Sunday, January 27, 2008

A History Lesson, Part I

No, I do not think 'an history lesson' makes any sense when you say it.

Read this at RORATE CAELI on the events of 1988, a period of church history I never learned about during my formative years (we didn't learn much church history, period).

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

On Death

Many people commented on the importance of the funeral Mass and the Catholic tradition of prayer. I know that readers of this blog will offer their own prayers as well. Thank God for the Church, for the parish, and for our Catholic faith at a time such as this.

--Father Tim Finigan

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Australians, I need your help

Given the ever greater pace we are seeing in the Holy Father's reform efforts, from the MP to crosses and candles on the altar to outright facing 'east' in the Sistine Chapel, I've love to know what the situation is with the renovation plans for Cardinal Pell's cathedral. Are they still going forward with the new freestanding altar? If anyone has news, please comment.

EDIT: Here's the original post at Shrine of the Holy Whapping.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The "La Sapienza" Affair

I've been busy... But on to business.

Catching up on Father Z this morning, I read his piece on the Holy Father's canceled visit to "La Sapienza" University in Italy because professors and students were protesting madly and his security and dignity could not be guaranteed.

I was referred then to Zadok, who has all the details on the ground:
  • Pope to Visit the Sapienza University
  • Gah! It's not about Galileo!
  • Credit where credit is due
  • They're worse than I thought...
  • Ruini - Show support for the Pope on Sunday!
    I don't have much to add to this myself beyond what Father Z and Zadok have to say. In the comments to the various quotes, a lot of biblical verses are quoted to support His Holiness. Dusting yourself off after being thrown out is a good one, as is the story of Peter turning back to Rome after Jesus asks him where he's going.
  • Saturday, January 05, 2008


    Vigil of the Epiphany; Commemoration of St. Telesphorus, pope and martyr
    Feria; St. John Neumann

    Day off. See you all tomorrow.

    More on Saint Telesphorus and Saint John Neumann from last year.

    Friday, January 04, 2008

    When the Church Attacks

    Octave of the Holy Innocents, martyrs

    From the National Secular Society (of the UK):

    The Government and the Catholic Church are at loggerheads again in Spain following a mass demonstration in Madrid over the New Year. The rally, organised by the Church, was supposed to be “in defence of the family” but was, in fact, an attack on the Spanish Government’s legalisation of gay marriage, its new fast-track divorce law and a new civics course that parents can choose for their children instead of religious indoctrination in schools. The Pope made an appearance via a video link to cheer on the bigots. The Church claimed that two million people had taken part in the rally, but an independent count by El Pais newspaper put the number at less than 160,000. Even they had to be bussed in from all over the country, and some even from Portugal.

    My bolding. It goes on like that. It's funny how they phrase that. I bolded the attack words in the article. But they criticize the rally because it was claimed that it was in support of the family while they rattle off a list of criticisms of government policy. But if they bothered to think through their argument, maybe they'd realize that support of something usually means support of something against something else, namely the policies listed of the Spanish government.

    I got through the first paragraph and stopped. If anyone else has the fortitude to go on, feel free.

    Catholic World News:

    Madrid, Jan. 3, 2008 ( - Spanish government leaders have asked the country's Catholic bishops to apologize for the massive pro-family rally held in Madrid on December 30, Vatican Radio reports.

    Leaders of the Socialist governing party have charged that the Church intervened in partisan political affairs with the rally, which drew nearly 2 million participants. (The government is reporting that only 160,000 took part in the demonstration.) The government has asked the bishops' conference for an apology.

    Although 40 bishops took part in the pro-family event, and the hierarchy gave clear support to the event, the rally was organized primarily by lay Catholic activists. The organizers have consistently argued that the rally was not intended as a partisan political event, but as a public expression of support for the traditional family founded on Christian marriage.

    One part of the Secular Society's bit that I didn't quote was the part on numbers. There's some dispute over if the rally's attendance was six digits or seven. Note the distinction given between clerical and lay organization of the rally.

    Thursday, January 03, 2008


    Update #2: Picture restored.


    DENVER (AP) — On the day she is to become a woman, Monica Reyes sits in front of the church for Mass. Her white dress — sewn in her mother's Mexican hometown — spills over her chair like an oversized lampshade.

    The priest urges her to live as a daughter of God. Her parents give her a gold ring shaped like the number 15. Near the end of the service, Reyes lays a bouquet of roses before a statue of the Virgin Mary.

    Then she steps through the worn, wooden doors of St. Joseph's, a Roman Catholic parish for generations of poor, Hispanic immigrants, and into a 20-seat white Hummer limo that rents for $150 an hour.

    Read the entire piece. A couple of points...

    Matovina said the Denver archdiocese's efforts will resonate with some families and be ignored by others, much like couples who go through the motions of marriage preparation classes to get a church wedding.

    At the same time, the ritual is a point of tension with the Catholic church because Catholic families want their faith to be part of the celebration yet it isn't a sacrament, like marriage.

    The Reyes family does not attend Mass regularly, but would never consider the Quinceanera legitimate without the blessing of a priest. A portrait of Our Lady of Guadalupe watches over the living room of the family's apartment.

    "The reason to have the Mass is to be blessed, and to say thanks to God," said Monica's mother, Luz.

    The article makes much of the industry that surrounds the entire thing. I am at once intrigued, but also repelled by the expense of the entire thing. I've read in different places about the thoughts of Confirmation devolving into a 'coming of age' sacrament and I wonder how that plays into the event with these girls and all the trappings of their Church-sanctioned events. Food for thought.

    The Deaf Church

    Ed Peters talks today about deafness and its place in the Church and how the Church ministers to those who are deaf. He quotes from and responds to an article in Zenit from the 1st where a priest was interviewed on the issues facing deaf Catholics such as sign language, participation in Mass and vocations.

    I'm not going to rehash the good doctor's remarks, but I'll make a few points of my own. To start off, I am a deaf Catholic. I was not deaf from birth, rather I lost my hearing over time and only reached complete deafness as a young adult. I don't necessarily identify with the 'Deaf' community and at this point, my sign language skills are rather meager.

    On participation in Mass:
    I go to Mass with hearing people in a parish that does not provide any kind of services. And that's fine for me. I have my missal for the readings, I follow along based on what Father is doing, I have continuous silence in which to contemplate the Divine. I miss singing, both singing myself and listening to it, but it's not something that bothers me too much anymore. Mostly my problem is staying focused thanks to the fact that it's just me and my silence, but we all have our crosses to bear.

    Personally, if I had the option of an on-site closed captioning service, I would consider it. Dr. Peters makes a point about how reading closed captions does not necessarily fit in with 'active participation', but having used captioning throughout my later years of university that it can be quite useful and does not hamper at all 'active participation' if you consider what goes on in the usual university classroom.

    On the other Sacraments:
    I take along a notepad to Confession. I usually write out what I have to confess beforehand simply because it's speedy and leaves the priest time to write down whatever he wants regarding penance and absolution. Even if it was available, I wouldn't think to take in with me a translator of some kind. Being out there in the world beyond hearing, but not having much contact with the wider Deaf community, that kind of personal contact is always welcomed.

    On Vocations:
    On this issue, I cannot necessarily speak with clarity. While discerning a vocation, I emailed the vocations director of the diocese (who is now vice-rector of NAC in Rome I believe) and he was quite helpful, even providing me with some info on deaf priests in other dioceses. Later, I met with the director of vocations for the local Jesuit province and after a cordial conversation where we discussed my various health issues, we came away with a conclusion that the priesthood wasn't right for me, but not because of any issue with my deafness per se.

    Anyway, that's just a few of my thoughts, not very well formed, in response to Dr. Peters' comments. It's not something Dr. Peters addressed directly, but I would posit that while ministering to the deaf is important, simply because of my situation, I think that ministering to those who once had hearing and then don't is a ministry of its own that overlaps with but is not the same as a ministry for the deaf in general.

    Pick your prelate!

    Octave of St. John Apostle and Evangelist
    The Most Holy Name of Jesus (optional)

    Damian Thompson: Who should succeed Cardinal Cormac? I don't know enough about the English hierarchy to propose anyone myself and I doubt anyone from outside is going to be brought in in this day and age. Perhaps a Pole? I see that my favorite UK blogger, Father Tim Finigan, has been proposed. Perhaps I should second him? Of course, choosing a prelate for such the archbishopric ought not be a popularity contest. We'll see though what the results are of Mr. Thompson's polling of his readers.

    On a more practical note, tonight are the Iowa Caucuses. If anyone wants to advise me on who to throw in with in either party, leave a comment. ;)

    Wednesday, January 02, 2008

    Real Dialogue?

    Octave of St. Stephen Protomartyr, Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus
    Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, bishops and doctors

    Sandro Magister has out a piece on a planned meeting between the Holy Father and 138 prominent Muslims led by a prince of Jordan that follows an exchange of letters last year. I'm not going to quote all of this at all, just one part. Bolding is my own.

    The letter from cardinal Bertone, dated November 19 and made public about ten days later, proposes three main topics of discussion: "effective respect of the dignity of every human person"; "objective awareness of the other's religion"; "'a common commitment to promoting mutual respect and acceptance among the younger generation."

    In commenting on Bertone's letter, the Egyptian Jesuit Samir Khalil Samir – who is one of the scholars of Islam most closely heeded by the pope, together with another Jesuit, Christian W. Troll, of Germany – emphasized that the letter of the 138 is not clear on the first of these topics, and that instead some of its signatories say that they are not at all interested in talking about freedom of conscience, about equality between men and women and between believers and nonbelievers, about the distinction between religious and political power – in short, about the achievements of the Enlightenment that the Catholic Church has made its own, but that Islam is still far from accepting.

    For its part, the letter from the prince of Jordan to cardinal Bertone, dated December 12 and likewise made public about ten days later, insists that the Catholic-Muslim dialogue be primarily "theological" and "spiritual," and that it have as its object – more than aspects defined as "extrinsic," like the commandments of the natural law, religious liberty, and equality between men and women – the "Common Word between Us and You" which is at the center of the letter of the 138, or the unicity of God and the twofold commandment of love of God and neighbor.

    Benedict XVI wants to talk about the Enlightenment perhaps, but as I read this, I see he wants to talk about concrete steps that will help real people, women, non-Muslims living in Muslim lands, etc. The prince of Jordan has in mind theological discussion along the lines of, as I read it, 'You're okay, we're okay, we believe in the same God with two different traditions, have a nice day'. Something that validates the idea that there is just one big Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition.

    Benedict XVI has definite ideas about religious dialogue and something like that isn't on his agenda, period. I look forward to seeing how they solve this and come up with meaningful points to discuss this spring.

    Also of interest:
    Spengler's thoughts on post-Muslims
    Spengler's thoughts on "presentable" Islamists

    Tuesday, January 01, 2008

    World Peace Day message

    Circumcision of the Lord and Octave of the Nativity
    Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God; World Day of Peace

    The Holy Father in his homily for the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God and the World Day of Peace started off with the family as the center:

    but the true peace, that one announced from the angels in the night of Been born them, is not simple conquest of the man or fruit of political agreements; it is in the first place divine gift to implorare constantly and, at the same time, engagement to ahead carry with patience being remained always docile the commandos of the Getlteman.

    The Holy Father then spoke about the family as the basis for peace.

    The natural family, founded on the wedding between a man and a woman, is "crib of the life and the love" and "before and the irreplaceable educatrice to the peace".

    There's more and worth a good read for its defense of the traditional family and then its interesting look at the Virgin Mary and how everything proceeds from her title 'Mother of God'.