Thursday, August 31, 2006

Blending in

Can you imagine something so un-intrusive would get the pro-death crowd so worked up?
The practice combines "the best of modern medicine with the healing presence of Jesus Christ," a brochure at the reception desk announces. An image of the Madonna greets every patient. Doctors, nurses and staff gather to pray each day before the first appointments.
Being it offers OB services, I am hoping one will open in our neighborhood soon.  My wife has long lamented the lack of any pro-life physicians around.
the care they provide to the religious beliefs of their doctors, shunning birth-control and morning-after pills, IUDs and other contraceptive devices, sterilizations, and abortions, as well as in vitro fertilization. Instead, doctors offer "natural family planning"
Wow, imagine going into visit the OB and not seeing adds for the Pill or encountering condom bouquets in the bathrooms.  As this seems quite a bad business practice for an OB, they must get good kickbacks for offering this stuff.
But to make sure the article is "balanced" they include the typical whining about religion being opposed to science or medicine.
"If women know before selecting them, then it's quite a legitimate thing to do and might meet the needs of many women and doctors," said Anita L. Nelson of the University of California at Los Angeles, speaking for the organization. "But if you hang out your shingle that says 'All-purpose OB-GYN' and don't offer certain services, that's false advertising."
Never mind that you can't even avoid cross-eyed looks or blank stares when mentioning NFP in the "all-purpose OB-GYN" offices.  And I love this quote by a woman that was surprised a doctor wouldn't prescribe the Pill for her:
"It caught me completely off guard," said Elizabeth Dotts, 25, who had a similar experience in Birmingham. "I felt like he was judging me and putting pressure on me. . . . I am the patient. I am the client. It should have been about me -- what I needed. Not what he needed or believed."[emphasis added]
If that don't sum up the whole problem?

Some experts say such practices are providing substandard care if they do not fully inform patients about all options.

"It's not enough for someone to advertise 'We provide natural family planning' or have a sign up in the waiting room that says 'Only natural family planning available here,' " said Jeffrey L. Ecker, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Harvard Medical School. "The assumption shouldn't be that patients understand exactly what that means. The doctor has an obligation to fully explain all options to their patients."

Again, we are missing the ALL OPTIONS in our current doctor's office.  I guess my daughter should have the right to be offended if an OB mentions the pill then.  They don't have a sign that states they may want to kill your baby in their office.  And of course no article can mention NFP without insinuating the dark ages.

Some experts also criticize doctors who represent natural family planning as being as effective as birth-control pills, patches and other medical approaches.

"To suggest they are equivalent to modern methods is simply incorrect," said David A. Grimes of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill. "These methods do not compare favorably in terms of effectiveness, acceptability and continuation rates."

Of course NFP isn't equivalent to artificial birth control.  It is far superior, scientifically, medically, morally and is much safer alternative. 
But, the article does a good job of bringing to light the need for these options in healthcare.  And the One More Soul site  gets a mention. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Ten things

The Republocrats must do to APPEAR they want to keep the Religious Vote. Or Ten Things they can do to string the religious voters on until November. Then repeat in August of the next election year.

Sorry if I sound cynical. But I get the feeling that the Republicans don't really care about the religious voters this year. As the power has gone to their heads, they must have forgotten a core part of the voters that put them there. Remember Harriet Miers?

Anyway, the article;

Ten Things Republicans Must Do to Keep the Religious Vote, by Deal W. Hudson.

A recent New York Times article reported a Pew Forum poll showing that significantly fewer people view the Republican Party as "friendly" to religion.

"The survey found that the proportion of Americans who say the Republican Party is friendly to religion fell 8 percentage points in the last year, to 47 percent from 55 percent. Among Catholics and white evangelical Protestants, the decline was 14 percentage points."

Fluctuations up and down to the loyalty of political coalitions are predictable. What's important is how long an up or down cycle lasts and what can be done to insure ongoing support.
It is inversely proportional to how long the party has been in power. As the party corrupts, even the die-hards start to lose faith in the party. What is really important is that we stop the continued loss of religious freedom
With the midterm elections a few months away and the 2008 presidential election already on the horizon, here's my take on what the GOP needs to do to reinvigorate its religious base.

1. Consistently Defend Life: President Bush's decision to allow Plan B, the morning-after pill, to be sold in the United States contradicts his consistent defense of the culture of life. Conversely, we recently witnessed his veto of legislation to fund further research on fetal stem cells!
But the veto of "further research" give away the fact he had okayed the research in the first place. Despite all his talk, I was never sold on his commitment to Defending Life.
2. Emphasize Judicial Appointments: After successfully nominating and confirming two solid Supreme Court justices, Republican leadership lost track of the importance of this issue to religious conservatives. Liberal judges legislating from the bench are one of the main reasons that religious conservatives became active in politics in the late 1970s. Judges will remain in office long after the Republicans are no longer in power, making Bush-appointed judges the most important legacy of religious conservative influence in the present administration.
Again I point out, Why Harriet Miers. And as pro-life as Roberts and Alito are, they have their skeletons. Replacing the men in black robes with people who remember the Constitution is a big reason I voted for Bush is 04, but his record is less than perfect. There were qualified *female* candidates such as Janice Rogers Brown. But she is not an establishment type, hence she was ignored twice.
3. Keep the Marriage Amendment Alive: Homosexual activists have supplanted feminists as the leading agents of extremism in American politics. The proposed marriage amendment to the Constitution should be made a rallying call for the Republican Party in the months and years to come, a clear expression of its commitment to the values of religious conservatives. Half-hearted support for this amendment will turn-off and dispirit the actively religious voter.
Nope! This would feed right into the hands of big government. As tempting as it is to set a national standard, this is a state issue. And the states, even liberal ones like Oregon, are stepping up and making the right choice. But to put this "religious power" in the hands of the Feds would be to serve up our own death warrant if the "other" party ever takes over. Or when the "others" take over the Republican party. See #6 below. The government is right to protect and promote traditional marriage, but again, this defense belongs at the stat level.
4. Treat Immigrants with Compassion: There is a tendency in the GOP to identify the religious conservative with the conservative activist -- this is a mistake. The two groups overlap but they are not the same. For religious conservatives compassion is a genuine value that should infuse political rhetoric and public policy. Polling shows Catholics, for example, who attend Mass regularly, are more supportive of the Bishops' lenient attitude toward illegal immigrants than inactive Catholics. Other religiously active voters may well want to handle this issue without harsh rhetoric or punitive intent. President's Bush's compassionate position on immigration has not been heard above the shouting. The GOP might also keep in mind that most of these immigrants could become part of the religious coalition that has put the GOP into power. Hispanic Catholics are the single most important group missing from the GOP's religious coalition.
Excuse me here, but anyone thinking that law-breaking, anarchist, illegal immigrants are going to vote along side the religious value voters is delirious or smoking something. I am all for compassion. Treat them with human dignity and don't abuse them, but send them back. There is a big difference between Immigrants and Illegal Aliens. Bush's position isn't compassionate, he is advocating amnesty. There is room for compassion here and alot of conservative activist may cross the line into vengeful and rhetoric-filled speech, but Bush's plan isn't what the religious voters want. At least not the ones I know.
5. Don't Compromise on Iraq: Religious conservatives affirm the principles behind the decision to send U. S. soldiers to Afghanistan and Iraq. They may join in the widespread criticism of the implementation strategy of the Iraq war, but this is not to be confused with a change of mind about the justness of the war itself. GOP leaders should remember that its religious supporters are patriots whose parents and grandparents invoked their faith to resist both Nazism and atheistic Communism.
Again, he presumes to speak for a group he may not understand. I never considered the Iraq war as a Just War. The Catholics who listened to the Holy Father's statements may still disagree with Rome's stance, but this isn't as black and white as Hudson makes it sound. I don't advocate pulling out now, but it isn't a free, Christian nation we are trying to setup over there. And nation building isn't covered in his reference to the Catechism (CCC 1909) in #7 below.
6. Pick the Right Presidential Candidate for 2008: Polls show Mayor Giuliani and Senator McCain leading the pack of Republican hopefuls. Nominating a pro-choice candidate would be disastrous for the Republicans. The argument, "where else can they go," does not work because religious conservatives are religious first and Republican second: They will stay home or form a third party. McCain is attempting to repair his reputation with religious conservatives, but the gap is very wide and the memories on both sides are deep and bitter. Giuliani has estimable qualities but needs to undergo a genuine conversion on life issues. Governor Pataki needs the same conversion. Gov. Romney impresses people wherever he goes, but whether a Mormon candidate can garner Evangelical or conservative Catholic voters remains to be seen. Senator Allen is pro-life but inspires little enthusiasm (and his recent racial gaff did not help him). Senator Brownback, a Catholic convert, is slowly gathering steam but probably not quickly enough for 2008. Senator Frist was the initial frontrunner until he insisted that his medical training made him an expert on the bioethics of fetal stem cell research, thus losing the support of religious conservatives. Former Speaker Newt Gingrich has proven his worth on issues important to religious conservatives, but would they accept his recent marriage and the circumstances leading to it? Other options? If Senator Santorum beats Bob Casey, Jr., which is very likely, he must be considered a candidate. And, of course, there is always the chance Gov. Jeb Bush could be talked into running, especially if Senator Clinton is nominated, thus eliminating the "dynasty" problem.
He nails it with the pro-choice candidate remark, but I don't think I could stomach another Bush in the White House. And Gingrich? Proven his worth on religious issue??? He was worth his weight in gold in stopping the religious revolution in the 90s. Gingrich co-opted the fresh faces and sold the religious voters down the stream.
7. Remember that Terrorism is a Life Issue: The Catechism of the Catholic Church recognizes that the first obligation of any government is to protect the lives of its citizens: "It is the basis of the right to legitimate personal and collective defense" (CCC 1909). Religious conservatives do not share the left's reservations about the just defense of our nation against aggression; they know those liberals are wrong who try to blame the U. S. for the attacks. Anything on the domestic front that distracts from the continuing war on terror should be put on the back burner.
Just defend our nation without interfering in the politics of nation building. And don't bother enforcing anymore U.N. resolutions with our tax dollars either.
8. Laugh at the "Theocracy" Label: Ever since the fight to save Terry Schiavo, the left and some Republican moderates have been accusing religious conservatives, including President Bush, of turning the United States into a "theocracy." Anyone familiar with the history of religion and politics knows this is a laughable claim and should treat it as such.
The trouble is, the appearance is that Bush and Congress only jumped on the Schiavo wagon because the wind was blowing that way. I don't recall any real resolution by their actions and Terri still died. Congress could have impeached that corrupt judge that was running that circus, but they failed to do that, and their actions looked to be mostly grandstanding.
9. Avoid the Demonizing of Islam: Thus far the GOP has done a good job of distinguishing between the religion of Islam and its extremist groups who make up the international terrorist network. However, until leadership within Islam steps forward to condemn Islamic terrorism there will be growing pressure to equate Islam with "evil." GOP leadership should resist the temptation to write Islam off as evil. Such a move is based on bad history and worse diplomacy. It may appease a loud minority of religious conservatives, but it will certainly not make the party appear more "friendly" to religion.
I will give him this point. I agree that blind hatred won't get us anywhere. Islam should not be written off as evil, but radical Islam should be recognized as our greatest threat from outside our nation.
10. Remind Religious Conservatives of the Record: In its first six years, the administration of President George W. Bush did more for religious conservatives than any other president, including Ronald Reagan. Bush went well beyond signing bills and defining policy that protected life and the traditional family; he created a partnership with the religious community, a "faith-based initiative," that invested in the ongoing work of churches to address our nation's social problems. Nothing, I repeat nothing, has infuriated the political left more than the funding of church-related social services.
I don't want or need the government FUNDING my church services. That is so liberal it makes me sick when I hear people support that. The government should get OUT of that business altogether and get out of funding the evil religious services like Planned Parenthood. This should infuriate the left, as well as the right. It is government dabbling in religion and just because the Feds fund the culture of death doesn't make it right for them to use tax dollars to fund church-related social services. Look at the charity for Katrina last year. The private or religious charities were so much more effective and un-encumbered in their help of the hurricane victims.
The GOP needs to remember what earned them the support of religious conservatives in the first place, and stay the course in the midst of the tremendous pressure to "moderate" its message. Religious conservatives know that in politics "moderate" is a codeword for compromise.
And right now, Republican is NOT the word for the party of the Religious Right.

[updated 8-31-06]

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Have I mentioned

Why Fr. Enteneuer and HLI are one of my favorite charities?  First he publicly rebukes President Bush's failure to stand regarding the Emergency Birth Control, and now he takes Mrs. Gates to task.

Having money does not qualify a Catholic to publicly contradict the Catholic Faith; in fact, it makes her more accountable to God and to the truth that the Church proclaims. If you wish to continue to promote the condom, kindly leave the Church so that you will not be judged accordingly, and refrain from scandalizing those of us who really want to stop AIDS.

Try telling them

The man with a black hat sums the Ephesians 5 hubbub up quite well.
The above [wives should be subordinate...] is framed in reference of both parties being submissive to one another. Thus the obligations of the wife might be seen in the proper context. But unlike some of the one-dimensional twits who read this thing, Paul doesn't stop there, as he reserves his stronger and more elaborated admonition for the husband.
To put it another way, Paul challenges the husband to lay down his life for his beloved (like Christ did -- you know, that whole nailed-to-the-cross-and-dying-for-our-sins thing???), an obligation which he does not make of the wife. Try telling that to the feministas doing the arm-twisting in parishes across the land last weekend.
Well done David.

On the menu today

Gerald at The Cafeteria is Closed has stirred up the pot with his take on Ephesians 5.  There are many a good comments on his post, most taking exception to his stance.  As one person put it, "Written like an unmarried man raised in a feminist society." and another added, "very cafeterialike".  And I don't consider these comments too harsh, Gerald is a very up-front and honest guy regarding the Faith, and these commenters are being up-front and honest when it seems he has wandered through an open door to the cafeteria.
A couple of links that were posted have been worthwhile.  Fr. John's "Mutual Subordination" at the St. Anastasia web site and Fr. Collins on the EWTN site.
And to the ruckus, I add my experience
As we approached marriage, my wife and I planned that she would work and I would stay home.  She was the more leader-like and I was more of a follower.  But did God have different plans!
6 kids later, my wife just wants to stay home and slowly but surely with the help of many of her prayers, I am now becoming a leader for our family.  Not only spiritually, but in other ways. 
God has given me the grace (when I cooperate through prayer) to make the tough decisions like whether to move and change professions.  My wife was involved in the whole decision, but God graced me with the decision not to do it.  But it was only through talking with her afterwards that I understood my decision.
She is happy to be the good woman behind the strong man.  Remember this dramatic reversal and the fact that our salvation is through our spouses and family.  God has a design.  It is up to us to cooperate.

Monday, August 28, 2006

National Apologetic Sunday

And not the apologetics of explaining your faith, but the apologizing away the faith.  That is what the reading of Ephesians 5 often evokes from homilists.  Domeico experienced it, as I am sure did many others.
Our priest did a good job with only a minor qualification of Paul being affected by the age he lived in.  But the focus was on the challenge in all three readings.  In Joshua, it was a line in the not-so-proverbial sand.  Whom will you serve?
In Ephesians, it was the challenge of being submissive to one another.  To love as Christ loved.  (on a side note, I mentioned to Father after Mass that no one ever notices that the husband has the tougher call.  The call to love as Christ loved the Church and died for His spouse. See e5men for more info.)
In the Gospel, the disciples found Christ's teach unacceptable.  As Father said, it wasn't that it was hard to understand, they understood but couldn't accept it.  And Jesus asked his Apostle's, will you too go away?  And I love Father's remark here. 
Jesus is telling us, my teachings are hard.  But either you accept them or leave.  It reminds me of the teachings of the Church.  Often they are hard.  Many find them unacceptable, but He turns to us and asks us, "will you too go away?"  May we always say yes to the hard teachings.
But it also reminds me of the crucial difference between dissent and sin.  And I credit my friend Eric for this thought, we all fall.  We all struggle to keep the hard sayings.  But the difference is that the sinner calls his failure sin.  The dissenters reassure themselves it is okay and look to change the rule rather than himself.   

On his feast day

May St. Augustine intercede that my boys not try his path, or the long way to holiness.  The Pope reminded Mothers to Persevere in Prayer
Benedict XVI proposed Sts. Monica and Augustine as two signs of hope for today's struggling families. 

The Holy Father said St. Monica, whose feast day is today [Aug, 27th], lived "her mission of wife and mother" with excellence.

She helped "her husband, Patricius, to discover, little by little, the beauty of faith in Christ and the strength of evangelical love," and after being widowed, dedicated herself to caring for her three children, the Pontiff said.
Reminds me of a good wife I know.  Except for the widow part and she has 6 children.
St. Monica invites all these mothers "not to be discouraged, but to persevere in their mission of wives and mothers, maintaining firm their confidence in God and clinging with perseverance to prayer," the Holy Father said.
Mothers, my prayers are with you today.  Please remember to pray for your sons.

Friday, August 25, 2006

fair and balanced

So some news outfits claim.  But after reading about photoshopped pictures in the news and then we come across the Lebanon Red Cross ambulance hoax.
Talk about MAKING the news.  Literally.  Bettnet has a short version of it for those short of time.  But take a look at the pictures on the first link.  The proof is there.
But we know the news is always balanced and fair, so I am not holding my breath for a retraction.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Straight talk about NFP

(One women’s perspective)

Not everyone is excited about NFP as those of you who practice it I assume are well aware. We have a good friend who says that we should call it NFB which stands for (Natural Family Building). As I pondered his jest, I couldn’t help but to think how seriously beautiful that would be. And I’m sure you women have been laughed at by at least one physician when you said you were using this method. I believe the reason NFP gets such a bad rep is due to the lack of understanding on the part of most people. It’s about the heart and not necessarily about the head. It’s about love and communication on a very deep and spiritual level. Let me explain...

When we first started using NFP we were postponing pregnancy for “us” reasons which were somewhat selfish (birth control mentality). As the babies started to come my heart began to soften a bit to the call of motherhood. Kale on the other hand was content to stop after our third baby. I told him that I didn’t feel we were done. And I think he nearly passed out after the birth of our fourth baby when I came home from the hospital the next day and said, “ I could do that again “. Then God began to work on his heart when mine became more reluctant due to complications after baby five. After discussion and prayer we welcomed baby six. So now here we are; you see it’s the heart with the constant input of both partners and the grace of God that allows for the building of the family.

Some people stumble on the phrase “grave reasons”. They think that the Church is calling for constant reproduction no matter what the cost. This is not so. Grave reasons are different for each couple and that’s why it is left up to the couple. At times Kale and I have asked ourselves, “Why not?” If the couple is struggling with what are “grave reasons” they can go to a priest for help with discernment. Most couples with well formed consciences will know simply through prayer and intuition. I suppose some of you are thinking, “Great, she just dumped a load of sand into the already murky waters.” Let me give you a personal example:

Our youngest baby is now 16 months old. Many people who know us have been saying, “Well, its about that time.” The other day Kale also said we might want to start thinking about welcoming another soul into the world (Wow). For some reason though, my intuition, my inner being has been saying no; I can’t put a finger on it. I’ve prayed and yet I keep getting a “no”. The other day I went to pick up a load of books from a home-schooling mom who has older kids and out of the blue she told me a story. She said that before her last baby was conceived (they have five) she and her husband were struggling with the very same thing I am. She said that her intuition was saying “no” even though there was not an obvious reason for postponing pregnancy. So, they used NFP for about three cycles. Then her dad became extremely ill and passed away suddenly. She told me that there would have been no way she could have done all the things she did or have been as supportive to her family if she would have been pregnant. After her father’s funeral, they conceived their daughter; the time was right.

There is a time and season for everything. NFP(NFB for others of you) is something very personal, very spiritual, and especially for women, very intuitive. Women, listen to that inner voice God gave you as a women. It’s part of our feminine genius, it is not scientific, not clearly definable, but put within us for reasons only God knows... and what a gift!

In Christ,
(Kale’s other half)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

a bit late to the party

This is a bit old, but I just came across the details for Dan Brown's new book at the Ox Files. And for a Dumb Ox, he is quite clever. Who else would see the connection of a 6000 year old pyramid scheme, Conan the Barbarian and John Kerry?

Last day

Today is the last day you can get a Crisis Magazine subscription for $10.  That is very good price for a very good Catholic magazine.
Here is the link for the subscription:

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

New blog

New to me anyway.  The New Liturgical Movement looks right up my alley.  Especially note the post on Teen's reject popular music in Church which links to the article about Dr. Resch's research of 500 teenagers on what they consider to be appropriate music for church.
As you prepared your survey, what results did you expect?
First, I expected that the music deemed appropriate would, like their church affiliations, be diverse. Second, knowing that the vast majority of teenagers enjoy listening to rock and pop music, I also expected that those styles would be identified as appropriate for church by their standards.
What did you learn?
Surprisingly, neither of my predictions proved true. Across this diverse group of students there was clear agreement about the kind of music that was "right for church": it was
* choral music, not instrumental
* sung by a group of singers rather than a soloist
* characterized by a simple musical texture and understandable text.
Musical examples reminiscent of popular styles (rock, jazz, country) were overwhelmingly rejected as church music.
And depending on your perception of what you were at church for,
The study revealed connections between the teens' ideas of the role music takes in the service and the kind of music considered suitable to fill that role. They had been asked on the survey how they thought music functioned in the church service, and they ranked the stated possibilities in this order, from most to least important:
Church music is an expression of religious belief.
Church music is part of the presentation of God's Word.
Church music is a way for people to use their talents to serve God.
Church music establishes or changes people's moods.
Church music is a performance that entertains.
My analysis showed a strong connection between the students' perceptions of the way music functions in the service and the kind of music they thought was appropriate for the service.
Students who saw music as part of the presentation of God's Word considered traditional choral music most appropriate for the service.
I would say #3 and #5 should be cast out for the Catholic churches.  We aren't at Mass for the "look at me" soloist performance or the "have you made me laugh" crowd.  Although the establishing of moods ranked low, it pretty much fits how many Masses feel.  When we have the pop or folk music, it feels like a Karaoke banquet where most of your neighbors can't sing.

St. Joseph's bubble

Another indicator that the housing market is in trouble?  When sales fall, they call St. Joe
Sort of an odd link between the spiritual and temporal, but I agree with Domenico that there is a fine line between faith and superstition.


It kinda reminds me of the passage where Jesus curses the fig tree because it wasn't bearing any fruit. Not that I think Jesus has cursed the liberals, but they have cursed themselves by not having children. When the selfishness gets to a point where they won't even bear children, their family tree gets pruned a bit too close to the ground.
Arthur Brooks writes about this Fertility Gap in the Opinion Journal.
But the data on young Americans tell a different story. Simply put, liberals have a big baby problem: They're not having enough of them, they haven't for a long time, and their pool of potential new voters is suffering as a result. According to the 2004 General Social Survey, if you picked 100 unrelated politically liberal adults at random, you would find that they had, between them, 147 children. If you picked 100 conservatives, you would find 208 kids. That's a "fertility gap" of 41%. Given that about 80% of people with an identifiable party preference grow up to vote the same way as their parents, this gap translates into lots more little Republicans than little Democrats to vote in future elections. Over the past 30 years this gap has not been below 20%--explaining, to a large extent, the current ineffectiveness of liberal youth voter campaigns today.
Alarmingly for the Democrats, the gap is widening at a bit more than half a percentage point per year, meaning that today's problem is nothing compared to what the future will most likely hold. Consider future presidential elections in a swing state (like Ohio), and assume that the current patterns in fertility continue. A state that was split 50-50 between left and right in 2004 will tilt right by 2012, 54% to 46%. By 2020, it will be certifiably right-wing, 59% to 41%. A state that is currently 55-45 in favor of liberals (like California) will be 54-46 in favor of conservatives by 2020--and all for no other reason than babies.
If his sources and math are correct, my prediction that the liberals are contracepting and aborting themselves out of existence, will come sooner than I thought. At least in regards to politics.
Democratic politicians may have no more babies left to kiss.
The cultural war will soon have shifted its balance. And as the song goes, "If your heart turns to a counting of the battle, don't forget these soldiers small, the ones that look like you." (Marie Bellet, Daddy's Song)

Tip to Kathy at relapsed catholic

Monday, August 21, 2006

Separate living quarters

One of my favorite priests, Fr. Euteneuer of HLI, wasn't impressed with President Bush's stance  on the "Plan B" abortion pills. Fr. Euteneuer stated that the President's support of his nominee for FDA commissioner's plan to approve the drug would risk "causing a great divorce" from his pro-life Catholic support.
My only thought is that it may cause a divorce, but I have always kinda figured there was a mistress in the picture and therefore setup separate living quarters.  I have never trusted Bush on his pro-life stance, see Harriet Miers, and viewed his "pro-life" conviction ran just deep enough to get the votes.

Friday, August 18, 2006

for those who have the patience

to see the end result, the Church is in good hands.  Often we look to readily for the immediate action and when we do not see it, we lose hope.  By appointing Cardinal Bertone as Secretary of State, Pope Benedict is showing his patient way of reforming without a revolt.  Sweeping changes would imply something was wrong with the way the previous pope ran the affairs. 
If WE could only do this as well.  Pray for patience, that is the meditation on the 4th Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary.  Patiently bear our cross, and know that the Church is in good hands.  Christ himself set it up that way.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Worthwhile reading

Do yourself a favor and visit Bettnet and read Dominico's writings. 
Especially note his Sacrificed to a Higher Cause which links to a story at Feminine Genius regarding the fact that some Muslim mothers were willing to sacrifice their child for a higher cause.

“It may be beyond belief, but we are convinced that there are now women in Britain who are prepared to die with their babies for their twisted cause,” a security adviser to the British government told The Times of London. “They are ruthless, single-minded and totally committed.”

Ah yes, we know the sort. Over here, they’re teaching Women’s Studies on college campuses, working in the local Planned Parenthood offices, and working feverishly in editorial offices in NYC.

Also note his article on Grave Reasons.  It may give us all pause to reflect on what is important.

on that note

And on the Blessed Mother being a priest, Cardinal Arinze offers his thoughts on women priests. via Adoremus

In the history of the Church, were there ever women priests? Women can't be made priests, at any time; even the pope can't do that, can he?

No, the pope issued a document about seven years ago* saying that the Church has no power to ordain women priests. There were never women priests in the Church. If Christ would have wanted women to be priests, His Blessed Mother surely should have been number one.

But she wasn't, she had a bigger job.  Remember humility before you answer a "call".  Is the call from myself or from God.  Who am I looking to serve?

and the cardinal will NOT dance

Oh what a blessing Cardinal Arinze is for our Church! 
Now, some priests and lay people think that Mass is never complete without dance. The difficulty is this: we come to Mass primarily to adore God -- what we call the vertical dimension. We do not come to Mass to entertain one another. That's not the purpose of Mass. The parish hall is for that.

So all those that want to entertain us -- after Mass, let us go to the parish hall and then you can dance. And then we clap. But when we come to Mass we don't come to clap. We don't come to watch people, to admire people. We want to adore God, to thank Him, to ask Him pardon for our sins, and to ask Him for what we need.

Don't misunderstand me, because when I said this at one place somebody said to me: "you are an African bishop. You Africans are always dancing. Why do you say we don't dance?"

A moment -- we Africans are not always dancing!

Moreover, there is a difference between those who come in procession at Offertory; they bring their gifts, with joy. There is a movement of the body right and left. They bring their gifts to God. That is good, really. And some of the choir, they sing. They have a little bit of movement. Nobody is going to condemn that. And when you are going out again, a little movement, it's all right.

But when you introduce wholesale, say, a ballerina, then I want to ask you what is it all about. What exactly are you arranging? When the people finish dancing in the Mass and then when the dance group finishes and people clap -- don't you see what it means? It means we have enjoyed it. We come for enjoyment. Repeat. So, there is something wrong. Whenever the people clap -- there is something wrong -- immediately. When they clap -- a dance is done and they clap. [emphasis added]

It is possible that there could be a dance that is so exquisite that it raises people's minds to God, and they are praying and adoring God and when the dance is finished they are still wrapped up in prayer. But is that the type of dance you have seen? You see. It is not easy.

Most dances that are staged during Mass should have been done in the parish hall. And some of them are not even suitable for the parish hall.

I saw in one place -- I will not tell you where -- where they staged a dance during Mass, and that dance was offensive. It broke the rules of moral theology and modesty. Those who arranged it -- they should have had their heads washed with a bucket of holy water! [emphasis added, I love this holy Cardinal]

Why make the people of God suffer so much? Haven't we enough problems already? Only Sunday, one hour, they come to adore God. And you bring a dance! Are you so poor you have nothing else to bring us? Shame on you! That's how I feel about it. [emphasis added, and AMEN to that.]

Somebody can say, "but the pope visited this county and the people danced". A moment: Did the pope arrange it? Poor Holy Father -- he comes, the people arranged. He does not know what they arranged. And somebody introduces something funny -- is the pope responsible for that? Does that mean it is now approved? Did they put in on the table of the Congregation for Divine Worship? We would throw it out! If people want to dance, they know where to go. [emphasis added, I wonder if he had a dual meaning here?]

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Let's get on with it then

Perhaps I am a bit impatient, but I like the title, Does the Vatican II Generation Have to Die
For the Council to Be Implemented?
I have read Ralph McInerny's What Went Wrong With Vatican II, and gave it to my father-in-law.  I guess we just need to keep ourselves in grace and know that the Church is much older than we are and will last much longer than we will.  Change will come, but ours is not to know the time. 
But "Lord, when will you restore the Kingdom?"
another tip to the Jester

well done

Exactly what we should expect from a Diocesan Director of Communication regarding the highly touted "women's ordinations" in the Philly paper.
The contrast between invalid ceremonies given strong emphasis and valid ones given little is an offense to faithful Catholics within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
And in regards to the second letter there, the writer seems honest enough in her questions.  Hopefully she will get the answer because she might actually take the answer to heart.  Too bad she is just misled by so much misinformation these groups send out.
And, what about Mary, Jesus' mother? She of all people can point to Jesus and say, "This is my body; this is my blood." If a woman was worthy to produce the body of Christ physically, why are women unworthy to produce the Body of Christ sacramentally?
If she were to contemplate what the Blessed Mother said, she wouldn't have to wonder why women aren't priests.  It is NOT that they are unworthy, they have a different calling.  God calls us as we are.  Priests being called to be "Alter Christus", another Christ.  And Christ is the Bridegroom, the Church is the Bride. (see St. Paul's epistles).  So a woman cannot be called by God to be the bridegroom.  She is either confused or her calling comes from elsewhere.
The Blessed Virgin Mary offered herself in humility. "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord." and "My soul doth magnify the Lord."  That is so far removed from the "Look at me!  I made myself a woman priest." mantra of the woman's ordination type.

Great example

This little rant is a great example of: parody, exaggeration, excessive speculation....
But it is funny as it gets (in a slashdot, geek humor sorta way.)

Interesting question

Kathy at relapsed catholic asks why:
Every community program aimed at black youth involves a) basketball and b) rapping -- two industries in which there is a noticeable shortage of black participants, not to mention an above-average chance of everyone becoming a millionaire. So let's go with that for another 10 years!

Seriously: why don't black groups ever set up after school science labs or classical music appreciation classes or even volunteer work in old folks homes --something in which they can
cultivate their minds and even give back to society, rather than just pointlessly amusing themselves in culturally retarded, stereotypical activities at taxpayer expense?

Monday, August 14, 2006

Reason 598772 to NOT use AOL

Not only is AOL more expensive, less helpful and makes a mess of your computer, they now accidentally published the search logs of 650,000 or so users.  And these users can be identified by their number.  Nice! 
AOL tried to pull the data back, but recalling something on the Internet is about as fruitless as contacting AOL tech support.

Woe to us if we do not!

Fr. Euteneuer of HLI asks, "Will today's men learn from this man about manhood?"
Woe to us if we do not! In a world where feminist dogmas and intimidations shame men from living the heroism to which all of us are called, Kolbe beckons men to stand up, throw off this present totalitarianism and step out of line for those who need men most.
Today is the feast day of St. Maximilian Kolbe and Fr. Euteneuer writes about Maximilian's call to chastity and how we would do well to learn from him.
As men, we could all learn a simple lesson from Maximilian Kolbe in a fundamental area of virtue: namely, chastity. Men today don't connect chastity with manliness because they are indoctrinated by a sexualized society against the sacrifice it requires. But chastity is the proof of a man's virtue, not its destruction. Whether it is pre-marital chastity to respect women, periodic abstinence in marriage to respect wives, or permanent celibate chastity for God's kingdom, a man must learn it or live in a state of perpetual adolescence.
And regarding St. Maximilian's heroic sacrifice for the sake of a father and husband that he didn't even know:
If the real identifying mark of a man is his ability to forego his own desires for the good of others

Friday, August 11, 2006

Cool, except I don't win much

Google fights.  Put your name versus whomever you want to fight and see who wins.


Bad solutions

Kevin at New Advent make a great observation in his thoughts on Airplanes and Islam.
Bad solutions will be proposed -- "the spread of democracy" will continue to replace "the spread of the Gospel" as our evangelical mandate.  And we'll continue to be surprised when this democratic movement strengthens the fists of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah and Iranian Shiites at the expense of Maronite and Chaldean Christians and other good people.
That is a brilliant observation on the problem with the U.S. today.  We spread "democracy" as though it is the greatest good.   And don't get me started on the version of democracy we spread.  Even freedom isn't something that can be spread as if it is the solution to all the worlds ills.  Freedom is a Christian concept.

death rattle

There is a sound that those familiar to hospitals and nursing homes call the death rattle.  It is a certain sound in someone's breathing that signifies their death is imminent.  My wife recognizes it and will often take the time to say a quick prayer or even check out to pray the Divine Mercy chaplet for that person.


There is a similar sound among those who feed on being divisive and bring disunity to a group.  This death rattle is signified by switching their mantra to "focus on unity" or "building bridges".


Brian at Christus Vincit takes exception to musician David Haas calling for unity and oneness and to

"resist going down the black hole of anger regarding how we translate our texts, what we will sing, or which musical styles are most appropriate for our Masses," Source


tip to The Ox Files

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

No surprise here

Domenico at Bettnet finds that Birds of a feather flock together.

Call to Action, the dissident Catholic group and kooky godmother of Voice of the Faithful, is giving its 2006 Leadership Award to Cindy Sheehan. ...

CTA is giving its award to Sheehan because they say she is a “practicing Catholic” who served as a parish youth minister for eight years [Yikes, based on her public statements I can’t imagine what she was teaching those kids-- Ed.] and has been an antiwar activist. In other words, they’re glomming on to her fame and using the most tenuous connections to get media coverage for themselves.

Not really a surprise that they would look for some publicity, but it is a sign of desperation.  I think Sheehan jumped the shark long ago.  But will all these "practicing Catholics" around, one has to wonder on the value of that statement.  In fact we may have to re-write the definition of "practicing" to mean dissenting.  Or at least "not quite" as my father-in-law likes to call them.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

swimming behind the boat

The Curt Jester asks, If these women who seek ordination are so interested in equality, Can I be their bishop?   After all:

Do they believe that these women require zero training in theology, philosophy, the pastoral life, etc first? If they do and they believe in equality then why aren't they demanding that the Church drops seminaries and that any man who feels he should be a priest is immediately ordained? That these men should just seek out any sympathetic bishop regardless of the church they belong to and be ordained immediately.


The magisterium is the anchor of the Bark of Peter. How do you settle theological arguments when each individual is their own magisterium? No surprise that the women's ordination movement would have the same problems of Protestantism, they are just less honest than Martin Luther was.

Here, the Jester brings up a point I was discussing with my wife last night.  It doesn't matter if you dive off to the left or to the right, you are still diving off the Barque of Peter.  Either way you will be stuck in a little life raft or swimming on your own.  And it isn't easy to keep up when you are swimming behind the boat, soon you are hopelessly lost.  And for those that cling to a lifeline from the boat, they are dragging behind and slowing it down, like barnacles.  Thankfully for their sake, the Church adheres to mercy and hopes for their salvation rather than just cutting the rope.  But they slow it down still the same.  And might I add, very selfishly flail about calling for all attention to be on them.

And then his final thrust is,

...if these women can just determine of their own volition that they are called to the priesthood, then why can't I just show up there and tell them that I was called to be their bishop and start ordering them about ? Do you think that they would buy that one? I think not, but I don't see how they could discredit my argument without invalidating theirs.

Well timed modesty

Funny how things work out so often.  I guess more surprising is that I am surprised that God's hand seems to be in our lives so often.  Offering grace and counsel when we need it.  I pray for guidance and I guess I shouldn't be so shocked when the Holy Spirit uses one of the gift of Counsel when I ask.
As two of my boys just went to camp this week, I had a little talk with them about manners, obedience and modesty.  The eight-year old came home last night because he got quite sick and so I had the chance to hear how it was all going.  They are having fun, enjoying the camp and behaving well.  But one issue has risen that will need to be talked about when the both return. (the one gets to go back as he felt much better today.)

Sharing a cabin with 8 or so boys will invariably lead to the topic of modesty of speech.  A couple boys are using vulgar language.  My eight-year old informed them it wasn't okay to use such language.  I didn't perceive a major conflict so I just informed my boy that he was right, but that he wasn't responsible for them, only himself.  He was right to stand up for what is right, and if the language continued he could mention it again or just try ignoring them. 
Then today, what do I find but an article on Catholic Exchange, Modesty in Speech.
Immodest speech undermines a child’s purity. “Purity requires modesty” (CCC 2521). It is hard to think of a quicker way to sexually activate generations of children than by violating modest speech through sex education and sex “safety” programs. Such violations tear down innocence and the natural barrier of modesty God put in place to protect children and their purity.

Modest speech does more than just protect children. It shows respect for their dignity and value as human beings. John Paul II (then Karol Wojtyla) in his book, Love and Responsibility explained that “sexual modesty…protects the value of the person. But there is more to it than that. It is a matter not just of protecting but of revealing the value of a person” (p. 179). We cannot strip modesty from speech without stripping dignity from children. If we are to uphold dignity, then we must uphold modest speech.
Now there are those who would suggest that children have to "learn" about sexuality sooner or later.  That this is just a part of growing up.
That is a bunch of crap in my opinion and in the teachings of the Church.  If a child is to understand and value sexuality, what value is there in learning it in a disgusting and vulgar way?  If you learn about it as a secretive thing, spoken only in hushed and embarrassed tones, what will the child learn.  They should be embarrassed by it.  If it is learned in a vulgar setting, they will learn that it is vulgar and disgusting, yet funny in an animalistic sense.  I am sure that is not the way to build a healthy attitude towards the opposite sex. 
Sex Ed is not the proper location method either.  Speaking to a co-ed group of young children is confusing to them at best, and likely corrupting of their morality.  Boys will laugh and make jokes to cover their embarrassment. 

The feministic promoters of sex-ed are deceiving us or are themselves deceived when the promote sex-ed at an early age.  They proclaim that they want men to see them as more than objects, but then try to ensure that the next generation will be completely objectified.
"explicit and premature sex education can never be justified in the name of a prevailing secularized culture. On the contrary, parents must educate their own children to understand and face up to the forces of this culture, so that they may always follow the way of Christ” (Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality,  p. 143; emphasis added).
So as parents, we need to step up.  It is our job to educate them in modesty, purity and sexuality.  We must protect them from the forces of the world that try to corrupt them at an early age.  And if they is the possibility of exposure, we must prepare them in truth before they get the wrong message.

Monday, August 07, 2006

good advice

Reading the last November issue of The Catholic World Report, (I am a bit behind); Domenico Bettinelli offers some good advice on the Editorial Page.  The sub heading poses the question "What to do when the constant stream of bad news about the Church threatens your faith." 
And I suspect this is true for a good many of us.  Can we withstand the bombardment from all sides without sustaining injury?  We have the media looking for fresh meat to tear into.  Many within the Church are all too happy to spread bad news if it advances their agenda, and this comes from both the left and the right.  The liberal left will rejoice when a bad bishop is exposed.  The Rad Trad right will never cease to point out the obvious failings of everyone to the left of themselves.
So what does he advise for those like his friend that find even though they are "going to church daily, saying the Rosary, and really trying to get my faith back, I am losing it..."
This editor suggests "Stop following the news."
Not bad advice.  Bad for business perhaps, but good for the soul. 
I would suggest one variation.  Don't just stop following the news, find something good to take its place.  Mr. Bettinelli offers his reason that the news doesn't shake his faith.
The main point is that my faith doesn't depend on anyone else's holiness.  Go to Mass, pray, seek solace in the Lord, and use this as an opportunity to understand how pernicious and disgusting sin is whether it's these heinous sins against the young and vulnerable or our own sins.

Feast of the Transfiguration

Another Sunday to be thankful I am Catholic.  Three readings from the Bible; Old Testament, Epistle and Gospel; plus a Psalm and they all tie together. 
Father gave a great sermon on the Transfiguration and how the Apostles' faith needed a bit of strengthening before the upcoming trials.  And my advice if your priest doesn't give good homilies; pray for him. 
But the first reading from Daniel 7 got me to thinking about the Pentecostals. Several of my brothers and my sister have fallen into the United Pentecostal religion.  Fallen may seem a bit harsh, but consider this.  They no longer believe in the Trinity.
They believe in modalism or the different offices of God.  The God of the Old Testament was referred to as Father.  But then He changed modes or offices and became Jesus.  And the Holy Spirit is just a force, so we no longer have the Holy Trinity.  Of course this is just an recycling of the ancient heresy Sabellianism.
But anyway, I have spent many hours trying to understand their beliefs and help them understand the Truth.  I even studied the 60 questions for Trinitarians and answered each of them with Truth and cited Scripture to back it up. (I will have to dig up my answers and post them sometime.)  I never got an answer to that letter.  So often times certain parts of the Bible really strike me as so plainly teaching the Trinity that I have to pray for my brothers and ponder their disbelief.
Daniel and the second Letter of Peter did that for me today.
...I saw: One like a Son of man coming, on the clouds of heaven; when he reached the Ancient One and was presented before him, the one like the Son of man received dominion, glory and kingship;...
It just baffles me that men who study the Bible endlessly can gloss over such obvious teachings.  One cannot be present before himself. One cannot receive all dominion, glory and kingship from himself.  It is impossible.  Second Peter speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ receiving honor and glory from God the Father.  And of course the voice of the Father at the Transfiguration.  
I guess all that I am left to do is pray for them.  Pray that they will truly seek the Truth. 

Friday, August 04, 2006

Iron man?

Check out the videos on YouTube, posted here by Chris at Calling Rome Home.


Yeah, they have no quality of life.  They have no hope of attaining any meaning or doing anything normal people do.  HA!  I am normal and I haven't done a triathlon.


No, they have no hope except from their parents and friends and any one who treats them as human.  Any one that recognizes there is dignity in a person even if your eyes keep you from seeing it.


Only in our heartless society do they have no hope.