Saturday, February 08, 2003

Disordered Affections asks for Guilty Pleasures:

1.) Sitting in a bookstore with a $4 coffee reading the latest magazines/books for a couple of hours

2.) E! True Hollywood Stories

3.) Married With Children

4.) The New York Post (Main section, the editorials are a non-guilty excellent pleasure)

5.) Cheap wine and bad tv shows

Just finished To Quell The Terror, the true story of the Carmelite martyrs of Compiegne and it was excellent. The first manufactured charge against the nuns was hiding weapons in their convent to which Madame Lidoine pulled out her crucifix and said “ the only weapon we’ve ever had in our convent is this. You cannot prove we have ever had any others.”
Amazing how little is written or said about those who, in the name of Atheism or just plain anti-religious bigotry, have persecuted and killed millions. From the French Revolution to Nazism to Communism anti-religious fervor has killed so many for the sake of unbelief. And yet, for the politically correct, we Christians are the ones who are “intolerant” “oppressive” “fanatical”.
The February 2003 edition of Catholic World Report also includes a call to write to Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re with your candidates for bishop. My list:

Fr. Phillip Eichner - President of Kellenberg High School, Chairman of the Board of Advisers of the Catholic League, helped create a thriving province of Marianists on Long Island. Humble, devout and incredibly brilliant.
Fr. Benedict Groeschel - who would probably hate me recommending him, but we need a very good orthodox priest as bishop. Don’t know if he would be good at or enjoy administration but his appointment would send the right message.
Fr. Joseph Fessio – YES!!!! It would keep the Jesuits from being able to persecute him they way they did with Fr. Hardon (who may be canonized someday). Who has done more in the USA for the Church than Fessio??

**I would also like to see a traditionalist priest, perhaps from the FSSP, named a bishop.

Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re
Congregation for Bishops
Piazza Pio XII
00193 Roma, Italy
Like Eminem, I am cleaning out my closet. I came across a Jubilee Year program for a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Francis Arinze. The mass was held at Our Lady of Grace at 666 Albin Avenue in West Babylon. Good thing we Catholics are not dumb enough to attach any great significance to that number huh? Anyway, two things came to mind. First, I was recently shown around the parish library since I expressed an interest in starting a Catholic library. There were some things that did not belong there, such as Matthew Fox’s Creation Spirituality and the National Catholic Reporter. Probably not a big deal since the library does not seem to get much use. The other thing was what I read in my latest copy of Catholic World Report. Arinze’s first comments on the Liturgy since becoming the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship include his remarking “that if priests make their own changes in the ritual, there will be as many kinds of Masses as there are priests.” He also noted that everyone involved in the liturgy should be careful not to attract attention to themselves rather than to the mysteries they celebrate. I have noticed this in priests mostly, not so much in lectors or singers. Another great quote follows: “The Church did not begin today, and will not end with me. The Church was established by the Lord, and her tradition of sacred rites cannot be changing from one day to the next”. Amen brother!

**This issue also contains another installment of the journal of “Father X” spending his vacation with the Missionaries of Charity. These have been very good and whoever this Father X is, he is a true priest.

Friday, February 07, 2003

Someone should introduce Linus Van Pelt to Lisa Simpson. The two would make a perfect couple, both intellectuals, both suffer from having incorrigible siblings (Lucy and Bart), and both have treasured objects that comfort them (blanket and saxophone). Linus is a Christian thinker while Lisa tends towards skepticism so it would be interesting to see how that would play out. ***This post officially confirms I have too much time on my hands.
Another magazine not yet mentioned here that I subscribe to is Faith & Family. This is a very classy, quality magazine that is perfect for women, families and people who are crafty. I mean people into crafts and cooking and stuff. The magazine is top notch but since I am a single man with no children, I am going to let my subscription run out. I went a little berserk over the past 2 years getting just about any Catholic magazine and now I am cutting it down to just a few. I miss Catholic Dossier, which featured great writing from different authors on 1 particular subject each issue and a short story by Ralph McInerney. This magazine folded sometime ago and I don’t see any replacement for it yet. Maybe the real writers of St. Blogs could create this type of magazine. No matter how much reading I do online nothing beats a good mag.

Thursday, February 06, 2003

I just got back from a lecture as part of our parish anniversary celebration. This was the second one and both were pretty bland. How can a talk on human sexuality have made me almost fall asleep?? I thought of that Monty Python movie with John Cleese teaching young guys sex ed with his wife and they were just daydreaming, falling asleep, etc.. The questions at the end were mostly "why do priests have to be celibate?". I think the couple of people who asked were shocked to hear there are married Catholic priests. Just when all hope seemed lost a young woman, by far the youngest there, made a comment that woke me up. She spoke of the problems in the Church being not celibacy but not enough celibacy. I went up to her as I left and said I think you were the only one here who made any sense.
Speaking of cops, here is a tribute page for a fellow Chaminade grad who gave his life on Sept. 11th. George Howard was not on duty that day but drove into the city immediately to assist. His mother gave President Bush his badge which he held up during his speech to the joint session of Congress.
A big factor in my returning to full time Catholic was a retreat I attended at Kellenberg High School’s retreat facility. Run by the group Lay Preachers, which was started by 2 retired NYC police officers, the retreat was solidly Catholic and very helpful. One of the guys who runs Lay Preachers, John Moreno, has recently published a book called A Spirituality for Police Officers written by a cop for cops and the people who care about them. The blurb on the back cover is from Fr. Peter Stravinskas of Catholic Answers so you know its kosher (people are more familiar with this expression than with “orthodox” but the meaning is pretty much the same). The publisher is Trafford, which is an on demand publisher-Amazon says allow 4-5 weeks for delivery. If you know any cops buy it for them.

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

I love watching the British House of Commons on CSPAN. The politicians are so polite, even when skewering the prime minister or vice versa. We should have a version of this in the states. The President would have to go to the House and answer questions on any topic, with all the formalities like saying, “the right honorable gentleman from New York hasn’t a clue what he is proposing.” And while I’m at it, the Supreme Court could wear those white wigs too.
Anyone who gives to charity should be careful to know first hand where their money goes, how it is spent, etc.. Get an annual report and have some personal connection to the charity so you know it is worthwhile. For Catholics, this is true in all areas of the Church. Give to those things in the church that do good work and that are committed to Catholicism. I give to my high school but not to my university. There are many Catholic organizations that may be worth giving to, but since I don’t have personal experience with them, I don’t give money to them. My parents gave for a few years to Covenant House because it sounded like they did good work, and they felt burned when it was exposed as a fraud. Covenant House inflated the numbers of street kids, had questionable accounting procedures and turned out to have many family members of Fr. Bruce Ritter on the staff. This Church is a big family, 1 billion people and growing, so you can’t just assume that all family members are honest or even decent. You should be able to but for now you can’t.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

'Anglican-Use' Rite Attracts Both Converts and Catholics

Very interesting article from the National Catholic Register by a Long Islander! If I can, I will attend this meeting in Queens since any attempt to have good liturgy is fine by me. I have personally witnessed the "diminishing" of the Episcopal Church in this area and remember reading somewhere that the idea of an Anglican Rite was proposed for England but stopped by some in the Vatican. This article confirms what I knew about bishops not encouraging these Anglican Use parishes in the USA, pretty much for the same reasons they do not encourage the Tridentine Mass. As the priest says, "It's a pity that more bishops don't realize they have a real tool here for evangelization".
Catholic Howl

with Apologies to Allen Ginsberg (and Lisa Simpson):

I saw the best Catholics of my generation destroyed by madness, starving
hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the streets at dawn looking for beautiful Liturgy

Coolheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the
Who passed through universities without ever learning Aquinas, among the scholars of Kung,
who were expelled from the seminary for questioning heterodoxy,
who cowered in rooms with no crucifixes, burning their Missals in
wastebaskets and listening to the Feminist Theology through the wall,
who got busted in their dorms reading Wojtyla,
who purgatoried their torsos night after night
with endless tales of bitter old nuns,
who chained themselves to altar rails for the timeless reception of the Eucharist,

who sank all night in submarine light of renovated Churches, listening to the
crack of doom from the folk group,
a lost battalion of Thomistic conversationalists,
screaming whispering facts and memories and
anecdotes of lecher priests, pedophiles, perverts
whole intellects who vanished into nowhere leaving a trail of missed vocations,
who wandered around and around at midnight wondering where to go for Adoration, and went, leaving no broken hearts,
who studied Newman,Stein, St. John of the Cross
because the teachers would forbid it,
who loned it through the streets of Georgetown seeking visionary angels like Fessio
who lounged hungry and lonesome through USF seeking Chesterton or Augustine or
Waugh, and followed the brilliant Spaniard to converse about Opus Dei
who disappeared into the Traditionalist groups,
who reappeared on the Florida Coast building Ave Maria
with big pacifist eyes sexy in their dark skin passing out Catholics United for the Faith leaflets,
who kneeled for communion and shrieked with delight for
committing no crime but their own desire for orthodoxy

who journeyed to Denver, who prayed With Chaput,
& waited in vain, for the New Evangelization

who fell on their knees in hopeless cathedrals praying for each other's salvation

who threw potato salad at Jesuit lecturers on Dogma and subsequently
presented themselves on the granite steps of Groeschel’s Friary with
shaven heads demanding true religious life.


What sphinx of cement and aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate up
their brains and imagination?
Moloch! Heterodoxy! Filth! Ugliness! Bare Churches and stupid theology! Boys sobbing childhood molestation
Moloch! Moloch! Nightmare of Moloch! Moloch the heavy judger of orthodox seminarians!
Moloch the incomprehensible dissidents! Moloch the soulless Liturgies! Moloch whose church buildings are empty!
Moloch whose love is endless questioning and changing! Moloch whose soul is America and National Catholic Reporter!

Monday, February 03, 2003

Goodbye to Amy Welborn and Jeff Miller who are both shutting down their blogs. God bless you both for helping to provide a nice spot on the web for Catholics.
I have started To Quell The Terror, The True Story of the Carmelite Martyrs of Campiegne by William Bush who is an Orthodox Christian. I knew I would like it from the introduction alone. Mr. Bush explains he wanted to write the historical and true story of the nuns massacred during the French Revolution. Their story had been turned into a novel, a film, and an opera (that just was recently staged by the Met in NYC). These fictional accounts took many liberties and Bush wants the actual story to be told. The introduction touches on a topic I am interested in: the French Revolution was not the enlightened affair that went wrong later on with the Reign of Terror. It was rotten from the beginning although this has not been the popular teaching. This book should be interesting.

Sunday, February 02, 2003

Shawn McEelhinney writes some interesting suggestions to reform the Tridentine Missal. I attend the traditional Mass occasionally and have found that I appreciate it and wish many aspects of the Mass (and the people attending it) could be found at my local parish. The choir always sounds excellent, the best music I have every heard. The people are serious Catholics who get there early, are quiet and respectful, and have the most well behaved children I have ever seen. The Mass is followed by “convivium” which must be latin for light breakfast. This affords the opportunity for what the protestants call fellowship. Attending this Mass has made me a more serious Catholic and if my parish did not have the orthodox priest it has, I would attend this Mass weekly. On the other hand, there are also aspects of the Mass that make me see the value to the reforms of Vatican II. Hearing the prayers as the priest intones them makes sense as does responses said or sung by the people. The reading of the epistle and Gospel in Latin and then in English seems redundant. One post-Vatican II change I like is bowing instead of genuflecting during the Creed’s 3 lines “By the power of the Holy Spirit…”, but hardly anyone does this at my parish. I have never noticed anyone praying the Rosary during the Mass and if they did I wouldn’t think it the worst thing to do at Mass, so I think the fear of “private devotions” is unfounded. Perhaps this is due to the reforms of Vatican II which emphasized active participation in the Mass. I know I understand the traditional Mass and can follow it even though I never learned any Latin and this must be due to attending the Mass in English each week. It seems to me that there was a need for some reforms in the Mass but that the reforms done around 1970 went too far and changed the Mass too much. Everything since then seems to have pulled us further away from tradition. I would love to see a true reform that is more traditional while keeping the good reforms.
Mass today was terrific- Eucharistic Prayer I was used since it was the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. After last week's slide show, this was a welcome return to normality. The homily focused on the Holy Family which made me wish we had the Holy Family in the sanctuary. Our parish church was “renovated” in the early 80’s. The building did need renovating, it was way too small and many masses had to be held in the school gym. There were 2 fires and the basement was unusable because of a huge problem with leaks. Of course, while the renovation was excellent in fixing all these problems, the parish forgot one thing: They forgot to make the renovated Church Catholic. My parish Church has no statues of saints, no depiction of Mary and Joseph, no real candles, nothing that exudes sacredness in the main section. Mary is stuck in the side in a former doorway, and 3 saints are in the vestibule back corner. I want to suggest to the pastor and/or the parish council that we get some form of artwork of Mary and Joseph on the 2 blank white walls of the sanctuary. I am sure the parish would support this, but am unsure how to make my pitch. I am not involved in the parish at all except for attending Mass, so I would not be well known. I know that announcing that the Church is bare and has all the beauty of an old barn would be not be a good opening line. Any ideas/suggestions??