Archive for June 2009

At Least Hamlet and Horatio Are Still BFFs

June 30, 2009

Here’s a link to a very funny site that retells the story of Hamlet as a series of postings on Shakespeare’s Facebook page.

Hat tip to the incomparable Dawn Eden for posting the link.


The Priest Shortage Hits Home

June 28, 2009

Any Catholic who practices and cares about the future of the faith knows the church today is afflicted with “crisis in vocations”—or to put it more bluntly, a critical shortage of priests and religious. Today that shortage came to my parish. For the first time since I have been a member of my present parish, we were forced to have a Sunday communion service rather than a proper Mass because there was no priest available. Our parish priest has been away for several weeks dealing with a family emergency and, God willing, is scheduled to return next weekend. For the last three weeks, we have had a visiting priest fill in for him, but this weekend that priest was not available.

I was at home recovering from an illness, so I was not at the service today, but it distresses me that we were forced to this pass because of the shortage of priests. I live in rural, eastern South Carolina, an area where Catholics are few and far between, and today was the first time in my memory that my parish has ever been without a priest for Sunday Mass. I can only imagine what the situation is like in areas where the priest shortage is even more severe. On a recent episode of his “Daily Breakfast” podcast, Father Roderick Vonhögen, a priest of the Archdiocese of Utrecht in the Netherlands, estimated that by the year 2015, his diocese would have only 50 active priests available to serve a population of over 1 million Catholics. As it is now, he and each of his fellow priests are responsible for 7-10 parish churches that have been grouped into “mega-parishes” simply because there are no priests available to serve the smaller parish churches.

All of this goes to show how entirely appropriate it is that Pope Benedict has declared a Year of the Priest, to encourage reflection on the importance of priests in Catholic life, to encourage priestly vocations, and to encourage those already serving as priests to keep up their good work and to strive even harder for holiness of life and better service to God and his people.

If you’re blessed enough to live in a parish with a resident priest, thank God for it— and thank the priest for his service to you. Pray for him, and pray that God will raise up good and godly men to succeed that priest when the time comes. If you know any unmarried, faithful Catholic men, encourage them to consider the priesthood as a vocation. I seriously considered the priesthood when I was younger, but I lacked the courage to follow through—now I think I would lack the physical health and stamina. I can still pray, however. Pray for your priests! Pray for more priests!

Too Large To Be An Insane Asylum

June 27, 2009

On hearing that his native state had seceded from the Union in December 1860, James L. Petigru, a unionist and opponent of secession quipped, “South Carolina is to small to be a republic and too large to be an insane asylum.”

I thought of that remark a couple of days ago as I got up early to take some medicine and switched on one of the morning news shows. The show gleefully led off with the latest on l’affaire Sanford, the fallout from Gov. Mark Sanford’s tearful public admission that he went AWOL from the state capital for a week in order to fly to Argentina for a tryst with his as yet unidentified paramour. The same show included a report on a South Carolina mother who has been charged with abuse and neglect for allowing her teenage son to grow to a gargantuan weight of 550 lbs.

The hosts of this program, who seemed more like gossip columnists than news reporters, interviewed the mother, and I must say, she didn’t exactly sound like the brightest bulb on the sign, so it’s easy to imagine how that unfortunate situation might have occurred. The Sanford episode, however, boggles the mind. I have to say this in my best Dr. Phil voice: What was he thinking? Did he honestly believe that it would somehow be OK if he sneaked off for a week of extracurricular extramarital activity without telling anyone his true whereabouts? Did he force his staff to put out the cover story that he was stressed out and had gone hiking along the Appalachian Trail, or did they concoct that one themselves?

So far, Gov. Sanford has indicated that he will not resign as governor, but the more I think about it, the more I believe he should. He says he wants to devote his remaining months in office to rebuilding the trust of the people of the state. I think, however the best way he can do that is to voluntarily surrender his office. It would demonstrate that he understands that actions have consequences. It would also remove him from many situations in which he might be tempted to make a similar monumental error in judgment that would have damaging consequences not only for him, but for the whole state. Finally, I think it would allow him to focus his time and energy on rebuilding his relationship with his wife and children, which, if I were in his shoes, would be my first priority.

I love the state of South Carolina. I was born in Georgia, but I’ve lived here since I was an infant. It’s my home. When stuff like this happens, however, I just have to shake my head and wish I were from somewhere else. South Carolina may be too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum, but I’m afraid it’s just the right size for a national embarrassment.

I Have a Follower!

June 24, 2009

Yes, that’s right! I have an official, signed up with Google follower, someone who will blindly obey my every command and help me achieve my plans for world domination, um, I mean, hang on every word I write, um, no, I mean stop in and read what I have to say and maybe leave a comment every so often. You know who you are. Thanks so much. I’m flattered, really. I don’t have as many willing slaves as that poser wannabe Dark Lord Mark Shea, but hey, everybody’s gotta start somewhere, right?

My first follower . . . (sniffle) . . . I’m so proud!

P. S. Oh, and Dread Dark Lord Mark Shea? Just kidding about that whole “poser wannabe” thing, honest. I mean I’d never . . . What I mean is, I wouldn’t dream of . . . Hey! What are you doing? Put that down! No! Please! Aaaaaaaagh!

Some Things That Rise Must Converge

June 24, 2009

It’s odd sometimes how some of my interests come together. As readers of this blog may be aware, I’m fascinated with all things Irish, Scottish, and Welsh, since many of my ancestors came from that part of the world. Readers may also know that I am president of my parish’s praesidium (local chapter) of The Legion of Mary, a Catholic organization dedicated to fostering deeper devotion to Jesus Christ and his Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary.

The Legion of Mary was founded on September 7th, 1921, in Dublin Ireland. That may sound like so much interesting historical trivia until you realize, as I did a few days ago, that the 1920s were a very turbulent time in Irish history. In 1921, the Irish had just concluded their War of Independence from Great Britain and set about trying to establish the Republic of Ireland. Tragically, however, the Republican movement soon split into factions because of profound disagreements about what the nature of Ireland’s relationship to Britain should be. Each faction accused the other of betraying the revolution and selling out the Irish independence movement. Infighting between the factions escalated into The Irish Civil War of 1922-23. The political fallout from the Irish War of Independence and the Civil War, including the partition of Ireland into the predominantly Catholic and independent Republic and the British and Protestant-controlled territory of Northern Ireland, played a huge part in “The Troubles,” the political and sectarian violence that plagued Northern Ireland until very recently.

So what’s the connection? At every Legion meeting, members pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the world, mercy from the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and prayers and intercession from the Immaculate Heart of Mary—worthy things at any time, to be sure, but especially valuable in times of war and violence. I imagine that to the founders of the Legion, these things were not just pious niceties or pretty phrases, but things they desperately wanted and needed—and things that are just as much wanted and needed in our world today.

Come, O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit, O Lord, and they shall be created. And you shall renew the face of the earth.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have mercy on us.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, Pray for us.

Prayer Request

June 24, 2009

Dear Readers,

(All three of you)

Blogging has been sparse around here of late in part because I’ve been struggling with a medical problem. I’ll spare you the gruesome details. It’s not major, but it is uncomfortable, messy, embarrassing, and darned inconvenient. With the right medication and treatment I should be back to whatever passes for normal around here in a few days. Until then, I’ll just have to grin and bear it. Your prayers would be appreciated.

I Want to See This Movie!

June 6, 2009

The trouble is, it hasn’t been made yet.

As a relative newbie in the world of comics, I gather that a big screen version of the adventures of the Green Lantern is like the holy grail to fans. There are rumors of a Green Lantern project in development, but apparently it hasn’t been cast and there isn’t yet a final version of the script—in short, it’s in “development hell.”

I’ve seen other fan-made GL trailers, but this is by far the best. This effort is from an individual by the name of Jaron Pitts. If you watch the original video on YouTube and click on the “more info” link, he lists dozens of audio and video clips from movies and TV shows that he stitched together (rather expertly, I must say) to make this video. He talks about the development process here. I was blown away by the professional look of this little film. It looks like a real, studio-produced movie trailer. In my humble opinion Nathan Fillion would be an excellent choice to play Hal Jordan/The Green Lantern, but the word is that he probably will not. Until the movie comes out, at least we have this beautiful little dream of what could have been.

Hat tip to Damien Stadler of the HeroMachine Developer’s Blog and combox for bringing this to my attention. Thanks, Damien!