Showing posts from October, 2018

Music Mondays: The Misty Mountains

Imagine if Moses had to fight a ferocious green-scaled dragon on Mount Sinai before he took possession of the ten commandments. Oh the plot development! One could surmise that the plague-filled exodus of Moses and the Israelites from Egypt clearly was not attention grabbing enough. Or suppose Thomas More successfully battled off two hundred imperial soldiers with only a small mace before he finally perished at the backstabbing hands of Henry VIII. Further, consider the greatness of creating two elvish characters and having them, for no real purpose, fall in love in The Hobbit. I guess this last scenario was criminally accomplished by Peter Jackson already, of whom I would figure had too many full pints of Brie ale before directing The Hobbit. Not that I bothered to finish watching his work. I can only take so many punches in the metaphorical gut before I give up on a movie.

Why do we try to "improve" what is great by removing the actual greatness and replacing it with pridef…

It was the best of parishes, it was the worst of parishes

Gratitude and yearning for greatness should not be in tension of each other. A baseball player can be thankful he is playing professional baseball for a living, and yet he still strives to win the World Series each year and ultimately enter the Baseball Hall of Fame. What a simple concept: Gratitude and Greatness. Why is this so difficult?
I wish to examine the Catholic parish in my small town. My family and I are consigned to a Saturday night mass. The music, "liturgists" and overall disruptiveness of the Sunday morning mass are too burdensome to bear without blowing a spiritual gasket. Let me just say that the Breaking Bread hymnal should be classified by the UN as an instrument of torture. As should welcoming all visitors with a round of applause (the rite of mortification). We are reduced to attending a Saturday night Mass.
What we have:
There is no music on Saturday night. Elderly ladies serve at the altar, unable or unwilling to so much as genuflect to the tabernacle. The…

The Multi-Million Dollar Question

One question: Who is paying for this Youth Synod in Rome? Presumably this event is not cheap. Surveys. Endless committee work. Flying people in from all over the world. Housing and feeding them. Booking giant conference spaces. More committee work. P.R. costs and considerations. Large scale concerts. Still more committee work. There are millions of dollars at play here. All for a pre-set outcome I believe.

And who is paying for this? The Vatican? I thought they were running deficits. Bishop conferences? I sure hope not. Private donors? Hmmm, sounds like this would lead to certain billionaires paying for set agenda items to pass. One can only wonder. Alas, I am sure I sound like Judas now. "Why spend all this money on a Synod when the money could be given to the poor?" To which some enlightened cardinal at the Vatican will respond: "The poor will always be with us. It is necessary that this money be used to tell the youth what they are supposed to want..."

Fr. Van Hee Arrested

Eighty-three year old Fr. Tony Van Hee has been arrested for protesting too close to an abortion clinic in Ottawa. Lifesitenews reports that he was arrested around noon on Wednesday.

"'I will fight it on my own and if they fine me, I will not pay it and go to jail,' Fr. Van Hee told LifeSiteNews. 'If they jail me, I will fast.'"

I remember a professor once telling me about "the old priest" in Ottawa who daily protested at parliament hill, that of course being Fr. Van Hee. The professor once said he was with Father Van Hee for one of these sessions. As they were heading back to their vehicle, Fr. Van Hee smashed his knee against the ball hitch of the vehicle. If you've ever done this you'd know it hurts like few other things in the world. Apparently Fr. Van Hee hardly even flinched. The professor told us it was at that point that he knew just how heroic Fr. Van Hee is. He is evidently a man well acquainted with suffering. Please remember him i…

Marriage Prep... Depends on the Day?

At Catholic News Agency it was reported that Pope Francis wants marriage preparation stepped up. "
“One cannot say marriage preparation is three or four conferences given in the parish. This is not preparation, [...] preparation must be mature and it takes time. It is not a formal act; it is a sacrament,” This is welcome news. As I ranted in my last post, marriage preparation courses usually do not adequately prepare couples for marriage. Priests have six years of seminary. Teachers have five years of university. Engaged couples have... one subpar weekend of lectures and activities?

All of which begs the question: Why did Pope Francis conduct an impromptu wedding aboard a flight back in January?

Families: Being a Sign to the World is to Be Practical

When my wife and I were preparing for marriage we were, fortunately, spared from the usual marriage preparation course. Allow my one complaint before I continue: Many marriage preparation courses, even when solid, have a proclivity to being directed by married couples who have made serious mistakes in life. For instance, marriage preparation often will have couples who lived together before marriage moderate discussions. "Don't do what we did," or, "Yeah, we regret doing that," replace what should be an opportunity for battle-tested husbands and wives teaching the reality of marriage. While there may be a place for couples who have made serious past mistakes to teach those preparing for marriage, I believe they should not be the exclusive teachers. "Do what I say, not what I did," does not actually prepare a couple for marriage the way something like the following would: "It was a challenge following the right path, but here are some important th…

Music Mondays: So Happy Together?

A while back on the Millette Family Blog I ran a "Music Mondays" section for several months. It was a fun way of examining different musical genres and their stories. I might try this again for a while on Bravest Thing. Some of the postings will be copies with perhaps a few changes (such as today's), others will be originals. So let's begin...

What is the number one song this week on the Billboard Hot 100 music charts? A song called Girls like You by Maroon 5, featuring Cardi B. Apparently it's been considered a girl-empowerment song with such compelling lyrics as:

'Cause girls like you
Run around with guys like me
'Til sundown, when I come through
I need a girl like you, yeah yeah Girls like you
Love fun, yeah me too
What I want when I come through
I need a girl like you, yeah yeah

Sorry, let's turn back the clock and head to 1967. To have a number one song in 1967 actually meant something. And that is what the Turtles had. In February 1967 they knocked off 

Faith of Our Fathers

I remember well going to Mass as a student at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom (Academy), and later as registrar, and seeing the dads at St. Hedwig's parish in Barry's Bay, Ontario. We're talking about the dads of those families where all the kids came pouring into Mass, always late, with the dad trumping in with his big winter boots and jacket, holding a kid, or two, or three, plus a diaper bag, car seat, some odds and ends winter mitts and scarves picked up along the way, and a Latin Missal so that he can translate the Mass into Latin. Let me continue the stereotype: The dads are always tired, unshaven, wearing Mass clothes (never jeans) that are crumpled, old, and tucked in at the front only. They'd be spaced out. Their kids would predictably take advantage of them too, and sneakily act up from time to time. What were these dads doing? Certainly not praying, right?

I'd look at that and shake my head. Not too hard, mind you. I wouldn't want a hair to come out of place …

The Hall of Fame of Saints: What the Church can Learn from Baseball

In 2017 the National Hockey League welcomed Paul Kariya into the Hall of Fame. The pint-sized forward played 15 years in the NHL, amassing 989 points in 989 games. Literally a point a game player. Now he sits enshrined next to Gretzky, Orr, Richard and Howe. It feels wrong to mention Kariya in the same breath as those other players. There are greats, and then there are pretty goods. Kariya was pretty good. Am I being too fussy?

I ask: Why raise the "pretty good" to the highest honours we have? While we're at it, why not allow the pretty good Hakan Loob into the Hall of Fame? He was almost a point a game player in the 1980s, not to mention he scored 50 goals and 106 points for the Calgary Flames in the 1986-87 season. Nevermind it was the 1980s. A time when Gary Leeman scored 50 goals. Yes, it's been said that even a fire hydrant could score 40 goals back then. Though that was if the fire hydrant played on Gretzky's line. But enough about the greatness of "…

For Whom the Bell Tolls

I remember being outside last winter peacefully, yet ironically as you will read, flooding our backyard hockey rink. It was a Sunday and, having already fulfilled my Mass obligation, I was intent on getting a quick flood in before lunch. Off in the distance I heard the unmistakable ringing of a church bell. It was the first time in five years I had heard such a sound in my town. It was also the last time. The bell echoed gallantly through the chilled air and rested undoubtedly on very few ears. For the majority of people were re-creating themselves at the usual Sunday morning chapel known as the hockey rink.

The bell relinquished its one purpose in life, gave up the ghost, and fell silent. The local church for whom it tolled had just finished one final service. No doubt the usual story. Dwindling numbers. Expensive repairs. Lack of interest in church. Financial and faith woes are often inseparable. This was a protestant church, though but for the grace of God there goes the local Cath…

The Bravest Thing: An Explanation

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”
Thus begins J.R.R. Tolkien’s magnificent, prophetic, adventurous and unsurpassed entry into the world of hobbits, elves, orcs and even men. It starts humbly. Bilbo Don’t-Bother-Me Baggins lives a quiet life. He lives a good life, at least according to his somewhat self-centred whims and principles. Tea. Jam and butter. Bacon and ale. The world is out there, I am here, and the two should never meet. That is until Gandalf involves, rather forces, Bilbo in an adventure of recovering treasure for a collection of dwarves. As if Bilbo cares about dwarves. Or money. Or anything outside of his immediate area of existence.

There is a side of Bilbo in all of us. We want the good life. The don't-bother-me life. Ironically, or perhaps not, the word Bilbo literally means sword. God, or in this case a wizard (Christ as Prophet), beckons. One's wants may not equate to one's calling in life. All that Gandalf can promise Bilbo is that he won’…

For the Alumni of SWC (Formerly Known as the Academy)

The Academy (permit me to call it that instead of Seat of Wisdom College) is in the midst of an alumni giving back campaign. The long and short of it is that they are looking for alumni, ALL alumni, to pledge monthly donations. Set monthly donations makes life much more palatable for the school. I know with almost complete moral certainty that alumni can easily pledge, if nothing else, $5 to $10 a month. We're so rich. We have no idea. Don't take my word for it. Listen to the wisdom of Weird Al:

Look, maybe things were better in the "old days" at the Academy. I think many of us alumni like to think so. Regardless, we need places like the Academy. Where else in Canada can people go to be immersed in Aquinas, Aristotle, and Magisterial thought? Where else are we going to go to learn how to think clearly? Last week we had teacher meetings all day. I was put in a group with a few others and we were given a problem to solve. I came up with a solution in under 20 seconds. …

TV for Young Catholics

Originally Posted on the Millette Family Blog on Feb. 5, 2017

The other day I was watching Living Right with Dr. Ray on ETWN. Though the production value was extremely low, the content of the program was as good as it gets. This is common with EWTN, there are some good ideas, but they often lack the money to implement them to the high standards of other stations. But what if there was enough money to cover the cost? What if EWTN was able to start creating shows with the quality of the secular world, but with a Catholic twist? I can only imagine...

Fixer Upper: Church Edition

Move over Chip and Jo, you have competition. Fixer Upper: Church Edition. Or this could work as any restoration show, really. A crew would go to various Catholic churches and fix them up to look great. Perhaps restore a falling apart beauty. Or take a modern nightmare (there's no shortage) and put a traditional touch to it. Think of it: "Father Pius. Deacon Athanasius. Are y'all ready to see your fixer…

Papolatry: Fix it or we'll fix it for you

Raymond Arroyo's interview last Thursday with Cardinal Gerhard Muller was very interesting. Muller clearly has had enough with the situation in Rome. Here is the video:

A sense of frustration is especially evident in Muller when asked about reports he was commanded (while saying Mass no less) by the Pope to stop investigating Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor concerning some very disgusting sexual allegations. Muller, who is bound by the papal secret, simply replied that the rules must change, which currently state that only the pope can order an investigation for a bishop or cardinal. In other words, "I can't say anything... but wink wink nudge nudge to your question."

There exists a papolatry in the Church which only now is becoming evident to us slow-in-the-head masses. I think most Catholics, myself included, have been guilty of this. I remember with great (or not so great) fondness my time at Redeemer University College in Hamilton, ON. I made a habit of chal…

History of the Rosary in One Easy Video

This weekend we have what normally would be the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary(Oct. 7), along with Canadian Thanksgiving. Our Lady of the Rosary's feast was once named for Our Lady of Victory, and was instituted in thanksgiving for victory over the Moors.

It's a good excuse/occasion to post an excellent video on the history of the rosary. Many points are fascinating in here, such as how the second half of the Hail Mary came about during the Black Plague, or even why the Luminous Mysteries are legitimate adds on by St. John Paul II.

Welcome to the Bravest Thing

Welcome to my latest blog project:

Yes, our Millette Family blog will still be open (and I will still post there, as well as link articles from here to that blog site). But we've always kept that blog somewhat private and unsearchable due to the fact we post pictures and updates on our family. At Bravest Thing I have the freedom to share postings to a wider audience if I choose. Topics of posting will be varied, be it Church, family, sports, culture, or even just plain ranting. And there is a meaning behind the title, relating to the Hobbit, but that can be for another day.

Until then, welcome, happy thanksgiving, and stay tuned for more postings.