April 30, 2003
I can only imagine. Thanks for the link, Rob.
My good friend, Fr. Christopher Nalty, from the Archdiocese of New Orleans. was recently called up to work for the Congregation for the Clergy in Rome. I got to know Fr. Chris while we were studying together in Rome and he is a fine priest, gentleman, and canon lawyer and I am sure will do very well in the Vatican. Bravo.
I'm not too sure what to make of this site.
For those of you who do not know this already, the reason the Pope wears white is because of Pope St. Pius V. As a Dominican he wore his white habit during his papacy, thus beginning the tradition of the Pope wearing white (Today, the popes wear a white simar).
Allowing his church to be used for a service marking the annual World Day of Prayer for Women's Ordination has gotten a Milwaukee priest in hot water with the archbishop and attracted attention elsewhere in the country.
April 29, 2003
You are Pope John Paul II. You are a force to be
An excerpt from a letter by St. Catherine of Siena to Pope Gregory XI, the last of the Avignon Popes:
Forgive what I am compelled by First Truth to say. He is asking you to take just action against the multitudinous crimes of those who graze and feed in the garden of Holy Church. Since he has given you authority and you have acceptd it, you ought to be using the power and strength that is yours. If you don't intend to use it, it would be better and more to God's honor and the good of your soul to resign. Don't make light of the works of the Holy Spirit that are being asked of you. You have the authority to give peace to those who ask you--for you carry in your hand the keys to heaven--and so if you fail to act, you will be severly rebuked by God. If I were in your place, I would be afraid of incurring divine judgement. And so with all my heart I am begging you in the name of Christ crucified to be obedient to God's will. Don't make it necessary for me to complain about you to Christ crucified.
St. Catherine always effused sweetness in her service of the sick and the poor, however there was one woman dying of a foul and festering cancer that tried the saint’s charity. Not only was the stench from her lesions most vile, but also the sick woman was always in a loathsome and abusive mood. St. Catherine felt that she was letting down her Lord in her revulsion for this woman, so in order to overcome the weakness of her flesh, after bathing the woman, as an act of humility, she drank entire basin of the pus-ridden water which she had just used to cleanse the woman’s rancid and weeping sores. Afterwards she told her spiritual director, "Never in my life have I tasted any food and drink sweeter or more exquisite than this pus." A bit later, Our Lord appeared to her in glory and as a reward for such an act of mortification lifted his glowing white tunic and let the Saint drink from the sweet stream of blood and water that poured from his wounded side.
I just finished reading Denis Crouan's The Liturgy After Vatican II: Collapsing or Resurgent?. It is an easy read, you can do it in one or two sittings; I highly reccomend it. The book is basically divided into three sections: one on the "traditionalist" position on the liturgy after Vatican II, the second on the "progressive" position, and the final section on suggestions for a path of general renewal.
It is first section for which one should read the book. In it Crouan poses the question of if two Roman Rites exisit after the Council: the so-called "Mass of Pius V" (Tridentine) and the "Mass of Paul VI" (Novus Ordo)? His answer is a definitive "No." There is only one Roman Rite and it is the Novus Ordo. The permission granted for the celebration of the Tridentine Mass in Ecclesia Dei is exactly that - a permission, and should not be considered the norm, nor allowed to co-exist indefinitely along side the Novus Ordo. The permission was granted until a genuine "renewal" of the liturgy could take place.
I am sure this argument will elicit some strong reactions from my readers. If it does, please read the book and see everything Crouan has to say. He supplied for me a coherent answer to the question of two co-exisiting "Roman Rites" that has plagued me for years.
April 28, 2003
In honor of Charlton Heston retiring as head of the NRA visit the Chuck Heston On-Line Shrine. Maybe if he can quit whining about all the backlash he got for his Oscar speech, Michael Moore might have something to say about Heston's retirement.
Breaux Bridge, LA on TV
I got this e-mail today from a citizen of the fine city of Breaux Bridge:
Tomorrow, Tuesday, April 29 at 9:37AM [CT] on NBC Today Show the Breaux Bridge segment is scheduled to air (again). . . . we were bumped from today . . . but they said their ratings were up in the Breaux Bridge area this morning - a good thing for them!!!
The segment will feature muscians, food, culture, and the life of a Breaux Bridge-ian . . .no one has yet to see the actual tapes so we are all quite curious. Their crew spent four days shooting footage . . .we are unsure of what has made the cut!
The Crawfish Festival Association promises more national publicity from the 2003 Crawfish Festival this weekend!
Sex Sells In Cinema
I just received a copy of the recently released DVD of the "New Version" of Tornatore's Cinema Paradiso. When I opened it, by the looks of the cover, I would have thought I was getting a porno video. Although the same picture is on the original version cover, the prevalent themes are radically different. And for anyone who has ever seen the movie (everyone should see it) the original cover gives a much more accurate representation of what the movie is really about. Of course the new cover is there to sell the movie, because as we all know sex sells. It is just disappointing. However, the people who rent it thinkink it is some big erotic European film are the ones who will be really disappointed.
So, can y'all think of any other movies that had a poster or packaging that made the movie out to be something totally different than what it was really about?
Here is a recent picture of me teaching a class on The Theology of the Body.
St. Louis was not only well known for his preaching, but also for his pugilism. During his first sermon in the village of Roussay, a group of drunks in a café close enough to be heard by the saint and congregation, were mocking St. Louis with vulgar shouts and songs. As the sermon continued, so did the rude comments, and the people could tell that St. Louis was getting angry and annoyed. After he finished his sermon and blessed the people, St. Louis walked quickly toward the men at the café who were mocking him during his sermon. They greeted St. Louis, who was a massive man with a few derisive yet humorous comments. St. Louis however responded with his fists. He struck each of the men, knocking them unconscious. Then just as Our Lord drove the moneychangers out of the temple, St. Louis began tearing up the café, overturning tables, throwing chairs, smashing glasses and breaking bottles. He then walked out of the café, over the bodies of the drunken hoodlums, and back up the street. Needless to say, he never had a problem with disruptive behavior during his homilies for the rest of his stay in that town. Another time, in the Diocese of Nantes, a dozen or so unbelieving student intellectuals set upon St. Louis one night because the subject matter of his preaching was so contrary to their ideology. Although St. Louis desired to be a martyr, he knew this was not the time and proceeded to waylay all twelve of these university thugs. The fight made so much noise that a crowd gathered, with some of the young men joining in on de Montfort’s side to end the melee. On another occasion after St. Louis remonstrated a man for being loud and disrespectful in church, a dispute ensued. The man, who was a Colonel in the army, began to laugh at deMontfort, this infuriated the saint even more, but the man would not listen to the priest and drew his sword. de Montfort again asked him to leave, and at this point the colonel began to curse St. Louis and called for the help of his troops. A brawl began in the back of the church. There were thrown chairs, much shouting, screaming women and St. Louis and the colonel bloodied and battered. The fight was eventually broken up, with the soldiers and their leaders fleeing the church.
These stories are all taken from Eddie Doherty's biography of St. Louis deMontfort, Wisdom's Fool.
April 27, 2003
The Holy Father beatified six today, including Fr. Giacomo Alberione, founder of the Pauline Family, and Marco D'Aviano, Cappucin Friar who lead the Christian forces against the Muslin fleet at the Battle of Vienna. The text of his homily in Italian can be found here. He comments on D'Aviano's love of prayer, his corageous preaching, and numerous miracles worked. Not specifically mentioning the Muslim onslaught and the ensuing battles he says that D'Aviano worked to defend "the liberty and unity of Christian Europe" and that the contemporary European continet should look to him for an example of unity.
It appears that the media is more interested in Marco D'Aviano's connection with cappuccino:
Legend has it that, following the victory, the Viennese reportedly found sacks of coffee abandoned by the enemy and, finding it too strong for their taste, diluted it with cream and honey.
Pictures from the beatification ceremony can be found here.
Now I think I know
What you tried to say to me
How you suffered for your sanity
How you tried to set them free
They did not listen they're not listening still
Perhaps they never will.
Several people have sent me this link about an Italian calendar featuring handsome young Italian priests in front of famous Roman monuments. You can go here to see all of the pictures of the so-called "pin-up priests." Che schifo.
Two Blips I've Recently Noticed in my Blog-dar
Well, at least my name isn't even listed.
M.C. does not stand for "Massaging Chakras"
Happy Divine Mercy Sunday everyone! I made it back safely from teaching the Missionaries of Charity in Memphis. I had a truly blessed time teaching, praying, and laughing with the Sisters (I was teaching the junior professed who come to Memphis each year for a few weeks of seminars and retreat). Everytime I come back from working with the humble and joyful MC's I feel so invigorated and convinced of God's mercy and the truth of the resurrection. What a beautiful witness. While I was there I also got to visit with a few friends and eat some BBQ. Dem some good ribs.
April 22, 2003
The Massaging Nun
When I touch, my message goes through the body to the mind to heal itself. My spiritual message coincides with my touch to spiritually heal the body. -- Sister Rosalind Gefre
MCs in Memphis
I am heading out to Memphis, TN for a few days to do a series of seminars for the Missionaries of Charity. I'll be giving sixteen seminars on "The Church and Her Teaching." While I am away I'll be missing the first few days of Festival International in Lafayette - probably the best festial we have down here. I will however be back in time to make it to the last two evenings and to get to hear Los Lobos. Have a blessed Octave!
April 21, 2003
"I just don’t think that you should eat anything that’s Jesus. It’s OK to eat the cross as long as God is not on it," she explained.
To help you to get into the Easter Season this year, we here at A Saintly Salmagundi would like to share with you a small array of fine Resurrection Crucifixes (known by some as Resurrexifixes) for your Paschal edification!
Pope John Paul II plans to end a major breach within the unity of the Catholic Church, welcoming back three traditionalist bishops in May, according to a report in the London Times.
Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, the prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, will celebrate Mass using the Tridentine rite on May 24 in the Roman basilica of St. Mary Major. According to the Times report, the cardinal-- who has been assigned by the Pope to seek a reconciliation with the schismatic Society of St. Pius X-- will lift the bans of excommunication on three of the four bishops ordained in 1988 by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.
Hey Everybody! Let's Go and Help The Bishops!
Yesterday I recieved a most intriguing e-mail on the evils of world Zionism. The best part of the e-mail was where it was from, a web-site called Let Us Go and Help the Bishops. There seems to be hours of reading enjoyment on this "Traditional Catholic" website. Here are just a few of my favorite parts:
Links - Complete with the pantented Theologometer to rate a sites orthodoxy. You will be happy to know that the Vatican got a "moderate" rating, one step above "liberal."
Boycott Page - Boycitting everyone from Deal Hudson's Crisis Magazine because they are "pro Iraq war and therefore against the Pope, schismatic, and Zionist" to JC Penny because "their newspaper inserts almost exclusively feature mixed multicultural couples."
Marriage - Find yourself a Trad Russian mail-order bride.
April 20, 2003
Happy Easter Everyone!
"The Eucharist is a straining towards the goal, a foretaste of the fullness of joy promised by Christ (cf. Jn 15:11); it is in some way the anticipation of heaven, the “pledge of future glory”. In the Eucharist, everything speaks of confident waiting “in joyful hope for the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ”. Those who feed on Christ in the Eucharist need not wait until the hereafter to receive eternal life: they already possess it on earth, as the first-fruits of a future fullness which will embrace man in his totality. For in the Eucharist we also receive the pledge of our bodily resurrection at the end of the world: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day” (Jn 6:54). This pledge of the future resurrection comes from the fact that the flesh of the Son of Man, given as food, is his body in its glorious state after the resurrection. With the Eucharist we digest, as it were, the “secret” of the resurrection. For this reason Saint Ignatius of Antioch rightly defined the Eucharistic Bread as “a medicine of immortality, an antidote to death” (Ecclesia de Eucharistia 18).
April 19, 2003
Balthasar, the Passion, and the Beatific Vision
Fr. JP raises a fine point in the comments box about a certain problem with von Balthasar's theology of the passion. Balthasar said that during the Passion, in order to feel the full depths of the Father's abandonment, he relinquised the beatific vision. As alluring as this thought might seem (and as well as Balthasar argues it), he is clearly mistaken (this however does not delegitimize the rest of his theology, especially about Holy Saturday).
For a well-written explanation and critique of Balthasar's Theology of the Passover and his ideas on the beatific vision during the Passion, I suggest Saward's The Mysteries of March. Saward refutes Balthasar's belief that Christ relinquished the Beatific Vision during the passion using strong Thomistic argumentation.
The most significant of recent sources that back up the traditional belief in Christ's possession of the beatific vision in his human intellect is from John Paul II's letter Novo Millennio Inuente nos. 26-27:
Jesus' cry on the Cross, dear Brothers and Sisters, is not the cry of anguish of a man without hope, but the prayer of the Son who offers his life to the Father in love, for the salvation of all. At the very moment when he identifies with our sin, "abandoned" by the Father, he "abandons" himself into the hands of the Father. His eyes remain fixed on the Father. Precisely because of the knowledge and experience of the Father which he alone has, even at this moment of darkness he sees clearly the gravity of sin and suffers because of it. He alone, who sees the Father and rejoices fully in him, can understand completely what it means to resist the Father's love by sin. More than an experience of physical pain, his Passion is an agonizing suffering of the soul. Theological tradition has not failed to ask how Jesus could possibly experience at one and the same time his profound unity with the Father, by its very nature a source of joy and happiness, and an agony that goes all the way to his final cry of abandonment. The simultaneous presence of these two seemingly irreconcilable aspects is rooted in the fathomless depths of the hypostatic union.
Faced with this mystery, we are greatly helped not only by theological investigation but also by that great heritage which is the "lived theology" of the saints. The saints offer us precious insights which enable us to understand more easily the intuition of faith, thanks to the special enlightenment which some of them have received from the Holy Spirit, or even through their personal experience of those terrible states of trial which the mystical tradition describes as the "dark night". Not infrequently the saints have undergone something akin to Jesus' experience on the Cross in the paradoxical blending of bliss and pain. In the Dialogue of Divine Providence, God the Father shows Catherine of Siena how joy and suffering can be present together in holy souls: "Thus the soul is blissful and afflicted: afflicted on account of the sins of its neighbour, blissful on account of the union and the affection of charity which it has inwardly received. These souls imitate the spotless Lamb, my Only-begotten Son, who on the Cross was both blissful and afflicted". In the same way, Thérèse of Lisieux lived her agony in communion with the agony of Jesus, "experiencing" in herself the very paradox of Jesus's own bliss and anguish: "In the Garden of Olives our Lord was blessed with all the joys of the Trinity, yet his dying was no less harsh. It is a mystery, but I assure you that, on the basis of what I myself am feeling, I can understand something of it".14 What an illuminating testimony! Moreover, the accounts given by the Evangelists themselves provide a basis for this intuition on the part of the Church of Christ's consciousness when they record that, even in the depths of his pain, he died imploring forgiveness for his executioners (cf. Lk 23:34) and expressing to the Father his ultimate filial abandonment: "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit" (Lk 23:46).
On Christ's Descent into Sheol
His descent is the mission that the Son has received from the Father - to free the sinful world from the bonds of death, and in order to do so, he must descend to the dregs of the dead. Sheol is astir at the great arrival of Christ on this day. And in Sheol the Son’s “cadaver-obedience” and solidarity with the dead on Holy Saturday “is the final consequence of the redemptive mission he has received from the Father.” And the result of this mission is not only the salvation and redemption of man - but also the ultimate revelation of God’s love. “In submitting to being crucified, in plunging into God-forsakedness, the Son is giving an ultimate demonstration of how ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.’ There is nothing feigned here: the Father actually and in all seriousness leaves his Son lying on the ground, in order to go to the stranger, the enemy, man, and to draw him to himself. The son’s passive, suffering love becomes at once the upright and the inverted mirror image of the Father’s love.” With his Fatherly love, Yahweh is still present there amidst the darkness. In fact, “the moment of their separation is paradoxically their moment of most intense union.” The bond of union is still there, and the Son remains the Son and the Father the Father. And this bond is a bond of intense love.
In his death, Christ did not descend into hell as we know it, the hell of the damned. Instead he entered the realm of the dead, the pit - Old Testament Sheol. Here, in Sheol, man is totally cut off from God, there is no communion, no remembrance of God, no relationship with his Creator. Yahweh does not heed the call of those who go down into the pit. Here man is utterly forsaken, totally devoid of strength. And it is into this hell that Christ descends.
Pious tradition has handed down to us a certain vision of Christ, going into hell, victorious, carrying the standard of the cross, preaching the Gospel to the dead, freeing Adam and the Patriarchs from their prisons and harrowing the demons with the good news of the impending resurrection. Aquinas comments on this by saying that Christ “penetrated to all lower parts of the earth, not moving locally through them with his soul, but by extending to them all, in some way, the effect of his power.” But recent theological trends (esp. von Balthasar) have challenged this traditional view, building on Aquinas in a way. Even though Christ’s descent to the dead was in power, it was the culmination of the illustration of God’s power as being different from human conceptions of power. Christ’s descent to the dead was, in human terms, devoid of power, totally passive. He did not descend with power, but powerless and in total solidarity with the dead. His descent means that he “entered the whole abandonment and loneliness of death, that he took upon himself the experience of meaninglessness, of the night, and - in this sense - of the hell of being human.” Out of love, God “wanted to experience the human condition from within, in order to re-direct it from inside out - thus he would have to focus on the place where man finds himself at “wits end” This is the place where he has fallen into an abyss of grief, indigence, darkness, “into the pit” from which he cannot escape by his own powers.” As St. John of the Cross might say, the souls in Sheol have met their “beloved” in the darkness with Christ’s descent. This comes as a result of his being made sin for us - to the extent that he did not even know himself as the Son of God! The Son experienced the total alienation, abandonment, and lack of communication that sin causes. And by taking all of it on obediently - with the power of the Trinitarian love that reaches out toward sinful man that the power of death and sin was destroyed.
April 18, 2003
Dare We Hope and the Population of Hell
Last summer I got into a fairly heated discussion with someone over von Balthasar's admonition that we ought to hope all men would be saved as expressed in his rather controversial book Dare We Hope "That All Men Be Saved"? I read the book in seminary and really had no problem with it (I do tend to favor Balthasar's thought), while there are others who claim that Balthasar's position expressed in that book is univerasalist. In our discussion one of the articles used to attack Balthasar was this piece by Dale Vree from The New Oxford Review. I read the article and it appeared to me that from what he was arguing Vree had never read the book (or at least read a differnet translation). The debate finished and I moved on still supporting Balthasar.
This Spy Wednesday I discussed in my homily the possibility of hoping for Judas' salvation (and the salvation of other sinners), especially after Christ says it would have been better that he would have never been born, while still believing in the reality of eternal damnation. Well, that morning I received the new First Things in the mail and saw that the issue contained an article by Cardinal Dulles entitiled "The Population of Hell." Excited to read what Dulles had to say, but before I took the volume out of its plastic jacket, I told my pastor, "I bet you anything Dulles will side with Balthasar on this." And I was right.
The article is really nothing more than a recapitulation of the history of the question, focusing on the debate in the 20th century and detailing the discussion the same periodical between Neuhaus and Vree, but Dulles does back up the orthodoxy of Balthasar's position, in particular citing sections form the Catechism which encourage this hope: "In hope, the Church prays for 'all men to be saved" (CCC 1821) and "The Church prays that no one should be lost" (CCC 1058). I suggest reading the article for yourself, in addtion to succinctly explaining the controversy, Dulles offers some fine insights, especially about the Mass for the Dead. I encourage you even more to read Balthasar's controversial last work.
The Pope's New Encyclical
I read the Holy Father's new encyclical on the Eucharist yesterday. I don't have all that many reflections on the encyclical (it is pretty self-explanatory) but I do have a few observations and comments. First, I was struck by how personal it was in tone, as if the Pope was really writing from his heart (seems the folks at Zenit feel the same way). I think this will make such an important letter so much more accessible than his other letters written in that Eastern European phenomenological style. I was also delighted to see so much emphasis on Eucharistic Adoration. What wonders that can do for a parish or a diocese (for more information on how to get it started in your area, visit the Apostolate for Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration site). Finally, I am curious to see how much debate (and abuse) will occur in the interpretation of sections 45 & 46 on the legitimacy of giving holy communion in special circumstances to "individual persons belonging to Churches or Ecclesial Communities not in full communion with the Catholic Church." Here is the full text of that section:
While it is never legitimate to concelebrate in the absence of full communion, the same is not true with respect to the administration of the Eucharist under special circumstances, to individual persons belonging to Churches or Ecclesial Communities not in full communion with the Catholic Church. In this case, in fact, the intention is to meet a grave spiritual need for the eternal salvation of an individual believer, not to bring about an intercommunion which remains impossible until the visible bonds of ecclesial communion are fully re-established.
This was the approach taken by the Second Vatican Council when it gave guidelines for responding to Eastern Christians separated in good faith from the Catholic Church, who spontaneously ask to receive the Eucharist from a Catholic minister and are properly disposed.95 This approach was then ratified by both Codes, which also consider – with necessary modifications – the case of other non-Eastern Christians who are not in full communion with the Catholic Church.
In my Encyclical Ut Unum Sint I expressed my own appreciation of these norms, which make it possible to provide for the salvation of souls with proper discernment: “It is a source of joy to note that Catholic ministers are able, in certain particular cases, to administer the sacraments of the Eucharist, Penance and Anointing of the Sick to Christians who are not in full communion with the Catholic Church but who greatly desire to receive these sacraments, freely request them and manifest the faith which the Catholic Church professes with regard to these sacraments. Conversely, in specific cases and in particular circumstances, Catholics too can request these same sacraments from ministers of Churches in which these sacraments are valid”.
These conditions, from which no dispensation can be given, must be carefully respected, even though they deal with specific individual cases, because the denial of one or more truths of the faith regarding these sacraments and, among these, the truth regarding the need of the ministerial priesthood for their validity, renders the person asking improperly disposed to legitimately receiving them. And the opposite is also true: Catholics may not receive communion in those communities which lack a valid sacrament of Orders.
The faithful observance of the body of norms established in this area is a manifestation and, at the same time, a guarantee of our love for Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, for our brothers and sisters of different Christian confessions – who have a right to our witness to the truth – and for the cause itself of the promotion of unity.
April 17, 2003
This nursery rhyme uttered by a Southwest Airlines stewardess supposedly caused two women on the flight to be bed-ridden for days and created large memory losses because of its "racist" undertones. A lawsuit has been filed and a court date has been scheduled.
Got back from the Chrism Mass today and am about to go make my last Holy Hour before the Triduum begins. I hope to post a few things before it all starts. Hope you all have a blessed Triduum.
April 16, 2003
Today we Commemorate St. Drogo, Patron Saint of Ugly People
Poor St. Drogo, who lived in the 1100’s, is the patron saint of unattractive people. Seems that St. Drogo, was so ugly that the spectacle of him scared the villagers where he lived. While still a young man, cells was built for him attached to the local church so that he could shield people from his unsightly appearance, and of course pray and do penance. He lived there for the rest of his earthly existence, eking out a living as a shepherd and his avoiding contact with the townspeople. His only real interpersonal contact was receiving Holy Communion through a small aperture linking his cell to the church.
"She must have been dragged by a car," she said. "Isn't that something? See, her hands are gone. Isn't that something? The whole pedestal is ripped off. Isn't it funny they left the rosary on?" Worst of all, the maimed statue no longer lights up, which is why Mrs. Wilson will keep her indoors from now on while she continues her frustrating search for a new one that lights up.
The Shroud of Turin
I'll be giving a Power Point Presentaion on the Shroud of Turin this evening in the parish. The Shroud has fascinated me since I have been a young child, and being able to venerate it at the 1998 exposition was one of the true highlights of my life. So, for those of you interested in learning more, or simply brushing up on your sindonology, might I suggest ShroudStory.com - the most accesible site on the Shroud out there.
April 15, 2003
You can put your own favorite bible verse on a bar of soap. Here is the one I would put:
"Lord, surely by this time there will be an stench, he has been dead four days " (John 11:39).
Any other suggestions?
All the kids in my parish love the new band Evanessence (actually spelled Evanesence). They touted themselves as a Christian-rock band and actually have been selling quite a few albums (thanks in part to having a single on the Daredevil Soundtrack). The lead singer has a maginificent voice, only problem is that one of the male members does all of this rap-rock stuff that aggravates me. Anyhow, seems that in a recent interview for Entertainment Weekly, one of the band members dropped the f-bomb a few times and used the Lord's name in vain causing Christian stores eerywhere to drop their albums. Ah, once again, a band goes the way of most other so-called "Christian" bands once they find secular success.
On a related subject, a fine article on The Jesus Market - where the Messiah meets the Marketplace.
[Update: My confrere Fr. Mike corrects my assertion that Evanessence once claimed to be a Christian band. This appears to be a falsity. I guess I still speak without knowing what I am saying. It seems too, from the knowledge he has of that band, that even after being guided and instructed by me, Fr. Mike still has a penchant for liking terrible music...]
In case you are a Yankee and do not know what grits are - feel free to visit www.grits.com.
April 13, 2003
Passion Sunday and The Sacrament of Confession
Today's gospel of Christ's entrance into Jerusalem and the reading of the a Passion should offer some insight and inspiration to those struggling with the sacrament of confession, in particular, frequent reception of this sacrament.
1. Christ enters as humble servant on a donkey. This is how he meets us in the sacrament, not as a feasome just judge, but in meekness, in order to invite us and make us less reticent to approach him to recieve his mercy.
2. The crowds greet him rejoicing. They are not going out to meet him because they are obliged, as those who go to confession only when the Church requires and then seeing it as a burden. We should go frequently to the sacrament rejoicing, as the crowds went to meet Jesus.
3. We crucified the Lord with our sin. It has always been one of the most moving meditations on the Palm Sunday liturgy, that during the Passion narrative the congregation takes the parts of the crowd crying for the death of the Lord. It makes us realize that it was our sins that led to the Lord's death and thus should assisit in leading us to repentance and encountering him in the sacrament of penance.
If you are looking for a new album to cheer you up this spring, might I suggest The Jayhawks' Rainy Day Music. Although not as complex as their last two albums (partially because they are only a trio now) it is not as "country" as the classic Hollywood Town Hall. Gary Louris demonstrates once again his songwriting brilliance with an album full of upbeat, positive, catchy tunes. Some critics are calling it an instant classic. I give it four out of five stars.
April 11, 2003
I've been hearing quite a bit about this new book on the conversions of prominent American Cartholics Thomas Merton, Walker Percy, Flannery O'Connor and Dorothy Day. I'm only interested in Percy and O'Connor so I am wondering if it is worth picking up. Has anyone out there read it yet?
April 10, 2003
I just wanted to make sure that I was the only Google hit for at least one phrase.
Update: My blog's been T'inated!!!
Today is the Commemoration of Bl. Anthony Neyrot
Bl. Anthony was a Dominican Friar who took the name of the holy prior at has house in Florence named Antoninus. While sailing on a ship to Sicily, Anthony was captured by Mohammedan pirates and sold into slavery at Tunis. He was able to win his freedom, but apostatized and abandoned his faith and his vocation. He accepted the Koran and the teachings of Islam and even married a Muslin woman. Soon after this occurred, the holy prior Antoninus died and appeared to Anthony in a dream. This even profoundly moved our Beatus and he repented of his apostatizing ways. Therefore he donned his old Dominican habit and appeared before the ruler of Tunis, and in front of the large crowd gathered there professed his love for Christ, the Church, and the Order of Preachers. The ruler gave him a chance to take it back, but Anthony would not, thus he suffered death by stoning at the hands of the infidel ruler. Blessed Anthony is often depicted in iconography wearing a turban.
Climb the Ladder With You
Whenever I talk to young couples preparing for marriage, trying to help them to understand what it means to be entering into a sacrament I find that the old cartoon Simon In the Land of Chalk Drawings is a very effective analogy for helping them to understand how in sacramentalizing Christ's nuptial relationship with the Church they actually make that loving relationship present.
April 9, 2003
On the Communion of Saints
The saints are often grouped together like schools of painters: the one derives his style from the other, and an entire generation often emerges from one master. Mary established the Marian for the whole of salvation history.
- Adrienne von Speyr
Update: Thanks to the comments by some readers, it seems that some of these books probably ought to have been banned. Read the summary of Alice on the Outside from Kirkus Reviews. And the book is for 4-8 grade?
I just finished watching the Marines pull down the large statue of Saddam and the throng of cheering Iraqis climb upon the remnants, jumping up and down in jubilation. As I watched it all transpire, I thought of the words from today's gospel seemingly meant for this "The truth will set you free."
April 8, 2003
A federal jury convicted three Roman Catholic nuns Monday of defacing a missile silo by swinging hammers and painting crosses on it with their own blood.
You can read more here.
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.
Aw yeah! "Foundizzle and Prez" of Bringin' Da Funk Ministies, the Rev. Phil Jackson (not this Phil Jackson) are bringin' y'all the funky gospel message of JC. You can "check out the testimonies of what God has done with brothas and sistas who have been delivered from craziness." You can also "get your read on" by perusing some of the Reverend's articles (complete with "beeped!" curse words to be relavent with the younstas). Most of these articles you can read in his magazine Gospel Flava (who's got the flava?) including the perrenial favorites"How to Hang Up on a Booty Call, Parts I and II" Hmmm... this site is making me hungry.
David Ancell's Blog
Visit David Ancell's blog. He links to my blog calling it "hilarious." Obviously this man is filled with wisdom.
April 6, 2003
Star Trek in Real Life
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."
I was introduced to this movie while I was in New York City. Lee Marvin vs. Ernest Borgnine on a train. What more do I need to say!
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.
This has a a brief interview with Justin Lappe, the brother of a priest freind of mine.
April 5, 2003
Preaching A Mission
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.
April 4, 2003
Caveat: If you have a slow connection, this page will be a sort of spiritual exercise for your browser since it is very graphics heavy.
Thanks for the link Tom.
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!!!
Check Your PermaLinks
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.
I've never really read the Old Oligarch's blog before, but I am going to now. Let me tell you why:
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.
April 3, 2003
Incensed fans walked out of Pearl Jam's concert Tuesday after lead singer Eddie Vedder impaled a mask of President Bush on a microphone stand, then slammed it to the stage.
A Reminder for Wiccan Videogamers
Here are my questions:
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?
From the Files
Cousins in Ax Fight Over Cornbread
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).
April 2, 2003
A Fine Scriptural/Moral Question
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?
Does Anyone Know?
Has Cardinal Dulles said or written anything on the war with Iraq?
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.
April 1, 2003
Nuttiness Beyond Compare
I wouldn't even begin to know where to start commenting on this. All I can say is that I wish the icon depicted the Lord of the Pants instead.
Thanks Maggie, for this Pro-Life, Pro-Woman blog. Visit their Project Rachel Site too.
A friend describes this as: How a postmodern Rex Mottram type reads Brideshead Revisted. Its all about how bad religion rules our lives. Poor girl. I guess you have to be Catholic to understand.
Back from New York
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.