Monthly Archives: January 2016

Women May Now Have Their Feet Washed And Pedicured At Holy Thursday Mass, Pope Says

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Brought to you by Allan Gillis from The Eye Of The Tiber

(Do go and check out their blog!)

Pope Francis has changed the rules for the Church’s Holy Thursday foot-washing ceremony, issuing a decree allowing women to not only participate in the ceremony, but to have an optional pedicure for the low donation price of just $14.95. That’s right, just $14.95.

In a letter addressed to Cardinal Robert Sarah, the Pope said that 12 “lucky” people would be chosen to participate in the ritual of what is now being called the washing and pedicuring of the feet “from among all members of the People of God whose feet and toenails are in desperate need of superficial cosmetic treatment.”

“For some time I have been reflecting on the rite of the washing of the feet so that we fully express the meaning of the gesture made by Jesus in the Upper Room, his gift of self until the end for the salvation of the world, his boundless charity,” Francis said. “But also because I myself have had countless pedicures over the years and truly understand the importance of tootsie maintenance.”

Francis went on to say that “with the amount of walking the disciples did during their ministries, I am quite certain that they would not have said no to a soothing pedicure once in a while if it was ever offered them.”

Francis also stressed that the average person takes 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day, which adds up to about 115,000 miles over a lifetime, and that all the wear and tear on the feet can be harmful if they are not maintained properly.

“The Lord said, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.’ How can we expect to accomplish this task with wear and tear on our feet? And to the men I say be not afraid! Pedicures are no longer just for women, just as the washing of the feet is no longer just for men.”

 

Music in the Catholic Church: Part2

We already established that most Catholics hate the music they hear at Mass. At first, we would think the comfort factor by itself is to blame, but as it turns out, the comfort factor only really works if the music is played well. Catholics distrust music that is unfamiliar, but even the most familiar, comforting hymns, are like fingernails on a chalkboard when performed poorly and most Catholic Church music is performed very poorly. There are several reasons for this:

Reason #1: Money

Catholic Churches, like most of their traditional Protestant cousins have very little money for music. They also have very outdated concepts of how music ministry works, which they reinforce with their budgets. Most churches pay for one or two traditional organists and maybe an occasional Cantor. The rest of the choir consists of charitable parishioners who donate their time and talent to help out. Sometimes, a parish is blessed with a strong group of volunteer choir members who are dedicated enough to put in the time to do it right. These are the few, talented, experienced people who understand the work and want to be part of it. However, most choirs, even the good ones, have a large percentage of “casual” members. These are the folks who show up sporadically, do none of the pre-work and wing it through the Mass. Oftentimes they are some of the most talented members, but their talent is offset by their lack of effort.  They are the first to remind everyone that they don’t get paid, so they simply help out “when they can”. This mixture of paid accompanist, few dedicated members and a majority of casuals can work for a while if the Spirit is strong enough, but it is rare to see this combination last long. The lack of consistency keeps the unit from reaching the quality that is required to keep people in the pews from running out the door.

Reason #2: Tradition.

The minimal budget choir model has been around for a long time. Pastors are always trying to save money so squeezing the music budget becomes a standard practice. Once the expectations are low enough, any music at all seems like an upside, but the Catholic Church loves tradition and tradition is equal to money when it comes to the drop in music standards. This tradition, of course, is the Church’s obsession with credentials, which translates to a requirements for accompanists to have a organ or piano based classical music background with experience in traditional hymns. The antiquated accompanist requirements with a budget starved music ministry creates a perfect storm of mediocrity that reinforces a resistance to change and growth.

Reason #3: The Catholic music publishing industry.

Unlike most Evangelical churches who gain access to hundreds of thousands of up to date songs through CCLI, the vast majority of Catholic Parishes lock themselves into one of several major hymnal publishers who ensure that only a trickle of new music is available. The idea of a Parish signing up for a CCLI license to expand their choices is considered mortal sin because hymnals only publish “approved” music and anything that is not in a hymnal must be considered “unapproved” (at least until it shows up in the next version of the hymnal). The hymnal publishers also provide helpful guide books for Music Directors with stern warnings to stay within the guidelines. Any deviation that would involve purchasing music from another distributor is considered the road to ruin.

All things considered, any Parish choir that follows standard practice is doomed to failure and any choir that deviates is considered heretical. This is a difficult road.

(Next Up: Step by Step instructions on how to build a successful music ministry in spite of all this stuff)

Hymns

Four Hymns at Mass, and Only the One by a Protestant was Unobjectionable

by David Trumbull

A recent Saturday I attended the vigil Mass at the local Novus Ordo parish, and, as usual, the hymns were a mini lesson in what is wrong with the music in American Catholic churches.

We started with “Now We Gather” by Eugene Castillo in which the congregation congratulates itself for being saved. God does manage to make a cameo appearance — in fact he shows up 15 times in the four verses plus refrain — but is no match for the congregation, with the first person pronoun employed 39 times. The best that can be said of “Now We Gather” is that the tune is so unsingable that there is little risk that hymn will ever become anyone’s favorite.

At the offertory we were assaulted with Dan Schutte, whose work can always be counted on to offer a memorably unpleasant musical experience. The hymn, “You Are Near,” was an adaptation of the psalm Domine, probasti (http://www.bookofhours.org/psalms/Ps139.htm), Psalm 139 (Psalm 138 in the Vulgate) and the words, being true to the original, cannot be disparaged. As for the tune, if one can call it that, it is typical Schutte, in other words, the congregation has long since learnt that there is no point in even trying to actually sing this musical abortion.

The post-communion hymn, “Come, Worship the Lord,” was also a paraphrase of another psalm, in this case the psalm Venite, exultemus (http://www.bookofhours.org/psalms/Ps95.htm), Psalm 95 (Psalm 94 in the Vulgate). Again the words, being faithful to the original cannot be objected to. As for actually singing, well, the irregular meter assured that there was no risk of congregational participation.

Thank God for Protestant clergyman Henry Van Dyke and for his 1907 hymn “Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee,” which, set, as is customary, to the “Ode to Joy” of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, offered us one hymn that could be sung with gusto, feeling, and joy.

When I started attending Mass at my local Novus Ordo parish in 2012 (I formerly attended the traditional Latin Mass, and before that I was high church Anglican), I found the music so annoying that it distracted me from worship. I found that by making notes on just why it was so God-awful I was able to get past my annoyance and direct my heart and mind to worship.

Here are my notes, taken over several weeks, in the form of journal entries.

February 4, 2012. This evening I attended the vigil Mass at the local Novus Ordo parish and once again thought, “No wonder Catholics don’t sing if this is what they are given as hymn tunes.”

The first hymn, “Let Us Go to the Altar” was based on the Psalm Judica me, Deus (http://www.bookofhours.org/psalms/Ps43.htm), Psalml 43 (Pslam 42 in the Vulgate) and, surprising for a composition by Daniel L. Schutte, it had a singable melody in three-quarter time. However, the musical phrasing and the text were not well matched, and there is little likelihood that anyone will hum the tune while doing chores. It wasn’t exactly bad just not all that good.

For the offertory we sang “Seek Ye First” by Karen Lafferty. The words were a paraphrase of Matthew 6:33. I enjoyed the simple, pleasant melody, which far surpassed the typical “contemporary” hymn tune. By simple, I do mean simple; it reminded me of the hymns that the 1940 Episcopal Church hymnal classified as “for children.” Still, a good choice given the limited choices in the hymnal (the name of which I must remember to write down next time) used at __________ Church

Well, if “Seek Ye First” had lulled me into a false sense that maybe the music was improving, the post communion hymn jolted me back to the unpleasant reality of bad Catholic hymnody. “On Eagle’s Wings” by Michael Jonas, has to be one of the worst hymns ever written. It is based on the Psalm Domine, refugium (http://www.bookofhours.org/psalms/Ps90.htm), Psalm 90 (Psalm 89 in the Vulgate) and the words are a prose paraphrase of the original, and therein lies the first problem. What is point of setting a prose paraphrase to music when there exist many good rendering of the Psalm into English poetry? Then there is the music! Possibly someone who has studied voice seriously for several years could sing “On Eagle’s Wings,” I don’t know. What I do know is that the typical congregation cannot possibly join in something with no clear time signature, an irregular meter, and an ever-changing melody time and tempo.

February 11, 2012. This evening I again attended the vigil Mass at the local Novus Ordo parish and made notes regarding the hymns

We started with “There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy” by Catholic convert from Anglicanism, Frederick William Faber (1814-1863) set, to the 18th century Dutch hymn tune In Babilone. The music is beautiful and the words moving.

The offertory hymn, “All My Days,” was written by Dan Schutte and is based on the Psalm Domine, Dominus noster (http://www.bookofhours.org/psalms/Ps8.htm), Psalm 8. With the first line of the first verse a “red flag” went up. Schuette’s text was “You have made me a little less than a god,” which he must have intended as some sort of paraphrase of verses four and five:

4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? * and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

5 Thou madest him lower than the angels, * to crown him with glory and worship.”

or in the Vulgate:

5 quid est homo quod memor es eius aut filius hominis quoniam visitas eum

6 minuisti eum paulo minus ab angelis gloria et honore coronasti eum”

Schutte’s text employs the word “god” where “angels” is more conventional, and although it is true that the Hebrew text has “elohim” (i.e., “gods”) it is equally true that “elohim” can mean “angels” and was so translated into the Greek of the Septuagint” Angels is also the word the Vulgate picked up, as have most English translations.

More troublesome is Schutte’s putting the Psalm into the first person. Christian tradition, following the Epistle to the Hebrews chapter 2 verses 5 through 9, usually interprets the “Son of man” in Psalm 8 as the Christ, 2:5 For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. 2:6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? 2:7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: 2:8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

The post-communion hymn, “Seed, Scattered and Sown, was written by Dan Feiten and is based on the Didcahe 9, 1 Corinthians 10:16-17, and Mark 4:3-6. Published in the 1980s, I found it one of the most theologically sound and musically pleasant of “contemporary” hymns.

St.________’s Parish saved the best for last at this Mass. “Alleluia! Sing to Jesus,” by William Chatterton Dix (1837–1898), insurance executive and part-time hymn-writer, is one of the greatest of 19th century English praises to our Lord. It was set to that grand old Welsh hymn tune — a tune to which many hymns have been set — Hyfrydol by Rowland Huw Prichard (1811-1887). It is one of my favorites. When, last year I started learning to play the piano, I picked it out as the first “real music” (as opposed to exercise) that I had my instructress show me how to play. Co-incidentally, I passed the time walking to Mass today by humming (http://www.bookofhours.org/hymns/alleluia_sing_to_jesus.htm) Hyfrydol, little thinking that I’d be singing it at the end of Mass.

February 19, 2012. This morning I again attended Mass at the local Novus Ordo parish and made notes regarding the hymns, which were considerably improved over the past couple of weeks.

At the processional we sang (http://www.bookofhours.org/hymns/be_thou_my_vision.htm) “Be Thou My Vision”, a traditional Irish hymn, translated by Eleanor H. Hull and versified by Mary Elizabeth Byrne. It was set to the moving tune Slane, to which the hymn (http://www.bookofhours.org/hymns/lord_of_all_hopefulness.htm) “Lord of All Hopefulness” has also been set.

The offertory hymn, the so-called “Prayer of St. Francis,” set to music by Sebastian Temple, is an example of how “contemporary” hymnody, even when it is good — and “Prayer of St. Francis” is very good, being both theologically sound and musically pleasing — nevertheless fails as a congregational hymn. “Prayer of St. Francis” sung by a choir at communion could serve very well to assist in putting the communicants in the proper mood to receive their Lord, but it is not something that a congregation of non-trained singers can pull off.

The post-communion and recessional hymns offer an interesting contrast.

“Taste and See,” by James E. Moore, Jr. is based on the Psalm Benedicam Dominum (http://www.bookofhours.org/psalms/Ps34.htm), Psalm 34 (Psalm 35 in the Vulgate). The refrain, “Taste and See the goodness of the Lord. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord,” (yes, it repeats) sung, as it is, four times, certainly brings home the message of the first half of the eighth verse of the Psalm. The three hymn verses consist of 88 words chopped into eight sentences. Now, it is true that Hebrew poetry employs short (by English standards) sentences, so I suppose one could argue that Moore is being faithful to the original. However, even a translation, let alone a paraphrase, ought to follow at least some English language conventions. “Taste and See,” aside from the eminently forgettable melody, fails stylistically as English poetry.

Now compare that to the magnificent Lutheran hymn we ended with. (http://www.bookofhours.org/hymns/nun_danket_alle_gott.htm) “Now Thank We All Our God,” words by Martin Rinkart (1586–1649); music by Johann Crüger (1598-1662), in the familiar translation by Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878) arranges 126 words into three well-crafted sentences.

  1. Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,

Who wondrous things has done, in whom this world rejoices;

Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way

With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

  1. O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,

With ever joyful hearts and blessèd peace to cheer us;

And keep us in His grace, and guide us when perplexed;

And free us from all ills, in this world and the next!

  1. All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given;

The Son and Him who reigns with Them in highest Heaven;

The one eternal God, whom earth and Heaven adore;

For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore.

February 27, 2012. This past Sunday, First Sunday in Lent, at my local Novus Ordo parish we started and ended with beautiful old Anglican hymns. For the processional it was (http://www.bookofhours.org/hymns/lord_who_throughout_these_forty_days.htm) “Lord, Who Throughout These Forty Days” by Claudia F. Hernaman (1873), set to the tune St. Flavian, and for the recessional (http://www.bookofhours.org/hymns/forty_days_and_forty_nights.htm) “Forty Days and Forty Nights” by George H. Smyttan (1856), set to the tune Heinlein. They were especially moving sung in that order. The first has a simple upbeat tune that invites us to join in the experience of Jesus in the desert while marking the transition from the outside secular “hubbub” to the reflective sacred space of the temple of God. The second repeats the theme, but to a more somber tune, sending us out in a mood to keep a holy lent in spite of the many distractions we shall face through the week.

At the offertory is was a contemporary hymn, “Hosea” by Gregory Norbet, OSB, published by the Benedictine Monks of (http://www.westonpriory.org/) Weston Priory in Vermont. Can’t say that I remember anything from it, however I made a note at the time — “Not bad.”

The post communion hymn, “Save Your People” by Jim Farrell, was based on the Psalm Dominus illuminatio (http://www.bookofhours.org/psalms/Ps27.htm). Psalm 27 (Psalm 26 in the Vulgate). The refrain, with it’s line “show us the way to come home,” is set to a simple pleasant melody and reminds me ever so much of —

“Show me the way to go home.

I’m tired and I want to go to bed.

I had a little drink about an hour ago

And it went right to my head.

There’s a verse too, not that it has much of a melody to sing it to.

March 4, 2012. Last evening I again attended the vigil Mass at the local Novus Ordo parish and made notes regarding the hymns.

The processional hymn was, as it was last week, the Anglican hymn (http://www.bookofhours.org/hymns/lord_who_throughout_these_forty_days.htm) “Lord, Who Throughout These Forty Days” set to the tune Flavian.

At the offertory we sang (http://www.bookofhours.org/hymns/amazing_grace.htm) “Amazing Grace!” by Anglican clergyman John Newton, set to the beloved tune New Britain. Some Catholics object to this hymn (for example, see this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TTu66Dl71w) by Michael Voris alleging that some words and phrases betray a Protestant understanding. Certainly, one can read the words of “Amazing Grace!” as teaching a Protestant — specifically Calvinist — doctrine of salvation, but then again, you can find plenty of individual words and phrases in St. Paul’s and St. Augustine with which to condemn them as heretics if you start out looking for heresy. Equally, one can find in “Amazing Grace!” orthodox Catholic teaching regarding salvation. If you want to find hymns that are truly suspect as regards their theological assumption, you’ll find a much richer target in some the “Catholic” hymns of the past forty years.

The post-Communion hymn, “Gift of Finest Wheat” by Robert E. Kreutz was another example of unsingable “contemporary” Catholic hymnody. This train-wreck of a tune starts in 4/4 time, then after two measures switches to 3/4 time for a few measures, then back to 4/4 time for one measure, only to conclude in 3/4 time.

We concluded with the 18th century Catholic hymn “Grosser Gott” by Ignaz Franz in the 19th century Catholic translation (http://www.bookofhours.org/hymns/holy_god_we_praise_thy_name.htm) “Holy God We Praise Thy Name” by C.A. Walworth. It is a paraphrase of the ancient Latin hymn (http://www.bookofhours.org/office/canticle_te_deum.htm) Te Deum Laudamus.

 

Music in the Catholic Church: Part 1

Up to now, I’ve stayed away from discussions on Catholic music, primarily because I am so sensitive to it. As someone who has been the music director for a Mass with contemporary music for the past ten years, I’ve given a lot of thought, hard work and prayer into the process. I’ve also received plenty of feedback,  both good and bad.

One thing for certain is that Catholics are deeply opinionated about everything to do with the Mass, but never more opinionated than when it comes to music. Catholics are also obsessed with being right. They spends untold hours explaining why they are right and when they are not insisting on their own correctness, they are researching to ensure they have an unassailable source of correctness backing them up. For some, it’s Sacred Scripture, for others, it’s the Pope and when all that fails, it’s cable TV.  Being right is important, so its easy to see how correctness in dogma soon translates into areas of opinion. After all, if I my understanding of the Catholic Church is unimpeachable, then my personal opinions must logically carry equal weight.  So with full knowledge of the bottomless quagmire of commentary and righteous criticism this will bring, I will share my own opinions as well.

Before we talk about music in general or Catholic Liturgical music in particular, I should start with a few simple statements:

“Catholic” means “universal”, but universal is not sameness. As this week’s scripture pointed out, we are all unique parts of the Body of Christ and each of us has gifts to bring.  Sadly, this has not played well with a Euro-centric Church hierarchy that has spent centuries trying to force every peg into the same square hole. Now that we are entering a new era of the Church that is trying to be more open to unique differences, we are left with Churches full of “square pegs” who haven’t gotten the message. It is difficult to change, but it is much more difficult to change when we’ve hung on to being right for so long. We’ve been taught to be intolerant, judgmental and afraid of others who are not like us. Changing our minds and hearts to see the face of Christ in those we don’t understand is a long and difficult journey that most of us don’t want to take, and it causes us deep resentment when our Church takes us out of our comfort zone.

Regardless of how we feel about it, our Church is changing and nothing signifies this change more than the music we hear in the Liturgy. Traditional music (judged by what we connect to our version of correctness) helps us to feel more secure. It reinforces our “correctness” and puts us at ease. Non-traditional music (everything else) reminds us that our world is changing and makes us insecure and irritable. We’re not quite sure why, but we know we are uncomfortable and that generates a need to rationalize our discomfort and make it go away.  This, in turn, generates countless arguments, letter to the Pastor, letters to the Bishop and sometimes outright threats and even stalking (all of which I’ve seen). The angst is endless, but it doesn’t have to be.

One of the most obvious lessons I’ve learned over the years is that different people like different music. After many years of trying, I am convinced that there is no particular music that appeals to everyone. I also learned that different tastes in music do not reflect peoples spiritual maturity. Instead, through a long, painful process, our Parish learned to focus different Masses on different age groups as much as possible. For example, our Saturday, 4:30 Mass has traditional organ and choir music, but our Sunday 10:30 Mass has a contemporary “praise band”. There are several lessons here. First of all, we need to acknowledge the need we all have for comfort and security.  Many people feel that comfort and security in a traditional organ / choir Mass and each Parish needs to have at least one Mass that meets this need. However, we also acknowledged that most of the new people we needed to bring into our Parish (families with children) do no listen to traditional hymns on the radio. For them, we have an equal responsibility to provide a Mass with music they will feel secure and welcome in as well. Finally, and most importantly, we learned to recognize that each of these needs is equally important and one does not override the other. This is a critical point in the health of a Parish because it gives us an opportunity to recognize and accept diversity, and this is the point where a Parish begins to grow.

(Next article: Why most Church Music is awful)

Check out this TV series on revival of sacred music, architecture and liturgy

Check out this TV series http://www.extraordinaryfaith.tv/ on our extraordinary faith! It is definitely inspiring to see how much is going on around the USA–all driven by laity out of love for the beauty of the old altars and old churches, the sacred art, sacred music, the Latin mass, pilgrimages and rituals…

When all around us seem to be crumbling it is great to be reminded that we do not have to sit by and accept defeat. We can act!

http://www.extraordinaryfaith.tv/

I Am Pricked in My Heart

226-jesus-et-penitent

By Allan Gillis

I looked at a favorite blog this evening.

I am cut to the marrow as I read this.

I fear I may personally embody the essence of this “Horrid Traditionalist”.

I fully intend to make a just survey of my heart and thoughts and actions.
…and then make an honest and Holy confession.

I may have sinned. Seriously sinned perhaps.
Agnus Dei, Qui tollis peccata mundi – miserere nobis!
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis!

This is what I read at Rorate Caeli this evening. My fellow Trad-meisters and meister-ettes, read and collect thyself:

The Horrid Traditionalist

Joseph Shaw recently introduced the new book released by Angelico Press, “The Gentle Traditionalist”. Is there a greater symbol of gentleness and kindness than the Holy Family, that we celebrate today?

This has unfortunately led us to be reminded of that old foe of all that is good and proper in Catholic Tradition, the Horrid Traditionalist. The Horrid Traditionalist is bitter, resentful, judgmental, duplicitous, and aggressive. As Saint Paul warns in his Second Epistle to Timothy about some men in the last days, the Horrid Traditionalist is “without affection,” “without peace,” “without kindness” — they have “an appearance indeed of godliness, but denying the power thereof.”

Remember that the Mass is Sacrifice, and that it must foster peace and joy, not resentment and rancor. It is because of the Horrid Traditionalist in our midst, in our congregations, chapels, parishes, families, that we must often hear and read disparaging words about all traditional or even conservative Catholic faithful by bishops, and even the Supreme Pontiff, who are not the greatest friends of the Traditional Mass. They bring no one to Christ with their behavior, not even themselves. They certainly do not help to spread the Good News of the Salvation of the Lord to the world at large — who wants to hear good news from those who seem to embody only bad news? How many have been led away from Tradition when they were just getting to know it by being humiliated by the Horrid Traditionalist and his venomous mouth and spirit?

Do not let yourself fall into this trap. If you see a loved one with the first signs of the Horrid Traditionalist, take him to spiritual direction urgently (in these cases, regular confession is not enough, but true spiritual direction from a good and meek priest). Otherwise, it may be too late. “But thou, why judgest thou thy brother? or thou, why dost thou despise thy brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. Therefore every one of us shall render account to God for himself. Let us not therefore judge one another any more. But judge this rather, that you put not a stumblingblock or a scandal in your brother’s way. … For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but justice, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in this serveth Christ, pleaseth God, and is approved of men. Therefore let us follow after the things that are of peace; and keep the things that are of edification one towards another.” (Romans 14)

May God have mercy on me a sinner!

I thank God that I have been moved to make a commitment of late to begin spiritual direction with just such a good and meek priest!  There is hope for me yet!

Douthat’s recent post on liberal vs conservative debates within the church

Ross Douthat over at the New York Times has a great recent post on the liberal vs conservative debates or fissures made acute by Pope Francis’ papacy. See http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/01/05/catholicism-at-year-zero/?_r=0

Douthat discusses the issue of how we decide when doctrine is not open to change and when it is open to change. How do we decide that some issues are settled and not open to further debate and so on? Liberals invoke a principle which implies that everything should be open to debate while conservatives say that in addition to reason you have to look at tradition and some things are settled and not open to further debate.

Pope Benedict on Climate Change

From

If you want peace cultivate creation

http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/messages/peace/documents/hf_ben-xvi_mes_20091208_xliii-world-day-peace.html

January 1, 2010
Can we remain indifferent before the problems associated with such realities as climate change, desertification, the deterioration and loss of productivity in vast agricultural areas, the pollution of rivers and aquifers, the loss of biodiversity … and the growing phenomenon of ‘environmental refugees?’? (#4)

It is not hard to see that environmental degradation is often due to the lack of far-sighted official policies or to the pursuit of myopic economic interests, which then, tragically, become a serious threat to creation. To combat this phenomenon, economic activity needs to consider the fact that ‘every economic decision has a moral consequence’ and thus show increased respect for the environment. When making use of natural resources, we should be concerned for their protection and consider the cost entailed — environmentally and socially — as an essential part of the overall expenses incurred. The international community and national governments are responsible for sending the right signals in order to combat effectively the misuse of the environment. To protect the environment, and to safeguard natural resources and the climate, there is a need to act in accordance with clearly-defined rules, also from the juridical and economic standpoint, while at the same time taking into due account the solidarity we owe to those living in the poorer areas of our world and to future generations. (#7)

To be sure, among the basic problems which the international community has to address is that of energy resources and the development of joint and sustainable strategies to satisfy the energy needs of the present and future generations. This means that technologically advanced societies must be prepared to encourage more sober lifestyles, while reducing their energy consumption and improving its efficiency. At the same time there is a need to encourage research into, and utilization of, forms of energy with lower impact on the environment and a world-wide redistribution of energy resources, so that countries lacking those resources can have access to them’ (#9)

Encouragement needs to be given, for example, to research into effective ways of exploiting the immense potential of solar energy. Similar attention also needs to be paid to the world-wide problem of water and to the global water cycle system, which is of prime importance for life on earth and whose stability could be seriously jeopardized by climate change. Suitable strategies for rural development centred on small farmers and their families should be explored, as well as the implementation of appropriate policies for the management of forests, for waste disposal and for strengthening the linkage between combatting climate change and overcoming poverty (#10)

This Really Burns My Arse! (Our Rotting Culture – 2)

youth

By Allan Gillis

I was Christmas-shopping for my grandsons a few weeks ago and I remember being quite pissed as I found these two fantastic books that I would love to have bought for the boys.  These were large informative history books with many, many lovely illustrations and lots of maps and thoughtful photographs and drawings. One was a great book on Gladiators and another – by the same publisher,  was a book on the Vikings.  A great resource for inquisitive juvenile minds – but for the dopey publishers irritating and incessant insertion of this insidious “BCE” and “CE” designation on historical dates.  I find it enraging sometimes.  The “academic left” loves to stuff this kind of idealogical crap down our throats as accepted and established “mores”.  The same way they do with Global-Cooling, I mean Global-Warming, I mean Global Climate Change!    It is a sneaky little thing that demands our awareness as believers in Jesus Christ and his Holy Church.  It is meant to programmatically detach us from our history and our cultural talismans.

The French Revolution offers a great example of the utter table-turning that can occur when these God-Haters get the levers of power.

On October 23, 1793, just nine days after Queen Marie-Atoinette was executed, the Republican Calendar was decreed. The French calendar reform was an attempt to de-Christianize the calendar, in keeping with the Revolution’s stated goal of promoting Reason as opposed to Religion. “Reason” was worshipped and religion denounced as superstition. This was the main motivation behind the French reform of the calendar. Pierre-Sylvain Maréchal, who originally proposed the change, declared: “the calendar of the French Republic . . . must not resemble in any respect the official annuals of the apostolic and Roman Church”.

I do not and never will buy a book that uses these evil and insidious date designations!  You shouldn’t either!   By the way, todays date is January 8, 2016 Anno Dominum !

A Great Catholic Men’s Forum

By Allan Gillis

…ever hear of The Argument Of The Month Club?

They’re hosting my buddy and blog-mate Steve’s hero; Mark Shea in a debate with Chris Ferrara on the issue of whether or not the Catholic Church has abandoned the Great Commission of Jesus Christ to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.

…should be a real hoot!