Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Rant: Clapping at Mass and Secularized Music

I don't know about you guys but my newest pet peeve is clapping in church. It gets on my very last nerve. I want to scream "DON'T CLAP THIS ISN'T A PERFORMANCE HALL!"

I am not alone in this sentiment. According to Catholic Answers Apologist Michelle Arnold:
"Applause that is meant to critique a performance is
inappropriate at Mass because it gives the impression that
the Mass is a performance offered to them for their approval
rather than worship that is offered up to God for his glory."

Pope Benedict XVI had this to say while writing as Cardinal Ratzinger in The Spirit of the Liturgy in 2000:
“Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence
of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a
kind of religious entertainment. Such attraction fades
quickly – it cannot compete in the market of leisure
pursuits, incorporating as it increasingly does various
forms of religious titillation.”

I don't know if it's more prevalent now or if it's just recently started to truly get to me, but within the last year I'm seeing it more and more. It's not only in my parish but other parishes as well. At the end of mass, a holy sacrament, people clap after the recessional. What is with that? The mass is NOT done for your entertainment. The music is not meant to be enjoyable it's meant to praise God.

I think the false impression that the mass is their for entertainment may stem from the fact that the music tends to have an underlying contemparary/pop music tone to it. I feel that Protestant praise and worship songs DO NOT belong in mass. They do possibly belong as an alternative to the secular cultures idea of music. I would prefer to hear Christian music over the majority of the immoral pop and alternative music being blared on the radio waves.

If you would have told me three years ago that I would be pleading to hear chant I would have told you that you were crazy. More recently, I have discovered that chant is a very nice alternative to the poor and often heretical things being sung during the majority of Catholic masses and practically all "teen" masses. I am not saying that Chant is the only form of music appropriate for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, but I am saying that it was written specifically for the Mass with the idea of praising God as it's sole purpose.

According to Sacrosanctum Concilium from Vatican II:
"The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things
being equal, it should be given pride of place in
liturgical services.

But other kinds of sacred music, especially polyphony,
are by no means excluded from liturgical celebrations, so long as they accord with the spirit of the liturgical action, as laid down in Art. 30."

I think if chant was done more often during mass we would have less clapping for the sheer reason that the congregation would be more inclined to exercise fear/ awe of the Lord, one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. I know that I feel much smaller in comparison to the greatness of God everytime I hear chant during a mass. At those masses you could hear a pin drop. Even the young children tend to feel the difference.
In comparison, at my local parish I wait to see how many people will clap this week. It is disappointing, the numbers grow every weekend. I am unsure if people are just ignorant of the inappropriateness of their actions, or if we as Catholics have stooped so low to think our approval is needed.

More disturbing to me is the clapping and dancing in the pews at many "teen" masses. I know I was guilty of this as a teen because it was almost expected at my former parish. I always felt that it was wrong but was already enough of an outcast that I didn't want to dig myself in farther by not "participating." Now, that I am a more informed Catholic adult, I realize that we should have left such actions for the Protestants, dances and parties. Cardinal Francis Arinze, former Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, talks about the inappropriateness of such actions in the western Latin rite mass and the reasoning against it. Hear what he has to say by watching this YouTube Video. I have to totally agree.

I am now getting off of my soap box. Please comment. I want to hear what my readers have to say.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Passing it on Recipe

I've been reading A Broken Fortress lately. She is a much better recipe person than I am because she includes pictures. The recipe I'm sharing from her blog is Chicken with Broccoli Cheese Rice About a week ago The Baron and I had this for dinner. I really enjoyed it so I thought I'd pass it on to anyone who reads my blog. We are having it again tonight by the way. It's so easy and I have left over broccoli.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What not to wear

Cam at A Year of Dresses commented that she had gone out to eat with her mother and some of her friends for lunch and noted that many of the girls were wearing really short shorts, tall boots and jackets. Another person commented that in their area it was short jeans skirts and tall boots. Sadly it's not only their areas that are plagued with this micro short, jacket, tall boot combo. It seems to be a blooming style. Why girls wear such things in 30 degree and colder weather is beyond me. I'm hoping it stops soon. My other advice to girls is that legging tights are NOT PANTS! so don't wear them with the false idea that they are. A micro dress and leggings don't cut it.

The Baron and I went out to eat with his family for his sisters conformation and I was appalled at what the women had on in the restaurant. The necklines were so low that their breast were practically falling out. Others had on pants and shorts so tight I swear they could have been painted on because you could see every line and bump. One girl really looked like she was a stripper. Strapless bustier top, skin tight low rise jeans, and at least 4 to 5 inch heals. It was like a train wreck, you know you shouldn't look but you just do. Now I remember why we don't tend to go out to eat during peak hours. If I'm that uncomfortable I can just imagine how my husband feels. He and I have a code, when one of us sees someone who is not dressed appropriately we say free drink and the other looks down at their feet.

As I've mentioned before The Baron and I teach conformation classes at our local church. Lately I've been noticing that the girls are wearing clothes that cover less and less of their bodies and the clothes they do tend to wear gets tighter and tighter. I know that this isn't only happening here but is an epidemic in our society. What can these girls think of themselves if they don't have enough respect to cover themselves when going out of the house. Where are their parents? I am finding that more and more individuals are wearing less and less to mass. And I'm not just talking about teenagers. If they aren't willing to cover their bodies in a place of worship where will they? How do we stop this? I used to be appalled at strapless dresses now I'd be happy if those strapless dresses weren't cut down to their navels. I realize that it is difficult to find appropriately covering clothes without looking frumpy but I think if more women demanded it more designers would be making it. If we keep going at this rate before we know it we will be wearing nothing but underwear and then what? Being nude? Come one people. Have respect for yourself and stop putting yourself out there like a piece of meat. I here my teenage girls complain that the guys don't respect them. I hear married women complain that their husbands don't treat them right and they cheat on them. I believe that a lot could be done for our society if people would just stand up and say no more. No more of this. I am a lady and I will dress and act like one. I demand that the men around me treat me as a lady. But instead we are not treating ourselves with the respect that we deserve as God's creations. How can we expect others to treat us the way we know is right and just?

Chicken and Bowtie Pasta with Asiago Cream Sauce

Hello all you blog readers,
I made the best artery clogging terrible for you dinner last night but it was SOOOO GOOD. It was Chicken and Bowtie Pasta with Asiago Cream Sauce from the page. We decided to have Dayna and her family from "Trying to be the change I want to see.." over. We had green salad, croissants, the Chicken and Bowtie Pasta with Asiago Cream Sauce and Lucky Duck Cabernet Sauvignon. Chewbaby had pigs in a blanket and Maria cookies. Over all it was a good night with friends.

Some improvements to the Chicken and Bowtie Pasta with Asiago Cream Sauce were made.
(Made 10 servings instead of 6)
1. I added 3 slices of crumbled bacon.
2. I seasoned my chicken with Cajun seasoning, ground red and black pepper and some Accent.
3. I poured most of the bacon grease out and I cooked my chicken in what remained on the bottom. (I know terrible for you).
4. I used half whipping cream and half fat free half and half instead of all whipping cream.
5. I added finely chopped onions (about 1/4 cup), 3 cups of mushrooms ( we love mushrooms), and cooked it in 2 Tbs butter, 2 tbs olive oil and some of the bacon grease (I know your rolling your eyes but I don't mind. I started telling you it was SO bad for you.)
6. I only cooked one box of bowtie and it was enough.

I am kind of sad I didn't make more because I wouldn't mind having it for dinner tonight. Instead I'm going to make the semi-homemade pizza.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

An Early Fish Friday Recipe

Today the Baron's car lost all of it's radiator coolant so I had to drop him off at work after lunch. The Baron and I went to mass after I picked him up from work and by the time we got home from Mass and Adoration it was getting a bit late. I wanted something quick and easy that was filling and warm because this southern girl thinks it's cold when it's in the mid to low 30s. I decided on Campbell's Brothy Shrimp and Rice Scampi. It is much more like a soup than shrimp scampi. It's very yummy on a cold night. Serve immediately. This is not something that you can let stand because the rice keeps absorbing the liquid and you end up with soggy rice and no broth. (A mistake I've made twice). Let me know if you make this and tell me what you thought of it. To make it easier on some of you who can't figure out how to use the hyperlink I'll include the recipe below. The recipe claims that it serves 4 but I know it fills up 2 adults very well.

Campbell's Brothy Shrimp and Rice Scampi

3 1/2 cups Swanson® Chicken Broth or Swanson® Chicken Stock

3/4 cup uncooked regular long-grain white rice

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound fresh or frozen large shrimp, peeled and deveined

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 medium green onions, thinly sliced (about 1/4 cup)

  • Heat the broth in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat to a boil . Stir in the rice. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender.
  • Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and garlic. Cook and stir for 5 minutes or until the shrimp are cooked through.
  • Divide the shrimp among 3 serving bowls. Stir the lemon juice into the saucepan. Pour the rice mixture over the shrimp. Top with the onions.

As usually I have a few improvements.
1. Season the shrimp with Accent (MSG) and/or Cajun seasoning.
2. I tend to leave out the lemon.
3. I also tend to but a bit more chicken broth to extend the soup.

Monday, January 10, 2011

America: Crumbling Nation

"As I have often said, moral standards are the measure of society. Every great nation and every great empire in history had a moral falling away before they eventually collapsed.” Robert Walter's words are very disheartening, for we as a nation have seen the values we hold dear fall by the wayside. Cheating and lying run rampant in schools, while sex and violence are found not only in the slums but also in our own homes via television. How can we as a society stand around and watch our great America crumble before our very eyes? On September 12, 2001, we stood up to the terrorists, saying that we were Americans and would not be dispirited. At the same time, we were allowing our great country to fall into ruins by permitting immorality to surround us. America is a society with deteriorating values. This decline is shown by our lack of honesty and integrity, our allowance of the media to justify immorality, and our disrespect of ourselves and others.

Honesty and integrity are two of the qualities upon which this great nation was built, yet today we do not seem to find them very important. Cheating has always been a problem, but these days it is an everyday occurrence. Everyone from elementary children to CEOs of companies are doing it. According to Joseph's Institute of Ethics, 71% of all high school students have admitted that they cheated in an exam at least once. Jane Esiner reports that when students were asked if they would report another student for cheating, 93% said they would not. These traits lead to trouble not only in schools but also in the work place. Corporate CEOs are cheating both their companies and their investors out of money under the pretense of “compensation packages." As if that is not bad enough, our former President was allowed to remain in office even after he was impeached. Have we sunk so deep that we do not demand more of our Presidents?

The American public may be dismissing these [unethical] behaviors as commonplace because they are. Betty Wein said “I think Americans are insidiously being desensitized to decadence, to violence, and to barbarism." This desensitization may be a result of the messages that the media is sending out. For example, soap operas have made sleeping around and divorcing look easy.] According to The Catholic Weekly, “We have come to know that ‘I do’ professed at a soap opera wedding really means, ‘I do, until someone better comes along’” The music we listen to is also full of immoral messages. According to Billboard Magazine, "Popular music is a vehicle for racism, sexual hatred and the encouragement of sociopathic violence. Whenever a culture condones or accepts such practices because of their lucrative aspects, or pretends they are to be isolated or ignored, then the inherent falsehoods can flourish, infecting and despoiling the social contract itself."

Another problem we are facing is our lack of respect. People today do not seem to respect anything. Women today do not even respect themselves. Brown University's Children and Adolescent Behavior Letter states, "At one time, exposed midriffs and bare backs, shoulders, arms and legs were found mainly at the nearest beach or poolside. Today, however, this mode of dress--or undress-- appears regularly at public middle and high schools across the country." This may be one of the causes for the rise in premarital sex. According to several surveys, as many as half the teens age thirteen through nineteen are saying they have had oral sex and nearly one-tenth are reporting they lost their virginity before the age of 13. Even more alarming is the rise in pornography profits. According to the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography in its 1996 report, peep shows are the biggest moneymaking portion of the porn industry, with annual national net profits projected at $2,000,000,000. Porn is a very lucrative business. In fact, Ginger , a former peep show entertainer, put herself through New York University performing in the peeps and maintains that the shows are innocuous fun. "It's a safe, harmless way to have some erotica in one's life. It is certainly victimless and should be accepted in society." Eve (a peep show performer) states, “It's a job just like any other job. You're going to make money. You're going to do things that are going to give you nightmares, but you deal with it. You count your money and you don't think about it." How can women think so little of themselves that they are willing to put themselves *[their bodies] on display for money?

Our society is descending immorality at an alarming rate. If something is not done soon, we, like many of the great empires before us, shall crumble, only to be read about in history books. If American society is to continue to thrive and flourish, we must find ways to reestablish the values we have lost. Honesty and integrity must become our common goal if our nation is to survive. Americans must demand moral programs and music from the media, and we must learn to respect ourselves as wonderful creatures. With these and admirable values, America can return to being the great nation it can be.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Semi- Homemade pizza

So tonight was pizza night. When I asked the Baron what he wanted for dinner he said... Pizza sounds good. So pizza it was. I'm going to let all of you know about my little pizza secret. Buy Red Baron pizza on sale (2.99 or less) and them help it along. Not really sure how much the pizza ends up costing because most of the time I tend to have the ingredients on hand. But I'm pretty sure it's less than the $26.00 that the chain stores want for it and mine has a lot more toppings. Mine looks more like deep dish. I usually start off with a layer of pepperoni, then cheep pre-packaged deli ham cut into triangles, then olives, bell pepper, and mushrooms, another layer of pepperonis and ham then cheese. Put it in the oven for about 25 min or until the cheese is starting to turn golden. I tend to use my pizza stone because I find it adsorbs some of the water and helps to keep the crust more crispy. After it's done I put caramelized onions on it. I caramelize my onions in the microwave with a garlic roaster.

Tonight I had some ingredients I don't usually put on my pizza but they needed to be used so I took the leap of faith and just did it. Added to the above ingredient I added 3 strips of bacon I forgot in the fridge from who knows when that was turning brown. I cut it up and cooked it before putting it on the pizza. (I wanted to taste it to make sure it wasn't bad before I put it on the pizza). I also had some sun-dried tomatoes and the Kalamata olives from yesterday talpia. I was very impressed. I think everyone was happy and we still have 3 slices of pizza left for tomorrow or a late night snack. Now you know how to make The Baroness's whatever's in the fridge pizza.

Another Fish Friday

I know it's Saturday but I meant to post this yesterday. This Friday's meat free meal is Mediterranean Tilapia. I found it I will admit it's not the best fish dish I've ever had but it's a nice light dish. I think it would be great to pair with a nice Italian noodle salad, maybe a nice Greek salad and a glass of white wine.

Improvements I would make.
Lightly season talipa with salt and pepper. (it was a bit bland)
I left out the cloves because I don't think I like the flavor.
Make more topping than recipe. I'd all more sun-dried tomatoes.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Veggie Chicken soup recipe

Thank you Betty Crocker for a great quick and easy recipe. I made Betty Crocker's Healthy French Peasant Chicken Stew last night for dinner. It was great. The baron even commented on how flavorful it was. I made a few improvements (really it was a mistake/ accident but we'll call it an improvement). 1st I bought a 3 lb chicken this gave me more meat then I needed but I put it all in. I'd recommend it for a larger family but I'd also tweak the recipe to incorporate that much chicken. I also put a bit more chicken broth than required because the can holds 2 cups and I didn't want 1/4 th of a cup of broth sitting in the fridge. I put 2 times the amount of mushrooms and sliced them large because we love mushrooms. It could have used more potatoes. I'll know for next time. We ate it for dinner last night, had lunch this afternoon and I'm thinking we might have it again for dinner tonight so we can finish it off. Over all it's a great cold night dinner. I think it even works well for those newly solid finger food eaters because you can take out the carrots cut them up into small pieces, feed them the peas, and cut up the chicken. I paired it with some jalapeno cheese loaf and it was delicious. I think it would go nicely with some warm Italian bread sticks and a salad. A wonderful soup salad and bread sticks dinner night. Curl up after and watch a good black and white classic movie and the night would be complete.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Years Prayer

I know I am I bit late on this but I just found it and thought I'd share it with everyone.

"Father, we surrender this past year and give it to You. We give You our failures, our regrets, and our disappointments, for we have no more use for them. Make us now a new people, forgetting what lies behind and pressing on toward that which lies ahead of us. We give You all our hopes and dreams for the future. Purify them by Your Spirit so that our wills shall truly reflect Your will for us. As we stand on the threshold of another year, encourage us by our successes of the past, challenge us by the power of Your Word, and guide us by the presence of Your Holy Spirit. Amen.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Family Movie Pick of the Day

Good old American film. My pick of the day is "The Bell's of Saint Mary's". It's a great catholic movie. A movie that portrays the Catholic church in a very favorable light. Unfortunately this is almost unhurt of in movies of today. This movie is a very safe family friendly film. The closest you get to immodesty is one little girl with a very short baby doll style dress. This movie makes me smile and wish I lived in that simpler time. When mom's stayed home with their little ones and the world didn't look down on you for it. When nuns looked like nuns and priests always wore black suits and roman collars.
This past year I have discovered a love for old classic movies. The Baron has discovered that I have a crush on Bing Crosby. I have to admit that voice and those eyes even in black and white can make a girls heart melt. I'm sure Bing will be showing up in some of my other movie picks in the future. Now I'm off to mass. Until next time dear readers.

- The Baroness