Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Sunday, 30 March 2014


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

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

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


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

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

Friday, 28 March 2014

Real Boys vs. Real Brats

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

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

Orthodoxy Vs. Ideas?

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

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

God doesn't care about that stuff...

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

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

Thursday, 27 March 2014

"Deprived of Ones Gift of Spiritual Awareness"

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

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

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

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

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

"The least of these?" "Disadvantaged?"


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

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

School days, school days....

I'm taking an online course, an MOOC, they call it.

It has been a while since I was required to take a test or quiz, I don't mind telling you, but I count myself VERY fortunate indeed not to be a student of Fr Hunwicke's, for I should surely flunk his exam:
Question 3. Construct a treatise, as if written by a German Cardinal, demonstrating that, although Genocide is not, strictly speaking, acceptable in the current state of the Magisterium, it could nevertheless (given its abiding popularity in both the developed and developing worlds) be tolerated.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

A Blessed Aunnciation to All!

One of the things I love about the Liturgical year and about the liturgy itself, is the feasts in the midst of fasts, the reminder of sorrowful matters in the midst of joy, the already-but-not-yetedness of it all, the way the Church is all about Both/And.

When your days are ended and you must go to your ancestors, I will preserve your offspring after you, a son of your own, and make his sovereignty secure. It is he who shall build a house for me and I will make his throne firm for ever. I will be a father to him and he a son to me.

Monday, 24 March 2014

You want scandalous? I'll give you scandalous

I have always been a little ambivalent about the subject of scandal, in the way the word is understood by the Church.
And I know that repeating news of scandalous doings may increase the scandal.
But after consideration, I think that the better known this kind of thing is, the better for the Church.
Damian Thomson reports on a truly ugly exchange on Facebook, by someone who seems to be a columnist in a Catholic newspaper, a name I recognize as someone who is one of the go-top "Catholics" for any television project looking for a bad word about a pope.
If this is not he, or a hoax, the Tablet will surely make an announcement to that defect, and I shall surely remove this post.
On the occasion of Bishop Loris Francesco Capovilla elevation to cardinal:

The Matrimony Minefield

Talking about a minefield, and the knowledge that many of the parents o our CCD class are in irregular situations, the combox at Fr Z's is roiling on the topic of Extraordinary Ministers in similar straits.

Putting aside the question of scandal, (and we never can put it aside for very long,) absent a declaration from one of the parties that they think such a solution is hooey, how can we presume that a couple is not living as brother and sister in a "Josephite" mariage?

"One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic?" Little triumphs...

All the CCD teachers received the same Letter last week, reminding us that we were there to teach the truth, and that we had resources to know that truth, and that we were not to pass on ideas that were contrary to the truth, REGARDLESS of how we had done things for the last forty years.
And finally, that parents were coming in for, "Ya know what that religious ed teacher of yourse told my kid?" conversations.
The parents were given a variation on that blog post at NYTimes the other day, something to the effect that if parents promise not to believe every word they hear about what went on at school, we promise not to believe every word we hear about what goes on at home.

(The Letter made me very happy, actually, once I just bit the bullet and asked the boss point blank, Is it I?
It is something that NEEDS TO BE SAID.
But I had to be sure it wasn't obliquely addressed to our class specifically.
The only reason I was concerned was that in the sacraments we had just finished the minefield that is the discussion of marriage nowadays, and I had been at great pains to reiterate and express in every way I could think of, what the Church teaches about Holy Matrimony without getting, to quote one girl, "all judgey," and to hammer home that we spoke of principles, not persons.
From the questions we fielded, to my surprise it did not seem as if any of them have friends or realities in same-sex relationships, whihc was my initial fear, but we already knew that a good third of the class has more than two parents a piece.
Anyway, I needed to know if any concerns had been expressed about that session of that class, to determine if we needed to revisit the subject, but phew!  I digress.)

Anyway, yesterday, we talked about the four marks of the Church, the difference between big c and little c "catholic," and unity without false ecumenism.
As all the classes gathered for prayer at the end, the Head, as she often does, asked if anyone had learned anything that day they wanted to share.
Only 1st or 2nd graders ever raise their hands, but there was one of our girls, a girl who never asks questions, never contributes to discussions, and seems to resent being there, waving her hand in the air

I learned that the Church is meant for EVERYBODY, anywhere, everyone who wants to can be a Catholic.

Joycean, no? (And I should admit, no, I've never really read Finnegan's Wake.)

Monday, 17 March 2014

It's a Great Day to Be Irish

Somehow, links regarding the English slave trade and their abuse of the Irish kept popping up as I followed links on quite other matters.
My pastor said the Our Father in Irish this morning at Mass, and at least three people seated near me spoke it along with him.

Anyway, from Wikipedia, so believe it or don't:
Goodwife Ann "Goody" Glover (died November 16, 1688) was the last person to be hanged in Boston as a witch.... Ann Glover was born in Ireland as a Roman Catholic. During Cromwell's invasion of Ireland, Ann Glover and fifty thousand other indigenous Irish people were forcibly removed from Ireland and sold to plantations in Barbados as indentured laborers. By 1680 Ann and her daughter were living in Boston, Massachusetts where they worked as housekeepers for John Goodwin. In the summer of 1688 four or five of the Goodwin children became ill after an argument with Glover's daughter and the doctor that was called suggested it was caused by witchcraft.... At trial it was demanded of her to say the Lord's Prayer, she recited it in Gaelic and broken Latin, but since she had never learned it in English, she could not say it in English. On November 16, 1688, Glover was hanged in Boston amid mocking shouts from the crowd.[7] A Boston merchant who knew her, Robert Calef, said that "Goody Glover was a despised, crazy, poor old woman, an Irish Catholic who was tried for afflicting the Goodwin children. Her behavior at her trial was like that of one distracted. They did her cruel. The proof against her was wholly deficient. The jury brought her guilty. She was hung. She died a Catholic."... A contemporary writer recorded that, "Before her executioners she was bold and impudent, making to forgive her accusers and those who put her off."
I feel I may be making this suggestion too often lately, but doesn't that bid fair for a cause for sainthood?

How Does This Happen?

A fashionable New Yorker "pairs a red antique Catholic priest’s chasuble with a red vintage hat from Tibet."

Have people stopped caring about disposing of items designed for, or set aside for sacred use properly?

In settling an estate I am spending a great deal of time and cutting a great number of fingertips just now, prying backs off, and taking photos out of frames before the latter are donated to thrift stores --  because I hate the notion of my great great uncle's face looking up at me from the bottom of a bin at Goodwill.

Blessed items, (of which there are quite a number, and I haven't even started with the boxes and boxes of no longer useful sacred music,) require even more care. Yes?

I suppose people dies without heirs, or with heirs who don't care, about them or what they hold dear, but it upsets me...

I feel as if reparations need to be made and I don't know how to do that.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Mah bad, mah bad, mah mos' grievous bad....

A priest came into the sanctuary after Communion this morning and talked and sang for a bit, told a few jokes, sold a few tickets.

When he had left the celebrant said, "He's always a hard act to follow."

Someone in the congregation rolled her eyes and said louder than she intended, "Not for Jesus...."

Saturday, 15 March 2014

" What had been a great deal of work for many years, was now a path to God and a channel for His voice — no longer something dry but full of life!"

An absolutely luminous description of how chant works on the soul.

The blog, from an ecumenical Benedictine community is new to me, (and this post is a few weeks old,)  but I shall surely return to it.
I felt that I needed to be praying for my friend, but I found my words faltering. I had had a thought flash through my mind to take my 1934 Antiphonale Monasticum to the hospital with me....I chanted the office of Sext. Because I was in the hospital setting, I needed to do it quietly so as not to be a disturbance. What I discovered and experienced defies my descriptions. It was as though 26 years of chanting these psalms came calmly but hurriedly to my side. What had been a great deal of work for many years, was now a path to God and a channel for His voice — no longer something dry but full of life!It showed me again, quite personally, the real purpose of chant — the communication of God’s love.
"A channel for His voice"... lovely!

Thursday, 13 March 2014

"I don' thin' that word means what you thin' it means..."

Inigo Montoya, of course, was speaking of "incontheevable."

I am speaking of the word "secret."
Yahoo News tells us that there are people who "hate" Pope Francis "secretly.
Their evidence of this is quotes from.... erm, public statements and blog posts.
Not only is none of it "secret", but I must ask, why should this surprise anyone?
The Vicar of Christ, whoever takes up that task, has always been hated by some...
In fact, toeing the new party line instilled by Francis is proving to be the greatest challenge for conservative Catholics who are quite used to a prudent and predictable Pope.
Um... did you really mean to imply that the Holy Father is not just unpredictable, but imprudent? And that any Catholic would be okay with imprudence in high places?

The CBS Evening News had a similar story yesterday evening, although they mucked up their point with politics, and they had the usual conflation of "conservative" with "traditional."
And in the "casting" of their talking heads they managed, with a very sweet elderly woman with an agenda, to imply that reactions to Pope Francis are split along generational lines, as if the juice in the movement toward a more faithful Church is not from those tyring to clean up the boomers' mess.

One last thing, the Yahoo piece quoted laicized priest, (didn't identify him as such, of course,) Thomas Groome in an NBC piece:
Boston College theology professor Thomas Groome said it's easy to see why reactionaries would be on edge. While the pope hasn't messed with doctrine, a shift in priorities and pitch is clearly underway, he said"I think it will be a real test for conservative Catholics," he said. "They have always pointed the finger, quoting the pope for the last 35 years. Suddenly, will they stop quoting the pope. It'll be a good test of whether or not they're really Catholics.".

Isn't it awful the way the dissidents in the Church wants to require some sort of litmus test for who's "really" Catholic?

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Blood and Leather

Why have most popes, (although not our present Holy Father,) over the past five centuries worn red shoes?

It represents the Blood of the Martyrs, on which we all, but especially those who dedicate their entire lives to following Christ, and indeed, function for us liturgically as alter Christus, stand.

Many people who should know better, and many people whose job it is to go to the trouble of knowing it somehow miss this fact.

Or pretend to miss it so that they can snark dishonestly.

BenedictGal, whose posts on MusicaSacra I have enjoyed immensely, but whose own blog was unknown to me until now has an excellent post

"Best" practices for worship?

USCatholic never disappoints.

Note that the word "universal" never rears its Catholic head.
It’s important that people believe in what is happening, that people want to draw from the texts and truly want to connect with God, with creation, and with people in the community... “It should be very lively and active because everyone is engaged,” says Ruff; everyone should be participating in the dialogue and participating in song. “It should not be hokey or gimmicky or silly. It should be beautiful, classy, and elegant.”
Okay, no argument - although I think "lively" is a poor choice of words because of what most people will think it means.
“We tried so hard after Vatican II for active participation that we veered to gimmicks and silliness.” As a result, some Catholics went in the opposite direction and called for a return to the pre-Vatican II Mass. “That’s the wrong solution,” says Ruff. “We need to find out how to deepen the liturgy in a way that is more engaging.”
Why? Why is it "wrong"? Why can't it be part of the solution? The Church says it can.Also, it's dishonest to pretend that most of those who asked and continue to ask for the old Rite did so as a reaction to "gimmicks and silliness" rather than as a reaction, misplaced or not, to the new Rite.
Make beautiful music That’s what Father Michael White and his pastoral associate, Tom Corcoran, do at Church of the Nativity in Baltimore, Maryland. In their book Rebuilt: Awakening the Faithful, Reaching the Lost, and Making Church Matter (Ave Maria Press), they describe the use of Gregorian chant in their otherwise “contemporary approach to the weekend experience.” Gregorian chant during the acclamations of the Eucharistic prayers, they say, “seems to very effectively summon our congregation into the very heart of the mystery we celebrate.”
Pretty sure what they are talking about is NOT "Gregorian" chant. But when you are studiously avoiding any hint that universality, such as one would find in the use of one liturgical language for all, has value, you might want that obfuscation
making music too central to the Mass can also cause a problem. Music must serve the liturgy, he says, not the other way around. In one case, Wagner had to move the choir from their place in the sanctuary to the side of the church because they had begun taking up too much of the focus.
Ya think? I wonder if the problem was not that music was "too central to the Mass." I wonder if it was that the music chosen WAS NOT THE MASS. I wonder if the music was peripheral or added on, in which case ANY focus on it is going to detract from the actual Mass. If what they meant  by "good gospel music" was the Propers and the Odinary, I apologize.
“Boring preaching is a real problem,”
Can't argue. I admit, I have been fortunate in my faith live, lots of dreadful homilists, but also lots of superb preachers, and many whose message was strong enough to compensate for lack of rhetorical gifts.
“If the homilies don’t connect, if the music is not engaging,” all is lost,
That is just sad. The problem, if I may suggest, is that the Truth of the Eucharist, and the centrality of the Eucharist has been masked by so many people for so many years that many catholic have grown up and grown old without recognizing the consolation of the Eucharist in the face of lousy preaching, inappropriate music, etc.
Does one size fit all age groups, interests, or backgrounds?...Should parishes offer specialized liturgies like a Mass for teens or a children’s Mass to best engage those segments of the parish? Zsupan-Jerome sees a real drawback in this approach, as she believes these types of liturgies detract from our unity as the one body of Christ...Having a specialized liturgy that is just for teens or those who like a certain style of music will in some sense hinder this all-inclusiveness. The very style of the liturgy cannot be overemphasized at the expense of its basic reality as the gathering of the body.”
Yes, very good!
“We make sure we have every group represented,” Villaverde says, “whether in song, reading, or some way that allows them to participate in a way that expresses their culture.”
No, very bad!

See, here's where if you recognized the catholicity of the actual "best worship practices" you could so so much more for unity.

"Let's let everyone, or rather, every group do something that is specific to them and their preferences when they get together a couple times a year," make unity a kind of tourism, a sight-seeing day-trip to Liturgical Epcot, peeking over the railing at The Other.

And that is what comes of ignoring the principle of Universality, and promoting a mindset that can only approach the idea of Latin as a return to the Olden Days.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Desecration is Not "Performance Art"

I am anti-Putin.
I am against violence perpetrated on women, (and men, for that matter.)
I am against religious leaders' complicity in state-sponsored oppression.

But will you please, New York Times, will you PLEASE stop referring to what the Pussy Girls do as "protest taking the form of a “punk prayer” performed in a Moscow cathedral"?

 Os as "provocative performances in public spaces, culminating in a 'punk prayer service' on the altar"?

Because it's a lie, NYTimes.

It is a falsehood.

It is untrue.

It is dishonest journalism.

When the Grrrls were jailed last year, my knowledge of it came from new outlets such as yourself, so it was presented as political protest. Even so, it was clear that something deeply and deliberately offensive to anyone with any respect for faith had happened. Your, and television networks' characterizations of it may have skirted the truth of their act, but the bald facts in your descriptions couldn't hide it.

Now, I know that editorially you have very little sympathy with organized religion. 
So asking how you feel  if your place of worship were subjected to that sort of "performance" would be silly.

So let's use places we can all agree should be accorded respect.

Suppose such a punk prayer were "prayed" in Auschwitz?

Suppose it were prayed at the Tomb of the Unknowns?

Suppose it were prayed at the Martin Luther King Memorial?

Would those still be "acceptable provocative performances in public spaces"?