Brandon's Notepad

February 12, 2020

Pecan Coffee: Cameron’s Toasted Southern Pecan K-Cups

Filed under: Coffee,Food & Drink — Brandon @ 9:48 am
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To follow-up to the Cameron’s Toasted Southern Pecan ground coffee, I picked up a box of the K-Cups for the Keurig in the breakroom. As I’ve stated in other posts, I don’t expect much from K-Cups, but in this case I was completely blown away! The results were equivalent if not better than with the ground coffee. I can’t help but believe that this was due in part to the use of the Cameron’s EcoPod, which boasts a paper lid and compostable ring and filter instead of a plastic cup. The other part is just good coffee. To Cameron’s, the Keurig space isn’t a place to skimp on quality.

If that weren’t enough, I must relate what happened when I brewed a cup on the way out one evening. As I crossed the short walkway between the building and the parking garage, I was stopped by one of the executives. He asked me what kind of coffee I was drinking. I happily shared the name of the brand and flavor. He told me that the smell was amazing and he was surprised how well it lingered in the air. Now, it was a bit cool out and the air was moist, which accounts for why the aroma carried so well, but compliment on the smell can only be attributed to the quality of the coffee itself. Good job, Cameron’s!

February 10, 2020

Pecan Coffee: Cameron’s Toasted Southern Pecan

Filed under: Coffee,Food & Drink — Brandon @ 7:14 pm
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On a mildly-chilly day in mid-December, I broke out the trusty Melitta cup-top and a #2 filter and opened a new bag of Cameron’s Toasted Southern Pecan. I wasn’t expecting to try this one next, but I needed to replace my grinder at work and this one was already ground, so, why not?

Prior to this challenge, I didn’t know this brand at all. The company website states that it was founded in 1978 and was subsequently acquired in 1993. It is headquartered in Shakopee, Minnesota, a small suburb of Minneapolis. Maybe the branding changed recently or maybe it has taken this long for their coffees to reach the shelves in Texas, I don’t really know, but I don’t recall ever seeing it before. At this time, I can find it readily at Albertsons and Sprouts Farmers Market.

First impressions? The packaging is very nice. I like the style of the branding, especially the clipart-style steam lion emanating from the cup on the logo. The creamy white and bright red color scheme works well. The only element that doesn’t appear to be SVG is the photograph of the two pecan halves next to the flavor name on the front, but it works well in breaking up the composition and even adds pop.

Medium-light colored grounds confirm that the roast is indeed ‘light’ as labeled. The scent of the grounds was good when the bag was first opened, but nothing about it really screamed pecan. It became more rich when I broke up the brick that had formed in the bag. After that, it was impossible to escape the aroma.

Once brewed, the smell is nothing short of awesome! It doesn’t quite fill the room or anything, but it was there. It’s sweet and creamy smell, not stark or overpowering. The color is a beautiful reddish-brown, and not thin at all! One of my coffee mugs has speckles on the inside that can no longer be seen if more than a quarter-inch below the surface with this coffee. It feels full in the mouth and it goes down easy with no perceptible difference in aftertaste. I think it lives up to the motto “Always smooth, never bitter”. Very clean finish. Seriously, no bitter coffee face! I could easily drink this at my desk all day.

February 3, 2020

Pecan Coffee: Sprouts Toasted Pecan Coffee

Filed under: Coffee,Food & Drink — Brandon @ 5:38 pm
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We shop at Sprouts Farmers Market all the time! It is our primary grocery store and our primary source of coffee at home. The beans in the bulk dispensers is normally $10.99 per pound, but it is often on sale for $7 to $9, and the organic is often, but not always, the same price as the regular. Each store typically has three pump dispensers with different roasts/flavors for free taste-testing samples, though larger cups are available for a very reasonable price (I think it’s 99¢). This pecan coffee was regularly available as a sample in November and December and was inspiration for this tasting challenge.

The beans are matte, not shiny, indicating a shorter roast, the pecan flavor is present but not overpowering, and the taste of the coffee is good overall. It definitely doesn’t possess a chemical quality, but is much more natural-tasting than other flavored coffees. The only downside is that the aftertaste lingers, leaving the back of tongue dry. All of this makes it a really good “everyday” coffee, but it also means that there is nothing great to note about it. There is nothing that makes it stand out as an excellent pecan coffee.

January 31, 2020

Texas Pecan Coffee Challenge Extended

Filed under: Coffee,Food & Drink — Brandon @ 10:18 pm
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As usual, the best laid plans of mice and men go oft awry, or at least that’s Steinbeck’s take on life and in this case it has turned out to be true. I did get to taste quite a few of the pecan coffees before the end of the year, but I found no time to write about them as I had hoped. I felt very rushed and thought it would be better to spend a little more time getting to know each coffee than originally allotted. What’s more, there were a few surprises along the way that required some sorting out. Please watch for new posts next week for the next set of reviews.

December 17, 2019

Pecan Coffee: Green Mountain K-Cups

Filed under: Coffee,Food & Drink — Brandon @ 11:59 pm
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We switched to Keurig machines at work years ago. They are handy, efficient, and require less work for the day porters to maintain. The company supplies a variety of K-Cups, usually about 8 different kinds of coffee/tea at each coffee station. Most of the coffee is Starbucks brand and the remainder is typically Green Mountain. Based on this experience, I’ve learned to never expect much from the K-Cups in general, and much less from the Green Mountain selections (Dark Magic may be the one exception).

I managed to find two pecan coffees made by Green Mountain in K-Cup format: “Southern Pecan” and “Maple Pecan”. The Southern Pecan is a standard flavor available at the grocery store all year. The maple variety, however, is marked “Limited Edition” and was stocked with other seasonal foods, so I expect it will be unavailable in a month or so. I bought both on sale for approximately $7 for a 12-cup box.

Given my low expectations, I decided that I couldn’t judge these coffees too harshly, so my basis for evaluation is whether or not these are good enough to (a) buy my own coffee and bring it to work and/or (b) recommend that they swap out one of the existing selections for one of these (even if only temporarily for the seasonal maple variety).

One might expect to get one regular-sized cup of coffee from one K-Cup, so I brewed both of the coffees at the largest (10oz) setting. Both turned out to be very thin! The pecan scent is present, but the cup has to be close to the nose to be perceptible. The maple pecan has a slight syrup smell and taste, but it doesn’t add much over the southern pecan. Both are pretty much lifeless. So, I brewed another set at the smallest (4oz) setting, which made both a bit overpowering. Definitely too much maple! I added some milk (last resort) and that helped some, but I have become accustomed to taking my coffee black and adding cream and sugar just hides the taste of the coffee.

The verdict? Would I drink these regularly at work? No, definitely not, especially considering that they are competing with free Starbucks coffee. I will be leaving the leftover K-Cups in the breakroom for others to try.

December 16, 2019

Pecan Coffee: The Quick Fix Options

Filed under: Coffee,Food & Drink — Brandon @ 3:50 pm
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I’ve been busy for the last week collecting samples for my pecan coffee challenge. In the meantime, I thought it would be good to check on the availability of a few “quick fix” options for those on the go. I started looking around for pecan coffee at the big-name coffee shops and convenience stores in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, and here is what I found.

A word of warning, this review is probably not for the real coffee aficionados out there, especially the ones that snub anything that isn’t natural, non-flavored whole beans roasted within the last 72 hours and packaged in a brown paper bag (delivered by drone in the pitch-black night of a new moon, etc., etc.). This post is for the busy people who yearn for pecan coffee but have no time to grind and brew for themselves. I’ll be covering the better options soon enough in subsequent posts.

The elephant in the room is obviously Starbucks, so we’ll address that one first. They do not have a pecan coffee on the regular menu, but they did offer a Fall seasonal Maple Pecan Latte in both 2017 and 2018. This was not a flavored coffee bean! It was an espresso-based drink sweetened with their Maple Pecan Sauce. The page for that drink is no longer available on the Starbucks website, but it can be found here on the Wayback Machine. The ingredients list clearly shows that no pecans are used in the sauce unless they are included in the “Natural Flavors”.

Next up is Dunkin’ Donuts. The only references I could find to pecan coffee at Dunkin’ online were for the Butter Pecan Swirl and Maple Pecan Swirl iced coffee drinks. Just to be sure, I called about a dozen Dunkin’ Donuts locations and asked if they have regular pecan coffee on the menu. The answer was no. I’m not really interested in their iced coffees for the purposes of this challenge, which doesn’t really matter, because they are seasonal drinks and not currently in the stores at the moment anyway.

IHOP and Waffle House seemed like good candidates, but no luck at either. Of the two, I thought that IHOP would be more likely to carry it, so again, I called a few of the restaurants and got several confirmations that they don’t offer it now, nor have they ever. If you find yourself there and are really hard up for a cup, I suppose (judiciously) using their butter pecan syrup as a sweetener might work in a pinch.

7-Eleven is always a good standby for coffee. The company does take their coffee seriously and they do sell a solid product with extra marks for variety and consistency. Yes, they have Texas Pecan coffee! And yes, it’s good! And very affordable! Now, please be aware that all of these factors (consistency, taste, price, etc.) are not accidental. Some dislike 7-Eleven coffee because it tastes engineered, or in other words, it doesn’t taste like real coffee. There are far more who obviously don’t care. All they know is that it tastes good, has a great price point, and doesn’t require standing in a long queue or drive-thru.

QuikTrip (QT) gas stations offer a huge variety of drinks, hot and cold. Ignoring the instant coffee makers (that also dispense various hot chocolates), each store sports about 6 to 8 self-service hot-coffee machines that brew from traditional coffee grounds. Typically, these contain different roasts plus decaf options, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a flavored coffee, probably because that aspect is covered by the “Flavor Center” creamer dispensers. So, no pecan there either.

RaceTrac is QT’s closest competitor in the gas station food market, and their store layout is now almost identical. I hadn’t been in one for a few years, so I dropped by today to find more self-service coffee dispensers (that appear to grind beans on the spot as well), none of which contained pecan coffee.

The only place other than 7-Eleven where I found pecan coffee to go was at the coffee bar at (H-E-B) Central Market. They usually have about half a dozen roasts or flavors to choose from in metal thermal pump-style carafes. They serve Texas Coffee Traders brand coffee and their site reveals that all of their flavored offerings are based on light roast beans from Latin America and that the flavoring is done “in-house” which I assume means in Auston where the company is headquartered. Incidentally, it goes for $13.50 per pound online at the time of this writing.

So there we have it, two big-name stores that regularly serve pecan coffee “to go” in the DFW area. If you happen to know of any place that serves it that I missed, please let me know in the comments or on Twitter.

December 6, 2019

Texas Pecan Coffee Challenge

Filed under: Coffee,Food & Drink — Brandon @ 5:21 pm
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Nothing says “Autumn” to me like a hot mug of pecan coffee. Yes, pumpkin spice has been all the rage in recent years thanks to a certain big-name coffee shop chain, but pecan coffee became a signature taste of the Southern United States long before that. Besides the baseline “Texas”, “Georgia” and “Southern” pecan coffees, there are variants such as butter, cinnamon, caramel, praline, bourbon and rum. I typically steer away from flavored coffees, but pecan coffee is a standing exception to that rule.

This year, the cravings started just before Thanksgiving with a grocery store sample. I thought it would be nice to have some at home during the upcoming holidays, but the question was, which one? I immediately pulled out my phone and started looking for options, but with so many to choose from, I just couldn’t decide. I wanted to try them all! And why not? It sounded like a fun challenge: to try as many as I could before the end of the year. So far, I have found about ten different brands that I could reasonably sample in that amount of time without breaking the bank.

In accepting this challenge, I have also decided to revitalize my Tea & Coffee Journal concept. For over half a decade, I kept a series of journals on my blog primarily containing reviews of various coffees and teas. I stopped this practice several years ago because it was too difficult to maintain in the format I was using and my plans for elaborate taste tests were starting to exceed my capacity in terms of both time and budget. Something that was started for fun was turning into a real chore, so I had to walk away from it for a time.  Now that I have set up a proper site for this sort of content, I can blog more freely about my hot beverage experiences and then aggregate the posts in an annual digest there.

On that note, if you would like to read more about this little adventure as it unfolds, please follow me here on WordPress, and/or on Twitter, and leave any pecan coffee recommendations you may have in the comments section below.

December 2, 2019

Happy New (Liturgical) Year!

Filed under: Catholic,Christianity,Religion — Brandon @ 1:48 pm
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Happy New Year! Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent, marking the beginning of the 2019–2020 liturgical year. The sermon at Mass was filled with the typical reminders that we ought to spent the next few weeks reflecting on our lives and preparing our hearts for the coming of Jesus in the nativity, something we are urged to do every year at this time. It dawned on me that, in a way, we are making New Year’s resolutions, committing to changes in our lives that should in someway improve the condition of our souls. How is this really different than making New Year’s resolutions on January 1st? So often we resolve to exercise more, eat less, set aside time to read, spend more time with family, etc. Should we not make similar promises at the beginning of Advent to read more scripture, pray more often, and volunteer to help others?

November 8, 2019

The Latin Mass: Cult of Toxic Tradition

A few days ago, an article was published by the liberal news source National Catholic Reporter titled The Latin Mass becomes a cult of toxic tradition. Familiar with the source, I would normally ignore something like this, but I kept seeing it pop up in my discussion groups and news feeds, so I decided to see what the hype was about. The article, written by journalist Zita Ballinger Fletcher, is nothing short of appalling, so much so that it is worthy of meticulous review just to expose how bad it really is.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am not a traditional (a.k.a. “Trad”) Catholic In the sense that I attend the Latin Mass on a normal basis and/or refute the validity of the Second Vatican Council. Yes, I have attended a few Latin Masses and have an affinity for the language, but my interest in the TLM as liturgy is more academic than practical and I have very good reasons for being “post-Concilar”. With that said. let’s unravel this dandy piece of work.

The first line of the article really sets the tone. “One culture within the Catholic Church needing major reform is…the practice of the Latin Mass.” Of course, by “Latin Mass”, Fletcher is referring to the Tridentine or Traditional Latin Mass (TLM). This is the form of the Mass promulgated in 1570 by Pope Pius V and is named for the Council of Trent, out of which the form was created. The TLM was taken out of regular use in 1970 and replaced with the Novus Ordo Missae by Pope Paul VI, a result of the liturgical reform called for in another Council, Vatican II. The TLM is a valid form of the Mass and has been explicitly preserved for the benefit of those who still wish to practice it. Asking for its reform at this point is nothing short of, well, odd.

It’s important to note at this point that Fletcher doesn’t seem to be talking about the Mass here at all, but that she has a problem with the subculture that has grown around it. Let’s read on.

The second paragraph is quite problematic:

In a previous era, the Latin Mass was merely a uniform and standard way of celebrating the liturgy in the United States. In the wake of much needed reforms instituted by the Second Vatican Council, the Latin Mass has become a rallying point for change-resistant sects within the church. The ultra-conservatism practiced by these Latin Mass groups is radical and narrow-minded. They utilize the Latin Mass structure to wield control over believers — particularly women, who are reduced to a state of discriminatory subjugation in Latin rites. The stubbornly resistant, anti-modern practices of these Latin Mass adherents border on cultism.

First, the phrase “previous era” makes it sound both distant and irrelevant. That era lasted 412 years (~20% of the Church’s history) and ended a mere 50 years ago. Second, the TLM was not only used in the United States (which is only 243 years old and was founded mostly by Protestants), it was the standard form used throughout the Roman Church, which included all of Europe and various other regions. The claim that the reforms of Vatican II were “much needed” is not substantiated in this article at all, yet this phrase leads the reader to believe that said reforms would prevent the behaviors against which Fletcher is so vehemently opposed without providing so much as a logical proof (i.e. it’s a red herring). The remainder of this paragraph exposes the true agenda behind this article: discrimination against women through the use of mind control, and specifically in the United States. It’s a humanist political piece, not a religious one.

The third paragraph is as bad, if not worse:

The Latin Mass fosters clericalist structures in the church. The liturgy — spoken in an ancient language no longer in modern vernacular usage — places all power in the hands of the priest. The priest keeps his back turned to the people for most of the ceremony. Aside from making occasional responses, the congregation plays no active part in worship. All people inside the church are expected to kneel on cue at various points. The priest is at the center of the spectacle. He is separated from the people he is supposed to serve by an altar rail — a barrier that gives him privileges. To receive the Eucharist, people must kneel at his feet.

Clericalism is a pejorative term used to denote the “undue” deference to the clergy in all matters. This can be a real concern! One need only consider Jim Jones and David Koresh as extreme (and thankfully, non-Catholic) examples. This is the vehicle by which Trad Catholics are supposedly carrying out a maniacal plot against women and their individual freedom. In contrast, anti-clericalism is, in short, a rebellious refutation of Church authority. Fletcher must have been channeling her inner Loraine Boettner when she wrote this paragraph.

The rest of that excerpt can definitely be construed as an attack on the TLM — and truly on Catholicism itself. At this point, Fletcher has moved beyond admonishing the people who are allegedly exploiting this form of worship to describing “problems” with the Mass itself. She would do well to understand a few details about the Church to which she claims to belong. Things like the fact that, though Latin may be an ancient language, it is still the language of the Church and yes indeed, the priest does have power over things sacred by virtue of his ordination. The priest always faces (up to) God in the Mass because it is to God that the sacrifice is being made, regardless of whether the priest is oriented in the general direction of the people or not. Despite what most Catholics probably think about it, “active participation” is a throw-away term, because only the priest has the faculties to confect the Eucharist, and the presence or absence of other people and whether or not they are singing or giving verbal responses or silently praying rosaries is completely irrelevant. The altar rail is there to represent the separation of sacred space from the profane world (the sanctuary from the nave), just as the veil in the Hebrew temple did, and the notion that the barrier somehow endows the priest with special privileges or that the faithful are kneeling at his feet instead of the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist is completely baseless and (at best) shows grave ignorance of fundamental Catholic teachings. Oh, and the Mass is not a “spectacle”! Fletcher mentions later in the article that she sat in on a TLM because she wanted to receive Communion, but why do so if she considered it to be a mere performance?

Fletcher continues by explaining how Trad women, as part of their oppression, are “commanded” to wear long skirts instead of pants and to hide their beauty under veils, whereas no such rules apply to the men. I can’t help but wonder how many of these women she interviewed in preparation to write this article to ascertain whether they chose to dress modestly on their own or if their husbands demand them to do so. Journalists still do that sort of thing, right? If she did conduct such interviews, which I doubt, she certainly didn’t mention them.

Fletcher anticipates being challenged about ‘not really understanding what she is talking about’, and proactively reassures her readers that her opinion is based on “facts and personal experiences”. I’m not sure where the facts come into play, because the remainder of the article is pretty much all about her personal experiences.

This series of stories begins with how her mother, a divorced and fallen-away Catholic, decided to return to the Church (to the TLM specifically) for herself and to provide spiritual instruction for her daughter in the face of opposition from atheist family members. The experience at their chosen parish was not good, and it sounds like the priest and people there were misguided. It is understandable that this set off her spiritual journey on a bad foot. But wait, there’s more.

She then recalls an exchange with a somewhat creepy priest who seemed to be obsessed with veiling her hair and who lashed out when she objected. As written, this story sounds like a scene from a bad horror movie from the 1960s. Nonetheless, why should anyone doubt that she had a second bad experience like this one? It could happen. One thing is certain, however, veiling obviously bothers Fletcher deeply, because she interprets the covering of hair as a loss of freedom and explicitly equates the “Latin Mass cultists” to “religious extremists in the Middle East and Asia”. At last check, Latin Mass-goers don’t decapitate people.

There is a brief story about a run-in with a “chauvinistic” professor from her university and his wife, described as “a ghost of a woman” who “looked physically weak — almost ill”. The immediate conclusion one must draw is that, for the professor, “religion was a mechanism of abusive control”. It would be silly to assume that the professor’s wife was a bit eccentric perhaps, or that she suffered from depression or some physical ailment such as cancer, right? Did Fletcher bother to validate her suspicions in any way? If she really wanted to probe, she could’ve started a conversation with the wife, saying that she couldn’t help but notice her rosary and ask if she needed any prayers…but just assuming things about other people you don’t know is much easier..and safer!

The fourth story concerns a friend who “decided to brave the Catholic dating scene” (not sure what that means exactly) and who reported that the Trad males were “shopping for wives”, interviewing the girls about their theology and asking if they would consent to being veiled. In substance, this sounds a lot like traditional courtship, not dating. The difference? In courtship, getting to know a potential spouse is the goal. In dating, hormones tend to lead the couple’s way and it doesn’t always lead to marriage. So, way to go Trad guys for being responsible Catholic adults!

In the fifth and final personal experience, Fletcher describes how she found herself in attendance at a TLM prior to a speaking engagement. She observed how the congregation was filled with young families and college-aged men and women and wondered how they all got “sucked into this vortex of toxic, traditional radicalism”. Somehow, the changing of the times that led to liturgical reform after Vatican II is something different than the changing of the times between the Boomer generation and the Millennials, and the resurgence of a desire to worship according to the old rites is completely illogical and must be part of a diabolical plan involving the manipulation of wayward youth for some dark purpose. If that doesn’t sound paranoid enough, how about the observation of being “surrounded by veiled women who entertained themselves…by casting disapproving glances at my leggings and earrings”. This is very dark and it actually sounds like something a real schizophrenic would write (thus, exhibiting a serious lack of tact on Fletcher’s part on top of everything else).

The last story has a second part to it. At that Mass, Fletcher approached the rail for Communion and asked to receive in the hand. To her surprise, she was denied by the pastor! She received anyway (on the tongue), but then confronted an assisting priest after Mass about the ordeal, asking that he correct the pastor. She was shocked again when he declined to reprimand his superior, even after she reminded him of his “duty” to serve her as a believer. Yes, priests minister to the faithful, but they serve God first and foremost. They are not customer service representatives or table waiters. This incident, however, is relayed as more empirical “proof” that radical clericalism has been unleashed throughout the ranks of TLM parishes.

Not cringy enough? She flatly states that the term Novus Ordo is “a derogatory term used by Latin Mass cultists to denote regular English-language Masses.” It is certainly true that sedevacantists (those who believe that the Seat of Peter is truly empty and that every Pope since Pius XII has been a false Pope) impute a negative connotation on this phrase, but the fact is that the new order of Mass is, literally, the Novus Ordo Missae in Latin, and the definitive version of it is written in Latin, not English. And how is someone referring to Novus Ordo Catholics with a pejorative connotation any different than her referring to Latin Mass Catholics in the same way (or in her words ‘Latin Mass Cultists’)?

The paragraph that follows that account is worth examining as well. Long story short, the assistant priest makes a comment about how the old rites are just as sacred as the ancient rites of the Byzantine and Coptic Churches and that the new Mass is tolerated but not recommended. (For the record, not all TLM priests hold this position. Opinions vary between FSSP, SSPX, and other sects). She responds with:

I feel it necessary to point out…that the Byzantine and Coptic rites originate in the traditions of distinct Catholic churches in foreign countries. The Latin Mass, by contrast, is merely an extinct model of tradition practiced in the United States and other countries, and was never a separate church nor imported from a foreign country. Therefore the Latin Mass can be compared to Coptic and Byzantine churches as much as apples can be compared to oranges. No ancient Romans or native Latin speakers will be disenfranchised by changes made to the Latin Mass — just hardliners unable to let go of their particular ideology.

Again, Fletcher places heavy emphasis on the United States, as if the location actually matters. There are 23 Eastern Catholic Churches that span 5 different Rites, and most (if not all) have parishes (and even full dioceses) in the United States. Guess how many use the Novus Ordo. None. The claim that the Latin Mass “was never a separate church” is in itself nonsensical, but that the TLM was the order of Mass for the Latin Church within the Roman Rite for 412 years cannot be disputed as a historical fact, and it is the Latin Church to which most American Catholics belong today, so no, it isn’t extinct.

The last five paragraphs concern hypocrisy and tolerance, and Pope Francis’ stance on these things, and the irony couldn’t be thicker. Fletcher implies that the TLM crowd conforms to Francis’ description of hypocrisy, “appearing one way, but acting in another”. This is the polar opposite of what they do! They strive to keep a Catholic identity by acting as Catholics did for centuries. She quotes Francis in his metaphor that the Church is a tent and not a fortress, a call for diversity and inclusion, yet she demands that Trad Catholics conform. She states that “Compassion defines true Catholicism” and then scoffs at the passion these folks have for the old rites. She appeals heavily to the teachings of one Pope, Francis, but completely fails to recognize that another Pope, Benedict XVI, has already decreed that the TLM is not only valid, but that it was never abrogated and is to be allowed. And finally, she twists the words of our Lord “I desire mercy, not sacrifice” by which he meant that love for others far exceeds the prescribed animal sacrifices of the Jewish law; instead, she uses them to supplant the importance of the Mass, which contradicts Church teaching that the Eucharist is the “the source and summit of the Christian life.” (CCC 1324)

It is safe to conclude that this work cannot be considered a sound product of good journalism, and no one — especially Catholics — should take it seriously. There are no real facts present in this article at all, no surveys or statistics on which her claims can be based, and honestly, no attempt at real scholarship evident whatsoever. It is an opinion piece that is based heavily on emotion and confirmation bias, and the entire narrative sounds far more Protestant than Catholic. I am certainly sorry to hear that her experience with the Traditional Latin Mass has been far less than ideal, but it does not justify the copious shaming she doles out on those who have decided to live (or in the words of Saint Paul, to work out their own salvation) by a different set of rules than she does. So much for tolerance.

October 21, 2019

A New Direction

Filed under: Editorial — Brandon @ 3:11 pm

I started this blog over ten years ago for one purpose: to have a place to keep lists of links where I could easily access them wherever I happened to be. It quickly expanded as a medium for publishing some of the research I was doing. The blogging platform took care of styling for the most part and added common elements such as headers and menus, which freed me from having to maintain my own HTML (the path I was on at the time) and to focus my energy on content.

Eventually, the content outgrew the original site organization and a lot of little things (like tags, categories, short urls, and the like) added overhead to every post. I found myself using Twitter far more often out of convenience, and the blog grew stagent. I have recently reevaluated how I am using these tools and have decided to make some major changes.

Over the next few months, the long posts will be moved from this site to a more traditional website (address to be announced later). This includes the research, summaries of religious documents, book reviews, coffee and tea journals, posts about personal productivity, etc. The shorter posts will remain here, including especially the posts I have categorized as “My Stack“. All posts will be reviewed and, when appropriate, modified to fit a more traditional blog format.

Thanks to all of my followers, both on WordPress and on Twitter for sticking with me! I hope this change allows me the creative freedom to post more often.

Cheers!
-Brandon

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