Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year. The Lost Art of Catholic Drinking

"Drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable. 
G.K. Chesterton

 This article originally appeared in the November 2009 edition of Crisis Magazine by Sean P. Dailey has been the editor-in-chief of Gilbert Magazine.

There is Protestant drinking and there is Catholic drinking, and the difference is more than mere quantity. I have no scientific data to back up my claims, nor have I completed any formal studies. But I have done a good bit of, shall we say, informal study, which for a hypothesis like this is probably the best kind.

To begin with, what is Catholic drinking? It’s hard to pin down, but here’s a historical example. St. Arnold (580-640), also known as St. Arnulf of Metz, was a seventh-century bishop of Metz, in what later became France. Much beloved by the people, St. Arnold is said to have preached against drinking water, which in those days could be extremely dangerous owing to unsanitary sewage systems — or no sewage system at all. At the same time, he frequently touted the benefits of beer and is credited with having once said,

“From man’s sweat and God’s love, beer came into the world.”

Wise words, and St. Arnold’s flock took them to heart. After his death, the good bishop was buried at a monastery near Remiremont, France, where he had retired. However, his flock missed him and wanted him back, so in 641, having gotten approval to exhume St. Arnold’s remains, they carried him in procession back to Metz for reburial in the Basilica of the Holy Apostles. Along the way, it being a hot day, they got thirsty and stopped at an inn for some beer. Unfortunately, the inn had just enough left for a single mug; the processionals would have to share. As the tale goes, the mug did not run dry until all the people had drunk their fill.

Now, I’m not saying that Catholic drinking involves miracles, or that a miracle should occur every time people get together to imbibe. But good beer — and good wine for that matter — is a small miracle in itself, being a gift from God to His creatures, whom He loves. And as G. K. Chesterton wrote in Orthodoxy, “We should thank God for beer and burgundy by not drinking too much of them.” In other words, we show our gratitude to God for wine and beer by enjoying these things, in good cheer and warm company, but not enjoying them to excess.

Just what constitutes excess is for each person to judge for himself. However, we now approach the main difference between Catholic drinking and Protestant drinking. Protestant drinking tends to occur at one extreme or another: either way too much or none at all, with each being a reaction to the other. Some people, rightly fed up with the smug self-righteousness of teetotalers, drink to excess. And teetotalers, rightly appalled at the habits of habitual drunkards, practice strict abstinence.

It seems to occur to neither side that their reaction is just that: a reaction, and not a solution. If they considered it a bit, they might see a third way that involves neither drunkenness nor abstinence, yet is consistent with healthy, honest, humane Christian living.

Here we encounter Catholic drinking. Catholic drinking is that third way, the way to engage in an ancient activity enjoyed by everyone from peasants to emperors to Jesus Himself. And again, it is not just about quantity. In fact, I think the chief element is conviviality. When friends get together for a drink, it may be to celebrate, or it may be to mourn. But it should always be to enjoy one another’s company. (Yes, there is a time and place for a solitary beer, but that is the exception.)

For example: The lectures at the annual Chesterton conference are themselves no more important than the attendees later discussing those same lectures over beer and wine (we tend to adhere to Hilaire Belloc’s rule of thumb, which is to avoid alcoholic beverages developed after the Reformation). These gatherings occur between talks, during talks — indeed, long into the night — and we typically fall into bed pleasantly stewed. I cannot imagine a Chesterton conference without this. And yet I also know how detrimental it would be if we all stumbled back to our rooms roaring drunk.

Avoid each extreme — that’s how you drink like a Catholic. This is the art of Catholic drinking. There are plenty of our brethren who consider drinking somehow immoral, and there are plenty of others who think drinking must end with great intoxication. But the balanced approach — the Catholic approach — means having a good time, a good laugh, sometime a good cry, but always with joy and gratitude for God’s generosity in giving us such wonders as beer and burgundy. Remember that, and the lost art of Catholic drinking may not remain lost.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Happy Twelve Days of Christmas: Dec. 25 - Jan. 6th Epiphany

Here is an explanation of the song we all love at this time of year. No matter what challenges the "world" gives Catholics, we find a way to remember the - REASON FOR THE SEASON

The Twelve Days of Christmas - December 25 until January 6th Epiphany.

Catholics in England during the period 1558 to 1829 were prohibited by law to practice their faith either in public or private. It was illegal to be Catholic until Parliament finally emancipated Catholics in England in 1829.

"The Twelve Days of Christmas"
was written in England as one of the "catechism songs" to help young Catholics learn the basics of their faith. In short, it was a coded-message, a memory aid. Since the song sounded like rhyming nonsense, young Catholics could sing the song without fear of imprisonment. The authorities would not know that it was a religious song.

"The 12 Days of Christmas
" is in a sense an allegory. Each of the items in the song represents something significant to the"The 12 Days of Christmas" is in a sense an allegory. Each of the items in the song represents something significant to the teachings of the Catholic faith. The hidden meaning of each gift was designed to help Catholic children learn their faith. The better acquainted one is with the Bible, the more these interpretations have significance.

The song goes, "On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…"
The "true love" mentioned in the song doesn’t refer to an earthly suitor, but it refers to God Himself. The "me" who receives the presents refers to every baptized person. i.e. the Church.

1st Day: The partridge in a pear tree is Christ Jesus upon the Cross. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge because she would feign injury to decoy a predator away from her nestlings. She was even willing to die for them.
The tree is the symbol of the fall of the human race through the sin of Adam and Eve. It is also the symbol of its redemption by Jesus Christ on the tree of the Cross.

2nd Day: The "two turtle doves" refers to the Old and New Testaments.

3rd Day: The "three French hens" stand for faith, hope and love—the three gifts of the Spirit that abide (1 Corinthians 13).

4th Day: The "four calling birds" refers to the four evangelists who wrote the Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—which sing the song of salvation through Jesus Christ.

5th Day: The "five golden rings" represents the first five books of the Bible, also called the Jewish Torah: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

6th Day: The "six geese a-laying" is the six days of creation.

7th Day: The "seven swans a-swimming" refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord.

8th Day: The "eight maids a milking " reminded children of the eight beatitudes listed in the Sermon on the Mount.

9th Day: The "nine ladies dancing" were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

10th Day: The "ten lords a-leaping" represents the Ten Commandments

11th Day: The "eleven pipers piping" refers to the eleven faithful apostles.

12th Day: The ‘twelve drummers drumming" were the twelve points of belief expressed in the Apostles’ Creed: belief in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, that Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, mad"e man, crucified, died and arose on the third day, that he sits at the right hand of the father and will come again, the resurrection of the dead and life everlasting.

This is the time of martyrs too, St. Stephen and the Holy Innocents. May 2011 be a year when we remember those who have suffered real losses for Christ. Let us continue to bring real peace and justice to earth by valuing the sanctity of life.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours,

"The more we are proud that the Bethlehem story is plain enough to be understood by the shepherds, and almost by the sheep, the more do we let ourselves go, in dark and gorgeous imaginative frescoes or pageants about the mystery and majesty of the Three Magian Kings." - Christendom in Dublin, Ch.3 by GK Chesterton

Monday, December 12, 2016

Happy Our Lady of Guadalupe Day. A Pregnant Mary So Wonderfully Honored.

The Story of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

An elder Mexican man makes his way to Mass in the early morning twilight of December 9, 1531. He is a peasant, a simple farmer and laborer, and he has no education. Born under Aztec rule, he is a convert to Catholicism, and each step he takes this morning is a step into history.

The morning quiet is broken by a strange music that he will later describe as the beautiful sound of birds. Diverting his path to investigate the sound, Juan Diego comes face to face with a radiant apparition of the Virgin Mary.
Juan Diego is 57 years old. He has just encountered the Virgin Mary on Tepeyac Hill, the site of a former Aztec Temple. His wife has died two years earlier, and he lives with his elder uncle, scratching his living from the earth as a humble peasant farmer. Why should this unlearned, man be chosen by Our Lady to carry a message to the Bishop? Perhaps because she would find none other as humble as Juan Diego.

Juan Diego is dazzled by the incredible beauty and miraculous nature of Our Lady's appearance. She appears as a native princess to him, and her words sound more beautiful than the sweetest music ever made.

Our Lady calms the startled traveler, and assures him of who she is. She instructs Juan Diego to visit his bishop and ask that a temple be built on the site of her appearance, so that she will have a place to hear petitions and to heal the suffering of the Mexican people. "Now go and put forth your best effort," Our Lady instructs.

Visibly shaken, Juan Diego approaches the Bishop who is initially very skeptical of his account. What did this peasant truly want? Does he merely seek attention? Notoriety? Money? Or is he possessed by demons? Has Juan Diego been tricked by the Devil?

The Bishop patiently listens to Juan Diego's accounts and dismisses him. The humble farmer has failed.

Juan Diego begins to doubt himself. He returns to Tepeyac Hill where he hopes for some conformation of what he's experienced. Indeed, Our Lady does not disappoint, for she appears again, as radiant as before. Juan Diego tells Our Lady what she already knows, that the Bishop did not believe him. She instructs him to return the next morning and ask again.

The Bishop is beside himself. Why did this peasant insist on telling this story? How could he know if the peasant was lying or perhaps insane? At their second meeting, the Bishop asks for a sign. Juan Diego makes a promise he won't keep, saying he will return the very next morning with a sign from Our Lady.

But that evening, Juan Diego returns home to find his uncle, Juan Bernadino, who is 68 years old, and suddenly, terribly ill. The illness is known to the people there and it brings a burning fever so hot, it's almost always fatal. Juan Diego cannot leave his uncle's bedside to keep his pledge to the Bishop. He spends two days with his uncle, trying to save him. When it becomes apparent his uncle is about to die, he leaves to find a priest who can prepare him for death.

Frightened and saddened, Juan Diego sets off in a great hurry, time is running out, and Juan Diego is afraid his uncle will die without a last confession. On the road, in his way, Our Lady appears for a third time. Upset and afraid, Juan explains himself. Our Lady replies, "Am I not your mother? ... Are you not in the crossing of my arms?" she asks.

Shamed by the admonishment, but emboldened by Our Lady's presence, Juan Diego asks for the sign he promised to the Bishop. He knows he is wrong to doubt Our Lady. Juan Diego is instructed to climb to the top of Tepeyac Hill where he will find flowers. He is to pick the flowers there, which are unlike any he has seen before, and he is to keep them hidden in his tilma until he reaches the Bishop.
Juan Diego is skeptical again. It's December, what flowers could grow on the summit of the hill in this cold?

Nevertheless, he obeys and atop the hill he finds a great number of flowering roses which he picks and hastily gathers into his cloak.

For the third time, Juan Diego is ushered in to see the Bishop. The skeptical cleric has waited for two days to see what sign Our Lady has for him. Juan opens his tilma, letting the roses cascade to the floor. But more than the roses, both men are astonished to see what is painted on his humble tilma - an exquisite image of Our Lady.

In the image, she stands as she appeared, a native princess with high cheekbones. Her head is bowed and her hands are folded in prayer to God. On her blue cloak, the stars are arranged as they appeared in the morning darkness at the hour of her first apparition. The black sash around her waist indicates she is with Child.

Under her feet, is a great crescent moon, a symbol of the old Aztec religion. The message is clear, she is more powerful than the Aztec gods, yet she herself is not God.

At the same time Our Lady is appearing to Juan Diego, and directing him to cut the flowers on Tepeyac Hill, she also appears to his uncle, Juan Bernadino who believes he is about to die. As soon as she appears, the fever stops and Juan Bernadino feels well again. She tells Juan Bernadino, she wants to be known as "Santa Maria, de Guadalupe."

Our Lady of Guadalupe did not appear again, for her mission was complete. The temple was built and remains there today, in what is now a suburb of Mexico City. Juan Diego's tilma, woven from cactus fibers, with a shelf-life of just 30 years at best, remains miraculously preserved.

The symbolism of Our Lady's dress is obvious to over eight million Native Mexicans, whom all speak different languages. She is brighter than the sun, more powerful than any Aztec god, yet she is not a god herself, and she prays to one greater than her. Her gown is adorned with stars in the correct position as in the night sky, and the gold fringe of her cloak mirrors the surrounding countryside.

Millions of natives will convert at the news of what has happened. Millions more will make pilgrimages over the next five centuries to see the miraculous tilma, and to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe. Great miracles continue to occur, even today.

On October 12, 1945, Pope Pius XII, decreed Our Lady of Guadalupe to be "Patroness of all the Americas." Her feast day is December 12, and it is a Holy Day of Obligation in Mexico.

Our Lady of Guadalupe had this to say to Juan Diego:

"Know for certain, least of my sons, that I am the perfect and perpetual Virgin Mary, Mother of the True God through whom everything lives, the Lord of all things near and far, the Master of heaven and earth. It is my earnest wish that a temple be built here to my honor. Here I will demonstrate, I will exhibit, I will give all my love, my compassion, my help and my protection to the people. I am your merciful mother, the merciful mother of all of you who live united in this land, and of all mankind, of all those who love me, of those who cry to me, of those who seek me, of those who have confidence in me. Here I will hear their weeping, their sorrow, and will remedy and alleviate all their multiple sufferings, necessities and misfortunes."

Thanks to Catholic Online for the story.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Macy’s: We No Longer Donate to Planned Parenthood Abortion Business - List of those still hanging on.

National   Steven Ertelt   Dec 7, 2016   |   6:28PM    Washington, DC 

Another large corporation has decided to cease donations to the Planned Parenthood abortion business.
After today, pro-life customers can resume shopping at Macy’s — which had been on a list of corporate contributors to the Planned Parenthood abortion company for some time. But today representatives of a pro-life group that tracks corporate donations to the Planned Parenthood abortion organization says Macy’s has ended his relationship with it.

In the spirit of thankfulness and celebration that comes this time of year, we have a special update to share with you,” Lance Wray of the pro-life group 2nd Vote told in an email.

You may remember how four companies (AT&T, Coca-Cola, Ford, and Xerox) publicly distanced themselves from Planned Parenthood last year after our research exposed forty-one companies with direct financial ties to the abortion giant,” he elaborated. “Well, we are happy to report that we can take another company off that list—Macy’s, who confirmed with 2ndVote last week that they no longer give nor match donations to Planned Parenthood.”

We wanted to share this great news with you because the credit is due to our 2ndVote members who have engaged Macy’s and other companies for their position on the Life issue. This victory wouldn’t have been possible without your involvement,” Wray said.

This latest development comes in the wake of undercover videos that showed Planned Parenthood executives talking about the sale of fetal body parts. Planned Parenthood is facing both federal and state investigations—and the possibility of losing taxpayer funding.

Corporate donors make a difference. Planned Parenthood receives $1.3 billion in yearly revenue, and of that, “over 25% comes from private donations, including corporate contributions,” according to 2ndVote.

Here is a list of the companies that still fund Planned Parenthood, according to the group:
  1. Adobe
  2. American Express
  3. Avon
  4. Bank of America
  5. Bath & Body Works
  6. Ben & Jerry’s
  7. Boeing
  8. Clorox
  9. Converse
  10. Deutsche Bank
  11. Dockers
  12. Energizer
  13. Expedia
  14. ExxonMobil
  15. Fannie Mae
  16. Groupon
  17. Intuit
  18. Johnson & Johnson
  19. La Senza
  20. Levi Strauss
  21. Liberty Mutual
  22. Macy’s
  23. March of Dimes
  24. Microsoft
  25. Morgan Stanley
  26. Nike
  27. Oracle
  28. PepsiCo
  29. Pfizer
  30. Progressive Insurance
  31. Starbucks
  32. Susan G. Komen
  33. Tostitos
  34. Unilever
  35. United Way
  36. Verizon
  37. Wells Fargo

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Archbishop Sample to Downsize. Also moved Catholic Sentinel to Pastoral Center.

Making room for parish, archbishop to downsize
Cathedral will make good use of his current quarters there 
 Ed Langlois
Of the Catholic Sentinel
Archbishop Alexander Sample and future archbishops of Portland will live in a 3,500-square-foot wooden house to be built on the edge of Mount Calvary Cemetery. Including its chapel, the house will be about a third of the size of the Northwest Portland building archbishops have occupied since the mid-1980s.

“There is a lot of wasted space,” Archbishop Sample says of the residence next to St. Mary Cathedral. 

When the archbishop noticed that Cathedral Parish leaders wanted to boost community life with a parish hall and meeting rooms, he offered to make way by moving out of the three-story former school, built in 1915. 

“I can live anywhere, but the cathedral can’t locate their facilities anywhere,” Archbishop Sample says. “It’s time to vacate that space so the cathedral can use it.”

Ed Langlois/Catholic Sentinel
Since the 1980s, archbishops have lived in the old Cathedral School building in Northwest Portland, with 9,000 square feet of space and high utility bills. The cathedral wanted to use the space for parish ministry, prompting Archbishop Alexander Sample to offer to move and downsize. “I think it’s really good stewardship of the church’s resources, both for the cathedral and the archdiocese,” the archbishop says. 
Since the 1980s, archbishops have lived in the old Cathedral School building in Northwest Portland, with 9,000 square feet of space and high utility bills. The cathedral wanted to use the space for parish ministry, prompting Archbishop Alexander Sample to offer to move and downsize. “I think it’s really good stewardship of the church’s resources, both for the cathedral and the archdiocese,” the archbishop says.

The cathedral has long needed space for community gatherings, says Msgr. Patrick Brennan, the pastor. The lack has been an impediment to building up parish life. 
“It has been very limiting,” Msgr. Brennan says. “We are grateful to the archbishop that he has made this decision.” 

The building now occupied by the archbishop was a school, then a convent. It also housed a few archdiocesan offices. When Archbishop William Levada arrived in 1986, he lived at The Madeleine Parish briefly, then had the old cathedral building renovated. 

Growth at the cathedral and an increase in activity means the square footage for parish functions is most welcome, Msgr. Brennan says. 

The cathedral now has no space for funeral luncheons or wedding receptions. Big events — like gatherings after ordinations — take place in the school gym. That’s workable only on weekends, and a kitchen is lacking.  

The former archbishop’s residence could house a large parish hall, classrooms and perhaps additional space for the parish school. Many groups would be welcome to hold events there.
“We’d like to make the cathedral an open and welcoming place for all parishes,” Msgr. Brennan says.  

The old school building will need seismic upgrades. Meetings are underway to plan the project and parishioners will be asked for input. 

The archbishop’s advisors say his move makes sense economically.  

The archdiocese pays rent and unusually high utility bills at the vast cathedral residence. In the course of 30 years, those costs likely would run at least $900,000. Being relieved from those obligations will more than offset the cost of building the new house, which sits on land already owned by the archdiocese. 

“I think it’s really good stewardship of the church’s resources, both for the cathedral and the archdiocese,” Archbishop Sample says. 

The new two-story house will have three bedrooms, as opposed to the five at the cathedral residence. Archbishops regularly host out-of-town guests, including bishops and the papal nuncio. Unlike archbishops of the past, Archbishop Sample has no live-in housekeeper, but he does care for his mother at his residence and his mother gets help from Holy Spirit Sister Emiliana Moshi, who comes in during the day. 

An architect’s rendering of new quarters for archbishops.

Included in the square footage of the new house is a chapel that will seat about a dozen people. When the archbishop hosts groups at the house, the gathering could include Mass. He says that, with an actual home, he likely will host more gatherings. 

The old school served well as an archbishop’s residence, but now it makes sense to turn it over to the cathedral, says Delia Wilson, longtime property manager for the archdiocese. 
“Archbishop Sample wants something more modest and simple,” Wilson says. 

The new house for archbishops will be built on two acres between Skyline Road and Burnside Road. There are neighbors across the street. The garage will hold two cars and the back of the two-story house will have a deck and patio.

Is the archbishop glad to live next to a cemetery? He jokes about how quiet the neighbors will be, but says seriously that he will feel privileged to live near “holy ground.”