Sunday, February 28, 2010

How to Negotiate

This post touched on how fratricidal revolutionaries in the 1960s and after have gone about dismantling the Catholic Church's worship, catechism, laws, architecture, music, and anything else that got in the way of a man-centered religion in pursuit of a new structure that had the Almighty reduced to the role of perpetual step-and-fetch boy.

The profound drop in religious vocations; the numerous closings of parochial schools, seminaries, and houses of formation; the profound ignorance of obligatory Catholic belief and practice; the wide-spread abandonment of weekly Mass attendance -- all of these travesties immediately followed the modernizing "reforms." No one on the bridge of the sinking vessel paid these problems any mind: theirs has been a blind faith in evolutionary human progress.

Q: What's the difference between a terrorist and a modern liturgist?
A: You can negotiate with a terrorist.

Living Tradition

Monsignor Brunero Gherardini has worked for the Vatican for over 40 years, being a professor at the Lateran Pontifical University in Rome. Author of hundreds of books and many hundreds of articles in a variety of fields, his latest offering -- published last summer and already re-printed twice -- will soon be translated into English. Titled The Ecumenical Vatican Council II: A Much Needed Discussion, the work assesses changes in the Catholic Church resulting from the pastoral council of 1962-1965.

Here are snippets of insights gleaned from the book about the modern notion of "living tradition" (translated from the French at DICI).

Living Tradition
The expression "living tradition," which has been all the rage of the modernized Church, is a radical departure from what the Church has historically done and taught.

Further, "living tradition" is too unspecific, too generic, and has ended by allowing anything to be attempted in the name of tradition except what has traditionally been done.

It is "radically irreconcilable with its past," and fostered the notion during and after the council that "only what was new appeared to be true."

"The truth is...that we speak of living Tradition only to rubber stamp any innovation presented as the natural development of truths officially handed down and received, even if the innovation has nothing in common with the said truths and is something far removed from a new shoot out of the old trunk."

"The present call to living Tradition can be summed up as a genuine danger for the faith of each Christian and of the Christian community as a whole."


Tradition is essentially immutable.

Does this mean that the phrase "living tradition" is contradictory or nonsensical?

As the moderns use the term, yes, absolutely.

What Monsignor Gherardini reminds his readers is that the living character of Tradition is manifested "by the fact that it initiates a transition from an implicit to an explicit statements of the contents." Thus, Tradition is not evolutionary in the sense of becoming something different, and it can never contradict itself: it is the same at all times in all places in every circumstance.

Read more on the correct meaning of Tradition here.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Extreme Karting

Ember Saturday in Lent

I was talking to my buddy Jeff one day about how when I was a kid we lived four years in
Tunnel Hill, GA. I haven't been there in years, so I can't say what it's like today, but at the time it was the kind of place that gave southerners a bad name. For example, the county almost shut down when Elvis died. Smokey and the Bandit and Convoy were perennial conversation topics. A kid could say, "My daddy can beat up your daddy!" -- and then he would.

The town is named for a train tunnel, long-since closed, that -- at 1477' in length -- was the engineering marvel of its day. It was the site of skirmishing between Confederate and Union troops during the American Civil War at the beginning of the Atlanta Campaign.

Tunnel Hill's Tunnel

Jeff is about as Georgian as a fellow gets, of the good and generous sort. We met when I was changing a flat tire -- Jeff didn't know me from Adam, but when he saw me in the parking lot with the tire iron, he walked up and gave me a hand. Some time later I was able to do him a courtesy in turn. He protested my offer, but I explained, "You have yourself to blame Jeff -- I was just there changing my tire when you came up out of nowhere and lent me a hand. Don't blame me that we ended up friends." I'm now Godfather to two of his kids.

Given that most people are surprised to learn I'm southern -- I don't have much of an accent, a fact I attribute to my folks being from other parts of the country -- that unreconstructed Tunnel Hill was in my background surprised Jeff to no end. "Sean, I don't even go to Tunnel Hill," he told me in disbelief.

One survival tale from those days involved an older neighborhood kid named Steve, a strong-willed contrarian who befriended my brother and I perhaps because all the other kids around the block routinely abused us* for our non-southern vocabulary (e.g. mom and dad wouldn't allow us to say "ain't," though we sometimes used it under duress as a means of self-preservation) and the fact that we attended the city school in nearby Dalton rather than the local school just down the road. Taking us under his wing was perhaps a way for Steve to differentiate himself from the rest of the redneck rabble.

Steve owned a go-cart. I still remember how you would crank it like a lawn-mower by pulling the start cord, the rattle of the little engine, the smell of gas fumes. For fun Steve would take us around on the back of his cart -- it had only one seat, so a passenger was obliged to stand on the rear bar and hold on to the driver's shoulders for dear life when he floored the thing.

One fine afternoon as we were touring the neighborhood we came upon a picket line of local kids spanning the road: they'd formed a blockade, arms joined, across the entire street.

"Watch this!" Steve shouted, and he put the pedal to the metal.

Now, "watch this" are famous last words of a great many good 'ole boys.

Steve gunned the go-cart, aiming it right at the kid in the middle of the line. It became a game of chicken, and at the last moment the kid jumped clear of Steve's screaming cart.

Well, not quite all of him jumped clear: the kid's foot was just a smidge too slow.

Which is how I got kicked in the face, zipping along at 30 MPH. The effect was, well, disorienting.

Not surprisingly, I lost my grip on Steve's shoulder. For a moment I flailed about, trying to regain my balance, but to no avail. Worse, I managed to smack the driver in the head, who became disoriented in turn. He over-compensated by turning the wheel too sharply to one side, throwing me free while he went in a circle.

Which is how I got run over by the go-cart I'd just been standing on.

I landed on my back, and Steve rode the cart right over the top of me. The tires ripped my shirt and my jeans, and I had sooty black tread marks on my chest and thighs.

The kids ran away. Steve -- who was the mercurial sort -- yelled at me for hitting him in the head, then drove me home at a modest pace.

"What happened to you this time?" mom asked when I walked in the door.

It had been just another day in the neighborhood.

* Mom told me that within the past few years she'd heard from the mother of one of the neighborhood bullies, now in his early 40s, who to this day feels bad about the way he and the other kids treated my brother and I. It's good to know he developed a conscience.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Nacho Regular Cheese Experience!

Here's a tidbit from one of my recent projects: a bit of fun I dropped as an Easter egg into an internal file for a client in the food industry.


This is Nacho Regular Cheese Experience!

In an effort to break the mold and brie ahead of the rest in this cottage industry, we've made munster efforts and worked our fingers bleu to fashion a fresh and tasty cheese phenomenon. You might have heard the cheddar on the social sites that this colby a gouda development for the business. No whey you say? Well it's true: our policy of "your swiss is our command" allowed us to move past biased, parmesan considerations. As a result, cheese-lovers are fondue of our product, and all the other fetas in the trade are green with envy. Our can-do approach is summed up in our motto of "where there's a wheel there's a way!" So roll on by and enjoy a slice of our latest offering.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Santiago de Compostela

In April I'm off to Europe again. One stop on the pilgrimage will be the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain.

Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela

The cathedral holds the tomb of the apostle St. James the Greater (feast day: July 25). St. James son of Zebedee was the brother of St. John the Evangelist and a relative of Our Lady. By reason of their fiery zeal the two brothers were called by Our Lord "Boanerges," meaning "Sons of Thunder."

After the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven, James boldly preached the Gospel in Judea and Samaria before traveling to distant Spain. He was the first apostle to drink the chalice of the Lord, being beheaded with a sword in Jerusalem in 44 AD by Herod Agrippa, the grandson of the first Herod who had the Baptist decapitated. When the guard who led the apostle to execution saw the firmness of his faith, he also converted, and they were led together to death.

James' remains were carried to Spain after his martyrdom. There his relics came to rest at Santiago de Compostela, the capital of the province of Galicia, which belongs beside Rome and Jerusalem with the most celebrated places of pilgrimage in all Christendom.

This year is a Holy Year for the visit because the saint's feast day falls on a Sunday, Deo gratias.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Striped Zebra Spotted


A circus' zebra got loose today in downtown Atlanta and was running about in afternoon traffic. The AJC article about the event reported, "The black-and-white striped animal was spotted..."

The striped animal was spotted? I'm sure that combination of words was no accident. At least the reporter avoided the term "wild goose chase" to describe the animal's capture by local police.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Friendly Rivalry

Ash Wednesday

Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, a day of penance and mortification. On that day Church regulations oblige Catholics to abstain from meat and to fast -- i.e. one meal and then two snacks, called collations.

A few years back on this occasion Martha and I were spurring one another on in acts of penance.

"My collation will be something simple, like two pieces of toast," one of us began.

"Two pieces? I'm having just one."

"Ah, but without butter."

"Hmm...give me the heel."

Memento, homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverum reverteris.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Is Doctor-Assisted Suicide Coming to Quebec?


One wonders if scarce medical services resulting from the sub-optimal socialist healthcare system in Canada helped doctors north of the border to rationalize the notion that euthanasia is a viable treatment for patients near the end of their lives.

"But they're going to die anyway," one contemporary adage would have it.

"We're all going to die anyway," is the obvious response, which counters the consideration that euthanasia can be performed when death is inevitable. Death comes for us all.

That one's death is also immanent doesn't change matters a jot or a tittle. Why should normal rules of conduct be suspended because death is at the door knocking? Do we steal from a person who is at the verge of death? Calumniate his good name? Burn his house down? What specious reasoning.

This vile and insane argument is a necessary consequence of living in a materialist world: when God is banished from the public consciousness and people live and act as if there is nothing after our trip through this life, we'll set ourselves up as gods and dictate what constitutes good and evil according to our convenience. And, predictably, the most helpless in society are those who pay the price for this act of self-adoring worship.

The physicians in Canada are indulging their God complex and engaging in self-indulgent sophistry.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Real vs. Imaginary Problems

The deep-freeze winter storms of the past several days led me to wonder where global warming was when you needed it.

At the bogus Copenhagen summit a few months back, Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus said, "I'm convinced that after years of studying the phenomenon, global warming is not a matter of temperature. Global warming is a new religion, a religion of climate change...This religion tells us that people are responsible for very small increases in temperatures, and they should be punished...The role of man is very small, almost negligible. Politicians, their fellow travelers, and the media understood that this is a good topic to take on, because talking about the world in the years 2050, 2080, and 2200 is an excellent way to escape from current reality."

Then there's Phyllis Schlafly, who wrote, "Man's natural ingenuity can create new technologies that will lessen any impact that mankind has on the planet's environment."

There's plenty of pollution and environmental nastiness to be cleaned up. Pity that the frauds who cooked the research books to create the worldwide panic about global warming, melting glaciers, and the extinction of cute polar bears have now made it more difficult to get real environmental problems addressed. Way to go, Team Green.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Cause of the Economic Crisis


Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, president of the Institute for the Works of Religion (aka the Vatican Bank), said that the cause of the current world economic crisis is not bankers.

"The true cause of the crisis is the decline in the birth rate,” he said in an interview on Vatican Television's "
Octava Dies."

Ettore Gotti Tedeschi

With a population growth rate of two children per couple -- or 0% -- Western society has shorted itself of workers. With fewer young people in the work force, there are not enough funds available to care for retirees and pensioners, savings are diminished, and material and technological development is compromised.

For a time the lack of economic growth was compensated for by the use of financial instruments such as an expansion of available credit. This technique of applying stop-gap solutions eventually resulted in the economic crisis we are facing today.

Now, Gotti Tedeschi said, "the only way to rebuild economic-financial balance is austerity."

Indeed: the solution is to eliminate debt and have children.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Go Tebow!


Bulldog alumnus though I am, I'll risk stirring things up with my fellow alumni by giving a bump to the Tebow family. They're the folks in the spotlight for participating in an ad that will run during today's Superbowl matchup.

The event is newsworthy because Pam Tebow disregarded doctor's advice during a troubled pregnancy a few decades back and carried her baby to term
. In 1987, Pam fell into a coma from amoebic dysentery and was administered several strong medications to treat her potentially life-threatening illness. Later, doctors -- worried about consequent severe damage to the baby she was carrying -- strongly urged Pam to abort her fifth child. Out of religious conviction she declined their medical advice and gave birth to a perfectly healthy baby boy. Her son grew up to be University of Florida's 2007 Heisman tropy winning quarterback Tim Tebow.

"I call him my miracle baby. He almost didn't make it into this world. I remember so many times when I almost lost him. It was so hard. Well he's all grown up now, and I still worry about his health. Everybody treats him like he's different, but to me, he's just my baby. He's my Timmy, and I love him."
- Pam Tebow

See the spot at

A retaliation/protest ad sponsored by Planed Parenthood sprang up as a reaction; the spot features Gold Medalist Al Joyner and former NFL player Sean James.

That's right: PP is having two men carry its message.

You just can't make this stuff up.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Abp. Lefebvre: A Bishop for the Church

Archbishop Lefebvre: A Bishop for the Church (English Trailer)


The modern Athanasius.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Today's Lunch

Lunch today was an unusual combination: a sandwich of pulled pork and cole slaw on challah bread. Yeah, I know.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Growth of Catholicism in Atlanta



A key take-away from the AJC article above is not about the need for Catholic schools, but the growing number of Catholics in the region.

From the article: "A decade ago there were about 311,000 Catholics in the metro Atlanta area, according to the Archdiocese of Atlanta, now there are about 850,000."

Georgia is still Southern Baptist country, but Catholics now outnumber all the other Protestant denominations besides Baptist: Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, etc.