Apollo 11, 50 Years Later

Apollo 11’s Lunar Module reached Mare Tranquillitatis fifty years ago this month. I remember hearing Neil A. Armstrong announce the landing site’s name: “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”

A few hours later, Armstrong opened the Lunar Module’s MESA — a storage locker built into the lander’s side.

A television camera in the MESA showed us Armstrong’s, and humanity’s, first step onto another world.

Back on Earth, one out of every five people were watching: at home, in pubs, at cafes, in New York’s Central Park and at shop windows. Pope St. Paul VI watched at the Castle Gandolfo observatory. Folks in Moscow watched, too: with a four-hour tape delay.1

Meanwhile, Back on Earth

Humanity’s arrival on another world wasn’t the only noteworthy event in July, 1969.

Following their agent’s instructions, Vanilla Fudge arrived in North Hampton, Ohio. The concert was in Northhampton Township, near Dayton.

India’s Prime Minister nationalized 14 private banks. The banks held about three-quarters of Indian deposits. Jayaprakash Narayan called the move a “masterstroke of political sagacity.” And that’s another topic.

Thailand’s Royal Rainmaking Project flew its first field experiment, seeding clouds over the Khao Yai National Park. Results were mixed. Rain fell from the clouds, but not over the target area.2

Science and a Flag

Armstrong and Aldrin spent about 21 hours, 30 minutes at Tranquility Base.

They were outside the Lunar Module for two and a quarter hours; setting up equipment, collecting photos and setting up equipment: and, 25 feet from the Lunar Module, an American flag.

That was a tad too close. The Lunar Module ascent stage exhaust toppled the Lunar Flag Assembly — flag, mast and all. The incident’s fraught with symbolism, and may have inspired solemn soliloquies on the futility of it all. Or maybe not.

The Tranquility Base science equipment lasted longer.

PSEP, the Passive Seismic Experiment Package, stayed active for 21 days. The Laser Ranging Retroreflector, LRRR, is still used. Occasionally.3

Viewpoints

Some folks in my country didn’t approve of all the fuss, so they hosted a protest march near the Kennedy Space Center.

They had a point.

America in the late Sixties was not a new Camelot. Our government hadn’t abolished poverty and avenged all injustices.

I might have been more impressed by anti-Apollo protests, if social activists had protested Super Bowl ads and the Academy Awards with equal enthusiasm. Maybe they did, and I didn’t notice.4

Somewhere along the line, “if we put men on the moon, why can’t we…” stopped sounding relevant — and joined “relevance” wherever cliches go as they fade away.

I don’t think designing, testing and building technology that sent a few folks to Earth’s moon and back is more important than people. But doing that is arguably easier than solving ancient social ills.

If the choice had been to either make spaceships or help people, I’d pick helping people. It’s a matter of priorities. I think people are more important than things.

I’m not convinced that dealing with social ills or developing technology really was an either-or situation.

Scenarios where Our Hero must save either The Professor’s notes or a Pauline clone can make good stories.5

Sometimes life is that simple. But not often, I think.

Paying Attention

Backing up a little, I think people are important. I also think acting like humans is a good idea.

I thought so before becoming a Catholic. What’s changed is what I know about why being human is okay.

We’re told that God creates everything, and sees it as “very good.”

We’re created in God’s image. We’re very good too, basically. (Genesis 1:27, 31; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 268, 279, 299, 301305)

Humanity isn’t God’s greatest blunder.

God writes knowable physical laws into everything we can observe. (Catechism, 268, 279, 299, 301305; “Gaudium et spes” 5, 15, Second Vatican Council, Bl. Pope Paul VI (December 7, 1965))

If we’re paying attention, everything we learn about this universe will reflect a facet of God’s truth. (Catechism, 302308)

Learning about this universe is a good idea. It gives us more reasons to admire God’s work. (Catechism, 159, 214217, 282283, 294, 341)

Having Problems

If we’re basically good, living in a very good world, how come we’ve got problems?

As Supreme Being said in Monty Python’s “Time Bandits,” “I think it has something to do with free will.” (November 6, 2016)

The Catholic Church goes into a bit more detail on the subject.

There’s a considerable gap between how we should act and what we actually do. We’re dealing with consequences of a bad choice. That makes doing what’s right is difficult. Putting it mildly. (Genesis 3:113; Catechism, 397409, 17761794, 18491869)

Thinking that logical consequences happen isn’t even close to believing that we’re “loathsome insects,” and that’s yet another topic. (January 8, 2018)

We can misuse science and technology.

But studying this universe and developing new technology with what we learn is part of being human. (Catechism, 22932296)

Options

A half-century after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin left Tranquility base, we still have problems.

Cities “undimmed by human tears” are an unfulfilled dream. (July 4, 2019)

Folks who should know better act badly. Injustice happens. (February 17, 2019)

Ranting about the unfairness of it all is an option. So is writhing in agony over humanity’s collective angst: and trying to make you feel miserable, too. Neither seem like good ideas.

Instead, I’ll recap what I keep saying.

Individuals and societies are important. Each of us should be working for the common good. The common good includes helping individuals and society grow and flourish. (Catechism, 19051912)

We’re not all alike. We’re not supposed to be. But we each have equal dignity.
(Catechism, 361, 369370, 1929, 19341942)

I don’t see a problem with noticing non-wretched events. Or maybe even celebrating when something goes right. And paying attention to what needs fixing.

To be Continued

This is where I was going to start talking about Lucian of Samosata’s “A True Story,” other tales of trips to the moon, and a 1950s series about space travel.

Maybe I’ll have that ready by July 20: the Apollo 11 landing’s anniversary.

My reason, or excuse, for not having that bit ready is that my oldest daughter arrived last week for a visit.

As I said before, it’s a matter of priorities. While my daughter was here, I could use my time for writing, or talking with her. I figured the writing could wait. I’ve already got part of the ‘before Apollo’ post ready, so finishing it by Saturday seems reasonable.

Somewhat-related posts:


1 Visiting another world:

2 In other news:

3 Science and technology:

4 Protest:

5 On the sometimes-silly side:

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Patriot Dreams

The Fourth of July is Independence Day for the United States.

It’s also the anniversary of Alice in Wonderland’s inspiration and Pulcheria’s first day as regent. Folks could celebrate Earth’s aphelion today. We’ll be getting nearer our sun until early January.

I don’t know how many folks mark the date as Pactum Sicardi Day or remember it as the Lockheed Vega’s maiden flight day.

The Fourth of July was Independence Day for the Philippines until 1962, when it became Philippine Republic Day. The archipelago’s Independence Day is now June 12.1

I’m an American, so I’m mostly aware of July Fourth as my country’s Independence Day.

Patriotism Can be Cheesy

Nothing says America! quite like the majestic figures of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln. Carved from 700 pounds of cheddar cheese. Set among snack crackers. With a cheese flag.

Maybe there’s something that says it better.

But there’s nothing like it.

“…’I didn’t say there was nothing better,’ the King replied. ‘I said there was nothing like it.’ Which Alice did not venture to deny….”
(“Through the Looking-Glass,” Lewis Carroll (1872) via gutenberg.org)

I like living in America: land of the free, home of the Uncle Sam Flag Coolers, Patriotic Malibu Sunglasses, LED Light-Up Patriotic USA Hats, and — while they last— cheese sculptures.2

I like just-for-fun kitsch. Or I could let it upset me: protesting plastic proliferation, harrumphing over taking Old Glory’s image in vain, or deploring the sinful waste of food. But I won’t.

Wasted food complaints may be non-starters. At least some of the patriotic cheese sculptures were returned to Wisconsin, cut into manageable chunks and given to food pantries. And that’s another topic.

American Patchwork

I like being an American. On the whole.

If nothing else, it’s nice to live in a country that folks are trying to enter; not escape.

Election years strain my affection for our form of government. But it’ll do.

“…it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time….”
(Parliament Bill, Mr. Churchill (Woodford) (November 11, 1947) Hansard text)

Not that America is a democracy, quite. I’ve seen it called a constitutional federal republic with democratic traditions. That’s small “d.”

I strongly suspect my country has held together for 243 years in part because we’re a patchwork of local, regional, state and territorial governments linked by a federal authority.

Getting a government’s job done isn’t easy, even when we’re all cooperating.

If the job makes sense, that’s bad news.

If it doesn’t, the system can give us time to correct whatever went wrong at the leadership levels.

We’ve only had one major internal war, and are fixing the mess it left. Most nations, if they last long enough, likely go through rough patches: like England’s Anarchy and Interregnum. I like to think we learn something each time. Some of us.

I also figure America has endured because there’s more to us than our governments.

Happily, our voluntary associations have been free to get jobs done. For the most part.3

Words and Ideals

Maybe I’d be more comfortable with words like “patriot” and “patriotism” if I hadn’t grown up in the Sixties.

McCarthyism’s heyday was over. Some Americans wondered if unwavering faith in HUAC’s wisdom was prudent.

Kids were growing up in a world with tech and prosperity their parents hadn’t known. Disconnects between slogans and action, ideals and attitudes, were becoming obvious.

“…If the mind is baffled
When the rules don’t fit the game,
Who will answer?…”
(“Who Will Answer?” Ed Ames (1967))

“…Go ahead and hate your neighbour
Go ahead and cheat a friend
Do it in the name of heaven
You can justify it in the end….”
(“One Tin Soldier” Dennis Lambert, Brian Potter (1969))

“…Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace….”
(“Imagine,” John Lennon (1971))

“The Establishment,” folks who enjoyed prestige and influence, saw what has happening. They didn’t like it.

Some, not all, apparently decided that since what they’d been doing didn’t work — they should do it more forcefully. That didn’t work either. Not the way they intended.

Maybe stalwart defenders of their status quo believed they were the last true patriots.

Calling devotion to their opinions “patriotism” helped me associate the word with nativism, hubris, and anger.

I now recognize distinctions between patriotism, nationalism and jingoism.4 I’ve also learned to appreciate the value and risks of using labels.

Time passed. The upper crust of today’s Establishment are around my age. Many probably shared my youthful conviction that we can do better. Maybe they still think so.

The trick, then and now, isn’t just thinking we can do better. It’s seeing what will work. And doing it.

Change Happens

The world keeps changing.

Some of what’s happened since the Sixties is an improvement. Some, in my view, isn’t.

That’s frustrating for folks in the Establishment, and for those of us who are affected by their actions.

Today’s Establishment wouldn’t, most likely, notice that they’re reacting pretty much as their predecessors did.

The details are different, but I see the same pattern: emphasis shifting from goals to fears, slogans used more as shibboleths than rallying cries.

Words like “tolerance” may be following “patriotism” into dead storage. And “freedom” still means “free to agree with me” in some circles.

I don’t like today’s political sound and fury. I certainly don’t think more of the same is a good idea. And I remember our past too well to want a rerun.

But I think hope makes sense.

Change is happening. This can be a good thing.

My Country

Whether or not I’m a patriot may depend on who’s talking. The Merriam-Webster dictionary says a patriot is someone “who loves and supports his or her country.”5

Assuming that love of country stops well short of idolatry, and that support is the sort that makes sense, I’m a patriot.

It’s not an option. Not if I take being a Catholic seriously.

Living as if my faith matters boils down acting as if loving God and my neighbors matters. And seeing everyone as my neighbor. (Matthew 5:4344, 7:12, 22:3640, Mark 12:2831; 10:2527, 2937; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1789)

Acting like love matters is easier when my reason and emotions are in sync. But easy or hard, using my brain is a good idea. (Catechism, 17771782)

As a Catholic, I’m obliged to do what’s possible in public life: recognizing humanity’s solidarity, and respecting authority. Within reason. (Catechism, 1778, 1915, 18971917, 19391942, 2199, 22382243)

Seeing my country’s system as the worst one possible, except for all others, is okay. Thinking that everyone should be Americans, or run their countries like ours, not so much.

There isn’t one ‘correct’ form of government. Different cultures and eras have different needs, and that’s okay. (Catechism, 1915, 19571958)

I think my country has much to offer the world. I’d rather live here than anywhere else. If that’s loving my country, then I love America.

I’d prefer living in a world where everyone could feel that way about their homeland. Not because it’s like America, but because it’s a unique moment in the life of a land and people.

America and Hair

Again, I like living in America. I think it’s a good place to live. I also think we can do better.

Even if I could drag my country back to an earlier time, I wouldn’t. The Sixties happened in part because so many folks had gotten fed up with the status quo. We changed because what we had wasn’t working.

Yesteryear won’t come back. Today needs improvement. That leaves one direction: forward.

Maybe daydreaming of ‘good old days’ that haven’t happened yet is nothing more than an occasionally-pleasant pastime.

But I think there’s some value in having a “patriot dream.”

“…O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!…”
(“America the Beautiful,” Katharine Lee Bates, 1911 version, via Wikipedia)

A century later, our cities ‐ alabaster and otherwise ‐ aren’t “undimmed by human tears.” But we’re moving in that direction.

We’re learning to accept non-English, non-Protestant Americans.

It’s a lesson we re-learn periodically.

Maybe it’ll get easier, as more Americans have ‘foreign’ names like O’Toole and Einstein, Ichihashi and Karmarkar, Liukin and Chandrasekhar, Di Vincenzo and Pei.

“Hair,” the Sixties musical, wasn’t patriotic. Not in the Fabulous Fifties sense.

On the other hand, I think one of its songs expressed a patriot dream of sorts.

“…Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding
No more falsehoods or derisions….”
(“Aquarius,” “Hair” (1967))

A half-century later, sympathy and trust aren’t abounding. But wanting harmony and understanding still makes sense.

Choices

We had soreheads in my youth. We still do.

Hot-button topics and slogans have changed, a little.

One thing that has changed is how easily folks can share ideas.

I figure that’s behind some of today’s angst. It’s gotten increasingly hard to ignore what ‘the other guy’ thinks. Or ensure that the public only sees what ‘the right sort’ think we should. And that’s yet another topic.

Or maybe not so much. The Internet, printing press, or whatever tech we use, won’t make everyone live in harmony. Or act badly. They’re tools. We can use them to shout insults or share ideas. It’s a choice each of us makes.

Working Together

I don’t expect cities “undimmed by human tears” a century from now.

I’d be astounded if most of humanity’s many problems have been solved in the next millennium. Or ten millennia. We’re dealing with an enormous backlog of unresolved issues.

Healing wounds accumulated over uncounted ages is beyond me.

But I can suggest that justice and charity, and respecting humanity’s “transcendent dignity,” are good ideas. For the world, for America, and for each of us. The process starts in me, with an ongoing “inner conversion.” (Catechism, 18861889, 19281942, 24192442)

Maybe, if enough of us start acting as if love matters, we can build a better America.

And a better world.

Imagining alabaster cities abounding in harmony and understanding is easy.

Cobbling together close approximations of them won’t be.

But maybe, if enough of us work together, we can lay foundations for a “…civilization of love, founded on the universal values of peace, solidarity, justice, and liberty….”6

I think we can. I am certain that we must try.

Not-entirely-unrelated posts:


1 asdfasdfasdfasdf:

2 asdfasdfasdf:

3 asdfasdfasdf:

4 asdfasdfasdf:

5 asdfasdfasdf:

  • Merriam-Webster dictionary

6 A civilization of love:

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Remembering the Good Shepherd

Fourth Sunday of Easter 2010; May 15, 2011:


St. Isidore, the Domestic Church, and the Good Shepherd

I want to share with you three main topics: St Isidore, something concerning the Domestic Church, and the meaning of the Good Shepherd.

You will note that we have a carving of St. Isidore that I carved in 1981. At the time I wished to show respect to our central Minnesota farmers, the best farmers in all the world. Even so, Isidore being Spanish would not have been dressed in overalls. But if he was to live in our day this is the way he would have been dressed in Minnesota: overalls. I had to make special tools to make the transition from Spanish garb to overalls that looked like proper clothing. This day would have been his day except that it fell on Sunday. However I feel it necessary to respond at least briefly to his memory.

He was a day laborer working for wealthy landowners just outside of Madrid. He was noted for his charity and prayer life. When accused of not devoting enough time to his job, the landowner saw a team of white oxen guided by an angle to help him plow. Another time, as the story goes, he was to bring a sack of grain to the mill for grinding but seeing birds hungry along the way couldn’t help but to feed them some of the grain. However, when the grain was milled he was able to return with a full sack of flour. Being as how all of us here are farmers or sons and daughters of a farmer, it would be well for all us to dig deeper in the life of Isidore and his wife. Which leads me into the second topic of my concerns for today: and that is the Domestic Church, of which Isidore and his wife are a good example.

You are the Domestic Church! Every family here in this church are members of the universal Church, one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. Having said that, and understanding, that we are never the less preeminently members of a family, a Domestic Church. So much so, did you know I can not Baptize your baby without your consent! Did you know that unless the Domestic Church is active and productive in the area of parish life, you wouldn’t have a parish. Did you know that unless the Domestic Church is striving for holiness, there wouldn’t be a parish church worthy of your time!

Ideally the family is made up of father, mother and children. The father as head, mother as heart and the children the product of a Loving relationship. I say ideally, fully aware that nature can at times be very hard on the ideal: but we are called to be Domestic church, while at the same time called to be a part of the Christian community, and in our case the Catholic Church. I’m sure you can understand that in the time we have, that this is about all we can handle. But I have one more question and then we will move on to Shepherding: What is the purpose of having and raising children in the Domestic Church. Yes! you have heard me say time and again, to know God, to Love God, to serve God, that we may be happy with Him for ever in Heaven. There is second part to the same question, is this an effort to populate earth or to populate heaven? When was the last time that question was put to you? Or maybe it never was. This heavenly journey is not solo. For the most part the very way of the family is the way of it’s members, the Domestic Church, the Parish Church, then, comes together in this church to fulfill the will of God, while receiving assurance, and enlightenment from our Shepherds.

The image of the Good Shepherd is the most treasured of the all the images we of have of God. And we see in it so much of what we hope to find in God. The Good Shepherd moves His flock in search of water and grass according the seasons. Pasturing in the wilderness is a 24/7 effort to keep the sheep from death due to lack of water and grass. Also, the shepherd must protect the sheep from all danger. A lost sheep is serious matter, and one to be avoided at all costs.

In John 10, Jesus identifies Himself as the true shepherd of the sheep, who recognize His voice and follow Him. The shepherd enters the sheepfold through the gate, while thieves enter surreptitiously, because they come to steal and kill. Jesus identifies Himself as the gate of the sheep, because He represents the only proper access. In short, the shepherd provides for the sheep’s every need. The sheep of the Good Shepherd “shall not want.” Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was to die a martyr for his people, said: “I want to repeat to you what I said once before: the shepherd does not want security while they give no security to the flock.”

Some would say that the sheep never had it better, and that is true. Jesus said the reason He came into the world was to provide His sheep with all they needed. “I came,” He said, “that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” Abundance is exactly what many people think they need. Abound and abundance sound like quantitative words. And who would not want to abound in good things?

So, what are the good things Christ offers in abundance? What has been revealed to us concerning the substance and essence of life? John, in the prologue of his Gospel, says that the Word that became flesh and dwelled among us was “full of grace and truth.” “The early Church regarded that life in its entirety as the word which God had spoken when He visited and redeemed His people.” Doesn’t it follow, then, that what we have seen in Jesus is the life God wants for each of us? Abundant life is precisely what we see in Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd.


(‘Thank you’ to Deacon Kaas, for letting me post his reflection here — Brian H. Gill.)


Vaguely-related posts:

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Saints, Romans, Emperors

Quite a bit has changed since imperial engineers designed and built a bridge in Emerita Augusta, today’s Mérida.

The Pax Romana died with Marcus Aurelius.1 The Roman Empire kept going until around Isidore of Seville’s day.

The name Isidore started as a Greek phrase: “gift of [the goddess] Isis.” Maybe someone’s decided that since Isis is an ancient Egyptian deity, and Catholics remember Saints named Isidore, we’re Satan-worshiping pagans.

I’d like to think that’s unlikely, but exchanging Christmas gifts was classified as a “Satanical practice” and forbidden not all that long ago.2

There are at least three Saint Isidores, and Saint Isidora. They’re an assorted lot: a Roman naval officer, an obscure nun with an unflattering nickname, an archbishop and a farmer. Farm worker, actually, a hired hand on land owned by Juan de Vargas.

We recognize them as Saints because they acted like God’s grace mattered, practicing “heroic virtue.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 828)

Isidore’s Choice

Isidore of Chios served in the Roman navy during the third century.

The Empire wasn’t enjoying good times.

Trouble had been brewing before Emperor Severus Alexander led an army to Sicula on the Rhine.

Alexander and his troops apparently had a difference of opinion about whether to attack or try bribing Germanic forces — which resulted in his abrupt death in March, 235.

My guess is that the emperor’s lenient attitude toward Christianity, and concerns that he might become a Christian, didn’t help. With Severus Alexander dead, the Roman army said Maximinus Thrax was Emperor. Part of the army, at any rate.

The announcement didn’t solve Rome’s problems.

Barbarians kept moving into Roman territories. The Cyprian Plague made economic woes worse. Folks occasionally started rebellions. Some of those became civil wars. Rome had 26 emperors, officially sanctioned and otherwise, during the next five decades.

Back to Roman naval officer Isidore.

He was suspected of Christian sympathies while Emperor Decius was defending Rome by stamping out Christianity. Trying to, anyway.

Isidore admitted his guilt, was executed on May 14, 251, and buried on a nearby Aegean island: Chios. Upwards of 17 centuries later, we still recognize May 14th as his feast day.

“The Monastery Sponge”

Saint Isidora was born, probably in or near the eastern Roman provinces, in the year 300 or thereabouts.

She joined the Tabenna Monastery in Egypt, spending her time doing the monastery’s dirtiest jobs. That earned her “the monastery sponge” as a nickname.

Sort of like Eastwood’s Dirty Harry character. And that’s another topic.

Isidora apparently took St. Paul’s advice in 1 Corinthians 1819 to heart. That may explain both her lack of popularity in the monastery and dearth of documentation regarding her life.

I strongly suspect current events helped maintain her comparative anonymity.

She died before 365. We’re not sure when. Maybe while Constantius II, Constans I, and/or Vetranio was/were emperor. Or maybe Julian and/or Jovian.

The Roman Empire was recovering from the Thrax-to-Carinus/Numerian imperial brouhaha by that time.

Emperor Jovian, for example, died of natural causes. Officially. He’d eaten too many mushrooms with too much wine. Or maybe a faulty heating unit smothered him.

Ammianus Marcellinus — who survived the Julian, Jovian and Valens reigns — said that Jovian’s death, and the investigation that didn’t follow, were odd.

Edward “Decline and Fall” Gibbon, an 18th century English Whig, said the official version of Jovian’s death was right and that’s yet another topic.

Back in the fourth century, Rome’s imperial government became increasingly bureaucratic. Senators replaced their togas with nifty-looking silk outfits. Emperor Constantine ended the policy of blaming Christianity for imperial problems, allegedly got baptized just before dying — and didn’t, apparently, die because he was baptized.

I see making Christianity legal as a good idea. Outlawing everything except ‘official’ Christianity, not so much. We have Theodosius I to thank for that.3

An Archbishop

Isidore of Seville may be the most generally-famous St. Isidore. He was born in a city we call Cartagena. It’s been called Mastia, Qart Hadasht, Colonia Vrbs Iulia Nova Carthago and Cartago Spartaria.

A few millennia from now, it’ll probably have collected a few more monikers, and that’s yet again another topic.

His parents, Severianus and Theodora, were among the area’s upper crust.

Isidore became a scholar and, for three decades, archbishop of Seville.

That city’s been called Hisbaal, Tartessos, Hispal and Gilipolis, and I’m wandering off-topic. Again.

Archbishop Isidore died in 636, was recognized as a Saint in 653, and is famous as a scholar who helped organize and preserve part of the Roman world’s knowledge.

He’s the patron Saint of the Internet, computer and technicians, programmers and students. That’s what Pope John Paul II said in 1997. I don’t have a problem with St. John Paul II’s decision, but apparently some Catholics do.

I can see their point, sort of. The Pope didn’t go through the usual bureaucratic channels before announcing his decision, John Paul II was Pope after Vatican II, the Internet is newfangled technology, and that’s still another topic. Topics.4

A Hired Hand

St. Isidor the Farmer, patron Saint of farmers, is ‘the’ St. Isidore for folks around here. His feast day is May 15.

He’s also called San Isidro Labrador and St. Isidor Agricola.

English-language resources I’ve seen often call him “Isidor the Laborer.”5

Maybe that’s because the word “Labrador” in “San Isidro Labrador” sounds like my language’s “laborer.”

It could be worse.

Folks could have translated “San Isidro Labrador” as “Isidore the Labrador Retriever,” and that’s — what else? — even more topics.

My father-in-law talked about ‘our’ St. Isidore, families and Jesus, back in 2011. I’ll post that in a few minutes. Today, anyway.

Posts that aren’t completely unrelated:


1 Rome’s heyday, and after:

2 Names and attitudes:

3 Saints and emperors:

4 A Saint and cities:

5 ‘Our’ St. Isidore:

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