Friday, August 30, 2002

To my anonymous poster who stated 'Staying put to affect change in a bad parish is not an option for everyone.....'

Seminarian Todd Reitmeyer has some helpful advice in the comments under August 28th below. You are right about the difficulties of making this kind of a commitment, I admit to being fortunate in my dioceses (NYC and Brooklyn) and my parishes. From the struggles of loved ones, I know (second-hand) that there can be a terrible toll in assuming this duty. I wish that I had graced answers for you. Based on your comments, I can only assume that this is an issue you do take seriously and with which you struggle. The best advice that I can offer is to speak to your priest about that struggle.

Thursday, August 29, 2002

Thanks to a posting (look for the section "Hands Across The Pew") by David Alexander , I interrupt my regularly scheduled mental meanderings to indulge in a tirade of hostile and sanctimonious indignation...

I Ain't My Brother's Keeper

Why is it that so many Catholic bloggers seem to share the opinion that the Troubles in the Church are someone else's responsibility? Apparently, our ability to accuse others somehow relieves us of any responsibility for the mess we are in. It's almost as though by accusing others, we excuse ourselves. I'm beginning to think that Church would do the world a favor if, at Baptism, we handed out mirrors as well as candles.

The very Catholic bloggers who are so quick to highlight pastoral dereliction of duty, pat themselves on the back for their deliberate and determined abdication of their own duties as Catholics. Instead of staying in damaged parishes and fighting the good fight, they applaud their own lack of courage and fidelity as demonstrated by their running away to some nice safe parish that meets their criteria of acceptable Catholicism. They accuse others of being cafeteria Catholics but it never occurs to them that they are 'white flight' Catholics who flee our troubled parishes because its too inconvenient or too demanding to live with (and reform) the riff-raff. Some bloggers are actually smug in their choice to neglect the greater good of the Church in preference to their self-indulgent sanctity. What can I say? Pats on the back all around ?

Sorry, boys and girls-- Catholicism 101: When a Catholic accuses the Church, he accuses himself. As you judge your bishops for their dereliction, so you too will be judged. At least, the bishops appear repentant, but you (who can judge the hearts of men)... you applaud yourselves. Whether you are converts or reverts or cradles ignorant of communion, you just don't seem to get it. We are not only persons before the Lord. We are one people in Christ.

A lot of today's faithful Catholics are severely deficit in this sense of the faith. They may be intellectually convinced of the Catholic truth but they seem to have a tough time dealing with the practical applications of that truth. Today, every one is 'a Catholic but...'

Gerard Serafin (Bless his blog) posted a link to A Crisis of Fidelity': George Weigel on Renewing the U.S. Catholic Church. In the article, Weigel claims "It's not a question of fidelity to institutional structures. It's a question of fidelity to the truth." Actually, it is a question of fidelity to the whole Church, including her institutions. If we had been more faithful to her institutions, we wouldn't be in quite the mess we find ourselves. If we had stayed in our home parishes and contested their destruction, we might now have home parishes in which we could celebrate our Faith.

Newsflash: For the most part, those errant priests weren't living next door to the bishop. They were living next door to us. If we weren't so busy parish hopping, we might have noticed, we might even have made a difference. This mess is our mess. It's the result of what we have failed to do and what we are failing to do. By hiding in the shadows of righteousness, many of us have abandoned the Church. Our refusal to be part of practical Catholic solutions, makes us a part of the problem.

Perhaps it is true that we live in an age when the Church in America is particularly corrupt. Or perhaps, we have simply been so corrupted as a people that we no longer recognize when we are being manipulated. The best and only way to judge this is to see what the situation is close to our own homes where we have the power to effect conversion. Whatever we discover within our own parish is fundamentally a matter for the exercise of our Catholic duty to our brothers and sisters in Christ. We transform and reform the Church one heart, one mind, at a time, We do this on a one to one basis with fellow home parishioners. If we don't do this, we ARE the crisis in the Church. We are sinful, arrogant, and slothful Catholics.

It's high time to stop patting ourselves on the back and to begin doing something useful with our hands. It's time to stop playing at Catholicism and to return home to the territorial parishes we have been neglecting and the duties we have shirked.

Hey...Roll up your sleeves, and clean out the stables. The Church, with or without you, is being reborn.

George Weigel in the same article suggests that "The Church is an earthen vessel carrying transcendent and eternal truths. It is certainly true that when the cracks in the vessel become so obvious, it's harder for the truths to be heard."

Our response must be: Ahh! but can't you see how much easier it becomes for God's own good light to shine through those very cracks....And in that startling light, we are made radically free to see our imperfections and to seek remedy for them.

Remember ... Spencer Tracy?... Boystown?... the Catholic refrain?

Instead of turning away from our sin-weakened brothers, it's time to tussle 'em to the ground, sling our arms around 'em, and limp homeward together. If others finds fault, we should have the heart to declare: "He ain't heavy, Fadda, he's my brother."

And yes, I do accuse myself ... Or my anger would be less.

Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Check out the comments that were posted by one of our seminarians. They are illuminating. My sincere thanks to Todd Reitmeyer at Musings of a Catholic Seminarian

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

I enjoy being bicultural but from where I stand I must admit that Catholic culture has always seemed so much more sensible than American culture. It is more in tune with the actual rhythms of my life. In Catholicism, the world is a manageable place since one's authority and one's responsibility are directly proportional and synchronous. I have a particular sphere of influence and my responsibility rests entirely within that sphere

I've been visiting St. Blog's parishioners today and I am a bit taken aback by the storms that seem to be raging. There is a level of frustration and outrage that is a bit disconcerting. I don't remember on which site I discovered the following attempt at explanation but somewhere someone suggested that the tempest is due to a deep seated feeling that the laity are powerless to take action to remedy the problems in the Church. The comment struck me as an accurate reflection of 'St Blogs' assumptions. At the same time, these 'parish' assumptions struck me as unrealistic in the extreme.

Many vocal bloggers seem frustrated by the very real fact that they are not bishops. I thank God that they're not. I thank God I'm not. There is a certain madness in the current conversation that reflects badly on the prudence and rationality of those contributing to that conversation. There is a presumptuousness that dishonors us both as Americans and as Catholics. I'm reminded of a scene in the movie A Man for All Seasons. In it, Thomas Moore is arguing with the rash young man that is soon to be his son-in-law. He argues that he would give even the devil the benefit of the law, because without the protection of the law, no one can stand 'in the winds that will blow'

Before continuing, I should warn you that I may be one of the few white folks in America who believes that O.J. is not guilty of his wife's death. I am an American and this is the only legitimate place for me to stand. Either our laws are valid or we will find that we have 'nowhere to hide when the devil turns round , the laws all being cut down.'

On hearsay, people have judged that a goodly portion of our hierarchy are moral degenerates and secular criminals. As an American, I don't buy it. As a Catholic, I don't think that I'm even allowed to buy it. As far as I can tell, most of our accused Church leaders have violated neither secular nor Church law. They have simply exercised their office. That is what they are commissioned to do.

One of the ongoing arguments does involve the relationship between the religious and secular authorities. This is an area where popular opinion seems to be way off track. Personally, I think that Catholic popular opinion is being manipulated by people who see the State as capable of issuing in a New Jerusalem. But I also think that the modern premises are such that very little overt manipulation is necessary. I imagine that we will be making bad secular law from these hard cases and that, as Americans, we will learn to regret those laws. Just as today, so many people have begun to question the actions of Child Protection Services and our Public Education system. But also like today, having made our bed, I imagine that we will be forced to lie in it.

There are people who claim that the Church has brought this on Herself, but I find that argument naive. The same people who argue that accused priests have been treated too leniently, also argue in favor of respecting the confessional seal. Today, this seal applies to lay Catholics who hold equally authoritative power over 'our' young. Should we say that errant teachers are not entitled to the sacrament of penance? Or perhaps we should refuse the sacrament to drill sergeants and community leaders? Trust me, this is likely to be a future battleground

A great number of people claim that they don't agree with the manner in which the bishops have exercised their office. These lay (and clerical) Catholics feel that it is perfectly within their province to damn our bishops. They even feel some moral prerogative to put pressure on the Church to force its compliance with their particular agenda. It's an easy call. Everything wrong with the Church can be laid at the door of the various faithless bishops. I think the root of the disagreement however is less palpable and more dissident. The way I read the situation, a great number of modern Catholics simply don't think they should be subject to any authority other than their own. In other words, despite their protestations to the contrary, they are working within a Protestant reference.

Only a small time ago, the argument was being made that the bishops failed the Catholic people of North America. Now that same argument is being used against the Holy See. Suddenly, once again the 'defenders of the faith' are rushing to the defense of the Church. Maybe they are right, maybe they are wrong. What I find most striking about the conversation, however, is that it concedes points that haven't really been won. It concedes for example, the unestablished fact that our bishops are guilty of gross dereliction of duty. I don't know that they are. The case hasn't really been made to my satisfaction. Perhaps it hasn't been made to the satisfaction of the Pope.

I know that I'm giving offense. But I can't find a polite way of saying that the entire conversation seems to lack a sense of Catholicism. The ongoing discussion isn't about responsibility and it's not about appropriate lay responses to the troubles in the Church. It's about power - pure and simple. There is a rage for corporate action and a fury that the claimants lack the competence to impose their will on the Church and thus determine the greater workings of our institutions. Maybe some feel that by shouting loudly enough, no one will notice that they are shirking their very real responsibility in this crisis. If they feel powerless perhaps it is because they are not properly exercising the power naturally inherent in their established sphere.

I said at the beginning of this posting that a particular beauty of Catholicism is that we are called to a responsibility commensurate with our authority. Please, if you haven't read my last post about our neglected duty to our parishes and our local communities. do so.

Remember, the simple realities of our Faith. Each of us is a member of a parish and each of us has parish obligations. We have an obligation to live good and even exemplary lives. We have an obligation to know our priests and fellow parishioners. We can and we should pray but we should also be involved in our parishes in a meaningful way. We can tend our small corner of the Church by appropriately fulfilling our 'everyday Catholic' duties. Perhaps most significantly, we can examine our own lives and our own consciences in terms of our complicity in sin. The potential to perform penitential acts is also within our power and our authority. Since we are one body in Christ, these acts actually do impinge on the other members of the church. With luck, they may even impinge on our 'holier than thou' selves.

Thursday, August 15, 2002

This month's reflections on Catholic Communalism are now listed in the sidebar

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Vatican rejects the Dallas norms -- A last bit of good news to brighten the day.

I recently read "Humanity" by Jonathan Grover. It's a study of various totalitarian regimes of the 20th century. Though I can't say that the book was particularly insightful, I did cull some interesting observations from it.

In speaking of Nazi Germany, he observed:

Abandoning the commitment to truth has drastic implications for moral identity...When mass murder is sufficiently re-interpreted, people can support it with an unimpaired sense of moral identity.

One way of preventing the growth of any alternative sense of identity was to obliterate any private space in which this might happen. To an unprecedented degree personal life was invaded by the political.

In reference to Mao's China:

Mao had managed to turn the people into the ultimate weapon of dictatorship. That is why under him there was no real equivalent of the KGB in China. There was no need. In bringing out and nourishing the worst in people, Mao had created a moral wasteland and a land of hate.

But of course we all know that such things could never happen here. After all, this is America.

So why am I reminded of the line from "A Man for All Seasons": "This isn't Spain. This is England"

Oh well, one thing is certain - we are living in interesting times.

There's a new heresy making the rounds at St Blogs. Or perhaps it is merely anti-papist sentiment. Anyway, here's the scope:

Roman Catholics worship money. They literally expect their bishops to jump through whatever hoops they devise all for the sake of the almighty dollar.

I sure hope that our bishops are more Catholic than that. But then again... there was that whole selling of indulgences controversy.

Still I hope that our current crop of bishops will shrug off this blatant attempt to demean the Church. After all, as Mother Theresa reminds us, "God has lots of money"

From the comments section on August 13th -

Best yet is still neither the first nor the second sin. And although the second sin might indeed wise one up to the first sin, still there has to be a better way to come by that wisdom, a way that God prefers us to take and gives us the grace to take if we will have it.

The improving second sin if pushed too far reminds me of the Rasputin thesis. This infamous wandering holy man, I believe a "starets", used to preach that God loved above all to show mercy to the sinner; the more one was degraded by sin, the more mercy God could show. Since sexual sins could be very degrading, one could please God by committing plenty of them so that God could show forth his mercifulness. And Rasputin was reported to have practiced what he preached.
- Caroline

This is too good to risk the chance that people visiting might miss it.

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

I want to thank all of you for your ongoing and inspiring comments on my August 9th posting. I didn't want to interrupt the flow so I waited until today to comment. To be honest, I am unconvinced that sin makes any one a better person. Just the same, the conversation did bring to mind an idea I once heard that was very persuasive.

The argument was that sin itself can act to retrieve a person from an alternate sin. Basically, the idea is that there are some sins to which the 'average Catholic Joe' might be particularly susceptible. These would be things like complacency, self-satisfaction, self-righteousness, a lack of charity to the virtuously-challenged, rash judgement and condemnation, sins of sloth etc. The danger of these particular sins is that they can become deeply entrenched in our souls so that they appear to be mere character flaws or quirks rather than acts of sin. They might even appear under the guise of saintliness.

A swift and visible fall from grace into a publicly recognized sin can act as a wake-up call requiring us to recognize the actual state of our souls. By this measure, the visible sins of some of the major tele-evangelists for example might actually have worked good in forcing people (including the sinner himself) to confront their own relationship with evil. We are forced to confront the very condemnation that we are prone to indulge in. This could possibly effect a change in heart and a deepening of compassion.

This argument assumes that, in the 'fall from grace', we have succumbed to weakness in the face of recognized sin and that we are honest both in our sin and in our repentance. In other words, we comprehend the nature of our act and we are justly humiliated (or should I say humbled) in our sin. It assumes a willingness to self-examination and an openness to the movement of grace.

The visible sin might then be considered as the lesser of two evils. It might even serve as a wedge between the sinner and his prior commitment to an alternate sin. At the subjective level, it is a lesser evil than the original 'habit of the heart'. The visible sin to which the sinner lacks attachment presents a lesser danger to the sinner than the habitual sin to which he had become so attached. On an objective level, the visible sin might also be a lesser evil because the corruption of complacency and self-aggrandizement might be more offensive to God than the sin of .. I don't know... occasional drunkenness... a brawl... a gambling rush.

Perhaps this isn't a case of sin making one a virtuous person so much as it is the case of the lesser sin making one a less sinful person. If the effect of the second sin is to detach one from the first sin without establishing an attachment to the second, you could argue that the second sin 'improves' the sinner. All things considered, I guess ...I concede.

Monday, August 12, 2002

Now is a good time to be Catholic. It's a time when people are coming face to face with the teachings of the Church. This may be a difficult process for some but it is a good thing.

There are people in the parish wrestling with the reality that our Bishops, even though imperfect, are our Bishops.

There are others who hope that financial coercion will force the bishops to bow to their collective will.

There have even been some who would threaten the faithful for their loyalty to the Church: The immigrant communities who support the Cardinal need to understand that the money they receive for their support in coming to this country come from the richer members of the Church, including the victims. (from the Middle of the Storm)

Personally, I think that it might be be equally valuable if "the richer members of the Church, including the victims" were to remember that while 'The poor man receives nourishment from the rich, ... the rich man finds salvation through the prayers of the poor."

But that is neither here nor there--

What is here and now is the Mystery of the Church in all of her paradoxical beauty. The Church is being renewed right before our eyes and so very many of us are blind to it. The real Mystery of the Church is that She is the Beloved of Christ. We must trust that mutual spousal love... And we must be constant in our prayers

Oh and there is a refreshing new blog in the parish. Karl Kohlhase of My Daily Crumbs is releasing a Catholic/Christian music CD entitled Through the Dark. People can listen to it online or request a free copy (donations are appreciated but not required).

I hope today's post doesn't sound as though I'm being unduly critical of these Catholics. That is not my intention at all. I only hope to point out how the soul searching - mandated by the Troubles in the Church - is forcing Catholics to examine their own souls and their own commitment to the faith. The opinions that people are forming and re-formulating in their efforts to 'think with the Church' are eye opening. They are mirrors to our own souls and our own struggles. In prayer and sacrifice, there is so much potential within this moment. There is the joy of filial duty and the graciousness of submission to the wisdom of God. There is the simplest act of faith in observing the customs of our culture. In the winds that now blow, we need merely hold fast to the rock of salvation.

Friday, August 09, 2002

I've been trying to avoid this post --
In response to a prior posting where I argued that sinning has never made any one a better saint, I received an email that includes the following:

As I recall it was St. Anselm who wrote the famous dictum: "The glory of God is the human person fully alive." For me fully alive means that even from our sins we learn much and come to praise God for delivering us. However, those very sins often help us grow. Nothing is without purpose. This may be heresy, but I think I am a better priest and confessor precisely because of my past sins. That's probably heresy, but so be it.

I should be able to dismiss this argument as a simple difference in opinion... but I can't. It's the quote from St. Anselm that keeps me coming back with a sense of the silliness of the sixties and a quiet anger against the generation of religious that instructed me in 'a mature understanding of the faith.'

When I was that most impressionable of creatures often referred to as the 'adolescent', there were two catch-all quotations that were used to justify stretching the boundaries of acceptable behavior. The first was "love, and do what you will." The quote by St. Anselm was the second. I suspect that the misapplication of both quotations has caused a lot of human suffering.

With the encouragement of the nuns who taught us the 'essentials of the faith', my generation learned how useful these arguments could be in keeping a clean conscience. What's that old song -- "His hands are dirty, but his thoughts are clean"? Well, my hands got dirty, but my thoughts (a.k.a. my conscience) stayed clean. I lived on the edge because 'the glory of God is man fully alive'. I was testing the limits and stretching the boundaries. With love in my heart, I could do whatever I damn well pleased.

Years later, I realized just how badly I had misused these quotes. At the time, I figured that the wild in my blood had met the stupid in my brain and I had became a wayward child. I figured it was all my own fault. Then, one day, some one remarked that St. Augustine had argued that the rule of life is to 'love God and do what you will'. This is not what we were taught and it is not at all the sense of what we were taught.

It is important to recognize that the love we were instructed to heed was a sentimental mixture of emotion and passion. It was a very sixties thing. It was love without sacrifice or the thought of sacrifice. It was carefree indulgence. It had nothing to do with God or grace or even self-examination. It was 'feeling groovy'. It was this love that we were taught to use as our guide in determining what we would do.

Today, it is commonplace to blame the sixties generation for all the troubles of a broken world. In one sense, this is fair. The world is broken and we are responsible for a lot of the breakage. But there are days when the old adages resurface, and I become aware of how deliberately we were led astray. Believe me, we were most carefully taught to raise hell. We were incredibly naive but we were good at our lessons. The result is that we did indeed raise hell and now we are all forced to live there.

For the record, I have unlearned my high school lessons. Today, I understand how to "love God and do what I will." I recognized that the essential key (the one the nuns forgot to mention) is the love of God. The secret is in putting the requirements of the Creator God before any of our man-made considerations. Since God's definitions are more true than our own, our service to Him naturally leads us to our authentic and perhaps unknown selves. Today, I can appreciate that "the glory of God is man fully alive." I know all about the slavery of sin and the wages of death. Christ came to give us life and to give it to us in abundance. It is by conforming ourselves to Christ, that we experience the fullness of life and the joy of our creation. It is only in the imitation of Him that we experience our authentic freedom.

"I wish that...I knew...what I know now...when I was younger"

I know that I am responding to a memory and not to the argument in the e-mail. I've already said that I think the argument is silly and I'm more than happy to agree to disagree.

I doubt that this particular priest has ever employed St. Anselm's infamous quote to encourage sin in the unsophisticated but the memory of my own naivete is hard to shake. This is a quotation that signaled a rejection of the moral order for an entire generation of Catholic kids. I admit that we were dumb-stupid to fall for this line of reasoning. The thing is this: there may be some dumb-stupid kids in the current generation. It's time to either retire these quotations or to more clearly articulate their meaning.

Thursday, August 08, 2002

Just a quick note --

Logic forces me to a belief in God. He is the only alternative to self-deification.

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

There may be only two institutions that are the natural enemy of totalitarianism. This first is the family and the second is the Church. The first incorporates the full flowering of womanhood while the second incorporates the guardianship of men.

For at least the last half century, feminine principles and institutions have been under attack. As a result, the family has been decimated. Similar attacks on masculine virtues and institutions are well underway.

Today, it would appear that the Church is caught in this crossfire. I imagine that it would be silly - perhaps even dangerous - to ignore the sexual politics implicit in the current conversation on Church Reform.

I am not a man and it would be dishonest for me to pretend a deeper understanding of masculine structures than I actually possess. Still, I do recognize that hierarchy, rank, uniforms, rituals, the bond of brothers, and a cult of collective discretion are somehow related to the masculine exercise of heroic virtues.

The 'manly' professions all incorporate these discredited externals. Soldiers, police, firemen, priests and even, to some extent, doctors have these masculine accoutrements that in some strange way manage to make heroism commonplace.

Like all institutional structures, these externals may have some inherent weaknesses. Nothing human is perfect. Just the same, I suspect that the strengths more than compensate for the weaknesses.

Before we decide to stripe our society of these remnants of 'patriarchy,' we should explore their inherent significance in the natural order of things.

After all, who ever suspected that the apparently innocent and superficially reasonable demands of a vocal group of feminists would lead to our current state of broken-ness.

It's possible that these male institutions are also an integral part of the mystery of the soul's incarnation.

For a while at least, we will be engaged in a significant struggle to rebuild a truly Catholic feminism. Why add to the mess?

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

I have a friend who is Unitarian. Her single defining principle appears to be that 'the truth is one, men speak it variously.' Whatever one might say about God, she understands that his intended meaning agrees with her trite wisdom. Every statement is reduced to an analogy of her more 'profound understanding.' There can be nothing new in her particular vision because the new is simply a metaphor for what she already understands. She has the tiniest god I've ever seen. He fits inside her head.

Monday, August 05, 2002

God created heaven and earth. For each of the first five days of creation, God looked on his work and He judged it. He declared the goodness of His creation. On the sixth day God created Adam. He looked on his creation and He judged it. He said "IT IS NOT GOOD for man to be alone." To mend the problem of man, God separated the androgynous Adam into the masculine Adam and the feminine Eve. Then He judged what He had done and declared it to be good.

There is something essentially 'not good' in androgyny. We have a visceral reaction against people who approach this psychological or rather spiritual state. The too feminine man gives us the willies and the too masculine woman sets our teeth on edge. This isn’t a response to sexual orientation. It is a reaction to androgyny. It is the prissy man, not the poet, who offends; and it is the hard-edged woman rather that the athlete that grates. There is something not good in androgyny.

I mention this because of the ongoing discussion about the feminization of the Church. Some argue that it is a good thing and that we need more of it. Others argue in favor of reversing this trend. I would suggest that it is the wrong argument.

The Church in America is not being feminized. Instead, like our more general society, the Church is being de-gendered. If we want to reverse this tendency, we must advance and defend the masculine elements in the Church. It is within their shadow that femininity finds a will and a reason to flourish. God has arranged things in such a way that the truly masculine calls into being the truly feminine. It makes the truly feminine possible.

For over thirty years, I have argued against the feminists by declaring that it is in the Catholic Church where a woman will find the milieu most supportive of her femininity. It is from within this sanctuary that a women can maintain her fullness and yet still meet the dehumanizing and de-feminizing demands of secular society. It is here, within the masculine structure of the Church, that she can experience the deep-centered-ness that constitutes womanhood.

Catholicism has always served to enhance and glorify her daughters. The vibrancy of women in traditional Catholic cultures can not be denied. Such dangerously empowered women are as much of a stereotype as the Dolce Vita.

Those who presume that they do woman a favor in pursuing a feminist agenda are wrong. They are merely arguing that sexual amputees are more viable - or perhaps safer and more easily managed - than full bodied men and women. They create a brave new world in which wild passionate love becomes outlaw. They will give birth to a society of wanton rage.

[A Note of Clarification:]
It is only in marriage that sexual love achieves true wilderness and passion. Anything less is tame and calculating. In the final analysis, it isn't even love at all...

Friday, August 02, 2002

I know I said that I wouldn't be posting but I am stuck here for just a little bit longer - So I've been touring the parish...

There's quite a bit of "power to the people" going on over at In Between Naps [ 8/2/2002... VOTF: its leadership and goals. etc]. I still haven't decided whether the American Troubles is a replay of medieval Spain or medieval England. Either way, I am glad that Americans are only 6% of the Church.

Between the reformers and the restorers, I'm reminded of that old Biblical saying:"And after they had crucified him, they divided his garments, casting lots; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: They divided my garments among them; and upon my vesture they cast lots."

It makes me thankful that we have a Polish Pope...

I also find it reassuring to know:

"The stone, which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? 18 Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be bruised: and upon whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder."

Today, I have summer running through my veins. Every time I try to sit still and write something -- anything -- I find myself distracted by a sense of sheer pleasure. There is something about a Friday afternoon when the sun is baking and the boardwalk beckons... It's simply irresistible! Today, I'm playing hookey!

Just in case you're housebound and you're looking for something to read, I'll pass along the following:

Scandal Time III - Richard John Neuhaus This is definitely a "must-read". I've listed it in the sidebar under Other Voices so if you don't get to it this weekend, you can always find it later.

And in light of our discussion, I found this jewel over at First Things - Subversive Virginity by Sarah E. Hinlicky

Enjoy the weekend!