AoftheA Has Moved!!!!!

Why are you here? I'm over here now:

Acts of the Apostasy...on WordPress!

Click the link and read all the new stuff! Your friends are over there waiting for you!

Instant "Acts"ess

You're one click away from AoftheA's most recent posts:

Today Is The Day
Get ready for it.
Okay Then, That Was Unexpected...
Weird.
Church Art Shouldn't Make You Say "Blech!"
Or cringe.
Cardinal Urges Priests To Liven Up Sermons
I got some ideas...
New Translation Objections Are Becoming More Ridiculous
Grasping at straws...
This Comes As No Surprise
Up with the ex-communicated!
Things A Catholic Ought Never Say
Watch your mouth!
Sister Patricia: On Seven Quick-Takes Friday
Catching up with Sr Pat.
Just Thought You'd Like To Know...
A public service announcement.

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Music Might Be Okay...

...but the lyrics will probably suck.

Came across this at Bettnet.com: An Inconvenient Truth: The Opera. Yes, the same An Inconvenient Truth that won Al Gore an Inconceivable Nobel Prize and Oscar award.

And no, it's not another Andrew Lloyd Webber creation. Italian composer Giorgio Battistelli has been commissioned to produce the opera, and opening night is being planned for 2011.

But, as The Trousered Ape writes at his blog, why wait 3 years? He's produced a parody that is just brilliant, with a cast of characters that includes "AlGor, an ambitious Spirit", "Skeptica, a seeress", and some ill-fated polar bears. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT have any liquid refreshment in your mouth when you read the script. Here's a short excerpt:

Scene: A city square.
.
Enter Skeptica; also Citizens, variously occupied. One pauses to contemplate a placard, headed "DANGER!", posted on a wall.
.
Citizen 1(rec.):
News most alarming. A prophet will come to our city today, to warn us of a doom that will befall us if we do not heed him.
.
Citizen 2:
What can this portent mean?

What danger lurks unseen?
Oh, terror's breath is chill and keen!
.
Citizen 3:
Hark! With beating drums,

The stranger this way comes;
Fantastic rumor round him hums.

Enter Algor. He is accompanied by a Polar Bear in very sad condition: emaciated and limping, with patches of fur missing, and wearing an eyepatch.
.
Citizen 1:
Indeed, his mien is grave;

A hero or a knave?
Oh, does he come to damn or save?
.
Algor(rec.):
Good people, gather! A specter is haunting the land - a specter that will destroy you all, if you do not listen to my warning!


So what's next? A musical based on Michael Moore's Roger and Me?

I'm A Poet And Didn't Know It




The Ironic Catholic sponsored a Catholic poetry contest earlier this month, and I am the recipient of a "Funny Haiku - Notable" award! Humbled (because I think others were much funnier) and honored!

Here's my winning entry:

Choir starts to sing;
It's another Haugen hymn?
How many are there?

Click here to read the winners.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Centepostial Milestone

This is my 100th post.

Not sure I've said all that much yet.

And I didn't think I had a lot to say in the first place!

Thanks for reading!

The Trap Of Tolerance

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released their report earlier this week on the religious beliefs and practices of some 35,000 Americans. The thumbnail sketch results? Many Americans are very religious, but few are dogmatic in their faith.

I'll just focus on some of the Catholic numbers, primarily because they're so troubling.

Among Catholics, just 16% said they thought their religion was “the one, true faith leading to eternal life,” while 79% said “many religions can lead to eternal life.”

Let me repeat that in case you missed it the first time: only 16% said they believed Catholicism is "the one, true faith leading to eternal life", while 79% said "many religions can lead to eternal life." What the remaining 5% believe, I don't know - perhaps they're the ones who like the free coffee and donuts on Sunday, and have no clue either way.

That, dear reader, means that 79% of Catholics, whether they realize it or not, are subscribing to the heretical position of indifferentism. Indifferentism, according to Webster's, is the belief that all religions have equal validity.

That statistic is just mind-boggling. While it's true that God can save whomever he pleases, it is NOT true that any other religious belief is salvific. Only Christ saves - and he established His Church, the Catholic Church, as the means by which we are saved. Vatican II affirms this in Lumen Gentium: In Chapter 2, paragraph 14, it reads "Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation." And later in that same paragraph: "Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved."

So who's responsible for this mess?

Well, pointing fingers at this stage of the game is pointless. The more I dive into the documents from the Second Vatican Council, the more I'm convinced that those who spew about the "spirit of Vatican II" have not taken the time to truly study them. The cited statements above are not even the hardest hitting lines in that paragraph - there are some very indicting words following: "He is not saved, however, who, though part of the body of the Church, does not persevere in charity. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but, as it were, only in a "bodily" manner and not "in his heart."(12*) All the Church's children should remember that their exalted status is to be attributed not to their own merits but to the special grace of Christ. If they fail moreover to respond to that grace in thought, word and deed, not only shall they not be saved but they will be the more severely judged.(13*)"

The mistaken belief that any belief or religion can lead to eternal life is the trap of tolerance. We may feel safe and secure in that thought pattern, content to not offend or anger others. It might mean "getting along" with others in our workplace or our family, but we're not called to get along. We're called to love, and sometimes living out the truths of our faith, always with charity, may put us in uncomfortable situations. When I stand before Him on the day of Judgment, one thing I do not want to be accused of is having offended Him because I avoided offending others, because of my faith. I certainly don't want Him, and the countless martyrs who suffered on account of their faith and charity, standing before me in condemnation.

And our Lord had very strong words for the lukewarm. "Better ye be hot or cold", He said, "for the lukewarm I will spew out of My mouth." And "Away from me ye evil doers, I do not know thee."

With 79% of Catholics toeing the tepid line of tolerance, that'll be a lot of spewage.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Obamanation Of Desolation

Obama once said the US is "no longer a Christian nation."

With horns coming out of his head, that statement comes as no surprise.

RWHT to Creative Minority Report for the pic

Message From PBXVI: "Study Eucharistic Mystery"

Pope Benedict XVI gave the homily via satellite during the Holy Mass at the conclusion of the 49th International Eucharistic Congress held in Quebec City.

Here's the set-up: "'The Mystery of Faith': this we proclaim at every Mass. I would like everyone to make a commitment to study this great mystery, especially by revisiting and exploring, individually and in groups, the Council's text on the liturgy, 'Sacrosanctum Concilium,' so as to bear witness courageously to the mystery."

It's interesting that the Holy Father cited the Vatican II document. It's as if he's saying, "read the actual words of the document instead of following unreliable 'spiritual' interpretations."

And here's the knock-out: "I urge priests especially to give due honor to the Eucharistic rite, and I ask all the faithful to respect the role of each individual, both priest and lay, in the Eucharistic action. The liturgy does not belong to us: It is the Church's treasure."

Game set match.

You can read more about his homily here.

UPDATE: You can read the entire text of his homily here. The title of the article is "The Eucharist Is Not A Meal Among Friends". There are people on my parish's Worship Commission that are going to get copies of this homily.

This So-Called Artist....

...is a few fries short of a Happy Meal.

Anger Over McDonald's Crucifix Art.
Artist Janitzio Moreno and his controversial work (right)
(Article in red; my comments in blue)

AN EFFIGY of a fast food icon on a crucifix in Alexandra Palace has sparked outrage among Christians this week.

Teenage protesters allegedly pinned the exhibition organiser to a wall as they demanded the removal of a figure of Ronald McDonald hanging from a cross on an island in The Lake on Saturday. (well, good for them! It's important to remember that when asking 'What Would Jesus Do?', the answer is sometimes raise a ruckus and knock over a few tables)

Trefor Jones, Baptist minister of Campsbourne Baptist Church, said: "I haven't seen it yet but these kinds of things never impress me. In this country people get away with all sorts of ridicule of the Christian faith."

Tony Peakall, organiser of the Tidy Art exhibition, which runs until Sunday, June 22, revealed how he was attacked by around 10 girls. They reportedly grabbed him and shouted at him to take it down. He said: "When I tried to explain about the piece they said if it was a Muslim symbol we wouldn't do it because we would get bombed." (or least threatened with a human rights violation).

It was scary. They threatened me saying I would be lucky if something doesn't happen to me. We have no plans to remove it." (I hope the girls didn't threaten personal harm - maybe they were referring to his Final Judgment)

Janitzio Moreno, 47, of Great North Road, Highgate, who created the life-size dummy clad in the familiar yellow outfit and curly ginger wig, was shocked at the reaction. He said: "I'm not apologising for it. If there are reactions then it tells us more about the society we live in. I think a lot of evils in the world are a direct result of religious fanaticism, and this is another little example." (So protesting against a work of "art" that mocks Jesus Christ is an evil result of religious fanaticism? Give me a break! If he wanted a reaction, he should have put a turban on Ronald's head and strapped bombs to his body. That would have sparked a much larger reaction)

Reaction to the controversial piece from people at The Lake was mixed. One woman called it an "attack on McDonald's capitalising on selling people unhealthy food" and not Christians. (I bet this woman is a product of public education. If that was the artist's intention, he could have chosen from any other style of execution to punish McDonald's for the sin of exploitation. There are other ways that would send that message explicitly - like lethal injection, or an electric chair. Instead, he chose the form that is clearly identifiable with the Christian faith - an execution, by the way, of the most innocent person ever to walk the Earth. This artist knew what he was doing - he desired attention and figured this was the way to go about getting it. And look! He's in the newspaper!! And in my blog!)

While John Sharp, 43, of Terront Road, South Tottenham, said: "Religion is important to people and they have the right to protest. Faith is more important than art."

Brendan Munro, a minister of Pray Haringey, said: "There is no call for pinning someone against the wall. There are bigger things to worry about. We should always be able to have serious and honest debate about things without getting het up." (Defending one's faith is a pretty big thing to worry about, minister! What did Christ say in Sunday's gospel? 'He who acknowledges me before men, I will acknowledge before my Father.' These girls did the right thing, and I'm willing to excuse their approach because of their age or level of maturity. And I'm not so sure I would have reacted differently if I had seen it)

The Bishop of Edmonton, The Right Reverend Peter Wheatley, declined to comment. (This guy belong to the USCCB or something?)

Among the other pieces surrounding the lake is a chicken made out of Tesco carrier bags and a mannequin with a dress made from feathers. (Sounds like one crappy art show)

A spokesman for McDonald's said: "It seems inappropriate to place an image of Ronald McDonald on any religious artefact." (So that means no Inquisition Toys in upcoming Happy Meals - no Hamburglar on a Rack, Mayor McCheese in an Iron Maiden or Fries Guys in A Pot Of Boiling Oil. Good.)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

From My Mailbox

Normally when I receive emails titled "Incredible story" or "Please read and pass along", I hit the delete button and go on to the next one. But there was something different about this one, and I'm glad I ignored my instincts and saved it. Read and enjoy!

As a general rule, I dont usually forward sappy and sentimental stories. They are not usually worth reading. But this story is, so please read it. Its incredible. In 1986, Peter Davies was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from Northwestern University . On a hike through the bush, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air. The elephant seemed distressed, so Peter approached it very carefully. He got down on one knee and inspected the elephant's foot and found a large piece of wood deeply embedded in it. As carefully and as gently as he could, Peter worked the wood out with his hunting knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot. The elephant turned to face the man, and with a rather curious look on its face, stared at him for several tense moments. Peter stood frozen, thinking of nothing else but being trampled. Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned, and walked away. Peter never forgot that elephant or the events of that day.
Twenty years later, Peter was walking through the Chicago Zoo with his teenaged son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to near where Peter and his son Cameron were standing. The large bull elephant stared at Peter, lifted its front foot off the ground, then put it down. The elephant did that several times then trumpeted loudly, all the while staring at the man. Remembering the encounter in 1986, Peter couldn't help wondering if this was the same elephant. Peter summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder.
The elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk a round one of Peter legs and slammed his stupid ass against the railing, killing him instantly.
Probably wasn't the same elephant.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Punish Me And I'll Sue!!

Here's another sign the world is going completely mad. And an indication that common sense has emigrated from Canada.

I guess this is the natural progression of society when so many parents have abdicated their God-given responsibility to discipline their children: when good parents do exercise their rights, the courts will step in to make everyone equal, which in the secular liberal mindset means reducing it to the lowest common denominator.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Hallmark Cards Set To Reap Benefits Of So-Called Gay Marriage

from AP Wire; by Ima Khiddunew

Attention retailers! Prepare now to make room in your greeting card sections!

Hallmark Cards is announcing a new line of greeting cards in response to the California State Supreme Court ruling that so-called gay marriages can proceed. Since Monday June 16, several hundred couples have tied the knot, meaning that traditional anniversary cards, Father's Day and Mother's Day cards and in-law cards will be joined by selections for the special Party A and Party B in some one's life.

Acts of the Apostasy has acquired an exclusive sneak-peek at two of the first offerings in Hallmark's "Alternative Expressions" line of cards.
"To My Party A On Our Anniversary"










"To The Best Party B Ever...On Party B Day"










There are unconfirmed reports coming from Hallmark's headquarters that a message writer was fired for refusing to work on this line of cards due to religious convictions. Another message writer was sent to sensitivity training after penning the following for a "Wedding" card: "God has blest this day..." and the inside message continued with "....too bad you had to ruin it by getting 'married!'"
"We're concerned about the public backlash," announced Peggy Ignatowski, Hallmark Cards spokesperson, when asked if there was fear of boycotts and lost sales. "But we feel it's more important to make these kinds of people feel normal and accepted, by giving them cards that accentuate their unique lifestyle choices."
Ms. Ignatowski was unsure as to when these cards would start appearing in stores, but she was hopeful it would be before the Apocalypse.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Hour Of The Eucharist

Amid the muck and menagarie of the 2008 Presidential Election hoopla and the quagmire of gay so-called marriage in California, the 49th International Eucharistic Congress is occurring in Quebec City. While it's important to remain informed of current events, and relentlessly defend the Truth, it is vital to remain focused on the summit and source of our faith - Jesus Christ, substantially present in the Eucharist.

I've been reading some of the talks and homilies given by cardinals and priests at the Congress, and there are some worth noting.

Cardinal Josef Tomko said at the opening ceremony if Catholics truly understood the meaning of the Mass, they would not miss it. "If we understand in depth the meaning of our weekly Eucharist, we will revise our frequentation to it. It will become clear for us why the martyrs of Abitine in Northern Africa declared to the pagan judge: 'We cannot live without the (Sunday) Eucharist' -- "Sine Dominico non possumus vivere" -- and why they offered their lives for this conviction."

Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, in his homily on June 17, urged the congregation to not remain at the edge of the mystery of the Eucharist, but to dive deep into learning what remains to be learned. "Humility before the mystery means a simple and profound faith, knowing that for God the bread and wine, the Body and Blood are sufficient to ransom the whole world."

There are also talks given by Cardinals Rigali and Wuerl at the Zenit site that are good reading, too.

I especially enjoyed an interview with Father Nicolas Buttet, the founder of the Eucharistein Fraternity, who was slated to give a talk at the Congress. Click here to read Part I of the interview, entitled "The Hour Of The Eucharist". One statement he made should be uplifting for us all: "The Eucharist is a school of liberty and a school of charity. But, above all, it is the source of the supernatural life of the baptized, without which one remains human, indeed "too human," Nietzsche would have said." In these days where religious tradition is being trampled, where it seems that the forces of evil are winning the day, it's so important to remember that in order to stay hopeful and strong in the faith, we must totally rely on Christ, especially in the Eucharist. If we remain "too human", we'll falter and fail; but if we receive Christ at Mass, and take advantage of perpetual adoration, we will receive the grace necessary to "fight the good fight", and "finish the race".

Yeah, there's lots of bad news out there, and it seems to get worse every day. It's no coincidence that the Church is holding this Eucharistic Congress at this point in time - and how about the fact that it is occurring in Canada, where religious expression is becoming an opportunity for persecution. God is reminding the world that it's only through His Son, present in the Eucharist, that the world is saved. Not many in the world will listen, and most will ignore the message. But those of us who do listen, we will be strengthened, renewed and prepared for the battles.

I'm looking forward to more talks and homilies as they occur through the week, until the conclusion of the Congress on June 22. I'll post more about them throughout the coming days.

Monday, June 16, 2008

A Bit Of Genesis 19 Would Send A Message

A few thoughts on the California "thing", now that 3+ hours have passed since the first "marriage" was performed, and it doesn't look like a 10.0 earthquake is going to happen any time soon.

The capital of California is Sacramento, which is Spanish for "sacrament". I don't believe in coincidence - and I do believe that God will not be mocked.

Just for fun, I looked up the origin of the name 'California'. I found the following from Wikipedia:

The name California is most commonly believed to have derived from a storied paradise peopled by black Amazons and ruled by Queen Califia. The myth of Califia is recorded in a 1510 work The Exploits of Esplandian, written as a sequel to Amadís de Gaula by Spanish adventure writer García Ordóñez Rodríguez de Montalvo. The kingdom of Queen Califia, according to Montalvo, was said to be a remote land inhabited by griffins and other strange beasts and rich in gold.
“Know ye that at the right hand of the Indies there is an island named California, very close to that part of the terrestrial Paradise, which was inhabited by black women, without a single man among them, and that they lived in the manner of Amazons. They were robust of body, with strong and passionate hearts and great virtues. The island itself is one of the wildest in the world on account of the bold and craggy rocks. Their weapons were all made of gold. The island everywhere abounds with gold and precious stones, and upon it no other metal was found."


OK, I'm not trying to read too much into this, but this fabled land was populated by women with no men? Sounds prophetic to me. And inhabited by strange beasts, too. Did de Montalvo see characters like these?

(Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence - "strange beasts" of California)

The state slogan is "Find yourself here." (The state motto is "Eureka" which means "I've found it!") A more apt slogan might be "Lose your soul here."

And lastly, I prayed to the Lord about this today, and I wondered if His aim is a little off right now - record floods in the Midwest, powerful tornadoes in the lower Plains states, searing heat and strong storms along the East coast. He didn't answer me, except I got the sense that He's just getting our attention.

He's got mine.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Grace And Ice Cream

There's nothing better than going to confession, and following it up with a Peanut Butter Cup Cyclone from the local Dairy Mart.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Next Time You Wipe Your Nose....

...you might have a cure on your sleeve.

Interesting story at Life Site News about researchers in Australia who have discovered that adult stem cells taken from the noses of Parkinson's patients developed into dopamime-producing brain cells after being implanted into the brains of rats. Score another victory for the advance of adult stem cell research!

So I guess the ol' joke of sneezing ones' brains out of the nose isn't too far from the truth.

I like this line from the article: "Mackay-Sim's team had developed a technique that extracts stem-cells from the olfactory nerves of patients in a harmless 10 minutes procedure. Unlike unethical embryonic stem-cells - which have yielded no cures despite the investment of hundreds of millions of research dollars - these stem-cells from a patient's nose do not develop into tumours, are compatible with a patient's immune system and therefore do not require dangerous immuno-suppressant drugs." (emphasis mine)

So how soon before Michael J Fox lends his full support to promote this type of research instead of ESCR? A quick search for "Adult Stem Cells" at his website under "Grant Database" yielded a big fat whopping 0 (zero) results. So I wouldn't hold your breath, or plug your nose, in this case.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

"Don't Look At It, No Matter What Happens!"

I wonder if this is what occurs spiritually at Puppet Masses, WOC "ordinations", "masses" led by womynpriests, and the like....




Indy has good advice, if you're tied to a post and can't walk out.

"World's First Church" Discovered

As reported in Breitbart news:
"Archaeologists in Jordan have unearthed what they claim is the world's first church, dating back almost 2,000 years, The Jordan Times reported on Tuesday.
'We have uncovered what we believe to be the first church in the world, dating from 33 AD to 70 AD,' the head of Jordan's Rihab Centre for Archaeological Studies, Abdul Qader al-Husan, said.
"He said it was uncovered under Saint Georgeous Church, which itself dates back to 230 AD, in Rihab in northern Jordan near the Syrian border.
'We have evidence to believe this church sheltered the early Christians -- the 70 disciples of Jesus Christ
,' Husan said."

Click here for the entire story.


There are unconfirmed reports that Call To Action has their own archaeologist on-site, and she has made a discovery that has their members thrilled:


Under centuries-old dirt was found a remnant of a mask similiar to those used in progressive liturgies. The unnamed archaeologist has reportedly stated that it's comforting to know that the world's first Church was committed to the "Spirit of Vatican II".

For those of visiting via Creative Minority Report (rwht to Patrick for the gracious plug!), welcome! Come back as often as you like!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

How's Your Elf Esteem?

If I were an elf, my name would be Olwë Tîwele. Go ahead - try and pronounce it, I dare ya!

Go here to discover your elvish moniker.

I'm not nearly as good with a bow as this guy, though.




And my hair's a bit shorter....

red wings helmet tip (rwht) to Raulito at Disciple of the Dumb Ox

Monday, June 9, 2008

Achieving The Desired Result

One of the toughest tasks as a dad is having to discipline either of my sons. It's an essential component of raising kids, and quite possibly the least liked - even more so than changing diapers. That ends, thankfully, after a couple years or so, but discipline goes on for many more than that. If done correctly, the benefits are without measure. If done poorly, well, there still can be positive effects. But if not done at all, disaster ensues.

I may not see the effects of my disciplining for years to come still, as my sons are entering into the contentious teen-age and "tween-age" times of their lives. I tease them that if they can survive the next half dozen years, they'll come out just fine. They tease me right back, saying I might not be the one who survives. At which point I mention that they used to have an uncle who was three years older than me who said those very words to their grandfather, and he was never heard of again. That shuts them up, for a little while. At least until they catch on to my joke.

I'm reflecting on discipline after having read this article in the Catholic News Agency, where one of the ex-communicated parish board members of St Stanislaus Kostka Church has reconciled with the Catholic Church. Last week, Edward Florek met privately with Archbishop Burke, after which the archbishop declared he was "profoundly happy" for Edward's decision to be reconciled.

Ex-communication is a form of discipline, nothing more than that. It tells the Catholic person "Hey! You've gone too far, you aren't in conformance with Church teaching and this is the step that has to be taken." I'm sure that Archbishop Burke didn't want to ex-communicate these parishoners; I'm sure he felt forced to play that card, as many of us parents are often forced to do with our kids - "I'm going to count to 3, and then you're grounded"; or "Don't make me come up there!!" When the point of no return has been crossed, the Nuclear Option has to be employed to maintain credibility and order. It's done because of love and concern for the person's soul, with the desired result being full reconciliation and peace. The same is true for the Church as it is for the home.

Thankfully, Edward Florek has recognized his sin and has come home, like the prodigal son. Archbishop Burke is the father, overjoyed that one of his wayward children has returned home. Both are better for it, and so is the Church.

Pastoral Punt

I'm not happy with my pastor. His article in our parish bulletin from yesterday shows why:

"As we march on toward the November elections, the co-called 'communion wars' are heating up. The question gets asked: Should Catholic politicians who are compromised on Catholic teaching be allowed to receive Holy Communion? The example most often cited is of leaders who are publicly pro-choice. Should they be welcome at the table of the Lord?

"Today's gospel tells the story of the call of Matthew and offers a perspective on this dilemma. Jesus himself associated with public sinners and often accepted invitations to eat with them. Risking the criticisms of the righteous, the Lord invited Matthew into his inner circle. He was, of course, a tax-collector and a public collaborator with the death-dealing Romans. At Matthew's table Jesus declares: 'Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.' Jesus reveals that his mission is one of mercy in order to bring salvation to sinners.

"The truth is, we are all sinners and none of us are worthy to come to the table of the Lord. However, it is at the table that we experience mercy and find strength to change our lives."

Where to begin?

"...so-called 'communion wars' are heating up..."

Okay, first of all, on the national level, there is no 'communion war' because neither of the presumptive presidential candidates is Catholic! And an issue like this doesn't filter down to state and local races - at least in our neck of Michigan. So the first sentence is bogus. Secondly, the term 'communion wars' is plain ol' media hype, designed to generate emotional reactions rather than critical thinking regarding the central issue. It's frustrating when a Catholic priest of all people references the term instead of using precise language. He should have written "discussion on withholding communion from public officials for their support of intrinsically evil practices incompatible with Church teaching has started appearing in the news." Yeah, it's a bit longer than 'communion wars', but it removes the rhetoric. 'Communion wars' only adds to the dumbing down of the average pew sitter. The term reduces the debate down to "Holy Communion shouldn't be used as political leverage", which is correct. The Eucharist ought not to be. Thing is, that's not what the debate is about. The debate is about Catholic politicians being faithful to the teachings of the Church, and what should be done when they aren't.

"...Should Catholic politicians who are compromised on Catholic teaching be allowed to receive Holy Communion?..."

Compromised? Compromised? I'm sorry, it'd be better to say "opposed to" or "consistently ignore" or "persist in staunch defiance to" instead of compromised. That makes it sound as if they have no choice in the matter. It's language like this that frustrates me so much - there's an underlying current that implies the issue isn't with the politician, but with Catholic teaching. It comes back to how the debate is framed: Holy Communion as political leverage vs. Catholics being faithful to Church teaching, and the consequences of being unfaithful. And unfortunately, in the case of my pastor, he is focusing on the political leverage angle.

"...The example most often cited is of leaders who are publicly pro-choice..."

I think we're going to start seeing more about Catholic politicians who are in favor of, or don't actively oppose, so-called same-sex marriage. Abortion will remain #1 for sure, but the continued assault on marriage will surely generate more attention. And please, father, in the future, don't use the sanitized term "pro-choice." Call it by its proper name: "pro-abortion."

"...Should they be welcome at the table of the Lord?..."

Absolutely not! Guards should be posted at every entrance into the Church, and if these leaders and politicians show up, they ought to be prevented from entering using whatever means necessary!!

Seriously, though, the laity has no jurisdiction over who's welcome and who's not. And 'welcome' is a loaded term. Anyone is welcome to attend Mass; not everyone who attends is eligible to receive Holy Communion. We have the responsibility to examine our consciences, and we receive in good faith if we're not conscious of any unforgiven mortal sin. Our responsibility, before God, is to refrain from Holy Communion until receiving the Sacrament of Penance first. In the case of public officials, though, who stand opposed to Church teaching as evidenced by their voting records or support of intrinsically evil legislation, the bishop has the right and responsibility to confront them and show them the errors of their ways. This is to prevent scandal, and to help save the person's soul (along with his own, by the way - bishops who allow scandal to persist will have some 'splaining to do on Judgement Day). Then, should these efforts fail, the bishop has the right to declare that Governor So-and-so or Senator JimBobPete ought to refrain from receiving Communion for explicit reasons, and that they will be refused Holy Communion should they present themselves. It's not a question of being welcomed or not - it's a question of proper disposition towards the Eucharist, and bishops enforcing Church teaching for the benefit of the faithful by preventing scandal.

Then, what really gets my gall, is suggesting that Sunday's gospel gives us a "What Would Jesus Do" moment. I'm sorry, but I don't see it, especially in light of explicit Church teaching on proper reception of Holy Communion. First of all, Jesus ate meals everyday, and not one of those meals, except for the Last Supper, is meant to be representative of the Catholic mass. It was only at the Last Supper where Christ said "This is my body" and "This is my blood". At all the other meals that Jesus ate, he more than likely said "Good wine - may I have a refill?"; or "Andrew, pass the matzoh please"; and he probably belched on more than one occasion. That's why focusing on the Mass as merely a "meal" where we "come to the table" to "share" fails to encompass its true meaning. The Mass makes Christ's sacrifice on the cross present to us first and foremost; it brings together all the elements of His passion, the Last Supper included. To relegate it mere meal status robs the Mass of its beauty, purpose and intent, and gives shelter to those who want to feel good about themselves rather than face their sins.

Secondly, he didn't risk the "criticisms of the righteous" - he risked criticism of the SELF-righteous. Big difference there. Anyone who defends the Church against blatant scandal and obvious opposition to Christ's teachings is being righteous, not self-righteous. In actuality, it's those who think that they are above Church teaching who are self-righteous.

Lastly, while it is true that "we're all sinners and none of are worthy", it's also true that not everyone is eligible to receive Holy Communion. To receive unworthily, in terms of eligibility, brings condemnation - thus it is more pastoral to refuse where appropriate. It comes down to saving souls, not making people feel welcome. It's about preventing scandal, not preventing backlash from the press. It's about being faithful to Christ and His Church, not about being faithful to popular consensus.

It's rumored that the Archbishop of Detroit will be retiring soon - it's my prayer, and the prayer of many others I know, that his replacement will be a bishop who exhibits strength, courage and is pastorally persuasive, someone cut from the same cloth as Archbishop Naumann, Archbishop Chaput or Archbishop Burke. My pastor possibly hopes otherwise. Depending on who's named the next archbishop of Detroit will determine whether we're still debating "communion wars" or digging in for the battle for souls.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

News Flash!! Vatican III Council Has Been Announced!

Except it's going to be in South Korea. And it wasn't Pope Benedict who announced the council. And orthodox Catholics won't be invited to attend.

Nope, it's none other than excommunicated Archbishop Milingo, who had married into the Moonie movement. As reported in the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation, he's announced that the 3rd Vatican Council will commence before the end of the month.

I imagine this has Call To Action furious. I'm sure they were hoping to call the council first, and if their co-executives hadn't retired this past Spring, then who knows? If it weren't for the time and effort being wasted.....I mean spent on finding replacements, they could have beaten Milingo to the punch. Instead, they have to sit back and hope for an invitation to the party, along with Voice of the Faithless, CORPUS, Dignity, The Crones and every other dissident group under the sun.

And just wait - should the MSM gets hold of this, and decide its a newsworthy story, guess which "Catholic" spokespeople will be interviewed. McBrien. Reese. Chittister. And it wouldn't surprise me if they characterize Milingo's move as "bold", "courageous", "thought-provoking" and "this will force Rome to face the issue of priestly celibacy much more urgently." Whereas it's actually "stupid", "sinful", "deceitful" and "will force Rome to face the issue of open defiance much more urgently."

It could be an interesting June.

Friday, June 6, 2008

D-Day and B-Day

In 1944, the invasion of Normandy occurred.

In 1998, my younger son was born. So Happy 10th Birthday, Number 2!

Mrs. LarryD , if asked, would admit that it felt as if her beaches were being stormed during the delivery.

My list of top ten movies of all time includes Saving Private Ryan. It's not technically a D-Day film, but it begins there, with such a riveting portrayal of the Omaha landing that you know right away, this film is not a glorification of war, but a realistic display of how horrific and graphic warfare is. And so many great timeless themes that are extrapolated in that film: Courage. Valor. Honor. Bravery. Duty to one's country and one's fellow soldier. Sacrifice.

The final 10 minutes of the film squeeze my heart with such a convicting grip, I feel as if I cannot breathe until the final fade. Captain John Miller's last words to Private Ryan, "Earn this", have always remained with me. No matter how many times I watch this, I am brought to tears, for reasons I may someday expound upon. I'm reminded that I still have a lot of work to do, that every day I'm living for something beyond than myself. And one day, far from now, when I ask "Was I a good man?", I hope to hear the same response that Ryan did.

Below is the final few scenes (with some editing) of Saving Private Ryan. There are some graphic scenes, but not the most graphic in the film by far.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Reversal!

Late in May, the Habitat for Humanity chapter based in Sarasota FL had agreed to purchase some property from Planned Parenthood for $10, enabling the abortion provider to meet ordinance rules and thus pave the way for the construction of an abortuary. I had posted about that here.

It's been reported that after pressure from pro-life groups and individuals, Habitat for Humanity has decided that the investment, as small as it was in dollar value, was too large in terms of damaged reputation and community ill-will. H for H announced yesterday that it has ended its cooperation with Planned Parenthood, thus putting the baby-killing organization back at square one. You can read about it here in a story at Catholic News Agency.

This is awesome news! The power of prayer, publicity and pressure collaborated to prevent, at least for the time being, the Culture of Death from establishing an abortuary in Sarasota. Kudos to American Life League for leading the fight, and also to the Board of Directors of Habitat for Humanity for coming to their senses.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Prayer Of The Red Wings Hockey Fan

The Lord is my shepherd,
there is nothing I shall want,
except for the Wings to win Game 6 tonight.
In the offensive zone you help them stickhandle,
to the goal you lead them;
you restore their place as Stanley Cup champions.

You guide the puck along the right path
for the sake of victory.

Even when they skate through the neutral zone,
they fear no checks for speed is on their side;
the goalie's stick and pads give them courage.

You set the trophies before them,
in the sight of their foes;
You anoint their heads with champagne;
the Stanley Cup overflows.
Only a victory parade will follow them
sometime during the next week.
The Cup will dwell in the house of Joe Louis
for the next season to come.

UPDATE: YEAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!! Detroit Red Wings win the 2008 Stanley Cup!!!! GO WINGS!!!!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Attack Of The Crones

So the Vatican issued a decree last week, stating that women who are "ordained" incur latae sententiae excommunication, along with the persons who perform said "ordination" (posted here).

That very same day, in Vancouver, two so-called Catholics were ordained by a female bishop. These were members of the heretical group Roman Catholic Women Priests; one of the ordinands was a woman, while the other was a divorced and remarried man. Wow - that's showing the Vatican who's inclusive and who's not! Guilty of adultery? So what - you'd still make a good priest, no matter what Jesus said about divorce and remarriage.

Then there's this: it only took about seven-and-a-half minutes for The Women's Ordination Conference, known as WOC, to issue a press release denouncing the Vatican decree. It was laced with the typical cries of injustice, like "The Women's Ordination Conference is outraged by yesterday’s Vatican decree, which reminds Catholic women once again of the animosity they face from the hierarchy" and "the Vatican is trying to preserve what little power they have left by attempting to extinguish the widespread call for women’s equality in the church." The last paragraph of their statement starts thusly: "The refusal to ordain women is nothing more than an egregious manifestation of sexism in the church."

My my my, such loving Christian language from women who claim to have cornered the market on gentleness and charity.

For grins and giggles, I'm adding the WOC to my sidebar of Wandering Tribes, and in the spirit of being a smart-ass, I'm listing them as the CRONES (Coalition of Resentful "Ordained" Non-Episcopal Sistahs). Offer up prayers for their souls, and send 'em a case of Midol for everything else.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Changing Of The (Really Really) Old Guard

The end of an era. The handing off of the reins.

Use whatever age-old cliche you want to use to describe the change at the top of the old-aged group of dissident Catholics known as Call To Apostasy. As reported in the Chicago Tribune, and posted about by Carl Olson, the founders of Call To Apostasy have stepped down as Co-Executive Directors and are in the process of hiring a replacement.

I was going to apply, but I don't think I can afford the pay cut. Well, that and the fact I'm a white male supportive of the magesterium and all of Church teaching. That would present a slight conflict with the Board of Directors.

But here's a link to the job description, in case any of you gracious readers are interested. The cutoff date for applications was June 1, but I'm sure that in the Spirit of Vatican II, they'll accept late submissions, because when it comes to submitting, these people never get around to doing it. And besides, to not accept resumes and applications at any time would be discriminatory and unfair, which goes against their principles of anti-discrimination and fairness to all.

I'm making a prediction on their new Executive Director. I'm guessing the position will be filled by a same-sex couple, one of whom will be a minority, quite possibly a former religious, in their mid-40's, proficient in Reiki and Healing Touch therapies, with backgrounds in liturgical studies, feminine Biblical exegesis and/or Eastern theological studies. I'm not exactly going out on a limb, am I?

Actually, there should be a vote for their next Executive Director, instead of a private search. Call To Apostasy constantly demands for more democracy in the Church, so by all rights, they should walk the talk. They ought to have a poll on their NextGen blog, with a slate of candidates and room for write-ins, and let their 25,000 members make the selection. There should be campaigns and speeches, and debates among the candidates to prove who is the bigger dissenter and more honest heretic. This is an opportunity for them to show the "institutional" Church how leaders must be selected.

But no, the leaders of this movement have fallen into the bureaucratic trap of believing that they know better, that they're smarter than their members. That the lowly plebes can't be trusted with determining who their leaders should be, that they must be selected rather than elected. Call To Apostasy, in effect, has become that which they have sworn to oppose.

At the next national conference in November, I urge the members to rise up against the hierarchy of Call To Apostasy and form a reform group, to reform the reformers! It's time for a new renewal! Demand accountability, transparency and democracy, because it is evident you are being denied those important values. Members of Call To Apostasy, you are being duped. Stand up now and demand that your voice be heard.

Life's A Beech

or, Local Governments Get a Swift Kick In The Ash....

or, If A Tree Falls In a Bureaucracy, Did It First File For The Proper Permits?

An article in the 6/1/08 Detroit Free Press reported upon several metro Detroit communities struggling with residents' complaints over the removal of trees on personal and government property. Such actions are prompting some communities to enact legal protection for trees. This immediately brought to mind the story last month from Switzerland on plantlife being afforded rights (posted here), and how governments continue to encroach on our personal rights, including our rights as property owners.

As a homeowner who has a dozen or so trees on my property, I understand the need for ordinances and easements, for the sake of fairness, safety and to promote a certain "look" or "feel" a community desires to establish. That being said, I firmly believe that my right to remove trees from my property for any reason takes precedence over the tree's so-called "right" to grow, drop leaves, suffer disease, become a home for insects, etc. etc. Finding the balance is not always easy, but if cutting down a few trees to improve one person's quality of life offends his neighbor (as the article alleges as having happened to some residents), perhaps the neighbor needs to assess his or hers attitude towards people. Remember, our Lord commands us to love our neighbor as ourselves, not love nature as ourselves. To me, it's a question of misplaced priorities.

After all, we're stewards of God's green earth, not its' slaves. But as more and more communities succumb to the environmentalism onslaught, we may find the relationship reversed.