Random Ruminations #9

Broken Laws... Keeping Crosses... Ivy League Drama... Venus and Mars... and more

Calendar Conundrums

Has it ever troubled our liturgically befuddled bishops, who have made a goulash of six holydays of obligation (transferring some while making others obligatory depending on their day in the week) that, in our modern world, if you say “January 6,” more people think of “insurrection” than “Epiphany?” Meanwhile, some Orthodox Christians marked Christmas last Sunday. They did because they cling to the Julian Calendar, now 13 days out-of-sync with the sun. Pope Francis has made noises multiple times about a “common Easter,” synchronized not by East and West adopting the same astronomically valid calendar but by both foregoing their traditional formula for pegging that moveable feast. There are rumors Rome is tempted to impose this in 2025, to mark the 1700th anniversary of Nicaea, which fixed the date of Easter (a formula the “fix” abandons), and in a year when East and West coincidentally both observe Easter on the same date.

When examining the liturgical calendar goulash that bishops, in the USCCB and now Rome, contemplate, all I can say is: “Please stop! You are no Gregory XIII’s.”


Broken Laws

New York City Mayor Eric Adams is upset that illegal immigrants are not obeying his orders. A decree instructed charter buses from big bad Texas not to drop off illegal aliens in the City without 72 hours notice but, to the surprise of the New York Democrat, the illegals are acting, well, illegally. Those paying some lip service to the “rule of law” drop the illegals in New Jersey, near Manhattan-bound New Jersey Transit bus or train stations. Imagine the temerity of these folks! Breaking federal law (the Immigration and Nationality Act) is one thing, but to violate Eric Adams’ ukase… well, in the words of Greta Thunberg, “how dare you!”


Keeping Crosses

Just before Christmas, a German court rejected a challenge to a Bavarian regulation requiring crucifixes be hung in public buildings. The court reasoned that an individual’s religious freedom does not entail a naked public square. The Meloni Government in Italy introduced parliamentary legislation banning schools from eliminating traditional “Christmas” parties in the name of “inclusivity.” Meanwhile, the new Polish government seems intent on stripping crosses from public spaces. During my time as a graduate student at Fordham in the early 1980s, elementary school students in southern (góralska) Poland stood down a government push to remove crucifixes in a local school, something conspicuously absent at Fordham, denuded in the name of getting New York State money. A Jesuit who knew my Polish ancestry congratulated me for how my paisans kept the crosses. “It was easy,” I replied. “We were only dealing with Moscow’s Communists.  Now, if we’d been up against New York Jesuits…”


Latest NYT Freak-out

Over at the New York Times, (Jan. 2), Frank Bruni channels his inner John, seeing apocalyptic visions in Donald Trump framing his 2024 presidential campaign as a “final battle” (“Trump’s ‘Final Battle’ Has Begun”). He even invokes an Evangelical anti-Trumper to confirm his secular Parousia paranoias. The Left never has “final battles.” But, like Arnold “I’ll be back” Schwarzenegger, they’ll keep returning until they finally win that referendum, vote, or Supreme Court decision. Then they bring out their inner Terminator, declaring “we can’t go back,” “the question is closed,” “we’ve resolved this issue,” “stare decisis applies,” etc. — all favorite New York Times lines. As Lenny Kravitz put it, “it ain’t over until it’s over” (or the Left says it’s over). Or, perhaps as the woke might put it, “it ain’t over until the no-longer-body-shamed-or-conscious-currently-identifying-as-female person” sings.


Ivy League Drama

Of course, Dr. Claudine Gay could not end with her self-pitying resignation letter. She had to follow it up with a Times op-ed warning she was the victim of racism and anti-intellectualism among neanderthal conservatives. See, those folks just don’t get the “context” of when it’s OK to advocate national genocide.


Sorry Robber

Lest one wonder whether such thinking affects only those in heady offices in Cambridge, the Times ran a strange article by a “longtime reporter and columnist” who shared his insights from serving on a New Jersey jury trying the case of a bank robber who was clearly the perpetrator of the act, since a dye that exploded from his robbery bag rendered his guilt indelible. The jury faced a 20-year first degree robbery conviction versus a 10-year second degree conviction, the author clearly opting for the latter. Why? Well, the perp wrote, “Give all the money from the register please.” And then we learned he was homeless, grew up in foster homes, had his mom’s tattoo on his arm, and apparently didn’t bring an actual gun to the robbery. So how dare New Jersey try to put away this guy for a score of years? Had he robbed the bank, had a gun, and blown away the teller, we’d also be told of his poor childhood, his current situation, stories about his mother dropping him on his head, and how “sorry” he was (he actually said that). Well, I really don’t care. Show up in a bank and try to rob it, pretend or otherwise, and you’re a criminal. Enough of excuse-making that only perpetrates a “cycle of injustice,” not to “hapless” Mr. Grant but to the society that copes with the consequences of those “hapless” longtime reporters and columnists trying to explain away criminality.


Venus and Mars

The flight from marriage among those of marriageable age has been documented by various writers. New York Times’ writer Jessica Grose (Jan. 3) attributes it in part to political differences: women are from liberal Venus, men from conservative Mars. Lest one think it’s a neat partisan divide, she also assures us that even Republican-identifying women are frustrated because of the demise of Roe. In light of the fact that I have yet to see states openly confront the wrongheaded decision of Planned Parenthood v. Danforth (denying fathers a say in the abortion decision, even though they had a 50% role in being “present at the creation”), I’d steer clear of those who think their “autonomy” includes the right to execute my child.


John M. Grondelski (Ph.D., Fordham) was former associate dean of the School of Theology, Seton Hall University, South Orange, New Jersey. All views expressed herein are exclusively his.

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