30 June 2003

The Letter, Part III

Feast of the Protomartyrs of the Roman Church.

Part III of The Letter:

Lastly, the great joy and solemnity of the Eucharist is conveyed most properly when attention is paid to the rubrics which the Church has set forth for its celebration. While I realize that ignoring many of the rubrics is commonplace in the United States, I had hoped that a pastor with such knowledge and such a strong and engaging personality as Fr. G-- might use those talents to gradually bring the people of St. -- to a greater understanding of the Church’s mind on the subject of liturgy. Holding hands at the Lord’s Prayer, I understand, has been discouraged by the American Bishops. The sign of unity at that point in the Mass is reserved for the sharing of the peace; holding hands at the Lord’s Prayer is considered to be a premature sign of unity, and takes away from the significance of the peace. I am disappointed that the priests of this parish not only don’t discourage this, but actually encourage it by doing it themselves. For another example, there is supposed to be a bow during the Creed, which I believe I once saw Fr. R-- observe, but which I have never seen anyone else in this parish do. The rubrics are meant to call attention to important things, such as those special words in the Creed at which we bow. Why have they been ignored? Some say that they are ignored because the people do not know the rubrics. Perhaps this is so. Is it not then the role of the pastor of the flock to feed our minds as well as our souls by teaching us? The homily at Mass is meant to be instructive, and not necessarily a reflection on the readings. The priests of the parish could teach the people from the pulpit—indeed, is it not meant to be that way?
Maybe I was not paying attention, but I did not hear the sequence said or sung at Mass on Pentecost Day. I know that there are sequences for many days which can be omitted, but the General Instruction on the Roman Missal, as promulgated by the U.S. Catholic Bishops Committee on the Liturgy, states that, “The sequence, which is optional except on Easter Sunday and Pentecost Day, is sung before the Alleluia.” (pp 64, emphasis added)
The externals are important because of the two-fold nature of human beings: we are body and soul. The actions of our body should reflect as well as possible the actions of our soul. My soul at Mass is at prayer, the most beautiful and perfect of all prayers. What I see at St. --does not look to me like the most beautiful and perfect of all prayers. As much as I remind myself that it is, my senses do not agree with my intellect.
Though the St.-- community has been my spiritual home for most of my life, I have come to feel alienated by the focus on each other rather than on God, by the music which I find not conducive to worship, and by the lack of attention to the rubrics which also takes away from the unity of our dual nature as human. I am so distracted that I cannot focus on God at the Sunday Masses at St. -- as I should. I feel compelled to seek a spiritual home elsewhere.

29 June 2003

Gosh, I really hope my comments thingie will be back soon...
Today is the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles. C'mon, you don't need a link for them, do you? Open your Bible!

The Letter, Part II:

Another of the famous attributes of Catholic worship is our long and wonderful history of sacred music. Unfortunately, most of the music which has been the joy and the distinction of the Church for 2000 years is nowhere to be seen at St. --. The music we sing is almost exclusively the product of the last 35 years, even though the Church encourages us to keep our traditions alive. This is an issue which is not difficult to rectify. Music is readily available, and music which is sufficiently ancient not to have copyrights may be obtained on the internet for free. Using some of the simpler Gregorian chants and traditional four-square hymnody would also rectify the problem of the difficulty of the music which is currently in use. I have spoken to some other people in the parish who have complaints about the music too. The main complaint offered is that they are unable to sing along. This music is intended to foster participation, but the syncopated rhythms and rock and gospel-influenced melodies are too difficult for most non-musicians to follow. As J.A. Tucker, a Catholic journalist, points out, “The music arrangements are often muddled and busy, making it all but impossible for regular parishioners to sing.” Frankly, even a college-level music student like myself finds much of it difficult, and I think it is obvious that our choir is really struggling with some of the songs chosen. I hear them complaining, and I know it is not because they are lazy and do not want to put in the effort. It is because the music is very hard to sing. I believe that we should be guided by the wisdom of the Church in this issue. When preparing the documents of Vatican II and considering the issue of sacred music, the Church made it clear that she believes chant and traditional hymnody foster participation by the congregation, and that these, along with sacred polyphony, are the music best suited to the Roman Rite.
Perhaps you will say that I have narrow taste in music in comparison to most of the people of this parish. I will let you in on a little secret. I like jazz, I like some rock, and I like gospel. When I’m listening to something for fun, I want something with a beat that I can tap my foot to. But Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, says, “Rock stands in opposition to Christian worship.” The music a stranger hears upon entering a church should be immediately recognizable as sacred music. The association of rock with secular culture is so strong that anything falling within that genre could never be called sacred music. When I am at Mass, I am not singing or listening to the music for fun. I am singing and listening to the music at Mass with the purpose of giving glory to God. I cannot be focused on God when I am paying all of my attention to the melody and beat. I am thinking about the beat and how great and fun it is, but not about how great God is and how beautiful the text taken from Scripture or from devotional texts of the Church. There is a place for contemporary Christian praise music, but for me, that place is not in the Mass. It does not lend itself to an atmosphere of prayer and contemplation.
Modern musical settings of the Ordinary are often a problem. For example, the Gloria setting which has been used here this Eastertide uses a heavily corrupted version of the text. “The Gloria is a very ancient and venerable hymn in which the Church, gathered together in the Holy Spirit, glorifies and entreats God the Father and the Lamb. The text of this hymn may not be replaced by any other text.” (General Instruction on the Roman Missal, pp 53) It could be contended that the text of the Manibusan Gloria is so unlike the approved translation as to warrant being called another text.
Lest you think that I am an extreme traditionalist, I feel I must assure you that I am not advocating a total abandonment of contemporary music. Excellent and beautiful sacred music is certainly being composed as I write; my experience at college with the composers there has taught me that. It is merely my hope that some effort may be made to be more cautious in the selection of music, to ensure that it is reverent and artistic, and that it truly lends itself to the expression of both the joy and the solemnity of the Eucharist.

26 June 2003

The Letter, Part I
Today is the feast of St. Anthelm and also of St. Josemaria Escriva.

I'm going to be posting some of the text of the letter I sent to my parish here with my complaints and suggestions about the liturgy. It ended up being six pages long, which is why I'm not posting it all at once. The letter has already been sent, so it's a bit late for suggestions, but I'd still like to hear your thoughts.

There has been an attempt to create, through music and various other methods, a greater sense of community in the Sunday Masses at St. --. While this is an admirable goal, I feel that the way in which this has been undertaken has cost us much of the reverence which ought to be present at the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar.
First, our “greater sense of community” has focused on communication between people, and has excluded the silence which provides the best opportunity for communication with God. Silence should be a major part of worship, and has always been one of the most marked features of Catholic worship. God speaks to us through Scripture, through the prayers of the Church, and in the quiet of our hearts. Yet, silence is seldom to be found at Masses at St. --. The church is certainly not quiet before or after Mass, because the members of the congregation are all socializing on their way in and out, and no one seems to discourage this. During Mass, there is always music playing or someone talking. I feel like I have been robbed of the profound silence which the saints so admire and encourage us to seek.
It is indeed wonderful to have such a developed sense of community that people find joy in greeting and socializing with each other, but the amount of this greeting which happens not only in the church, but actually during Mass, is a matter of some concern. Scripture tells us that there are different times which are set aside for different activities. The time for socializing is at the parish festival, or at the choir party, or around the hospitality table after Mass. The place for announcements is in the bulletin. The time to be centered on the face of God in our neighbor is while serving at the Table or doing other charitable work, or just in our daily dealings with other human beings. There must also be time for the community to be centered, not on each other, but on God. This is what the Mass is for. We turn our faces, not toward the celebrant, the choir, or the little girl peeking over the pew in front of us, but toward the altar on which rests the Sacrificial Lamb.

24 June 2003

Today is the feast of St. Agrippina, a 3rd Century virgin martyr from Italy. Couldn't really find anymore information on her than that. Maybe there isn't much more.

Tomorrow will be interesting. Because it is the feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, for whom our parish is named, there will be music at Mass. I've been asked to be the cantor (or cantrix, for the Latin scholars). It will feel a bit awkward, as it is quite probable that the parish will get my letter tomorrow. They'll get the mail in the afternoon, probably right after Mass is over, and they'll read the letter and think, hey, she just sang at Mass and now we owe her $35! Hehe. Funny how these things work out.

23 June 2003

Today is the feast of Corpus Christi.

Lauda Sion Salvatorem,
Lauda ducem et pastorem,
In hymnis et canticis.
Quantum potes, tantum aude:
Quia major omni laude,
Nec laudare sufficis...

The sequence for today is so beautiful. Now, if only we had chanted it.

Fr.'s homily today was quite inspiring. He talked about what the Eucharist is, how important it is to the Church, and what the role of a priest is in celebrating the Eucharist (quoting Ecclesia de Eucharistiae). I've heard all of this before, but only in classrooms. It makes a big difference to hear this said when you are sitting in the church, looking at the altar, and knowing that everything he is talking about is going to happen in just a few minutes.

21 June 2003

Amy Welborn has taken an axe to The DaVinci Code, and as far as I'm concerned, it's dead.

Who says that Catholicism doesn’t influence American culture? Who says we’ve been pushed out and away in favor of the joys of secularism? After all, the number one best selling fiction title in the nation – The Da Vinci Code – has “Catholic” on practically every page.Granted, the word is usually placed awfully close to other words like “repressive,” “patriarchal,” and “brutal,” but you know – you have to take what you can get.

I read this book two weeks ago. Got through it in one night, which should tell you that it's not a very intellectual or thought-provoking or literary work (it took me a month to read The Brothers Karamazov, and two days to read Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; compare times and literary merit). I've heard almost all of it before, except that shocker about the figure next to Christ in DaVinci's Last Supper being a woman--Mary Magdalene, of course. Also, is it a coincidence that the supposed members of the Priory of Sion are almost all known Masons as well? So, did those men really believe all that crap or did they just have a thing for secret societies?

I wonder how Mary Magdalene feels about all this.
Today is the feast of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, the patron of youth, after whom the university I attend is named.
So, to any Zags or Gonzaga Alumni out there, and anyone who has attended one of the multitudes of grade schools and high schools or parishes named for St. Aloysius, or if you carry the unusual name of Aloysius, Happy Feast Day!

The funeral I attended this morning was nice. But when I die, I don't want any family members to get up and "say a few words" or "share their memories" of me at the end of Mass. Save that stuff for reception or whatever afterwards. When I die, I'd love to have a Tridentine Mass with a priest in black vestments and lots of incense. Unfortunately, the only place I've ever seen black vestments was in an antique shop. They had a price tag ot $200 and were under a sign that said "vintage textiles." That's just not how vestments should end up.

20 June 2003

I'm adding some more links at left. Check them out. I like 'em. Well, obviously, or they wouldn't be there.

Mother has made minor suggestions on the second draft of my letter to the parish, but went so far as to call it elegant, eloquent, and well-informed. Of course, my mother has a very high opinion of me. The revised letter will probably be mailed on Monday. Just in time, too, as I am leaving town next Friday, and not coming back until July 20th. By which time, it will have been read by about two people and thrown away, and there will have been a phone call to my house saying "Thanks for your concern, we'll consider your ideas." And nothing will change. But I will have been heard, if only by two people.

18 June 2003

I had grilled ostrich for lunch on Sunday. It was different from anything I'd ever tasted, but it was still yummy. Mmmm, Big Bird!

My parents and I went to Mass at a different parish on Sunday. It's in the next town, but it doesn't take any longer to get there than to the parish across town. It's very tiny, not seating more than 150 people, and only has one Sunday Mass in English and one in Spanish, and it supports a mission in the next town up the road from that. (The highway here is dotted with tiny towns that are between one and three streets wide and about two miles long.) At that mission, they have a Latin Mass every 2nd Sunday of the month. This warrents investigation. Unfortunately, I shall not be in town on that day next month, so it shall have to wait until August.

The tiny church is, however, very lovely. It's of traditional shape, has a cream, pink, and dark red color scheme, and "normal" stained glass windows that have pictures and "In Memoriam" inscriptions at the bottom. Unlike the parish in which we are registered, you don't have to play "Where's the tabernacle?" upon entering. It's to the right of the altar, in a prominent alcove, if that's not a contradiction. There is a corresponding alcove on the left with a very pretty statue of Our Lady. My mother liked this. We already know some people who go to that church. I didn't ever expect that my parents would support my decision not to go to Sunday Masses at our current parish to the extent that they would actually leave the parish themselves, but if they feel that way, that's ok.

There has been another death in my little circle of aquaintances; a tenor from the church choir. He had been the choir director before he retired some 15 years ago. He was also skilled as a painter. I have the beautiful card he gave me at my going away to college party last fall. I will miss him. His wife's 80th birthday is tomorrow, and I think it's very sad that he won't be there to celebrate with her and that she won't be in a very celebratory mood, but he's in God's hands now. Rest in peace, Jan Coppenrath. Your talent and humor will be much missed.

14 June 2003

This article about William Mahrt of Stanford University is pretty cool. (Thanks to A.A.E. of Confessions of an Accidental Choir Director; see links to your left.) I can't let it pass without saying that his statements about Gonzaga University's chant program (about two-thirds down the page) need an update. I have gone this long without revealing that I'm a student at GU, but I can't let this pass without lending my voice to the defense of my school! I don't know what the situation was in 1997 when the article was written, but as of 2003, the Gonzaga University Schola performed (though it seemed almost like a side-show act) at the Music Educators Northwest Conference in Portland, OR, and has recorded a CD, which is in the editing process and due out soon. Next year, a joint trip with the University Choir is planned...to France!! *jumps for joy* The Schola sings at Mass every Sunday of the school year, and we end up attracting celebrants not only from our own Jesuit House, but from different parishes in the Spokane diocese, including Bishop Skylstad. Several priests seem to be interested in what we do. (I loved seeing Fr. S. walk into Jesuit House in cassock and biretta--quite a change from Jesuits who mostly don't even wear clerics.)

In addition to the Schola, there is also a class on the Music of the Catholic Church which is intended for musicians and non-musicians alike and is quite good. Every other year, there is a chant seminar offered which covers a lot of material, including reading, writing, and interpreting St. Gall and Loan notation, history, performance, the relationship of chant to the liturgy, and a little bit of conducting.

This may not seem like a lot, but consider that it's a small university and a very tiny music department. I guess that's all I have to say, as it's quite late and far past my bedtime. It was, perhaps, not prudent to reveal this much information about myself, but I guess I can take comfort in the fact that I can edit it out if I think the better of it later.

13 June 2003

Well, I've had enough of just complaining to everyone on the internet about what I see as liturgical abuses in my parish. I've decided to complain to someone who will actually be able to do something about it, and I am now in the throes of composing a letter to the Parish Council and Liturgy Committee at my parish. I don't really feel much like it is my parish anymore, to tell the truth. I do state at the end, at least of the first draft, of the letter that I intend to seek a spiritual home elsewhere. I know I won't find a parish within a 50-mile radius where people don't hold hands at the Lord's Prayer, but I can live with that. What I can't live with is the rock and gospel music, and a pastor who is so focused on building a sense of community that I think he's forgotten about building a sense of the sacred.

So, I'm writing a letter. I'm working now on the second draft. I was upset when I wrote the first draft, so it came out with lots of good ideas but no organizational principle, and it was a little too heated. It's going to be a long letter. The first draft was four pages, and now I'm going to try and put in some quotes to back up my statements.

My mother asked what I would do if they just said, Thanks for the input, Jane, and didn't do anything about it. I told her that I would say, I have been assured that the concerns of every member of this parish would be taken into consideration and addressed. I am a member of this parish, and I expect to have that consideration extended to me. Well, that's the best I can do, I guess. I don't want to threaten them and say, I'll write the bishop! or something like that. Not that I think writing to the bishop would have much effect.

11 June 2003

An article from the Adoremus Bulletin regarding what differentiates sacred music from secular music. Yes! I think we need more priests who were trained as church organists/music directors.

A sad and scary thing happened yesterday. I found out that the father of two girls I went to high school with suddenly collapsed while he was getting ready for work yesterday morning. His youngest daughter, who just graduated from high school, tried CPR, but to no avail. He died. He was not sick, and he was 65 years old. May perpetual light shine upon the soul of Dr. Mohun. He leaves a widow, seven adult children, and a few grandchildren.

Having someone die suddenly is so awful. It really hit home for me, because Dr. Mohun's two youngest daughters are a year older and a year younger than me, and he was exactly the same age as my own father. I couldn't help crying and wondering how I would feel if it had been my Papa, whether I would be brave enough to give him CPR like Madge tried to do for her dad, how my mom would feel if I went back to college in the fall and left her all alone. Dr. Mohun and Papa are the same age. It could just as easily have been Papa. I can only thank God that He has not taken Papa yet, and that I guess Papa will get a chance to enjoy his retirement (we had his retirement dinner tonight). *sigh* I pray for the Mohun family. It is a real loss for them.

10 June 2003

My mother went to a family reunion in Oklahoma over the weekend, much as I, a coastal type, hate to admit that my family is from that part of the country. My mother reported that they visited a museum which is run by Benedictines and which houses the artwork of one of their brothers, as well as some artwork he traded his own paintings for in various parts of the world. My mom brought me a postcard which has a picture of a painting the brother did of Pope St. Pius X. I guess my mother does have a sense of humor.

07 June 2003

Time for a commercial break: if any of you reading this happen to be parish music directors or some such creature, you may be interested in the materials which we use for chant Mass at the university I attend. If you are, go to Priory Press and take a look. It's good stuff, and the chants for the Mass are really not too hard. Our congregation can all sing the Ordinaries with us, and believe me, they're not all music majors. It takes some time to get used to a kind of music that you don't hear often, but then, if more people used it, it wouldn't take so much getting used to! Not like that dang syncopated stuff we get at Mass here when I'm home. I'll never get used to that. *grumble grumble grumble*
The funeral I sang at yesterday was nice. It seems that my friend's grandmother was a regular church-goer (daily Mass) and no one ever remembers her saying an unkind word to anyone. One of the guys who talked about her said that her strongest expletive was "oh dear." Wow. My grandma sure says stronger things than that, even with the grandkids around. The Mass was fine, the priest had a nice singing voice, the church was kinda pretty, except that it didn't have an organ. Of course, everyone held hands for the Lord's Prayer. I thought I would get to escape, as no one was sitting near me, but the accompanist got up from the piano and walked almost 20ft. just to hold hands with me. Ok, there's liturgically inaccurate, and there's just plain goofy. Walking that far just to hold hands with someone falls in the latter category, and it is definitely not dignified. Everyone stood for the Eucharistic Prayer, except for me and a few people who were sitting in the back, who knelt. I noticed that the family in the back who knelt all also received the host on the tongue, rather than in the hand, whereas those who stood almost without exception received in the hand. I wonder if there is a connection...

I feel a sense of accomplishment. I vacuumed my room, which the lady who comes once a week to clean has not done since I've been home. I don't know why. The other mystery involved with vacuuming is why there was so much cat hair in my room. There are several doors in this house which were installed with the specific purpose of keeping cats out of certain parts of the house, and the upstairs is one place they are not supposed to go. So, someone has not been keeping the doors shut, because cats have been upstairs. This is a problem. I also washed my car, washed dishes, and washed and refilled the hummingbird feeders. Dad and I tried to fix my t.v., but were unsuccessful. Looks like we'll have to call a real repairman. There are currently two t.v.'s in my room, one which belongs there and one which used to be at the cabin. Since the cabin sold two weeks ago, and we cleaned everything out, the t.v. came to live in my room. The t.v. that belongs there hasn't worked since before Christmas, and my parents never bothered to get it fixed. It gets neither picture nor sound. The t.v. from the cabin worked just fine while there, but now that I've hooked it up in my room, it gets picture but no sound. A 50% improvement, but useless unless I am going to watch silent films. It wouldn't be so bad if I could get the closed captioning to work, but I can't. And there are hardly ever any silent movies on television, so that's that. I have to fight Dad for the one in the living room. If you are still reading this, you must be either very bored indeed or exceptionally interested in my life. Either way, I worry about you.

05 June 2003

There is an article in this week's Newsweek which was emailed to the Right to Life group at my university. I found it interesting; perhaps you will too. I'm afraid that I can't say much more than that I found it interesting. I don't really have any other thoughts on it. But maybe you would like to share yours. That's what the comment box is for. There seem to be a lot of other articles on similar topics. I haven't seen the whole magazine, just this article online.

This article from the Catholic World Report in 2000 called "The Gay Priest Problem" is a bit outdated, but it has caused quite a stir among the both the Catholic and the homosexual communities of my university after being sent to both email lists last week. It's understandable why it made a stir. While the parts of the article that I believe are interesting and frightening, I also think the columnist is unclear or just plain wrong on several points.

He seems to think that homosexuals should not be admitted to seminaries because it will be impossible for them to keep a vow of celibacy. That is ridiculous. Living with a number of people one may be sexually attracted to may make it more difficult, but not impossible. (If there are other, more valid reasons gay men should not become priests, please tell me.)

He also quotes Bishop Thomas Gumbleton as saying, "How to be celibate and to be gay at the same time, and how to be celibate and heterosexual at the same time, that's what we were never really taught how to do." The columnist, Fr. Shaughnessy, responds to this with, "It is difficult to imagine a psychologically healthy fifteen-year old boy, much less a seminarian, who would not have a wholly adequate and complete idea of 'what celibacy is.'" Is it just me, or did Fr. Shaughnessy totally misinterpret Bishop Gumbleton's quote?

I would like to point out that, for myself and the vast majority of people that I have met, knowing what celibacy is and putting it into practice are two very different things, and the latter requires much advice and assistance. "How to be celibate" is something that all seminaries ought to spend a lot of time on, though from what I hear and from the things that have come to light in recent years, it seems that the subject of how to live up to one's vows has been ignored in places. Just as a point of interest, I'd like to know whether homosexual priests are more likely not to live up to their vow of celibacy than heterosexual priests.

Also, I'm not sure I buy the conspiracy theory stuff. I believe that some people in the Church push a liberal agenda, and that it is probable that they are quite an organized little network (the conservatives seem to me to be pretty darn organized as well), and there is probably a feminist faction in this liberal group, but a gay agenda? That just seems a bit...queer.
A friend's grandmother passed away yesterday. May her soul and all the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

I have been asked to sing at her funeral on Friday. A not untypical program of solos: Schubert's Ave Maria, Faure's Pie Jesu, Frank's Panis Angelicus. It's quite a drive as it's in another town, and coming back home on a Friday afternoon...the traffic will be horrendous. Thankfully, Papa, who knows all the back roads, is going to take me so that I don't have to drive it by myself. I have such a nice Papa.

As happens every time I sing at a funeral, or someone we know dies, or sometimes for no reason at all, a lot of the after-dinner conversation this evening was about the funeral plans for members of my family, mostly my parents and my maternal grandparents (paternal grandparents are already deceased). My family has what I suppose is a rather healthy view of death. They view it with typical Catholic and Celtic gallows humor. My parents tell me that my nifty southern-belle of a grandmother wants an honest-to-betsy New Orleans-style Dixieland band at the party after her funeral. What a gal! I think that's just peachy-keen. My parents are trying to decide where they want to be buried. Papa, ever the genealogist, wants to be buried somewhere with other members of his family. He'd really like to be buried in Nebraska or Missouri, as that's where most of them are from. Good heavens! Well, I probably won't be visiting your grave very often, if that's the case, Papa, because I'm a coastal sort of girl and sincerely hope that I will never have cause to live in the Midwest. Mom is more concerned with being where I will visit her. I told her maybe I'll just cremate both of them and keep the urns on my mantelpiece. They didn't seem to like that. Mom is very adamant that she will not be cremeated. I may bury her in the cemetary that's about a block from our vacation home. I hope to keep and enjoy that home for many years, so I'll be able to keep an eye on her grave and make sure it doesn't end up with tire tracks on the headstone like that of one of my more distant relatives. My grandfather nearly sued a cemetary when he found out that the road to the cemetary office had been widened so that it came within inches of some relative's grave. Anyone failing to make a sharp enough turn was running over the grave, ruining the grass, and leaving tire marks on the flat headstone. Finally the cemetary put a fence around it. I don't want that to happen to the final resting place of my mother's earthly remains, thank you very much. Where would I like to be buried? I don't know. We'll see what happens. If I died now, I'd want it to be by that vacation home. Who knows what I'll want if I live to be 90. Maybe they'll be jettisoning people's ashes into space then, who knows.

An old Irish marriage proposal: How would you like to be buried with my people? If any guy ever asks me this seriously, I'll probably keel over right then and there and then he'll have to bury me someplace.

04 June 2003

My internet access is being annoying to me tonight, and just lost my first attempt at an entry. I'm too lazy to retype it. I'll just post something fun: Random Theology

Anyone want some chocolate? I bought a dark chocolate with almonds candy bar at See's in the mall today, but I don't think I can finish it. If no one claims it, I guess I'll eat it tomorrow.

02 June 2003

This is an interesting article, especially to a current university student who hopes to be a professor someday. It's true that the university is very cut off from the outside world. In the past year, I only watched television in my dorm once. The news I got was mostly from skimming the front section of the New York Times about once a week, or maybe from hearing a news show on the television in one of the on-campus food joints. When the war in Iraq started, I didn't know about it for three days, until I sat down at a table with some friends in ROTC and heard them discussing it (I tried to hide my ignorance). A lot of the professors at the university I attend are a bit radical, but they're mostly the philosophy and theology profs. The professors from the history, English, and music departments that I have encountered are no more eccentric than one would expect from people in those disciplines.
College professors are eccentric. I mean, who really wants to hang out with 18-22 year-olds for the rest of their working life? Who wants to be dedicated to just one subject, and be around other people all day who are equally immersed in that subject? And who really wants to wear those funny robes and hats for commencement exercises and academic convocations and such? Well, me, actually. It's very appealing. Ok, so I want to be cut off from the world a little. But professors are not as cut off as students are. They go home at night, most of them do not eat in campus dining facilities, unless they get breakfast from our Starbuck's ripoff coffee shop, and a lot of them have families. (Of course, the Jesuits are a breed apart, and take the normal eccentricity of college professors to a probably otherwise unknown extreme, but we're trying to talk about the average prof here.)
Ok, now for being a mature adult. What, exactly, is a mature adult? I'd like to know. If my professors (and I know some of them pretty well) are not mature adults, and indeed, if some of my classmates are not mature adults, then I don't think I've ever met one. And I've met a lot of adults. Has a mature adult ltraded an imagination and sense of whimsey for the gray drudgery of responsibility? Or can a mature adult handle responsibility with whimsey and imagination? Do they keep their noses to the grindstone all day and keep up to date on every single news item in the paper or on television, or do they enjoy their work and keep a grasp on the major events in the world and not worry too much about things that don't pertain to them? The article does not say what about the professors makes the author consider them to be immature, except that male college professors often do not remarry after being divorced. Is it possible that this is not a reflection of an inability to commit to an adult woman, but rather an inability to meet available (and appropriate, i.e., non-student of comparable age to the man) women within the sphere in which they, of necessity, spend most of their waking lives?

Ok, I'm obviously biased. But I beg you to remember, I think that no one would consider the hardworking medieval peasant not a mature adult, yet he too was pretty cut off from the happenings of the world outside his village and probably worked at the same job in the same village for his entire life. If college professors are not mature adults (a claim for which the author provides scant example or evidence), I would contest that it is not for these reasons.
Today, in our diocese, we celebrate the feast of the Ascension of Our Lord into heaven. So, Happy Ascension!

I went shopping today with my mommy. I missed shopping with her! I think she missed shopping with me too. Ahh, the joys of being home for the summer. I bought a straw hat with an ugly flower on it, and a pretty red sundress with a belt that I didn't like. Ripped the flower off the hat, tied the belt around it, and now the ensemble is lovely. Then I remembered Lydia Bennett in Pride and Prejudice when she bought a hideous bonnet and said she'd rip it apart and see if she couldn't make something better of it. I don't want to be Lydia Bennett! Oh, well. Momentary lapse into being a very silly girl indeed, I suppose.

I've also started work on my second CD. I don't really know if I'll get it finished this year or not, as it's a much larger project than the first one was. I intend to do all my own arranging this time. It will be Christmas music, with singing and Celtic harp. *Shameless plug* If anyone is interested in hy first CD, which is Irish music, mostly solo harp but with a few vocal tracks, email me at janeandlizzy@yahoo.com.