Wednesday, August 1st, 2012
1 August 2012
Posted by catholicsensibility under Sports Leave a Comment
The family and I have been following the 24/7 coverage of the Summer Games. I noticed Michael Mullins’ commentary at Eureka Street that the country-oriented aspect is a problem:
Nationalism is the scourge of the modern Olympics. We’ve become more interested in the performances of nations than those of great athletes. Our eyes are on the medal tally because it proves we are better than Great Britain or some other nation. We slide too easily from speaking of ‘how our athletes are doing’ to ‘how we are doing’.
The Australian Government is complicit. The feeling of national shame following our inability to win a single gold medal at the 1976 Montreal Games prompted the Government to establish the Australian Institute of Sport and put large amounts of public money into training athletes. It worked. We can once again count ourselves among the greatest sporting nations on earth, even if in truth we are one of the greatest per capita sports funding nations on earth.
I’m somewhat sympathetic to this, though I realize that nations are better able to fund athletes than anyone. Unfortunately, Mr Mullins’ solution might be worse than national competition. It would be more likely that only the wealthy would be able to compete internationally. Or those favored by wealthy corporations and patrons. Good for Australia and for other developed nations. Maybe not so good for Third World athletes.
When I was watching the synchronized diving last night, the commentators were discussing one Chinese woman who has been paired with a number of younger divers, all with success. Her partners, of course, were all Chinese. What if, I wondered, she paired up with a non-Chinese? What if two or more competitors from different nations decided to team up as a show of unity and friendship. If we have to have medal standings, why not permit all athletes like Guor Marial to compete, if they wish, under non-national auspices?
I’m not convinced that nationalism is good for sport. I found the American gymnastics commentators quite annoying last night. It’s impractical and imprudent to think the Olympic Games could be divested of nationalism. But for a start, there should be an easier way for athletes to compete for the Olympic ideal separate from nationalism. And let them keep their own medal tally, since those national standings aren’t likely to disappear. Or be motivation for patriotic support.
1 August 2012
Posted by catholicsensibility under Liturgy  Comments
The combox is active at PrayTell where, for the ten millionth time or so in the past century, people are discussing appropriate attire for Church.
I’m sure we’ve hit on the topic on this blog once or twice in the past decade. A few new or not-so-new thoughts …
While I think both men and women have a stake in the discussion, I do get nervous when the conversation leans toward men (oftentimes priests) telling women what they should and shouldn’t wear. Men have a responsibility to practice focus if a woman is dressed in such a way that might … inspire a stare. I will admit I make a point of focusing from the neck up many times. My wife reports–and I hope she’s right–that I’m never obvious about what I see. Thank goodness for that. I will also admit that I find the way women move more provocative to me than what they wear. But one can’t legislate against a toss of the head or hair, or the way someone looks at a husband or child. Distractions happen, and sometimes they are infused with sexuality. I try to treat them the same way as I do when I’m alone in prayer.
The pastoral ideal is for the parish to have a discussion about dress at church. And the community sets appropriate standards, thus giving a collective ownership in the presentation of style and fashion. People inevitably trespass, by accident or by choice. But the majority of members maintain, over a period of time, the setting of the bar.
For liturgical ministers, I tell people that everything they do has the goal of transparency. Every liturgical minister has the responsibility to be transparent, to make it seem through preparation, actions, dress, and everything about them, that they are invisible and Christ is communicated through their service. When I train people at my parish, I offer some non-transparent suggestions: clothing with a logo from our rival school, for example. Individuals get what I’m aiming at.
For myself, I’m still pretty used to a shirt and tie. I wear shorts infrequently and never in church. Cargo shorts just look too rumpled/weird to me. I make a personal choice not to wear clothing with logos. Shoes are pretty important, I think.
I remember a recent conversation with the young miss, who had been engaged to record video for a wedding. Would it be okay, she asked, if she wore jeans and a shirt for the balcony recording, then change to a dress for the reception. I asked her in turn what she thought she should wear to the wedding. She stomped off to her room and closed the door. I knew I’d gotten my answer. For Sunday Mass, what’s your answer?
1 August 2012
While the fires are still warm from the church and altar dedication rites, I thought it appropriate to tackle a related document. In 2000, the USCCB issued Built of Living Stones (henceforth BLS), expanding on and replacing the 1978 Environment and Art in Catholic Worship.
BLS will be a substantial undertaking: it has 261 numbered sections and a ton of footnotes. Where it cites liturgical law, it is an authoritative document for the universal Church. Where it cites USCCB particulars, it covers the situation for the United States. It quotes other documents and also offers original material. We’ll comb through it all, as soon as I’ve secured permission to reprint sections of the document for our examination.
A preface (BLS 1-11) is followed by Chapter One, The Living Church (12-45). Subtopics include The Living Church: God’s Building, The Church Building, Worship in Time and Space, Christ’s Presence in Sign and Symbol, and Liturgical Principles for Building and Renovating Churches.
Chapter Two (46-139) will also concern us deeply, giving background on particular aspects of Church architecture. Chapter Three (140-169) covers art and artists. The final chapter treats “Building A Church: Practical Considerations,” and contains most of the “advice” of the US bishops.
While we examine BLS, I’m open to other documents on music, but I think we’ll wait till we’re done–probably 2013–to tackle Sing To The Lord.
1 August 2012
Posted by catholicsensibility under Church News
, Politics  Comments
Just noting a few adventures in marriage.
First, the black couple who, despite being members of Crystal Springs First Baptist Church, were married in another church when their pastor bowed to pressure from a supposed minority of white members. Under the withering disapproval of the world (pretty much) the mayor, the community relations director, and much of the town held a “hands-together” public event to demonstrate unity, solidarity, and such.
It’s in the nature of politics that a vocal insurgent minority can take over a community, demanding it hold to the values of that minority. (For Catholics, consider MR3.) The big mouths in any group often cast big shadows over the rest and color all perceptions. Fortunately, Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson seem open to reconciliation in that church. Church members have reached out, those who were ignorant of the machinations behind their backs.
The Rev. Stan Weatherford, who has been at the epicenter of criticism and controversy for his decision to appease a small group of congregation members by marrying the Wilsons at a nearby church rather than his own, stood before Crystal Springs community members as they joined hands, bowed their heads and prayed in silence.
Weatherford then joined members of his church as part of a community prayer walk around Crystal Springs’ downtown area.
Don’t know Rev Weatherford, and I wonder what his lobbyists are thinking and saying by his defection to the other side.
This other couple reunited and remarried after forty-eight years of divorced separation. Nice.
Some say marriage is under unprecedented attack, but it seems pretty resilient in these two stories.