Sometimes Stupid

heavensThis is about the Heavenly Bodies exhibit and the MET Gala.

But first…a recollection of my father. He was really smart and lacked the virtue of patience.  (Relax, this isn’t the blog where I go into my complicated analysis of my relationship with dad.)

As a result of the volatile combination of intelligence and impatience, when my dad encountered something he believed was terribly wrong and didn’t want to take time to explain why, he would call it “stupid.”  When making this declaration he usually exhibited a dramatic flair that could include adding multiple adjectives before the word “stupid,” words I won’t reproduce here.

And now we get back to the MET and its gala. No, I’m not going to call the MET or its gala stupid. I’m going to suggest that the way some folks showed up dressed for the gala reflected stupid decisions on their part.

Every Catholic pundit I know has commented on whether the Vatican ought to partner with the MET, especially on the gala (which is different than the actual exhibit). The reactions spread far and wide:

  • What a glorious celebration of diversity and inclusiveness.
  • This really shows how art and the faith can share in God’s joy.
  • Maybe this will jolt the Church into the modern world.
  • Whoever in the Vatican approved this should be burned at the stake.

The actual exhibit really isn’t so controversial: beautiful vestments and fashions.

It was the gala that people praised or condemned and caused me to become for a moment, my father.  There were many things about the gala that I’m sure were wonderful…fascinating people…fancy clothes…lots of scrumptious food.

But there were some really, well, stupid things.  For instance, when a female pop star shows up dressed up like a Pope in hot pants, I turn into my father.  There is probably a long explanation of why such attire is blasphemous, tasteless, sacrilegious, and so forth.

But to me, it is just plain stupid.  And if someone shows up to an event like this in attire is just plain stupid, I don’t blame the MET, the Vatican, Cardinal Dolan, the Sisters of Mercy, the Anglican, the Norwegians or anyone other than the person who decided to dress in a way that was, say it: stupid.

Advice for Graduation Speakers

university-student-1872810_960_720Here we are in the most challenging time of the year for high school and college administrators.

Yes, we’re in graduation season, the time of year when there is a real danger that a student giving a graduation speech will utter a forbidden word. No, I’m not talking about George Carlin’s Seven Words You Can’t Say on TV. (Don’t let the kids click on the link…really.)

I’m talking about those seven insidious words that threaten the political correctness that lies at the heart of American education in 2018:  God, Jesus, Christ, Christian, Virgin, Mary, and Madonna (unless referring to a pop singer who needs more clothes). These are the prohibited words.

Students across the country are plotting ways to sneak these words into their speeches. I hear one creative graduating senior thought he could cite his role model as a Jewish Carpenter (since he dare not say “Jesus”) but school authorities ruled that Jewish was a near-violation of the prohibited words and could not be tolerated. After all, there is a clear connection between Jews and Christians.

Another sneaky speaker tried to work a line from the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb” into her speech.  She was expelled and denied graduation because school officials feared some people attending graduation ceremonies could be offended by a reference to someone with the same name as the Mother of God.

Lest I be labeled as cynical and negative, let me point out the seven approved for use by enlightened educations across the nation: atheist, gay, lesbian, bisexual, choice, misogyny, and bathroom.

Under some circumstances, the use of a word from the approved list will sanction the use of a word from the prohibited list. For example: “God wants me to be gay” or “Mary was bisexual”.

If America’s educators successful preserve the integrity of this year’s graduation speeches, it will be another step forward in the grand and glorious object to produce faithless youth who aren’t sure of their gender.

Alfie Reminds us to Remember the Revolution

hammer-802301_1280In 1776, a struggle broke out between the mighty British Empire and the upstart American colonies.

The colonies rebelled for many reasons, including freedom from excessive taxes, freedom from unreasonable government intervention and infringement on religious freedom.  But at the heart of the matter was something more fundamental, something that continues to be at the heart of left and right debate in the great American experiment.

Choose one:

  1. Government holds the rights and power of society and determines what will be granted to people based on what it believes is best for them and to preserve the control of the government
  2. God grants inalienable rights to people, who form a government to protect those rights.

Just to remove any mystery from this discussion, I am a total proponent of choice B.  Choice A leads to enslavement.  Read Orwell’s “1984” to understand where choice A leads.  If you don’t want to read the book, watch the movie.  It is nearly as terrifying.

Read any newspaper or watch any television news program on any day of the week and you will see this struggle between government control and freedom playing out in the public square.  We often forget that what is at stake – no matter the good intentions of the people promoting choice A – is the life or death of God in our society.

Alfie Evans, the British toddler who died a few days ago, became an unintended symbol of the struggle.  His parents had the very Catholic, Christian idea that they should let God determine the child’s fate, a viewpoint strongly endorsed by Pope Francis.

Somehow it came to the hospital, backed by the British courts, to make the life or death call.  And what especially caught my attention was the remark by a senior Catholic cleric: “It’s very hard to act in a child’s best interest when this isn’t always as the parents would wish – and this is why a court must decide what’s best not for the parents, but for the child.”

I’m going to give the Cardinal the benefit of the doubt.  I assume he means well and thinks the well-intentioned and caring folks at the hospital did their best.

Unfortunately, in the battle between Godly people and Godless government he likely is playing the role of useful idiot.  He accepts the court as England’s God.

Perhaps if the courts were staffed by God-fearing souls of strong Christian formation, they could make informed decisions about matters of morality.  But today’s courts are staffed by moral relativists who worship at the high altar of tolerance.  I doubt the court that decided the fate of Alfie Evans has a better grasp on truth than Pontius Pilot.

These are intellectuals who are certain they know better than parents, the Church, and God when a child should be killed.  And if we Catholic – cleric and lay – don’t present an alternative with strength and vigor we will soon have little ability to evangelize. We may have no reason to evangelize.

If we cede God’s authority to Godless courts, what do we stand for? We must all be soldiers in Alfie’s Army.

I doubt those brave and rebellious Americans of 1776 had much faith in the wisdom of the English courts.  I doubt children or parents in England have much faith in those courts today. Sadly, I have little confidence American courts would do much better.