Saturday, March 28, 2015

From our 'Bureaucracy is a Tool of the Devil" file

Cardinal Pell's reforms at the Vatican, and how the first round of resistance against him failed. (I hope he wears a Kevlar vest.)

But calumny, alas, is what happens when people who have long thought of the Church as their private property, and perhaps even their private piggy-bank, run into a determined and incorruptible reformer who understands that financial probity is essential to our being the “Church in permanent mission” to which Pope Francis has called us.
H/t Peter R on Facebook

Friday, March 27, 2015

I am not crazy

I am not crazy. I am not talking to myself. I am a homeschooling mom, and I'm having a parent-teacher interview.

A blast from the past: here's one of the first articles I ever published about homeschooling. It first appeared in Nazareth: A Catholic Family Journal, oh, I'm going to guess 1998. I've had the odd request for this one, and since the now defunct NJ magazine is not archived online, here it is.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

I agree with Simcha: Ditch the Prom

Classic Simcha. This is a great article, and you should pop over and read it for yourself, especially if you have kids in high school. (h/t Daria on FB)

The prom has long since ceased to be formal and dignified. It's a circus at best or (no apologies) a Slutstravaganza at worst. It's hard to believe that in some parts of the world, girls want to go to prom mostly naked and (so to speak) drop acid, and in other parts of the world, girls have to wear body bags in public, and sometimes get acid thrown in their faces, just for wanting to go to school.

Never give up on a dream
Follow your Dreams
Believe in Your Dreams
Don't Stop Your Dreams
Dream for Tomorrow...Today
Today is the Tomorrow you Worried About Yesterday
Trust in Tomorrow 
Today is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life a Quadriplegic if You're Foolish Enough to Drink and Drive

Word: homeschooling. My first three high school "seniors" (graduates) never wanted so much as a dinner or even a small family party to mark the occasion (which is a bit sad, but there you have it). #4 is having a grad party: along with the families of 3 other cousins, we rented a church hall and are having a by-invitation potluck dinner and an old-fashioned dance, with real music and real dancing. But you don't need to homeschool: any student and his family could do the same. And yes, I do realize that some schools are good, and have nice proms and graduation ceremonies on a relatively modest scale. 

I'm just not much for that sort of thing. When I graduated from high school, I was part of a rebel movement to have our theme be: "Another Brick in the Wall" (yes, we wanted the Pink Floyd ditty as our grad theme song). We had votes on our side, but the Principal vetoed it. He could not, however, stop me from wearing a Halloween costume to my graduation, which I did. (Relax, it was a gown, but I'd borrowed it from my sister, who had worn it as a Halloween costume, which I also did six months before I wore it to grad. It was a peach-coloured lacy pioneer-lady type gown. The material point is that I paid nothing for it, and was not the least bit freaked or ashamed that I had not kept it under wraps --like a wedding gown!-- as some folk apparently think is necessary.)

I guess I also have a thing about long, boring speeches. At my husband's convocation from Engineering, I slipped out as soon as I saw him receive his degree, and went shopping at a nearby mall. At my own convocation, as soon as I received my degree, I slipped out and went to play in a badminton tournament with Mrs. Beazly. Good times.

Well, there's a surprise!

Not quite all of them, but you apprehend my meaning...

I'm treating this as good news, because it sounds as though it's starting to unravel from within, and why wouldn't it? A house divided against itself cannot stand. Best part: it's mainly the fault of the novel's "writer" because she's so difficult to work with. I can only imagine what a nightmare that poor screenwriter had, trying to make a script from the literary equivalent of a 500-page scam/porn email from "Bambi" in Nigeria. 

But don't take my word for it, because I haven't (and cannot and will not) read the book. But others have fallen on the sword, for the good of humanity and the written word.

Best review ever.

He had me at: "If Jane Austen (another bestselling female British author) came back to life and read this book, she would kill herself."

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Phoning it in for the Annunciation

Due once more to busy-ness and lack of time (Confession service tonight at church, early supper, so forth)... shamelessly cutting and pasting this prayer from my favourite Liturgy of the Hours site, Divine

Now, let us say it together:
Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
In you we contemplate
The splendour of true love,
We turn to you with confidence.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
Make our families, also,
Places of communion and cenacles of prayer,
Authentic schools of the Gospel,
And little domestic Churches.

Holy Family of Nazareth
May our families never more experience
Violence, isolation, and division:
May anyone who was wounded or scandalized
Rapidly experience consolation and healing.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
May the upcoming Synod of Bishops
Re-awaken in all an awareness
Of the sacred character and inviolability of the family,
Its beauty in the project of God.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
Hear and answer our prayer. Amen.

A prayer for the Synod on the Family, recited today by Pope Francis

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Happy birthday, Mom

Fun fact (well, terribly tragic, in Marilyn's case): What do my mom and Marilyn Monroe have in common? (Besides both being beautiful and knowing how to rock a 50s frock)

Answer: they were both pregnant 13 times. Marilyn (reportedly) had 12 abortions and 1 miscarriage. Mom had 13 babies...and 50-something grandchildren (some of whom are already in heaven)...and more great-grandchildren than I have time to count (though I'm sure to get around to it when I'm feeing less lazy).

Monday, March 23, 2015

Home stretch of Lent: Peace be with you

In an effort to share some inspiration (hopefully), but without too much effort on my part (cuz I have school to catch up on, and so forth), I offer you my column on "peace", which was published in The Record, in May, 2012. As is entirely their prerogative, they declined to post it in the online archive of my columns. And so I offer it here, slightly edited.

"He studied corn oil..."

In other words, Woman, put on your reading glasses, or magnify the typeface! From the saint of the day, Liturgy of the Hours.

"Today we honor St. Turibio of Mogrovejo, a Spanish bishop born in 1538. The son of noble parents, he studied canon and civil law..."

With apologies for not blogging these last few days. We were on a little family holiday, and what with relaxing, having fun, working on a writing project, watching movies, going for walks, sitting in the condo and drinking tea and gazing out at the snow and majestic pines, I didn't get much blogging done. Will rectify.

Wishing you a blessed and fruitful home stretch of Lent.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Another reason to love Kenneth Branagh: UPDATE

As if you needed one.

Fr. Barron on the new Cinderella:
the director manages to tells the familiar fairy tale without irony, hyper-feminist sub-plots, Marxist insinuations, deconstructionist cynicism, or arch condescension.

And thus the Christian allegory shines through. I chuckled at the 'SPOILER ALERT'! near the beginning of Fr. Barron's article. Um, we all pretty much know how Cinderella ends.

UPDATE: Mr. Branagh allows the criticism to roll off his back:
In an era of revisionist fairytales such as Frozen and Maleficent, it might be a surprise to find that Branagh’s take on the story of Cinders and her glass slipper is determinedly traditionalist. “I don’t find myself so exercised by a desperation to be new,” he says...

Good on ya, buddy! If anything is getting excruciatingly stale, it's feminist/revisionist fairy tales. (PS. Little girls don't like "Frozen" because the girls are 'powerful' but because they're pretty and sing catchy songs and they have long hair and nice dresses and they're pretty.)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Due to lack of time

A St. Paddy's Day greeting and prayer, shamelessly stolen from Aunty Jerann's feed on Facebook.
Top o the mornin to ye!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Can't they BOTH lose?

The Clintons vs the Obamas. Could also be filed under "The Left eats its own." I don't know whom to cheer for, but I wish they could both lose. And "top aide" Valerie Jarrett? BWAHAHAHAHA. That's like saying Jim Henson was Kermit the Frog's top aide.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

What's so Laetare about it?

Pope-Emeritus Benedict
wearing the traditional rose-coloured vestments
 for Laetare Sunday 
(not a recent photo, of course)

Today, the 4th Sunday of Lent is traditionally known as Laetare Sunday, or "Rejoicing Sunday" (and also by some other names). There is a nice explanation at Fathers for Good, an initiative of the Knights of Columbus.

Our parish priest who is (rejoice!) finally well enough to say Mass gave a very beautiful homily today. The central message of Christianity, he said (and I paraphrase, because I did not --regrettably-- have a recording device handy. The homily was that good) is that we are "forever loved by God." 

Wow, just let that sink in for a minute. We are FOREVER loved by God. That means always and everywhere. We always have been loved, even before we were conceived, all through every moment of our lives; all through our sins and failings--past, present and future. We are loved now, today, at this moment; we will always be loved. How much? This is how much (from the Gospel reading for today):

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 

Yeah, I don't have to give you that citation; you know it (John 3:16), the one bible verse that everyone on the planet knows. We know it so well, we almost treat it as a cliche. But don't. It's pretty mind-blowing that God would give up his only Son for us. It's amazing enough that God would love us (as He does) despite all our sins and failings, but even more amazing that he cares enough to want to TAKE ALL THAT NEGATIVE CRAP AWAY FROM OUR LIVES.

That's what struck we about Father's homily today. He repeated that phrase a couple of times: "He takes it away..." He takes away all our pain, sin, suffering. He takes it away. Ponder on that the next time you say the Lamb of God at Mass. He takes it away. By his suffering, death and resurrection, Jesus gives us the gift of eternal life. All we have to do is believe in him and follow him.

And that's worth rejoicing over. Have a blessed remainder of the Lenten season, as we enter the final weeks before Easter.