February 2013

For a bookworm whose job often keeps him in front of a laptop, having an Amazon Prime account is like handing whiskey and car keys to a teenage boy. My latest impulsive infraction is John Zmirak’s The Bad Catholic’s Guide to the Catechism. I’m a huge fan of his other funny, irreverent, orthodox, and learned Bad Catholic guides, so I’m looking forward to devouring this one. Here’s a sample from Fr. C. John McCloskey’s review:

Question: So why insist on the Virgin Birth?

Answer: Well, most obviously because (and I don’t mean to sound like a hard-shell Baptist here) it’s in the frickn’ Bible. Clear as day. There is a long narrative explaining in painful detail how an angel appeared to Mary and told her something impossible would happen and how her fiancé Joseph reacted — by nodding at her and smiling as he slowly backed out of the room. Can’t you hear him saying to himself, “Boy, did I dodge that bullet,” as he logged on to JDate.com? …


If there’s one thing people do online, especially on blogs, it’s argue. Something about the perceived or actual anonymity of the medium makes people feisty. What they generally don’t do is argue well, i.e., use logical reasoning and argumentation. Along comes Andrew from the blog Electrogent, a site devoted to promoting manliness, with an eight-part post, “Argue Like a Man,” in which he exposes the most common logical fallacies. Count how many you use when your online temperature rises.

Proving that life often imitates a Christopher Buckley novel, fired Purcell Marian assistant principal Mike Moroski announces his run for city council:

Earlier this month, when the married Catholic made a controversy-stirring blog post in support of gay marriage, Moroski had said he was planning to run for a future City Council election.

Now, on that same blog … he declared his candidacy: “I have decided to follow my lifelong dream of running for Cincinnati City Council.”

The gay-marriage-support blog posting led to Moroski’s being terminated by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, which requires educators and other employees to sign a contract requiring them to “act consistently in accordance with the stated philosophy and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.” The Chuch opposes gay marriage.

Moroski, 34, lives Downtown. His blog says simply: “I love people. I also love Cincinnati, music and baseball.”

But he describes a multi-faceted campaign platform: “Tax incentives for big business, better not for profit management, education reform and a resolution to our city’s pension issue.”

Earlier this week at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of Cincinnati offered a Mass of Thanksgiving for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. The Catholic Telegraph has made a video the homily available via You Tube:

Here’s an excerpt of the text:

Elected pope at the age of seventy-eight, Pope Benedict XVI could not have been expected to continue the hectic schedule of worldwide travel that allowed his predecessor Pope John Paul II to log nearly 800,000 miles and visit 129 countries. But he brought his own talents and gifts to the papacy. He is a brilliant theologian and philosopher. I first met Cardinal Ratzinger over twenty years ago when I served in the General Secretariat of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and, when I traveled to Rome in 2010 to receive the pallium and again last year for the ad limina visit, Pope Benedict recalled my days as General Secretary. Though a man who enjoys his privacy, Pope Benedict XVI is unfailingly kind, hospitable, and welcoming. Ultimately, he is a very pastoral man.

Oftentimes terms such as “hardliner” or “ultra-conservative” conjure up images that fall short of reality. Pope Benedict XVI is a man of deep faith who wishes to voice the authentic teachings of Jesus and wishes, as well, to help others experience the joy (Jn. 15:11), peace (Jn. 14:27), and fullness of life (Jn. 10:10) that Jesus promises to those who live by these truths.

The local Sisters of Charity’s Office of Peace, Justice and Integrity of Creation has produced a Lenten “Care for Creation” calendar that has been circulated by a few like-minded parishes. Each day includes a recommended activity, and some of them are laugh-out-loud funny. Take a look at the recommendation for last Friday, Feb. 22:

Try a “water fast” by flushing your toilet half as often. Be mindful that many people around the world have access only to the amount of water each day that U.S. citizens use in one toilet flush.

The Office of Peace, Justice and Integrity of Creation (OPJIC, ‘natch) was founded by would-be priestess Louise Akers, who came to minor fame when Archbishop Pilarczyk barred her from teaching for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati when it was revealed she was a member of the Women’s Ordination Conference. But rest assured OPJIC has retained its founder’s spirit. The website includes a quote from notorious women’s ordination advocate Theresa Kane and an announcement that equally notorious dissident Joan Chittister will be the featured speaker at a symposium hosted by Xavier University.

Since the announcement of the papal abdication, Dr. Robert Moynihan’s reporting from Rome has provided an on-the-ground perspective. His latest issue of the Moynihan Letters, on the breaking the Pope’s ring, is a great example. Here he describes what Pope Benedict will be called and what title he retains:

He will be called “Pope Emeritus” or “Roman Pontiff Emeritus,” Father Lombardi said.

He will still dress in white, as a Pope does, in a simple, white cassock. And he will keep the title of address “His Holiness Benedict XVI.”

But the fisherman’s ring will be broken.

In the online Letters section of the Cincinnati Enquirer, a writer-student laments the departure of Xavier University theology professor Leon Chartrand, “visiting professor of Ethics, Ecology & Theology”:

I have only good things to say about Xavier University but when it comes to raise our voices about how Xavier Administration is handling their administrative decisions is that we need to speak up. Dr. Leon Chartrand is a beloved visiting Theology professor at Xavier University who has taught many Introductory Theology, as well as several 300 level theology courses. He also implemented a summer trip to Yellowstone, WY which provides three credits of philosophy and three credits of theology. The program has quadrupled since it was implemented and now Xavier is letting him go.

Xavier University is a great institution and they have an outstanding Theology Department, so things like this are unfair for him, for us students, and ultimately the institution.

Xavier University can’t be the best if they are letting the best they have – the professors – go.

Chartrand gave a talk at the nearby Redeemer Episcopal community in 2011 entitled “Re-thinking Theology in an Age of Environmental Uncertainty.” Redeemer’s bulletin announcement features a collection of his non-sequiturs, and this description of his focus, which Chartrand presumably gave them, is priceless:

He is primarily interested in understanding the phenomenological relations between lived experience and story and between mystery and meaning and how both relations inform a primordial land ethic.

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