Friday, February 29, 2008

Feminist, Baptism, and 'Mother'-god

This has been making its rounds on the web. It is the news that baptism done "In the name of the Creator, and of the Redeemer, and of the Sanctifier" is invalid. The Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith also included that this invalid formula stems from the "so-called feminist" theology that feels the use of masculine terms in relation to God is chauvinistic.

One of the reason not mentioned in detail is that the formula is invalid as it unknowingly seeks to undermine the Trinity by 1. changing divine revelation and 2. not realizing that creation, redemption and sanctification are all Trinitarian acts.

As far as the use of masculine terms for God, certain terms are used for certain reasons. It is true that God does transcend gender. It is also true that Christ revealed God as Father. It is further true that in the Old Testament that God is never directly referred to in any other way than masculine; though, it is true that feminine similes and analogies have been used to describe a certain feeling God is trying to express through a prophet, but similes and analogies are not the same as saying that God is something. In other words, to say God is like something or suffers something as something else is not to say that God is the exact thing to which He is likened.

Tough the reasons above are good reasons, it hardly goes into the meanings of the use Father and Mother. One must first understand that some of the language used in the church is old. In fact it is older than the church herself. In brief, and according to Dr. Brant Pitre (one of the posters over at Singing in the Reign) whom I happened to have a conversation about the use of masculine and feminine terms in theology a couple of days ago, in all ancient religions the masculine term is used to describe the creator and causer as well as to describe the god(s) that are transcendent (something or one that is not bound to or by space, time and matter). This is similar to the Father of a natural family who is the cause of the offspring; the offspring does not come from the father. Whereas the feminine was used to describe that which something comes from as well as to describe that which is immanent (a person or thing who is bound by and to space, time, and matter and is unable to go beyond the ordinary limits of nature without the aid of someone who is transcendent). This is similar to the mother and how her offspring, tough caused by the Father comes from her. (No doubt, this probably seems strange to modern ears as we know that to bring forth off spring it requires the part on two parties.)

The first example of this is found in language. Though hardly present in English, it is seen in many of the romance languages. The word "bird" in Spanish (pájaro) has a masculine gender (its gender will likely be the same in other romance languages). This is because the bird, for all purposes, seems to be a transcendent animal (or being really) because it can fly -- this is why birds in some cultures were though to be messengers to and from the gods, and in some cases even gods themselves. Yet the word "mountain" in Spanish (montaña) has a feminine gender. This is because the mountain comes from the earth (also a feminine word) and has never been seen as a transcendent being or things. To my knowledge, no one has ever worshiped a mountain -- though people have worshiped atop of mountains.

A second example comes from a person's nation or motherland to be specific. That is, the nation is mother to her citizens because her citizens come from her, the motherland.

To bring it back to God. This is important because God is the creator. He is the first cause. Creation did not come from God in the sense that creation is an extension or a boiling over of God nor did creation come from God in the sense of a child coming from a mother: this belief is actually found in a number of other (usually eastern) faiths. In other words, creation is not the same substance as God is. If Creation were the same substance as God we would all be God, which would bring us to a kind of pantheism. So it is only right to use the term that is mostly closely related to and universally held to what a person is trying to say about a transcendent being.

To give another example, one ever hears of 'father earth'. One only ever hears of 'mother earth'. I have never heard anyone ever question this. It seems to be the case that 'father earth' would just not fit. This is because the earth cannot be Father. The Earth can only be Mother because it is we who come from it, and it is also to say that the Earth is immanent. Because the earth is mother it is true that we are of the same stuff (so to speak) as the Earth ( space and matter) as it is the case that we as humans come from the earth. To call the earth father is so say that the earth in transcendent, the earth causes creation, and it is to say that we do not come from the earth. Instead the earth becomes some kind of neo-pagan-Adam who continually pops creation out from his side.

Another example comes from the church herself (specifically the earthly church). The church has always been referred to as mother-church and never as father-church. This is to say that the church is immanent, it is a mother to us, and it is of the same stuff as us. Wait a second, the church is of the same substance as us because we, all baptized people, are the church. To call the church father is to say that we are not and cannot be church as the church would then not be immanent.

I am sure ,if someone wanted, a theology could be worked out involving baptism and the imagery surrounding it as being born again into Christ and the baptismal font as the womb of the church. Though, I do not believe the Catholic church has ever made a statement on whether or not it is the church or God doing the birthing. Then again, going in this direction might just be taking the understanding too far and in the wrong direction -- I'll have to ask some smart people about this point.

In brief (the 30 second version):
Masculine term for God means he is transcendent.
Feminine term for God means he is not-transcendent (God is only nature and is bound and limited to space, time, and matter).

*Note: Just because the masculine term applies to God does not mean He can't or won't be motherly to His people.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

If Jesus Be Cajun

You are de Tony Chachere’s of de world. But if de Tony’s loses it tastes, mi yeah, with what can it be seasoned? It is no good for nuthin.

You are de bug zapper of de werl. De town set on de levee can’t be hidden, no. No fool, ami, turns on de bug zapper and den brings it inside. No, it be set outside to kill dem skeeters, where it is a help to all de family.

You too, you must help de others, and you should help protect de others from the skeeters that be de devil and glow to guide the good people to de Lawd’s house.


Or,

Then he said to them, “The kingdom of heaven is like the woman who waits for the good throws from the parade, and when she sees them, she frantically waves her arms and yells ‘throw me sumthin mista.’ She puts all her dignity aside, runs through the crowd and jumps up and down by the float hoping it will stop soon so that she can grab the good throws.”

Or,

He Proposed another parable to them, “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who owns a crawfish farm.” While everyone was asleep, his enemy came and tossed in the catfish into his pond and went off. When his pond filled with catfish and crawfish a worker of the farm owner came to him and said, “Boss, didn’t you throw crawfish in dis here pond? Then why dere be catfish in here?”

The Boss answered, “Oh my yeah, It must have been my enemy Beaudreaux.” His worker answered him, “Do you want us to get rid of de cats?” The boss replied, “No, if you get rids of de cats, you might gets rids of the crawfish too. Let them grow together till crawfish season; then I will say ‘first catch all the cats and we will sell dem to de market where they be butchered and sliced and diced into tiny pieces. Then catch all the crawfish and put then in my pot so dat we have a crawfish berl.”

Louisianian Geauxs on Vacation


Shoot. I got a whole pantry of that stuff. You live outside of LA and you gotta stock up. These yanks up here look at me funny when I whip out my can of Tony's, but when I explain to them that I am from New Orleans they are like 'oh'. There appears to be a national understanding that it is socially and culturally permissible to carry one's seasoning with them while one vacation if you are from New Orleans. I will say this tough, I can buy Zatarains up here in Delaware, but I have to get if off the 'ethnic' aisle.

Via: Matty B from the email box.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Faux Conversation with Myself

I like to post an occasional story over at 100 Word Stories. The idea is that in 100 words or less you write a story, scene or something based off the theme of that day. Yesterday's thems was "How did I wind up in this situation?" This is what I wrote:
I asked, “Self, what shall we do today?”

And myself responded, “How about the Pub?”

And I said back to myself, “The Pub is too noisy.”

“Then how about the country,” I asked back?

“The country is too quiet,” myself replied.

So myself said back to me, “To the theater!”

“The theater is too crowded,” I told myself.

“Then what shall we do,” asked myself?

“How about nothing,” I asked?

“Oh but doing nothing is hard work,” myself said back to me.

“But,” I said to myself, “I don’t mind working hard as long as there is none to do.”

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Funny Blog

I ran across this last night and couldn't stop looking at all the cartoons. The blog is called The Ongoing Adventures of ASBO Jesus. A sample is below (if you can read it). Click on it for a larger image or just go visit The Ongoing Adventures of ASBO Jesus.

Graphic

I took my sketch from here and turned it into a little digital graphic. If you life it and want to use it for something feel free.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Theology of Peeing: How to be a Man

Apparently being a man is synonymous with peeing standing up. This is about the most ridiculous bit of theology I have ever heard.

Teens Not Interested in Having Fun: Youth Groups Go Empty

(Anytown, USA) – Across America a phenomenon is sweeping the nation and no explanation has been found to account for the actions of hundreds of thousands of teens. Malls are empty. Arcades are being unused. Nintendo Wiis remain on store shelves. Coffee houses have gone silent except for the low sounds of smooth sad jazz. It appears that teens are no longer interested in having fun -- at least that is what one behavioral specialist is saying. Dr. John Williams told reporters today that there has been a profound unexpected shift in the behavior of teens. “Such behavioral changes are evolutionary in nature and are needed for the survival of human kind”, said Dr. Williams.

But Dr. Williams comments aren’t just speculation. His theory is supported by the recent exodus of teens from all things teenagery. Multitudes of teens have traded in the green fields of MTV and text messaging for calmer pastures. These teens are being found in the most unusual of places: poetry slams, the local public library, and the county court house to name just a few.

We found sixteen-year-old Lisa Smith at the AnyTown Public Library, who recently started frequenting the place, preparing for a midnight marathon reading of Jame Joyce’s Finnigans Wake when she had the following to say about the recent phenomenon: she said, “I just don’t know. Like, all that time I wasted having fun. It’s just unbelievable. Fun is for kids and babies. Not mature teenagers like myself. I mean, I have to get into college and get a job. Right?” Other teens that we met at the library said that their plans for the weekend included cutting the grass with scissors, data entry and watching the paint dry.

Economists are telling local stores around the US to take warning, as businesses have been forced to close shop and downsize in order to survive this new social shift in teens. Uncertain to what this means, some economics experts believe this social trend in teens will cause a depression greater than the stock mark crash of the 20s. John Badger, the consulting economist for the “Really Big and Fancy Times” said that “Teens drive our economy. With out teens spending their parent’s money how is America going to survive? Think of all the useless things teens buy. All of that will be gone and the millions of people who produce those products will soon be out of a job if we can’t find a way to get these teens interested in having fun again. To prove my point, even TV rating are at an all time low because teens aren’t spending four hours a day watching it.”

This phenomenon is even effecting churches in America. Liz Shepherd, youth minister at St. John’s Church, had been confused by the shift in her youth group’s behavior, “They just aren’t interested in having fun,” she said. “Attendance is low. Every time I host a game night or movie night no one attends. They keep requesting things like dictionary nights and phone book readings.” Though it might seem glum Liz is not worried. She said, “I’m not worried. Teens change their behavior as often as they change their socks. They’ll be back. I’m not worried.”

Whatever the cause and whatever the reasons for this recent teen behavior all that can be said is that it is strange.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Get Expelled

Get Expelled is a new documentary by the likable monotoned Ben Stein that tries to explore the debate between intelligent design and Darwinism/evolution. Ben Stein sets out to to answer some tough cultural questions surrounding the debate: Why is it ok to be a scientist and believe in Darwinism and not ok to believe in I.D.? Why are scientists that believe in I.D. told to keep their mouth shut? Why are scientists who propose the theory of I.D. ridiculed to the extent that careers are nearly ruined? Why can't I.D. be taught in schools? Naturally this movie will delve into issues surrounding the freedom of speech. Be sure to watch the super trailer.

One thing is certain, that when science finally learns to create/make life, it will have proved that in order to make life you need intelligence, and it needs to be designed a certain way.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Abortion and Prohibition

Claim: Abortion cannot be legislated as it is too deeply rooted in the American mind. We do not need a new ‘prohibition’ by outlawing abortion.

Response: This is certainly a concern. America does not need a new prohibition. It is true that Alcohol is deeply rooted in American culture and the attempt to end drunkenness through prohibition with the addition of the 18th amendment to the constitution resulted in more evil than good. In other words, a plan with noble intentions backfired. So America now tolerates drunkenness because the alternative is most unfavorable.
As mentioned above, a new prohibition is a legitimate concern in outlawing abortion; however, the argument is weak. People are not barrels of rum, and the last I checked people do not have abortions as frequently as shots of rum. Also, where everyone can enjoy a good beer or a nice glass of wine, women are the only portion of the population that can enjoy an abortion. Also, I have never heard of a person who nightly, before going to bed, retires into one’s study for their nightly smoke and abortion to help them rest better. Nor have I heard of bums wandering aimlessly into clinics to receive an abortion so as to take away the pain. I have never heard of a person being addicted to abortions or having withdrawals for going longer than twenty-four hours without having an abortion, and the last I looked into it, there were no meetings for those people who might be addicted to Abortions. Perhaps then, abortion is not as deeply rooted in the American mind as people lead themselves to believe. Due to the fact that abortion is limited to a certain section of people and abortion is not taken advantage of as often as alcohol, this might be the reason that abortion is not and cannot be as deeply rooted in the American mind as proposed by the claim.
In regard to this issue, Americans must remember that there have been a number of moral issues through the course of history that were legally tolerated and deeply rooted in the American mind until outlawed, and what followed was certainly nothing more than growing pains until all the issues were worked out. Eventually, what was once the norm became the new taboo for the country. I think mainly of slavery. Besides being concerned with a new prohibition there should be an equal concern with a new slavery thrust upon a culture that might think otherwise but feels as if they have no choice in the matter.
Also, people cannot be afraid to do something because of what might happen. Being fearful of what might happen can be paralyzing for a populace and prevents people from doing what ought to be done. Who knows, what is feared of happening might not be the outcome of legislating and outlawing abortion.

Objection 1: Too many people believe abortion should be available.

Response: True, many people do have this belief. But the majority is not always right. Where two heads are smarter than one, two heads can also be dumber than one. One-million people screaming error are by no means smarter than the one person speaking truth. Consensus does not equal right. An ought cannot be derived by the majority. Though the government is there to pass laws for the country sometimes the government must pass laws that protect its people regardless of the national consensus. That is, the government might one day have to make an executive decision to protect the people from the people. This might be the case with abortion.

Objection 2: Legislating Abortion will result in back-alley abortions that are dangerous.

Response: The sad reality is that people are going to do what they want to do whether or not it is tolerated by law. Murder will always be, but because it will always happen is no reason to legalize a thing. Remember, even with the repeal of the 18th amendment by the addition of the 21st amendment, illegal use and production of alcohol still exists. That is, the 21st amendment did not eliminate all the moonshiners who still to this day break the law. Even though abortion is legal in American that does not prevent dangerous abortions or back-alley abortions form happening and to think otherwise is naivety. Just because something is legal does not mean that it is safe, right, or true. All that legality means is that it is tolerated by law. Legality makes no moral claims, but only states what is tolerable. Yet, it is true that the majority of Americans believe that because a thing is tolerated by law means that it must be a good, for why would the government allow something that is dangerous?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Not Said by Jesus Sunday


Back from Retreat

I'm back from the retreat. I am VERY tired. I also thought the retreat went well for a 2-night confirmation retreat. For whatever reason, I forgot to pass out the evaluation forms, but all the teens were exchanging phone numbers and emails before their parents arrived to pick them up, so I took that as a sign that they at least enjoyed the retreat and maybe made some new friends in the confirmation program (which was one of the goals for the retreat).

Thursday, February 14, 2008

On Retreat

Myself and four other adults are taking 23 teens into a cabin in the woods (it is really a summer camp in the woods) to do a weekend confirmation retreat for them. It is going to be based on the creed but will involve reflection, prayer, music, and some challenge exercises (community building games).

Prayers are greatly appreciated.

In short, no posting till Sunday.

Dr. Seuss Decoded

The IC has made a recent Twisted Lenten discover of dramatic proportions about Dr. Seuss and Green Eggs and Ham.

Lesson on Confirmaion


Though Confirmation makes you bold in the spirit, a soldier for Christ, an athlete for Christ , and gives the recipients of the sacrament a new strength for living out more perfectly their Baptismal promises, the sacrament does not prevent you from doing stupid things in your new found boldness.

What I Saw Upon Reading The Vagina Monologues.

[a repost, sorry for all the reposting lately, just been super busy preparing a retreat for a confirmation group this coming weekend]

With the approach of Valentine’s Day, I finally got the nerve to see what all the fuss has been about on Catholic campuses due to the infamous The Vagina Monologues. Now I know.

I do not wish to discuss whether or not the play should be allowed on college campuses; ultimately, that is not my decision. But I can’t help to comment that there have been many things done in the name of academic freedom, some of which have been important to the advancements in the academic world, while others have not been so important. What I will share are my observations on the book.

Eve Ensler, in her introduction, makes it explicitly known to the reader that her goal is to end violence against women – a noble and important cause that all people should strive to accomplish, but not just towards women. The ultimate goal for all peoples is to end undue violence against the innocent of all genders, races, and creeds. With all the words Eve spends discussing violence against women and what the V-Day movement has accomplished over the last nine year, one might suspect that the majority of monologues to deal with such subject mater. If this had been the case, her book would have driven the point home hard. Instead, the contrary was true. For every one story about a women being abused there were ten others on women’s sexual exploration or sexual education/liberation.

What does Eve mean by sexual education or liberation? In the context of the monologues this turns not into a discovery of the human person, but translates into women learning how to masturbate, women learning how to achieve an orgasm, women having sexual escapades with not only men but also women. Women seem to learn less about who they are as persons and more about how to pleasure themselves. It is no wonder that Catholic campuses across the nation have protests about production of this play. One can’t help but wonder if Eve is promoting such interests or just merely presenting issues from various females’ lives.

However, what bothers me the most about Eve’s book is not so much the content but how the female human person is presented to the reader. By trying to lift women up she manages only to tear them down and fall into the exact thing she is trying to avoid. Her view of the female person is dismal at best. Ask what is woman and undoubtedly she would reply “vagina.” In other words, she reduces women from being a glorious being, a person with feelings, thoughts, ideas, dreams, and emotions to a vagina: a mere body part meant to be gratified and pleasured. Women go from beings with sexuality to mere sexual beings rooted not in love for the human person but in mere sex. As if the part is not so much greater then the whole, but the part is the whole.

There are other groups who reduce women to nothing more than a vagina. The first group is called pimps. The other group is the stereotypical male who has no respect for women.

Much of Eve’s writings might seem radical to the literary world, but she talks about vaginas in the same light as high-school boys talk about their penises. Men for eons have been naming their genitals and asking such questions as “What would it wear?” or “What would it say?” Such behavior is often left behind in high school or shortly there after in most decent men.

Yet, Eve feels the need to engage in such antics as she provides not an open forum for discussing sexuality in a mature manner so much as she presents a sophomoric attitude towards sexuality and women that are degrading to the extent that women are reduced to mere sexual objects, nothing more than a giant, walking, pulsating, vagina.

To answer Sr. Mary Eve, who recently wrote an article defending the monologues on BustedHalo.com, as to “Why has The Vagina Monologues been protested by a vocal minority of Catholics when it has been offered on Catholic campuses?” Simply put we don’t want women lowering themselves to the level of men – specifically, sophomoric, high school, boys.

Still, the whole purpose of The Vagina Monologues seemed to be aimed at that end: women wanting to become the poorest example of men. I can’t say much about “V-day,” but my personal experiences have been very negative with down right male bashing. As if beating down men will make women greater and amend for the many years of injustice towards women. As if charging men fifty cents more for a candy bar because of the mere fact that they are of a different gender will provide reparation for the sins against women. I doubt fifty cents will heal a soul. Hold on here! Isn’t that what Eve and other feminist organizations have been saying that men have been doing to women for centuries: beating women down? Why the need for a role reversal? Why do women now feel the need to step down off the porch and wallow in the mud with the men like pigs? Men have been throwing enough feces at one another. Must women now partake also in the flinging of feces? According to Eve and the other organizations that support “V-day” it is a firm “yes.”

Also, any person with a beating heart knows that the only way to overcome and defeat the evils and injustices in the world is to respond with an even greater act of love. And so I ask Eve Ensler, “Where is the love in your book?” “Where is the love in your vagina?” “How has your book responded in love to evil?” I saw little love in the book. In fact, it was just the opposite of love I saw: it was use of the human person on a number of levels. All she produces in her book is use that is love unknown, a lazy nature of an inordinate lapsed kind, a misappropriation of urge and desire, a bent vector, a crooked word, love misspelled.

Finally, I can’t say I didn’t take away anything positive from the text. Eve is a talented writer, which makes it impossible not to take away anything. I think the real issue is not “Why have so many women been abused?” but more importantly “Why have men allowed such injustices to occur?” “Why has the world been producing such poor specimens of men who allow such abuse to happen?” “Aren’t men, traditionally, to be the protectors of women?” If the amount of women that have been abused is as great as Eve Ensler leads her reader to believe then men: We have failed our women.


Here are two links to some other views on the "Monologues."
"Monologues" not what we need. By Christina Dehan
Engage in contemporary culture. By Professor Gary Anderson

Also check out The Edith Stein Project.
From the Site:
In fall of 2004, a group of undergraduate women at Notre Dame gathered to beginning planning the first conference, which was held last February, entitled “The Edith Stein Project: Redefining Feminism”. They felt strongly that this conversation needed to take place here at the University of Notre Dame, where modern culture and Catholicism intersect in a unique way.

Theotokos: In Video Form

A friend of mine liked the poem I put up the other day, and so she set it to some music and video. I hope you enjoy it.



Thanks Bets

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Theotokos: A Rose

A small rose both bloom and bud –
never broken, never wilting, forever spotless.
She is the favored flower of Grace’s own making.

In purity, she was planted
to bear Jesse’s shoot,
to undo what has been done,
to bring forth Salvation’s scent
from the Fruit she first bore.

Before He planted His pied patch,
She was picked out and preferred,
by the fruits of her Fruit.

By the Gardner’s hand, she was kept pure:
ready to seek the Gardner’s plan
and with magnifying grace
she was both bloom and bud.

Youth Group Conversations

Oh the things you overhear at youth group that make you chuckle.
YG Girl: You should marry someone named Lynn.

YG Guy: Only if she looks good.

YG Girl: It's not just about looks.

YG Guy: Well, uhh . . .

YG Girl: It's about inner beauty too.

YG Guy: Yeah, I know, but looks help you tolerate her when she is annoying.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Confused Teen Interviews Local Bishop on the Season of Lint

[I'm reposting this because people have asked about it, it is about Lent, and it might just make you laugh.]

Teen:
Bishop, As Catholics we are about to enter the Season of Lint. Would you mind telling us something about the Linten Season?

Bishop: Well, I don't know much about the season of Lint. If I remember correctly, Lint is the stuff you find in your pockets after drying your clothes. Personally, I don't see a theological reasoning to have an entire season devoted to Lint. But as Christians and Catholics we have an entire season devoted to Lent. In as few words as possible, Lent is a season of preparation for Easter Sunday, the resurrection of our Lord. Lent is a time of penance, prayer, fasting, and alms giving. It is considered one of the most holiest times of the year, and because of that we too should engage in deepening our relationship with Christ. As Christ went to the desert for 40 days so we too enter into a period of 40 days of spiritual exercise.

Teen: I'm from a post-Vatican II parish and I'm not familiar with some of the words you used, what is Arms giving? Why must we give arms during Lint?

Bishop: My child, all churches have been post-vatican II churches ever since Vatican II ended. As far as "arms giving" goes, well we don't give arms during LENT. It is "Alms giving." Although Alms giving can be done with your arms, it is by no means a giving of arms. Alms giving -- or to give other alms -- is to simply give of one's material possessions to assist the needy or poor inspired by charity, or love as most people say these days, for the sake of Christ. Always remember, helping the needy in any way is a good thing. But the act itself is empty without it done for the Sake of Christ.

Teen: Why exactly, Bishop, does Lint have so many Holes in it?

Bishop: I'm sorry. I don't understand the question.

Teen: You said that Lint was the holiest season. Why are there so many holes in it?

Bishop: Haha! No no no. Not Holes. There aren't any holes in Lent. Holiest as in the most sacred. Lent is nearing the Apex of our faith. If you must, it is the penultimate time for us Christians. Lent is leading us to the resurrection of Christ. It is leading us to the 8th day that is the first day. It is leading us to the new creation. We as Christians need to take advantage of this time and do real penance.

Teen: That brings me to my next question. Is it our moral responsibility to cheer for the Angels to win the Pennants in the years to come?

Bishop: No, I don't think so. I believe you can cheer for any baseball team and still be in good moral standing with the church. What exactly spurred this question?

Teen: You kept mentioning that during Lint we should be true pennants.

Bishop: You are a kidder. Penance not Pennants. Pennants is something a baseball team wins. Penance is something that you do when you are sorry for your actions. It is seeking forgiveness as well as doing some act to right the wrong which has been done. Our sacrament of reconciliation is sometimes call the sacrament of penance, because it is about seeking forgiveness and righting our relationship with God and the full body of Christ. With our being a true penitent one cannot find true forgiveness. I have time for one more questions.

Teen: I am on the track team at school. How can I become faster during this season.

Bishop: (Sigh!) Let me guess. You think fasting means becoming faster?

Teen: Well, yeah. What else does it mean? Our track team is really bad, and we need all the edges we can get.

Bishop: Oh my. What do they teach you kids these days? Fasting doesn't make you faster. Although, it could put you on the fast track to heaven if done properly. So what is fasting? Fasting means to abstain from certain foods. More specifically it means to cut back on the amount of food you eat for a certain period of time. Traditionally, fasting means to eat two small meals, maybe what most of us call a snack, and one normal, but nor over sized, meal. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are two days of fasting. How do you fast? You fast first and foremost for the Love of Christ. Fasting done for its own sake is really just starvation or maybe even a diet. Fasting should always have a spiritual end incorporated with the corporal action. That is, we fast physically to reconnect our selves to the sufferings of Christ's passion. It remind us that we are mortal and our bodies are week, and it is by Christ that we live and have the Bread of Life.

Teen: Thanks your for your time bishop. I learned a lot. I hope other do too.

Vice Can Kill Your Career, and Only Virtue Can Save It

John M. McKee from forbes.com goes through what he calles the seven deadly workplace sins. Turns out that they are nothing more than what the Catholic Chruch has called for years vice and more specifically the Seven Deadly sins that can kill a soul. John Lists these career killing sins as:
  • Pride
  • Envy
  • Anger
  • Gluttony ( What John Calls Short Sightedness)
  • Sloth ( What John Calls Complacency)
  • Greed (What John Calls Imbalence)
  • Lust

John uses a much older understading for the word lust then how much people understand the word: an uncontroable urge for sex. A person can lust after many other things beside sex.

Though John lists the sins, he give no remedy, and any theologically minded person knows that the only remedy for vice is virtue. So in brief, corresponding to each of the seven deadly (workplace) sins in order, here are the virtues that can help remedy our sinful ways:

  • Humility
  • Kindness
  • Patience (peacefulness)
  • Abstinence
  • Diligence
  • Liberality (generosity)
  • Chastity

Other virtues that will help in the work place: faith, hope, love (charity), fortitude, justice, temperance, and prudence.

New Lent-Ray Glasses

Tired of your parish liturgist hiding all things holy before Good Friday? If so then we have the product for you. Introducing the New Lent-Ray Glasses. Get your's today!

Friday, February 08, 2008

GREAT SCOTT, MARTY! 1.21 Gigawatts to Time Travel

Russians claim that time travel is only three months away.

In other News:
Water discovered not to be wet.
The meaning of life is solved by a 12 year old ape named LooLoo. LooLoo also recently discovered cold fusion, the theory of everything, and why people don't go to church like they used to.

Pop Quiz: When Does Lent Begin?

Is the "Friday after Ash Wednesday" the same as the "Friday of the First Week of Lent"? I ask because my breviary makes the distinction. It suggests to me that Lent does not begin for a couple of more days. Am I correct in my assumption? I know there has been much work done in trying to count and figure out when Lent begins and whether or not to include Sundays during Lent and such, but the distinction made in my breviary seems telling to me. Can anyone shed some light on the issue?

If you answer said question(s) correctly you will gain an office in the famous ivory tower located somewhere between the theology department and the philosophy department.

Personally, I have no idea. I asked Mark Shea, and he plainly stated in the email reply, "I'm afraid I don't know. Sorry!"

Wikipedia Makes Would Be Scientists Unscientific

This is just a lesson in why you should not use Wikipedia without verifying its sources. If you don't it will just make you look dumb. I always laughed when I heard the groans from my classmates when the professors said on the first day of class that Wikipedia does not count as a source and should never be used as a source. One prof. threatened to fail you in his class if he discovered you used Wikipedia.

Newspaper: Sapienza Protesters Needed to Fact-Check: (from Article)
"If before rushing to express their solidarity with the 67, one of the 1,479 would have verified the affirmation [of the original letter], they would have discovered that the one who wrote the letter took the citation of Ratzinger's discourse from the entry Papa Benedetto XVI in Wikipedia, the well-known Internet encyclopedia, composed by its users, which no scientific person uses as an exclusive source of his investigations, without carefully verifying its credibility," L'Osservatore Romano noted.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Convent Paradise


[Set to the tune of Coolio's Gangster's Paradise. Also my roommates and I live in an old convent -- thus the name of the song. And yes, that is a picture of the convent in which I live.]

As I walk through the valley in Delaware.
I take a look at my life, and realize we’re pretty square.
'Cuz I've been Catechizing so long that.
Even my Bishop thinks that my mind is gone.
But I ain't never punched a deacon even if he deserved it.
Me be treated like a nun, you know that's unheard of.
You'd better watch how you bowing and where you praying.
Lex orandi, yo, Lex credendi, fool
I really hate to say but I gotta hope.
In the church I see myself in the incense smoke, FOOL.
We’re the pious guys that little servers wanna be.
Like on my knees in the night sayin prayers in the street light.

Bin spending most our livin in a Convent Paradise.
Bin spending most our livin in a Convent Paradise.
We be loving Jesus Christ livin in a Convent Paridise.
It’s all about the God-head thrice living in the Convent Paridise.

Look at the situation Baumback’s got me facein'.
I can't live a normal life, I was raised in the Church.
So I gotta be down wit the Cler-G.
Too much Law and Order watching got me chasing dreams.
I'm a educated fool wit Jesus on my mind.
Got my beads in my hand and the grace in my eye.
I'm a broke ECHO apprentice eattin ramen
And my mentor is down we share things in common, FOOL.
A Hot a mess be but a heartbeat away.
I'm livin life do or die, what can I say.
I'm 23 now but will I live to see 24.
The way things is going I don't know.

Tell me why are we so blind to see.
That God’s grace he gives is for you and me.

Bin spending most our livin in a Convent Paradise.
Bin spending most our livin in a Convent Paradise.
I can’t believe we don’t have mice livin in a Convent Paradise.
Took Paul’s hip and gave it a splice livin in a Convent Paradise.


No Power and No money, No money and No power.
Minute after minute, hour after hour.
All the time I’m teaching but half of them are sleepin.
I’m here in the office, but I’d rather be fishin.
They say I got to teach, but nobody's here to learn it.
If they can't understand, how can I pass them.
Name a sacrament?.
I guess they can’t.
I guess I quit.
That's why I’m movin in with ******.

Been Spending most our lives livin in a convent Paradise
Eric only prayed once or twice livin in a Convent Paradise
In Paul’s food there is too much spice livin in a Convent Paradise
When Joe’s parents come we eat real nice livin in a Convent Paradise

Tell me why are we so blind to see.
That God’s grace he gives is for you and me.

Tell me why are we so blind to see.
That God’s grace is in our community.

[Big Thanks to my roommates of helping write and preform it on a retreat as we attempted to let the other ECHO house holds know a little about our life living in a convent and working for the church.]

Angelic Conversation

























Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Obama, What Have You Accomplished For Me Lately?



To be honest all I can say about the Republicans is that McCain served in the military for 20 years and Huckabee helped a lot of lower income families and people get health insurance.

On that note. Reasons not to vote for someone:
1. You like their personality.
2. They are a good orator.
3. They are male.
4. They are female.
5. They are black.
6. They are white.
7. They have catchy one liners.
8. They don't hire enough women.
9. You think they are cute.
10. They relate to me.
11. They drive a cool car.
12. They are fluent in Orwellian New Speak.
13. Their husband was a former president.
14. You like their clothes.
15. They remind you of someone famous.

Having personal qualities are one thing, but what the politician plan to do with the country is something else. In other words, focus on the issues at hand and not on the person. If the person had no plan then they should not be considered. If they have a plan they maybe they should be listened to for at least a second or two.

Do Something This Lent

Tired of Giving up stuff for Lent? Well, how about doing something extra instead, like giving up stuff for Lent. I always laugh on the inside at people who say that they are not going to give up something for Lent that instead they are going to 'do something extra'. They seem not to make the connection that giving up something for Lent is doing something extra. Anyway, here are some suggestions of things to do/give up during Lent this year.

1. Take shorter showers.
2. Take Cold showers.
3. Drink only tap water for your beverages.
4. Sleep on the floor.
5. Don't use a pillow this Lent.
6. Give up crooked politicians.
7. Give up Fast Food.
8. Shop Daily for your food at a local market.
9. Give up Beer or Bread (I've don't both of these on different Lents....the bread one was difficult).
10. Pray the Rosary Daily for Peace.

Things we should already be doing as Christians (but wouldn't hurt to kick it up a notch during Lent):
1. Serving others.
2. Helping the sick, dying, poor, or oppressed.
3. Being charitable in our actions towards others.
4. Not gossiping.
5. Avoiding the near occasion of sin.
6. Praying daily.
7. Taking advantage of the sacraments
8. Being great full (or thankful) at all times for all things.
9. Loving the world.
10. Doing all things for the Love of Christ.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Breaking News from the Pontifical Office of the Liturgical Police

Shreveport, LA (Tuesday) – Earlier today known liturgical innovator, Sister Sally ‘The Drum Beater’ Richard was apprehended in Shreveport, Louisiana. The Pontifical Office of the Liturgical Police had been tracking her for months before locating her in Louisiana at a local Catholic church where she was in the process of implementing puppet masses and milk and cookie liturgical celebrations.

The Pontifical Office of the Liturgical Police, working in conjunction with the local Liturgy Watch of Louisiana, the office came upon her residence and seized her along with other known liturgical innovators Sister Dana ‘The Dancing Queen’ Smith and Brother John ‘the Clown’ Doe along with their liturgical contraband.

“This has been a great day for liturgical efforts”, said Father Ron Ronson, director of the Pontifical Office of the Liturgical Police at a press conference earlier today. “These innovators will be brought to justice. This has also been a fine example of the coordinating effort between an international office and a local volunteer branch of the Church. Liturgical innovators beware, as your days are numbered.”

It is being reported that the innovators will under go a strong rehabilitation somewhere in an unknown location in Europe. There, according to the press release from the Liturgical Police, they will read the writing of Vatican II without commentary, Alexander Schmemann, Aidan Nichols, Aidan Kavanaugh, David W. Fagerburg, and Pope Benedict XVI.

The Liturgical Police seized the following from the premises:

16 puppets
24 leotards
10 streamers
4 wine glasses
5 incense bowls
13 bags of oreos
10 gallons of milk
15 bags of Pita bread
4 large inflatable balls
16 pairs of tap shoes
12 sets of liturgical garb in non-liturgical colors
4 cases of kool-aid
5 cases of clown make up
3 pairs of clown shoes
15 red noses
3 sets of multi colored hair wigs
4 copies of unapproved made up liturgical texts
5 liturgical skits or plays

New Orleans Fun or Blatant Debauchery?

[note: I repost this because of this over at Vox Nova. I left a lengthy comment on the blog about the post.]

A holiday whose original purpose was to "put away the meat" (that is the literal meaning of "Carnival") in the preparation for the fasting that would occur during the Holy season of Lent now resembles little to nothing of it's original nature. In fact, Mardi Gras has become known for its "anything goes" mentality: Breasts, Booze, and plain simple stupidity. The world wide masses flock upon the city seeking to unfold the self. They search desperately as they act uncannily in an attempt to let go of one's conscience and consciousness -- an urge to release all inhibitions madly drives the visitor's actions. New Orleans becomes a city where the lights blindingly shine upon the face and a drumming deafness echoes in the ear -- all sense and senses are annihilated.

When people discover that I am from New Orleans the old question (before Katrina hit) was "Do you go to the Mardi Gras?" I always found this question funny because when you live in New Orleans you don't go to Mardi Gras: it comes to you. In fact, if you are from the city it is impossible to avoid Mardi Gras. After many years of celebrating the holiday (and as I increase in age) I learn how few natives remain in the city for Mardi Gras. Many residents who own houses on the Uptown parade routes go on vacation and often rent their houses out to tourists for an exorbitant amount of money. The past two years I traveled to the University of Notre Dame on Mardi Gras, and it is amazing to see the locals exiting the city. Why do so many people leave? Because the tourists who arrive in the city see Mardi Gras not as a way to have fun and celebrate, but as a means to...well fall into an orgasmic inebriation to the point that the holiday resembles the happenings of the pagan Cult of Bacchus' rituals more so than a preparation to a holy time. In fact, if you ask most Americans what is the point of "Mardi Gras" they, in addition to the younger generations of New Orleanians, will most likely respond that "Mardi Gras is a time to get you sinning done" -- as if God issued a dispensation on following His Will for one day a year in one particular city.

Yet growing up in the city, I never got that sense. The holiday seemed to always maintain a certain degree of holy anticipation for the natives. Certain lines were not crossed by the local populace and the Mardi Gras day celebration (at least the stuff that makes it on the news and in the Girls Gone Wild videos)was left to the tourists. The dichotomy of visitors was amazing: on one side of a French quarter street there is a Christian praise rally complete with witnessing and signs, while on the other side are people who seem to care less about sacred things. I could literally speak for hours on my different experiences I've had at Mardi Gras -- particularly what I saw while marching in the parades as a member of my high school band (I can't tell you how many time my butt was slapped by drunken tourists while marching).

I do not poo-poo the holiday itself. There are many ways of celebrating Mardi Gras without being an obnoxious drunken tourist. Since I am living in Wilmington, DE, I hope to have a few friends over for a bowl of gumbo or maybe some red beans and rice. I'll have a few beers -- maybe try to make a king cake. I will even make sure that all my meat has been put away for the next day's fast. If I were still in New Orleans, I would probably go to a parade away from the drunken tourists, have a bowl of gumbo with some friends, and have a few beers. What I wouldn't do: anything I would not want my grandmother to find out about.

If you are going to New Orleans to celebrate Mardi Gras, my advice is to be careful, don't get drunk, don't be stupid, and don't do anything that might wide up on a late-night infomercial.

Confession of a Young Catholic on a Super Tuesday

Confession of a Young Catholic on a Super Tuesday:
A Young Catholic Thinks About American Politics

I am left. I am right. I have a home but am not at home in it. I am liberating and conserving. I’m too broad to be narrow and too narrow to be broad. I am a round square and a square circle. I am Aquinas, and I am Francis. I am Joan, and I am Edith. I am a contradiction. I am an anomaly. I am a Catholic.

Christ said that “the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head” (Matt 8:20, NAB). Yet, too often Catholics, who call Christ their leader, their founder, their example, take up residence and rest their head in a party that is neither Catholic nor Christian – they rest their head in an assembly not founded by Christ, in Christ, or on Christ.

Torn apart by a political system that is less than universal, Catholics in America are forced to choose a side setting itself not only against the other side but possibly against the Catholic Church and possibly against truth and right reason. Without a doubt, it would be the case that if American Catholics were honest with themselves and aligned themselves with the Church of the faith they claim to professes, they would find that they are too broad and sweeping to be boxed and slotted into terms like liberal or conservative, and like Christ, they too would have nowhere to rest their head and that the only place that a Catholic might find rest is in Christ’s yoke.

In what political ideology or party can a person maintain that life is sacred and important at all stages and still in the same breath express the need to save the environment, live healthy and promote small business? In what place can a person hold that immigrants deserve a chance for a better life in America, capitalism is questionable, democracy seems to work when done properly, and there is nothing wrong with a hierarchy? In what party can a person believe that science, religion, and spirituality are important and often complementary; that it is the whole person that must be developed; that the poor must be helped; that war is always an issue to contend with; and economics must continually be addressed? Where can freedom be held as a good in union with obedience and seen as not being contrary with each other, or where can the need for being an individual be promoted along side the need for a connectedness with the larger community? In what house can the idea be encouraged that the government needs religion, that religion needs the government, and that the separation of the two does not necessarily mean a naked public square or a naked church? In a word, there is no political ideology or party that can claim to promote or profess the need for all the above. There is only one place that holds the above as being important and that place is found in the Catholic Church.

What I’m trying to say is that a real Catholic is not a conservative. In fact, I have no idea what conservatives are trying to conserve, nor am I sure what or who they are serving and with what they serve. A real Catholic is not a liberal. Personally, I don’t find liberals very liberating. I don’t even know what or whom the liberals are freeing, or from what they are freeing whomever it is that needs freeing.

My conservative friends find parts of the Catholic faith too liberal, while my liberal friends find parts of the Catholic faith too conservative. If that is the case, others might assume that Catholicism is a moderate position, but I assure you: Catholicism is no moderate position. Catholicism and her real Catholics love the world, and moderation has no place in love (Don’t believe me? Try telling your spouse you love him or her moderately and see how they respond.).

Real Catholics cannot possibly be a Neo anything: a neo-con or neo-lib a catholic is not. As mentioned earlier Catholicism and her Catholics would have to first be a liberal or conservative in order to predicate a “neo” anything to it. Catholics are certainly not crunchy-cons but are certainly welcome to crunch things like cans or leaves. In fact, they are not a “con” in any sense of the prefix. Real Catholics cannot call themselves independent because if they did that would be a lie, and lying has no place in a real Catholic’s life. Truly, Catholics are not independent. It seems to be the case that Catholics are much more interdependent.

Real Catholics are people and not just a vote or a number. Red and blue are just colors and if brought together make purple. Green too is a color. Donkeys and elephants are animals I’ve seen in the zoo. A speaker is something people use when listening to music. A line is dot that goes someplace and is at home in a drawing and something necessary to morality but contains all the power in politics and is a fearful thing to cross.

Incumbency sounds cumbersome. Pundits seem to be lacking in puniness. Caucuses are often overly cocky. Third parties are the second place losers.

In short, I don’t know where Catholicism fits into the American political system. I guess my problem comes in the fact that I am Catholic and none of the political ideologies seem to fit into my thought influenced and formed by Catholic teaching. How do I rectify my Catholicism with the American political machine? Am I an American Catholic, or am I a Catholic who is American? I’m not sure, and I am never able to determine which term should modify which. I often wish that I did not have to vote in political elections, but I know that is not possible less I be a bad American citizen. What I do know – though that be not much – is that Catholics must vote, that governments are, as G. K. Chesterton said, “an ugly necessity”, and that Catholics must despise America’s ugliness enough to want change and love America enough to want to make her beautiful.

Monday, February 04, 2008

McBrien is no Liturgical Theologian

McBrien is the reason why my University is routinely referred to as not being a real Catholic college. In his latest view point in Tidings Online, McBrien demonstrates that he is no liturgical theologian. I do find it interesting that he is viewing the liturgy through the lens of ecclesiology, as opposed to the lens of a Liturgical Theologian. Also, it really bothers me when somethings that occur because they are practical are overly spiritualized into something that is not what it is. McBrien is surely smarter than I, but he is also infinitely more arrogant than I -- which is why his comments get him into trouble. Below is a copy of the entire article. [my comments are in red]
Archbishop Piero Marini served as papal master of ceremonies for some 20 years, under both John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Pope Benedict recently appointed him president of the Pontifical Committee for International Eucharistic Congresses, a position that is likely to carry with it a cardinal's red hat.

Although it would have been far better if he had succeeded Cardinal Francis Arinze as Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the curial establishment in Rome would have raised a holy ruckus had such an appointment seriously been contemplated.

That in itself tells us something about the state of the Church today. There is a small but powerful and determined group within the Vatican who have never accepted the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council and Pope Paul VI. Their resistance is at root ecclesiological in nature. [Which reforms Professor? I have heard of very few Roman Catholics who have not accepted the liturgical reforms. I have heard of equally less bishops and cardinals who have rejected the reforms. I have however heard of people who are not pleased with how the Vatican II documents have been interpreted which has resulted in puppet masses an other kinds of Liturgical narcissism.]

What they oppose is the de-clericalization of the liturgy. [No McBrian, it is not the de-clericalization that they worry about. They are worry about the maxim 'lex orandi lex credendi'. In other words, they are concerned that the liturgy be celebrated rightly. As it is the case that when the liturgy is done correctly by both the presider and lay the liturgy becomes the vehicle for change in the world -- save the liturgy, save the world. lose the liturgy, lose the world. After all, the last I checked the liturgy was for the sake of the world.] In their minds, the Church is identical with the hierarchy and the priests who serve under the bishops. [The Assembly of God (church) is hierarchical. There is no way around this. But McBrien you fail to miss the point that the lay form the foundation of the hierarchy. Without the lay the hierarchy would not be what it is. They you criticize surely would not fail to mention that the lay are part of the hierarchy for the mere mention would send these power hungry clergy members into extacy at the mere thought of being above another human being. ] The laity, on the other hand, are simply the beneficiaries of the sacramental ministrations of the clergy, in a process ultimately controlled by the Vatican. [Obedience is a free act of the will.]

The problem for the resisters is not so much that the Mass was put into the vernacular, but that the laity could now fully understand it and actively participate in it. [Please, give me a break. I have never heard of such a thing. What priest, bishop, or pope would not want a person to participate in the liturgy? Also professor you should realize that the Vatican II documents actually recommended retaining some of the Latin and Greek in the mass. Lastly, at one point in time, Latin was the vernacular, so putting the mass in another language other than Latin, say Greek or Hebrew or Aramaic or English never was the issue at hand.]

The same applies to the turning around of the altar to face the congregation.[I'm not sure where people ever got this idea that the altar had to face the congregation. I've never seen it in any Vatican II document, nor have I found it in any of my readings on the liturgy.] It was no longer the priest-in-charge reciting the sacred words and performing the sacred rituals on behalf of the laity [Um maybe this was one view, but not the view of the priest hood that I have gathered from readings from Saints and Vatican II documents. The priest did and still does provide a service to the congregation. The mass is still on behalf of the laity. "We lift up our hearts to the Lord." Just in the reform right we can see it more clearly and participate more fully.] , but the laity themselves participating in the Mass along with the priest, making responses, singing various parts, proclaiming the Scripture readings, and even assisting with the distribution of Holy Communion.

And the same applies to the removal of the Communion rail [According to a liturgical history professor, the communion rail was a development from a Roman court house when later some of the early roman liturgies were celebrated. It did act as a practical barrier when court was in session, but served a useful function. Especially if you were trying to make your church building resemble the Jerusalem temple from the information in scripture and show the separation that was present in the temple. Also, the altars were raised to symbolize a mountain, like the mountain on top of which the temple mount was built. The closer you went to the holy of holies the higher up the mountain you went.] and the receiving of Communion in the hand rather than on the tongue, while standing rather than kneeling. Each of these changes signaled again that the laity are not passive observers at Mass, but active participants. [Kneeling and receive on the tongue are equally active forms of participation as standing and receiving in the hand. Passive act would more resemble the congregation not doing anything and just sitting on their duffs when the should be doing something.]

The Communion rail is gone because there should be no barrier between the sanctuary and the worshiping congregation. [The communion rail is gone because the rail itself was never supposed to be there.] Communion is given in the hand because [There is evidence that goes back to the early church fathers that reception in the hand is an acceptable way to receive the sacrament. To paraphrase, I believe, St Ambrose who said that one should receive with one hand on top of the other and make for Christ a throne on which to receive Him]. the laity should feed themselves rather than be fed like infants or very young children. [The priest acts as Christ. Christ is the only one who can feed us. Christ is the bread of life. Not me. All I can do is receive from Christ. Yet, what an act of humility and trust to allow another person to feed you when you yourself are capable of placing the host in your own mouth.]

The communicants stand rather than kneel because they approach the priest as co-equals with him in Baptism [I stand because there is a processional line. Though the lay are encouraged to bow before receiving the sacrament. Oh wait, you mean people kneeled before the sacrament and bow before the sacrament and not to the person administering the sacrament to the congregation. In other words, they knelt because it was Jesus and not for the Priest.], not as serfs coming before their lord and master to express their fealty. [I thought we (the lay) were servants of the Lord, like Paul said so frequently in his letters. LG was a stronger focus on Pauline theology.]

It is this underlying ecclesiology that is rejected [The ecclesiology at had is the question surrounding the role of the laity. The issue is what role does the lay play? Some people think the laity should 'do more' in the liturgy, but fail to realize that doing more does not always mean participating more fully. If you disagree with McBrien, you are immedietly labled a 'resister' even if you have logical points to your arguments.] , and not simply the changes in language and rituals. What the resisters oppose is the very idea that the Church is the whole People of God, laity included, rather than the hierarchy and clergy alone. [Once again, everyone sees the laity as part of the hierarchy (the kingdom of God), if there is a kingdom then it logically follows that there will be a hierarchy, if those power hungry resisters did not recognize the lay as part of the hierarchy than they ultimately would have no power or authority over the laity.]

This is what Archbishop Marini has stood for during all of these post-conciliar years, even as he literally stood at the side of two popes in papal ceremonies in St. Peter's Basilica and around the world. And this is why he has been such a controversial figure in the Vatican, even though the general public never had an inkling of it.

It is sad that this article is a review of Marini's book but McBrien stands on his soap box for 2/3rds of the article before mentioning Marini's book.

With the release of his new book, "A Challenging Reform: Realizing the Vision of the Liturgical Renewal, 1963-1975," edited by Mark Francis, John Page and Keith Pecklers [I had Pecklers as a professor at Notre Dame one summer. I was unimpressed. Though he has done mounds of research, he fails to connect reason, logic, and scripture with his research on the liturgy. After the first few classes I eventually learned that he was unable to respond to any of my "That doesn't make sense logically" comments or answer any of my "how do we know that" or "this sounds like speculation" so I stopped making comments and went to sleep.] , and published by The Liturgical Press, Archbishop Marini presents the case for the perennial validity of the council's liturgical reforms. He also challenges those who would, some 40 years later, attempt to undermine those reforms, in opposition not only to Vatican II but to the expressed wishes of Pope Paul VI himself.

In 1965, as the council was drawing to a close, Paul VI declared that the "new way of doing things will have to be different; it will have to prevent and shake up the passivity of the people present at Mass.

"Before," he continued, "it was enough to assist; now it is necessary to take part. Before, being there was enough, now attention and activity are required."

And that is the proverbial rub, as Archbishop Marini points out in his new book and in a subsequent interview conducted in December by John Allen, senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter.

The resistance, he insists, is not so much against the vernacular or a few ritual changes, but against the ecclesiology on which those changes are based. [In other words, where the lay fit into the liturgy is the issue at hand. I personally don't think it is a issue. After all the liturgy is the work of the people.]

Worship involves the whole Church. The Mass is not something performed by the clergy, but is an action of the entire congregation. Like an orchestra leader, the priest-presider cannot presume to play all of the instruments himself, but must strive to bring them into a general harmony. [Just remember McBrien, there are many different kind of harmony.]

Many theologians would be advised to actually read the primary sources and texts of Vatican II and not just the commentary written after the fact. The primary sources might just shed light on the commentary.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Adventures in Catechesis

We find our Apprentice Catechetical Leader (ACL) teaching 8th grade confirmation.

Text:
Catechist: Can someone name 1 of the 7 sacraments?
Student: Hope?!


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