Our society is a mess of contradictions … as Sunday showed.
We should never be ashamed of our bodies, no matter what! But we had better do whatever we can to be stunningly attractive. Machines are stealing people’s jobs, and that’s terrible! But, “Hey Google, get me an Uber to the airport!”
Our society is a mess of contradictions in its attitude toward the human body and personal identity. The contradictions were front and center in between the football parts of Super Bowl Sunday on CBS.
We’re terrified of what robots will become.
The rise of robots is one of the most exciting — and hair-raisingly frightening — phenomena of our day, from McDonald’s touch screens to robot girlfriends. Apart from the adorable but also frightening RoboChild commercial from TurboTax, how did ads deal with this?
Amazon — Not Everything makes the cut: Amazon mocked Alexa.
The excitement and fear of robotics is so intense that Amazon advertised its own bot, “Alexa” — by mocking her. Their commercial, starring Harrison Ford and other celebrities, showed funny “Alexa fails” as she is put in charge of a toothbrush, a hot tub, a space capsule and a dog.
Michelob Ultra — Robots: Love makes us human.
Michelob Ultra’s commercial (well, one of them) showed our greatest fear — robots besting humans at various physical pursuits. But then, the human beings won in the end by actually enjoying their lives together after their exercise. It’s a nice reminder of what makes us human: love.
Pringles — Sad Device … or is it “pleasure makes us human”?
Actually, maybe I’m being too kind to Michelob. Maybe what they were saying is that pleasure makes us human. That is definitely what Pringles decided, as an Alexa-like device expressed its sadness that she can’t enjoy combining Pringles like her owner can.
Women are still being used as objects.
In the #MeToo area, gone are the days when women are merely used as tantalizing objects to draw our attention to a product, right? Wrong. On Super Bowl Sunday, commercials still use sultry women (or mermaids, as the case may be) to sell products, albeit more subtly, and sometimes with mixed messages …
Olay —Killer Skin: Celebrating skin-deep beauty.
I hope you turned off the Olay “Killer skin” commercial if small children were watching the Super Bowl with you. It was in the terrifying style of a horror movie trailer and its end lesson — that the way you look is really, really important — was a bad lesson.
Expensify This: Rap clichés get a pass.
The ad for the financial app Expensify told the story about a rap star’s accountant, staring 2 Chainz X and Adam Scott of “Parks and Rec” doing their typical shticks. Unfortunately, that meant all of the celebration of excessive wealth, attractive dancing women, and drugs that make up rap video clichés. (Doritos’ use of Chance the Rapper in its Super Bowl ad refreshingly avoided all that.)
Devour — Food Porn: Porn addiction as hilarious.
The frozen food company Devour’s ad shared stereotypical moments from a relationship with a man addicted to pornography: He jumps off the computer as soon as his girlfriend walks in; she tries to be sexier while he remains uninterested. It’s really funny — until you remember that it’s really not.
Our bodies don’t define us.
Our souls and bodies are one, and that means a lot in our lives. In the 21st century two strains of thought both accept and reject that old Catholic notion. On the plus side, they point out that we are not diminished by physical limitations. On the negative side, dangerous gender ideologies say that we are whoever we think we are. Both were hinted at Sunday night …
Toyota: Toni: A woman plays football.
To celebrate its new, bulked up RAV4 Hybrid — a combination of roughness and environmental elegance — Toyota featured Antoinette Harris, a woman who won a football scholarship to Bethany College in Kansas. This is a great celebration of beating expectations — unless it’s a troubling sign that common-sense gender distinctions are falling by the wayside.
Bumble – #InHerCourt Anthem: Serena celebrates women.
Perhaps less ambivalent is the ad that featured Serena Williams celebrating women’s changing roles. Her strong message was only partially obscured by the fact that it was for a dating app that drives people to judge others according to appearance.
Microsoft — We All Win: Kids with disabilities play video games.
Surely a favorite commercial for the night was Microsoft’s game console commercial showing how the company has created devices for disabled kids to play video games. It is indeed a beautiful story about serving children in need — almost inspiring enough to make us ignore the worry we ought to have about equipping kids for virtual life instead of real life.
Worried about the future? Find peace in this short prayer
It’s relatively easy to be worried about the future. We simply don’t know what is going to happen today, tomorrow, or next year. This state of uncertainty can cripple us at times, keeping us from doing anything out of fear of the unknown. St. Josemaria Escriva consoled someone in a similar frame of mind, who…
It’s relatively easy to be worried about the future. We simply don’t know what is going to happen today, tomorrow, or next year. This state of uncertainty can cripple us at times, keeping us from doing anything out of fear of the unknown.
St. Josemaria Escriva consoled someone in a similar frame of mind, who said to him (as quoted in The Way of the Cross), “Father, I am having a very rough time.”
In response, the saint composed a short but peaceful prayer of abandonment, entrusting to God everything past, present and future.
My Lord and my God: into your hands I abandon the past and the present and the future, what is small and what is great, what amounts to a little and what amounts to a lot, things temporal and things eternal.
Asking his friend to pray this prayer, St. Josemaria wrote, “Then, don’t worry any more.”
The only way we can move forward in calm is to entrust our “rough times” to God and then let the worry go. He is in control, and will be with us every step of the way.
Pope Francis reminisces about 6th grade
Perhaps it wouldn’t be wrong to say that our Jesuit pope also has Salesian roots. Pope Francis hinted at this on Sunday, May 24, the feast of Mary Help of Christians, which is an important Salesian feast. “Today, on the day of Mary Help of Christians, I address an affectionate and cordial greeting to the…
Perhaps it wouldn’t be wrong to say that our Jesuit pope also has Salesian roots. Pope Francis hinted at this on Sunday, May 24, the feast of Mary Help of Christians, which is an important Salesian feast.
“Today, on the day of Mary Help of Christians, I address an affectionate and cordial greeting to the Salesians,” he said, following the midday Regina Coeli prayer at the Vatican’s Apostolic Library. “I recall with gratitude the spiritual formation I received from the sons and daughters of Don Bosco.”
The Pope did not mention it directly, but he was referring to 1949 when he and his younger brother, Oscar, were enrolled as boarders at Colegio Wilfrid Barón de los Santos Ángeles run by the Salesians at Ramos Mejía.
Pope in Salesian school
The Virgin Mary, under the title Mary Help of Christians, is the principal patroness of the Salesians of Don Bosco, the religious congregation that Don Bosco founded in 1859 in the northern Italian city of Turin, to serve the young people.
The city’s Basilica of Mary Help of Christians, which was commissioned by Don Bosco himself, remains the heart of the Salesians of Don Bosco.
The Argentine Pope’s remarks on Sunday is not the first time that he has spoken about the influence of the Salesians of Don Bosco in his childhood.
Turin, June 22, 2015
Pope Francis visited Turin, June 21-22, 2015, during which he joined the Salesians in celebrating the 200th birth centenary of Don Bosco, who was born on August 16, 1815, and died on January 31, 1888.
During his visit, the Pope met the Salesians, including the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, known as the Salesian sisters, which Don Bosco co-founded with Saint Mary Mazzarello.
While commending Don Bosco’s ministry for young people, the Pope recounted fond childhood memories of his family’s closeness to the Salesians and how, when his mother was ill, he was taken out of public school to spend one year studying with the Salesians.
The Holy Father spoke of how he grew very attached to the Salesian community in the year he spent with them and that one priest, in particular, followed him from Baptism to the realization of his vocation, accompanying him ultimately on his journey to the Jesuit Order.
Salesian priests Fathers Enrico Pozzoli and Cayetano Bruno are particularly remembered by the Pope.
“Evangelii gaudium with St John Bosco”
Again, in January 2019, Pope Francis wrote a preface to the book, “Evangelii gaudium con don Bosco” (Evangelii gaudium with St John Bosco), a collection of reflections by 25 members of the Salesian family.
Commending the spirit of joy of Don Bosco, despite the thousands of “difficulties that besieged him every day”, the Pope recalled his association with the Salesians as a boy in Argentina.
While studying in a Salesian school, he wrote in the preface, he found that same “climate of joy and family.” The Salesians, he said, trained him to appreciate beauty, work, and cheerfulness – and this, he told the Salesians, “is your vocation.”
Houston church closes again after priests test positive for COVID-19
Catholic churches in Texas had begun offering Mass for the public again in early May. But at one parish, public Masses were abruptly suspended again after three priests tested positive for COVID-19. “Today we learned that three members of the Redemptorists community living and working at Holy Ghost Parish have tested positive for COVID-19, Fr.…
Catholic churches in Texas had begun offering Mass for the public again in early May. But at one parish, public Masses were abruptly suspended again after three priests tested positive for COVID-19.
“Today we learned that three members of the Redemptorists community living and working at Holy Ghost Parish have tested positive for COVID-19, Fr. William Bueche, C.Ss.R., pastor of Holy Ghost, said in a statement May 16. “While the individuals themselves are asymptomatic, they, and the other members of the community, are in quarantine in the residence isolated from the others. All members of the household have been tested and are awaiting results.”
Fr. Bueche said that one of the individuals who tested positive had been active in celebrating public Masses at Holy Ghost since the church reopened on May 2. He urged anyone who has attended Masses in person at Holy Ghost since the reopening to “monitor your health for any symptoms and be tested for COVID-19, as a precautionary measure.”
The priest said he informed the City of Houston Health Department about the situation.
In a statement issued Monday, the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston noted that, Fr. Donnell Kirchner, a 79-year-old priest at Holy Ghost died. “The specific cause of death is unknown, but he had been recently treated at an urgent care clinic who referred him to a hospital emergency room,” the statement read. “He was diagnosed with pneumonia but he was not admitted to the hospital and ws sent home with medication. It is not clear if he was tested for covid-19 at either faciity. He returned to the residence he shared with seven other members of his religious order.”
The statement said that following Fr. Kirchner’s death, the other Redemptorists “sought medical advice, and all were tested for the coronavirus. Although the parish had followed cleaning, sanitation and social distancing guidelines described by State health officials since reopening on May 2, they determined at that time it was best to close the church immediately to public Masses until the results of their tests were known.”
The archdiocese also noted that in-person attendance at Holy Ghost had been “closely controlled” and that attendance at Mass on Sunday never exceeded 179, far short of the 900-person capacity. Weekday Mass attendance as a “small fraction of that amount.”
An earlier statement on the parish website said that Masses would be canceled as of May 14 because the Redemptorist community was self-quarantining while awaiting results of the COVID-19 tests. Suspension of Masses included the funeral for Fr. Kirchner originally scheduled on Saturday, May 16.