Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Friday, 31 October 2014

And Merry All Hallows' Eve to you, too

There were fireworks somewhere near here -- i thought it was thunder at first, and then jets, as some nearby flight paths seem to have changed recently -- I was hearing them all afternoon.
But no, definitely fireworks.

Wish I'd know, would have tried to see them.
As it happens, lovely Halloween anywho -- no, I mean NOT ONE trick-or-trearter, literally NONE at all, so, OhDangI'mGoingToHaveToEatAllTheKitKatsMyself

And I tried absinthe for the first time, (liked it pretty well, but then, I'm a fan of anise and other liquorice-flavored thingummies.)

And I watched a scary thing about demons and the eternal battle between good and evil. Well, maybe a bit more gory than scary, but all in all not bad.
Well, I do beg pardon for wondering what all was going on with the final relatio, little did I know that the long delayed appearance of the document in various translation was the source of much consternation amongst our Traddie brethren.

I had actually begun writing that post when whoosh! it made its entrance in a puff of smoke on the Vatican site and I had to alter the tenses and moods of my complaint.

I still don't understand the whys and wherefore of it, but I caution my Traddie brethren and sistren, think on Hanlon's razor - do not  attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence or sloth.

(Who is Hanlon, anyway?  the New Zealand lawyer?)
Alfred Charles Hanlon, as pictured in Random Recollections (1939).jpg

I'm losing track......

And why did it take so long for the Vatican to post an official English translation of the second "relatio?

Y U No - U stop say, cnn & nbc say, "vatican say"!!! y u no c, vatican no single person, no have mouth?

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Are There "Throw-Away" Sacraments?

Might not some people look upon, say... Marriage as disposable?

My Mother and aunts, all of them had beautiufl linen handkerchiefs, also silk and fine cotton, embroidered, printed, faggotted or tatted edging, monogrammed... I don't think I've ever blown my nose, that I can recall, on anything other than paper. (Sometimes, in elementary school, on those horrid scratchy brown paper towels...)

Because when they are messed up in any way, you just toss them.

Most people look at relationships that way, the idea of one for now and forever is absurd to almost anyone past the age of twelve, right?

Ooops, that one's used, no problem, I'll just get another.

Okay, that's not fai, many people whose marraiges have ended were not at fault, didn't see it coming -- I had one right here, can't think where it's gotten too, oh well... pass me the kleenex box, would you?

The Pope spoke to young people:
To work means to be able to plan one’s future, to decide to form a family! One really has the feeling that the time we are living represents “the passion of young people.” The “throwaway” culture is strong: everything that does not serve for profit is discarded. Young people are discarded because they are without work. However, in this way the future of a people is disposed of, because young people represent the future of a people. And we must say “no” to this “disposable culture.”
This is “precariousness.” However, then there is the other word: hope. In precariousness, hope. How can one not be robbed of hope in the “moving sands” of precariousness? With the strength of the Gospel. The Gospel is source of hope, because it comes from God, because it comes from Jesus Christ who placed himself in solidarity with all our precariousness.
 Yes, we must stop allowing young people to think that important things are replaceable, disposable.

Clericalism from America Magazine?

What a lovely surprise, a priestly writer in America telling us that Catholics, especially uppity laymen such as the one whose column he is addressing, owe loyalty and obedience to the hierarchy. (He wisely stops short of calling the bishops and "the full range of Catholic theologians" they have at their disposal, our "betters".)
I think we can assume that change, if it comes, would come from the synod, a body of duly ordained bishops at a meeting duly convoked by a duly elected pope. It is a body, moreover, that has at its disposal the full range of Catholic theologians and theological opinion on a world-wide basis. I think we can assume that, influential though the reigning pope always is in such situations, Francis neither wants to nor is able to force his agenda (whatever that might be!) on the members of the synod....
While the synod is in session as a body of bishops working collegially with the pope to take measures for the good of the church, it is a binding and authoritative teaching organ in the church. Do not all orthodox Catholics believe that that authority is to be accepted over their own personal fears, expectations and hopes?
Do not all orthodox Catholics believe that that authority is most certainly to be accepted over the objections of “a minority—sometimes a small minority,” as [the layman] describes himself and his fellow-travelers? This minority self-identifies as orthodox and, it seems, potentially more orthodox than the synod. But it is a self-identification without credentials to validate the claim.
This is a relief, from a magazine that has featured another theologian-priest who once rhetorically asked, (but not in their pages, I hasten to add,) Does obedience to the bishops mean that priests must be complicit in something they are convinced is pastorally wrongheaded? and then pretty much answered, no.

I thought that I actually WAS on the Eccles is Saved page when I read...

... this.
Pope Francis urged bishops to resolve disputes by yelling “a few strong words to each other” and then embracing.
(Still trying to figure out why I ended  up on a page months old, but the interwebs is a mysterious place.)
Parody is surely becoming difficult to Eye of the Tiber, and Eccles, and a few others who brighten ones day, when the casual reader can mistake reporting for humor.

(I'll tell you for real wit, Fr Hunwicke is hard to beat. But he, of course, is almost always at the same time deadly serious. What a mind! What a lot one can learn there! About the Faith, I mean, not to mention, I think that's the only site I visit with any regularity where it is absolutely necessary to keep a tab open to an online dictionary.)

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

I Loved "1066 and All That"

My sixth grade teacher was a great anglophile, we in the class had Dickens read to us, listened to Gilbert and Sullivan, and perhaps most remarkably for American brats, learned to address adults as "ma'am" and "sir."
He read "1066" to us, and horrid zanies that we were, we laughed, (when we got the jokes. Come to think of it, we laughed when we didn't.)
Anyway, that is the only reason I had a clue what Eccles was writing about here:

1963 and all that (part 1)

With apologies to W. C. Sellar and R. J. Yeatman.
Pope Paul VI, a blessed pope.
Pope Paul VI
A blessed pope.
After summoning the 2nd Vatican Conflict in order to decide whether the Church should be modern or not, Good Pope John found that he was enjoying it so much that he dropped dead (and 51 years later he went to Heaven). The cardigans got together and picked on Cardigan Montini, who changed his name to Pope Paul VI and carried on the Vatican Conflict, after removing all the wounded. In the end, the Conflict ended with lots of new decisions, which were instantly blamed on the Holy Spirit, viz.:
1. All Catholics must stop talking Latin and learn a new language called Vernacular.
2. All priests who faced east must turn round and face west. However, the common people were not allowed to face west.
3. All altars were moved from the end of the church into the middle, so that the priests could hide behind them.
4. Kneeling was forbidden in church, as it was not considered cool.
5. The common people were no longer to obey orders given to them by priests.
6. The Age of Aquarius had dawned and a new Spirit of Vatican II was abroad.
7. Sex and drugs and rock and roll were still sins, but not as bad as they used to be. Indeed there was to be a new prophet of rock and roll, called St Cliff Richard.
After the 2nd Vatican Conflict, all Catholics were naturally very happy, and so they stopped going to church (see Rule 5).
flamenco in church
Catholics being very happy.
Being and American, I have to admit, I don't always "get" Mr Eccles, the style of humor.
And of course, it's a bit inside baseball, I often don't know who the British pols and presenters and personalities are, about whom he spins drollery to such great affect.
But when I do  -- well, he's a treasure. A mean-spirited treasure, but a treasure.

Funding of Music Education

I have no opinion on this at all, as I do not know what the schema is that is currently in place in Britain, ("hubs"?) nor what the alternatives are.

It just make me happy that the greatest deliberative body in the land talks about the issue, and that members of the hierarchy, (of an established church, of course,) know it to be a worthy subject of debate.

Can you imagine a member of the USCCB, maybe from the CDW testifying before a US congressional committee on the practical implementation of a national music plan?
I can't.

Without music, particularly without music in worship, we are only half human. Our children deserve their schools to open the treasure chest for them afresh in each generation.

Did You Ever Watch While You Let A Toddler...

... try to dress himself for the first time? you know how the head comes out the sleeve, and the neck gets stretched and it's cute but looks.. funky, to put it mildly?

No WONDER she's sulky.

Neat Little Craft, Using Envelopes

I'm not as crafty as I could be, but I am an inching-into-unwillingly-appearing-on-a-TLC-"reality"-show-level hoarder, so I have lots of crap items around that seem tailor-made for crafting with my CCD students..
Currently we're trying to make a giant Rosary out of the lids to Planters cans.
And we made All Souls Day candles from venetian blind slats.

Anyway, this little bag idea seems worth pursuing, (not for actual gift bags, as their reproductive habits are like those of the species coatius hangericus, and I don't know anyone who doesn't have scads of them lying around waiting for re-use, (when yeah, I never seem to have the right size, color, whatever....)

Maybe we can make little goody bags and put loving notes, prayers, and "coupons" ("IOU one taking out the trash without being asked,") for Christmas.

Oh, them wacky trads....

By the way, at the New Liturgical Movement post referenced below, in the combox someone, true to form, is hurling anathemae over the abuse/use/misuse of, I kid you not, the maniple.

Because you know, that's what our Lord wants.
(Although I'm not at all certain the poster going off the deep end is a trad -- he may be a troll.)

"This is not what I signed on for...."

Every once in a while Himself and I will find ourselves at a Mass where something touchy-feely is going on, or what sounds like the theme song from Barney is being sung, or the homily will be instruction on self-hypnosis, or a bowl of warm water is presented to us and we are asked to dip our hands in it, or a kid in a football jersey stands at the ambo and tells us about the rally he attended the previous week that made him realize "how fun mass can be!" or a group of children perform a play instead of having the Gospel read, or the Liturgy is never really finished because it devolves into a roast for a beloved parishioner, or.... you get the picture.

You have your own examples. (Every one of the preceding is real, and first-hand, sorry to say.)

And Himself, who is a convert, usually turns to me at some point, cocks an eyebrow like Mr Spock, and whispers, this is NOT the Church I thought I was signing on for.

But every once in a while, (and this is far more rare,)  Himself and I will find ourselves at a Mass where something unexpected and reverent and awesome occurs, and he stops his only half-joking digs about false advertising.

Lauds at a monastery, a Eucharistic procession at St John Cantius, the closing Mass at a conference led by Fr Weber, Byzantine Divine Liturgy,  Vespers or really anything he has ever attended at the CMAA Colloquium...

We don't get many opportunities the way things are at present, so I like to be able to show him that these things do still exist, they are going on in the world -- and there are photos to prove it.

The Evangelical Power of Beauty

Over at Amy Welborn's "Charlotte Was Both" she has a post called 7 Quick Takes, which I take it is a regular feature. (Haven't visited her blog in quite a while and had forgotten which name was current, AAMOF.)

Tried to comment on one of the "takes," talking about the Colloquium, and mildly chiding the typical, (both of non-musicians and of instrumentalists,) mild slur of failing to acknowledge that singers are musicians whose instruments happen to be built in.

One of the other takes was about a concert, alas, not Mass, at the cathedral:

Speaking of music in our cathedral, this past Monday the cathedral hosted the debut performance of a new (independent) music group in town, the Highland Consort, specializing in Renaissance Polyphony. It was a stunning performance. We sat in the rear of the main center aisles, which were full, it seemed to me.
As I sat there, I listened and I also watched people listening. And I thought, “This is evangelization.“ Because why? Because there during that hour you have a few hundred people sitting in a Catholic church listening to Catholic sacred music (the program had all the lyrics in Latin and English – easily understood), and you could see people, as the music flowed over them, letting their gaze wander around the church.
They watched the ensemble, but that’s not all they saw. Their heads turned, their necks craned as they looked around at the saints in the stained glass, up at the ceiling painting, over at the paintings of the sacramental symbols in the sanctuary, at the altar, the statues of Mary, Joseph, St. John Vianney and St. Paul…there were not only in a church, but they were in the midst of the Church, surrounded by a cloud of witnesses, some silent, some beautifully audible, past and present, transcending time and space, surrounded by the proclamation of the Good News in visual art, music, symbol, structure and hospitality, and guess what….all were welcome.

Beautiful music, in a beautiful place.  It seems like such a simple concept, albeit not so simply applied, we must admit.
But the idea itself seems obvious -- why is it so hard to get some people to acknowledge it?

The last three words of the quote had me started on an altogether different post, but I resist the temptation.
Let me just say, the recently ended synod has given rise to posts, and editorials and articles all over - what about ME? why didn't the bishops mention MY situation? I don't want special attention, I just want a little special attention.

Feelings can't be argued with, if you feel "unwelcomed," you feel unwelcomed.

But there are people who make a hobby of it....

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

'Cause here ya got yer formal heretics, and here ya got yer garden-variety dissenters, and then ya got....

 Ross Douthat, (no, YOU do that!.... sorry, I think that every time I wonder how his name is pronounced,) had a piece over the weekend that engendered much wordy comment, not to say, blogerrhea.

Blah blah blah Francis. Blah blah blah heresy! Blah blah blah pope! Blah blah blah ultramontane! Blah blah blah doctrine not dogma. Blah blah blah where Peter is! Blah blah blah not always right! Blah blah blah schism! Blah blah blah Luther. Blah blah blah remnant! Blah blah blah calm down, Blah blah blah mottramism....
(I am caricaturing the commentary, not Douthat's excellent piece.)

 I was stuck by this -
The church’s orthodox adherents ..... are, yes, a minority — sometimes a small minority — among self-identified Catholics in the West. 
Is that true, do you think?  really?

I sometimes think that most "dissenters" in the Church are dissenters the way dogs are famously atheists, not because they have actually put any thought into it, or taken their first thoughts to a logical conclusion and realized what the actual consequences of some vague belief are.

New Words? Finazz & Pizesse

I wish all of my surroundings and belongings, my whole life to have... a new phrase I've learned, a synonym for "je ne sais quoi" --- Jenny says what? Exactly! -- to have "finazz and pizesse."


"That's MY Seat" - Confessions of a Weekday-Mass Attendee

I think I've written about this before, how surprised and amused I was, not that long ago, by PIPs thrown into medium dudgeon by arriving at Mass to find that "their" seat was taken, and how surprised and amused I was shortly thereafter to find how easily I, on weekdays, and Himself and I on Sunday mornings slipped into the same kind of thinking.

This mindset and the calculations it makes necessary, ("we could leave for church at five after, and get our pew, but there's a pancake breakfast, so to get our parking space....", I am not making this up, this was my unacknowledged train of thought a few weeks back, HOW CAN WE POSSIBLY CARE ABOUT WHICH PARKING SPACE WE GET???????????) are made even more complex by the fact that this area has many, many seasonal inhabitants.

Hmmm, they've been here longer than we have, but they're only resident for 3 months in the winter, shouldn't we have dibs on....?

The old-timers are a touch more indulgent to us than they were because they recognize me now The Reader We Can Always Hear.

On weekdays, it's a smaller group, of course, but we are no less territorial. Since I first attended with The Rose, I have "inherited" her spot --  I have learned that if I don't sit, not just in the pew, but in the section of the pew that was "hers" and is now "mine", when the lady who leads the Rosary before Mass glances around for someone to call upon for a decade, literally, I CAN NOT BE SEEN. (This is despite my being significantly taller than most of the people in the area and very distinctive looking, for reasons i won't go into.)

When construction was going on in the church, Himself found it terribly funny that ALL the Mass-goers, at least those who arrived around when we did, took up exactly the same relative seat in the parish hall.
I also learned that in Church, when instead of pews there are individual seats, just as in the movie theater, guys are required by their membership to leave a "homo seat."
(I have been assured by my friends who are, that use of that phrase is not offensive. Feel free to instruct me to the contrary.)

This morning, I had no special task at Mass, but had to return something to the sacristy, so when I arrived at Church, I went in by a different door. I sat on the other side of the nave, so that I could observe when someone arrived and opened the sacristy.

After the Rosary, and after I had preformed my little errand, I returned to my unaccustomed pew, on the Mary-, rather than the Joseph-side, knelt, marked my place in the Magnificat, began to read through a reflection.... nope!

Felt wrong, I had to get up and cross to MY seat, which people had left open for me.

What's the female version of a "codger"? "Crone" is too degogatory, and "biddy" implies a kind of sweet, harmless loquacity.

Anyway, now I are one....

When did "manly" become a dirty word?

This is one of the most scatter-shot, scatter-brained pieces I have ever read, even considering the source.

It's mostly about marriage, and why Jesus didn't say what He said.
So, you know, thank God we have Cardinal Kasper to explain what Matthew the Evangelist got wrong.
After Jesus asks the disciples what Moses taught, they have the presence of mind to ask why Moses taught it: It is because of the "hardness" of the Israelites' hearts, Jesus says. We too should ask why Jesus answers as he does. Besides divorce, is hardness of heart an implicit target of Jesus' instruction here?
See? Jesus spoke out against divorce to protect the people marrying and divorcing from the Pharisees, because of the hardness of heart of the rest of us, the mean old religious types, who'd get all judgey on people.

But then it goes off on this truly bizarre tangent about the priesthood, linking to a video of young men comparing team sports to their vocation, the work, the sacrifice, the commonality of rules and goals as a point of reference even among strangers...
Would any of us really want our pastors looking at us like the seminarian does here? 
Since there are at least three seminarians in the video referenced, I'm not sure which one the NcR guy is mocking, but I think it's the one at the beginning, kind of in the shadow, wearing his clericals and holding a basketball under one arm, and yes, I'd be fine with a pastor looking at me like that.
I'd prefer people with whom I am interacting to look like this, e.g.:

 rather than like this:

or this:

or even this:

(Not that I don't enjoy the work of both Martin Short and Jim Parsons.)

When did some of us start wanting men, especially men in positions of authority, to be weak and soft so that we'd know they couldn't hurt us, (or our feelings) ?

Wouldn't we rather they be strong and hard but worthy of trust so that we'd know they wouldn't hurt us, but would fight for us if need be?

I know not all of us need the same thing, (thank God for St Paul trying to be all things to all men, setting an example,) and many want a shoulder to cry on rather than a size 11 to give us a good kick in the pants when we need it.
But I can't think I am the only one who is more interested in a pastor who is a teacher rather than an enabler.
Okay, and that was wrong, right there - the word "enabler" is getting all judgey.
You know, the way the NcR guy gets about some of us:
They want to prove they are strong enough to shoulder the demands of faith, and when they see other people getting away with what looks like moral laxity, it threatens the meaning and value of their own self-sacrificing rigors.
Oh, and one last thing, he gets that way about a priest whom he says is
a marvelous priest overflowing with warmth, sincerity and hospitality. He said just one thing that bewildered me so much, I didn't have the wherewithal to question it.
"Our next generation of priests," he said, "must be manly priests. We want real men. We want John Wayne in a clerical collar."...Why valorize machismo?
I'm not a big fan of Wayne's, but if you want to use a well-known actor's film persona in an article, you should know enough about that persona that you won't caricaturize the way you did the peronae of the seminarians you're maligning.
"Cause this is "John Wayne," too: