Monday, July 25, 2011

Norway murders

Internet troubles of late, so just a very brief word. From what I can tell, his concerns are well-founded but his response was awesomely and utterly and grievously wrong

Monday, July 18, 2011

A flash from the past

I stumbled onto the third installment of Twilight. Young lupine uberhunk Jake is still entranced --unaccountably--with Bella (who has some of the most unexpressive eyes around; being dead should be a cakewalk for her). She's gonna marry the cold pale drag-queenish vamp Edward. Post-battle and very wounded Jake tries to persuade her otherwise, from, literally, his bed of pain: "It would be as easy as breathing with me." 

Upping the anti

Like the now canonical use of the word "hater", it is clear that if someone is "anti-" something, then they must be in the wrong. It's up there with "hard-line".*

Michelle Bachmann's conservative Lutheran church continued the Reformation characterization of the Papacy as "anti-Christ" and therefore was deemed to be "anti-Catholic". Well, if you are Lutheran, you have to be "anti-Catholic" in some sense or you'd be...Catholic.

The cult of niceness makes it very hard to tell the truth. Or even to know what it is anymore. But that's the point.

*Only used in the MSM for conservatives, never for leftists.

Dolly wants to be Jane

A weird story of effeminate Thai lady-boys being taught masculine behavior by monks.

And the Dalai Lama --known locally among his fans as Dolly L-- said in an interview that in his next life he wants to be a Jain. Given that he is held to be the continuing reincarnation of a (Buddhist) Bodhisattva, that could provide some complexities for the Tibetan Buddhists who revere his position.

Jainism is a religion whose fundamental principle is Ahimsa, harmlessness. The Jain interviewer wanted to ask His Dollyness how he could justify his eating of meat, since that made him as murderously violent as any warrior.

Needless to say, Ex Cathedra, who loves a good burger,  holds no truck with Jane-ism.

Religious, not spiritual

One of the Hapsburg royalty recently died, Prince Otto. After days of death ceremonies, his coffin comes to the Capuchin Church in Vienna and a spokesman raps on the door and asks entry. The friars inside ask who it is. The spokesman reads a long list of honors and titles. The friars answer, "We do not know him." Again the spokesman reads more accomplishments and again the friars answer, "We do not know him." Finally, the spokesman says, "It is Otto, a sinful mortal man." The friars say, "Him we know," and open the door.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Miss Nomer

Over at Pray Tell, there's always a stew about worship, but very little "wit and wisdom". A lot of intra church nastiness. A couple of the more predictable Irish Boomer priests are rushing to the defense of John Calvin and the Reformers, while showing nothing but embarrassment, irritation, condescension and hostility to Rome and the Latin Mass for which their ancestors suffered so much. Calvin? Mother of God.

Speaking of Ireland, the government there is considering a law requiring priests to break the seal of confession when pedophilia is in question. Unbelievable. The same hamfisted grim legal moralism which infected the religion of Ireland now shows up in the anti-religion of Ireland. Moral panic, anyone?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sticking your nose

outside your competence. While researching something else, I found this section in the Catholic Catechism. Once again, moralists talking through their red hats.

2315 The accumulation of arms strikes many as a paradoxically suitable way of deterring potential adversaries from war. They see it as the most effective means of ensuring peace among nations. This method of deterrence gives rise to strong moral reservations. The arms race does not ensure peace. Far from eliminating the causes of war, it risks aggravating them. Spending enormous sums to produce ever new types of weapons impedes efforts to aid needy populations;111 it thwarts the development of peoples.
This kind of uninformed fatuous pompous blowhardery is the lefty version of "pontification", a word which has justly acquired the implication of preaching what you don't know about.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Translation troubles

While battles still rage over the upcoming re-Englishing of the Latin Mass, I found a piece of it quoted in the original which shows so much the beautiful noble sonorous rhythms of which that language is capable:
Per quem hodie commercium nostrae reparationis effulsit, quia, dum nostra fragilitas a tuo Verbo suscipitur, humana mortalitas non solum in perpetuum transit honorem, sed nos quoque, mirando consortio, reddit aeternos.
As with all translations, meaning can be shared, but music...well, that's practically impossible. As the Italians say, Traduttore, traditore...again, with our meaning but less of the music...Translator, traitor.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

WWJ not D?

In an article on preaching by a Ms. Reverend Someone, she quotes adults in a Manhattan church about what makes for good preaching:
"We do not want a sermon that skirts current issues. Jesus didn't do that. At our church, we sit on the edge of our seats every week because our preachers connect the Word of God with the important news of the day and the real world we live in."

"Current issues" and "important news of the day" and "the real world we live in" likely comes down to the obsessions of the white upper middle class on the West Side. A very circumscribed world. And Jesus, if you read the Book, was not a religious commentator on the MSM's idea of what's current, important and real.

He said nothing about homosexuality or slavery or pacifism or abortion or contraception or massive illegal immigration or the Roman occupation or sustainability or multiculturalism or government intervention in the economy or affirmative action or women's ordination or any of the other intellectual and cultural passtimes of these folks. Their Jesus is, well, their Jesus.

Mixed feelings

While on an errand for my ex, T, I walked through Tompkins Square Park on Manhattan's Lower East Side on Tuesday morning. Back in the 70's and 80's, it was a hell hole, full of drug addicts, homeless people and filth. As part of the whole regeneration of "Alphabet City", it is now reborn, as it looked in the 50's: kids playing baseball, old men sitting on benches under shady trees, talking politics and their wives, and in the north playground on this hot muggy day, the fountains were opened up as sprinklers for scores of toddlers and their moms and nannies to cool off. Well worth battling through the resistance of the Usual Suspects ("Gentrification is Genocide Against The Poor") back in '88. Very nice, clean, safe and cool. A pleasure to see.

I thought it would make a nice photo, those kids romping in the water...and then I realized that in this day and age, a tall white man in sunglasses taking pictures of half-naked children...I might have a visit from a cop. So I kept on walking*. Sad, that.

*Photo above is an internet link.


Always a fan of languages, I find these words intriguing.

In English,
Spanish, Italian, French and German.

bostezo, sbadiglio, baillement, Gähnen
English and German are connected.
Spanish and Italian and French are connected.

picazón, prurito, démangeaison, Juckreiz
English and German are connected.
Spanish and Italian are connected.
French is alone, from the same word meaning "to eat".

rascar, grattare, gratter, kratzen
All five are connected.

I plead guilty to rank Eurocentrism. To say nothing of world-class time-wasting.

And to respond to an inquirer, the word laconic comes from an area around Sparta, Laconia, whose inhabitants were famous for being...laconic.

No relation to the famous statue of Laocoon.

St Peter Martyr enjoining laconicness,
or laconicity...or laconicality.

The tower of Bobel

Courtesy of Mr. B, I will be participating in two noteworthy events this week.

1. A town meeting at the Irish Cultural Center with the Democratic candidates for San Francisco Mayor.

2. A showing of MGM's first-produced motion picture, the 1924 film He Who Gets Slapped.

I hope I can tell the difference.


Profiles encourage

Always been a fan of structural flow, strong angles, contrasts, even crags.

Heroes and hoagies

Disappointing. I was once a great fan of Jonathan Rauch. Now I cringe to find that he considers one of the few "great bloggers" to be Andrew Sullivan. Someone else I used to like before he fell over the edge into hysterical moralizing and Bush/Palin Derangement Syndrome.

Well, at least Victor Davis Hanson is still The Man. For now.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

From east to west

After two weeks amongst the New Yorker gene pool and real summer weather --hot and muggy-- I am heading back to Bagdad by the Bay today, land of perpetual spring/fall.

I like my family. And they apparently like me. A blessing.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

St Camelot's Post-Catholic Church

Reading the Pray Tell blog, which dishonestly promises "Worship, Wit and Wisdom",  I sometimes feel like King Herod, who had no intention of following what the Baptist said, but liked listening to him while he condemned him.

I long ago concluded that the RC Church was not going to have female priests, married priests, or say it was ok to be gay or be on the pill. I adjusted my life accordingly. Nothing in the intervening years –evanescent blips notwithstanding—has made me change my mind. These things seem as unlikely to me as corporate reunion with the more-than-ever-fragmented Anglican “Communion”. Which has become a kind of cautionary tale of what can happen when you do embrace the above items.

The populist egalitarian obsessions of the post-Marxist liberal West will not, IMHO, be welcomed into the bimillennial Catholic/Orthodox Churches. For that you have to go to cobwebbed and dotty Canterbury or the other restless and groovy progeny of the Reformation. So I am both fascinated and incredulous to observe people who keep hoping that the Camelot interpretation of Vatican II is waiting just around the corner. Or for the next pope. Etc.  Hence, my kinship with King Herod. 

The blog editor monk must agree with me, since my last two comments have been removed. 

Since I am visiting family in NY, the Sunday Times has arrived. I never read it unless I am here in its native turf. Its provincial world view remains startlingly unaltered. The Book Review front page features a history of the Papacy by "an agnostic Protestant non-scholar", reviewed by a self-described "collapsed Catholic." (Can you imagine them featuring a similar work on Islam with similar writers and reviewers? Of course you can't.) No surprises. The few great popes "were outnumbered by the corrupt, inept, venal, lecherous and mediocre." But a closing paragraph is apt:
It is now well over a half a century since progressive Catholics have longed to see their church bring itself into the modern age. With the accession of every succeeding pontiff they have raised their hopes that some progress might be made on the leading issues of the day -- on homosexuality, on contraception, on the ordination of women priests. And each time they have been disappointed.

So when women there on PT dismiss the settled teaching of Rome on female ordination with a wave of the hand reference to Emily Litella, or the unserious fantasy that "Godde" is female, or some wholly unappealing remark that “someday the Pope(s) will have to answer to the pain these women must feel*, because a call is a call”…or when their male allies compare the Vatican with the Kremlin, I just shake my head. And am glad I made my choice all those years ago.

What I really want to say to them is, “Grow up.”

*Men having to "answer" for women's pain: feminism-as-revenge, in a nutshell.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Separate but unequal

The Atlanta schools cheating scandal. Their award-winning superintendent...God, this is funny!

 Brenda Muhammad replaces Khaatim Sherer El.

Things will certainly improve now...

In risu veritas

Groups laughing at themselves tell truths that they deny to outsiders.

A mediocre gay movie, Role/Play, includes the line by a wiser older homo:

"Most gay men have the emotional maturity of a teenage girl."

Can you imagine the furor if that were asserted by Focus on the Family?

IMHO, gay culture teaches gay men how to be gay but not how to be men, too.

The two leads, Steve Callahan and Matthew Montgomery, a couple in real life it seems, are mediocre but appealing actors. Together they have nice chemistry.


Two nights ago I dreamt I owed someone four thousand dollars for doing a job I did not ask them to do. Last night I was being evicted from my apartment because the gym owner and landlord was expanding his business and needed the space to anchor a big new sign.

Anxiety, anyone?

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Ethics and eros

A thought while driving home from the gym.

About Catholic sexual morality. The fulcrum is the axiom that the only virtuous (aka ends-respecting and non-sinful) use of sexual intercourse is between a married man and woman, open to procreation. If you loosen that principle, eventually you will not have a basic principle.

Joseph Ascrizzi, The Dance of Eros-Logos,
sepia drawing on an incised, water gilded, gesso panel, 6x10 inches

My  thought: You probably cannot have a concrete coherent and stable Christian sexual principle and at the same time do justice to all the realities of people who find themselves at odds with it.

And if you try to construct a Christian sexual morality that makes room for every sort of conditions and situation, I wonder if it could be specific enough to be concrete coherent and stable.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Although I am a therapist myself, sometimes we designate as "therapy" what seems more like human kindness.

Unaccountably moving. A young girl beginning her life, with an old woman at the end of hers.

Happy Independence Day, America!

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