Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Forthcoming Motu Proprio

Yes, I know I'm late by a day. I saw the news on Gerald's blog first. Of course, Fr. Z, always in the know, also had the story, as well as blow-by-blow coverage of the handling and mishandling of the news.

So I'm a latecomer. That's my code: arrive late, leave early. And, now, I think it's clear that no one is speculating any longer. Today, the Vatican News Service released the following statement:

VATICAN CITY, JUN 28, 2007 (VIS) - Given below is the text of a communique released today by the Holy See Press Office concerning Benedict XVI's forthcoming "Motu Proprio" on the use of the Missal promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962.

"Yesterday afternoon in the Vatican, a meeting was held under the presidency of the Cardinal Secretary of State in which the content and spirit of the Holy Father's forthcoming 'Motu Proprio' on the use of the Missal promulgated by John XXIII in 1962 was explained to representatives from various episcopal conferences. The Holy Father also arrived to greet those present, spending nearly an hour in deep conversation with them.

"The publication of the document - which will be accompanied by an extensive personal letter from the Holy Father to individual bishops - is expected within a few days, once the document itself has been sent to all the bishops with an indication of when it will come into effect."

Deo Gratia! I believe this will be one of many good things that will renew the life of the Church and return some sanity to the current liturgical landscape.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

God the Father

Fr. Dwight Longenecker has an excellent post on the propriety of referring to God the Father. In addition to the points concerning the relational aspects between Father and Son, and the ubiquitous references to God as Father throughout scripture, Fr. L. also says this about the rather flat formulation, "Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer":

These are also not personal terms of reference for the three persons of the Trinity, but references to their functions. Imagine referring to your parents not as 'Dad and Mom' or even as George and Phyllis, but as 'Businessman and Housewife.'

Or if my wife referred to me as "consultant." Or worse.

Pope Benedict made a similar point in Jesus of Nazareth concerning God the Father and Christ's Sonship. He mentions the use of maternal language in the Old Testament, particularly the word rahamim or womb, which the Holy Father explains "is the most concrete epression for the intimate interrelatedness of two lives" (139). However, he continues on to explain that Israel was distinct in that it, unlike its neighbors, had a Father, God, rather than a mother deity:

By contrast, the image of the Father was and is apt for expressing the otherness of Creator and creature and the sovereignty of his creative act. Only by excluding the mother deities could the Old Testament bring its image of God, the pure transcendence of God, to maturity.

He continues on the scriptural bases for calling God the Father:

But even if we cannot provide any absolutely compelling arguments, the prayer language of the entire Bible remains normative for us, in which, as we have seen, while there are some fine images of maternal love, "mother" is not used as a title or a form of address for God. We make our petitions in the way Jesus, with Holy Scripture in the background, taught us to pray, and not as we happen to think or want. Only thus do we pray properly.

By the way, if you have not yet read Jesus of Nazareth you owe it to yourself to get your hands on a copy. Like most (if not all) of the Holy Father's books, it's an excellent read.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Myth of Hitler's Pope

Not news to me, might be news to some of you who lurk. All of these stories about Pius XII's mythical collaboration with Hitler didn't get their start until the publishing of a play called The Deputy in 1963 by Rolf Hochhuth. There have recently been reports that the KGB had set out to discredit the pope and the Church. I understand that Hochhuth later admitted that the claims in the play were contrived.

HT to Phatcatholic. He also has a link to additional information about the role of Pope Pius XII ad the Church during World War II.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Why Latin?

Fr. Dwight Longenecker asked some questions about the use of Latin in the classical Roman Rite. Shawn Tribe at the New Liturgical Movement has done a pretty fair job in responding. Fr. Tim Finigan has pointed us all thataway.

And me? Well, I'm just sitting here taking advantage of all the good pointers.

Rated G?

That's what it says. Even with the post on the pod people.

Online Dating

HT to Rufus at Korrektiv.

Friday, June 22, 2007

A Smackdown Making the Rounds

Gerald Augustinus and Rich Leonardi both posted on the Absp. of Omaha's recent letter to U.S. Catholic concerning an article on cohabiting couples. The letter is refreshingly direct:

June 5, 2007

Letters to the Editor

205 W. Monroe St.
Chicago, IL 60606

Dear Editor,

I would like to respond to the article in your June edition entitled "A Betrothal Proposal" by Michael G. Lawler and Gail S. Risch.

The teaching of the Catholic Church about fornication is clear and unambiguous: it is always objectively a serious sin (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church #1755, #1852, #2353). Couples who live together without marriage do in fact live in sin objectively.

Because the position of the authors is contrary to Church teaching about the intrinsic evil of fornication, I have disassociated the Omaha Archdiocese from the Center for Marriage and Family at Creighton University.

Neither Lawler nor Risch are reliable teachers of Catholic moral theology, and certainly are not spokespeople for the Church regarding human sexuality and sacramental marriage.

I remain sincerely yours in Christ,

Most Reverend Elden Francis Curtiss

Archbishop of Omaha

Thursday, June 21, 2007

New ICEL Translation and the View from the "Top"

Consider this about as close to a round up as you'll ever get from me. I've been reading with some amusement the comments from St. Blog's concerning Bishop Trautman's comments (which I read with some bemusement) on poor John and Mary Catholic, who are apparently so bereft of research skills that they cannot open a dictionary or use context to determine the meanings of words.

Alive and Young has a few words for those complaining cardinals and bishops who think the language is out of the grasp of little John and Mary. Amy Wellborn notes the contradictions in two bullet points (albeit numbered bullet points). And Julie D., the Happy Catholic, happily goes to town.

I'm not going to compare texts, as everyone else has done such a fine job of that. I'm appalled at the sterlilization process that has taken place in our scripture and in our churches. The constant over simplification to put things intellectually within our grasp, to humanize Christ, to demystify miracles, and to otherwise refashion the Church to make it look like every other secular institution does not edify us. It does not lift us up. It does not bear us into God's ineffable being. Instead it makes the extraordinary ordinary. It makes the beautiful banal. It destroys the message of the Gospel.

Christ, the Logos, the Word of God, did not come down to Earth to lower Himself to our standards but to lift us up to His.

Why Do Men Avoid Vocations?

Jeff Miller pointed to this fantastic article by Anthony Esolen in Crisis this month. Esolen has captured something that I've come to know over the last decade or so (after sloughing off the nonesense I learned in college), and he confirms something my father (a child psychiatrist/pediatrician) has been saying for years about how boys operate. I'll go ahead and spoil it for you and give you the conclusion:

But these days, if all the boys have long been absent or tuned out, depend upon it: That church has become as safe as a slumber party, as comfortable and informal as a picnic, as ordinary as a wait in the dentist’s office; it has substituted for a passion for truth a breezy engagement with social fads, or simple emotionalism, regardless of whether the emotion comes from the left or the right, from newfangled universalism or old-fashioned damnation. It is not command, but etiquette. It is no sacrifice of the Eucharist, but a tea party with cucumber sandwiches. The Lord who Himself was once a boy, who wrestled in argument with the elders in the Temple, who alongside His father taxed His muscles at the plane and the lathe, who inspired men by seeking them out and calling them and dividing them into ranks and preaching the solemn truth, who freely lay His broken body down for our sakes and who freely took it up again, deserves better.

Go read the rest!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Mass Times in Barcelona

It looks like I'll be doing business in Spain in September. We're set to arrive on a Sunday afternoon, which means that we'll not have a chance to go to Mass until late on Sunday. We're going to be staying in Sant Cugat de Vallés. I'm not sure if the monestary is still operating or if they have public liturgies. Anyway, if you can recommend a church in the Sant Cugat area where we can attend Mass in the evening of our arrival.

Any suggestions concerning sites to see while we're there would also be greatly appreciated.


Monday, June 18, 2007

It all started when he hit me back...

Okay, not really. I just knew some of you would bite.

It all started when a title popped into my head, and I'm sure that means that a year from now, I'll be pulling out my hair and wishing I'd never started this blog.

Whenever I have an idea brewing, it doesn't actually become conscious until I come up with a title. Papers, presentations, poems... whatever it is. If I have a title, or better yet, an opening paragraph, the thing is going to happen whether I like it or not.

And that's what happened last night as I was drifting off to sleep. A title for a book popped into my head. I'm not going to say what the title is, but I will tell you the audience and the aim of this work. I want to write a book for nonbelievers who want to seriously assess the claims of Christians, in general, and Catholics, specifically. It will work much in the same way as the Summa Theologica, without nearly the degree of sophistication. What I mean is that I will begin with objections first, then address arguments in support, and move through three primary subject areas:

- Existence of God
- The Divinity of Christ and the Triune nature of God
- The Catholic Church as the church ordained by Christ

ASIDE: I now have to applauded the blogger developers for adding the autosave feature. My system "terminated ungracefully" in the middle of my post, but because of the excellent work of the nlogger team, I only lost one bullet item. Way to go!

Anyway, I thought I could begin by a review of the literature currently presented by the best and brightest of the new athiests currently publishing. I've read nothing firsthand of what they've written, but most of the reviews indicate that it's mostly a miasma of false assumptions, question begging, well poisoning, and sundry other logical errors. Naturally, that means I actually have to read these authors. Then, after a long shower, I could address their major contentions. Then I would treat the three topics above.

This book would not be for Christians enquiring about or disputing the claims of the Catholic Church, nor would it be for people from other monotheistic faiths. While I respect the journey that many converts to the faith make, my aim is to speak from my own experience as a skeptic and how I came to embrace the faith.

I would be interested in hearing from Brent, Mike, Jeff, or Jennifer (if she can sweep the scorpions off of her keyboard) on this idea. And, hey, wasn't Julie D. an atheist or agnostic at one time, too?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

You haven't experienced true joy...

...until you've used a sod cutter. Putting sod in might be much fun, but taking it out? Well, that's a whole 'nother bundle o' joy.

This is my second time using a sod cutter, and if I never have to do it again, it will be too soon.

This one goes up to eleven.

The pup, that is.

We had Brutus fixed about two weeks ago, and I had the apprently mistaken assumption that he might, well, mellow out or something.

Not that I didn't get a kick out of his goofy puppy gallumph as he zipped around the back yard.

Anyhoo, such was not the case. He's exactly the same--stuck on eleven, and with way too much enthusiasm.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

**SNORT** - Che Mania

Louise at Purcell's Chicken Voluntary has an excerpt from an eyewitness account of Che Guevarra executing a boy in his early teens.

I see Che shirts all over the place, and I've been truly tempted to approach the wearers to point out the truth about their icon. Louise also posted this image from Mark Shea's blog.

Now there's a shirt I could wear.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Some Help with Evolutionary Biology

I'll come right out and say that I do not belive the science of evolution to be in conflict with Catholic doctrine. I do have qualms about various theories, and I most certainly believe that evolution must, if at all true, be a process driven by intelligence (that is, a Divine creator). What might be random in a scientific sense is not necessarily random in a metaphysical sense.

So what I'm trying to get at is how we get from an inorganic universe created in a big bang to a universe occuppied by organic beings. The latter seem to be able to thrive only by consuming other organic beings. In a universe created in a big bang, it would be difficult to claim organic beings at the offset. Therefore, there must be some kind of force present that converts inorganic matter to organic matter. Otherwise, there's no way for the evolutionary process to begin. And if such a force existed in the past, there's no explanation for why it doesn't now seem to be present. If a process were present in the past, we should be able to witness the process or effects of the process in the present in a way that would explain the origin of organisms.

Another issue is with the finite amount of organic material. If we include all carbon-based compounds, we still have to accept that there is a limited amount of such compounds available on this planet. We might be "refreshed" to a degree by some cosmic source, but for the most part, there are limited amounts of carbon-based materials, therefore limited amounts of material by which evolutionatry processes can take place.

So I see two problems with a completely atheistic concept of evolution. One doesn't explain how organisms came to be at all, and the other doesn't explain why we continue to get more and more organic material rather than having stasis.


Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Or at least I'm hoping so. I've been lame about posting, and I have no excuse. I've been just a little preoccuppied with LOTR online.

Bad reason, I know. But come September, it's all back to business.

I do have some thoughts to post, so I should pobably be cranking something out, oh, say... tomorrowish.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Not Quite Moblogging

I made an attempt to post from my Treo today. Having been lured in by the deceptively clean layout of the blog itself, I thought the dashboard would be equally straight forward.

Not at all.

Had to scroll back and forth, up and down, and after typing up my post, I clicked Publish Post only to have the links fail.

Apparently you have to do something special to moblog.

Anyway, I'll probably be somewhat quiet this week. I'm in Houston on business until Wednesday. Strangely enough, it's cooler here than in Boise (or at least than it was this weekend).

Friday, June 01, 2007

Requesting Book Recommendations

I have a special request from a young lady in my small faith group (an offshoot of our Catholic evangelism retreat). She's in her early 20s and has some difficulty reading. She's a convert to the faith, and she often struggles with some of the concepts we discuss. She asked if I could recommend some books for her so she can better understand her faith. Can any of you recommend texts that are simple enough in language that aren't necessarily directed at children? I'm hoping to find something on Church doctrine and something else on saints, devotions, or Catholic history.