Tuesday, January 27, 2009

James White vs. Jesus, Peter, and the Keys

This is an essay of mine, originally posted on the Internet 13 June 1997, that used to be hosted on another Web site. I'm reposting it, since I think that some of the arguments presented are still worthwhile.

James White vs. Jesus, Peter & the Keys

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Carrots in the Snow

As I've mentioned elsewhere on the blog, I am an enthusiastic follower of the gardening methods outlined by Eliot Coleman in his outstanding book Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long. Coleman's methods work splendidly for me. One of his main themes is to try and harvest as much produce fresh from the garden for as long in the season as possible. This saves the time and energy involved in other preservation methods like canning and freezing, as well as giving one the most nutritional and tasty possible vegetables. One idea that he presents is to plant a coldframe full of closely spaced carrots late in the season. For me that means around August 15. You let the carrots grow unprotected until the weather gets pretty nippy, then close the coldframe and let them grow some more, then finally when it gets really, really cold you put down a thick layer of straw and leave the frame shut. The carrots will remain there safe well into the winter. Coleman notes that the very cold temperatures convert some of the starch in the carrots into sugar, making them extra sweet and tasty. His children call them "candy carrots" and actually prefer them to other snacks.

Does it work? Yup, in spades (pun intended.) I planted a frame full just about exactly on August 15 and followed the procedure all the way up through the start of very cold weather here. I started digging the carrots in late November and finally dug everything in the frame on December 15, just before the ground would have frozen solidly enough to prevent any more digging.

Wow! These carrots are about finger-sized, ridiculously crisp (each bite gives a resounding snap!), and deliciously sweet. In fact, a few days after I dug the main crop my daughter Michaela was asking for a snack. "How about some carrots?", I suggested. "Okay!", she replied enthusiastically and munched away happily on our own crop of candy carrots. Try this—you will love it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What is a Traditional Catholic? Another View

Someone on a thread in the Catholic Answers Forum asked a great question, what exactly is a traditional Catholic? I've tried to give a serious answer to that question here. But Wholly Roamin' Catholic came at it from a different angle. (When I privately pinged WRC to see if I could use his stuff, he immediately pinged me back to say that he had already used mine! I guess you call that cross-pollination.)

You've gotta love his take on this:

A traditional Catholic is not a person who "prefers" the old Latin Mass. Neither are they people who simply passed Catechism class.

They are people who adhere to a type of spirituality that is largely lost in the 21st Century Catholic Church.

Truthfully, it's easier to describe their outward signs than their character: the old Latin Mass is the biggest identifier... though there are certainly traditional Catholics who are marooned in Novus Ordoland; there are likewise non-traditional Catholics who go to the TLM.

Trads are people who listen to Catholic Radio... skeptically. They might have a blog. They can list their "top-five" favorite Ecumenical Councils... none of which will rhyme with "Attican Shoe". Their friends think they're fuddy-duddys. They've got Holy Water fonts in all the bedrooms and by the front door. They quote the Douay Rheims bible. They have an opinion on offering Mass in baroque vestments while in a gothic chapel. They're tired of tinfoil hat jokes. They may not like Bishop Williamson, but concede that sometimes he's right, and when he's right, he's really right. They can tell you about Assisi. When they're at a Novus Ordo Mass, they've got their hands folded like a Catholic during the Our Father. The women have an extra mantilla in the van-- just in case. The men have an opinion on the best type of pipe tobacco for any occasion. The boys have their own cassock and surplice hanging in the closet. The girls know how to play Dies Irae on the organ. They wear a t-shirt while they go swimming so their brown scapular doesen't float away. They're willing to drive an hour to go to Mass... every Sunday. They know the confession times of at least 4 churches. They invite priests over to play cards and smoke cigars. They pray to saints that you think may not really exist. They ask you to finish the sentence when you say "John Paul the Great"... the great what? They might own a live chicken. When they're at a Novus Ordo Mass, everyone watches them to figure out why they're hitting themselves during the "Lamb of God". They're kneel after Mass to pray... and miss out on the fun gladhanding with Father by the parish gift shop. They scoff when they pass the Masonic Lodge. They cross themselves when they pass a Catholic church. They mutter something about the "poor souls" when they pass a cemetary. They mutter something about St. Michael when an ambulance passes them. Their girls' first names are Mary. Their boys' middle names are Mary. Cappa Magna doesn't sound like a drink at Starbucks to them. They'll tell you at length why being "charitable" isn't always being nice and friendly.

It's complicated. Trads are not easily defined. You just kind of know them when you see them.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

From the Popes...

God forbid that the children of the Catholic Church should even in any way be unfriendly to those who are not at all united to us by the same bonds of faith and love. On the contrary, let them be eager always to attend to their needs with all the kind services of Christian charity, whether they are poor or sick or suffering any other kind of visitation. First of all, let them rescue them from the darkness of the errors into which they have unhappily fallen and strive to guide them back to Catholic truth and to their most loving Mother who is ever holding out her maternal arms to receive them lovingly back into her fold. Thus, firmly founded in faith, hope, and charity and fruitful in every good work, they will gain eternal salvation.

(Pope Pius IX, Quanto Conficiamur Moerore §9)