This is a 7 Quick Takes Post, hosted by Jennifer at the Conversion Diary blog.
Last week we attended the wedding of a niece who had been engaged for some time to a fellow who is Jewish. I guess several months ago she decided to convert to Judaism (not from Catholicism). I believe she has been searching spiritually for some time and seems to have found something of a home in a synagogue up in Denver.
I will have to say, the service was quite beautiful, with a Rabbi and a lady Rabbi who was what they called a Cantor, her ministry (right term?) was concentrated on the musical side of things. She had a beautiful voice. It surprised me that, on entering the chapel (again, right term?) I felt as if I was entering a space that closely resembled your typical Presbyterian church, except for the plaques on the wall written in Hebrew script and the absence of a cross. During the ceremony, because many people in attendance were not Jewish, the Rabbi provided something of a commentary on the theology behind the various elements of the ceremony. There were a couple of points that were quite similar to Catholic teaching. One big example was that in a Jewish marriage the “ministers” of the celebration were the people gathered for the ceremony, not the Rabbi. Of course, in a Catholic marriage, the ministers of the sacrament are the spouses.
RCIA started on Thursday evening. There were several true catechumens, several confirmands and one or two of the third class of people coming into full communion, whose title I forget at the moment. It was quite interesting that there were two young people still in high school who were in the class. I’m not sure we’ll actually get to sponsor anyone since several of the initiates seemed to already have friends who were going to sponsor them. It may turn out the experience will be shorted lived – guess we’ll see
The other day, I came across a video (link here) of the closing of the Budd Charlevoix Stamping Plant and the shipping of all its manufacturing presses to other states and to Mexico and Brazil. My father worked in that plant for 30 years or more. He was a die maker, a die being the part that fits into the press that gives the metal its final shape. Think of a fender on your car; if it’s made out of metal, it was formed by a die. Anyway, the video shows a bit of the dismantling of the plant and you can see one or more of the press lines my father worked on for so many years.
I have mixed emotions seeing this. This plant was one of so many in Detroit that made up the industrial strength of the country. That’s all gone now. It seems like such a waste.
I try never to talk politics on this blog, but as I write, we’re awaiting a decision on US military involvement in Syria. Normally, I’m a hawk on such things and would strongly support action in the Middle East. And yet I can see no national interest that justifies action in this case; whatever is going on in Syria, it seems to be an internal matter. I don’t think I’ve read a word that indicates terrorism outside of Syria is involved, and many commentators worry that US action there could trigger violence and political instability throughout the region, possibly beyond. Also, some sort of announced limitation, in both duration and intensity, seems to render the whole matter pointless from the beginning. I think it’s time to push the famous “reset” button and just let things work out there on their own; even the threat of US bombing could be making the situation worse. It’s time to pray for peace like never before. Pope Francis has designated Saturday as a day of fasting and prayer for peace in the Middle East.
We’ve been watching old Poirot mysteries on the PBS internet channel; there’s so little of any real value on TV anymore that we’re being much more selective as to how much time we spend on it and, especially, what we watch. Not that the Poirot’s are, in themselves, so well done; I’m not sure Agatha Christie is entirely deserving of the fame she seems to have. The Poirot stories are one much like the other — there’s very little novelty or originality in any of them. However, the videos are so very well done that in itself makes them fun to watch. The producers of the series went to great lengths to bring authenticity to the shows in terms of costumes, and even automobiles, and re-presenting social customs of the late 1930’s. For example, in a show set in a archeological dig in the desert in Egypt, we see Poirot and the other guests of the leader of the dig, dress (I mean, black tie and starched collar dress) for dinner. It was a world very different from our own and I know many people today would think the customs stifling and uncomfortable, at the very least, if not downright crazy. I wonder, though, if we don’t need to move back a bit in the direction of greater dignity and formality in the affairs of men (and women).
I also find it interesting that the producers do not hide the fact of Poirot’s Catholicism. In nearly every episode, in scenes in Poirot’s apartment, there is almost always a crucifix on prominent display. In one episode, we see Poirot apparently praying the Rosary while reading the Bible, and at the end of the episode, he gives this Rosary to one of the downtrodden heroine’s, along with an injunction to always hope and trust in God. How often do you see THAT on TV these days?
Fall seems a time of transition during the year, more so here than the change of other seasons. One thing that makes it so prominent is the vibrant fall colors we get here from the aspen in Colorado. I’m going to try to get as many pictures as possible this year, what with not working and all.
I hope to get back to posting regular “full length” posts during the time of Fall transition. It’s been difficult to get back into the blogging frame of mind after the retreat at New Camaldoli and now that my wife has retired and we’ve tried to adjust to the new way of life. Still, I find a lot to think about and, I hope, share on Being Catholic.