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Father Longenecker gets it in one:

The divide between the God lovers and the people lovers exists not because one is right and the other is wrong. The divide exists because we have not prioritized properly.

The lovers of people may not like to hear this, but the love of God is the first priority. Love of neighbor comes after the love of God and is dependent on the love of God. We cannot love our neighbor if we do not love God first. Why? Because we have no motive, no power and no grace to love our neighbor if we have not loved God first.

Therefore, the love of God is the Catholic priority. Loving our neighbor is mandatory and cannot be overlooked, but it comes after the love of God. If this is true, then we must ask ourselves where we properly love God and where we properly love our neighbor. The answer is that we love God primarily within the life of prayer and worship: within and through the liturgy.

If we love God in church, then we love our neighbor outside of church. Most of the problems with modernist liturgy and worship are that progressive Catholics have brought into the Church what rightly belongs outside of the Church. In other words, the fellowship, the peace and justice, the social activism, the missionary enterprise, the education and health care and family concern — all of this is the proper activity of the people of God outside of the liturgy, and we have brought it into the liturgy.

As a result, the liturgy has become all about loving people instead of loving God. Why is this? Because too many Catholics have actually replaced the love of God with the love of people. Clever theologians thought that the supernatural, otherworldly aspect of worship seemed too much of a stretch for ordinary, modern, scientific people, and they made the liturgy folksy and people-centered in order to adapt the faith for modern man.

The result has been a disaster. Catholics, therefore, love people, but many have lost the language for loving God; and the greatest sadness is that once you no longer love God, it is not very long before you are no longer able to love people either, for what do you find to love in people if you have not loved God first? For the only thing I truly love in my neighbor is the image of God in him, and the only way I can discern this is by first learning to love God.

The final result of all this is that we have been left with the only remaining remnant: the love of ourselves. Thus, in too much of Catholic worship what was once the glorious worship of Almighty God has become a jumble of comfort hymns and self-help therapy.

The only remedy is to return to Christ’s priorities: to learn once more how to put the love of God first in our lives so that we may eventually learn again how to love our neighbor.

The Padre is talking about division within HMC, but as a matter of fact, this is as good a summation of why I left the Palies as anything else I’ve read.

Regular port-swillers will know that I usually hit the Tridintine Mass on Sundays.  This week we will be driving up to Pennsylvania to drop the gels off at camp, so I’ll have to go to the Saturday evening Vigil instead.  It’s certainly not awful at my Church – no liturgical dances, no modern musick – but it’s still in the modern form, and even a casual comparison suggests that a lot of the worshippers aren’t nearly as focused as they tend to be in my normal haunt.

Plus, there are a lot of kids.

I confess I’m not much looking forward to it.

You’d think I’d be happy about a study that proves dogs are smarter than cats, but really, what’s needed is MORE ROLLED-UP NEWSPAPER, this time for the “researchers”:

The thought processes of 15 cats were tested by attaching food to the end of lengths of string and observing whether they could figure out that pulling the line brought the treats closer.

The cats had no problem with tackling single pieces of string. However, when faced with two options, experts discovered that unlike their canine counterparts, cats were unable to consistently pick a baited string over a dummy.

Psychology lecturer Britta Osthaus, who conducted the study, said the findings shatter the myth that cats are smarter than dogs.

Mrs Osthaus, of Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent, said: “This finding is somehow surprising as cats regularly use their paws and claws to pull things towards them during play and hunting.

“They performed even worse than dogs, which can at least solve the parallel string task.”

She added that the results show that cats do not understand cause-and-effect connections between objects.

The experiments involved attaching fish and biscuit treats to one end of a piece of string, placing them under a plastic screen to make them unreachable.

They were tested in three ways, using a single baited string, two parallel strings where only one was baited, and two crossed strings where only one was baited.

With two crossed strings, one cat always made the wrong choice and others succeeded no more than might be expected by chance.

So why do these people need to be beaten about the heads with dead-tree products?  Because they don’t realize they’re being scammed even when they say they are:

Mrs Osthaus added: “If we know their limits we won’t expect too much of them, which in turn is important for their welfare.

“I am not trying to say cats are stupid, just they are different. We are so anthropomorphic we can’t see the world through their eyes.”

Emphasis added.  Dogs have never tried to hide their intelligence, being too good-hearted and honest for such trickery.  The result?  They’re made to do stupid tricks at home.  They’re dragooned into dangerous service with the military, police and fire departments.  They earn their keep herding sheep and other animals.  It’s no coincidence that the term “a dog’s life” has made it into the language as an expression for drudgery.

Cats, on the other hand, spend their lives loafing about, being bitchy and inscrutible, and pretty much getting whatever they want whenever they want it.  Do you really believe that they’re going to throw all this away by actually demonstrating that they know perfectly well which damned bit of string to pull for a bunch of behavioral scientists?  I don’t think so.

UPDATE: Cosmo the  Wonder Dog sends along a cat-spinner’s take (one, I may add, that I don’t buy for an instant).

This evening the eleven year old gel confided that she had been ragged on at school today because she didn’t know who “Lady GaGa” was and had never heard of the song “Poker Face”.

Neither had I.  I just YouTubed up the video to find out what she was talking about.

Jesus.  Mary.  Joseph.

(I had thought of posting the vid here, but no thank you.  Go check it out yourselves if you wish.)

You know what?   Thank God she doesn’t know what her classmates are talking about.

Thank God also for the decision reached this week that the gel is going to go back to St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method next year to finish out her elementary schooling and then head to the parochial school attached to my Church for what used to be called Junior High.  Yes, the gel decided she really does not like public school very much, and she used the bait of St. John’s for middle school to get my consent to go back to St. M of the BEM next year.

In other words, she made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.

Perhaps tonight “Lady GaGa” swims with the fishes……..

UPDATE: I was talking to the gel about this business this morning.   There is a streak of Cromwellian puritanism that manifests itself in our family now and again and I begin to suspect that she has inherited it, for it was perfectly plain to me that she has no interest at all in the croonings of “Lady GaGa” and her ilk.   And she was quite grateful when I suggested she use “My Dad won’t let me” as an excuse to explain away her ignorance and to decline invitations to find out what it’s all about.


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June 2009