Monday, October 29, 2007

My Special Intention and the Result

I requested prayers for a special intention of mine last week, and I received a response very soon after posting. Some of you will think it strange that I needed guidance on this particular subject, but for me, there were some strong feelings about whether I should make a particular commitment. Anyway, the die is cast.

I was asked to join the music ministry for the Lifeteen Mass, and I accepted the job. I'll be playing bass and singing. Now, I'm much more of a traditional choir guy, and I like chant. I tend to think that those musical expressions are more appropriate for the liturgy. However, I've had several indications that this might be where I'm needed and where my daughter's faith will thrive (at least for the time being). I suspect that many of the kids who are attracted to the Lifeteen Mass would be attracted to the extraordinary form as well, simply because it isn't what their parents have taken them to all their lives. Ultimately, I want my daughter to understand that the liturgy is the liturgy is the liturgy. The reason for being there is not because we prefer the music, or like a particular priest, or want everyone to keep their hands to themselves during the sign of peace, but because that is where Christ comes to us and where we relive and re-present the pascal sacrifice.

Anyway, please pray for me in this new endeavor. Perhaps I can convince the leaders of te youth ministry that Gregorian chant is really much more appealling to adolescents these days.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Catholic Minority Report Points out the Obvious

Some organ of the United Nations recently castigated the Catholic Church for its positions on the use of condoms to "prevent AIDS." Patrick at CMR has helpfully illustrated to absurdity of this charge with a short script.

Mark Shea's commentary is a bit more terse.

Music—The New A-tonists

Elliot has a link to this post by millinerd concerning the next new protest. What would we do without these brights?

Sunday, October 21, 2007


I have two requests. First, if you could pray for a special intention of mine, I'd appreciate it greatly.

Second, I'm trying to find a good interlinear bible (or possibly two good interlinear bibles), but most that I've come across are based on the Protestant "canon." I have found a CD version of the Septuagint and Greek NT, but I'd much prefer a hard copy. I will probably settle for a separate copy of either the Septuagint or Masoretic text (since the Hebrew to English OTs are missing a few books).

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Paper 1 IN!

Yes, I've been working on my first paper of the semester, which of course means endless agonizing about what the instructor is expecting. If you want to feel sorry for anyone, don't waste your pity on me. Adoro has it much harder (God bless her) trying to hold down a full-time job and attend grad school full time as well.

Anyhoo, I can't promise more frequent posts, but I'll try to be more consistent... for the 20 or so people who apparently have an RSS feed to me.

A Catholic Dad: You Think?

If this doesn't qualify me for the title, I don't know what will.

I've been attending the games at my daughter's junior high lately to watch her cheer and offer my support. I also want to support the girls on the volleyball team because Kellina played with them last year (and actually wishes she were playing with them this year). I've also attended one 8th-grade football game, and I tend to keep a close eye on the kids and what they do.

I'm sure you won't be surprised that not all of the kids are models of exemplary adolescent behavior. Frankly, I don't expect them to be. They're junior-high kids; they're going to be goofy and occasionally draw attention to themselves. When I take exception is when they draw too much attention to themselves with obnoxious behvior or when they start directing their behavior toward the cheerleaders or the school team (mostly the volleyball team since they can actually hear the comments). What appalls me to no end is how little attention the teachers and other school employees sometimes pay to the behavior, not to mention the other parents. When I was growing up (yes, another one of those stories), adults felt perfectly within their rights to take a kid down a peg if the latter were acting out. What's happened? I can't belief how some of these kids behave, and the adults pay no attention.

Anyway, on at least three occasions, I've done what should've been done by a school authority. Much to the chagrin of my daughter, I've called these kids on their behavior. The first two times, both grudgingly modified their behavior (and moved away from me). Today, I had a young lady* get in my face and essentially assert her right to behave however she liked. That worked fine for her until she called my bluff and suggested I go ahead and talk to the vice principal down the hall. And she seemed to be shocked, shocked, I tell you, that he actually backed me up and suggested she leave.

To his credit, he didn't seem to have much tolerance for disrespectful behavior toward any adult. That's quite frankly what disturbs me (and I know I shouldn't be surprised)—just how a kid that age thinks she has every right to speak and behave as she pleases and that no adult (outside of the school officials—and she wasn't particularly respectful to him either) has a right to call her on it.

I explained to my mortified daughter that I will not sit around when she, her cheerleading compatriots, or the kids on the sports teams have to listen to harrassing speech from rude adolescents. She acknowledged that she wasn't comfortable with it, but she also acknowledged that she understands why I need to do it.

Ironically, the school has posters up in all the halls with all kinds of pollyanish nonesense such as "Just say no to violence" and "Don't be a bully." Uh, yeah. How about the teachers put some teeth into those statements. The two girls today were actually repeating the words on these posters sarcastically between the comments they made to the volleyball players.

*I say "young lady" with the utmost lenience in standards.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Your monitor might shatter...

...but here's a picture of me that my wife took today. We're updating a flier for a boxing circuit class that I just took over a few weeks ago. It's a combination of bag work, classical boxing training, and some mixed martial arts technique. Since I don't have some of the more impressive credentials that our previous instructor Gordon had (like this), I have to resort to cheap props (like my embroidered belt).

Actually, now that I think of it, that wasn't a cheap prop by any means—five years of work and four special trainings. If you haven't been to an SKA special training, you haven't really lived. (Okay, well, the Seal Adventure probably makes it pale in comparison.) Here's Norm Welch's story of his first special training. Mr. Welch is a godan (5th degree, a high level in SKA) in Vancouver, BC. I've gone to three special trainings with him. I remember remarking to him once that I hoped I was still training when I was his age. (He was in his late 40s, and I in my late 20s. And here I am at 42.) He laughed. I could have benefited when I was younger by embracing silence a little more frequently.

In a sick way, I miss it.

Kennady at Six Weeks

Here's the latest. Kennady is about six weeks old now and weighs 11 pounds. We're making arrangements for baptism and are trying to talk Hannah into having her uncle and aunt (good solid Catholics) as Godparents.

My wife says Kennady smiles whenever she tells her that Jesus loves her.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Know-Nothings Within

Matthew at CMR has a recent example of anti-Catholic bashing in student news, from a self-confessed Catholic no less.

You can read the editorial here.

Here was my response:

Dear editors,

I highly recommend that your editorialists read some primary source material before launching off on a tirade like the one written by Andrew Ragni in your October 5, 2007 issue. Not only does he march out every cliché about his religion (burning witches, Office of the Inquisition, damning of non-Catholics—hey, what about Ratzinger the Hitler Youth?), he manages to completely ignore what the CDF document actually said (which you can read here). The document simply affirmed what has been written during and since Vatican II on the subject (which you can find by following the links in the previously mentioned document). These are not ultraconservative claims by the Church. These are actually far more nuanced, theological, and charitable statements than some on the extreme right of the Church at the time were making. In addition, the recent CDF response says nothing—not a word—about the state of the individual souls of non-Catholics. It does, however, quote the following from Lumen Gentium 12:

“It follows that these separated churches and Communities, though we believe they suffer from defects, are deprived neither of significance nor importance in the mystery of salvation. In fact the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as instruments of salvation, whose value derives from that fullness of grace and of truth which has been entrusted to the Catholic Church.”

However, I wouldn’t expect a little thing such as historical perspective to get in the way of a good rant, particularly when one can join in and bash everyone’s favorite punching bag, the Catholic Church. It’s much easier to pile on and repeat popular misconception than to employ some actual critical thinking (or maybe even some basic reading comprehension). While such “enlightened” Catholics such as Ragni like to poke fun at those “sheep” who follow the Church’s every word, he joins the herd of secular evangelists and “Christian” dissidents in lambasting what they do not know or understand. Please, demonstrate a little enlightenment yourselves and add a little historical depth and academic rigor to your polemic.


Bill Burns

You can send your own opinion here

Monday, October 08, 2007

On the Road Again...

This time, in Hershey, PA. I'm staying at the Hershey Lodge, which beats the place I stayed last year hands down. They give away chocolate at every opportunity, and they stock cocoa soap in all the rooms. I was half way through my second bar before I realized that was all I had to wash with!

Okay, maybe not.

Paper #1 for the semester is still brewing in my head. I'm not sure if there's enough there to ferment yet. This class (Sacred Scripture: the Torah and Historical Books) seems a bit more difficult to gauge. Having a background in literature, I should feel right at home. However, the academic world in which I earned my degree was much too frivilous and fraught with ideology to give anyone a good grounding in literary hermeneutics.

Is there a patron saint for scripture scholars? St. Jerome, maybe?