Saturday, February 14, 2004

Amy Welborn links to an article on traditional Catholics, focusing on an SSPX chapel in LA. The reporter is one of many who are shocked, shocked! to find that traditional Catholics are not wackos living in bomb shelters but normal people with faith trying to raise families. The article has some interesting things in it, including quotes from people who claim to go to the chapel after experiencing horrible corruption in the Church proper. This would include the pastor of the SSPX chapel who was in a seminary in the late 1970's. My favorite part of the article is:

"The thing is, all the fuss over the Gibsons can distort what Catholic traditionalism is about. Mel Gibson is Southern California's only traditionalist star, but he isn't Southern California's only traditionalist. In some 20 or so chapels such as Radecki's, spread out from San Diego to Santa Clarita, hundreds of faithful congregate for the Latin Masses on Sundays and send their kids to traditional Catholic schools during the week. They're young and old, black and white, Latino and Asian, rich and poor. They are a fractious bunch—these are, after all, folks who have taken the radical step of breaking away from Rome—and they differ somewhat in their takes on the pope, the "conciliar church" (as they call mainstream Catholicism), and each other. At the same time, they're united in their disdain for the new Mass and for what they perceive as a grievously liberal Catholic Church.

It can seem like an unforgiving way to live, a lifestyle completely unsuited to our times. But the funny thing is, when you talk it through with people such as Father Radecki, you start to understand where they're coming from. Press accounts about Hutton Gibson notwithstanding, most traditionalists don't seem to be conspiracy theorists, or kooks. They're strict and rigid, but they're not nuts or hostile. They're just very traditional people who want to pray and live in a certain, just-so way. They find a way to make it work in the modern world."

Friday, February 13, 2004

Et tu Fox News?

The Catholic League sends me an email alerting me to this silly article by Roger Freidman on the Foxnews website. I am sure they won't mind me posting the entire press release:


The Fox News Channel website has an article today by Roger Friedman that takes Mel Gibson to task for selectively distributing “The Passion of the Christ.” After detailing where the movie will be shown, he then says Gibson “consciously created a divisive atmosphere for the presentation of his film.” He also charges, “All this seems designed to keep ‘The Passion of the Christ’ out of neighborhoods that are considered Jewish, upscale, or liberal.”

Here’s how Catholic League president William Donohue responded:

“Roger Friedman says the movie will be shown in two Chicago theaters; in fact it will be shown in seven. He says it will not be shown in the L.A. neighborhood of Century City; in fact it will be shown at the AMC in Century City. He says it will not be shown in the ‘wealthier and trendier parts’ of Los Angeles; in fact it will be shown in Marina del Rey, Burbank and Santa Monica. He says it will not be shown in New York’s Upper West Side; in fact it will be shown at 86th and Broadway. He says it will be shown only in the ‘fringe areas’ of the Upper East Side; in fact it will be shown at 86th and 3rd and 64th and 2nd. He says it will be shown at one theater below 34th Street; in fact it will be shown at three. He says it will be hard to find in Nassau County, Long Island; in fact it will be shown in seven theaters there. He says that theater- goers will be ‘hard pressed’ to find it in ‘either the south or north shore’ of Long Island; in fact it will be shown in towns like Glen Cove and Port Washington on the north shore and Merrick and Seaford on the south shore. He says those who live in Westchester will also find it difficult to see the movie; in fact it will be shown in Larchmont, New Rochelle and Yonkers. And so on.

“Taking a course in Geography 101 might cure some of Friedman’s problems, but it would not be enough. That’s because his forced conclusion suggests something else is at work: to say that Gibson is intentionally keeping the film away from Jews and the rich is not only flatly wrong, it smacks of malice. We look for Fox to correct itself.”

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Just Do It!

That is the slogan for Nike, the company that paid millions of dollars to St. John's University in exchange for the school forcing all athletes to wear clothing with the Nike symbol. At the time of this contract, a student sued the school claiming Nike's labor practices violated the teaching of the Catholic Church and that he was forbidden to write an editorial in a school newspaper about this . (The lawsuit was dismissed). I wish the president of St. John's, Rev. Donald J. Harrington, would follow Nike's slogan and just do what he said he would: get rid of the men's basketball program altogether. He was quoted as saying that if the mess surrounding the team could not be fixed, then he would just do it. The overemphasis on sports, especially mens' basketball, combined with the underemphasis on the Catholic identity of the school, has resulted in a university that is not worth supporting. As a graduate of St. John's I hope the school could do away with the expensive basketball program and concentrate on the two things I always felt was needed most of all:

--strong academics

--strong Catholic culture

On the other hand, since the school is barely Catholic, I don't care too much what does on there. I will continue to support real Catholic colleges and universities such as Franciscan University, Christendom, Magadelen, Thomas Aquinas, and the new Ave Maria. Incidents such as the one involving the St. John's basketball players (and the lacrosse players when I was a student) just prove how off track St. John's and other so called Catholic universities are.
After attending the Latin Mass Magazine conference last Sunday, I was once again struck by how much I agree with traditionalist Catholics. From Open Book comes the news that a Catholic Church was allowing Buddhists to chant and sell books in a Basilica. A first hand account is here and it is must reading. A group of Catholics, members of an SSPX parish, went in and prayed the Rosary in an attempt to stop this nonsense. The SSPX priest was asked to speak and he did so beautifully. What a witness to the Faith! What a sad thing to see people who stopped a travesty be attacked by good Catholics who yell that they are in schism! Meanwhile Mel Gibson, reportedly an independent traditionalist, is putting his faith into the public eye in a huge way. Why? Why is it that the traditionalists seem to be the ones on the front line? Why is it that they fight against horrors in the Church and are then attacked by people who 3 years ago were supporting pedophile priests? Why is it that I can attend my local parish never knowing what nonsense I will have to endure but every single time I attend the local "indult" traditional latin Mass I experience nothing but beautiful Liturgy? It seems to me that the so called traditionalists are leading the way to restoring the sacred in the Catholic Church and instead of attacking them we should be thanking them.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Keep checking The Passion of the Christ website for the list of theatres showing the movie. At first only 1 movie theatre in all of Manhattan was listed but now there are 7. Long Island had 4 theatres listed originally, but now the number is 13.
I added Otto-da-Fe to my bloglist, which I have been meaning to get around to doing. There is a post there today about Newsday being accused of inflating their circulation to charge advertisers more. There is a $100 million federal racketeering lawsuit filed against the paper. I saw this today and was tempted to post about it, since the paper is so anti-Catholic it would give me some of that schadenfreude stuff. I worked as a temp at Newsday during my college years and one job I did there was to scan barcodes from the returned "unsold" papers. I was amazed at how many unsold papers there were but the charges are just charges, and my gut tells me the case may not go anywhere.

Monday, February 09, 2004

I went to the Latin Mass Magazine conference in Montvale, New Jersey yesterday with fellow blogger Aristotle of Confessions of a Recovering Choir Director. The conference was good as usual, with intelligent speakers and great food. I was a bit disappointed in Michael Davies' talk however, since he mostly mentioned sad statistics on the state of the Church. He did mention some good things that have occurred in recent years but overall the forecast was rather gloomy, and the info was nothing new. I did manage to purchase two of his books and get them signed. He was a bit perplexed by my polish surname, apparently the English don't normally string a few constanants together --they really should try it. The books are Lead Kindly Light The Life of John Henry Newman and Saint John Fisher ($10 each!!!). This year's conference did not have the oomph of last year, which featured Chris Ferrara and Michael S. Rose, but it was nonetheless stimulating.
Finally! I have mentioned Dave Armstrong's Biblical Evidence for Catholicism as an important website in my return to the faith. His store of information is incredible, and he unknowingly introduced me to Chesterton, Belloc, Newman, etc.. I always wondered if he would blog, and now he has:

Cor ad cor loquitur