7 quick takes: Let us now praise stuff

— 1 —

You know what? Sometimes I get a little negative on Fridays. Why? Because stuff happens, and good or bad, you want to remark on it, but it’s the bad stuff that tends to make more news. So today, let me offer praise to stuff or things or people. You know, whatever.

For example, all praise to Mark Shea, who wrote a stemwinder of an excellent column in Our Sunday Visitor defending what detractors would dismiss as the Church’s love of nice things. But what the detractors often don’t understand is that the Church so often desires “both/and.” Yes, we’re to serve the poor and bring others to God using beautiful art and music and buildings and whatever. But that’s a tough mindset to get out of. I think Mark’s essay is a good start toward explaining that.

— 2 —

All praise to Luke Mayernik, whom I mentioned in passing on another post but who deserves a little extra praise here. Via MySpace, I’ve now listened to the rest of the tracks on his church music album, “Ever Ancient, Ever New,” besides the ones I had already downloaded, and there’s not a bad track in the bunch. I bought sheet music for a couple of them and will be looking to work them into the choir rotation at some point for my main parish, and I might be able to get a couple of cantors at some of the other parishes to join me in trying these. I highly recommend his church work thus far, especially “The Lisbon Carol” and his many varieties of “A Call to Blessing.”

(Promotional photo from his website.)

— 3 —

All praise to The Onion, which may have set a record for the highest number of dog puns ever.

— 4 —

All praise to my 6-0-1 Blackhawks. That’s a very quick way to be forgiven, playing kick-rear-end, right? They’re fun to watch, fun to listen to in the car, and fun to follow. This is what sports should be like — it’s a shame we don’t have a full season this year.

— 5 —

Praise to Catholic Answers, which held open forums within the last couple weeks for both atheists and pro-choice callers. It’s remarkable sometimes how little people know about the ideas and people they disagree with. But praise to the callers, too, who got out of their echo chambers to listen to the other side.

— 6 —

Praise to Archbishop Gomez (pictured below), who had the unhappy duty of having to rebuke another shepherd of the Church — his predecessor, Roger Cardinal Mahony. The sex abuse scandal is the anti-gift that seems to keep on giving and probably will for centuries. (After all, enemies of the Church still talk about the Inquisition.)

The thing is, this sort of housecleaning is terribly, tragically necessary. The priests of God and shepherds of the Church did not live up to their vows and responsibilities, let alone Church teachings, and the fallout is what you see today. (It’s a reason, by the way, that I’m not in a rush to get JPII canonized, not because he wasn’t a holy man  – he certainly was — but it’s fairly obvious in retrospect that his administrative abilities were poor, and he often trusted the wrong people.)

— 7 —

All praise to God, without whom nothing in the above six items would have been possible, let alone anything else. It’s tough to remember God sometimes, even with as much time as I spend in churches. On the bright side, when I’m bright enough to remember Him, and even when I’m not, he’s still there and granting me a lot more than I deserve.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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