Sunday, June 15, 2008

Catholics in the News

Sick as a dog with a fever this Sunday morning, so I'm watching the Sunday morning talking heads shows, and it's almost as good as having gone to Mass, what with all the Catholics all over the news.

First, much discussion of possible VP picks. Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, touted as a possibility for Obama's running mate, aiming for both the female and the Catholic votes, which were seen as going for Hillary. But Sebelius has recently been asked to refrain from receving communion by her bishop, Abp. Naumann, which is not-quite-but-almost excommunication. While Obama certainly doesn't care, and it's unlikely to bother many of the pro-Clinton Catholics whom Obama is wooing, I'm guessing he doesn't want to step into the middle of this particular mess, which seems custom-made to polarize the Catholic vote.

Meanwhile, wunderkind Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is being mentioned for the McCain ticket. Interesting: young enough to offset the age issue, I guess, if you somehow see their ages as averaging out; but will the demons in his background--which seem more Louisiana than Catholic--be too offputting for the electorate?

Moving from politics to Hollywood... Steve Carell, of NBC's The Office, is starring in the upcoming Get Smart movie, which looks fun. Apparently he's a good buddy of Stephen Colbert, another practicing Catholic (and CCD catechist) whose hilarious send-up of "King of Glory," which we've all been forced to sing ad nauseam by handclapping, tambourine-waving folk choirs who seem to think Catholic hymnody began and ended in the 1970's, was a hit a couple years ago on the Catholic Blogging circuit. If you missed it, definitely check it out. It will be cathartic (unless you're not a Catholic, in which case it will just make you grateful).

Must mention that there's a political connection here, too. One of the morning shows (sorry, they're all bleeding together) had a great little interview clip of Carell interviewing McCain:

Among Daily Show staffers, Mr. Carell's trademark moment came after a round of Republican debates in New Hampshire in late 1999, when he interviewed Arizona Senator John McCain. After asking Mr. McCain about his favorite poem and his favorite movie -- a little light banter from this amusing fellow from Comedy Central! -- he suddenly went straight and asked Mr. McCain about his record-breaking spending in a Congressional subcommittee, contradicting his claim to be a fiscal conservative.

"McCain was completely like a deer in headlights," recalled Mr. Rocca. "The silence was just horrible and deafening."

Mr. McCain's aides were slack-jawed. "Then he breaks the silence with, 'Just kidding.'
And of course the big story, the sudden death of Tim Russert. My favorite memory of Russert was during the 2000 campaign, when he interviewed Al Gore and George W. on back-to-back Sundays. He asked Bush about his appearance at Bob Jones University, where it's still a matter of policy that the Catholic Church is Satan's tool of deception and the Pope is the Antichrist. Bush gave the usual bluster about Some of My Best Friends and Relatives are Catholics, and how they weren't offended, so, you know, it's all good. Russert replied that he was Catholic, and he was offended, leaving Bush to flounder. Ha! Then he nailed Gore, who's just fine with both execution and abortion, on his demurral in the case of pregnant women on death row. Gore gave his usual bluster on choice and a woman's control over her body: Russert responded with the obvious questions about how you could talk with a straight face about someone's control over their body if you were just about to kill them, and why you would delay killing someone so as to preserve a life you just a minute ago said doesn't exist. Leaving Gore to flounder in the classic Russert interviewee deer-in-the-headlights manner. Ha again! Chalk one up for the much-maligned "seamless garment" theology. A great Catholic moment in politics.

(Update: They just showed a bit of that second interview, where Russert got Gore to flat-out deny that an unborn child is a human life.)

(Update #2: It was affecting to see Maria Shriver on Meet the Press mentioning that Russert carried his rosary with him at all times.)

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine; et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace.


Blogger mrsdarwin said...

When Steven Colbert's liturgical dance video was going around, I sat and watched it about ten times straight, and each time was funnier than the next. I wept tears of delight.

6:14 PM  
Blogger mrsdarwin said...

And hope you're feeling better soon!

6:14 PM  
Anonymous Caroline said...

Wow. May I plead for a little more charity in the case of the Colbert video? Parody of this nature - not just ridiculing any type of religious people (which to me is not a good thing), but even those of our own Catholic faith? - seems a tad bit over the top, even by a CCD teacher, especially by a CCD teacher. I am not a humorless old hag (only the "old hag" part applies!), but whatever element of the crass or inane has, in your opinion, been brought into the Church by whoever these people are, let's try to at least be generous. For however you view their devotion, remember that their devotion is not directed towards you. And I wonder how He would rate the video.

3:05 PM  
Blogger The Opinionated Homeschooler said...


I apologize for causing you offense, which I seem to have done. I assure you it wasn't my intention.

I strongly disagree, however, that either Colbert or I were ridiculing people at all. (Well, maybe liturgists and music directors of a certain kind, a bit.) Colbert was manifestly ridiculing a song. A song that, with a few others, has come to be emblematic of a certain period in recent Catholic history, the lingering vestiges of which are better dealt with (in my opinion) with parody than with bitterness.

If you didn't attend the average American Catholic parish in the 1980's, you are lacking an important context for the Colbert video. I could rant about the liturgical banality and tyranny (I assure you that is the correct word) of that period; but frankly I would rather just watch the Colbert video and smile.

I strongly recommend that you read the sane and normal uberblogger Amy Welborn on the topic of liturgical music and discussions of such. Here's a good place to start:

And at the risk of trying your patience, this discussion:

Finally, click here:

And rather than let this last site make you angry, pause to think about what it is that has made so many Christians, who are in general ready to be tolerant of differences in taste, style, and culture, so deeply, deeply fed up.

Caroline, criticism--directly, or through parody, as with Colbert--of liturgical songs you or others happen to like is not ridicule of fellow Christians or of their devotion.

8:58 PM  
Anonymous Caroline said...

I think you're amazing, Sharon!

5:53 AM  
Blogger James said...

Is Colbert a liberal pretending to be a conservative (so he can ridicule them), or a conservative pretending to be a liberal pretending to be a conservative? It's like looking at someone's image in two facing mirrors.

P.S. I like your blog.

8:59 AM  

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