Sunday, May 30, 2004

Pentecost 2004: The Wave that Changes Everything in its Path

One night in Bangkok and corpses gets picked clean

When I think of Bangkok, I don't think of being eaten by small fish. But apparently, it's a concern. Thai Police Warn of Piranhas in Bangkok

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Theology on Tap

Yes, that's exactly what I wanted to be associated with, a keg of beer. Actually, it is the effort of one of our dedicated reporters for the diocesan newspaper for her parish in OKC. Specifically, she has taken it upon herself (Bravo! to Cara) to create some programming for young adults. I will be speaking on Tuesday night on Apologetics, what is it, and answering some specific questions and issues. Here is the list that I received as preparation for the talk. They want to know:
*Baptism- Why we do not completely submerge people being baptized?
*Why do we worship Mary and the Saints? (We don't and if you are, you better stop. This makes God mighty peeved...)
*Why do we pray to statues? (Ah, we don't. What are they doing at this parish?)
*Why do we need prayer beads to pray? (Because you have a body)
*Why do we use incenses? ( That's a long story but it has to do with the Exodus in part)
*What about the bells during Mass? (There's more to this than waking up the crowd I'll tell you what)
*Why do we believe the Pope is infallible? What is that concept?
(It's both startling and pretty modest)

It looks to be fun. Will post results of my efforts later. I also love the irony of the talk taking place on the feast of St. Justin Martyr.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Dude, I was napping...?!

A rather miraculous story all in all. I would be interested in finding out if there were any long term medical effects noted. Boy starts breathing as he's prepared for funeral
Let the Springtime Bloom

Once again, Peter has to stregthen the resolve of his brothers. I love the fact that this elderly man has yet to forget what his task is. I hope the bishops will act in a responsive way to this plea.Read more about it here:Yahoo! News - Pope Worries About 'Soulless' U.S. Life

Please note folks, we want to appeal [i.e. make a compelling case to/for] youth not be appealing [i.e. water down the faith so that we can sing ditties around the altar during Mass].

Jayd Neely (now Br. Joseph, I think) on the day of his vesting as a Carmelite Brother
Posted by Hello

This is my first effort at Photoblogging. I am still pretty new to it, but it is a free feature of Blogger, so exploit it, kids!
What a Novelty!

Here's a crazy notion. Actually teach kids to practice and understand what the content of the Faith is and they will react positively. I am giving all the credit to reversion 2.0: catholic immersion schools for finding this. It sounds like reversion's author and my sister would get along fine. They are products of the same catechetical environment, and it always fascinates me when I go over to my sister's house (or "crib" so Fr. H can expand his hip-hop vocab) and we can get into a long, free-wheeling discussion of some element of the Faith based on a throw away comment from a seminary text book. And why does this conversation happen? In her words, "we were never taught this."

I would suggest too going to the NPR site and listening to the actual story. Try to hold back the gag reflex though. I have found the on air reporters are the epitome of snide condescension.
To finally say "no"

When sin becomes such a part of one's life, it can be like a drug. It can distort your perceptions so that you will never turn it out of the room it has made in your inmost self. But one day, you wake up and say "no." You realize that this can't work anymore. And then begins the real darkness, navigating a world you never thought could exist. It would be like waking up one day on the surface of Venus.

With this in mind, slide over to Scattered Words: homosexuality and the ex-gay movement and give this guy some support. The posts are brutal and frank and unflinching. If he gets the chance to read this post, I want him to know that I am praying for him and for his continued conversion.
How Heavy Rests the Miter

In Church history, there are lots of times, sad to say, when various clerics of the Church don't let their ontology show through. One can think back to Arian heresy when many bishops defected from the normative Faith to follow a substitute. Or, recall the flap in England over Henry VIII's claims to be head of the Church. Only one bishop didn't sign off on this proposition, St. John Fisher. The rest did and who remembers them? And there are several other notable events as well.

I bring this up because it is my firm belief that this is where the Church in the United States is headed. It is going to come down to a decision to either hold to the whole (the basic meaning of the word "catholic" i.e. according to the whole) or fake it and become the American Catholic Church and follow the trail currently being blazed by the Episcopalians. Here's a case in point that I found (okay, stole from Mark Shea's comments box) that illustrates what the fight might look like. Would Cardinal George deny Holy Communion to Bishop Pilla?

The story also makes me glad to be in the archdiocese of Oklahoma City.
More on Cardinal Law

I have been interested to see how many bloggers reacted to the appointment of Cardinal Law as the archpriest of St. Mary Major in Rome. What has interested me is how like CNN and others the comments have sounded. Now, what is about to follow is not to minimize the ineptitude of Cardinal Law in the matters of Boston, not only the clerical sex abuse scandal, but also the generally lackluster way the Faith was practiced in the Archdiocese. On the second point, I have no first hand encounters with this, but is gathered from those on the scene. So scream at them and not at me.

1. Forgiveness must always be operative. Even the person of Cardinal Law, if he is contrite and seeks to make amends, can receive forgiveness. Many people feel as though that is a cop-out. "He must pay," the cries resound, but ask yourself, how can he repay all the harm he has done? Will his being sent to prison restore the broken children? Will he being personally sued and being forced to pay up bring vigor to the life of the diocese? No on both. He will have to work out these "repayments" in penance and sacrifice and it will be very hard for us to see. I would suspect that if he paraded his contrition in the streets, no one would take it seriously anyway, so why do it? I think, I suspect, that why this bothers people so is it demonstrates the reality of forgiveness. However it happened, if he went to the Holy Father for confession or to his personal confessor, he now is returned to the work of the Church, albeit in a lesser light.
For more and better wisdom on this point, cf. Mark Shea's recent post.

2. This is not such a cushy position. The hew and cry has been that this is a big, cushy job. Ah, not quite. It is a ceremonial position and that's it. He gets to dress up for various functions at the basilica. For those who want to see more of a punishing assignment, ask yourself this question. Would you want him in charge of another diocese? Perhaps yours? In the end, the man remains in disgrace, going from the head of one of the largest and most venerable dioceses in the U.S. to the titular king of a basilica. No matter how ancient and magnificent it is (it's my favorite of the patriarchal basilicas), it is still a major demotion.
For more and better information, cf. Fr. Johansen's recent post.
We could only be so lucky...

Yahoo! News - Radcliffe Suspects Potter Will Die

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Father SMASH!

Courtesy of Jake, this image apparently made him think of me. I don't know why. Most people like me...except when I get angry. You wouldn't like me, when I'm angry.

It's too bad we don't have propritary rights for this otherwise it would end up on one of our t-shirts.
Back to Work

It looks like Cardinal Law has been given a new assignment. As long as there is no heavy lifting, he should do just fine.
Habemus Librum!

For those who are interested, the new book selection is posted at A Dusty, Sunny Corner. It's a seasonal tribute read that I think everyone will enjoy.
It's all in the words you choose.

Politics is both the art of the possible and the art of re-framing discussions by changing language. The Abortion debate often revolves around "blobs of tissue" and the "termination of pregnancy." It makes it sound all the sweeter or at least, non threatening. American Sign Language cannot mess around with such delicacy.

Thanks to Edge of the Precipe for this link. Look on the ASL Browser and scroll down to the word "abortion." The movie will show how the sign word is performed. I wonder if this is why we never see a deaf interpreter, translating these debates. People would immediately understand what was happening in an abortion. Reach in and throw it away.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

"The wolf shall dwell with the lamb..."
This description of the order and peace of God's holy mountain (Is. 11) is an apt image of my brief halting of hostilities toward Fr. Tharp even though the fatwa remains (following his placing my head on that dancing figure). Why call off the campaign against Fr. Tharp? Because today is his anniversary of ordination. It was four years ago today that the hands of the Most Reverend Eusebius J. Beltran, a successor of the apostles and Metropolitan Archbishop of Oklahoma City, consecrated Fr. Tharp a priest forever! Congratulations, Fr. Tharp, faithful priest, valued brother, man of vision, and alpha-male ragemonkey!

Again, I remind readers that Fr. Tharp's ordination took place the year AFTER mine. That's AFTER! That makes him my junior by ordination year.
Ways to Spruce Up EWTN

Not that the place needs that much sprucing up, but some new and different programming might be good. Here are my two ideas. First, I could host a cooking show called "Feast of Faith." It could be all about the food traditions of the Catholic Church. During the show, I could interview folks about the various traditions and then prepare something in the kitchen. Second, I could host a game show where all the questions are about various dimensions of the faith. I don't have a snappy name yet.

Do you think they would go for it?
I will volunteer, if you will just get the gun out of my face!

When I initially saw the headline, my gut clinched. Glad to see it was a different kind of pride. Clint Eastwood Is Spokesman for Take Pride
The Significance of Dates

As a Christian, I don't believe in things like fate or destiny, but I do believe that God arranges things to fit the plan of salvation. That's better known as providence. I was reflecting once on how you can get a shape of someone's life by looking at the dates of significant occurances.

For example, today is the fourth anniversary of my ordination to the Priesthood. When I discovered the convergent dates, I was most pleased. I remember one of my seminary professors saying of this date, "He's a good friend to priests and he suits you." As I read more on St. Philip, there is a certain truthfulness to my priest friend's observation. More to the point, because this saint comes up on the calendar, he serves as a reminder. When the date is bare, it is harder, in my opinion, to get fired-up or attached to the date. When you have a saint to compare notes against, you know how much you need to be converted again to the Gospel.
It's a bad sign

It's a bad sign when one can say that the Christian faith is better practiced in the U.S. than in Europe. The squabbling over the EU constitution gives a perfect example. See here.
I'm such a vulture!
The ink on the press release of the closing of several parishes in the Archdiocese of Boston isn't even dry yet and I have already called the Boston Chancery inquiring about purchasing stained glass from closed parishes. You see, my parish is St. Peter and my ears perked up when I heard that a St. Peter parish in Boston will be closing. If it is affordable (it will have to be VERY affordable) and would make my church more beautiful, I want to dream about utilizing it in some way. We shall see...

I have some updates for those who read "A Dusty, Sunny Corner" and "Apologize and Don't Be Sorry."

First, due to my vacation, we won't be discussing The Second Coming any further. A new book will start in June and I will post information about it today. Go there now.

Second, I added an observation to my post on Contraception that will be at turns Orwellian and Swiftian. See it now at Apologize and Don't Be Sorry.
May 26th, The Memorial of St. Philip Neri

"There is nothing which gives greater security to our actions, or more effectively cuts the snares the devil lays for us, than to follow another person's will, rather than our own, in doing good...When the devil has failed in making man fall, he puts forward all his energies to create distrust between the penitent and the confessor, and so little by little he gains his end at last...Obedience is the true holocaust which we sacrifice to God on the altar of our hearts... The good works which we do of our own will are not so meritorious as those that are done under obedience... When tribulations, infirmities, and contradictions come, we must not run away in a fright, but vanquish them like men. It is not enough to see that God wishes the good we aim at, but that he wishes it through our instumentality, in our manner and in our time; and we may come to discern all this by true obedience."
From If God Be With Us: The Maxims of St. Philip Neri, Fr. F. Faber, ed., Gracewing, U.K.

It's for stuff like this that I subscribe to Magnificat.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Holding out for a hero!

Just when folks thought that Bishop Olmstead, future Cardinal Archbishop of L.A., was going soft on us, it looks like the media got it wrong. SHOCK!

Read here. It will make you feel good to be a Catholic.
It has huge pointy teeth!

This occurs while a theatrical release of "Holy Grail" is being planned. I smell synergy...
Color me confused.

I don't see the need for this station. After all, isn't MTV pro-homosexual all the time anyway? What will set this apart? Never-ending loop of Culture Club's "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?" playing? Perhaps, the theme from the "Crying Game" is just a bit obvious.
The Long Last Hurdle

For those who love and respect Fr. Benedict Groeschel, I want to give you some good news. He's home. He's out of the nursing center and back at the retreat house. Praise God.

For those living under a rock for the last year, Fr. Benedict was involved in a most serious auto accident, i.e. he got hit by a car. He was very near death on several occasions but God didn't want him yet. That has been my persistent fear when I face my death; Heaven won't have me and Hell is afraid I will take over.

You can consult the website for more information. Let us keep him in our prayers in this still difficult time.
For the next two weeks, I am on pins and needles!

Why you ask? Because I received an email from Ignatius Press. They said that I should hear something in the next two weeks. I must admit that doesn't sound promising, but given the state of anxiety I have been under, it will be good to hear one way or the other. And this could be the solution for High School R.E. as well.

Keep praying, folks!
When the world wants to make you cry, rage, clown, rage!

Many grateful thanks to the great Cacciaguiada for helping me satisify my jonesing for Opera. He really gave me more than enough information to get started. If you want to learn more about Opera, go here.

I am glad to see that my instincts to listen to Bryn Terfel in my burgeoning opera quest were well-founded.
New Stuff @ Apologize and Don't Be Sorry

Check out the riffs on Hell.
It's a Small World and it's only 6000 years old!

I meant to mention this earlier on, but never got the choice. Apparently, Fundamentalists are taking a cue from Ned Flanders' PraiseLand. A concerned group has created a creationist themed park. See more about it here.

On a related note, this kind of stuff is what kept me from becoming a Baptist. When someone in my Latin class, who was a Baptist, said that the dinosaur bones found in the earth were placed there by God as a "test of our faith," I knew that I had made the right decision to become a Catholic.

For all those properly thrown back, you should sign up for this as soon as possible.
Stupid Blog Tricks

Here's your shot at fame and a mouse pad. David Letterman is accepting submissions for his famous top-ten lists. Let's see if the blogosphere can be to achieve world domination one T.V. show at a time.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Fr. Tharp goes to the source!

The sixth book written, you're nevertheless the first chronologically. You not only describe the creation of Narnia and tell where the White Witch, the lampost and the wardrobe came from, you get to bounce between worlds with the help of Uncle Andrew's weird magic rings.

Find out which Chronicles of Narnia book you are.

The Active Life?

In the religious life, there is a distinction made between the active and the contemplative life. But this is not what they had in mind. I suspect this will elict a phone call ... or a fatwa.
No, Not That?!

I think that the terrorists are getting desparate or dumber.
Searching for the Shrieking Monkey

During a recent Google search, I found someone who linked to our explanation of the name "Ragemonkey" and it had an awesome picture of a shreiking chimpanzee. That would be so cool to feature here. So if you are reading this and you know where it is, email me. NOW!

Update: Found it, Slackers! It was waiting patiently to be rediscovered at conjectures of a guilty seminarian. I believe that the author is an Anglican, but I could be mistaken. He certainly has good taste in art either way you slice it. Here's what the shrieking monkey looks like:

Now, that's a T-shirt I would pay big bucks for.
The Sudden Relevance of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Frequent readers of CRM know that I am a major, science-fiction geek. Given this, I have been enjoying the re-runs of DS9 on Spike, and that is the only thing I have enjoyed on Spike. The rest of the channel is drek dedicated to the exploitation of men and women. It exploits men by convincing them that being a pig is acceptable behavior; it exploits women by making them the target of piggish behavior. But that is for another post.

For those unfamiliar with DS9, the story revolves around the liberation of Bajor from the Cardassian Empire and the re-building of Bajor and the restoration of their culture. Starfleet enters into the picture to help defend the people of Bajor. During the occupation of Bajor, the inhabitants opposed the Cardassian presence through acts of civil disobedience and terrorism. And did I mention that slave labor was employed to build both the space station and to process ore from the planet?

It is ironic that this series should come back now as the people of our fair land debate and argue, and some even die, to defend a people and to restore justice -- at least this is the theory in play.

Throughout the history of the Star Trek franchise, various species are meant to represent political or philosophical models. But the question that haunts and troubles me is: are we the Bajorians or the Cardassians? It might be too easy to think of ourselves as Starfleet.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

From the Shameless Commerce Divison of Catholic Ragemonkey

This was the evil plot of Techmonkey Dave and Techmonkey Buddy Steph to promote this blog in the real world. Go to The Ragemonkey Store and order your gear. We have T-shirts, coffee mugs, and other fun stuff. Face it; I couldn't stand Ratzinger Fan Club cornerning the market of collectible stuff.

Before you think I am funding my future trips to Europe, all the proceeds will go to support Rachel's Vineyard, both at the National and Local [Oklahoma] level, and Catholic Answers.

Take some time and sample our wares.
What the hell?!
I'm sorry folks. I know that's not the strongest or worst language around. I also know this post's title may startle a few people. But I can say nothing else than what you read above when I read the following in the Sunday edition of The Oklahoman newspaper: "Gay rodeo set for Memorial Day." There actually is an organization called the Oklahoma Gay Rodeo Association, part of the International Gay Rodeo Association. The article says, "The rodeo is one of the largest events in Oklahoma City's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community." I think this ridiculous event is definitely deserving of a loud, "What the hell?!"
Oh, now THIS is good!
I don't know if I have heard mention of this site before, but I think it will need to be linked from our blog, perhaps in its own "MONKEY LIKE..." section. We'll see.
The Ascension Dissension
Okay, so today, Sunday, is Ascension Thursday, at least it is from this particular ecclesiastical territory. But, it is the Seventh Sunday of Easter for the ecclesiastical Provinces of Boston, Hartford, New York, Newark, Philadelphia, Washington, and the State of Nebraska. And that's just the Catholic Church in the United States. Whatever! I have no idea what goofy things the bishops of other countries have done with this particular feast. (Have I sufficiently betrayed my leaning on this matter?).

Now I don't pretend to even know some of the reasons why the US bishops have agreed to disagree on this solemnity. I've never checked the record of their debate on the matter; I really don't care -- it won't change my thinking on this particular matter (and since this is not a matter requiring the obedience of faith, I can say the above in all honesty while avoiding silly charges of lack of fidelity or, worse, schism). I imagine one of the reasons floated for the transfer of Ascension Thursday to Sunday was that the work force in the modern world is increasingly unable to have the free time needed to attend various Church services and programs during the week. So, I am sure the bishops view it as a pastoral move to transfer the Ascension to Sunday, so that more of the faithful may be exposed to that particular mystery. Those are laudable concerns.

But I disagree with the resulting decisions of the majority of the bishops in the US. In general, I think it is silly to move solemnities around. And of all the solemnities to move, I disagree most vociferously with this move in particular. Scripture is clear that the time from the Resurrection to the Ascension was a period of forty days. Why mess up that timetable? Furthermore, we lose connection with the sense of a novena when the nine day period properly existing between the Ascension and Pentecost is taken from us. In general, the bishops' transferring to Sunday of certain solemnities that fall on weekdays has, I think, weakened the Catholic sensibility toward the sacred progression of time that is not limited only to Sundays and has removed a long-standing distinguishing mark of the Catholic: they go to Church even when it's not Sunday or Wednesday (Imagine!).

I would think the most obvious criticism of the Ascension's transfer would be that there is now a disparity with Sacred Scripture and its accounting of the Ascension happening forty days after the Resurrection. That objection is noted and convincing. However, an objection that comes to my mind today is something that was running about my head as I celebrated Ascension Masses this weekend. As many of you know, the Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer I) has certain special forms of the prayer used for certain feasts (Christmas, Holy Thursday, Easter, Epiphany, Pentecost, etc.). The Ascension is one of those feasts with a special form (the 'Communicantes'). That special form of the Roman Canon's Communicantes for the Ascension reads: "In union with the whole Church we celebrate that day when your Son, our Lord, took his place with you and raised our frail human nature to glory" (emphasis mine). (This same comment can also be used with other solemnities that have been transfered, which have a special 'communicantes' form). Now I used the Roman Canon and the special form for all of my Masses this weekend. But as I prayed that, darting about in my head, was the obvious objection that, NO, in fact, WE (in this ecclesiastical Province and many others in the US) ARE NOT in union with the whole Church on this matter's celebration. And there are so many other objections to this silly transfer. It really bugs me.

Only in the Church could a Thursday fall on a Sunday!

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Group Quest, Folks!

Kayla brought up an interesting point in the comments area. Does anyone have a good book for High School R.E.? I am working on a youth group program based on the Catechism but that sucker is at least 3-4 years down the line. So what do you do?
Blog & Jerry's Ice Cream

It should indicate how my mind works, but this crossed my mind on my way to celebrate Mass in Waynoka. Wouldn't it be funny if we could find someone to market ice cream flavors based on members of St. Blog's Parish and other parts of the Blogosphere?

Seriously. For example, you could have Caramel Ragemonkey, a wonderful melange of banana and chocolate ice cream with a ribbon of caramel, studded with chunks of jalepenos. Another natural would be Cashew-iguida, a delightful vanilla ice cream flavored with roasted cashews. Chocolate and Enjoying It! is a great example of truth in advertising and given Mark's home is in Seattle, it would have chocolate-covered coffee beans in it. Peppermint Patty is a no-brainer. Catholic Packer Fan would be Tiramisu-flavored so that you can keep the connection with cheese. Okay, one more. Wouldn't you knock down a little old lady to get the last tub of Almond de Fe, an amaretto ice cream with chunks of almonds throughout.

Remember, when this stuff shows up at your local Mega-lo Mart, you heard it here first. I have copywrite on all these titles.
Nah, this isn't the right town. It's a Shelbyville kind of idea.

Sorry, if the quote is quite right. But it's still funny...
Sit sdown, Mom! The mob has spoken.

Got this through of all places.
A Vote of Approval

Occasionally, in the life of a pastor, you receive a note of affirmation for what you have done. I received this note on Wednesday attached to a plate of cookies. Here's what it says: "Father, thank you so much for all of the wonderful "structural" changes that have been made to the R.E. program. Our children have learned so much. The new books [I switched the parish to Ignatius Press series, Image of God] were a great asset to the program. Thanks again and God Bless."
Paging Cacciaguida, paging Maestro Cacciaguida

Like my fascination with chess, my desire to better appreciate opera is born of a form of snobbery. As a person who styles himself as well-educated, opera specifically, and classical music in general, is something I should have a better grasp on than I do. But I have a major disability. I must see an opera to appreciate it. Listening to CDs of the opera I have seen does nothing to help me out. But I am starting out again with a different approach.

About a month ago, I mentioned how much I am enjoying a CD featuring Renee Fleming and Bryn Terfel. I also have an album of Terfel singing Handel arias, and that one is really marvelous. So, the plan is to play to celebrity. I will get my prehensile feet on some of the operas he has done. I am currently bidding on a copy of "Elijah" on EBay and would like to score a copy of "Don Giovanni" with Terfel playing either Giovanni or il Leporello. I will keep you posted.

If you are reading this Cacciaguida, any suggestions would be appreciated.
From the mixed blessings file

I love stories like this, but make sure you are at least .5 hours away from your last meal. And folks with hair trigger gag reflexes should skip it altogether.

For what...bad hair, bad movies? Nah, a mildly serious matter concerning race. But on the other hand, there is a point to be made. When African-Americans don't have many good role models, whose fault is that? And if they don't have good role models, doesn't that potentially lead to the desire to find or to make proper role models? On the second question, I would suspect the answer is "no" because being a good role model takes work and no one's into that right now.
Yahoo! News - Cats Blamed for Starting Kan. House Fire

I told you they couldn't be trusted.
Fr. Sibley has some 'splaining to do....

I love the fact that the counties in Louisiana are called 'parishes.' I can't wait to see how long it will take Fr. S. to reply to this post.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Those who do not gather with me, scatter.

This whole scenario with the bishops has me a mite worried. Is this what the martyrs died for? Is this what great doctors taught for? The bishop has the responsibility to hold all Catholics of his diocese accountable to the teachings of the Church. It's what a good shepherd does; he directs the flock away from danger and strives to lead them safely home. In most normal circumstances, this is acheived by simply preaching the faith and directing the priests to do the same.

But when the matter becomes public, then the gloves are off. From the very earliest days of the Church, those who notoriously sinned in a public fashion, if they wouldn't repent, found themselves excommunicated. Why? Because the scandal of the act ran the risk of letting the others astray. In other words, to refuse to correct and to discipline the faithful, the scandalous member can take the place of the proper shepherd. This leads to a slow suffication, where the clear oxygen of Christ's teaching is substituted with the carbon monoxide of dissent and error. What saddens me most is that the scandal is some quarters is that the bishops spoke up, not the collaboration who put to death millions of members of my generation.

Just as if any of my parishioners came to me and said, "I love abortion. I think it is great," there would be the first steps, namely investigation and engagement. But if the resistance was obstinate, then I would have no choice. The person who have to be excluded from communion and told not to present themselves until such a time as they would repent. Now, some will say, "But Father, this person could simply lie to you, and therefore, be admitted back to communion." True enough. I have to take folks at their word; thankfully, the final judgment will sort those things out for us.

The key to the argument is this. The bishops must demonstrate to the politicians in question, and the world at large, that the moral evil of abortion can be based upon the natural law so that the politicians and the world cannot make the argument that this is merely a matter for religious observance. Then the politician is forced to accept the fact that he has betrayed the common good he was sworn to uphold.

Sorry if this is a little rambling...I just needed to spew some venom at the problem.
Am I being too impatient?

As many readers know, I sent off a submission copy of my new adult formation program, The Borromeo Project, to Ignatius Press about two months ago. I haven't heard nothing. Is this normal? How long do I wait before I send an email inquiry? Any clues?
Episcopalian Self-Destruction Notice #1

In case you were wondering if there was any hope for the Episcopalians, this picture should end it.

I got it from Ex-Pagan, but could'nt find a news story. Anyone else see/hear about this?

At The Movies: Van Helsing a.k.a. The Anti-Passion

Roger Ebert once wrote what I think is the most brilliant fisking of a movie in a review. The film in question was the Rob Reiner movie "North", starring Elijah Wood et al. This is what he had to say about it:
"I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it." Read the whole review here. This statement crystalizes exactly my attitude toward Van Helsing.

Did I like anything about this movie? One thing only. Kate Beckinsale is very attractive and the filmakers took every step to make sure she was alluring without being trampy.

The film struck me like watching someone play a video game. The effects abound but add nothing to the film. Think back on how the battle scenes in LOTR:TFOTR looked. They spread the canvas of the film open to everything the book suggests through words, even though you knew it was fakery. I could never get over the degree of fakery involved in this story. If they had animated the whole thing they might have made a better movie.

Also, I found the presentation of the Catholic Church particularly offensive and irritating. For instance, the movie depicts that under St. Peter's there is a vast weapons lab where the Church fights evil. No reference to prayer, or fasting, or anything of a spiritual nature. Anyone care to guess what the not-so-subtle subtext is? The Church is only able to fight evil with money and power, and there are like the evil they fight. Dracula has got some serious undead bling-bling going on. Also, the Vatican employs lots of other religions help them build the weapons to fight evil, demonic beings. After all, our James Bond character, as Van Helsing is depicted, must engage in syncretism since all religions are equally good. Then the theological confusion continues onward as the plot revolves around a noble family whose patriarch damns everyone to PURGATORY unless they kill Dracula. If you can't figure out the error, hie thee to your catechism. Lastly, there is an exchange between Van Helsing and the friar (Don't ask which order. I couldn't figure it out) which leads to a very tasteless moment. In the lab, the friar utters some curse word, and Van Helsing, in jest, says, "You can't say that. You're a monk." The friar replies, "Yes, I can. I'm a friar not a monk." Later, after said friar helps to save a buxom woman, she asks how she can repay him. He whispers in her ear, and she pulls back, in shock, and says, "You can't do that. You're a monk." The friar says, "Actually, I'm a friar." The next scene we find them in bed together. So Maria Monk and Jack Chick are apparently ghostwriting for Hollywood now.

The rest of the movie proceeds as one would expect. In the end, the movie only conveys one truth. In the battle against evil, virtue, sacrifice, and the Passion of Christ have no power. Only the ability to do violence and kick booty matter. I guess this match goes to Satan since this has been his line from the beginning.

Overall review: 1 out of 5 bananas.
Feeling Juvenile

I hated this game in grade school, but the internet makes it an equal footing.

The Mighty Geek
has given us an all-new, time-wasting game to play. What you do is post that someone else is "it" by linking to their site. Then that person acknowledges the tag by linking back to the "tagger" and then tags someone else by linking to a new site. It will form an interesting chain to see 1.) who takes part and 2.) who reads whose blogs. Also, no tag-backs. You can only go forward from here.

So, with no further ado, TAG, you're IT!
Qualifications of Overkill

When I was in the seminary, folks used to make fun of Germaine Grisez's proposition that it could be sinful to own a pet if one uses the animal as something more than simply a housepet, e.g. offspring substitute. However, I could understand his point, up to a point. I had certainly met people who treated their dogs better than their kids if they had kids.

Recently, it came to my attention that a friend of mine has a dog that is quite old and she is submitting the animal to major surgery. The dog has something wrong with its reproductive organs and therefore, bleeds intermittently. So this means a hysterectomy which is no more involved than having the dog spayed, from what I am told. In the interim, the dog is wearing "Bitch's Britches." Yes, that is the brand name and it is a real product. Look here if you don't believe this silverback. It looks like a combination thong and diaper for the dog. At least this friend's daughter has forsworn thong bikinis based on how often the dog's slips off or get twisted around its legs.

On top of that, the dog has high blood pressure so the dog is going on BLOOD PRESSURE MEDICATION, an ACEI (angiotensin-cortosol enzyme inhibitor). This is the same stuff that I take. Now, usually, ACEIs are administered with a diuretic because fluid acculmulation is normal with them. So, I think I am going to suggest a doggie door be installed. Otherwise, they will be opening the door every two minutes to let the dog out.

But is it just me or is this silly? The dog is quite old and is headed to the pet cemetary very soon. The operation and medicine are quite expensive and the person in question really can't afford it. Perhaps there is something to Dr. Grisez's point. The dog is a nice thing but you have to have priorities.
A few good links

Links?! You can't handle our links!

Sorry, momentarily channeled Jack Nicholson there...

Here are few links I just added:
1. Theology Pool Party [This blog might prove really interesting reading as it covers Catholic News and Views from Austrailia. Someone strike up "Waltzing Matilda."]
2. Mixolydian Mode
3. Catholic Nerd Blog [This blog is so darned funny you will have to set aside a full Saturday just to reading the archive.]
4. Being! or Nothingness

As is the policy of the blog, if you link us, we will link you. If we missed you, please email me and I will get you set up ASAP. I occasionally check with Google who gives good but not perfect results. This is my way of saying the omissions of linked persons is completely accidental.
Habemus Tomati et Flores!

Yes, in my absence the tomato plant has been working over time. There was a tiny green tomamto nestled between the branches. In addition, there are several clusters of yellow flowers which are the warm-up to extra fruit.

I can't WAIT until the wonderous tasty objects appear.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

In the Spirit of the Oxford English Dictionary

The Oxford English Dictionary employs an unique hermeneutic when composing its definitions. Rather than limiting how the word is used, the dictionary's editorial staff looks for and tracks all the ways the word has been used. They do this by employing volunteer readers who search for illustrative uses of the word in print and give the quote to explain it. A special pleasure for the readers of the O.E.D. is finding earlier examples of this or that word used. The Germans are especially passionate from this form of literary archeology.

I guess it is the German side of my personality coming out, but I must contradict Fr. Hamilton when he claims the first use of the term "liturgical bling-bling." I found this earlier use in the internet literature. You will need to scroll down a bit to find the place.

Some will dispute the citation in that it uses the prefix word "papal" rather than "liturgical," but after consultation with the author, I think it would stand. 1. The pope's vesture and regalia have some connection to the liturgy or on display only during the liturgy, hence the word "papal" can mean related to papal liturgy. 2. This was the author's intention, i.e. the papal regalia for Mass was intended in the given comment.
I've got a word for it now!
Today I combined an ecclesial word with a pop-culture word to describe certain items in use at many American parishes (thankfully, not my own). You've seen them, I know. At some point in the last few decades the Church in this country decided en masse that laity exercising certain roles at Holy Mass needed to be distinguished by the wearing of certain necklaces featuring their role. It is also abundantly clear that these necklaces and medals must be as brutish in appearance as possible and lacking all good taste. You have seen these crappy items hanging from the necks of altar servers, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, ushers, and lectors. My word for them? LITURGICAL BLING-BLING!
Geez, Louise!
It's only 84 degrees and his pixie is already shirtless! Now, granted, I'm not sure my pixie's poofy, Sonny Bono-esque, "I've got you, Babe!" shirt gives me much higher moral ground on which to stand, however, it is more modest.

By the way, I love Techmonkey Dave's idea of somehow altering (or is that altaring!) the pixies so that they appear in cassock. If we manage to do that, perhaps they could don surplices on solemnities!
Things that make you go 'hmmm'

In the name of playing catch-up since the vacation/pilgrimage to the East Coast, I have been blogsurfing ('blurfing' for the neologism crowd) and finding things that I missed. Here's something from Mark Shea that I found interesting.

I have been most concerned about the situation in North Korea and its madman leader. This guy is a special kind of crazy and thankfully that explosion set back his destructive agenda.

But that begs the question. Does this mean that N. Korea is a bigger threat than Iraq? Just some food for thought.
Being! Or Nothingness

Check out this ambitious new blog. It has the spicy aroma of Albacete and Guisanni swirling about it, so this makes it a potential must read. Thanks to Dom Bettinelli for the link.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Fellowship of the Link

Just as the herbs and the tomato plant on the back porch got bigger while I was out, so has the reputation of the Ragemonkey. Apparently, Elrond called all the elders of all the peoples of the Middle Blogosphere and entrusted to humble hobbits (and I get to be Sam since he is the real hero) a series of new links. Here they are:
After Abortion (I am most pleased to link these couragous ladies considering my work with Rachel's Vineyard.)
Catholic Maniacs
Trousered Ape (I so hope we were, in some small way, inspiration for this blog and its title)
Happy Catholic (The first thing that popped into my head when I saw this blog was: And if I died today, I'd be the Happy Catholic.... Ah, a favored remembrance of Tori Amos, sort of.)

Also, we bring news from Bree and other places we have seen. Catholic Thought and Theology Pool Party found the time to make reference to the few tidbits of useful ideas we store here electronically. I didn't give you the actual archive point because I want you all to sample a little bit of what you will find there.
Please practice some modesty!
This is an urgent call to Fr. Tharp's Weatherpixie -- the nasty little exhibitionist! After reading Fr. Tharp's post about the 100 degree heat in his part of Oklahoma, I scrolled down to check out each of our pixies. Okay, that's enough of the knee-slapping, elbow ribbing, you all! Anyway, at the time of this post I see that at 93 degrees, Fr. Tharp's weatherpixie is shirtless. I hate to think what it was at 100 degrees! But mine, at 100 degrees, is not only fully clothed, but wearing all black! I guess some of us are just more in to penance than others!

By the way, have you noticed that the success of this blog really does depend on the both of us. Fr. Tharp's return has pulled me back into blogging. I am still as busy as ever, and I have every reason to avoid blogging, but now...let the games begin (again)!
Here's Johnny!

The first masterpiece from Angry Alien, The Exorcist in 30 seconds with bunnies, remains a classic of flash animation until such a time as Victor Lams creates one starring the Ragemonkeys. However, they have tried to secure their place with even more, new mischief.

As a Kubrick afficienado, I am both thrilled and pained by this latest film event. I give you...The Shining, in 30 seconds, with bunnies.
It's Too Darn Hot!

Holy Crow! I just glanced at my Weatherbug and noticed that it is 97 degrees in my little corner of Oklahoma. Man, this summer is going to broil and reek up here. Tack on the high gas prices and it could be too much for this monkey to bear.

It makes me think of that great Cole Porter song "Too Darn Hot" from Kiss Me, Kate. I remember this piece with great warmth (n.p.i.) because my high school show choir performed it. It's a great musical and well worth your time. Granted it is a little risque for its time, and you wonder how some of the lines went over. What's funny for me is the song now makes more sense and therefore shocks me when I realize what it was that I was singing. Oh, well, chalk it up to naivete.
Green With Envy

This is one of those up-side/down-side posts. Please read the whole thing before drawing conclusions.

While visiting in Philadelphia, I got an update on two of my classmates: Frs. Joseph Shenosky and Patrick Welsh. His Eminence, Justin Cardinal Rigali, has appointed them to study in Rome for the next few years. I know for certain that Fr. Shenosky will be away for four years and presume the same holds true for Fr. Welsh. Of course, I am postively thrilled for them and know that they will put their time in the Eternal City to good use both in the immediate and long term.

At the same time, I am not a little jealous. Thankfully, since they are from another diocese, I can put aside any feeling directed at them. I am jealous more for the opportunity. Given the situation in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, the chances for my going back for further studies are slim to none, and this bothers me. I think that I have an above average intellect and my temperment slides in the direction of academic pursuits. I believe, although I could be mistaken, that I would do well with further studies, but that doesn't seem like it's in the cards.

So, please remember the good Fathers when they go abroad. May they be much enriched by their work and studies.
At the Movies: Troy a.k.a. "When Ancients Act Like Moderns"

In my efforts to become the next clerical Roger Ebert, I caught a couple of movies while in the Philly and New Jersey. This is the first review.

Troy is the big budget consideration of the classic epic poem, Iliad by Homer. No, not this guy... In many ways, the film is excellent. The cinematography and costuming appear pitch perfect for the period in consideration. The casting, especially of Eric Bana, who starred in this stinker, as Hector, was correct for the most part. And the dialogue was moving and evocative.

But this is where the praise ends. Screechingly does it come to an end. First, the filmmakers do not understand the world view of ancient Greece as it depicted in the The Iliad. Much is made of the "love" Paris has for Helen. This "love" is so wonderful that they decide to imperil the entire known world's peace so that they can "get it on." In the ancient world, this would have been only vaguely recognizable. The women of the ancient world were at best possessions and at worst irrelevant baubles. In keeping with The Iliad, Paris simply captures her as a prize from his cowardly sucking-up to a lovely goddess. And let's talk about Paris. Paris, quite frankly, is a big, stinking coward as the epic poem relates. For those who don't have all the back story, the war starts with a wager between three goddesses concerning who was most beautiful. (I might have some details flipped in my mind, so Fr. Johansen has the free right to gripe about my dumbness.) To settle the dispute, the goddesses bring in Paris who delivers the vote to one who will give him Helen. And it goes down hill from there. But this is not the person the movie depicts. Rather we see a moderately noble person who eventually gets his act together.

Second, the filmmakers left out some significant characters, namely, the gods. Yes, lots of people make reference to the gods' attitudes or actions, but never does a single god show up. In the epic poem, gods and goddesses show up with the regularity of the postman, despite the number of times he/she rings the bell. Furthermore, Hector is portrayed in the movie as a bronze age Rene Descartes, claiming and doubting the gods' interventions or presence. Lastly, when ancient religious practice comes up, it is muddy and badly put forward. The one time the temple of Apollo appears, it more resembled a Jewish altar with horns to anoint and everything. Also, I think that the gods didn't have priestesses; only the goddesses did. But in the movie, the temple of Apollo in Troy has one prominent one.

Third, returning to the worldview point, the filmmakers didn't understand that HUBRIS is the heart of the story and not HORNINESS. Hubris, man trying to take the place of the gods' in the universe, makes the story move. So, Priam acts as though he is the source of strength of Troy, when in fact it is the defense Athena and Apollo gives it. The fact that Achilles is bagging the ladies like Captain Kirk in a leather apron only drives this point home that for the filmmakers, horniness is the watch word.

Fourth, the characters keep saying things like, "I am doing this for my country..." What country?! Greece as a formal nation that we would recognize is still several thousands of years away. Until then, you have petty city-states fighting for control of the region and pressing each other for control.

What it comes down to is every person involved with this movie seems to think that the way ancient people conceived of their world was identical to the way modern people conceive of it. That is far from the case.

I am sure there was other parts that got under my skin but can't recall them all now. I did enjoy the fact that many actors were old friends from LOTR and Braveheart, but I will leave you to find them all.

In all, it was a good, well-made movie, except for some rear, lateral nudity and some hacking and chopping bits. Overall review: 3 of 5 bananas
Home again, home again, jiggity-jig

Ah, the creature comforts of an alpha-male ragemonkey's rectory. Howdy, everyone! I just got back from vacation and am feeling fine. I still have an atrocious amount of mail to sort through. Guess how much of it is junk.

Today, I will take it easy, both doing some laundry and answering letters and the like. And some ferocious blogging. There is so much to talk about both personally and publically. So settle back and enjoy!

Friday, May 14, 2004

Evidence of the Garden of Eden?
I learned something very important two nights ago. I have an allergy to the skin of the mango fruit. Apparently, the skin of mangos secretes something akin to the problematic secretions of poison ivy! (Perhaps it is more the mango than my allergy.) In the past, when I have eaten the meat of the mango, lovingly peeled for me, I have, of course, not had any problems. However, when I served myself a mango two nights ago, not washing my hands after having touched its skin, and, I'll be honest, planting my face directly into the meat side of the peel, I noticed a burning sensation I was certainly not expecting. My lips have been slightly swollen and itchy since then, and the two corners of my mouth have that slightly red, irritated look.

So, I wonder, as glorious as the taste of the mango is, could it perhaps be the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? Is it time to retire the artistic prejudice by which the poor apple is pictured at the center of the Original Sin of Adam and Eve?

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Amazing Providence
Thirteen years after first meeting one another, we met again. I was a senior at Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School when a class service project placed me in contact with Sgt. Rick Staton, an Oklahoma City Police Department motorcycle officer. He spoke to the class and explained our duties assisting motorcycle officers in visiting a local disabled children's home. We helped the officers push their bikes into the facility and we assisted children sitting on the bikes. I hadn't seen Sgt. Staton since then. [Okay, enough of the disbelief! It is true. I have never been issued a ticket by any officer of the OCPD.] Each time I have seen a motorcycle officer I have wondered what ever happened to him.

Then on Monday, I was speaking to my mother's next door neighbor in his front yard when a motorcyle officer pulled up to the corner and began clocking traffic. We each noticed one another, but went on with our business. As the neighbor and I spoke, the officer would pull out and follow a car to issue a ticket. Then he would return to his post. At one point, I was walking across the yard to my mom's house and I heard the officer return to his post, but the sound of his running bike continued for longer than it should have. And the sound kept getting closer to me. So, I turned to see the officer approaching me along the curb. He clearly intended to speak to me, so I stopped. He asked if I was "canvassing" the neighborhood. I told him I was just visiting mom's neighbor. Then I looked at his nametag and I couldn't believe it. It was Sgt. Staton! And to think, the meeting probably would not have happened had we each not been wearing our uniforms.

Thirteen years had passed. I am now a priest and he is about to retire in a few months. He told me he is now married, hoping to become Catholic, and trying to have children. He asked for prayers for children. Perhaps our readers can say a prayer that Sgt. Staton and his wife will be blessed with children. And while you are at it, pray for the same for a St. Louis Police Officer an his wife, who is my cousin. They, too, are hoping to be blessed with children.
Does anyone else...

hate the new Blogger format? I have been trying to post something to Apologize and Don't Be Sorry, and I can't get anywhere with it. Aaaack!

Oh, well, lunch with Dev will be fun.

Also, I will try my best to post the next section of The Second Coming notes but it all depends on Blogger.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004


I think that's the term I want. Isn't a gadfly is someone who flits about at the party and schmoozes everyone he can? Then Fr. Gadfly I am. On Thursday, I will have lunch with Dev of Christ the Physician. On Friday, I will have lunch with Otto of Otto da Fe.

Did I mention that I am a compulsive name dropper?

Monday, May 10, 2004

New Stuff Up at A Dusty, Sunny Corner

I apologize for the lateness of my post for the first part of the discussion of Walker Percy's The Second Coming. As I have been traveling, I haven't had the chance until today. So run over there and get into the mix.
The Glories of Anchovies

If you hate these little fish, then skip this post. Today, we are praising these tasty salty wonders.

Last night, I went to my favorite local pizza place on Rt. 30, Bella Italia Pizza. Apparently, due to the owners devotion to Padre Pio, his picture and holy card are up everywhere, the seminarians have nicknamed the place, Padre Pio Pizza. Anyhow, the crust is marvelous, the sauce is thick and meaty, in the sense that the pulp of the tomato is still in evidence, and the toppings were anchovies, mushrooms, and green peppers. MMMMMm....

Why are anchovies so great? The gentle salty flavor adds zing to the other flavors in the pizza. Also, they add a meatiness to vegetarian pizzas so that you don't feel quite so "jipped." And as a cold water fish, its Omega 3 fatty acid are good for the heart. As a final benefit, anchovy oil more effectively lubricates the internal systems of robots, but that won't be an asset until the year 3000 or so.
The Glorious Ordination

Well, folks the weekend has past and I am here in Philadelphia. I am posting for you all from the seminary library at Saint Charles Seminary.

Joseph Irwin has joined the glorious order of deacon. At the same Mass, 5 men studying for Philadelphia were ordained deacons. The ordination took place at the seminary chapel with the rector, Bishop Burbidge, presiding and ordaining. It is a reminder to those of us who have made these same promises that the new deacons made on Saturday that the promises are still in effect. Even when one is a priest, he remains a deacon. He is called to live the service that embodied the life of Christ. It was also good to see brother priest classmates who attended the ordination and to catch up with them. I am putting together lunch plans as we speak.

Also, it is funny to think that the guys you knew as 4th college and haven't kept in touch with since you left are now on their way to being ordained priests next year. But it is also kind of sad, in that my connection with Saint Charles is diminishing. Without classmates and diocesan brothers there, it lowers the impetus to visit.

Thankfully, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City will be sending two more men here this fall, Billy Lewis and Andy Wickersham. So, I guess I will still have some cause to get my hands on Rita's Water Ice from time to time.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Why, I'm quite sure I have no idea what you're talking about....

(cue harp music.....light the halo effect....)

No idea whatsoever....
Well, well, well...
I was blinded by my own ambition. You see, normally the cheap shots and power plays are between Fr. Tharp and me as we each struggle for jungle domination. And yes, I am always a few paces behind in my attempts to be crowned the new alpha-male ragemonkey. I was so consumed by my focus on Fr. Tharp's status, that I never even imagined what we were creating with Techmonkey Dave. Now, I see. I'm fresh off the road from Colorado and, no my eyes don't deceive me. No, that blog title isn't an appearance created by bug parts and juice splatted on my screen (unlike the car windshield). We've been had.

And we thought Rumsy was the only high-powered official fighting for his job!
Techmonkey Dave here again.

I felt really bad about messing with the blog title, so, in a spirit of penance and humility, I decided to change it ba.....

UH OH, Did I spell that wrong?!?!

Oh no.... What will I do now???


Saturday, May 08, 2004

I, of course, would NEVER do anything to take advantage of my COMPLETE AND TOTAL CONTROL!!

Techmonkey Dave here.

Fr. Tharp and Fr. Hamilton are both out of town?

That means the blog is mine, mine, ALL MINE!!!


Thursday, May 06, 2004

Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore...

Actually, I am still in Winfield, KS, preparing to snarf some breakfast and then leap into the Batmobile and head NNE so that I can get to Columbus, OH sometime this evening. It is always great to visit with Fr. Gorges, the pastor here at Holy Name Catholic Parish, because his interests like mine are broad and the conversation is always all over the map.

Okay, I am off. Probably nothing again until tommorrow when I am back in the city of Brotherly Love.
Monkeys on the run!
Get out the tranquilizer darts, folks, Fr. Tharp and I have busted out of the jungle! Fr. Tharp is away in Philly and New Jersey for a few ordinations. I am leaving today to attend my brother's graduation from Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado. I won't be able to blog until after Sunday.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Real Mean Girls!

This takes the cake.
I'm Leaving...I'm Leaving on the Midnight Train to Georgia...

Not really. Actually, but this time tomorrow I will be well on my way to the city of Brotherly Love. I am returning to Philly for the ordination of one of the men I encouraged to enter the seminary. His name is Joseph Irwin and he is being ordained a deacon on May 8th, which is also the date of my ordination. Then it's on to Jersey, specifically Trenton, for the ordination of one of my school mates from St. Charles. I will be preaching the first mass and I have only give light, tangental thought to my homily.

For those who are wondering, I will be driving this exotic run. I will stop tonight in Winfield, KS and visit with a great priest there, Fr. Bernard Gorges. Then it's back into the car for the 14 hours trip. I expect to stop in Columbus or thereabouts. On Friday, I should get into Philly in the evening, depending upon when I get on the road in the morning.

So, I will try to blog while abroad and if anyone is in the area, post today and we'll see if we can arrange something.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004


Only 24 hours to go...until the moment. Here's a couple more hints.
Blogger is so hysterical!

It took three days of fighting but I got back my posts for the last section of the first book of our book club. Thanks to everyone who participated and if you missed our first book, take part in our next book. Check it out at "A Dusty, Sunny Corner"
Why Patrology Matters For the Average Catholic

I had this flash of insight during my lunch at the local Chinese restaurant. Not to run down the place, but I bet they couldn't tell a pot sticker from a pot bellied stove.

When I was in the seminary, Msgr. Richard Malone taught patrology. Patrology concerns studying the works of the early bishops and writers of the Church. These writings give us a glimpse into the world of the early Church. And it was fascinating reading. That class was both one of the best and most disorganized classes I ever took.

If you asked the average Catholic who the Church Fathers were, you would get head scratching and ponderous thinking. And yet, they are the most underutilized and most important reading, after the Bible, for any Christian. Why?

Is it because they give insight into the early Church? No, not necessarily. The reason for their import rests on the fact that we are living in those days again. For the early Church Fathers, every aspect of the faith had to be struggled for. Facing persecution, striving to understand the mystery, and trying follow Christ in a world ignorant and often ambivalent, usually hostile, to Him. And we have been sitting in the water, getting wrinkly and par-boiled, while the world decays around us. These writings will break us out I think.
I Swear I Heard This

As I was dressing this morning, I was listening to NPR and a brief story blurb came on concerning a study of how best to stop the spread of HIV. The winner? Abstinence. Hands down. I went to the NPR site but couldn't find nothing.

So to all those who thought the Catholic Church was complicit in the deaths of thousands of African people because we insisted that condoms were not a solution, allow me to say, "Neener, Neener, Neener, Neener."
For the Scripture Scholars Out There

Perhaps this helps us understand the way that St. John is speaking in the Apocalypse. If so, hie thee to a confessional.

Only 34 hours until the moment. Here's a couple of hints.
Racist Coffee Additives

For the few that attended the Marriage and Family Life conference in Hennessey, OK held last Friday, it was an engaging and interesting weekend. As Fr. Mason observed, the Church started out with simply 12, and this work of ours starts the same way. Hopefully, as we go along, more parishes will be inspired to do these sorts of things. In rural Oklahoma, access to formation opportunities are limited in the extreme, but the people are hungry just the same.

Apparently, Fr. Hamilton took umbrage at my referring to his lecture as water skiing through the history of the sacrament of marriage. What would you call it when he covers, oh, approximately 4000 years of history, three levels and sources of the Church's teaching and then applies that teaching to various aspects of the life of the married couple? I also wanted to reconnect the listeners to my impending one hour lecture by connecting them with the topic, namely we were only going to cover the Sacred Scripture. Oh, well, if I offend, I am sorry.

I also found in the parish hall an amusing sign of how the times have changed. In general, most people make coffee too weak and therefore the coffee is bitter. Interestingly, more grounds concentrates the flavors and reduces bitterness, but that is the subject of another post. So, whenever I am at a parish function, my hand strays to CoffeeMate or the nearest quart of milk. In Hennessey, the product being used is called "Coffee Whitener." When I looked closely at the packet, I burst out laughing. I can only imagine the protests that folks like Al Sharpton might raise in front of the SingleServ company who produces said whitener.

As I drove home from the conference, I began to amuse myself with other funny names for non-dairy creamers, such as Coffee White-Out, although that sounds like the coffee should be getting darker. Coffee Blizzard was pretty okay as names go. This shows you what is on my mind when I drive ... nothing!

Monday, May 03, 2004

How will we ever survive? Part Deux

Echoing and parodying my partner's thoughts, how will we ever survive without Frasier? Granted he was as smutty as they come, his show had some of the best writing out there. I must admit, I haven't watched in a long time. Life in a parish dictates that every meeting is in the evening, and I don't own a TIVO.

So here's my gripe. Frasier represents the excellence that TV can produce under the right conditions. Friends is useless twaddle. And the second "F" show is going out in a shower; the first "F" show is going out without even a whimper.

I guess NBC is handing the real "F" to the viewing public. Use that line to fill in your own joke.
Overlawyered: Unlawful to test for mad cow

So stupid it's stupidelicious...especially on a sesame seed bun...
Ever wondered which superstars you looked like...well, you can wonder no is the solution. Analogia: The Star Estimator tells all.

For all interested parties, here is how we scored on this:
Fr. Tharp
Fr. Hamilton

Also, in case you are curious, Zidane is a French Midfielder for Real Madrid. That is the closest I will get to being athletic. But does it mean I have to cheer for France during World Cup?
How will we ever survive?
Apparently Jesus Christ isn't the way, the truth, and the life...FRIENDS is! The coverage of the final episodes of Friends has far surpassed absurd. We have daily reminders via commercials on television that only such and such a number of episodes remain. I can't tell you how many times I have heard "news" coverage of the end of this sit-com. And it has reached its summit now. One of those Dateline type shows on NBC is doing a whole show on the cast of Friends, to help us know the characters better. Our local NBC affiliate, in a move I'm sure came from the NBC higher-ups, is having a week-long spot on Friends together with a quiz to test our Friends knowledge. Give me a break!

If you have enjoyed and do enjoy the show, fine; but, please, this angst over the show's conclusion is ridiculous.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Thanks Be to God

This guy needs to be hired by Special Forces.

Why Johnny Cash is turning in his grave along the Z-axis...

It's pretty self-explanatory. Give it a whirl.
In Tribute to Our 25,000th Visitor
Responses have been most favorable when we have parodied a song as a tribute to all of our readers who have helped us surpass various milestones regarding the number of visitors to this blog. Who wouldn't claim that 25,000 visitors is a milestone? So, in tribute to all who have made this moment possible, we here at CRM dedicate the following song.

Sung to the tune of "A Few of My Favorite Things"

Mantillas for ladies, and heads marked with ashes
Cassocks with piping and watered-silk sashes
miters and croziers, episcopal rings
These are a few of my favorite things

Processional candles and thurible smoking
Crosses and Latin for all of the chanting
Bright shiny marble and bells that go "ding!"
These are a few of my favorite things

Silk damask vestments and torch-bearing servers
Incense and candles adorning high altars
"Ecce Sacerdos..." the choir would sing
These are a few of my favorite things

When R.E. bites
Parish budget stings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad

(Repeat all verses)