Today Is The Day
Get ready for it.
Okay Then, That Was Unexpected...
Church Art Shouldn't Make You Say "Blech!"
Cardinal Urges Priests To Liven Up Sermons
I got some ideas...
New Translation Objections Are Becoming More Ridiculous
Grasping at straws...
This Comes As No Surprise
Up with the ex-communicated!
Things A Catholic Ought Never Say
Watch your mouth!
Sister Patricia: On Seven Quick-Takes Friday
Catching up with Sr Pat.
Just Thought You'd Like To Know...
A public service announcement.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Here it is.
AoftheA has moved to Wordpress. Pardon the moving boxes and clutter - it'll be cleaned up in no time!
So sayonara, Blogger.
Comments at AoftheA 1.0 will be turned off from now on.
If you want to follow the fun, click the link. Looking forward to seeing all of you (and I do mean all of you!) at the new site.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Nonetheless, I will be making a biiiiiiiiiig change here at AoftheA over the next few days. Stay tuned.
To those whom I emailed this afternoon - thanks for your support.
Regular blogging will resume shortly.
And when it comes to art in churches - statues, iconography, stained glass images - well, it ought to both reflect and project beauty. It ought to reflect the beauty, truth and goodness of God, creator of all things, as best presented by the artist's hands and imagination. And it also ought to project the blessed beauty of our final end - heaven, and eternal union with God. It ought to be beautiful, as well as draw us towards Beauty.
If the work of art fails to do either of those two things, then it should not be anywhere near a church.
One problem with the progressive mentality in the Catholic Church is that it seeks to destroy the good and the true and the beautiful, and erect in its place the grotesque and the false and the ugly. It then defends itself by saying "Beauty is subjective", or "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." Then it tries to convince you that the New is superior to the Old, mainly because it is Different and progresses towards something. This has happened in my parish.
On either side of the sanctuary stand two alcoves. In one, there was a lifesize reproduction of the Pieta; in the other, a shrine to the Blessed Mother. The statue of Mary was painted, traditional, beautiful. A bank of votive candles stood before her.
They were removed recently by the pastor. Beyond the fact that he's somewhat progressive, I was told that he felt the Pieta "disturbed" children because it depicted such a sad scene. Using that logic, I'm sure it's just a matter of time before the crucifix is replaced with a "Resurrection Jesus" superimposed upon a cross. I don't know the rationale for having taken away the Blessed Mother statue, but I'm sure the reason was just as flimsy.
These were replaced with two new statues, wood carvings that are better viewed than described (although the pictures don't do their hideousness justice):
In case you couldn't tell, the top one is of Blessed Mother Mary, the other is St. Joseph with a young Christ. Except that's not what they're called. No, the female one, while it is of Mary, is actually called "Starving Palestinian". The other goes by something along the lines of "Bedouin". I kid you not.
I'm not sure what the significance of the arm placement in the top statue (I'm sorry, but I can't bring myself to say it represents Mary). Usually she's depicted with hands folded, or spread out with palms up, or similar positions. This image tells me she's being closed and withholding grace from us. It's very disconcerting. The other statue? If someone didn't tell me it represented St. Joseph, I never would have guessed it. The misshapen head is enough to make me look away.
And where are the halos?
Now, many parishoners have complained to the pastor about these new additions. To one, he said "just stand in front of them and look. They'll grow on you." Excuse me, father, but holy art isn't designed to "grow on you". Moss grows on you. Cobwebs grow on you. Bacteria grows on you. Holy art ought to uplift, inspire and show us the face of God. To lead to meditation and contemplation. For me, these statues cannot do that.
Some of the parishoners have put together a petition to have the statues removed - which I readily signed.
Oh - and get this. The artist's wife? I learned she runs reiki sessions out of their studio. Yeah.
Those unholy statues have no business being on consecrated ground.
What do you think?
Friday, November 11, 2011
From The Telegraph:
Sermons delivered by Catholic priests are often painfully "grey and dull" and need to be livened up with the "scandal" contained within the Bible, the Vatican's most senior cultural official said.I think the cardinal is onto something here.
Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi said preaching in churches had become so formulaic and boring that it risked becoming "irrelevant" to congregations accustomed to the excitement and immediacy of television and the internet."
The advent of televised and computerised information requires us to be compelling and trenchant, to cut to the heart of the matter, resort to narratives and colour," said the cardinal, who as the head of the Pontifical Council for Culture is the Vatican's unofficial minister for culture.
Too many priests employed theological language that was "grey, dull and flavourless" and instead should spice up their sermons with graphic stories contained in the Bible, which used much more forceful imagery.The Bible was "crowded with stories, symbols and images," he said.
Speaking at a conference in Rome, he said Twitter was also an effective way of spread the Word of God.
"We need to remember that communicating faith doesn't just take place through sermons. It can be achieved through the 140 characters of a Twitter message."
Cardinal Ravasi, a champion of new media who writes a blog for the website of Italy's respected financial daily, Il Sole 24 Ore, said that whether they liked it or not, priests in the pulpit should be aware that their congregations were "the children of television and the internet."
In case some of you priests out there are thinking the cardinal is talking about you, let me suggest some techniques you might want to mull over, should you be considering his advice.
1) Puppets. Always a big hit.
2) Try preaching like this guy. He's got style.
3) Pre-record your homily and then Auto-tune it, like the "Turtle Fence" song, or the "Backin' Up" song.
4) Utilize laser light shows (might cause epileptic seizures, so have your congregation sign waivers before hand) or fog machines for dramatic effect.
5) If your church has TV screens hanging throughout the nave (such as my parish does), you could augment your homily with 3-D effects. Call it "Trinity-Vision". And if your church doesn't have TV screens, get them!
5) Sing to the congregation - I've heard of one bishop who does that, so it's cool. Sit at the piano and serenade your sermon, or break out a Stratocaster and play Stairway to Heaven while preaching about eternity. But rap is right out!
6) Wander amidst the congregation and ask random parishoners questions to make them feel awkward and embarrassed. That'll liven up your sermon for sure!
7) Have parishoners "act out" the sermon as you preach it. Or maybe even the Gospel, like my parish did for the Feast of the Annunciation. Seeing those two kids dressed up as Mary and Gabriel brought a tear to my eye...
Whatever you do, though, don't preach Truth, straight up, no chaser. There's no entertainment value in that.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
The introduction of the New Missal is mere weeks away - the first Sunday of Advent. I believe that the closer we come to full implementation, we'll be seeing more and more weird articles and opinion pieces objecting to it. Kinda like a throw-everything-you-got-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks approach.
You see, there are quite a few who are perturbed about the translations, for various reasons. The usual wellsprings of consternation - the National Catholic Distorter and USCatholyc, for example - are still venting about it. It's been kinda non-stop since the whole matter surfaced.
At first it was annoying - remember the "What If We Said Just Wait?" petition, started by a priest out in Seattle? I think that had more anonymous signatures than actual names. In any case, that project has lost much of its momentum.
But now it's getting comical.
Last week, the Distorter trotted out a 16-year old Latin whiz-kid (their description, not mine) to dissect the translation.
And just the other day, Brian Cones at the USCatholyc wrote a piece which relied on his dad's opinion. That's one way of making this personal, I guess.
The NCD and USCatholic must be struggling in coming up with legitimate sources to present their cases if they're now relying on teenagers and family members. They must have exhausted their rolodex of go-to folks for analysis and punditry. So who's going to be next? The water meter reader? The girl at the Tim Horton's drive thru?
In any case, I'm looking forward to future objections. I need the laughs.
Monday, November 7, 2011
2011 Call To Action Leadership Award: Sr. Margaret McBride, RSM.Further proof that Call-to-Apostasy ain't Catholic - recognizing the ex-communicated. The "award" was given this past weekend in Milwaukee at the CTA National Confernce.
In November 2009, Sister Margaret McBride, an administrator at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, assisted in the decision to save the life of a patient who was 11 weeks pregnant and suffering pulmonary hypertension. Medical providers determined that death of both the 27-year-old woman and her 11-week of fetus would occur unless the pregnancy was terminated.
Call To Action recognizes Sr. Margaret’s careful work with a complex issue, her courage in a time of censorship and public pressure, and her witness to the need to stand firm in the face of opposition while striving to protect life in all its venues.
UPDATE: Saw this video over at CMR, of McBride accepting the award. Watch it if you have the stomach for it.
There are other phrases and slogans I have in mind, whereby the speaker attempts to justify the way they live their faith or they criticize Church teaching, all the while acting as if they're the reasonable, faithful ones.
Such as (in no particular order) -
"Challenge authority. Jesus did." Uh, no he didn't. Not really. Especially when you consider he IS the authority. What he did do was chastise some in authority for their hypocritical actions and unjust prescriptions. But he never thumbed his nose at them. In fact, he exhorted the people to obey those who occupied the seat of Moses, but not to follow their example. And what about the crucifixion? Seems to me that instead of challenging authority, he submitted to it.
"Good Catholics Use Condoms". Uh, no they don't. Not ever. This is a campaign run by Catholics For Choice, and it's as insidious as they come. Good Catholics avoid artificial contraception. Weak Catholics - and giving the benefit of the doubt, we can include uninformed Catholics (and even improperly taught ones, too) - use artificial contraception. And yes, there are those who summarily disregard Church teaching, and yet dare to call themselves 'good' Catholics. Catholics who ought to know better - and the nefarious natters at CfC fall into that category - don't encourage other Catholics to sin against God and each other. That's not the definition of a good Catholic.
"Do what you feel is right." Catholics ought to say "Do what you know is right". We have the benefit of a magisterium, a Catechism, the saints - so much available to guide us in how to live, to make the right choices, to arrive at conclusions rationally and logically. But hey - it's easy to fall into the trap of relying on our feelings to make decisions. After all, when we feel cold, we turn up the heat. When we feel sad, we seek solace. When we feel lonely, we call a friend. Those are simple examples. But sometimes our feelings can lead us to making poor decisions. Like, just because it feels right to have sex with your girlfriend, doesn't mean it is right. Far from it. And just because it feels right to do a new-agey thing like reiki or whatever, doesn't mean it is right.
"The Church hates women." For any Catholic to say this is utterly shameful. And it's only based on one issue - women's ordination. It's patently obvious that this is so untrue, regardless of any of the pro-ordination crowd propaganda. When you hear a Catholic repeat this refrain, spare no ammo in shooting this bogus claim down.
"I'm spiritual, not religious." Oh, gag me with a prune. This declaration is is asinine as it is meaningless - especially for a Catholic to say it. Y'know, Jesus was both spiritual and religious, so when a Catholic says this, what they're really saying is that they can be good without being like Christ. How much sense does that make? Absolutely none, that's how much.
I'm sure there are other phrases - you could even include "Glee is my favorite show!" Which ones would you add?
Friday, November 4, 2011
Greetings, dear readers! May the fresh and comforting embrace of the Autumn Spirit keep you safe and secure in these unsettling times.
I profusely apologize for posting so infrequently. There really is no excuse, except that I truly have been extremely busy. I think the best way to get you all caught up with what I've been doing - and there's been so much! - is to hop on this cute little meme I found called "7 Quick Takes Friday". Have you seen this? Seven is such a deep profound mystical number, how could I not resist?
Oh, and don't worry - we make sure our feet are very clean before pressing the grapes!
Apparently, I'm supposed to link back to Conversion Diary, so there it is.
And I promise to post more often. Unless, of course, my one-woman play gets picked up at Broadway (you never know!)...
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Heart-warming: Wheelchair-bound Football Player Scores Touchdown
Trent Glaze loves football. In fact, he even wants to coach it one day. But as a high school football player he also had a dream of getting on the field. That may sound like a simple goal, but Glaze has muscular dystrophy and is confined to a wheelchair. But despite his physical setback, his dream came true on last Friday night.
It was his opportunity to shine,” Fairfield Union (Ohio) coach Tom McCurdy told WBNS-TV. “He’s my right-hand man. He’s always telling me what we need to do (and) what needs to improve.”But on Friday, the “right-hand man” became his star player.
Maybe if more time and ink was given to stories like this - and I bet that stuff like this is more commonplace than we are led to believe - maybe people's perspectives on life and how we treat each other would change for the better. Of am I being too hopeful?
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Here's the original (dancing begins at about the 1:20 mark):
Now here's one where they're dancing to Carlos Santana's "Oye Como Va":
For the rock 'n roll crowd, this one is to the ZZ Topp hit "Sharp Dressed Man":
And here's The Gap Band's "Party Train":
There are other versions, but I liked these three the most.
h/t The Blaze
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
For the unfamiliar - it stands for National Novel Writing Month, and the goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. This is my third year participating, and I'm proud to say that I've written 50,000+ words in each of the last two years. I didn't quite complete the stories - the goal is to get the words.
And I have a feeling this year is gonna be tough - it's Day One, and I haven't got a clue of what to write. Uh oh.