Thursday, January 01, 2009


I have this memory of the gaiety of New Year's Eve from the days when I was young. Is that just fanciful remembering? There was no gaiety in the air last night.

What happened to the parties at every restaurant, party center and hotel--reservations only--to ring in the New Year? Even bowling alleys used to have their joyous celebration by reservation only. I know because I attended some of them. There were years when the lack of a reservation meant we had to settle for fast food at McDonalds after trying several of our preferred choices.

I still hate to stay home on New Year's Eve. In recent years we have settled for dinner and a movie. Last night we repeated the restaurant and theater we had chosen last year. We nearly had the restaurant to ourselves. Only two other tables were taken.

This restaurant is Chinese, good, and not expensive. Last year it was busy, though we got by without a reservation. Didn't have one this year either, though we had allowed some extra time to wait. There obviously was no wait.

When we were finished we headed over to the theater next door. There were so few people milling around that the ticket window was closed and the tickets were being sold at the refreshment counter. This is a multi-screen complex with the latest releases, yet no people. We were early for "Doubt" and had No. 6 all to ourselves for probably 20 minutes. A total of eight others finally arrived before the picture started. Eight. On New Year's Eve.

Granted it was snowing. And cold. That may have kept some of the oldsters off the road, but it didn't keep us at home. It wasn't that bad. We drove the back roads to the restaurant. Hardly passed another car. The main roads were not completely deserted, but the lack of traffic was awesome. We even had the lighting display at Stow City Hall all to ourselves on the way home. I think we are in very serious economic times when New Year's Eve is a non-event.

"Doubt" was fascinating, if only to see unfold a story that has been the common story of so very many victims of sexual abuse in the Church. There were only two points I found not realistic. First, the nuns were in habit, placing the story prior to Vatican II. I don't think any of the corruption was believed prior to Vatican II, though it might very well have been there. Parents would have reacted by dismissing the nun rather than believing such a thing of a priest back then. I also found the parents of the child to be too willing to cooperate with the activities of the priest and with a full acceptance of homosexuality in a 12-year-old son, even to the point of the mother believing that the priest could somehow "make it all better" for her child. In the 1950s?? Please!

Loved the ending. Yes, that ending expresses what not only the nun but all of us have experienced as the revelations have come about. Doubt. Incomprehension. Disbelief that such horror could be happening inside an institution dedicated to God.

I should close this commentary with the traditional Happy New Year. This morning I don't feel all that happy. I don't feel optimistic given the president we have elected. I don't feel any hope that things will be getting better any time soon. And so I'll close it with the wish that the New Year might be a bit better than all of us fear, and a wish that God will spare us our worst fears that just could become a reality.

May God have mercy on us!

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


An anonymous commenter at Constance Cumbey's blog has posted a link to this story from Interfax:

Moscow, December 29, Interfax – The Russian Orthodox Church predicts, in case the West finally refuses its Christian heritage, it will face “war of all against all.”

“When the West tries to expel, to erase every reminder of Christ from public space, it’s pathology of fighting against their own conscience, their own tradition. It won’t surprise me, if the West loses itself entirely in this fight,” Deputy Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin said on Saturday in the Orthodox Encyclopedia TV program on TV Center....

The Church official noted that oppression of Christians is a very serious problem, while no one even mentioned it five years ago....

According to Fr. Vsevolod, Christians should struggle against it not by force, but by common prayer and civil action based on this prayer that is “stronger than everything.”

This is a conclusion that the study of secret societies has led me to as well. The only thing that stands between us and annihilation is the Christian faith--and for me personally, the Catholic faith.

Monday, December 29, 2008


The Emerging Church.

I wonder if nudity will be a feature of this conference?


We are back to church shopping again now that my favorite African priest has returned to his homeland.

A recent Mass at St. Anthony of Padua, across from St. Thomas Hospital downtown was a plus. The church is beautiful. Marble walls. Imagine that! The priest is still Catholic and gave a Catholic homily to a standing room only congregation. I was one of the people standing in the back. I was also one of the people in the communion line on the left side of the church where the priest distributed to everyone on that side. Amazingly, it didn't take all that long. It IS possible to do without a parade of EMs at Mass every Sunday. There was little singing during Mass. It was a very low-key Mass reminiscent of Low Mass prior to VII. The congregation looked to be drawn from the suburbs as well as the local parish. I probably shouldn't be blogging this since the church is already bursting at the seams and letting the secret out might cause the overflow to find themselves standing outside.

Mass on Christmas day was at St. Joseph's, 10 a.m. Fr. McCarthy, a retired priest in residence there, said it. Fr. McCarthy is a reliable source of Catholicism, too. He gives good homilies that are invariably Catholic. Sadly he gave his Christmas homily to a half empty church. On Christmas no less. I still remember when the C and E Catholics swelled Christmas Mass to the rafters. Maybe there aren't any C and E Catholics anymore. Or maybe they were all at the three vigil Masses. In any case, St. Joseph's has discontinued communion under both species during flu season. The peace sign has been discontinued as well. I sure didn't miss it. Some of the others at Mass did, though, and attempted to reinstate it right through the Agnus Dei. They weren't very successful but looked sort of silly with their efforts. At this Mass as well father distributed the Eucharist from the front of the church to everyone on the right side. No parade of EMs. Didn't take long at all.

One of the things St. Joseph's does well is stay with male altar servers, some of them adults. There never seems to be a shortage. I've seen as many as five serving Mass. Another thing they do well is the placement of the three kings in relation to the manger. On Christmas day the manger was on the left side altar. The kings were on the right side of the sanctuary facing toward the manger. I would expect to see them moved closer as Ephipany approaches. Tells the Christmas story well especially to the children. When my daughter was small, I never put baby Jesus in the manger until after Christmas Mass, and I kept the three kings at as much distance from the manger as possible in the space I had to work with. Don't know if that got the message across to the next generation or not, but at least I tried to tell the story accurately. No crib mosque, either.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Rabbi Howard A. Addison has written a book by that title, described at the website as: "A newly updated and expanded examination into the groundbreaking exploration and connection of two of the most powerful mystical traditions".

Gurdjieff meets Judaism and finds compatibility.

Not to be outdone in syncretism, Catholic priest Richard Rohr has praises for the book: “Finally, someone has made the helpful connection between the Enneagram and Kabbalah; Howard Addison does it very well. His book should help restore the spiritual goal and foundations of the Enneagram." —Richard Rohr, OFM, Enneagram teacher and author of Discovering the Enneagram

Looks like Rohr followers are planning to walk right out of the faith using a technique that once would have been anathema for a Catholic. But hey, why not go shopping in the religious supermarket where every spirituality is up for grabs and no spirituality is beyond the pale. It's mystical, doncha know. As above, so below, right?

Can it require anything more than an eyeblink for Rav. Michael Leitman and Ervin Laszlo's book to make its way to the Catholic booklist? Ohmmmmmmm.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

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