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Friday 13 March 2015

Learning To Read

It has come to my attention through a series of discussions with individuals in several states, that many adults have never learned how to read properly. Those of us who had classical education were taught systematically how to read and how to spell. The old Catholic schools of the 1950s and 1960s used tried and true methods of phonics to teach.

Later on in my life, when I did Montessori training, this background helped me learn the method easily, as it was second nature to me.

Two areas of problems with reading have come to my attention talking with a spectrum of adults who read and do not understand what they read.

The first is this: reading comprehension demands attention not only to the written word, but to the tone and style of the text. For example, one must determine if an article is factual, satirical, historical, and so on. If one reads the same authors daily for news, for example, one understands the tone and style immediately with practice. But those who were taught to read words in a context, understand tone and style, not missing the meaning or having to try and figure out the meaning.

Example: Pat Buchanan has a brilliant website. He has a tratiional style of writing which involves presenting facts, but with an obvious slant. One immediately understands that his work will be and always is, "conservative". If one does not want to read a really politically conservative website, one skips Mr. Buchanan's articles.

One can pick up quickly the slant of an online magazine or newspaper as well. Again, for example, the Huffington Post is liberal, and the Telegraph is more conservative and so on.

Still on this first point, the same is true of Catholic periodicals and blogs on line, as well as websites. One can list the trad blogs, the trad newspapers and the trad websites.

One can also see the liberal ones if one knows how to read.

I am building up to looking at two particular media outlets on line which people have seen as confusing and explain why.

Second point: not only do people miss the vocabulary and signals which tell them the slant or tone, but they assume things in the reading. For example, too many young people doubt scholarship or assume scholarship, not knowing how to read sources or look at sourced material.

For years and years, I taught research skills, and I forget that people do not know how to do research if they did not have a decent liberal arts education. Learning to do research takes time and effort, as well as focusing on a few things. One learns to trust certain authors who do not merely give their opinion, but indicated their sources. For example, I list my sources in the perfection and Doctors of the Church series.

Here comes the reason for this post. Recently, a well-established Catholic newspaper decided to change its format to a magazine. More photos, jazzy articles, less or even no sourcing material. I am referring to the British Catholic Herald. I shall no longer bother to follow authors on that site.

Why? Tone and style has become subjective and personalized, even satirical instead of serious. Two, sources are missing in most if not many of the articles.

Sorry, I am not interested in second-rate journalist's opinions. Opinion has no place in a major Catholic newspaper except on the editorial page. When articles consistently fall into subjective opinion reflecting a style or tone of superiority of authorship which is not there, these articles are not only not trustworthy, but merely an expression of mediocrity. Excellence cannot be earned without hard work.

Secondly, facts and ideas must be sourced. Period.

Well, there is one less site I need to read weekly.

Simplifies life...

And, women can DO things and be feminine...

 Jeune femme dessinant, huile sur toile de Marie-Denise Villers (1801, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). Précédemment attribué à Jacques-Louis David, le tableau serait un autoportrait.

STM Rant #44

For weeks, I have seen a man in my neighborhood walking his dog. A few days ago, I discovered this man was a woman. When I came back from Europe in January, I was shocked at the fact that so many women in New York, New Jersey, and other states look like men. They dress like men and walk like men, and sit like men.

The women in Ireland looked great and very feminine, at least in Dublin. I never saw jeans in Church, and even on the street, women looked womanly.

Same in France and in Malta.

What has happened here? Now, when I am alone and cleaning the garage or something like, I wear sometimes trousers, or when I am on a ladder inside painting or washing windows inside, I may wear trousers.

I do not wear trousers outside, nor jackets that look like male jackets or unisex clothes. My spring coat from the second-hand store is bright blue plaid with a belt and very feminine.

And, I have comfy shoes which are not sneakers...what is with the ubiquitous sport shoes?

I am proud to be a woman and to be and to act feminine.

The problem in America is not physical. but spiritual. The more a woman usurps a male role, the more she will look and act like a man.

At this point, I am sure there are demonic influences involved.

From the back, watching several couples of older people in a Catholic group, I could not tell, honestly, who were the males and who were the females.

Catholic women must come to the forefront of this real spiritual battle for feminine identity.

My grandmother, a real lady, who died a long time ago in 1994, told me once that the skinny, short-haired look of the 1920s was popular because so many men were becoming homosexual and/or peter pans in Europe...she said men began to prefer child-like looking women rather than mature looking, in body, women. They did not want to be challenged with dating or marrying a "real woman". Grandma said the "boy look" was preferred by weak men. She was born in 1900 and saw the change.

She was right, as in that and so many other things. It is, actually, immodest for a woman to dress like a man. Why?

What is with the Harley-Davidson leather jackets on women? A lady from New York told me what this style is called....not repeating the name of it in nice company.

Modesty is a sub-virtue of humility. Humility is being true to one's self--being honest--as well as not attracting attention to one's self.

'Nuff said..

Some men's clothes, btw...

  OK, be honest. Is the jacket below for a real woman? Compare...

Or,  this? Hands down, a feminine coat.

Call it what it is...BB

Freedom of Speech Against Antisemitism Wins

Homeschoolers Alert for St. Pat's Day

A bit over-dramatic and a bit loosey goosey on the Church bits, but a good film for the historical realities of the time for the kids over twelve. The Tara lighting of the fire is true, and pray for Ireland, so lost, so much in darkness now again.

Easiest Way To Spot A False Seer

Is he or she or any of her family making money off of the "visions"?


I know too many people who have not made out wills. This means, in England, that some, if not all the estate goes to the crown.

In America, it means that families fall into arguments which sometimes go on for years. One family I knew years ago argued over an aunt's will to the point of demanding that even the lamps in her house be part of a settlement and that this couple would not agree to a settlement without getting the lamps. Now, these lamps may have been interesting and worth something, but to hold up the settlement of a will because of lighting seems daft to me. And, to cause family dissension for years is simply sinful.

I know why people do not make wills, even those men and women who are very, very old. They fear death. They do not want to face that last day when they have to show God all the merits of heaven which they have gained, because, perhaps, they have not done this.

Several people I know have huge estates and no will. They cannot face death; and their health lies to them by making them think they will go on forever.

Less than a month ago, a woman young and beautiful, died of hypothermia because of an accident at her home. She did not expect to die young. What she had gained for God and His Church would be demanded of her on that day a month ago. The shock of untimely deaths should remind us all that we need spiritual wills, as well as physical ones.

Today's Gospel reminds us of our debt to God and our debt to our neighbors.

Wills in the spiritual life are your and my list of merits, gained through the mercy of God alone.

Have you made a spiritual will?

Mark 12:28-34Revised Standard Version (RSV)

28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one; 30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that he is one, and there is no other but he; 33 and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any question.


I watched Buddy the Cat, who follows my neighbor on walks stalk a ground-squirrel which was hiding underneath a pile of dried up oak leaves on the patio next door. Buddy waited for a long time, left, came back, waiting some more, left, came back and is now sitting outside the "my" patio, as the little ground-squirrel ran out of the leaf pile and into the drain pipe. These little creatures have learned to do this over the years and in 2005, I remember my Puddy waiting for hours outside a drain pipe, waiting for it's prey. Puddy proved to be an excellent hunter.

I do like the little ground squirrels, but Buddy is acting naturally. It has the ability to focus and be patient until it has it's prey.

Are we persistent in prayer? Do we wait on the Lord, knowing that He hears our prayers and if we pray in His Will all will be answered?

Perseverance, the mark of a saint, leads one to follow the arduous way of perfection.

Now, I have a large red squirrel at the back patio door. They beg for food here, as they did so long ago at Notre Dame on football weekends, when people were walking around with steak sandwiches.

Do we beg God for graces, for all our needs?

Animals work out of instinct and habit. We have free will, but we can learn from those creatures who do rely on God daily.

Notice in Psalm 84 that the singer refers to God giving animals what they need, but they find homes "at thy altars". David, who was full of the Holy Spirit, could rejoice in nature. God arranges the tiniest detail of our lives and those of animals. Without God's care, Buddy would not exist, nor would you or I.

All creation was renewed in the Crucifixion. We forget that Christ redeemed the world, allowing for us to rejoice in nature in a way not possible when we all were locked in Original Sin. Nature still and we still endure some of the consequences of the Fall, but some are ameliorated. God has given us the ability to rejoice in His creation in a new way, seeing the earth through the eyes of joy.

The earth is still a dangerous and sometimes deadly place. I know of someone who died of hypothermia. We are not in Eden. However, God has sanctified us to see the beauty of nature and to learn from those things around us, because of His sacrifice. The sparrows have a home and the swallows find a nest because we are renewed.

When I was in Malta, and in Italy years ago, I learned that men shoot birds, even rare song-birds just for the heck of it. This is not the work of a renewed mind. We are allowed to eat animals if we need to do so, and most people do. However, the wanton destruction of nature and creatures shows the actions of one who does not know the altars of God, the places of prayer and meekness the places of peace.

Buddy is a half-feral cat and has been abused, which is why it is afraid of most people. Some people are so scarred by sin that they cannot accept the goodness of God, cannot see His love and providence. But, Buddy teaches me perseverance.

May God bless us all with perseverance and healing this day, so that we all can trust and persevere in prayer.

Back up and running

I read an article today which stated that Millennials have a "BS meter".  The article, which is not worth reading, referred to the fact that many Millennials are looking for the real deal in religion. This is true. They are not looking for the prosperity Gospel their parents follow, or Liberation Theology.

Now, the author solution was compromise, but the real answer is the radical Gospel of Christ. Today's First Reading reveals God halting His punishment on Israel and bringing the nation into peace. But, the last verse reminds all of the necessity of following the ways of God, not men. The Ten Commandments are not to be ignored, nor the old strictures of the Church regarding any sins. As noted in the perfection series over and over, no one is on the way to perfection without first eliminating mortal and even venial sin.

Hosea 14:10Douay-Rheims 

10 Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know these things? for the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall in them.