Tuesday, October 28, 2008

And now for something completely different

Rocky and I went to Richmond and visited Sacred Heart Cathedral.

It was completed in 1906, and puts our little "cathedral" in the Arlington diocese part of Virginia to shame. For one thing, it's actually open during the day for people to come and pray and you can even see a priest walking by. And unlike St. Thomas Moore we didn't run into any tyranical staffers. It's beautiful inside and in December they should be done with the restoration. Virginia Commonwealth University has grown up around the cathedral and during the school season you'll see hundreds of kids walking by. Sacred Heart has a lively campus ministry and a large youth group. Monroe park is right in front of the cathedral and we were thrilled to see what I think was a one of the red hawk breeds or a harrier fly over us and perch in a tree there.

Later we went to Comfort on Broad Street to eat. The cheese grits were very good. We also stopped at Sallie Bell's Kitchen for deviled eggs. They are almost as good as my mother's.

Today I met two wonderful people praying in front of Alexandria's abortion clinic. One goes to my parish and the other goes to the parish my husband usually visits on his day off for adoration. It was cold and windy but they were there. God bless them.

Monday, October 27, 2008

So what happens now?

I've been reading a number of posts on Catholic blogs which argue that the abortion fight as it has been fought is over. The cocktail circuit republicans have no use for us. Obama will probably win and he will probably get the Freedom of Choice Act passed. We Christians, these bloggers say, need to take a different approach.

Maybe. I know that if just 50 maybe even only 40% of Catholics were serious about the Faith we could change the world.
There was a time in this country when Catholicism was respected. I'm sure that there were many anti Christians in Hollywood in the 50s and early 60s but they knew that if they made a movie that was offensive decent people wouldn't watch it and their gravy trian would come to an end. Now we, Christians act and react like everybody else. We are too afraid and ashamed of the gospel to stand in the arena so we sit, perhaps in the back, but still there with the people who are cheering on the lions. We want so badly to not look provincial, backwards, uncool that we melt right in to the muck.

If every Christian man who indulges in skin magazines decided to stop reading FM, King, Maxim, and all those others they could drive those publications out of business. If every Catholic woman who buys condoms before a hot date would decide to live chastely it would cause a positive ripple effect. If every Christian woman who wastes her money on "spicy romance" novels gave it up, the publishing world would have to sit up and take notice. If every Christian man who is guffawing at South Park, Family Guy, etc. decided to pass that stuff by we could make network television less dangerous.
Do you remember when NYPD Blue showed a completely naked actress in prime time? How many Christians tuned in that night? I remember flipping chanels and seeing an extreme sex scene one night on HBO. It was only half a step from straight up porn. I turned the channel but I'll bet millions of Christians didn't. Remember the original 90210 or Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Sex in the City? All were beloved by women and all featured a cast where every character was having sex outside of marriage with no consequences. It wasn't just pagans who made those shows into hits.

We, who profess the gospel of Jesus Christ have to change our ways. I'm not saying we need to act like the Amish but we ought not be Young Goodman Brown either. We do need to stand out and live a noiceably different way. We have to actually practice what our better priests and bishops preach. This will not be fun. It will be painful and it might cost friendships, invitations to the better parities and for some of us, even our jobs. But, we are in a spiritual war and every war has it's casualities.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Oh gee. Not this crap again.

According the Catholic News Service there was a proposal at the Bishop's synod to officially install women in the ministry of lectors. This is crap. First off I'm sick of all these ministries at church. You have the flower ministry, the grief ministry, the welcoming ministry, the hospitality ministry. Please!

And what does the proposal mean by "officially install"? Are we talking about a faux ordination ceremony? That's getting into pretty dangerous waters.

There is only one minister-- the priest. Everybody else is just a volunteer or a paid lay worker. Permanent deacons, as we know them today are a fairly recent church experiment and they may have their place, but they are no replacement for the priest.

This proposal (Does anything good ever come out of a bishop synod?), is just another chipping away at the dignity and the uniqueness of the priesthood. If you want a priestess go find another religion.

everyday evil

A few years ago a friend of mine had an abortion. Nobody spoke up for the baby except the father, who had no standing at all, and me. I still suspect that I failed that child because I told my friend that no matter what she did I would not abandon her. Looking back on it now I wish that I'd told her that if she had an abortion I'd never speak to her again. It probably wouldn't have done any good, in fact, it probably would've been the worst thing to do, but maybe, just maybe, it would've given that child a chance. Every single day a mother waits and thinks about whether or not to go through with an abortion is a chance. Everyone, including two priests have assured me that no, my original gentle approach was best but I still wonder...

My friend's father, after she'd gone to the abortion clinic tried to comfort her by saying that it was for the best because he would've had to buy a more expensive larger house (if she'd kept the baby) instead of the smaller one he did buy. By having an abortion she saved him thousands of dollars. Gee thanks, Pop. I was stunned by that. A baby's life compared to the extra cost of a five bedroom house.

The devil doesn't appear in black satin and polished horns. If only he did! It would be easy to resist then. Mostly he appears in common, everyday disguises. Usually he looks so banal that we don't even grasp that it's him until the deed is done.

The abortion did not improve my friend's life. She still suffers.

St. Dymphna, pray for us.

St. Gerard, pray for us.

St. Mary of Egypt, pray for us.

St. Pelagia, pray for us.

Bartolo Longo, pray for us.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Got a good priest? Thank God!

Priesthood Sunday is October 26. Rocky and I are giving Fr. Theoden and Fr. Gollum a cake. It's going to be blue and gold. If I get a decent photo of it I'll post it. If you have good or even just okay priests at your parish do something special for them tomorrow. Say a prayer for their santification or offer or cut the grass. Fr. could probably use someone to help count the collection. Offer to donate the flowers for next weeks mass (instead of complaining about how tacky the floral arrangement usually is) or send him a basket of chicken or cookies your kids made. There are a million kind things you could do.

It's too late --- your brother bishops blew it.

God bless Archbishop Chaput , Bishop Hermann, and Bishop Martino, for speaking out on abortion but it's too late. The bishops as a whole, blew it long ago. As this smoking post from Lair of the Catholic Cavemen points out, Catholics good and bad were filled with grief and utterly crushed in spirit when the homosexual/pedophilia scandal came to light. Not so much because there were perverts in the priesthood. An adult realizes that perverts hide where they will not be suspected and where they will have access to kids.

The problem was that so many bishops chose to look the other way. They ignored, or excused the vile filth that was going on. They very nearly killed the trust and respect that we are supposed to have for our bishops. Many people left the Church and never came back. Others stayed but are half hearted and don't pay the Church any attention when her son's in Holy Orders speak. The shepherds were asleep or were in the company of the wolves. The surviving sheep have strayed.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Okay, this will probably irk someone

I frequently read blog posts where parents complain that they aren't "welcomed" in church because someone frowned at them when their kids acted up or becasue Fr. asked their kids to stop running, eating or playing in church. It will probably make some people mad and I'm sorry about that--but I'm really irritated by parents like this .

Folks, your child is your responsibility. This is your precious bane and no-one elses. If he becomes a misery to all the other people trying to pray then you need to do something.

Don't tell me to offer it up. YOU offer it up and take Jr. outside. I'm not talking about babies. Babies are exempt. A parish without babies is a dead parish. I'm talking about normal ten year olds who can't get through Mass without playing video games. I'm talking about teenagers who joke and giggle all through Mass. I'm talking about seven year olds who are allowed to throw tantrums while their parents shamefacedly pretend not to notice. I'm talking about not so little children who can't make it through Mass without snacks. I don't like sitting in gum that was left in the pew, nor do I like slipping in formula that was poured on the floor and those crushed Goldfish crackers? Not charming at all. Somebody has to clean that mess up.

On behalf of that grumpy old man who probably raised several children himself, worked tirelessly for the parish and donates to the school fund every year and now would like to actually hear what Fr. is saying, on behalf of that grouchy woman who didn't think it was funny when your kid threw the gummy worms, on behalf of the widow who was just trying to pray for her dead husband when your kid ran by screaming I'd like to say: think about the rest of people in church. It's not that they're all meanies or anti-child or bad Catholics. Be kind.

WTH?--- Obama is not Jesus. He's not St. Martin either.

I'm ashamed to admit this but in my youth I liked Madonna. I was a fan right up until the night the Like A Prayer video premiered. I was a sloppy, lazy Catholic then and barely went to Mass but when I saw Madonna gyrating and groping the St. Martin de Pores statue in the video I was disgusted. That was it for me forever. I've not had a Madonna CD in my house since. It offended me that she used an image of the saint in such a vulgar way. It horrifies (but doesn't shock) me to see that some jackass dared to put Obama's head on a photo of St. Martin now.

The Obama people really worry me. They have a weird fixation on him that aint healthy or natural. Even the Kennedy brothers didn't incite this much worship.

Friday, October 17, 2008

This years Al Smith dinner

In the 1920s New York state Governor Al Smith ran for president. He was Catholic so he lost to Herbert Hoover. Every year the archdiocese of New York holds the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner. Prominent people are always invited, it is a premier event in the NYC social calendar. This year Senator John McCain sat on one side of Cardinal Egan and Senator Obama sat on the other. Judging by the photos a lovely time was had by all. This whole thing bothers Deal Hudson of Inside Catholic and it really bothers me. Jesus sat with prostitutes and tax collectors--- the scum of Israel but he didn't politley ignore what they were doing. Our Lord called them to repentence. When Mary Magdalene met Jesus she never went back to her old life again. Matthew stopped cheating and abusing his people (tax collectors were paid a share of the taxes they collected and had a staff called exactors to smack the snot out of anyone who didn't want to pay up) and followed Jesus. He became a saint and a martyr.

I know the dinner is for Catholic Charities (which ought to be run like a Catholic organization or be shut down as far as I'm concerned) and I know the two guys running for president are usually invited but the sight of Cardinal Egan sitting there grinning like a mule eating peaches with Obama by his side is distasteful and somehow embarrassing. Maybe it's time to rethink the Al Smith dinner.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The kids are not alright

According to an article in the Catholic News Agency a national poll was taken by an outfit called Public Religion Research and 60 percent of young 18-30 Catholics responded that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, adn 44 percent same-sex marriage. The next time you drop your kid off at CCD you really should cancel your morning plans and sit in on the class. I'll bet you that what the DRE is cooking up in your kid's mind is not what's in the catechism.

Now, granted this poll could be skewed. We don't know what Public Religion Research's agenda is. The pollsters could've really spoken to young Catholics in California or New York. You can lie with statistics but I suspect the poll results are close to accurate.

Don't be complacent about your child's religious education and don't be a hypocrite. You can not tell your son about the wrongness of contraception when his mother's pills are in the medicine cabinet. You can't tell your daughter about abortion when she's heard you tacitly approve of the abortion of a neighbor's wild messed kid.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

travels through Catholic blog land

  • I used to read Amy Wellborn's blog every day but it's changed so much that I only read it a couple of times a month now.

  • The guy who writes Whispers in the Loggia is maturing. He's not an enfant terrible anymore. He is still obsessed with the silly idea that the future of the church in America is Vietnamese or Mexican (hah!). If Rocky showed up at my local Vietnamese parish somebody would probably be upset. Two weeks ago Rocky and I walked into our parish church when the Charismatic Hispanic group was there. The looks we got were not the look of love. How are such segregated communites supposed to be the future?

  • The Cafeteria closed for business and it's replacement GeraldNaus.com has apparently withered away.

  • The Anchoress blog has turned out to be awesome. I read it everyday without fail. Elizabeth Scalia is so smart and so gracious.

  • Steve Skojec is starting to worry me.

  • Rod Dreher makes my nose twitch. He's almost as bad as Mark Shea. I can't read him anymore.

  • New Liturgical Movement and Rorate Caeli are magnificent and deserve far more attention and praise than they get.

  • Thank goodness for Lair of the Catholic Cavemen.

Please pray for my in-laws

This is difficult. When I got married 20 years ago my in-laws were not nice about it. They had an entirely different vision of the girl their son was supposed to marry. Big Daddy and Big Mama were thinking middle class and Baptist. Instead they got working class, Catholic me.

Big Daddy thought/hoped that when his kids did get married it would be Dallas. You know how J.R. and Bobby didn't go too far from Jock and Miss Ellie? They stayed in the same compound. You know how the Kennedy's don't seem to go too far from each other--(except for Jackie who wisely didn't let Caroline and John John hang with Teddy's kids)-- well that's what the Old Man was expecting. Instead Rocky and I got as far away as we could without leaving the state. Rocky's little brother, Clipper did much the same.

About five years ago Big Daddy apologized to me. He meant it. He's gotten used to me, and although it may still gall him that Rocky is Catholic he doesn't tell any priest jokes anymore. I think they're fond of me and I'm feel affection mixed with irritation for them.

They aren't doing so hot. The Old Man has high blood pressure, morbid fat, and diabetes and doesn't deal with any of it well. Big Mama is a teacher and this year has been constantly ill from various things she' s picked up from her kids and her kidneys function has slowed. It's a coporal work of mercy to visit the sick. It's a grace to be nice those who weren't always nice to you. I know this but oh, the ghost of the girl who had to put up with insults from her in-laws still lives in me and she'd be happy to forget and ignore. Please say a prayer for Rocky's folks.

Fr. Aragorn once said to me that Rocky's parents are part of the deal so get on with it. Buck up and do the right thing. He was right then and he's right now. So I'll get on with it and slouch towards Bethehem.

St. Elizabeth of Hungary, say a little prayer for me.

Friday, October 10, 2008

hope and gloom sat down to chat and it turned into fight club

Since the first rule of Fight Club is - you do not talk about Fight Club I won't go into detail ---hope won but barely.

I'm certain now that Obama is going to win. None of the eunuchs ---oops, I mean republicans will dare give him any trouble becaue the race card will be thrown down. Many whites are terrified of being called a racist so that's that. The country is going to be s-----d and for anyone with a brain a that vampire glamour spell that Obama seems to do won't make it any better. But, if you remember after 4 years of Jimmy Carter came Reagan.

After reading some of the rather pathetic details about Fr. Francis Mary's defection from his duty I was forcefully reminded that the priesthood is constantly under attack by the wickedness and snares of the devil. We need to pray, make sacrifices and do pennace. Check out the Opus Angelorum Crusade for Priests and adopt a priest to pray for or visit the Priests in crisis blog and pray for the priests it champions.
In the end, I decided to do what St. Joan of Arc would do: arise, endure, kick some evil butt.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Fr. Francis Mary Stone

Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for all our priests.

I've been thinking about Fr. Francis Mary Stone for days now. Oddly enough, a few minutes ago I saw posts on Fr. Joe's blog and Curt Jester that indicate that Fr. Francis Mary has made up his mind and has walked away from the priesthood for good.

But, but, thou art a priest forever...........

Sunday, October 05, 2008

St. Michael, the archangel

Yep, it's a tattoo. I found it on the Fast Squiel blog. No, I wouldn't want Rocky to get one this big but it's my favorite image of St. Michael so far. And speaking of the arch angel, did he ever undergo an long drawn out official cannonization process? Can you imagine Pope Clement, Sixtus, Linus or Cletus going, "Wait, we need a devil's advocate and time to examine his cause." Me neither.

hysteria and noise

A woman came into the library where I work and was so freaked out about the economic situation that she's talking about retreating to the country and raising her own food. Do Americans have a genetic twitch that makes us more prone to hysteria? I'll bet this same woman was panicky about Swine Flu (remember that?), global cooling, and overpopulation back in the 80s. I wanted to smack her.

Instead I went to Mass and afterwords sat with Jesus for while. It was hard praying. All mortal flesh did not keep silent before the Blessed Sacramenmt. It seemed like every jolly soul who'd been dying to talk during Mass did so now. Men shot the breeze--- I have no problem with that, but the time and place was wrong, old women chortled and the ushers had a pow wow. A couple of chatting ladies headed my way so I started to get up from my knees and move. They assured me that I wasn't in their way and to carry on praying. Fr. Theoden had an idea that I was craving peace and quiet and gave a sympathetic smile as he glided by. Some days, some weekends are just grrr ...aaargh!

Friday, October 03, 2008

My friend, Therese

October 1, was the feast day of one of the Church's most beloved saints, the Little Flower, St. Therese. She's never let me down. A few years back her relics were brought to DC and Rocky and I both left work early to visit her. It was one of the most precious experiences of my life.

Most biographies of her usually mention that she died of TB but never get into what that means. TB is a horrid way to die. She was in unspeakable agony. Gangrene attacked her intestines. She was suffocating in her own blood as her lungs fell apart. And yet look at the expression on her face on her deathbed. Even if I didn't know who she was I'd know this is the face of a saint.