Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The virtual envelope, please!

No, not the Grammy Awards. We'll get to those next week. This week we've got something really exciting in the works.

There is, in the confines of the Catholic blogosphere, that which is known as the Catholic Blog Awards, sponsored once again by our friends at cyberCatholics.com. Nominations are currently open until February 3.

Some of my St Blog's colleagues will urge you to vote for them. But I can do better than that; you already know why you should or should not nominate MWBH. So I'm going to make some predictions as to who will win.

Regardless of the list of nominees, the winners in all categories will fit one or more of the following criteria:

1) A noted Catholic writer

2) A noted Catholic speaker, also promoting their work as a Catholic writer

3) A priest

4) Someone in "none of the above" who has been nominated or has won before

Now, unless you are in one of those categories, you don't stand a snowball's chance in hell of winning. I submit that this is a sad commentary on the whole idea of this award.

Before radio was supplanted by television as a dominant medium, the latter consisted mostly of talent from the older medium who attempted to adapt. Some did better than others. Television eventually took prominence, as evidenced by the 1960 presidential debates, in which Kennedy swayed the popular opinion quite handily, even though most radio listeners were convinced that Nixon had won.

When satellite radio came on the scene, specialty radio personalities (including a number from the field of classical music and elsewhere in public radio) flocked to its bandwidth, in the wake of corporate takeovers of on-air channels and the tyranny of canned formats.

But what of the blogosphere? Where the Catholic writer is concerned, is it truly a medium in its own right, or simply an extension of the more traditional end of publishing? No, there is nothing wrong with that. But it is dishonest to contend that the Catholic weblog has come on its own as a distinct medium, especially when the same one or two individuals -- who fit handily in the first category -- are mentioned in every scrap of journalism on the subject.

No, the Catholic weblog has not come of age, not yet. Until it does, there is little basis for claiming innovation, therefore little point in handing out awards.

By the way, I did manage to nominate myself for "Most Insightful Blog" just to see if anyone is paying attention.

I just know I'm gonna get nailed. Stay tuned...

Monday, January 30, 2006

Scandal: Beyond "Film at Eleven"

Mark Serrano was an innocent victim to a pervert in a Roman collar named Father Hanley. Without actually being convicted due to the statute of limitations, Hanley was defrocked anyway. So what does he do? He moves back into the old New Jersey neighborhood so he can pass fliers with his picture on them, warning them all that he's a sex offender. What good is it doing? Well, WCBS-TV got a few minutes of footage on the confrontation between Hanley and Serrano's dad.

"What began as a quiet picket turned into an angry confrontation on Sunday in Paterson..."

I don't know who the bigger idiot is; the defrocked priest for moving back into the neighborhood, the bishop who effectively removes any oversight, or any one of the people who made a scene for the cameras (something the mainstream media is very good at taking and running with, as leaders of the so-called "Voice of the Faithful" learned very early on, or so they told me). Exploiting a bereaved father's agony doesn't help anyone -- not the predatory addict, not the father, and certainly not the victim.

Guys like that should get the hell outa town and build a cabin in the woods somewhere. The hermetic life would be the best thing for them, not to mention the rest of us. They could do some teleworking job on the computer where no one has to know their background, plant their own garden, maybe raise a few chickens. But most of all, it would be a life of penance, something novel for a generation of slaves to the suburbs. (God forbid we should live beyond spittin' distance of a Wal-Mart.)

Which includes most of our bishops, and the minions who inhabit their payrolls.

Friday, January 27, 2006

T-ShirtHumor.com

My computer setup at home just got an upgrade -- a surplus Macintosh G4 with 0.5 GB processor speed and broadband connection. By previous standards, I'm packin'! So look for some new features later in the year.

But first, I have to hold auditions.

Rome Remembers Mozart

"Perhaps you have heard of the famous 'Miserere,' whose publication is prohibited under pain of excommunication. Well, we have it. Wolfgang wrote it from memory."

He's looking well today, for a man of 350 years.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Choice Revisited

It is written in Scripture, that in the end times, Satan will appear as an angel of light, and will succeed in deceiving the Elect.

We have been deceived. In Florida, a Catholic bishop showed outright indifference while a man starved his comatose wife to death. The circumstances that brought about her condition continue to lay suspicion upon him. And while both State and Federal statutes were ignored concerning her care, in a facility that would have lost its license in another state under the same circumstances, the Governor of Florida and the President of the United States did nothing.

Over the weekend, the man who assisted in the death of his wife was married in a Catholic church, to the woman with whom he had been living for ten years, and with whom he had fathered two children.

But we can move on now, can't we?

However we choose to answer, the stage has been set. It will happen again. The generation that insisted on the right to "do your own thing" will find itself at the end of life, at the mercy of its own code of dishonor, as the children and grandchildren amidst their number pull the plug on their life support.

Who will speak out for them then? Who speaks out for them now?

Today, the largest annual demonstration in the Nation's capital will happen for the 33rd time. It will be mentioned in the local newspapers, alongside lesser counter-demonstrations calling for the death of the unwanted. The Culture of Death will no doubt plan its own march later in the year. It will be smaller, but will get more press attention (including a guide to the parade route in the local section), and more celebrities.

And so, after a year in which the mainstream press has lost some credibility, the crowds who would be ignored by them will march on. They cannot be ignored forever. Some people can't afford to. As a matter of fact, this government worker just received the following in an internal memorandum:

"The annual March for Life will take place today in Washington. The rally, which may draw hundreds of thousands..."

Somebody had better tell CNN.

Friday, January 13, 2006

T-ShirtHumor.com

That reminds me, I should mention my resolutions next week. Stay tuned...

Thursday, January 12, 2006

When Necco wafers just don't hit the spot...

As a Catholic schoolboy, I used to play priest. I still see grownups do it today. They call them "communion ministers." But that's another story...

I remember my altar. I didn't have a chalice, so I stacked several books in the middle and used a cloth napkin for a veil. A patchwork quilt was my chasuble. My altar boys were the two brothers from next door, who belonged to the local Church of Christ, and really had to wonder what the hell I was up to. (That's another story too, because one day Mom called the three of us to the table to lecture us on two things to never, ever do -- talk about religion with our Protestant neighbors, and talk to strangers about anything, period. No, not you, Pat; you were too little back then.)

Of course, the "valid matter" of choice for the host was the Necco™ wafer.

These days, however, if the Quebecois want a low-fat, salt-free snack, they reach for a bag of "Retailles d'Hosties," made only from whole wheat flour and water. The story has caused quite a scare in the Catholic blogosphere (as, according to Jimmy Akin, "Quebec is SO going to hell.") However, Canadian priest Father Thomas Dowd manages to put the practice in perspective, in a piece entitled "Et tu, Father Neuhaus?"

If you view Catholicism as a more holistic experience than just "doing religious stuff," it almost makes sense.

Yum. Discuss.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Does Alito lean to the right?

While attempting to convince members of Congress that he has no agenda, ScrappleFace reports that "Judge Samuel Alito, right, along with sister Rosemary, left, and wife, Martha, succumb to the pull of lunar gravity during a 15-minute monologue by Sen Joe Biden, D-DE. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Speaking of which, The Olde Farmers Almanac reports that the "Full Wolf Moon" appears this Saturday, the 14th.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Plough Monday

The Monday following the Feast of the Epiphany was traditionally when the work in the fields would continue.

Well, sort of, according to The Olde Farmer's Almanac: "Dressed in clean white smocks decorated with ribbons, the men dragged a plow (plough) through the village and collected money for the 'plow light' that was kept burning in the church all year... They sang and danced their way from village to village to the accompaniment of music."

You certainly can't complain about guys who enjoy their work.

Friday, January 06, 2006

T-ShirtHumor.com

Starting next week, MWBH will be back to the usual level of activity. In the meantime, I'm reminded of some New Year's resolutions that I have to write. Not to mention at least one item I wish I had gotten for Christmas. Till then...

Twelfth Night

"Joy, health, love and peace
Be all here in this place
By your leave we will sing
Concerning our King.

"Our King is well dressed
In silks of the best
In ribbons so rare
No King can compare.

"We have traveled many miles
Over hedges and stiles
In search of our King
Unto you we bring.

"We have powder and shot
To conquer the lot
We have cannon and ball
To conquer them all.

"Old Christmas is past
Twelfth Night is the last
And we bid you adieu
Praise joy to the new."


When I was a child growing up in Milford, Ohio, there was an annual public bonfire of used Christmas trees, that took place every Epiphany. Closer to the present, tonight is when I'll step out on to the porch and face the entrance. With a piece of chalk, I will inscribe the following over the door...

20 + C + M + B + 06

...while saying these words out loud: "Christus Mansionem Benedicat... May Christ this dwelling bless." The initials also stand for the names which tradition ascribes to the three wise men -- Caspar, Melchoir, and Balthasar.

For those with more time on their hands this day, other customs associated with this feast can be found here.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The New yeeres Gift, or Circumcisions Song,
sung to the King in the Presence at White-Hall.


Prepare for Songs;
He's come, He's come;
And be it sin here to be dumb,
And not with Lutes to fill the roome.

Cast Holy Water all about,
And have a care no fire goes out,
But 'cense the porch,
and place throughout.

The Altars all on fier be;
The Storax fries; and ye may see,
How heart and hand do all agree,
To make things sweet.
Chor. Yet all less sweet then He.

Bring Him along, most pious Priest,
And tell us then, when as thou seest
His gently-gliding, Dove-like eyes,
And hear'st His whimp'ring, and His cries;
How canst thou this Babe circumcise?

Ye must not be more pitifull then wise;
For, now unlesse ye see Him bleed,
Which makes the Bapti'me; 'tis decreed,
The Birth is fruitlesse:
Chor. Then the work God speed.

Touch gently, gently touch;
and here Spring Tulips up through all the yeere;
And from His sacred Bloud, here shed,
May Roses grow, to crown His own deare Head.
Chor. Back, back again; each thing is done
With zeale alike, as 'twas begun;

Now singing, homeward let us carrie
The Babe unto His Mother Marie;
And when we have the Child commended
To her warm bosome, then our Rites are ended.

- Robert Herrick

(Thanks to "Rooster Cogburn" for passing this along.)