Thursday, March 27, 2003

I would love to start a Catholic library so my books purchased over the past 2 years do more than collect dust. I checked out 1 parish library and it was a nice setup but most books were along the lines of Chicken Soup for the Soul, nice but not especially Catholic. Some were not nice or Catholic such as Creation Spirituality. It did not seem the library gets much use either. I hope to somehow establish a Catholic lending library, preferably in a parish. My idea would be to have a “Wish List” for anyone who wants to donate money or items. The Wish List would include only good, Catholic, or at least not subversive dissenters’ books, videos, cds, dvds, etc… People could donate an item in memory of a loved one, which I think is a nice way of memorializing someone. I would want to include good movies that would have some theme relating to Catholicism or Catholic values, so that people who may not be interested in a “religious” library, might be able to find things that interest them. In the dream library there would coffee and subscriptions to good Catholic magazines so people could sit and read and socialize. The primary focus of the library would be on evangelization. I found this Parish Library Website that has some good ideas. If anyone has a parish library please let me know the good, bad or the ugly.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

I hope someone that is much smarter than I am and a better writer, will blog about the self-hatred on display in these anti-war protests. I really don't think these people are protesting the war so much as expressing hatred of anything American, western, European, Christian, successful, rich, etc.. It must really bug them to see the USA not only winning but doing it by not killing civilians, not raping, treating POWs with basic human respect, and by handing out water and candy to people along the way. I think even if the U.S. wins the war relatively easily, with few civilian casualities, and the people of Iraq really succeed in building a better, free Iraq, the USA will still be the bad guys. We are rich, powerful, successful, educated, etc.. so we automatically must be brought down. This is just the basic envy that is seen a thousand times a day on a smaller, individual level. This kind of self-hatred, this guilt-based uneasiness with being successful is also found in the Church. I think it can help explain the criticism of H. W. Crocker's writings I blogged about above.
Today I received my Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club mug! "Putting the smackdown on heresy since 1981" Nice.
Fifteen to Life: Reforming the Criminal Justice System

I should have mentioned earlier that this article by Eve Tushnet in the March issue of Crisis Magazine was excellent. (The article is not online) I had always been of the “kill ‘em all and let God sort them out” school of criminal justice, but my Catholicism once again pulls me to a more balanced (human) approach. I once worked for Dover Publications for about 15 minutes, and I remember one of the original owners of the company, Mrs. Cirker, used to get letters from prisoners asking for books. She would have us pack up books she selected for these people about once a week. I would be so angry thinking of these criminals getting free books that I would have loved to have. Now, I see things differently.
I have seen letters written recently in the National Catholic Register and the Latin Mass Magazine concerning the writings of H.W. Crocker. Some feel his writing is harsh and bigoted, especially concerning the Orthodox Churches and followers of Mohammed. I love Crocker’s writing and find the criticism off base. Crocker writes with humor and I happen to share his tongue in cheek, exaggerated sense of humor. When he wrote that he looks forward to the Church commemorating the sack of Constantinople by making its anniversary a feast day, this was humor folks. I am 80 % certain he does not actually want to see a feast day like this, nor does he encourage slaughter but he makes a point with humor that should be made. [When some Greek Orthodox clergy protested Pope John Paul II’s visit recently by calling him a two horned monster, they were unfortunately not kidding.] Granted Crocker’s humor may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I rarely read Catholic authors that make me laugh out loud so I hope he continues to write for these publications and others. While I would not expect the Pope to appoint Crocker head of ecumenical dialogue any time soon, his book, Triumph, and the articles he has published, are just the kind of Catholicism Con Cojanes that have been conspicuously absent these past 20 years.

Monday, March 24, 2003

I am glad I did not watch a single minute of the Oscars last night. Michael Moore's book Stupid White Men must have been autobiographical, glad to see he was booed. Too bad Polanski's name was not booed though. I guess the priesthood is not the only place that tolerates child rapists.
I can understand Saddam’s talking like he will win the war, denial is common. What I don’t understand about people like him, or folks who do the various acts of evil of everyday life, is why can’t they see the bigger picture? Why do people who cause so much pain, anger, horror, terror, not see that when history is written, they will be the “bad guys”, the “monsters”, the forgotten? Don’t they see history, the madmen, the dictators, the people who might have been powerful in their day but are all but forgotten today? These people don’t really believe in God but you would think they would be concerned with what people think of them, or their status. People like Paul Shanley come to mind also, did he not think that the truth about him would one day come out? Don’t these people look in the mirror and see the monster others do? Even something on a smaller scale such as lying-don’t people who lie know that people talk to each other and end up seeing their lies clearly. I remember an executive in a former workplace who would tell 15 different versions of an event to 15 different people. These 15 people would end up talking to each other about the event, and end up realizing that this exec was a liar. So why lie? People will lose respect for you, not believe you again, put their trust in others. It seems that ultimately being a good person is a better overall strategy in life, in the short term and the long term. Yet generation after generation of humans keep committing every sin there is, and all the theology does not answer the question of why?

Sunday, March 23, 2003

Asleep at the Wheel

I am not sure why I haven’t been more aware of this but there is a big conference being held on March 28th and March 29th by the Nassau County Center for Catholic Studies. I will check it out on Saturday. The program is being mailed to me so I will post more info when I get it for local people who wish to go. I have been vaguely aware of this Center as I can remember the stories of prejudice the founder, Dr. Joseph Varacalli faced when trying to start the Center. I don’t know why I haven’t paid more attention to the activities of this group. After all, it is not often that this diocese contributes much in the way of orthodoxy to the Church. Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa.

A review of Dr. Varacalli's book Bright Promise, Failed Community: Catholics and the American Public Order can be found here. Some of his writings:

Catholic Social Science And The Reconstruction Of The Social Order

For the New Millennium: the Society of Catholic Social Scientists

The Idea And Prospects Of A Center For Catholic Studies At A Public Institution Of Higher Learning