From Rodney Stark’s fantastic new history of modernity, How the West Won:

A Muslim of Turkic-Mongol origins, Tamerlane (also known as Timur) was born near the Persian city of Samarkand in 1336. Seeking to restore the Mongol Empire, he conquered vast areas of Asia. Again and again Tamerlane perpetrated huge massacres — perhaps as many as two hundred thousand captives (men, women, and children) were slaughtered during his march on Delhi — and had towering pyramids built from the heads of his victims. So barbaric were his conquests that he earned the sobriquet the “Scourge of God,” as Christopher Marlowe put it in his great play (1587). And while Tamerlane killed huge numbers of Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists, he virtually wiped out the Christians and Jews in the East. In Georgia alone, Samuel H. Moffett reported, Tamerlane “destroyed seven hundred large villages, wiped out the inhabitants, and reduced all the Christian churches … to rubble.” Any Christian communities that survived Tamerlane were destroyed by his grandson, Ulugh Beg.

So much for “no compulsion of religion” under Islam.

And to think they name theirs sons after this monster.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that around 60 people gathered at Fountain Square downtown to protest the teacher contract issued by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. The contract requires archdiocesan teachers to initial their assent to settled Church teaching on a variety of topics. Evidently — and tellingly — their effort is supported by the George Soros-funded MoveOn.org, a far-left Democrat lobbying organization that came to fame in the last decade by smearing President George W. Bush. Here’s a snippet:

The contract for the first time spells out that archdiocesan teachers are not allowed to support publicly behavior that is in contrast to Roman Catholic teachings on gay “lifestyles,” out-of-wedlock relationships, abortions and certain fertility methods.

Some participants in the “March to Fix the Contract,” however, feel alienated. They said the restrictions don’t jibe with their own views as Catholics.

“They aren’t listening to all Catholics,” said Tom Flautt of Anderson Township. “They’re only listening to a small group.”

He thinks the contract is a thinly veiled attempt to shield the archdiocese from potential lawsuits – if, for example, a teacher is fired because of his or her personal beliefs.

“The whole thing is about money,” said Flautt. “This contract is an attempt to keep them from having to pay for improper labor actions.”

The march drew a mix of parents, students, former teachers and others who support their cause.

Mary Lee Busam of Westwood held a sign stating, “I am a Grammy. Fix the contract.”

She has 17 grandchildren, all old enough to attend Catholic school. She doesn’t like the restrictions that the contract puts on their teachers.

“I’m here to support teachers who can’t support themselves. It’s such an obvious injustice,” she said. “You can’t take away people’s right to free speech.”

Fast forward to 1:10.

That the video is posted by the former head of the University of Dayton’s “liturgical movement,” i.e., dance, ministry comes as no surprise.

More here.

For Good Friday, your host posts Pope Benedict XVI’s response to the Atonement deniers, from page 232 of his modern classic Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week: From the Entrance Into Jerusalem to the Resurrection:

Again and again people say: It must be a cruel God who demands infinite atonement. Is this not a notion unworthy of God? Must we not give up the idea of atonement in order to maintain the purity of our image of God? In the use of the term “hilasterion” with reference to Jesus, it becomes evident that the real forgiveness accomplished on the cross functions in exactly the opposite direction. The reality of evil and injustice that disfigures the world and at the same time distorts the image of God — this reality exists, through our sin. It cannot simply be ignored; it must be addressed. But here it is not a case of a cruel God demanding the infinite. It is exactly the opposite: God himself becomes the locus of reconciliation, and in the person of his Son take the suffering upon himself. God himself grants infinite purity to the world. God himself “drinks the cup” of every horror to the dregs and thereby restores justice through the greatness of his love, which, through suffering, transforms the darkness.

How are you spending Holy Week?

Mrs. Leonardi and I hope to attend a night or two at the St. Gertrude parish mission with Dr. Ralph Martin. Each night features a talk, Benediction, and then confession.

We’ll also be visiting St. Cecilia for its many Holy Week activities, especially as we get closer to the Triduum.

We haven’t done the steps at Holy Cross/Immaculata in a few years and may “pray” them on Good Friday with some of our oldest. It would be a great way to welcome home pastoral administrator Fr. Martin Fox, recently back from his sabbatical abroad. I’ve enjoyed perusing the running travelogue he maintained over at his site.

And for your information, the Catholic Telegraph of Cincinnati reports on the AOC’s and the cathedral’s planned liturgies and activities.

It probably won’t surprise my readers to learn that we won’t be visiting Xavier University’s Bellarmine Chapel, which has spent Lent promoting heresy by denying Christ’s salvific action on the cross (see entries here and here) and peddling its regnocentric vision of Christianity (hint: it doesn’t leave much room for Christ). Also, you may get a kick out of its comically self-referential scrutinies. Here’s a sample:

6. Jesus, we yearn for a world where all are respected and appreciated…
but are bound up by old habits and old attitudes
about gender,…about race,…
about sexual orientation,…about social class,…
attitudes that lead to discrimination and even violence;…
and so we cry:

God of the living, not of the dead, raise us to life.

7. Jesus, we yearn for a Church that reaches out to embrace everyone
with the love and mercy of Jesus,…
and feel trapped in all this talk about sin…and rules and regulations…
and not the joy of the Gospel;…
and so we cry:

God of the living, not of the dead, raise us to life.

One of the main reasons the Archbishop gave for the parish closings and consolidations in the Batesville deanery was a lack of priests. The restructuring was supposed to help alleviate the problem. Instead of alleviation it seems it has exacerbated the problem. The administrator of the newly formed All Saints parish lasted all of three months.
According to the local newspaper he has decided “to leave the active priestly ministry.”

A pdf of the article can be found here  http://thebrightbeaconindiana.com/AllSaintsApril2014.pdf

I can’t find any info on the Archdiocese website other than his bio.
“2011, (July), pastor, St. Joseph, St. Leon, St. John the Baptist, Dover, St. Paul, New Alsace, and St. Martin, Yorkville; 2014, administrator All Saints, Dearborn County; 2014, leave of absence.”

I know this man’s parents. They bought his ordination present at my store. Their happiness when he was ordained was something I will never forget. I can’t imagine what they are going through now.

Driving down Smithville Road today, I and the rest of the east side of Dayton saw on the sign in front of Immaculate Conception School in all-caps:


Immaculate Conception School is tied to Immaculate Conception Parish, which is clustered with St. Helen parish.  Immaculate Conception is the site of-choice of the AOC for ordinations up in the Dayton area.

You may remember Democrat Mayor Nan Whaley as the Emily List-endorsed, NARAL-supported, NARAL-twitter pal and retweeter, pro-LGBTQXXXBDSMWHATEVER, leading proponent behind the city of Dayton’s “domestic partner registery” and, according to her website, parishioner at Corpus Christi Church, Dayton, Ohio. Mayor Whaley, as an elected leader, holds positions in opposition to the three non-negotiables all Catholic must support in the public square.  (I let her know it too, when she visited my front porch seeking my support in her [at the time] upcoming election bid.)  Mayor Whaley would easily fall within the same political spectrum as the Cuomos, the Kennedys, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Martin O’Malley, Kathleen Sebelius, etc.

Apparently City of Learners is a program (with vague goals) to promote education that was started up by Mayor Whaley and Immaculate Conception School was one of a couple Catholic schools that are participating as sites for “listening sessions.” (Chaminade Julienne High School was selected as the site for the listening session for “private school issues.”) Immaculate is the site for “east side neighborhoods.”  The committee of City of Learner participants is a list of “who’s who” for the Dayton area.

For a moment, I imagine myself in the role of someone who has the authority to decide what messages get placed on the letter-board next to the road in front of the Catholic school.  Then I imagine putting a ‘welcome’ to one of those names- Whaley, Pelosi, Sebelius, etc. on the sign in front of my Catholic school on one of the most prominent roads in the eastern half of the city.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting by any means that the school should not participate in the program or that the school shouldn’t be polite to the Mayor or even that they couldn’t put up a welcome of some sort to the program and its “listeners” on their sign, but to go to the extent of including the “WELCOME MAYOR WHALEY…” on their prominent sign, was just too much, given the positions she advocates.  So am I to guess that the person who is responsible for the letter board sign was just unaware of all the Mayor’s public positions or were those public positions the reason her name got included on the sign out front?  I guess I should just be thankful they didn’t give her an honorary degree, right?

Bishop Joseph N. Perry, Auxillary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago, will be visiting the Cincinnati Archdiocese and confirming 31 Confirmandi at Holy Family Church Dayton, Ohio on Saturday, the 29th of March at 10 AM. There will be a luncheon in the basement of the church immediately following the Confirmation.

As a US prelate, Bishop Perry has developed a reputation for leading by example in his support for a more faithful and sacred celebration of the liturgy (here). He recently visited the Athenium in 2013 (here and here).

For a quick example of the Bishop’s teaching and style, here is a brief talk His Excellency gave in 2012 on Men and the Mass.

Today is the Solemnity of St. Joseph, known to Italian-Americans as St. Joseph’s Day. The day’s open-house celebrations, featuring tables of traditional Italian food and scores of cousins, were a staple of my youth in Rochester, New York. Here’s Fisheaters with some background:

St. Joseph’s Day is a big Feast for Italians because in the Middle Ages, God, through St. Joseph’s intercessions, saved the Sicilians from a very serious drought. So in his honor, the custom is for all to wear red, in the same way that green is worn on St. Patrick’s Day.

Today, after Mass (at least in parishes with large Italian populations), a big altar (“la tavola di San Giuse” or “St. Joseph’s Table”) is laden with food contributed by everyone (note that all these St. Joseph celebrations might take place on the nearest, most convenient weekend). Different Italian regions celebrate this day differently, but all involve special meatless foods: minestrone, pasta with breadcrumbs (the breadcrumbs symbolize the sawdust that would have covered St. Joseph’s floor), seafood, Sfinge di San Giuseppe, and, always, fava beans, which are considered “lucky” because during the drought, the fava thrived while other crops failed (recipes below).

The table — which is always blessed by a priest — will be in three tiers, symbolizing the Most Holy Trinity. The top tier will hold a statue of St. Joseph surrounded by flowers and greenery. The other tiers might hold, in addition to the food: flowers (especially lilies); candles; figurines and symbolic breads and pastries shaped like a monstrance, chalices, fishes, doves, baskets, St. Joseph’s staff, lilies, the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts, carpentry tools, etc.; 12 fishes symbolizing the 12 Apostles; wine symbolizing the miracle at Cana; pineapple symbolizing hospitality; lemons for “luck”; bread and wine (symbolizing the Last Supper); and pictures of the dead. There will also be a basket in which the faithful place prayer petitions.

And here’s your host in a 2005 piece for Catholic Exchange:

Coming two days after the more widely — and raucously — celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, Italian families would honor the patron saint of workers and the protector of the family by laying out “tables” of sweets, breads and greens. On a nearby credenza always stood a statue of St. Joseph, the child Jesus in one hand and a lily in the other.

The lily detail has a fascinating history. In the Protevangelium, an apocryphal gospel attributed to St. James, an angel reportedly requested that all the walking sticks of eligible widowers in greater Jerusalem be collected and brought to the Temple. Joseph’s staff burst into flowers, just as Aaron’s did in the Old Testament, signaling that he was to be Mary’s groom. Statues of St. Joseph have included lilies ever since.

St. Joseph’s Day itself was like an open house, with family and friends dropping by my grandmother Nani’s, Aunt Mary’s or mother’s house, grabbing a bite to eat and coming and going as they pleased. Ideally, the parish priest would kick things off with a prayer to bless the table.

All this saintly celebrating so close to St. Patrick’s Day didn’t always sit well with my Irish friends. It was as though the Italians were encroaching on their calendared turf. In reality, though, St. Joseph’s Day has been celebrated in the US for decades by families with roots in the old country, especially Sicily.

The Cincinnati Enquirer runs a story in this morning’s edition on the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s new requirement that teachers assent to Church doctrine via the new contract. Your host is quoted. Kudos to Archbishop Schnurr for taking a bold stand. Here’s a snippet:

The contract for the 2014-15 school year explicitly orders teachers to refrain “from any conduct or lifestyle which would reflect discredit on or cause scandal to the school or be in contradiction to Catholic doctrine or morals.” It goes so far as to ban public support of the practices.

Principals in the 94 Archdiocese-supervised schools in Southwest and Central Ohio began receiving the new employment agreements Thursday. More than 2,200 Greater Cincinnati parochial teachers will be affected by the new contract, the Archdiocese estimates.

High-profile teacher lawsuits and controversies at Greater Cincinnati area Catholic schools in recent years have, at least in part, led to the larger, more detailed contract, Archdiocese officials said.

Under the new contract, teachers are expressly prohibited from: “improper use of social media/communication, public support of or publicly living together outside of marriage; public support of or sexual activity out of wedlock; public support of/or homosexual lifestyle; public support of/or use of abortion; public support of/or use of a surrogate mother; public support or use of in vitro fertilization or artificial insemination.”

Read related posts here, here, and here.

Update, 8 March 2014: Enquirer reporter Michael D. Clark pens a follow up piece on the popularity of the new contract with parents.

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