Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

"The real question, never posed and indeed carefully avoided, is whether the penance for adultery must include ceasing the adulterous activity"

Douglas Farrow, via Xavier Runne II via the Catholic Herald on what the Synod needs to do, and the ways in which the issued Instrumentum Laboris IS.  NOT.  HELPING.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Shark-Jumping and Other Autumnal Activities

I'm old enough to still think of Fall as when the TV "season" starts, and young enough to be interested in... well, in settling on some new binge-worthy must-sees. (Although Jim Gaffigan's summer series was BRILLIANT.)

But what I'm noticing so far is that while there may be the odd good and even slightly original premises floating around, there seems to be a dearth of, what, producers? head writers?
Well, whoever it is whose job it is to take an idea and run with it, make it interesting over time, rather than creating one intriguing pilot and then following it up with a bouillabaisse of filth and gore featuring vaguely the same characters as the previous episode, but not even a single well crafted joke or moving scene.



If "formulaic" sounds too pejorative, let's call it "theme and variations."

Sometimes, "like nothing you've ever seen before!"  is only true because the work so described, "makes no human sense!" and no one ws stupid enough to make it.

(Would you rather have another iteration of your favorite German's Chocolate cake, or a nice slice of one of Letitia Cropley's desserts?)

British TV had set the bar very high, over the years, for long-form but finite serials, and in the US we seemed to have the knack for a while as well.
But alas, eager to milk every last drop from our cash cows, we seem not to have realized that sci-fi or supernatural mysteries at last need to be revealed or solved, rather than prolonged into multiple seasons with illogical and contradictory plot twists, and the Brits are sometimes falling into the same trap.
There should be a limit to how many different series regulars any other regular will become romantically or sexually involved with, and we've had enough of couples who meet, break up, part, rekindle, fight, move in, run away, marry, divorce, get back together - and all for no better reason than, "the scrip says so."

And one last thing - severed heads?

Not an appropriate trope.

Stop.  It.  Now.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Et tu, MSNBC?

Seriously, do major new outlets have NO ONE on their staffs who can even be bothered to learn the terminology of fields on which they report? I mean, they do get paid for it, right?

Do they hire sports guys to write about "the pointy ended leather thingies" got kicked past "those two high wooden sticks"?


They do not.

So why would they let someone say  that a celebrity "opens [sic] Mass for Pope Francis"?

Or that he "delivered the first, or Lector, reading at the Mass"?

I know it's just a little added indignity, to their main purposes in reporting that, as a way of sticking it to orthodox Catholics, but still.

Do they have to be so amateurish while they are insulting us?

Wolves in Shepherd's Clothing

It is deserving of the widest possible dissemination, so I will reprint Fr Hunwick's post on Cardinal Danneel's remarkably frank and damning confession (which some are now attempting to walk back):
During his Inauguration Homily, our Holy Father the Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI asked for prayer that he might not "flee for fear of the Wolves".

Now, very usefully, the unspeakable Daneels has blurted out information about how the Wolves described themselves: they were "the St Gallen Group". Their declared purpose was to oppose the mission of Pope Benedict to reconnect the Catholic Church with Tradition. Apparently these lupi see no disgrace in likening themselves to the Mafia.

Interesting. If it is OK for Cardinals to gang together to subvert the Roman Pontiff during Pontificate A, then clearly it must be OK for Cardinals to gang together to subvert the Pontificates of Popes B, C, and D. And if it is OK for Cardinals, the sworn intimate collaborators of the Roman Pontiff, to gang together against him at all, then clearly there can be nothing unOK if mere clerics and laity do the same. Or if there is, please tell me why in simple words of one syllable.

Or is it only after the end of a pontificate that the brave souls who have conspired against the Pontiff have the courage to rubbish him publicly? During his pontificate, did they proclaim their loyalty to him from the housetops? While putting in the boot behind closed doors? And then boasting noisily about their doings as soon as he was gone? Is that how the Church is supposed to operate? I'm uncertain whether to call this 'group' a latrocinium or a lupanar.

What a seedy gang of hypocritical crooks at the very heart of the Church, plotting ... even as I write this and you read it ... to corrupt the imminent Synod of Bishops.

So Much For the "Authoritative" Position or "News-gathering" Skills of the Paper of Record

Not even news-gathering, just basic, widely available information, on a "news" item that they had, what? a year, year-and-a-half warning on?

And then, the NY Times runs the headline, "God Is in the Details," as if to mock their own carelessness!

No, Cardinal Dolan was not going to lead the "Call and Response" at Mass.

And it's not really a scoop that there was no Bible on the altar, and that instead there would be a specially printed "Missal" from Rome, because... there's never a Bible on the altar for a Catholic Mass, a Missal is what is always used, (although church ladies, d'un certain âge, still call it "the Sacramentary.")

Now, admittedly, none of that is information any non-Catholic should be expected to know.

But it is expected that Mizz Crabtree who writes the "Faith Matters" column for the Easter Gnawbone Weekly Gazette, if she were called upon to write about the Pope visiting Whereintarnation Co. in East Dakota, would hie her Methodist self over to her canasta buddy's, Miss O'Papist, and ask her to get her cousin Fr. Can'twaittoretiretonewmexico to check her work.

So a reporter for the august Times really should have been expected to have done so.

That's what I was thinking at first.

But then the thought occurred to me - maybe there were no Catholics to ask.

Giving to Those More Fortunate Than Ourselves

I used to, rather pointedly, say "Charity" when the theological virtues came up, because the word "Love" had become so meaningless, (not only hippified [look it up, it's a word....] but commercialized - who doesn't "love" peanut butter, or bacon? I can hear other kids e'en now, you love tv? why doncha MARRY it? and "lurve" is distasteful, for many reasons.)
But now that I'm, (all bow,) A Catechist, and that,  let's face it, the word "charity" has also been debased, ("giving stuff you don't need to poor people,") I am more  inclined to detoxify the word "Love."
It is a very difficult word for a ten year old boy to speak in the presence of a ten year old girl, even if he is addressing, rather than her, an old lady such as myself.

"Christian Love" seems to me a mouthful, and just as esoterically vague - and besides - non-Christians are very capable of offering caritas.
So for hashing out these things with kids, (and hash we do - the wonderful ideas they have! the marvelous questions thy can come up with!) I have settled on the phrase "Love in Action," and the reading from James on the first day of class made it very easy this year, (that's a great passage to let budding orators scold the air with.)
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?... If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it?...someone might say, “You have faith and I have works.” Demonstrate your faith to me without works...I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.
That is what genuine good works are - Love in Action. (Because no one is going to argue with, "and the greatest of these...")

And yes, giving things, money, opportunities to those without things or money or opportunity is the kind of Love in Action/Charity that usually springs to mind.

And it is easy to be loving to someone who has less than you do, isn't it?

How much harder to fell charitable to those who seem to have more than you...

A guy I know, salt of the earth, giving, generous, very active in volunteer work, kind -- shocked me by getting on board with a rather ugly anti-immigrant stance someone else was taking, and I expressed surprise.

Well, it's not the immigrants per se, his liberality firmly in place, they are welcome, especially if they are political refugees in search of safety.
No, he is just "sick and tired of being asked to pay for things for people who are better off than I am."

And I thought to myself, "O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity—ungenerous, unkind, thoughtless — or even like this buddy of mine"

And because God isn't letting me get away with any thing lately, I'm watching the news, and there's a woman on who's thrilled because she just met the Pope, and she took of selfie with him with her phone.
She is not homeless, but Catholic Charities helps her out with her rent.

And what is my first thought?

What's she doing with a phone that takes pictures? My phone is too cheap to have a camera in it, and I'm dreading when it breaks and I have to buy a new one so I hope it happens in a good month, but the thing is already about 6 years old and wouldn't you think someone would pay his own darn rent before he'd get a phone that could -

O my God I am heartily sorry....

Am I the only American Catholic disturbed that Mo Rocca...

... is identified in the program for the Mass at the Garden as "lector"?

"Lector" is some instituted in a minor order.

Mo Rocca is not one, (so far as I know. I am nearly certain that the Archdiocese of New York does not institute lectors.)

I am not one.

We are both "lay readers."

I take a valid interest in having Catholic terminology correctly applied.

(I have no valid interest in anyones private life that he or she has kept private.)

Friday, 25 September 2015

Let Us Not Forget the Late, Great Henyrk Gorecki, Please!

I'll read the rest later, but in asking if a great composer (James MacMillan,) can help a tone-deaf Church, Damian Thompson says of MacMillan's 4th Symphony,
The Fourth is a masterpiece; perhaps the first great symphony written by anyone since the death of Shostakovich.
To which I reply, WHAAAAAAAAA?
What about,

(Maybe I have my dates wrong, Damian.)

So We're Watching Some Guy Pontificating...

No, I'm not being disrespectful to His Holiness.

The TV is on one the 24/7 infotainment channels, (I can't dignify them by callings them purveyors of news anymore, because even though they present some of that from time to time, that sure as hellenization isn't what's on them most of the 24/7,) and some talking head is, er, talking, (name changed to protect the inane,) and Himself says, I didn't know that.
I haven't been listening, so he fills me in.
Commentator has just said, apparently, well that's just a discipline, so Pope Francis can change it is he want, there could be women priests.
(So, yeah, you can tell from said commentator knowing the term, "discipline," he's at least Catholish, if not Catholic.)
That's not right.
Are you sure?
Yeah, it's wrong. Celibacy is just a discipline, you know, a practice that can be changed, but reserving the priesthood to men is'nt like that.
He said it wasn't a dogma, so it could be changed -- he's wrong?
No, I think he's right about it about it not being dogmatic, I think it is what is called "doctrinal."
I'm thinking, great, now I gotta go lookup stuff, I'm going to have to point him toward something like this, or this, or this, but he goes on,
I didn't know that, but now that I do, (I am touched by his trust in me,) why doesn't he just shut up? why the heck do people like him keep bringing it up, and going on and on about it? It's settled, they should just stop. It's very misleading for them to do that.
Um... yeah.
Although the teaching that priestly ordination is to be reserved to men alone has been preserved by the constant and universal Tradition of the Church and firmly taught by the Magisterium in its more recent documents, at the present time in some places it is nonetheless considered still open to debate, or the Church's judgment that women are not to be admitted to ordination is considered to have a merely disciplinary force.
Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren, I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful.

"The Young Messiah"

I often tell people that my husband came to the Faith through his love of history, that objects in the museums attached to most of the California missions, (thank you, St. Junipero!) intrigued him, and led him to want to learn more, what's that thing? (a monstrance,) why did they use it? what do they, I mean you, believe about....?.... what did we believe about any number of things, actually. And he's still asking questions.
Fact is, he came to the Church as much through old movies as anything else.

Between his crush on, (in the I-want-to-grow-up-to-be-HIM! sense,) Richard Burton leading him to see Becket more times than he can count, his fascination with the geo- and curial politics in Shoes of the Fisherman, and a love for Ben-Hur, (especially the Miklós Rózsa score,) that borders on idolatry, a great deal of what he knows, or at least knows enough to be curious to learn more, comes from film.

He has a decent collection on DVD or digital file, and especially around holydays, we are likely to watch some  film or mini-series, or other.
Oh, who am I kidding, we're likely to watch ALL of them, (and yes, I meant to include that silent.)

So it won't surprise me if he is very keen to see the film being made of the Anne Rice book,Out of Egypt.

But I question the title change - I'm not  in Himself's league as an old movie buff, (that's old movie... buff, not old... movie buff,) but even I can't read the new one without thinking of Young Tom Edison, Young Winston, and yes, Young Frankenstein.

Barb Nicolosi, Prophetess

While looking for a picture of the simply adorable Anthony Andrews as Sebastian Flyte for that last post, I stumbled upon Barb Nicolosi's take-down of that horrid movie of Brideshead made in the last decade.

(After I finally saw the film, [certainly wasn't going to pay to,] I mostly agree with her.)

At the time, I don't think I even noticed this in her opening paragraph -
Imagine if someone did a new adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird and it ended up savagely racist?
Of course,  I'm not saying Set a Watchman itself is anything like, but it's almost as startling, (and to many lovers of Harper Lee's novel and its characters, sacrilegious,) that Atticus was originally portrayed as racist.
Isn't it?

Of COURSE He Would Be a Professor at Marquette

Seriously, where would one expect to find a writer who took an interest in "Christianity Without God"?
Christianity without an omnipotent god, without a divine savior, without an afterlife? In this bold and hopeful book, theologian Daniel C. Maguire writes that traditional, supernatural aspects of Christianity can be comforting, but are increasingly questionable. A century of scholarly research has not been supportive of the dogmatic triad of personal god, incarnate savior, and life after death. Demonstrating that these beliefs have questionable roots in historical traditions, Maguire argues for a return to that brilliant and revolutionary moral epic of the Hebrew and Christian Bible. Rescued from god, Christianity can offer a realistic global ethic to heal a planet sinking under the effects of our ungrateful mismanagement.
For the Christian who's "spiritual but not religious"?

Are these not the very definition of the people Andrew Greeley once said stuck around "for the stories"?
Okay, like Sebastian Flyte, we may find the manger and the animals and all that "lovely", but why, if it isn't The Book Of God would anyone want to encumber themselves with the Bible?
And it's not just the paradoxes and seeming contradictions and picture of an Almighty who's pretty mean, and can seem petty when we can't comprehend that our ways are not His ways; its the hard sayings of the New Testament that replace the hard God of the Old - why would a non-believer want to bother to even make an attempt at reconciling all that with mere atheist ethics?

Okay, if that's your reasoning...

... I guess we'll take what we can get.
But it's a little tail wagging the dog, to me.
The defence of the environment and the fight against exclusion demand that we recognize a moral law written into human nature itself, one which includes the natural difference between man and woman  and absolute respect for life in all its stages and dimensions

"Head chopping is intrinsically disturbing, but not quite so disturbing if you live in a society where highly regarded organizations buy and sell baby parts."

Is that the problem?
Is the world's collective heart calloused?
Will nothing be done?
CAN nothing be done?

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Heroic, Indeed

Well, who knew when I was writing earlier that the reboot of Heroes debuted on TV tonight?
Not I.
I was very fond of the original, (as evidence by my snitching their slogan and coining my own, "Save the Liturgy, Save the World," which was commandeered, no longer with attribution,) until it launched the shark into outer space and the ground under a freakshow opened up and swallowed it jumped the shark, (precipitated to some extent by a writers' strike, IIRC.)

Except that it features a degree of ramped up carnage and gore that is one of the curses of contemporary entertainment, it does not look unpromising. There will need to be appearance, and quickly, of some of the old characters who are still alive and whose portrayers are not otherwise engaged.

Not sure I have the time for a 13-parter, but we shall see.

RIP, John J. McNeill, [formely] SJ

A troubled and troubling man has died.
John J. McNeill, died Sept. 22 in a hospice facility in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He was 90....
Francis DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, today said McNeill possessed "a rare mixture of both a great heart and a great mind," adding that gays and lesbians have been "informed not only by his philosophical principles and logic, but by his awareness of deep and real human needs."...
Born and raised in Buffalo, N.Y., McNeill entered the U.S. Army in 1942 and became a prisoner of war in Nazi Germany — an experience that for him was profoundly spiritual and led him to his entering the Jesuits in 1948. Ordained in 1959, he taught philosophy and theology at Fordham University, Union Theological Seminary, and Le Moyne College, where he was a noted peace advocate during the Vietnam War....
In 1988, he received yet another order from Rome directing him to give up all ministry to gay persons, an order, he said, he could not follow in good conscience.
He disobeyed the order and this led to his expulsion from the Jesuit order, his home for nearly 40 years.
He was very wrong on very many subjects, and think cause a great deal of harm to the Mystical Body of Christ, but I believe he always tried to do what he, at least, thought good.
God rest his soul.

What's a Hero? And is Purity Possible?

I am already tired of the stupid,  -- yes, that's the word I want, -- stupid use of the word "hero" in fashion and cuisine and cosmeceuticals, as an adjective to describe the item that stands out, or makes the others work, or makes the others worthwhile. (It was previously always a noun, not sure but i think this type of usage is called "attributive"?)
An outfit is lifted to the next level by the inclusion of a "hero piece" a striking handbag.
Or a this dish would not even exist without, but now becomes gourmet with, the "hero ingredient" of wild boar.
Stupid, stupid, stupid.

But outside of the worlds of new/different/weird= good, the word "hero" gets misused, or misunderstood at least, as well.

In Catholic spirituality, the notion of "heroic virtue," is one that connotes a degree of bravery and possibly even fame, (even if only posthumously,) in its possessor in the pursuit of the Holy Life, and is one of the marks of sainthood.

Cardinal Kasper is, as all Christendom must know by now, on a laudable quest to extend God's mercy to the all mankind. His particular way of going about it is open to question, however.
I  play fast and loose with logic, and yet try as I might I can't see how one can premise that 1) the marriage bond is indissoluble while both parties live, 2) putative marriages are presumed to be valid unless proven otherwise, 3) sex with one person while you are married to another is a mortal sin, 4) those in a state of mortal sin must not present for Communion,
5) those who have contracted a new marriage while a prior marriage is seen to exist and have no intention of giving up what must then be seen as an adulterous relationship should be admitted to the sacraments.

I could see reasoning that 1) the bond's not indissoluble, 2) tie goes to the runner the burden of proof is on anyone who who says the old marriage is valid, 3) adulterous sex is only a venial sin, or 4) communion should be open to all regardless of their beliefs or the state of their souls.
But Kaspar accepts none of these.
The basis of the Cardinal's argument seems to be that, well -- chastity and sacrifice are too hard.
The failure of a first marriage is not only related to bad sexual behavior. It can come from a failure to realize what was promised before God and before the other partner and the church. Therefore, it failed; there were shortcomings. ... If there was this shortcoming, and it has been repented for—is absolution not possible? My question goes through the sacrament of penance, through which we have access to Holy Communion. But penance is the most important thing—repentance of what went wrong, and a new orientation. The new quasi-family or the new partnership must be solid, lived in a Christian way. A time of new orientation—metanoia—would be necessary.... Is absolution not possible in this case? And if absolution, then also Holy Communion? ...
To live together as brother and sister? Of course I have high respect for those who are doing this. But it’s a heroic act, and heroism is not for the average Christian. That could also create new tensions.
But in fact we are all called to sainthood.
It follows that we are all called to heroic virtue.
From Fr Mark Kirby-
We priests do souls no service when we say, or even intimate, that heroism is not for ordinary Christians. If holiness is the practice of heroic virtue; and if all people, in every state of life, are called to holiness; then all people, in every state of life are called to heroic virtue. Heroic virtue is the fruit, not of an exhausting effort of the will but, rather, of a humble surrender to the all–sufficient grace of Jesus Christ
Much has been made of how dangerous Kaspar's line of reasoning is to all who are married, or wishing to marry, and especially those who struggle in their marriages, but I think this has far wider consequence that are far more devestating.
What about the vowed religious? Some wag, can't remember where, asked whether the Cardinal was admitting a failure to live up to his own vows or or claiming that he himnself was heroic?

But forget about the married, forget about preists and sisters -- what about the young.

Most especially, what about the young?

Is chastity impossible?

Is that what we want to tell them? If two adults, with children and responsibilities and jobs and worries, can't possibly be asked to try to live purely, the Church is surely not going to expect it of one of those blazing furnaces of emotion, hormone and desire that is the average adolesent, is She?

 Don't we owe them more support than that?

Yes. Yes we must.
[Man's] history of sin begins when he no longer acknowledges the Lord as his Creator and himself wishes to be the one who determines, with complete independence, what is good and what is evil. "You will be like God, knowing good and evil" : this was the first temptation, and it is echoed in all the other temptations to which man is more easily inclined to yield as a result of the original Fall.
But temptations can be overcome, sins can be avoided, because together with the commandments the Lord gives us the possibility of keeping them: "His eyes are on those who fear him, and he knows every deed of man. He has not commanded any one to be ungodly, and he has not given any one permission to sin". Keeping God's law in particular situations can be difficult, extremely difficult, but it is never impossible. This is the constant teaching of the Church's tradition.

Letting Your Right Hand Advertise What Your Left Hand is Doing

Why was the meeting between the most PR savvy pope of all time, (yes, I mean that - JP II always seemed very adept, but couldn't hide the fact that his grand gestures were deliberate and calculated when he was playing to the crowd or to history - F manages to make everything seem inadvertent, happy chance,) -- why was the meeting between Francis and the Little Sisters of the Poor " not in the program"?

By the way, calculating how ones gestures will play to the cheap seats is not a bad thing, at all.

The publicity that attends the current Holy Father's almoner's arranging for showers, or Christmas dinners or hospital visits may inspire others to acts of charity in a way that a more retiring pontiff's beneficence might not.
Of course, that also depends on what the chattering class decides to chatter about.

Anyway, I didn't know the Sisters had a home that close by - one wonders that they weren't among the prominent Catholic invited to the White House.

Doesn't one?

I also understand David Daleiden is in the capital - was he on the White House guest list?

Stephanie Baez of the House judiciary Committee knows how to reach him, I believe.

Game Faces On For the Pope's Address

I would make a lousy politician or diplomat.

I once shared a dressing room with a single other person, (luxury!)
She was witty and interesting.

The adjoining room had a passle of men, and over the course of the run, as our work became easier and less fraught with anxiety, (because every chore of preparation became more automatic,) their room became quieter and quieter (you will know how bizarre that is.)

We became aware that it was because they were listening to us.

One of the men in the cast, who was also active in broadcasting actually approached us with the idea of a talk show, (small outlet, but very large market.)

But both of us knew it was a terrible idea, because neither of us were capable of "making nice" if, for instance, someone on a press junket whose work or person we did not respect were a guest.
And at the same time, neither of us was interested in being cruel or disgusting, (these are a fairly new development in the world of entertainment and professional talk, at least on tv. Radio is looser, and the internet? As Letterman would say, Katie, bar the door.)
(David Letterman had extraordinary skill at walking that tightrope - when he chose to.)

I look at world leaders, both political and religious, I look at members of legislative bodies with deep divisions on issues, and I wonder, sometimes, how they refrain from eye-rolls at stupidity, head-shakes at pronouncements for which they have a ready and pithy rejoinder, spit-takes at blatant lies....

It's a real skill, looking thoughtful without giving the impression that you'd like to get a word in.

Watching Pope Francis address congress, I was grateful that, except for a couple of random "whoops," (the indoor equivalent of the idiots' yell, "get in the hole!" at golf matches,) the gallery was decorous. (I hasten to add, nothing the Holy Father said deserved the eye-rolls and spit-takes I referenced earlier.)
This was not exactly surprising, but still, in a time when the state of the union message has become a place for settling scores and looking for camera time, it was a relief.

But I really admired the general diffidence of the two men whose faces were, of necessity, on nearly constant view.
Vice-presidents and House leaders do well to have taken a page from Queen Elizabeth's playbook - you know you face is going to be on camera virtually every second you are in public? Find a good, blankly thoughtful expression you can hold for a long time without muscle fatigue or tremors setting in, and which, since many different situations of many different moods will arise, cannot be misinterpreted as either a scowl or a grin.

Pope Francis hasn't found his yet. When he is not actively smiling, (which beauty queens tell me is tiring,) he looks simply glum.
But the other two guys with the most face time?
Nailed it.
(The fact that one looks like like Walter, and the other as if he's gotten self-tanner in his eyes and it's making them water, is neither here nor there.)
Image result for scowl biden

The Pope, the Numbers Game, and Yellow, (Or At Least Lemon-colored?) Journalism

Yesterday the Pope spoke at the White House. (Oh, you didn't know?)

To understand my point, you should know that I am strongly in favor of what I believe is Pope Francis's agenda on the two items I did a search for. I believe - It is important that we do what we can to slow or reverse climate change. I believe - It is important that we preserve our commitment to religious liberty including religious objections to what are perceived as bad law, and the freedom not to violate ones conscience as formed by ones religion.

In a rather short speech, the "issues" on which the Holy Father touched are, in order, (and none in an in any way pointed,  "in your face" manner,) were:
1) that this country was built by immigrants
2) his "support the institutions of marriage and the family"
3) the need to "build a society which is  tolerant and inclusive"  while "safeguarding the rights of individuals and communities"
4) the need to respect the right to religious liberty, "one of America's most precious possessions"
5) climate change and sustainable developement must be addressed
6) humanity's obligation to meet the needs of all, especially the poor and marginalized, for which God has given us the means.
Yesterday, the day of the remarks Google identified 6,040,000  instances of the two phrases "white house" and "pope francis" in "news" sources.

 Over six million.

Add in the phrase "climate change," and the number drops to 3,110,000, a touch over half.
Three Million.

Instead of "climate change" put the phrase "religious liberty" in the mix and what's the number?


Let me say that again, 83,600 .

No, there are no zeroes missing, eighty three thousand.
Change it to "religious freedom" (same concept, but not the phrase Francis used,) and you have 146,000 links at you disposal, still pitiful compared to "climate change."

You tell me, do you think "the media," (which right-wingers often seem to portray as some sort of monolithic creature, and for which they are roundly mocked, including, sometimes, I admit, by me,) presenting the totality of Pope Francis's message, his teaching, his moral voice, with anything even approaching even-handedness?

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Praying for Whose Conversion, As the Saudis Prepare For Another Display of Barbarism?

Ceremonial beheadings in public squares have been held in Saudi Arabia for centuries
Horrifying picture, right? (not the worst available)
What does it have to do with ones prayer life?

I understand, or at least, think I understand, that one prays I pray, not that God should change others - but that He should change me, the one who prays. We pray for metanoia.
The only person I have any control over really, is myself, so, "Oh, God, please make Mr.s Abercrombie forget to give us that math test I didn't study for, " is kinda dumb, what I'd need to pray for is the strength and common sense to... well, study my math.
So why was I disquieted by this article when I read it last week?
a lifelong Catholic says that getting to know and love Islam helped her develop a deep knowledge and love for her own Catholic faith. ... a 24-year-old research fellow at The Bridge Initiative, a new project of the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University in Washington. 
...What really stirred her passion was a political email she received during her junior year of high school, forwarded enthusiastically by a family member. 
.... The email equated Muslims with the terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks. “I was so upset by this, that a practicing Catholic would send such a thing,” [she] says. “My mom took me by the shoulders and said, ‘That’s why you have to write.’"
Isn't that it exactly? You want God to grant greater understanding between people of different faiths, different nations?
YOU need to understand.
So this young woman helping her fellow Catholics, her fellow Christians, her fellow Americans to understand the "other," that's underneath it all isn't really so "other," that's the way to go, right?

So, why?
Why did I find it troubling? (It was one of those times when I forgot which Catholic periodical I was reading and couldn't understand my almost visceral disagreement with an outlet with whose editorial slant I usually agree -- aha! what a relief, it really is the principle, not the messenger of the principle to which I am reacting!)

So I did a little more reading and reasoned it was not with the young Catholic woman, but with the people with whom she had thrown in her lot, that I was feeling a bit queasy.
I mean, a " bridge" should go both ways, right?
But this seemed all about getting Westerners copacetic with Arabs, Christians accepting of Muslims, all funded by a fabulously wealthy, (self-made,) member of the Saudi royal family.
The Bridge Initiative took notice and approached her earlier this year as they began setting up a new project aimed at educating the [American] public about Islamophobia. Now she works there full time, researching and writing about Islamophobia in the West.
So that's my quibble - good, we need to work on changing us.
But Prince Alwaleed bin Talal? Maybe look to your own palace  home, first?
Ali al-Nimr, the nephew of firebrand Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, faces execution by beheading and an additional rare punishment of "crucifixion," which means publicly displaying the body after death as a warning to others, according to Saudi state media.
"Any judgment imposing the death penalty upon persons who were children at the time of the offense, and their execution, are incompatible with Saudi Arabia's international obligations," the U.N. group said in a statement Tuesday, invoking the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Saudi Arabia is a party.

Arrested as a teenager

Ali al-Nimr was a 17-year-old high school student when he was arrested for taking part in Arab Spring-inspired protests in 2012 calling for social and political reforms in the country's restive and predominantly Shiite province of Qatif.
A court later convicted him of charges including belonging to a terror cell, attacking police with Molotov cocktails, incitement, and stoking sectarianism, according to the state media report.
His final appeal was rejected when the Appeals Court and High Court ratified his verdict last week.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Frankincense.... of CRANKincense?

I thought this was a little far-fetched:
Church incense could become illegal [in the United Kingdom] as an “unintended consequence” of the new Psychoactive Substances Bill, which aims to outlaw all forms of “legal highs”. 
The Bill, which will make it a criminal offence to sell “any substance intended for human consumption that is capable of producing a psychoactive effect”, has attracted considerable criticism. One problem, according to Professor Les Iversen, chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, is the inability to prove psychoactivity in a court of law, “which is pretty fundamental to a Bill that seeks to ban psychoactive substances”.
Two ecclesiastical bodies have expressed concern “that use of incense in worship would be an unwitting casualty of the new legislation”. The Association of English Cathedrals said last week “that the term ‘psychoactive substances’ in the Psychoactive Substances Bill can be interpreted so broadly that it risks criminalising the use of incense in cathedrals, churches and other places of worship as, we assume, an unintended consequence of the Bill’s drafting”.
I thought someone was really makin' a stretch, no one, (at least, no one who isn't already stoned,) is gonna claim incense get you high....
Image result for incense vatican
But not so, according to no less an authority than Scientific American.
Burning incense has accompanied religious ceremonies since ancient times. Its fragrant presence may be more than symbolic, however—a May 20 study in the FASEB journal suggests that a chemical commonly found in incense may elevate mood.
Raphael Mechoulam of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and his col­leagues injected mice with incensole acetate, a component of the resin of the Boswellia plant. This resin, better known as frankincense, is an ingredient in Middle Eastern incense. The chemical reduced anxiety and depressive symptoms in the mice. In the anxiety test, for example, injected animals were less fearful of open spaces as compared with mice that were given a placebo.
And we know that if a law can be interpreted stupidly, it's pretty much guaranteed that it will be.

Which is why, if you are going to make a law, or change a law or tell someone about a law... for pete's sake do it right? word it with some precision?
Not namin' any names, Uncle George....

Monday, 21 September 2015

I'm a bigot, I guess

Perhaps I am a bigot.
It is not a violation of the constitution for me to be so, (regardless of how often that august document is cited in condemnation of some bigot.)
But just as I could see myself not advocating someone on the basis of my religious beliefs, it is possible that I could see myself not advocating someone on the basis of his religious beliefs.

A muslim? I am not sure.

But I would not advocate that we put, say, a Scientologist in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.

And I would certainly not advocate that we put a Young Earth Creationist in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.

And I would not advocate that we put an ethical vegetarian in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.

And I would not advocate that we put a Raelian in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.

And I would not advocate that we put an unconditional pacifist in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.

And I would not advocate that we put an Orthodox Jew in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that. (You know,the presidency's kind of a 24/7 commitment, the whole Sabbat thing could be troubling.)

And I would not advocate that we put an Amish in charge of this -- well, wait. Assuming an Amish person were to run, I could, perhaps, be persuaded.

(And as a final note, "advocate" and "accept"? They don't mean the same thing, guys.)

Dim-witted "Star Wars" Fan That I Am....

Himself is watching an old British serial on Youtube.
I misidentified an actress for him, and chagrined, I looked online for support for my contention that the two I confused are... well, easily confused, (he didn't challenge me, since he couldn't recall seeing either of them before.)
It turns out that no, I am not the only one to have mistaken them, according to the actresses themselves.

But in the process, I also came across the oft remarked upon resemblance between Keira Knightly and Natalie Portman.
Yeah, sure everybody know that.
(And Winona Ryder could be their older sister. Her career, but the way, seems to have been rehabilitated, and I am very glad for her - she was tremendous in that Worricker series. I digress.)

What I didn't know, was that Keira Knightly had been in Phantom Menace.

The "decoy" handmaiden that looked so much like Queen Amidala?

I thought the idea was that it really was Queen Amidala, who was pulling a Henry-V-on-the-brink-of-battle, and that sci-fi often being careless about tying up loose ends, or providing linear story telling, they just forgot to explain that.

(You know, like, oh, Han's not blind anymore, did we forget to tell you that? or maybe, Luke's hand? well, yeah, but the artificial one looks exactly like a real one, so no emotional weight connected to the loss, in fact there isn't even really any point to us having bothered to show him losing it, except we could do a decent special effect.)

Maybe I wasn't paying attention, as was, actually, warranted by the movie.

Not that I didn't enjoy it.

Star Wars is like pizza, among other things, even bad Star Wars is good.

Adventures In Sunday School Land

Of course, it had to happen.
As of this week, I do have The Kid.
Ya know him, ya love him -- you've had him in choir, or in gym, or at a family reunion until which you didn't know your cousin had spawned, or standing in front of you in line at Walmart making the most of the musical capacities of flatulence.

He is the one who never heard a rude noise he didn't enjoy, never accepted anything he was told on first hearing, never found an object with which he couldn't make noise or poke into his nearest classmate, never touched a book he was not tempted to tear, and never gave any adult a moment's peace.

My assignment, should I choose to accept it, is to love him.

And on the other hand, I don't have to take him home with me. One of my colleagues not only has an unruly class, several years ago she apparently gave birth to a Tasmanian devil, a girl not old enough for school but who, unfortunately,is of an age to be able to walk, and who, anyone who has ever babysat will know, the mother has no choice but to bring to class because no one else in their right mind would take custody of the imp. (Pause to offer up a prayer for all such mothers, who, see? are not limited to those with boys.)

ON THE OTHER HAND FROM THAT ONE, (that third hand I keep in reserve for just such occasions,) - this is the only group of kids I've ever had where all of them, or most of the boys at least, did not snicker every time I said the word "love."

(Which, as you can imagine, comes up a lot in catechesis.)

So, on balance, a good Sunday.

"The Ways of True Love": Rome Conference in October Addresses Pastoral Needs of Homosexuals

This is interesting and good news.
Courage International and Ignatius Press announce their first Rome conference to address the pastoral needs of men and women who experience homosexual tendencies. Living the Truth in Love is a conference and resource event which will be held October 2, just before the start of the Ordinary Synod on the Family, at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas ("The Angelicum").
The theme of the conference will be "The Ways of True Love—Pastoral Approaches to Welcome and Accompany those Living with Homosexual Tendencies."....
Conference organizers intend the event and its resources to help those responsible for pastoral ministry to better understand each of these dimensions and to be better equipped to welcome and accompany men and women with homosexual tendencies, and ultimately to help them find the fullness of joy in their journey with and to Christ. 
Father Paul Check, executive director of Courage International, explains that the Living the Truth in Love conference distinguishes itself from other conferences by offering a fuller and more precise understanding of the human person. "Through his Church, Christ invites everyone to the abundant life (Jn 10:10). He offers his mercy ('neither do I condemn you'), and then he calls us to conversion of heart ('now go and sin no more'), and he gives us the grace to make this possible. In the Gospel, Jesus not only offers his compassion but he also calls us to conversion because he knows we will only be truly joyful and fulfilled when we live as he created us to be."
"So many of the current approaches to homosexuality... seem to limit themselves to 'acceptance' without recognizing Jesus' call to conversion. And they defend a 'right' to sexual intimacy, but they do not acknowledge God's design for marriage to which Jesus himself refers in Matthew 19." 
It's open to anyone, and will be, one presumes mostly if not entirely in English?

I have looked around for it a tiny bit, but can't find any reference to it, which may mean I'm making it up completely, but I think I remember seeing a television show when I was very little, perhaps one of those anthologies? because none of the faces in my memory are familiar from any other context.
Anyway, black and white, drama, an adult babysitter accidentally kills a small child who, as he is put to bed, begs for a blankie, or pillow, or stuffed animal or something, that he and she have been told he is not to have.

But he wanted it so badly!

Of course, the point was he had a life-threatening allergy. (It stuck with me because I had allergies, so of course at some level it terrified me, but in a fun, monster-movie way, since mine were dermatological, and never life threatening.)

But it has always informed my knowledge, again, even when I was a small child, that just because someone "wants" something, it is not "mean" to keep it from them or criticize their pursuit of it.

Chastity is not a punishment.

Let me say that again, CHASTITY IS NOT A PUNISHMENT.

I was thinking of that yesterday listening on the radio to a writer named Dawn Eden, speaking of the days when she embraced "outercourse."

Off-topic, she said, if I heard correctly that she is now a vowed celibate?
I'm curious about that, and how non-Catholic react to the knowledge.
The world insists on conflating celibacy and chastity, and will, no doubt continue to do so.

The conference's disputation of the so-called "right" to sexual intimacy is, I think, a very important point, the absence of any such right lost on many today.
In fact, the fought with tooth and nail insistence of such a "right" by the world has led to insane contortions of logic, (never mind the other kind,) as people try to reconcile, for instance, under-aged girls and boys "right" to sex, with the necessity of preventing the EXPLOITATION THAT IS A DIRECT RESULT OF THEIR CHAMPIONING OF THIS PURPORTED "RIGHT."

Go ahead, plaster over your guilt with lots of words, and nonsense, and moving subjects as far from verbs as possible, [emphasis below supplied.]
Article 2
The right to participation for
all persons, regardless of sex,
sexuality or gender
All persons are entitled to an environment that enables
active, free and meaningful participation in and
contribution to the civil, economic, social, cultural and
political aspects of human life at local, national, regional
and international levels, through the development of
which human rights and fundamental freedoms can be
All persons are entitled to participate in the development
and implementation of policies
that determine their
welfare, including their sexual and reproductive health,
without formal or informal barriers such as marriage
qualifications, conditions related to HIV status, or
discriminatory gender norms, stereotypes and prejudices
that exclude or restrict the participation of persons
based on ideas of
gender and sexual propriety.
Young people, who are frequently excluded, shall have
the right to be participants and protagonists in processes
of change in their societies
I wonder, would, say, your Grandma feeling ashamed of your behavior count as an "informal" barrier?
But speaking of nonsense, there are those who of course claim Grandma's is the shameful attiutde:
The idea of a sweet-talking carnivore enchanting, then devouring a gullible, aging caretaker only to gain access to a child’s bed speaks to the culturally-assumed pedo-sexual tendencies of men-at-large, but to note that and go no further, I merely subscribe to the common consensus that folk stories function best as didactic, cautionary tools for young readers unwise to the ways of the world, and exist chiefly to cater to the moral needs of children.  I prefer, instead, to question why Western society instituted a children’s literature genre for this purpose in the first place, and, at the risk of undercutting the moral effectiveness of these tales, to reevaluate what society considers to be morally reprehensible:  Do the Wolf’s tendencies to eroticize innocence denote a universal sexual evil American society pledges to eradicate even if it means castrating every last man who cops to a sexual preoccupation with youth, or is the object of the Wolf’s desire strictly forbidden only to the extent mainstream society refuses to grant children sexual autonomy?
But he wanted it so badly!

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Do You Know What the Devil's Sin Is?

Isn't lucifer's sin pride?
Well, yes, at first it was pride, but that's over with now.
He is all too aware of the depths to which he condemned himself.

The sin on which his soul now feeds itself is envy.

He is envious of us who still have to opportunity not to disobey, to say, unlike him, serviam.

And he has hope - in this case not the Theological Virtue, but the burning desire for, and the knowledge that it is still possible, that we, like him, will choose wrong.

There are some people who think that the balm, the comfort needed to assuage the pain of their failures is, that's right - the failure of others. (Though they would not express it that way.)

Father Dwight Longenecker has a piece on an ex-priest who sketching the outlines for us of the schism he says is coming.
What mystifies me is why people like [him] remain in the Catholic Church at all. Other progressive Catholics have been much less hypocritical. Realizing that their views are contrary to Catholic teaching they have left to start their own churches.
Does it really mystify you, Fr L?
His former vocation is the clue.
I'm afraid the poor guy's hanging around hoping to see that, if he couldn't stick it? well, at least a lot of other people couldn't either.

And I believe, I hope.... that his is a false hope.

Love This Picture -

It's from a piece about unsung heroes of the Faith.

Been to confession lately? Well, put on some sunscreen and go!

"To Teach Who Christ Is"

Last week a "guest" celebrant, who to all intents and purposes works in mission territory, preached on the gospel at our Mass.
Brilliantly, I might add - insisting that we answered that question by learning who we were, who we were meant to be.
But that first question, the one Christ asked his disciples...
That is the central question for us in our mission, isn't it? the one each of us answers through our mission, whatever it might be, Who do you say that I AM?

Today, I received in snail mail a letter from a parish I have a connection to back in Chicagoland, giving a heads up on a campaign that is being kicked off, "To Teach Who Christ Is."
I must admit, I would react with less ambivalence if the Cardinal whose idea this initially was. were still in charge.
I have been unkind in my reactions to a number of events recently, and to the people whose actions and attitudes drove those events.
I don't want to turn into one of those bitter people whose every reaction in such cases is negative, guided less by the actual merits of something than by preconceived notions of the people involved.

I am certainly as gung ho as possible about actual Catholic eduction, I support it.

But does the fact that I have doubts about the Catholicity of what some people call "Catholic" education say more about their failings or my own?

Yet I feel strongly that if the foundation of all attempts to spread the Faith, (even, yes, by the "solemn nonsense" of "proselytising,") if the foundation of our efforts is not the Source and Summit of our Faith, and if we don't employ the evangelical and catechetical power of the Holy Sacrifice of the Eucharistic Celebration that is the Mass, what hope have we?
Being Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but the encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction.
And we encounter that Person, Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten, the Son of the Living God, most thoroughly, most completely in the Eucharist, and we bring others  most closely to Him in the same, life altering event.

Why do I not trust the intentions of some of my co-religionists?

Friday, 18 September 2015

Louis Farrakhan, Penn Jillette, and John Shelby Spong Added to White House Guest List to Welcome Holy Father

The simple fact is, life, the universe and all that has reached the point where I cannot differentiate with any degree of success - was that in the news or was that in The Onion?

I could be remembering wrong, (don't pay sufficient attention to the weddings of those for whom it is not incumbent upon me to purchase a gift,) but wasn't there some kind of buzz for the last wedding in the British royal family, generated by a joke that the Pope had sent the happy couple a copy of the Bull of Excommunication issued for the Hank 8 bigamous marriage to Anne Boleyn as a wedding gift?

And absurd as that was, insulting as it would have been, wasn't it picked up by actual news organization?
As I said, maybe I'm remembering wrong.

But I had the same kind of reaction when some media outlets began bruiting about the guest list for the "Welcome Ceremony" for Pope Francis.


Someone at the White House is being that stupid? or that provocative?

So I thought that too was a joke someone had mistaken for news, that famously dissenting, or absurdly publicly wont to "act out" non-, or just whiningly vitimatic "catholics" were all part of the party mix.

Eye of the Tiber?

But now, gee, I guess it might be real, (although the idea of anyone getting a "plus four" invitation to a White House function seems kinda, you know... stupid?)

Who knows? Not I.
 Image result for gene robinson
Hmmm... wonder if I can be fast-tracked for an 
annulment from that woman I married.
Hey, and what about that guy I dumped her
 for? Might as well ask for that while I'm at it. 
How many is this guy giving everyone everyone
 who, you know... has taken a penitential journey?

See? I'm surely not the only who wondered that...

I Have an Idea

I'd never heard of the comic who starred in an FXX show and advertised a buffalo wing restaurant until he lost the latter gig for having lied about the danger he was in on 9/11, but now I have.
So, is any publicity good publicity, Steve Rannazzisi?

Maybe he could appear on Brian William's new show on another cable station, MSNBC, whihc I think starts next week?

"Hey, get me the salt, huh?"

"Hey, get me the salt, huh?"
"What do you say, Billy?"
"I already said it, this needs SALT, Mom."
"Yes, but what's the magic w---"
"Careful, honey....."
"But, dear... don't you want him learn manners?"

Image result for retro cartoon family 
"Ix-nay, on the anners-may talk, honey"
"What, dear?"
"You mustn't force that on the boy."
"But we're such polite people, that's
one of the things I just loved about 
you, dear, when I met you. Don't you 
want Billy to grow up to be polite?"
"Well, of course I do, honey, some 
day I sure hope he'll follow in 
our footsteps. Courtesy's okay 
now for you and me, because that 
was our choice. But it would be 
unenlightened to try to coerce Billy 
into accepting our view of manners.
We should just wait until he's older, 
and see what he decides for himself."
"Gosh, you're wise, dear."
"Still waitin' on that salt..."

Checking to See If There Are Enough Lifeboats...

.... after the ship has sailed?
Because that ship has sailed, (why do I find myself using that expression so often in the past weeks having never used it before in my life, so far as i can recall? Hmmmm...)

Catholic World Report has a piece on how unprepared for true marriage young Catholics are, not just when they present themselves for whatever marriage prep their parish provides, but when they are deemed "ready" to go though with the sacrament.
True, for the other sacrament of "service", ordination, we don't think a half a decade is long enough, and for marriage a couple evening? a couple weeks?

But the solution, on-going formation after the wedding is unrealistic and beyond that, TOO LATE.

We need to to  member that if young people are going to choose one or the other of those two sacraments, (and odds are getting worse that they will opt for either,) the overwhelming majority will marry.

That means, EVERY Catholic child should be getting training for that vocation if he gets any religious education at all.

If formal catechesis doesn't begin with small children learning about the identity of "Domestic Church", of their family, and what marriage means, and what someday, hopefully, most of them will enter into, the Church is doomed to be playing catch up the rest of those children's lives.

There is too much tearing at the fabric of the family for Her to wait.

We put so much effort into assuring that we do not criticize or marginalize the sad exceptions among us, that normalcy is relativized, and the basic building block of society, of the Church is given short shrift.

We need to stop that.

When I was in school, a very kind bachelor teacher, or the principle whose kids were grown would offer to join one of the girls or boys in my large family when there was some kind of event with a name like "Father/Son Game Night," or "The Father-Daughter Spring Dance" being held, (never "Mother/blank," since it was a given, even as working-outside-the-home mothers were on the rise, it was still a given that mothers did most of the work, and volunteering, and dealing with school issues.)
There were other kids, who, for whatever reason, were in the same situation, and teachers, uncles, family friends were always in evidence.

Did we lobby to have the names of the event changed to something that wouldn't remind us our Father was dead? Did my Mother scream, How dare you stigmatize the families of single/divorced/widowed mothers like me!
No, she, we, they were just grateful.

Now schools try to organize things in a way that suggests fathers and mothers are the same thing, well, they'd have to be, wouldnt' they, since men and women are the same?

So yes, if we, as a Church ever want to see the turn-around that is needed, we can't wait until Emily and Joshua are ready to make it legal.

We have to start as soon as they can learn to bless themselves.

Keeping Score, Cupcakes and How Badly I Need the Sacraments

Probably no one you know need the grace of Confession more than I do. (Yes, there are greater sinners who commit great sins, but admit it, you never met a murderer, you don't keep company with high-rollers in the evil stakes...)

The Paper of Record has a snippet on a study that indicates people who commit some act they think of as virtuous often, seemingly as a result, then give themselves license to indulge in a vice.

Saved resources by bringing your re-usable bags to the market? bought those squidgy-looking gnarled "organic" vegetables?

You deserve a cupcake!

You just earned the right to scarf down a bag of potato chips!

I understand that. I am a big scorekeeper, so-and-so was mean, and I didn't retaliate, so now I get to....
Get to what?
Be mean back at a time to be named later?
Give myself the bigger portion when I carve the roast?

And worst of all, nothing, just smile quietly and smugly and allow myself to think of myself as the Better Person, (which is a mighty reward.)

If I see I have been short-changed at the store, I have been known to shop-lift an item that costs exactly the difference by which I was over-charged. That was red delicious I bought yesterday and she rang it up as honey crisp, that comes to a 64 cent difference, I'm going to eat an apple fritter while I'm walking around shopping, that only costs 58 cents, so they're still 6 cents ahead, I AM A GOOD PERSON.

But I am not, you see.
Once, years ago, I was spending money I really couldn't afford on a holiday clothing drive for infants and toddlers.
I knew a thrift store that had heaps of new items, and lots of barely used, high-end things, so I headed there and took a long time going over every piece carefully, and gathered a cart full of lovely, well-made red garments, mostly NWT.

Easily having found thirty times the amount of similar clothing I could have afforded if I had just walked into a mall store and picked the first thing off the rack, and feeling very smart and very generous, as I was getting ready to check-out I shoplifted a necklace.

That cost all of a dollar.

Fortunately, someone saw me, and I didn't steal it, and further, it was a day when I knew confessions were being heard in another parish in town, so I drove straight from my sin to Church.

But what is that in me?
The priest told me that I would be surprised how often he hears stories like that, and I guess the License to Snack blog bears that out.

But God is good.

With Waugh, I can profess, 

Chicago's New Director of Media

An editor of Commonweal has been selected by Abp Cupich as his Archdiocese's "director of publications and media, a newly created position."
Prayers and best wishes to all concerned.
Presumably others who might have suited are otherwise engaged.

This is of a piece with a few other incidents, (or discoveries on my part, when I hadn't bothered to inform myself better,)  that have led to the first time in a long while of having one of those, I'm so sorry, I see that you were right all along moments.

We all have them.
The Rodney King beating, for instance, was a big one for many of us.
The rant of a "religious leader" captured on video was one for me.
(Not a big deal, since, admittedly I didn't have all that much respect for him before, but I wanted to cite something on the other extremity.)

And although I have never had this confession well received, I used to think a certain faction of Catholicism was making too much of their victimhood and exaggerating the liturgical sins of those on the other side of the liturgical divide.
Fat people dancing in the aisles, raisin bread instead of the Body of Christ, a "communion song" that denies the divinity of Christ, and puppets have disabused me of that, (I leave out celebrant dressed as Barney and candy distributed to First Communicants at the homily since I did not witness those first hand.)

In the case of Abp C., I read and heard about a number of things for which, while they seemed unfortunate, or even wrong, he might have had very good, prudential reasons, ( dissuading his priests from participating in a specific anti-abortion activity, for instance.)
In fact, I defended his luke-warm op-ed piece following the release of videos revelatory of Planned Parenthood's trafficking in body parts from aborted babies, (I am not similarly inclined regarding his statement in the wake of the Supreme Courts abrogating to the federal government law regarding marriage, since that had presumed Catholics as its target audience, rather than the readership of a secular newspaper, and could have been a stronger brew.)

But his long ago cruelty, (yes, that's the word I chose,) to the Latin Mass community in his diocese of Cedar Rapids during the Triduum, while I think, if I tried hard, I could have come up with a charitable and reasonable explanation for, when his own words are read, (which I only did recently,) demonstrate that he couldn't even be bothered coming up with a "reasonable explanation."
"We're just looking for an opportunity on an annual basis for us to all worship together, for one moment of unity as a Catholic church.... I'm looking for one time each year to do that, and it seems the day the Lord died for us all would be a good day to do it. That's all that this is about. There has to be some occasion on a yearly basis to reflect the fact that we are one church under one bishop. I would ask them, 'Why do they find it so difficult, on the day of the Lord's death, to celebrate with their bishop, who is the sign of the Lord's unity?'"
This is nonsense on the face of it. "Worship together"? "celebrate with their bishop"?
Was there some venue where all 30,200 some Catholic of the diocese were all going to gather with him as celebrant, all going to venerate the same Crucifix? Surely not.
And there were, at that time, 97 parishes.
So patently there would be multiple celebrations of the Passion - were they all going to use the same words from the Missal, the same chant? the same setting of the Reproaches, of the psalm?
(It seems quite possible that by his locking the Latin mass community out of their usual home, they were all going to use the same language, since Latinos were under-served in the diocese as of 2008 when they finally began having more frequent Spanish-language Masses.)

You know, it occurs to me that if he had wanted to be with them, he could have offered to preside at the Extraordinary Form for them...

Anyway, God bless you, Catholic Chicago.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Is There Room For One More At the Synod?

A petition to the Pope Emeritus, asking that he attend.
Don't know the protocol of such a thing, but that's not much valued in the environs of the coming Synod, is it?
Anyway, please sign, and also disseminate the link, if you are so inclined.

Does "Off-the-Cuff" Have Some Precise Theological meaning?

From CWR-
Women have a special God-given role in protecting each generation against the evils of its time, Pope Francis said in characteristically off-the-cuff remarks during his weekly Wednesday general audience....
Rather than abandoning us to this “disease” of original sin, God set up a woman as a “protective barrier” against the evils of every generation, he added. 
“This means that the woman carries a secret and special blessing” for defending us against evil, the pontiff said, recalling the woman from the book of Revelation who hid her son from the dragon.
“Think about that depth which is opened here! There exist many stereotypes – which are often offensive – about the temptress woman who inspires evil.”

Image result for pope francis frayed cuff 

“Rather, there is a place for a theology of woman who has the height of this blessing from God for her and for her generation!”

"Oh, Gonads! Oh My God, Gonads. Everything We Provide is Fresh.....We’re Trying to Figure This Out.. How We’re Going to Manage Remuneration, Because the Headlines Would Be a Disaster

The abortion industry quite clearly has a seeress in the national director of the Consortium of Abortion Providers.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Just think of your marriage as a Toyota...

A sadly apt analogy, if prelates can so casually claim that like as not, the marriages the Church sanctioned aren't really marriages after all.
wouldn’t a pastor who lends out the sanctuary of his church for such a union be an unwitting party to that fraud? It is his solemn duty to the souls whom he is called to evangelize to do all he can to prevent such sacrilegious marriages. Some priests and some bishops are taking such steps....
Imagine if Toyota learned that half of its cars exploded when drivers exceeded 55 mph. So its CEO decided not to stop the assembly lines until the error was rooted out and corrected. Instead, he told consumers that they could trade in their defective Toyotas, no questions asked — for new cars with the same design flaw. You wouldn’t think that executive was serious about safety or the future of Toyota.

"Who Do You Say That I Am?" and Once You Answer That, "Who Do You Say That She Is?"

The "She" being His Bride.
Who exactly do you think the Church is?
Why does what She teaches, and has always taught, at times more taught vociferously than now, but never not taught -- why does that seem to shock you every time you are reminded of it?

Change.org , or someone making use of it for Important At Least To Him petitions, (subcategory, Fruitless,) from something I have signed in the past or written, thinks I might want to sign a petition from a confused gentleman who says he has belonged to a Catholic parish for almost 10 years, and undeniably, from his own description, been very generous with his time and talents - served the people of God is a variety of ways, lay reader, (not "lector,") altar server, visitation minister, (Extraordinary Minister, I assume?), bereavement ministry... and perhaps troublingly, in religious ed.

When he chose to publicly celebrate an activity upon which, I can find no evidence to the contrary, the Bride of Christ has always frowned --not because She doesn't like it, or it's not to the taste of some of Her members, or because Her leaders think it's tacky or don't care for it themselves, or because Her philosophers and Doctors and theologians haven't bothered to consider it, or because She has members who are prudes and think it's icky, but because She teaches and has always taught that it is sinful --  he feigns surprise that he is no longer allowed to present himself as the public face of the Faith.

Really? You didn't know that the Church believes that men are not supposed to engage in sexual relations with other men, much less proclaim it publicly as a cause for celebration?

I'm sure what you see as "rejection" did "hurt you terribly -- but not as much as sin hurts you, and not nearly as much as the scandal your celebrating a sin could hurt those you were supposed to be instructing in the Faith, and for whom you were charged to model virtue.

So fine, write a petition, be cheesed off at the Church - but stop acting like some sort of victim who was blindsided b the sudden revelation of what She teaches.

And you know what? If you truly were blindsided by it, your "marriage" may be an instance of God drawing straight with crooked lines.

If it removed you from teaching religious education for a religion about which you apparently didn't know very much, there's your silver lining, sport.