Distinctly Catholic

More Good Friday Musical Reflections


Music takes us where words can't. As we ponder the Mystery of our redemption this day, here are some more selections I want at my funeral (alas, Lenny Bernstein, Mahalia Jackson and Nat King Cole  have already gone to God so he can't conduct and they can't sing them at my funeral!), Mozart's Ave Verum and the great spiritual "Steal Away to Jesus."




Jesus, Remember Me


Today is not a day for opining, for criticizing neo-cons or challenging the left, or any other such usual posting. It is a day in which we should all, I think, take as our model the good thief who, mindful of his sins, only turned to Jesus and begged for His mercy and companionship. Better than any words I could devise, here is one musical selection that invites us to contemplate the terribleness of the price by which our atonement was achieved, the exquisite Pie Jesu from Faure's Requiem, here sung by Barbara Bonney..

Bole on Hierarchies Working and Not Working


At the Boston College magazine, William Bole has a splendid article about two researchers (one, the happily named Professor Pontiff), who looked at POW records to determine with the strict military hierarchy that works so well on the battlefield worked equally well in the changed circumstance of a POW camp. Turns out, not so much. You can read the whole, typically fascinating, story by Bole here.

Remembering Cardinal Casaroli


Cardinal Agostino Casaroli was the often controversial Secretary of State who engineered the Ostpolitik between the Holy See and various communist regimes. He also turned out to be a holy priest who spent time visiting the imprisoned at the Casal del Marmo where Pope Francis will celebrate the Mass of the Lord's Supper. Vatican Insider has the story, a story that proves the Vatican Curia was not always filled with those who ambitioned only for their own prestige.  

And Fools Seldom Disagree


I mentioned the on-going danger of Pelagianism in my post this morning on the Triduum. Then, about an hour later, I read the Holy Father's sermon at this morning's Chrism Mass (h/t to Rocco), and, lo and behold, he mentioned Pelagianism too! The entire homily is worth reading. Very beautiful. And, I hope his description of what makes a good priest will guide his selection of new bishops!

Francis said:



Today, we commence the Triduum. Last year, I wrote essays for each of the three days and remain sufficiently pleased with them so as not to try a repeat. This year, as well, my understanding of the Triduum has been immeasurably deepened by reading the second volume of Pope Benedict’s Trilogy on Jesus of Nazareth which deals with the events of Holy Week.


NoLa Priest On Ryan's Budget


Father Michael Jacques calls the recently passed GOP House budget "shameful" in this essay at a New Orleans alternative paper, the Lens. I had expressed the hope that Congressman Paul Ryan's stated desire to enflesh more Aquinas than Rand would begin to show up in his numbers but as Fr. Jacques points out, we are still getting an essentially Randian view of government's obligations to the poor which is to view them with contempt. 

"The Cult of the Self"


Here is a provocative essay by Michael Stafford in which he analyzes the "cult of the self" and the ways it can be confronted by Christian faith. He makes many interesting points, and I admire his trenchant writing style. I would only say that when we attack modernity, as attack it we must, we are more persuasive and convincing when we recognize the many wonderful things modernity has accomplished as well as pointing out its ugly side. Advances in modern medicine deserve a shout out.


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