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Friday, March 17, 2006

Corned Beef Controversy? Seriously?

I have to confess that I've had it up to HERE with the dripping condescension of the local media. Although I am far beyond surprise when they take a non-event such as a Lenten dispensations as a major news event, it still makes my blood boil when they portray us all as raving lunatics.

I mean honestly..."Corned Beef Controversy"???? This was the headline last night on KMSP's 9:00 pm broadcast. Of course I had to watch.

Let's look at this logically. We, as observant Catholics, observe the simple Lenten regulations of avoiding meat on Fridays, our minimal fast days of Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and a voluntary fast from something we legitimately enjoy. This is not a big deal, and it's not news.

Now, this year, St. Patrick's Day has fallen on a Friday. This is likewise a non-event for observant Catholics. Now, I am of Irish descent (yes, really, and I have the temper to prove it!), and I dislike corned beef. Which is fine, because it isn't Irish anyway. Furthermore, most people associate general carousing like that of the infamous New Orleans Fat Tuesday ordeals on St. Patrick's Day. Wow. What a way to celebrate and honor such a saint who lived an austere and sacrificial life.

Let's discuss this non-controversy a little further. I don't have a problem with Irish families, those who really do celebrate this as a special feast day, in partaking in meat. After all, if they are observing the feast day as intended, that is, in honoring St. Patrick, then they are also sacrificing something else, whether on that day or on another. With the appropriate dispensation, that is.

Admittedly, St. Paul, MN is a pretty Irish area, enough so that Jessie Ventura referred to them as a bunch of drunks, thereby insulting not only Catholics, but all Irish of all religions, and all St. Paul citizens. One again, of course , he displayed his blinding ignorance, but that's for another post I'll likely never write.

So last night as I watched the news, the reports seemed to have gone out of their way to interview the most ignorant of Catholics, those who clearly do not understand their faith and apparently don't care, and who seem to have mistaken the Catholic Church for their local town meeting.

The media spends so much time making a non-issue into an issue, you'd think that amidst this "controversy", they'd show stock footage of some kind of rampaging somewhere, overturning cars, burning buildings and flags, screaming, ripping of hair and rending of garments, only to roll in the ashes of the latest arson, just to express our discontent until the good Archbishop give in to the tumult and issue a dispensation so we can petulantly partake of corned beef with our hash.

Give me a freakin' break.

I can't believe this made the news, and the scary thing is, they made it look like NEWS! There's no news at all! There's no "controversy"! People are always disobedient, and quite honestly, most of those who wanted to eat their corned beef would have done so without a dispensation, and of those who claimed to have wanted to eat corned beef, they will actually enjoy some other kind of meat and proceed to drink too much. So much for the other words, people are going to do what they are going to do.

Now, that said, those who are observant Catholics would likely obey the directive of the Archbishop, and if no general dispensation was given, they would have requested a personal dispensation from their pastor, and if it was denied, they would have eaten fish. Big deal. Fish and chips are also very Irish. Why is this not in the news?

Then what really gets me, is the idea that dissidents can just go ahead and disobey, but just go to confession. This is never clarified in that the disobedient person has to actually be sorry for their breach of duty, and furthermore, the reference by the media to "confession" is always followed up with bad puns.

Again, give me a break. They don't talk about Islam like this, or Hari Krishna, or Hindu, or Buddhism. Nope. Just Catholicism.

Everything we do is news, folks. Even when it's not news, and usually, they willfully botch it.

It must have been a slow news week, but quite honestly, they likely just took another opportunity to make us look like raving fools for the practices we hold dear.

I'd call the media what it is, a bunch of impudent fools, but the reality is that the majority are probably athiests or agnostics and don't even know what they're denigrating.

So much for tolerance and sensitivity training.

Well, that's my blarney for the night. I've never been to Ireland, I've never kissed the blarney stone, but now I'm wondering if the stone has kissed me!

Now, as more irony is needed after my Irish rant, here is what I should have been saying all along:

The prayer of St. Patrick, "My Breastplate"

Christ be with me, Christ within me
Christ behind me, Christ before me
Christy beside me, Christ to win me
Christ to comfort and restore me
Christ beneath me, Christ above me
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger
Christ in hearts of all that love me
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger


Our Word said...

You're right Julie, the media just loves to stir up trouble, doesn't it?

As far as I'm concerned, the dispensation today is a non-event. I had some people at work ask me what I thought of it; I explained the theory behind it and added that about a third of the bishops had issued such a dispensation. Personally, even though I'm half-Irish myself, I didn't feel the need to have meat today, and it wouldn't have hurt my feelings one bit if the archbishop hadn't done anything.

You needed the air quotes around "Catholics" though, because the people they pick out to interview on TV are exactly what you say - totally ignorant of why the Church teaches what it does, and of the opinion that the Church exists for their own personal convenience.

At least we know where some of the snakes wound up after St. Patrick drove them from Ireland! ;-)

Adoro said...

Don't you mean "snakes"? Because, as you know, that story is only that...a story, and it NEVER HAPPENED. Yet people love to talk about it. I will admit it's a nice myth, and maybe a fun story to tell children, but adults are really too old for it. Which is why I'm amazed that adults are still telling the story as though it's fact. (not you, though, Word, just making a general comment!)

I was on my way to bed when I saw the story, otherwise I would have quoted verbatim what these ignoramuses had said on the news. And KMSP didn't post the link to that "story".

The Confessionator said...

I totally agree! I don't see what the big deal is about corned beef. I'm another Irish person who doesn't even like it, and it seems to me that fish 'n chips are MUCH more irish than corned beef, with all the fishing that goes on there.

Anonymous said...

You shouldn't be so subtle in making your points, Adoro! Be a little more forceful! :-)

I'm also half Irish (on my Mom's side) and I abstained AND fasted yesterday.

Media editors have a big book of story ideas for every day of the year. Somehow, calumnious, detractive, slanderous and libelous items got placed in those big books a very long time ago. It's time that they be removed.

Jocelyne said...

Journalists live in their own weird world. I work for a newspaper (in production, NOT editorial), and they really have no idea what they're talking about half the time. They know a tiny bit about a lot of things, and very little about anything. And if people get upset with them, they're happy because it makes them feel superior.

Adoro said...


You know me...shrinking violet, afraid to share my opinions... :-)


Hi! Thanks for stopping in. It must be interesting to work for a newspaper, but I'm not sure I could tolerate the condescension. How do you handle it?

Jocelyne said...

Fortunately, in production we usually don't encounter the reporters too much. They've got their offices upstairs and we sit downstairs and bitch about how slow they are delivering their pages when we want to get the paper together so we can go home.

The funny thing is that I actually went to journalism school but found out I just couldn't stomach it. That's how I ended up on the graphics end of things. And really, whatever the reporters think of their work, the paper is pretty much all about the ads. That's where the revenue is.

But whenever I tell people I work at the paper, they assume I'm a reporter. Ugh.

The Confessionator said...

as far as the snakes go...

yes, scientific facts and all that stuff are good...

but I think modern culture has lost its sense of myth and storytelling, and I don't think we're happier because of it. The snake legend is a beautiful story, because it symbolizes St. Patrick and his role in driving out paganism from Ireland. Most educated adults would be able to understand that the story is being told in a figurative way.

Our Word said...

I agree with The Confessionator on the snakes. There are some myths that can be dangerous to keep alive, but I think there's a symbolic richness to the St. Patrick legend. When you look at paintings of St. Agnes, for example, she's almost always pictured with a lamb, because of the similarities between the words "Agnes" and "Agnus," as in "Agnus Dei." So I think the statues that have St. Patrick stepping on a snake are most appropriate for what he symbolizes in the history of Ireland and the Church.

Adoro said...

I agree that the snake legend is a good one, but what I don't like is that it is taken by the media as a tale told by Catholics as the ONLY tale about St. Patrick. If they would allude to his true life of austerity and sacrifice along with the popular legend, then I would be happy.

Our Word said...

And he certainly didn't have anything to do with green beer!

Seriously, you make a good point. The same goes with the use of the shamrock, which is probably a myth as well. I think one of the things that frightens people about the saints is that they're people just like you and me who happened, through the grace of God, to do extraordinary things. So many prefer to keep their distance, to maintain them as myths, because to do otherwise - well, it would force us to confront the fact that we, too, can be saints. It's much easier to think that something is beyond us than to realize it is up to us to give ourselves over to God's will.