Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The New Pope Has Rhythm

A contribution from one of Amy Welborn's posters:

"At my nephew's school, the children were watching the announcement of the new pope. Upon learning the new pope's identity, a child excitedly shouted, "We have a pope! We have a pope! He's a rap singer!"

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Adjusting to a New Pope

I've been trying to sort out this mass of feelings I've been experiencing this week with the election of the new Pope. I just didn't realize that it would affect me as much as it has! In part of my continuing attempt to do so, I contributed a little piece to
  • Busted Halo
  • A Little Quiz, Y'all

    Your Linguistic Profile:

    50% Yankee

    30% General American English

    10% Dixie

    10% Upper Midwestern

    0% Midwestern

    Well, it looks like the South hasn't changed me too much (except for that "y'all" which now just trips off my tongue). I'm not sure where that upper Midwestern bit comes from though. Maybe it's because when it asked what you drink out of, one of the choices wasn't "bubbler."

    Saturday, April 16, 2005

    Well, Yeah, Sometimes I was the Only One Laughing

    As a welcome remedy to last Friday's movie experience, I ventured out last night to see "Fever Pitch." As a native New Englander and lifetime Red Sox fan, I knew there was little chance that I wouldn't like it. Indeed, I thoroughly enjoyed it, but seeing it here in New Orleans I was aware that sometimes I was the only one in the theater laughing. There were several references that would only touch a cord with those brought up in BoSox culture. I must say I even took a certain pleasure in it, knowing that the curse has been reversed. But beyond just appreciating it as a Red Sox fan, it was a fun film, and amazingly reserved for the Farrelly brothers, of "Dumb and Dumber" fame, who directed the film. Drew Barrymore was her usual cute self and has certainly found her place as an appealing and competent, if not outstanding, actor. Jimmy Fallon, also, is not going to win an Academy Award anytime soon, but he succeeded in portraying this "ordinary guy in love with the Red Sox" kind of quality that was both endearing and familiar. And, thank God, he didn't try to affect some kind of exaggerated Boston accent a la Kevin Costner in "Thirteen Days." It had some of the typical romantic comedy formula to it, but do we ever really get tired of that? And there was the happy ending which we all experienced in October, but will be content to experience again and again and again. My companion was born and raised in Texas and also liked the film very much. So, I think it will play well with non-Sox fans as well. I expect, however, Yankees fans might find it too painful (I must humbly admit a certain pleasure in that as well!). Since I'll be moving to Boston this Fall, it also gave me a glimpse of what I'm looking forward to!

    Friday, April 15, 2005

    Christ, the Good Shepherd, Seeks the Lost

    This Sunday is "Good Shepherd" Sunday, and I've been thinking about the image of Christ as the shepherd. He leaves the 99 to go out and find the 1 that is lost! It seems to me that this is not only a consolation for us, as all of us find ourselves lost from time to time; but it is also an example to us that we should not give up on the 1 lost sheep for the sake of remaining with the 99 who are "with us." I fear there are a number of Catholics today--and many of them vocal ones--that would rather leave the lost to perish rather than remove themselves from the "found." They would be content to be a small remnant Church rather than tolerate those who don't believe, think or worship exactly like they do. But do I do any better? I often find myself taking the easier path of just "preaching to the choir," keeping company with other Jesuits a lot of the time, or spending time with students who already have enthusiasm for Christ's message. How often do I go after the lost sheep? Christ, the Good Shepherd, goes out and gathers the strays again and again and again. He doesn't give up on us, and I take that to mean that we shouldn't give up on each other! Yes, it's far easier and less dangerous to simply remain with all those sheep who are already "with us," but is that what Christ did? Did he just stick with the apostles and not preach to those that might reject his word (as they do in John 6, this week's daily Mass reading)? Did he only invite the fully formed or convinced to dine with him? If he had taken the easy way, then he wouldn't have been such a scandal. But, then he wouldn't have been doing what God wanted of him either. Who are the lost that God is calling us to preach to, dine with or go looking for? Are we doing it?

    Planned Parenthood Clergy?

    While surfing TV channels I stopped on C-Span (or something like that) which was broadcasting a speech by a Methodist minister receiving an award. Turns out it was a Planned Parenthood breakfast being held for their "Clergy Advisory Board." I guess I'm naive, but I never imagined that such a thing could exist. It left me feeling a bit nauseous. This, especially, when the minister accepting the award said that he would have found himself just as fulfilled if he had dedicated his life to Planned Parenthood rather than to the Methodist Church. If Christ had a grave, I think he'd be rolling over in it!

    Sin City Part II (Warning--Spoiler Here)

    I'm told by someone who persevered through all of Sin City that Bruce Willis' character returns later in the film. It seems he was only "mostly dead." So, perhaps, there is some redeeming quality to be had after all. But I'm not going to sit through it again to find out!!

    Tuesday, April 12, 2005

    What's So Great About "SIN CITY"?

    I don't consider myself too squeamish, but after an hour of "Sin City," I'd had enough. Yes, the movie is visually interesting, but I wish the visuals were something other than blood spatter and limbs (and heads) being hacked off. Maybe I should have known better; after all, the movie is called "Sin City." However, I just can't imagine how the critics could be so enthusiastic about it. Isn't the test of a good story is that you can develop sympathy for at least one of the characters? Even the "good" characters were pretty psychotic. Save, perhaps, for Bruce Willis' character who dies almost immediately. After "Sin City," I would have been glad to spend more time with the main characters in "Closer." And, if you've read my comments about "Closer" in a previous post, that's saying a lot!!

    Besides all this, I think what disturbed me the most was the audience's laughter at some of the most grotesque scenes. And the fact that among the worst of the bad guys were a couple of priests didn't help. I had to ask myself, "Why am I here?" Finding no satisfactory answer, I left the theater. If you want to be immersed in sin and gore for two hours (even if it is cartoonish!), go for it, but I'd pass!

    Sunday, April 10, 2005

    Is That A Southern Accent I Hear?

    Check out this wonderful little piece about one of our Loyola University New Orleans graduates and his part in the Pope's funeral. He converted while a student here, and is a seminarian in Rome.


    Saturday, April 09, 2005

    My Response to Thomas Cahill

    Thomas Cahill's piece on the Pope in the New York Times so annoyed me that I dashed off a letter to the editor. They didn't print it, but here it is:

    Thomas Cahill correctly reminds us of the variety of “traditions” within the Catholic Church. But when it comes to Pope John Paul II, he makes the same mistake his supporters and detractors made throughout his papacy—trying to limit him to one “tradition” in order to criticize or promote it. “Conservative,” “liberal,” or “aggressively papal” will never sufficiently describe this man who defied characterization. Concern over lack of diversity in his appointment of bishops is legitimate. But to then conclude that “he was not a great religious figure,” and that he was “dismissive of the moral requirement to protect and cherish human beings,” is to ignore his repeated emphasis on the dignity of all human life, our special responsibility to the poor, and his contributions to the promotion of peace, justice and human rights around the world. I dare say it is more likely that the youth who were so inspired by him will save the Church than that the Bishops he appointed will destroy it.

    Monday, April 04, 2005

    Ciao, Papa

    We give God thanks for the life and witness of John Paul II who meant so much to all of us. His love for the Church, for the poor and for young people, and his willingness to speak boldly in the name of Christ for peace and justice around the world stand as a shining example for us all. May we faithfully pass on the legacy he has given to us, and may the Holy Spirit provide us with what God knows we need in his successor.

    Be not afraid!

    Friday, April 01, 2005

    Ministry to Young Catholics--What's your advice?

    Another appeal for feedback from Young Catholics:

    This summer, I will be speaking to priests about ministry to young Catholics. I will be speaking about everything from popculture and politics to polarization to generational issues to what young Catholics might be looking for in their priests.

    If you had the opportunity to speak to priests about this topic, what would you say to them?

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