September 2007 Archives

Making of a (Division) Champion


The Sun-Times runs down the moves that made the 2007 national League Central Division Champion Chicago Cubs possible,

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On Pilgrimage


Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston recently completed a pilgrimage with his Orthodox counterpart, Metropolitan Methodios of the Greek Orthodox Church in Boston. They visited Rome, Constantinople and St. Petersburg. He wrote up the experience here and here, complete with gorgeous pictures.

In fact, the Cardinal has inspired me. In the spirit of promoting interfaith dialogue, I'm going to solicit donations to send my family on a worldwide pilgrimage along with an Orthodox family yet to be determined (first come, first serve).

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With their victory tonight and the Brewers' loss to San Diego, the Cubs have clinched it. Their last division title came in 2003. The four-year interval is, believe it or not, the fewest season between Cub playoff appearances in my lifetime.


Carlos Zambrano came through in a big game, delivering 7 strong innings of shut-out ball.


Alfonso Soriano set a major league record with his sixth lead-off homerun in the month of September. He also tied Ernie Banks' Cub record of 13 homeruns in the month of September.


The Cubs can rest up for a few games. Division series pay starts early next week. It's not clear who the Cubs will be playing, since the other two divisions and the NL wild card are all up in the air.


Here's where I wish I were partying tonight!

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Reading this book recalls what veterans say about war: hours of boredom interrupted by a few minutes of terror.

From this review of Stephen Hayes' Cheney hagiography.

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Podcasting Chicago Monks


The Monastery of the Holy Cross in Chicago's near south side has a Website with a homily podcast and a chant podcast as well as a ,a href="">blog by the prior. Check it out!

via The Chicago Reader

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If I'm reading this correctly, I won't be able to watch any potential Cubs' playoff games form my living room unless they make it to the World Series.

Thanks Ted.

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My in-laws might appreciate this


Star Trek weekend at National Review Online.

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Seeds of a vocation?


3 year old: "Father Anthony hunts? With a gun?

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Envy me fellas


Mama-Lu on Kerry Wood's clutch performances:

Wood was always the best at getting himself out of jams. He kept it together better than Zambrano, but he got into more trouble than Prior.
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We got Wood

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Kerry Wood had another brilliant relief stint yesterday, coming in with bases loaded and no outs and escaping with a strikeout and double play ball. He stayed in for another inning, and after a one-out base hit off of his foot follwed by a walk, Wood again escaped on a double play ball. He hit 97 on the radar gun yesterday and had good movement on his fastball.

I continue to think Lou is prepping Wood for serious post-season duty. If our starting pitching stays as shaky as it's been early on, we're going to need strong middle relief. Right now, I'm feeling good abour Wood being that guy.

That is, if we can make it to the playoffs...

Magic Number: 2


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McSweeney's: Common Illneses at the Vatican

Funny, but the maker of the list is obviously not a "Catholic Nerd." Some omissions:

Motu Polio
Prelate-onset diabetes
Capuchicken Pox
Small Pax
North American Colic

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Your tax dollars at work

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Pro Baseball could be coming to C-U.

It's an independent league, but I'll take what I can get!

Oh please, oh please, oh please, oh please!

If this fails because the state legislature is too stupid to allow beer sales, I will be sorely disappointed.

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Reading assignments

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David Brooks for President


Emphasis mine:

Finally, these Democrats understand their victory formula is not brain surgery. You have to be moderate on social issues, activist but not statist on domestic issues and hawkish on foreign policy. This time they’re not going to self-destructively deviate from that.

You have to be.... David Brooks! Brilliant.

P.S. Remember, Brooks is the NYT's token conservative.

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English Tutor for Hire


3-yr old: Charlie, do you speak English?
1-yr old: No
3yo: Yeah! You speak English!
1yo: No
3yo: Say, "Matthew"
1yo: No
3yo: Say "Box"
1yo: No
3yo: Say "Feet"
1yo: No
3yo: Saaaaaaaaay "No"
1yo: No
3yo: Yeah! See? You speak English!
1yo: No

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Tired of your sub-par candidates pandering for your votes by evoking 80s nostalgia? Not enough confirmed adulterers in your presidential field?

Well, look no further! Instead of an 80s throwback, you can nominate a genuine 90s has-been for the bargain price of $30 million!

My goodness, this is getting ridiculous. Gingrich is apparently looking to step into the race since Fred Thompson is proving not to be the conservative saviour many thought he would be.

Is the G.O.P looking to make even greater laughingstocks of themselves. Are they not content with candidates fighting to claim Reagan's mantle and tripping over themselves to venerate Margaret Thatcher? Having exhausted nostalgia for the 80's they're now looking to Gingrich for -- what? To oppose Hilary and refight the 90's all over again? It would be over after the first question of the first debate:

Mr. Gingrich, would you explain to America how you justified publicly denouncing your opponent's huband's infidelities while you yourself were carrying on an affair?

Look, instead of flushing $30 mil down the crapper, I have a much better idea. If we can get pledges of just $10 million, I think could persuade John Bambenek to get in the race. You could have all of the bomb-throwing for 1/3 of the cost and an approimately equal chance of winning. And I'm assuming I'd get a nice cushy consulting portfolio, right??

By the way, it should be noted that 15 weeks out from the first primaries/caucuses, the G.O.P. isn't narrowing the field - it's expanding it. If nothing else tells you that the Democrats are headed for a 55% rout, this should.

So long permanent Republican majority! I hardly knew ye!

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Sure, it's Pittsburgh, but...


The Cubs' combined stats for the three game series sweep that just ended:

30 R 45 H 9 HR .391 BA 0 Errors

The starting pitching was spotty the first two games, but the bullpen was solid the whole series against a good offensive team and today Carlos Zambrano finally gave a good starting effort. Note also that Kerry Wood pitched two innings with a large lead. I'm thinking Lou Piniella is getting him ready for serious post-season duty.

Oh, and incase you forgot, I said this in August:

[Leadership] was the most important thing about the Soriano pick-up (note how their biggest stumble since early June came when he went down). He gave the team a defining character (which is also why it was important to put him in the lead-off spot and in left field when he faltered in the 5-slot and in center field). When he comes back, this team is not going to look back, even if he's not 100%.

Cubs record since Soriano came back: 16-10
Soriano in that time: .293 BA 13 HR 23 RBI 19 R

Magic Number: 4!

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First off, I'm not ignoring the last few comments left on the posts below about Summorum Pontificum and the traditional mass in this diocese. I've just spent way too much time composing posts, reading comments and responding. I'll most likely take the weekend off from the subject and get back to it next week.

Second, a commenter down below asked:

Is Msgr Soseman going to offer the TLM anytime soon? I should hope so.. he knows it well....

I was a bit surprised to find in my email a response from Monsignor Soseman:

Could you add that I do offer the Latin Mass, usually more than once a week.

The Sunday Mass is offered at St. Mary of the Woods in Princeville at 7:30 in Summer, and soon to switches to 11:15 for the Winter. I know for people in the city of Peoria, Princeville is like on the moon, but the Church is only about 17 minutes from the Shoppes at Grand Prairie. (people in Chicago sometimes drive for 2 hours for the Traditional Mass)

Thanks, if you could do this for me.

God Bless,

Msgr. Soseman

I'm closing comments on this post. If you have something to say about this, please look him up on the diocesan website and contact him that way.

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Cubs Fans!


Feeling the heat of the pennant race? Is every game, every pitch as exciting as 2003? Well, here's some news to make your spine tingle:

As reported on

Prior plays catch at Friendly Confines

That's right, the one-time "future of the franchise" can finally play catch!

Snark aside - go Cubbies! I wish I could watch all the games fom work!

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Remember me?



Hello again everybody!

I'm still inside Mama here, growing and growing. It's dark and kinda scary, but my guardian angel takes good care of me. Sometimes I feel Poppy's hand on Mama's tummy trying to find me. Sometimes I hide and make him keep trying, because I like when he says, "Where are you, baby?" Sometimes I do kick, but he can't always feel it because I'm still really little. But when I kick in just the right place, he laughs and laughs and says "Hi Baby!"

I have two brothers, and boy are they loud! I wonder if I'll be as crazy as they are! The one they call "Charlie-Jo" tries to jump on top of me sometimes, but Mama makes him get off. I think I'll have lots of fun with them once I get born.

Oh yeah, remember, I'm supposed to be born at the end of January. Poppy says it'll be early February because my brothers were both late. I don't think Mama likes it when he says that. I don't know why! Please pray for Mama and me so that everything goes well.

I can't wait to meet you!

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Response from AsiaNews


I received an email back from the editor of AsiaNews with regards to their crazy story on the looming North American Union and the Amero. Attached was a letter from the article's author that was a history lesson stating that the US government doesn't always do what the people want. I realized then that I over-emphasized the ridiculousness of the ideas in the article and under-emphasizing the flimsiness of the author's sources.

I sent a clarifying email, pointing out that whatever my difference of opinion with the author, his research did not even reach high school levels of acceptability. Just to recap, here's what the author offered as evidence that "the United States along with Canada and Mexico, appears to be getting ready to launch a new single currency - the Amero":

  • a report by the Council on Foreign Relations. The report nowhere calls for an Amero.
  • a clip of a CNBC report he found on YouTube. The report cites no evidence, it's an interview with some conspiracy theorist who urges viewers to google Amero and see what the government is planning.
  • a webpage of an alarmist far-right US radio host. The site features pictures of fake Amero coins which were made by a private Denver company.
  • a suggestion that the Denver mint, currently being renovated, is actually being turned into an Amero factory.
  • a Wikipedia page. The page he references merely discusses the CFR report and notes that one of its members has publicly called for an Amero.

Not one single person was interviewed. Not one actual piece of evidence that there are plans for an Amero was presented. He simply touted internet rumors.

If they can publish this, how do we know they're getting Lebanon, Indonesia or, for goodness' sake, Chinaright? This is a Church institution putting this stuff out. This is very very frustrating.

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Unfit for Life


I was pregnant last year and came under severe pressure from every medical professional I saw about my decision to have no tests. Even when I pointed out that they were talking to a disabled person about the possibility of eliminating her child if it was disabled, they could not see how offensive it was.

The summer issue of The New Atlantis is online. As always, very good stuff.

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Final word

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Obstinate dislikers of Bishop Jenky the Peoria memo are asked to explain this excerpt from the 30 Days interview with Cardinal Castrillon-Hoyos:

Isn’t there also some apprehension that a small minority of believers may impose the mass of Saint Pius V on the parish? CASTRILLÓN HOYOS: Those who say that obviously haven’t read the motu proprio. It’s clear that no parish priest will be obliged to celebrate the mass of Saint Pius V. Only that if a group of the faithful, having a priest disposed to say it, asks to celebrate this mass, the parish priest or the rector of the church can’t oppose it. Obviously, if there are difficulties, it will be up to the bishop to act in such a way that everything takes place with respect and I would say commonsense in harmony with the universal Pastor.
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I started replying to individual comments, but it got too long so I'm posting again.

For the record, I don't think Fr. Z is being unfair. I'll even admit my initial reaction was harshly negative towards the Peoria memo, but as I thought about the context of the memo and the concrete situation of our priests here, I chilled out and came to see it as fair to priests and parishioners alike.

Since I'm not interested in quarreling point by point, let me respond to the general objections:

  1. Permission - Some seem to think that the bishop has no right to ensure that priests have a minimum competency in offering the Extraordinary Form (EF) of mass. I disagree. No bishop has reason to doubt that his priests are able to celebrate the Ordinary Form (OF) because they get trained on it in seminary and do it all the time. Most priests have no idea how to offer the EF and it's a lot more complicated then the OF. The bishop has the responsibility to safeguard the sacraments in his diocese. That may be the "Party Line," but it's also true.

    I said in my original post that I understand that some bishops will use this as a roadblock. If Bishop Jenky does that, it will be unfortunate. But the document itself gives every indication that this is not the case. The document states that means will be made available for priests that want to learn.

    It makes sense to assume, by the way, that this is not just for priests at the five parishes where the EF wil be regularly offered. Therefore the bishop is not confining the EF to those parishes. What is unreasonable about this again?

    I would just like the doubters on this point to explain the following sentence uttered by Cardinal Castrillon-Hoyos: "It is the parish priests who must open the doors to those priests that, having the faculty, go to celebrate." Particularly explain the word "faculty."

  2. Numbers - I read Fr. Z every day, I respect his opinions and will readily concede that he knows far more about this than I do, but just because he says a coetus can be as small as three doesn't make it so. Now, as far as I know, the most authoritative word is Cardinal Castrillon-Hoyos, who states in this 30 Days interview that no minimum number was ever established. OK, great, but the point is that various people have suggested numbers up to 300, and not all of them are flaming libs out to stick it to trads. I do wish the Peoria memo had cited which cardinals gave those numbers, but I don't disbelieve the statement. This argument comes very close to calling at least Fr. Deptula and possibly the bishop flat-out liars. Is somebody bold enough to make that claim and lay out the indisputable proof? Or can everybody just please clam up on this point?

    Again, it is important to point out that the memo is partially meant to address concerns raised by priests. Further, it states that "All of the requests that have come to the attention of the Office of Divine Worship or the Bishop’s Office have been from individuals or very small groups."

    One can well imagine the situation: "I'm a pastor of two parishes and I have two families that want the Latin mass. I already say 3 masses (sometimes 4) on a weekend. What do I do?" Tell me, knowers of all, is it better that the priest:

    a) change one of the two masses a parish has to the EF,
    b) schedule himself into violation of canon law by adding another Sunday mass, or
    c) kindly refer the families to the nearest regular celebration of the EF?

    Yes, there are other possibilities, like the one mentioned by the commenter below: that these groups of people could find a retired priest who can say the mass for them. But how many 80 year old priests are there itching to do this? That might be a great solution for some parishes, but you're still going to have situations where the pastor can't accommodate the requests, for reasons having nothing to do with a lack of generosity or hatred of traditionalists. What do they do? Well, in the Diocese of Peoria, they will soon have five regular parishes to which they can refer parishioners.

    What I think grates on people is that to an extent the memo assumes that priests will not be able to accommodate the people who want the EF. Well, folks, welcome to the... um... 1970s. If you even have a pastor, you should be grateful. The only way to change this is to have more babies and pray that they're called to the priesthood.

  3. Imposing the EF - Many people are put off by this language: "Parishioners need not fear that the Traditional Mass will be imposed on them or that they will be "surprised" by a pastor arbitrarily choosing to change the way that Mass is celebrated in a parish."

    I was too when I first read it. But then I looked at things from the eyes of the average parishioner who wasn't constantly refeshing the page on the morning of July 7. The Catholic who learned about the motu proprio from an AP story headlined "POPE BRINGS BACK LATIN MASS." And then I envisioned those people inundating their pastors and bishops with phone calls. And then I understood and chilled out. This is a reassurance that if you like the mass you go have, it's not going away anytime soon.

    The way some of these people react, it's as if Bishop Jenky had proclaimed:

    No one is being told to attend the traditional Mass unless they want to. Everything will be as it was in the parishes, with respect to the Mass according to the Novus Ordo. There will be traditional Masses only in parishes where it has been duly requested by interested persons and where there is a priest who is qualified to celebrate it."

    (Oh by the way, there's that pesky language about the priest being "qualified" to celebrate the EF). I wonder what liberal rabble-rouser said that?

I wish people would take a deep breath and look at the document for what it is. No priest is going to impeded from offering the EF so long as he learns do it properly, and those parishioners whose pastor cannot for whatever reason accommodate their desire for the EF have 5 different parishes they can attend.

The fact of the matter is that concretely, not much is going to change for reasons entirely independent of the bishop. Every priest is going to celebrate at least one Sunday mass in each of his parishes in the OF. If they have a Mass left to say, they may or may not say it in the EF depending on how many people in the parish want it, how big that parish is in general, how available the EF is in the immediate area.

Furthermore, I am aware of some of the problems traditionalists have had in this diocese, and I feel for them. I'm also not declaring that Bishop Jenky is now and forever Friend of the Traditionalists. I am also saying that it appears that he;s making an earnest effort to balance the requirements of the Summorum Pontificum and the desires of many Catholics for the EF of mass with the needs of priests and the preference of theat vast majority of parishioners who aren't all that interested in the EF. But when I see them rend their garments in disgust at what is a fairly positive reaction by the diocese to Summorum Pontificum, I have to think they're letting their hatred of the bishop get in the way of appreciating the vastly increased access they will have to the EF.

Finally, please do see Brandon's second comment in my original post, where he maks some good points and has kind words to say about both Fr. Deptula and my pastor.

Good night.

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AsiaNews on the "North American Union"


I read AsiaNews just about every day. It's a news service compiled by the Church's missionary congregation that features reports from around the world. Until today, I assumed they were a fairly reliable source of news.

But if they can get something like this so drastically wrong, one has to wonder what else they get wrong.

With a bank crisis looming on the horizon, an odd piece of information is becoming news. As unlikely as it may seem, the United States along with Canada and Mexico, appears to be getting ready to launch a new single currency: the Amero.

Really? Do they really think this?

Wikipedia already sports a page dedicated to the Amero with the photos of prototypes.

A news report on the Amero broadcast on CNBC is also available on Youtube.

Similarly, 20 Amero coins can be seen on the Hal Turner Show webpage, with a small D visible, D as in ‘minted in Denver.’ Curiously, the Denver Mint is currently closed to the public, ostensibly for restoration work, till September 28.

It's on Wikipedia and YouTube - it must be true! And the Denver mint is being converted into an Amero-factory AS WE SPEAK! AMERICA LOSES MONETARY SOVEREIGNTY NEXT WEEK!

Here's the kicker:

Whilst AsiaNews is unable to determine whether there is any basis to such claims, it does seem certain that a plan for a North American union is being developed.

If you read the entire article, you'll discover that the author did not interview a single person. It's based entirely on what likely amounted to 5 minutes of googling. He encountered some kooky websites - likely the products of either one-world wannabe master-planners or nationalist conspiracy-theorist fear-mongerers who respectively have dreams or nightmares about the North American Union - and wrote them up as newsworthy. Had he tried talking to actual Americans he would have found that not only is the idea of a looming North American Union a fiction, it's also opposed by any American with any sense. Sure, it's possible to find individuals, like former Mexican president Vincente Fox and various (looney-tunes) think tanks and opinion journalist, who favor the idea, but there are certainly no plans in the works.

I'm not being flippant here, this is kinda serious. I honestly don't care that they got this particular story wrong. I can't imagine it hurting anybody to propagate the idea that a North American Union is coming. This would be a laughing matter if it weren't for the source.

The problem is that up until now, I've considered AsiaNews a reliable source. They report on wars, refugees, famine, disease and religious tensions (including the persecution of Christians) around the world, and I've assumed they get reports from contacts "on the ground" so to speak. Yet this article was clearly written by somebody who does not live in America and has not the slightest clue about such things as a North American Union and a continental currency. If they can get something so completely wrong that's so easily refutable, how can we honestly trust what they have to say about complex civil wars on the other side of the world? We should hope that they take greater care to verify stories about more serious subjects, but really, how can we know that?

I have emailed the editor and asked for an explanation. I'll let you know what I hear.

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On The Economist


The Economist is a fine roundup of world news, I guess, but it's always struck me as a boring, overpriced relic of a period when the only other options for overseas reports were TV news and the big national newsweeklies, and its outsized reputation seems mostly due to a cultural inferiority complex that also explains the damage Andrew Sullivan and Christopher Hitchens have been allowed to do to American journalism. Not that the Economist has ever allowed a warmongering fool such as Sullivan to besmirch its pages, but I think there's a connection.

Ouch. I have to agree about their international coverage, though it's important to note that the Economist is also valuable because in all of its coverage, it packs a lot of punch into very brief articles. I appreciate that.

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First thing, let's kill all the scientists


The hotter the field of research the more likely its published findings should be viewed skeptically, he determined.

Take the discovery that the risk of disease may vary between men and women, depending on their genes. Studies have prominently reported such sex differences for hypertension, schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis, as well as lung cancer and heart attacks. In research published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Ioannidis and his colleagues analyzed 432 published research claims concerning gender and genes.

Upon closer scrutiny, almost none of them held up. Only one was replicated...

Statistically speaking, science suffers from an excess of significance. Overeager researchers often tinker too much with the statistical variables of their analysis to coax any meaningful insight from their data sets. "People are messing around with the data to find anything that seems significant, to show they have found something that is new and unusual," Dr. Ioannidis said.

via Fra Angelico

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An honor for me


TS has spanned the globe, and yours truly was caught up in the whirlwind. Specifically, this post.

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On Pricing Risk


NYT article on catastrophe insurance

Was it Warren Buffet who said there's no such thing as bad risk, just bad premiums?

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Peoria Diocese on Summorum Pontificum

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Fr. Z got a hold of a memorandum (currently not posted on the diocesan website) from my diocese's Office of Divine Worship to priests of the diocese concerning Summorum Pontificum and the celebration on the mass using the 1962 missal. While I've generally agreed with Fr. Z's writings on the Motu Proprio, I disagree with his take on this statement.

First off, he emphasizes that the bishop's signature is not on the document, which suggests... what? That the office is issuing norms without the bishop's approval? Is he implying that this allegedly anti-traditional mass memo is solely the work of the Director of the Office of Divine Worship? That's a problematic interpretation since the document repeatedly refers to Bishop Jenky's intentions, expectations and concrete plans.

Second, he interprets the statement in an extremely negative light. Granted, there are bishops on record with much more jubilant receptions of Summorum Pontificum. Still, Fr. Z overlooks the generally positive indications in the memorandum:

  • The number of parishes regularly celebrating the traditional mass is increasing from two to five. If these parishes are well distributed, that means a large portion of the diocese will have much easier access to the 1962 mass than before.

  • The bishop will provide training for priests who wish to celebrate mass in the extraordinary form Fr. Z does say that's positive, but it casts much of what he criticizes in a different light. He comes down hard on the diocese for suggesting priests should demonstrate competence in saying the traditional mass, but in light of the availability of training, that's not so bad, is it?

The last point is something on which I disagree with Fr. Z. He tends to take offense when bishops suggest that priests who want to celebrate the traditional mass should demonstrate that they can do it. While I understand that could be and in some instances is being used as a foil by unsympathetic bishops, I think it makes sense as a general rule for two reasons. First, priests don't get trained on the traditional mass in seminary. Second, if you hope (as Fr. Z does, and as I do) that the traditional rite will have a "gravitational pull" on the newer rite, fostering a greater sense of reverence towards the liturgy, you want to make sure that the priests offering the traditional mass are doing it right. You want people experiencing the extraordinary rite to have a good experience of it.

I remember an older priest mentioning that many priests used to say the old Mass quickly by only saying the first word of each line of the eucharistic prayer. Is that what we want the result of SP to be? Is that even a valid mass? As long as a bishop is going to provide the training (which, according to the memo, our bishop plans to do) what is the problem with asking the priests to demonstrate competence.

Third, I disagree with the exception Fr. Z takes to the language about most Catholics not experiencing any change. With all of the media misreporting about "undoing Vatican II" it's fair for the bishop to want to reassure people that if they like the Mass they have, they needn't worry about it being taken away from them. That wasn't a very nice thing to do forty years ago and it wouldn't be a nice thing to do today, even to correct past wrongs. Even if we hope that increased celebration of the traditional mass will eventually change the way the modern liturgy is celebrated, that change is supposed to be gradual, right?

This is not to say that I find the Peoria memo wholly positive. My concern is that by concentrating the traditional rite to a set number of parishes, the diocese is not de-ghettoizing it; instead it's merely increasing the size of the ghetto. That's clearly not the intention of Summorum Pontificum and I hope it's not the intention of my diocese.

Even there, however, the situation of the priests in the diocese needs to be taken into account. We have many pastors with 3-4 parishes whose boundaries cover hundreds of square miles of territory. These priests have weekly mass schedules that push the limits of canon law. With that in mind, it must be noted that the norms contained in the memo are at least partially meant to address concerns that were raised at the diocesan Presbyteral Council meeting.

Fr. Z is unhappy that the memo asks priests to refer small groups of parishioners requesting the traditional mass to the existing regular celebrations. Perhaps he didn't notice it, but that part of the memo is specifically addressed to "Pastors who are unable to offer Mass according to the 1962 Missal when approached by parishioners." That implies that pastors who can offer Mass according to the 1962 Missal should try to accommodate those parishioners. It also implies that pastors who cannot offer it might consider taking advantage of the training offered by the diocese so that they can.

Below the jump, I'm going to post the text of the memo so folks can read it for themselves without Fr. Z's emphasis and remarks. As an aside, anybody who knows Fr. Deptula (I suppose that even though I'm not exactly a journalist, I should disclose that I worked for him as a sacristan for three years) might be amused at Fr. Z's portrayal of him as Defender of the Abusive Modernist Liturgy.

Like I said, Fr. Z has a great blog and I appreciate the work he's done to promote the traditional mass and Summorum Pontificum. However, I don't think it does much good to harass a bishop and a diocese that prove willing to use time and resources to expand the availability of the traditional mass and to train priests to offer it.

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  • 25 skills every man should know

    Interesting list except for their lame-a** attempts to add basic computer skills to the list of general competencies every man should have. I think I'm man enough without knowing how to "Retouch digital photos." That said, I'm humble enough to admit that I scored an abysmal 6/25 on the list.

    My other criticism is there's nothing about booze or tobacco on the list. Rolling a cigarette? Smoking a pipe? Mixing a gin and tonic? I guess that can be explained by the fact that the list was put together by Popular Mechanics. Still, it feels incomplete.

  • A Tridentine Ordo that is unfortunately good only for another 2 months or so

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Van Thuân


The cause for beatification for Cardinal François-Xavier Nguyên Van Thuân is officially open.

Today, the Holy Father received officials from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, which Cardinal Van Thuân headed after being expelled from Vietnam. Zenit translated his address. Here's a snip:

Cardinal Van Thuân was a man of hope; he lived hope and spread it among everyone he met. It was because of this spiritual energy that he resisted all his physical and moral difficulties. Hope sustained him as a bishop when he was isolated for 13 years from his diocesan community; hope helped him to see beyond the absurdity of the events that happened to him -- he was never put on trial during his long imprisonment -- a providential plan of God. The news of his sickness, a tumor, which led to his death, reached him almost at the same time as his elevation to cardinal by John Paul II, who held him in great esteem and affection. Cardinal Van Thuân loved to repeat that the Christian is a man of hour, of the now, beginning from the present moment to welcome and live with Christ's love. In this ability to live the present moment his intimate abandonment in God’s hands shines through as does the evangelical simplicity which we all admired in him. Is it possible -- he would ask -- that he who trusts in the Father would refuse to let himself be embraced in his arms?

Dear brothers and sisters I welcomed with profound joy the news that the cause for beatification of this singular prophet of Christian hope has begun and, while we entrust this chosen soul to the Lord, we pray that his example will be for us a valuable teaching. With that, I bless you all from my heart.

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Never forget Terri Schiavo


The CDF weighs in, confirming - as common sense also tells us - that starving even the very sick and dying is immoral.

It is stated, first of all, that the provision of water and food, even by artificial means, is in principle an ordinary and proportionate means of preserving life for patients in a "vegetative state": "It is therefore obligatory, to the extent to which, and for as long as, it is shown to accomplish its proper finality, which is the hydration and nourishment of the patient."

It is made clear, secondly, that this ordinary means of sustaining life is to be provided also to those in a "permanent vegetative state," since these are persons with their fundamental human dignity.

When stating that the administration of food and water is morally obligatory in principle, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith does not exclude the possibility that, in very remote places or in situations of extreme poverty, the artificial provision of food and water may be physically impossible, and then "ad impossibilia nemo tenetur."

However, the obligation to offer the minimal treatments that are available remains in place, as well as that of obtaining, if possible, the means necessary for an adequate support of life. Nor is the possibility excluded that, due to emerging complications, a patient may be unable to assimilate food and liquids, so that their provision becomes altogether useless. Finally, the possibility is not absolutely excluded that, in some rare cases, artificial nourishment and hydration may be excessively burdensome for the patient or may cause significant physical discomfort, for example resulting from complications in the use of the means employed.

These exceptional cases, however, take nothing away from the general ethical criterion, according to which the provision of water and food, even by artificial means, always represents a natural means for preserving life, and is not a therapeutic treatment. Its use should therefore be considered ordinary and proportionate, even when the "vegetative state" is prolonged.

As of this posting, Bishop Lynch's apology has not yet been posted on the diocesan website.

P.S. Anybody else creeped out by the faceless people in the banner image on that St. Petersburg diocese webpage?

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Shiny Happy People at Work


This piece on the burgeoning "funsultant" business had me belly-laughing. A taste:

A considerable corpus of literature on their discipline is amassing. I use the word "literature" loosely, to mean a series of often ungrammatical double-spaced sentences put on paper, slapped between festively colored covers, and sold to mouth-readers with too much discretionary income. While most business books, according to Kihn, are written on about a 7th-grade level (there are exceptions like Who Moved My Cheese? for Teens that are written on a 5th-grade level), the funsultant literature regresses all the way back to primary school. Since we all forget to play as adults, as funsultants repeatedly tell us, they seem intent on speaking to us as though we're children.

Their books are thick with instances of how successful businessmen keep things loosey-goosey at work. Forget industriousness, talent, and know-how--the wellspring of employees' satisfaction, creativity, and prosperity is fun. In Mike Veeck's Fun Is Good, the cofounder of Hooters Restaurants reveals, "I don't know if we could've survived without humor," whereas to the untrained eye it looked like Buffalo Chicken Strips served with large sides of waitress's breasts were the secret to his success. Whatever. "Fun" is the cure-all for anything that ails your company.

If you thought there were only 301 Ways to Have Fun at Work, as suggested by the smash book that's been translated into 10 languages, then you're shortchanging yourself, because technically, there are 602 ways, according to the follow-up, 301 More Ways to Have Fun at Work. Using examples culled from real companies in real office parks throughout America, the authors suggest using fun as "an organizational strategy--a strategic weapon to achieve extraordinary results" by training your people to learn the "fun-damentals" so as "to create fun-atics" (most funsultants appear to be paid by the pun).

Here's an abbreviated list of the jollity that will ensue at your place of business if you follow their advice: "joy lists," koosh balls, office-chair relay races, marshmallow fights, funny caption contests, job interviews conducted in Groucho glasses or pajamas, wacky Olympics, memos by Frisbee, voicemails in cartoon-character voices, rap songs to convey what's learned at leadership institutes, "breakathons," bunny teeth, and asking job prospects to bring show and tell items such as "a stuffed Tigger doll symbolizing the interviewee's energetic and upbeat attitude" or perhaps a "neon-pink mask and snorkel worn to demonstrate a sense of humor, self-deprecating nature, and sense of adventure."

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JP2 Relics


People who want to receive a relic "ex indumentis" -- from the clothing -- or a holy card of Pope John Paul II, may do so by writing to the Vicariate of Rome.

The Vicariate of Rome is accepting requests via mail, fax or e-mail for the religious items. The petition should be sent to "Holy Cards and Relics Service," and should indicate a shipping address.

The address:
Vicariate of Rome -- 3rd Floor
"Totus Tuus"
Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano, 6/A
Rome, Italy 00184

Donations are not required, but are accepted to cover printing and shipping costs and it would be poor taste not to include one.

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Mother Theresa: still helping the poor


I first found out about the struggle that she had in a yoga school, there in MA, actually, because somebody made a reference to it, and ever since then I've been very interested in hearing more about her as a human being so that this book is out, I really, really am looking forward to having it. I'm not Catholic and actually I'm pretty much non-religious altogether, but this, just the knowledge of this and now hearing this discusion, this legitimizes to me more the Catholic faith and God, actually, so... I.. it's so... I'm a litle but emotional about it because it really is like a blessing that this has been made public.

Arisulus (sp?) from Rhode Island, near tears, on this radio show.

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Another reason to hate the sexual revolution


It may have killed bridge.

Brent Manley, who is the editor of The Bridge Bulletin, the monthly magazine of the A.C.B.L., told me that when he went to college, in 1967, the student union was filled with bridge players, but that interest among young people dropped precipitously at some point after that. “We feel as though we’ve lost a generation,” he said. My recent tournament partner, who graduated from Yale in 1969, thinks the culprit was coed dormitories—a plausible hypothesis, since finding ways not to think about sex would have become less important as soon as having sex became easier.

Defying any urge to be cool, I took up bridge for about three weeks in college. My roommate and I at the time each bought a bridge book, applied ourselves to it, learned some strategy, but then... had no one to try it out with, so we gave up. We opted instead for bridge's slightly reatarded but much more popular little sister, spades. I still have that book, though, and I still read the bridge column whenever I get my hands on a newspaper.

The article linked above is actually a pretty fun read, throwing in sex, violence and mystery while charting the decline of bridge. Or maybe bridge isn't declining, the article speculates that the game's popularity has now leveld out and that bridge is becoming something that lots of old people but virtually no younger people do as opposed to the way it was 50 years ago where people from all age groups took it up.

The article also contains one of the lamest things I've read in a while:

Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, who play avidly, sometimes as partners, have created a program to support bridge in junior high schools but have had trouble giving their money away. (Buffett is deeply addicted. He once said, “Bridge is such a sensational game that I wouldn’t mind being in jail if I had three cellmates who were decent players and who were willing to keep the game going twenty-four hours a day.”) The A.C.B.L. has made various youth-oriented efforts of its own—for instance, a Web site for juniors, which McPherson describes as follows: “There is a blog, pictures of girls and boys in sunglasses and on cell phones, and a sixty-second animated video with a hip-hop soundtrack that flashes pictures and graphics that say ‘Hit it!’ and ‘It was cold as ice until she took the hook!’ ” Teens can also download bridge-themed Instant Messenger icons. Some bridge buffs have mixed feelings about such efforts even when they’re successful. One of McPherson’s teachers told him that he finds young bridge players “weird,” adding, “What does it say about them that they like to spend the bulk of their time with people three times their age?”

OK, I confess. I just googled "bridge blogs" with an eye to subscribing to one or two, but then thought better of it. I did, however, check out and it's exactly as lame as it sounds. And it's nice to see that Warren Buffett is putting those billions to good use!

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Cutesy animal crap


I don't usually go in for stories about animals, but the picture accompanying this story about a rescued monkey and his friendship with a white pigeon is just too... cute. There I said it.

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A day in the life


Danielle Bean, mother of eight homeschooled children under the age of 13 posts the minutes of her day. It's exhausting just reading it.

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Public Service Announcement from the Holy Father


All people have deep within their hearts, whether they know it or not, a yearning for definitive fulfilment, for supreme happiness, and thus, ultimately, for God. A monastery, in which the community gathers several times a day for the praise of God, testifies to the fact that this primordial human longing does not go unfulfilled: God the Creator has not placed us in a fearful darkness where, groping our way in despair, we seek some ultimate meaning (cf. Acts 17:27); God has not abandoned us in a desert void, bereft of meaning, where in the end only death awaits us. No! God has shone forth in our darkness with his light, with his Son Jesus Christ. In him, God has entered our world in all his “fullness” (cf. Col 1:19); in him all truth, the truth for which we yearn, has its source and summit.(2)

Our light, our truth, our goal, our fulfilment, our life – all this is not a religious doctrine but a person: Jesus Christ. Over and above any ability of our own to seek and to desire God, we ourselves have already been sought and desired, and indeed, found and redeemed by him! The roving gaze of people of every time and nation, of all the philosophies, religions and cultures, encounters the wide open eyes of the crucified and risen Son of God; his open heart is the fullness of love. The eyes of Christ are the eyes of a loving God. The image of the Crucified Lord above the altar, whose romanesque original is found in the Cathedral of Sarzano, shows that this gaze is turned to every man and woman. The Lord, in truth, looks into the hearts of each of us.

From the Holy Father's address, given at a Cistercian monastery in Austria, that Fr. Mark calls "a veritable Charter of Monastic Life for this generation, and for all generations to come." That it may be (he would know better than I), but regardless of your state in life, it's an impressive speech, worthy of your time.

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My eyes have seen the glory


Herbie Hancock (with Wayne Shorter) covers Joni Mitchell. There's no holiday coming up, so somebody's going to have to get me this out of the sheer generosity of the heart. Or maybe I'll scrape together 13 bucks and buy it myself.

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Larry Craig and the sex cops


I hadn't intended on saying anything about the Larry Craig scandal, but this is just too much:

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Mother Theresa


One of the best analyses of Mother Theresa's long, long dark night comes from "gay and somewhat skeptical Catholic" Richard Rodriguez in this interview with The Nation.

The other thing is that America is a deeply Protestant country founded by Puritans who believed that financial success was a sign of God's favor... Americans have always breathed in this value: The best thing to be is middle-class. There is something shameful about being poor... And self-inflicted. We discuss poor white people as "trash."

The preoccupation with the illegal immigration and the price that the middle class is paying for these peasants coming from Latin America--because that's what they are: peasants. They are a drag on our national identity and a burden to us. Yet we sing our songs on Sunday because we are good pious Americans who believe in the middle-class God.

We are presented with an Albanian nun who spends her life--tormented by doubts--nonetheless serving the very poor, the people we will not touch....

We mock a life like this because we do not understand it. We do not understand the life that is given to poor people, because we are given only to the middle-class fascination and we have told ourselves that we--the middle class--are God's select. So what do we do when we meet a woman of great doubt, great faith, great durability, who spends her life on her knees, wiping the faces of the dying and dead?

The whole article, even his lamentations against Church teaching, is interesting and thought-provoking.

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Nothing New


I recently discovered that the Chicago Reader has a website. This alt-weekly was my favorite newspaper growing up. Many an after-school Thursday I would pick up a reader and head for the Why Not? cafe on Belmont and Seminary for a junk salad, 3-4 cups of coffee and a half a pack of cigarettes.

Ahhh.... youth.

Anyway, this week's Reader has an article about a sweetheart deal that would have the Chicago Park District lease a sweet piece of Lincoln Park real estate to the very posh and very private Latin school for a soccer field of which Latin will have exlusive use.

Lincoln Park High School (my alma mater) features prominently in the piece - a Chicago Public School, LPHS uses adjacent Oz Park for their athletics. There isn't really a defined soccer field and the patch of park used by LPHS' soccer team features ankle-breaking craters and a manhole cover that is itself covered with a piece of green carpet. As the piece says, LPHS players share their field with "the football team, softball players, dog walkers, Frisbee throwers, nannies with baby strollers, pot smokers, you name it."

Naturally, community activist types are questioning the Latin deal, particularly the part that gives Latin exclusive use of the soccer field during the times of day/year that any other school (especially the unwashed public schoolers) would want to use it.

Interesting stuff. The private school kids get the lakefront playground while the public schoolers get a dirt pit. Will Daley let it go through?

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A body pillow?

Sometimes, It's OK to throw it away.


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Jeffrey Zaslow, writing in the Wall Street Journal has two recent columns (1, 2)about the growing tendency to cast men as potential child predators. The first is about the subtle messages that are being sent (example: a billboard campaign warning against predators that shows a man holding hands with a little girl), while the second features some reactions by male readers. Frustrating reading, these articles make. Yeah, men are more likely to abuse, but when a man eating lunch in an airport with his daughter gets reported to the cops, something has gone horribly wrong.

Of course some of this (like the airport episode) is due to ignorant people overreacting, but who wins when every child looks at every man as a potential abuser?

Hat-tip: Bettnet

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Rudy G


Some college kid just asked a weird, clumsy family values question of him -- basically saying, "Family values are important, and you don't seem to have them, Mr. Mayor. What about that?" Rudy took the opportunity to ... talk about all the fab things he did in New York. Hell, if you asked that guy what he had for dinner, he'd tell you that he throttled squegee men. -Rod Dreher

This reminds me to link to this New Yorker profile by Peter Boyer which nails it:

The common refrain among New Yorkers is that although Giuliani showed leadership on the day of the terrorist attacks, in the preceding months he had been a spent and isolated lame duck, his viability sapped by churlishness and the spectacle of his unattractive personal dramas. But to many in the heartland Giuliani was heroic for what he did in New York before September 11th: his policy prescriptions and, mostly, his taming of the city’s liberal political culture—his famous crackdown on squeegee-men panhandlers, his workfare program, his attacks on controversial museum exhibits (“The idea of . . . so-called works of art in which people are throwing elephant dung at a picture of the Virgin Mary is sick!”), and the like. Speaking before the Alabama legislature this spring, he received a standing ovation, and Governor Bob Riley told him, “One of these days, you have to tell me how you really cleaned up New York.” To conservatives, pre-Giuliani New York was a study in failed liberalism, a city that had surrendered to moral and physical decay, crime, racial hucksterism, and ruinous economic pathologies. Perhaps the most common words that Giuliani heard when he travelled around the country this spring were epithets aimed at his city (“a crime-infested cesspool,” one Southern politician declared), offered without fear of giving offense. Giuliani cheerfully agreed.

More juicy quotes:

In any case, [Giuliani foreign policy advisor Norm "Bomb Iran"] Podhoretz said to me, he believes that George W. Bush will settle the matter himself, by bombing Iran before he leaves office. “I’m probably the only person on the face of the earth who thinks that Bush will order air strikes,” Podhoretz says. “But we’ll find out. If Bush doesn’t kick the can down the road, then the issue becomes moot, obviously. But if he fails to do what I think he will do, Rudy seems to me to be the best bet for doing what is necessary.”...
Stephen DiBrienza, the former [New York] City Councilman, says, “All the things that a lot of New Yorkers, myself included, hate about this guy are the things that are actually fuelling his campaign.”

Are social conservatives backing Giuliani because he's the guy to nuke the terrorists and smack around the commie libs? God help us if this man gets elected.

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Will Oprah stump for Obama?

| | Comments (2)

I guess it depends on what the definition of broader role is.

Well, that just about settles it. Who's up in 2012?

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Now that I can relate to


I've made no secret of my dislike for Barack Obama, but I feel for the man.

Referring to their daughters, Mrs. Obama says: “We have this ritual in the morning. They come in my bed, and Dad isn’t there — because he’s too snore-y and stinky, they don’t want to ever get into bed with him. But we cuddle up and we talk about everything from what is a period to the big topic of when we get a dog: what kind?”
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Benedict to Austria


The Pope is travelling to Austria this weekend for an apostolic visit. Zenit has his schedule.

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The Simple Life


"I bought 13 of my 15 books today. $270. When the last two come in, I'll have spent over $300. They like to keep us poor and reading. Not a bad strategy."

- A seminarian friend

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Pope's September Prayer Intentions


Here are the pope's prayer intentions for September:

General prayer intention: That the ecumenical assembly of Sibiu in Romania may contribute to the growth of unity among all Christians, for whom the Lord prayed at the Last Supper.

Mission intention: That, following Christ joyfully, all missionaries may know how to overcome the difficulties they meet in everyday life.

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That may or may not be a tear in my eye


A certain 3-year old, hanging his Cub hat on the post of his new bed:

"I'm going to put this here so I have nice Cubbie dreams."

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Mama-Lu's Etsy Shop

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This page is an archive of entries from September 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

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