March 30, 2007

Catholic Weekend

Local readers: Are you looking for something to do this weekend that will fit in nicely with Lent?

Epiphany Studio Productions' "The Scrutiny Passion" is tonight March 30th, 7 p.m. at St. Olaf in Minneapolis. This is the last performance scheduled for this Lent. I saw it, with Ray of Stella Borealis blog, last night. Jeremy Stanbary has a phenomenal soliloquy on witnessing the Passion. It is a 3 actor play. 3 people from the Gospels: the Woman at the Well, Lazarus and the Blind Beggar describe their encounters with Jesus and attempt to explain what and who Jesus is and what He meant to each of them. Very well done. If you can't see it, please consider supporting Epiphany Studios is another way. They are an outstanding CATHOLIC theater company and they can use our help to keep their apostolate going. Protestants excel at using theater as part of their evangelization. Why can't we?

Into Great Silence a 2005 German made film about a monastery in the French Alps is playing at the Lagoon in Minneapolis. This is, so far, the only theater it is showing at in this area. Several other local bloggers and I will be at the 8 p.m. showing tonight.

AND, don't forget this Sunday is Palm Sunday! I'm sure you were going to Mass anyway, right?

UPDATE 3/31/07: Into Great Silence riveted me. I highly recommend it if you are looking for something meditative this Lent. It really puts you into the rhythms of monastic life. I think it helps to be a Catholic so you understand the significance and importance of what they are doing during the film but not strictly necessary. I laughed out loud during the scene of one of the rare days the Carthusians are allowed out and allowed to speak freely with one another. Many of them are sitting around discussing one of their rituals (handwashing). It's mentioned that another monastery does not do that. One of them says: "[But] they're Trappists!" You had to be there.

March 28, 2007

Who Do You Say that I Am?

Well, not me. I can't even figure that one out. Which is the point of this post. Well, sort of.

Most of us spend a lot of time, and sometimes a lot of money, trying to figure out who we are. "That's so 70's!"

But, it's not. Throughout history people tried to figure out who they are. What makes them. What they will do, what they can't do etc.

I am, deliberately, making this post simplistic.


Believers try to wrap their minds around the impenetrable Mystery of who Jesus the Christ was. Sometimes in doing so they reduce Him to no more than a human in need of therapy and a hug.

"Jesus was CONFLICTED"
"He didn't know who He was"
"He was a sufferin' brutha"
"He went into the Garden to find Himself"
"He had problems with his Mother"
"He probably wished he could dump those dumba-- Apostles and travel by Himself"
"He WAS born in a barn"
"He suffered from insomnia"
"His feet must have been KILLING Him"
"He clearly had issues-no sex for 33 years? What's up with THAT?!"
"He must said at some point: "Any more stupid questions?" but the text is lost to us"

Any Excuse for Monty Python....

In today's Pioneer Press Letters to the Editor:

[A prior letter writer's] desire for a "universal" Catholic Church [er, what does the word, CATHOLIC, mean again?] where all members agree on all tenets passed by the all-too-human institutional hierarchy may be a comforting pipe dream [how about the will of God?], but the Catholic Church and its members are a diverse group [you're kidding?!]. As Catholics we embrace the doctrines set forth by the Apostles' Creed as absolute [sounds good, but wait....]; but much room is left in our "big tent" of a church that is evolving under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, giving our church its vitality [sounds good? maybe? but wait!].

To infer that everything our hierarchy or our pope [Pope. Capital!] pronounces is infallible on all matters pertaining to the operation of the institutional church [Church. Capital!] is erroneous [Who says that?]. Remember Galileo and his problems with the church? [You know, it's probably been a whopping 2 hours since someone, somewhere, reclaimed Mr. G from the dustbin of history! I hate to see him forgotten.] And what of the sexual abuse by priests of countless children and vulnerable adults? [It's terrible. What of it? What does that have to do with your point? By the way, what is your point?]

May those of us who love our church [Church. Capital!] but are aware of its faults and fallacies continue to seek a closer reflection of what Christ intended [Um, yes, but somehow I don't think she is really looking to grow to what Christ intended, rather what SHE intends].

Signed: [Name ommitted by me but the writer is from Apple Valley: Where I DARE you to find an apple tree!]

I actually EXPECTED the Spanish Inquisition to make the author's list!

[Music]: Duh, du, DUUUUUUH


March 25, 2007

What You Are Now

I was really moved during today's readings. All 3 of them: boom, boom, boom. A consistent theme of His forgiveness. Above all, it is not who you used to be, what you were last year, what you did one hour ago, it's what you will do from this point forward. Seek out His forgiveness via the Sacrament of Confession. The Lord is searching the horizon for you. He wants you to come back and so do we.

If your Lenten resolution are not going so well, it's not too late.

Father quoted from Leviticus in his Homily today and I thought of SOMEONE and smiled.

Here are the readings for today. Year C:

Isaiah 43: 16 - 21

Thus says the LORD, who makes a way in the sea, a path in the mighty waters,
who brings forth chariot and horse, army and warrior; they lie down, they cannot rise, they are extinguished, quenched like a wick:
"Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
The wild beasts will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches; for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people,
the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise. "

Philippians 3: 8 - 14

Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ
and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, based on law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith;
that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,
that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
Brethren, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

John 8: 1 - 11

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
Early in the morning he came again to the temple; all the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them.
The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst
they said to him, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery.
Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?"
This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.
And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her."
And once more he bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.
But when they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.
Jesus looked up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"
She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again."

March 23, 2007

Catholic Church Basement Women

One of my favorite times during Lent is the time spent in my parish basement kitchen preparing the soups for our Friday Lenten Soup Suppers with some of my Catholic sisters.

In my raging feminazi days, I was taught to be just furious in any situation where the women are in the kitchen cooking and the men aren't. My heart was never in that particular ultra-feminist argument because I've always enjoyed the kitchen time spent with my female relatives and friends.

Ladies, How many of you want men in the kitchen while you are cooking a huge meal for your loved ones with a group of your female friends or family? I see a few hands raised. No doubt the folks who hope Emeril Lagasse will stop by. Or, the gals who are lucky enough to have a really good cook for a husband.

For the rest of us, don't get me wrong, I'm always happy to see men cooking. Many men are far better chefs then I'll ever be. But, there is a dynamic among women who are together preparing food for loved ones that is hard to explain.

There have been occasions where a man will stop by the kitchen and check the food, pick something up, raid the 'fridge. What happens? Women joke around with him and switch the topic to something neutral but all serious female conversation comes to a standstill.

The group feminine kitchen time is a time to bond over: kids, husbands, the single life, dating, romance or lack thereof, your weight, movies, illnesses, news, stories, faith. It's a time to bounce ideas off of a sister, to get an opinion. It's a time to cry, bond, and above all laugh. (Wine helps too!)

It's also a time to stop your sister in Christ from putting too much black pepper in the tomato basil soup as I almost did last night!

It's time like these that I see how women are the backbone of Holy Mother Church. If we weren't there, who would step up to make meals for the senior suppers, the homebound parishioners, the Lenten soups, the visiting priests, the funerals? Women have a natural tendency to want to help and to team up--more so then men, I think. I always joke with my surviving Grandma that I think it is her mission in life to feed the world. Walk in the door there's Grandma telling you she just baked a pie for your visit. There's Grandma offering to make you a huge sandwich or breakfast. The roles are reversed now because my Grandma has Alzheimers, I'm the one feeding and cooking for her when I visit. That suits me just fine. I'm carrying on her feminine tradition using the skills she taught me and her daughter (my Mom).

It IS a woman's job to feed the world. At every moment of every day, somewhere in the world, a woman is preparing a meal for her family. It is a man's job to make sure his family can get the ingredients for the meal.

Some may say that I have oversimplified and overmagnified women's roles in our Church. It's not enough for women to cook, clean and organize in the parish. It's belittling. It's stupid. They should be priests and let the men cook and clean. blah, blah

Women have enough responsibilities that they should be doing NOW without adding the priesthood to it. Look how the family has suffered in the last 40 years. Look how many of our young people can't do anything more then open up a box of frozen meal because they never learned to cook. Look how many kids spend their afternoon in front of a PlayStation babysitter because no one is at home.

Women's roles are to support and lead. You can support and lead at the same time. A lot of people say you can't. Men support and lead too but in a different way. Men and women need to support each other. Priests need female support to do their jobs as priests and our laymen need female support to do their jobs as men.

Elizabeth Edwards

Elizabeth Edwards, her family, and her husband, Presidential candidate, John Edwards, are in my prayers. My mother died of the same type of cancer that Mrs. Edwards has. Breast cancer that was treated, and then came back in the bones a few years later. Eventually, it attacks the organs. This could become a very bad situation for their family. My mother only lived for a little over a year after the cancer came back and it was not an easy time.

That said, I have no intention of refraining from serious scrutiny of Mr. Edwards as a Presidential candidate. I'm not going to forget the blogger incident, nor his McMansion in the Carolinas.

So far, Sam Brownback is my guy.

Cathy without Coffee

I enjoy fresh ground coffee in the a.m. Well, this morning, the coffee grinder would not grind. The blades would not move. There goes the FIFTH coffee grinder I've owned in the last 6 years.

When I was a kid, my parents took the family toaster to the small engine repair shop for years every time it broke down. Now, there are hardly any small engine repair shops because stuff is so cheap it's not worth the repair bill. Just toss it out and go buy a new one.

When you buy cheap, poorly made goods made by underpaid workers in some foreign land this is what happens. Landfill: Mr. Coffee is on his way!

March 22, 2007

Prayer Requests

Last night, I witnessed 3 members of my Catholicism class become Catachumens. It was really a moving evening. Please join me in praying for: Chad, Jennifer and Jerry.

Also, please keep Terry Nelson, of Abbey-Roads2 blog, in your prayers. He is really flying without a net right now.

Go Panthers!

The Cass Lake (MN) men's Class A basketball team (29-1) won their game against Lester Prairie yesterday 46-43. Martin Wind (2 free throws with 7 seconds left!) and Brady Fairbanks (20 points!) really did an outstanding job.

Cass Lake plays Barnum (24-4) in the semi-finals at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow at the Target Center in Minneapolis.

I probably don't have to tell you, but for a town with fewer then 800 residents it's a huge deal to come to the Big City, represent your community, and do well.

I wonder how many kids are in school in Cass Lake this week?

My Dad, Mr. Mayor, is very proud.

Update: Cass Lake defeated Barnum 61-48 but lost to Ellsworth on Saturday by only one point! 74-73. Good job, men! Get 'em next year!

March 21, 2007

Why is Everybody Always Picking on Us?

Gentle Reader: Have you ever noticed that when it's a slow Catholic blog newsday there is a decided tendency to come on over to the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis and pick up some story/event/dissenter that those of who already live here have known was trouble for YEARS and present it like it's some big new scandal? Or, present it as an opportunity to once again present to the Catholic world further evidence of what a disgrace this Archdiocese is and how almost everyone who lives here and claims to be Catholic really isn't?-unless you are a member of St. Agnes in St.Paul.

St. Agnes is a great parish. However, it's not the only orthodox parish in this Archdiocese. Which, by the way, consists of over 200 parishes in 12 counties. There are hundreds of parishes that soldier on, doing everything according to the prescribed rubrics, but you never hear about them because they aren't causing a public scandal. There are only about a dozen or so parishes that could be described as seriously dissenting. Those are the ones that make the national blog news.

Yes, there are clergy and religious and educational institutions that are not strong in Catholic Truth around here. There are also many who are. However, I'm sure that I could browse around and find Archdiocese around the world with similar groups of people.

I have blogged about some of the dissenters around here myself. I apologize, if by doing so, I have contributed to the stereotype of this Archdiocese being all bad. By the way, by reading this blog you are entering the life of a former, really, hardcore Catholic dissenter who turned her life around.

I was reached because merciful Catholics reasonably persuaded me with the Truth. What good does it do if all we are doing is reporting but not actually acting? Sure, it can be fun to read the National Catholic Enquirer (Hey, how do you like that title?!) but so what? If you don't like it, if you want change, DO SOMETHING about it.

It's one thing to report it, blog it, complain, murmer about it, whatever. It's another thing entirely to put your Faith where your mouth is and actually try and educate and correct your brothers and sisters who have IT all wrong.

Friends, no one is going to be persuaded by the vitriol aimed at dissenters that I see in some blog comboxes.

As a Catholic activist or apologist I could do a lot better. Sometimes, when presented with an opportunity to evangelize for the Lord, I run away or I am silent.

I get really angry (I was furious yesterday) when I see bloggers and their commenters, who don't even live here, judge us from a distance.

I can see a day coming when this Archdiocese, as a whole, is very orthodox. Call me overly optimistic if you want to. Things have happened here in the last 5-10 years that I thought I would never see. Our seminaries (both minor and major) are full. I have great hope and confidence in the priests that have been ordained here in the last several years.

For the record, much of this change has occurred under the leadership of our present Shepherd, Archbishop Harry Flynn. The Archbishop takes a lot of heat for not "doing enough" because he's not cutting dissenters off at the knees at every opportunity. And, sometimes, I have to admit, I forget myself and get mad at him too. I don't think the Archbishop is a stupid man. He saw, rightly so, that the seminaries in this town needed serious reformation. How can we return to Truth if our priests don't preach it?

Furthermore, he has been a ardent proponent of Eucharistic Adoration. We have more Eucharistic Adoration in this, supposedly horrible, Archdiocese then any other in the world. How can grace fail to flow from that? I can find an open Adoration Chapel, within a few miles of my house, 7 days/week.

Sure, there is room for improvement, but no one, no Diocese is perfect. Not mine, not yours. The Diocese is more then one person or one parish. It's all of us. We all stand or fall together.

Old Catholics

In today's Pioneer Press was the following Letter to the Editor:

I am writing in response to Tad Vezner's article, "No Mass at event about gay Catholics" (March 14). I am an Old Catholic priest and pastor of Cornerstone Old Catholic Church in St. Paul. I am deeply saddened by Archbishop Harry Flynn's decision to deny the symposium a Eucharist celebration - a celebration that would bring much healing and unity to all who participate and are affected by the divisive moral issue between homosexuality and the Roman Catholic Church.

I offer an invitation to those who want to participate in celebrating Catholic Eucharist at Cornerstone this Sunday, and learn more about the Old Catholic Church in the U.S.

We are a welcoming and inclusive sacramental church in the Catholic tradition, and our core church doctrine of unity in diversity attests to how we "do" church.


St. Paul

Warning: The Old Catholics are NOT Roman Catholics. They are a group that is in schism with Rome. Despite how the Reverend tries to make it sound that they may be true Catholics, they aren't any more so then any other schismatic group like the SSPX. They are a group that took what they personally liked from Roman Catholicism, threw in some other stuff, and started their own church (just like many Protestant groups) with their own priests. They don't recognize the authority of the Archbishop nor of the Holy Father.

There is a part of me that wants to applaud Rev. Caruso's aggresive public attempt at building his congregation. There is a part of me that wants to say: "Great, take 'em and keep 'em with you" However, as Roman Catholic Christians, we pray to unite the Body on a regular basis. When the Body is separated we all suffer.

Blurring the Message

Interesting article by Ed Vitagliano in this months AFA Journal...

How does one go about changing a culture? How does a society alter its course or, if it is stagnant, shake itself out of its lethargy and begin a new journey?

In the 1960s, a determined and idealistic cadre unleashed a revolution trumpeting a hyper-individualism that, over the last four decades, has transformed American culture. These people began as a “counter-culture,” challenging the presuppositions and principles that formed the bedrock underlying the status quo of an entire civilization.

Their success has been so complete that Europe and Canada are unrecognizable as societies that were once Judeo-Christian, and the U.S. seems to be riding a rocket sled to the same destination.

Read the entire article

March 20, 2007

New Blog in Town

Ray of Stella Borealis and Gerald at Cafeteria is Closed blogs report that the Twin Cities has a new blog in town. Michael Bayly, the leader of the Catholic Pastoral Commission on Sexual Minorities (CPCSM), has recently started a blog .

Most of you are probably aware that CPCSM is not exactly an orthodox outfit. I have met Mr. Bayly in my past life. He's not a bad man, just misguided.

I recommend that Catholic bloggers mosey on over there and comment, in charity and with reason, to what he has to say. It may be really tempting to flame him. However, no one is going to be reached with the Truth through anger and judgement.

You may not be able to persuade Mr. Bayly (Then, again, who knows? Look at me!), but, perhaps someone reading his blog will be.

I already commented on one of his posts about the New Ways Ministry Symposium. Comment moderation is enabled so it remains to be seen how much is actually posted. However, Lily, from Gerald's blog was just ahead of me and her comment (calm!) was posted.

Lenten Check-up Part 2:

Here we are almost 4 weeks into Lent. How's it going? Are you sticking to your intentions? Are you feeling closer to Him? Do you have any sense of His sacrifice?

Lent has been a mixed-bag, as it usually is. Since my last check-up I'm still not praying my Rosary everday. I struggle with this year-round. I KNOW I should be praying the Little Office daily, but I just don't make the time. I've read books about how important the Rosary is; including St. Louis de Montfort, I've listened to Rosary tapes in the car, I've tried to do it during my commute without a tape-nothing's working. I'm very easily distracted in the car and I fight with, er, uncharitable feelings toward my fellow pilgrims on the road of life. I don't think I do Our Lady any favors with "Hail Mary, full of grace...Hey, dumb_____watch it"

I've been to Confession 4 times already. A new, personal, Lenten record. I know I'll be receiving the Sacrament at least once more before Easter. During Lent and Advent, I don't delay receiving Absolution. I seek out an available Priest within 24 hours of my latest serious offense. The rest of the liturgical year, I may delay receiving Absolution for several days. I've been told by more then one priest, that it is not wise to wait because you don't know when your hour is coming. I know that and I believe that, but I have yet to put it into practice year-round.

I'm feeling really overscheduled this Lent. Some of that is because of my Confirmation process. Much of it has to do with my lengthy work commute each day. I spend about 1/4 of the day in the car. I'm really praying that next Lent I can spend more time in contemplation with Him then I can fit in right now. Even if I don't get a new job; next Lent, I'm not scheduling as much "stuff".

I went to a grilling party on Saturday night and fell flat on my face (figuratively, Adoro!) into one of my old-school sins. I won't tell you what it is because it's scandalous. I skipped over to Terry Nelson's, of Abbey-Roads2, boyhood parish on the East Side because I know Fr. Welzbacher has regular Confession before each Mass. I confessed my party sin, including that I feel that my Lent is not going well. Father said, and this is not the first time I've heard this, you still have time to make Lent count. It's not too late.

Remember, Gentle Reader, it's not too late to make Lent count.

Oh, this is off topic, but I have found it really helps the spiritual journey to have one primary Confessor. In my case, it's my parish priest. However, there are times when he may not be available. I, also, have 4 back-up Confessors in town. All of my Confessors are solid and orthodox and give most excellent Sacrament. If you have not already done so, I recommend you get to know a few other priests as Confessors in your area. Or, if you travel a lot, like I do, and tend to go to the same areas, find a good Confessor in those areas as well. I have 2 Confessors outside of the Metro area that I go to when I'm on the road.

March 19, 2007

Solemnity of St. Joseph.

St. Joseph is one of my favorite Saints. I'll be at Mass after work to honor him. I have enjoyed great peace and clarity of mind praying for his intercession on numerous occasions.

Three men very close to my heart bore his name as a nickname or some part of their full name: my Maternal Grandfather, My Dad and my Brother. I've always thought that if I'm ever blessed to have a son I will name him Joseph.

Terry has a couple of good posts here and here

Happy Catholic has had a whole series of Sunday Novenas for St. Joseph, here is her most recent post

Of course, Don Marco, has an excellent post on St. Joseph today.

St. Joseph, pray for us.

March 18, 2007

Local News

Finally! A front page story about the fact that the Roman Catholic Church is not the only one with a vocations crisis! However, I think our vocations "crisis" in this Archdiocese is turning around.

Also, the story on the New Ways Ministry event that I blogged about earlier. There was a prayer or vigil countereffort. As I said, I was not there. I don't know anyone who was. If anyone who was there wants to comment, please do.

Note the visible Call to Action presence (Catholic. Liberal. Faithful is their slogan. I want to get a shirt together that says: Scripture. Tradition. Magisterium. to counter theirs). There is the usual complete lack of understanding of Catholicism as well as the median age of the attendees: 50s and 60s.

The final comment: "The Catholic Church moves very slowly, and I don't expect acceptance to happen in my lifetime," Jaco said. "But I never expected it to get this far in my lifetime, either." (I got news for you, honey, acceptance of the practice of homosexuality by the Catholic Church is never going to happen.)

Substitutionary Atonement

Gentle Reader: Today, I am going to expose you to another dissenting Catholic phrase: substitutionary atonement. When you hear or read the phrase "substitutionary atonement" your dissen-tar* should be beeping a warning.

Substitutionary atonement means someone else atoned or paid for something bad that you did. Who do you think they are talking about? That's right, Jesus.

A true follower of Jesus will recognize the Truth that Jesus had to die so that our sins could be forgiven, right? Right.

However, a believer in substitutionary atonement may deny that Jesus had to die because of the Original Sin of Adam and Eve: our first parents. They may deny Original Sin. They may also deny that any personal sin they may have either exists or is so bad that anyone needed to atone for it so they may have the opportunity for eternal life. They are not, generally, big fans of the Sacrament of Confession either. Their big focus may be, not personal sin, but, rather, the sins of the world or collective sin. The collective sins of Jesus' era may have killed Jesus but I didn't. I wasn't alive, I wasn't there. I am not in need of salvation so no sacrifice was needed. They say it was not a sacrifice, it was a gift.

They may also deny the Cross. In a lot of parishes where substitutionary atonement believers gather you may be hard pressed to find a crucifix. I, really, challenge you to find a crucifix in said parish with a corpus on it. Why?

If Jesus' substitutionary atonement was in error or unnecessary, why be reminded of it with a visible sign like a crucifix? Or, even more so, a crucifix with the Body of Jesus on it?

What these dissenters fail to realize is that we all killed Jesus. It doesn't matter that we may not have been alive during the original Crucifixion. However, God knew us before we were born. He sees our whole past, present and future simultaneously. He knows what sins we have committed and may commit in future. Every Mass IS the original sacrifice-we ARE at Calvary. Our sins DO kill Him. We need that opportunity for redemption and forgiveness or else we are doomed.

But, do you see how some of this dissenting phraseology may have some kernals of Truth in it? Just enough Truth to hook the unwary or the poorly catechized. Substitutionary atonement may also be a phrase that a perfectly orthodox Catholic uses too.

The Devil is not stupid.

*dissen-tar: a type of radar for picking up dissenting Catholic mumbo-jumbo and activities.

Stop Abortions at Regions Hospital

At Mass this morning there was an insert in our bulletin from Brian Gibson, Executive Director, of Pro-Life Action Ministries (PLAM). PLAM, through their SaveHealthPartners effort, is collecting signatures to present to HealthPartners at their annual meeting in April.

HealthPartners owns Regions Hospital in St. Paul. Abortions are being conducted at Regions by University of Minnesota OB/GYN residents in the "GYN Special Services" unit. 733 babies were killed here in 2005.

HealthPartners is one of the area's largest insurers.

PLAM is asking for signatures as well as prayer to assist their effort. There is an online petition on their website

PLAM would like signatures no later than March 31st.

Please take a moment and help save lives.

Cross posted to Stella Borealis blog

March 17, 2007

Saint Patrick's Day

The always opinionated Terry Nelson of Abbey-Roads2 blog has a post about St. Patrick's Day.

I am not Irish. Nope, not one bit. Lovely nation and people, I've been there.

If I were Irish, I would be really upset at the sight of so many of my brothers and sisters perpetuating the centuries-old ugly stereotype of the drunken Irishman every March 17th.

As a Native American (Anishinabeg), I am furious when people assume that all Native Americans are drunks. It's true that many of my brothers and sisters struggle with alcohol and substance abuse. I cry every time I see one of them fallen. I cheer when I see one of them get up. I, certainly, don't want to see a day, where in the name of a Saint of God, it's acceptable for them to be intoxicated. If the day ever comes when Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha is canonized (I pray for that event regularly) should Native Americans expect they can honor the Lily of the Mohawks by acting like buffoons and drinking until they pass out?

As a Catholic, I'm really upset that a Saint's day is an excuse for people to forget that it's Lent and go get bombed. I also get upset when certain Bishops waive the Friday abstinence requirements during Lent if St. Patrick's Day happens to fall on a Friday. (For the record, I don't like the debauchery of certain Mardi Gras celebrations either). I think they all give the perception that any Lenten sacrifices can just be lightly tossed aside because, hey, even the Bishop thinks St. Patrick's Day should be fun!

Gentle Reader, you know I am no opponent of fun and games. But, there are times when "fun" should be moderated and I think Lent is one of them. I don't think St. Patrick's Day, as it is, all too frequently, practiced in the U.S., brings any honor to the memory of one of the greatest evangelists in the history of our Faith.

March 16, 2007

Annunciation Novena

This prayer is to be prayed prior to the Feast of the Annunciation (this year Monday, March 26th) from Saturday, March 17th to Sunday, March 25th, 2007 inclusive, as a novena of conversion for those who use or promote contraception.

Deep curtsy to Minnesota Mom

March 15, 2007

A "Straight Into The Fire" Post

Our local papers in Minneapolis/St. Paul have been filled, recently, with stories of the Muslim cabdrivers who drive to and from the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport refusing to carry passengers with alcohol or animals because of their Muslim beliefs. I don't have time right now, on my lunch break, to look up numbers; but, from observation only, I would say that most of the airport cabbies are Muslim men. I can't remember the last time I saw a woman driving a cab in this town. There have, also, been complaints from the Muslim airport cabbies that they have been discriminated against by one of the stations they use for their breaks.

In the last few days, stories surfaced in the paper about Muslim cashiers at Target refusing to scan or handle pork products that are brought to them in the checkout lines. They are either stepping away or asking the customer to do it.

In today's Pioneer Press Local section (I believe it's in the print paper only because I can't find it online), the paper took the unprecedented step of asking for THOUGHTFUL reader responses, after the Muslim cashier story, that they can actually print. It seems they are being inundated with anonymous and angry comments, long on profanity, prejudice and hatred, but short on reason and civility.

The excellent local blog Our Word and Welcome to It has had several posts in the last couple of months on the dearth of civility. I think we can see here a prime example of our society's increasing inability to discuss or comment in a calm and thoughtful manner.

The whole series of stories makes me ponder what exactly is the difference, or is there one, between a Muslim refusing to do something that violates their beliefs and say, a Catholic pharmacist who refuses to fill a prescription for contraception? Or, an OB/GYN who refuses to perform an abortion under any circumstances because it violates their religious beliefs?

Haven't some of us Catholics cheered when we read that Catholic pharmarcists were refusing to fill contraception requests? Aren't we happy when doctors refuse to perform abortions? What makes us any different, really, from the Muslims that I've read in the paper recently?

Is it because we are Christians and they aren't? To me, that shouldn't be the issue, but I suspect that to some it is in a big way.
Is it because they are mostly immigrants? I, personally, perceive anyone who isn't 100% Native American as an immigrant, so to me this isn't an issue, but I suspect that to some it is.

I believe that the real story behind all this is the revelation of how much simmering hatred is in our midst.

Aren't all of the people that I outlined, religious beliefs aside, violating the law of the land? Abortion, despite the fact that it violates Catholic teachings and even many non-Catholics don't support it, is allowed in the United States. You may hate it and think it is a great evil, as I do, but it is legal. People who present a scrip at a pharmacy should expect to have it filled unless they can't pay for it or the pharmacy is out of stock of that particular medicine.

In the course of my job I have been asked to research statistics on abortion. I am also asked to research the "best" methods of contraception and how many attempts at IVF are usually necessary before it "takes". If I refuse to do any of this, I will be shown the door. My results may have an impact on whether or not an insurer will cover the item or the procedure. Is just looking up vile statistics worth losing a job over? Should it be? If we refuse to do most everything in society because we want to take a religious stance, what's left for us to do? Join a cloistered religious order?

We may not like our particular society but don't we all have to live in it? To live usually means making compromises. It's an old cliche by now: "Can't we all just get along?"

Understand, that I am by no means saying that I advocate abortion, contraception or in-vitro fertilization. I'm asking: at what point should law and faith converge or diverge?

It's not a simple question. Don't look to me for a black and white answer on this one. I welcome any REASONED comments you may want to make in my combox.

Before someone brings this up, I will: "The Pope & The Witch", as vile and offensive as it is to me personally and to my Faith, I don't believe it was illegal for the U of MN to stage it.

March 14, 2007

Cathy's Carnac Moment

(Holding hermetically sealed envelope to forehead)

Carnac the Magnificent: "A vampire bat and a panda bear"
Sidekick: (chortles)"Ho-ho-ho"

(Carnac rolls his eyes, slits the envelope open, bangs it on the desk, blows into the opening, draws out a small card and reads..)

Carnac the Magnificent: "Rosie O'Donnell hanging upside down"
Sidekick: (silence)
Carnac the Magnificent: "May a giant yeti sit on your face"

Well, What Do You Know?

I opened up my Pioneer Press this morning and on the front page is a story with a New York Times byline about couples who chose to have their babies even though they have been told beforehand that the baby may not survive long, if at all, after birth. Two of the featured couples are Roman Catholics who chose to have their child but the article says they also support abortion rights. Good news, bad news there. I was sad. The article is sad all around.

The big news, the happy news, has to do with my post from yesterday about the Gay Symposium

Archbishop Flynn has informed the participants of the Gay Symposium that they may not celebrate Mass at this event as they have done in other cities because the speakers views contradict Catholic teaching and may lead the Faithful to think the Church sanctions it. The article delves into the whining and defiance that you would expect from the participants.

I have noticed in the last year or two that the Chancery is speaking up a little more then they used to. They warned Catholics to stay away from the local Womanpriest event. They took a stance on "The Pope and The Witch". They have strongly stated that they support traditional marriage and life from conception to natural death. They have spoken out against embryonic stem cell research. They have denied Communion at the Cathedral to the Rainbow Sash wearers. Praise God! Some may say that it's not enough. I'm pleased that, at least, they are making the effort to teach. That's what we all need: to be taught and corrected. There may come a time when, if the lessons don't stick, the person in error needs to be cut loose but that's not for me to say.

March 13, 2007

Gay Symposium

Some people have asked me if I intend to protest or stage a prayer vigil at the The Sixth National Symposium on Catholicism and Homosexuality that will be held in Bloomington, Minnesota the 16th-18th of this month.

I prayed on it and decided that my answer is no. I won't be there.

Why? Why "The Pope and the Witch" but not this event?

"The Pope and the Witch" was outright blasphemy staged by an institution that we are all supporting with our taxes, staged by people who claim to value dialog and respect for peoples beliefs but they really don't.

The Gay Symposium is being staged by Catholics that are in denial about what the Catholic Church really teaches. They are misguided Catholics, like I used to be. It's not like no one at the Symposium has the slightest clue about what the Catechism, Scripture and Tradition say about the practice of homosexuality, they just don't like it. Cafeteria Catholicism at its finest. I have to have mercy on these Catholics. What they need is someone to teach them in no uncertain terms that they have to come to grips with the Truth or pray really hard for His mercy at their time of death.

These folks think that if they just protest and dialog really hard the Church is going to overturn centuries of teachings and say: "Oh, we were wrong, the practice of homosexuality is fine. Since we are at it, we should overturn the teachings on marital fidelity, sex outside of marriage, masturbation, birth control, artificial insemination..."

The Catholic Church teaches that homosexuals are welcome in the Church. Unfortunately, a lot of practicing homosexuals don't buy it because they believe that unless and until the Church allows them to practice their particular brand of sexuality, the Church does not really mean they are welcome.

I can invite you into my home but I expect you to abide by my rules while you are here. One of my household rules is that I don't allow smoking in my home. On the few occasions that I smoke, I even go outside. If you don't like my rules or can't live with them, please don't come over. Why would I make exceptions for my health so that you can support your deadly habit? Similarly, why should exceptions be made for your immortal soul to support a deadly habit?

We are all called to live in Christ according to our station in life. As a single woman it is not acceptable for me to masturbate, have sex without marriage, or decide I'm going to undergo in-vitro fertilization. It's not as though I'm "getting away" with something that the GLBT Catholics aren't. I don't have a different set of rules from all the other Catholics in the world.

Nobody said attaining Eternal Life was going to be easy.

I really think that any action about this symposium needs to be undertaken by those uniquely qualified like Courage.

In the meantime, please join me in praying for them.

Does Anyone Enjoy Liturgical Dance

or is this a way to create gainful employment for folks who can't make the cut for their local production of A Chorus Line?

The Crescat has a post on a guy I've seen circulating around the blogosphere before. Terry links to it as well.

I hate and despise liturgical dance. I pray none of you have been exposed to as much of it as I have. Liturgical dance is HUGE with the dissenting Catholic crowd. On more then one occasion, I had to flee the area because I started laughing during the middle of the dancers set. It's just ridiculous as a art form (not all dance just liturgical dance). It's ridiculous that it exists in so many of our Catholic churches.

Most liturgical dance that I've seen is by women in leotards and see-thru long skirts. Most of the women that I know who think liturgical dance is just fantastic are people that are looking for ANY way to get themselves around the altar.

The ONLY liturgical dance I care to see is the priest's prescribed gestures and postures during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Please take a moment to participate in my poll below. You can also feel free to comment away!

Do You Enjoy Liturgical Dance?
Current results

March 09, 2007

Conny's Creamy Cone

Forget that groundhog. A sure sign of Spring is the annual reopening of Conny's Creamy Cone on Dale and Minnehaha. She opened today. Mmmmm....that vanilla cone hit The Spot!

Joey, Do You Like Movies About Gladiators?

The 300

Buffed, oiled, men with six-pack abs in loinclothes and capes and carrying big swords...I wonder what their target audience is?

Detachment from Sin

The great thing about taking classes in Catholicism from a really orthodox priest as part of my confirmation process is that I learn something new every week.

Father talked about Indulgences in our last class. He mentioned that in order to earn a plenary indulgence, you have to be detached from sin-even venial sins. If not, then the plenary indulgence becomes a partial indulgence. You could fill all the other requirements but without that detachment from sin, you have not earned the plenary indulgence.

What is "detachment from sin"?

I look back with laughter and, dare I say, fondness on the time I got completely stupid drunk and jumped into a swimming pool with all my clothes on at Thanksgiving a few years ago. Ha-ha! Wasn't that just wacky and crazy? Maybe so, but that's an example of a lack of detachment from sin. I'm still looking back on that event, which was just rife with sin, as being pretty funny and a fine example of my spontaneous personality.

There is more on indulgences here

"It is this disposition to renounce all attachment to our sins which opens our heart to the receipt of the full remission of the temporal guilt of sin, which God desires to grant us through the Church."

Liturgy Watch

LOL! From Alive and Young blog.

March 08, 2007

The Pope and The Witch Talkback is Tonight

Just a reminder: The Pope and The Witch's one and only talkback session is tonight, March 8th after the performance. It is open to the public. The performance ended around 10 p.m. the evening I attended.

I know of a few people who are planning to attend. Unfortunately, I can't be there but I will unite myself in spirit with those that are. I'm co-leading our parish soup supper this week and soup prep for tomorrow night's soups is this evening.

The play is at the Rarig Center on the West Bank in Minneapolis. There are directions on the U of MN website

If you attend, please let us know how it goes. Either post in my comments or post a link to your blog in my comments.

God Bless You.

City Pages Review of The Pope and The Witch

City Pages, a local weekly newspaper, has a review of The Pope and The Witch. It's actually pretty balanced. I'm rather surprised. CP is not what I would call a, generally, balanced publication. They are usually very far left and I have found them to be very anti-Catholic on several occasions.

The review is here

March 07, 2007

How the Faith is not Superstition: An Open Letter to Anonymous

On one of my posts with The Pope & The Witch review, several other bloggers as well as I have been engaged in a debate with an anonymous commenter. I promised anonymous I would respond but life circumstances prohibited me from responding as quickly as I would have liked.

Anonymous is an atheist who feels that Catholicism (my guess is that anonymous does not limit his stance to Catholicism only but I'm sure I will be told if that is incorrect), as well as several New Age practices, are superstitions. What proof is there that any of it is true? Earlier Anonymous asked what proof is there in the Real Presence or that Transubstantiation occurred.

Now you can see why I was reluctant to just dash off a quick answer.

I am no theologian so if there are any theologians reading this blog, feel free to step in. My blog accepts anonymous comments.

I told Anonymous that I used to practice some New Age stuff and I don't anymore. Why don't I?

New Age is really a hodgepodge of practices pulled from a multitude of belief systems. New Ageism is hollow. It's not too much of any one thing. You don't learn enough about any one belief system. It's not a challenge. New Ageism, in my humble opinion, takes the most palatable teachings of various faiths. New Ageism does not make demands on the practitioner. You are usually not called to change your life. There really isn't just One God. There are several. It, in many cases, replaces a male dominent God with a female dominent Goddess. I left New Age behind because it's not Faith, it was just an external way of life. I did not feel any interior conversion or connection to any "higher power" when I practiced New Age. Others may have a different experience with New Age, I'm just recounting mine.

Faith to me, real Faith, should be more then just an external way of life. Sure, we see Catholics every day who remain Catholic because they were born Catholic but they don't practice the Faith or they don't believe half of it. The same indifferent practice of their faith could be said of some Jews or Protestants or Muslims. That way, is not True to me. For several decades it was, but not anymore. For Faith to be real it has to be practiced internally as well as externally.

I'm not going to go into a big long reversion story here. Some other posts on my blog have talked about milestones in my journey back.

To practice superstition, in my opinion, is to place an unnatural interpretation on natural events or to try and answer things that are unanswerable. Scripture says:

All men are vain, in whom there is not the knowledge of God: and who by these good things that are seen, could not understand him that is, neither by attending to the works have acknowledged who was the workman: but have imagined either the fire, or the wind, or the swift air, or the circle of the stars, or the great water, or the sun and moon, to be the gods that rule the world (Wisdom 13:1-2).

Catholicism has been dogged by superstition for centuries. There have always been Catholics who insist they had visions or revelations. The Church has always taught that these are not to be taken at face value as true and that believers are to be cautious. The Church has very rigorous standards for proving the veracity of visions or revelations. Very few of these visions or revelations are officially sanctioned.

Obviously Faith can be perceived as trying to answer something that is unanswerable. But, I would say science, that you seem to respect, does the same thing. There has never been an answer to the ultimate question of what set off the creation of this planet or this galaxy or the life on it. Science has tried. Faith can fill in the blanks. I don't think you can have Faith without Science or Faith without Reason and vice versa.

I think most of us believe that there is "something" greater then ourselves and that there is a "code" to be followed. Even the atheists that I personally know say they practice the Golden Rule. Well, where does the Golden Rule come from? Divinely inspired Scripture: Matthew 7:12.

Do I believe that during the Mass the bread and wine actually become the Body and Blood of Our Lord? Yes. A Catholic MUST believe this. You will, however, find Catholics who are barely cognizent of it. I don't happen to be one of them.

There have been numerous instances in history of the Body of Christ that we receive in the Communion Host at Holy Mass actually bleeding or becoming human flesh. The Church carefully studies these reports and has verified that some of these are true. Scientists have verified these as well-not just Catholic scientists. There is a list of approved Eucharistic Miracles here

I'm sure you will have comments to make! Let me know if I missed something. I tried to remember all your questions.

Lent 2 week Check-up

Here we are 2 weeks into Lent. How's it goin'? I decided to do a check-up of my Lenten Intentions

* Frequent Adoration (I'm not doing much extra. My standing hour/week and maybe a few extra minutes here and there)

* I will not eat at the company cafeteria, I will bring breakfast/lunch everyday. (This is going well.)

* I spend about $40/week in the cafeteria. I'm taking the Unknown Angel of God's advice from the comments on one of my previous posts and I'm giving this money to my parish. (This is going well)

* Pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary every day. (I have not been doing this)

* Mass attendance as close to daily as I can manage with my work schedule.(I have not been doing this)

* Fast and Abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday (I fasted and abstained on Ash Wednesday. Probably one of my most successful fasting days ever)

* Abstain from meat on Fridays (Going well)

* Confession before Lent kicks off and just before my Confirmation. Ultimately, I'll probably celebrate this Sacrament more then twice. (I went to Confession before Ash Wednesday and again last weekend)

* Meditate upon the Seven Last Words of Christ.(This is going well)

* Benediction and Stations of the Cross every Friday (I'm not going to be able to do every Friday due to scheduling conflicts. I will miss 2 Fridays)

* Assist with Lenten Soup Supper at my parish.(This is going well. The weather canceled our soup supper last week)

* I like Histor the Wise's suggestion to read something "heavy". Leaflet Missal here I come! Terry, I expect you to wait on me when I get there! (I went to Leaflet and purchased some reading materials. 2 books by the Holy Father and a book about St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. I, also, got to meet Terry of Abbey-Roads2 blog!)

* If the Holy Father's book Jesus of Nazareth is published before Easter, as expected, I'll definitely be reading that. (It's not out yet)

Even though they were not on my original list, I'm considering my attendance at The Pope & The Witch as well as the prayer vigil to be major Lenten penances-if penance for the prayer vigil is the right word? I can't think of a different word right now.

All in all not a bad Lent so far. Could be better, but what can't be better?

March 06, 2007

Epiphany Studio Blog Comments on U of MN

Jeremy Stanbary's blog has his comments on the U of MN vigil as well as his letters to the U of MN and Dominic Papatola, the Pioneer Press theater critic.

It's wonderful to hear all these online Catholic voices speaking up and speaking out!

March 05, 2007

Dan's Comments on Vigil Night

Dan of Believe and Profess blog has his take on the U of MN prayer vigil. He has a good post on Training the Mind and the Will that is worth a read too.

March 04, 2007

Photos of U of MN Play Prayer Vigil

Veritatis Splendor has some photos of the vigil at the U of MN last night up on her blog. The crowd was bigger then the angle and the dark make it appear. But, you can see the young men in their surplices and the SJV banners-one with Our Lady on it!

Looking For Art that Affirms the Faith?

"The Scrutiny Passion"

Playwright: Jeremy D Stanbary

Composers: Dr. Lynn Trapp & Nicholas Lemme

Come see the debut of an all original, collaborative Performing Arts project between Epiphany Studio Productions and the St. Olaf Catholic Church Worship & Sacred Music Series. Featuring international performers, Jeremy D. Stanbary and Maggie Mahrt, this new drama brings to life the Passion of Jesus Christ through the eyes of three gospel figures who were changed forever by their encounter with the Messiah: the Samaritan woman at the well, the man born blind, and Mary, the sister of Lazarus. The play reveals deep insights into the human condition, the mystery of suffering, as well as God's infinite mercy and love. The original musical score will be performed live at the premiere wont want to miss this beautiful and deeply inspirational production!

Lenten Premiere: March 29th & March 30th, 2007 @ 7:00pm both nights

Location: St. Olaf Catholic Church in downtown Minneapolis (215 S. 8th Street - parking available in the St. Olaf parking lot or across 3rd Ave. in the Excel Energy parking ramp).

Tickets: $10.00/person (25% discount available for groups of 10 or more)

For Reservation and More Information: click here

Pioneer Press Review of The Pope and The Witch

Dominic Papatola's review of The Pope & The Witch in the Pioneer Press is out.

Satire takes on church[Church. Capital!] but cares most about justice [huh? for whom?]

Theater Critic
Is "The Pope and the Witch" sacrilege, blasphemy, an affront to the Catholic Church?

Turns out that's the wrong question [It IS?!], based on the assumption that the controversial play now on stage at the University of Minnesota is about religion [No, it's not about religion in the generic sense. It is about The Faith. It is about Catholicism. Does this play "work" without the Catholic Church being the main player?].

It's not, or at least not exactly [Please, make up your mind!]. Most of Nobel Prize-winning playwright [Thanks for the reminder.] Dario Fo's work is political [The Church is not a political party!] in nature, and "The Pope and the Witch" is no exception. This is a satire of the church [Church. Capital!] as a maladroit bureaucracy [oh, that makes me feel better], but also a dramatic tract about the world [Really? The WORLD? The play focuses on the Catholic Church turning a blind eye] turning a blind eye to the problems of the Third World, and a farce putting forth overblown solutions to gigantic tragedies.

For the unbendingly orthodox [Not me. Hey, I actually saw the blasted thing. How's that for unbending?], that might sound like splitting hairs. For those willing to engage reason and faith [Yes, I've actually heard of that and I believe it. Pope John Paul II wrote an excellent encyclical called just that: Faith and Reason (Fides et Ratio) — in the church [Church. Capital!] or in humanity — simultaneously and vigorously, it's an intriguing, if muddy, evening at the theater [True].

Director Robert Rosen, one of the founders of Minneapolis' Theatre de la Jeune Lune grafts [forces?] that company's physical, highly stylized performance ethos onto his cast of 17 college actors. Nuns in high-top tennis shoes and cell-phone-toting cardinals tear around the papal palace like so many Keystone Kops [Sorry, I forgot to mention yesterday in my review that it is like a dinner theater production of Nunsense or some other illuminating anti-Catholic production].

But Fo's characterization of the pope [Pope Capital!] is, if not especially sympathetic [true, it's not], at least human [The other day Mr. Papatola in a review of a different play featuring the Church, said Vatican II brought humanizing reform. Apparently, he's continuing in this vein by making sure to tell all of us that it's revolutionary that Mr. Fo depicts the Pope as human. Thanks.] The leader of the Catholic Church is not, as reported, depicted as "a paranoid, drug-addled idiot." [Were we at the same play?]

Instead, as played by Brant Miller, the pontiff is a decent and thoughtful if high-strung man. His doubts and anxieties are magnified by the fact that he's the captain of a ship carrying a billion souls, and the sure knowledge that any boat that big is difficult to turn [I agree].

All that stress fuels an anxiety attack [Nuh-uh. It's the Witch who brings these on. I think the script by Fo did a better job of conveying that it's always her.] that has some unusual physical manifestations. Enter a nontraditional healer — OK … a witch doctor (Kat Wodtke) — with a radical style and philosophy decidedly out of step with the church [Church. Capital!]: She believes that birth control and abortion are preferable to crushing poverty and that providing regulated, rationed heroin to her Third World clientele is better than having them resort to theft or prostitution to pay for it [ultra-liberal beliefs in a nice summary, right there].

After much sniping, the pope [Pope. Capital!] and the witch strike an alliance [they do? The Pope has no free will in the play because he's forcibly shot-up with heroin and he's under the witch's spell] so audacious that it must descend into farce: Trapped in a poverty-stricken slum where he's sought another treatment from the witch, the pope [Pope. Capital!] is injected with heroin — unwillingly and to save the life of another. The firsthand experience — not with the drug but with the people [There are apparently no people in the Holy Father's life] — leads him to a change of heart and an encyclical on social issues that turns the church [Church. Capital!] on its head and causes a revolt.

By the end of the evening, the stage is littered with bodies [Shakespeare does it better], and the witch is left to end the play with words Fo attributes to St. Augustine: "Woe to the man of power who takes the side of those with no power."

The play is an irreverent sprawl, sometimes nonsensical, frequently tangential and generally less ha-ha funny than things-look-weird-in-a-funhouse-mirror funny. Those who find it offensive will not be convinced otherwise, but watching "The Pope and the Witch" suggests a play less interested in sacrilege and more interested in comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable [I agree with most of this paragraph. Except I'm not convinced that Mr. Fo did not intend sacrilege].

March 03, 2007

Oh, What a Night!

Ray , Julie and I went to dinner at Cheng Heng on University in St. Paul and then carpooled over to the U of MN to join the Pope & the Witch protest.

We worried at first that we would be the only ones there. We were just getting ready to kick it off all by ourselves when a group of people showed up. Among them was Mary of Veritatis Splendor blog.

Then, a multitude of seminarians from St. John Vianney showed up. Fr. William Baer, their Rector, was with them.

It was a chilly night. The prayers got faster and faster the longer we were out there. Most of people walking by and entering Rarig either ignored us, glared, looked amused or shook their heads angrily. Typical.

All in all there were probably about 100 people? Hard to say, I was too happy to count.

We recited the Rosary, sang some hymns and closed with the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Before we dispersed, Fr. Baer gave us his blessing and the Men of Vianney did their cheer.

Dan of Believe and Profess blog was there. Jeremy Stanbary of Epiphany Studio Productions was also there. It was a very nice turn out considering how short the advance notice was for some.

Julie brought photographic evidence of the breadcrust. It's huge!

Pope and The Witch Talkback Session

The U of MN previously announced a talkback session open to the public after the performance on March 8th. The play ran until 10:00 p.m. last night so if you plan to go to the talkback, plan accordingly.

I still think it's outrageous that the one forum they are holding is so late at night and it's the night before the show closes.

I can't be there. I'm leading my parish soup suppers this week so I'll be at church both Thursday and Friday evenings the 8th and 9th. I hope some worthy representatives will be at the talkback. Let us know how it goes.

About Last Night...

My review of The Pope and the Witch is here

In the meantime, here were some other events of the evening before the play that you may enjoy hearing about.

I planned, yesterday, to go to Adoration, Benediction and Mass of the Sacred Heart at St. Agnes. Wouldn't you know: no Adoration or Benediction because of the weather said the sign on the Chapel door. Oh well, I went in and prayed a Rosary anyway. I was not the only one in there.

I had time to run home and eat dinner before I headed over to the West Bank. My stomach was flip-flopping like crazy. I parked my car in the ramp near Rarig Center. I parked next to a car load of 4 young guys who looked like students. We all walked out of the ramp together.

Drifting on the wind on this snowy evening, I thought I heard "O Sanctissima". Huh? I rounded the corner and there's a whole big crowd of 70-80 people in front of Rarig. Mostly men. 2 of them in surplices and holding a banner: "Men of Christ", with the insignia of St. John Vianney, the college seminary at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul.

I finally noticeed that the 4 young men who parked next to me had pullovers with the word Vianney on their right sleeves. We all moved in to support the crowd. They were really well organized. They had laminated sheets with the words to their hymns. They were reciting the Sorrowful Mysteries and alternating with hymns: "O Sanctissima", "Immaculate Mary" I was so overcome I can't still can't remember what else. It doesn't matter. The future of our priesthood was there and well represented. Men of Christ, indeed.

I was thrilled to see Ray from MN of Stella Borealis blog there.

I hated to go inside.

Tonight, I will be out there again. 7:15 at Rarig Center. Be there. I think Adoro te Devote and Ray will be there, as well as more Vianney men.

Praised Be Jesus Christ!

In the restroom before the show (you hear the best stuff in the loo!), I overheard a older lady in a dyed red fur jacket (Terry, you would have hated it! It was ugly.) saying: "It's bad enough those folks outside are praying for me!" You betcha, lady! I still am, so take that!

The Pope and The Witch at the U of M-Review

Gentle Reader: It's really tough to do a unemotional review of a piece that you know you are probably going to hate because it offends everything you hold dear.

I'll try, but since art asks us for our personal interpretation based upon our beliefs and experiences; I don't feel guilty throwing in some personal commentary. I'm not a theater critic or a newspaper reporter so I don't have to try and remain unbiased in my review.

I'm feeling sick to my stomach just writing this post. Here goes....

The Pope and The Witch's opening performance was Friday evening March 2nd at the Stoll Theater in the Rarig Center at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. The original opening night of March 1st was canceled due to inclement weather.

I almost walked out about 10 minutes in. It opened with some vile choral number, sung by actors in clerical and religious costumes accompanied by a talented string quartet in nun costumes, that sounded beautiful but was something about the Pope having a face like an imbecile. They had some actors in nuns costumes parade some photos of the actor playing the Pope (Brant Miller) around-just in case any of us made the "mistake" of thinking they were singing about someone else. There were also jokes about visting the Vatican gift shop afterwards to get gifts blessed by the Pope. Everyone in Act 1, except the character of Professor Ridolfi (Colin Waitt), is in clerical or religious garb.

The set was nicely done. The same set was used throughout the play with some alterations for Act 2 Scene 1. The alterations for Act 2 Scene 1 consisted of putting what looked like big garbage bags over most of the Vatican set. Draw your own conclusions.

The best ongoing "bit" was the use of cell phones in the play. One of the best lines (see, Cathy can have humor!) was a variation of a line in Fo's script. Cardinal Pialli (Christopher Kehoe): "We will be notified that we are going to Hell via our cell phones". There were cell phones constantly ringing on the actors and they were digging around looking for them. In this day and age, how can any of us avoid thinking: "Is that my phone? Did I forget to turn it off?"

The Friar/Addict (most of the actors had dual roles) played by Haley Honeman stole the show with her comedic delivery of the few lines she had along with the physicality of her performance.

Fo's script does not directly refer to the Pope as being John Paul II. However, it's inferred that the Pope is meant to be JPII by his singing in Polish. I heard beforehand that all references to the Pope being John Paul II would be removed. I found this interesting since there are no DIRECT references in Fo's script to the Pope being JPII.

Last night, it sounded like the Pope's singing in German now and there was a reference to Bavaria. Gee, who could that be? But, Polish can sound Germanic at times and I could not really make it out. The sound was a problem or maybe it was the actor's delivery? I'm not sure. I don't think if I had read the script beforehand I would have had any idea what they were saying for most of the play.

I thought it was very unnerving and powerful to have the addicts in Act 2 Scene 1 disperse throughout the auditorium after they'd been shot-up with heroin by the Witch. I don't like people behind me moaning so good job making me even more uncomfortable!

Unfortunately, this play perpetuates the stereotypes that most anti-Catholics and non-Catholics have of Catholics. It makes Catholics look like a bunch of bozos who genuflect, overly vest, kiss rings, cross themselves, kneel, grab Crucifixes and Rosary's like a bunch of superstitious yahoos. There is nothing inward behind any of these "catholic" actions by the actors. It's just a bunch of going through the motions to make the outward gestures of Catholicism ridiculous.

The University of Minnesota is blessed with many talented actors and crew that I'm sure we will see more of. It's too bad, they don't have better material.

The performances end on March 9th. Check the University of Minnesota, Theater Dept. website for details.

StarTribune on The Pope & The Witch

Read it here

A couple of excerpts:

"I knew some people wouldn't like it, but I didn't see this level of protest," said the director of "The Pope and the Witch" shortly before the play opened Friday night at the University of Minnesota.--Robert Rosen

You may have heard by now, but about 70-80 people were outside protesting. Mostly, seminarians from St. John Vianney [Praised Be Jesus Christ!]. There is a photo of them in the paper itself. The photo is not online.

The reporter, Graydon Royce: "Indeed, once we cut through the thicket of farce, the pope [Pope. Capital!] emerges a martyr for his embrace of the poor and dispossessed." [How exactly is endorsing contraception and the legalization of drugs, helping the poor and dispossessed? Oh, I get it. It would be better if they had all never been born to make the literati uncomfortable, right? Since they are here, let's keep them all high.]

The quote from St. Augustine: Does anyone know the source of that quote and what St. Augustine was referring to?

March 02, 2007

Play Tonight?

So far, it looks like the weather is calming down. If The Pope & the Witch goes on tonight as scheduled, my review will be up tomorrow on this blog. Dominic Papatola's review will be in Sunday's Pioneer Press

March 01, 2007

Well, Now That My Evening Plans Have Changed...

Popcorn, Bass Ale and You'll Like My Mother

You'll Like My Mother has a snowstorm, a psycho, murder, and it's filmed in Duluth's Glensheen Mansion, incidentally, a property that is now maintained by the U of MN.

I feel like maybe I went to the play after all...

The Glensheen Mansion is not to be missed. It's a fantastic house and property overlooking Lake Superior. Where were you on June 27, 1977? Minnesotans, know what I mean? Ray from MN will know.

Pioneer Press story on The Pope & The Witch

UPDATE (2:20 p.m. March 1st): THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA-TWIN CITIES IS CLOSING AT 2:30 TODAY BECAUSE OF INCLEMENT WEATHER. No events or classes will be held tonight. This includes the play. I just called the box office to confirm. Opening night will be tomorrow night, March 2nd instead. Tomorrow night's performance is at 8:00 p.m. Tickets for tonight will be honored. Go to the box office anytime tomorrow before the show and exchange them. I can still go tomorrow night, no problem.

U theater department's staging of 'The Pope and the Witch' has angered some Catholics [I ask myself why not ALL Catholics? but I realize some Catholics probably don't care]
Byline: Paul Tosto

Janice LaDuke [that's me!] bought a ticket for tonight's opening of "The Pope and the Witch" at the University of Minnesota. But don't expect her to applaud [cry is probably more like it].

She plans to say the rosary, [Rosary. Capital!] silently, during the performance. For her, the play isn't a political satire — it's the university ridiculing her faith. [Mr. Tosto asked me if I planned to do "anything" like jump up during the play and make a scene. I told him I have no intention of doing so and I mean it. I'm not a fan of disruptive protest. Protest, yes, but not disruptive. Furthermore, I stated my wish that all Christians at the play and/or at the U would behave the same way.]

"As a Catholic, you can't separate the hierarchy … from the traditions and scriptural teachings of the faith," LaDuke said. That doesn't mean you can't be critical of some facets, she added, but "I'm not convinced this play is respectful in its criticism."

Months of boiling controversy come to a head tonight as the U's theater department opens a week of "The Pope and the Witch," a play that depicts the pope [Pope. Capital!] as a paranoid, heroin-addled idiot and the Vatican as corrupt.[and they wonder why folks are upset?!?]

U officials don't expect any disruptions during the run. But they are adding more security for the performances and will take the rare step of checking bags at the door [I was going to bring a digital camera. I won't, now, because I have a feeling they will confiscate it].

The performances, which go through March 9, cap a debate that has played out in Internet blogs [Mr. Tosto told me he found the blog exchanges interesting. I told him that blogs kept the story from dying. Of course, the U can only be pleased because we also gave them a lot of free publicity. Oh, well, I can't be silent] and on editorial pages the past few months and that has opened a small window on the tensions of religious and secular life playing out in the Twin Cities and worldwide.

Critics have ripped the play as anti-Catholic [IT IS!]. In November, Archbishop Harry Flynn of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis called on the U to reconsider its staging; University President Robert Bruininks declined to cancel it, arguing the school must be a place for many views.

The play's director says it's a political and social farce, not an attack on the faithful [A farce that just happens to attack core Church teachings as well as clergy and religious. Sorry, I'm not buying that it isn't an attack on the faithful when the faithful, generally, love and respect their clergy and religious and agree with all of God's teachings disseminated thru His Church via the Magisterium].

Written by Nobel Prize winner [Thanks for the reminder. For some reason, I keep forgetting about his Prize win] Dario Fo, the play includes a pro-abortion witch [disguised as a Catholic nun], revelations of evil in the Vatican hierarchy [I know that's a big shocker to all you conspiracy buffs. I hope you were sitting down] and a paranoid pope [Pope. Capital!] who is convinced that thousands of orphans massing in St. Peter's Square are part of a plot by birth-control supporters to embarrass the church [Church. Capital!].

The play is purposely outrageous but deals with "real things, real tangible issues," [Let me guess...if only that pesky Catholic Church would "get with the program" and allow abortion, contraception and euthanasia the world would be a better place, right? We should probabably legalize drugs, too, so we will be too stoned to realize we are all headed straight to Hell.] director Robert Rosen said. "Sometimes when you do that, take an extreme view of something, you can say, 'Gosh (He really said: Gosh?) it made me look at that a certain way.' "

Rosen said the play isn't about the Vatican [Finally! You're right. The play does criticize the Vatican but at its core the play is an attack on Church teachings] and disagreed with those who don't see the Vatican as a political body [Hmmm....As a "citizen" of the Vatican, I must have slept thru the last election. I don't remember the current Holy Father's campaign for the Papacy or voting. Ok...Ok...I know what Mr. Rosen really means. To that I say, we are all, individually and collectively, "political bodies". All of us have the right to try and influence policy. But, I think we should do so in a respectful and persuasive manner. I realize persuasive rhetorical skills are impossible for some people so they have to beat us over the head with their opinions with works of art that have all the sublety of an whip across the back.]

[Brace yourselves]

On Monday, P.Z. Myers, [per his blog he's a self-proclaimed God-less liberal] a University of Minnesota-Morris biologist who writes Pharyngula, an internationally known science blog, castigated people who are angry at the U for producing a "blasphemous" play.

"Blasphemy is highly educational [Next time you drop your kids off at school, be sure to ask the teacher if they are learning enough blasphemy.], and I hope our university can do more of it," [Way to promote your institution! That'll send their international reputation straight into the toilet.] Myers wrote. "We are not here to reassure you that your ignorance and prejudices are alright, we're supposed to shake up our students." [Mr. Tosto must not have spoken to Professor Myers because this quote is on his blog. But, the Professor is referring to the play. So, the people who don't like this play are ignorant and prejudiced? Or the beliefs we hold are ignorant and prejudiced? Oh, if only those Catholics would allow babies to be sacrificed for stem-cell lines the world and my job would be in a better place.]

Where one person sees satire, another sees sacrilege.

The Rev. John Zuhlsdorf, [Mr. Tosto told me he tried to reach Father Zuhlsdorf for comment. It looks like Mr. Tosto used Father's blog posts for the following] moderator of the Catholic Online Forum and a graduate of the U's theater program [Mr. Tosto asked me if Father Zuhlsdorf really was a U theater grad. Am I my Father's keeper? I've never even met Father Z, but I'm positive he's no liar. Father's even franker then I am, if that's possible], posted a letter to Bruininks last week suggesting that "Pope" — a rarely performed play — is so vile that the university president should report himself to the U's equal-opportunity office on grounds of religious discrimination [Heh-heh. Good one, Father, good one!].

While the university says it's open to all views, LaDuke and other critics don't believe the university would take on a similar project that, say, Muslims would find offensive [Now, here I have a big problem, because I think I was misunderstood. I told Mr. Tosto that I would never rejoice at another group being offended. I said I did not want to engage in a whining contest of along the lines of "You love them better then me" The U does many other things that can be construed as offensive to someone. I know that. My point was that the U seems to try harder when they have other forums to find representation from the group saying they are offended. They did this recently for a panel on Islam. They had actual Muslims on the panel. I'm really upset that the panel discussion on the 8th will have no Catholics on it and I said that to Mr. Tosto. Perhaps, I did not make myself clear. It was a phone interview. I'm not going to make a big deal of this. I'm just mentioning it here]. University leaders counter that the U takes on many controversial subjects and speakers from a wide range of social and political thought.[True]

Said Rosen: "I'm not interested in … poking fun at any religion or culture just to poke fun at them. For me this play deals with a lot of social issues." [ what? Overpopulation? The unwanted children must never be born? Religion is the opiate of the masses? What exactly are you saying? All of the above? If you want to make a point about any of this, write your own play. I dare you not to put the Church in it. The Church just happens to espouse a lot of unpopular social issues. The plays of Wilde deal with social issues. Mr. Fo's play must have social issues that you feel need to be shown, with a presentation that you enjoy, or you would not be staging it.]

A forum for people to discuss the play is scheduled following the March 8 performance [This is open to the public. I will post what time I think it will start based upon how long the play is on tonight]. The archdiocese [Archdiocese. Capital!] doesn't plan to participate in the "talkback" session, which will be led by a trio of U professors with expertise in literature, culture and theater [Tell me again how this trio is acceptable?] — but not anyone connected to religious [Hey, wait a minute, I think a Hindu scholar should be on the panel!] or Catholic studies [How about Catholicism. Period?.]

Julie Olson, another Twin Cities blogger [Adoro te Devote!] who has kept close watch on the issue, said that while it's normal for Catholics and others to question their religion, it's not acceptable for the moral teachings of the church to be skewered as political.

She worries that what's intended as humor will bring ridicule and lead to Catholics on campus feeling a backlash similar to the scorn she said Catholics encountered from people who read "The Da Vinci Code" and considered it factual. [Good point.]

"Our concerns just haven't been answered," she said, "and I think our concerns are legitimate." [AMEN!]

If You Go

"The Pope and the Witch" by Dario Fo opens tonight at the Rarig Center's Stoll Thrust Theatre, 330 21st Ave S., in Minneapolis on the University of Minnesota's West Bank campus. Performances run through March 9. The talkback session, following the March 8 performance, is open to the public.


Dominic Papatola, Pioneer Press theater critic, will review the play. Mr. Papatola's review will be in late editions of the Friday paper or online at

Cathy's additional comments:

We are experiencing really bad weather today. Many schools are closing for the afternoon and evening because of expected near white-out conditions. We had some wet snow last night but not bad. However, it's still coming down. Watch, after all this brouhaha, the thing will be postponed, canceled, or I'll get stuck in the snow on the way. Pray to St. Christopher and St. Joseph for me will you? Also, St. Michael's Prayer seems to be a good choice today.

Mr. Tosto told me that there will be additional security at the play and purses, bags etc. will be searched. WCCO AM said the same this morning. They should watch out for what I'm packing! The Rosary is a powerful weapon for Truth. Millions have been converted by its power. I have one, I'm bringing it, and I will use it.
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