Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Don't tell anyone. The Curt Jester has stumbled across a secret memo from The Vatican to Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Ohhh, I can hardly wait.

Maybe I'll take up smoking

At least when I am around cats. The Daily Eudemon has a link to a study that second hand smoke is dangerous to cats also. And Eric opines, "The anti-smoker Puritans stop at nothing. "

I say, So. Maybe smoking isn't so bad afterall.

Catholic blog awards

Being new to this world, I guess it is time for the annual Catholic Blog Awards.
Nominations run through Friday Feb 3rd at 3:00pm. (notice the use of the days and time)

Anyway, since I am Catholic, new and this is a blog, just perhaps...

Schedule me one for my Lenten retreat

The Curt Jester has an idea for a Catholic Spa, complete with faith lifts, spiritual fitness trainers and Ignatian Spiritual Exercise equiment.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Gotta get me one of those lamps

Order me a case of them basket lamps.

Reasons for hope

There is good, bad and ugly to many things. I find some hope in this article, Palace Revolt (or for the ad free and printable version.) It is about good people who fight because it is the right thing to do. And about the evil ideals they fight against. I love their courage and most of all the quiet, dogged relentlessness about their way.

Our country needs more of these quiet types. It isn't these types that start the War for Independence, but it is these that finish it.

tip to Mark Shea

Friday, January 27, 2006

This is just irritating

The errors come from assuming too much, perhaps the analysts should have asked some homeskoolers for help. But one thing they did get right, this is why many people live in Idaho.

Study: 6.5 percent of Idaho schoolchildren unaccounted for
Aside from most homoschooled kids knowing not to say “It’s a hugely important question.”, this study is typical fare from acedemia. Attacking freedoms by with falsehoods and making it an emotional issue.

Idaho is one of six U.S. states that require no registration from parents who decide to keep their children out of school and teach them at home. But neither the state nor school districts track homeschooling, so nobody knows for sure how many children are learning somewhere. Kelly estimated there are more than 4,700 homeschooled kids in Idaho.
He used a national estimate that 2.2 percent of all school-age children are homeschooled to come up with a figure of 4,731 homeschooled kids in Idaho.

So Idaho is one of the six states that require no registration. And in a state where freedom-minded people flock to, he uses the national estimate of 2.2 percent of children who are homeschooled? Well with all the large Catholic families I know that homeschool, I might know about half of those "4,700" kids.

And I love the necessary stereotyping of homeskoolers

State Sen. Gary Schroeder has long maintained that many Idaho kids aren’t getting the education they need, and the state should do more to keep track of them. Schroeder, R-Coeur d’Alene, a former chairman of the Senate Education Committee, said a homeschooled teenager who applied for a job at his mail-order business recently had to have his mother fill out the application. Schroeder didn’t hire him.
What about the millions of public school kids that weren't interested in finding a job? Or that couldn't read the paper to find out there was a job opening?

I don't know Sen. Schroeder, but as a politician, I assume he knows what he is talking about with this comment

“I’m not against homeschooling,” Schroeder said. “But you ought to be doing it, not just saying you’re doing it.”

Maybe I was left-behind, or maybe is that lack of critical thinking I developed in public school, but here is the bottom line to me.
10,000 kids
schools generally receive taxpayer money according to a formula based on how many children they have in the classroom


“There’s a huge self-interest in educational institutions wanting to regulate homeschooling, and it isn’t always for the best of the children,”

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Archbishop Chaput makes the point with clarity

Thank God for leaders like Chaput. So often I dive into a subject and my attempt looks feeble or my reasoning is full of holes. Then I read something written by one of these wise men and am find what I was trying to say in much clearer and often more charitable terms.

“Marriage”, he continued, “as a lifelong relationship between one man and one woman exists for the benefit of children and the protection of women. Society depends on children and the way we form their lives.”

Some critics also point to the fact that the Christian divorce rate is on par with the skyrocketing national standard. To this, the Archbishop said that “The fact that marriages frequently fail does not change the purpose of marriage. Rather, it proves that we too often do a poor job of preparing people for what marriage really entails and supporting them in the demands of mature married life.”

Archbishop Chaput stressed that “The Christian case for marriage and the family is a message of liberation and real human dignity. It is not “against” anyone. It is for the happiness of human society.” [emphasis added]

And his comment on the misuse of the word "tolerance" needs to be proclaimed from the rooftops.
We need to govern our actions toward all people with the virtues of justice, charity, mercy, wisdom and prudence. But “tolerance,” if it leads us to live a lie or compromise away the truth about human relationships, is not a virtue. It is the opposite.”

Archbishop Chaput makes good use of the todays technology and the media. Kudos to him for understanding how we hear and what we need to hear. The bottom line:
“If we remove, or even indirectly compromise, the central role and preferential treatment of marriage in our culture,” he said, “we undermine both our families and the long-term health of our society.”

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

mainstream my ...

Sacred Cow Burger's latest

And don't miss the butchers comments.

Meanwhile, we have the likes of Hillary Clinton openly pandering for race-based support by claiming that Washington is a "plantation." And then we have Ted Kennedy whining about Supreme Court nominee Sam Alito's membership to a social club at Princeton University...even though Kennedy himself belongs to "The Owl" club; a group so sexist that it was banished from the Harvard campus over 21 years ago!

Idaho revisting marriage amendment

The Idaho legislature is back at it, fighting to define marriage as between a man and woman. Why is that necessary? I think the constitution leaves this in the hands of the states and the states need to step up if they want to keep their rights.

We are having a lively, but surprisingly civil, discussion at Huckleberries. My points flow from this great article in Crisis magazine about why society has the need to protect and promote traditional marriages.

Thanks for the ASCII space DFO.

The missing link

Evidence that evolution is taking hold in America. What a tradeoff!

tip to Steve at The Fifth Column

Wondering about the whole mess

For those following or just confused about the Michael Shiavo getting married in a Catholic Church mess, I guess I will offer my thoughts. Domenico hits on the raw nerve with many people, my wife included

ItÂ’s very disturbing that Bishop Robert Lynch, who was so evidently absent in advocacy on behalf of Terri, would remain silent on this matter. What exactly does he think his office as apostle and shepherd requires him to do? The eyes of the entire nation and the world are looking at his diocese regarding these very difficult questions that face our culture and his response is ... nothing?

Kathy Shaidle of relapsed catholic is very shaken in regards to her own issues about marriage in the Church.

This is the definition of scandal. Actions, or in this case failure to act by the bishop, that lead others to despair or doubt the truth taught by the Church.

My advice to my wife and to Kathy is that Satan will take advantage of every opportunity to attack the Jesus and his Bride. It is obviousMichaell has sold his soul and will do whatever he can to spit in the face of the defenders of life. The bishop, by his laxity is compounding the sins of few into a scandal for many. Don't allow Satan his wish. Don't leave Peter because of Judas.

It is simple as that. Our faith is in Jesus, not the humans left to run his Church. They will have their day ofjudgmentt and we must remember to pray for them. Their failure is huge. But we cannot lose our faith in God because of the failures of men.

Monday, January 23, 2006

God have mercy on us

From the City of God.net website, Abortion and the Dignity of the Body

Frederica Mathewes-Green once observed that, “There is tremendous sadness, loneliness in the cry, ‘A woman’s right to choose.’ No one wants an abortion as she wants an ice cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal, caught in a trap, wants to gnaw off its own leg.”

and why is she trapped?

Women almost never choose abortion when the father wants their child, and wants to help out. Yet we hardly ever speak of the absent or unsupportive father when we talk about abortion. All too often, women demand the “right to choose” because of men who will not take responsibility for their choices.

Men who take no responsibility for their actions forfeit so much. And so much of the evil in the world today comes back to "Are my own actions contributing to the whole mess?"
But I want to leave you with a reminder of an all-important, but often forgotten way to build the culture of life: fidelity, in our daily lives, to the truth that the human body was not made for the sexual immorality that so often precedes abortion.

tip to Mark Shea

Friday, January 20, 2006

Good point

about the slippery slope

A 70-year-old priest knocks up a 31-year-old woman and now the celibacy debate is re-energized. Why? I don't care how many priests are married: a 31-year-old will look good to a 70-year-old. If we rescind the celibacy rule and this happens again, will we need to revisit the adultery rules?

I thought I recognized that look

From the "a bit wacky but fun to relate" file.

Scott Linehan was hired as the St. Louis Ram's head coach. He has some local roots, so local blogger DFO mentioned that Linehan was related (brother-in-law) to Jim Caviezel, from "The Passion of The Christ."

Linehan was the offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings when Caviezel was filming the "Passion" and reportedly, he became a big Viking fan during some tough years. A year that included the Vikings losing to the 4 worst teams in the league and capped off by losing to the lowly Cardinal in the season finale to miss the playoffs.

Here is what a Minnesota columnist asked Caviezel

what he thought about to make himself appear in agony during filming of the crucifixion scene. "When I was on the cross, I was thinking about the Minnesota Vikings," Caviezel said. "Whenever they lose, it just rips your heart out."

Not sure Jesus had the same mindset, but at least the suffering looked real.

Thanks for the reminder

The Curt Jester reminds us what I think Catholic blogging should be about. When we run across stupidity, anti-Catholisism or other goofy stuff, we shouldn't just evoke an emotion and move on. His line, "Don't just sit there, pray."

Mark Shea made some comments about all the ASCII wasted on liturgical fidgetry the other day.

Same thought. If we are blogging to vent and puff up our own pride, then we do harm to our soul. But I commented as follows.

I would speculate that most blogging could be classified as "wasted fretting." In my journey I have tried to move beyond being annoyed at Mass by this crap. But I don't think liturgical hijinks are trivial. I became a member of the Liturgical Committee and spend precious time listening to wasted syllables regarding what music books to buy.

I do this because the Liturgy is where we meet God face to face. I have moved beyond fretting and into action. And like you Mark, I don't consider my ASCII wasted if I am doing my best to help inform others rather than blathering on about myself or venting.

I find the Liturgy issues very important also because I find that poor Liturgy is where many people start to lose their faith.

Some real Excellence in Catholic Higher Education

The Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P of Providence College checks the wind, loads and blast The Vagina Monologues with both barrels. The both barrels I refer to are Removing the Error and then filling the space with The True Teaching of the Catholic Church.

He removes the error by not allowing it on his campus, but also by pointing out the false assertions of the VM.

The back cover of my paperback edition of The Vagina Monologues asserts (1) that its principal aim is to be “a celebration of female sexuality in all its complexity and mystery” and (2) that it has been “hailed as a bible for a new generation of women.” I would argue that both of these claims are false. First, far from celebrating the complexity and mystery of female sexuality, The Vagina Monologues simplifies and demystifies it by reducing it to the vagina. In contrast, Roman Catholic teaching sees female sexuality as ordered toward a loving giving of self to another in a union of body, mind, and soul that is ordered to the procreation of new life. The deeper complexity and mystery lies in the capacity of human sexuality, both male and female, to sacramentalize the love of God in marriage. Any depiction of female sexuality that neglects its unitive and procreative dimensions diminishes its complexity, its mystery, and its dignity. Moreover, to explore fully the dignity of woman requires not only a consideration of female sexuality, but also of the capacity of women for intellectual, artistic, moral, and spiritual activity; none of these dimensions are featured in The Vagina Monologues.

Second, the description of the play as a “new bible” is an indication that its depiction of female sexuality is meant to displace the traditional Biblical view that inspires the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. The two positions are deeply and diametrically opposed. Nowhere is this clearer than in a monologue wherein the alcohol-fueled seduction of a sixteen-year-old girl by a twenty-four-year-old woman is described as resulting in “salvation” and “a kind of heaven.” What is thus characterized in traditional religious language is instead abusive, demeaning, exploitative, and morally wrong according to the true Bible. [emphasis added]

This is the sad trait of the radical feminists. They pretend to be about liberaling women from the oppressive men. But by emphasizing sexual liberties and taking on the typical male sins, they lead women into oppression and serve those men who are the greatest enemies of the feminine.

Fr. Shanley also corrects the notions of "artistic freedom" and "academic freedom". His line about "The deeper complexity and mystery lies in the capacity of human sexuality, both male and female, to sacramentalize the love of God in marriage." teaches the beauty about Christian marriage with beautiful simplicity.

He also offers an alternative that seeks to truly combat violence against women and has promised to participate in the events. Even starting the week-long campaign with a MASS!

tip to The Jester

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

He fails to think, that is the problem

In another new blog I may have to add to my regular reading list, Mere Comments addresses the Washington Post article, The Abortion Debate No One Wants to Have, and makes the point about about Sen. Kennedy's lack of connection.

I myself recall having a conversation with a Down's syndrome adult man, who noted the disparity between Senator Edward M. Kennedy's well-publicized support for the Special Olympics, and his equally well-known insistence that no woman should have to bear the indignity of a "defective" or unwanted child. "I may be slow," this man observed, "but I am not stupid. Does he think that people like me can't understand what he really thinks of us? That we are not really wanted? That it would be a better world if we didn't exist?"

When does reality eventually sink in for those who are all about the "presentation" in politics.

At last

Some liturgical reform that might get implemented. I won't even ruin the surprise by quoting any of it.

Tip to Mark Shea


to the U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms visitor. I surely hope you enjoy your visit and that this is strickly government business.

Lighten up

Time to enjoy a bit of parody. And this guy is good.

Here is his contribution on Mayor Nagin

And be sure to read the Butcher's Commentary

Other favorites on Spoilt Milk and Pro-Choice

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Not customer orientated

Local newspaper columnist asks Why can't -- or why don't -- Catholics sing better?

My response:
First of all, because the Catholic Church has me. I seriously bring down the curve.

But in all honesty, there is an obvious reason. There is a very definite split between the focus of a liturgical church (Catholics, Lutherans...) and the preaching based churches.
Catholics go to church out of duty and desire to honor the Lord on his day. Sadly many are not their because they want to be, but rather they are afraid not to be, or just go because they always have. These tend not to participate heavily.

In essense, the Liturgy is worship.

To a preaching based church, there needs to be a drawing card. The abilities of the pastor in the sermon and Bible study are crucial. So is the "entertainment value" of the services, of which music is a big part. I think a much greater number "want" to be there and their participation and financial contributions are greater. So the choir is more important, paid better and actively recruited.

The services are customer orientated.

So their customer orientated service gives a better "product" where a Catholic Mass or Divine Liturgy has the Eucharist.

And frankly, another reason in my opinion is that much of the OCP music used today in Catholic churches stinks. Give me some chant, some latin and watch the people join in.

And as I said before, I am NOT a customer!

Patrolling the horizons

Dawn Patrol is back blogging, and has something to say about your tax dollars at work for Planned Parenthood.

Worth your support

For those unfamiliar with FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students), from what I have experienced, they are worth supporting. They are involved in Catholic Bible studies for college students and are making tremendous strides in keeping our young Catholics involved and vibrant.

And if you question my credibility, know that Archbishop Chaput is a strong supporter.


This isn't political capital we are talking about. The cost for the war in Iraq does not just continue to mount, but is ramping up at light speed.

Given the projected cost of $1 trillion to $2 trillion, one might imagine that American taxpayers are now rolling on the floor in hysterical laughter while gasping for air.
To get an idea of the economic black hole the Iraq war could become, it is useful to remember some of the past estimates given by the administration of President George W Bush. Recall, for example, when then-White House economic adviser Lawrence Lindsey suggested in 2002, six months before the war, that the mission could cost $100 billion to $200 billion, Bush fired him because his estimate was up to three times the $70 billion the administration estimated.

I am thinking he fired the wrong guy.

Tip to Mark Shea.

There is more to being conservative

than voting against taxes. Mark points out:

2. Modern conservatism has become too focused on money, power, and the accumulation of stuff, and insufficiently concerned with the content of our individual and social character.
5. A conservatism that does not practice restraint, humility, and good stewardship—especially of the natural world—-is not fundamentally conservative.

Monday, January 16, 2006

People I don't know, things I've heard.

Found another internationally flavored Catholic blog. This one from down under. Credibility has an interesting take on Pope BXVI's recommended reading. Tip to the Jester.

Further down on Credo's blog, I ran across a link to another Aussie Catholic blogger, John Heard, aka Dreadnought. This one is worth the read. Dreadnought was discussing why he, being homosexual, feels he may approach the altar for communion while he discerns that the Rainbow Sash group should not.

You approach your God, instead of in a position of radical humility and submission and putting everything about selfish humanity aside and approaching God in that way, putting on a sash says "**** the Church, y'know - look at me."

and the essential difference between a "the struggling sinner" vs. the "look at me" approach.

It's different because I say the Church is right and I say that I submit myself to these teachings, and I'm trying to change myself. Y'know, I would go up to confession and confess things that I've done. The Rainbow Sashers don't. They say "we should be able to do whatever we like, and the Vatican should put a stamp on it."
Confession? You don't say. You mean there are more sacraments than the Eucharist?

Funny you never see anyone wearing their rainbow sash in the confession line.

What not to say to a voter, Canandian style

Upper Canada Catholic shares what politicians should NOT say to Christian voters.

I think Jesus Christ was an enlightened person who taught us about the power of love, and goodness, and unfortunately, his teachings haven't been followed, otherwise we would be much further ahead as a western civilization.
Would you like a lawn sign?
His response includes C.S. Lewis's poached egg commentary. I love it.

tip to Kathy at relapsed catholic

For those wondering about it

Steve at The Fifth Column has a good answer (good in the realm of short and sweet for the short attention spans of the Da Vinci Code fans) to why Jesus couldn't be married.

Friday, January 13, 2006

I was wondering about that

With all the accusations of Judge Alito being a bigot because he was a member of the Concerned Alumni of Princeton, I wondered what the real story behind CAP was. Finally, Pat Buchanan answers what I have been wondering.

What were CAP's sins? Headed by National Review publisher William Rusher, CAP had a magazine called Prospect that carried an essay opposing affirmative action and regretting that Princeton had ever gone co-ed.

Yet support for single-sex education, as practiced at Smith and dozens of women's colleges, is hardly a mark of bigotry. And opposition to affirmative action and quotas is core conservative dogma.
As I thought, his membership in CAP was not really a big deal. He joined to protest ROTC being kicked off campus. The BIGOT!

I just wish he could have stood up and said, yes I was a proud member. And then leer at Kennedy and say, "And I hate women. All of them. They are no good except for making babies and cookies."

IRV Bible translations underway

the new Internet Revised Version for newbies.

Wonder if it will have the little emoticons to aid in understanding the context behind the quotes.


As the cardboard guys in the beer commercial would say. A Morality Tale about Mr. and Mrs. Smith from Steve at The Fifth Column.

tip to the Jester.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

One to try, one to pass

From St. Blog's Cookbook, one to try:

Twelfth Night Nog

One to pass on:
Coffee pot vegetable stew

tip to John at Disputations

Do you enjoy the fruits of the land?

If you appreciate the hard working people of the small farms and ranches, you probably should know about this. This may seem like a good idea to owners of pets or a reasonable solution to ensure the quality of meat. But I know firsthand that this isn't what the small producers need.

Suppliers of beef, pork and lamb, often buy their animals from small producers who work hard to raise healthy, marketable animals. The agribusiness suppliers are free to buy, or not buy, from any producer. Here, at the point where the product enters the food chain, is where responsibility, security and regulatory control should be focused - not on the already overburdened small producer.

But no. The NAIS requires the small producer to not only bear the cost of the program, but also to be the ultimate scapegoat in the event that an agribusiness supplier's product is found to be faulty, for whatever reason. Should little Johnny get sick after eating a hamburger made with beef supplied by BigAgri Packing Company, BigAgri simply points the finger to the producer, or producers, whose cows were in the batch from which Johnny's hamburger was made. Agribusiness shifts its responsibility for buying only healthy product to the farmer, who must guarantee his animals to be healthy.
My parents are beef ranchers. They work hard to produce the best quality of beef they can. Through education they have removed steroids and unnecessary vaccinations to provide what the consumers want. Most family farms respond to the market desires quicker than the big packers or producers. They want to sell the highest quality because it sells better, but they also appreciate the quality because they live it.

Bottom line:
"What do you call it when government takes away the use of private property, but leaves the title in the name of the property owner?" Dozens of letter writers correctly responded: "Fascism."
Nothing among the enumerated powers granted to the federal government by the U.S. Constitution can be construed to include the power to control the use of private property.
tip to Mark Shea

Measuring up

Another Catholic dioceses is stepping up and teaching the full measure of doctrine, pressed down and running over. "Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix is now the third U.S. bishop to require a full course of natural family planning for couples who want to marry in a Catholic church."

The others are ArchBishop Chaput in Denver and Bishop Aquila in Fargo, ND. Thank God for the good and courageous bishops we have.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Darwinist's missing link

This site is so bizarre it almost seems like a joke. Their mission statement reveals a certain lack of awareness.

Phasing out the human race by voluntarily ceasing to breed will allow Earth's biosphere to return to good health. Crowded conditions and resource shortages will improve as we become less dense.
Coupling that with their motto "May we live long and die out" I think the average person will be less dense by virtue of natural selection. I don't think Margret Sanger was looking at her race or political alliances when she thought up her eugenics ideas, but as Mark Shea says, sin make you stupid.

One really off-the-wall section vomits this bizarre statement:

While we righteously argue against coercive methods to improve birth rates, let's keep in mind that coercion is already with us. Reproductive rights are not universally respected, so we already have coercion and involuntary population control. Hundreds of millions of couples want to avoid conceptions, and are denied this right. Where is the outrage at this coercion?

Advocates of coerced contraception are vilified as "ecofascists," while advocates of coerced births are respectfully called "pro-life".
Yeah, them pro-lifers are at it again. Out forcin' red-neck couples to copulate.

How about we introduce them to the gnostics. These free thinkers of early AD were so convinced of the evils of the flesh that the hard core members abstained from marriage and therefore avoided that problem of coerced births.

I say, may we become less dense and these foolish ideas die out quickly.

tip to Mark Shea

The Church moves in mysterious ways

And for good reasons. As humans we tend to be very short sited and see others actions filtered by our own biases. I am slowly learning to trust more and judge less. It is a slow process, but with God's grace I will learn.

It is a bit easier to trust when that someone is the Church. 2000 years of experience tends to remind me how limited my "wisdom" is. But even so, I was confused and somewhat angered when I first read about the Church's eagerness to establish diplomatic relations with Communist China when that meant severing relations with Taiwan.

What I couldn't see was the effect this move had on the millions of Catholics in China. According to Bishop Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, the Catholics are winning.

The universal Church is concerned about the millions of faithful in Communist China and is willing to take a very painful step.

A painful step indeed. But as Jesus showed us so dramatically, being meek and humble can bring down the powerful and proud. Those in power may see this as a move of weakness and quickly move to expand their power. But in doing so, they are cementing their own tomb. The lay faithful recognize the true Church.

Many bishops, appointed by the Beijing government, had no peace of heart and wanted to be recognized by the Holy See.

Beginning in the '80s, Pope John Paul II, with great generosity, accepted such petitions. At present 85% of the episcopate of the official Chinese Church has been legitimized by the Vatican. Now the bishops that are not approved by Rome feel marginalized; they are rejected by the clergy and the faithful.
Through humility, the Vatican is slowly crumbling the communist run Patriotic Association of Catholics.

So it is win-win in China. By grabbing for more power, Red China loses power over the Church and most of all, the faithful can worship more freely.

Pray for them. And if you want to support the underground Church, check out PRI. The rosary in their bookstore is made by the underground church in China.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Coalition for Darfur

This is not a good sign - the situation in Darfur is worsening and
has, in recent weeks, become tied to events in neighboring Chad.

In December 2004, U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland
warned that 100,000 people could die a month if humanitarian
organizations are forced to suspend operations in Darfur.

In September 2005, Egeland warned "If (the violence) continues to
escalate, we may not be able to sustain our operations for 2.5 million
people requiring life-saving assistance. In Darfur, it (aid
distribution) could all end tomorrow. It is as serious as that."

Now, the UN is pulling out all non-essential workers from parts of
Darfur because this is exactly what is happening:


The United Nations has scaled back its staffing in parts of Sudan's
war-torn western Darfur region following a buildup of forces along the
country's border with Chad, U.N. officials said on Thursday.

Tensions have soared on both sides of the border in recent weeks after
Chadian rebels based in Darfur, joined by Chadian army deserters,
carried out several cross-border raids.

Several rebel groups last week said they were banding together to
topple Chadian President Idriss Deby.

Deby accuses the Sudanese government in Khartoum of backing them and
has urged the United Nations to take over Darfur's administration.
Khartoum denies any involvement.

The decision to restrict staffing "does not mean there will be an
overall evacuation," U.N. chief spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

"Essential life-saving humanitarian services delivered by the U.N.
will continue, and the mission will monitor the situation and carry
out a fresh security assessment of the area in the next two to three
weeks," Dujarric said.

The move was "due to the increased instability in the affected areas,
including a buildup of forces on ether side of the Sudan-Chad border,
with increased potential for armed conflict," he said.

The border tensions have further complicated a debilitating civil war
that has raged in Darfur since February 2003, pitting Sudanese rebels
against government forces.

Tens of thousands have been killed and 2 million have left their homes
for camps in Sudan and Chad to flee the fighting.

The area now hosts one of the world's largest humanitarian operations,
with more than 11,000 aid workers struggling to feed, clothe and
shelter inhabitants.

The Sudanese rebels began fighting to pressure the Arab-dominated
central government to respond to the needs of Darfur's villagers. U.N.
officials say Khartoum then armed Arab militias to fight the rebels,
and that the militias launched a campaign of rape, killing and looting
that continues to this day.

While the U.N. Security Council has demanded an end to the militia
attacks, the government has yet to make real gains in doing so, U.N.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan reported last month. The council meets on
Jan. 13 to discuss the situation.

The un-heard voice

From those the media doesn't want to hear. As one who was delivered "from the homosexual lifestyle and from my history of depression", Scott McDermott has an incredible story to tell.

He wanted to become a priest after recovering and dealing with his SSA, but in his words, God setup roadblocks. Not a vengeful authoritarian heirarchy, but real blockades that kept him from making it to the deadline for his entry into the novitiate. Through the struggle that followed, he learned of his real calling as a lay member of the Church. And one he accepted, those roadblock in his life were removed.

From his testimony why he is thankful for the recent document on homosexuals in the seminary.

Priests tend to see people at moments of crisis: not only death, but also in their struggles with their own personal demons of addiction, crime, mental illness, and, yes, sexual brokenness (not to mention actual demons). The priest must be strong and healthy or he will be drawn into this maelstrom himself.

How true, and mostly missed in the discussion on priests and sexuality.
In our culture, we have developed the absurd habit of seeing vocation in terms of rights. But "equality before the law" does not mean that everyone is equally capable of fulfilling every role in our society. The priesthood is not an entitlement, it is a calling; God gives some men, and not others, the requisite gifts to live out the priesthood.
Since my collapse, which was really a conversion experience, I have often reflected on one of the lesser-known sayings of Jesus. "For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, 'This man began to build, and was not able to finish' (Luke 14:28-30)."
I wish I had pondered those words before I began my misguided request for priesthood. And I wish that the instruction on vocations with respect to homosexuality had come out sooner. Thank God we have it now. It will be remembered as one of the most compassionate acts of a merciful pontificate.

There is a powerful testimony to the Truth. Many will refuse to see it. Many will deny it, but the Truth still remains.

tip to my cohort, Eric.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

More on orthodoxy

Amy Welborn has some more thoughts on the labels of "liberal" and "conservative".

Seems like there is growing concern about the limiting of lablels. Mark Shea linked to an article on Crunchy Conservatism yesterday and I wrote something way back in 04 around the elections before I began blogging. I commented Mark's comments yesterday. My basic understanding of people wanting a label is to make it easier on themselves. They don't want to spend time figuring out every item that comes their way. (and the busy-ness of today is one major reason.) If they can apply a label to the speaker and compare it to the label applied to themselves, they are done, either digest or vomit.
I don't like labels except for Roman Catholic. I can trust the Church on teaching faith and morals. If I want too, I can dig deeper and find out the why, but I can zccept that without questioning. To me, that is orthodoxy.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

It has to be this way now

Now that Gonzaga is a perennially ranked powerhouse in college basketball, I suppose we may see more of these speakers, Senator John Edwards to Speak at Gonzaga University School of Law.

And we all thought their basketball success was a good thing.

tip to the Curt Jester

Crunchy orthodoxy?

Mark Shea links to this article in the Times Online regarding "crunchy conservatism". While I don't care for labels, and to create a new label kinda defeats the point; this article kinda sums up where I fit too. I don't avoid speaking or living a certain way just because it doesn't sound "conservative." There are the politically conservative, the financially conservative, the religious conservative and then there is the whole package. But a label doesn't fit, unless you apply the Roman Catholic label.

Mark makes some great points on why he doesn't just blindly accept the propaganda from either side.

Actually, I'm not above it all. I'm below it all. I'm a lower middle class schlep with a house and a mortgage and four kids whose eternal destinies have, till they are (please God!) well-formed and on their own, been entrusted to my and my wife's hands. In this little domestic bubble, we are trying to help both ourselves and our family hone the skills necessary to navigate raging seas of self-serving hogwash pumped out by giant states and giant corporations for the primary purpose of reducing persons to easily manipulable things who will get with the program of Work, Buy, Consume, Die and (above all) Serve Us.
Unless it comes from the Church, and then it isn't propaganda, it is truth.

When I look at the history of the Church, what I see is people who are on the right side of some controversy defeat their opponents--and then go on to be wrong by exaggerating their opposition to an old heresy into a new heresy. I fear more than anything that lack of balance, particularly in a world that is drunk on excess and has largely forsaken the Christian and Catholic teaching that gave it birth. So I try to cling hard to the Church's teaching, not because I'm so cockily confident I obey it, but because I'm very afraid I will not. That teaching, in my experience, is almost never amenable to any single human system. I wish it were, but I have absolutely no reason to believe it is.
This hits a point several that several Catholic friends were discussing over a beverage (Have I mentioned how much I enjoy theology on tap?) after a pickup game of basketball.

One fellow bravely stood up as a progressive and charitably held his ground against 4 of us who are a mixed bag, but stick to orthodoxy. Mark makes the point in bold that I think us 4 orthodox were trying to make. The Church has made it easy for us on critical topics. We can give our assent without worry because the Church teaches the Truth. But if we need to grow in faith and assure our minds, we can look into the teaching and discover the WHY behind the teaching.

And as one guy so wisely put, the pendulum swings to extremes, orthodoxy is the center where it is balanced. Or as Disputations has it, the perfect balance between thinking and assent on the faith plot.