Thursday, January 31, 2008

Kooks and crazies

We braved the weather with all the other "kooks and crazies" to go see Ron Paul in Spokane. About 1000 people there by my estimation, 300 chairs were filled and the other half of the room was standing room only. And filled to the back. We got the last chair, given to the nursing mother of course, while the other two of us stood behind the chairs, pretty good "seats" as we could see well.

The message was outstanding, only disappointment was that Dr. Paul had to hustle out right after his speech on his way to another stop. My wife would have loved to shake his hand, perhaps a picture with him and our little girl (in her "Ron Paul didn't deliver me, but it isn't too late." onesie.) I will analyze the speech a bit more this weekend, but it was mainly on a financial tone. And he gave a solution to our financial woes. More on that later.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

White confiteor

What a hoot, the The Ironic Catholic thinks Minnesota has Confiteor weather.
it was cold. -12 and windy. I suppose the wind chill was about -250 or so), it came to me.

This is Confiteor weather.

Don't get me wrong. I love singing the Kyrie Eleison in Mass, which often replaces the Confiteor. But something about the Confiteor (printed below, if you don't know what I'm talking about) fits here. My sin. Weather that can kill you. Walking to the bus stop as walking through the valley (or weather) of death. Desperate seeking for shelter and warmth. It's all connected somehow.

Personally, I don't think I can say the Confiteor enough. If this weather reminds me of that, well, that's a blessing. So as a Minnesota transplant, I can finally embrace winter. It's High Confiteor season.

Feel free to say it with me:

I confess to Almighty God,
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have sinned through my own fault:
In my thoughts and in my words,
In what I have done,
and what I have failed to do.
And I ask Blessed Mary, ever Virgin,
all the angels and saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.

Amen indeed. Not that bad here, but I can relate. Plenty of time for prayer as we slowly commute to and from work.

being judicial

In anticipation of Ron Paul's visit tomorrow, I will leave you with some wisdom on Politics and Judicial Activism — Ron Paul 2008

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Book it

Looks like Ron Paul headed for Spokane. Get the babysitter Ethel, Dr. No is coming to town.

Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul is expected in Spokane Thursday evening for a speech at the downtown Double Tree Hotel.

Local organizers of the Paul campaign said the candidate -- who arguably has the most visible support in Spokane if that can be judged by yard signs -- will be come here after a stop in Seattle.

The visit it timed to help build support for the Feb. 9 GOP precinct caucuses and the Feb. 19 primary.

The event is free, with doors opening at 5 p.m. for the rally and speech.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Chrism Cologne

Yesterday was the joyous day of our daughter's baptism.  I can hardly think of anything more beautiful that welcoming another son or daughter as a child of God.

One tricky part having a large family is finding the Godparents.  (friends reading this, please understand this is supposed to be humorous.)  The last time around the couple we chose mentioned how honored they were to be asked, I said, well consider that we had six children, so they were the sixth couple we had asked...  So no offense to the seventh set, we just didn't know you back with the first few.  And why do I mention the esteemed godfather?  Because this post was inspired by his love for the spicy smell of the Chrism that the newly baptized are anointed with.  He mentioned he would love to be able to smell that all the time.  Perhaps market a Chrism Cologne.  So here it is.


Introducing the newest in the line of the Catholic Essentials; Chrism Cologne

tiara3  Smell as good as the day you were baptized!

Oh the odor of sanctity, no whiff of despair or tinge of angst.  You may have to beware of strange Italian guys infringing on personal space for a hit of this Balsamic Beauty.  But with the limited edition papal tiara bottle and lifetime membership in God's family, no child of God will want to be without this item.

The bottle plays sounds of running water and with this fragrance, it may just take you back to a better time, a time when your soul was washed clean in the Blood of the Lamb.*

For a Limited Time only, leave an indelible mark on your aroma.

*Cologne does not remove sin, please check with your priest for the Sacraments.

Now we get the picture

Of why he was such a maniac. Hitler was a cowboy fan, had to eat at him every day.
*text profanity alert*

via Rod Dreher's Crunchy Con

The ever present question

For those with big families is "you have how many?"

Well, Sherry at "Chocolate for your brain" has 50.  Responses, that is, to the questions.  Some of my favorite

43. Creating my own voting block for when I run for President.

38. Q: Don't you know how this works? A: Well yeah! (I always say this with a big smile)

36. With such good looking intelligent offspring, it seemed selfish to limit ourselves.

32. I can drown out anyone in an argument with pure sound. (Surround sound)

29. Defense in depth. (something about meeting the enemies at the gate)

19. Exiting Car is an event. (quite a spectacular event by the looks of the spectators.)

9. Never have to worry about being corrupted by too much wealth or material things. (there still is the issue of grandparents...)

1. Said we'd accept children lovingly from God. God took us seriously. (amen!)

And my own?  I don't have quite as many.  I have plenty of reasons, just not as quick on the wit.

10. Its all about the corporal works of mercy.  I get plenty of chances to feed the hungry, clothe the naked... without leaving home.

9. Yeah I have a basketball team of boys, but I am really a fan of football.

8. Still hoping to get it right.  Enjoying the practice.

7.  (for when I don't have all of them, and sometimes the kids beat me to this one) Yes, all mine, but not all of mine.

6. Once we hit three, they had us out numbered.  So beyond that, what difference did the number make?

5. My brothers are chiropractors, they can help you with that whiplash.

4. (for the obnoxious women that don't catch the first clue) Watch out, I am potent.

3.  Yeah I know what causes it.  And I still happen to enjoy it.

2. And so does my wife. (that is like the upper cut that closes the slack jaw from the previous response.)

1. And from a Marie Bellet song, "Can't you see these eager faces are the best of me."

It's snow fun time

I love the snow.  I love to hear people get dramatic over a little cold weather or several inches of snow.  We got somewhere over 12 inches in the last two days, probably more but it was heavy and kept settling. 

Don't have a snow blower, I got kids.  I sent them out on Saturday night to shovel so the run to Church on Sunday would be clear.  A very wise move by my wife was purchasing additional shovels.  I had one it never worked to have the boys take turns with it.  We have 3 snow shovels and one is little for the smaller boys.  Looks like the grain harvest on those big wheat farms when they all line up and start plowing.

Last night I took one boy out with me and we cleared away another 4-5 inches.  It makes a father's heart swell watching a boy really put himself into hard work.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Worshipping the few

As society tells us that children are too much work, too expensive and just plain too messy to bother having, we oblige and run ourselves and them ragged, spend too much on them and make a mess of raising them.

I guess the fewer there are, the more those few should be worshipped.  Strikes me as odd, we value them so little, yet we worship them endlessly.  Take for instance the complaints this priest fields from parents.

More often, I find, are the truly bizarre complaints: “Why does my child have to memorize the Act of Contrition?” “I don’t want my child to have to do any homework from religious education; he’s too busy already.” “You don’t really expect us to come every week, do you?” “My child doesn’t have to go to confession, she hasn’t committed any sins.” “What’s the big deal if he got a zero on the test, it’s not like it’s the S.A.T. or something.” I am not joking here. These are actual questions posed to me by some St. Matthew’s parents. The purpose of our Catholic Faith is to help people get to Heaven. Its purpose is not to allow people to have nice parties after Baptism, Communion, and Confirmation.

What he is finding there is parents that either worship their child or aren't willing to stand up as a parent.  Seems so many are worried about offending the child rather than raising them.  And we wonder why they are self-centered.

Our blind son that goes to public school had his heart set on being the dog in the an upcoming Lewis and Clark presentation.  He went to the audition and tried out.  A bit about him, he is good with a microphone and love performing.  But singing or dancing is out.  So in part because of that and because of the popularity of that part, he didn't get the role.  He got a different part and after a bit of convincing, has it pretty much memorized and is enthusiastic about it.

But one of his teachers or someone involved with the audition called my wife and said he didn't get the part, and was that okay with us?  That blew me away.  I thought he went to an audition, not an entitlement bazaar.   Was it okay that our son didn't get the part he wanted but wasn't truly willing to commit to because of the bit of dancing?  Emphatically YES!  It is okay for my son to fail. 

If he had tried out for the part and just not gotten it because he wasn't good enough, I would have felt a little bad for him.  But he wasn't willing to do what the part required and now the teacher asks us if that is okay?  Yes, he is blind, but that doesn't entitle him to squat.  He is a child and has a dignity all his own, but please don't think he is entitled to special treatment.  Perhaps I should also petition the Idaho legislature to include blind children who don't like to dance as a special interest group that is being singled out for harassment.

Handicap children are a ton of work.  But thank God we have many children and are busy enough that he doesn't get treated like he is more special than how special all children are.

Child, meet the parents.  Parents, meet being the grown up.  Get used to it.

Friday humor

Got this bit of humor via email.  Usually I don't even forward emails on, but I guess I must be a lexophile.  These made me laugh out loud.

1. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger and bigger, and then it hit me.

2. Police were called to a daycare center where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.

6. Writing with a broken pencil is pointless.

7. While fish are in schools, they sometimes take debate.

15. All the dead batteries were distributed free of charge.

18. A will is a dead giveaway.


more to follow.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Could it be

That the powers that be in the GOP are getting a bit worried? Enough for foul play? Dunno, you be the judge. Paul Alleges Boondoggle on the Bayou.

Ron Paul came in second in Louisiana, but could it have been first? You won't hear about it floating down the mainstream media.

Grocery and Gas stimuli

It is a sad state when an article on economics and tax rebates make one chuckle. Perhaps the cynicism has already set in. Tax rebate deal could mean checks by May
With unprecedented speed and cooperation, Congress and the White House forged a deal Thursday to begin rushing tax rebates of $600 to $1,200 to most tax filers by spring, hoping they will spend the money just as quickly and jolt the ailing economy to life.
With the value of the dollar by then, that should fill up the SUV twice. Reminds me of the saying, don't spend it all in one place.

The "unprecedented speed and cooperation" line made me smile, only spending someone else's money gets met with such speed and cooperation in Congress.
agreement to pump about $150 billion into the economy this year and perhaps stave off the first recession since 2001.
Don't know what they call it in DC, but "stave off" may be a tad late and "first recession since 2001" doesn't buy many groceries for me. Maybe life is better when you get to vote for your own pay raise and spend other's money.

Young minds

Listening to "The Gambler" by Kenny Rogers and my daughter pondered how the video generation would interpret the lyrics "If your gonna play the game boy, ya got to learn to play it right."

Probably would wonder how an old fogey would even know how to play their game.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

the Arena, the Christians and the lion (lying)

Matthew at CMR has some quotes to note regarding
Archbishop Burke and Saint Louis U. Basketball Coach.
"It's not possible to be a Catholic and hold those positions," Burke said. "When you take a position in a Catholic university, you don't have to embrace everything the Catholic church teaches. But you can't make statements which call into question the identity and mission of the Catholic church...I'm confident it (the university) will deal with the question of a public representative making declarations that are inconsistent with the Catholic faith."[emphasis added]
Sadly Burke was thinking this Catholic University was actually Catholic.

As Matthew points out, this is the the Jesuit school that is not controlled by "religious creed" and, hence:
The school was able to convince the Missouri Supreme Court that they were hardly Catholic at all in order to receive $8 million of taxpayer dollars to build a new arena. Hey look, Judas only got a few silver pieces. The Jesuits got $8 million. Inflation?

Sum total

Indeed, this does sum it up nicely.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

McCorvey endorses Paul

Looks like the word on the street came to pass as Norma McCorvey of Roe Abortion Case Endorses Ron Paul for President
Washington, DC ( -- Before the March for Life this morning Norma McCorvey, the former Jane Roe of the infamous abortion case that allowed unlimited abortions nationwide, backed Ron Paul fo the GOP presidential nomination. McCorvey is now pro-life and she says Ron Paul is the best candidate to make sure abortion is no more.
"Ron Paul doesn't just talk about being pro-life, he acts on it. His voting record truly is impeccable and he undoubtedly understands our constitutional republic and the inalienable right to life for all," McCorvey added.

Monday, January 21, 2008

From empty tombs to empty caskets

Patrick at CMR blogs about a certain Father McCartney that seems to have the courage to stand up to the secular world. In his page in the bulletin, he reminds his parishioners of the importance of practicing their faith. And how some children are denying their Catholic parents the right to a Catholic Funeral Mass. So he won't do a short sterilized "prayer service" at the funeral parlor. If they want a "prayer" for their beloved deceased, they will have to do it at the church.
Let the non-practicing family sit in God’s house, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, and stare into the darkness of their own unbelief. If I am the one to throw some Catholic sand in the secular eye, I am only too happy to oblige.
Read the whole letter, it is well worth the time.

Funny how many used to rail against the Church because their deceased couldn't have a funeral Mass (for non-Catholics, suicides...). Now they exclude themselves. How sad.

Match maker

Hopefully we have a match, Ron Paul and Jane Roe
The word on the street, with regard to tomorrow's March for Life, is that Norma Leah McCorvey, Jane Roe of the infamous Roe v. Wade, is going to hold a press conference with Dr. Paul at 10:30am at the Phoenix Park Hotel on the Hill.

According to David Freddoso at National Review Online, "The campaign would not directly answer whether she's going to endorse Paul, but they sure hinted at it."

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Walk for life

It was cold but still a good turn out for the annual walk for life here in Coeur d'Alene. We were a few minutes late, not surprisingly, and had to catch up, but the older kids did that quickly as my wife and I pushed the stroller.

The local Right to Life had members of the local Mary's House and Open Arm's pregnancy center talk afterwards as the kids munched on cookies and hot chocolate. Probably a bit more subdued than Walking for life in SF, but good to be there. Only wish I had remembered the camera.

missing element

Notice the missing element here as the GOP presidential race turns to Florida? Find the missing candidate, the candidate that has beaten Giuliani in every state so far, the candidate that got second in Nevada, the candidate everyone wants to forget. Except for the voters of course. Of course it is Ron Paul.

They would rather talk about Giuliani who has disappointed everywhere and has camp out in warm weather Florida waiting for a miracle. Much rather talk about Thompson who has yet to even start his campaign. Perhaps they should start asking Giuliani if he will run as an independent. He fits the bill of an fence straddler better than Dr. Paul anyway.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Down goes Huckabee

At least that is my prediction after his latestcomments on the Constitution. I have said it before, and will say it again. Huckabee isn't a conservative, but a big government Republican. And with this line, he is bordering on being the dreaded Theocrat.
He said abortion is one of just two areas "where I believe we ought to amend the Constitution right now. But I do believe we should and settle this issue of having 50 states running around trying to decide what's right and what's wrong in relationship to the sanctity of human life and the dignity and worth of people.".

"The Constitution is a document -- it's a living, breathing document written in order that it could be changed," Huckabee explained.
Could be the Washington beltway just wants to feed the Us vs. Them mentality. The democrats scream about Bush being a theocrat and so the other side must want one of them.

What is a deeper problem is his "50 states" line. The Bill of Rights settles that with the 10th amendment.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
So give me Ron Paul and his respect for my rights.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Three strikes and your out

First off, the new "skinny" line at Starbucks isn't new. Even us backwoods folk here in Idaho used that term many years ago in reference to nonfat milk in lattes.

Second, get real. Skinny isn't politically correct. One could make the argument that people drink the overpriced burnt coffee for an ego boost, but ordering a "skinny" latte could offend someone? Next thing you know, ordering a tuna on wheat will offend some ... oh say Jewish folks. Dunno why, I can't imagine the amount of time these people waste looking for something offensive.

But the last straw was this
But not everyone is on board. The Starbucks Gossip blog featured a letter from a barista sharing her concerns about the new drink title. Among her complaints? A new drink type will cause confusion among customers, and use of the the word "skinny" to describe a beverage is politically incorrect, and could hurt customers' or workers' self-esteem.
Has she actually looked at the menu?

Do you hear

What I hear. A song, a song. A song about what large families hear every time they go out.
via the Ironic one.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Papal Irony

Protesting students at a university founded by Pope Boniface VIII back in 1303 successfully get Pope Benedict's visit canceled. And the Pope's intended message "I don't come to impose the faith"
"Many things said by theologians in our [Church] history or even practiced by Church authorities, have been proven false by history. Nevertheless, it is true that the history of the saints, the history of Humanism grown on the foundations of the Christian faith, demonstrates that at its essential core is the truth of the faith, thus giving it a role in public reason."
Oh the sweet irony when the uninformed proclaim their shallow knowledge from the rooftops.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

They that lack faith

Amid the hooting and hollering, clapping and cheers, there is a hollow silence. The atheist and "secularists" that protested the papal visit to La Sapienza university in Rome, and think they have won, are exposing a crisis of faith. No, not a crisis of faith in God, there has to be some faith for it to be a crisis. They are revealing a crisis of faith in "science". Or more accurately, their faith in secularism.

If their "science" can't handle a visit from a prominent religious figure, perhaps it isn't science at all. Science by definition should be tested. If the theory doesn't hold up, then it is discarded.

More Potter

Jimmy Akin has a clarification on the Potter article that I posted yesterday. Seems not only were the arguments stale, but it was only half the story. The other half? Writers in Vatican newspaper debate lessons of Harry Potter novels

Ahh, the ills of trying to skew the data. Hence the reason I stay out of it (for the most part.) I don't like the books, but it is about useless to go off on a tangent based on someone else's biased review.

Ad=insert your line here

With Pope Benedict celebrating the Mass “ad orientem” in the Sistine Chapel, we get plenty of Ad (your own line here) type of articles. Even the CNA falls victim of the dizzyness created when a priest turns around.
Vatican City, Jan 15, 2008 / 04:22 am (CNA).- Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Mass on Sunday in the Sistine Chapel, using the church’s original altar beneath Michelangelo’s depiction of the Last Judgment instead of the removable altar used by Pope John Paul II.

The Vatican’s office for liturgical celebrations issued a statement saying the decision to use the old altar was used to respect "the beauty and the harmony of this architectural jewel."

Using the old altar meant that Pope Benedict occasionally celebrated the liturgy with his back to the people, a posture called “ad orientem” or “towards the east” in the traditional phrasing. It was the first time Mass had been celebrated in the Chapel in such a way since the Second Vatican Council, which took place between 1962 and 1965.

The choice echoes part of the Pope’s reintroduction of traditional liturgical practices, some of which were phased out by the Second Vatican Council. The Pope has also encouraged the revival of Gregorian chant, a centuries-old style of liturgical music.

During the Mass at the Sistine Chapel, the Pope baptized 13 babies.
I have yet to see a document that speaks of "ad orientem" without mentioning the "back to the people" line. Would it be so hard to edit that phrase to say, "facing East while leading his flock in worship" or merely "facing East with the people"?

So it leads me to a meme of sorts. With all the dizziness experienced by the media in reporting this phenomenon, what comes to your mind when you read an article on "Ad Orientum"? The Curt Jester has already added his with "Ad Entertainer" or I might edit "Ad Entertaineum". For me it would be "Ad Nauseam" in reference to the ongoing dizziness of the media.

What would you add?

Lift the ban

A quote to note here at Huckleberries Online
*Idaho reviews Election Day liquor ban/Betsy Russell, Spokesman-Review -- Good, it's getting harder to vote for some of these guys while you're sober.

Monday, January 14, 2008

More fuss about Harry

Uh oh. Harry Potter, wrong model of a hero, Vatican newspaper says. Not a Potter fan here, but I largely stay out of the fray because, a) I haven't read them, b) why waste time and energy on a distraction such as this. It just isn't the "front lines" of the culture war to me.

But looks like someone just dug up last year's headlines. They make some good points, but also trot out then Cardinal Ratzinger's response to a book given to him as a gift.

Breaking down the myths

Glad someone did. I despise urban legends or myths that get bandied about like they are true. Jimmy Akin details a new study about Belief in the Eucharist.

Muddling through

Dom highlighted an interview of Peter Kreeft in the Boston Globe about his book, Expressing love when we're still able
Q. Why publish [the book] for a general audience, when these are basically love letters to your kids?

A. Because all children are very similar, and all parents are very similar, and all wisdom is very similar. What's true is true.

Q. You start the book saying you wish you'd been a wiser and more present parent for your children. What regrets do you have as a parent?

A. Like most parents, we had good will but not the expertise we wish we had. Back in Victorian days, the father was the paterfamilias who would lecture at the dinner table and have absolute authority. Nobody wants to return to that, but we don't have an adequate substitute, so we muddle around.
Spoken like a true dad. We had all the answers when we didn't know the questions. But once the questions come (and keep coming) and they aren't as easy as we rehearsed, we struggle as parents. A friend once joked that because of his muddled influence on his children, he wished he could throw the first one back.
Q. Your kids have had a chance to read the book. What have they said?

A. It's mainly a work of love, so the main reaction was gratitude - "Thanks, Dad."
I can imagine some of those responses were about as enthusiastic as that line reads. (just imagining that his children weren't all overjoyed about his love letters to them being published) But then again, perhaps he was a better parent and his children are old enough to appreciate their dad (as in they have children of their own).

Friday, January 11, 2008

Good and bad

The good; Approval of English Missal Closer.

The bad; closer means fall 2008? or later.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Blind son or not, this is just an amazing video. Others probably can attest more-so than I, because I don't find my own son's remarkable musical talent that, shall I say, remarkable? Indeed he can amaze me, but living with someone with a handicap seems to eliminate that very word from the vocabulary. It often sounds cliche, but he doesn't seem handicapped to me. Just has a different method for processing information.

Nowadays, in the 4th grade, it isn't odd to see him seated on the couch reading a book, laughing every now and then, and telling us every part he finds funny. Sounds remarkably quite like our daughter at that age. Yeah he probably skates by on some jobs that the other children have to do. But he has his chores to do, and remarkably enough he does many chores better than the others. Although the 10 year old attitude is probably about the same.

Just wait until the IRS catches up to them.

In more news of the weird sort, FBI wiretaps dropped due to unpaid bills
"We also found that late payments have resulted in telecommunications carriers actually disconnecting phone lines established to deliver surveillance results to the FBI, resulting in lost evidence," according to the audit by Inspector General Glenn A. Fine.
Imagine if the suspects didn't pay their bills. FBI wiretapping might just go out of business.

Teaching versus preaching

Kind of a variety type of post here.   Clearing the clutter of my mind in one sweeping post.  But it strikes at something Tolkien and CS Lewis detested, something that Paul Vischer of Veggie Tales fame learned it the hard way.   Something that the Huckleberries gang sounded off on earlier this week.

Overt religiosity in art/media.  And by art, we mean books, music, theatre....  I think it was Tolkien that railed against being preachy in writing.  He had another word for it that escapes me (another example separating my humble scratchings from his timeless classics).  His thought was a work should be infused with the writers morality, but not in a moralizing, overt way.   Someone reviewing the recent Golden Compass movie showed how the writer Pullman used his characters to smack his "moral" into the face of the reader, as if they were not intelligent enough to discern from the work itself.

I think that is what Paul Vischer is learning.  And what so much of what passes as Christian art has yet to learn.  (and as I listen to it,  Standing by the Door by Duvall gets it right.)

True prayer and worship of God gets ourselves out of the way.  It isn't about us, but about God.  We pray for God's sake, not for our own consolation.  That is why so many (Joy Behar on the View) miss about Mother Theresa's struggle with doubt.  She had faith, but she received little consolation after her initial encounter with Jesus.  She prayed, but heard no response.  And to persevere for such a long period of time is amazing in itself, how long would any of us stay the course?

For me, I know about receiving little consolation.  I treasure the few moments I get, but hopefully I am learning how to pray for God's sake rather than mine.  I am currently listening to the Into the Deep podcast.  Their very first one was an intro to prayer.  And what a revelation.  These guys are good, and kinda funny too.  So now I am heartened about prayer, about sticking with it. 

Consolation may come in time, but if not, who cares.  It ain't about me.

That is what seems to be amiss in the Christian art.  Use your talent, but let God take care of the message.  It is ultimately the Holy Spirit that changes hearts anyway, so why foul up His message by getting in the way.  I think that was what Tolkien was getting at.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Clinics on strike, unborn children rejoice

The Silent Scream has turned into the silent cheer as
Spain abortion clinics on strike
The private clinics that carry out more than 90% of legal abortions in Spain have begun a week-long strike calling for changes to the law.
Here's to hoping they stay on strike longer.
They say women and doctors should have better legal protection. The strike is expected to affect up to 2,000 women.
2,000 babies remain. un-affected.

Funny how with Europe's low birthrate, it has seemed the babies were on strike. Or perhaps the storks are picketing for better hours.

via the CMR

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Ron Paul quote for the day

From his issues section on Racism
Racism is simply an ugly form of collectivism, the mindset that views humans strictly as members of groups rather than as individuals. Racists believe that all individuals who share superficial physical characteristics are alike: as collectivists, racists think only in terms of groups. By encouraging Americans to adopt a group mentality, the advocates of so-called "diversity" actually perpetuate racism.

The true antidote to racism is liberty. Liberty means having a limited, constitutional government devoted to the protection of individual rights rather than group claims.

Monday, January 07, 2008


Just wondering how many readers out there had their Epiphany hijacked by the US Bishops deciding this would be a good week to foist the "migration week" theme on us? 

Our priest was halfway through a good homily on the readings when he switched gears to the politically motivated-one sided slant on how we are all migrants, and just like the "wise people" the migrants deserve....  I can't remember what came next because it was like those videos you are supposed to watch closely and then Wham! someone jumps into the screen and scares you.  The whole train of though just slammed into the proverbial wall.

First, how lame is it hitching the "migrant week" to the visit of the Magi?  The Magi were traveling to a foreign land to adore the King of Kings, God made incarnate, not trying to subvert the laws and perhaps a whole nation.  And lest anyone forget, the Magi went home when their visas expired.  You could make the case that Herod wasn't exactly friendly to the travelers, but comparing Duncan Hunter or even Tom Tancredo to Herod is quite a reach.

Second, it isn't migration that concerns people.  I am a migrant.  I moved from one part of the country to another.  But I am not an immigrant.

someone who leaves their country or origin to take up permanent residence in another country

Thirdly and most importantly, it was Mass.  And major feast day. Which they chose to hijack for their political purpose.  They are Bishops, and they of all people should know better.

Using the right lens

Marcellino D'Ambrosio offers a superb example of looking at the appearance of the Magi
through the right lens. As he puts it
If it is the right lens, it magnifies the text and allows us to get at its true meaning. If it is the wrong lens, we get a distorted image.
Are these camel-borne, gift bearing, three kings actually biblical? Well, using the narrow lens to read only the New Testament verses regarding the visit of the Magi, all that would seem... well un-biblical tradition.

But, step back and factor in the prophecies and Psalms, we get a more accurate picture.
It just so happens that the lens the Catholic tradition uses to read the story flows from Scripture itself — to be precise, it flows from the connection between holy words written hundreds of years apart. But despite the many years and different human authors, the texts were inspired by the same Divine Author, the Holy Spirit. In chapter 60 of Isaiah (Is 60:1-6), it is predicted that at a time of darkness, the glory of the Lord will shine over Jerusalem. The heavenly light will be a beacon to the pagan nations and even to their kings. Here we find mention of camels whose job it will be to bring the wealth of these nations, including frankincense and gold, to the city of the Lord. Psalm 72 agrees that far off kings will bring gifts to the Son of David.
So we can dispense with the fundamental error that comes from the narrow lens. Of course, there still is the issue of the names. Those came from a different source.
In the early Church, Epiphany was therefore second only to Easter vigil as the time to celebrate the sacrament of baptism. Blessed water from those baptisms were used to bless the dwellings of the faithful, and it became customary to write over the doorposts of blessed homes "C+B+M" meaning "Christ blesses this house (Christus bendicat mansionem). Since the three kings were also remembered at the same time, someone decided to give them names, and to use CBM as their initials — Caspar, Balthasar, and Melchior. The names stuck.
Which reminds me. We forgot to do that yesterday.

Friday, January 04, 2008

The Science of Consensus

Hard to not be impressed with Cardinal Pell after reading his interview with Catholic World Report.

You are one of very few public figures in this country to express open skepticism about man-made climate change and its alleged long-term effects. What is your reading of the scientific evidence for climate change? What is the basis of your skepticism?

Cardinal Pell: I am certainly skeptical about extravagant claims of impending man-made climatic catastrophes. Scientific debate is not decided by any changing consensus, even if it is endorsed by political parties and public opinion. Climate change both up and down has been occurring, probably since earth first had a climate. [emphasis added]

He seems to know the science behind the scene and better than that, understands what science is.

Cardinal Pell: There are many measures that are good for the environment that we should pursue. We need to be able talk freely about this and about the uncertainties around climate change. Invoking the authority of some scientific experts to shut down debate is not good for science, for the environment, for people here and in the developing world or for the people of tomorrow.

My task as a Christian leader is to engage with reality, to contribute to debate on important issues, to open people's minds, and to point out when the emperor is wearing few or no clothes. I strive to argue rationally towards God the Creator, and reject substitutes, be they pantheist or atheist.

Radical environmentalists are more than up to the task of moralizing their own agenda and imposing it on people through fear.

It is not as if he is advocating the destruction of the environment, much to the contrary.  But within the bounds of Christian responsibility.

Of course, if the locally adverse effects of human excesses, such as various forms of pollution, lead to greater care for the environment, that's all to the good. Humans act out of self-interest in these situations, although in addition Christians have particular responsibilities as custodians of God's creation for today and tomorrow.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The lucky ones

Considering the quality of music in many parishes, I might consider deafness to be desirable rather than a handicap.  But I digress (without even getting started no less). 

Back on the topic, Jimmy Akin and Ed Peters give some thought and advice to Fr. McNamara's liturgy column on deafness, liturgy and priesthood.  I particularly like Jimmy's considerations of language

The problem is: Giving deaf people captions written in English is not giving them captioning in their own language.

American Sign Language, despite its use in America, is not English. It has different grammar and different vocabulary. It may have certain loan elements from English, just as English has loan elements from French and German and Latin and Greek, but it is not English any more than English is one of its cognate languages.

and whether a deaf-mute man could be a priest since the sacraments involve the spoken word.

Ed touches on the subject of ministering to the deaf, which touches close to home here.  I have (unsuccessfully) lobbied for some "changes" to the Mass for my blind son.  I asked the liturgy committee if the bell could be rung during the consecration (yes I also had ulterior motives) so the blind would be drawn to the moment of consecration.    I was rebuffed with the explanation that my son was sharp enough to know that from hearing the words of consecration.  Sadly I can say with both the sense of sight and hearing, I still can struggle to focus during that time.  I can only imagine how difficult it would be for those lacking the visual of the body and blood being raised.

There is not going to be perfection in this fallen world, but I can't help but think if the Mass were celebrated as the Church has put forth, it would be about as close to perfection as our humanity could attain (that may seem like a no-brainer to most, but go with the thought here.)  With the spoken word, the tolling of the chimes, the elevation of the body and blood and the genuflection; even those with limited senses could still understand the significance of the moment of consecration.

I'll drink to that

Never really needing a good reason to enjoy a good drink, here is a good reason anyway. Tolkien Society: 2008 birthday toast index

Divine concierge

And what a job he does. Joel Osteen's God really wants you to dress well, stand up straight, and get a convenient parking space
it is, rather, a just-in-time economy's vision of salvation, an eerily collapsible spiritual narcissism that downgrades the divine image into the job description for a lifestyle concierge
Mr. Lehmann hit the nail on the head their. Contrast the health and wealth gospel of Joel Osteen, et all, with the birth of our savior as George Weigel aptly puts it in The God With an Infant's Face.
Because we certainly would have done it differently, wouldn't we? If any of us were God, I doubt we'd have chosen to be born in less-than-optimal obstetrical circumstances in a ramshackle village on the far edge of the civilized world. Indeed, were any of us God, would we have chosen to go through the normal human drill of growing up, with its seemingly endless frustrations and alarums? Why not just arrive on the scene full-grown, at the height of our divine/human powers?
Now that I put those two different views of God side by side, it reminds me of the two diverging views of Christmas. One is about getting stuff, the other about giving of oneself.

Not hard to know which reflects the truth when we remember we are to imitate the life of Jesus. After all, Jesus was driving a brand new Lexus on his 40 day "journey" through the desert.

hat tip to Mark Shea for both of those links.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Huckabee problem

On first blush, hearing his responses in the early debates, I liked Huckabee.  Not as much as Ron Paul, but he was one of the few candidates I could have imagined myself voting for. 

Count that as early delusion because I am officially off his bandwagon.  As I have detailed previously, he has issues with state rights.  This latest interview just blows up how un-conservative his is compared to Ron Paul.  Mark Shea dismantles Huckabee's major gaffe in stating "all law establishes morality." 

Here's the thing: law does not establish morality. Morality is the basis of law. And morality is derived from that fact that men and women are creatures made in the image and likeness of God. It is not derived from what Caesar happens to approve or disapprove.

Mark does it well, so I won't comment on that further except to disagree with Mark that Huckabee probably didn't mean it that way.  Just take him at his word that he believes that law establishes morality.  In the political world of 2008, those in Washington DC, do legislate morality.  And it is what Huckabee is about.  Limited government?  States rights?  Must have imagined that to be a conservative concept. 

Yeah. Because once you give it in one state, then what keeps that couple from having it in New Hampshire and then moving to Arkansas and saying, "Hey, you have to accept what the other state did." That's why it is better cleared up by a marriage amendment that just says marriage is what it always has been.

Yes, Huckabee is railing against homosexual union.  But he is doing so in such a way that I can sympathize with the radical left when they fret about a theocracy.   Huckabee thinks that the federal government is in charge of handing out freedom.  And in charge of defining morality.   Did he forget we are the United States of America?

The states in the US of A are not just some antiquated boundaries better suited for tasteless jokes or sports rivalries.  The limited role of the federal government was crucial to the states agreeing to form a union.  He would be wise to read up on the War between the States considering how often he references it.

I may agree with Huckabee's morality, but I surely don't agree with his politics.

And it seems a few others disagree with his sincerity and his growing anti-Catholic problem.