Showing posts from 2018

The Story of Craven Arrest

Today is a great treat for you. The music is so existential, yet so accessible, that you'll be hitting repeat all day. I bring you the music of Craven Arrest, a band so legendary that no one even feels the need to talk about them. That's just how legendary they are. So the story goes that someone I don't even know was mistakenly arrested for crowd surfing at the then Craven Valley rock concert at Craven Valley, SK. I'm told the band playing at the time was my favourite, Collective Soul. Anyway, this dude was arrested, but released, and therefore the name of a band was born. I mean, you can't make this stuff up. The band began late in the year of 2003 at a rental house near the University of Saskatchewan. Musical chemistry was almost instant. A guy. A brother. A cousin. A couple of other guys. Practices were a mix between discussing cool things to say on stage, writing songs while trying to look super cool, and occasionally even playing some music. Some band memb

The "Midnight" Mass: Christ was Born to Save

"No you can't open presents yet. Hop in the van. It's time for Christmas!" My wife and I load our three excited young children in the van and drive out for a brisk sparkle tour before Midnight Mass. It is -20, a definite improvement from last year. We are excited that we should get 15 minutes of looking at lights before the rear windows ice up completely. However, the sparkle tour is disappointing. It seems that large sections of streets this year have zero lights for display. So we trundle off to Midnight Mass. It's 7:50pm, of course. Midnight Mass is a thing of the past. Yes, our seven year old asks why Midnight Mass is not at midnight. "Because Jesus is born early this year I guess," is all I can muster in reply. The church is half full (to be positive). Just fifteen years ago it was necessary to arrive thirty minutes early in order to ensure a seat. My wife asks me why there are giant blue and yellow streamers in the sanctuary. "Maybe it&#

What I Read in 2018

Seeing as I wrote a "What I Read in 2017" post one year ago, it now must be a tradition to give an annual list. Though I told myself last year that I would write down what books I read so that I wouldn't forget, this inner voice of reason was disregarded. Hence, the list is probably absent of some literary selections. Years ago I came to the conclusion that a book takes a long time to read, so what I do read had better be good. Having kids suck up most of my time has only strengthened this belief. I expect the books I read to be of a high standard. Occasionally they are not, but not too often. So sorry, you will not see any Chicken Soup for the Soul , or New York Times best sellers here. Alas, lest I suck up any more of your time, let us begin... The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde I wasn't sure how to approach this novel. You hear... stories... about Oscar Wilde. The book is dark. It gets into the heart of fallen humanity. Dorian Gray's situatio

Veils, Vernacular, and Culture: Death and All of its Friends.

You will often hear from people who lived through the "great" 1960s reform of the Mass that, despite the loss of reverence and sharp drop in attendance, it was good to have the Mass in the vernacular. Surely understanding what goes on in the Mass is important. Surprisingly, this is not the actual point of the Mass, but rather is a protestant revolt ideal. Worship is directed to God, not man. Why has the vernacular been seen as monumentally important to the Mass, even when attendance numbers have so sharply declined? The answer can, in large part, be answered by the loss of culture in our society. We do not have a true culture. We have worship of sports and celebrities, horrendous "music", scandalous movies, illiteracy in all things classic, smartphones for porn and games, and overall insanity. The loss of culture was gradual. John Dewey's educational theory was the beginning of the end of education. Communism the beginning of the end of the polis. Patriar

The Bellyaching Attack on Christmas Carols

Don't eat a poinsettia. If you do, you betta be ready to get a bellyache. Don't eat a poinsettia. Or you might regret a bad day when you get a tummy quake. There is a considerable amount of creativity required for writing Christmas songs that have nothing to do with Christmas. It is one thing to have to replace the word 'Christmas' with 'Holiday', it's quite another to avoid all references to Christ. Traditionally the Catholic mind has been adept at teaching about Christmas all the while fooling secularist bullies who are staunchly opposed to such Christian beliefs. Holly and ivy are nice to look at I'm sure, but they take on an entirely majestic place in Christianity when the prickly leaves refer to the crown of thorns, and the red berries the drops of blood from Christ's head. As a Christmas song, it teaches that Christ was born not simply to tell us to be nice, but rather to save us with His own blood. Indeed,  it is quite possible,

Highly Favoured Lady?

I remember talking once with a lady from our old parish who is a good friend of ours. Briefly, she is a very devout woman whom my wife and I always joke that if we ever need anything, we just get her to pray for it. She prays with great trust, and subsequently has tremendous faith. So there we were happily conversing on a Sunday afternoon. I was enthusiastically telling her about the Mariology course I was working on at the time. I was about to talk about something really special that I had just learned, that is, the importance of a proper translation of Luke 1:28. Warning: Nerdy Biblical Exegesis Ahead You see, Luke 1:28 is where the angel Gabriel greets Mary with, what Luke writes in Greek as, " kecharitomene ." In the RSV Bible kecharitomene is translated as “Hail, O favoured one!” Yet, in this instance the translator is indeed a traitor. O favoured one? Do we not pray "full of grace" in the rosary? Examining kecharitomene closer reveals much more than Mar

Christ Among Us? The Roots of a Crisis

It is denigrating to be bombarded with the unabashed words of Church men who try, through sly and subtle words, to convince lay people that moral teachings can change. Cupich, Spadero (2+2=5), Martin, Rosica, and indeed even Pope Francis in Amoris Laetitia are all guilty of these tactics. However, as there is nothing new under the sun, so too with the modern Churchman's attempt to portray the doctrine as changeable, and morality, particularly the sixth commandment, as superfluous. The other day an, er, anonymous source presented me with a copy of the seco nd edition of Christ Among Us . The book was found, and quickly removed, from a nearby church by said anonymous source. Yes, here in 2018, the theology of the Spirit of Vatican II cleaves to the interiors of our churches. Though admittedly there are very few Catholics remaining to be poisoned by it. With ironic gratitude: one cannot lose what one does not have. Anthony Wilhelm's Christ Among Us was published by Pauli

The Tempest's Sigh

There are moments in life when everything is an uphill, or rather mountainous, struggle. A tempest even. While no one I've ever met can claim to have suffered calamity to the extent that Job did, we all nevertheless find solace in the story of Job, knowing that God often permits hard times for our benefit. None of us can profess perfect innocence, but we all can be perfected through trial. The problem, of course, is being overwhelmed when the tempest strikes. To be perfectly sarcastic, I'm having a most wonderful time since the new school year started. Among other things, I decided to speak up more when needed. Be a leader and all. A phrase I admire is: Speak the truth in charity. So I've been trying it out for size. Apparently the truth in charity is not appreciated. It's as if I forgot to read the rest of the Gospels. You know, the part where Jesus is crucified for speaking truth in charity. Except Jesus is truth and charity. Jesus I am not, but I do have tempests

The Episcopal Leviathan

Recently the ordinary in my diocese, Bishop Albert Thevenot, released a letter regarding funding for Development and Peace (D&P). In the letter Thevenot explained how D&P, the Canadian Catholic Bishop's charity responsible for social justice (is there a justice on earth which does not involve society?), was finally reprimanded during lent for funding anti-life agencies. The Canadian Bishops withheld their yearly lenten cash haul to D&P. The decision was several years too late, but welcome nonetheless. In the Catholic Church these days, Leviathan that it has become, you take what you can get.  And so, Thevenot explained the position with Development and Peace. He stated D&P has given no assurance of refraining from funding agencies with policies contrary to Catholic moral teaching - "Dark clouds seem to hover over Development and Peace at this time." Well and good. Why should bishops provide money which supports evil agencies? It all seems so obvious