Saturday, February 15, 2003

Just finished watching BarberShop starring Ice Cube, Eve, and Cedric the Entertainer. It was pretty funny though not hilarious as the clerk at the video store said. The critic who said it was a modern day It’s a Wonderful Life was right, it was a feel good movie all around. Ironically I also got a haircut today and there was no community of people talking and laughing their way through life together at Supercuts. What happened to those family owned businesses where people all knew each other and people socialized their day away? Everything today is a business transaction between grumpy clerks and grumpy customers. A priest in Italy made some headlines some time ago by declaring fast food to be “uncatholic” meaning that meals should be shared and not just be individualistic. I have to agree that we have lost something today when there is almost no interaction between people in stores, fast food joints, etc.. Barbershop seemed pretty “Catholic” in the sense that it showed a barbershop as being a source of grace. Cedric’s character was the comic but his serious speech to Ice Cube included a line like “Your father realized that something as simple as a man's haircut could change how he felt on the inside".

Friday, February 14, 2003

Praise the Lord! My Catholic Howl poem, (which I am very proud of and composed late at night when the idea just came to me all of a sudden) has been linked to and discussed on a Protestant website named the Rapture Ready Message Board. Although I am not sure I like the fact they printed the entire poem, I love the discussion underneath it, complete with referring to "comfortable pews" in the RC Church. Our pews are most uncomfortable I can assure them. The question is asked, when seeing the litany of complaints in my poem on the Church, "Why put up with it"? For the same reason Jesus Christ put up with those 12 idiots around him and the same reason that we all have to put up with the evil in this world. The Church (founded by Jesus Christ circa 33 A.D.) is a big mess with lots of corruption and stupidity--come on in and make yourselves at home!!
For some reason, since “becoming Catholic” a few years ago, I have become increasing interested in architecture. I have no real talent for it, or professional knowledge of it, but I know what I like. I read Living Machines subtitled Bauhaus Architecture as Sexual Ideology, which is about Walter Gropius, a sort of father of modern architecture. The point of the author E. Michael Jones seems to be that Gropius’ idea to design buildings that would usher in a new age of communal living, with less family ties and more “free love” was inspired by his own decadent lifestyle. It also confirms the link between the detachment of people from their Christian heritage to the ugliness of their culture, including buildings. I have come across this idea in a lot of reading these past few years. Of course it doesn’t take much to see the ugliness of much of modern Church architecture. Michael S. Rose’s Ugly As Sin is a great book, which shows hideous examples of the type of stuff done to Churches in the 60’s and 70’s. More importantly, it shows examples of good renovations done more recently. There are a couple of Churches built around here in the 1980’s that look Catholic inside and out, but there are also some that are terrible. I would love to see what Christian architects with real knowledge of tradition and beauty would design for the World Trade Center. The designs submitted so far are awful. Here on Long Island we have a giant stretch of ugly, utilitarian shopping centers with no beauty at all from shore to shore. A restoration of Catholic culture would not only bring back beautiful art and Churches, but probably lead to beautiful shopping centers too.
I found a link on Ad Orientem that was the best writing I have seen on the horrible Church architecture today:

The Fading Orthodoxy of Modernism and the Remaking of Catholic Church Architecture

Go read this now and if you don't already get Adoremus, get it and get it for others in your parish!

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

Still seething over the Grand Jury Report. I am certainly going to stop giving any money to my parish now. (I have never given to my diocese). I always felt that giving to the parish was essential since you have to pay for the lighting, heating, etc.., but now I am not even sure I want to go to my parish anymore. Except for the great new priest, there is simply no reason to go there. What stinks about the report is that it does not give names of anybody, although the local paper has named certain priests since the stories are easy to match. But there are priests mentioned that should be exposed. A priest who molested a boy was caught by a fellow priest, this priest then told his pastor who told him "Mind your own f------ business". I want to know who that pastor is since the molesting priest is already out of the priesthood. This pastor must be forced out if he is still alive or active.
There is a new blog in town! This is by Barbara Nicolosi, from Act One, who I enjoyed seeing on EWTN. She tried to get the guys on Franciscan University Presents (one of my favorite shows) to see the positive potential of movies, and did a good job although the guys kept talking about all the trash in movies. She was also on The World Over and it was a great interview. Link was via Disordered Affections - Isn't St. Blogs becoming sooooo Hollywood?
After reading the 181 page report of the Grand Jury of this diocese --Why have hope?

-Lately, the pathetic vocations situation has improved slightly, we had 4 men recently ordained. I personally know 3 priests recently ordained and 1 soon to be ordained who are very orthodox.
-Bishop Murphy, while far from perfect, has corrected some of the wrongs done for 20 years under Bishop McGann, ie..14 years after Ecclesia Dei this diocese finally “allowed” a weekly traditional latin mass. He has also been aggressively promoting vocations and the orthodox religious communities here (there are 2). He has also invited a group of Benedictine nuns from Africa to come here.
-All pedophile priests have been thrown out albeit way too late and too reluctantly.
-The dissenters and their supporters, including Bob Keeler from Newsday, are already whining about the “young rigid priests” who don’t celebrate Mass “their way”.
-The bureaucrats in the diocese are on the defensive which is good.
-Unlike in the past, the most recent case of molestation, involving Michael Hands, resulted in arrest, conviction, and immediate removal of his ability to function as a priest. (The diocese would not even put up his bail).
-At a recent parish lecture, the 2 youngest people in the Church (me and a woman who seemed to be of college age) both defended orthodoxy
-According to an insider, the seminary has gotten better over the past few years (it still has people teaching there who don’t belong in a Catholic institution, small victory but I’ll take it)
-My least favorite columnist in the diocesan paper finally retired and they now occasionally print George Weigel’s columns.
-A “Faith on Tap” program has been started
-The great community that taught me runs 2 schools that are more popular than ever
-Unlike in the past, there was actual enthusiasm for World Youth Day, including from the bishop. (I think WYD’s critics have valid points but that’s for another post)
-Fr. Groeschel, who says he lectured and was thrown out of both seminaries used by our diocese, was asked to give the annual priests’ talk by Bishop Murphy. This never would have happened under McGann.
-The diocese will get less money in its annual appeal and its weekly collections causing it to shape up.

And then there is my favorite priest, ordained less than a year and orthodox. This guy is great. He does not wear the parish vestments, he has his own more traditional ones which includes the chalice veil. (Only priest I know that uses one, except for the priest at the tridentine liturgy). His homilies are intelligent and written out, he does not ramble. At midnight mass he quoted G.K. Chesterton, Viktor Frankl, Fulton Sheen, and Jean Paul Sartre! And sang What Child Is This acapella while connecting each verse to the Gospel message. He has had a book review published in Crisis magazine. On the Sunday with the Gospel of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, when some priests deny this miracle, he demonstrated the silliness of 1 popular theory. The people gathered to listen to Jesus on a hillside in the desert. They all had bread and fish with them, but listened to Jesus speak for about 1 hour and a half. Then they whipped out their fish and bread, which had been in the hot desert sun the whole time, and shared it with all. He called it the Soggy Fish Sandwich Theory. On Feast days and Solemnities, he uses Eucharistic Prayer I and sings the preface. He convinced the Pastor to underwrite the bus rental for the Pro-Life March on Washington. Funny, smart, and holy, I can’t wait to see what he is like once he reaches 30.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

“Priest Q
He should execute a “resignation” if he has not already done so
(Name omitted) from (parish name omitted) is “acting up” again; demanding
$55,000 “compensation” on account of his being rejected from Huntington
Seminary- he is threatening to bring the infamous “Priest Q Video” to the press. “

Is this a reference to the lawsuit against the seminary blogged here?? The man was studying for a masters and was not rejected, he was thrown out, so this reference could be to another case entirely. (The Priest Q video contains the priest and a 15 year old boy having sex.)

So far I only see 3 of the 23 priest-rapists involved with female victims.
Some general quotes from the Grand Jury Report:

“The Grand Jury concludes that the history of the Diocese of Rockville Centre
demonstrates that as an institution they are incapable of properly handling issues relating to the sexual abuse of children by priests. The Grand Jury concludes that this was more than simple incompetence. The evidence before the Grand Jury clearly demonstrates that Diocesan officials agreed to engage in conduct that resulted in the prevention, hindrance and delay in the discovery of criminal conduct by priests. They conceived and agreed to a plan using deception and intimidation to prevent victims from seeking legal solutions to their problems. This included victims who were seeking compensation for their injuries in the civil courts. There, Diocesan officials pursued aggressive legal strategies to dismiss time barred claims and improperly named parties. They insisted upon confidentiality agreements in cases that were settled. This policy put children at risk inasmuch as victims were prohibited by law from speaking out about the criminal conduct of sexually abusive priests. Absent the adoption of these recommendations, the Grand Jury does not believe that the Diocese of Rockville Centre has the demonstrated capability to properly handle the issues of clergy sexual abuse.”
Got me a copy of the 181 page report of the Suffolk County Grand Jury on the Diocese of Rockville Center. I was in the middle of copying and pasting and then realized that my mother, who has this blog address, does not need to see the lurid details. She has read enough from the R rated version in the local paper. So if you have acrobat and a strong stomach, go here Warning: There is explicit sexual language.
Grand jury report of my diocese here. No big surprise, everyone here with a brain knew the now deceased Bishop McGann to be a terrible leader. Many, many Catholics here who have complained over the years have been vindicated. (including the former writer for the Wanderer who complained about Ribaudo, God bless you if you are reading this blog, you are a great man)
Here’s a quote the bishops might want to examine:

“Men, as St. Thomas Aquinas said, need pleasure, and if they are deprived of spiritual pleasures they will seek pleasures of the flesh.”
----From Living Machines by E. Michael Jones, Ignatius Press page 44

Monday, February 10, 2003

One thing to mention after this past year is that Catholics should take some of their energy and put it to use fighting child molestation in the world, not just the Church. Check out Parents for Megan’s Law website especially if they have a sex offender registry in your area. You can volunteer to go to the local police station and look up the info they have on file on sex offenders. Since it is not allowed to be photocopied, the info must be handwritten and then put onto the internet. This group could always use volunteers. The info has to be double checked and kept updated otherwise the whole system is no good. Some may disagree with this kind of stuff but at least there is more of an awareness of how serious a problem this stuff is. John Walsh, a Catholic, had a son kidnapped, raped and brutally murdered. He managed to create America’s Most Wanted and look at all the great good that has done---740 captures!!!. If more Catholics take some of their anger and put it to good use like this, child molestation could become much more rare.

Never learned it, never heard it at any Mass growing up or in school, never took it in high school although I could have. Now, at 32, I want to learn at least as much as I need to learn to understand Mass or parts of Mass said in Latin. Anyone know of any good resources for this? I already have Let’s Learn Latin, by the great Ralph McInerny. I love him, but this book and tape should be renamed Let’s Hear Professor McInerny Rip Through Latin Prayers and Sayings Faster Than Any Human Could Possibly Hear How To Pronounce The Words. Ok, maybe that would be a stupid title. I want a starter, basic level tape and/or book that would explain pronunciation of basic parts of the mass and basic prayers/hymns.
One thing I like about traditionalists (I’m sure they are thrilled), is that they are totally immersed in Catholicism. Because of the confusion and corruption in the Church since the 70’s most of us present sort of a “against” Catholicism. We are against dissent, against the political groups like Call to Action, against bad liturgy, against this or that idea (women priests, acceptance of a gay lifestyle, etc.), against changes in Church theology, against extreme traditionalists, against statements professed by a famous Catholic or a bishop’s conference, and against Abortion big time. Traditionalists present and pass on Catholicism without even thinking of having to refute these things. Sometimes it is easy to forget the first job is to learn and live Catholicism as handed down from the Apostles rather than to refute the popular view of what Catholicism is or should be.

Sunday, February 09, 2003

Jeff Miller is back! Welcome back to St. Blog's.
I spent 2 hours at the bookstore reading through Patricia Cornwall's Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper--Case Closed. She convinced me-artist Walter Sickert was Jack the Ripper. I thought the book was fascinating and wanted to check it out after I saw Cornwall on tv being interviewed about her investigation. I just checked the Amazon link so I could put it here, and all the reviews were horrible! I thought the book was very interesting and the evidence, although circumstantial, very convincing.