Notes on the Eclipse (Don’t tell Bishop Strickland)

Notes on the Eclipse (Don’t tell Bishop Strickland) April 7, 2024

a photo of a solar eclipse, with a tiny sliver of the sun visible around the black circle of the moon
image via Pixabay

Hi, kids! It’s Professor Mary, here to tell you about the exciting astronomical even that’s going to happen across the United States on Monday!

That’s right. On Monday, if you’re lucky enough to live in the middle of the United States, you’ll get to see a solar eclipse.

Everybody have a seat and I’ll explain how a solar eclipse works. This is going to be fun, though you have to be kinda careful when talking about the heavenly bodies on a Catholic blog. If I see a grumpy person in a bright red Cardinal’s robe walk into the coffee shop while I’m typing this, I’ll start typing in backwards Latin like DaVinci and wait for him to go away. Here we go:

Despite what you think, the earth is not the center of the universe. It’s true. Don’t tell Pope Urban VIII about this,  he gets testy. The Earth is a wee little planet that is constantly dragged into the orbit of the great big sun, which is actually a type of medium-sized star. Every year, the earth takes an elliptical trip around the sun, which causes the seasons to happen. Every 24 hours, the earth also spins around itself in a playful circle. When the part of the earth you happen to be sitting on is facing the sun, it’s daytime. When it’s facing away from the sun, it’s night. Think of the earth as a pretty ballet dancer twirling in 365 pirouettes while she also moves in a circle around the sun, but don’t tell Saint John Vianney I told you to think about dancing.

Now, while the earth is making her daily pirouette in her great sinful immodest annual dance round the sun, there is also a moon making a tiny little rotation of its own around the earth. When the moon passes in front of the part of the Earth you’re standing on, much of the time, you can see it, because the sun reflects off of its surface even when the sun is not visible. But the earth regularly gets in the way of the sun, casting a shadow on the moon, and making it appear to be waxing and waning. Uh-oh, here comes the cardinal, act casual.

.mattim enammi muxas muut tupac da sibad ihim menmo mianucep isiN .oebah metlupataC

Good, he’s gone.

Now where were we? Oh yes, the eclipse. Once in awhile, this smutty dance of the sun, the moon and the Earth gets especially awkward, because the moon travels between the Earth and the sun in the daytime. When this happens, it’s only visible in certain places. This is called a solar eclipse. If you’re standing in just the right place during a solar eclipse, you can see a shadow cast on the sun, making it appear to get a bite taken out of it or maybe to disappear completely. Partial solar eclipses happen somewhere on earth between two and five times a year, and total solar eclipses happen somewhere on Earth just about every eighteen months. They can be predicted right down to the minute ahead of time because the orbits of the earth, sun and moon are entirely predictable. You might not know this is the case, because right now here in the United States people are freaking out that the eclipse is a great surprise and a once-in-a-generation scary portent. I’ve even seen people claiming it’s the end of the world. These people are silly. Please don’t tell Torquemada I said that.

There are many different ways you can enjoy a solar eclipse tomorrow. You could look at the sun through special solar eclipse glasses if you don’t mind looking incredibly silly. You could make a pinhole viewer out of a carboard box with holes poked in it and then stick your head in the box and look even sillier. You could poke holes in an index card and let the light filter through them to a piece of paper. You could look at the weird interesting shadows when the sun shines through a slotted spoon or a spaghetti strainer. You could go to a park and listen to the birds go to sleep and wake up again– that’s what I’m going to do. When Adrienne was a little girl during the 2017 eclipse, she asked if she could wear lipstick and rouge for the duration of the eclipse and I said “yes” even though vanity is a sin. Please don’t tell Saint Alphonsus.

Of course, that’s not the only way a good Catholic can enjoy the eclipse. Our old pal Bishop Strickland, who is currently lacking a diocese but we still have to call him “Bishop Strickland” for some reason, is also going to observe the eclipse in his own special way. He’s going to do it by celebrating a special Mass.

No, I’m not making this up. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating a Mass per se, but according to LifeSite, Bishop Strickland is going to celebrate Mass specifically  “in reparation for reportedly increased Masonic and satanic activity during the upcoming solar eclipse.”

Mm-hmm. Masonic and satanic activity.

The reason Bishop Strickland thinks there’s going to be Masonic and satanic activity during the Eclipse is reportedly because the adjudicated slanderer Alex Jones, who is currently a billion dollars in debt for defaming the bereaved parents of elementary school children who were murdered at Christmas, said there was going to be. The evidence he posted for this, was a video he made with some lines crisscrossing a map of the United States. That’s really all there is to it.

The Mass will be livestreamed so you, too, can worry about Masons and Satanists, while the rest of us are outside having a good time with our heads in boxes.

Perhaps we could also tell Bishop Strickland that the word “gullible” is written on the ceiling.

Anyway, that’s your science lesson for the week. Have a wonderful time at the eclipse. Whoops, here comes the cardinal again!

?itsailopsed menigahtraC odom na eaut eanicras tnus ealli murtu ecima aieH



Mary Pezzulo is the author of Meditations on the Way of the Cross, The Sorrows and Joys of Mary, and Stumbling into Grace: How We Meet God in Tiny Works of Mercy.

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