Religion: April 2004 Archives

On the radio this morning

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NPR : Kerry and the Catholic Vote
I only caught the tail end as I was getting out of the shower, but what I caught conviced me that I need to really get my act together and finish writing my letter to the editor on this topic. Groan. When I get home to a computer that actually plays audio I will listen word by word and craft my specific comments. Help me out if you can - either send me suggestions (comment box or e-mail) or write your own letter. You can send to You can also CC the NPR ombudsman (who is currently up to his ears in emails protesting the summary dismissal of Bob Edwards, but that is another story entirely).

A Raisin in the Sun

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40 years later. Review and commentary by Peggy Noonan. Link via Mark.
What she said!

Real Men go to Chuch!


Yes indeed!
Looking down into the congregation from the choir loft, I see in our parish a 50-50 ratio between men and women. However, what I don't see are many children, and even fewer teens. The parish is aging and the next generation is way too small..... but among the (predominantly middle aged) regular mass-goers there as lots of men.


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More on the religion session from bloggercon2 (part 1 is here)
I still haven't recovered my notes, nor have any transcripts been published yet. Still, I think that I have a few more insights and comments that I hope you find of interest.
There was a lot of discussion about what the role of the blog should be. (This was actually throughout all the sessions at the conference, and was a pretty interesting thread). Is a blog primarily informative (journalistic model), is it community building (akin to BBS and listserv phenomena), is it persuasive, is it referential (like a prayer book or missal), - just what is the raison d'etre of a blog and how does a soi-disant godblog fit into the picture?
Like any good discussion/seminar, there were more questions than answers in the room. We could have spent the whole session just chewing on the concept of what is a religion and what then is a religiously oriented blog? Given that the room included everything from atheists to zen buddhists, it went all over the field and nothing was really answered.

what we have lost

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I am working on a letter to the editor about Kerry and Communion - it isn't going well at all (which tells me who is fighting against it!). I have several ideas that I want to include in at least my first draft, and then I will have to edit judiciously to meet the word limits. In the meantime, I have another thought that I want to share with you all.
Our culture has become so sexualized that we have lost the concept of non-sexual friendship and love. Emotional attractions between persons are now considered merely a prelude to physical and sexual intimacy. This plays out in heterosexual and homosexual attractions - no longer is friendship seen as the thing of value. I think that this may be one of the greatest barriers we currently have to lasting marriage. We have placed all our energies into the sexual aspects, and while they are indeed important, marriage is much more than simply getting it on regularly.
And it has also affected same-sex friendships. Used to be, two adult women could share living quarters and be good friends and both be celibate heterosexual women. Now, they would assume that their friendship (even love) would mean that they were homosexual and would have to act upon that. I imagine that something of the same also happens to men, confused by our culture, but not being male I would not presume to assume that to be the case.
It is even getting to the point where any physical affection is assumed to carry sexual overtones. Parents hugging their children, giving baths to toddlers, etc - all of these can be viewed with suspicion. How frightening this gets! What have we lost?

From my inbox this morning


It is easy to get discouraged when things are going bad. But we shouldn't lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain and suffering. Remember, next time your little hut is burning to the ground it just may be a smoke signal that summons the grace of God. For all the negative things we have to say to ourselves, God has a positive answer for it:

Questions for my readers

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I am looking for some clearly written and understandable books that present information and/or meditations on the Passion. I thought of Mark Shea's recent guidebook to the movie TPOTC, but I am also looking for more classic stuff. Especially valuable would be material that is available on the web. thanks!

A prayer for our kids


emailed to me from another of my friends.
Thank You, God, that my children can know You, the true God, intimately, and can apply all Your names. We pray that they will seek You with all their hearts and will rely on Your character in all their needs.

(Dan. 11:32b, Phil. 3:10, Ps. 9:10)

A prayer for the dead


Over at Eutychus Fell: Becoming Catholic. Especially offered by him for those North Koreans killed in the train collision, but I also offer it up for the residents of Utica Illinois, the dead of Iraq (especially the busload of Kindergarten students), and all the unborn who are being killed around the world. Lord have mercy on us all.

U.S. Catholic Bishops - Pro-Life Activities

A Way of Life, A Way of Love
Natural Family Planning Awareness Week

Apparitions and catechesis

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Given the limited time available for catechesis in most programs, do you think that the directors of these programs (or the individual catechists) should initiate discussion about or refer approvingly to not yet authenticated Marian apparitions?
Does it benefit teenagers - who (for example) don't even know (let alone understand) Church teachings on sexual morality or the Real Presence or how we are saved - to be referred to a webpage about (say) Medjugorje or similar events?
My understanding about pedagogy is that a basic idea is that you start with the basic foundation and then build on that. There are certain basics that one would hope all Catholics know and believe (the things that make us Catholic and not something else). Events like Medjugorje fall into the classification of private revelation - and are not dogma. I would hope that the priority of teaching would start with the CCC and the Bible taught in parallel. Once a child or a catechumen is grounded in those truths, then becomes the time to discuss private revelations. And I would hope that the discussion begins with those revelations that have been investigated and found 'not contrary to the faith'.
On another note - have any of you read the notes in the Catholic Youth Bible (NRSV, published by Saint Mary's Press)? It is being used in a local CCD and Confirmation class. I had occasion recently to read the note on Satan (book of Job) and on Ephesians 5 and I was just floored. (eg" the notion of Satan as an evildoer seems to have been borrowed from a similar figure in Persian religion" , "we should not interpret Eph 5:21 - 6:4 as commanding submissive behavior of married women today").
Any comments?

science fiction and religion


The Revealer's recent article cites Kurt Vonnegut and then discusses a recent film campaign and internet hoax connection. Worth reading if you, like me, were/are an SF reader.

more on foot washing

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from an older Adoremus Bulletin (circa 1997).
Food for thought.
Was this not part of the institution of the priesthood? Do you agree or disagree with my thought, that washing the feet of women AT THIS PARTICULAR RITE somehow flies in the face of the concept of a male priesthood? I mean, we choose 12 specifically to represent the 12 apostles, who did include even Judas who betrayed Him, and Peter who denied Him. He did not wash the feet of Magdalen (who had washed His feet with her tears and dried them with her hair), nor His mother who had washed His feet hundreds if not thousands of times. He washed those whom He had chosen as his bishops, and none others.

music and liturgy

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I think I am finally ready to talk about my parish's Easter Triduum.
This is a small parish, with an orthodox pastor who picks his battles carefully (in my opinion). He is involved in Cursillo, is an excellent confessor, and has a truly pastoral heart. He did not think, growing up, that he could become a priest because he is partially deaf. But God had other plans, and pulled him out of the world of business to become a diocesan priest. He has been a blessing to the parish.
Our music director is a wonderful godly woman, and I have a great deal of personal respect for her even if I often disagree with her choices in music. We are stuck with the OCP books, and she has a fondness for stuff that I find inane or worse. I haven't found it worthwhile to argue about too many things - although I was strongly tempted to scream when I learned that the (heterodox) song Ashes was going to be part of the Ash Wednesday liturgy. The choir is dedicated and talented - and I would guess that the average age of choir members is somewhere around 60 - I think that John and I are among the younger members and we aren't exactly spring chickens.

Welcome home

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To all who received the Sacraments of Initiation last night. Welcome to the family. Don't let the squabbles scare you.

Christ is Risen!

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He is risen indeed.
My Hungarian/Russian godmother taught me how to say this in Russian, but alas, I only remember the first part (and probably am not spelling it right either!)
Christos voskreses.
How wonderful it would be to live someplace where the greeting and response for the next 40 days would be "Christ is risen - He is risen indeed".
Alas, to our secular culture, tomorrow, Easter will be over. But for us, it has just begun.
Now is the time to sing great Alleluias to our King.
Here are a few suggestions - some of my favorites. (from the Oremus online hymnal)
Jesus Christ is Risen Today
Hail Thee Festival Day
Welcome Happy Morning
Ye sons and Daughters
The Strife is O'er
I am sure that the Summa Mammas' parish sang at least one of these.

Thesaurus Precum Latinarum

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Treasury of Latin Prayers
A wonderful resource, found through fellow convert Alan Phipps, who celebrates 7 years as a Catholic. Ad Multos Annos!
If you haven't read Alan's blog before, I highly recommend it. He recently posted about how Latin has become an important part of his prayer life, and it caused me to wonder something.
Charismatic/Pentecostal Christians place great importance to praying to God in a 'prayer language' (a form of speaking in tongues). I wonder just a little bit, if this is a way God has helped some to meet the human need for special and ritual language in which to speak to God, a need that can be also met through praying in Latin (or Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic ), praying in a language that is NOT used for mundane (everyday) or vulgar (common) purposes. Your thoughts?


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Today is Holy Saturday, and it is the Passover Sabbath. All is quiet to the human eye.
The scene from TPOTC that struck me the most was just a little one - some of you may not even remember it. It is where Jesus looks at Mary, and with a little choke in His voice says "Behold, I make all things new."
That is indeed what He did, and what He is continually doing.
Today, we recollect, as it says in the Creed,
"He descended into Hell"
He went and personally escorted those waiting for his Sacrificial offering out of darkness into the light of His Heavenly Father. He claimed them as His chosen, just as He desires to claim us.
Will we heed Him? Will we accept the gift He offers us?

Pange lingua


Pange lingua gloriosi corporis mysterium
sanguinisque pretiosi quem in mundi pretium
fructus ventris generosi rex effudit gentium.

God blogs and media

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Jeff Sharlet, editor of The Revealer, writes:
I'll be moderating a discussion session on religion, spirituality, and God blogs at Bloggercon, a conference about weblogs at Harvard Law School on April 17th. I'm pulling together a brief essay that'll serve as a starting point for the discussion right now. And I need your help.
below is most of what I posted in his comments box. If you make a comment here, please also let Jeff know.

I've been wondering

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Who decided that rote memorization was an intrinsically evil way to teach and learn stuff? At the ripe age of 49, I find that fragments of things that I memorized as a child, sometimes without much insight or understanding, pop into my brain at very opportune times. I was catechized as an Anglican in the 3rd and 4th grades, memorizing an Anglican Catechism (which I think was probably a hybrid of the Baltimore Catechism and the catechism in the Book of Common Prayer, since as High Church we recognized seven sacraments, not two). I still remember many of the questions and answers - and if someone were to quiz me in the exact phrases of the questions, I think the answers would pop out of the dusty recesses of my brain.

Patty Bonds survives car accident (car is totalled).
Patrick Madrid heavily burdened
Pete Vere battles a bad case of shingles
Lord, watch over these your servants. We know that it is not a coincidence that they are under simultaneous burdens, and we ask that you send your angels to protect them and their ministries and their families from the powers of evil.
St Michael the Archangel, pray for them
St Joseph the worker, pray for them
St Patrick bishop of Ireland, pray for them
St Peter the Apostle, pray for them
all the angels and saints, protect them from harm
through the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit we pray.

great convert story

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at Catholic Ragemonkey

I am not sure, but I think my pastor may also be a convert. I know that both he and his predecessor are what it called "late" vocations. They both always say, they weren't late, they were in God's perfect time.

good palm sunday reading


over at Recta Ratio

I haven't the energy myself.
Holidays without family around are tough.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Religion category from April 2004.

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