Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Well, who wants to be "normal" anyway?

Jim Gaffigan has always made me laugh, and often made me think.
On July 15, “The Jim Gaffigan Show” premieres on TVLand,  “The Bible Story” is [one] episode of the show.
The show is a fictionalized version of the life of stand-up comic Jim Gaffigan (as himself), his wife, Jeannie (played by Ashley Williams), and their five children, all stuffed into a two-bedroom New York City apartment.
In the online episode, Jeannie asks Jim to pick up a Bible from their priest on his way to the comedy club. It proves so large that Jim can’t hide it from view, and he winds up being photographed holding it.
The photo goes viral, and when Jim tries to deal with the ensuing media firestorm, his constant fumbles cause him to anger people on all sides.
There’s nothing normal in our society about having five kids; there’s nothing normal about being Catholic; there’s nothing normal about going onstage and making strangers laugh. That’s one of the conceits of it.
We started this show because, in my stand-up, I’ve always been fortunate enough to have audiences with mixed views. I love the fact that, in my audience, there’s the Mormon family sitting next to the lesbian couple, and you know what? They don’t care that they’re sitting near each other, because in the end, they’re just going there to laugh.
We made a point that this show is based on our life. Jeannie and I executive-produced it. Jeannie’s amazing. … We live in an environment where we constructed this show where Jeannie is this devout Catholic, the “Shiite Catholic,” but to balance it out or deal with the kind of biases we live in, because that stuff happens today.
Just because she is a devout Catholic doesn’t mean that she’s not open to friends that are leading a different lifestyle. The show has been constructed on a lot of different, conflicting lifestyles — my lifestyle being a father of five, versus Adam Goldberg’s character, who we’ve described as aggressively single. Honestly, Jeannie and I have heard that some people are watching the show and saying they’re Adam.

It's not just a 19th c. American Phenomenon, There are Members of the Know-Nothing Party in the House of Lords

Baroness Blather,.
crossbench peer and supporter of the British Humanist Association, delivered a speech yesterday in which she accused the Catholic Church of being “positively bad for women”. Speaking in the House of Lords on the subject of international development, she said: “What has religion done for women? It has done nothing for them."
Oh, really?  Peter Williams, in the Catholic Herald, continues,
It was Christian ethics that led to the end of the Roman principle of patria potestas, though which a Roman husband has power of life and death over his family (including his wife), and gave women greater equality in marriage, over property, and in her rights as a mother over her children. It was Christian monasticism that gave women profound authority and power as Abbesses, and a space for female creativity to flourish as we see in the life of St Hildegard of Bingen. It is Christianity today that promotes a sexual ethic that liberates women from the sexual exploitation and objectification to which the permissive society subjects them.
Furthermore, it is the Church today that gives education and healthcare to the poorest of women in the Third World, often through the active ministry of Catholic women, such as the Sisters of Mercy. It is Popes who have actively advocated the dignity and rights of women in documents such as Pope John Paul II’s Mulieris dignitatem in the 1980s.
By contrast, all that Baroness Flather has to offer is baseless population control advocacy, and the lazy prescription of handing out condoms. This is based on a falsehood: the idea that world population has grown because of increased fertility. Quite the opposite is in fact the truth. The number of children borne by each woman has fallen over the last fifty years. The reason why there are more people in the world today than ever before is because fewer people are dying, due to improved healthcare and economic development. Moreover, falling fertility rates mean that the world is actually likely to decline in population in the next century. People are not the problem, and therefore contraception is not the solution to either poverty or climate change.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

"Signs of the Times"

Image result for henry Viii laughing wolf hall
We should pray that the Holy Spirit enables us to read the signs of the times.

When did people start quoting Matthew 16 and Luke 12 to bolster their arguments that the Church must change Her teachings to accommodate the world and the flesh, (and whatever else it is that goes along with that duo, it escapes me at present)?
When you see a cloud rising in the west you say immediately that it is going to rain—and so it does; and when you notice that the wind is blowing from the south you say that it is going to be hot—and so it is. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky; why do you not know how to interpret the present time? 
It seems to me that the Lord is tut-tutting that, spiritually speaking, some of His auditors don't have the common sense to come in out of the rain, or brains to wear a hat in the noon-day sun, not advising them that they might as well go play in the mud or give themselves sunstroke.
We read the signs of the times for the warning they present, not to go along with what is the most appealing to the most people.
An evil and adulterous generation seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it except the sign of Jonah.
 Any way, they were pretty talkative at, and in the aftermath of, their little pow-wow. So many pearls of wisdom, can't decide...

Image result for henry VIII laughing
Denied communion? as though it were a punishment for the people who have failed and found a new partner with whom to start a new life?
You can continue to guide my conscience, but you can only effectively do so if you echo what I already think
Image result for cardinal marx

We'll have a Synod FAIL if we simply affirm what the Church has always known to be the Truth.
Image result for cardinal groucho marx
It's wasn't "secret", we just didn't want you to KNOW about it.
Image result for friendly devil
It’s not our differences that count, but what unites us.
Image result for plutocrat

Conscience should be based on  life experience? okay, that's working out pretty good for me.
Image result for henry Viii laughing wolf hall

 The indissolubility of marriage is not seriously called into question by having your spouse beheaded.

Marriage Equality Now!

Peter Singer reminds us that human beasts are wont to "give less weight to the interests of nonhuman animals than they give to the similar interests of human [beasts]," (as if we needed reminding, which we do not, thanks to the courageous Danish radio host who bludgeoned a baby rabbit named Allan to death to demonstrate humanity's carnivorous "hypocrisy.")
given that some human beings – most obviously, those with profound intellectual impairment – lack this capacity, or have it to a lower degree than some nonhuman animals, it would be speciesist to claim that it is always more seriously wrong to kill a member of the species Homo sapiens than it is to kill a nonhuman animal...
If we were to compare attitudes about speciesism today with past racist attitudes, we would have to say that we are back in the days in which the slave trade was still legal, although under challenge by some enlightened voices.
Given that some animals "mate for life", as humanity clearly does not always, the supposed cruelty of breaking up a human family for commercial purposes, (so poignantly depicted in the soon to be remade Roots,) may be of no more moral weight that selling off the constituent parts of a litter or brood?
Many birds are valorous in their attachment to their offspring.
And in many species,  females tend to resist mating, with good reason.
Is horse breeding a more cruel sin than forced human eugenics, given the risk to mares? think of the poor, moaning alpacas! (and don't even bring up hyenas.)
"Female resistance has rarely been found to be effective. Male mammals and birds are usually larger than females, and the sheer size and strength difference makes this very difficult." 
Also according to Smuts, some male mammals will accept rejection from a high ranking female, but continue to pursue and harass a lower ranking one who has refused them.
Obviously, we can do nothing about rampant misbehavior in the wild, but shouldn't we put a stop to it where we can? okay, maybe that's paternalism, thwarting their self-determiniation, but in captivity, is it really up to us to declare that, say, Species X's numbers are dwindling, and more are needed, so even if a female is "playing hard to get" we should aid and abet her suitor? that's even more condescending paternalism, doncha think?

Are we indulging in classism as well as speciesism when we brush off her concerns?
Decide that "no" doesn't always mean "no"? her good swift kick is saying "yes" but her status on the endangered species list, or value as a brood mare or supplier of pandas to zoos is saying "yes"?

But if they want to, well, who's to say they shouldn't also marry?
In fact, who's to decry interspecies marriage? I mean, if they really LOVE each other....
The short film “Dolphin Lover,” about Malcolm J. Brenner’s relationship with Dolly the dolphin, will play at the prestigious 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival. Screening time is 8:45 p.m. on Monday, June 15 at the Regal Cinemas Live as part of the Shorts Program 1. For information about future screenings, please return to this web site.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Show mercy to the people called by Your name!

Come to our aid, O God of the universe,
look upon us, show us the light of Your mercies,
and put all the nations in dread of You!
Thus they will know, as we know,
that there is no God but You, O Lord.
Give new signs and work new wonders.
            Gather all the tribes of Jacob,
            that they may inherit the land as of old,
            Show mercy to the people called by Your name;
            Israel, whom You named your firstborn.
            Take pity on Your holy city,
            Jerusalem, your dwelling place.
            Fill Zion with Your majesty,
            Your temple with Your glory.
Give evidence of Your deeds of old;
fulfill the prophecies spoken in Your name,
Reward those who have hoped in You,
and let Your prophets be proved true.
Hear the prayer of Your servants,
for You are ever gracious to Your people;
and lead us in the way of justice.
Thus it will be known to the very ends of the earth
that You are the eternal God.
Synod of Tyre vote shows the Church needs to rethink its theology of Christology.
'Cause that's how "truth" is determined.
Which is why we're all Arian, right?
Athanasius, Athanasius....

Image result for Athanasius
... you're on the WRONG SIDE 

You Want to Know What Love Is?

Read this.
Dawn Eden is a good person.
(I read about some moron poor soul leaving the Church for a lame ill-considered reason and no charitable words, no thoughtfully persuasive phrases come to me. She is not like that.)
Jesus in the Eucharist shows me how to love fully, and how to remain in his love – by giving my life for my friends (John 15:9-13). When he gives me his Eucharistic Body, he does not withhold his fruitfulness from me, for he wants me to be fruitful in him (John 15:4-5). The way I experience this fruitfulness in my own life is through the virtue of chastity.
Chastity enables me to bear fruit by loving fully in every relationship, in the manner appropriate to the relationship. Since I am unmarried, that means loving fully as a daughter, as a sister, or as a friend – relationships that do not entail giving over my whole body to another person.
If I did seek to have the type of union that entailed giving over my whole body to another person – sexual union – then loving as Jesus loved would require me to vow to remain in that person’s love, and to be open to physical as well as spiritual fruitfulness.

"I miss the bacon...."

That is an elderly religious sister who has succumbed to the necessity of living out her days in a Jewish nursing home.
For 98-year-old Sister Angela Rooney, it was one of the most jarring moves of her life.
She always thought she would live out her days as she had for decades, in a convent under the time-honored Roman Catholic tradition of younger nuns dutifully caring for their older sisters.
But with few young women choosing religious life, her church superiors were forced to look elsewhere for care, and in the past year have sent Rooney and dozens of other nuns to Jewish Home Lifecare, a geriatric-care complex in the Bronx....
It's an unusual situation that reflects a reality of the nation's Catholic nuns in the 21st century: Fewer young women are devoting their lives to religious orders, and those who are already nuns are aging and facing escalating health care needs.
(The bacon "remark" was just a silly aside, these women actually seem cheerful, and obedient to their calling and accepting of their situation.)
I wonder that more Catholic institutions with under-used facilities have not turned to a new vocation, that of elder care.
I do know of one seminary with no seminarians that was transformed into a lovely assisted living facility.
One of the sisters in the article mentions missing their chapel, Stations... me, when the time comes, (and it's hurtling toward me, or I it, at breakneck speed, I sometimes think,) I want to be within walking distance, or tottering distance, or wheeling distance, to liturgical splendor.
I remember seeing buildings that seemed shabby enough that I'd be able to afford them on whatever SS and pension and IRA accumulated, in the environs of St John Cantius, but that neighborhood grew a bit too gentrified, doubt it's in my reach now.
Well, who knows, I can't predict what my life or the world will be like two weeks from now, much less two decades!

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Seamless Garment

Seamless garment, huh? How's that workin' out for ya?
I think the strategy of "picking your battles" can be a sound one.
I think there are times when in order to ultimately achieve a greater good one may rightfully decide, not to do evil, never that, but to forgo expending resources fighting a lost cause, or engaging in a skirmish that one cannot win now but might be able to at some future date.
Looking back, who does it seem saw the future most clearly here ?
In one corner was New York's Archbishop John J. O'Connor, hard battler against abortion, and in the other was Chicago's Cardinal Joseph L. Bernardin, advocate of a "consistent ethic" for life in all its aspects.
They traded some gentle, glancing nudges, but mostly talked of how much time they have spent as partners in the ring together, perhaps sparring a bit, but working for common objectives.
"You got caught in an eggbeater," O'Connor said. "Some people feel you softened the position against abortion because of your 'seamless garment' view for a consistent ethic about life."
Bernardin said that approach by U.S. bishops has "strengthened our position," recognizing the "linkage of all life issues" and upholding the "sacredness of life" against various threats such as war, want and abortion.
By the way, "caught in an eggbeater"?

For Pentecost

Image result for red sequin bird
Get it?
We didn't.
No sequence, or sequins either, for that matter.

Business as usual at Our Lady of Liturgical Lacksadaisilaity.
(Madonna of Musical Mediocrity?Saint Slipshod SansSouci? the parish family community of The Holy Hummdrummery?)

But I hold to the Grinch Doctrine - you remember how the home invasion and burglary "HADN'T stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME! Somehow or other, it came just the same"?

That's the Real Presence of Christ, the work of the Holy Spirit in response to the epiclesis.
God comes without chant, or incense, or wide-awake servers, or the silencing of chatter, or attentiveness to the liturgical books, or just about anything besides the intention of the ordained celebrant and the proper matter for the confection of the Eucharist and the words of institution.
"It came with out ribbons! It came without tags!"
"It came without packages, boxes or bags!"
That doesn't mean we shouldn't "bother" with them.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Come, Holy Ghost, Enkindle in Us the Fire of Thy Love

I expect, since Pentecost is a big holyday, at the "silent" Mass tomorrow we will nonetheless be asked to sing.
What we will be asked to sing is Come Ho  America the Beautiful.
'Cause, um... Memorial Day.

Perhaps it's just as well.
SCHOOL children at a religious camp ... from schools in the town of Gryfice in north-western Poland had gone to the camp for a three-day trip for what was billed as a way of helping “young people explore God and devote themselves to spiritual renewal through prayer.”
But when they got there, they found priest Tomas Wieczorek, 37, was more interested in exorcising their demons and replacing them with God.
“On the first day he took a few of the children on stage and placed his hand on their foreheads one by one and started repeating ‘Holy Spirit, Come. Holy Spirit, Come.’
“Some of the children fainted while others started crying.”
Other children the priest had touched began screaming while others burst out into fits of laughter. 
One of the students said: “It was really scary, almost like a mental asylum. 
“Some of them were writhing on the floor, others were laughing hysterically and others were screaming and crying. ...The next day we didn’t turn up because we were scared about what would happen.” School psychologist...said: “Children are not emotionally mature enough to experience prayer during which the Holy Spirit may enter them.
No, heaven forbid...
Stop it, G, that's a translation, what she said may have been nuanced enough to actually make sense, and to still contain the truth of Catholic teaching.

But speaking of making sense, what do you want to bet, providing the story is more or less true, (but it's on the Interwebs!) that this man was NOT authorized to perform exorcisms by his bishop?

Uh..... is there doubt?

"The only way to win that argument is if you can make a legitimate argument that New Jerseyans are more flammable than other people." 
-- Assemblyman Declan  O'Scanlon Jr., trying to reverse the law banning self-service gasoline, in the Garden State. (In which quest, I must say, I hope he fails.)
Image result for greaser hair new jersey
(I kid because I love....)
(And I'm well aware, being Jersey born and bred, and having man friends and relatives still there who like to remind everyone that that ciuccio like his, uh.... roommates, is not from New Jersey)

Friday, 22 May 2015

"We NEED to recruit more....!!!!"

... what?
That's not actually the question, the question is "why?"

In the recent past my liturgy committee was always on about Eucharistic Extraordinary Ministers for the 7:00 Mass. Aside from never understanding why the same people couldn't do it most every weekend, (aren't they going to go to Mass every weekend?) I never understood why anyone who volunteered for the task wasn't, as a rule, only asked to perform it at the Mass he usually attended anyway.
If it seemed there were fewer willing to step up on a regular basis at a given Mass, wouldn't that indicate that those attending it preferred to receive from a Ordinary ministers? or weren't in much of a hurry?
So what if at that Mass there were only 3 + the priest, instead of 7 +? so what if it took another five minutes?
Anyone have a date?
It didn't put much more of a burden on the priest, since he was standing in one place, not working a rail.

But no, no, no, we need more women, we need more teenagers, we need more Latinos -- no, wait, now we need more men, we need.... (I'm not even getting into what signal is sent at Mass by making efficiency the very highest value. Bow to the derriere of the person in front of you so you don't slow down that communion procession by waiting to actually reverence the Body and Blood of Christ!)

But put my liturgical hobby horses in the stable for now -- sometimes the chattering classes claim it is so, so I'd like to understand, why do we necessarily need more of a certain subset of those eligible to perform some task presuming we have sufficient over all?
Some times, yes, yes we do need affirmative recruitment of a minority, or an under-represented majority, because it will bring a perspective the absence of which is clearly damaging not just those who are under-represented but the entire community.

Blacks in policing and municipal administration, for instance.
Women in medical research and automotive safety design.

(And other areas of design - a friend tells me of his grandmother getting a new-fangled, i.e. with built in cabinets, kitchen, the first one in their neighborhood. The designer/carpenter and her husband were very precise, and since they were average height men, settled on a counter that was "just right." Who in the world do you men suppose is going to be doing the cooking in here? Grandma J demanded. She was tall for her sex and generation, but still as tall as an average man. The contractor rectified their error. I suspect hers was not an uncommon experience, but fortunately she never obeyed when told, don't you worry your pretty little head about it.)

But why do we need more women in the, to use a completely inapt metaphor, nuts and bolts end of computer science?

Is there something in particular that the female brain brings to coding?

And odd that anyone should think it, and feel safe in proclaiming it at the precise moment when we are being told that gender is just an artificial construct...

(This morning on my way home from church I saw, for the very first time ever, that a landscaping crew, which are entirely Guatemalan in this area, had a woman on it. Does lawn work "need" more women in it? I wonder.)

Thursday, 21 May 2015

"The Language of Isolation"

A very thoughtful piece from the Patheos, (which still induces St Vitus Dance in my compute,) pagan channel by Gus diZerega.
He writes about the Oxford Junior Dictionary, which, like any dictionary of a finite capacity, requires vigilance and judgment on the part of its editors as new editions and new words require the jettisoning of older words.
I get it.

But "hamster"?

The pointedly pagan Mr. diZerega notes that the natural world and religion lose out in favor of technology, (and what seems to me, trends in the style of communication, rather than substance requiring that communication - which is merely a tool.)
Words inviting relationships were replaced by words closed to them....
We can care about living beings in a way we cannot care about objects... technology refers to things deriving their meaning entirely from us. They are meaningless in themselves...
Pre-modern societies, especially Pagan ones, generally experienced their world as alive and inviting, even requiring, relationship....a number of prominent writers penned an open letter to Oxford University Press pleading the cuts be reversed. They wrote in part …
it is worrying that in contrast to those [words] taken out, many are associated with the interior, solitary childhoods of today. In light of what is known about the benefits of natural play and connection to nature; and the dangers of their lack, we think the choice of words to be omitted shocking and poorly considered. 
A world of things is a world of radical isolation as well as a world mediated by power. It separates us from others in any capacity but their existence as objects....
Childhood is a time for learning the basics about relationships, but our culture is strengthening their sense of being alone, impeding their awareness of perhaps the most basic human quality: the power to care for others beyond oneself.....
We are born powerless, and it is only through relationships that we are enabled to come into our own power.  [which is not so different from the Christian worldview, so long as we know that we grow powerful in the exact measure of the power and will and desire that we cede to the Almighty's]...
Care is a far stronger force for shaping behavior than is knowledge.[emphasis supplied.]
Preach it, Brother.
Which is
Which is

Isn't it romantic?

Apparently, people in the chattering classes are concerned that some descriptive nouns commonly applied to criminals are a form of romanticizing said miscreants.
Their objection is not really that we aren't speaking harshly enough about those criminals, but that we aren't speaking sweetly enough about other criminals.

Not that anyone cares, but I personally find the manly images conjured up by the words "biker", "thug", "hooligan", "outlaw," and "weasel"  all... equally romantic.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

The Irish and the Free Expression of Opposing Political Opinions

The case over whether a bakery can be compelled write political slogans with which they disagree on cakes, (the law says, apparently, only if the plaintiff is gay,) reminded me of a movie whose name I can't remember just now.

A sleazy night club manager in England sticks it to his organized crime bosses by booking gatherings of two different groups of senior citizens for the same date - one is a sodality from the local Catholic parish, or some such, all Irish ex-pats, and die-hard republicans; and the other, also Irish ex-pats, are super-annuated orangemen, getting ready for a march, IIRC.

One sweet little old (protestant,) lady says at one point, that's she's never really liked being required to shout, "F@*# the Pope!" at the rallies....

Wonder whether republican and orangeman bakeries have obligations to inscribe each others' slogans on half-sheet devils' food?

Why You Should Never Hesitate to Simply Explain Why Someone Else's Opinion is Wrong, and Why I Should Wait...

.... and read a bit more before I form an opinion.
Equality law in Northern Ireland is being used to destroy individual freedom, a leading Catholic barrister has said.
Following a legal ruling in Northern Ireland, in which a judge ruled that a bakery run by Christians discriminated against a gay customer by refusing to bake a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan, Neil Addison wrote on his personal blog: “The case will undoubtedly be appealed but what does emerge from it is the complete intolerance of the “equality” industry and the way in which equality law is being used to destroy individual freedom including the freedom of a bakery company to decide what products it wants to make.”
Fair 'nuff.
Neil Addison said that it was surprising that the judge ruled that the bakery had discriminated on the grounds of sexual orientation.  
Yes, as even I, in my ignorance thought.
But ah ha!
He said: “Northern Ireland is unique in the UK for in making discrimination on the grounds of political opinion explicitly unlawful and this arises from the long history of sectarian division in Northern Ireland where religion, nationality and political opinion were so often synonymous with British/Unionist/Protestant identity facing Irish/Republican/Catholic identity.
And that makes sense.
And I think I might even approve of such a law, although previously I would have said, heck yeah, if a local church didn't want to rent their fellowship hall to a white supremacist group that was anti-immigrant, and not supported such a law.
But I can see how trying to put an end to discrimination against persons on account of their political opinions is a value that might require nurtuing in northern Ireland.
HOWEVER.... I still feel that forcing a merchant to to sell someone cake, and forcing a merchant to sell someone a specific cake AND BEING REQUIRED TO WRITE ON THAT CAKE SOMETHING THAT VIOLATED ONES BELIEFS are two very different matters.
That's just me.
But I am always open to hear why I am wrong.

For instance, could someone explain nicely why the specter of polygamy is a "red herring" in the  campaign against allowing people to marry those of their own sex?
So far the most cogent reasoning I have found is, ".... because it's different, that's why! It's apples and oranges," whihc has left me unconvinced.

When you get right down to it, what's the difference between pigeons and doves?

(And please don't tell me which one has more white meat....)
The Pope will release 3 pigeons from the steps of the presidential building in Herzagovina, fulfilling the fondest dreams of a Bosnian man.
On June 6, the Pope will answer the prayers of a humble Bosnian mail man and pigeon breeder.
From the steps of Bosnia's presidential building he will release three of Marin Cvitkovic's white pigeons into the Bosnian sky, in a gesture designed to spread his blessing over the troubled country and its three ethnic groups.
"Pigeons represent peace and love," Cvitkovic said. 
As for me and my house...
Himself cannot see a bird without channelling a character from The Producers, encounter a pigeon in the park or the calling card of a crow on the car, and he informs everyone within earshot, "I'm the conci-URGE. My husband used to be the conci-URGE....He's up on the roof with his boids. He keeps boids. Dirty… disgusting… filthy… lice-ridden boids.”
We're both well aware that his routine scrambles what the concierge actually says in the movie, accuracy is really not the point of shared shtick.
The Producers (1967) Poster
Shared Shtick is one of the great pillars of civilization.
My memory may be playing tricks, but I believe I broke up with someone once, primarily over who made better comedies, Mel Brooks or Woody Allen.

I ask you...

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

"The Tradition That Unites Us To Christ"

A very nice testimonial, essentially, from the Canons Regular of St John Cantius, to the great Francis Cardinal George, of happy memory.
The Liturgy, along with Sacred Scripture, is the primary carrier of the tradition that unites us to Christ.
(From an interview His Eminence gave last October.) 

I hadn't read the interview at the time - George rightly calls the interviewer, (albeit gently,) for phrasing a question in a way that presumes, and therefore helps spread, an untruth.
And he pulls no punches on the translation the current Missal translation replaced, (after graciously admitting that his opinion is perforce biased):
...the first full translation of the missal of Paul VI was ideologically charged..... the loss of the theology of grace, the domestication of God, the paraphrasing that deliberately omitted nuances of understanding, the deliberate omission of biblical references in the liturgical text itself, etc. left the church for forty years without a way of worship that adequately expressed our faith. This was clear for those of us who used the Roman missal in Spanish during those years; their translation was far more adequate. The bishops had the obligation to see that the translation into English of the third edition of the Roman Missal was faithful and also able to be used communally. I believe it has been well done.
Some of the expressions in the Prefaces are a bit “clunky,” but the collects are truly beautiful if a priest takes the time to interiorize the structure of  dependent clauses and use his voice so that the prayer is comprehensible to the faithful. Normally, people paid little attention to the collect; they couldn’t tell you what the priest said as soon as they sat down. Hopefully, a more deliberate style of declamation with a more adequate text will help draw people into a climate of worship and prepare them to hear the Word of God in Scripture.
Amen and amen.
I've said it more than anyone cares to hear, in so many cases, the phrasing, the orator's rhetorical techniques utilized in the, ordering of the words acts like stage lighting, or a singer's expressive breaths to draw attention to key words, emphasize parallels, highlight the center of the prayer -- time after time I find myself turning over a phrase I'd never noticed before for hours after morning Mass, sometimes days.
If unacustommed to the syntax or vocabulary, a celebrant finds that he needs to focus, to pause, to slow down, TO SPEAK WITH GREATER CARE THAN USUAL - is that not all to the good?

(Full disclosure, I am a member of the flock of a shepherd who says Mass as if a meter is about to run out, and a parking ticket will mean financial ruin for us all...)

Sexual Discriminition?

Okay, the whole thing was almost certainly orchestrated just to bring a case, but.....
A judge has ruled that a Christian-owned bakery in Northern Ireland discriminated against a customer after it refused to make a cake bearing a pro-gay marriage slogan.
The Northern Ireland Equality Commission brought the case against Ashers Baking Company, which is based in Co Antrim, on behalf of Gareth Lee, whose order was declined.
District judge Isobel Brownlie delivered the guilty verdict at Belfast County Court earlier today.
“The defendants have unlawfully discriminated against the plaintiff on grounds of sexual discrimination,” she said....
Ashers Bakery, run by the McArthur family, was accused of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation after it refused to make a cake carrying an image of Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie below the phrase ‘Support Gay Marriage’. 
... surely it is obvious to every thinking person that the bakers would also refuse to make such a cake for a straight man? or for a woman? and that the refusal has nothing to do with the person and everything to do with the political/social cause embodied in the requested words?
 Image result for bert and ernie
Okay, the hat changes everything - I see now that Bert and Ernie ARE gay.