Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Saturday, 29 November 2014

"It's ...

... beyond my control."
                           - Valmont
I must tell him ...that many people ... will be very angry too — so filled with pain, sadness and rage — that they may react by doing things they shouldn’t, like setting fires or breaking windows or starting fights.
I know I must explain this violence, but not condone it. I must help him see that adults often have trouble managing their pain just like he does. Doesn’t he sometimes lash out and yell at friends or family when he’s hurt or angry? When people have been hurt over and over, and rather than compassion or understanding you’re given lectures about how it’s really all your fault, and that no one needs to make amends, you can lose your mind. 

Insanity? Really? "Lose your mind" is the phrase you want to use?
So, some attacks on innocent people are explicable, and not really the fault of the attackers because they had been told before that something else was their fault?
And then if the victims of those attacks become filled with pain, sadness and rage, they may react by doing things they shouldn't, I guess....
And then if their victims..... well, you get my drift.
How 'bout the other direction?
How far back do you go until you get to someone who is responsible for his own actions?


Tuesday, 25 November 2014

The Hermeneutic of American Politics is the Hermeneutic of Silliness

No, John Allen the Holy Father is NOT, "trying to 'reach across the aisle,' to use the American argot, and assure conservatives that he’s not the enemy."

Because,  as Father Ruff is quoted as saying, with uncommon common sense,  Francis is on everyone’s side.

You are fomenting this mindset of conflict, this attitude of schoolyard cliquishness, just as surely as any RadTrad blog when you claim the Holy Father is on the "other side" from ANYONE, Mr. Allen, except those who set themselves in opposition to what the Church teaches.

Source and Summit, Ends and Means?

"One of global Catholicism's most prominent chroniclers" (self-proclaimed, kinda like "Roman Catholic" Womenpriests, seems to think that Cardinal Sarah,
"hew[s] closer to Francis' own liturgical approach – as one op summarized its principles: "Go by the book. Don't make a fuss about it. And remember that liturgy's always a means to an end – not an end in itself."
If this is the Holy Father's and the new Prefect's "liturgical approach," (and there is no evidence other than the whisperer's claim of an "op" who reports it, that it is)... the Pope and the Cardinal are, quite simply, wrong.

Perhaps they are Vatican II deniers?

Because those of us who are not, know that the Council, indeed, the Church, teaches that the Liturgy is both ends and means - Source and Summit.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Do-it-yourself Mysterium Fidei?

After I had been at my last parish for some time, a choir member asked why we never sang the "Mystery of Faith" that he liked.

I tried to use all of the (then four) "official" ones in English, (Latin was a no-go,) and used the settings from the (mostly horrible,) Ordinairies in the parish rep when I had to, and those from Mass settings I was teaching them when I could.

So I asked, which one is that?

He hummed a tune, with some garbled words and in the combination I eventually recognized the Lucien Deiss "Keep In Mind."

I just said we could certainly use the piece sometime as the Fearsome 4th (option,) but not in  place of one of the prescribed texts there, and thought no more of it.
Can't recall if I ever programmed it in some other capacity.
This parish had a lot of silly habits, wasn't sure where they came from, and no one could ever tell me where they were authorized. (There's a reason "parochial" means what it does....)

Listening to a Mass on EWTN from the Archdiocese of Miami today, and whaddya know?
They sang the Deiss K in M instead of any of the, (now different,) "official"versions of mysterium fidei.

Was this a common liturgical.... prank? (It doesn't rise to the level of an abuse, I suppose.)

Or was there some kind of allowance made to sing other songs, or insert other acclamations at that point either by our national conference, or universally?

Friday, 21 November 2014

Needy and Wanty

It took several years of marriage, but eventually the one of us who didn't already know it learned the difference between wants and needs.

We laughed like a couple of loonies when a captive supervillain on The Tick could finally take no more of his logorrheic jailer, Maiden America who defended herself with more whining, "I can't help it if I'm emotionally needy," and he sneered back, "You're not needy, you're wanty!"

In talking with my CCD kids about setting priorities, and competing goods, I frequently remind them of the importance of distinguishing between wants and needs.

All that said, a British abortion provider who was apparently genuinely afraid for her safety because of the unpleasant way another woman laughed at her, claims that, "One in three women in the UK will need an abortion in their lifetime and we should be supporting them."

I just ask, "need"?

The reporter allows the assertion to go unchallenged.

Is it a wonder that I was abslolutely certain that the actress who played Helen Burns in the 1973 mini-series of Jane Eyre was going to grow up to be Inspector Lewis's Boss?


As the build-up to Christmass begins, my thoughts turn to Scroogeapalooza, the nearly annual event in which Himself and I watch as many filmed versions of Dickens' gems as we can stand, some of them, more than once.
It is a once-a-year indulgence.

Until now.

Last week, bad weather and bad backs let to an orgy of viewing which began with the mediocre George C. Scott movie of Jane Eyre which Himself had picked up for a dollar somewhere, (for a fine actor, Scott managed to give flavorless or just plain wrong-headed renditions of some iconic characters, viz. Christmas Carol above.) followed by the palate-cleansing entire 11 part mini-series of Jane Eyre, with the incomparable Zelah Clarke, (and the too-hot-to-play-Mr-Rochester Timothy Dalton, who is nonetheless perfect somehow, he captures the mercurial man to perfection.)

And thus is a new tradition born! (Bronte's biggest hit, along with Much Ado About Nothing and Jane Austen's Persuasion are, as we old folk say our our soap operas, "my stories."

Since we already have our Winter Film Festival for Two in place, we decided Janeapalooza should henceforth after its inaugural iteration, be a spring event, and in place of Scroogeapalooza's repast of home-made Christmass cookies and hot toddies, (alas! no smoking bishop!) we would feast on potato farls, (probably rolls,) Stilton, (probably whatever blue is affordable,) and white cider, (which, yeah, we probably can't get in this country.)

We haven't watched them yet, but we also have the Charlotte Gainsbourg/William Hurt movie, (very fine, IIRC,)  the Wilson/Stephens, (silly and pretty much misses the point of the novel, maybe all the points of the novel,) as does the Wasikowska/Fassbender version. (I admit, I have the two of them a bit jumbled up in my memory.)
An internet  search reveals that there are many more, we'll check out Virginia Bruce later.
We're looking for the Samantha Morton/Ciaran Hinds which I liked a great deal.

Interested to learn that the actress who plays "Dame" Fairfax in the Clarke/Dalton is Aunt Reade in a tv series with Sorcha Cusack, of which I've only seen a bit so far.

Himself decreed than in light of our having them to hand, we should not limit ourselves to eponymous Jane movies, but also include costume dramas from sources written by a Jane, so multiple versions of Persuasion, P&P, S&S, and Emma will provide for our viewing pleasure.

Am I the worst slacker I know? Perhaps.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Really? Forced steilization is an "outdated" policy?

I know journalists are not responsible for their headlines, and the word "outdated" does not appear in the editorial itself, but an opinion piece under the byline of the paper's Editorial Board ran  in the New York Times titled "India's Lethal Birth Control."

It is about the callous way that nation promoted a coercive sterilization program, in which the lives of women were granted all the value and dignity... well, that you would expect.
You know, women received invasive surgery in unhygienic circumstances, and the governmental perpetrators sent them home immediately with pain killers and maybe antibiotics.

Perhaps laced with rat poison.

As one does.

And the subtitle of the editorial, both on the web and in the email of headlines I receive daily was, "Official policies of forced female sterilization are not only outdated [emphasis added] but dangerous."

Get that?

The policies are "outdated."

Surely someone with some kind of editorial authority oversees those emails and subtitles, no?

The editorial board of the New York Times, or at least whoever they trust to write their headlines and subtitles, says that once upon a time, such policies would have been appropriate, but now we've moved past that.

That's what I'm reading, boys.

Archbishop Cupich's Installation Mass

The program for the liturgies for the new Bishop of Chicago was made available on the archdiocesan website, but I just got around to watching the dvr..
Shame about the insane cold.
I suppose it is inevitable that these "big" Masses have the flavor, liturgically and musically speaking, of a parish potluck, wherein one is thrilled that Mrs. S concocts, (and will always bring,) a world class pineapple upside-down cake, pleased that decent pieroghi will abound and good swedish meatballs will probably make an appearance courtesy of Mr. K, and shuddering in anticipation of that bizarre gelatin salad the F. family always brings.

In that light, the Windy City Mass did not disappoint.

But let's hear it for that magnificent, and  laudably diffident cantatrix with a voice as glorious as her hair!

(A note, I am in no way impugning the delectibility, dare I say, the charms? of good jello salad.... I may even try to create on for Thanksgiving. Do you suppose the other family members will think i am being ironic?)

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Mudblood Catholic on Why He Is a Catholic

NewToMe blog, 'sgonna supply some very interesting reading ahead.
[I]f it is precisely the discharge of the office [of Pope],not the character of the man, that receives the graces promised by Jesus, then we may -- in my opinion, should -- expect everything not covered by those graces to go wrong, even with the Popes, sooner or later. Following Peter's career, I'd say that most of them went wrong sooner, and generally later as well. I think, too, that that applies to the Church as a whole. Romano Guardini, a theologian of the last century who influenced many important figures in the Church (such as Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis), once said, "The Church is the Cross upon which Christ is crucified; and who can separate Christ from His Cross?" I think that is exactly the right way of looking at it. I might say, as a sort of supplement, that, in the Church, everything that can go wrong, will go wrong, but that there is a scarlet cord of truth that will not break, and from that scarlet cord the whole house hangs as the city crashes down around it.
And that is why I am not greatly perturbed by the real wickedness of the Church.
The man is a good writer, interesting thinker, and communicates at a level that my obtuse self can get soemthing out of.
And addresses matters with which we've all struggled.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

"Forsaking All Others"? Sologamy and Tiring of Waiting for Mr. Person Right

I thought I had accidentally stumbled into The Onion, or one of Eye of the Tiber's very best pieces of satire.

But no, First Things was serious!

Sologamy's a real thing!

“I... promise to enjoy inhabiting my own life and to relish a lifelong love affair with my beautiful self.”

I have maligned a public figure with the worst wig hair, (that my pretty imaginative, if I do say so myself, self can image, ) in the world by thinking that he had achieved and displayed an utterly  unmatchable egotism, but no.
And for that I am sorry.
What is going on here? In the Christian tradition, marriage has historically been understood as a lifelong, conjugal covenant between a man and a woman, a union of love that involves the giving of oneself to God and to others. Today the institution of marriage, which has flourished not only among Christians but across many religious traditions of the world, is being challenged from many angles and by many practices. Until quite recently, these were all regarded as inimical to human flourishing in society. Such practices include so-called same-sex marriage, polygamy, incest, polyamorous relationships of various kinds—and now sologamy.
In some ways same-self marriage is the logical outgrowth of what cultural critic Christopher Lasch described in his 1979 bestseller The Culture of Narcissism. Lasch, building on Sigmund Freud’s classic essay “On Narcissism” of 1916, applied the term to the sense of grandiosity and excessive self-love that seem to mark not only psychologically disordered individuals but post-sixties American society as a whole.
I guess it was to be expected...

"CBS Evening News" Getting Gorier?

I know "if it bleeds, it leads" obtains in most news broadcasts, but it seems lately that CBS, (the one we tend to watch in the evenings,) has made some conscious decision to show more graphic footage and photos in the last few days.

The sheer amount of blood, the pictures of the dead in the Jerusalem cleaver attacks was shocking, and last night the photo of Emmet Till's body was really horrifying, sickening. I had long known about his Mother's brave decision to have an open coffin and  show the world what had been done to her child, but I didn't need to see it.

I think I have heard warnings n the past before some disturbing video or picture appears, but if there was one last night, I missed it.

Anyone else noticed new editorial effort?
(Of course, only people of a certain age watch television news...)

"Killing me softly..."

Pope Francis has incontrovertibly spoken out on the evils of of the Culture of Death, for those who felt he was somehow soft on crimes against life.

The dominant thinking sometimes suggests a false compassion, that which believes it is helpful to women to promote abortion; an act of dignity to provide euthanasia; a scientific breakthrough to produce a child and consider it to be a right, rather than a gift to welcome; or to use human lives as guinea pigs, presumably to save others...
We are living in a time of experimentation with life. But a bad experiment. Making children rather than accepting them as a gift, as I said. Playing with life. Be careful, because this is a sin against the Creator: against God the creator, who created things this way...
Fidelity to the Gospel of life and respect for life as a gift from God sometimes require choices that are courageous and go against the current, which in particular circumstances, may become points of conscientious objection...

There is no human life that is more sacred than another, just as there is no human life qualitatively more significant than another just by virtue of having greater resources, rights and economic and social opportunities."

Would that he had called out the heinous Belgian attack on life, if not when it happened, then in this address to Association of Italian Catholic Medical Doctors.
And perhaps I malign him, perhaps he did say something when the putatively Roman Catholic King of the Belgians signed into law the elimination of a lower limit on the age of children who can be offed by the medical establishment, and the media failed to report it?
I never found anything, but that doesn't mean it did not happen.

Just like Cardinal George!

“I said what?”[he] asked those gathered. “There’s no way I just said that. OK, that’s just weird. Seriously, what the heck is it with me? Am I trying to change doctrine or something? How am I gonna explain this to my secular friends? Oh boy, I can see their faces now. I bet they’re just itching to ask when I’m gonna .....”

Thank you, Eye of the Tiber - we laugh because we care.....

"Say the Black, Do the Red"

I forget, sometimes, how insular I, how insular my interests can be.

Himself was admiring our deacon's ars celebrandi, and was informed that it was hard come by, that in seminary the liturgical training had pretty much consisted of being told to say the black and do the red.

Himself thought that was one of the wittiest, most original aphorisms he'd ever heard.

Why Does EVERYONE Need To Know How To Write Code?

Was doing a little scrabbling around the Those Interwebs because I have a bee in my bonnet -- now there's an expression past its sell-by date, forget bonnets, per se, I'm nearly the only woman I know besides Queen Elizabeth who still wears a hat, so there's your answer, Elaine Stritch.
Not that I know-know the queen, but... where was I? (Bloggo, ergo, digresso.)

Oh yes...
So I'm reading a little about GoFundMe et al, which are starting to irk me for reasons I won't go into now, and I come across a fundraising effort that by its very existence is, in effect, the implicit statement that every educated person needs to know how to code, or at least to know how to code as well as an hour of computer science will accomplish, (I think. I admit that I didn't finish reading the page.)

Do they?
I should ask, do we? since I certainly can't do it.

One site, which more or less accepts the necessity of such knowledge as a given, compares the skill to typing.

But actually, we didn't all need to know how to type.
Truth to tell, more people need to know there way around the old qwerty keyboard now than did in the days when it seems that typing was taught to almost everyone in public schools.
The success stories seem to center around creating apps, building websites and entering the gaming industry, which don't seem to me to be universal aspirations.

I have a friend who told his second grade teacher, (true story - I've seen the letter sent home,) that he didn't need to learn how to spell because he'd have a secretary to do that.

As it happens he doesn't, what he has is a spellchecker. And while he has reached the sort of lofty position where he would have had at least one if not several secretaries, he is, in fact, in an industry whose egalitarian facade precludes such notions as "boss" and "secretary" or "assistant."

Instead he is a member of a "team" on which his signing bonus and salary dwarf those of his playmates.
And he uses a keyboard himself.

But he still can't spell worth a darn.

Now, he can write code like Dante could write Italian, elegantly, indicatively, but that's what he does.

Do I need to write code? does every schoolchild?

Any more than we need to know how to pluck a chicken? or build an internal combustion engine? or can peaches? (Of course, I understand from the survivlaists that when the Barbarian Hordes of the Coming Apocalypse are at the door, I'll be eating my words - since I'll have precious little else to eat. Oh, well...)

I'm sure I'm wrong, and if so I'd love to know why.

Breaking News from HuffPo!!!!!!

The crack journalists at Huffington Post breathlessly reports that a new study indicates that if you believe what your faith tradition teaches, you are more likely to ..... well, believe what your faith tradition teaches.

Monday, 17 November 2014

PC Run Amok, or a Lack of Empathy?

I did a review once with a soprano who was reluctant to sing "Alabamy Bound" because she was sure the lyric "heebie-jeebies" was anti-Semitic.

I have been in conversational groups when someone gasped aloud at the word "niggardly."
(Actually, now that I think of it, someone watching a mini-series of Jane Eyre with me recently may have started slightly.)

But I also know from experience that I am not the first to acknowledge that someone who is sensitive to a perceived slight may actually have a point, I tend to roll my eyes like a heather and say, or at least think, oh, get over yourself.

Which is all a long-winded way to ask, Is "illegal" a racial slur?

Is it true of a restaurant with the word in its name, that, "this is a place that's going to instill violence in our community"?

The restaurant is going to instill violence?
Three weeks shy of opening his newest Illegal Pete's in Old Town Fort Collins, restaurant owner Pete Turner came to Fort Collins on Wednesday to listen to a crowd of concerned residents who asked that he change his business' name.
The Boulder-based restaurant with six locations in Boulder and Denver is modeled after Mexican food from San Francisco's Mission District, specifically over-sized burritos. The name Illegal Pete's, Turner said, is a literary reference to a bar in a novel he read as an English major in Boulder. "Pete" also refers to his own name and his father's. When he started the restaurant in 1995, Turner hoped the name would be ambiguous enough to spark people's interest, perhaps referring to counterculture activity.
But on Wednesday, 30 or so community members explained the negative context of the word illegal, or the "I-word," as some referred to it, and its importance, down to its use as the name of a restaurant.
"Since I know the context, and I have been labeled with (the word illegal), it makes a huge difference to me," said Lucy Gonzalez, 25. As part of a wider effort to "drop the I-word," Gonzalez and others believe that any use of the word "illegal" connected to people should be stopped.
Maybe it's just my background, but coming from a family with generations of alcoholics, I would assume a restaurant/bar with called "Illegal Whatever's" would be pursuing a speakeasy or roadhouse vibe.

I don't know, I've had a discussion, a disagreement? more than once in which I tried to explain that my expressing an opinion/preference/dislike in many, if not most cases was not to be seen as even the slightest hint that said opinion/preference/dislike should have any bearing whatsoever on the actions of another.

This may be related to the topic at hand, or I may need a nap.

Oh, and just to let you know, although I alos have been insulted, I have been labeled -- with one syllable of your name, my beloved restaurant, don't change a thing for me, (your burgers sing for me.....)

I've Mentioned Eccles Before...

"Eccles is Saved" is a mostly funny blog that I don't always get.
Usually when I fail to comprehend what is humorous about it, the cause is my unfamiliarity with British politicians, tv personalities, and customs.

I accept that, I'm American, even if I can google and wiki my way into some limited  knowledge, the specific attitude or opinion being referenced by the short-cut of name-dropping is just beyond my ken.


But I learn that there I have a greater problem -- things that are so absurd as to leave no doubt whatsoever that they are fiction, figments of Eccles whimsical wit, (at least in my mind)?

Some of them  prove true!!!!!

Yes, in that bastion of free-thinking, that glory of the educational system, Oxford University, many of the little darlings, students, members of one of its constituent colleges believe that a debate on the subject of abortion and the growth of Britain's "abortion culture" may prove too damaging to some peoples' "mental security," and must be suppressed.

The main objection from some potential protestors may just be the debates participants... oh dear, "two cisgender men."
A protest group, entitled "What the f^ 
 Alas, verifying that this was not a jape of Eccles has led me down a rabbit hole... what the deuce is a university "arranged marriage system"?

I mean, I can more or less figure out what, but seriously? why? did it ever accomplish its purpose?

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Trying Not To Overthink the Vatican Politics/Job Placement.... Thingum-a-bob

One opinion piece,  referenced by a prominent blogger said:
American Cardinal Raymond Burke was removed last week from the head of the Apostolic Signatura (the Church’s judicial court in Rome), and appointed to the ceremonial post of chaplain to the Knights of Malta – a charity group. The Vatican gave no reason for this unusual demotion and redeployment – seldom are Vatican officials removed from their posts.
But Cardinal Burke's immediate predecessor, Agostino Vallini, when removed from the same post as Burke, was, if my maths are correct, (and they very well may not be,) was all of 68. (I don't know if Vicar General of Rome is a kewl thing or not to be.)
Achille Silvestrini was 68.

I'm wondering if all the blogging,  news, petitions, etc, are just a means of attacking... well, whomever one wishes to attack.

You Can Be Anything! You Can Become Anything! You can Do Anything!

Don't know about you, but I have been affirmed that way most of my life.

I've tried to impart to my CCD kids the ways in which that is true, and the ways in which it is not.

We cannot all go to Stanford. We cannot all be scientific geniuses. We cannot all be movie stars. We cannot all be NBA phenoms. We cannot all be.... well, fill in the blank with virtually anything.
It's not a matter of resolve or will, of setting goals and accomplishing them.
I could have practiced until my feet were bloody, and starved myself anorectic, I could not have been a ballerina.  Himself could never have been a mathematician. A dear friend who is mentally disabled could never have gotten a college degree.
We all have gifts and talents and aptitudes, but we also all have certain lacunae in our potentialities. God does not hand out the same skill set to every soul and body He creates.

There is nothing that everyone can do.  Right?

Not quite -- there is one aspiration that we all HAVE been given the wherewithal to achieve.

We can all be saints.

All of us.
Every one ever created.
I used to read a message board on which a woman declared, "I'm not  raising my kids to get them into Harvard, I'm raising my kids to get them into Heaven," and was walloped for conceit and sanctimony by most of the other participants. (The Interwebs is full o' bullies.)

But she was absolutely right, and her attitude toward her objective, her obligation as a Catholic parent was absolutely right.

I was thinking about it this week because of a triumph-over-adversity feature that's been on the news, ("I wanted to show that you can do anything you want, if you just set your mind to it!") and a Newman Society story about a Catholic college hosting a lecture called "Moving Beyond the Gender Binary."

Because, you know, individuals can "engage in different kinds of gender expression," and whatever is expressed is, or should at least be honored as if it is.

To do otherwise would be.... what?

Political correctness decrees that one respects others  madnesses as somehow revelatory of truth, you know, greater truth than those of us who think there are two sexes, or that surgically removing healthy limbs is evil, or that marrying an inanimate object is crazy, are capable of understanding.

Marry whom you wish, consider yourself what you wish, become whom you wish with help from a surgeon.

Yes, I am just a big ol' a squasher of cockroaches dreams....

Now THAT's Catholic...

The communion service at the nursing home felt like real, live, normal, actual Catholicism for the first time today -- one of the Alzheimer wing residents just walked out, right after receiving.

Friday, 14 November 2014

So "Progressive" As Not To Remain In The Teaching Of The Christ

For all that I whinge about the lectionary cycle, and the reluctance of many celebrants to use readings proper to the sanctoral cycle when there is an option, (and even when there isn't...)  weekday Mass has a real power in the continuous readings sometimes, and it is remarkable how often the seeming randomness of my days seems connected to the Lesson or Prophecy.

And sometimes, there is an admonishment that I really needed to be given that day.

And sometimes, I must admit, I wonder if the Holy Spirit is being ironic.

Many deceivers have gone out into the world,
those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh;
such is the deceitful one and the antichrist.
Look to yourselves that you do not lose what we worked for
but may receive a full recompense.
Anyone who is so “progressive”
as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God.

Oh, really ?

2% Milk At Your Fingertips

I don't "do" my nails, (too lazy, use my hands to much, don't really want to call attention to their usually scarlet ugliness.)

Beyond that I have never, but never understood the amount of time women are willing to devote to them -- I did a show once, (union, Equity, rules-and-regs-professional, you understand,) where one cast member was incorrigibly late for every single rehearsal, and for half hour at most performances.

She was a new mother, and would always breezily tell the stage manager, "You don't know what it's like with a small child," and since indeed he did not and was loathe to project too Legreeish an image, she got a pass.

What no one ever called her on was the fact that she did have the time to have a new and elaborately colorful manicure every day, (the thought of the poor infant whose diapers were being changed by those talons was another matter. And we won't even think about the hygiene of the situation...)

So you see, I'm the sort of person who makes a virtue of sloth -- I act as if painted nails were the height of frivolity and self-absorption.
I've done them from time to time, when a role called for it, (Joanne in Present Laughter, Mart in Company,) for biggish occasions, weddings, (though not my own,) and maybe twice in my life my toenails, when open toed shoes entered my life.

All that said, is this not the best name ever for a nail color? (the namers-of-shades in the cosmetic industry put the much mocked namers-of-shades for J Crew all to shame.)

Wet N Wild Megalast Salon Nail Color 2% Milk 203B 

Wet N Wild Megalast Salon Nail Color  

2% Milk

And it's really lovely, in truth. It's the sort of color I'd think about wearing. If I wore color...

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Funniest Blog Post About Catholics EVER.

Seriously, I don't know this blogger, don't know where she stands on anything, (and considering the quality of thinking and breadth of knowledge exhibited in this howler about the activities of the USCCB Fall General Assembly, don't much care,) but I was grateful to have set down my cup of tea before reading:
Changes to the liturgy, a safe, non-threatening topic has taken center stage .

Understanding Francis the Holy Father

I have always liked Francis Cardinal George.
I happened to be in Chicagoland at the time of Cdl Bernardin's death, and then at George's installation, and was aware of how discreetly Cdl George put right a few things that were wrong, without announcements, and more, without criticism or shaming of the wrong doer. (I am not talking of criminal matters, here.)

Later when we moved to the area, I was fortunate enough to meet him several times, and felt an immediate affection for him -- I liked the guy, he was easy to talk to, genuinely payed attention to what I had to say, and had a terrific, natural, easy way with people.

I hope he enjoys his retirement, but more, I hope he will continue to be the wonderful influence he has been on the Catholic Church in America.

As I said, I've alwasy liked him, but I loved him when I read yesterday in the NYTimes, (don't have the link, but it's all over,) that he had said that the Holy Father,
"says wonderful things, but he doesn’t put them together all the time, so you’re left at times puzzling over what his intention is."

So it's not just me!
(And, need I add, it's not just the people who of whom Cdl Burke spoke who feel a trifle seasick as if the barque were adrift on choppy seas.)

This is the statement of Pope Francis's that I would surely like to have interpreted for me:
It is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person.
Because I can't even.

The American Bishops " have been told not to talk to theologians who are creative because they’ve been labeled heretical."

Is it wrong to say that a priest who was formerly the editor of America who now writes for the formerly Catholic NcR is full of crap stuff and nonsense?

Well, then, I don't want to be right...
“There is no bishop who is standing up and being the real leader of a Francis faction,” Father Reese said. “They grew up in conservative families, went to conservative seminaries and have been told not to talk to theologians who are creative because they’ve been labeled heretical. Now Francis is saying let’s go in a different direction and let’s have a discussion. The last two pontificates, there was no room for discussion, and this makes them nervous and confused.”
Wouldn't it be nice Catholic if we stopped trying to make ever difference of opinion about "factions"? stopped talking about the Church as if it were our broken government?

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Not "Heresy" But "Kerlessy"

I'm not the Temple Police, honest, I don't go to Mass to nit-pick or play gotcha.

So I don't think it is my fault when I am jolted or distracted by even honest mistakes when they are large enough, or loud enough.

Seriously, I don't know if there ever was a time when this was licit, a devotee of the Mass of 1962 might tell me, but at least since 1969 the Credo is said EVERY SUNDAY MASS UNLESS IT IS REPLACED BY SOMETHING ELSE, SUCH AS BAPTISMAL PROMISES.
But I've gotten used to its omission with certain celebrants, I try not to fixate on it.

My word it was noisy in the nave this morning.

And I remembered that on Saturday, the Feast of the Lateran Basilica, I had gone to church with the notion,, well, no, but at least pretending to myself that given the opportunity to do so undetected, it would be a fine day to go through all the Gather's and tear out #736.*
Well, what does the homilist up and proclaim, but that a church is "only a church when we come together there to pray."
Standing six feet from the consecrated altar,  and maybe ten from a well-placed, -designed, -elevated, and -lit tabernacle containing the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus, he, in effect, tells us that we are the ones who make this place holy!

I think what troubles me most is the failure of so many to look at the Church's troubles, (and She has many of them now, does She not? One might almost say they are.... legion,)  holistically.

The preacher whose careless wording in an explication of Catholic theology regarding the, well, reality of the Real Presence cannot see that he is directly or indirectly responsible for the irreverent behavior of the hens cackling about traffic and shoe sales as people gather for Mass and try to enter prayerfully into the Liturgy.

The celebrant who can't be bothered following rubrics about vesting properly cannot see that he is directly or indirectly  responsible for the 20 year old who vaguely thinks of himself as Catholic but can't be bothered following the precept about obligatory mass attendance.

The catechist who founds all his instruction on his and our feelings cannot see that he is directly or indirectly responsible for the rise of the church of St. WhatDoesItMatterAsLongAsYou'reANicePerson.

The strikingly long and strikingly repetitive 119th Psalm doesn't go on and on about precepts, and laws, and statutes, and commands because rules are the highest value of the psalmist.

He sings as he does because 1.) he knows that our right behavior and right belief are best fostered by attention and obedience to the laws of God and of the Church that He left us to guide us; and 2.) he knows that those laws are not random and arbitrary, but the way we can best be led to accept and understand the great truths behind them. 
(Here might be a good place to take to task those who enjoy mocking wearers of red shoes or cappae magnae rather than acknowledging the meaning liturgical garbs has and honoring those with the humility to don it in obedience to rubrics that intend to express those meanings. But I won't, because "not judging lest" and stuff.)
 Sebastian: ‘My sister Cordelia’s last report said that she was not only the worst girl in the school, but the worst there had ever been in the memory of the oldest nun.’ 
Cordelia: ‘That’s because I refused to be an Enfant de Marie. Reverend Mother said that if I didn’t keep my room tidier I couldn’t be one one, so I said, well, I won’t be one, and I don’t believe our Blessed Lady cares two hoots whether I put my gym shoes on the left or the right of my dancing shoes. Reverend Mother was livid.  
Bridey:  Our Lady cares about obedience.
Now I know that Bridey is a dope,  and that because of this it has been said by some that we are meant to take everything he says, including this, with a least a few grains of salt.
But I think it is a hallmark of Catholic literature,  that truth is often proclaimed by characters who are broken, young, outsiders, sinful, or, as in the case, somewhat dim.

* In Ed Schaefer's excellent Catholic Music Through the Ages: Balancing the Needs of a Worshipping Church, we read that one of Huub Oosterhuis's worst songs was an inspiration for one of Marty Haugen's worst... interesting and enlightening. 
Even more striking is a quote from Haugen in which he acknowledges that some people have problems with his text. 
Good for you, well done, sir! I may have to--
But then he reveals that it's the people who object to using  the words "blind" and "lame" he feels bad about.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

The Memorial of St Martin of Tours, an OBLIGATORY Memorial

Not optional, got that, Father?

And for the love of mike, a really, really, really appropriate patron for what, or rather, whom you preferred to commemorate today, so what's the problem? (Not to mention the great reminder, again, for those you chose to celebrate instead of St Martin, that sacrifice doesn't always mean "dying for.")

I love the Tolstoy story of the cobbler with this great saint's name. Maybe we can present it again this Christmas somewhere....

Ubi Caritas et amor, Deus ibi est!

Monday, 10 November 2014

Before Mamberti...

... interesting to look at some of his most recent predecessors, and the length of their terms as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura
Most informative.
Ten years seems tops, (and those longer tenures were during years of unprecedented ecclesiastical upheaval,) unless I misread, and six  is longer than most. 

Things keep disappearing

Many a slip, twixt etc., etc. etc.

All I will say is, you know, la famiglia fondata sul matrimonio tra uomo e donna.

The Village Crank

Anthony Esolen, in a piece in Magnificat this month about the marriage of faith and Reason that is the Church, has a piquant turn of phrase to describe one of the more grating of today's attention-harlot atheists -- the "zoologist and village crank."

I fear finding myself becoming the village crank.

I can hear and see it happening to a beloved friend who seems obsessed with the annoyance of telemarketing, all out of proportion -- not just to the degree of annoyance one should feel for such trivia, but to the frequency with which such annoyances present themselves, which is NOT AT ALL frequent.

A bit of debonnairite, is called for, no? a noble indifference to trifling bumps encountered as one trots along the road of life?

But everyone has 'em, we all jest at others' scars if we felt not that particular wound, right?

And what I allow myself to become agitated over is just as insignificant while just as significant to me.

Really enjoyed the casting, the  performances, the dialogue, the direction, the plotting of Turks & Caicos last night, (seriously, David Hare, "bedefinitely"? whether that was an invented or an observed eccentricity, simple marvelous, and isn't Christopher Walken the perfect quirky actor into whose mouth to put the word!)

So why allow myself to be vexed by, to the point where I feel the need to mention it, his odd, demeaning misuse of the story of St Augustine and the child by the seashore?

It is his failure to comprehend the mystery of the Trinity, the Blessed Trinty, the very nature of God, for pete's sake, that has the saint baffled almost to distraction!

Your character, (Walken, again,) is merely wondering how various political and financial alliances among a set of rotten people will shake out.

I know, I know how silly I'm being.
Some science fiction story I read when I was a kid, the only thing about it which stuck with me was that a Utopian society, IIRC, had only 2 laws - 1) don't annoy other people, and 2) don't allow yourself to be too easily annoyed.

And THAT'S how cranks are born.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

The SIns That Cry To Heaven

I was working up some notes for a CCD class on sin, and as usual, went through a wormhole, ended up reading far afield of what I needed or what might be pertinent or appropriate for 5th graders.

Somehow, one of the tangents was the "sins that cry to heaven," and I ended up posting a question on the blog of a fellow who feels the US of A is guilty of ALL such sins, and had better reconsider her ways.
My post has not appeared, perhaps disappeared into the ether? or perhaps, deemed "offensive or off-topic"?

In any case, the question stands -- why, in rightly reminding us that the oppressing the poor, the widow, the orphan will ignite the Almighty's wrath, is oppression of the alien/stranger/foreigner left out?

Isn't that part of that sin that "cries to heaven" for redress?

Yeah, bringing it up opens a can o' political and partisan worms, but that can't be our concern as Catholics.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Are there sins that merit excommunication?

A priest (who proclaims his failure to believe what the Church teaches in regard to... well,  many, many things, it seems,) said Monday , that:
he was ordained amidst Vatican II’s hopes for a more open Church willing to hear and respond to the laity. Then he lived through 40 years “of disappointment, when the main thing we heard from Church authorities was about law, what you could and couldn’t do, like the Pharisees in the New Testament,” he said, who were always fretting over minute details of Jewish law. “And not seeing how ridiculous the whole thing was, or how appalling it is to withhold the Eucharist instead of seeing it as nourishment for our weakness.” 
 From whom should the Eucharist be withheld? is there a time when it is not "appalling"?

There are the "sins that cry to heaven," of course.
Are those guilty and unrepentant of those deserving of the canonical remedy intended to impress on them the gravity of their sins?
Everyone the usual suspects seemed pretty much on board with a recent news report, (false, I am now tending to believe,) that a criminal, has served jail time, used-to-be-priest had been excommunicated.

Should Communion and the other sacraments be open to everyone who says he wants them?

I'm just asking.
And I'm sincerely asking.

The Barque of Peter, Listing a Bit?

Apparently, it's official, His Eminence the great Raymond Cardinal Burke is off the bench.

I was worried in the early days of Benedict's pontificate that I was becoming papalatrous.

Now I worry about other things.

All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Want to be "welcoming"? then STOP WELCOMING!!!!!!!!!!!

Seriously, is this a surprise to anyone? (except our former RelEd director, who was always pushing for it...)
Catholics, take note!
If you attend a church regularly, you’ve probably noticed the phenomenon. A guest shows up for a worship service, but he or she never returns....
I did a Twitter poll to ask these first-time guests why they chose not to return to a particular church. While some of the responses were anticipated, I admit being a bit surprised with some of them.
...the top [response] in order of frequency.
  1. Having a stand up and greet one another time in the worship service. This response was my greatest surprise for two reasons. First, I was surprised how much guests are really uncomfortable during this time. Second, I was really surprised that it was the most frequent response.

And On the Very Same Subject, What Cardinal Burke Actually Said

In Crux, it is reported via headline that the great Cardinal Raymond Burke was so disloyal as to say that the "Catholic Church under Pope Francis is a 'ship without a rudder.'"

In that article that follows, it becomes clear that what he really said was that people have expressed to him their fear that the Church under Francis is a "ship without a rudder," and that reassurance is required of the Holy Father.

How hard is that to understand, John?

How is a Cardinal telling the Pope that the latter may not realize how confused and worried some folks are, and advising the Pope that or even how he ought to take care of it, "attacking" the Pope?

When I was in school, I used to babysit for a family with three, (mostly horrid,) girls.

One day when I arrived the mom had to teach me a new routine for putting the toddler to bed.

A few nights previous, her older sister had taken a flashlight and made giant shadows of her hands appear on the ceiling over the bed of the little one, who was now terrified.

So my job was to take a flashlight, take her to bed, turn off the lamp in the room, and train the flashlight on the ceiling, in the closet, under the bed.... see? nothing there! all safe!

Did the mother think there was something horrible lurking there? did I, in demonstrating that there was no monster in the closet at that time, indicate my fear that sometimes there was?

Of course not.

Nonetheless, didn't I, didn't the mother, (didn't the bratty big sister,) have an obligation to allay the toddler's fears?

When it comes down to it, we're all children frightened of what might be in the dark.

I'm getting tired of misquotes and selective quoting that accomplishes the same thing

I have friends and relatives who are in mourning and friends and relatives who rejoice at the outcome of the midterms, (I am neither because.... I was going to say "what will happen will happen," but I think we all know our political process is more about things not happening.)

But after avoiding some news sources for a few days, I am now just ticked off by agenda-driven editing, deliberating misrepresenting what was actually said so that the listener/reader will draw the conclusions that will support the speaker's/writer's positions.

I am ticked off by the presentation of subordinate clauses as statements, I am ticked off by substituting new subjects for verbs that were clearly describing the actions or state of being of some other subject, I am ticked off by outright lies and/or misinformation printed as fact.

I watch xfgto^M@s... what's that, girl? Timmy's down the well??!?!?... no, I'm just ashamed to mention the name of the reality show in question.

Himself, who has no interest in xfgto^M@s nonetheless regularly, if I should be watching it in a room where he is, gets sucked in by personalities and interactions, yes, but mostly, as am I, by clever editing -- yes, that person said those words, but not in that order, and not in respect to that.
And that "reaction shot" in the promos that makes it appear as if someone wants to kill the speaker in the previous shot? more likely is a reaction to, say a stubbed toes.

But that kind of dishonesty? I think, I hope most people know reality television is no such thing, and the actual general tenor of what goes on is eventually made clear, and besides, it's just entertainment.

The governance of the most powerful nation in the world is a bit more important than that.

And the goings on in the apparatus that was left us by Christ in order to accomplish the work of His saving grace, that is His Mystical Body?
That's a  d-^@&$%(%#@^!$*-ed sight more important that that.

John Allen talks a bit about this problem here, though I think he is being a little dishonest in positing equivalence between the fracas over what a German cardinal did actually say and  the dishonest claims of what an American archbishop clearly did not.

Himself often thinks I am challenging him when he states something and I ask why he thinks so - I can't seem to to convince him, I am not questioning his thought processes, I am curious about his source, whether he is presenting knowledge of opinion and whether he has actual information of which I ought to avail myself.

Primary sources, people, PRIMARY SOURCES!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

The "Objective Reality" of Spiritual Communion

The Church follows the command Christ gave Peter, "feed my lambs" in more than one way.

h/t to Luma Simms in First Things  for this quote from Hans Urs von Balthasar:
Spiritual communion is by no means merely an act of longing for the reception of the Lord under the sacramental signs; much deeper, and more properly, it is the act of prayer of a living and understanding faith, by which it enters into living communication and communion with Christ, the eternal and living Truth.

Monday, 3 November 2014

All Souls Day Retrospective and Round-up

The service at which I was to read on Saturday turned out to be using the All Souls lectionary readings rather than All Saints.
We use the next day's Sunday's readings as a rule, but I thought Saturday being a Solemnity, no matter how the fact is not honored in this country, we'd use them.

I wasn't really prepared, I don't mean from a reading and sense lines and pronunciation standpoint - but emotionally.
The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed is never again going to be a holy day on which I want to stand up in front of people and proclaim scripture.

And since this year was the wonderful calendrical occurrence when in the EF All Souls gets bumped to Monday, (right? that's how I remember it from a few years back, at St John Cantius in Chicago,) I should have been able to take care of my obligations on the weekend and still be able to hear a lovely Mass for the Poor Souls... if only there were any place within reasonable driving distance that offered such a thing.

Pretty good homily, lovely older priest I think of as on the progressive side of center wore white, but preached on Purgatory and gradations of sin and confession.
So there.

Wasn't that kind of joyous news (I read it in the NYTimes, but can't seem to link to their pages whilst on this computer,)  over the weekend, (surely there were Saints, and the.. residents of? experiencers of? Purgatory who I think one can call Half-saints, or Near-Saints lending their prayers to this cause,) the Holy Innocents in NYC is to remain open and worshiping? (Please, Cdl Dolan, don't send any more EF priests packing.)
Actually, Himself was reading it to me while I scrambled to get my CCD pages and crafts and snacks organized, and I asked him to do a quick page search for the word "innocent," since none of the other parishes whihc I either know about or of which I have fond memories from school days were on the chopping block.

Magnficat's readings and reflections for the weekend were particularly lovely -- the excerpt from Turgenev,where Bazroff's parents visit his grave, heart-breaking---
Often from the little village not far off, two quite feeble old people come to visit [a grave] —a husband and wife. Supporting one another, they move to it with heavy steps; they go up to the railing, fall down, and remain on their knees, and long and bitterly they weep, and yearn and intently gaze at the dumb stone, under which their son is lying; they exchange some brief word, wipe away the dust from the stone, set straight a branch of a fir-tree, and pray again, and cannot tear themselves from this place, where they seem to be nearer to their son, to their memories of him.... Can it be that their prayers, their tears are fruitless? Can it be that love, sacred, devoted love, is not all-powerful? Oh, no! However passionate, sinning, and rebellious the heart hidden in the tomb, the flowers growing over it peep serenely at us with their innocent eyes; they tell us not of eternal peace alone, of that great peace of 'indifferent' nature; tell us too of eternal reconciliation and of life without end.
I have all kinds of reasons why I wouldn't be celebrating Thanksgiving with this, that or the other,  and may have bullied cajoled a less-than-willing hostess into taking in 2 poor nomads -- but until this moment, I hadn't thought, perhaps it was all so that I could visit certain cemeteries in that part of the country, while it was still November.

In CCD, it was already part of my plan to make "candles" with the names of departed loved ones, take a small amount of the hour to talk a bit about purgatory, and the Four Last Things, without getting too morbid or deep for the kids -- well, as usual, nothing is simple, nothing is short, nothing takes  'a bit" of time.
There was, also in Magnificat, some words from Pope Benedict, basically about how relieved we should all be that Purgatory is a chance for the Master Potter to mend us broken vessels, good metaphor for that age.

Unfortunately, and I had forgotten this, their reference for the word and its root meaning are pretty much  those horror, thriller dystopian movies.


Once that was dealt with... well, one of the dearest, brightest, (but cannot shut his mouth for 10 seconds at a time,) students attends an Evangelical protestant school, and comes in with different notions of which he has to be disabused just about every weekend.
I was prepared with scripture and allegories and just the common sense of the doctrine of Purgatory..
(If only I had also been prepared with better snacks - gummi skeletons were a hit, the hard candies not so much....)
Anyway, we didn't get as much done as I would have liked, but you can't have everything, and if you did, where would you put it?

I will be glad when the election is over.
A local candidate shares the name of the person thoughts of whom are most with me at this time of year.
So, already ambushed by readings and Turgenev and candles and my own thoughts -- the name, the name everywhere.
Requiem aeternam dona ei , Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei.

Saturday, 1 November 2014


As I've said before, sometimes Eccles and Eye of the Tiber seem superfluous, there is so much absurdist humor masquerading as Catholic Thought.

Someone in National catholic Reporter finds fault with Cardinal Kasper's book on mercy, or rather, Mercy, as, as his Eminence points out, that is God's name, in a sense.

Now, to lack of sense - To be sure, Kasper can come across as ..... anthropocentric, with little attention paid to the implications for mercy in the growing focus on creation.

That will be taken care of in the Theology of Recycling, no? St. Somebody's Little Way of Waste Management? an order of Poor Peta-members to teach us that ferrets are made in the image and likeness of God and have immortal souls?

We already have religious sisters who dance around May pole, and pray to Gaia more often than to the Lord Jesus Christ, I am given to understand.

This is third hand, but I have no reason to doubt its authentitcy:
Easter Blessing . . .
Let us thank the Earth that offers ground
for home and holes our feet firm to walk
in space open to infinite galaxies.

Let us salute the silence and certainty of
mountains; their sublime stillness, their
dream-filled hearts.

The wonder of a garden trusting the first
warmth of spring…the humility of the
Earth that transfigures all that has fallen
of outlived growth.

The kindness of the Earth,
opening to receive our worn forms
into the final stillness.

Let us remember within us the ancient clay,
holding the memory of seasons,
the passion of the wind, the fluency of water,
the warmth of fire, the quiver-touch of the sun.

May the spirit of hope that Easter brings help you find peace.
May all the beauty and glory of this blessed season fill our hearts with praise.

                  ~ ~ ~ The School Sisters of XXX, ZZZ  Province
 I don't think this is harmless stupidity, either.
I think it is in support of an unsavory agenda.
It is a particularly pernicious strain of relativism that tries to give parity to all forms of life on earth, so that killing of the unborn human becomes just another bit of give and take, endorsing population control so as not to crowd out other life forms, or overtax other ecosystems.