Saturday, March 15, 2003

Are Catholic Colleges Leading Students Astray?

I am not sure why the question even has to be asked. It reminds me of the Groucho Marx quote I heard at the Latin Mass Magazine conference, "Who ya gonna believe- me or your own eyes?" A sample denial from the pseudo Catholic colleges:

Michael James, assistant executive director of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU), dismisses the HERI survey results as having little importance for anyone beyond the participating colleges. "In terms of this being representative of the Catholic student population," James says, "I find it difficult to make that case."

One of the Universities in the study was St. John's in New York, where I attended. Nobody asked me, but I can say in the 4 years I was there, I did not see a single bit of evidence that it was a "Catholic" school.
Why is the Church in such sad shape today? I think the major blame has to be on the changes of the past 40 years. Although there were some positive changes, the overall effect of so much radical change was negative. When a people's language, customs, heritage, history and traditions are taken from them, and the people told these things that were a part of their heritage for many centuries were outdated or never any good, the result is devastating. Don’t take my word for it – go visit an Indian reservation. These people had all this taken from them over the course of centuries, for Catholics it has only been 40 years.

Friday, March 14, 2003

Very interesting book review in the local anti-Christian paper yesterday. The book is Harvard and the Unabomber: The Education of an American Terrorist by Alston Chase. Of course the Harvard educated unabomber (Ted Kaczynski) mailed explosive packages to people, killing 3 and wounding 20. Apparently Alston Chase calls the curriculum at Harvard a “culture of despair” ie…Camus, Sartre, etc.. From the review:
“The social sciences steered one to believe that morals were relative and religion a balm for the weak.”

Most interesting is the info on a Harvard professor, Henry Murray whose project involved Kaczynski and 21 other students being subjected to a weird interrogation:
“The subjects were filmed under intense lights while unseen interrogators mocked their views on life’s meaning as stupid and worthless. Murray never offered a convincing rationale for these unsavory ‘experiments’”. The future unabomber wrote an essay for this project in which he concluded “There is no morality or objective set of values”. Any wonder that he would have “chronic nightmares of psychologists trying to control his mind”. Although I am skeptical of the author trying to blame this evil on "Cold War 1950's" rather than the 60's radical nihilism, this sounds like a book I will have to check out at the bookstore. Remember, Harvard is the school that so many “Catholic” universities are trying to emulate.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

I just got back from a talk given by a priest for the group Americans United For the Pope, a local group founded by a wonderful couple. This couple founded the group in the 1980's when there was a constant barrage of dissent and bashing of Pope John Paul II. They will have a website up and running soon and I will link it. Unfortunately the weather tonight was lousy so there were only about 30 people there. The talk tonight was the best I have heard in the past 2 years!! The topic was The Crisis In The Church - A Time For Renewal, and the priest did something that I have not heard before - he gave details. His take on the situation today was totally correct and he was very bold in placing blame right where it belongs. After a lousy day, this presentation made my night!! Woohoo!

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

The Onion is as funny as ever:

Irish-Americans Gear Up For The Reinforcin' O' The Stereotypes'

"It's a great day for the Irish," said Sean Halloran, 34, of Boston. "You can bet that, with the aid of a few pints of Guinness, I'll be celebrating my proud Gaelic heritage by singing 'When Irish Eyes Are Smiling,' getting into bar fights, and urinating in public."

Further proof that cats are evil!

I am not sure why, but this is one of my favorite poems, learned in high school:

The Emperor of Ice-Cream, by Wallace Stevens

Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
Let the wenches dawdle in such dress
As they are used to wear, and let the boys
Bring flowers in last month's newspapers.
Let be be finale of seem.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

Take from the dresser of deal,
Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet
On which she embroidered fantails once
And spread it so as to cover her face.
If her horny feet protrude, they come
To show how cold she is, and dumb.
Let the lamp affix its beam.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream
"Protestantism gave expression to the feelings of insignificance and resentment; it destroyed the confidence of man in God's unconditional love; it taught man to despise and distrust himself and others; it made him a tool instead of an end; it capitulated before secular power and relinquished the principle that secular power is not justified because of its mere existence if it contradicts moral principles; and in doing all this it relinquished elements that had been the foundations of Judaeo-Christian tradition."

Escape From Freedom by Erich Fromm, page 121

Sorry if the quote is not very ecumenical, this is a book I had to read in high school and I remember enjoying it very much. I hope to be able to read it again soon.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

I was never much of a movie buff, in fact, I only recently saw The Godfather for the first time. (Stop laughing!) My return to the faith ended up making me more of a movie fan. It started with the book The Church and the Culture War by Joyce Little. The epilogue is worth the price of the book itself. She compares Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors and Harold Ramis’ Groundhog Day. Then I discovered 50 Best Catholic Movies on the internet and I went out and rented some of the movies on this list. Babette’s Feast was excellent! Now, my Catholicism actually influences movies I go to see, such as Signs, although I will occasionally still see things like Deuce Bigalow, Male Gigolo just for fun. (Stop laughing!)
So far so good with my Lenten discipline of giving up coffee. The rest has not gone as well but I am working on it.

Sunday, March 09, 2003

What did I ever do to deserve a day like today? It was almost perfect. First I drove into Manhattan to attend the traditional latin mass at St. Agnes, which I found right away. I was even able to get a parking spot on the street right outside the Church! If this was not a Sunday I would have notified the Vatican because it would have been a true miracle. I was early, so I waited outside since the 10:00 Mass was still going on, and the weather was good. According to the inscription on the front of the Church, St. Agnes has completely burned down twice and been completely rebuilt twice, the last time in 1998. The facade was rebuilt thanks to Bob and Dolores Hope. Inside, the Church is bright and very new looking. There are some beautiful paintings and a large tabernacle right in the center behind the altar where it belongs. The High Mass was beautifully sung by the priest and the choir. I do not know most of the rubrics of the High Mass and it was slightly confusing. The congregation is encouraged to sing, in alternation with the choir, and a sheet with the musical notations was available at the door. This was nice, the Mass on Long Island does not have as much of this. After Mass, I hopped on the FDR drive and headed over the George Washington Bridge to the Latin Mass Magazine conference. The Managing Editor of the magazine, John Blewett introduces the speakers with very corny, and very funny jokes. The first speaker was Fr. James McLucas, a traditionalist priest from the NY archdiocese. I thought last year he was a bit depressing but that was right in the middle of the so-called scandals, this year his talk was good. He said the situation in the Church today probably has no parallel in history, the closest being the Arian heresy era. He also mentioned how he never heard a serious treatment on the subject of grace in all his years in the seminary, even though he attended one of the most “conservative” at the time. (I think he was ordained around 1979). Fr. McLucas spoke of encouraging the SSPX toward acceptance of the idea of a worldwide Apostolic Administration for traditionalists, which he sees as the best possible arrangement. Next up was Christopher Ferrara, a lawyer who is President and Chief Counsel of the American Catholic Lawyers Association, Inc. He is also the author of The Great Fa├žade with Dr. Thomas Woods, which has caused quite a stir. He was funny and mentioned many examples of what he called a “regime of novelty” in the Church. I believe most of what he said was in his book, and it was quite scary. Last and far from least was Michael S. Rose. He gave a wonderful talk called “Goodbye, Good Men Revisited”. Again, most of what he said I remembered from his book, but it was great to hear a recap of what has happened to some of the people mentioned in the book since it was published. For example, two seminary professors mentioned have since been fired, and Archbishop Weakland, well you know. Sadly, he said that the strongest criticism he has received has been from the more conservative Catholic publications. I think Rose has done an incredible job in all his books of highlighting the errors of the past 30 years. Happily, he will have 2 books coming out, although I forget the topics of them. I got Goodbye, Good Men! and Ugly As Sin signed by him, and best of all, the great Alice Von Hildebrand signed my copy of Soul of A Lion! (Thank you Karen).