Saturday, July 31, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Check out the scare quotes in this one:
The ban had previously applied only to St Peter's Basilica but guards manning the official entry point into the tiny, walled state begun pulling visitors aside overnight for sporting "inappropriate" attire...
If you attend a wedding, you put on a nice outfit, out of affection for the happy couple; you don't show up in a tank-top and flip-flops.
If you go to a funeral, you suit up in a nice outfit, out of respect for the deceased; you don't go in a miniskirt or muscle shirt.
If you have an audience with a head of state, show up at a job interview, or host a late-night TV show, there's no question that a coat and tie is readily recognized as a top fashion pick.
Ah, but walk into the one place on earth that is home to an entire city established for the adoration of the Almighty, the Author of the Universe, the Alpha and Omega, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, infinite in dignity and majesty -- do that, and suddenly what is "appropriate" attire becomes a head-scratcher.
"Most [locals] are accustomed to treating the Vatican like any other part of Rome..." In fact, they seem to be treating it worse than a number of other places in the Eternal City.
Ut sementem feceris, ita metes.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
The meal was preceded in the usual way with participants choosing up seats in the bustling restaurant. When the dust from this episode of musical chairs sans-psalmody ended, I was at one end of the table, and Helmut was at the other.
Helmut is a military guy, retired Special Forces, and the two of us routinely engage in the back-slapping, playful banter that he'd grown accustomed to in his army days. Whether his diminished hearing also has its source in his tours of duty I can't say, but its effect became apparent that afternoon.
"Hey Sean," he called the length of the table in his deep Master Sergeant's voice. "Why don't you say grace so we can eat?"
So prompted, the table grew silent, we bowed our heads, and we said our prayer.
When I looked up, I noticed that Helmut's head was still bowed. A moment later he raised his head a tad and peeked across the table at me with one open eye. He addressed me the length of the table a second time.
"Hey Sean, can you speak up next time? We couldn't hear you down here."
"That's OK," I shot back. "I wasn't talking to you."
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
I was there last week. For the return trip home, instead of taking a cab, I opted to keep project expenses down and go the train route. I grabbed a train schedule, made my plans, and arrived at the airport by train in plenty of time for my Delta flight.
Notice the area in the red circle on the train schedule below: it shows that Delta is at Terminal A of the Philadelphia airport.
Philadelphia Train Schedule
When I arrived at Terminal A, I had no success in locating the Delta counter. I finally broke down and asked a security guard for help.
"Delta? That's Terminal E."
"OK. The train schedule said it was Terminal A."
"Delta has been at Terminal E for nine months now."
"Thank you," I said, and went in search of a shuttle to the other terminal.
Good thing I made it to the airport in plenty of time.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Will someone please tell those craven bleaters that it is not courageous to try to appease violent predators by building a mosque on the site where terrorist thugs murdered a few thousand of my fellow citizens?
Sunday, July 18, 2010
A sleepwalker, it turns out, is highly susceptible to suggestion. I learned this the first night I was wakened by my roommate, who startled me from my slumber around midnight with a series of shouts.
"What's wrong?" I asked, midway between sleep and panic.
"Blah-bluh-blah-bluh-blah-ack" he mumbled.
"What was that?" I asked, a bit more focused.
He repeated his esoteric Haiku.
"Oh, you're sleepwalking," I said. I laid down and said, "Go back to bed and go to sleep."
And that's just what he did.
Later on the journey I was able to confirm with a physician who was in our group that sleepwalkers do in fact tend to readily follow directions while they're prowling. If I'd had my wits about me, I might have directed my friend to do something useful, like shine my shoes or iron my clothes. His dilemma, you see, could have been my opportunity. But I missed my chance; so it goes.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Bruce is the retired fellow at the chapel in charge of maintaining the day-to-day provisions: coffee, cups, sugar, bathrooms supplies, etc.
Being the chapel treasurer, I collect their receipts and then reimburse them.
The two of them are marvelous case studies in the communication styles of men and women.
When Bernie brings me her receipts, she gets a twinkle in her eye as she tells me about how she went to her suppliers and told them she was buying supplies for summer camps at church, only to have he people donate food or let her get it at cost.
She tells me all the details of what a great deal she got on the fresh strawberries and the luscious blueberries; the marvelous croissant rolls; the bulk-rate hot dogs.
She educates me on how little boys can eat an amazing amount of food, while a larger group of girls eats less.
I get to hear stories about how the shy kid gives her a big hug at the end of camp to express his thanks for all the superb food; each year I hear about the complete lack of leftovers.
I receive lessons in how to pack a refrigerator and freezer full of a week's worth of food for 50 kids.
It's an entertaining, enjoyable learning experience for me.
When Bruce brings me his receipts, he slaps the paperwork down on the table in front of me while I'm sipping coffee after Mass.
"Expenses?" I ask.
"Yep," he says. And then he walks away.
It's an efficient exchange, filled with camaraderie and good cheer.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
One example was the false Council of Ephesus (449 AD), which supported the heresy of Eutyches and the Monophysites and trampled on Papal discipline and jurisdiction. Its failings were subsequently condemned and corrected by the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus (451 AD).
At the false council three delegates from Rome bore the Epistola Dogmatica, or dogmatic letter, of Pope Leo I, which explained the mystery of the Incarnation with special reference to the questions raised by the heretic Eutyches. The presiding patriarch allowed only the friends and partisans of Eutyches to have a voice at the council, however; the Pope's men were completely silenced. The outcome was that heresy was formally endorsed, and innocent and pious men were falsely condemned, deposed from their bishoprics, and exiled; one bishop even died in his exiled state. The Pope vigorously protested these crimes; emperors became involved; and a new council was convened that condemned the errors of the latrocinium.
In our own time we're living with the fruits of another corrupting event: the Second Vatican Council. Referencing the "spirit" of this modern council, the dogmatic decrees of 20 centuries of popes, councils, doctors, theologians, and saints have been summarily dismissed as being "not relevant to our times." A new religion -- the modern Catholic Church of the New Advent -- has been forcibly enacted from above by imperious "modern" Churchmen. The result has been widespread public apostasy and scandal; numerous sacrilegious Masses; abandonment of the religious state by priests, brothers, and sisters; closings of seminaries and parochial schools; a precipitous decline in Mass attendance by the faithful; and neglect of the obligations of the Catholic religion by the laity who divorce and remarry, practice contraception, and deny fundamental dogmas such as the True Presence and the Resurrection.
One prelate stood up to all this: the French Abp. Marcel Lefebvre. For his trouble His Excellency was falsely declared to be excommunicated because he clung to the same Catholic faith that produced 20 centuries of holy saints. One day the corrections of the modern abusive and soul-killing activities and declarations will come; some day the misdeeds of the modern tyrants will be reversed and their atrocious decrees will be corrected; eventually the rights of God will be vindicated and the hireling Churchmen who tried to put Man himself on God's throne will get their comeuppance for their crimes. The Resurrection always follows the Crucifixion; the last word is always Joy; God always wins.