Renewal of the Mind


As if by coincidence I was reading an article yesterday on the need for the renewal of the mind, then read through Chapter 1 of Dietrich von Hildebrand’s “Transformation in Christ” – which is all about the complete renewal of the mind in Christ – and then this morning I was reading through the Epistles and of course opened right up to Ephesians 4:22-24, “Put off the old man who is corrupted according to the desire of error, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind: and put on the new man, who according to God is created in justice and holiness of truth.”

I can take a hint. And no matter there one looks, that’s a steady Pauline theme.

Interestingly, as much as one is transformed and gives oneself over completely to Jesus Christ, He calls one always deeper into the mystery, into the life of the divine, into His Sacred Heart. And truth, so many struggle given the abuse crises, the seeming chaos in the Church, the seeming abnegation of responsibility by ecclesial authority.

After all, this is either true or it isn’t: “For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word; but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of god we speak in Christ.” 2 Cor 2:17. If one is going to live in Jesus Christ, then it’s a constant, willing ongoing renewal of the life in Him. Otherwise – one is simply a parrot; or a stall in the market where people stop in for a dash of hope, a glimmer of light, an example here and there.

Back to the article. Essentially the author writes about the constant distractions in modern life and, in the academic setting in which he abides, urges a renewal of the life of the mind. He points out that the renewal belongs to the academic sphere.

Is Email Making Professors Stupid?

By CAL NEWPORT Donald Knuth is one of the world’s most famous living computer scientists. He’s known for his pioneering efforts to bring rigorous mathematical analysis to the design of computer algorithms. An emeritus professor at Stanford University, he’s currently writing the fourth volume of his classic book series, The Art of Computer Programming, which he’s been working on since the early 1960s.

In 2014, the Boise State anthropologist John Ziker released the results of a faculty time-use study, which found that the average professor spent a little over 60 hours a week working, with 30 percent of that time dedicated to email and meetings. Anecdotal reports hint that this allocation has only gotten worse over the past five years. “The days of the ivory tower are a distant memory,” concludes Ziker, and many burnt-out professors agree. 

The author, Cal Newport, is also the author of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World.

Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work will make you better at what you do and provide the sense of true fulfillment that comes from craftsmanship. In short, deep work is like a super power in our increasingly competitive twenty-first century economy. And yet, most people have lost the ability to go deep-spending their days instead in a frantic blur of e-mail and social media, not even realizing there’s a better way.

He argues for a pursuit of a culture conducive to deep work – with less of the distractions brought about by turning professors into middle managers.

In short, we’re already paying a price for the proliferation of ceaseless communication and administrative busywork. The question is whether we’re finally ready to admit it and have an honest discussion about whether it’s worth it. 

Let’s apply this to the Church.

Priest’s today are overwhelmed in the necessity to respond 24/7 to an a times withering array of emails, phone calls, texts, social media messages, administrative tasks – all the while feeding off of what time for prayer they have, tending to the work of the sacramental life of the Church, and the need for time with people of every walk of life – friends, colleagues, new parishioners, new friends, souls in need of pastoring.

The life of the mind is key in the life of the priest, and for all who want to live in Jesus Christ. One doesn’t have to be an academic to have a well developed mind. But one does need time and space with both objective reality and with one’s thoughts – and in community – to realize the life of the mind.

It’s a well written article, with sound proposals for the academic sphere. The religious sphere needs to recapture them too.



The Vendee Genocide

The Hidden Rebellion

We’re going to be showing “Hidden Rebellion” here at the Parish – a film about the genocide that occurred in France with the turbulent revolution of the late 18th Century.

Here the producer, Daniel Rabourdin, is interviewed by Mike Church on the film, the history of the Vendee, the genocide – and the similarities between that time and our own.

It’s a fascinating history and if you’re not already familiar with it, you definitely should be.

We had the date decided, though it’s now up in the air. We’ll get there very soon.


Protect the Children

protect the kids

As much as the culture of child abuse spread through the Catholic Church – mainly into the 70’s and the decades leading to and from – and is thankfully being exposed for the filth and rot that it is – and is hopefully being eradicated – our modern society is still being conditioned to accept the unacceptable in many ways.

The film “Snow Dogs”, a product cranked out for children from the hyper-sexualized cesspool that is HollyWood, and reviewed by Terina Maldonado:

What could have been solely a fun movie for kids that would get my highest recommendation is damaged by a dark and disturbing message hidden, not so subtly between the fluffy dogs and glamorous parties of the show dog lifestyle.  As part of any dog show, contestants are judged on their abilities and physical attributes.  One part, in particular, is the inspection of the dog’s private parts.  Being that Max is new to competing, he needs to learn the process so his partner, Frank, along with a former show champion work to get him ready for the final round of the competition.  Since the inspection of the private parts will happen in the finals, Frank touches Max’s private parts to get him use to it.  Of course, Max doesn’t like it and snaps at Frank for him to stop.  Max is then told by the former champion, who has been through the process before, that he needs to go to his “zen place” while it happens so he can get through it.  More attempts are made by Frank to touch Max’s private parts, but Max is still having trouble letting it happen and keeps snapping at him., accessed 2/4/2019.

Four out of the top 20 websites in 2018 were pornography sites. That’s 20% and that doesn’t even count the pornographic content that was viewed on other popular sites, such as Reddit or Instagram. Jim O’Day, Executive Director of Integrity Restored, digs deeper into the statistics and what they have to tell us about our […]

Integrity Restored has some excellent content on helping to protect not only your children but yourself.

As does the site linked below, which helps teach you how to protect children from online predation.


The child predator is every parent’s worst nightmare. Parents watch their children closely and admonish them to never talk to strangers. But hiding in many households may be a digital child predator capable of abusing your child. The digital child predator hides in every digital device, laptop and desktop computers, smart phones, tablets and even watches.

Vigilance and knowledge. So many people think everything is absolutely horrible in the world, but nothing bad can ever happen in their own home, to their own kids.

That’s not always the case, but it’s a great goal to work towards.


Drinking Norms

Drinking Norms

One of the areas of life which I always find of interest is studying addictions. Research shows that about 80% of people recover from addictions on their own – but everyone is different.

Here in the New Orleans area we have a very alcoholic culture. For the most part, you really can’t buy ingredients for a salad without walking past huge selections of wine and alcohol. And the getting is good, with fine brands kept in just about every establishment.

So we have to learn moderation early on, along with physical activity and health guidelines.

I’ll be putting up some more links having to do with addictions of various sorts, and also various types of recovery that are going on. The New Orleans area is also right along several major paths of travel for drug running and for human trafficking, only one of which involves the port.

Here’s that picture from up top again. It’s easy to see that many people have more of a problem than they’d care to admit; and why so many people are simply choosing to say away from alcohol more often than not.

There’s nothing wrong with a good time. There does come a time when something is no longer “fun”, though, as I learned the hard way when I decided to quit smoking years ago.

Cheers. +

Drinking Norms

Non Satis Latine

Scorpio Martianus

Which means I don’t know Latin – I’ve been on a “learning Latin” kick, which is taking quite some time given that I do not have much time to put into it. That variously led to online resources, which led to Luke’s YouTube channel – or Scorpio Martianus, as it were.

But, I do love languages and am getting there slowly but surely. I find myself repeating Latin during the day, thinking of ways to remember my grocery list in Latin, translating my thoughts as I go, reading through Cicero...

Hoo boy is there a ways to go! But that’s what life is for, to have new experiences, make the most of things, meet people and share their hearts, and learn new languages.

Enarratio Lucae hic video “Dē rēctā Ecclēsiasticā prōnūntiātiōne”.

One of my friends goes ballistic when I mention Latin, I tell him just not to learn it. It’s fun, though I wish I had more time to put into it.


The Infighting will Continue until …

Grigorii, Sancti

…such point in time that the Messiah returns, riding on a cloud in glory.

Catholic news is continually stunning. Heated sides on every issue in every discussion call down the fires of judgment one upon the other; sniping for the sake of sniping is the norm in some quadrants.

Social media gives everyone a voice. But few know how to use it. Rants and raves take the place of the sharing of ideas and values. If you disagree with someone – even while admiring their courage, fortitude, and well-articulated stance – you are the enemy, and you must be destroyed. The enemy of our souls is having a field day.

It’s the world we live in and you have to have a thick skin while navigating it. I’ll chalk it up partly to Church leadership and, more specifically Catholic education here.

Stuebenville U. has the kids reading an extremely graphic novel blaspheming the Mother of Jesus Christ – assuming she could not possibly be as holy as imagined, and implying she’s just as degenerate as the author of the book.

My favorite is the idiotic statement from Steubenville about the need to prepare Catholic students to (basically) confront the real world – as if – pardon my bluntness – they’re not masturbating to anime and porn, and whatever else, as it is. Even the most basic studies show pornography has spread now into female populations, no longer the scourge of the male domain. Even the most basic studies also show that children are now exposed to pornography at an average age of 8 years old. It’s not like they have to walk into a seedy bookstore when they have instant gratification in a sleek, shiny case at their every beck and call.

So, of course, they need a college course that exposes them to the realities of sexual imagination and the coarseness of the modern culture, about which they are already very well aware, instead of showing them that it’s possible to live virtuously in that culture. That’s the stupidity of the academic world, and a major reason I bailed on it years ago, aside from not being overly good at math. Though to be fair, I was very good at algebra, geometry, and logic.

Reality will continue outside the bubble. Carry on.


The Day in San Antonio

Tree lights

So I was able to attend Sr. Imelda’s funeral what with my mad driving skillz. What a blessing.  Driving in at night the entire campus of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, located at their university,  is lit up for blocks very colorfully during Advent until Epiphany.  

Funerals are always a great thing to attend; some sad, some joyful.  It’s important to give some sort of witness to the life of the deceased, to pray for the repose of their soul and the comfort of the grieving; to remember fondly the deceased.

I also was able to visit with some of the nuns that I knew from my days at St. Catherine.

the nuns

I ran into these two while I was there, St. Kathleen Reynolds and Sr. Shirley Vaughan. Sr. Shirley I knew from the Vaughan family – St. Kathleen was so surprised I remembered her and remembered her name – and recognized her.

I always wondered what happened to her, and wondered if I would see her there. After the Mass and burial, she was standing there looking at me, and I immediately recognized her because she still has the same mannerisms and quirky energetic attitude. I said a few words at the end of the Mass – I was asked very impromptu and off cuff, and I felt like hiding under the chair after – and mentioned I had first met Sr. Imelda in 1974. So she was saying she may have taught me. Meanwhile, I was saying. “Sr. Kathleen!”

I missed saying hello to a few other of the sisters that I know because there is only so much time in the day. But it was great saying hello to everyone.

Beautiful time with a beautiful community. Now, it’s off to a beautiful night’s sleep.


Sanctissimi Nominis Jesu

salva fac nos

DId you know?

And I’ll bet you didn’t. That Sanctissimi Nominis Jesu is the Feast celebrated today, the day after the Octave Day of Christmas , i.e. January Second. The Litany of the Holy Name is a simple prayer for today.

I’ve been working on some things about the church. There’s just too much out there to focus on whilst tending to the pastoral needs and the business of the Parish. (At least I finally realized that and no longer make excuses for it – we’re just busy, man!)

Below is the famous Salvos fac nos, which is the gradual from the Mass for the day. The gradual is – of course – the response said (sung by a schola during a sung Mass,) between the Epistle and the Gospel immediately before the Allelulia (if there is one, which there is, in this case.)


Ps 105:47

Save us, O Lord, our God, and gather us from among the nations, that we may give thanks to Your holy Name and glory in praising You.

Ps 144:21

May my mouth speak the praise of the Lord, and may all flesh bless His holy Name. Alleluia.

And a Chant

Most Sacred Name of Jesus, pray for us.


Requiscat in Pace

Class of '75

God Bless Sr. Imelda, she was one of a kind, and always will be. She’s second from the right in the featured photo here.

Forged in religious life amongst the varied worlds of Pre-Vatican 2, Vatican 2, and post Vatican 2 – she faithfully executed her duties, took over the helm of a growing and dynamic parish school in her late fifties, and continued strongly until finally succumbing at the age of 94.

So many fond memories.

When questioned why our school taught French instead of Spanish – which was ‘more practical’ – she famously said, “We teach French because it’s more sophisticated.” Which has a lot of truth to it. I appreciated that in high school, and later when I finally made my way to France and was able to make my way around w/ little help from my dictionary. Everyone thought I was from Germany or Italy.

I don’t know if that’s good or not. But…

Sr. Imelda was one of a kind, in a great way.


Requiscat in Pace, Sr. Imelda Moriarity.


Stephen the Protomartyr

Feast of St. Stephen.

“Grant us, we beseech You, O Lord, to imitate what we celebrate, so that we may learn to love even our enemies; because we keep the anniversary of the death of Him Who knew how to plead even for His persecutors with our Lord, Jesus Christ, Your Son,”

Listening to the rain fall, and the wind howl – I love those sounds.

St. Stephen, patron of Deacons, pray for us.