What we missed this weekend

The coughing and hacking over here continues, but a quiet weekend helped me to get caught up on email, where one question was asked twice: “Anchoress, why didn’t you go to CPAC 2010.

Oh, gosh, I could answer that so many ways: that attending it with a rousing case of bronchitis would serve no one well; that I don’t really self-identify as a “conservative.” That lots of “pure” conservatives like to agree with me that I am “no true conservative.” (What is the difference between Republicans and Democrats?)

Those would just be excuses, though; I’d have loved to have gone to CPAC, if only to join in singing the praises of Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, who was deservedly recognized for his excellent work.

The truth, however, is that like a cheap wine, I do not travel well. Beyond that, the idea of wandering through a convention center amid 10,000 people gives me immediate heebiejeebies; I am deplorably bad at meeting and greeting; names and faces do not gel. I clumsily don’t always “get” facial expressions and social cues, so I end up mystified and uncomfortable while people all around me seem to know what’s going on. Like a feral blogger, I have almost no social skills at all and when allowed out in public, things end badly (no deaths, but plenty of injuries) and so I am better off on my own and separate.

And besides, who needs to go out when the highlights can be seen online? I’ve learned to love the edited experience:

Watch the whole speech here

Other stories you might have missed this weekend:

Victory in Iraq: a noble victory given short shrift

As they came to line up earlier that morning, the men thanked us and clasped their hands over their heads, striking a triumphant pose. Some of the women cried. The kids were on their best behavior.

The gunfire began that afternoon. Insurgents started to shoot them. My unit ran to the road and formed a protective position between the killers and the citizens going to the polls. As we scanned the palm grove in front of us, bullets cracked and whined, then mortars start thumping around us. My squad pushed into the palm grove. I stayed on the road, overseeing their movement and coordinating the heavy fire from the Bradleys.

The firefight ebbs. The mortar fire ceases. A few last stray rounds streak past. A cry from behind causes me to turn. Lying in the road is a young Iraqi woman. I run over to help. She’s caught a round just below her temple. Her stunning beauty has been ruined forever.

She cries, “Paper! Paper” over and over until the ambulance arrives to take her away. An old lady emerges from the schoolhouse-turned voting site, sheets of blue paper in hand. She gives one to the wounded girl, who clutches it to her like a prized possession even as the ambulance carries her away.

The ballot was her voice. All she wanted was a chance to exercise it, just once, before she died.

You got yer Camelot and yer gridlock, or yer Watergate and Vietnam. And yer “broken” governments. Templates: no thinking required.

The Miserable Outlook on Jobs: Prepare for your college-graduating children to boomerang back home; mine did.

Climategate Fraud: “Okay we admit it; the seas are not rising!” Not that they have to worry about Americans finding that out, if the press has anything to say about it. Were we “blinded by science”? Not all of us were. Also, How Al Gore Wrecked Planet Earth

While the US Press largely ignores the fraud exposure, the Euro-left gets mad.

Health Costs Control: “They only studied dead people”.

Political Theater: Don’t know if I’ll have the stomach to watch

The underedumacated proles: Elites are feeling bitten. The proles are feeling put-upon.

“Reconciliation” launches a far-left legislation landslide: We don’t need no stinking representative government.

Gays and Conservatives getting along: it doesn’t surprise me; the people obsessed with controlling the narratives, though, are gobsmacked.

John Yoo and Jay Bybee: The partisan smear campaign fails, but succeeds in its way, as they usually do. Meanwhile 9 Justice Department worked for who?

Clamping Down on the Internet, only a matter of time.

Alice in Wonderland: can’t wait to see it, but am I the only one who thinks that as the Mad Hatter, Johnny Depp looks strangely like Elijah Wood?

Also want to see this film

Finally: In defense of rote memorization: I concur.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • CJ

    “Prepare for your college-graduating children to boomerang back home; mine did.”

    Wow, so did mine.

    My daughter graduated in 2007, worked as a waitress/temp for a year, and then decided to go to grad school. A mistake . . . she realizes she will not be more job marketable after getting her Masters, just $25,000 in debt. (We paid for college, but grad school we couldn’t do–not unless she was going to support my husband and me in our “old age”!)

    My older son graduated in 2009, and finally(!), just recently got a job: a bank teller, part time.

    It is so discouraging (and scary!) to think that the job situation may not get better FOR YEARS.

    I want to be optimistic and upbeat about the future for our children’s sake, but I find it increasingly hard to summon the belief behind my words . . .

  • http://runswithangels.wordpress.com/ Jan

    Finally: In defense of rote memorization: I concur.

    Just read this – I agree all the way. The things I do remember from school are things I had to memorize.

    I also love the Baltimore Catechism, which this link references – when I started teaching CCD to teens I designed a program around that, and still use it quite often.

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    In defense of rote memorization: I concur.

    Yes, there is a place in learning for straight-up rote memorization. However, it is not the only place. In fact, it is a fairly small place.

    Fr. Z writes — The collapse of Catholic education was accelerated by, inter alia, the move away from memorization.

    Perhaps. But what is included in the “inter alia” was the near total emphasis on memorization — even explanations to help one’s understanding were subject to rote memorization.

    Pre-Vatican II, there was great emphasis on rote memorization, e.g. the Baltimore Catechism. And the reason for the widespread collapse of, not merely Catholic education, but a great proportion of the entire Church after Vatican II was largely because of that great emphasis on unthinking rote memorization to the exclusion of reason and authentic personal understanding. They had memorized answers, but they could not take those memorized answers and make practical applications of them in everyday life.

    People could quote the BC to you, but ask them what it means and you would get a blank stare. They could give you BC answers regarding marriage in 1968, for example, and then go out and not understand why contraception was wrong. This over-reliance on pure memorization to the exclusion of understanding even extended to a scandalous number of priests who could probably quote you the Summa and then would go and say it was OK to use the Pill. They didn’t understand, and they couldn’t take what they had memorized on the page and apply it to contemporary everyday life situations.

    An exclusive emphasis on memorization only creates a shell of faith, like the Pharisees who could quote scripture and teachings to Jesus all day long, but, as He showed, did not have a clue.

    The pre-Vatican II period was an unthinking time. They knew the “what” of the Faith, but they did not know the “why.” If we had had true good catechesis pre-Vatican II, we would not have had some many millions of people almost immediately fall away from the Church. They fell away because they did not understand, and they did not understand because of the over-reliance on merely memorizing a bunch of questions and answers.

    Rote memorization has its place. The only way to learn a prayer or to be able to rattle off the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, for example, is simply to memorize them. But you need to be taught the why, you need to be taught that we are not merely a faith of words on a page, we are a faith of Reason, and must therefore learn how to reason. In teaching, we must foster understanding, so that it might lead to deeper faith and so that, when some non-believer asks us a reason for our hope, we might be able to explain it to him.

  • http://runswithangels.wordpress.com/ Jan

    Prepare for your college-graduating children to boomerang back home; mine did.

    Mine didn’t…BUT…the first got a degree in English and was lucky to find a job crunching numbers. She’s looking to continue her education. The second is an elementary ed. teacher and she was lucky to get a job teaching right out of college – if she can hang on to it for one more year she’ll be tenured and safe, but the next few weeks are going to be scary.

    And yes, that picture looks like Elijah Wood.

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    Fr. Z’s own example is a case-in-point demonstrating what I mean –

    The old man’s daughter, fallen away, was very bitter, very angry and she unloaded on God by unloading on me. . . . She eventually fumed “Why did your God do this to him? Make any of us at all if this is what happens?”

    I responded: “Why did God make you?”

    She paused. The light bulb went on.

    “God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven.”

    Someone had taken the time to drill that into her, and it was still there.

    Yes, the rote memorized answer was still there. It had always been there. BUT IT DID NOTHING TO STOP HER FROM FALLING AWAY.

    And it did not provide the answer to her question regarding the suffering of her father. That answer requires another several steps of reasoning, a greater degree of understanding, that the memorized Q&A did not and could not provide.

    ["Falling away" is a very natural occurrence; it is human. The best theological upbringing in the world will not prevent "falling away" from occurring because we are broken creatures. I think once starts thinking -once leaves childhood behind and enters adolescence, usually- "falling away" is not to be unexpected; "thinking" often leads us out into the deeper, darker waters, where we feel very proud of ourselves, and very free, until we lose sight of the shore and the lifeguard. Finding the way back generally takes a genuine and personal experience of Christ and his mercy; but the things we learn by rote are the valuable anchors that -for one thing- equip us for that moment, when we are finding ourselves wanting to pray, needing to pray but flummoxed about it. Then, suddenly, those "rote" prayers and answers give us the foothold and foundation. -admin]

  • http://runswithangels.wordpress.com/ Jan

    Bender – i don’t think anyone promotes memorization exclusively anymore – of course you have to present the why and the what – that’s just common sense.

    But that example Fr. Z used was a good one and presented a prime teaching invitation to the woman, don’t you think?

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    But that example Fr. Z used was a good one and presented a prime teaching invitation to the woman, don’t you think?

    My prior comment on that was eaten by the spam filter, apparently.

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    Bender – i don’t think anyone promotes memorization exclusively anymore

    I’m not so sure — there are people who do practically exclusively promote “the good old days” of pre-Vatican II. And Father Say-the-Black-and-Do-the-Red does suggest a tendency to lean too far in that direction of over-emphasis on mere memorization.

  • cathyf

    A friend of mine in college described the BC thusly: The problem is that the only time you have access to Catholics to catechize them is when they are children and their parents force them to go to school or CCD. So the solution is that you have every child memorize a graduate-level textbook in theology, where it will lie there in the backs of their brains like a land mine, ready to explode upon being tripped.

    It’s truly a goofy idea — except that we haven’t actually come up with any better solutions!

    [I have always said that Catholicism is best understood by very small children and mature adults. Adolescents have more difficulty with it, because they are deep into their skeptical phase, from which some never emerge. Little children "get" mysticism, and mature adults, wizened by life's batterings, become open to it. :-) -admin]

  • Dagwood

    Sorry. Depp looks more like Madonna to me (shiver).

  • http://runswithangels.wordpress.com/ Jan

    Depp looks more like Madonna to me

    I almost added that, Dagwood, but I thought everyone would think I was crazy.

  • AnnF

    You have posted so many great links in the past few days. Thanks so much.

    I did read where Burton manipulated Depp’s eyes and actually increased their size. Yes, he looks very much like Wood, and I think you’re getting Madonna from his gapped teeth.

  • dry valleys

    Moral and immoral chocolate (I weigh in a bit in the comments- it’s a bit complicated but worth thinking about for the observant)
    Be nice to shop assistants (totally right in my humble opinion)

    You needn’t worry about being accused of impurity & deviations. I’ve had my fair share of guardians of the left-wing flame attack me, boasting about how they’ve been activists since 1000 years before I was born & the likes of me know nothing about, etc. etc. But the statement that doesn’t get you attacked by someone or other isn’t worth saying.

    [Interesting links, thanks! -admin]

  • Ellen

    I love the book Alice In Wonderland. It’s one of my all time favorites, and I am scared to death to see what Tim Burton will do it. I liked what he did in Sleepy Hollow, but I did not like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at all. I’m going to wait and see.

    Sigh – I wish someone would just do the book right, that is make it look like Sir John Tenniel’s drawings.

  • Mutnodjmet

    I agree with your Johnny Debb/Elijah Wood take. I also loved “The Oatmeal’ link from an earlier post. Prayers continuing for your good health.

  • brooklyn

    Elements of CPAC reminded me of Wonderland.

    I again, liked a number of the speeches.

    But the showing of Mr. Beck and the vote for Mr. Paul reminded me of a TEA PARTY with more than a few Mad Hatters.

    Have to say, does this Mr. Burton really have to use Mr. Depp in everything?

    I feel all of H-WOOD hurts itself with the overexposure of the same old same old.

    On a rather nice note, Tweedledee and Tweedledum always remind me of Bill and Hillary Clinton. I say this is ‘nice’, and that is actually for myself, to see them both in a more comical – pleasant light than they truly are – and someone should imagine Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray”, to grasp my meaning.

    I did not enjoy Burton’s remake of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, and wish some in H-WOOD would get a conception that to create a new venture is often better than playing with something done far better long ago. The remake of ‘Psycho’ might be the most vivid in this long line of disastrous offerings.

    Burton’s take on Alice might be interesting, but he has missed the ball on quite a number of swings lately.

    I think he should try to make something truly dark in the future, to shake it up, or truly bright. The playful touch of dark – touch of bright is not working completely.

  • Manny L.

    “The truth, however, is that like a cheap wine, I do not travel well. Beyond that, the idea of wandering through a convention center amid 10,000 people gives me immediate heebiejeebies; I am deplorably bad at meeting and greeting; names and faces do not gel. I clumsily don’t always “get” facial expressions and social cues, so I end up mystified and uncomfortable while people all around me seem to know what’s going on. Like a feral blogger, I have almost no social skills at all and when allowed out in public, things end badly (no deaths, but plenty of injuries) and so I am better off on my own and separate.” -Anchoress

    LOL, I love such self-effacing comments. I’m not disputing it, I hardly know you, but it does seem like there’s a little wink in there as you’re speaking. :D

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    the things we learn by rote are the valuable anchors

    Not for this woman. She had learned all these things by rote as a child. And yet the supposed benefits of such memorization did not help her sitting there at her father’s side. And, although memorized, the answers were never internalized, the meaning underlying the answers never learned.

    Rote memorization is a good learning tool. But it is just a tool. Just one tool. Some things should be learned by rote, but not everything can be or should be.

    One could easily see such a woman in her grief respond –

    “So, God made my dad suffer in order to love Him? He wants my dad to serve Him by suffering?
    “Love that?? Serve that?? Why should anyone love or serve a God who makes us suffer?”

    Had someone in her youth explained to this woman and provided her with understanding, to give flesh to the bones of a few memorized concepts, she might not have ever been in such despair.

    [All of that comes with openness. She needed to be opened to it before her reason would be able to accept it. Without being open the rest is moot. And it is (sad to say) our crises that usually open us up -admin]

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    to create a new venture is often better than playing with something done far better long ago

    Create new ventures? Long ago?

    Ha! I’ve read that they want to do a re-boot of Spiderman.

    Spiderman! Which just a few short years ago has been one of the most successful franchises in movie history.

    There is no creativity in entertainment anymore. Now we have remakes of movies, TV shows being made into movies, movies and TV shows being made into plays and musicals, and movies about plays being made into TV shows.

  • http://runswithangels.wordpress.com/ Jan

    I want to argue with you, Robot, but I won’t…last time was a disaster.

    But I will say this – we don’t know what happened after that encounter, do we? Maybe something she was able to dredge up from her youth had some positive effect. I hope so, for her sake.

    You’ve said to me yourself that you never know when a seed will be planted…

  • Maureen

    Nobody ever taught me why God created us. I went to Catholic school, I went to CCD, I went to Mass every Sunday, I never left the Church. But I always assumed that God just created us because He felt like it, and that theology contained no particular reason for us to exist. I mean, if the Church had known, I would have been told, right?

    I remember the day somebody quoted that line. I was thirty years old, and I had finally found out that the great question of Life, the Universe, and Everything actually had an answer that wasn’t “42″.

    So yeah, I could only wish we’d had the Baltimore Catechism and rote memorization of answers, instead of coloring, collages, and confused teachers who weren’t sure of anything. (It didn’t teach us critical thinking, either. Hooboy, it didn’t teach us critical thinking.)

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    we don’t know what happened after that encounter, do we?

    No, we don’t know about the woman, but we do know what happened with Fr. Z — he wanted to use this as some example for the efficacy of rote memorization. I submit that he showed just the opposite.

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    Again, I am all in favor of memorizing things. But that is only the starting point, not the end point. We do not bother to memorize the multiplication of large numbers, rather, we merely memorize multiplication of small numbers and use that foundational memorization to reason our way to the answer in the bigger problems.

    We are no longer an oral tradition society. We have these things called books. Thankfully, we no longer need commit the entire scriptures to memory, as many did in the time of Jesus. We can memorize some foundational things, but must be taught the reason behind those rote memorized answers.

    It has long been the practice of the Church to teach the faith by “catechesis,” which is from the Greek word meaning to sound again as like an echo. The “echo” is both on the large scale, echoing the faith down through the generations, as well as on the individual scale, repeating the same points over and over and over. But ours is a faith seeking understanding, ours is a living faith, not a faith of memorized text.

    The positivist, written Q&A format is merely a foundation, a stepping stone to the real learning and living the faith. As beneficial as the Ten Commandments and the rest of the written Law was and is, they are all preparatory to the Holy Spirit writing the Law on our hearts.

    The pre-Vatican II Church relied too much on the latter, on the mere memorization of words, and not enough explaining those ideas and bringing those words to life. A rote memorized answer is good, but demonstrating an understanding and explaining that answer, so as to put it into your own words is better. And it is because so many people could not put these answers into their own words, that they could not stand on their own two feet and walk on their own, that when the support of things like the BC were taken away, that they fell and stumbled.

    Catechism No. 1
    Lesson First: On the End of Man
    6. Q. Why did God make you? A. God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven.

    It is good to learn this — but do not stop there.
    What does that answer mean? Can you (the generalized “you”) put it into your own words? Can you explain the meaning of these words if a non-believer were to ask you about it?

    (Bender may be a robot, but he is not one for robotic learning.)

    [It would help, I daresay, if so many parents didn't drop their kids off for CCD and do little to re-inforce whatever the child has absorbed in 45 minutes. Catechesis is a HUGE problem for the church; it's been awful for 40 years. When I taught CCD, a parent asked me why her son did not know that Lord's Prayer, and I had to ask her why she hadn't taught it to him? It is an issue that deserves its own post and its own blog!-admin]

  • cathyf

    I think that I’m with Bender, I’m just not sure what to do differently. I think that the real problem is that what we teach in religion — or at least our religion — is fundamentally and foundationally God’s love for us. As Benedict says, we are “joyful witnesses of the infinite love of God.” Giving people stuff to memorize — even if it’s the good stuff — just doesn’t come close to joyful witness.

    I am a member of that generation whose catechisis was as far away from the BC as was possible, and yet they still taught us along the way that God made us to know, love and serve Him in this life and to be happy with Him forever in the next. It seems to me that Fr. Z’s story can also be used to argue that the one day that this woman spent learning the first question of the Catechism was well-spent, but the rest was a waste.

    The danger of the admirers of rote memorization is that somehow they come to believe that they have done their job when their students can regurgitate the proper words. Because that’s way simpler and more straightforward than the infinite love of God could ever be. If I remember correctly, Bender is a CCD teacher of teenagers. It makes me happy to know that he doesn’t think much of rote memorization…

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    a parent asked me why her son did not know that Lord’s Prayer, and I had to ask her why she hadn’t taught it to him?

    The very first and primary teachers of the faith are PARENTS.

    It does NOT take a village — it takes mom and dad.

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    It makes me happy to know that he doesn’t think much of rote memorization

    Unfortunately, I have come to the conclusion that it is the only way that they are going to memorize some of the things that they are “required” to memorize. Hence, for example, we have to spend precious time — and time is very precious when you only have a little more than an hour a week — drilling, “The gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, counsel, knowledge, understanding, fortitude, piety, fear of the Lord. . . . Again: The gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom . . .”

    If mom and dad at home want to sit them down and memorize the Baltimore Catechism or the Compendium of the CCC, I’m all for it. But I’ve heard far too many people say — nobody ever taught me that, nobody ever explained that to me. And I’ve heard far too many people totally unable to explain the fundamentals of the Faith, much less explain things like why the Church teaches what she teaches and why she cannot teach something else (for example, the teachings on human sexuality).

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    (Oops, I didn’t finish my thought.)

    I’ve heard far too many people say these things about not being told, about things not being explained so that they understand. And I do NOT want anyone to be able to say that years from now about my classes.

  • JuliB

    I think rote memorization is incredibly important. It might be responsible for the only faith facts people know. I was born in the late 60s. Fell away into atheism (jumped and embraced it, more or less, through an anger at God, which brought me to disbelief) at the age of 15.

    I’m now in my 40s. Many of my friends are no longer Catholic. Our Catholic knowledge is abysmal. One friend asked me why we make the Sign of the Cross. ALL are pro-choice. All would probably FAIL at a quiz based on basic Baltimore questions.

    Sure Bender – we don’t memorize large numbers, but you did learn and memorize the basics – 1 through 9, rt? I can still remember that I missed several days when we learned 6 and 7, and it still gives me pause to this day.

    If you don’t know the basic multiplication tables, and understand long division, you won’t be able to learn additional tasks yet.

    In other words, the Baltimore approach is a good building block – a start. From there, good faith formation based on understanding comes into play.

    Anchoress – if you were the bubbly conference attendee, most likely you wouldn’t have chosen ‘anchoress’ as a title. Otherwise, you would have called yourself ‘apostle’ or ‘preacher’ would be my guess.

    [Maybe I could attend a conference, if I brought a cardboard box with a window in it, and a sign, like Lucy in Peanuts: The Anchoress is IN! -admin]

  • Anne

    Anchoress, I will go to CPAC with you next year and we will have a great time listening to speeches and gawking at people and soaking up atmosphere and just having fun. I can be very outgoing, so we can balance each other out. And when we get tired of it, we’ll go have coffee.

  • Micha Elyi

    “Prepare for your college-graduating children to boomerang back home; mine did.”-Anchoress

    “Wow, so did mine.”-CJ (#1)

    Experts kept telling us that in 21st century America making a decent living will require a college diploma. Here we are now in 2010 when to be an adult child living at home with ones parents requires at least a bachelor’s degree.

  • Sally June

    On catechesis: my thought is that you start with some rote Baltimore Catechism type stuff in childhood. For teens, you take them right through the Catechism, reading and discussing point-by-point. I don’t know how others do this, and I may flame out with my 12 year old (let’s see). I have prepared the ground by pointing out periodically that every point the Church holds is logically defensible. I think they should all read the Catechism once (don’t you have to do this to get confirmed?) Since I am a convert, she is disinclined to argue with me.

    On conferences, meetings and such: oh, Anchoress, I am SO with you! I periodically attend these things and inevitably end up wandering throughout a lonely city, eating cold meals alone and praying. And being bored by 90% of the presentation (after 10% holds my interest).

    Maybe Johnny Depp could start writing poetry, like Jimmy Stewart, or something.

  • http://vita-nostra-in-ecclesia.blogspot.com Bender

    my thought is that you start with some rote Baltimore Catechism type stuff in childhood

    I’ve taught teenagers — 7th and 8th grade — and I suppose that is more of where I am coming from in my comments. As for little kids, I don’t have a clue as to what works best with them, although rote probably does play a better role with those ages.

    But there is no “one size fits all” teaching method, that much is certain. Different types of people at different ages learn things differently.

  • Micha Elyi

    “Victory in Iraq: a noble victory given short shrift.”-Anchoress

    The late Representative Murtha (D-PA) was already well into Phase II of (now-Sen.) John Kerry’s patented Vietnam Meme Template: declaring the U.S. military a civilian-murdering machine.

    If you can read this, thank a U.S. soldier.
    If you can read this and live, thank a U.S. soldier. If you can read this aloud in English and live, thank a U.S. soldier…

  • http://runswithangels.wordpress.com/ Jan a/k/a Bender’s Cheerleader

    frustration: noun; sitting in your car killing time, reading Anchoress posts on your cell phone and not being able to respond.

    We are arguing apples and oranges here. I think we can all agree that rote memorization has it’s place in education.

    Just for the record, I teach CCD and have for years. I’ve taught pre- and post-Confirmation teens, and this year, as there are no candidates for Confirmation, I’m teaching the little kids.

    Interestingly enough, most of the older kids who’ve been through my class can still make all the ‘lists’ that I required, but in matters of morality we’ve had two flaming disasters, even though we had discussed the stuff ad nauseum – they loved to talk about sex and they didn’t miss any of those classes. What I’m trying to say here, Bender, is be prepared for some disappointment, regarding your 7:52 pm comment.

  • cathyf

    Back in my late-70′s high school career, the very liberal nuns taught us that the foundation we should build catechesis upon is the sacraments. And that the most important thing to memorize are prayers. I think that is a key insight to our nature as a sacramental church — in our times of doubt and confusion we rely upon actions to carry us along. Fundamentalists have a different view — they are saved by their faith in Christ, and so it is vitally important for them to make a proper profession of that faith. We, on the other hand, baptize babies, give last rites to the unconscious.

    And when it comes to touchstones, those rocks we cling to in the storms –

    “…forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…”

    “The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall need…”

    “Pray for us, oh holy mother of God… That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.”

    “…I detest all my sins because of your just punishment, but mostly because they offend you my God who are all good and deserving of all my love…”

    Those people who can remember all 7 of the gifts of the Holy Spirit can pray for them by name. But it is far better to be the person praying Holy Spirit send down your gifts on me… even though I can’t remember all seven of them! than to get all seven right on the test but not to pray.

  • Matthew

    Very interesting & fun post.
    Ellen- This “ALICE” of Tim Burton’s isn’t the book. The Alice isn’t the original alice. Perhaps a daughter, granddaughter, great granddaughter, I am not sure. It’s about the repercussions of the original Alice’s visit. Looks fun though and I am not a Tim Burton fan but did like his “BATMAN” and “SLEEPY HOLLOW”.

  • susan

    “Prepare for your college-graduating children to boomerang back home”

    Poor children; they must have graduated from The Stupid Class or the Intellectual Ordinariness Class rather than George Will’s Highly Educated White Class.