Yes, as if we didn't face a real carnival living here in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, it's now time for this week's Catholic Carnival. One thing's for sure: this carnival is a heck of a lot more fun! So let's see what came in the mailbag this week.
It's the beginning of Lent, and I sense a more reflective mood in many of our submissions. Dunvocation kicks things off with Ash Wednesday, featuring a 17th century poem about keeping a true Lent, and a reflection on how the blogger plans on keeping a true Lent. Pondering the Word is considering the season as well; his Ash Wednesday Reflection talks about the similarities between Epiphany and Good Friday. And the distinguished Professor Bainbridge has Ash Wednesday and Lent, in which the good Prof discusses his intentions for Lent.
Our Carnival guru Jay at Living Catholicism offers Back to the Desert, on how we can let Christ’s example in the desert help lead us toward holiness this Lent. A Penitent Blogger posts Reproving Myself, a reflection on a few of the challenges of Lent: challenges for us and for others. Notes for the beginning of Lent are also the topic of Lenten Beginnings by Crusader of Justice, who in this post is also looking for some input on a theology paper - please help him out if you can.
Ramblings of a GOP Soccer Mom gives us Stations of the Cross, with links to several different places that have meditations on the Stations, including one that is really great to use with young children. HMS Blog offers us Through the Flood, Through the Desert - a commentary on what the readings for the first Sunday of Lent this year tell us about the role of penance in the Christian life. And for a change of pace, Kicking Over My Traces offers us a work of art in March on the Church Calendar. It's the lovely Agony in the Garden by Andrea Mantegna.
I have to interject at this point that it has truly been fascinating reading these Lenten posts, and how different people approach this season. Fascinating, enlightening, and humbling.
Ah, but we have other excellent topics as well. Herb Ely explores The Connections Between Stress, the Temptations in the Desert and their Remedies, reflecting on a modern psychologist's insight that stress results from having our inner and outer lives out of balance. He attributes this lack of balance to the temptations Jesus faced in the desert and suggests some prayerful remedies.
A hearty welcome aboard to the brand new blog MissKelly, who in Today's Christian Martyrs writes about a Polish campaign to bring awareness to the persecution of Christians in other parts of the world. MissKelly wonders why our Church has so little to say about it? [Editor's note: perhaps it's because our own bishops are too busy trying to stifle orthodox priests to notice?] And staying in Eastern Europe, Deep Furrows examines One From Aleksandr Blok, in which the Russian poet raises the question: does the promise of happiness stem from self-deception or does it come from another source?
[Editor's note - I am now taking a brief pause to put in an eBay bid for a friend of mine who can't be at her computer to do it herself. As any of you eBay'rs know, timing is everything.]
[I'm back. I submitted the bid for her, and she won. You can all relax now. Back to our regular programming.]
Ales Rarus looks at Natural Family Planning in Investigating NFP. Surprised by the controversy around NFP, he decided to find out what the learned teachers and evangelizers of NFP had to say in defense of the practice.
Deo Omnis Gloria features Pope Benedict’s Views on Protestantism, taken from Without Roots by Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) and Marcello Pera. In it, Pope Benedict explains his views on Protestantism today. It’s a fascinating look at what the Pope is thinking.
A Song Not Scored For Breathing, which surely must be the most lyrically-named blog of the week, scores with Hide and Seek, wherein she talks about losing her writing voice because she froze out her inner feelings and in the process froze out God, too.
The Jesus Test is the subject of Diary of a City Parishioner. It's a Java applet based on the Sermon on the Mount, and it's one test you won't mind taking.
"I am none too keen on facing my demons anytime, or anywhere," says The MaryHunter of TMH's Bacon Bits in Demons in the Desert. But, "At least I know I've got someone watching over me and walking with me when I do."
And now a little provincialism - a quartet of Minnesota bloggers. First it's our blogging partner-in-crime AdoroTeDevote, who gives us Those Who Fight Monsters, her account of battling the monsters that Christians fight on a daily basis.
Next, Bearing Blog, gives us Fish and Fridays - Outside Lent, in which she becomes an armchair Bishop and criticizes the US Bishops' 1966 document lifting the meatless-Friday obligation. I always did think there was something fishy about that decision.
Another neighbor of ours, The Church Online, offers a post we've viewed more than once ourselves this week - Faithful Priest Silenced, the account of how our Archbishop has silenced Fr. Altier, an outspoken critic of the VIRTUS sex education program. This post contains links to several resources which explain the problems with the VIRTUS program.
Check out all three of these blogs for additional coverage of the Fr. Altier situation as well.
And finally, yours truly presents our own two cents' worth on the responsibilities of the archbishop, in What the Archbishop Knew and What He Should Have Known. You might think us four Minnesotans are putting too much on a local situation, but trust me - if you have children, you want to know about the VIRTUS sex-education program. And you want to ask your bishop what he thinks of it.
This was a massive turnout - I daresay it's the biggest Carnival we've hosted here, and the best! Our thanks to each and every one of you, and as always any errors, omissions or bad links are our responsiblity alone.