not extend to some people making easily filled and valid requests?,) and wonder the source of his outright hostility to a licit liturgical option (to which people have , as they say, "legitimate aspirations.")
(Though to be fair, I think the phrase "legitimate aspirations" in its first usage was being applied not to the language, per se, but to the older rite.)
Well, I did my best.
For both.
(Though it is sometimes a struggle.)

Friday, 18 May 2007

Wonderful, spiritually rewarding time, oh, and assembly, too...

All in all it was quite a marvelous few days.
The CPPS assembly, at least the part of it I attended, was very rewarding, interesting stuff about Circles, shared values, conflict resolution and reconciliation.
You know I am not a fan of jargon ("Circle keepers," passing around a "talking piece", too cute by half,) but it was very useful, very sound stuff.
The conviviality was unsurpassable (the CPPS charism of hospitality is boldly lived out, and there seems to be an unspoken charism of wit and humour,) what a bunch of beautiful beings...
Charm, erudition, kindness... and I will state outright that I met with saints.
The liturgies were a mixed bag, just my opinion. Good sense of ritual for the most part, good presiders, not bad preaching, but members of the assembly loudly proclaiming the words they would have used if anyone had consulted them over any masculine pronouns that dare to be part of the missal are just foolish, and much of the the music was ill-chosen, it seemed to me. There is no excuse for using "psalms" that play fast and loose with scripture. If any individual is credited with the text in the copyright notice for a psalm, it had damn well better be King David. And there were some interesting, but far too chromatic for congregational use, songs. I do like the Proulx ordinary we used, (sorry that the Boss wasn't there to hear it.)
I was glad to finally learn a little more about who we are and how we came to be where we are -- there's a bit of the Whiting syndrome at play there, everyone just assuming you know all the history and the names and the places a relative newcomer has no way of knowing, (like Aunt Eileen giving me, as part of directions, a turn "at the junk yard on Mountain," which hasn't been there since the 1930s!)
Br Nick is a very interesting man, so sweet, and down to earth. I'm looking forward to any visits he makes to our... chapter? group? what are we?
Himself had a terrific time, but is feeling the need to remind me evermore frequently and evermore emphatically that he doesn't think it's for him, he has no intention of joining (and no, I HAVEN'T asked him... so he does indeed protest a bit too, too.)
The serenity and prayerfulness of the atmosphere of the Retreat center, the surrounding countryside, and especially the Shrine really speak to him.

But the highlight for me was unquestionably the several hours I spent talking with Fr. H.

What a beautiful man; a giant, and a saint.

I am going to find a way to get some tapes that will be useful to him.
(The encyclicals, I will record myself.)

Monday, 7 May 2007

Snarking about

It feels as if I have been away for months. But finally, a weekend with no, or nearly no extras (the mini-conclave was not per normal, but that was actually relaxing,) no weddings, wedding meetings, funerals, LitComms, strikes, matinees, openings...)
And so, back to the matters at hand.
Choir loved Nun Komm, (it was actually better that I'd anticipated,) virtually everything programmed for Sunday went well (and more, was APPROPRIATE -- much has been snarked, by me and others, about the "concert" before Mass, but it offers a spot for the much-loved but not appropriate for the Mass itself: extra-liturgical war-horses, ethnic favorites, the appropriate but too-long-under-current-LitComm-diktat, and yes, even next week's "On This Day..." After all, I live with my other corn allergy.)

Good conversation going on over at TNLM, about the programming of Marian music during May, or other Masses, and the place of devotions.
To be Joanna, one last time, I should like to add just one small contribution to the evening's entertainment--
(And I did)


I find it telling that the misguided "Spirit of VCII" phobia about "accretions" merely cleared the deck for new ones. (As did the reform of the calender, from what I've gathered, the stripping of the altars, etc., etc., etc. -- the primal human aesthetic is more Victorian than monastic.)

Save the Liturgy, Save the World!

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Good days work

No, I didn't take the Christmas tree down.

But I did a very nice (well, I'll know after I hear it Thursday night at rehearsal, but I think it's very nice,) concertante of Nun Komm der, etc.

It is slow going, and I know there have been missteps, but I am introducing more genuine liturgical music, and better hymnody, and finer anthems, bit by bit.
Yes, we'll still do OTD,OBM next Sunday (I can't take another soprano with tears in her eyes,) but we've also done a few Gregorian propers, added BRYN CALIFARIA (sp?) and LAUDA ANIMA to our hymn rep, and good, solid stuff by Langlais, Routley, Gouzes, Croft , Cherubini... okay, haven't gone as far as I would have liked in 3 plus years, but the progress is not dismal.

Now, the Festival Chorus, that's another thing altogether.
Don't know exactly what to think of that, but I'll try to clarify my thoughts and get them down.

Summer won't be long and lazy, that's for sure.

The little weigh....

I enrolled in Weight watchers today.
I am in denial and will continue to insist I did it only to support Himself's efforts on behalf of himself.
I don't need a program, oh no, I can do such things on my lonesome...
But you know, just to be companionable, and all...

I was a little yeeshed at the threat, er, announcement, that next meeting we will break into (cue ominous chords,) SMALL DISCUSSION GROUPS.

Will their be faith sharing?

I'm sorry, I shouldn't do that -- but I'm just not a joiner, I'm not a club person, an extrovert, a "member" type.... groups exist only for activities that I literally cannot perform myself (SATB, for instance, or three-legged races. Back-scratching, sometimes.)

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

The let-down

Himself has now slept enough to recover from the run and the run (the one in Florida,) and has reverted to form.
BP called to say that a plan had fallen through, but since Himself had given up on that long ago and actually forgotten about it, all the call did was pick at a scab.
And talk of the disdain he feels the cabal has expressed for him fooled me into offering the advice that he telegraphs his own self-esteem problem...
Ah well, it could have been worse, it was not the 3 hours of silence that followed the John Lithgow/Leslie Howard conversation...

The funny thing is, of course, that he was bloody MAHHHHHVELOUS

He is too, too Garry.