Saturday, September 13, 2003

Waiting for Pope's death?

I was a little concerned when I read this, but perhaps it is just me - let me know what you think. CNN/Reuters posted an interesting news report this weekend speaking about the Pope's visit to Slovakia. Of all the things they could've written about, here is the headline:

Pope appears weak on Slovak tour

Although I encourage you to read the whole article, here are some snippets that concern me:
The 83-year-old pope, who suffers from Parkinson's disease and can no longer walk, had difficulty pronouncing the prayers at the mass...

The pope, who has looked exceptionally weak on his 102nd trip abroad, braved stiff winds...

Speaking in a feeble voice at the end of the two-hour mass, he told them and others who had entered the country to see him: "Your turnout and singing has pleased my heart."

The pope started the trip on Thursday and was so weak that aides had to help him finish his two speeches on his first day.

His strength bounced back a bit on Friday, ... but on Saturday he seemed very weak again...

The pope often had his head slumped in his hands as his delegate read his sermon, which was mostly about religious themes...

Given the pope's advancing age and ailments, his followers are turning out in droves knowing each trip to his native central Europe, where he spurred the struggle against Soviet domination and was instrumental in its fall, could be his last.

But his message so far on the trip, which ends on Sunday, has so far been obscured by fears over his health as he approaches the 25th anniversary of his election next month.
I grant that it said a few good things, particularly about things the pope had done, such as contribute to the fall of the Soviet Union, but what do you think their aim is with this particular article? It certainly isn't to portray an active, high-spirited pope. So why do they believe he even took this trip?

He suffers physically in his body, but his mind is clear, competent, and focused. The Holy Father is still perfectly deserving of the title John Paul the Great, even if he has trouble standing. Was not Pope St. Gregory the Great extremely ill during his final years as pope? Of Gregory the Great, states:
What makes his achievement more wonderful is his constant ill-health. He suffered almost continually from indigestion and, at intervals, from attacks of slow fever, while for the last half of his pontificate he was a martyr to gout. In spite of these infirmities, which increased steadily, his biographer, Paul the Deacon, tells us "he never rested" (Vita, XV).
Pope John Paul II is not too different. I saw this perfectly clear at World Youth Day last year in Toronto. The weak pope flew in to pray with us, celebrate Holy Mass with us, encourage us, teach us about Christ and the beauty of grace. One thing that I love about this pope is that just when the world thinks he is ready to throw in the towel, he surprises them with yet another trip, another letter, another prayer. When CNN writes about Stephen Hawking, what do you think they focus on? The fact that he is severely physically disabled, confined to a wheelchair, or the fact that he is one of the most brilliant minds of our day who never quits contributing to his field.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

September 11th, 2001

Requiem aeternam dona eis domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church

The parish of Our Lady of Sorrows was established in downtown Santa Barbara by the Society of Jesus in 1909. The original church was destroyed in the earthquake of 1925 (see Mission picture below), and so the present church was constructed soon afterward. It's a truly magnificent structure - a magnificent church filled with warm, Santa Barbara colors. On the inside, it is lined with stained glass, side altars, and confessionals. On the outside, for many years, the church had been painted pink until it was repainted white only about three years ago. The Jesuits still staff the parish, and in fact, my Jesuit spiritual director is in residence here.

Inside, looking down through the nave

View of the sanctuary from the nave

Closer view of the sanctuary. The large crucifix was only installed about two years ago. Prior to that time, there had been a small baldachino above the tabernacle topped by a much smaller crucifix.

The High Altar

Looking back through the nave from the sanctuary

Altar of Our Lady of Sorrows

Like the Santa Barbara Mission, there are so many remarkable details. I'd like to go back and get pictures of some of the stained glass. That will have to be another time.
The First Computer Bug

September 9th, 1945. Read all about it and even see it here.
Moth found trapped between points at Relay # 70, Panel F, of the Mark II Aiken Relay Calculator while it was being tested at Harvard University, 9 September 1945. The operators affixed the moth to the computer log, with the entry: "First actual case of bug being found". They put out the word that they had "debugged" the machine, thus introducing the term "debugging a computer program". In 1988, the log, with the moth still taped by the entry, was in the Naval Surface Warfare Center Computer Museum at Dahlgren, Virginia.

Celebrities in Santa Barbara?!

Ben and J-Lo will be married in Santa Barbara

I already suspect that the location in the article is not the actual location, and no, I'm not trying to pass on the latest gossip - just trying to make a point of interest. For celebrities, Santa Barbara is a very popular spot. I have lived here for almost eight years, and I'm still realizing that. But there's more to Santa Barbara than many realize. You see, back in 1910, Santa Barbara was considered to be the future of the film-making industry - the film capital of the world! Only around 1920 did the motion picture industry move to Hollywood. Of particular interest is the Flying A Studio, California's first major studio, which was opened in Santa Barbara by the American Film Company around 1910. Believe it or not, more than 1200 films, mostly Westerns, were made during the studio's 10 years of existence.

Santa Barbara is nestled between mountains and the sea, and so naturally, for more than a few of Flying A's films, the local vistas doubled for the most exotic of locales. Our local mountains were once doubled as the Swiss Alps, and the Channel Islands of the Santa Barbara Channel were once doubled as South Sea islands.

So why did the film industry move? Well, it was soon realized that Santa Barbara offered little room for development and expansion of the industry. A true blessing in disguise... :)

Monday, September 08, 2003

Santa Barbara Churches

The next Santa Barbara church I plan to discuss is the beautiful Jesuit parish of Our Lady of Sorrows in downtown Santa Barbara. My computer died last week, and so I lost many of my pictures, but thankfully they are still in my digital camera and so I will have them online soon! I promise!
There's something rotten in St. Blog's

Bill Cork picks up on an observation made by Gerard at Catholic Blog for Lovers concerning some Catholic bloggers around who appear to be miserably unhappy!
...there are Catholics who are miserably unhappy with the Church and her hierarchy. Failure after failure is pointed out, name after name is vilified. The worst is believed about any and all. They come across, in the words of Pope John XXIII, as dreary prophets of gloom. Misery!
I agree. They are what Ignatius of Antioch referred to as the "noxious weeds" who imagine there is a Catholicism without the bishop. I've been particularly disgusted with the way some people, who know not a single bishop, attack bishops I know to be good men. They speak of "arrogance." Arrogance?!
Amen. This is precisely the reason why I will not link to some blogs that are considered to be pretty popular. It's horribly draining for me to read post after post of the same bitching and moaning, complaining and blaming, deriding Bishops of our church as far as the eye can see. And the worst of it is that many times the only source they have is calumnious speculation from some secular news magazine claiming to preach the truth. If that isn't the poorest apologetics witness I have ever seen, then Catholic evangelization is in serious trouble. I'd prefer to read an edifying blog, one that celebrates the Catholic faith, and while looking realistically at the sinful nature we all share, exhorts us to turn our eyes to the Savior who has redeemed us from whom we receive the Catholic faith - that which is transmitted infallibly by Christ through the hands of the successors to Peter and the Apostles, our Bishops. They're human - they have always been human. But we can do nothing without them! It's so easy to point the finger. But I can tell you that if *I* were a Bishop, people would be calling for my head by now! So instead of berating our Bishops, support them with powerful, prayerful intercession. Pray for your Bishop daily. Do it! It is our duty.
It is fitting, then, not only to be called Christians, but to be so in reality. For it is not the being called so, but the being really so, that renders a man blessed. To those who indeed talk of the bishop, but do all things without him, will He who is the true and first Bishop, and the only High Priest by nature, declare, "Why call ye Me Lord, and do not the things which I say?" For such persons seem to me not possessed of a good conscience, but to be simply dissemblers and hypocrites.

     -Epistle of St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, to the Magnesians, Chapter IV (c. 100 AD)
Mormon Missionaries in Louisiana

Some days in the lives of Mormon Missionaries in Louisiana. Having had a number of friends who were missionaries and devout members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I found this article to be quite interesting as it reveals a bit of the human side many people don't see beyond the knock at your door and the pointed questions. There is a great deal about Mormon theology that we, of course, dispute. Yet I post this merely to show that these missionaries are not evil incarnate or some grand enemy but rather human beings. It is therefore up to us to treat them with respect and not be afraid to engage them with our faith, not out of animosity, but out of a desire to share what we ourselves know to be God's complete revelation in Jesus Christ.


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