Saturday, November 25, 2006

"Jump down, turn around, pick a..."

'ad orietem' et 'pro multis'

Did you watch the NCCB conference discussing liturgical norms? (Facing east for the celebrant and reverting to 'for many' in the words of consecration at Mass, is being debated in Rome - 'For many' has now become the norm - I think.) But the NCCB were discussing other issues - like music, nevertheless I kept thinking - "If you wouldn't have screwed up the Mass in the first place you wouldn't have to waste so much time and hot air on the subject today, with all the committees and 'drama' consultants. In case you haven't been following this nonsense, drama consultants have indeed been called in to advise upon the liturgy. (I wonder if Pius V did that?)

Anyway, changes are coming once again for the liturgy. So that means new books, missals, lectionaries, sacramentaries. If the priest is supposed to have his back to the people again, then that means Church renovation in many cases - again. The Catholic faithful have shelled out a heck of a lot of money in the past decades to wreck-o-vate their Churches - or worship spaces.

A man was in the Store today asking about what missal to buy. I told him not buy any - use "Magnificat" until they figure out what they are doing with the liturgy. How many new translations have we been through now? Not to mention the bibles.

I remember when the late Fr.Pingatore hired Kazmarcek to 'renew' the sanctuary at the old St. Ambrose in St. Paul. (Horrible job. Horrible.) They took out the Communion rail of course, and other things - such as the high altar, much to the chagrin of the Italian families who had donated great sums of money for the finest Italian marble as a memorial to the deceased members of their families. Eventually, the Church was sold and it's current namesake is now in Woodbury, Minnesota. Many left the parish, and some left the Church after the destruction. (Pingatore was a little pope in those days and did what he wanted.)

The 'reform of the reform' is going to be expensive - get your check books out. Good luck with all of that when millions have been spent on lawsuits and settlements after the sexual abuse debacle. And of course, we may have to cough up money to make our Churches and facilities more eco-friendly in the battle against Global Warming - we have got to be pro-active on this.

Don't buy any missals for Christmas presents - unless they are Tridentine - that hasn't changed with the trends and fashions of the late 20th century - don't try to use it at a Novus Ordo Mass however.
(What is this going to do to all the young people who have been raised with 'artistic' innovations in the liturgy? One young lady asked this today, wondering very sincerely, "I wonder how our liturgical dance will work into all of this?" Hmmmmmmmmmmmm. No wonder the Bishops have such a hard time with liturgical questions.)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

My fondest Thankgiving memories...

Thanksgiving with my closest friends.

Remember when Ross says that he is having one of his worst Thanksgivings ever because of his divorce from Emily and eviction?

Chandler jumps in to remind everyone that he is "the king of bad Thanksgivings" and proceeds to tell the first of a series of Thanksgiving flashbacks.

Thanksgiving 1978: A young Chandler is told that his parents still love him, but his father would rather sleep with the house-boy than with his mother.

Phoebe claims she has an even worse Thanksgiving story.

Thanksgiving 1862: Phoebe is a medic for the Union Army during the American Civil War. She is tending to a wounded soldier when her arm gets blown off, prompting her to say, "Oh no."

Ross says that the Thanksgivings have to be limited to this life (as Phoebe was referring to a Thanksgiving that occurred in a 'past life'). Rachel says she knows Monica's worst Thanksgiving, but Phoebe interrupts with a story about the Thanksgiving when Joey got a turkey stuck on his head.

Thanksgiving 1992: Phoebe (who was living with Monica at the time) walks in to their apartment and is shocked to see Joey with a turkey on his head; Joey put it on to scare Chandler. Monica enters and freaks out, but she and Phoebe can't get the turkey off his head. Chandler enters and screams, and Joey tries to point and laugh at him, but keeps pointing in the wrong direction because he can't see.

From the out-takes:

In the tenth season episode entitled "The One Where Chandler Gets Caught", the same 1992 Thanksgiving flashback of this episode is used, yet Phoebe replies to Joey's complaining about the turkey smelling really bad with "Yeah, of course it smells bad. You've got your head inside a turkey's ass." instead of the "Well, of course it smells really bad. You have your head up a dead animal." As written for this episode. - Wikipedia

My friends were so fun! Miss you much - at least I have the DVDs. When co-workers ask who I'm spending Thanksgiving with, I always tell them "I'm having a few friends over" - that's not a lie, is it? Anyway, they are always so consoled I won't be spending it alone.

I am so going to sing "Memories" now - followed by "The Way We Were" and I may as well sing, "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted" while I'm at it! (Thank God for my home-karoke machine.:) The holidays can be so nostalgic can't they?

Maybe I'll go to Walgreen's and stop by Kmart - I think they're open today. (Just kidding, Ross and Rachel are coming over with Phoebe and Regina Falangi.)

EAT FRESH! :) :) :) :) :) :)

The Jump to Conclusions Mat

Tom from "Office Space" had such a good idea with this thing! I think the press use it when it comes to what's going on 'inside the Vatican'. (And I don't mean the magazine by that name.)
Last week it was the special meeting with Pope Benedict to discuss the Milingo problem, and the press along with Vatican pundits were saying they may change the discipline of a celibate priesthood. Not.
Today on Drudge, the report that the commission studying condom use will recommend the limited use of barrier contraceptives in extreme cases, so as not to 'transmit death' in married couples where one is infected with HIV. Complex moral issue, this one is. (Who can trust leaks like this? No pun intended.) Any way, that is not going to happen either.
After decades of opposition, Vatican view on condoms begins to shift:
[snip]The Roman Catholic church has taken the first step towards what could be a historic shift away from its total ban on the use of condoms.

Pope Benedict XVI's "health minister" is understood to be urging him to accept that in restricted circumstances - specifically the prevention of Aids - barrier contraception is the lesser of two evils.

The recommendations, which have not been made public, still have to be reviewed by the traditionally conservative Vatican department responsible for safeguarding theological orthodoxy, and then by the Pope himself, before any decision is made.[
snip] - The Guardian
[snip]The Italian newspaper La Repubblica, which broke the news of the policy review earlier this year, reported yesterday that the Vatican would "go from prohibition to the definition of exceptional cases in which it would be possible for the faithful to use prophylactics to avert fatal risks".

Cardinal Barragán noted a passage from a 1981 document issued by the late Pope John Paul II. This said that "every conjugal act must be open to life".

Until now, this has been interpreted as an injunction against contraception. But it could also be used to support an argument in favour of the preservation of life by the use of barrier methods.
[snip] - Full text on The Guardian.
The 'rules' are not going to change. Thank God on this Thanksgiving we have a holy theologian for a Pope. And read the news with great reservation - watch out for gossip and rumors as well - even when it comes from cozy Roman sources.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Hetero-phobic Rosie O'Donnell

A Case Study In Heterosexual Phobia In Rosie O'Donnell. (joke)
Pictured, Rosie O'Donnell in her famous, "Pull my finger" pose. (Or is she nailing someone to the wall here?)
I don't know if you watch ABC news, or 'The View', or 'Regis and Kelly', but there was an incident. (I'm ver klempft!)
Kelly Ripa, (who is gorgeous) was co-hosting with Clay Aiken on the Regis and Kelly Show. Clay put his hand over Kelly's mouth - bad manners - to shut her up. She scolded him nicely and made a joke that she didn't know where his hands have been. It's common schtick in entertainment to say something clever like that in a joking manner.
Bull-dyke O'Donnell latched onto it proclaiming Kelly's remark as "homo-phobic". (Aiken hasn't even come out yet, although Ms. O'Donnell felt it her place to out him on 'The View'.) Anyway, proud Kelly calls into 'The View', confronts Rosie on the air, and caught O'Donnell like a deer in the headlights. She was so busted. It's silly show-biz gossip. So who cares?
Nevertheless, I think it is very revealing as regards O'Donnell's character, as well as the homosexual agenda. The cries of bigotry and discrimination coming from gays over nothing is an imitation of claims of racial discrimination by minorities. Maybe in some instances it's true, but in this situation O'Donnell was attempting to crusade, it's way off the mark. She was diggin' deep for this one. She's dumb, you know - she's not a smart woman, she just has a big mouth - she's from Long Island. She likes to play the bully. Yet Kelly called her on it.
I really think that many gays and lesbians are actually hetero-phobic. They are afraid of natural heterosexuality. They resent heterosexuals. In some cases, it's an envy thing, going back to childhood or adolescence, something I always refer to as psycho-sexual arrested development. Experienced as alienation from peers of the same sex. Seeking affirmation through sexual acts with the same sex later in life becomes a way of finding acceptance and validation. Of course there are more and varied dynamics at work in the homosexual experience, but I think I'm on to something.
The manner in which Rosie goes after Elizabeth, one of her 'conservative' co-hosts on 'The View', as well as her contempt for Star Jones, along with this recent attack on Kelly Ripa, leads me to believe she is hetero-phobic, if you will. Or at best, misogynist in her approach to hetero women. You see, lesbians are different than gay men - there are differing determining factors inherent in their homosexuality, as well as practice. (Proving once again men and women are intrinsically different from one another, albeit sexually and emotionally complimentary.)
Rosie and other gay militants can yell homo-phobic all they want - they are the phobic ones - I dub it hetero-phobic. Maybe we should go to the ACLU with this discriminatory practice and see if they'll fight for us!
Rosie is going to dyke herself out of a job if she doesn't watch her mouth.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

November 22 and the loss of innocence...

Mark Balma's "Pieta"
He's a wonderful painter. I haven't seen this painting in person but it was presented at the Cathedral of St. Paul with much fanfare last week. I like what I see in photos, although it seems a bit 'stiff' - however, I think it is just the photo - paintings need to be 'experienced' in relationship with the viewer, in person. Balma is a fine artist, the photo cannot do it justice.
The anniversary of the assassination of JFK is the 22 of November. It was 1963. I was in class, after lunch, when the announcement came over the intercom and we were all dismissed from school. I remember starring at the intercom in disbelief as the announcement was made. Returning home to watch non-stop footage on television. It is like yesterday to me.
Just a couple of years earlier Sr. Lillian led us all in prayer that this Catholic Senator would be elected President of our Country.
I, along with most of the world loved President Kennedy, and Jackie. We knew them as Jack and Jackie. They gave an international dignity and style to the White House and the presidency.
Bobby was later assassinated, and Jackie said, "They are killing Kennedys." And she took her children out of the country. Some people resented that. Not I.
I think Bobby's death hit me much harder than Jack's. He would have made a better President. I remember vividly his funeral train heading to Washington for his burial at the Arlington National Cemetery - the tracks lined all of the way with mourners. I remember it all so well..."The Battle Hymn of the Republic" played along the way. I remember Dr. King too. I do not want to look at footage of these events ever again, because they are emblazoned upon my memory. Yet younger people need to see it - they need to locate the pivotal moment of our decline.
Our Country entered it's decline in those days. I don't think we can ever recover. I know we haven't.
"Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!
She has become a dwelling place for demons.
She is a cage for every unclean spirit,
a cage for every unclean bird:
For she has made the nations drink
the poisoned wine of her lewdness." Revelation 18: 2-3
In many respects, that is us, exporting our MTV, movies, fast food, Hollywood morality, condoms and Planned Parenthood, what have you. We've fallen with our President.

I'm calling the ACLU!

I actually love Christmas! I really do!

Yet in my office, co-workers are already playing Christmas music, non-stop, and a little louder than normal. That being the case, with the woman in the cubical next to me, singing along, is driving me crazy. Who even likes "It's A Holly, Jolly Christmas"? Or Elvis? (I did kinda like Motown stars doing Christmas - oh, and the Beach Boys "Little St. Nick" - strike that! )

It is the worst music ever.
(And too much - way too soon! And stop singing lady!)

Would a Catholic Company fire me if I went to the ACLU and complained that I am offended by this stuff? I think I have a case. Get Jackie Childs on the phone! (I could surely get a spot on the news, don't you think?)
No wonder people who don't like Christians get so mad.
But I really do, "I Celebrate Christmas!"
Now imagine a really fast talking voice:
"Available at Item #19109 $2 each, quantity pricing available. Get your 'flair' at Leaflet Missal!"

Bishop Paul Dudley

I have just learned that Bishop Dudley passed away last evening at 10:30PM, I'm sorry I do not have more precise information at this time.
Bishop Dudley, shown here at an ordination at Holy Apostles Seminary, was a very humble, devout priest and servant of God. I am certain he is a saint.
May he rest in peace+

Monday, November 20, 2006

November 21st - on this date in history...

The third session of Vatican II closed in 1964.
The Servant of God, Pope Paul VI closed the third session of Vatican Council II on this day by announcing a change in the Eucharistic fast and formally declaring Mary as "Mother of the Church," as had always been taught.
Maybe His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI will use this anniversary to announce the new indult for the liberalization of the traditional rite known as the Ordo of Pius V.
Probably not - but when he goes to Turkey next week, if he were to be assassinated there, will it ever be promulgated?

Gore-ed to death with Global Warming hysteria...

It's a hot topic! (Canned laughter.)
Do I think it's happening? Probably. Is it just me or is it hot on earth? (Canned laughter.)
What if it's just the natural swing of things? Al Gore once suggested that cigarette smoking contributes to it. He's got to be nuts - he's just got to be. What about flatulence? Of course population control can take care of that - but what about those cows...(Canned laughter.)
Today Archbishop Flynn was on local News with other Church leaders along with Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman pledging themselves to work to reverse global warming. The NCCB has that on their agenda as well - in fact, I think they have another entire committee with a big budget handling the subject. Good for them.
It does indeed appear there is such a phenomenon as global warming going on. Some people just don't believe it, some do. There seems to be something of a hysteria building however. (Chesterton might refer to it as another 'fad' - I kind of think it is.) Personally, I'm opposed to plastics - like Halloween pumpkins a deer can't shake off her snout, or the Snapple bottle rings that get caught on an animal's snout or neck and they strangle, starve or suffocate themselves to death. Ban plastics I say! (More canned laughter.)
I'm not criticizing his Excellency, and I'm not suggesting there are other more important issues for him to be on board with, such as faith and morals, the liturgy - oh, yah - the liturgy. I'm not suggesting that. In fact, since the Catholic Bishops have been so pro-active and persuasive against abortion, contraception, homosexuality, the war in Iraq and other issues - it's just good PR to get on board with the global warming thing. This one might work.
(More canned laughter. I can be so 'Seinfeld'!)

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A time, unsurpassed in distress...

And Penitent Blogger subtitles his post on today's Gospel with the best one-liner ever - "No, it's not the family gathering at Thanksgiving!" I did indeed laugh out loud - see, he knows too! Otherwise his post is another excellent commentary on today's readings from Mass.

Pictured is "Serial Mom" and her family. My mom was kind of a cross between Kathleen Turner's character and Faye Dunaway's "Mommie Dearest"- with an aspect of Bette Davis - from just about any of her films - thrown in. (And "The spy down the hall" doesn't think I'm funny!)

My sweet nephew posted a comment on my earlier "Holiday Fears" post. I have to be careful on what I post, I wasn't aware the family is reading. Fortunately I have my secret blog to bare all of my skeletons. Seriously, I have to be careful on how I say things lest they think they are the problem - so I protest in advance, "It' me! It's me! I'm the crazy one!"

My nephew Todd and his wife Carrie signed the post with their son's name, Jackson, along with the dog and cat names of the "other kids" in their family. I want to give them all a big hug - they are just so cool! My sister has a large family, and they really are wonderful - she is actually normal, as is her family. My nieces and nephews are each other's best friends - and they so love their mom. I do too.

(Pictured here,
Bette Davis in
"The Anniversary"
- "Hi mom!")

Conscience: "So why don't you visit them?"

Me: "Shut up!"

Conscience: "What?"

Me: "Well, I took care of that!"

Conscience Again: "But, I- - -"

Me: "Don't start with me b*@ch!"

Happy Holidays! :)

The problem of empathy

And the disintegrated person.
(Pictured, St. Peter of Alcantara in ecstasy.)
Sort of a presumptuous title for me to use, since The Problem of Empathy was the name of Edith Stein's dissertation - of which I never read much. I woke up with the title repeating in my mind however. I have encountered several people over the past few weeks who strike me as rather disintegrated; emotionally, psychologically, and most especially, spiritually.
Many people, upon their conversion, are so enamored by the love of God and the example of holiness set by the saints, they want to become saints over night. Just as those people who find consolation in prayer want to become contemplatives over night - or maybe think they are there already.
When I write about John of the Cross, or Garrigou-Lagrange, some people must think I'm writing about those who read this blog - or they are stimulated to get into reading the mystics as a means of advancement in the spiritual life. Sometimes this is too much, too soon for a soul.
When people read the lives of the saints and the penance they have done, or the manner of prayer they engaged in, so many in their first fervor attempt to imitate them, or to apply the advice of the mystical doctors written for proficients in the spiritual life to themselves - rousing love before it's time. Often, at some point the soul collapses through exhaustion or discouragement that they cannot meet such high standards of spirituality. It's a preoccupation with levels and stages of prayer that often trips them up. Our human nature tends to be achievement oriented - success driven, and we carry that over into our spiritual development.
What is lost, or misplaced is love - especially the knowledge of God's love in our first conversion, when he loved us in all our imperfection - just as we were - that doesn't change. Initially, in the first stages of conversion, the soul is often bathed in the love of God, it's a good feeling. As we go along we at some point will encounter a sense of aridity and helplessness. Often as a result of the self-knowledge close encounters with God precipitate. There is an element of disintegration in every soul, in some who have been damaged by the misfortunes and sufferings of life, it is oftentimes profound.
A friend, who suffered incredible abuse, poverty, and deprivation as a child is now dealing with these issues of identity, disintegration, whilst struggling to live a devout life. A convert, and client of a well known priest, she was more or less catapulted into a spirituality too advanced for her at the time. She was immediately introduced to St. Louis DeMontfort's total consecration to Mary, and as a former protestant, she had not even developed a proper understanding of the role of Mary in the Christian's life. Having been raised by a mother who mistreated her and neglected her, unable to demonstrate any love, this poor woman was expected to embrace this devotion, afraid if she didn't, she would be lost, since everyone told her that devotion to Mary was a sure sign of predestination.
She was introduced to every devotion imaginable, encouraged to read the mystics and to imitate the saints, and deny, deny, deny, herself. She was told her childhood misery was something she deserved for her sins. What? She was a baby, a kid. She was told the path to holiness is a path of suffering and she should be grateful Our Lord allowed her to suffer. In the process, she lost her identity, never experienced love, always feeling guilty that she is a bad person - not good enough to be Catholic.
What a horrid misconception of Catholic spirituality. I say - don't read the saints if you think you have to be like them and scourge yourself and call yourself a worm, while damaging an already ravished psyche. Leave the mystics alone. Learn to love Mary in your own manner. This priest who was in her life, though very good, wasn't able to empathise with this woman. He directed her on a mystical path more or less formulated for religious in a contemplative community.
So many fail to realize that the saints were immersed in the knowledge and love of God, not through their own efforts, but through sheer grace - God first loved them - as the Evangelist writes. God touched, no, he embraced them in all of their fragility, with all of their sins and faults - or the potential for these - collecting their disintegrated selves as a bundle of myrrh, as a mother collects her child, holding it to her breast, to feed and nourish her baby. It is not enough to intellectually understand that God loves us, he must demonstrate this love - a love we do not, or cannot merit, because it is love freely given - and he gives it.
The conversion of Catherine of Genoa is one of the best conversion stories of the saints I have ever read. This vain and bitchy, humorless woman, in a crises of depression no doubt, reluctantly went to confession. Suddenly she was so impressed with the immensity of God's love for her, she was unable to confess, returning home in tears. It was the love of God that flooded her soul, melting her heart, healing her wounds, effecting within her this great conversion. Without this experience of knowing she was God's beloved daughter, she would never have become the saint she is, nor would she have been able to work so generously serving the poor sick. Neither did she fit the standard profile of the saint - she is rather unique among the canon of saints.
The treasury of the Church is rich with the teaching and examples of the saints, with wondrous revelations encouraging devotion, to help souls along the narrow way that leads to life. Everything is a means to an end however. St. Seraphim Sarovsky taught that if fasting or alms-giving gives you grace, that is, the Holy Spirit, then do that. If it is prayer and vigils, do that. yet the soul cannot do everything. He taught that the goal of the Christian life is the acquisition of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of love. It was the Spirit who grasped Catherine of Genoa in confession. It is the Spirit who prays within us when we do not know how to pray as we ought. It is the Spirit who wills and accomplishes within us every good. It is the Holy Spirit who renews, heals and vivifies the soul - uniting the disintegrated self.
And yes, this life is a veil of tears, sometimes accompanied by unbearable suffering, that is why we need the Holy Spirit to sustain us - to console us. The Holy Spirit is the Consoler - God does not desire us to be without consolation and sustenance, he just doesn't want us to seek it as an end in itself. In the final vision of Fatima, the angel held a sword pronouncing, "Penance, penance, penance." Many people do not realize that Our Lord told Sr. Lucia what penance he was asking for in these modern times; "The penance I now ask and exact is that people avoid sin, and fulfill the duties of their state in life." So many people of good will want to impose a host of other penances and prayers upon themselves, while neglecting the request of Our Lord.
It is quite enough penance, to refrain from sin, and to fulfill one's duties of one's state in life. Our first duty is prayer, for the lay person it doesn't necessarily mean the Liturgy of the Hours, or daily Mass, or litanies and tons of other prayers. Pray as you can. It remains the primary reason the morning offering is so efficacious, it unites the soul and all he does to the prayer and work of the Church, it sanctifies one's day. For some people, just getting up in the morning and going to work is a huge penance. be content with your weakness, do little things well. Many are just too little to have the great thoughts of the saints or to imitate their penance.
I think a fine form of prayer is that of the widow in yesterday's Gospel who wouldn't relent in her request, "Render a just decision for me against my adversary!" Not beating oneself up - but constantly praying the Lord for his love to fill our soul, presenting him with our bundle of problems, the disintegrated parts of our lives, so that he can put it all together again. Ask him to make you the saint he wants you to be - by identifying your person, and naming you - thus giving you the mission he created you to accomplish for him. And be patient, it sometimes takes a lifetime.
Jean Vanier has a lovely story he often tells of a severely handicapped man who liked to pray, when asked what he does when he prays, Frank said, "I listen." Vanier asked him, "What does God say to you?" Frank answered, "You are my beloved son!" Hold that thought! Hold it tight to your heart. "You are my beloved son!"
The physically and mentally disabled have so much to teach us about the love of God and the simplicity of experiencing it. The disintegration of the modern human person invites our empathy with the most damaged of society, while teaching us the need we all have to be loved and to love.
"Love then consists in this, not that we have loved God, but that he has first loved us..." 1 John 4:10