Sunday, December 16

They said on the local news the other night that normally by this time of year, we have an average of 11 inches of snow. We have had practically none - just the slightest trace back in November. As a result, I have overheard the following several times over the past week:

"Gee, it just doesn't feel like Christmas, does it?"

Well...I'd have to say, snow or no snow, 40 degrees feels like Christmas. Try 75 degrees and palm trees, if you want to know what "doesn't feel like Christmas" really feels like!

One of my recent interests has been clerical mysteries: those with clerics or religious as detectives, or mysteries set in a religious milieu.

A recent headline reads like the plot of one of those mysteries, but tragically, this one isn't fiction:

Irish Nun found murdered

Another story highlights some other bizarre (and unrelated) incidents that have occurred in this town in the past:

Nun strangled in town of scandals

Charles Peguy was a late 19th/early 20th century French poet and sometimes "Catholic polemicist" Roger Kimball has a good article about him in The New Critereon. Definitely limited as a poet, but possessed of great passion, there's one element of Peguy's thought that's worth careful consideration today: his skeptical and even prescient attitude towards modernity, particular intellectual trends. This quote was penned about a hundred years ago, but it is startling in its pertinence to the current academic scene and fashions:

the modern method comes down essentially to this: given a work or given a text, how do we proceed to know it? Let us start by ignoring the text; above all let us be careful not to pick up the text or even to look at it, that would come at the end, if it were ever to happen. Let us begin at the beginning or rather because we must be complete, let us begin by the beginning of the beginning; the beginning of the beginning is to find in the vast, moving, universal, total reality, the exact vantage point which, though bearing some relation to the text, is the farthest removed from the text

Another good quote:

It will never be known what acts of cowardice have been motivated by the fear of not looking sufficiently progressive.

Chew on that for a while. I can certainly relate. In my early twenties I was certainly pro-life, but reluctant to actually do anything about my convictions. Why? Because I didn't want to be even faintly associated with "those" people - you know, the big-haired, culturally retrograde, misogynist creature that the media and popular opinion likes to say is the typical pro-lifer. And then I got brave, went to a meeting, and found my stereotypes shattered. And then I found Feminists for Life and was even more humbled.

Peguy was absolutely correct, wasn't he? Why are we like that?

Mormon dropouts shunned by families, friends. An interesting, if not terribly surprising account of the disapproval Mormons Who Leave bring upon themselves in the heavily Mormon West. A little bit different from Suburban Catholicism. I taught at a Catholic high school in which the Director of Students was a woman who'd left the Catholic Church (along with her whole family) for the Mormon church. Michael taught at a (different) Catholic high school in which (I think) the Athletic Director was an ex-Catholic who regularly testified to the inadequacies of his former church. Shun or keep on the payroll - no- promote? Surely there must be a middle ground here....
This afternoon, Katie, Joseph and I went to see the Youtheather production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, for which Katie had auditioned a couple of months ago and obviously not won a part. It was a cute show and actually sort of moving at the end: this story of the "worst" kids in the town who somehow commandeer the church Christmas pageant. Joseph was fairly quiet, but pretty squirmy. Fortunately, we were pretty far back in the theater.
Meant to do some blogging last night during Joseph's and mine nightly meeting, but Blogger wasn't co-operating.

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