Posted by: guinness222 | May 7, 2010

Vol. I #2 – Insights to the World

       #1 –    As promised our lead comments for the day are for the Catholic Church. My magazine, The Week had a piece about “Catholics in Crisis”, but based on the article and the text therein it was inappropriately titled. It should have been “Catholic Management in Crisis”

           For all eternity man has been man, some straight, some gay, some white some black, or brown, etc., some rich, some poor, some intellectual and some not, but always always some perverts. How many, how much, well that’s the big dark secret of the world. And shockingly enough it is not a “Catholic” condition. I read numbers of up to 10% of the collectively referred to “Protestant” clergy are also in the “dark area”, not just the lesbian Episcopal Bishop appointed a couple of years ago. And I have to believe there is a rabbi or two in the woodpile as well, along with every other religion in the world. So why single out the Catholic faith? Because sizewise it is the “Goldman Sachs” of religions. The one who for so long has held itself above this “problem”, and the one who now is simply meekly saying, “Sorry about that”. While some would tend to tell you it’s all about the money, I don’t believe it is. Of course it’s like a free lunch, if someone gets wind of a “free lunch” they will literally move heaven and earth, lie through their teeth, push, and shove old ladies to get to the head of the line.

       Some interesting statistics for your meditation. “Since the 1960’s, four American born Catholics have left the Church for every one who has converted, according to a Pew Study.”, says The Week. They go on to say,..”The number of Catholic priests has fallen from 49,000 to 40,000, over 1000 parishes have closed since 1995, and currently over 3400 parishes in the United States lack a resident priest.”

       While the U.S. is bad turning to Europe things are even more “dire”. In 1991 in Ireland 91% of the people attended Mass once a week, now that number is down to less than 50%! Spain , who identifies itself as a “Catholic” country religiously by 81% of it’s population, but 2/3’s of that population also say they seldom, or never, attend services!

       The good news is Catholicism is growing at record paces in Africa, and Asia. In fact it is growing so rapidly they are sending over 300 newly minted priest a year to the U.S. to try and stem the flow.

        For centuries, much as in politics even within the Church there has been a battle waged between the “Liberals” and the “Conservatives”, and much like secular politics it ebbs and flows with time. In the 1960’s the “Liberals” got a shot with Pope John XXIII, and the “Vatican II” changes. But religion being what it is, it is like trying to turn an elephant around in a bathtub, and now we are full turn into  conservatism. The “Liberal wing” of day to day catholics getting further frustrated and not abandoning the religion, but going into hibernation, until the next turn. Meanwhile the “conservatives” are cementing their “50 Year Plan” , the final leg being Pope John Paul II. (As an aside the conservatives tend to “rule with the iron hand” with a velvet glove on it, and live almost forever, until their control is well established. To wit Pope Pius XII a staunch conservative ruled from 1939 to 1958, twenty years, while Pope John Paul II ruled from 1978 to 2008 almost 30 years. That’s a combined 50 out of 80 years as the “ruling” philosophy.

        Now me? Born and raised a Catholic, took a “vacation” in my twenties for about ten years, and then went back and am currently a “church-going recovering/reformed Catholic”. My wife has always been a devout Catholic, where as I tend to “ask too many questions”,….but that’s me. Now our kids, there in lies a very different story. Here’s the score after 44 years of being married to the same woman and quasi “pillars in the church”;

     All our three children went to church regularly, attended Catechism/Religious education classes, were involved in the Church  as Alter Servers (Alter Boys prior to being politically corrected) and the oldest two graduated from Catholic High Schools.

        Son #1 – Not a church goer at all. Not readily admitting any affiliations, on his second marriage, age 41.

       Daughter #1 – “sort of” church goer nondenominationally, occasionally Catholic, pre-marital pregnancy she terminated, currently on her third marriage age 40.

       Son #2 – “on vacation” from church, (Masses interfere with ski times and sleep in’s), on his second marriage, age 32

       All great kids, I’m proud of them all, but proof that the apples sometimes do fall a considerable distance from the tree,….religiously speaking.

      (Last new priest we had come to our parish four years ago decided to come out and visit with each parishioner personally. Asked me why I was not more involved with the church and I ended that conversation for years to come with the following. “You know St. Paul, Apostle of the Gentiles, reformed Tax Collector, and all around great guy? Well he went out to them and showed by example, and really didn’t preach fire and brimstone, but  sort of a “follow me, and be like me” philosophy. You got your church down there, all the folks who are coming and “involved” ,…well they don’t need me. My “Church of the Pub” puts me a lot closer to folks with real questions, real hurts, and real needs,….and I’m always there for them, and never preach at ’em. That’s why I’m not more involved. Didn’t Christ say something like “Love one another as I have loved you”, and “Do unto others as I have done unto you”, and “The biggest commandment of all is “love one another”.  In fact occasionally in the Fall I have the Padre drop by the Pub and watch a football game with “my parishioners” (I think he sort of likes it 🙂 )

        #2 – PANIC IN THE MARKET!!!!!

        Yesterday afternoon I went and got a haircut in my gym clothes, ( shorts, sleeveless tank top of that silky stuff that “wicks” away perspiration, you get the picture right?) then headed to the CPA’s office to pick up my clients 2009 Audit records for the files, and then the bank for a deposit, and finally to the gym to work out. (Up to five miles a day now, did 80 miles last month, moving the bar up to 100 miles this month, or 20 days @ 5 miles each)

        Anyway afternoon TV is horrible, i.e. Oprah, Ellen,  old quiz shows, etc. occasionally I catch a good old time movie like “The God Father”, “Casino”, “Goodfellas”, etc. OR I wind up watching the CNBC Financial channel which tracks the Stock Market minute to minute with “talking heads”. They also interview top CEO’s and give me a pretty good handle on the “pulse of the nation”,….financially that is. When that begins to bore me, (about once every three weeks) I pop on the iPod and play my old Drum and Bugle Corps music on “11”. (A marching cadence is between 3.5 and 4.0 miles per hour, great for workouts) It brings back memories of forty years ago when I used to play and march in a Corps, and I can pick out the various instrument parts like a pro, AND since the recordings are from “my era” I can visualize the M&M (Marching and Maneuvering patterns  used because “I WAS THERE!”

       Anyway as I was listening to the Hawthorne N.J. Caballeros playing “Espani Cani”, one of my favorite pieces, I noticed the “concerned look ” on the faces of the usually stern-faced stock market commentators, then I glanced at the “ticker” which tracks the Dow Jones Industrial Average and a few other “indicators” and they were all plunging,….big time. The Dow was down almost 10% or 1000 basis points! Shut off the music and plugged into the TV sound plug to hear things like, “….this is insane!”,….what the hell just happened? , …..Procter and Gamble just plunged from $63.28 a share to ZERO, and Apple dropped a bunch,….oh my God what is happening.” New talking heads began to jump in and after a few minutes the market began to correct itself. The 995 selloff started decreasing and with only fifteen minutes left in the trading day it managed to end up only off about 335 points for the day.

           Seems like a “fat finger” mistake they were jabbering about may have caused it. You know where in someone hit a “B” for a Billion, instead of an “M” for a million. And since the world is controlled by computers as well all know especially the stock market the damn machines don’t know the difference, and obviously there is no “traffic cop” to say “Whoa there a minute,…check this out before you process it.”

        Still no definitive answers I’ve heard yet, just a lot of rumors, BUT based on the selloff after the “glitch” There seem to be a lot of folks with itchy trigger fingers out there. Let’s just hope they are paranoid.

       FINAL THOUGHT the entire economy of Greece is smaller than the entire economy of the State of Michigan,….just a comment.


       As usual your comments and observations are welcome here.

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