7 quick takes: The Church as Cassandra

— 1 —

I’ve had this thought in my head the last few weeks, and I want to see if it makes any sense to anyone else. Are you familiar with the mythological story of Cassandra? Basically, she had the gift of prophecy — but her curse was that no one would listen to her. And I’m thinking the Church may fit into that category. Defenders of Humanae Vitae make the point that Pope Paul VI correctly called out what would happen with the spread of birth control — and yet, you get stuff like this, basically making the point that the Church was 100% wrong. And this NCRegister post discussing how our beloved Benedict XVI (Ret.) has been on the money with his discussion of the “dictatorship of relativism” had me wondering if it would fit into my scheme here. I think it might.

— 2 —

How did you feel at the moment Benedict exited his post? I felt this mix of joy (for him) and nervous energy (which tends to happen when you feel uncertain of the future). I was at work, so I wasn’t able to watch the proceedings, but I knew he would be done at 1 p.m. local time, and I felt around that time like I was losing something. I guess I didn’t truly realize how much the man meant to me, let alone the Church, until he was about to leave the spotlight.

— 3 —

Now that the chair of Peter is vacant, it’s going to be soooooo weird when the priest gets to the part in the Mass where he would normally mention the pope. I wonder if the priest would be allowed to mention “our retired pope” in that place. I mean, this hasn’t happened in 600 years. Maybe the liturgy police would allow that. Or maybe the priest will accidentally go, “with our pope, um, nobody….”

— 4 —

Now, Thursday was, of course, a bit turbulent. But then it got more so. I recently wrote about my day job and what it meant to me. That was posted Thursday. Later that day, the CEO and cofounder of my company was axed after some bad fourth quarter earnings. What that means, of course, is that things could be in flux at the day job.

Perhaps I should be more nervous about my job, especially because I went through a layoff four years ago and only now am I mostly recovered. But I don’t feel too bad. Maybe I’ve mellowed with age. Or maybe I just know there’s so much I can control. In any case, I feel terribly calm.


I still drank a beer on my train ride home Thursday, anyway. (You can do that on certain Chicago-area commuter trains.)

— 5 —

One of the responsibilities of being a pastoral musician is that, like the priest, you spend time with people at certain big moments of their lives. Take last weekend, for example.

After Mass had finished, I went up to a family who divides their time between English and Spanish Mass. They had just added a fourth child, the first boy, to the family, and brought him to church for the first time. Delighted, I congratulated them and chatted for a little while with them on the new addition.

After which I headed to the back of church and offered my condolences to a man whose 93-year-old mother, an always smiling woman who always sat in the front pew with him, had just died.

I may not be a priest. I never will, unless God picks up the red vocations phone and calls me. But I bet my visits with both parties meant quite a bit to each.

— 6 —

One more thing about the pope: No one asked Jose Canseco for his thoughts about Benedict’s Twitter account. And Jose Canseco apparently is still suffering ill effects of having that ball bounce off his head in the ’90s. But here he goes:

He’s not a bright one, that Jose.

— 7 —

After doing some research for this post about folk music at Mass, I’ve been listening to a lot of other music from that era, because so much of it has fallen out of favor. Part of that is because a lot of it aged badly or just stunk right off the bat. Some stuff has hung on fairly well, and others are now more like buried treasure. I don’t think I’d ever heard this piece from the Dameans before, and if it’s the case that it’s fallen out of favor, I think that’s a shame. It’s gorgeous and worth a listen, and if I could easily obtain a copy, it might be worth trying to do as a choir piece. But take a listen to “Beatitudes,” and let me know what you think about it.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


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