Category Archives: Humor

Get Your Motu Running

Apparently, the Pope’s motu proprio widening Catholics’ access to the old “Tridentine” Mass is going to come out on July 7, along with a four page letter from the Pope explaining it.

Vatican sources say that of course this has nothing to do with the annual celebration in Pamplona of the translation of St. Fermin’s relics to their current resting place, aka the Running of the Bulls, and that the motu will not be printed on red cloth. Highly placed Vatican sources who just happen to be Irish say that it’s time for the festival of St. Maolruain to be celebrated with house-to-house visits, jigs, and drinking, as it was before the no-fun Dominicans suppressed the patteran. Even more highly placed sources claimed that it was designed to get some street cred and devotion for “mein homey Blessed Pope Benedict XI, yo.”

The document will allegedly allow any priest to offer Mass and other sacraments according to the old Tridentine rubrics, if requested by thirty people. If the bishop objects, he will have to take the case to a Vatican commission. This is the opposite of the present procedure, which forced individual priests to appeal to the Vatican if the bishop denied them permission. Some bishops say that this is unfair and against tradition and their rights. Vatican officials and many Catholic mothers point out that so was the method of removal of traditional Mass formats unfair and against tradition, and so was your blocking of petitions for traditional Mass, and we didn’t see you bishops complaining back then or being particularly democratic; so don’t cry us a river, you’re getting a much better deal now than anybody else did then.

Media sources and many baby boomers insist that the older format of Mass involved the priest turning his back on the people, not everyone praying toward the risen Christ who will be returning from the east just as He ascended in that direction. Theologian Justin Martyr protested this interpretation saying, “Are you on crack? He hath set his tabernacle in the sun: and he, as a bridegroom coming out of his bride chamber, hath rejoiced as a giant to run the way.” He also pointed out that Christian churches and graves have always been supposed to be oriented toward the east; and that he should know, because he’s a pretty dang early Christian.

In other news, Jews pray away from the back wall, not toward Jerusalem; and Muslims pray away from the opposite side of Mecca, around the globe’s curvature.

The move is widely blamed on the nostalgia for the old days of young Catholics whose parents weren’t even born in 1963, and never mind how that can be nostalgia. Other Catholics say they don’t personally care, but it’s a fair move and should make a lot of other people happy, unlike that silly teen rock Mass. Also, older Catholics who applaud the move say that it’s about darned time they got some use out of those Missals they bought in 1962.

Catholics whose Missals were confiscated at parochial school in 1963 by scary guitar-playing nuns are considering a class action suit to get their property back, especially their “prayer card collection which was stuffed inside the front cover. One of them was from my great-grandfather’s funeral. Geez, how will I ever get a copy of that?” Unfortunately, lawyers say it will be difficult to trace the scary guitar-playing nuns, as many of them became scary married ex-nuns in 1969, and then progressed to becoming scary new agey ex-wives by 1972.

Justin Martyr, Cecilia, Perpetua, Felicitas, and other illegal Roman immigrants say that this is the first step toward fighting discrimination against them in the so-called Latin Rite of Catholicism. “They say it’s the Latin Rite, but then they ban everything Latin,” said Cecilia, last name not provided. “They forget all the great artistic works that are their heritage, because they find them embarrassing. They put our statues and pictures in the basement closet. Heck, they don’t want to see us in church at all, not even on the stained glass. It’s like they want to forget where they come from.”

Ita, puella,” (You go, girl) agreed Felicitas. “They don’t want to be reminded of the catacombs, the tenements, the arena. They’ve sold out to the culture, and they just want to fit in. Even polyphony is just too street.”

“Of course, this sacrifices the convenience and unity of sharing a common language across nations and centuries ,” said Justin. “Philosophers and theologians throughout time used to be able to argue points easily, from primary sources. Today’s philosophy professors are often unable to comprehend the foundation texts of their own subject. Not that they actually want to learn anything, of course, since they think they know better than anyone else who ever lived. But Americans can’t even find editions of works on natural law that influenced their own Constitution, because everybody here is so bigoted against Latin….”

The interview was interrupted by a swarm of scary reiki practitioners, wielding Buddhist singing bowls and insisting that Mass be in a language they could understand.

———————————————————-

Reporters were advised to consult the Curt Jester’s list of cliches for the construction of their motu stories.

———————————————————-

Obligatory parody filk:

Get your motu running
Head down to your parish
Pick up thirty friends now
And you’ll have a happy day

Looks like it’s really gonna happen
Hear the Mass in a justice place
Say Kyries three times three, and
Explode into grace

Like God’s only begotten child,
We were born, born to be mild.
We eat of Him to live;
We’re never gonna die.

Born to be mild…
Born to be mild, yeah.

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Literary Fiction: The Formula

Or, The Romance Reader Strikes Back.

Fight the power!

I particularly like this one:

  • Adultery should be described as a kind of rite of passage and the author should not make judgment calls, unless the adulterer is a woman.
  • The male protagonist may commit as much adultery as necessary to make him feel isolated and pointless. His partner, a single female many years his junior, should be lonely, emotional, demanding and ungrateful for her lucky shot at having sex with a miserable, married, middle-aged man who lives in the suburbs.

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Top Ten Reasons to Own a Handgun

Well, I’ll probably never buy a gun, because my hand/eye coordination stinks (which is why I prefer to fling large things). But honestly, this Gopnik fellow makes me want to run right out and buy me one.

You don’t need hand/eye coordination for shotguns, though….

ANyway, since Mr. Gopnik does allow as how people can go huntin’ with one of them there rifles, but opines, “There is no reason that any private citizen in a democracy should own a handgun”, I thought of a few reasons, just for his unimaginative benefit. So here are:

The Top Ten Reasons to Own a Handgun

10. Shooting a handgun at the range is a lot safer sport than snowboarding. Also, it involves very small explosives, which snowboarding does not.

9. “The police will be there in fifteen minutes, ma’am.”

8. You ought to get full value from the Bill of Rights, seeing as you pay taxes for it.

7. Shooting has always sounded like a fun father/daughter activity. Especially if Dad tells her boyfriend all about it.

6. Cellphones die. Handguns don’t have batteries. And shotguns don’t fit in your purse.

5. Because stalkers and crazy ex-boyfriends pay such close attention to court orders, and court orders are so easy to get.

4. Mr. Colt is Mr. Feminist.

3. Concealed carry — a very present help in times of trouble. Because God helps those who help themselves.

2. Grenades are a bit hard on local property values, and Mr. Pin is difficult to put back.

And the number one reason to own a handgun:

1. Shooting and smoking tobacco are the only recreational activities that shock people anymore.

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Uncomfortable Self-Recognition II

I suspect I’ve finally figured out why God has been inflicting me with a serious lack of enthusiasm for science fiction fandom. (Excessive attachment and disordered emotions, check….)

How I did it was by reading St. John of the Cross and then this essay by Disputed Mutability (found via Eve Tushnet). Annoyingly, I can now see that I tricked myself into this same sort of overinvestment of my identity in a bunch of social behaviors and mental habits — but about my own interests, hobbies, friends, and favored viewpoints on life. I suspect this is something a lot of people ought to watch out for.

So… let’s replace Disputed Mutability’s example with Fandom Crystals!

Importance [aka Fandom Is A Way of Life]

I saw my [fannishness] as a very important, perhaps the most important, fact about myself.   I’ve said elsewhere that if you had asked me to describe myself in three words, [“fan”] would have been one of them. But that was an understatement. In fact, if you’d asked me to describe myself in one word, [“fan”] would have been it….  When meeting other people, I felt that if they came away from our encounter not knowing I was [fannish] (if that were possible!), they hadn’t really met me and they didn’t know who I was at all.

Tribalism

I felt this powerful bond with other [fannish] people, that our shared [fannishness] was this hugely significant thing. I would sometimes feel I had more in common with a [fangirl] who was otherwise nothing like me than a [non-fannish] one who was practically my clone in every other respect. It went way beyond the ordinary affinity that comes from shared experience or adversity.  [Fannish] people were my people.  In my isolated small-town teens, I longed for the day when I could surround myself with them, as my high school had little more than a handful of troubled [geeky gamers]. Upon arriving at college, I threw myself into [fannish] circles energetically….

Superiority [aka Fans Are Slans]

I saw my [fannishness] as being about far more than [literary] or [hobby] inclinations. It was about having all sorts of other qualities, about being a generally superior sort of human being. All kinds of virtues were attached to [fannishness] in my mind – a clever wit, an independent streak, a creative bent, a knack for [science, math, and engineering]… a flair for [early adoption of technology and its possibilities]… Of course, I didn’t actually possess most of those, but I belonged to a group that did, which was just as good…

Nobility of the Cause

Being [nerdy] was something that was always worth suffering… In my mind, however, my suffering at the hands of my peers on account of my [nerdiness] was woven into the struggle for [human progress], this grand cosmic narrative of good versus evil.   Somehow, just by being myself in spite of the consequences, I felt I was fighting a little battle in the great war for justice and freedom and equality, doing my part for the cause…

Essentiality

I used to think that my [fannishness] lay at the very heart of who I was. That it was somehow tied to my essence, in a way that was unlike almost any other desire or trait…

Normativity

I saw myself as someone who was meant to be [fannish]. My [fannishness] meant that the proper shape of my life, if all went well, would involve [fandom and several Hugo Awards]. It was part of what I was made for…

Celebration/Delight

For me, seeing myself as [fannish] meant seeing my [interest in science fiction and related bibliophilias] in and of itself as something to celebrate and delight in. It made me different, it made me special, it made me extraordinary, it set me apart from all those run-of-the-mill [Mundanes]. I saw it as an asset. I saw it as a beautiful thing…

Attachment

I was very attached to the [science fiction/fantasy] direction of my [literary and visual media interests], and generally found the thought of their changing horrific… I had fought too hard [and spent too much time and money] to be [fannish] to let it go, even if doing so would have made my life easier in many ways.

(My apologies to the original author, and I hope you don’t think this is frivolously done. I’m being funny about it, but the seriousness of the problem is real.)

Of course, there’s a difference between being attached to a sin and being attached to one of the world’s good created things (ie, fandom), but once you’d been sucked down to your death, you would hardly care whether it had been done by quicksand or a whirlpool.

The thing is that, even though I knew consciously that fans were just people with geeky tastes that happened to coincide with mine, and that our community was just like any other likeminded community of people, that’s not how I felt in my heart or my gut. I set myself up for a lot of hurt that way. And when I did get hurt, I stubbornly fought against it in my usual way — by hurling myself against the brick wall again, determined that it would fall. This was destined for failure, because the brick wall of human nature is not mine to crack.

That didn’t mean that fandom was evil, or all fans; it meant that fandom was fallible, fallen, and human, and thus would occasionally fall for evil and stupidity. Since it was a community, sometimes that would happen en masse. Even if fans were as smart and wise and interested in truth as I built them up to be, the same thing would have happened. I ought to have thought myself lucky to have encountered only some relatively minor examples of evil groupthink.

But I can’t really think of myself as a fan now. Not really. I haven’t stopped liking science fiction totally, and I don’t hate conventions or parties or whatever. But I can’t get super-excited about them anymore. They’re just one more event I go to, like movies, or concerts. I can take them or leave them alone.

To be honest, I’m more concerned that I don’t get the same way about being part of the St. Blog’s Parish blogosphere. It’s just not healthy for a middle-aged woman like myself to go all SQUEE!! about much of anything.* Thus my dignified (sorta) humor about Motu Mania, and my disciplined avoidance of putting up all the sweetest, most touching pictures of Papa B that I might wish to. (Especially since I can let the Papa Ratzi Forum do that….)

* (The Happy Dance, however, will always be appropriate. As long as it’s not a liturgical Happy Dance.)

Seriously, though, one’s religion should be a passion but not a fandom. There’s a difference.

And Catholics are not Slan, born with mental powers that make them better than anyone else, and secretly running the world. Far from it. And that’s a good thing.

There’s more real joy in being a lousy saint working for God than in being the most awesome Slan.

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Every Dog Has His Feastday

Apparently, Nicaraguan custom is to take dogs to Monimbo, a neighborhood of Masaya City, on Passion Sunday (or Lazarus Sunday, as they call it) to get blessed at the fiesta of San Lazaro, or to thank the saint for his help in the past year. (This is the St. Lazarus from the parable whose sores got licked, apparently — though often conflated with Jesus’ buddy from Bethany). Since the dogs are having a big occasion, apparently someone decided that they should dress up in their good fiesta clothes! And since a fiesta means dancing, people also dance with their dogs.

(More photos here. More on the fiesta here, but in Spanish.)

This site had a couple of interesting articles (at the bottom of the page, after all the other Monimbo information). So I’ve translated them into English for you.

Oh, the happiness of the Carnaval of the Dogs of Nicaragua!

The tradition from long ago is that those who have had their prayers
answered take their dogs, disguised as clowns, ballerinas, soccer players,
girls at their quinceaneras, etc., to pay back the promises made
to St. Lazarus for having him cure their little animals. And
they never come to smile and enjoy with others how they love their
pets as much as they do…. Don’t forget that the costumes would be
very competitive.

Promises made to St. Lazarus

Last night, the courtyard of the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, in
the residential district of Monimbo to the southwest of Masaya City,
again became the center of pilgrimage for Catholics who have
arrived in anticipation of Sunday to render tribute to the miraculous
St. Lazarus — a tiny image that the people of Monimbo
do not carry
in procession.

First to arrive were an endless number of vendors of relics, amulets, prayers, and Nicaraguan food, as well as the owners of carousels (the pony kind), bumper cars, and other types of entertainment that await visitors at this popular celebration.

What’s amusing is that they also take their dogs to fulfill their
promises and participate in the procession of dogs that begins
at the Plazoleta of St. Sebastian and goes to the Church of St. Mary
Magdalene. Fr. Orestes Fontes, pastor of this shrine, sent out a
circular to invite all the Catholics of Nicaragua to participate
in this religious demonstration of the devotees of St. Lazarus.
The central activity will occur Sunday morning, with Mass
celebrated by His Eminence Cardinal Miguel Obando y Bravo,
who will be greeted at ten in the morning by the indigenous
community of Mojimbo. Sacristan Javier Cano commented that
all this week the image of St. Lazarus has been visited by
promisers who have brought their dogs from as far as Rivas,
Managua, and Leon; but on Sunday they will come from all
Nicaragua. and the shrine of St. Mary Magdalene will be made
small by welcoming all these visitors. The people burn vigil
candles (tallow candles), and say prayers to St. Lazarus,
to pay back the miracle that saved their dogs from some disease.

The dogs assured La Prensa that tradition and the faith
are kept alive in Monimbo, where the local people receive
visitors with chicha made of cassava or corn, ginger, chilate,
cacao soft drinks, pinolillo, tamales, rosquillas, and food
which they give out in the shrine’s courtyard. Also, the
festival committee organizes a fair for selling fruit and
representative food and drink, to collect funds for the
shrine and to support part of the expenses of the Holy Week
fiestas, which begin with those of St. Lazarus.

A page (in English!) with tons of interesting info about Holy Week in Nicaragua, which also includes the fiesta of San Lazaro. (The Moravas referred to are apparently Moravians! And read all the way down to the bottom for special Holy Week cuisine….)

If you’re wondering how all these dogs go to church without a mess, you’ll see in this page of pictures of Masaya’s historic churches that the churches don’t have pews. (As once in Europe, and as they still don’t in the Eastern rites.) This makes it easy to scatter sand on the floor, as described on that Nicaraguan Holy Week page.

I predict that this is the Nicaraguan Catholic custom most likely to be adopted by Americans. :) Unfortunately, we will probably do it in a lame way. And then our dogs will never forgive us.:(

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Top Ten Signs You’ve Succumbed to Motu-Mania

Catholics throughout the blogosphere are waiting, eagerly or worriedly, for the release of a new motu proprio widening permission for the use of the Tridentine version of the Mass. But some have been driven crazy by the usual Roman and Vatican customs of spreading lots of rumors, but refusing to announce definite dates for documents to be released.

So from our home office at St. Expeditus Speedway, here are the top ten signs that you’ve succumbed to motu-mania:

10. Your browser’s homepage is now the news page at vatican.va. The one in Italian.

9. You’ve received oxygen treatment three times this week, because you keep holding your breath waiting for the motu proprio to come out.

8. You leave your computer on all night, with that vatican.va page up. Just in case.

7. During meetings at work, you doodle complicated allegorical pictures involving the Holy Spirit, eucharistic messenger angels, and scantily clad women labeled Una, Sancta, Apostolica, and Ecclesia who are feeding treats to St. Corbinian’s bear.

6. You have written code that makes your browser refresh that vatican.va page every five minutes.

5. Your local newspaper cites your blog in a story about the Latin Mass, even though it has no idea you live in the area.

4. You decide that five minutes is too long, and soon your browser is a denial of service attack all by itself.

3. You have a nasty ailment, and decide to wait and apply a printout of the motu proprio instead of trying your aunt’s Lourdes water.

2. Rocco calls to warn you that the Vatican’s webmistress has sent over the Swiss Ninja Death Guard to yank out your modem.

And the number one sign you’ve succumbed to motu-mania?

1. “Yes, you’ve reached ze Pope. How did you get zis number? Only ze Sviss Ninja Death Guard has it.”

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Overheard at the Wal-Mart

Two great opening lines for stories, which I actually heard today.

“Any member of management, please report to the trash compactor! Any manager, please report to the grocery-side compactor!”

“That woman who’ll do your tattoos for free — what do you call it when you’re working on getting a license? — she’s an apprentice, yeah.”

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