Categories
Austin Current Events

Back to Normal?

I miss normal too.

Today, Texas Governor Abbott teased that he’s going to make a big statewide announcement tomorrow while speaking to the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce. Here’s my guess as to what’s going to go down.

First, he teased this news on Twitter. That means he thinks it is a positive thing. It’s too soon to make any new announcement regarding the energy sector (it’s already a legislative priority, so out of his hands) and Lubbock isn’t a place that such an announcement would mean much. Except for maybe some wind farms, but we know he’s not going to celebrate new wind energy right now.

So, the other thing is, obviously, Covid. He has also teased the idea that maybe the mask mandate has run its course.

My first guess is he’ll lift the mask mandate. While cases are definitely looking better than January, we’re only slightly better than we were in early July when the mandate was issued. Back when we thought 10,000 cases in a day was mindblowing and seeing the increase above 5,000 spurred the mandate in the first place.

He’s speaking in Lubbock. Eyeballing it, I think Lubbock may have the highest percentage of vaccinated folks in the state.

Tomorrow is also Texas Independence Day—yes, that’s a holiday that majority of native Texans know and, dare I say, many of us celebrate in some form. Lifting the mask mandate on Texas Independence Day is what I’d expect from Gov. Abbott. Since wearing a mask is oppressing my freedom. Y’all can join me in protesting at the every building with a sign saying “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” later.

I’m tired of wearing masks too, but businesses can operate fairly normally with a mask mandate in place. He’s going to make the announcement at a Chamber of Commerce.

He’s going to lift the capacity limits for businesses. With rhetoric about freedom and trying to boost the Texas sales pitch for business (after the state leadership absolute failure in supporting businesses when we couldn’t keep the lights on and water flowing), he’s going to rip off the chains of caring for our fellow man—what a silly concept that is—and basically “reopen Texas”. Which is what he said at the end of May before saying “whoops, shouldn’t have reopened bars. My bad!”

I’m sure he has Texas’ best interest at heart and this has nothing to do with him teasing this while sharing a tweet showing him with better polling numbers than Ted Cruz. And has nothing to do with Ted Cruz getting more love at CPAC than he did.

Y’all, hang in there just a bit longer. I’m tired of all this too. I’m holding on to the hope that, come fall, things may be looking more normal. But, we still have plenty of time to screw this up.

Categories
WordPress

Genesis eNews Extended 2.2

Today, I shipped a new version of Genesis eNews Extended. Beyond some minor invisible stuff—bringing everything up to modern PHPCS rules—the latest version brings in a new set of classes that theme designers can use to more surgically modify the design of their subscriptions forms.

Suggested and implemented by Mike Hemberger, also known as JiveDig, this version adds a number of classes for easier theming:

  • enews-form, a class on the top-level form element.
  • enews-fname, a class on the first name form field.
  • enews-lname, a class on the last name form field.
  • enews-email, a class on the e-mail address form field.
  • enews-submit, a class on the submit button.

The form has always been wrapped in a div element with the enews class. This version also adds a new enews-{$field_count}-field(s) class to that div so you can apply different rules if there are 1 field—for only the e-mail address—or 2 or 3 if there are one or two name fields.

As part of my commitment to backward-compatibility, no classes were removed or changed—only additions—so this update is safe for existing sites without any need to make changes.

A major thanks to Mike for using eNews Extended, seeing room for improvement, and then going to the next level to implement it. If you have suggestions for improvements or would like to submit patches, check out Genesis eNews Extended on GitHub.

Categories
Current Events

A New Record

I’m not going to resume my daily COVID posts that I did over the summer (at least not yet), but wanted to interrupt my non-programming to share that Texas hit a new record high number today.

10,865 new cases reported in the last 24 hours.

Categories
Church

McCarrick

The Vatican released today a report from the Secretariat of State on Theodore McCarrick, the sexual abuser and predator who rose the hierarchy’s ranks to became a Cardinal.

I’ve only had a chance to skim it, so this isn’t a full summary except to say that some bishops didn’t share their full knowledge, some ignored reports or actively discredited the reporter. There was an implicit bias that worked in McCarrick’s favor (forms of clericalism). There was a failure to treat the reports as potential (and now confirmed) serious crimes against people, replaced with treating this as potential public relations and public scandal problems.

I don’t want to get into who, more specifically, is to blame or not without reading the report in more detail.

As a Catholic and a former lay minister, thus a tiny part of the institutional Church, I’m sorry. The Church failed on so many levels for such a long time.

I don’t have confidence that the lessons have been learned yet. Yes, a report of a sexual crime is taken far more seriously with a more objective process. Has the Church—specifically the bishops—learned to put humility and holiness over protectionism? Some always put humility and holiness over protectionism, some have learned to, but all of them? All of them in higher positions?

In addition to my continued prayers and support for those who have suffered at the hands of the Church, I pray for the institutional leaders that they receive this report with open arms and minds, learn from it, and make the sometimes radical change to return to the first principles of their vocational call. I pray for myself, too, for the grace and wisdom to help in my future roles within the Church.

Categories
Church

Dedication of the Archbasilica

Today’s feast day in the Latin Church is the Dedication of St. John Lateran. It’s the only “archbasilica” in Christianity as the chief and highest-ranking church in the world—the Mother Church.

Briefly, this area of Rome just inside the city walls was given to the Pope around the year 300 or so with a church on the site dedicated in 324. For a long time, the Pope lived at the Lateran and a number of councils were held here over the years.

It was–and still is—the Cathedral for the Diocese of Rome and for the Bishop of Rome, which is just another name for the Pope. St. Peter’s is just another church, but St. John Lateran is the Cathedral.

I’ve been able to visit a couple of times; here are a few pictures from April 2019, including the Baptistry adjacent.

Whenever we come to church, we must prepare our hearts to be as beautiful as we expect this church to be. Do you wish to find this basilica immaculately clean? Then do not soil your soul with the filth of sins. Do you wish this basilica to be full of light? God too wishes that your soul be not in darkness, but that the light of good works shine in us, so that he who dwells in the heavens will be glorified. Just as you enter this church building, so God wishes to enter into your soul, for he promised: I shall live in them, I shall walk through their hearts.

St. Caesarius of Arles as found in the Office of Readings.
Categories
Church Reflections

One Priest Can Make All The Difference

Today is the birthday of Fr. Ivor Koch, who spent hours sitting outside of the funeral home with my mom after my dad died. We were lapsed Catholics and a family holding a lot of pain from church mistakes decades before.

I was baptized, but we never went to church for the 11 years that followed. But, nevertheless, he sat there, listening to my mom’s grief about my dad and her pain about the church.

We always considered ourselves Catholic. But the Church had burned us. Fr. Koch wasn’t pushy. He was simply present.

He was present in ways that the priests weren’t in the 70s when my mom wanted to talk about her brother’s suicide.

And that made all the difference. He cared. He brought Christ to us again.

He wasn’t perfect. He was a bit grumpy. But, he made all the difference, healed a massive rift in my family, and gave me a spiritual home when I needed it most as a 12-year-old dealing with losing a father.

He died a few years ago, but I keep his birthday on my calendar. If you’re one of the priests that follow me, know that you’re changing lives every day by just being you. Keep fighting the good fight.