Monday, July 29, 2002

20 OUT OF 20!!!
I took the ESPN.com Sports IQ test and got 20 out of 20 questions right!

If only the 2 Minute Drill was still on the air, I could make some money!

UPDATE: I am well aware that my 20/20 above probably has more to do with luck than an accurate reflection of my knowledge.
READ THIS NOW
I'm not a fan of imperative bloggings, but I had to indulge in this case. If there's a part of your mind that thinks that the Catholic Church is dying, or that the Pope is out of touch, read Gerard Serafin's account of World Youth Day, and see what's really going on. Thank you, Gerard, for your words of hope.

I was lucky enough to be here in St. Louis when the Pope visited in 1999, and it is something that will be with me forever. Whenever I see the Pope I think of different types of power. Other worls leaders might have the power to raise armies and commit acts of war, but the Pope has the power to gather one million people together to pray for peace. The Pope has the power to ask for and receive mercy for a condemned criminal. And the Pope has the power to turn our depair and anger at the Church into hope.

Of course, the Pope doesn't have this on his own; it comes from God in the Holy Spirit, the same Holy Spirit all of us have access to. There's been a lot of discussion about who should have administrative power in the Church. Have we considered how we can best use the power we have access to through the Holy Spirit? John Paul II shows us a wonderful example.

Thursday, July 25, 2002

APOLOGY
Another read through these comments reveals that Dreher is holding back on the story for the sake of sources who wish to remain anonymous, rather than just to hold onto his job. That makes some of my comments below inappropriate.

That still doesn't excuse the rumor-mongering, however.
STOP THE GOSSIP
Over at Amy Wellborn's comments, readers are taking Rod Dreher and others to task for propagating the "gay cardinal" rumor.

I'm glad. If there's something there, expose it. If not, shut up. And I don't care "how journalism works." If the presence of a gay cardinal is the disaster Dreher says it is, then that shouldn't prevent him from going public. In case he hasn't noticed, there's these things called "web logs" and other media that allow one to make writings public without having to go through an editor.

Well, that might cost him his job. So what? If exposing the gay cardinal is the moral imperative Dreher is saying it is, then why should that stop him. Is that too great a sacrifice to make?

But Dreher wants to have it both ways. He wants to get the "benefit" of exposing the gay cardinal while not sacrificing anything himself. But when someone is saying something is really important, but is not willing to put his own neck on the line to expose it, I get suspicous.

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

BETTER "EMOTIONAL MEMORY"?
I can't help but wonder if, had the results been reversed, the headline of this story would be "Study: Men Slower to Forgive."

Monday, July 22, 2002

PEDESTRIAN MUSIB
Steve Schultz at Catholic Light thinks that "pedestrian" music at Mass is a problem, and bishops ought to do something about it.

I disagree. At Mass, we celebrate the miracle of the ordinary or pedestrian becoming sacred. The ordinary bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus. It is not we who make the offering perfect, but God. We do not insist that wine be of the finest vintage, and that the bread from the best bakery. We use the blandest, most "pedestrian" bread imaginable, and we rightly complain when some parishes find it neccesary to sweeten it up.

So to say that certain songs aren't fit for Mass because they are "pedestrian" is to forget what it is we're doing. If a song is promoting a backwards theology, then perhaps it shouldn't be used. But I found it telling that that the best example they could come up with for this was in the rarely sung fourth verse of Haugen's "Gather Us In."

Schultz goes on to write, "It is not about "fellowshipping" or singing about how great we are. It is the perpetual sacrifice of Christ re-presented to the Father. It is the prayer of God the Son to God the Father."

Yes and no. The Mass isn't just fellowship, and any efforts to make it such are wrong. But Christ comes to us in sharing a meal, which is a cultural sign of fellowship, so it's appropriate that it be part of what we do at Mass. When one reads the Acts of the Apostles, you can see how important fellowship was to the early Church, and how that intermingled into their prayer life, and the "breaking of the bread."

Monday, July 15, 2002

MICKEY KAUS ASKS:
And why do we think that encouraging the Islamic schools to "modernize" -- by offering "computer classes" and making "the Internet available" to students -- will produce fewer potential Islamic terrrorists as opposed to potentially more effective, modernized Islamic terrorists, at least in the short run?

Warning -- This is one subject on which I am an unrepentant naive idealogue.

Because if these students are exposed to the Internet, and from there can see pictures of Americans and Westerners, and interact with us, maybe they'll be less likely to believe crazed leaders who want to recruit them to kill themselves while blowing us up.

I think the emergence of global technology is one reason why it's somewhat difficult to get Americans behind any foreign war. Whenever we attack another country, we see pictures of the the people who were just bombed, and get vivid images of their suffering. It brings the reality of war home, and for me at least, it makes it hard for me to approve of doing it again to someone else. I think this is a good thing.

Yes, familiarity doesn't always breed peace. Jonah Glodberg is fond of pointing out that Palestinians and Isrealies are quite familiar with each other, as are Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireleand, and that hasn't stopped them from waging bloody street wars against each other. But these are age-old conflicts. Muslims may have an ancient grievance against "the West" in general, but not the US in particular. Leaders are trying to scapegoat the US as to blame for all of its problems, and that's going to be hard to do if "the Arab street" is a little more familiar with us.

Kaus is right about one thing in his last sentence -- "at least in the short run" this may give some terrorists a leg up. But Muslims are not going to be without computers forever, and it seems to me that it would be good if when they do get them, they come with some directions written by the US.

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

THE PROBLEM
Anthony Marquis points his finger at the root cause of the "dissent" problem (though he doesn't say so) when he says the following about Catholic high school students:
Yes, the students are taught what we believe as Catholics, but they do not get the historical foundations nor the theological/philosophical rational.

Then, when they students reach adulthood, and are confronted with the culture and peers who don't share Catholic views, they are poorly equipped to defend them, either to others, or themselves. Is it any wonder so many of us then end up riding with the winds of popular opinion, rather than our rich tradition and history?

Some of this is laziness, but some of this comes from a "we don't need to say why" attitude. That works in the short term with kids, but doesn't work with adults. Yes, we should accept the Church's teachings, but I think it would be easier for us to do it if we were presented with the beauty and foundations for those teachings.
NO WINNERS HERE
I know it wasn't anybody's fault, but I couldn't help but think that Bud Selig got the All-Star game he deserved -- no winner. That's probably how the labor dispute will play out as well.

I was watching the end of the game mostly out of morbid curiosity about what would happen. It's always fun to see the last guy in the bullpen pitch 6 innings of relief in an extra inning game. I was wondering how it would end.

One solution that nobody mentioned -- what if Freddy Garcia just threw batting practice fastballs in the bottom of the 11th (or 10th) and let the NL score a run? Yes, that would have negated the "competitive" nature of the game, but "commissioner declares the game a tie" already had a WWF (now WWE) feel to it. I guess it's a pride thing -- Garcia would rather not just throw the game, but I think even a bogus NL win would have been more satisfying than a time-limit draw (oops, "tie", I keep forgetting this isn't the WWF).

I also think the montages in the beginning of the game have gotten a bit tiresome (even if this year's was sponsored by my employer). It was special to review the Century's best players in 1999 and 2000. Now, it seems that we're going to be treated to these pre-produced packages every year. Sure, there were some great moments, and it was nice to see Willie Mays and Hank Aaron, but play ball! The game didn't even start until 8:00 Central Time. When I was a kid growing up on the East Coast, my bed time was 9:00. Maybe my folks would have let me stay up for the first inning, maybe not.

I have to admit I teared up when I saw Matt Morris flash "DK" and "57" when he was introduced. I could tell Benito Santiago was moved as well. It's strange -- I don't personally know Darryl Kile or any of the Cardinals, but his death still hit me hard. You watch a baseball team almost every day through the summer, and you start to feel like you know these guys (especially in St. Louis). All of us are grieving with the Cardinals over their lost teammate.

UPDATE: I wrote my "Freddy Garcia should throw batting practice fastballs" stuff before I read Rob Neyer's column which voiced a similar idea, though this tiime recommending that Garcia do it to save his arm, not to prevent a tie.

Monday, July 08, 2002

MY LITURGICAL BEEF
I know I've come down against whining on blogs about liturgical practices, but this is one that needs to end -- the reading of a one sentence "explanation" of the readings before they are proclaimed.

Sometimes these come from the Lectionary, other times from other sources. Yesterday, each explanation tied the readings to a theme of gratitude for our country's good fortune. Seems like that should have been in the homily (except the homily was from a visting missionary giving his usual spiel that touched on Sunday's readings for about 10 seconds in the 10+ minute homily).

Why don't we simply trust the Word, and trust the Church to hear it correctly? I don't need to know that "Today, Paul instructs the Church of Corinth about the importance of love" in order to hear what Paul has to say about love. It seems to me that these "explanations" are a compensation for poor proclamation and poor homilies. It seems to me that if the readings are being proclaimed effectively, and explored adequately in the homily, no explanation should be neccesary.

And if there's on thing I don't need, it's to have some "theme" pounded into my head, and to have the readings shoehorned into that theme, whether they fit or not.

When will we simply trust the Word? When will we trust each other? Why must I prejudice your hearing of God's Word with my interpretation of it?

WHERE'S THE STARS?
Starting pitchers Tom Glavine, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, and Matt Morris have withdrawn from the All-Star Game with "injuries" that will not cause them to miss a start for their regular teams.

On the one hand, this is somewhat noble. Throwing an inning or two in the Midsummer Classic could disrupt the rhythm these pitchers are accustomed to, and end up hurting their teams. These guys are sacrificing the individual glory that could come from an All-Star appearance for the good of their teams. It seems like we should be cheering.

On the other hand, it stinks. Not to take anything away from the replacements, but they are not Tom Glavine and Randy Johnson. If this trend continues, we could see All-Star pitching staffs consisting of one or two starters (first time All-Stars will probably continue to accept the honor) and a bunch of closers and middle relief guys. Even starting pitchers who want to play in the All Star Game could face pressure from their teammates and coaches to no-show.

The result will be the continued detrerioration of the All-Star Game, which has already suffered with broadcast cable and interleague play. It may not be a unique event now to see Randy Johnson take on Jason Giambi, but at least it's more special than seeing Mike Remlinger take him on.

It seems like the Commissioner's office needs to step in and prevent this trend from continuing.

Or do away with the game altogether, if it's such a bother.