Tuesday, February 27, 2007

An Army of One



Well I'm just batting 1000 with my Greek Mythology images aren't I?

This study
from the Globe finds that more college students than ever before are narcissistic. Ya think?

Some cultural trends that have contributed to this:

Myspace
Youtube
Mass Ad Populum
Tabernacles and crucifixes- removed from the Sanctuary
Remember Time Magazine's Person of the year? It's you.
Having one or two children.
Social security- hey, if the government will take care of the elderly we don't have to.
TV
Divorce
Celebrity worship of the beautiful people
Heresy of Universal Salvation- because it's every man for himself
The Automobile
Attachment Parenting - which is another way of letting kids do whatever they want
Spas
NFP- when my will and God's will comes into conflict- I'll go with my will
Pacifism

Did I miss any?

I did- blogging.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Thank you Bishop Finn



For explaining how serious a sin is looking at pornography
.

Tattoos and coming of age

Dr. Anderson is trying to develop a temporary tattoo because he knows so many people who are being affected professionally or socially by a tattoo they regret. According to this article in the Boston Globe, no removal process is perfect and it is time consuming and expensive. The statistics given show the prevalence of tattoos.


"Twenty-five percent of the population has a tattoo, including nearly half of those between age 25 and 35. And one in five wants to get it removed," he said. "But few go through the process of getting it removed because it's costly, it's painful, and it's not perfect."

The average tattoo removal requires between seven and 10 sessions under the laser -- costing up to $1,000 per session -- and even then, it may leave traces or scarring. "I worked for 10 years to improve the lasers, and at some point you come to a limit," Anderson said as his small green parrot, Photon, looked on. "That's when I started thinking about the other side of the equation: the inks themselves."


I've got an even better solution- Henna






Henna body art is traditionally done before a marriage for the bride and wedding party. It lasts less than a week and is completely painless.

I don't like tattoos, particularly on women. I suppose I could tolerate one on a pirate. But I know how popular they are. I have a theory that the real appeal, for young people especially, is that they are looking for a way to express their ability to withstand hardship, pain, opposition. It used to be that life gave those opportunities but in an overindulged western culture of families with two or fewer children and more material wealth than we know what to do with teenagers are growing up looking for a chance to prove themselves.

Of course if they have the examples of the saints- saints like St. Tarcisius who died at 12 to protect the Blessed Sacraments from a mob, St. Maria Goretta who died at 12 to protect her purity, and St. Joan, who went to war at 19 and was martyred by being burned at the stake then maybe tattoos wouldn't be so appealing. Just a thought.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

When Housekeeping meets theology...

The last few days have been busy with cleaning, painting and spackling the walls of a house that our family has rented for the past six months. On the line is our security deposit- a hefty sum. In other words, we are not working this hard out of the goodness of our hearts, I'm sorry to say.

By far, the most indispensable tool has been the Magic Eraser. This product removes black marks from walls, paint from wood, scuff marks from floors, crayon, fingerprints and pretty much anything you can think of. Whatever you do, don't buy the two pack. You need the four pack and it is worth the money.

While I was erasing the walls of this five bedroom Victorian (and wondering if any of the children EVER washed their hands before they touched the walls) I started to think about how nice it would be if we had a magic eraser for our souls.



And then I realized that of course we do, the Sacrament of Confession. St. Augustine ssaid that the Confession of bad deeds is the first step to performing good deeds.

I was resolved to go to Confession today and begin the start of Lent in the right frame of mind. At 3:30pm, I was at St. Leo's Catholic Church with three of my children, ready to confess my sins. When we arrived we were heartened to see so many waiting for Confession. But we grew concerned that there was only 1 priest hearing Confession and Confession only lasted for one half hour. I think you know what happened. We were not able to go to Confession. At 3:56pm Fr. had to "get Mass going".

Now we can contrast the modern Confession schedule with the schedule kept by St. John Marie Vianney, the Cure of Ars. St. John Vianney spent 16-18 hours a day in the Confessional and the result was 300-400 pilgrims a day would come to see him and confess their sins.

We're losing the Sacraments- bit by bit. Priestless "parishes" are run by pastoral administrators (lay people). Baptisms are delayed. Confession is pushed back to a few years after First Holy Communion. Matrimony, Religious vocations- well you know. How many times have we heard stories about the difficulty of finding a priest to administer Extreme Unction?

The Sacramentals have been pretty muched phased out, except among the Traditional Resistance. Rosary- repetitious prayer for simpletons, Holy Water- replaced by sand during Lent, Blessed salt- never heard tell of anyone using it, Medals- called trinkets by the Director of Religious Ed, Religious images of the saints- an example of extremism.

It reminds me very much of this quote by St. Joan of Arc:

“You spoil the sacraments of the Church, you tear up the articles of the Faith, you destroy the churches, you break and burn the statues which were set up as memorials, you massacre Christians because they preserve the true Faith. What is this fury? Or what rage or madness consumes you? This faith, which God Almighty, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have revealed, established, elevated to power, and glorified a thousand ways through miracles - you persecute this Faith, you wish to overthrow and destroy it. You are blind, but not because you lack eyes or understanding. Do you believe that you will remain unpunished for it? Or are you unaware that God opposes your unlawful efforts and will not permit you to remain in darkness and error? So that the more you indulge yourselves in crime and sacrilege, the more He will prepare great punishments and anguish for you."

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ashes to Go



When a friend first sent this picture, taken in St. Louis, MO, I was a little surprised. Even given the concept of going out to the highways and byways this is stretching it. Then looking closer I wondered if the "ministers" were Catholic priests or imposters. One appears to be wearing bedroom slippers. And you can't help but notice the young woman in the picture reaching into her purse? For the donation jar? Just how much does the convenience of "Ashes on the go" cost?

When I googled it to see if this outfit was Catholic I was somewhat relieved to come upon this website actually taking credit for this brainstorm- St. James Episcopal Church

It's always a relief when we don't have to claim whatever current lunancy is on display. But that relief is just more evidence of how rockbottom my expectations have become.


Running this "ministry" is Pastor Teresa, seen below.



It's sad to see how the Episcopalians have created voodoo versions of the real Sacraments. Instead of "Our Daily Bread" they are selling "Daily Brew" coffee. Religion is all about worshipping how wonderful we are in our "diversity, inclusiveness, nonjudgmental attitudes, compassion for the poor, assistance to minorities and has absolutely nothing to do with worshipping God. Because if we worship God we might have to admit that He exists and then that we have to obey Him.

And that would never work.

And in Boston we have our own "Contraband Ashes" problem.

Lenten Devotions



This looks to be a promising Lenten blog called "These Forty Days".

Something to keep us on track.

Worth a visit.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Project Cuddle



Today while in the Vet's office, where I arrived exactly one hour early for our 2pm appt, I read about this organization in the most unlikely of places. People Magazine.

Founded by Debbie Magnus, Project Cuddle began when she heard about a baby who had been abandoned not five minutes from her house and died of exposure. She thought to herself- why didn't they give the baby to me? So far 564 babies have been saved by Project Cuddle.

I'm sure if you delved into it you could find something wrong with this organization. But why would you want to? They are saving babies who would be otherwise abandoned.

The website is here. Make a donation. Shop in the boutique. Get the calendar.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Breaking

The Anglicans are coming, the anglicans are coming...

Welcome home.

A New England Artist



This is the mural I have decided to paint on the dining room wall of our 1850 farmhouse. Painted by Rufus Porter, a fascinating figure whom you can about here.

Here you can see the murals that he has painted . (Apologies- it is a dreaded pdf file.)

The style is Early American Primitive which is very appealing to me right now.

Rufus Porter was an interesting figure who was an inventor as well as an artist. In at least one mural he included a masonic symbol. I suppose it is possible he included the symbol at the behest of the homeowner.

My admiration for the early American settlers and founders has been very tried by the acknowledgment of their masonic loyalties. Where does that leave someone (like me) who is very patriotic?

I love New England and I love living in New England but aside from Orestes Brownson there isn't much Catholic identity.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Fra Angelico's Feast Day

is tomorrow. Beatified in 1984, Fra Angelico was a Dominican brother first and an artist second. Faithful to his vocation, Fra Angelico painted numerous depictions of Our Lady and the saints.

There is even a self portrait:



Probably best known for his Annunciation:



But a sentimental favorite with me is the stoning of St. Stephen:



Though no art historian, when I see this picture it reminds me that the Christian response to adversity is prayer, to turn away from evil, and to preparing for the eventuality of martyrdom when it presents itself. St. Stephen is show in green and gold foretelling the fruitfulness of his martyrdom.

An anecdote that I heard about Fra Angelico is that when he was painting the scene of the Last Supper in the dining hall of his monastery he was said to be taking a long, long time. His superior was annoyed with him and urged him to hasten and be finished. Fra Angelico responded by threatening to replace the face of Judas with that of his Superior if the pressure to hurry did not cease. I have no idea if he carried it out.

The painting may have looked something like this:




You can read more about the life of Fra Angelico here and here.


I was reminded of this special feast day by a real life Art Historian who lives (where else ?) but in Florence, Italy. You can read her blog here, if you read Italian but happily art transgresses all language barriers.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Nothing but a Fraud

New Oxford Review links an "article" written by the pseudonymous Sr. Mary Eve advocating the V* monologues.

The article is here.


It is clear that this is a fraud and I'll explain why:

1. Sr. Mary Eve is an unusual name for a religious. Eve Ensler is the name of the author of the horrible play. Strange coincidence if we believed her.

2. Sr. M.E. claims she has been in the "Traditional Order" for the last 20 years. She is 36. Now I don't know many orders (since St. Therese of Lisieux who needed permission of the Holy Father)that take young ladies at 16. A bit of a stretch to say the least.

3. The photos accompanying the essay look like they were taken at the local Comfort Inn.

4. In 2004 Sr. M.E. claims she was in an undergrad psychology class. Now why in the world would a "traditional nun" be taking a psych class? The answer is that a traditional nun wouldn't be.

5. Finally the dead give away is that no Traditional nun would use the following words as verbs- dialogue and dialoguing and process, and processing.

6. And finally there are two phrases that stand out- "highly unapproved" and "forms of ministry". Now highly unapproved is just awkward and grammatically painful and we are supposed to believe that Sr. M.E. served in various forms of ministry? Traditional nuns don't serve in various forms of ministry- they pursue holiness and sanctity, self abnegation, sacrifice... well you get the picture.

I'm not sure what "Busted Halo" is supposed to be... other than a provocateur- dissident in disguise, quasi-Catholic, apologist for the left. A sad sort of existence to be sure. Be assured that the Traditional orders of nuns are not jumping on this bandwagon that is hurtling over the nearest modernist cliff at high speed.

My guess would be this was written by a Mercy sister or else one of those women who thinks she was "ordained".

It wouldn't be St. Valentine's Day without this unfortunate topic, just like it wouldn't be Christmas without an attack on Fr. Feeney by the Boston Globe. We recognize these pathetic tactics and move on. Tradition is advancing, we're winning, gaining ground and the we count this as the death rattle of the corpse that was the Brave New World of the left. Asta la vista. Baby.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Priests' Pension Fund is $85 Million Short



This was the cover of the Boston Herald today. The article is more bad publicity. Well deserved.