Friday, September 30, 2005


I have been feeling rather disappointed with myself lately, but I don't know if it rises to such a level that I need to go to Confession ... I guess that means "no," since you have to "know" a sin is serious before you commit it for it to be mortal.

This is the story: I love going to daily Mass at St. Paul's, although I can only go three times a week on account of my schedule. There is one thing that grates on me, however. Make that several things. Or should I say, people!

My parish is the same as probably just about every other parish on the face of the earth; the daily Mass-goers are all middle-aged women, elderly folks of both sexes, and a two or three college-aged girls. Some of them are quite friendly and take care to introduce themselves. They are nice people.

However, I find myself annoyed by them, to greater or lesser degrees, at every daily liturgy. There is one lady who, during the Prayer of the Faithful, says "Lord, hear our prayerS" instead of "Lord, hear our prayer." For some egotistical, selfish reason I have to grind my teeth every time she says it. After Mass, I like to kneel for a while and make my thanksgiving; meanwhile, the old ladies and the middle-aged ladies congregate in the center aisle, talking and taking care of business and gossiping. This also is an occasion for teeth-grinding and silently thinking, "For once will you shut up, you old fish wives!"

What can I make of this? Obviously I have developed an attitude that is extremely critical of others yet witholds judgement from myself. Or rather, I do judge myself but in a rather superficial manner, like I am doing now. Subconsciously I probably believe that I am quite a wonderful and saintly if imperfect person, bleeeeh. I am annoyed by this even more than I am annoyed by the "fish wives." I am particularly annoyed by the "Prayer of the Faithful" example, since it is such a minor thing, and really an example of a lack of charity on my part.

Ahk. I remember how St. Therese (one of the great saints canonized in the 20th century) was terribly annoyed by the nun who sat in front of her in the echoing chapel and who made annoying clicking noises with her rosary beads. This was a horrible trial for Therese, who, as she was cloistered, realized that she was going to have to spend the rest of her life with this other woman, who was not going to change. Instead of nursing her irritation for Sister's behavior, Therese went out of her way to be nice to her. She brought her little gifts, smiled at her, treated her very well. Although the other nun did not stop making clicking noises, it was no longer a problem for St. Therese, since, through love, she had grown above and beyond it.

What an excellent model the Little Flower is. She reminds me of me so much, except that by the time she was my age (she died at only 24) she had advanced in holiness much farther than I have. Please, Lord Jesus, make me like St. Therese.

Thursday, September 29, 2005


Today is the feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, known in the past as Michaelmas. Michael, as the chief of the angels, gets the most good press, although it is Gabriel who has the great honor of announcing to Mary that she will bear the Son of God. Raphael makes his appearence during the book of Tobit. Michael is patron saint of soldiers and police, Gabriel is patron saint of communications workers, and Raphael is patron saint of the blind and travelers.

The most famous prayer invoking the aid of St. Michael is probably the Leonine prayer, which used to be said after Mass:

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle
Be our defense against the snares and wickedness of the Devil
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray
And thou do, O Prince of the Heavenly Host
By the power of God
Cast into Hell Satan and all evil spirits
Who prowl about the world, seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

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St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael, pray for us


Highlander, in 30 seconds and re-enacted by bunnies!

I've never seen Highlander, so that took away from some of my laughs. Grrr, there are lots of classic movies I haven't seen. Like Sixteen Candles, and Breakfast Club, for instance. Horrible. I'm falling down on the job, the lie-in-front-of-the-TV-watching-DVDs job, I mean.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Anglican Use Rite

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At Our Lady of the Atonement in San Antonio, Texas.

Now, before these folks were brought into the Catholic Church, the Holy Father tweaked the Anglican liturgy slightly so that it would match up with Catholic sacramentality - so it's a thoroughly Catholic rite, I assume. What I want to know is, how come the Anglican Use rites and the Eastern rites are so lovely, while we in the normative Latin rite get the short end of the stick! I suppose there is always the Tridentine rite, the only difficulty being the endless search for the cubby-hole where they sometimes like to stash it ;)

I am wondering if anyone can answer a question I have about the Eastern liturgies, if the Easterners have a uniform practice ... Does the priest face the same direction as the congregation (which snarky and/or uninformed columnists refer to as "turning his back on the congregation"), or does he turn around to do show-and-tell, the way he does in the normative rite? I always prefer the first way, since it puts the emphasis on God and not on the priest as a "performer."

Hat tip to Recta Ratio for the pic (you can also see another great pic of the Anglican Use liturgy there).

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Very good from Cardinal Pell

One of my favorites in the College of Cardinals is Cardinal Pell of Syndey, Australia. Recently he addressed the (Australian) National Press Club with an address on moral/religious relativism. The text has been published on Zenit, and I highly reccomend it. Some especially choice bits:

Relativism is powerful in Western life, evidenced in many areas from the decline in the study of history and English literature, through to the triumph of subjective values and conscience over moral truth and the downgrading of heterosexual marriage. None of this is entirely new: Relativism is an antique theory. The great thinker and father of history Heraclitus [History 3, 38] noted that different cultures differ in their basic beliefs and customs, and at the dawn of our philosophical tradition the Greek philosopher Protagoras challenged the religious and moral wisdom of his day, arguing that each individual's own opinions are the measure of truth [see Plato Theaetetus 151eff].

This theory has so far received no official sanction -- usually because wise men and women have seen that either relativism is the real truth about the universe, in which case relativism is wrong since there is a real truth, or relativism is not the real truth, in which case we should all stop thinking about it. The danger today is that people do not even think this far to see the inconsistencies. Hence Pope Benedict's warning.

One reason for optimism is that no one believes deep down in relativism. People may express their skepticism about truth and morality in lecture rooms or in print, but afterwards, they will go on to sip a cappuccino, pay the mortgage, drive home on the left side of the road, and presumably avoid acts of murder and cannibalism throughout their evening. People, unless insane, do not live as relativists. They care about truth and follow clear-cut rules.
"Presumably avoid acts of murder and cannibalism," indeed! Again, the Cardinal is speaking in Australia, where they do drive on the left side of the road :)

Full piece (long but good).

Monday, September 26, 2005


I am over my case of the flu. Or I think so, anyway.

It has been years since I have gotten sick with anything, let alone influenza. This was not a good weekend for it, but, ah well ... I am glad I did not go see a doctor, however. Every student at OU is required to have health insurance, but you can waive it if you are covered by your parents. I am on my father's policy, but it is strictly a "catastrophic" insurance policy, with a huge deductible. I remember telling him, "catastrophic's all I need, I never get sick."

I actually didn't go to Adoration on Saturday because I was so sick! The malaise was just too much. I could tell that the fever was breaking Saturday night, however. I kept waking up, as I have for the last few nights (no Nyquil in the house) and I noticed that even long after my pre-bedtime medicine wore off, I didn't have that familiar searing pain in my head when I moved my eyes. Sunday morning I was terribly tired, but I managed to get up for Mass. And after Mass, another old lady introduced herself to me. Actually I met her last year, but I guess she doesn't remember me. Anyway, she told me I was "gorgeous, just beautiful!" etc. I think it was because I was wearing my hair curly. Besides which, she was pretty old, and old people sometimes say funny things ;) She comes to Mass with her son, who looks to be about forty years old, and pretty rough around the edges, if you know what I mean. Forty, and unmarried? How peculiar. I also saw Blaine there; she likes to stand at the back of the Church and pray. Or at least I think she's praying. What else would she be doing?

Please pray that I manage to get this magazine article done. I have no idea why I chose journalism as a major. Yes I do - I'm supposed to be good at writing, I enjoy it, and it's supposed to be one of the best programs here. I am lucky, lucky, lucky. Ahhhh. Just have to keep that all in mind.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

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Pieta by Bouguereau

Saturday, September 24, 2005

How loud

I am sitting here, trying to ignore the sounds of the bacchanal apparently occurring on the other side of University Commons ... There's quite an echo, you know ;) I first started hearing the drunken baying about 9:30, so I think they got started kind of early!

I have forgotten to mention that on Thursday night I went to visit my friend Leslie at her apartment across town; her other friend Meredith came over, too. Leslie has a huge, beautiful flat, and a very cute kitty named Minerva. Minerva was in a bit of a mood, but I could tell that when she's feeling good she is a very good cat!

It was lots of fun catching up with Leslie. The only unfortunate part was that I missed the bus when I was going there, so I walked; and then when I was coming home, I noticed that I was going to have to wait at the bus stop for about twenty five minutes - so I decided to just stiffen the old upper lip and walk it home, too. It wasn't that bad. Ah, exercise! When I got home Lauren very sweetly let me have a couple pieces of the pizza that she had ordered. Mmmm, yum!

Friday was not a good day, however. Thursday night I had the most awful chills, and today I was struck with a nasty headache, achy bones, and a bit of a fever. You know how sometimes, even if you are quite grownup, you just want to crawl into bed and have your Mama take care of you? That's how I kind of feel, lol. Mass helped very much this morning - and on top of the great joy of receiving Our Lord in the Sacrament of the Altar, one of the daily Mass ladies complimented me on the print in my skirt. Of course, she was a very middle-aged lady, so I guess this incident could be used as ammo in the "Maggie dresses like a post-menopausal spinster!" argument ;) Sadly, the respite I got from the liturgy did not last very long ... I am so fickle with my emotions, ugh ...

I have the apartment all to myself this weekend, which means it will be very quiet, which I like. However, I miss my roomies lots already. I promise not to set the kitchen on fire while burning my grilled cheese!

They are singing "Happy Birthday" across the way, now. Maybe that's what it is? A 21st birthday party? A good reporter would go and check it out. A sleepy, slightly sicky little girl would head to bed. Good night! :)

Friday, September 23, 2005

How Papa got to be Papa

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Uh oh. Not good. However, I'm pretty sure this doesn't mean excommunication for the unnamed cardinal in question, since I assume it wasn't he who gave the newspaper the information. So, probably he didn't intentionally reveal anything ...

From the AP:

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI was elected with 84 votes and Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was second with 26 after four rounds of voting during April's conclave, according to a cardinal's unauthorized diary that was published Friday.

The anonymous diary appeared in the respected Italian political magazine Limes. The magazine said it obtained the diary from a "trustworthy" source it had known for years.

Benedict was elected April 19 after two days of voting — one of the shortest conclaves in a century. Cardinals entering the conclave are subject to a vow of secrecy, and the penalty for violating it is excommunication ...

... In the first round of voting, Benedict, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, received 47 votes and Bergoglio, the Jesuit archbishop of Buenos Aires, received 10. Italian cardinals Carlo Maria Martini and Camillo Ruini had nine and six votes, respectively.

Ratzinger also led the second ballot with 65 votes, while Bergoglio received 35. In the third round of voting, Ratzinger got 72 votes and Bergoglio 40.

Ratzinger needed 77 votes in the final round to win the necessary two-thirds majority of the 115 voting cardinals. He got 84, Bergoglio got 26, and three other cardinals also registered one vote apiece in the last round: Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, Italian Cardinal Giacomo Biffi and American Cardinal Bernard Law, according to the diary ...

Article. So Cardinal Martini never mounted a huge challenge, after all.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

News, news, news

Just click on the headlines to see the full articles:

Pope approves barring gay seminarians

Vatican, Sep. 19 ( - Pope Benedict XVI has given his approval to a new Vatican policy document indicating that men with homosexual tendencies should not be ordained as Catholic priests.

... The Instruction does not represent a change in Church teaching or policy. Catholic leaders have consistently taught that homosexual men should not be ordained to the priesthood. Pope John XXIII approved a formal policy to that effect, which still remains in effect. However, during the 1970s and 1980s, that policy was widely ignored, particularly in North America. The resulting crisis in the priesthood-- in which one prominent American commentator observed that the priesthood was coming to be seen as a "gay" profession-- prompted Pope John Paul II to call for a new study on the question ...
I know there are some people who are a bit perplexed by this. I mean, priests are supposed to be celibate anyway, so what does it matter if they're attracted to other men? Well, it's a matter of prudence. Technically speaking, homosexuals can be ordained, just like, technically speaking, married men can be ordained (priests are often married when they are Anglican Rite Roman Catholics, Eastern Rite Catholics, or members of the Orthodox church). However, the Latin Rite Catholic Church has decided for the last thousand years that it is not prudent - not helpful, and most likely problematic - to allow married men to be ordained, because the Church would have to come before family, which would cause friction; also because the logistics would be difficult - besides the fact that according to Christ celibacy is superior.

Similarly, it's just not wise to put men who are attracted to men in an all-male environment when even those with heterosexual orientations are expected to remain celibate. Ordain women, you say? Auuuugh. Metaphysics, people, metaphysics! Read up on the sacraments, particularly the Sacrament of Holy Orders, with regard to metaphysics.

Also, I hate to say this, but it's a liability issue. The vast majority of homosexuals are not child molesters. However, the fact remains that the solid majority of the abuse cases we heard so much about in the last few years were cases of adult men molesting adolescent males - teenage boys. Those were cases of ephebophilia, not pedophilia; they were homosexual acts, not the acts of pedophiles.

Hmmm ...
Anglican bishops condemn Iraq war as unjust

London, Sep. 19 ( - Leaders of the Church of England have issued a statement condemning the US-led war in Iraq, saying that the conflict did not meet the moral criteria of a just war.

A 100-page statement, issued by the Anglican House of Bishops, cites a "long litany of errors" in Western policy toward Iraq. The document calls for a public apology for these mistakes, and suggests that if government officials are not willing to issue such an apology, religious leaders should organize acts of public repentance for the war.
Ouch. Well, lots of religious leaders - particularly Christian leaders - came out strongly against the war, or at least expressed concerns. For instance, Pope John Paul, as well as mainline Christians, the Orthodox, and some evangelicals. Pope Benedict also was against the war, I believe. Now, coming from the Catholic perspective, I would certainly point out that the Church does not make a dogma of whether this or that war is just or unjust. However, for Catholics at least, it's important to pay attention to what the pope (and to a much lesser extent, other Christian leaders) has to say about this or that conflict. One can respectfully disagree, but one shouldn't dismiss the Holy Father's opinions out of hand. Etc, etc.

And finally, check out these beautiful words from Papa (and the lovely Free Republic thread, also at the link):

Grace of the Eucharist is secret to holy priests, says Pope

"The secret of the sanctification" of priests, the Pope said, lies in the Eucharist. "By virtue of Holy Orders, a priest receives the gift and the duty to repeat sacramentally the gestures and words by which, at the Last Supper, Christ instituted the memorial of His Easter. In his hands he renews this great miracle of love, which he is called to witness and announce ever more faithfully."

"A priest", Pope Benedict continued, "must above all adore and contemplate the Eucharist, starting from the very moment in which he celebrates it. We well know that the validity of the Sacrament does not depend upon the sanctity of the celebrant, but its effectiveness, both for him and for others, will be all the greater the more he experiences it with profound faith, ardent love and a fervent spirit of prayer."

... In conclusion, the Pope implored prayer for priests throughout the world saying "that from this Year of the Eucharist, they may draw the fruit of a renewed Love for the Sacrament they celebrate. Through the intercession of the Virgin Mother of God, may they always live and bear witness to the mystery that is put in their hands for the saving of the world."
Just beautiful! I love you, Papa.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


For all those in the path of Hurricane Rita, now a Category 5 storm.

The people upstairs

Some people (ahem) have been complaining that my blog is boring (Never!) I guess I will tell you a story about something that has happened to me in the last couple days.

On Monday (I think it was Monday!) I was in Lyndsey's room, chewing the fat. One of her professors had given her class the assignment of walking up to a complete stranger and asking them to tell a story about their lives. No one wanted to do it, so a lot of stories were just going to get made up wholecloth, har har.

Suddenly, Lyndsey and Lauren got the brilliant idea that I should go knock on the door of the apartment above us (inhabited by elephant-footed Asians who stomp around early in the morning) and ask them to tell me a story! Then I could write it down and give it to Lyndsey, blah blah.

I refused, of course, until Lyndsey promised to go with me (although I had to do the talking), Lauren agreed to make me a grilled cheese sandwich while I was gone, and they both promised to buy me treats. Like the trained seal that I am, I responded very quickly to the offer of yummies!

I went upstairs and knocked on the door. We got to meet one foreign girl, and her boyfriend (I think) who was an American. The girl's name was Ellen, I believe - it was pronounced funny. And the boyfriend's name was Mike Dunn. He told us all about how he got in a car accident last summer and had to spend some time in the hospital, and how he didn't remember anything after he got in the car to drive home from work.

Very interesting. Anyway, they were nice folks. I can't believe I did it. Oh well, I was hungry ... ;)

NB: I know I'm actually posting this at 7:47, with the time stamp altered to say 12:09 ... I am doing this to annoy Lyndsey, who I know hates it. Just kidding ;) I am actually doing it because I'm not sure if I'll have time to blog tomorrow! Oh the humanity!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

A miracle, on time as scheduled

Every year, the blood of Saint Januarius (in Italian, San Gennaro) liquifies three times - on his feastday, September 19; on December 16, when his prayers are believed to have halted the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius; and on the Saturday before the first Sunday in May. Yesterday was the day, and what do you know ...

Dried blood of Naples' patron saint liquefies

(ANSA) - Naples, September 19 - Thousands of people packed into this city's cathedral Monday morning to watch the blood of patron saint San Gennaro liquefy in the repetition of a centuries-old 'miracle.' The miracle officially took place at 09.56 (07.56gmt) and was announced by the archbishop of Naples, Cardinal Michele Giordano, who held up a phial containing the blood while a white handkerchief was waved from the altar to the applause of the crowd. This year the miracle took on special importance because it marked 1,700 years from the martyrdom of San Gennaro (St. Januarius) in 305 AD .

Aside from the faithful, leading local politicians attended the ceremony which was also broadcast live by a host of national and international TV networks ...

... For the faithful and superstitious, the ritual's success is a good omen for the city while its failure is a sign of impending disaster .

In fact, disaster has struck on at least five occasions when the blood failed to liquefy, including in 1527 when tens of thousands of people died from the plague and in 1980 when 3,000 people were killed in an earthquake which devastated much of southern Italy ...

A group of Italian scientists has analysed the contents of the phials, establishing that they do contain blood, but have been unable to explain the phenomenon .

Some believe it is due to the shaking of the containers or the penetration of warmth from the holder's hands.

Well, the Church does not demand that we believe in such miracles. But, come on ... the shaking and the warmth liquify blood that is 1,700 years old?


Monday, September 19, 2005

The Vatican’s Mind Control Laser Platform in Geosynchronous Orbit above North America

Fantastic Mark Shea column in the National Catholic Register.

The fear that pre-occupies the evangelical imagination is that, say what Catholics will, once the convert is safely inside the Church, the priest will produce the brain chip implant and you will be reprogrammed to adore and worship Mary by the Vatican's Mind Control Laser Platform in Geosynchronous Orbit above North America. But the reality, when you finally get past the irrational terror of Mary and enter the Church, is that nobody thinks she's another God, as you feared. Instead, you find that a small minority of Catholics think she's another Pope.


The queer thing about this particular subculture in the Church is that it appears to hold to the notion of "Church Governance by Apparition." A certain sort of Catholic can get the notion in his head that the Church is governed, not by the bishops in succession from the apostles and in union with the pope, but by a series of private revelations from Mary. Such Catholics are often not particularly cautious about distinguishing between public and private revelation, still less about whether a Marian apparition has been approved by the Church. Indeed, the creepier and more apocalyptic the "revelation" the more such a Catholic will be certain that its rejection by the Church is a sign of apostasy and imminent judgment on the sinister Masonic/New Age/Jewish conspiracy at work in the hierarchy.

The entire article is very good, you can find it here.

And well, he's not quite correct that no one thinks that Our Blessed Lady is God. See this "Fatima" site, which I've mentioned before.. Of course, if you read their press release, you can see the whole "The Pope is not doing what we and "Mary" want! He must be a heretic/up to no good!" thing coming through:

True Third Secret of Fatima states that MARY IS GOD, MARY IS THE SOUL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

The Third Secret of Our Lady of Fatima states Mary's divinity.

Mary is God, Mary is the Soul of the Holy Spirit.

Spirit is to God. Person is to Soul. Angel is to Church. Existence is to Being. Man is to Woman. Husband is to Wife. Adam is to Eve.

Mary is God, is the Final Dogma of the Holy Catholic Church. The Most Holy Trinity demand its declaration by the Holy Father as ABSOLUTE prerequisite for the TOTAL Redemption of Creation.

In the light of the election of an ANTI-MARY Pope and therefore ANTI-CHRIST Pope, in the person of Pope Benedict XVI, we fervently urge all CATHOLICS, to exert all legitimate efforts to compel those in authority that have remained Consecrated to the Most Holy Spirit, - to STAND UP AND FIGHT FOR THE TRUE MESSAGE OF OUR LADY OF FATIMA. We appeal most especially to those who have knowledge of the TRUE THIRD SECRET OF FATIMA, to help us PROCLAIM the WORDS of GOD, by offering themselves as witnesses to the TRUTH.
And on, and on. Why do unbalanced people so often use all caps?

I should note that the press release has merely been posted by these people to VirtueOnline, which is a fine, traditional Anglican site.

Sunday, September 18, 2005


The Shrine of the Holy Whapping has an amusing post commenting on the well-known phenomenon of "Have umbrella, it will not rain, do not have umbrella, will pour." Even if one ("One" ;) person in a group has an umbrella, it will not rain. How would the various denominations react to this?

Calvin would say that it is simply enough to believe that the One is carrying the umbrella.

Luther would largely agree, yet he would insist on being constantly reassured that the One is really, in fact, carrying the umbrella.

Catholics, on the other hand, would each carry their own paper cocktail umbrella, fully realizing that the paper party umbrellas would never protect them from actual rain, yet convinced that they are to imitate the One carrying the umbrella, and suspecting that, on some level, all of them carrying their small umbrellas together adds to the infinite dryness already won by the One.

Orthodox Christians believe the same thing as Catholics, except with fancier Greek words. And they don’t replace the little paper umbrellas when the paper tears off; they keep using the same ones anyway.
"Orthodox Christians" refers to the Eastern Orthodox (Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthdoox, etc) in case you didn't know. Read the rest of the post to find out about the evangelicals and the liberal Protestants ;)

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Ho hum

Not much new to report here in Athens, except that I seem to be hitting a patch of procrastination. So what else is new, har har.

Thursday at Mass a lady came up to me and introduced herself; her name was Blaine, and yesterday at Mass another lady came up and introduced herself, and her name was Ann(e). My my, aren't I getting popular? ;)

I didn't do any reading before church today, so I was surprised when my priest came out in brilliant red vestments. D'oh! Yesterday was the feastday of a Pope and a bishop, two martyrs, Sts. Cornelius and Cyprian. Cornelius was the Pope, who was beheaded in 253; Cyprian was a bishop who was executed under the Roman Emperor Valerian in 258. Since they endured martyrdom, the vestments the priest wore today were red, in honor of the blood they were willing to shed for Christ.

A "red" martyrdom is one in which you literally die for Christ, a "white" martyrdom is one in which you patiently endure, for all your life, pain for being despised on account of your faith, and suffering because of your devotion to God. I always say that I would prefer a "red" martydrom to a "white" martydom, because, to quote Amy Welborn's quotation of Flannery O'Connor, "She could never be a saint, but she thought she could be a martyr if they killed her quick." Of course, all I have to do is read about some of the horrible ways the "red" martyrs were killed (being slowly crushed to death etc.) and I think to myself, "Be careful what you wish for ... "

Friday, September 16, 2005

Do nuns ever get to go out?


The great Moniales OP blog (by the Summit, New Jersey Dominicans) is running a series on "Debunking Cloister Myths."

Here's part of the first one:
as in never go out of doors and never go out of the enclosure.

If it never dawned on you that people think that cloistered nuns never go out of doors within the monastery gardens, well, you'd be amazed at how many people, including "devout" catholics think this is true. It's not unusual for a group of kids from a local school or bible camp to come full of questions. One little kid raises his hand energetically, "Sister, Sister, do you go out?"
Sister: "Do you mean outside in the garden?"
Little Tyke: "Yeah!"
Sister: "Why of course! We love going outdoors in the garden. We have flower gardens and vegetable gardens and paths for walking. In the winter we even go sledding. Some of like to make our medition out side, contemplating the beauty of God's creation. It's even fun to walk in the rain! In fact the cloister garden was traditionally called the "Paradise" because it was supposed to be reminder of the Garden of Eden."

The rest of the post, which you can find here, mentions that the sisters are also allowed to go out for doctors appointments, to visit home if their parents are ill and can no longer travel, or for the occasional meeting.

As you can see from this wintertime photo, the "Monastery Gardens" are not some little plot of land. I think "Garden" should be taken in more of the English countryside sense ...

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The young man on the elevator

Senator Sam Brownback tells a great (and instructive) story about the young man who runs the Senate's elevator. His comments came during Judge Robert's confirmation hearings Wednesday:

Senator Kennedy is helping me with a bill because a number of children never get here that have disabilities. Unborn children prenatally diagnosed with Down's Syndrome and other disabilities -- I don't know if you know this, but there was a recent analysis, and 80 percent to 90 percent of children prenatally diagnosed with Down's Syndrome never get here -- never get here. They're aborted in the system.

And people just say: Look, this child's got difficulties. And we even have waiting lists in America of people, today, willing to adopt children with Down's Syndrome. And we will protect that child -- as well we should, under the Americans with Disabilities Act and other issues -- when they get here.

But so much of the time, and with our increased ability of genetic testing, they don't get here. Diagnosed in the womb, system that encourages this child to be destroyed at that stage -- and this is all in the records.

And we are the poorer for it as a society.

All the members of this body know a young man with Down's Syndrome named Jimmy. Maybe you've met him, even. He runs the elevator that takes the senators up and down on the Senate floors. His warm smile welcomes us every day. We're a better body for him.

He told me the other day -- he frequently gives me a hug in the elevator afterwards. I know he does Senator Hatch often, too, who kindly gives him ties, some of which I question the taste of, Orrin...


... but he kindly gives ties.

HATCH: It doesn't have to get personal...


BROWNBACK: And Jimmy said to me the other day after he hugged me; he said Shhh, don't tell my supervisor. They're telling me I'm hugging too many people.


BROWNBACK: And, yet, we're ennobled by him and what he does and how he lifts up our humanity and 80 to 90 percent of the kids in this country like Jimmy never get here.

What does that do to us? What does that say about us. And I would just ask you, Judge Roberts, to consider -- and probably you can't answer here today, whether the individuals with disabilities have the same constitutional rights that you and I share while they're in the womb.
Of course, Judge Roberts couldn't give a response, or the Dems would have jumped all over him. Although I can't imagine even Sen. Feinstein getting up and saying it was AOK that Down's Syndrome children are aborted so often. Very few Dems are evil people; most of them are just weak (you could say the same about the Republicans).

You can read the entire transcript of the third day of hearings here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Squirrel Pope!

From Fiddleback Fever, via the Shrine of the Holy Whapping...

As can be seen form the above picture a crisis has formed. Some squirrels have gone too far and separated from the Bovine Church. This is a sad day because most of these squirrels were great examples to all non-bovine members of the Bovine Church. It is believed that all has happened because of St. Scurrius, though other sources have said that the ASC (Anti-squirrel Coalition) has been spreading false information among the friendly squirrels. This has gone beyond the Europa ordeal because the ordination of a squirrel is ontologically impossible. However, we hope that it will end quicker and better.
Ahhh haaaa! Those crazy Christendom College kids!Incidentally they have another hiliarous update on the Squirrel Schism, which you can see here. I highly reccomend you check out their blog, it's fantastic. Into the Daily Stops section it goes!

Incidentally I have other linkage news: I have moved my sister's blog, A Little Flower Garden, into the "Daily Stops" category, just for space purposes; I have taken Quodlibeta off (as his seminary has a new policy that doesn't allow blogging - tears ) and I have put Mark Shea's Catholic and Enjoying It back in, since he's back from hiatus. Also added is Recta Ratio, an excellent, quite high-brow blog. The most high-brow of the high-brow, however, is Andrew Cusack's site. Last but not least, my "Friends" section includes a link to my friend Brendan's new blog, Introibo. Brendan is a traditionalist who is discerning ordination to the priesthood. Although some of his opinions are not mainstream, he is definately not one of the fringe traditionalists who believe there is no Pope, or, like this gentleman, claim that the true Fatima message is that Mary is God. (No joke! Hat tip to Bettnet for the link). Right now Introibo has some interesting posts on Catholic culture. Check it out!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

So far

I have come up with the following ideas for stories:

1. Something on the faith lives of students (thanks Greg!:)
2. Something on the food in the dining halls (wow, from the sublime to the eeehhh)
3. Something on the local cemeteries (who WERE some of these people?)
4. Something on the local traffic problems (yeah, yeah, I know, and has Cosmo done any articles on weight loss recently?)
5. Something on Mom's Weekend (if it comes up soon enough ... it's an interesting situation - Mothers not acting like responsible mothers - you know what I mean if you go to OU)
6. Something on Sunday mornings (maybe I could interview the other weirdos who get up on Sunday mornings - the churchgoers, the runners, the "walk of shame" people, the might-be-homeless lady I always see on the bench outside city hall ...)

Chug chug chug, Maggie, chug chug chug ... ;)

I am always trying to think of more. I know most of those ideas stink, particularly everything after #1. #2 would be super easy, as would #4, I think. #6 would be hard, although I could easily write it from a first-person point of view. It's a magazine class, so I get to be all flowerly with my language. Flowery, flowery! You can't tell I'm slightly off-kilter from doing four hours straight at this library computer, can you? I'm going to stop now, before anybody gets hurt ;)

Monday, September 12, 2005


In September? Yes, in September.

I have forgotten to mention that on Saturday night, instead of doing my homework (har har) I went with my roomies and Lyndsey's boyfriend, Jimmy, to the Marietta fireworks show. A couple of the girls went last year, but this was my first time! The city was quite packed, and we had to park all the way back in the Wendy's parking lot - where we also had dinner. Note: My plans to become a more accepting, generous, less complaining person this year are so far not panning out. Only I could manage to whine about the 99 cent menu being a touch too expensive, lol!

Anyway, it was quite a walk to the river, but very much worth it. There were hardly any open spots by the levee, so we climbed this extremely steep, rocky hill and perched at the very top of it. I was the only one with tennis shoes on; the others had sandals! I still had a tough time climbing up. There was nothing to do but hope the vines I was grasping weren't poison ivy, he he.

But what a show! We were in the perfect position, almost right under where the fireworks went off. I enjoyed reading the names of the riverboats that were docked across from us; we were right across from a three story riverboat that had been christened "Princess Margey." Betsy will be pleased to hear that I also noticed a (smaller) ship named the "Elizabeth Anne."

I can honestly say it was the best fireworks show I have ever seen. They even had "waterfall effect" fireworks coming off of the bridge. This photo, from the Marietta Times, is from a different year, but it certainly gives an accurate picture of how "all out" the authorities go:

Obviously this was not for the Fourth of July. It was actually for the Ohio River Sternwheel Festival. Lots of fun.

At the beginning they played the national anthem as a helicopter flew over the river with an American flag suspended from a rope (or something like a rope). A huge spotlight was trained on the flag so that we could see it against the night sky. Very nice effect!

And I shouldn't forget to mention the horns on those riverboats! At the end of the show they started blowing! Ahhh, my ears ;)

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Remembering September 11

Flashback to Rod Dreher, in Crisis magazine:

... Movie fantasy is now inadequate to describe our reality. No terror conjured by Hollywood could match what the people in our city saw and heard and felt in their bones that day.

Monsignor Ignace Sadek, the elderly pastor of the Maronite cathedral near the Brooklyn waterfront, went to the promenade park overlooking lower Manhattan and prayed for absolution for the dying as the towers burned. When the first building crumbled, and the terrible cloud of smoke, debris, and incinerated human remains began its grim march across the harbor, Monsignor Sadek remained at his post praying. The falling ash turned him into a ghost. Still, he stayed as long as he could. This is a man who came through the civil war in Lebanon, and he doesn’t run.

"People could see I was a priest," he told me later (he is my pastor). "They ran to me and knelt at my feet, and begged for absolution." Think of that: The people of this proud, defiantly secular city, driven to their knees in prayer, begging for mercy in a hot, gray fog. That is what purgatory must be like ...

...A small stir was made in the media about demonic faces photographed in the smoke !and fireball of September 11. But you probably haven’t heard about the crosses. My Lutheran uncle is an FBI chaplain. He phoned me from ground zero and told me a small field of crosses had been discovered in the rubble of World Trade Center 6.

They were a series of massive I-beams that had fallen from the top of the tower that was second to collapse. The beams landed in a peculiar fashion, as if they were crosses that had been planted upright by an unseen hand.

I couldn’t talk my way onto the site, but I did make contact with Frank Silecchia, the burly hard hat who found the crosses as he was searching for body parts. Silecchia is a born-again Christian who wept for 20 minutes when he first discovered them. Since that day, Silecchia says he has led many broken and mourning rescue workers to the foot of the largest cross, some 30 feet tall, to pray and be healed.

"Despite all of the evil poured onto these buildings, God is here, and He will not be defeated," Silecchia told me.

A thought: The demonic faces evaporated in an instant, but the cross, steely and straight amid the tangled remains of evil’s residue, remained.


Saturday, September 10, 2005

Number one cause of hearing loss

Football games and thundersticks!

In the Athens area, anyway! ;)

Yes, last night, OU had its big football game with Pitt. We won in overtime! At last, the new football coach is officially a big winnah, that is, a most high and mighty god. Let the human ... I mean, tuition sacrifices begin.

They handed out the thundersticks (thunderstix?) pre-game, and although I didn't go, we had a couple show up at our apartment ... I think they were Lyndsey's. Anyway, my roomies enjoyed giving me a beat down, punishing the stompy Asian people who live above us, and causing bleeding ear drums with them :)

Yay Bobcats! Here's to a year in which we maybe do not suck! As much!

Friday, September 09, 2005

Familiar story

From Inside the Vatican:
How Bishops Discourage Vocations (and the Key to Attracting Them)

by John Mallon

In the mid 1990s, I attended a clergy meeting in the diocese where I was employed as the newspaper editor. The meeting was to discuss ideas to increase vocations to the priesthood, because the diocese was facing a crisis. Predictably, the discussion was going nowhere until the retired archbishop raised his hand, stood up and said,
"“Why don't we study those dioceses which are attracting vocations, like Lincoln, Nebraska, and Arlington, Virginia, and see what they are doing and what we can learn from that." I smiled to myself, eager to see the response to his suggestion, because I knew that the reason those dioceses were attracting so many vocations would be utterly unacceptable to this group of priests. Predictably, the priests just looked at each other and said nothing. No one responded to the archbishop's suggestion.

The answer was obvious. I may have even taken the retired archbishop aside and told him, but I suspect he already knew. The plain simple answer was that the bishops of those dioceses, Bishops Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln and the late John Keating of Arlington, were both explicitly, vocally and publicly committed to orthodoxy in Catholic teaching and practice. Meanwhile, the dominant priests of this diocese were known for being firmly committed to dissent.

Leaving aside the question of whether the Lord is going to bless dissent with abundant vocations is the other more practical question of what young man, firmly committed to and in love with the Lord and His Church, is going to seek ordination in a diocese where the clergy has a reputation for chewing up orthodox people, both clerical and lay, and spitting them out? Martyrdom is sometimes inevitable, but what sane person seeks it? ...

I hrecommendcomend the entire piece. While liberal bishops dnecessarilysarily experience failure in attracting vocations (there are liberal prelates on both coasts who have well-stocked seminaries) the vocations that are attracted are generally highly orthodox. The article goes on to note that this sort of resurgence in orthodoxy is holding true for women religious, as well. I certainly can't think of too many young, heterodox Catholic girls thinking about taking the veil. Of course, I'm sure there are exceptions.

The only thing I would take issue with is the artcle's assertion that a main aspect of discernment is whether a particular diocese is "good" or not. A religious vocation is, obviously, a long-term commitment, and there is no guarantee that a "good" bishop will be replaced by another "good" bishop (see the sad case of Arlington, VA). On the other hand, there is certainly not much of an incentive to go into a diocese that is currently a mess. I am not, for instance, motivated to specially seek out any communities in the Diocese of Rochester.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Who is that moron, Eminence?

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"Oh, Holiness, that's just the village idiot of Athens, Ohio."

Which would be ME! ;)

Yes, due to popular demand (see the comments for the post below) I will relate to you the story of the 1,523,735th time I have made a fool of myself this week.

Tuesday - I think it was Tuesday - I went to the apartment office to pick up the Resident Manual, which I hadn't gotten when I moved in (that is a whoooole other story). Anyway, on the way back I stopped to get our mail. As I walked along, I paid much more attention to paging through the letters and catalogs than I did to where I was walking. Long story short, I walked into apartment 201 instead of 301! And there were people there, two girls and one guy. They all gave me looks like, "Huh?" and I imagine I gave them a "Huh?" look, too. Then I said something to the effect of, "Am I in the wrong apartment? I'm in the wrong apartment. Sorry!" and lit out of there as fast as I could.

The one thing that bothers me is that now that I think about it, I'm not sure it was apartment 201. It might have been 203. However, it is much more comforting to be "sure" about it - since therefore I only have to worry about running into one set of people - so I will just go on saying to myself and others that it was apartment 201.

Dunce strikes again! :)

(Note: The photo above is actually a news photo from when Papa was in Cologne; I believe the prelate next to him is Cardinal Meisner. Who knows what they were looking at :)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Well, I'm on my second day of classes. Yesterday I had a fine arts class and a history class. The fine arts class is on art and religion (yay!) but included a disclaimer about how if we were particularly religious we would probably be offended (boo). However, I am a grown-up and I realize that being offended is an inevitable part of life. I hate PC, anyway, so I should be consistent ...

My history class seemed ok - although we have to read, read, read, a whole lot! I'm in that class with Lauren, at least. The professor also said that he likes to bash Europe, "especially the French." (!)

Today got off to a rotten start, however. I am in a 400 level journalism course - magazine writing. From what I can see on the syllabus, it is going to be the Class From Hell. I always seem to have a Class From Hell, except for that one quarter where I had two Classes From Hell. Anyway, there is going to be a lot of writing, and criticizing of writing, and research. And coming up with ideas, ideas, ideas! That is the part I seem to have the most trouble with - ideas for stories that I could find sources for and really flesh out, etc. Not good, since it's the first step and all! My brain is a dried-up turnip when it comes to this sort of stuff. If anyone has any ideas for stories I could do on a college campus, feel free to leave a comment. Those of you who have been reading for a while may remember how long it took me to come up with the one major story idea I needed for my newswriting class! Auuugh!

Breathe, Maggie, breathe, lol! Over the summer I went through my blog archives and read all my posts, and I noticed that I always panicked at the beginning of every quarter, whether the challenge was a Latin class or a Public Speaking class. I think it has to do with the shock of getting back into the swing of things. I have soldiered through a lot of stuff in the past, and I will get through this, too, with God's help, of course :) I'm such a drama queen.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Home sweet Athens

Well, I'm all moved in to my apartment with my four lovely roomies!

My room is very nice and much larger than the single I had last year. There is room to turn around, for instance. Just kidding, it wasn't quite that bad living in Lincoln Hall, but that's what it felt like!

There are only two problems with our apartment: First the carpet, although appearing clean, keeps making our feet dirty. Hmmmm. Steam-cleaning, landlady, steam-cleaning! Also, the insides of our sofa cushions appear to be made of stainless steel. Actually, they are filled foam, but it produces about the same effect. The girls and I have had a very amusing time jumping on the cushions in a thus-far vain attempt to get them to soften up. It seemed to work pretty well for the seat cushions, but we are still facing resistance from the back cushions! Oh well, all that jumping is good exercise.

I went to St. Paul's on Sunday, and Father used a new Eucharistic prayer. However, he did take care to mention that it was "already approved." It seemed to be a fairly orthodox prayer, using words like "hallow these gifts" etc. However, I think it was one of those "special occasion" Eucharistic prayers, because the "theme" of the Mass (the focus of the homily and the Prayers of the Faithful) was prayer for the victims of the Hurricane. Anyway, it was definitely not one of the revised, pumped-up-for-orthodoxy Eucharistic prayers we are still awaiting from ICEL. Sigh. Patience, patience.

Their daily Mass on Labor Day was very reverently celebrated, although Father had no altar servers. Today he had an old man serving the Mass. There were quite a few people there, too. Much more than I expected, anyway!

Monday, September 05, 2005

Rest in peace

William Rehnquist

I think that the Chief Justice will be best remembered for his conservative view of the proper relationship between the states and the federal government. I, myself, will always remember him for being one of only two justices (he was then a very new associate judge) to produce a dissenting opinion when Roe v. Wade was decided. His dissenting opinion on the flag-burning issue also sticks in my mind, not because I necessarily agree with it, but because he was so passionate in defense of the Star-Spangled Banner. He was a good man.

President Bush has decided to nominate John Roberts for Rehnquist's seat. He would certainly be a very young chief justice! Interestingly, long ago (but not in a galaxy far, far away) Judge Roberts served as one of Justice Rehnquist's law clerks. I wonder whom the president will nominate to fill the now-vacant-again post once held by Sandra Day O'Connor. Whomever he chooses, I hope it is a sold, clearly conservative candidate. I like Judge Roberts, but I do not have the stomach for two "stealth" nominees, I don't think ... ;)

Sunday, September 04, 2005


I was catching up on my blog reading (oh what a productive use of my time) when I discovered that the wonderful blog Blogodoxy is over!

Basically, it was a blog that included contributions from both Catholics and members of the Eastern Orthodox Churches - the two Churches that have all seven sacraments and apostolic succession; in other words, the two representatives of ancient Christianity. As the final post jokingly stated:

Benedict XVI is very upset that this effort at East/West dialogue has failed. This is a serious blow to Christian unity. In fact he now wants the bones of St John Chrysostom back again. Please contact me so that the arrangements can be made.

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I don't think anything would induce Papa to ask for the relics of St. John Chrysostom back again. ;) Still, we shouldn't sell efforts like Blogodoxy short. Personally, I think it's very true that it will probably be through this kind of contact and discussion on the individual level that the greatest strides toward reunion with the East will be made. In the meantime we can count on Papa to keep trying through the "official" channels. :)

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Get busy, Europe!

Or to be more precise, do not simply get busy, but get busy while respecting the profound nature of the sexual act, and be open to the action of God and His gift of new life.

In other words, have more babies!

So said Papa in his weekly audience at the Vatican.

He spoke in reference to the collapsing birth rates in many European countries. In the near future, having a large family may come to be viewed as a duty, simply to maintain Europe's infrastructure. I know that in some European countries they actually pay women to have babies - my father's relatives in Austria, I believe, received money when their children were born.

Now probably everyone knows that the Catholic Church opposes all forms of artificial contraception, as contraception deforms the meaning of sex and thus, harms human dignity. The Church does affirm that responsible family planning is an important obligation for married people. To this end, Natural Family Planning (NFP) is quite acceptable. (Note to the terminally uninformed press corps: NFP is not, not, NOT the "rhythm method.")

However, you don't have to be a Catholic to realize the dire straits a contracepting culture can find itself in. You don't even have to be a Christian, or believe in God. You just have to accept the science about reproduction. What is the main activity most species are oriented toward? What does a successful species do well? What eventually happens when a species fails to reproduce often enough?

Friday, September 02, 2005

Kanye West goes off the script

At the NBC live televised benefit for Hurricane Katrina victims, rapper Kanye West departed from the prepared script in order to go on a riff about "his people" who were suffering in New Orleans, specifically how white looting families were described as "getting food" while black looters were described as thieves. He also stated that soldiers had been given permission to go into New Orleans "and shoot us." Mr. West also wrapped up by saying that "George Bush doesn't care about black people."

Now, he was on stage with comedian Mike Myers (the Austin Powers guy) who was obviously discomfited by this performance. Immediately after the remark about the president, NBC cut away. You can see an MSNBC video of the incident on this page.

First of all, politicizing a benefit concert is not a smart idea. Secondly, what on earth does he mean by "his people"? I would like to point out that, in spite of the divisive attempts by black racists and white racists, all of the people on the Gulf Coast are Americans. Which means that they are all our people.

I hope this outburst does not cause adverse effects for Red Cross donations. Some of the more rabid Republicans might not be able to see the big picture. ::Gulp::

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Two days to lift-off

I'm moving back to Athens on Saturday. Whoo hoo, whoo hoo.

Don't worry, I won't forget the television. You can all breathe a most massive sigh of relief ;)

However, I must admit that packing has been rather difficult. I think it's because I let it go until the last minute, like I always do. I think some of my confusion is because we are living in a furnished apartment this year, and I kind of forget what is already provided. The dorms were ick, ick, ick, as well as predictable ;) It will be much fun to be awaaaay from the germ incubating residence halls.

On a happier note, today I stopped in at Panera Bread (did I spell that with the right number of ns and rs?) where my great friend Shannon is now working. She looked so cute in her apron and cap! I bet she is the only person who could make that outfit look good, har har. I ordered an apple juice, and I am pleased to report that my purchase was completed very quickly and with correct change and everything! Very good! The customer is satisfied! ;)

Note on Katrina: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops reports that all of the Bishops in the disaster area have been accounted for, except for Bishop Sam G. Jacobs of Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana, although they've heard from a priest who saw him recently. Here's an article describing all the necessary adjustments being made to accommodate the affected dioceses; lots of Catholic schools to the north are having an influx of students, and the Archbishop of New Orleans has set up a chancery in an old elementary school.