Sunday, September 20, 2009


is my name, I decided many decades ago. Epimetheus ("Afterthought" in Greek) was Prometheus' ("Forethought") brother. So many occasions in my life I made decisions about which I had to explain to myself or others as "Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time."

One of the more egregious examples was joining the RCIA team in the parish. There were certain encouraging signs that I took to be God calling me forward. And I'm still not sure that it wasn't true. But I charged in without "due diligence" and so was unprepared for the conflicts that arose over those three years. Those conflicts were, in fact, completely foreseeable. If only I had done the research and thought and prayed first.

But Estel is my other name. So I remain hopeful that I can learn from experience and do better in the future. So when Father invited me to become an EMHC early this year I was non-commital. The invitation was renewed a little while ago, so I started praying, thinking and studying. There is Hope after all.

A regular position of service in the parish would be a good thing, at least in the abstract. But the issue of EMHC's isn't all light and happiness. Some respectable Catholics argue that their very use as currently seen (regularly scheduled and quite ordinary in that sense) is, in itself, an abuse.

If and when you get past that meta-issue, there are some specific areas of concern:

Training, whatever that consists of, and Archdiocesan guidelines, to the extent these are written and accessible, will help with some of the answers.

But this time around, I intend to do all the praying, thinking and researching in advance, so that I can ask the appropriate questions and only then make a well-informed decision.

Monday, September 14, 2009

LIft High the Cross

was sung at yesterday's Mass and again this morning. Which is appropriate considering today's feast. When I heard it yesterday it reminded me, as it does every-time I hear it, of the first time: John Paul's visit to Abbotsford.

So how do I fit that hymn into my funeral Mass? A recessional? It was the opening hymn at Abbotsford.

Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross:

Information about the Exaltation of the Holy Cross [1] Readings for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross [2] Readings from the Jerusalem Bible Readings and Commentary: [3] Reading 1: Numbers 21:4b-9 With their patience worn out by the journey, the people complained against God and Moses...

Read the whole thing.

(Via New Advent World Watch.)

Post-Christian Britain

is mirrored by British TV. A favourite program of mine was the Inspector Morse series with John Thaw in the title role. I used to compare the books by Colin Dexter to the tv series and found that the Colin Dexter's clear questioning of Christian belief (through Morse) was watered down. Sergeant Lewis gave a simple, sincere Christian witness to Morse's world-weary cynicism in the books.

In the tv the Lewis character was muddled and muted. Now with the resurrected series they have made Lewis world-weary and cynical, while his Oxford-educated sergeant represents a post-Christian Christianity. The elite that produces tv and movies in Britain are no longer able to represent, much less engage the intellectual and spiritual underpinnings of Christianity.

This thought was inspired by Rich Leonardi:

The abolition of Britain:

"On the road from Gethsemane to Calvary I lost my way."

So reads a suicide note in tonight's Inspector Lewis episode on Masterpiece Mystery!

Read the whole thing.

(Via Ten Reasons.)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


is our cockatiel and we have regular conversations. But no one in the family thinks he is human or even near-human. So I do understand the human foible of anthropomorphizing animals. So a more rational analysis of the relationship between humans and animals is in order:

Humans are unique - get used to it, or get therapy. Do NOT get a chimpanzee:

In "Restating the case for human uniqueness," in Spiked* (Issue 25, June 2009), managing editor Helene Guldberg reviews Not a Chimp: The Hunt to Find the Genes That Make Us Human by Jeremy Taylor (Oxford University Press 2009):

She notes that

Taylor sets out to argue that it is ‘as wrong as it is misguided’ to ‘exaggerate the narrowness of the gap between chimpanzees and ourselves’: ‘It plays into the hands of our natural propensity to anthropomorphise our pets and other animals, and even our inanimate possessions, and it has allowed us to distort what the science is trying to tell us.’

Read the whole thing.

(Via Mindful Hack.)

Catholic Funerals

should be about praying for the dead, not canonizing them:

The problem wasn't the funeral.:

Speaking of the recent funeral of Senator Edward Kennedy, the Archbishop of Boston, Sean Cardinal O’Malley, endeavors to defend his participation in the event -- to which Fr. John Zuhlsdorf provides a helpful fisking. On the Archbishop's own blog there are already 100+ comments from readers -- the first comment by "Grace" will suffice, and indicates my thoughts exactly:

Of course Senator Kennedy should have been afforded a Catholic funeral. And I had no problem with you being there.

Read the whole thing.

(Via Against The Grain.)

Monday, September 07, 2009

Reason and Faith

intersect somewhere and that somewhere

On the integrity of the New Testament manuscript evidence:

Let's question the "common-sense" double-standard. Folks, I was reading this article published today in Time Magazine online, entitled, The Burial Box of Jesus' Brother: A Case Against Fraud, because the controversy has been around for a while and of course...

Read the whole thing.

(Via New Advent World Watch.)

Saturday, September 05, 2009


starts with having children, preferably including daughters:

Quotables 9.5.09:

[E]very man needs a daughter. All of my male friends who had children were changed for the better by having at least one daughter. It is not a wife who socializes a husband, it is a daughter.

— Anonymous commenter on Marginal Revolution

Read the whole thing.

(Via First Thoughts.)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Stop Complaining

and suggest some solutions. Which is what Sherry W has done in her four-part analysis of our culture and the RCIA. It's excellent. Have a read:

Whither RCIA? Part Four: Some Beginning Steps:

First, we make disciples in the inquiry period Then we form and catechize those disciples in the catechumenate.

[snip] 5) Resist the temptation to move people into the formal catechumenate prematurely.

[snip] 6) Make sure all the members of your RCIA team and all your sponsors are intentional disciples.

Read the whole thing.

(Via Intentional Disciples.)