Tarry for the Nonce

May 31, 2006

The Rev. William Conway

Filed under: Religion — lmwalker @ 4:37 pm

I went to a Spirit & Truth meeting at St. Mary’s in West Chicago last night, primarily to hear a talk by Brian Preston on the Salve Regina.

All proceeded peacefully until the pastor entered, listened for a moment or two, and then chose to explain to the group all the problems he personally has with devotion to Mary. Nothing he said was catechetically unsound, per se, but as a man whose role it is to build up the body of Christ, he did his level best to denounce, debase, and deride – generally making the entire proceeding most uncomfortable.

Among the nuggets he spewed:

  • Marian devotion is generally overwrought and idolatrous. (And, incidentally, he doesn’t hear enough confession of idolotry in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.)
  • Personally, he only sees validity in the apparitions of Guadalupe. Otherwise, he doesn’t really approve of them. (I hope no one in the room was planning a pilgrimage to Lourdes or Medjugorje.)
  • He thinks that devotion to a saint needn’t necessarily include the “dangerous” practice of prayer.
  • While he has no problem with the doctrine of the Assumption, the Immaculate Conception bothers him, but he accepts – with a sigh – that he is bound to believe it.

The priest’s conduct was inexcusable for a number of reasons. First, his interruption of the speaker was rude. Second, he expressed contempt for the teachings of a Church that he is supposed to represent. Third, he undermined the entire theme of the evening with his own personal tone of derision. And, finally, despite his self-assumed authority, he didn’t even have his facts straight.

I held my temper until he started to declare emphatically that Pope John Paul II completely rejected the doctrine of Mary as co-redemptrix as blasphemous in its very soul. I turned to him and stated that Pope John Paul II did no such thing. In fact, Pope John Paul II chose not to define the doctrine for (valid) ecumenical reasons. He reiterated his mistake and after that, I more or less tuned him out.

:: sigh :: I’m sure Brian or Bryan will correct any misinterpretations or misimpressions I had – and the pastor did make several good points – but I was annoyed by his contempt and I’m sure it was visibly obvious. The pastor is entirely permitted to struggle with his personal bugaboos – and even privately direct people to temper their Marian devotion if he sees it getting out of hand – but to impose his opinion on an evening of discussion and fellowship under the auspices of his priestly authority was completely out of line. We were there to discuss proper devotion to Mary. He used the evening as his personal soapbox. And – like it or not – once a priest speaks, the discussion is essentially concluded. Who will disagree?

Preening priests with their personal agendas really perturb me.

[DISCLAIMER added 03 June: Remember that my opinion expressed above is just that – my opinion. Fr. Conway has a couple of stout supporters who have vigorously defended him (and chastised me) in the comments of this post, so please read through them before forming an opinion of a priest who – as I pointed out – said nothing to contradict Magisterial teaching and clearly has the best interest of his flock at heart.]

To the Literate

Filed under: Entertainment — lmwalker @ 11:20 am

Nothing can make me feel like a bourgeoise as quickly as a list of the 100 Best Novels.

Of the list, I’ve read (in entirety):

1984 by George Orwell
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

Wow. And I thought I was generally well-read. I guess not – or perhaps I just read unpopular literature.

On a side note, I am amused by the number of books that are apocalyptic in nature.

(Hat tip to Kevin Miller.)

May 30, 2006

Zoom Zoom

Filed under: Politics — lmwalker @ 4:07 pm

In an unexpected and refreshing move, Texas has increased its speed limit:

Last week, state highway officials in Fort Stockton unveiled the first 80-mph speed limit sign — reportedly the fastest posted speed limit in the nation . . .

The highways, among the most remote in the U.S., are generally four-lane, well-maintained and straight as an arrow mile after mile. It is often 10 to 15 miles between exit ramps. The affected highways total about 400 miles . . .

Told that some opponents say that most American drivers routinely drive 5 to 10 miles over the marked speed limit and that police officers generally allow at least a 5 mph leeway, Mr. Gallego laughed: “Doesn’t work that way out here. We’ve got some really lonely stretches of highways out here. If the speed limit is 65 and they catch you going 66, they’ll stop you, just to have somebody to talk to.”

Road trip, anyone?

The Neverlands

Filed under: Politics — lmwalker @ 4:02 pm

In a political move so groteseque that it sickens me to type about it . . .

Dutch pedophiles are launching a political party to push for a cut in the legal age for sexual relations to 12 from 16 and the legalization of child pornography and sex with animals . . .

“We want to get into parliament so we have a voice. Other politicians only talk about us in a negative sense, as if we were criminals,” [party founder Ad] Van den Berg told Reuters.

Well, guess what, Mr. Van den Berg? You should be “talked about” in a negative sense, because there are behaviors that should be socially taboo – and sex with children is near the top of that list.

But do you know what’s most digusting about the whole situation? The fact that only 67% of responders to a Dutch opinion poll said that promoting pedophilia should be illegal. What are they thinking?

Countering the Cranks

Filed under: Politics — lmwalker @ 4:00 pm

Helen Thomas: Why did the president pick a man who is so contemptible of the public servants in Washington to be his domestic adviser, saying, People in Washington are morally repugnant, cheating, shifty human beings. Why did he…

Tony Snow: Apparently an opinion that’s…

Helen Thomas: Why would he pick such a man to be a domestic adviser?

Tony Snow: You meant contemptuous as opposed to contemptible, I think.

How can one not adore Tony Snow?

Truth Be Told

Filed under: Politics — lmwalker @ 3:57 pm

The Iranian President is a skeptical man:

I know that DER SPIEGEL is a respected magazine. But I don’t know whether it is possible for you to publish the truth about the Holocaust . . .

We are posing two very clear questions. The first is: Did the Holocaust actually take place? . . . [T]he second question is: Whose fault was it? . . .

Why isn’t research into a deed that occurred 60 years ago permitted? After all, other historical occurrences, some of which lie several thousand years in the past, are open to research . . .

[I]f the Holocaust actually occurred, then you should permit impartial groups from the whole world to research this. Why do you restrict the research to a certain group? . . .

I will only accept something as truth if I am actually convinced of it . . .

While he seems to harbor doubt as to the nature and extent of the Holocaust, he apparently has no problem conflating it with the repression of Palestine. I never considered the two so closely connected, but he seems convinced that the Zionist pity sparked by the (possible) Holocaust has resulted in the repression of the Palestinians through the creation of the State of Israel. I suppose there is some truth to his observation that Jewish sympathies understandably arose in the wake of the attempted extermination, but I don’t think the world supports Israel out of misplaced guilt, as Ahmadinejad supposes.

But if he really considers the world so bleeding-heart, why not use it to his advantage instead of alienating Western scholarship by denouncing it as “politically motivated?”

Perhaps he is safe. Knowing the bent of the Western academics, I doubt they will take offense.

Call Him Damien

Filed under: Religion — lmwalker @ 3:48 pm

Some crazy Englishwoman is convinced that she is having a numerologically unlucky spawn:

A woman in England due to give birth on June 6 is fighting with her hospital to induce her sooner to avoid delivering on the demonic date of 6/6/6 . . .

“I’m terrified the birth will go wrong or the child will have evil in him or her,” [Melissa] Parker said. “Even worse my beautiful baby could be the devil himself — the anti-Christ.”

Wowee. Technically, she needn’t worry. First of all, her name is Melissa, not Katherine or even Rosemary. And second, Hollywood already called dibs on the Omen for the year.

Put on a Happy Face

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 3:37 pm

Botox can cure depression – apparently by, um, making you look happy:

According to a paper published last week in the Journal of Dermatologic Surgery, a small pilot study conducted by Dr. Eric Finzi found nine of 10 depressed patients recovered from their depressive symptoms after getting Botox injections between the eyebrows nearly twice the success rate of anti-depressants.

(Hat tip to John Dodd.)

May 26, 2006

Having Just Seen the Movie

Filed under: Entertainment — lmwalker @ 4:26 pm

You scored as Jean Grey.

Jean Grey is likely the most powerful X-Man. She loves Cyclops very much but she has a soft spot for Wolverine. She’s psychic so she can sense how others are feeling and tries to help them. She also has to control her amazing powers or the malevolent Phoenix entity could take control of her and wreak havok. Powers: Telekinetic, Telepathic

Jean Grey

80%

Rogue

65%

Cyclops

65%

Storm

50%

Nightcrawler

40%

Beast

40%

Iceman

40%

Emma Frost

35%

Colossus

35%

Gambit

35%

Wolverine

25%

Most Comprehensive X-Men Personality Quiz 2.0

(Hat tip to Brian Preston.)

May 25, 2006

Leaving Him to Ever Rest

Filed under: News — lmwalker @ 3:42 pm

Apart from their observation on the inept mathematics of Wolf Blitzer (last item), Best of the Web also unearthed this little tidbit:

An experienced Himalayan guide says Sir Edmund Hillary’s “harsh criticism” of Mark Inglis and other climbers for leaving a British man to die on Mt Everest could be psychologically harmful to Inglis and his team . . .

Mr Darragh said criticising the climbers for not going to assist and support could harm their ability to get over their remorse . . .

Well-known mountaineer Graham Dingle said, while he did not want to discredit Inglis for his huge achievement, he hoped in a similar situation he would have acted differently.

“If I had oxygen I would not pass a dying person.”

Gee. Neither would I. I don’t necessarily blame Mark Inglis for his neglect – (I doubt he expected the man to expire after he left) – but perhaps he should let the remorse linger for just a bit longer. Psychologically, he will recover. Physically, David Sharp will not.

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