Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Recovering From Sandy: Breezy Point, Queens; Santiago, Cuba

Quite a few folks are helping others sort out the mess left by Hurricane Sandy, including organizations like these:
If you don't see a tight focus on the recent Atlantic storm on those websites: don't be surprised. Sandy is a major storm: but it's not the only reason that folks need help.

On the other hand, cleaning up after Sandy is a big job: and it's very much in the news.

Floods, Fires, and Sturdy Masonry

(Associated Press, via New York Daily News, used w/o permission)
"The storm sparked a fire that took down dozens of homes in Breezy Point, Queens."

"Hurricane Sandy: Fire in Breezy Point burns down more than 80 homes, residents devastated"
Lisa L. Colangelo , Mark Morales, Tracy Connor, New York Daily News (October 30, 2012)

"Superstorm sparked a blaze that engulfed dozens of homes in Queens community, including that of Rep. Bob Turner, who praised first responders and vowed Breezy Point would be rebuilt.

"The tight-knit Queens enclave of Breezy Point was a scene of horrific devastation Tuesday -- row after row of homes engulfed by by an inferno that raged on streets flooded by superstorm Sandy....

"...Those who lost homes include Rep. Bob Turner, who praised first responders, vowed that the devastated community would be rebuilt, and said he was grateful he and his family were safe...."
I can't tell whether that statue started out inside a building, whether it was outside before the fire. Either way, I'm glad to see that folks in Breezy Point have at least one reminder of stability.

Here's where I could indulge in some conventional philosophizing. Depending on which audience I was playing to, I could write about:
  1. The 'miraculous' survival of a masonry structure
  2. How religion is stupid
    • Because the statue didn't protect Breezy Point
  3. The hate-filled Catholic Church
    • Wasting money on statues
    • Not supporting
      • Gay marriage
      • Eugenics
      • Whatever
That's not going to happen. I take my faith, and my Lord, seriously. I also realize that I've got my particular judgment coming, and don't need any more trouble than I've already got. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1013, 1021)

Here's what I think about those 'devout,' 'intelligent,' and otherwise, ideas:

1. Miracles and masonry

Maybe that statue's survival really was a miracle: but I've noticed that objects and structures made out of brick, mortar, and stone, tend to be more fire-resistant than wooden ones.

I acknowledge that miracles happen. In a sense, the continued existence of the universe is a miracle: and that's another topic.

2. Statues and Good Luck Charms

Some Catholics are superstitious. For that matter, some Catholics are mass murderers. (December 26, 2008) That doesn't, I think, mean that the Catholic Church should change the rules because some of us don't follow them - yet more topics. By the way, as a Catholic, I'm not allowed to commit murder.1 (Catechism, 2258-2262, 2268-2269)

I'm also not allowed to be superstitious. It's a very bad idea. (Catechism, 2110, 2111)

3. Hate and the Catholic Church

Maybe you know a Catholic who hates people. That's an individual, not the Catholic Church. I'm not allowed to hate people. It's "contrary to charity:" and is another very bad idea. (Catechism, 2303)

As for the 'hateful' things the Catholic Church stands for? I think Futon Sheen was right:
"There are not a hundred people in America who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions of people who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church — which is, of course, quite a different thing."
(Bishop Fulton Sheen, Foreword to Radio Replies Vol. 1, page ix (1938), via Wikiquote)

Meanwhile, in Cuba - - -

"Cuban recovery from Hurricane Sandy will take years, agency reports"
CNA/EWTN News (October 31, 2012)

"The secretary general of Caritas Cuba said it will take years for the eastern section of the country to recover from Hurricane Sandy but that the local Church is bringing relief to thousands of victims.

"Maritza Sanchez told CNA on Oct. 29 that the situation in Cuba 'remains very difficult, especially in the city of Santiago, because the damage has been so severe.'...

"...While the Cuban government plays the key role in providing assistance, she continued, the Church is helping wherever possible and is seeking 'to officially collaborate with the structures of the State in order to broaden our efforts.'

"She said priests in hardest hit areas are identifying the families that have been most affected and are helping to distribute the food and water provided by Caritas. In some areas make-shift soup kitchens have been set up to help those whose needs are critical...."
I see what Caritas Cuba and the Catholic Church is doing in Cuba as another example of how we work with folks: where they live, as they are. On a local level, often as not, we are the 'natives,' the folks who live in an area.

"Subsidiarity" is fancy word for making decisions - and acting - as close to the local level as possible. I've shown how this principle works before. (April 28, 2011)

Ancient Church, Recent Events

Cuba has a communist government. Catholic institutions operate in Cuba. This doesn't mean that the Catholic Church is a commie plot.

The Catholic Church is also not a subversive puppet of Western capitalistic imperialism.

We were around nearly two millennia before the east-west, communism-capitalism conflict started: and I strongly suspect we'll be around when Whigs, Tories, Democrats, and Republicans are as ancient as Optimates and Populares are today:
Moving along.

"...Every Parish is Making an Analysis..."

"Cuban bishops bring relief to victims of Hurricane Sandy"
CNA/EWTN News (October 30, 2012)

"The bishops of eastern Cuba toured the provinces of Santiago, Holguin and Guantanamo to survey the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, and bring pastoral and material aid to thousands of victims.

"An official from the Diocese of Holguin told CNA on Oct. 26 that local Bishop Emilio Aranguren 'personally went to all of the affected parishes,' and later went to Santiago to meet with Archbishop Dionisio Garcia, who also toured the affected areas...."

"...Manolo Martinez of Caritas Holguin said emergency teams are fanning out across the affected regions of the province and that 'every parish is making an analysis of its surroundings so that we can do our best to help the greatest number of people possible.'..."
I mentioned subsidiarity, getting the job done as far away from 'headquarters' as possible, before.

I think one reason the Catholic Church is so effective at charity work is that most of the time, we're already 'there.' Our organization is global, but we're also neighbors in the narrow sense of the word: folks who live down the street, across the valley, whatever.

Preparing For Sandy

"Catholic community helps East Coast prepare for Hurricane Sandy"
Michelle Bauman, CNA/EWTN News (October 29, 2012)

" As much of the East Coast braces for Hurricane Sandy, the Church is helping local people prepare for the storm, reaching out to offer shelter to the homeless and organizing disaster response efforts.

" 'Since Hurricane Katrina, we have focused on being prepared for future disasters,' Father Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA, said in an Oct. 27 statement.

" 'Not only are we early responders, but our presence in the community also puts us in a position to be able to quickly assess and provide support in the long-term,' he added...."
I've said this before. The Catholic Church doesn't insist, or expect, that 'the natives' will stop being who we are. The Church has worked with worked with barbarian warlords, kings, dictators, and the American Congress.

That's not the same as saying that the Church approves of whatever the local shaman or Senator does: and that's yet another topic. Topics.

Related posts:

1 The Catholic Church says that human life is sacred. (Catechism, 2258) This belief results in awkward rules about killing people. Basically, as a Catholic I'm not allowed to kill an innocent person; even if:
  • It's legal
    (Catechism, 2270-2275)
  • 'In the victim's best interests'
    (Catechism, 2276-2279)
  • Part of an experiment
    (Catechism, 2292-2295)
  • I'm 'just following orders'
    (Catechism, 2313)

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Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.