Friday, September 28, 2007
The gist of it is that Monsignor Michael J. Hoeppner, vicar general of the Diocese of Winona, Minn., has been named bishop of Crookston, Minn. He replaces Bishop Victor H. Balke, whom I read elsewhere has hitherto been the longest-serving bishop in the nation.
Check out Rocco Palmo's blog for more information.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Council of Churches to gather
CNN's "God's Warriors," reported by Christiane Amanpour, is an historic achievement. Two-hour studies each of Jewish, Muslim and Christian warriors question the existence of civilization.
As coincidence (providence) and fate (faith) has it, as this writer viewed "God's Warriors," he found himself reading a book on the aftermath of the religious wars of 1618-1648 (Christians killing one another), Ian Hunter's "Rival Enlightenments." Its 399 pages repetitious - nuance build nuance - my reading became prayerful.
"Rival Enlightenments" deals with the birth of secularism, the separation of church and state, the state necessarily obliging persons of religious faith to tolerate one another's beliefs. The dominant enlightenment is metaphysical, faith in pure reason resulting in the privatization of religious faith, contemplating God's perfections. The other enlightenment is civil, citizens practicing civility, pursuing the arduous tasks of peacemaking.
Paradoxically, all war is civil, obliterating the possibility of civilization itself, it being much easier to make war than to make peace. If CNN were to do another study, this time of "God's Peacemakers," would they find any good news?
One place to look might be the Country Springs Hotel in Stevens Point on Friday and Saturday, the 12th and 13th of October. There and then the Wisconsin Council of Churches (www.wichurches.org) is sponsoring a conference entitled "Saving Christianity From Empire," the title of a book by its featured speaker, Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer. Does Christianity support an American Empire? If so, might Christians, as citizens, challenge it?
As a "roamin' catholic," I am very grateful for the witness of Popes John XXIII and Paul VI. While Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI have, in principle, continued their legacy of being among God's peacemakers, in practice, they are historic failures. For, during their papacies, infrastructures for doing the ministries of social justice and global peace have been dismantled. Thus in the Diocese of La Crosse, Bishops Raymond Burke and Jerome Listecki have been unable and unwilling to continue the remarkable legacy of Bishops Frederick Freking and John Paul.
Who will be among God's peacemakers at the Country Springs Hotel, the 12th and 13th of October?
Given that Ray's writing style is more than a little "around the bush," I have put the relevant paragraph in bold type. Ray has a long history with the Diocese of La Crosse as a founding member of its former Justice and Peace Commission. Following its "decommissioning," he has unsuccessfully advocated for years to have it"recomissioned." Instead, two years ago, the Diocese went so far as to combine the Office of Justice and Peace with the Office for Ministries, with the new office called the Office for Ministries and Social Concerns.
Nothing could be so frustrating for someone like Ray than combining things he wants to see distinctly separate. For Ray, it seems, social justice issues can be separated from Christian charity. This is a hallmark, after all, of modern social justice, especially liberation theology. Not so, says Pope Benedict's first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, which takes the work of his predecessors -- mentioned by Ray -- and ups the ante. And not so says the Diocese of La Crosse, which, at least partially in response to this encyclical, combined the offices and tied social justice to action inspired by faith.
I believe the abandonment of the justice and peace model and the combination of ministry and social outreach is among the best things La Crosse has going for it. The place where this is clearest is in our diocesan Faith Alive project, headed by Chris Ruff, director of the combined office. In this program, people gather to pray, and challenge and support each other in community outreach. Here's what Ruff had to say in a recent column in the Catholic Times, which serves also as a good response to Ray:
Faith Alive to launch diocese-wide in October
By Christopher Ruff
Lead, Kindly Light
In 19 years working in the Church, I’ve not seen anything as exciting and encouraging as what I see happening in the Diocese of La Crosse right now. I’m talking about the response to the Faith Alive faith-sharing program, which started with a successful pilot program last Lent and will be launched diocese-wide in October.
What is Faith Alive? It is a parish-based program with four main components:
Small groups (6-12 people, typically) gather in each other’s homes or at the parish once a month to go over four or five pages of material in a resource booklet and to pray together.
The reading for each session includes a passage from Scripture (usually the Gospels), a brief reflection, a real-life story that illustrates the theme of that Gospel in an inspiring way, a quote or two from the Catechism, and a set of discussion questions that connect the theme with our everyday lives. A typical meeting lasts about 90 minutes.
Anybody who has been part of a Bible study or similar small group will recognize this kind of format with its components of prayer, reflection and fellowship. But what makes Faith Alive striking and unique is the service component. As part of the program, each member of a group makes a commitment to some modest service. It has to be manageable; something the person can realistically make time for in the busyness of life.
A classic example could be making a visit to a nursing home once a month or to someone from the parish who is homebound. But it could be almost anything under the sun that involves giving of oneself.
The beauty of it is that the members of the small group take the joy and deepening of faith that they experience together and carry it to others as true disciples of Christ. The service can be done individually or as a group.
When we launched Faith Alive last Lent as a six-week pilot program, we thought we might have four or five parishes involved, with 50-60 people participating. But when word got out, the response grew to more than 30 parishes and we kept reprinting resource booklets (titled “Deepening Our Life in Christ”) until over 1,000 were distributed.
When it was over, we surveyed the participants to see how they liked it. They found it very enriching and, remarkably, a full 95 percent wrote that they wanted to continue in Faith Alive when it was launched diocese-wide this fall.
We were inspired by the many testimonials we received – unsolicited – about what Faith Alive meant to people’s lives. Here are a few of them:
“The faith-sharing groups at St. Joachim's have been such a blessing. Many have grown in the Lord and the conversations have opened many doors.”
“I have been facilitating a group of seven parishioners, and speaking for myself it has been wonderful. We are planning to provide a meal at a local meal location. This will be a new experience for nearly all members of the group, and we plan on having our children assist in the experience.”
“I am getting lots of good feedback on the faith-sharing material. A few of us made a visit to the Place of Grace (Catholic Worker House) ... and found it to be a very worthwhile project and I am sure that we will repeat the service in the future. Just getting us out of our comfort zone – (being one of the older crowd) has been very interesting.”
“I just want you to know that we have had the best sessions we've ever had. This week I had the flu and I still couldn't stay home. I went and sat off by myself in the corner so that I could be part of the session.”
Bishop Listecki has promoted Faith Alive enthusiastically, speaking about it to the priests at Priest Unity Days, writing letters endorsing it to pastors and to the group facilitators from the Lenten pilot program, and devoting his August 9 Catholic Times column to it.
He has even spoken about Faith Alive to his brother bishops of the state of Wisconsin, who responded with interest and a request for more information. In fact, interest has been expressed from as far away as the Archdiocese of Denver, where I will be conducting several workshops on the concept in mid-September.
Faith Alive got its start through a discussion I had with Bishop Listecki a little over a year ago when the Office of Justice and Peace was merged with the Office of Ministries. I had been wondering how the work of charitable outreach so central to an Office of Justice and Peace could become part of the life of all the faithful, and not be limited to parish social concerns committees.
Reflecting on 13 years’ experience writing resources and organizing faith-sharing groups at a Twin Cities parish before coming to the Diocese of La Crosse, it occurred to me that such prayerful, faith-filled groups would provide the ideal foundation for acts of loving service. Bishop Listecki was immediately receptive to the concept and shared his vision in the September 2006 Chancery Bulletin, where he wrote:
“The goal is to foster praying, catechized, loving communities that put their faith in action in an intentional and consistent way. This coincides with an aspiration that saw a large degree of fulfillment in the early Church, as witnessed by the words of the surrounding pagans: ‘See how they love one another.’”
I composed the first booklet, “Deepening Our Life in Christ,” as an adaptation of a resource I had written for another Twin Cities parish, and I will have completed the second resource by the first week of September so it will be ready for the October launch. A diocesan Faith Alive committee, consisting of several other curia directors and the executive director of our diocesan Catholic Charities, has been instrumental in developing ideas and reviewing the texts, as well as moving the program forward with all of its promotional and practical demands.
Our committee has in fact “prayed through” the material as our own faith-sharing exercise and taken seriously the commitment to service, so that we are sure to do ourselves what we are proposing to others. Not surprisingly, it has drawn us closer as a group.
Watch for more information on Faith Alive in the next few weeks through bulletin and pulpit announcements and on Relevant Radio. Consider speaking to your pastor about becoming involved and inviting others to join you. You may also contact the Office of Ministries and Social Concerns at 608-791-2667 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Together let us grow in faith, prayer, fellowship and service. May the ancient cry be echoed throughout the diocese: “See how they love one another!”
Monday, September 24, 2007
Maria Lockwood The Daily TelegramPublished Sunday, September 23, 2007
Christensen, 54, takes the mantle from retiring Bishop Raphael M. Fliss, who has been with the Superior Diocese for 28 years. The new bishop’s first words to the gathered parishioners, “It’s good to be here,” were met with thunderous applause.
“I think he’s awesome,” said Kathy Kaderlik, secretary for St. Isaac Jogues. She said she was very touched by his uplifting, hopeful message.
He told those assembled his working mission statement is: “Show particular affection to all priests and deacons," and to all the faithful.
“I will stand with you to build strong families in faith,” he said.
The installation marks a new beginning.
“For almost two years, we have waited, hoped, prayed in earnest and speculated with abandon as to my successor,” Fliss told the gathered crowd.
In his final act as bishop, Fliss entrusted the diocese to Christensen.
“I trust you will be as inspired by their lives and enriched by their commitment as I have been,” Fliss said.
Christensen comes to Superior with 22 years of pastoral experience, most recently as pastor of Nativity of Our Lord Parish in St. Paul. Three months ago, he got a call from Rome asking him to become Bishop. He recalled he was struck speechless and the Pope's spokesperson had to ask if it was the right church.
“It’s been a tremendous experience for the whole family,” Christensen’s nephew, David Johnson said. He remembers watching his uncle’s ordination 22 years ago.
Johnson said the move to bishop has “been shocking, but very humbling” for his uncle. But, he said, Christensen is “very, very solid in his faith.”
Gene McGillis has seen four bishops installed in Superior.
“Every one was different,” said the former Superior resident who now splits his time between Lake Nebagamon and Florida. He said with Christensen's background as a pastor, he should be a very down-to-earth, pastoral leader.
“He seemed very kind, easy to talk to,” said Tim Kuehn, deacon for St. Anthony's in Superior, who met Christensen once. “A servant-leader -- that was my impression.”
Johnson said his uncle is also very diplomatic: “He deals with conflict well.”
One thing the new bishop showed Sunday is a sense of humor. As the pomp and ceremony unfolded, his hat slipped off his lap once; he forgot to reach for the crozier at the end of the event; and twice he was forced to turn down his screeching microphone.
“This is all new to me,” he said with a smile just before the final processional.
The installation included pomp and ceremony -- from a colorful, Knights of Columbus honor guard and a group of American Indian dancers, to the Mass itself with dozens of priests and bishops attending. It also included dedication.
“I’m on the journey with you,” Christensen said. “I look forward to years ahead.”
And the finished product:
Friday, September 21, 2007
In looking at the Scriptures, I would say it's a little unclear whether Jesus gave first Holy Communion to Judas. Remember that the first Mass took place during a Seder meal, meaning that, in addition to the elements consecrated by Jesus as His Body and Blood, other alimentary elements were also consumed (i.e., Mk. 14:18 -- "And while they were at table eating...").
St. Mark and St. Matthew clearly separate out Judas' betrayal as prior to the words of consecration (see Mtt. 26:20-39 and Mk. 14:17-31). It is true, however, that in St. Luke's Gospel -- but only in this Gospel -- the mention of Judas' betrayal of Jesus takes place after the celebration of the first Mass. But since St. Luke is considered more of a compiler of prior sources, whereas Ss. Matthew and Mark are the very prior sources on which St. Luke may have relied, I believe the chronology expressed in these first two Gospels would more closely adhere to what took place. When these considerations are added to the fact that, in St. John's Gospel, Judas leaves after taking the dipped morsal (see Jn. 13:30) but before what is traditionally considered the first Eucharistic prayer (see Jn. 17), it seems quite clear that Judas was present for the Seder meal but made his exit before the first Mass took place.
A more troubling question is this: Why are you attempting to be a literal, Bible-quoting Christian in this instance when there are other instances (such as the Bible's condemnation of homosexuality) where you would likely hesitate to take biblical passages literally? This seems to me a rather selective approach.
I think it is far safer to draw one's general principles from the Bible and trace them as they've been taught and explained by our shepherds, the first of whom Christ consecrated at that same first Holy Mass. Archbishop Burke is among those successors to the apostles. Here's one general biblical principle he started with: "And Jesus said to His disciples, 'It is impossible that scandals should not come; but woe to him through whom they come! It were better for him if a millstone were hung about his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin" (Lk. 17:1-2).
Staff Writer, The Catholic Times
(608) 788-1524, ext. 5
Thursday, September 20, 2007
1. The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country.
2. The Washington Post is read by people who think they run the country.
3. The New York Times is read by people who think they should run the country and who are very good at crossword puzzles.
4. USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country but don’t really understand The New York Times. They do, however, like their statistics shown in pie charts.
5. The Los Angeles Times is read by people who wouldn’t mind running the country — if they could find the time — and if they didn’t have to leave Southern California to do it.
6. The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country and did a poor job of it , thank you very much.
7. The New York Daily News is read by people who aren’t too sure who’s running the country and don’t really care as long as they can get a seat on the train.
8. The New York Post is read by people who don’t care who’s running the country as long as they do something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated.
9. The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country but need the baseball scores.
10. The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren’t sure there is a country or that anyone is running it; but if so, they oppose all that they stand for. There are occasional exceptions if the leaders are handicapped minority feminist atheist dwarfs who also happen to be illegal aliens from any other country or galaxy, provided of course, that they are not Republicans.
11. The National Enquirer is read by people trapped in line at the grocery store.
12. The Oregonian is read by people who have recently caught a fish and need something in which to wrap it.
Rice Denied Audience with Pope
Disagreements over foreign policy behind refusal.
US Secretary of State requested meeting in August. Told that Benedict XVI was “on holiday”.
The latest request was made during the summer. The US secretary of state Condoleeza Rice indicated to the Vatican that she urgently needed to meet Benedict XVI. She was on her way back into the viper’s nest of the Middle East and it would have been no bad thing to meet her counterparts with the credentials of a papal audience. Ms Rice had hoped that the audience could be fixed for early August at Castelgandolfo, the papal summer residence, when Benedict XVI returned from Lorenzago in the Dolomites, but she was told the Pope was on holiday. She insisted but to no avail. Vatican diplomats were adamant and “Benedict XVI is on holiday” continued to be the official reply.
As far as we know, Ms Rice was able to discuss the Middle East, and Lebanon in particular, during a telephone conversation with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. In early August, the Vatican secretary of state was on a visit to America for the annual meeting of the Knights of Columbus in Nashville. But the failure to arrange a meeting between Benedict XVI and Ms Rice has taken on a significance perhaps beyond the intentions of the Holy See. It has been seen as confirming the divergence of views on the Bush administration’s Middle East initiatives and growing friction on Iraq and relations with Iran. The Vatican believes that the United States may be taking too lightly the issue of guarantees for religious minorities in the new Iraqi constitution and has said so to the government in Baghdad. In reply, it was told that threats and violence against Christians are no more severe than those experienced by other minorities. The Americans were also approached but they replied that troops were unable to maintain full control of the territory and had difficulty in protecting non-Muslims.
On Iran, the Vatican is known to detest the truculent anti-Semitism of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad but regards another preventive war as a disaster. Despite all this, US-Vatican relations continue to be very good. Information and assessments on hot zones is exchanged all the time, even though the strategies remain different, and moral issues continue to bring the Catholic Church and the Bush administration together. The problem is that foreign policy is an constant source of discord and Ms Rice is not one of the Vatican’s favourite interlocutors. When contacts were first made for her abortive encounter with the Pope, it was explained that President Bush was also pressing for the meeting. His talks in the Vatican on 9 June with Benedict XVI had gone well and the US secretary of state’s encounter could have been a continuation. In fact, for Ms Rice to have obtained an audience on the lake at Castelgandolfo would have required willingness on the Vatican’s part, which was not the case. In August, the Pope tends to shun talks with politicians, with very few exceptions. A papal vacation, it was thought, was a good excuse for avoiding a meeting that was seen as not essential and could have created confusion or misunderstanding in international public opinion, above all in the Middle East.
No one will say so officially but the refusal may also have been prompted by Ms Rice’s stance in 2003, when she was Mr Bush’s national security adviser. On the eve of the Iraqi conflict, it was Ms Rice who said bluntly that she did not understand the Vatican’s anti-war stance. She treated John Paul II’s envoy, Cardinal Pio Laghi, with a coolness that bordered on disrespect when he was sent to Washington on 2 March 2003 on a desperate mission to avert military intervention. Clearly, the incident has not been forgotten.
Article in Italian
Massimo Franco English translation by Giles Watson www.watson.it
(Photo by Joe O'Brien, Catholic Times Correspondent)
Monsignor Edwin Knauf: He turned 100 years old on Sept. 9. The oldest diocesan priest in the whole state of Wisconsin, Monisgnor Knauf was ordained a priest the year Pope Benedict was a six year old boy. He was featured on the Back Pew page of our current edition after I spent a day with him at his River Falls apartment.
Chimney Destruction: The Holy Cross Center, which hosts the diocesan offices in La Crosse, such as the office of yours truly, was originally built for a coal-fired furnace, and thus had a tall chimney. That chimney has become dangerous, and went through a "lowering" last week.
Father Lee donation: I took this photo this summer actually, but it's just now entered the public domain that Father Henry Lee, a retired priest of the La Crosse Diocese, has donated $1 million to the same diocese with no strings attached. The gift really is a generous one, and certainly substantial and needed!
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Professor Jane Carducci
19 September 2007
In his analysis, “Logic and Paradox in the Structure of Donne’s Sermons,” Jerome Dees decries what he terms “[o]ne of the more persistent of the received notions about Donne’s sermons,” namely, that they devalue “logical arrangement in favor of associative, metaphorical connections” (78). Denying the claims of Joan Webber, Winfreid Schleiner, Janel Mueller and Stanley Fish, Dees instead argues that the Rev. John Donne’s sermons obey “simultaneously two separate logical principles, one cumulative and processive, the other disjunctive or bifurcative” (79). And while Dees does not deny the importance of the metaphorical connections in Donne’s writing, he argues that they are not divorced from a certain rhetorical logic. Nowhere is this clearer than in an excerpt from Donne’s “The Second of My Prebend Sermons upon My Five Psalmes.”
As with any literary analysis, why Donne composed this sermon is of tantamount importance to discovering their inner logic. If we acknowledge that Donne had a certain message to get across to a specific audience, then his rhetorical devices will begin to come to light. As a preacher, Donne’s primary concern was the salvation of the members of his congregation – as he writes, not “…the body of all, the substance of all…” but their souls, since “The body of all, the substance of all is safe, as long as the soule is safe” (29). With this fact, underlined by the epiphoric repetitions of “of all” and “safe,” serving as our pivot, the logic of Donne’s first, 123-word sentence moves quite smoothly.
The first two subjunctive, anaphoric “Let me” clauses build one upon the other: It is one thing to waste away in a “penurious prison,” but the amplificatio of withering “in a spittle under sharpe, and foule, and infamous diseases” is that much worse. Having built to his climax, however, Donne presents his listeners with a way out when he says “yet.” Parallel and once again presenting amplificatio is a double protasis: first, if God withdraw not – he enumerates – his blessings, grace and patience; and secondly, if Donne’s suffering is God’s action. Then we hear the implied apodosis: then his sufferings are but “temporall.” If we apply Dees’ thesis to this passage, the two metaphors that follow – the “caterpillar got into one corner” and the “mill-dew fallen upon one acre” – are not metaphors serving as a replacement for logic, but metaphors precisely because logical syntax calls them to be there. For, if we have followed Donne’s syntactical logic thus far, we should know the sufferings he described in his first two clauses are not physically real: They metaphorically represent the potential sufferings of his soul. Now his logic comes full circle, and his first two metaphors within the overarching metaphor are met equally with two more. Even so, logical progress is made, since the overarching metaphor of bodily suffering for spiritual suffering has been extrapolated. As Dees would put it, Donne’s “processive” logic has been at work.
Although, grammatically speaking, the remaining 343 words of this excerpt are a single sentence, they logically consist of three units split in the middle by a change in the person addressed. Just as the first sentence builds to a climax with its anaphoric “Let me,” so too do the first six clauses of the second sentence – the first unit – begin with the phrase “when I shall.” Once again, these phrases build one upon the other as Donne lays out in the apodosis, namely, what happens to the person who trusts “that, which wee call a good spirit” instead of trusting God: First his or her constancy is destroyed, then health, good opinion and, finally, peace. But here Donne the preacher, who needs to exude a pathos that will convert his hearers, sets to work. God doesn’t merely destroy the sinner’s constancy, he says; rather, God shall “shake, and enfeeble, and enervate, destroy and demolish” it. Then Donne plays with an extended metaphor: As God “shall call up the damps” on the “sweet air of a good conscience,” the very “vapours of hell it selfe,” which shall “spread a cloud of diffidence,” in turn hardening into “an impenetrable crust of desperation” (29-31). The metaphor’s placement is perfect; the congregation is chilled. Thus, to ring true for the listeners that “health shall flie” needs nothing more than to be linked by diacope to the fact that “riches shall flie.”
With the proper ethos established, Donne feels his hearers are ready for prayer. Thus he no longer speaks of God but instead directly to the Deity: “there is none but thou, O Lord, that should stand for me,” he says. Thus his physical and mental wounds return to the world of metaphor to find the instrument by which they were really caused: arrows having come “from thy quiver.” The divisio, or, as Dees would have it, “bifurcation,” is paradoxical, bridging the world of reality and metaphorical divinity. On one hand Donne gives us the real, mental action of trusting “a good spirit” instead of relying on God, which seemingly leads to his horrible state; but in his sermon the effect is paradoxically “bifurcated,” predicated instead to a spiritual, rather than its original, mental cause. The central paradox here is that God, not the sinner, is causing the sinner’s woes: “When it comes to this height… mine enemy is… The Lord of Hosts himselfe…” Donne writes. Far from illogical, Donne’s rhetoric is instead spiritual, which Dees, among others, would argue follows a paradoxically appropriate logic: As Dees puts it, “The structural tensions in Donne’s sermons embody the paradoxes inherent in… a set of conditions in which the preacher must be heard… as the spokesman for a divine agency” (90).
Like Dees, Herbert Umbach emphatically denies that Donne’s sermons lack a rigorous rhetorical methodology. He instead traces Donne’s rhetorical logic and its accompanying syntactical tools, which he says are “richer and more varied in his sermons than elsewhere” (357), to Augustinian preaching methodology. Umbach especially points to Donne’s use of cumulative paragraphs, such as those found in the present sermon. He writes, “In total effect such cumulative paragraphs, which remind one of an organ’s crescendo or the inrushing waves of the tide because they are unified and coherent, are not at all to Donne’s discredit” (358). Given the association Umbach made between the styles of Augustine of Hippo and Donne, a look at the former writer could be helpful in understanding better the latter.
The style of Augustine’s Confessions is eerily similar to the Donne sermon excerpt currently in question. In what is probably the most quoted passage from his work, Augustine says:
Too late did I love thee, O Fairness, so ancient, and yet so new! Too late did I love thee! … Thou calledst, and criedst aloud, and forcedst open my deafness. Thou didst gleam and shine, and chase away my blindness. Thou didst exhale odours, and I drew in my breath and do pant after thee. I tasted and do hunger and thirst. Thou didst touch me, and I burned for thy peace. (212)
Unlike Donne’s anguished address of prayer to God, Augustine’s supplication is one of praise. But his climax, like Donne’s, is metaphorical: Call, exhale, taste and touch are meant spiritually. As with Donne, Augustine’s metaphorical causes have spiritual, not physical effects.
Textually, Donne borrows much from Augustine. The alliteration of “calledst” and “criedst,” as well as the internal rhyme of these two words with “forcedst,” evoke Donne’s syntax. Internal rhyme is found in Donne, for example, when he says, “If I can call my suffering his Doing, my passion his Action” (29), and, “…because I am all evill towards thee, therefore thou hast given over being good towards me” (31). As another similarity, alliteration is a syntactic tool holding thoughts together throughout Donne’s sermon: for example, Donne begins, “Let me whither and weare,” and toward the end says, “…with his owne hand.” Finally, something that comes out more clearly in Augustine’s original Latin – which Donne would have been reading – is Augustine’s use of homoioteleuton – easier for Augustine since verbs and declined nouns end similarly in that language. Donne’s use of homoioteleuton, however, is employed mainly by means of adverbs, as seen in how he ends his sermon: “we are swallowed up, irreparably, irrevocably, irrecoverably, irremediably.”
The rhetorical logic Dees argued for in Donne finds its roots, therefore, in the Augustinian backbone of the preacher’s methodology. Based on classical rhetoric, this methodology involved the use of paradox because it addressed spiritual topics that could only be addressed analogously. Donne understood well that only metaphors and figures of speech could accomplish his purpose of winning souls, and thus he moved decisively and logically from reality to metaphor and back again, artfully utilizing all the rhetorical devices at his disposal to weave his powerful syntactical web. Nowhere is this clearer than the sermon excerpt examined herein.
Augustinus, Aurelius. The Confessions of St. Augustine. Trans. J.G. Pilkington. New York:
Collector’s Library, n.d.
Dees, Jerome S. “Logic and Paradox in the Structure of Donne’s Sermons.” South Central
Review 4.2 (1987): 78-92.
Donne, John. “’Salvation or Damnation’: from a Sermon.” Found in Styles and Structures:
Alternative Approaches to College Writing. Ed. Charles Kay Smith. New York: Norton,
Umbach, Herbert. “The Rhetoric of Donne’s Sermons.” PMLA 52.2 (1937): 354-358.
Bishop Listecki spent Thursday night at Franciscan Skemp and Friday night at the Mayo Clinic before being released prior to today's procedure. Although gallstone removal is less dangerous than many other procedures I had imagined, the fact the bishop has had problems with his pancreas in the past makes for possible related issues.
Once again, please keep the bishop in your prayers. I will update readers on the procedure's outcome when the information becomes available.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Franz S. Klein
Professor Jane Carducci
19 September 2007
Introduction, Chapters 1 & 2
Professor Richard Lanham begins his discussion on rhetoric by questioning the “three central values of Clarity, Brevity, and Sincerity, the ‘C-B-S’ theory of prose” (1). He argues that “The C-B-S theory of prose style seems not only unhelpful but a violation of our common sense” (2), and that it “seems to contradict all that we say is good in literature…” (3). Like the hard sciences did years ago, rhetoric must abandon the Newtonian “neutral exchange of information” concept of prose composition and embrace “the full tripartite range of human motive, play and competition as well as purpose…” (6).
In his first chapter, Lanham explores the difference between active, verb-based writing (Caesar’s veni, vidi, vici) and static, noun-based writing (noun + “is” + prepositional phrase), whose monotony “makes the action disappear into the nouns” (13). Both styles engender a characteristic syntax, he writes. But while the verb-based style’s isocolon (phrases/clauses of equal length and structure) and alliteration are pleasing to the ears, to read noun-based writing with its use of homoioteleuton (using words with similar endings) and general lack of stylistic polish “we must turn off our ears” (19). “Concentrate on verbs,” Lanham advises, “and the strings of prepositional phrases vanish” (17).
In his second chapter, Lanhan points out the difference between the “syntactic democracy” (29) of parataxis and hypotaxis, where inferences are made for the reader in subordinate clauses. While taxis indicates the way troops line up for battle, hypo (beneath) refers to subordinate phrases and para (beside) refers to the equality of the phrases. In addition to being verb-based, Caesar’s veni, vidi, vici was paratactal. In his analysis of Hemmingway’s writing, Lanham shows how his paratactic style encourages anaphora (similar sentence openings), and seems “emotionally charged, deliberately held in check” (32). In turn, paratactic writing encourages either asyndeton (no connectors) and polysyndeton (many connectors). Polysyndetic patterns are helpful to dramatists, and are more common in hypotactic writing, since that utilizes more complex sentences. Given its complexity, hypotactic writing brings with it a host of tools, such as the protasis (if) and apodosis (then). Often good writers can combine parataxis and hypotaxis – O.W. Holmes, for example, “sets up a hypotactic framework and then, within it, he embeds layers of parataxis” (41). While Lanham says parataxis has its place, “complex issues … demand subordination” (46).
Chapters 6, 7 (pp. 151-159) & 8
According to Lanham, “[s]ome social situations seem to carry within themselves a kind of natural persuasiveness, to suggest by their very shape a ‘logical’ or ‘just’ outcome” (119). Resembling bargaining patterns, such “shapes” appear in writing as well as in life. Lanham notes, for example, the many symmetrical patters that exist in prose: “A great deal of persuasion occurs in this way and most of it remains tacit, unacknowledged” (120). Among the tools writers utilize are polyptoton (words with the same root but different meanings) and paronomasia (homonymic puns), both of which can be strengthened by alliteration. Lanham says “[t]his powerful glue can connect elements without logical relationship” (122). They often highlight tacit persuasion patterns, which include chiasmus (“ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”), climax and isocolon. Such patterns are powerful because they “become templates for our thinking; they both frame thinking and, by their formal ‘logic’ of sight and sound, urge certain thoughts upon us” (125).
Among other pieces of prose, Lanham analyzes the “lemon squeezer” of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address in Chapter 7. Among the devices Lincoln uses are diacope (repeating a word with a few words in-between), polyptoton, hypozeuxis (clauses with different subjects/verbs but the same object), antistrophe (same closing word/s at the end of successive clauses/sentences) and homoioteleuton. As a chorographia (description of a nation), Lanham notes the address depends on anamnesis (recalling the past). Here Lanham is showing how rhetorical analysis is more than “an excuse for parading all the terms” and more a methodology for “expos[ing] a pattern which then allows us to use the terminology in specific and specifically useful way…” (159).
In Chapter 8, Lanham shows how high, middle and low styles of writing prove difficult to define. Ordinarily, high style is characterized by being rhetorical, emotional, persuasive, hypotactic, Latinate and literary, while a low style is logical, rational, informational, paratactic, Anglo-Saxon and conversational. With these two “extremes” chosen, middle style would be found in the middle. But Lanham says defining styles “is a game anyone can play” (164). To clarify he notes two different, opposed distinctions: public/private life and emotion/reason. While Logos pros tous akroōmenous is “aimed at the audience, logos pros ta pragmata is directed “aims at the events themselves,” and has been applauded “from Aristotle onward” (165). Paradoxically, logos pros ta pragmata became the low style, while logos pros tous akroōmenous has been the style “discussed, analyzed [and] marveled at” (Ibid.). As Lanham demonstrates with Winston Churchhill’s speech (166-169) and an article on the 427 Cobra (183), “facts feel,” and the whole range of styles is bridged. Thus, while he argues that stylistic definitions have value in “point[ing] to real and demonstrable stylistic particularities, …they change as society changes … So when we call a style ‘high,’ ‘middle,’ or ‘low’ we ought to remember what criteria we are using to do so” (175).
Lanham, Richard A. Analyzing Prose. 2nd edition. New York: Continuum, 2003.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
This is quite literally all that I know. He could simply have been feeling under the weather. Even if that's all that's wrong, please keep our bishop in your prayers. Let's pray for his health and recovery from whatever ails him.
I promise to post more tomorrow if the information is forthcoming.
Archbishop publishes study on denying communion
By Franz Klein
ROME (Catholic Times) – In the latest edition of Periodica de Re Canonica, the academic Canon Law journal the Jesuit-run Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, where he both earned his doctorate and taught classes while serving on the Apostolic Signatura, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke has published an study titled, “Canon 915: The Discipline regarding the Denial of Holy Communion to those Obstinately Persevering in Manifest Grave Sin.”
During the 2004 election year, “some bishops found themselves under question by other bishops” for choosing to deny anti-life politicians communion, the archbishop wrote.
Archbishop Burke’s study comes as a measured, academic response to the official stance taken by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops during the election year, according to which “Bishops can legitimately make different judgments on the most prudent course of pastoral action.”
But the archbishop responds, “… the question regarding the objective state of Catholic politicians who knowingly and willingly hold opinions contrary to the natural moral law would hardly seem to change from place to place.” And, “The question of the scandal involved does not seem to be addressed by the (bishops’) statement.”
Beginning with Scripture as interpreted by Pope John Paul II in his encyclical “Ecclesia de Eucharistia,” Archbishop Burke’s study seeks to “understand the Church’s constant practice“ in regard to worthiness to receive communion.
He examines examples of denying communion as found in the fathers of the Church, early Church law, the practice of the Eastern Churches, Vatican statements, the 1917 Code of Canon Law and, finally, the present law of the Church as established in 1983.
From his historical study, Archbishop Burke draws forth five conclusions.
First, the law of the Church only permits a person who is “properly disposed externally” to receive communion, while no judgment is made regarding “their internal disposition, which cannot be known with certainty.”
Secondly, the Church is entitled to presume that a person obstinately remaining in “public and grievous sin” lacks “the interior bond of communion, the state of grace, required to approach worthily the reception of the holy Eucharist.”
Thirdly, the archbishop notes that denying communion is not a punishment, but is done to “safeguard” the Eucharist, to prevent the possibility of someone committing a serious sin by receiving the Eucharist unworthily, and to keep the other faithful from being led astray by this being done publicly.
Fourthly, Archbishop Burke concludes that the Church’s constant practice of denying communion applies to “the public support of policies and laws which, in the teaching of the Magisterium, are in grave violation of the natural moral law.”
Fifthly, the archbishop says the denial of communion should always take place within the context of a “pastoral conversation,” so that “the distribution of holy Communion does not become an occasion of conflict.”
Archbishop Burke concludes by acknowledging the difficulty involved in implementing the law of the Church regarding denying communion, but he adds that to fail to do so would be to fail “to avoid serious scandal, for example, the erroneous acceptance of procured abortion against the constant teaching of the moral law.”
“No matter how often a bishop or priest repeats the teaching of the Church regarding procured abortion, if he stands by and does nothing to discipline a Catholic who publicly supports legislation permitting the gravest of injustices and, at the same time presents himself to receive holy Communion, then his teaching rings hollow,” the archbishop concludes.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
In his conclusion the archbishop states:
I am deeply aware of the difficulty which is involved in applying the discipline of can. 915. I am not surprised by it and do not believe that anyone should be surprised. Surely, the discipline has never been easy to apply. But what is at stake for the Church demands the wisdom and courage of shepherds who will apply it.
The United States of America is a thoroughly secularized society which canonizes radical individualism and relativism, even before the natural moral law. The application, therefore, is more necessary than ever, lest the faithful, led astray by the strong cultural trends of relativism, be deceived concerning the supreme good of the Holy Eucharist and the gravity of supporting publicly the commission of intrinsically evil acts. Catholics in public office bear an especially heavy burden of responsibility to uphold the moral law in the exercise of their office which is exercised for the common good, especially the good of the innocent and defenseless. When they fail, they lead others, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, to be deceived regarding the evils of procured abortion and other attacks on innocent and defenseless human life, on the integrity of human procreation, and on the family.
As Pope John Paul II reminded us, referring to the teaching of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, the Holy Eucharist contains the entire good of our salvation . There is no responsibility of the Church's shepherds which is greater than that of teaching the truth about the Holy Eucharist, celebrating worthily the Holy Eucharist, and directing the flock in the worship and care of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Can. 915 of the Code of Canon Law and can. 712 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches articulate an essential element of the shepherds' responsibility, namely, the perennial discipline of the Church by which the minister of Holy Communion is to deny the Sacrament to those who obstinately persevere in manifest grave sin.
Go Archbishop Burke!
WESTON -- John Pliska captured the individual championship to help the Stevens Point Area Senior High boys turn the D.C. Everest Invitational into a highlight reel en route to leaving the rest of the Division 1 field in its dust Tuesday.
Pliska covered the 5,000-meter course at Nine-Mile Forest in a time of 16 minutes, 24 seconds as the Panthers placed all eight of their runners in the top 15 overall to post a dominating team score of 17. Rhinelander was the nearest competition at 114.
Rosholt claimed the Division 2 title with 127 points behind a fourth-place showing from Jon Trzebiatowski (16:48). Marathon wound up a close second in the race at 135.
On the girls side, D.C. Everest's Rachel McNally won the individual title while Candice Todryk and Amanda Whipple picked up a 2-3 finish as Marshfield took top honors on the team front in Division 1 with a total of 31.
SPASH finished a close second to the Tigers with 44 as Marlena Sniadajewski, who finished fourth overall, was joined in the top 10 by Gabrielle Klein and Megan Stats, who finished sixth and ninth, respectively.
McNally finished in a winning time of 20:14, but her nearest teammate was Katlyn Reimann who placed 17th overall.
Wittenberg-Birnamwood edged out Rosholt for the Division 2 championship by a score of 162-168.
D.C. Everest Invitational
Division 1 standings: 1. SPASH 17; 2. Rhinelander 114; 3. D.C. Everest 144; 4. Menasha 150; 5. Marshfield 157; 6. Wisconsin Rapids 199.
Division 2 standings: 1. Rosholt 127; 2. Marathon 135; 3. Wittenberg-Birnamwood 231; 4. Laona-Wabeno 277; 5. Clintonville 308; 6. Wisconsin Rapids Assumption 327.
Top individuals: 1. John Pliska (SPASH), 16:24; 2. Jordan King (SPASH), 16:26; 3. Nate Hatton (SPASH), 16:40; 4. Jon Trzebiatowski (Rosholt), 16:48; 5. Paul Przybelski (SPASH), 16:56; 6. Jack Senefeld (SPASH), 17:10; 7. Aaron Easker (W-B), 17:15; 8. Jordon Theiler (DCE), 17:22; 9. Cal Joey (SPASH), 17:23; 10. Andy Bognar (Rhine), 17:24.
SPASH (17): 1. John Pliska, 16:24; 2. Jordan King, 16:26; 3. Nate Hatton, 16:40; 5. Paul Przybelski, 16:56; 6. Jack Senefeld, 17:10; 9. Cal Joey, 17:23; 11. Trevor Koziczkowski, 17:24; 15. Nick Orlikowski, 17:44.
Rosholt (127): 4. Jon Trzebiatowski, 16:48; 16. Evan Ferg, 17:44; 21. Anthony Rekowski, 18:25; 42. Ryan Barber, 19:30; 44. Chase Nelson, 19:36; 75. James Shatters, 22:10; 76. Mike Mansheim, 22:20.
Division 1 standings: 1. Marshfield 31; 2. SPASH 44; 3. D.C. Everest 79; 4. Wisconsin Rapids 149; 5. Rhinelander 163.
Division 2 standings: 1. Wittenberg-Birnamwood 162; 2. Rosholt 168; 3. Marathon 261; 4. Laona-Wabeno 308; 5. Clintonville 308; 6. Wisconsin Rapids Assumption 311; 7. Crandon 331.
Top individuals: 1. Rachel McNally (DCE), 20:14; 2. Candice Todryk (Marsh), 20:18; 3. Amanda Whipple (Marsh), 20:20; 4. Marlena Sniadajewski (SPASH), 20:28; 5. Amy Pawleko (Marsh), 20:36; 6. Gabrielle Klein (SPASH), 20:43; 7. April Sadogierski (Rosholt), 20:59; 8. Kristine Amundson (W-B), 20:59; 9. Megan Stats (SPASH), 21:05; 10. Nikki Bruhn (Marsh), 21:17.
SPASH (44): 4. Marlena Sniadajewski, 20:28; 6. Gabrielle Klein (SPASH), 20:43; 9. Megan Stats, 21:05; 12. Karlee Simkowski, 21:20; 13. Jackie Forrest, 21:20; 21. Randi Timerman, 22:03; 24. Brooke Piotrowski, 22:12; 39. Alicia Lang, 22:58.
Rosholt (168): 7. April Sadogierski, 20:59; 23. Margaret Hintz, 22:11; 31. Suzanne Schulist, 22:48; 54. Leah Wierzba, 25:06; 58. Nina Lauritzen, 25:33.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Here's the start to the girls' race:
My sister is immediately behind the front runners on the right in the red uniform:
Here's Gabby turning a corner. I think she placed 14th in 16:30:
And runners from my alma mater, Pacelli High School, run by a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the part of the course that passes through St. Joseph's Convent property:
Thank you for your e-mail. I appreciate and respect your comments regarding my review of Nancy Carpentier Brown's book. As I said in the review, and as Brown said in her book, good people are of many minds when it comes to Harry Potter. Given this fact, I tried to be as even-handed as possible in my review. Please note that I didn't agree completely with Brown. In fact, at the end of my review, I strongly reject her thesis that the books are a Christian morality tale. Thus, it would be incorrect to say I put my unqualified stamp of approval on her books or on the Harry Potter series. In an attempt to be even-handed, in fact, I spent half the review not only mentioning, but actually giving quotations from people who feel strongly that the books are harmful. Thus, I feel I gave plenty of space to those who disagree with my view that, as Brown put it, "...there are still truths in it to be discovered, and no reason why you can't discover them."
Your email, though, deals with the view of Father Machado that the books are dangerous for their elements of witchcraft. As I wrote in the last paragraph, good people are of many minds. In his even-handed treatment of the books -- in fact the best analysis I've seen to date -- in the most recent edition of the National Catholic Register, Father Alfonso Aguilar, LC, cites another well-known exorcist, Father Jose Antonio Fortea as saying, "They are merely literary fantasies in the manner of stories that have existed in Europe since the Middle Ages. I am neither in favor of condemning nor prohibiting them. To me, they are just unobjectionable stories." Father Aguilar's full article can be found here: http://ncregister.com/site/article/3663/ Father Macado's insistence that the incantations are real seems a little overwrought to me. Like Rowling, I earned my degree in classics; I enjoy the simple, silly Latin phrases that take the place of real incantations. "Expecto patronum," for example, simply means "Come, friend," while "Lumos" comes from the word for light, and therefore conjurs up light. Just because magic is used doesn't mean Wicca is promoted. As I wrote in my review, are we to throw out Jack and the Magic Beanstalk as well? Note that the one magical element most condemned by the Church, divination, is ridiculed throughout the book.
However, the one thing you said in your email that bothered me most was your questioning of whether a Presbyterian author has anything of value to say to Catholics. Why can't a Protestant say something of value? While I am certainly not equating Rowling with them, Protestant authors from Milton to Lewis have said things of lasting value and are worthy of our attention. I choose to review books not because they are written by Catholics, but for one of two reasons: (1) I find them of excellent literary or religious merit with the potential to be spiritually uplifting to the paper's readers; or (2) they have impacted our culture in such a way that to ignore them would be to live in a box. I chose to review Brown's book for the latter reason. To ignore the Harry Potter phenomenon, in my opinion, would be living in a box.
Staff Writer, The Catholic Times
(608) 788-1524, ext. 5
Monday, September 10, 2007
In any case, I've finished my first paper for the class -- basically an explanation on why reading Shakespeare in the original is important. Apparently this is a pretty standard way to begin one's study of the Bard. My paper, pasted below, is due Wednesday, so let me know if you find any mistakes!
Professor Jane Carducci
12 September 2007
Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross’d lovers take their life;
Whose misadventur’d piteous overthrows
Doth with their death bury their parents’ strife.
The fearful passage of their death-mark’d love,
And the continuance of their parents’ rage,
Which, but their children’s end, nought could remove,
Is now the two hours’ traffic of our stage;
The which if you with patient ears attend,
What here shall miss, our toil shall strive to mend. (Romeo and Juliet, Prologue, 1-14)
We begin our play in fair Verona, where fighting is arising anew from an old disagreement between two families of the same social class, and where the resulting bloodshed is legally implicating those involved. Coming from the progeny of these two families, a pair of lovers – joined by fate – commits suicide; but, by dying, their heartbreaking action brings their parents’ fighting to an end. Now, over the course of the next two hours, the tale of their fated love and their parents’ fighting, which only their children’s death could bring to an end, will be told here on this stage. If you listen attentively and patiently, our acting should give you what this prologue left out.
In an essay defending the value of lyric poetry from what he termed a “prose culture,” Charles Altieri sought “how we might describe the basic values lyrics make available or reinforce for cultural life” (259). Extending the philosophy of Spinoza to his fellow pedagogues as an excellent paradigm, he said teachers must show their students how poems bind “…the forms of syntax to the possibilities of feeling” (277). According to Altieri, the lyrics themselves have value, a certain inherent dynamism, meaning the reader must adapt him or herself “…to particular affective configurations and com[e] to the self-reflexive appreciation of those powers” (Ibid.).
The inherent dynamism that Altieri attributes to lyric poetry is as clear in the prologue to Romeo and Juliet as anywhere else in the Shakespearean canon. While a prose translation like the one given above might render clearer the meanings of the words and phrases Shakespeare utilized, the resulting passage is undeniably lethargic, robbed of its power to captivate the attention of an audience – the very purpose for which the prologue was scripted and performed. And though the reasons behind this loss of power and its resulting lethargy are manifold, they begin with the most basic elements of lyric poetry.
As is the Shakespearean norm, the prologue is a sonnet, composed in iambic pentameter, which in this case is virtually flawless, allowing the play’s narrator to establish a powerful cadence when delivering its opening lines. Even the division of certain words between iambic feet seems to deepen the intonation: The division of the syllables in “Households” (1) and “Verona” (2) between two iambs, for instance, leaves listeners no opportunity to miss where the story takes place. Additionally split is the word “civil” (4) – caught between feet not once but twice, such that the phrase “Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean” (Ibid.) takes on an emphasis that would otherwise be absent. Similarly, the alliteration of “Doth” and “death” (8) builds as the accent falls on “death” after missing “Doth” at the beginning of the line. The “d” alliteration continues, as the word “death” is repeated and accented a second time in the following line. In the second line of the concluding couplet, with the narrator having reached his or her fever pitch, “miss” and “mend” (14) are both accented.
Another structural element sacrificed in the prose translation is the prologue’s rhyme scheme. As is almost always the case with Shakespearean sonnets, the prologue consists of three quatrains and a concluding couplet, which follow an abab cdcd efef gg rhyme scheme. As with the iambic structure, the rhyme scheme helps the narrator to structure his or her delivery. Even the one flaw that seems to present itself serves a purpose, since the dissonance of “love” (9) being followed two lines later by “remove” (11) prepares the listener for the coming couplet, and then, finally, for the prologue’s conclusion.
When these metrical structures and rhyme schemes are sacrificed, the prologue loses the basic structure which aids the narrator in bringing it to life. As opposed to poetry, a sensible prose translation begins not dramatically and ominously with “Two households, both alike in dignity” (1), but with the locale of the action: Verona. No longer does the listener move fluidly with the narrator’s cadence; no longer does his or her blood pound at the mention of “household” or “Verona,” or stop to wonder at the repetition of “civil”; being absent, even the alliterations of the letter “d” fail to add their dynamic. Likewise, the missing sonnet rhyme scheme leaves the listener to make his or her own divisions of the text, which in turn makes the prologue more difficult to comprehend and therefore open to erroneous interpretation. As Altieri succinctly put it, the “possibilities of meaning” are no longer bound to “the forms of syntax.” And thus, Altieri would add, the prologue loses much of its dynamism.
Troublingly, there is something more fundamental missing whenever an author’s own words are replaced by those of an interpreter, as is the case with the prose “translation” of the prologue. In his essay on the translation of philosophy, Jonathan Ree wrote that “…complete faithfulness in translation is an obvious impossibility. As everyone knows, any text can be interpreted in innumerable ways” (224). And while Ree addressed specifically the translation of academic philosophy, the fact that lyric poetry, like philosophy, contains ideas inhering to the structure of the text and the author’s own word choice makes his comments applicable here as well. In fact, Ree’s comments are especially apropos, since several phonaesthetically or philosophically important phrases, as well as the ideas they engender, are sacrificed when the prologue is converted to prose.
Among Shakespeare’s word choices in the prologue, for example, are several metonymical phrases that add meaning no translation quite captures. Are “star-cross’d lovers” (6) the same as lovers “joined by fate”? Technically one’s fate might be read in the stars; but something seems lost when fate, described metonymically by the crossing of stars, is reduced to mere fate: The absence here of what philosophers describe as a “word picture” means the listener has no visual image in his or her mind to which fate can be related. Similarly metonymical are phrases like the cacophonic “forth the fatal loins” (5) describing Romeo and Juliet as born from their parents’ unions only destined to die, and “civil blood” and “civil hands” (4) recounting respectively a killing legally punishable as a homicide and those implicated by the law as murderers. Without the aura of mystery surrounding these metonymical phrases and their inherent euphony or cacophony, little is left to the imagination to work on, meaning any attempt at suspense promptly fails.
No image can replace “star-cross’d” without something of the sense of being star-crossed being lost. No other descriptor but “death-mark’d” (9) can explain what Shakespeare means to convey about how Romeo and Juliet’s love would end. In terms of expressing complex ideas, the translation of lyric poetry rises to the difficulty of translating philosophical writing. Each change, be it to structure, word choice or phrase, affects the meaning intended by the author, since each change represents a translator’s interpretative choice. Translating lyric poetry might even surpass the difficulty of translating philosophy, since the ideas expressed by the author – known or unknown to the translator – inhere to the very structure of the poem. Suffice it to say, much is missing in any prose “translation” of the prologue to Romeo and Juliet. Just as Juliet asks of Romeo, the reader of a prose prologue could ask: “Meaning, meaning: Wherefore art thou meaning?”
Ree, Jonathan. “The Translation of Philosophy.” New Literary History 32.2 (2001): 223-257.
Friday, September 7, 2007
I can understand a single priest's temptation to ignore Church teaching when confronted with an overwhelming pastoral situation (though I could never countenance his heresy), but I can't see how the entire Dutch branch of the Dominican order can forget how the Eucharist is confected. Wow.
Dutch Dominicans call for laity to celebrate Mass
THE DOMINICAN Order in the Netherlands has issued a radical recommendation that lay ministers chosen by their congregations should be allowed to celebrate the Eucharist if no ordained priests are available.
In a booklet posted to all 1,300 parishes in the country, it says that the Church should drop its priest-centred model of the Mass in favour of one built around a community sharing bread and wine in prayer.
"Whether they are women or men, homo- or heterosexual, married or single, makes no difference. What is important is an infectious attitude of faith," said the brochure, which has been approved by the Dutch order's leaders. However, the Dutch bishops' conference promptly said that the booklet appeared to be "in conflict with the faith of the Roman Catholic Church". It said it had no prior knowledge of the project and needed to study the text further before issuing a full reaction.
The 38-page booklet, Kerk en Ambt ("Church and Ministry"), reflects the thinking of the Belgian-born Dominican theologian Fr Edward Schillebeeckx. In 1986 the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger warned Fr Schillebeeckx that his views on the Eucharist and lay ministry were "erroneous" but took no action against him. The booklet was written by four Dominicans including Fr André Lascaris, a theologian at the Dominican Study Centre for Theology and Society in Nijmegen. Fr Lascaris was involved in peace work for Northern Ireland from 1973 until 1992 and has published numerous articles and books on conflict, violence, forgiveness and reconciliation. The other authors are Fr Jan Nieuwenhuis, retired head of the Dominicus ecumenical centre in Amsterdam, Fr Harrie Salemans, a parish priest in Utrecht, and Fr Ad Willems, retired theology lecturer at Radboud University, Nijmegen.
The booklet says that many Dutch Catholics are frustrated that combining parishes and closing churches is the main response to the challenge of a dwindling clergy. "The Church is organised around priests and actually finds the priesthood more important than local faith communities," said Fr Salemans in an interview posted on the order's Dutch website. "This is deadly for local congregations."
Using the early Church as its model, the booklet said a congregation could choose its own lay minister to lead services. The minister and the congregation would speak the words of consecration together. "Speaking these words is not the exclusive right or power of the priest," the booklet said. "It is the conscious expression of faith by the whole congregation."
The ranks of Dutch Dominicans have thinned along with those of other clergy, and now number only 90 men. Since 2000 around 200 parishes in the Netherlands have been closed due to the lack of priests and the fall in church attendance
One piece of mine that I want to highlight is my review of Nancy Carpentier Brown's "The Mystery of Harry Potter: A Catholic Family Guide." There are a wide variety of opinions among Catholics regarding Harry Potter. I might as well come out and say I'm a fan, since this probably comes through in the review. I should emphasis, however, that while I don't see the danger other Catholics see in Rowling's books, I also don't agree with Carpentier's thesis that the books are a "Christian morality tale." That should be clear enough in the review, so here it is:
Harry Potter finds a ready Catholic defense in Brown’s book
“THE MYSTERY OF HARRY POTTER: A CATHOLIC FAMILY GUIDE,” by Nancy Carpentier Brown. Our Sunday Visitor (Huntington, 2007). 175 pp., $12.95.
Review by Franz Klein
It would be hard to deny the success of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, completed this summer with the publication of the seventh and final novel, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” (Scholastic, 2007). Since the publication of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” (Scholastic, 1997), Rowling’s books have sold more than 325 million copies in 64 different languages, making her one of the most successful authors of all time.
Yet Rowling has her detractors. Liberals are among her harshest critics, with feminist Christine Schoefer calling the novels “patriarchal” and “chauvinistic,” and writer Anthony Holden stating that “the Potter saga was essentially patronizing, very conservative, highly derivative, dispiritingly nostalgic for a bygone Britain.”
But there have been vocal conservative detractors as well, Catholics prominent among them, who charge Rowling with occultism and blurring the line between good and evil. As Catholic author Michael O’Brien writes, “While Rowling posits the ‘good’ use of occult powers against their misuse, thus imparting to her sub-creation an apparent aura of morality, the cumulative effect is to shift our understanding of the battle lines between good and evil.”
And notably, in response to a German critic of Harry Potter who had sent her book for him to review, then-Cardinal Ratzinger wrote, “It is good that you enlighten people about Harry Potter, because those are subtle seductions, which act unnoticed and, by this, deeply distort Christianity in the soul before it can grow properly.”
But Catholics, like everybody else, found themselves reading and loving Harry Potter anyway – even faithful, conscientious Catholics who care deeply about what their children read, says Nancy Carpentier Brown, whose book, “The Mystery of Harry Potter: A Catholic Family Guide,” was published by Our Sunday Visitor in conjunction with this summer’s release of the final installment of the Harry Potter series.
In her book, Brown suggests that perhaps Catholics – her included – had initially passed judgment on Harry Potter without giving the series a fair read. “I believe J.K. Rowling has pulled off the biggest coup of our age,” she writes. “She’s got millions of readers in the palm of her hand, reading each of her installments. She has handed the world the biggest Christian tale of our times, disguised in a story about witches and wizards. So cleverly disguised, most of the world doesn’t even realize what it’s reading.”
As for the then-future pope, Brown writes that she respected his opinion, “but doubted that he had actually read any of the Harry Potter books. I felt he made his comments as a polite response to a lady who sent him her book.”
Brown’s book is addressed specifically to Catholic parents who are concerned about the elements of occultism, disobedience and death that they believe characterize Rowling’s writing. She seeks to assure them that Rowling, a believing Christian (Presbyterian with three baptized children), uses magic as “window dressings” that allow her to tell a morality tale, much like those of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.
Brown denies the charges of occultism, writing, “Magic is Rowling’s fictional name for ‘human ability,’ neither good nor bad, except as to how one chooses to use it.” “Does any child fail to recognize the Harry Potter stories as stories?” she asks. And, “Does any child read ‘Jack and the Beanstalk” and begin to wonder if they can use magic beans to solve their problems?”
Brown does not deny that Harry is disobedient at times. If it were otherwise, she writes, “they would not have room to grow and improve.” “This is a morality tale, and as such, the characters need to learn to behave themselves. … They must be taught, they must grow in virtue, and they must want to succeed at becoming moral human beings.”
Brown also admits that the Harry Potter series contains some very mature themes, but she also points out that the first novels in the series are less dark. She writes that a parent needs to gradually introduce mature themes such as death to their children anyway. She strongly recommends that parents read Harry Potter with their children, and that they establish an age at which their children can read each increasingly mature novel.
Although repetitive in style and with a layout characterized by a confusing interspersion of quotations, Brown hits all the major points when it comes to reassuring Catholic parents about Harry Potter. Her suggestion that parents read together with their children should apply not only to Harry Potter, but to any work of fact, fantasy or fiction that their children pick up. Parents are, remember, the first educators of their children. And books are an important source of knowledge for growing minds.
After all, as Brown points out, Harry Potter doesn’t have to do so much with occultism, disobedience and death as with things any maturing child needs to learn: how to choose the good, how to cooperate with one’s peers and with rightful authority, and how the power of life and love can overcome evil and death.
And readers don’t have to be on board with her thesis that the series is a Christian morality tale to agree with the more tenable statement with which she concludes – that “Even if it is a pagan story, even if it is a fairy tale, even if it is a myth or a fantasy, there are still truths in it to be discovered, and no reason why you can’t discover them.”
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
The quote that really angered me was this one:
Alderman Guy Zima, who spoke at the council meeting against granting the permit, said the COTS program has invited people "to not live up to their responsibilities."
Couple that with the homeless man who died of a heart attack due to exposure to the cold. I guess the good alderman thinks this man should live up to his responsibilities. And just so people in that neighborhood can pretend that the homeless don't exist!
The Green Bay Compass has written on the situation, and you can find their article here.
Green Bay's soon-to-depart-for-Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubick devoted part of his bishop's column to the issue as well:
A scraped knee and beyond
Emergency shelter in downtown is all about caring for each other
By Bishop David Zubik
Last Saturday marked an inaugural event in Green Bay. It was the first-ever Charity Challenge Helping Hands 5K Run to benefit Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Green Bay. I was fortunate to be on hand that morning as about 175 people ran through downtown Green Bay and enjoyed breakfast in the Wycislo Center at St. Francis Xavier Cathedral, all to support a great cause.
With numerous families turned out for the run, it was heart-warming to see moms, dads, sons and daughters readying themselves for the race, cheering each other on and then congratulating their own team members as they crossed the finish line. As can be expected, some tears were shed as children grew tired or took a tumble. Early in the morning, I saw a preschooler fall, going down on his hands and knees and almost hitting his head. His tears were almost as big as his cry of pain. Fortunately, his mom was at his side with a bandage ready to go for his scrapped knee but also with a comforting hug, kiss and word to let the little boy know that he was going to be OK.
I mention this story because it speaks to something fundamental about us, and that is to care for others. As humans, we naturally care for our family members, friends, and the occasional stranger in need. As Christians, the Gospel challenges us to go one step further and care for the least among us - the poor, the sick, the imprisoned, the homeless.
It seems that this part of our Christian calling isn't going so well in Green Bay. On Aug. 21, the Green Bay City Council voted unanimously to bar a winter shelter program offered at one of our parishes and supported by other faith communities, Catholic and otherwise. (See related article).
In its two-year history, the Churches Offering Temporary Shelter (COTS) program essentially was the last safe stop for people who couldn't be helped at Green Bay's other shelters. Typically, people using the COTS shelter at St. John the Evangelist Parish in downtown Green Bay were there because they are mentally ill, have a drug addiction or might even act out, thus disqualifying them from help at the other shelters.
The City Council decided to uphold the Plan Commission's decision, which denied an ordinance variance to COTS to run its program at the church. Without the ordinance variance, the shelter's doors will remain closed.
According to news reports, residents in the St. John neighborhood have complained about the high number of police calls during the shelter's operation as well as the intimidating behavior of people who hang out in the neighborhood park near the Church. While I can appreciate these complaints, I do believe that these and other problems can be resolved through a collaborative approach involving city leaders, COTS, and other public or private agencies. I do know that the Green Bay Police Department has supported COTS because the program gave people a safe, warm place to go, which was better than the alternative of sleeping in an abandoned building or breaking into locked cars or buildings.
Over the years, volunteers for COTS and St. John the Evangelist Parish have worked diligently to fulfill the city's parameters for a conditional use permit. The parameters have included submitting architectural plans, installing stainless steel sinks, and reconstructing bathrooms and entryways. Without the permit, COTS could not move forward with the installation of a wheel chair ramp, fire doors and strobe fire alarm system that are required to meet city codes.
As it stands, the city is without an emergency shelter for about 200 citizens for the winter. There have been suggestions that other municipalities could pitch in and share in the responsibilities or that churches could take in as many as three people on a given night, as allowed by city ordinance. But, as I see it, the problem is growing beyond a simple "bandage" solution. Yes, there are problems associated with this kind of shelter in one part of town, but ignoring the problem isn't an effective solution. Denying services won't make clients disappear. Expecting another community to do it doesn't get the job done. People with mental illnesses or drug problems have been and will continue to be with us, and we need to address this particular aspect of homelessness before it becomes a bigger problem. I believe and I know that we are capable of offering a much more thoughtful, loving, concerted response to our sisters and brothers who deserve more than to be left in the winter's cold.
Saturday, September 1, 2007
For those of you who know me, you also know it has always been a dream of mine to study and write. Undertaking studies for the MA is the first major step I've taken in this direction since leaving the seminary. Literature has always been a special love for me. This semester, I'll be concentrating on Shakespeare and Joyce -- two polar opposites except in their shared difficulty. I'm also taking courses in research methods and pedagogy, which makes for a pretty full graduate course load. ...And planning for a wedding on top of all that!
In any case, I'll do my best to keep writing, and perhaps even to incorporate some of my academic ventures in this blog. For today I'll leave you with the first homework assignment I've written since spring of 2006. It feels good to be back in school!!!
Professor Jane Carducci
1 September, 2007
Based on "A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature" (Wilfred L. Guerin et al., Oxford: 2005)
According to the formalist critics Cleanth Brooks and Robert Warren, “…it is only when we speak of the achieved content, the form, the work of art as a work of art, that we speak as critics” (qtd. in Guerin 104). Thus do Brooks and Warren succinctly characterize the formalist approach as that which starts with a close reading of a work’s own organic form. As understood here, form is far more expansive than simply the work’s structural components – its sentence patterns, stanzas and their requisite parts, etc. Rather, “[i]t becomes the tone or mood that the text builds, and possibly the shifting and alternating of moods. It becomes the relationship between the teller of the narrative and the hearer, possibly the ambiguity of the teller’s version of the story” (94). Thus the formalist critic begins solely with the text itself, in a sense tearing it apart – recognizing its point-of-view, internal imagery, texture, tension and symbolism – and putting it back together again through his or her close, analytical reading. In fact, only in its examination of symbolism does formalist criticism extend occasionally beyond the work proper, and, then, only as far “as suggested by its symbols” (106).
Millennia earlier, Aristotle had argued for aesthetic order in poetry. In the history of modern scholarship, however, the New Critics of the mid-nineteenth century, following the lead of Samuel Coleridge and philosophers such as Immanuel Kant, were the first to concentrate on form – on “the work of art as an object” (97). Specifically, they taught that literature, like art or music, contains a “consistency and an internal vitality that we should look for and appreciate. In doing so, we would appropriate the work to ourselves…” (96). In addition to the seventeenth century Metaphysical Poets, New Criticism profited immensely from such writers as T.S. Eliot, whose poetry lent itself well to a solely internal analysis. Eliot additionally articulated the idea of an “objective correlative,” a sort of bridge between the text and the reader, “such that when the external facts are given, the emotion is immediately invoked” (100). In its heyday, New Criticism was the standard approach to works of literature. By mid-century, however, scholars were accusing formalist critics of “a pronounced elitism, if not more sinister rightist tendencies” (149). They failed to make the same advances in the novel and drama as for poetry, detractors argued; and, even there the method lent itself better to some forms than others. According to Robert Langbaum, the formalist approach took criticism out of the mainstream and gave it new tools that should be kept; but now “we should return, with the tools of explication and analysis given us by the New Critics, to that mainstream” (150).
In presenting an experience that the reader can recreate, Andrew Marvel’s “To His Coy Mistress” lends itself well to formalist criticism. Within the context of a man talking to a woman is a “philosophical consideration of time, of eternity, of pleasure (hedonism), and of salvation in an afterlife (traditional Christianity)” (112). Without referring to anything outside the text of the poem, the reader can see how space and time are related: “Had we but World enough, and Time” (“Coy Mistress” 1). Additionally related to the secondary, sexual motif, the carpe diem theme present throughout gives the poem an “overbearing sense of cold, calculated drive to use the pleasures of sex to counterbalance the threats of empty eternity” (114). Overall, a formalist study of Marvel’s poem would begin with the temporal, spatial and sexual motifs contained therein, and proceed to analyze how the poem’s imagery allows the reader to appropriate the work to him or herself – to ask “whether love and even existence itself can extend beyond the time we know…” (116).