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!'