The Vespers, at Don Quixote's at 8 P.M. They'll be performing along with Bluetail Flies and Elisabeth Carlisle.
Question Gender? Your Life Might Fall Apart
41 minutes ago
Maybe Catholic feminists would not object to the following of St. Paul; but they would not surrender the goal of having a career (in the name of living out one's vocation or "serving the community") nor leadership positions (especially within the Church). (It may even be that these are the views of the author of this piece.)In the Mass readings, Saint Paul exhorted wives to be subordinate to their husbands, and for husbands to love their wives as themselves, for the two have become one flesh.I’ve never found the idea of wifely subordination difficult to stomach. I have found it difficult to practice at times. And I wonder if difficulty practicing it has less to do with understanding subordination, than with understanding the second part of Saint Paul’s mandate: “the two shall become one flesh.”Saint Paul backs out of explaining what it means to be of one flesh, saying, “It’s a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and his Church.”Considering my husband and mine’s recent sleeping arrangements, if the one flesh union is all about sex, we may have reason to panic. And yet sex, in and of itself is not a great mystery. Anyone can have sex. And not everyone who has sex with another becomes one flesh with them.“One flesh” suggests a continuous union, which is problematic if it’s only about sex. I picture Francesca and Paolo in Dante’s Inferno, glued together forever in an embrace that becomes their torment. Speaking of never getting any sleep…The reference to Christ and his Church implies that being of one flesh is more about the Kingdom of Christ becoming present on earth and in the family, than about the sex that always comes first to mind.I imagine the two becoming one in the bodies of our children. If the Kingdom of God is like the yeast that leavens several measures of flour, making it all rise, then making babies requires a little of my DNA, a little of my husband’s, a bit of yeast, and poof, little dough-balls rising in corners all over your house, growing while you sleep.And yet, strangers can make babies together without undergoing the mystery of one-flesh union. And some married couples never conceive, but it doesn’t mean they are not of one-flesh.I imagine then, it’s the orientation of our family–the constant challenge of directing ourselves towards God– the prayers we say with the kids at night, before we all go our separate ways to sleep. It’s the one-mind we share in this sleepless, suffering night–that in the morning, we’ll dwell together in eternity.Or perhaps, it’s the way surrendering my constant need to be the authority on all possible opinions that may affect our family creates peace between my husband and me.I think it’s all these things.What holds man and wife together in the flesh? Sometimes its the kids, sometimes the sex, sometimes the prayers, sometimes the community in which we live, sometimes it’s the bond of thinking alike. All of them work together like blood, bone, heart, and head to keep the flesh intact.
The importance of having people nearby on whom you can rely (and they you).
In my experience, most discussions about disaster preparedness overemphasize the individual aspects of survival. You’ve got your bug out bags, your go kits. You’ve got your fantasies of building underground bunkers capable of withstanding a direct hit from a nuclear weapon, amassing as much ammunition as you can find, stockpiling an arsenal that would put Michael Gross from Tremors to shame, and lining your property with machine gun nests, bear traps, and a moat full of great white sharks, piranhas, and salt water crocodiles. Ultimately, these folks are assuming the worst – not just of the situation, but of the people around them – and end up preparing to face the coming onslaught all by themselves. It’s important to be self-reliant, but is it enough? Is it even possible? Are you prepared to move that fallen tree blocking your front door all by yourself? What about the extrication of your living body from the ruins of your house – think that’s a one man job? Can you wrap wounds, set bones, and fashion slings? Do you have carpentry, hunting, and masonry skills? If not, you might want to think about having a group of people upon whom you can rely (and vice versa). You might want to think about obtaining the one resource you can’t simply buy and store in your garage (without going to jail, that is): friends.
Friends can help each other hunt, forage, and garden. Ten pairs of hands (or guns, or minds, or sets of legs) are better and far more effective at doing the things required for survival. Ten guns can defend better than one gun. Ten pairs of hands can chop more wood, carry more water, build more things, and pull more weeds than one pair of hands. Ten minds can come up with a better solution for water purification or shelter fortification than one mind. Ten sets of legs can cover more ground and find more survivors and food than one set of legs.
We all have friends, of course. But in today’s world of Facebook, Twitter feeds, message boards, email, and mobile phones that allow instant connectivity with anyone and everyone anywhere, our friends often live far, far away from us. Or perhaps across town, which doesn’t help us if the roads are blocked and our cars are underwater. For friends to be helpful in disaster recovery, they need to be close. What about our neighbors – the people who we do have at arm’s reach? These are the people who will be able to help us when disaster strikes. These are the people with whom we’ll be able to share supplies and divvy up responsibilities. However, research shows that these people are increasingly not our friends. We might share casual words on trash day with them, but we probably feel awkward asking them to feed our cat and water our plants when we’re away.
When life is going as planned, strangers are fairly civil to each other. You bump into someone in the mall accidentally, you apologize. You see someone coming up behind you as you enter the bank, you hold the door open. This is basic common decency. Easy stuff. But when the world is falling apart around you, what do you do? Your innate sense of preservation kicks in. You grab your kids, your spouse, call your friends, your parents, and stuff the cat into a pet carrier. In other words, you don’t even have to think about saving you and yours; you just act. This is an incredibly Primal response.
When you expand your circle of “yours” to include the people who live around you – and they expand their circles to include you – everyone looks out for everyone. Everyone’s better off. Most importantly, each individual person is better off, because if you’re the unlucky one whose ceiling fell in or whose canned goods were washed away, your neighbors are that much more likely to pull you out and invite you in for some canned tuna and water. And you’re more likely to do the same for them. The beauty of it is that because these are now your friends that need help, you don’t feel “put upon.” You want to help them, because, well, they’re your friends and that’s what friends do. That’s what a tribe does.
Research even shows that in real life disasters, it’s not the government aid, the fire trucks, or the emergency responders that really help people survive in the immediate. It’s the friends, the neighbors, the community. It’s Paul from next door who you let borrow your tool set last year who’s going to pull you out of your collapsed kitchen, not the anonymous emergency responder coming from fifty miles away. A government worker isn’t going to know how many people live in the house across the street, nor will he know whose room is whose; you will. The official response is important, but we can’t rely on it (or ourselves) for everything.
Any honest look at American history will show that negative liberty, “freedom from,” has consistently triumphed in its battle against positive conceptions of human flourishing and the common good. It will also show that there is nothing in our quasi-Masonic public religion, from Washington and Lincoln to Ronald Reagan, which could have prevented this development. Catholics can work with the American system, but they first must realize what it is. When the Church converted the Roman Empire, it knew that it was dealing with a pagan institution. American Catholics since John Courtney Murray have approached the U.S. Constitution, and the American ideal of liberty, as somehow crypto-Catholic and in need only of our full-throated assent. If Catholics are to be truly Catholic in America, and not just a branch office of the Church of Liberty, we need to first stand apart from a political tradition born in a revolt against the Catholic Church."Traditionalist" may be too narrow a term, in this case. Maybe there are some Catholic intellectuals on the "left" who would agree with Dr. Shannon, rejecting liberalism in favor of their own version of "Catholic" statism. (But Dr. Shannon himself is not a man of the left, as far as I know.)
How has Christianity historically tempered nationalism?
The idea that America has some distinctive role to play in the unfolding of God's plan is compatible with orthodox Christianity. But it should be tempered by recognizing that America is not the church. It's fine to see ourselves as an "almost-chosen people," as Abraham Lincoln put it, but if we decide we're literally chosen, then we've taken a detour away from a healthy patriotism towards an unhealthy nationalism.
Lincoln was not an orthodox Christian, but we can look at his second inaugural address as a model for how Christians should think about these issues. He was open to the idea that history unfolds in a providential way, that the American Civil War could have theological as well as political significance.
But he tempered that by emphasizing that providence and God's purposes are mysterious. He emphasized that God simultaneously passed judgment on North and South alike, that the war is a chastisement rather than a pure apotheosis of the American idea. If you're too confident in assuming that America's and God's purposes are one, you tiptoe toward idolatry.
Over the last five decades, the achievements of this assembly have been diverse as evidenced through the series of important and influential constitutions, declarations, and decrees. We have contemplated the renewal of the spirit and “return to the sources” through liturgical study, biblical research, and patristic scholarship. We have appreciated the struggle toward gradual liberation from the limitation of rigid scholasticism to the openness of ecumenical encounter, which has led to the mutual rescinding of the excommunications of the year 1054, the exchange of greetings, returning of relics, entering into important dialogues, and visiting each other in our respective Sees.
Our journey has not always been easy or without pain and challenge, for as we know “narrow is the gate and difficult is the way” (Matthew 7.14). The essential theology and principal themes of the Second Vatican Council – the mystery of the Church, the sacredness of the liturgy, and the authority of the bishop – are difficult to apply in earnest practice, and constitute a life-long and church-wide labor to assimilate. The door, then, must remain open for deeper reception, pastoral engagement, and ecclesial interpretation of the Second Vatican Council.
Holy Transfiguration Monastery invites you to participate in a six week lecture series on the DEVELOPMENT OF THE CHRISTIAN LITURGY (communal worship) as experienced in the Church of both East and West. The renowned liturgist and patristics expert, Fr. David Anderson, will lead the course of studies. Lectures will be offered at the Sheptytsky Hall of Holy Transfiguration Monastery, 17001 Tomki Road, Redwood Valley, Ca 95470, on:
TUESDAY NIGHTS OF
NOVEMBER 13, 20, 27, and DECEMBER 4, 11, 18
at 7 P.M.
ALL ARE WELCOME FREE OF CHARGE
From the beginnings of the woman’s movement in the mid-nineteenth century, feminists focused on the injustice of women’s subordination to men within the family, and they gradually secured a number of reforms, beginning with a married woman’s right to own property in her own name. Second wave feminists even more sharply condemned the family as the cradle of women’s oppression, and they successfully campaigned for no-fault divorce, recognition of marital rape, and other forms or assistance for the wives of abusive husbands. Many of these changes represented significant progress for women, many of whom had previously lived in dependence and without any resources they could call their own. As recently as the 1960s it was often extremely difficult for a married woman to get credit in her own name.If a married woman does not have income because she is a full-time homemaker, is it right for her to be able to get credit "in her own name," if it is her husband who will be held responsible for it? Unless it was the case that she would be solely responsible for her debts, but what evidence is there that the laws were written in this way?
Few today would, I think, dispute the positive value of these and related changes, but some are also beginning to worry that they have come at an exorbitantly high price.
Maybe you don’t have an American identity but I do. I’m descended from colonists that fought the Revolutionary War on both sides of my family. This may be trivial to you, but not to many of the oldest American families. That said, it’s not the same thing now to say you’re American that it was just a few short years ago. The condition of the country is disgraceful. The country lies face down in the gutter. It’s very painful to watch.
It’s also very painful to have to make a choice between being Catholic and being American. It’s not like we will run off to some other country though. Patriots stand their ground and do the right thing. A person can be both Catholic and American and that must always be the case. Otherwise America no longer exists, and this is just real estate.