Wednesday, April 30, 2014

dual canonization

More thoughts on Sunday's dual canonization.

waterboard bong hits for Jesus

*sigh* where to begin...falling down the logic tree, hitting every branch as we go....

Sarah Palin equates water-boarding with baptism.  <<cue the AFLAC duck>>

Now before any more, confession time:  I voted for McCain/Palin in 2008.  I don't regret the choice of McCain for president, but Palin?  You betcha.  She demonstrated her inability to provide executive-branch leadership when she resigned her office as Alaska's governor prior to completing her first term.  Since then she glorified in her self-lit spotlight (to quote Collective Soul's great song), calling Pope Francis a liberal among other questionable statements.  (Earlier SD assessment here)  Write it off as ignorance or whatever, but this time her words now place her beyond the pale of Christian discourse.  "Waterboarding is baptism" ranks up there with double-speak classics like "We had to destroy this village in order to save it." 

OTOH, Palin used to be helpful when it came to uncovering the violent antipathies of the feminist Left.  Holy Cow, is there anybody they hate more?  At one level I get it;  Amanda Marcotte says and writes some awful things, but it's also clear that Marcotte also gins up her rhetoric to ignite controversy.  Palin, well, at least early on it seemed that she was hated for being herself.

Back to baptizing through torture:  absolutely not.  I'd ask "Who came up with that awful idea?" but, as indicated above, there are plenty reading to point fingers.  And as Rod Dreher shows, there are plenty of other Christians reading and willing to administer the sacrament.  Deacon Greg Kandra compiles the appropriate church documents here.  Among everything else helpful here, I appreciate Deacon Greg's citation of St John Paul II's Veritatis Splendor (1993) which in turn...cites Gaudium et Spes 27 !!! (see footnote #132)  #gospeloflife #consistentlifeethic Even waterboarding, which it seems tries actually to circumvent the criticisms of torture by leaving no lasting physical damage, nevertheless remains torture.  The momentary pain and panic it relies upon deny the Creator's handiwork in the person being tortured.  Furthermore, the torturer thus casts himself as God-like and possibly even replaces God with himself. 

Spiritual Diabetes sales pitch:  If you accept that argument, have you seen what we offering in regard to abortion? Or capital punishment?  These work on the same principles and since you accept in one location, why not all?  All three deny the intrinsic dignity of the human person. Thus the Church acknowledges the Gospel standing apart from both extremes--Palin and Marcotte--and anybody else using "life" to obscure, excuse, and even praise various kinds of violence.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

while you're waiting...

consider the wit and humor of Eye of the Tiber.  A site/blog that makes the Internet worthwhile with spot-on humor about Catholicism's encounter with the modern world.  "Breaking Catholic News So You Don't Have To"...but often it makes more sense some of the actual news sources.  EOTT takes on papal canonizations, liturgical innovations, Pope Francis popularity, and the rights and roles of Catholics in the public square.  And you will laugh.

And when you're done there, don't stop but proceed straight to The Lutheran Satire on YouTube.  The St Patrick's bad analogies, Mormon missionaries, Westboro Church, and contemporary worship videos are particularly funny.   "That's Modalism, Patrick!"  H/T a former student now an evangelical pastor who sent me this criticism of Joel Osteen's theology.

It takes a sharp, orthodox theological mind and a good, subtle sense of humor to execute this sort of stuff and these accomplish it so effortlessly.  So so good.  On that note, G. K. Chesterton concluded Orthodoxy (1908): 

"Joy, which was the small publicity of the pagan, is the gigantic secret of the Christian....There was something that [Jesus] hid from all men when He wnet up a mountain to pray.  There was something that He covered constantly by abrupt silence or impetuous isolation. There was some one thing that was too great to God to show us when He walked upon our earth; and I have sometimes fancied that it was His mirth."

Just before that, Chesterton: "by [Christianity's] creed joy becomes something gigantic and sadness something special and small."  Yep, that's pretty much it--and so we should laugh a little at our human pretensions.  We are not God and remembering that allows us to understand that whatever oppresses us isn't God, either.

Monday, April 28, 2014

at the corner of John XXIII and Pius X

Wow, one month and so much to blog about.  It'll happen...eventually.  Grateful for all of you ("all y'all" as we'd say back home) for keeping in touch.  Among the topics to be investigated:
Bishop Edward Scharfenberger's installation on April 10 as Albany's 10th bishop
*  my rediscovery of Jesus Christ Superstar 
*  And yesterday's "Day of Four Popes" -- the canonizations of St. John XXIII and St. John Paul II

On that last note, a couple teasers....
*  Angelo Roncalli was ordained to the priesthood in 1904 in Rome and, just days later, met Pope St. Pius X.  The meeting and Pius' legacy always remained with Roncalli;  even as pope John frequently quoted Pius X approvingly. This intersection--surely not coincidental--between the two men who both served as Archbishop of Venice and Bishop of Rome should figure more prominently than it has.  There's one place in Rome where you'll always reminded since you literally stand at the intersection of John XXIII and Pius X.

*And amid all the dual canonization furor, Kathryn Fernandez contributes a helpful reminder that sometimes a special day just doesn't come together.  I think Kathryn's comments provide a neat foil to both the hagiographies and the equally vocal (but numerically smaller) accounts questioning the rush to canonize either Wojtyla, Roncalli, or both.  Her words also attest to our continual need for grace.  God's mercy and love fuels the Church, not our good intentions, warm feelings, or (self) righteous anger.  Augustinian, not Pelagian.

Kathryn includes this photo:
Down at the bottom...that clump of trees?  That's the intersection of John XXIII and Pius X. Notice how the crowd reaches even there (around the corner, view completely obstructed)....and beyond.  Don't be surprised when our convenient readings of Catholic history become, upon further consideration, more not less complicated.