Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
Was it wrong of me...

No Sunday Night Journal this week

I was about halfway through writing at 9 or so last night when I decided I really ought to check on some things at work, having managed to ignore them since last Wednesday. I found that the database software on my main system had locked up, and spent the rest of the evening, until way past what should have been bedtime, trying to get it working again. I succeeded, but when I checked on it early this morning it was locked up again. Eventually our software vendor repaired the problem, but it was a pretty stressful day. Then I stayed late at work. And I had to run an errand on my way home. And I don't have the mental energy to finish the SNJ now. So I'll just let it wait till next week. A few random-ish things:

Here's something interesting: writer and blogger Amy Welborn has a column in USA Today. And it's a good one (of course), about the pope. I thought she had quit blogging after the untimely death of her husband a couple of years ago, but she seems to be pretty active again. I should put her blog back on my sidebar. Actually I have a list of at least a dozen sites that I should put there. Actually I have at least a solid week of work to do on this site.

***

What a hassle that transition from Blogger to TypePad has been. I really want to switch the lightondarkwater.com URL so that it points here, but have postponed it several times for various reasons. Currently I'm planning to do it soon after Christmas. I'm waiting because once again I'm getting a great many visitors looking for Karen's Advent pictures, and most of them are Google searches taking them to lightondarkwater.com/blog. And those addresses won't work anymore when I change the URL. I've redirected the Advent page there so that it comes here, and am hoping Google is smart enough to detect that. Not that it really matters that much, but I like the fact that people are enjoying the pictures. Interestingly, it seems that most of those searches come from Europe. I also need to put up larger versions of those pics--some of them were squashed to fit the Blogger column, because I hadn't figured out that Blogger would scale it for me and link to the original.

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Back to the pope: the amount of misunderstanding and at least partly deliberate misreading of the pope's comment about condoms and AIDS has really been mind-boggling. I wonder how many millions of people now think the Catholic Church has abruptly changed its mind about contraception. The subject came up at my house on the day after Thanksgiving, with a couple of my in-laws' in-laws. Cradle Catholics, they were pretty scornful of the Church's teaching. I kept my mouth shut, not wanting to be a troublemaker. And I really think that teaching is almost impossible for people to understand until or unless they have attained an idea of sex as the holy and immensely significant thing it is. Without that, it just seems crazy. I haven't especially enjoyed trying to live by the Church's teaching on this. But I believe it is correct, and so I don't regret the effort.

If we--men and women, husbands and wives--really loved each other as we are supposed to, with the deepest and strongest love of which we're capable, there would be no disagreement with this teaching. Although it still wouldn't be easy to follow.

***

Here are two pieces about Sarah Palin, courtesy of my friend Robert: a blog post and an article in The Weekly Standard. The first is more positive than the second. The Palin phenomenon sort of fascinates me: as I've said before, there is much to like about her, and yet...I have a feeling that she is going to turn the next Republican presidential nomination process into a train wreck.

Comments

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I was kind of wondering if it would come up at Thanksgiving, and kind of hoping that it would, but the make-up our gathering was a lot different from yours.

Last night I was reading that article about what "The Vatican" said. I don't read about Church politics, etc., like I used to, and I don't know by name some of the people I hear quoted now and then, but one person who keeps turning up everywhere is Fr. James Martin, who is mentioned in the article. He seems to be the new Andrew Greeley, "The Vatican" expert.

AMDG

Oh yes, "The Vatican said"... When you see that in a news story it's usually a good sign that what follows is going to be clueless.

I've been noticing Fr. Martin's name, too. I've seen it before and had the idea that he was pretty solid, but these quotes I'm seeing now don't seem especially that way. Or maybe I'm confusing him with someone else.

One reason I avoid talking about it with anyone who is obviously unsympathetic is that I can't do quick pithy responses to jeers (I don't talk about politics under such conditions for the same reason). And it's such a mine field: people get really defensive, not surprisingly, and then angry. I don't know how to handle that. If it can't be a long serious open discussion, I don't want to do it.

When I have seen him before, he was mostly fine, but there was always some little nuance that seemed off. The first time I saw him was being interviewed by Stephen Colbert, so it was a bit hard to separate what he was saying from the nonsense.

AMDG

Which article is Fr Martin mentioned in? I didn't notice at the time (and going back doesn't reveal it.)

Paul, Yesterday there was a link to this article http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2010-11-23-pope-condoms_N.htm?loc=interstitialskip
below Amy Welborn's article, but today it's gone.

AMDG

Nobody has made a joke about the Jesuits yet. Odd.

By the way, I meant to include a warning about reading the comments on Amy Welborn's article. As usual for a major site, they are enough to make one despair.

Just reading a great book on Christian counselling called "Transformation of the Inner Man" which looks at the deep healing of our inner... er... "gunk."

The authors (husband and wife, John and Paula Sandford) base their couselling firmly on God's law. The law, they say, is impersonal - just like the law of gravity isn't "out to get you" when you walk of a cliff. So, if you tell lies, there will be consequences etc.

They also base their counselling solidly on the idea that many of our probelems stem from not having been able to honour our mother and father in some particular area. They deal with inner vows etc.

Only the cross and the blood of the lamb can free us from reaping what we have sown.

Anyway, if we consider the stuff that's going on in our own psyche, as well as that of others' - it's hardly surprising if a civil discussion on God's law (e.g. the Church's teaching on contraception) proves to be nigh on impossible. One would almost have to approach it like a Christian counsellor!

I wonder how people would respond if one started off by saying, "You know, God really wants you to be happy."

The law is not just a set of "Thou shalt nots" - it is the description of reality and when we depart from that reality, we become unhappy and make others unhappy.

And I really think that teaching is almost impossible for people to understand until or unless they have attained an idea of sex as the holy and immensely significant thing it is. Without that, it just seems crazy. I haven't especially enjoyed trying to live by the Church's teaching on this. But I believe it is correct, and so I don't regret the effort.

Yep.

Your last sentence in the 6:19 comment is right on. This commentary on the Great Kondom Kontroversy says some similar things. "When the spiritual project begins with moralizing, it ends in fruitless guilt and resentment. When it begins with grace, it ends in enthusiastic conversion."

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