Friday, October 17, 2008

I Hate Politics

I hate politics and will be glad when the Catholic blogs will be back to posting reasonable, thoughtful, educated posts on topics of interest to me. Like 13th Century Liturgy. Anyway, I can now post something about the Presidential Election of 2008 :

Obama and McCain Yuk it Up at Al Smith Dinner

It is great to see a Catholic event that raises money for charity and hosts some big political figures. I enjoyed hearing clips of both candidates joking although neither one of them is naturally funny, the writing was good. It was good to see both laughing amid the seriousness of the election.
From The Long Island Press:

Soccer Moms vs. God

"One Rockville Centre mother, Sue Cavallo, who spent this past Sunday morning-as well as many other weekend mornings-on the football field at Oceanside High School, says football gives her son an "easy out" from church, especially if he throws a "hissy fit" and she doesn't want to deal with it.

"Quite frankly, I'm a parent and I should put my foot down," says Cavallo. "But if there is a call between church and the game, the game comes first."

The 44-year-old accountant is not alone in that school of thought. Many of the parents the Press spoke with at weekend games said that between homework, school clubs and sports, there's really no time for church."

Wow, that is an honest quote - admitting that she does not do what a parent should do, that Church comes after sports, and that her jock son throws hissy fits. I am surprised to see honesty from a Long Islander. The Diocesan spokesperson is quoted:

"The Diocese does not have an official policy regarding Sunday sports, but Dolan says that as a rule the parishes push to schedule sporting activities after noon on Sundays.

"[The Diocese] is not out of touch, we're not suggesting people stay home all day on Sunday, but there has to be a balance, and the Eucharist has to be a central part of Sunday," says Dolan, who adds that after Mass, families should bond, not just run off to a game or a practice."

And the Press actually found two reasonable parents (also rare on Long Island):

"Catholic churches have many different masses to attend, either during the week or weekend. If I were to say I do not go to Mass anymore because my kid has games on Sunday, I would just be copping out," says Gregory Muller, a soccer dad from Coram."

Of course the Masses during the week do not count as Sunday obligations so they are irrelevant but there are an average of two Masses on Saturday night at parishes across the island that do count for Sunday. So, it would be really pushing it to say you could not play sports and attend Mass at all.

"So, is there a happy medium? Could the fictional opening scenario end with the Soccer Moms lining up to slap hands with Team Mass after the game and everyone having a milkshake and a slice before going to worship? Optimists such as Sachem soccer mom Lindsay Gorman say, "Yes." But there is work that needs to be done on both sides.

"We've become very good at working around it. Sunday morning Mass becomes Saturday evening Mass-it's a balancing act," says Gorman."

The article also notes an incident that shows that Long Island parents of jocks have still not changed much even after the Mepham High football player rapes:

"Commack Soccer League president Rich Hollingsworth sent out a mass e-mail notifying parents that the camp would be canceled because it was accidentally scheduled on the holiday. The Press obtained the thread of e-mails, in which one parent replied back from an e-mail account identifying itself as Frank Daurio's (several sources involved confirmed that the e-mails came from Daurio, and the replies are addressed to Daurio). The e-mails are published here verbatim:

Daurio: "I just found out tomorrow's Soccer Camp is canceled because some immorally self-centered person (or group of people) decided it was unfair for people to play soccer when their kid wasn't going to because they happen to be Jewish."

Daurio continues in this vein. An unnamed parent replies that while he or she can understand Daurio's frustrations, his tone could be deemed anti-Semitic. Another unnamed parent chimes in with "backup" for Daurio and writes:

"The cancellation of today's soccer camp due to the selfish behavior of two Jewish women (we know who you are) is unacceptable. All of our kids were looking forward to the event. This includes many Jewish children. As we all know many Jewish in this area are not religious and don't practice so you hurt your own people as well. Frank Daurio's e-mail this [morning] stated what many think but won't put to pen. Why is it that Jewish people throughout the centuries have been persecuted and why does NY get such a bad rap around the country? Is it because of this type of behavior?"

Yes, sports can play a good role in raising healthy children, teaching team work and dedication to a task, cooperation and good sportsmanship, but they often do not. The problem is that the culture takes sports too seriously and excuses bad behavior on the part of jocks and their parents. I won't even get into the fact that most of these white parents have no real hope of seeing their children play professionally in a real sport, something I have often heard mentioned in bitter, racist ways.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I have completed Russell Shaw's book Nothing to Hide and have a few thoughts. (I am now engrossed in Havana Noctune about Cuba before the revolution).

Shaw's book puts forth the idea that the communication in the Church should be open and free flowing and cites examples of abuse of secrecy. His overall idea is very good and is a great example of a faithful Catholic who sees things in the Church that need reform and lays out the case for reform. This should be the path those who advocate changes in the Church should follow.

A good point Shaw made in the book is - the ignorance of Church members is not a reason to keep information from them but a challenge to explain and teach that info. In other words the fact that many of us do not understand financial statements does not mean they shouldn't be published but that they should be explained and made as clear as possible. The 'they won't understand' mentality is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Shaw also believes the Diocesan newspapers should be opened up to being more than just 'house organs'. I would like to see these papers become more like the National Catholic Register in terms of quality and coverage. But I also see a need for these newspapers to be 'house organs'. It is interesting to note Shaw's desire to see these papers become 'vehicles for public expression' considering his negative views of blogs, which are almost the online version of the letters to the editor section. Overall, this book is an excellent look at an aspect of the Church that could be improved greatly.