Bliss, finally.

Finals are ‘finally’ over. It seems dumb that I was so stressed out about everything, considering I only had 2 1/2 classes this quarter. Paleontology and Hydrogeology are difficult topics (well, they involve labs, which are difficult… and amount to busy work). I’m still not done with some work for my Hydro class, even though I took the final today. It’s just been a very long quarter. I got a B+ in my Paleontology class! I didn’t expect that at all (considering I got a D on my midterm – ouch).

I’ve gained most of my weight back from before I was on Chemo. It took about 9 months in total, and believe me, I’m pretty pissed about it. My doctor seems nonplussed, except for the fact that I was overweight before chemo, but he said, “You were bound to gain it back. Just lose it again.” Pfft, easy for him to say. The more I gain, the more depressed I get about it, and hence the vicious cycle. I’m really jealous of my roommate: he can eat pretty much anything and he doesn’t really gain much. If I eat what he does, I’ll gain 10 lbs in a week. It’s not awesome.  For better or for worse I may have to start chemo again anyways, so I could possibly lose it all… again.  I’m pretty sick and tired of being sick.  I’ve been trying to take it easy, since I get a bee in my bonnet to go out and tackle the world (like, ride my bike or something), and I end up hurting myself, or forgetting that I have no stamina. I tried jogging with a friend a few weeks ago, and I could barely make it 3 blocks before choking on my own lungs.

On Saturday, I’m going down to the Carmelite Monastary in Eugene for an OCDS meeting. I’m SO excited!  OCDS isn’t for people with OCD (even though I think most of us have a touch of neuroticism here and there), but stands for: Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites (in English… the real name is in spanish, I believe). I’m discerning to join the Third Order Secular, and Saturday is the beginning of my Aspirancy. This period will last six months to a full year, and from there, I become a Postulant. This period of “First Promise” lasts about two years, which involves learning all the history of the Carmelites, becoming more engrossed in my studies, etc.  The Promise is a commitment “to tend towards evangelical perfection in the spirit of the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty, obedience and of the Beatitudes, according to the Rule of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites, for three years.” After three years, an individual may request permission to make the Final Promise (substituting “for all my life” in place of “for three years”). The period of formation after the First Promise lasts three years before the Final Promise.  So, I’m starting a journey which could very well last, at minimum, six years. I wouldn’t make my Final Promise until I’m 31. Wow.

This is a pretty big friggin decision in my life. OCDS is pretty hardcore – daily mass, liturgy of the hours, mission, devotion to Mary, wearing of the Scapular (which I already do, all the time), monthly meetings, and of course, at least 30 minutes of daily prayer/meditation. Whew. That’s why they have the year of Aspirancy, to make sure we know what we’re getting ourselves into. Once I make my vow, it’s a sin to break, and that’s pretty serious.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to. My own classes and teaching consumed my life for awhile, and when I wasn’t doing either at OSU, I was sleeping at home. I’m still so very, very tired. Today, I went to sleep around 5, and woke up at 7ish. It was a nice nap. And now I’m going to try to sleep, again. Nite nite.

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Letter circulated to Catholic Bishops

I was perusing an excellent Catholic blog (which you can find here), and came across a comment at the bottom of one of the articles.  Pedro posted this open letter to our Catholic Bishops, and I thought it had enough points of interest to repost. While I agree with a few points in this letter, I personally wouldn’t write a letter to the Bishops in this way. Please feel free to comment with your thoughts.

What a troubling moment in the history of our beloved Catholic Church in America…..

I am forced to give the US Bishops a failing grade in their ministry, as evidenced again by the large numbers of Hispanics (70% or so!!!) and other ‘catholics’ (54% or so) who have once again voted-in the party of death – obviously ignoring their catholic leaders like yourself who tried to better form their consciences for their important election day choices these past months. They’ve just laughed at you and the Teaching Authority of the Church, and gone ahead with their own agenda as has been the case since Vatican II, beginning with their disagreement with the Church on birth control. This disobedience and the stubborn defiance of a good many people still in the pews on Sundays is tearing down our faith brick by brick, and has become a cancer in the Body of Christ within the western world.

And this is the deeper problem as I see it: you have all, for many, many years, been trying to minister to faithful catholics and, since Vatican II, a growing number of ‘new protestants’ who are also still sitting in the pews on Sundays (though they are probably more likely not to attend Every Sunday).

I believe it has been, and will continue to be impossible for you to effectively minister to two such disparate groups under one roof, as has been attempted for far too many decades to our misfortune. It greatly weakens your effectiveness with the remnant of faithful Catholics who see you making too many compromises because you are being tugged from two entirely different directions on so many of the issues at the center of our fiercely contested culture war. You have obviously had to compromise principles to effect the current state of affairs, and that continues to happen, in the eyes of the true Catholic faithful that I know, to the discredit of you – our leaders – still trying to appease the non-believers who have decided, this time, not to walk away from the church, but instead to change it from within by constantly chipping away at our traditional beliefs and make them correspond more closely with their own silly, personal, notions on issues like abortion and a right to life for the unborn, homosexuality, birth control, pornography, promiscuity, and all sorts of other vulgarities.

Please, won’t you and the other Bishops use this lesson to effect a long awaited house cleaning!! There really aren’t a shortage of priests – as there are plenty of them available to minister to the small number of Actual Catholic faithful who have not yet marched off to another drummer. It seems clear to me that the only problem is acknowledging that, for whatever reason, God is not willing to provide additional priests to minister to all the Protestants still in our pews – as well as the SHRINKING number faithful Catholics.

I know they are there next to me; you can see their Obama bumpers stickers; you as a Bishop receive their letters asking you and your faithful priests to quit being so political in the pulpit with talk about a right to life or the evils of homosexuality and sexual promiscuity. They are not interested in your view; to them it’s just a Democracy and they will keep working for a change in Church leadership – just like they work to elect our new radically pro-death president.

PLEASE HELP THOSE OF US IN THE PEWS WHO ARE BECOMING DISTRAUGHT BY THE ATTACKS ON THE FAITH COMING AS MUCH FROM WITHIN BY THESE ‘STEALTH PROTESTANTS’, AS FROM THE MILITANT UNBELIEVERS OUTSIDE THE CHURCH!!!! THE TIME FOR WORDS IS LONG OVER; PLEASE ACT NOW TO RESTORE THE FAITH.

Lead us back to TRUTH and away from the cafeteria catholic mentality that puts self and economics or other perceived ‘goods’ above church teaching;
Lead us back to unity;
Lead us away from the secularism that has so
pervaded and perverted the faith;
Lead us away from the scandal and sacrilege of
dissident believers at the communion rail;
Lead by LEADING, rather than following after sheep who choose to be lost – YOU DON’T GO OUT TO FIND THE PRODIGAL SON – HE RETURNS BECAUSE HE REMEMBERS THERE’S SOMETHING MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN HE CAN CREATE, WAITING FOR HIM BACK HERE;
Lead us away from this watered-down/milk-toast
Catholicism!!!

No Communion for Public Sinners

You can read the original article here, at EWTN.com.

Finally, a bishop who actually upholds canon law!  This article elicited a small squeel of joy from my lips as I read the headline (I sound like a mouse… you can ask any of my friends).  Too long the bishops of our country have stood idily by, letting our politicans get away with grave sins, and allowing them to receive communion.  It’s almost a sin in itself for the priests who let public sinners receive the Eucharist, because wouldn’t the mortal sin be transferred onto the priest for allowing the mortal sin of the person who took the Eucharist without confession to occur?  *sigh*  I don’t know enough Catholic Apologetics to actually answer that question, but it’s a good one.

Why won’t other bishops take up the cause and do that as well?  Do they feel embarassed?  I would love to see the day when Nancy Pelosi is denied communion.  Actually, I’d smile a little if she were excommunicated.  By far, out of all the publicly Democrat/Liberal Catholics in politics, she is the worst of them.  Despite claiming that she is a “devout” Catholic, she didn’t even know the Church’s stance on when life begins (umm, conception anyone?).  I even knew that when I was a child.  How utterly ridiculous.  I don’t even want to count the number of times she’s tried to foist some pro-choice nonsense through the legislative branch.

I am glad that Pope Benedict XVI (then Cardinal Ratzinger) was quoted thusly:

Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.

Woohoo!  Excellent.  Now, if only our Archbishop Vlazny would deny communion to the Governor of Oregon… Ted Kulongoski is another argument for another day.  He’s just pure evil.  If he would stop saying he were Catholic, then I’d be fine with it. I do NOT want my faith to be associated with people who support death as blatantly as he does.


Remission… finally.

As of November 11th, I’m officially in remission.  It’s been a very, very long time, and I’m extremely lucky to be finished relatively unscathed.  My bladder and kidneys are still subpar, but compared to others with the same cancer as I had, this is definitely a blessing.

The power of prayer does work, and I wanted to take this moment to thank everyone who has prayed for me.  My remission really is unexplained, and a miracle in itself.  My fleet of doctors didn’t think I’d achieve remission until after Christmas, but it’s the middle of November, and already we’re talking about maintenance drugs, and what remission will mean for the future.  I have a future, thanks to everyone who prayed for me.  I know you can argue that I was lucky, and science was on my side.  That may be true, but I truly believe my remission is a gift from God.  He granted our prayers that I get better.  If anything, this is further proof that God exists (for me).  Cancer really affected my outlook on life.  It made me realize that life is precious, and can be short.  I had to confront my own mortality.  It’s hard laying in a hospital bed and being told that you could die, and even harder to see friends walk away from you because they don’t understand how sick you really are.  I didn’t want to tell anyone that I was dying.  One night, I looked over to my friend and told him the whole story, trying hard not to cry.  We both cried that night for a long time, and he told me (I’ll always remember this): “You will not die. I will not let you die.”  We both prayed so hard that night, and continued to every night. I still pray every night, but it’s a prayer of thanksgiving.

It’s been a wild ride.  I’ve had blood transfusions, been put on the kidney transplant list, stayed for nights on end in a small, sterile hospital room, and have visited the ER more times than I’d like to admit.  I’m just glad I’m on the upwards road to recovery, and that I had such supportive friends and family along the way.  So, thank you everyone who gave me words of encouragement and a hand to hold during these past few months.

The Green Bible, and why it confuses the crap out of me.

I was, once again, reading Time.com (why, I have no idea, but it seemed like a good idea at the moment), and an article caught my eye.  “The Good Book Goes Green, With Scriptures for the Prius Age“.  Since I drive a Prius, am I required to buy this version of the Bible?  The article indicates that this special NRSV bible “…calls attention to more than 1,000 verses related to nature by printing them in a pleasant shade of forest green, much as red-letter editions of the Bible encrimson the words of Jesus.”

I understand that HarperCollins, the publishing company which will release this bible on 7 October, just wants to make money on the green ticket, much like any other company these days.  Hell, even Sean and I wanted to get in on the emissions trading market by selling Green Tickets (a laughable cause, to be sure, but I think we’d make a killing).  The description of the Green Bible on the HarperCollins website reads:

The Green Bible will equip and encourage you to see God’s vision for creation and help you engage in the work of healing and sustaining it. This first Bible of its kind includes inspirational essays from key leaders such as N. T. Wright, Barbara Brown Taylor, Brian McLaren, Matthew Sleeth, Pope John Paul II, and Wendell Berry. As you read the scriptures anew, The Green Bible will help you see that caring for the earth is not only a calling, but a lifestyle.

I’m surprised that they have an essay from Pope John Paul II, and that they neglected to mention St. Francis of Assisi (who was mentioned in the Time article).  St. Francis was more of an ardent animal lover, and not really a nature lover per say.  At least this is an accepted translation for Catholics (we have three translations that the Church approves of, I believe).  But, just because the Church accepts the NRSV doesn’t mean Catholics should run out and purchase the Green Bible.  We know we have to take care of the Earth, and that it is our responsibility.  You can argue that we have no such responsibility, and spiritually, maybe we don’t.  But, we do have a responsibility to our children and grandchildren to provide them with the best environment we can.  With the rise of global temperatures, loss of various species, and sharp rise in cancer (sometimes attributed to carcinogens in the environment, thanks to some companies cutting environmental corners), we should do our part in trying to prolong the demise of our planet.

All in all, don’t rush out to purchase a Bible that will highlight environmentally-slanted scripture.  Having Jesus’s words ‘encrimsoned’ is one thing, but having a soy-based environmental Bible printed for Prius-driving Christians is another bag of worms entirely.  Maybe, as Christians, we should focus living our lives according to Christian tradition, and not subscribe to the Golden Calf Green Religion being thrust upon us by popular culture.

I’m sorry, but my faith comes first, and even if some may think that “being green” is included in that list of duties, I need to secure my basic fundamentals before I can branch out and multitask.  I’m slightly offended that they came out with this Bible. *steps off soap box*

(Oh, picture thieved from Time.com here)

Final email about kneeling

Well, I received an email from Fr. Ligot in San Jose regarding kneeling during the Eucharist.  Apparently douchebag McGrath got permission from the Pope or some such nonsense.  I’m still incised, but whatever. Here’s the email.  It honestly makes very little sense when you come down to it. Oh well. I wish it came to more than this, or that he would have said, “Yes, Kristin, you’re absolutely right!” But alas, nothing of that sort.  I still want to email the Vatican, if anyone has an email address.  This isn’t totally over.

Dear Kristin,

Thank you for your e-mail that was forwarded to me by Fr. C. Michael Padazinski, JCD, Judicial Vicar of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. I am Fr. Andres C. Ligot, JCD, from the Diocese of San Jose. 

As you have read in the communication sent to you by Fr. Padazinski, your e-mail was forwarded to me since your place of domicile or quasi-domicile and the Church in question are within the territorial jurisdiction of the Diocese of San Jose. 

I would like to reply to the points that you have raised in your e-mail. I wish to assure you that no Canon Law was broken by reason of Canon 835,§1 and Redemptionis Sacramentum, # 21, the Instruction on the Holy Eucharist approved by Pope John Paul II on March 9, 2004 that stated that the diocesan Bishop within the limits of his competence can set forth liturgical norms in his diocese by which all are faithful are bound.

The intent of the Bishop in issuing the directive was to address unifying the posture of the assembly at Mass since a unified posture not only helps is to be mindful of our unity in faith, but also communicates a message of unity and solidarity to the world. The Bishop in the same communiqué has stated that standing during the entire period of Communion would be normative in the Diocese of San Jose the reasons of which he has stated in his message. 

In the January 12, 2004 letter stating the norms to be used, Bishop directed that “the posture during the Prayer of Consecration would be determined by each parish and would be the normative posture for that parish.” Hence, the pastor of St. William in compliance with Bishop’s letter directed that standing during the Prayer of Consecration would be the normative posture for that parish.

Reverence, whether standing kneeling, can still be present and evidenced in one’s posture.  What is important is how we pray the Eucharistic Prayer together. That we as the assembly by our words and posture do so together giving thanks to God, joining our voices in praise (whether recited or sung).  

With sentiments of esteem, 

Rev. Andres C. Ligot, JCD
Judicial Vicar
Diocese of San Jose

An Update on my Raising a Stink in the Catholic Church

That’s right, people.  I’m sending respectful, but angry, emails to the Catholic Church.  My last convoluted post roughly entitled “Every Knee Should Bend” lays out the story quite nicely, but I wanted to post the emails I’ve received and such since.

Here is my original email:

Dear Very Rev. C. Michael Padazinski,   

I grew up in the St. Nicholas Parish of the Diocese of San Jose, and then moved to Oregon for University in the fall of 2004.  I noticed upon my leave that our congregation had slowly stopped kneeling at the Consecration of the Host.  When I would come back home from school for Christmas and Easter, we were told at St. William’s Church that they did not kneel during the mass at all, and kneeling was strongly discouraged.  I know, as permitted by GIRM 43, that no longer kneeling after the Agnus Dei or while others are receiving Communion is fine, but I thought, under Canon Law, a congregation must kneel at the Consecration.

I didn’t know whom else to email, and it’s bothered me every time I come home.  I feel as though the ‘unity’ of our diocese is taking away the mystery and prayer of the Mass.  The Most Reverend McGrath wrote a statement to the diocese on January 12th, 2004 outlining his expectations for the ‘unity’ of each parish at mass.  The link is: http://www.dsj.org/dsj/statements/04_01.asp 

Thank you for your help.
Sincerely,
Kristin Dexter
Los Altos, CA

And, the response at 10:30am the next morning:
Dear Kristin,  

Thank you for your recent e-mail regarding kneeling at the consecration during the Holy Mass in the Diocese of San Jose.  May I suggest that you contact the Judicial Vicar of your home diocese, San Jose, with your question.  He would be better able to address your specific concern.  The Judicial Vicar’s name is Reverend Andres Ligot and his e-mail address is noted above.  I have copied Father with your message.

Many thanks for your sensitive and respectful question.

Wishing you all the best, I remain,

Sincerely yours in Christ,

//s//
Very Reverend C. Michael Padazinski, J.C.D.
Chancellor & Vicar Judicial
Archdiocese of San Francisco

How nice 🙂  So, I wrote to Rev. Andres Ligot like the Very Rev. Padazinski said I should:
Dear Rev. Andres Ligot,  

I emailed the Very Rev. C. Michael Padazinski in San Francisco regarding kneeling during the Consecration of the Host in your diocese, and he advised me to email you.  I know you most likely have more important matters to discuss and think about, but the breaking of Canon law is very important to me, and kneeling during the Consecration is an important part of mass in the whole.  I just feel that the Very Rev. McGrath’s decision back in 2004 to cease kneeling entirely takes away from the mystery of the mass, and disrespects the Lord as He enters the Host.

Thank you so much for helping me in this matter.

Respectfully yours,
Kristin Dexter
Los Altos, CA

Yay, I’m a nice person too.  I included copies of both emails in that email so he’d have a reference in case he didn’t receive Bishop Padazinski’s email.  I’m not sure what’s going to happen, but if the Vatican finds out (which is what I’m hoping for), then Bishop McGrath is going to get in all sorts of trouble.  Woo trouble!  So, I’ve been a bit of a stinker for the last 24 hours.  Now I have to go to mass at 6:30 since it’s a Holy Day of Obligation.  Ok bye 🙂