In Case You Missed ‘Em…

…below are the first handful of my posts at The Place That Shall Not Be Named.

 

Ash Wednesday “How To Read Your Ashes” Guide

The Biblical Roots of Crossfit

VIDEO: Pope Francis, Catholic Bloggers and the Butterfly Effect

First Friday of Lent – With Frodo and Sam

Rob Bell: A Church That Denies Gay Marriage Will Be ‘Irrelevant’

Subscriber Sues National Catholic Reporter Over Orthodox Content

Come by and leave a comment. Please take a moment to update your blogroll and add me to your feeds. I feel it’s only fair to tell you that sooner or later, this blog will be switched to ‘private’.

And thanks for reading. I’ve always had the best readers in the blogosphere, and I’d like that tradition to continue.

 

 

Sister Patricia On: Making A Big Change

(Sister Patricia Owens O’Flannery, OP, a post-modern pre-traditional omni-spiritual Dominican sister, periodically contributes tosisterpatricia AoftheA. Today she shares her wisdom on a big change in her life.)

Hello, dear sweet readers!! May the Spirit of Sophia fill you with warmth and caress you with her gentle breaths of serenity and peace and more serenity! You have been in my prayers and affixed in the All-Seeing Eye of my transcontinental meditations for days and weeks. I’ve been praying so much lately, I had to send out Sr Doremi Fasolatido on an emergency run to Pier One and buy more incense sticks! In a storm even! That shows you the depth of my compassion and care for you.

Why have I been praying so much lately, you ask? You must be thinking, oh Sr Patricia, you have everything you could ask for. Your life is one of simplicity and docility. You walk the labyrinthine path of cosmic unity. Why have you been praying so fervently?

I will tell you.

And it may shock you.

For many months now, I have been contemplating making a big change in my life. One that impacts so much – I am filled with excitement, yet also with trepidation. With uncertainty, yet with a strong sense of desire and magnanimous magnitude. Change is a difficult concept for some – even those who do walk the labyrinthine path of cosmic unity. I am not ashamed to admit it.

But the time has come to affect change. And not just a change, but an improvement. And just an improvement, but a rekindling of the Universal Urethral Etherealness of Efficacious Effectiveness. I have grown much in just these few short years in which you have all come to know and love and cherish and adore and respect and love and know and admire me. Your support has always meant so much.

And the exciting part of this metaphysical metamorphosis, is that you are all invited to participate! We can go on this indelible journey together! With spirit and soul entwined within the omniscient embrace of Sophia…I’m getting tingly from all the positive energy emanating from every corner of the internet. Can you feel it??

Makes me want to dance in the sunlight, and frolic in the early morning dew that kisses the grasses and leaves with lips of dewy dewiness.

That might have to wait until after the next Ice Age though, I’m afraid.

But enough of my prattling. I’m so full of life and vim and stuff, that my train of thought keeps leaping between tracks.

Effective immediately – which means right now – at this very moment – I, Sister Patricia Owens O’Flannery, will be blogging at the Patheos Catholic Channel! I know!!!

Unfortunately, I have to bring LarryD along. Part of the deal. I look at it as being “ecumenical”.

Hope to see you all there!

BREAKING!! Priest Permits Parishioners To Present Pets For Ashes

(AoftheAP)  In an effort to increase participation at Ash Wednesday services, Fr. Willie R. Woanty, pastor of Our Lady of Practical Advice, is allowing parishioners to bring their pets to the 5:30 PM Mass, and have ashes placed on their heads if they so desire.

“The past several years, attendance on Ash Wednesday has been declining,” Fr Woanty told AoftheA News. “I think this is a creative, innovative way to get parishioners to take this devotion seriously.”

While attending Mass on Ash Wednesday is not a Holy Day of Obligation, the Church strongly encourages the faithful to receive ashes at the beginning of the Lenten season, as a means to acknowledge their mortality, that Lent is a time of mortification and preparation, and to be a witness to society.

Several parishioners who spoke to AoftheA News were supportive of Fr Woanty’s initiative.

“I think it’s wonderful,” one woman said. “It kind of goes hand in hand with the fact that Rome said pets go to heaven.”

A young boy named Skippy said he was planning to bring his goldfish. All eight of them. “I can’t bring the tank to church,” he said, “so I’ll just put them in my pockets.”

Fr. Woanty admitted that he hasn’t quite come up with a blessing for when people present their pets. “Can’t exactly say ‘Remember, man, that thou art dust…’, so I might say something like, ‘As an equal member of creation, wear these ashes as a sign of our common heritage.’ Still working on it, to be honest.”

When asked if he expects any backlash from his bishop, Fr Woanty replied: “I’m more worried about getting bit by a dog or scratched by a cat, actually! Besides, the bishop is a huge animal lover. I’m sure he’s going to be supportive. I look at this as development of doctrine. We already have a liturgical Prayer for the Blessing of Animals, so I’m of the opinion this is an extension of that.”

Additional details are available at the parish’s website.

Rejected Valentine’s Day Cards

Not every submission to Hallmarks or Shoebox Greetings makes it to the card shelf at your pharmacy or retail outlet. Ones that don’t quite reflect the spirit of the day get scrapped. Here are a few of those rejected Valentine’s Day cards.

Card #1:

Card #2:

Card #3:

Card #4:

card4

card4inside

Card #5:

card5

card5inside

50 Shades of Grey Hair – 2nd Printing

(In observation of today’s opening of the film “50 Shades of Grey”, the AoftheA Literature Department presents a funnier, snarkier tribute. Originally posted on July 20, 2012.)

The sensual and provocative story of Ruth N. Tooten, a woman whose spiritual but not religious journey leads her to the mysterious and mesmerizing Bishop X, who fulfills her every forbidden dream and desire…of becoming a womynpreest.  Sr. Patricia Owens O’Flannery weaves an exciting tale of self-discovery by erecting new boundaries of tradition, thus establishing a modern standard for the mature Catholyc woman’s fantasy novel.

From the Foreword, by Fr Roy Bourgeios ~

In every generation, a novel comes along that captures the imagination; that defines the soul of a people with clarity and deep insights; that brings to life a character with raw emotion, rife with real flaws matched with real virtues.  This is not that novel.  Still, if you have a few hours to spare, it’s not the worst way to spend your time.

An excerpt, from Fifty Shades Of Grey Hair ~

Ruth was escorted from the lobby by a second woman, this one slightly younger than the receptionist who greeted her, dressed in the same cut of powder-blue polyester pantsuit, but her hair still showed remnants of its original color.  She followed the new woman down a short corridor, her gaze fixed on the salt-and-peppered shorn unevenness of her hairstyle.

A heaping of coals upon the institutional church, Ruth thought.  It’s shameful these faithful ladies are not compensated enough for a decent cut and color!

The corridor ended at a lush mahogany door, the knob a gleaming gold, as if it were its own source of illumination.  It seemed to beckon to Ruth – Come! Touch me! Open me and all your fears and inhibitions will be released!  If this were a garden, it would be the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge.  Except here there was no “serpent” – just the call of her conscience, clear and invigorating.  There was no turning back now.  She had crossed the Rubicon and closed that door behind her.  Was the room spinning, or was it just her imagination?

“Just go right in, dearie,” her escort cackled.  “The Bishop is expecting you.”

At first, Ruth didn’t quite hear what was said.  It was as if the only sound in her ears was the roar of her breath, held back within her lungs, crushed by her fibrillating heart.  Only when she finally exhaled, did Ruth process the woman’s invitation.  She blinked several times, regained her composure, and offered a smile that she hoped didn’t betray the weakness in her knees.

“Thank you,” she said weakly, her mouth dry from anticipation.  “Thank you very much.”

———-*———-

“May I get you a coffee,” The Bishop said.  It wasn’t a question, or an invitation, but more like a gentle command, or a profound intuition, as if he were reading her heart like an open book.  “You look like a decaf Free Trade sort of woman.”  His eyes smiled as he spoke, his voice purring, like that of an angel.

“I am,” Ruth said. “With Splenda.” 

Oh my, she thought.  Am I flirting with him?  I really must stay in control!

The Bishop crossed his office to a tea service that stood against the wall, beneath a portrait of Cardinal Bernadin.  As he poured the coffee into two ceramic mugs, he said “You do realize, Ruth, that should I ordain you, the institutional Church will declare that you are excommunicated, latae sententiae?”

As the exotic words rolled off his lips, Ruth’s heart skipped a beat.  Was it because of their grave meaning, or was it because of the way he said them?  Or maybe a combination of both?

He came over to where she was seated, and handed her the mug, its contents steaming and hot. 

“Thank you,” she said, taking the mug from him.  Her fingers lightly brushed against his, and she felt a rush of warmth that came more from his very hand than from the hot coffee itself.  As if he were making the coffee warm just by holding it, rather than the beverage heating him.  She felt herself blushing.

“Careful,” he said. “It’s very hot.”

He sat down opposite her, his smoldering gaze locked upon her eyes.  She sipped surreptitiously from her mug, the mellow hazelnut aroma filling her senses, and she was forced to look away.

“You haven’t answered me,” he reminded her, and he gently slurped from his own mug.

“I…I suppose I haven’t,” Ruth responded.  “Maybe you should repeat the question.”  She so desperately wanted to hear him say those Latin words again, that rich ancient dead language, in his full resonant voice.  Perhaps such words were the death knell to other people’s spiritual life, but to her, they were the words of freedom, and she so deeply wanted – no, needed – to be freed.

And Bishop X was going to be the death-penalty-commuting-governor to her death-row soul.

Here are a couple reviews ~

Sr Joan Chittister:  “Another great accomplishment for Sister Patricia!  She’s indomitable!”

Nancy Pelosi:  “Inspiring!  I couldn’t put it down!”

TIME:  “Why isn’t this woman Pope already?”

Terry Nelson:  “So beautiful…made me cry.”

50 Shades Of Awful – Early Reviews Pan Film

Over at Matt Fradd’s The Porn Effect, he’s listed a smattering of early reviews of the smutty 50 Shades Of Grey, and if they’re representative of most, then the movie isn’t destined for any long term theater run.

All together now:  “Awwwwwww.”

The movie reviews of 50 Shades of Grey are beginning to trickle in; and they’re not great. As of this moment the movie has a rating of 48% on the popular film review site Rotten Tomatoes. 

Here are ten reviews I found rather amusing. You might consider cut and pasting one into your FB or Twitter accounts to help get the word out that this movie ain’t worth seeing.

1. “Maybe in future installments there will even be something that resembles a plot. For now, the entire movie is about as sexy as a root canal.” – Rex Reed,  New York Observer

2. “It looks and feels like a sequel to Twilight, with deadly dull talk about S&M replacing endless consternation over turning into one of the undead.” – Robert Levin, amNewYork

3. “Obsessed with money, willfully wrongheaded about sex and crippled by its own construction, Fifty Shades of Grey is too many kinds of awful to work as anything but accidental sociology: We get the smut we deserve.” – James Rocchi, About.com

4. “The whole thing’s about as transgressive as ordering a Cabernet Sauvignon with your fish.” – Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger

5. “Despite the endless sex, a highly unsatisfying encounter. Cold as a fish and almost as dumb.” – Rafer Guzman, Newsday

6. “Sitting through the turgid and tedious S&M melodrama that is Fifty Shades of Grey may feel like its own form of torture.” – Claudia Puig, USA Today

7. “Lacks any of the raunch or controversy promised, and is instead tiresome, banal and as thinly plotted as a porno.” – Greg Wakeman
CinemaBlend.com

8. “No amount of polished technical ingredients can salvage a relatively faithful screenplay that lifts much of the book’s painfully rudimentary dialogue verbatim.” – Eric Kohn, indieWIRE

9. “Think World of Interiors meets The Little Book of Bondage, and you may get the picture, which starts out hilarious, becomes ludicrous and finally dubious.” Kate Muir Times [UK]

10. “Easily amongst the seven or eight best Hollywood productions ever made about a woman contemplating whether or not to sign a dominant/submissive contract.”- Matt Singer, ScreenCrush

As of this post, Rotten Tomatoes has the movie at 42%. Guess it’s leaving viewers and critics unsatisfied, unfulfilled, and flaccid.

The Porn Effect, by the way, is a great site and resource for guys (and women, too) struggling with porn addiction. Matt’s doing yeoman’s work helping people overcome this scourge – research shows that 50% of Christian men are addicted. That’s such a travesty.

And unfortunately, quite a few Catholics will end up plunking down cash for this piece of trash film.

ChurchMilitant.TV and Womynpreests Share Something In Common

Both neither trust nor respect the hierarchy, but yet each seems genuinely frustrated at the lack of recognition and assistance they so desperately desire. For different reasons, obviously, as one group is more Catholic than the other, but gosh that similarity is ironic, interesting, and glaring.

Below are two clips from ChurchMilitant.TV’s recent “Mic’d Up” program. You can watch/listen to the 1 hour program here if you so desire – but the following two snippets illustrate my point.

This one is from roughly the midpoint of the program:

And this one is from the final segment:

So what’s my point. It’s like this. Putting aside the implication that the Catholic Establishment Media (“CEM”) really isn’t faithful like the Faithful Catholic Media (“FCM”) is faithful (because they don’t meet the “FCM” standard of Being Truly Faithful because they don’t report on the crises & scandals & bad bishops), I think it’s kinda weird that in the first clip, there’s this whiny, oh-poor-is-me attitude that the “CEM” has the hierarchy backing, and all these funds from the “bigger banks of the Church of Nice” (whatever that means – for instance, Ave Maria Radio is listener funded. They don’t get money from the Diocese of Lansing, nor do they have huge underwriters. But “big banks of the Church of Nice” sure plays well to the base…), and they get this ‘funding’ because the “CEM” won’t touch the sort of stories the “FCM” focuses on. And because the “FCM” reports on the crises and scandals, and call bishops out, and generally don’t trust or respect the hierarchy, well, that makes it hard to get backing and funding and collaboration with the “CEM”, and even harder to get the message out. Really really hard – because they don’t get to speak on diocesan property, nor do they get promoted in the chanceries, or what have you. And yes, that part is true. ChurchMilitant.TV is not generally accepted within the US dioceses, and their speaking engagements are rarely, if at all, sanctioned by the local ecclesiastical authorities. That shouldn’t be a surprise, though, when your stock in trade is reporting on “the truth of a Church in crisis”, as they put it.

But then Christine says in the second clip, that in two years, ChurchMilitant.TV has had nearly 13 million views, which faaaaaaaar exceeds those at EWTN’s Youtube channel, or Word of Fire’s channel – which they claim are backed by the hierarchy and establishment (what does that mean, exactly?)- which, don’t forget, gives them an unfair advantage over the “FCM”.

Wait a sec. I’m sorry, but I gotta call bullshit on this.

They’re complaining about not having hierarchy support, or access to funding, which makes it super hard to get their message out…but their message is being heard by far more people, as compared to the “CEM” outlets? Sorry, folks, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t be grateful of how widely listened to your message is, as compared to your competition (and let’s face it – they are competing with the “CEM”), and at the same time, complain of an unleveled, unfair playing field managed by a hostile hierarchy engaging in a “snuff ‘em out” campaign that makes it super, super hard to get their message out.

That so many more people are listening to.

That if you sign up for a premium membership subscription for $10/month, you have access to even more catechetical material. Because…funding.

So which one is it? Or is it neither?

Now, just for fun, I did a little math. The ChurchMilitant.TV Youtube channel has 18,549 subscribers as of the time of this post. If you multiply that by 730 (number of days in 2 years), you come to 13,540,770. A number pretty close to their claim of having nearly 13,000,000 views in two years. That’s unlikely how they get to that number of views – it’s probably all calculated through Google Analytics or something similar – it might just be coincidence. I don’t know.

I do know, though, that Word of Fire’s Youtube channel has 51,866 subscribers, and EWTN’s Youtube channel has 52,796 subscribers. And last I checked, 50,000+ subscribers > 18,549 subscribers. Perhaps that doesn’t translate directly to a lot of hits & views in two years, but boy, that’s a pretty big difference.

Complaining about not having the means to get their message out, but pointing to the fact that more people watch their stuff than the “CEM” stuff, which is backed by the hierarchy. It’s a weird sort of logic. They want validation and recognition from the establishment they don’t respect and trust, despite the claim they’re kicking the “CEM” up and down the Internet. Just like the womynpreests, who will disobey the hierarchy and complain about misogyny, yet expect the bishops to recognize their ‘calling’, all the while claiming everyone wants women to be ordained.

It’s like a surreal version of the Stockholm Syndrome. And it sounds disingenuous.

My Condolences To The Catholycs

It was a rough final 10 days of January for the Catholycs at National Catholic Distorter and other similar publications. Both the Reverend Richard McBrien (1/25) and theologian Marcus Borg (1/21) passed to their eternal reward. These two guys stood at the forefront of progressive Catholic thinking, attempting to shift teaching on rudimentary issues like contraception, abortion, women’s ordination, and even the historicity of Christ’s resurrection, to name a few.

So I’m sure their followers are sad and despondent, and they’ll miss their mentors of theological deconstruction.

But I’m here to tell them not to lose heart, and to not give up hope. Remember Christ’s words: “Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Because more than likely, Pope Francis is gonna change a bunch of that teaching anyway.

That is, if you believe any of the stuff the Best Catholics Ever have been saying, right?

Happy (Belated) Birthday, Wolfie!

Yesterday was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s 259th birthday, so in commemoration of my favorite composer’s birth, please enjoy my rendition of the 2nd movement of his Piano Sonata k.545.

The entire sonata is one of my top three favorite pieces of classical music. Fortunately for you, I’m not subjecting you to the 1st or 3rd movements. To say they’re a bit rusty is to say…that Mozart is a bit dead.

Thankfully his music lives on.

Rest Is Not Idleness

I came across a great meditation in this month’s Magnificat magazine, for Tuesday January 20.

Rest is not idleness; indeed, restlessness is the torment of idle people. It is not relaxation. Relaxation should never be necessary, because the nervous tension which makes it so should never be present.

Rest, far from being relaxation, is a culmination, a fullness of gathered peace, like the fullness and stillness of waters gathered to a flood tide.

Think of a child asleep in his mother’s arms: the abandon with which he gives himself to sleep can only be because he has complete trust in the arms that hold him. He is not lying asleep on that heart because he is worn out with anxiety. He is asleep there because it is a delight to him to be asleep there. The mother rests, too. She rests in his rest. Her mind and her body rest in him. His head fits into the crook of her curved arm. Their warmth is mingled like the warmth of two softly burning flames. She rocks to and fro, and her rocking is unconsciously timed to his breathing. Rest is a communion of love between them. It is a culmination of content: on the child’s part, utter trust in his mother; on the mother’s part, sheer joy in the power of her love to sustain his life.

Such as this was the rest of God in the beginning of time, when he had created the world: And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done.

God could not need rest. He could not be tired by creating the world. His rest was the infinite peace of infinite love.

There’s just so much to meditate on in that short passage – written by Caryll Houselander. I especially found wisdom in the line “Restlessness is the torment of idle people.” An idle person is someone not doing God’s will. Oh, they might be busy doing stuff, or filling their time with distractions or have lots of hobbies. They might even be prolific Catholic bloggers – but if they’re idle about God’s will, then there will be a deep restlessness. I’ve seen it. I’ve read it. I’ve experienced it. It really sucks.

But what immediately came to mind when I read that passage, was Christ’s words: “Come to me all you who labor, and I will give you rest.”

He doesn’t take away our labor. He doesn’t even necessarily make it easier – whatever our labors might be. And if we claim to be disciples, there will always be labor, always be work. After all, if we are following Christ, then we will do what He did – and His work was to do the will of God.

So the labor won’t be shortened. Rather, He gives us His peace, His infinite love – a means by which to endure our labors, to strengthen us. And the awesome thing is, He can be trusted. We can fall into His presence, call upon Him for help, and He will be answer.

That’s why I like adoration chapels. They are sanctuaries of holy rest, where the Lord holds us, even more closely than a sleeping child clasped in the embrace of his mother.