Saturday, February 26, 2011
On the one hand, I can't think of any way to make the message clearer. On the other hand, this commercial ... well, just watch it for yourself:
Delenda est Partu Meditato!
[H/T to Jill Stanek!]
Friday, February 25, 2011
Aggie Catholics has posted their annual pre-Lent resource. Among the various links, they had posted a YouTube clip of the Tallis Scholars singing Gregorio Allegri's "Miserere mei". Alas, it stops just over 2/3rds of the way through. Fortunately, I found another clip that has the whole piece:
"Miserere mei" is based on the Latin text of Psalm 51 (50), which is a part of the tenebrae liturgy of Holy Week. It has two choruses comprising nine voices, with a tenth voice chanting every second or third verse in plainsong. Allegri composed it to be performed in the Basilica of St. Peter's, taking advantage of its marvelous acoustics.
The result is so powerful that, for many years (so the story goes), the Vatican kept only two or three copies under lock and key, and forbade its performance anywhere else under pain of excommunication. The ban was lifted shortly after a fourteen-year-old Austrian freak named Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart copied it down from memory after one hearing, listening to it a second time only to correct some minor errors; instead of casting him out, the Pope praised the young Mozart for his genius.
When I listened to it for the first time, "Miserere mei" reminded me of another fine example of Renaissance polyphony that I performed with my high school chorus and with the NMEA All-State Chorus in 1981, Giovanni Gabrieli's "O magnum mysterium". So you get a two-fer: Here's the latter piece, performed by the Tallis Singers of Toronto:
Just a couple more examples of Catholicism's rich cultural heritage and legacy.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
My friends over in the Auld Country at St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association are trying to start a movement to have the responsible figures—perhaps Himself—proclaim a Holy Year for Nuns. Father Tim Finigan at Hermeneutics of Continuity is onboard already; I could kick myself for not picking this up sooner.
I took both formal and informal logic in college, as well as studied social research methods, so I know the difference between a causal link and a correlation. So I don't believe the successes of the "culture of death" over the last forty years were caused by the collapse of the contemplative orders ... but, as a coworker of mine used to say, "What a coinkydink!"
Tim Drake over at National Catholic Register and Msgr. Charles Pope at the Archdiocese of Washington DC, have looked at the numbers from a couple of studies done by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA); both noted that the 2011 report done for the USCCB "ignores the 'elephant in the room'": religious orders emphasizing orthodoxy and tradition, like the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist featured on Oprah, do much better at recruiting new postulants than do the orders that have long since abandoned habits and Catholic devotions. (The DSMME, since their exposure on Oprah Winfrey's talk show, are exploding with new postulants, and are now looking ot expand to California and Texas.)
We need nuns. We need monks and friars, too. Write to your diocesan chancery, and see whom you need to write to, to request a Holy Year for Nuns. Wouldn't hurt to pray for it, either!
The archbishop of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Most Rev. John Nienstedt, has a headache. And his name is Fr. Mike Tegeder.
Regardless of where you stand on any social issue, it just stands to reason that, if you're going to be a Catholic priest, you should preach the Catholic Church's message. If you disagree with it, you should either try to "think with the Church" or leave your ministry and (perhaps) find a faith community more to your liking, right?
Instead of performing either act of basic intellectual honesty, Fr. Tegeder has decided to vocally oppose Abp. Nienstedt, on issues like FOCA, homosexual marriage, lay preaching and—not too strangely—dissent.
+Nienstedt's views on dissent are well-known: they echo the words of Jesus to the church in Laodicea: "I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth" (Rev 2:15-16). We also know that +Nienstedt is capable of rapidly squelching improprieties.
So what's it going to take for the good archbishop to spew Fr. Tegeder out of his mouth?
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Whoever is in charge of Planned Parenthood's Facebook fan page is either a carefully trained electronic saboteur or just really, really dumb, because s/he posted this on their page:
"Your rebellion is a failure! Soon, your pitiful little band of protesters and Forty Days For Life prayers will be destroyed!" Or, to put it another way—FAIL!
H/T to Tom Peters at CatholicVote!
Scientism is that really odd philosophy which maintains that, if Science can't measure or examine it, it's not real. Of course, this isn't a scientific statement; it's a philosophy, and not real by its own definition (in twenty-dollar words, it's "self-referentially incoherent"). But just to give a taste of how ridiculous the proposition is, let me ask a few questions:
- How long in angstroms is sarcasm?
- What is the specific gravity of justice?
- What's the net present value of the US victory over the Soviet Union team in the 1980 Winter Olympics hockey playoffs?
- What's the parallax of a Kodak moment?
I'm not a trained philosopher—my major was in sociology—but even I know such a position is dumb.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
It's Lent. A non-Catholic friend of yours has invited you and your beloved to dinner at his house on Friday night. When you get there, you find that the entrée is steak. Your friend grills an excellent steak. But it's a Friday in Lent. What do you do?
Eat the steak. Enjoy the steak. Thank your host for a lovely meal. Don't bring up "meatless Fridays" unless you can segue to it naturally and charitably from some topic being discussed; better to wait for another day.
Nowadays, with the greater social concern over food allergies and dietary restrictions, it's becoming more common for hosts to discuss preliminary menus with their guests unless they know each other so well that such things are already known. So this situation is becoming less common.
The practice of meatless Fridays is no longer enforced under penalty of sin outside of Lent. However, it's still a very, very good spiritual practice, a minor mortification offered in union with our Lord's suffering on the Cross (cf. Col 1:24). (For a Nebraskan, giving up steak at any time is almost a heroic sacrifice.) It's also one of those culturally distinctive practices that promote Catholic identity.
Having said that, though, even if it were still being enforced under penalty of sin, I would recommend this course. The overriding principle here is charity.
Your host was under no obligation to invite you to dinner; once you committed to the dinner, you committed to the menu. If you'd had reason to suspect that your friend would use the dinner as an opportunity to test your faith, the appropriate response would have been either to suggest Saturday or beg off on the grounds that you would not want to put him out of his Friday steak. As it is, the charitable assumption is that he either didn't know or forgot that you were keeping the practice.
As for the man who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not for disputes over opinions. One believes he may eat anything, while the weak man eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who abstains, and let not him who abstains pass judgment on him who eats; for God has welcomed him. ...
Then let us no more pass judgment on one another, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but it is unclean for any one who thinks it unclean. If your brother is being injured by what you eat, then you are no longer walking in love. ... Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for any one to make others fall by what he eats; it is not right to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that makes your brother stumble. —Romans 14:1-3, 13-15, 19-21
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Thank you to the Crescat for finding this selection:
There's a definite difference in effect between men and women singing plainsong. With men, it's a more mournful, dolorous quality; with women, it's lighter, more ethereal. Either way, when it's part of a Mass in the Extraordinary Form (Tridentine Latin), the effect on the person attending for the first time must be mind-blowing. One day, I keep telling myself ....
Friday, February 18, 2011
The Dallas Morning News had this shocking revelation posted on the front page:
¿En serio? Y pensar que jamás había observado!
According to Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), abortion is better than being forced to live "eating Ramen noodles" and "mayonnaise sandwiches". Well, not in so many words. Her argument was that growing up poor and disadvantaged is so bad that young, poor single women ought to have the ability to "opt out" of motherhood.
Ergo, abortion is better than eating Ramen noodles and mayonnaise sandwiches. (You can watch her testimony on Michelle Malkin's blog.)
Of course, dying is always preferable to suffering ... provided, of course, that someone else is doing the dying. This is exactly what happens when compassion is divorced from moral courage and common sense.
Now, all Rep. Moore's next opponent has to do next year is print out a couple hundred thousand signs saying: "According to Gwen Moore, being aborted is better than being forced to grow up eating Ramen noodles and mayonnaise sandwiches. This is Rep. Moore's idea of compassion."
Then watch that district go Republican at the next election.
Then watch that district go Republican at the next election.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
From Becky in Omaha, NE, via Facebook:
My sister-in-law’s mother died this week. She was someone very dear to me and a devout Catholic. I will be attending her funeral in a couple of days. I’m sure it will be a full mass. Is it an offense if I participate in the communion? I regularly participate in communion at my non-denominational church obeying the command, “Do this in remembrance of Me” [Lk 22:19; cf. 1 Cor 11:25]. I however certainly do not want to offend anyone in the family or anyone in the parish if this is something inappropriate for a non-Catholic.
First, I believe every Christian church ought to have Communion every Sunday, without exception. “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the chalice, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Cor 11:26). Some churches celebrate Communion so rarely, they don’t proclaim the Lord’s death so much as they mention it in passing.
The Catholic Church has what’s known—and sometimes damned—as a “closed table”. To participate in Communion, you must be in communion.
Many people—mostly but not exclusively Evangelicals—like to speak of the “invisible unity of believers”, a bond that reaches across dogmatic and sectarian divisions to embrace all Christians. This “invisible unity” has some utility in interfaith dialogue. We could postulate, for example, that the degree to which we all hold the points of faith in the Apostle’s Creed is the degree to which we’re united as Christians; we could go so far as to plug it as the minimum standard for what C. S. Lewis termed “mere Christianity”.
But there’s no denying that there are visible fissures and fractures among Christians, from the squabbling between Catholics and Orthodox over the filioque to the Docetist denial of the Real Presence by Evangelicals. (And let’s not even start on the Jehovah’s Witnesses and LDS, okay?) Whatever we can say about the invisible unity, the all-too-visible disunity is a scandal and a tragedy.
Setting aside for one moment the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, for Communion to fully symbolize the unity of believers, there must be unity among those partaking. By the rules, even Catholics who have committed mortal sin or publicly broken with the Church on dogmatic grounds—think Vice-President Joe Biden, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi—should not participate.
This is not a question of judging souls but rather of telling the truth. Partaking in Catholic Communion as a non-Catholic, or as a Catholic ex communione, is telling a lie: it says, “I’m fully united in faith with everyone else here” when the person is not. You could tell yourself it’s a harmless lie, but it’s not. It deliberately misleads people to whom the truth is owed in full justice. In fact, you are one of the people owed the truth, and you’ve denied it to yourself. Not only should you not bear false witness against your neighbor, you shouldn’t bear false witness against yourself.
I also recognize Becky’s intent in wanting to participate; I for one am happy she wants to do this in memory of Our Lord. To help her out, I sent her instructions for the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. The Chaplet is a series of prayers, revealed in a vision to St. Faustina Kowalska sometime in the 1930s, which spiritually unites the person praying with the Eucharist. Hopefully it will help. And please keep Becky’s sister-in-law’s family in your prayers.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
A Quebec priest and former Member of Parliament, Rev. Raymond Gravel, has filed suit in the provincial courts against LifeSiteNews on the grounds of libel and demanding $500,000 compensation. Apparently the good Fr. Gravel blames LSN, among other media outlets, for his forced retirement from his seat (although canon 285 §3 forbids clerics from "assum[ing] public offices which entail a participation in the exercise of civil power"). Although Fr. Gravel is on record as having declared himself "pro-choice", and as having defended the awarding of Canada's highest civil honor to abortionist Henry Morgentaler, he apparently claims a distinction between "pro-choice" and "pro-abortion".
The Thomas More Society has offered legal help; however, TMS is a US organization, while the lawsuit was filed in Canada. Even a successful defense will severly cripple or shut down LSN. For this reason, they're passing the hat around for contributions to help them fight off this vicious attack.
If you'd like to help, follow this link to LSN's donation page. You can make a one-time gift, or on a monthly basis. Your donation is tax-deductible under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Not too long after "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was officially ended, the commader of an aircraft carrier was sacked because of some speeches he'd made over the ship's intercom that included anti-gay epithets. Times being what they are, it apparently wasn't enough to make him tolerate open homosexuality; the new rules had to make possible an ex post facto punishment for being intolerant.
What brings this to mind is a discussion on Fr. Dwight Longenecker's blog on a recent decision by the British Parliament to formally allow churches to hold marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples. Father's concern is that gay-rights activists will use the law to try to compel Catholic and Anglo-Catholic communions to "marry" gay couples. A couple of the commentors seem to suggest that Fr. Longenecker's concerns demonize gay people; one even hinted that it was comparable to the demonization of Jews in the last century, by such sterling examples as Fr. Charles Coughlin.
Are you kidding me?
Look: let's first grant that not every gay person or same-sex couple feels the need to have their love validated by any church, let alone the Catholic Church. There are others who, while they feel the Church is wrong and wrong-headed, at least respect where the Church is coming from. There are even homosexual Catholics who adhere to the Church's teachings voluntarily, remaining chaste. We're not talking about these people.
Then there are those whom my cousin, who is gay himself, calls "the screamers". Besides behaving like brats at the slightest sign of opposition, it's not enough for them to win a point: they have to rub their opponents' faces in their defeat. Hence the now-disgraced Navy captain. The vast majority of the screamers are virulently anti-Catholic.
If restricting the legal definition of marriage to heterosexual couples were ever ruled by SCOTUS to be unconstitutional—and Lawrence v. Texas gives us no reason to think they wouldn't—you can bet your hat and ass some screamers will try to find a way to leverage the decision against the Church in court. And Roe v. Wade shows us that even the plainest words of the Constitution and its amendments are no protection when five out of nine over-glorified lawyers decide they want to change society to their liking.
Our only protection right now is that most of the over-glorified lawyers on the bench right now are Catholics, even if "cafeteria Catholic" like Associate Justice Sotomayor.
That's not demonization. That's political reality in the West.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Not too long after I wrote the post about the Philadelphia grand jury, I visited Fr. Z's blog. He, too, had posted a short reflection, a call to prayers and penance. And amidst the comments, I found a few posts by some ... people ... who suggested that the cause of the scandal was the adoption of the Novus Ordo liturgy.
This is exactly why traddies set my teeth on edge: Clown Masses? Wymyn ordaining themselves priests? Prominent Catholic politicians blatantly thumbing their noses at Humanae Vitae? Gay ephebophile clerics? Well, it can all be solved if we just go back to the Tridentine Latin Mass!
Since I kept to the spirit of Fr. Z's post, let me post my reply to the anti-VII crowd here:
First, let me introduce you to a concept known in logic as the post-hoc fallacy. The post-hoc fallacy occurs when you say, "A happened, then B happened after that, so A must have caused B."
Now that you've absorbed that complex idea, let me ask you this: Do you honestly think this kind of thing never occurred prior to 1962?
Let me tell you: it did.
People didn't know about it, because people didn't want to hear that that nice Fr. O'Malley was a sexual pervert, any more than they wanted to hear that that nice Reverend Mooney, Rabbi Tuchman, Dr. Fassbein, Mr. Holmquist down the street, the Little League coach or dear Uncle Fred was a sexual pervert. In those days—in fact, just up until the last twenty years or so—the Church didn't have to work too hard to cover these things up because the community didn't go out of its way to unearth child-molesters. They still don't.
Yes, the Novus Ordo Mass has problems, most of which will (hopefully!) be corrected with the new Missa Romanum translation coming out this Advent. But there are a lot of other problems in the Church that simply throwing away the NO won't solve, and may even exacerbate.
Your brother in Christ,Anthony S. "Tony" Layne
P.S. Vatican II will never be disowned or discarded. Paul VI declared it part of the Church's ordinary Magisterium; both JP2 and B16 have accepted it in its entirety. It's with us forever. Get over it; get used to it.
Friday, February 11, 2011
Sure you do. It takes less time than you think.
Within the wide, variegated collection of Catholic prayers are short prayers known as aspirations, so called because they take one breath or less to say. To get you started, let me give you just one:
Lord, Thy will be done.
Upset because some jerk cut you off in traffic? Got some bad news about a relative (in the hospital, in jail, in his/her final hours)? Just got your lay-off notice? Facing a very unpleasant task or circumstance? In saying, "Lord, Thy will be done," you've prayed, accepted the situation, offered up your suffering and re-committed yourself to discipleship in five words. And it took less than five seconds. You may also have gained a partial indulgence. And you can do it while you're doing something else.
(By the way, the Sign of the Cross, when performed with the traditional words "In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen," also gains a partial indulgence.)
There are plenty of others; check out this website for a list. Please note that neither "Jesus H. Christ!" nor "Good Lord on a bicycle!" are aspirations. But "Jesus, Mary and Joseph!" is ... which is why it's commonly associated with the Irish.
Please note that I'm not suggesting a steady diet of aspirations is all you need for a solid prayer life. I'm saying that by themselves they're better than not praying at all, and that they can even help you deal with the many irritants and obstacles of quotidian existence in a manner that builds discipleship.
I'm also saying that you do have time to pray. Because the simplest prayers take no time at all, at all.
[H/T to Fr. John Zuhlsdorf! Has to be a hat, since I can't wear a biretta ....]
[H/T to Fr. John Zuhlsdorf! Has to be a hat, since I can't wear a biretta ....]
Thursday, February 10, 2011
According to Rocco Palma, the second grand jury to sit on the handling of clergy sex-abuse cases in the City of Brotherly Love has issued its findings.
And there is much that still needs fixing:In light of the Archdiocese’s reaction to the last grand jury report, we expect that some may accuse us of anti-Catholic bias for speaking of these painful matters. We are not church-haters. Many of us are church-goers. We did not come looking for “scandal,” but we cannot close our eyes to the powerful evidence we heard. We call the church to task, to fix what needs fixing.
The present grand jury, however, is frustrated to report that much has not changed. The rapist priests we accuse were well known to the Secretary of Clergy, but he cloaked their conduct and put them in place to do it again. The procedures implemented by the Archdiocese to help victims are in fact designed to help the abusers, and the Archdiocese itself. Worst of all, apparent abusers – dozens of them, we believe – remain on duty in the Archdiocese, today, with open access to new young prey.
My first, small suggestion to you, reverend fathers of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia? Shut up. Don't make any excuses; don't try to explain what you were trying to accomplish. FIX THE PROBLEM. NOW.
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Over at his fine blog What Does the Prayer Really Say, the ineffable Fr. Z has a poll running: Should women wear head coverings at church? I recommend you go over there and vote now; it should be up for at least a week from today, but don't count on it!
|Jackie Kennedy rocking the white mantilla!|
For my part, I would like to see female head coverings, like mantillas, come back as part of a greater movement by Catholics to dress more appropriately for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. However, I don't see the use right now of legislating it, since "cafeteria Catholics" and "C&E Catholics" don't pay much attention to canon law or USCCB norms anyway. (And, lest you think I'm being sexist, I'd also like to see men wearing proper hats ... fedoras, not baseball caps.)
The appropriate citation is 1 Corinthians 11:2-16, if you're insistent on the matter. My take on it, though, is that head covering is a matter of discipline rather than dogma, and the rule can be adjusted to suit the cultural context; I believe that's also the Vatican's current thought on the matter. (I stand willing to be corrected.) At the time St. Paul wrote, a woman's hair was her pride; even today, after fifty years of women's liberation, in our culture it's more important for a woman to have beautiful hair than for men to have hair at all. Yet I don't really notice any less vanity among men about their hair—or lack thereof—than among women. It was sometime a paradox, but the time gives it proof.
What do you think? Let me—and Fr. Z—know!
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Richard Collins over at Linen on the Hedgerow has issued a wake-up call to his fellow Englishment on the devastation caused by fire and floods in Queensland and Victoria in Australia. We in the USA should be ashamed ... Australia is one of our staunchest allies, who is still backing our play in Afghanistan when many of our other allies have already backed out (and some refused to go in to begin with). So here's the question, folks: What are we going to do about it?
Saturday, February 5, 2011
Here's an awesome meditation on beauty and Catholic churches by The Crescat:
Christ Hope of the World, Vienna, Austria ... ecch!
My home though, is where I surround myself with beauty. I have it hanging on the walls and dripping out of stereo speakers. I visit it in my mind through pages in a book. My home is my sanctuary... because today's churches are not.
It used to be churches were where regular people could experience that overwhelming awe inspiring spiritual soaring. Churches used to make the soul sing for God. Beauty in the Church is essential. I don't want God brought down from the Heavens and made "relatable" to me. I want to carried up to Christ so I can meet Him there and be in awe surrounded by beauty.
People often justify their ugly little parishes by saying they don't believe in wasting money for garnishments, money that could serve the poor. Little do they realize that their bleak and barren churches are spiritually depriving the poor, starving their very souls. I often wonder why people think the poor only deserve the basic most bare minimums. It's an injustice to deny them of the one place where their senses should swim in beauty and be a refuge from the ugly harsh world. The Church.
Update: February 7, 2011Anthony Esolen writes, "When a lost soul wanders into the silence of one of our churches, it should not feel to him as if he had walked into a doctor's waiting room, or the department of motor vehicles, but into a new world, mysterious and true."
This reflection has been reposted to the interfaith website Patheos. The Crescat (Katrina Fernandez) is a single mother, an LPN, and both witty and wise. This repost tells me she's getting more visibility, which is all to the good, and I wish her all great things.
Friday, February 4, 2011
Footage from a concert given at Trinity Episcopal in NYC (remember from National Treasure?). If we see the establishment of an Ordinariate in the U.S., we may have the opportunity to hear such splendid choral music more and more often.
Feast your ears: