Richard Chonak: December 2003 Archives

This year's list of Unwanted Words


The word mavens of Sault Ste. Marie have filed their annual report on expressions we've all heard a few too many times: away with them!

Happy new year.

Update: Here's the correct link for 2004.

I can relate, man.

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Sometimes you find a news story that really speaks to your own life situation.

Remember to call it a "landmark" decision

The Irish Catholics of South Boston have won another round in court against the liberals who want to take over their St. Patrick's Day parade.

The parade has long been full of Irish, patriotic, and Catholic displays -- our parish was even represented one year by a float depicting an altar and promoting our indult Mass -- so the broad-minded liberals of Boston couldn't let that kind of institution go on. Oh, how atavistic!

For a while, they tried to force the parade organizers -- a private group, mind you -- to let a gay group join the parade, on the ground that the parade was a "public accommodation" and subject to anti-discrimination laws. That dispute led to lengthy court battles, the cancellation of the parade in 1994, and finally vindication.

Let's remember, folks, to get the rhetoric right here: since we approve of the court's judgment in Hurley vs. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Group of Boston, it's to be described as a "landmark decision"; otherwise, it would have been just the opinion of some right-wing kook judge. In this case, it was a unanimous decision of the US Supreme Court: the selection of groups to participate in a parade is a form of expression, and thus a matter of free speech.

Even that, however, wasn't enough to dissuade the leftists from their efforts, and the city last year let an anti-war group piggyback on the parade by marching at its end. So -- ya gotta love the names in this case -- parade organizer John J. "Wacko" Hurley and attorney Chester Darling are keeping up the fight.

At the funeral

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Thanks to all at St. Blog's for your kind condolences at the death of my mother last week. The funeral was on Monday at her parish church in New Hampshire.

The new pastor, a kind young fellow who works on the diocesan tribunal, celebrated the Mass with reverence and peace, and gave an encouraging homily. At the end of the Mass he read out my own message of thanks to the parish, which sounds like a little homily on its own, come to think of it....

Nominally dead


Godfried Cardinal Danneels, the liberal Belgian cardinal -- come to think of it, is there any other kind? -- figures that Saddam deserves to be dead, but in name only.

I guess this makes sense: his Eminence is considered papabile, but that's only talk too.

From AFP's end-of-year wrap-up:

SANTIAGO - After living together for 57 years, Isolina Ojeda, 107, and her 86-year-old lover Oscar Martinez finally decided to make it official by getting married. After the ceremony, the blushing bride, slightly hard of hearing, said: "We had to get married, as God intended. It's a sin to live the way we were living."



In your kindness please pray today for the repose of the soul of Elsie Fay (Browning) Chonak, my own dear mother, who passed away Monday afternoon, December 15, during an operation. She was born in 1930 and was baptized in 1997. May the Lord who rewards the workers of the late hour bring her to Himself in everlasting life.

PETA put up this outrage in Rhode Island, the most Catholic state in the Union (population 65% Catholic), and it's gone already -- after the billboard company said they didn't want to be held liable for protestors going to the site and possibly getting injured while there. peta-board.jpg

Yet PETA's campaign coordinator William Rivas-Rivas says he'll use the image again and claims, "We're still at a loss as to why it was offensive." He said, according to a CNS story, that the image of Mary was respectful and "beautifully drawn".

What a confession of idiocy. If you haven't figured it out yet, Mr. Rivas-Rivas, how about this explanation: replacing the image of Jesus Christ, our God, with the image of a dead chicken is indeed offensive. I suppose the minds of PETA extremists and those of chickens are comparable, but we Catholics really do believe that God and men and chickens are not all interchangeable.

Public reaction, the spokesman claimed, was great: their web site got -- wow -- 1000 hits. Since PETA's web page contains 118 images, and each image retrieval counts as a hit to the web server, that means maybe 9 people connected in. Yeah, guy, go ahead and keep spending your ad money this way.

Bishop Robert Mulvee made his objection pretty clear: "This use of one of the most sacred images of the Christian faith trivializes not only the Mother of Jesus but also the very cause PETA strives to advance."

Borrowing from the dead


The Boston Archdiocese has to make good on its $85 million settlement deal soon, so it had to line up some quick loans to provide the cash as a short-term measure. Eventually, they'll be collecting from insurers, selling property, and doing Heaven knows what else to generate the funds.

The plan involves mortgaging the Seminary property and mortgaging the Cathedral property -- which, since the Cathedral is a parish, seems to break the promise not to use parish properties in the settlement.

My attention was caught by the fact that they're borrowing a few million from the priests' retirement fund and the cemetery endowment. That does look a little improper, doesn't it? Those funds belong, as a matter of justice, to their respective beneficiaries, and if the loans don't get repaid in a timely manner and with a just recompense for the risk (e.g.: a market-based interest rate), we can imagine lawsuits by retired priests or by the estates of the deceased.

A friend points out that, per canon 1295, the deal requires the consent of "those concerned", so one hopes that the retired priests and the cemetery's plotowners were represented by somebody independent. I won't be surprised, however, if that wasn't the case.

The snow


Help! I'm snowed in and can't get my car out of the drifts. If I stay home any longer, I'm going to start cleaning. Send Oreos!

No, not "Tommy", it's Tony

Although he's a local musician, I hadn't heard about Tony DeBlois until the other day, but it seems he's already appeared on EWTN, played at WYD2K, had a movie made from parts of his life story, and won some international awards. That blind autistic kid is a jazz pianist savant, as his third CD attests.

Bad art and bad morals?


A nude mural of our Lord on the outside of an Orange County church is dubbed "The Bawdy of Christ".

The Vox Clara committee met in Rome a couple of weeks ago:

Having examined sample ICEL translations from the Missale Romanum, the Committee expressed its gratitude for the excellent start made by the mixed commission in translating the Missale Romanum in an English style which is in conformity with the spirit and the specific provisions of the Instruction Liturgiam authenticam, approved by the Holy Father on March 20, 2001.
The new ICEL may turn out to do a good job.

If Padre ain't happy, ain't nobody happy

Either way, Padre Pio isn't happy. If the statue shedding tears of blood is for real, it's a cautionary sign; and if it's something phony, then somebody is in big trouble.

People should know: you just don't cross Padre Pio. After all, this was a saint who occasionally read the souls of his penitents and reminded them of sins they'd forgotten to confess. In one case, some gangster went to test him and was expelled from the confessional with a shout of "Pig!" That's one way of obtaining their conversion!

Passion news

A fan site for the Passion movie has photos, with news and FAQs in English and even Latin.

A soldier drops in

A Catholic father of two serving in the Army posted a comment about being away from his family on a one-year assignment. Maybe readers who've had that kind of experience will want to add to it. Add your comments to the thread where Christopher's note appears, and drop him an e-mail too.

Where's my "Christ charge" card?

From Norway's Aftenposten:

The image, 11 meters (36 feet) high, hangs over the entrance to the capital's main downtown shopping center. The giant Christ welcomes shoppers with outstretched arms , and what appears to be a halo over his head.

"To be honest I didn't react to it so negatively at first glance. It is a reminder to shoppers about what Christmas is really about, namely, that God gave his son Jesus Christ to us all," said dean Olav Dag Hauge.

What he didn't notice the first time was that the halo shining behind Jesus' head is a compact disc.

Catholic Light Zeitgeist


There's a cute feature on Google, called the Zeitgeist, which lists the search queries gaining (and fading) in popularity.

What search query has led more people to Catholic Light than any other in the first two days of December? Why, it's "pamela anderson sunday school". CL is the tenth Google hit for that search. The public also apparently wants to read (and comment vociferously!) on that "al franken liar".

Of course, occasionally people have to read something substantial here: Eric's year-old "arguments against cloning" has proved to be a post of lasting popularity.

But I'm proud to say that we're #1 in the Google results if you search for the phrase "thongs at church".

What? Who?

On life and living in communion with the Catholic Church.

Richard Chonak

John Schultz

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries written by Richard Chonak in December 2003.

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