Pretty busy around here, but a couple quick hits:
I think I gleaned this from "You Can Farm", but I could have read it somewhere else .... Basically as the number of farmers in the USA has decreased, the budget for the US Department of Agriculture has increased. Go figure.
My personal experience with this was when we called our extension office for advice on buying a dairy cow. They definitely tried to discourage us rather than help.
Gov't wants to spend time and money on the big guys. (But will come down on the little guys who don't have big lawyers.)
Reading Eamon Duffy's The Stripping of the Altars. I don't think I will get through all of it, I am skipping around as it is. First he details the spiritual health and devotions in pre-Anglican Church England, and then he details the destruction. Here is a snip from the destruction, which started as a creeping destruction:
So the sprinkling of the holy water was explained not in terms of the water's power to banish demons or bring blessing, but "to put us in remembrance of our baptism and the blood of Christ sprinkled for our redemption," holy bread was presented not as a curative but "to put us in remembrance of the sacrament of the altar," candles at Candlemas not as defences against the power of evil or the disorder of the elements but "in memory of Christ the spiritual light".
As I read this, I wonder who won in the end. The water-downed version seems to be what we live with today in most Catholic parishes. Our faith, Catholic culture and devotions have been eliminated (who celebrates Candlemas now?) or greatly watered-down (I have never heard sprinkling of holy water to banish demons except from one priest.)
Remember the Requiem Press sale below!
Oremus pro invicem!