Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

The Poor, Those Other People

"How I wish," [the Pope] said, "that Christians could kneel in veneration when a poor person enters the church.
"The Pope’s words came during a video message which was broadcast at a charity theatre performance"
But where does that leave the poor who are Christians?
Or the Christian who is poor?
I think we make a great error when teachings constantly emphasize the otherness of those who should not be marginalized.
Because, you know, here comes everybody.
Pretty sure I've heard we should,
Show neither partiality to the weak nor deference to the mighty.
Show no partiality as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.  
Speaking of false dichotomy, this:
The cast were not professional actors but instead the poor and needy
...just cracked me up, as it would, I think, anyone who ever made or tried to make performing arts his livelihood. 
Literally LedOL. 

Image result for cracking up
"Instead! "

“A Godly Humanism: Clarifying the Hope That Lies Within”

I look forward to Cardinal George's final book.
He was a great, thoughtful man.

And not incidentally, I have been remiss in not crediting a terrific feature of the UK's Catholic Herald, "Morning Catholic must-reads."
The careful treading of the "middle way," the forbearing of polemic -- Catholic Herald is invaluable, even if you're NOT interested in British politics, (civil and ecclesiastical ;oD)

Aid for the People of Nepal

Caritas is already on the ground in Kathmandu, seems like a good conduit for right-now donations.
Fr Pius Perumana SJ, Director of Caritas Nepal said shelter and basic necessities, like food and clean water, are the first priority.  “We started organising ourselves on Saturday afternoon, just hours after the earthquake struck,” he said. “As soon as the road was opened, we managed to reach the office, and then we started collecting our own emergency staff. We collected some tarpaulin sheets and distributed them in the neighbourhood immediately.”
With the current poor weather conditions, including rain over the past few days, the worst affected communities urgently need shelter and tarps. Roads, infrastructure and communication lines in the mountainous valleys of Nepal posed significant challenges in access and coordination long before the earthquake struck.

She Must Be So Proud of Her Name Sake University....

On the other hand, what Catholic can't be pleased to know that Notre Dame is in touch with at least some sort of  tradition?
 Soon a questionable tradition called the “Bun Run” will be upon us again. For those who don’t know, this is an event that usually takes place on Sunday night before finals week where a handful of male students hide behind masks and run naked through campus buildings, disrupting students and staff.
As a Notre Dame Food Services manager at The Huddle for 25 years, I work with 200 employees. On behalf of my employees, I respectfully ask you to consider a few things before participating in or supporting this event. We have been dealing with the negative effects of this for years, and we’ve received numerous complaints from staff.
Our employees are here to help and serve the students and should not to be subjected to harassment and offensive behavior at their daily jobs. My female staff often request schedule changes or hide in the kitchen or elsewhere in the building when this event takes place. They work extremely hard and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. This creates a hostile work environment for them. How would you feel if your mother or grandmother were working here and someone did this to them?
What does it say about Catholic college life that the, (probably under-compensated,) food service workers have a greater sense of decorum than frat boys those pursuing  higher education?
What would your Mother say?


A young woman of some celebrity says that when she became pregnant, ""My life was just not conducive to raising a happy, healthy child, I just didn't feel it was fair."

Fair to whom? Phrased this way, it seems almost as if the child's being "happy" and "healthy" was  her primary concern.

That is laudable. Or would be, if it were so.

She wouldn't have been able to "raise" a "happy, healthy child."
That is understandable, she was young, sexually active without being in a committed relationship.
So to be "fair" to the child whom she couldn't "raise" she gave him up for adoption she arranged to have him killed, at some cost and pain to herself.

That was fair.
Is she, is anyone actually surprised to "see shame and embarrassment around" choosing someone else's death over ones own inconvenience, disruption of college, damper put on plans?

Is the world so ugly that a time could come when there will be no stigma attached to such callousness?

Dear God, I pray not.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

What the Francis?

"The Christian life is not a museum of memories....to do as you've always done is an 'alternative death.'"

I cannot deny that I have a sweet tooth...

.... so this shirt, courtesy of Eccles , makes GREAT sense, and is politically and economically persuasive.
equal cake
Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker's man. Bake me a cake OR I'LL RUIN YOU.


If you are hungering for breakfast food, or are weathered in the house, (like "snowed in," only different,) and feel like doing something, if you have access to the Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook,
the first hard cover cookbook I'm told, and maybe the best cookbook EVER, at least in some respects (and I believe now re-issued so you don't have to search out one with crisco stains and dog ears and other people's cooking aromas at a used book store and pay an arm and a leg for it, as I once did,) you need, yes, I say NEED to try the Oatmeal Pancake recipe therein

Not certain at all of the copyright sitch on these recipes, so I'll link to where some more intrepid soul has posted it.
(I am currently entertaining a copyright fiend, and do not wish to cross it by violating its standards. Said fiend is a wickedly good cook, and I am a wickedly bad eater.)

Never Too Old For a New Experience

Yes, this was the first time I have ever experienced real hail, (as opposed to the "what's that noise? really big rain drops?" type, or "I dunno, don't think I'll go out it's sleeting, or snowing or something pretty noisy...")

When they say "walnut size" or "tennis ball size" they actually mean it!

Only because our aging Toyota's finish  is already a sad mess, and the roofs of the houses were recently inspected, as crazy loud as it became, it was only exciting and interesting, not scary.

Monday, 27 April 2015

"The Hard Core of Church Life"?

A Jesuit magazine has an article about the ways in which the Holy father is changing the Church.
Pope Francis is changing the Church?
The OHC&A Church is semper reformanda, it is always in need of change, or positive change.

But this is an idiotic and ahistoric view of things:
For more than a millennium dogma has been the hard core of church life
It hasn't.

Love trumps Dogma, always did, always will (in fact, dogma itself tells us that it is trumped by love.)

The core of life in the Catholic Church has always been caritas, Active Love, in other words, (sorry, sola fides types,) the much maligned and misunderstood "good works," whether those good works consist of worship directed toward the Triune God, (that is following "the first of these,") or those  good works which we direct towards each other, (the second which "is like the first" but is nonetheless second.)

But, and this is important, the highest value? the "hard core", as you put it?
It's Love -- not Niceness.
Here's a shocker for ya - seemingly loving actions which contradict revealed Truth ARE NOT MANIFESTATIONS OF LOVE.

Quite the opposite.

But they like it! is not always the best reason to give someone something.
"But it's absolutely LUSCIOUS, Hon! I heard about it on the Internet from a snake! You'll see... TRY it!"

Should we care?

Catholic Relief Services does fantastic work.
The people of Nepal, for instance, are in dire need of its ministrations.
One of CRS's executives flaunts the fact that he is in a particular kind of sinful situation, one which defies the Church's teachings.
This sin is different from most other sins, not in kind or gravity, but in that it is proudly promoted as not being sinful.
But so far as I can see, nothing about this man's position sets him up as a role model to impressionable children or under-educated adults.
And presumably he's good at his job.
Which is helping insure that there is money to help people in desperate need of help.

So should I really care?

GWTW was on yesterday afternoon, so of course, Himself had to watch.
I caught only one scene, but it was an interesting one, to me, at this point in time.

Miz Melly was glad to take Belle Watling's money, and was pretty gracious about it, too. (Of course, the lady of the [whore] house had some degree of shame about her enterprise, and you know what an admirer I am of decent hypocrisy.)
Image result for belle watling melanie

He said what?

I have a friend, good Catholic, very devout, with Stations and novenas and Sacraments and very devoted to service, with social justice and visiting the sick and building houses for the underprivileged.

More and more often, he is asking me, did you see where the Pope said.....? followed by something either flat contradictory to Catholic teaching, or really judgy about the kind of people the Pope is thought not to like, or just plain cray-cray.
It upsets him, because he's not accustomed to Questioning Things Popes Say, (even long dead ones, if speaking "officially" as opposed to  just talking the way we sinners are wont to occasionally talk, even with the best of intentions.)
(And some popes, sadly, can not be trusted to have had the 'best of intentions.")

I can often set his mind at ease, because what he has heard is someone else's dishonest paraphrase, or irresponsibility, or even completely fabricated balderdash, (you know, like the dogs go to heaven "news story," or the atheist citing from memory?)
And really, is there much the media is more likely to get wrong that anything in anyway related to religion?
But sometimes it's something of which I have not heard, of worse, have heard and know to be true but cannot think of anyway to put a good construction on what was said.

He had one in our most recent conversation that rang no bell, so I don't know if it was an accurate post or not.

And that's troubling, because I realized we've reached the point where we can't just flat deny something absurd out of hand because the Pope "wouldn't have" said it.

'Cause, you know..... he might.

 This was one that recently caused to to ask,  "Huh?"

“To find a woman, man first must dream her and then find her.”
That's really all I have to say. Huh?

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Discrimination? How un-PC!

A situation on a situation comedy, Modern Family, set me to wondering.
Jay (Ed O'Neill) agrees to sub in on Cam’s bowling team for the finals but Cam (Eric Stonestreet) was not fully upfront about it being an all gay league, which puts Jay in a precarious position.
Wouldn't it be "brave" to tackle the discrimination issue,  for the producers to build on that episode by having Cam and Jay, who put winning above all, bully lawyer Mitch into trying to get their trophy back by suing the homosexuals who organize and comprise the league for discriminating against heterosexuals? (Most of whom are, um... born that way.)

Friday, 24 April 2015

“The only thing we take with us when we die is what we have given away.”

Thus Abp Sartain quoted the man himself in his homily for Cdl George.

If this seems familiar, it should, Oscar Hammerstein said, (through Maria Rainer,) pretty much the same thing - "love isn't love 'til you give it away."

And, as long as we're quoting, the great theological team of Lennon and McCartney told us, "all you need is love."

Am I mocking any of them? I am not.

Because as John told the recipients of his first letter,  and Benedict reminded us in his first encyclical, "God is love."

And isn't He Whose very Self is Love all we need?

And we will be called to account, on the Last Day for what we did with what He gave_
The one who had received the one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter;
so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.’
His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant!* So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant and gather where I did not scatter?
Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return?
Great truths always permit of many different expressions.

Holy Worm Food

Besides Friday in the third week of Eastertide, today is the feast day of the martyr Fidelis of Sigmaringen, a Capuchin father. It is said that when he realized that his death at the hands of "reformers" was inevitable the knowledge cheered him, and he began signing his letters, "Father Fidelis, in days ahead to become food for worms."
Pfärrenbach Wandmalerei Fidelis von Sigmaringen.jpg
Much talk of martyrdom nowadays, is there not?
I am an utter physical coward, if I were ever tested I should prove less than unworthy, I would apostasize at the merest threat of pain, I know I would.
Where do people find such courage?
Obviously, from God, it is grace from Him, a share in His omnipotent Love, that is to say, a share in His very Self.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

So Chimpanzees Might Have Certain Rights...

... in a state that denies those rights to certain unborn humans even after reaching the numbers of weeks when viability may have been achieved?

Do I have that right? I'm never quite sure I'm not reading the Onion...

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

"Do you walk to school or bring your lunch?"

When I was in 4th grade, that was a real knee-slapper to us.

"Walk to school" versus "carry your lunch"? Ha!

The absurdity of setting up such a dichotomy, contrasting apples and oranges giraffes was apparent to kids, even if we would not have known how to describe it.

Because, um... not only are they not exclusive of each other.

Such logic can no longer be taken for granted, even in adults.

Even in wordsmiths , who one guesses are paid for their efforts, and are presumed to know what words mean.

We are told that a bishop " was a deeply conservative intellectual ... but... came to appreciate [those who] tended more toward openness and pastoral approaches."

Got that? the yin and the yang of conservative/open? the polarity of intellectual/pastoral?

I suppose it's to be expected of an editorial board that has already decided to lie claim that the good Cardinal George, the prelate in question, "has always been seen" as someone who represented the Big Bad Hierarchical Church to the detriment of his own flock.

Isn't that clever? Not to say that he was that way, they might need facts to back that up, instead to say that he was seen that way. Ya know, by unnamed others.
But it must have been a lot of others, in fact, everyone, because it was, "always."

Talk about weasel words.....

Tuesday, 21 April 2015


Just to be sure you know, although it is often used as an expletive of triumph or praise, "hosanna" is actually a plea to be saved. (And I'm not using this as an attack on Obamacare, I think universal healthcare should be the law of the land.)
Lord, save us!
In a radio interview Sunday, Princeton University ethics professor Peter Singer argued it is “reasonable” for government or private insurance companies to deny treatment to severely disabled babies.
Singer contended the health-care system under Obamacare should be more overt about rationing and that the country should acknowledge the necessity of “intentionally ending the lives of severely disabled infants.”
..... In [a previously published treatise], Singer argued for the morality of “non-voluntary euthanasia” for human beings not capable of understanding the choice between life and death, including “severely disabled infants, and people who through accident, illness, or old age have permanently lost the capacity to understand the issue involved.”
For Singer, the wrongness of killing a human being is not based on the fact that the individual is alive and human. Instead, Singer argued it is “characteristics like rationality, autonomy, and self-consciousness that make a difference.”
Asked whether he envisions denying treatment to disabled infants to become more common in the U.S. under the new health-care law, Singer replied: “It does happen. Not necessarily because of costs."
[The interviewer asked if] the killing of severely disabled infants should be institutionalized to reduce health-care costs... “I know that it happens and it happens certainly if the family gives consent. But do you think in the future in order to ensure a more fair rationing of health-care and health-care costs, that it should actually be instituted more? The killing of severely disabled babies?”
Singer responded such a plan would be “quite reasonable” if it saved money that can be used for better purposes. He contended that most people would say they don’t want their premiums to be higher “so that infants who can experience zero quality of life can have expensive treatments.”

"Keys of the Kingdom," and Combination Locks, and Whether Or Not “Purgatorye ys Pissed Owte”

... as Robert Wymond memorably, if inaccurately, claimed.

Himself is deep into a currently televised  Masterpiece based on a beautiufully written anti-Catholic fantasy, although he agrees with me, (I, who am in and out of the room as he watches and have seen quite a bit of the program, have only expressed my opinion once, very early in the series,) that it is extremely slow and somewhat boring.
But still it's history, so it's sure to hold him to the very end.
(Terrific acting, terrific! And clever writing, it's the editing and pacing where it falls down. IMHO)
But Himself, as I, will nearly always want to delve into primary sources, (I tend to merely wade into the shallow end, but he is a strong swimmer.)

I hope some of his research will make him angry, and I am fairly certain it will.
He gets spitting mad at the Oliver Stones and the apologists who canonize Robert E Lee and vilify U. S Grant.

As for me, as I said, I seldom leave the kiddie pool of research.

Anyway, having engaged in a conversation about purgatory and intercessory prayer with an inquisitive fourth-grader, I was thinking back to my surprise at the Ten Articles, Thirty-Nine Articles or the Six or Fourteen or however many there were in the time period depicted in an episode of the Tudors, and how badly the post-VC II reformers had done, (in some cases,) to slide into (some of) the demands of the Reformation-era reformers, (other demands were quite right,) and how strange and piece-meal was England's fall into heresy.

And at the time, I remember, wandering around those Interwebs the way I used to wander around the card catalogue, and learning things I didn't know about the beginnings of protestantism, (and why, as Newman said, "to be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.")
Heck, Luther's protestantism is only skin deep!
the remission and participation [in the blessings of the Church] which are granted by the pope are in no way to be despised, for they are, as I have said, the declaration of divine remission. 
Well.... yeah. 38/95
 And again, at 61/95,
it is clear that for the remission of penalties and of reserved cases, the power of the pope is of itself sufficient.
But this was a shocker
The power which the pope has, in a general way, over purgatory, is just like the power which any bishop or curate has, in a special way, within his own diocese or parish.
Purgatory, Luther believed in Purgatory. (25/95)

Anyway, all that meandering aside, what I was really thinking about was an ultra-conservative, NOT traditionalist, Catholic whom i came to know when I first ventured into the swamp that is the Catholic blogosphere.
She believed that the Pope's, (it was JP II, at the time,) possession of the Keys to the Kingdom, his authority to bind and loose, authority to canonize exist  essentially as a power to DO those things, whereas my understanding was that they exist as knowledge, the power to KNOW that someone is in heaven, not to put him there, if you will.
The Pope does not, can not compel God to forgive a sinner, can he?
But it can be granted that a pope will know that a sinner who has repented has been forgiven by God.
"Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained," is not a simple description of cause and effect.

So if it had been left up to me, since God is All-knowing, All-wise, All-good, it was is NOT, but if it had been -- I would have phrased it to Peter that he didn't have the Keys, exactly, just the combination to the lock.
(The fact that combination locks didn't exist in Apostolic times is a minor problem, but a problem nonetheless, I grant you....)

I'm probably missing something here.
Please, some theologian, enlighten me.

Lies and the Lying Liars Who Lie Them

A friend, who is not Catholic, and not particularly sympathetic to anything that smacks of conservatism, in politics or the arts, was listening to the news, (can't recall whether it was network or cable,) with me and reference was made to the joy with which the crowd in St Peter's square greeted the news of Francis's election in contrast to the grim reaction to Benedict's.
Wha??!?#?$?? he asked, I watched that on television, they showed it over and over, the crowds at the announcement of Benedict reacted the way they ALWAYS do, jubilantly, there were nuns jumping up and down, seminarians wave flags and cheering, why in the world would they say --

Slow your roll, Mike, I demurred, that is the accepted version of the MSM and the dissenting Catholic press, that's what everyone always claims now.

And whether you heard it from a Republican strategist, ("perception IS reality!"), or a Nazi, (a lie of sufficient enormity to convince everyone, since NO one could have "the impudence to distort the truth so infamously"), you all know how it works.
They couldn't say it on those Interwebs if it weren't true, right? And my boyfriend is a French model....
Image result for "my boyfriend' "french model"

There are some matters that one never looks into, everyone says it so....

All this is prelude to another story of lies and the lying liars who've been lying them.
The National Catholic Register's having actually looked in to something.
You know, the way actual news organization do, well, are supposed to pretend to.
Recall the matter of the evil, hated California priest who has left acrimony in his wake, and stirred things up, and wounded all and sundry at his new parish... NOT.
As the signatories [of a newspaper ad clling for their bishop's removal] framed Father Illo’s appointment as another blot on the [Cordileone's] legacy in the city, the situation on the ground at Star of the Sea remains far more nuanced — and far less grim — than the harsh claims would suggest.
“The old-timers are delighted that Father Illo has come because he is ‘breathing new life into the parish,’” Vivian Dudro, a new parishioner and mother of four who returned almost two decades after her youngest child was baptized at Star of the Sea, told the Register.
“The parish is attracting new people who want to go to the liturgies and public prayer open to the public. My husband went to the men’s prayer, and a high-school student was there who had shown up on his own for prayer.”
“If that’s not evidence of new life,” Dudro said, “I don’t know what is.”
Indeed, those who attended the retirement party for Carmel Tickler, the parish's operations manager since 1991, said Tigler's farewell speech noted that there had never been more pastoral activity during her tenure than at the present time, under Father Illo's leadership.....
he pastor made the decision to focus on training altar boys back in November. Two months later, he said, “the day before the 2015 Walk for Life, the local CBS affiliate arrived with cameras to do a story” on the only all-boy altar-server program in the diocese.
When he watched the story on the news, the pastor recalled his surprise at the “the grim way it was treated, as if there was some kind of catastrophe or scandal in San Francisco.”...
Father Illo explained the rationale behind his decision to the parish-school community....

‘Popular’ Pastor in Stockton
Finally, the priest strongly disputed the claim that he had a troubled history in the Diocese of Stockton before his arrival at Star of the Sea.
Media reports have already noted that Father Illo created a stir in Modesto when he told parishioners that it was wrong to vote for a candidate who supported abortion rights even if his or her other positions were good.
However, The Modesto Bee described Father Illo as a “popular” pastor. And the priest told the Register that he ran a large parish with “5,500 families — about 19,000 members. We had more men in the seminary than any other parish and one of the highest levels of Mass attendance.”
These details were absent from the Chronicle ad. Also missing was information that contradicted the portrait of Star of the Sea’s new pastor as an unmitigated disaster.
Jesuit Father Joseph Fessio, the founder of Ignatius Press, which is located in San Francisco, has known Joseph Illo since before he entered the seminary and dismissed the allegation that he had a “troubled” history in Stockton.
“When we have the annual Walk for Life, there are several busloads of people from Modesto, where he is hugely popular,” said Father Fessio, who nonetheless agreed that the priest had stumbled somewhat during his first year at Star of the Sea — and taken responsibility for it.

New Initiatives
When Father Illo arrived at Star of the Sea last August, he took up residence in a diverse but fading parish with an aging population and weak finances.
He planned to establish an oratory of St. Philip Neri at the parish, after obtaining Archbishop Cordileone’s agreement to a plan that seemed like an ideal path for revitalizing Star of the Sea.
An oratory, he explained, is a “community of priests and brothers who are committed to a life of common prayer and apostolic work.”
“Usually, the oratories enhance the parish and school because they provide a stable body of priests that stay with the parish for the rest of their lives,” Father Illo explained.
At present, one other priest has already joined the oratory. Star of the Sea has 1,200 parishioners, mostly elderly couples and single people.
Father Illo hopes to attract many more Catholics and already sees signs of hope, with a 60% increase in parish revenue since he arrived and much higher numbers at this year’s Triduum services.
“We assume we will be here for the duration, and we are putting in programs and improving the church lighting and sound system.”
“New initiatives include Bible study and men and women’s support groups,” he said.
... Father Illo...believes his parish and the city of San Francisco desperately need hope to overcome the challenges ahead.... But if Father Illo and his oratory have actually lit the flame of hope at Star of the Sea, why has the pastor become a target of angry critics?
As Father Illo sees it, part of the problem is that Star of the Sea School is only 40% Catholic, and the school community has become separated from the parish.
Thus, even as parishioner Vivian Dudro celebrates the increase in Mass attendance, along with the new Bible study class and parish barbecues, last month also featured an angry meeting of school parents who aired a host of grievances about the priest’s policies.
Father Illo hopes he can build bridges with the school, and his immediate goal is to move from monthly to weekly Masses for students and also teach a religion class. [ed. note- a Catholic school that only offers a school Mass once a month????]
But even as he labors to stabilize his parish school, there is little sign that the fury against Archbishop Cordileone will abate, and that means this new pastor could face further trouble.
Pray for San Francisco, and pray for the city's Catholics and non-Catholics, and pray for Fr Illo and pray for Archbishop Cordileone.

Plenty of Strange Bedfellows, Plenty of Sources for Them

The article on the peril in which the Church finds itself in modern day Turkey referenced below has made me wonder, why is the axiom that politics makes for strange bedfellows?
War, and the ancient truism that the enemy of my enemy is my friend makes for far weirder and less appropriate sex partners.
Surely one argument against going to war is that however necessary, however "just", it almost inevitably makes prostitutes of the nations that engage in it, in one way or another.

Trying to explain incense to children of a minimalist parish...

.... whose only encounters with its fragrances are likely through the hippie-slash-beachcomber denizens of this area?
Not easy.
And myrrh?
Eeeeeeeeeeew, you mean they were going to touch His body???!?!??$?%????!?!?!!? (I employed the upper case for the pronoun, it was almost certainly not inherent in the line reading of the little heathen who asked the question.)
Nearly hopeless.
This, by Peter Leithart caught my eye:
JPM Sweet points out that the Greek word “Smyrna” means myrrh, the perfume given to Jesus by the magi and, importantly, part of the mix of spices used for Jesus’ burial (John 19:29). Jesus... now sends a message to the church of myrrh,. which is also facing death but promised resurrection.
Myrrh was a component of the holy anointing oil for the priests (Exodus 30:23), and was one of the perfumes that created an aromatic cloud around the king (Song of Songs 3:6) and grew in the garden that was the bride (Song of Songs 4:14). With a church at Smyrna, Jesus is the myrrh-anointed Priest, the holy Lover, and the suffering church is also a priest in Him, the perfumed beloved.
Of course, the notion that what happens in the Smyrna where Christianity is in such danger might be of any interest to them, when there is another Smyrna just a hop and skip from Disney World would be an even harder sell than the value of myrrh....

Go with God, Bishop Finn

To the joy, I've no doubt, of many a "progressive" catholic, and enemy of the Church's teachings, Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Missouri, has resigned.
I do not personally know him nor do I know anyone, so far as I recall, whose ordinary he was. I have no special knowledge of his situation, or the case that was, ultimately, his downfall, or, rather, his "disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes," because who is to know what heights he has or yet may reach, precisely because of his "disgrace" so far as the media are concerned, for Heaven is NOT deaf, and worldly praise or success is nothing more than a footnote to our unnding stories.
 That said, this seemed to me to have the ring of truth when I read it last year:
Denigration of Bishop Finn intensified in 2010 after he learned from his vicar general that a diocesan priest had inappropriate pictures of young girls on his personal computer. The diocese immediately notified a ranking Kansas City police officer, and the pictures were provided to legal counsel as well. Both opined that the photos did not constitute child pornography as they did not contain sexual conduct or contact as defined by Missouri law.
The priest was immediately called and told to appear at the chancery the next day, but he did not. He was instead found unconscious in his garage after an attempted suicide. He remained unconscious for four days, and was not expected to live.
After recovering and undergoing psychiatric care, Bishop Finn removed the priest from pastoral duties, and said he was not allowed electronic devices or any interaction with children. When the priest breached those restrictions, the diocese turned him over to civil authorities. Detectives then discovered images of a pornographic nature at the priest's family's home, and he was charged that same day. 
Misdemeanor charges were filed against the bishop and the diocese. In order to spare the victims a drawn out jury trial and have the charges against the diocese dropped, which would have likely resulted in crippling insurance increases, Bishop Finn submitted to a one day bench trial and was indicted and found guilty of a misdemeanor for not reporting suspected child abuse.
.....Many see what took place as a political vendetta against the bishop for his orthodoxy and an obvious attempt to make him an example in the Church sex abuse scandal, as the specifics of his case do not involve him perpetrating or willfully facilitating abuse.
The independent investigation ordered by Bishop Finn did find fault with the diocese’s handling of some parts of the process, but the lapses do not amount to criminal conduct [according to attornies.]
And keeping in mind that even the Paper of Record, no friend to Christian orthodoxy, finds pleas for treatment rather than criminalization of users of child pornography a valid arguement to be made, the cries for Finn's head that have been going on since before the Ratigan case have always, to me, seemed agenda-driven.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Misreading a Reading

ARGHHHHH! On the reading from Acts, I inflected as if there were a comma after "suffer."

Hans Sachs on the Liturgy?

It will not leave me...I feel it though I can't understand it.
I can't grasp it, nor yet forget it, and when I think I've grasped it, I cannot take its measure!
How can one measure what seems beyond measuring?
It did not fit the rules, yet it had no faults.
It sounded so old.

Yet as fresh as a bird's song in May!
.....he sang it because he had to...

And as he had to,  he could.

Of course the old cobbler wasn't really thinking of the Mass, he was actually just on about a song - but as so often, Wagner's, (reflected in words he gives his alter ego,) esteem for his own metier, for his own skills are a pale echo of what all men's souls somehow recognize in, and desire from, the transcendent. The which is only available to them in the right worship of God. And isn't this a perfect description of the awe felt by, and the sensation left with, those of us privileged to participate in the Holy Sacrifice? When we sing the Mass don't we acknowledge a ceremony that is both beyond end somehow within our selves?

Take THAT, Lucy!

Lucy Fur, that is.
Eccles notes that something devilish is afoot on the othe coast, but the Supreme Court handed Satan and his minions a defeat today on this one.
The U.S. Supreme Court has continued its trend of decisions stopping enforcement of a federal contraception mandate against religious employers with moral objections.

On April 15, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito issued an order barring the federal government from enforcing the mandate against Catholic Charities affiliates, Catholic schools and social service organizations in the dioceses of Erie and Pittsburgh.

I don't owe my "sister" obedience

Not that I don't have several sisters who are really swell people, and all...
The Catholic Church, or, to be precise, the Holy See will have a pavilion at EXPO Milan 2015, which is a good thing.
The theme of the exposition is ""Feeding the Planet."
Also good!
And the theme of the Holy See's contribution to the festivities is “Not by bread alone.”
Beyond good, purt'dang near perfect!
The Holy See Pavilion will take as its title two short Biblical phrases: 'Not by bread alone' and 'Give us today our daily bread'
But then, this:
Msgr. Luca Bressan commented that the Holy See Pavilion will offer to help tourists and citizens encounter “the mystical dimension, openness to God”. He added that the method to be followed will be that of posing problems and making suggestions to solve them, “used with success by Pope Francis, to show that the Church is not a sour schoolmistress but rather a sister who shares our path with lucidity and a vision of the future, a devoted mother able to show the ways and the resources of the future”.
My sister, my mother, my sister, my mother..... I feel like Evelyn Mulwray.

I suppose if Jesus is my (step?) brother, the Church can be my sister, but I am uncomfortable with what seems to be increasing emphasis on a kind of, if not equality, parity in these mystical relationships, a down-playing of man[kind]'s DISparity in status.
It's presumptuous.
And I really think it is wrong to downplay the Church's teaching authority by saying she is not a "sour schoolmistress."
Better to learn at the foot of a sour schoolmarm than to have no schooling at all....
But yes, it's certainly more pleasant if She hasn't, or rather, that we, as Her agents don't give Her "the face of a pickled pepper," as the Holy Father has put it.
Image result for pope francis frowning

Friday, 17 April 2015

Religious Leader "Fostering an Atmosphere of Division and Intolerance.”

In an unprecedented move, more than 100 prominent donors and members of the Chosen People signed a full-page ad running Thursday in The Herod Herald that calls on God Almighty to replace Galilean gadfly Jesus BarJoseph for fostering “an atmosphere of division and intolerance.”
The plea follows months of dissent within the the community over the itinerent preacher's emphasis on what he claims is the "will of his father" — including asking respected members of the Sanhedrin and staffers at the Temple to adhere to a code of morality clause that characterizes certain gravely evil actions as something they have been used to getting away with because an earlier religious leader, Moses, went soft on them because of their "hardness of heart."
In their open letter to the Lord, Jesus's critics say his disruption of legitimate commerce in the Temple, his apparent support for a relative's verbal attack on the Tetrarch's wife, and his high-handed insistence that the Woman Taken in Adultery" "go and sin no more," is mean-spirited and “sets a pastoral tone that is closer to persecution than evangelization.”
The ad drew swift condemnation from his followers, including the apostles and other outside agitators, who said those who signed it don’t speak for the community, though one, Judas Iscariot says he is in sympathy with some aims of the signators.
Among their complaints were that Jesus disregards the advice of Scribes and Pharisees in favor of “a tiny group of advisers recruited from outside Jerusalem and estranged from their own fathers and mothers, threatens the long-term health of Occupied Palestine by adopting a “single-issue agenda” against sin and oppression
“It seems he is going in a direction that is completely opposite where our Roman overlords are going and creating an atmosphere of complete intolerance,” said a rich guy who signed. Jesus, hanotgher rich guy continued, “is just causing a lot of discord, especially with the young people in the Jeruslame.”
“The crux of our worry is that people are going to become very disenchanted and stop pretending to belong to the faith because they don’t like the message, and the message is not the way they lead their lives,”

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Babies Is Funny

I am amused and charmed by babies and toddlers of all degrees and stations, so don't take my repeating of this story as evidence of any royalist leanings.

A visitor asked the Duchess of Cambridge,
"... if Prince George was excited about the new prince or princess that was coming and she said yes and that he is a toddler and is talking and walking"....
"Then she told me that his daddy, Prince William, was visiting China.
"After hearing this he went to the china cabinet, opened it and proclaimed 'daddy is not here.'"
Prince George

"Normal Human Adaptation"

An Irish, Catholic pol says that the Church's "regrettable" teachings on human sexuality "will change,"  since, you know, homosexuality is not intrinsically disordered, but is instead a "perfectly normal human adaptation.”


What? like, um, necessary evolutionary change to contend with changed circumstances?
An alteration in the structure or function of an organism or any of its parts that results from natural selection and by which the organism becomes better fitted to survive and multiply in its environment.
The only way that makes sense is....
Well, let me tell you a story.
There was this comedienne, can't remember who was  heckled by an audience member, What, are you a lesbian?

She replied, Let me think about it - are you the alternative?
So yeah, I suppose I can see where homosexuality could be an "adaptation"....

"You know you have reached middle age when every new person you meet reminds you of someone you already know"

So said Ogden Nash, (perhaps not in those exact words, but some such...)

And old age?

Apparently, when no "celebrity" cited in the media is anyone of whom you have ever even heard.

If only the Roman Catholic Church had some sacred language that belonged equally to all, instead of to one particular ethnic or national group....

...we wouldn't have these problems.

If only.....
Sunday's mass at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Chapel was the last to be offered entirely in Spanish. About 200 people attended.
Ben Abel, a Fort Bragg spokesman, said the Spanish-language mass isn't in demand like it used to be.
"We don't have that same quantity of need," he said. "Now that 7th Group is no longer here, there isn't as great a need. That's not to say there aren't Spanish speakers on post."
When 7th Special Forces Group was on Fort Bragg, there was a greater need for a Spanish mass, he said. The unit, which moved to Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, in 2011 as part of a base realignment, has strong ties to Central and South Americas to which it is aligned.
Chaplains decided to seize the opportunity to streamline the Spanish mass with an English one to create a stronger religious community, Abel said.
Sarcasm aside, a priest who opposes the change says,  "We have to protect their culture."

Do we? I suppose that might depend on who the "we" is, but I'm pretty sure neither the US Armed Forces nor the Catholic chaplaincy of the US Armed Forces have that obligation.

Like the vitality of Schrödinger's cat ...

In a society that has jettisoned recourse to common sense as a means to settle matters, all takes on reality are, it seems, up for grabs.
All actions, particularly those involving sexual consent, can simultaneously be thought of as right and wrong.

The world says, clearly, loudly, repeatedly, that it is wrong to discourage any sexual urge -- except of course when it isn't.
This is regardless of the age, marital connection to, gender, prior acquaintance, blood relation, other commitments, oh heck, species of the object of that sexual urge.
Except, of course when those things do matter, and should be regarded.
An elderly politician may go on trial for having engaged in sexual activity with his beloved and loving wife, who had Alzheimer's and was in a nursing home.
A poster in the combox at the linked article says that though he has often stated, "I would not wish a burden similar to mine on my worst enemy....I ‘d be tempted to reconsider that kindness for" those who seem responsible for pushing this malicious prosecution, and I'm tempted to agree.
A more complete treatment of the case is at Bloomberg.
My volunteer activities in the "memory wing" of a nursing home don't give me any particular insight into this situation, but they do provide me with experience of drastic differences in dementia patients' levels of autonomy, of self-actuation and motivation, and more to the point, the drastic differences a single person may present, from week to week, even from moment to moment.
I imagine that, yes, this man from time to time offered attentions that were unwelcome at that particular moment, or that were welcome a split second earlier and no longer were.
But of course, so did the nurses, and the daughters, the and the CNAs, (and probably ministers,) - their attentions would have been of hygiene, beverages and therapy,(and probably prayer and the Blessed Sacrament,) rather than of affection.
But common sense, people!
That people colluded to deprive this old man of his wife and yes, this old woman of her husband, is just cruel.

Oh, one last thing, an opinion forged from one too many personal experiences - any family member who does NOT, as this poor man was said to, have "difficulty following parameters set by [a nursing home or hospital] staff" isn't paying attention.

And probably doesn't deserve to be called "family.".

Monday, 13 April 2015

"Hate Speech"

I'm curious, at what point does criticism cross the line into hate speech?

Does it have more to do with whose ox is being gored than with the words supposedly doing the goring?

I'm not seeing the "attacks, threat[s], or insults" that the petition says qualifies as "hate speech," (though they might be there, I certainly haven't heard or read every word that the teacher in question has written or pronounced - just haven't seen them in any of the "evidence.")

Perhaps the time has come to replace the bromide of "hate the sin but love the sinner," with the profession that Catholicism, (which actually calls us to articles of faith which we believe are the will of God, not just nice feelings,) hates the heresy without hating the heretic?

Update: Apparently, my guess that the ownership of said ox might be parmount was correct. "Nightmare dumpster human," for instance, is, I guess you'd say, "love speech."


Comcast has been hinky lately, (talk about first world problems,) out with surprising frequency considering there is no "weather" to blame.
(On the other hand, OnDemand makes it very easy for us to pick up specials or episodic tv we couldn't manage first time around because of our schedules, so I shouldn't complain.)
And we still, just barely, seem to be able to record the non-HD channels to timeshift ourselves, (no DVR,) so, while everything was "out" again today and oh, dear, I couldn't do some online work, there was nothing for it but to watch the opera we recorded yesterday, (originally from last year, I think?)
Too bad.... ;oP
I'd never seen Meistersinger before, but not because of its length, (I've sat stood through Frau Ohne Schatten and Nicholas Nickleby multiple times, ) just never had the opportunity.
My Father and my godfather would be spinning to hear me confess it, but Wagner GOES ON TOO LONG.
How he, and we, would have benefited from the humility to submit himself to an editor, (and I say this as one who acknowledges her own tendency to run on...)

Some of the libretto is a bit much, the glorification of Germanic art, (oh, and by implication of Wagner himself?) from Sachs, but the march? the prelude? Stendhal Syndrome, I weep at the sheer beauty of some of it.
Generally good, in some cases stunning performances. I'd love to hear the Beckmesser in something sympathetic that would allow him to show off his beautiful sound and nuanced acting. (What? burlesque and vaudeville can be nuanced.)
As always, though, I am easily distracted by minutia, and in this case, it was pondering of whom the tenor reminded me....

Image result for chris march

As Catholic As They Wanna Be...

... instead of as Catholic as the world/political correctness/governmental agencies tasked with oversight of employee healthcare/people who demand that those who demonstrate contempt for your beliefs are entitled to  work for you if they want/armchair activists might be willing to allow them to be.
Wyoming Catholic College... [c]iting concerns about federal rules on birth control and same-sex marriage...decided this winter to join a handful of other religious colleges in refusing to participate in the federal student-aid programs that help about two-thirds of students afford college.
I find it hard to...  like a place that brags that its students are permitted to carry guns but not cell phones, but there you have it, opposition to enforced political correctness makes absolutely whack bed-fellows.
I'm still wondering about this,
Students who are transgender.... “would be contravening church teaching just by being here.”
Does either doctrine, dogma or discipline really address this specific psychological problem?
(As I recall, one of St Joan of Arc's "crimes" was wearing masculine attire.)
Or does the term "transgender" mean something more than "identifying," are there particular actions one would need to take to be considered "transgender" - can urges absent acting upon those urges be sinful?

Sacramental Theology

Not in any sense, by any stretch an endorsement for someone who has yet to strike me as other than a calculating politician, but this is a great description of the profundity of the Church that those who focus on feelings and fellowship tend to miss entirely.
Every sacrament, every symbol and tradition of the Catholic faith is intended to convey, above everything else, the revelation that God yearns  for a relationship with you.
There's a sound bit I hear over and over again on the radio, Al Kresta saying something like, "the vast majority of Catholics have been sacamentalized but not evangelized," and the truth of that, at least within my experience, is brought home every week.
The RelEd kids no longer surprise me - it's their parents and, yes, their Catechism teachers who are such exemplars of this sad state of affairs.

Well, to quote Spock...

... only Nixon could go to China.
I am not as sanguine about the chances of Pope Francis reconciling with break-away traditionalist groups as Fr Z seems to be, but there's always hope.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Bravo, Pope Francis

Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it.
Pope Francis on Sunday marked the 100th anniversary of the slaughter of Armenians by calling the massacre by Ottoman Turks "the first genocide of the 20th century" and urging the international community to recognize it as such. Turkey immediately responded by recalling its ambassador and accusing Francis of spreading hatred and "unfounded claims."
Francis issued the pronouncement during a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica commemorating the centenary that was attended by Armenian church leaders and President Serge Sarkisian, who praised the pope for calling a spade a spade and "delivering a powerful message to the international community."
"The words of the leader of a church with 1 billion followers cannot but have a strong impact," he told The Associated Press.
Historians estimate that up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks around the time of World War I, an event widely viewed by scholars as the first genocide of the 20th century.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Why Not Present Oneself for Communion?

A blogger to which I will not link, for even when I agree with his basic point, his langage, invective, and animus for his fellow sinners is beyond the pale,) rightly, I think, sometimes decries the flouting of litrugical law that implies a flouting of doctrine.
But he's really worked himself up over the idea of "“trannii probati”" having their feet washed during the Holy Thursday mandatum in a Roman prison.
Jails do not gather the most beautiful flowers of humanity....
Okay, stipulated.
The Church certainly belongs in a jail, but the Church belongs there in order to convert or reform the sinners, not to encourage them in their sins....
Again, agreed.
[Which] is, most certainly, what has happened with this disgraceful episode.
What "sin" is encouraged?
How is gender dysphoria a sin?
It is either mental illness or acting out, and done because one is in denial about ones sex, or to enjoy the frisson of drag, but if the former, which surely must be the case when one is allowed to cross-dress in a prison, absent an intention to deceive others, (because one has already deceived oneself,) where is the sin?
There is no possible universe in which a Trannie can present himself for communion dressed like a woman and therefore fully embracing, for everyone to see, his own perversion – and receive worthily. Her very attitude, clothes, walk, talk, in short: all her person will scream: “I am in mortal sin!”
If we can accept a world in which that is not mortal sin, then nothing must be a mortal sin.Since gender-specific clothes, shoes, make-up, hairstyle, etc., are societal constructs, I really can't see how someone suffering from a disordered gender identity is in mortal sin for wearing make-up, a gown, "done" hair - I just can't.
A delusional man dressing up as a woman is not sinful, it's pitiable.
Image result for samson Image result for george washington wig

Why is Laurent Stefanini's Appointment as French Ambassado to the Vatican Not Accepted?

I apologize, if it ain't about la saison nouvelle, mort, (both exquise and parfumée,) or masques et bergamasques my French comprehension is not all that good, but doesn't this in Le Monde,
Laurent Stefanini est pourtant à Rome en terrain connu. Agé de 55 ans, l’actuel chef du protocole de l’Elysée y a été numéro 2 de l’ambassade de 2001 à 2005. Ce catholique pratiquant, célibataire et sans enfant, qui se dit adepte des vertus chrétiennes de « tempérance » et de « charité », y a donc des contacts, des réseaux, et la curie romaine a pu le « tester » lors de son premier passage. 
tell us that the gay nominated diplomat is, besides being experienced and with connections, celibate, childless and a practicing Catholic?
In what way is he unsuited to the post? or in what wa is his nomination a provocation?

And speaking of "faith" and "reason", and yeah, "mawwiage"....

The source of this quote is irrelevant, and as applied to the quotee is old news, but doesn't this sound exactly like some currently chatty theologians who wish to have their sacramental indissolubility cake and blow it off eat it too?
“Marriage is forever, and your relationship will endure—whether positively or negatively—even if the marriage formally ends.” 

Or is the source irrelevant?
Once you abandon systematic, coherent truth, or any part there of, isn't the structure of your belief system bound to fail?
Or topple...
Image result for falling wedding cake