Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
As of yesterday, April 27, 2010, the Dioceses of Dallas has two new auxiliary bishops. Don’t know what that is? Jump on over to Bishop Kevin Farrell’s blog to find out.
Today, the Dallas Morning News reported on Bishop Seitz’s and Bishop Deshotel’s ordination. In the article, which you can read here, staff writer Scott Farwell writes: “Catholics believe bishops are inspired descendants of Peter, one of Jesus’ original 12 apostles.”
I’d planned to write a piece on where that statement goes wrong. But then I decided I’d rather do something else.
So consider this a test -- a test of your understanding of Catholic ecclesiology.
Mr. Farwell makes three mistakes in the above statement. Two of them are quite blatant, the third is more technical.
Can you spot them?
The comment box is open. Grades will be issued on Friday, around noontime.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Based on actual events.
Early evening. The Vehige family is sitting around the dinner table: two kids on either side and Mom and Dad at either end. The only girl of the family, Mary, sits to Dad’s left.
Dad’s smile widens when he hears this. He gets up, goes to his bedroom, and returns with a beat-up paperback. The bookmark is in the book.
INT. DAD’S STUDY
About an hour after dinner. Dad walks into his study and finds a birthday card sitting on his desk.
He opens the card. A heart cut out from a piece of white paper falls out. In the card, the eldest son, Tim, has written an apology for talking back to his father that morning.
Behind him, eldest son enters room.
Tim smiles, seems relieved.
Tim exits Dad’s study.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
I’m a Mac. Almost two years ago, nettled at how slow Windows was and annoyed at how many times Word crashed — and swayed by just how cool the Mac commercials were — I begged, pleaded, and cajoled my wife to let me buy a MacBook. She conceded, and I’ve been a very happy Mac user ever since.
As happy as a clam (whatever that means).
In the meantime, my blogging around here has been sorely lacking. To say the least. Part of it had to do with having nothing to say . . . or least with having nothing I thought worthy to write about. Part of it had to do with being involved in other things. Part of it had to do with trying to balance a fourth child with homeschooling (an act that got the best of me; my kids now attend a local Catholic school). And part of it had to do with additional responsibilities at my parish (I’m the RCIA Director).
Now, as much as I love my Mac, the one thing miss from Windows is a piece of software called OneNote — a very nice organizational tool that allows you (a) to separate your notes into multiple, self-contained documents while also allowing you to (b) search said documents for various topics.
Thus I could have a folder that kept all my notes on the Old Testament, and for my notes on the New Testament, another for systematic theology, and a fourth for moral theology. (At the time I was using OneNote I hoped to convert all my old college notes to the computer, thereby killing two birds with one stone: cleaning off a closet shelf and reviewing all my classes while I typed in my notes.) Then, if needed, I could search all my notes for all references made to, say, the sacrament of baptism, or the Eucharist.
I actually saw OneNote a the first step to getting serious about writing some of the books I’ve had in mind.
Then I bought a Mac, no longer wanted anything to do with Windows, and hence lost OneNote. I can’t say I was too upset, but I was a bit disappointed.
A few months ago, I learned of a piece of Mac software called MacJournal. After taking advantage of the fifteen-day trial, I realized that I had found a replacement for OneNote. In fact, being the Mac fanboy that I am, I’ll say that MacJournal is better than OneNote. Like all things Mac, it’s easy to learn, intuitive to use, and it doesn’t crash.
Now, why am I telling you all of this?
Because MacJournal not only functions as a journal, but also as a blogging software. Never heard of that myself until I stumbled upon MacJournal. Blogging software, if you don’t know, allows you to compose your posts off line — and even tag or label them — and then lets you send them to your blog without ever having to log into your account.
Which is pretty darn cool for several reasons.
First: I hate writing posts in Blogger. I always inadvertently push the just right keys that publishes the post too soon, or takes me to another web page, or opens a new window. Or something.
Second: Working on Blogger also has the supreme disadvantage of having to be on the Internet while writing — which means having to log on to Blogger. Since I always have MacJournal open (I’ve come to use it for a variety of reasons), I can start a new document and begin writing without that hassle. (Small things like these really irritate me; I don’t have a very frustrating life.)
Third: More than that, I hate writing posts in Word (when I used it) and Pages (Mac’s alternative, which is, yes I’m going to say it, better than Word) and then having to copy and paste it into Blogger. The format never carries correctly; I have to sit there and figure out which words I bolded, which I italicized, and where the links should go.
But with MacJournal, I can work on a post at my leisure and simply send it to Blogger knowing that it’s going to show up on the blog exactly as I intended.
So this post is a test post to make sure all the wires are connected and Thursday Night Gumbo gets this from MacJournal. If it works as it should — and I have complete faith that it will — this fact means for you that I should be blogging more.
But no promises.
Yet, at the very least, the coolness of MacJournal and my desire just to use it should get you something.
[UPDATE: MacJournal will also update any changes I make to my original post — like this one!]
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Among the many spiritual adjustments that Lent encourages us to undertake, surely one of the most important--and yet one of the most antithetical to the spirit of modernity--is the re-ordering of priorities that should come with the contemplation of our mortality. It's an image of that mortality, after all, that we get smeared on our foreheads. And although the new liturgy allows a rather bland alternative commentary on the symbolism of the day--"Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel"--the traditional (and in my opinion preferable) admonition makes clear just what the symbol means:
Friday, February 12, 2010
I think it can fairly be argued that Abraham Lincoln was the most subtle thinker and the most elegant prose stylist of all American presidents. Here, in his own words supplied to a Chicago newspaper in June 1860, is an account of his formal education.
"Abraham now thinks that the aggregate of all his schooling did not amount to one year. He was never in a college or academy as a student, and never inside of a college or academy building till since he had a law license. What he has in the way of education he has picked up. After he was twenty-three and had separated from his father, he studied English grammar--imperfectly, of course, but so as to speak and write as well as he now does. He studied and nearly mastered the six books of Euclid since he was a member of Congress. He regrets his want of education, and does what he can to supply the want."
All education, in the last analysis, is self-education. Abraham Lincoln simply exemplifies that truth more dramatically than most people.
Care to speculate on how many current members of Congress have "nearly mastered the six books of Euclid"?
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Marian apparitions don't figure prominently in my devotional life, but I am emotionally attached to two -- Guadalupe and Lourdes -- partly because of the convincingly miraculous nature of the apparitions themselves, and partly because the Virgin reported to have appeared in those two places is so immediately and authentically identifiable in her words and actions as the Mother of Our Lord.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
...does have its small triumphs. It will soon be legal to buy a beer in the town where William Faulkner was born.
Labels: William Faulkner
Monday, February 1, 2010
Saturday, January 23, 2010
"You can take the boy out of Protestantism, but...."
Pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see Thy great salvation
Perfectly restored in Thee;
Changed from glory into glory,
Till in heaven we take our place.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
...Can they get along anywhere?
Labels: Science and Religion
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Sunday, January 3, 2010
January 3, 1920, is often cited as the day on which the Boston Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees, thereby incurring the "Curse of the Bambino" and condemning themselves to 83 more years without a baseball world championship. The deal to sell Ruth to the Yankees was actually reached the day after Christmas 1919, but some part of the paperwork was completed on January 3 and that is the date listed in most baseball histories.
Monday, December 28, 2009
From Robert Hugh Benson's invaluable little book on "the holy blissful martyr":
Friday, December 25, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
In order that we really may be able, so far as it is permitted to mortal men, "to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth, and length, and height, and depth" of the hidden love of the Incarnate Word for His heavenly Father and for men infected by the taint of sins, we must note well that His love was not entirely the spiritual love proper to God inasmuch as "God is a spirit." Undoubtedly the love with which God loved our forefathers and the Hebrew people was of this nature. For this reason the expressions of human, intimate, and paternal love which we find in the Psalms, the writings of the prophets, and in the Canticle of Canticles are tokens and symbols of the true but entirely spiritual love with which God continued to sustain the human race. On the other hand, the love which breathes from the Gospel, from the letters of the Apostles and the pages of the Apocalypse, all of which portray the love of the Heart of Jesus Christ, expresses not only divine love but also human sentiments of love.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Happy Juan Diego, true and faithful man! We entrust to you our lay brothers and sisters so that, feeling the call to holiness, they may imbue every area of social life with the spirit of the Gospel. Bless families, strengthen spouses in their marriage, sustain the efforts of parents to give their children a Christian upbringing. Look with favour upon the pain of those who are suffering in body or in spirit, on those afflicted by poverty, loneliness, marginalization or ignorance. May all people, civic leaders and ordinary citizens, always act in accordance with the demands of justice and with respect for the dignity of each person, so that in this way peace may be reinforced.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Perhaps the greatest of many great gifts to the Church from my favorite Pope, Bl. Pius IX:
Let all the children of the Catholic Church, who are so very dear to us, hear these words of ours. With a still more ardent zeal for piety, religion and love, let them continue to venerate, invoke and pray to the most Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, conceived without original sin. Let them fly with utter confidence to this most sweet Mother of mercy and grace in all dangers, difficulties, needs, doubts and fears. Under her guidance, under her patronage, under her kindness and protection, nothing is to be feared; nothing is hopeless. Because, while bearing toward us a truly motherly affection and having in her care the work of our salvation, she is solicitous about the whole human race. And since she has been appointed by God to be the Queen of heaven and earth, and is exalted above all the choirs of angels and saints, and even stands at the right hand of her only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, she presents our petitions in a most efficacious manner. What she asks, she obtains. Her pleas can never be unheard.
Here are two very no-nonsense little commentaries on the dogma, by two world-famous Catholic preachers who were very good at talking to Protestants.
A Protestant is apt to say: "Oh, I really never, never can accept such a doctrine from the hands of the Church, and I had a thousand thousand times rather determine that the Church spoke falsely, than that so terrible a doctrine was true." Now, my good man, WHY? Do not go off in such a wonderful agitation, like a horse shying at he does not know what. Consider what I have said. It is, after all, certainly irrational? is it certainly against Scripture? is it certainly against the primitive Fathers? is it certainly idolatrous? I cannot help smiling as I put the questions. Rather, may not something be said for it from reason, from piety, from antiquity, from the inspired test? You may see no reason at all to believe the voice of the Church; you may not yet have attained to faith in it--but what on earth this doctrine has to do with shaking your faith in her, if you have faith, or in sending you to the right-about if you are beginning to think she may be from God, is more than my mind can comprehend. Many, many doctrines are far harder than the Immaculate Conception. The doctrine of Original Sin is indefinitely harder. Mary just has not had this difficulty. It is no difficulty to believe that a soul is united to the flesh without original sin; the great mystery is that any, that millions on millions, are born with it. Our teaching about Mary has just one difficulty less than our teaching about the state of mankind generally.
I say it distinctly--there may be many excuses at the last day, good and bad, for not being Catholics; one I cannot conceive: "O Lord, the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was so derogatory to Thy Grace, so inconsistent with Thy Passion, so at variance with Thy word in Genesis and the Apocalypse, so unlike the teaching of Thy first Saints and Martyrs, as to give me a right to reject it at all risks, and Thy Church for teaching it. It is a doctrine as to which my private judgment is fully justified in opposing the Church's judgment. And this is my plea for living and dying a Protestant."
--John Henry Cardinal Newman
Just suppose that you could have pre-existed your own mother, in much the same way that an artist pre-exists his painting. Furthermore, suppose that you had the infinite power to make your mother anything that you pleased, just as a great artist like Raphael has the power of realizing his artistic ideas. Suppose you had this double power, what kind of mother would you have made for yourself? Would you have made her of such a type that would make you blush because of her unwomanly and un-mother-like actions? Would you have made her exteriorly and interiorly of such a character as to make you ashamed or her, or would you have made her, so far as human beauty goes; the most beautiful woman in the world; and so far as beauty of the soul goes, one who would radiate every virtue, every manner of kindness and charity and loveliness; one who by the purity of her life and her mind and her heart would be an inspiration not only to you but even to your fellow men, so that all would look up to her as the very incarnation of what is best in motherhood?
Now if you who are an imperfect being and who have not the most delicate conception of all that is fine in life would have wished for the loveliest of mothers, do you think that our Blessed Lord, who not only pre-existed His own mother but who had an infinite power to make her just what He chose, would in virtue of all the infinite delicacy of His spirit make her any less pure and loving and beautiful than you would have made your own mother? If you who hate selfishness would have made her selfless and you who hate ugliness would have made her beautiful, do you not think that the Son of God, who hates sin, would have made His own mother sinless and He who hates moral ugliness would have made her immaculately beautiful?