Saturday, April 22, 2006

Television: NotSoClever tricks

I've seen all of these happen, and if you've been a fairly regular watcher of television over the last 10 or 20 years, you probably have too... If you really think about it, TV is ridiculous! (duh!) ;)

Chuck Cunningham syndrome
Chuck Cunningham syndrome is a term of criticism, applied when a regular character (ie: main character, supporting character, recurring character) in a television series is removed with little or no explanation.

The term derives from the Chuck Cunningham character in the American series Happy Days. Chuck, the oldest of the three children in the Cunningham family, initially appeared in the episode "Love and the Happy Days" (in the show Love, American Style), which served as the pilot for what became the Happy Days series. However, in Happy Days Chuck appeared as a superfluous character (usually on his way to basketball practice). He was written out of the series at the beginning of the second season with the explanation that he was going to college. After the second season, he was never mentioned again; subsequent episodes referred to the Cunninghams as having two, rather than three, children.
Jumping the shark:
Jumping the shark is a metaphor that has been used by US TV critics and fans since the 1990s to denote the tipping point at which a TV series is deemed to have passed its peak. Once a show has "jumped the shark," fans sense a noticeable decline in quality or feel the show has undergone too many changes to retain its original charm.

The phrase was popularized by Jon Hein on his website It alludes to a scene in the TV series Happy Days when the popular character Fonzie, on water skis, literally jumps over a shark.
Cousin Oliver:
Cousin Oliver is a jargon used by TV critics when the creators of a TV show decide that the addition of a cute child actor to the cast will improve the ratings of the show, or as a replacement for child cast members that have grown up since the show started.
Fonzie Syndrome:
Fonzie syndrome is a phenomenon on TV programs in which a character that had originally been a one-off character or a supporting cast member becomes a/the central and/or most popular character on the show. The term comes from the American sitcom Happy Days, in which the character of Arthur "The Fonz" Fonzarelli (played by Henry Winkler) started out as a minor, fringe character but quickly evolved into the focal point of the series.
Retroactive continuity is the adding of new information to "historical" material, or deliberately changing previously established facts in a work of serial fiction. The change itself is referred to as a "retcon", and the act of writing and publishing a retcon is called "retconning".
Marriage as being caught up in God's Love

From the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World (Gaudium et Spes) from the Second Vatican Council (paragraph 48)
Husband and wife, by the covenant of marriage, are no longer two, but one flesh. By their intimate union of persons and of actions they give mutual help and service to each other, experience the meaning of the unity, and gain an ever deeper understanding of it day by day. This intimate union in the mutual self-giving of two persons, as well as the good of the children, demands full fidelity from both, and an indissoluble unity between them. Christ the Lord has abundantly blessed this richly complex love, which springs from the divine source of love and is founded on the model of his union with the Church.

In earlier times God met his people in a covenant of love and fidelity. So now the Savior of mankind, the Bridegroom of the Church, meets Christian husbands and wives in the sacrament of matrimony. Further, he remains with them in order that, as he loved the Church and gave himself up for her, so husband and wife may, in mutual self-giving, love each other with perpetual fidelity.

True married love is caught up into God's love; it is guided and enriched by the redeeming power of Christ and the saving action of the Church, in order that the partners may be effectively led to God and receive help and strength in the sublime responsibility of parenthood. Christian partners are therefore strengthened, and as it were consecrated, by a special sacrament for the duties and the dignity of their state. By the power of this sacrament they fulfill their obligations to each other and to their family and are filled with the spirit of Christ. This spirit pervades their whole lives with faith, hope and love. Thus they promote their own perfection and each other's sanctification, and so contribute together to the greater glory of God.
So it is crucial and important that the Church recognizes in marriage a sacrament through which God bestows grace through the couple for their mutual sanctification and ultimate salvation. God, in freely sharing grace, invites us to participate in His very divine life, redeeming us and raising us out of the pit of our sinfulness. And we know that God is Love, and that through marriage, God's invitation also includes the unique opportunity to participate in His very nature which is His continual act of wanting to love, the result of which is the creation of new life. Thus, by His grace in marriage, we are given insight into the very Creation of the universe, and the Creator's will for you and for me. We are then, in a sense, made co-creators with God.

Friday, April 21, 2006

RIP Fr. Anthony

Fr. Anthony Peter Runtz, CJ
Funeral Mass was celebrated April 17 at St. Louis de Montfort Church, Santa Maria, for Josephite Father Anthony Peter Runtz, 78, who died April 11.

Born in New York City of English-Irish parents and educated in England, he served in the British Army signal corps before entering the seminary. He completed his seminary studies at College Melle in Belgium and was ordained in 1958 at Weybridge, Surrey, England. From 1960-64, he was housemaster of St. George College, Weybridge, and from 1964-67, he taught religion and industrial arts at Pius X-St. Matthias High School in Downey while obtaining a master's degree in teaching from Loyola University.

Father Runtz served as an associate pastor at several Santa Barbara Region parishes, including St. Mary of the Assumption and St. Louis de Montfort (Santa Maria), San Roque (Santa Barbara) and Sacred Heart (Ventura). While pastor of St. Louis de Montfort in the '70s, the parish doubled in size from 800 to 1,600 families.

A talented woodworker, he produced cabinetry and furniture for the St. Louis de Montfort rectory, parish hall and church as well as for the Sisquoc chapel, St. Anthony's Church in Los Alamos and St. Mary's in Santa Maria. Burial took place at the Josephite plot of Santa Maria Cemetery on April 18.
Requiescat in pace...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Universal Indult Confusion

I don't get it. If the Holy Father were to grant wider permission for the mass celebrated according to the 1962 Roman Missal without serious consensus among the bishops, it would really surprise me. Would the pope really want to circumvent the authority of the local bishop to regulate the liturgy in his own diocese? Okay, okay, before you cry, Bring on the circumvention!, let's examine the principle of doing this. We live in an era in which the prevailing belief in many circles about bishops still seems to be that they should function merely as papal administrators and nothing more. Both Benedict XVI and his predecessor, John Paul II, have often emphasized the teaching of the Second Vatican Council with respect to the proper role of bishops as a college to counteract this erroneous belief. While the pope certainly has the authority to grant wider permission, it doesn't seem likely that he believes it to be prudent at this juncture to do so without such a consensus among his brother bishops. So it also may be a while before Rome and the SSPX are really able to join hands and sing Kum Ba Yah.

But what about the confusion a move like this would cause in the larger church? With Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Second Vatican Council spoke rightly of liturgical reform. Can the church soundly educate the faithful around the world that giving every priest permission to celebrate the liturgy according to the 1962 Roman Missal does not mean that it wasn't actually in need of reform? Can it fight the perception that there would not be two coexisting missals, one previously in need of reform, and one that identifies itself as the fruit of that reform?

Of course, if you prefer the Tridentine mass, perhaps you don't care one way or the other. But I think you should. Yes, yes, I understand the need for true liturgical reform, and I am not necessarily an opponent of the Tridentine mass and can sometimes be seen at Cardinal Mahony's weekly indult in Ventura, CA. Yet how can I not see this through the lens of what the Second Vatican Council taught? Somehow I don't see a universal indult solving any of the real liturgical or ecclesiological problems we are faced with today. Or maybe I am all wrong..? It wouldn't be the first time.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Bishop Ratko Peric on Medjugorje

John Allen also reports on the skepticism of Medjugorje within the Church, including an excerpt from an interview with Bishop Ratko Peric of Mostar-Duvno to his diocesan newspaper, Crkva na kamenu:
Some newspapers have written that this Pope visited Medjugorje incognito while he was a cardinal and that he is preparing to recognize Medjugorje as a shrine, etc. Did you touch upon this topic?

[Bishop Ratko Peric responds:]
We did, and I wrote to and spoke with the Holy Father on it. He only laughed surprisingly. Regarding the events of Medjugorje our position is well known: not a single proof exists that these events concern supernatural apparitions and revelations. Therefore from the church's perspective no pilgrimages are allowed which would attribute any authenticity to these alleged apparitions.

The Holy Father told me: "We at the Congregation [for the Doctrine of the Faith] always asked ourselves, how can any believer accept as authentic apparitions that occur every day and for so many years? Are they still occurring every day?"

I responded: "Every day, Holy Father, to one of the [visionaries] in Boston, to another near Milan and still another in Krehin Gradac (Herzegovina), and everything is done under the protocol of 'apparitions of Medjugorje'. Up till now there have been about 35,000 'apparitions' and there is no end in sight!"

... The numerous absurd messages, insincerities, falsehoods and disobedience associated with the events and "apparitions" of Medjugorje from the very outset, all disprove any claims of authenticity. Much pressure has been made to force the recognition of the authenticity of private revelations, yet not through convincing arguments based upon the truth, but through the self-praise of personal conversions and by statements such as one "feels good". How can this ever be taken as proof of the authenticity of apparitions?

... Finally the Holy Father said: "We at the congregation felt that priests should be of service to those faithful who seek Confession and Holy Communion, leaving out the question of the authenticity of the apparitions."
While I don't doubt that people can experience renewed faith and even miracles in their journeys to Medjugorje and other places around the world, I have been quite skeptical about the veracity of the alleged apparitions at Medjugorje. In 2004, Bishop Ratko Peric also published a full report of the history and recent goings-on at Medjugorje, reaffirming his opposition to the movement there:
The Church, from the local to supreme level, from the beginning to this very day, has clearly and constantly repeated: Non constat de supernaturalitate! No to pilgrimages that would ascribe a supernatural nature to the apparitions, no shrine of the Madonna, no authentic messages nor revelations, no true visions!
When one compares in greater detail Medjugorje to other approved apparitions, such as those that occurred at Fatima and Lourdes, many inconsistencies and problems arise.
Rethinking Opus Dei

An interesting story about Opus Dei in the world from John Allen's latest Word From Rome report:
A numerary of Opus Dei, meaning a celibate who lives full-time in an Opus Dei center, was elected to the [Italian] national Senate ... from the center-left.

As such, Senator-elect Paola Binetti, 63, defies the image of a monolithic hard-right political climate within Opus Dei.

To be sure, when it comes to "culture of life" issues, Binetti yields to no one in her defense of "Catholic" positions. A medical doctor, university professor, and former president of the "Association for Science and Life," Binetti helped spearhead last summer's campaign against the in-vitro fertilization referendum. She has also irritated fellow members of Prodi's coalition by her dogmatic opposition to changes to Italy's restrictive law on abortion.

Yet on most other issues, Binetti's agenda skews to the secular political left. She campaigned for policies favoring "the poorest and the most excluded," greater levels of social development, expanded health care for the most vulnerable families, the emergence of a strong Europe capable of defending peace in global affairs, and a clear option for the Third World, especially Africa, in favor of "reducing unacceptable inequalities."

Historically, Opus Dei has had a profile as conservative and male-dominated. Irony of ironies, Binetti's victory means that two of the most visible Opus Dei politicians in the world -- Binetti in Italy, and Ruth Kelly, the Minister of Education in England -- are now women who belong to center-left parties.

Had a great Holy Week leading up to Easter. I attended the Easter Vigil in Santa Maria last night with my fiancee at the church at which I was baptized and confirmed 9 years ago -- the church where we'll also celebrate our marriage in a few months.

I wish I had been able to attend the Chrism mass at the Cathedral in Los Angeles this year. The Tidings has published some pictures.


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