Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Friday, 29 July 2016

Does Catholicism Need a Whoopi Goldberg...

... to explain, yeah, but he's not a 'martyr-martyr' ?

The Name Others Will Use to Curse

If you disobey me, not living according to the law I placed before you and not listening to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I send you constantly though you do not obey them, I will... make this the city to which all the nations of the earth shall refer when cursing another. 
Reading this morning.
Now, I almost always hope the priest will want the readings of the feast or memorial rather than the continuous ones of the lectionary, but today...

Well, it just seems horridly apt.

The Summit Dominicans are There For Us All

Recognized the columns of the baldacchino and the gothic tracery on the sanctuary walls instantly.
The Nuns of the Rosary Shrine do indeed hold us all up in prayer.

Monday, 25 July 2016

A Hierarchy of Atrocities, How the "News" Ranks Tragedy

Why do American news outlets give so much more coverage to one act of barbarity than to another?
They seem to have so much more to say about murders at a shopping center in Munich than a suicide bombing in Kabul.
Is the level of the victims' otherness the deciding factor?
Is where Americans might vacation?
Is war news fatigue to blame? (Oh, some more of those people have blown up yet more others of those people...)

And in nightclub shootings, it seemed there was an immediate effort to put a  face on the Orlando victims, even while a stand-off was occurring.
Not so with the children killed in Ft Myers.
Is that because in the Pulse incident both victims and murderer were members of privileged-by-forces-of-political-correctness classes? (Never mind the rush to blame the atrocity on those who were members of neither of the two.)

Then what to make of news reports on the Club Blu horror? Clearly from news photos, twitter postings and facebook videos, the club's teen-aged clientele was primarily, if not exclusively black. Is that not relevant?
And if not, why not?
Are victims' identity as African-American, (presumably, though one cannot tell residence or citizenship from photos and names,) teen-agers of less moment that that of Latino homosexuals, do they matter less, is it a less "sex" story?
Or conversely, is neglect of such details an effort to forestall commentary on black-on-black crime, whether that be rational or bigoted?

My hear is sick, how the world needs prayer!

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

"Morning Star Over America"

I am a staunch believer in the miraculous in general - I know the Almighty sets aside the laws of physics, the law of nature whenever it please Him to do so - but in particular?
Not so much.
I don't disbelieve them, Medjugorje, stigmatics, [is that the word?] intermittently liquefying blood, the Virgin Mary visiting Long Island.... but I am agnostic.
But an agnostic, or at least a thinking agnostic, by very definition is open to being convinced, and perhaps even, sometimes, eager to be convinced - at least one way or the other.
Has the Blessed Mother been appearing to two men in Illinois?
One might ask why would she? but might just as well ask why not?
In any case, Bishop Paprocki is just the man to depend on in determining the truth of the matter.
"I could hear a voice coming from outside me. It was a pleading voice from a very young girl. There was authority in her voice, even though it was very mild.”
...[Two] former Ashland residents who now live in Springfield, said they have been receiving visions of and messages from Mary — communications they recently turned over to Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of the Springfield Diocese for a commission to review.
Parsons-Heather and Roth said they have experienced visions, miraculous phenomenon, apparitions, prophetic knowledge and daily conversations with the Virgin Mary since February 1991.
“After the initial shock, she began teaching us about moral truth and what kind of people Jesus wishes us to become,” Roth said. “I don’t see mystical phenomena or miracles, per se, as something extraordinary or rare anymore. They accompany our faith. Many beautiful spiritual gifts become part of anyone’s life when we are consecrated in obedience to Jesus through his mother’s guidance.”
...“The purpose of the commission is to study the body of literature concerning what is referred to as the ‘Morning Star Over America’ in accord with the ‘Norms Regarding the Manner of Proceeding in the Discernment of Presumed Apparitions or Revelations,’ in order to express a judgment regarding the authenticity and supernatural character if the case so merits,” Paprocki said. “I would advise people to do nothing with the published ‘Morning Star Over America’ works until the commission yields a response.
“This is the only such request for the establishment of a commission to examine private revelations that I have had during my tenure as bishop of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, which began in June 2010."
...  In 1989, [one of the men]  received a book about Medjugorje, Yugoslavia, and that inspired him to visit the holy site.
“It was probably the most profound experience of my life up to that time,” Roth said. “I had grown up being taught about our Holy Mother’s appearances at Fatima and Lourdes, and it struck me that it was happening right now, and I thought that we were very, very blessed to have an event like that happening.
“What I saw was the truth through the faith of the visionaries at Medjugorje. I became convinced that the power to change the world was through the Virgin Mary’s miraculous intercession. I knew it was the gift that the world had been waiting for.”
One might find the fact that the apparitions began after a pilgrimage to the location of another reputed Marian apparition makes them suspect, inspired by the power of suggestion, but what if we look at it another way?
What if we acknowledge the possibility that such things have happened over, and over again, are happening even now, are occurring constantly, to each and every human creature, if only he opens the eyes of his soul, the ears of his heart to recognize it?
It occurs to me that I may have been the potential recipient of mystical communication but having given it no thought, failed to so much as notice it.

Birders know that it takes practice and knowledge and awareness to take in all the sightings one could make.

I remember when I was involved in a wedding being planned, being shocked at how many gracious homes with charming gazebos in beautiful gardens there suddenly seemed to be.
Had they not been there before?
Had they sprung up overnight?
Do I think they weren't really there and I only thought I saw them through the power of suggestion?

Monday, 18 July 2016

Credit Where Due, THIS USCatholic Article Needs to Be Read

The boondoggle that is TANF needs to be addressed and it needs to be addressed now.
Haunted by the Reagan era, (and pretty much mythical) bogey of the "welfare queen," the federal government overhauled a system intended to provide vital aid to poor families, especially those with children, in a reform intended to help people get OFF welfare, becoming self-sufficient. Those seem like good intentions, but we have been left with a system that leaves the most vulnerable among us inadequately cared for.
[The old welfare system] used to reach as many as 68 out of 100 families in need; [the Clinton era program we now have] now reaches 23 out of 100. The purchasing power of our parsimonious public aid—some states offer less than $300 a month to a family of three—has similarly declined dramatically. Meanwhile, the national TANF average monthly caseload has fallen by almost two thirds—from 4.7 million families in 1996 to 1.7 million families in 2014—even as poverty has intensified. It appears while TANF is great at moving poor families off of poverty caseloads, it is far less successful at actually moving families out of poverty. Two decades in, is TANF due for reform? The church’s teaching on human dignity insists that the authentic needs and dignity of the “client” have primacy over the prejudices of society when devising public aid proposals. And its preferential option for the poor demands that in a just society the treatment of the poor will have primacy over other public spending decisions
And yes, before you small-government types say it, the current welfare system still wastes an enormous amount of tax-payer money.

But guess what?

It's not going to the poor.

It's going in block grants to the states, in the name of subsidiarity, where it is spent in myriad ways that bear no fruit in moving people out of poverty and that have created ever more complicated machineries and protocols and systems and programs that benefit - the people who devise them and execute them.
"What's YOUR Love Style?"
Why do I ask? you wonder...
Give a listen. In case you don't feel like listening, Oklahoma was offered as an example...)

... but looked at my state, and we're doing an even more shameful job of caring for the poor.

"Disagree"? I Think You Mean "Dissent" or More Possibly, "Disregard"

USCatholic has a piece about supporting the Girl Scouts by someone named Cait.
I was surprised to find that there are some who feel the Girl Scouts and its parent organization WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) don’t fall in line with Roman Catholic teachings. Specifically, they take issue with the inclusion of gay and transgender girls within troops and WAGGGS’ known advocacy for reproductive rights.
As a former Girl Scout, I choose to disagree.
"Disagree" with what?
Surely not the facts.
Would you deny that through the Girl Scouts it's members, leaders and donors, (including, yeah, those of us who purchase cookies at exorbitant prices,) contribute financially to WAGGGS? (as well as providing moral and p support, of course, making it possible to say "we serve/represent xxxxx gazillion girls internationally!")

Of course not.

Do you deny that WAGGGS advocates for reproductive rights? ("Reproductive rights" is a euphemism for abortion, artificial contraception and the freedom to engage in consensual fornication. Not making a moral judgment on those things, that is simply what is meant.)

I don't see how you can.

Are you denying that support for those "doesn’t fall in line" with what our Faith believes and has always taught?

Again, surely not.
So what you really mean is, the Girl Scouts do some good things and you benefitted from belonging to them and so you don't really care if you give aid and support to an organization that is a proponent of the deliberate destruction of innocent life, which you, as an educated and faithful Catholic, know to be vilely sinful.

You don't disagree at all, I'd imagine.

You just don't care.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Principles? We Don' Need No Stinkin' Principles

I am finding myself less bothered by people with whom I simply disagree on The Big Issues, than with supposed true believers who, in what is admittedly a no-win situation, bail on values to protect fiscal preferences.

Friday, 15 July 2016

So when you think about it, it's kind refreshing: the Public Square and the Minions of Hell

I suppose it can be refreshing to hear someone say what he's thinking - no obfuscation, no shading... 

No manners.

I have a friend who tells me that when she was young, if the kids whined that they "wanted" something, her Grandma would cock an eyebrown and mutter, people in hell want ice water.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Bastille Day, You Know, Liberte, Egliate, Fraternite; Ushering In the Secular Utopia of the Enlightnment

St Kateri

First time out my door since Sunday, fitting that it was for the feast day of the "Lily of the Mohawks."

Here's the thing - I thought it wryly funny, and appropriate, the day in honor of a saint with scarred, and probably, let's be honest, ugly skin.
I happily implore her intercession and accept her patronage. My skin is ugly, and so the face under it is often as well, and I accept that. It's also painful, I'm not as accepting of that.

But what had somehow escaped me was that it was not just her appearance damaged by the smallpox, but her eyesight.

All my worst flare-ups until now had hurt, yeah, and had looked appalling, but this last episode had left my vision, albeit only temporarily, affected.
I didn't, couldn't help at all with the driving, (on the way south after the glorious, glorious CMAA Colloquium.)
I wore my sunglasses all through Mass on Sunday, and have pretty much stayed in dim rooms since.

I've always been very grateful for my eyesight, which was not just good but, once upon a time, exceptional.
I have noticed I don't have as much leeway with distance vis a vis music rack,as opposed to hand-held, as opposed to hand-held in a dense choral crowd, (Brower's choir at the Cathedral, f'rinstance.)
But that's a normal part of aging.
Presbyopia, no?
But now I wondering if something more specific and serious is in play.
S. Kateri, ora pro me

Monday, 11 July 2016

Saint Anthony of the Desert

"The devil is afraid of us when we pray and make sacrifices. He is also afraid when we are humble and good. He is especially afraid when we love Jesus very much. He runs away when we make the Sign of the Cross."

"The devil dreads fasting, prayer, humility, and good works: He is not able even to stop my mouth who speak against him. The illusions of the devil soon vanish, especially if a man arms himself with the Sign of the Cross. The devils tremble at the Sign of the Cross of our Lord, by which He triumphed over and disarmed them.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

The Parable of the Good Unattractive, Home-schooling, Transgendered Samaritan

A man person fell victim to robbers as said person went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.
They stripped and shot said person and went off leaving said person half-dead.

A conservative think tank happened to be going down that road, and when they saw zir, they variously cried out, see? if only he'd been carrying a gun this wouldn't have happened, why hasn't he done something to help himself, it's these people's own fault because that's how they live, maybe we should build a wall, how would new laws have helped anyway? I don't recognize him so I bet he shouldn't have been here in the first place, I blame all this on leaders of the other party, anyway, he's obviously a loser, he's only one person and THOUSANDS have died from... as they passed by on the opposite side.

Likewise, members of a liberal grass-roots movement came to the place and when they saw him, they too variously cried out, prayers won't help, someone come up with a hashtag, we need more gun control, we should take advantage of this crisis, perhaps ze had victimized the perpetrators via micro-agressions and the robbers finally had just had enough, so they are  the ones who really need our hashtags and help, I blame this on the legislators of the other party, we can't let this take the focus off the real victims here, let's start chanting, anybody got a slogan? You know what is gross? thoughts and prayers and Samaritanaphobia after you created this anti-Jericho climate, as they also  passed by on the opposite side

But an unattractive, home-schooling, transgendered, mixed-race, evangelical, Christian, undocumented, immigrant, obese, vegetarian, law enforcement officer with a congenital disability that should have made him an obvious candidate for abortion which would have been the most humane thing to have done, but oh, well, too late now, who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight.
He She They Ze approached the victim, poured oil and wine over zir wounds and bandaged them. Then ze lifted zir up on zir own animal, took zir to an inn, and cared for zir.