Saturday, December 31, 2005

Why Every Time I Turn it Loose, you Cats come Down and Cook my Goose

Edit 7/15/06 One of my ballroom-dance friends sent me this keen link, which should provide amoosement for those coming over to see this post.



Neo-Jansenists are against dancing. They are also against touching a member of the other sex unless absolutely forced to: this rules out dancing. Yes, the Cure d'Ars was against dancing, St. Francis de Sales was not overly fond of the idea, and under certain circumstances it is certainly best to avoid it. The Cure d'Ars and St. Francis de Sales' main beef with dancing seemed to be that while you were dancing, you were occupying yourself with things less worthy than, say, praying, pious deeds, or even gentle occupations about the house. Also, balls were an excellent place for vanity to fester, for envy to flourish, and for impure thoughts to take root. These two saints cautioned against dancing, but, circumstances change.

Dances are no longer balls, an event where one looks at others' dresses and becomes envious as Lady C___ has more lace on her petticoat than thou, or so-and-so-danced-with-her-and-not-with-me; dances are now more casual in nature, something attended perhaps weekly, as a recreation and social activity. (Which isn't to say that dances weren't recreational in the past, or had nothing to do with social realms - I assume they were, although I know next to nothing about dances of the 17th and 18th centuries.) The emphasis on dancing has decreased, or, dancing seems to be less important than it used to be and is now more of a recreation than an event. (Perhaps I am wrong in this, but I'm sure people will correct me if I am.)

I like dancing. I think it is a nose-thumbing to modern ideas. There is a leader and a follower - it is akin to marriage in that the man leads and the woman follows. It isn't that the one is more important than the other, but someone has to steer in order for the dance to be executed in a graceful manner. Dancing also places a deep emphasis on the role of a woman versus a man, and those roles are even essential to certain dances - like the Paso Doble (the man is a matador and the woman is the cape), or the Tango (the woman is playing hard to get and the man pursues her in a manly way).

Mark you, there is a movement to make dancing more accessible to same-sex couples, and there are now some halls that no longer welcome those who believe dancing should be between a man and a woman, but I can't image anyone, if injected with a truth serum, could deny that the tango performed by a man and a woman was not greater in beauty than that performed by a same-sex couple.

Sadly, what passes as dancing nowadays (of the b&g variety) is undeniably immoral and immodest. Ballroom and Swing dancing are making a comeback, though, and in the Bay Area, the Swing Scene is particularly good. I have been dancing for four years, now, and I love being able to render 'the "characters," as Aristotle says, and the movements of the soul, the invisible world that stirs within us.' (Maritain, Art & Scholasticism & the Frontiers of Poetry) In any case, St. Francis de Sales offers this advice on the whole thing:

So after frequenting balls you should frame pious thoughts which may counteract the dangerous impressions made by such empty pleasures on your heart. Bethink you, then-

1. That while you were dancing, soul were groaning in Hell by reasons of sins committed when similarly occupied, or in consequence thereof.

2. Remember how, at the selfsame time, many religious and other devout persons were kneeling before God, praying or praising Him. Was not their time better spent than yours?

3. Again, while you were dancing, many a soul has passed away amid sharp sufferings; thousands and tens of thousands were lying all the while on beds of anguish, some perhaps untended, unconsoled, in fevers, and all manner of painful diseases. Will you not rouse yourself to a sense of pity for them? At all events, remember that a day will come when you in your turn will lie on your bed of sickness, while others dance and make merry.

4. Bethink you that your Dear Lord, Our Lady, all the Angels and Saints, saw all that was passing. Did they not look with sorrowful pity, while your heart, capable of better things, was engrossed with such mere follies.

5. And while you were dancing time passed by, and death drew nearer. Trifle as you may, the awful dance of death must come, the real pastime of men, since therein they must, whether they will or no, pass from time to an eternity of good or evil. If you think of the matter quietly, as in God's Sight, He will suggest many a like thought, which will steady and strengthen your heart. (Introduction to the Devout Life)

Friday, December 30, 2005

Doodedoodedoo

H'okay, so. Pope Benedict XVI is the "Anti Gay person of the year." (Take a look at the link-name, too.)

A lot of articles on the issue of gay priests sets up Pope Benedict XVI as a sort of wildly prejudiced man, who, perhaps, foams at the mouth on occasion (when we're not looking). But, for the most part, the whywithal is left alone, and that gives the reader no clue as to what the actual teaching of the Catholic Church is and why they are supposed to be outraged about it. It's as if someone said "No! Don't touch the stove - it is hot!" and someone reports "Madam Tiffany is prejudiced against stove-touching. Cooks who use the stove are outraged and demand that Tiffany retract her hurtful statement. Said one flustered cook 'M. Tiffany has clearly crossed the line. It doesn't feel wrong when I touch my stove - some people prefer to use microwave ovens and we let them. M. Tiffany should respect our choice.'" Etc. etc. Except, that is a rather very poor analogy. Mea culpa.

This article actually does have some snippets of what Pope Benedict XVI has said or written, but it doesn't refer to them in the main body of the article which gives nil explication of the Church's position.

So, anyways, if a person is susceptible to suggestion and they don't have their facts marshalled together in neat order, it is easy to become upset about something you haven't the faintest about (old chap). If someone does get upset, then in their array of arguments lies the "love" bit. "But they love each other! What right does the Church have to say it is an intrinsic moral evil?" Afterall, love conquers all, right?

Except, what is love? And what sort of love? And ----- "Semantics!" "Rhetoric!" "Pretty words with no bearing in reality!"

Mhm.

We had a kid for Christmas. And we ate it. Before you have a conniption, a kid is a goat. A goat young...offspring...spawn. See:



This is not what I want to see six days before leaving for Nebraska.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

And more quotes, you lucky dogs.

Merry Christmas.

"O manifest infirmity, O wondrous humility, in which all the greatness of God lay hid! The mother to whom His infancy was subject, He ruled with His power; and to her at whose breasts He nursed, He gave the nourishment of truth. May He Who did not shrink from taking a beginning even like ours, perfect in us His gifts; and may He also make us children of God, He Who for our sakes wished to become a child of man."
-St. Augustine

"You cannot visit the child without visiting the mother; you cannot in common life approach the child except through the mother. If we are to think of Christ in this aspect at all, the other idea follows as it is followed in history. We must either leave Christ out of Christmas, or Christmas our of Christ, or we must admit, if only as we admit it in an old picture, that these holy heads are too near together for the haloes not to mingle and cross."
-Chesterton, Everlasting Man

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

"Cult of Virginity"

Reading the online news this morning, I saw the phrase "cult of virginity" applied to the Catholic Church. And lo, a quote from Chesterton's Ball and the Cross came to mind:

That is just the funny part of it. The human race has always admired the Catholic virtues, however little it can practise them; and oddly enough it has admired most those of them that the modern world most sharply disputes. You complain of Catholicism for setting up an ideal of virginity; it did nothing of the kind. The whole human race set up an ideal of virginity; the Greeks in Athene, the Romans in the Vestal fire, set up an ideal of virginity. What then is your real quarrel with Catholicism? Your quarrel can only be, your quarrel really only is, that Catholicism has achieved an ideal of virginity; that it is no longer a mere piece of floating poetry. But if you, and a few feverish men, in top hats, running about in a street in London, choose to differ as to the ideal itself, not only from the Church, but from the Parthenon whose name means virginity, from the Roman Empire which went outwards from the virgin flame, from the whole legend and tradition of Europe, from the lion who will not touch virgins, from the unicorn who respects them, and who make up together the bearers of your own national shield, from the most living and lawless of your own poets, from Massinger, who wrote the Virgin Martyr, from Shakespeare, who wrote Measure for Measure--if you in Fleet Street differ from all this human experience, does it never strike you that it may be Fleet Street that is wrong? (p. 66-67 in Dover edition)
And now, another quote from Jacques Maritain, which I don't believe I've shared yet(despite the fact that sharing is special):
Look for him, Thomas, the son of Landulf and Theodora, where is he? Effaced, lost in the light. A sign so pure that it disappears before that which it makes known-in looking at him, you see only the object that he points out, and the splendor of the visage of God. (40 St. Thomas Aquinas)

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Oops.

I forgot to mention...a few days ago Dappled Things had their first edition out - pop by and take a gander. And, in case you didn't catch it, Matthew Alderman (a contributor to this edition) is from the Shrine of the Holy Whapping.

Finals - those are over, yup.

Well, Christmas is fast approaching and the whole of creation rejoices at the coming of the Savior. Ta.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Will you still need me when I'm 64?

Today is the celebration of the day on which I was born. "And the Lord did grin, and the people did feast upon the lambs, and the sloths, and the carp, and the anchovies, and the oranutans, and the fruit-bats, and the breakfast cereals and..."

My parents, for a combined birthday/Christmas gift, are sending me to Notre Dame for the Edith Stein Project: Redefining Feminism conference. My parents are cool, no?

Dan, my comrade and priest-to-be, has found a pro-life search engine that donates money to organizations such as Priests for Life, EWTN, ALL, etc., when you use the search engine during certain random times of the day. You can elect to have a donation made when you search - and the donation money is taken from sponsored adds. It is an ingenious idea.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I'm dreaming of elements that are normally incompatible

Last night I dreamt that I was on a colony on another planet and the wraith from Stargate Atlantis were attacking. We'd retreated to a library and formed a time-capsule thingummy so that important books would not be forgotten and it also acted as a suspended animation chamber for the children and one older folk. While that was being set up, I was out with my bb-gun taking potshots at a persistent wraith from atop some pillow (cushion) fortifications. The wraith started clambering up the pillows so I kicked them down on top of his head and ran off giggling something about how he wouldn't be bothering me again. Entering the heart of the library some time later for more ammo, I saw that they were moving books into the capsule and wandered over to see what they'd chosen. Not seeing Thomas Aquinas in the pick, I became upset and insisted that the entire Summa be put in.

That made the entire dream so much more cool. And by cool, I mean totally sweet.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

A reader sent me this

Today's news from Rome (VIS):

- Appointed Fr. Wojciech Giertych O.P., member of the general council of the Order of Friars Preachers (Dominicans) and professor of moral theology at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome and at the "Studium" in the Dominican province of Poland, as theologian of the Pontifical Household.

I thought it would be interesting to query the background on this guy and found this online book by him: http://www.cfpeople.org/Books/Moral/CFPtoc.htm

I recommend to your attention his first three sections covering certain aspects of the history of moral theology.

------

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

I confess that I don't really know Latin despite having taken two college-level tutorials and 3+ years of home-instruction. I frequent the Novus Ordo Mass in Latin (which Mass should be the model for all other Novus Ordo Masses), though, and understand what is said during the Mass.

I confess that I put a green face masque on during the night, crept up to a friend's room where she was watching the exorcist, ran screaming in and jumped on her bed. She cried.

I confess that I like pranks if tying all the men's doors together (at the now-defunct Campion College) with twine and putting kool-aid in their showerheads is any indication. The men retaliated by putting laxatives and a goldfish in my water bottle and locking all the girls out of the building among other things.

I confess that I have a penchant for occasionally singing Gregorian Chant uproariously in the car during traffic with the windows rolled down. It's good for other's souls.

I confess that, on the other hand, my voice is not very good - so I could be an occasion of sin during traffic hours.

I confess that I am not one of those people who go batty over animals. I love cute, I love fluffy, but that never stopped me from eating my cute and fluffy pet bunny when I grew bored of cleaning its cage (we raised rabbits for a bit and sold or ate them).

I confess that I love to order people around (provided that they give me no backtalk). Said one older Asian man after I drove a student group on to answer questions in time to give an in-class presentation "Wow. You are very...command. Commanding. You very in charge."

I confess that I am perfect in every way.*

* except for when I'm not.

(and for tagging: Iosephus and JHP - go!)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

P.S.

Happy 175th anniversary of the Miraculous Medal!

Cosmic Mass

Awww. I missed the Cosmic Mass pictures for awhile (the Cosmic Mass website was taken down for some reason), but lo! On June 1st in the two thousand and fifth year of Our Lord, some folks in Vancouver and Canada kindly provided some new images!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Gone

I have switched to haloscan for comments - this means all old comments are deleted. H'oh well.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The good, the bad, and the odd

Lest you think that my history class is utterly devoid of any good exchanges: my teacher was talking about the concentration camps and the disposal of Jewish people en masse as it was convenient for the Nazis, and one of the girls from the back of the class said in a decided way - "So it's just like euthanasia." "Yeah," responded the teacher, in rather an abashed way.

SF Gate has another article on families.

My favorite quote: "Knight says even if little Olivia becomes the "firecracker radical activist" her father hopes, it's going to be extremely difficult for her to overcome the environmental original sin she embodies."

A positive thing. (Curtsey, not a hat tip, to my friend R. - ladies don't tip their caps) It is amusing to watch for a minute or two.

Monday, November 14, 2005

And yet more abominations

Remember the "cuddle party" fad that began in New York? It has made its way to the Bay Area.

For those of you living in the boondocks, cuddle parties..."were created last year by relationship coach and sex educator Reid Mihalko with fellow educator Marcia Baczynski for adults to explore and satisfy their need for non-sexual touch " Source. (Link not safe for children - this means you, sibling.)

Gag me with a spoon.

It's one thing is Aunt Fitz Fitz Fran who you just met gives you a tepid hug and then dives for the appetizers, but it is quite another when a stranger attempts to satisfy their own "need" for human touch. Except that it is not a need, and objectifies other human beings. The Church recognizes that mankind needs outward signs or symbols and Christ Himself gave us visible signs of the Sacraments. We humans are also social beings, needing each other in order to perfect ourselves as human beings, and sometimes that requires signs and symbols in order to be perfected. We do not put infants in playpens, shoving them away in an attic where its cries will not bother anyone, mechanically feeding them. No. We coo and gurgle (or at least the fairer sex does) and show our love so that the infant can participate in and understand it.

But to meet random strangers and become cosy with them? In order to satisfy one's own desires? Is that a "need" in terms of perfection or need in terms of appetites? I have absolutely no confidence in the motives that lead one to such parties, but an extreme distrust of them. These touches goes beyond hugging, stopping only short of that marital act, and tries to masquerade under a guise of innocent child-play. Dog-piling conjures up images of children, albeit, children who are rough in play (there has never been a gentle dog-pile when children play). But the adult dog-pile isn't childish, nor is it even infantile - it's bestial. It isn't good for the soul to engage in such physical acts purely for the sake of the physical touch. It was written somewhere by Maritain that intellectual activity is the highest human act - art is a path to intellectual activity, as is logic and other things like that - but intellectual activity doesn't enter into this picture.

One of my friends put it so: "But to have a whole gathering where the point is to touch (even 'innocently', thus the quotes) is what makes it creepy, and what makes it an internal fulfillment of appetites instead of a person-centered expression of genuine care. Not a hug, but a "I need to get to my 1:00 touching therapy" sort of thing."

It might be fun to go to one of these and screaming "DON'T TOUCH ME!!!!!!!" whenever anyone even makes even a slight movement in my direction.

The clouds have been absolutely gorgeous these days - the sunsets would have had Chesterton all agog and talking about the trailing plumes of purple and azure drawn around an orb of pulsating gold. It's also been raining, which makes me quite happy. The pools of water catch the trees and reflect the sun, the air is swept clean, oxalis (or woodsorrel) is blooming as are the day-lilies and jasmine, and eucalyptus scents waft gently to and fro. Figs are now going out of season, which is sad. There is a fig tree by the office and it bore upwards of 30 figs this season - the smell of ripe figs is a treat in itself, and the god's nectar becomes bitter in their mouths when they smell ripe figs. There is also a persimmon tree on the route home and during its season, people would sometimes pluck unripened persimmons off and bite them --- and then throw them to the ground. Ripe persimmons fell off the tree and were trammeled by the careless, creating an orange carpet of wasted edibles. Wastage is frowned upon.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

More on Life

This is some true dialogue for you - who could resist such an argument? (Warning: Link is not safe for children.)

Today there is an election in CA. Pro-life people are all rallying about Proposition 73 (explained somewhere below), and the polls show such a very little lead. Fall to your knees and pray that it passes - it would be a great thing if it did. At any rate, it has pro-choice people mighty worried if the level of their frenzy is any indication - yesterday while demonstrating, a man drove by screaming "F***K YOU! F***K ARNOLD! F***K YOUUUUUU!"

Now to vote. Avast!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Stop



The top-left corner contains an alternative (that my pater suggested) to the cow-knife-beef picture.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

False Alarm

Hah! My camera is working now. My pater familias read of my misfortune as regards to leaping cameras and ground. He suggested the camera just needed to be rattled back into shape. Counter-intuitive, yes? Yes.

Having no warranty, ergo nothing to lose, the camera was thrown against the ground - and I won't say there wasn't a little petulant impetus put to it. But I won't say there was, either. I merely state, in the interest of truth, that there was some impetus in the throw.

It worked like a charm. I guess cameras need to be shown who's boss or something.

Opponents of Prop-73 (a proposition that deals with parental notification and which Planned Parenthood is avidly fighting) tried to have a "maze" on the Berkeley Campus where one learns the "truth" about this...well, to quote, "judicial maze." But...something happened - it rained! T'eh forces of nature conspired and there was one less demonstration that could befuddle people.

There is a maze being created about this proposition, but it's not being constructed by supporters. Students on the campus have reported that people are confusing notification with consent, or rather, that misinformation is being given by opponents to the effect that the proposition deals with consent. People are being disingenuous. My stars! Wheereevah did they get such notions?

The Rundown: proposition 73 requires parental/legal guardian notification 48 hours prior to an abortion or a waiver from a judge or parent. This proposition is good. It will help restore rights to parents, allow them to talk with their daughters about their decision, to see if any crime is going on (I use veiled language as there are children who read this blog - read between the lines), and also to care for them if the girl decides to have an abortion. Do vote yes. Do. Do. Do.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Jealous?

Our kitchen has recently been re-done. To celebrate the near-completion we had a feast cooked by the indefatigable Erik.


First there was quince jam on sheep cheese.


Then the homemade green salsa (made by another good friend of ours).


Risotto with mushrooms.


Salad with heirloom tomatoes, persimmons, pine-nuts, & greens.


And the Pork-Fat-Ellen (with a stuffing of mangos stewed in rum, young coconut, and other delicious substances) followed closely by a bottle of Lillet.


This is the kitchen, resplendent in all its pristine and then uncooked in state.

Unfortunately, there may be no more pictures for some time as the camera leapt out of my backpack and felt a deep affinity for the ground. It now makes an unpleasant whirring noise when powered up and then the screen goes blank. This does not strike me as being a good sign.

And now, a quote from two days ago at class that went something like: "...was that after the Reformation? Like in the 1300's where Rome split and they were, like, savages from the West?"

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Dress or Manners

I have not read all of the City of God to my now-present but soon-to-be-gone shame. I am four books shy of that as I skipped over a few books in the beginning where he spoke of Janus and Jupiter, Platonists, demons and angels, demons, demons, etc. - but, there is this snazzy quote lodged in the book that pertains to the dress of Christians:
The dress or manner of life adopted by whoever embraces the faith that leads to God does not matter to the Heavenly City, provided that these things do not contravene the divine precepts. Hence, when philosophers become Christians, they are required to change their false doctrines; but they are not compelled to change their dress or their customary mode of life, for these are not an impediment to religion.
St. Augustine, City of God: Book XIX, Ch 19

How sensible St. Augustine is! What he said way back when is still pertinent today, and so, you need not dress like Jumper Queens (young and sweet only...) unless you really want to. Modesty is not synonymous with a particular garb, but is a virtue concerning moderation in all things: dress, manners, estimation of self, pursuing some goal, eating, drinking, etc.

In any case, 'tis pancakes for breakfast with real maple syrup. Yum.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Ahhh... San Francisco.


Sunset on an uncharacteristically fogless day.


This is the Holy Names(Word?) chapel that is known about by very few people, being in the empty convent-esque house next to St. Monica's in San Francisco. It is very beautiful, albeit very small.


The Holy Spirit painting above the Altar.


The inside of St. Dominic's. I have no close-up of the Altar, but it is magnificent.


The outside of St. Dominic's.


The inside of Mt. Carmel (opposite to the St. Ignatius Church) on Palm Sunday.


Palms being burned on Palm Sunday - myself and some friends found the blessed palms in the debris-bin, so we sneaked out after nightfall, absconded with the palms, and burned them.


A Byzantine Rite Mass at Our Lady of Fatima - a small, small parish in a non-descript building, but absolutely beautiful inside.

All pictures courtesy of my friend Oscar. Thank you Oscar!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Poor, poor, pitiful me?

There is a columnist fellow from SF Gate, named Mark Morford, who wrote a particularly odd column full of bile against the family whose faces appeared briefly on the mainstream media and then disappeared. The title of this column was: "God Does Not Want 16 Kids/Arkansas mom gives birth to a whole freakin' baseball team. How deeply should you cringe?"

Children, who do we call our Father? God! If He is our Father, what does that make us? Children! Does this extend to every member of mankind? Yes! How many children does God want?

The introduction paragraph runs thus:
Who are you to judge? Who are you to say that the more than slightly creepy 39-year-old woman from Arkansas who gave birth to her 16th child yes that's right 16 kids and try not to cringe in phantom vaginal pain when you say it, who are you to say Michelle Duggar is not more than a little unhinged and sad and lost?

And furthermore, who are you to suggest that her equally troubling husband -- whose name is, of course, Jim Bob and he's hankerin' to be a Republican senator and try not to wince in sociopolitical pain when you say that -- isn't more than a little numb to the real world, and that bringing 16 hungry mewling attention-deprived kids (and she wants more! Yay!) into this exhausted world zips right by "touching" and races right past "disturbing" and lurches its way, heaving and gasping and sweating from the karmic armpits, straight into "Oh my God, what the hell is wrong with you people?"

Touching, isn't it? According to the column, large families waste resources, contribute to overpopulation, result in unstable children - but Morford does not claim that large families are without joy, he merely mocks that notion and sets it up as an impossibility.

Overpopulation is a myth, it is, it is, what with European countries and their negative birthrates. What's more, it is amusing to note that although overpopulation such a concern to liberals, not one of them will whack themselves in the name of the perceived common good. Children eat less, require less food, less clothing, and do not drive around and pollute the air, being content to toddle around or ecstatic to ride on horses.

Unstable? If anything, more stable. There is no room in a large family to retreat into some psychosis. G.K. Chesterton, in the Poet and the Lunatics, spoke of one man who verged on madness because he thought he was like a god. The Poet went after the Lunatic with a pitchfork and tied him up to a tree, leaving him for several hours to struggle against the binding ropes until, exhausted, he had to admit that he was not a god and was bound by reality as much as the next man. Siblings are that constant check on the imagination, as well as a constant path to humility, and a constant and ever-present opportunity for patience.

Siblings also draw out (or crush) the aspirations of a family member and help shape each others personalities. I am from a big family. There are projects lurking in every corner, artistic flights of fancy dotting the walls, yarn stuffed into nooks, crochet hooks, needles, a sewing machine, swords, bokins. We do ballroom dancing, gymnastics, fencing, kendo, we read books, we volunteer, we appreciate Fr. Ted, Monty Python, science fiction - we write, paint, draw, and er. sing. Critics agree we are also exceptionally skilled at the kazoo.

Many of these recreations have been encouraged by some member of the family, wisdom passed down from older to younger, and so on and so on. Ours is not a family devoid of any state of mind.

Much more could be said, but there are too many points to address in a small blog.

Fitting news reached me today. One of my best friends has become engaged and she has always planned on having upteen children. Several girls from my college, you see, entered into a contest on who could have the most children.

Nothing, though, could match my friend that I shall call Herbert who wants seventeen children in seventeen years. Hi Herbert!

Article found here: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?
file=/gate/archive/2005/10/19/notes101905.DTL

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Attention

Someone found my blog looking for 'improper rosary etiquette.' Aside from the shady phrasing (who looks for improper rather than proper?), there are a few improper rosary etiquette tips I could give, but only one springs to mind immediately. Do not to use your rosary as bling-bling. This is Improper Rosary Etiquette.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Lepanto


One of my seminarian friends was at Lepanto (or Nafpaktos as dem Greeks call it) for the feast of the Battle of Lepanto, and sent me this snazzy photograph of the festivities. O'er there, they set fire to a ship, shoot cannons, play loud music, dress in period costume - but surprisingly, my friend went to every gift shop and found nothing commemorating the Battle, not an item with "Lepanto" plastered boldly across it that could be sent to the U.S. for delectation. So I say to all the storekeepers there: 'thhhbbbpppt!'

Friday, October 14, 2005

Thuffering thukatash!

Chesterton said of "the modern martyr":
The incident of the Suffragettes who chained themselves with iron chains to the railings of Downing Street is a good ironical allegory of most modern martyrdom. It generally consists of a main chaining himself up then complaining that he is not free...The assumption is that if you show your ordinary sincerity (or even your political ambition) by being a nuisance to yourself as well as to other people, you will have the strength of the great saints who passed through fire. Any one who can be hustled in a hall for five minutes, or put in a cell for five days, has achieved what was meant by martyrdom, and has a halo in the Christian art of the future. Miss Pankhurst will be represented holding a policeman in each hand - the instruments of her martyrdom. The Passive Resistor will be shown symbolically carrying the teapot that was torn from him by tyrannical auctioneers...The truth is that the special impressiveness which does come from being persecuted only happens in the case of extreme persecution.

The rest of the essay (from All Things Considered) is well worth reading.

Mother Angelica says:
The Father chose suffering for His Son from His birth to His death and Jesus reminded us that the servant is not above the master. If He, as God-Man had to "suffer in order to enter into Glory," then we too must suffer in order to prepare ourselves for glory...Jesus knew that once He, the Son of the Father, was stretched out on the Cross, all men of faith would obtain the strength to endure the sufferings the Father permitted in their lives.

Jesus knew suffering would not pass from any of us after His Resurrection and He made sure we understood its role in our lives. Throughout the Gospels He promises us suffering and persecution and asks that we accept it with Joy.” (Healing power of suffering)

I think I smell a raaat, oh I think I smell a rat.

So there was this rat that walked into a bar...no, it was in our laundry room, fascinated with all the non-edibles it found there. We responded, like good hosts, with two boxes of rat poison, laying out the contents of one box and leaving the other to rest in its silent casing. The rat took all the rat poison - even that of the unopened package, which it voraciously ripped open. Gluttons never prosper.

But when it figured out that it was going to die, it, having a vindictive streak, decided to creep into the heater vents and expire there. "Nyeaaahaaa!" it chuckled with its last breath. Now, we have burninated rat corpse smell wafting gently through the house. Yum.

At least, we think it's that.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Pretty Words

Today I attended an abortion debate at U.C. Berkeley: Dr. Dennehy versus Ndola Prata - it was quite a nice debate, with Dr. Dennehy emerging from the skirmish with banners unfurled and St. Michael hovering in the wings.

The position of Prata was that in countries where there are "unsafe" abortions, there are also higher death rates for mothers ergo abortion should be made safe and legal for all countries - not a very sound argument, and inconsistent, too. Prata, you see, showed a slide that showed the number of deaths due to "unsafe" abortions versus number of deaths due to "safe" abortions. The quirk was that she posted the number of deaths from unsafe abortions but percentages from safe abortions in the U.S., calling the number of U.S. deaths 'negligible.'

Now the catch: the percentage point was 0.2 thru 0.5 of 1.3 million abortions (last year). The combined number of deaths due to "unsafe" abortions was actually *less* than the number of deaths due to safe abortions, according to the very statistics she provided. Who'd'a'thunk?

She also said that abortion was an ethical issue, that we can't tell whether or no a fetus is a human life, woman's body, etc.

Dennehy pounced at her clumsy arguments (in a nice way - Dennehy is always extremely polite towards his opponents) and pointed out the age-old example that hunters simply do not shoot into brush when it rustles. It is a Bad Idea. There is no clear view of what is being shot at and it could be a human being - if it is, and you shoot the person, the courts hold you responsible.

Likewise, one should not kill something that is has the potential to be a human being if we really don't know whether it actually is (which doesn't make sense as actuality procedes potentiality, but Dennehy didn't get into that) - because to kill a fetus without knowing whether or no it *is* a human being implies a willingness to kill a human being.

The arguments against abortion are so extremely simple and elegant. It is a wonder people simply don't agree with them. Arguments from appearances were denounced during the course of this debate, the human DNA unfolding versus parts being added to a fetus, conceptual thought was brought up, and Dennehy managed to slip in Ligers, the Terminator, and other pop-culture references that woo'd the class sympathy to his side, while Dr. Prata sat looking slightly uncomfortable and eternally serious.

In any case, Dr. Dennehy was in rare form, easily disproved the arguments of Dr. Prata, and effectively answered the questions that students put to him. It grieves me to think that he will not be able to do these debates for much longer as he is elderly - who will do them then?

The best quote was one of Dr. Prata's, who said something like: "Well, you can talk about philosophy and use a bunch of pretty words, and it sounds very nice, but you have to look at reality." Tee hee! Hee! Hee! Haaah.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Add another



The major Catholic bloggers have brought up St. Therese today. I would like to bring up another important Lady - Mary. October is the month of the Holy Rosary.

Do get your rosary out and make her happy, ease the duration of purgatory for souls, increase and abound in virture.

Don't dance with headphones (attached to the computer) on. Headphones are a subtle eugenics program for people like me.

What's on the Menu?

I received my first traffic ticket a month or two ago, when debating about manly qualities with my sister in a car. Absorbed in my discussion, I neglected to keep an eye on the speedometer. A nice policeman reminded me, though, and gave me a pretty pink slip of paper lest I should forget. Now, even seeing a police car makes me wince - just as seeing a bee used to make me jump after some clever boys ahead of me decided to poke the yellow jacket's nest in the shrubbery.

The county in which I was collared does not accept internet traffic school certificates, so I must hie me ho to an actual, physical place. On flipping through the yellow pages to find the Most Perfect School that would finish me up properly, I hap'n'd upon a quasi Comedy-Traffic school. They give you two free comedy club passes if you attend this school. That sounded disreputable enough for me and as it is approved by the CA DMV, I signed straight on.

Today I go to my doom for ~8 hours. Oy vey!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Fitting

Yesterday, I was happily driving to a discussion group and praying the rosary on the way. The beads slipped past, a happy feeling of peace permeated my being. Things seemed alright. "...Holy Mary," I whispered piously "MOTHER OF GOD, I'M ON A ONE WAY STREET!"

All sweetness forgotten, breaks were slammed and oncoming traffic was viewed in a manner not un-grim. Like a nightmare, the crosswalk behind me filled with teeming masses of people and cars lined up at the stop-sign on the two-way street that was my ticket to a safe haven - blocked! I couldn't move forwards or backwards because those heartless drivers, chortling over their steering wheels at the young girl going the wrong way on a one way, didn't even respect the right of way of me.

Now why would anyone want to play GTA-2 when real-life situations are already so titillating?

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Concerning Obedience

Our pastor is from a foreign land. As such, he doesn't always pronounce things correctly. Today, he told the congregation that "without obedience all will be disorder and cows."

Mooo.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Life imitates art



I have this beautiful holy card that a former professor gave to me, and I don't know the name of the artist who created it - any ideas, ye good men and women?

Useful Numbers

Talking to strangers, my my.

Whenever people get miffy about Pope John Paul II and the Church's stance against condoms (specifically, that the Church has caused untold deaths due to promoting abstinence programs), whip out this handy little news article and gently correct your neighbor - and of course, be ready to back it up with actual research when people say "na uh! That's just Church propoganda you poor brainwashed child."

Does this remind anyone else of the 10,000 deaths that "happened" per year before abortion was made legal?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

On taking the name of the Lord in Vain (ramble)

The Lord's name can be taken in vain by either using It as a swear word or associating It with something that detracts from Its glory. But can't It also be taken in vain when used out of habit (not loving habit) or glory not piled atop it as a reasonable person could give? To begin: "God will provide." "Yep, God is sure good!" "Our God is an awesome God." "God loves us all." "Lord be praised." etc. etc.

Nothing is wrong with such phrases, but using "God" everywhere in speech seems take on the aspect of a habit rather than pious utterances. Such habits can have piety behind it - nuns, priests, laity - all use them without impunity. Yet when a member of the laity becomes uncomfortable when conversation takes a more modern turn, or starts like a Jansenist when you mention you've read Tom Jones, then there is cause for concern.

It's almost as if some people are afraid to talk about anything that does not directly pertain to God lest they be found too secular, too worldly, too something, and the outcome is they use "God" everywhere. That limits God, though. He is omnipresent, omnipotent, but omniabsent from anything outside the direct bubble of Catholic writers, thinkers, or ideas. 'tis a tragedy, for whatever you find that can add to God's glory, surely you should - because it allows for a deeper understanding and devotion. When human darlinks find some holy person, they exclaim at the depths of the wells of goodness and plunge deeper and deeper, seeking the source from which springs the abundance. Likewise, with each new good that is turned like some glittering item in the hands of the faithful, and assigned its proper order in creation - in relation to God.

So don't listen to Tertullian when he exclaims "What...has Athens to do with Jerusalem?" Athens is all about Jerusalem. Everything good comes from God, and should be returned to Him.

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And as an addendum: no, I am not saying that knowledge of God is more important than love of God, but that the former should naturally spring from the latter.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Sunday, September 18, 2005

On Mu-z-a-k



But we must not omit to explain the reason why words of this kind should not merely be said, but rendered with melody and song; for there are actually some simple folk among us who, though they believe the words to be inspired, yet think the reason for singing them is just to make them more pleasing to the ear! This is by no means so; Holy Scripture is not designed to tickle the aesthetic palate, and it is rather for the soul's own profit that the Psalms are sung. This is chiefly for two reasons. In the first place, it is fitting that the sacred writings should praise God in poetry as well as prose, because the freer, less restricted form of verse, in which the Psalms, together with the Canticles and Odes, are cast, ensures that by them men should express their love to God with all the strength and power they possess. And, secondly, the reason lies in the unifying effect which chanting the Psalms has upon the singer. For to sing the Psalms demands such concentration of a man's whole being on them that, in doing it, his usual disharmony of mind and corresponding bodily confusion is resolved, just as the notes of several flutes are brought by harmony to one effect; and he is thus no longer to be found thinking good and doing evil, as Pilate did...

~St. Athanasius, Letter to Marcellinus in the Interpretation of the Psalms

Friday, September 16, 2005

Internet Etiquette or Manners

Whilst perusing a Catholic blog, I clicked on the comments. Lo, behold, the Christian form of invective was prevalent.

Occasionally, with friends, online debating has sometimes become a little heated - and this can be due to the way in which words are received. A tilt of the head, a lilt in the voice, a crinkled smile to indicate the delivery of some zinger-line that is, nonetheless, well-meant - these all lose their way over the zeros and may fall under the rather subtle and sinister aspect of the virtual world. Id est, while being more informal, people tend to lose regard for another because they cannot see the other and are free impute all different sorts of interpretations on innocent statements if not checked by charity. I should say, rather, statements that are quite innocent of any intent to malign what is good and holy.

Aside from the fact that it is ludicrous to gird up the loins and sally forth into battle, smiting all in the path, over a wee little sentence - unless that sentence be meant ill and is against an item of faith - it is also extremely uncharitable for a dearth of reasons. What, for example, is that spiritual work of mercy that pertains to the ignorant? What is the intent of the person who wrote the statement? What does the person mean by the statement? Is it possible that he could mean something that is not apparent to me and if so, should I not err on the side of doubt and stopper my mouth before I completely and utterly stick my foot in it because of my impetuous nature?

Good people, this will not do. It is frivolous and petty. Be gentle! Play nice. Drink good water, everyday!

In other news, look here.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

We have a game in our house called "pin the (devil's tail) on the heretic"

There are THREE WAYS to spot a heretic.

First, they claim that the Church HAS GONE ASTRAY, which would make the Incarnate Word a LIAR.

Second, they claim that ONLY THEY KNOW THE TRUTH and that IF YOU DON'T FOLLOW THEM then you will go TO THE FIERY PITS OF HELL!

Third, they LOVE TO USE CAPS!

But BEWARE. NOT ALL WHO USE CAPS ARE LOST. There are also SOLICITATIONS FROM CHARITABLE ORGANIZATIONS that use caps. YOU CAN TRUST THOSE CATHOLIC CHARITIES.

With those three cunning observations, I present to you the True Third Secret of Fatima - Mary is God!

I can't decide whether it is an elaborate hoax or no because of the charge laid against our Papa... It makes me giggle inside.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A compendium of scandal

*cough*rumpelstiltskin*cough*.

- First country to legalize gay "marriage"
- First country to legalize euthanasia

We all know how much they care for their children.

On another note. . .

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Stories from the Pews

It was very hard to concentrate at Mass today. In front of me was a large family, and one of the youngest boys had received a prayer book with a medal stored inside. He was obviously delighted with it, because he held it open, kissed the medal, and then twirled around on his pew, holding the book aloft towards each side of the Church as if showing the saints in the windows his mighty treasure.

The peak of his activity was reached after Communion - his siblings, weary of his antics, tried to wrest the book away. One tried, then another, then four of them (at once) pinned the boy against the front of the pew and he slid down out of sight due to the weight of the bodies atop him. The sight of his head and wild eyes gradually disappearing was not conducive to prayerful reflection - especially when coupled with his audible whispers "YOU'RE STEALING!!! YOU'RE STEALING!!!" They let him hold the medal for the rest of Mass, which comforted him.

After Mass, I met Patrick. He is very quiet and I had to chase him down, but I met him!

To be...or not to be...



For those TonyP members who are attending the Hamlet discussions, I give you - Hamlet... The text-based adventure!

Kudos to my friend R. for the link.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

I beg to put before you

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St. Dorothy - click the thumbnail to enlarge.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Amen, woman.

Outside the office, a woman just walked by and emphatically said something like "Thank YOU, JESUS! You REALLY are an AWESOME Guy."

-------

Methinks the name of the blog may be attracting the wrong sort of milieu. On checking my stats, I found that some of the hits I get are not from upright citizens, but people looking for er. different things. How did I find that out? By clicking the link that shows where the person came from in the first place - and becoming Right Properly Scandalized.

Divest yourselves of such improper associations and put on the garment of understanding. To "give tongue" is a hunting term meaning that dogs... bark when they are on the trail of their prey. People can also "give tongue" when they cry aloud, and there is a certain quaint joy in imagining some adult yelling and galloping about in hot pursuit of an object, hair departing from its usual flat state, and limbs akimbo.

Too many people mince steps when they walk, or walk about with a bubble of sensitivity and self-consciousness that cries out for attention ("you're so vain - you pro'bly think this song is about you, don't you?"), and then others display a shocking irreverence for proper gait and slouch or waddle along - as if oozing down the sidewalk like gelatinous mass, or slowly creeping like a patch of mold in order to keep their pants (which are already about their knees) from falling - all the way down.

But galloping! Proper gait may be ditched for galloping, for galloping has a wholesome frankness about it. For those women interested in what manner women should walk -

"Here are just a few of the things a lady must keep in mind:

  • In walking, a woman's feet should be moderately turned out, the steps should be equal, firm and light. She should avoid a rapid pace, just as she should avoid a slow gait. And never should she shake from side to side when she walks.

  • Proper young ladies do not indulge in cosmetics, hair-dyes or other forms of insincerity in personal appearance.

  • Ladies do not wear pearls or diamonds in the morning."


Source

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Happy Birthday to You

Thy birth, O Virgin Mother of God, was a message of joy to the whole world, for out of thee rose the Sun of righteousness, even Christ our God, Who hath taken away the curse and brought a blessing, confounded death, and given unto us everlasting life.
-Roman Breviary, Antiphon at Second Vespers

St. Anne and the Blessed Virgin are quite fascinating. As a child, I used to think St. Anne must have been a little afraid of Mary because she was too good, and would imagine St. Anne, peeping in a timid way out of her house to see Mary, perfectly obedient, bringing a jug of water up the dusty path to her. Ss. Joseph and Joachim must have been rather surprised, too.

The new Eve had come and the breath of God had fallen upon the world.

Thus I quote and thus must you endure

"In a dream you cannot escape: the feet are leaden-weighted: you cannot stir from before the ominous door which almost imperceptibly moves. It is the same in life; sometimes it is more difficult to make a scene than to die."
~Ministry of Fear, Graham Greene

But I am not at issue in this book with sincere and genuine scholars, but with a vast and vague public opinion which has prematurely spread from certain imperfect investigations, and which has made fashionable a false notion of the whole history of humanity...It is an atmosphere in which men live rather than a thesis which they defend.
~Everlasting Man, G.K. Chesterton

And now, one my sister found:

"Married!" exclaimed Pot, with frightful vehemence. He stopped, smiled darkly, and added, in a low, vindictive tone: "It serves him right!"
~Pickwick Papers, Dickens

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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Right Fred reference here

She isn't even all that pretty.

The heartwarming tale of a woman oppressed by the Church she trusted, torn from the children she loves, struggling to find a place in the desolate world.

The article is rated 14+. This means that you, yes, you darling young reader, cannot read it.

Angels is Swell



I was reading about the Holy Child of Aracoeli (as people often do), and was a bit puzzled when I came across one of those pious traditions. The story goes that the Franciscan friar, who was creating the statue, ran out of paints. Then, a helpful, bonny angel showed up and completed the statue.

This all gave rise to a question: can angels create art? I floated the question to friends and family, and looked to the Summa Theologica for some help. St. Thomas Aquinas did not mention the matter, although he did have some very interesting things to say about angels.

Go to, go to the basics. The Hebrew words for "image" and "likeness" are "selem" and "demut" (respectively). The Greek words are "ikon" and "homoyosis." While the angels may have a more perfect image of God as regards their intellectual nature, the word denotes something static - whereas homoyosis indicates a dynamic orientation. (Thank goodness I kept my O.T. notes!) Only man is created in the likeness of God, and only man is rational and has the ability to sub-create (so to speak). As such, art is "a purely human thing" to quote Jacques Maritain.

Angels don't need art, either. The purpose of art is to draw us to Truth. No good angel is removed from Truth so why would they need to be led back to it?

Furthermore, angels cannot manipulate matter unless God so wills it.

I think that angels can appreciate, art, though - not in the way mankind necessarily does. What say you?

(thank you to friends, family, and the number "G" who bent their thought thissaway)

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Pictures

Flowers! Note the lineup of morning glories in the back - rather keen. This does not directly pertain to things Catholic, but it is beautiful, and beauty is caught up in truth, so ---







Banana Tree!

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(Click to enlarge.)

Concerning Manuscripts

So. Pretty.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Miscellaneous thoughts on education

Catholic higher education is, for the most part, in the pits. There are a few notable Catholic institutions renowned for their orthodoxy such as TAC, Ave Maria, Christendom, or Stuebenville. Each of these colleges have certain problems attending them, as do all institutions, but you can at least expect a youth to emerge from them without believing that it is their "duty to use birth control," as my biology professor told the female half of my class quite seriously. Catholic colleges, though, are few and far between.

The Church recommends that children attend a Catholic school and therewith proceed to go to some Catholic college. I echo such sentiments, although my earlier post may have seemed an attack on those who attend Catholic colleges. But no - as I clarified, it was an attack on the attitude of some who actively reject the world because they view it as irredeemable. The primary purpose of college is to bring students to truth, and it is made a much simpler task if the teachers are ones that are trustworthy. At Campion, I experienced a year of unmitigated bliss because I could trust my teachers. At a community college, there is no such luxury.

Now, as a reader brought up, why would one want to attend a secular institution if there are so many dangers besetting it?

There are several reasons: first, the cost. Catholic families are generally large, and as such, sometimes cannot afford to send children off to Notre Dame or TAC. It has been my experience that Catholic colleges do not adequately meet the financial needs of large families and I have had friends who are in similar straits - though from smaller families. In such cases, a student can either enter into debt (thus precluding them from joining an order or starting a family upon graduation) or attend a secular institution that is cheaper. I choose the latter - and as a result, will emerge with a BA scot free from debt. If I had attended a Catholic college, I would be in debt upwards of $20,000. By modern standards, that really isn't that much considering average college debt ranges from $12-18,000, but it still is a rather hefty amount.

Second, there are Catholics at secular institutions. Quite good ones, in fact. If you can find them, then you can establish a group of friends who are as holy or holier than thou, preventing you (unless you're really trying) from taking a nasty fall and entering into bad habits (and I'm not talking blue sweaters and knee-length skirts). So the situation is not as dire as it might seem on the surface.

Third, I tend to give some credit to Catholic youth. If they were raised right, then they should be prepared to face the world at the age of eighteen. If they were raised in such a way that their faith is on the back burner, or if they are particularly susceptible to bad influences, then ship them off to some good institution. Most of the errors in modern thought/false beliefs can be ferreted out fairly quickly because they are so sloppily put. When a teacher writes on the board "THERE IS NO OBJECTIVE TRUTH" and then quietly says "In our enlightened times, we know that there is no objective truth, that truth is subjective," you can but giggle at them. Or, when a philosophy professor says that Muslim women wear veils so that they can wear miniskirts and makeup underneath --- apply same response, rinse, repeat. Or when a professor simply gushes about how wonderful the Aztecs were (woo! Human sacrifice - right ON!) and what a pity it is that we darned Christians had to ruin their culture when really our gods are all the same - who could resist such rhetoric? (All of these are real-life experiences.) Much "liberal" thought has an effect similar to: "Honey, can you take out the garbage?" "What!? Are you saying I'm FAT?" aherm yes.

It is better that one should attend a Catholic college, but Catholics can remain Catholic in a secular institution and there are valid reasons for attending one. This is just a very brief post and one that does no justice, whatsoever, to the whole education...thing.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

An Army of Stars

These kids are trying to start up a literary sort of blog qua onion-esque-Catholic-tilt. They're sophomores from TAC and I know absolutely nothing about them. Their blog is a leetle sparse (yes, look who's talking), but then, they just started - could be interesting, though. T-t-t-time is the tester. Little ventures like these are good to encourage. Sometimes they turn out well.

*Appropriate Maritain Quote arrrrrrrrrrrrr*

This is to say that instead of being grouped and assembled, as in the Middle Ages, in a homogeneous and integrally Christian body of civilization, limited however to a privileged portion of the inhabited earth, it seems that the unity of Christian culture must now extend over the whole surface of the globe, but, in return, represent only the order and living network of Christian temporal institutions and Christian centers of intellectual and spiritual life spread throughout the world in the great supra-cultural unity of the Church. Instead of a mighty fortress raised up amidst the lands, we should rather think of the army of stars distributed in the sky. Such a unity is not any less real, but it is diffuse instead of being concentrated.

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Inform your mind

I found all these lovely biographies of Catholic authors, written by Ralph McInerny, on the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture website. Read them, do.

The "Joy in the Truth" annual fall conference (at Notre Dame) looks like a lot of fun - I would love to attend it, but unfortunately, am saving up for the completion of my edumacation rather than running about the country hobnobbing with philosophers.

Females my age are quite batty if they decide to drool over Gucci handbags or Jessica McClintock prom-gowns when there is -- this! . . . Incidentally, the McClintock prom-gowns are nothing short of special. So is the home-page boast on their website: "Designed to be unforgettable by JESSICA MCCLINTOCK, INC."

Emphasis mine.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Rest in Peace

God bless him.

To quote a Chinese priest:

"While persecution is a trial, tribulation and temptation, it is also an opportunity, a grace and beatitude. It cannot be forfeited without impunity before conscience and God. The time of persecution is the day of the Lord. It is the useful time for salvation. So is also martyrdom. It is not a death nor defeat. It is a grace, victory and glory. It is the fatal hour that God has made for his divine glorification. It comes according to a schedule of God's Will. When it comes, it cannot be postponed. Martyrdom is not a death or destruction. It is a birthday and a new beginning where Christ comes to make everything anew. It is an inauguration of the Kingdom of God in its glory. No one can mistake it as a ruin without an error in faith and in understanding. This error has made so many to throw away the Cross instead of embracing it. This error is in the heart of CCPA as an Institute. It is also in the hearts of its members and their fellow travelers as individuals."

Friday, August 26, 2005

When Artists Go Bad

Things like this are particularly saddening and monstrous.

Oh for a muse of fire...

There is an attitude among many Catholics, the sort of upstart attitude that would get an adolescent sent to bed without supper and a dearthful of chores to boot, that many good Catholics share. It is the paradoxical defeatist-triumphalist attitude of which I speak - specifically as regards the cesspools of this world and Catholic higher education.

One of my friends was vehemently against my applying to Notre Dame because it seemed to be falling away from Catholicism. Another friend declared he would never live in the Bay Area because of all the sins that were going on. I do not love them less for their words, as foolish as they are. And why are the foolish? Did Christ come to save the sinners or the righteous? Did Christ eat with the tax-payers or the Pharisees? In what situation has the grace of God been unequal to the stain of sin?

If some Catholic university is falling then it must needs be supplanted by good Catholic youth - instead of abandoned. If all our posts were abandoned, then where would we be? In some corner, like a rat, trembling whenever the word "modern" was heard. When Jesus gave the command to the apostles to go out and preach to all the nations, it seems rather unlikely that He (blessed be!) meant retreat like silly nincompoops to some Catholic utopia where you can sit and fester, gaining no understanding or sympathy for human nature, for sin, and so enter into sin through the portals of apparent grace. Which isn't to say that prayer and quiet contemplation do not aid humanity. Indeed, to quote someone who was quoting someone and I can't remember the quoteee or the quoted, "it is the prayers of nuns that keep the world afloat."

But for those who are called to live in the world, ora et labora. Pray and work, don't just twiddle your thumbs. In my wanderings, I have met quite a few people who are sincerely concerned with the truth - but where are the Catholics to aid them? Away with your utopias, away with your fantasies, away with your ifs --- and come - you, tools of Christ. You are your brothers keeper, remember you were made in the ikon and homoyosis of God!

The triumphalist attitude is the rather genteel - sit back and let everything be - the gates of Hell will not triumph, &c. &c. We'll just. . . sit here, and leave everything to God, ne? k? K! Aha, though, for faith without works is dead. Charity should so inflame the heart that it reaches out towards others, seeking to make known and illuminate the world, rather than sitting quietly. 'cause we all know what happened to that one servant who buried his master's talents of gold and did not multiply it.

Here is an adequate representation of how I feel when I hear the words "Cesspool of sin."

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Pray, you heathens!

In belated honor of the Queenship of Mary, I beg to put before you this prayer to her by St. Thomas Aquinas.

To the Most Blessed Virgin Mary

O most blessed and sweet Virgin Mary,
Mother of God, filled with all tenderness,
Daughter of the most high King,
Lady of the angels,
Mother of all the faithful,

On this day and all the days of my life,
I entrust to your merciful heart
my body and my soul,
all my acts, thoughts, choices,
desires, words, deeds,
my entire life and death,

So that, with your assistance,
all may be ordered to the good
according to the will of your beloved Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ.

Be to me,
my most Holy Lady,
a comforter
and an ally against the statagems
and traps of the ancient enemy
and of all those
who harbor ill intentions against me.
...
Amen.

The rest is in a book of prayers.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Clio, where art thou?

The eminent blogger, Mr. Keilholtz, recently wrote a tidbit about American History seen through Catholic eyes. This brought to mind some of the funnier things that I've heard about history in the community college I attend.

My favorite fiction has to be the cats. The cats of the witches we burned, you see. We burnt the witches and their cats, slaughtering them by the hundreds. Once the cats were killed off (during the Inquisition), the rat population spiked, they swarmed - and spread the Black Death. We caused the decimation of the European population with our bigotry.

St. Thomas Aquinas was only a saint because he was a monk. The Church didn't even like him. In fact, his teachings bordered on heresy. But the Church tolerated him, because he was a monk - and thus we have his beautiful writings.

Dante didn't write the Inferno, Augustine did.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Count Your Blessings

A short while ago, Fr. ______ blessed the family-car. It is a Cadillac, DeVille, '89. This Cadillac is one of exceptional beauty, the interior consisting of plush leather seats, and the exterior of beautiful lines and bodywork - remember the princess with the problem with the peas? The car handles as delicately as she, but infinitely surpasses the beauty of the princess. Catch a princess with hubcaps like those? No sir!

So it was to my dismay, disbelief, and amusement that, after the blessing, the car broke down once: the alternator gave out.

Twice: the engine coolant began leaking, creating a lazy green pool of emerald hue on the gas-station asphalt. It was pretty to look at, but gazing at the flow left me with a surprisingly flat feeling.

Three times the charm: when driving along the accelerator suddenly ceased working, the steering locked up, and I ----- did not scream in panic. With thought of lighting speed, I calmly wrenched the steering wheel to the right (and I'm not quite sure "with herculean strength" couldn't be applied there) and stopped at shoulder, being fortuitously in the far-right lane to begin with. Then I stared at people who stared at me, and grinned at the the ones who looked conscience-stricken that they weren't stopping to offer assistance to a little girl. I felt quite queenly, but restrained the impulse to wave loftily.

But, to return to the point, the blessing is either defective or things would simply have been crazy beyond all belief without it. Or, perhaps, God is telling our family to go bio-diesel. In any case, I will now begin praying to St. Frances, patron saint of drivers - her guardian angel having illuminated her paths and ensured her safety in travels. I'm not quite clear as to whether the bubble of safety extends to the car from the driver, but I'm sure that any saint would be delighted to help a wandering soul. Goodness knows that few people go to them anymore.

"We do not pray to change divine decree, but only to obtain what God has decided will be obtained through prayer. In other words, as St. Gregory says, 'by asking, men deserve to receive what the all-powerful God has decreed from all eternity to give them.'"
St. Thomas Aquinas

Saturday, August 13, 2005

I am not now nor ever have been...

I would like to begin this blog with a disclaimer. A nearby source has unfairly intimated that this blog is an attempt to get Catholic boyfriend(s). I must admit that there are virtually no Catholic young men in the Bay Area, and this has caused dismay within the cell of Catholic maidens who piously pray each day before some patron saint of marriage and hunt at seminaries, using their rosaries as lassos to catch some unwitting seminarian, unsure of his vocation, who wanders outside safe grounds. "Fancy thaaaat," they drawl, "you sing the Te Deum? Oh. My. Gosh. Meeee tooooo! Now tell me truly, do you prefer the Phrygian or Mixolydian mode for your Gregorian chant? ... Don't you think the Didache is a fascinating document? Isn't Jerome just too-too amusing? Ah...John Chrysostom - don't you think he had some interesting things to say about marriage?"

Admirable. That sums it up. Admirable - but only in the dedication to the goal, and not the goal itself, because a husband is much more than a means to attain the end of a nice Catholic family with children hanging off the chandeliers and quoting Church fathers - backwards, in alphabetical order, according to date and subject matter. To my mind, such marriages are rather vampiric in nature and not at all healthy. So, kids, remember, when you see the marriage madness dancing about in the eyes of some person and conversation turns lovingly to Fundamentals of Catholic dogma --- run! Run like the dickens!

Begin

Once upon a time

There was a saint named Anthony. He was a very good man, as saints are wont to be, and fought against the heresy of the Cathars who were dualists. He has the title "Malleus hereticorum," which means Hammer of the Heretics, and performed many miracles, all of which demonstrated a gentle concern for the spiritual and physical needs of the people about him.

But it is chiefly for his powers of oration that he is known, having converted many people or turned them to repentance with his animated tongue. After he died, the people of Padua erected a temple for him and St. Bonaventure was to supervise the transferral of his relics from a vault in which he had lain for thirty years, to the new temple. Upon opening the vault, St. Bonaventure discovered the tongue was not corrupted, and exclaimed: "O Blessed Tongue that always praised the Lord, and made others bless Him, now it is evident what great merit thou hast before God."

It is recorded that St. Bonaventure "affectionately took the tongue and kissed it" prior to uttering the immortal phrase of praise. This has always amused me for the miracle and its reception has a sort of "Oh You God You, what will you think of next?" air, as Bonaventure seems to be rather tickled at the form the miracle took.

The tongue is now in the Basilica of St. Anthony.

This explains, in part, the name of the blog as St. Anthony is the patron of the St. Anthony of Padua Institute, of which, Marie and I are both members.

The other part is a tribute to Aunt Dahliah, from Pelham Grenville Wodehouse who could give tongue like none other and was known for being able to stagger while seated in a chair.