Monthly Archives: March 2011

Hoping Really Hard This Is a Hoax.

Also trying to keep my gorge down.

There’s a company named Senomyx that has developed a way to “taste test” artificial flavors by isolating individual human taste receptors and seeing what sets off which receptors. Fine so far.

Unfortunately, it seems that they’re not just scraping cells off somebody’s tongue. They’re using aborted babies’ taste receptors. And you know, I don’t care how many generations of cell life you go back before you get to the actual baby. That’s just disgusting and loathsome and borderline cannibalistic, and I’m not sure I ever want to eat anything ever again.


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On Account of the Bishop?

Our buddy St. Beatus of Liebana (or one of his sources, anyway) is talking about the angels of the seven churches, and he seems to think that the “angels” (which grammar has being sent “to the church”, not being “of the church”) are actually a kenning for the bishops of the churches. (And since this would have been before bishops designated priests of separate parishes, and every Christian in town would have been going to the one Mass with the one Bishop, it makes sense to compare their teaching authority and place at the altar to an angel.) This isn’t an unusual interpretation (which shows I wasn’t paying enough attention, apparently).

Not from Beatus… but it also seems that in the olden days in synagogues, the rabbi guy was called “the angel” or “the overseer/bishop”, and the thing he wore over and around his head was often called a “veil”. This is consonant with Christian bishops (and later, priests), who cover their heads at various bits of Mass.

So if Paul tells women in the churches to cover their heads for the sake of the angels, it could be “as a sign of respect for the bishop, who has been sent to you as God’s apostle/ambassador to teach you”, or something along those lines. You would then extend this respect to priests, etc. It would probably be interesting to compare and contrast with what people learning from philosophers and other teachers did, or what women visiting the houses of authority figures did. But it makes a lot of sense to me.

However, the obvious problem is that it’s on account of “angels” in the plural, and that I don’t see anybody else arguing this. So probably I’m all wet. 🙂

My other thought is that since John says Christ gives us the “exousia” (power) to become children of God, and since the angels in Ezekiel and Revelation go around looking for people who have the sign of the Tau sheepmark on their heads, and since being baptized is sort of like being espoused anyway, maybe the “exousian” head covering thing was connected to Baptism.

But in context in 1 Corinthians, the thing seems to be a lot simpler, honestly. The head of the man is Christ and the head of the woman is a man, so men pray with their Christ-head uncovered because it gets them closer to God (even though that’s the opposite of Jewish tradition, because in Christ we hope to see God face to face), but women pray with their man-head covered because otherwise you’d be walking around like a nekkid dude before God. (Jewish tradition isn’t big on praying starkers, as far as I can tell.) And apparently, if you’re a woman with no husband or father or male authority, you do it on account of the bishops, who are like your dads. But again, this may be too simple, because it’s certainly not the way people seem to take it! Probably the simplest way to understand it is that Paul is just trying hard to explain why Christian women still are supposed to pray with head covered, like Jewish women, when Christian men don’t have to wear prayer shawls and head coverings anymore, and that the mystical explanation may just be harder to understand than a simple regulation.

Aeh, well, don’t really care except from a decorum POV, but it’s interesting to poke around these things.


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Fathers Indexed Alphabetically by Subject

There are more recent books which take a similar approach and probably have a broader selection. And which are in English instead of Latin. But this is still a very handy book, especially since Google actually seems to have managed to index it for search fairly well. (That’s how I found it, anyway.)

So, from Fr. Philippus a S. Jacobus, the series Sanctorum Patrum Bibliotheca Maxima Lugdunensis, published 1719. Here’s Volume I, which includes an alphabetical list of all the authors excerpted, a list of the subject headings found in Volume I (A-L), and then the subject headings and excerpts themselves. Here’s Volume II (M-Z). I think they refer back to the Fathers series printed in Lyons and edited by De La Bigne, but I don’t know for sure. Either way, it’s a neat way to find stuff on various subjects.

Alas, the abbot and bishop Drogo Laudunensis is not our friend St. Drogo, patron of coffee.

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Best Mispronunciation Ever!

If you go to church enough, I’m sure you’ve heard some doozies of oral typos. I know I have. The sad thing is, they usually happen to the people who really really practice hard beforehand. The people who really don’t know what they’re saying — they just tend to stumble over their tongues a bit.

But this week, we had a masterwork.

The Gospel reading was about the Samaritan woman, in a town of Samaria.

What came out was, “He came to a town of Samurai….”


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St. Gregory the Great — Analyst of People

I got a lot of respect for the people knowledge of St. Gregory the Great when I read his book Pastoral Care, but here’s another example of his shrewdness from a translation of his Job commentary, Moralia in Job. (It was quoted in Beatus’ Revelation commentary.) This one explains a lot about the methods of Maciel and other cultish, hypocritical spiritual teachers:

….After the manner of the sacred speech, we call preaching the words of life, “to sow”. And the Prophet says, “Blessed are ye that sow upon all waters.” [Isaiah 32:20] Of course, he saw preachers who handed down the words of life like celestial bread grains to the people far and wide, “sow over all waters”. But to “eat” is to be filled with good works’. As the Lord says: “My food is to do the will of Him that sent me.” [John 4:34]

Therefore, if the things that [the preacher] announced, he forbore to do, he says, “Let me sow, and let another eat” [Job 31:8], as if he said openly, ‘What my mouth speaks, not I but another will do.’ Of course the preacher who is out of harmony with the behavior [preached] by his voice, goes hungry while sowing what another eats; since, when by crooked conduct he is made empty of the uprightness of the words of life, he is not fed by his seed.

And because often the disciples hear good things in vain, when those things are destroyed through the examples of actions in the master’s life, it is rightly joined with “And let my offspring be rooted out.” For the offspring of teachers is rooted out when those who are born by his word are killed by his example; for
those he begets by watchful tongue, he kills by negligence of life…

From which, when they live reprehensibly and are unable to make disciples of praiseworthy life, they generally try to attract others’ [disciples] to themselves; so that in men’s judgments they may excuse the evil they do by showing themselves to have good followers, and cover up their deadly negligence by the life of their subordinates.

That’s from Book 21, Chapter 10 (the bit about Job 31:8).

We often see this today, where cults and nasty groups often do seem to cherrypick nice, hardworking people, so that other people will see the good followers and assume that the leaders can’t be all that bad. Whereas really it’s a wolf using a flock of nice docile sheep to cover what he’s doing, hiding himself among his prey. Or, less obviously evil, you get someone covering up his own lacks by getting a bunch of people better than himself and urging them on with big talk, so they won’t notice he’s not doing anything but talking.

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Useful Pouch

As a gamer and a former member of the SCA, naturally I have been brainwashed to think that it’s a good idea to keep things in a drawstring pouch, possibly hanging said pouch off my belt. Since the only problem with my Sansa Clip+ mp3 player is that I don’t have a good case to keep it in, I was happy to discover that my local drugstore carried microfiber pouches like this, designed for keeping your glasses in.

The idea is that the glasses are cleaned off by the microfiber interior. This also works perfectly well for an mp3 player screen, or indeed for a cellphone or any other small gadget you want to keep clean and unscratched.
There are pouches like this which are supposed to be specially designed for various electronic devices; but if you buy at the drugstore, it’ll probably be a lot cheaper.

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Relic Spotting!

Hey, hey! 60 Minutes is interviewing Archbishop Dolan of NY, and they showed the archbishops’ mausoleum in the crypt under St. Patrick’s Cathedral. And guess who I saw right in the wall with them!

The body of Venerable Pierre Toussaint! Awesome!

His body’s been there since 1990, but it’s the first picture I’ve seen of the crypt or his place in it.


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