Sunday, October 31, 2010

St. Paul's Richmond, VA

Rocky and I visited St. Paul in Richmond last Sunday and it was wonderful. We didn't know it until we stepped inside but St. Paul is a "twin" of our parish, St. Rita. Both churches had the same architect, a guy from Staunton, Virginia. St. Paul's is located in kind of a difficult spot. One one side is a black neighborhood that's mixed with working class and poor folks. On the other side of the church is a working class white neighborhood. Neither neighborhood is really a place for tourists so have your wits about you if you decide to visit. Fr. George has to lock up promptly after Mass because they've had serious thefts. Father is a delightful, kind man and we were happy to chat with him and the charming head usher who gave us a tour of the church. We even got to meet the parish cat, a gorgeous, dignified old Himalyan. Such friendly people! Coming from icy cold Northern Virginia it's always a delight to be genuinely welcomed. If you ever get a chance stop by for Mass.

The Vatican says...

Whenever a secular newspaper starts a story with the words, "the Vatican says," I get ready to be annoyed. An idiot editor of L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper says that Homer Simpson is Catholic and people go "the Vatican claims Homer" or an archbishop at the Middle East synod says Israelis can't use the bible as justification for some of the things they've done and that Israel's special status ceased with the coming of Jesus people go berserk and and say that the Vatican has thrown Israel under the proverbial bus.
One archbishop is not the Vatican, which is often used as a code word for the pope and the Vatican newspaper is not holy writ. Never assume that Pope Benedict approves of something or has said something unless you see it coming from his mouth on TV or read it in an official source. Grrrr!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

there is a war on, you know

It's a spiritual war and not all the players are flesh and blood. A Muslim man joined liturgical dancers in England and tried to stab a bishop. He is said to be crazy. Another Muslim man danced rather badly on the altar in a Venetian cathedral. He is confined to a hospital and is said to be mad as a March hare. A 69 year old bishop in Canada was severley beaten in his rectory and a priest who came to his aid was also attacked by a man whom authorities say is deranged. Earlier this year a bishop was stabbed to death by the man the Turkish government had sent to be his driver.

In famously nice Minnesota a Democrat ran a frankly anti-Catholic ad. In San Francisco the city council has condemned Catholicism. In England an ice cream ad features models dressed up as priests in sexually suggestive poses. In Washington DC, an actor dressed up as a priest will mock Catholics on the National Mall while giving a "benediction" at the Jon Stewart (he's a comdian) rally. The malignant enemy is working with an ancient playbook but it's devastatingly effective : Strike down the officers and the army is thrown into confusion. Pray for our priests.

Sts. Peter and Paul, priestly martyrs of Spain, France, Russia and Mexico, pray for your brother priests who are in danger!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Dr. Kinsey-- warning, it's upsetting

One day when I was a college student I was sitting in class daydreaming while my English professor droned on about sex and how Dr. Alfred Kinsey showed what women were capable of once freed from the patriarchy when a question hit me: How did Dr. Kinsey get all his data? Kinsey started his research during WWII. In the 40s and later the 50s, no decent person would've agreed to have sex in front of strangers while being filmed and connected to electrodes. So where did Kinsey's test subjects come from? It appears that they were mostly freaks, ex-cons, pimps, homosexuals, prostitutes, and child molestors. Kinsey presented these people's sexuality as a model of what normal people feel and do. Later thousands of people like my old English professor insisted in classrooms all over the country that we SHOULD behave like Kinsey's test subjects or WE weren't normal, or that we were repressed, uncool prudes.
And what about Kinsey's child sexuality research? What happened to those kids? Kinsey claimed that children are willing, enthusiastic sexual actors from birth. How many kids were molested to get his research? And it had to be molestation. Three year olds and infants did not get in their cars and volunteer to be "observed" by Kinsey's helpers.
It dawned on me that day in class, that my professor was an old windbag who was wasting my money. I came to class to learn about literature not be indoctrinated into the freak show. It chilled me then and it chills me now to think that most of we learned in sex-ed class probably came from a mind that apparently was familiar with the darkest pits of hell. The Kinsey Institue, like Planned Parenthood gets a lot of money from you and me in the form of our tax money.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rocky's favorite veil

This is one of my oldest veils. I bought it when I first began collecting them. I think I must have over 20 now. Some are antique, most are handmade and thus, unique. All of them are special. I don't collect anything that I don't love but this one stands apart from the rest because it's Rocky's favorite. It's very heavy lace. It so heavy that regular bobby pins won't hold it in place. I use the old fashioned extra strong ones for this baby. I only wear it at Easter.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Revere the Lord

Once there was a famous writer who was some kind of Protestant but wavering in his belief who found himself attracted to Catholicism. He wandered into a cathedral and sat down before Mass was to begin. He watched the altar servers fool around while lighting the candles. He got up and left thinking that if Catholics really believed in the Real Presence the boys never would've been rough housing in the sanctuary and if even if they were, someone, a priest, an adult, someone should've admonished them. He never converted.

I thought about that story while watching adults treat a local church like a movie theater last Sunday. When Saint Peter saw Our Lord on the beach after His resurrection he (St. Peter) got dressed and then jumped into the water to swim and then run to Jesus. The Gospel says that Peter was naked in the boat while he fishing. He probably wasn't completely undressed. He might have simply removed his outer garment or was everything but his loin cloth. The Jews at that time were very modest. Stripping down to one's loin cloth was considered naked for all practical purposes.

The Romans typically crucified prisoners fully nude in order to increase their suffering and humiliation but at one point made a slight and temporary, I think, exception (underwear only) for the Jews not because they cared much for Jewish tradition but practical people as they were, they realized that you can't have a public execution if the shocked public all averted their eyes or ran away.

As excited as Peter was, he loved His Lord and His God too much to come before Him improperly dressed so Peter ran up to the Lord in wet clothes.

When Saint John saw Jesus in his Revelations vision he didn't go up to Him and give Our Lord a hug or a "How ya doin'?." John, the beloved disciple, fell on is face prostrate.

We have so many examples from the saints yet many Catholics still act like Jesus is their buddy from the car pool and that He should be grateful that we even came to Mass at all. If a non-Catholic walked into your parish today would he be impressed by what he sees in the pews or would he end up walking out thinking, ' These people don't really believe what they claim.'?
The Pope can give a beautiful example of Catholic life, the priest can give sterling homilies, the nun or monk can shine with goodness but one layperson's lazy behavior can turn the good examples into so much dust in wind.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

well that was horrible

Rocky and I visited Nativity Church. in Springfield, VA. It was horribly depressing. The church is ugly but that's standard for churches built in the 60s, 70s and 80s so we didn't expect anything else. When we arrived a large group baptism ceremony was letting out. Most of the people were still milling around talking loudly and it was like they were at an auditorium. Nobody genuflected or bowed or even nodded towards Jesus. That may be partially because it was so hard to find Him. Nativity had no crucifix, instead there was one of those dopey resurecifixes over the altar. In a shadowy corner nearby was a tiny, ugly box sitting on a pillar. That was the tabernacle. Next to it, the santuary lamp appeared to be out. It was so sad. We tried to pray but it was so noisy that we got up to go. Just before going out I looked back and saw the priest tidying up the pews. All those lay people and the priest had to clean up? The last time I was at Nativity was 14 years ago and I'd forgotten it. It'll take another funeral for me to go back.

Friday, October 15, 2010

There's no tacky wedding like a Catholic tacky wedding. Ugh!

Oh man, this is bad. Looking at this video reminds me of why so many priests strongly dislike celebrating weddings.

St. Anthony Bridals

What a wonderful idea. St. Anthony Bridals help budget minded or lower to middle income brides have a nice wedding.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Rest in peace, La Stupenda

When I was about nine or ten I heard Joan Sutherland singing on TV. She had a voice that left me speechless. It was the most beautiful thing I'd ever heard.

Monday, October 11, 2010

the botanica is gone

There was a botanica near our church and every time I saw the ghastly thing I'd say the prayer to St. Michael and then last week after Mass we drove past it and saw that the botanica was gone. Once ages ago Rocky and I went inside because we mistakenly thought it was a Catholic bookstore. After seeing the rows and rows of spell books, penis shaped candles and a weird altar that was not dedicated to God we got the hell out of there. Usain Bolt, the Jamaican sprinter couldn't have moved any faster than we did fleeing that place.
The week before last they seemed to be doing a brisk business but now the place is boarded up. There's cardboard and dried soap circles in the windows. Thank you, Jesus!

youth is often wasted on the young

Karen Owen apparently spent her four years at Duke University in the prone position. A co-worker asked me what I thought of the story. I said that sleeping with 13 boys and then writing a 42 page tell-all was tragic. She replied that 13 men in 4 years wasn't that unusual for a sexually active young woman at college. Wow. Imagine spending $200,000 for your kid to dance on the edge of hell. I'm really, really thankful that I'm not in that age group anymore if Karen Owen is the norm.
Poor girl. Did she really want to fornicate with all those guys or was she trying to be the star of the hip crowd? Some people have been very harsh in condemning Miss Owen, others are celebrating her as a brave feminist but I can't help but wonder what when wrong in this girl's life.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Is bragging about how poor you are some new Catholic fad?

I recently came across two new blogs the other day and found myself getting agitated, utterly pissed off really, as I read them. Both bloggers are Catholic. Both are married and are highly educated and usually live a very modest lifestyle by choice. Fine and dandy. Both seem delighted, extol the joys of low income living and are critical of people who have TV and cars, send their kids to school and who don't frequent thrift shops*. Neither seems to do any charity or parish work. One feels great solidarity with the poor as she walks home with her organic groceries instead of driving to a suburban grocery. Oh for Pete's sake... Well, I think the whole organic thing is a expensive bit of showing off. All food, everything that lives or lived is organic matter. My wooden coffee table is organic. My plastic pink Crocs are not. My TV is inorganic. My broccoli in the freezer is organic. Uncle Chester mouldering in his grave is organic matter. Keiko the robot is inorganic.

One woman complained that her friends were mean when she signed up pre-natal food assistance, (I think she was talking about WIC). I stand with the mean friends. WIC is supposed to be for low income pregnant and postpartum women who don't have a lot of options. It provides supplemental food and nutritional information in order to prevent fetal malnutrition and all the maladies and miseries that come with it such as cretinism. It was not meant for people who choose not to work in the field that they studied at college. If you can travel for fun, buy expensive items when the mood strikes you and have a computer at home then you are not the woman who WIC was meant to help. If you are playing at being poor with the knowledge that you can drop the game at any time, then WIC was not intended for you. By taking it you are stealing from women who really need and from the rest of us who work and pay taxes.

Mother Teresa didn't play games. She went to the slums of Calcutta, not to be smug or show everyone how holy she was. She went for the love of Christ. I do hope poor mouthing -- almost bragging about one's low income isn't becoming some new young Catholic trend becuase if it is, someone, and this might be the job for the laity, better step in quick and call it for what it is: silly and insulting to genuinely poor people who don't have the option to change their minds if things stop being cool.

*I enjoy shopping at thrift and consignment shops but I don't consider myself more virtuous that the woman who wouldn't be caught dead in one.

Friday, October 08, 2010

what a week

It's been an exhausting week at work. We had an extremely labor intensive project and so I'm glad to see Friday come. I found myself thinking wistfully about the movie, Into the Great Silence.

Carthusians live what looks like a simple, romantic life high in the snowy mountains but a weak person would find it grueling. The monks never stop working. If they aren't laboring, they are at prayer. I wouldn't last a week at a Carthusian monastery but everytime I got tired of my project and daydreamed about Into the Great Silence it was like a tiny moment of vacation.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

burning books=outrage, burning Christians=silence

Remember how everyone went beserk because some preacher in Florida was going to burn the koran? Back in March a Muslim mob burned a Christian alive and raped his wife while forcing their children to watch. I'd say that's a darn sight worse than burning a book but the major media ignored the story. Last week in Ethiopia-- Ethiopia, the oldest Christian civilization, Muslims in a small villiage burned down the houses of their Christian neighbors. The Christians are still living out in the open under trees. Their neighbors are refusing to let them leave or rebuild. I read about this in and English newspaper. As far as I know the American media didn't touch the story.

This week Catholics in Saudi Arabia were caught going to Mass. A Saudi prison is one of the most horrible places on earth. You don't want to go there. The fate of these Catholics is up in the air.
According to American mainstream media, none of these stories is as important as the jackleg preacher talking about burning the koran.
Holy martyrs, pray for us!

Random thoughts on Sobran and Skojec and Kathleen Folden

  • Joe Sobran died last week and his funeral was on Tuesday. I don't really remember him because he'd been cast out by William F. Buckley long before I was even interested in politics and I didn't like the essays of his that I've read but the reactions to his death fascinated me. There were loving tributes including a touching one from Anne Coulter and remarkable nastiness. One commenter on Fr. Z's blog said that he was not sorry to see Sobran gone. One commenter said he was a Jew hater and anti Israel so she felt nothing at all knowing that he was dead. Another person called him an unstable, rude genius. One Catholic blogger said that she wished he'd been a Protestant instead of a Catholic. Who was this man really and why did he excite such passions so long after his big time writing career was essentially over?

  • Steve Skojec wrote an essay on Inside Catholic saying that a lot of Traditionalist Catholics are jerks. The reaction was what you'd expect. You can't spit on people--whether they have it coming or not-- and then expect them to shrug.
  • Kathleen Folden saw a tax payer sponsored piece of blasphemy and went St. Boniface on it. A lot of sophisticated Christians are cringing with shame and I don't know where Kathleen stands with the Lord compared to anyone else but the the Lord said something about liking the hot better than the lukewarm, didn't He?

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Go to Peter

I don't think American Catholics appreciate St. Peter as much as we ought to. Maybe it's because his successors are always with us. Perhaps it's because Americans tend to dumb everything down. We either think of Peter as the first pope or we simply think of him as the head of the bumbling apostles.

Have you failed? Have you ever really messed up so horribly that a mere apology will not fix it? Go to Peter. He knows your shame and regret. He betrayed Our Lord three times after boldly saying earlier that night that he'd never do such a thing. Have you ever hidden your Faith so you could blend in with the cool folks? Peter understands. He stood around a fire warming himself with the temple servants. Have you ever been so depressed that you thought everything was hopeless? Peter's been there. From Good Friday to Easter Sunday he thought that everything was lost, that the Light of the world was gone out forever and how it must have scalded his heart when he looked at St. John and Mary.

Have you ever thought, this job is too big for me? Have you listened to your friends when they said, "What can one little person do?" Peter understands that too. He went to Rome and stayed there even though it meant losing his life. Satan and the Romans must have thought after Peter's crucifixion that the Christians were done. They were wrong. As St. Peter hung on the cross dying in agony he knew where he was going. With his help, may you and I get there too.
St. Peter, the apostle, pray for us that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Amen.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

St. Clelia, pray for rme.

St. Clelia Barbieri, is the youngest saint to found a religious order. She is also the patron saint of people who are ridiculed for their piety. I thought of St. Clelia yesterday. A co-woker, a Catholic mocked another Catholic woman, (the mother of three priests so I think she did pretty well), for her pious nature. She despised this woman for having a prie dieu at home and a corner shrine. I guess she'd be horrified by my home. We don't have a prayer bench but we do have paintings of saints all over the place and a crucifix in every room but the bathroom. My co-worker then went on to insult the woman's priest. He is well known in our diocese and sounds like someone I'd be very happy to know. The next time Rocky and I are in Front Royal, we'll be sure to stop by his parish.

Later she told me an extended and particularly filthy sodomy joke. I can not repeat it in print and I don't want to hear it again in my mind. Both times I changed the subject. I should've spoken up.That was gutless on my part and I am determined that it will never happen again.

St. Clelia, physically delicate but spirtually a little lioness, pray for me.

Friday, October 01, 2010