- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 19, 2009

‘Shamrock Day’

”Yes, I’m wearing green. I had to rifle through the laundry to find a green shirt, but I am wearing green. … Not that green is the point of the day, mind you. The day is named for a saint who did nothing less than liberate the people of ancient Ireland from the bondage of Druidism. …

”Of course, what feast celebrating something Christian would be complete without an attempt by other segments of society to remove any and all references to Christianity from the observance of the day?:

” ‘Some folks are trying to transform the name of Tuesday’s holiday from St. Patrick’s Day to “Shamrock Day.” Card shops have banners proclaiming the occasion; the Disney Channel is using the term; and some places in this country have changed the name of their community celebrations of Celtic heritage to the “nonoffending” terminology.’ ”

- Kenneth Hynek, writing on “Happy St. Paddy’s Day” at his eponymous site Tuesday

Bedeviled

”We Christians know all too well that we are human and that sin drives a wedge between us and God. No, you’re not ‘going straight to hell’ because you happen to sit in a hotel room with a steady diet of hookers and drugs between movie shoots … what that behavior will really do is gently and pleasurably separate you from knowing God.

”By ‘separate’ I mean you will slowly not be able to tolerate anyone you meet of faith (even if they’ve never bothered you) and you will soon find yourself shaking your fist at organized religion as the root of all evil. Your mind will become incapable of accepting that there is anything bigger than your own self and all the other ‘selfs’ you socialize with. … This isn’t Atheism. This is Devilism.

“The precise goal of a Devilish society is to get as many people away from God as possible through a steady diet of media distractions and stories and role models all meant to edify their Devilish position while tearing down ours.”

- Michael McGruther, writing on “The Faithful Go To Church, The Rest Go To Therapy,” Sunday at Big Hollywood

Horses, barn doors

”It’s nice to see somebody in the Vatican finally saying the right things - the Christian things, if you will - about the horrible case of the nine-year-old Brazilian girl who had an abortion after being impregnated by her stepfather, and whose mother and doctor were publicly excommunicated by the local archbishop shortly thereafter.

”It was also a pleasure, in a related vein, to read the Pope’s impressive letter offering clarifications, regrets, and some pushback to his critics regarding his handling of the SSPX affair. (It included this much-quoted line, almost touching in its innocence of the contemporary media: ‘I have been told that consulting the information available on the Internet would have made it possible to perceive the problem early on. I have learned the lesson that in the future in the Holy See we will have to pay greater attention to that source of news.’) In both cases, you can see Rome taking baby steps toward a new and necessary approach to its engagement with the media, and with contemporary society in general.

“That’s the good news. The bad news is that … the damage has already been done, and can’t be undone by having a spokesman or a bishop or even the Pope saying the right things weeks after the fact. This will always be a problem, to some extent, since while the institutional Church is not a democracy, neither is it a monolith: Save on rare occasions, it will always speak with a multiplicity of voices, some of them wise and loving and some of them ignorant, or tone-deaf, or legalistic, or cruel.”

- Ross Douthat, writing on “The Church and the World,” Tuesday at his Atlantic blog

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