Saturday, July 29, 2006

note on foreign aid

Kathy at relapsed catholic post about how foreign aid, in this case food, is actually harmful to third world nations. 
One way food aid makes matters worse is by immediately depressing the price of any food that's produced locally. (Who can compete with free food?) And therefore putting any local farmers who have managed to weather the current famine or conflict or other crisis out of business or relegating them entirely to subsistence farming for their own needs
This also goes for clothing.  Many in the poorer countries work in the textile industry, so our "aid" puts people out of work.  What the mostly need is for the UN and ilk to leave them alone.  If these nations can put off the communist/muslim shackles, then the just need to be free and work out their own prosperity.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

hilarity on serious matters

Senate passes interstate abortion bill

WASHINGTON - A bill that would make it a crime to take a pregnant girl across state lines for an abortion without her parents' knowledge passed the Senate Tuesday, but vast differences with the House version stood between the measure and President Bush's desk.
Hopefully they work this out. Perhaps the Republocrats are realizing that their hope lies in representing the will of the people that voted them in. I don't much care anymore if their intentions are less than noble as long as they vote with the people's interests in mind.

But anytime the scarlet letter 'A' is mentioned, it brings the out kookiest comments from the pro-death crowd trying to change to focus.

"We're going to sacrifice a lot of girls' lives," said Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y.
We already are Hillary, we already are. And don't forget the unborn boys that are being sacrificed at the altar of convenience.

"Congress ought to have higher priorities than turning grandparents into criminals," said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy D-Mass.
Yeah, all those loving grandparents sneaking kids off to the death chambers. That is the problem Senator. He is close in his supposition though. There is a big age difference between the father of the child that wants to hide the fact he got a minor pregnant. But it usually is men in their 20s, not grandparents.

The girl and her parents would be exempt from prosecution, and the bill contains an exception for abortions performed in this manner that posed a threat to the mother's life.
Just why would anyone see the need to add this exemption. It is bogus in any abortion and if a young girl is hemorrhaging, I don't see the need to cross a state line an find an abortion mill. Most hospitals still have Emergency Rooms that are designed to save the life of the mother (and perhaps the child too).

Call the paten office

Chris at Calling Rome Home delivers the great news, Patens are making a comeback. Glad to hear that for his parish, the instructions in Redemptionis Sacramentum are being heeded.

[93.] The Communion-plate for the Communion of the faithful should be retained,so as to avoid the danger of the sacred host or some fragment of it falling.[180]
Chris also brings up a unique point regarding the receiving on the tongue versus hand debate.
I do try to be very careful to check my hands for any stray particles.
I hadn't thought of that issue. I tend to receive on the tongue unless I have a cold sore. Someone once likened it to breastfeeding versus the bottle. Which is more natural? I find receiving on the tongue removes many issues; such as possibly dropping the host, taking the host in a casual manner as the recipient walks away or even intentional profanation.

Signs of the times

The Ox Files has a great post on the new Catholic Sign Company
Enjoy at your own risk. 
My favorite is the "Security Notice:  Liturgical dancers will be shot on site."

Friday, July 21, 2006

Coeur d'Alene Theater review - PIPPIN

It was a dark and stormy night. -Oops, wrong template. Yesterday I received the distress call that all was not well on the home front. The character of the kids seemed to fall inversely to the direction of the thermometer. Sassing, bickering, selective deafness; the mayday was clear, Mom was stressed!

Solution: A night out was in overdue. So after putting in a rally cry to all the guardian angels of my family, I called the local theater to book some tickets. I had seen a review (promotion, more like it as they were also the sponsors of the show.) in the Spokesman Review that morning. Just what I was looking for, something different from the usual meal and walk that had become the routine.

So after a hurried appetizer and desert we set off to see Pippin at the Coeur d'Alene Summer Theater. As it so happened we should have taken our time at supper because the night ended in two walks. The first was the walk-out before intermission on a crass and poorly done show. The second was a nice walk around the boardwalk at the resort.


The opening set the tone that even the tone deaf could tell was off-key. As the cast ran onto stage for the opening number, I was hoping that they weren't part of the play. I was wrong. Most were dressed in revealing black lingerie and looked the part of tramps. And that was just the guys. Through out the time we stayed, this group of "extras" continually wore less and less.

As the review had mentioned and as first scene set in, the "modern-twist" on the play was evident. King Charlemagne walked on stage talking obnoxiously on a cell phone. This twist did lend itself to some humorous points, Charlemagne's use of the projector screen and laser pointer brought plenty of laughter. But the slideshow of war pictures from knights to tanks to a third-world child holding a rifle was distracting. There was a song and dance number going on at the same time as the long slide show, many of the pictures were of poor definition and it ended with the bizarre dancing icon of a cross spinning around a prone scimitar. Then the scene with the grandmother of Pippin was even worse. The grandmother, played by Ellen Travolta, tried to get the crowd to sing the chorus of her number helped by the words on the projector screen. It was lame by any attempt and further hindered by the timing being off.

There was a definite "blame all the worlds ills on Christianity" to the play. But as this was obvious and blatant, I could have enjoyed the play if there was something to enjoy. But with few redeeming artistic qualities, there was little to stay for. I was thankful to note that a few of the anti-Christian jabs didn't bring the laughter they cast was expecting.

Being a man of high culture and vast knowledge of the arts, (sarcasm alert) it was easy to be more offended by the poor choreography and dancing. The dancers seems un-natural and lacked any grace. I think it may have been the heavy reliance on hip thrusting and the focus on trampiness. But as my wife pointed out, when the guys have more movement in their hips than the ladies, the play is in trouble.

We weren't the first to walk out and neither were we the last. As one couple and another elderly lady left shortly into the an early scene, my wife asked, "Well?" as if to see if we were leaving also. I replied that we might as well stick it out as surely "It can only go up from here." But I was wrong.

There was one bright spot in the limited viewing we had. The lead actor who played Pippen, the son of Charlemagne, almost rescued a few scenes. His energy and commitment to the role was engaging. His voice was good bordering on very good. But he was not enough to rescue the whole mess.

Aside from the anti-Christian theme, the ever revealing costume, the poor choreography, the un-natural and graceless dancing and constant use of the projector screen; aside from all that, the show was just ... awful.

But the night did end with a bit of cheer. We asked and were given vouchers for a different play that is coming up in a few weeks.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Noonan's comments

Peggy Noonan's latest has several worthy points.  (tip to Kathy at relapsed catholic)

You would think the world's greatest scientists could do this, in good faith and with complete honesty and a rigorous desire to discover the truth. And yet they can't. Because science too, like other great institutions, is poisoned by politics. Scientists have ideologies. They are politicized.

All too many of them could be expected to enter this work not as seekers for truth but agents for a point of view who are eager to use whatever data can be agreed upon to buttress their point of view.

And so, in the end, every report from every group of scientists is treated as a political document. And no one knows what to believe.

We can only dream of scientist being seekers of truth in this era.  Some criticize religious folk for taking the God's Word without scientific proof.  But then we should turn around and take their word as Gospel without questioning it.  Let me tell ya, it ain't the religious that are playing footloose and fancy free with the Truth.


Ralph Reed lost this week in his race for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor of Georgia. This strikes me as significant in several ways.

I always thought the question about Mr. Reed is: Is he a Christian who went into politics, or a politician who went into Christianity? Was he sincere and driven by a desire to have a positive impact on public policy, or a mover driven by a desire to get a piece of the action as American Christians,

I have wondered the same.  Is he a Kinkade or a witness to the Gospel?  Is he just Christian because it is profitable and he looks the part?  Dunno, but I distrust much of the "Christianity" in politics.


Conservatives don't live for government and don't love it, either. They like other things. They think government is a necessity and a potential evil. This is because they know human nature, and they know humans run governments. Ergo extremely flawed and even damaged people are governing us. Ergo don't give them a big sandbox to play in; keep it as small as possible. That way their depredations will be, by definition, limited.

This point of view--humans are imperfect, governments even more so--is not inherently pessimistic but rather optimistic about other things: life, faith, relationships, gardens. A conservative politician who does not enjoy gardening, reading, taking a walk or seeing a play more than governing is a human warning sign: Don't go there.

Words to live by there.  As Jefferson (?) said, Government is like fire, a useful tool and a fearful master.



CCC compendium online

The Vatican website now has the Compendium to the Catechism online in English.
tip to Chris at Calling Rome Home

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Amen to the good Archbishop

Archbishop Chaput of Denver has always impressed me with his faithful shepherding of his flock and his ability to use technology to keep his flock informed.  St. Maximilian Kolbe must be smiling down from heaven whenever Chaput posts his teaching on the internet.
And another great thing about reading his writings, Chaput is very succinct.  As Kevin at New Advent points out,
Archbishop Charles Chaput (Denver) held a town hall meeting on immigration yesterday.  Whatever you think about the rest of his talk, you have to agree that he nailed it on the head with this remark:
The mostly solemn crowd erupted in laughter and applause when Chaput was asked if the government would listen to his church.
He replied, "I don't think the government should listen to the church - the government should listen to the people and the people should listen to the church."

justice is served

Looks like the scales of Lady Justice aren't totally out of balance yet, Three charged in Katrina euthanasia investigation
Its [Tenet Healthcare Corp.] statement said euthanasia was "repugnant" and that if any such decision was made by the three employees arrested, it was done without the knowledge of their superiors.
Not your typical soft PR type condemnation.  Called by name, rather than the "mercy killing" garbage and deemed repugnant.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Politics, as better defined by St. Thomas Aquinas

I hadn't known St. Thomas Aquinas as a political commentator until I was reading my recent Crisis Magazine,and crossed The Political Philosophy of Aquinas Rev. James Schall, S.J.  It was a real treat to learn Aquinas's writings without straining my limited attention span reading directly from his writings.  What was even more rewarding was understanding them as they expound on law and politics so well.

The first four points Schall makes are how politics and the state (polity) are not the ultimate end.  Kinda like the Sabbath was made for Man, not the Man for Sabbath; so was the state made to serve Mankind, not the other way around.
By number eight, the meat is served. 
Law, defined as "the ordination of reason, for the common good, by the proper authority, and promulgated," is the context in which Aquinas discusses most political things.  An unreasonable law is no law, as Aquinas cites from Augustine; it lacks one or more elements from this definition.
I could think of a few laws that don't qualify as laws by this definition.  Whenever the courts cross into creating laws rather than ruling on them would fail the "by the proper authority" test.  Many could be questioned on the "common good" and how often do we wonder what complete lack of reason lead to certain laws being enacted?
On to nine and ten,
"the polity is an end, but it ordains those within it to a higher purpose.  The polity does not itself define the higher purpose, but only recognizes it."  And it needs "to contain within itself at least some who are wholly oriented to what is beyond politics."   
Perhaps that is our biggest problem in the U.S.  Many a good statesman is ruined by the thought of re-election.  Lofty ideals get discreetly set aside when they conflict with that coming November.  And they get wholly tossed into the trash as the career path sets in.  But this is explained well by number eleven. 
"The life of politics is worthy but dangerous.  The Fall is a factor in each individual life, including that of the politician.
Thirteen must be a favorite of Pope Benedict as it puts aside all possibility of moral relativism.
Law ought to be a standard of what is right or wrong even if it is not fully observed.
And the founding fathers of our once great country must have been versed in Aquinas as fifteen illuminates.  It is also a favorite of mine.
Private property is the best way to meet the purposes for which the world is given-i.e. that the generality of men can provide for themselves.
How many of us realize that the "pursuit of happiness" refers to ownership of private property?  With the right to own property, we can pursue our own good and provide for ourselves, not depending on others to provide our "happiness."
I am sure this is a brief, abridged version of Aquinas's thoughts on politics, but it makes me thankful that I live in a free country, still able to pursue my happiness and that we have a say in what laws are promulgated.  Even at its current state, our country is still freer that what you can find elsewhere.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Legitimate state interests

When 70% of the voters approve an amendment and the courts deem it to be a legitimate state interests, it had better hold up.  Funny how the media doesn't like to mention how overwhelmingly these initiatives passed.  Even in the bedrock of liberalism that is Oregon, the initiative banning same-sex unions passed.
The court, however, ruled that amendment "and other laws limiting the state-recognized institution of marriage to heterosexual couples are rationally related to legitimate state interests and therefore do not violate the Constitution of the United States."
It is such a relief to hear that from a U.S. Court.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Bishop Yanta of Amarillo, TX has addressed modesty in dress at Mass.  Bravo good Bishop.  And for bonus points he references the Bible and CCC. 
Note to any lost sheep in Amarillo, "Rescue procedures have been engaged.  Expect shepherd to locate you at any moment."

Encouraging news from Rome

Pope Benedict is keenly aware of today's challenges, he said, and determined to restore a proper sense of reverence to the liturgy. The Sri Lankan prelate said that some of his thoughts had been taken out of context after a previous interview with the French newspaper La Croix. He had not intended to suggest that the liturgical reforms of Vatican II had failed, he stressed; rather, he meant that some liturgical changes had produced an overreaction, and a loss of appreciation for Church traditions. As a result, he said, "the reforms of the Council did not bear the expected fruit, because of the way in which they were interpreted and put into practice."
Sometimes it is frustrating at how slow the Vatican works.  We want our answers and we want them now.  But much wisdom is displayed by patiently waiting .
Archbishop Ranjith said that two extremes must be avoided: a liturgical free-for-all in which "every priest of bishop does what he wants, which creates confusion;" or a complete abandonment of liturgical reforms, leading to a vision that is "closed up in the past." Today, he said, those two extremes are becoming more prominent, and the Church needs to establish a middle ground.
This quote shows the steady even course of the Barque of Peter.  People are bailing off both sides, the warm fuzzy communities off the left and the Rad-Trads off the right.  Both point at each other as the source of much anguish but neither realize the have left the comfort and safety of the Mother Church.  And both slow down the journey of the Barque of Peter by dragging along behind on either side. 


New Advent has a link to the story on Archbishop Milingo.
One comment jumped out at me.  He sounded like he meant well, but as the other commentors have pointed out, there are many more issues than most perceive.
The church should have allowed priests to get married years ago. If they had, then they would not have had such a massive problem in the west with lack of priests. I would have trained for the priesthood, but for the celibacy rule.
But there is another reason why we need to pause an consider our thoughts on this.
If celibacy is the block, then I would venture you may not have the calling, or VOCATION, to the celibate life.  And since the priesthood is restricted to the Celibate Vocation in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, if follows that you are not called to priesthood.  Just as I am not and many good fathers and husbands are not.
Aside from the obedience, logical and financial aspects, I think it would be a horrible mistake to allow men to become priests just because they "think they would make a good priest."
It isn't just training, formation and certain human characteristics that make good priests.  This isn't just another job, it is a calling from God to serve him in this celibate vocation.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Signs of the Times

"When your religion says 'whatever' on doctrinal matters, regards Jesus as just another wise teacher, refuses on principle to evangelize and lets you do pretty much what you want, it's a short step to deciding that one of the things you don't want to do is get up on Sunday morning and go to church."
I love that line.  Religion won't last long by becoming what WE want.  Pandering to our fallen desires is a short death sentence.  The Judeo-Christian religion has lasted by the grace of God and His insistence that we stick to His way.  Not that He may enslave us, but that we may be truly free. 
"So this is the liberal Christianity that was supposed to be the Christianity of the future: disarray, schism, rapidly falling numbers of adherents, a collapse of Christology .... And they keep telling the Catholic Church that it had better get with the liberal program -- ordain women, bless gay unions and so forth -- or die. Sure."
Kevin also throws a life preserver to those afraid to swim the Tiber.  And why should anyone disillusioned by traditional Protestant religions want to join the Catholic Church?
Not because we need you at our side in the battles to come (we do) and would welcome you with open arms (we would), but because the Catholic Church is the one church founded by Christ Himself.  It might not be politically correct to state it this bluntly, but it's what Catholics believe. And in times like these, isn't such a bold claim worth a second look?

Stormy weather

It looks like some stormy weather is ahead regarding Medjugorje.  Kevin at the New Advent blog offers some thoughts and there are interesting comments.  The Curt Jester has weighed in and give his usual sound take on the issue.  He also has links to many more items on it. 
I have always been a bit skeptical, although I don't know quite why.  I know many good people that have gone on a pilgrimage once or several times.  But I heard some speaker relate to the phenomena of the faithful taking long treks across the globe seeking God.  He said that there is no need to travel farther than your local parish and Mass for a miracle.  And go to adoration if you want guidance.  That has been my stance on apparitions, but then this also fits my personality and finances, so it obviously makes sense to me.


Hopefully I can leave this rich inheritance to my children, Cardinal Re: Faith is greatest inheritance parents can leave their children

Monday, July 10, 2006

danger signs

Bishop Vasa of Oregon writes a wonderful column on my favorite encyclical, Ecclesia de Eucharistia.  And he expounds on one of my favorite lines, "There can be no danger of excess in our care for this mystery, for in this sacrament is recapitulated the whole mystery of our salvation."
There can be and often is, however, extreme danger of “defect” in our care for this mystery. It is unfortunately very easy to grow complacent about our Lord in the Eucharist. It is very easy to allow the complacency of routine to replace the vigilance of heart that the greatness of the Most Holy Eucharist categorically demands. It is certainly judgmental on my part, but I often wonder while distributing Holy Communion about the internal disposition and focus of the recipients. I often wonder whether the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion have retained their original sense of wonder and awe, or if this most noble of duties is approached with an unacceptable degree of nonchalance and routine. I experience a bit of anxiety as I see and hear mundane and casual conversations taking place, with outdoor voices as we say to the children, in the naves and sanctuaries of our Churches. There is not much danger of an excess of reverence for our Lord, but there seems to be ample room for concern about a defect of such reverence.

It does require consistent and focused effort to assure that the Most Holy Eucharist is given “the prominence it deserves.” There is after all nothing about the external appearance of the host or the wine in the chalice that cries out, in and of itself, for adoration, wonder or awe. Gazing upon these external elements with the eyes of faith, we need to be driven to our knees, knowing that they have received the Sacred Words and are now different than their accidents indicate.

I have had the experience of being driven to my knees in fear and trembling before the Eucharist.  I trembled as I approached the priest and I cried tears of thankfulness after receiving.  I long for a similar experience again, but so far I can just treasure that I experienced it at least once. 

Our church is setup so that there is much mundane and casual conversations taking place in the church.  Hopefully this will change as people are drawn back to the mystery, but for now, Bishop Vasa says it well:

The danger is that we routinely live in such a way that there is, sadly, no danger of excess in our care for this mystery. Would that there would be more danger of an excess in our care for this mystery!

tip to the Curt Jester