August 23, 2007

Various

  

The bibliophagist is making me hungry. I'll have to go look at some of the inscriptions left behind in my books. I don't have many older books, though many that I do date from the Progressive Era, just before the Great War. They can be a bit over-confident. Speaking of older books, I'm reading my great uncle's PhD from 1945 on the history of Catholic education in the archdiocese. A few snippets:
The strong prejudice against the use of boys' voices and the use of the Gregorian Chant has given way to an appreciation and a free use of it...The main objective has always been to make Catholics more conscious of their glorious inheritance of Catholic musical art. Imbued with its spirit they are thereby led to participate in the liturgy of the Church.
Progressive and modern are certainly considered good things, at least better than they do to my ears today. Who could've known that the reliance on experts in the field of mental health would later help facilitate the priest abuse crisis in that bishops would be unduly swayed by the "experts"?
In September of the year 1938, the progressiveness of the school system was promoted by the establishment of the Catholic Guidance Clinic, one of the first Catholic mental hygiene clinics in the United States...The availability of its services has added another modern touch to the school system, for today the best modern educators realize that diagnostic and remedial services and guidance have a definite place in their field.
Paegentry in the form of large graduation exercises involving multiple high schools led to this statement:
To have the Catholic schools represented in such a variety of public affairs is a splendid form of apologetics for the Catholic school system. It brings to the attention of non-Catholics as well as Catholics the work of the Catholic schools. It is a means of removing eroneous notions concerning the schools and inculcating a better appreciation of them.
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Last night I finished watching Masterpiece Theatre's "The Virgin Queen", about Queen Elizabeth naturally. Bleh. Or meh. Or whatever word it is that describes a lukewarm reaction. I never know how much history to trust in these type of shows. My hunch is very little. In Dr. Warren Carroll's book on the history of Christendom her final days were lonely and wretchedly desperate, the sort of end that people in the 17th century took as evidence of disfavor with God. In the movie while the consternation of her final days was depicted, there was at peace in her final moment. Her ring was found to have been made into a clasp, concealing a picture of...drumroll...her mother Anne Boleyn. Whether that is historical I have no idea.

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TIME magazine has an article on Mother Teresa and an upcoming book here. They also discuss/recuss Billy Graham's experience with U.S. presidents:
Back in 1955, when Dwight Eisenhower had become Graham's first real friend in the White House, he used to press the evangelist on how people can really know if they are going to heaven. "I didn't feel that I could answer his question as well as others could have," Graham told us. But he got better at it with practice. John F. Kennedy wanted to talk about how the world would end--more than an abstract conversation for the first generation of Presidents who had the ability to make that happen.
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On a lighter note, my brother-in-law authored a funny parody on the Parody is Therapy blog concerning an Arizona school punishment for carrying a sketch of a gun without a license.

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Why is the Dalai Lama hipper than the Pope? This video suggests part of it might be ignorance of the D. Lama's teachings on sex.

Perhaps part of the reason Buddhism is so popular these days is that baby boomers and subsequent generations are averse to suffering in a way prior generations were not. Thus, religion is seen as less a desire for truth than a desire to explain or mitigate suffering. Stephen Prothero author of Religious Literacy wrote: "If you ask something simple like, 'What is the problem that Christianity solves?', the answer would be sin. If you ask what problem Buddhism solves, the answer would be suffering. Are sin and suffering the same? No, in Christianity suffering is in some senses a good thing, in Buddhism there is no sense in which suffering can be considered good."

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I was in the 'octagon room' recently at this library in Hamilton and later came across this 1913 flood photograph. It shows "water almost a third of the way up the building's walls. The solidly-built octagon room withstood the ravages of the flood, but a north wing and stack area were both destroyed." My great-grandfather died in this flood.

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