July 29, 2009

Kinder Gentler Redneck?

Redneck has moved. I have long refused to apply the adjective "ignorant" before his handle.

New Catholic Film Company

Our friend Sanctus Belle and her hubby have started an independent Catholic film company called Our Lady's Tears Check it out!

July 28, 2009

Catholic Saint Paul

One of the great things about my current gig (besides HAVING a current gig!), is I'm really getting to know my city: Saint Paul, Minnesota. I love Saint Paul anyway.

I'm partial to the oddities: neighborhoods in hollows, neighborhoods surrounded by railroads, streets no wider than a man, old cobblestones poking out from underneath the overlays, industrial properties in the middle of the neighborhoods their workers lived in, parishes within one mile of another one (sometimes even closer than that), old brick office buildings and homes, Lowertown, Dayton's Bluff, Frogtown, Capital Heights, Rice Street and Cathedral Hill.


I'm on my route today, canvassing commercial properties, and I cross myself as I pass St. Louis, King of France on my way to an historic office building nearby where inside I get a pleasant surprise at the end of the first floor hallway...


It's poorly lit, but it is Our Lady being Assumed into Heaven.
I was extremely happy. I feel like she's my secret. Imagine working in an office building with Our Lady! I wonder that some of the significance is lost on the people who work in this building?

July 26, 2009

The Year of The Priest

Many of you know we are one month into the Year of the Priest.

I've been reflecting upon what that means. Yes, the Year of the Priest is for ALL OF US! We all have a stake in the priesthood. We need priests to administer the sacraments on our behalf.
I've been wondering if I'm too hard and demand too much of priests sometime. Am I unfair? Do I do too much muttering? Sure, "be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect" is for all of us but should I worry more about MY attainment of said goal than my friendly neighborhood priests attainment of my perceptions of the same goal?

Consider the following true stories:

* A priest who gives rambling disjointed homilies that leave you yawning and scratching your head perplexed. Yet, same priest gives a by the book Mass.
* A priest who is completely tone deaf and can't identify Beethoven from Haas but is overjoyed at the thought of introducing chant to his daily Mass.
* A priest who falls asleep during the Epistle and Psalm at Mass. Yet, he'll sit in the Confessional for hours even when there is no one waiting.
* A priest who enjoys liturgical dance. Yet, when someone does not show up for their Adoration hour at 3:00 a.m., rather than shut it down, he takes their place and waits, reading Scripture, until the next Adorer shows up.
* A priest who shakes everyones hand at the Sign of Peace yet writes heartbreakingly self-reflectively honest bulletin columns about his unworthiness to be a priest and administer the Sacraments.
* A priest who is not concerned about the footwear the altar girls and boys are wearing but does all he can to foster vocations to the religious, priestly and consecrated life.
* A priest who offers an "anything goes" Mass but volunteers to ride 500 miles for an AIDS hospice fundraiser.
* A priest who wears atrociously shabby robes and doesn't know 30 words in Latin, but spends every day on the street spreading the Gospel and assisting the homeless in finding shelter every night.

I've made a plan. Rather than gripe about what the priest is, or is not doing, I'm going to just shut up and pray. Pray for more vocations and pray for our priests. It's the least I can do. Sure, egregious abuse and error is serious and worthy of comment, but I feel like I often do more nitpicking than good.

Prayer is good. Prayer is my plan for the Year.

July 22, 2009

Crying Shame or Evangelization Opportunity?

In mid-June the Minnesota Orchestra closed its 2008-2009 Season with Beethoven's Missa Solemnis. The review in the Pioneer Press is no longer online but I recall lamenting as I read the review that the reviewer, and maybe a significant portion of the audience, seriously misses the true depth of the Beethoven by solely appreciating it only as a performance piece.

The reviewer states that Beethoven did not "go out with a bang" and the Missa Solemnis does not follow a conventional artistic arc. The "explosive moments come early, the work growing more quiet and contemplative" Those of us who know the Mass from a Faith perspective can fully understand why Beethoven followed this path. Isn't the Gloria an moment of joy that comes early on in the Mass? Can't the Kyrie be urgent and propulsive in its brevity? We know this as Catholics and we know the "why". We know why there is the stillness of the Incarnation in the Credo and why so many composers emphasized the moment of kneeling in Adoration before the expression of God becoming Man.

Furthermore, I can think of a lot worse compositions to write at the end of your life than a Mass so I quibble with the reviewer stating Beethoven did not end his career on a high note. Is Missa Solemnis as great of a piece artistically as some of his Sonatas or Symphony's? No, but Beethoven is working within an already established structure and I think he does very well. Is Missa Solemnis my favorite Mass? No, I prefer his Mass in C but then again none of Beethoven's Masses are among my favorites. However, I like it.

The reviewer made his comments on the Agnus Dei sound like it was a plea for world peace. Huh? We know it's a plea for peace within. The peace you know when you are as close to being without sin as you can be. It's a plea for mercy. It's a plea to be close to the true giver of peace-Jesus.

As there are Catholics who lament that more Masses are not orchestral, I'm irked that there are more Masses being performed at Orchestra Hall than there are in Catholic Churches. There are probably more orchestra season ticket holders who hear more Latin than Catholics in the pews every Sunday.

What if the glory of the musical Masses of the past is relegated to the concert hall? Should I be upset about that, or should I see it as a possible evangelization moment? Is it possible to reach people thru the music first and explain what it all means later?

Yes, but there are so few Catholics who seem to understand the meaning, the true meaning of the Mass, that I fear the evangelization will be along the lines of "We don't do that at Mass anymore"

July 20, 2009

Where's the Outrage?

Ever wonder why so many of your Catholic friends are not as outraged as you are about anti-Catholicism present in The Godfather films, the Dan Brown films, The Omen films?

I've thought about this and I submit the following hypothesis:

Few Catholics are outraged because the depiction of Catholicism in Hollywood films,and anti-Catholic, works is often so far removed from the reality of most Catholics that those works may as well be about someone else's church.

Jeffrey Tucker recently wrote in the June 18, 2009 The Wanderer "Hollywood Doesn't do 'Glory and Praise'" about how you will never see Hollywood spool such fare as "On Eagle's Wings" or "Gather Us In" in filmed reenactments of Catholic liturgies. In fact, there is probably more great Catholic music present on celluloid these days given to us by known Catholic haters than most of us will hear in an actual Mass.

How can you be upset about murdering albino monks when you probably don't know too much about monasticism or too many monks beyond stock monk "characters" like the one in "Van Helsing"?

When the last time you saw a nun in a habit was "The Trouble with Angels" on AMC last week, and most of the nuns you know of are getting arrested in Georgia rather than praying before the Blessed Sacrament and singing "Adoro te Devote"; how can you be outraged by sexualized depiction of nuns in habits on "Rescue Me"?

They might as well be mocking, if not a faith that they think existed centuries past, someone else's church.

But they aren't. Even if you may not actually hear Latin in Mass every Sunday, they are, at least you must realize this much, mocking our history.

I know it's popular to see history not as a continuum but as a series of disjointed happenstances; but it's not. Whether you see our history as leading us to this point or not, for better or for worse, how would you feel if someone mocked your Grandma?

July 19, 2009

New church

Ray and Vincenzo carried the story about the American Catholic Council convening in Detroit MI in 2011.

This is not a new movement. I remember attending gatherings 10 or more years ago, back in my dissident days, when commenters and speakers very openly called for an American Catholic Church-an explicit separation from the Roman Catholic Church.

I was never a part of that movement. To seperate from Rome scared me. Yes, me, even as far gone as I often was. To me, I wondered, if we are going to do that, why not just leave altogether? Why lie to yourself? Why even bother to call yourself Catholic?

These are questions that I would, if they'd listen to me, invite every last one of these souls to consider. Questioning is good. However, I think it's when we spend more time in questioning ourselves and our motivations, rather than solely aiming our questions at institutions, that we arrive at meaningful answers.

The extremists have been calling for an American Catholic Church for years. Now, it seems they are finally moving to act. Even though this is called a "council" it's a solid step away into full on separation. In a way I'm glad: why continue to lie to themselves that they are Roman Catholics? If it brings them a peace to think they are finally getting what they want, then: go with God.

However, the separation of The Body of Christ is not an occasion for joy. I have a feeling that this new ACC is going to, at the end of the day, realize that they are still not going to attain what they seek.

I'm all for questioning, as I said above, but if you are the only one answering your own questions, where exactly are you at the end of the day?

Seperated and alone.

This group is going to fall apart one day (if they even get very far) over the "By whose authority?" - count on it. You are going to have a room full of people who are all going to fear looking too "Magisterium like" or "Papal like" so anything will go and everything will go.

The only thing they will ever agree on is that they have "issues" with the Roman Catholic Church and those "issues" will vary by each individual. How many times have I known church shoppers who will try anything but authentic Catholicism? They wander around seeking and are always lost.

Answers cannot be found solely within. You have to be open to the outer as well and I don't mean only open to your fellow dissenters.

There is an authority: The Christ and The Church He founded.

All dissenting churches are founded on one thing: rebellion against the authority Christ founded. Dissent is founded on sand. Better to stand on The Rock.

July 18, 2009

Lamest Summer Ever

I'm bored. Underemployed. Living too lean to go anywhere this summer. I can't even get some good crosstown blog trash talk going with Terry for crying out loud!!!

Adoro's back and she's going to serve me some crackers with this whine! Wait for it!!! LOL!

Every day it's cloudy and overcast. Will someone send us some rain please? We need it-bad.

I have little, to no, motivation to blog.

I'm bored. I'm boring.

Bloggers think they are so interesting, that's why we blog, right? (I sound like Terry now don't I?).

I'm not interesting. Heck, I don't even have anything to say-except in prayer-which these days is a short one: Help!

July 14, 2009

Hold Onto Your Citrine Globe!

There was a very interesting article in the Pioneer Press on Monday regarding a controversy in the local New Age movement. The Edge, a local New Age magazine, has a new editor and the editor is raising questions about how large the umbrella of New Age should be.

What should New Age include? What, if anything, should it exclude? The editor thinks channeling, paganism and animal possesion are out. Belief in fairies, and astrology are in. Other New Age practioners weigh-in for the article.

One person quoted says New Age must cover everything and anything. It must not exclude. Even belief in Jesus can be part of New Age.

Take comfort, Anglicans, that you are not the only communion conflicted. The New Age communion is too.

I read this article and I was grateful, once again, to be a Catholic Christian. My experience with the New Age movement is that it IS everything. It is cafeteria faith. Pick what you want. Believe what you want. You, you, you...

Despite what I said above, New Age is NOT a communion. You can't get two New Agers in a room and have them agree 100% on their individual practices or what they believe. They have no head. It's limbs with no body. It's individualistic.

Sometimes, you can't get two Catholics in a room and have them agree on their own professed faith. A tragedy.

But, there is a difference. To accept Catholicism in full removes the uncertainty. It is a communion. It is to be in Communion with Christ. Do I think Communion with Christ is better than communion with a nature diva? Absolutely.

I know to deal in absolutes these days is "out", everyone wants everything to be grey. Not me. My faith is clearly defined.

New Age is so much of everything that ultimately it's nothing.

July 13, 2009

Ask Cathy...

...because I CARE! I really do! *sob*

Q: Cathy, I want to spend some serious time at the Minneapolis beaches this summer. How do you look hot in a bathing suit?
A: I decided a few years ago that it would be a tremendous act of mercy for me not to appear in public in a bathing suit. However, when I feel like I must, I go with my bodyguards to the North Beach of Lake Calhoun. Here's how it's done: stand on that beach in the sand around 1:00 p.m. on a 90+F day and I guarantee that you will be HOT!

Q: Cathy, how can I get you to go out with me?
A: Pay for the meal. Additional considerations: live Catholic, respect me, respect your momma and your daddy.

Q: Cathy, where can I get some good bacon in the Twin Cities?
A: Now here's a serious question-worthy of deep thought.
My house.
Ok, but if you must go elsewhere, Key's on Raymond in St. Paul (forget the imposter other locations, go straight to the original). A SIDE of bacon is seriously 1/2 pound of perfectly cooked and thick cut MEAT. It doesn't look like and taste like flattened plastic.

July 09, 2009

Argent Gave Me Something To Do

Argent tagged me and I'm currently waiting for a database that takes 40 minutes to open to re-open after a crash. I need the database for work. Grrrrrr...Mercifully, I did not lose what I'd already done...

I'm still on hiatus!!!!! I mean that now!!!!!

10 Honest Things About Myself

1) This blog

2) I'm terrified that someone may see me at Mass looking less than my best! I brought this upon myself by my rantings about appropriate attire at Mass. I mean it, but I hope the Catholic Mr. Blackwell is not making the rounds. Good thing John Paul (Sonnen) is still in Rome! LOL!

3) I am a clown. Really. Total goofball.

4) It takes about 10 seconds to tick me off and about 5 days for me to calm down. Prayer and my reversion have helped me immensely but the older I get the shorter my tolerance for the dumb----s and inconsiderate among us is getting. Cranky.

5) I don't drink coffee after 11:00 a.m. I can, actually, do without it when I have to!

6) I hate canadian bacon. Cyril "Rock the Casbah" Koob still can't believe that.

7) I enjoy getting together with and meeting other bloggers.

8) I look forward to my weekly standing hour of Adoration: 6 p.m. on Tuesday!

9) I've been known to bum rush the Confessional! Really, I almost knocked a guy over in my zeal. The door was open and no one was in there. I did not see the guy who was walking towards it and I beat him there and closed the door. I apologized when I got out and he was standing there looking stunned and told me what'd I'd done. Maybe that was an evangelization moment illustrating how some people really LIKE to go to Confession? Me.

10) I'm fast. I type fast. I drive TOO fast. I walk fast. I bike fast. I read fast. My brain is quick. My tongue is even quicker.

I tag everyone! But no one will do it! LOL!

Hiatus

Yes, I'm still around! Sorry, my enemies!

I've been really busy this week. Work. Also, the neighborhood is organizing to force the landlord to do something about the problem property next door. I've been meeting and calling neighbors in the evenings-so there goes my blog composition time.

And, I'm preparing for the celebration of the summer: the Quantitative Methathesis Bride of Christ shower to send her off with prayers (and goodies) as she enters her period of Aspirancy with the Passionists!

I'm not sure when I'll be back blogging and ruining everyone's summer; maybe next week, so enjoy the peace while it lasts!

July 05, 2009

New Blog in Town!

Father GJ (Nels Gjendahl) has a blog! It's called Voice of the Vicar. Check it out. He has some candids from the recent Presbyteral Assembly in Rochester.

July 04, 2009

Happy Birthday, America! A Call Out



Happy Birthday, America!

Thank you to all of our veterans serving and who have served. A special thank you to our allies. I'm thinking in a special way of Angela's son: our Canadian friends.

After I finished my grueling gutter cleaning episode this morning, in which I sucessfully killed a maple tree trying to root in my gutter, I decided to call Terry because he's usually around.

[Phone ringing....and ringing....and ringing...and ringing]

Terry [answers]: Who died?
Me: It's me!
Terry: Cath! Whew! I thought for a minute there it was my family!
Me: I know.
Terry: I almost didn't answer the phone [pause and laughs]! Well, I almost didn't answer the phone anyway!
Me: I know
Terry: Not because it was you!
Me: I know
Terry: I don't have caller ID anyway
Me: I know
Terry: What's going on? What's Ray done now?
Me: [laughing] Nothing, that I know of. Oh, I mean Ray! [laughing]
Terry: Ray's always in trouble, you know.
Me: [laughing] I was wondering if you wanted to go to a movie today?
Terry: With you?
Me: No, with Mrs. Rabitowitz and I'll buy! [pause] Yes, ME, dope! [said with love]
Terry: What movie?
Me: Star Trek
Terry: Are there any priests behaving inappropriately or any rampant homosexuality? Because you know I'm always looking for blog material
Me: Uh, no, I doubt it.
Terry: Well, no, thanks. [pause] But, you knew I'd say "no" before you even asked, didn't you?
Me: Yes, but I don't want it said that I don't ask
Terry: [laughing] You and I and Ray need to go out again!
Me: Sure, Ter
Terry: I mean it!
Me: Sure
Terry: Please pray for me. I'll pray for you.
Me: I always do.
Terry: Thanks for calling! It's always great to hear from you!
Me: Same. 'bye! Give Mrs. Rabitowitz my regards.
Terry: Will do. 'bye!
[click]

July 01, 2009

Just Because...

....you can do a thing should you?

Gentle Reader: Whenever I post about Mass gripes, violations, idiocy (depending upon your POV), I get into almost as hot water as I do when I post about appropriate attire at Mass. Oh, yes, and bad music, don't forget that too...Oh, and that time I griped about flip-flops on altar servers...ok, ok...

Anyway, I maintain that we should follow the rules of our faith. I know some of you hate that word: rules. There are rules for being a Catholic and there are rules for Mass.

However, just because something is not codified somewhere does that mean we can use our creativity and just do what we want?

Just because the GIRM (General Instruction of the Roman Missal) does not explicitely state: "Priest should not process in to celebrate Mass wearing his special Superman cape while playing an accordian and chanting "Dust in the Wind"" does not mean that at the next Mass Father should feel free to do that. Just because the GIRM does not explicitely state: "everyone should shut the **** up (see what they do with that in the new translations!) during the Mass except at the appropriate moments calling for singing and responses" means everyone should feel free to speak out at inappropriate times.

I maintain that there is a point where our well-informed Catholic mind recognizes as illogical and wrong that which is. I still maintain that leaving the consecrated Host at the altar and roaming around greeting everyone is not something the priest should be doing. It's the Lord for crying out loud (really, I'm crying out loud). How in the world can we expect to teach the Faithful that we are not Lutherans? That really IS the Lord in the consecrated Host is a doctrine that is harder to believe if Father is doing a meet and greet in the middle of the Mass.

I still stand by my belief that the day we start(ed) watering things down and making them more personable to supposedly "reach and meet the people" is (was) the day we start(ed) losing them. When you lower the bar, people jump over it.

My Word on Our Word

Friends: I have a new post on Our Word and Welcome to It about the Franken seat. While you are there, scroll around and read some of the other thought provoking posts-including a related post by Bobby.
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