Miscellaneous Meanderings on the signs of the times (Vol. 9, No. 104)
Dr. Mark S. Latkovic
October 1, 2018
Feast of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux
~September sure was fun, wasn’t it?
~Aretha Franklin’s funeral here in Detroit seemed to be everything but a funeral (e.g., see https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/detroit/2018/08/31/michael-eric-dyson-president-donald-trump-lethal-liar/1162592002/). It was a political rally (i.e., a Trump-bashing event), the Grammy’s, a concert, and much, much more.
~All of the people, for all of these years, who we thought were attending other parishes for Sunday Mass over the holidays were actually not attending other Catholic churches. They simply stayed home. Like the sparsely attended churches on Sunday, so then shall heaven be.
~In the midst of the priest-bishop-cardinal-pope sex abuse crisis, there’s a meme going around that says I’m not Catholic because of the hierarchy but because of Jesus, the Eucharist, and so on. My problem with it is this: We don’t have the Eucharist or any of the other sacraments without the priesthood. Moreover, Catholicism is by its nature a hierarchical religion. There’s no getting around that fact. Better to talk about the human and divine nature of the Church as founded by Christ himself and how its holiness is an intrinsic property due to Jesus Christ not us (cf. Vatican Council II, Lumen gentium, e.g., no. 8).
~On Labor Day, we remembered the famous “labor priest,” Msgr. George G. Higgins (1916-2002) [see https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2011/08/31/remembering-msgr-george-higgins-labor-day)]. I had him for one course on social ethics at The Catholic University of America in the late 1980s. The course wasn’t particularly noteworthy (e.g., I don’t remember taking a lot of notes), but it was interesting nonetheless to listen to the life experience of a well-known and respected social justice priest.
~Here’s one of the problems with the World Meeting of Families (Dublin 2018): The Vatican not only invited Fr. James Martin, S.J. to speak and proposed the topic and the title of his talk (“How parishes can welcome L.G.B.T. Catholics”), they also vetted and approved it (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3TvffTC1wQ, the first minute). This event tells you all you need to know about the present state of the Catholic Church.
~I’m an experienced sinner.
~“Pope Francis says response to division should be silence, prayer” (see https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope-francis-says-response-to-division-should-be-silence-prayer-83475). Okay, I agree with the prayer part, but how about some talking too? Silence is one of the main things that got us into this mess.
~I think I will start referring to myself as a “W.H.M.M. Catholic”: That is, a “White, Heterosexual, Middle-Aged Male Catholic.”
~ This WSJ story on the blood-testing firm Theranos is fascinating (see https://www.wsj.com/articles/blood-testing-firm-theranos-to-dissolve-1536115130). There are lots of people who lost lots of money. Their founder and CEO, Elizabeth Homes, is a pathological liar. She’s a character fit more for a dramatic movie – one that might be hard to believe – than Silicon Valley.
~“Thea Musgrave at 90: A Conversation with the Composer about Music and Life” (see https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/09/thea-musgrave-composer-on-music-and-life/). It was interesting to read about composer Thea Musgrave’s creative process in this article. It is similar to my own, I think. I say the process is, not the creativity!
~It looks like the sex abuse revelations in the Church are like landmines planted all over the place that will keep going off (as real ones do after the war ends) – even when the scandal will supposedly be long “over.”
~It’s interesting to note that many of today’s bishops were formed during the revolutionary times of the free-wheeling 1960s and 1970s, when both the culture and the seminaries were experimenting (Around the years 1965—1980). Then, these same men are made bishops under the conservative papacies of St. John Paul II and Benedict XVI (The years 1978—2013). Men often liberal by disposition, now exercise ecclesiastical power under more traditional papacies. Many of them “toe the line,” to be sure, but their hearts just aren’t into it. Then, when Francis is elected, these liberals are free to act like, well, liberals. We’re seeing them act quite openly like liberals today. There’s no need for hiding.
~Not all mystics are saints, but all saints are mystics.
~Today we are fascinated with all manner of ancestry, genealogy, etc., but find ourselves cut off from tradition, allegedly finding it boring and of no practical importance to our lives. Go figure.
~It seems that everyone today is but a second (or a click?) away from either fame or infamy. Think Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
~What has happened to George Will lately? In a recent column, he writes: “In recent decades, all civilian institutions important to national governance — Congress, the presidency, the parties, the bureaucracy, the media — have, by their ignorance and arrogance, earned the disdain that now engulfs them. Yet although the [Supreme] Court regularly renders controversial decisions on matters about which the country is either deeply ambivalent (e.g., same-sex marriage) or hotly divided (e.g., abortion), its decisions are usually broadly accepted as ratifying norms that must be, and soon are, accepted.” (See https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/09/supreme-court-kavanaugh-confirmation-degrading-debacle/). Norms “that must be…accepted”? I know Will has been a Never Trumper from the beginning and its caused him to become somewhat loopy, but… This is breathtaking in its substitution of legal positivism for authentic morality.
~We are not, in the words of the 1985 USA for Africa pop song, “the world,” but we are “the Church.” The laity must remember that when they are tempted to either leave the Church or to be passive in the face of the sex abuse scandals.
~James Martin, S.J., is famous for his phrase, “building bridges.” I’d love to burn some of those bridges…Figuratively, of course.
~A lesson from the Judge Brett Kavanaugh nomination: In the future, Republicans will nominate only women candidates.
~Another lesson from the Kavanaugh nomination/hearing: the Democrats are evil.
~A further lesson from the hearing: Contrary to the Democrats, accusations are not evidence.
~Given the legal and cultural acceptance of same-sex marriage and transgenderism, in the near future, I’m convinced that you could convince people to eat a crap sandwich if you repeat it long enough, loud enough, and back up refusal to eat it, with threats. Mark my words…
~I saw that the far-left “comedian” Patton Oswalt tweeted a photo of himself wearing a “Believe Women” T-shirt (see https://twitter.com/pattonoswalt?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor). Apart from the obvious virtue-signaling, it got me thinking. To accept his message, I’d have to believe him – a man. So, what in the end is the message of the T-shirt besides believe women? That I can’t believe men who deny sexual assault? But Patton Oswalt’s a man. Or is it that one can only believe this one man, Patton Oswalt?
~Hell: It’s more than just a cuss word. I just might copyright that.
~A Detroit Free Press column on the Blasey-Ford—Kavanaugh Senate hearing by Mitch Albom (see https://www.freep.com/story/sports/columnists/mitch-albom/2018/09/30/mitch-albom-kavanaugh-blasey-ford/1472190002/) was cause for me to reflect on the notion of historical consciousness…Just not here in this month’s MMs. It calls for a longer reflection. Stay tuned.
~Here’s George Will again. In a column devoted to the death penalty, which he wants abolished, Will asserts the following: “it certainly is true that standards of decency do evolve, and that America’s have improved astonishingly since 1958: Think about segregated lunch counters, and much else.” (See http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/will092918.php3). Do you agree? Have our standards of decency “improved astonishingly”? Wouldn’t the abortion license reduce that “improved astonishingly” quite significantly? And: What about our toxic culture?