Friday, November 17, 2006


Take a moment to recall what you're thankful for.

Monday, November 13, 2006

How About a Binky With That Rattle? Oh, Never Mind!

Mouthfull : Jackie Bibby, aka "The Texas Snakeman," holds in his mouth ten 2 ft. 6-inch-long western diamondback rattlesnakes for 12.5 seconds without any assistance to set a new Guinness World Record for Most Live Rattlesnakes Held In Mouth. (AFP/Tim Clary)

Scarier than the fact that this constitutes a "world record" is that somewhere along the line it occurred to someone that this might be a cool thing to do!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Word on the Street

Overheard in Cambridge, Sunday morning:

"I once heard a sermon about whether or not one should speed."

Saint Augustine Goes to the Movies

So, I sometimes think in movies. And I couldn't help but think of an upcoming movie when I read this bit about asceticism and chastity in Saint Augustine:

But I know what they murmur. "What if," they say, "all men should be willing to restrain themselves from all intercourse, how would the human race survive?" Would that all men had this wish, if only in "charity, from a pure heart and a good conscience and faith unfeigned." Much more quickly would the City of God be filled and the end of time be hastened.

If you're wondering what this might look like, it might look something like the upcoming movie "Children of Men." Maggie has a link to one of the trailers.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Duh. Here's a Shocker

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' romantic Italian castle wedding is in jeopardy after the local priest refused to marry them.

The Hollywood couple allegedly have their heart set on tying the knot at Bracciano's Castello Odescalchi. The medieval castle, located on the shores of Lake Bracciano, near Rome, is considered to be one of Europe's finest.

But the Catholic priest with jurisdiction over the dreamy venue insists his parish won't marry the stars because Cruise is twice-divorced.

And mayor Patrizia Riccioni has ruled out a civil service because the pair have not provided the official documentation needed.

Monsignor Nicola Fiorentini says, "Cruise is divorced.

"Even if the actor were not divorced, another fundamental requirement to validate the rite would be missing: the authorization of the parish."

read the rest.

Of course, his second marriage, at least, was apparently annuled. The greater concern--one would think--would be his commitment to scientology. Will he agree to bring little Suri up Catholic?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Joy and Hope, Grief and Anxiety

As the results and implications of Tuesday's voting becomes clearer, some of my Catholic friends are in paroxysms of joy, and others are wallowing in the pit of despair. Myself, I can't get really worked up either way. As Dale so rightly pointed out in his recent comment about pre-election voters' guides:

A truly solid Catholic voters' guide doesn't exist.
Any such guide would have despair about the American party system wafting up from the pages.

What we need is not the domination of one party or another, but Catholic voices upholding human rights and opposing attacks on life, no matter what form they take, and doing so in a way that witnesses to Jesus Christ, not some flawed political agenda.

And, look, Dale is talking about things which, to some, might be far more interesting.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Good Game

Despite the disappointing result, I did enjoy the rare opportunity of attending a Patriots' game last night. At 36 degrees, it was a bit cold, but the game stayed exciting until the final pass, tipped for an interception.

Gotta give Manning a lot of credit, he managed to make something out of nothing on several occasions, while the Patriots' offense did a lot of making nothing out of something (yet still managed to stay in the game). On the rare night when Adam Vinatieri missed 2 field goals, the Pats just failed to capitalize.

In any case, it was a lot of fun just to be there and be part of the crowd. I felt a little bit like Alypius in the Coliseum at times! Upside: Maggie will be happy, and the Patriots upcoming schedule is such that there seems little standing between them and the Playoffs. Hopefully, by then they'll have it all together. Super Bowl? A drunk and disappointed fan asked me on the way out. We'll see. I think the Colts and the Bears will have something to say about that.

Friday, November 03, 2006

More on Voting from the U.S. Catholic Bishops

The previously mentioned resource has more bells and whistles, but I recommend also having a look at the U.S. Catholic Bishops' document "Faithful Citizenship,"which also does a good job of laying out the issues of concern to Catholics.

You can read it here.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Voting This Week?

Some friends here in town asked me to let you know about a new non-partisan resource for Catholic voters.

Boston, MA, November 1, 2006 – The nonpartisan group Catholics United for the Common Good released its Catholic Voting Project (CVP) voter guide for sixteen U.S. Senate races today. The online resource – available at - allows voters to compare the positions of leading candidates on some 20 issues important in Catholic teaching. It also offers a unique interactive voter quiz that will compare users' views to those of the Senate candidates and the U.S. Catholic Bishops.

Check out their home page too.

No guide is totally unbiased, so be sufficiently suspicious, especially with regard to the issues that mean the most to you.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Eating, Living & Believing

Just so you know that I'm not just loafing around, I thought I'd share with you this brief little exegesis I did of John 6:57.

What does it mean to live, to have life? In Jesus’ “Bread of Life Discourse” in chapter 6 of John’s gospel, the answer is two-fold: to believe, and to eat. In its most basic definition, the latter would seem obvious; indeed, more obvious than the first. But in the context of this discourse, especially at its near climax in verse 57, it is the believing which Jesus’ audience seems likely to find much more palatable. Indeed, had Jesus merely left things as stated in verse 47, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life,” he probably would have met with more success in persuading his audience, which included both skeptical Jews and disciples. Yet, he insists on adding that in order to live, they must not only eat of the “bread of life,” they must also eat his flesh.

When he adds in verse 57, “As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me,” he seems to further imply that belief alone is not enough. Actually, this is probably more reflective of Jesus’ attention to his mixed audience, some of whom already believed in him. But here Jesus does “up the ante” by adding a requirement probably reflective of the Eucharistic practices of the Johannine community. This “eucharistic” turn in Jesus’ discourse is troubling enough to some of his disciples that we are told in verse 66 that many “no longer accompanied him.” This turn has also caused some biblical scholars to speculate that this portion of the discourse in verses 51-58 might constitute an addition to the original text. This is hardly certain, as it is in many ways consistent with the Johannine style and established theme, even while adding a “sacramental realism” to the bread of life metaphor (Schnackenburg 56-65).

More remarkable is the life which verse 57 promises: “those who eat me will live because of me.” Jesus is the bread of life not merely metaphorically or spiritually, but materially and really. Eating this real food is a real sharing in his life. Even more remarkably, this life finds its source in Jesus in the same way that Jesus lives “because of the Father.” The emphasis on Jesus’ flesh as “food indeed” (John 6:55), with its material, sacramental character, also suggests that this life is not just some promised afterlife, but life, like a sacrament, offered now, and lived now. Perhaps it is this that his disciples then—and now—really find so hard to swallow: “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” (John 6:60). Their response to this remarkable offer of life would seem to affirm Kierkegaard’s insight that “the real reason that men are offended by Christianity is . . . because it wants to make man into something so extraordinary that he cannot grasp the thought” (Kierkegaard 83). To live on such intimate terms with Jesus and the Father is daunting indeed. But, Jesus insists, it’s the only way to truly live.

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