Monday, April 04, 2005

Technology...Always Making an Ass of Itself

It might seem hypocritical of me to say that technology really bugs the hell out of me sometimes....especially when I'm sitting here typing this on my laptop, but this time cell phones and digital cameras are the culprit.

I was watching the move of John Paul II's body to St. Peter's Basilica, and as he was brought out into the open before the crowd of thousands, I was more than prepared to be moved to tears by an overwhelming wave of applause from his followers.

What did I see instead?

A sea of digital cameras and cell phones with built-in digital cameras. Does that seem completely innappropriate to anyone else? I realize that the audience wanted a keepsake....something to mark this historical event...the passing of a Pope that is the only one most of them have ever known....but, come on! Applaud for a good while before you start scrambling for a good shot. Better yet, go home and download one of the thousands of pictures from any and every news website imaginable. If you don't have a computer, get a friend to do it. Buy a newspaper, but don't take a picture at the procession!!!


  1. jeez you write a lot when i'm not on for a few days!!

    okay- the bible has spiritual overtones? who'd have thunk it? read judges. VERY entertaining and my favorite bible character- Jael- makes her brief but stunning appearance there and i think you'd enjoy her and Deborah who both appear in the same chapter. that's when you get tired of tedium of certain other OT books (and there IS some of that in there, hard as that is to believe).

    Also- my response to "i teach" is "better you than me" but how could anyone not approve of such a profession? i swear i would do it if i wouldn't end up committing some terrible crime. i think i could teach college. maybe. i don't know. :)

    I agree about the Pope funeral stuff, too. Let the man die already! can we put him in the ground so people will leave him alone? i think he'd be much happier that way. okay, okay, so he probably isn't overly concerned at this point, but i find it all a touch garish. I'd be interested to hear your take, Cherbear. :)

  2. LOL! Sorry...the blog bug bit this weekend, and I couldn't help myself.

    I can see you committing a crime if you had to teach. I do think you'd like the college thing, though. I like it all except lesson plans and grading...which I should be doing right now, but I'm not.

    Amen to your thoughts on my thoughts on the Pope stuff. I would also be interested in Cherbear's commentary.

  3. Hey guys. AH Jael, yes I like her too. I love that part, it's so wickedly great!
    I have to admit that my phone has a camera, BUT would never be caught taking a picture of a daed person with it, Pope or not.
    I personally see it as a sign of disrespect. The funeral procession is a time to mourn the loss of another, with bowed heads and silence. Not a time for camera clammering.

  4. Its comforting to know that you won't be taking pictures of my corpse at any time. I appreciate it....

  5. Val, I find it disrespectful, too. And I'm also glad you won't be taking pics of dead people. I'm having a flashback to The Others. ;o)

  6. Yeah, it's crazy. I don't understand it. I was acting as security for a tour of the relics of St. Therese and I don't think I've ever been hit in the head by more rosary beads. Supposedly, if you can knock down a person just to have an inanimate object clang against the glass of something that is containing a box that is containing the relics of St. Therese, you get some kind of prize. It's not just cell phones anymore. Let's use holy objects to cause evil. *grumble grumble grumble*


  7. LMAO! Tim, you made me snort just from the mental picture. Whew! Pretty sad, and kinda weird.

  8. Ok. I understand where you're coming from on the photos and the relics and all that kinda stuff. Just be glad the people were taking pics and not body parts. That would be gory. But not unheard of. For instance, the incorruptible body of St. Theresa of Avila was exhumed for the canonization procedure (whatever that's called), and when they discovered her in tact, everybody wanted a piece of her. There's a foot somewhere. And at least in Alba, Spain, (where she died I think), there's her heart on display. You're supposed to be able to see the marks of the transverberation (piercing of her heart like Mary's - Luke 2:35). The rest of her body is in pieces elsewhere.

    Anyways. I've never really had a decent explanation of relics. Which disappoints me to no end. However, if you'll check out this article, you'll come to understand a bit about the Catholic affinity for material items (in a spiritual sorta way). It essentially boils down to the fact that God loves His Creation, and He doesn't think it's bad. In fact, He thinks it's good. So He uses His Creation to send His graces to us.

    We have Sacraments that are huge fountains of grace that involve some material vessel or other (water, priest, oil, etc.). Then there are sacramentals - Rosaries, Holy Water, medals, etc. Once, they're blessed (the priest as a vessel of God's grace), they become vessels of God's grace. They do NOT have power in and of themselves. They ONLY have power because of God. And that only because God has chosen to give them that power.

    Now, I would assume that relics work the same way. But instead of being blessed by a priest, they've been blessed by the amount of graces the St. received during his or her lifetime (which is HUGE considering the INCREDIBLE works they do and how CLOSE they are to God). That can only happen w/God's grace poured out in awesome quantities, and of course, being accepted in a beautiful fiat (yes) that takes place every day. So, I would hafta guess that the spirit of the St. was so infused with grace that it overflowed into the items daily used by the St. For the St. every aspect of his or her life becomes the work of God, so that the body and some personal items (habits, chalices, etc.) also become infused with this grace.

    When we venerate the relic, what we then do is recognize the grace that God gave to that person. Now, you might ask, "Surely the St. used all their grace." No, not really. We believe that the Sts. often lead such exemplary lives that they attain an overabundance of grace - through their acts of penance, their prayers (their whole life becomes a prayer), etc. And that grace can be applied to the rest of us, which leads us down a path that would require further explanation so I'm not going to tell you about it right now. 0=) And that's also what happens when we venerate a St. We recognize the grace of God working in that person and the beautiful fiat of living God's will.

    Yah. So, umm, any questions on that?

    Here's an href="">article that's kinda long on the same from New Advent. You'll find some OT examples of relics having power in there and a better explanation than I can give (so I guess now I've found a good explanation). It doesn't give a very detailed explanation, so at this pt, I can only revamp my own to say: God used these bodies which during the lifetime of the St. were powerful fountains of his grace (every person is kinda sacramental 'cuz we're signs of God's grace and instruments of His grace), so it's reasonable that God might continue to do so.

    Yah. So. That's it. The end. All done. Oh. And the reason they haven't buried the pope yet is liturgy. The liturgy of the Church isn't a buncha meaningless pomp and pretentious motions. Everything we do has some sorta meaning. For instance, during the Mass we sit for the readings of the OT and the epistles, but we stand during the reading of the Gospel. This shows respect for that Word of God which came from God living among us and is the message which gives us life. So right now, the Church is going through these very rich and symbolics motions that I unfortunately don't currenlty have time to understand. If you're curious about how the election of the next pope will work, I've been told "Shoes of the Fishermen" is supposed to be very accurate (the movie itself is supposed to suck, but it's a good represenation of how things work). *shrugs*

    Just the same, the reason Catholics make such a big deal out of this is because the pope is our father - sometimes we have bad ones, sometimes we have good ones, just like biological fathers. He is the representative (Vicar) of Christ. He is our representative head (Christ being THE head). And this pope will likely be a St. He is well loved not just by Catholics, but by people of every religion (the pres even ordered the flags flown at half mast until his burial). So, imagine losing your own father (assuming he was a good and holy one), and you'll understand what we're going through. The pope isn't some superior who we're charged with obeying, he's our papa, our daddy, our pops. Understand this, and you'll come closer to understanding the Church - we are a family of families.

    Ok. That's more than enough for now, and I need my sleepy... So 'night 'night all.

  9. Oh yes. And there are, of course, abuses of relics and authority (as there are with all good things). In fact, I would say if it's not good, you can't abuse it...

  10. Yeah I have to agree, that's just not right.
    I'm not Catholic, I'm not really religious, but I think that's wrong for any and all people to not focus on the gravity of the event but instead decide on the best angle for the camera. Ick!!!

  11. Cherbear-

    Hey, I am Catholic. Hell, I'm really Catholic (according to some) and I know the whole thing regarding relics. (I go to Franciscan University of Steubenville...blah). I also know the ethics on the ends not justifying the means. I also know that rosaries aren't to be used as Indiana Jones's whip (hell, I was impressed as all get out with the technique some of these ladies had, but I digress.) So be that as it may, I can still gripe like the dickens.


  12. Cheryl, Great post! Will respond more an interview in an hour and gotta makeup myself.

    Tom, I think Cherbear is doing correspondence Masters courses through the same Uni. Just in case she doesn't check back for a while I thought I'd mention it.

  13. did you say interview? how did it go?

  14. Well, I was just telling Dena...I have no idea. It was really short and kinda sijointed because the woman who was supposed to interview me was called out to a meeting, and the replacements were kinda...scattered. I'm totally qualified, and they seemed impressed with all my experience and stuff, but the interview only lasted 15 mins. They didn't really have many questions. It was lame, but maybe I'll get the job. Should find out in a few days.

  15. Tim - I didn't think there was anybody Catholic who disliked Steubenville. And Andi's right, I'm doing correspondence courses for a Master's in theology. I wasn't knocking your knowledge about relics, but I don't think everybody else knows what they are or very much about the papacy either for that matter.

    And I agree that folks shouldn't knock you over to tap their Rosaries against the glass container of a relic, but ya' know, at least they got faith. I got the general impression from your post that you didn't understand (that was your opening line after all), and most Catholics don't refer to a Rosary or a relic as though they have no meaning. Maybe that wasn't your intent, but it was the feel I got from the post.

    So, what I'm saying is that you didn't exactly indicate any knowledge on the subject, and I thought there might be some benefit to explaining things, so if you've got some more to add to my comments, please do. I really don't understand relics all that well, so more info is always a good thing.

    Andi - post back to let us know if you got the job (as if you don't post almost your entire life anyways!). ;)

  16. I'm not excusing the sea of digital freaks at the Pope's funeral, but I can understand the desire to want to capture that moment for themselves.

    I took a lot of pictures of my grandma as she was dying, after she was gone, of her funeral mass and burial. I know some people may think that's weird or just plain wrong, but sometimes the need to hang on to someone's memory is so strong that even the ridiculous presence of a digital camera at the death of another being isn't enough to shame you into keeping it hidden.

    I'm glad I took all those pictures now.

    I don't blame those people for pulling out cameras. If it weren't for digital comforts now, would people instead be throwing themselves at the casket a la Khomeini and tipping his body over into the streets? Maybe the promise of having it in pixels is a comfort to these people.

    Anyway, this may be one point we'll disagree on, Andish.

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  18. Deeena,
    We knew we'd have to disagree sometime. *sniff*

    It all comes down to diffrences in the ways people grieve. When my grandmother passed we took some pics that were to show relatives who were unable to attend the funeral and who wanted to see it. They were haunting to me later, as opposed to comforting, so that's where I'm comin' from.

    With the Pope it was more bothersome maybe because the media was harping on how respectful it was in Italian culture to applaud the body, and then it was like everyone said, "SCREW IT! Gotta have me a picture instead of applauding first!" It seemed animalistic and a disregard for respect..not the taking of the pictures so much as the scramble. But you're right...better than tipping the bod into the street for sure.


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