Saturday, April 30, 2005

From shame to pride

With the death of Pope John Paul II and the subsequent election of Pope Benedict XVI, the month of April was, for me, a time to reflect on my Catholic upbringing. I’ve made previous references to closely watching the ceremonies taking place in Vatican City and I’ve now reached a type of reconciliation with my past.

As with many young people raised in the church, I was active during my elementary school years, even reaching slightly into my junior high time. I attended C.C.D. and was an alter boy for about 2-3 years. Yet upon my entry into adulthood, I became bored (as did many of my contemporaries) with the entire culture of the church, along with the revelation that I now had a choice as to whether or not I attended. After my college years I became a Protestant for several reasons.

Being around other Protestants, I quickly began to feel a sense of shame about my Catholic upbringing. Some people were congratulatory, as if I had escaped the Gulag. Others were more direct about their hatred of the Catholic Church. Therefore I vowed to keep my spiritual upbringing quiet. Until now.

Seeing the outpouring of tributes and grief after the death of John Paul II and around the same time having a conversation with Geogal about how many Protestant churches ignore the importance of liturgy, I then realized the Catholic Church has many positives, even if its shortcomings have been under a media microscope for the past two years. These problems can be addressed and positive change can occur. But the basic mission of the Church is unchanged. And for that, I am proud to have been raised Catholic.

Speaking of the Catholic Church and the election of Benedict XVI, here is a column that is worth reading. (Hat tip-Hugh Hewitt)

Monday, April 25, 2005

Don't stop the music

A very OK weekend! No complaints! Geogal finally got her I-Pod Shuffle out of the box and working. She already has a playlist downloaded to the thing and was bopping around the house most of the weekend. Making me jealous, as I have yet to own any MP3 device.

Lileks had a great entry today about how retailers tend to decrease in customer service as they increase in size. Reminds me of the time I spent the better part of two years taking parts orders for Sears many eons ago. (Don’t laugh, I needed to eat.) I still remember the day Geogal told me it was OK to up and quit, after I had endured difficult supervisors and a litany of cranky callers one rough Saturday. I called that day “Liberation Day.” It was an annual celebration in our house for several years following.

Doesn’t a celebration call for a gift? Like an I-Pod Shuffle?

But a check of my mental calendar reminds me that Liberation Day is in September. Hmmmmmm, what monumental event happened in our household in, say, May or June?

Monday, April 18, 2005

Decreased stress

Geoana's birthday (and related party) have come and gone. Geogal's b-day is nearly here but no worries about a party (being an adult has numerous positives)!

While obtaining supplies for Geoana's party, I noticed that 6-packs of the popular sodas are nearly impossible to find. Is this another sign of the end times?

Spent Sunday afternoon relaxing and FINALLY watching the VHS recording of the Pope's funeral. (No, Tivo is not in my house just yet.) It's finally time to blog again.

Geoana really enjoyed her party. And the house is still standing. All in all, a wonderful weekend.

A delayed post

The following was originally written the evening of April 7. Before I was able to post it, Geogal unplugged the cable modem to use it for her work-related laptop. Since we are all awaiting the election of the next Pope, I still think it is relevant:


Finally am able to spend a few minutes here at the keyboard. I know, I know. No new entries for some time. Blame that on a heavy work schedule, work at home preparing for Geoana’s upcoming birthday party, lack of sleep, and Geogal getting over strep throat.

Did I mention high stress?

In the tradition of many bloggers it seems fitting at this time, as Pope John Paul II’s funeral will begin in a few hours, to write something meaningful and insightful about his tenure heading the Roman Catholic Church. I don’t know about the meaningful or insightful, but I can still share my random thoughts.

I was a geeky almost-teenager when he was elected pope in 1978. I was raised Catholic, and the election of the Pope was closely followed in our house. It wasn’t until many years later that I learned the significance of a man from Poland being chosen Pope. Now, with the benefit of over 26 years of hindsight, I believe I was witness to a major change in the papacy. Over this past week many writers and commentators recall John Paul II was the most-traveled Pope in history. My memories of him will be much more than that. I think he changed the papacy and the church in ways that are only beginning to be noticed. I believe history will recall him as ushering in modern era of sorts for an office that was stodgy, to say the least. Yet, he didn’t usher in any sweeping changes to the church, either in tradition or in canon law. But what an impact he had on young people. I heard testimonials from the twentysomthings of today who credit this pontiff for inspiring them.

I certainly cannot say the same about Pope Paul VI (no disrespect intended). Nor, do I think, will the Pope to follow quite measure up.