Monday, October 30, 2006

On our men's retreat

I attended our annual men's retreat this last weekend.  As usual, the male bonding, Sacrament of Confession and Mass each day were well worth the price.  The evening sessions of "Theology on Tap" are also a regular favorite. 
The priest that was the retreat master was an absolute rock.  Imagine being at a Mass where there was nothing to offend the senses.  (well exclude the band that was doing the music, but that wasn't Father's fault.)  We had the long Eucharistic prayers with Cosmos and Damien, and Felicity and Perpetua.  And no Extraordinary Ministers! 
Father had a small chalice (later I asked about the chalice and it was from Jerusalem, blessed in the Upper Room and was a traditional Jewish Blessing Cup such as would have been used at a Passover meal.)  No Cup being passed around, and Father was the only Minister of the Eucharist.
But that led to an issue that surprised and disturbed me.  The committee (including me) gathered at one table during breakfast on Saturday.  One issue popped up, the rest of the committee had taken a "straw poll" and decided that they wanted the Cup at Mass.  (I wasn't in on that discussion because I was in a different cabin Friday night.)  One committee member went so far as to call his priest and have him bring two chalices down that afternoon when he came for confessions.  Father asked that we perhaps wait until Sunday for High Mass and it would make that more special.  But several members of the committee were adamant and Father backed down.  I threw my opinion in for Father at that point, but the "fuller sign" guys had their way.
I have already expressed my disgust of this disrespect to one member of the committee, but I can see some storms brewing in the future meetings.

doing the dishes

Gerald at the Closed Cafeteria reports on a memo in the LA Archdiocese regarding the end of the indult for purification of the sacred vessels after Communion.  An interesting excerpt,
in effect since 2002 which allows extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion to help cleanse cups and plates when there are not enough priests or deacons to do so.
At least the use the proper title for the Extraordinary Ministers, but cups and plates?  Pleeease!  I can almost hear the announcement at the beginning of Mass
Welcome to our fraternal banquet, after sharing our meal please recline and wait for our staff to wash the dishes.  Mr. Smith.... Mrs. Jones, you all have KP duty after brunch is served.
The Curt Jester has the excerpt from Redemtionis Sacrumentum and also argues that the abuse of EMHC is part of the problem. 

Friday, October 27, 2006

First Eucharist before confession, year 2

Another year, another battle. This year, I have another child of age to receive First Holy Communion. But our parish still sees fit to wait until the fourth grade to instruct the kids on Confession. So if one desires to follow the Church norms and Canon Law, they are on their own to instruct the child the Sacrament of Penance.
And a good friend referred me to this site called Bonfire of the Vanities by Fr. Fox. In his item on Confession, he explains the value of teaching children about confession.
* Part of the value of bringing children to confession is so they become accustomed to examining their lives, and to recognizing sin as sin, and having discernment about it. The idea that young children don't have sin to confess is absurd. Oh, I am not saying they have mortal sin, only God can read souls. But if you think second- and third-graders don't have sin, what planet do you live on? I was talking to a 3rd-grade teacher last night, about today, and she said, "some of them said, 'but we did that last year!'" I said, if they have any problems coming up with sins to confess, I bet you can help them! She laughed, as did the others at the table; Sister said, "that's what my mother always said to me!"

Another part of it, of course, is so they learn the form. Some will say, the form doesn't matter. And, on one level, that's right. I can help anyone go to confession. But learning the form, and getting it down pat, is valuable because then the penitent can focus energy on the really important stuff: the self-examination. A lot of people use, "I don't remember how" as an excuse not to go, and months become years. Also, a certain rigor of practice contributes to a certain rigor of thought; i.e., it helps people organize their thinking, and that helps their spiritual growth.

* I told the kids, with the sacraments, we think about what God gives us; but did you notice how, in this sacrament, its important that we give Jesus something? And did you notice what we're supposed to give him? Our sins! And, incredible as it seems, he actually wants them! Because he knows how they weigh us down, and he wants to get rid of them for us. I also told them the confessional is "the garbage dump"--we get rid of our spiritual garbage. So I led them in a simple examination of conscience, and I said, we feel sorry for sin, we feel bad about it; that's appropriate. But in a moment, when we let Jesus take all our garbage, we will feel great!
Case in point on the form. My wife often resisted going to confession, and finding excuses was easy. But a huge hurdle was cleared when just this last year, she finally learned the proper form! From our daughter no less, who has a good Catholic curriculum using the Baltimore Catechism. Knowing the correct form and not having to fret about the details removed one more stumbling block.
How many Catholics have not gone to confession for years because of the poor catechesis?

Hell is for sale

Saw on slashdot that the domain, is for sale.
Now someone who buys "has the opportunity to redefine what hell means, at least on the Internet," says Monte Cahn, Moniker chief executive.
Sorry, the catechists have already beat them to the punch on redefining hell.  In geek speak, any "Faith Formation" document referring to would come up with a 404 Error, Hell not found.

Not the enemy

Somewhere I saw that this Sunday is Priest Appreciation day.  Whether I am correct or not, give your priest a hug, a handshake or whatever and tell him "Thank you!"
I have been listening to Fr. Corapi speak on the Sacraments on the drive to work in the morning.  Yesterday he said something that struck me.  He said that all priests are sinners and have faults, but the support of the laity is needed.  I often have mentioned we should pray for our priests, but Fr. Corapi asked that we "pray, do penance and sacrifice" for them. 

It used to be known as a sin to speak ill of a priest.  And Fr. Corapi explained how easy it is for us to kick them when they are down, stomp on them and rail against them.  But when they are down, they need our prayers the most.  I guess the point is this.  Just my wife and I have a saying when the argument turns personal and destructive rather than loving, "I am not the enemy."  This reminds us both that we are to help the other get to heaven.  Without the other, we are lost.   We must remember that when we get down on a priest for his failures.  Not that their sins are excusable, but that without them we are lost.  Without our priests, we have no Eucharist.
So as the old adage goes, "pray for your enemies."  And I will add, "and don't forget your allies either."

On EMs purifying vessels

A good friend alerted me last night that the Rome has responded to the USCCB on the status of the indult that expired this year. 
 WASHINGTON (CNS) -- At the direction of Pope Benedict XVI, extraordinary ministers of holy Communion will no longer be permitted to assist in the purification of the sacred vessels at Masses in the United States.

In an Oct. 23 letter, Bishop William S. Skylstad, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, asked his fellow bishops to inform all pastors of the change, which was prompted by a letter from Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.

The U.S. bishops had asked the Vatican to extend an indult -- or church permission -- in effect since 2002 allowing extraordinary ministers of holy Communion to help cleanse the Communion cups and plates when there were not enough priests or deacons to do so.

Bishop Skylstad, who heads the Diocese of Spokane, Wash., said Cardinal Arinze asked Pope Benedict about the matter during a June 9 audience, "and received a response in the negative."
I had wondered about this recently because I remembered the indult granted back when the norms were published.
 Noting that the General Instruction of the Roman Missal "directs that the sacred vessels are to be purified by the priest, the deacon or an instituted acolyte," the cardinal said in his Oct. 12 letter that "it does not seem feasible, therefore, for the congregation to grant the requested indult from this directive in the general law of the Latin Church."

Thursday, October 26, 2006

whatever the fraction

One fifth, one fourth, whatever the fraction, that is alot of children that will never grace this world with a smile or a hug.

Abortion is 'America's holocaust' - Opinion

Well done Emily.

Via Parousian, via Mark Shea

truth in advertising?

When it comes to politics, not a chance.  I usually ignore most "celebrities" who pimp themselves for a political cause.  But Michael J. Fox continues his campaign of spreading lies to promote the immoral ESCR.

The ad blasts Mark Green for opposing embryonic stem cell research even though he has a $25 million dollar plan to have the state promote adult stem cells.

"His latest ad, which is part of a national smear campaign by Democrats, flat out lies about my record on stem cell research," Green said in a statement. "However, using a celebrity to further Jim Doyle's false attacks does not make them any more true."

Barbara Lyons, director of Wisconsin Right to Life, said the ads were misleading and preying on voters' emotions.

"Everyone deeply sympathizes with Fox who has Parkinson's disease. What we don't respect is the 'hype' and false hope he conveys about embryonic stem cell research," she said.

"There is no cure or even help for humans from this controversial research," said Lyons. "No human being has ever received an embryonic stem cell because they are too dangerous and tend to produce tumors."

Somehow I doubt we will ever hear that last line from the major media outlets.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

evil begets evil

Kathy Shaidle weighs in on Michael J. Fox pimping for the Embryonic stem cell side.

I'm sorry a movie star has a disease, but that doesn't give him the right to sacrifice others in a quest for a cure. What if there was a chance that experimenting on, say, Parkinson's patients might lead to a cure of something else...? (Paging Dr. Mengele...)

Suffering is part of life, and can even be redemptive. Quixotic campaigns to wipe out every trace of suffering inevitably increase such suffering exponentially, and invent new hybrids in the process. Because such quests are a) founded on faulty principles and/or b) satanic.
Evil begets evil. Suffering will never be wiped out by causing more suffering and sin. Sin is the cause in the first place.

freedom isn't free

Freedom isn't free, and I contend that Freedom is a Christian concept.
John Tierney is quoted at and further elucidates this in Iraq.
The problem is that they have so many social obligations more important to them than national unity. Iraqis bravely went to the polls and waved their purple fingers, but they voted along sectarian lines. Appeals to their religion trumped appeals to the national interest. And as the beleaguered police in Amara saw last week, religion gets trumped by the most important obligation of all: the clan.

The deadly battle in Amara wasn’t between Sunnis and Shiites, but between two Shiite clans that have feuded for generations. After one clan’s militia destroyed police stations and took over half the city, the Iraqi Army did not ride to the rescue. Authorities regained control only after the clan leaders negotiated a truce.
These allegiances explain why Iraqis don’t want to give up their local militias. They know it’s unrealistic to expect protection from a national force of soldiers or police officers from other clans, other regions, other religions. When the Iraqi Army ordered reinforcements to go help Americans keep peace in Baghdad, several Iraqi battalions deserted rather than risk their lives defending strangers.
Via Kathy Shaidle

the dissection is complete

Part two of the debate between Richard Dawkins and David Quinn. This section is a complete dissection of the atheist's standpoint. Mr. Quinn pins him down on free will and his denial that any evils perpetrated by any atheist doesn't reflect at all on atheism.
Mr. Dawkins is just left in flat denial.
Here is Part one for those that missed it.

still ceasing?

Kevin at New Advent brings up the sad fact that the Medjugorje "seers" have still refused obedience to the local bishop.
Kevin also asks about the book Understanding Medjugorje:  Heavenly Visions or Religious Illusion? by Donal Foley. 
I am reading the book currently and am about half done.
What struck me was the strange and corrupted history of the place.  Sacrifices to false gods, mass killings and many other twisted things took place on that mountain before the apparitions started.
Many point to the "prayer and fasting" as a good fruit and therefore proves the apparitions are from God.
But remember the devil will tell you a thousand truths to get you to believe one lie.  (don't remember who made that statement, but I find it true here.) 
If the evil one can get you into the mortal sin of obstinate disobedience, the graces of prayer and fasting don't have much effect.
The other main point is the lack of humility and obedience of the "seers" compared to other approved Marian apparitions.  They have profited from the continued promotion of the apparitions.  There are many factors that make the apparitions doubtful as authentic, but the big ones are the financial motivation, pride and disobedience.  All the prayer and fasting in the world will not overcome disobedience to the Church. It doesn't matter if one falls off either the right side or the left side of the boat, you are still falling of the boat.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

not "of the people"

I always find humor in reading quotes that are much deeper and more telling than the quotee meant them to be.
Take this one from the pro-abortion side in the South Dakota Abortion Ban campaign.  Jan Nicolay of the Campaign for Healthy [extinct] Families laments the difficulty of the pro-abortion voter drive.

Nicolay says her group will have a harder time because it had not been well organized in the state before.

"We have to identify our voters because we didn't have that voter base to start with," Nicolay said. "For us, it's crucial."[emphasis added]

Perhaps because their pro-death attitude is largely unwelcome there?

Bands that unite

It is always a pleasure to see people unite for a good cause and make a difference.  I don't agree with everything the American Family Association lobbies for and on occasion they have called for energy to be spent on something I thought was trivial.  But I commend their diligence and effort. 
And they have scored a victory by getting NBC to cancel Madonna's scene mocking crucifixion of Christ.  After 3/4 of a million emails, NBC finally decided to remove the scene.

Crazy like a ... believer?

An interesting debate between Richard Dawkins, an atheist and author, and a David Quinn, a columnist on the Tubridy show.

Tubridy: And would it be fair to say you equate God with, say, the imaginary friend, the bogeyman, or the fairies at the end of the garden?

Dawkins: Well, I think he is just as probable to exist, yes. And I do discuss all those things, especially the imaginary friend, which I think is an interesting psychological phenomenon in childhood. And that may possibly have something to do with the appeal of religion.

Tubridy: So take us through that a little bit, about the imaginary friend factor.

Dawkins: Many young children have an imaginary friend. Christopher Robin had Binker; a little girl who wrote to me had a little purple man. The girl with the little purple man actually saw him, she seemed to hallucinate him, and he appeared with a little tinkling bell, and he was very, very real to her, although in a sense she knew he wasn't real.

I suspect that something like that is going on with people who claim to have heard God, or seen God, or hear the voice of God.
Yeah, hundreds of children each year die simply because the believe in their imaginary friend and refuse to deny their belief. Uh-huh. Them silly Christians just havin' fun playin' Make Believe.

Show me all the Fairy Martyrs.

Dawkins: An awful lot of people think they take the Bible literally, but that can only be because they've never read it, because if they ever read it, they couldn't possibly take it literally.

But I do think people are a bit confused about where they get their morality from. A lot of people think they get their morality from the Bible because they can find a few good verses -- parts of the Ten Commandments are OK, parts of the Sermon on the Mount are OK -- so they think they get their morality from the Bible. But actually of course nobody gets their morality from the Bible; we get it from somewhere else.

And to the extent that we can find good bits from the Bible, we cherry-pick them, we pick and choose them, we choose the good verses from the Bible and we reject the bad.

Whatever criterion we use to choose the good verses and throw out the bad, that criterion is available to us anyway, whether we're religious or not. Why bother to pick verses, why not just go straight for the morality?
Ahem, ever heard of the Catholic Church? No cherry pickin allowed here. Some verses may be difficult to understand, but all of the Bible is true. We must be careful to not approach the Bible looking to prove a point, that usually results in verses being taken out of context, or cherry picking.

I like Quinn's response
Tubridy: Back to the first question, have you any evidence[of God's existence] for me?

Quinn: Well I would say the existence of matter itself, I would say the existence of morality, myself and Richard Dawkins clearly have different understandings of the origins of morality, I would say free will.

If you're an atheist, logically speaking, you cannot believe in objective morality, you cannot believe in free will.

These are two things that the vast majority of humankind implicitly believe in. We believe for example that if a person carries out a bad action, we can call that person bad because we believe that they are freely choosing those actions. An atheist believes we are controlled completely by our genes and make no free actions at all.

Just a report

But, Papal document on Eucharist reported "imminent"

Monday, October 23, 2006

all stinky, just like us

And going through the Standing on My Head blog, I love Dwight's article about sinners in the Church.  Especially his use of Chesterton,
As usual, G.K.Chesterton summed it up. He said he knew the Catholic Church was for him because when he left his umbrella at the back of the Methodist Church it was still there, but when he left it at the back of the Catholic Church it was stolen."
Yes, even after the Resurrection, the Apostle's still thought Jesus was going to make everything perfect

Correctly defined

Dwight at Standing on My Head hits it on the head with his aptly named Creative Conservative
A conservative doesn't just look back with affection and forward with fear. He looks look back with criticism and foward with hope. He wants to learn what was imperfect about the past so he doesn't plunge into a more imperfect future.

A conservative looks to the past not because everything in the past was good, but because he wants to see what good things from the past have stood the test of time.
tip to the Jester

Friday, October 20, 2006

pray, hope, and don't hold your breath

From the USCCB site
The U.S. bishops will vote to establish norms for hymns at Mass during their annual November meeting in Baltimore, November 13-16.
By the fact that they have to VOTE on this rather shows we are already in trouble.  Obedience doesn't manifest itself in popular vote.  But it is nice to know that they are aware there is a problem.
Specific norms state that
1. The approval of liturgical songs is reserved to the Diocesan Bishop in whose diocese an individual song is published. He is supported in his work by this directory and by the USCCB Secretariat on the Liturgy.[emphasis added]
So who are these bishops?  The OCP publishing company is in Oregon.  So if we pray really hard for those bishops, perhaps we can focus our efforts into decent music.
There is hope though.

According to the proposed directory, theological adequacy may be judged in two ways:

  • Individual songs should be consonant with Catholic teaching and free from doctrinal error

  • The repertoire of liturgical songs in any given place should reflect a balanced approach to Catholic theological elements.
The directory warns of doctrinal compromise. For example, it notes:
  • Liturgical songs must never be permitted to make statements about the faith which are untrue

  • The doctrine of the Trinity should never be compromised through the consistent replacement of masculine pronominal references to the three Divine persons

  • Any emphasis on the work of the members of the Church should always be balanced by an appreciation of the doctrine of grace and our complete dependence of the grace of God to accomplish anything

  • The elimination of archaic language should never alter the meaning and essential theological structure of a venerable liturgical song.
tip to Gerald

Thursday, October 19, 2006

fair-ly obvious

Stopped by the local halloween costume outlet to get some ideas for my wife and I.  She won't have time to make our costumes, as she is already working on costumes for the kids.  I didn't see much I liked, too expensive and too trashy.  I wonder why all the picture on the package have well endowed female models.  I was unaware that Halloween had been co-opted by the porn industry also.
But I saw a more disturbing trend.  There were priest and nun costumes, I thought that might be a good idea since we are going to a dance with with a bunch of friends from our parish.  But then I saw the "Humorous Costumes" with a pregnant nun saying "Thank you father."  And a priest in the fake state of arousal.
Nice touch these "Humorous" people have.  I however didn't see any costumes of Mohammed.  With or without the bomb-shaped turban.  What, that is too insensitive?  Yes what a fair and balanced world we live in.

Know your history

3. “More children from the fit, less from the unfit."

4. “...apply a stern and rigid policy of sterilization and segregation to that grade of population whose progeny is already tainted, or whose inheritance is such that objectionable traits may be transmitted to offspring.”

5. "Colored people are like human weeds and are to be exterminated."

6. “Covertly invest into non-White areas, invest in ghetto abortion clinics. Help to raise money for free abortions, in primarily non-White areas. Perhaps abortion clinic syndicates throughout North America, that primarily operate in non-White areas and receive tax support, should be promoted.”

via the Truth About Margret Sanger

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

the death of death

Pope Benedict XVI is such a wonderful scholar and theologian.  I have often wondered and speculated about the role of Judas.  Was it part of the plan, or did Jesus just allow for Satan to get too greedy and become the instigator to the death of death.  Jesus conquered death, but in the Wisdom of God, Satan sorta pulled the trigger on himself.
The Gospels, however, explain Judas' betrayal as "going beyond the historical reasons," and attributing it to "the personal responsibility of Judas who miserably submitted to a temptation of the Evil One. ... Jesus treated him like a friend but, in His invitations to follow Him, (he) did not force people's will or protect them from the temptations of Satan, respecting human freedom. Truly, there are many ways in which the human heart can be perverted. The only way to obviate them,” Benedict concluded, is “to be in full communion with Jesus."
and the obvious reference to anyone questioning about the false shepherds and false Christians that we all are at times.
“Here," said Pope Benedict, "is a final lesson: if even in the Church there is no lack of unworthy and false Christians, it is up to each of us to counterbalance the evil they commit with our own clear witness of Jesus Christ."

negative zero

Published in the October issue of the International Journal of Cancer, the new study claims abortions don't increase the breast cancer risk but acknowledges that carrying a pregnancy to term reduces it.
/ in my best snooty professor tone

So you see here, what we have is that everyone has a high risk of breast cancer. But certain factors can reduce that risk. Like being male for instance. And another reducing factor here is not having an abo...I mean carrying your the bab... I mean the pregnancy to full term.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Holy Firewall

As a follow-up on the Firewall named Michael that defends the Vatican website, I have been thinking about what type of computer would be worthy of the name. Perhaps a brand name, Prince of the Heavenly Hosts Firewall, or simply Archangel Firewall.

Since it is named after an archangel, it must be a blade server. Many angels in scripture have use a fiery blade to repel attacks or protect paradise. I thought about Adobe's Fiery software, but having worked "with" it, I am more inclined to rank it along the lines of attempting to quench the eternal fires.

It must be a UNIX server also. Consider that Jesus related something about his operating system preference once. "there are those that are UNIX from birth (HP or Sun?), those that are made that way (LINUX?) and those that are UNIX for the Kingdom of God."

Of course the Archangel Firewall is far superior to the legacy product used by past pagan empires, such as the fire-Walls of Jericho. That defense was shown to be vulnerable to the 7 day distributed denial of service to the pagan gods. In fact it crumbled completely without even seeing a brute force attack.

Now would it be a hardware appliance or some software solution. I wager hardware as there is nothing soft about the business end of an Archangel's blade. Just as Lucifer. And software firewalls are usually full of holes and the only holy describe this firewall ends in 'y'.

The defenses are not infinite, but the support contract is endless. No need for constant upgrades here, you get the top of the line from day one. Or even prior to day one of the human time.

Recent tests have shown this product to be extremely successful in repelling remotely distributed denial of service attacks from Win95 laptops in Afghanistan on 28.8 dial-up connections.

Communion under both species

It definitely enlightened me regarding where it is permissible.  There is also a follow up post on How we got here.
What does that mean for me?  Am I ready to fight that battle in our parish?  Heck no!  I have already mentioned that once, some time ago.  Didn't go over well.  But it is something else to pray and fast about as if I didn't have enough already.

tackling dummy

Sometimes being a parent of multiple children is similar to playing football.  I enjoy the attempted gang tackle when I get home, but at other times it can be more like football practice. 
I remember a drill we called "machine gun" where one person lined up as a defender and the rest of the players each got a turn to try and block him.  The defender had to hit the blocker and "shuck" him off, or throw him to the side.  As he did that, another guy was on the coming at him full force.  The good ones occasionally got to take on most of the team before wearing out.  The lesser ones would do their best before the coach had mercy.
That is the way it is with several kids close together.  Just as soon as I get one lined out (spiritually, emotionally, behaviorally...) and move him to the side, another one is coming full force with a bad attitude.

Monday, October 16, 2006

black-turban hackers

The Curt Jester has a new prayer for the IT employees of the Vatican.  Seems as tho the firewall, aptly named after the archangel, Michael, has been repelling a concerted effort by the muslim attempts to deface the Vatican website. 
Perhaps there is a market for the holy firewall, where the only hole is spelled with a "y".
Wonder if Michael is a BLADE server?


If this move from the USCCB doesn't inspire the lay faithful, nothing will.  And by inspiring, I mean inspire us to pray for more budget cuts on the bureaucracy.
The USCCB goes after web sites which make use of USCCB documents, threatening legal action for copyright violations. This policy is in marked contrast to that of the Vatican, which enforces copyrights only to prevent others from releasing advance copies of documents before their official promulgation dates.
And according to the Curt Jester, the USCCB is going after sites that use the NAB Bible for podcasts.  And to think some of our tithe money goes to support this organization acting like a hyper-secretive CEO just before his company goes bankrupt.  Perhaps that is more true than we know.
note:  The spell check keeps trying to change the USCCB acronym into the work suck.  Huh, Microsoft may have been on to something.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

It is all in the name

The movie title "Facing the Giants" supposedly refers to the football team it portrays.  But with a budget of $100,000, the Giants might also be Hollywood.  Considering it is 13th in the box office while missing some of the metropolitan markets, I would say goliath had better watch out. 


Kudos to Lennart Nilsson the photographer and to the New York Daily News for publishing it. 
Simply amazing.
thanks to the Curt Jester

not quite

Not exactly the "good call" that Miller says it is, but I find it humorous anyway. Kinda speaks to the lack of judgement that men use in marriage sometimes. From the Crowhill blog


Saw this at New Advent also. How telling it is.

don't tell me how rough the sea is

Just sail the ship.
That comes from old Viking lore I believe.  And how true it is.  The ship must stay on course, avoiding the obstacles on both the extreme right and the far left.
Kevin at New Advent give a current example of what C.S. Lewis meant by "the Devil sends errors into the world in pairs".  The intentional insulting of Islam by the "Danish People's Party" is such as this.  Our strong dislike of one error may tempt us to fall into the trap of the other error.  Our contempt of Islam may tempt us to enjoy someone tweaking their noses so we can watch them make fools of themselves.
On the other side, the anti-Christian secularists tend to side with the Muslims whenever they attack Christianity.
Common foes can make strange bedfellows indeed.
Don't despair, though.  C.S. Lewis also reminds us of the solution:

Do not let us be fooled. We have to keep our eyes on the goal and go straight through between both errors.

In other words, orthodoxy.  Straight through between both errors, by the grace of Christ and the guidance of His Church.  If we can master that, and learn how to announce the Gospel to each side, we'll be well equipped to handle the current Danish situation, and to serve God in the coming Dramatic Century that it foreshadows.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

just a thought

Since everyone now knows that love is just a feeling, why haven't the marriage vows changed from "I do" to "I feel like it"?  Or perhaps, "Sure, that sounds good for now".
Perhaps vows mean a bit more than that.  As Fr. Corapi was talking this morning, love is a decision.  It isn't always easy.  But loving our spouse or our neighbor is just a subset of loving the Lord.  We encounter times that we may not "feel" like it, but love sticks it out.  Saying Yes when the feelings say I can't, won't or don't want to.
Love is an act of the will, not an emotion.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

what about vocations

Greg at the Crowhill blog takes exception with the defense of celibacy in the latest Crisis magazine.  He is right to criticize an article if the article has shortcomings.  I especially don't like defending the Truth by laying out half truths or ignoring the inconvenient facts.  That type of defense does more damage than good and usually raises doubts about everything else in the dialogue, no matter how solid.
But in many discussions about celibacy and married priests, there is often the forgotten element of vocation.  With the arguments focusing on the practical, the improbable and the impossible, the calling or vocation is ignored.  My wife has asked me a variation of the typical wife question, "If I die, would you...?"  But instead of asking if I would marry again, she asked if I would become a priest if all my kids were grown.  
It is a legitimate question.  And unlike the "marry again" variety, answering it is unlikely to get a husband into hot water.  But my answer was no.  Why?  Because I don't believe I was called to be a priest.  If I was called to be a priest, hopefully I would have heard that call and not chosen the wrong vocation by marrying my beloved wife.  I get the feeling that our world has forgotten the meaning of vocation or a calling.  It is all about what WE want to do with our lives.  We ask children, "What do YOU want to be when you grow up?"  Or if we are daring, "Don't YOU want to be a priest?"  
Notice the central theme.  YOU.  Somewhere in my journey of fatherhood I learned this bit of wisdom from a Catholic apologist.  Sorry I don't remember who, but it stuck with me.  We need to ask our children, "What is God calling you to be?"  Most will answer, "I don't know."  and I tell them that they need to pray about it.  Pray that they hear God's call.  That is one call we don't want to miss.  One of my favorite teachers in high school, Sister Francis Marie, encouraged us to pray three Hail Marys ever day for our future spouse.  I did that and am eternally thankful for that guidance.  Even though my feet strayed from the path, somehow I met my future wife through less than ideal circumstances.  And as St. Paul instructs, our salvation is found through our spouse. 
So how can we ignore that calling and merely argue for the short term gain of "solving the priest shortage".  Kinda reminds me of Abraham and his impatience with the Lord's promise of descendants as numerous as the stars.  Sarah played on his doubts and he went with plan B, having the son Ishmael through Haggi.  Of course that line of thought takes me on another tangent so I will end here. 
We need to teach our children to pray about and discern their vocations.  And we need to trust God that he will call the priests that He needs for His Church.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Wages of sin

I was struck by something last night while watching the Hitchcock movie, "I Confess".  Very good movie, positive portrayal of priests and the Catholic faith.  The plot is about a priest who gets accused and tried for a murder.  The twist is that the priest knows who did it because the killer revealed it to him in the confessional.
The priest bore the ordeal well, but at one point he was obviously struggling with the weight of it all.  It occurred to me that it was in the person of Christ that this priest suffered. 
How many good priests carry the weight of others sins?  Just as Christ knew all the sins of the world in his agony in the garden, the priests participate in this suffering in a small and local way.  How often does a priest know the wages of sin that he hasn't committed.  The sin that drags down a community and its people.  But he just has to bear them in silence as Christ knew that those he suffered for would continue to deny him.
Pray for your priest.  God allows his grace to come into our lives through others being Christ in our midst.

Friday, October 06, 2006

This should chase the rest away

Not sure on the demographics of the Anglican church, but if it is similar to the Catholic Church in the U.S. there probably isn't many men left to chase away.  But still the same, these guidelines should finish off the survivors.

The Daily Mail quotes Graham James, the Anglican Bishop of Norwich, who said that abuse victims “can be locked into a belief that they deserve the punishment that they receive and they link that with the theology that they hear in church where Christ is victim.”

“Maybe even that they think their suffering has redemptive quality to it which justifies it in some way,” James said.

In a section called, “God as Abuser?” the report claims, “…The divine–human relationship may be conceived in terms of domination and submission at the expense of grace, mercy and patient love.”

Definitely don't need anyone acting Christ-like in our world.  Nope, that submission to the will of the Father (oops, shouldn't use that term) is likely to make your life a living hell.  Of course the alternative to following the will of the Father is Eternal Damnation, but they probably don't believe in that hocus-pocus anymore either.
I love the closer though,
Simon Calvert of the evangelical Christian Institute think tank, said, “They appear to suggest seriously that we should ditch many centuries of Judaeo-Christian teaching because of some half-baked feminist theory.”

white man values

We are accustomed to the lunacy of the anti-life zealots, but this little bit takes the cake.  The pro-aborts have been in a tizzy since South Dakota banned most abortions statewide.  They thought they had their loophole by propping up a woman that has worked in the abortion industry as president of the Ogalala Sioux tribe.

She attempted to tried to get an abortion mill on their reservation and circumvent the state ban. 

''I got really angry about a bunch of white guys in the state Legislature making decisions about my body, again,'' Fire Thunder said of the state legislature's approving an abortion ban.

Too bad she didn't understand her own culture.  The council impeached her and unanimously banned abortions on the reservation.  It seems that Ms. Cecilia Fire Thunder was the one with the white man values.

Philomine Lakota, a language and culture teacher, told Indian Country Today that she knows of no word in the Lakota tribe's language for an abortion because the values of the Native Americans don't include taking the life of a baby before birth.

As most in the pro-life movement know, abortion and contraception are tools of racism and eugenics.  And un-committed and predatory males are more than happy to have a woman live with the horror of killing a child if it means he doesn't have to be responsible.

California Homosexual Organization Admits HIV/AIDS is "Gay Disease"

I seem to recall this crowd vehemently condemning anyone who would dare make such a suggestion.

tip to Relapsed Catholic


Your hair shirt called

I was listening to Fr. Corapi on the radio this morning.  The subject was the lesson of Fatima and it boiled down to what the Angel told the children.  Pray and do penance. 
That was the sum of it.  We are to believe for those that don't believe, hope for those that have no hope and love for those that don't love.  And humbly accept whatever sufferings the Lord may send our way.  And we don't need to go out of our way to find penances.  Fr. Corapi talked about how some saints would wear hair shirts as a form of penance.  He said we don't need to do that, after all our hair shirt may be sitting next to us.  We may be married to our hair shirt.  Obviously said to get a laugh, but then he made his point.  
Forget the hair shirt, just live in peace in your family. 
Another profound point of the angel at Fatima.  Pray and do penance for all those that offend the Heart of Jesus.  This is how you will bring peace to your country.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

looks like they could use some more cuts at USCCB

Our pews are emptying and people don’t know their faith, and the USCCB is spending time and money lobbying McDonald’s. We can’t even get laws passed to prevent the dissolution of the institution of marriage, we can’t get a cloning ban passed in Congress, and thousands of children are still being aborted every day.
That and using the coat-hanger argument to oppose the border wall, I wonder if we wouldn't be better off without this bureaucracy.

the end for Malaria and West Nile?

Is this the end for Malaria and the West Nile virus?  According to John Stossel at Townhall, the ban on DDT is over.  If that is the case, the effective pesticide can once again be used to eradicate mosquito-born diseases like malaria.  Good news indeed.

Signs of a good parish

Anyone finding St. James Parish of Ogden Utah via their website won't be left wondering where they stand. The site could use a bit of techie touch, but two photos of Pope Benedict up front show that they are definitely Catholic.

And their liturgy seems in good hands also, evident by this sign. Tip to Chris at CallingRomeHome

you are not gonna hear that from the media

Conspicuously absent from all the reporting on the Rep. Foley scandal is the fact that he is a homosexual by his own admission.  The first I heard about it was in this article on the Catholic News Agency site.  Obviously the mainstream media is ignoring this angle and use the mistaken pedophile classification. 
“Foley’s actions were that of homosexual predator, not a pedophile,” Jones said.

Jones referred to studies that show homosexual abuse of young men often leads the abused to take on an abusive homosexual identity themselves.  “This creates a cycle of violence and disordered behavior that creates future generations of abusers and predators,” he added.
I wonder at the shortsightedness of the media.  One would have thought they would have preferred to sweep the whole situation under the rug.  But perhaps they would rather he die in friendly fire just to make sure the Republicans receive the shame.  Or did they assume (correctly?) that they could keep this revelation out of the coverage?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

She asked

My 8 year old was taking the standardized tests today in school. The Braille teacher was supervising his math portion and when he came across some advanced questions, he surprised her a bit by answering one without any hesitation.

The question was, which is the acute angle. He got the answer right. Since they hadn't covered that yet, she asked why how he knew.

He answered that that was just the one he thought was cute.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

about time someone picks up the mantle

It seems that I may have a new favorite senator.  Senator James Inhofe, chairman of the Environment and Public Works committee, gave a great speech to the Senate last week.
It is quite long, but well worth the effort to read.  Afterall, he put quite some effort to give it.  He documents his facts well and holds nothing back.  A few excerpts
The “hockey stick” was completely and thoroughly broken once and for all in 2006. Several years ago, two Canadian researchers tore apart the statistical foundation for the hockey stick. In 2006, both the National Academy of Sciences and an independent researcher further refuted the foundation of the “hockey stick.”
The National Academy of Sciences report reaffirmed the existence of the Medieval Warm Period from about 900 AD to 1300 AD and the Little Ice Age from about 1500 to 1850. Both of these periods occurred long before the invention of the SUV or human industrial activity could have possibly impacted the Earth’s climate. In fact, scientists believe the Earth was warmer than today during the Medieval Warm Period, when the Vikings grew crops in Greenland.
In fact, after years of hearing about the computer generated scary scenarios about the future of our planet, I now believe that the greatest climate threat we face may be coming from alarmist computer models.
This threat is originating from the software installed on the hard drives of the publicity seeking climate modelers.
If the alarmists truly believe that man-made greenhouse gas emissions are dooming the planet, then they must face up to the fact that symbolism does not solve a supposed climate crisis.
The alarmists freely concede that the Kyoto Protocol, even if fully ratified and complied with, would not have any meaningful impact on global temperatures. And keep in mind that Kyoto is not even close to being complied with by many of the nations that ratified it, including 13 of the EU-15 nations that are not going to meet their emission reduction promises.
Many of the nations that ratified Kyoto are now realizing what I have been saying all along: The Kyoto Protocol is a lot of economic pain for no climate gain.
Many in the media dwell on any industry support given to so-called climate skeptics, but the same media completely fail to note Hansen’s huge grant from the left-wing Heinz Foundation.
The foundation’s money originated from the Heinz family ketchup fortune. So it appears that the media makes a distinction between oil money and ketchup money.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Where is this story in the media

Even with the extensive coverage that the Lebanese side got this summer during the conflict, I never heard a bit about the suffering of this group.
Christians, mostly Maronite Catholics, now make up only 40% of the population of Lebanon.  The middle-eastern country once boasted a majority Christian population, but is now being increasingly populated by Muslims, including Shiites who are represented, in large part by, militant group Hezbollah.
So send some prayers to our brethren who are truly suffering.  There is much to hope for and the leadership sounds strong.
Archbishop Chucrallah-Nabil El-Hage of Tyre said, “The most important thing is to stay in this land” despite other daily problems, such as unemployment, that Christians face amidst a Muslim majority.