Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Catholic Carnival: St. Irenaeus is Up

Memorial of St. Irenaeus

At Kicking Over My Traces. This week's Torchlight Post is "Language and Order" by Funky Dung at Ales Rarus because it touches on the new translation of the Mass, which I've touched on and will again soon.

Also, here's last week's Catholic Carnival: Corpus Christi at Part-time Pundit. The Torchlight Post is "Being Too, 'salty'" by Audrey Yu at My Journey.

[posted by e-mail]

Tanned, Anyway

Neither rested, nor ready coming back from vacation. Swamped, though, definitely swamped at work. I guess that's a good problem to have, but I have to admit to a certain "dryness. "

While I wasn't expecting to get much blogging done, I was hoping to get a few writing-related things done and of which I accomplished exactly zero. This year we had more than 20 of us from the Troglodytrix' side of the family (plus a couple of babysitters) invade the lake resort for the annual vacation. In years past, I have usually been able to block a little time to do some mental/emotional/spiritual recharging, even when I've had to cut it short because of some sporting event like Troglotyke #1's soccer tournament this last weekend (they finished second). Not so this time; just a (needed) break. If nothing else, I can thank the NY Times for giving me that wonderfully disorienting feeling of the earth having been traveling near the speed of light while I was at sub-light speed for a week as I learned they were up to their old tricks again.

Seeing as how I was apparently in a space-time warp that only felt like it was a week, I plan to ease back in to things the next few days by finally answering Sue and then something I found in my inbox.

[posted by e-mail because I can't seem to get into Blogger (again)]

Sunday, June 18, 2006

John Paul the Great on the Sacraments #2

Corpus Christi
Happy Father's Day

The Eucharist... shows us... what value each person, our brother or sister, has in God's eyes, if Christ offers himself equally to each one, under the species of bread and wine. If our Eucharistic worship is authentic, it must make us grow in awareness of the dignity of each person....

Christ comes into the hearts of our brothers and sisters and visits their consciences. How the image of each and every one changes, when we become aware of this reality, when we make it the subject of our reflections!
Dominicae Cenae

New Re-evangelization

Coming into this weekend's USCCB's June meeting in LA, one of, if not the largest, topic on the bishops' minds was the new translation of the Order of the Mass. I have read and heard repeatedly how the change from the Tridentine Rite to the common use of the Novus Ordo in the vernacular resulted in a "loss" for the Church, namely because of the "beauty" of the Latin, but for other reasons, as well. In general, by looking at my father's old Roman Missal, I can concede that point. Much the same can be said for the facing English translation in the Missal. However, and this will probably put me at odds with a few out there, I'd rather the ultimate, Vatican-approved translation be not simply a slavish conversion from the Latin, including one of the most obviously changed phrases. I appreciate the Pauline parallel of replacing the response when the priest says "The Lord be with you," from "And also with you" to "And with your spirit," which is one of the changes the bishops have already approved, but the benefit of this particular change is not obvious to me.

First, "and with your spirit" strikes me as less "poetic" than the current response, in contrast to the Latin "et cum spiritu tuo," which is clearly poetic. Second, does the English response, "and with your spirit," really represent what we mean? The root, spiritus, literally the "breath," which gives life to the body, is largely a lost meaning to the 21st-century American (and Anglo?) ear that hears the word "spirit" and conjures images of "ghost," or even "morale" or "mood." If we inform this further with the teaching of John Paul the Great's Theology of the Body on the importance of the body to the person and this "shared characteristic" of body and spirit between the priest and the congregation, then it seems rational to ask whether "and also with you," or perhaps "and with your person," is not the better way to go. Third, with the lost meaning of spirit as a shared breath in English, the asymmetry kills it. While a priest making the sacrifice is "someone close to God who has God’s spirit" and we are called together by God's spirit, the linguistic difference in the response can as easily undercut, as it does promote, the community it is meant to reflect, again particularly to an American ear.

To give another example, Karl Keating highlights another admittedly rare, occasion where a literal translation of the Latin is not superior:
In the third Eucharist prayer the priest says, "From age to age you gather a people to yourself so that from east to west a perfect offering may be made to the glory of your name." The central words are a revision of what used to be "from the rising of the sun to the setting thereof."

The older translation certainly seems more evocative, but I suspect in most people it evoked the wrong idea. The underlying Latin text is talking about a sacrifice that is made everywhere throughout the world. "From east to west" covers that. "From the rising of the sun to the setting thereof" also covers it--if you understand that the phrase is referring to geographical extent and not to the time of day.

But most Catholics, not thinking things through or not being blessed with a good literary background, likely understood "from the rising of the sun to the setting thereof" to be a synonym for "from morning until night." After all, that is what the phrase means in everyday language.

"I work hard from sunrise to sunset" implies that at night, at least, I do not work. It does not mean that I work from one end of the world to the other. The older translation, pretty as it was, gave many people a bum steer, and the [ICEL] translation gets the point across better.
That said, I am in fact not that much concerned with what becomes the new translation; the bishop leads, I follow. Because the Eucharist is the source, center, and summit of the Faith, once the Church decided to allow the vernacular, it is good (and necessary) that the translation of the Liturgy be revisited on occasion; the "test everything" rule of 1 Thessolonians applies. What I think is critical (and still largely lacking), however, is fidelity to the Liturgy as it is. I have heard it said and agree that no Catholic can walk away from the Faith who has an understanding of the Eucharist, the Real Presence in particular. It is not clear to me that a new translation, even if it is an old one, helps much in this regard toward reducing Liturgical abuse.

This ties into another topic (making a theme?) on the bishops' plate this weekend, i.e., including in the new evangelization the need to re-evangelize to the fallen away, or unformed, Catholic. As an example, my personal experience is that those who most bought into Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code were formerly practicing Catholics. I had read the book a couple of years ago, at the leading edge of its popularity boom. And these were the people who most wanted to discuss the book then, although the conversation usually fizzled after I asked for specifics when they almost without exception said that the real value of the book is that it made them think about religion in a new way. Most of my non-practicing Catholic interactions occur at work where I'm dealing with technical types, so I found it dumbfounding when they didn't want to consider things like evidence and historical accuracy and logical consequences. The bishops' response, among others, to the development of the movie (I would have liked to have seen it begin with the book) was effective, I think, because now the line we hear is how it is just a story, including from many of those I know who originally saw justification for their heterodoxy in the "the world's greatest secret," when their rejection of the Church has more to do with still being ticked off that they had their knuckles rapped, or behinds paddled, while going to Catholic school. Of course, it is also telling of our popular culture's shortcomings that people do not seem to be able to recognize that Mr. Brown's writing is horrid (Combox Sue is spot on here.) Or perhaps they can, and just buy into the buzz because of what it attacks. Anyway, that there has been a television special debunking Dan Brown's (or his wife's) shoddy research and a website we can link and forward from the bishops is to the good. The real question is whether the bishops can build on their response and use similar tactics to get ahead of the culture and lead it.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Happy Flag Day

This year marks the 30th Anniversary of when then-Chicago Cub center fielder Rick Monday, after noticing two protesters jumping onto the field and attempting to burn a Star Spangled Banner while kneeling on the outfield grass, ran immediately toward them and snatched it away during an early season game against the Dodgers in LA.

As a nine year-old child at the time, I have only fond memories of the extended celebration of the country's Bicentennial, but in a post from last year, Captain Ed recalls the state of the national psyche, just removed from Vietnam, and the power of Monday's action:
[W]hen Monday took off with the flag, all of the cynicism and defeatism of the past two years melted away. Watching Monday rescue the flag from two lunatics who tried to hijack a baseball game for their protest, which would have provided the perfect nadir of American morale at that time, the crowd did something no one expected. [Dodger manager Tommy] Lasorda recalled in his book that starting softly, the crowd started singing "God Bless America", completely unprompted, until all of the tens of thousands of Dodger fans had joined together to sing it. It was one of the few unscripted and spontaneous patriotic displays in our Bicentennial, and one of the most moving at any time.
The entire scene has been included in a list of 100 Classic Moments in the History of the Game published by the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The flag was presented to Monday, a 19-year major league veteran and 6-year veteran of the Marine Corps Reserves, later in the '76 season. He has it proudly displayed and has refused an offer of $1 million.
That little piece of cloth represents a lot of rights and freedoms that people have given up their lives to protect... But the flag is not for sale. What this flag represents, you can't buy.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Catholic Carnival is Up

Memorial of St. Anthony of Padua

At CowPi Journal.

In general, anybody who sincerely tries to answer the question, "So what're ya gonna do 'bout it?" has earned a fair hearing in my book, so this week's Torchlight Post is Rebuilding Catholic Culture at Musings From a Catholic Bookstore.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Blogging Advisory

After a day (and night into the wee hours) of paintball, dinner, and live music Saturday as a "Bachelor Party" for my soon to be brother-in-law, I was dragging yesterday; apparently day-night double-headers get tough when you're pushing 40. This is why I haven't responded to Sue's latest in the combox on the MPA. With a big week at work this week and a family vacation next week, things could get light. We'll see what happens...

Saturday, June 10, 2006

John Paul the Great on the Sanctity of Life #2

I do not hesitate to proclaim before you and before the world that all human life--from the moment of conception and through all subsequent stages--is sacred, because human life is created in the image and likeness of God. Nothing surpasses the greatness or dignity of a human person. Human life is not just an idea or an abstraction; human life is the concrete reality of a being that lives, that acts, that grows and develops; human life is the concrete reality of a being that is capable of love, and of service to humanity...

Human life is precious because it is the gift of a God whose love is infinite; and when God gives life, it is forever.
Homily, Capitol Mall, Washington, DC, 1979

Friday, June 09, 2006


Memorial of St. Ephrem

Today in my inbox, I received a note from Fr. Michael Durka of St. Ephrem Harp of the Spirit Orthodox Mission in Olympia, WA pointing me to an image of a commissioned icon of St. Benedict, with Latin text of his Rule, (scroll down) "written" by his wife, Heather Williams Durka. It is interesting that I received this e-mail because I have acquired several icons, but the Troglodytrix and I have not yet agreed on a fitting location in our home. Perhaps this is some sort of sign (if you're into that sort of thing).

Icons have long been recognized in the Church. While the two-dimensional images are now primarily identified with Eastern and Orthodox Churches, there is significant agreement with the Catholic Church on basic principles of iconography. One difference in emphasis by Catholics, created by Pope St. Gregory the Great, is that icons present Scripture to the illiterate. Here, I think, is in interesting idea for another way of evangelizing to young children in this modern age.

See here, here, here, and here, to pick but a few, for more info on icons.

Successor to Arcbishop Flynn May be Pending

Well the story that has been buzzing in the local ecosystem (here for example) for a while has finally broken into the open. As expected the archdiocesan staff is keeping mum (as they should).

Whither the Sashayers?

[Original posted Monday, June 5, 2006, 5:57 PM]

Memorial of St. Boniface
Happy Belated Birthday to the Troglodytrix!

I know they had plans for the usual Pentecost self-aggrandizement before the Table, but have not heard, nor seen, anything about yesterday's "event." Anyone?

[posted by e-mail]

Update: I am now finally able to get back into Blogger directly [I have been limited to posting via e-mail for a few days for some reason]. I did see the RSM's press release earlier this week. And Julie at Adoro Te Devote has noted that KSTP reported the story. I wonder why the scant newspaper coverage...

Thursday, June 08, 2006

My Obligatory Post on the Marriage Protection Amendment

It failed to reach the floor for a vote. No surprise there. Democratically-based governements are reactionary, by their very nature, if not in principle, then in practice. The affirmation of marriage as between one man and one woman exists by constitution or statute in 90% of the states in the union. The federal Defense of Marriage Act allowing a state to reject another's definition of marriage was passed and signed into law 10 years ago with broad bi-partisan support.
President Bush has identified correctly the source of a growing anxiety:
Since 2004, state courts in Washington and California and Maryland and New York have ruled against marriage laws. Last year, a federal judge in Nebraska overturned a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, an amendment that was approved by 70 percent of the population. And at this moment, nine states face lawsuits challenging the marriage laws they have on the books. ...
If [the Defense of Marriage Act] is overturned by the courts, then marriage recognized in one city or state may have to be recognized as marriages everywhere else. That would mean that every state would have to recognize marriage as redefined by judges in, say, Massachusetts or local officials in San Francisco, no matter what their own state laws or their state constitutions say.
That the American nation believes marriage is and ought to be between one man and one woman is beyond question, no matter the earnestness of a persistent minority, or their recent glee over the amendment's failure. A constitutional amendment in this case is a pre-emptive prescription for when, not if, an activist judiciary moves to block the national sentiment. That the Senate did not even allow the amendment to come to a floor vote underscores the reactive nature of our politics and illustrates that what Chesterton called the medical mistake is alive and well in Washington; insisting on "stating the disease before we find the cure, ... when we must actually find the cure before we find the disease." Oftentimes waiting to act is not a failing, for a host of reasons. Here, however, what is wrong is not the failure to respond with the cure for traditional marriage, but the failure to respond to the "cure" of what is right and good with traditional marriage.
[posted by e-mail]

So Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is Dead...

The president from the Rose Garden:
Zarqawi was the operational commander of the terrorist movement in Iraq. He led a campaign of car bombings, assassinations and suicide attacks that has taken the lives of many American forces and thousands of innocent Iraqis. Osama bin Laden called this Jordanian terrorist "the prince of al Qaeda in Iraq." He called on the terrorists around the world to listen to him and obey him. Zarqawi personally beheaded American hostages and other civilians in Iraq. He masterminded the destruction of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad. He was responsible for the assassination of an American diplomat in Jordan, and the bombing of a hotel in Amman. ...
[H]e worked to divide Iraqis and incite civil war. ...
Now Zarqawi has met his end, and this violent man will never murder again.
May God have mercy on his soul. But if not, don't let the Gates of Hell smack him on the way in.
[posted by e-mail]

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Catholic Carnival: Living the Faith is Up

Memorial of St. Norbert
Happy Belated Birthday to the Troglodytrix!

At Universal Call.

This week's Torchlight Post is Sex and Marriage are Sacred at Adoro Te Devote.

[posted by e-mail]

Friday, June 02, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth

Memorial of Ss. Marcellinus and Peter

No, no, not Al Gore's dog and pony show. Frankly, I'm disinclined to see it because, first it's Al Gore and, second I read the first book--and didn't buy the plot then--but without having seen it yet, I'll refrain from commenting on it, for now. For those looking for something on the topic, I point you to one of the more measured responses by someone who largely accepts the story's premise (for as long as the link is live, anyway).

No, I'm referring to Thomas Sowell's series this week exposing the facts that undercut some elements of what he categorizes as the "liberal vision:"
1. Rather than marking the beginning of many "progressive" trends in American society, the 1960s reversed many beneficial trends that had been going on for years without the "help" of Great Society programs, policies, and ideologies.

2. In the last 25 years, the number of people earning the minimum wage declined from 7.8 million to just over 2 million, while both the total population and the minimum wage have been rising, but the world over has evidenced that the consequence of minimum wage laws is to create unemployment.

3. Tax cuts for the so-called rich have a long track record of creating economic activity that results in rising national incomes and rising employment.

4. Innate biological, cultural, and behavioral differences creating group "disparities" cannot often be eliminated by governmental policy solutions.
What is striking, beyond the obvious point that the vision of modern statism is not (and not really interested in being) connected to reality--after all that is part and parcel of the dictatorship of relativism--is that a Catholic principle is again aligned with natural law: Subsidiarity works.

This is why it can be frustrating when an archbishop advocates higher taxes, or when a politician, like Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH) in the June issue of Crisis, is proud of acting in the name of his Catholic conscience to "protect families" by pushing for federal legislation "to make school buses safer for kids; to reform our drunk driving laws; to increase seat belt use; and to put safety information on vehicle sticker prices."

It's not that the objects of these are not well intentioned, nor things that should not be done, but, at some point, don't we have to put into action part of what the Church, including Pope Benedict, has outlined for us?:
We do not need a State which regulates and controls everything, but a State which, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, generously acknowledges and supports initiatives arising from the different social forces and combines spontaneity with closeness to those in need.

John Paul the Great on Truth and Freedom #4

Jesus Christ meets the man of every age, including our own, with the same words: "You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free" (Jn 8:32). These words contain both a fundamental requirement and a warning: the requirement of an honest relationship with regard to truth as a condition for authentic freedom, and the warning to avoid every kind of illusory freedom, every superficial unilateral freedom, every freedom that fails to enter into the whole truth about man and the world.
Redemptor Hominis

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Pope Benedict's Prayer Intentions for June

Memorial of St. Justin

General prayer intention:
That Christian families may lovingly welcome every child who comes into existence and surround the sick and the aged, who need care and assistance, with affection.
Mission prayer intention:
That Pastors and the Christian faithful may consider inter-¬religious dialogue and the work of acculturation of the Gospel as a daily service to promote the cause of the evangelization of Peoples.
For more info, see the Apostleship of Prayer.


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