Monday, December 31, 2007

The elephant has left the living room

Excellent post by Bear-i-tone over at Spirit's Sword on arguing elephants with blind men Obviously he has spent some time in academia and knows his topic. Often it is difficult to have a discussion/debate in today's society. Not only are few interested in debating a point versus blindly trying to convince everyone of their own intellectual superiority. But as Bear points out, most ignore any facts that make the debate difficult. It has to be either-or, black or white, good or evil.
Were deconstruction simply a lie we would have an easier time combating it. But it has its points, and those who hold these points run into a problem like the men in the legend: they see only deconstruction. Further, they also have a problem that is quite rife in modern academia: the disregarded middle. To put it simply, it is easiest and clearest to argue black or white on any issue, rather than grey. It is easiest to argue all or nothing, rather than some. As soon as the question of "some" arrives, it is almost immediately followed by "how much?" and "Where do we draw the line?" These questions are difficult to answer, difficult to uphold and nearly impossible to defend. So the modern academic very often pretends these questions does not exist. Therefore, only the extreme is reality. Anything in between is discarded. The problem is, the extreme is often absurd. You can find yourself arguing, with all seriousness, that an elephant is a large plant. Even more absurd, you may find yourself wondering how you can argue against someone who believes, in all seriousness, that an elephant is a large plant.
And yes, they are so confused they will actually believe their own twisted rational.

And if you think I am kidding, just visit a few sites dedicated to either fringe. It won't take long to find the lost skill of debate missing.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Broad shoulders

Don't know as I have broad shoulders, but it looks as if I am gonna need them. According to the Zenit article, How Dads Can Help Raise Strong Daughters my job just got double tough. As I have one daughter about to enter the teen years, and now a new one to keep me on my toes..
Research shows that a father's influence builds up self-esteem, helps his daughter to avoid sex, drugs, alcohol, and stay in college. What it is that a father offers is that he carries an authority in his daughter's eyes. This authority is not ascribed to the mother, not that she is not important, but a father's influence is different.

When a girl is little, her dad is her primary male love relationship. When he gives her something as a man, she learns lessons about men, setting a template in those early years on her heart about what to expect, to think, to feel, and know about men from there on out, affecting even her relationship to God, because Christ is a man.
That last line is enough to make even the best father tremble. Not just Christ being a man, but God being the Father and whom all fathers are in the image of. Like I said, Lord help me in my task. Hopefully I will do better with my second daughter than I did with my first. Not that she is a failure, but I look back at my decisions and failings as a new father with sadness. How much more I could have done. Hopefully I didn't screw up my first child with my stubborn and unserving ways.

The section that struck me most in this excellent article has me looking deeper into all my children.
Real joy and happiness comes when kids understand that they have a purpose in life, and a mission to fulfill. The only way to get them to understand this is to look beyond self and doing good for others.

This is the source of real transformation, but this can't happen without humility, the opposite of which is pride. When parents instill humility, a kid understands that he or she is important, and lovable, but not separate from others in their humanity. If a kid really wants to feel good about himself, humility brings people closer, whereas pride separates.

A kid raised without humility will always strive to be better than others, smarter than others, but can only bring a frustrated "happiness" because no one can always be the best at everything. True happiness for kids, then, is to give them a purpose to fulfill through working, striving, giving to and for others.

I can see that lack of humility in at least one of my boys too. Wonder where they got THAT trait? Anyone that rights a book on "how to raise children" and seems to have it all figured out either is 1) deceived or 2) done raising children. The rest of us must keep learning and adjusting. Our fallen nature and the supreme task we face dictate that much.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Different perspectives

My brother in law was helping me hang the speakers for the surround sound of our entertainment system. (nothing special or new, just finally figuring out it does sound better with the rear speakers behind)

As we were getting ready for supper and the kids were at a fever pitch, he wondered why I needed speakers. "It's always surround sound hear." Yes indeed. Dolby 5.1 too.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Unless we are talking Nebraska here. Just loved this quote of noteJ by Tim Jones on Tim is discussing the ugly piece of "art" selected for the new Italian Lectionary. As far a beauty being in the eye of the beholder, Tim says that only goes so far.
This is why people drive as fast as they can through Nebraska to get to Yellowstone Park, and not the other way around. Sorry, Nebraska. I give thanks for you every time I open a bag of tortilla chips, but there is just not much to look at there.

Aligning the stars

Take this quiz to see which candidates are closely aligned with your views.

Hillary and John Edwards were at the bottom of my list. Not surprisingly, Ron Paul was at the top. via Leon at the CUF.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Some heady topics

Not your typical soundbite media that most candidates provide.


Encore, Encore!

I updated the link so it would be direct to her picture. Sorry for the confusion

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Entre' Acte

For those who know the down and distance and are keeping score via the blog, queue the Overture, this blog will now be on Entre' Acte.

So it wasn't festivus first?

A marvelous example of what I really enjoy about the Internet. Mark Shea corrects a common misconception about Christmas and the pagan festival. A misconception I used recently held (as recent as the few minutes it took to read the article.)
most people, took it for granted the winter solstice and, in particular, the Roman Feast of the Birth of the Unconquered Sun were simply pagan celebrations that hung around into Christian times. In fact, when I set out to write this book I still thought this. But I discovered the reality is far more complicated and interesting. Indeed, it turns out this widely assumed "fact" that "everybody knows" is probably another sample of pseudo-knowledge. For according to William Tighe, a church history specialist at Pennsylvania's Muhlenberg College, "the pagan festival of the 'Birth of the Unconquered Sun' instituted by the Roman Emperor Aurelian on 25 December 274, was almost certainly an attempt to create a pagan alternative to a date that was already of some significance to Roman Christians. Thus the 'pagan origins of Christmas' is a myth without historical substance."
The crucial thing is not, "Did the early Christians get the date of Christmas right?" It is, rather, "What mattered to them as they determined the date of Christmas?" And when you look at that, you again immediately realize that what dominates their minds is not Diana, Isis, sun worship, or anything else in the pagan religious world. What interests them is, from our modern multicultural perspective, stunningly insular. Their debates are consumed, not by longing for goddess worship, or pagan mythology, or a desire to import Isis and Diana into the Faith, but the exact details of the New Testament record of Jesus' death, alloyed with a Jewish—-not pagan—-theory about when Jewish—-not pagan—-prophets die. They don't care a bit how pagan priests ordered their worship in the Temple of Diana at Ephesus. They care intensely about how Levitical priests ordered their worship in the Temple of Solomon at Jerusalem. These Christians are completely riveted on Scripture and details of Jewish and Christian history and tradition. They don't give a hoot what sun worshipers, Osiris devotees, or Isis fans might think.
read the whole thing, and thank the Curt Jester for the link.

From those who have been there

A quote worth noting. A reader of Mark Shea shares his thought on the evils of torture.
But there's even worse than that. Given the right sort of emergency accompanied by the right sort of hysteria *anyone* can find himself in that cellar. I know a country where it happened. Proven loyalty and patriotism saved no one, if it was their fate to end up in that cellar. Your barber or the guy next door could put you in that cellar. And you could put him there. They don't call it a Terror for nothing.

You have no idea what can happen. God bless the law.
All it takes is one regime change, one act of terror and suddenly anyone can be a suspected "terrorist". Just because you aren't doing anything wrong, don't take it for granted that someone wouldn't consider you an enemy of the state. There are many out there that think Christians are dangerous. Just as the martyrs back in Rome.

Interesting note on a song I love

One of my favorite Christmas songs, 'Do You Hear What I Hear?': The Story Behind the Song A bit different inspiration than I had imagined, but it is what it is, an inspiring song with a profound message.
Their masterpiece, however, is “Do You Hear What I Hear?” Many people mistakenly assume this Christmas classic has been around for years and that it is of European origin. But it was written in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis as a powerful plea for peace by a man who had experienced the horrors of war.
via the Curt Jester

Monday, December 17, 2007

Fortunate Perfection

I've been tagged with The Lucky Seven Meme by Bear at The Spirit's Sword. The rules are as follow:

1) Link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.
2) Share 7 facts about yourself that you think most people don't know.
3) Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs

There's a fourth rule which everyone seems to ignore, so I will too.

1) I am currently enjoying that the "We happy few, we band of brothers" speech from the remake of Shakespeare's Henry V is absolutely annoying my wife and daughter. It is a guy's type of speech and I almost have it memorized. Punishment in the form of recited Shakespeare is marvelous.

2) I really like fall. If only for the football.

3) I took both Calculus I and Calculus II twice in college. Even though I was a math wiz in Jr High and early high school.

4) I was into head banging hard rock before I had kids. I still enjoy the heavy beat and bass guitar, but now I cringe when I hear the words.

5) Most of my best ideas for blogging are lost into the wild blue yonder of my mind. How many, who knows, but I get ideas while driving quite often that never come back.

6) I am rather anti-social.

7) I really despise these "personal memes". I don't share too much about myself online. Hence I am not going to tag anyone. If you read this and want to share, go ahead.

Look at me and my newfound intellectual prowess

Just wanted to highlight a comment by Matthew over at CMR. He does a lightweight fisking of a Rabbi who Says Cancel Christmas. I say lightweight not in reference to Matthew's writing skills, but because the Rabbi doesn't offer any thought provoking material.

The quote of note:
Doesn't this reek of a guy who just read a book and now wants to run around proving to everyone how smart he is. Advice for Rabbi David: Shhhh. You're not proving how smart you are.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Tyranny in the name of tolerance.

That has to be the best line of the year. Tim Jones hits it head on as he notes how the non-Christians in Britain aren't offended by Christmas.
Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and everyone else of genuine good will will not be offended at my public displays of faith for the same reason that I won't be offended by theirs... because we are not jerks. People who are offended at the mere sight of perfectly ordinary religious symbols or behaviors are the ones who have a problem with intolerance and bigotry. They are jerks, they are rude and they are the ones trying hardest to shove their beliefs down the throats of others. This is just becoming more and more evident as these bitter, carping, politically correct foot soldiers endeavor to push any display of religious faith further and further out of public view. The intention and unavoidable result of this kind of thinking is to eventually confine all religious behavior strictly to the private thoughts of the individual. Ironically, it can only end in forced education (or "de-programming"), book-burning and the like. Tyranny in the name of "tolerance".[emphasis added]

I am sure Margret Sanger would approve

Of the wonderful job of parenting these two are doing. Their daughter is a liberated adult entertainment worker (alleged) but the parents didn't approve of her being pregnant, especially since the father was black. So they tie her up at gunpoint and tried to force her to get an abortion.

Sad story all around, but by the looks of the photo at least the beautiful baby lived.

Good form

Been seeing this error on the status bar of Mozilla Firefox lately. Not sure what the error is, but I rest easy knowing what ever the error, it is at least well formed.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Big misconception

Dawn Eden is on patrol and she has quite a number of Planned Parenthood posters.  And even more here from around the world.  Some fit in quite well with Margaret Sanger's vision of babies as "human weeds"

My favorite line is the subtitle

Because we love children

Sure, and I donate to Planned Parenthood regularly.

Man, woman and all of us

When you're trying to focus your attention, there's nothing worse than silly, needless distractions. Today at Mass, during the recitation of the Creed I could hear, amidst the unison of worshippers in attendance the dissenting voice of a lone woman who decided to replace every masculine pronoun in the Creed that referred to God with the word, "God." So, for instance, instead of "Through Him all things were made." She would say, "Through God all things were made." And instead of "And with the Father and the Son He is worshiped and glorified", in reference to the Holy Spirit, she said, "And with the Father and the Son God is worshipped and glorified". And so on. It was so distracting.[emphasis added]

Source article

I know I can relate.   It is difficult enough to focus while minding the children and keeping the mind from wandering without someone trying to make a point by being different.

Where does this end? It's all so absurd. But as bad as it's been in the past, my experience today raised things to a new level of inanity. I've never heard such a stubborn and methodic insistence to surgically remove every masculine pronoun in a prayer or profession as I encountered today with this woman. I couldn't help glancing over my shoulder to get a look at the offender, and in the process probably providing her with the attention she sought. I expected to see a 1960's type (you know what I mean), but much to my surprise, there sat an elderly woman, with a cute handkerchief wrapped neatly over her white hair. How on earth, I wondered, did this nice old lady become so smitten with the insanity that is the political correctness movement in America?

I am not so surprised.  I have noticed the elderly are especially susceptible to the political correctness run amok.  Why, I don't know.  Seems to fly in the face of the wisdom of the elderly.  Could be the "Wisdom Works" seminars that target the elderly and find it easy to confuse them.  Sort of how the scam artist target them also.

Sad when one considers the elderly as they near the end of their life.  As my wife has said, at that time of life, one needs the unvarnished truth.  Not some happy-happy-joy-joy mumbo jumbo.  One closing quote that sums it up.

The trend today, to include a "he or she", or "humankind", is not only patronizing but it's deeply distracting, even from a literary point of view because it is superfluous.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sour grapes

Lookes like the former Archbishop Marini isn't happy he got demoted. Archbishop's book tells of battles over control of liturgical reform
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In a new book, a Vatican archbishop has chronicled the birth pangs of the liturgical reform generated by the Second Vatican Council and warned of a Roman Curia tendency to return to a "preconciliar mindset."

The book, "A Challenging Reform," was written by Archbishop Piero Marini, who recently ended a 20-year tenure as papal liturgist. His Vatican career began in 1965 in the office charged with implementing liturgical renewal.
Perhaps he should take note that it isn't all about him. Perhaps the Mass is greater than all of us.

I think Bear said it best: Man who was once important but is now irrelevant is unhappy with the change.

Google down? *update*

I was going to be the first to post that Google seems to be down today, but hard to post that on my blogspot address without Google.

I thought my network was having issues when I saw my google mail icon went dark. Never occurred that Google may be down, but no, no blogspot, no gmail.

If you need me, I will be on the street corner wearing a poster board. How else should I communicate the end of the world is here.


Seems somebody at noticed that I noticed. Funny thing, the referring URL for their visit was blocked. How about that. A business built on referring links blocks their own.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Indeed this is a reference well worth the bookmark. It is called Biblia Clerus, and put on by the Congregation for the Clergy of the Holy See.
This program offers Sacred Scripture, its interpretation in light of Sacred Tradition and the teachings of the Magisterium, with appropriate theological commentary and exegesis.
The downloadable version allows you to connect Sacred Scripture to the complete works of many Doctors of the Church, Councils, Encyclicals, teachings of the Popes, Catechisms, as well as commentaries from secular literature, etc.
Clearly I am going to be spending some time there. You can even download the entire content. I linked to the English version, but there are five other languages available as well.

via Leon at CUF.

Monday, December 10, 2007


100 movies for 100 years

Dom tagged me with this meme. *Update* Here is the Link to the top 100 movies. My apologies.

1. Your favorite five movies that are on the list. (tough selections. I really had to reach for a top 5.

1. Ben-Hur

2. Raiders of the Lost Ark

3. The Manchurian Candidate

4. Schindler's List

5. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

2. Five movies on the list you didn’t like at all.

1. Apocalypse Now

2. Platoon (was okay, but not worth the hype. Hamburger Hill was much better)

3. The Sound of Music (just because it is the musical of musicals. And I don't like musicals.)

4. Lawrence of Arabia (okay, but terribly long.

5. Fargo (how it made the list, I don't know.)

3. Five movies on the list you haven’t seen but want to.

1. Star Wars

2. The Godfather

3. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

4. The Bridge on the River Kwai

5. The list was too under-whelming to find 5.

4. Five movies on the list you haven’t seen and have no interest in seeing.

1. Pulp Fiction

2. Dances with Wolves

3. Rebel Without a Cause

4. Many of the rest of the list. Very uninspiring list to me.

5. Your favorite five movies that aren’t on the list. (in no particular order. This list could go on much longer than 5)

1. Saints and Soldiers.

2. Bella (simply profound)

3. The Passion of The Christ (and a couple other Gibson movies, Braveheart, the Patriot)

4. I Confess (and many other Hitchcock movies.)

5. Fiddler on the Roof (how could that not be on their list)

Of course the Lord of The Rings series.

Other 5 stars from my Netflix list, The Pianist, Molokai: Fr. Damien, The Great Raid, Pursuit of Happyness. I love the older movies that are available on netflix.

Consider yourself tagged:

Bear and Puff

Ironic Catholic (if she can find time during the end of the term)

Anyone else wanting in on the fun.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Priestly service

Some of us over at Catholic Dads have recently been discussing kids at Mass. They are often a distraction, but taking them is part of their training and they belong there as Catholics.

But a thought occurred to me today at Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. As fathers, we have a priestly role for our domestic church, our family. And what would one think if the priest decided to sit down and watch the consecration because he wanted to "not be distracted" by being in the service of the people?

As a father we are consecrating our children to God, and by becoming a father we have given up the right to spend our Sunday's at Mass simply for ourselves. We become servants to our children in the way that the priest is the servant of his spiritual children. So my time at Mass is spent training and building up my children rather than immersed deeply in private prayer.

Vaticanmystic white

That is the new color for the new popemobiledonated by Mercedes. That must be close to the Holy Spirit white, but with a tint dark due to fallen human nature.

Friday, December 07, 2007

That's why

Your slip is showing

Oops, looks like Mitt's slip is showing. Perhaps this is a new revelation? (sorry bad Mormon joke).

Seriously, I thought this was his profound breakthrough to being pro-life? But now Mitt Romney Backs Some Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Opposes Funding
"So what kind of embryos -- embryos that are created for procreation and then would be discarded? Are those the ones that you feel are perfectly fine from which to cull cells for stem cell research?" Couric asked.

"Yes," Romney responded, "those embryos that are referred to commonly as surplus embryos from in-vitro fertilization."

Romney said he would first like to see human embryos adopted by families before put up for their destruction. However, he explained how he would have no problem with parents who want to allow those human embryos -- unique human beings -- to be destroyed for research.

"But if a parent decides they would want to donate one of those embryos for purposes of research, in my view, that's acceptable," he said. "It should not be made against the law."
Always easy to rationalize a stance when you don't stand for anything. Sorry Mitt, either it is immoral to destroy life or it is not. Not surprising to see "Flip" Romney changing positions again.

Pulling the plug

Michael Shaivo has disbanded his PAC he formed to "oust pro-life lawmakers". It looks like it was on extraordinary means of life support. Perhaps he can explain to the FEC that he expected it to hang on without support for a little longer.
In an indication that activity at TerriPAC began to fade in the days leading up to Michael's announcement he was disbanding it, the PAC has only taken in a little over $1,100 in donations since July.

Schiavo says on the group's web site that the PAC limited his ability to speak out about his viewpoint on Terri's death and that he doesn't like asking for money for the political group to continue.

"After nearly three years, it’s clear that I can remain engaged in the political process and social debate and in fact do more – speak out more often and tackle related issues –without the legal constraints of a PAC," he explained.

"Traveling around the country, making political donations and keeping up with the required legal paperwork takes funds," he said. "But to keep the process moving we have to keep asking for money."

Schiavo claims the PAC was a success at ousting more than a dozen pro-life members of Congress even though it only contributed to a handful of candidates because of poor funding.
Okay, enough of the euphemisms . But did anyone really think Shiavo would remain committed for very long? And it isn't like there was a need for another anti-pro-life PAC.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Some answers

To the questions about Romney and the Mormon faith. Jimmy Akin is Not Impressed. There are still too many unanswered questions. Romney claims he is a faithful Mormon but won't take marching orders from the Mormon leaders. That is a problem.
Further, the Mormon prophet has a history of weighing in on social and political issues, such as whether polygamy should be allowed or disallowed and whether black people should have the same rights or not as white people, and the prophets have gone different ways at different times.

How can Romney intelligibly claim that values but not leaders will influence his decisions when the values flow from the leaders via new divine revelation?[emphasis added]
Jimmy also points out the biggest missing answer to the question no one seems to ask.
To bend a phrase from Bill Clinton, "It's the Polytheism, Stupid."

Something conspicuously absent from almost all press reporting on the controversy over Romney's religion is the fact that Mormons are polytheists. That is, they believe in multiple gods. They also believe that men can become gods (and women can become goddesses).

This is a radically different vision of God and man than that taught by the Christian faith. It cuts out and replaces the central doctrine of Christianity--its understanding of God and man--and replaces it with an alien one. This means that Mormons are simply not Christians.

Yet they claim to be Christian.
That is my biggest issue with having a Mormon in a position of leadership. I don't trust them. They claim to be something they are not, and that destroys any trust I would have in them (not that Slick Mitt has engendered any trust so far). They want to be known as Christians so they can fit in, so they don't stick out like some radical cult. So far the makeover campaign has worked. Most people take them on their word that they are Christians. They will say they believe in the Trinity, but they won't reveal the different meaning they have for "trinity". They will say Jesus is God, but won't tell you they all can become gods.

I would trust a Muslim leader more than I would trust a Mormon. At least I know the Muslim will speak what he believes. No double talk or manipulating words to make it sound like we believe in the same God. In fact I would say Muslims are worshiping the one true God, albeit in a limited and often twisted sense, where the Mormons are not worshiping God.

Christmas songs we will never hear

At least we can hope not. Here is Paul's list at Alive and Young that started it. My additions below:

- It's beginning to look alot like winter festival season.
- Oh Holiday Family Tree.
- Santa Claus is really ticked and not coming to town.
- The True Meaning of Christmas (by Philip Pullman).
- Santa Claus is coming to (the tent) town.
- All I Want for Christmas is Whirled Peas (by my children)
- Grandma got run over by a John Deere

Also, Bulletin Boards Not Seen
- Keeping the 'X' in x-mas.

Prince Caspian movie

Here is the trailer for the next movie of the Chronicles of Narnia Prince Caspian, via CMR

Can't wait until May 16th, 2008

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

word games

Funny how the "tolerant left" is so intolerant of anyone who doesn't agree with them. Those that want us to tolerate any sort of repulsive behavior won't allow anyone to speak against them because "someone may be offended". Irony Alert: Catholic Disallowed to Speak About Intolerance Toward Catholics
The Royal Commonwealth Society barred a well-known Roman Catholic commentator from attacking intolerance towards Christians at its annual carol service.

Cristina Odone, a writer and editor on religion, was to be one of the "celebrity readers" at a service in St Martin in the Fields church in central London next month, which is attended by diplomats and politicians.

She intended to speak about how secularists are intolerant of those of faith. But she was told that those words were inappropriate and then told she couldn't speak.

"I am incandescent," said Odone after being told that the words she had written were "not appropriate because the congregation would include people of little or no faith who presumably would be upset. Even more insultingly, I was asked instead to read a passage from Bertrand Russell, a militant atheist."

She developed the theme of secular intolerance towards believers of all faiths, from the British Airways worker suspended for wearing a cross to the Muslim schoolgirl banned from wearing the veil.

What do you say

Once someone gets a glimpse of Ron Paul and starts to look into his positions on the issues, some will inevitably come up with a few facts, padded by many misconceptions and conclude,
In short, Paul is extreme.
He also receives support from such organizations as the (an offshoot of another white supremacist group), the John Birch Society, and conspiracy theorists who believe 9/11 was an inside job and that the evil CFR and New World Order is out to get us, whom he also panders to on a regular basis.
Find a nice big kook bin and throw everyone in there. If anyone would actually look at the John Birch Society rather than run away scared, they would see they don't fit in that group. I haven't heard of the Council of Conservative Citizens, and the 9/11 Truthers are over the top with the conspiracy stuff.

But just because some kooks support a guy doesn't mean he panders to that type of thinking. Up here in Idaho we have some racist white supremacists. One makes lots of noise about Ron Paul. But that only serves to detract from his message of freedom. Just because a few facts intersect with some far out ideologies doesn't make those facts wrong. Same with a man campaigning on a certain agenda. Did anyone rail against Gore because the eco-terrorist group Earth First supported him?

One of my favorite answers of the recent YouTube debate was when Dr. Paul was asked directly whether he supported the "conspiracy theories". He responded with the facts. (and I am paraphrasing him here) There is a European Union where there used to be sovereign nations. There is a push to form the American Union, NAFTA and the mega-highway legislation bear that out. It isn't a "conspiracy theory", there are different ideologies. One believes in the formation of the American Union and would strip us of our sovereignty. That isn't a theory, it is fact. The Texas and Oklahoma legislature has passed laws fighting the mega-highway. Dr. Paul said he is of a different ideology that those trying to remove our sovereignty.

Ron Paul effectively removed the scare quotes from around the "theory" and presented facts. And that exposed a breed of politics that he opposes.

He isn't an isolationist, he has made that clear many times. He wants to approach countries as a free nation interested in doing business and being friends, not pushing the U.N.'s nation building policies. In the article, Mr. Dart refers to Ron Paul wanting
to withdraw from the U.N. and let Sudan work out the Darfur genocide itself.
And we are supposed to find that scary because the U.N. has done so much to stop the Darfur genocide? And the U.N. was so instrumental in saving the millions of lives in Rwanda and other African genocides?

Mr. Dart could stand to do a little homework here and not just regurgitate all the propaganda he could dig up against Dr. Paul. Listen to the man and decide, or listen to the media sound bites and scare quotes. One has an agenda, one doesn't. Figure it out or don't, I am sure one of the other clowns will offer some warm fuzzies to sooth that fear.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Ron Paul on the issues

On commenter asked what Ron Paul's Stance was on cloning. Here is Ron Paul on the issues
He did vote NO on the Human Cloning Prohibition Act, but as with many of his votes, one needs to understand a bit deeper who he is and how he votes.

I would direct you to this answer from one of the debates. He doesn't look at the government as the savior from all issues. If government didn't fund ESCR, would it even exist?
Q: Would you expand federal funding of embryonic stem cell research?

A: Programs like this are not authorized under the Constitution. The trouble with issues like this is, in Washington we either prohibit it or subsidize it. And the market should deal with it, and the states should deal with it.
Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC May 3, 2007
Also see this article by Dr. Paul on the Pro-life cause.
Pro-lifers should be fiercely loyal to this system of federalism, because the very same Constitution that created the federal system also asserts the inalienable right to life. In this way, our constitutional system closely links federalism to the fundamental moral rights to life, liberty, and property. For our Founders it was no exaggeration to say federalism is the means by which life, as well as liberty and property, are protected in this nation. This is why the recent direction of the pro-life cause is so disturbing.

Pro-life forces have worked for the passage of bills that disregard the federal system, such as the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, the federal cloning ban, and the Child Custody Protection Act. Each of these bills rested on specious constitutional grounds and undermined the federalism our Founders recognized and intended as the greatest protection of our most precious rights.
This is why I don't support the Federal Amendments for marriage and against abortion. They don't belong at the federal level. Taking it to the federal level got us in this mess (see Roe v. Wade).

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Searching for answers, coming up with laws

Dom at Bettnet has a couple of related posts recently well worth noting,  Can't Legislate Common Sense  and Every problem, a crisis.  His response to the Boston city council trying to legislate against every stupid act that ends in tragedy got me to thinking.  Specifically,

The only solution to this tragedy and others like it does not come written on a ticket or a summons. It is simple common sense and that’s not something you can legislate.

Unfortunately, people don’t want to hear that. They want to be told that the Columbine and Virginia Tech killers could have been stopped with more gun control laws. They want to be told that wildfires and earthquakes and plane crashes could be prevented with more regulation and red tape. What they don’t want to be told is that sometimes bad things happen in a fallen world and sometimes those bad things happen because a nice kid with a life full of opportunity does something stupid

Every time I hear the excuse or complaint that God wouldn't allow that or why is there evil in the world, I consider the same thing.  

What is so hard to understand about personal responsibility?

I do stupid thing, I get lazy, trying to do my seatbelt after I started onto the street and wham, a cop drives by.  Suddenly I am looking at $140 fine.  I could rant and rave about the draconian laws in this goofy state, the cops paying more attention to the money making seatbelt infraction rather than dangerous drivers and blame anybody but me.  But even if they are true, where did the responsibility lie and who failed?  I did, I knew the law (disagreed with it, but I knew it) and didn't comply.

Same with evil.  Same with tragedy.  Did I do anything to prevent it?  The article doesn't talk about the death or quote anybody involved.  I assume the parties involved are horrified and deeply affected.  But how many times do we hear someone close to the situation ask why nobody did anything?  Why is this allowed?  Well, the solution begins with number 1.  The person asking the question. 

It ties right into his second post

This is an entirely predictable reaction. Politicians—on both sides of the aisle—have trained us to believe that every problem in society is a crisis and every crisis requires a drastic solution and those drastic solutions can only be devised through arcane legislation passed by those very politicians (who helpfully include earmarked spending for government contractors in their districts) who are so necessary to fixing anything and so brave to stand up and call a molehill, a mountain.

Seatbelts, car-seats for kids into their teens, "Caution, this package of peanuts may contain nuts" ....  We have all seen them, ludicrous laws aimed to protect every idiot in the ever growing nanny state.  Well, for every idiotic law, there will be an idiot willing to ignore it or even flaunt it.  I did.  When I was younger I couldn't stand the political push behind the seatbelt propaganda.  As a grade-schooler, I recognized it for what it was, manipulating statistics to change behavior.  I rebelled.  I wouldn't wear my seatbelt just because I didn't want to be told how to live.  I realize that seatbelts do save lives, but they aren't divine intervention.

So what is it that "people don't want to hear" or what is it about "the fallen world" that scares people into running to the government for help? 

I would wager that many of them don't have faith.  I could be wrong, but the worry mongers strike me as people that encounter death and have no answers.  Suddenly the veil is pulled back, a glimpse of mortality reveals the meaninglessness of a materialistic life.  Quickly they recover and re-cover that glimpse.  Then "rationally" they move on to look for a solution to tragedy. 

Perhaps sometimes tragedy is just that.  Tragedy. 

Mourn, learn and don't repeat.  But as band-aids don't fix mortal wounds, more laws aren't going to fix every tragedy.

Where have I been

And why haven't haven't I watched this podcast before.

Cardinal Arinze rocks. He keeps it interesting with his humor, but there is no waffle in this five course meal. He answers questions on Adoration during retreats, if liturgical dance is acceptable in some cultures (hint, not in ours) and what is acceptable during Mass (it has to do with ACTS).

ACTS is Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving and Supplication. Watch the video and tell me you aren't impressed.

via Alive and Young

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Narnia and the Seven Heavens

Not sure I get the whole of what Michael Ward is writing about here. And not sure I buy all of that I do understand. But as a lover of Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and the deeper meanings behind the story, this is some interesting thoughts on Narnia's Secret.

To me, Narnia was a perfect series for the un-cluttered mind of a child. It was easy to recognize the Christianity behind the writings, but unconcerned about the "theology" of it, the inconsistencies didn't bother me. A child could "get" the moral without being clubbed over the head with it.

As an adult, I have greater appreciation for the "theology" of Tolkien and the years of effort he put into making sure it was correct. The Christianity in it isn't so easy to decipher, until one steps back and thinks about it. On the first read, I missed many of the connections or "knots" in the rope as Tolkien described them. But as I read about it, listened to podcasts on the subject and then discuss the books with my daughter, they become apparent.

It is interesting to look at the Narnia series as Ward does here, looking deeper and making the connections that weren't obvious before. Seems like great literary works offer that deeper meaning every time they are reviewed and studied, like the greatest literary work of all time, the Bible. But one must be careful not to have the theory formed before the facts are presented (to borrow from Sherlock Holmes) because that can lead to facts being twisted to fit the theory.

Not saying that Ward does that with here, but just saying.

Monday, November 26, 2007

On politic, Ron Paul and Huckabee

On my recent post on Huckabee, commenter Lee Strong levels the extreme liberalism comment at my post. He makes some good points that in many cases, Huckabee sounds very conservative.

I am wary of Huckabee because he talks a good game, catering to the religious voters. But how does he stand on other "small government" items. According to Thomas Woods Jr. in his
Open Letter to the Catholic Community in Behalf of Ron Paul, not so well. via CfRP
On education and home schooling, Ron Paul is the clear winner. Fred Thompson, John McCain, and Duncan Hunter all voted for the execrable No Child Left Behind Act, and Governors Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney have both come out in favor of it. Ron Paul – as did the Republican Party itself not so long ago – opposes any federal role in education, which is the responsibility of parents and local communities.

In other words, Ron Paul believes in a little something called subsidiarity, which happens to be a central principle of Catholic social thought. Subsidiarity holds that all social functions should be carried out by the most local unit possible, as opposed to the dehumanizing alternative whereby distant bureaucratic structures are routinely and unthinkingly entrusted with more and more responsibilities for human well-being.
And if you look at it from a Catholic perspective, Ron Paul scores a 99 on the Evaluation of 2008 Presidential Candidates Against US Bishops' Criteria. Huckabee scores a 69 while Mitt Romney had to clarify his positions to get up to a 10. Giuliani? At the bottom with negative 28.

But back to Huckabee and Ron Paul, the only two candidates I would consider. Huckabee follows rank with the current Republican agenda of "No Child Left Behind (or untaxed)". So he seems to be a panderer. Thrown out there to keep the religious voters happily involved. He has done surprisingly well, so he sticks around. But he isn't going to turn this country around. Bush had that same quiet "humility" and faith about him before he was elected.

I have said it before and will again. When you bind yourself too closely with a party, be it Republican or Democrat, you will be disappointed. And then what options are left? Sinking with the ship or leaping of into the big wide ocean, not knowing which way to swim.

High notes

Not a musician here, but this kid hits some serious notes. wow.

Via The Spirit's Sword

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Enough said

About Huckabee. Sounds good on many issues, but he is dead wrong on this one. Mike Huckabee Says Fred Thompson Has Wrong Approach to Abortion
Washington, DC ( -- Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said in a Sunday interview that fellow GOP hopeful Fred Thompson has the wrong approach on dealing with the issue of abortion. Huckabee said he favors a national human life amendment while Thompson favors overturning Roe v. Wade and letting states ban abortion.
Pushing this at the federal level is flat out wrong and bad politics. It might seem like a victory to some, but it would be a phyrric one Cuz the death mongers would have every right to push the exact opposite through when they got in power.

He also shows his weakness on history also.
"It's the logic of the Civil War," Huckabee said in an interview with the "Fox News Sunday" program.
Remember, we are the United STATES of America, not the Federation or some top heavy government. Well, not supposed to be anyway.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Minding the kids

I have been asked on more than one occasion how we get the children to mind so well in church.  Other than noting that from a parents perspective, they aren't always angels. 

But they do stay pretty quiet and we don't make too many trips  "out back". It occurred to me as I was interrupted from my state of awe last Sunday.  Just as Father was about to consecrate the Body of Christ, our two year old and 5 year old started squabbling and the shush was more than the tender feelings of the little one could bear.  So as he was rushed out of the pew just as he drew his breath for the second wail, I turned to see what they were fighting over.

It was nothing more than a book.  But there lies the rub.  It wasn't our book, we tend to be minimalists in our approach to Mass time entertainment.  It isn't asking too much for kids to be quiet and behave for one hour.  The youngest two draw/scribble on the little papers provided for that purpose.  But the family behind us offered one of them a book halfway through Mass.  Which was fine until the other noticed and wanted to hold it.

Entertainment only serves to promote the need for more entertainment and then the equal distribution of said entertainment.  Then there is the enforcement of the distribution, the threat of future enforcement if this one isn't followed and so forth.  Pretty soon the whole Mass is spent minding the kids rather than the kids minding their manners.

Clinging to the moments

Bear-i-tone's deep question at The Spirit's Sword reminded me of a brief moment at Mass this weekend. Bear is troubled over the quality of music they are required to sing.

The music doesn't fit the bill. We've lost members over this. We are having trouble recruiting in a large part because of this. Few people like this and the rest are left out in the cold. A very large portion of this music is theologically inadequate. It is inadequate in almost every sense. So I come back to my troublesome question: Should I ask, "Why in God's Name are we singing this garbage?" or "Why are we singing this garbage in God's Name?"

I would say the question should be the latter. He quotes Fr. Longnecker's excellent treatise on What's a Hymn For?

However, if the Mass is meant to take us to the threshold of heaven; if it is meant to be a glimpse of glory and a participation in the worship of the spheres of heaven itself, why then the sentimental, sweet and comforting songs just won't do. They wont' do not because they are bad or untrue, but because they are not good and true enough. Worship that takes us to the threshold of glory needs to be, well...glorious.

Mass is about worshiping God. Our Creator and the very one whom without His active presence we would cease to exist. Mass isn't about how great we art, but about "How Great Thou Art". Which leads me to my brief moment of profound worship. We were asked to stand in as proxy sponsors for a baptism. Hence we were up in the second row, we made it to Mass on time (well about 1 minute late, but they waited for us.) and the kids were in good behavior mode for the most part (more on that later).

The readings fit together wonderfully (as the Church has planned out over a 3 year cycle of Old Testament, Psalm, New Testament and Gospel readings). The homily was well done. But what set this Mass apart was one song. The Offertory was "How Great Thou Art". All four verses and by verse 3, it started to hit me.

And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

That floored me. It was one of those moments that sustains me for a long time. I don't get many of the "profound moments" that really affect my heart. I do much out of duty and because I know it is right in my heart. But it is rare that emotions get through. I long for that, but not unlike Mother Theresa's dark night of the soul, I have a 40 days and nights in the desert. Of course I am far from her holiness and complete submission and am by no means a mystic. But lets just say, I can understand what she meant by not "feeling" the presence.

So then, the 4th verse followed.

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: "My God, how great Thou art!

I was at the threshold of glory. I wished I could have stayed there. But a fight over a book by the youngest two right before the consecration demanded my attention come back to earth.

But one of those moments had happened. And I cling to them knowing "How Great Thou Art"!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Above the board

Planned Parenthood is up to its tricks again. Being such noble defenders of all that is good and true about abortion, they would never hide their agenda to get one of their golden castles of choice built. Well, it happened once in Aurora Ill, but that was just an oversight.

That is until it happened again in Denver.
The bishops write, “In early November, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) broke ground on a new headquarters and clinic in northeast Denver.” They “purchased this property secretly under the guise of Fuller 38 LLC.”

“Planned Parenthood told the Denver Post that PPRM planned to complete the entire project in secrecy to avoid protests and delays that other Planned Parenthood buildings have encountered around the country.”

Looks like it is getting a bit heated down in Aurora where the Police don't seem ready to deal with the protests there. Illinois pro-lifers face threat of paddy wagon for Planned Parenthood protests

All about choice

Remember, it is all about choice. A woman's right to choose and the decision should be made between a woman and her doctor. Unless of course the woman doesn't want to abort her babies. The culture of death just keeps on needing more grist for the mill. Mother delivers quintuplets after refusing multiple abortions
London, Nov 19, 2007 / 10:42 am (CNA).- A Russian mother has given birth to quintuplets despite opposition from doctors who wanted her to abort some of them. Varvara Artamkin and her husband Dimitri had to travel to England in order to keep all of their children.

She and her husband Dimitri, a 28 year-old math professor, were told by Russian doctors that they would not treat Varvara during her pregnancy unless she aborted two or three of her babies. The doctors said the 'selective terminations,' as the abortions are called, were essential to giving the remaining babies a chance of survival.

Mr. Artamkin's grandmother, Irina, 74, speaking from her home in Moscow, described their plight: "They went to several maternity hospitals to ask them to take her on but the doctors kept saying they would only accept her on the condition that she terminated two or three of the babies."
But I remain confident that the staunch defenders of a woman's right to choose will step up and be heard.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Not really

Tis often frustrating trying to get the 5 boys and a girl settled down for bedtime. Hence prayer time can be somewhat stressful. Must have been the case tonight as my kids caught a slip in the Act of Contrition. It wasn't what I was thinking, but at the moment, one could almost understand.

Oh my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee.
And I detest all my SONS, because of thy just punishments,
but most of all because they offend Thee my God whom art all good
and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of
thy grace to sin no more and avoid the near occasion of sin.

Muslim nations and barbaric acts

During a discussion on a resolution condemning the death penalty, a
Right-to-life debate unexpectedly erupts at UN
The representative of Egypt stated that since the resolution was aimed at respecting life, it was appropriate to widen the scope to include protection of innocent human life.
Oddly it is the supposedly barbaric Muslim states that were sponsoring this pro-life amendment. And the "enlightened" European countries that opposed it?

So lets get this straight. Death Penalty is bad. Criminals don't want to die and deserve mercy. Euthanasia and abortion is good because ... the elderly and unborn can't appeal?

Safe to say

This movie won't be on our limited viewing agenda.
ZENIT - What Every Parent Should Know About "The Golden Compass"

Pete Vere and Sandra Meisel aren't calling for a boycott, just ignoring the blatant marketing of atheism to our children.
I agree with Pete. Avoid both the movie and the books. It would be best if people didn't picket or make a public fuss because that's just free publicity. If the movie fails at the box office, the second and third books won't be filmed.
Another good reason to avoid the books as well as the movie?
Pullman's work, on the other hand, appears to be driven by the critics. The only people I know recommending Pullman's work are English majors and university professors. I don't know a single electrician, hairdresser or accountant who recommends Pullman's work by word of mouth. Thus the books haven't resonated with the average person to the same degree as "Lord of the Rings," "Narnia" and "Harry Potter."

Catching up

Fr. Euteneuer spells out Japan's Death Spiral
For years, Catholic pro-lifers have been warning that abortion, sterilization and contraception cause the collapse of an individual's morality and the destruction of families.

Now, demographers are indirectly telling us that these evils are destroying entire nations and continents. Unfortunately, governments do not even acknowledge the root cause of the problem of the “demographic death spiral.”

An impending white paper by the Japanese government tells us that the “foundations of communities” - police, fire and other basic services - will be threatened by the country’s declining birthrate and aging population.
Sort of reminds me of the old adage, "Nature bats last." You can mess around, tweaking and manipulating nature(the natural cycles of the body, or human nature.) But just as you think you have it under "control", it blows up in your face.

Funny how the pro-death crowd ages and then decries their own policies. Age catches up on all of us. But now the childless adults are wondering why they have no children to care for them.

The results can be pretty sad.
Saddest of all is the sight of elderly Japanese women cuddling Takara-Tomy's talking Yumel robotic dolls. These women buy these expensive dolls because they have no children or grandchildren to lavish their attentions on. The dolls, which are selling very well, tell their owner how much they love her and welcome her when she walks back into the room. Yuko Hirakawa of Takara-Tomy says that “many elderly people think the dolls are actual grandsons and granddaughters.”
Or in our society, all the people that consider their pets to be children. Some are just over-enthusiastic pet lovers, but I see a large portion being those without children around and/or grandchildren. Our mobile society has contributed to the lack of grandchildren around their grandparents, but the odds are greatly increase with only one or two children.

I am always amazed at how many elderly people are attracted to our large family. They love kids.

But Japan is in trouble and government programs probably aren't gonna help.
After all, if a government promotes “family planning” for decades, if it drills into the people's heads the idea that children are messy, noisy, expensive, and bad for the environment, once it has promoted and funded millions and millions of abortions, there is really no way back. As proof, an amazing 70 percent of young Japanese single women say they have no intention of getting married.

Babies are just too much trouble.
When the anti-child message has fully resounded and it is now time to reap what has been sown, the future looks dim. But there is always one light. A light for all ages.
Spirit & Life®
"The words I spoke to you are spirit and life." (Jn 6:63)
Human Life International e-Newsletter
Volume 01, Number 93 | Friday, November 16, 2007
Japan in the Death Spiral
(Spirit and Life® guest columnist, Brian Clowes, PhD)

For years, Catholic pro-lifers have been warning that abortion, sterilization and contraception cause the collapse of an individual's morality and the destruction of families.

Now, demographers are indirectly telling us that these evils are destroying entire nations and continents. Unfortunately, governments do not even acknowledge the root cause of the problem of the “demographic death spiral.”

An impending white paper by the Japanese government tells us that the “foundations of communities” - police, fire and other basic services - will be threatened by the country’s declining birthrate and aging population.

This paper correctly identifies the source of the problem—that Japanese are simply not having enough children. For a nation to replace its population, each woman must have an average of 2.1 children per family. Japanese women average a disastrously low one child.

Japan's population peaked in 2005, and will plunge from its current 127 million to just 89 million in 2050—a decline of thirty percent. Japan is currently the oldest nation on Earth (median age 43, twice the age of many African nations). Japan will continue to hold this dubious title through the year 2050, when the average Japanese will be 61 years old. Inevitably, more and more Japanese leaders are looking for the easy way out of the dilemma of “over-aging.” On October 18 of this year, the Japanese Association of Acute Medicine became the first organization to recommend euthanasia for the terminally ill.

Melancholy signs of a declining population are everywhere in Japan. During Japan's 2007 Children's Day, the government soberly noted that the number of children in Japan has declined for the 26th consecutive year. Over the past decade, more than 2,000 junior and senior high schools have closed due to lack of children, but many are enjoying new life as elderly care centers. More than 60,000 teachers have lost their jobs because they have no children to teach. Elders of villages who traditionally call out the names of newborns at autumn festivals often have no names to call. More than 90 Japanese theme parks catering to children have closed. More and more pediatricians are switching specialties and becoming geriatricians.

Saddest of all is the sight of elderly Japanese women cuddling Takara-Tomy's talking Yumel robotic dolls. These women buy these expensive dolls because they have no children or grandchildren to lavish their attentions on. The dolls, which are selling very well, tell their owner how much they love her and welcome her when she walks back into the room. Yuko Hirakawa of Takara-Tomy says that “many elderly people think the dolls are actual grandsons and granddaughters.”

Some prefectures and cities have tried just about everything to entice young couples to have children. They have offered substantial cash bonuses to couples who have more than one child, and have even sponsored dances and “speed dating” parties to get young singles together. In 2006, the Year of the Dog, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi urged women to “do as dogs do” and have large litters!

Unfortunately—and predictably—none of this has worked.

After all, if a government promotes “family planning” for decades, if it drills into the people's heads the idea that children are messy, noisy, expensive, and bad for the environment, once it has promoted and funded millions and millions of abortions, there is really no way back. As proof, an amazing 70 percent of young Japanese single women say they have no intention of getting married.

Babies are just too much trouble.

What is the solution to the vexing and lethal trend of “country-cide”? Some suggest massive immigration, but Japanese society is 99 percent ethnically homogenous and very xenophobic. It is not an exaggeration to say that many Japanese leaders would rather allow their culture to die than to be diluted or assimilated.

The only solution to the plague of depopulation is to rekindle the love of God and children in the people's hearts. The Japanese must undo three decades of anti-natalist propaganda with an intensive program of teaching the people the value of family, the beauty and joy that children provide, and the satisfaction of fidelity to a husband or a wife until death.

These are not religious values, these are human values, and they are the only answer to the death of a nation.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Signs of the Apocalypse

Seems the end of the world (yes I know apocalypse means "to be revealed" but it sounds good) is upon us.

First, the graphic that the Ironic Catholic dug up, And For Certain Soldiers of the Liturgy Wars, This Stained Glass Replacement Was The Last Straw.

Second was the homily this last weekend. I loved the readings. Where else but the Catholic Church are you going to hear Maccabees. The Gospel had the Sadducees testing Jesus about the resurrection. Sad to say, I wasn't expecting much of a homily since the visiting priest was a Jesuit from nearby Gonzaga University and his opening prayers for the Mass were quite odd. But as Matthew at CMR sez, Don't give up on the Jesuits.

Not only was his homily relevant to the readings, was engaging, sprinkled with just a bit of humor, and informative; it had quite a shock value to it. After all, when is the last time anyone heard a homily on Heaven, Hell and ... Purgatory. And this all from a Jesuit priest. I was stunned as he mentioned those words. Stunned even more as he expounded upon them rather than dismissing them. The kids paid attention, I came away from Mass feeling filled with some new knowledge and for a short time, life was good.

/aside I say short time cuz I wasted the rest of the morning watching the Vikings get humiliated by the Packers. I would say that is another sign of the apocalypse, but it seems to be too common this year for it to be anything other than a sign of a high draft pick next spring.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Silence is golden

A great story in the Courier Journal of Louisville, KY. And newsworthy too. Archbishop joins abortion protest
[Archbishop] Kurtz, who was installed as the Archdiocese of Louisville's leader in August, stood and knelt while facing the EMW Women's Surgical Center at Second and Market streets for nearly 1½ hours. He spoke only when he gave a blessing that ended the gathering.
Truly a shepherd leading his flock.

via Sarah at the CUF

Monday, November 12, 2007

Not a floppy

But still pretty impressive. 

Saw the "files waiting to be written to CD" pop-up balloon on my wife's laptop this weekend.  I opened it to see what was "waiting" to be written.


Friday, November 09, 2007


My brother is famous.

If I was a writers guild member on strike, I would be very afraid.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Glad I got these blues

He calls 'em the Nicean Blues. by the Tiber Jumper via the Curt Jester

Wake up and smell the coffee

...while reading scripture?

Leon at CUF offers some encouragement on Seizing the Moment
In our daily spiritual lives, moments of decision typically revolve around temptations. We’re trying to follow Christ and abide by His teachings and commands. Then we’re confronted with a situation in which we’re being lured—subtly or overtly, whatever best suits Satan’s purposes at the time—into doing what we know we shouldn’t do.
We all struggle, but what about setting the tone early in the day. In essence, girding up for battle as soon as we wake.
Instead of having the day’s moral decisions dominated by choices to avoid temptations to sin, as though we’re constantly navigating through a spiritual minefield, why not capitalize on moments of opportunity to grow in the love of God and neighbor? After all, the best defense is a good offense. The first moment of decision in a given day, and one in which quiet heroes are made, occurs the instant we awake. It’s the decision literally to get out of bed. At that moment, we’re comfortable, we might still be tired or not feel so great, and it would be easy to justify hitting the snooze button so we can sleep some more.
Wise words that seem to hit home. I have wanted to get up earlier and spend some time in prayer or reading scripture for quite some time. But I keep hitting that blasted snooze button. Not motivated enough to make the commitment.

But as is often the case, prayers are answered on God's time. When you seek, you find. And this challenge is perhaps just what is needed to bring out the commitment.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Overdue and under duress

I am writing this using the beta of Windows Live Writer, so bear with me if it comes out looking funny.  But it is much overdue.

Here in North Idaho, we have an annual Catholic men's retreat.  Usually very inspiring, spiritually uplifting and even when the retreat master is less than wonderful, three Masses and confession more that makes it worthwhile.  And then there is the evening festivities involving great Catholic male conversation and usually libations.

Sad to say, this year was different.  I actually came home spiritually depressed.  In a much worse mood than I when I left.  It really bothered me to be struggling spiritually after what many describe as a weekend to recharge the spiritual batteries.  I felt like I had gone away and someone had left the the lights on.  My battery was drained.  So what was the problem?

Well, first off; I didn't have the usual suspects there with me.   Plenty of men I knew and I had good conversations with many, but none of the core group was there.  None of my fellow Maccabeen warriors. But as I said, there was plenty of men, 83 I think, there and how can one not enjoy spiritual conversations with fellow Catholic men?

The first talk on Friday was inspiring and got me fired up.  So even though the retreat master wasn't great as the weekend went on, it wasn't an issue of a poor topic, poor presentation or general malaise on my part.

The problem was much deeper than all this.  I was the victim of a bigger scam.  Many on St. Blog's have been offended with their priest dressing up as a clown for Mass.  I (tongue in cheek here) witnessed a clown dressed up as a priest. 

Anyone familiar with this site know about issues I take with poor liturgy.  The Mass does not belong to any one person, even the priest and therefore should not be treated as private property.  No inventing stuff, no changing the script to suit personal tastes or omitting certain prayers.  There are options that are offered.  But inventing your own Mass is forbidden. 

Anyway, this priest could give a great homily.  He believes in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.  And in many ways he would pass as a rock solid priest.  But as I try to lighten up on the liturgical policing role, for my own good I can overlook many things.  But what completely ruined the weekend for me was doing what he knew was wrong, commenting on it during Mass and acting like it was a joke.  If Catholics truly believe that Jesus is present in the Eucharist, would we really treat the Mass (where Jesus comes TO us, in OUR place, in OUR time) as a stand-up comedy routine?

Anymore Catholics will hardly notice a deviation from the script.  There are four options for the opening prayer, and not too many of us have all four memorized.  But to add his own, then comment how he felt it wouldn't be a big deal to add a fifth, drag that into a comment about him bringing a fifth (of spirits) elsewhere and then joking how he hoped no one would turn him into the bishop.  Many complaints have been heard about the monotony or repetition in  Mass, but this was about the only repeated line I remember from the weekend, about not being turned into the bishop.  Perhaps he was begging for someone to do just that.

The best thing I can take away from this weekend is a new appreciation for how mundane and ordinary our Sunday Mass at our church is.  Hardly perfect, poor music, bad hymns and questionable homilies from the deacons; but at least they don't joke about how bad they are.  And for that I am very thankful. 

I have come to a compromise with anyone who likes the liturgical goofiness.  I won't whine and complain about the little stuff anymore if you promise not to flaunt it.  It is so juvenile and could ruin a perfectly good weekend.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The smiling Dalai

Father Raymond de Souza asks why the Dalai Lama always seems to be smiling. Perhaps because quietly and without military force, he has become China’s nemesis
The PRC has moved against the cultural institutions of Tibet, primary among them the role of the Buddhist monks. Restrictions have been placed on their own internal decision-making and designation of leaders. Most pointedly, the Dalai Lama is forced to live in exile, as he refuses to accept the PRC’s swallowing of Tibet as legitimate.

China has yet to learn that sheer might and growing prosperity are not replacements for the rights of conscience and religious liberty. While the International Olympic Committee, and Google, and Mattel and others are perfectly willing to bow before the PRC leadership, the Dalai Lama and his monks are made of sturdier stuff. And nothing confounds the politically powerful more than the man of religion who bows only to his God. Whether the ancient pharaoh and Moses, Pilate and Jesus, Henry II and Thomas Becket, Henry VIII and Thomas More — the story is the same, and you would have thought the Chinese would be wise enough to learn it.
China is so afraid of this one man being free, that they risk looking absurd, even to point of recognizing what they claim doesn't exist.
So unhinged has Beijing become over the Dalai Lama that this past summer they moved to prevent him from reincarnating himself as the next lama after his death. I do not believe in reincarnation and so am not concerned with the particulars of how it is supposedly accomplished, but surely a certificate of permission from the religious affairs bureaucracy is not essential.

Yet effective last Sept. 1, Beijing decreed that any reincarnations accomplished without official government permission were invalid. Of course the monks will ignore the decree, but it would be delightful to discover what the actual process was for obtaining a permission to reincarnate from the PRC government.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Candy mix up

Mark Shea does a brilliant look at HellCo's Corporate Propaganda on Catholic Exchange.
October is, among other things, the month in which the devil sends out the most press releases about how business is booming, what with Halloween and all. Of course, like any big international business operation, Hell has to maintain several faces depending on the public it is talking to. To secularists, it frequently issues press releases from Materialist Myth Manufacturing Ltd. subsidiary of Hell, reminding its customers that Hell doesn't exist, that God doesn't exist, and that everything is just atoms and energy, followed by the long long night of death (so be sure to pick up as much sex, drugs, rock n' roll and self-indulgence as your shopping cart can hold in our Life Clearance Sale! Available now!)

Curiously, Hell's press releases for both the Materialist and Fundamentalist have something in common. For all the hard-boiled atheism of the one and all the sincere religious faith of the other, there remains this common thread: Matter and Spirit must never intersect. If they do, the atheist fears that you will lose your intellect and the Fundamentalist fears that you will lose your soul.
Dead on Mark. Pardon the pun there. As is pondered often here, one can drown by jumping off either side of the boat. It is still the same vast ocean they fall into. Stay the narrow road.

Where will we hide?

The CUF folks ask "What do CUF Catholics do about Rudy?" in The Giuliani Dilemma and the Price of Purity (or Impurity!)
Do we:

A) Repeat the same arguments used against John Kerry, to the effect that it would be impossible or nearly so for a Catholic to support him in good conscience? And then if he wins the nomination, do we support Clinton, who has no pretense of being Catholic; back a third party “values” candidate; or stay home entirely? In any event, the result would be the same—a big win for Hillary. Purity—in this case at the price of whatever damage a 4–8 year Clinton interregnum would do.

Or, B) Do we support another GOP candidate and deny the nomination to Giuliani even though, according to polls, none of the others is as likely to win in November?
My answer is B. And I would say that Ron Paul is probably has the closest to a Catholic stance of any. Huckabee talks big, but seems to be for big government. Ron Paul is pro-life but not for the federal government being involved in a state issue.

A federal amendment is not the answer. It just gives credence that that congress should be involved in this issue that truly belongs at the state level. And then when congress decides to change their mind and make abortion rights an amendment, then we will have "cut down all the laws to get at the devil" and where will we hide when "the devil turns on us" (to quote St. Thomas More from "A man from all seasons".)

Quick like a glacier

Glaciers are relatively speedy compared to the movements of the Catholic Church. But of course one doesn't last 2000 years by hopping on the latest fad. Still, I am anxiously awaiting the New English translation of Missal
The International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) has completed a draft of its English translation of the Roman Missal.

The ICEL draft, which was unveiled on November 1, will now be submitted to the bishops' conferences of the English-speaking world. Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds, England, explained that ICEL will solicit comments on the draft, make appropriate changes, and hopes to complete the English translation by the end of 2008.

The ICEL draft is a translation of the Latin that appears in the 3rd edition of the Roman Missal. That official Latin version was released in 2002.
So we get our hopes up and then we wait some more. It will be interesting to make us think about what we pray during Mass. A subtle change causes us to pause and consider the words more carefully.

Monday, October 29, 2007

statistician and politicians

There could be a debate between which is a better liar. But I would have to say that statistician, as opposed to the politicians, are generally using numbers to work towards a solution. But when a politician turns statistician, you can generally turn the channel.

Looks like the pro-abortion crown doesn't even believe Giuliani. Abortion Advocate Says Rudy Giuliani's Adoption Claims "Unsupportable"
But Richards says the increase in adoptions Giuliani refers to is children in the city's foster care system and "not in the rate at which women were continuing unwanted pregnancies and placing their infants for adoption rather than having abortions."

So as the saying goes, there are lies, damn lies and damn politicians using statistics. Of course we could always go to the tape for the proof.
Earlier this month, Fordham University political science professor Bruce Berg reviewed all the tapes of Mayor Giuliani's press conferences dating back to 1996 and said he never once saw the mayor promote adoption.

acting accordingly

I can already hear the rants from the other side. Condemning people based on their belief, of how could they be so intolerant and hateful.
Imposing "Tolerance"

Vincent Matherick and his wife Pauline are registered as foster parents in Somerset County. They are also ministers at the non-conformist South Chard Christian Church. They were recently informed by authorities that they must obey laws that require them to treat homosexuality as equal to heterosexuality.

The couple told the Telegraph that they would neither condemn nor condone homosexuality, and that they could not actively promote it because of their religious beliefs.
Nevermind they were not being intolerant or condemning homosexuality, but merely not willing to promote it to the foster children. The brazen nerve of them Christians. Just who do they think they are having opinions and holding to their beliefs?
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor ... maintained that, "freedom of religion is much more than the freedom to worship; it is the freedom to act according to that belief in the service of others."
The obvious effect of weeding out good foster parents and forcing agencies to stop offering adoption services if they won't comply to the indoctrination is that more and more children will be left in the care of the State. Where they should be of course, because big brother is kinder, more loving and obviously more "tolerant" than any human parents would be.

Friday, October 26, 2007


Another marvelous post by Matthew at CMR. As someone who lived atheism and was one of the "enlightened", he is not impressed by it. But still, everyone know that Catholicism is about the “Thou-Shall-Nots" as he puts it. So what about The Theology of Yes
I laughed off everything and found myself dreadfully serious. That is the paradox of atheism. Oddly enough, when I was enlightened I felt burdened. I’ve come to decide enlightenment is a heavy philosophy, not suited to living.

My life was filled with thinking about death. I didn't take life seriously but I thought of death incessantly.
Read the entire article. His experience gives him a profound edge.

But how many of us still live in the "shall-nots"? We wade in the shallows of the shall-nots, afraid to venture into the deep waters of truth. We see the limits that are placed on us without recognizing the benefits. Once we embrace the "yes", our vision will change.

For those with large families, consider the children. In my case, I grudgingly accepted them. I knew in my heart my wife was right, but selfishly, I was unhappy. They were a drain on MY time and resources. To be blunt, my focus was on me. And I wasn't happy.

But the beauty of accepting the teachings of the Church in practice even when it isn't in your heart, is that your heart can change. If you are willing to walk the walk, God can change the heart. So slowly but surely, child by child, He changed mine. That is why I jokingly say I have 6.8 kids because I am a slow learner. Not slow to learn "how that happens", but slow to learn what a wonderful plan God has. Once I said yes in my heart, the scales have fell from my eyes. Life hasn't changed, I am not suddenly flush with cash nor are my children angels. In fact I am busier than ever.

But the big difference is that I am happy. I may be to busy to finish projects, watch all the football I would like to, pray as much as I should, read the books I bought... but I am happy. Happy because I am busy doing what I am supposed to be doing. Call it God's work, but more likely it is my work, work that God has give me to mold me into a better man.

No burdens, just joys. Not easy trivial joys like a good dark chocolate. Joys that can make a man cry. Or smile. Often at the same time.

Attention getters

Matthew at CMR has a couple posts worth noting. Actually all if his posts are worth reading, but first a comment on this one.

Atheists Host Pornographic Christian Art Exhibit.
...have you ever noticed that atheists nowadays tend to be more evangelistic than believers? Look at the comment boxes in religious blogs. You can't go too far without stumbling upon some atheist with something to say. I've never gone to an atheist site to yell at them.

It's an odd thing to be so pushy about a negative which is what atheism is, though. The International Federation of Atheists is a group of atheists and they do what it seems atheists do -which is to speak incessantly of religion.
Rather odd. A bunch of people who supposedly want nothing to do with religion going to see an exhibit about religion. I suppose they want attention, the poor things. If they would just become Christians they'd realize that Someone is paying quite close attention and they wouldn't have to be so outrageous and silly.
Reminds me when the archbishop Fulton Sheen encountered a lady ranting against Christians in his church. He thanked her for confirming that Christ existed, much to her dismay. He pointed out that nobody rants against belief in some imaginary character.

To paraphrase both Matthew and Sheen, it has to be something real and significant to get this many people so worked up.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I was wrong

in assuming Giuliani wouldn't make a good president. Seems he is right on track with the big boys in politics. Giuliani's police chief could be problem.
Federal prosecutors in New York have spent more than a year pursuing criminal charges against Kerik, reportedly including bribery, tax evasion, obstruction of justice, providing false information and conspiracy to eavesdrop.
That laundry list matches up well with the necessary traits for a good president. Instead of bribery, tax evasion, obstruction of justice, falsification and eavesdropping, just consider them to be; delegation, tax cuts, commitment to a cause and properly studying the opposition. In fact I think most of those are covered as such under the Patriot Act.

Really though, this Bernard Kerik fellow can't be that bad. Bush nominated him to be the Homeland Security chief back in 2004. Too bad that slave/household servant had to be exposed and he withdrew.

The more I learn of Giuliani, the more he fits right in with the current administration. I could write his debate talking points, just repeat the one line mantra of how well he ran New York. I love this line in the article,
So far, Kerik's troubles haven't seemed to nick Giuliani's primary campaign narrative that he's a Republican who tamed a Democratic city and heroically led New York after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.[emphasis added]
A narrative to be sure. Too bad it is from the fiction section. But considering that the Attorney General appointee Michael Mukasey is another Giuliani friend, it all fits together like a well written book. Perhaps I wish it was all as fictional as his narrative.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Latin lovers and logic

A couple items on the recent flap over the U.N. saying the Catholic Church's stance on condoms is making the AIDS epidemic worse. The Curt Jester wonders how the Church holds so many people captive with its teaching against contraception while those same people freely ignore the teachings on fornication. But when logic fails, it is always easy to Blame the Church.

Jeff also offers a couple of case studies.
AIDS victims in 1987: Philippines 135 / Thailand 112

In 1991 the WHO predicted the Philippines would have 80,000 to 90,000 cases and Thailand 60,000 to 80,000 AIDS victims.

Thailand promoted the use of condoms in massive campaigns where Catholic Philippines promoted 'Abstinence' and 'Be faithful'.

The prognosis of the WHO was wrong for both countries:

1999: Philippines 1,005 / Thailand 755,000 AIDS victims

Source: British Medical Journal, volume 328, April 10th 2004

Here is another case:

Take for example a March 2004 article in the medical journal, Studies in Family Planning (cited by the Zenit News Agency, June 26, 2004). Titled "Condom Promotion for AIDS Prevention in the Developing World: Is It Working?," the piece was a meta-review of the scientific literature on the question.

The results shocked condom advocates. In the article, researchers Sanny Chen and Norman Hearst noted that, "In many sub-Saharan African countries, high HIV transmission rates have continued despite high rates of condom use." In fact, they continued, "No clear examples have emerged yet of a country that has turned back a generalized epidemic primarily by means of condom distribution."

No surprise, then, that Botswana, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and South Africa — the nations with the highest levels of condom availability — continue to have the highest rates of HIV prevalence ("The White House Initiative to Combat AIDS: Learning from Uganda," Joseph Loconte, Executive Summary Backgrounder).

While Patrick has a similar take on the disparity of influence by the Church in his Latin Lovers Conversation.
According to the United Nations, there are many conversations occurring in Latin America similar to the one below:

Sacred or scared

The delightfully witty Ironic Catholic has a Ponderous Question: Has Anyone Had A Sacred Family Meal In This Century?

Mealtime with kids is more running scared than looking for the sacred. I think we have had one(1). We spent the entire day working on a Seder meal. It actually turned out wonderful and I will cherish it for a long time. Easy to pick that one out because it stands alone.

The rest...yeah. 6 picky kids (paybacks are ...) so our meals are either bland or filled with complaints about "picy". One very slow eater, he is blind so he doesn't visually see how much food is left or how little he has eaten. Coupled with everyone enjoying a good tale, especially their own, meals shave time off purgatory at best. More often they likely add to purgatory if we make it there, yet leave us yearning for the day.

I must say "Eat!" about forty times a meal. I sometimes find myself saying "eat!" when I mean other things like "do your homework" or "hurry up."

So, yeah, sacred mealtimes happen about once a decade for us. But this is supposed to make us holy, right? Perhaps that is why I find my wife "off in her own little world" when I get home from work.