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Friday, June 23, 2006

The Language of Prayer
Today opponents of the new translation cite concern over the effects the changes will have on congregations, which have grown accustomed to ICEL's old renderings. While change can certainly be destabilizing, there is a difference between changing in order to move away from tradition and changing in order to return to it. And it is odd for those who pushed for a radical shift in 1970 to be now making the same arguments about continuity their detractors once did.
The current controversy is also interesting because it reveals a fundamental misunderstanding over the nature of liturgical language. The Rev. Lawrence J. Madden, director of the Georgetown Center for Liturgy, dislikes the new and more accurate translation because "It isn't the English we speak. It's becoming more sacred English, rather than vernacular English."

Yet that is precisely the point. When Vatican II permitted translations of the Mass in 1963, it spoke of translating into the "mother tongue," not into everyday speech. Contrary to widespread belief, there has never been a tradition of the vernacular in Christian liturgy, if by "vernacular" you mean the language we speak on the street. Many of the earliest Masses were offered in a language the congregation could understand, but not in the language that could be heard in the marketplace. Before a native language was used in divine worship, it was first "sacralized"--its syntax and diction were gingerly modified, archaisms were deliberately re-introduced and even new rhythmic meters and cadences were invented. All of this was done in order to produce a distinctive mode of communication, one that was separate from garden-variety vernacular speech and capable of relaying the unique mysteries of the Gospel.

Thus, if English is to convey sacred mysteries, there should be a "sacred English." The very word we use for everyday speech, "profane," comes from pro-fano, "outside the temple." If Catholics wish to make the world Christ's temple, as Pope Benedict recently put it, they must first be careful not to make Christ's temple the world.
A good analysis of the recent changes in the translation of the Mass: why it matters and how it will help American Catholics.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

YouTube - Freedom: My Anti-Gov
Freedom is my anti-gov!

OpinionJournal - Peggy Noonan
It has occurred to me that both parties increasingly dislike their bases, but for different reasons and to different degrees. By both parties I mean the leaders and representatives of the Democrats and Republicans in Washington. I believe I correctly observe that they feel an increasing intellectual estrangement from and impatience with the activists who people their base of support.
In the past, Republican leaders in Washington bowed either symbolically or practically to the presumed moral leadership and cleanness of vision of the people back home. They understood the base wanted tax cuts and spending cuts, and for serious reasons. The base had deep qualms about abortion. The base intuitively recoiled from big government: They knew the best arrangement was maximum possible power to the individual and limited, policed, heavily checked power to the state. Or, as some back home might have put it, Don't put your faith in governments, which are made by men; put your faith in individuals, who are made by God.

Republican leaders in the capital bowed to this wisdom--if not in their actions, at least quite often in their hearts.

Now they seem to bow less. They know the higher wisdom on such issues as immigration. They feel less fealty to the insights of the base. They know more than the base, are more experienced than the base, have a more nuanced sense of reality. And as for conservative social issues groups, the politicians resent those nagging, whining pushers-for-the-impossible who are always threatening to stay home or go elsewhere. (Where?)

Some Washington Republicans have been in leadership so long they've learned--they've learned too well!--that politics is the art of the possible. It is. But this is not an excuse to be weak, or ambivalent, or passive, or superior.
Here is my read on a lot of Democratic senators: They think they know more than their base and they think they're more--how to put it?--stable in their view of the world than their base. In their hearts, in fact, they don't really like their base. (They like--they love--the old base: old union guys who drink Schlitz and voted for FDR and JFK. But today those old union guys are mostly dead, dying or Republican.)

Democratic leaders in Washington are in a worse position than Republican leaders in Washington. Neither likes their base, really, and both think they are smarter. But the Democrats think, deep down, that their base is barking mad. The Republicans don't. They just think their base is a bore.
Interesting analysis that I think is spot on. The Democrats are in a tough position because their base is rabidly anti-Bush. However, that rabidity turns off a majority of the voters so it they appeal to it too much, they will continue to lose. It's why you see so many Democrats talk about setting a timetable to pull out of Iraq only to vote against it when given the opportunity.

Meanwhile, the GOP ignores its base quite frequently. They're starting to get their act back together, but they've got a long way to go to make us happy.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

"Liberty is the prevention of control by others. This requires self-control and, therefore, religious and spiritual influences; education, knowledge, well-being." —Lord Acton

"Most of the work of government does not need to be done. And, if you can remember that, if we could all remember that, this country would be better off." —Lyn Nofziger

"We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount... The world has achieved brilliance without wisdom, power without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants." —Omar Bradley

"Despite the Republicans' best efforts to self-destruct, I can't see the Democrats taking either the House or Senate this November. As I said a few months back, even a loser has to have someone to lose to, and the Dems refuse to fulfill even that minimum requirement." —Mark Steyn

"Amnesty is granting citizenship to an illegal immigrant that is currently in the country. It is very important if there is to be a compromise reached that the Senate back off amnesty. The way they have set it up is that it is an invitation to the same type of wholesale document fraud that occurred in Simpson-Mazzoli ... It also has U.S. citizenship for sale for $3,250—which is the fine that the illegal immigrants would have to pay. And U.S. citizenship should never be for sale." —Rep. James Sensenbrenner

Jay Leno: President Bush went to Iraq to boost the new government. That shows how rough the situation is in Iraq when a guy with a 30% approval rating stops by to give you a boost. ... President Bush sneaked into Iraq without any formal paperwork, which I guess would make him an undocumented leader. ... President Bush returned safely from his surprise trip to Iraq. A lot of people criticize him, saying he was only in Iraq for five hours. Hey, it's still five hours longer than the French were there. ... Democrats are refusing to give President Bush any credit for killing al-Zarqawi. Like today Al Gore blamed it on global warming. And John Kerry said of the two 500 pound bombs that hit the safe house, he voted for the first bomb—not the second one. ... Gore said they could have gotten the same job done with one hybrid mini bomb that runs on vegetable oil. Less pollution. ... What's the difference between al-Zarqawi and Patrick Kennedy? Patrick Kennedy will get bombed again. ... Remember those $1,000 credit cards given to the victims of Hurricane Katrina? Congressional investigators now say FEMA was conned out of over $1.4 billion in bogus claims. Imagine how much worse it would have been if FEMA had actually gotten there on time? ... Congress is outraged by these bogus claims. Congress said, "If people want to break the law and steal taxpayer money, hey, get elected to Congress like everybody else."... Bill Clinton said it is now recognized that he and Al Gore were right about global warming. Get the feeling right now Gore is going, "We?" The only thing Clinton thought was hot back in the '90s was Paula Jones.

Today in Delaware History
1968 Through legislation signed by Governor Charles Terry, tavern patrons
were allowed to stand up to a bar and drink alcohol.

That's amazing to me. So were barstools in existance or did people have to sit only at tables? What was it like before this?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

open book: Delicacy
Amy Welborn does her usual insightful job discussing the issue of whether Catholic pro-abortion politicians should be denied Holy Communion. I've argued in the past that they should. For example, Senator Biden has been staunchly pro-abortion pretty much his entire career. Persuasion and cajoling haven't worked; he knows the Church's teaching on abortion and the sacredness of the Blessed Sacrament; it's time for tougher measures.

I don't think I made this clear in the past, but I also don't necessarily think that this should be a hard and fast rule, denying all pro-abortion Catholic politicans access to Holy Communion. The goal is to save the souls of the legislators and the lives of the unborn. Some Catholic politicans may be more open to persuasion whereas confrontation might drive them away. (Biden's had 30 years of persuasion; in his case, it's time to take a stand for the unborn and Christ's Body and blood.) In this case, the Bishop of his diocese should approach him and remind him of his Catholic duty. This is a judgment call the Bishop has to make on a case by case basis.

So, for that reason, I tend to think the decision by the Bishops not to create a national policy is a good one: it would have tied the hands of bishops one way or the other which wouldn't have been good either way. I do think Welborn is correct when she writes:
What I do wish, vainly, is that the US bishops could at least come out with a statement in which the problem was honestly acknowledged, all Catholics were urged to be catechized on the meaning of Eucharist and their relationship to it (an effort which is forthcoming, I understand), and in which bishops were encouraged to vigorously and courageously fulfill their duties as pastors and teachers, defending life and serving the most vulnerable.
She's also correct in her analysis of this issue from the politicians' point of view:
We are talking about politicians who a)determine their stance according to what will curry them party favor (and this is not just a Democratic issue. In certain elements of the GOP - in the Northeast, particularly, pro-life Republicans are almost as rare as pro-life Dems) and votes.

b) are shamelessly, forthrightly and vigorously promoting, not some middle way but full-blown, radical abortion rights, who curry the support of NARAL and such, who speak at abortion rights events and fundraisers. People like Nancy Pelosi, who have voting records consistent with abortion rights groups 100% of the time. People like Pataki, Schwarzenegger and Giuliani.

Here's the issue. Most of the prominent Catholic politicians of both parties - in this country are supporters of abortion rights. Unashamed, unconflicted supporters of abortion rights, whose votes and support are crucial in maintaining protected legal abortion in this country.

An honest approach to the issue would acknoweldge this. In regret, dismay and even shame.

Nothing meaningful can happen until that simple, astonishing fact is confronted honestly.
One final note: At this writing, I have not read any of the comments to Welborn's post. I fully expect that I will strongly disagree with some of them.

YouTube - Hey Ya! Charlie Brown Style
The Peanuts gang dancing to "Hey Ya" by Outkast.

Absolutely brilliant.

Hat Tip: The Corner.

Monday, June 19, 2006

"An elective despotism was not the government we fought for; but one in which the powers of government should be so divided and balanced among the several bodies of magistracy as that no one could transcend their legal limits without being effectually checked and restrained by the others." —James Madison

"There are in fact four very significant stumbling blocks in the way of grasping the truth, which hinder every man however learned, and scarcely allow anyone to win a clear title to wisdom, namely, the example of weak and unworthy authority, longstanding custom, the feeling of the ignorant crowd, and the hiding of our own ignorance while making a display of our apparent knowledge." —Roger Bacon

"A man may have to die for our country: but no man must, in any exclusive sense, live for his country. He who surrenders himself without reservation to the temporal claims of a nation, or a party, or a class is rendering to Caesar that which, of all things, most emphatically belongs to God: himself." —C. S. Lewis

"[I]n commemorating fatherhood, we're also expressing a basic truth about America. What does fatherhood mean today in America? I guess the same as it always has. Fatherhood can sometimes be walking the floor at midnight with a baby that can't sleep. More likely, fatherhood is repairing a bicycle wheel for the umpteenth time, knowing that it won't last the afternoon. Fatherhood is guiding a youth through the wilderness of adolescence toward adulthood. Fatherhood is holding tight when all seems to be falling apart; and it's letting go when it is time to part. Fatherhood is long hours at the blast furnace or in the fields, behind the wheel or in front of a computer screen, working a 12-hour shift or doing a 6-month tour of duty. It's giving one's all, from the break of day to its end, on the job, in the house, but most of all in the heart." —Ronald Reagan

"James Madison is given most of the credit for the idea of divided sovereignty, which is sometimes referred to as federalism or states' rights. The fundamental idea was that governmental power was to be highly decentralized, with limited functions delegated to the central government, acting as the agent of the citizens of the states. In theory, the central government was to use that power to protect the lives, liberties, and property of the citizens of the states. More importantly, as enshrined in the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution, the citizens and the states were to be able to check or prohibit the tyrannical proclivities of the central government. Petty local tyrannies are bad enough, but everyone understood that the biggest danger to freedom was a centralized state, which was always considered to be the wolf at the door of liberty. The American Revolution was a war of secession against just such a state." —Thomas DiLorenzo

"Beginning in the 1960s, liberalism, once the home of many deep thinkers, began to substitute feeling for thought and descended into superficiality. One-word put-downs of opponents' ideas and motives were substituted for thoughtful rebuttal. Though liberals regard themselves as intellectual—their views, after all, are those of nearly all university professors—liberal thought has almost died. Instead of feeling the need to thoughtfully consider an idea, most liberal minds today work on automatic. One-word reactions to most issues are the liberal norm... Here is a list of terms liberals apply to virtually every idea or action with which they differ: Racist, Sexist, Homophobic, Islamophobic, Imperialist, Bigoted, Intolerant. And here is the list of one-word descriptions of what liberals are for: Peace, Fairness, Tolerance, The poor, The disenfranchised, The environment. These two lists serve contemporary liberals in at least three ways. First, they attack the motives of non-liberals and thereby morally dismiss the non-liberal person. Second, these words make it easy to be a liberal—essentially all one needs to do is to memorize this brief list and apply the right term to any idea or policy... Third, they make the liberal feel good about himself—by opposing conservative ideas and policies, he is automatically opposing racism, bigotry, imperialism, etc. Examples could fill a book." —Dennis Prager

"[W]e live in something close to the best of times, with record worldwide economic growth and at a low point in armed conflict in the world. Yet Americans are in a sour mood, a mood that may be explained by the lack of a sense of history. The military struggle in Iraq (2,473 U.S. military deaths) is spoken of in as dire terms as Vietnam (58,219), Korea (54,246) or World War II (405,399). We bemoan the cruel injustice of $3 a gallon for gas in a country where three quarters of people classified as poor have air conditioning and microwave ovens. We complain about a tide of immigration that is, per U.S. resident, running at one third the rate of 99 years ago." —Michael Barone

High Court Allows Lethal Shot Challenges
The Supreme Court opened the door Monday to new constitutional challenges to lethal injection, the method used by most states and the federal government to execute death row inmates.

In an unanimous decision, the court allowed those condemned to die to make last-minute claims that the chemicals used are too painful _ and therefore amount to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Constitution's Eighth Amendment.
No, I'm anti-death penlty, but if they're really concerned about cruel an unsual punishment, why not just starve them to death? When it was done to Terri Schiavo, we were even told it was a "peaceful" way to die. What's cruel about that?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Let's all shop at Sears!!!
I was just sent this via email:
I assume many of you haven't seen the reports about how Sears is treating its reservist employees who are called up? By law, they are required to hold their jobs open and available, but nothing more. Usually, people take a big pay cut and lose benefits as a result of being called up...Sears is voluntarily paying the difference in salaries and maintaining all benefits, including medical insurance and bonus programs, for all called up reservist employees for up to two years. I submit that Sears is an exemplary corporate citizen and should be recognized for its contribution.
Suggest we all shop at Sears, and be sure to find a manager to tell them why we are there so the company gets the positive reinforcement it well deserves.

(The person who received the message above did some more investigative work as followsJ

So I decided to check it out before I sent it forward. I sent the following email to the Sears Customer Service Department:

I received this email and I would like to know if it is true. If it is, the Internet may have just become one very good source of advertisement f or your store. I know I would go out of my way to buy products from Sears instead of another store for a like item even if it was cheaper at the other store.

Here is their answer to my email.......................
Dear Customer:
Thank you for contacting Sears
The information is factual. We appreciate your positive feedback. Sears regards service to our country as one of greatest sacrifices our young men and women can make. We are happy to do our part to lessen the burden they bear at this time.

Bill Thorn
Sears Customer Care

Please pass this on to all your friends, Sears needs to be recognized for this outstanding contribution and we need to show them as Americans, we do appreciate what they are doing for our military!!!!!!!!!!!

Ordinations to the diaconate in Rome - Regnum Christi
A high school classmate was ordained a deacon in the Legionaries of Christ a few days ago. (Article in the link above.) That's him receiving the Gospel in the picture towards the bottom.

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