Monday, July 07, 2008

I Don't Think That's Quite What She Meant By That Phrase

From the April 7-14 U.S. News & World Report article on the Pope's upcoming visit:

A parishioner at St. Mary, Mother of God, a church in the vanguard of a movement to return to the traditional Tridentine mass, Hays says it's not just the Latin but other elements, such as the priest's facing the altar, that help restore a sense of what Catholics call "real presence" to the ceremony.
Marc Chagall was born this day in 1887. Condemned by Hitler as a painter of degenerate art. A good friend of Jacques and Raissa Maritain.

“All that I paint, all that I do, all that I am, is just the Little Jew of Vitebsk.”

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Stranger Than Hagiography

Today is the feast of St. Maria Goretti, a girl who was stabbed to death by an attempted rapist who forgave her murderer before she died.

Five years ago:
A man described by authorities as a known sexual predator was chased through the streets of South Philadelphia by an angry crowd of Catholic high school girls, who kicked and punched him after he was tackled by neighbors, police said on Friday.
When Susanto tried to run, more than 20 girls chased him down the block. Two men from the neighborhood caught him and the girls took their revenge.

"The girls came and started kicking him and punching him, so I wasn't going to stop them," neighbor Robert Lemons told The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Susanto was later treated for injuries at a local hospital.
The girls were from St. Maria Goretti High School.
Pushy : Driven :: Soapy : ?

Turns out there's such a thing as too educational. Case in point: the Top 500 SAT Words Shower Curtain.

And for you who prefer your children to review their lanthanide series while they lather, you can get the Periodic Table instead.

Speaking Up on Dumbing Down.

Disclaimer: The following comments are not intended to belittle the piety, favored devotional practices, personal worship experiences, educational attainments, or vocabulary level of any reader and/or anybody he or she happens to know. Nor am I attacking a bishop uncharitably; I'm just disagreeing with him. He did invite us to "Speak up!" you know. Twice.

Bishop Trautman, Chair of the USCCB's Liturgy Committee, has this to say to you, John and Mary Catholic (you remember who you are from last time, don't you?).

Hard to add much to Amy Welborn's comments (latest here; previous here--do go and read both) except to say that, if you've managed to offend the equanimous (what? where's my dictionary?) Mrs. Welborn, you've certainly offended both John and Mary Catholic. Go and read.

Meanwhile, if you want the cut-to-the-chase summary, here are the abstruse (oops) words and phrases that His Eminence believes will prevent you, John and Mary, who clearly struggled mightily on the SAT Verbal section, from being able to participate fruitfully in the liturgy:
prefiguring sacrifices
inviolate virgin
unvanquished champion
taste sweet to the heart
we pray you
Remember also that you cannot be expected to comprehend (oh, sorry) sentences with more than fifty words or ornate syntax (sorry sorry).

Now please read the disclaimer at the beginning again. Okay. Rant begins.

Are you kidding me? My five-year-old knows what "dew," "bid," "we pray you," "wrought," "thwart," "unvanquished champion," "unfeigned," and "gibbet" mean. Because we read to her lots of books, chiefly hero stories and fairy tales, full of unvanquished champions, inviolate virgins, and malfeasors (oops again) who are often enough by story's end hung on gibbets for the birds of the air to peck their flesh. And I tell her what the words mean, when she can't derive them from context. My twelve-year-old knew all of the words except "ineffable," which she proceeded to deduce correctly from the Latin effari.

"But Opinionated Homeschooler! Most children don't have that kind of book read to them! Most adolescents haven't been taught Latin verbs! What about all those other Catholics, who may be getting their vocabulary from Wheel of Fortune and USA Today? " Well yes, that's exactly the point. You learn, you become educated, from being spoken to, read to, and taught as a person capable of instruction. Not by being protected from difficult but precise and beautiful language, lest you should run into "consubstantial" smack in the middle of the Creed and run off, trembling, to the Baptists.

Bishop Trautman, who, by virtue of his consecration, has the right and obligation of instructing the Catholic faithful incumbent (sorry, my bad) upon him, instead of welcoming the opportunity to bring Catholic discourse up to the level Pope Pius IX presumed in 1854 when he released Ineffabilis Deus for the promulgation (dang) of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception (I mean, the Not Sinful Start), is fighting tooth and nail to keep Big Words out of the Mass. This is what the phrase "soft bigotry of lowered expectations" was invented for.

Did that penultimate (whoops) sentence have too many words? Anyhow. Maybe the benighted John or Mary will even be moved to learn a little Latin.
Why Have Children Just ...?

Refresh that hoary old list of Famous Homeschooled Americans.

If Gomez had a family chapel, by the way, this would be it. Oh, those wacky Capuchins.