Saturday, April 30, 2011

Ask Tony: Where do you find "bishops" and "priests" in the New Testament?

I've been corresponding with a man who recently "came home", and who's now discussing the matter with his non-denominational wife. (By the way, I ask your prayers for Rob and his wife as they work through the changes; her church background is filled with some anti-papist communions, so it hasn't been easy for her to adjust to his conversion.)

Autumn recently completed a college survey course on the life of St. Paul, the text of which was Paul: His Life and Teachings, by Wheaton College fellow John McRay. In the course of the conversation, I brought up St. Ignatius of Antioch. Rob wrote back: "It is funny that you mentioned St. Ignatius, as McRay also has some words concerning Ignatius' pleas in the Letter to the Smyrnaeans for the faithful to obey their bishop: 'No evidence for such an office [of bishop] exists prior to his writings.  Ignatius is evidently trying to establish the position of a monarchial bishop rather than representing it as already in existence.' Hmm ...."

Now, it took me longer than intended to write my reply to this, due to highlighting, deleting and rewriting some pretty uncharitable thoughts concerning Mr. (Prof.? Dr.?) McRay (who's no longer listed as on the faculty at Wheaton). While I was writing it, I did realize that the New International Version talks of "overseers" in the New Testament. I wonder, how many Catholics have been confronted by righteous fundamentalists shaking their NIVs and saying, "Tell me where you find bishops in the Bible!"

Very simple: "Bishop" comes to us from the Vulgar Latin biscopus (episcopus), which in turn comes to us from the Greek ἐπισκοπος (episkopos) ... "overseer". Likewise, the word "priest" comes from late Latin presbyter (classical Latin sacerdos), which was taken from the Greek πρεσβύτερος (presbyteros) ... "elder".

Thursday, April 28, 2011

I told you not to let the door hit you on the way out ....

Ignore the Cardinal's resemblance to Dr. Evil.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Fr. Michael Pfleger, the controversial pastor of St. Sabina Parish in Chicago, has been suspended.

On March 11, Cdl. Francis George (left) asked Fr. Pfleger (right) to take over as principal of Leo High School. A week later, the pastor, who has characterized his own ministry as "progressive" ("I believe my calling is to be a voice for justice"), sent a reply letter; according to a spokesperson for St. Sabina, the letter said that Fr. Pfleger "was neither qualified nor experienced being president of a high school, but that he was willing to help Leo High School in any way that he could."

"As you know," Cdl. George wrote, "this was an honest offer, not driven by pressure by any group but by a pastoral need in the Archdiocese. You promised to consider what was a proposal, not a demand, even as I urged you to accept it."

Your written response to me after our preliminary conversation left open some possibility of your serving at Leo, and I continued discussions with those who are involved in priest transfers in the Archdiocese .... Even as these conversations began or were being planned, our private conversation was misrepresented publicly as an attempt to 'remove' you from St. Sabina's. You know that priests in the Archdiocese are 'removed' only because they have been found to have sexually abused a minor child or are guilty of financial malfeasance. In all other cases, priests are reassigned, moving from one pastoral office to another according to policies in place for the last forty years.
 If you'll remember, Fr. Pfleger also said on the radio, “If they say, ‘You either take this principalship of [Leo High School] or pastorship there or leave,’ then I’ll have to look outside the Church.” Cdl. George thundered, "If that is truly your attitude, you have already left the Catholic Church and are therefore not able to pastor a Catholic parish." Fr. Pfleger's suspension—no deadline or limit is mentioned—is to be spent praying over his priestly commitments "in order to come to mutual agreement on how you understand personally the obligations that make you a member of the Chicago presbyterate and of the Catholic Church."

Okay, so I've had my after-dinner slice of Schadenfreude. Now all I feel is sad. It didn't need to come to this. 

Secular (diocesan) priests know at their ordination that they're bound to celibacy and obedience by canon law (CIC 273, 274.2), and that they can lose ecclesial office by publicly defecting from the faith or the communion of the Church (CIC 194 §1.2). Was Fr. Pfleger counting on the priest shortage to give him leverage over the archdiocese? Did he miss the changing mood of the Church in America and its bishops, the declining tolerance for priests who make up their own rules as they go along?

Cardinal George has now effectively told Fr. Pfleger that if he stays it won't be on his own terms. Let's see if he has the humility to back down and accept defeat gracefully.

Update
Drat. For once, I thought I'd be the first to comment on this story. But no-ooo-oo! Father Z beat me to it, as did Lisa Graas and Tito Edwards! Here's the story from Radio 91.5 WBEZ. And Fr. Z links to a YouTube collection of Fr. Pfleger's rants, like this:

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cast off the works of darkness

From Pope Benedict's Holy Thursday homily "In caena Domini":

When first called, terrified by the Lord’s divine power and his own weakness, Peter had said: “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!” (Lk 5:8). In the light of the Lord, he recognizes his own inadequacy. Precisely in this way, in the humility of one who knows that he is a sinner, is he called. He must discover this humility ever anew. At Caesarea Philippi Peter could not accept that Jesus would have to suffer and be crucified: it did not fit his image of God and the Messiah. In the Upper Room he did not want Jesus to wash his feet: it did not fit his image of the dignity of the Master. In the Garden of Olives he wielded his sword. He wanted to show his courage. Yet before the servant girl he declared that he did not know Jesus. At the time he considered it a little lie which would let him stay close to Jesus. All his heroism collapsed in a shabby bid to be at the centre of things.
We too, all of us, need to learn again to accept God and Jesus Christ as he is, and not the way we want him to be. We too find it hard to accept that he bound himself to the limitations of his Church and her ministers. We too do not want to accept that he is powerless in this world. We too find excuses when being his disciples starts becoming too costly, too dangerous. All of us need the conversion which enables us to accept Jesus in his reality as God and man. We need the humility of the disciple who follows the will of his Master. Tonight we want to ask Jesus to look to us, as with kindly eyes he looked to Peter when the time was right, and to convert us.
(Source: Sandro Magister, "'He Descended to the Dead.' Easter Surprise," Chiesa Online)
“God loves us the way we are, but too much to leave us that way” (Leighton Ford). It's hard to accept that that love makes demands on us to change; we've told ourselves that "love covers a multitude of sins" (1 Pet 4:8), as if that made sins acceptable. And so we find ourselves trying to rationalize the tougher teachings of Scripture, to explain away the apostolic tradition of the Church, as the interjected teaching of men (flawed, failing, corrupt, fallible) spoiling the pristine beauty of Christ's tolerant love.

Many of us sang as kids, "Jesus loves the little children, /All the little children of the world ...". But we aren't children. We don't come into an adult love of God with the full, innocent trust of children; we come in scarred, burned, suspicious, needy, carrying agendas, lying to ourselves and others with equal facility. We come in like addicts in denial, expecting a new, different, better kind of "high"; we come in wanting a fix, not wanting to be fixed. 

But I, miserable young man, supremely miserable even in the very outset of my youth, had entreated chastity of You, and said, "Grant me chastity and continency, but not yet." For I was afraid lest You should hear me soon, and soon deliver me from the disease of concupiscence, which I desired to have satisfied rather than extinguished" (St. Augustine, Confessions 8:7:17).

What wretched, arrogant fools we are, that, looking on the tormented, agonized Body on the cross, we still think that we can give just enough to make us feel we gave something without letting go of everything!  We can be profligate with our money, generous with our possessions, but such terrible misers with our desires! How could we possibly impose a just order upon the outer world when we can't impose a strict economy on our own inner appetites? What kind of martyrdom can we endure from the God-hating world when we can't endure the discomfort of self-denial? How can we spare ourselves anything in the name of Him who spared Himself nothing on our behalf?

The commandments, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Besides this you know what hour it is, how it is full time now for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed; the night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires (Rom 13:9-14).

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mixed feelings redux

This story is making its way around the Web quickly and effectively:

Brandon, MS (©2011 Mapquest, Inc.)
Brandon, Mississippi is in Rankin County, just east of Jackson. Just recently, it was the scene of the funeral of USMC Staff Sgt. Jason Rogers, killed in action in Afghanistan.

According to IHateTheMedia.com, it was also something of a Waterloo for the wingnuts from Westboro Baptist.

The story actually starts a couple of days before the funeral, when one of the wingnuts decided to tell the good folks of Brandon what he was there for and just what he thought. A few minutes and one can of gen-yu-wine Dixieland whup-ass later, police responded. However, the victim couldn't identify his attacker, and the "large crowd" that had gathered around had developed a case of collective amnesia about the incident.

Now we come to the date of the funeral. The wingnuts were mostly staying at one hotel. On the day of the funeral, for some odd reason, a whole bunch of pickups with Rankin County plates were parked in the motel parking lot, right behind every car with a Kansas license plate on it. Again, police were called, but their wreckers were running behind. Before the tow trucks showed up, the drivers returned to their trucks ... after the funeral had already ended.

A few Westboro wingnuts did show up for the funeral — only to be pulled aside and questioned by police about their possible involvement in a crime. After a few hours, the police determined they weren't involved and they were released.

Again, I've got mixed emotions about something involving Westboro Baptist. They seem to be the litmus test for freedom of religion: If they're beating up the loonies this week, doesn't mean they won't be beating up the Catholics next week. And the beating was no doubt richly deserved, but still ....

On the other hand, the part of me that enjoys a nice slice of after-dinner Schadenfreude says: Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch.


Again, please pray for SSgt. Rogers and his family. Semper Fi, Marine.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Resurrexit sicut dixit!

And a blessed Easter to you all!

YES, HE IS TRULY RISEN!


"Lo! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory.' 'O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?' The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Cor 15:51-57).

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

Dear God.

First, the frenzied, howling Sanhedrin. Slapping, punching, spitting all the while ... perhaps kicking him if he fell. During the night watch, his anxiety and fear for what he knew was coming was so great that the net of blood vessels around his sweat glands constricted, then hemorrhaged. Hematidrosis. As a result, his skin is extremely fragile and sensitive; every punch and slap is exquisitely painful.

The humiliation of the crowning as Rex Iudaeorum: not a wreath or circlet but a cap woven out of branches from the local thorn bushes, each thorn a nail in his scalp, with a staff made out of reed for a scepter ... a scepter with which he was struck like a club.

But that wasn't enough. Two Roman soldiers with flagella: whips of leather, with small bones tied to the ends which ripped the skin off his back and tore pieces of muscle out. Tied to a post, there was no way he could move, even involuntarily, that would avoid the clawing fragments that shredded his back. There's no way I can not hear him screaming his agony; slaves had been known to die as a result of the forty lashes.

Then the crossbeam is loaded onto his shoulders, raw and bleeding from the whips, bringing a fresh agony. Weakened, his heart already beginning to be squeezed and his lungs filled by fluids, he stumbles along the travertine-paved road from the castra praetoria to the place called Golgotha. He has probably already lost a liter of blood, if not more: category 3 shock numbs his mind but doesn't deaden the pain. He stumbles once, twice, a third time ... a passer-by is dragooned into helping him, not for mercy's sake—what Roman soldier chose mercy over duty?—but to speed things up: the Galilean isn't moving quickly enough.

What's left of his clothes—mere blood-sodden rags by now. except for the cloak—are stripped off, and his arms tied to the crossbeam. Then the incredible thunderclap of pain as the first nail is driven through his hand, grating the median nerve in its passage; his vocal cords already raw with the agony of his scourging are yet torn again by his screams. The hypostasis perfect, the God feels what the Man feels (He has always known this pain in His eternal Being; there is no moment where He does not feel the shattering, piercing metal sunder his flesh). Another nail, another wave of blasting torment—a third rip, this time through both feet—and then the ache as his horror is lifted vertical.

Staying alive to say the things he must say is an ongoing torture in itself. If he lets his weight sag down, his diaphragm is compressed, he can't draw enough air in. So he must force his transfixed feet to take his weight and push himself up, the movement causing the nails in his hands to rub the median nerves. He still loses blood from his back, as well as his four new wounds (even plugged, so to speak, by the horrific spikes). A promise to a thief he's never encountered before—a gift of a grieving mother to a weeping disciple—"I thirst", and a sponge full of sour wine lifted to his lips—and then a line from a psalm that seems to open an awful abyss, a place no man may enter to understand, where God had abandoned himself.

And then he is dead. I killed him. And so did you.

"If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and TAKE UP HIS CROSS and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it" (Mt 16:24-25).

Update

Elise's post at Kissing the Leper is an almost perfect dovetail:

What made Christ do what He did for us today?  What forced Him to carry that cross, stand and be scourged, spit upon, shouted at?  What made him lay still as the spikes were forced into his hands and feet?

Nothing...but Love.

There was no law that forced Christ into what He did.  Nothing on earth or in Heaven compelled it.  He said Himself that if He only asked, a legion of angels would be sent by His Father to help Him.

It was only His Love for you that kept him pinned on that Cross.  It was only His Love for you that forced him done a hot, dusty road, arms aching, blood pouring out of countless wounds to a hill outside of Jerusalem.  It was only His Love for you that made Him endure pain, thirst, fear.  He was stripped and tortured...because He loves you.

Today, this Good Friday, remember that most of all, love is not some fuzzy emotion of greeting cards and teenage angst.  Love is not a feeling of wanting to please another.  Love is not a desire to be wanted and waited upon.

Love is doing what is best - always - for the other.  And the best is helping that person become holy, as God wishes them to be holy, to be with Him always.

Remember that today, Good Friday, is not about following the law of fasting and abstinence (although those are solid practices), about laws of the Church.  Today is about Love.

See you all on Sunday.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Measure twice, post once ....

I must say I am shocked—shocked!—to see The Catholic Knight go off half-cocked over a story in Catholic Culture from March 28, which appears to report that the US Conference of Catholic Bishops backs the Obama Administration's adventurism in Libya. I'm not entirely sure, though, that I blame him, for the headline and lede misreport the situation:

US bishops: military intervention in Libya ‘appears to meet’ key just-war standard 

Military intervention in Libya, in the judgment of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), “appears to meet” the just-cause criterion of Catholic teaching on just war. The USCCB, however, cautioned that it has “refrained from making definitive judgments” in light of “many prudential decisions beyond our expertise."

In fact, there are four criteria for a just war:

The strict conditions for legitimate defense by military force require rigorous consideration. The gravity of such a decision makes it subject to rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy. At one and the same time:
  • the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;
  • all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
  • there must be serious prospects of success;
  • the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modem means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition (CCC §2309).
 The source of the story is a letter from Bp. Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, chairman of the USCCB's Committee on International Justice and Peace, to NSC advisor Thomas E. Donilon. In it, the bishop states that UN Security Council Resolution 1973 authorizing the intervention "appears to meet" the first criterion (in bold type); whether this is simply the judgment of the Committee or of the entire Conference +Hubbard doesn't specify.

However, the bishop's letter also has serious questions as to whether the coalition's operations fulfill the other criteria:

The just war tradition teaches that the use of force must have "serious prospects for success" and "must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated" (Catechism, #2309). Important questions include: How is the use of force protecting the civilian population of Libya? Is the force employed proportionate to the goal of protecting civilians? Is it producing evils graver than the evil it hopes to address? What are the implications of the use of force for the future welfare of the Libyan people and the stability of the region?
In addition, the use of force must be proportionate and discriminant. The justice of a cause does not lessen the moral responsibility to comply with the norms of civilian immunity and proportionality. We recognize serious efforts are being made to avoid directly targeting civilians. In fact, the just cause underlying the use of force is to protect civilians. This moral responsibility leads to continuing questions: Is force being used in ways that protect civilian lives? Are civilian casualties being avoided? Is the destruction of lives and property proportionate to the good being achieved in terms of saving civilian lives?
 And then he washes his hands of making a definitive judgment at this time: "Based on longstanding Church teaching and experience, we have offered moral guidance and asked key moral questions. As pastors and teachers, we have refrained from making definitive judgments because the situation on the ground remains complex and involves many prudential decisions beyond our expertise." [Has that consideration stopped them before? he asked, lips pursed.]

All in all, hardly a ringing endorsement from die-hard warhawks or Obama-worshipers. Nothing to see here, folks; we should just move along. However, Sir Knight rages:

The USCCB is playing politics here. Apparently, according to the USCCB, the unprovoked bombing of another country is an unjust war when a Republican is in the Whitehouse [sic], but when a Democrat is in the Whitehouse, it is likely a "just war" with good cause. GIVE ME A BREAK! How can I possibly take this ecclesiastical body seriously? How can anyone take it seriously?
 And, responding to a reader's comment that the USCCB would lead a break from Rome by nominal Catholics, Sir Knight responded, "... I think the emerging 'American Catholic Council' (or ACC) will likely become the vehicle of the American schism, and the USCCB will likely play an unofficial supportive role. The ACC will lead the charge, while the USCCB will likely cheer them on - unofficially of course."

This isn't the first post to over-react to a badly-written lede, and it probably won't be the last; I'll probably make the same mistake a few times in my own blogging career. But it took me less than ten minutes to track down the information needed for my response. Is that really too much to ask of any blogger?

Non nobis, Domine ...

While reading the Psalm selection for today in the Divine Office—Psalm 115:12-13, 15-18—I noticed that the first verse is: "Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory."

Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam. (In the Latin Vulgate, it's Pss 114:9.)

Being who I am and what I am, the first thing I remembered is Patrick Doyle's setting of this verse, which comes at the end of the Battle of Agincourt in Kenneth Branagh's film adaptation of Shakespeare's Henry V (1989):



So okay, it's not Palestrina. However, it sticks with you. And this was Doyle's first movie score.

(By the way, Doyle plays the first soldier to sing; he also plays Balthazar the minstrel in Much Ado About Nothing [1993]. His most recent work is the score for the soon-to-be-released movie adaptation of the comic book Thor ... directed, of course[?], by Branagh.)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"A simple and humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord"

Six years ago today, I stared in shock at the CNN webpage at the announcement, and then sent an email to a couple of friends: "OMG ... the next successor to Peter is Cardinal Katzenjammer!"

I was an idiot. I freely admit it, and apologize for it. Happy anniversary, Santo Padre ... ad multos annos!

 

Ask Tony: Where did the bishop's mitre come from?

Pope St. Gregory the Great w/ camelaucum
While I was traveling to Indianapolis, I missed my connector due to a flight delay and ended up spending the night in Denver. While I was there, I had breakfast with Bob and Jo Anderson, my buddy's parents and good friends of mine.

At one point, we got on the subject of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, the ordinary of Denver. "That's something I've been meaning to ask you," Jo exclaimed. "You know those funny hats bishops wear—"

"Mitres," I supplied.

"Yeah. You know, Bob and I have always wanted to know where those came from."

Glad you asked, and here's your answer:

Pope Benedict XVI with mitre




The mitre probably stemmed from a cap worn by officials of the Eastern Roman Empire, the kamelaukion or camelaucum, which was itself an adaptation of a common cap of the Greco-Roman world, the Phrygian cap (frigium), a conical cap (see the picture of Pope St. Gregory the Great). But the word mitra doesn't actually show up until a papal bull issued by Leo IX in 1049.

According to the old Catholic Encyclopedia (1911), the peak of the camelaucum began to round off about 1100; then the cap began to show up with a depression running from forehead to the occiput similar to the one on a cowboy hat or a fedora, occasionally with a decorative band running down its center. The twin puffs this created eventually took on the appearance of horns. Then the horns eventually were oriented fore and aft. All in all, the transition occurred in about a century, although it didn't take place everywhere in the west at the same time. Finally, the peaks of the horns grew over the next few centuries, taking on its current shape probably in the last couple of centuries.

Eastern mitre (from catalogue-four views)
The mitre has two fringed bands, called infulae or lappets, hanging down in back. The origin of these bands isn't precisely known; there's some speculation that it refers back to the headband Greek runners used to wear, and suggested by the metaphor of the race St. Paul uses in 2 Timothy 4:7-8. However, this may be a retrojected explanation, so don't take it too seriously.

Not Catholic bishops!
The Latin-rite Church has three kinds of mitre: the mitra simplex, an ordinary white mitre with red fringes on the lappets; the mitra pretiosa, usually made of gold cloth, often with plenty of decorative stitching, very rarely with precious stones; and the mitra auriphrygiata, a white mitre with decorative bands, usually of gold or the appropriate liturgical color. The Eastern churches, both Catholic and Orthodox, also have a mitre; however, it more closely follows the shape of an Eastern crown. The Oriental Orthodox's mitre looks a bit like a turban.

 In the Catholic Church, the mitre is worn by bishops, cardinals and abbots only. In the Eastern Orthodox churches, a priest may be awarded the right to wear a mitre with the cross on its top lying flat rather than standing upright.

Of course, the larger mainstream Protestant churches also have bishops, who also wear the mitre. Unfortunately, like other vestments, the mitre is often decorated and colored with no sense of liturgical propriety; a site called Bad Vestments, run by an Anglican, is dedicated to outstanding examples of ecclesial bad taste, and is ecumenical in its ridicule.

There's a lesson in here for bloggers: You never know what ideas you may get and where you might get them. And for Christians: Had I not had the misfortune of having been delayed in my travel, I wouldn't have gotten to meet up with Bob and Jo, which in itself was a great blessing.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sympathy for barbarism

Paris - A group of Christian fundamentalists [you get the feeling they toss the "f" word around without quite knowing what it means] armed with hammers and screwdrivers destroyed two artworks in an exhibition in the southern French city of Avignon at the weekend, one of which depicted a crucifix immersed in urine, French media reported Monday. ...


Civitas, a lobby group which says it aims to "re-Christianize France," called the piece "sacrilege vis-a-vis God and Catholics" and launched a petition for it to be removed from the exhibition at the residence housing the Yvon Lambert collection. 


On Saturday a group of around 500 people shouting Christian slogans demonstrated outside the building, Liberation reported. 


The following day four youths wearing sunglasses entered the building and surrounded two security guards stationed in front of the artwork, while others began hacking at it and another of Serrano's photographs, showing a nun meditating. [The nun isn't "meditating" ... she's masturbating.]


Culture Minister Frederic Mitterand denounced the incident as an "attack on the freedom of creation." [What's respect for the sensibilities of religious people compared to that?]


While "recognizing that the (Piss Christ) artwork could shock certain audiences," Mitterand said "any act of violence, destruction and intolerance is unacceptable." [But committing an act of sacrilege against a major religious symbol doesn't count as "intolerance", y'know, because Christians aren't a minority ... oh wait, we are talking about France, right?] ...


Eric Mezil, the director of the Lambert collection, said he would leave the shattered artworks hanging so that the public could "appreciate the barbarity committed by extremists." [We do appreciate it. Thanks!]
I have to agree with art historian Liz Lev, who told CNA, 
 While violent destruction isn’t the answer for much of anything, when a work of art is of such provocation that it offends ones faith – be that Islam, Judaism or Christianity – then it is, to some extent, an act of conscience on the part of the faithful to avoid seeing his or her God denigrated in this fashion. I mean a jar of the artist’s own urine with Christ in it? What does one really expect is going to happen?  What’s the point of such a piece if not provocation? What else did the artist want to create if not such a reaction? In a way, this is probably what the artist wanted all along.
 Exactly. While I would like very much to cheer the "Christian fundamentalists" who wrecked that blasphemous piece of crap, in the end it didn't do much except feed the narcissistic self-pity of the artistic community. Doubtless we'll see replays of the "Christians destroyed the Library at Alexandria" meme pretty quickly.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Big ol' jet airliner, don't carry me too far away ...

Flying to Indianapolis today, to help my older brother move back to Denton. I can't guarantee I'll have any net access between now and when I return Sunday, so I've already set up my next "Apologetics Toolbox" installment on OTA to post automatically Saturday morning.

Have a great weekend! And remember: It's HOLY WEEK!

A very modest (and not at all ironic) proposal


Richard over at Linen on the Hedgerow had an idea of the shape he had in mind for the proposed Bloggers Guild over across The Pond. (The actual seed of the idea was Dylan Parry’s). I’ve called for some ideas for our side; here are some of my own:

Proposed guiding principles for Catholic Bloggers of America

  1. The Catholic Bloggers of America unite:
    1. To exchange ideas, techniques and information to help each other become more prominent voices for the Catholic faith;
    2. To give each other support and encouragement in the practice and promotion of the Catholic faith;
    3. To eat, drink, swap stories, throw darts and bowling balls (but not at each other).
  2. No annual dues to be set until it actually begins to cost something to run the Guild; work on behalf of the Guild should be voluntary as much as possible, and money collected only when and to the extent needed.
  3. To the end of principle 2, formal organization should be kept to a minimum, developed only as required. Since the point is to get bloggers in the same room with each other for food, fun and talk, the only real purpose of the organization itself is to get the meetings arranged.
  4. No test of faith should be required … especially not if it involves the flight speed of an African swallow; a simple oath that one abides by the Catechism and talks nice about the Pope will do.
  5. The CBA is not intended to be a PAC or a watchdog organization: no particular political test should be required … unless you’re a unicorn-chomping pinko commie.
  6. About the only other principle I can think of: MINIMUM AGE 21! I don’t want to have the same nightmare Richard had!