Saturday, September 30, 2006

Quote of the Week

Is it humanly possible for a Democrat to vote a straight party ticket?
--Vir Speluncae Catholicus The Great

Friday, September 29, 2006

Songs stuck in my head

Last weekend, I watched The Who's Tommy. Now I have the songs running through my head on a seemingly endless loop. It could be worse. Once at the seminary, I had the theme from Green Acres stuck in the old squash for about a week. Then when it was over, I made the mistake of tell a friend about it. He proceeded to start humming it and I was stuck with it for another week. Not too long ago, I read that this can be a sign of a mild case of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Baby Bishops

Likely most of my readers have heard about the excommunication of the troublesome, wacky, and quite stupid Emmanuel Milingo. First, he runs off to the Moonies as is married as part of their effort to subvert the Catholic Church in Africa. Then, he comes back. THEN, he runs back to his putative wife and ordains fellow nutjobs, including the infamous Stallings of DC, bishops. Obviously, he is not someone for whom Church discipline or teaching means much.

What I find more interesting is that he was appointed Archbishop at the age of 39 by Pope Paul VI in 1969. This was part of an effort to 'decolonialize' the hierarchy in newly independent nations by appointing native bishops. At this time, many very young bishops were named, such as Cardinal Arinze. The track record for what have been called 'Baby Bishops' has not been that great. While there have been shining lights like Pope John Paul II, there have been nut-jobs like Milingo. In our own country, think of Sanchez of Santa Fe or Clark of Rochester. 'Baby Bishops' are simply not a know quantity: they have not been tested over time. Also, if a they turn out to be lemons, we are stuck with them for a long time. Ironically, the late Pope John Paul II is quoted as having said, "No more baby bishops! I want bishops to have had their midlife crisises before they are ordained!"

Picking bishops

On Sunday, The Salt Lake Tribune ran this article concerning speculation about the selection of our next bishop. (Our previous bishop was transferred to San Francisco.) IMO, it is not a bad overview of the selection process. I am not excessively thrilled about the names that are suggested as possible candidates. (Now watch, one of them will be appointed and I will never make monsignor.) Nor would I like to see a West Coaster as our new ordinary. But, those decisions are made above my pay grade.

The weak point in selecting bishops is how the names of potential candidates get to Rome. Much depends on the Nuncio and his staff. Look what happened in the US when Jadot was the delegate: lots of wacky, liberal bishops. But the greater problems is that the names of potential candidates are almost exclusively submitted by the bishops themselves. This is a sure way to continue the current bureaucratic episcopal culture and will mitigate against true reform of the Church in America. Nor does it help that Roman education seems to be more and more a requirement. Remember that it is the bishops who determine which students go to Rome.

What is the solution? A good start would be for the Nuncio to bypass the bishops in searching for candidates. He should get out of DC and meet the clergy and not just of the major dioceses. This should also apply to Auxiliary Bishops. It would be a good thing to appoint them from outside of the diocese in which they are to serve. This would be a good way to shake up ingrown clerical culture.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The French doing something useful

At MSN, look at this article on the current construction of a castle in France using medieval technology.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Utah, land of strange names

Observations on the current situation

(Attention regular readers! I know the post have been fewer of late, but do not despair. It is simply a busy time of the year and I have had to go to meetings! Ora pro me!)

Previously, I stated my opinion about Pope Benedict's words on Islam. And I will say it again, both he and the emperor he quoted were right. Disagree? Then read some good history on the growth of Islam. (Also, contrast it with the growth of Christianity, especially in the New World where it coincided with conquest.) We have been far too fuzzy and tentative regarding Islam for far too long. The words of the Holy Father were a breath of fresh air. I just hope they don't get stifled by the typical curial wimpiness.

What troubles me is the reaction to the Holy Father. I don't mean the Islamic reaction. Their average reaction was easy enough to predict. They can spout all sort of hate towards Christians and Jews but heaven forbid the rot in their own history is pointed out. Nor do I mean the reaction of the secular media. As they believe in nothing and reject the concept of objective truth, they are simply incapable of understanding the Gospel.

What disturbs me is the reaction of some believers. Of course, there are the anti-Benedict types who say, "See I told you so. He is soooo divisive." (Guess what, so was Jesus.) I thank God that Arch. Fitzgerald wasn't on hand to undercut the Holy Father's words to a greater degree than they already were. But of more concern to me is the opinion that we shouldn't say anything that might offend someone. The truth is more important than any one's sensibilities.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Quote of the Week

As for the murdered Nun, it shows that Christian martyrs die defending and caring for the innocent...while Muslim martyrs die killing the innocent.

--Anonymous Comment on CatholicLondoner

Saturday, September 16, 2006

False Pride

Have you ever noticed that 'Pride Days' invariably celebrate things that people should be ashamed of? (See this article.)

The Pope was right!

Are there good, peaceful followers of Islam? Certainly. But has Islam grown largely through conquest and force? Also a certainty. One need only look at the history of the Middle East and North Africa. Nor does it appear to be a heretical aberration, but an integral part of their faith.

Pope Benedict, quoting the leader of a Christian nation that bore the brunt of Islamic military expansion pointed this out. And how is the Islamic world responding? (Click here.) Seems to me that they are only proving the Holy Father's point.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Quoted in the Salt Lake Tribune

I was one of several religious types asked about The War on Terror. Here is what I am quoted as saying:

Rev. Erik J. Richtsteig, pastor of St. James Catholic Church in Ogden, says the U.S. had every right to strike back after it was attacked on Sept. 11. "If someone is pulling a gun out of their holster, you don't wait for them to pull the trigger before you do something about it." Richtsteig said he is proud of the way the U.S. has executed the war, using proportional force and trying to keep the violence away from civilians. "There hasn't been a terrorist attack in the United States [since Sept. 11] and they've stopped several."

Click here for the complete article.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

This should be a good one

MGM Acquires Herzog's "Rescue Dawn"
Posted: Monday September 11th 2006 12:04am
MGM Films
Author: Garth Franklin

MGM has acquired all North American rights to Rescue Dawn, the survival story of Dieter Dengler, an American pilot shot down in Viet Cong territory, written and directed by Werner Herzog and starring Christian Bale, it was announced today by the company's COO Rick Sands. The film, which was produced by Gibraltar Entertainment in association with Thema Production, is scheduled for a theatrical run in December, 2006.Based on the true story of an American pilot, Dieter Dengler (Christian Bale) is shot down during a top-secret mission to destroy Viet Cong strongholds in Laos at the beginning of the Vietnam War. Taken hostage, he endures unimaginable conditions at the hands of cruel captors in a makeshift POW camp. Dengler's iron will to survive guides him and fellow prisoners in a meticulously-planned, death-defying escape, only to discover the harsh realities of an unforgiving jungle beyond the camp's walls. Steve Zahn and Jeremy Davies costar in this unforgettable story of one man's determination and unrelenting pursuit of freedom."We're very excited to be working with Herzog," said Sands. "He is a legendary director, and he and Bale have brought this incredible and compelling story to the screen in a raw and emotional film."Rescue Dawn is produced by Steve Marlton, Elton Brand and Harry Knapp, executive produced by Jimmy de Brabant, Michael Dounaev, Kami Nagdi, Elie Samaha, Gerald Green, Nick Raslin and Freddy Braidy, and associate produced by Adam W. Rosen and Robyn Klein, with cinematography by Peter Zietlinger, editing by Joe Bini, and original musical by Klaus Badelt.The deal was negotiated by Scott Packman and Ayano Ichida at MGM, and Adam W. Rosen of Rosen Feig Golland & Lunn represented the filmmakers in the sale.

(From Dark Horizons)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Quote of the Week

Revenge is a dish best served with a side of whoop ass.

Castrated Language

In spite of its being overall an improvement on its predecessor, often I find fault with the current incarnation of the lectionary in the US. This is especially the case with so-called 'gender inclusive language' or as I prefer to think of it, castrated language. What used to be, "Let he who has ear hear!" becomes, "The one who has ears ought to hear." How wimpy! But, at least the feminists didn't get their way with today's Gospel reading. It is still the nice play on words, "fishers of men."

One should always be very suspicious when people alter language to promote their ideology. George Orwell rightly observed in 1984 that language can be used to manipulate thought. Note what the pro-abortion types are doing with their 'pro-choice'/'anti-choice' campaign.

This reminds me of an incident at the seminary. (Disclaimer: Things have changed markedly for the better there.) One of the monks, who taught us modern Church history and was parochial vicar in the town parish, was the principal celebrant and homlist at the seminary Mass. Fr. Emmanuel was always worth listening too. After Mass, the plain clothes sister who directed liturgy for the seminary confronted Father in the sacristy. "Father, here in the crypt chapel, we use inclusive language," she said in her primly saccharine way. Father Emmanuel replied, "Hmmm, Sister you may have a point. Let's start with Satana, Princess of Darkness." Father never again said Mass in the seminary chapel for the remainder of my time there.

Update: More on Fr. Emmanuel

Fr. Emmanuel Clark OSB converted to the Faith. He grew up in the tavern that his parents ran. He attended the boarding high school the abbey ran until the 1960s. He received an advance degree from the University of San Francisco. (He had great stories of the wacky 60s Jesuits that were there during his time.) At one time, he was the assistant dean of the seminary. When I knew him, he was the parochial vicar of St. Mary's parish in Mt. Angel as well as a part time instructor at the seminary. He was very involved in community affairs, particularly the annual Oktoberfest. (His Bavarian hat was bronzed and is now held by a cherub in a fountain in the middle of town.) He was chaplain to the volunteer fire department. (Which is how he got away with habitually parking in the fire lane at the seminary.) He was a chain smoker. I think the only time he didn't smoke was during Mass or while sleeping. After telling an anecdote he would always say, "It's TRUE!" Father died of a heart attack during the late 90s.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Mount Angel Abbey and Seminary

Readers of this blog will know that I recently went to Oregon for a few days to pick up an icon for my new church. (As soon as the icon is mounted in the church, I will post a more detailed picture and a description.) The icon was written by Br. Claude Lane, OSB of Mt. Angel Abbey where I attended seminary.

Mt. Angel got some play in Good Bye, Good Men and I have to say that everything mentioned there was true. (I was there when most of it happened.) However, there were also some excellent teachers and priests involved in formation. The current abbot, The Right Rev. Nathan Zodrow, OSB was my formation director for two years. I was also privileged to have Fr. Jeremy Driscoll, OSB, who teaches half-time at the Gregorian and works on the Vox Clara Commission, as one of my teachers. The witness and life of the monks was always good. Even by the time GBGM came out there was a new rector and the problems mentioned had been taken care of.

I have visited several times since I graduated and have been very impressed with the progress the Seminary has made. There is a great prayerful, orthodox, and clerical spirit among the seminarians. (I had a couple come up to me and say, "Hey father, extra-points for the cassock!) Classes began while I visited and I was able to attend the Mass of the Holy Spirit. The current rector, Fr. Rick Paperini, gave an excellent homily which extolled the virtues of Frs. Michael McGivney and Vincent Capodanno. (A far cry from some of the non-sense I heard during my student days.) Later in the day, Fr. Ezechiel Lotz OSB gave an inaugural address that was very interesting.

An interesting fact about the seminary is that both the Discalced Carmelites and the Missionaries of the Holy Spirit have houses of studies there.

I have several friends in the Abbey. The Abbey itself is observant with habits being worn and the Rule of St. Benedict being taken very seriously.

If you ever have a chance to visit the Abbey and Seminary, avail yourself of it. Also, they are definitely worthy of any financial support you can give. Here is a link to their website.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Happy Labor Day

I can't remember who said it. I think it was Gallagher. Labor Day, the day we celebrate work by not doing it.