This morning, due to a not-entirely-culpable lateness in rising, we thought we’d try a local Novus Ordo mass rather than driving 1.5 hours to Sacramento. First stop, St. Monica’s in Willows. The faithful meander into the church chattering away and dressed for a day at the beach. An altar girl lights the candles. A woman is solemnly seated in a chair to the right of the altar table, and two more women are “tuning up” their guitars and what not in the corner as if preparing for a concert. After a short time the solemnly-seated 60ish-looking crop-haired woman gets up, ascends the podium, and says “Good morning!”. Most of the congregation replies jovially, “Good morning!” She then proceeds to announce some news about a “presider” – I didn’t catch it all – and then turns to one of the women with the instruments. The music lady then announces that we must all sing “Gather Us In” (a song I’ve never heard) together, and everyone commences with the awful song. All of this and still no sight of a priest anywhere. We got up and left.

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No problem, I thought. There is a Mass about 45 minutes to the north beginning at 11:00am. We’ve got time to get there. We arrive just as one Mass is ending and the people are filing out of the church. Although it looks Novus Ordoish, there is a priest in sight, people are blessing themselves, and it seems a little less scandalous. After kneeling in the pew for a time, we notice that no one else is coming in to the church! The 11:00 Mass had apparently been changed, and we missed the last English Mass of the day.

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Jonathan, my nine-year-old, is (in my unbiased opinion) an exceptionally good and devout kid. I don’t know anyone as innocent, big-hearted, and noble-minded as he is. Like all boys his age, he takes on a lot of his father’s mannerisms – such as my joking, funny looks, and strange sense of humor. The surprise is that I occasionally find myself marvelling at how disrespectful it seems when he does what I do – although I know he means no disrespect at all. Certainly, if he acts thus around other adults, there is a chance they will think him disrespectful, and they will be wrong. (This prompts me to think of how often I might have misinterpreted the acts of others, especially the acts of children who are simply imitating their parents!) Of course I am explaining to Jonathan that some things appropriate for adults are not appropriate for children – “do as I say, not as I do” – but I also realize that much of the attitude of my own youth is still with me and influencing my children.

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I’ll admit it: the President’s Second Inaugural speech made me cringe. A purer expression of the Americanist heresy will never be found. I’ve always thought GWB to be sincere, and have no reason to doubt that he believes exactly what he said: America is the Savior of the World.

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It was good to read of the outstanding turnout for the pro-life activities in San Francisco on Saturday. I saw a few familiar faces in the photos. Among the many “insults” hurled against 6000 pro-lifers by a few hundred pro-aborts was, “Go back to the valley!” It seems they have a heightened awareness that California’s great Central Valley is, by and large, conservative and pro-life. For starters, the Glenn-Tehama yellow pages lists no local abortion providers.