You-Can’t-Do-It-ville

More deluded state legislatures have enacted laws permitting “same-sex marriage.”

Faithful souls may long to hear from their shepherds a resounding condemnation.

If I might, I would like to take a few moments to explain my personal point-of-view on this matter.

Marriage between two men or two women falls into the category of impossible. For two people to marry, they must act (in the distinctive way) as husband and wife, following their verbal commitment to each other. Two men cannot do this; two women cannot do this. This is bird-and-bees stuff of the most basic kind.

No one enjoys a civil right to do the impossible. Legislatures which try to make the impossible possible only succeed in rendering themselves laughingstocks. But that hardly seems unusual or even particularly remarkable.

That said, it is our bounden duty to oppose such legislative nonsense. A vademecum about opposing ‘same-sex marriage’ can be found by clicking here.

A summary of Vatican teaching on this matter can be found by clicking here.

Click here for a homily I gave shortly before the District of Columbia legalized ‘gay marriage.’ Click here for a homily explaining the Church’s authority to govern marriage.

Here are my ruminations after I sat through hours of testimony at the District building.

‘Gay marriage’ lives in fantasy-world. In the realm of the possible, we find such things as…friendship, sincerity, kindness, creativity…The Lord never laid down a law against any of these things. All are encouraged.

Also in the realm of the possible, we find…sodomy. Even though sodomy so obviously offends everything that is good and dignified about mankind, some people nonetheless experience an inclination to it. The existence of such an inclination shows us that our human nature has been handed down to us in a confused and broken state. Same-sex attraction is a particularly vivid sign of original sin. The inclination is not, however, in and of itself, a personal sin.

My sense is that actually performing acts of sodomy falls deep within the city limits of You-Really-Cannot-Do-It (Ever!)-ville in the minds of everyone who hears any homily I ever give. Therefore, it would serve no purpose for me to give a severe “Gay Marriage is an Abomination” Sermon.

People who might avail themselves of “Gay Marriage” in New York, Rhode Island, Washington, D.C., or anywhere else, are our misguided brothers and sisters. We should do everything we lovingly can to help them come to their senses, do the good (kindness, love, friendship) and avoid the bad (sodomy, lesbianism).

That said, I find the whole ‘same-sex marriage’ business to be less an abomination and more a regrettably silly sideshow, best ignored. Give me an earful if you disagree!

Philly Up, Philly Down!

PhiladelphiaSkyline

This whole sad, sorry mess is not a local tale of a franchise gone rotten anymore; it’s national news, almost as depressing as the real world. —Mike Wise on last night’s Redskins loss

Fair amount of hype about both the Yankees and the Giants going to Philadelphia this Sunday, to play the Phillies and the Eagles, respectively.

ovechkinWe will see how things go. But how about this:

Few teams are more loathsome to a Washingtonian than the Iggles. For instance: the Flyers.

Yes, Philadelphia whupped us yesterday.

But the Caps whupped Philadelphia today!

Also, let’s look at the bright side: The Redskins scored more points last night than they have scored in a while…

Telling Beads

Click here for beautiful rosary beads.

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It would seem that our Catholic friends are given to a great deal of repetition in prayer. Some of the poor creatures say, “Hail, Mary!” as often and as fast as they can.

None of us prays the Holy Rosary with the attention that it deserves.

BUT:

Isn’t it better to say the Our Father, the Sacred Name of Jesus, and the holy name of Mary many times? I mean, as opposed to not doing that?

…The Rosary is a bottomless mystery that can only be understood from within. The Holy Father’s words at St. Patrick’s Cathedral are especially applicable to the recitation of the Rosary:

Stained glass windows flood the interior [of the church] with mystic light. From the outside, those windows are dark, heavy, even dreary. But once one enters the church, they suddenly come alive; reflecting the light passing through them, they reveal all their splendor.

Many writers – here in America we can think of Nathaniel Hawthorne – have used the image of stained glass to illustrate the mystery of the Church herself.

It is only from the inside, from the experience of faith and ecclesial life, that we see the Church as she truly is: flooded with grace, resplendent in beauty, adorned by the manifold gifts of the Spirit.

Yesterday was the 59th anniversary of the foundation of the Missionaries of Charity!

mothertheresa

Architecture Day

twin towersI was always against the Twin Towers, architecturally speaking.

I thought they looked like the effluvia of an intergalactic spaceship the size of Iowa that had stopped over lower Manhattan to deposit its waste in two briquettes, pinched out squarely from its enormous wrought-iron rectum.

I didn’t like the idea of the Death Star going to the bathroom in the middle of one of our grandest cities of Earth.

That said, when I visited my brother in New York in 2002, and I laid eyes on the lower Manhattan skyline, I was mad as hell. The ugly towers–fixtures of life, my old friends–were gone. The enemy had attacked our home, knocked down our buildings, and killed our people.

new mell naveI still miss the hideous buildings. Isn’t it strange that, after eight years, justice has yet to be done? The perpetrators of the attack went to judgment in the course of their murderous rage, of course. But what about the mastermind? I do not wish him damned; I do not want revenge. But he must face justice.

…I have had the opportunity to kneel and pray a few times in the abbey church of New Melleray, outside Dubuque, Iowa. It is the most peaceful place I have ever been. When I get to heaven, please God, I hope the Lord will let me spend it in this church.

It is simply the most perfect church on earth. But I knew from the first moment I spent there that there was something about the location of its windows that was in fact too perfect to be the result of human design.

new mell sanctuaryIt turns out that the walls of this perfect church were originally built to house a dormitory. It used to be a two-story residence for the monks. Then, when they built other buildings, and completed their cloister, they removed the floor separating the first and the second storeys of this part, and turned it into their church. Amazing.

(N.B. The tabernacle is within the wooden structure behind the altar. This aspect of the church is odd, I grant. I also wish the altar were wider. And of course if the Lord let me spend eternity there, he would also let me say Mass facing east. But the walls and windows are perfect as is.)

NewMellerayAbbey

Rhymes_with_Orange

N.T. Diasporabrief #2

Depart from me Lord

St. Peter is often depicted as a simple-minded man who acted out of pure emotion.

But the fisherman’s first statement to Christ reveals something else.

After the Lord Jesus brought in a miraculous catch of fish, St. Peter fell to his knees and cried, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!”

These are not the words of a shallow individual. Peter could have said, “Yippee! We are going to make a lot of money today. I like your style, teacher.”

asia minorInstead, he reacted to a miracle the way a pious, prayerful man would. He reacted like someone who knew his religion well, like someone who prayed regularly.

…It is not surprising, then, that St. Peter also wrote a Christian Diasporabrief, like St. James the Less.

Unlike St. James, St. Peter specified his audience somewhat, addressing the dispersed tribes in Asia Minor.

And, unlike St. James, St. Peter did not write from Jerusalem.

Instead, he wrote from “Babylon,” which is how the Apostle referred to Rome. Babylon, of course, was the site of the exile of the Jews in the sixth-century B.C. It was the perfect metaphor to use in a letter to exiles, written by an exile.

May all of us exiles find our way home to the heavenly Jerusalem when everything is said and done.

…Everyone is raving about this new priestly vocations video:

Forgive me for being a curmudgeon. This video doesn’t do much for me. The music is too melodramatic.

Thoughts on the video? Are the Redskins going to be any good this year?

Russell Files Closed: Veritas in Caritate

Baltimore Raven Michael Oher
Baltimore Raven Michael Oher

The truth is: the Ravens head-butted the Redskins last night in the preseason opener–without charity, pity, or mercy.

23-0? Yikes…

…Ephesians 4:17-18 reads:

Now this I affirm and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.

Commenting on these verses, St. Thomas Aquinas wrote:

Existing without an expectation of eternal life, the pagans held for a mortality of the soul contrary to faith and hope.

In “What I Believe” (1925), Bertrand Russell wrote:

bertrand russell
I believe that when I die I shall rot, and nothing of my ego will survive…

It would be ridiculous to warp the philosophy of nature in order to bring out results that are pleasing to the tiny parasites of this insignificant planet.

We can conclude that Russell’s doctrine is perniciously erroneous.

As Father Mowbray said of his obtuse catechumen Rex Mottram in Brideshead Revisited, Russell’s darkness of mind is so extreme that it does not even “correspond to any degree of paganism known to the missionaries.”

Nonetheless, I promised to explain why the New York Supreme Court’s action against this enemy of God was unjust.

Charles Keating played Rex Mottram in BBC Brideshead
Charles Keating played Rex Mottram in BBC Brideshead

Judge McGeehan did NOT conclude that there is a standard of Christian truth that must be met by the doctrine of professors at public colleges. If he had, he would have articulated a fact that awaits clear legal articulation in this great land of ours.

As it is, the judge indulged in an untrue ad hominem* attack. He accused Russell of moral turpitude, for which there was no evidence.

It is true that purveyors of false doctrine usually teach their errors in order to justify their sins. But in the case at hand, the teacher’s sins were private–if he was in fact guilty of any. In order to keep dangerous error out of City College, Judge McGeehan libeled a world-famous philosopher who lived a perfectly respectable life.

The answer to error is not more error. And the answer to error is not force. The answer to error is truth, patience, the benefit of the doubt, and humble love.

The only way for us to conquer Bertrand Russell’s disciples (who run the show in this country these days) is by proposing the truth in love, patiently. Slow and steady wins the race. Actions speak louder than words.

(And Preacher’s aphorisms/bromides will stop at this point, until the situation demands more.)

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*Nota Bene: This link is very much worth clicking.

Empire Boulevard, Brooklyn

metro-train-crash-washington-dc

It has been a month since the Monday evening that rattled me as much as I have been rattled in a long time. I think September 11, 2001, was the last time I sat in front of a televison in a state of such distress.

The Washington Metro opened when I was a little boy. My dad worked for the city then, and we rode on a special Metro ride for V.I.P.’s, the day before the system opened.

He was so excited about the Metro that he used to ride it one stop each evening, from his office at Farragut North to the end of the red line at Dupont Circle. Then he would catch the bus the rest of the way to our house (near Friendship Heights–only a shaded ‘future’ station on the map back then).

empireThe Metro ride did not save him any time or trouble. He did it out of sheer excitement.

I guess children who grow up on farms have a special love for pigs and tractors. They do not like to see sick pigs or mangled tractors. For me, it is the Metro.

There was a deadly Metro crash in January, 1982–the same afternoon Air Florida Flight 90 crashed into the 14th-Street bridge and plummeted into the Potomac River. And a Metro operator was killed in a crash in 1996.

But I think the crash on June 22 is the event that will mark a turning point in Washington subway history equivalent to the turning point that was reached in New York City ten days before the end of World War I:

Have you ever been to Frederick Law Olmstead’s magnificent Prospect Park in Brooklyn? One of the exits of the park opens onto Empire Boulevard.

Malbone wreckThis street once had a different name. They had to change the name of the street, because the old name had become synonymous with death and horror. Empire Boulevard was once Malbone Street.

Click here for the New York Times account of the deadliest non-terrorist subway catastrophe in history, which happened in the tunnel outside the Malbone Street station on All Saints Day, 1918.

At least 93 people died. The crash occurred because a non-union scab with two hours of training was operating the Brighton Beach express during a strike. He took a six-mile-an-hour curve at 40 mph.

The responsible authorities were indicted for manslaughter.

The NYC subway bounced back. It became a professional operation. May the same happen here in Washington. And may all the dead rest in peace.

Up the Wall

Basilica of the Nativity, where Christ was born
Basilica of the Nativity, where Christ was born

Archbishop Dolan with his second-grade teacher
Archbishop Dolan with his second-grade teacher
Someone called the new Archbishop of New York “Falstaff in a mitre.”

With all due respect, I do not think that this is apt.

As we Shakespearians know, Sir John’s most lovable quality is that he is not, in fact, a good person. He is a lying, lecherous, selfish, cynical, dissolute coward.

Sir John Falstaff
Sir John Falstaff
Just because Falstaff is also jovial, garrulous, and imperious does not mean that he makes a suitable literary figure for His Excellency Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who is an industrious and orthodox prelate.

A year ago today, your humble servant was in Bethlehem, venerating the birthplace of Christ.

The Israeli government has erected a wall around the Israeli settlements near Bethlehem.

bethlehem-wall1

Don’t forget to eat all the candy in the house today.