Friday, September 19, 2014

FRIDAY POTPOURRI: THE PHONE COMPANY USED TO CHAIN PHONE BOOKS TO THE PHONE BOOTH TOO

There was story about the Catholic Church that it used to chain its Bibles in the back of the church so that lay people could not take them away with them and have access to the Bible in their own home.  This is absolutely true.  Although the allegation was that they were doing so in order to keep Sacred Scriptures out of the hands of the faithful and therefore have greater control over the faithful, it was actually because all books were written by hand and were exceedingly expensive, rare, and time consuming to produce.  If you remember bank pens that were chained to the table where you wrote your deposit slip, the bank wasn't trying to keep pens out of the hands of non-bank personnel, they were trying to keep pens available to everybody.

 
In today's paragraph of Dei Verbum (22) the Council Fathers state that the Scriptures ought to be open to all the Christian faithful.  Not as easy a task as you might imagine.  A friend of mine has a parish not too far from here.  Once an exclusively English speaking neighborhood (after being heavily Italian) it then turned Spanish speaking then to be overwhelmed with (I believe) Korean speaking persons.  Now, if you have a few monks writing things out by hand and you are trying to make Scriptures available and it takes a couple of years to produce a book, how do you even get one done before a whole new group speaking a new language takes over the neighborhood assuming you have someone who can translate the Bible into their language in the first place? 
Easier it is today but not easy.  Who speaks Korean?  How do you have Mass and preach?  How do you find money to buy new song books and etc.?  If only we had a universal language.  But even if you do (and we do as reaffirmed by the Vatican II documents) that doesn't mean everybody understands it either.
 
Be that as it may, the Church promotes the translation of the Scriptures into all languages and even encourages, when it is possible and is deemed helpful, to translate them in cooperation with "separated brethren" so that one translation may be read by all Christians.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

FEELING BLUE? HERE'S A LITTLE TLC TO HELP YOU LOL


There was a story on the radio about a guy’s first encounter with the acronym “LOL.”  His son signed off on a text to him with it and he assumed (as any good father would) that it meant “Lots of love.”  He spent the next month or so with the new found and what he thought of as hip knowledge writing notes to people such as, “Dear Max, I heard about the death of your dog.  You are in my thoughts.  LOL, Dan.”

 

I only learned about these types of things when I started writing this blog and people would send me notes such as “ROFL.”  This would then require a trip to the day school to ask one of the students, “Okay, what does this one mean?”
 


The other day I was at our seminary and was astounded at all of the initials I encountered.  I am rather used to them and wonder what non-Catholics think about all of our nomenclature.  Some of them are particular to this diocese but not all of them.
 
While at the seminary I encountered SNDs and OSBs.  I was reminded that we were at the CPL which is mighty close to our newly designated PCLs which used to be DREs, but was changed because it was considered more appropriate to call them PCLs.  PCLs, formally known as DREs, are often in charge of PSR programs which used to be known, when I was a kid, as CCD classes.  Often parishes will send persons to the CPL to become a PCL in order to head up their PSR and RCIA classes.
 
But not only parishes will do this.  SNDs and OSBs as well as a host of other initials send their initials to the CPL to that we can have SNDPCLs or OSBDREs so they can help teach RCIA in parishes especially since PVs, formally known as associate pastors, are becoming rarer.
 
But can you imagine an OSB who has taken over a parish sending his OSB PV to the CPL to become a PCL (not a DRE) in order to do RCIA and PSR?  He would be an OSBPVPCL who could also help coach CYO.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

EVEN THOUGH THEY SAID NOT TO, I ALWAYS FEARED THAT I WOULD LOOK AT THE FLASH


Do you remember fire drills?  Do you remember tornado drills?  Do you remember nuclear bomb drills?  Welcome now to the age of deranged shooter drills.  Statistically, none of these things will happen to your school or the schools around you, but it happens often enough that it is wise to be prepared.  Statistics are not really 10%, 20%, or even 70%.  For you, it is either 0% or 100%.

I remember seeing this movie in gradeschool.  Somehow I never believed my desk would protect me from a bomb.
 
I hate that we have to practice lock downs and evacuations.  But what I do like is what a Catholic parish school can bring to the mix that nobody else can.  It is the same balm that is of aid for those going to help with the Ebola virus, the wars we are continually gearing up for, and freaky things like the school bus driver who died yesterday saving a 9 year old from the path of a runaway bus.  It is the sacrament of confession.
 

If you are part of the 100% statistic instead of the 0%, some may see it as simply tragic.  But we believe in everlasting life and being prepared for it whenever it should come.  This sacrament makes us always prepared.  Our goal is not to be here forever.  We are waiting in the airport terminal.  Granted, it is a great airport and is meant to be enjoyed.  But it is an airport, not our destination.  In this crazy age when planes are cancelled, rescheduled, or change locations, we must be prepared.  It doesn’t matter when the plane leaves, the point is to be on the plane when it does.  That means being vigilant; making sure the bases are covered; and having soul and body ready to go when the time comes.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

TUESDAY QUOTE OF THE WEEK CCCXXIX

FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "People who have been on the wrong side of rumor know when to keep their mouth shut."  from B. A. Shapiro's "The Art Forger"
 
QUOTE II:  "I have learned that once you have done a risky thing, it is quite easy to do it again."  same source
 
IN OTHER NEWS:

You must go to the site to see today's video sent in by Mary.  I have the movie and the box says little about it so I was uninterested in watching it.  A priest friend watched it on line and said it was great though some people may not like the subject matter.  (It was great to see that there are good priests out their doing the right/rite thing.)  I put it on in the background while working on other things and eventually it sucked me in.  It is a full length movie.  Go here to see it.
 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

MONDAY DIARY: ALMOST EXCRUSIATINGLY TRUE STORIES: DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE

Homilies are a funny thing. At least this has been my experience.   They kinda have a life of their own and don't take to being "managed" very easily.  For me, each homily is a unique thing - like an ill trained dog. 
 
The first acquaintance with a new homily is usually during a holy hour on Tuesday.  The Scriptures are read and rough ideas start forming.  But more likely than not, there is no prodding it along on my schedule.  For the first part of the week or more it is like walking Sebastian when all he is interested is smelling things and paying attention to things going in the other direction.
Then something will hit.  This week it was seeing a Druher drawing of Hercules in the wilderness kicking it up with the ladies Vice and Virtue.  Then things start taking off as ideas race around my head.
I think I know where it is going but I am often wrong.  I've heard people who write books talk about this.  "All of sudden my characters start saying and doing things all on their own."  I think I see a clear highway ahead but who knows where the homily is going at that point.
It can end up anywhere.
But it seems to work.

FRIDAY POTPOURRI: SO NOW THAT WE HAVE THEM, WHAT DO WE DO WITH THEM?

This was written earlier but things got so crazy at the parish there was no time simply to post it!  Here is Friday's installment of the next chapter of Dei Verbum.
 
So a priest friend who shall remain anonymous in order to protect his reputation, brought a movie over to watch about two years ago. “Dudes,” sayeth he, “this is in my book as part of the 100 must see movies so it must be good.”


Don’t believe everything you read.


And thusly did we watch, “The Way We Were.”


What an awful film. We just kept saying, “We don’t like these selfish characters. They shouldn’t be together and in any case, we are beyond caring.” Reading the “100 Movies Book” a little more closely it was disclosed that the authors also thought it shouldn’t be on the list but because it was so popular they felt obligated. (Talk about peer pressure at its extreme.)


This summer, in contrast, we went to the Ohio Shakespeare Festival at Stan Hywet Hall. We watched a much older story and were captivated by it. The clothes, dialogue, hairstyles, and popular culture topics were similarly out of date in this one too, but it still enthralled. This is because one speaks to our humanity more universally and the other . . . it just doesn’t.


So it is with Scripture. The Church uses Sacred Scripture because it continues as a “pure and lasting font of spiritual life.” It is the voice of the Holy Spirit sounding again and again and along with Sacred Tradition, presented with the Holy Eucharist to bring life and meaning and freedom to God’s holy people. Our preaching and, in fact, everything about this Christian faith is nourished by our Scriptures. They continue to speak to us because there is something basic about our humanity which is revealed in them. They remain relevant in the same way but only more fundamentally so as does a good Shakespearean play.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

ITS ALL GOOD


I can’t think of a thing to write about today.

 

That is to say, I can’t think of ONE thing to write about.  There is just so much.  There is an incredible amount of GOOD happening within the Church but that isn’t nearly as fun as talking about the bad.  And even though the bad is miniscule compared to the good, sometimes it seems overwhelming whether it is attacks from without or seemingly rotten undermining from within, intentional or unintentional.
 

If too much time was spent on the negative, one could despair.  The problems could seem so overwhelming that we could feel powerless and just give up.  But history teaches us important lessons against this mentality.
 
Religious orders have died and religious life sprung back and flowered.  The Church has been viciously suppressed by governments and has been the government and back again.  At one point, 70% of the Church was in heresy and then the heresy passed.  We’ve survived “the bad popes” and have, especially recently, been blessed with saints.  Clergy and lay have lost contact and been best friends and back again.  Religious institutions have been rigorously Catholic, lost their way, come back, and lost their way again.  Catholics have been put on pedestals and hung on crosses.  Which all goes to say, no matter how good or bad it may seem to you, God’s Church prevails across the great arc of its journey through time giving further proof that the Church does not exists because we are so clever, but that it is the one true Church inspired by the Holy Spirit.
 
That is not to say we sit back then and let happen what will.  We are not fatalists.  But all things work to the glory of God and we can be used as sons or as tools as the Church moves forward through time and in the end.  And though being Christian in any given situation may be a trial for some, in the end we would rather be sons and daughters.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

TUESDAY QUOTE OF THE WEEK CCCXXVIII

FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "The defeated adversary learns from his first rebuff the character of the thing he has attacked; discovers its weak points; he learns how his opponent may be confused and into what compromises that opponent may be led."  from Hilaire Belloc's, "The Great Heresies"
 
QUOTE II:  "What we are commonly told is that the Western Empire was overrun by savage tribes called the "Goths" and "Visigoths" and "Vandals" and "Suevi" and "Franks" who "conquered" the Western Roman Empire . . . There was no barbarian conquest, but there was a continuation of what had been going on for centuries, an infiltration of people from outside the Empire into the Empire because within the Empire they could get the advantages of civilization."  same source
 
IN OTHER NEWS:

You might know the name Joel Osteen. He is the minister who teaches a prosperity Bible and claims that if you are a good enough Christian, God will reward you by giving you a cushy life. Since the above is focused on heresy, I though to post this link sent in by Adam entitled, "Joel Osteen and His Wife are Heretics and That's Why America Loves Them."

A long while back I wrote about some paintings that were marked to be burned and I volunteered to give them a new home in the rectory.  Somebody then asked if I could post them and I never did.  I finally remembered and so here they are:

Near as I can tell this is St. Matthew:
 This is definately St. Luke:
 I think this is St. Mark:
 And this is Saint John:
 
 
 
Frank sent this video in:  (5 minutes)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

MONDAY DIARY: ALMOST EXCRUSIATINGLY TRUE STORIES: PARKING IN THE DRIVEWAY

There is something magical about a priest’s garage door. It attracts people like bees are attracted to flowers, like moths to light bulbs, like altar servers to matches. Every parish with which I have been associated, every priest I speak with has the same story: for some unfathomable reason people like to park RIGHT IN FRONT OF OUR GARAGE DOORS.
 
  Just recently I asked a guy, “What on earth made you think parking here was a good idea?” He said, “I wasn’t going to be here long.” Of course, this was after I had spent 20 minutes trying to find him on our 8 acre campus because I had to get to an appointment and was now going to be late. It’s like people who like to talk in doorways. “Here is a constricted area where people need to get through. I think I’ll stop someone here and carry on a conversation.” I don’t understand.
 
The apron to the rectory driveway is in ridiculously horrible condition. Even the 80 year old priest who lived here begged me, “Please, Father, let Fr. Ted fix this for you.” (He always spoke of himself in the third person, which for him was oddly endearing.)
I have standing orders to leave it permanently in third world status just to dissuade people from using the driveway as a convenient place to dump their cars.  There is tons of parking on our block, but I will admit that this spot is very convenient.  But not when it becomes a used car lot.
 
ANYWAY . . .  you may remember that I recently got a new-to-me car.  The windows are incredibly small and it is a difficult car to see out of.  I thought it was just me, but my cousin drove it other day and made a similar comment so now I don't just simply feel old.
 
It does not have a back up camera (though it really probably should) but it does make a "BEEP BEEP BEEP" sound if you get close to anything while backing up.  The closer you get to an object, the more quickly it beeps.
"Brilliant" you might think.  But no amount of genius can best my profound incompetency.  As I back out of my garage, the car always starts beeping because I am heading for a bush so I have learned to ignore it much to the chagrin of a seminarian who was living with us this summer and took to parking his car behind the garages.
I must say he was a really good Joe about it.  "Wow," he said, "The car is symmetrical again."

Another way in which my capacity for stupidity outstrips technology's ability to compensate is when I am initially backing up out of the garage.  The bay doors are EXTREMELY small and so the alarms go off right away and until the trunk makes it out of the garage.
So I've learned to ignore that part too.
Yes, someone with a pickup truck parked right up against the garages.  Just the bed of the truck was behind my bay and so I could not see it through the tiny rear window and ignoring the beeping because I thought it was telling me about the door opening, I smashed into the truck.
 
What goes around come around.  Apparently there were signs in the driveway telling people not to park there but they were taken down because they seemed pastorally insensitive and put offish (as opposed to having your car destroyed.)  But maybe the forepastors knew what they were doing.

Friday, September 5, 2014

FRIDAY POTPOURRI: ALL TOGETHER NOW


Dei Verbum paragraph 20
 
So the last short paragraph in this section I really should have included last week but . . . but I didn’t.  It simply rounds out the whole section.  The whole thing was a lot of writing to say that all of Scripture is important.  Supreme are the Gospels, the other New Testament writings are important in that they shore up and amplify the Gospels, and the Old Testament is indispensible as it enlightens us about God’s plan which reaches fulfillment in Christ.
 

You might think, “Well, duh.”  That may be because you are more Catholic than you think.  This is not the case for everybody in the world.  Have you ever gone to a Protestant service and it is obvious that the Gospel carries no different weight than another New Testament reading?  I certainly have.  And there are those who discount the Old Testament as . . . well . . . old.  And what does one do with house guests and fish when they become old?  They throw them out (or ignore them until someone else does.)  This is, of course, heresy.  (Throwing out the Old Testament, not throwing out fish which is a good thing.)
 
It is a very large Church.  More than half of all Christians on the face of the earth are Catholic.  (Hard to believe living the U.S. no?)  We live in varying places with varying pressures.  It is one thing to be a Catholic in Akron, Oh.  It is another think to be a Catholic in China or Bagdad.  Think of the difference between going to a truly Catholic college and one that likes to throw around the Catholic name but is normally Catholic at best.  The forces of what is floating around in the culture can influence what you believe about – Scripture for example.
 
Realizing this, the fathers of the council put this (and other) teachings together so there would be no ambiguity.  (The only problem being now one has to read them.  And they throw in a bunch of flowery and thick clarifying writing, necessary I understand, which makes it time consuming to peruse - my version of all of the documents having over 1,000 pages of tiny writing.)  Of course, I do not create such padding of my writing to make it appear that I have something to say.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

WHO ARE YOU WHEN A MACHINE TAKES YOUR JOB?


So . . .

 

Let’s assume that yesterday’s video was mostly on the spot.  For almost 50% of everybody working now there will not be a job in the foreseeable future because there will be a machine and/or computer that will do the job more quickly, more accurately, more abundantly, less expensively, and untiringly.  Where does that leave you Mr. and Mrs. Wrong Side of the 50% line?
 
We gain so much of our self understanding and our self worth by having something to do.  Questions about this usually are at the top of the list when speaking with somebody you just met and you are looking for ways to connect. 

 




“So, what do you do for a living?”

 

We are worthy because we are useful it seems.  Those who’s right to live are most in jeopardy in society are those who can’t “do.”  For example, yesterday’s post of Mr. Dawkins who stated that it is immoral for women who have a Down Syndrome Baby not to abort.  Why?  Because, in his eyes, they are not useful.  And so it is with the elderly, persons with disabilities, with diminished brain capacity, who are yet to be born . . .  These people are in danger of not being useful enough for society. 
 
Now dump into the mix all those who are, through no fault of their own, now unemployable.  (Scary if you were already on this list and now there is a huge group of people dumped on top of you pushing even further down.)  It seems to me that there is going to be crisis of dignity.  Who am I?  How do I find my self worth?  What does it mean to be human?  How do I matter?
 
I think it will be the Catholic Church in particular who will come to the aid of mankind.  Though we do talk about the dignity of work, we are not defined by our work nor do we find our dignity because we can and do work.
 
When are you no longer responsible for loving a person?  Everybody loves a baby.  We say that a baby is adopted into the family of God at baptism.  Is that when they become lovable?  Of course not.  Is it at birth?  Some would argue so.  How about when the baby is still in the womb?  The matter gets murky for some here.  Yet we read in Scripture, “Before you were knit together in your mother’s womb I knew you.”  We were known and loved even before our conception extending our dignity back to creation.  So what about at the other end?  Do we become less the children of God as we become less able bodied?  The rich and poor, the able and the disabled, the young and the old have been given a place to go.  Each retains their dignity as a human being because they are destined for eternal life.  We were loved since the beginning of time and for all time.  The work that you do here will all pass away.  Our thoughts no matter how brilliant will be forgotten.  Some day our solar system will simply cease to be.  What of all that work you did?  “Vanity of vanities says Qoheleth!”  The only redeeming part of work is that it assists you and others into heaven. 

 

There is a man that I met about whom I wrote once before who owns a car lot.  “You know what I do for a living?” he once asked.  Sell cars was not the answer.  “I provide an opportunity for people to work so that they can raise their families in security.  That is what I do for a living.”  My chiropractor sees his job as helping others (particularly priests) minister and do their jobs better.  It is not simply about making money or being famous both birds with wings.
 
At the end of time, you as a human being will still exists and in fact, be fulfilling the role for which you were designed which shall bring you fulfillment and joy.  “Not so machines, not so.  For they like winnowed chaff shall be driven away by the wind.”  No matter how clever a machine will be, it has no purpose in life but to serve man.  When it becomes useless it is not immoral to shut it down because it has not dignity other than how it can serve us.  Or when the universe come to an end, all machines will simply cease to exist.  All of its labor pointless.  There will be no one to remember, appreciate, record, or welcome it into a new existence.
 
That is not the case for you.  Your dignity is in that you were designed to be loved, you are loved, and you will be welcomed lovingly into that place where being human makes most sense – even more so than here whether you were considered worthy or not on earth.  Mr. Dawkins would have you believe you are not worth more than a how good a machine you are.  One universe is livable even if we can’t work, the other unbearable, violent, brutish, and short.
 
It is this belief we have as Catholics that makes us stand virtually alone as a body in fighting for the rights of the unborn.  In the future, it may be this belief that tells people who are no longer able to work that they are still lovable, worthwhile human beings because they were made so by a Father who loves them and is preparing place for them.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

TUESDAY QUOTE OF THE WEEK CCCXXVII

FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "You are actually in a more difficult situation that a priest or a nun is.  Celibacy is not the same as deprivation.  It is an active choice, not simply the absence of opportunity."  from Mary Doria Russell's  "The Sparrow"
 
QUOTE II:  "It's not easy to be obedient when you suspect your superiors are asses."  same source.  N.B. I don't mean to infer this is the case or to apply it anybody who may be reading this.  I just like the quote.  ;>)
 
IN OTHER NEWS:
 
More people than I though were interested in the demise of the Catholic Universe Bulletin.  The Bishop is looking for alternatives.  Read more of the story here.

Cool picture from Corpus Christi
 
Adam sent this article in.  In it, Richard Dawkins explains why it is immoral not to abort a child with Downs Syndrome.  Wow.  Kinda shows ya where this is all going.

Falling in love with Pittsburg:
 
This video is 15 minutes long.  It is not happy.  It may seem odd to place it on a Catholic blog but I plan on explaining why I think it presents the Catholic Church with a unique opportunity.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

SPEAK UP I CAN'T HEAR YOU


Why isn’t the Church/pope/bishop speaking out on “X?”  Why do they seem so obsessed with sex when there is so much going on???
 
Funny how that seems isn’t it?  The fact is that the Church/pope/bishop IS speaking out on many of the hot button issues that are near and dear to your heart.  The problem is: How do they get the message to YOU? 
 
Firstly, the media has to be willing to print/report/post what was said.  You can send out a million press releases and hold ten thousand press conferences, but if someone doesn’t think it will sell or, and let’s be honest, if they are opposed to the Church, it will not make its way to your senses. 

 



That is the supposed purpose of the diocesan newspaper.  It is to be the voice of the bishop and the diocese.  Sadly that is not always the case.  Further, print is just going the way of the buggy whip.  It was announced this past week that the Diocese of Cleveland’s newspaper the Catholic Universe Bulletin (coolest name ever) is going out of print.
 
For years I have been hoping to find someone to write an article for the parish bulletin (I may have finally found somebody) who would scour the internet, Vatican, diocesan, NCCB, etc . . . and give the briefest of summaries on what is going on and being said in the Church and giving links so people CAN read and catch up.
 
The other problem is that the Church seems so obsessed with SEX.  But it comes back to how a story is reported.  It is fun (but sad) to read an article in the paper about something the pope said concerning the mating habits of humans which makes the headlines and absorbs 90% of the article only to find out that it was a passing comment within a much broader and far more important talk.
 
How do we get our voice back?  I know our diocese is looking for alternatives and not only online.  My hope is that not only will the form of the news reach each person but that the content will be worthwhile.  We don’t need any more fluff.  In the meantime we must be pro-active.  Do not take the T.V. or the local newspaper or internet story as the complete Gospel on Church reporting.  If something catches you, look it up on line.  Be careful of which sources you choose.  Scour the Vatican, USCCB, and diocesan websites.  Find original materials.  It’s work, but for now, if you want it, you have to look for it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

TUESDAY QUOTE OF THE WEEK CCCXXVI

FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "Life is unfair.  Mystery isn't fair.  And life is a mystery."  Roughly the thoughts of Julian or Norwich through a friend of mine.
 
QUOTE II:  "Life is unfair.  What's going on is life."  Fr. John Loya
 
IN OTHER NEWS:
 
The Ice Bucket Challenge is all the rage and the Archdiocese of Cincinatti is hot water for dousing the fun like a bucket of water on a birthday cake.  So what is a good Catholic to do?  (I've been challenged by the way.)  One guy did it for an organization that does not use embryonic stemcell research.  Go here to read more.  Thanks Fr. B!
 
Mary sent this article in about a church renovation.  Go here to see some before and after pictures of renovations.  I really enjoy these - especially going in this direction instead of the other way!  Thanks Mary.

She also sent this 12 minute video.
 
 
 

Monday, August 25, 2014

MONDAY DIARY: THE BEST MADE PLANS

It was a great summer at the St. Sebastian rectory.  It was a full rectory.  There was, of course, the two priests assigned here and my cousin, Fr. T. who is here for the summer waiting to go back to Rome for studies, three seminarians, the dog, and occasional other visitors.  And then they were all just gone.  The seminarians left to return to their studies and the other priests were gone for the weekend leaving me to bid a tearful farewell to all as I felt abandoned.
For about two seconds.
Offers were made to get help for me for the weekend but I was cherishing the idea of being alone with Sebastian for THREE WHOLE DAYS!  I got out my list of things to do when there is nobody else around.  Chores can be much for fun because there is nobody around to ask questions or give advice - or complain about what you are doing.  So here is what I intended to do:
And here, of course, is what I actually did after having all of the Masses, confessions, and baptisms, and attending all of the parish events this weekend.  You did see this coming didn't you?