Friday, September 28, 2007

What? Tonight?

If you live in LA and don't have any plans tonight (Friday), I have one question for you: Are you also a seminarian? Come on. This is LA. You're supposed to be like, living it up all crazy like. and stuff. With famous movie stars.

Well that isn't important. What is important is that if you don't have plans tonight I might have something for you. But as most of my poorly written blog posts do, I'm first going to tell a short story.

So last night I was working on this paper, and it wasn't going too well. It was a short one, just 5 pages, but I had written 3 and a half and felt like it was good enough to be done with. So, I scoured my sources to look for any little piece of evidence I could find to comment on. This got very boring, so I decided to distract myself by checking out my myspace page, which I never do. It said I had an invitation, so I checked it out and "Boom Goes the Dynamite!" My friend Kris Orlowski is playing a gig tomorrow right here in Hollywood! Kris and I used to play soccer together back in like high school. Since then, we've run into each other at WWU and Church and whatnot. But still, he's playing in LA! And I'm totally going to go.

The show is tonight at a place called The Derby. I'm not sure what time kris will be going on, but I'm trying to get reach him via the telephone to find out. It's 15 bucks, and there are a few other acts.

So, if you live in LA and aren't doing anything and are sad enough that you have to take social tips from a seminarian, you should stop by. But in all honesty, kris is a great musician and you might like him. Here is his myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/krisorlowski (Check out "The Bay." Thats my favorite)

And here is a (short) youtube videos of him:

Here's a full song:
More on this later.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Busyness as Usual...

I was elected Vice President of the students here, which has led to even more work this semester, which is quite a lot to begin with. Funny thing though: I'm so on top of it all its scary. Very unlike me, in a way. Maybe Formation is working.

I was reading some Raymond Brown for my class the other day. If you know anything about Brown, you know that he isn't really the most exciting guy to read. I happened to be reading in our periodical section in the Library, and my eyes wandered to the most recent edition of First Things, and to the article called "God and Evolution," written by Avery Cardinal Dulles. I set Brown down on the ground with a frown (ok, not really a frown, but it rhymed) and picked up the article and read it, and I recommend you check it out. It can be found, in full, here.

The whole article was great, but there was one thing that caught my attention... I had a class last year in which I couldn't pay attention well (my classmates tell me I didn't miss out on much). I tried, but I found it much more fun to work out some "proofs" for the existence of God. I actually thought of one that I thought was pretty good, that I'd never heard of before. Then I saw it explained in First Things:

It may be of interest that the scientist Francis Collins came to believe in God not so much from contemplating the beauty and order of creation—impressive though it is—but as the result of moral and religious experience. His reading of C.S. Lewis convinced him that there is a higher moral law to which we are unconditionally subject and that the only possible source of that law is a personal God. Lewis also taught him to trust the natural instinct by which the human heart reaches out ineluctably to the infinite and the divine. Every other natural appetite—such as those for food, sex, and knowledge—has a real object. Why, then, should the yearning for God be the exception?

So it looks like CS Lewis beat me to it. Actually, thats kind of cool. Anyways, I've got some work to do, but the good news is, once I'm done with this one assignment I'll be done for the whole weekend! That means I might get to watch the Seahawks!

But seriously, read the article, especially if you are confused on what the Church's thoughts are on evolution.

Monday, September 24, 2007

College...

My Alma Mater resumes classes this Wednesday. All my Newman Center connections have graduated, for the most part, so I now have no more ins to tell me how its going. I have no doubt that it will go well, though, with Fr. Nguyen and Rachel in control. Why am I typing this? Only 2 of you care. Oh yeah... I wrote it as somewhat of a lead in to this link. This one here.

Its about how to get college students to practice Catholicism. I agree with it. I think a lot of people would try to avoid the difficult stuff expecting the more devout Catholics to get involved anyway, which would maximize participation. Of course, what winds up happening is that participation is closer to minimal. Things can be a bit counter-intuitive when it comes to people and religion.

Oh well... I have to give a homiletic simulation on Racism tomorrow, so I gotta get to bed.

btw... for those of you who are interested... my brother is having a lot of fun in India. He's teaching a couple english classes and touring the area pretty well.

Ok, later.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Seattle Sea-Awesomes

Good win guys. Sorry I didn't get to see much of it.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Stupid

Boooo!!!

I have 3 papers due next week, a homiletic simulation, a take home exam in Liturgy and Monday and Tuesday are packed full of class/other mandatory obligations. This means I pretty much have to do it all this weekend (not to mention my personal prayer and exercise), so watching this game is probably out of the question anyways. But still, the NFL is 0 for 3 in providing opportunities for me to actually watch the game.

Monday, September 17, 2007

From My Reading...

I've been meaning to do something like this for a while now... If ever I come across something in my reading assignments or research that strikes me as profound or inspirational, I'll just post it here. Since it will come from my course work, I'll put them under the label "Seminary Life," and probably "Random Catholicism," as well as a new label, "Quotes." So, here is the first one...

My God, in whom is my delight, my glory, and my trust, I thank you foryour gifts and beg you to preserve and keep them for me. Keep me, too, and so your gifts will grow and reach perfection and I shall be with you myself, for I should not even exist if it were not by your gift.

St. Augustine, Confessions (Book I, 20)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Hammer Time!

As bad as the Seahawk's loss tastes (I didn't even watch it as I've been busy writing a paper on the Christology of the letter to the Hebrews) it couldn't ruin a great weekend. As I mentioned a few posts earlier, I participated in The Nike Run Hit Remix in LA. It is a 5 mile race, and every mile or so there is a stage some old skool hip-hop acts performing. If you don't want to read this whole post, I understand, but at least skip to the MC hammer portion. Its worth it.

The race began at 9am, and there was a great turn out. They were expecting 10,000 but I'm not sure how many actually registered...



A couple notable celebrities were in attendance, including tennis player Serena Williams. Serena was there to speak on behalf of "Let Us Play," a charity that tries to get sports equipment and fields into the inner cities.

The race began, and before I knew it, I was at the first stage, where "Naughty by Nature" was playing. They were a lot of fun, but I only stuck around for one song. I don't understand why, but for some reason, people don't want to get too close to the performers. Everyone was like 20 feet away. Except me, of course:

The second stage featured "The Sugarhill Gang." They were pretty fun, but nothing over the top. The real fun began at the next stage, where Dawn Robinson of "En Vogue" was singing. Dawn was a lot of fun. I showed up just as she was finishing up with, "You're Never Gonna Get It." I don't know much about En Vogue, but I do remember the song, "Free Your Mind," which I looked up on Youtube to remember the words. I of course started requesting it. She told me she wasn't gonna do it until the end, so I started singing it and, yes, she joined it and sang a few bars. Here is the proof: She also posed for a picture with me and my friend William:
At Mile number 4 was the guy I was most excited about seeing: Sir Mix-a-Lot! Let's back up. When I was in grade school, my best friend had a tape that his older brother and sister made for him of all the "coolest" music. This tape featured Millie Vanilli, Bobby Brown, and a whole lotta Sir Mix-a-Lot. As soon as I showed up I started requesting "My Posse's on Broadway." He sang it immediately, and I sang along with him. Next, I requested "Swas," and I was surprised it was still in his repertoire, but he sang it as well. Next, I went for "Jump On It," and he said, "Dude, are you trying to kill me? I gotta be careful of my voice." So he denied me there, but we stuck around for a few more songs. I think we were probably there 25 minutes or so. I've got a video of This performance, but for some reason Youtube won't take it. When I figure it out, I'll post it.

Now onto the best part of the weekend my life. After completing the race in a little over an hour we worked our way toward the stage for the MC Hammer portion of the morning. I had a goal to get a good section of the crowd chanting "Add-am's Fa-mil-y! Add-am's Fa-mil-y!" Well, we got pretty close, and he came out on stage (Yes, this the video I took of it. Sorry the sound is pretty bad):

After he was done with the song, I started chanting. Although a lot of people thought this was funny, nobody joined in. After the next song I tried again, but there were no takers. So I thought, I'm gonna just have to get closer so he can hear me yelling. I tried to weasel my way forward even further, but I couldn't get much closer. Then, something incredible happened...

Hammer asked if there was anyone out there who knew how to do the "Cha-Cha." He said if you could, then you could get up on stage. Now, I have no idea how to Cha-Cha, but I did want to request Adam's family bad enough that I was willing to embarrass myself in front of the several thousand racers in order to ask the man directly. I left my camera with William and forced my way to the stage, and yes, I was let up.

Not wanting to embarrass myself or the Seminary too much (Yes, Fr. Dave, I was thinking of what you told me at Mike and Kristine's wedding...), I decided to just go chill in the back, behind everyone with legit dance skills. Well, backstage were a couple of his dancers, so I asked them if they still knew the dance moves to Addam's groove. A couple of them had never even heard of it. Frustrated, I looked around, and that's when I saw Tennis Star Serena Williams standing in the back. Disappointed I didn't have my camera, I just went and shook her hand. Yes, she is really nice in person.

Anyway, the dancers weren't going to help me out at all. If I was gonna get my song played, I was gonna have to ask the guy myself. So, I fought my way to the front of the stage. And when the song was over, I had my window of opportunity.

William got some awesome pictures. This is the moment I asked him.


The question drew some laughter. Even PMU (Poor Man's Usher, as we dubbed him) was smiling. As for MC, he chuckled and said, "Nah man. I don't do Addam's any more. Ah man." Then he gave me 5. It was awesome.

But I didn't give up. I had to keep pestering the guy. The funny thing is, both MC and PMU were pretty interested in what I had to say. See! The outrageousness is only outdone by my goofy facial expression:

Still no dice, but I had done everything that needed to be done to make it happen. It just wasn't meant to be. Overall, it was a great experience and I'm happy I can tell such a great story. MC Hammer is definitely cool for putting up with me. He still is a great entertainer, so if you ever hear of him putting on a show, I'd recommend going. I had a blast.

Anyway, thanks for reading. Now I've gotta finish the paper mentioned at the beginning and then translate a bunch of Greek.

Later...

Seattle Sea-Ughs...

That was stupid.

This video kind of cheers me up, but not really.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Perhaps this is Overdue

American Papist linked to this story from Newsweek about a young woman, Jessica Rowley, who claims to have been ordained to the Roman Catholic Priesthood. There are many blogs out there commenting on the ins and outs of this topic, offering theological arguments for and against and whatnot. There is no need for me to do that, although I disagree with quite a bit of the article. There is, however, one piece I’d like to comment on. I’ve been putting this topic off for some time but I think I owe it to those of you out there who actually read this thing to post on the subject of celibacy and my thoughts on it.

But before, I want to remind everyone that there are many married Roman Catholic Priests out there, who are converts from other Christian denominations (Lutherans and Episcopalians) who do wonderful work for the Church. This in no way is meant to detract from the service they perform to God and the Church. Nor is it to meant to detract from the service our Eastern Rite Catholic Priests perform for their communities.

Here is the part of the article that grabbed my attention:

"[My marriage has] been nothing but a blessing in my ministry. It isn’t so odd if we look at the Episcopal Church or other denominations that have had married clergy for a long time. Being exposed to those traditions made me see that it could be possible. Married priesthood was a reality in the Catholic Church in medieval centuries. It wasn’t until later that celibacy was mandated. [In the Ecumenical Catholic Communion] we have married priests…. We see the benefit of intimate connections. That helps us relate to couples. We also receive the kind of emotional support that so many Roman Catholic priests have to live without because they’re mandated to be celibate."



Well, I guess I’ll comment on it one point at a time. Since these views are common in the modern Church, and who knows, maybe you feel the same way as Jessica, I’m going to write this post in the second person, like I’m talking to the newly ordained. Also, I intend this to be in a very charitable tone. Sometimes when issues come up like this it's tempting to want to read anger into the other person’s words, so if you disagree with me on any this, then please give me the benefit of the doubt that I am not angry. Just a bit confused and disappointed.

“[My marriage has] been nothing but a blessing in my ministry.”

Perhaps that’s true Jessica, but it says that you’ve only been ordained for one week. Not to mention that, but probably one of the most joyful weeks of your life. Perhaps the best time to evaluate this one would be 2, 5, or even 10 years from now, after you’ve been at this for a while. Also, you say in another place that you can’t wait to be a pregnant priest. Well, what will happen to your congregation should you go into labor on a Sunday Morning? What will you tell the elderly woman who is waiting for you to anoint her dying husband when you’re resting after going through the birthing process? Will he wait around for you to recover so you can anoint him? No, and when you aren’t there do you know who the couple will call? The celibate priest from the Roman Catholic parish across town.

Is being married with children a blessing to your congregation of 80? Paying a salary for one person would be difficult for a congregation of 80, let alone paying a salary for one person plus her husband, plus their x number of children. I’m sure that your husband probably has a great job and that he will make more than enough money for this, but if he is working, then you will have to spend even more time raising your children. Applying the above scenario to this situation, are you going to bring your newborn and your 3 year old to the hospital with you when you go to anoint the sick of your flock?

“[In the Ecumenical Catholic Communion] we have married priests… We see the benefit of intimate connections.”

It seems, Jessica, that what you are saying is that “Because we see the benefit of intimate connections, we have married priests.” Logically, it would follow that if a group does not have married priests, then they do not see the benefit of intimate connections (law of modus tollens, I think). Do you really believe this? Here is what the Catholic Church teaches about “intimate connections.”

“Each of the two sexes is an image of the power and tenderness of God, with equal dignity though in a different way. The union of man and woman in marriage is a way of imitating in the flesh the Creator’s generosity and fecundity… (CCC 2335)” “Since God created him man and woman, their mutual love becomes an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which God loves man (CCC 1604)”

Thus I object to your inference that the Catholic Church does not see the benefit of intimate connections. The reason our priests forego sexual intimacy is not because sex is bad or sex is unimportant. Its just the opposite. I’ll depart from references to the Catechism in favor of something more personal…

I believe women are the most beautiful things God has created. Seriously. Nothing else even compares. Unfortunately (in my opinion) women are victimized terribly in today’s society. Pornography, prostitution, rape, and abortion are all terrible offenses to the dignity of women. I know some women who feel that they can’t even walk down the street without being judged by men, and unfortunately, I also know many men who can’t talk about women without objectifying them in some capacity. By being celibate, I feel as though I can help remedy this in two ways, ways I wouldn’t have if I was married. 1) Women will be able to bring their problems to me without having to worry about being used. This might sound funny to some people, but (celibate) priests I know have told me this before. Women who have been victimized are able to open up to the truly celibate priest. (Surely one or two of you reading this will say “not me, I feel completely the opposite…” but in practice, this is just the case based on the testimony of many celibate priests I know.) 2) Men will have an example of someone who doesn’t have to act on every single urge they get and might think twice before they buy their next mag.

But you know what, Jessica? There is something even more mysterious going on here aside from this practical concern. Something in me, something I don’t understand fully, causes me to want to embrace the entire Church through the gift of celibacy. Like you, I’m looking forward to the symbol, “This is my body given up for you,” only when I make my promise to the Church, it will not just be to my spouse, but to the entire Church. Because I have the desire to love the Church like this, I don’t want to place obstacles in between myself and the people of God, such as the possible scenarios dealing with anointing I mentioned above.

Furthermore, I believe that celibacy will help me accomplish my hope to lead souls to Christ. When I was a child, I used to consider the sacrifice of the priests and say to myself, “If that priest has that much faith to give up a family, then maybe I can have just a little bit of faith.” In other words, the priest’s witness to me through his celibacy helped me to accept the gift of faith that God wanted to plant in my heart.

Thus, Jessica, my decision to be celibate is not out of fear, not out of coercion, not out of a misguided papal mandate, but rather out of a sincere gift I hope to give to the Body of Christ, the Church.

“[Being involved in an ‘intimate connection’] helps us relate to couples.

The folks at wikipedia have nicely summarized a concept I was taught in a Sociological Theory class in college called the Availability Heuristic. Basically what this is is a cognitive bias where the availability of objects in an environment influences the judgments about their relative frequency, plausibility, and efficacy. For example, when I was young and in Catholic School, about 90% of my friends were Catholic. This fact left me with the wrong impression that 90% of my hometown were Catholic. What I needed to do to give an accurate guess on the number of Catholics in my hometown was to step out of Catholic School. Well when you’re in your marriage, and I hope it is a happy marriage, you will receive information based on your marriage. But the danger here is that you will have a natural bias about “the happy marriage,” and will thus be in danger of unintentionally passing on advice that might be in flawed.

What I think couples need is someone who can step out of the experience of earthly marriage and view it from a more objective standpoint. If I was married, I’d go to a celibate priest for advice before anyone else, because I feel he will not have a bias on what a perfect marriage is.
Other than this sociological argument, I again find it a bit disheartening and shocking and, dare I say, offensive that you would infer that because I’m celibate I’m unable to do something that I can in fact do. I have many married friends with children and yes, I relate to them quite well.

“We also receive the kind of emotional support that so many Roman Catholic priests have to live without because they’re mandated to be celibate.”

Emotional support. Is that what you kids are calling it these days? (just kidding). But I’ve heard this one a thousand times before, and it seems to me as though it stems from a ridiculous and false caricature of the priestly life. It goes something like this. The priest gets up early, goes to say mass in front of an empty Church with old people who can’t hear a thing he says, then he sits in the confessional for a few hours listening to story after story of people’s sexual fantasies, wishing he had an “outlet for his sexual energy.” Then after a few hours of paying bills or whatever he goes home to an empty house where he breaks open another bottle of scotch and drunkenly cries himself to sleep because he doesn’t have any “emotional support" because that guy in Rome forced him to be celibate.”

Well I’m not a priest, but I am in the seminary, and I can honestly say that, although it isn’t from a spouse, I have emotional support. So often I receive letters from the faithful urging me not to give up. I receive letters from kids in our Catholic Schools telling me that they are happy I’m becoming a priest. My friends call me up and encourage me all the time, reminding me that they’re praying for me. Not only do these people console me, I also have the consolation of the Holy Spirit. So no, Jessica, I don’t live without emotional support.

Also, nobody is forcing me into anything. I’m free to pack up my belongings right now and leave the seminary. Perhaps I’d even find a girl who would want to enter into the sacrament of matrimony and I could experience God’s love in that way. But I’m choosing not to do that because I believe that God has chosen for me to be happy as a celibate priest. It is my choice, and every priest’s choice, to be celibate.

Final Thoughts

Well, Jessica, you said your piece, now I've said mine. I could go on and on about this, but I won't. Good luck in your marriage and in your ministry. I mean that. I hope in ten years or so I will see another article about you in Newsweek so I can see how you've been doing.

This was my attempt to answer the common objections of priestly celibacy that run deep in our Church today and to respond to a small section of the Newsweek article mentioned above. If you read this and disagree, please email me (the link is in my profile). If you read this and agree completely, please comment or email me. But I ask everyone, no matter where you sit on this issue, to please pray for me and all the young men out there in formation. No matter how cheesy it sounds, we are doing this because we love you and want to serve you. We want to baptize your children, and witness their marriages. We want to join you in the hospital as you prepare for the death of your loved ones. We want to hear your confessions and offer you God’s forgiveness through the sacrament of reconciliation. But most of all, we want to bring you the Eucharist, Christ’s Body and Blood, who makes himself present on our altars at the holy sacrifice of the Mass.

Fun Run II

Some of you who've been around know that last year I participated in an event called the Nike Run Hit Remix, which I blogged about here with my post race roundup here. This is a 5 mile race down in the LA coliseum/USC area, where there are hip-hop acts every mile of the course. If you read my post-race roundup you might remember my disappointment for not getting to hear this Urban Hymn:
Well, unfortunately 40 years old Mr. MC won't be there this year. Nor will Coolio, who was actually my favorite performer last year.

Despite this, there is a pretty solid lineup. Naughty by Nature will be there. Ya down wit o-p-p? The lead singer from En Vogue will be singing along the way, as will Sugarhill gang. I hope I make it to them in time to see the 10th -13th minute of rapper's delight. Actually, I'll probably just skip these guys. But the performers I'm most excited for are Seattle's own Sir Mix-a-Lot and a post race concert from... M.C HAMMER! You know what I'll be requesting: 2 Legit.

And yes, I will be taking my camera with me, so hopefully this time I'll have some pictures and videos of all the fun.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Together As One


Does this mean that if the Irish lose 33 to 3, then I lose 33 to 3?

Take it to 'em boys.

Note: If you click on this photo, it will enlarge a lot, and you will be able to see that I didn't shave today. We call that a formation issue around these parts. So, mea culpa. Oh, and that is St. Patrick behind me. Well, actually, its not. Its just a statue.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

New Baby

Hey all you WWU folks...

I'm sure you have heard the good news already, but Carrie gave birth to a baby girl this morning. Both Carrie and Clare Marie are doing very well.

I'm sure Tom is doing well also.

Congrats you two.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Schedule

While I have some free time, I'd like to post my schedule for the semester:

Spanish - continuation of my previous classes.

Greek - Continuation of last fall. I'm really worried about this one because I haven't taken too good of a look at this since December.

Latin - I'm taking this for revenge. You see, in college, I had to write a paper using a lot of sources from the middle ages. I found a few abstracts to some sources that were perfect for what I was researching. Only they were in latin. And not translated. So I missed out. Hopefully I'll be able to go back and read these. That and liturgical reasons.

Intro to the Synoptic Gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke.

Church History: 1500 to present - just the second half of the survey.

Homiletics - Contemporary Issues.

Liturgy and Culture - ...

Christology - In the beginning was the Word... Very standard systematic course.

Works of Augustine - I'm very excited about this. We cover Augustine in all of our systematic Theology classes, but when we do this we don't get huge chunks of his own writing... its mainly my teacher summarizing his though with a few block quotes thrown in. This will give me a chance to read what he said in its context.

This adds up to 20 credits, which is a lot, but I should be able to handle it. I might not be able to watch as many Mariner games, but thats ok, because I shouldn't be doing that anyway. And furthermore, do I really even want to watch them?

Monday, September 03, 2007

Its Go Time...

Tomorrow morning prayer is at 7am, and then the new semester is on. I'll (hopefully) be posting my new courses with some extra bits of info soon, but I gotta get to bed.

Its hot here, btw. Really hot.

Had some ITunes $$ left, so I just bought the new(er) Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds acoustic CD. So far its great. I'll get a review in soon. Favorite part so far is Still Water --> Dont Drink the water. Wow. Thats what I've been missing Dave.

The Cadinal will be here tomorrow for Mass, so that's exciting.

Oh, and I hope the Irish are working hard right now, because that was pretty bad there, dudes. But at least you weren't Michigan.

Big Gulps, huh? Alright. Wellp, See ya later.