Friday, October 29
And watch out for Beanie Ant...
(It's an inside joke, preserved by the sacred Mother-Son bond. If I told you, I'd have to kill you...)
Wednesday, October 27
FromA Saintly Salmagundi:
"Thus, one might not vote for the antichrist because he is the antichrist, but you may vote for him if you think that his positions on farm subsidies and increases in minimum wage are enough to offset his being a puppet for the prince of darkness and ushering in armageddon."
Tuesday, October 26
Monday, October 25
Andy: Putting "of Antioch" behind any word makes it sound holier.
Matt: I thought pantsing someone was like a really bad wedgie.
Talking about our first day back at school:
Andy: See you tomorrow at lunch, Emily?
Emily: I'm never at lunch on Mondays. Tuesdays, of course. I can't do it on Mondays. I've got class at 12:50.
Emily: Well, I'm flattered I've been missed, but it's really kinda like the opposite since it seems you've been hallucinating my presence at lunch when I wasn't there.
Matt: Maybe it was your evil twin.
Emily: (Thinks about it for a moment) But Matt, I'm the evil twin!
Brian (despairing at Matt's fascination with the Midwest): He asked me if that was CORN.
Matt: Alice, ah yes, my imaginary sister studying at Marquette who plays cello and has a drinking problem...
Andy: I think they think we were the Schauss family. Despite the fact all of us are the same age, and none of us look alike, and are variously half-Cuban, half-Chinese, Asian, Nordic, dark-haired, blonde...
A priest we met: I don't believe in giving people spiritual pabulum.
(Andy will have to tell that story himself, it's too good...)
Matt: Prepare the Buddha Robot!
Steve (singing to the tune of Ricky Martin): Livin' La Vita Nuova...
Matt: You know, the Canzoniere sounds actually pretty good to a rap beat...
Brian: I feel like I'm in a car commercial.
Emily: The boys all had to try on the biretta.
Andy: It's Captain Buddha! Here with his super-powers! Compassion! Selflessness! Mortification!
Assorted persons: I AM NORMAL! I AM NORMAL!
Andy: And if by seance, you mean baklava...
Matt: (Attempting to describe the Beatles) There was one piece that reminded me of Mozarabic Chant...
Matt: Now, if we've got Captain Buddha, what are his assistants called? The Buddhateers?
Steve: No, Superboddhisavas, of course.
Matt: (who gets the joke, sadly) Oh, duh!
Matt: Now, my other imaginary sister, Anastasia, um, Stacy, she goes to Collegeville...
Emily (sighting a liturgical horror): Don't look! Don't look!
Andy: Father Mad-lib. Yeah. I could see that.
Andy: We were eight wings away from revered Franciscan iconography!
Andy: I just want to take the whole parish home with us.
Matt: That statue of John the Baptist looks like something out of Alien.
Steve: Okay, we have Eminem on the CD player. Time to start reading Petrarch!
Matt: But...any woman named Laura can't be all bad.
Steve: (pause) Um...Oh yeah, Petrarch!! Very good!
Stunned silence from the rest of the table.
Andy: They operate on a whole different level, those two.
Signs held out the window of Brian's car for Andy to read while stuck in 5-mile-an-hour traffic in Wisconsin for roughly 2 hours:
IT'S SO BEAUTIFUL, THE CORN.
HELP ME I AM TRAPPED INSIDE A CAR WITH THREE LUNATICS (INCLUDING MYSELF).
LET'S GO COW TIPPING.
Matt: I was shouting out information about the historical development of vestments from one end of the van to the other.
Andy: And in what universe is that normal?
Sign on the side of a red all-American barn: Top-Shelf Genetics.
Steve: I've got the perfect name for a girl child! Anaphora Epiklesis!
In honor of the feast of SS. Crispin and Crispinian, the St. Flutius Amateur Dramatic Society Players present...
The Life of King Henry the Fifth
Act IV, Scene 3
O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!
What's he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin:
If we are mark'd to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour...
This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian:'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.'
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our names.
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day!
Yesterday, October 24, was the feast day of the only Cuban saint, Anthony Mary Claret...who was actually Catalan. But we'll take what we can get. He preached over 25,000 sermons and published some 144 books and pamphlets during his lifetime. It's also the feast of an old favorite of mine, St. Elesbaan (a.k.a. Calam-Negus), an Ethiopian king turned monk, and also the only Monophysite to merit a mention in the Roman Martyrology. Also, it's the feast of St. Abdullah Ibn Kaab and his companions, brutally martyred in 523 at Hadran in Arabia. Their death at the hands of the Jewish convert Dhu Nowas shocked the whole worled and even got a mention in the Koran. But, let's accentuate the positive today...Many happy returns!
And a thanks to Cynthia and Mrs. P. for alerting me to this important occasion!
Tuesday, October 19
A letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith posted on defide.com and sent to an inquiring Canon lawyer, Marc Balestrieri, has declared that it is an automatic excommunication for any Catholic to publicly support the pro-choice position. This includes a Catholic politician voting for a pro-choice law or any layman speaking publicly in favor of the pro-choice position. Now the process has been started against several politicians including John Kerry, according to The Washington Times and the New York Times. Should be an interesting next few weeks. FYI, you need Acrobat Reader to view the letter.
Saturday, October 16
Thursday, October 14
"Don't hail Mary... hail a Papal Cab"
Priests on wheels! More POD than the Popemobile. Every cab drive should end with "That will be a $7.50 offering + $2.00 confession."
See it for yourself: AtomFilms - Papal Cab
Wednesday, October 13
Malachy O'Less, St. (also known as Malachy the Forgettable, 1106-?) The half-brother of the more famous St. Malachy O'More (Maolmhaodhog ua Morgair), the famous archbishop of Armaugh and purported prophet of papal succession. Unlike his illustrious sibling, Malachy O'Less did not have the gift of prophesy, and instead forgot nearly everything that occurred to him in the past. As a consequence, he became famous as a great confessor. A description of his death seems to have been written down but got mislaid after being used as a coaster by the monastery brewer. He is patron saint of procrastinators, the witness protection program, the Dick van Dyke Show, those creepy pictures of big-eyed kids who look like aliens, and amnesia when used as a plot device in Colombian soap operas. Along with the prophet Ezekiel, he is invoked to ward off Erik von Daniken.
In 1648, a spiral-bound notebook of incomprehensible prophesies attributed to him was discovered stuffed behind a radiator in the Holy Office. One initial theory was that it was a sequel to the best-selling prophesies begun by his brother concerning the end of the world, though this was discarded after microscopic analysis by Anton van Leeuwenhoek uncovered a partially-erased palimpsest consisting of the words "Dan" and "Brown" repeated 666 times.
Another theory, brought forward only a few years ago, suggests that the text is in the list of next year's contestants on Survivor, or possibly the lyrics to Louie Louie. An epistle bearing his name that denounces Thomas Kinkaide as a sign of the Apocalypse is thought to be apocryphal, as is another fragmentary prophesy which alleges the anti-Christ will come to earth in the form of a velvet painting of a crying clown.
“Long forgotten saint from 17th Century Russia. Invented leather trousers,” explained Fr. Vitaly.
I have long asserted (as a running joke) that there ought to be an all-girl heavy-metal Ultramontane rock band called the Sanctus Belles. Think of them as Anonymous Four, but in combat boots. My friend Andy himself thinks that, to restore the imbalance caused by wussy sixties folk masses, someone should compose a Ramstein Mass, maybe for one of Cardinal Ratzinger's appearances (Missa super Du Hast a 7?). Maybe they could do it. I also have yet another pet idea that the Patriarch of Moscow should start a double stand-up comedy act; it could be two priests and they could call themselves Tikhon and Nikon: the Hilarious Hegumens...but forget I said that. Anyway, it looks like Reader Alexei has beaten us to it with the band thing, anyway, with his Onion Dome article on Russian Orthodox rock music... I wonder, does that mean ZZ Top, with the big Athonite beards, really IS Orthodox?
Just when Becket has proven definitively things can't get any weirder, Andrew Cusack asks which saint is prettier, Therese of Liseux or Bernadette Soubirous? Andrew says Therese. I'm unsure whether either choice is the correct one, as I have a previous loyalty to St. Agnes from my trip to Rome, and will defend her name against all contenders for "the fairest," with drawn sword if necessary. I would also suggest my good friend St. Catherine of Siena, but she's lacking a head at the moment. However, if Andrew's right and Therese is the winner, I guess that means I should start developing my official impossibly unrequitable crush of the year on Lindsay Younce...
Tuesday, October 12
Does the cheese stand alone?
It seems that the cheese does not stand alone:
Objection 1: There are many dairy products such as milk, yogurt, cream, half and half and the like. In the natural world, all stand together with the cheese in the dairy isle and freezer section, therefore the cheese does not stand alone.
Objection 2: The tradition handed down by the FDA has always grouped cheese with other dairy products and as leading to your daily dairy intake. As such, the cheese does not stand alone.
Objection 3: It is not in the nature of cheese to stand as it has no legs or any other standing apparatus and since, as the Philosopher says, “nature is a source or cause of being moved and of being at rest” (Physics I, ii), nothing can do what is not in its nature. Thus the cheese does not stand alone because it cannot stand at all.
Objection 4: It is said that “milk does a body good” and therefore is great. Therefore the cheese does not stand alone, but with the milk.
Objection 5: In the Holy Land per se, also known as Wisconsin or Land that is inherently Holy, cheese is not the only object of fame. For Wisconsin is also known for polka, toilets, tamales, fireworks, and bubblers. The cheese must, then, stand with all of these and not alone.
On the contrary: The Poet says, “Hi-ho the derry-o, the cheese stands alone.”
I answer that: The cheese stands alone in two ways. Firstly, among dairy products it is the most pungent and therefore the most easily identifiable by smell and taste. It is also the most carefully crafted of all dairy products as well as the most diverse in kind. As what is most important is given the most attention, the cheese is unique among dairy products and stands alone as one.
Secondly, cheese by its very nature is holy. Some cheeses have a greater actuality of their holiness, such as Edamer or Swiss. (Note that this is why the Swiss Guards are only allowed into the Vatican after consuming exorbitant amounts of Swiss cheese.) Other cheeses have a lesser actuality, such as Cheddar or Brie. Nevertheless, this holiness is possessed by each cheese essentially regardless of its actuality. As such, cheese is necessarily holy, unlike other foods, and therefore stands alone.
Reply Objection 1: The word ‘alone’ can be used in two different senses; the first existing individually and in solitude, the second existing in a class of its own above all else to which it is compared. The Poet uses ‘alone’ in the latter sense while the objection applies to the former.
Reply Objection 2: There are two types of grouping, metaphysical and effectual. Metaphysical groups mark out something regarding what it is while effectual groups mark out something according to the result it produces. The FDA’s grouping is an effectual one as it means that all those in its group result in a healthy body. However, thee cheese stands alone metaphysically.
Moreover, there are two types of tradition, for tradition depends upon authority. A contingent tradition is dependent on a temporal authority, while a universal tradition does not. The FDA is a temporal authority, has a contingent tradition, and therefore can not speak on the metaphysical matters at hand.
Reply Objection 3: The word ‘stand’ can not only be used properly, i.e. by the means of legs, but also analogically, i.e. “I should stand up to him” or “Stand proud”. Regarding the cheese, stand is used analogically and therefore does not require legs or any physical organ of standing.
Reply Objection 4: It is also said, “Behold the power of cheese.” Cheese has a power that strikes fear into the hearts of men. As fear is a gift of the Holy Spirit, cheese has a greater power than milk and stands above it and alone.
Reply Objection 5: Cheese is not native to Wisconsin, nor is it found only in Wisconsin as it is commonly found in France, Italy and the like. As such, it is not associated with Wisconsin per se but per accidens. Hence it is only accidentally associated with bubblers, polka, etc. So it does not stand with them per se but per accidens. Thus, the cheese stands alone per se.
Monday, October 11
One of my designs from last year for an apartment building (with a decorative scheme honoring warrior-pope and Michelangelo patron Julius II) is displayed on the Notre Dame School of Architecture Gallery, along with a group project for the rehabilitation of a Dominican church in Orvieto that I participated in. While the final presentation drawings were a collaboration in which I played a comparatively small role, the church facade and tower, the fountain, the re-faced three-arched public building and the smaller block of housing on the piazza were nonetheless largely designed by me.
Recently a number of people in St. Blog's recieved this email:
Help! My four year old son has stumped me with a theological conundrum. Can God do everything or can't he. What is the answer to the dilemma my son posed to me today?? I need some answers quick. I am probably overlooking something very simple so please help me. Its funny but just before this conversation he was quiet and I asked him what he was thinking about and he said he was thinking about the Holy Spirit and why it came to people as a dove.
In the car my son has a conversation with Mommy.
Son: I know something God can't do Mommy!
Mommy: What could that be George, God can do everything!
Son: God can't die.
Mommy: Hmm, well Jesus was God and he died. But he did rise again.
Son: But after he rose again Mommy he can never die.
Not bad for a four-year-old!
I guess I would consider this question from two angles. First, I think I would contest his argument that the death of Jesus doesn't count as a real death. It certainly seems to me that Christ died completely, and that counts regardless of whether He rose later. However, at the same time, it is in reference to the humanity of Christ that we say He died, and not the divinty. So, the son's point stands.
Can God die? Cutting to the chase, absolutely not. God is existance itself; His name, Yahweh, means "I am Who am." For God to cease existing, He would cease being God. But we cannot cease being what we are by definition; further, God is eternal. God cannot die.
However, does this truly constitute something God "can't" do? Dying isn't an action, it's the end of all action. It isn't an affirmative thing, it is the lack of a thing (life). To say that God cannot die is the same thing as to say that God cannot lie. God cannot lie because lying is the absence of Truth. God cannot die because dying is the absence of Life.
In otherwords, God is too perfect to die, and too perfect to lie. Dying occurs to those who are imperfect -- they cease to be -- and is not a positive action which one can perform.
That's my thoughts on the matter. Best of luck explaining it to a four-year-old, though -- even such an inquisitive one :)
Saturday, October 9
Friday, October 8
You know you're a Catholic nerd when you get strange looks in the laundry room because you just pulled a surplice out of the dryer.
A new club on campus is the latest reason for those of you who persist in pessimism over the state of Catholicism at ND to hope.
On Monday, this new club (the Orestes Brownson Council) will be publishing their first monthly edition of a new newspaper dedicated to becoming a positive, optimistic Catholic forum at Notre Dame. It's a fine work.
And the Shrine presents you with a SPECIAL SNEAK PEAK of this newspaper, ADVOCATA NOSTRA.
(Did you see the ad for Children of Mary's Solemn Mass on their back cover?)
The Orestes Brownson Council can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send them your support!
Thursday, October 7
In that enormous silence, tiny and unafraid,
Comes up along a winding road the noise of the Crusade.
Strong gongs groaning as the guns boom far,
Don John of Austria is going to the war,
Stiff flags straining in the night-blasts cold
In the gloom black-purple, in the glint old-gold,
Torchlight crimson on the copper kettle-drums,
Then the tuckets, then the trumpets, then the cannon, and he comes.
Don John laughing in the brave beard curled,
Spurning of his stirrups like the thrones of all the world,
Holding his head up for a flag of all the free.
Such glorious words from the pen of that deskbound wild knight!
A happy Lepanto Day to our esteemed blogging confrere Don Juan Victorio, whose namesake was the heartthrob Hapsburg love-child commander of the Holy League forces in that noble battle. See also here, where he is listed as a "famous Hispanic," which, though I should love to claim him as one of my own, is surely stretching it since his dad Charles V was a native speaker of Flemish. Peruse Lepanto facts from the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia. Beautiful photographs of the harbor of Nafpaktos, off which the battle was fought. And of course, no feast of the Holy Rosary would be complete without a reading of G.K. Chesterton's poem, the subject of an essay I wrote while in Rome.
Tuesday, October 5
The same selfishness which gave the Netherlands the oldest population in Europe is causing them to balk at the need for them to work an extra ten years to cover the consequences of their contracepting...
Not much sympathy here. I remember reading stories from the 70s talking about how the Dutch Church would become an international model of successful renewal...
Venting anger in Amsterdam: "'Earlier we could retire at 55, but now we will have to work for an extra 10 years,' said flight attendant Gert Jan de Vries from Amsterdam. "
Now, I really must get to work. Grumble grumble.
Monday, October 4
Rich: Can you imagine what Bob Newhart would look like in a cardinal's choir dress?
Me: He'd look very distinguished...ah...aha...aha! He'd look a lot like Paul VI.
Rich: Uh...mmm...not really. His nose isn't as profound.
Me: A profound nose? I guess if a pope had a nose, it would be a profound nose.
Rich: Well, I'm not going to go out and say it's big.
Me: It sounds like a liturgical gesture.
Friday, October 1
I couldn't, of course, let my patronal feast day slip by without my favorite quote from my Confirmation Saint, which incidentally is in today's Office of Readings:
"Since my longing for martyrdom was powerful and unsettling, I turned to the epistles of St. Paul in the hope of finally finding an answer. By chance the 12th and 13th chapters of the 1st epistle to the Corinthians caught my attention, and in the first section I read that not everyone can be an apostle, prophet or teacher, that the Church is composed of a variety of members, and that the eye cannot be the hand. Even with such an answer revealed before me, I was not satisfied and did not find peace.
I persevered in the reading and did not let my mind wander until I found this encouraging theme: Set your desires on the greater gifts. And I will show you the way which surpasses all others. For the Apostle insists that the greater gifts are nothing at all without love and that this same love is surely the best path leading directly to God. At length I had found peace of mind.
When I had looked upon the mystical body of the Church, I recognised myself in none of the members which St. Paul described, and what is more, I desired to distinguish myself more favourably within the whole body. Love appeared to me to be the hinge for my vocation. Indeed I knew that the Church had a body composed of various members, but in this body the necessary and more noble member was not lacking; I knew that the Church had a heart and that such a heart appeared to be aflame with love. I knew that one love drove the members of the Church to action, that if this love were extinguished, the apostles would have proclaimed the Gospel no longer, the martyrs would have shed their blood no more. I saw and realised that love sets off the bounds of all vocations, that love is everything, that this same love embraces every time and every place. In one word, that love is everlasting.
Then, nearly ecstatic with the supreme joy in my soul, I proclaimed: O Jesus, my love, at last I have found my calling: my call is love. Certainly I have found my place in the Church, and you gave me that very place, my God. In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love, and thus I will be all things, as my desire finds its direction."
In honor of the feast of St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, I reprint below a poem that premiered on the Shrine in February of this year, a recollection of a bus-trip through southern Italy while reading the first five chapters of Story of a Soul almost non-stop.
The Transfiguration of Apulia
… Who delights to scatter such masterpieces over the place where we spend our brief time of exile.
—St. Therese of Lisieux, The Story of a Soul
So I looked up from The Story of a Soul and
Put Therese and the Child Jesus to sleep.
And felt the quiet wash over my brain.
Everyone on the bus was drowsing in their naps,
Around us, rolled green fields
Soft and smooth and rich as velvet,
Beneath a sea of movie clouds
Hanging low and purple in the sky,
Tops crested wonderfully in white.
The sun came through in great luminous wounds
Rays streaking sidelong like baroque spotlights
As they transfixed a single silver spot,
A nebulous wing, a dragon head,
And this (I thought, not saw) should be the sign:
Twelve stars, a crown,
Ringing round a maiden pure,
Clothed in the sun,
Her feet on the moon
And in her arms a Child.
The telephone poles seemed like rows of crosses.
While ranks of windmills blew on the ridges
Grand enough for an army of giants.
Don Quixote’s nephilim come back from the dead.
Islands of beaten electrum shone
Amid the clouds
Against a sky of virgin blue
Marvelous blue, hazy blue
Rainstorm blue in the distant horizon
Suspended over mountains
Pink as Sicilian angel wings.
Light danced on the leaves, caught on the
Movie screen of the bus window.
It was Apulia, that lost province of Italy,
Yet it seemed
Like some weird Technicolor version of my own Indiana.
The familiar transmuted,
The lily gilded,
The gold refined.
And the clouds parted, like a great lazuli
Amoeba, fringed with light and lined with silver,
Like an oculus,
Its center blinding light.
Clothed with the sun.
It was beautiful as an army with banners,
The rolling green before us,
Behind us and within us,
And yet I knew that soon enough
We would see
A new heaven and a new earth,
A New Jerusalem:
And all would come to despairing dust.
Remember man, thou art dust.
And to dust thou wilt return.
But then what shall we do—
Shall we wait in a darkened room
Until the Doom
And think of nothing else?
But even this temporary tent,
This makeshift universe
Has been decorated by a Hand
That saw it was good indeed.
And so we wait:
We, we are troubadors and fools
Jugglers and jokers
Building paper palaces for our God
And so much is the greater glory.
I sat there in the bus
Feeling detached and bodiless
(But not truly bodiless)
As we streaked through the afternoon
And I wondered perhaps if I had already died.
I know many St. Blog's parishioners have, shall we say, a bit of expertise in this area, not to mention exceptionally good taste (paging the Old Oligarch...), so I'm soliciting opinions. Today's my 21st, so I'm wondering: when we go out tonight, what should my first drink (well, ok, my first legal drink) be? If you could go back and have one drink for the first time, what would it be? And, of course, any other thoughts on the topic you might have.
Someone finally says what I've wondered for the last few months:
"Buying a Che Guevara t-shirt is participating in the capitalism Guevara himself despised."
Not 20% in a year, anyway. Not anytime in our lifetime, actually.
Hole in ozone layer shrinks
"A GAPING hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica appears to have shrunk by about 20 per cent from last year's record-breaking size, scientists said today."
"'I even take the position that sexual orgies eliminate social tensions and ought to be encouraged.' "
- Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia
More information here.