Thursday, October 02, 2008

Curse of the Billy Goat vs. Holy Water

In the "Holy Water Debate" (link to debate), I had made a comparison between the superstitions in baseball and the medieval superstitions surrounding "Holy Water." Unexpectedly, the two have merged for TBS has broadcast some footage of a papist priest sprinkling the Cubs' dugout with "Holy Water," evidently in an effort to reverse the "Curse of the Billy Goat" - the supposed explanation for the failure of the Cubs to win a World Series in a very long time.

Nota Bene: Sprinkling Holy Water to win baseball games is not something that has ever, to my knowledge, been infallibly taught by the Vatican magisterium. In fact, the CCC warns against superstition. That doesn't seem to stop it from happening in Catholicism.

If anyone can tell me the name of the priest (Matthew in the combox has noted that this is "Father" James Greaneus who, according to the article provided, is from the Midwest), his bishop, and whether his activity was sanctioned, I would be appreciative.

-TurretinFan

8 comments:

natamllc said...

The rebellion of sin, God will intervene and stop, someday soon perhaps? In the mean time, why should we be surprised with rebellion keeps on going like the commerical add of a battery and rabbit keep on ticking? :)

All I want to know is, TF, where did that holy water come from, the Hudson River?

Matthew said...

James Greaneus

link: http://canadianpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5jVqeTy5QRZhlxc3CImDUDRrlS-qA

Turretinfan said...

Matthew: Thanks!

Natamllc: If it works for the Yankees ... :)

Ben Douglass said...

The article mentions nothing about the curse of the billy goat. As far as I can see, there is no evidence that the priest in question believes in the curse of the billy goat or thinks that holy water will reverse it.

There is nothing wrong with blessing a dugout, just as there is nothing wrong with blessing a home or a field. It is a form of prayer for God's blessing. Of course, the petitions which accompany such a blessing might be noble or base. Fr. Greaneus might have prayed for the Cubs to glorify God with their hard work and best efforts. Or he might have just prayed for them to win. We don't know.

One last point: if he didn't bless both dugouts, he should have.

Turretinfan said...

Ben,

This article (link) suggests the link, although it is not explicit.

The idea that holy water is going to help the Cubs play baseball (aside from psychologically pumping them up) is just superstitious. That's really the point of this post - not whether canon law of the priest's church was violated.

-TurretinFan

Ben Douglass said...

Dear Francis,

You believe that baptism and the Lord's supper are means of grace. Do you recognize that participation in baptism and the Lord's supper could improve the performance of any Christians on the cubs team? Shouldn't their growth in grace inspire them to a higher work ethic and greater self-sacrifice? Won't it discourage behaviors such as late night partying and drunkeness which adversely affect their performance? Furhtermore, do you admit that material blessings can overflow to non-believers due to the grace granted to believers?

Turretinfan said...

Dear Ben,

In general, having sanctified Cubs on the bench is good for the whole team. I would be critical of superstitious use of the valid sacrament of the Lord's Supper to try to improve one's ballgame. I would also be critical of anyone who treated grace like "luck" that could sort of "rub off" in unintended ways on people or things.

-TurretinFan

natamllc said...

I may have posted this story before. If I have, I will again.

I was invited to go with a friend to a local College football game.

I don't like sports, although I was the very best at gymnastics and other sports during school where the emphasis was on me, the individual, receiving all the glory for my abilities.

I went to the game with my friend because my friend asked me to go and there is nothing inherently sinful in going to a football game with your friends.

While there, sitting on that College's side seeing we were local, down in front and below us several rows were some very loud and routy souls, all painted with the College colors, chips and beer drinking, just having some good ole' boy fun.

Everytime a play was missed by the host team or they failed a play this group of guys would let out a holler cursing the team in the Name of the Lord. You use your imagination as to what I heard as well as everyone else in ear shot of these guys. This went on through the first half of the game.

I was getting annoyed at this profaning the Name of the Lord. I began to pray and ask the Lord for boldness and an opportunity to "turn" this all around.

During the beginning of the second half of the game it came to me in a quiet moment that the next time anyone of this group of guys shouted out Jesus' Name cursing the team I was going to stand up and as loud as I could praise God and thank God in the Name of Jesus for this football game and exclaim that the better gamesmanship should be proud when they win!

It came suddenly. The quarterback threw the ball and the receiver dropped it just short of the goal line failing to make a needed touchdown. These guys jumped up and began cursing loudly. As soon as they stopped I jumped up and did exactly as I wrote above.

A sudden stillness came over the entire game. I guess I was so loud the folks on the other side of the field heard me. The game continued and miss play after miss play and not one time after my loud proclamation of Christ and His Glory did anyone hear a curse using the Lord's Name in vain!

Billy goats and holy water. What is the purpose of anointing a dug out? In this case, I believe the only purpose is "idolatry" applying a religious idea inappropriately.

That's my story and I am sticking to it!