Saturday, January 09, 2010

More Thoughts Liturgical, Ritual, Political...

With the exception of the first bulleted item, which continues the reflections I began in the penultimate bullet of my last post, the following appear in no particular order:
  • Fr. Zuhlsdorf often decries the most recent book of blessings as 'nearly useless (and with other, similar and sometimes even stronger language viz. "essentially useless")'. I most certainly agree that the texts of the new blessings are truly dreadful - they are written in a way that betrays either an utter ignorance of the different kinds of blessing (broadly, blessings that obtain grace(s) and blessings that constitute, inter alia, objects and spaces as sacred) , and sometimes even omit the very words of blessing. Nevertheless, they are the texts approved and prescribed by Holy Mother Church. They are, therefore, efficacious. They are not useless in this very basic sense, even though they may very well be worse than useless for purposes of catechesis and formation, i.e. preaching and teaching on and about the Divine things claimed explicitly and implied in the specific acts of blessing. Said shortly, the new prayers are prayers of blessing because Holy Mother Church tells us they are - and only because She tells us that they are!
  • I would love to go see Avatar (google it youselves, if you must), but I would sooner search for a ping pong ball at the bottom of a large jar of rusty razor blades. The film is quite clearly an achievement: it is a greater and more sophomoric hodge-podge of pseudo-philosophical, quasi-religious, faux spiritual tropes than was even The Matrix.
  • Politico is praising Harry Reid's abilities as a manager of the Senate. In this piece (by Mike Allen and Jake Sherman, with contribution from Meredith Shiner), they show how the Dems plan to play the race card right back on the GOP, in the wake of the revelations about the deep-rooted racial prejudice of the hapless Senate Majority Leader (pace SF Chronicle editors). Fine. It is fair to point to Reid's record in defense of his fitness to remain in his post. The Politico piece praises Reid thus: "What Reid has lacked in PR ability he has made up in vote counting and internal Senate maneuvering. He has taken the Senate to the brink of passing the historic health reform bill, and he’s managed to hold together a nearly unmanageable caucus of 58 Democrats and two unpredictable independents. Aides tout his ability to find middle ground in a diverse caucus." I ask: "really?"

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