Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Appearance of Holiness

I've been nursing the baby and doing chores all afternoon, but I can't stop thinking about the Haiti piece from the post below -- I'll probably end up blogging about it on and off for the next few days.

One thing that really strikes me is Labash's description of Father Frechette's personal appearance. He wears dirty clothes. He wolfs down greasy airport food and rides around in dirty trucks. He smells really bad. He drinks, he smokes, he curses. If you encountered him and didn't realize what he did all day, you'd think "This man is an embarrassment to the priesthood."

Meanwhile, I, like many conservative Catholics, was taken in by Maciel and his Legionaries. I missed the whole "disciplined for abusing the confessional" episode-- I was too busy with the kids. And his order certainly looks good - nicely groomed young men who seem so serious about their work.

The appearance of holiness led us all to believe that they WERE holy, just like Father Frechette's appearance could lead us to believe he's an unserious slob of a priest.

BUT sometimes a fruit looks perfect because it's been sprayed with poison, and sometimes that mottled apple is delicious once you take a bite. When we "look at the fruits" it's easy to be deceived. Instead, we have to look deeper - at the theology underpinning the fruits.

The Legion's clean cut surface hides a problematic definition of 'Charity', a culture of abuse and lies, and a malformed theology that lets the leadership argue that "The Good outweighs the Bad." (Hint: That's EGYPTIAN theology, not Catholic Theology.)

Meanwhile, beneath the dirty clothes and smelly boots, Father Frechette is living the Corporal and Spiritual works of mercy. He's treating everyone, even the dead, as beloved children of God, and he's trying to be a sign of Christ's love in a cruel world. His humble appearance actually conceals the magnificent good he's doing.

Now, why do I have the sudden, overpowering urge to dig out my Graham Greene novels?

Fr. Frechette Buries the Dead

A Profile of a Passionist Missionary in Haiti by Matt Labash in the Weekly Standard.

This article was a magnificent piece of Lenten reading--I especially liked when Father Frechette talked about the importance of sign and countersign--  that sometimes, just doing the right thing in the face of evil, is enough.

It's a long piece, especially for the Weekly Standard, but read the whole thing.  You won't regret it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Great Read aloud!

My six-year-old and I just spent 2 weeks with Hiccup the Useless and his Dragon Toothless.  We'd picked up the book after we saw an ad for the upcoming movie.

Now I'm not sure I'll bother seeing the movie-- the book was hilarious, and I'm afraid the movie will be a let-down.  But we're definitely picking up the rest of this series.  Hiccup's adventures were funny AND exciting - my daughter couldn't get enough of them and is still talking about Hiccup and Toothless.  I can't believe I missed this series when it first came out!

Bayh was a moderate?

In The Corner Jay Nordlinger provides a catalogue of all the highly partisan, immoderate things Bayh has done in the past few years. Yet the people of Indiana still considered him a 'moderate.'

Why? I think it's because a lot of people have a tendency to confuse "Bland" with moderate. Bayh was fairly liberal - he was just also good at blending in with the wall paper.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Patrick Kennedy's retirement from congress...

From the article in the Boston Herald

Kennedy told the magazine he is not sure what’s next for him, but he wants to
model the next chapter of his life after his late aunt, Eunice Kennedy Shriver,
who founded the Special Olympics. Shriver died shortly before her younger
brother, Ted, last August.

“Service is in my future. I know it as fact
that service is an essential part to maintaining your sobriety,” he said.

Kennedy added: “There’s a hole in the soul that we all try to fill,
sometimes with the wrong things, like booze or drugs. Society would tell us to
fill it with consumerism. But its only really filled through love and service,
by serving a high purpose. By doing God’s will.”

This is really amazing-- could his very public fight with Bishop Tobin have born good fruits? I'm curious to see what Representative Kennedy does next -- but if he's honestly seeking out God's will, good things will result. And honestly, if he's taking the Shrivers as his roll models, he shouldn't go wrong.

H/T K-Lo in the Corner

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Note on the Blogrolls

I wanted to enter the latest "Guide to Literary Agents" contest (ends Feb. 21, so run on over there!), so I had to add their site to my blogroll. (They're a good blog, I just haven't added links in a while.)

Which made me realize that my blogroll was incredibly disorganized, and didn't really reflect my daily reading habits anymore. I've sorted things out by type of blog, and will be adding more sites over the next few days.

Also, I'm going to try to start blogging over here more often-- my comments on other people's sites have been getting longer and longer, so I should probably shift some of that babbling over to my OWN place! :)

And I've been reading a lot again, so I WILL need to talk about all those books. :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Funny, but not in a good way

Ok, first of all the guy dressed as a sheep at the end is really disturbing...and not well done at all.

BUT there's a larger problem with this ad -- notice all the images of sheep, and the way Fiorina keeps associating her opponent with pigs? The whole thing reminded me of Animal Farm.

Now, it's bad enough that she's referring to the primary voters of California as stupid sheep-- way to go, Carly, offend the electorate! What's even worse is that once you start thinking about Animal Farm, you're bound to think of its most sympathetic character... Boxer... but that's also the name of the Democrat Fiorina hopes to run against.

So she made an ad that simultaneously insults the voters AND gives them warm and fuzzy feelings about her opponent. Also, you'd think that someone with Silicon Valley connections could invest in decent video editing software-- I really hope SNL and the Daily show pick this one up-- would be HILARIOUS.

H/T The Weekly Standard