Thursday, March 31
POPE GIVEN LAST RITES?
There were unconfirmed Italian and American media reports that the pope had been given his "Last Rites" — the Roman Catholic sacrament reserved for the sick and dying.
A good reflection from Lux Fidelis.
God forgives us when we ask Him; forgiveness is not automatic.
I cannot forgive the people who have killed this woman in the name of my country. I cannot, and until the day they request me to do so, I will not. This does not mean bitterness: but it doesn't mean "everything's ok," either. I pray to God that the day will come, very, very soon, that they do ask for the forgiveness of God and of the country their actions have utterly profaned for the death of Terri. I do pray that day comes soon.
And I think we should all pray for her family, so wounded by the hatred of Mr. Schiavo. Let us pray that they do not fall into hatred as well. Let us pray for Mr. Schiavo's current mistress, that his disdain for life does not destroy her life as well. And let us pray for the poor man himself.
"Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him." Luke xvii.3
Not that there's anything wrong with that, but...well, huh. Babar? Yoga? He was so much more enjoyable back when he was a charmingly benign projection of the French colonial mission civilatrice into kiddie-land.
On the other hand, it's surely more wholesome material than the bizarrely psychadelic kid's picture book on John Lennon that Emily and I paged through the other evening at Barnes and Noble. That one was just...well, it's everything one would imagine it would be. Extremely trippy. Give me Goodnight Moon or give me death.
Wednesday, March 30
Granted, the source is the Hindustan Times (??), but the article states
"New documents found in the files of the former East German intelligence services confirm the 1981 assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II was ordered by the Soviet KGB and assigned to Bulgarian agents, an Italian daily said on Wednesday."
Read more HERE.
From oddball cultural critic (or something) Sarah Vowell's equally surreal collection of essays, Take the Cannoli:
"Once, when Amy and I were fourteen, the three of us were getting out of the car after a trip to the mall. The neighbor woman, who was out watering her yard, saw the shopping bags and asked what we'd bought. Amy showed off her new candy-colored sweater and her hoop earrings and hot pink pants. The woman congratulated Amy. She then turned to me, pointing at the rectangular bulge protruding from the small brown bag in my hand. I reluctantly pulled out my single purchase--a hardback of The Grapes of Wrath. My mother looked at the neighbor, rolled her eyes in my direction, and stage-whispered, 'We're going through a book phase.'
"It's such a hopeful, almost utopian word, that word 'phase.' As if any minute 'we' would suffer some sort of Joad overload, come to 'our' senses and [...] do something about our [...] shoes. But the book phase never ended. The book phase would bloom and grow into a whole series of seasonal affiliations including our communist phase, our beatnik phase, our vegetarian phase, and the three-year period known as Please Don't Talk to Me. Now that we are finishing up the third decade of the book phase, we ask ourselves if we have changed. Sure, we still dress in the bruise palette of grey, black and blue, and we still haven't gotten around to piercing our ears. But we wear lipstick now, we own high-heeled shoes. Concessions have been made.
"Still, I have been called a curmugeon [...]. That's the image I'm cultivating. But truth be told, I'm not as dour-looking as I would like. [...] I come across so young and innocent and harmless that I have been carded for buying maple syrup. Tourists feel more safe approaching me for directions, telemarketers always ask if my mother is home, and waitresses always, always call me 'Hon.'
"So, the last time I got my hair cut, I asked my hairdresser if he could make me look more menacing. [...] And even though my hairdresser is German and everything, when he was done with me, I have never in my life looked so sickeningly nice. Is it too much to ask to make strangers nervous? To look shady and untrustworthy and malcontented? Something needed to be done."
Sunday, March 27
Rejoice heavenly powers! Sing, choir of angels! Exult all creation around God's throne! Jesus Christ, our King, is risen! Sound the trumpet of salvation! Rejoice, O earth in shining splendor, radiant in the brightness of your King! Christ has conquered! Glory fills you! Darkness vanishes for ever! Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory! The risen Savior shines upon you! Let this place resound with joy echoing the mighty song of all God's people!
My dearest friends, standing with me in this holy light, join me in asking God for mercy, that he may give his unworthy minister grace to sing his Easter praises.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And also with you.
V. Lift up your hearts.
R. We lift them up to the Lord
V. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
R. It is right to give him thanks and praise.
It is truly right that with full hearts and minds and voices we should praise the unseen God, the all-powerful Father, and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. For Christ has ransomed us with his blood and paid the price of Adam's sin to our eternal Father!
This is our passover feast, when Christ the true Lamb, is slain, whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers. This is the night when first you saved our fathers: you freed the people of Israel from their slavery and led them dry-shod through the sea. This is the night when the pillar of fire destroyed the darkness of sin! This is the night when Christians everywhere, washed clean of sin and freed from all defilement, are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.
This is the night when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death and rose triumphant from the grave. What good would life have been for us, had Christ not come as our Redeemer? Father, how wonderful your care for us! How boundless your merciful love! To ransom a slave you gave away your Son.
O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer!
Most blessed of all nights chosen by God to see Christ rising from the dead! Of this night scripture says: "The night will be as clear as day: it will become my light, my joy." The power of this holy night dispels all evil, washes guilt away, restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy; it casts out hatred, brings us peace, and humbles earthly pride. Night truly blessed when heaven is wedded to earth and man is reconciled with God!
Therefore, heavenly Father, in the joy of this night, receive our evening sacrifice of praise, your Church's solemn offering.
Accept this Easter candle, a flame divided but undimmed, a pillar of fire that glows to the honor of God! Let it mingle with the lights of heaven and continue bravely burning to dispel the darkness of this night! May the Morning Star which never sets find this flame still burning: Christ, that Morning Star, who came back from the dead, and shed his peaceful light on all mankind, your Son who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.
Saturday, March 26
The Lord descends into hell
Something strange is happening--there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.
He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated.
For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.
See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.
I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.
Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.
~ From the Office of Readings for Holy Saturday
Friday, March 25
Popule meus, quid feci tibi? aut in quo contristavi te? Responde mihi.
V/. Quia eduxi te de terra Aegypti, parasti crucem Salvatori tuo.
C/. Agios o Theos!
Agios athanatos, eleison ymas.
Sanctus immortalis, miserere nobis.
V/. Quia eduxi te per desertum quadraginta annis, et manna cibavi te, et introduxi te in terram satis bonam: parasti Crucem Salvatori tuo. C/. Agios o Theos!
V/. Quid ultra debui facere tibi, et non feci? Ego quidem plantavi te vineam meam speciosissimam: et tu facta es mihi nimis amara: aceto namque sitim meam potasti: et lancea perforasti latus Salvatori tuo. C/. Agios o Theos!
V/. Ego propter te flagellavi Aegyptum cum primogenitus suis: et tu me flagellatum tradidisti.
R/. Popule meus, quid feci tibi? aut in quo contristavi te? Responde mihi.
V/. Ego eduxi te de Aegypto, demerso Pharaone in Mare Rubrum: et tu me tradidisti principibus sacerdotum. R/. Popule meus ...
V/. Ego ante te aperui mare: et tu aperuisti lancea latus meum. R/. Popule meus ...
V/. Ego ante te praeivi in columna nubis: et tu me duxisti ad praetorium Pilati. R/. Popule meus ...
V/. Ego te pavi manna per desertum: et tu me cecidisti alapis et flagellis. R/. Popule meus ...
V/. Ego te potavi aqua salutis de petra: et tu me potasti felle, et aceto. R/. Popule meus ...
V/. Ego propter te Chananaeorum reges percussi: et tu percussisti arundine caput meum. R/. Popule meus ...
V/. Ego dedi tibi sceptrum regale: et tu dedisti capiti meo spineam coronam. R/. Popule meus ...
V/. Ego te exaltavi magna virtute: et tu me suspendisti in patibulo Crucis. R/. Popule meus ...
V/. O my people, what have I done to thee? or wherein have I afflicted thee? Answer me.
V/. Because I led thee out of the land of Egypt, thou hast prepared a cross for thy Savior.
C/. O holy God!
O holy God!
O holy strong One!
O holy strong One!
O holy immortal one, have mercy on us.
O holy immortal one, have mercy on us.
V/. Because I led thee out through the desert forty years: and fed thee with manna, and brought thee into a land exceeding good, thou hast prepared a Cross for thy Savior. C/. O holy God!...
V/. What more ought I have done for thee, that I have not done? I planted thee, indeed, My most beautiful vineyard: and thou hast become exceeding bitter to Me: for in My thirst thou gavest Me vinegar to drink: and with a lance thou hast pierced the side of thy Savior. C/. O holy God!...
V/. For thy sake I scourged Egypt with its first-born: and thou hast scourged Me and delivered Me up.
R/. O my people, what have I done to thee? or wherein have I afflicted thee? Answer me.
V/. I led thee out of Egypt having drowned Pharao in the Red Sea: and thou hast delivered Me to the chief priests. R/. O my people...
V/. I opened the sea before thee: and thou with a spear hast opened My side. R/. O my people...
V/. I went before thee in a pillar of cloud: and thou hast led Me to the judgement hall of Pilate. R/. O my people...
V/. I fed thee with manna in the desert; and thou hast beaten Me with whips and scourges. R/. O my people...
V/. I gave thee the water of salvation from the rock to drink: and thou hast given Me gall and vinegar. R/. O my people...
V/. For thy sake I struck the kings of the Chanaanites: and thou hast struck My head with a reed. R/. O my people...
V/. I gave thee a royal sceptre: and thou hast given to My head a crown of thorns. R/. O my people...
V/. I exalted thee with great strength: and thou hast hanged Me on the gibbet of the Cross. R/. O my people...
Text for the Reproaches from The Recovering Choir Director
Wednesday, March 23
As Terri lies starving in Florida, it's interesting to note that this Friday not only marks Good Friday, but also the tenth anniversary of Evangelium Vitae.
Coincidence? I think not.
Tuesday, March 22
The Old Oligarch on Judge Wittenmore :
"Either be a man, Wittenmore, and get honest about the American situation (i.e., admit frankly in your ruling that our "freedom" & "privacy" has come to mean the killing the weakest for the sake of our pleasure) and say that Terri must die, or be a man and say that what is happening here is vile and contrary to basic human rights.and Mike Roesch on Terri's Law and Federalism.
Instead, the worm hides behind paperwork. Not with a bang did the West end, but with paperwork and cowardice."
by Scott Ott
Michael Schiavo, the Florida man fighting to have the feeding tube removed from his comatose wife, has fallen into a "persistent carnivorative state," according to an unnamed family doctor.
"He's unresponsive," said one physician familiar with his case. "When you talk about the importance of human life or the effects of slow starvation on his wife, Terri, he just glazes over. He has no comprehension. I don't think he could live more than 10 days cut off from the hope of a huge cash influx."
However, Mr. Schiavo's girlfriend insists he has more brain function than his behavior would indicate. She said he usually knows when other people are in the room and just this week she induced him to follow a $20 bill with his eyes.
"Terri's desire was that Michael would never have to live without wealth or extramarital female companionship," the unnamed girlfriend said.
Experts say few patients ever emerge from persistent carnivorative states because they're totally dependent upon increasing quantities of liquid assets.
Link via But I Digress
Monday, March 21
"Bush's signature followed a 203-58 vote in the U.S. House of Representatives early Monday approving a bill to transfer the case's jurisdiction to federal court. The Senate passed the legislation by voice vote Sunday."
What I want to know:
Who are those 58 and what should St. Blog's do about it?
It's so hard to organize a mass-writing campaign without Shea's blog.
Saturday, March 19
"Take it coolly."
--Emperor Maximilian, in a childhood notebook (in English!)
Casaimperial.com, the only official website dedicated to the House of Iturbide, pretenders to the Mexican imperial throne, to have secured the help of Don Maximiliano de Götzen–Iturbide, the current heir to the Hapsburg ruling tradition in Mexico. Really. Maximilian adopted one of his (Maximiliano, not Maximilian) ancestors as his (Maximilian's) heir before he (Maximilian, not Maximiliano, again) got shot by firing squad. Lots of pretty pictures and cool monarchist stuff, including Mad Empress Carlotta's bathtub. Enjoy!
Friday, March 18
So politically this is a struggle between many serious people who really mean it and one, just one, strange-o. And the few bearded and depressed-looking academics he's drawn to his side.
It is not at all in the political interests of senators and congressmen to earn the wrath of the pro-Schiavo group and the gratitude of the anti-Schiavo husband, by doing nothing.
So let me write a sentence I never thought I'd write: Politicians, please, think of yourselves! Move to help Terri Schiavo, and no one will be mad at you, and you'll keep a human being alive. Do nothing and you reap bitterness and help someone die.
This isn't hard, is it?
"The Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP) Committee, Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming) has requested Terri Schiavo to testify before his congressional committee, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned. In so doing it triggers legal or statutory protections for the witness, among those protections is that nothing can be done to cause harm or death to this individual.
Members of Congress went to the U.S. Attorney in DC to ask for a temporary restraining order to be issued by a judge, which protects Terri Schiavo from having her life support, including her feeding and hydration tubes, removed."
Thursday, March 17
Aww... I feel left out
Happy St. Patty's day to everyone whose Irish, or even Irish by desire. I for my part am neither in any meaningful way.
Therefore, I have decided that I will begin promoting rowdy festivities for St. Boniface day!!!!! Start buying your beer and polka now, June 5th is right around the corner!!
Besides, isn't polka so much nicer than all those blasted flute whistles, anyway?
British Citizen Aborted Due To Cleft Lip
"Doctors and health officials will consider whether more guidance on abortions is needed following the decision of the Crown Prosecution Service not to prosecute two doctors who authorised a late abortion on a foetus with a cleft lip and palate."
God save... all of them. What is this????? Does Dr. Mengele run the British health care system? WHAT PART OF THIS REFLECTS "HEALTH" OR "CARE", FOR THAT MATTER???
Wednesday, March 16
Everyone's Favorite Papal Hymn
Definitely worth a read. Someday, I'll convince people to sing it at Mass. This is one of my ambitions in life, next to restoring the Papal Tiara and de-beatifying Bl. Duns Scotus.
Tuesday, March 15
I thought this was a pic of the Poor Clares' Special Executive Action Squad on a mission, but it turns out, rather disappointingly, to be just a bunch of female Iranian police cadets on a training exercise. Darn.
Thanks to open book for the link.
Wednesday, March 9
The Vatican speaks out for Terri Schiavo. Who will listen?
Oh yes, and once again, she's not in a "persistent vegetative state"!
Tuesday, March 8
"Two important issues should be of special concern to our community at this time. The most important one is how we can celebrate the Lenten season well as a community of believers despite the fact that it will be interrupted by spring break and St. Patrick's Day. But the Queer Film Festival and the production of the Vagina Monologues demand reflection on the part of each of us who are privileged to study at a leading Catholic university."Kudos to Notre Dame's head of Campus Ministry for not mincing words in this recent editorial. It seems the lines are being drawn more and more clearly around here, and people are coming down on one side or another--I can't imagine seeing this editorial even a couple years ago. It will be very interesting to see how things continue to unfold into the new presidency and ensuing policy changes.
Saturday, March 5
Wow. If only we could change enough minds in our own country to practice what we preach to the world. All the same, good for her.
Friday, March 4
10. Attempted to flirt, unsuccessfully, with a well-dressed Australian Catholic nerd girl (who had served as a lector at a papal mass) at a party also attended by the Cardinal Archbishop of Sydney, the Governor-General of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, and George Weigel. Never heard from her again.
9. Been told I look Bulgarian.
8. Was in syndication (sort of) on a public access TV station for about three months straight.
7. Was once asked if I read the Koran...by Fr. George William Rutler.
6. Been randomly requested (twice) to read the First Reading and Psalm at an Italian daily mass, even though I don't speak the language.
6b. Reading the First Reading and Psalm (twice) in Italian even though I don't speak the language, and probably being mistaken for a lunatic in the process.
5. Seen the Swiss Guard band play maracas after being upstaged by a bunch of geriatric reenactors in three-cornered hats.
4. Washed the President of Notre Dame's hands on national television.
3. Had an elaborate Masonic conspiracy theory explained to me in true cloak-and-dagger fashion by a bona-fide crank afraid that the bartender was eavesdropping on us.
3b. And was then taken round the block for a walk just to make sure THEY wouldn't hear us.
2. Saw the back of Jose Carreras's head, in a restaurant.
2b. Saw the massively grotesque bulk of Gore Vidal, also in a restaurant. Not the same one.
1. Attempted to flirt, unsuccessfully, with a Pittsburgh Catholic nerd girl (based largely on her taste in vestments bought at Gamarelli) in the presence of two priests (one of whom was ex-CIA), while the same Cardinal Archbishop of Sydney was randomly walking down the street six months later. Never heard from her again, either.
(I was also tempted to add, "Was once offered a knighthood at age 13 by a bogus Exarch from Miami," but I figured nobody would believe me--or even know what the heck I was talking about. I also considered, "Had a huge crush on a future Nashville Dominican," but I gather that's a fairly universal experience. And it wasn't so much a crush anyway as a friendship... Well, anyway, not after I heard she was going to be a nun...)
Amy Welborn has a lovely post about an article in the New York Times (registration required, but it's worth it) detailing the adventures of a baroque-loving, Bavarian-born priest who's been involved in the construction of over eighty strange and wonderful new parish churches in the poor, rapidly-expanding Bolivian city of El Alto. The article is architecturally wrong-headed as it makes some random references to Swiss gingerbread cottages to describe stonework that is clearly a fascinating blend of pre-Columbian and Spanish Plateresque, but the pictures--in particular the little slideshow tucked away in a sidebar--make up for the journalistic inanity. The churches themselves are often naive (delightfully so), looking if some ebullient Bohemian plasterworker of the eighteenth century had moved to the Chaco and decided to work exclusively in Gumbyesque Play-doh. They're certainly not the apex of design but to think that such obvious joy could be evident in the design of a building in this horrifically dull age is truly wonderful. They're a fascinating example of real modern folk art, growing out of the people and the priests in a place where Catholic culture is still strong rather than the work of some oddball loner like Simon Rodia. I'd go to mass there, anyway.
I'm sorry, I couldn't resist leaving off the quotes to see just how far you got on that one. Honestly, I don't know what she even means by "alternatives to worship." Occasions of sin? Just bumming around? I can think of lots of things that aren't worship, and I think it's generally advisable to avoid them.
And just in case you thought these people wrote books like everyone else, oh, no, here's one that was "midwifed."
More fun nuttiness here.
More Sexual Abuse By Teachers
If only they let women become teachers!
If only they let teachers marry!!
Now that would reform the Teacherhood.
Thursday, March 3
U.N. panel backs anti-cloning resolution
The resolution will go to the General Assembly next for approval. Unfortunately, it won't be legally binding in any way, so those who want to ignore it probably will.
SisterSpirit is a women's spirituality organization, based in Portland, Oregon, honoring the Divine Feminine and celebrating Goddess in all Her forms. Some of the many traditions we include are: Dianic, Wicca, Pagan, Women's Spirituality, Goddess, Feminist, Interfaith, Earth Centered, Creation Spirituality, Christian, Jewish, Sufi, and New Age.I was going to post a picture from their site, but they were too good to pick just one, so have a look yourself. They also get cool names, like Frodo and Ieardeth. Man, I wish I could have taken "Mountain Cat" at Confirmation.
Thanks to S for spending the afternoon digging these up with me.
Wednesday, March 2
(Insert embarassingly high-pitched squeal of delight)
"Welcome to the world of Sanctus Bells." As you may have guessed, we're big fans of bell-ringing around the Shrine; ever since my home parish dropped the use of the Sanctus bell (for reasons which seem to have been made at a diocesan level), I've noticed an uncomfortable and empty void that seems to hover in the air when the priest elevates the Host... It seems like God's (re)entry into time and space ought to merit a little more than dead air. But then, I'm (mostly) preaching to the crowd.
On the other hand, I was the only one who knew how to ring them properly.
But the website is a joy, with some fun photos of the typical quadruple-ring set usually used and exotic variants such as the "gloria wheel," Old Testament bells and Eastern Catholic belled thuribles. It even includes some lovely pamphlets with which to annoy your local parish priest if your parish mass is not sufficiently POD. Though, remember, folks, pick your battles when it comes to liturgy... I know this from (sigh) experience. But you do have the GIRM on your side.
Also, considering nobody gets my running joke about the Sanctus Belles, note their conspicuous absence (as well as their hit single, "Requiem for a Vestment" from their new album, Black Fiddleback) from this post.