Archive for Artemus

The Lost Fine Art of Discourse

I am nearly finished reading the late Neil Postman’s book Amusing Ourselves to Death, Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. Published in 1985, Postman, an educator and media theorist, lays out a postulation that television had created the latest (at that time) step change mode of public discourse and therefore initiated a resulting negative effect in the culture. As described by Postman, verbal public discourse was superseded by the written word, then subsequently superseded by radio, finally by television. For each of these new communication mediums to take hold and gain popularity, they were required to do two things:

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Cardinal Confusion

Cardinal Reinhard Marx made headlines again last week by suggesting that the Catholic Church and society as a whole should apologize for the institutionalized scandalous and negative treatment and marginalization towards individuals with same-sex attraction.  This proclamation from the notoriously heterodox German episcopal leader coincidentally came at the same time Pride celebration events were taking place across the globe. If he meant by these words that the negative treatment was discrimination, disrespect or uncivil conduct directed at homosexuals, he may have legitimate point.  We as Christians are called to treat all others with respect and love – as in the

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Children (Poorly) Masquerading as Adults

College commencement exercises are beginning, meaning that the silly season of childish campus antics of demonstrations, ridiculous demands to college administrations, and relentless public harassment will taper off over the summer.  The 2015-2016 academic year topped the charts and serves as a preview of the caliber of new workforce recruits we will be dealing with in our workplaces.  From Amherst College, to the University of Missouri to Yale, civil discourse and rational debate and disagreement have been forced to the sidelines in unprecedented occurrences. I ran across an interesting article – here – concerning moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt, a secular liberal

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A Reflection on Evangelization

One of my readings during this season of Lent has been Magnificat Year for Priests Companion, produced for the 2009 Year for Priests.  The small pamphlet offers many good meditations on the role and dignity of the Catholic priesthood.  This particular reflection caught my attention for a couple different reasons. We the laity have a heart that is hungry for God.  O priest of God, give us that knowledge of God which came to you when you were alone with him in his immense silence… Make it short.  Make it simple.  Talk to us about our hunger and your hunger…  We

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Momento Mori

“Remember death” My family and friends gathered recently to celebrate the funeral Mass of my 99 year-old mother.  Through both of my parent’s deaths, I have found that travelling the path of death and burial in the Catholic tradition is truly a consolation to the grief we experience.  So many elements of our Faith are brought together in the funeral liturgy: the remembrance of being born to anew in baptism; being united to the Body of Christ in the Eucharist; the Angels and Saints being called upon to accompany the soul of the departed into heaven; the repetition of “eternal

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The Devil IS in the Details

During this month of November the Church invites us to rejoice with the Church Triumphant in Heaven and to pray for the Church Suffering in Purgatory. By engaging in this practice, we are forced to consider our own mortality; to “remember death” and how to live our lives in order to achieve what we were created for, which is unity with God in heaven. “We believe that the multitude of those gathered around Jesus and Mary in Paradise forms the Church of heaven, where in eternal blessedness they see God as he is and where they are also, to various

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Political Astuteness of a Frenchman

I am currently reading Alexis De Tocqueville’s Democracy in America.  At hefty 700+ pages in length, I am only at page 140, so it may take me another year to get through it at my current pace. De Tocqueville was a youthful 26 when he journeyed to America in 1831 but he was already a political veteran and had fallen out of favor in post-Revolutionary France.  During his study of the American republic over a 9 month period, he searched for clues into how and why the American experiment was so successful, and as importantly, whether this new type of

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Enjoying God’s Majesty

This past week I had the pleasure of spending family vacation in the Colorado Rockies.  My family thoroughly enjoys visiting there – we have probably taken six vacations to the same small town west of Denver.  None of us are avid outdoors people, so when we are there we relax, take the occasional hike and just spend time together.  I am drawn there for a number of reasons: the slow pace; the quiet settings; the disconnecting of electronic devices; but foremost for taking in God’s awe-inspiring creation. Like Timshel, I have taken a number of silent retreats, where one becomes

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Church Bankruptcy Intrigues vs. Justice

The Milwaukee archdiocese on August 4 announced an agreement of settlement terms for clergy homosexual abuse victims.  The 330 abuse victims will share $21 million.  Critics were instantaneous in slamming the deal as an abuse of the bankruptcy regulations. Some items to note: Liberal darling Archbishop Rembrant Weakland presided over the very dark period of peak homosexual abuse, and was proven to have covered up allegations and used intimidation tactics to keep this scandal out of the public view.  Dogged by a late revelation of using archdiocese funds to silence a male lover, he became a shunned former celebrity.  He

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