More Than a Building

Our Lady of the Nativity Church in Louisiana, where I usually go to church.

I thought I’d blog about how the Covid19 virus, aka the Corona virus, has affected my life so far and address the people who are criticizing the bishops for cancelling Mass (hopefully, it will come back for Palm Sunday, but I doubt it).

The week before the Quarantine was enacted, our priest told us the Mass would only serve the Host, and only the priest would be allowed to drink the Precious Blood (since everyone drinks from the same chalice. He also told us not to shake hands during the Sign of Peace and/or hold hands during the Our Father. We were not permitted to receive the Host on the tongue, but it was insisted that we receive it in the hand. (Our priest reminded us that Vatican II permits this practice.) I usually take the Host by hand anyway, so that wasn’t different.

Now with the quarantine, churches are closed. Many priests and Bishops (including my favorite, Bishop Robert Barron) are now live-streaming Mass on YouTube or Facebook instead of at the actual church. My local library branch was doing curbside pickup, but they suspended that now, at least until April 4. (As far as I know. That may change. Probably not. I hope) You have to call ahead, and then they come out and give you the books or whatever you requested. People are panicking and selfishly hoarding toilet paper and other items.

Many people are criticizing the actions of the bishops, but I believe these arguments are wrong. I’ll go through each one.

1. “We should still receive the Host on the tongue.” As I stated, Vatican II says that is permitted . Do you want the person who is giving you the Eucharist to get sick by touching your tongue?

2. “The churches shouldn’t be closed. We need to show that we are braver than the virus.” There is bravery, and there is public safety. You might not even know you have the virus and then you might unknowingly pass it on to those who cannot protect themselves. Loving our neighbors included being mindful of their health as well as our own. And by the way, during outbreaks of the Bubonic Plague, churches were closed.

3. “The Host and Precious Blood will protect us because Jesus is present. We need to be fed.” Although Christ is indeed present in both, the properties (or “accidents”, to use a more canonical term) of both are still present. If you are celiac, you cannot eat bread, including the Host. In fact, some churches actually do serve gluten-free or low-gluten Hosts. If you drink enough of the Precious Blood, you will still get drunk. If someone poisons either one, the poison is not removed. It will still kill you. This argument reduces the Bread and Wine to magical items.

We are more fortunate than we realize. During the Middle Ages, Christianity wasn’t as widespread as it is today. People couldn’t go as often as we do. Today, we can make a spiritual communion by watching Mass. We don’t even have to be in church!

Our Catholic faith is more than the concrete and bricks in the churches. Jesus is present in the Host and the wine, but He is also present in our hearts. We should be taking this opportunity to unite ourselves in prayer. That can also show our solidarity as the family of God.

We are in the season of Lent. During this time, Jesus is calling us out to the desert. Let us meet him there. We can still connect with him spiritually. Our technology is much more advanced than it was in the days of plagues, and we might have a cure sooner than we think. Let’s all be obedient disciples and obey the wishes of our bishops and priests. They know what is best for us. God will get us through this.

The Fictional Spectrum: Entrapta

Up until now, my Fictional Spectrum series has been focused on heroes. This time, I’ve chosen someone who isn’t a hero. At least, not yet.

Netflix has been airing a reboot of the 80’s toy-driven cartoon She-Ra: Princess of Power that is being created by Noelle Stephenson. I was interested because I grew up with the original series (and its distaff counterpart), and I wanted to see what new possibilities she could bring. 

When Entrapta was introduced, I suspected right away that she was on the autism spectrum. (And now thanks to leaked character designs, it’s been confirmed by Stephenson herself) The Princesses try their best to sway her allegiance, but she really doesn’t seem interested. She only joins out of curiosity.

If you isolate the caption, you see the phrase “as an autistic”

Entrapta has difficulty making friends. In fact, when we meet her, the only true friend she has is her robot Emily. A few episodes later, the Rebellion accidentally leaves her behind in The Fright Zone, the headquarters of the Evil Horde. Even though she helps the Horde, she does not truly believe in their cause. All she’s interested in is all the ancient technology they’ve acquired. She’s only interested in science for science’s sake, not for good or evil.

 It’s only at the end of season 3 that she starts to realize the consequences of her actions. When she sees the damage the portals can do, she tries to stop the Horde. She realizes the portal will rewrite the fabric of reality itself, and wants no part in that. But it’s too late, and Catra exiles her to Beast Island. It is here that she is reunited with the Rebellion. She learns that Adora never gave up on her. Not that that is what convinces her to change sides. Nope, in true autistic fashion, they have to play to her interests and entice her with their own ancient technology.

I think it’s cool that She-Ra has introduced an autistic character in this way. I definitely want to see how she evolves further. This is how you represent a disability, not by checking off a box, but by fully realizing how multifaceted a character can be.

Nostalgia Critic: The Wall

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I used to be a huge fan of the Nostalgia Critic back when he used Blip to load his videos on his website, That Guy With The Glasses. He eventually changed it to Channel Awesome, to make you think he was getting more than just him. He was and he wasn’t. I loved the anniversary shows, where he’d get everyone who was on the channel with him. And then I heard about Change the Channel, and everything his former partners said happened. That made me stop.

And then I heard about his parody of Pink Floyd’s album The Wall and the movie adaptation. He’d even timed it good, because last year was the 40th anniversary of the release of the album (he actually had the video go up in September, not December when the album was actually released.) . As a Pink Floyd fan, I was angry about this. I have decided I will NEVER watch Doug Walker again, no matter what stunt he pulls again. He has gone too far this time.

Now I am not going to say Pink Floyd had the perfect discography. No one does. There are some Pink Floyd albums I don’t go back to. There are some that fans don’t celebrate as much as The Wall, Dark Side of the  Moon, or even Animals. I am not going to say The Wall is something everyone will like. But it is a celebrated masterpiece. I’m not saying you can’t parody it. But not the way Doug Walker did.

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New Flash to Catholics: Netflix Doesn’t Care About You

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Image description: Netflix’s screen for “The First Temptation of Christ”, a Netflix spoof featuring a gay Jesus that debuted during the Christmas season in 2019

Last year, Netflix got under a lot of fire with Catholics. Sometime after Georgia passed a new law outlawing abortion after the first trimester,  Netflix announced they would no longer film in Georgia unless the law was changed. Many actors, such as Alyssa Milano, also protested on social media. As a result of this, Catholics I know on social media announced that they would “hit Netflix where it hurt”, meaning they would cancel their accounts. I was not one of them, and some Catholics I knew in groups on social media actually told me I was a “bad Catholic”. The fervor died down, as it always does. Then it got fired up again, because apparently Netflix wasn’t done ticking off their Catholic patrons. They released The First Temptation of Christ, a Netflix feature with a gay Jesus bringing his gay lover to see his parents. A bishop in Texas decried it, even though he admitted he doesn’t have the time to watch Netflix anyway. The bishop was quoted in the article linked, saying that “blasphemers don’t deserve one penny.” Again, many Catholics announced that they too would be cancelling their accounts.

Continue reading “New Flash to Catholics: Netflix Doesn’t Care About You”

Ohio Has It Wrong

There have been many states where pro-life laws have been passed. While I see this as a good thing in most cases, there is one case where it causes concern. And one is in Ohio, where the latest pro-life law has even included ectopic pregnancies.

For those who are unaware, a normal pregnancy occurs in the uterus, and the baby will grow normally. But in ectopic pregnancies, the pregnancy occurs in the fallopian tubes. This can lead to death if they are not properly removed. These people have this law all wrong.

In Catholic moral teaching, we have a principle called “double-effect.” According to this principle, aborting an ectopic pregnancy, even though it will result in the death of a fetus, is morally justifiable. You are not killing, you are saving a mother’s life. The death of the fetus in this one case, is an unfortunate consequence.

I’m all for ending abortion. But not in the case of ectopic pregnancy. This is not about pro-life issues. This is about controlling women.

One Faith, Many Paths: Sister Elizabeth Ann Dockery

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I’ve always wanted to interview a religious sister, and now I have my chance. Here’s my interview with Sister Elizabeth Ann Dockery.

1. What was your childhood like? I came from a broken home and lived in poverty. There were constant trials and tragedies, yet I was surrounded by love, especially my holy grandparents who raised me and encouraged me by example to have faith and trust in God. I began working at a young age so I could have nicer clothes, take music lessons, etc. I excelled in everything I did thanks to the gifts of perseverance, grace, and old-fashioned hard work, resulting in full scholarships for both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. What seemed to be all odds against me ended up being a huge blessing with all of the life tools I ended up with.

2. Are you a convert to Catholicism or were you a cradle Catholic? Convert from the Church of the Nazarene.

3. What is your favorite biblical passage and why? 2 Cor 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.” This is my favorite passage because the Lord has proven to me time and time again that His grace truly is sufficient and that my weaknesses are actually strengths in him.

4. Who is your favorite biblical figure besides Jesus? Elijah.

5. How did you discern that you had a calling to be a Sister? I met a Sister in a post office one day. I had never seen one before and was intrigued as a fairly new Catholic. She spoke with me and invited me to their convent. After two weeks of declining invitations I finally went. Upon arrival, I felt a peace which surpassed my understanding and like I was “home”. From that time forth I went there as often as I could as a volunteer. One day my boyfriend of 5 years said to me, “Do you realize you spend more time with the Sisters now than you do me?” It was then I realized I might have a vocation.  I broke up with him, got a spiritual director, went on several “come and see” retreats and entered religious life after the Lord confirmed my calling with several signs.

6. Which order does your convent belong to and what makes it unique? We are Fransciscan. We are unique in that we live by faith–praying for provision, living in poverty without the securities of health insurance, regular income, etc. Prayer, praise, and evangelization are at the heart of our charism and ministry.  While home, we are quite contemplative, living on an 840-acre ranch called “Prayer Town”. For ministry, we go all over the world doing short-term missions such as retreats, speaking at conferences, parish missions, youth events, and so forth. Then we return to contemplative life. It is a constant cycle of being filled then giving, just as St. Francis did. Praise is a way of life for us. We are charismatic.

7. What is the difference between a sister and a nun? A nun is fully cloistered and does not go from the convent, except with permission from a bishop. Sisters are those who are non-cloistered, which are most of us. Basically, if they are in public they are Sisters.

8. What are your duties as a nun? What service do you provide to your community outside of your convent? I am the Mission Advancement Director both inside and outside our convent. I am also head of our music department, overseeing and taking care of the instruments, books, training, and so forth. In addition, in the convent, I help keep the mission house I live in cleaned and maintained in my chore areas, help with cooking, yard work, and anything else regular people have to do when they own a house.

Continue reading “One Faith, Many Paths: Sister Elizabeth Ann Dockery”

Bone is coming to Netflix!

One of my favorite comic books is coming to Netflix. Self-published by Jeff Smith in the 90’s,  Bone is the story of 3 cousins who are exiled from their hometown of Boneville and eventually arrive in a medieval village called Barrelhaven. Smith has tried without success to get the series animated by both Nickelodeon and Warner Bros, and I actually thought it was never going to happen. And now it is! So, I’ve decided to pick out who I think should do the voices for each character. I’ll include previous roles so you can picture them better in your head.

bone Fone Bone: Our protagonist would be voiced by Maxey Whitehead, best known as the voice of Alphonse Elric in  Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood.

smileySmiley Bone: Fone’s tallest and inept cousin would be voiced by Bill Farmer, currently the voice of Goofy.

phoney Phoney Bone: The richest Bone in Boneville would be Rob Paulsen. He’s best known as the voice of Raphael in the 80’s version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Yakko Warner on  Animaniacs.

thorn Thorn: The heroine of Bone and Fone’s romantic interest would be voiced by Michelle Creber, best known as Apple Bloom on My Little Pony Friendship is Magic.

grandmabenGrandma Ben I have two choices for this one. My first pick is Betty White, but if she dies before this becomes a reality, I’d settle for Tabitha St. Germain, who played two roles on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: Rarity and Granny Smith. I think her Granny Smith voice would be perfect.

luciusLucius Down: The tough-minded bartender of Barrelhaven would be voiced by John DiMaggio, aka Bender on Futurama. I’d probably want him to do his Aquaman voice he did on Batman: The Brave and the Bold.

Continue reading “Bone is coming to Netflix!”