Friday, September 29, 2006

don't forget

To pray for an end to abortion this weekend.  Sunday is Respect Life Sunday. 
Coeur d'Alene will have a prayer chain from 2-3 pm at the corner of Appleway and 95.

something disturbing

I just caught a glimpse of Rep Foley's resignation.  Looks like another Congressmen has gotten involved in some inappropriate behavior with teenage children.  Probably not surprising, not even him being a Republican, other than the media is gonna actually cover this story.  If it were a Dem getting involved in a homosexual relationship with a teenager, it would just be another "lifestyle choice" for both.
The lone bright spot I can see is that he resigned right away, perhaps the Republocrats realize that the public still cares about moral values.
What struck me as disturbing was the following bit
Foley, as chairman of the Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus, had introduced legislation in July to protect children from exploitation by adults over the Internet. He also sponsored other legislation designed to protect minors from abuse and neglect.

"We track library books better than we do sexual predators," Foley has said.

Was he a wolf in sheep's clothing from the beginning?  That would explain why Congress just pays lip service to this problem.  (while they "research" the issue)
But my initial reaction was how easily it is to get sucked into sin.  If for example he had the right intentions, but dealing with and talking about the rankest, most vile sins man can perpetrate; caused him to become corrupted?  I know that when I had to deal with internet monitoring for a past company, there was a certain level of exposure to porn.  And if one thinks that a man isn't affected by casual association with filth isn't aware of the effects of concupiscence.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

guest article

This is a response my wife wrote and submitted to the local paper after they published a hatchet piece on "religious conservatives".  His supposition was that religious conservatives' rejection of birth control was really an "assault on the pursuit of happiness."  This article wasn't posted online, so I can't give you a link for reference, but my wife did a marvelous job in response.  And as a mother of 6 and an NFP teacher, she has some credentials in this field.

I was taken aback after reading the Guest Opinion by Keith Lockitch on birth control.  He seems shocked that conservatives endorse “abstinence only” sex-ed.  This philosophy is the only one where there is a 0% chance of pregnancy, STD’s, and promotes an environment of true freedom for teens to make decisions about relationships that are not skewed as a result of sexual attachment.  As a parent, I expect my child to rise to a high standard of character.  What parent would say to their teenager, “OK, we’re going out for the night, the fridge is stocked full of beer, your friends are due over in an hour and we won’t be back until 4:00 am.  Oh, by the way, we think underage drinking is wrong, so do not drink the beer.”  It makes no sense.  And neither does telling our teens we don’t believe in premarital sex, but at the same time handing them condoms.

Mr. Lockitch also stated that there is overwhelming evidence for the safety of the “morning-after” pill.  My questions to him are: Safe for whom?  Where is the evidence? We know it’s not safe for the newly conceived human, and as for the mother…

Well, Keith was right about a few things.  First, it is true that conservatives are against irresponsible sexual indulgences and mindless promiscuity. Second, there IS something deeper underlying the antagonism to birth control, but all of his assumptions are either partially or completely flawed.

In order to fully understand Christian sexuality you have to realize that Christian marriage is based on sacrificial giving.  This means that it is an indirect reflection of the Trinity where as the love between the Father and the Son is so great that it is manifested in a third person, the Holy Spirit.  God blesses man with this indirect image of Himself by allowing a husband and wife to be partakers in the creation of a new life.  This is further reflected in Christ’s love for His church. So the marriage covenant mirrors Christ.

Christ gave Himself to us freely (without coercion), totally (not withholding any part of Himself), and was life-giving (through his cross and resurrection we were granted salvation).  So as a husband and wife come together in marriage. They come together freely, totally (not withholding any part of themselves including their fertility), and are life-giving (open to new life). 

So, the attitude in Christian marriage is not one of selfish pleasure, but is one of self-giving pleasure.  Is it not virtuous for a husband to be patient with his wife and put her needs above his in the marital embrace?  Is it not virtuous for a wife to give herself to her husband, to put the wanderings of her mind aside to focus on him?  Believe me, giving is much more rewarding and is the root of happiness. 

Keith ignores the fact that we are both spiritual and physical beings.  If you neglect one part or separate one from the other, disorder erupts.  If you see sex as just a function of the human body resulting in selfish pleasure and a possible clump of developing human cells, you can justify any heinous act from rape to abortion.

What Christian conservatives ARE concerned about is discerning to what extent Keith’s pursuit of happiness will violate the right to life of tiny human beings.  For example: one component of the birth control pill is to make life inhospitable to a newly conceived baby.  The IUD will cause an early abortion if implantation occurs. Most of the hormonal forms of birth control have abortifacient properties.  When in doubt ask your physician for a copy of the section of the PDR (physicians desk reference) pertaining to the particular type of contraception you’re using.

Keith was right about one more thing.  Sexuality is a response to personal values whether they are of a Godly religion or a religion of no God (Ayn Rand Institute).  His quote is palatable with inserts from me: “for a couple (man and wife), in a serious committed (permanent), romantic (not essential, but a bonus) relationship (marriage covenant), sex is a celebration of their love, an expression in the form of intense physical pleasure of the joy that each partner (scratch “derives from” add “gives to”) the other.

Mr. Lockitch, I must disagree with you on one last point.  Our war on contraception is not a “declaration of war on the pursuit of happiness”, it IS a declaration of war to defend the right to LIFE, then liberty, then the pursuit of happiness, because without life, the other TWO do not exist.


shedding some light on taboos

I think I agree with Greg at the Crowhill blog, we need taboos to keep the family sane.  At least the father of the family, which is me.  I get fed up with questions at times.  And I hate just using the "Because!" answer.

Kids always want to know “why?” “Why can’t I have a sleepover?” “Why can’t I wear this shirt to choir practice?” “Why can’t I watch this movie?”

And some parents feel they have to explain everything. But there are some things you just can’t explain. You can’t argue why you allow a bathing suit that only covers x percent of the body but won’t allow that short and tank top that actually cover quite a bit more. You can’t explain (or at least I can’t) why certain colors go together, why certain clothes are appropriate at a funeral, or why certain music fits with certain words or situations. You just get a feel for it. (Or, if you’re a music director at a Catholic parish, you don’t get a feel for it. But that’s another subject.)


Parents are in the business of creating taboos — giving kids a sense of propriety and teaching to observe the right kind of expectations.



Wednesday, September 27, 2006

as is usually the case

Whatever topic has recently come up, in the near future someone will step up and offer a great explanation.  Such is the case with Jimmy Akin's primer on the Crusades.

ministry over faith

This isn't an "I told you so moment" or "I knew it all along" type of message.  It goes much deeper that my own opinions an in to the matter of faith for another man.  It is very sad in a way that the Church leaders have sat silent for so long and have exposed the laity to so many errors.  It is also sad that the laity, myself very much a part of that, have polarized so many issues into "us vs. them" or "conservative vs. liberal".  The anger and vitriol only serve as barriers or as promptings to leave the whole mess.
I just asked a fellow Catholic co-worker if he was going to this year's men's retreat.  I didn't know him well, but recognized him as being part of the music group that always plays for our annual retreats.  He stammered a bit and said he hadn't heard anything about it yet.  I thought that odd, him being part of the music group.  As I made small talk about the retreat he opened up and shared that he had a "falling out of sorts" with the Church.  Turns out the music ministry he was part of in his parish had some problems with the "administration" of the parish.  More to the point, it was the priest that they had issues with.  Now he found himself going to a Bible church with his wife who was not Catholic.
I shared that I was sorry to hear that and commented on how hard it must be in a marriage with two different faiths.  He had made the comment that his wife wasn't Catholic and "never would be", so I assume some tension existed there.  I was unsure of what to say, but he went on how fulfilling the services were at the new church and how important that was.  I merely acknowledged my affirmation that fulfillment was important, but stated that he was missing out on the Eucharist.  (I put it rather gentle and it sounded much more eloquent at the time, which I attribute to the Holy Spirit.)  Surprisingly he said yes he was missing the Eucharist and the Sacraments.
So I planted that seed and hopefully the Spirit will draw him back.  I left off by saying that I would pray for him.
But that story leads to the bigger sad picture.  In so many parishes, the focus is on active participation.  I gotta be a minister because the Church needs my talent. (I know this is an over-generalization and there are many honest good volunteers in parishes. But humor me for a bit.)  Even the well-meaning volunteer soon becomes wrapped up in their ministry and some put the ministry about their faith as seems to be the case with this poor man.  He had learned to share his ministry in a certain way (partly the fault of the former less-than-orthodox priest who encouraged activity by the laity during Mass) and when a different priest wanted to go another direction, his faith in the Church was compromised.  I don't know all the details of course, but I have talked with some of the other musicians from that group at past retreats.  This isn't the first run in with a parish administration. The leader had shared how they had already left one parish because of problems.
The blame isn't solely on these musicians.  In fact, when I was talking with them, I was surprised how shallow their faith seemed.  I figured that with their music being so spiritual, they would be unshakeable.  But the seed was planted on the rocky shallow ground for so many of my generation, shallow soil mostly because no catechists took the time to till it or the U.S. leaders of the Church didn't value fertile soil.  I received almost no meaningful catechesis growing up.  I had to discover my faith on my own in my late 20s.  But I have a solid rock of a wife and my life intersected with a few good men that have helped me along in my search.  Hopefully I can do the same for this guy and many others.
Please pray for these men and our generation.   

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

looks like I have another book on the to-read list

Jeff at the Curt Jester details the book he read about Medjugorje.  I may have to buy that one as I have often wondered about the whole situation.  My father-in-law has remarked on it several times, but several friends of ours have gone there repeatedly.  The poem that Jeff refers to, "The Poem of the Man-God", was one that my wife had read about.  I think it was then that I really started to be skeptical.  

The sibling advantage

I am going to start an ongoing feature called The Sibling Advantage. It will be a lighthearted way of showing the advantages that children gain from having siblings, in some cases many siblings. It is not a slight at parents of one child or those that can't have children; but rather things that come to mind as I interact with the kids. Mostly it is about how they learn from each other.
Today's Sibling Advantage:
- Diplomacy: The art of letting the younger brother occasionally win so he will play the game again.
What did son #1 learn? Kindness, winning isn't everything and it is okay to protect the small.
What did son #2 learn? Confidence, skill at the game and a friendship with his brother.

Monday, September 25, 2006

standard lines

Oops, I bet Kerry's handlers wish he would have thought better than to pose with college students holding a beer bong. But I heard that his buddy, Bill Clinton has advised him to use the standard politician line "but I didn't inhale."

tip to Dom

decision time

I have finally made up my mind regarding liturgy meetings.  I have been a member of the parish council and have gone to the liturgy committee meetings for 5 or 6 years now.  It has been a source of much stress and internal debate whether it is worth the trouble. 
About the only thing positive I have achieved is getting a corpus on the cross for the procession.  And this only really was resolve when the Pope John Paul II came to my aid (not specifically) and clarified the General Instruction to state that a crucifix must be present in the sanctuary.
So instead of provoking anger and sin from others, anger and sin from talking about others from myself, I am no longer going to attend.  I will now pray and fast on the day of the liturgy meetings.  The rest I will leave up to the Holy Spirit.  I don't need to presume he will have better luck.

Friday, September 22, 2006

the bloggin Cardinal

The first know blog of a Cardinal, by Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston.  St. Maximillian Kolbe would be proud. 
Though I hope it isn't a distraction during Mass, like mine can be sometimes.  Rather than reflecting in prayer, I sometimes think "I gotta remember that for my blog."
tip to the Jester

Thursday, September 21, 2006

uh oh

For the Catholic observer reading the Bush, GOP rebels agree on detainee bill articlethis one quote sums it up.
"There's no doubt that the integrity and letter and spirit of the Geneva Conventions have been preserved," McCain said
Been there done that in regards to any councils, conventions...

my answer

I guess the pope has given me my answer to many thing.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

pirates of the confessional

 Ironic Catholic had a great post for Talk Like a Pirate Day.
My only reflection is that this pirate must have a great priest being available on Tuesday rather than just Saturday afternoon from 3:30 to 4:45.  Perhaps that is why the pirate hadn't been to confession in so long.  Saturday evening being such an important pirate time with the rum and all.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

day of silence from the media

It might be a bit much to ask, but I am going to ask it anyway. 
How about we ask the media to ignore the "planned outrage" of the Muslims this Friday.  I don't ask them to do it for the Catholics, nor for Western idealism.  Just do it because planning to be outraged really isn't news.  It is more along the lines of play the patsy.  So far the media has eaten it up, and why not?  It sells papers.
But what about freedom of speech?  What about the freedom of the press?  Pope Benedict's words are not worth bloodshed.  They aren't even worth pretend outrage.  And the press should be free to report news, not to be played as a political tool.
But if they really must play some footage, just rewind to the cartoon reaction remind everyone how silly that reaction was.  How utterly silly they look holding pre-printed ENGLISH signs for the western media.
Don't know if it will work, but it is worth asking.

had enough? vote Islam 2006

Sorry for the cheap rip-off of the Demo slogan.  Anne Applebaum puts it well in Enough Apologies.  I have been thinking along similar lines regarding the death threats by the supposed "leaders" of some Islamic nations.  When is enough enough?  Is it okay to have the attitude, "you touch my pope and there will be hell (literally) to pay"?  I pondered this and the thought of needing to pray for the pope, the Islamic world and so much more.  As Ms. Applebaum puts it
All of which is simply beside the point, since nothing the pope has ever said comes even close to matching the vitriol, extremism and hatred that pour out of the mouths of radical imams and fanatical clerics every day, all across Europe and the Muslim world, almost none of which ever provokes any Western response at all. And maybe it's time that it should: When Saudi Arabia publishes textbooks commanding good Wahhabi Muslims to "hate" Christians, Jews and non-Wahhabi Muslims, for example, why shouldn't the Vatican, the Southern Baptists, Britain's chief rabbi and the Council on American-Islamic Relations all condemn them -- simultaneously?
Would it be enough to call for the head of any imam that provokes his followers into assassinating the pope?  I love her last paragraph
But if stray comments by Western leaders -- not to mention Western films, books, cartoons, traditions and values -- are going to inspire regular violence, I don't feel that it's asking too much for the West to quit saying sorry and unite, occasionally, in its own defense. The fanatics attacking the pope already limit the right to free speech among their own followers. I don't see why we should allow them to limit our right to free speech, too.
Tip to the Crowhill Blog

ex cathedra

Some critics of the pope like to throw around the "Papal Infallibility" straw man and claim victory.  I can understand when the critic is ignorant of all things Catholic or even most things Christian.  But this guy takes the cake. 
Paul Cobbs is a professor at Notre Dame, so therefore one would assume some intelligence.  At least in an intellectual sense.  And being a "Catholic" University, one could expect some remote familiarity with the Catholic faith.  But in his article claiming the "Pope should have been more sensitive", he makes the ignorant claims that the Pope's denouncement of Islam was "hurled down ex cathedra". 
Note to Mr. Cobbs.  Leave the foaming ignorant quotes to the protestors that don't speak English.  The Pope was speaking in academia to an academic audience.  He wasn't anywhere near (physically or figuratively) near the Chair of Peter, nor was he speaking in any "infallible" sense.  Somewhat like you would do, Mr. Cobbs to your students.  Only Pope Benedict seems to have a better sense of history than you do.
Oh and of course he blamed the Crusades and three centuries of Western imperialism for the anger of the Muslim nations.
Tip to Dom

Miracle of St. Januarius

On his feast day, September 19th, the Miracle of St. Januarius repeated again this year.
Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, newly installed as the Archbishop of Naples presided for the first time at the celebration of the city's patron saint, who died in the persecutions under Emperor Diocletian. A vial containing the preserved blood of the martyr was brought into the sanctuary. After the Gospel was read, the cardinal told the congregation that "the blood is starting to melt." The announcement drew warm applause.
Another one of the wonderful treasuries of the Church.  I love hearing about the Incorruptibles and Eucharistic Miracles.  The kids love learning about the faith in this way also.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Missing the point

This is about the best article I have read on the Pope's comments in Regensburg.
Benedict's main point — and few have noted this — is that the West, unless it recovers a vision of God, cannot engage in a fruitful dialogue with the other great cultures of the world, which have a basic religious conviction about reality. Among these great cultures, of course, is Islam. His entire talk is focused on this point.
Precisely.  But that wouldn't make for good news now would it.
Let us consider very carefully what Benedict does with regard to Islam in this speech. First, he focuses on one very specific point in the Emperor's long dialogue with the Persian, the issue of jihad, or holy war. He writes: In the seventh conversation edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the jihad (holy war). The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: There is no compulsion in religion. It is one of the suras of the early period, when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat.

Now, the first striking thing we note here is that Benedict is citing the Koran. Rarely in the history of the papacy (if ever — I am not aware of other cases) has a Pope of Rome cited the Koran in a public address, and in a positive way. I say "in a positive way" for Benedict here, like the Emperor himself, evidently agrees with the verse of the Koran which says "There is no compulsion in religion."

The second striking thing we note is that Benedict characterizes this passage of the Koran as "one of the surahs of the early period," a period "when Mohammed was still powerless and under threat." What is Benedict doing? He is setting up his argument that this passage has more authority for Islam (because it is earlier) than the later passages which seem to contradict it, and call for compulsion in religion. In an oblique way, he is inviting Muslim theologians to undertake a type of textual criticism of their own sacred scripture, the Koran, to uncover its deepest meaning.
Guess they missed that point.  The pope is quoting from the Koran and the Jihadist go nuts.  Well done.  Memo to the participants in Friday's "Schedule outrage", better to be silent and have people think you a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.


This link of an Pakistani airline ad from 22 years before 9/11.

That makes sense

From Yahoo

Islamic countries also asked the U.N. Human Rights Council to examine the question of religious tolerance. Malaysia's foreign minister, Syed Hamid Albar, said Benedict's apology was "inadequate to calm the anger."
I think we have a winner here in the stupidest quote in reaction to Pope BXVI's speech. Of course it is "inadequate to calm the anger" when the Muslim leaders keep calling for more anger and violence. And any apology will be inadequate to quell faked emotions.

And as Dom has noted, the Pope wasn't apologizing anyway.
his statement was inaccurately translated. He did not say he was “deeply sorry” as the official Vatican statement . What he actually said to the crowd was vivamente rammaricato or “greatly distressed.” In other words, as I said above, he wasn’t apologizing.
The Curt Jester reveals why we see all these preprinted signs at the "spontaneous" demonstrations.

I support the Pope

Image by Kenneth Kully via Relapsed Catholic

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Messing up

Looks like the post from Darfur messed up the formatting on the blog.
Also, just as a note.  I don't always agree with the whole premise of the Darfur posts.  I do not write them, just post them as part of the Coalition for Darfur.  I do not support the U.N. in any matter.  But I do pray for the people (mostly Christians) that are being slaughtered in Sudan.  It is a tragedy. 
The Coalition for Darfur is about making people aware of the situation.  That is why I am part of it and why I post their releases.

Friday, September 15, 2006

updates on Darfur

"Darfur Trembles as Peacekeepers' Exit Looms"
 "What happened in Rwanda, it will happen here," said Sheik Abdullah
 Muhammad Ali, who fled here from a nearby village seeking the safety
 that he hoped the presence of about 200 African Union peacekeepers
 would bring. But the Sudanese government has asked the African Union
 to quit Darfur rather than hand over its mission to the United
 Nations. "If these soldiers leave," Sheik Ali said, "we will all be
 "Darfur: Waiting for the slaughter"
 Rasha Ibrahim Adam and her children may be about to die - just as she
 thought they had all escaped to safety.
 The 38-year-old mother of four children is one of the latest to flee
 the bombs from the Sudanese government that have dropped on their
 homes. Today, she finds herself in one of the dusty, benighted refugee
 camps that litter the region of Darfur. She sits in her once bright
 red tob - a wrap-around dress - that has been faded by the sand-laden
 wind that blows across al-Salaam camp on the edge of the town of
 She was one of the 50,000 people who swelled the scorched camps for
 the "internally displaced" in the past month - bringing to about 2.5
 million the number of children, women and men now homeless in a
 conflict that has dragged on for three years without an end seemingly
 in sight. Until now, that is. Because an end is in sight for the
 Darfur camps - where at least 300,000 black African farmers have been
 slaughtered by the Khartoum government and its Arab proxies, the
 Janjaweed militia, whose name means "devils on horseback". One of
 those who died was Rasha's husband, Adam.
 It could be an end so terrifying, it defies the imagination.
 "Annan issues stark message to Security Council about impending
 catastrophe in Darfur"
 Mr. Annan said the UN and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will
 have to drastically scale back their humanitarian operations in Darfur
 unless the security situation improves.
 "Can we, in conscience, leave the people of Darfur to such a fate? Can
 the international community, having not done enough for the people of
 Rwanda in their time of need, just watch as this tragedy deepens?" he
 "Food crisis looms in North Darfur"
 On Wednesday, NRF rebels clashed with government forces south of
 Tawilla. An Antonov plane and two helicopter gunships reportedly
 bombed Dobo Al Umda Dobo and Dobo Al Madrasa town and the surrounding
 villages. The number of casualties is unknown.
 "If a United Nations force is not deployed soon, something much worse
 is going to happen here," the SLM/A commander added.
 "Rebels Say They May Abandon Darfur Pact"
 Abdulrahaman Abdallah, a commander of the rebel group's military
 police, said that without a strong international force here, "the
 government will go back to its strategy, which is genocide, and
 inevitably we will go back to the bush."

Even more humor

A couple more humorous quotes, from another Yahoo article.
"The late pope John Paul II spent over 25 years to build bridges and links with the Muslim community. He showed the world that its perception of Islam was false and that we are peace-loving people," it said.
"If we want to sit down and compare the history of violence committed in the name of the Catholic Church and violence committed in the name of Islam, that would take a long time," Ingrid Mattson said.
Oh yes, please let us do that.  It would take a long time.
"We have 500 years of inquisition, the counter-reformation, the crusades... All religions have been used for violence. None has been excluded, including Judaism," she continued.
Well, not quite 500 years.  But hey, when Islam has been spread by violence since its beginning, what is a little exaggeration?

More level-headed thinking from the rational ones

Many others have already weighed in on the "Outrage" by the Muslim world over a portion of Pope Benedict's speech where he quoted Emperor Manuel II.
Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.
Dom at Bettnet considers that the Pope and Emperor Manuel II were right.  The Curt Jester finds the Muslim reaction a bit thin-skinned and hypocritical.
Stop saying we are violent or we will beat you up or kill you.
To me, the reactions are more outrageous than any perceived insult.  Like a spoiled child that grows into a spoiled teenager, they temper tantrums are just bigger and get more violent.
Take this comments from the Yahoo article.
And in Turkey, the ruling party likened the pontiff to Hitler and Mussolini and accused him of reviving the mentality of the Crusades.
Kind of an end game their by some rules.  Anytime someone resorts to calling the other person a Hitler, the argument has already been lost.

This one is my fabulous.  Actually admitting how childish the Cartoon Riots were.
"The declarations from the pope are more dangerous than the cartoons, because they come from the most important Christian authority in the world — the cartoons just came from an artist," said Diaa Rashwan, an analyst in Cairo, Egypt, who studies Islamic militancy. [emphasis added]
And perhaps my favorite (so far)
"He has a dark mentality that comes from the darkness of the Middle Ages. He is a poor thing that has not benefited from the spirit of reform in the Christian world," Kapusuz told Turkish state media. "It looks like an effort to revive the mentality of the Crusades."
Talk about the kettle calling the pot black!  That is priceless.

No longer separated?

It seems as the Taize founder, Brother Roger, understood the meaning of Protestantism being separated brethren.  There has been much commotion in the St. Blogs community about whether Brother Roger had converted to Catholicism.  But in the statement from the Taize community, this is hopefully cleared up. 
As for the bishop emeritus of Autun, Raymond Seguy, he has already qualified his words. Rejecting the term "conversion," he declared to France Presse: "I did not say that Brother Roger abjured Protestantism, but he showed that he subscribed fully to the Catholic faith."

From a Protestant background, Brother Roger undertook a step that was without precedent since the Reformation: entering progressively into a full communion with the faith of the Catholic Church without a "conversion" that would imply a break with his origins
It seems as though he saw his Protestant faith as a starting point, and realize that his search for the Truth lead him into the Catholic Church.
Whoever speaks of "conversion" in this respect has not grasped the originality of Brother Roger's search.

There was never anything hidden about this undertaking of Brother Roger's. In 1980, during a European meeting in Rome, he spoke these words publicly in St. Peter's Basilica, in the presence of Pope John Paul II: "I have found my own identity as a Christian by reconciling within myself the faith of my origins with the mystery of the Catholic faith, without breaking fellowship with anyone."
Hopefully this will lead to more honest dialogue between the separated brothers in Christ and our Church.  Most Protestants of today could not be tried for heresy as some of the fervent Traditionalists would wish, but most are merely at a different starting place in the faith.  Remember the verse, "to whom much has been given, much is expected."  Thank God for my birth into the Catholic faith, but it does leave less room for error.  
Out of charity, Brother Roger did not wish to scandalize the Taize unity with Protestants, but in Truth he recognized where the fullness of the Truth lay.  And that is why he professed his full acceptance of the Creed. 

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Maybe some good will come

If nothing else it shows they are actually reading the polls. House Democrats Unveil Election-Year Bill Claiming to Reduce Abortions. Perhaps this will inspire the Republocrats to re-evaluate their pro-life platform and firm it up a bit.

Of course it comes packaged in sex-ed and a "birth control program for low-income women". All at taxpayer expense of course.

And as an aside, doesn't the Democrat logo look strikingly similar to the Houston Texans? And we now how well their revamped offense is doing. Hmm, now I know why they didn't draft Reggie BUSH.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

now this is more like it

For the day or this week maybe, the world seems back in place. Our military passed on a chance to bomb over 100 Taliban members because they were attending a funeral. Citing "rules of battlefield engagement that bar attacks on cemeteries" and "a higher moral and ethical standard". Seems not all are possessed by the devil of victory at all costs.

60 questions

60 Questions on the GODHEAD With Bible Answers
(This is my response to the 60 questions
from the UPCI website that I wrote several years back Their original answers are in Italics. My answers are in blue.)

1. Is the word Trinity in the Bible? No.
And neither is the term Oneness.

2. Does the Bible say that there are three persons in the Godhead? No.
1 John 5:7 speaks of the three in heaven, and these are one.  That is the summit of the Trinity.

3. Does the Bible speak of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost? Yes.
4. Do these titles as used in Matthew 28:19 mean that there are three separate and distinct persons in the Godhead? No, they refer to three offices, roles, or relationship to humanity.
The continual use of the word three in scripture makes it hard to reconcile the Oneness position.  God had more that three roles, Creator, Redeemer, Judge, Father, Councilor…. 

5. Does the Bible use the word three in reference to God? Only one verse in the entire Bible does so-I John 5:7. It speaks of the Father, the Word (instead of Son), and the Holy Ghost, and it concludes by saying, "These three are one."
Does the UPCI contend that because this verse is the only one specifically referring to the word three, that it is invalid?  Because there is no explanation for the Oneness position, do they just ignore this verse?   This cannot be reconciled to a belief in Oneness, but it is not a problem for belief in the Trinity.  God is one, yet there are three distinct persons.  The Word is the Son (see John 1:14) and the Holy Ghost cannot be merely a force.  These three are all in heaven.

6. Does the Bible use the word one in reference to God? Yes, many times. For example, see Zechariah 14:9; Malachi 2:10; Matthew 23:9; Mark 12:29, 32; John 8:41; 10:30; Romans 3:30; I Corinthians 8:4; Galatians 3:20; I Timothy 2:5; James 2:19.
Not an issue, God is one.  That is very clear throughout the Bible and in Trinitarian theology.

7. Can the mystery of the Godhead be understood? Yes. Romans 1:20; Colossians 2:9; I Timothy 3:16.
Romans speaks of those who see the beauty of creation, but fail to recognize the creator.  Your translation puts the word Godhead into Romans 1:20 that aren’t there in other translations.     Colossians states that “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead corporeally;” This again is consistent with our theology that Jesus was fully God and fully man.  Jesus was 100% God and 100% man.   In Timothy, St. Paul speaks of the great mystery of godliness and that God was manifest in the flesh.

8. Has the Christian only one Heavenly Father? Yes. Matthew 23:9.
9. Then why did Jesus say to Philip, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father" (John 14:39)? Because Jesus is the express image of God's person. Hebrews 1:3. The Greek word for personin this verse literally means "substance."
Express image of God’s substance?  So was he merely an image of God?  No, again this fits perfectly into Trinitarian theology.  God the Son is the complete and eternal Knowledge God the Father has of himself.  Furthermore, in John 6:46 we read “Not that any man hath seen the Father; but he who is of God, he hath seen the Father.”  Would that contradict John14:9?  And how does it reconcile with verse 28 of that chapter where Jesus says “my Father is greater than I.”?  Jesus is saying to Philip, why do you continue to seek signs?  I do the will of the Father, we are in union with one another.  So stop seeking signs and believe.

10. Does the Bible say that there are two persons in the Godhead? No.
Because there are not two.

11. Does the Bible say that all the Godhead is revealed in one person? Yes, in Jesus Christ. II Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:19; 2:9; Hebrews 1:3.
Yes, God is revealed in the humanity of Jesus.  Jesus is the not a mere prophet who God decided to ransom for our sins, but He is God himself.

12. Is the mystery of the Deity hidden from some people? Yes. Luke 10:21-22.
Yes we must approach God in humility lest our own pride blind us.  A literalist reading of tract 12 conflicts with #7.

13. Who is the Father? The Father is the one God, particularly as revealed in parental relationship to humanity. Deuteronomy 32:6; Malachi 2:10.
Father also as the one eternal source from which everything proceeds.

14. Where was God the Father while Jesus was on earth? The Father was in Christ. John 14:10; II Corinthians 5:19. He was also in heaven, for God is omnipresent.
How does this reconcile the Oneness concept.  If God was in Christ, how could he be in heaven?   Does not the pastor in the “Rightly dividing the Word” tape set teaches that in Matthew 28:18 Jesus was granted all power on heaven and earth, and he claims that if Jesus had all the power on heaven and earth, there could be no other holding the power?  And I say to this pastor, who GAVE all this power to Jesus?  If not for the Father in heaven there could be no action of giving.

15. Did the prophet Isaiah say that Jesus would be the Father? Yes. Isaiah 9:6; 63:16.
Using the word Father for Jesus in this context shows his parental (fatherly) love.  And if chapter 63 is speaking of Jesus, how does this reconcile with the UPCI belief that Jesus did not exist prior to his earthly birth?  Read verse 17 and 12, if Jesus made [Israelites] and led Moses, he must have pre-existed his human birth.  Nowhere in the New Testament is the word “father” used as a reference to Jesus.  But he is referred to as “the Son” over 200 times.

16. When God said, "Let us make man in our image" (Genesis 1:26), was He speaking to another person in the Godhead? No. Isaiah 44:24; Malachi 2:10.
Read John 1:1-3.  The Word was WITH God, the same was in the beginning WITH God.  Is this another contradiction in scripture?  Not if we believe in one God which we do.

17. How many of God's qualities were in Christ? All. Colossians 2:9.
Whoa!  All of God’s qualities are in the human Jesus?  What about question 14 claiming God is omnipresent?  Jesus was physically located in a remote area of Judea for most of his life.  Don’t leave out the word corporeally.  And what about infinite, eternal… Jesus’ humanity had a beginning.  I would say this exegesis is not very sound, but reaches to insert meaning that is not there.

18. How may we see the God who sent Jesus into the world? By seeing Jesus. John 12:44-45; 14:9.
We have covered that; Jesus is God dwelt among us.  God in his essence is spirit and cannot be seen.

19. Does the Bible say that Jesus is the Almighty? Yes. Revelation 1:8
Once again, Jesus is God.  The Alpha and Omega.  That is true according to our beliefs.

20. Whom do some designate as the first person in the Trinity? God the Father.
21. Whom do some designate as the last person in the Trinity? The Holy Ghost. But Jesus said that He was the first and last. Revelation 1:17-18
Very poor exegesis.  Jesus is the Beginning and the End.  Furthermore, this proves the eternal existence of Jesus.  Another stretch to prove the Trinity false.

22. How many persons did John see sitting on the throne in heaven? One. Revelation 4:2.
First, Rev 4:2 doesn’t mention any “persons” but simply “one” seated on the throne.  And back to 1 John 5:7, there are three.  So who are the other two?  Well in Rev 5:6 John sees (apparently for the first time) a Lamb standing as though it had been slain.  And where is this Lamb?  Some translations have it between the throne and the four creatures.  The Douay Reimes has the Lamb in the midst of the throne, the creatures and the ancients. 

23. If Jesus is the first and the last, why did God say in Isaiah 44:6 that He was the first and the last? Because Jesus is the God of the Old Testament incarnate.
So are there two Gods?  God is one, yet Jesus existed in the Old Testament.

24. Did Jesus tell Satan that God alone should be worshipped? Yes. Matthew 4:10
25. Does the devil believe in more than one God? No. James 2:19.
26. Does the Bible say that God, who is the Word, was made flesh? Yes John 1:1, 14.
And in John 1:1, the Word was WITH God.  In John 1:2, He was in the beginning WITH God.  John 1:14, …glory as of the only Son from the Father.

27. For what purpose was God manifested in the flesh? To save sinners. Hebrews 2:9, 14.
28. Was Jesus God manifested in the flesh? Yes. I Timothy 3:16.
29. Could Jesus have been on earth and in heaven at the same time? Yes. John 3:13.
So the Son of Man descended from heaven?  The evidence points to Jesus pre-existing his human birth.  And the portion of 3:13 “who is in heaven.” is not in all ancient texts.  Yet even this does not shake my belief in the Trinity.  God’s ways are beyond our ways, and He is beyond our understanding.

30. Does the Bible say that there is but one Lord? Yes. Isaiah 45:18; Ephesians 4:5.
31. Does the Bible say that Christ is the Lord?
Yes. Luke 2:11.
32. Does the Bible say that the Lord is God?
Yes. I kings 18:39; Zechariah 14:5; Acts 2:39; Revelation 19:1.
33. How could the church belong to Jesus (Matthew 16:18) and yet be the church of God (I Corinthians 10:32)?
Because Jesus is God in the flesh.
Yes to all above, and what Church is it that has existed since 33 AD?

34. Will God give His glory to another? No. Isaiah 42:8.
Nope, only one God.

35. Was there a God formed before Jehovah, or will there be one formed after? No. Isaiah 43:10.
No, Jesus is eternal, begotten, not made.  One in being with God.

36. What is one thing that God does not know? Another God. Isaiah 44:8.
Very evident throughout scripture.

37. What is one thing that God Cannot do? Lie. Titus 1:2.
And in his Word, He states there is three in heaven, and these three are one.  That doesn’t work mathematically or logically, so is he lying?  No, there are three persons, but one God.

38. How many Gods should we know? Only one. Hosea 13:4.
39. How many names has the Lord? One. Zechariah 14:9.
Does changing the word ‘names’ to ‘titles’ or ‘offices’ reconcile this verse for the UPCI?  If you want to get into names, then his one name isn’t Jesus but Yahweh.

40. Is it good to think upon the name of the Lord? Yes. Malachi 3:16.
Many of the early church fathers pondered his name, and many have come to understand the same concept that has been taught for almost 2000 years.

41. Does the Bible say that God alone treads upon the waves of the sea? Yes. Job 9:8
42. Why, then, was Jesus able to walk upon the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 14:25)? Because He is God the Creator. Colossians 1:16.
Jesus is the Creator.  In Genesis, it says “let us” make man….  But Jesus as Creator is not the same as Jesus as God the Father.  John 1:3 states all things were made through him.

43. Is God the only one who can forgive sin? Yes. Isaiah 43:25; Mark 2:7.
44. Why, then, could Jesus forgive sin in Mark 2:5-11? Because He is God the Savior.
Amen.  That proves the Jehovah Witnesses are faulty in their disbelief of the Trinity also.

45. Is Jesus the true God? Yes. I John 5:20.

46. If God and the Holy Ghost are two separate persons, which was the Father of Christ? Matthew 1:20 says that the Holy Ghost was the Father, while Romans 15:6, II Corinthians 11:31, and Ephesians 1:3 say that God was the Father. There is no contradiction when we realize that God the Father and the Holy Ghost are one and the same Spirit. Matthew 10:20; Ephesians 4:4; I Corinthians 3:16.
If you claim the Holy Spirit was the physical father, then there must be at least two separate beings.  That is false!  The Holy Spirit is the messenger.  In Trinitarian theology, all are equal.

47. When Paul asked the Lord who He was, what was the answer? "I am Jesus." Acts 9:5.
48. When Stephen was dying, did he call God Jesus? Yes. Acts 7:59.
49. Did Thomas ever call Jesus God? Yes. John 20:28.
50. How could Jesus be the Savior, when God the Father said in Isaiah 43:11, "Beside me there is no Savior?" Because "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself." II Corinthians 5:19.
51. Does the Bible say that Jesus was God with us? Yes. Matthew 1:23.
52. Did Jesus ever say, "I and my Father are one?" Yes. John 10:30.
The answer in scripture to all these is an obvious yes.

53. Can it be proved scripturally that Jesus and the Father are one in the same sense that husband and wife are one? No. The Godhead was never compared to the relationship of a husband and wife. Jesus identified Himself with the Father in a way that husband and wife cannot be identified with each other. John 14:9-11.
I am in the Father as I am in you and you are in Me.  So we can be in Jesus just as he is in the Father.  No, the marital union is different from the unity of the Father and Jesus.  Theirs is a unity of love and purpose and being.  The marital union has some of the aspects, but the family is an imperfect example of the Trinity.  From the love of a father and mother proceeds forth a new person.  In the Trinity, the love of  the Father and Son is so complete, it IS an eternal person (not person in the human person aspect.) Nothing on this earth is a perfect example of God but there are many things that reflect the image of God.

54. Does the Bible say that there is only one wise God? Yes. Jude 25.
55. Does the Bible call the Holy Ghost a second or third person in the Godhead? No. The Holy Ghost is the one Spirit of God, the one God Himself at work in our lives. John 4:24; I Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:19; 12:13.
56. Can Trinitarians show that three divine persons were present when Jesus was baptized by John? Absolutely not. The one, omnipresent God used three simultaneous manifestations. Only one divine person was present--Jesus Christ the Lord.
Only one divine human was present, but God is evident in three personally distinct ways.  This tract refers to three manifestations, not three beings, but three separate persons.  This seems to compromise the Oneness concept.  So how does the UPCI still claim there are not 3 persons (manifestations?)  This ties it all together with 1 John 5:7.  There are three, and these three are ONE.  That is Trinitarian theology in a nutshell.

57. Then what were the other two of whom Trinitarians speak? One was a voice from heaven; the other was the Spirit of God in the form of a dove. Matthew 3:16-17.
58. What did the voice say at Jesus' baptism? "Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Mark 1:11. As the Son of God, Jesus was the one God incarnate.
59. Does the Bible say that God shed His blood and that God laid down His life for us? Yes. Acts 20:28; I John 3:16. God was able to do this because He had taken upon Himself a human body.
60. The Bible says that God is coming back with all his saints (Zechariah 14:5) and also that Jesus is coming back with all his saints (I Thessalonians 3:13). Are two coming back? No. Only one is coming back--our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Titus 2:13.
*Taken from the Word Aflame Tract "60 Questions on the Godhead with Bible answers" #6125

The 60 answers do little to prove the Trinity is a false doctrine and even less to prove that the UPCI has the fullness of the faith.  For me and my family, we will follow the Church that Jesus founded on the Rock and promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against her.  And one final point, if the UPCI wishes to prove the Trinity is an invention of the early Catholic Church, then the UPCI will have to use documents other than the Bible.  The New Testament which the UPCI and other Protestants so graciously accept from the Catholic Church was gathered and canonized by the Catholic Church in 382 AD after the doctrine of the Trinity in 325 AD.  So if you wish to take the Bible as the inspired Word of God, then one must accept that God guided his Church in teaching faith and morals also.  For Jesus wants his flock to be of one shepherd and said He would send the Spirit to guide her in ALL truth.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

for those "Catholic" occasions

Saw this on the Crowhill blog. Looks like something to be enjoyed on all those occasions with your Catholic buddies. Perhaps it would be a good ecumenically also. Imagine a non-Catholic having a free drink and thinking, well his beer tastes good, he can't be all bad. No after-taste, they don't offer it in a "lite" version, perhaps there is something to the Catholic faith.

Include a little papal trivia, Matthew 16:18 and definitions of infallible on the bottles would be a tasty treat also. But just remember Jesus handed Peter the keys to the Kingdom, not the keys to the car after Peter after the wedding feast a Cana.

Nigerians fall for Nigerian email scam?

"In a cruel twist of fate, two Nigerian widows are genuinely fighting it out for their husband's (yes, the same husband) $55M fortune. The BBC has the full scoop. Who wants to bet we're abot to see a whole lot of 419's from 'The Wife of the Late Timothy Olufemi Akanni?'"
According to the article, the guy did really die in a plane crash, really did have lots of money and a widow or two that probably wishes someone would have responded to her email asking for a US BANK ACCOUNT that she would transfer the money into.  (MINUS A SMALL HANDLING FEE OF COURSE.) 

The BBC's Sola Odunfa in Lagos says the forfeited assets include 23 bank accounts in various names; shares in leading Nigerian banks; houses and land in the most sought-after parts of Lagos and Abuja; schools in Abuja and a variety of motor vehicles.

Our correspondent says Mr Akanni, who was a Pentecostal Church pastor in Abuja, was eulogised at his death for being a patriotic and selfless Nigerian.

Oh yeah and despite the two wives and ill-gotten gains, this guy was A CHRISTIAN OF HIGHEST ESTEEM.
PS. the all caps are included just don't recognize the lowercase letters.  Either that or these widows are left with old computers that are stuck in cap locks all the time.

Friday, September 08, 2006

no we won't forget

There is hope for the future in all this.  The last words of so many people express hope, love and forgiveness.  And as Peggy Noonan's article is titled, how many Just Called to Say I Love You.
tip to Mark Shea

media staggers through smoke filled burning building

It seems media has staggered its way through smoke filled burning building in order to chastise a firefighter for endangering us with the second-hand smoke of his cigarette. 
Sorry for the long winded analogy, but you will see the it more clearly in a moment.  It seems the House of Representatives has banned the slaughter of horses for meat.  Of course this vital bill has attracted all sorts of "animal- rights activists... and celebrities, including Willie Nelson and Bo Derek". 
Forgetting for a moment that these are animals which God has given us dominion over, the emotional pleas were overflowing.
“It is one of the most inhumane, brutal, shady practices going on in the U.S. today,” said Rep. John Sweeney, R-N.Y., a sponsor of the ban.
Quick, can anyone think of anything worse than the slaughter of innocent... horses?
Sweeney argued that the slaughter of horses is different from the slaughter of cattle and chickens because horses, such as Mr. Ed, Secretariat and Silver, are American icons.
I am about to get all choked up.  I can't stand the thought of them feeding Mr. Ed to the lions at the zoo.
“They’re as close to human as any animal you can get,” said Rep. John Spratt, D-S.C.
Umm... Not quite, but we will give you a point for effort.  Reaching that far must take quite an effort. And then there is this whopper by Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn.,
“The way a society treats its animals, particularly horses, speaks to the core values and morals of its citizens.”
Oh yeah, those horse killers are a BIG problem in our society.  Have you seen how it affects the kids?  They go around shooting horses at random now.  They have been raised to think that horses don't have any value once they are no longer productive.
How could anyone object to showing pictures how these "not-quite-human" beings are treated.  How heartless, we need to see the truth here.
Critics of the practice made an emotional appeal, showing photographs of horses with bloodied and lacerated faces, the result of being crammed into trailers destined for slaughterhouses.
Of course if anyone were to try explaining the partial birth abortion in front of Congress, that would be considered excessive political rhetoric.  That would be playing to the extremes and stirring up emotions.  We couldn't have that happen.

Maybe this is what Dan Brown was looking for

 Sep. 08 ( - Italian police are seeking help from the American FBI in an effort to decode secret message which, they believe, Mafia boss Bernardo Provenzano may have hidden in a family Bible.
Were these the codes that Dan Brown was looking for?  It wasn't da Vinci, but the guy was from Italy, close enough for "hysterical" fact in Brown's book.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

buying the lie

Now that Bush has admitted to having secret CIA prisons, after denying it for so long, why should we trust him when he says
"This program has helped us to take potential mass murderers off the streets before they have a chance to kill," the president said.
the questioning of these detainees has provided critical intelligence information about terrorist activities that has enabled officials to prevent attacks, including with airplanes, within the United States. Other attacks thwarted through intelligence gathered in the program include a planned strike with an explosives-laden water tanker on U.S. Marines at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti, an attack with car and motorcycle bombs on the U.S. consulate in Karachi, and a plot to fly passenger planes into London's Heathrow Airport or Canary Wharf, Bush said.
It all sounds good, but were a bit dumb if we buy his good honest Texan act now.
Although I love the sour grapes comment from Sen Kerry,
"Today's shift in policy follows the sad legacy of five years during which this administration abused our Constitution, violated our laws and most importantly failed to make America safe."
As if Clinton didn't before Bush and Kerry wouldn't have done worse in place of Bush. But perhaps the conservatives who have long pointed out Bush's flaws will cease to be vilified as anti-American.

by the sword

The death of the Croc Hunter, Steve Irwin, got me to thinking about life and death last night as I mowed the lawn.  [aside] this isn't a judgment on anyone or their choice of enjoyment, just my thoughts [/aside]
There is much about his death that makes one thing of the old adage, "Those who live by the sword, die by the sword."  And with all his close calls and dangerous situations, the one that caused his death was relatively safe as the Manta Rays are supposedly not hostile to human interaction, but when walking the tightrope day after day, one small slip can be the last.
But then I thought of how "by the sword" can mean other things.  I would offer that a majority of people die in their sleep.  Why?  Because we spend a good portion of our time in life sleeping.  A man that spends his time in nature will have a higher probability of dying there.  It isn't necessarily a prophetic curse to will die as one lives, but also a call to what is important in life.  Irwin's calling was to work with animals and he gave himself to this task.  And eventually gave himself ultimately doing his work.  So there is a blessing in giving himself completely to your calling. 
My thoughts also turned to my cousin's brother-in-law who died in an avalanche while skiing outside the boundaries a few years back.  As it is a big weakness of mine, my initial reaction was one of judgment.  Poor sap, he shouldn't have been there.   But almost as a rebuke to my thoughts, my cousin emailed friends and family more of the details.  This man I had judged harshly wasn't to blame.  He was an experienced skier, was an instructor and also served as a ski patrol at times, so his job took him beyond the boundaries regularly.  And he knew the dangers and took the precautions.  It was someone else being careless above him that caused the avalanche.  He valiantly tried to outrace the tide of snow and almost succeeded.
But again, live by the sword, die by the sword.  In his desire for thrill, he pushed the limits and eventually paid the ultimate price.  His fatal mistake was not his own lack of skill, but that of another.
So the moral of the whole mess we live in?  We don't know when we will be called home.  As my dad would tell me when I was driving and I would protest that I had the right of way.  He would tell me, "I might be in the right, but I could end up dead right."  So I guess we must remember to stay close to the Sacraments so we can live our life without fear of dying. 

more St. Joseph

Zenit's liturgy corner answers the question of adding "St. Joseph" to the Eucharistic prayers.  It is an easy answer really.  When you see the word "adding" coupled with "prayer" in the context of Mass, the answer is gonna be NO.   
I read in some comments recently by a seemingly holy priest that he was in the habit of adding "the husband of Mary" as the title for St. Joseph in the Eucharistic Prayer I (where St. Joseph is part of the Canon.)  He was describing how this was the proper title for him and therefore added that as a teaching phrase.  This would be all fine and good except in Mass where the Mass isn't about teaching or making a point.  NO ONE may add or subtract from the Mass even the well intentioned.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Not a good weekend

For Chris at CallingRomeHome.  His "experience" at Mass this Sunday didn't sound to uplifting or reverent.    But at least he has an option that sounds decent.  In hindsight, I probably would have chosen the other parish in town had I looked into both.  But then again, at that time in my life I wouldn't have cared even if I could have spotted a hijacked Mass. 
And God puts us where we need to be.  Hopefully I have helped my parish a fraction as much as it has helped me.

I guess he was just prophetic

Whenever several of my good Catholic friends would get together, one friend used to joke about starting up an online confessional. or something like that was his standing joke.  He even mentioned it jokingly to our priest who of course told him that it wouldn't be valid. (and since has the backing of bishops on this.)
Too bad he didn't see the ecumenical cross-over possibility, as now evangelical Christians are flocking to an online confession website
It is interesting to see how our separated brethren so often re-discover the faith.  Although they are missing the sacramental aspect, they are seeking to fill that need for truth. 
Fr. Christopher Layden, said that he’s not surprised by people’s desire to confess their sins, but said that what the Catholic Church offers is even more profound. “There is something cathartic about revealing ourselves to another in individual, especially when that individual is acting in the person of Christ.  We need to hear that we are forgiven, and Christ offers that in a very real and personal way.”
And that is a profound difference.  I had the recent experience to be once again thankful I am Catholic.  Our family recently took the Saturday afternoon to head to confession.  I love watching my two oldest children come out with the weight off their shoulders.  But for me, it was an unemotional experience.  I didn't get the normal elation of being forgiven.  But since I can trust in the teaching of Christ passed on through his Church and I hear the words of absolution, my dry lack of emotion is just that.  Lack of emotion, not lack of forgiveness.  I can know it even if I don't feel it.