If you have seen this…
…it make this update of the original even funnier:
Something someone said a few days ago on this ‘ere blog reminded me of this old TV show. I still chuckle. Must show the kids…
Well now, there’s an original complaint…
But the complaint has a new target, namely, a new book for children based on passages from the Holy Father’s weekday catechesis on the apostles and called “Gli Amici De Gesu” (“The Friends of Jesus”).
The complaint, originating from (drumroll) “We are Church” with the “National Catholic Reporter” joining in is that all the 14 “amici” in the book are MEN – that he has “edited out” all the “friends of Jesus” who were WOMEN:
Valerie Stroud of the Catholic organisation We Are Church, a support group for Catholics, said: “In giving children the idea that Jesus only favoured men, Pope Benedict sends a very strong message that women are second-class citizens in the Christian religion. This was never Jesus’s intention. The Supreme Pontiff completely abandons the modern idea of equality within relationships.”
The book was criticised in comments on the website of the influential US National Catholic Reporter. Jacob R wrote: “Oh dear . . . how profoundly disappointing. Can this really be true that he edited out Mary Magdalene, the first ‘friend’ to see the risen Lord?”
Probably the problem is with the expectation that the title sets up, namely the use of the word “amici”/”friends”. In fact, the book is specifically about those who are recognised as “apostles” by the Church. The 14 “amici” are thus the twelve apostles (including, nota bene, Judas Iscariot – was he a “friend” in the conventional term?) + the two “johnny-come-lately’s” of the apostles, Matthias and Paul.
I have often noted, for instance in children’s addresses at church on Sundays, that when talking to Jesus the term “friends” is regularly used instead of “disciples”. That seems to have been the intention of the use of “amici” here. The complaint seems to have originated, therefore, in the misplaced expectation that the book would be about ALL the people who could be described as Jesus’ “friends” (which, of course, includes many women as well as men), rather than specifically about those “friends” who were also his apostles.
The latter, however, is clearly the intention, as the inclusion of Paul indicates. Paul could not be called (in the conventional sense) a “friend” of Jesus, as he never met or knew him during Jesus’ life and ministry. That all the apostles WERE men remains both a fact and a signficant point which those making this present complaint would themselves like to have “edited out” of the historical record for their own purposes.
As for malicious intent on the part of the Holy Father against women, such a complaint is simply perposterous. Mary Magdalene and the other women aside, what about his own Mother Mary, who was surely the greatest of all Jesus’ “friends”? The idea that a Catholic Pope would intentionally “edit out” the Blessed Virgin Mary from a book about Jesus’ “friends” in general is perposterous, and yet it is perfectly understandable that she would not be included in a book about Jesus’ apostles. This fact alone demonstrates that this book had a particular scope and intention, which is being ignored by those making the present complaint.
Our beloved Dominican Bishop Anthony Fisher, now Ordinary of the Diocese of Parramatta in Australia, was interviewed by fellow World Youth Day organizer (Toronto 2002), Fr. Thomas Rosica, in June at the Salt and Light Broadcast Centre in Canada while. It was broadcast on July 18, an dyou can find the entire video interview here:
It is astounding to think that WYDSYD08 was now two years ago. My children still remind me of moments and experiences of that time – it is fixed in their memories and hearts.
The comment about “the young pope” is Rosica’s, commenting on +Anthony’s Dominican habit, which is, as +Anthony goes on to explain, actually the origin of the pope’s custom of of wearing white. Our “Young Pope”? Well, we think he has the potential. If only he would give some attention to learning Italian… Actually, on that note, someone recently told me that the new President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, Archbishop of Basel, Kurt Koch, doesn’t know Italian and is currently doing a crash course! A word to our Friendly Friar: Ignorance of Italian won’t save you!
Speaking of Nuns and Sisters and Monks and Friars, which we have been, sort of, here is one of my favourite jokes:
When Timothy Radcliffe was head of the Dominican Order, he visited the St Dominic’s Priory in East Camberwell while Fr Anthony was there. Anthony was rostered on with Fr Dom to do the cooking that night, and showed off his culinary expertise with his famous fish and chips. (Anthony really is a very good cook – If he doesn’t become Pope, at least he should have a chance to be the Masterchef!). Anyway, Fr Radcliffe apparently enjoyed the meal so much, he asked the Prior if he could meet the cooks. Frs Anthony and Dom came in front of the General of their order, and Fr Radcliffe said to Fr Dom: “So, you cooked this excellent fish?”. “No,” replies Fr Dom, “I’m just the Chip Monk. Fr Anthony is the Fish Friar.”
You can groan now.
Louise left a comment on a former post saying:
I’m just dropping in to tell you that our son, Felix Martin was born on Friday 23 July, weighing in at 8lb 2oz.
Many thanks for the prayers. I’m recovering well and the baby is healthy and a beautiful little chap, adored by us all.
Woohoo, Louise! Well done, and congratulations, and all our prayers! Please email me a photograph and I will be happy to post it on this ‘ere blog! May he indeed live up to his name and bring true happiness to you and all his family! (I take it the middle name was not after the great 16th century reformer?)
Well, she’s not really a babe anymore, although she might be one day again in another sense in the near future (god help any young man who calls her that…), anyway, down to business:
My nine (“I’m going on ten, Dad”) year old daughter Mia recently wrote the following for presentation to her class in our local parochial school (she did it as a rather neat kind of art-deco powerpoint):
Who is God?
This question is reguarly asked.
Different people have different answers like
the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
the maker of the universe,
the god who loves me,
and looks after me.
I think God is everything;
he is God the light,
God the shepherd
and God the guide.
What does he look like?
Have you ever wondered this?
Some people picture him like a ghost.
Others picture him as a person.
I’ve even heard someone say God might not be a boy.
I think he is invisible to our eyes,
but he’s still there.
Does God have super powers?
This is an interesting question.
One of my friends thinks he has the power of super fast running.
Another thinks he has the power ot be everywhere at once.
I think God has the power
to love, be kind and to be generous.
No coaching involved in this, guys. It’s all authentic Mia. Including the bit about the gender of the Deity!
But I have to say, I am just blown away by that final line about God’s “super power” being his ability “to love, be kind and to be generous.” That is just profound.
Sister Carmel Pilcher RSJ has a reflection in today’s Cathblog about the changes in the last 40 years or so in the title and address for religious sisters. She helpfully points out the distinction between “nun” and “religious sister” (rather like the distinction between a “monk” and a “friar”):
Attention to language does really matter. Vatican officials know that, otherwise they would not be meticulously pondering every word and phrase of the latest English translation of the Roman Missal. Technically, a ‘nun’ is a woman who has publicly pronounced solemn vows in the church while a ‘religious sister’ takes simple vows. While I and most ‘religious women’ belong to the second category, more often than not we will be referred to as ‘nuns’, and society, or the church for that matter, rarely makes the distinction. Then there is the question of titles. When I introduce myself, I rarely prefix it with the title ‘Sister,’ although I never disguise the fact that I am a religious.
She is quite right on the distinction, of course; and while I respect her own decision not to introduce herself as “Sister”, my own recommendation would be that we continue to show our respect and affection for all women in religious life (whether “nuns” or “religious”) by retaining the title that goes with their state in life (that goes for addressing priests too, by the way).
She goes on to discuss the matter of how “nuns” and “religious sisters” dress nowadays:
Do we need to use the language of the past or dress like the ‘nuns’ of old to maintain our Catholic identity as religious? Some would argue that ‘if only the Sisters looked like Sisters and lived in convents, they would gain more respect and women would again join them as of old!’ I would argue the opposite. I believe we need to earn respect by the witness of our lives.
Need it be “either/or”, though, Sister? The one need not be played off against the other. I was recently contacted by a Muslim young lady who wanted to meet “nuns who dress like Mary MacKillop”, as she was interested in what the full habit had to say about modesty (noting the similarity to the mode of dress of some Muslim women). The only options in Australia were to refer her to the Domincan nuns at Ganmain and Dominicans of St Cecilia.
Sister Carmel writes:
Do religious women need to look different from the rest of society? Perhaps there is a need if we live in Asia where a uniform is a strong sign of belonging. But in Australia we are much less formal. We are more likely to dress to identify ourselves with a sporting team rather than at any other time. While in other societies place much emphasis on class and social stratus, our nation is more egalitarian. People rarely use titles – even prime ministers are addressed by their first names.
Is she right about Australians? Right and wrong, I think. It is true that we are “less formal” in Australia, but the relgious habit is not really a matter of formality; it is more a matter of the second characteristic she notes, a matter of “what team” you belong to. And in Australia today, dressing to reflect belonging is as evident and as important as ever. How we dress also says a lot about our character. If you dress as I do, you are probably trying to emphasise your individuality. If, on the other hand, an aspect of your essential identity is your belonging to a particular group (eg. a religious order), then it is quite appropriate for the way you dress to reflect that.
Sister Carmel argues that “the religious habit was a simple dress of the day”, which is true. (I have always said that if I ever started a religious order, I would institute a rule saying that all their clothes must be bought from Op Shops – again, just as I currently do!) But the habit also had the purpose of clearly identifying to which order the sister or brother belonged, and of “levelling” all members of the order by the fact that they dressed alike. Simply wearing “simple” modern clothes does not exactly serve the same purpose.
Sister Carmel completes her column by saying:
Surely it is more important for religious to be distinguished by a strong prophetic voice that speaks out on behalf of refugees, the homeless and any other of societies’ powerless, rather than by the way we dress or where we live. What was it that Jesus said about those who are preoccupied with externals? Is it not by the fruit of our labours as genuine disciples of Christ that we will be remembered?
Well, yes, of course this is “more important”, but that doesn’t mean that the matters of “externals” are not important also (even if to a much lesser degree). Jesus was wont to speak in hyperbole about matters of importance (“For what is more important? That you enter heaven with one hand or with both hands are cast into hell?”) Again, it is the confusion that it has to be “either/or”. Is it just possible that the “strong prophetic voice” might be heard a little clearer if it is backed up not only with the “clear witness” of a distinctive mode of dress?
Catholic Herald writer, Milo Yiannopoulos, has written a piece (featured in Cathnews today) about the “sneering vitriol heaped upon the Holy Father and on Catholics in general by the metropolitan elites in advance of the papal visit in September”, which she says “has been little short of staggering.”
All of which begs the question: why? …[W]hy the extraordinary campaign – one might even say conspiracy – to discredit the Church? Surely it cannot be fully explained by the child abuse crisis. What is going on?
My guess? Character, motive and opportunity:
Character: The latent and deepset English suspicion of the Papacy and the Catholic Church
Motive: A wish to discredit the Christian faith in general
Opportunity: the coincidence of the sexual abuse scandal with the papal visit.
…I just have to post this story from Canada:
This Shepherd can’t get communion
By KEVIN CONNOR, Toronto Sun
July 22, 2010
Donald Keith can’t believe the fuss that has been made because a Shepherd received Holy Communion.
The Shepherd called Trapper — a Shepherd mix rescue dog — received the wafer that represents the body of Christ at St. Peter’s Anglican Church on Carlton St.
“This happened a month ago,” Keith said. “One church parishioner had a problem with it. This morning (Wednesday) I wake up and see it on the news that some guy’s dog received communion. Then I go to the dog park and people were talking about it being on the radio.”
When Trapper received communion, Keith was a new member of the church, where pets are allowed.
“The minister welcomed me and said come up and take communion, and Trapper came up with me and the minister gave him communion as well. Then he bent his head and said a little prayer,” Keith said.
“I thought it was a nice way to welcome me into the church,” he said. “I thought it was acceptable.
“There was an old lady in the front just beaming when she saw this,” Keith said. “Ninetynine-point-nine per cent of the people in the church love Trapper and the kids play with him.
“It was just one person who got his nose out of joint and went to the head of the Anglican Church,” he said. “Holy smokes. We are living in the downtown core. This is small stuff. I thought it was innocent and it made me think of the Blessing of the Animals.”
The church has since told Keith he and his dog are most welcome at the church, but Trapper can no longer receive communion.
“This has blown me away. The church is even getting e-mails from Catholics,” he said.
Everything is fine, said Peggy Needham, the deputy people’s warden at the church.
“The backlash is from just one person. Something happened that won’t happen again. Something our interim priest did spontaneously,” Needham said.
“This person went to the top and e-mailed our Bishop to make a fuss and change things,” she said. “But he misjudged our congregation.”
And now the test, folks:
Q. Why should this dog not have been given communion?
A. Because they should have baptised and confirmed him first.