Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Mass that will not die

The Washington Times had a nice article about the Traditional rite Mass. A reporter and a cameraman went to St. Mary's in DC. I used to go to that church. If you're ever in China town go visit. It's beautiful.

Arlington diocese blogger

Here's a new (to me) local blog that got me very excited. http://tlmarlington.blogspot.com/

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Mass tonight

Mass was beautiful tonight. Father gave his usual sterling homily this time it was about pride. How many of us are like the pharisee who was so smug that he was no longer talking to God in the temple but was really carrying on a lovefest with himself when in his prayer he listed all his virtues. How many of us prayer like the publican who knowing himself simply said, "Oh God, be merciful to me, a sinner."

After Mass I went to confession-- we got there too late to go before and ordered a Christmas wreath. For Priesthood Sunday we gave the Fathers two dozen home made doughnuts. I hope they get a kick out of them.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

a silly daydream

I have this recurring daydream of being able to go back in time and finding Martin Luther straining over his chamber pot. I'd hand him a bottle of Kaopectate. "Here Marty, drink this!"

Hopefully he'd mistake me for an angel or a demon, drink the constipation medicin and the whole cleaving of Christendom thing never would've happened.

I mentioned this to Rocky once and he, bless his heart, suggested that Martin Luther probably would've been so shocked to see a woman in his privy that he would've refused the bottle. Rocky's other theory is that Luther and I would've had a Star Wars Duel of the Fates type argument and he would've gone dark anyway. Rocky then went on to point out that Luther's problems with the Church went beyond crazy thoughts while having chronic battles with his bowels. Oh well.


J.K. Rowling says that Dumbledore's character is gay. My brother-in-law wouldn't allow his kids to read the series because something about it just didn't feel right. I thought he was being extreme at the time but now...

Dymphna asks a few rude questions...

Tony Blair the former Prime Minister of Great Britain was the speaker at the annual Al Smith Dinner in New York. Now Tony is not a Catholic or if he is he is a secret one which I find inexcusable unless you are in stuck in Muslim country and announcing your faith would get you slaughtered in the street by the neighbors--- and I don't recall that he was much of an abortion fighter so why is he the key note speaker? Eliot Spitzer, (NY State gov) and Michael Bloomberg (da mayor of NYC) were also there, and I have to wonder why was Cardinal Egan even present at this dinner.

Somebody may read this and say, "Now Dymphna, Jesus went to dinner with sinners." Yes, He did and He told them to repent and sin no more. He didn't sit around shooting the shit with them and confirming them in their wicked ways.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Priesthood Sunday

October 28 is Priesthood Sunday. Say a prayer for your priest or do something thoughtful for him. Invite him to dinner (obviously this is not an option for single women unless you invite other people as well), bake him cookies, offer to sweep the leaves away from the church door, pick up the trash in the parking lot, offer to drive him to the hospital for his sick calls some time (this is a great gift to elderly priests who are having problems driving at night). If you're handy offer to do some of the repairs around the church and rectory.

There are a whole lot of little things that go into a priest's day. Some members of the laity who are dying to "help" really could help by offering to do the mundane tasks that make Father's life a little easier or let me put it more bluntly: instead of clamoring to be Eucharistic Ministers more of us should be volunteering to clean the toilets and the pews.

You gotta read this

Last Sunday, my pastor preached on contraception and it was a mighty sermon. He said he knew this would not be well recieved but he had to speak the truth and that he was inspired by Our Lady of Hope.

This absolutely brilliant blog post from Mission Territory is very much along the lines of what Fr. was talkin' about:

WARNING: What follows is going to be a pretty bitter rant. Let me qualify everything I may say (since I won’t have time to edit it) with this: no, I have not lost my faith. I am still every bit the traditionalist, pro-life, wholeheartedly believing Catholic I was. I’ve simply seen too much in the past few days to believe that we’re having any success whatsoever at reaching those who need us more than anyone else: the poor.
We’re fighting the wrong battle. Abortion is so visible; it attracts so much attention; but, it’s a wicked feint. We’re like French soldiers haplessly manning the impregnable Maginot Line while the Germans, ruthlessly efficient, simply marched around. We feel so good praying our Rosaries in front of abortion clinics; we might even spend time showing others the horrors of “termination” with graphical photos of dismembered fetuses. We donate to pro-life causes; we volunteer at agencies that promote support of pregnant women. We really do make a difference.
But for every person we help lead back to a culture of life, we lose countless others who fall victim to the ultimate modern seduction. It goes by a simple name; it is a simple ploy; and unfortunately, it works. It’s called the Pill, and it may be the Enemy’s perfect weapon.
Think about it: what else can you procure that will instantly divest you of any responsibility for anyone but yourself? Just take a pill every day (or even better, a shot every three months or a patch every week), and you no longer have to worry about kids interrupting your pleasure. It’s no wonder that the vast majority of poor Hispanic women, of whom a large number are nominally Catholic, fall for it. Why have a brood of children when you can have sex with your boyfriend (and why bother to get married for that matter?) with impunity?
And yes, there are consequences to this libertine mentality. Sexually-transmitted diseases are rife. But there’s another subtle aspect to this sabotage of fertility: an often warranted faith in the infallibility of modern medicine. If we do get sick, the doctors can fix it. What’s scary is that, in many cases, we can.
So, on the one hand, we have the Catholic ideal: accepting the God-given gift of marriage and fertility, loving children as we procreate them, supported by a community–a Church–that makes the raising of future faithful generations possible. It’s an incomparably beautiful vision–but it relies upon self-denial. On the other hand, we have the modern ideal: planned parenthood. Sex is for your pleasure only; if you want to, you can let it follow its “natural” course to produce children; if you don’t, it’s not a problem. Hedonism rules under the guise of liberty, and self-denial is the ultimate evil.
Look at the evidence and tell me which of these two visions is winning the hearts of the one group of people that we are commanded above any other to serve: the poor. We well-catechized Catholics can see the beauty of the culture of life–and even we, if we really look into our hearts are seduced to some extent by the other side. Imagine those who do not know their Faith–those who often simply struggle from day to day to make ends meet. They are provided–usually for free, by our health care system–access to the modern vision of freedom. We Catholics, on the other hand, offer an alternative that is costly. Beautiful and true, yes, but at a price that most people today are unwilling to pay.
So what can we do to stem what I’ve described as an inexorable tide? I really don’t know, but here are some thoughts.
We have failed first and foremost in community. If a woman has a child in an adulterous relationship, we should step and help her to take care of him. If she can’t, then we should take the child in. We must, for our own souls’ sake, rely upon others of like commitment.
We have also been failed by our priests. If Father neither preaches from the pulpit nor counsels in private that contraception is a problem, then the message is obvious: that it’s OK. Even worse, if he actively counsels his flock in private (or in public) that it’s OK to contracept and have sex outside of marriage–and I know this happens in our parishes daily–there is no way we will be able to convince people otherwise. Especially not in a hierarchical Latin-American society where the padre, for some reason which escapes me, still commands a vestigial position of authority. Our pastors must be men of faith who preach and practice what the Church teaches. Yes, they are human and they will sin, but that does not change the Truth they proclaim.
And we have failed, and will continue to fail, individually. Original sin still haunts us and will continue to do so. So, in the end, despite my bitterness, I am compelled to write that there indeed is hope. We are not intrinsically different from our fathers; they failed but the possibility of life eternal continues. We should pray; we should start attempting to rebuild, on a small scale at first, the communities, pastored by good priests, that make living the Catholic life possible. It was possible before despite our sinfulness; it is still possible. Maybe, as Alasdair Macintyre suggests, we do need a new St. Benedict to lead us into the desert and teach us to purify our souls.
We rightly fight the evil of abortion, but by all means, we mustn’t lose sight of the real battle.

some times my fellow Christians embarrass me pt. 2

I saw this story about a priest who is an Elvis impersonator at Ignorant Redneck and Carolina Cannonball. He also sings Celine Dion songs.

Oh my.

Somehow I don't think St. John Vianey would give this young and perhaps well meaning priest a pat on the back. I wouldn't expect a bucket load of praise from Archbishop Fulton Sheen either and I almost tremble to think what St. Pio's reaction would be.

Somebody needs to run screaming to Fr. Petrescu's bishop. Gee whiz!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A word of wisdom from St. John Eudes

"The most evident mark of God's anger and the most terrible castigation He can inflict upon the world are manifested when He permits His people to fall into the hands of clergy who are priests more in name than in deed, priests who practice the cruelty of ravening wolves rather than the charity and affection of devoted shepherds. Instead of nourishing those committed to their care, they rend and devour them brutally. Instead of leading their people to God, they drag Christian souls into hell in their train. Instead of being the salt of the earth and the light of the world, they are its innocuous poison and its murky darkness...."

some times my fellow Christians embarrass me

Really now, people this is ridiculous! If you believe this story you should just go join a church where they dance with snakes on Saturday night.

while I was out

My mama and I went to South Carolina to sell my some family property. It went very well. The lawyer I found did a great job and I thank God my father left such a clear and straightforward will. Afterwards we bought flowers and visited the family graves. There is a small Catholic church in my mother's home town and I've always wanted to go there but it's a mission church which means the priest comes twice a week for confession and for one Mass. I was reminded yet again how lucky I am. There are several parishes near me and my own is open for most of the day and evening.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Beware of mini popes

Coming from Mark Shea that's a really ironic statement since the man makes his living off a Catholicism. He's attacking a woman named Janice Kraus who dares to say that some Evangelical converts have been confused in their application of the Faith and are causing confusion because of their teaching. Shea calls her a lot of names and snobbishly insults her job---- she's an Administrative Assistant but he never answers her questions. Is the church served by people who aren't priests, traditional nuns or bona fide theologians going from parish to parish giving speeches and selling their books just like a Evangelical preacher on a revival tour?

I don't know Janice Kraus from Eve and I'm not saying I'd rush to hear her talk or buy her books if she was selling any but I know I don't trust Shea and his ilk.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Pay any price, bear any burden

I was reading a post over at Walled Garden about facing possible infertility and deciding whetehr to fight or accept that some things are meant to be and was trasported back to the worst time of my life. One day in what now seems like a long time ago, I looked up at the calendar, did a mental calculation of how long Rocky and I had been married and realized that something was wrong. I should've have a successful pregnancy by then. I went to doctors and endured unpleasant and expensive tests. I decided that I was going to do whatever it took to get pregnant and stay that way until I could deliver a viable baby. I was willing to pay any price and bear any burden in my great crusade.

Here's something the infertility doctors don't tell you: Trying to get a baby costs a lot of money. Let no one sugar coat this. You will need LOTS of ready cash and in the end you may have nothing but massive credit card debt to show for it. Adoption, to be fair, also costs a LOT of money and you'd best try to do it while you are under 40 and before you spend all your cash on infertilty treatments. You will also have to put up with well meaning advice from people who have no freaking idea of what they are talking about and the smug near contempt of luckier women. (So much for universal sisterhood. I find that other women can be crueler than any man and with minimal effort.)

I remember going to the hopsital to have a test that my doctor told me would be mildly annoying, like a pinch. I knew I was in for trouble when I walked into the hospital room. He had three nurses. Two to assist him and one hold my hand if I needed it and to keep me from thrashing around. It was not mildly annoying. It felt like a swarm of bees was moving through my reproductive system and stinging me as they went. I prayed for courage. I prayed that I not start crying and embarrass myself. Finally, just when I realized that I couldn't contain myself anymore and was going to start weeping the test was over. The nurses and the doctor congratulated me for being so tough and remarked with wonder that I didn't carry on one bit. They had me lie still for about ten minutes(to avoid dizziness) and then slowly go to the dressing room. Rocky came in and helped me get dressed. I was still stunned from how painful the whole test was and pretty much did nothing but nod and grunt when the doctor told me that my tubes were clear.

We went home and Rocky told me to stop this. He refused to let me torture myself anymore. I was relieved but sad. Actually sad doesn't adequately describe how I felt. Amy Winehouse singing Back to Black sounds like a mere case of the blues compared to the state I was in. I felt like a failure. I felt as if I'd let everyone down. I, who was always the best little girl in the world. I, who was always a high achiever who feared and dispised failure, was publicly, spectacularly letting everyone down. Rocky would not have a child. My mother would not get a grandbaby. My deceased father's family line would die out. His genetic gifts would perish from the earth. It was as if he was dying a second time and it was my fault. A few days later my brother-in-law called to say that his wife was having a baby. I told him how happy I was for them and I meant it. Then I hung up the phone, collasped to the floor and cried and cried and then when I thought I was done, I cried some more.

I felt such rage. People like Susan Smith and Diane Downs have children easily. The undeserving, the ill equiped, the abusive all seemed to be able to have children but not I. I hated being around babies. I loathed the sight of a pregnant woman. It seemed like I was constantly being smacked in the face with reminders of my own physical decrepitude. I brooded and sank into a pit of despair.

And then one day, things got better. One day God decided that since I wasn't going to help myself He'd give me a shove in the right direction. I may tell that story one of these days. Say a prayer for childless women. It's not something you just get over and it's forever. I'm happy now and I can even suspect that it might be for the best. Two serious hereditary health conditions run in my family and I would hate to pass that on to a beloved child. One day, God will tell me why He said no and I accept that.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Please let this poor man retire.

Something is wrong with Bishop Donald Pelotte. The poor man should be allowed to quietly retire and he obviously needs prayers.

Pray for me St. Therese

Tridentine Mass at St. Rita's

Last Saturday my parish celebrated Mass in the traditional rite. It was gorgeous. I was struck by two things. First, it was so quiet. Even the littlelest kids were quiet. Maybe they were entertained by angels. Everyone was paying attention to the action on the altar. Nobody was talking to either each other or on their cell phones. Second, every veil Halo Works makes was on display and most were worn by young women. Black and white were the majority veil colors. I had a red one made by a nice lady in Alabama.

A few days later my husband had a fascinating conversation with a 70 year old priest about the Traditional Mass. The priest, a dear man really, said he thought it would all come to nothing because people don't understand Latin. Oh Fr., I wanted to say, give us a chance. Younger Catholics aren't as dumb as you think. If you challenge us we will rise to the occasion. If you give us the same old crap we will fall away.

At any rate, the Mass was stunning. My eyes were filled with tears and all I can say is thanks, Holy Father.
Laity, if you really want to do some Catholic action don't just bitch and moan. This is our moment. Get dressed, heave yourself off the sofa and go to any Traditional Mass that is offered at least once a month. If we don't show up the bishops will drop it.