Archive for March, 2021

One of the things that often confuse people is the transition from the Lenten season of the Church to the Easter Season. Most people treat lent as running to Easter Sunday or at least till the Easter Vigil mass (the longest mass of the year) on Saturday after sundown.

The reality is actually that in between Lent and Easter there consists the shortest season of the church year the Easter Triduum consisting of Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday

Now because of this there are some people who will end their Lenten vows on Thursday or Thursday evening (since in ancient Judaism the day ended at sundown which is why you have vigil masses). Depending on what was being given up and such people are following the letter of the law.

The problem with the letter of the law is that the Easter Triduum is actual the most solemn season of the church. You have the trial, torture. crucifixion and death of Christ.

I don’t think you can get more solemn than that.

That being the case I think that it’s more appropriate to wait until Easter to lift any restrictions one has placed on oneself because while one might be following the letter of the law one might also wish to follow the spirit of the law.

And that brings us to Holy Trinity Church in Dallas and the case of Deirdre Hariston a pregnant mother of was at mass during Lent praying after receiving holy communion

Three police officers were waiting for her after she went to Holy Communion at Holy Trinity Church. She was kneeling down and holding her baby when the police officer said she needed to leave the mass.

When Deidre continued to kneel and pray the police officer grabbed her arm and tried to lift her and drag her out of the church. The officer told her she was trespassing — by attending mass!

Deirdre later found out the main pastor ratted her out! The usher was in the background screaming, “Lock her up!”

The police officer then asked her for ID and told her she was going to arrest her.
She was told not to come back to this Catholic Church again.

The degree of clueless here is astounding, particularly given that she had already received communion meaning the mass was practically over not to mention the optics of police removing a woman at prayer from a church, during lent no less and an usher crying for her to be locked up. I mean it’s not like the pastor couldn’t have approached her after mass to talk to her if he had a problem.

But that cluelessness pales before the statement by the Diocese of Dallas which backed up the pastor even though there is not only no mask mandate in Texas but no Mask mandate by the Diocese itself saying in part:

Canon Law grants parishes jurisdiction over their parishes and while the bishops has not mandated masks for every parish he has left the specific details to the pastors of the diocese

Now if the pastor wanted to stress that he desired parishioners to wear a mask he could have approached her quietly after mass rather than calling police on a pregnant mother.

Furthermore it’s my experience that pregnant mothers are exactly the people you want at parishes because without them you have a parish that dies.

In fairness the priest and the diocese have the letter of the law on their side but might I suggest that while this year we are praying with Mark they they might want to re-acquaint themselves with this passage from Matthew

Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying,

“The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens (hard to carry) and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they will not lift a finger to move them.”

Matthew 23:1-4

Pray for the diocese, the priest and for the young lady who I hope will find a parish that will welcome her and her children with open arms.

Thanks, Larry McMurtry!

Posted: March 30, 2021 by chrisharper in Uncomfortable Truths

By Christopher Harper

Larry McMurtry provided an opportunity for my father and me to get to know one another a lot better.

In 1989, McMurtry’s novel, Lonesome Dove, became one of the most-watched series in television history.

It’s difficult to summarize a nearly 900-page book, but Texas Monthly did a pretty good job of it: McMurtry wrote his novel about “two retired, hard-bitten Texas Rangers in the forlorn [Texas] border town of Lonesome Dove.

“The ex-Rangers, Augustus ‘Gus’ McCrae and Woodrow Call, lead a cattle drive to Montana with a ragtag team of cowpokes, which includes a black cowboy, a bandit turned cook, a piano player with a hole in his stomach, a young widow, a teenager who is Call’s unacknowledged son, and a prostitute. On their journey, the group encounters psychopathic outlaws, vengeful Indians, buffalo hunters, gamblers, scouts, cavalry officers, and backwoodsmen. They endure perilous river crossings, thunderstorms, sandstorms, hailstorms, windstorms, lightning storms, grasshopper storms, stampedes, drought, and a mean bear. There are plenty of shootings and a few impromptu hangings. The prostitute, Lorena, is gang-raped. In the end, after McCrae is mortally wounded by Indians, he asks Call to bury him in a little peach orchard by the Guadalupe River near San Antonio, where he was once in love with a woman. Call dutifully carries his partner’s half-mummified body back to Texas.”

My father spent much of his early life in Rawlins, Wyoming, as the son of a man who worked the Chisolm Trail as a cowboy and later became a sheriff who died after a gun battle. His mother then married another cowboy. 

Just before I was born, my family moved out of Rawlins to Idaho, then crisscrossed flyover country from Idaho to Colorado to South Dakota. 

Like the folks from Lonesome Dove, we were constantly on the move. 

Somehow, Lonesome Dove reminded my father of the better days of his early life, and he shared the memories of hunting and fishing and country life. 

He wanted to get his family out of Rawlins to build a better life—much like Gus had wanted for his friends from Lonesome Dove. Along the way, our family didn’t suffer as those from Lonesome Dove. But the wandering from place to place took its toll.

Near the end of my father’s life, Lonesome Dove provided him and me the opportunity to talk about his adventures and discuss the tough times, including my mother’s death when I was 13, in a way he could never have done before.

Thanks, Larry!

If you would be quite sure of your salvation, strive to be among the fewest of the few. Do not follow the majority of mankind, but follow those who renounce the world and never relax their efforts day or night so that they may attain everlasting blessedness.

Saint Anselm of Canterbury

One of the dangers that you run into regularly in the church is the idea of targeting Purgatory as your goal.

The argument being that if you don’t think you’re worthy of heaven, which ironically was a state that many saints considered themselves in, aim for purgatory instead as you are much more likely to reach that state first and as eery person in Purgatory eventually makes it to heaven it’s a much workable plan.

This plan has a very large and rather obvious flaw. If you aim for Heaven (which ironically all those saints that I just mentioned who didn’t think themselves worthy of heaven did) and miss. You might just fall into purgatory for a spell, before you get there.

However if you aim for purgatory and miss, Hell awaits.

Why given this fact to so many Catholics think this way. It’s because of the people tend to like their sins. and like a lawyer trying to get his client as close to the line of illegality as he can without crossing it we tend to try to get as close to that line of mortal sin without going over.

Using Augustine famous cry “Lord make me chaste, but not yet.” as a basis for a way of life is like planning your retirement around getting a winning lottery ticket. Yes someone is going to win the lottery but odds are it’s not going to be you. Yes Augustine is now St. Augustine and dwells in heaven with the Lord, but the vast majority of those who delay their repentance will delay too long. As St. Leonard of Port Maurice put it in his famous sermon: “The Little Number of Those Who Are Saved

Poor souls! How can you run so hastily toward hell? For mercy’s sake, stop and listen to me for a moment! Either you understand what it means to be saved and to be damned for all eternity, or you do not. If you understand and in spite of that, you do not decide to change your life today, make a good confession and trample upon the world, in a word, make your every effort to be counted among the littler number of those who are saved, I say that you do not have the faith. You are more excusable if you do not understand it, for then one must say that you are out of your mind. To be saved for all eternity, to be damned for all eternity, and to not make your every effort to avoid the one and make sure of the other, is something inconceivable.

Now in fact this is the same type of thing we are seeing with the actions of the violent left. In fact the best illustration of this is what happened in Seattle.

As you can see from the footage posted by Andy Ngo, Antifa was busy smashing up a truck with a man inside during the “Freedom Day Parade.” The man exits the vehicle and seems to point a gun at the crowd of Antifa attackers which has, at this point, backed off. He’s soon ordered by an armed and ready police officer to put the gun down and to get on the ground. The distraught man attempts to point to the real offenders, but the officer continues to order him to the ground while ordering everyone else to back away.

Again the left here is coming close to the line in the sight of the police but not crossing it to the point where the man decides he actually has to shoot to defend himself. Police take him into custody (and release him without charges for daring to defend himself and his property when the officers whose job it is to do so refuse to.

The left keeps getting closer and closer to the line and sooner or later they are going to do it without the police nearby or a person being threatened with decide that they don’t care and open fire.

I suspect that once people start shooting back the people who have been vilified for the last decade who are now very heavily armed will not be all that inclined to stop.

Like the person playing dodgem with purgatory the left is playing dodgem with an actual shooting civil war (or more accurate an actual shooting Lincoln County style war) which is likely not going to end well for them, either temporally or eternally.

Personally I’d advice against it.

oh and as Father Z would say: Go to Confession!

By:  Pat Austin   

SHREVEPORT – With my retirement in a couple of months drawing ever closer, and as crime and violence in Shreveport becomes ever more prevalent, we have been giving more and more serious thought to pulling up and moving out of this hellhole  town, and moving to the small community in south Louisiana where we visit five times a year.

No place is perfect, I know this, but some places are more perfect than others.

But this moving thing? It isn’t as easy as it sounds. I have lived in this house since 1978 and my grandparents lived here before me. My mother grew up in this house. It’s not a fine, family home passed down from generation to generation – it’s a comfortable, two-bedroom house in an aging neighborhood.

The problem is that I look around me and I wonder, what am I going to do with ALL THIS STUFF?!  My goodness but I’ve accumulated a lot of stuff.  And I often tell my husband that he is just one paperclip away from being a hoarder.

I want to downsize.

There are days when I look around and think, “Why on earth am I keeping this?” and throw it, whatever it is, into the trashcan. There are other days when I want to list everything I own for sale online. I could pay off a couple of credit cards with the proceeds, I am certain.

I went through a Depression glass phase a few years ago and now I have three china cabinets filled with the stuff. Ok, it’s pretty, but why do I need six lime green salad plates? Or three clear pink coffee cups? An assortment of cut crystal bowls. Vases, pitchers, salt and pepper shakers, and toothpick holders. I have probably fifty of those tiny, individual salt bowls. Several of those have tiny sterling silver spoons with them.

Why do I need to keep all this stuff?!  My children will not want this after I am gone. Of this, I am certain.

I have some 200 DVDs.  In this age of streaming video, why do I still have these? And let’s please not even open the discussion on books. I am literally drowning in books and I can say in all honesty that I do purge these once or twice a year and donate them to the university book bazaar fundraiser. I still have enough books to fill a U-Haul.

Once I actually retire, I will purge a lot of clothes from my closet, but t-shirts, man, I have a lot of those. Way too many.

Dishes. I have several complete sets of dishes – at least two are antiques, wedding china from both sets of grandparents. My mom’s sterling silver flatware. Kitchen Kitsch – vintage canisters, jadeite, vintage ice cream scoops, enamelware bowls of all sizes, and an assortment of drip coffeepots. Now, the coffeepots I can use – when the power is out, a good old-fashioned drip coffeepot can replace the Keurig or the Mr. Coffee in a heartbeat and taste much better. But do I need six of them?!

Old electronics that I don’t know what to do with. We have at least six old computers around here.

This is getting embarrassing now that I’m writing this.

And sweet goodness I haven’t even gone to the garage yet, but that’s easier because most things in there can go straight to the trash. That’s sort of a wasteland before the final commitment to throw away. An old twin mattress, a wooden rocking chair nobody had room for, now covered in mold. Countless boxes of Mardi Gras beads. A couple of discarded weedeaters.  A broken table someone thought we might fix but never did. Lawn chairs. A non-working window air conditioner unit.

In a way, I envy people that move often because I am certain they don’t accumulate junk like all this. I look around and some of the things I really treasure and have a sentimental attachment too, but others, not so much. I tried reading that Marie Kondo book once about throwing out things that don’t “spark joy,” but the thought of picking up each item in my house and deliberating on whether or not it sparked joy seemed like such a massive undertaking I just couldn’t do it.

I do think it is time to start asking myself some hard questions about what I need to keep in my life and what needs to find a new home, or the trash bin. And it would be pretty cool if I could sell off some of these things that might have value to someone else now that I’ve enjoyed them for a while. And perhaps if I can downsize significantly, I can actually see my way clear to sell my house and move away to a place where people don’t get shot every single day and where you don’t hear gunfire when sitting inside your own home at night. The lawlessness here is really prompting some serious thoughts of change.

But before I rent the moving truck, I have to go throw out my collection of Southern Living magazines, the tarnished brass candlesticks that have been stuck in a drawer for two decades, the size three jeans that I will never fit into again, the wooden fish I bought at Pier I twenty years ago because I wanted to live at the beach, the Rolling Rock salt and pepper shakers with missing caps, a couple of broken tv trays, and a beat up Easter egg tree with missing ornaments.

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and at Medium; she is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.