From what I heard, O'Reilly had a priest on The Factor last night talking about the Vatican's position on Iraq and the possibility of a US led war. Here are the talking points from the show. Anybody see the show and care to give a summary?
I've been revisiting Plato's Republic lately and in doing so I came across the famous story of the Ring of Gyges told by Glaucom therein. It made me recollect an essay I had to write at the JPII for one of my classes, on the story of the Ring of Gyges and its relation to contemporary man. So, since the professor was Polish I decided to comment on Kieslowski's Dekalog 6and Rouge to illustrate my point. Being so inspired by Plato and by the fact that I am going to purchase the Three Colors Trilogy on DVD today I dug up that essay and decided that I would post a section of it:
Modern man is chained to phenomenon, locked out of the realm of metaphysics, of the transcendent - the place where he encounters the other. He reduces himself to the shadows which he sat for so long and observed, a shadow of a man - the invisible man, the man wearing the ring of Gyges. Not just cut-off from others, but not even recognized by them. I think of Kieslowki's "Short Film About Love (Dekalog 6)" and "Rouge" - where both characters Tomek and Magda become invisible, lock themselves in their rooms, in their houses - invisible to everyone else, but still able to see them (notice that they can only do this through the use of technology, a telescope and a radio). They never enter into true relation since they only see or hear only "part" of the others they view - their voices, only secluded sections of their lives. Since they are invisible, relationships do not force them into acting morally, into being human and entering into relation. But what brings them out of it if love. If given the choice I believe all men would (because of their fallen human nature possibly) act unjustly wearing the ring (call me a pessimist), and nothing could convince them to remove it and cast it into the sea - nothing, nothing but love. It is love that builds the bridge to relation, and ultimately to reality. But it does not have to be perfect love, since humans are very rarely, if ever capable of this. The love of Valentine in "Rouge" was not perfect, in fact it might have been her search for true love, a search that pointed to its existence, that set the Judge free. And in the case with Magda, it was her dissolution with love, and her denial of its existence, her reduction of it to the physical that brought about a change (could we call it a conversion) not in both Tomek and herself. Both women forced these men to "remove" their rings and face "the other," to face reality - to become a person of flesh and soul and blood (so real that Tomek could spill his own blood). A blood which harkens back to the Blood which first freed our souls. Souls meant for Reality, for Relation, souls meant for Love.
Kasim Barakzia says the seeds from his banana squash have letters from various languages. "Maybe there is a message for someone," he says. One of Barakzia's eatery customers doubts that. "It was probably worms," says the skeptic.
For those of you who would like to view a slide show of the highlights from the Carmelite's trip to our parish and region please click here. The pictures with everyone around the stove trying to set something on fire is us lighting the rum sauce for the Bananas Foster. Enjoy (the slide show, not the Bananas Foster, we already did that and there isn't any left).
"We feel that more emphasis should be put on the fact that we didn't eat Merry and Pippin," said Wratch of the UADL [Uruk-hai Anti-Defamation League]. "We'd also like included the scene where Lerd and Ugol discuss the geo-political ramifications of an alliance between Sauron and Saruman that was shot but was cut from the film."
It appears from the cover of Fr. John Corapi's tape on confession that in the 21st century Jesus has kept his styling mullet. In a more contemporary adaptation of the 70's Jesus mullet picture, we have a mulleted Christ now consoling a young denim jacketed girl in a more urban setting. She like her predecessor appears to be weaping that the resurrected body with its many perfections and glories can still grow a such a tacky hairdo.
Kieslowski's Three Colors Trilogy has just been released in a DVD set. Although not as important as his Dekalog, the three films, especially Red, are truly profound and touching works of cinematic art.
According to the legend, in the 12th century, a young man from Germany was travelling to Compostello with his parents to venerate the relics of St. James the Apostle. Along the way they stopped an an inn at the town of Santo Domingo de la Calzada to eat and to spend the night, During their brief soujourn one of the maidservants took a fancy to the young man and made an amorous advance at him. Being the pious lad that he was, he rebuffed the advance, much to the dismay of the young lady. Feeling rejected and desirous of revenge, she hid one of her master's silver cups in his knapsack while he slept. Upon his waking, the silver goblet was discovered and the young man was condemned to be hung. Weeping bitterly, his parents continued on to Compostello to beg St. James to save their son's life. While there, St. James appeared to them and told them to return to Santo Domingo because their son was still alive. They returned to find their son alive, but still hanging from the gibbet. It appears that St. James had been holding him up by the feet so that he would not die. Filled with hope, they went to the magistrate's home to ask him to take their son down from the gibbet because he was still alive after such a long time. The magistrate laughed incredulously saying that he would believe that the young man was alive and would take him down fromt he gibbet when the cock and chicken cooking for his dinner would begin to crow. At that, the nicely browned fowls jumped out of the oven, onto his table and began to sing! Astounded, the magistrate ordered the young man to be removed, and upon realizing the rascality of the lustful maidservant had her hung in his place.
In the fifteenth century a chapel was constructed at the location of the gibbet where a cock and a chicken, descendents of the miraculous fowl were kept, and pilgrims were allowed to come and pick feathers from the birds. In present times, during the three weeks of pilgrimage leading up the the feast of St. James, a cock and chicken are placed in a cage called the gallinero in the transept of the church for the edification of the pilgrims.
In French this legend is called le miracle du pendu-dependu.
I am not sure that there is one thing on which I disagree with Mr. Dreher, and this is evidenced in his latest article on France. What is nice about having Rod around that he can put his ideas into words so much better than I can, so I can always just link to him.
I too dreamt of living in Paris (although I read A Moveable Feast while I was already there). I already had a Francophilic sense about me since I am half Cajun and I grew up in French Southern Louisiana. Living in Rome I was one of about three guys who were true Francophiles and I spent my whole first year at the North American College planning my first summer in Europe - one to be spent in Paris, studying the language, but more to be visiting the museums, walking through the gardens, sitting in the cafes, lurking around the Latin Quarter, and being thrilled by the Gothic structures. Thankfull in July of 1997, I was able to do just that - living at Seminare St. Sulpice, studying la langue at a local language school, and spending the rest of my time acquainting myself with the city.
If written down my memories would stretch on for pages. I loved everything about Paris and went back there (or some part of France) every year for the rest of my time in Europe. I hope to return soon. I too found it difficult to criticize the French in all of this, although I have managed quite well when the occasion has warranted... Anyhow, what am I doing trying to be prosaic here? Je suis d'accord avec Rod.
Just in from Fox Home Entertainment are the long-awaited details on two Coen Brothers cult classics finally making their DVD debuts, Barton Fink and Miller's Crossing. Fox will issue both films on May 20th, each with newly-remastered anamorphic widescreen transfers and English Dolby Digital 5.1 surround tracks. Neither include audio commentaries, but there are some extras: Barton Fink features 8 deleted scenes, while Miller's Crossing includes cast interviews with Gabriel Byrne, Marcia Gay Harden and John Torturro. Both feature trailers, and retail is $19.95 a pop.
OK, not only do I doubt the credibility not to mention the morality of Playboy-based research, but the article makes a point worth discussing. It is something that Archbishop Angelo Scola always used to harp on at the JPII in Rome - our Western culture is rapidly becoming more and more androgenous. One does not need detailed analysis of centerfolds to detect this, simply look at what so many of us wear, from the gender-bedinging models in the trendy fashion magazines to your typical teenager in a loose fitting t-shirt and baggy jeans. For Scola this phenomenon finds its roots in the contemporary confusion over sexual identity, what he labels "asymetrical reciprocity," what John Paul II calls the "Nuptial Meaning of the Body." or what most see plainly as the obvious (if not sacramental) differences in the male and female body.
So many conclusions might be drawn and so much insightful analysis can be given. We'll leave that for another time.
Just when I am about to cancel my subscription, The Atlantic puts out an exceptional edition. Although it is not on shelves yet, I highly recommend picking up the April 2003 magaizine with "The Mind of George W. Bush" on the cover (or you can wait until most of it is posted on their web site). I have read or skimmed through most of it and there are some exceptional pieces. Here are a few highlights:
The best is David Brooks' essay on the new sexism. Brooks is brialliant as usual (more on that later).
There are some amusing items in "Primary Sources" (more on that later too).
Thw "World in Numbers" has disturbing figures on abortion in the global sphere.
Christopher Buckley offers a short story on the possibility of an American Pope.
And the poetry in this issue is not half-bad either.
Cullen Murphy gives a comical look at the impact of technolgy on religion.
I picked up my yellowed Penguin paperback copy of The Quiet American today and flipped to the last chapter where I found underlined from seven years ago the same lines from the film adaptation from the book spoken by Mr. Heng which I found so profound and relevant for our times:
Sooner or later one has to take sides. If one is to remain human.
Mark Sullivan over at Ad Orientem provides us with a link to an essay on the "Catholic taste" of Evelyn Waugh and Graham Greene. I do hope you enjoy the article, but I also hope you enjoy Mr. Sullivan's blog, which is one of my favorites.
The news media is rarely stating the fact that the nation that is standing strongest with the US and the UK against Saddam and Iraq is Spain. Now, I know that I don't know all of the story, but I am sure that somehow if one were to want to understand one of the reasons Spain is so supportive of our endeavors one might want to read this or other similar items on the subject.
Easter baskets containing toy soldiers and military equipment have been pulled from Walgreens stores nationwide. Kmart, however, will not remove the baskets after some religious leaders and parenting groups took offense to mixing a religious observance with war-themed toys. The baskets were the subject of a Thursday article in The Village Voice, an alternative weekly in New York.
This May Neil LaBute's new film The Shape of Things will be released. Like In the Company of Men and Your Friends and Neighbors (both of which, although hard to stomach for most people, give stirring portrays of the evil present in man, and the devastating effects of sin) and unlike the Nurse Betty and Possession, LaBute wrote and directed Shapes, so it bodes well for an engaging cinematic experience.
I was out for most of the day yesterday. I had to judge Student Congress at CFL District in the Morning. Then we headed to New Orleans on a beautiful spring day to see The Quiet American. What a truly enjoyable movie. Of course it wasn't as good as the book which is one of my favorites of all time. Both Caine and Fraser were excellet. My biggest complaint is that it was too short, only a hour and forty minutes. Its release coincides well with the impending war with Iraq and gives the viewer a lot to think about. The best line in the film was "In order to remain human, sooner or later you have to take sides." After that we drove down to Houma to watch St. Thomas More High School beat Ellender High to make it to the State Basketball Semifinals. I am looking forward to watching some of the games next week. I have mass and dinner today, but I hope to put up soon a post on Bush, Iraq and the Catechism.
Imagine that you were hired to teach an introdutory moral theology class at your local Catholic University. Not counting the Summa, the Catechism, the Bible, Papal Documents and references of that sort, name three to six English books that you would have as required texts for your students. Here is my list:
Let us not forget that the ancient tradition of visiting a different Church each day in Lent begins today with a pilgrimage to Santa Sabina. I participated in the Station Church pilgrimages during each of my five years in Rome, and in fact one of those years I headed up the pilgrimages for the North American College on the Gianiculum. Those early morning walks to the ancient churches of Rome and holy mass in those edifices so clearly lit by the early morning spring sun are some of the fondest memories of my time in the eternal city. So, in case you can't make the journeys yourself please virtually visit each church during the days of Lent by frequenting this web site dedicated to the Lenten Station Churches.
NB - Deacon Todd Reitmeyer over at Musings... will be posting something on each Station Church every day in Lent.
Decades from now, what will you tell your grandchildren when they ask you whose side you were on during the “animals’ holocaust”? Will you be able to say that you stood up against oppression, even when doing so was considered “radical” or “unpopular”? Will you be able to say that you could visualize a world without violence and realized that it began at breakfast?
I won't be having any grandchildren, but if I would be I'd tell them that I was on the side that preffered white meat to dark meat.
People cannot talk about peace with their mouths full of the victims of violence.
I went back and revisited the chapter from Gaudium et Spes on "The Fostering of Peace and the Promotion of a Community of Nations" (Chapter V, nos. 77-93), especially the first section entitled "The Avoidance of War" and thought that it would make for interesting reflection among the blogs (that is, if it hasn't been looked at already).The reason I think it is important, is that it appears this text could be part of what is guiding the thinking of the Vatican in not only the UN-Iraq conflict, but in its hesitant stance toward war since Vatican II and particularly in the pontificate of John Paul II.
I am still trying to digest what the section says and place it in relation to the situation with Iraq, but I offer to you the more intriguing passages for your own reflection, although I would suggest reading it all for yourself (italics are mine):
1. "[A]ctions which deliberately conflict with these same principles [of the natural law], as well as orders commanding such actions are criminal, and blind obedience cannot excuse those who yield to them. The most infamous among these are actions designed for the methodical extermination of an entire people, nation or ethnic minority. Such actions must be vehemently condemned as horrendous crimes. The courage of those who fearlessly and openly resist those who issue such commands merits supreme commendation" (no. 79). - Isn't this describing the situation in Iraq?
2. "Certainly, war has not been rooted out of human affairs. As long as the danger of war remains and there is no competent and sufficiently powerful authority at the international level, governments cannot be denied the right to legitimate defense once every means of peaceful settlement has been exhausted" (no. 79). Is the UN "competent"?
3. "All these considerations compel us to undertake an evaluation of war with an entirely new attitude" (no. 80) - This is of course in reference to the advent of newer more powerful technology and weapons. It would seem to fit in with Weigel's call to "update" the just war theory.
4. "The unique hazard of modern warfare consists in this: it provides those who possess modem scientific weapons with a kind of occasion for perpetrating just such abominations; moreover, through a certain inexorable chain of events, it can catapult men into the most atrocious decisions. That such may never truly happen in the future, the bishops of the whole world gathered together, beg all men, especially government officials and military leaders, to give unremitting thought to their gigantic responsibility before God and the entire human race" (no. 80).
5. "It is our clear duty, therefore, to strain every muscle in working for the time when all war can be completely outlawed by international consent. This goal undoubtedly requires the establishment of some universal public authority acknowledged as such by all and endowed with the power to safeguard on the behalf of all, security, regard for justice, and respect for rights" (no. 81).
I understand a lot of this was written in reference to the Cold War. I also realize that I am leaving out some important passages. I am simply trying to shed a bit of light on the current situation, on what the Holy Father might be thinking, and how the teachings of Vatican II can guide us in our present situation.
I have been in a Civil War mood lately. I saw Gods and Generals this weekend. I thought it was a bit melodramatic and drawn out at times, but I like the fact that they didn't portray the Confederacy as a bunch of racist inbreds. I also began watching Ken Burns' Civil War documentary on DVD (I had forgotten how well done, how timeless it is).
The big reason I have been in a Civil War mood though is that I found out one of my ancestors was a Confederate General in the War - Henry Hopkins Sibley. Having him as an ancestor is nothing of which to be proud. Here is a brief synopsis of his glory and his infamy:
When the Civil War broke out, Jefferson Davis appointed [Sibley] to lead an expeditionary force from Texas to seize New Mexico, Colorado, and California. He won a controversial Confederate victory at the Battle of Valverde in 1862—controversial because of his own disreputable performance. In the spring of that year, after defeat at Glorieta Pass, he retreated in disgrace from New Mexico into West Texas and later faced court-martial for his inadequate and often drunken leadership. A later mercenary stint in the Egyptian army also ended for similar reasons.
Inevitably when someone comes up in line today to receive their blessed ashes, either because they had a bit too much fun at Mardi Gras or because they think they are in line for communion, as the priest is dipping his thumb in the black ashes, they stick out their tongue like they are ready to receive the Body of Christ. I'm tempted to go ahead and place the ashes on their tongue - "Remember man that you are dust and unto dust you shall return." Actually it might prove to be very effective. Placing the ashes on the forehead seems to have lost its sacramental meaning to many people and they do receive them an expected social custom not paying much heed to the significance of the gesture. Having ash in your mouth for the rest of the day would be a much more meaningful reminder of our own sinfulness and the effects of sin in our lives.
I just returned from my first real "rural" Mardi Gras experience in Pine Point, LA which lies right outside of Mamou, LA. I grew up in Lafayette which has a tamer version of the traditional New Orleans Mardi Gras focused on floats and Mardi Gras royalty. I have many fond childhood memories of Mardi Gras in downtown Lafayette - catching beads and coming home excited with my new plastic treasures. It is a family affair when you are a child, unfortunately when you get older, many people (not all of them of course) go for the booze and the general wildness.
This is why I liked today's Mardi Gras in the prairie, it was a real family and community affair. I drove out to the home of the kind folks (good Catholics by the way, in fact, their daughter is a nun) who live out in the country and who throw a big Mardi Gras party each year. There was a Cajun band, tons of food (the main attraction was a good gumbo which warmed up the otherwise chilly and damp day), a little beer, and so many good people and families from Ville Platte and the surrounding area visiting and just passing a good time.
It was about noon that the real "festivities" began. The Mardi Gras riders from Mamou strolled in on their horses to take a break from their day of riding. They sat in an adjacent field relaxing and quenching their thirst. After a bit they rode down the street to the house where everyone was gathered to chase the chickens. In the traditional festivities, the riders dismounted and chased after a series of roosters which had been released in the field. It is quite a site - fifteen some odd costumed, mud-covered, partially or totally inebriated men running haphazardly in a field chasing after a chicken (in theory the chicken would be used to make a gumbo later that night). Here is a photo of the victor from one of the chases with the losers experiencing the agony of defeat in the backgound. Thankfully, PETA does not have an office anywhere near Pine Point, LA. After a all the chickens have been released the revelers celebrate and then head into the swell of debauchery which is downtown Mamou on Mardi Gras afternoon.
It all lasts about 15 minutes and then everyone gets back to visiting for the rest of the afternoon into the evening. Another chicken is released for the children to chase. This goes by a lot faster due to the lack of alcohol in the equation. I passed a good time, as we say in Acadiana. It is so much better than battling the crowds in Lafayette or Nude Orleans. Now it is time for a nap...
Dem people on horses wearing funny suits is chasin' after some chickens...
As most of you are aware today is Mardi Gras. In Lafayette and Nude Orleans everyone is watching floats and catching beads. Well here in prarie Cajun country they don't do the float thing. Instead, hundreds of men get get dressed up in costumes, get on horses and run through the fields chasing after chickens. And to make it a bit more of a challenge, most of them are stinking drunk (or as we say it here "pie-eyed"). Here are pictures from last year's Courir de Mardi Gras. To get the full effect download and play some Zydeco and Chank-a-Chank music, poor beer all over yourself, and look at the pictures. It will be just like you are there (oh, you might also want someone to come urinate on your desk to get the full effect).
Very beautiful Marian reflection from the newly published translation of Adrienne von Speyr's Mary in the Redemption:
In Mary resides the idea of the pefect human being, an idea that God had when he created the first human being. Thus Mary is in fact not the second but the first Eve; she is the one who did not fall and who sees how the second Eve does fall.
Assume that a sculptor has a block of marble. Because the block has a certain form, he decides to shape the statue in a certain way. He will get to work on the statue, however, only once he has made a model out of ordinary clay of what he has in mind. Although the shape of the stone played a part in determining the idea, which is not exact in his mind, he will get to work on the marble only once he has made the clay model. In relation to Eve, Mary is the pice of marble that was there from the start.
This woman declares that she gives up speeding for Lent. I wonder if she knows truly how much this penance is in line with the teachings of Vatican II? "Others think little of certain norms of social life, for example those designed for the protection of health, or laws establishing speed limits; they do not even avert to the fact that by such indifference they imperil their own life and that of others" (Gaudium et Spes 30).
Yesterday the two delightful Carmelites from Alhambra that were in town doing vocation work returned to California loaded down with Mardi Gras things. They had a great time and planted a lot of seeds. Hopefully they will sprout into some vocations. It was a blessing having them here. For those interested here is a photo we took yesterday before they left. From left to right: Sr. Gloria Therese, Fr. Bryce Sibley, St. Marites.
Crispin Glover (of George McFly fame) has a new movie coming out next week called Willard. It seems that he can talk to rats and sends them out killing people. I am sure it will be a total freakshow, since Crispin Glover is freakshow number one. Therefore, I am looking forward to seeing it. Did you know that Glover is an author? Click here to read about some of his books. I was able to look through some of this last summer at a little curiosity shop in L.A. last summer. They are small hardcover editions with his writing and drawing. Bizarre. Bizarre. [Update: RC informs me that Willard is a remake of a 1971 film starring Ernest Borgnine. Regardless, Crispin Glover is in it, so it is still going to be freakshow central).
I just heard about this book today on St. Gemma (who is one of my favorite women saints). It appears to be a scholarly study of her letters showing that she was a lot holy and a little crazy (as many saints are). Has anyone read the book? Can you offer a rview?
Word has it is that back-up quarterback Jake Delhomme who sat on the bench the last three games of the season while Aaron Brooks threw away the season is talking to the Carolina Panthers. I can't say that I blame him. Stupid Saints. I hope the Panters sign him and they put it to the Saints when they meet them this season.
I've seen some pictures where Jesus has had some pretty bad hairdos - but none quite as bad as this. I think the guy with him in the picture is crying because he can't believe his Lord and Saviour would actually have a hairdo like that on his sacred head.
In addition to the above rendition of the Messiah, there have been a few saints throughout history who have sported the mullet. Two that I can think of right off hand would be St. Louis deMontfort and St. Jean Vianney. Do you know of any others?
Update: Since I did not say "canonized coifs", one does not have to be an officially recognized saint to make this list. So I am happy to add:
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.