Who Was That Masked Man?

This is a 7 Quick Takes post hosted by Jennifer Fulwiler at the Conversion Diary blog where you’ll find similar posts by many wonderful bloggers.  Enjoy!


Have you noticed the recent phenomenon on the Catholic blogosphere?  I’m referring to the proliferation of the term “The Catholic Gentleman.”  I’ve seen it most frequently used on the popular Whiskey Catholic blog and also as the actual title of a fairly new blog (here).  I think this is a good thing, a sort of mini rebellion against the prevailing, almost overwhelming feminism of our time.  There is a role that a man should play in society and men playing that role are becoming less and less noticeable, so I think this focus on men is a good thing.

Not to say that I don’t have a reservation or two.  For one thing, when I first saw the term used, I immediately thought of Playboy magazine of the 1960’s (I, of course never actually read the thing, but my more wayward friends in the Air Force did share this info with me) and their use of similar terms such as “the gentleman” or “the Playboy gentleman”, referring to the Playboy ideal of what a man should be about.  In truth, this Playboy ideal was nothing more than some randy fellow who lived pretty much without any moral guidelines whatsoever.  The association isn’t really a good one.  I find myself wishing another expression could be dreamed up that would capture the ideal of the Catholic Christian gentleman without the associated antiquarian baggage.


The study of St Francis continues.  One thing that the instructors point out is how thoroughly Francis was a product of the Middle Ages.  It struck me that I don’t think of him that way.  When I think Middle Ages, I think monasteries and I think of the scholastics like St. Thomas Aquinas, I don’t think of Franciscans.  And yet, it’s true.  Francis lived in the middle of the Middle Ages and his desire to be a knight and participate in the Crusades, his desire to be a traveling troubadour for The Lord certainly make that abundantly clear.  Still, there’s something about him that seems to make him a man out of time, and I wonder if it’s not just that he’s so enduringly popular, if hardly understood at all.


Who was that masked man?  This story really made the rounds last week.  It turns out, the priest involved in this rescue has now been identified and I wonder if most people aren’t feeling a bit let down that he turns out to have been a very human priest going about his normal routine.  No angels, no great saints.  It looks like nothing special happened, just a priest doing his job.  And yet.  And yet.  The rescuers involved certainly thought Fr Dowling’s appearance was miraculous, and the results seemed to them miraculous enough; they couldn’t explain how suddenly, when everything seemed to be going wrong, things were going better than right.  Isn’t it possible that a miracle did, in fact, occur?  Doesn’t the Church teach that the priest performs the greatest of miracles every time he celebrates Mass?  If that’s so, should we so easily dismiss what happened to Katie Lentz; just because it seems so easily explained, does that mean it wasn’t a miracle?  Just sayin’


loneranger3Speaking of that masked man, here’s an interesting story.

I’ve always felt a special attachment to the Lone Ranger.  As the story mentions, the show started in Detroit, on the radio.  It so happens that it was at WXYZ radio and that it was my cousin, Dorothy, who worked as Brace Beemer’s secretary.  Mr. Beemer was, as I’m sure you’re all aware, the Lone Ranger on the radio show.  To my 6 year old mind, this was holy ground, and I always held Dorothy in the very highest esteem, to be sure.  After all, anyone who works for the Lone Ranger must be very, very special.


This week, I came across some rather disturbing information that I thought I’d share.  Did you know, that in the last five years, Catholic publishing, specifically magazine publishing struggling to survive.  Several magazines, including Crisis, Catholic Men’s Quarterly, Homiletic & Pastoral Review, Catholic World Report, 30 Days, and Envoy have all either ceased publishing or gone exclusively digital.  That’s astonishing.  In comparison, Google’s advertising revenue now is greater than that of the entire print media industry.  I know that Crisis went through a rough time after Deal Hudson had to resign  but has, I think, quite successfully made the transition to the webzine format, I also think Homiletic & Pastoral Review has done the same, but still, I hate to see the idea of print media disappearing altogether.  Call me old fashioned, but there are times, like when I travel, that I prefer having a real magazine or two in my book bag.  Soon, that may no longer be possible.


Since I’ve retired and have been spending more time at home, I’ve learned an interesting fact — the UPS truck appears in our cul-de-sac daily, delivering to one or another of the houses.  I remember (I say that a lot nowadays) when the only delivery trucks in my Detroit neighborhood were from the J.L. Hudson department store, and that was an unusual event and a very big deal.  Trivia alert — the Hudson automobile company was started by Mr. Roy Chapin and funded by Joseph L. Hudson himself; the idea was to build a car that could sell for under $1,000.  Anyway, I think it’s remarkable that such a small group of homeowners could be so active in the on line market place.  I guess it’s an indication of things to come — soon, everything we buy will come from Amazon.


 Earlier this week Kathleen left a couple of good comments on last week’s post, bringing up a couple of topics I’ve been cogitating on ever since.  One point in particular concerns Catholics who don’t really seem engaged with their faith.  On the one hand, that seems to be an obvious fact, easily seen on a daily basis what with so many Catholics supporting pro-abortion candidates and disregarding many bedrock teachings of the Church.  Yet, there’s something that I see every time I enter a parish church that I never saw as a Presbyterian: people kneeling in prayer.  Nowadays, I think nothing of that, yet when I first attended Mass, still a Protestant, I was astonished and perhaps even a little embarrassed by it.  I had never seen people praying in Church before.  Yet, what a powerful reminder that all prayer is carried out within Christ’s Church.  Our faith, and our prayer are never Lone Ranger type events in our lives; it isn’t just “me and Jesus.”  I think, so long as I continue to see people praying in church, I won’t get too discouraged about the way things are going.

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