Archive for the 'Humor' Category

Philosophy on the Pitch

I know I haven’t been doing many serious posts lately, but no worries; with this post the trend will continue!

That has to be one of the funniest videos I have ever seen. Germany vs. Greece. Philosophy Futbol!

“And here come the Greeks, led out by their veteran center, Heraclitus… Let’s look at their team. As you’d expect, a much more defensive line up. Plato’s in goal. Socrates, the front runner there, and Aristotle as sweeper…. Aristotle, very much the man in form”

Simply brilliant.

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more about “Philosophy on the Pitch“, posted with vodpod


Some Lenten Humor

My priest, who is a very good young priest, begins every homily with a joke; and some of them are pretty good. He always gets a hearty laugh from those of us in the pews. Here is my transcription of the joke he told us this morning in honor of the Lenten season that has just begun.

Back in the day, Catholics would live in neighborhoods surrounding their parish in what were called Catholic ghettos. In one of these ghettos filled with the Catholic faithful there lived a man who was not Catholic, but a Methodist. This posed no problem at all since he got along quite well with all of the Catholics and they felt the same about him.

But then came the first Friday of Lent. Late in the afternoon the sound of big juicy steak was heard as it sizzled after landing on a hot grill. Before long, everyone in the neighborhood began to smell the alluring scent of steak  emanating from the Methodist’s backyard. As the tempting smell traveled throughout the neighborhood, the Catholics were just dying to get their hands on a big juicy steak. But it was Lent, after all, so they persevered through the temptation.

This went on for many years until one Lent the Catholics had had enough. They loved their Methodist neighbor, but this was just too much! They decided the only way out was to pray for the Methodist’s conversion. So they prayed and prayed, novena after novena, until one day the Methodist said “You know, I like you people and hanging out with you. I might as well worship with you on Sunday too”. So a Catholic he became. The priest blessing him with holy water said, “A Methodist you were born and a Methodist you were raised, but now you are a Catholic!” And the people rejoiced and praised God.

Well, the next Lent rolled around and on that first Friday the sound of a steak hitting the grill was once again heard. Perplexed, the others in the neighborhood wanted to see what was going on. As they looked through a hole in the fence they could see the newly christened Catholic sprinkling holy water on his steak saying, “A cow you were born and a cow you were raised, but now you are a fish!”

Oh, it made me and most everyone in the congregation laugh anyway. It’s probably one of those jokes, like most jokes, that are far better when heard in person. But have you ever noticed how priests are some of the best joke tellers? Must be one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit to those who are ordained.

On another sad but humorous note, you haven’t lived until see a guy use the holy water font to wet his hair so he can comb it. In the communion line this morning there was a guy in front of me – dark hair, Hispanic, early 40s, smelling of cigarettes, and wearing blue jeans, a jean jacket, and sun glasses. As we approached the Blessed Sacrament we passed by a holy water font next to one of the entrances. As we walked by he reached into the font, cupped his hand, scooped out some holy water, and then proceeded to wet his hair as he combed it down. The sight caught me so off guard and it seemed so out of context (for it was), that I could do nothing but laugh.

Of course, this is not the proper way to approach communion and certainly is not how the holy water font is “supposed” to be used; but there is something I find very admirable about this guy. It was obvious by the way he was dressed and his mannerisms, that he had not been to Mass in a very long time; and I can only assume that he is using this Lenten season to get his life back on track. And for that I rejoice and the angels sing for joy. What he did was done so innocently and unknowingly. I’d like to think that God laughs at such innocent things as using a holy water font to comb one’s hair.

This reminds me of one of Fr. Corapi’s stories of a lady who worked in a salon. A devout Catholic, she had brown scapulars patched throughout her barber’s chair and her spray bottle was filled with holy water! I guess the only difference is that she did know what she was doing – using her spiritual weapons at every opportunity – but the guy at my parish this moning, innocently, did not. Who knows? Maybe he’ll unwittingly bless many a people today with his sanctified hair!

I am sure there are many humorous strories revolving around the use of holy water. I bet a priest could tell you all kinds of good stories. I can only imagine the uses that some ardent and deadly serious Catholics could come up with for holy water. I wonder if there has ever been a swimming pool filled with holy water? Or a cup of coffee made with the holy stuff? I wonder if any Catholic has actually attempted to bathe in holy water – although, I can’t readily imagine how that would work. Imagine the possibilities! In fact, I wish I was more broad-minded in my use of holy water. You know, I’ve often wanted to seal my envelopes with a sponge dipped in holy water. I’m not sure why, but I sometimes have that urge. Now you know too much about me.

Love Thy Neighbor

A humorous little piece by Fr. Neuhaus from the “While We’re At It” section of the June/July edition of FIRST THINGS:

  • Of course we are to love everybody, but, as we have all too many occasions to remember, that does not mean that we have to like them. Take Steven Pinker, experimental psychologist and poster boy of pop-­science writing, for instance. If you haven’t read them, you’ve undoubtedly seen references to his books. There is The Stuff of Thought: Language Is a Window into Human Nature, and The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language, and The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature. Pinker is like the brightest little boy in fourth grade who polished apples for Miss Woodward because she agreed with him that he is a genius. I admit it: Steven Pinker gets to me. But then, a lot of people get to me. It’s something else to get to Leon Kass. Kass, who for years headed up the President’s Council on Bioethics, is a man of moral gravity and admirably tranquil disposition. As a master teacher, he has spent a lifetime patiently eliciting from preening fools a recognition, or at least a suspicion, of the abysmal depths of their ignorance. But, with respect to Steven Pinker, he has clearly had enough. In a Commentary essay a while back, Kass wrote about the limits of scientific explanations of human experience. Pinker wrote a blistering letter in response, to which Kass had this to say: “While esteeming the findings of these exciting new fields in science, I argued that the knowledge they provide must always be incomplete, owing to ­science’s chosen conceptual limitations. No science of life can do justice to its subject if it does not even inquire into the nature, character, and meaning of our ‘aliveness,’ with its special inwardness, awareness, purposiveness, attachments, and activities of thought, while believing that it has ‘explained’ these richnesses of soul by reducing them to electrochemical events of the brain. Because of these limitations, and because, as I argued, the biblical account of our humanity can be affirmed even in the age of science, I suggested, against the zealots on both sides, that biblical religion has nothing to fear from science, and that, conversely, scientists still in touch with their humanity have nothing to fear from scriptural religion. . . . In the course of my critique of reductionism, I accused Steven Pinker of arrogance and shallowness. I am tempted to say that his letter provides further evidence for the charge, especially as it progresses quickly from science (about which he knows a lot) to philosophy (about which he knows a dangerous little) to the Bible and religion (about which he knows less than the village atheist).” One detects a certain impatience with Steven Pinker.
  • Pinker had written: “The supposedly immaterial soul can be bisected with a knife, altered by chemicals, turned on or off by electricity, and extinguished by a sharp blow or a lack of oxygen. Centuries ago it was unwise to ground morality on the dogma that the earth sat at the center of the universe. It is just as unwise today to ground it on dogmas about souls endowed by God.” To which Kass responds: “One can hardly be blamed for thinking the man a simple materialist. Someone who boasts, even for rhetorical effect, that ‘the supposedly immaterial soul can be bisected with a knife’ simply does not see that thought and awareness, like all powers and activities of living things, are immaterial in their essence and therefore cannot be carved. This is not because they are the work of ‘ghosts in the machine’ or because materials are not involved, but because the empowering organization of materials (the vital form), the powers and activities it makes possible, and the ‘information’ it manifests and appreciates are not themselves material.”
  • Kass concludes with this: “Leaving aside the simplemindedness of his moral views, I would remind Mr. Pinker that ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ is a ­central teaching of biblical morality, promulgated centuries before his tepid and banal scientistic translation. It did not require the discovery of the human genome, because that ‘Iron Age tribal document’ already understood and proclaimed our common humanity, based on the recognition of our equal god-likeness. Moreover, the Bible, unlike Mr. Pinker, understood that such a teaching had to be commanded, because it went against the grain of native human selfishness. In this respect, as in so many others, the Bible understands human nature in ways much richer than a ­science that sees man only through his genetic homologies and brain events. And it teaches us more wisely than homilies drawn from DNA analysis, embellished by naïve and wishful thinking.” Steven Pinker, drop that knife.

Silly Headline of the Day

Fox News headline – Vatican: It’s OK for Catholics to Believe in Aliens.

If you read the article, it’s about a piece the Vatican astronomer (who apparently is the “Vatican”) wrote in the “Vatican newspaper” (I assume La Osservatore Romano). The jist of the story: believing in extraterestial life is not contrary to the Catholic faith. Gee… no kidding. I guess it made for a great headline. It’s like they think Catholics wait on bated breath for what the Vatican says we can and cannot do. I wonder if we are allowed to eat pie. Or play baseball. I wonder if it’s ok to use more than one sheet of toilet paper or believe the lunar landing was a hoax.

Hmm…. I shall write Rome and await the answer. Once Rome has spoken on this matter of divine revelation, I’ll pass the answer on. Until then I’m not sure what we do. What to think. What to think… It’s anarchy!



Clarification because I know someone’s gonna ask: Of course, what the Vatican says regarding matters of faith and morals is very important to Catholics. But such statements tend to happen in encyclical letters or ecumenical councils, not silly columns in a Vatican newspaper.

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