Friday, August 31, 2007

Hardness of head and heart

The Curt Jester's article, Hardness of heart got me to thinking about a sermon we heard a few weeks back. We were camping and at a different parish which also had a visiting priest.

The Gospel was about Jesus telling his disciples that he had come to bring division and how households will be set against themselves. So the good priest starts his homily by telling about his large family and how his father thought he had left the Church when he joined the Jesuits. (har har.) As in any good homily, the priest is supposed to break open the Word. But in this case, he proceeded to break it into crumbs and stomp on them.

As Jeff suggests, the Church is the one portrayed as cruel or hard when it is precisely the hardness of our hearts that makes divorce an option. We fail to live the Gospels and then have to find someone to blame for our failings. The priest told about how his sister filed for divorce and after she shared the news, her father wouldn't talk to her for many years. So he was trying to lead us to the conclusion that he was cruel and hard hearted because he believed the teachings of the Church. No mention was made of how the selfishness of the sister and husband were perhaps hurting the father. How the pain might have been too great to even talk with her. No, he was just a big bad authoritarian father who sided with the cruel Church.

I considered approaching him after Mass and just mentioning the phrase, "because of the hardness of your heart." I didn't but it always burns me when the homily is wasted by cutting down the teachings of the Church, especially on a day where I was hoping for some real insight into the readings.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

More wisdom of Fr. Corapi

I got a chance to listen to Fr. Corapi on Sacred Heart radio this morning (AM 970 in the Spokane/CdA area). Always worth the time even though today was only a few minutes.

He was talking about prayer and related a story about Mother Theresa correcting a priest that said he was so busy he didn't have time to pray anymore. The bit of wisdom also fits for parents as their family grows in size or also grows in activity as the kids get older. Her words were, if your vocation in growing or the burden is growing, how can you not have time to receive the strength to bear it. It is precisely then that you need more prayer, not less.

Fr. Corapi also pointed out that this is when we learn to rise earlier in the morning. He said Jesus can raise the dead in many different ways. Definitely words of wisdom that I need as the homeschooling schedule is getting underway.

Another point that hit me was that we must persevere through times of spiritual drought. (rather timely considering the recent release of Mother Theresa's writings.) It is one thing to say we must persevere, but doing it is another. But Fr. Corapi gave a bit of insight that may help us, he said, it is especially in times like this that we "prove" our love for God. We pray because we love God, not because it feels good. So when prayer seems dry and empty, we can realize we are praying not for our own sake, but for His. And that is love.

That I will definitely take to heart. Like the desert land, the rains are few and far between. But they are treasured all the more because of their rarity.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I done missed it

Well, my 2 year blog-iversary came and went without me noting it. The 12th of August was 2 years since my first post, un-Muted Mumblings: This says it well

Air time

The Curt Jester has some speculation on the type of service you could expect from
Vatican Air
# They have no schedules and will only tell you "Thus, the last will be first, and the first will be last."
# When boarding you always have to enter through the "Narrow gate."
# Everybody gets the same seating arrangement because with Vatican Air there are no Jews, Greeks, Male, Female, Business Class, Economy, or First Class.
# They use nuns as stewardesses and will rap your knuckles if you forget to say grace before eating your package of peanuts.
# After the nuns demonstrate how to exit the aircraft and how to use the oxygen masks, they demonstrate how to pray the Rosary available in the compartment on the back of each seat. They also tell the passengers "The Parable of the Unjust Stewardess."
# You never have to worry about the pilot being raptured because Catholics don't fall for that fairly recent teleological innovation.
# Flight insurance includes a fund that will pay stipends to a monastery of your choice that will have Masses said for you in case of a fatal accident.
# There is always a priest onboard trained to quickly give general absolutions in case of an in flight emergency. Otherwise passengers may use the in flight confessionals. When using the in flight confessional make sure you slide the sign to occupied.
# You get to offer up turbulence and airline food.
# Not only is the seat a flotation device but it can also be used as a kneeler.
# Dominicans, Franciscans, Carmelites and males from some other orders are eligible for Frequent Friar Miles.
# If Vatican Air loses your luggage St. Anthony is immediately invoked.
# You never have to worry that your aircrew includes Pontius Pilot.
# Connecting flights are made with Holy Virgin airlines.
quite a comprehensive list, and he leave little for the rest of us dry humor bloggers. Not sure if confessions on board would be a good idea because the resolve to sin no more may evaporate once the plane is safely on the ground. But as always, I am willing to add onto someone else's good humor.
- With cutbacks in airline meals, traveling with VA will be a good time to work on that fast you've been meaning to start.
- Not only do they have special compartments for Rosaries, but also stands for your travel statue of your patron saint.
- And one for the included St. Christopher statue, patron of travelers.
- No need to worry about the hassles of carry-on luggage, after all we not supposed to bring extra sandals, tunic or money bag.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Just how would this be a good idea?

Catholic World News : Joint confession acceptable for married couples?

Thankfully, canonist Ed Peters refutes this concept But I wonder what this priest was thinking. Having the person who many of your sins may involve be listening while you confess? One of the requirements of confession is to confess your sins completely, no withholding, and this would seem to stand in the way of that.

Not that I am saying men hide things from their wives, but imagine the discussion on the ride home? "No honey, it wasn't like that!" The couple would probably have to turn around and head right back to confession.

Seeing is believing

And if I hadn't seen it, I wouldn't believe it either. Life, It's Like Closet Space

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Make mine wimpy

Probably should be filed under the "Ho-hum another worthless comment by a bishop that has slid into the deep end". But he is just so darn wrong. Were he to challenge people, he would find many are up to the challenge of living a devout life. But offering them warm milk instead of wholesome nourishment keeps them as dependent toddlers.

His thoughts on celibacy are completely backwards. The warm fuzzies of 1960's catechism left the world without the men of courage willing to sacrifice for the sake of the Kingdom. Softening the "rough" edges will further deplete the ranks of those who are called. Priesthood isn't just another job that must change as the market dictates, it is an diving calling.

In a public response to a campaign by Australian Catholic activists to end the celibacy discipline, Bishop Power said that while Vatican leaders are unwilling to reconsider the issue, among "ordinary Catholics" he has found both support and "a sense of urgency" about the need for change.

"Where there is the conviction that the Eucharist is at the heart of Catholic belief and practice, there must be questions asked about disciplinary laws in the Church which have the net effect of denying many Catholics regular access to the Eucharist," the Australian bishop wrote. He said that by limiting priestly ministry to celibate men the Church was in effect restricting access to the Eucharist "because of the scarcity of priests."
Watering down the pablum even more won't raise up good men. Challenge them to be men of service, sacrificing an earthly good for the sake of others. Then we will see results.

And his comment about women's ordination just further shows that he doesn't grasp the nature of the Church or the precious role of shepherd that he has.

Basic civil rights

A basic civil rights lesson by Martin Luther King, Jr's Niece

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Added fuel

Perhaps For the Greater Glory should add this to the reasons not to cheer for the Jaguars. Definitely incompatible with the Catholic faith.
Jacksonville Jaguars Gives Planned Parenthood Abortion Business $30K Grant
On Tuesday, the foundation awarded the first grants, which included a $30,000 donation to Planned Parenthood of Northeast Florida....

The foundation did not respond to requests for comment, but Peter Racine, executive director of the Jaguars Foundation, previously told the Jacksonville Daily Record, “We do not support abortion programs. We support prevention programs."

Racine says none of the money from the foundation goes towards abortions, though pro-life advocates say the money is fungible and frees up other funds at Planned Parenthood for abortion activities.

The Jaguars Foundation has given over $250,000 US dollars to Planned Parenthood in the last 3 years
Yeah, the good old we give them money for X but not for Y. Kinda like giving money to a terrorist so he can feed his kids but not buy weapons.

Cool stuff

This is an interesting find (via Spirit's Sword). You can look up the ordination and Episcopal lineage information on the bishops around the world. Here is Bishop Michael Patrick Driscoll [Catholic-Hierarchy]
Episcopal Lineage / Apostolic Succession:

* Bishop Michael Patrick Driscoll (1990)
* Bishop Norman Francis McFarland (1970)
* Archbishop Joseph Thomas McGucken † (1941)
* Archbishop John Joseph Cantwell † (1917)
* Archbishop Edward Joseph Hanna † (1912)
* Giovanni Vincenzo Cardinal Bonzano † (1912)
* Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val y Zulueta † (1900)
* Mariano Cardinal Rampolla del Tindaro † (1882)
* Edward Henry Cardinal Howard † (1872)
* Carlo Cardinal Sacconi † (1851)
* Giacomo Filippo Cardinal Fransoni † (1822)
* Pietro Francesco Cardinal Galeffi † (1819)
* Alessandro Cardinal Mattei † (1777)
* Bernardino Cardinal Giraud † (1767)
* Pope Carlo della Torre Rezzonico † (1743)
* Pope Prospero Lorenzo Lambertini † (1724)
* Pope Pietro Francesco (Vincenzo Maria) Orsini de Gravina, O.P. † (1675)
* Paluzzo Cardinal Paluzzi Altieri Degli Albertoni † (1666)
* Ulderico Cardinal Carpegna † (1630)
* Luigi Cardinal Caetani † (1622)
* Ludovico Cardinal Ludovisi † (1621)
* Archbishop Galeazzo Sanvitale † (1604)
* Girolamo Cardinal Bernerio, O.P. † (1586)
* Giulio Antonio Cardinal Santorio † (1566)
* Scipione Cardinal Rebiba †
And interestingly enough, it seems that 90% of Roman Catholic bishops trace back to Cardinal Rebiba. And certainly from there back to the Apostles.

The things some will say

To rationalize one of their own doing something illegal. This president of the Atlanta chapter of NACCP is obviously drinking some local kool-aid.
"Michael Vick has received more negative press than if he had killed a human being."

"His crime is, it was a dog," White said.
I'll give him the benefit on the negative press. Leonard Little of St. Louis was guilty of manslaughter due to driving under the influence and didn't get nearly the bad press. But to claim it was just that Vick's victim was a dog? Little didn't ram his SUV into traffic and then get out and drowned those who survived while taking bets on them. Vick's problem with the Feds isn't because he kicked a stray dog, it has to do with an interstate gambling operation on illegal activities. Killing the dogs in horrific fashion certainly didn't sway the public to his defense, but it wasn't simply killing a dog.

Then our genius Mr. White said
he does not support dogfighting and that he considers it as bad as hunting.
while NBA whiner Stephon Marbury calls dogfighting a sport. (from what he hears of course.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Having Children for materials sake

How bizarre is this concept? Russians get day off to procreate, then win prizes via the Crowhill blog.
Moscow - A Russian region of Ulyanovsk has found a novel way to fight the nation's birth-rate crisis: It has declared Sept. 12 the Day of Conception and for the third year running is giving couples time off from work to procreate.
If the couples have a baby on Russia's national day, June 12th, they can win prizes such as cars, TVs or other household items.

Seems fitting that the culture of death has to give away materialistic prizes to keep itself on life support.

Age old debate

Or so it seems. I have largely avoided the Harry Potter debate, focusing rather on the H. Potter debate and whether China is good for you. (sorry, inside joke. H. Potter was around before Harry and is a owned by a friend.)

A few years and several books ago, I got thick into it, coming down on the anti-Potter side. But people I know and respect have read the books and can give solid arguments for fitting the books into a Catholic worldview. So not having read the books and avoiding fads like a bad plague, I let the matter rest. But every once in a while, a great article will stir the pot and make us rethink our positions.

This is such an article, Harry Potter and “the Death of God” by Michael O'Brien. It is long, but won't consume one's life like the books have on the release date.
Rowling has tapped into the human drama, the story that is as old as the Iliad, but without Homer’s deep insights into human motivation; as old as Beowulf, but with the roles confused and the lessons lost; as contemporary as The Lord of the Rings, but without Tolkien’s depiction of humility, genuine virtue, and wisdom. She has taken pains to make her tale more complicated than a simplistic bad guy versus good guy scenario, more complicated even that a scenario with the frontier lines of good and evil merely shifted. Clever and inventive, she has scrambled all the frontiers, interior and exterior, vertical and horizontal, and the only orienting factor is the fate of the dynamic ego of the central character.

Many of the arguments resound with my feeling towards the series. Not having read them, I can't personally critique them, but they set off the intuition as wrong. Wrong because of the focus, wrong because of the popularity, wrong because of the attention they get (stealing time from what other areas of our lives.)
Narcissism doesn't lead people to God, it doesn't make us strive to become better Christians. Good wholesome literature should do that at some level. Reading isn't a 'good' in and of itself. It can be an addiction like any other if it supplants what is good in our life.
As Tolkien once pointed out in his essay on fantasy literature, the writer who hopes to feed the imagination in a healthy way must remain faithful to the moral order of the real universe, regardless of how fantastic the details of the fictional world may be. The Natural Law which God has written into our beings cannot be entirely eradicated, but it can be gravely deformed, leading to distortion of consciousness and conscience, and hence our actions. Healthy fiction, no matter how wildly it may depart from the material order, teaches us to love ourselves in a wholesome manner, by loving our neighbor. Indeed, even by loving our enemies—at least by trying to learn to love them, and by believing that it is right to do so. With grace this is possible. But selective love (coupled with selective hatred) does not lead to freedom. It is the feelings of love without the substance of love, the feelings of freedom without the foundations of freedom. If God is the absent father—or the father who perhaps never existed—the hero and his readers are left only with such emotions, their hooked loyalties, their love of the self’s insatiable appetites, which they feel cannot be denied without a killing curse of self-annihilation. That is why so many people cling fiercely to the “values” in the Potter books while ignoring the interwoven undermining of those very values.[emphasis added]

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Breaking point?

Is the American public near the breaking point yet?

More lead paint on children's toys with Mattel recalling more Chinese-made toys and
tainted toothpaste in our prisons. Of course the "Exoerts" say there isn't enough of the toxic chemical in the toothpaste to seriously hurt anyone, but tell that to the almost 400 people that died in Panama from the diethylene glycol in their cough medicine.

Poison is poison, and if it is in consumable products, shouldn't there be a bit more of an outcry? And lead paint on toys? Can you imagine if any U.S. manufacturer tried to pass that off as simply a mistake by the paint supplier?

Oh, but the biggest outcry I read was not about product safety, but about us horrible Americans being too racist. Yes, racist. Apparently our jokes about Chinese take-out food has lead some to think there is A Taste of Racism in the Chinese Food Scare. I am sure that author has continued buying his kids leaded paint chips for toys.

But as scary as taking toys away from children is, it is nothing compared to finding out China now makes 90% of all vitamin C on the U.S. market. And what is Behind the problem?
The reputed lack of central government control to rein in corruption on the part of individual bureaucrats may be a contributing factor in the eyes of most experts, but to focus on that individual corruption is to miss the point. Lord Acton famously remarked, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The totalitarian communist regime that has ruled China with an iron fist for almost 60 years has had a major corrupting influence on those who wield power from top to bottom. But the power vested in the top officials puts them in a position to blame their underlings for the corruption, deflecting attention from the fact that the system itself is corrupt and will not be changed by replacing one corrupt official with another.
Not funny, but interestingly enough, one executive is executed for his involvement in the scandal, and now another Chinese executive kills self.

Bad day to be an executive in a Chinese export company, worse to be taking the vitamins that are made by such a company.

Monday, August 13, 2007

What could be better

Than a comprehensive Catholic guide to the NFL? For the Greater Glory has a team by team analysis whether a Catholic can in good faith cheer for each NFL Team.

No surprise in which team comes up in radiant splendor, and the only thing better would be if he had found a way to include the Vikings as compatible with the Faith.

No, wait, that would be the Cafeteria Catholic's guide to mediocre faith and the NFL. Hmmm, I can root for the Saints, but I can't quite leave the Vikings yet. Perhaps I will have to repent. But as any good football fan knows, just like the court dates for your favorite team convict, it will be after the season of course.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Wouldn't we all

The Deacon's Bench has some Bulletin announcements I'd like to see
BRITNEY SPEARS CONCERT CANCELLED! Unfortunately, our efforts to get pop sensation Britney Spears to perform a benefit fundraiser for the parish have proven unsuccessful. Her calendar is full. Therefore, those who have been arriving at Mass every Sunday dressed for a Britney Spears concert should know that they don't have to do that anymore. Modest church-going attire will do nicely. We will notify you if the situation changes.

PLANS FOR PARISH SWIMMING POOL SCRAPPED! After much study, our finance committee has determined it would not be feasible to construct an indoor swimming pool in our church. Among other things, they report, it would interfere with the valuable work now being performed each Sunday by our ushers, who have enough difficulty navigating the aisles without doing it in flippers and a life vest. As a result, we can now announce with certainty that those who have been arriving for Mass as if dressed for the pool need not do so. Also, we hope to keep the air conditioning cranking all summer long. So you do not need to wear shorts, halter tops or bikinis to Mass.

FAULTY ALARM CLOCKS POSE DANGER! An exclusive parish investigation has uncovered a new danger facing our parishioners: people who enter the church 15 minutes after Mass has started, and attempt to find a seat by climbing over the rope strung across the aisle. This can result in falls or -- in some cases -- embarassing displays of underwear. Experts recommend that all Catholics check their alarm clocks every night to make sure they are working, so that they can arrive at Mass on time.

CELL PHONES CAUSE HEAD INJURIES! New research indicates that people who bring cell phones to church are more likely to suffer serious head trauma, usually caused by the priest throwing the lectionary at them. Such people are also more likely to be wounded by hurled umbrellas and rolled up missals. We care about our parishioners. As a public service, then, we are advising all to leave cell phones at homne or, failing that, to flick the switch to "vibrate." Medical experts say it will lead to a longer, healtheir life. There is also anecdotal evidence that such precautions will keep your neighbors in the pews from digging their nails into your hand during the "sign of peace."

MUNCHIES AT MASS? Rampant rumors persist that the parish is planning to institute a mid-Mass picnic every Sunday. This has led some parishioners to arrive at church with water bottles, yogurt, animal crackers, sandwiches and the occasional box of candy. Rest assured: the only food we will be serving will be of the spiritual kind, at the usual time, at the usual place -- by the altar rail during communion. Don't worry about bringing anything else. We have all you'll need right here. Just BYOS. Bring Your Own Soul.
Love that last line.

Any to add to that? I think I have one or two:
PRAYERS OF THE FAITHFUL DEBATE has been cancelled. Although this is a favorite time of Mass for many attention starved parishioners, we have decided to scrap this portion for the health of our elderly members who cannot handle standing for the lengthy period while the people pontificate on their well worded views on pet subjects. It is also uncomfortable for our hearing impaired members who struggle to hear the diatribe and don't know whether to respond with the "Lord hear our prayer." or hiss their disapproval.
Yes, sister we know you will still cling to the changing of the unchangeable in hopes of becoming a priestess one day. And yes dear usher, we understand your political views are not very well represented in our parish, but politics is so blasé compared to receive the body and blood of our Lord.

CHURCH CURRENT EVENTS DISCUSSION GROUP CANCELLED. No longer will you feel inadequate because you missed the Saturday night news, latest TV reality show or didn't read the Sunday paper before Mass. From now on, our homilies will consist of references to only two publications, the Bible and the Catechism. No more scanning the morning paper on the way to church so you can relate to the homily. No more embarrassing blank looks when the homilist tries to be relevant and hip while alienating half the congregation. Just listen to the readings for the day, preview them if you wish, but listen and learn about scripture during the Liturgy of the Word.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Soldiers love Ron paul

Gotta break the sabbath for this video. No wonder Ron Paul receives more money from soldiers than anyone else.

Rethinking priorities

Any thoughts that people may start being a little concerned about the value of our dollar? Or shall we just put it on the card and worry about it later?

Dow plunges 387 on subprime concerns - Yahoo! News

NEW YORK - Wall Street plunged again Thursday after a French bank said it was freezing three funds that invested in U.S. subprime mortgages because it was unable to properly value their assets. The Dow Jones industrials extended its series of triple-digit swings, this time falling more than 380 points.

The announcement by BNP Paribas raised the specter of a widening impact of U.S. credit market problems. The idea that anyone — institutions, investors, companies, individuals — can't get money when they need it unnerved a stock market that has suffered through weeks of volatility triggered by concerns about tight credit and bad subprime mortgages.

A move by the European Central Bank to provide more cash to money markets intensified Wall Street's angst. Although the bank's loan of more than $130 billion in overnight funds to banks at a low rate of 4 percent was intended to calm investors, Wall Street saw it as confirmation of the credit markets' problems. It was the ECB's biggest injection ever.

The Federal Reserve added a larger-than-normal $24 billion in temporary reserves to the U.S. banking system.
Or in the case of our Federal Reserve, just print more money.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Blog rest

As I approach 2 years of blogging, I am inclined to take a bit of time off. More pressing issues, a desire to write more in-depth articles and a bit of burn out requires a breather.

See ya when the inspiration returns.