30 June 2011

In this world we often undergo great hardships in order to find satisfaction and rest, but as a general rule our labor is in vain. However, those who have their intellect enlightened by supernatural light know full well that God alone can give them a true and perfect feeling of contentment. Hence they do not entrust their hearts or affections to creatures here below. In fact, if we give our hearts to other people, what will we get out of it? Our search will be useless. Since they are in the same human condition as ourselves, they cannot give us anything but an exchange of affection, loving us so that we will love them. God alone can love us fully, and, jealous of our love, does not want us to find any other object for our love and affections. 

--St. Francis de Sales, Sermons 46; O. X, pp. 43-44.
Have patience with everyone, including yourself.

--St. Francis de Sales

29 June 2011

Trendily Barren

We are all prone to pride and selfishness; in many ways it is the fundamental posture of fallen man.  So, while the demographic bust and the culture of consumerism has been canvassed here and elsewhere before, I wanted to post on this story for the macro-statement of selfishness it makes.


My lovely wife Sharon sent along this story, in a state of fitting consternation.  Though I couldn't fit into one post (even posts as wordy as mine often are) all of the comments I could make, I kept returning over and over to the sadness I see from the many wonderful, faithful couples I know who cannot conceive, or who have great difficulty conceiving and/or begetting as many children as they would like.


It's one thing to point out the incredible shallowness of the couples quoted here, or to lament the lack of handing down of the proper ends of marriage in their right order of importance.  But it's another to see the absolute shamelessness of the societal death wish these people have espoused.  Every canard of modern life has been swallowed hook, line and sinker.


The article is quite long, so I will post some selected paragraphs here.  I will only comment when I just. can't. stop. myself.  For a final insult, take the quiz at the end to determine whether you should stay childless!

_______________


The No-Baby Boom

A growing number of couples are choosing to live child-free. And you might be joining their ranks.

By Brian Frazer

This summer, 28-year-old Anthony Shepherd and his wife of seven years, Cynthia, will fly from China, where they've been teaching English since 2009, to Wisconsin for a vacation. In addition to relaxing, catching up with friends, and attending her brother's wedding, they plan on stopping by a vasectomy clinic. The People's Republic may be notorious for its one-child policy, but the Shepherds' attitude toward reproduction is even more stringent. Call it the zero-child policy.
Even before the Shepherds left Asheville, North Carolina, for Sichuan province, they'd made their life decision based on the experiences of their "childed" friends. "We watched them struggle to pay bills, find suitable apartments or houses to fit their families, and work at jobs they didn't like because they needed the insurance," Cynthia says. So she and Anthony enthusiastically took a pass on parenthood, an increasingly common decision for America's couples.

Considering the state of the economy, it should come as no surprise that the ranks of the child-free are exploding. The Department of Agriculture reports that the average cost for a middle-income two-parent family to support a kid through high school is $286,050 (it's nearly half a million dollars for couples in higher tax brackets). Want him or her to get a college education? The number jumps to nearly $350,000 for a public university, and more than $400,000 for private. Undoubtedly it costs more to raise a child than not to raise one.  But I have always wondered from where these astronomical figures come that are so often cited in the kids-are-bad-for-__________ template stories.  Call me suspicious.  And of course, this does not take into account, even on a mercenary, economics-only basis, the contributions of adult children to the quality of life of their parents.

Though if your kid's planning to major in Male Sterilization, it could wind up being a good investment: The vasectomy business seems to be one of the few in America that is booming. In the past year, the Associates in Urology clinic in West Orange, New Jersey, has seen a 50 percent jump in the procedure. So you could stress over starting a college fund, or you could consider that you can get a vasectomy at Planned Parenthood for less than the cost of a Bugaboo Cameleon stroller. The crying shame here is the fact that the author sees a vasectomy at Planned Parenthood as something comparable to a shopping decision ON. ANY. LEVEL.  Unless you're among the less than 2 percent of Americans who farm for a living and might conceivably rely on offspring for free labor, children have gone from being an economic asset to an economic liability.

But for the child-free, the benefits go beyond dollars and cents. There's less guilt, less worry, less responsibility, more sleep, more free time, more disposable income, no awkward conversations about Teen Mom, no forced relationships with people just because your kids like their kids, no chauffeuring other people's kids in your minivan to soccer games you find less appealing than televised chess. Because it is always always always about me.  Of course, why spend all that time stressing about a spouse, for that matter?

In his best-seller Stumbling on Happiness, (warning!) Harvard psychologist (I warned you) Daniel Gilbert writes, "Couples generally start out quite happy in their marriages and then become progressively less satisfied over the course of their lives together, getting close to their original levels of satisfaction only when their children leave home." 

No wonder so many are choosing to spend their entire marriages as empty-nesters. A 2009 University of Denver study found that 90 percent of couples experienced a decrease in marital bliss after the birth of their first child. Still laughing at that one.  And in a 2007 Pew survey, just 41 percent of adults stated that children were very important for a successful marriage, down from 65 percent in 1990. Meanwhile, nearly one in five American women now ends her reproductive years without children, up from one in ten in the 1970s. Not surprising, considering the upbringing we receive these days.  But more on that below.

Now, I am part-Italian, so no emails, please--but, is the novelty the bribery, or merely that it is for reproduction? Germany's baby shortage results in an annual population loss of 100,000.  Just think of that number-- and Germany is not the worst.  And the sheep-to-human ratio in New Zealand, which currently stands at 10 to 1, seems sure to increase, since a staggering 18 percent of adult men there have elected to get vasectomies.

 [...]

You don't have to Netflix Children of Men to figure out that if everyone shirked his breeding responsibilities, humankind would die out. It takes an average of 2.1 kids per woman to keep a population stable. Fortunately, to pick up the slack, we have breeding machines like the Duggars (of the TLC show 19 and Counting), an Arkansas couple who have said they would welcome a 20th child, and the Bateses (featured on Nightline in January), a pair of Tennesseeans with 18 kids who want two more in order to even the gender ratio of their brood. Half a century ago, these families might have seemed less outrageous. Then again, half a century ago, we didn't have reality shows to parade them on. First, note the wonderful attitude that even in propagating the species these geniuses are willing to sponge off of the work of others. Also note the defensiveness in labelling people who actually live out the marital vocation as "machines", "breeders" and such like.

"I'm actually kind of grateful to Octomom, because it's the first time in American culture we've said, 'Wait a second…We do have the right to judge these people,'" Laura Ciaccio says. "Because before, we had these strange attitudes about motherhood and parenthood and children and babies in our culture. That changed the national dialogue. We now feel we have the right to question whether it's a good idea." Ah, the tolerant crowd! They will be the first to condemn the lack of "tolerance" by religious people of whatever outrage is the flavor of the day, but NEVER forget that THEY "have the right to judge these people."

For Heather McGhinnis, a married 35-year-old marketing specialist in Elgin, Illinois, motherhood is simply a lifestyle choice that's not for her. "The job of being a parent doesn't interest me," she explains. "Just like I don't want to be an accountant, I don't want to be a parent." According to Laura S. Scott, who surveyed 171 subjects for her book Two Is Enough: A Couple's Guide to Living Childless by Choice, that kind of attitude is linked to a specific personality component. "A lot of introverts, thinkers, judgers—these are people who think before they act," she says. "They're planners, and they're not the kind of people who can be easily led into a conventional life just because everyone else is doing it." And yet the point of this article is that being a childless married couple is the thing that more and more people are doing. Maybe the irony meter is broken. Scott, whose documentary The Childless by Choice Project will come out this summer, claims that there are four types of child-free couples: Early Articulators, who made the decision early in life; Postponers, who perpetually put off having their baby; Acquiescers, one of whom accedes to the other's desire to be child-free; and Undecideds, who say they're still thinking about it.

 [...]

Many assume that an eventual feeling of regret is another drawback of the choice to remain childless. What if you reach middle age and begin yearning for the family life you never had? Who's going to care for you when you're old? And yet, of the more than 60 people Laura Scott interviewed for Two Is Enough (some as old as 66), not one expressed qualms about his or her decision. Actually, regret is more common among the breeders. In a 2003 survey of more than 20,000 parents that Dr. Phil conducted for his show ...um, of parents who would watch Oprah's husband's show in the first place, you mean?, 40 percent reported that they wouldn't have had kids if they'd realized the difficulties of raising a family. 

[...]


"I guess the point is that we feel that we're fulfilled," proclaims Heather McGhinnis. "There's no void. There's nothing missing. We're happy the way things are."

So are my wife and I. As we back out of our driveway, cranking up the music to cover the nine-octave wails emanating from our neighbors' back yard, I think to myself, Maybe Laura Scott needs to add a fifth category for couples like us: Relieved Quitters. Great. Let me know when you want my children to send your Social Security check, OK, pal?

Monsignor Rivituso Named Vicar General for the Archdiocese

From the Review story by the inestimable Jennifer Brinker:

Archbishop Carlson appoints Msgr. Rivituso as vicar general

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson has appointed Msgr. Mark S. Rivituso, JCL, as vicar general for the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

Msgr. Rivituso, 49, has been serving as judicial vicar of the Tribunal of Second Instance (Canonical Appellate Tribunal) of the Province of St. Louis and pastor of Curé of Ars Parish in Shrewsbury.

His new appointment is effective Aug. 1.

A vicar general aids the archbishop in the administration of the Archdiocese. Msgr. Rivituso succeeds Msgr. Vernon E. Gardin, who has served as vicar general since 2004 and recently returned to parish ministry as pastor of Immacolata Parish in Richmond Heights.

Msgr. Rivituso will share the office of vicar general with Bishop Edward M. Rice, who was ordained an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese in January. Msgr. Rivituso will be responsible for overseeing the North City, South City and Southwest County deaneries, as well as a ministry team of offices and agencies within the archdiocese. He also will remain pastor of Cure of Ars.

"I am honored to accept this appointment as vicar general of the Archdiocese of St. Louis," said Msgr. Rivituso. "It is a privilege for me to assist Archbishop Carlson in his pastoral and administrative duties.

"I want to express my personal gratitude to our archbishop for his support and confidence in my abilities, as well as to thank Msgr. Vernon Gardin for his past dedicated and generous service as vicar general," he continued. "I ask for your prayers as I humbly serve the faithful of the Archdiocese of St. Louis."

In his appointment letter, Archbishop Carlson said: "In conferring upon you (Monsignor Rivituso) the office of Vicar General, I thank you for your generous willingness to accept the weighty responsibility of the office, for love of God and of His holy people, the Church in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

From my experience of your priestly ministry thus far, I am confident that you will serve the Church very well and, through your service, advance very much the New Evangelization of our society and culture."

Msgr. Rivituso was ordained a priest for the archdiocese at the St. Louis Cathedral (now Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis) by Archbishop John L. May in 1988. The native St. Louisan is a graduate of St. Mary's High School in South St. Louis, Cardinal Glennon College and Kenrick School of Theology. He also has earned a master's degree and licentiate in canon law from St. Paul University in Ottawa, Canada. Pope Benedict XVI named him a monsignor in 2005.[...]

Happy Birthday

28 June 2011

Can an Entire City be Placed under Interdict?


Sorry, it was my first reaction.

ht to Rorate Caeli

Luke 1:62-64

162And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called.innuebant autem patri eius quem vellet vocari eum
163And demanding a writing table, he wrote, saying: John is his name. And they all wondered.et postulans pugillarem scripsit dicens Iohannes est nomen eius et mirati sunt universi
164And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed: and he spoke, blessing God.apertum est autem ilico os eius et lingua eius et loquebatur benedicens Deum

26 June 2011

Humility and Pride

Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls.


Matthew 11:29


Today we celebrated the External Solemnity of the Feast of Corpus Christi, and in many places around the Archdiocese the faithful traveled in the company of Our Eucharistic Lord as He blessed our streets and neighborhoods.  This parade of the faithful, directed entirely toward the honor and glory of God, entreating Him for benediction, is one of the most beautiful expressions of Catholic piety.
Recent First Communicants await the procession

Vexilla Regis




Turning the corner; Air Force honor guard with Our Lord


Jesus is humble.  His humility in coming to us in the form of bread is breathtaking.  Every day, in every Catholic Church, He waits in the tabernacle, entirely present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity.  He stoops from Heaven to fulfill His promise that he would never leave us orphans.
Outside altar

Benediction


From the beginning, Our Lord foretold this mysterious presence.  He was born in Bethlehem, which means "house of bread".  He assured His followers that if we did not eat His flesh and drink His blood, we would have no life in us.  And on Holy Thursday He instituted the Eucharist, the sacrifice He would ultimately consummate on Good Friday.  Before He underwent His passion, He left us the sacrament and the priesthood capable of perpetuating it.


His humility saves us, and is our example.


_______________


But there was another set of parades around the country yesterday.  These were the diabolical opposite of the Corpus Christi processions.  Instead of life-giving humility, we saw the sad celebration of sterile, death-dealing pride.


Like all expressions of pride, these parades are defiant, self-loving and self-loathing.  In contrast to Our Lord's loving humility, a humility that led Him to even offer Himself so that others could live, we saw the pride of those that would force all others to bend--or break-- so that they might do exactly as they please.  Everything must yield to a perverse expression of lust that is desperate to pass as love.


Our Lord took on human nature to save us.  They deny human nature to our ruin.


_______________


In the end, Our Lord will triumph.  The parade of humility is more powerful than the parade of pride.  But the means of this triumph leads to the cross.  Just as Christ reigns from the cross, so we must follow.  And year after year, as we see the forces of evil grow more bold, we cannot doubt that the day is nearer.



Yea, the hour cometh, that whosoever killeth you, will think that he doth a service to God.  And these things will they do to you; because they have not known the Father, nor me.  But these things I have told you, that when the hour shall come, you may remember that I told you of them.


John 16:2





24 June 2011

Mystery Photo, the Good Life

Which intrepid reader can tell me location of the above photo and describe what is depicted?

On the Roll

Many of you may recall YoungCatholicSTL's blog from a couple years back.  He now has a new blog about his new life as a stay-at-home dad. It's linked at right.

23 June 2011

Eucharistic Congress Promotional Video 'Registers' on YouTube

The National Catholic Register has a nice article on the success of the well-done video created by the Archdiocesan marketing department to promote the upcoming Eucharistic Congress this weekend in St. Louis.  


The only problem I have with the video is the footage of the sacrilege-inducing reception of Holy Communion in the hand by some school children.  But hey, this practice is a staple of the liturgical revolutionaries, so don't act surprised it has to be the reception method chosen for filming.  I imagine that if reception of Holy Communion on the tongue, while kneeling (you know, how the Pope distributes it!), were shown alongside the footage of the Blessed Sacrament exposed in monstrances for adoration,  we may have seen the LCWR picketing the Eucharistic Congress.

Other than that, I think the video is fantastic, especially in taking a thing that is geared to quiet contemplation and making it visually compelling in the context of a promo spot.


From the Register:

Video on the Eucharist Is a YouTube Sensation


St. Louis Archdiocese promotes Eucharistic Congress using social media.

by Katherine Veik


ST. LOUIS (EWTN News) — Organizers of a June 24-26 Eucharistic Congress in St. Louis have produced a video that has been called “the movie trailer for the Eucharist” to draw local and worldwide attention to the peace that is found only in Christ’s presence.

“What we wanted to accomplish with the video was for the viewer to have an emotional response to what it means to be Alive in the Body of Christ,” said Elizabeth Westhoff, director of marketing for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. “I think it’s an absolutely beautiful and powerful video.”

The video, which already has over 2,000 hits on YouTube, juxtaposes the accelerated but draining lifestyle of the world and the animating quality of an encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist.

Westhoff hopes those who watch the video will “take the excitement” and “start telling members of their individual virtual worlds what they’d just seen, why it was important, and invite them to be a part of this exciting event.”

So far, the response to the video and the congress has been positive. The archdiocese is expecting between 3,000 and 5,000 people to attend.

This event marks the first time the archdiocese has used social media for promotion purposes. The Facebook page for the event has over 170 fans, and 128 people are following the event on Twitter.

“The world is not as big as it used to be,” Westhoff said. “If we want to truly evangelize, we must meet people where they are. In this day and age, people are on the other side of a computer screen.”

Read More


More information and the video can be found here

Feast of Corpus Christi

Though in each mystery of Christ there is enough "shade" to make our faith meritorious, there is also enough light shining to aid our faith. In all of them we see manifested the ineffable union of the divinity with the humanity.

But there is one mystery where both the divinity and the humanity, far from revealing themselves, disappear to our senses. It is the mystery of the Eucharist.

What is there on the altar before the Consecration? A bit of bread, a little wine. And after the Consecration? For the senses-- for touch, sight, taste-- bread and wine still. Faith, only faith, penetrates beneath those veils, to reach the divine reality that is totally hidden there. Without faith, we shall never see anything but bread and wine; we shall not see God; He does not reveal Himself there as He does in the Gospel. We do not see even the man:

On the cross was hid thy Godhead's splendor;
Here they manhood lieth hidden too.

When, during His life on earth, Christ declared Himself to be the Son of God, He gave proof of what He said. One could certainly see that He was a man; but a man whose teaching could only come from God... a man who performed miracles that only God could work... Faith was necessary, but the miracles of Jesus and the sublimity of His doctrine aided the faith of the Jews-- the faith of simple men as well as that of the learned.

In the case of the Eucharist, there is room only for pure faith; faith founded solely on the words of Jesus: "This is my body, this is my blood." The Eucharist is, above all, a "mystery of faith": Mysterium fidei.

That is why in this mystery, more than in all those we have considered up to now, we ought to listen solely to Jesus. Reason is so confounded that those who, in this, do not listen to Christ must say, like the Jews to whom Our Lord promised the Eucharist: "This saying is hard, and who can hear it?" And they went away from Christ's presence. Let us, on the other hand, go to Jesus as did the faithful apostles whom Christ asked on that occasion, "Will you also go away?" and let us say to Him, with Peter: "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. And we have believed and have known that you are the Christ, the Son of God."

Therefore, let us consult Christ on the subject of this mystery. Christ Jesus is Infallible Truth, Eternal Wisdom, Omnipotence. That which He promised-- why should He not have carried it out?

--From Christ in His Mysteries, by Blessed Columba Marmion

22 June 2011

Corpus Christi at the Oratory

Tomorrow is the Feast of Corpus Christi. St. Francis de Sales Oratory will have Low Mass at 8am, and Solemn High Mass at 6:30pm.
Also, the Oratory will celebrate the External Solemnity of Corpus Christi on Sunday with Low Mass at 8am and Solemn High Mass and Eucharistic procession at 10am.

NCR Does Emit a Certain Miasma, Doesn't It?

There are times, even when something is so predictable that you see it coming ten miles away, that the sheer magnitude of the asininity takes your breath away.

Hence, I draw your attention to an article in the "National" "Catholic" "Reporter" about what seems like a laudable event-- a Solemn High Mass in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph for the intentions of Bishop Finn and for the unity of his flock in a difficult time. Priests from the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph are collaborating on the effort.

This concerns NCR enough that it tries to link this Mass to the sex abuse scandal.

How?

Well, one can take the story one of two ways: either NCR is insinuating that instead of facing all the serious "real" problems in the diocese, these priests are electing to celebrate the dead liturgy of Trent; or, that somehow these kinds of dead liturgy priests actually cause pedophilia. I can't quite decide which-- but who knows? Perhaps NCR can't decide, and this kind of choice is precisely the fruit of Vatican II in which NCR glories. The issue for them is not whether the Church is bad, but rather just how so in any particular case.

For a laugh, check out the comments to the article. Warning: a little goes a long way.

One Good Priest Makes a Difference

I saw this post at HSMom's blog, and it is a fitting farewell to Fr. Gregory Lockwood, who leaves for Kansas City to begin his new assignment on July 1.

I cannot publicly confirm who the new pastor at St. Elizabeth's will be, but the faithful who assist at the Extraordinary Form are understandably anxious that the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite continue to be weekly celebrated in the South County area. This initiative of Fr. Lockwood, which was begun with the permission of His Grace Archbishop Carlson, has a solid and growing congregation of faithful. The celebration of the EF alongside the OF in the ordinary Catholic parish is precisely what is contemplated by the Holy Father and made clear in the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum and the instruction Universae Ecclesiae.

And not every person can make it to one of the two Oratories for the EF, for different reasons. Some do not want to leave their territorial parish. The West County Oratory has limited space. Even St. Francis de Sales Oratory might be a bit far, or, because of the huge space it can be a little difficult to cool in the summer. I know of at least one person who has MS, who can occasionally attend de Sales, but in the summer cannot because heat negatively affects her condition.

Obviously, anyone who reads this blog knows my position regarding the EF. It should be available at every parish, every day. But at this time, with the situation as it is in the Church, it is a good beginning merely to have it available on a close area-wide basis. This is what the St. Elizabeth's EF Mass represents. This is what Fr. Lockwood began. There are priests able and willing to say this Mass in the Archdiocese.

It would be beyond a shame if this very healthy development were ended. Pray for Archbishop Carlson; the Mass has many enemies.

Anyway, the post:

Farewell to Father Lockwood

For the past 15 months, Father Gregory Lockwood has been pastoring the flock (under the title of Parochial Administrator) at our parish, St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church. Unfortunately for us he is leaving the St. Louis Archdiocese and will take new positions as Vocations Director for the Diocese of Kansas City/St. Joseph as well as Parochial Administrator of Christ the King parish there, effective July 1, 2011.

When Father came to St. Elizabeth's, we had not been regulars there for many years, though it was the parish in which we lived. Over the years since we were married there in 1999 and then began our family, my husband and I became better acquainted with, and grew to love, the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM). Our desire to grow as Catholics and raise our children in the 'old' rite drew us away from St. Elizabeth's and to churches where it was, or still is, regularly celebrated.

We were familiar with Fr. Lockwood, having assisted at Masses he had celebrated on Sunday afternoons at another parish, and so when we learned of his assignment to St. E's, just a mile from our home, we were delighted. It was not long before we were attending the regularly-celebrated TLM at 1:30 on Sunday afternoons. It was perfect for our family on many levels.

Our two boys learned to serve the TLM literally at the feet of Fr. Lockwood. As they learned their Latin responses, when to (and when not to!) ring the bells, how and when to reverently assist in getting the sacred items Father needs, etc., Father was always patient and encouraging to them. And though 'Hekyll and Jekyll' as Father sometimes fondly referred to them, still have a way to go in perfecting their service at the Altar, I know they will never forget where and with whom they first began as then-8 and 10 year old boys.

Father has been helpful in our spiritual growth, always guiding us in his wise but down-to-earth manner. If there were one recurring, but ever-appropriate theme imparted to us by Father it would be that in all of life's situations, 'someone needs to be the adult'.

Thank you, Father, for all you have done for us at St. Elizabeth of Hungary church. Your steadfastness, your humor, your compassion, your guidance and direction will be fondly remembered and greatly missed. You were our faithful shepherd, and we love you! We pray that God will bless you abundantly in your new parish and position in the Diocese of Kansas City/St. Joseph.

* * *

A farewell gathering for Fr. Lockwood will be held following the 10:30 a.m. Mass (and prior to the 1:30 p.m. TLM) on this Sunday, June 26, in the cafeteria (lower level) at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church. All are invited!

Happy Birthday to MGG

One of my favorite readers has her eleventh birthday today. Happy Birthday to the girl who can turn any expression into a one-syllable word!

21 June 2011

The Kansas City Tales; or, Contemplating College Education for One's Brood

Just a random post about the vagaries of life inspired by my day yesterday when I took my nearly seventeen year-old daughter on a field trip to an unnamed legal tribunal in Kansas City, Missouri to observe her father's mild-mannered disguise-related job.

It must be noted at the outset that Kansas City is home to the Royals, who are still in search of their first World Series title, after coming oh-so-close in 1985.  But I digress.


I thought this would be one of those wonderful father-daughter moments, the kind that she would wistfully discuss with Oprah's mummified remains in 2045 (as opposed to the kind of horrified moment that she would scream at Jerry Springer in 2014).

We loaded up the sled and drove West on I-70.  We passed two Hooters restaurants on the way there, and again on the way back, without stopping to dine.  Just for the record.

My daughter is considering which college to attend; she is entering her senior year at a very prestigious private high school where she has managed the unusual feat of being the top student in her class as well as being simultaneously the bottom student in her class.  Wide World of Sports-like.  Feel free to put your college suggestions in the combox, but anyone who says Steubenville will be banned.  I kid because I love!


It is difficult to justify the outrageous expense of most private colleges and universities, though the typical public university is expensive enough.  It has long since happened that I have gone from Urbane Young Professional to Catholic Dad of Seventy Children.  So money is an issue, though I don't want to put any unreasonable limits on the universe of choices.


This universe of choices is painfully small for our parameters.  Why?  To begin with, unlike Bishop Williamson, we believe that it is an affirmative good for a young woman to have a college education.  However, we don't believe that every University provides a good intellectual and spiritual formation.  Hey, forget spiritual formation-- we would be happy if the school didn't affirmatively try to lure her into mortal sin.  Most schools fail on this count.


Certainly, she would like to have a Catholic university education.  Most Catholic universities fail on the Catholic portion of that equation.  How many Catholic universities are there, really?  Even taking Ex Corde Ecclesiae adherence as a minimal start, the list is short.  And then there is the liturgical question.  For us, the liturgical question is a product of the philosophy/theology question.  To boil it down-- a school that tries to be Catholic while forbidding the Extraordinary Form of the Mass to its students shoots itself in the foot.  Such a school falls prey to the forty-five year-old trap of separating the "Whats" of our faith with the "Hows" and "Whys" of our faith.  St. Prosper summed up the Catholic position on this relation in the maxim "lex orandi lex credendi", or "the law of prayer is the law of belief".


The derisive term used by modernists for the Catholic position of unity between faith and prayer is Integrism.  If a school would call my daughter an integrist, it would get points for the use of fancy words, but would not get her tuition check.  The last thing I would want for her is to attend a school that teaches adherence to Catholic dogmas and doctrines and then insist on providing a protestant "campus ministry" that undermines these teachings in practice.  Sound harsh to you?  Maybe it is, but I truly don't mean it to be.  This is just a stream-of-consciousness post.


Ultimately, the school needs to be in close enough proximity for her to assist at the EF on Sundays.  Thanks to Summorum Pontificum, there are more options available on that score.


Regarding cost, after any scholarship and aid, we have a serious concern about saddling her with debt, especially at the undergraduate level.  The undergraduate degree has nearly become the equivalent of a high school diploma these days, and I don't recall having tens of thousands of loan debt after escaping high school.


Oh, and it would be great if it were within a reasonable drive of St. Louis, so she wouldn't have to have her modesty violated to fly there.


Any suggestions-- or are we homecollege-ing?

20 June 2011

Corpus Christi Meditations

This Thursday is the great Feast of Corpus Christi.  I am on the road today but in addition to normal blogging I will post over the next few days some reflections about this feast from Blessed Columba Marmion, taken from his book Christ in His Mysteries.


All the mysteries of Jesus are essentially mysteries of faith; without faith we can neither accept nor contemplate any of them.  


However, the degree of light that illuminates our faith in each of them is different. [...]  But there is one mystery where both the divinity and the humanity, far from revealing themselves, disappear to our senses.  It is the mystery of the Eucharist.

19 June 2011

Sermon for Trinity Sunday

Given today by Canon Aaron B. Huberfeld, ICRSS:

Trinity Sunday 2011
How many of you would be able to tell someone you meet that in God we acknowledge one Divine Essence, two internal and eternal Processions, three distinct Persons, and four real Relations? My catechism students might be able to do it, but then, I taught them that several months ago, and the memory of it is dim by now. How many of you could explain to this same inquirer how it is that we do not worship three gods on the one hand, nor on the other hand do we worship one God who merely wears three masks in different times and places, nor do we worship one God, one creature called his son, and one force called his spirit? I know some of my high school scholars have told me they’ve made a good showing now and again, but I’m not sure how the rest of us would do. Finally, how many of you would be able to declare when asked, without hesitation, the central mystery of our Catholic Faith? If you had any hesitation before the beginning of this sermon, I trust that now you would boldly reply that the central mystery of our Faith is the one which we honor by name today: the Most Holy Trinity.

I refrain from saying that we give this mystery special or particular honor today. We may well say that every Sunday or even every day is a feast of the Most Holy Trinity. No matter what particular mystery we may be honoring on any given day – the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the anniversary of a martyr – the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Divine Office, the entire liturgy of the Church, is always and only directed to the praise and honor of the Triune God, the Holy Trinity one in substance and undivided. Nevertheless, a Mass was composed and celebrated in many parts of Christendom in honor of the Blessed Trinity and was finally adopted in the Middle Ages by the Universal Church. I would like to mention what I think are the two most important reasons why the Church did this. 

The first is that, after so many centuries of attacks against this dogma by Arius and his successors, attacks which were the principal reason for convening nearly all the early ecumenical councils and which, humanly speaking, seemed at times sure to prevail over sound doctrine, it was fitting that a feast should be promulgated to celebrate the victory of the truth.

The other reason is that Providence has led us to the celebration of today’s feast by means of the second great mystery of our Faith: the Incarnation. Since the beginning of the liturgical year, we have celebrated the greatest action of the divine in human history: the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity took on human flesh, suffered and died for our salvation, rose again and ascended into heaven, and sent the Holy Ghost among us to enlighten our hearts. All the mysteries of our faith will now be seen again through the Pentecostal lens, through the grace that is ours by the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ. And the first of these is the mystery of the divine life that exists between these Three Divine Persons who have been revealed to us: the Eternal Father, His eternally begotten Son, and the Spirit who proceeds from both as from one principal.

I firmly believe that it is important not only to teach but to preach the catechism, since I can never replace these precious moments which I have with all one thousand of you every Sunday morning at 8 and 10. But I cannot cover today everything which I had the chance to teach to your children over several Wednesday mornings. I will confine myself today to what I think must be said every year concerning this sublime mystery.

The Trinity of God is above human reason; it must be revealed to us. We never could have discovered it ourselves. In Sacred Scripture we find one God in three Persons. And we must strictly adhere to the short and simple vocabulary list which Sacred Tradition has given us to describe what we find in the Scriptures: essence or nature, generation, procession, person, distinction, relation – Trinity.

Although our reason cannot discover the Trinity by itself, our reason does tell us to believe what God has revealed about Himself. Our vocation here on earth is not to understand the mystery of the Trinity, but to adore it. And when we adore this mystery, we adore distinction in the Persons, unity in the Essence, and equality in the Trinity. As the immortal Roman Catechism has it:

“Let him who by the divine bounty believes these truths, constantly beseech and implore God and the Father, who made all things out of nothing, and ordereth all things sweetly, who gave us power to become the sons of God, and who made known to the human mind the mystery of the Trinity let him, I say, pray unceasingly that, admitted one day into the eternal tabernacles, he may be worthy to see how great is the fecundity of the Father, who contemplating and understanding Himself, begot the Son like and equal to Himself, how a love of charity in both, entirely the same and equal, which is the Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and the Son, connects the begetter and the begotten by an eternal and indissoluble bond; and that thus the Essence of the Trinity is one and the distinction of the Three Persons perfect.”

And our own dear patron, St. Francis de Sales, speaking of the joy that awaits us in the beatific vision, declares:
admirations should be honored and loved, the eternal and sovereign friendship of the Father and the Son! What is there to be loved and desired if not friendship? And if friendship is to be loved and desired, what friendship can be so in comparison with that infinite friendship which is between the Father and the Son, and Which is one same most sole God with Them?”

Blessed be the Holy Trinity, the undivided Unity; we will give praise to Him, for He hath shown His mercy to us. Amen.

17 June 2011

Meatless Friday: Stossel Clobbers O'Reilly on the Subject of Ron Paul

Rush Limbaugh of all people often refers to Bill O'Reilly as "Ted Baxter", the pompous and empty-headed anchorman on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.  I don't think he's that smart, if this video is any indication.  O'Reilly stands for the neo-conservative party line towards Paul, made necessary by the fact that they can't come close to answering him or engaging in a battle of ideas or intellect-- Ron Paul is insane and can't win, so let's make fun of him.  

There is no good answer to Paul's proposition that we have no business being in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Libya. Because either it is unjustified in and of itself (which I believe), or else (even if you could make the case for it in terms of national security) we simply cannot afford to do so.  Stated simply, the country is bankrupt, and domestic and foreign spending needs to be slashed.

O'Reilly is so ignorant here that all he can manage to do is the bemused mocking thing.

If They Had Announced They Wouldn't Hire Hooters Girls, Now THAT Would Cause an Outrage

STLToday reports today that seven SSM hospitals, which operate under the the aegis of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary, will no longer hire smokers.  Not that they won't allow smoking at the hospital, but that they will systematically discriminate against those who smoke.  I'm no employment lawyer, but aren't they just asking for a lawsuit?

I am sure the comments box at the website will be filled with outraged people accusing the Church of hypocritical and hate-filled, judgemental behavior.  Right? Because if people want to help the sick, why should SSM judge them so?  

I won't hold my breath, pardon the expression, but seriously, this seems crazy to me. A policy of no smoking on campus-- that makes sense.  A surcharge on health insurance coverage, maybe.  But flat-out refusing to hire based on this begs the question about just which personal trait or habit is next in line.  No hiring of fat people?  Bald people scare patients too much to hire?  People with cholesterol numbers over a certain amount are not welcome?  If you blog negatively about LCWR orders of leftist nuns, you need not apply?

Job performance is the legitimate concern of any employer, but there is a line when personal matters are concerned.  And please don't send comments about personal matters that contradict the teachings of the Catholic faith when the faith itself is part of the job description.  That is a different situation.

I think I'll monitor Casenet in the next few months.  

From the full story:

7 area SSM hospitals will no longer hire smokers 

by Blythe Bernhard

Smokers need not apply at SSM Health Care hospitals, which will start a tobacco-free hiring policy next month.

Job applicants at the seven SSM hospitals in the St. Louis area will be asked whether they have used tobacco in the last six months. Anyone who answers yes will be eliminated from the hiring process.

"As an organization that provides health care, we want to encourage our employees to take better care of themselves and set good examples for our patients," said SSM spokesman Chris Sutton.

Cost-cutting is a side benefit of the new policy, Sutton said, because "healthier employees does mean lower health care costs."

16 June 2011

The Next New York Giants WR in Line for Persecution...

Super Bowl hero Plaxico Burress was recently released from jail for being brave enough to assert his Second Amendment rights in New York while simultaneously being stupid enough to shoot himself while doing so.


Now, Super Bowl hero David Tyree stands to suffer from the intolerant and hateful mob of tolerant and anti-hate pro-homosexual "marriage supporters by correctly pointing out that "gay marriage" leads to the breakdown of social order.  

Should be interesting to watch.

Whit Thursday

Spiritus Domini replevit orbem terrarum, alleluia: et hoc quod continet omnia, scientiam habet vocis, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.  (Ps.)  Exsurgat Deus, et dissipentur inimici ejus: et fugiant qui oderunt eum, a facie ejus.


Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto, sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.


Spiritus Domini replevit orbem terrarum, alleluia: et hoc quod continet omnia, scientiam habet vocis, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
 _____________


Deus, qui hodierna die corda fidelium Sancti Spiritus illustratione docuisti: da nobis in eodem Spiritu recta sapere; et de ejus semper consolatione gaudere.  Per Domine nostrum Jesum Christum filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate ejusdem Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum.  Amen.


(Introit and Collect of the Mass)

15 June 2011

MSNBC Covers Hootergate

MSNBC has now run a story on the cancelled St. Patrick Center/Hooters dine and donate event.  From the full story:

Catholic charity says 'no' to Hooters fundraiser

Cancels after complaints that image of scantily clad waitresses not in keeping with faith 

St. LouisApparently more than a few Catholics in St. Louis give a hoot about Hooters. 

St. Patrick Center, a Catholic charity that provides assistance to homeless people, has canceled a Thursday fundraising "Dine and Donate" event with a downtown Hooters restaurant after drawing complaints that such a collaboration wasn’t in keeping with the Christian faith.

Some opponents felt the Hooters image of scantily clad waitresses serving food clashed with a charity that bills itself as ascribing to "traditional social teaching of the Catholic Church."

Kelly Peach, a spokeswoman for St. Patrick Center, said Wednesday the charity decided to cancel the event after receiving "a few dozen" complaints.

"I would say the complaints were ... would you call them religious-based complaints? Essentially the people who complained did not think St. Patrick Center should be associated with Hooters restaurant," she told msnbc.com.

[...]

But the idea of St. Patrick Center holding a fundraising event at the restaurant, with waitresses clad in their revealing uniforms, rankled more than a few Catholics.

"St. Patrick Center's website cites its adherence to Catholic social teaching in its work.  I am unfamiliar with just where in the long history of Catholic social teaching it proclaims that encouraging the lusts of men is morally good as long as you can get a few bucks for a charity," a Catholic blogger behind the Saint Louis Catholic blog wrote.

In a follow-up email to msnbc.com, "St. Louis Catholic" added: "It is inappropriate because the attire required by Hooters of its waitresses violates the Sixth and Ninth Commandments, and can lead patrons into sin.  

"It also exploits these women by using them as commodities to make money for the restaurant. St. Patrick Center, if it collaborated with Hooters to raise money, would cause scandal, encourage others to patronize Hooters, and thus it would participate in the immorality of the restaurant.  In Catholic moral theology, it is not permissible to use evil means to achieve an end, even if the end would be good."

"St. Louis Catholic" added: "Readers of my blog were aghast that the event was scheduled, and are glad it has been canceled. The support for my post from commenters and emailers ran about 9-1."

[...]


Peach said the Hooters event would have raised an estimated $1,000 for St. Patrick. She said the charity will hold other events to make up for the lost proceeds.

"Another thing that happened is we have donations coming in because of it (the cancellation)," she said.

"One guy emailed us and said he was eating lunch at his deck and writing a check for $100 to make up the difference for 20 people who don’t have to go to Hooters."

MSNBC has a poll on the subject here.

Feedback from Home

A couple of quick hits from the homefront:


My lovely wife Sharon called me to tell that, in addition to crushing the dreams of the homeless in St. Louis, I have also apparently ruined prospects for a quick recovery in tornado-ravaged Joplin.  The news heads on the morning show were able to add some additional reporting to their story on Hootergate-- the manager told them that some of that money would have been sent to the tornado victims in Joplin!


My response to the Hooters manager:  No one's stopping you-- send it anyway.

And now the Fox affiliate in Boston has chimed in.


And earlier, as I sat at the breakfast counter eating oatmeal, my two-year old daughter sat next to me and asked, "Daddy, can I see if that's barf?"


Have a great day, everyone!

PRIERE D'ABANDON

Mon Père,
Je m'abandonne à Vous,
Faites de moi ce qu'il Vous plaira.
Quoi que Vous fassiez de moi,
je Vous remercie.
Je suis prêt à tout, j'accepte tout,
pourvu que Votre Volonté se fasse
en moi et en toutes Vos créatures…
Je ne désire rien d'autre, mon Dieu.
Je remets mon âme entre Vos mains,
je Vous la donne, mon Dieu,
avec tout l'amour de mon cœur,
parce que je Vous aime,
et que ce m'est un besoin d'amour
de me donner,
de me remettre entre Vos mains,
sans mesure,
avec une infinie confiance,
car Vous êtes mon Père.
Père de Foucauld
 
 

PRAYER OF ABANDONMENT

My Father
I surrender to You,
Do with me what you will.
Whatever you do to me
I thank You.
I'm ready for anything, I accept everything,
Let only your will be done
in me and all Your creatures ...
I want nothing else, my God.
I commend my soul into Your hands,
I offer it to you, my God,
with all the love in my heart
because I love you,
and that I need love
give me,
to surrender myself into your hands,
without measurement
with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.
Father de Foucauld

Thanks to the anonymous commenter who was able to identify this Sister as one of the Les Petites Soeurs de La Consolation du Sacre-Coeur et de La Sainte-Face (Little Sisters of the Consolation of the Sacred Heart and the Holy Face).  The above prayer is from their website.

Princess Grace of Monaco Receiving Communion

No, that's not my wife, though I understand the confusion. I just came across this photo of the former Grace Kelly receiving Holy Communion on her wedding day and thought I would post it.

Please say a prayer for her soul.

Local News Post-Mortem on the Hooters Cancellation

Media closure has been achieved on the cancelled Hooters "Dine and Donate" event for St. Patrick Center. Yesterday, on a tip from Life is a Prayer, I posted about the extreme inappropriateness of St. Patrick Center partnering with that particular restaurant. There was a mini-brouhaha, and the event was cancelled.

Fox 2 in St. Louis did a story on the cancellation, and some of the predictions I made came about. The link to the video is here, but I must warn you ahead of time that part of the footage consists of a fairly pathetic scene where some young woman is working a hula hoop while wearing the typical hooters outfit. Maybe I'm jaded, but I don't think that the (rueful) chuckle I emitted was the reaction they go for with this bit. It was just sad.

Apparently, some local goody two-shoes have ruined what would have been a multi-million dollar fundraising event that would have ensured a better life for the less fortunate. In the video, the story ends with a teaser about getting to the bottom of just how much money was lost to St. Patrick Center.

Anyway here is the story, and I couldn't resist a few comments:

Catholic Charities Says 'No' to Hooters Girls

A benefit for the homeless at the Downtown St. Louis Hooters restaurant drew fire and was ultimately shot down, Tuesday.

The St. Patrick's Center's "Dine or Donate" event was set for Thursday night.

St. Patrick's Center cancelled the event after receiving what a spokeswoman said were a "few dozen" complaints.

St. Patrick's Center is a Catholic charity that helps provide food, clothing, shelter, and job training for close to 9,000 people in need in the St. Louis area every year.

The event's opponents felt the Hooters image of scantily clad waitresses serving food, was hardly in keeping with the Catholic faith. Waitresses in ultra tight tank tops and short shorts rode a scooter and twirled a hula hoop outside the restaurant to lure customers Tuesday night.
There is more to the story: for years in St. Louis, "Hooters Girls" have been serving the homeless around them; volunteering at St. Patrick's Center, serving lunches there in the proper attire; donating time and food to the St. Patrick's Center's mega-fundraiser, the annual Sports Trivia Championship.

But the line was drawn at holding an event for St. Patrick's Center at the restaurant, with the waitresses clad in their skimpy uniforms.

"I don't think they should have cancelled it," said customer, Cheryl Waltrip, a non-Catholic visiting St. Louis. "I think that any opportunity to raise money especially in our times with people being homeless and jobless. I think they should take every opportunity they get to raise money."
(Drink! This matches the required media template I wrote about yesterday: "Of course, all that matters is that money is raised for the charity, right? If this story...gets picked up by the mainstream press in this town, look for commenters ... to say exactly that.")


She said her husband, who is Catholic, would not object.
(Just let that one sink in. Wait. Wait... OK. Oh baby.)

"He loves Hooters," she laughed.
(I mean, why would he object, he LOOOOOOOOVES HOOOTERS!!!!! And why wouldn't he? He's Catholic!)

"I think that was wrong [to cancel the event]," said Steve Brown, a homeless man. "They're looking at the religious part of it instead of the beneficiary part of it. You and I would benefit from that. Me, being homeless, I go there [St. Patrick's Center] all the time trying to find a job, clothing, and everything else."

"Let it happen," said another homeless man.

But the homeless who might benefit aren't calling the shots here.

An e-mail "blast" alerting people to the fundraiser, prompted dozens of complaints on-line and over the phone.

One blog, posting a concern about "encouraging the lusts of men ... To get a few bucks for charity". (Huh? Which blog is that? Sounds pretty pretentious. Who writes like that?)

St. Patrick's center cancelled the event. A volunteer for the homeless in St. Louis concedes, "hooters" heart may be in the right place - but --


"But when you hear the name hooters what's the first thing you think about ? Little shorts white top. It just doesn't fit the bill. But i think it was really great that they wanted to do something like that. That really speaks highly of them."


A statement from st. Patrick's center says in part -- "we reached out to local restaurants
That have helped st. Patrick center in the past to participate in a series of 'dine and donate' events. 16 restaurants agreed to participate."

Hooters was just one of the restaurants.


The key word there : "was" -- not anymore.

And be assured that the comments at the print story online follow the usual template.