Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Heads up, ya-all!

It is Tuesday, August 17, 2010. I'm quite certain you knew that already, but did you know what this also means? It means CHRISTMAS is just four months away!! Less if you consider the time the decorations start going up and the rampant commercialism kindles. A few short months, grumpy, and Christmas time arrives! I'm going to make some mulled cider sometime this week just so I can get into the spirit of the season sooner.

Com'on, get in the spirit, will ya? And lose that cheerless demeanor, it's just not welcomed here.

I love Christmas. I've always wanted to spend it somewhere in a New England village with lots of snow, narrow streets, and colonial-style architecture. Instead, I get to spend my Christmases in a barren dessert with ubiquitous roadwork, unnatural palm settings accompanied by man-made oases and white tigers. Lovely. But it isn't all that bad. I have some very fond childhood memories of Christmas here in Vegas. Simpler times when I had my grandparents with me.

Well, that's it my little Grinches. I just wanted to remind you that it's almost Christmas and you should feel joy, happiness, merriment, and, yes, some nostalgia. M'kay Ebeeezer?

And speaking of Ebeneezer, I'm going to leave you with two of my favorite Christmas songs. The first one is called "December the 25th" and it's from my all-time favorite Christmas movie: Scrooge with Albert Finney. It's a musical that you just have to make a part of your Christmas movie collection (I know, it's a musical. But some musicals are actually pretty good!). Mr. Fezziwig has lead vocals on this one and he's just so darn jolly!

The second song is the classic "Gabriel's Message." Listen to the arrangement of this song. It's so contemplative and evocative of a snowy, gray-sky Christmas Day. Turn your volumes up for this one.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


I've been tagged by my blogger-pal Terry over at Abbey Roads with a meme (I think) he made up on a whim. Basically, I'm to state a series of points that I'm against or in opposition to.

1) Catholic Pro-aborts: I feel such a tremendous sense of betrayal of both Church and God every time I see a "practicing Catholic" facilitating or defending the so-called right to destroy an unborn child. Politicians, like the current whack-job Vice President, are so high on my "S" list it's not funny. Yet, he is allowed to remain in the Church! See my post on Church politics. And check out this video featuring Cardinal Arinze. FUNNY!

2) Reality Shows: I've yet to find one that I think is worth watching. Most of the time they show individuals reaching new lows, trying to usurp one another (unless producers are staging these events for higher ratings). Regardless of their authenticity, there are too many of these shows on the air right now.

3) Bill O'Reilly: He is NOT a nice guy, nor is he as tolerant as he wants you to think he is. I don't even think he's a real conservative but rather a TV personality saying what he thinks his audience want to hear him say. Warning: Bill has a potty mouth.

4) Grunge music during mass. That's right. GRUNGE MUSIC. The teen mass in my parish played what I would call a "slow ballad written by Curt Cobain if he were alive." It was pretty awful, even though I know the teenagers meant no offense by it. This happened quite a while ago and I've not had the chance to hear the music they're performing these days. I think these kids were just in desperate need of a good choir director.

5) Christian Fundamentalism: Perhaps the most disturbing component of this methodology is their inherent anti-Catholic bigotry. Time after time I see uneducated preachers print an essay or stand in from of their flock (on television) spewing lies about the Catholic Church. As a matter of fact, these pulpiters can't even tell or don't know the truth about themselves! The Protestant preachers manning these rouge churches haven't had any formal theological training of any kind. They just pick-up the Bible and preach their own interpretation of what they read. Here's a new term their congregation should cozy up to: stillborn Christianity.

6) Sister Donna Quinn- A nun who volunteers her time escorting clients into an abortion clinic. Isn't that lovely? An individual who supposedly consecrated her life to God, now working earnestly to help terminate the most vulnerable beings of our society. I can't help but sometimes wish for a hell infinitely worse than the hell depicted in the most horrific of horror movies.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Calling all movie buffs

Has anyone seen Jim Carrey's A Christmas Carol in 3D? I just pre-ordered it from Amazon and it's set for a delivery date of mid to late November. It came out last year on the big screen and I completely missed it. Let me know if you saw it and if it was any good. I've got plenty of time to cancel the order.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Church & Politics: An Unenviable Position

"No one can serve two masters." ~Matthew 6:24

The Church has always done politics. Many times it's damned if you do and damned if you don't for Church leaders who do the politicking. This is especially true for dioceses and the local parishes who deal with a politically assorted, sometimes affluent and progressive laity that it does not want to alienate. It does this by adopting a passive or inclusive attitude towards Catholics who publicly, in some way, labor to oppose Church teachings. But how much "politics" can the Church do without sacrificing the authenticity of the teachings it has been handed down from Jesus Christ and the Apostles? First and foremost, for the purposes of this post, the type of Church politics that I'm focusing on is the propensity of Church leaders to fail (or feebly enforce) Church teachings on social issues such as abortion with Catholic lawmakers who promote, or at the very least defend, this so-called choice (it can be any social issue). How many times have we seen a Cardinal mingle with powerful Catholics who are diametrically apposed to Catholic social teachings? Many of these liberal Catholics donate large sums of money to their diocese, and the bishops and archbishops overseeing those diocese don't want to rub them the wrong way by insisting they get their act together. At the same time, these same Church officials are under pressure from vigilant, conservative Catholics to enforce Church teachings, even at the risk of distancing progressive Catholic benefactors. This inclusiveness doesn't always have to be for financial reasons. I sincerely believe that some bishops and pastors WANT to be liked so badly that they are in complete opposition of showing disapproval or lack of support for any groups that enjoy secular approbation.

Take St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in New York. For years a group of gay and lesbian parishioners from Xavier has been marching in New York's gay parade with a banner proudly displaying their Catholic affiliation. The pastor of the church, Father Joe Constantino, is fully aware of this custom and has been supportive of this group's presence in the gay parade. Then Archbishop Timothy Dolan got wind of what was going on and barred the group from carrying the St. Francis Xavier Banner in the gay pride march. Needless to say, Father Constantino was quite disconcerted when the Archbishop handed his decision. But what were Father Constantino's motivation behind the support for this group? Was he trying to be inclusive? Did he just want to be liked by all his parishioners in the hope of keeping the Church full on Sundays? I certainly would be appalled by the idea of barring gays and lesbians from entering the Church and denying access to pray before our icons or from from receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation, so to that extent, inclusiveness is a moral must. However, I do find Fr. Constantino's motives in this situation highly suspect.

The above recapitulation is just one example out of Lord knows how many better ones I can submit. But clearly, some of our Church leaders are obeying two masters when it comes to enforcing the Church's position on social issues. They are trying to be Catholic and on the other hand they want to be popular with specific demographics.

Here's another example. The pro-abort politicians, how many of these have been denied communion? Very few, to my knowledge. As a matter of fact, the Church's upper echelon has dismissed any and all requests from more faithful Catholic laity to refuse communion to any politician who supports the destruction on an unborn child. They simply don't want to alienate the politically powerful, who often times is very wealthy, and lose the benefits of having someone of that status in their Catholic camp.

Instead of condemning clergy like Father Constantino and other Church leaders, the first sentiment that strikes me when I read of their situation is how unenvious it must be to be in their position. They have a progressive component in the Church tugging at them who want to be accepted and feel they can contribute to the Church both financially and through their presence. And, on the other hand, their is a traditionalist constituent inside the Church who insist that our priests adhere to and enforce the teachings of the Magisterium. To the clergy who feel they are caught in the middle, to you I simply say you can't serve two masters.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Devotions Meme

My dear friend Terry from Abbey Roads has tagged me with a Devotions meme. I haven't been tagged in ages, and surprisingly, I've never been asked to complete a meme with this subject matter.

It's quite simple. Just list my five favorite Devotions, then tag a few of my blogger pals at the end. The first one should be of no surprise to anyone.

1) Mass/ Eucharist.

2) Throughout the day, I PRAY and REFLECT quite a bit on the closing Doxology of the Mass. I'm deeply moved by this simple collection of words that describe the Trinity so concisely, so completely, so deeply. I can't find a better description of the Holy Trinity than in this short prayer:

"Through him, with him, and in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, almighty Father, for ever and ever. Amen."

3) This one may sound a little strange, but I think those venerable monks who go deep inside themselves to look for God, understand where I'm coming from. Okay, here it comes:

I meditate on the knowledge that God is real, and that He exists, and because He exists I exist. Because of His incomprehensible and unimaginable love, and through His son Jesus Christ, we have been created and can share in the hope of someday seeing Him "as he is."

I know that sounded trivial, but it's profoundly meaningful for me.

4) Confession. A bundle of nerves before it, but feel SO renewed after it.

5) Rosary. Sometimes I'm at work and begin praying it, but in the hustle and bustle lose track of which Hail Mary I'm on. When I have doubts as to how many I've prayed, I'll say a few more just in case.

I tag any of my blogger pals who want to participate. (And hopefully some of you will want to!)

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Throwback to Antiquity?

Or is this the way it should be?

I'm struggling with this video. It was posted on another blog by another Catholic blogger. It has intentions that are respectable, but at the same time there is something very, oh how shall I put it, sectish or fundamentalist/ evangelical about it. The lady in the video speaks about a program she has put together called "Completing Him." Supposedly, this program, or "challenge" as she puts it, assists or offers guidance to wives who want to be more supportive of their husbands. Sounds okay so far, right? Right. But then she makes a comment that modern-day society would rise in opposition to: "our husbands are our leaders." Before making that statement, she makes several scriptural references that reinforce an exclusive male domination over members of the immediate family.

Yes, there are several passages in Scripture that give authority to the man, placing his spouse and his children in a subservient capacity. But haven't the most orthodox of Catholics and Protestant practitioners abandoned a male-centric power structure for a more progressive power-sharing arrangement when it comes to marriage? How many of you ladies out there would feel comfortable with the statement "our husbands are our leaders" or any other arrangement that gave the men in your lives exclusive veto power over what could or could not be done?

What about a video training men how they can be more supportive of their wives, but also asking those same men to allow their wives to be the leaders? How would that go down?

What I hate About this Post

Does this post not sound politically correct? You have no idea how loathsome and superficial I find it being politically correct. It's a type of behavior that is driven by the politics of saying anything (or not speaking the truth truthfully) for the sake of capturing the populous vote.