Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Is discriminating against activities discriminating against persons?

Is a willingness to bake a birthday cake for an individual not evidence that reluctance on the part of the pastry chef to bake another cake for a social gathering to celebrate an event or activity one finds morally reprehensible for that same individual is not discrimination against that person?

I seem to recall a bit of a dust-up after the assassination of Osama Bin Laden because a Catholic parishioner somewhere, expressing the Christian ethos of love for ones enemies, wanted to have a Mass said for the repose of Bin Laden's soul.

If the guy had wanted to hold a wake, or a funeral luncheon, would the proprietors of his local Tap or diner have been within their rights to refuse his custom? regardless of the "rights," would it have been right?  

I have no answers to these hypotheticals.

Well, At Least the Pope Beat Out Taylor Swift

What a relief! Otherwise, could one take the list from Forbes seriously?
I guess we need all the "intrepid guides for a messy world" we can get.

(And thankfully, no blaming the Holy Father for telling his flock not to fear making it messier...)

With allowances for GoogleTranslation....

... does this say what it seems to say?
Blessing of homosexual couples as a sign of justice
In addition, advocates in the answers for a "rite of blessing of same-sex couples." There had also been some votes against such a blessing. However, such a step appears logical and credible, given the ever established church call for a "non-discrimination" gay people, according to the document. A blessing of homosexual couples "would be taken as a sign of justice and would not soften the basic message that marriage between men and women because of their focus on the offspring has a special meaning and thus protect in a special way" is emphasized.
set with special blessing celebrations that living together before marriage in Germany is now the rule.
 The one little tiny item that seems to be missing from these "merciful" and "just" solutions is  the concept of sin.
The theological incoherence expressed in the various proposals is just marginally ameliorated by their proponents merely ignoring the existence of sin.
Were one simple fact  - that the behaviors the Church is refusing to [quite literally] sanction, and which these people want Her to [quite literally] sanction,  are sinful - acknowledged, their world view would explode beyond incoherence into logical chaos.

Sin is sin.

Acknowledgment of sin is not puritanism.
Teaching that sins are sins is not the Church being a killjoy.
In the particulars of these cases,  continuing to uphold the sinfulness of certain sexual behaviors is not Her contempt for sex - it is Her honoring of sex, giving it its rightful and holy and absolutely delightful place in the existence of men and women.

Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness....

... and deck the high altar with lilies!

This is a marvelous little video from St John Cantius in Chicago, (h/t Fr Z.)

I waxed most nostalgic, (pain from an old wound?)

The sight of a step-ladder in the sanctuary of that remarkable parish will always remind me of my first visit there.
Just stopped in to "pay a visit," as our mothers used to say, in an empty, (of other purely human persons,) marvelled at the beauty of the place, and was startled in mid-prayer to see a young man in a cassock bearing a longish step-ladder enter the sanctuary to replenish the oil reservoir or replace the candle, (I was too far back in the nave to know which,) in the tabernacle lamps.
After he finished with one, he crossed to the other, and still carrying the step-ladder, as he crossed the "axis", genuflected before Our Lord Jesus Christ, fully present, Bod and Blood, Soul and Divinity, in the Blessed Sacrament within the tabernacle.

And that was when I knew what a special refuge Fr Phillips had established there...

Asked to Render Unto Marx What Is Marx

An Italian soccer player, (yes. I am an American, it's "soccer,") is in hot water over not paying the German Church Tax.

His, uh, spiritual adviser  accountant registered him as "atheist," at one point.

Then I guess he started sneaking into Masses? tagging along on processions? I don't know.

Okay, it's not a fatwa, and it's not masked, murderous thugs storming your place of business, but...

... the threat of three years jail time must seem awfully daunting to a sixteen year old.

Will we see "Je suis Amos Yee Pang Sang" shirts? will the kid's video rants make him rich, put stress on his current relationships and cause him to end up with a supermodel?

I do hope at least that Archbishop William Goh Seng Chye, who I think would be the local ordinary, will speak up for him.
A Singaporean teenager has been charged and faces up to three years in jail after he criticised the nation’s late founder and Christianity in an online video.
In the eight-minute clip posted on YouTube, 16-year-old Amos Yee Pang Sang said Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first prime minister, and Jesus Christ were both “malicious”, among other “insensitive and disparaging” comments.
More than 20 police reports were lodged between 27 March and 29 March in response to the video, which has now been removed from his YouTube channel though copies are still being circulated on social media.
He was arrested on Sunday under the country’s strict hate-speech laws, the same day as the elaborate state funeral for the 91-year-old founder of the nation.

Monday, 30 March 2015

"How do you see homosexualists trying to enforce others against their wills?"

A commentator in the combox at Crux asked that, seemingly without irony.

Wrong place to ask.

Ask the baker whose choice was to do the will of homosexual couples or face a lawsuit.

Ask the B and B owners being sued for refusing to host gay weddings.

Ask the Catholic adoption agencies forced to shut down if they would not place children with same sex "couples."

Ask the old coots who run a "wedding chapel" in Idaho who are being threatened with jail time, jail time, for the love of mike! because someone is trying to "enforce them against their will" to accept a new definition of marriage. (I am aware no person is so threatening - but the law itself, deeply flawed and badly written, does. )

No, no, no one trying to redefine marraige wants anything but to be left alone to live his life as he wants, nothin' to do with anyone else.... keep telling youself that.

Another attempt at penitence, another moment of perplexity...

Was there any absolution?
When I tried to ask, he ignored me, interrupted me, imparted a blessing and shooed me out.

And wouncha know, this was not devotional, I had a specific misdeed in mind when I made the time...

Sad Man

When I moved from the cold wastelands of the north, I encountered for the first time those, sad, sad folk who seem not to understand that what they name "the Wo-ah of Naw-thun Agression" is over.

Is this the Church's equivalent delusional type, trapped in the past within their own minds?
I add my voice and prayer to [the] call for the 1998 English Missal translation, which was approved by more than two-thirds of the United States bishops, to replace the present failed text of the New Roman Missal.
Do I think the present translation is perfect?
Far from it. But it contains riches that I appreciate anew almost every day.
The rhythms which some decried as artificial are indeed unlike everyday conversation, and they work rhetorically to highlight words and phrases in ways the patterns of normal speech spoken by the average priest, who is skilled in neither oratory nor diction, could never manage, were he not so constrained.
And any fool can see that the disastrous roll out of the (no longer) new translation was ever bit as cataclysmic as, oh, Y2K.
And the Cosmic Convergence.
And that thing that fell on Chicken Little's head.

Speaking of failures, shouldn't a bishop who has written these words be looking for some way to atone for his?
Image result for bishop trautman crying
"a technical theological term that neither priest nor people understand."
I know you were okay with ordaining priests who didn't know any Latin, but are you telling me the guys in your diocese don't understand theological terms in English?


Sunday, 29 March 2015

Speaking of Manliness...

Go read about this at Hermeneutic of Continuity.

The Holy League, in a Spirit of Marian Chivalry, under the patronage of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Saint Joseph, seeks to provide opportunities for the faithful to unite in prayer, especially monthly Eucharistic Holy Hours, for purification from sin and predisposition to Supernatural Grace for the fuller exercise of the threefold offices of Priest, Prophet, and King received at Baptism. The particular prayer of the Holy League is the monthly Eucharistic Holy Hour.

The Holy League, in fidelity to its mission as a Roman Catholic solidarity movement:
  • provides a Holy Hour format which incorporates: Eucharistic adoration, prayer, short spiritual reflections, the availability of the Sacrament of Confession, Benediction and fraternity;
  • encourages consecration to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and the Purest Heart of Joseph;
  • promotes the Precepts and Sacraments of the Church; especially through devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament and the praying of the Most Holy Rosary;
  • creates a unified front, made up of members of the Church Militant, for spiritual combat;
  • strives to have a regular monthly Holy League Holy Hour available to men in every Roman Catholic parish.

Haters Gotta Hate

The Nominally Catholic Rundown is at it again.
One of their nominally Catholic bloggers feigns surprise that "a man who seems to really enjoy wearing as much lace and watered-silk as he can get his hands on [appropriate and prescribed liturgical vestments] ..does not see how that will make people wonder."

I was confused as to what this supposedly, "made people wonder."

It caused no amazement or curiosity in me.

I posted in the combox, asking, but it was apparently deleted. Other, however, comments informed me that this was  scarcely veiled accusation that the episcopal object of the bloggers hatred was gay.

So I can only assume that the blogger himself was wondering if the cardinal was gay.

Now, back in the day, the only people I knew who were similarly obsessed, (and frankly, similarly hopeful,) suffered from same-sex attraction themselves, and liked to sneer of "breeders", (male variety,) "oh, she's playing for our team...".

So now I actually am wondering, since the most logical conclusion for a Christian who is presumably familiar with the use of liturgical vestments to  make the accusation that the wearer "walks the Walsingham way," is that that poor blogger is one of those sad, self-loathing homosexuals who finds it easier to bear his own cross by pretending  he thinks other people suffer from the same infirmity.

So he claims to find priestly vesture... unmanly.

Image result for john xxiii in lacey surplice Image result for cardinal pell in lace

(The Walsingham reference is a nod to A.N. Wilson, and is in no way intended to impugn any priest of any rite.)

Friday, 27 March 2015

Pride Parades

Usually I'm pretty down with my Celtishness, I'm proud of my Bandon forbears.
But as both drinkers and the genuinely involved in Irish culture will tell you, St Patrick's day in this country is for amateurs.
It's a day to hear Mass, and maybe grow  little teary thinking on those who have gone before as you toast them with a bit of Tullamore Dew... or, come to think of it, combine the two, grow a little teary thinking on those who have gone before you while at Mass, (as our pastor did in his homily.)

And besides, there's a more important Saint's day cheek by jowl with it, no reason to make it the center of attention.

Anyway, I knew there had a fracas, or rather, a repeat of the annual fracas about the NYC parade several months ago, but since I'm no longer anywhere near New York, and as I don't like parades, I didn't pay it much mind.

My impression was vaguely that although the cardinal archbishop was to be the grand marshal, it was no longer to be considered a "Catholic" event. And oganizations holding contentious or unpopular positions, folks with "agendas" could march under their own banners, in support of gay "marriage," in support of life, etc.
Image result for dolan grand marshal
"I always appreciated the cooperation of parade organizers in keeping the parade close to its Catholic heritage!”
So, who knew that lying liars had lied their lies to the Catholics involved, well, to the catholics involved who actually care about Catholics, and Catholicism, and Catholic teaching and Catholic principles?
Not me, Mrs O'Blivious.
Even professional umbrage-taker Bill Donohue had been copacetic with the arrangements at one point, but as he said, "My own people, Irish Catholics, [e.g. John L. Lahey, parade committee member and nest year's chair, I believe,] did me in and I'm walking away from it."
That won’t be happening,” Lahey said of the idea of a right-to-life group marching. “What we want to do is keep 2015 focused on the gesture of goodwill we made towards the gay community.”
Because, you know, like a 2nd grader at recess, you can only be nice to one person at a time.

By the way, isn't this a SWELL way for a Catholic to talk?
[A parade committee spokesperson] said that if a group opposed to abortion rights applied, parade organizers would look at the application favorably, but that none did so.[emphasis supplied]
See? Not opposed to abortion, opposed to abortion rights.

The Way of the Cross

My parish has a booklet used for Stations, published and granted an imprimatur well after Nostra aetate was promulgated, in the '80s, in fact.
The narrative it presents is that, okay, yeah,  Pilate was in there somewhere, but the Jews were responsible for... well, pretty much everything in the crucifixion, right down to hammering in the nails. It doesn't say that, but the illustrations, of the ugly flat missallette circa 1975 style are filled with members of the Sanhedrin, but nary a centurion in sight.


The Scriptural Stations booklet offered by the USCCB doesn't do anything for me either.
I will not criticize the artwork as it is par of a youth projected, (sponsored by the much beloved Catholic Campaign for Human Development,) but I find it distracting. Not as distracting as the duelling stabat mater tunes heard in our pews, but distracting, too distracting to pray with.

I can hear my Aunt saying, offer it up, but offer what? my distraction?

Better to carry out the devotion some other time, even some other place.

They Don't Give IQ Tests at Auditions

Himself is an old movie buff.
More than that, he still crushes on the heroes of his childhood and the idols of his youthful theatrical ambitions.
Among the latter are Richard Burton, the former are dominated by John Wayne and Clark Gable.
Much as he loves Clark Gable, he likes to quote Wayne on Gable - Gable's an idiot. You know why he's an actor? It's the only thing the dumb son of a bitch is smart enough to do.
Of course there are different kinds of intelligence, (and there are far greater gifts than brains.)

But it does seem relatively easy to be an actor, even one whose usual persona radiates intelligence, and yet  be pretty dumb, as well as ignorant of the history of ones own medium, not to mention ill-informed on cultural matters by which one would think it was imperative for ones portrayals to be, well... informed.

This holiday season marks the first showing of a number of Christ-themed documentaries, tv movies and docu-dramas, including one based on the book "Killing Jesus".
This is the first time we see Jesus as the man, not as this kind of spiritual divinity...
Even though all that is there — and I think that's important, because the main teachings about Jesus was to teach men how you could become better....
If you look at this person and you see an angel or a God, you're not going to be able to relate to it. But if you see a man with all His faculties you say, 'Wow, He's like me.' He's a working class intelligent man. Every person can see something in them that Jesus has. That's what you're going to get from this story. The real human side of Jesus...

"This is the Martha side of things"

Good column by Richard J Clark, five things liturgical musicians, (of which I am no longer one...)  need to keep in mind this week -- always, but especially in Holy Week.

But the reminder that every breath, every step up to the third story loft, every page turn in a prayer, is something that we do for God - that's the one.
Making that music, everything that goes into our "making" it is how liturgical musicians pray.

I had an ongoing conflict, (very amicable, I loved her,) with my former liturgist, that all the canvassing, the wheedling for more lay people to take on liturgical roles was simply wrong.
A larger choir is perhaps a good thing.
A larger corps of lay readers when each one is already only called upon to read every two month is not just silly, it's wrong - it is asking all the Mary's to give up the "better part" and start marthaing.

(And I won't even get into the insidious way that the practice of constantly recruiting "lay ministers" has given rise to the, "oh, I'm not going to Church this weekend, luckily I'm not 'doing antyhing' at Mass," mindset.)


I was looking for an image for devotion.
St John Cantius in Chicago has a stunning, almost life-sized statue of  a seated Man of Sorrows.
It never failed to move me when I saw it.
Although for religious, devotional, liturgical art I prefer some degree of realism, I have a fairly broad acceptance of genres and styles.
I was looking for a Man of Sorrows, mabe to use on my desktop while reading the office?

But I came across this, an Ensor monstrosity.

Where is the beauty? what is the point? the artist, about whom I know very little, seems filled with hate.
Am I a philistine that I can see no redeeming value in this? I feel as if I need a shower after seeing it.


It's Not Like It's a CATHOLIC School, or Anything....

... oh, wait.
It is.
Don't know the parish in question or the school, don't know the priests, or the parents, no skin in the game.
So they might be right. (Who "might be right"? you ask. Exactly.)
Or they might be jerks. (See above.)

Anyway, admittedly, no skin in the game.

But here's my thinking, (or rather, my rhetorical questioning):
How is having non-Catholics perform liturgical functions at Mass NOT a practice to which a stop should have been put?
And since in a city such as San Francisco it's a safe bet that most kids can't or don't walk to Church by themselves, how is getting a handle on how many of your charges ARE NOT PRACTICING by finding out whether their families attend Mass NOT part of you mission?

And who thinks the zeitgeist of San Francisco is NOT "savagely distorted"?

Not US!!!

"Hmm.... what can we do for liturgy that's NEW, and EXCITING?"

The purveyors of Burlap Banners, finding themselves with time on their hands as demnad for their handiwork has, mercifully, declined, have a brand, spankin' new craft they want to foist on you. offer as an alternative to the Church's Spiritual-Industrial Complex's musty old traditions.

Yes, the Non Catholic Rundown is at it again.
In a moment of deep reflection, write on a ribbon what you love and hope to never lose to climate chaos. Share it with others. When you are moved by someone else’s ribbon, tie it to your wrist, committing to work to beat back climate chaos so that our worst fears never come true.
Together, our promises weave a giant tapestry of commitment among all of us for a healthy, sustainable planet.
For Palm Sunday, we plan to use the climate ribbon as a palm. We will join our forebears in marching around town -- probably Washington Square Park and the New York University Law School -- and ask people to join us in a combination of parade and lament.
We were able to use the ribbon with great liturgical success around the climate march. Through it people were able to express a kind of confession, a kind of lament and a kind of absolution.
For Palm Sunday, we want to connect the themes of love and loss to that last day of freedom for Jesus in the city. 
I think this would be swell, along with a bare tree branch covered with wads of masking tape such as that with which a DRE gifted us once.

Judging from the comments, even NCR's readers know how lame this is.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

"Forget the 1960s – it is time the Church once again embraced new music in the liturgy"

When did She ever stop?
 From Matthew Schellhorn in the British "Catholic Herald":
To think of “contemporary music” in Catholic worship brings to mind the clearly hastily written and often very poor quality contributions of the 60s and 70s still in use in some places as a meagre alternative to anything of real artistic value. The waters are muddied here by an agenda that extols a particular kind of congregational “active participation”, meaning that in general musical offerings by modern composers – mostly written for the laity to have some part in – have to be supplied at the level of the lowest common denominator.
......As a means of breaking the deadlock I would say that the place of contemporary music in the Sacred Liturgy must be re-evaluated. New and imaginative music should certainly not be cast aside simply owing to bad experience....
This week, the winner of a new prize for sacred music composition I founded was announced. The brief was to write a Eucharistic motet for four parts, thereby precluding monophonic or simplistic entries rivalling Gregorian chant and furthermore requiring the use of capable musicians for performance. I was pleased to receive interest from composers all over the world, hungry to write for the Church and seeking opportunities for their God-given skills to be recognised and valued. I and the panel of judges can testify that the quality of entries was consistently high. The winner is a young composer from the Wirral, Marco Galvani, who has a bright future ahead of him; his piece, Ecce Quam Bonum, will be premiered at St Mary Moorfields in the City of London on Holy Saturday.
Looking forward to hearing it.
Meanwhile, I have what I have as I live where I live.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Mona Lisa - Random Awkwardness

What Does True Repentance Require Of the Penitent?

I don't know, I'm asking.
Without reference to the details of the misdeed, the motivation, the perpetrator, or the victim in this case, the miscreant who visited an atrocity upon still surviving victims has been released from prison and says he is sorry.
He wishes his victims could “understand a bit better what motivated me and people like me”.

I think that is a heinous, self-serving thing to say, since it implicit invites a comparison between his putative sufferings and his victims actual ones.

An authentic apology would not.

However, my question is about something different - the victim says,
Well, he can say he’s ‘sorry’... but he hasn’t repented because he would know it meant going to the authorities and telling them all he knew of the identities of those who commissioned [his crime]. He was the monkey. Let him tell us about the organ-grinders. But he’s declined to do that.
Is that so?
Is offering up ones partners in crime sin, (who may or may not repent of the evil they have done and the grief they have caused,) a  requisite of true penitence?
Resolution to sin no more, yes, making of what amends one can, of course -- but informing on ones confederates?
And does the answer depend on whether the sinner still thinks his cause was just? or depend on whether the cause is/was just?

The Westminster Vestment, How Cool Is This?

According to the Catholic Herald,
Cardinal Vincent Nichols [wore] an ancient vestment believed to be from the royal wardrobe of King Richard III when he celebrates Mass for the repose of the soul of the monarch’s soul in Leicester on Monday.
Known as the Westminster Vestment, the chasuble is part of the heritage collection of Ushaw College, the former Catholic seminary at Ushaw Moor, Durham.
 There is a tradition that it was worn by the Benedictine monks of Westminster Abbey during the reign of King Richard, who died at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485.

Fox Just Keeps On Being the Responsible Media Outlet You Know and Love...

... NOT.
Prior to [a soccer] match between São Paulo and San Lorenzo on March 18, Fox Sports ran an advert in which Pope Francis – a life-long supporter and member of San Lorenzo – is held hostage to stop him from influencing the result....
The sequence ends with the kidnapper threatening Pope Francis with a cattle prod and calling the Pope’s influence on the game’s outcome “celestial doping” as he stands streaked with blood.
The aim of the advert was to encourage Brazilians to watch the game and come out in support of São Paulo. If they did not watch, the advert warned, then ‘the Pope’ would be released and allowed to use his “celestial influence” on the game’s outcome.

The Vocation Crisis

If only married couples were allowed to have sex, and the sacrament was open to both men and women, we wouldn't have this problem.
Ya know, 'cause we also don't have enough priests in the Church.
Because, um, celibacy.

Pope "tells it like it is"

Sorry, I beg to differ, your Eminence.
Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, emeritus arcbishop of DC says-
"This Holy Father has been and will be faithful to the doctrine and teaching of the church."
Fair enough. God bless him!
And -
"There are some people who don't like clarity"
Tru' dat.
Wish it were not so, but there you are.
Further, Cdl McCarrick believes -
"He wants people to hear it as it truly is."
And he also says of Pope Francis -
"He says it clearly ...He's not an obfuscator."
Right- ,wait -
Say whaaaaaaaa?

Actual Catholic Bishop in Germany

What do I say, Glückwünsche? Danke?
In any case -
[Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes] has publicly opposed the words of two other German bishops who have suggested that the nation’s Church can form its own policies without direction from Rome.....
[and has] published a strenuous objection to the media statements of his fellow German bishops in the form of a March 7 letter to the editor of Die Tagespost, a prominent German language Catholic newspaper. The text of the original letter was translated to English by CNA's Jan Bentz.

“Since the words of the highest representative of Catholics in Germany have a guideline-like character, and create substantial waves in the media, it makes sense to object publicly to some of the utterances, in order to limit the confusion which they have caused,” Cardinal Cordes wrote.

The cardinal noted that the February press conference was focused on the Synod on the Family, and on particular of the proposal by Cardinal Walter Kasper – another German – to admit some among the divorced and civilly remarried to Communion.

“The problem was addressed with the beautiful words of 'new solutions' and 'opening doors',” Cardinal Cordes wrote.

He responded to Cardinal Marx' characterization of the Church in Germany as an exemplar by saying that “if he wanted to express that Germany is example in leading the faithful to a giving oneself up to Christ, then I think the bishop is fooled by wishful thinking. The existing German ecclesial apparatus is completely unfit to work against growing secularism.”

“It was not without reason,” Cardinal Cordes wrote, that Benedict XVI strongly urged the Church in Germany to become less worldly during his 2011 visit there.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

An Anglican-style Rosary

This is NOT really what the post is about, but Fr Hunwicke's description of the Rosary As Weapon, (to quote a bumper sticker one sees hereabouts,) caught my eye:
Fr Wason began Solemn Rosary ... not one of those rapid Irish Rosaries with the laity racing into the Sancta Maria before the priest has even got to the fructus ventris tui, but a slow, meditative, Anglican Rosary in which, at the end of each Mystery, Father preached about it generously and extensively, allowing no typological crumb to fall unexamined to the ground.
Against all odds, the morning Rosary with a bunch of other weekday Mass-goers has become my thang.
And a mighty good thang it is, too.
Image result for need a weapon, try the rosary

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Why Were Which [W]Ones Waived to When?

I had read that St Benedict's memorial was transferred to July since the anniversary of his death would always fall during Lent, cutting back on the festivities.

So how about the far loftier Saint Joseph and his solemnity?

Is it because he has another day that doesn't fall in Lent?

Or was consumption of zeppole getting out of hand? (There were none available around here.)

Attending an Italian-American wedding soon. (What is with the weddings in Lent?) Will there be a St Joseph's Table?

Unbearable Solitude

I like to be alone, (don't tell Himself.)
The idea of living alone has never been unattractive to me, even after I found My True Love.
Although I make a great deal of noise, silence bothers me not a whit.
I remember once leaving after a stay at my Mom's, my youngest brother had gone off to college, a sister who was moving cross country had been there at the beginning of the stay but was gone by the end, and I asked her to get in touch with a friend of mine on the other end of my several day dive home, to tell her that I had set out, (pre-cell phone days, except for very connected people.)
I later found out she had confided to the friend that that night would be the first time she had ever been alone in a house in her entire life, and she hated it.
But I've never been like that.
I look forward to solitude, generally. I have many times in my life gone days at a time without seeing or even speaking to another person.
As I said, I like to be alone.
But this morning at the nursing home for the usual prayer and communion service, I began to understand the terror that it can be.
Now, Himself's mother, and mine, both had real dread of nursing homes, and I know that's not uncommon. The care, at even the best of them that I have seen is, quite simply put, insufficient.
Toward the end of my Mother's life there were three different facilities and two hospitals, all highly rated, tops in the state, regularly laudatory inspections, lovely decor and food, seemingly plenty of staff - none of the stays were without incident.
Incorrect prescriptions, forgetful and callous doctors, revolving door staff that was never brought up to speed, alarms that were acknowledged but then forgotten without problem having been addressed, abrupt and frightening moves from one wing to another in the middle of the night...
And this was with one of us ALWAYS with her, sometimes over the objection of staff.
I cannot image how it would have been had there not been someone there to insist that oxygen be supplied now, to track down someone authorized to dispense controlled substances, to clean her, to make her food palatable and chewable...
Thank God, there had been an incident fairly early in her first hospital stay for which she had phoned us all at three in the morning - I think 4 of us had converged on her new hospital room and promised then that come hell or high water we would never leave her.
Now did we. For several months there was always at last one of her children with her, most nights two so that if she were to awake while one was answering a call of nature or desperately searching for coffee, there would be a face she knew.
I believe her fear was of dying without her family around her, but not from practical considerations like the need for someone insisting on care or running interference or giving protection.

Just to see a face she knew and loved.

This morning it was so painfully, cruelly obvious how alone many of the residents are.
Even those who have family whom I've occasionally met spend most of their days in the company of no one but nurses or aides.
And of course, many have no family who visit.

And finally, some are clearly alone even with family and friends beside them, so turned in upon themselves they are.
There is a tragic, hunted look in so many eyes. (Thank You, God, thank You, I never saw in Mom's.)
They think themselves alone.
Utterly alone.
And it rightly terrifies them.
We pray with them, talk, offer a shoulder or an arm around theirs, sing to them... but it is so not enough. 
O Blessed Joseph, you gave your last breath in the loving embrace of Jesus and Mary. When the seal of death shall close my life, come with Jesus and Mary to aid me. Obtain for me this solace for that hour - to die with their holy arms around me. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I commend my soul, living and dying, into your sacred arms. Amen.

To devalue ones own speech?

Fascinating thought in the Guardian anent Pope Francis's prolix proclivities, ruminating on whether the Holy Father is a "reckless blabbermouth or sophisticated strategist."

The writer seems to come down in support of the second option -
But what Francis is trying to do is wilfully devalue the coinage of papal utterances. He is doing something similar with the synod of bishops. Previously every synod was as carefully orchestrated as an old-style Soviet congress. But Francis has told bishops that debate is not dissent and unleashed a tsunami of heated argument over totemic issues like contraception, divorce and same-sex relationships. It is all part of dismantling the old imperial papacy and opening the church to a style of governance that is more participative and, though it is not a word Francis would use, democratic. He knows he will need a few more years to entrench that idea into the Catholic hierarchy.
I don't know if Paul Vallely is someone who has a handle on these things or not.
Francis is certainly high-handed enough, even dictatorial when he wants to be, (and there are times when this is appropriate,) so I am not buying into the trope of the Pope who wants everyone else to reach whatever consensus the will, "democratically" as Vallely puts it.
And his reiteration and reinforcement of Paul VI's prophetic encyclical on the sanctity and dignity of human life is a reminder that in some cases, majority opinion be damned, when the Pope speaks, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, causa finita.

We shall see.
Happy Feast Day, to at least someone, there certainly are a lot of Irish saints.

When I read anything about the Irish Prime Minister, I always think, for a moment, that his name is Edna.
Image result for St Enda
I have learned that processional crosses can be veeeeeeeeeery heavy.

I would be a most unedifying martyr.

I have also learned that there are more variations on the stabat mater tune than are dreamt of in your McLaughlin and Reilly hymnals, Horatio.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Lie, Or Ignorance?

This claims, that in,
the language currently proposed by  [Archbishop Cordileone for the school teachers' handbook' for his archdiocese] active homosexuals, including those in marriages no matter how loving, are labeled “gravely evil”
Um, no.
In charity, I'll assume that you are simply repeating a lie told by someone else.
What the new wording actually says is,
the Church’s teaching [is] that all extra-marital sexual relationships are gravely evil.
Nothing about persons. NO person is labelled "evil."
Not people.

It's pretty easy to attack someone, when the only evidence you require second- or third-hand claims, with selective quoting so that you can pretend that someone said or wrote something that he did not say or write.

But it makes you look foolish.

"Can we talk....?"

 That's the plea from, (no, not Sr. Mary Joan Rivers,)
Image result for joan rivers as a nun
(Ya know, if she had spoken Catholish, it would have been, "Can we break into small discussion groups with facilitators for each one?")

but from a few loose threads on the fringes of Catholicism -
clericalism pervades the Church at all levels. It's not just bishops who insulate themselves from the voices of lay people and, sometimes, their own priests. It's not just the priest or pastor who assumes license to overrule all other input and ignore parishioners' voices. It's also lay people with a "Father says" or "what will Father think" attitude. 
I've said it before and I'll say it again, clericalism isn't even in the same league as the "demi-clericalism" running rampant in many American parishes, there is NO ONE as eager to "assume license", "overrule all other input" and "ignore parishioners' voices" as a Catholic lay minister with certification from some other Catholic lay minister who manages to gain for himself control of any facet of parish life.
(And by "himself" I almost always mean "herself.")
And if there are two such at odds? Bloodsport.
Of course, the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church has fringes on both sides, the selvages are unravelling -
Richard Williamson, the bishop consecrated by Lefebvre and dismissed from the Fraternity of St. Pius X in 2012 [ordained] a new bishop... on the feast of St. Joseph in the monastery of Santa Cruz in Nova Friburgo, Brazil.... The consecration of a bishop without a papal mandate will make the ordaining party, ... the person being ordained, ... liable to a latae sententiae excommunication. 
Good Saint Joseph, Guardian of Our Lord, and Guardian of the Church Universal, pray for us!

Monday, 16 March 2015

I'm not the only one gettin' all judgy.....

Tut, tut, that reactionary Ross Douthat is waxing nostalgic for the deserving poor, and their monogamy, fidelity, sobriety and thrift.

Alfred Doolittle would not approve.

I mean, that sort of talk, by implication, criticizes the Differently Behaved.
Or do I mean those with Non-Conforming Values?
Or would the PC term be "those with Alternative Morals"?

Why should I go to the theater for sex and violence, when I can get that at home?

Odd article in the New York Times about the problem of sexual harassment in the theater.
It is slanted slightly in the direction of The Actor's Union Doesn't Do Enough About It And Needs New Rules.
And it rightly notes that stage managers, (besides one they referenced as hitting on a complainant himself,) are members of Equity yet also a part of management, and that the main objective is almost always going to be letting the Show Go On, so maybe not the best person address a problem reported by a young(er) less connected victim?
Well, yeah.

But how could a journalist tackle this subject and not even mention, perhaps, not even know about, the existence of The Deputy? AEA always has a deputy or two in every union production.
Confidential, usually experienced in and knowledgeable about, and often actually IN, the vulnerable performer's very condition, and required to represent the POV of no one but the performers and their union.

So for all the interviews he may have conducted, I don't think Patrick Healey really researched his subject with much care.

But I am more bothered that the story that opens the article is... well, it doesn't really illustrate the problem they're trying to present, at least to this reader.
A woman slaps her boyfriend.
The man later slaps her.
She goes to rehearsal with a black eye and finds out that he is more valuable to the production than she is.
As someone who's gotten my share of black eyes, and given and received unfortunate stage bruises, (including mistimed hits that really connected,) I have never known a slap to cause a black eye.
And in the article, indeed, it seems not to have been the slap per se that had visible results, but that his slap had sufficient force to knock her down.
At the end of the anecdote, what I take away is that the woman did not feel that what had happened rose to the level of meriting the attention of law enforcement.
She did seem to feel the incident was worth the man losing his job over, or something....
You see, she didn't want to leave the production, but she didn't want to be forced to be around him, and well... he was in the production, they were portraying lovers. So, absent a serious re-thinking of Shakespeare's intent, and a re-staging, I guess she wanted him fired.

But she also, apparently, in a Things That Make You Go Huh????? detail, didn't even think the blow and the injury was sufficient to cause a break-up, at least not for a while, since several months later, the production is changing venues, by which I mean GOING TO ANOTHER COUNTRY, and their relationship is "all but over."
"All but over?"

It is gravely wrong for a man to strike a woman, I'm not defending that. From the details given I think the shmuck should have at least spent the night in a cell. But it does not seem that he intended to do any more damage to her than she had intended to do to him. So I'm not certain the woman shouldn't have spent some time in the hoosegow a few nights earlier.
And I'm damned sure, unless she is emotionally or mentally damaged in some way that precludes her being let out without a keeper, she should have left his sorry carcass with a little more dispatch.

Like, that night.

Is she not capable of caring for herself? of making rational life decision?
It seems she is.
So why... Omiwerd, i can't believe I am about to stick up for a producer!!!!!.... why, in her mind, is it up to the producer to do for her in her professional life, what she did not even bother to do in her private life?
Man up, woman!

And I know I shouldn't extrapolate overarching sociological principles and predictions from one situation, ("the plural of anecdote is not 'data',") but I fear these sorts of problems are going to become more and more common and more and more unsolvable as the notions of license and privacy and consent and restraint become ever more tangled in our society's collective mind and psyche.

Look at the idiotic notion of teaching children in sex education about consent, that an elementary schoolchild should say "no" to "unwanted touch." (so if the kid's okay with it, full speed ahead?)
Or the main-streaming of violent, deviant practices masquerading as romance?
Or the granting of adult autonomy, (with concomitant money and opportunity,)  to people who are simultaneously encouraged to prolong their adolescence.
People, young people especially, are consistently told that all is acceptable, all is permitted, everything is morally neutral, and nothing is anyone elses concern - and they are shamed, (or even prosecuted,) if they disagree. And yet time after time, consequences seem to give evidence that all that old-fashioned conventional wisdom and morality was, uhm.... right?
A link on the front page of the Times tells us that a college is "trying to balance student safety with open-mindedness after 12 were hospitalized last month," from overdoses.
How's that working out for ya?