Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Why Not Nineveh 40?

There's a new traddy-masculinist meme going around called Nineveh 90, a sort of exercise in group discipline for overcoming habitual sin and preparing for the centennial of the first apparition of the Blessed Virgin in Portugal. It is being organized by a certain priest, Richard Heilman. I'm not one to look down on these "Let's build good habits together" movements, and the tie to the Fatima devotion is not a terrible way to set something up, but I couldn't help notice that the N90 Challenge begins Feb. 13, the day after Septuagesima Sunday, and ends May 13, the day before the Fourth Sunday of Easter.

Now, I understand that the building of good habits takes time, effort, and repetition, but the 90-day commitment includes penances like avoiding alcohol, sweets, television, and non-uplifting music, whatever that means. (Why not include abstinence from the marriage bed—a popular medieval penance—while they're at it?) It's all well and good for Catholic men to be using the season of Lent for their penitential overtures, but Easter is celebrated on April 16 this year. Will they continue their penitential habit-building while the rest of the Church is feasting the Resurrection of Our Lord? Or will they be doing extra penances when Lent starts, and only cease those at Easter?

Compounding this confusion is the reference to God's judgment that the prophet Jonas preached against the wicked city of Nineveh: "In forty days, Nineveh will be overthrown." I fear that Fr. Heilman has let the findings of pop-psychology get the better of him by ignoring the number of penitential days in the very text he bases this meme upon!

I would not care much about N90 if I didn't know many Catholics trying to talk me into joining them. It's disheartening that I cannot yet convince them that the liturgical year takes precedence over psychological trends and devotions to private revelations. Will they be doing penance during Eastertide? On Easter Sunday itself? Somehow, I do not think that Our Lady of Fatima would be pleased.

And besides, nobody's going to convince me to start wearing the miniature Carmelite habit again.


  1. I think it is a very, VERY small segment of the Catholic faithful that live in accord with the Liturgical cycle.

  2. This is not unusual. Some trads will fast on the Annunciation, Epiphany, or Dormition if it falls on Friday. I guess if it isn't an official "Day of Obligation" then it isn't a feastday or worth going to church according to Americans.

    Why a Nineveh 90? The Oriental Orthodox (who tend to stick to Tradition better than most) already have an old Nineveh fast, except it's a Nineveh 3.

  3. One would say that those who are more engaged in the life of the Church would actually follow it's natural course...

    1. This reminds me of a fellow Catholic who "corrected" me for not going to a company Christmas lunch during Advent, saying that it was a lack of charity on my part, and that it was a time of joy, even though I told her that it was a time of fasting and penitence (although not as severe as that of Lent).

    2. Some dispute the penitential aspect of Advent, but be that as it may, Advent is not Christmas. So yeah. Those fellows of yours showed a lack of charity towards the liturgical time.

  4. It is just like ICHTIS is trendier and cooler than cross with Christ on it. I wonder why...? It's the cross creating feelings of guilt, sadness, the idea God died for you and you don't care? While the fish is yummie [and filled with deathly polution ever since Fukushima and other things]. But the Cross is scary and looks violent and the Pagans are claiming it back in their Wicca culture and we must make reparations.
    This is just a worldly trend around-ish Christ. The priests and their bishops will have to answer for this because they tolerate it and even encourage it.
    To paraphrase someone else's thought on the net, I wonder if even the devils are in shock by how cheesy and cheap Christianity is presenting itself at this late time.
    I mean yeah, people who do horoscopes put more effort into it.
    Another horrible thing - USB drives and sticks with icons that are dissembowed so you can use the stick. Let it be no surprise for all of us that none of these 'shticks' can protect us from temptation, sin and fall, any more than a red bracelet, the eye of Orion, the palm of Ra or whoever, .. a rabbit's tail can.
    So when some Christians say that the '666' in card chips is inspired by the name of Christ in Greek - why is this a surprise and shock? It's all turning into a circus and we are the ones doing it. It's unbelievable. I am so so sad.
    But the snowflake is rolling down the hill and soon we will have a snow man. Nobody will get scared until they see the snow man. That much is obvious.