This Week’s Scandals

Friday’s news included claims that a UN environmental protection boss and an Indian bishop have been acting badly.

Maybe someone has decided that environmental protection is a fraud after they read those articles. Or at least stopped supporting outfits that promote responsible resource management. Or stopped being a Catholic because they feel bad about the news.

I don’t think either decision would make sense. I’d better explain that.

About environmental protection and resource management, I live on Earth. It’s our home.

Taking care of this world makes sense. It’s part of our job. (Genesis 1:2731, 2:78, 2:15; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 307, 339340, 24152418)

Rape is a bad idea. A very bad idea. (Catechism, 2356)

Hypocrisy is also a bad idea. (Catechism, 2468)

But hypocrisy happens. Sometimes folks with authority act badly.

And sometimes folks make accusations that aren’t true. That’s a bad idea too, partly because it gets in the way of justice. (Catechism, 2476)

I also think that I’ve got far too little information to have an informed opinion about either of Friday’s scandals:

That won’t stop me from talking about how I see problems like these, and why I won’t stop being a Catholic. The latter won’t take long.

I’m a Catholic because I’m a Christian.

I’m a Christian because I think Jesus of Nazareth really is I AM:

“Jesus said to them, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.'”
(John 8:58)

That claim, by itself, isn’t particularly impressive. Anyone can say ‘I am God.’ A few do, occasionally. (January 21, 2018)

Being tortured and executed isn’t all that unusual either, sadly. What makes Jesus stand out from the crowd is that a few days after he’d been killed, our Lord stopped being dead. (October 29, 2017; April 30, 2017)

Two millennia later, we’re still celebrating. (December 25, 2017)

I was a Christian long before becoming a Catholic. I thought following Jesus made sense. I still do. I became a Catholic, grudgingly, when I realized who currently has the authority our Lord gave Peter. (July 30, 2017)

I think Peter was and still is right:

“Jesus then said to the Twelve, ‘Do you also want to leave?’
“Simon Peter answered him, ‘Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
“We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.'”
(John 6:6769)

American Traditions and Attitudes

I like being an American, for the most part. My guess is that quite a few other folks feel the same way. Some were born elsewhere, moving here in hopes of making a better life for themselves and their families.

That’s given descendants of other immigrants conniptions. I’d be concerned if folks stopped trying to come here, and that’s another topic. (June 17, 2018; January 22, 2017)

My country’s attitude toward Catholics could have been much worse. But it could have been better.

Part of the problem, I think, is that we inherited England’s tradition of feeling threatened by Catholic ideas.

Times change, fears and biases don’t. Not that I’ve noticed, not the basics.

Blaming our anxieties on Papists, immigrants, commies, Muslims, or other folks on society’s fringe is easy.

Thinking, and seeing ‘them’ as fellow-humans? That’s hard.

But I think it’s a good idea. (June 13, 2018; June 25, 2017)

Realizing that irrational fears aren’t reasonable concerns, accepting the idea that everybody isn’t — and shouldn’t — be just like me, treating others the way I’d like them to treat me? Humanity got off to a bad start. I talked about that on Wednesday. (September 19. 2018)

Accusations

Maybe the Indian bishop in Friday’s news is guilty. It’s possible. Like I said before, I don’t know enough about the accusations to have an informed opinion.

Assuming that a bishop is innocent because he’s a bishop is about as reasonable as assuming he’s guilty for the same reason.

It’s possible, I have no idea how likely, that the accusation is as well-founded as those in Maria Monk’s best-seller. (May 14, 2017)

The last time I checked, Catholics are a minority in India: about 1.55% of the population. That, and our clergy’s flashy uniforms, might make us an attractive target.

Folks in India have at least their share of very real problems. I figure they’re likely to have their crackpots and conspiracy theorists too.

Meanwhile, there’s no shortage of priests behaving badly in America’s news.

Some accusations have been true. One incident would have been one too many.

But like I said before, I won’t stop being a Catholic because someone in our camp violates our principles and betrays our trust. I don’t follow a priest, a bishop, or a pope.

I follow our Lord, because it’s a good idea. And the only viable option, in the long run. It’s like Peter said in John 6:6869: “…’Master, to whom shall we go?…'”

Assumptions

Once in a while I see someone expressing frustration that the Pope doesn’t ‘do something’ about a pet peeve. Or outrage that the Pope did do something.

An unspoken assumption seems to be that the Catholic Church can somehow force folks to be nice, or generous, or have the ‘right’ views, or resolve whatever crisis du jour is in play.

I remember an America where folks often acted as if the Vatican was a vast conspiracy, run by dark powers and hordes of toiling minions. I haven’t run into that sort of thing for decades. It’s another reason I don’t miss the ‘good old days.’

There’s a very slight bit of truth in that image. Very roughly a billion folks say they’re Catholic. That’s a big fraction of this world’s population. Vatican City, in Rome, has some remarkable architecture. Quite a few folks live there: around a thousand. That’s not a typo.

The Holy See is headquartered in Vatican City. It’s the Roman Catholic Church’s administrative service, sort of. Some folks who live in Vatican City work for the Holy See. Some don’t.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is part of the Holy See. It’s the section responsible for ensuring that we know what we believe, that what we’re told is accurate, and that clergy behave themselves. It’s more complicated than that, of course.1

They’re not always successful. Gibberish seems to travel faster, and get more attention, than what we’ve been saying for the last few millennia. But I’ve found that truth wins. Eventually.

Ideally, maybe, we wouldn’t need a Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This isn’t an ideal world. We don’t always behave ourselves, which is why we’ve got that section.

Maybe, with enough staff and resources, the Congregation et cetera could have studied every accusation made in every diocese around the world, swiftly and surely determined which were valid, and dealt with each incident.

That didn’t happen. The entire Congregation has no more than a few hundred folks running it, and they’re not dedicated exclusively to criminal investigations. That’s not even, I gather, their primary function.

I don’t think it helps that some countries, like mine, have a history of folks making wildly-inaccurate claims against Catholics and the Catholic Church.

Wolves, Washington, and Stories

Kids who hear about the boy who cried ‘wolf!’ are, I’ve read, more likely to lie than those who get the George Washington cherry tree treatment.

I think it’s a good thing for George that his father wasn’t in the cherry tree at the time.

And that stories don’t have to be historically accurate to be true in another sense. (December 13, 2016)

And that’s yet another topic. Topics:


1 Briefly, very briefly:

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Divine Mercy and Lawrence N. Kaas

We set a time for my father-in-law’s funeral: 3:00 p.m. this Friday, September 21, 2018.

The last I heard, all but one of his children have been told about his death. The one remaining has been, I understand, somewhere in Spain. I hope she gets one of the messages that have been sent to places where she’s likely to check in.

Contacting everyone involved, coordinating preparations, and dealing with my father-in-law’s household effects is a logistical exercise I’ve been very glad to have in other hands. That sort of thing is very much not my area of expertise.

Neither, I find, is summarizing my father-in-law’s life. This is his home area, and he’s been part of Sauk Centre’s doings for many decades. His obituary covers a few of the highlights:

One sentence, the one about “his shop,” describes a familiar part of Main Street’s 500 block:

“…He opened his shop, and over the years was known for fixing first typewriters and office machines, then sewing machines, canvas work, woodworking, clocks and even violins….”
(Obituary for Deacon Lawrence N. Kaas, Patton-Shad)

The L. N. Kaas Company is now part of Sauk Centre’s history.

I don’t know what will happen to the signs.

The house, with its shop and clock museum that wrapped around the front and north side, will almost certainly be sold. My household isn’t in a position to take over upkeep of the family place, I don’t know that anyone in the immediate family is. We’re going to miss it, but we have memories. Lots of them.

Christmas displays in Sauk Centre will be different, too.

The local Knights of Columbus council have had their Creche set up on the front lawn each year for a long time now. It’s possible that new owners will let that custom continue, but the K of C may be looking for a new location. Time will tell.

Divine Mercy

Friday at 3:00 in the afternoon is a wonderfully apt time for his funeral. It’s the hour of mercy, as my wife put it.

One of my father-in-law’s main interests was the Divine Mercy devotion.

There’s a story or two about the carving he made for the local Divine Mercy outfit: which will wait for another time.

I’ve mentioned it, and the devotion, before. (October 15, 2017; April 23, 2017)

I’ve also talked about mercy and our Lord’s death. I think mercy is important, so I’ll go over pretty much the same stuff again.

I’ve got a very personal interest in mercy. Without it, I’d be toast.

Not that I’m a particularly bad person, or guilty of some outstandingly heinous crime.

The problem is that I’m not a perfectly perfect person either. Not even close.

It’s not my fault, not entirely. This world was messed up long before I came along.

I could say that I’m affected by original sin, and leave it at that. Problem is, I’m a Catholic living in America.

I like being an American, for the most part; but my homeland’s traditional spiritual ideas aren’t entirely consistent with mine.

What I mean by “original sin” is not the familiar notion that we’re garbage, or that there’s something basically wrong with being human. I suspect at least some of our restlessness comes from realizing that we could be doing a lot better than we are. As it is – – –

Something Went Wrong

Like everyone else around here, other than angels, I’m a human.

We’re a particular sort of creature: rational and able to decide what we do, like angels. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 311, 328336, 1704, 17301731)

We’re also material beings. That makes us significantly different from the angels. We’re spiritual beings, with God’s “breath of life” — and with a body made from the stuff of this world. (Genesis 1:2627, 2:7; Catechism, 325348, 355370)

Having a body isn’t a problem. God didn’t make a colossal mistake by creating a material world and putting humans in it. Like I keep saying: God doesn’t make junk.

This world is still “very good.” So are we. Basically. We’re still made “in the divine image,” as Genesis 1:27 puts it. (Genesis 1:31; Catechism, 31, 299, 355)

Something went wrong. Anyone who reads the news, or knows other humans for that matter, has most likely noticed our problems. It doesn’t take much self-awareness to realize that I’m flawed too.

Again, it’s not entirely my fault.

Trouble started when an angel decided that doing what God wants didn’t outweigh personal interests. That angel became something of a celebrity, acquired a following and chucked citizenship in Heaven. (Catechism, 391395)

I’m over-simplifying, of course.

The first of us made pretty much the same decision. They decided, with a little nudge, to do what they liked — not what God wanted. When it started going wrong, the man tried blaming his wife. And God. (Genesis 3:112)

Things kept going downhill, and here we are: stuck with consequences of that early decision. (Catechism, 396412)

Original sin, the Catholic view, is that we’re still made “in the divine image.” We made a huge mistake when we got started. That decision affected what we have been doing ever since. The harmony we had with ourselves, with the world, and with God has been broken. (Genesis 1:27, Genesis 3:53:13; Catechism, 400)

Each of us lives in a world that’s not what it might have been. We inherit a human nature that’s been wounded. (Catechism, 396, 401, 1701)

Wounded: not changed. Our nature is still what it was. Each of us is still good. Basically. (Catechism, 31, 299, 355361, 374379, 398, 400406, 405, 17011707, 1949)

Needing Mercy

If we’re still basically good, how come we need mercy?

Can’t we just decide to start being nice, acting as if human history never happened?

I don’t think so. But it’s a nice idea.

Many of us decide that we’ll try acting up to our ideals, not down to expectations.

Some of us make a little headway. Some of those folks get recognized as Saints, and that’s another topic. (September 4, 2016)

The way I see it, I’m like someone scraped out of a wrecked car and in the emergency room. Good news: I’m still alive. Not-so-good news: I’m in bad shape.

Concentrating on “still alive” and imagining that I don’t need help wouldn’t make sense.

Neither does imagining that I don’t need God’s mercy.

Sin?

I’m a sinner — I’d better say what “sin” is.

I think I’m a sinner because I don’t consistently do what I know is good for me, and avoid what’s bad. (Catechism, 1706, 1776, 1955)

Any time I deliberately do something that hurts someone else, or me, that’s a sin. Acting that way doesn’t make sense. It’s an offense against reason, truth and God. (Catechism, 18491850)

I commit a sin whenever I don’t love God and my neighbor, and see everyone as my neighbor. (Matthew 22:3640, Mark 12:2831; Matthew 5:4344; Mark 12:2831; Luke 10:2530; Catechism, 1825)

That happens much more often than I like. (December 10, 2017)

When it does, I’ve got choices.

I could decide that I’m depraved, doomed to a life of wickedness and a future rife with woe and despair. Or that “sin” is a silly notion imagined by prudes who don’t enjoy life. Or that if I ignore my problems, they’ll go away. I’ve got a plethora of options along those lines.

Some self-described paragons of virtue have helped make “sin” look good by comparison. And that’s yet another topic. (January 8, 2018; October 1, 2017)

I prefer trying to make sense. Once I calm down, at any rate.

A New Option — and the Best News Yet

Our options changed, about two millennia back. John 3:1621 talks about it: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son….”

What Jesus said was a big deal.

But it’s what our Lord did that got the attention of the surviving Apostles.

A few days after Jesus had been tortured, publicly executed and buried — the Son of God stopped being dead. (March 4, 2018; April 30, 2017; April 16, 2017)

That, by any reasonable standard, is a big deal. It took a few meetings and a working lunch to convince the Apostles, particularly Thomas, that death hadn’t won. (July 2, 2017)

Since then, we’ve been passing along the best news humanity ever had.

God loves us. All of us. Each of us. And God wants to adopt us. (Romans 8:15; Ephesians 1:35; Peter 2:34; Catechism, 13, 2730, 52, 1825, 1996)

Accepting God’s offer made sense to me. So does trying to act as I if take it seriously. That includes learning and accepting the family values.

Quietly believing won’t cut it. I should act as if what I believe matters. (James 2:1719; Catechism, 18141816)

On the ‘up’ side, what’s expected of me is quite simple.

I should love God and my neighbors. All my neighbors. Everyone, no matter who they are or where they live, no matter what they’ve done. No exceptions. (Matthew 5:4344, 22:3640; Mark 12:2831; Luke 6:31 10:2527, 2937; Catechism, 1789)

Simple, and very far from easy. But I think trying makes sense.

“…Illuminating the World….”

The core of our faith, the basics of what we believe, hasn’t changed, and won’t.

How we express that faith — our habits and customs, laws and devotions — that’s changed as centuries and millennia passed. Some changes happened when different cultures added their traditions to our Tradition. (Catechism, 7583, 172175, 12001206)

That’s a good thing. The world we live in has changed and keeps changing. Cultures, like people, aren’t all alike. We’re not supposed to be. (February 4, 2018; December 3, 2017; October 15, 2017)

The Divine Mercy devotion is quite new.

Sr. Faustina Kowalska’s diary, mostly entries from the 1930s, gave us the devotion’s ideas. Having a Pope who spoke Polish helped, and that’s yet again another topic.

She’s St. Faustina Kowalska now. Folks around the world practice the devotion. You’ll find an English-language approach at thedivinemercy.org: The Divine Mercy Message and Devotion and Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska.

I want to finish this post before starting my hour at the local Eucharistic Adoration chapel, so here’s a few quotes, a little more about Deacon L. N. Kaas’s work, and the usual link list:

“…‘Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his steadfast love endures for ever’ (Ps 118: 1). So the Church sings on the Octave of Easter, as if receiving from Christ’s lips these words of the Psalm; from the lips of the risen Christ, who bears the great message of divine mercy and entrusts its ministry to the Apostles in the Upper Room: ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you…. Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained’ (Jn 20: 2123).

“Before speaking these words, Jesus shows his hands and his side. He points, that is, to the wounds of the Passion, especially the wound in his heart, the source from which flows the great wave of mercy poured out on humanity. From that heart Sr Faustina Kowalska, the blessed whom from now on we will call a saint, will see two rays of light shining from that heart and illuminating the world: ‘The two rays’, Jesus himself explained to her one day, ‘represent blood and water’ (Diary, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, p. 132)….”
(“Canonization of Sr. Mary Faustina Kowalska,” Pope John Paul II (April 30, 2000) (Divine Mercy Sunday) [emphasis mine])

Legacy

That’s what the northeast corner of L. N. Kaas’s shop looked like around December of 2010.

The big carving of Mary, next to the Divine Mercy devotion picture, is among the best pieces he’s done. My opinion.

Last Sunday I learned that it’ll be going to the Poor Clares, the Order of Saint Clare outfit that’s down the road from here.

I think giving it to the Poor Clares is a very good idea. They’re a Franciscan order, cloistered, and a good bunch of folks. I’m sure they’ll appreciate the gift and make good use of it.

Finally, the usual — inevitable? — links. And, today, something Deacon Kaas said at the end of many homilies: “…be Good, be Holy, preach the Gospel always and if necessary use words.”

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Disasters, Deaths, Decisions

I figure the best way to deal with a hurricane or typhoon is to be somewhere else.

That’s not always possible, so ‘how to survive’ advice generally talks about how to cope with wind, rain and flooding.

Some advice may seem obvious, like boarding up windows and having supplies on hand.

Some maybe doesn’t, like avoiding the attic when flood waters rise. Going up another floor to stay dry might seem reasonable at the time. Trouble starts if the water keeps rising. When that happens, having a hatch to the roof or some way to break through the roof is a good idea:

News here in America has been focusing on the usual political fracas and celebrity shenanigans. But there’s a bit about the east coast storm, too.

Deaths


(From Reuters, via BBC News, used w/o permission.)
(“Trees were downed across North Carolina amid high winds”
(BBC News))

At Least 14 Dead In Carolinas And ‘The Worst Flooding Is Yet To Come’ In Some Areas
Emily Sullivan, NPR (September 15, 2018)

“Florence weakened to a tropical depression Sunday morning, the National Hurricane Center said, but flooding continued to be a major danger throughout the Carolinas.

“North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said the storm is more dangerous now than when it made landfall. ‘Flood waters are still raging across parts of our state, and the risk to life is rising with the angry waters,’ Cooper said in a news conference on Sunday….”

More than a dozen folks have died so far in this storm. Some drowned, debris hit others. At least one died when a chimney fell on him.

A mother and her child died when a tree fell on their house. Emergency crews found her husband in the wreckage, alive. He’s been taken to a hospital.

I don’t think the house in the Reuters/BBC photo was theirs. The Independent article showed what looks like a different neighborhood.

Meanwhile, folks living near the western Pacific Ocean have another storm to deal with.1

In the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time


(From Reuters, via BBC News, used w/o permission.)
(“A building used as a refuge by miners and their families was crushed by landslides”
(BBC News))

Typhoon Mangkhut: Miners and families buried by landslide
(September 17, 2018)

Rescuers in the Philippines are digging through mud to retrieve bodies buried by a landslide that hit as Typhoon Mangkhut battered the country.

“At least 32 people in the mining town of Itogon, in Benguet province, were crushed in a single shelter.

“Teams are raking through the rubble with their bare hands, passing blocks of concrete and pieces of wood down a 50ft line to clear the area….”

My guess is that Mangkhut 2018 will end more lives than Florence. I could be wrong about that. Both storms are still in progress, and the resulting floods won’t go away quickly. We may hear about more collapsed hillsides and crushed shelters.

I figure the folks near Itogon were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time — but for the right reasons.

“…A group of artisanal goldminers in the village of Ucab, which lies in a valley in Itogon municipality, had huddled with their families in a two-storey shelter, Conrad Navidad of the International Organization for Migration told the BBC. The building was crushed, and 29 people remain missing.

“‘It was used as a worship area for the church group of the mine workers and their families,’ said Mr Navidad, who was at the scene earlier on Monday. ‘Before the typhoon hit, their pastor invited them to take refuge in that bunkhouse – and then the disaster happened and they were buried by the landslide.

“‘They are not hoping for survivors anymore – just for the retrieval of the bodies buried.’…”
(BBC News)

My ‘at the wrong place’ view isn’t the only possible assumption.

Maybe nobody will see the Itogon tragedy as a real-life melodrama. But the potential is here for at least two sorts of rant.

‘And the Moral of this Storm Is – – – ???’

Folks favoring older traditions might figure the dead and missing were guilty of being in the ‘wrong’ church. Or maybe for being gold miners — worshiping mammon and all that.

That sort of thing is a perennial favorite. (September 10, 2017)

Katrina: God’s Judgment on America
Anonymous; Restore America, via Beliefnet (2005)

“… There was the burgeoning Gulf Coast gambling industry, with a new casino that was to open on Labor Day weekend. But of course, what is a little gambling if it supports ‘education’ and brings revenue into government coffers? And then there was the 34th Annual gay, lesbian and transgender ‘Southern Decadence’ Labor Day gala to be held from August 31st to September 5th….”

The more avant-garde might see gold mining as an affront to Mother Nature, who rose in fury against the despoilers:

Jennifer Lawrence calls hurricanes ‘Mother Nature’s rage and wrath’
Christian Holub, Entertainment Weekly (September 8, 2017)

“Jennifer Lawrence says the deadly hurricanes that have formed in the Atlantic Ocean over the last month — including Hurricane Irma, which is set to batter Florida this weekend — are the result of ‘Mother Nature’s rage and wrath….”

Forget ‘saving the Earth’ – it’s an angry beast that we’ve awoken
Clive Hamilton, The Conversation (May 27, 2014)

“Environmentalism is undergoing a radical transformation. New science has shown how long-held notions about trying to ‘save the planet’ and preserve the life we have today no longer apply.

“Instead, a growing chorus of senior scientists refer to the Earth with metaphors such as ‘the wakened giant’ and ‘the ornery beast’, a planet that is ‘fighting back’ and seeking ‘revenge’, and a new era of ‘angry summers’ and ‘death spirals’….”

Me? I think storms are dangerous. Sometimes people die during storms. Some are careless. Some do everything they reasonably can to stay alive, and die anyway.

Life happens. Sometimes it’s pleasant. Sometimes it’s anything but.

I figure that whatever happens to me, pleasant or otherwise, what matters most is what I do about the experience. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 17041707, 1730, 18521869)

Disasters, Decisions


(From Author Anthony Ivanoff, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)
(What’s left of trees and barricades in Hong Kong, near Hennessy Road, St. Paul’s Convent School and Yee Wu Street.)

Mangkhut 2018 is over the mainland now, giving folks in southern China trouble. Meanwhile, survivors in the Philippines are dealing with ‘after the storm’ issues:

I think we get information about disasters more quickly than we did in my youth.

That could be a problem if I decided to fret about them, or — perhaps worse — enjoy watching others suffer. Or decide that folks who aren’t near me don’t matter.

Knowing that others are suffering won’t do much good, if I can’t or won’t do anything about that knowledge.

There are, happily, a few things I can do. Like share ‘how you can help’ links you may not have seen on the national news:

Sin and All That

Even if I didn’t ‘feel like’ caring about what happens to folks in places I’ve never seen, apathy isn’t an option.

If I take my faith seriously, I’ll at least try to love my neighbors — and see everyone as a neighbor, no matter who or where they are. (Matthew 5:4344, 22:3640, Mark 12:2831; Luke 10:2537; Catechism, 1706, 1776, 1825, 18491851, 1955)

I should be promoting truth and justice, contributing to the common good and getting involved as best I can. Acting as if mercy matters is another good idea. (Catechism, 1915, 2239, 2447, 2472, 24752487)

I can use suffering, joy, any experience, as a reason to pray and rejoice. (1 Thessalonians 5:1618; Catechism, 2648)

None of that is easy. But it’s still a good idea.

I should also try to avoid sinning. That’ll be a tad less difficult if I’ve got a clue as to what “sin” means.

Turns out that it’s pretty simple.

Sin is deliberately doing something that hurts myself or others. It’s doing something that doesn’t make sense in the long run. It’s an offense against reason and God (Catechism, 18461869)

Putting the almighty buck, fame, good looks, or anything other than God at the top of my priorities is a bad idea. Living for nothing but my career, for example, would be wrong. But working is a good idea. It’s what we’re supposed to do. Within reason. (Catechism, 378, 531, 21122114, 2172)

I take sin and all that seriously.

But I don’t see virtue in either hurling epithets at ‘those sinners over there,’ or trying to make myself feel miserable because I’m a wretched sinner.

That gets me back to typhoons, hurricanes and other disasters.

I don’t see calamities as ‘God’s judgment on those sinners over there.’ On the other hand, I don’t think they’re meaningless. They’re opportunities to practice charity: which is a virtue. (Catechism, 1813, 18221829)

Disasters can also be a good reminder that I’ve only got so much time to “work out” my salvation. (Philippians 2:12)

Not that I can work my way into heaven. (March 11, 2018)

Using the Brains God Gave Us

I’ve seen some of the usual ‘be very afraid’ stuff in op-eds, along with one refreshingly sane look at what’s been happening over the last few decades.

I think folks on all sides of the ‘climate and environment’ hullabaloo would be well-advised to turn the hysteria down a notch or two.

I also think that studying this world, developing new tools, using the brains God gave us, is a good idea. It’s part of being human. (Catechism, 159, 214217, 283, 294, 341, 22922295)

Part of our job is taking care of this world. We can and should use its resources: wisely, keeping future generations in mind. (Catechism, 24152418, 2456)

More about that, and what my family’s experiencing at the moment:


1 This month’s big storms:

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Death in the Family

My father-in-law, “Deacon Dad,” had breakfast this morning. My wife and #3 daughter were there, lending a hand. He had been hospitalized recently, returning home a few days back.

A priest came later in the morning, with the Eucharist. My father-in-law asked for, and received, a blessing. Then he started a nap, and died.

I can think of few better ways to leave this life.

The family is being told about today’s loss. Has been told, I would think, by now. It’s about twenty after four in the afternoon. The next few days will be — eventful. Interesting. It’s a largish family, and this is a major event in our lives.

We’re all feeling the loss, each according to our circumstances and nature.

My son and I had a good talk about woodworking, city planning, golf courses, the Myst/Cyan games — all of which made sense in these circumstances, for folks like us. Like me, anyway.

I’ve also wept a bit, and decided to start writing this.

There’s a lot to say. But I’ll skip pious platitudes, saccharin slogans and all that. This really doesn’t seem like a time for that sort of hokum. I’m not convinced that it’s ever appropriate. Except in stories, and that’s another topic.

Besides, I’ve talked about life, death, and the big picture before:

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