March 26, 2003
I couldn't wait for this one...
Going to New York
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.
March 25, 2003
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.
March 24, 2003
And now, something good in Austria
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.
Giving A Talk Today
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.
March 23, 2003
My Best Movies of 2002
With the Oscars approaching and being useless as always, I propose my list of best movies of the year. Now, I there are still some I haven't seen, so consider this list tentative:
3. The Two Towers
4. Thirteen Conversations about One Thing
5. Italian for Beginners
6. About Schmidt
7. The Kid Stays in the Picture
8. Spirited Away
9. One Hour Photo
10. Catch Me If You Can
March 22, 2003
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.
Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club
Using their superpowers to battle heresy...
The Curt Jester informs us of the two other heroes that fight heresy with Bibleman - Tradition Man and Magisterial Man. But The Curt Jester suspects that Bibleman has a dark side and usually fights for the powers of evil as Solascriptura Man. When they are getting along, do they live at the Apostolic Palace of Justice?
1. What is the difference, if any, between, ketchup and catsup?
2. What is the difference, if any, between ketchup and "fancy" ketchup?
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.
March 20, 2003
If you've always been unconfortable with a devotion to the Infant of Prague, maybe you can start a novena to Action Jesus and purchase one of his fine products?
St. Bernard at Vezelay
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.
Mary, your prices sure seem steep
The ever intrepid RC over at Catholic Light lets us know that you can send your prayers via e-mail to Our Lady of the Fence Post over in Australia for only $16.50 a piece. Do you have to pay extra for her to actually answer the prayers?
March 19, 2003
NCAA Tourney Pick 'Em
Anybody who wants to get in on an NCAA basketball tournament bracket go to the Yahoo! Pick 'Em front page and sign up in my group. Here is the information you need:
Group ID#: 62646
No money - just bragging rights.
March 18, 2003
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.
Recipe: Pasta Norcina
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!
The countries in the coalition are: Afghanistan, Albania, Australia, Azerbaijan, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan (post conflict), Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan.
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.
March 17, 2003
Star Spangled Ice Cream
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."
Communio Study Circle
The Communio Study Circle for the Southern Louisiana region will take place this Wednesday evening, March 19, in Lafayette, LA. Anyone interested in attending can e-mail me for more details.
The End Times... Again
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.
Louisiana Serial Killer
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.
Scientology and Satanism
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.
March 16, 2003
Who is the Mystery Worshipper?
You may never know the identity of The Mystery Worshipper , but you will know that he has paid a visit by the calling card he leaves in your collection plate. Read his account of the the worst service ever.
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.
March 15, 2003
[Prime Minister Tony Blair] received communion from the hands of the Pope during his recent visit to the Vatican, it has been reported from Rome.
In the Doghouse (or only in Vidor, TX)
March 14, 2003
The Factor and the Vatican
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?
Plato and Kieslwoski
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.
Find out who to pray to if you are a really ugly pawnbroker.
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.
Southern Style Slide Show
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).
March 13, 2003
"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."
New Mexico's state Senate unanimously approved a bill Monday ordering the state's attorney general to sue Texas over a strip of oil-rich land along the state line.
``There is no doubt that the people's lives in that strip would be vastly improved because they no longer would be Texans,'' [Sen. Shannon] Robinson explained during Senate debate.
"I can see a great uplifting of their personal self worth,'' he said.
Now all we need to do is pass the total ban on human cloning and the Lord will pour our innumerable blessings upon our natin. We can only hope that this will be a true turning point for our country.
Jesus - The Same Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
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.
Neil Labute is a Mormon
Someone had written me in regards to an earlier post informing me that film director Neil Labute is a Mormon. In case you'd like to know more go here.
Three Colors DVD Set
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.
Orianna Fallaci in the WSJ
Thus, I ask: what if instead of learning freedom Iraq becomes a second Talibani Afghanistan? What if instead of becoming democratized by the Pax Americana the whole Middle East blows up and the cancer multiplies? As a proud defender of the West's civilization, without reservations I should join Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair in the new Alamo. Without reluctance I should fight and die with them. And this is the only thing about which I have no doubts at all.
March 12, 2003
It makes perfect sense that performance art wrestling would get out of hand
A man and woman convicted of maliciously beheading a rabbit as a promotional stunt will not do any jail time under a sentence imposed Monday in Multnomah County Circuit Court. Instead, Circuit Judge Marshall Amiton gave Darcy Lee Olson, a performance art wrestler, and his friend, Angela Lynn Moss, a combination of probation, community service and treatment.
Are they getting treatment for beheading the rabbit or for being "performance art wrestlers"?
The Sacred Fowl (aka Church's Chicken)
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.
March 11, 2003
I think I might be Rod's evil twin.
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.
Neuhaus and Iraq
Light Blogging Today
Not going to be posting much because I have a busy day today. Lots of souls to save. Amuse yourselves with this hagiographical quiz.
March 10, 2003
Only in Louisiana
Miller's Crossing and Barton Fink on DVD
From DVD File:
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.
March 9, 2003
Two researchers studying a plethora of Playboy centerfolds have found using scientific and mathematical analysis that contrary to what most might surmise, the models' figures have become more androgenous and less hourglass like.
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.
The New Atlantic Monthly
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.
Mr. Heng's Wisdom
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.
Waugh and Greene
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.
March 8, 2003
Spain and Iraq
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.
Here is the original Village Voice article.
The Shape of Things
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.
Where I was yesterday
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.
March 6, 2003
Moral Theology Book List
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:
The Sources of Christian Ethics by Servais Pinckaers
Introduction to Moral Theology by Romanus Cessario
Sharing in Christ's Virtues by Livio Melina
Living the Truth in Love by Benedict Ashley
Principles of Christian Morality by Hans urs von Balthasar et. al.
The Ethics of Aquinas Stephen Pope, ed.
The Roman Triptych
Pope John Paul II has published a new pook of poetry entitled The Roman Triptych. If you can read italian, here is an account of what was said at the press conference held at the Vatican today for the book's presentation.
March 5, 2003
Lenten Station Churches
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.
We can learn from history, or L'ironie
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.
Gaudium et Spes and War
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.
In a Civil War Mood
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.
From what I gather he is on the cover of this month's "Civil War Times" magazine. If anyone could procure a copy of it for me, I'd appreciate it (and I'd be willing to pay you for it). Thanks!
Ash Wednesday Relflection
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.
March 4, 2003
N.B. This picture is amusing, however I do not believe that the rest of the site is so amusing or edifying.
A Report from the the Mardi Gras
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).
Holy Habits Paper Dolls
A great gift idea - Holy Habits Traditional Nun Paper Dolls. The first in a series of sets comes with Sister Mary Grace and you get to dress her up in one of ten traditional habits. You can even send a nun e-card to your friends and family. A very POD gift idea for the kids. And for the adults, they might prefer this variation on the tradtional nun theme.
Mary as the First Eve
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.
A Vatican II Catholic
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).
March 3, 2003
Thanks for all of the responses. There were so many that I have never thought of (and some of which I had never heard). Here are the ones I deemed worthy (including some more I thought of):
Orson Welles as Harry Lime in The Third Man
Kevin Spacey as Buddy Ackerman in Swimming With Sharks
Gary Oldman as Stansfield in Leon (The Professional)
Robert Mitchum as Max Cady in Cape Fear
John Huston as Noah Cross in Chinatown
Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber in Die Hard
The Lepanto Group
My blog has been added to The Lepanto Group.
Goodbye to the Sisters!
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.
Two Books Mentioned in First Things
Finished the new First Things yesterday and two books mentioned in it sparked my interest - Joe Nicolosi's new book A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality and the secualrist's "anti-contraception bible" Taking Charge of your Fertility by Toni Weschler. Has anybody read these? Any reviews?
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).
This year's Canticle Conference for Catholic Women is coming up in a few weeks in Texas. This year's topic is "The Beauty of Holiness." Try to make it if you can!
March 2, 2003
Confederacy of Dunces comes to the Big Screen
I posted on rumors regarding it this summer, but it seems to be verified - Soderbergh will be working on the the screenplay for the big screen adaptation which begins filming this spring. Whoo hoo.... Read more about it here.
Question - who would you cast as Ignatius?
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?
"Majority Rules! Turn the Plane Around!"
It appears that this guy was a little too excited about Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Well, I'm sure he would have ended up in prison there eventually. Might as well save a lot of time and energy and send him there before he even steps off of the plane!
March 1, 2003
Stupid, Stupid New Orleans Saints
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:
From the Lift up Your Hearts website: "[M]y "cincture test": In any gathering of vested clergy, the really good worship leaders there will not be wearing cinctures."
Another formulation might be: Those clergy wearing oversized, off-white or brownish polyester moo-moo's with various patches of velcro holding the garment together are really good worship leaders.
Uh, I guess I need some practice at leading worship since I wear a cincture. Someone should inform Our Blessed Lord about this too.