Monthly Archives: October 2009

Because We’re Catholic, So We’re Allowed to Have Fun

The other day, there was a discussion of World of Warcraft, its advantages and disadvantages. There’s a lot to be said either way; I’m too cheap to play MMORPGs, myself, but I don’t mind them. Still, some people actually opined that it must be wrong, because it wasted your time on nothing but having fun. Nothing designed for pure recreation could possibly be fitting for Christians!

St. Francis de Sales begs to differ.

In Book III, Chapter 24 of An Introduction to the Devout Life, we read this:

“Some kinds of society have no end except recreation from more serious occupation, and though we should not exceed in such, still we may lawfully bestow our leisure therein.”

So as long as you don’t spend excessive time and effort grinding away or going on raids in the middle of the night, you’re allowed to play a freakin’ game. And have friends you do fun stuff with. Sheesh.

Don’t make me quote St. Thomas Aquinas at you, funhaters!



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Before the Annual Modest Clothing Discussion Starts….

I think I’m going to point people to St. Francis de Sales from now on.

In Book III, Chapter 25 of An Introduction to the Devout Life, he talks about propriety in dress. First thing he says is that it applies to men too. (Which disposes of our would-be pashas who think women should cover up but they should wear whatever they please.) His next big concern is that you not wear dirty or messy clothes.

Instead, he takes the stance that, instead of trying to dictate a single fashion in a changing world, he expects that the devout person can use his or her own judgment when it comes to picking out clothes. He is not our mommy. This is all he says:

“As to the material and fashion of clothes, propriety in these respects depends upon various circumstances, such as time, age, rank, those with whom you associate, and varies with different occasions.”

And then he says this:

“St. Louis summed up all in saying that everyone should dress according to his station, so that wise men may not say ‘you are too fine’, nor the young, ‘you are too homely’.”

His ideal is that one is suitably attired at all times, but never employing affectation (gimmicky clothes, insisting on always wearing white, that kind of thing). If you always are dressed nicely for any occasion, and with elegant simplicity when you dress up, that would seem to pay your debt to society. 🙂

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I didn’t realize that the Anchoress linked to my miraculous well in the Philippines link I found the other day. Wow!

No wonder I got such a big -lanche on Sunday.

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Theology on Tap: Archbishop Schnurr Q&A

Last night, I went over to the Oregon Express, which is where Theology on Tap is usually held in Dayton. I should have gotten there earlier, because the place was so packed I had to sit on the stairs to the second floor section. (That was closed, though, so it was perfectly out of the way.)

Archbishop Schnurr came to this venue to answer people’s questions. (Written questions on index cards, which is sensible enough.) He talked a little about himself and his resume, he explained the coadjutor’s job, opined that the Holy Father might accept Archbishop Pilarczyk’s resignation sometime after his priesthood’s fiftieth anniversary in December but that nobody knew for sure, and then started answering questions. At all times, he tried to answer the question asked and did so honestly, if often guardedly. He also tried to state clearly whatever basics of the Church and Scripture were involved in the question. People had an overall good impression of him, I think.

(One thing he could work on: hesitation and use of the pausing syllable “uh”. There’s a BBC gameshow called Just a Minute, in which comedians have to speak on a given topic for a minute “without repetition, hesitation, or deviation”. It’s an incredible difficult competition, yes; but AB Schnurr wouldn’t make it more than a second on most of the topics given him last night. Maybe he needs to play this game around the dinner table with his guests.)

When it came to the questions, I really think the early deck was stacked by… well, very worried people of an older age who come over from UD and Antioch. They usually do come to these things, early, and they usually do ask questions very unrepresentative of the rest of the crowd. So there were numerous questions on boomergeezer topics written with a boomergeezer slant. Shrug. Maybe I’m wrong about this, but if somebody asks a question about when “Lay Liturgical Ministers” will be taking over running parishes, it sounds like a boomergeezer is behind it. Ditto the women’s ordination question, and ditto the… imprudent… wording of a much later question about the SSPX (or possibly about all trads – it really was wild). These questions were largely answered in that guarded manner I was talking about. I would have liked a little more oomph and big picture answers, but what we got was fine.

There was a question, I kid you not, on why the use of liturgical dance is so infrequent in the Archdiocese, and what could be done to spread it. And I’m not sure it was a joke, either, because UD has a liturgical dance group and somebody must run it. The AB managed not to say anything against our Rwandan immigrants, while pointing out that Western Europe and the US doesn’t really do liturgical dance as part of its intrinsic heritage. Very Arinze.

There were some questions on less heavy topics, like “What’s that gold chain you’re wearing?” and “What is your favorite pro football team?” The AB was shocked to hear the question from someone who couldn’t find anywhere in Dayton to go to Adoration, as well he should have been. (Dayton and Cincy have Adoration thick on the ground.) It emerged that the person was actually talking about Exposition and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, and people were able to help him out. (A UD student said that they’ve got that on weekday nights at Monday and Wednesday nights at Our Lady of Good Counsel chapel in Alumni Hall, which I didn’t know. I was surprised nobody mentioned Sunday night at St. Joseph’s, because they always used to have Benediction before their famous 6 PM Sunday night Mass. But I think that parish’s schedule has changed, maybe.)

Probably the question which got the biggest audience reaction was the Mass question. (It’s hard to tell, because everyone was respectfully quiet throughout, as had been requested. You end up having to judge degrees of stillness and intakes of breath.) Somebody asked what could be done about priests making up their own Mass prayers. The AB stated clearly that: 1) they shouldn’t be doing that, 2) you should say something in a nice but clear way about this to the priest who does it, and 3) that you can write to the Archbishop.

Interestingly, he then tied this to people desiring older forms of the Mass, because nobody messes around as much with the EF, or the OF said in Latin. It was a good thing he said this, because it balanced the way he answered the SSPX question. (He didn’t say anything super-outrageous. You could tell he’d hung around a lot of the US bishops during certain years, that’s all I’m saying. And you could also tell that he was tooootallly unaware that the Vatican is RIGHT NOW going into talks with the SSPX, or he would have been more guardedly polite in his answer. So I hope this isn’t going to be used as a “gotcha” against the AB or the talks, and that it won’t distress anyone.)

The other prudence issue is also a clarity issue. When he talked about married priests and celibacy, he kept talking about “the Catholic Church” as if it only consisted of the Latin Rite. And that’s not really acceptable, especially in this day and age. I know it’s an easy mistake to make, if you grew up in an area that wasn’t crawling with Maronite Catholics or Ruthenians or whatever; but it’s not acceptable. (He did mention the rationale for the pastoral provision for converts.)

Anyway, it was a very interesting talk. I wish there’d been more “real people” questions and fewer “my paycheck comes from the Church” questions, but that happens.

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Obligatory Eighties Reference to David Bowie Song

John C. Wright and Visions of Arhyalon are currently meeting and greeting the teenage girl they went over to China to adopt. It sounds like this was meant to be:

“….the ‘auntie’ who has been raising Pingping these last five years… warned us that the girl was bossy and argumentative. The wife and I exchanged a silent glance, and nodded. She’ll fit right in our family.”

Well, that’s not exactly how Arhyalon tells it…. 🙂

It also sounds like John is doing what he’ll be doing a lot from now on:

“We spent the next afternoon shopping. Mother and daughter skipped through the shops, hand in hand, while daddy (that’s me) trudged after, carrying packages.”

Heh. That’s the daddy job, all right. 🙂

Arhyalon notes:

“We’ve been the parents of a teenager for less than a week now, and we’ve already been to the mall with her friends.”

Here’s hoping and praying that all goes well. It’s really great to hear of people adopting a teenager. It’ll be a little weird for the other kids to suddenly have an _older_ sibling, but I think they’ll enjoy it.

OTOH, the culture shock will be profound. I mean, she’ll soon be going to… science fiction conventions! Scarrrrry! 🙂

(Btw — in re: the title of this post, the lyrics and video of the song actually have absolutely nothing to do with teenage adoption, as you might guess. But I could never make out anything but the title words and they Keep Repeating In My Head, so I’m making a reference anyway. But without the fatal words, so as to protect you from the earworm.)

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The Hermeneutic of Continuitylanche

Over the weekend, Father over in Blackfen linked to the Twenty-Six Martyrs Museum site, with a hat tip to me. All of a sudden, my stats zoomed up. From a hat tip.

The hermeneutic is strong in this one.

Seriously, though, I’m just glad I helped you find that site, Father and Continuity-readers. It’s amazing.

(Anime girly voice: “Sugoi!”)

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Blindingly Obvious Realization of Today

Hogwarts was not only founded before the English Reformation, but well before. Lay-run schools, other than local grammar schools or nursery-type schools, never developed until right before the English Reformation. Hogwarts must almost certainly have been a Catholic institution run almost entirely by religious, to educate religious, just like any cathedral school. Some students would not join up in the end and that was fine, but they were just the side product. Thus the Friar.

Each “House” was probably run by a different wizarding branch of a religious order in order to train their members, much as the religious side of Paris universities worked. Teachers may have taught independently, to whichever students felt like paying for their classes. Regardless of post-Reformation propaganda, there were probably many more Houses than four, although it might have begun with only four. Naturally, after most of the members of the Catholic wizarding families were killed off or driven overseas, fewer Houses would have been needed.

And you attended for seven years because that’s how long it took an Irish ecclesiastical school (or poet school, or law school) to turn you into a Doctor, just as is theoretically still the case in universities today. They probably didn’t make the kids go beg for supper every other day at the houses of nearby layfolk, though. Of course, things would have gotten more like universities as universities developed; but Hogwarts is supposed to go back practically to Anglo-Saxon days, if I read it aright. There wasn’t any other model but the ancient Greeks, the ancient Romans, and the Irish, back then.

This would also explain why there’s no wizarding university in the UK in Rowling’s world. Hogwarts _is_ the university. Entering at twelve was plenty old enough to go to Oxford, once upon a time. It’s likely that back in the day, though, you started whenever you started, perhaps with some credit for previous training, instead of at a certain age.

So when sorting got developed, it was pretty much a replacement for joining up with the Benedictines, the Augustinians, the Brigittines, the Dominicans, the Franciscans, the Norbertines, the Hieronymites, the Cistercians, the Hospitallers, or the Greek church guys from Venice and the Byzantine possessions. 🙂

As for the “Heirs” — oh, come on. Even assuming celibacy, this is an easy one. There were plenty of abbots in Ireland with heirs, though they weren’t heirs of their body. Their families just kept sending along nephews and cousins. Saxons were big on sister-sons and relations, and Saxon monastics were no exception to this. (Look at St. Boniface’s family.) Good relationships with animals was a standard feature of stories of holiness, so Slytherin as a Parseltongue isn’t even that sinister. (Somebody wrote a fanfic with the detail that St. Patrick was a Parseltongue…. Hilarious!)

Anyway, that’s my retcon for the day. It’s been a long time coming. 🙂

(Btw, a lot of people, including Wikipedia, seem to under the impression that “retcon” is a deliberate change by the authors of previous history. What a misuse of the term!

(A “retcon” is the act of thinking up something (after the fact) which makes better sense of whatever facts were established earlier in a story. If Washington previously was designated as the first president of the US in my world, and I suddenly up and said it was really a guy named Carver, that would not be a retcon but a violation of continuity. If I then said that the first president’s name was Carver Washington or George Washington Carver (in such a way as to fit the exact letter of what had been revealed), that would be a retcon. Equally, if I said that George Washington was actually the son of a guy named Carver, or that his name had originally been Carver until the Washingtons adopted him, or that he was an elven changeling named Carver who killed little Georgie and took his place — all those would be retcons, explaining the violation of continuity in such a way as to harmonize all the available information.)


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