Latin Mass: Universal Indult???
THE Pope is taking steps to revive the ancient tradition of the Latin Tridentine Mass in Catholic churches worldwide, according to sources in Rome.
-- Of course the title is "Pope set to bring back Latin Mass that divided the Church" ... I still, for the life of me, cannot figure out what is so objectionable about Latin or the Tridentine mass.
Many I know who follow secular reporting of the Church have said this particular writer is one of the worst offenders in distorting facts about the Church that there is. Thus, I am treating this with a high level of skepticism.
You have been warned. Update: This has been confimed by Catholic World News - Pope will broaden use of Latin Mass
Collection of Magisterial Citations w.r.t. Torture
A couple of posts from ZIppy Catholic A Collection of Magisterial Citations w.r.t. Torture
andThe Doctrinal-Juridical Two Step
answering the objection about torture during the Inquisition.
I am currently reading another in the long line of discussions going on between Mark Shea and others ... Wanted to save this link somewhere ... enjoy.
Mark Shea: A response (probably inadequate) to the Big Ol' Torture Roundup Post at Against the Grain
From the collected monasteries of the new Dark Ages
First set of meeting notes from the collected monasteries of the new Dark Ages ...
or The FIRST ever Catholic Homeschooling Carnival is up!!!
Here you go -- It's a Carnival
Parallels between marriage and the Church
This is all speculation on my part ... but you get it anyway ... I pulled this post that I wrote from a forum that I visit
OK, I went to a brief talk on Theology of the Body and it got me to thinking ... in Ephesians 5 Paul links the relationship between Christ and the Church to that of a husband and wife. So I got to thinking a little more ... We have our 4 marks of the Church
Can we draw similar parallels to marriage and family? I need some good examples here ...
One - yeah this is obvious ... "two become one flesh"
Holy - well God certainly intends this of marriage. Divorce, adultery etc. are certainly not supposed to be part of marriage.
Catholic - well marriage has been around for as long as we have history ... and it permeates most, if not all, cultures
Apostolic - results in generations or "passing on" -- include family traditions etc ...
I think there is a point that can be made about the concept of the "invisible church".
Marriage, quite simply, is visible. It mirrors those marks because that is the REALITY of the Church. For marriage to be analogous to the invisible Church God would have to create families or groups of generations (denominations) from nothing, because there is no generational link (apostolic) ... Honestly I think the Church was set up the way it was because God wanted it to be a sign to us regarding marriage and also allowing our marriages to be a sign to help us identify the Church.
In other words, the visiblity of the Catholic Church better represents the reality of marriage and vice versa. Ok enough of my theorizing ... carry on
Some quick thoughts on secular fundamentalists
I heard my wife mention that she heard a man on the radio who wants to eliminate religion from public discourse altogether. It seems his theory is that, historically speaking, all of the ills of the world can be pinned on "world religions". This view suffers from a shortsignted view of religion, mostly the following two points
All religious persons tend towards fundamentalism
No religious belief (i.e. that there is a God) can be arrived at through logical reasoning
I take exception with both of these because I personally would not believe if it were not reasonable and I find that excessive recourse to simplification of matters is at the root of fundamentalism of all types including secular fundamentalism which rejects religion because a religious world contains those who do evil. To turn the tables the increasing secularization of the west has not resulted in less evil in the world. Murders, rapes, molestations and all manner of evil stull occur even in the name of no religion. It is pure foolishness to presume that secularization of the world will remove the consequence of sin. For all the evils done in the name of Catholicism, the TEACHING of the Catholic faith resoundly rejects evil and those who FOLLOW the faith are shining examples of good. Judging religion on the basis of those who do not practice it is, as a famous quote points out, like judging medicine by those who do not take it. Faith and Reason
The freedom of Catholicism
or "Why it isn't a bunch of rules"
Since becoming Catholic I have realized that EVERY single good thing that I had as a Protestant is available to me in the Catholic Church. It took me a few years to get to that realization but I can safely now say that is the case. No Protestant would defend his faith against the secular attack that the Bible is nothing more than a bunch of stodgy rules without recourse to a common retort also used by Catholics to defend the teachings of the Church as being nothing more than a series of rules that are difficult to keep. Most readers of the Bible come quickly to the conclusion that grace is the avenue by which we are all moved to salvation, and further to conform ourselves more perfectly to the will of our Lord. External eyes see "rules" but a man of faith realizes that the rules are to protect us from things that really bind and hinder us from achieving the final end for which we are all intended -- that is -- eternal life. It is our faith that this grace will be provided that allows us to assent to difficult teachings in order to find far greater freedom than we could have ever imagined.
Which brings me to a litany of things that we have gained since becoming Catholic
We have gained, through papal encyclicals and ecumenical councils, authoritative teaching that is living and comes to us in the same way that teaching was passed to the churches even in Bible times (by letter and council - Acts 15)
We have gained physical reception of our Lord in the Eucharist
We have gained deep history
We have gained centuries of classic art
We have gained centuries of sacred music
We have gained centuries of world renowned architecture, all built for the glory of God
We have gained the recorded lives and devotional writings of the saints
We have gained the intercessions of prayer partners, in the saints, whose prayers are far more efficacious than those of our friends on earth
We have gained, as married persons, the freedom to love each other in the unitive and procreative aspect of marriage in having rejected the bondage of contraception with its multitude of physical and emotionally destressing effects
We have gained an understanding of the many beautiful and sacramental ways that God wants to provide His grace to us by means of His Church.
We have gained a greater understanding of the truth ... and in greater understanding of the truth lies greater freedom.
Independence, self-sufficiency driving failure of community
First off, I am a total bum with this blogging thing as of the past few weeks ... Honestly, I just haven't had the time. I have a rant for tonight so I will leave you with it.
I have written in the past about isolation
and lack of community
. In an older post on lack of community I find myself ranting on the giant fences
that divide our yards. After watching the whole process for even longer I propose that the real root of the matter is selfishness but cleverly packaged up under the guise of social "virtues".
Specifically speaking those would be independence and self-sufficiency.
I spend less time agonizing over talk radio than I used to. When I do expend the effort I find that most people are complaining because someone isn't taking responsibility for some grave action that occurred that day. In order to shift blame from their preferred candidate or political ideology people choose to place the burden of collosal societal failures on a single individual if at all possible and call it "personal responsiblity". In my opinion this has caused people to think too highly of themselves. To have a consistent worldview they have elevated individualism onto a pedestal of near godlike quality. *I* can do anything -- and damn anyone who dares to get in my way.
Now I am pretty sure that talk radio or blame shifting is not the cause but I think the attempt to create a consistent worldview that panders to individualism and selfishness requires jettisoning a significant amount of contact with the community in order to develop a greater level of privacy with which to perform any of a number of untold "expressions" of individuality. Time AWAY = greater freedom (in modern times even in a legal sense) to perform whatever acts I deem appropriate. After all, whatever is within my walls stays there. To take things further is to retreat into self sufficiency, where you are so independent you don't need much of anyone. *I* can do everything -- there are no people in my way.
None of this is real freedom though. Freedom comes from the One who gave it to us. The problem is *I* need people and that is simply admitting that I need Christ. Christ often comes to us through those who SERVE us. Furthermore Christ calls US to service. If there is nobody there, who hears the gospel? Who feeds the hungry if we decide that isolation and self-sufficiency are our highest ideals?
Each of these virtues can be good as long as they are pursued within the means for which Christ has given us. The problem is we can idolize them and that takes us away from God and away from being vessels of Gods love to the world.
Abortion: If it could be murder???
I was raised without ever considering the question for or against abortion (link is admittedly incomplete)
. The fact that I didn't even know about it stemmed from a family life that wouldn't have even considered such an option. In high school, prompted by other relativist teens, I took a stab at developing some nuanced position on abortion. After all, intelligent people have nuanced positions on everything. Thus, at the time I accepted the "extreme cases" position. "Well ... I figured ... we should most likely leave it legal because after all women should have access to it in the 'difficult cases' of rape and incest". Today I can look back and see that its those "extreme cases" are what always seem to chip away at the foundation of our moral fabric on issues of all sorts ... as I grew older, I grew stronger in my faith and the question of abortion became clearer ... mostly because that was what good Christians told me I should believe. I never reasoned through the issue myself until I had the good fortune of debating a good spirited pro-choice person on a sports forum. The discussion was pretty much a train wreck surrounding the discussion I was having with him. Ad hominem attacks dominated the rest of the thread.
My opponent argued from a certain philosophical angle. The idea goes something like this -- "I think therefore I am" ... "I do not think, therefore I am not" -- His position was that a child prior to rational thought was without value or, at least in terms that I could tell, not a child at all. The child simply "was not" and thus his argument for abortion was founded solely on the rights of the woman bearing the child that "was not". I quickly moved to point out that there are some instances of children describing what it was like to be in the womb as if they DID actually have some amount of reasoning at that point. That muddied the matter a bit for him just enough to admit that he couldn't know for sure that the life within the womb was rational or not ...
At that moment I made the only point that resonated with him.
In many modern nations we take it for granted that we have the right of presumed innocence when accused of a crime. It is so fundamental in the United States that few would dare to suggest that right be denied. I simply asked him "If we are innocent until proven guilty in this country, shouldn't we be considered alive until proven otherwise?"
He stumbled and admitted it was a good point with which the whole discussion ended. In the end, I don't think I changed his mind and he certainly didn't change mine. I left with only one small taste of hope ... a seed
To press the issue of life a little
further -- A local college student recently argued quite effectively for an early definition of when life begins -- and what that is worth
. You see, Plan B is an abortificient and there is evidence
that the birth control pill is as well. I want to press the same question to those reading this reworded for these cases -- "Shouldn't these also be considered abortions until proven otherwise?"
That question rocked my world and started me down a most amazing path that culminated in the work of this blog and website and has resulted in 3 beautiful children in our family and one in the womb. God IS the author of life. We have to trust that He knows what He is doing and truly believe the scriptures when they tell us that "children are a gift from the Lord". (Psalm 127:3)
Let us prepare the way for Him to write more names in His book of life.
To demonstrate how lacking my blogging has been
One only need to note that the majority of my hits right now are coming from an Altavista image search for Napoleon Dynamite
OK two weeks into my fantasy football league and here is how my team looks -- GOOD
I drafted based on what I was used to - yardage leagues, which is not what I was in. You win some, you lose some. This is a touchdown league with unusual defensive scoring -- as in HIGH ... one of them scored 53 points this week. Thus, it pays to have a stud defense. I picked up 9 sack performing San Diego after week 1. They nearly shutout the Titans and managed to come up with 2 interceptions to aid my cause. Here is my current roster ... (normal starters before --)
QB: Eli Manning -- Rex Grossman
RB: R. Johnson, C. Taylor -- D. McAllister, M. Bell
WR: C. Johnson, D. Jackson, A, Johnson -- A. Bryant, D. Bennett, T. Williamson
TE: L. Smith
K: R. Gould
D: San Diego
As of now it looks like I have stud starters at every position. My problem is bye weeks. I do not want to shed anyone from my team and I will have to in order to fill my defensive opening this week. Mike Bell anyone?
Clarification on our homebirth decision ...
I want to immediately make it clear that I support a womans right to choose homebirth. I also maintain that every effort should be made by our society to ensure that women who do choose this route are not inhibited by law or selfish interests.
That said, our discernment about homebirth has become much clearer. There are several practical factors that must be considered which have us almost certainly choosing the hospital route.
We are setting aside the hopital intervention question as it is a seperate issue from the general homebirth safety question. Feeding the hospital intervention information into the queue as if it is relevant is clouding the issue. First off, it presumes that it is near impossible to have a natural delivery in a hopital setting which is simply not true. Everyone knows of people who have done it.There are several of what I consider to be valid criticisms of almost all of the homebirth safety studies that exist.
For example, in one frequently cited study (Johnson & Daviss) even excluding outlying conditions like midwives who try to deliver babies of higher risk (breach, twins etc), we see higher mortality rates in the homebirth group than the hospital group. Second, it is impossible to eliminate bias, as has even been pointed out by midwives
... because the women who choose homebirth tend to have a higher level of education, and higher socioeconomic status, than the general population. These and other traits are also associated with a lower risk of dead or sick babies. Sometimes it's hard to tell whether it is homebirth itself which gets the good results, or the women who choose homebirth.
Third, considering outcomes in other countries pertains to the unique situations that exist in THOSE countries. I have said this in a recent post ... The United States is not the UK. The Netherlands has a lower mortality rate than the United States. They also have high homebirth rates. These are all well and good and show how things SHOULD be in the US, but they are not. Quite simply, for our location, I can see no real evidence that PROVES that homebirth is as safe or safer than hospital birth when including the outcomes of both the mother and the baby.
At best, the studies simply suggest (that is, NOT prove) that under certain conditions
home birth is as safe as hospital birth. The evidence is NOT overwhelming and more study needs to be done -- especially in the US where conditions are far from ideal both legally and practically.
Back to those certain conditions
-- Every study purporting to show the safety of homebirth generally does so under the following conditions:
- Low risk pregnancies
- Well trained attendants
- Established channels for emergency care
The simple fact is that we do not
meet two of these requirements. Low risk pregnancies:
VBAC is not low risk so even using the studies that do exist to make our decision is dubious at best. In fact there is a recent study suggesting that VBAC at home is substantially less safe than in a hospital setting. With the risk of uterine rupture, fetal monitoring is typically required as it is one of the first signs it is going to happen. This type of monitoring is not typically present in your average homebirth situation. Second, uterine rupture can happen quickly and it can be catastropic and result in the death of the mother and the baby. Established channels for emergency care:
Our path to the nearest hospital is not ideal and our nearest hospital is not equipped to deal with the situation we could be bringing them. Our transfer time is anywhere from 20-45 minutes to the nearest hospital. It would be catastrophic to be caught in rush hour traffic with an accident on the interstate for a transfer even with a police escort. Using an ambulance would delay our transfer by as much as 15 minutes (we sadly know this from experience). Accidents on the interstate are NOT uncommon during rush hour. Our two primary paths to the nearest hospital are significantly delayed under that circumstance.
We are an outlying case. In our circumstance we feel it is difficult to justify a decision to homebirth.
My 5 year old son loves Star Wars BTW. In the top left corner he wrote Wednesday ... its hard to see though.
Last night my wife and I went to a timely talk titled "Discernment". It focused on discernment in the model of The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola
and was presented by a nun who resides in our parish. It was very thorough for the short time frame. Interestingly, in light of my adoration hour the night before, a particular aspect of her talk came into better focus for me. My prayer the night before had pointed it out, but the talk gave a name to it: Indifference
This might be better defined as objectivity or total surrender to the idea that whatever the outcome of the decision, you are OK with the path that takes you closer to God. Ideally you do not care which of the outcomes He leads you towards so any of them need to be acceptable if it is His will. After all, His ways are not ours. To point this out let me point out some information that I *was* focusing on in our decision to homebirth or not.
ACOG supports contraception. In fact, OB's almost universally distribute them.
ACOG supports abortion and most OB's recommend testing that aims to terminate the lives of unborn children. In fact, ACOG opposes any restrictions to abortion.
OB's typically support methods of artificial fertilization which violate the unitive act of marriage in conflict with Catholic teaching
Inhibitors to natural child birth and breastfeeding are strongly encouraged by doctors and support staff thus violating the right of children to receive parental care within the effective natural processes intended by God to bring children into the world and nurture them.
Now those are likely true for most doctors. They may EVEN be true for OUR doctor. The problem is, we control the decisions our doctor makes that apply to our faith. We do not contracept. We will not use aritficial methods to achieve conception. We will not engage in testing in order to procure an abortion that will kill our unborn child. The relative stance of the majority of doctors does not apply to us. To that end, the majority of the statements above only cloud the decision and foster bias in favor of the homebirth decision. Of them, only one directly affects our birthing process -- hospitals typically are places that discourage, by their policies, natural childbirth. There are Catholic NFP-only doctors who adhere firmly to the teachings of the Church and there are midwives who support the same stances that I question above. If we were going to choose a care provider based on whether they share our Catholic beliefs we would be limited to only a few options. The real questions we need answers to regarding doctors and hospitals are more like this:
Can our doctor peform the tasks for which we hire her to perform?
Will our doctor undermine our faith by choices she makes? (from experience we know that she will not)
Is the hospital an acceptable, comfortable, nurturing place to give birth to our child?
Through prayer I have been led to consider things in a different light and in a manner that removes a strong bias I have that might have caused me to choose a provider of lesser skill based on the fact that we would be able to have great rapport swapping conversion stories and devotional tips. Who loses out on the benefit of superior care?
It seems logical to consider the items listed at the beginning and give them high weight in the decision making process but in this case they are clouding the real issues. It is difficult for us to rip down biases, especially those crafted in the guise of following our faith more closely. The fact is, we live in the world and we cannot preach Christ to the world if we spend the rest of our lives avoiding the world we are supposed to live in.
Holy Office - Funny Stuff!!!
It has been a while since I posted and it is this very reason that I will never be an influential blogger (see my Seven Habits
for bloggers). My wife and I have been going through quite a few critical discernment issues. They are summarized below:
1. We decided against homeschooling for THIS YEAR because my wife is having our 4th child and our oldest is kindergarten age. It was a matter of answering the question: What sets up the most conducive environment for the development of ALL of our children? There are more factors than "pubik schoolz suck" at play here.
2. We thus, having the advantage of public schools that would make certain squeaky wheels chirp ceaselessly, sent our child to the local public school to start kindergarten.
3. We then discovered that kindergarten is different than it used to be. Most kids are 5.5 to 6.5 in age. This made our son the youngest in his class by about 6 months. We decided after much consideration to transfer him to a Catholic pre-K instead. It costs a little bit more but in the long run I think he will benefit. I then was alerted to an article on the matter of older kids starting kindergarten than in the past ... the bottom line, from our discussions with older parents and in the article, is that nobody seems to regret starting their kids a little later. Plenty of folks seem to regret pushing their kids beyond their means at such a young age. Err on the side of safety and allow our son to develop in his timing not that of businesses dying to get him on the payroll at 22 years of age. They can wait until he is 23.
4. We have a long story about birthing to recount, but essentially we are CONSIDERING the homebirth route for our next child. I have moved from the "itís a crazy idea" camp to "itís not totally irresponsible" camp to the "this is more in line with our beliefs on life" camp. I have to stress that we are still in discernment on the matter.
I have some statistics on homebirth that I plan to critique. They LOOK great but as I have posted in the past, statistics are not science
and ones done on populations are prone to the most abuse by those with agendas.
Never fear ... I will ask for input so I expect some different visitors with different viewpoints when I pose the questions criticizing the statistics often used to support homebirth.
I want to make it clear that I support birthing centers and the general homebirth movement. I think WOMEN should have that choice and avenues should be available to them to make that decision and make it as SAFE as possible. It appears that it is a big struggle for those who make this choice, as we are learning, and in these United States of America we should find that appalling.
Anyway, I have decided that my brain is full and it is time for me to vent on a variety of topics. They are, in no particular order:
6 year olds in kindergarten
Judging parenting decisions
Attachment parentingThe Parousians at LSU
It's breeding obvious, mate
Greasemonkey and Platypus
Now, bear with me, this is going to be a total nerd post but you might benefit from having read it. Geeks reading this will laugh that I am WAY behind on having discovered this. I have been using Firefox for quite a while. If you are not using Firefox, you are seriously missing out. Firefox has something called extensions, which allow you to add functionality to the web browser. I have several that I like to use. In fact, I listed my FIVE FAVORITE on a forum about 3 days ago. They were:
1. The combination of Adblock (or AdBlock Plus) and Adblock Filterset.G Updater - If you hate banner ads, this is for you.
2. CopyURL+ - If you blog or post links a LOT then this extension is VERY useful. Its worth the effort to customize it.
3. IE Tab - there are some websites you want to subject to IE only ... this allows you to switch a tab to IE without getting out of Firefox and it allows you to render certain sites ALWAYS in IE.
4. Dictionary Tooltip - right click on a word, know what it means ... uses several online dictionaries
5. Fasterfox - Trust me ... you will appreciate the performance increase
Then I discovered two more ...
- Allows you to add scripts that modify how certain sites look and even act.
- Allows you to make modifications to web pages that can be saved and applied via Greasemonkey.
I will never browse the same again ..
Here is an example of a perfect use for Platypus (which uses Greasemonkey). I use WeatherUnderground to track storms. WeatherUndergound has TONS of information on the screen that I find useless when all I want to see is the radar and the list of the storms. In about 3 minutes I removed all of the extraneous information using Platypus. When you click save, Platypus shows you the Greasemonkey script and then gives you the option to install it, which I did. Here are before and after pictures.
Before Platypus modification:
After Platypus modification:
Notice the scrollbar on the BEFORE picture and also notice that the table containing the storm data (look for the yellow boxes) is slightly wider so that I can fit more storm information in the same amount of vertical space.
Now, I had to make a modification in Greasemonkey so that all of the radar URL's matched but that wasn't too difficult a task. When I surf around the rest of the WeatherUnderground site, everything appears as normal. It only affects the radar pages. All of the changes I made in Platypus I think anyone reading this can make after playing with it a little bit. Any changes you make while playing around you can get rid of by clicking refresh. The changes are not saved unless you SAVE and INSTALL the script.
So Install them and have fun ....
On the Reuters doctored photos
I HAD to add this ... I couldn't stop laughing
Read more at CVSTOS FIDEI - Beirut Under Attack Again!!!
Since this has been all over the blogosphere in the past few days AND since I already do not have a healthy trust of the media, I thought I would direct you to a post on Bettnet.com titled Donít believe your eyes Ö or the media
. This makes me feel even less comfortable about what I read.
Beaumont Cathedral Now a Minor Basilica
Pope Says Beaumont Cathedral Now a Basilica
Worshipped there before. It really is a beautiful church. The only thing I did not like about the restoration was that the wood floors are a little TOO brand new. When they age some it is going to look even better.
If you are along the coast stop in. You won't regret it.
TV and Radio: Parenting our children the easy way
I couldnt even get a good rant going on this ... but I'll give you a blurb anyway
I find it interesting, and disturbing, that I have happened upon TWO articles in the span of a couple hours on keeping our children entertained with media during various times of the day when they are currently NOT being entertained. First off, we have the addition of a telivised babysitter in shopping carts
. Second, the burden of keeping teenagers in check on the bus may soon be replaced by an ad-driven subscription radio alternative
. (I know there are already radios on busses and have been for years)
Now, back to the shopping carts. I can tell you now that the technology to gear the ads kids watch to coincide with what aisle mommy is on exists. When kids whine, mommy buys. Whether they go that far initially remains to be seen. Still, apart from filling our kids brains with advertising we have the extra "TV time" added to their day. As it is now kids spend about 4 hours a day in front of the TV **1. (that stat is mind boggling to me
) ... Considering school, I am not sure how kids fit all that time in. I wish I had 4 hours a day to do anything much less to spend in front of a television. Consider further that video game time is NOT counted in that number. I know that many parents do not expect their TV's to be babysitters but I am certain everyone reading this blog has met at least one set of parents they suspect use it for that reason FREQUENTLY. It's as if some children are parented by television executives. TV's in kids rooms are common and studies SUGGEST (Disclaimer) that children with TV's in their rooms have lower academic performance and **2 are at greater risk of being overweight. **3
Here is some simple advice: "[The AAP] does not recommend television for children age 2 or younger. For older children, the Academy recommends no more than 1 to 2 hours per day of educational, nonviolent programs."
Everyone knows this. It is common sense. All I am saying is that you spend more time with your kids and NOT in front of the TV. After all, the TV time outside of your control is increasing. Your time with them is not.
DISCLAIMER: note SUGGEST is carefully chosen word here ... Statistics are not science. Statistics when viewed without a proper understanding of statistical methods can be very misleading. Media is the WORST about citing statistics to support a point. The articles I cite here do not give numbers so an accurate judgment is difficult to make. The conclusions, however, fit very well within a reaonsable theory about how TV affects childhood.SOURCES AND LINKS:**1 AAP on Television and the Family**2 Bedroom TVs could ruin children's education**3 Bedroom TVs Linked to Fatter Kids
See also Why is getting rid of your TV SO rAdiKal?
-- we now have a TV that is placed such that it is difficult to access for long periods of time. I want the primary bulk of my kids day spent being active and learning new things.
Do you like old churches or contemporary churches?
My favorite churches are the old ones (see Notre-Dame de Montrťal Basilica
for example) however, I like contemporary design. IMHO there will be a handful of flying saucer style churches that will survive the ages as good examples of design from our current time frame. The ones that will survive are the ones that took their cues from older churches and helped to make obvious the teachings of the Church. Too many of them are all about the people (its all about me syndrome) and less about worship.
In fact, MUCH discussion goes on in our town over St. John Vianney
. People either love it or hate it. I personally love it save one thing. I wish the altar were on one end and the congregation was reorganized accordingly. I have heard that "in the round" is a really old school way of doing mass. I just personally do not like looking at half the congregation during mass.
I personally think the crucifix is awesome as are the statues of Mary and the stations of the Cross. The pictures I provide do not do it justice. Also note, there ARE kneelers ... The visibility of the natural setting makes attending mass there a wholy unique and reverant experience, especially the early morning mass right around sunrise. It is what I think modern architecture in churches should strive for .... provided you go that route.
It was also a cheap (relatively) church to build which is unfortunately very much the high priority with our modern day cost conscious building committees.
**See also my post on Why beauty is a perfectly valid reason to return to Rome
which contains a large photo of the altar at Notre Dame in Montreal. Also, my conversion story entry on Beauty
and a post of mine critical of modern design in the Church titled Why modern design generally doesn't work in the Catholic Church
Around St. Blogs: Beauty, Birthing, Breastfeeding, Babies
Its Beauty ... and we like it
I heard a guy on the radio make the following statement.
"You know, we should have Hot Air balloon competitions every Friday. It makes my day to drive around town with hundreds of balloons in the air"
In the world of rising big box retailers and cheap functional buildings things like this give me hope. Heart Mind and Strength Weblog (HMS)
is one of my favorite blogs. I was originally going to link to Kevin Miller's post on The Transfiguration of Our Hearts
because the art he included is really awesome. Since it is HMS though and it happens to be about the mass readings for today I suggest you take the time to read it ...
Also, I sent HMS an email
about a birthing center that we are hoping to use. Here is the text of the email
Talk about weird timing :) Many have a fit over exposed breast on the cover of Baby TalkSumma Mamas
My wife's friend is going to have her baby there. There is also another one that is planning to open at the first of 2007 in Covington Louisiana that has a specifically Catholic mission. My wife is due in February and if everything works out we will be one of their first patients at the new birthing center.
Here is a link to ...the web site of the doctor/midwife who is starting it.
I must say this is all welcome, especially given that the epidural rate at our local hospital is something unreal like 97% (I am pretty sure that is what they said at our classes we took with our first child ... one of the highest in the nation I think). The section rate is also very high.
i think it's ironic that the answer to the question posed on the cover (why don't women nurse longer?) of the august edition of babytalk is being shouted from the mouths of all the "shocked and horrified" -- not to mention crude and callow -- female readers who are in some sort of victorian tizzy at seeing a sliver of a breast in action. less breast can be seen on babytalk than is shown by pam anderson's bikini top on the cover of the magazine across the grocery isle, but i don't hear of many women taking to the streets over that one.
I am not sure if I would have gone so far as to recommend therapy, but the rest is pretty close to how I feel. Part of me sympathizes just a bit .. it seems that in the 70's, breastfeeding was WAY countercultural. Our whole society has a wrong way of thinking, although it is not because they are jerks ... its because they are ignorant about breastfeeding. For some though, its similar to the reason some people are so "indignant" when they see a family with 5 or more children. After all, how outrageous and irresponsible are those parents really when the rest of the country is making sure we are barely hitting our replacement rate? Trust me, THAT it isn't irresponsibility upsetting people ...
FOLLOWUP: Summa Mamas hits a solid home run with a followup post entitled I wonder if these would be kicked off the cover of babytalk by angry mothers
?I Saw Below Me a Golden Valley
This is an absolutely stunning aerial photographClassical High Mass video
I have not had time to watch the whole video but if anyone wants to know why traditionalists prefer the Tridentine mass, there are few better reasons than this. Its simply gorgeous and everything points to the reality of what happens in the Mass. Commentary in the video is by Archbishop Fulton Sheen, whose case for canonization by the way has been assisted by two apparent miracles (as I mentioned in my last reading roundup ...
)Embryo research 'like Nazi experiment'
Ummm yep .. 50 years from now I hope we can look back and say that our society as a whole was crazy to even consider this ...
We have witnessed over 40 years of federally approved contraception, 30+ years federally approved murders of the innocent unborn. Years of "Not yet federally approved" euthanasia, or what is called "death with dignity"....And now we await approval by various states and governmental bodies to sanction that which we thought would never return - the wanton and destructive experimentation of human beings, humans in their most vulnerable and primitive state.
Late late night observations
There is nothing like adoration at midnight to remind you that all of the good intentions you have of praying for everyone under the sun can fall totally flat when the reality of your humanity insists that you cannot keep watch for even one hour. Tonight was one of those nights for me. Fortunately I was able to read a few intriguing chapters of The Sinners Guide
to give me ample ammunition in dealing with my apparently large number of shortcomings.
Nothing like a dose of reality from a loving God to remind you that He wants you in Heaven and will make every effort to get you to realize what is necessary to get there.
Confession, here I come ... (and no, its not for falling asleep at adoration .. it was due to an unexpected examination of conscience)
Christian retailers or Jesus Junk
Christian Retailers Put Their Print on Products
I am not at all opposed to the idea of making things in order to help increase the opportuinty for dialogue with the world when it comes to your faith. In small doses and in certain circumstances I generally find it to be a good thing. However, I have two general problems with some
of this type of stuff.
1) Questionable Legality.
This is obviously depending on whether or not the item derives itself from, for example, a popular brand. My wife made a t-shirt once, interestingly enough for a Christian group. My wife pointed out a scene in a Disney movie that birthed the idea for the t-shirt to a lawyer who was to review the design for any legal issues. Trust me, the design was a vague resemblance.
The lawyer was concerned that a jury might label it as a derivative work and shot down the design. Now there are other factors to be considered, like legitimate fair use and threat to the brand itself. Its murky waters with copyright law. I am pretty sure Disney would have not come after an obscure t-shirt to be worn by about 50 persons. Still, the fact that we see BLATANT examples of derivative works in Christian t-shirts adds to an overall impression that Christians are not themselves creative or, even worse, that Christianity itself stifles creativity. Furthermore, to defy copyright law, even if not blatantly, lends itself to a certain amount of deserved criticism for hypocrisy.
2) Pop-Culture driving Christian art.
Our Christian faith should drive art -- not the other way around. To better make my point here let me point out that until the most recent centuries, Christian art had a long history of driving the art world. Sit through any art history class and count the centuries of Madonna and Child paintings. It is hard to deny that the resources Christians poured into works of art from painting, to sculpture and even the architecture of the great cathedrals themselves was a great boon to art and culture. The great works of Christian art have and will continue to be taught about in art schools. Art schools, no matter how secular, cannot get out of it. Christ WILL BE PREACHED
with every slide, Powerpoint presentation and print bearing a photograph of, for example, Michaelangelos Pieta. Today art seems to be dominated by the world. For Christians, it is an afterthought requiring little more than a shifting around and a stamping of Jesus onto it to make Christ palatable to the masses. After all, we didn't have to develop the artform, only the Christianizing of it. I certainly feel that avenue affects some people but I am not sure that the legacy of Christian trinkets we are building in the current time frame is one that will remain a lasting one. A fad is a fad. It has a comeback in 20 years and generally is lost forever. It sure would be nice if Christianity were to regain an appreciation for the fine arts and develop artists for the glory of God, rather than relying on the "more cost effective" option of allowing the starving, secular artists of the world to drive new ideas and promote their values in culture and just retooling it a little to pretend it is a most effective means to bring people to Christ. If the Church focuses more energy on the arts, and Christianizing art again, then we might have less starving artists and more art that Christians would be proud of -- and that the rest of the world would sit up and notice.
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So ... I follow tropical storms
and now we have this unexpected twist
regarding Tropical Storm Chris. The storm looks mighty impressive for being one that wasn't supposed to do much (as everyone was saying this morning) ...
Anyway ... looks like it is headed for Florida and the Gulf. Are you ready? .. and that includes people outside the south. I have a feeling some gas price panics might occur after last season ... or so everyone around here (at work) seems to think.
OK, last post on the Tropical Storm ...