Saturday, September 27, 2008
The blog also links to the website for the concert tour by the seminary choir from the Blessed Theodore Romzha Theological Academy in Uzhorod, Ukraine--it appears that all of the appearances are on the East coast.
THE GREATEST CATHOLIC PRESIDENT – PART II
More on Gabriel Garcia Moreno--CE, Andrew Cusack, Fisheaters
Peter V. N. Henderson, Gabriel Garcia Moreno and Conservative State Formation in the Andes
Bluegrass Journal: Williams & Clark Expedition kicks off spring in high gear
Williams and Clark Expedition - Fly Away Home
Williams and Clark Expedition - The Old Kentucky Road
Williams and Clark Expedition - I Know Love
I Will See You Again by Rhonda Vincent and the Rage
Little Maggie by Rhonda Vincent and the Rage
Rhonda Vincent GBGF 2008 08 21 2142 "Orange Blossom Special" 02:53
Rhonda Vincent GBGF 2008 08 21 2123 "Don't Lie" 02: ...
Rhonda Vincent GBGF 2008 08 21 2134 "All American BG Girl"
Rhonda Vincent GBGF 2008 08 21 2145 "YDLGIYDLYN" 03:53
A German Bundeswehr army soldier of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) sits atop a Dingo armoured vehicle as he monitors the area during a mission south of Kunduz, September 27, 2008. (Reuters)
German Bundeswehr army soldiers of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) monitor an area during a mission near Kunduz September 26, 2008. (Reuters)
German Bundeswehr army soldiers of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) patrol during a mission in Toloqan, west of Kunduz, September 25, 2008. Germany has come under pressure from its NATO allies to boost troops levels and transfer soldiers from the north to the more dangerous south of the country to help fight a fierce insurgency by Taliban militants. (Reuters)
The gunner of a German Bundeswehr army CH-53 helicopter of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mans his weapon after landing from a flight from Feyzabad to Kunduz, north of Kabul, September 24, 2008. (Reuters)
German Bundeswehr army soldiers of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) stand next to their vehicle during a mission southeast of Feyzabad, north of Kabul, September 22, 2008. (Reuters)
German Bundeswehr army soldiers of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and part of a Mobile Observation and Liaison Team (MOLT) patrol during a mission in a village about 25 km (16 miles) southeast of Feyzabad, north of Kabul, September 22, 2008.
German Bundeswehr army soldiers of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) take a rest during a joint patrol with Afghan National army soldiers in the mountains near Feyzabad, north of Kabul, September 21, 2008. (Reuters)
Soldier of the German Bundeswehr Army patrol the hills near Faizabad in northern Afghanistan on September 21, 2008. The German Bundeswehr Army has 3,300 troops serving under NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) command in northern Afghanistan which is relatively calm compared to the more volatile south and east where British, Canadian and US troops have borne the brunt of Taliban attacks. (AFP/Getty)
German Bundeswehr army soldiers of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) monitor the area on a mountain during a sweep mission with an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team on the outskirts of Feyzabad, north of Kabul September 20, 2008. (Reuters)
German General Rainer Glatz, left, checks the time with German colonel Rainer Buske as they inspect with ISAF soldiers of the German Federal Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) the outskirts of Kunduz, northern Afghanistan, Saturday, Sept. 20, 2008.
German General Rainer Glatz inspects with ISAF soldiers of the German Federal Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) a position overlooking parts of Kunduz, northern Afghanistan, Saturday, Sept. 20, 2008.
German Bundeswehr army gunner of the ISAF Quick Reaction Force (QRF) holds his weapon from atop a Fuchs APC on his way to a night drill in the Marmal mountains near Masar-i-Sharif, north of Kabul, September 16, 2008.
A German Bundeswehr army soldier of ISAF forces holds his weapon during a CIMIC (Civil Military Cooperation) mission in Masar-i-Sharif, north of Kabul, Sptember 14, 2008.
Soldiers of the German Bundeswehr Army prepare to go on night patrol near Kundus in northern Afghanistan September 11, 2008. The German Army serving with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) are under frequent attack from the Taliban in the region. (AFP/Getty)
Soldiers of the German Bundeswehr Army are on a joint night patrol with Afghani police near Kundus in northern Afghanistan September 12, 2008. The German Army serving with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) are under frequent attack from the Taliban in the region. (AFP/Getty)
German ISAF soldiers of the Quick Reaction Force regional command north (QRF) aim their weapons during a drill in the Marmal mountains near the German ISAF headquarters in Masar-i-Sharif, north of Kabul, July 1, 2008. A German Bundeswehr army unit of combat troops to northern Afghanistan that is part of a NATO Quick Reaction Force replaced a Norwegian unit on July 1. (Reuters)
German ISAF soldiers of the Quick Reaction Force regional command north (QRF) fire their weapons during a drill near the German ISAF headquarters in Masar-i-Sharif, north of Kabul, July 1, 2008. A German Bundeswehr army unit of combat troops to northern Afghanistan that is part of a NATO Quick Reaction Force replaced a Norwegian unit on July 1. (Reuters)
German ISAF soldiers attend handover of command ceremony for the Quick Reaction Force regional command north at the German ISAF headquarters in Masar-i-Sharif, north of Kabul, June 30, 2008. A German Bundeswehr army unit of combat troops to northern Afghanistan that is part of a NATO Quick Reaction Force will replace a Norwegian unit on July 1. (Reuters)
A German ISAF soldier poses in front of a 'Marder' armoured personnel carrier during a media tour at the German ISAF headquarters in Masar-i-Sharif, north of Kabul, June 30, 2008. A German Bundeswehr army unit of combat troops to northern Afghanistan that is part of a NATO Quick Reaction Force will replace a Norwegian unit on July 1. (Reuters)
German ISAF soldiers smile during a mortar drill at a media tour at the German ISAF headquarters in Masar-i-Sharif, north of Kabul, June 30, 2008. A German Bundeswehr army unit of combat troops to northern Afghanistan that is part of a NATO Quick Reaction Force will replace a Norwegian unit on July 1. (Reuters)
A Member of the German Quick Reaction Force of the German armed forces Bundeswehr poses during a media show in Augustdorf March 17, 2008. (Reuters)
Two German soldiers stand guard besides a wreath laid down during a commemoration ceremony for German member of the resistance Count Claus Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg, 15 November 2007 at a memorial site in Berlin. Von Stauffenberg would have been 100 in 2007. Born into an aristocratic family, von Stauffenberg was an army officer during the war but grew disillusioned with the Nazis. Von Stauffenberg planted a briefcase bomb during a staff meeting with Hitler on 20 July 1944. Though the bomb went off, Hitler was not killed. Von Stauffenberg escaped the blast but was captured and executed the same day. (AFP/Getty)
(L-R) German Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung, Heimeran Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, Berthold Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg (both sons of Claus Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg) and German Armed Forces Inspector Wolfgang Schneiderhan attend a commemoration ceremony for German member of the resistance Count Claus Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg, 15 November 2007 at a memorial site in Berlin. Von Stauffenberg would have been 100 in 2007. Born into an aristocratic family, von Stauffenberg was an army officer during the war but grew disillusioned with the Nazis. Von Stauffenberg planted a briefcase bomb during a staff meeting with Hitler on 20 July 1944. Though the bomb went off, Hitler was not killed. Von Stauffenberg escaped the blast but was captured and executed the same day. (AFP/Getty)
Members of a German honour guard of the armed forces Bundeswehr take part in an army torchlight parade to pay tribute on the 100th birthday of Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, in his birthplace Jettingen-Scheppach, November 14, 2007. Stauffenberg was a German army officer and one of the leading figures of the failed Plot in July 20, 1944 to kill German dictator Adolf Hitler. (Reuters)
I skimmed through the final episode, since I couldn't really sit through the whole thing.
The scriptwriter, Guy Andrews, seems to be no friend of Austen, the Austen who is a Christian and a virtue ethicist in her own right. Would it be correct to say that the creators and producers think that Jane Austen is just another writer of romance novels, albeit one who was purely a creature of her time and living under those constraints? I haven't seen any indication of a better understanding of Austen.
There are those who were diverted by it, while others have been critical based on purely artistic criteria, but my grounds for disagreement go much deeper than the obvious twists supplied by the fanfic. It has just been an opportunity to show up the Regency period and create a fantasy in which a contemporary woman can win the heart of Darcy (the miniseries has to be marketable, after all). In the clash between Regency [or should we say Austen's] mores and contemporary liberal prejudices, the latter triumph. The all-invisible hand of the scribe-god has determined that it is Amanda Price who is called to return to be with Darcy, not Elizabeth Bennet, who is not welcome to return (the door to the passage opens for Amanda, not Elizabeth). At the end Elizabeth Bennet apparently decides to return to the future, where she finds life more satisfactory for an 'independent' woman. (Independence being a modern liberal illusion embraced by people of both sexes.)
As it was stated in the first episode, everyone longs to escape--and while Elizabeth escapes to the modern world for a "better life," Amanda escapes into her fantasy world to get the romance she's always wanted with her hero Mr. Darcy, not because she wants to conform her life to something she thinks is better. What else attracts this fanfic Darcy to Amanda, other than her very modernity [and lack of traditional refinement]?
And proud but stupid Darcy finally makes a smart choice in choosing to propose to Amanda. Is there much of a moral conversion on his part? It appears not, if we look at how he behaves towards Elizabeth afterwards. It's worse than the expectation that the other will change for the sake of love--we get the tired belief of the contemporary romantic, that to love is to 'accept' someone and all his flaws, and not demand change for the sake of goodness, because love and union with another not based on goodness but how the other makes you feel.
More could be written, but I don't think I'll waste any more of my time.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Like mother, like daughter?
"Uh, I hope not." How can one not think badly of parents of child stars who have troubled lives? (And her mother seems to be taking to the life of glamor rather well.) When I read the news that the publication of a book by Britney Spears' mom about parenting had been delayed, shortly after the news that her sister was pregnant, I couldn't believe that a publisher actually thought she was qualified to write such a book, or that she had any credibility left that would make the book sell.
Publishers in America.
Someone should pass this slogan around in academia: "I never thought my vanity justified the cutting down of hundreds of trees."
It's too bad that the children are exposed to the programming offered by Disney and Nickelodeon and the networks--are these actually more poisonous than letting them watch soups and dramas? Grow them in narcissism and false self-esteem (pride) first, before enticing them to sin.
ABC News: Ali Lohan: On a 'Train Wreck' to Fame?
Ali Lohan Tribute
I learned that the other Miss B., the 3rd grade teacher from last year, got a job with another school district, to the northeast--I hope she's getting better pay. She seems to be a good teacher. The mother of one of her students from last year saw her at Target(?) or at the school, which is up the road. I think her new school district is a little bit better off than her old one, even though they both have schools in the same city. That part of the city is a little bit better off.
Not sure what is going on with Mrs. S'. class... but it was nice to see the 1st graders again...
Prostitutes Will Enter the Kingdom Before You
Gospel Commentary for 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time
By Father Raniero Cantalamessa, OFM Cap
ROME, SEPT. 26, 2008 (Zenit.org).- "Jesus said to the chief priests and elders of the people: ‘What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He came to the first and said, "Son, go out and work in the vineyard today." He said in reply, "I will not," but afterward changed his mind and went. The man came to the other son and gave the same order. He said in reply, "Yes, sir," but did not go. Which of the two did his father's will?' They answered, ‘The first.'"
The son who says "yes" and does "no" represents those who knew God and followed his law to a certain extent but did not accept Christ, who was "the fulfillment of the law." The son who says "no" and does "yes" represents those who once lived outside the law and will of God, but then, with Christ, thought again and welcomed the Gospel.
From this Jesus draws the following conclusion before the chief priests and elders: "Truly, I say to you, even the publicans and prostitutes will enter the Kingdom of God before you."
No saying of Christ has been more manipulated than this. Some have ended up creating a kind of evangelical aura about prostitutes, idealizing them and opposing them to those with good reputations, who are all regarded without distinction as hypocritical scribes and Pharisees. Literature is full of "good" prostitutes. Just think of Verdi's "La Traviata" or the meek Sonya of Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment"!
But this is a terrible misunderstanding. Jesus is talking about a limited case, as it were. "Even" the prostitutes, he wants to say, are going to enter the Kingdom of God before you. Prostitution is seen in all its seriousness and taken as a term of comparison to point out the gravity of the sin of those who stubbornly reject the truth.
We do not see that, moreover, idealizing the category of prostitute, we also idealize that of publican, which is a category that always accompanies it in the Gospel. The publicans, who were employees of the Roman tax collection agencies, participated in the unjust practices of these agencies. If Jesus links prostitutes and publicans together, he does not do this without a reason; they have both made money the most important thing in life.
It would be tragic if such passages from the Gospel made Christians less attentive to combating the degrading phenomenon of prostitution, which today has assumed alarming proportions in our cities. Jesus had too much respect for women to not suffer beforehand for that which she will become when she is reduced to this state. What he appreciates in the prostitute is not her way of life, but her capacity to change and to put her ability to love in the service of the good. Mary Magdalene, who converted and followed Jesus all the way to the cross, is an example of this (supposing that she was a prostitute).
What Jesus intends to teach with his words here he clearly says at the end: The publicans and prostitutes converted with John the Baptist's preaching; the chief priests and the elders did not. The Gospel, therefore, does not direct us to moralistic campaigns against prostitutes, but neither does it allow us to joke about it, as if it were nothing.
In the new form under which prostitution presents itself today, we see that it is now able to make a person a significant amount of money and do so without involving them in the terrible dangers to which the poor women of previous times, who were condemned to the streets, were subjected. This form consists in selling one's body safely through cameras. What a woman does when she loans herself to pornography and certain excessive forms of advertisement is to sell her body to the eyes if not to contact. This is certainly prostitution, and it is worse than traditional prostitution, because it is publicly imposed and does not respect people's freedom and sentiments.
But having denounced these things as we must, we would betray the spirit of the Gospel if we did not also speak of the hope that these words of Christ offer to women, who, on account of various circumstances (often out of desperation), have found themselves on the street, for the most part victims of unscrupulous exploitation. The Gospel is "gospel," that is, "glad tidings," news of ransom, of hope, even for prostitutes. Indeed, perhaps it is for them first of all. This is how Jesus wanted it.
[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]
* * *
Father Raniero Cantalamessa is the Pontifical Household preacher. The readings for this Sunday are Ezekiel 18:25-28; Philippians 2:1-11; Matthew 21:28-32.
Will it be as good as Downfall for those who like looking at costumes (or Germany military uniforms)? But what of the story and the acting? I still think that the movie will not satisfy Catholics who wish to see von Stauffenberg's faith shown as being central to his life, or his motivation. And I don't think the movie will capture the spirit of the German aristocracy.
A photo of Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg. German Resistance Memorial biography.
In Honor of Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg by Jørn K. Baltzersen
The beginning of the movie puts one in the mood for another movie about the North Africa campaign--apparently Steven Pressfield's Killing Rommel is being turned into a movie.
Killing Rommel by Steve Pressfield
William Lind's latest, On War #275: Van Creveld Writes Another Big Book, is a review of Martin Creveld's latest book, The Culture of War.
Creveld’s second example is today’s German military, the Bundeswehr. Germany’s politicians have demanded the Bundeswehr be stripped of all German military traditions, not just those of the Nazi period. Creveld notes thatAt first, only the years 1933-1945 were exorcised. From 1968 on, however, there was a growing tendency to extend the shadows until they covered previous periods. Not only the Panzer leader Heinz Guderian, not only the desert fox Erwin Rommel, but Hans von Seekt, Paul von Hindenburg, Erich Ludendorff, Alfred von Schieffen, and Helmut von Moltke disappeared. From heroes who had served their country, they were turned into “militarist,” “reactionary,” and “imperialist” villains; in today’s casernes, it is in vain that one looks for their names or their portraits…
In comparison with similar institutions in other countries, German military academies, staff colleges, and other educational institutions have an empty, bare, functional, and soulless appearance. The relics of the “wars of liberation” apart, almost the only items on display pertain to the Bundeswehr’s own history. However, since the Bundeswehr has never gone to war, the ability of those items to excite and inspire is limited…
Given the terrible historical background, all this is perfectly understandable. On the other hand, it is indisputable that an armed force, if its members are to fight and die for their country, must have a culture of war…
One does not have to be a “militarist” or a right-wing extremist to note the peculiar smell that prevails throughout the Bundeswehr. That smell is made up of impersonal bureaucratic procedures, political correctness, and the obsequiousness that results when people worry lest speaking up will lead to bad consequences.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Glenn Greenwald, Why is a U.S. Army brigade being assigned to the "Homeland"?
(via John Schwenkler)
Remember this? Canada-US Security Cooperation Agreement, Enhanced Canada-U.S. Security Cooperation
As the recent militarization of St. Paul during the GOP Convention made abundantly clear, our actual police forces are already quite militarized. Still, what possible rationale is there for permanently deploying the U.S. Army inside the United States -- under the command of the President -- for any purpose, let alone things such as "crowd control," other traditional law enforcement functions, and a seemingly unlimited array of other uses at the President's sole discretion? And where are all of the stalwart right-wing "small government conservatives" who spent the 1990s so vocally opposing every aspect of the growing federal police force? And would it be possible to get some explanation from the Government about what the rationale is for this unprecedented domestic military deployment (at least unprecedented since the Civil War), and why it is being undertaken now?
In February of this year, I wrote The Five Stages of Collapse, connecting each stage of collapse – financial, commercial, political, social and cultural – with a specific mental milestone, where faith in some aspect of our status quo is shattered in the face of dramatically altered circumstances.original
Rather bold words, but maybe it's a correct assessment.
Surrounded by shade trees and gardens, about 200 people, a surprising number for such a rural setting, stood around in little knots talking spiritedly about subjects that all came under the heading of Home Economics: local food; natural medicine; home-based alternative energy; home birthing; home schooling, even, get this, home churching.
With his book "Reinventing Collapse", Dmitry Orlov reports to us from a collapse that he has actually experienced with the fall of the Soviet Union. Russia's past is our future and Orlov's book is a time machine to there.
By Gary Richards
Article Launched: 09/24/2008 06:01:40 PM PDT
The BART extension to Santa Clara County received a big financial boost Wednesday, and will receive an even bigger one today.
The California Transportation Commission today is expected to allocate $239 million in state funds to help pay for the construction of the 16.3-mile BART line from Fremont to Santa Clara, completing a pledge made by the state nine years ago to contribute $760 million for BART. And Wednesday, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Bay Area-wide transportation agency, voted to shift $91 million away from a proposed Dumbarton rail line to the BART project.
"This makes BART seem more real, something that can happen in our lifetime and not 20 years or more," said San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, a member of the Valley Transportation Authority board. "The state has made a huge commitment."
But even with state and regional agencies lining up solidly behind the $6.1 billion project, there is still a huge missing link in the financial puzzle.
The VTA needs about $750 million in federal assistance to build the BART line. But the Federal Transit Administration gave the BART line a "not recommended" rating in 2004, telling local officials it won't even consider a request for such a sum until the VTA comes up with a revenue source to pay for daily operations and maintenance, roughly $50 million a year.
The focus now turns to the Nov. 4 election, in which Santa Clara County voters will be asked to support a one-eighth-cent increase in the local sales tax to cover those costs. This is on top of the half-cent sales tax approved eight years ago for BART and other transit improvements.
The Secret Story of Padre Pio's Stigmata
Volume Reveals Report of Vatican Investigator
By Mirko Testa
ROME, SEPT. 22, 2008 (Zenit.org).- A volume detailing the report of a Vatican investigator into Padre Pio gives new information on the wounds of the Passion that the friar suffered.
Padre Pio da Pietrelcina received the stigmata from the crucified Christ, who in an apparition invited the Capuchin friar to unite himself to his passion so as to participate in the salvation of others, particularly consecrated persons: This is what we can know with certainty thanks to the recent opening -- at the request of Benedict XVI -- of the archives of the former Holy Office up to 1939, which contain information on revelations to Padre Pio that were not previously published.
These revelations have been released in a book titled "Padre Pio Sotto Inchiesta: l''Autobiografia Segreta'" ("Padre Pio Under Investigation: The 'Secret Autobiography'"). The volume is prefaced by Vittorio Messori and edited by Father Franceso Castelli, historian for the beatification cause of Pope John Paul II and professor of modern and contemporary history of the Church at the Romano Guardini Institute for Religious Sciences in Taranto, Italy.
Until the publication of this book, many assumed that Padre Pio -- whether for reasons of modesty or because he thought himself unworthy of the charisms he had received -- had never disclosed to anyone what happened on the day he received the stigmata.
The only known reference to these events was in a letter Padre Pio sent to his spiritual director, Father Benedetto da San Marco in Lamis, in which he speaks of the appearance of a "mysterious person" but does not offer any details.
The new book, which contains the first complete version of the report penned by Bishop Raffaele Rossi of Volterra, (later cardinal), apostolic visitor sent by the Holy See to secretly investigate Padre Pio, clarifies that on the occasion of the reception of the stigmata the saint had a conversation with the crucified Christ.
The book also contains a number of statements that Padre Pio made under oath, which provide an interpretive key to Bishop Rossi's report.
Asked to swear on the Gospel, Padre Pio for the first time revealed the identity of the one from whom he received the wounds.
It was June 15, 1921, and in answer to a question posed by Bishop Rossi, Padre Pio said: "On Sept. 20, 1918, I was in the choir of the church after celebrating Mass, making the thanksgiving when I was suddenly overtaken by powerful trembling and then there came calm and I saw Our Lord in his crucified form.
"He was lamenting the ingratitude of men, especially those consecrated to him and favored by him."
"Then," Padre Pio continued, "his suffering was apparent as was his desire to join souls to his Passion. He invited me to let his pains enter into me and to meditate on them and at the same time concern myself with the salvation of others. Following this, I felt full of compassion for the Lord's pains and I asked him what I could do.
"I heard this voice: 'I will unite you with my Passion.' And after this the vision disappeared, I came back to myself, my reason returned and I saw these signs here from which blood flowed. Before this I did not have these."
Padre Pio then said that the stigmata were not the result of a personal request of his own but came from an invitation of the Lord, who, lamenting the ingratitude of men, and consecrated persons in particular, conferred on Padre Pio a mission as the culmination of an interior mystical journey of preparation.
Father Castelli, the book's editor, noted that the theme of the ingratitude of men and especially those favored by God is not something new in the Capuchin friar's private revelations.
He told ZENIT: "What is decisive is that Padre Pio made no request for the stigmata. This helps us to understand the freedom and the humility of the Capuchin who is clearly completely uninterested in making a show of the wounds.
"Padre Pio's humility also manifests itself in his reaction to seeing the signs of the Passion traced in his flesh once he had come back to himself. In fact, in the conversation with the bishop, once the mystical scene has finished, it is not elaborated on further."
From the conversation with Padre Pio, from the letters, from the witnesses questioned by Bishop Rossi and finally from his own report, it is plain that the friar was unhappy about the signs of the Passion, that he tried to hide them and that he was uneasy in showing them at the request of the apostolic visitor, the editor explained.
A 6th wound?
The book conveys Bishop Rossi's conclusions about the stigmata, of which there had only been partial information, and so provides new information, especially about the form of the wound in the side and a rumored sixth wound on the friar's back.
In his report the apostolic visitor says that there was no festering in Padre Pio's wounds, they did not close and did not heal. The remained inexplicably open and bloody, despite the fact that the friar had tried to stop the bleeding by treating them with iodine.
"Bishop Rossi's description of the wound in the side," Father Castelli told ZENIT, "is decisively different from those before and after him. He did not see it as an upside down or slanted cross, but as having a 'triangular form' and so therefore with definite edges."
Contrary to what certain doctors have said, Bishop Rossi concluded that the wounds did not appear to be externally inflicted.
"This speaks in favor of the authenticity of the stigmata," Father Castelli explained, "because carbolic acid -- which according to some was what Padre Pio might have used to cause the wounds -- after it has been applied, consumes the tissue and inflames the surrounding area. It is impossible to think that for 60 years Padre Pio could have caused himself these wounds of the same definite shape.
"Further, the wounds emitted the intense odor of violets rather than the fetid stench that degenerative processes, tissue necrosis or infections usually cause."
According to the report, Padre Pio said that apart from the stigmata in his hands, feet and side, there were no other wounds, and therefore no wound on his back as Jesus might have had from carrying the cross. Some have suggested that Padre Pio might have had this wound.
Father Castelli maintains that it is not possible to speculate beyond the information gathered in Bishop Rossi's 1921 investigation and attribute to Padre Pio any other sign of the Passion.
By Matt Wilson
Tenants are eager for the revitalization of the Cupertino Square shopping mall to resume despite an avalanche of legal and financial problems facing the center.
Cupertino Square has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and is in the midst of a flurry of lawsuits and counter suits with a construction lender.
While some merchants remain optimistic about the future of Cupertino Square, other tenants are frustrated with the mall's legal battles and the resulting delays in its renovation.
Most of the tenants that were approached were unwilling to comment on any mall-related issues. Some who did speak opted to remain anonymous and voiced a general frustration with the mall's current condition.
"There is no traffic or business in this mall. There is no marketing. It is very hard to survive," said a manager at one shop.
"I'm not frustrated with management, just the process. We don't know the future of this mall and we need to know what their plan is."
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
In fairness, in mischaracterizing America’s upper class, Gossip Girl is merely following pop culture convention. Virtually every Hollywood movie and TV show, from Scent of a Woman to Family Guy, assumes that a WASP episcopacy that collapsed two generations ago still controls this country’s wealth and power. (Indeed, it is hard to think of any pop culture product that doesn’t associate wealth with WASP privilege.) I’m told even told that “chic lit” novels routinely assume that all Upper East Side socialites hail from patrician WASP families and despise anyone who doesn’t. The authors of these novels then do book signings on the Upper East Side in front of audiences that know full well that the novels bear no resemblance to the world they actually live in.
Not unexpectedly, he is giving the Austrian school view of the matter.
I could be persuaded that some sort of bailout is necessary, in order to prevent some great evil from befalling society, but I want people to be held accountable for what happened, those in government and business (those who couldn't keep up with their mortgages have probably been deprived of enough), especially if things are as bad as the members of the National Government are claiming. I don't think I am alone with respect to this desire. Where's the justice?
John Médaille on short-selling, Eat My Shorts!, and the Fed: The Ownership Society, V. 2.
SUBJECT: REQUEST FOR URGENT BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP
I NEED TO ASK YOU TO SUPPORT AN URGENT SECRET BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP WITH A TRANSFER OF FUNDS OF GREAT MAGNITUDE.
I AM MINISTRY OF THE TREASURY OF THE REPUBLIC OF AMERICA. MY COUNTRY HAS HAD CRISIS THAT HAS CAUSED THE NEED FOR LARGE TRANSFER OF FUNDS OF 800 BILLION DOLLARS US. IF YOU WOULD ASSIST ME IN THIS TRANSFER, IT WOULD BE MOST PROFITABLE TO YOU.
I AM WORKING WITH MR. PHIL GRAM, LOBBYIST FOR UBS, WHO WILL BE MY REPLACEMENT AS MINISTRY OF THE TREASURY IN JANUARY. AS A SENATOR, YOU MAY KNOW HIM AS THE LEADER OF THE AMERICAN BANKING DEREGULATION MOVEMENT IN THE 1990S. THIS TRANSACTIN IS 100% SAFE.
THIS IS A MATTER OF GREAT URGENCY. WE NEED A BLANK CHECK. WE NEED THE FUNDS AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. WE CANNOT DIRECTLY TRANSFER THESE FUNDS IN THE NAMES OF OUR CLOSE FRIENDS BECAUSE WE ARE CONSTANTLY UNDER SURVEILLANCE. MY FAMILY LAWYER ADVISED ME THAT I SHOULD LOOK FOR A RELIABLE AND TRUSTWORTHY PERSON WHO WILL ACT AS A NEXT OF KIN SO THE FUNDS CAN BE TRANSFERRED.
PLEASE REPLY WITH ALL OF YOUR BANK ACCOUNT, IRA AND COLLEGE FUND ACCOUNT NUMBERS AND THOSE OF YOUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN TO WALLSTREETBAILOUT@TREASURY.GOV SO THAT WE MAY TRANSFER YOUR COMMISSION FOR THIS TRANSACTION. AFTER I RECEIVE THAT INFORMATION, I WILL RESPOND WITH DETAILED INFORMATION ABOUT SAFEGUARDS THAT WILL BE USED TO PROTECT THE FUNDS.
YOURS FAITHFULLY MINISTER OF TREASURY PAULSON
via fish @ Crunchy Con
(He originally found it here.)
In an interview with GQ Magazine, Stone reveals who his first choice was to play Bush in his forthcoming biopic. "We were turned down by everybody for money, including your Aunt Gertrude. It was humiliating. I make no bones about it. I think this is a great subject. I don't think I have a bad track record. I needed a star, though, and Josh Brolin was not a star."
Stone continued, "Originally I went for Christian Bale. We did some rigorous prosthetic tests and spent a lot of dough — thousands and thousands of dollars — and then Christian said, 'I just don't feel like I can do it.' I met Josh and liked him. He was more rural Americana. But man, he was scared s***less."
One of the celebs this season is Rocco DiSpirito.
Julianne is back!
DWTS7 - Cody & Julianne - wk 1
DWTS Season 7 ( Cody & Julianne) 9/22/08
ET Weekend with DWTS Season 7 - 9-20-08
Access Hollywood with Julianne Hough
Cody Linley and Julianne Hough
E! - Cody Linley on DWTS
ET - Cody & Julianne Rehearse
YouTube - Official Juicy Fruit Commercial ft. Julianne Hough
Guess Which Celebrity is Partnering with Wrigley’s Gum (Photos)
Julianne Hough hearts Juicy Fruit
More photos here.
Edit. Just watched the first episode--Miss Hough's partner sounds like the typical brash, cocky pretty boy who thinks he is all that, claiming superiority over others. How many young males go around sporting that kind of attitude? Too many. I'm surprised he didn't start saying 'dawg.'
(via Mark Shea)
Monday, September 22, 2008
Pope Benedict XVI greets parishioners as he visits a cathedral in Albano, outside Rome, September 21, 2008. Pope Benedict on Sunday urged world leaders at this week's U.N. general assembly not to allow the global financial crisis to distract them from efforts to try to wipe out poverty and disease. (Reuters)
Pope Benedict XVI blesses parishioners as he visits a cathedral in Albano, outside Rome September 21, 2008. Pope Benedict on Sunday urged world leaders at this week's U.N. general assembly not to allow the global financial crisis to distract them from efforts to try to wipe out poverty and disease. (Reuters)
Pope Benedict XVI (C) prays in the cathedral in Albano Laziale on September 21, 2008 at the end of the mass to mark the end of restauration of the church. The pontiff called in his Sunday Angelus prayer on the planet's leaders to act "with courage" to eradicate hunger and poverty before the start of the September 25 UN summit on Ojectives of the Millenium in New York. (AFP/Getty)
Fumes of incense waft above Pope Benedict XVI, centre, during a ceremony in Albano's cathedral, on the outskirt of Rome, to bless a new altar, Sunday, Sept. 21, 2008. The pontiff appealed Sunday to world leaders to take action to end extreme poverty and hunger when they meet at the U.N. General Assembly. Benedict spoke to pilgrims at his summer palace in Castel Gandolfo about a high-level meeting at the General Assembly to take stock of progress on goals to end poverty. (AP/Pier Paolo Cito)
Pope Benedict XVI (R) sprays incense around the new altar of the Albano Laziale's cathedral on September 21, 2008, during a mass to mark the end of the restauration of the church. The pontiff urged world leaders at this week's UN general assembly not to allow the global financial crisis to distract them from efforts to try to wipe out poverty and disease. "I would like to invite them again to take up and implement with courage the measures needed to wipe out extreme poverty, hunger, ignorance and the scourge of pandemics, which especially affect the most vulnerable," he said after his Sunday mass. (AFP/Getty)
Pope Benedict XVI pours oil on the new altar of the Albano Laziale's cathedral on September 21, 2008, during a mass to mark the end of the restauration of the church. The pontiff urged world leaders at this week's UN general assembly not to allow the global financial crisis to distract them from efforts to try to wipe out poverty and disease. "I would like to invite them again to take up and implement with courage the measures needed to wipe out extreme poverty, hunger, ignorance and the scourge of pandemics, which especially affect the most vulnerable," he said after his Sunday mass. (AFP/Getty)
Pope Benedict XVI, at center, celebrates mass in Albano's cathedral, on the outskirt of Rome, during a ceremony to bless a new altar, Sunday, Sept. 21, 2008. The pontiff appealed Sunday to world leaders to take action to end extreme poverty and hunger when they meet at the U.N. General Assembly. Benedict spoke to pilgrims at his summer palace in Castel Gandolfo about a high-level meeting at the General Assembly to take stock of progress on goals to end poverty. (AP/Pier Paolo Cito)
Pope Benedict XVI is greeted by Princess Infanta Dona Cristina of Spain (R) during a private audience at the Vatican on September 19, 2008. (AFP/Getty)
Pope Benedict XVI is pictured with Princess Infanta Dona Cristina of Spain (L) and Duke Ignacio Urdangarin Liebaert of Palma de Mallorca (2nd L) during a private audience at the Vatican on September 19, 2008. Man (2nd R) is unidentified. (AFP/Getty)
Pope Benedict XVI is pictured with Princess Infanta Dona Cristina of Spain (L) and Duke Ignacio Urdangarin Liebaert of Palma de Mallorca (R) during a private audience at the Vatican on September 19, 2008. (AFP/Getty)
Infanta Cristina, Duchess of Palma de Mallorca
We ordered the salty and spicy pork, which was ok (perhaps a bit too fatty, but comparable to what we've had elsewhere), and the laat ji chicken--this was too laat, nearly ruining my taste buds. We also ordered mango milkshakes--my mom said the ones at McD's were thicker, which is true. I wonder if the smoothies would have been a better choice.
The restaurant has more upscale pretensions than the two it has succeeded--my mom thought that it was a place where couples would go on a romantic date. I would agree, but the only couples I could imagine coming here for that purpose would be Chinese [or Taiwanese] 40-somethings. I think the restaurant is trying to attract the well-off Chinese inhabitants of the area and offer an alternative to the other Chinese restaurants in the area. (Even though Dynasty has the look of a fancier Hong Kong restaurant, it mainly serves families and such. I wouldn't go there for 'formal' dining--there isn't any privacy there.) I just don't see Chinese Americans in their 20s wanting to go there for a date.
The large windows are just wrong for a restaurant trying to be more upscale. (Where's Gordon Ramsay when you need him? I don't think he'll ever do a makeover on a Chinese restaurant.) There's not much that can be done about that, I suppose--the building was originally built as office or retail space, not for a restaurant. If the restaurant had a view of something pleasant, perhaps that would make up for the windows and the feel of the place, but it's looking out on the busy intersection of Blaney and Stevens Creek.
I think it's too late for a New Urbanist vision of Cupertino to be implemented.
The restaurant is hiring wait staff, which it is in need of. Ahem.
Would we go back there? Probably not. Entrees range from $10-$15 (Chef's Specials are higher); noodles, chow fun are $9 to $10. The food is ok, but I think Pan Tao would be a better choice, food-wise. One could pay a little bit more for ambience at 'i.'
The researchers, whose results appear in the October issue of the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, gave personality questionnaires to nearly 130 Facebook users, analyzed the content of the pages and had untrained strangers view the pages and rate their impression of the owner’s narcissism.
The researchers found that the number of Facebook friends and wallposts that individuals have on their profile pages correlates with narcissism. Buffardi said this is consistent with how narcissists behave in the real-world, with numerous yet shallow relationships. Narcissists are also more likely to choose glamorous, self-promoting pictures for their main profile photos, she said, while others are more likely to use snapshots.
Untrained observers were able to detect narcissism, too. The researchers found that the observers used three characteristics – quantity of social interaction, attractiveness of the individual and the degree of self promotion in the main photo – to form an impression of the individual’s personality. “People aren’t perfect in their assessments,” Buffardi said, “but our results show they’re somewhat accurate in their judgments.”
Narcissism is a trait of particular interest, Campbell said, because it hampers the ability form healthy, long-term relationships. “Narcissists might initially be seen as charming, but they end up using people for their own advantage,” Campbell said. “They hurt the people around them and they hurt themselves in the long run.”
The tremendous growth of social networking sites – Facebook now has 100 million users, for example – has led psychologists to explore how personality traits are expressed online. Buffardi and Campbell chose Facebook because it’s the most popular networking site among college students and because it has a fixed format that makes it easier for researchers to compare user pages.
Some researchers in the past have found that personal Web pages are more popular among narcissists, but Campbell said there’s no evidence that Facebook users are more narcissistic than others.
Makes for a nice follow-up post to this.
Mr. McCarthy includes the following news: Ron Paul endorses Chuck Baldwin.
Let's see if Mr. Baldwin makes it to the California ballot in November.
Constitution Party of California blog
American Independent Party (California)
Robert Bernhoft Will Argue for Chuck Baldwin in California Court
--Court date was August 28... any more recent news?
According to How to vote for Chuck Baldwin in California, both Mr. Baldwin and Mr. Castle (the VP candidate) will be official write-in candidates in California.
Chuck Baldwin at the AIP Convention, June 28, 2008, Part 1:
Benson is also available online at Hulu. I remember the last few minutes of the series finale--Benson had risen through the ranks to become Lt. Governor, iirc. He ended up running against the Governor for his office, which had put a strain on their friendship. But they reconciled, and were sitting on the couch in front of the television, waiting for the results of the election. I watched the series when it was in syndication, not when it originally aired. What is the quality of this sitcom? I don't know--I don't think I'm impartial enough to judge rightly. (Much of the humor had to do with Benson rescuing the air-headed Governor from this or that mess.) I am thinking that the writers over at Chronicles probably don't like modern sitcoms very much, and the inanity of much of the humor probably has much to do with it. I never really watched The Honeymooners, but I did watch a lot of I Love Lucy during our trips to Arizona. In fact, I watched a lot of sitcoms while in Arizona--The Facts of Life, Hogan's Heroes, The Beverly Hillbillies, to name a few. I didn't get to play with the cousins that often. The TV made up for a lack of playmates... not a few of those sitcoms, including Benson, were Witt-Thomas-Harris productions.
I don't watch much TV these days--NCIS, Kitchen Nightmares, The Unit, 24... Season 3 of Heroes premieres tonight, but I won't be watching that. (While I currently don't have a TV, much of what is on TV can been viewed online.)
Edit. I forgot about Life. Season premiere is available at Hulu (for 5 days) and at NBC.
(edit: includes a link to this review of the movie by Rex Reed -- I won't be paying money to see it!)
Originally entitled Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire, the biography has been renamed The Duchess with the release of the movie.
Domenico Zipoli was thought to have disappeared from European musical life just as he made his mark with the publication of his first work, the Sonate d’intavolatura per organo e cimbalo. Did his early promise fade and leave him resigned to a life of obscurity? Well, no. Scholars had known for a while that there was another Domenico Zipoli, active just after this time in Paraguay, but it wasn't until the 1950s that it was realised that the two composers were in fact one and the same.
Zipoli had joined the Jesuit reductiones and gone to South America - music played a pivotal role in in the missions, fulfilling the Jesuits’ aim of transmitting the idea of God to the natives. The music he composed there was thought to be lost, until at the beginning of the 1960s when a mass for three-part choir (without bass), soloists, two violins, organ and continuo was located, reading: “copied in Potossi, in the year 1784”, that is 58 years after the composer’s death. The fact that over half a century after Zipoli’s death his works were still performed in Argentina and in Higher Peru clearly reflect his importance. Then, in 1972, 5000 pages of manuscript music were accidentally discovered in East Bolivia, among them a large number of complete works by Zipoli. They were being used as toilet paper in the bathroom of the church sacristy!
Catherine Bott explores the life and music of this amazing man, wrongly thought to have disappeared from musical life as quickly as he had appeared.
Zipoli: Sonate d’intavolatura: Toccata
Dominique Ferran (organ)
Zipoli: Sonate pour Violon et basse continue
Les Soloists de l’Ensemble Elyma
Zipoli: Partite (do maggiore) from Sonate d’intavolatura per cimbalo
Sergio Vartolo (harpsichord)
Zipoli: Deus In Adjutorium – Domine Ad Adjuvandum
Coro de Ninos Cantores de Cordoba/ Ensemble Elyma/ Gabriel Garrido
CD 2 Track 1
Zipoli: Beatus Vir
Coro de Ninos Cantores de Cordoba/ Ensemble Elyma/ Gabriel Garrido
CD 2 Track 4
Zipoli: Misa Brevis - Kyrie
Coro de Ninos Cantores de Cordoba/ Ensemble Elyma/ Affetti Musicali Buenos Aires/ Cristina Garcia Banegas (organ) / Gabriel Garrido
Zipoli: Letania I En Do
Coro de Ninos Cantores de Cordoba/ Ensemble Elyma/ Affetti Musicali Buenos Aires/ Cristina Garcia Banegas (organ)/ Gabriel Garrido
Related links: Domenico Zipoli Institute (Ah, so it is officially affiliated with IVE.)
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Papal Homily at Albano Cathedral
"When Believers Are United by Charity They Become the House of God"
ALBANO, Italy, SEPT. 21, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of Benedict XVI' homily today at Mass in the Cathedral of Albano, Italy, near the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo. The cathedral's altar was dedicated at this Mass.
* * *
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
Today's celebration is so rich in symbols and the Word of God that has been proclaimed helps us to understand the meaning and value of what we are doing here. In the first reading we heard the story of Judas Macabeus' purification of the Temple and the dedication of the new altar of holocausts in 164 B.C., three years after the Temple had been profaned by Antiochus Epiphanes (cf. 1 Macabees 4:52-59). The Feast of the Dedication, which lasted eight days, was instituted to commemorate that event. This feast, initially linked to the Temple, where the people went in procession to offer sacrifices, was also connected with the illumination of the houses, and it survived in this form after the destruction of Jerusalem.
The sacred author rightly underscores the joy that characterizes that event. But how much greater, dear brothers and sisters, must our joy be, knowing that every day on this altar, that we are preparing to consecrate, the sacrifice of Christ is offered; on this altar he will continue to immolate himself, in the sacrament of the Eucharist, for our salvation and that of the whole world. In the Eucharistic mystery, that is renewed on every altar, Jesus is really present. His is a dynamic presence, which seizes us in to make us his, to assimilate us to him; it draws us with the power of his love, bringing us out of ourselves to unite us with him, making us one with him.
Christ's real presence makes each of us his "house," and we all together form his Church, the spiritual edifice of which St. Peter speaks. "Come to him," the apostle writes, "a living stone, rejected by human beings but chosen and precious in the sight of God, and, like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 2:4-5).
Somewhat developing this beautiful metaphor, St. Augustine observes that through faith men are like wood and stone gathered from forests and mountains for building; through baptism, catechesis and preaching they are cut, squared, and filed down; but they only become the Lord's house when they are ordered by charity. When believers are reciprocally connected according to a determinate order, mutually and closely arranged and bound, when they are united together by charity they truly become the house of God that does not fear ruin (cf. Sermon 336).
It is therefore the love of Christ, the charity that "never ends" (1 Corinthians 13:8), the spiritual energy that unites those who participate in the same sacrifice and who nourish themselves from the same Bread broken for the salvation of the world. Is it indeed possible to be in communion with the Lord if we are not in communion with each other? How can we present ourselves divided and far from each other at God's altar? May this altar upon which the sacrifice of the Lord will soon be renewed be for you, dear brothers and sisters, be a constant invitation to love; always draw near to it with a heart open to the love of Christ and to spreading it, to receiving and bestowing forgiveness.
In this regard the Gospel passage that was proclaimed a little while ago offers us an important lesson for life (cf. Matthew 5:23-24). It is a brief but pressing and incisive call to fraternal reconciliation, a reconciliation that is indispensable if we are to present our offering worthily at the altar; it is a reminder that takes up again a teaching that is already quite present in the preaching of the prophets. The prophets vigorously denounced the uselessness of those acts of worship that lacked the correspondent moral dispositions, especially in relation to one's neighbor (cf. Isaiah 1:10-20; Amos 5:21-27; Micah 6:6-8). Every time that you come to the altar for the Eucharistic celebration your soul opens to forgiveness and fraternal reconciliation, ready to accept the apologies of those who have hurt you and ready, in turn, to forgive.
In the Roman liturgy the priest, having offered the bread and wine, bows toward the altar and prays in a low voice: "Lord, we ask you to receive us and be pleased with the sacrifice that we offer with humble and contrite hearts." The priest thus prepares to enter, together with the whole assembly of the faithful, into the heart of the Eucharistic mystery, into the heart of that celestial liturgy to which the second reading, taken from the Book of Revelation, refers.
St. John presents an angel who offers "incense together with the prayers of all the saints, burning them on the altar of gold placed before the throne" of God (cf. Revelation 8:3). The altar of sacrifice becomes in a certain way the point of encounter between heaven and earth; the center, we could say, of the one Church that is at the same time heavenly and in pilgrimage on earth, where, in the midst of the persecutions of the world and God's consolations, the Lord's disciples proclaim his passion and death until he returns in glory (cf. "Lumen Gentium," No. 8). Indeed, every Eucharistic celebration already anticipates the triumph of Christ over sin and the world, and shows in mystery the splendor of the Church, "immaculate bride of the immaculate Lamb, Bride that Christ loved and gave himself up for to make her holy (cf. "Lumen Gentium," No. 6).
These reflections draw our attention to the rite that we are about to perform in this cathedral of yours, which we admire today in its renewed beauty and that we rightly desire to continue to make welcoming and decorous. It is a task that involves all of you and that, in the first place, calls upon the whole diocesan community to grow in charity and in apostolic and missionary dedication. Concretely, it is a matter of bearing witness with your life to your faith in Christ and the total confidence that you place in him.
It is also a matter of cultivating ecclesial communion that is, first of all, a gift, a grace, fruit of God's free and gratuitous love, that is, something divinely efficacious, always present and working in history, beyond all contrary appearances. Ecclesial communion is, however, also a task entrusted to the care of each individual. May the Lord grant you to live an evermore convinced and active communion, in cooperation and co-responsibility at every level: among the priests, the consecrated, and the laity, among the different Christian communities of your region, among the various lay groups.
I now address my cordial greeting to your bishop, Monsignor Marcello Semeraro, whom I thank for the invitation and for the courteous words of welcome with which he wished to receive me in the name of all of you. I would also like to express my sentiments of fervent best wishes on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of his episcopal consecration.
I direct a special thought to Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Dean of the College of Cardinals, titulary of this suburbicarian diocese of yours, and who today joins his happiness with yours. I greet the other prelates who are present, the priests, the consecrated persons, the young people and the elderly, the families, the children, the sick, embracing with affection all of the faithful of the diocesan community spiritually gathered here.
A greeting to the civil authorities, who honor us with their presence, and in the first place to the Lord Mayor of Albano, to whom I am also grateful for the courteous words he addressed to me at the beginning of the Mass. Upon all I invoke the heavenly protection of St. Pancrazio, to whom this cathedral is dedicated, and the Apostle Matthew, whom the liturgy recalls today.
I especially invoke the maternal intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. On this day -- which crowns your efforts, sacrifices and work to provide this cathedral with a renovated liturgical space, with opportune interventions, the ambo and the altar -- may the Madonna obtain for you in our time the possibility of writing another page in daily and popular sanctity, which will be joined to the other pages that have marked the life of the Church of Albano over the course of the centuries.
Certainly, as your bishop noted, difficulties, challenges and problems are not lacking, but the hopes and the opportunities for announcing and witnessing to God's love are also great. May the Spirit of the risen Lord, who is also the Spirit of Pentecost, disclose his horizons of hope to you and strengthen the missionary drive in you to the vast horizons of the new evangelization. Let us pray for this, continuing our Eucharistic celebration.
[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]
On the Last Who Are First
"Being Called Itself Is Already the First Recompense"
CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 21, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of the address Benedict XVI delivered today before reciting the midday Angelus with several thousand people gathered in the courtyard of the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo.
* * *
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Perhaps you remember when, on the day of my election to the pontificate, I addressed the crowd in St. Peter's Square and I presented myself, in an off the cuff way, as a worker in the Lord's vineyard. Well, in today's Gospel (cf. Matthew 20:1-16a), Jesus recounts the parable of the owner of the vineyard, who at different hours of the day calls laborers to come work in his vineyard. And in the evening he gives to all of them the same wage -- one denarius -- provoking the protest of the laborers who had been there from the first hour.
It is clear that that denarius represents eternal life, a gift that God reserves for everyone. Indeed, precisely those who are considered "last," if they will accept it, become "first," while the "first" can run the risk of becoming "last." The first message of this parable is in the fact itself that the owner does not tolerate, so to speak, unemployment: He wants everyone to work in his vineyard. And in reality, being called itself is already the first recompense: Being able to work in the Lord's vineyard, putting yourself at his service, cooperating in his project, constitutes in itself an inestimable reward, which repays all toil.
But this is understood only by those who love the Lord and his Kingdom. Those who, instead, work solely for the pay will never recognize the value of this priceless treasure.
St. Matthew, apostle and evangelist, is the one who reports this parable that is read in today's liturgical feast. I would like to emphasize that Matthew experienced this story firsthand (cf. Matthew 9:9). In fact, before Jesus called him, Matthew was employed as a publican and for this reason was considered a public sinner by the Jews and was excluded from "the Lord's vineyard."
But everything changes when Jesus, walking by the customs house, looks at him and says "Follow me." Matthew got up and followed him. From publican he immediately became a disciple of Christ. From being "last" he finds himself as "first," thanks to the logic of God, which -- for our good fortune! -- is different from the world's logic.
"My thoughts are not your thoughts," the Lord says through the mouth of the prophet Isaiah, "your ways are not my ways" (Isaiah 55:8).
St. Paul too, whose special jubilee year we are celebrating, experienced the joy of feeling himself called by the Lord and working in his vineyard. And how much work he did! But, as he himself confessed, it was God's grace that worked through him, that grace that transformed him from a persecutor of the Church into an apostle of the Gentiles. "For me to live is Christ and to die is gain," St. Paul says. But he immediately adds: "But if living in the body means doing work that is fruitful, I do not know which to choose" (Philippians 1:21-22). Paul understood well that working for the Lord is already recompense on this earth.
The Virgin Mary, who a week ago I had the joy of venerating at Lourdes, is the perfect vine in the Lord's vineyard. From her there grew the blessed fruit of divine love: Jesus, Our Savior. May she help us to respond always and with joy to the Lord's call, and to find our happiness in the possibility of toiling for the Kingdom of Heaven.
What does it say about our young people when the way Kelly and Brenda talk to each other doesn't seem to have changed in 14 years? (And what else needs to be said about 20-somethings playing teenagers? Or acting in general?)
One hears the loose, causal style of talking among children, tweens, and teens--apparently many never grow out of it. (I don't think it can be identified completely with the way Californian teenagers talk.) I wish I had a technical vocabulary to explain what I meant. Inflection is part of it, but it's not all.
Some may say that it is more expressive (of emotion, or state of mind)--and that while some cultures prefer to use the words themselves as the primary means of expression (if at all), others like to use tone and pitch, pronunciation, and body language as well. I suppose fuddy-duddies would not be complaining if what was being said had some depth to it. Instead, we have a lot of vocal performance, but not much [acquired] intelligence behind it. Hence the complaint, it just sounds juvenile.