Thursday, December 29, 2005

I don't know where to file this one

Does it belong it "What it takes to rebuild a culture" or "Who says literature doesn't have positive social effects?"
Clearly, Karl Rove is running a day care...
More Fun from the Blogosphere!

I have several blogs that I check out mainly because they surprise me with interesting notions, tidbits, and photos from time to time. In short, they make me think -- when they post anything (Yes, Dave and Karl, I am loooking at you). One of my faves and regular checks is Mansfield Fox, run by the very clever (like a fox, get it! Hah!) Angus Dywer. Now, for Oklahomans, I know the word "angus" brings heady images of cuts of beef to mind, and that is fitting as there are beefy slices of law-related and other wacky stuff abroad on the site. Oh, and fantastically Catholic to boot.

At any rate, I had to put up this picture from Angus' place because it is too perfect.

Remember, if you need a friend, Larry the Cucumber is always willing to step in.
New Game, Kids!

Okay, I heard about this on E! Entertainment Radio and couldn't resist putting it up. Thanks to Zorak for necessary linkage. The big question is for whose marriage was this pre-nup clause written?

And if you want, we can discuss why stipulations like these probably render the consent invalid.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Practical Ecumenism

In truth, I suspect this is the most practical form of ecumenism we Catholics can engage in. Moral issues are usually easier to get the common ground into the forefront of the conversation. From there it is easier to get into more ticklish subjects.

The truth, it's intoxicating.
I told you so... observations are much like the Holy Father's. Hmmm, I love thinking with the Church
The Fabulous Fruitcake

This is a link to the Fruitcake that I made for several people this year. I am gratified with the reception it has received. I will say I had to make a couple of changes given the lack of resources in Alva, namely I changed dried blueberries with dates and gold rum with spiced rum. Otherwise the recipe is exactly the same.
You've Asked Twice -- Now the Answer

Kristina has on a couple of previous instances asked what the difference between a vow and a promise are, specifically how do they relate to one's vocation and one's state of life.

Okay, let's start with just some definitions from the Code of Canon Law. A vow, according to the Code, is "a delibarate and free promise made to God, concerning some good which is possible and better..." (CIC Canon 1191:1) The Code further specifies that "[U]nless they are prohibited by law, all who have an appropriate use of reason are capable of making a vow" (CIC Canon 1191:2). Also, a vow cannot be considered valid and binding if it is made under duress, deceit, or unjust fear (CIC 1191:3). So at the outset, a vow could be directed toward any authentic good so long as it is possible to attain and more perfect realization of the good in question.

Then the Code goes on to state that vows can be public or private, solemn or simple, and personal or real (Cf. CIC 1192). In essence the Church makes a distinction between those vows which the Church accepts and thereby creates a public recognition of the vow, with proper rights and membership with a religious state or community attendant to it, and those vows which a person might make simply between God and the person in question. So when a man is ordained a transitional deacon, he makes a public act, promising not to marry (and by concommitance, perfect chastity in the realm of conjugal union), which binds him for the rest of his life. In a religious order, however, one may make a vow for a time, an act better known as simple profession. When the time period of the profession is up, the person needs to make either another simple profession or make solemn (i.e. permanent) profession of the vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, and all attendant issues related to the institute of consecrated life they are joining.

The real crux of the matter though falls on who has the authority to suspend or alter the vow. In the case of public, solemn vows, the case usually goes to the Roman Pontiff. In private vows, along with the Roman Pontiff, the local Ordinary (generally the bishop) and the parish priest in respect to all their proper subjects, the Superior of a religious order, or those with proper faculty can suspend or change the private vow for the person. This is useful in cases where the vow might actually harm a third party, such as when someone vows to visit a particular church every day for a week, and then can't because they are tending a sick parent. That vow can be suspended as per above.

A promise generally speaking is something a little looser. For instance, I make a promise of obedience to my bishop at my ordination. I make a promise and not a vow because of the nature of how the obedience must be exercised -- namely, I can't call him every day and find out what he wants me to do. Therefore, I am freer to act so long as my intention and my actual work is directed toward fulfilling his intention for my parish or my apostolate to which I am assigned. A vow of obedience would suggest something more direct, that the superior would, in theory, daily be giving me direction and orders for what to do.

In general, I don't like the phrase, a promise, because it is unclear. It seems to me that the idea of vow sufficiently covers the idea of making a duty toward God and neighbor and contains within it enough room to make necessary distinctions between this state and the next. Most importantly, however, to the discussion about the single state not being a vocation, you'll notice that all other vocations demand a solemn, public vow rather than a private matter specifically because the vow creates a new relationship to the Church and rights within that body.

Hope that helps.
Must ... Find ... Insulin

It's all too sweet.

Biretta tip to Nancy Reyes for the link.
Dawn does it again!

Right before Christmas, my NY buddy Dawn Eden asked me to contribute some thoughts on Christmas for her column in the New York Daily News. Well, even though I wrote too much (no shock there) and got it in late, I still made the copy. Go figure.

Anyway, it's a really interesting piece, especially the Rabbi's comments about Chanukah. Thanks again to Dawn who rocks the place all the time. Check out her blog, the Dawn Patrol, for further evidence of her rockatude.
Before the tragic, a touch of the comic.

You'll understand when you go on to the next article.
Herod still hunts the Child; Barred from Searching in South Dakota.

Today is the Feast of the Holy Innocents, those young boys, 2 years and younger, who were slaughtered by Herod in his mad pursuit of Jesus. After all, if this newborn baby is king of the Jews, it leaves Herod without a job.

But Herod still hunts the child. He stalks the child in every specious argument for abortion, contraception, and sterilization. He prowls the corridors of research facilities where an embryo in "harvested" for the "benefit" of others, even though King and Researcher alike all began as embryos. He hunts children with the sickle of starvation imposed not from a lack of resources but from a dictator's desire for power over his subjects. He enlists the child in his mad quest when he makes the child into a soldier. In short, when the child is valued because they are a thing and not a unique person, Herod has won.

While Christ has come to bring the fullness and newness of life to the world, the world wants to remain old and worn. Drive Herod from your homes by loving your children and the rest of your family. Make a place in your home for the one who is cast out into the snow and might be run through with any of the weapons mentioned above. In short, don't let Herod and his cohort trick you. They want only one thing: blood, yours or someone whom you love.
Et tu, Jacque?

Yes, Mr. Chirac, continue to betray Europe's ancient roots...the rest of us don't mind. This is further defense of my lack of interest in visiting France. There must be something in the water.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Blog attack. Courtesy of TechmonkeyBuddy Steph

Fr. Shane Tharp makes a killer fruit cake. I don't mean it killed me, by the way, I mean wow. Yummy and thanks!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Friday, December 23, 2005

You See, Even The Jesuits Can Play at Being on South Park

You know, I bet St. Ignatius of Loyola and all those Jesuits martyrs are so proud of their sons in religion.

This of course reminds me of a joke. The Dominicans were founded to stamp out Albigensians and the Jesuits were formed to address the Protestant Revolt. Clearly the Dominicans were and are the superior order. How do I know? Meet any Albigensians lately?
Remember the last time I was trying to define "irony"?

I don't know why this struck me funny except that the title belies what the article is. It is an article that went out all over the world about someone's private life. Ah, I guess that life isn't so private as it was before.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Ah, tradition...

Given how cold my head gets, I wonder if I can get one of those myself. Granted erimine is so 12th century...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Whole House Smells Like Christmas

As I didn't have the penance rite in Guymon last night, I planned on waking up late and maybe running down to OKC for some Christmas shopping. But as I woke up at 5:30 a.m. I decided to get on some other projects. As it stands, I am sitting here blogging, sipping my coffee, and enjoying my latest baking effort. Yes, despite the irrational fear people have of this confection, I am baking four of them. Yes, I am making a fruitcake.

Right now, I have a large mass of dried fruit, which has been soaking in spiced rum, with butter, spices, apple juice, and sugar. The whole house is permeated with a heady spicy aroma. The reason so many fruitcakes are inedible comes from the candied fruit which cooks up to a rock hard consistency. Also, I was able to salvage a batch of cashew brittle by throwing the mess in the oven to cook out the extra water. It isn't pretty but the flavor isn't bad. The texture leaves something to be wanted.
Not the Story One Expects
The Nature of Scandal

What is a scandal? By definition, a scandal is "an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor's tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense" (CCC #2284). The origin of the word, as I have been told, is a stumbling block that one places before a blind person. Therefore, the idea of scandal is tinged with an added degree of malice; it isn't just that you lead someone astray: you lead astray someone who could not defend themselves.

Where is the scandal in this story? Well, first, the kids at South Park deserve some attention. (And yes, even though they are probably about my age, given their puerile humor, they are kids to my mind.) But I think the real scandal is that this doesn't upset more Catholics. We simply let people bad mouth the Blessed Mother and the Church and our Lord and act as though we are being sophisticated in doing so. Sorry to break to this you, and to myself, but this isn't sophistication. It's outward cowardice in the face of an attack on the truth Christ has revealed.

Before you say, let me say it. A large segment of readers would say, "Well, if we make a stink, then more people will see it, that will boost ratings, and therefore encourage more acts like this. So all the better to just act unaffected by it." This is similar to the policy that my mother encouraged toward bullies and my brother when they would pick on me. "Just act like it doesn't bother you and they will quit." I never had much success with this. The only way stopped was when I stood up for myself. I am not saying that I started a fistfight but I certainly didn't let the attack continue. The same is true here. In essence, television executives are scared of offending anybody. Therefore, when offense is registered they are quick to either placate or eliminate the source of the offense.

So what I am suggesting? Instead of merely a boycott in which we don't watch the channel or frequent the advertisers (and I am suggesting that is a part of the overall strategy), why don't we address the error that these kids have made, namely that the miraculous can't happen in this life? I would suspect that these guys never received a good formation in any religious tradition or even the philosophical underpinnings of religious thought in general. I would suspect, again, that they might be largely materialist in their personal philosophy and therefore anything of the miraculous is at best delusional. Further, there is a poor understanding of the role of the papacy, the role of the local bishop, the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the person of Jesus Christ. On many occasions, they have also made fun of Christ Himself so this is just added insult.

Now, what I am about to say, is based solely on the article as I don't have a copy of the letter in front of me. I think the good Bishop has missed the point of the argument with Viacom's president. By focusing on the "hurt" caused by this, he has essentially given all the power to the bully. While acknowledging the injury one must follow that with why the injury exists otherwise the person who has commited the injury must conclude that you, the injured party, are being irrational. Rather, injury exists when something of value is de-valued. While I don't know if the Bishop's letter addressed this, it was a prime opportunity to evangelize the president of Viacom and the creators of South Park! A short, incisive letter addressing the reasons for Faith in Christ and Honor for the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Piety of the Average Catholic would have garnered, I believe, more fruit. I don't know what the actual letter so DON'T ATTACK THE BISHOP. Your comments will be erased if you do.

The point is that instead of merely shaking our heads at further outrages, we need to take a more active approach in confronting the error, lest the purveyor of scandal is ourselves.

UPDATE: The entirety of the letter in question can be found on the USCCB website.
What present are you giving to your family and friends?

Here is another example of what we need to Christmas to be, a celebration of the Presence that is the true gift to our Present.
Talk about rejecting cultural icons
I have another angle on this whole thing

While we have been giggling privately to ourselves about the Cruise-related hijinks, there might be a greater spiritual combat present. Let me explain.

Tom Cruise is a lapsed if not apostate Catholic. I guess the distinction would depend on how free he was, was coercion a part of the equation, etc. (In other words, I am not privy to the inner workings therefore I am not speculating.) He was, for a time, a seminarian, I believe, at Conception Seminary College, my alma mater. Interestingly enough, Katie Holmes is a Catholic, again presumably lapsed because of her practice of Scientology. (Again, please see caveat above. I am making no claims to knowing the whole story.) But here is the interesting piece of the puzzle; Brooke Shields is a practicing Catholic, so much so that she obtained an annulment to her marriage with Andre Aggasi before marrying her current husband. Now, I know many of you will say, eeew, she got a divorce. My response, hey, she was interested enough in practicing the Faith that she went through the annulment process.

I am not one to propose conspiracy theories, but isn't interesting that a lapsed Catholic has a public battle with a practicing Catholic over how the principle of religious belief affect life? Again, let's continue to pray for those in the entertainment industry.
I would love to know what the rest of the story is here.

This is one of those moments where I would love to know what a.) motivated the vow (although it is probably a promise) of celibacy and b.) what led him to continue. Further, I find the statement "Abstinence doesn't require as much self-discipline anymore. We never had had any serious groupies, anyway," intriguing. Is that a case of growth in virtue or avoidance of temptation. They aren't the same thing but they are closely related.

Either way, let's remember the members of the entertainment industry in our prayers. Grace can get through to anybody.
I don't envy this guy at all

It's a strange coincidence but Fr. Hamilton and I were just discussing how hard it would be to become the bishop of your own home diocese. That is the case of people knowing waaaay too much about you from your past. Now, the new bishop of Nashville gets to find out first hand.

Congratulations to His Excellency, the Most Rev. David Choby. Ad multos annos.

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Joy of the Season, My Foot

Oh, can't you tell this is going to be a cheery post? Well, stick around we might get there by the end.

Monday, the luxurious dayoff, is hardly a day of relaxation for yours truly. As I sit, I have a swirl of things on my mind, including a three-hour road trip to Guymon for a penance rite tonight (come on, blizzard!). So, I thought it might be fun and/or interesting to walk you through WHAT'S ON MY DESK!

Yes, the newest fad spreading across the nation, opining about the contents of my desk as I clean it off.

For the first activity we are going for gold in multitasking. While making notes on the blog and on an actual piece of paper, I will attempt to look up a phone number and link to a radio interview with Mark Shea. Wish me luck!

(voice of the announcer) Fr. Tharp is showing good form on the keyboard especially after picking up the laundry and brushing his teeth. And with no coffee!

(voice of color commentary) That's right. For a man who claims Columbian ancestry based on the amount of coffee solids in his body, this clerical athlete is showing his stuff...

(announcer) Okay, he's getting ready for the switch. I don't believe it; he's typing with his right hand, his off hand, to reach for the phone. Can nothing stop him?

(color commentary) And look at that mouse work. Able to test his internet speed while continuing to put notes up. Amazing. Looks like the story is about to play although he is going to lose a few points for having to reset his internet speed.

Okay, we got the radio interview and made the phone call, so I can check that off my list.

Now we move to the pile of crap on my desk. It is a smaller pile but I want it gone. Let's see what's in it. On the top of the pile, the prayer intentions for the MI, of which I am a member. (By the way, that's not crap, but I need to get that into my breviary.) Next, a financial statement: that goes into the financial info box. Oh, and now something to make me nuts. A parishioner contacted me, wanting to order a bible for his nephew. (No, that didn't make me crazy.) What's making me furious is they sent the bill to the parish. Now, I want to hope that this is merely an oversight, but my mood (unaided by coffee) won't let me. So with merriment, I am going to tuck this in an envelope and send it to the parishioner. Probably a phone call will be in order, a phone call to the distributor, that is. Okay, here is something else that isn't crap, the intercessions for life and bulletin bits for January and February. Thanks to the Worship Office for that little gem. Need to type those up and then off my desk.

What's next in the pile...I think you have lost interest by now. But it looks to me that I won't be going anywhere today. Take it easy.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

In other news...

I had to bring this up because I had noted the election of a new Archbishop for San Fran. Turns out the U.S. has a new nuncio, Archbishop Sambi. Let us remember to pray for the nuncio as he carries a lot of influence when it comes to the naming of new bishops.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Pray for our fellow Christians in China who are fighting the good fight

It's moments like these that make me 1.) proud to be Catholic and 2.) want more courage to confront problems in my own community. Let's pray for these dedicated Religious Sisters that they will perservere despite all difficulties.
An unintended corrective to a modern obcession

If you haven't noticed, there are lots of shows on the telly about ghosts and hauntings. Most people would accept, almost unthinkingly, that ghosts are real, that ghosts are spirits who "aren't at rest" and therefore wander the world. It should come as no surprise that this doesn't match up with a Catholic worldview.

Rather, a ghost cannot exist because it would suggest that somehow the person was out of God's hand for a time. This isn't to say that extraordinary moments, such as Marian apparations, can't happen. It doesn't really seem to scan, to my way of thinking, that somehow God would leave someone's soul just to hang out. And no, it's not even a good metaphor for Purgatory.

It seems to me then that when one deals with a haunted house you are probably dealing with the devil and one of his minions.
A concrete expression of how forgiveness takes on real flesh
Sometimes you feel like a nut...

...and sometimes you want to use a secondary nut-detecting agent.
As I long suspected

Once again, cannibalization of the truth knows very few boundaries.
Perhaps Pinkerton has a point
The Church Moves Forward

Traditionally, episcopal appointments for the United States were made on Tuesdays. However, today, we have a notice that many people have been waiting on for many weeks, the replacement for Archbishop Levada as Archbishop of San Francisco, CA.

Before we talk about who was appointed, let's be frank about a basic point: San Francisco is going to be a tough field. There are a lot of situations which are going to actively conspire against the proclamation of the Gospel, perhaps more so than anywhere else. So, let's all agree to pray for the appointee.

The new Archbishop of San Francisco is Mons. George Hugh Niederauer, formerly of the Diocese of Salt Lake City, UT. Ad Multos Annos!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Good points on inculturation of the liturgy

Even though we aren't linked on their blog, I still have to admit how much I liked Drew's comments about inculturation of the liturgy. I would add though that while a culture might "deserve" liturgical expression, there are unchangeable elements such as the matter for the Eucharist, for instance.
No, CS, the foolishness is never ending!

I received in my email grab bag the following message:
"Greetings all, I had hoped we would be done with this foolishness on Ebay. However someone is again trying to sell the Eucharist on Ebay."

Here is a handy link to the sale in question.

"Please spread the word so that we may get this auction taken down. I was under the impression that it was now against Ebay policy to allow the sale of the Eucharist, what happened?"

Yes, what happened, indeed. Not only am I wondering what happened to Ebay's policy, but also I am wondering where the idea of common decency and respect for someone's religion went to. For more information, you can head here
It might be time for Fr. Hamilton to invest in an absetos cassock

Sunday, December 11, 2005

My sentiments exactly

I was thinking of posting a minor challenge to all readers along these same lines. But I am running off to celebrate the Holy Mass in Cherokee, OK, so I will update this when I get back.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

As of this moment, I am experiencing a geometric rise in my overall surreal rating.

On the surface, this is just another comedy troupe out to make the world a funnier place. On the surface, this is another pitch that has potential although you do wonder who will be airing this show. Then when a single thread of memory RNA unravels in the proper sequence, you suddenly realize how surreal things actually are.

The two masterminds behind this new show are high school chums of mine. David went to St. John's and sat next to me in Latin. I seem to remember long discussions of Monty Python and trying to decidely how runny the Stilton actually is. Oh, and there was the matter of how to say "Don't tease the lions" in Latin, but I digress. Mitch was in choir and show choir with me and clearly was waaaaaay more talented in that department than yours truly. Either way you slice it, I wish them both well.

Friday, December 09, 2005

We All Kinda Suspected This, Right?

Quiz results never lie and are totally accurate.

You scored as Batman, the Dark Knight. As the Dark Knight of Gotham, Batman is a vigilante who deals out his own brand of justice to the criminals and corrupt of the city. He follows his own code and is often misunderstood. He has few friends or allies, but finds comfort in his cause.

Batman, the Dark Knight




Lara Croft


William Wallace


Neo, the "One"


Indiana Jones


The Terminator


James Bond, Agent 007


Captain Jack Sparrow


El Zorro


The Amazing Spider-Man


Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Holy ice block, Batman!
I had a graveside service today. The last couple of days have been bitterly cold in Kingfisher, as cold Canadian air has rushed into the plains, thrusting us into winter. As I got into my car to head over to the funeral home, I reached behind my passenger seat to grab my bottle of holy water. It was frozen solid! I'm glad I had checked before showing up at the cemetery because then it would have been too late to thaw the sacramental.

The funeral home director, a parishioner, got a kick out of the "click, click" sound the bottle made as I used it to sprinkle the coffin and grave site. Yes, a little remaining ice in the bottle gave some sound effects as we honored the dead and invoked faith in the Resurrection today. We are just lucky that I noticed the problem in time. Had I not, I guess I would have had to resort to "smearing" holy water at the time of blessing.
Less than Sonic speed
That's the answer in case you were wondering how long it takes to get a Dr. Pepper at Sonic. Today, for the second time in as many months, I have placed a rather simple order at Sonic -- a Dr. Pepper -- which has taken an extraordinarily long time to fulfill.

The first time I waited about 15 minutes, watching those who had ordered after me get food before me. Today, it took about 10 minutes. But today came with a postive catch. I had ordered the Dr. Pepper using a coupon for a free drink given by our school's Principal to all the teachers. When my drink finally came out, the lady said, "That took a long time. Just keep your coupon."

Woohoo! That'll be two free Dr. Peppers when I get around to using the coupon again!
This story is a case of taking "When in Rome, do as the Romans do," to its extremes...
Of Course Not.

Of course that sort of speeding is not reckless. After all, the driver simply broke the laws of man, physics, and God, along with bending the living tar out of design parameters of the vehicle, and to mention totally disregarded the safety of himself, the other drivers, the troopers, and any and all fauna which might have made its way onto the interstate. But he wasn't being reckless, was he?
"I walk the line" will never seem the same to me...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

This is a whole different spin on "Diamonds are Forever." Let's just hope de Boers doesn't get any crazy ideas.

Needless to say, this doesn't constitute a valid way to dispose of a body.
My own Stem Cells / curing disease ...

Once again, anyone care to guess why this procedure is illegal in the U.S.? Can you say profiteering?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Prepare the way of the Lord!
Some great Advent preparations are going on around the Catholic world these days. My parish had its Advent Penance Rite last night. We had five visiting priests plus me to assist with confessions. The priests had a nice dinner beforehand and some time to relax and fraternize. And the most important thing of all was the some 140 people (I estimate) who attended the rite and were able to have individual confession! The gospel this past Sunday noted about the results of John the Baptist's work: "People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him ... as they acknowledged their sins" (cf. Mk. 1:1-8). Now I am not claiming that all the inhabitants of Kingfisher and environs came out to confession, but 140 is a great showing. Repentance is such an important work, or way of life, for Christians!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Clarification on Plenary Indulgence for December 8th
We earlier posted on the Plenary Indulgence that can be gained for oneself or for the souls in Purgatory on this December 8th. As I have been reading the comment box on that original post, I think some clarification is needed on what is required to obtain an indulgence.

Here are the conditions attached to the reception of an indulgence:
1. Completion of some prayer, good work, or devotion to which the Pope (and in some cases a bishop) grants an indulgence.
2. Reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (usually within a week (before or after) of the indulgenced action (#1 above).
3. Worthy reception of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.
4. Prayer for the Pope's intentions as Pastor of the Universal Church.
5. Total detachment from the attraction to all sin.

These are the normal conditions for receiving an indulgence. Now, let's look at what is going on this year on December 8th.

It is true that Catholics already have an obligation to attend a December 8th Mass in honor of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mere attendance at Mass does not fulfill the requirements for the indulgence offered this year. But I would suggest, in my reading of the Vatican-released text regarding this year's indulgence, that attendance at Mass does fulfill part of #1 above. I do not read in the Vatican text that one must attend some other function or attend some non-Mass prayer form in order to fulfill #1. The Vatican text states that the indulgence applies to the faithful who attend some sacred rite in honor of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and who also fulfill the other conditions for the indulgence. So, if you attend a December 8th Mass (as is a Catholic's obligation) and fulfill the other conditions, a plenary indulgence is granted this year.

Using the numeration above, here is what I see in the Vatican declaration for one who is interested in receiving the indulgence under normal conditions (read: this is not necessarily meant to apply to those who are homebound and unable to get to church):

1. Attendance at some sacred rite in honor of the BVM on the solemnity (Mass would fulfill this; one could attend other functions in her honor too, but, it must be clear, that those would in no way replace the Mass) and praying the Creed, the Our Father, and some invocation/prayer in Mary's honor (Hail Mary, Salve Regina, Rosary, etc.).
2. Confession at some point before or after December 8th, within a week of the solemnity.
3. Worthy reception of the Holy Eucharist (the December 8th Mass would meet this nicely).
4. Saying prayers for the Pope's intentions.
5. Being detached from all attraction to sin.

My read is that the bottom line is that attendance at a December 8th Mass with the other prayers listed in #1, plus the other normal conditions listed in #s 2-4, would fulfill the requirements for this year's Plenary Indulgence.

I hope this clears up some of the confusion. Let's all go after this indulgence with pious devotion!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Double Book Recommendation

As last week was dedicated to the recovery from tryptophan-induced comas, I didn't post a book recommendation ... that and since no one commented on my previous suggestion, I was tempted to not recommending anything and see who would say what. Leaving that aside, this Friday, you are getting two books. Call it a Advent Preparation Bonus.

Book #1: Surprised by Truth 2

Synopsis -- In this slim volume, we hear the story of many converts and reverts making the leap across the Tiber into the Fullness of the Christian Faith. Its general editor, Pat Madrid, has assembled a wide range of personal history and experiences which all led to the conversion of the particular person. Through all of these stories we see how God brings salvation to all through the various pathways of history and time.

Significance -- I think that this book is important to read because we see the reasonableness of professing the Faith. Each and every turn of personal history actually exists as a gentle nudge and prompting to assent to the presence of God in our midst. Therefore, when we feel / sense our zeal flagging, these kinds of stories help us to re-claim the good which we first apprehended in becoming Catholic.

Book #2: Wood of the Cradle, Wood of the Cross

Synopsis -- Caryll Houselander discusses the deeper meaning of the Incarnation in his brief and excellent book. The main thesis is that because of the Incarnation's nature as act of self-emptying love, Christ's cross, in a certain sense, begins in the cradle rather than merely on Good Friday. It really illuminates the whole nature of self-giving and the unity of Christ's mission from beginning to end.

Significance -- As my synopsis above suggests, this book is a ready antidote to the "rush to Christmas" notion we have in our culture currently. I think also it helps readers to make the link between the two sides of Advent: the cross bridges the wood of the Cradle (the first Advent) and the Coming in Glory (the second Advent).
"If I were Dominican, / Then I would be the advisor to the Pope."

With all due apologies to Clay Aiken and to Fr. Wojciech, O.P., this is great news for the Church and for the order of Friars Preachers.