Monday, October 31
"The peasants mistook spiritual liberty for carnal license."
- Schaff, VII, §75, "The Peasants' War: 1523-1525"
Peasant Revolt Memorial Day
Towards the end of his life, Luther believed he endured demonic assults which left him "no rest for even a single day."
Of all the assaults "none was more severe or greater than about my preaching, the thought coming to me: All this confusion was caused by you." (Saemmtliche Werk, LIX, 296; LX, 45, 45; 108, 109, 111; LXII, 494.)
Today we mourn the many killed (Protestant and Catholic), as well as the many led to kill (both Protestant and Catholic), as a result of the Protestant Revolt. It's a very ecumenical remembrance--much more than other remembrances of which you might have heard.
Yes, it's a grim day. Quoted in my hometown paper will no doubt be the annual uber-Lutherans reminding the townspeople that the Pope is still the Anti-Christ. Well, they do say that the Anti-Christ will lead to the death of many . . .
"My opinion is that it is better that all the peasants be killed than that the princes and magistrates perish, because the rustics took the sword without divine authority. The only possible consequence of their satanic wickedness would be the diabolic devastation of the kingdom of God. Even if the princes abuse their power, yet they have it of God, and under their rule the kingdom of God at least has a chance to exist. Wherefore no pity, no tolerance should be shown to the peasants, but the fury and wrath of God should be visited upon those men who did not heed warning nor yield when just terms were offered them, but continued with satanic fury to confound everything . . . To justify, pity, or favor them is to deny, blaspheme, and try to pull God from heaven."
(Letter to Nicholas Amsdorf at Magdeburg, from Wittenberg)
More Thoughts on Modesty
Biretta tip: Dilexitprior.
Sunday, October 30
Today is no particular memorial of JP2. I just miss him.
Out of the ashes...
The Germans have taken ten years and millions of dollars to completely rebuild this:
I have to say, it's very impressive. The Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) was just rededicated (after its complete reconstruction) this Sunday in the eastern German city of Dresden. The original was built between 1726-1743, has been under reconstruction since 1993 after being destroyed in February 1945 in an allied bombing raid.
The church is Protestant, despite its name.
Given that the spiritual destruction of Germany is largely a result of the repercussions of Nazism, perhaps this physical recovery of what seemed impossibly lost may serve as an icon for the spiritual wealth of Germany which also seems nearly impossibly lost.
An Apology for Virginity
Granted, I see marriage in my future. Nonetheless, I’m sure that, from living in the place and times that we do, you can all understand my desire to defend virginity. It is not simply some sort of lack, or an arbitrary, purgatorial period of waiting before marriage: rather, virginity gives its own unique happiness in the Christian life.
This is because virginity has an iconic significance: it is a symbol of the soul dedicated to God alone. Now, of course, all souls are ultimately dedicated to God alone: but it is easy to forget this, and to live our lives for many, many other things; that is why we need the symbol, the icon, of virginity—that is, of souls who draw their deepest intimacy from God alone.
And that is why it is important that the symbolism of virginity is, in a sense, a real symbol. It cannot be simply a meaning which I, or which a group of people, have assigned to virginity. Were virginity as simple a thing as an assigned or imaginary symbol, it would in fact be disordered—who could justify, especially existentially, the rejection of that great good which is sexual activity, simply for the comparatively self-centered purpose of declaring oneself a symbol? No, virginity must be a real symbol—that is, a way of making Christ, God, uniquely present in the world—just as, in a very different and even more powerful way, the Eucharist makes Christ uniquely present in the world. (Though of course, in the exalted case of the Eucharist, Christ is made present in the fullness of His body, blood, soul, and divinity; that is, He is utterly present in a completely objective sense).
Of course, to make a claim so bold as to mediate God’s presence with Christ through the witness of virginity, or have Christ, through us, mediate God in this symbol, we must know that God has established and ratified this symbol: it cannot be a symbol whose meaning comes from human tradition or innovation, but rather divine initiative. This seems particularly problematic, given that we are created with generative faculties—do we not have a sexual mandate in our bodies? How, then, can we say that God created anyone for sustained (or, in the case of some, even life-long) virginity?
Yet all of us have been created for virginity, even if it is only ultimately an eschatological virginity. That is to say, “in heaven, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage.” The validation of virginity, God’s ratification of virginity, lays squarely in the fact that we are all ultimately and finally called to divine espousal eternally.
This radical eschatological vocation to loving God alone dictates how we are to understand sexual activity—a gift which, eventually, most of us are called to enjoy. The primary purpose of sexuality becomes, not procreation (because God could create human beings any way he desires, and needed not depend upon sexuality), nor greater union between the spouses (because this union is, itself, until death do we part), but rather, education. Sex as education is a divinely-appointed course in understanding how to love in the manner of agape, to love in a self-emptying way. Imagine you are God: how will you teach the little individual disembodied minds you have created to give of themselves in a manner which mirrors Your Divine Essence—that is, in a manner of complete self-giving, creative love? Perhaps you might embody these minds, giving them a particular way in which to give of themselves completely in a creative love. And yes, by that I mean sex. Sex is the school of divine love—the divine pedagogy by which we grasp a shadow of what is the essence of God.
So is, however, the Cross. And the difference between the sexual love imprinted upon our natures, and that Eucharistic love in which God gives His body to us in the Sacrifice of the Cross and the same Sacrifice of the Altar, is that sexual love is only a pedagogy, and only a school: eventually, we shall graduate (hopefully having learned how to give completely of ourselves). But Eucharistic love, the love already present in the Eucharist, is exactly what we shall graduate into: the agapic love of Christ pouring forth the essence of participation in the life of the Trinity. And because we have access to this ultimate eschatological end now, in the Eucharistic love of Christ, we can also now have living symbols, iconic individuals, forsaking the school of the body directly for the joys of Heaven alone—just as we shall all enjoy them in the end.
Virgins, that is, by divine approbation, remind the Church and the World of our ultimate fate, and of our own eschatological virginity. They are even icons of the Church herself, showing the Church exactly what she is called to be: holy, a people set apart for God alone. They do this not by forsaking the lessons of sexuality, but rather by embracing now, on earth, our shared eschatological destiny. It seems, further, to me, that, because this is an unusual calling which is contrary to our fallen nature, God is especially generous with these souls: rendering them a degree of divine intimacy which enables them to continue in the virgin state, unto their marriage or unto their death. Surely, the virgin soul depends even more completely upon God at least insofar as God becomes that soul’s source of deepest interpersonal intimacy. God must make present to the virgin exactly that grace which the virgin signifies; He grants his presence to these unique symbols in an appropriately unique way.
I feel I should also add that Christian marriage is similarly, though not equivocally, unnatural for fallen nature: Christian marriage demands a self-sacrifice which the fallen cannot make, save by the grace of God. This again demands its own unique graces, and allows God to show forth His presence in another appropriately unique way. In the Christian incarnation of marriage, the lessons of the Cross are applied directly to the pedagogy of sexuality. Marriage is ennobled by the application to it of the lessons of the cross. That is to say, by glimpsing from Christ Crucified what we are ultimately called to become (that is, utterly selfless), the married individual can pour him or herself out in a similarly selfless way into the marriage. Christian marriage, then, is also a symbol, not an imaginary symbol established by human agreement, but a divinely proglumated symbol which serves as an iconic witness of Christ’s love for the Church—as opposed to the virgin witness of the Church’s love for Christ and destiny in Christ. But this was not the point of my reflection, because this is more universally understood, and can be found in many reflections on marriage.
Saint Michael the ... Pumpkin?
'Be our protection against the knives and spoons of the carvers...'
More here and here.
Not to mention the Notre Dame pumpkins here.
Saturday, October 29
I'm weeping with joy.
You heard it here first...Charlie Weis just signed on for 10 years with the Irish.
This pretty much sums up my feelings on the subject, too.
Thursday, October 27
As you know, I mostly liked the conclusions of the recent Synod.
But, please, no. Don't let it come to this. If our Vatican visitor is still stopping by, do something!
Proposition 21: Applauses in the Eucharistic Prayer
The Eucharistic prayers could be enriched with applause, not only after the consecration, but also in other moments, as foreseen in the Eucharistic prayers for the celebrations with the children and like it is made in various countries.
Source: Urbi et orbi
Look at "See all Results" once you finish.
Wednesday, October 26
The (Thomist) Way
So, people are always making lots of money doing silly "living" translations of the Bible. ("Any fish, boys?") However, I fear that the market's a little saturated right now. But I wouldn't mind getting in on this racket, somehow... Hmm...
Question 1: Do I need to know this "doctrine" stuff for the exam?
No way (1). Seems to me like we don't need anything besides Philoso: doesn't the Bible say something about not seeking stuff that's above you? (Sirach 3:22) So why try to understand stuff that's not empirical?
No way (2). Besides, you can only know stuff that actually exists. And some dead guy said that those philosopers talk about everything that exists, so philosophy is all that really matters.(Metaph. vi)
Dude, but my friend said... "All Scripture, inspired of God is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice." (2 Tim 3:16) But if doctrine's inspired, doesn't it mean that it comes from God, and not those messy-haired profs?
IMHO, You gotta know this stuff for the exam--philosophy won't cut it. The Scriptures have a whole lot of stuff that we wouldn't have been able to figure out by just sitting around and trying to think it through (Isaiah 66:4). The Bible is the way we can know the stuff that we couldn't understand any other way! Sure, there's stuff that the philosophers figured out that's in the Bible too, like the whole existance of God. But who can understand those philosophers, anyway? Maybe a couple brainiacs. And they'd screw parts of it up. But we all gotta know God, so it's awesome that God told everyone, right there in Revelation. Sorta like "power to the people!"
'cuz... (1) Yeah, it's totally true that we shouldn't try to know what we can't know. But if you actually read the Bible, you'd see that it has stuff that we can't know on our own; but if we can know it with the Bible, then we can know it, right? (Sirach 3:25) So we should learn it.
'cuz... (2) And even if those philo profs think they know it all, well, they study it all in their obsessed-with-worldly-observations sort of way. Stuff that you learn from doctrine you learn in a different way. It's just like how astronomers and bomb-building physcists can both prove that the earth is round, but each guy does it their own way. These theologians just want do it their own way, man. So doctrine's important too, you see?
"It's coming, it's coming... "
As we wait in joyful hope for the coming of the the encyclical of our Pope, Benedict
... or something like that.
At any rate, rumor has it that it will be out on Dec. 8.
(HT: Catholic Ragemonkey)
In Memoriam Dr. José Morell Romero, 1906-2002
No Cuban may be expatriated or be prohibited entrance into the territory of the Republic.
~Constitution of 1940 (since abolished), Title IV
Yo soy un hombre sincero,
de donde crece la palma,
y antes de morirme quiero,
echar mis versos del alma.
Mi verso es de un verde claro,
y de un carmín encendido,
mi verso es un ciervo herido,
que busca del monte amparo.
Con los pobres de la tierra,
quiero yo mi suerte echar,
el arroyo de la sierra,
me complace más que el mar.
~José Martí, 1891
May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
You scored 30% Sociability and 70% Sophistication!
|Congratulations! You are the semicolon! You are the highest expression|
of punctuation; no one has more of a right to be proud. In the hands of
a master, you will purr, sneering at commas, dismissing periods as
beneath your contempt. You separate and connect at the same time, and
no one does it better. The novice will find you difficult to come to
terms with, but you need no one. You are secure in your elegance,
knowing that you, and only you, have the power to mark the skill or
incompetence of the craftsman.
You have no natural enemies; all fear you.
And never, NEVER let anyone tell you that you cannot appear in
My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
|Link: The Which Punctuation Mark Are You Test written by Gazda on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test|
This particular comments box is about to fall off the page, so I'll re-post Mike's question here:
Does anyone know of some good, legitimate Catholic links to stories about
stigmatists, levitators, aparitions, etc.? My campus St. Thomas More Newman Club is having a hallowe'en gathering on Friday and I want to make sure it has a
To Whom It May Concern
Before the day is quite over...
WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!
KING. 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.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
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 Crispian'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 rememb'red.
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 remembered--
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 accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
Tuesday, October 25
As far as Papal Headgear Goes...
This ranks a nice second. Definitely second, but still, second.
And Rocco, our point man for papal vesture, is speculating its return. Honestly, I think the return of the ermine-lined mozzetta is a given, when one considers how much Benedict (rightly) loves the silk mozzeta.
I'm more skeptical about the camauro. It lacks the aesthetic appeal of the other trappings of papal vesture which Benedict has resurrected thus far, and he has a strong aesthetic sense. It appeal for me, rather, lies primarily in the fact that Jack Chick's popes always wear it. That makes me like it even more: for the visions of papal inquisition which it will cause to dance in Jack's head. Although, it's also nice because it's obscure, and Catholics of course have an inherent love for any custom which is both obscure and funny-looking.
The Da Vinci Cod [sic]
Also, on the subject of Da Vinci (which, as the inimitable Cosmo Kramer pointed out, means literally, "from Vinci") I have henceforce decided to refer to him simply as Leonardo, which is actually more historically correct and also because it spites Dan Brown. References to Da Vinci in future correspondence will henceforce be construed by me to mean a small pizzeria in Oakland, California.
Monday, October 24
Holy Crap, Batman
Here's your biretta, what's your hurry?
A liberal Episcopal group is crafting a strategy to disenfranchise about 16 conservative bishops if the denomination's pivotal General Convention next year in Columbus, Ohio, results in a church split.
Informally named the "Day After" for the aftermath of the June 13-21 event, the strategy outlines a way to file canonical charges against conservative bishops, unseat them from their dioceses, have interim bishops waiting to replace them and draft lawsuits ready to file before secular courts for possession of diocesan property.
The strategy was revealed in a leaked copy of minutes drafted at a Sept. 29 meeting in Dallas of a 10-member steering committee for Via Media, a network of 13 liberal independent Episcopal groups.
Not very tolerant, but boy do they have guts.
Heretofore Unknown Fact About Padre Pio's Life
Among the most remarkable of the documented cases of bilocation was the Padre's appearance in the air over San Giovanni Rotondo during World War II. While southern Italy remained in Nazi hands American bombers were given the job of attacking the city of San Giovanni Rotondo. However, when they appeared over the city and prepared to unload their munitions a brown-robed friar appeared before their aircraft. All attempts to release the bombs failed. In this way Padre Pio kept his promise to the citizens that their town would be spared. Later on, when an American airbase was established at Foggia a few miles away, one of the pilots of this incident visited the friary and found to his surprise the little friar he had seen in the air that day over San Giovanni.But did you know that Padre Pio also makes a guest appearance in quite the same fashion in the Nancy Drew series?
(Next week: The Hardy Boys Meet Simeon the Stylite).
Sunday, October 23
Zenit gives us the annual statistic run-down:
- Catholics increased by 0.3% (+15 million, a total 1.085 billion)
----->In Africa by 0.34%
----->In America by 0.17%
----->In Asia by 0.03%
----->In Oceania by 0.37%
----->In Europe, down by 0.31%.
- 17.23% of the world's population; roughly half of all Christians.
- Slight increase in the number of priests
- Sizable growth of lay missionaries and catechists.
The 17.23% figure exites me most, because I've lived my life telling people that 1/6 of the world was Catholic. I hope to see the day when I can up the figure to 1/5.
Most surprising to me was the growth in Oceania, which has been a backwater of decay for decades--in Australia, Catholic women are the group most likely to procure abortions!
What ever happened with the Eucharistic Congress in Minneapolis on October 8th? Did anyone who reads the blog go, and, if so, how was it?
I'll be smiling all week about this one...
...religion matters to these people. What are we going to do???"
Europe continues its gradual realization that it has a lot of immigrants on its hands who really don't like them. I'm sure Social Democrat governments thought it felt nice to stick it to the Church with their broad-minded multiculturalism, but the problem is that multiculturalism is not always so broad-minded.
A lot of people worry, and a lot of Muslims gladly predict, that Europe will convert to Islam in the coming years. Really, I'm sure some people will, just as some people have: but it won't be widespread. Secular Europe rejected Christianity because it was sick of established Churches telling them what to do and what not to do.
I can promise you that these same people will not take warmly to tip-toeing around uber-fragile Muslim paradigms, either -- like this ten-embassy protest over an op-ed comic. As Muslims in Europe get more impatient with the non-Islamic nature of Europe (ham, free speech, etc.), they are going to continue to complain more--as we have read in the newspapers the last few months. That's going to build up a lot of tension, and that's a real societal problem. And yet the same secularists laugh at suggestions that, perhaps, immigrants who share more of their values (read: Judeo-Christian immigrants with a respect for imago Dei and individual freedoms) should be preferred. Well, good luck with that.
Good news--a "proposition" has passed that doesn't involve civil unions or freak biological abuse (stem cells, etc.).
Better news--it calls for the increase of Latin Masses.
Granted, this is in reference to the Novus Ordo being celebrated in the Latin Language. Yet that is a happy thing.
The text suggests that in international celebrations the Mass be said in Latin, apart from the readings, the homily, and the Prayers of the Faithful. Priests should also be trained from the seminary to use Latin prayers as well as Gregorian Chant. It passed with a comfortable majority.
If you have ever endured a bi-lingual Mass, you know that it's an awkward lose-lose situation. By creating a dichotomy between (usually) English and Spanish, someone "wins" and someone "loses": the Eucharistic prayer is going to be in one language or the other. The assembly is very conciously two different groups (one Anglophone, one Spanish-speaking), of which one group will feel to some degree alienated because the core of the Mass is not in their language. The dynamics of language can easily steal the show, just as often happens with conflicts over gender and langauge. Both the fact that we have gathered as one body, and the fact that we have gathered to worship Jesus Christ, can be obscured.
What a stark contrast that is to the liturgies we saw from St. Peter's Basilica in April! The whole world was gathered, and Christ was the center. Would that this becomes the norm for bilingual (though not only bilingual...) as a result of the Synod.
Also of interest:
6: the JP2 Generation gets a nod from the Synod Fathers: "Eucharistic Adoration among the young appears today as a promising characteristic of many communities. For this reason, to the aim of favoring visits to the Blessed Sacrament... churches in which the Blessed Sacrament is present should remain open" for private prayer. Also, "Eucharistic Adoration should be encouraged in preparation to the First Communion." Now that's nice.
An Important Prayer Request
A reader writes:
"I am writing to you today to ask for your prayers for my sister and brother inlaw. She is pregnant with triplets and they are concerned for the health of one of the babies. There is a condition called twin to twin transfusion and if she can get by the next two weeks things look good.
My sister has already had 10 miscarriages. Her name is Debbie, and her husband is Paul.
I would greatly appreciate your prayers."
Perhaps all of us (650-700 of you a day) could offer a prayer for Debbie and Paul, or most especially remember their intention on Monday at Mass or with a small penance.
That would be a beautiful spiritual bouquet.
One thing that does bring the Christan heart more joy than the tiara is seeing a completely ridiculous number of people gathered in St. Peter's Basilica. So I thought I would share that joy with you all.
Crowds gather in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican for a canonization ceremony presided by Pope Benedict XVI, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2005. The Pontiff canonized five people in an open-air Mass that also closed a meeting of the world's bishops. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)
Saturday, October 22
Friday, October 21
21 October 1805
Tonight at dinner, in a radical change from my usual routine, we toasted Horatio Viscount Nelson, on the occasion of his posthumous victory at Trafalgar over the combined Spanish and French fleets. Coming from a man who's tempted to wear a black armband on Michaelmas to mourn the defeat of the Spanish Armada (Vivat Hispania, Domino gloria, &c.), celebrating the defeat of His Most Catholic Majesty's navy (led by a monster 140-gun flagship named in honor of the Most Holy Trinity!) to the forces of the Hanoverian Usurpers is a pretty big about-face. But Spain, face it, was on the wrong side of the war when she was shacking up with Napoleon Bonaparte, given how he trashed the Papal States. And without Trafalgar we wouldn't have gotten that great portrait of General Wellington by Goya. So, raise your glasses to the man of the hour on the two hundredth anniversary of his greatest victory and his tragic death! Viscount Nelson and Merry England! Joseph, you have permission to sing Rule Britannia without me teasing you.
And just this once, no Emma Hamilton jokes a la Edmund Blackadder. At least this early in the evening.
Is attempting to incite envy a sin?
Oh, and Our Lady of Victory, pray for us. I'll definitely be keeping the team in my prayers tomorrow! Go Irish, beat BYU!
Thursday, October 20
On a closely-related note to my previous post...
My sister is looking for ideas for a "Most Bizarre/Unique Martyr Costume" contest. So, if you have any crazy POD ideas (and if there are any crazy POD people out there, it's you guys), send them her way.
All Saint's Day is coming...
Do you have your costume?
A Query for our Brilliant Readers
Is there any liturgical or paraliturgical use for the Memorare? I had thought it was one of the Marian antiphons for the Divine Office, but of course it isn't. It isn't used in the Rosary either, obviously. But is there any similar larger context in which it is used?
Wednesday, October 19
New Catholic Literary Magazine
Wreckovation for Irish Cathedral
I think he's getting the hang of it
I hope never to be stuck on top of a loggia with 500,000 fans cheering below me, because I honestly have no idea what I would do. The popes, though, have to deal with this problem. It seems like Benedict is getting the hang of it--something that JPI didn't have enough time to do, I think. Here is this classic papal pose through history:
Tuesday, October 18
Monday, October 17
Sunday, October 16
Semi-Guilty Papal Pleasures
Full in the panting heart of Rome
Beneath the apostle's crowning dome.
From pilgrim's lips that kiss the ground,
Breathes in all tongues one only sound:
Refrain. God bless our Pope, God bless our Pope
God bless our Pope, the great, the good!
The golden roof, the marble walls,
The Vatican's majestic halls,
The note redoubles, till it fills
With echoes sweet the seven hills:
Refrain. God bless our Pope, God bless our Pope
God bless our Pope, the great, the good!
Then surging through each hallowed gate,
Where martyrs glory, in peace await
It sweeps beyond the solemn plain,
Peals over Alps, across the main.
Refrain. God bless our Pope, God bless our Pope
God bless our Pope, the great, the good!
From torrid south to frozen north,
The wave harmonious stretches forth,
Yet strikes no chord more true to Rome's,
Than rings within our hearts and homes.
Refrain. God bless our Pope, God bless our Pope
God bless our Pope, the great, the good!
~Nicholas Cardinal Wiseman, Archbishop of Westminster (1802-1865)
Mother Church, Plumber
It's an analogy, yes, but it's not such a bad one when you sit down and think about the sacramental conduit that the Church is in all our lives. Render to God what is God's.
Practicing... Christian virtue... of Not-Being-Jealous...
MY First Communion preparation consisted of watching that infamous video about the Polish grandma who used to bake easter bread with eggs in it, until she died of a heart attack and her children threw all of her stuff away, except for the grandson that kept the pan for making Easter bread, and so they made the Easter bread. It was nice but I did not make any connection between that and the Eucharist. I'm not sure I could now, really. But apparently this was a staple in 1990's First Communion Prep, because a lot of my friends saw the same thing.
Would that I had been Roman, I might have attended Eucharistic Adoration and breakdancing with the Pope and 100,000 friends (so awesome). As it was, I had to wait to attend Notre Dame before I ever saw a monstrance! And I still can't breakdance. So deprived...
Honestly, I would have been dissapointed if no one had written in to the Fall issue of Notre Dame Magazine after the Summer issue had a section on the Eucharistic Procession from last April. So I was happy to see this:
How great to see the Eucharistic Procession has returned to campus. So many of our great Catholic traditions have been lost since Vatican II, and the Catholic educations in our Catholic schools are now so watered down that I worry about the condition of our Church 50 years from now. Maybe our Notre Dame students can lead us back.
Michael C. O'Leary '72
Saturday, October 15
To quote Kit Marlowe,
Was this the face that launch'd a thousand ships
And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?
Er, no. He's more of an Odysseus, with his many (football) wiles. Which is a relief, since the next line goes, Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss, after all. Go Irish, beat Trojans!
Friday, October 14
Being able to blog about it is my only consolation.
"For if it is destined that one man should be good and another wicked, then neither is the one acceptable nor the other blameworthy. And if the human race does not have the power by free choice to avoid what is shameful and to choose what is right, then there is no responsibility for actions of any kind. but that [man] walks upright or falls by free choice we may thus demonstrate. We [often] observe the same man in pursuit of opposite things. If he were destined to be wicked or virtuous, he would not be thus capable of opposites, and often change his mind. Nor would some be virtuous and others wicked, for then we would have to declare fate to be the cause of evils... or accept that there is no real virtue or vice."
Justin Martyr, First Apology, #43
Perhaps Calvin would call him... "the Church Father of straw."
Gen 49:10-11, "The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff... He will tether his donkey to a vind... he will wash his robes in the blood of grapes."
Rev 7:14, "And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."
Interestingly, the blood of grapes has become the the blood of the Lamb. Has become the blood of the Lamb, indeed.
(Credit: Justin the Martyr)
Amy Welborn supplied the a summary of the discussion points for the Synod, given by Card. Scola. Here are a few:
How to educate people in the various dimensions of the Eucharist?
How to offer the Eucharist in a regular way to all the faithful, and how to structure the assembly on Sunday for communities awaiting a priest?
It would be nice if they come up with an answer other than, "close down all the old churches and build one new one." Alas...
How to promote Eucharistic adoration that leads back to a liturgical celebration?
I guess I'm skeptical of how much of a problem this really is, given the way that everyone I know who loves adoration goes to daily Mass. But... maybe I just know great people.
What are the criteria for art and architecture in service to the beauty of the liturgy?
Hopefully, they can do something very effective! I'm glad this is on their minds.
Is it opportune to revisit certain aspects of the Roman Rite (such as the location of the kiss of peace)?
I'm also interested in this. Anglicans I know who have attended Mass found the kiss of peace to be rather a jolting rite, in relation to the Eucharistic Lord now present. I rather agree.
All of these questions are great. But I have to ask: when to they start suggesting answers, instead of determining what the questions are? They've been at this for two out of four weeks!
Incidentally, the campus is awash with rumors about alleged celebrity sightings connected with the USC game. I've been officially told by a band member that Bruce Springsteen is not playing at the pep rally. I still think it's possible, though: but I definitely do not believe the claims that Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson and The Rock were seen at La Fortune last night. In all likelyhood, that was probably a student friend of mine (The Shrine's equivalent of Pete Best, incidentally), who was once told by Christopher West he bore a striking resemblance to Katie Holmes' deranged beau.
Watch This Space
I don't want to say too much until The Shrine can get an actual text or a recording, but all I can say is, it was tremendous. In the five years I have spent here, there have been three enormous, gigantic...things that have served as milestones marked the continuing flowering--the ecstatically exponential growth, really--of the Faith here on campus. There was the visit of Christopher West three years ago, and the remarkable flourishing of the Theology of the Body that has since spread like wildfire; there was Father-President Jenkins' positively incandescent speech this past October, and the remarkable popularity he has since received from the students.
And then there was this.
God, Mary, the Rosary, Catholic identity and Catholic faith, abortion, death, and grace, it was all there. "Do you think Mary was pro-choice?" he asked, pointing up to the white concrete statue in its backlit, rocky niche. He pointed to his Rudy-style jacket, at the shamrock, at first we thought facetiously. "The shamrock is the heart of Mary. No, really, her heart's shaped like that." And he pointed to each one of the lobes. "She is the spouse of the Holy Spirit, the daughter of the Father, the Mother of the Son. And she's the stem, because she leads us to them." He was unabashed and unashamed of his deep faith, and he was warmly received by his audience. No jeers, no boos, but only glorious amazement. "I want every one of you to step into the world and proclaim your faith, shamelessly, out in public ... I believe that this university, Notre Dame, is being called to a major act of faith right now."
And the thing is, the students cheered and clapped to hear such things, and they went wild with applause when he called upon them, with the aid of St. Michael, to cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits that prowl around the world looking for the ruin of souls. There was a standing ovation by the time he had finished the speech. People wept and lingered, and waited, and the grotto candles kept on burning in the darkness.
Mr. Caviezel is a remarkable fellow; his faith is inspiring, especially in the robber's den of Hollywood. He is out there living the Gospel; he hasn't pulled back into the Catholic bubble we all wished we lived in. Playing Jesus in a film gives him no special authority, of course, but the way he lives his life, and the way he risked career death for the love of God, does. Though, in a curious way, the peculiar history of his participation in Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, does give him a fresh and immediate perspective on the death of God that I, sheltered and soft, certainly lack.
He never said as much, of course, but as I listened to him talk of the physical exhaustion he had to face while bringing the Crucifixion to life on film, I thought that he is one of the few people outside of the mystics who has gotten a specific physical taste, in some small way, of the suffering Our Lord endured. The film shoots literally sounded like torture. This wasn't just a Hollywood bimbo carping about not having the right flavor of bottled water on set. There's a slight difference between his performance in The Passion, and say, Meryl Streep getting called in to Congress to testify on pesticides because she played a farmer's wife in some halfwit movie.
This was real, horrific pain, experienced by a real athlete. He dislocated his shoulder, he accidentally tasted two lashes of the whip that left foot-long scars on his back and knocked him to the ground, he got sick, he hung up there, blue with cold, half-naked in the cold November air for weeks as they filmed and re-filmed Christ giving up His spirit to the Father. (I doubt he could have done it if he hadn't gone to Communion every day--he did this for God, not his career). It's terrifying enough to think of an ordinary man in this comfy day and age being whipped, even accidentally, or having to feign a crucifixion. It's terrifying, and frightening. Now multiply that by five thousand percent--and add real nails.
I sometimes think the reason Christ suffered in this world in 33 AD was it was only then that human ingenuity could devise a torture so awful as to make the depth of His Redemption evident.
And so, to hear him remind us that out of God's suffering, comes grace and strength, was powerful. But in this time and place, that his rallying cry for Notre Dame, the school of the Mother of God from whom we all learn, was heard, and was heard with a shout of triumph from hundreds of ordinary young adults, was equally powerful, and speaks not only of a brighter future, but a very bright present here and now on campus.
God is gracious, and God's Mother's university is going on to great things.
Watch this space for more info in the next few days.
Of Battling Bishops, &c.
It also seems appropriate to remember that the Fighting Irish were once called, I kid thee not, the Papists. Oh, and with regards to the upcoming USC game, let me remind our southern Californian readership that Troy lost the war to the Greeks, and our current President is a philosopher-king, so I think you can do the math there.
(Mitre tip to the Curt Jester's comments box)
Source: Yahoo News
(1) Why doesn't ND have this class?
(2) And does it have a LAB??
Wednesday, October 12
Because I'm a Sentimentalist at Heart
This site still has the live feed from Benedict's inauguration.
It makes for nice background music whilst one studies, should your midterms need a soundtrack. The first and last 10 minutes are the best, IMHO.
The 5 Humorous Mysteries," of which only the first has yet been revealed. It is "The Petrine Pun."
Tuesday, October 11
Viva Esta Revolution
Benedict is now officially the second author-pope. The book is a compilation of his 12 homilies delivered at World Youth Day. I'm glad that WYD is continuing to have reviberations! The influence of good books is quite profound, as I attribute my own conversion to one I found floating around one day.
I wonder if backyard apparitions (you know, the polariod stuff... it's always a polariod) ever inspire Protestants to convert. Afterall, when was the last time you saw CALVIN appearing in a foodstuff?
(Thanks Mark Shea)
I'll freely admit that I have strong feelings about people who use pets as emotional substitutes for the children they contracepted to avoid. I realize that St. Dominic had a pet, as to many single people; I think that's wonderful. But those with a vocation to single life still have a call to give of themselves to other people. St. Dominic did not, I assume, believe he could find the emotional companionship in his dog which he would have gotten from a committed relationship: that is because he found that emotional support through his fellow friars and the people with whom he ministered, and the unique relationship which the virginal have with CHRIST. In otherwords, I think someone should print up bumperstickers to remind the world: "PETS ARE NOT PEOPLE."
These would come in handy the next time someone tells you they're getting chemotherapy for their dog. Screw the poor: this pooch is going to LIVE, dammit. It will also come in handy the next time you hear someone griping about saving pandas or whales: I love pandas, and as established earlier, I love whales. But our concern for them is often unbalanced: here's a test I want you all to perform. Ask a room of 4th graders the following question: If you were in a burning appartment building, and you could save the last baby Siberian tiger or a human baby you didn't know, who should you try to save? A surprising number will opt for the Siberian tiger--I know, because I've tried.
All of the above was stuff that I've known a while. What ticked me off was...
(1) This, from Amy
And what REALLY ticked me off was
(2)This, from the Angry Twins. It's enough to keep them angry for a very long time, I think.
I'm speechless. I really don't have anything to say, except that I'm really disgusted and profoundly offended. I can't even think of poetic ways to explain how speechless I am.
PETS ARE NOT PEOPLE!
Monday, October 10
...that Rocco shut-down before he was able to convince me that the papal tiara is the source of all evil in the world, he has. So, in the words (and pictures) of Don Jim, let's continue to discuss that "crown which brings joy to the hearts of all true Christians":
This picture is particularly awesome, because it makes a lie out of the "tiara was not a liturgical appointment" statement. In fact, for most of its too-short history, the tiara was not a liturgical appointment, but in 1960, it was: Pope John XXIII used it as the papal crown for an Eastern Rite liturgy, in keeping with the episcopal practice of wearing crowns during Eastern liturgies.
Now that's inculturation.
If there's any occasion in the modern church where I think the use of the tiara would be fitting, this would be it. I think Marini would go for it.
And more from the Curt Jester.
Watching Brother Sun, Sister Moon was not a completely wasted opportunity. Catherine, our local Dominican-enthusiast freshman and I cooked up a Dominican version of one of the songs, the one they're singing as they're wandering through Assisi in the rain. It's the same tune as Concordet Laetitiae (you might know it as Orientis Partibus, yeah right), and I rather like what we've got so far. It's an infectious little ditty...
For our Sister Discipline
We give thanks!
For our Brother Penitence
We give thanks! We give thanks!
For our Sister Flagellance
We give thanks!
For our Brother Pain,
We give thanks! We give thanks!
For our Sister Cincture
We give thanks!
For our Brother Hair Shirt
We give thanks! We give thanks!
We sort of ran out of Pythonesque instruments of medieval penitence at this point (Catherine couldn't get Sister Chains-around-the-Waist to scan), but the tune caught and a bunch of us spent a good portion of this evening roaming around campus thanking God for Sisters Chastity, Charity, Fortitude, Piety and Obedience, as well as the less poetical Brothers Frostbite and Plague-and-Boils. (I was in a pestilential mood).
So we pour out of the back of the Basilica after Vespers and head down to see who's going to say the eight o'clock Rosary by the Grotto. Half of us are singing, somewhat off-key, a Gloria in Spanish, while Catherine and I are bellowing out thanks for Sister Discipline and Brother Penitence and really getting into it, and rather enjoying it. A freshman among us cries out, "You guys are awesome!" Then we stop dead and our jaws drop as we realize that there's a whole crowd of people down by the Grotto and they're about to start mass on the outdoor altar. And they're staring at us. There's shock, embarassment and laughter, and we creep, shamefacedly around the edge behind the screen of trees.
And then Mary Mazarello turns to me and says, half amused, half shamed, "This is us. This is sooo us."
I laugh and smile and say, "God bless us."
"Yeah, God bless us, everyone," she says, quoting Tiny Tim and we're far enough away from the worshippers to enjoy a good laugh at ourselves and hear Catherine quietly singing about Sister Discipline to herself as she brings up the rear. God blesses me through my friends, as crazy as we all might be.
The Sun and the Moon
I learned much that evening, and I am glad I watched it: not of St. Francis, but of the image our century carries about with it of the man.
Sunday, October 9
"I think my credibility would have really gone down if I used sock puppets to explain the Council of Ephesus."
--Joseph, on being instructed not to make his theological lecture "lame"
Joseph: ...named Diodorus of Damascus and Theodore of Mopsuestia.
Emily: Are you serious?
"You'll have to lose the Patton reference."
--Brian offers editorial advice on a complaint letter to Northwest Airlines
"And I thought, maybe I could use different voices to get people interested. Like, I could read the passage from St. Cyril of Alexandria and give him a Russian accent..."
"She's as feminine as they come, but she still kicks butt."
--Emily on Mother Church
"I got an email from the Knights Templar the other day. I just like saying that."
--Me. Nobody really was that surprised.
"Maybe we could attract attention with a Thomas Aquinas impersonator. 'Your photo with the Angelic Doctor'!"
--Me, while discussing possible marketing strategies for the Militia Immaculata hamburger booth at the next home game
"Can you be a caesaropapist if you're the pope?"
Joseph: We could have "Dunk-a-Monk." Get this jolly Benedictine, and people can pay to dunk him in a tank.
Richard: What if he's cloistered?
Me: We just put a big lattice cage around the whole thing.
"Catherine of Siena is my girlfriend."
--Resident Dominicanophile Chris on his current spiritual romance
Chris: When I become a Dominican, I'll be Brother Thomas Aquinas Siena.
Me:Oh, you're taking her last name? That's very modern of you.
"And we have to elevate the cake three times as we process down the sidewalk."
--Our birthday cake for the Virgin Mary starts to turn into an impromptu Easter Vigil service
"And then we getta halfway across the ocean and we realize-a we forgotta da aeroplane."
--Emily, quoting Chico Marx
Saturday, October 8
(Consider this a follow-up to Lepanto Day).
Friday, October 7
POD Pastry Invades the Secular Academy.....
Indeed, Catholic cake is not just for ND. At Calvert House, the Catholic center at the University of Chicago, Alice from Fourth Wall baked this deliciously devotional cake, featuring a Rosary in honor of the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary (rejected designs included a Rosary of cupcakes and a cake with the schema for the Battle of Lepanto). If she's reading, I'm sure Lucy will appreciate this, known as she is for similar POD pastry creations.
I just wanted to take the opportunity to thank Mr. John Powers of the Bricks and Mortar Foundation for his exemplary assistance in getting Heavenly City: The Architectural Tradition of Catholic Chicago published, and his kind interest in The Shrine. He is truly the Thnikkaman of Chicago church coolness. Oh the things that man does!
(Yes, that's a compliment, and yes, it also makes no sense.)
Oh, and before I forget, happy Lepanto Day, everyone!
The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera is reporting that the Vatican will allow gays into priesthood if they can show they have been celibate for at least three years.
"People pay Rocco for stuff like this."
But, keep in mind, the Italian press doesn't really care about, well, facts, and stuff. So we'll see what comes to pass.
Thursday, October 6
More Spanish Sketchiness
"The Constitutional Court ruled that the principle of universal jurisdiction takes precedence over the existence or not of national interests."
Spain's highest court has decided to investigate and try a case of genocide in Guatamala involving no Spanish nationals.
Don't get me wrong: I fully support the trial and punishment of all those who commit genocide, obviously.
But to have a country half a world away, specifically a former colonial power, try a case in its highest court that doesn't involve its federal government in any way -- this smacks of
(1) More European imperialism
(2) More post-colonial entitlement, like France continues to exercise in Africa
(3) Complete and utter disregard for the prinicple of subsidiarity
(4) Total violation of national sovereignty
Imagine if Iran decided that there were allegations of anti-Islamic bias in England, and so their supreme court decided to hold its own legal precedings? Or if Sweden decided to charge the Southern Baptist Convention, which has absolutely no connection to Sweden, with systematic defamation of homosexuals?
Honestly, this is a disturbing trend--granted, a trend the United States sort of started when we unilaterally interfering with other nation's internal affairs, too--but still very disturbing.
I hope Swaziland doesn't decide to charge me with not paying tribute to their king.
Wednesday, October 5
The latest issue of that bastion of campus journalism, the Advocata Nostra, is out, with features on Fr. Jenkins' inauguration, World Youth Day, and Amy Welborn's visit to campus, as well as movie reviews by Mike.
Don't miss an issue (as they say); check out the archives.
The Confessions of St. Tuffy
O, Tyler Gregory, my benevolent keeper, my guide and my provider—you have been nothing but generous to me in spite of my hateful nature. You have loved me unconditionally, but without undue passion. You have corrected my errant ways, but with a gentle hand. You have been strong, but you have been fair.
From the Onion; Old, but a classic.
Tuesday, October 4
World's Favorite Song Announced; Shrine Not Consulted
Monday, October 3
Bush Names Harriet Miers to Supreme Court
I'm not really sure what to make of this pick quite yet, although reading between the lines of both President Bush and the nominee, one gets the impression she intends to be a strict constructionist on the bench. Feel free to weigh in with comments on what it all means.
Sunday, October 2
Why Walmart Is Communist
Or, "Our Favorite Place for Low Prices and Rerum Novarum."
One of the biggest problems with Communism highlighted by Pope Leo XIII in Rerum Novarum was that Communism deprived the individual of private property. Instead, all "property" was owned by the workers (in theory), and but actually administered by the (usually repressive) state. The overpowering centralization of Communism also violates the Catholic prinicple of subsidiarity, and the atheistic nature of the Communist states historically-speaking is also an evil. But Rerum Novarum dealt with private ownership.
A word on "property." Individuals in Soviet Russia had homes, beds, and food--all of which they bought. They had possessions. Property, in the sense we're using it here, refers to the means of production.
Obviously, Walmart does not inhibit the accumulation of personal possessions; well, it rather promotes personal materialism, at significant social cost.
Leo XIII's problem with Communism was not so much with the state-ownership of these means of production, as the centralization of these means of production in one place--ie, not in the hands of the workers themselves.
My problem with Walmart is that it centralizes the ownership of the means of production (factories, services, and above all retail shops).
In otherwords, non-Communist systems can fall into the error of Communism, when they deprive the average worker of the opportunity of running his own business, shop, production facility, etc.
In otherwords, we fall into the Communist error--though obviously not into Communism itself--when Alfred on Mill Street has to sell his butcher shop and take up a position cutting meat at SuperWalmart. We fall into the Communist error when his neighbor, Betty Baker, is driven out of business and gets the next job making doughnuts at the Bakery Department across the aisle from the Gun Department--where Bob recently was hired after having to sell his shop (it's now a Baby Gap).
Contrast that with the words of Pope Leo:
9. Here, again, we have further proof that private ownership is in accordance with the law of nature. Truly, that which is required for the preservation of life, and for life's well-being, is produced in great abundance from the soil, but not until man has brought it into cultivation and expended upon it his solicitude and skill. Now, when man thus turns the activity of his mind and the strength of his body toward procuring the fruits of nature, by such act he makes his own that portion of nature's field which he cultivates - that portion on which he leaves, as it were, the impress of his personality; and it cannot but be just that he should possess that portion as his very own, and have a right to hold it without any one being justified in violating that right.
And that's my beef with Walmart. Workers have a natural right to at least potentially own their means of production. Walmart renders that impossible, by creating a business environment in which small businesses areincreasingly unteneable.
The last time I suggested something to this effect, I got my head torn off by people in the comment boxes. So: Uncharitable or ad hominem attacks will be deleted on the spot, because I don't care to deal with childish antics. If that's a problem, don't read my posts. Level-headed objections are welcome, of course.
All this Combox talk of Baklava
... has me hungry. Imagine a world where every dinning hall had baklava! Except on Fridays... when they'd have nutella...
For the first time in my life, I wish I were Greek Catholic.
I wonder if it shoots fireballs?
What Obsolete Skill are You?
You are 'Latin'. Even among obsolete skills, the
tongue of the ancient Romans is a real
anachronism. With its profusion of different
cases and conjugations, Latin is more than a
language; it is a whole different way of
thinking about things.
You are very classy, meaning that you value the
classics. You value old things, good things
which have stood the test of time. You value
things which have been proven worthy and
valuable, even if no one else these days sees
them that way. Your life is touched by a
certain 'pietas', or piety; perhaps you are
even a Stoic. Nonetheless, you have a certain
fascination with the grotesque and the profane.
Also, the modern world rejects you like a bad
transplant. Your problem is that Latin has
been obsolete for a long time.
What obsolete skill are you?
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I have to say, I find this quite opportune, since I took a break from studying Latin to take the quiz.
And to make a confession, I've always said that if Catholicism weren't true, I'd be Buddhist. In a perfect world, that's true. But in reality, I'd be a Stoic, because I would look stupid in saffron robes.