January 2005 Archives

Blogroll update:

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Added:

The Corner. I read it every day, just haven't gotten around to adding it.

Ravings of John Bambenek. If you know John, this says it all. If you don't know John, check it out.

The Thing Is. A new weblog affiliated with The Fact Is, a news and opinion site run by the Culture of Life Foundation and the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute - two great organizations whose names say it all.

Cella's Review . This guy is good. He also has the best quote under his blog's title.

Also added:

Catholic Liturgical Library added to sidebar.

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What part of the party's platform do you not understand?

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Near-conversion

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A hilarious account (free registration required) of a liberal writer attending a Socialist anti-inaugural rally.

I know I'm linking to the New Republic a lot, but don't worry I'm not switching over. I find it pretty interesting since I don't always agree.

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Father Frank Pavone Interview

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Zenit ran a 2-part interview with the director of Priests for Life.

Part 1

Part 2

He mentions in part 2 that the 10th anniversary of the issuing of Evangelium Vitae will be this year on March 25th. It was released on the Solemnity of the Annunciation in 1995, but this year March 25th is Good Friday (one of those weird liturgical things - the Annunciation is probably the first Monday after the Octave of Easter - April 4th). Of course, Good Friday is an appropriate day to remember the unborn and pray for greater love for life.

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New Plenary Indulgence!

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This may be old news, but I'm a week behind in my email (what else is new?)

From Zent: New Plenary Indulgence to Mark Year of the Eucharist.

John Paul II has approved a special plenary indulgence to mark the Year of the Eucharist.

The decree reminds the faithful that to obtain a plenary indulgence it is necessary to observe the "usual conditions": "sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion, and prayer in keeping with the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff, with the soul completely removed from attachment to any form of sin."

In the Year of the Eucharist -- which began October 2004 and will end October 2005, when the world Synod of Bishops will be held on the Eucharist -- the plenary indulgence may be obtained in two ways.

In the first place, according to the decree, "each time the faithful participate attentively and piously in a sacred function or a devotional exercise undertaken in honor of the Blessed Sacrament, solemnly exposed or conserved in the tabernacle."

In the second place, it is granted "to the clergy, to members of institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life, and to other faithful who are by law obliged to recite the Liturgy of the Hours, as well as to those who customarily recite the Divine Office out of pure devotion, each and every time they recite -- at the end of the day, in company or private -- vespers and night prayers before the Lord present in the tabernacle."

Geez, they're just giving indulgences away! Whatever happened to the good old days when you had to pay good money if you wanted to get out of purgatory!

Seriously, I do think this indulgence would be a good way to encourage the praying of the Divine Office among the laity. If getting out of the final purgation isn't a good enough enticement, I don't know what is.

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Latin Mass = abolished???

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From this other-wise interesting article (free registration required to read) comparing Mel Gibson to Clint Eastwood:

Gibson's membership in the Traditionalist Catholic movement, which rejects Vatican II reforms, including the abolition of the Latin Mass, has been well documented; and after The Passion, it is easy to interpret the dualism of his films as emerging from his strongly-held beliefs.

Abolition? Sorry, no.

Argh!!

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Glitch

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Just when I was getting back into the swing of things, I spilled coffee all over my keyboard. argh!

Anybody know if it will be once it dries (like our cell phone when Matthew drooled all over it) or if I need to just go ahead and get a new one?

Also, in case anybody's wondering, I'm not ignoring the comment in the Cevenant Marriages post, I just haven't sat in front of a working computer (see previous post re: keyboard) with enough time to compose a respectable reply.

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January 24 = "grimmest day of the year"?

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So says BBC News.

Happy birthday to me...

(Link from The Corner.)

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Covenant Marriages

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I approached this New Republic article (free registration required) cautiously. The lead for the article is "Proponents of strict "covenant marriages" want to end divorce, not save marriage. They'll accomplish neither."

My caution was justified. The author expresses a smarmy attitude towards the presumably evangelical proponents of covenant marriages, and mockingly quotes Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee saying that "marriage works best when the people trying to make the institution work are in the hand of the Creator," as if that were a false statement.

Society has traveled a long way (for better or worse) from the first no-fault divorce to our current state. Marriage is in the state it's in precisely because of a lack of respect for the institution - a problem partially caused and exacerbated by divorce. The covenant marriage movement addresses this directly by promoting the truth of what marriage actually is and encouraging them to live it out in its fulness.

I would understand the author's skepticism if he provided some objective basis for it. If, say, couples were being poorly prepared for covenant marriages, or something like that. But there is nothing. The author seems to be against the idea of encouraging couples to accept a higher standard for their marriages. He also speaks favorably of raising the bar for entry into marriage by mandating longer waiting periods and greater preparation or by raising minimum ages for marriage. That's all fine and good, but it's no basis to object to couples setting a higher standard for themselves.

This generation of young people has experienced the hardship of broken families like no previous one. This is bad of course, but it is also leading to a renewal of marriage and family life. The author errs in seeing covenant marriage not as an attempt to accomplish this renewal by encouraging couples to live fully the truth of marriage as a covenant, but rather as a way "to force people to stay married."

Courageous couples entering into marriage with the intention of permanence, with the intention of putting the procreation in God's hands, and with the intention of sacrificing themselves daily out of love for Christ and each other can only have beneficial effects on society. Undoubtedly couples will fail - that is the human story, isn't it? But couples will also succeed, and that is the real story. Those families who do live out the call will transform the culture (ahem, see quote at the top of this page) by radiating joy and love, but also through their daily hidden sacrifices.

*** *** ***

P.S. All that said, I'm a little uneasy about states legalizing a separate marriage status for covenant marriages, because then what becomes of the "regular-marriage?" It seems to me to be ceding ground that shouldn't be relinquished. Couples who wish to make their commitment more solemn can do it without a separate category. I would also be interested in the kind of preparation is provided to couples entering into the covenant marriage.

Additionally, from a Catholic perspective, I wonder what the existence of a covenant marriage option does to the annulment proceedings.

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What I'm reading update

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Finished:

Romano Guardini's The Inner Life of Jesus.
This is the first "life of Christ" type book I've read, and I liked it very much. Guardini begins by describing - in a way that initially seems haphazard - various aspects of Christ's earthly life, such as his healing ministry and his apparent failure in everything he attempted. Ultimately, the meditation turns to Christ's very identity as Son of God, as one who yearns to do the will of the Father ("My food is..." John 4:34). The absolute key to understanding Christ's actions is his identity as the Son of God. This book shows the folly of attempting to understand Christ in any other way - as preacher, healer, psychologist, political agent - without using his divine identity as a starting point.

From Chapter 10:

"If a man goes back into himself, he finds a man. If I look within myself, I find my thoughts, my excitements, my guilt, my sorrow, and the entire distress and poverty of my finiteness. I find myself. But when Jesus called upon Himself the 'I' who answered within Him was God. And God was also the one who called"

The book has a certain power to it, I think due to the way Guardini draws you in deeper and deeper. It made me desire to read more of him and other "Life of Christ" books.

Ignacio Larranaga's Transfiguration
A nice little book that serves as an introductory primer on spiritual growth. The author is a psychologist (his biography of St. Francis is one of my favorites) and he tends to approach spiritual questions from a psychological standpoint.

The most important part of this book, I believe, is his discussion of humility. He talks of humility in terms of detachment, and contrasts it with psychological appropriation of people and things. When in my mind, I appropriate a piece of land, or a pile of money, or the body of another to myself, I form an attachment to that person or thing. These attachments stem from and can also lead to a prideful sense of entitlement. Detachment (and thereby humility) consists of releasing my mind from these attachments and any sense of having a "right" to those things which are God's to give and take.

This is such an insightful way to look at detachment and humility. In this way, a great many of sins can be traced to their root in the mind (heart). Think of a man lusting for a woman. He has psychologically appropriated this woman's body to himself for his own use - even if only mental. Humility says that he has no right to that woman's body; it is a gift God gave to her to use to glorify Him. The lustful man asserts his prideful desire over God's plan by appropriating for himself a part of creation that God did not intend for him to have. Acting on this attachment leads to the sins of adultery, rape, and all other sins of unchastity. The same analysis can be used to get to the root causes of wars, murders, thefts, etc.

The rest of the book is OK. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it, but I do like his writing. It's psychological in a very good way. If you're going to pick up one of his books, I'd go for Brother Francis instead. Warning: if you do pick it up, don't get fleeced. I saw it onlinw somewhere for 17 bucks. Don't buy it for more than 7.

Benedict Groeschel's Augustine: Major Writings
This is a very broad introduction to Augustine's writings. If you're not familiar at all with Augustine, it's a good start, but a better start might be to just go ahead and pick up Confessions. Fr. Groeschel tends to let Augustine speak for himself, which is fine, because Augustine does that very well, but then, what do we need Groeschel for? Additionally, the analysis he does give often seems not quite related to what the passage he is describing says. I can't say I recommend this for anything except that he recommends some scholars of Augustine that seemed worth a look.

John Saward's Redeemer in the Womb: Jesus Living in Mary
This is by far my favorite book I read all year. John Saward might just be my favorite author. Another of his books is entitled The Beauty of Holiness, and that strikes me as a wonderful way to describe his writing. He writes about the truths and the mysteries of our faith, and does them incredible justice by injecting his own devotion into his words.

I read Redeemer in the Womb as an Advent preparation for Christmas, and I can highly recommend it for that purpose. The entire book is a meditation on Jesus living in Mary. Saward traces this theme from the Gospels through the Fathers, the Scholastics, etc. From its beginnings to the present moment, the Church has worshipped the embryonic Christ as God and has battled heresies which tried to deny or explain away the fact that God assumed and redeemed humanity from its earliest zygotic stage. He pulls some of the most beautiful passages in Christian writing to demonstrate the Church's unrelenting honoring of Christ and his Virgin bearer through the centuries. Pick this up next Advent.

Now reading

Familiaris Consortio

John Saward's The Way of the Lamb

Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray

Alexander Dumas' The Three Musketeers

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Hello there!

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It's been a while, no?

Work has been hectic. My co-worker - who had been off on medical leave taking care of her ailing mother finally decided to quit to take care of her full time. I'm very much impressed by her decision and her devotion to her mother, but it's not an easy situation by any means so please keep them in your prayers.

Additionally, we do not have Internet access. I'm typing this from class, actually (don't worry, I'm not slacking off - I finished the in-class assignment). Hopefully we'll be back on-line soon.

Matthew started to crawl last night - actually it was more like slithering than crawling, but it was the first time he's made actual forward progress.

Finally, New Years' was great. We flew to El Paso, TX for David and Rosie's wedding. It was a beautiful ceremony (2 1/2+ hours!), and Jenny and I both stood up for it. Additionally, we were honored to be the padrinos. This entailed a trdition where a couple places a lazo (consisting of two rosaries joined at the crucifix) around the couple, signifying the couple binding themselves together. We were very grateful to be a part of Matthew travelled very well - especially the flying part.

As for the blog, I had ideas for several posts I wanted to do dating back to before Thanksgiving, but I hardly even remember them. I have articles in my Inbox I was going to comment on, but I don't even remember what I was going to say.

Hopefully, I'll find some time to make some posts that say something besides, "Hey, look at my boy!" Don't worry, I'll keep those posts coming, I'm just saying I want to provide a greater variety of content. Here's hoping.

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2004 is the previous archive.

February 2005 is the next archive.

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