Saturday, April 29, 2006

This was yesterday's affirmation....

Yesterday, I logged onto the website of the bizarre New Age center (mentioned in my post New Age Graffiti below) to see what they were up to, and to see if they had a post about the graffiti in their "what's new" section, and I saw their daily affirmation:

I do not glamorize the past because I know my best days are always ahead of me. My life improves every day I am alive.
Hmm. Not sure I'd fit in there, even if I were an apostate. It's doesn't sound like they're part of the traditionalist branch of the New Age movement.

Friday, April 28, 2006

I started to read this...

I still haven't looked at either the latest Catholic Key or the last two issues now of the Wanderer. Just can't bring myself to. I am concerned that one of my fellow Evil Trads made a reference to the latest Latin Mass, and I don't have that in my mailbox yet. Or maybe Mrs. Curmudgeon has hidden it from me because she know I'll disappear for a couple of evenings once I see it.

However, I was online tonight, and I started to read this, but I simply didn't get any further, since Fr. Forsen (I'm sure he prefers "Fr. Jimmy") answered the question before he posed it:
Priestly vocations in the archdiocese today
By Rev. James Forsen
With so many Catholics coming to Mass each week, with so many enthusiastic young people in our schools, religious education classes and confirmation programs, with so much vitality evident in every corner of our Church of Los Angeles (witness the thousands participating in the recent Religious Education Congress), why is there such a precipitous decline in the number of priests to serve our Church?

Not quite like licking the brownie batter spatula?

Inquireth the eldest Curmudgeon, who is going through another oral fixation, while I'm cleaning up from dinner: "Daddy can I lick this off?"

[She's holding our unwashed garlic press to my face]

Respondeth I: "Well, actually I don . . . well . . . yes, I supposed you could . . . if you really want to . . . go ahead."

You can guess the rest.

I suppose I am un-American

I rather liked this post from Stephen Heiner, which was on Traditio in Radice. I could quibble with details, of course, but the general anti-jingoist gist of it rings true.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

I just can't look...

Got both a Wanderer and a Catholic Key in the mail today. I just can't bring myself to look at either one of them.

Is this one of the Churches the Archbishop will keep open?


Actually, this is the building of some sort of heretical sect. At least they've done a reality check, though: they actually call the thing the "Glory Barn" Faith Temple Family Worship Center. It's across the street from Sacred Heart in Kansas City, Kansas, which we'll look at very soon.

Of course, this sect has some thing to look forward too. There will be some prime church property available soon in Wyandotte County--it will be possible to upgrade their space to something that looks like a church, while the Catholics out in the burbs will have to put up new Glory Barns of their own.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Updated Church Closings Blog

Some time ago I set up a blog to deal strictly with the church closings that are coming in Wyandotte County and other parts of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas. At that time, I asked for volunteers to help me keep it up.

Since then (late March), I've received exactly zero indiccations in interest in the blog. I don't have a site meter on it right now, so I don't even know if anybody has bothered to look at it. Likewise, I've received exactly zero offers to be a co-contributor. Zero.

Nothwithstanding the foregoing, I've put a few updates into that blog (mostly just repeating stuff I've already done here in the Cave. Check it out, and let me know if you have information about this situation that you can share.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Helmsing Institute?

We learn in this week's Key that the Chancellor of the KC-SJ Diocese, Claude Sasso, has announced that Bishop Finn, at the end of his year-long study, has established the Helmsing Institute in place of the Center for Pastoral Whatchamacallits and the New Whine Program.

Hmm. Well, it's baseball season, and even good hitters don't bat .1000, do they? Why on earth would Finn name a new program after the man who, whatever his personal spiritual life was, governed the local Church through the disaster of the Sixties and Seventies? A better choice would have been to name it after a great missionary--Fr. DeSmet, perhaps, who brought Catholicism to this part of the world. One of them would have been a much better model, considering the state of our city these days and the task that is before Bp. Finn.

Wuerl proposed to succeed McCarrick?

The nice thing about rumors on episcopal appointments is that they're almost never true.

Especially comforting with regards to the latest one.

You remember him, don't you? If not, click here.

Were this rumor true, it would be a good indicator that Benedict XVI's reign will be an unhappy one and he can't gain control of the curia that has been more-or-less doing its own bidding since before the beginning of his predecessor's reign.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Where did my sidebar go?

This is exactly why I shouldn't be messing with the guts of my blog. I just wiped out my sidebar. I don't know if I'll ever get it back.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Two mediocre Church updates

I've updated Ss. Cyril and Methodius and St. Joseph (now St. Joseph-St. Benedict) with a couple of interior photos for each. The shots of the former are mediocre; the shot of the latter is just plain awful. It's a lesson learned. I'll do a better job of photographing the rest of the interiors, and perhaps I'll go back and do St. Joseph's right.
Sad to say that the best picture I took of the whole outing was this self-portriat. I will do better next time.

Social Justice or Divine Mercy and Christian Charity?

Well, I don't have time to blather on, but over the last day, in thinking about the upcoming Divine Mercy Sunday, I've been thinking again about the difference between "Social Justice" and Christian charity.

Precisely, I've been thinking about just how substantively inferior the former is to the later.

More precisely, I'm thinking about how fearful the notion of God's justice is, and how, if we really thought much about social "justice" and what that word really mean (and not what the USCCB says they mean), how we wouldn't hear these words being screamed from every chancery and RSM house, and we wouldn't see miles and miles of newsprint filled with them.

Social "justice" is something we shouldn't wish for. If justice were the order of the day for society, we'd all be suffering much, much more. I think I'll stick to Divine Mercy and Christian charity.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Kansas City, Kansas, photos coming soon

I took advantage of the Triduum, and the absence of the Blessed Sacrament, to take a couple of interior photographs at St. Joseph's Church and SS. Cyril and Methodius Church I'm about to post shots of them as updates below. If you have any history, particularly on Ss Cyril and Methodius, do pass it along so I can incorporate.

The shots aren't great, but they'll be up in a few days when I get some time to doctor them.

Why aren't the Curmudgeons "Easter People"?

I just learned that every year during Holy Week, the diocesan newspaper, The Catholic Key, features several individuals or groups who are living the Catholic dream, at least as dreamt by the editor of the Catholic Key. I didn't know about it until my friend Orville Dishwater called me yesterday. This is my first year to take the Key, and I hadn't bothered to look at this week's issue yet. (I only just yesterday opened last week's issue, but solely for the purpose of spreading a few sheets of it under a door I was painting).

So anyways, Orville (who knows my true identity, but keeps it in confidence under threat of catapult) calls and starts complaining to me about the fact that I'm not one of Albert de Zutter's "Easter People." Orville says if
some high school kids who sit around drinking fair-trade coffee and repeating "human rights" propaganda generated by leftist organizations that do NOT have a Catholic worldview...if they can be "Easter People," we Curmudgeons ought to be Easter People too!

Perhaps we should. But then again we lack the sort of "passion" that these kids have:
This is about activism in everyday life," Levitt said. "We can't really go around the country and take part in demonstrations, but we can write letters and research issues and communicate what we learned to others. We can share our passion for human rights with others."
All I manage to do is bring home a paycheck, raise kids, stay up too late reading online articles that reinforce my narrow worldview, and blog. Okay. So do a lot of people (except they're watching TV or, perhaps, reading good books instead of surfing and blogging). Perhaps I'm just not emotional enough. Perhaps I'm too busy recognizing distinctions and differences between people:
Brian Noland added that there was also an emotional component to activism. "We associate emotions with humanity," he said. "We should treat everybody the same. I think the prime motivation of human rights activism is to see all people in the same light of love and caring."
Or, most likely, I'm just not open-minded enough, and I'm inclined to take one side of the issue, and advocate it a bit too firmly. I've mentioned secession and the potential of a "hot" culture war erupting from our current losing "cold" war too many times. I haven't opened myself up to the world. I haven't answered God's call to be easygoing and fair (you know, like Pius X called for in his encyclical--I forget the Latin title--on the reconciliation with and implementation of the principles of modernity--what was it called?).
We all come from Catholic high schools and Christian backgrounds," Martin said. "Our protesting is not screaming, cursing and horn honking. Violence in activism depletes its influence. Ours is respectful activism. We listen to both sides of an issue and weigh what we've learned before coming to a decision on our beliefs."
Or maybe I'm just ordering the wrong thing at Starbucks:
She recalled that after the first meeting, the group went to a nearby Starbucks and purchased cups of fair trade coffee. "That's one way of action," she said.
Oh well, on second thought, perhaps they deserved to be Easter People more than me. Perhaps too the baton twirler.

Seriously, I do not bring all this up to make fun of a little girl who twirls her baton better than most, or the poor kids from Rockhurst and Sion who were never taught that there's a difference between the French Enlightenment's "Rights of Man" and Christian charity. It's not their fault that they've grown up in a culture, and in a Church, wherein the priority is first to find something in this world--a hobby, a sport, a person, a cause--that makes oneself happy, and then, second, to find God in it, or impose a generalized air of piety over it. They didn't learn that one is first to know, love and serve God, and second to do his commandment by acting in charity to one's neighbor.

I can't fault them for that, because I grew up in...generally...the same sort of Church and the same sort of culture, wherein the Bishop of my hometown was more interested in protesting a local weapons plant than he was in teaching, sanctifying and governing us as a successor of the Apostles (while many of his priests were....well....nevermind). But for God's Grace in putting the right people in my path at various stages of my life, I might not know any different myself.

But that doesn't mean we can't fault people on the payrolls of diocesan newspapers and supposedly Catholic schools for letting kids get these confused ideas, and for nuturing them, and for reinforcing them by putting them in the paper. And I do. Getting Fair Trade Coffee at Starbucks does nothing in furtherance of Christian charity. NOTHING. Twirling a baton may be a pleasant leisure activity and (depending how one is dressed when doing it) harmless, but it's not an act of piety worthy of newprint--even diocesan newsprint.

C'mon chancery people! Even if blogging into the wee hours doesn't qualify me to be among the "Easter People," I know of a couple who started a Catholic radio station. Why aren't they Easter People? I'm told of another family that hosts scores of people every year for stations of the cross on Good Friday. Why aren't they Easter People? I know of a couple whose efforts and support of a good old priest have kept him in active ministry for more than a decade longer than his peers, and have, indirectly, turned a once-moribund parish on the closing list into a vibrant one in the process. Why aren't they Easter People? There are a few key families that suffered Sullivan's destruction of Christ the King and, instead of writing off the diocese and going over to St. Vincents (as many understandably did), persevered inside the regular structure of the church and held together the indult Latin Mass community on the Missouri side in the face of hostility from bishops and disrespect from their pastors for well over a decade. Why aren't they Easter people? I met a guy who had a high-paying job at a big-shot law firm but he gave it up to work at a non-profit defending religious freedom (you know what I mean--for our side). Why isn't he among the Easter People? What does a coffee-drinking Sion girl and her Rockhurst buddies got over them? What does a baton twirler got over them?

So, Mr. de Zutter, if you're not going to place me among the Easter People, at least look a little harder next year--there are people out there doing some unambiguously Catholic stuff out there who ought to be the sort of folks you want so feature as Easter People.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

"I'm the 'Extraordinary Minister of Shut the Hell Up!'"

As I was preparing to go to my own traditional Good Friday liturgy (well, kinda traditional--it was the 1962 Rite, the not the pre Pius XII Rite that everyone raves about, but I haven't experienced), a post from a fellow Evil-Trad on his experience at the last Good Friday, at St. Francis Bascilica in Santa Fe was brought to my attention.

It seems like the folks of Santa Fe haven't figured out that you don't answer your cell phone, and you don't talk at all when you're in church. You're used to seeing that sort of stuff at weddings and funerals, where lots of heretics and unchurched Catholics hang out, but not on Good Friday, the most solemn day of the year.

You can read the whole post by CLICKING HERE.
You know what? You folks have all these “extraordinary ministers”. You don’t have ushers; you have “hospitality ministers”. You’ve got “extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist” which means we have to have forty people up tramp up to the altar to give thirty people Holy Communion. Well then, let me make this clear right now. Those days where I have to attend Mass with you folks, do you know who I am? I’m the extraordinary minister of “shut the hell up”. That’s who I am.

I would guess that Archbishop Lamy would have had no complaint with our friend at the Donegal Express, or at least, less complaint with him than with his successors who have tolerated the degeneration of the faith he nurtered there. He reminds me that it's not all mountains, trout fishing, good food, and snow skiing in northern New Mexico. Another reason for us in Kansas City to count our blessings--wonderful that we have so many traditional options and even a couple of fairly reverent novus ordo ones and don't have to put up with such goings-on here.

Not me...

This was on the Missouri Lottery website:

April 13, 2006
Group of 13 State Employees To Share Missouri's Largest Lottery Jackpot

A group of 13 Missouri state employees, who work for the Department of Social Services Family Support Division/Child Support Enforcement in Florissant, today claimed the $224.2 million Powerball jackpot from the April 12 drawing. The jackpot is the largest prize ever won in the Missouri Lottery’s 20-year history
and the seventh largest Powerball jackpot ever awarded in the nation.

The winners are: Cornelia Aversa, 61, of Ballwin; Juanita Miller, 57, of Black Jack; Madeleine Knox, 68, James Wydrzynski, 53, and Sandra Hayes, 46, all of Florissant; Kathey Tidwell, 54, of Highland, Ill.; Kathy Bowman, 48, of Roxana, Ill.; Marjorie Orcutt, 56, (63135*); Donna Paige, 44, (63136*); Georgia Griffin, 57, (63121*); Alice Williams, 58, (63121*); and Robin Carlton, 36, (63139*), all of St. Louis; and Michael Lang, 55, of St. Peters. According to Jim Wydrzynski, the office manager, 11 of the members put $5 into the pool and two members - Alice Williams and Georgia Griffin - contributed $2.50.

The jackpot prize will be split 12 ways, and William and Griffin will share 1/12 of the prize. All of the members plan to take the cash amount, which works out to be approximately $8.5 million each before taxes for the 11 members who contributed $5 and approximately $4.2 million before taxes for the two members who contributed $2.50. Wydrzynski said that for each drawing, new groups are formed depending on who would like to play, and employees take turns buying the tickets. Child Support Specialist Robin Carlton bought the group’s winning Quick Pick tickets at QuikTrip, 2791 Dunn Road in St. Louis. Etc., etc.,

Let's rewrite it, shall we?

Kansas City Ultra-Conservative Wins Largest Missouri
Lottery Jackpot

A Kansas City man, Krusty Curmudgeon, won the entire $224.2 million Powerball jackpot from the April 12 drawing. The jackpot is the largest prize ever won in the Missouri Lottery’s 20-year history and the seventh largest Powerball jackpot ever awarded in the nation.

Curmudgeon, formerly employed as a __________ at ______________, described himself as "unemployed, happily, since Wednesday evening" and has elected to take the jackpot's cash value, which is approximately $102 million. When asked what he intended to do with the money, he said, "I figure that the government will take a third from me and use it to fund their wasteful domestic projects, to kill Iraqis and to set up and fund puppet governments in the Middle East. Half of what's left after that is God's--I'll give it away immediately, which is about a third, and I'll keep a third for myself for now, but I imagine that even most of the $30 million or so that's left will be eventually given away or spent on various projects I'd like to undertake. I can't imagine what I'd do with anything over $5 million or so."

In talking about how his life will change, he said "I've already hired an accountant, a lawyer, and, for the time being, a security guard for my kids. I hired someone to hand-deliver my resignation letter to my employer, which I taped to a copy of Dr. Seuss's Horton Hears a Who for my pro-death boss. He'll pick up the pictures of my kids from my desk. I'm looking for a nanny/housekeeper, just to make it a little easier for us day-to-day. And no, I'm not going to ask to see her green card. I'm going to sell my house and build a compound of sorts somewhere outside of town--maybe start semi-rural a Catholic ghetto of sorts. I might hire Jerry Jeff Walker to come play a gig. Once I get my family situated and my affairs properly organized to protect them, I intend to go from being a bystander to combatant in the culture wars."

Curmudgeon has maintained a weblog--a type of online journal--over the past several months, and that blog, Curmudgeon's Cave, gives some clue as to what he may mean. There he advocates ultra-conservative Catholicism, mistrust of government at all levels, but especially the federal government, contempt for many modern social trends, and opposition to basic civil and human rights, which he described as "buggery raised to the level of civic religion." He is a member of a offshoot of the Catholic church group that rejects the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, holds its services almost entirely in Latin, and forces women to cover their heads.

When asked for more specific information on his plans, Curmudgeon's only response at the press conference was "Just you wait!" Orville Dishwater, a friend of Curmudgeon's for the last several years, suggested that Curmudgeon might build sex-segregated high school campuses around town for the use of other ultra-conservative Catholic families, start a local or regional weekly ultra-conservative newspaper, and fund ultra-conservative activities, including a campaign against the local Stowers Institute, which conducts early (what Curmudgeon quaintly calls "embryonic") stem cell research.

"I've already ordered three or four devil's costumes to share with fellow protesters," Curmudgeon said in a later interview, "and I've placed an order for six 'Kay Barnes is a New Age Nut Job' and six more 'Jim Stowers is a Babykiller' billboards to be placed around town. I've ordered several thousand bumper stickers with various other messages that I'll be giving away to all my new-found friends, and I'm interviewing a couple of people to help with some other writing and design projects I've got going--maybe I'll have them go back and fix six months of typographical errors and bad grammar on my blog, and maybe there's a little yellow journalism in my future. I'd like to buy a tank--even an old one--but I'm not sure who to call about that. Also, I've written a check to cover the restoration and construction and of a rectory and parish hall for the traditional Catholics at Old St. Patrick's. I only hope that the lottery people wire me my money before the billboard bills come in and the people at Old St. Pat's try to cash that check! I'm really excited. All I can say is hey, Clay Chastain, step aside! Krusty Curmudgeon is coming to town!"

The director of the Missouri Lottery, Jans Larrysen, when asked about Curmudgeon's plans, said "Generally, it's not our concern how our winners use their prize money. However, before we wire funds to Mr. Curmudgeon, we're looking into whether there are potential problems under the Patriot Act and other laws. If we were in Canada, we could already have him in jail and have imposed substantial fines for his hate speech--the 'b-word' would have been worth six months of confinement and reeducation up there. Nevertheless, we'll see what we can do to stop him. After all, if it's wrong to give an intoxicated man a drink or give a man who wants to kill someone a gun, it can't be right for us to give someone who obviously intends to disturb the peace and social order of our state the financial means to do so."

Etc., etc.

Friday, April 14, 2006

It's 3pm in Kansas City.

May almighty God have mercy on them, and on us all.

Now for thoughts more appropriate for Good Friday

OK, now I'm off to stations, but I would like to point you to some wonderful posts by Mr. Gillibrand on Catholic Church Conservation. Beautiful woodcuts.

And also his reminder of the Good Friday prayer which didn't make Bugnini's cut:

Let us pray also for heretics and schismatics: that our Lord and God would be pleased to rescue them from their errors; and recall them to our holy mother the Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Let us pray. Let us kneel. (Arise.)

Almighty and eternal God, Who savest all, and wouldest that no one should perish: look on the souls that are led astray by the deceit of the devil: that having set aside all heretical evil, the hearts of those that err may repent and return to the unity of Thy truth. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost, through all endless ages. Amen.

Random Thoughts on Good Friday about Stupid Things Said by Bishops, Seat Belts, Immigration Reform, and Brave New World

Hmm. I know I should be more focused on the Redemption bought for me by our Lord on this Good Friday, and not kvetching about unrelated matters. I will be soon, I promise. Anyways, here we go on random thoughts.

I haven't weighed in on the illegal immigration reform bill, except to complement the Bishop of Charleston for staying out of it, and not confusing his flock by blurring the distinction between prudential and moral/doctrinal issues. I am perhaps more interested (in a morbid way) in what our bishops have to say on the subject than in the issue itself. Leave it to me to go off on a tangent!

Well, on the primary issue itself, I remain non-committal. Part of me supports the idea that a nation, in general (even France), should be able to control its borders (i.e., who comes in--not who or what goes out--I'm a big supporter of free emigration, except from France); another part of me has such utter contempt for and fear of the federal leviathan that anything proposed in Washington, short of dissolution and disunion (which of course isn't proposed in Washington, to our misfortune) is presumptively contemptible to me.

Part of me fears the economic chaos that will ensue if the hard-working portion of the alien population is expelled or driven underground and there's nobody left who's willing to do the things that our fat, lazy, soft-porn and entitlement-addicted citizenry is unwilling to do (a note on that in a later post--I know that something less than 100% of the alien population is hard-working), and yet another part of me (and this is perhaps the strongest part) recognizes this as another instrument by which the talons of the federal carrion-bird will sink themselves deeper into the carcass of our morally dead civil society and add more bureaucracy and further unnecessary limitations on our liberty. Particularly problematic is the proposal (if in fact it has been fairly reported) that would criminalize charitable acts to undocumented alients.

Anyways, back to my point . . . but what was my point?

Oh yeah, that last statement was my point: adding further limitations on our liberty, expanding the reach of federal law enforcement, and criminalizing acts of charity. Ultimately, it's not about controlling illegals. It's about controlling YOU. Just like in Kansas, where they had proposed to change the seat-belt law so that a cop could pull somebody solely because such cop "suspects" or "thinks" that somebody in the car might not be wearing a seatbelt (currently, a seat belt violation is an "add-on" to another violation--not an excuse for a cop to hassle and torment motorists). Ron Olin, the chief of police in Lawrence, Kansas, who was trained by the folks who brought us National Socialism, almost let the cat out of the bag when that proposal was floating, indicating in the local paper (if I recall correctly) that such a law would be a useful tool to his boys in what were in essence (although not so labelled) random stops and searches. Ja Vohl!

Or was that my point? I forget. Moving on...

This immigration thought from Archbishop Gomez in the San Antonio paper:

Gomez, who long has cast immigration as a moral issue, joined the current debate first in a carefully worded editorial commentary in the San Antonio Express-News last week and then in a speech during Monday's immigration rally at Milam Park, where he said the church "cannot endorse a law that makes criminals of an estimated 11 to 12 million people," referring to undocumented immigrants.

The archbishop, himself an immigrant from Monterrey, Mexico, told the Express-News Tuesday that "if they push us to that point, we'll have to choose (between faith and the law). It's a non-negotiable principle of our faith that we must welcome the immigrant and practice charity."

OK, so Gomez is saying that proposals for border control (in the abstract--recall my ambivalence above) are contrary to a non-negotiable principle of faith, i.e., restrictions on free immigration are inherently immoral acts, rather than prudential ones. Not like a Catholic healt care worker who writes, dispenses, or facilitates scripts for the Pill or Plan B, or a Catholic scientist who's doing embryonic stem cell and fetal tissue research, or a Catholic businessman who raises money for one of the many organizations that funds such research like the ALS Foundation or the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, or the Catholic clerk or janitor who knowingly works for an organization like the Stowers Institute whose primary purpose is to kill and experiment on embryonic human beings, or a Catholic politician who votes to permit immoral research and fund it, or fights against restrictions on abortion, and coerces Catholic hospitals health care workers to commit and facilitate mortal sins, right?

What has Gomez said about those things? Where's his strong, non-negotiable stand? Where has he denounced--specifically--the many politically-active pro-abort liberal members of the immigrant community in south-central Texas who still call themselves Catholic and pimp the Latino-Catholic vote at every parish Cinco-de-Mayo celebration they can?

In the future, when Canadian and European style "hate speech" legislation comes down the pike, and it's criminal to denounce homosexual acts and homosexual culture and as immoral, can we count on the Archbishop to say the following?
"If they tell me I can't practice my religion, I'll break the law," he said.

Note that in this post I'm ignoring the "stronger" immigration statements Arch-Community Songster of Los Angeles, Cardinal Raj, who (though we cannot judge the state of his soul) seems to have manifested his intention to participate in a diabolical highway project someday--remember that the roads of hell are paved with the skulls of bishops?


Thursday, April 13, 2006


Lispers in the Woggia is, sadly, no more. I never stopped laughing, so I never got a chance to be offended by it.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Update to my note about Guardian Angels and Our Lady of Good Counsel

I've been away from my church tours for a while now. The project is not abandoned, just going slowly, as many other things are competing for my attention, both online and in real life.

However, I just to assure myself that the project really isn't abandoned, I've posted a half-update to my Note about Guardian Angels and Our Lady of Good Counsel in Kansas City, Missouri (CLICK HERE). In the update, I post a few old photos, but I don't have current interior (or exterior pictures). I'll revisit this someday, but did want to get what I had up.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

New Age Graffiti.

We live near one of those New Age storefront "churches" (I think they prefer to be known as "spiritual centers") that have popped up all over the place in the last couple of decades. You know, the type where they've moved beyond Christianity and beyond sin and beyond suffering to some sorta thing that involves lots of merchandise--books for better living, videos for better loving, mats for better yoga-ing, rocks for better centering, utensils for better cooking, etc., etc.

Anyways, they all seem to be founded by some early 20th century guy with a beard (who always looks a lot like Walt Whitman) but are currently led by some very attractive, somewhat sexy looking middle-aged divorced woman who is pictured in all her prosperity (made, of course from the sale of all that merchandise), in a southern California rose garden. I've actually been in the place once, on neighborhood business, and it was bizarre. They had stencilled all around the "gathering space" every synonym for peace, love, and happiness they could think of. All very tasteful and feng shui of course, in a very creepy way.

Two points to make. First, they all talk about Spirit. Not the Holy Spirit. Not even the Spirit. Just Spirit. Of course, in a serious moment we can all worry about exactly which Spirit it is that they're talking about, and why they're calling that spirit to be with them so close to my house. But in a lighter moment, one can simply write it off:


To which the other side of the stadium (or in this case, "church") chants back:


And then the first side responds:


And then the second again:

Back and forth, on and on, just like a high school football game (except that you can count on the high school football season to come to an end every November, and these folks go on, and on, and on through fall, winter, spring, summer).

Ahem. But I guess my real point is that they've recently been victimized by graffiti vandals. Mrs. Curmdgeon was asking me, as we drove by on our way home from Palm Sunday Mass, what the city's graffiti ordinance said, to which I responded that (I think) the City makes it the landowner's responsibility to promptly remove grafitti.

Mrs. Curmudgeon didn't want to get them in trouble with the City just yet, but she decided that she might call them on Monday and tell them that the graffiti needed to be removed soon because it was "disturbing her serenity."

Ha. I wish I could have captured the tone of her voice in this post. She's the one who should be doing the blog.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Thank you Cardinal Mahoney...

For telling such a stupid, obvious lie in your recent interview. Such incredible duplicity from people like you--garbage that even the most ill-informed, uncatechized confirmand in your flock can see through--can only build sympathy for people like us.

Joe: Hello Cardinal. With the growing interest in traditional worship of the Catholic Church are we going to see a more generous use of the Traditional Latin Mass?

Cardinal Mahon[e]y: It is not correct to say "traditional worship" in our Church. For a small slice of Church history, Latin was the language of Mass. But the Council moved us beyond that to a new Roman Missal. We must continue forward with the Church. However, it is important to bring with us our Latin hymns and other treasures from the past ages.

Heh, heh, heh, heh.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Apologies to everyone not on my blogroll

For some time, I've meant to update my blogroll with the last few members of the League of Evil Traditionalists, as well as a dozen or so of my other favorite blogs which I visit in the course of a week. I've never gotten around to it. Sorry to all of you who deserve to be on my blogroll, and especially to those of you who've even been so gracious to put me on your blogrolls. You deserve better than me. I'll get around to it sometime.

Hooray for the Bishop of Charleston

Last week, I meant to post something on this article from the March 28 Charleston paper, but I got busy, and so I'm just getting to it now.

The Bishop of Charleston, South Carolina, Robert Baker, knows what's his business, and he knows what isn't. He directed his PR man to acknowledge that the immigration issues now being debated (and on which I take no stand myself) are prudential matters, not matters of doctrine. So as so many American Bishops are out campaigning against the immigration bill and handing out water to illegals along the Arizona border (while the few priests they have left are doing who-knows-what to who-knows-whom in the rectories, and the clericalized womyn lay staff at their chancery and in their schools are talking about touching to kindergartners), Bishop Baker is simply being a bishop, and not trying to be a lobbyist, social activist, or politician. Huzzah for Bishop Baker!

Charleston diocese hasn’t taken stand

The Catholic Diocese of Charleston, which serves South Carolina, has not taken a stand on the immigration aid question, spokesman Steve Gajdosik said. The diocese is relying instead on the faithful to make their own, prudent judgments, he said.

“It’s not a doctrinal issue,” said Gajdosik, the diocese’s director of media relations. “It’s a prudential issue. Well-formed, faithful Catholics and Christians can take different opinions because it is a prudential

That said, Gajdosik said the church “is always going to seek to take are of people’s humanitarian needs. However the bill turns out, the Catholic church will do all in its power to take care of people’s needs within the law.”

He said he did not know if Bishop Robert Baker had been approached informally for advice by church groups that provide relief to immigrants.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Mmmm. Hot Dogs

Maybe it's just the Lenten fast getting to me, or the fact that the clock just struck midnight, but I've been thinking about Wienerschnitzel (no, not the cutlet you can order in Austria; I'm thinking about the cheap hot dog place).

I grew up near a Wienerschitzel. I really wish we lived close to a Wienerschnitzel. I ate there a lot when I was nearly broke and had to collect sticky nickels, dimes and quarters out from under my car seat. I also ate there a lot when I was on my way home from drinking bouts.

If memory serves me, I could sometimes, with a coupon, get two chili cheese dogs, fries and a small drink for a buck and a half or something like that (it was 20 years ago).

Hmmm. Wienerschnitzel.

Why did I listen to Catholic Answers?

On the drive home from work, I tuned in to KEXS on Catholic Answers (yes, the Jimmy Akin crowd makes me mad, but I listen anyways sometimes. I should rather have been saying a Rosary I know). Anyways, the guest was Ed Peters, the canon lawyer who teaches at Cardinal Maida's and ;-) Bp. Gumbleton's seminary in Detroit. I heard some well-meaning clown call in (from Kansas City, no less) and try to discuss how the dispensation from or lessening of penalties in Canons 1323 and 1324 applied to the "Situation" with the SSPX bishops.

I found this rather interesting, because I've tried to engage Dr. Peters myself on this topic through one of his old blog posts, and I thought (perhaps vainly) that maybe my post a few weeks ago had given the local clown the idea of calling him. Anyways, all the local guy managed to do was give Peters an opportunity to spread more erroneous and incomplete information. Doesn't the caller know that you can never make your own point on a talk show—you can only be the foil so the host can make his?

The question was how to deal with, and validate or reject, the argument that the SSPX bishops weren't really excommunicated by their unauthorized consecrations via to the mitigation of Canon 1323 or 1324, and whether the foregoing Canons were a basis for invalidating the excommunications. The caller seemed to know what he was talking about and asked the question in the right way. He was just naïve to have tried to ask the question at all.

To begin with, after acknowledging that the caller was on track—at least in citing the right canons—Peters pointed out that the excommunications applied only to those who were in Orders in the SSPX, not the lay adherents. This is a misleading statement by Peters to begin with: only the bishops, not the priests, were declared to have excommunicated themselves. The priests are presumptively suspended because they are not incardinated into a diocese or a canonically regular institute. Suspension is bad, but it's not as bad as excommunication (there's a longer, much harder issue as to whether Abp. LeFebvre was validly suspended earlier for ordaining priests without due authority, and whether the SSPX had been properly suppressed, which I'm not getting into, because it's not one of the preliminary issues that the SSPX wants to have addressed).

Peters then attacked the SSPX's necessity argument by saying that John Paul II was personally involved in negotiations, and if JP-II was involved, well, there couldn't have been "necessity" (I know, it doesn't follow, but that was his position). In saying that (which has no foundation in Canon law) Peters completely glossed over the best argument put forth by the SSPX sympathizers rather than tackling it head-on: the argument that even if the bishops were in "culpable error" about the state of necessity, a penalty to be imposed is thereby lessened, and a latae sententiae penalty does not apply (Canon 1324). Instead Peters set the letter of the law aside and played the JP-II card as noted above—you can't claim necessity against a Pope's wishes (or, I guess, be culpably in error about necessity), and the Pope is always right.

Um, not necessarily, Dr. Peters. First of all, the Pope didn't excommunicate them—he didn't make a formal judgment himself; he observed that they excommunicated themselves. A Pope's pronouncements on faith and morals, under the proper conditions, are of course an infallible and irreformable exercise of the extraordinary magisterium (i.e., the teaching office of the church), but a Pope's observations of an event and the effects thereof (or even a Pope's exercise of his governing office of supreme judge or legislator, had he decreed an excommunication ferendae sententiae) is not graced by the guaranty of infallibility and is not irreformable. Such a Papal observation (or even such a Papal decree) can be revisited by the proper authorities (i.e., the next Pope) in light of a review of the facts. What Peters also seems to be suggesting is that whenever the Pope is involved, as opposed to a Bishop or a Bishop's conference (the latter doesn't have jurisdiction anyways) the one can disregard the Canon Law he promulgated—the Pope's words supercede. That's a rather tyrannical view of the Papacy. Indeed, a Pope is the supreme legislator in the Church and can change the law, or perhaps make a decree expressly notwithstanding the law, but barring those scenarios, the Pope would seem to have to operate within his own laws, particularly in penal matters such as this.

And also, Dr. Peters, we're dealing with penal, i.e., criminal matters here. Aren't criminal canons penalties in the church (much as, I'm told, criminal statutes and penalties in civil government) strictly construed in favor of the accused? If so, one can't simply gloss over, for instance, whether there was "culpable error" regarding the state of necessity or other parts of the letter of the law and focus on the "spirit of the law," as Peters seemed to do.

Of course, none of this came out in the call, because after Peters said his piece, and launched into a monologue about how the SSPX bishops would have to come, birettas-in-hand, and apologize and say they dun wrong, and validate the initial sentence, in order to have the excommunications lifted. The caller, if he had been so inclined to call Peters on his gloss over the "necessity" argument and his ignoring the "culpable error" argument, didn't have an opportunity to follow up; they were on to the next call.

And the moral of the story is, which many of you know, NEVER call a talk radio program, Catholic, secular, sports or whatever, and ever expect to make a meaningful point (unless it's the same point the host just made).

And as for the Catholic Answers crowd, well, once again we see them more interested in being vindicated (and perhaps protecting their own position on the right flank) than in contributing to the discussion of the SSPX situation in a way that might bring about the much-prayed for reconciliation.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Bp. Bruskewitz at it again!

Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz is at it again, showing why he's one of my favorite bishops (despite the distemper he's shown to certain traditionalists and his other faults).

Yes, I know I said he'd wouldn't make much of a Cardinal not long ago, and I stand by that assessment, but he makes a helluva Bishop, at least in comparison to his brethren.

So, the head of the National Review Board from the USCCB "talking about touching" office in its annual audit report writes as follows (you know, the board that Wilton Gregory and his buddies have populated by pro-aborts, heretics, RSM's, and other Commonweal-reading vermin):
It disheartens the Board, however, that the bishop of the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, and the Eparch of the Eparchy of Newton for Melkite Catholics in Newton, Massachusetts, have refused to participate in the audit process, and the Board calls for strong fraternal correction in these refusals.
To which Bp. Bruskewitz responds:

Some woman named Patricia O'Donnell Ewers, who is the Chair of something called "A National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People", has said that her Board "calls for strong fraternal correction of the Diocese of Lincoln."

The Diocese of Lincoln has nothing to be corrected for, since the Diocese of Lincoln is and has always been in full compliance with all laws of the Catholic Church and with all civil laws. Furthermore, Ewers and her Board have no authority in the Catholic Church and the Diocese of Lincoln does not recognize them as having any significance.

It is well known that some of the members of Ewers' Board are ardent advocates of partial birth abortion, other abortions, human cloning, and other moral errors. It is understandable then how such persons could dislike the Diocese of Lincoln, which upholds the moral teaching of the Catholic Church.

The words attributed to Ewers seem to confirm the suspicion that the members of her Board are unfamiliar with Catholic teachings, Catholic ecclesiology, and even the basic rudiments of the Catholic Catechism. Rather than concerning themselves with the Diocese of Lincoln about which they appear completely ignorant, Ewers and her colleagues would occupy themselves in a better way by learning something about the Catholic religion and the traditions and doctrines and laws of the Catholic Church.

The Diocese of Lincoln does not see any reason for the existence of Ewers and her organization.

Mind you, this wasn't an "off-the-cuff" response in an interview. This was a prepared statement. Hilarious and heartening to hear a successor of the apostles give such an dressing-down to such a self-important person who is caught up in, and being an operative in the new mode of "being Church." Meeting the haughtiness of assumed authority with the haughtiness of apostolic authority! Huzzah!

Gotta love him. Of course, he's one of the few who could get away with it, because his success in Lincoln cannot be challenged (even the mass media, in its criticism of Lincoln as the only place without Altar Chicks and with occasional excommunications, has to admit its success). I only hope that one of Bp. Bruskewitz's brethren does, in fact, take the opportunity to break "collegiality" and attempt to publicly chastize him. Then Bp. Bruskewitz will be justifiably unleashed, and it will be "Sic' em, Fabian, SIC' em!"

Imagine this coming out of the Lincoln chancery, or better yet, being given as a response to Raymond Arroyo's question on EWTN:

Bishop Skylstad, having run his own diocese into the ground, having driven away people in the pews and potential vocations, and having squandered the spiritual material patrimony of the people of Spokane with homosexual clergy, trial lawyers and federal bankruptcy judges, now stands in a position where he believes he can do the same of the rest of the country, and he is incensed that his reach does not extend to Lincoln. I cannot speak for my brother bishops, but I will not let him do the same to the people of Lincoln. He has no authority here. This diocese will no longer contribute to or participate in the operation of the USCCB, and Bp. Skylstad is forbidden to set foot within the diocese of Lincoln for any reason.

Mmmm. What a happy, happy thought.

We understand why our own Bishop Finn must have participated in the study this can't turn the ship around on a dime, and Finn needs to have his own record of success established before he can get away with the same things as his brother to the north...but we hope that in the next few years, he, too, will stand with Bruskewitz and send the Board packing.

And speaking of bumper stickers....

Trad Catholics, as we all know, are big into bumper stickers. I'm not. I don't have any on my cars. The only bumper sticker I've had on a car in the last 10 years is the Alan Keyes 2000 presidential campaign sticker.

But that being said, I think bumper stickers, generally, are good. I'm on the lookout for one in particular myself (I can't say what it is; I don't want to blow my cover among the readers I go to Mass with). I think that bumper stickers on religious and moral themes are admirable, too. With traddies generally shut out of the mainstream and diocesan press, a "Follow me to the Latin Mass" sticker might get someone thinking about his own parish, if not actually following the driver to Mass (only to be disappointed that they've arrived at the dry cleaners or Home Depot instead). I like the "Terry Was Murdered!" sticker. Nor does it hurt to remind people to pray the Rosary Daily, or suggest that they tune into the Catholic radio station, KEXS 1090 AM. I've seen a cleric's car with the classic "Eternity: Smoking or Non-Smoking?" sticker on his car. Very good.

But to be effective in our world, a moral message must be very witty. Let's think about the most common sub-genre, the pro life sticker. There are some clever pro life stickers. We've all seen many of those. There are some mediocre ones. And then there are some that are just plain bad, and just plain counter-productive.

Here's one I wanna complain about tonight:

ABORTION? The Supreme Court also legalized slavery!

No, NO, NO! NO!

Hey everybody. Take that one off your cars. It's factually wrong, and it plays exactly into the hands of the pro-death leadership, with their caricature of us as stupid, backward, ignorant folk. That one does far, FAR more harm than good.

Let's get this straight: the Supreme Court did not legalize slavery. Despite the silly enlightenment ideas still floating about and taught to use as children, slavery was part of the natural order of things, and slavery has been generally recognized in positive law since the beginning of human history (or at least since shortly after the fall). It hasn't come about anywhere because some king, congress or court legalized it. Not here, not anywhere. While there were always strictures against slavery, and particularly, after the Christianization of Europe, against the enslavement of fellow Christians, slavery has always existed--it's an outgrowth of the fallen human condition. And where there has ever been positive legal action of any kind regarding slavery, it has always been to limit or abolish it (or to decline to do so), not to authorize it.

And thus, if you look at the decisions of the United States Supreme Court, you will not find any case that "legalized" slavery, at least de jure slavery (some of you would argue about the income tax or the federal reserve banking system I know, but save it for later).

I haven't done any research on this point, and I don't intend to, but I'll gratuitously assert that, if you look at the legislative and the judicial acts of each of the states that allowed slavery at the beginning of the War of Northern aggression (i.e., the American Civil War), you'll find no case in which slavery was positively enacted where it was presumptively prohibited. No place.

What then are these people who printed up and plastered their cars with the erroneous sticker... what are they getting at?

They're thinking of the Dred Scott decision, in which the Supreme Court ruled that it didn't have jurisdiction in the matter because Dred Scott, a putative slave, could not be a citizen. What the Dred Scott court didn't do was legalize slavery: it simply refused to change the status quo regarding slavery, leaving it to the states, which had plenary power in law and (before Lincoln) in fact, to each find their own way without interference of the laws from their neighboring states.

In refusing jurisdiction (i.e., in determining that the matter was not within the narrow scope of federal power), the case had to do with ... ironically... preserving the states' rights to outlaw--or permit--certain moral conduct. And so, repugnant though the Dred Scott subject matter may be (and don't get me wrong, I do find slavery as it was practiced in the Western Hemisphere repugnant), the jurisprudential principles in Dred Scott concerning the role of the federal government in such matters are nothing to be scorned. The Dred Scott case is one in which a bad case made good law, just as many other times a good case makes bad law.

That idea--that the federal government isn't going to step in and interfere with with the states' exercise of their plenary powers on a moral issue that predated the union--is sound. Believe it or not, that reluctance to make a "federal case" of something, the reestablishment of that sort of jurisprudential mindset among the federal judiciary is the only real hope for undoing the problem of Roe and related cases, and it's the only hope for restoring sodomy laws, and it's the only hope for avoiding the exportation of gay "marriage" from New Sodom (Boston) to places like Kansas and Missouri.

I could go on about this, and launch into my tirade about unsound proposals for a federal anti-abortion law, but that's beyond the scope of this post. Let's get back to my main point: Take that bumper sticker off your car. If you have a stack of 'em in the back seat, pitch them and find something else that is factually accurate, as well as witty. This bumper sticker makes you look bad, it makes us all look bad, and it sets the movement back.


Sunday, April 02, 2006

A wicked thought

Walking around my neighborhood, there are signs that say, among other things "Support our Troops: NO WAR" "War is NOT the answer".

What FUN it would be to take a blue Sharpie marker and color out the word "NOT."

Anyways, seriously. I'm not a big fan of the war, but it's not for the reasons these people are against it. Any doubts I have in my opposition is just cognitive dissonance when I see who my fellow opponents are. So I'll lay out my objections here:

  • First, it doesn't seem justified on Catholic principles, insofar as I understand them (no not the goofball LSD-driven rants of Sister Polly Ester in National Catholic Distorter, traditional Catholic principles).
  • Second, it's damned stupid, and perhaps it violates the first commandment, to go around imposing "Democracy" as it it's some sort of great wonderful prescription for peace, of divine ordinance, when--in fact--it's a fad that has, in every case (including ours, as anyone can see) degraded to tyranny within time (a few years for some, a few decades for others, a few centuries in the best case). Recall that Hitler was elected chancellor, for instance.
  • Third, it doesn't seem prudent, going out of your way to make enemies when you don't have the resolve to follow through and liquidate them (I don't buy the BS about how the Iraqis are welcoming us).
  • Fourth, every war is an opportunity for the government to extract more from us--more of our resources, in taxes, and more of our liberties.
  • Fifth, if this is a crusade against Islam, as some pro-war Catholics would have us think, we need to think about who the crusaders are. Is our government displacing Islam with a Christian civilization, or is it peddling, or facilitating pornography, "reproductive freedom," disruption of traditional family roles, and mercantilist exploitation? Our government has no business being the protagonist in the next crusade.
So anyways, my idea for a yard sign--one that will really raise hackles in the neighborhood, is as follows:

Christianize America first:
THEN destroy Islam!

It would be a nice bumper sticker, too, eh?

I've got all kinds of ideas for bumper stickers and yard signs. I wonder, if I set up an online bumper sticker store, and solicited ideas for additional ones, and invested in the short runs of stickers, would enough people buy them to cover my costs?

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Hit piece coming on Bishop Finn

It has been passed on to me that the National Catholic Reporter, Kansas City's own little rag for heresy, dissent, and de facto schism (hereinafter, the "National Catholic Distorter" or the "Distorter") is getting ready to publish a hit-piece on Bishop Finn, holding him up as an example of the new breed of bad, rigid Bishops who are devoid of the Spirit of Vatican Too.

What a great honor for Bishop Finn! I can't wait to see it. I might even stop by the Distorter mansion in Hyde Park and buy a copy.

Having the Distorter as an enemy is a great notch in one's belt. Being complimented in the Distorter is a black mark. Maybe, over the course of the next year, if he keeps doing his job like he should, Finn can pull a hat trick and get scornful writeups in Commonweal and America as well.

More to come. Developing ....

Kansas City's Cranmer & Msgr. Kearney

Well, not having grown up in Kansas City (I grew up in a very small, very pink diocese in the bible belt), I don't have any first hand knowledge of the goings-on in the Archdiocese of Kansas City or the Diocese of Kansas City St. Joseph. That is, of course, self-evident in reading my commentary as I've gone around town, discovering churches and gathering bits of other information here and there.

Anyways, some guy I know (we'll call him "Morris") was telling me a little bit about one old priest's battle against Bishop John L. Sullivan over the effort to maintain a sense of the sacred the other day. When he started in, he reminded me of my other acquaintence, Guido, who said someone at the Old St. Patrick's workday two weeks ago found a long-lost snapshot of Bishop Sullivan with Pope John Paul II during the pew demolition. Guido reported that one of the old-timers when he saw it said "Whad'ya know, a devil with a saint!" to which the guy who found it commented "One probably wasn't quite a devil, and was probably wasn't quite a saint."

In thinking back, there was another conversation I'd had with Orville about the old priest, the late Msgr. Vincent Kearney, and Bishop Sullivan some months back, and also another I'd had with a delightful woman over two years ago in which Msgr. Kearney's name was mentioned. No one ever told me any of the details about Msgr. Kearney's situation. I've been meaning to ask around.

But why ask about Msgr. Kearney, when you can Google him? At least Google him first, right? Well, finally I did.

Very interesting. Right away I found a three part series written by Michael Davies and published in The Angelus. Now, Msgr. Kearney wasn't a trad. He celebrated the new Mass, but he tried to do so reverently. He tried to accommodate himself, insofar as he could bring himself to do so, to the new order of things. He tried to obedient to men who were themselves disobedient, rather than obedient to the Church herself. And from what I've read so far, Davies shows us exactly where that sort of accommodation, and that sort of obedience leads.

I'm still reading this article, but for those who want to read it along with me, link to the following:

Part 1: Bishop Sullivan / Msgr Kearney article - Christ the King
Part 2: Bishop Sullivan / Msgr Kearney article - Christ the King
Part 3: Bishop Sullivan / Msgr Kearney article - Christ the King
Part 4: Bishop Sullivan / Msgr Kearney article - Christ the King

More later.