NCR Today is the group blog of NCR. Each member of our diverse team of bloggers writes on different topics, including the politics of the church and secular society (and the interaction between the two), culture, management of the church and more.
A front-page article in The New York Times yesterday, Drop the Halloween Mask! You Might Scare Somebody, lists the various costumes and props forbidden at school Halloween parties.
When I was in parochial school in the late 1940s and early '50s, I always dressed as a gypsy with big hoop earrings and lots of make-up, but today that would be considered an ethnic stereotype. The boys in my class dressed as hobos with dirty faces and bindles, but today that would be regarded as demeaning the homeless.
(There was quite a battle on the "Mad Men" message board about the symbolism of Don and Betty's children going trick-or-treating as a gypsy and a hobo, but I think it was just another touch of period realism by Matthew Weiner.)
The New York Times article said nothing about parochial schools. I wonder if kids who dress as saints for the Eve of All Hallows parties are allowed to carry the traditional symbols and instruments of martyrdom associated with them.
Last Saturday I traveled from Chiang Mai, Thailand, home to Los Angeles. I was feeling content and energized after participating in a week-long world congress of SIGNIS, the world association for communication. The theme of the gathering was “Children’s Rights Tomorrow’s Promise.” Everything on this trip had gone well.
As part of my routine living at the Holy Family Catholic Worker house I frequently attend daily Mass at a local parish with one of my other community members.
Normally the Mass is quick and dirty. The prayers are read back-to-back, the homily is short, and there’s not much time to let your mind wander. It’s just a short little break in the day – not too long as to interrupt the rest of your plans.
This past Tuesday was a little different. In addition to the normal liturgy of the Eucharist we also celebrated the liturgy of anointing – allowing people who felt a particular need for healing to come forward and receive the mark of oil and the support of their friends.
This time the Mass was slow, even deliberate. We weren’t at a waypoint stop from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the day. We were gathered to take the time and effort to help those with health needs.
In this gentler pace I couldn’t help but feel something of a message for a Catholic understanding of healing: that we are to find ways to help those who are suffering from illness by slowing down and taking the time needed to acknowledge and confront their pain.
- The average laptop computer consumes one fifth the energy of a desktop PC. So, if you're going to own only one computer, seriously consider a laptop instead of desktop model. If a laptop won't work for you, think about whether you really need the biggest desktop you can afford or whether you might be able to get by with what's known as a "small form-factor" PC. These smaller machines are designed to take up less space on your desktop, but they have the advantage of drawing less power, too.
- Screensavers were never designed to save energy. They were actually intended to prevent "phosphor burn in" on CRT screens (and, these days, on plasma screens). Nowadays, they function primarily as a form of entertainment on PCs. However, setting your display to blank out after a period of inactivity can make a difference. Best to forgo the pretty pictures, though.
- Although each generation of microprocessors is speedier than the previous one, smart engineering means that they often also use less energy at the same time. For example, Intel's Core 2 Duo desktop processor is up to 40 percent faster and more than 40 percent more energy-efficient than its single-core predecessor.
I was pleased to be part of the Peace and Dialogue Awards Ceremony of the Rumi Forum Oct. 27. It took place in the Cannon House Caucus Room on Capitol Hill.
Most of the recipients (four out of six) were Catholic. Dr. John Borelli of Georgetown University received an award for his lifelong commitment to interfaith dialogue. Dr. Sidney H. Griffith of Catholic University received the Rumi Peace Award. Congressperson Gerald E. Connolly, a Catholic representing Virginia’s 11th district (Fairfax County), was given the Congressional Service Award. And I was honored to receive the Media Excellence Award for our work on Interfaith Voices.
Many of these awardees sat at my dinner table, and it was obvious that all of are “Vatican II Catholics,” people whose ideals were forged and developed in that era when ecumenical and interfaith awareness opened up the horizons of religious faith and practice in our lives.
The Rumi Forum represents a vision of Islam that values and fosters interfaith and intercultural dialogue. It is named for the world famous 13th century poet, Rumi.
Dorothy Day stopped by NCR yesterday. We go way back with Dorothy. From its start in 1964, NCR has emulated Day's commitment to journalism in and about the church in the world. The Catholic Worker newspaper, started in 1933, is still in business, selling for a penny, still promoting a radical approach to living the gospel through houses of hospitality, the works of mercy and by opposing all war as an underlying cause of poverty and social injustice. We sometimes ponder who has gotten the most coverage ("ink") from NCR over the years, Dorothy Day or Oscar Romero. Probably about even. In 2010, we will celebrate again these amazing exemplars of holiness and service on the 30th anniversary of their deaths in 1980.
Miami joins Baltimore and St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese in barring or restricting the work of the Legionaries of Christ, the religious under founded by Mexican Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado.
Oct. 30 is the feast of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, Laybrother of the Society of Jesus.
“Out of the mouths of Fox News reporters…” Politico.com has an interesting article about former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee’s declining to officially endorse Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman in the three-way race in New York’s twenty-third congressional district. Hoffman has been endorsed over his Republican and Democratic rivals by such GOP luminaries as Sarah Palin, Tim Pawlenty and Fred Thompson.
The comments of conservative activists show why the GOP will have a hard time climbing out of the ditch into which they have thrown themselves. They voice disappointment, surprise even at Huckabee’s unwillingness to back Hoffman. They want him to “take a stand.” This small upstate contest has become a battle for the soul of the Republican Party, and there will attach a sense of betrayal, not disagreement, to those who do not sign on.