Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Holy Father's First Vespers of Advent

Read all about it here:
Ist Vespers In St. Peters

It reads like a review of an opera or a play. Critical analysis, checking out who was there and what they wore, etc. (That's what I don't like about St. Agnes sometimes. I often think many people are there just for the music and the liturgical costumes.)

How prayerful.

(Sorry, still no ability to upload photos.)

This Is Nuts!

I was listening to the news on 9 tonight, and they had this pathetically sweet segment, about kids raising funds to get Christmas toys for kids in Iraq. SHUT UP!

Talk about taking Christmas sentimentality to extremes! Those kids are mostly Muslim kids who live there. They do not allow the celebration of Christmas in Muslim dominated lands - Iraq was one exception under Saddam. But what is this sentimental crap? Is it an attempt to proselytize? No, it's just so damned mushy-smushy - "Oh! Kids can't be without presents for Christmas!" Even when they don't celebrate it or believe in it.

This is one of the most annoying things about this season - that sentimentality decreeing everyone must be Christmassy and get presents. Why is this such a sentimental season? And why is generosity mostly limited to this season?

The big problem in American Christmas is that it is more or less all about materialism - gifts, gifts, and more gifts.

I wonder if it would be more in keeping with the Christmas spirit to help children (and adults) understand another culture, such as Islam, and to respect their beliefs and lifestyle. In the end, it may help Christians to better appreciate Christian values and the real meaning of Christmas. Material things are not the end all of happiness, neither are contemporary American values.

Blogger is a free service...

So I can't bitch. I still cannot download photos - what if someone is on to me and I've been banned from taking copyright photos???????????????

So anyway - today was hell day at my STORE - I had 3 events going on at once - and we were so busy. So I'm smiling - and tired.

"FREE FORM!" - That's a Janet Jackson lyric as well. I love "Design of a Decade" - a greatest hits album from JJ. Anyway - that's what this post is about...........or stream of consciousness.

So I'm hard at it at 6:30Am - getting the Store ready for all the events. I had asked some of my people to get there early - 2 did so. I was way p--sed! The "F" word being creatively rehearsed in proposed statements to my crew as they arrived, all going through my head before they finally got in. Nevertheless, I restrained myself, as well as the profanity, with, "This is unacceptable! Totally unacceptable!" My 'best boy' worked his tail off, recognizing my high anxiety.

A manager is sometimes like a mom or dad, at one point I pleaded, "Can't you just pretend for one day that I am actually in charge and do what I say?" They did, and it went well.

Bad manager that I am, they all got hugs, and thanks as the day was an unimaginable success. And so I had to be my silly self to get them out of the funk I put them in. One person was popping valium and vicodin all day - I do not know how she can work so doped up. I'll have to address that. Seriously. When she was waiting on one poor customer I had to intervene and rescue the guest and found what she had been looking for. I explained that this one sales associate was somewhat impaired...the guest rolled her eyes. I have to address it.

Why do you have to address things like this when it's the holidays? Bi-polar or not, this person has got to go.

We had as our cause d'celebre a principal from a famous family in from Italy to do signings for his product. The women loved him, long hair, dark swarthy Italian looks - more Napoladon looking to me than Tuscan. Well dressed - Armani. One person said she hated how short his tie was - I said that is the fashion, high button suit, high tie. SHE dismissed it because I'm old. HEY! I KNOW MY FASHION MS. SUBURBIA! (Even if she happens to be the president of the company.)

I may be getting old, but I know my stuff - let me tell you about the dowds that sh..................or go to St. A..........................or work with m.........................or I work w................!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! These people are all from St. Paul for heaven's sake. Sorry Lori and Julia - you can't cut it either. (Lori is from Duluth of all places, and just a slut!)

What was cool about today was the really sincere people who came in. Those impressed with the idea of the collectability of having a signed piece from this collection - live for 100 years and see if they are worth more. Actually - they are already - because of the artificiality of collectibles with signatures - short lived phenomenon, totally dependent upon market demand and scarcity.

The other sinceros in the Store are truly edifying, there is this wonderful family that comes in. I don't care, I'll say the name, Dragonowski. Two little adorable babies, a wonderful mom and dad. Now there is an example of good Catholic married love and family. They would so think I'm nuts but I'd love to hug them all. What a perfect couple. I used to see the dad at Mass - when he was single, I always admired him. What pure people, so completely joyful, and normal. Hugely normal.

I saw a very rich man with his family as well. Very tight-a--ed. Such a difference between couples - such a difference between spiritualities.

Back to the nut case that works how many valiums can one down in a day, with vicodin - two every four hours, for even the slightest pain? I had surgery a few times and I'd only take a half when I went to bed. What the h................................?

Oy what a day! Remember I titled another post with that? I thought of that priest and told several people about his post on his exhausting day in Rome. Did you know lunches last a few hours over there and dinner obviously extends from 8PM to who knows when? Don't cry for me Argentina, genteely sipping the vino and puffing on cigars all night.

So, around 4:30AM, I go down to the basement to get some clean underwear out of the dryer - yeah, my house-keeper hadn't folded them - LOL - so, whadya think, I'm a priest already? - and I discovered the sewer was backed up after my shower. South MPLS is notorious for roots blocking the sewer system. I had to leave it flooded - I couldn't be late for my day. I get on the freeway - there is construction - it looked like rush hour - no 'F' word - just the rosary, with little ejaculations such as, "Merry Christmas Bull-$&#@! Did you know you'd cause all of this commotion by your birthday? It's not even THE event of the liturgical year - for your sake! I hate Christmas!"

And so we are full circle here. THEY WERE LATE TO WORK! And I had chest pains and sweats that would have sent even the most resistant man to the emergency room - so much, one person said, "Are you alright, your face is beet red!" And I said, "Yeah, I'm fine, I took an extra atenolol" - blood pressure meds Karen - NOT valium you drug addict. (I really had all the symptoms, crushing chest pain, arm pain, coughing, shortness of breath, and I prayed, "Take me now!" - like Cher in "Moonstruck" - but the Infant Jesus is so like the people who work for me - he does what he wants, and I'm here to write about it.)

Yet, I'm smiling, because we had a great day, and I got to hug my best workers. Thanks y'all. And yes, I'm neurotic - and Adam ate the apple and everyone has chinks - even the rich guy, with his perfect wife and kids, his perfect houses, and his perfect mega-business, and his perfect friends, along with his perfect Church affiliations - who was in the Store today - just wait until your highly disciplined, perfect kids grow up - just you wait. (I wonder if he ever saw the film"Chocolat"?) He's such a schleppe!

Happy Holidays! (I so hate "Merry Christmas" - until after the birthday - OKAY?!)

Free base quote that always, always consoles me - "I am Christ's and Christ is mine, all things are mine!" S. Juan de la Cruz (The only mystic I know of worth his stuff! He was so REAL! Well, Holy Mother Teresa was as well, and Therese - although she was constrained by French bourgeois manner - yet one may read through that - except maybe the St. Paul people - there seems to be a strong correlation there.)

Charlie de Foucauld

"Nasty Boys!" (Janet Jackson)

This guy was a brat! He was a spoiled, fat, rich boy, who got himself into trouble in the military, while he enjoyed a live-in mistress. How French - huh?

Through the influence of his angelic cousin, Marie de Bondy and her friend, Abbe Huevelin, he gave up his indifference to the Catholic Church, as well as his immoral and frivolous life. He entered the Trappists of Our Lady of the Snow, taking the name Marie Alberic - a pen name I once used as well.

His restless spirit and desire to imitate the poverty and hidden life of Nazareth, led him to leave the cozy security of the Abbey. He went to Jerusalem and worked as a gardener for a monastery of Poor Clares. The Abbess, Mother Elizabeth, a rather persuasive figure - stay away from domineering nuns - convinced him to become a priest.

He returned to la Trappe and was ordained, making his novitiate for his new religious order while there. He found his way to Algeria, the only member of the religious order he intended to found, to live among the Tuareg as a hermit. He was later killed by Islamic rebels, the Eucharist he had been adoring, thrown in the desert sand. This happened on December 1, 1906, I believe. After he was beatified a couple of years ago, his feast was set for December 2 - today!

(Forgive me for lack of dates, etc. - I wrote from memory; and blogger still will not permit me to post pics! I'm a visual artist! How can I exist without visuals?)

Friday, December 01, 2006

Worst Christmas Ad - so far...

"Peace, Love and Gap"
Way too ghetto.

Nevertheless, and I mean less, it's telling as to what kids want. Isn't rap over yet? Could the Marketing Director for Gap get fired or something? It misses - the ad just misses.

How Long?

Today's first reading at Mass reminded me of the vision of Leo XIII.
"[The angel] seized the dragon, the ancient serpent, which is the Devil or Satan, and tied it up for a thousand years and threw it into the abyss, which he locked over it and sealed, so that it could no longer lead the nations astray until the the thousand years are completed. After this, it is to be released for a short time." - Book of Revelation
How long is a thousand years in biblical terms, or "a short time" for that matter?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Feast of St. Andrew

Benedict and Bartholomew.
Some photos are simply prophetic!

Oy! What a day I've had today!

From a Roman priest's webpage...

"Today I started early, as most days,
it was rather long.
I was at it by 06:30.
After Mass, office, scanning news,
catching up on the Pope in Turkey;
lunch with a friend - a fellow staff member.
I have been on the fly
until meeting some folks for supper...
mercifully at a place near where I live.
It is nearly 1AM now."

He continues with a mention of what he ate and the wonderful restaurant - with a recommendation to drop his name if you ever visit there. Then there are pictures of his lunch, and of his work, and several other posts for today's news. That is a busy day!
Sweet life! :)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

It's Not Gap -

But they are getting better!
(Pictured, The very classic little black velvet dress from Upstream Girl.)
Remember a few months back I did a sort of review on a modest fashion company called "Upstream Girl". I didn't like what they had to offer, I thought it too old for young girls or teens, and rather dated. They were just starting out as a company and I didn't give them a chance by comparing them to established retailers. They have a needed concept and niche market out there; and they are responding by attempting to offer modest clothing for young women and girls.

On my way home tonight, I listened to their ad on Relevant Radio - it actually sounded rather hip - more so than I expected. So I took a look at their website to see what I'd find. I expected "Anne of Green Gables" and was surprised to find a collection of rather 'with-it' looks.

What they offer today is a huge improvement, sophisticated style, remaining modest, with good price points. I'm pretty sure, if they can get this product moving, they will continue to improve their selection and content, as well as style choices. If you're shopping for a Christmas present for a young woman, maybe consider Upstream Girl.

The fledgling company may yet need better presentation and photography - that comes in time, nevertheless, the clothes are no longer dowdy - they are young and decidedly more hip. (I'd still encourage them to stay away from cutsie stuff though. Continue with the simple and classic!
I wish them continued success! They are on a mission from God!

The Pope in Turkey

Benedict is fairing very well in Turkey, praise God. Aside from the prayer of the faithful, I wonder if his friend Bl. John XXIII is not offering special protection, since the Holy Father entrusted this trip to his intercession. Perhaps to reward John XXIII, the Holy Father will canonize him soon.
The media hypes this trip as something done to make peace with Islam after the uproar over the Holy Father's remarks at an address at Regensburg in Germany awhile back.
The point of the pilgrimage, or Apostolic Visit is to meet with the Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, the "First Among Equals" of the Eastern Orthodox Catholic Church. It is an effort to restore union to the Church. His courage in going to a land where his life has been threatened, must demonstrate dramatically to the Orthodox the Pope's sincerity and love for The Eastern Churches, as well as his hope for unity. I think the entire world must also be impressed by his courageous actions.
May St. Andrew, the Apostle of the Eastern Churches, whose feast we celebrate tomorrow, hasten this union and continue to protect our Holy Father, Benedict XVI.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Kulture Klash - not Klub...

Muslim men go through a purification process before prayer, ritual ablutions. It's a pretty elaborate ritual. KQ was talking about it today on their "Morning Show" - I listen while I'm doing sales figures for the Store.

Today they were complaining about Muslim cab drivers who refuse to pick up blind people with seeing eye dogs - because the dogs are impure. Neither will the Muslim cab drivers pick up people carrying alcohol - Islam forbids alcohol, but I think it's okay when they are out night clubbing - oh, wait, they can wash.

The conversation steered toward the accommodations employers make for Muslim workers, providing time for prayer as well as private spaces for the practice. The morning crew proceeded to discuss ritual ablutions. In many instances, the Muslim washes his genitals in a public washroom. In one instance an entire line of sinks was in use in one facility with Muslim men, fully exposed, washing their junk. Now employers are providing small bowls for the men to perform their ritual in the restroom stalls - I suppose for the sake of modesty. It sounds odd doesn't it?

Why do they do this? It's purification before prayer, much the same as suicide bombers and other 'martyrs' shave their bodily hair before their sacrifice, they must be ritually pure before going to prayer. Sounds pretty Old Testament doesn't it. The washing of the genitals must be done if there has been any bodily emission, urine, seminal fluid, etc. My understanding is that even toilet paper is not enough after a bowel movement, although I haven't heard of washing there. Here is a piece I found on the 'normal' ablutions:

or "The partial ablution
Before offering the prayer one must be in good shape and pure condition. It is necessary to wash the parts of the body which are generally exposed to dirt or dust or smog.
Declare the intention that the act is for the purpose of Worship and purity.

Wash the hands up to the wrists three times.
Rinse out the mouth with water three times preferably with a brush whenever it is possible.
Cleanse the nostrils of the nose by sniffing water in to them three times.
Wash the whole face three times with both hands if possible from the top of the forehead to the bottom of the chin and from ear to ear.
Wash the right arm three times up to the far end of the elbow and then do the same with the left arm.
Wipe the whole head or any part of it with a wet hand once.
Wipe the inner sides of the ears with the forefingers and their outer sides with the thumbs. This should be done with wet fingers.
Wipe around the neck with wet hands.
Wash the two feet up to the ankles three times beginning with the right foot.
At this stage the ablution is completed and the person who has performed it is ready to start his prayer. When the ablution is valid a person may keep it as long as he can and may use for as many prayers as he wishes."
- Muslim Prayer (So why can't they do it at home?)

Can you imagine the water all over the floor after they are finished?

Now if they would only convert to Catholicism, all they would have to do is go to confession, then they would be really purified. (Of course, Baptism would take care of it in the beginning. Confession is only necessary for sins committed after Baptism.)

Monday, November 27, 2006

A hidden life.

Virgil Burns+

He had been a Dominican third order member, yet transferred to the Carmelites, while his wife Joel remained a Dominican. His son is a hermit priest, founder of a religious community of Carmelite hermits in Lake Elmo. He is building a wonderful monastery with individual hermitages. His community came under the auspices of the Carmelites of the Primitive Observance a few years ago.

Mr. Burns was very proud of his son. He also began a hermitage for lay retreats, which worked well with his counseling services. He helped many people through his Catholic counseling and spiritual direction. He was a very kind and compassionate man, deeply prayerful and devout, may he rest in peace. For those of you who may have missed his obituary, it is reprinted below.

Burns, Virgil A. Age 81 Of Saint Paul died at Veterans Admin. Hospital on Sat. Nov. 18th. A loving husband, father, grand & great-grandfather, and a friend to many. Veteran of the WWII Merchant Marine & US Army Korean War. Graduate of De LaSalle H.S., St. Thomas College and the U. of M. Masters in Social Work. With his wife Joel Ann, founded the ENTHEO Retreat Center at Waconia, MN. A Secular Discalced Carmelite and a member of Knights of Columbus Council # 397. Survived by: his wife Joel Ann (Ullrich); daughters Maria Ann McCoy (Larry), Theresa Burns, Madeleine Haselman (Dan), Catherine O'Sullivan (Michael), & Cmdr. Patricia Burns (John Stephen) US Navy; sons The Rev. John Mary Burns O.Carm. , & Michael (Eileen); grandchildren Joshua, Anton, Matthew, Nicholas, Benjamin, Milissa, & Jillian; great grandchildren Deja, Matai, & Briahna; and brothers Jerome & Ralph Burns. Mass of Christian Burial 10AM Friday November 24th, 2006 at THE CHURCH of ST. MARK, Dayton & Moore Aves. St. Paul. Visitation Friday at church beginning at 8:30AM prior to Mass. Interment Ft. Snelling National Cemetery. Memorials preferred to the Carmelite Monastery. Arr. O'HALLORAN & MURPHY 651-698-0796

Feast of the Miraculous Medal

Today is the commemoration of the apparition of the Immaculate Conception to St. Catherine Laboure at Rue d' Bac, Paris in 1830.
Pictured is the image of the Blessed Virgin as she appeared to Alphonse Ratisbonne, an agnostic Jew, effecting in him an instantaneous conversion to the Roman Catholic Church. (The Church is in Rome and is called S. Andrea della Fratte.) Ratisbonne had been persuaded by a friend to wear the Miraculous Medal, or as it was first known, the medal of the Immaculate Conception.
As a result of his conversion, the devotion of the medal swept Europe, thus gaining recognition as the Miraculous Medal, due to countless graces generated through the devotion.
O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourseto thee.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Gay Stereotypes

And Their Masculine Counter-parts.

"What a wicked game to play,
to make me feel this way.
What a wicked thing to do,
to let me dream of you.
What a wicked thing to say,
you never felt this way.
What a wicked thing to do,
to make me dream of you..."
-Chris Isaak, "Wicked Game"

(It must be 'sweeps week' on Abbey-Roads. Anyway - I haven't posted on gay themes for awhile. I know how popular this subject is...:)

I was discussing the subject with a co-worker, well kind of. Someone we both knew died recently, while there had been no obituary in the newspaper. I innocently remarked it was probably due to the scandal. I assumed everyone had known about it since it had been in the newspapers about a decade ago. My poor friend was shocked - normally - he shocks me with stuff.

Anyway - the conversation moved to another related subject, a priest who had died recently and the friends he left behind. Some gay priests. (Now I had never known about that! See what one slip of the tongue ellicits?)

It is interesting that many of the gay priests we have either known personally, or have heard of, tend to be into the leather scene, as well as sadomasochism - I suppose it's the same thing.

These otherwise compassionate, gentle men, and sometimes very spiritual, when tempted towards homosexual activity, become rough, punishment-for-sexual-pleasure degenerates. The parody of exaggerated masculine stereotypes seems to be their big turn on. What is that all about?

When I was in monastic life, I found out, only after I had left, that my novice-master, now deceased, was into it. At another point, when on retreat at the abbey, a fellow monk told me himself that he was also an aficionado. (Why do people tell me these things?!) Later, I eventually found out about a local priest to whom I once confessed was into it big time, as was as a local religious who finally left his community. I ran into the Brother - leather costume and all - downtown on the street one night after I was leaving a restaurant where I had dinner with friends - he was heading towards a gay bar. Obviously embarrassed, he tried to ignore my hello and rushed by my group. (Not understanding what had just happened, I was offended that he brushed me off, since a week before, he had been asking for donations.)

How curious. My friend and I discussed it a bit more, wondering what it was all about - not this particular topic, but the inconsistency of behaviors - the religious man as sexual pervert. Upon reflection, in the case of those with homosexual inclination, it seems to me it must be an attempt at 'obtaining' or 'feeding' off an idealized masculine archetype in order to bolster one's emotional need to 'feel' masculine, or as a sort of affirmation of one's maleness. Still, at the same time, it could represent some type of search for masculine authority, dominance, and approval - I can't be sure however, it's not my experience, and I may be stretching here to find some understanding. (I'm always just trying to understand - to say to these people, "You're going to hell." doesn't cut it for me. It's easy to condemn, it's not so easy to understand people.)

Decidedly, the degrading aspect of discipline and bondage suggests to me a perverted taste for punishment experienced as sexual pleasure. The painful effects heightening the sexual excitement. It seems to me to be particularly diabolic - hence the exaggerated attraction for consecrated persons. (Spiritual persons experience temptation in a manner more spiritual, albeit, fallen spirits. Whereas, carnal persons are more often tempted by their own concupiscence - hence, the devil doesn't have to work so hard - although, both work hand in hand.) Naturally, the sexual degradation of a priest would also be the manner in which the devil could mock the Passion of Christ as well.

Wouldn't the devil love to tarnish the priest or religious, nay, destroy him with these perverted attractions and practices? The devil, in his machinations and temptations could easily play upon the consecrated person's weaknesses, the psychological need for male relationship, such as with a father or one in authority, or the man's own sense of male inferiority, by alluring the person towards exaggerated macho stereotypes. While at the same time causing shame and degradation in the person, compelling him to accept abuse as a means to sexual gratification. Remember the film "The Exorcist"? The exorcist told the younger priest the devil would use his weaknesses to his advantage. I suspect he does this with the sexually tormented priest or religious.

I obviously do not know the psychology of it all, yet it would seem to me to be a foretaste of hell in some respects, albeit obscured by carnal pleasure. It also suggests to me that at the very least, certain homosexualities are most definitely a mental disorder, although even more deeply, a spiritual disorder, something which the gay community virulently denies. I can't believe someone was born with these inclinations. It has to be nurture - more accurately, the lack, or abuse of it - not nature. At the same time, I can't help but wonder if there is complete freedom of the will involved - I prefer to think not.

We must pray fervently for our priests and religious.

The man with the Blackamoor on his coat.

Coat of arms that is.

That would be Pope Benedict XVI of course and he is getting ready to visit Turkey.

A fine priest said I shouldn't even discuss such things as the possibility of as@%*^nation. Yet there is that novel written about it, and lots of protest in Turkey over his impending visit, as well as 'unprecedented security' - as they always say - covering the visit. In the land of intrigue known for cloak and dagger politics, populated by radical Islamics, I'm not comfortable with this visit. Today the Holy Father asked for our prayers to accompany him on his pilgrimage of reconciliation. He has mine.

I like his coat of arms. (I like bears.) Who is the Moor however?

He is the Moor of Freising:

"The Moor's head is an heraldic charge associated with Freising, Germany. The origins of the Moor's head or caput ethiopicum in Freising is not entirely known. Typically facing left it appeared on the coat of arms of the old principality of Freising as early as 1316. Some theories of its reference include:

Balthasar, one of the Magi, by some legends a Moor
Saint Maurice, a Roman-Egyptian martyr
Saint Zeno, frequently shown as a Moor
Saint Sigismund, often confused historically with Saint Maurice
Saint Corbinian, founder of the Diocese of Freising, mistakenly thought to have been a Moor
" - Wikipedia - I like that place.

A recent book has been published about the third secret of Fatima, (and Rocky says, "Again"?) claiming the entire secret has not been revealed, just the visuals - sans text. Fatima conspiracy theorists love this stuff. Here is a snip from Catholic World News:

"A new book entitled The Fourth Secret of Fatima, by Italian writer Antonio Socci, questions whether a part of the message delivered by the Virgin Mary to the children at Fatima have been hidden by Church leaders for diplomatic reasons.

Socci claims that the famous "third secret," which was revealed in 1995 to describe an attack on a “bishop dressed in white,” is only a fragment of the full message. Socci bases his claim primarily on an analysis of the books Faith Report by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, and Crossing the Threshold of Hope, by Pope John Paul II. To a lesser extent he analyzes homilies, discourses, and public documents by the two Pontiffs.

Rumors and theories about the "third secret" had circulated for years, until in May 2000 the content of the secret was disclosed by Pope John Paul II. The secret detailed a vision of the "bishop dressed in white" who was caught up in a battle against an atheistic system that oppresses the Church. That bishop "falls to the ground, as if dead, after a volley of gunfire." The vision apparently predicted the assassination attempt against John Paul II. Sister Lucia, who at the time was the sole surviving Fatima seer, confirmed in 2000 that the "bishop dressed in white" was the Pope. (Sister Lucia died in February 2005.)" - Catholic World News

I personally believe we have gotten enough of the third secret, and it was interpreted quite well by Cardinal Ratzinger, who admittedly said, "It seems as if these events may have been in the past" - which leaves open the question, was JPII really "the bishop in white who collapsed as if dead amidst a hail of bullets"? Or could it be another future pope? See, visions and prophecies are hard to figure out, and if there is a missing text of Our Lady's words, we probably just don't fit the description of those having "a need to know".

But what if the blackamoor is a prophetic symbol and there really is a missing text to the third secret? Now that's the stuff I shouldn't even mention.

Regardless, the Holy Father is snugly in the hand of God, albeit he is embarking on a very dangerous journey. He asked for our prayers, and like I said, he has mine.

Viva il papa!

The Knights of Columbus are urging Catholics to accompany the Holy Father with prayer as a spiritual pilgrimage as he visits Turkey. Here is the prayer:

Prayer for the Pope

"Heavenly Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name, we humbly ask that you sustain, inspire, and protect your servant, Pope Benedict XVI, as he goes on pilgrimage to Turkey – a land to which St. Paul brought the Gospel of your Son; a land where once the Mother of your Son, the Seat of Wisdom, dwelt; a land where faith in your Son’s true divinity was definitively professed. Bless our Holy Father, who comes as a messenger of truth and love to all people of faith and good will dwelling in this land so rich in history. In the power of the Holy Spirit, may this visit of the Holy Father bring about deeper ties of understanding, cooperation, and peace among Roman Catholics, the Orthodox, and those who profess Islam. May the prayers and events of these historic days greatly contribute both to greater accord among those who worship you, the living and true God, and also to peace in our world so often torn apart by war and sectarian violence.

We also ask, O Heavenly Father, that you watch over and protect Pope Benedict and entrust him to the loving care of Mary, under the title of Our Lady of Fatima, a title cherished both by Catholics and Muslims. Through her prayers and maternal love, may Pope Benedict be kept safe from all harm as he prays, bears witness to the Gospel, and invites all peoples to a dialogue of faith, reason, and love. We make our prayer through Christ, our Lord. Amen." - Knights of Columbus

Politics and the feast of Christ the King

Monarchists should love this feast day, while they most likely would have celebrated it according to the old calendar. The modern Church, yes even the encyclical of Pius XI, stresses the spiritual significance of the Kingship of Christ. Americans do not understand monarchy, therefore the Lordship/Kingship of Christ is more palatable to our revolutionary understanding when it is understood spiritually, not so much terrestially - we are much like our revolutionary cousins in France in this respect.

The purpose of the feast:
"Pope Pius XI instituted the Solemnity of Christ the King on 11 December 1925 in his encyclical Quas Primas. At that time he saw the rise of atheistic communism and secularism as a direct result of man's turning away from Christ's sovereignty, and man's denying of the authority of Christ's Church. This result was "disorder" or a move away from the Divine Order. The Feast of Christ the King was set on the last Sunday in October." - Wikipedia

The hoped for effects:
"25. Moreover, the annual and universal celebration of the feast of the Kingship of Christ will draw attention to the evils which anticlericalism has brought upon society in drawing men away from Christ, and will also do much to remedy them. While nations insult the beloved name of our Redeemer by suppressing all mention of it in their conferences and parliaments, we must all the more loudly proclaim his kingly dignity and power, all the more universally affirm his rights." - Pius XI, Quas primas

A few weeks ago when all the debate concerning the liberal use of the pre-Vatican II ordo of Pius V was circulating around the news and blogworld, a few people discussed the political ramifications affecting resistance towards this 'indult' apparently centered within the French hierarchy. In France, as well as Austria, Spain and other nations, there is a contingent of royalists, or monarchists supporting the liberalization of the Tridentine rite. Monarchists tend to be traditionalists, while not all traditionalists tend to be monarchists.

Considering this, it seems to me on some level, the Mass has sometimes become a political statement. I wondered if perhaps that is why it changed so dramatically the years following Vatican II, which occasioned such license in liturgical innovation. The priest facing the people, being on a horizontal plane with the congregation, the exclusion of pageantry and ritual, the inclusion of laity and ideology into the celebration? People who claim communists infiltrated the Church at the time of the Council, also claim they got their way by desacralizing the liturgy. Perhaps it wasn't as sinister as all of that however, perhaps it was simply a misguided attempt just to be more relevant to the modern world that has rejected every form of monarchy?

At any rate, it seems to me that the Mass has sometimes been used as a political tool in the hand of propagandists. I think it is a good idea to restore the Mass, both rites, to a place of dignity - without regard to politics, offering fitting praise and worship to Christ the King. Growing up, the homilies for this feast always were interjected with socio-political ideals, once again placing the emphasis upon man as opposed upon God - most of the homilies continue to be this way - I don't know what else a priest could say about the feast however.

When I think of the end of time, because this feast also focuses our attention upon that reality, I'm reminded that there will be "new heavens, and a new earth". Which means there are two things I don't get; one, I'm rather apolitical and so not a monarchist, hence the feast of Christ the King isn't a big one for me; two, I want to go to heaven while there is a natural part of me that rebels against the idea of having to land back on a "new earth" - since the old one sucks.

I need to pray for an increase of hope it seems. Pray for me if you are one of the two or three people who read this blog.

Home For Purim

Christopher Guest's "For Your Consideration"
The film is a take off about a movie within a movie generating Oscar buzz, starring Catherine O'Hara, who looks insane as usual. The movie generating all of the buzz in the film is titled "Home For Purim" - which is just funny by itself. I can't wait to see it.
Pictured, the cast all dressed up for Purim.
What is "Purim" for the Jews I wondered? Turns out, it's kind of like secular Christmas; festivities, gifts, drinking, fun, etc. Here is a description:
Purim, A Festival of Gladness
Purim is celebrated in Jewish communities around the world each year on the 14th day of Adar, which will fall on March 21, 1997. The festival is based upon the story told in the Book of Esther, a tale of humorous and melodrama parody of palace intrigue, in which the brave Queen Esther and her uncle, Mordecai, save their people from the twisted genocidal plot of the wicked vizar of Persia, Haman. The name "Purim" means "lots" and refers to the mechanism by which Haman chosen a date for the annhilation of the Jewish people, a decision made out of rage because Mordecai refused to bow down to him in public. The festival of Purim is celebrated primarily by reading the Book of Esther from a hand-written scroll called the Megillah, and blotting out the sound of Haman's name with noise-makers called groggers. People attend the Megillah reading dressed in costume, most often characters from the story. Purim is not considered a holy day, and carries none of the prohibitions associated with the pilgrimage festivals, and it is certainly not celebrated as a holy day. The order of the day is costumes, gift-giving, and historically, a good amount of drinking. The Talmud instructs that one should consume enough alcohol to render one unable to distinguish between "Bless Mordecai" and "Curse Haman," a tradition that probably derives from two reasons. First, much of the plot of the story revolves around the drinking of alcohol. Second, while the tale told in the Book of Esther is not considered historical, and is certainly irreverent, it rings true because of the Jewish people's long history which has included oppression, expulsions, pogroms, and genocide.

Purim is traditionally celebrated in the way that Mordecai instruction the Jews (Esther 9:19) to commemorate their deliverance by:
giving portions (food gifts) to one another
giving gifts to the poor
-Rabbi Scheineman's Home Page
There is a long history of the Persians wanting to annihilate the Jews isn't there?