Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy National Review Year

St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney (1786-1859), curé d'Ars, who wrote: "We cannot dwell upon the conduct of the Jews, my dear people, without being struck with amazement. These very people had waited for God for four thousand years, they had prayed much because of the great desire they had to receive Him, and yet when He came, He could not find a single person to give Him the poorest lodging. The all-powerful God was obliged to make His dwelling with the animals. And yet, my dear people, I find in the conduct of the Jews, criminal as it was, not a subject for explanations, but a theme for the condemnation of the conduct of the majority of Christians. We can see that the Jews had formed an idea of their Redeemer which did not conform with the state of austerity in which He appeared. It seemed as if they could not persuade themselves that this could indeed be He who was to be their Saviour; St. Paul tells us very clearly that if the Jews had recognised Him as God, they would never have put Him to death. There is, then, some small excuse for the Jews [Well, that's very white of you, Father, as they say]. But what excuse can we make, my dear brethren, for the coldness and the contempt which we [i.e., Christians] show towards Jesus Christ?
In the Kathryn Jean Lopez interview technique, as I understand it, there is no actual interview; the subject emails her a list of prepared things she wants to say and then Lopez writes a set of questions for each, to make it look as if an interview had taken place. What I like to do (well, what I did once, anyway) is just print (some of) the questions without answers, and then wonder what drugs she's on.

Today's is from an interview with Kathleen Beckman, author of Praying for Priests: A Mission for the New Evangelization (Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 2014):
KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: Why is it so important to pray for priests?
LOPEZ: You quote St. John Vianney: “When people want to destroy religion they begin by attacking the priest; for when there is not priest, there is no sacrifice: and when there is no sacrifice, there is no religion.” Is it really all that bad?
LOPEZ: Whose “mission” is this praying for priests?
LOPEZ: We’re all busy. How can a busy family make this a part of their lives?
LOPEZ: What should we even think about priests? It often seems we only read about them if they are doing something wrong. Perhaps we only ever think about them on Sundays or when necessary for some function.
LOPEZ: Why would our prayer lives be incomplete without recourse to Mary?
LOPEZ: What is spiritual motherhood anyway?
LOPEZ: How are you certain of this: “When we perceive holiness, we not only respond with appreciation, but we also desire to have it for ourselves”?
LOPEZ: Why should any non-believer care if people are praying for priests?
I didn't fully understand as I began on this that praying for priests is a thing, and I'm anxious to stress that I'm not in any way opposed to it, if that's what you want to do. Feel free! Update: Redhand in comments clarifies what it's about, and how Kathryn Jean's apparent incoherence is really secret code.

I don't think I quite like that Père Vianney, though.

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