These sisters are all Dominican Sisters (St. Catherine of Siena's mystical stigmata is pulsing with pain as we speak). They seem to be involved with the Sacred Earth and Plowshares Action (whatever the heck that means, although there are some ties to Daniel Berrigan). It is on this pasge that you can see a good picture of the three Sisters: Ardeth Platte, Jackie Hudson, and Cornelius Mary Sylvester of the Most Grievous Shoulder Wound of Christ... no, just joking, Carol Gilbert. Here you can view pictures of them breaking into the missle silo in order to, as they said, obey Geroge W. Bush's call to dismantle weapons of mass destruction. Here is a manifesto with their signatures on it. Finally, here is a site which describes the silo break-in, has a great picture of the sisters all geared up to break-in (on the back of suits were the letters CWIT for Citizen Weapons Inspection Team; on the front they identified themselves as "Disarmament Specialists") and some references to their writings.
From the "Primary Sources" in new Atlantic Monthly (read the entire report here):
Death rays and laser guns have been staples of science fiction for at least a century. Now, according to a comprehensive new report from the Lexington Institute, a conservative public-interest group, the U.S. military is on the verge of deploying such weapons in combat. "Directed-energy weapons"—that is, high-energy lasers and high-power microwaves —may change the very nature of warfare more significantly than anything since the invention of gunpowder. Some of the obvious advantages of these new weapons include their ability to travel at the speed of light, greatly reducing "the target's capacity to evade harm"; their extreme precision (an Airborne Laser can hit a target the size of a Mini Cooper from 300 miles away with "pinpoint" accuracy); their ability to fire repeatedly without reloading (conventional weapons can fire only as many rounds as their operators can carry); and the fact that they can not only strike targets but "acquire" them, by means of detecting, imaging, tracking, and illuminating devices that are built into the weapons themselves. (Of course, there are some vexing disadvantages, as well: for instance, dust or inclement weather can disrupt the functioning of lasers.) According to the U.S. Air Force, "Active Denial Technology" can project microwaves a sixty-fourth of an inch into an enemy's skin, producing acute pain without doing any physical damage. "The ultimate goal," the Lexington Institute says, "is to find the equivalent of the Star Trek 'phaser' that could be set on stun."
Local reviewers on a new independent film (starring Tim Curry as a priest) called The Scoundrel's Wife, about German U-boats in the Gulf of Mexico around the Louisiana coast during World War II. Based on a true story. Looks terrible.
A witness alerted police at about 11:45 a.m. after seeing the chain around the woman's neck as the couple dropped off their two sons, ages 11 and 14, at a Southeast Side school. Police said the witness asked the husband about the chain.
He told the witness, as he jerked the chain, that it was meant to keep his wife from running off, police said.
Blogging will be light for the next few days since I will be occupied preaching a Lenten Mission. It will be in Lafayette, LA at St. Pius X Catholic Church this coming Monday-Thursday at 7 p.m. each night. I'll also be preaching at all the masses this weekend to introduce the mission.
I bought the the DVD of Altered States on sale for five dollars today at Wal-Mart. Altered States was William Hurt's first big movie and a total freakshow. In the movie (based on a book) he plays this doctor who spends all of this time in a sensory deprivation chamber in order to revert back in his consciousness to a more primal state. Well, he gets more than he bargains for and during a series of experiments his whole being reverts back to various deranged incarnations, the ultimate being "Plasma Man." As I have alluded to before, this movie will help you understand what some modern church architechture and design might do to you if you are not careful. If you repeatedly attend mass in a big sensory deprivation chamber of a church you run the risk of reverting back to some primordial state of being during the Eucharistic Prayer.... Senses being deprived.... turing into plasma man.... can't stop... regression.... Arghhhh!!!
It seems that my PermaLinks were not working, and that there are other blogs out there who's PermaLinks are also dysfunctional. I fixed mine, and you can fix yours too. Just go to your archive settings and republish all of your posts. That should fix it! So check yours and fix them if they are broken.
1. He has a post about my Lord of the Pants icon and has some very pointed remarks about it. He also suggests we come up with captions for his icons. I will certainly take him up on that (His PermaLinks are down, as mine once were).
2. Jewish Jeans.
3. He is listening to the 10,000 Maniacs. I once sang Michael Stipe's part in "A Campfire Song" with Natalie Merchant at one of their concerts.
4. He is married to Zorak, whom I once thought was a man. It is hard to detect gender in Mantises. Sorry. It's that hard exoskeleton.
1. What is that man doing with a flute in his ear?
2. What is felting? Is it something we should be demonstrating in public?
3. How can an environmentalist song be interactive? What is the world is an environmentalist song anyway?
The headline in the Mobile, Alabama Register newspaper says it all: "Cousins in ax fight over cornbread." Investigators say details still aren't clear, but apparently the victim and his cousin got into an argument involving cornbread, jelly, and "chittlins." (Alcohol is believed to have been a factor.) As the debate grew heated, one man went outside and returned with a bush ax from a nearby woodpile, which he used to whack his cousin in the head. He then fled, taking the bloody ax with him. The fugitive crashed his car a short distance from a local hospital, and ran to the emergency room. While he was being treated, local police found the wrecked vehicle, and when they noticed the bloody ax inside, tracked the injured man to the hospital emergency room. Doctors say both cousins will recover. The case was closed when the two men refused to press charges against each other. Said one investigator, "They'll probably be laughing about it next week."
This synopsis of the original article was taken from here. I have a copy of the original article, and it is in my summation the best thing ever to be printed in any newspaper or magazine (and it is absolutely true).
William McGurn closes his fine article on the Pope's position on the war with Iraq entitled "War No More? Rome Suggests and Answer" (an article which you all should read) in the WSJ with this question:
In another remark on Vatican Radio made on the eve of war, Archbishop Martino characterized the American response to Iraq as replying with "bombs to a people that has been asking for bread for the last 12 years." The Vatican role, by contrast, would be to play the "the Good Samaritan who kneels to tend the wounds of an injured, weak nation."
Which begs a question: If the biblical Good Samaritan had arrived on the scene a little earlier and stumbled on the robbers instead of their victim, what would have been his obligation?
As he lay dying at the age of ninety-three, St. Francis of Paola called his followers in to give them their last instructions and edify them with a few pious maxims. As he was speaking to them the brazier used for heating the room burst into flames and the brethren moved quickly out of the way to avoid being caught in the flames. But to their astonishment the elderly saint got out of bed, approached the furnace and picked it up with his bare hands saying, “Be assured my brothers, that it is not difficult for one who truly loves God to carry out what he wishes, which for me is holding my hands in this fire. As St. Francis held the burning brazier, flames leaping around his hands and arms, some of the friars arranged a small platform and the saint placed the brazier down and quietly returned to bed.
We are confronted by two opposing perspectives: the first is based on the conviction that conflicts can be resolved through a determined and broad-based willingness to negotiate effectively in light of the ways and wisdom of the law; the second perspective maintains that, in the face of elusive and re-emergent threats, force is more efficacious and direct. However, the latter appears to only reduce international cooperation in disarmament rather than enhance it, inducing negative repercussions on multilateralism. A clear message in favor of the force of law and not the law of force should emerge from this substantive session.
I made it back safe and sound to a pollen-infested Lafayette yesterday after having spent a delightful few days New York City. I stayed with friends there, got into contact with some old classmates, did a little sightseeing, met some great new people, and did a fair amount of eating and visiting. I was there though to give a presentation on Relics and Incorruptibles to students in the Renaissance Man Program at the recently formed Montfort Academy. For those of you in the New York area looking for a solid Catholic high school education for your boy, I earnestly suggest that you look into this fine institution. I think you will be impressed. I was. And while I am at it, let me also give a plug for Philly's Smoke House located near the Mid-Town Tunnel Entrance in the city - it was some of the best BBQ I have ever eaten. Honestly.
I'm heading out to New York City today to give a presentation on relics to a high school there. I will be back on Monday. While I am going, some of you might be interested in bidding on Ebay for this "informative" brochure or the domain name VaticanPalace.com.
President Bush has, I think, shown himself to be a remarkable statesman. Tony Blair has been a powerful figure of much greater stature than anyone might have anticipated. This phase of the war is to free Iraq. Many have wrung their hands and anticipated all sorts of risings and evils in order to justify inaction. The purpose of political prudence is to judge and decide when something has to be done and the measured ways to do it. It is of especial interest that it has been the politician who has been able to do this analysis better than anyone else. By this, I do not deny that previous politicians, in their failure to procure military and intelligence power, and judge accurately what was the issue, did not cause much of the difficulty. In any case, these are sober, noble days, not against the Iraqi people but for them. Beyond that, the war still seeks to prevent the terrorist warriors from any illusion that it can succeed against us. We do not, as the President said, want to see our cities go up in smoke. And we will not, hopefully, if we remain tough, prudent, and wise. Peace is not just lack of hostilities, but it is the presence of order.
In a radical contrast to the moving cube church blogged about earlier (a church which makes me think of this), here we have the Augustinian Canons of Klosterneuburg, right outside of Vienna. To get a full appreciation of how magnificent this place is (and I know, I spent a week there back in 1999) check out these panoramic views (to get a panoramic view of the other church, walk around a pile of concrete blocks). The vocation of a canon and its value to the Church Universal is not well known here in America, so that is part of the reason why the American Project has begun at Klosterneuburg with hopes of founding a canonry in North America. I know a couple of the gentlemen associated with this fine ecclesial institution - Frs. Elias and Clemens, pictured here in all of their glory. Please drop Fr. Elias a line and tell him that Fr. Sibley sent you.
I'm giving a talk this evening for the Students for Life group at McNeese University in Lake Charles, LA on Fides et Ratio 83 and The Theology of the Body. Although there is not much on this subject on the Internet, you might be interested in reading this article from last year's Homiletic and Pastoral Review.
From radical peace activist Helen Caldicott: While the Pope has already formally denounced the proposed war, calling it a defeat for humanity, as well as sent his top spokesperson to meet with Saddam Hussein, he now must take a historically unprecedented action of his own and travel to Baghdad. The Pope's physical presence in Iraq will act as the ultimate human shield, during which time leaders of the word nation can commit themselves to identifying and implementing a peaceful solution to this war that the world's majority clearly does not support.
What's the difference between Ketchup and Catsup? And what is Fancy Ketchup?
Well, this one is up for debate. As far as I am concerned they are the same thing. Catsup is a sauce, Ketchup is a sauce. One opinion I heard that was Catsup was the less commercial far tastier version of Ketchup. As for Fancy Ketchup, I would be keen to hear from people with some opinions, but I think Fancy Ketchup is similar to Catsup, again just another name.
Recent world events have got me brushing up on my medieval history, in particular trying to have a better understanding of the Crusades. Amidst my studies, I was reminded of a time back in the year 2000, when I and a few friends made a pilgrimage to the great Romanesque Cathedral of Ste. Madeleine in Vezelay, France. I was breathtaken at the architechture there, and delighted to see that the Community of Jerusalem had been given possession of the church. One of the things in the cathedral that struck me the most was this awe inspiring state of St. Bernard of Clairvaux. This is not a representation of the mystic pouring eloquently over the Song of Songs, but the Spirit-driven abbot preaching the Second Crusade at Christmas time of 1135 AD. It makes us realize that back in the time of Bernard, as in our current days, passions ran high at the prospect of battle.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding and the Contraceptive Mentality
I finally saw My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and call me a critic, but I didn't find it to be side splitting funny. Everyone told me how great and funny it was, and yes, I chuckled a few times, but I've seen much funnier romantic comedies. But what did intrigue me about the movie was a subtle, albeit probably unintentional, commentary on the contraceptive mentality in American society.
On the one had you have Toula's big proud Greek family - lots of relatives, lots of babies, lots of food, lots of obnoxious chatter, and lots of Greek Orthodoxy. It was an oddball family, but one with which the viewer could sympathize with and clearly realize that with all their faults they were considered a good happy family. Then on the other hand you have her fiancee's family - he is a single child, their lives are depicted as stale and banal, they are purely secular with no religion (they wanted the marriage to happen at the country club), there is no large extended family, and they are portrayed as subtely materialistic and superficial. It is an overall negative depiction, and one stemming from the dichotomy of family size, presumably brought about by the "contraceptive mentality" in the American family.
Not this is not to say that the film had an anti-contraceptive message since the last scene makes the point that in six years the couple had only one child. Who knows, maybe she became infertile? I'm not sure. I guess it is the critic in me coming out.
Since the title of my blog indirectly deals with food, I thought it to be a good idea to every so often offer a few recipes to you, my faithful readers. Today's inaugural recipe is for one of my favorite Italian dishes - Pasta Norcina. Here are the ingredients:
16 oz. Rigatoni pasta
Several good sized links of your favorite Italian sausage
1 pint Heavy Whipping Cream
Crushed Black Pepper
Crushed Red Pepper
Dash of Salt
1. Begin boiling your water to cook your pasta. Remember to add a little salt and a little olive oil.
2. Removing the sausage from the casing and try your best to break the meat into tiny lumps. After doing so, brown the meat in a sizeable skillet or pan.
3. After the sausage is browned add the heavy whipping cream and reduce fire. Let the cream simmer, bringing it to a light boil. Stir constantly.
4. Add some crushed red pepper (not too much, this is not a spicy dish) and a fair amount of crushed black pepper. Also, add a bit of salt.
5. Begin boiling pasta. Cook until it is al dente, which should be 6-7 minutes.
6. The sauce should be getting a bit thicker and bit darker, a sort off off white color. The sauce should be ready within 10-15 minutes.
7. Drain pasta, put in bowl and then add sauce while hot. Stir and enjoy!
Chi decide che sono esauriti tutti i mezzi pacifici che il Diritto Internazionale mette a disposizione, si assume una grave responsabilità di fronte a Dio, alla sua coscienza e alla storia.
[Translation: He who decides that all peaceful means which international law makes available are exhausted assumes a grave responsibility before God, their conscience and history.]
Indeed Mr. Bush assumes a grave responsibility. All we can do is hope that he has fulfilled all the requirements needed to make the prudential judgment required of him as the person in charge of the common good as stated in paragraph 2309 of the Catechism and can thus face that grave responsibility with a clear conscience.
Come get your Star Spangled Ice Cream - the Conservative alternative to Ben and Jerry's - with such tantalizing flavors as "I Hate the French Vanilla," "Nutty Environmentalist," "Iraqi Road," and "Smaller Governmint."
As one might expect, apocalyptic specualtion is on the rise with the immanent attack on Iraq. Most of you might remember the swell of the same sentiments right before the first Gulf War. These didn't last long because well, that war didn't last long.
In case some of you don't know, we have a serial killer on the loose down here in Southern Louisiana (read more about it here). Please pray for the victims, for their families, and that the authorities can apprehend him before he strikes again.
The NY Post's Page Six ran an intriguing and disturbing article on Sunday about the Satanic and occult roots of Scientology. Seems that Alistair Crowley and L. Ron Hubbard were friends and he had an influence on some of their beliefs. I knew these people were weirdos, and it really became apparent to me how strange they were went I visited their headquarters in LA incognito last summer asking about Xenu the alien warlord who they believe created the world, but this is very unsettling.
The essay exposing all of this was written by Camille Paglia. If anyone can find a link for it, please let me know.
[Update: Thanks to the ever erudite Mark Sullivan at Ad Orientem who located the essay.]
Today, March 16, is the only day out of the year that one of Rome's true treasures is open to the public - the relic chapel of the Palazzo Massimo. It was on this day in 1583 that good St. Philp Neri brought the young son of the Massimo family back to life for only a brief instant, for after having heard the glorious choirs of angels he did not want to return to this vale of tears. To commemorate this miraculous event the very wealthy Massimo family had the room in which the miracle occured turned into a chapel and decorated with holy relics in magnificent reliquaries. From ceiling to floor the tiny chapel is filled with hundreds upon hundreds of relics. And it is only on March 16 that the Chapel is open to the public. I was blessed during my last year in Rome to be able to concelebrate mass there in Latin with Archbishop Foley. The chapel gets a five star POD rating.
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.