Catholic Vacation Edict vs. Protestant Work Ethic

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It's late August, and things are slow. Even the Pope is on vacation.

During his traditional weekly appearance to bless the faithful, Benedict quoted from writings of St. Bernard in the 12th century meant for the popes of his time on the subject of overwork.

Benedict quoted the saint as advising pontiffs to "watch out for the dangers of an excessive activity, whatever … the job that you hold, because many jobs often lead to the 'hardening of the heart,' as well as 'suffering of the spirit, loss of intelligence.'"

But Americans strike a blow for the Protestant work ethic: According to a very disapproving article in the Guardian "40% of workers questioned at the start of the summer said they had no plans to take any holiday at all for the next six months, more than at any time since the late 1970s."

Newsweek's Michael Hirsh says it's too dangerous for Bush to take a vacation right now. But others ask if it's more dangerous for him not to.

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  1. Tim,

    I hear the Mediterranean is lovely this time of year.

    Sorry. Just a bad joke.

    To take this off-topic, I saw the Bourdain in Beirut show on Travel Channel.
    Scary stuff.

  2. According to a very disapproving article in the Guardian “40% of workers questioned at the start of the summer said they had no plans to take any holiday at all for the next six months,

    June, July, August, September, October, November. Maybe they’re taking Christmas off.

  3. Praise for Protestants! …at Hit & Run?

    I must have hit a web page in a parallel universe.

  4. Heh. This just appeared in my local newspaper.

    (Executive summary: Catholic guy in charge of Catholic church picnic prefers to staff the event with Protestants because they work harder.)

  5. Then he told the Protestants, “I know you can’t take Communion, but I’d like to bless you.” And one by one they came to the altar rail they’d worked so hard to preserve for the blessing.

    I got that quote from Stevo’s link above. Somebody help me out.

    I grew up Protestant–real Protestant–and we could take Communion. I’m not sure we could take a blessing. Rather, I had the feeling that priests couldn’t bless you any more than they could sprout wings and fly, anymore than the Pope could absolve you from sin. …but Communion? No problem.

    So why did the priest say that? Was it because they use real alcohol–oh yeah, I’ve taken communion with Welch’s–or was he saying that the Protestants couldn’t take Communion in a Catholic church? …and if he meant the latter, why would he say it like that?

  6. “watch out for the dangers of an excessive activity, whatever … the job that you hold, because many jobs often lead to the ‘hardening of the heart,’ as well as ‘suffering of the spirit, loss of intelligence.'”

    Wow! It’s like he’s clairvoyant or something. He summed up my job nicely.

  7. Ken —

    I grew up Protestant–real Protestant–and we could take Communion.

    Not in a Catholic church you couldn’t. In the Catholic church, Communion is a Catholic sacrament (the Eucharist). The Catholic church has very specific beliefs about what Communion is, with transubstantion and all that, and many Protestants don’t share those beliefs.

    By way of crude analogy, a Catholic priest giving a non-Catholic Communion would be like the Army allowing someone to wear an Army uniform, wear Army officer insignia, give orders to non-coms, and be awarded an Army medal without actually joining the Army.

    To get the benefits of Communion, you have to sign up, basically. Because you have to “know”* what it is you’re actually receiving.

    *(Scare quotes employed as a concession to non-Catholics.)

    To put it another way: For similar reasons, someone who was known not to believe in marriage, and thought that taking vows of eternal union was nice symbolic gesture, but didn’t really mean anything binding, wouldn’t be allowed to be married in a Catholic church either.

    I’m not sure we could take a blessing. Rather, I had the feeling that priests couldn’t bless you any more than they could sprout wings and fly, anymore than the Pope could absolve you from sin. …but Communion? No problem.

    That sounds weird to me. A blessing is basically just saying, “I wish you well — God willing.” It’s basically just expressing the hope that God takes good care of you. Anyone can bless anyone. I could bless you. Here you go: Bless you, Ken.

    It’s just considered a particularly nice gesture coming from a priest, because it has just a tinge of officialdom to it. “I do this as a trained professional …”

    So why did the priest say that?… was he saying that the Protestants couldn’t take Communion in a Catholic church?

    Yes, that’s it.

    …and if he meant the latter, why would he say it like that?

    Because of the context: It was during a Catholic Mass in a Catholic church.

    Basically, the priest was trying to tell the non-Catholics in attendance, who may not be familiar with all Catholic ways, in a nice way, “In a minute all the Catholics are going to line up and come to the front of the church to get Communion. As Catholics, we have very specific beliefs about what this act means, so if you don’t share those beliefs, it wouldn’t be appropriate for you to participate in this specifically Catholic rite. So please don’t get up and come to Communion with the Catholics. But even though you don’t believe all the exact same things that we do, we’re mighty glad you’re here anyway, and we officially wish you well.”

  8. Wow! It’s like he’s clairvoyant or something.

    Well he is the Pope, after all.

    I’m pretty sure it’s a job requirement. 🙂

  9. As an Irish-American, I take heart in noting that the Missouri community where all this “papist”/”heretic” cooperation takes place is named Armagh. One hopes things would become so friendly one day in the original Armagh.

    Kevin
    (apostate mackerel snapper)

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