1. It’s Friday, that means more short, random thoughts that didn’t make full blog posts! (at least on my blog. Many blogs write short posts on a more regular basis… really, Tricia, I’m trying to be shorter!) It’s also the last normal Friday of Lent, as next Friday is Good Friday, which is full fast, not just abstaining from meat. I used to hate Holy Week. It felt like we spent days on end in church. Now I complain that our parish doesn’t do all the readings for the vigil mass (normally, there should be nine, starting with Adam and Eve and working through all the major points of salvation history). It’s really cool. Now, instead of worrying that I’d leave the Church, my parents complain that I’m too “fundamentalist” Catholic. They were a little irked when I just shrugged and replied, “I’ve been called worse.” Oh, well. 😀 (and thank goodness for EWTN’s full coverage of the Easter Vigil at the Vatican! Because then I can put all three little people to bed and enjoy the liturgy instead of wrestling the baby for hours.)
2. Spring has sprung! At least in my corner of the country. It was in the upper 70’s today. The second wave of daffodils is opening, which includes the first of the fragrant ones. Tulips don’t seem to like my yard much, but the daffodils are oh-so-happy! Just a little bit of heaven… Now, irises are a much fuller taste of heaven, and they come next month. (Pictures coming on those, I promise; somehow, I don’t have any photos of daffodils… very strange.)
3. de Toqueville just got bumped from the reading list! On a whim, I called the local Barnes and Noble to see if they had the new Mark Levin book in, Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto. The last time I was there, trying to spend a gift certificate from Christmas (pathetic, I know, that I couldn’t find anything I was interested in owning), they had told me they were out (again), but were expecting a shipment on the 6th. Well, it arrived early. Yay! Apparently, they weren’t expecting it to be such a hit; it’s #1 on the bestseller lists. Hopefully a good sign for our country; the Republicans have been looking more like bad Democrats than like good conservatives for way too long. More on the book as I work on it.
4. Speaking of keeping up on reading, I am still catching up on First Things. My husband has begun cheating; he’s ignoring the year and a half back up and reading the current issue first. A few gems to share. From “God and Evolution” by Avery Cardinal Dulles, very pertinent to President Obama’s insistence that the scientists should write the ethical norms for embryonic stem cell research:
The tendency of science, when it gains the upper hand, is to do whatever lies within its capacity, without regard for moral constraints. As we have experienced in recent generations, technology uncontrolled by moral standards has visited untold horrors on the world… The biddings of conscience make it clear that we are inescapably under a higher law that requires us to behave in certain ways and that judges us guilty if we disobey it. We would turn in vain to scientists to inform us about this higher law.
5. And from the same issue, from Fr. Neuhaus’s wide-ranging commentary at the back (may he rest in peace). Also applicable to current events, notably Notre Dame, which seems confused about what it means to be a Catholic institution:
In response to several readers: No, I do not plan a comment on the Episcopal priest in Seattle who says she is also a Muslim… Of her simultaneous adherence to Christianity and Islam she commented: “It wasn’t about intellect. All I know is the calling of my heart…” It wasn’t about intellect. This is a journal of ideas and it is beyond our competence to comment on a person who says she has no idea what she is doing… It is of interest that she will… be teaching the New Testament at Seattle University. But then that is a school “in the Jesuit tradition” and apparently not about intellect either. And so, as aforesaid, we have no comment.
6. On The World Over tonight, EWTN’s weekly news show, anchor Raymond Arroyo reported that the USCCB has condemned the University of Notre Dame’s invitation to President Obama, saying that it was seriously embarassing to the Catholic community to have an allegedly Catholic university invite such an extremely pro-abortion president. The university president defended his position of refusing to rescind the invitation, saying that he had had lots of mail on the subject, both for and against. In a related story, Arroyo also described a new Gallup poll that shows that most Catholics don’t realize that abortion, pre-marital sex, artificial birth control, and embryonic stem cell research are all sins. (and our Director of Religious Education is worried that my homeschooled kids really ought to come to CCD, because they need to be socialized!) Do we see a connection between that gross lack of basic moral education and the actions of the Notre Dame president, not to mention the connection to the widespread support in the student body for the presidential invite?
(The professors, apparently, polled almost exactly opposite the senior class, with approximately 75% opposing the president speaking at commencement. Instead of asking why the people who actually know Catholic teaching were opposed (and why the seniors hadn’t absorbed enough of that to be swayed by it), Obama supporters griped that this just showed how “out of touch” the professors are. Notre Dame, given its awful reputation for hiring and keeping badly unorthodox professors, could use more “out of touch” professors.)
7. Talking over a blog that discusses exciting things like polar ice caps and sunspots, my husband and I got to talking about sunspot cycles (11 years, and we are currently at the low point for sunspots, which means increased sun output and lesser solar winds). Come about 2012, we are due for a solar maximum: more sunspots (which some researchers have linked to decreased human imune system reactions coupled with mutations in the flu virus, almost always resulting in a major flu epidemic). Another effect of sunspots is coronal mass ejections, when large amounts of energy and matter get spit off by the sun and go hurtling out into space. If it hits our magnetic field, the field will vibrate, creating voltage, and zapping every piece of electronics on the planet.
“Coronal mass ejection… So, is that when you get kicked out of church for drinking beer?”
Trust my husband to make an awful pun in the face of impending doom. I’m waiting to see if he makes it through the presidential election, the flu, and being zapped into the stone age in 2012 with that attitude.
Don’t forget to go visit Jen at Conversion Diary for her 7 Quick Takes and everyone else who posted links to their blogs.