Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The country's in the very best of hands

 This eagle always reminds me of
this eagle

I couldn't resist stealing that header from the great professor, because it fits this story about the IRS, "where a worker at the tax agency’s customer help line urged taxpayers “to re-elect President Obama in 2012 by repeatedly reciting a chant based on the spelling of his last name,” the Office of Special Counsel said in a statement."

We can't get chant restored to the Mass, but over at the IRS they've got people chanting the president's name all day long.

It's almost like the IRS has become partisan and politicized, which is of course impossible.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

"In this lentil season..."

 The legume in question

"In this Lenten season," as mispronounced at Mass today.   Could be accurate description, for those keeping a strict fast.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Lenten Wisdom from St. Alphonsus Liguori

"Crucifixion," Basilica of San Clemente, Rome (approx 1123 AD)

St. Alphonsus Liguori (1696 AD - 1787 AD) was a lawyer who left that profession as a young man to become a priest.   St. Alphonsus would go on to found the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, popularly known as the Redemptorists, and also was appointed bishop of an Italian diocese.   Eventually, St. Alphonsus was not only canonized but also declared a Doctor of the Church.

Although St. Alphonsus lived a very long life, the volume of his published works is still staggering.  His "Ascetical Works" alone comprise 24 volumes, each one close to 500 pages in length, and each one packed with citations from scripture and the saints.   St. Alphonsus' training in law clearly shows in these works, as each is a relentless exercise in persuasion.  St. Alphonsus employs every conceivable argument in support of his propositions, so that a reader sometimes feels worn out by his pleadings.  However, St. Alphonsus is not concerned whether, like the widow in the parable of the unjust judge, he succeeds partly or even mainly through persistence.    St. Alphonsus's only care is to convince us, through a thousand arguments, of a single point: that God's love for each of us is infinite.

Of St. Alphonsus's Ascetical Works, perhaps the volume best suited for Lent is "The Passion and Death of Jesus Christ."  The following is taken from the Introduction:

"'He who desires," says St. Bonaventure, " to go on advancing from virtue to virtue, from grace to grace, should meditate continually on the Passion of Jesus" . . . .

"St. Augustine also said that . . . . it was for this end that our Saviour suffered so much, in order that we should think of his sufferings; because if we think on them, it is impossible not to be inflamed with divine love."

Friday, February 21, 2014

Bad optics

The Archbishop's taste runs strongly to McMansions

That's political spinmeister jargon for stuff that looks bad.  And, in these days of painful retrenchment, the soon to be retiring Archbishop of Newark's addition to his retirement home looks terrible.  Though the Archbishop is not bound by a vow of poverty, an addition costing at least $500k to an $800k vacation house seems a bit much.  And the Archdiocese's statement on the subject is exactly the long whimper of wounded self regard you'd expect from someone with a boatload of self regard.  The Archdiocese might as well have responded "how dare you inquire?" and left it at that.

Rome quietly appointed a coadjutor bishop to Newark in Sept, 2013.   They don't usually do that because they think you're doing a great job.

Increase your Catholic word power: Grace

"The Annunciation and Two Saints," Simone Martini 1333 AD

The Angel Gabriel addressed Mary as "Full of Grace"

According to the Modern Catholic Dictionary of the Servant of God Fr. John Hardon, SJ, my old teacher:

 "[g]race is the supernatural gift that God, of his free benevolence, bestows on rational creatures for their eternal salvation. The gifts of grace are essentially supernatural. . . . They are the indispensable means necessary to reach the beatific vision ....The essence of grace ... is its gratuity, since no creature has a right to the beatific vision, and its ... purpose is to lead one to eternal life."

The follow up to a hit cd is always the hardest one

Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles
Not coming to a concert hall near you

"Advent at Ephesus," the debut cd of the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, spent six weeks at #1 on the Billboard Classical Music Chart.   The Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles recently released their second cd, "Angels and Saints at Ephesus."   Even if the new cd doesn't make it to the top of the charts, I have a feeling these nuns won't be one hit wonders.

RELATED:  I hope the story of these nuns ends more happily than The Singing Nun's story did.

Stop signs for thee, but not for me

"When I was talking about obeying traffic laws, I only meant you guys."

NYC Mayor de Blasio gives major address on traffic safety, then hops into police-driven caravan, which is observed to speed and blow through stop signs.  The NYPD responded that they have to use "special driving techniques" in order to protect the mayor.  Right.  In the first place, if that's true, then the mayor should be telling all of us to speed and blow through stop signs, since that's what his own professional drivers say they must do for safety reasons.  Secondly, if speeding is actually as bad as the mayor says it is, why doesn't he tell the people who drive him around to slow down?  That should be pretty easy.  The driver's right there with him, and de Blasio's his boss.

You may have a favorite description for this sort of behavior by government officials.  Hypocrisy certainly fits, as does abuse of power.  Alas, in an increasing variety of ways, the word that fits best is "typical."