Before umpteen people play the "What Would Jesus Do" card on me, I have to mention that even Jesus called people out. No, it wasn't a "nah-nah-nah-boo-boo" sort of calling out, like you hear on such shows as Maury or Jerry Springer, but he pointed out wrongdoings when he saw them. My favorite example I like to use is the moneychangers in the Temple (in which Jesus was quite livid, and for all the right reasons). He was not about to stand for such corrupt activity in his Father's house. Period.
OK, I'm not Jesus, and I don't play him on TV, but the truth sure does hurt, doesn't it? I'm talking about when certain publishers and composers get called out for bad music being used during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and certain hotshots from certain organizations whose names I will not mention at this time, do or say what they can in an attempt to censor those crying foul, reminiscent of when my local Ordinary (Bp. Tobin, who I am proud to say is my Bishop) makes a statement calling out a blatant pro-abortion politician and some left wingnut group threatens to sick the IRS on him for it.
This afternoon, a local friend of mine, a young budding organist (whose identity I will protect), pointed me to a new podcast started by a couple of local hotshots of the local chapter of a national organization. I will not mention names (they vowed not to mention names, so let us give equal respect here), though some may get a good idea of the organization of which I speak. I say "new podcast" because it's on its twelfth episode (I haven't podcasted in nearly two years, and I have about 190-ish audio-only and about 13 or so video).
First, this four-person panel was going on about how people who like the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (which I have five happy years of experience with) criticize the Ordinary Form of the Mass, and the differences in the music. One of the biggest problems with the Ordinary Form is NOT the Ordinary Form itself, but the way it was destroyed by certain "reformer wannabes". Liturgy was not destroyed by the Second Vatican Council, but by these "reformer wannabes" in what many today call the "Spirit of Vatican II". Ah yes, the "spirit of the law" verses "the letter of the law" - last Sunday's Gospel reading (Sunday VI, Year A). You have those who try to obey the law, and you have those who blatantly break the law "in the spirit of the law", to advance their own agenda.
Well, I listened to the first three minutes or so, when my friend had told me the best comes at "about the 35-minute mark". So, I scrolled my YouTube cursor to the 35-minute mark. Lo, and behold, the four of them (all of who I knew by name, and two of who I met personally at least once) started blasting this article by Jeff Ostrowski of Corpus Christi Watershed, which called out a poorly-written Gloria by a composer who is infamous for bad music, and called out the music's secular ties (in this case, the commercial jingle for My Little Pony - and yes, I do remember My Little Pony - I am a proud father of two sons AND two daughters).
Of course, such banality is going to be called out. When music sounds like some kind of pop jingle (rock, folk, love ballads, whatever), these things are fine on TV. Are they fine in a Catholic Mass? Absolutely not. Not in the Extraordinary Form, not in the Ordinary Form. The Constitution on Sacred Liturgy never allowed for such dreck. I, for one, love rock and roll of the 60's and 70's. Do I want to hear it on the radio? Absolutely! Do I want to sing this stuff at Holy Mass? Absolutely not! Pope Benedict XVI cried foul on such music at Mass on numerous occasions before and during his papacy, most notably in his book, The Spirit of the Liturgy, as did Pope John Paul II. I haven't heard from Pope Francis on the matter yet. He seems a bit soft-spoken, but I'm sure he has his reasons.
I need not mention the names of the composers in question whose music gets played at Mass at (unfortunately) many parishes these days. I'm mainly preaching to the choir anyways. Many of you who read this blog know of who I speak. Some of these composers will write a fairly decent (read: Mass-worthy) piece. However, their publishers print their lesser-quality (read: CD-worthy, but not Mass-worthy) pieces instead. Mass-worthy music doesn't sound like pop, rock, love songs, and the like. It has a unique flavor. Mass-worthy music should not draw attention to ourselves (read: praising ourselves, bragging about how we're gathered as one, how we're all here to "have a meal"). In Mass-worthy music, one should generally not be singing the voice of God or Christ in the first person, either.
The panel of locals in the podcast claim that we "traddies" are the cause of the division of the Church. Nothing can be further from the truth. We're just simply trying to help steer it back in the right direction. The ever-growing division and chaos is caused by those who want to destroy what the Church teaches, not just liturgy and music-wise, but in worldly issues as well.
The best-written comment in Jeff Ostrowski's post (and by far the most diplomatic, far better than any of my nine years of blogging and posts elsewhere) comes from renowned organist Diane Meredith Belcher (excerpt below):
Chopsticks, Kumbaya, certain seasonal Christmas songs, St. Patrick's
Day odes, and "Blest be The Lord" (mercy, now it's spinning around in my
head) are all perfectly fine, but folk music is, well, for folks. It's
what you sing when folks are gathered together: for fun, for fellowship,
for (sacred) frivolity. And there should be more of it! Church music -- and most especially music for the mass -- should be for God. That's why it should sound different.
In her post-scriptum, she also rightfully points out, "I also find the text alteration of Schutte's Gloria most disturbing. Are we musicians not subject to the directives from Rome?" The answer to that question is a resounding "we are"!
Again, Jesus loved the sinner, but he called out the sin. Another thought: ignoring something bad doesn't necessarily make it go away, but implies the OK to let that "something bad" grow until it's almost (and sometimes completely) impossible, to get rid of. These things have to be said. The truth hurts those who don't want to hear it. "The truth will set you free!" This is probably as diplomatic as I can get.
I figured, "Let's close 2013 with a bang and do something I haven't done in a long time" - that is, come up with a Top Ten List. And reading little tidbits from OCP's infamous planning tool (and what a "tool" it is), Today's Liturgy.
For example, there is an article in the issue pictured (which includes planning pages from March 5 through June 14, 2014) by the new director of the editorial board, Rick Modlin. This editorial board that he now leads (replacing the retiring Randy DeBruyn) is responsible for deciding what hymns, songs, and muzak will be included in your next missalette or music issue. Considering that the bulk of Mr. Modlin's own compositions are material for OCP's teenybopper hymnal, Spirit and Song, I don't see much improvement. But anyhoo, let's get back to this article...
Learning a New Song: Part 2, by the aforementioned Modlin, is on page 16 of the current Today's Liturgy. It gives tips for guitarists, singers, cantors, soloists, choristers (I'm very surprised they even used the term "choristers" - that's a first in the 30+ years I've known of OCP's books), and ensembles. NOT ONE IOTA OF ADVICE FOR ORGANISTS!!! Yeah, you know, organists, those men and women who play the instrument that the Catholic Church bids us to hold "in high esteem" (per order the Constitution on Sacred Liturgy and Musicam Sacram)! Par for the course, you see, as you hardly ever see an organ or a traditionally-based choir promoted in these periodicals, but plenty of pianos and guitars. And their accompaniment book is not an "organ accompaniment" book, but a "keyboard accompaniment" book (just in case the church doesn't have an organ, but a piano or one of those digital synthesizers, or even an accordion). Betcha ten-to-one their staff would be foaming at the mouth at me if I was to suggest they call their "guitar accompaniment" book a "stringboard accompaniment". After all, what if it wasn't a guitar? What if it was a ukelele or a sitar?
ANYHOO, this end-of-2013 edition of the iSNARK!/Christus Vincit Top Ten List is Top Ten Appropriate Subtitles for the Today's Liturgy Magazine.
10. Liturgy instructions according to OCP, as opposed to liturgy instructions according to the Church.
9. Save hundreds of dollars a year on kitty litter by lining your cat's box with our pages.
8. Please don't squeeze the Charmin!
7. Kumbaya for the campfire!
6. How to properly use our "greatest hits".
5. A quarterly guide to self-praise
4. Let me call my friend over. RAAAAAAAAAAAAALPH!
3. N(a)P(al)M approved!
2. You too can become a liturgist in three easy steps!
And, the number one appropriate subtitle for Today's Liturgy:
1. The Sunday Comics!
Happy New Year from your friendly neighborhood iSNARK!
OK, so I haven't blogged here in about six months (see what the Advent of Facebook can do to someone? LOL). No, this blog hasn't died, as you're about to see below. Couple that with moving to a better city, as well as improving on my composing projects, and BAM!
Today's post is one that I couldn't resist, and was inspired by a conversation I had with a certain family after my last Mass last weekend. The matriarch of this family had mentioned that since the Roman Missal, Third Typical Edition (and translation thereof), that one would expect music at Mass would improve. Instead, the contrary, in terms of most parishes and the major publishers of Catholic worship aids.
Since the latest translation of the Roman Missal, the publishers did get a couple of things right: terminology, for one ("Entrance Chant", "Penitential Act", etc.), plus the ICEL chants getting a prominent place amongst the Mass Ordinary settings (along with the "Order of Mass" in most worship aids), so that they appear to be the default setting (instead of, let's say, "Mass of Creation").
Just in time for the latest translation to take place, GIA Publications released their new additions to their "family of hymnals". "Worship - Fourth Edition", "Gather - Third Edition", "Lead Me, Guide Me - Second Edition", and a new bi-lingual English/Spanish hymnal. Now, I don't have a copy of the new "Gather" yet, and don't want one. I'm really afraid to see it for two reasons: 1) the previous editions of "Gather" (comprehensive and otherwise) have been mostly hideous (it's GIA's competition to OCP's "Glory and Praise", on the most part, and 2) my disappointment in the new "Worship".
Previous posts to this blog have pinpointed the many shortcomings I found in "Worship IV". "Worship" used to be a primarily traditional hymnal. Yes, a few mistakes here and there ("I am the Bread of Life" and "Gather Us In" for example), the bulk of the previous "Worship" hymnals' repertoire have consisted of good solid hymns, with "Worship II" (1975) being the best, in my opinion. While many of us were hoping that "Worship IV" (2011) would revert back to much of "Worship III" (1986/1998), we found ourselves discovering that the exact opposite happened. "Worship IV" starting picking up much of the garbage that one would find in a "Gather" volume instead. While still retaining a good amount of decent hymnody, what I have found (you can search this blog by using the search engine at the top of this page, just use "Worship IV" and/or "Follow-Up" as your search parameters, be sure to use quotation marks) was the addition of "Gather"-type melodies, or good solid tunes killed by really bad texts (theologically and/or poetically), or both. Again, do the search, and you'll see what I mean. As for my fear of the new "Gather" because of this, it's like my mother used to often say, "With friends like that, who needs enemies?"
Now, let's look at OCP. I won't even get into "Glory and Praise". The latest edition I had of that hideous "hymnal" is the maroon edition from the mid 1980's, right around the time the St. Louis Jesuits released their "Steadfast Love" double LP (yes, records were still around back then). I won't get into "Journeysongs" (their second edition, mid 2000's, which I do have), which is probably the best of the bunch (it helps that GIA doesn't allow for their copyrighted material to appear on other publishers' hardbound hymnals, thus the Marty Haugen and David Haas tunes being MIA, a win for someone looking for some liturgical salvation here). By the way, that's almost a pun - in Journeysongs, the muzak of GIA is MIA! I will, however, look into the most popular of OCP's books, the "Music Issue", which I've often referred to as the "Muzak Issue" or the "Music Issue with Issues". The "Music Issue", along with "Today's Missal", their missalette subscription, or the two in one bigger book, "Breaking Bread", has always had this knack of having a repertoire as balanced as, let's say, one of the "Gather Comprehensives", about 70/30 in favor of love ballads, hootenanny music, and sacro-pop. Around 2005-2006, I was beginning to see some signs of improvement. Hymns like "O God, Almighty Father", "God of Our Fathers", and "O Jesus, Joy of Loving Hearts" were surfacing for the first time, as well as solid hymn texts by Benedictines Harry Hagen and Genevieve Glen, wedded mainly to good solid hymn tunes. But over the years, the repertoire of "Spirit and Song" (a book geared for the "Awesome God"/"Jesus Our Buddy" crowd) has been finding its way into the Music Issue. The 70/30 contemporary mix seems to have gone to about 80/20. One would think that with a more conservative Archbishop being installed in Portland, Oregon (OCP's home office), not all that long ago, that things would improve. Instead, Randy DeBruyn is retiring as the head honcho of the editorial staff and is being replaced by Rick Modlin, one of "Sprit and Song"'s regular composers (source: "Today's Liturgy", XII-1-13 to III-4-14 edition). This could be a very scary transition for those souls still frequenting mainstream parishes.
There are solutions to this problem.
- Of course, there is my own music (which isn't always perfect, either, I'll admit). But that is only a miniscule part of the solution.
- Jeff Ostrowski has done tons of work towards the improvement of liturgical music today, including the introduction of two new hymnals, one of them primarily for the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, the other for the Ordinary Form, though the Extraordinary Form shows up in the Ordinary as well. Visit Jeff and his many excellent guest composers at Corpus Christi Watershed.
- Most important solution is to PRAY and PERSEVERE! Prayer is always a powerful thing!
Right now, it looks as if things are getting worse (read: mainstream publishers), but people are catching on, little by little (or in Italian, the musical term "poco a poco"), to the solutions to the problem.
Growing up, this would show up every now and then on the regular schedule - the "twi-night" doubleheader. First game would start about 4 or 5 PM, second game shortly after, usually about 7 or 8 PM. It was like going to the cinema and watching a double feature, except you would go to the ballpark and watch a doubleheader. Now you never see a doubleheader in the regular schedule, and if a game has to be made up, it's part of a "day-night" doubleheader (exactly that - one game at 1 PM, another at 7 PM), and it's two separate admissions. Plus, what the hell are you going to do for three hours between games?
2. The singing of the National Anthem
I'm sure that still happens before every professional game. However, unless it's some diva pulling a Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey out of his/her butt, it doesn't get aired on TV or radio. It just goes right to a commercial. Often times there wasn't even a singer, except for a special occasion. It was just the ballpark organist playing it, and the crowd in the stands would stand and sing it. Truthfully, I'd rather listen to the crowd in the stands sing the anthem. Even the tone-deaf section can sing it better than that diva that will change the time signature, add melisma after melisma, and even change to a lower key when she realizes that the next line is high (I've heard THAT, too!). As an added bonus (for our Canadian readers), if the Blue Jays or the then-Expos were on, you'd hear both anthems - Canadian and American.
3. Letting the pitcher finish
It's great that most teams can rely on a decent closer. But one pet peeve of mine is that managers just don't let their pitchers finish their games anymore. I'm not talking about the bum that can't get out of the third without falling behind 10-0. I'm talking about the guy that's gone through seven strong innings, is holding a 4-0 lead, but gets yanked from the game because he's already thrown a wholesome grand total of 100 pitches. His seventh inning was stronger than his first four. Are you kidding me? Let him finish! Complete games are a premium these days. When I was a young lad, there was at least one complete game pitched a day in the major league. Now the manager wimps out after 100 pitches. WTF? It would be different if he was in a jam (back then, known as "running out of gas"), then you have to throw in your fireman (saves leaders in my day were known as "leading firemen") to get out of the inning. Otherwise, he's fine. Let him get his 130-pitch complete game for cripes sakes!
4. Almost-balanced schedules
Growing up, a ball club would play maybe 15 games against teams in their own divisions, and maybe 10-12 games against teams in the other division. Now it's 18-19 games against their own division, and 6-8 games against the other divisions. I can see your own division getting more exposure, but playing a whole month against the same damn teams can be overkill. Makes me happy that there's now interleague play, and a little more of it this year. I like the idea of the Red Sox playing the Cubs, the Rockies, and the Phillies every now and then. I most certainly like to watch the Yankees play the Cubs and the White Sox play the Mets. Why? Because they're oddball games you don't see often enough. And I have no problem watching the Cubs play any American League team because, until interleague play began, the Cubs did not play against an American League team since 1945 --- the last time they played in a World Series!
In the words of Archie and Edith, Those were the days!!!
Well, there may be no hope in the White House, but things are really looking hopeful for the 2013 Boston Red Sox. I look at the Red Sox transitions between 2011 and 2013 like I do a parish changing hymnals. It goes like this:
1) Under Terry Francona, the Red Sox had eight seasons, all winning seasons (that is, more wins than losses). His Red Sox teams won two World Series crowns (2004 and 2007, both times on 4-0 sweeps). That's two more than all the Red Sox teams from 1919 to 2003. They made the playoffs three additional times as well under Francona. Even in 2011, where the Sox pretty much gave up in September (7-20 record for the month), they still finished with a .556 win percentage. Even Alfredo Aceves went 10-2 for 2011.
PARISH LIKENESS: Your parish has been using Worship II (yes, the 1975 edition) for the past eight years. You're singing the Gelineau Psalms along with the readings, and you're singing good solid non-altered hymn texts such as "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty", "In Heavenly Love Abiding", and "Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken". You manage to ignore the few goofy titles ("Said Judas to Mary", "No Use Knocking", and "I Danced in the Morning"). You're even singing some of the music of the late greats Alexander Peloquin and Richard Proulx. All is going (overall) very well.
2) After 2011, Terry Francona is canned, and Bobby Valentine is the manager for the Red Sox. Team posts the worst record since 1966. Alfredo Aceves, who went 10-2 in 2011, went 2-10 in 2012 and blew more saves than you could shake a stick at. While they might have had one small hump where they hit .500, they landed up finishing 69-93 (a .426 win percentage, good for last place). During the season, the Sox lost big names Josh Beckett, Kevin Youkilis (now a Yankee - TRAITOR!), and Adrian Gonzalez via trades for low-budget names.
PARISH LIKENESS: Your parish has a new pastor who quickly tosses the Worship II hymnals into the dumpster, in favor of the latest version of Gather. A few radical leftists start a band and replace the traditional choir that sang your principal Mass. Your weekly Extraordinary Form Mass has also been scrapped, and your schola moved to some remote parish 25 miles away. Congregational singing has been replaced by entertainment. While more radical leftists move into the parish, the same number of reverent worshippers left - some for that remote parish 25 miles away, some to follow the pastor you worked for last year, and some to the parish down the street (just for spite).
3) Here we are in 2013. Bobby Valentine is canned and replaced with the guy the Sox REALLY wanted to work with last year, but couldn't... John Farrell. In 2011, Farrell took over as manager of the Toronto Blue Jays. However, this year, the Red Sox made a deal with the Blue Jays to bring Farrell to the Sox. So far, a much better start than the last two seasons (7-4 as of today, April 14, 2013). John Lester and Clay Buchholz have been stellar so far, pitching like the aces they are capable of being. Alfredo Aceves, while still sucking as a reliever, may have found his mark as a starter. While he can't enter a ballgame in the ninth inning without blowing a save, he's been able to make some good starts. He's had one start in the regular season, where he pitched five good innings, and some respectable starts in spring training. Will Middlebrooks is back (YAY!) We have a bunch of new and old faces back this season. We started out by taking two out of three in New York against the Skankees. None of our losses have been blowouts... yet. I really think there is hope. Will we make the playoffs? Too early to tell. Will we finish in the upper .500's? I think so!
PARISH LIKENESS: Turns out that pastor that scrapped Worship for Gather has now been removed due to certain "credible allegations" (go to bishopaccountability.org if you haven't figured out the definition of "credible allegations"). You get a new pastor once again who, like the pastor you worked with for eight years, gets it! He gets rid of Gather, fires the rock band, and has you start a new schola for that principal Mass again. To quote the great Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S., the few frustrated leftists "ask when they're going to get their parish back", while the many that stuck it out in hope have "thanked the new pastor for giving them their parish back". The new boss rejects Worship IV, the latest edition of Worship, published in 2011. "Too many goofy texts," he says. He's so right! Instead, he gets the Fourth Edition Saint Michael Hymnal. Singing and prayer in your parish has been restored once again, and that Extraordinary Form Mass you lost last year is back, and its attendance is slowly flourishing to its original glory.
That "Freedom from Religion Foundation"! Yeah, those clowns! Now they're suing the Cranston, RI flower shop that denied the sale of flowers to - guess who - Mizz Jessica "I don't like your half-century-old prayer banner, so it has to come down" Ahlquist. Why did said flower shop deny Miz Ahlquist? Simple! Because she (with the help of her daddy, and the ACLU, and the FFRF) successfully sued Cranston West High School to have a beautiful prayer banner removed, that was written by a CWHS student (or is it CHSW, Cranston High School West? but nonetheless...) over fifty years ago.
Hint: Private businesses have the right to deny service to whoever they please.
The Freedom from Religion Foundation doesn't have a case. Nor a prayer. Literally!
It's amazing how when you're driving through the city of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, after a snowstorm, you can ALWAYS tell where the city limits are because Pawtucket has the worst snow removal system in the state of Rhode Island (Central Falls comes a close second. Drove through it yesterday.)
Yesterday, I went to my church in West Warwick, Rhode Island, to play the 9:00 and 11:15 Masses, and once again this morning for a funeral Mass. While there is not much difference between the population density on the busier streets of West Warwick (namely Providence Street, which is RI state Route 33) and the Broadway neighborhood in Pawtucket (Broadway is part of US Route 1, which runs from Madawaska, ME at the Canadian Border to Key West, FL). Yet the streets I trekked in West Warwick are perfectly clear and unflooded (as was New London Avenue and Pontiac Avenue, both in Cranston). Broadway in Pawtucket, along with other main roads in the area - Cottage Street and Central Avenue - was filled with frozen snow chunks from half-assed plowing, snow banks that went halfway out into the road (namely where you enter Broadway from the exit ramp from Interstate 95), and deep puddles. Our minivan dang near bottomed out several times trekking the streets of Pawtucket.
And if that isn't enough, Pawtucket Avenue in Pawtucket (also part of US Route 1) was also full of chunks and layers. But once you cross into Providence (where it is now North Main Street, also part of US-1), the road is perfectly clear. Providence, a city whose population is more than double that of Pawtucket, had better roads this afternoon than Pawtucket did. My wife, who was with me to witness this, has a nasty disk bulge in her back, and believe me, she was feeling every bump.
Granted we had about 25 inches of snow this weekend, but it's a shame when you can find the city limits just by the condition of its roads. You know you're in better-kept roads when you leave Pawtucket to cross into Providence, East Providence or Lincoln, RI, or Attleboro or Seekonk, MA.
So, I hereby give the February 2013 WTF Award to the city of Pawtucket for, once again, poor planning and poor plowing. They even fail in snow removal when there are only two inches on the ground, let alone two feet, while other cities and towns seem to get it!
...who has referred to the sitting President of the United States by his full name "Barack Saddam Hussein Obama Bin Laden". I Yahooed (not "Googled", I used the Yahoo search instead) that six-fold name in quotes and there are 64 hits - some of which date back to 2008, at least a year before I started using it and pissed off an arrogant leftist (without even knowing that someone beat me to the punch). Here are the results.
Unfortunately, we still have another 47 months of BSHOBL. In the meantime, I will continue to exercise my First Amendment rights. ;)
No, my blog hasn't died. Facebook did it to me, I swear! ;)
Anyhoo, I read some shocking news this morning, as did the rest of the world, I'm sure.
As of the end of this month, our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI will retire, the first to do so in over seven centuries. The year 1294, to be exact, was the last year that a pope resigned on his own.
His departure is due to reasons of health. After all, he is 85, and he did outlive his immediate predecessor Blessed Pope John Paul II by a year or so (thus far).
There is no doubt that I, your friendly neigborhood iSNARK!, will miss this great Pontiff. After all, he wrote The Spirit of the Liturgy and other books and documents that teach of the proper implementations of Holy Mass, including its music. He wrote the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, which makes the Traditional Latin Mass according to the Roman Missal of 1962 (which he dubbed "The Extraordinary Form of the Mass") more accessible. While certain people in one music message board via Yahoo! Groups I once frequented were "heartsick" over the election of Jozef Cardinal Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI, I rejoiced, shouting out "YES!" like the Red Sox had just smoked the Yankees. During the conclave that followed the death of Blessed Pope John Paul II, I was rooting for (in my heart) and praying for the election of either Jozef Cardinal Ratzinger or Francis Cardinal Arinze, two prominent liturgists of the day who really "got it" when it came to liturgy and the Catholic faith.
Now Pope Benedict's departure will have me temporarily "heartsick". However, I can understand why he is stepping down. As my local bishop, Bishop Thomas Tobin, rightly put it, “Our Holy Father’s resignation is, I believe, an act of great humility
for he understands that the needs of the Church are greater than his
own; that ultimately the well-being of the Church is God’s hands, not
the Pope’s.” A sign that the Holy Father really cares for his Church enough where he feels a better Shepherd can care for it at this time.
Now, as I rooted on Cardinals Ratzinger and Arinze and prayed hard for the election of either/or, I will do the same in this conclave. I've had these dreams (night and day) on and off that it is possible that our beloved Church could have its first American-born Shepherd. I've been rooting on Raymond Cardinal Burke, who did wonderful work in the Diocese of LaCrosse and in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. He is a prelate who really has (and uses well) the backbone needed to uphold Catholic teachings. I think he would do very well as a pope. It is not to me to decide. That is to the College of Cardinals. However, I can still root him on and pray, as I did in the last conclave.
In the meantime, I wish Pope Benedict XVI the very best. I enjoyed his papacy of almost eight years.
I pose yet another question for Jessica Ahlquist, the teen atheist who, unfortunately, yet successfully (with the help of the so-called Freedom from Religion Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Deprivation Union) had a half-century-old prayer banner removed from Cranston High School West:
Since you do not believe in God, do you believe in Christmas? I don't mean the secular sense, like Santa Claus, Rudolph, Frosty, and pals. I mean the true meaning, you know, the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, that Godhead you denounce by being an atheist?
Do you still get presents under the tree? The Christmas tree, that is? Or do you have one of those "holiday trees" like Governor Gump (Lincoln Chafee) has in the State House? Is there a holiday for atheists in December? After all, we celebrate Christmas (read: the birth of Jesus Christ). Our Jewish friends (yes, I did say "Jewish friends", I have absolutely nothing against Jews, I am not an anti-semite) celebrate Hanukkah. Even the Muslims (once known as Moslems, at least back in my youth) have Ramadan.
If you're opening packages from under a tree, you are (de facto) celebrating Christmas, aren't you? You are, whether you know it or not, celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. He can be your Savior, too, you know. He's a very forgiving man (provided, of course, that you reform yourself in a manner prescribed by Christ himself, perhaps denounce your atheist ways). This is not an ultimatum. Your friendly neighborhood iSNARK! is just trying to get you to see some light, something that is lacking for those who have no belief.
If you're opening packages from under a tree while still practicing atheism, you have some generous family and or friends. Or perhaps Christmas to you is just that "holiday" that the retailers keep talking about on TV, encouraging the viewer to do buy their "holiday gifts" at their store (or one of their umpteen hundred stores).
Something to think about. I will take the liberty anyways to wish you a Merry Christmas (true meaning, that is). If you convert to Judaism (and I do have Jews as personal friends), then Happy Hanukkah. However, if you insist on being the non-believer that you are, then TRY to have a nice day. That may be hard to do without a Savior in your life. We Christians don't always have nice days, but at least our Savior is there to back us up and bring us back in the right direction. Direction is something we all need at some point in time, lest we be a spoiled, obnoxious, arrogant being.
Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum (The peace of the Lord be with you always)
I've heard of mass murders and terrorist attacks. But nothing saddens me more than when one sick, twisted, poor excuse for a man manages his way into an elementary school and opens fire on teachers, principals, other staff, and, worst of all, children. Innocent young first graders who shouldn't have a care in the world, gunned down by some sick terrorist bastard. Pardon my French, but that is truly how I feel about this man.
Of course, this all happened not before killing his own mother (a substitute teacher at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut) and taking off with three guns that his mother owned, and apparently his brother's ID, since early reports ID'd the killer as Ryan Lanza, the 24-year-old brother of 20-year-old terrorist Adam Lanza. And to make matters worse, being too chicken-shit to face what he did, he did what any other cowardly murderer would do - kill himself as well.
Think about this now: your typical suicide terrorist would do what? Hook a bomb on himself, stand in a crowd, take umpteen lives as well as his own. What did Adam Lanza do? Opened fire, killed 20 kids, eight adults, and his own sorry tail. Adam Lanza, to me, folks, is a terrorist, maybe not in the Al Qaeda or Taliban variety, but a terrorist just the same.
As a father of four children, I thank Almighty God that mine are still in one piece. But with crap like this going on, this really has me thinking, and often worrying, as my youngest child still has 2-1/2 years of high school to go.
It's a plain shame that this could happen in an elementary school, the place that's supposed to be a safe haven for this kids, to learn new things and have some fun!
The following Sunday, some moron thought it would be cute to start a bomb threat during Mass at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, also in Newtown, citing that this person's "friend (Adam Lanza) didn't finish the job". Any chance these two might had been in cahoots? After all, these two scumbags could be the new Planned Parenthood, attacking children AND attacking religion (Catholicism in particular).
My prayers go out to the good people of Newtown, the victims of all this senselessness and their families. No family, and I mean NO family, should ever go through such a horrendous tragedy like this. I know many of them will find it hard to celebrate Christmas. I realize many people not even connected these families may feel guilty about celebrating Christmas due to last Friday's events. If you believe in the true meaning of Christmas, then there should be no problem in celebrating the holy day. Jesus wants it, of course. It's the day of his birth. And these children would want it.
This past Sunday was "Gaudete" Sunday ("Gaudete" is Latin for "Rejoice"). I didn't know whether to think "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" or the "Coventry Carol" (the hymn best used on the feast of the Holy Innocents). But one verse in the former stands out:
O come, thou Rod of Jesse, free thine own from Satan's tyrrany;
From dephts of hell thy people save, and give them vict'ry o'er the grave. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
As awkward as this may be, I have to present a WTF award in this case. Not to Adam Lanza (I don't give posthumous WTF awards), but to the NBC reporter who approached children outside the day of the tragedy and asking them what they saw. These kids don't need to be exploited like this. They've been through a hell of a lot! Give them a frickin' break!
That, too, is a plain shame, and just cause for the December 2012 WTF award. Take it and go --- far away. All the more reason I don't watch much TV, especially mainstream news.
About this time each year, I post my usual rant about - you guessed it - all those little ditties that the music industry of today passes off as Christmas music. Very little of it good. Lots of it garbage. My other pet peeve that many have read about from CV - the BLOG! is those radio stations who play Christmas music and muzak (mostly muzak) 24/7 starting six weeks before Christmas. Think about it. During the 12:00 hour you get "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" in the mix. At 1:00 you get someone else's "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and an "O Holy Night". About ten past two, someone else's "O Holy Night", then at three, a third rendition of "Rudolph". Do you get what I speak?
Anyhoo, Instead of posting a Scheiße-Liste or a Top 10 Worst List, let's just explore certain pieces. There are some versions of some songs I don't mind - in many cases, the only version of said songs I'll tolerate. Yes, most of these are secular, because you hardly hear any sacred versions on pop radio, and the ones that are sacred are usually thrashed by the "artists" singing them.
Let's see.....This portion is mostly positive!
Blue Christmas - Elvis only! White Christmas - The Drifters only! Jingle Bell Rock - Bobby Helms or Hall and Oates, both fine Sleigh Ride - orchestral arrangement only (the way Leroy Anderson intended, made popular by the Boston Pops). I know the lyrics, but for some reason I could only find ONE sung version with the original Anderson arrangement. All the other sung versions I've heard are way too tacky for my liking. The Twelve Days of Christmas - almost anything. The Chipmunks and Muppets have the coolest versions on the air, as does Straight No Chaser (Bear-i-tone just reminded me of them! I had totally forgotten!). On record, this version I mentioned last year from the Firestone records of the 1960's, and one by Tennessee Ernie Ford (he has a really cool basso profundo!). I also have high appreciation for the "Redneck Twelve Days" and Bob Rivers' "The Twelve Pains of Christmas". The one I avoid at all costs: the rendition by Ray Conniff. Feliz Navidad - Jose Feliciano only! (Celine Dion KILLS it!) Do You Hear What I Hear - I'm not a big Jim Nabors fan (in terms of his singing - I liked him as Gomer Pyle, though), but his big bass rendition fits it nicely, I have to admit. The version I avoid like the plague: the one by Whitney Houston. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer - any of the versions from those old cartoons we watched as kids are always cool. Autry and Ives have this tune mastered. As for versions recorded in the last decade or so, the honor has to go to Ringo Starr. The two I avoid are: 1) the jerk who sings "Rudy the red-nosed reindeer" every other line (his name eludes me at the moment, and hopefully will for ever) and 2) the version Billy Gilman sang before puberty. Even before the voice change, he sounded more like a girl than a boy! Silver Bells - Larry the Cable Guy's parody only (I won't post it here)! Santa Claus is Comin' to Town - The Beach Boys arrangement is killer! The Ames Brothers has a cool jazz version. Also, Larry the Cable Guy's parody (You'd better watch out. I think she's a guy. I ain't quite sure, but somethin' ain't right... Hillary Clinton's comin' to town!) The ones I avoid: "SAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANTA Claus is comin' to town! SAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANTA Claus is comin' to town!" This one is mainly done by Motown artists, and by Bruce Springsteen. All I Want for Christmas Is You - Mariah Carey solo only! Not the "duet" with Justine Bieber. Heard that once last year. It's not a new version either. Just some of Mariah's vocal tracks got replaced by Miz Bieber's vocal tracks. It's horrible! Bieber cannot sing. She is tone deaf! 'Twas the Night before Christmas - Only non-parody rendition I like is that written by Ken Darby, arranged for choir by Harry Simeone. It is really fun to listen to, even for the most serious of musicians. Watch this rendition below as performed by the combined choirs of the University of Utah.
As for the rest of the negatives: Click here for my Scheiße-Liste. I will add: O Holy Night (or ANYTHING by Josh Groban). His voice, in this snark's opinion, is depressing.
ANYTHING by Johnny Mathis!
ANYTHING by Josh Groban!
Oh, and an act I do NOT want to see anytime soon: Santa Baby by Honey Boo Boo! (My wife and I both loathe that song as it is!)
That said, I must also remind the common citizen that the Holyday that falls on XII-25 is called "Christmas" and not merely "Holiday". Governor Gump got his WTF award this time last year for the lighting of his "Holiday Tree". I have yet to put up a tree on the Fourth of July, but if I do, I will decorate it with live fireworks and ammo. Bring matches, friends! I still remember the time last year when a cashier at Christmas Tree Shops in North Attleborough, Massachusetts, told my wife and me to "Have a nice holiday." I asked her, "Which one?" The name of the store says CHRISTMAS! Doesn't this damn cashier have any common sense? Apparently not!
I'll be looking forward to the classical stations' and their truly joyful renditions of Christmas works by the Masters, when that time comes! In the meantime, Advent is drawing near. I can't wait till I can pull out the "Veni, Veni, Emmanuel".
...is brought to you by Jamie Foxx's "lord and savior", Barack Obama!
Except we won't be handing Obama the November 2012 WTF Award (although he really is deserving of one for many things). Instead... (drum roll please!)
Let me introduce to you, Jamie Foxx. At the Soul Train awards on the BET (Black Entertainment Television, for those who don't have cable or dish) channel, the actor/comedian Foxx (no relation to Redd Foxx, btw) declared pro-abortion, pro-communist, pro-culture of death President Barack Obama as "our Lord and Savior".
Now, let me clarify a few things:
1. We have no Lord, no Savior, no King, no Messiah, except for the one, the only, Jesus Christ!
2. Foxx is in violation of the very first of the Ten Commandments, given to us via Moses by Almighty God, the Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This first Commandment states thus:
-- "I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt not have strange gods before me.
Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things that are in the waters under the earth.
Thou shalt not adore them, nor serve them: I am the Lord thy God,
mighty, jealous, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children,
unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me..." (Exodus 20: 2-5, Douay-Rheims Bible)
3. If my memory of religion class in Catholic grade school serves me correctly, violation of said first Commandment is a MORTAL sin.
4. My God (the same God who handed down said Ten Commandments) has a bigger backbone than Foxx's god. (Note the difference in the capital "G" and the small "g".)
5. Consider this parody of an old Ken-L-Ration dog food commercial, now transformed into a lesson from me to Jamie Foxx:
-- "My God's better than your god. My God's better than yours.
My God's better 'cause he made all creation. My God's better than yours.
6. Our TRUE Lord and Savior Jesus Christ would never support abortion, nor any other sin for that matter!
Therefore, Mr. Foxx, appearing on the Soul Train awards and having already won an Oscar, it is my pleasure to present to you the Christus Vincit - the BLOG! WTF AWARD for November 2012. Have fun trying to find inner peace with your lord and savior. In the meantime, I've found my inner peace with my Lord and Savior.
I have a question for local teen celebrity atheist Jessica Ahlquist. You know, the Jessica Ahlquist who got the ACLU and that Freedom From Religion Foundation to come to Rhode Island and raise hell at Cranston West High School over a banner that hung at the school for a half a century that had a prayer for the school that was written by one of their alumni. Yeah. I read on a Facebook post from a local radio talk-show host that she was coming on a broom. I'm thinking, "well maybe she's one of those modern witches who flies the vacuum cleaner". But no - she can't be a witch. Witches actually worship something. Miz Ahlquist worships nothing.
Anyhoo, here's the question I have for Miz Ahlquist:
What do you have to be thankful for this Thanksgiving? Or better, Do you have anything at all to be thankful for this Thanksgiving? Did you ever thank God that you're an atheist? If you don't have God, then who can you be thankful to? The ACLU? The Freedom From Religion Foundation or whatever the hell it's called? They can't possibly be God. They're trying to stop people from doing His work, yes, but they can't be a supreme enough being to be thankful for. They're only doing the devil's work, and the devil's only gonna screw you in the end. So, what will it be, Jessica? Think hard, while you're still young.
Saint William Church in Warwick, Rhode Island, featuring the parish choir, Pro Cantare (directed by Reuel Gifford) and the Rhode Island College Chamber Singers (directed by Teresa Coffman), held on Saturday, December 1, 6:30 PM, at Saint William Church, 200 Pettaconsett Avenue (off Post Road, US-1), Warwick, RI. If you're in the area, come on down. You will not be disappointed.
Sunday XXXIII - XI-18-12 Sacred Heart Church, West Warwick, RI
Ordinary: Messa Populare "Laus Tibi Christe" (Federico Caudana)
Psalm 16: You are my inheritance, O Lord (Owen Alstott)
Alleluia from "Gelobt sei Gott" (verse of the day: Tone 8G)
H-484 Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates ("Truro")
H-5.2 Lo! he comes with clouds descending ("Helmsley")
H-3 Wake, awake, for night is flying ("Wachet Auf")
H-438.1 I need thee every hour ("Need")
H-11 The King shall come when morning dawns ("St. Stephen")
...but something really fishy has been going on the last couple of elections.
And the killer of it is, like most haunting creatures, they only come out at night!!!
I'm talking about mysterious, yet chronic, come-from-behind victories by candidates that aren't even fit to run an outhouse, let alone any kind of political office.
Let's rewind to 2010, the gubernatorial race in Rhode Island. There were SEVEN guys - count'em - SEVEN that ran for Rhode Island Governor. Republican incumbent Donald Carcieri had served his two-term limit, therefore, he could no longer run. While Lincoln Chafee was a Senator, he left the Republican party (he always considered himself this "moderate" being) and became an Independent. Some independent! Some moderate! He leans more left than even some of your wackiest Democrats, resulting in an endorsement by Barack Obama.
One of his opponents was Republican John Robitaille, who I voted for - he firmly believes in family, he is firmly pro-life, unlike Chafee, who is blatantly the opposite.
The Democratic candidate was Frank Caprio. I was not thrilled that he was pro-abortion (sorry, I don't use the word "pro-choice" when it comes to a child that could be brought to this earth and is aborted just because some whore can't keep her legs closed and/or she can't get her man of the day to put on a rubber). I did like the fact, however, that he was ballsy enough to tell Obama to take his endorsement and "really shove it as far as I'm concerned".
Four other candidates from "third parties" also ran.
The top three candidates ran rather closely for most of the night. Robitaille (my choice) held the lead for most of the night. In just minutes before it was all over, it was suddenly Chafee (pro-abortion, pro-family destruction, and pro-protection of murder suspects - namely one who killed people while robbing a bank in Woonsocket, referred to by many of us as "Governor Gump") who mysteriously won the election with only 36% of the vote. Robitaille got 34%, and Caprio 23%. Ken Block, a member of the "Moderate Party" got 6%, and the other three independents, less than 1% each. With every goofy move Chafee makes, he should be reminded that 64% of Rhode Island voters voted against him.
Unfortunately, the David Cicilline win for United States Congress, RI District 1, was by a landslide. Cicilline and Chafee share similar political views. Barney Frank, MA District 4, also won by a landslide - unfortunately! The bright side to the Barney Frank saga is that he kept his vow to step down after he completed the following term.
Let's go to the election that took place just this past Tuesday - yes, 6 November 2012!
For most of the evening, things were looking quite good for Brendan Doherty, a Republican who was running for the house seat occupied by Cicilline (referred to by many here as "Chick-a-chini"). For most of the evening he held the lead - until those last few minutes, when his lead started to mysteriously dwindle.
In the Massachusetts senate seat that was long occupied by Ted Kennedy, incumbent Scott Brown suffered a similar last minute come-from-behind fate by Democrat Elizabeth Warren, who, in her campaign commercials, FEARED that Roe vs. Wade could be overturned like if it was a bad thing. Seriously, folks, if Roe vs. Wade was to be overturned tomorrow, I'd be happier than a pig in shit!
And of course, the God-rejecting, Allah-loving, communist leaning, Muslim Brotherhood supporting, pro-abortion, pro-family destruction, pro-overall culture of death, President of the United States, Barack (Saddam) Hussein Obama (bin Laden), who bows, kow-tows, and apologizes to other countries, and his Vice President, self-proclaimed Catholic Joe Biden, who denounces the teachings of his own Church on abortion and marriage. His opponent, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and his vice-presidential running mate Paul Ryan (who I voted for). I'm afraid Mitt was kinda flip-floppy on his stance on abortion, but not blatantly pro-death as the Obama/Biden ticket. Paul Ryan, a Catholic, is pro-life and pro-family. I would have liked to see a Ryan/Romney ticket instead of Romney/Ryan, basically because Ryan seemed more solid. But it is what it is. As for the results - until about 11 PM EST, Romney still had a lead. Not a huge lead, but a lead. However, that too got changed in the last hours of polling counts. Obama won by a landslide in Rhode Island, unfortunate for a state that is statistically 60+% Catholic. Yet the culture of death prevailed once again! WTF?
All these come-from-behind victories by the unfit can't be that coincidental, can it? I wish I could prove foul play. I'm sure there are people looking to do just that. I think of all those Red Sox games blown in the ninth inning when Bobby Valentine would send Alfredo Aceves up to the mound to erase the Sox lead.
I'm not a sore loser. But something just isn't right!
A primer on your Roman numerals, eh? Well, here is the music we're doing at Sacred Heart for this Veteran's Day, that is, liturgically, the Thirty-Second Sunday of Ordered Time.
And just for you Roman Numeral buffs, I will list the hymn numbers in Roman Numerals. You figure out the Arabic Numerals. All the numbers are in Hymnal MCMXL (to our parishioners, that's "The Maroon Hymnal"). If you look these up in the "Index of First Lines" of said hymnal, you're cheating! ;P
Mass Ordinary: Laus Tibi Christe (F. Caudana)
Psalm CXLVI (that's Psalm CXLV for you Vulgate fans): Praise the Lord, my soul (R. Rice)
Alleluia: from the hymn "Christ is the King" ("Gelobt sei Gott") (verse of the day: tone VIII-G)
Entrance: DXXXVII - Christ for the world, we sing ("Italian Hymn")
Offertory: CDXVIII - Blest are the pure in heart ("Franconia")
Communion: Be thou my vision (J.H. Desrocquettes; harm. BMP)
Meditation: CCXXIII - Jesus, Son of Mary ("Adoro Te"; Mode V)
Recessional: CXLIII - God of our fathers ("National Hymn")
Mass Ordinary: Messa Populare "Laus Tibi Christe" (Federico Caudana)
Psalm 24: Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face (Joseph Gelineau)
Alleluia: from "Christ Is the King" ("Gelobt Sei Gott") (verse of the day: Tone 8G)
Entrance: W-706 By all your saints still striving ("St. Theodulph")
Offertory: W-707 Ye watchers and ye holy ones ("Lasst uns erfreuen")
Communion: Jesus, my Lord, my God, my All (Mother Alexis Donnelly)
Recessional: W-705 For all the saints ("Sine Nomine")
All Souls (XI-2-12) (9 AM; 12 Noon; 7 PM)
Mass Ordinary: Mass XVIII (Pro Defunctis)
Psalm 23: My shepherd is the Lord; nothing indeed shall I want (Joseph Gelineau)
Alleluia: from "Christ Is the King" ("Gelobt Sei Gott") (verse of the day: Tone 8G)
Introit: Requiem Aeternam (Mode VI)
Roll call of the parish deceased XI-2-11--XI-2-12 (7 PM only): Ave Maria (Jacob Arcadelt)
Offertory: H-223 Jesus, Son of Mary ("Adoro Te Devote")
Communion Proper: Lux Aeterna (Mode VIII)
Communion Anthem: Pie Jesu (Gabriel Faure)
Recessional: W-178 In Paradisum (Mode VII/VIII)
Mass Ordinary: Messa Populare "Laus Tibi Christe" (Federico Caudana)
Psalm 18: I love you, Lord, my strength (Richard Rice)
Alleluia: from "Christ Is the King" ("Gelobt Sei Gott") (verse of the day: Tone 8G)
Entrance: H-780 Christ is made the sure foundation ("Westminster Abbey")
Offertory: H-479.1 Love divine, all loves excelling ("Hyfrydol")
Communion: W-598 Ubi Caritas (Mode VI)
Meditation: H-405 I sought the Lord ("Artavia")
Recessional: H-599 Ye watchers and ye holy ones ("Lasst uns erfreuen")