Wednesday, December 17, 2014

In Name Only

There is an insightful piece by an anonymous author at First Things on their experiences at their "Catholic But Not Too Catholic" school and church. Who Am I To Judge?

At noon I have to be at the local Catholic school—let’s call it St. Dismas—to train altar servers. I will arrive a few minutes early, and by 12:05 most of the kids will have trickled in. We are in Southern California, so most of the boys at St. Dismas wear short pants year-round. Students are required to attend one Mass per month with the school, but it has never occurred to anyone, not their parents, not the pastor, not the teachers, and certainly not the students, that they should wear pants to Mass. The girls wear skirts that in 1966 would have been described as “micro-minis.” When I told the boys’ parents that I expected them to wear their uniform pants to Mass when they become servers, the school principal—a genial thirty-something man who insists on the rigorous use of the title “Dr.” but often wears sweatpants and flip-flops to work—cornered me outside his office for a talk. He warned me that I might get some pushback from parents on the pants requirement. “We are only a medium-Catholic school,” he informed me. “We’re not really that Catholic.”

When we walk as a group into the nave (the church itself is almost barren of Catholic art or iconography), none of the kids bow or genuflect before the tabernacle. They are unaware that this is something they should do. They don’t know, because none of these children attend Mass on Sunday. When they do become altar servers, they will be dropped off moments before Mass begins and picked up by an idling SUV before the organ has finished the recessional. From time to time, the parents of altar servers can be seen standing outside the church, hunched over a smart phone, killing time while they wait for Mass to finish.

At this point in the school year, the first-time altar servers have developed a rudimentary understanding of what is expected of them during Mass, but when they began their training in September they needed quite a lot of attention. As I said, they attend Mass once a month with their class, but never on Sunday. Therefore, none of them are aware of the Gloria, the Credo, or the Second Reading. On the first day of training, several kids made the Sign of the Cross in the eastern fashion, and I had to take several minutes to correct them. I brought this up with a member of the school administration, and she was somewhat surprised. The kids say a morning prayer each day, she said, and they begin with the Sign of the Cross. It’s possible that no one ever corrected them. I have never seen any of the teachers at Holy Mass, so it seems likely that this sort of attention to detail isn’t a priority for them either.

The children know nothing of vestments, sacramentals, the prayers of the Church other than the Hail Mary and the Our Father, feast days, or the concept of Sanctifying Grace. None has been to confession since the first one, but all receive communion without any thought. If their parents are forced into Mass, they too will line up for communion and receive it happily and without qualm. The teachers aren’t practicing Catholics, the parents aren’t practicing Catholics, and the parish priest would never dare suggest to the congregation that they go to confession. He correctly understands that there would be outrage among his flock.


Keep reading the piece. It gets even better worse and is a perfect example of what ails too many Catholic parishes in America today. I foresee a day soon when there will be a shaking out within the Church which will lead to a separation of those who are more serious about their Catholic faith and those who are more loosely connected. It will likely mean a smaller Church, but hopefully a much stronger one.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Media Alert: HWX on AM1280 the Patriot

They said it would be a warm day in December when Hinderaker and Ward returned to the concrete bunker of AM1280 the Patriot, at least for something other than a legal deposition.

Looks like we get the last laugh on that one.

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Back by popular demand, for one show only (filling in for Mitch Berg, who's taking a rare and well deserve break), the Hinderaker Ward Experience, from 1-3 pm today on AM1280 the Patriot.

And like today's weather, it's not the heat of this broadcast that will get you (a tepid 42), it's the humidity  - at 100%!  I think that's the functional equivalent of being underwater, so for goodness sake people stay indoors, stay safe, and stay glued to your radios.

Guests include:

*  Rep. Michele Bachmann, reminiscing on her 8 years in office, what she learned, where she's going, and what's it all about Alfie.

*  John Nolte of Breitbart.com, the point man on debunking the Lena Dunham allegations of a Republican rapist at Oberlin College.

Also Loon of the Week, This Week in Gate Keeping, and more surprises.

Check us out, from 1 - 3pm central, LIVE on AM1280 or via the internet on I Heart Radio.   Don't you dare miss it.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Revolution Brewing Among the Masses

I was provided with fresh evidence of the scale and scope of the craft beer revolution last month while on a business trip in Asia. On previous trips to the region, it was difficult to find good beer alternatives to the ubiquitous mass produced offerings like Asahi, Tiger, Tsingtao, etc. You might be able to find Guinness or Paulaner or if you looked hard enough other decent British, German or Belgian imports, but it was a long way from the craft beer cornucopia that we've come to enjoy in these here United States.

While there still is a long way to go in this regard, there definitely have been some great leaps forward. In Shanghai, the hotel I stayed in had an onsite craft brewery called The Brew. While they had a bit of a problem with naming redundancy, most of their offerings were decent and their double IPA was very solid.

Like "ATM machine"

Delicious Double IPA

I was also able to find another local craft brewer in Shanghai called Reberg. I sampled a few of their styles at a grocery store and picked up a bottle of hefeweizen. The beer itself was pretty average. The aluminum bottle with a peel off cap however was rather unique. It reminded me of the old reusable bottles that milk was delivered in.


Craft beer’s continuing creep in China was also on display in Nanjing where I found a convenience store in a tourist area touting it.


This advert naturally drew me in to investigate and I found that they indeed had a selection of craft beers, including some American favorites.


In case you don't recognize the labels, the bottles are brown and summer ales straight out of Brooklyn. They also had a few styles from California's North Coast Brewing and Red Hook in addition to quality craft selections from other countries.

The last stop of my trip was in Singapore. I was able to brew pub within walking distance of my hotel. While the prices were steep (three beers and a calamari app cost $62), the beer was quite good (especially the English style double IPA).

The craft beer revolution is here. And there. Let's hope it soon spreads everywhere.