***Happy Diwali to all! The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue sent a chirpy greeting to all Hindus in honor of their three day Festival of Lights, Diwali, which began October 21st. Signed by Cardinal Poupard, the message reads in part, “your ancient religious feast…for you signifies the victory of truth over untruth, light over darkness, good over evil and life over death.” It also celebrates two pagan idols, Kali (goddess of destruction) and Lakshmi (goddess of prosperity). Kali is depicted in a particularly gruesome way, covered in blood with a necklace of skulls, and residing in the cremation grounds surrounded by dead bodies. She’s an ambivalent figure with both fearsome and benevolent traits often referred to as the universal mother goddess. At Diwali lights and candles decorate both her shrine and Lakshmi’s. Business transactions are sometimes begun during this time invoking Lakshmi’s aid. [If it’s okay to wish a “happy” pagan holiday to the Hindus, our ancestors were bad, bad, bad for imposing their beliefs instead of wishing the pagans well. Les Femmes recommends another round of Vatican apologies.]
***Now all together…. “We apologize”: 1) To the Druids: In lighting the Easter fire opposite the hill of Tara in direct disobedience to the Irish king, St. Patrick showed disrespect to the Druid magicians and contempt for the pagan feast. His subsequent challenge and defeat of the Druids and conversion of the Irish was one more example of the insensitivity of white European males. Snakes should be reintroduced to the island immediately as a gesture of reparation.
2) To the Germans: St. Boniface, unprovoked and with malice aforethought, announced his intention to destroy the sacred Oak of Donar dedicated to Thor, the God of Thunder. The poor innocent tree-worshippers had their values assaulted as they watched the mighty oak crash to the ground after only a few blows. We recommend commissioning Greenpeace to plant 100 oak saplings on the desecrated ground as a sacred grove. A labyrinth with a peace pole in the middle should be added as a reconciliation garden.
3) To the native American Indians: Sts. Jean de Breboeuf, Isaac Jogues, and their companions showed extreme cultural elitism in trying to convert the noble savages of the Huron and Iriquois tribes. It is completely understandable that these peaceful people were driven to kill Fr. Jogues with a hatchet blow to the head and cut out the heart of Fr. Breboeuf. A noble and peaceful people can only tolerate so much Jesuit preaching. We recommend that psychiatric social workers be sent immediately to counsel the descendents of the Indian tribes for the trauma inflicted by the missionaries. Financial reparations would also be appropriate. Sale of the Shrine of the North American Martyrs, a culturally insensitive monument, could provide the wherewithal to build a sacred Hogan enshrining a sacred feather.
***Didn’t St. Paul do the same thing when he praised the Athenians for their altar to the unknown god? NO! St. Paul did NOT tell the Greeks to enjoy their pagan feast and continue happily in their worship of false gods. He did just the opposite. He used their shrine to the unknown God to reveal the true God, the one who commands, “Thou shalt not have strange gods before me.” He challenged the Greeks to accept Jesus Christ and renounce their pagan ways. False ecumenism that treats pagan religions as though they are equal to Christianity is scandalous and leads to indifferentism, a serious sin! Is worshiping Kali a “victory of truth over untruth?” Isn’t worshiping Kali and Lakshmi exactly what the First Commandment forbids? How can it be right to praise it? Awhile back we heard the Interreligious Council would be disbanded. Let’s hope the rumor is true.
***And while we’re talking about paganism visit the website of the Benedictine Sisters of VA www.placeofpeaceosb.org/placeofpeacebrochurecosts.pdf to see their “sacred space” vision which includes a labyrinth, peace silos, 40 peace poles, a Stonehenge-like “meditation garden,” and a cedar grove. The ladies of Les Femmes love nature as much as anyone, but are baffled by a plan to spend almost $600,000 on a garden which incorporates many pagan symbols and includes $3000 to buy big rocks. Meanwhile, the monastery chapel, the REAL “sacred space,” illustrates a faith off-balance – literally. The original sanctuary area has a semicircle of chairs facing a wall with a tapestry where the altar used to be. Sometimes there is a ceramic pot next to the middle chair [We cannot fathom its purpose: funeral urn with ashes from a revered Benedictine nun? a spittoon? a watering pot for the plants?] The altar stands against one side of the nave where the congregation used to sit. The two beautiful wood-carved confessionals are used to store folding chairs and cleaning supplies. The tabernacle is in a side area completely out of sight of worshipers near the altar. The Gospel says, “Where your treasure is there your heart will be also.” (Matt 6: 20) Would you rather invest your treasure (and your heart) in the Lord’s house or bury it out in the garden under a big rock?
***Silly nuns on the decline, thank God! The National Coalition of American Nuns (NCAN), an aging and shrinking group of dissenters, issued a voters’ guide in October promoting [Surprise!] gay marriage, abortion, ordination of women, and every other loony leftist cause on the books. [They also oppose bottled water. Hey, don’t ask us, we don’t get it either.] The weird sisters of NCAN are co-workers with the equally loony lay group Call to Action (CTA) which held its national convention in early November. Presiding at CTA’s eucharistic liturgy was Arlington’s own goofy padre-wannabee Bridget Mary Meehan. Meehan was excommunicated after her mock ordination on a boat in Pittsburgh last July. CTA’s theme this year was I Am: Rise up people of God. Heretics and blasphemers love to play God and claim His name for themselves. The only thing they like better is posturing as revolutionaries and martyrs. Some of these silly women claiming to be priests [priestesses?] are nuns and others had positions of authority as pastoral administrators, etc. No wonder the Church is in so much trouble when her shepherds nurse these serpents in their bosoms. Thanks, Bridget, for outing yourself as a heretic. You preach to your off-key choir of grey-haired CTA modernists who play Church in hotel ballrooms and rented yachts. And all of you witness to liberalism’s inevitable result – dementia.
***Please don’t offend the neighborhood. In Chester Heights, PA John McMahon, was ordered to remove the statue of Mary from his front yard by his homeowners association. According to McMahon they sent a letter saying the statue might “offend” the neighbors. Les Femmes is organizing an offense [some would say offensive] squad to patrol neighborhoods and confiscate all items likely to offend. The following is a partial list of “banned” items that will be removed: All Christmas decorations including trees inside the house visible through the window [definitely offend members of the ACLU]. Lawn reindeer or garden animals, e.g., geese, bunnies, frogs, turtles, etc. [offend PETA]. The following plants must be immediately sprayed with Round Up: black-eyed Susans [offend people of color], Indian blanket flowers [offend native Americans], lavender and fairy wand [offend homosexuals], gnomes [may offend short fat people]. Finally, all lawn mowing must immediately cease as it definitely offends Buddhists who wish to live in harmony with all nature. [Don’t you feel better?] McMahon promises to fight. Go, John, go!
***Marriage, endangered species in U.S.: In 1930 married couples and families accounted for 84 percent of households. A report released last month by the census bureau showed the latest figure is 49.7 percent, the lowest in American history. What’s fueling the drop? Cohabitation, same sex relationships, and surviving spouses living longer. The change has broad implications for economic and social policy. According to Stephanie Coontz of the Council on Contemporary Families, a research group, it “changes the social weight of marriage in the economy, in the work force, in sales of homes and rentals, and who manufacturers advertise to.” The family used to be the basic building block of society. As that important role crumbles the culture is crumbling with it.
***From Twilight before the Dawn Dept.: Good news: Vatican officials in June refused to extend the 2002 indult (special permission) allowing lay extra-ordinary ministers of Holy Communion (LEMs) to assist the ordained in cleaning the sacred vessels used for Communion. This is likely to reduce liturgical abuses stemming from the wide practice of giving Communion under both species. Hopefully dropped and spilt chalices will be history. Sour note: In the Diocese of Orange, CA (Bishop Tod Brown) worship director Lesa Truxaw sent a memo to the priests saying “Until the bishops… discuss the new recommendation…no changes will be made.” This is the same diocese where Catholics at St. Mary’s by the Sea were ordered to give up kneeling or they were “in rebellion, grave disobedience, and mortal sin.” [Guess obedience is in the eye of the beholder.]
***More good news: As we went to press the bishops were meeting in Baltimore. A welcome agenda item is a proposed reorganization reducing the number of approved positions at the bishops’ conference (USCCB) from 260 to 197. The changes include consolidating 35 standing committees to 14, cutting back the number of executive committees from five to four, and eliminating all ad hoc committees. An additional 125 positions will be unaffected by the changes including Catholic News Service, Migration and Refugee Services, the National Religious Retirement Office, and the bishops’ seminaries in Rome and Louvain. In view of the mischief caused in the past by staff at the USCCB this cutback is welcome news indeed. [To paraphrase an old joke: “What are 60 dead USCCB positions on the ocean floor?” Answer: A good beginning.]