Saturday, June 02, 2007

American paranoia.

In the United States, it seems pretty darn obvious many of us live in dread of getting sick - or living with an illness. Have you ever noticed all the healthcare commercials, and drug ads that run on television? Of course you have, you Advil popping hypochondriac you.

We are so scared to death of the next plague or epidemic, we can barely sleep. The infectious-TB-globe-trotting-Romeo story certainly betrays some one's hysterical fears. If you didn't see Dianne Sawyer's interview on ABC's Good Morning America with the guy, here is a snippet from the print story:
"In an exclusive interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer, tuberculosis patient Andrew Speaker said he never thought others were at risk for catching his deadly disease.

"I'm very sorry for any grief or pain that I have caused anyone," Speaker said from his isolation room in the National Jewish Hospital in Denver. "I think if people look at my life, that's not … not how I live my life.'" - ABC News
Don't get me wrong, Andrew Speaker, knowingly or unknowingly, probably acted irresponsibly. Yet so did the authorities involved. So maybe blame "fate".
Some day, the world is sure to encounter a pandemic, probably spread by airline travel. However, this TB story just seems to highlight the richest country in the world's neurosis over health and mortality. This, in a country where over a million abortions a year are performed. (Does anyone else see the irony here?)

Oh! The humanity!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Mass today...

I attended Mass today at Assumption in St. Paul, expecting they would have Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, but they have dicontinued it. (They used to have it every Friday, all day.) I hadn't been there since they refurbished the interior, it was beautiful. I saw many familiar faces there from years ago, the same people, sitting in the same place, albeit a bit older, it was edifying. What constancy these people have - how faithful they have been over the years.

However, listen to this!

What with the recent posts on appropriate attire for Mass, I must say I was a bit embarrassed to have worn corduroys after Memorial Day. Indeed, I was asked to leave by the usher, who was wearing a nice pair of neatly pressed Bermuda shorts.
Photo: Patty Hearst attacked by Kathleen Turner for wearing white after Labor Day in their roles for the movie "Serial Mom". In this scene, Ms. Hearst is desperately trying to convince Ms. Turner's character that it is now okay to wear white after Labor Day. (Don't tell Cathy that!)

I'd be embarrassed...

Rappin' for Jesus. (I know - This is something you would expect to read in some dorky Diocesan Newspaper.)
"Thanks to the initiative of Conventual Franciscan Father Masseo Gonzales, the teens have discovered rap from the Catholic perspective.

Two months ago the priest, known as “El Padrecito” from the collection of “Homies” his brother developed and marketed in books, comic strips and plastic figures, decided to create Hiz-Kidz, a group of 20 young people between 14 and 19 years old. The title comes from urban slang. “It is a game of words,” said Father Gonzales. “’Hiz’ means both God and Hispanics.”" - Catholic Online
So's like Fr. Stan Fortuna - it just isn't cool - unless you are between the ages of 5 and maybe 10 years old.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Give it a whirl...

Jeffrey at Roving Medievalist has a very good post, suggesting bloggers occasionally write about their home parish - highlighting customs, people, etc. Indeed, it is a good way to share with others some positive things in the Church, taking place right where we live. I think it's a great idea.

Above, liturgical dance as it is done at my parish, this happens to be the line for Communion - active participation is not a problem here! (Just on Sundays though.)

Feeling trapped? Frustrated?

Try getting out more. Step out of your paradigm.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

It's not that unusual...

Photo: Cardinal Ivan Diaz lighting lamp/incense, before Hindu deity, Ganesha - an elephant headed god. (More photos at Tradition in Action. I was unable to find a more recent photo I came across, showing another Bishop performing a similar function in honor of a pagan deity, not that it matters. Although at one time, martyrs gave their lives rather than make sacrifices to idols.)

On Pentecost, St Joan of Arc had Tibetan monks chanting during Mass - it was a mystical experience for some.
"The resonances of this chant stirs me on the level of insight. It envisions the deep stirring of oneness and, dare I say, the divine groanings. So please enter into the chants with a new listening." - Fr. DeBruycker, St. Joan's pastor.
An event such as this is not so unusual however. Several years ago, St. Paul Seminary had chanting Tibetan monks in the sanctuary of the chapel (one sat lotus position on the altar) for a prayer service. Lately, Bishops have been photographed lighting incense to Asian deities, etc. Traditionalists lamented the International Assisi inter-religious conferences where pagans worshipped alongside Catholics - performing pagan rituals in Catholic sanctuaries. And one ought not to forget the Beatification Mass of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, with Hindu-esque dancers during the Offertory.
This stuff hardly seems news-worthy any longer.
"By means of shrewd lies, unremittingly repeated, it is possible to make people believe that heaven is hell — and hell heaven. The greater the lie, the more readily it will be believed." - Some fellow with the last name of Hitler.
(Thank you Ray for the lead on this story.)

Monday, May 28, 2007


"Idiotic utterance; silly nonsense; twaddle. A useful way of passing time, a productive way of releasing tension and defusing flames, as well as an opportunity to explicate one's vast knowledge of utterly useless matters." - Web definition

The other day I noticed a commentator using this term in describing blogs. He thought most blogs were drivel. It occasioned some introspection.
(Painting: "Man Imitating Cloud" - Norwegian painter, Odd Nerdrum)

Memorial Day 2007

"It is scarcely possible that the eyes of contemporaries should discover in the public felicity the latent causes of decay and corruption. This long peace, and the uniform government of the Romans, introduced a slow and secret poison into the vitals of the empire. The minds of men were gradually reduced to the same level, the fire of genius was extinguished, and even the military spirit evaporated." - The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Head coverings for women...

Photo, President and Mrs. Kennedy leavng Mass in Newport, RI.

The cover up

Obviously this dressing up for Church thing has really grabbed my attention. (And here I'm the one who used to make fun of women who wear chapel veils - so I'm just as bad as everyone else.)

Anyway, quite by accident, while looking for funny nun pictures, I came across this interesting piece regarding the history of women's head coverings. (It is neither scholarly nor exhaustive, yet remains interesting nonetheless.) Have a read, ladies:

A short history

"But then I read the writings of the early Christians. And then I understood why Mennonite and Amish women wear prayer veils or head coverings. I realized that it was in obedience to 1 Corinthians 11:5, which says, “Every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved.” The early Christian women veiled their heads not only in church, but also anytime they were in public.

From my later study of church history, I discovered that Christian women continued to maintain this practice through the all centuries up to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. During the nineteenth century, many Christians in the United States and western Europe began arguing that long hair constituted the only covering women needed. Others said that women only needed to wear a covering when in church. The middle class and wealthy women switched from veils and caps to ornate bonnets—if they wore a covering at all. Bonnets became more a matter of fashion than of modesty or obedience to 1 Corinthians 11.

By the turn of the twentieth century, the ornate bonnets of the nineteenth century had given way to ladies’ hats. Until the mid-century, women in Europe and America typically wore a hat or scarf in public, but they were simply following tradition and fashion—without realizing that there was originally a spiritual reason behind the practice. Similarly, until about 1960, western women wore hats when in church. But the meaning behind the hat was lost.

Today, Christian women in eastern churches still cover their heads in church. Some of them cover their heads all of the time. In the west, some Plymouth Brethren women still wear the prayer veil in church, as do many black women. But usually these sisters do not wear a head covering at other times." -Source: "Headcoverings Through the Centuries"

Now isn't that just special? (Yes, I know, the scriptural passage is why Caholic women covered their heads in Church. But once again, did you know that Jackie Kennedy is the one who popularized the mantilla in the U.S.? Until then, most women wore hats or scarves - or that doilie thingie.)

And another thing

Strangely enough, Fr. Edward MacNamarra recently (5/22/07) responded to a question concerning the scriptural injunction for women's heads to be covered, he had this to say:

"During St. Paul's time it was considered modest for a woman to cover her head, and he was underscoring this point for their presence in the liturgical assembly.

This custom was considered normative and was enshrined in Canon 1262.2 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law alongside the recommendation that men and women be separated in Church and that men go bareheaded. This canon was dropped from the new Code of Canon Law promulgated in 1983, but the practice had already begun to fall into disuse from about the beginning of the 1970s.

Even though no longer legally binding, the custom is still widely practiced in some countries, especially in Asia. It has been generally abandoned in most Western countries even though women, unlike men, may still wear hats and veils to Mass if they choose. Sociological factors might also have been involved. The greater emphasis on the equality of man and woman tended to downplay elements that stressed their differences.

Likewise, for the first time in centuries, not donning a hat outdoors, especially for men, ceased being considered as bad manners, whereas up to a few years beforehand it was deemed unseemly to go around hatless. This general dropping of head covering by both sexes may also have influenced the disappearance of the religious custom." - Zenit - May 22, 2007

Finally, one more, "Did you know?" Yeah, so did you know that Hassidic Jewish women must always have their head covered as well? But they wear wigs - which is technically a head covering. :)

Maria Elena Vidal, at "Tea At Trianon" has a beautiful post on this subject, concerning the mystical significance of head coverings for women.

The Cathedral of Los Angeles

Above the bronze doors of the new Cathedral stands this figure of Our Lady. Both were designed by the Mexican born, Los Angeles sculptor, Robert Graham, who coincidentally is married to actress Anjelica Huston. I believe the architectual design of this Cathedral would be considered "Post-Modern" as opposed to the International Style I reference on my post at Abbey Road2.