Thursday, October 25, 2007

St. Crispin's Day

Today is St. Crispin's Day, or the Feast of Sts. Crispin and Crispinian. It is also the anniversaries of the Charge of the Light Brigade (1854), Battle of Leyte Gulf (1944) and, of course, the Battle of Agincourt (1415). And how can we let this day pass without posting the following:

What's he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmorland. No, my fair cousin:
If we are marked to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God's will, I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It ernes me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires:
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England:
God's peace, I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more, methinks, would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more.
Rather proclaim it presently through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart. His passport shall be made
And crowns for convoy put into his purse:
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is called the Feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a-tiptoe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall see this day and live t'old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say "To-morrow is Saint Crispian":
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars
And say "These wounds I had on Crispin's day."
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remembered.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now abed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day!

Wm. Shakespeare, Henry V Act IV Scene 3

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Friday Obligation

Ok.. I'm pretty sure all Catholics know that the requirement to abstain from meat on all Fridays during the year under penalty of sin was done away with in 1966. But this is only for the United States. The current Code of Canon Law states:
Can. 1251 Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash
Wednesday and Good Friday.

But the US bishops petitioned Rome for an exemption and were granted one. Following quotes are taken from the 1966 NCCB Statement "Pastoral Statement on Penance and Abstinence".
19. Changing circumstances, including economic, dietary, and social elements,have made some of our people feel that the renunciation of the eating of meat is not always and for everyone the most effective means of practicing penance. Meat was once an exceptional form of food; now it is commonplace.

This is one of the reasons given for the change and I just don't get it. Wouldn't there be more of a hardship, more of a penance, in giving up something that is commonplace? Since the beginning of Lent this year I've foregone meat on Fridays. And I've really noticed it. I'm a typical meat and potatoes kind of guy and this small penance every Friday reminds me that, "This is Friday. The day Our Lord was crucified." If it were something that I have rarely it wouldn't be as much of a reminder. But perhaps this is just me.
23. Friday should be in each week something of what Lent is in the entire year. For this reason we urge all to prepare for that weekly Easter that comes with each Sunday by freely making of every Friday a day of self-denial and
mortification in prayerful remembrance of the passion of Jesus Christ.

Now this is a great and wonderful sentiment. But how well have the USCCB as an organization, individually or the priest in the parish done in reminding us that while abstaining from meat is no longer mandatory that some form of penance on Friday is mandatory? I'd be curious as to what percentage of Catholics know of the obligation to do penance on Friday and actually perform some sort of penance on Friday.
28. In summary, let it not be said that by this action, implementing the spirit of renewal coming out of the Council, we have abolished Friday, repudiated the
holy traditions of our fathers, or diminished the insistence of the Church on the fact of sin and the need for penance. Rather, let it be proved by the spirit in which we enter upon prayer and penance, not excluding fast and abstinence freely chosen, that these present decisions and recommendations of this conference of bishops will herald a new birth of loving faith and more profound penitential conversion, by both of which we become one with Christ, mature sons of God, and servants of God's people.

I understand what the bishops were attempting to do in 1966 and would have been overjoyed if they had been successful. But 40 years later I think it's time to admit that the exemption just isn't working out. For my two bits I would suggest the bishops to re institute the Friday abstinence of meat and then also encourage the performance of works of charity and other penances on Friday. Meatless Fridays were easily understood by all and I think we have also lost a sense of community and being different by the exemption.

Time Flies

Time flies when you're having fun. Not to give too much away, but I would enourage you to check out

Friday, September 28, 2007

Reformed Science

The problem with science today isn't that scientists have too little faith, it's that they have too much faith.

One of the best teachers I ever had described the difference between science and religion in that "The laws of religion are carved in stone. The laws of science are written on paper. With a pencil. And an eraser nearby." By necessity science is about doubt. Basically it's making observations and collecting data and basing conclusions based on the results. There should be no rooting for an outcome. Definitely no fudging of the data. And an understanding that for every theory, "this too shall pass." Classical mechanics gives way to relativity, the Sun circles the Earth and now the Earth circles the Sun, leaches are good for you and now antibiotics are. Science builds on the past. Old theories die to be replaced by new theories that will one day be replaced by newer theories. Every theory should have a bullseye on it.

I had to take a biology course in college to get my degree. I'm really not interested in the life sciences. In high school I took physics and chemistry. But I needed this course and signed up for it. I lost a lot of respect for the professor when one day he tells us that evolution is an established fact. It's not. It's our best understanding right now of how life came to be physically on Earth. For a real scientist it is no more and no less. It says nothing about whether there is or is not a God or any other matter of metaphysics or religion. Unless of course you're a member of Reformed Science.

In Reformed Science drawing conclusions based on observations and a continuing search for a better explanation goes right out the window. Instead there is an absolute belief in a particular conclusion and the data must be forced to fit or be ignored. A belief that rivals a Saints belief in God. This is where we get junk science from. This is where we distill a "fact" that God does not exist based on observations about the evolution of lifeforms. This is where we declare "case closed" on Global Warming and inconvenient truths like the fact that Mars and other planets are warming also are discarded in favor of a belief that mankind is responsible for the change in global climate.

The universe is a strange and remarkable place. Especially in the realms of the very big and the very tiny. That's how God made it. There are many of us who believe that by His handiwork we can know Him a little better. Even if it's just to be amazed at the beauty of it. But besides beauty He also made the universe abide by a series of natural laws. In doing so He gave us a universe that is like a huge beautiful puzzle. And He gave us the intelligence and curiosity to figure out that puzzle bit by bit, and to benefit from our understanding. Now how cool and Fatherlike is that?

The Carina Nebula as seen from the Hubble Telescope.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fr. Z's "Whaddya Call This Mass?" Poll

Fr. Z is having a runoff poll until October 4th over what to call the older Mass. Right now it's in a runoff between the top contenders of an earlier poll. The options are "Tridentine Mass", "Traditional Latin Mass or TLM" and "Extraordinary form/use". Everyone should head over there and drop a virtual ballot in the box for your choice.

And Now for Something Completly Different....

Ok... the last couple of posts have been rather dark. Time for something a bit lighter. I get a little scared that no one reads this blog and then I get a little scared that someone might be reading it. Ambivalence is such a wonderful thing. And then it's not. But what is a wonderful thing is I just got tagged for my first meme by Che' (or is that fake Che') over on the Secrets of the Spirit of Vatican 2 blog. So here we go....

1. Do you attend the Traditional Latin Mass or the Novus Ordo?
TLM. Wife definitely prefers it as do I. Although the way the NO is read at SJC it wouldn't be much of a letdown to assist at NO.

2. If you attend the TLM, how far do you drive to get there?
Roughly about 25 miles.

3. If you had to apply a Catholic label to yourself, what would it be?
How about a Tradvert? A convert who has become a traditional Catholic.

4. Are you a comment junkie?
Somewhat, but I have it perfectly under control.

5. Do you go back to read the comments on the blogs you’ve commented on?

6. Have you ever left an anonymous comment on another blog?
Yes. Back when I first started commenting.

7. Which blogroll would you most like to be on?
Well.. seeing as Benedict XVI doesn't have one... I'd have to say.... Closed Cafeteria?

8. Which blog is the first one you check?
Not a hard and fast rule for which one I check in the morning. I do a usual round up, but the order changes day to day.

9. Have you met any other bloggers in person?
Well... the wife blogs. And I've met Ma Beck and Jane of Art (I'm pretty sure) at SJC.

10. What are you reading?
Oddly enough, right now nothing. But I have just finished The Snakebite Letters by Peter Kreeft and would highly recommend that. Think of a Catholic take on Screwtape.

Bonus Question! Has your site been banned by Spirit of Vatican II?
Yep, and I've got the felt banner to prove it.

If it has, who do you think Father Tim really is?
I have less of a clue than a clueless man who holds the chair of the department of clueless at UT. Or Baldrick. I'm going to go way out on the limb in left field (fitting for SOV2) and say that Father Tim is the ultra secret identity of Fr. Z.

And I tag the following....

Missal Thumper
Catholic Caveman

And anyone else who is reading this... let me know who you are...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Desacraments of the Neo-Pagans

Continuing on with the beliefs of the neo-pagans. If they were honest at any rate...

1. The one night stand or the hook-up. This replaces Communion. It would take a work the size of the internet to begin to describe the meaning of Communion. But where it converts us to Christ and strengthens us in the communion of saints, the hook-up casts us into solitude. Where sex is meant to strengthen a union between two people and is even sometimes used to explain the union of the Holy Trinity a chance encounter is nothing more than two people using each other to gain sexual gratification. It's always about 'me' and nothing more.

2. Since sin doesn't exist for the neo-pagan, Confession is not a confession of sins and the gaining of absolution. Instead it is the confession straight from Genesis that I can be like God. I will decide what is good and what is evil. I will decide what is sinful and what is right and just.

3. Instead of celebrating the birth of human life and the bestowal of a new spiritual life in Baptism the neo-pagans celebrate contraception. Human life is a curse to the planet and just down right inconvenient. So let us negate life, especially in the form of abortion. Moloch needs his due afterall.

4. Death is the great end. Neo-pagans do not need, they think, Extreme Unction or to make any peace with their end. Instead it is to be fought. Everything that can extend life for just one more minute, unless perhaps it interferes with pleasure, is to be embraced. Any exercise, any diet, any drug, any spare parts from fetal tissue. Anything to fight against the final extinction of self.

5. Holy Orders are not needed nor celebrated. Instead of the faithful man or woman who will pledge poverty, chastity and obedience we celebrate the Dissenter. And the further up the chain one can dissent the better. Who needs the help of religious, priest, bishop, pope or God when I have my own feelings to guide me. It's much better to feel about something than to think about it.

6. Marriage is the great unifier, the most fundamental building block of society. Two become one and then, with God's blessing, become many. And part of the meaning behind becoming one is permanence. But instead let us have voluntary sexual associations instead of marriages. That way we can end it when we desire, have any arrangement of individuals and any number to it. It's not like it's meant to be anything but about my happiness at this very moment.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Neo-Pagan Faith Community of Death

Wondering how a neo-pagan building would be set up and its "faith" led me to the following thoughts...

We see on the right hand side altar an altar to Moloch. Thousands of years ago humans sacrificed children to Moloch to ensure prosperity. We're much more advanced today. Now we do it for comfort and prosperity and some even manage to make millions in providing this service.

On the left side we have an altar to Gaia. Mother Earth is the life giver to be adored. Not Mary who was the only true human for her entire existence and the mother of our salvation. And like Mary, Gaia has her own dogmas. Where Mary helped to bring life in fullness, the worship of Gaia supposes that only the life of Gaia is worthy of life.

The Gaian Dogmas
1. Mother Earth is the life giving mother. There is no spiritual life, only physical.
2. Humanity is a disease of Earth, and human endeavors are harmful to her. There would be Paradise, if only we didn't exist.
3. Global Warming. Humans only harm their Mother and we are godlike in our power to affect our surroundings.

In place of Holy Scriptures we have pornography. While Scriptures brings us the Truth and into the community of faith and fellowship with the blessed Holy Trinity, pornography separates us from others. It makes others only objects for our own gratification and leads us down paths to greater and greater depravity.

Tradition is replaced with Progress. Chesterton said that tradition was democracy for the dead. Well the dead need to be disenfranchised. We have no need for the hard won experience of past millennia or the revealed Truth. We can discern for ourselves what truth is, and know that society is marching toward a truth where there is no sin. The only thing that counts is that everyone feels good about themselves and does what they want. That is where Progress is leading us.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Random Thoughts

Everyone is a theologian, atheists just get the first question wrong.

Trust science, but not scientists.

Why does it seem the most open to other faiths in our clergy are the most frightened of the extraordinary form of the Mass?

One of the major differences between Protestants and Catholics is that they emphasize the Resurrection and we the Crucifixion. That's why they have crosses and we have crucifixes.

Some day I'll need to sit down and use my Google-fu to find an ancient pagan god of lust and death. That way our neo-pagan friends will know who they're worshipping.

Wanted... Co-Workers

The first miracle that Christ performed was to turn water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana. We often overlook the fact that God performs this miracle every year. He sends rain, has given us grapes, the knowledge and human talent to create wine every year. And on a massive scale, not just the six stone jars at Cana. One of the reasons why I am Catholic is the emphasis that the Church places on the fact that we must work with God on our salvation. Christ preached the Good News and brought Truth to probably hundreds of thousands in person. He has relied upon us over the last two millennium to bring the same Truth to billions. Also when I was a Southern Baptist the belief was that God covered our sinfulness in grace. All that we had to to was accept that grace. The Church teaches that we must continually strive to conform ourselves to the will of God. It is not just enough to believe in the mercy and perfection of God, but we must turn ourselves into mirrors of that mercy and perfection. May Our Lady pray to the Lord our God that we may have the strength and wisdom to follow her words at Cana, "Do whatever he tells you."