Monthly Archives: December 2008
For this Holy Night, O Holy Night sung by Renee Fleming.
One of the things I love most about our country is that it is not a state built to give expression to a particular “nationality” in the sense that swept the world like an plague in the 19th and 20th centuries. Our country shares a set of political ideals and cultural touchstones, but it is also a glorious mix of different traditions which we, as a nation of immigrants, have brought with us and continued to develop here.
In honor of which — and because it seemed to me that perhaps we could use a “getting to know each other” thread around here — I take the liberty of cross posting the following from my personal blog:
The feast of the nativity of Our Lord has traditionally been a time for feasting and the gathering of family and friends. And since taste and smell are powerful hooks for memory, many of us have intense connections to various Christmas foods and drinks. The other holiday here in the US which is heavily food-centric is Thanksgiving, yet with a few familial variations, the Thanksgiving food palette is pretty well defined. Christmas food traditions, however, are pretty various.
“It is called the Lord’s birthday when the wisdom of God presented itself to us as an infant, and the Word of God without words uttered the flesh as its voice. And yet the hidden divinity was signified to the wise men by the evidence of the heavens, and announced to the shepherds by the voice of an angel. And so we celebrate this day every year with great solemnity, because on it was fulfilled the prophecy which said,
Truth has sprung from the earth, and Justice has looked forth from heaven (Ps 84:12).
Practically buried in the news in the wake of the corruption scandal of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was the publication, on December 11, of a report by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Ranking Member John McCain (R-Ariz.) — the culmination of an 18-month long investigation into the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody:
Self-avowed atheist Penn Jillette of the Las Vegas show, Penn & Teller, is well known for his antipathy towards Christianity. But something happened to him just recently in an encounter with a practicing Christian after one of his shows. He had a profound experience that moved him and Mr. Jillette did not hesitate to post this experience on You Tube on December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
How are we, as American Catholics, to understand our Second Amendment rights? As the Constitution of the United States is a document made by man, it is subject to errors, and has contained notable ones in the past. Could it possibly be that the “right to bear arms” itself is a mistake? Certainly gun ownership has come under heavy fire in the past few decades, and while this issue hasn’t been as loud as others, it remains a divisive issue (especially since, once again, it is a polarized issue, with the loudest proponents on the Right, and the loudest opponents on the Left). Recently we on the Right celebrated what we viewed as a great victory in the battle for gun rights, as the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional the ban on guns in Washington D.C. But should we, as Catholics, see this in the same way?
Since the bad joke who happens to be the governor of my state is apparently fond of quoting Kipling, the title to this post is also from Kipling who had very little use for most politicians. A variant of the great poem “If” , much more fitting for Blagojevich, is provided by Claudia Rosett here.
Blagojevich, Chicago’s curse to the state of Illinois, might be more careful in the choice of poets he quotes. Kipling did not think much of the Windy City.
Iowahawk advises us of yet another bailout.
Something for the weekend. A stirring rendition of O Come, O Come Emmanuel.
The Our Lady of the Annunciation Monastery of Clear Creek located in Oklahoma is a booming order of Benedictine monks. They have completed their main residence hall and are currently building their church adjacent to their hall. The following is a short video explaining their progress.
To learn more about these monks and their monastery click here.
(Biretta Tip: New Liturgical Movement)
Susan B. Anthony’s List, a pro-life PAC that works diligently to promote and advocate the election of pro-life women into elected office — which is counter to Emily’s List, a pro-choice PAC that does the exact opposite — is calling pro-life Americans to action.
Historically the Catholic Church has had, or has been perceived to have, a rocky relationship with “freedom” in the sense that the term has come to be used in a political and cultural sense since the Enlightenment.
Freedom in the modern sense is often taken to mean, “I’m free to do whatever I want without anyone telling me what to do.” The Church, on the other hand, generally takes freedom to mean, “Freedom to do that which is good.” The Church sees sin as enslaving and as reducing one’s capacity to choose freely in the future, and as such even where acting contrary to the good is in no way forbidden, doing wrong is not seen by the Church as exercising “freedom”.
So the in the moral sense, the Church does not hold “freedom” in the sense of simply doing whatever you want to be a good. Rather, the Church holds doing the good to be the good, and freedom to be the means of achieving that.
I speak above in the moral sense. However, let us look now at the political question of freedom.
“A Paris reporter asked TV-Comedian Milton Berle how he felt about the Bishop Fulton Sheen program which is on a competing channel with his own show. Said Berle: “We’re known as Uncle Miltie and Uncle Fultie now. It doesn’t make any difference if we’re in competition. It’s a pleasure to have him opposite me. After all, we’re both using old material.” ”
Hail and Farewell Helen Jones-Kelly. The Director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services who snooped on Joe Wurzelbacher resigns.