Monthly Archives: March 2007

Warning: May Cause Brain Meltdown

“Black Monk” apparently does his rapping in Latin. From part of the Requiem Mass. But being a rap video, there are also (not liturgical) dancers, of course….

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Apparently, there are several groups running around in monk robes and trying to imitate Gregorian chant. Not just crazed early music groups, either; that weird Gregorian-Masters of Chant group that “chants” pop songs is apparently not just a joke, but a fairly famous group in Europe.

Not everybody wants to run off and join the circus, apparently; some of them want to run off and join the Benedictines.

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Attacking the Wrong Problem

This week we had a parish mission for four days. On the whole, it was well-planned and well-run, although any time we had to leave our pews to get stuff, there were serious logistics problems. Still, the mission speakers understood the critical principle that people like to get giveaway stuff, no matter how small, and the speakers were pretty good.

However, we also had the increasingly entertaining or disturbing spectacle of hearing a speaker inveigh against problems that don’t exist — or don’t exist widely — or don’t exist in the way described.

For example, last night we heard about how everybody had had thorough catechesis, but there was not enough evangelization. There was too much rules-based Christianity and not enough relationship-based.

Well, obviously I’m not against evangelization. More evangelization is definitely good! But how can we evangelize if we don’t know what we’re talking about?

I’ve been alive and a Catholic since the year this gentleman was ordained. I have a faithful and reasonably well-informed Catholic mother, I went to a good Catholic school in elementary, I went to CCD after that, I’ve been reading St. Anthony’s Messenger since I had the reading skill to do so, and I’ve gone to church pretty much every Sunday. But I’ve never received anything like thorough catechesis in anything. (Except maybe at that chant and polyphony workshop. I’m reasonably secure in the basics of sacred music. Unfortunately, this won’t exactly get me saved.) Despite extensive and constant reading of pretty much any Catholic book I could get my hands on — most of what I’ve learned, I’ve learned in the last five years. It’s an embarrassment that a big church in the richest nation in history can’t do better than this.

You know what I learned last month?

If you go to Confession and purposely don’t tell a mortal sin, your Confession is invalid.

I made my First Confession* the year after our nation’s Bicentennial, people! I’ve still got the workbook with the coloring book pages. Not a word about that is in it, I promise you.
I did have an idea — all my own logic, not from anything I was ever told — that withholding sins was kinda disrespectful and stupid, as contrary to the whole purpose of why you go. But making your Confession invalid? Leaving you with not just a mortal sin on your soul, but all your other sins too??

Whoa. So when were they planning on telling us that little wrinkle??

Another example: apparently, there is much concern in American theological circles that we peons are excessively interested in the tabernacle (the box itself, not the Person pitching his tent among us) to the point of idolatry. Well, I suppose there might be a few folks like this here and there, although not even my mother can remember running into anyone like this or even hearing of it happening. However, here in the mainstream of American Catholicism, there’s a constant problem with people not remembering, or not having any clue, that Jesus’ Real Presence is anywhere, even as they partake of the Sacrament of the Eucharist. I’ve also had to explain to another grown Catholic woman that the red sanctuary light doesn’t represent the presence of the Holy Spirit in church. (But why should she know? I didn’t learn that in school or CCD, or in any homily. I only know because Mom told me.) I also never had a clue why angels are prominent in art around altars, until two years ago. And so on.

Surely a little light catechesis and a liturgical procession would teach the tabernacle-idolaters the error of their ways — but who will teach the rest of us if they take the tabernacle away?

So yeah, you dang betcha I’ve got a personal relationship with God. He’s the only way I’ve been able to experience the Church. The church here in America mostly isn’t interested in teaching us more than vague unhelpful platitudes. He’s the only Person we can trust to stick with us and tell us the truth, all right.

Beyond that, I trust the popes. They talk straight to us. They give us catechisms and compendiums that actually inform of us of important stuff. They got rolling. They evangelize. They are in touch with reality, and the here and now. They know our problems.

This does not seem to be true of a good many of the American bishops. Maybe distance actually helps perspective, or maybe it’s just that geezers get too farsighted to see what’s right in front of them. :) Still, I’m sure most of them mean well. We will muddle through together.

But… it would be nice not to have to muddle through even the most basic basics, you know?

* They wanted us to call it Penance, but nobody did. We already knew that nobody would understand what we were talking about, and that it wasn’t worth remembering new names because they always changed. And sure enough, soon we were told to start calling it Reconciliation. But we still have to call it Confession if we want anybody to understand what we’re talking about. :)


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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 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 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 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.”


Filed under Church, Humor

In Re: All That St. Kyle Stuff

The guy in my parish’s RCIA who was named Kyle (and really wanted to use that as his Christian/confirmation name, since he was named after somebody who took a bullet for his dad) is going to be allowed to use that. So you see that I don’t always do this stuff out of sheer language nerdiness….

To be honest, I think that as important as it is to say NO! to stuff that’s wrong, it’s just as important to say YES! to stuff that’s permitted and not totally stupid. (It would be stupid to take the name “Lucifer”, even though there are saints named Lucifer since Romans named kids after the morning/evening star. It goes under the “Sheesh, don’t name your kid Adolf” rule. There are equivalent rules for other realms of human endeavor, too.)

Things that are permissible and part of Christian tradition, or things that could become so, are a sort of holy farmland. It’s okay to leave stuff fallow, but it’s also a good idea to get in there and use what we’ve got. If Kyle was the holy name of hardworking though near-forgotten saints, then bring it out and recall those saints to our minds! If you really want to name your kid Ashley, make sure she gets a holy card of the English martyrs, and knows that she has a holy name, too! Give people a nice solid place to stand, with their namesakes in the Communion of Saints always beside them. But don’t surrender to the world any of the territory that’s really ours, especially through sheer forgetfulness.

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Prayer Request

One of my coworkers is feeling very lost and despairing right now. Please, if you would, pray for his guidance, hope, and consolation. He’s been walking through a very dark night.

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Aw, Man, Now I’m Jealous!

The blogmistress of Winds of Westernesse got to shake hands with the Pope.

Furshloggin Numenorean mental powers…. *sulk* *envy*

Unfortunately, as this Pontiff is not currently using the title, it would be wrong to make jokes like “Patriarch of the West, I bid thee hand!”

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Soda Bread Results

The first loaf… well, it tasted good, but it was in the oven a little too long. Crispy around the edges, if you get my meaning. Also, the dough wasn’t completely mixed with the milk, which isn’t a very good thing.

The second loaf was perfect — but it fell when I took it to work before it was perfectly cool. Very sad.

Both loaves tasted very good. (Well, except for the bits of the first loaf where the soda wasn’t mixed in well enough. Raw soda = not good.)

The most serious problem was actually post-baking. I succumbed to the temptation to lick the bowl, thinking it safe because there were no eggs in it. This is not a good idea with soda dough.  Why? Because acid plus baking soda (a base) is what makes soda dough rise. Your stomach is a lot more acidic than whatever acid you put in the dough.

Simethicone is your friend. Remember that if you eat soda dough.

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