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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.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Population Control = Too Many People Of Faith

Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, wrote a piece that's up at Catholic Exchange, analyzing an article written by Carter Dillard, a population control proponent at the New York University School of Law, titled "Rethinking The Procreative Right". Dillard's article was originally published in late 2007 in the Yale Human Rights and Development Law Journal, so if you were thinking that he's just another loony professor expressing his loony opinion on a personal blog, you would be incorrect. This loony professor's loony opinion was published in a "prestigious" (Mosher's word) publication.

The long and short of it? 'His (Dillard's) “rethinking” turns out to be an interminable recounting of every anti-people argument ever advanced. This, combined with the absence of specific laws guaranteeing procreative rights, leads him to conclude that that human rights theory, legal precedent and national and international practice do not support “a basic human right to determine freely and responsibly the number and timing of one’s children.”'

It's a chilling article, in which Mosher states Dillard's admitted admiration for China's one-child policy, and describes how such a program could AND should be implemented not just here in the United States, but worldwide.

Isn't it ironic that people who are concerned about over-population are already living? Isn't their mere existence part of the problem? To me, the honorable thing for them to do would be to jump off the nearest bridge or lay down on a train track somewhere. I don't advocate suicide, but at least it would demonstrate they honestly believed in their position. No, it's easier to pontificate on how other people need to have fewer (preferably zero) children, and if the other people won't do so voluntarily, like they did - in their eyes, that's the 'honorable thing' they did, or didn't do - then gosh darn it, the other people will just have to be forced to not procreate. On top of that, it's the people who are different from them (in other words, people of faith, minorities, certain political affiliations, etc) that need to get with the program, either by hook or by crook.

Sorry to end the month on such a dour note - really I am! - but there's no rest for the people of God. It's a stark reminder that elections DO matter!

Fashion Statement, Part II

There's sacrilege, and then there's Sacrilege.





The words are tough to make out - the text reads "It's a girl".

Not only is this offensive to Catholics, but it's a slap to the whole of Christendom. Sure, on one level, it's very immature - but as humor goes, it's not even remotely funny. On a whole other level, however, it belies the fact that a percentage of the population believes that God could have done better if the Savior had been a woman. It's bad enough that the Holy Spirit is feminized by people who believe this crap; it's bad enough that they try to define God as gender-neutral (yes, I know He is a spirit, so technically He has no gender. Except there's this small issue that Jesus taught us to pray "Our Father". So there you go). So why not go three-for-three and change the Savior's gender as well?

Rich Leonardi at Ten Reasons has a post about a pastoral director priest-wanna-be radical nun who has been seen wearing this shirt in the Diocese of Rochester, NY. Action has been taken, too - a letter has been sent to the Papal Nuncio office with eye-witness accounts.

Wouldn't be surprised if this is what's underneath the Womynpreest's chasubles, either.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Poll Dancing With The CRONES

Stopped by the CRONES site this evening (the Women's Ordination Conference), and they're encouraging all 63 of their members to go the Lexington Herald-Leader and vote on whether or not the Church should ordain women. As of 9:40PM EST, the results were 55% No and 45% Yes. The poll is being conducted, not that public opinion has any bearing on defined Church teaching, in advance of another Womynpreest ordintation.... I mean, ex-communication scheduled for August 9.

Go on - click the link and take the poll. You know you want to!!

UPDATE: As of 7:00AM EST, 7/31: 61% No, 39% Yes

Fashion Statement

The boys at Creative Minority Report are at it again....Today's Priestess fashion catalogue!!


I imagine future catalogues will have rainbow and tie-dyed stoles, and personalized ordination mats (hey, who wants to lay prostrate on a dirty non-denominational church floor without a mat?).

Big-time Red Wing stick salute to CMR!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Exterminator Of Heresies

As seen on the most recent installment of the Holy Whapping Television Network (HWTN).

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Super Duper Handy Parish Search Reaction Reference Guide

Been looking for the parish that's right for you and your family? Having trouble finding one that is the perfect blend of sanctity, holiness, spirituality and orthodoxy? Suffering fools while striving for sainthood?

If so, you may find The Super Duper Handy Parish Search Reaction Reference Guide helpful. It's easy to use, eliminating the long process of determining whether or not a parish is right for you.

How's it work? After attending a Mass for the first time at a new parish, compare your reaction to one of the Response Simulation Modules (RSM) below. In no time at all, you will know if the new parish is right for you, providing you peace of mind, knowing quickly if you've found a home, or need to continue your search.

RSM #1: Where'd They Hide Jesus?

www.totalleh.com - click to visit
Symptoms: head-turning, anxious looking about the sanctuary. Causes: no tabernacle in sanctuary; few or no statues, icons, crucifixes and other signs of Catholicism in the sanctuary; modern art; no kneelers; portion of congregation disappears after Holy Communion. You may end up spending weeks looking for the tabernacle, because chances are, none of the regular parishoners won't even know what a tabernacle is if you ask them.

RSM #2: The Rock Concert Conniption

www.totalleh.com - click to visit

Symptoms: mind-splitting ear-piercing brain-rattling headaches due to excessive music volume, progressive percussives, overbearing guitars and electronic keyboard instrumentation, choir chaos, or a combination of any of the above. Additional causes: congregation expected to sing every response; inappropriate music during distribution of Holy Communion and period of thanksgiving afterwards; applause at end of Mass for the choir. This type of parish typically is under the iron fist of the Music Director, or the pastor is more interested in the entertainment aspect of liturgy than its sacredness. Take two aspirin and move on.

RSM #3: Did I Just Hear What I Think I Heard???

www.totalleh.com - click to visit

Symptoms: sudden surprise reactions; confusion; uncertainty and incredulity. Causes: hearing inclusive and gender-neutral language; omission and/or insertion of unexpected liturgical words and actions; generally minor liturgical abuses. These are things that you, as a conscious, active, full participant of the Mass would notice, while most Church-goers wouldn't recognize as anything extraordinary. Actions such as these could represent either an upward trend or downward trend; proceed with caution and discretion.

Note: You may experience this reaction if you hear any of the following topics during the sermon: sin, Sacrament of Reconciliation, authentic Church teaching, Magesterium, Church Fathers, vocations. However, if you also experience any of RSM #1 and RSM #2 simultaneously, further discernment may be required.

RSM #4: WHERE THE HELL IS THE EXIT????

www.totalleh.com - click to visit www.totalleh.com - click to visit

Symptoms: uncontrollable urge to run screaming from the sanctuary. Causes: major major liturgical abuses!!! Lay preaching; illicit matter for the Eucharist; "Halloween" masses; giant puppet figures; womynpriests; etc. Get out, never return, write the Bishop and warn your friends!!

RSM #5: I am Home.


www.totalleh.com - click to visit

Symptoms: Peace, happiness and groovy vibes. Causes: SAY THE BLACK, DO THE RED. Sign up your family, serve the Church and count your blessings.

Disclaimer: no reference guide can claim 100% effectiveness, but it is my hope that you will find this to be a helpful tool. Also, this guide has not been granted an imprimatur or nihil obstat, but it should.

PS: No cats were harmed in the development of this Guide.

All images courtesy of totalleh.com (Warning! Some content is offensive)

Friday, July 25, 2008

40 Years

Biblically speaking, 40 is a significant number. 40 days and night of rain in the days of Noah. 40 years of the Hebrew people wandering in the desert in Exodus. 40 days that Christ spent in the wilderness prior to His ministry.

And now, this month, 40 years since the publication of Humanae Vitae. It remains a watershed moment in the modern age of the Church. Quite possibly it is the divisive issue among Catholics, maybe more so than abortion, so-called same-sex marriage, and divorce and remarriage. Why? Because the mess we're in today can find its big-bang event in the dissent from this important and critical encyclical.

A number of dissident groups and individuals placed an open letter to the Holy Father that appeared today in the Italian newpaper "Corriere della Sera", that really comes down to being a paid advertisement. It's basic statement: HV is wrong, the Holy Father ought to change Church teaching and allow use of contraceptives. Though not explicitly stated in the letter, these dissenting groups contend that Humanae Vitae is the source of division within the Catholic Church.

In reality, it is the dissenters who are the source of division within the Church.

In my surfing this evening, I came upon this reflection in the Catholic News Agency written by Cardinal Francis James Stafford, entitled The Year Of The Peirasmos. It is a recounting of August 4, 1968, when he was invited to attend a meeting of priests called by Charles Curran. It is poignant, personal and pain-filled. It is a testimony of a then-priest who experienced what it truly meant to be an altus Christus. If you haven't read it, I invite you to do so. It provides a perspective that can give all of us who are faithful to Church teaching encouragement and hope. The reflection is a catechism of what how to live each moment like Christ. As Cardinal Stafford writes, “Jesus learned obedience through what he suffered.”

Feel free to discuss in the combox any statement by the Cardinal that speaks most to you.

Check out CMR's Humanae Vitae article, too: There Are None So Blind. Provides juxtaposition with the Cardinal's reflection.

Dinner And A Movie...Plus Another Movie

A rare post on a day-in-the-life...

The Sons o' LarryD went on an overnight trip to nearby Frankenmuth with their two cousins and grandma, leaving LarryD and MrsLarryD free to go on a date. Woo-hoo! At first we thought: 'wow, how nice! A date without having to pay for a babysitter!' until we realized we were paying for the Sons' hotel room and meals. Hmmm. Oh well.

So we went to a local restaurant that opened three weeks ago and enjoyed excellent food that didn't come in a basket, on a tray, or wrapped in paper. Complete with great service sans counter ordering and self-serve beverage dispenser. It was good to have meaningful conversations uninterrupted by "please use your napkin and not your sleeve" or "stop throwing food at your brother". And the dessert, a flourless chocolate mousse cakey thing (ok, I really wasn't paying all that much attention - it was chocolate, and that's enough!), was delicious.

On the way home, Mrs LarryD suggested renting a movie, and since we were on a date, I wasn't given a vote, and she asked me to go get The Other Boleyn Girl. It was a book her bookclub had recently read, and she was interested to see how it was adapted for film. Off I went and returned with the requested film.

As to the movie itself. I'm not sure how much of it was historically accurate and how much was fictional. For instance, did Anne Boleyn have as much direct influence on King Henry VIII to divorce Catherine of Aragon, resulting in the schism with Rome, as the movie shows, or was it primarily his desire for Anne and frustration at not having a male heir that drove him? It was soap-operatic, to be sure, like As Ye Olde World Turns. Court intrigue, back-stabbing, adultery (arranged and otherwise), people stopping at nothing for personal gain. Just goes to show that as time progresses, human nature doesn't change. Sin is sin - what was ironic was that so many people in Henry's court had no qualms with the king committing adultery, but nearly everyone was horrified with divorce and remarriage without an annulment.

FWIW, the USCCB has a review of the movie.

Oh yeah - the "other" movie. While at Blockbuster, I also picked up Cloverfield as a testosterone booster shot for tomorrow night. Gotta restore the balance.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

In Case I Lose My Job...

....I could always become a speechwriter.


Generate a Barack Obama Quote!




"You know, there's a lot of talk in this country about walking through a fog of bright uncertainty. Well I think Americans are tired of the same old hangnails. Ordinary Americans believe in butterflies, they want less
styes, they just aren't sure if their leaders believe in a wind blowing across the land bringing sunshine and smiles."
Generate your Barack Obama quote at Buttafly.com



Red Wings stick salute to Digital Hairshirt

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Truth In Advertising

From the RomanCatholicWomynPriests website: "The Roman Catholic Womenpriests formation program is broad-based..."

heh

Red Wings helmit tip to The Lady In The Pew

Monday, July 21, 2008

Days Of Whinin' Grousers

It's not the wailing and gnashing of teeth that bother me. It's not the complaining, griping, belly-aching or whining. What really bothers me is when an editorial opinion is actually a false report; a load of BS straight from the cow pasture.

Today's case in point: 'From Where I Stand' - Joan Chittister's column at the National Catholic Distorter: Why Them and Not Us? (not reproduced in whole, with my comments in blue)

The church world got a really good piece of advice this week. The pope, we're told, warned the Anglicans not to split over their internal controversies about homosexuality and the ordination of women bishops. He warned, quite wisely, about the dangers and the destructiveness of schism. (See Pope rides to Rowan's rescue) As easy as it sounds to simply go away and play in your own ecclesiastical sandbox, the fact is that divisions are never neat -- if for no other reason than that they not only fail to resolve the present problem but they model how not to resolve the next problem, too....

Now if the Catholic church could only get to the same clear point about the question of "excommunication" and/or "interdict" -- the process of splintering a church within a church, of putting people outside the pale of the sacraments, of separating ourselves from contentious questions one person, one diocese, at a time ... we clearly have some serious problems about how to deal with individuals who dare to raise new questions in the midst of a shifting body politic. Like how to be personally moral in a pluralistic state if you're a politician or, worse, a candidate for political office, for instance. Like how to maintain past liturgical forms in the face of the development of more contemporary ones.


OK, Exhibit A of the "false report" charge: Excommunication and/or interdict is not the process of splintering a "church within a church". What the heck is that phrase supposed to mean? They're the final penalties given to people who remain in obstinate disobedience to their bishop, as a last resort, to shock the individual into realizing that they've crossed a line and the state of their soul is in jeapordy. And it isn't the separating of "ourselves from contentious questions", either. It's the separating of the disobedient persons from the body of Christ (temporarily, hopefully) to prevent scandal, further harm, etc. etc.

Let's read on:

Nevertheless, more important than the question of excommunication is the unevenness with which it is applied. We excommunicate women (and men too!) who support the ordination of women, for instance, but we don't excommunicate either military officers or military chaplains who support the use of nuclear weapons. (it's a question of the difference between a doctrinal issue and prudential Church teaching, I think) We excommunicate people who belong to groups of which we don't approve. (um, you don't excommunicate anyone. Last time I checked, you pretty much welcome any and all dissenting and heretical group known to man...uh, I mean person) In the past, for instance, YMCAs and YWCAs were forbidden to Catholics. In the present, in some places, it's membership in Call to Action. (for good reason, too! Too bad all the bishops don't do this consistently) But we didn't excommunicate bishops or priests who said nothing about Adolph Hitler in Germany or Augusto Pinochet in Chile, nor did the church excommunicate those who belonged to their organizations. (right now my patience has just about run out, and all I can say is #$%&*! First of all, the former groups' members joined voluntarily. The latter - conscripted for the most part. And surely not all were Catholic. Secondly, Hitler and Pinochet were murdering Catholics at the time!!! Do ya think that maybe, just maybe, a formal excommunication would have exaceberated the situation? Geez Louise! And speaking of Louise...)


Now we are watching while Sister of Charity Louise Lears is denied the sacraments and the opportunity to minister in the archdiocese of St. Louis for her support of the role of women in the church (misleading - she supported the ordination of women, which is a lot different than just saying "role of women in the church"), though women religious have always worked on behalf of the role of women in church and society (a lot of men have done that too!) when the rest of the world stood aghast at the thought of even educating women, let alone training them for independence. Yet, at the same time, executioners in prisons -- who do their public work secretly! -- will not be excommunicated for executing prisoners. (what the hell does that have to do with anything?) Whatever we think of the essential morality of state executions, the number of errors we now know to be the norm in the public practice of capital punishment ought surely be enough to make the practice morally reprehensible.
We are, in other words, dangerously close to being more punitive of women (and men!) who raise theological questions about women's role in the church than we are of any other facet of moral confusion or contention in society. (questions aren't being raised, and you know it. Dissent and disobedience are being preached, and it's being flaunted in the face of the Church. Your actions are forcing the Church's hand) And the situation is not a new one. In the 1600s, the church excommunicated Mary Ward for wanting to start a religious order of non-cloistered women. (maybe she was told no when she asked, and she did so anyway. That's a no-no) In our own era, in Indiana, they excommunicated M. Theodore Guerin, foundress of the Sisters of Providence, for starting new schools without the bishop's permission. She was canonized in 2006. (and since she was canonized, that meant the ex-communication was lifted. Which means one of two things - she repented, or it was unjust. I'm opting for the latter) In 1871, they excommunicated Mary MacKillop in Australia for trying to do the same and then beatified her in 1995. (The excommunication was done unjustly, as I found in the book "John Paul II's Book of Saints" - "The local bishop excommunicated Mary... the following year, near death, the bishop absolved the excommunication and apologized to Mary...", pg 308. Wow, what a convenient omission of fact, Sister.) Church officials excommunicated Joan of Arc -- and burned her at the stake -- because she wouldn't agree to obey the church voices around her over the voice of God she heard in her heart. (again, the excommunication was lifted, 23 years after her death - otherwise, she would have never had been canonized. Duh!) But they don't excommunicate pedophile priests who prey on children or military dictators who use genocide or ethnic cleansing as a political tool against others and massacre against their own. (care to name some baptized Catholic sadistic military dictators?) No, we just excommunicate those who question the practices of the church itself. (there's that word 'question' again. Wrong wrong wrong)

There will be a great deal written about Lears' situation, of course, -- and it should be -- while we all try to sort out both the question and the so-called spiritual cure. (The cure is called humility and obedience to the Church. If she, and others like her, repent and acknowledge the authority of the Church given Her by Christ, then that will be the moment of healing)
But the issue, not the system, is the issue. Instead of a difference of opinion about the role of women in religion, a subject that is at this moment of history a topic in every tradition, every religion, every part of the globe, we now have a full-blown ecclesiastical shoot-out. (Brought about by the actions of the sinners, not the teaching of the Church) An "excommunication." A casting out even of those who do not break the canon laws on the subject but who do broach the forbidden discussion. What should be seen as part of the spiritual discipline of living in hope and faith and openness to the Holy Spirit in "the-already-but-not-yet" is labeled instead as infidelity.

But the scripture is there and won't go away. In the face of all that, Jesus tells us a parable: "Do you want us to go and pull up the weeds?" the laborers in the story ask the farmer about the bad seed "an enemy had sown." The answer, at a time of great change and deep reflection, ought perhaps to give us great pause: "No," the scripture answers, "because as you gather the weeds you might pull up some of the wheat along with them." (me thinks this is not a proper interpretation of the parable. Nice try, though) We pulled up a lot of wheat with the excommunication of Martin Luther and the reformers, for instance, (Council of Trent was rather specific. And what - are you defending Luther now too?) and have been trying to repair those exclusions ever since. Surely this is no time to start doing the same kind of thing again. (I think the Church should be doing more of it, actually) Surely we have learned better by this time. Surely we don't want to do it to one nun whose only crime is a question (keep repeating the lie with the hope that it will change into the truth, Sister, but it won't fly here - the crime is the obstinate disobedience) and in whom the people see a minister (nice - use a masculine term instead of what she is - a "nun".) of uncommon quality. Maybe we ought to "leave some chaff and grain to grow up together" for a while longer until we can see clearly which is which. (Christ said we have to beware of wolves in sheep's clothing, too. Do we wait until they consume the flock, or before?)

From where I stand, Pope Benedict XVI is dead right about urging the Anglicans to sit down together and work things out. He's right about calling us to remember that we're all in a time of new beginnings. He's surely right, history shows us, about making community a more demanding factor than law with all its cultural vagaries and historic changes. Now if we ourselves would only take the call to heart and sit down together and do the same.


The Church is ready to listen to your apologies, Sister. Whenever you're ready.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Boston Three Party...

....results in "Excommunication without ordination".

From the Boston Globe: (emphasis mine)

Three aspiring Catholic priests will be anointed and prayed over this weekend in an ordination liturgy that will resemble the traditional in most ways but one: The three being ordained are women.

The ordination ceremony Sunday, at a historic Protestant church in the Back Bay, is the first such event to take place in Boston, one of the most Catholic cities in the nation.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, in accord with Vatican teaching, says the participants in the ordination ceremony will be automatically excommunicating themselves.

But the women being ordained say they are acting because they feel called to the priesthood and compelled to resist what they view as a wrong church teaching.

There's that word again: FEEL. The only things missing from the article are statements that goes something like this: "We're acting in accordance with our consciences, which is in line with Church teaching." And: "We love the Church, we just believe the hierarchy is out of touch."

For its part, the Archdiocese has issued the following statement:

"Catholics who attempt to confer a sacred order on a woman, and the women who attempt to receive a sacred order, are by their own actions separating themselves from the church," the archdiocese said. "As a faith community rooted in the loving ministry of Jesus Christ, we pray for those who have willingly fallen away from the church by participating in such activities."

The Un-ordination ceremony is scheduled to coincide with a conference called the 2008 Joint Conference (how original), cohosted by FCM, WOC, RCWP and Corpus. Hmmm, kind of like going to a meeting headlined by the Four Horsemen.

So, when you attend a real, faithful Catholic Mass this Sunday, pray for the souls of these three women attending this fake ordination thing-a-ma-bob (which is taking place in a Protestant building, by the way), that they recognize their sin, seek forgiveness and be received back into Christ's Church.

Jesus Said If A Man Asks For Your Shirt....

...to give him your cloak as well, and John the Baptist preached that the man who has two cloaks to share with the man who has none, but this is just ridiculous.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What's Up Down Under

World Youth Day is underway in Sydney now. MySpace issued an inane on-line poll that means absolutely nothing, as shown by The Curt Jester. Photos of Pope Benedict and native fauna can be seen at American Papist and Fr Z's blog. EWTN has extensive coverage of daily events. With all this great bloggage, there isn't much I can add.

Except a couple articles from two Australian papers, the Sydney Morning Herald and The Canberra Times, both of which are good reads.

The first one is an opinion, The Sorry Sport Of Pope-Bashing by Gerald Henderson. It's a jab at the leftists opposed to the pope's visit and World Youth Day, and all religious expression in general. Henderson pulls no punches:

"So far the award for the leading sneerer goes to The Age columnist Catherine Deveny. Writing on June 18, she declared: "It's official. The Catholic Church is fully sick. And so is George Pell." Apparently this was some kind of joke. She depicted World Youth Day as a "week of prayer, trust exercises and rosary bead trading". And Deveny went on to advise that, since the Pope will be celebrating Mass at Randwick racecourse, "all the Bernadettes and Gerards will be able to chill out with The Main Dude". It is inconceivable that The Age would have run a similar article mocking Islam and slagging off all the Aishas and Muhammads."

What makes Henderson's opinion piece all the more compelling is that he is an admitted agnostic - and the final paragraph is a killer.

The second article is Fighting Fear Of Mockery In A Materialistic Society, by Tim Dick. It's basically an interview with John Herron, "a very public Catholic all his life, as a senator for 11 years, as a Howard government Aboriginal affairs minister, and as the ambassador to Ireland and the Holy See."

Herron is also the World Youth Day ambassador, and he gives his take on the faith of the youth and the challenges they face in a secular society. He also divulges some of his conversation with the Holy Father:

"He advised the Pope there were five types of Catholics in Australia. There were relapsing Catholics, who returned to the faith when stressed; and nominal Catholics, the tick-the-census-box types. There were anti-Catholic Catholics, baptised but who hate Catholicism ("There are a lot of them around," the Pope told Herron), and smorgasbord Catholics, who take bits they like and leave those they don't (the Pope called them "cafe Catholics").

And then, Herron told the Pope, there are practising Catholics. "Like you and me."


That pretty much nails it.

Red Wings helmet tip to Creative Minority Report for the John Herron story.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Zip-a-dee Buddha, Zip-a-dee-ay...

...why oh why are Catholics leaning his way?

Dalai Lama conducts navel exercises at Blackfriars Hall. (from USCatholic)

Popette Joan Chittister advocates building houses on sand. (from the National Catholic Distorter)

Here are excerpts from each article:

#1: "The Dalai Lama laughs, his dancing eyes made even brighter by the yellow hue of the large, square lenses of his glasses. He has been awake since 3:30 a.m., having started the day as usual—with four hours of meditation. In this inner search he taps into a fount of gleeful passion that is nothing if not contagious.

"If meditation is the key to this man's happiness, what does that say of the value and the power of contemplation? Is it better to sit in search for God's presence, or to go out and aid those in dire need, bringing God's love to the world? Can one necessitate the other? How does Christian contemplative prayer connect to the Buddhist search for understanding?

Deep meditation, then, serves to seek the truth within and is the only path to "real transformation," the Dalai Lama says, that can "bring about the flowering of love in oneself."

Not Jesus Christ, not the grace we receive from the sacraments, but deep meditation is the "only path to real transformation". Hoo-hah, I say. Give me St John of the Cross, St Teresa of Avila or St Anthony of the Desert any day over this man - peace loving he may be, spiritual he might seem, but he denies the divinity of Christ, the existence of the triune personal God and the reality of heaven. Contemplating my navel to bring about happiness is far less transformative than contemplating the face of Christ to bring about true joy.

#2: "Buddhist monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery in Atlanta, the descendants of a revered 12th century foundation in Lhasa, Tibet, have come to the United States “to contribute to North American culture by providing theoretical knowledge and practical training in Tibetan Buddhist traditions for Western students, scholars and the general public” and “to preserve the Tibetan Buddhist tradition of wisdom and compassion” that thrived there until the Communists closed 6,500 Buddhist monasteries in Tibet in 1959.

"Their message, a sobering one for us all, is not given in words. In fact, they never utter a syllable as they work. Instead, the monks bring the message in a medium seldom thought of as beautiful. Which, of course, makes it even more striking, and more meaningful.

"The monks, you see, spend their lives going from place to place, from occasion to occasion, making sand mandalas, sacred cosmograms, that originated in Buddhist India over 2,500 years ago.

"The creation of a cosmogram, the representation of the world in divine form, perfectly balanced, precisely designed, is meant to reconsecrate the earth and heal its inhabitants. But it is more than a picture. Sand painting is an intricate process. It requires millions of pieces of sand to make a mandala five by five feet square. It requires a team of monks working anywhere from days to weeks, depending on the size of the mandala, to create this floor plan of the sacred mansion that is life. It requires the interplay of vivid colors and ancient symbols.


"When the mandala is finally finished, however long it takes for the monks to deal in this divine geometry of the heavens, they pray over it -- and then they destroy it. They sweep it up, every last grain of sand, and give handfuls of it away to those who participate in the closing ceremony as a final memory of sublime possibility. Then they throw the rest of the sand into the nearest living stream to be swept into the ocean to bless the whole world. And that’s it. It’s gone. In an instant, after all that artistry, all that work, it’s over.

"They destroy it. Why? Because the underlying message of the mandala ceremony is that nothing is permanent. Nothing. All things are in flux, it says, beautiful but ephemeral, moving but temporary, a plateau but not a summit. All things are called to balance and enlightenment and the fulfillment of the Divine image in them, yes, but in flux. Always in flux."

So nothing is permanent? More hoo-hah and claptrap. If nothing is permanent, then why be Christian? Why spread the Gospel? Why fight against the culture of death? Why believe in God? Why believe in the existence of our souls and of heaven? God IS permanent, as is His Church, and that, I believe, is what Popette Joan and others like her are most afraid of - which explains their drive to refashion the Church. If nothing is permanent, then there's no such thing as Absolute Truth; if there's no Absolute Truth, then 'truth' is what any individual determines it to be; then there's no need for the Church, whose mission is to preserve the Truth (or deposit of Faith, as St Paul wrote).

Her admiration for the mandala ceremony and Eastern mysticism is a scandal. While the art may be beautiful, and while great skill may have been used to create it, there's no sacredness to it. There's no healing powers there. Better to gaze upon the Cross and its permanence in order to be healed - that is where the healing of the world's inhabitants truly occurs. And no power on Earth can destroy it.

'Midnight Is Approaching"

Over at Life-Site News: Death Wish: The Impending Suicide of a Once Great Nation by Father John Corapi.

Too long to post the entire talk here, but well worth the read.

One quote: "The great Archbishop Fulton Sheen lamented bitterly in the 1970s that the prophetic spirit of Christ had all but been extinguished in the contemporary Church. Today there are many CEOs, all too few Apostles. Are we afraid of a fight? Do we fear rejection, misunderstanding, or derision? Are we cowed and intimidated by fallacious notions of the separation of Church and state? Could we be afraid of persecution? Could we be afraid of losing our tax-exempt status? Have we declared détente with evil?"

Friday, July 11, 2008

Just When You Thought It Couldn't Get Any Weirder...

... an Episcopalian Bishop has found a way.

So of the two sacraments the Protestant Reformation held on to, Baptism and Matrimony, the Episcopalians find one of them too much trouble to bother with anymore. Pretty soon they'll end up with 7 Commandments, 6 Beatitudes and 1-1/2 days in the tomb. Provided they even believe that much, anymore.

Way at the bottom of the story is this line: "One of the most popular venues for weddings (which will not be hosting same-sex marriage ceremonies any time soon) is the Catholic Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Sacramento." Is that to imply that the converse is true? That the cathedral will be hosting same-sex marriage ceremonies sometime in the future? Why else include the qualifier "any time soon", unless to shift the viewpoint in a particular direction? Can you say "a-gen-da"?

I'm looking forward to hearing what Paul has to say over at Thoughts of a Regular Guy when he returns from vacation. He's had some great posts on this whole so-called same-sex marriage situation out in California.

Some People Should Just Shut Up....

...and let people wonder if they're stupid and anti-Catholic, rather than removing all doubt.

In response to the story concerning the UCF student who abused the Eucharist on June 29, and later returned the consecrated host, a professor at the University of Minnesota Morris, upset at Bill Donohue's statements regarding the incident, has promised to desecrate the Eucharist on the Internet, asking “Can anyone out there score me some consecrated communion wafers?”

Here's the complete story from the Catholic League site (foul language alert!):

MINNESOTA PROF PLEDGES TO DESECRATE EUCHARIST
July 10, 2008

Paul Zachary Myers, a professor at the University of Minnesota Morris, has pledged to desecrate the Eucharist. He is responding to what happened recently at the University of Central Florida when a student walked out of Mass with the Host, holding it hostage for several days. Myers was angry at the Catholic League for criticizing the student. His post can be accessed from his faculty page on the university’s website.

Here is an excerpt of his July 8 post, “It’s a Frackin’ Cracker!”:
“Can anyone out there score me some consecrated communion wafers?” Myers continued by saying, “if any of you would be willing to do what it takes to get me some, or even one, and mail it to me, I’ll show you sacrilege, gladly, and with much fanfare. I won’t be tempted to hold it hostage (no, not even if I have a choice between returning the Eucharist and watching Bill Donohue kick the pope in the balls, which would apparently be a more humane act than desecrating a goddamned cracker), but will instead treat it with profound disrespect and heinous cracker abuse, all photographed and presented here on the web.”

Catholic League president Bill Donohue responded as follows:
“The Myers blog can be accessed from the university’s website. The university has a policy statement on this issue which says that the ‘Contents of all electronic pages must be consistent with University of Minnesota policies, local, state and federal laws.’ One of the school’s policies, ‘Code of Conduct,’ says that ‘When dealing with others,’ faculty et al. must be ‘respectful, fair and civil.’ Accordingly, we are contacting the President and the Board of Regents to see what they are going to do about this matter. Because the university is a state institution, we are also contacting the Minnesota legislature.

“It is hard to think of anything more vile than to intentionally desecrate the Body of Christ. We look to those who have oversight responsibility to act quickly and decisively.”


Contact President Robert Bruininks at bruin001@umn.edu

This poor excuse of a man displays zero courage in attempting to co-opt another person into his blasphemous irreverent idea by stealing a consecrated host for him - apparently he must believe that if he steps foot into a church, he'll be fried by a lightning bolt of divine justice. If only...

Multiple attempts to access his 'Personal Page' resulted in a 'Server cannot be found' message. My hope is many faithful Catholics are letting him know how disrespectful and downright evil he's acting.

Not to mention stupid.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Presbyterian Church USA Votes To Eliminate Sixth Commandment...

...and for good measure, chucks the Bible out the window and challenges this "God" person that gave all the other commandments. For all intents and purposes, at least.

During their General Assembly meeting at the end of June, the PCUSA voted to nullify "proscriptions against sexual behavior outside of marriage and called for a vote to delete the church’s constitutional standard requiring fidelity in marriage and chastity in singleness." And for good measure, they started a process that would remove mention of the Bible's prohibition against homosexual behaviour from the Heidelberg Catechism.

Here's the whole story from the Catholic News Agency.

Now to its credit, the Board of Directors of the Presbyterian Lay Committee has condemned the General Assembly's actions, calling this decision a “frontal assault on Biblical Christianity,” adding that the GA has “disregarded historic Reformed standards, undermined its Constitution and failed to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ with its actions.”

These types of divisions and splits are not all that surprising - without a guiding body to preserve Christ's teachings, anything and everything is possible. The Magisterium of the Catholic Church is the safeguard against this kind of thing. Sure, there are plenty of fringe so-called Catholic groups that call for the Church to change Her stance on contraception, homosexual activity, divorce and remarriage, but these groups stay out on the fringe. Imagine if the USCCB announced that they voted to approve artificial contraception for American Catholics. That's akin to what the PCUSA General Assembly has done.

And the story's final line tells the inevitable result of such actions: According to the Philadelphia Bulletin, PCUSA lost 46,544 members between 2005 and 2006.

Puppets On Parade

Picture source: AP
Call To Action has unveiled their newest collection of puppets, balloons included, to be used at upcoming liturgies. It's unclear as to how caricatures of the leaders of the G8 nation will figure into the liturgies, but then again, being unclear on anything liturgical has never been a challenge for CtA.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Another Year Older....

.... another year wisenheimer.

On this day in 1965, I came into the world as the ninth child born to my parents. I, for one, am glad for having gone through the experience.

Here are some famous events that occurred on this wondrous day:

1099 - First Crusade: 15,000 starving Christian soldiers march in religious procession around Jerusalem as its Muslim defenders look on.
1283 - War of the Sicilian Vespers: Battle of Malta
1497 - Vasco da Gama sets sail on first direct European voyage to India.
1579 - Our Lady of Kazan, a holy icon of the Russian Orthodox Church, was discovered underground in the city of Kazan, Tatarstan.
1663 - Charles II of England grants John Clarke a Royal Charter to Rhode Island.
1680 - The first confirmed tornado in America kills a servant at Cambridge, Massachusetts.
1709 - Great Northern War: Battle of Poltava: Peter I of Russia defeats Charles XII of Sweden at Poltava thus effectively ending Sweden's role as a major power in Europe.
1760 - French and Indian War: Battle of Restigouche - British defeat French forces in last naval battle in New France.
1775 - The Olive Branch Petition is adopted by the Continental Congress of the Thirteen Colonies.
1776 - The Declaration of Independence was read aloud in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
1853 - Commodore Perry sails into Tokyo Bay.
1859 - King Charles XV / Carl IV accedes to the throne of Sweden-Norway.
1863 - U.S. Civil War - Surrender of Port Hudson, Louisiana.
1874 - The Mounties begin their March West.
1889 - The first issue of the Wall Street Journal is published.
1892 - St. John's, Newfoundland was devastated in the Great Fire of 1892.
1896 - William Jennings Bryan delivers his Cross of Gold speech advocating bimetalism at the 1896 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
1898 - The shooting death of crime boss Soapy Smith releases Skagway, Alaska from his iron grip.
1932 - The Dow Jones Industrial Average reaches its lowest level of the Great Depression, bottoming out at 41.22.
1947 - Reports are broadcast that a UFO has crash landed in Roswell, New Mexico.
1950 - General MacArthur named Korean commander of US Forces.
1960 - Francis Gary Powers charged with espionage from his flight over the Soviet Union.
1969 - IBM CICS is made generally available for the 360 mainframe computer.
1982 - Assassination attempt against former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein in Dujail.
1997 - NATO invites the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland to join the alliance in 1999.
1999 - Allen Lee Davis is executed by electrocution by the state of Florida, the last use of the electric chair for capital punishment in Florida.

Some famous folks also born this day:

1528 - Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy (d. 1580)
1545 - Don Carlos of Spain (d. 1568)
1593 - Artemisia Gentileschi, Italian painter (d. 1653)
1621 - Jean de la Fontaine, French writer (d. 1695)
1760 - Christian Kramp, French mathematician (d. 1826)
1792 - Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen, queen of Bavaria (d. 1854)
1819 - Francis Leopold McClintock, British naval officer and explorer (d. 1907)
1830 - Frederick William Seward, United States Assistant Secretary of State (d. 1915)
1830 - Grand Duchess
Alexandra Iosifovna of Altenburg (d. 1911)
1836 - Joseph Chamberlain, British politician (d. 1914)
1838 - Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin, German inventor (d. 1917)
1839 - John D. Rockefeller, American businessman (d. 1937)
1851 - Arthur Evans, English archaeologist (d. 1941)
1857 - Alfred Binet, French psychologist (d. 1911)
1882 - Percy Grainger, Australian composer (d. 1961)
1885 - Ernst Bloch, German philosopher (d. 1977)
1892 - Richard Aldington, English poet (d. 1962)
1895 - Igor Tamm, Russian physicist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1971)
1906 - Philip Johnson, American architect (d. 2005)
1907 - George W. Romney, American businessman and politician (d. 1995)
1908 - Louis Jordan, American saxophonist (d. 1975)
1908 -
Nelson A. Rockefeller, 41st Vice President of the United States (d. 1979)
1914 - Billy Eckstine, American jazz singer (d. 1993)
1917 - Faye Emerson, American actress (d. 1983)
1918 - Craig Stevens, American actor (d. 2000)
1919 - Walter Scheel, German politician
1920 - Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, Danish industrialist (Lego Group) (d. 1995)
1926 - Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, Swiss-born psychiatrist (d. 2004)
1932 - Jerry Vale, American singer
1933 - Marty Feldman, English comedian and actor (d. 1982)
1935 - Steve Lawrence, American entertainer and singer
1935 -
Vitali Sevastyanov, Russian cosmonaut
1942 - Phil Gramm, American politician
1944 - Jai Johanny Johanson, American musician (The Allman Brothers Band)
1944 -
Jeffrey Tambor, American actor
1947 - Kim Darby, American actress
1947 -
Luis Fernando Figari, Peruvian founder of Sodalitium Christianae Vitae
1948 - Raffi, Canadian children's entertainer
1949 - Wolfgang Puck, Austrian-born celebrity chef
1951 - Anjelica Huston, American actress
1952 - Jack Lambert, American football player
1952 -
Anna Quindlen, American columnist
1956 - Terry Puhl, Canadian baseball player
1957 - Carlos Cavazo, American musician (Quiet Riot) (C'mon! Feel the noise!!)
1958 - Kevin Bacon, American actor
1961 - Toby Keith, American singer
1961 -
Andrew Fletcher, English musician (Depeche Mode)
1962 - Joan Osborne, American singer and songwriter
1968 - Billy Crudup, American actor
1970 - Beck, American singer
1972 - Karl Dykhuis, Canadian ice hockey player
1982 - Sophia Bush, American actress

And some famous folks who slipped their mortal coil this date:

810 - Pepin, King of Italy (b. 773)
975 - King Edgar of England
1153 - Pope Eugene III
1538 - Diego de Almagro, Spanish explorer (b. 1475)
1623 - Pope Gregory XV (b. 1554)
1689 - Edward Wooster, English Connecticut pioneer (b. 1622)
1695 - Christiaan Huygens, Dutch scientist (b. 1629)
1716 - Robert South, English churchman (b. 1634)
1721 - Elihu Yale, American benefactor of Yale University (b. 1649)
1726 - John Ker, Scottish spy (b. 1673)
1784 - Torbern Bergman, Swedish chemist (b. 1735)
1822 - Percy Bysshe Shelley, English poet (b. 1792)
1850 - Prince Adolphus, 1st Duke of Cambridge (b. 1774)
1855 - Sir William Edward Parry, English Arctic explorer (b. 1790)
1859 - King Oscar I of Sweden and Norway (b. 1799)
1895 - Johann Josef Loschmidt, Austrian scientist (b. 1821)
1898 - Soapy Smith, American con artist (b. 1860)
1905 - Walter Kittredge, American musician (b. 1834)
1930 - Sir Joseph Ward, 17th Prime Minister of New Zealand (b. 1856)
1939 - Havelock Ellis, British physician (b. 1859)
1943 - Jean Moulin, French Resistance leader (b. 1899)
1950 - Othmar Spann, Austrian philosopher (b. 1878)
1957 -
Grace Coolidge, First Lady of the United States (b. 1879)
1967 - Vivien Leigh, English actress (b. 1913)
1971 - Charlie Shavers, American jazz trumpet player (b. 1920)
1981 - Wild Bill Hallahan, American baseball player (b. 1902)
1986 - Skeeter Webb, American baseball player (b. 1909)
1987 - Lionel Chevrier, Canadian politician (b. 1903)
1991 - James Franciscus, American actor (b. 1934)
1994 - Kim Il-sung, North Korean leader (b. 1912)
1994 - Dick Sargent, American actor (b. 1930)
1999 - Pete Conrad, American astronaut (b. 1930)
2002 - Ward Kimball, American animator (b. 1914)
2006 - June Allyson, American actress (b. 1917)
2006 -
Peter Hawkins, British actor/voice actor (b. 1924)