A Saintly Salmagundi Various ruminations on Catholicism, satire, esoterica, hagiography, nuttiness, culture, etc.
28 February 2003
The South By Southwest Music Festival is coming up in two weeks in Austin, TX. I was able to make it last year and had a great time. Unfortunately I will have to miss out this year, but I do suggest if you are in the area to check it out, they have a bunch of great bands in the line-up this year.
In case you didn't get to read it in the December 2002 issue of First Things, Maximos Davies' article entitled "Celibacy in Context" offers a fine analysis of celibacy in the Eastern Churches as compared to the Latin Church is well worth your time, most especially the last paragraph which reads:
[T]he laity cannot justly complain that their priests do not keep the law of celibacy while at the same time demanding that they themselves be subject to no ascetic discipline. Until the laity begins to accept the need to fast, to be mindful of what we wear, how we speak, how we relate to each other—in short, until the laity accepts its baptismal vocation in all its radical other–worldliness—there is no hope that the clergy will find the strength to do so. Only a Church of mystics can realistically expect their clergy to be saints.
Too busy to take time out of your busy schedule to trek out into the woods to commune with Gaia? No Wiccan covens in that small little dead-end town of yours? Looking for freedom from patriarchal opression that you can carry in your purse? Well we have just the thing for you - Goddess in a Box! This do-it-yourself worship kit comes with all you'll need to bring the goddess' bountiful blessings into your life - a tiny statue of the goddess, a book with meditations for every day of the year, four cones of aromatic incense, and hey, e box even turns into a handy little altar! It's everything today's busy little pagan needs!
As a Holy Ghost Father Bl. Daniel served as a military chaplain in the French army in World War I, risking his life on the front lines. He was cited six times for bravery and awarded the Croix de Guerre and the Legion of Honour. He attributed his miraculous survival on the front lines to the intercession of Saint Therese of Lisieux, and built a chapel for her at Auteuil when she was canonized.
A peace loving Frenchman who bravely served in his country's army during war time. Maybe we can ask him to interced on behalf of Chirac and la patrie. His memorial is celebrated today.
Here is a little fun for your weekend. I am trying to make a list of th best movie villains of all time. As you will notice from the list I am not looking for "Silence of the Lambs" type nuts who get their jollies by dressing up as women, walking around naked in their house and killing children. I'm looking for characters and actors who have a "depth" (if that can be said about villains) to their villainous and evil ways. Here is what I came up with (in no particular order):
In 1860, a band of marauding revolutionaries entered the mountain village of Isola, Italy and commenced burning and pillaging the small town. Possenti, a young Passionist seminarian, was walking to the center of town to face the terrorizing soldiers when he saw one of them dragging off a young maiden whom he intended to deflower. The soldier saw the young seminarian and made a snide remark about him being here alone and unarmed. Possenti quickly grabbed the terrorist’s revolver and forced him into releasing the girl. The seminarian then grabbed another pistol from another soldier as the rest of the marauders came rushing to the scene in order to do serious damage to the armed, but outnumbered monk. Just then a tiny lizard ran between Possenti and the soldiers, and when the lizard stopped, Possenti took aim with one of the pistols and hit the lizard with one shot. He then immediately turned both pistols on the soldiers and commanded them to drop their weapons. The soldiers immediately did so, so shaken were they by his excellent marksmanship. Still wielding the handguns, he forced them men to go through the village putting out the fires they had set, and then still at gun point, marched the men out of town, ordering them never to return. Because of this heroic show of courage and handgun prowess, many would like to make St. Gabriel Possenti patron saint of handgunners. You can visit the web site of The Possenti Society, a group dedicated to just such an aim, at www.possentisociety.com.
Still chugging along here. The sisters little mission went well, and their vocation talks seem to be having a positive effect on the girls. Most of the kids just sort of stare in awe since they have never seen sisters in habits before. One sweet little girl from my school, after giving me a hug took a look at sister and backed off in fear. Poor thing had never seen a Sister in habit before and thought she might have been a Dalek from Dr. Who. Her fears were quickly assuaged. The best story has been that several of the girls (not the boys thank goodness) have gone home and told their parents that they know that they want to be a nun when they grow up. There have been some difficulties, and this will give me pause to reflect at a later date. And along with the driving the sisters around, we've had seven funerals so far this week.
Please pray for a certain group of Sisters (the congregation will go unamed to ensure their safety) who are enduring a great amount of persecution and harrassment in Russia (or should I say, a certain town in Russia) by people who want them to leave their convent so they can use the property for themselves.
Over at A Catholic Point of View they are doing a series on the life of St. Joachim, the husband of good St. Anne. Poor St. Joachim - he gets my vote for the saint who gets the biggest shaft. All you hear is St. Anne, St. Anne (bring me a man), but who talks about St. Joachim anymore? Even on their feast day, the priest usually pays all the attention to St. Anne (well, if he didn't I guess the St. Anne's Society might put a worm in his casserole) and St. Joachim gets left aside. I guess that why he is falling asleep, lack of any intercessions for which to pay heed.
I received this e-mail from our friends at Iconbusters today, the people who think religion consists in bashing Catholics instead of worshipping Jesus (Anybody know anything about copyright law? I wonder if they received permission to use that Soul Coughing song on their site?).
Iconbusters Protestant Reformation Publications
Please join us for the premiere of our latest Hypocrites on Parade audio/video Flash presentation: The Church of Signs & Lying Wonders: Eucharist Miracles.
This film may be accessed by clicking on the hyperlink below:
From the comment box (you can tell Fr. LaHood is a Thomist, with the fine distinction he makes at the end):
I saw "The American Experience" episode about the Pill on PBS last night. They had commentaries from various people. The contraceptive mentality reflected by most of the commentators revealed itself in language that spoke of children essentially as a pathology, a loss of freedom. The contraceptive mentality is based on "freedom from" and not "freedom for."
I am unfortunately having to ban quite a few people from commenting on my blog. People are getting snippy and cursing and preaching at me. Heck, and it is people I don't even know! And the one I just banned got banned because he mouthed off to me when it was Thomas Sowell with whom he was really mad. Remember, there is no tractor beam pulling you into this blog; no "Death Star" technology. Feel free to disagree, but do it respectfully.
From today's gospel reading we see Jesus making a correlation between receiving a tiny child and receiving Him. If we cannot be open to children, we will not be open to Him. Taking these words to heart, we can see one of the roots of the contemporary crisis of faith and and even more disturbing antagonism towards Christianity in our Western culture - the contraceptive mentality, which is the refusal to be open to children and the preference of one's own selfish (sexual) pleasure. Becuase of the widespread use of contraception and the lack of openess to children, we see as a result of this the spread of the inability to be open to faith in Jesus Christ. If we truly want a renewal of faith in our country, among other things, we will need an eradication of the contraceptive mentality which finds is horrible culmination in abortion, the ultimate refusal of children.
I've been having an unusually hihn number of referrals from Google over the past week or so. When I click them in Sitemeter to see what were the folks who were directed to my page, it has been a search for the nude war protestors in Australia I mentined a few days back. I'm the number one listed site. I am happy that I helpd these people by not using the Southern derivative "Nekkid War Protestors."
I, as many of us who read this blog do I am sure, keep up with contemporary Catholic and Christian cultural criticism (ah, amazing alliteration) realizing the fallacy of a purely secular society, and man's need for the transcendent. Well, today I reflected on the reality that I, and all of us again I am sure, are subject to, that we understand so well the critique of secualrism and a mentality that sees only appearances and lives a life of materialism, but yet fail to live it out in a life of serious prayer and communion with that personal transcendent who is the one God in three persons. The fact that we do commune with God and that it transforms our lives is the best argument against secularism.
I am just as excited as anyone about Mel Gibson's new movie Passion - about the passion of Christ. I keep hearing it is supposed to be an authentic rendition of Our Lord's last hours, even to the point of the actors speaking Aramaic and not supplying subtitles for the viewers. A novel idea. But with all this striving for realism, why does it appear in the photos released from the movie that Jesus has the nails driven into his hands and not in his wrists as the Shroud of Turin (and studies of Roman crucifixion methods) show us?
Zorak considers A Saintly Salmagundi one of his favorite blogs. Zorak, even though you are "evil" and held captive by Space Ghost in your space pod, you are still a nice guy. Zorak, be honest, what do you think of Brak, buddy?
Two of the Carmelite Sisters from Alhambra arrived today to do a mission and vocation work for a week. I am going to be fairly busy showing them around, so I won't be blogging much during the week, maybe a post or two a day. We're heading out now to go eat some gumbo. Pray that some of the young women they speak to hear the call to serve Christ as a religious and have the courage to answer the call.
Although I am happy when something I post on my blog generates discussion and debate, I never intended my blog itself to be a place for debate and discussion. Sure, debate can go on in the comments box, that is what they are there for, but I will rarely enter into the fray of the discussion, either in the comments boxes or on my blog. If I choose to comment I prefer to do it be e-mail (thus the request to leave an e-mail address if you care to disagree with or preach to me). I have adopted this policy for two main reasons. First, I just don’t have the time as a priest as I did as a seminarian. I am too busy saving souls and have just enough time to post amusing links and stories for your enjoyment and edification. Second, over many years of floating around in cyberspace, I found discussions on topics theological to be utterly fruitless. I am not sure why, but I made a little promise to myself that I would rarely get into a discussion, especially over non-crucial issues.
That being said, I do want to make some more brief comments about the Marian article that is seemingly being hotly protested in some circles (although traffic to my site is not increasing as a result). I am acting out of the norm since the article was not posted on my blog, but on a separate web site. For the sake of order, I’d like to comment in an outlined fashion:
1. I reread my paper (it had been four years) and am still going to stand by the logic and conclusion of my argument, although I would change the way I phrased a few things.
2. Upon rereading it, I am perplexed by Mr. Cork’s comments that he “would suggest that Mariology should begin not with speculation, but with Scripture and the earliest traditions.” Well, as far as I can see from my essay, scripture is the total basis of my whole argument. In fact I said it in the second paragraph, “I plan to look at this question mostly from a scriptural-theological perspective, not a biological one.” The essay is replete with scriptural references, and all of my major arguments are scriptural. I do not understand what Mr. Cork means, maybe he needs to read the paper more carefully. Maybe it is confusion about what I meant by “theological speculation” – I am not randomly speculating on Mary’s physical integrity, but drawing from sound scriptural passages and principles I am speculating on her physical integrity.
3. There have been a number of responses arguing from Mary’s menstruation from a biological level. That is fine, but as I stated above, that was not the aim, intent, or scope of my paper. I am sure there are some solid arguments there, but it is not what I was dealing with.
4. Even more specifically, I was dealing with the theological meaning of menstruation “primarily for the Jews of the Old Testament,” that is from a Jewish perspective. We can quote all the Christian sources we want, but I was focusing on the historical context before the advent of Christ.
5. I guess, my main question wasn’t if Mary menstruated, but if menstruation comes as a result of the Fall. Maybe that would be easier for some people to discuss, where Our Lady does not have to enter into the picture too much.
6. My thesis is based on two key arguments, and I think any discussion of the paper should focus on the validity of these, that is if they are valid rather than how one “feels” about such an admittedly touchy issue (Rosemarie has been very good at this in my comments boxes). But the two key arguments are not mine, but derived from scripture scholars, so we might need to look at their work, because my thesis is only as valid if theirs are. The first is Gordon Wenham "Sanctuary Symbolism in the Garden of Eden Story" (Proceedings of the Ninth World Congress of Jewish Studies, 1986, p.19-25). If he is correct, then from the Jewish scriptural perspective, Eve could not have been considered by the Jews ritually impure since the Garden of Eden was envisioned as a Sanctuary. The second is dealing specifically with Mary, the New Eve and “bloods” as argued by Ignace dela Potterie in his fine work Mary and the Mystery of the Covenant (pp. 67-122, the book however seems to be out of print, although you might be able to get it from Alba House). My argument is really anchored in the virginal birth of Jesus in partu, from Potterie’s thesis (backed by scripture and the Fathers) that Jesus’ was not born of normal birthing bloods. From this, and the sanctuary correlation, I deduced along with the connection of Levicticus 12 and 15 – that it would seem improbable for Mary to have menstruated if she did not have a “bloody” birth.
7. Several have argued that Mary was just like other women and so she would have menstruated. Well, she was like other women but without sin, and the whole point is to see how that would have made her different. We know she remained a virgin in birth – that is dogma, and that is certainly different from other women. So why can’t it be the same way with menstruation? I think it can, and I think my case is at least scripturally sound. Now, I admit, I am not a scripture scholar, but I rely on some pretty good sources. As I said, looking at Wenham’s, and esp. de la Potterie’s work is where we should start.
If wars could be prevented by waiting and hoping, World War II would never have happened. Every mistaken step in appeasement was cheered by crowds and every attempt to build military defenses was denounced by them. If crowds are to be our guide, we are truly headed for ruin.
Aquinas and Seemingly Meaningless Theological Speculation
In the vein of our Mariological discussion here, I offer for your enjoyment (yes, theology can be enjoyable) a few brief items where The Angelic Doctor himself, in fine medieval tradition, reflected on obscure and esoteric theological subjects:
A little backgorund to that article. A friend of mine at a rather liberal Catholic college had called me because her professor had gone on a rant trying to portray a radical contemporay image of Mary wherein she vehemently supported the thesis that Mary had menstruated. Confused as she was she e-mailed me to see if I could offer any insight. Although I had never considered the topic before, partially out of my desire to learn more, partially out of my desire to help her, and partially out of my love for Catholic esoterica, I decided to do some reasearch. I talked to quite a few people - priests and students whose Mariological opinions I respected, and I did my own research (especially into laws of purity in the Old Testament) and came up with the thesis that she would not have menstruated. So, I sent it to my friend as my own speculative opinion on the topic.
I then also sent it to Fr. Johann Roten at the Marianum and asked him what he thought about it (since he is considered one of the leading Mariologists in the world). He admitted it was a unique question, and my approach was also unique in addressing it, and he thought my conclusion was sound. So, he decided to publish it (without footnotes) on the Marianum site. I never got much feedback or response to the article over the years. The only time it ever surfaced in discussion on the web was when some Protestant fundamentalists took to bashing it. Now, as I stated above, they are discussing it again at Ut Unum Sint, which I am delighted to see.
As I am sure most people who have entered the discussion understand, the article is theological speculation and I am not proposing it as dogma. Indeed, this question has never been addressed by the magisterium, and as a result there is certainly room for theological speculation and discussion. I am happy to see that it is finally (some years after it was first published) serving its purpose for deeper reflection on an admitedly touchy subject. It seems to have hit a nerve with some people, and I have read through some of the posts over at Mr. Cork's website, so I think I might make a few remarks:
1. I posed the question if the Jews beleived Eve menstruated to a Jewish friend of mine, and he pointed me to this reference from Babylonian Talmud tractate Eruvin 100b, which informs us that, the blood of menstruation (dam niddah), and, by association, all the laws connected to this state, arose from the sin of Adam and Eve.
2. There is actually what logical error in the paper (but I can't remeber what it is now) which I probaly should correct.
3. I am in no way a biblical scholar and I relied on sourced I considered reliable for my exegetical foundation.
4. Mr. Cork says that article has "stirred up some emotion," I just hope the emotion does not cloud reasoned, faith filled theological debate on the subject.
5. I still do stand by my position, although if someone cares to disagree, that is fine by me since it is not an issue of faith and morals but of theological specualtion (in addition believing that the Marianum's site was a good place for such specualtion).
6. I suggest contacting Fr. Roten at the Marianum to see if he can offer any insights or reflections if the idea troubles you.
7. I wasn't aware the Maria of Agreda had the same position. I tried reading her once. Way too tedious for me.
And for those of you who are interested, I have a few other works floating around the internet which you might want to check out:
I am glad to see that there seems to be so much enthusiasm. What is more important than a city is someone who can organize it. So, I guess if there is someone willing to organize it, we'd either do it in their city or in the city of their choice. I can't see it taking much work, getting a hotel conference room (for 50 people maybe?) and a block of rooms. Maybe, if we want talks, to arrange that. And sure we'd open it to whomever wants to come. Any takers?
This is bizarre and rather disturbing stuff. Here are some of the highlights:
The problems centered on a church-affiliated dance group, the St. John's Divine Rhythm Society [n.b. the church is located in San Francisco], and allegations that it condoned _ if not promoted--illegal drug use at a series of all-night parties modeled after raves...``It's not the drugs that are poisoning our spiritual community,'' one parishioner wrote in an appeal to Bishop William Swing. ``It is the lies and the secrets.''
The rhythm society was formed in the early 1990s as an exclusive club: The idea was to provide spiritual seekers a way to dance their way toward enlightenment. Soon after, the society began hosting quarterly, invitation-only gatherings at St. John's, midnight-to-morning celebrations featuring DJ's, light shows and New Age themes such as ``Dream'' and ``Explore.''
They also objected to some of the changes he introduced to the established liturgy, such as directing the church choir to chant the Hindu mantra ``Om'' instead of the Nicene Creed, and inserting into the Eucharistic prayer the phrase, ``You are loved, you are safe, you are free,'' an expression allegedly imported from the weekly meditation sessions the society also held at St. John's...
The tensions reached a boiling point last summer when a man attending the rhythm society's June function was discovered unconscious in a church bathroom, the victim of an apparent overdose of GHB, the so-called ``date rape'' drug...
"We are a really progressive bunch of folks, people who have been through the '60s and '70s in San Francisco,'' said church member Sarah Lawton. But ``this is about what we want in our church, and about a lack of respect.''
OK, so that means if you want to sacrifice small children to the forest god that should be OK, as long as that is what you want in your church? I suggest you read Fides et Ratio and Veritatis Splendor on the relation of truth to freedom. Then go read that document on the New Age the Vatican put out. But I am not sure any of that is going to help you if you don't realize that drugs and liturgy don't mix.
Today is of course the memorial of St. Peter Damian of Book of Gomorrah fame. But let us not forget the memorial of Bl. Noel (or Natalis) Pinot which we also celebrate today. Pinot was a priest martyred during the French Revolution for refusing to take an oath of fidelity to the new government. He is famously depicted going to his execution wearing his glorious Roman pianeta intoning Introibo ad altare Dei (although, I can't find a picture on the web). Pinot is especially venerated in Angers, France the locale of his life and death. Angers is also the home of Moreanumthe scholarly journal on the life and writings of St. Thomas More.
I've been mulling over this during the past two weeks and figured I might as well bring it out into the open. I've been thinking about what a great idea it would be to have a convention of sorts for Catholic Bloggers. We could get someone to arrange it (any volunteers) and we could pick a city, get some convention space in a hotel, and for a weekend get together there and get to meet each other and maybe have a few talks or presentations. We can see if Victor Lams ir really as witty in person, we can all gang up on Mark Shea and tell him what we think about capital punishment to his face, and we can critique liturgies with Mark Sullivan. How does that sound? Any ideas?
Also from our anonymous blogger, for your perusal, the website of the Chicago church where The Rev. Al Sharpton recently spoke, Santa Sabina. I'm tired, so I'll quote:
You'll appreciate the looming Afro Jesus sanctuary art, the dashiki-style vestments worn by the white Reverend Ike-wannabe pastor Fr. Pfleger, and the various "ministries" sponsored by the parish. See also Fr. Pfleger's demagogic preacher-man style in full flower in his speech at the MLK Center. Is it possible
to have a Rap Snacks Eucharist? If so, look to St. Sabina's to try it.
The purpose of the expose' of the Twentieth Century is to prove the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, ordered by the Jesuit General and executed by Pope Paul VI, was carried out by "the American Pope", Francis Cardinal Spellman. Spellman, being the Archbishop of New York, was "the American Military Vicar" and therefore used his most obedient soldiers - certain Knights of Malta, Shriner Freemasons, Knights of Columbus and Mafia Dons - in carrying out his orders from Rome.
I am looking forward to the release of Gods and Generals this weekend (read Barbara Nicolosi's review), but I am just as almost excited as seeing that Mary Fahl is doing a song on the soundtrack.
Who is Mary Fahl? All Music Guide gives a fine biography, just search on her name. You might also look here for some information. She was the lead singer of the now defunt October Project in the early 90s (they released two fine albums that should still be in print). Her voice is deep and meditative, not what you'd expect for your average pop diva; a cultivated taste. She has signed with Sony Classical though and seems to be doing mor traditional songs now she had released one average EP after the break-up of the October Project)
Well, she did one of the songs (along with one by Bob Dylan) for the Gods and Generals soundtrack, a beautifully haunting song entitiled "Going Home." You can listen to it on her web site, but I suggest watching the video which can also be accessed from her site
First of all, we learn to stay away from our own fast food chains. We also learn that we need to "know when to walk away, know when to run..." Seriously though, in the early 80's Kenny Rogers made a series of movies based on some of his more poular songs. The Gambler, The Gambler Returns, and The Gambler, Volume 3 are the ones most folks are aware of (and don't forget Six Pack, even though it wasn't based on one of his songs, but let us not forgot his cinematic adaptation of Coward of the County. The movie, starring Rogers, tells the tale of a young pacifist in the South during World War II who is labeled a coward for refusing to join the Army and fight, but when his girlfriend is raped he must choose whether or not to fight. So what's the lesson he learns? "Sometimes you gotta fight to be a man." I know this sounds silly, but in some ways this is what the situation with Iraq is coming down to. Is it a tough decision, yes. Should we try all peaceful means, yes. But when all else fails, sometimes you gotta fight to be a man. Some say war is always a disaster for humanity, but at times not going to war is an even greater one.
A government board was studying whether a 9-year-old girl could carry a baby to term safely while considering her family's request to have an abortion. The girl's parents said she was raped in Costa Rica and have asked for the government's approval to give her an abortion.
Kara Blanc claims in her lawsuit that she suffered emotional and physical trauma when the Sci-Fi Channel allegedly abducted her and forced her to witness a staged homicide by an "alien" that she thought was real. This was all done for a show called "Scare Tactics."
Whoa man, I'd have freaked out too! I'd sure sue the pants off of them. But most of the cash I'd win would go to buying all of the nerve and psychosis medicine and frequent trips to therapy that I'd need after having gone through that.
Besides saving souls and preaching the good news, I am the de facto coach of our school's tiny debate team and we have been preparing for a tournament this weekend. The students will be competing in Lincoln Douglas and debating globalization vs. national sovreignty. Yes, I was a debater geek in high school and I even did CEDA in college.
In addtion, I'm preparing for two of the most spectacular Carmelites of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus in Alhambra, CA to come to the diocese to do a mission in our parish and to do vocation work in our region. If you now any young women from the Lafayette Diocese interested in religious life, e-mail me and I will get you the information.
I noticed this seeming corellation in yesterday's first reading at mass, and then a close friend also brought it to my attention. So I present it to you biblical scholars out there to exegete: Look at the words of Eve's curse in Gen. 3:16 and compare them with what the Lord says to Cain 4:7; "desire" and "master" are used in both.
Sorry for no posts today, but it was my day off I was away from the computer.
The impetus for my pixies post was the proliferation of the Weather Pixie on people's blogs. I have nothing against the Weather Pixie, she is nice I am sure. I hope she is modestly dressed when summer time arrives.
I am not so much a Frank Black fan as a Black Francis fan. I didn't like him so much (except for his first CD) after The Pixies broke up. But I love the Pixies. William is right, they are the best indie band of their generation, of any generation really. One of the college kids in my parish had never heard of them (scandal) so I made him a copy of "Trompe Le Monde" and now he, like the Navajo, know what a great band they were.
I then began looking randomly for pixie things. I did know of this Peter Pan pathology guy from before. Man, what a odd cat. He needs some ministry.
Barabara Nicolosi over at Church of the Masses (which you should visit, by the way) calls her blog a "benevolent dictatorship." Well, since I am a cleric, mine would be more a "benevolent theocracy" I guess... Anyhow, I agree with her basic premise - there are no First Amendment rights on her blog nor on mine.
I am open to hearing comments, but first of all please don't read into what I said. Someone wrote in one of the comments that I shouldn't be looking for applause in my homilies? When did I say I was doing that? I thought I said I was pleasantly surprised and even shocked at the reaction. Several people have said that they don't like the way I classify all anti-war people as left wing radicals. Again, when did I do that? I said many in support of the protests in Europe were, in particular International A.N.S.W.E.R. But what really gets me is that some of these folks don't leave an e-mail address (or one even his name). As the one who made the comments about applause who did not leave his name found out, that is a good way to get yourself banned from commenting again.
I am open to different ideas, but please give me the ability to respond in a more private forum if I choose. And also, I don't have Death Star technology on my blog, which means I don't have a tractor beam like the one that pulled the Millenium Falcon into its orbit, so I don't have anyway to force anyone to read or come to my blog. If you don't agree with some of the things said here, don't read it. If you want to express your opinion, please don't do it anonymously.
This evening for my homily, although I guess it really was a sermon, I gave the congregation the three points about the anti-war protests I posted today on my blog: 1. The protests had a potential for violence, 2. They are communist driven, 3. The hippies are back. I thought it would just be a simple homily stating the facts, not too exciting really. When I finished, the congregation broke out into spontaneous applause. As crazy as the media might make it out to be and as obnoxious as thse communists can be, the good faithful people in the pew know what is right and who is crazy. Don't forget it.
Great post on your blog. Priceless indeed! You are exactly right in saying these anti-war protestors are nothing more than a bunch of left wing socialist hippy radicals. That's what we were saying as we walking through the midst of them today. It felt like we were in the 60's.
This says it all. Over at MSNBC (or as Rush calls it PMSNBC) they have an article and a slideshow from all of the anti-war protests from around the world, of course emphasizing how peace loving and righteous the protestors are and what capitlstic, imperialistic pigs Bush and the US are. If you scroll through the slide show you will stumble upon this photograph taken from a protest in Australia. Here is the caption:
Naked, and from the heart: Some 750 nude women form a heart around more naked women forming the words "no war" on a hillside near the town of Byron bay, 435 miles north of Sydney, Australia, on Feb. 8. The women said they wanted to send Prime Minister John Howard a message to recall Australian troops from the Middle East.
It was very effective I am sure. What a bunch of insanity, and the media as they always do are hailing these people as prophets and martyrs. They are socialist hippy nuts. Getting naked didn't do anything to stop wars before, and it won't now.
International A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) was one of the big supporters of the Anti-War March in D.C. last month (that drew 20,000 people not 500,000 contrary to their claim) and is supporting the anti-war marches going on throughout the world this weekend.
A.N.S.W.E.R. is a coalition of various seeming left wing groups, many of whom I believe have strong socialist ties. The list is long, and I am not aware of many of the groups, so I was wondering if my faithful readers can helps sort out and supply some information on some of these organizations? Here is a list of endorsers, see what you can find. If my hunch is correct, the big shots pushing against a war with Iraq are some left-wing radical 60's throwback socialists who oppose capitalism and democracy more than war. Here are a few I picked out:
Freedom Socialist Party
Bishop Thomas Gumbleton - Auxiliary Bishop, Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit, Michigan
Green Party USA
New Communist Party of the Netherlands, Netherlands
Leslie Feinberg - transgender author and Co-Founder, Rainbow Flags for Mumia
There are huge peace demonstrations today all over Europe this weekend. An estimated 250,000 to 500,000 people have descended on Rome to rally against the war against Iraq. They are proving to be not very peaceful demonstrations, however.
We Americans have been notified not to walk in the city alone, and to keep away from certain areas. The American Embassy has a one block no traffic perimeter around it. We had to close and lock our front door here at the College as the "peace" demonstrations are expected to be a little violent toward Americans and the English. They are also not allowing cars to park around our building, and we are surrounded by Italian police. The police chopper has been flying above the city and around our school all day. A guy can't even catch an afternoon nap with all the noise.
I was truly enthused when I first heard that the Vatican would be beatifying Fr. Mario D'Aviano a Capuchin priest who rallied the Christian soldiers in the 17th century to defend Vienna from the onslaught of the Turks. The fighting was fierce, but the battle was won decisively by the Christian forces -- on September 11, 1683.
I went to Google to try to find more information on Mario D'Aviano, but couldn't find anything. The reason was, as I came to find out, is because his name is not Mario, but Marco D'Aviano! The web article had his name spelled wrong (an easy mistake, Marco and Mario ae both common Italian names). So, Searching on Marco D'Aviano, I've found quite a few sites of interest. All of them are in Italian however.
I need some help. I'm almost exactly halfway through Philip ROth's Pulitzer Prize winning novel American Pastoral and I am about to pull my hair out. It started off great, Jewish kids and baseball, but now it is tedious meanderings about the "Swede" and his crazy leftist daughter Mary. Has anyone out there read this book? Can you tell me if I should just give up and pick up some reliable Graham Greene, or should I stick it out until the end?
St. Hugh was desirous of acquiring a relic for the veneration of the good people of his diocese, but during his lifetime, relics were not that easy to come by as they are now, so he devised a plan. He traveled to Fécamps, France where the most holy arm of Mary Magdalene drew massive crowds of pilgrims each year eager to venerate the relics. Being a bishop he was allowed a special audience to venerate it the relic, but much to the surprise of the purveyors of the arm, when it was exposed for his veneration, instead of kissing it, Bishop Hugh tried to pull the index finger off the arm. After that attempt failed, he bit into the arm and succeeded in ripping two pieces off with his teeth.
Why not rent one from Rent-A-Priest? Call 1-800-PRIEST-9 or visit their web site.
This site will keep you amused for hours. My favorite part is this picture which looks like two barbers saying mass. The best thing about the photo though is that it appears they are concecrating a whole bottle of wine along with a small complementary sized bottle like you get on airplane flights while the wine is still in the bottles! I bet the sign of peace is great fun, almost as fun as the sign of peace over at St. Gregory's in San Francisco!
I just got finished teaching a class of hish school freshmen six of the most important words they will ever learn: matter, form, substance, accidents, act, and potency. Ah, Aristotle! Ah, clear reasoned thinking. I was all geared up after revisiting Mortimer Adler's Aristotle for Everybody and figured I sahre some the more rudimentary aspects of his thought with the students. So I did, and they loved it. When discussing form and matter using a chair as an example one of the students exclaimed, "Whoa! This is neat!" We've not nly cheated our kids out of the Western intellectual heritage, but more than that, out of the basics of clear and rational thinking; so it is no wonder they descend to the sticky muddled pits of emotion and ideaologies instead of thinking straight and clear. We've been given the gift of reason - we should only use it, but learn how to use it correctly.
A Crunchy Clerical Con who Loves Dar Williams is Happy Today
OK, I know Dar Williams is a folk singer with some nutty opinions and muddled thinking, but I have been a great fan of her music ever since I first heard The Honesty Room back in 1996 and I am excited that her new CD The Beauty of the Rain is being released next week. What is even more exciting about it is that if you order it from Amazon you get a free streaming Windows Media feed for you to listen to before it is released.
I hope to comment here over the next few weeks on some of the books that I read during my hiatus from blogdom. The first one I'd like to comment on is Open Embrace by Sam and Beth Torode. This small little book is composed of alternating chapters written by this husband and wife team explaining how they as a Protestant couple came to realize the evils of contraception. You'd never think they were a Protestant couple though with all of the Catholic quotes they use to back up their position (I guess though we're the only ones out there talking about it). The book is short and easy to read and gives the most thorough overview of the problems and issues with contraception out there. I always try to keep several on hand to give to engaged couples to read because they are so easy for a husband and wife to read and digest.
This essay from J. Budziszewski on his conversion from moral relativism to moral objectivism (which appears in part in the preface of his book The Revenge of Conscience) is brilliant! He says the real motive for his being a moral relativist was not for any rational reason, but as a way of escaping from deeper personal issues. The essay expounds on the wisdom he gave us his article in the June/July 2002 First Things entitled "The Second Tablet Project":
The reason it is so difficult to argue with an atheist is that he is not being honest with himself. He knows that there is a God; he only tells himself that he doesn't.
You can't use reason with someone who is being unreasonable.
There is a new blog for you - Ever Ancient, Ever New. It is run by the Association of Students at Catholic Colleges and it "enables students from around the country to reflect on the condition of Catholic higher education in general and specifically at their own institution."
As much as I hated to do it, I had to abandon Gene Shalit as my favorite movie critic. The moustache just couldn't pull him through for me anymosre. Sorry. My new favorite critic is one most have never heard of, James Bowman. His eponymous site is filled with all sorts of thoughtful (and very Christian movie reviews). He has a two star system, although few movies get two stars - most get zero stars. I love it. The site also has other erudite items on criticism and society from Bowman. Well worth a weekly visit.
FOr those of you interested in doing some background reading on the recent Vatican Document on "New Age" may I suggest you check out this talk Ratzinger gave to a gorup of theologians in Guadalajara in 1996 called "Relativism: The Central Problem for Faith Today." When I first read in back in 1996 I was blown away, Ratzinger explains it all (in addtion, you can see some threads that influenced Fides et Ratio). What a massive amount of our problems that can be traced back to bad philosophy!
St. Raymond Nonnatus held the office of Ransomer (title given to the monk sent into the lands subject to the Moors to arrange for the ransom of prisoners) for the Mercedarian order (on order founded by St. Peter Nolasco dedicated to ransoming Christian slaves from the infidel Moors) the priest in charge of the monetary sums to free Christians who were enslaved by the "peace loving" Muslims. He was concerned with freeing these Christian slaves from the chains of their infidel captors, but his greater concern was their spiritual well-being and the conversion of their Mahometan captors. This Muslim proselytizing did not set will with the Moorish governor and St. Raymond was condemned to be impaled by thrusting a stake upward through his nether regions. Slave owners who benefited from his ransom however convinced the governor to spare his life and only subject him to a cruel running the gauntlet. Undaunted by such corporal punishment, St. Raymond went back to preaching the good news to the infidel slave masters. Now even more enraged and his attempts to convert his Muslim brethren, the governor had him captured again, his lips bored through with a red hot iron and a metal padlock placed through the holes in order to keep his mouth shut. The governor Mussulman governor himself held the key and only gave it to his captors when St. Raymond had to eat. He remained in prison a full eight months in this condition, until St. Peter Nolasco paid his ransom.
On January 26, Bishop Marc Ouellet was installed as Archbishop of Quebec. I had the privelege of having Archbishop Ouellet teach me and direct my license thesis at the JP II Institute in Rome while he was still a priest. In March of 2001 he was ordained a Bishop and appointed to work under Cardinal Kasper in the Office of Christian Unity. It was in December, I believe, that he was appointed to Quebec.
I was unfortunately not able to make it to Quebec for his installation, but I heard it was beautiful. Archbishop Ouellet is a fine man, a holy man, and hopefully he will be good for a diocese which has suffered as of late. In addtion, Archbishop Ouellet is an excellent theologian who is particularly well versed in the thought of Hans urs von Balthasar. I couldn't find any of his writings on the Swiss theologian here, but I did find these three items for your perusal:
Here is a fine article on my good friend Fr. Tad Pacholczyk, a priest of the Diocese of Fall River with a PhD in neuroscience from Yale. We were in the seminary together and he recently came down to Lafayette to give some talks on cloning and stem cell research. This is a recent article from his college amuni journal.
After watching the Superbowl this year I thought that the only thing more pathetic than the Raiders' performance was the half time show (the best thing though was Terry Tate). For a very insightful take on the social significance of this display see this article from Glorious Noise. Notice the mention of Graham Greene in the intoduction.
You married men might be interested in this little group called e5 Men. Deriving their name from Ephesians 5, e5 Men don't focus so much on the "wives be obedient to your husband" part, but "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her" by fasting and suffering for their wives.
I am not sure if it is liturgically correct to so the Stations of the Cross while at your computer screen (maybe you can walk around your desk)? Anyhow, I am not sure these stations were meant for your pious devotion.
In his last body of work Chris Woods examined the subtle effects of consumerism on the individual as a reflection of its effect on society as a whole. His depiction of suburban locales and the people who live within them (generally his friends) were infused with both parody and realism. Woods has now applied his unique style to the Stations of Cross.
Next we have Susan Hagen's rather interesting interpretation of the Stations of the Cross entitled Slow Bleed. In case you have a difficult time making sense of them, this excerpt from the Preface might clear things up for you (and then again, it might not):
Ken Bloom, curator at Spirit Square Center for the Arts, in Charlotte, North Carolina, wrote this about Hagen's carvings: "Partially influenced by a Catholic upbringing and feminism, Ms. Hagen draws upon traditions of both art and Judeo/Christianity in thematic concept and in artmaking. She then takes the mythic templates of tradition from parables of the Greeks to the torments of Christ and applies them to personal imagery. Consequently, she assumes both political and artistic risk, not to mention a healthy dose of Jungian symbolism. In Hagen's tableaux the collective memory of the human condition and its more profane occurrences are only peripherally compared to the more formally ritualized stations of Jesus' carrying the cross. Therein lies the opportunity for both metaphor and feminized revisionism."
A good friend sent this to me the other day. I know many wondered why the Holy Father made such a radical decision a few years back to officially make the Second Sunday of Easter Divine Mercy Sunday, this may be your answer. On March 23, 1937 Saint Faustina wrote in her diary:
Suddenly, God's presence took hold of me, and at once I saw myself in Rome, in Holy Father's chapel and at the same time I was in our chapel. And the celebration of the Holy Father and the entire Church was closely connected with our chapel and, in a very special way, with our Congregation. And I took part in the solemn celebration simultaneously here and in Rome, for the celebration was so closely connected with Rome that, even as I write, I cannot distinguish the two but I am writing it down as I saw it. I saw the Lord Jesus in our chapel, exposed in the monstrance on the high altar. The chapel was adorned as for a feast, and on that day anyone who wanted was allowed in 2. The crowd was so enormous that the eye could not take it all in. Everyone was participating in the celebrations with great joy, and many of them obtained what they desired.
The same celebration was held in Rome, in a beautiful church, and the Holy Father, with all the clergy, was celebrating this Feast, and then suddenly I saw Saint Peter, who stood between the altar and the Holy Father. I could not hear what Saint Peter said but I saw that the Holy Father understood his words...
Then suddenly, I saw how the two rays, as painted in the picture, issued from the Host and spread over the whole world. This lasted only a moment, but it seemed as though it had lasted all day, and our chapel was overcrowded all day long, and the whole day abounded in joy. Then suddenly I saw on our altar the living Lord Jesus, just as He is depicted in the image. Yet I felt that the sisters and all the people did not see the Lord Jesus as I saw Him. Jesus looked with great kindness and joy at the Holy Father, at certain priests, at the entire clergy, at the people and at our Congregation. Then, in an instant, I was caught up to stand near Jesus, and I stood on the altar next to the Lord Jesus, and my spirit was filled with a happiness so great that I am unable to comprehend it or write about it. A profound peace as well as repose filed my soul. Jesus bent toward me and said with great kindness:
What is it you desire, My daughter?
And I answered: I desire worship and glory be given to Your mercy.
I already am receiving worship by the institution and celebration of this Feast? what else do you desire?
I then looked at the immense crowd worshiping The Divine Mercy and I said to the Lord:
Jesus, bless all those who are gathered to give glory to You and to venerate Your infinite mercy.
Jesus made a sign of the cross with His hand, and this blessing was reflected in the souls like a flash of light. My spirit was engulfed in His love. I felt as if I had dissolved and disappeared completely in God.
When I came to myself, a profound peace was flooding my soul, and an extraordinary understanding of many things was communicated to my intellect, an understanding that had not been granted me previously. I am immensely happy, although I am the last of all; and I would not change anything of what God has given me. (1044 - 1049)
THE QUASAR (QUASI-STELLER OR STAR-LIKE) EMITTED RADIO WAVES REACHED THE EDGE OF OUR GALAXY AFTER 13 BILLION LIGHT YEARS. AND SUN RA, WHOSE MIND-WAVES ARE SYNCHRONIZED TO NATURE WITH COORDINATED INTUITION, PRISMED THE VOICE OF THE QUASAR ON A COSMIC TONE PIANO AND THIS THUNDER IS LIKE SHOCK WAVES SHAKING AWAY THE STAGNATION OF LIFE IN THE MIND. WHEN YOU CAN MOVE IN A DIMENSION FASTER THAN LIGHT YOU SOLVE THE RIDDLE OF TIME AND YOUR MIND’S COSMOSIS COMPLETES THE EQUATION: LIFE EQUALS DEATH, FOR IN THE EXPANDING UNIVERSE THE INFINITE DESTROYS THE ILLUSION OF LIMITATIONS WHICH TRAP MAN TO THE PLANET EARTH. THE INFINITY OF CONTINUOUS AND ACCELERATING MOTION CHASES THE FLEEING GALAXY ANDROMEDA WHICH IS 2 BILLION LIGHT YEARS AWAY FROM THE MILKY WAY AND TWICE AS LARGE. THE MUSIC OF THIS FLIGHT ENERGIZES THE QUASAR. AND SUN RA RECEIVES TONES FROM THAT QUAZAR WHICH HAS BECOME PREGNANT WITH RADIATION AND THIS COMPLETES THE EQUATION: DEATH EQUALS LIFE IN A DYING UNIVERSE WHERE GALXIES COLLIDE AND WHERE DEATH WEARS A MYSTERIOUS CROWN OF CONSTALLATIONS CALLED CREATION.
TO HEAR THIS MUSIC IS TO HEAR THE SOLAR BAND OF REVELATION. THE TONES REVERBATING HERE PASS THROUGH THE TIME SPECTRUM OF THE ARKESTRA’S MIND AND YOU SEE WITH EAR AND WITH EYE AND YOU BECOME THE METAGENESIS OF COSMIC ATOMS, AND THIS ALTERNATION IS ALSO AN ALTERATION WHICH IS THE TRANSMOLECULARIZATION OF MAN’S FUTURE MIND. LIKE THE METAMORPHOSIS OF THE EARTH AS IT MOVES IN ITS 3 DIRECTIONS AT ONCE IN ITS THIRD POSITION FROM THE SUN, THIS MUSIC IS THE VOICE OF THE GALACTIC FATHER-CENTER. AND LIKE STAGES OF THE TRANSMOLECULARIZATION OF THE EATH, IT CAN BE HEARD ONLY UNDER THE DRIVING POWER OF THE SUN.
I wasn't able to post or read anything yesterday since somewhere some AT&T cable got cut and disabled Centurytel DSL for the south. What makes that even worse is that I got a new Gateway desktop yesterday and was looking forward to posting with power. But I couldn't even update all my software, so I am doing all of that today. I was however able to play Madden 2003 for about four hours. It was my day off, so don't think I was shirking saving souls in order to make great defensive plays.
For all of you out there looking for a powerful chastity speaker to come talk to your youngsters, may I suggest Mrs. Christina King. We had Christina over at our school and parish last November to talk to the students about chastity and it went over very well. She is a young mother of five with quite an amazing story, a well structured message, and a most congenial disposition (she is from Wisconsin, but you think she'd be a Southerner; she is a real sweetheart). If I am not mistaken she is going to be one of the speakers at the big Fullness of Truth Conference in Houston in a few weeks. Anyhow, visit her Pure Freedom website to learn more about her, her unique message, and also to find booking information.
Anthony is a little known Oratorian beatus who while kneeling and praying at the Holy House of Loreto was struck by a bolt of lightning. He tells us that as the lighting struck he felt as if his soul was separated from his body. He found himself lying on the ground, having fallen down a flight of steps and surrounded in a cloud of smoke. He felt a terrible burning sensation inside of him, like his bones and body were on fire, and he worried that he might die. Quickly someone noticed him and helped to sit him in a chair, his body numb and limp. He received the Last Sacrament while convalescing. He tells us that his body remained hot, so much so that he could feel the heat on his breath. Traces of scorching were even found on his clothes. It was after that incident that he made a vow to make an annual pilgrimage to Loreto to thank Our Lady for saving his life.
On page 77 of George Weigel's book The Courage to be Catholic he mentions that seminarians who had any sort of devotional life were at one time labeled "POD" - pious and over devotional. This is a phrase that Mr. Weigel picked up from the seminarians in Rome, who used that term as a badege of honor, as a way to describe a variety of pious devotions (mind you, the faculty at the North American College never labeled us "POD" and did everything in their power to encourage devotions).
So, being a great purveyor of all that is "POD" but also an afficionado of all that is odd, I decided during my break to begin work on a book of hagiographical anecdotes that were at once "POD" and odd (the same type of ones Amy Welborn mentioned earlier in her blog which she understandably thew out when writing her saint books for kids). Well, I got through about 25 pages and 100 or so saints and blessseds. Every entry is a paragraph only and usually describes one event often obscure and little known aspect, habit, miracle from the life (or even from the death) of the saint. I'd hoped to have more done, but I got bogged down with other projects.
That is why I'm taking it to the streets. I am going to be posting a salmagundi of these stories over the next few weeks (I don't want to give them all away) in hopes of inspiring you people out there in blogdom to give me suggestions of stories that I might be able to use. I am looking for human interest stuff. It doesn't have to be super pious stories, in fact it can even highlight the humanity of the saint. But the stranger and the more trivial the better. Thanks for being so "POD."
After a brief six month hiatus from the word of blogging I am back with the new and improved, kinder, gentler Salmagundi. Lots of things have changed since last August, most notably we have a new bishop here in Lafayette, Bishop Michael Jarrell, a native of the diocese who served as the ordinary of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodeaux for the past ten years or so. All is well in Cajun Country, and as you might well imagine, I have plenty of exciting things that have accumulated over the past six months to share with everyone in cyberspace. Thanks for all of the prayers, support, and occasional e-mails keeping me abreast of all the latest nuttiness in the world. As a gesture of gratitude, I owe everyone a bag of these.