Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Pious Miscellany

A friend of my mother was out east in Maryland for her grandmother's funeral. After the rosary the priest made himself available for confessions, ministering to people who have just witnessed the saddening memento mori of a departed loved one. This is a superb practice worthy of emulation. Penitence is easier with death before our eyes. What's more, any estranged Catholics will be prepared to participate in the requiem mass the next day.

This of course, by an incommodius vicus of convoluted thoughts, leads me to recount an anecdote from John Zmirak's frequently funny Bad Catholics Guide to Good Living:

"A friend of the authors tells of his mother, a very active lay Catholic. She was upset when her pastor pulled out all the confessionals and refused to use a screen--denying her anonymity. So after a few complaints went unheeded, she showed up one Saturday afternoon in a Halloween mask, which she wore into the "reconciliation room." The priest wass aghast: "What are you doing?" She answered, cooly, "Retaining my canonical right to an anonymous Confession. And I'll be here like this every week, if I have to." The next day, one of the missing confessionals miraculously reappeared."

"With Him, therefore, and though Him, we venture to offer Thee this Sacrifice: to His most sacred intentions we desire to unite ours: and with this offering which He makes of Himself we wish to make an offering of our whole being unto Thee."

-Prayer before the Consecration, Old Tridentine Mass Missal

"Community" is too often just a form of collective egotism, a misplaced focus for which the Holy Sacrifice is the cure. I think emphasizing this would preserve the truth in certain modernizers' overemphasis on the community while at the same time further strengthening by means of sacrifical love Catholics' communion with God and each other.

Speaking of collective egotism, there is now a website for the local "liberal" Catholic bimonthly 'zine Leaven.

Its contents are generally riddled with tiresome dissent, but it does have an occasional article focusing on actual hands-on apostolates to the poor and homeless. Its tone is anti-clerical, especially when trying to justify that academic and journalistic trendiness which is cloaked under the name "Progressive." If one must be anti-clerical, I prefer the Jansenist kind myself.

Its contributors are largely church employees or academics at Regis University who often have pretentions to the prophetic. I suspect their readership is only two or three times the number of its contributors. Prayers needed for all of them, especially co-editor Professor John Kane who lost his son two years back.

Annunciation Radio is seeking to reestablish a Catholic radio presence in the Denver area.

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