Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Random thoughts before I head to the mall

Every now and then, First Things lets something great slip by the editors. This  essay describes a typical suburban parish. I've been to plenty of St. Dismas's and the religion taught there isn't strong enough to sustain a soul in good times or bad.

One of the biggest blocks to vocations is parents, mother's mainly, throwing a fit when their son (particularly an only son) says he wants to be a priest. This is wrong. You can not sit in the pew and consider yourself good if you deliberately interfere in the will of God. He gave you His only Son. Who are you to deny Him yours?

Fritz von Uhde Heilge was fond of painting scenes from the bible using modern dress. He portrays Joseph and Mary as Dutch peasants walking the road to Bethlehem and several years later shows the Nativity. It looks like St. Joseph is making cocoa or maybe oatmeal.
The Road to Bethlehem (1890)

Holy Night (1911)


Ahem, I guess Dutch kids behaved themselves back in old days. Folk lore said that St. Nicholas would settle all family business for parents before Christmas.  The folks in this lithograph must have had a real little stinker because they both look delighted.  The father is looking like he doesn't even know who this kid is. 


Steve Dalton said...

In most countries in Europe, St. Nick is assisted by a devil called Krampus. He's the one who hands out the fanny whackings to naughty boys and girls.

R J said...

Mrs. Dymphna, I am sure that I am much older than you. I belong to a generation of magazine staffers who, at the very start of their training, were told that any contribution submitted by someone who did not have the courage to sign his or her name should be, and would be, hurled into the nearest trash bin.

The present-day editors of First Things allowed the diatribe in question (a diatribe which I might have credited with some claims to moral seriousness if it had been signed) to appear without the author's identification on it. Clearly these editors have a different ethical code from the one drummed into me all those years ago. This is on the optimistic assumption that they have any ethical code at all.

I have said it previously and I shall keep saying it as long as it needs saying: there is nothing brave about anonymous calumny. The anonymous calumniator is not a martyr. He is a very, very, very sad sack. Such denunciations are the moral equivalents of heavy-breathing phone calls at 2 a.m., or of old-fashioned poison-pen letters in green ink.

In the wake of the Rolling Stone brouhaha there is even less justification for magazines to rely on anonymous tip-offs than there would have been before. I note that my complaint to FT's combox about the dangers of anonymity disappeared within a few minutes of its being posted (it might, or might not, come back; it certainly did not violate any decencies of combox discourse). If FT, already in the same parlous financial condition as most Catholic publications in the Western world, goes out of business through the unconscionable cowardice it has shown in this matter, its bosses will have only themselves to blame.

Robert Stove, Australia.

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

Krampus is the name in Austria.

Note well, usually Krampus is very eager to beat some boy up but never gets a chance, St Nicholas giving him interdiction to touch them.