“The Mass is becoming less and less about the Mass and more about the music, special prayers for individuals, and announcements. Our Mass is always the short form."


World and Church

Today, as he met with the journalists who are accompanying him on his trip to Great Britain, the Pope made the point deftly, clearly-- and quite unexpectedly, I think-- in response to one journalist's question. The question was how the Church could be more attractive to the public. Notice how the Pope, in the very first phrase of his reply steers the conversation off its predictable course to make a more important point:
I would say that a Church that seeks to be particularly attractive is already on the wrong path, because the Church does not work for her own ends, she does not work to increase numbers and thus power. The Church is at the service of another: she serves, not for herself, not to be a strong body, rather she serves to make the proclamation of Jesus Christ accessible, the great truths and great forces of love, reconciling love that appeared in this figure and that always comes from the presence of Jesus Christ.


Gotta Remember This and Think About it More Clearly

"Ideas create idols; only wonder leads to knowing."

St. Gregory of Nyssa

Doesn't this statement commit suicide? Isn't that statement an idea? Then again, it depends on what he means by ideas. Probably something similar to what we mean when we say ideology.



I overheard someone play “Imagine” by John Lennon to begin a Confirmation class for 9th graders tonight. What do I do about this?

And for my own class: are Confirmation classes supposed to be structured? Should the kids learn something? How should they learn? I have answers to these questions but I think my DRE would not agree with my thoughts.

How to handle this....


Manufactured Crises

George Packer writing in the New Yorker:
A Florida preacher with a congregation barely twice the number of the September 11th hijackers can rivet the world—will he do it, or won’t he? Where will the first post-Koran-burning terror attack happen, and how many people will die? The media senses a big story and makes him an international figure, with the tautological self-defense that he had become a big story. Halfway around the globe, in Jalalabad, Afghans riot, someone is killed, and Obama is burned in effigy—Obama, whom twenty per cent of Americans believe to be a Muslim, who has used whatever moral authority he has to stop the Florida nut from doing it. One man in Gainesville who represents next to nobody triggers thousands of men around the globe who know next to nothing about it to turn violent, which triggers more violence, which Fox and Al Jazeera air relentlessly, which makes people in front of TVs around the world go crazy.
He has some other stuff in their about everyone being unreasonable, and we are, but it's a bit too condescending for my taste.



This entire clip is pretty priceless, from Karen what-the-hell-is-she-talking-about Testerman to John always-on-the-verge-of-tears Stephen. But the real winner is Frank Emiro: After a previous question and answer period in which he lets everyone know that he would have no problem killing people on death row, he waxes poetic about wacky ties and young ladies wearing flip flops in schools. In his own words, this nonsense has to stop.

They Just Don't Believe That Stuff

Father Longenecker on reverence:
G.K.Chesterton said every argument is a theological argument. Here is where we must agree: the real reason for lack of reverence at Mass is the erosion and eventual abandonment of a real, solid and actual belief in the Real Presence of the Body Blood Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of the Altar. Behind this is an even more insidious abandonment of the Catholic faith--a gradual ignorance of and denial by neglect of all the cardinal doctrines of the faith from which a belief in the real presence is derived: that is to say, the central beliefs of the Immaculate Conception, the Incarnation and Virgin Birth, the Atoning Work of Christ on the Cross of Calvary, the Resurrection and Ascension into Glory and the Hope of his coming again.

The real reason for lack of reverence at Mass is because huge numbers of Catholics just don't believe that stuff. They've never been taught it (except in some vague theoretical manner which implied that it was all some ancient system of symbolism) If they have been taught it they've forgotten it. They never hear it preached from the pulpit and they've never been fully catechized. If priests and people really believed that Jesus Christ, Son of God and Son of Mary, who really took human flesh and died for the redemption of the human race and who really rose again on the third day and left a sacrament of the memorial of his suffering and death to be re presented by his mystical body the Church, why then, like the homeless man in Westminster Cathedral and my Baptist friend, there would suddenly be reverence in church.


The Senate and New Hampshire and Republicans and Political Power

Next week, New Hampshire Republicans, and probably some irritating Democrats, will decide who the Republican Nominee is for the Republican New Hampshire Senate Candidacy. It appears to the best of my knowledge that Ovide Lamontange is the only consistent pro-life and limited government candidate on the ticket. I urge anyone you know who lives in New Hampshire to vote for Ovide. Primaries should be about principles. Playing Machiavelli can wait until November. We have to choose the right people to put up for office, and the right people are principled people who think that government is more than simply another way to stimulate the economy. We have a debased and corrupt form of politics that only recognizes the material dimension of our lives. We need candidates who understand that material life is not the only good, and that material well-being is in some way really dependent on our spiritual well-being. Our spiritual well-being is in a real way determined by our laws, and our politicians create our laws, not just “our jobs” (which is ridiculous, politicians don’t create jobs). We need to look for politicians who have but an inkling of an understanding of this countercultural idea. Our laws are not just about money; they are about truth and justice and goodness and even beauty.

Republicans are upset about not being in power. Republicans are not in power because they have failed to live up to their principles, and everyone knows it. Republican principles are good principles, and we should not concede them because we have hopes of winning an election. Republicans have won elections, and they have acted frivolously and ignorantly with their power because they were not principled. We need to elect politicians who will behave responsibly with their power, and not just win the election. Elections don’t matter; justice and truth do.


Do we not have enough roads?

WASHINGTON (AP) - Vowing to find new ways to stimulate the sputtering economy, President Barack Obama will call for long-term investments in the nation's roads, railways and runways that would cost at least $50 billion.

Just Rename It

A country withdraws their combat troops from battle, implicitly and not explicitly declaring victory. Days later, the tens of thousands of troops that remain at the battlefield get into skirmishes, and many are killed. Were these troops not in battle? Regardless of this point the President marches onward. He has renamed the Iraq War and created artificial milestones for us to celebrate. It doesn't matter to him, or to anyone else in the media, that these milestones are not connected with anything in reality. They make us feel better about what we are doing.
BAGHDAD (AP) - Days after the U.S. officially ended combat operations and touted Iraq's ability to defend itself, American troops found themselves battling heavily armed militants assaulting an Iraqi military headquarters in the center of Baghdad on Sunday. The fighting killed 12 people and wounded dozens.

It was the first exchange of fire involving U.S. troops in Baghdad since the Aug. 31 deadline for formally ending the combat mission, and it showed that American troops remaining in the country are still being drawn into the fighting.

The attack also made plain the kind of lapses in security that have left Iraqis wary of the U.S. drawdown and distrustful of the ability of Iraqi forces now taking up ultimate responsibility for protecting the country.

Sunday's hour-long assault was the second in as many weeks on the facility, the headquarters for the Iraqi Army's 11th Division, pointing to the failure of Iraqi forces to plug even the most obvious holes in their security.
There was a philosopher that believed that words are weapons to wield power, and I believe our current President is his disciple. Don't like what's happening in Iraq? Call it something else. Describe it in different terms. The economy is not going well despite your policies? Spin the media - tell a different story. Make people believe something else and maybe you will give them "hope". Make them "hope" in you, and maybe they won't notice the city that's burning.