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Today Is The Day
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Okay Then, That Was Unexpected...
Church Art Shouldn't Make You Say "Blech!"
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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.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Resolve To Be Warriors

If you read only one more thing between now and the election, then the latest column by Bishop Finn of Kansas City ought to be that one thing. I reprint a major portion of it here:

The month of November begins with the two great celebrations: All Saints day (November 1) and the Commemoration of All Souls (November 2). These feasts celebrate our communion with the "Church triumphant" in heaven, and the "Church suffering" in purgatory. Today I would like to share a few brief comments about what we have sometimes called the "Church militant," the Church here on earth.

We, the Church on earth, have a very special challenge as participants in the grace and life of Jesus Christ to "fight" against the enemies of Christ's justice and truth and light and life. We must be attentive to the demands of this daily "battle" in a peaceable but serious manner.

I am sometimes amazed at the casual manner with which Christians, Catholics included, take up our life within what Pope John Paul II rightly called the "culture of death." The Church, by comparison, reminds us that we are engaged - by reason of our Baptism and Confirmation - in a battle, "not with flesh and blood, but with the principalities and powers, with the rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in heaven." (Eph 6:12) Jesus Christ has won the ultimate battle, but we, in the course of our human life must make our choice, determining on whose side we will live and die. Whose side will you choose?!

What is at stake in this battle is our immortal soul, our salvation. My responsibility as bishop is with the eternal destiny of those entrusted to my care. My total energies must be directed to the well being of those who otherwise may come under the spell of a radically flawed and fundamentally distorted moral sense, at odds with what our Mother the Church teaches. There are objective and transcendent truths. There is such a thing as right and wrong. There is a legitimate hierarchy of moral evils, and the direct willful destruction of human life can never be justified; it can never be supported. Do you believe this firm teaching of the Church?

Did you know that in Canada priests and Christian ministers have already been brought before tribunals for preaching and teaching in support of marriage? They are charged with "hate speech" against homosexuality. In light of the tyranny of choice growing each day in our own beloved country, we ought to be ready for similar attacks on religious freedom. We must not fail to preach the Gospel. We can not withhold the truth of our faith. That is why I will never be silent about human life. It is why I am proud of so many others - bishops, priests, deacons, religious and laity - who are not afraid to speak out about the values that matter most. What about you?!

Our Lord told His apostles that they would be hated by the world, just as He was. Nearly all of them died a martyr's death. As warriors in the Church militant, we must never resort to violence. But we must stand up fearlessly against the agents of death, the enemies of human life. Human beings are not Satan, but we know too well that they can come under his spell. They can become willing agents of death, numbed and poisoned in this culture of death. What about you?!

As we begin this month of November, the month of the Church, let us call upon the Saints to inspire us, befriend us, and pray for us. Let us offer many prayers and sacrifices for the poor souls who have gone before us. They need our meritorious suffrages to help them reach heaven.

And let us resolve to be warriors of the Church militant; warriors with our eyes fixed on heaven. Let us ask God's mercy and strength to persevere in our call - individual and collective - to holiness. Mary, Mother of the Church, Pray for us!

RWss to The Catholic Key

This 'N That

Just a couple thoughts on a Friday....

"This" blog is nearing a milestone that might be passed today - 10,000 total hits (and that was a considerate visitor from the Milwaukee area!). Now I know numbers are relative - some blogs get that many hits an hour, or a day, or a lifetime - but to me, it's significant only in that it shows that people come back hoping that I finally published a post worth reading! I appreciate the faith you have in me! Seriously, though - thanks for stopping in, thanks for the comments and links, and I hope that for however long this thing goes on, I can at the very least not be an occasion of sin to anyone. If in a small way this blog is a source of inspiration or education or humorfication (I learned that from GW Bush!) to anyone, then all the better.

"N That"'s not too late to join the group who are participating in the 3 days of prayer and fasting prior to Tuesday's election. Head over to Redneck Catholic if you decide to do so. Now, for me, it's going to be Saturday, Monday and Tuesday. Others may choose Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, and there may even be some who will opt for Saturday, Sunday and Monday. I don't think the three day combo is a magesterial or canonical thing. So there's no reason AFAIK to get all Luthered up over which three days a person chooses. The reason I'm skipping over Sunday is because, well, it's a Sunday. When I was growing up, during Lent, our family relaxed the "Acts of Abstinence" for Sunday's, so I guess it's just an ingrained practice. With Sunday being the Lord's Day, commemorative of His Resurrection, it ought to be a day of celebration rather than one of making sacrifice.

....and Happy Halloween everyone! And now I have all this candy in the house, just in time for fasting...{tightening the belt}!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Swing Vote

That I'm a McCain/Palin supporter makes this even more enjoyable - who wouldn't want the honor of being Obama's Bane! And try to ignore the last 10 seconds - can't do anything about it, unfortunately.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It Was A Dark And Stormy Vision Statement

My parish vision statement reads like an entry for the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest:

"We are the presence of Christ
Calling those who hunger and thirst for God
One in heart and mind
We are sent to transform the world."

This has inspired me to start a "Bulwer-Lytton Parish Vision Statement Contest" tonight. It runs for two weeks. Entries must be actual and factual - a link to the parish bulletin is optional. It doesn't have to be your own parish. You don't even have to mention the parish (though that helps). This is all in good clean fun, much like the Crummy Church Sign blog (if you've never been there, go check it out. It is truly one of the funniest blog sites I've ever come across!).

I haven't determined a prize for the winner yet. It'll probably be something worthless and trivial, perhaps something that can be posted on your blog.

Be like a Chicago Democrat! Submit early, and submit often!!

**UPDATE** - For all you creative types out there, have a go at coming up with a Parish Vision Statement of your own. Did you notice from mine that you can't tell IT'S ABOUT A CATHOLIC PARISH?!?!?!

Decommission Parish Commissions

My parish has way too many ministries, commissions, committees and forums. The claim is that because the parish is so large (about 2,700 families, with a K-8 school attached), these groups are necessary to keep everything running smoothly. To which I say, bah. These groups are there to give the more liberal, "Church-is-a-social-outreach-club", "Let's-increase-active-participation", Spirit of VC2 thinking types of people the opportunity to put their fingerprints on how things ought to be done in the parish. Most could be done without, and the ones that are required, I think they should combine and update their responsibilities.

The first one I'd do away with is the Worship Commission. Here's the description from the parish website: "The Worship Commission's focus is helping people experience God through their worship, assisting the pastor and staff in assessing, setting goals and implementing action based on the needs of the community. In addition, the Commission coordinates all liturgical aspects of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, infant Baptism, reception of sacraments, marriage preparation, Communion to the hospitalized and homebound and funeral celebrations." This is where the seeds of liturgical abuse are sown. Thankfully, there are several faithful Catholics involved who are working hard to have things done according to the rubrics and the GIRM. If it weren't for them, who knows how much worse things would be. Even with that being the case, the commission itself is unnecessary. How in the heck is a commission supposed to "help people experience God through their worship"? That's up to the individual, isn't it? And what assessments are necessary? What do they mean by "setting goals"? What actions need to be implemented? What liturgical aspects of the sacraments need to be coordinated, beyond scheduling the darn events? Aren't the "liturgical aspects" already in place?

This description sounds corporate. And for many of us who work outside the home and have to deal with workplace bureaucracy, office politics and 'chains of command' b-s on a day-to-day basis, there is absolutely zero incentive to jump in at the parish level and do more of the same - on a volunteer basis, no less! Parish surveys (which ours has released this past Sunday, thank you very much), forms, feedback questionnaires on recent events - all these "busy work" items are just that - busy work for someone who is pulling down a parish salary that is incapable of finding work anywhere else in a productive, profit-based environment. Sure, the Church is non-profit, but I ask you, is all this truly necessary in the salvation of souls?

The only necessary function listed is ensuring the Eucharist is brought to the sick, infirmed and homebound. And guess what? We have two deacons at our parish (one permanent, the other transitional), and to me, that should be one of their chief duties. The rest of the so-called responsibilities? Six simple words: "Do the black, say the red." And if someone wants to schedule a baptism or wedding, call the secretary, make an appointment and get it scheduled. There, done. Next?

Part of my beef is this: I'm a member of the "Leadership Team" for our parish's men group - called Bravehearts - and once a month, we host a speaker/breakfast event where guys can get together, listen to a great talk, forge friendships and strengthen their faith. It used to be fun, but now the Bureaucrats have gotten involved, and now it feels more like a job. I have to complete a post-event form, listing how many attended, how much money was collected (free-will donations and all), how much was spent and a few other questions. I asked why this is important, and I was given the brain-dead answer of "we just want to know how things are progressing, keeping track of the numbers, yada yada". Basically another parish staff member looking to justify their position.

I could go on down the list and make my recommendations, but it would be a pointless exercise. All I know is, at the end of Matthew's Gospel, Jesus sent out the 12 disciples on The Great Commission, not to form commissions. I think that message has gotten lost on a lot of people.

If the parish wants me to get more involved, then here's a few ministries and committees they ought to form:

1) Ministry of Appropriate Dress and Modesty

2) The Fingerfood and Beverages Are Not Allowed In Church Committee

3) Same Goes For Toddler Toys and Mattel Hotwheels On The Pew Forum

4) You're In The House Of God Not A Meeting Hall So Show Proper Reverence Commission

5) The Mass Is Ended When The Priest Says "The Mass Is Ended" And Not A Moment Before Committee (a subcommitte of the Proper Reverence Commission)

6) Bowing and Genuflecting Seminar (an outreach of Proper Reverence)

7) Department of Spiritual Warfare

8) The Rightly Formed Conscience Committee

9) Let The Children Stay With Me For The Whole Liturgy Ministry

If you can think of any others, leave them in the combox.

Monday, October 27, 2008

For Anyone Who Thinks So-Called Gay Marriage Won't Affect You.... are two stories, one from, and the second from Catholic News Agency, that show otherwise.

From LifeSiteNews: U.K. Relationship Counselor Sacked For Refusing To Give Homosexual Sex Advice

Gary McFarlane, a psychosexual therapist for the relationships counseling service Relate in the U.K., says he was fired for refusing to offer to give sex advice to homosexual couples.

According to the Daily Mail, the father of two claims that Relate failed to accommodate his personal faith. He is now taking his case to the employment tribunal, alleging he has been discriminated against because of his religious beliefs.

“In counselling, you are drawing the couple out, going on a journey with them, enabling them to think in more than black and white. You are not telling anyone what to do or endorsing what they do,” he said.

“But in sex therapy you are diagnosing their problems and setting them a treatment plan, not unlike a doctor.”

He notified his supervisor of his reservations and expected Relate to work with him in finding a way around the situation, just as he says the organization had done for many counselors who felt uncomfortable working with certain patients.

This was not the case for McFarlane, however, who was suspended for three weeks in December after some employees complained that he was a "homophobe." Upon returning to work, he was forced to agree to Relate's equal opportunities policy, with the condition that he could still raise concerns in the future.

After further complaints by staff, however, he was told Relate did not believe he intended to uphold the equal opportunities policy and was dismissed.

"Sad and disappointed" with the "bigotry" he experienced, McFarlane says Christians in general are more noticeably becoming subjected to this type of discrimination.

Click on the link for the entire article.

And from CNA: Same-sex Marriage Will Affect All Families And Children, Video Shows.

To demonstrate the impact that allowing same-sex marriage has on society, iVoteValues has produced a short video showing how the gay agenda in schools impacts children and families.

iVoteValues, a collaborative effort from the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family recently released a video titled, “Gay Agenda in Schools.” In it, Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, explains how same-sex marriage impacts everyone.

“You may be asking yourself, how will same-sex marriage affect my family? Well, based on the evidence, everything changes when same-sex marriage becomes legal. If it is legalized, it must be taught as normal, acceptable and moral behavior in every public school.”

“Don’t believe me? It has already happened in Massachusetts,” Perkins states in the video.

There was also the story last week where a grade school in California had a "Gay Day" for the kindergarten class. So for you Catholics who think so-called gay marriage is just an issue of fairness, you're completely wrong. This is an issue of redefining marriage, of reshaping the culture, of attempting to erode Judeo-Christian values. This is an issue of forcing people to accept a lifestyle choice and behavior as normal, while at the same time trying to make heterosexual couples appear homophobic and bigoted because we aren't "open-minded" or "inclusive". Well, tough jelly beans. Show me one culture that has accepted the gay lifestyle as normal or natural surviving down through the ages. No one can because there aren't any. And for good sociological reasons, too. It'd be kinda like a snake devouring itself.

The indoctrination is underway, and the re-education in America is in full swing. As Joe at Verbum Veritatis wrote, the pro-gay lobby is attempting to prove something false to be something true, such as M+W = M+M (and W+W). It's that simple.

Progressive Catholic-speak Decoded

Erin Manning at And Sometimes Tea translates a National Catholic Distorter editorial that chastises the American bishops who are reminding their flocks that Catholics cannot and must not ignore the abortion issue in this year's election. Yes, the NCR staff says these bishops' narrow-minded approach is hurting the pro-life cause:

I know, I know, why bother getting riled up over something printed in the National Catholic Reporter in the first place? From high school on my Wanderer-reading friends and I referred to the paper as the Distorter, since their unofficial motto seemed to be: "Promoting the writing of unabashed heretics since Day One!" So it's not really a surprise to see this rag publishing an editorial about how the United States Bishops' efforts to remind Catholics that we're not permitted to overlook the abortion issue when voting is really a "narrow anti-abortion effort" that "hurts the pro-life cause."

Another presidential election cycle is nearly ended, and once again the Catholic bishops in the United States have sadly distinguished themselves for the narrowness and, in too many cases, barely concealed partisanship, of their political views.
Cycle after cycle they have promulgated the same message: Abortion trumps all other issues and the only credible approach to fighting abortion is voting for candidates who express a wish to overthrow Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.
We have persistently criticized the American bishops on this page for such a limited political strategy. For more than a quarter of a century they have generally used whatever political capital they might have in attempts to deliver the Catholic vote to whomever is making the most agreeable promises that year.
Year after year, however, the bishops get little in return for their antiabortion political endorsements, while often aiding in the election of politicians who have little regard for the rest of the church’s social agenda.The abortion rate has been going down steadily in America, from a high of 29.3 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15-44 in 1981 to 19.4 abortions for the same demographic through 2005, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
No one has the definitive answer on why the rate is decreasing. Depending on political persuasion and which side of the debate one falls on, the possible reasons range from more emphasis on abstinence programs to better education and more funding for prevention of pregnancy. Undoubtedly, one unquantifiable element is continuing education about the reality of abortion and the sacredness of life that has persuaded some to bring pregnancies to term.
No one, however, is suggesting that politicians promising to overturn Roe had any influence on a woman’s choosing to bring a child to term.

I know my readers are a talented and well-educated bunch, but it's just possible that a few among you might not speak "Progressive Catholic." I was, sadly, immersed in it in parochial schools until my parents courageously took us out of school and taught us at home, where I learned to my astonishment that such concepts as "mortal and venial sin" "male priesthood" and "respect for life from conception until natural death" had not, as my "progressive" teachers insisted, been done away with by a new church that was being sung into being, albeit by tone-deaf singers wailing truly unfortunate songs.
I did, however, become relatively fluent in "Progressive Catholic," and will translate the above paragraphs into ordinary English (warning to the progressives among us: I may even use non-inclusive pronouns!!):

Paragraph One:
Although only a little more than a quarter of U.S. bishops have urged their flocks to remember the unborn when they are voting, we find this an alarming trend away from the narrowness and, indeed, naked partisanship of former ages, when we could count on the U.S. bishops all but endorsing the Democrat candidate. We've never had a problem with bishops talking about preferential options for the poor, a "seamless garment" ethic, illegal immigration and access to health care, and so long as it was tacitly understood that all of these issues in the balance scale outweighed the whole abortion problem we were fine with bishops being narrow and partisan. But this new trend of 1/4 of the bishops failing to be narrowly partisan in favor of the Democrats is alarming to us, since we've believed for ages that only the Democrats correctly reflect Jesus' social Gospel of wealth redistribution.
Paragraph Two:
Though this is the first time in living memory so many bishops have pointed out that when a choice exists between two candidates one of whom is a much greater enemy to unborn human life than the other, Catholics must place abortion as an issue of primary importance in making their selection, we know some bishops have consistently done so (probably the malcontents who don't like liturgical dance and yelled at Sister Helen when she offered to give the homily). Even though it's pretty foolish to pretend that bishops have routinely counseled their flocks to remember what we owe in solidarity to our unborn brothers and sisters when we vote, since if they had done so all these years we'd probably be closer to outlawing abortion altogether than we are now, we're going to assert this anyway. After all, we feel as though it's true.
Paragraph Three:
This descends into utter ridiculousness. If the bishops over the past twenty-five years have expended any political capital at all, it has been in the "peace and justice" arena, and has involved

bishops withholding their taxes to protest nuclear weapons and sternly lecturing their flocks about the need for amnesty for illegal aliens. No one can credibly make the claim that the American bishops have been in the pocket of the Republican party for the last twenty-five years--or at any other time. Still, we feel justified in engaging in pure snit because we feel abandoned and betrayed, and are this close to talking about brokenness and nourishing each other. We mean it--don't push us.
Paragraph Four:
This paragraph contains the money quote, which, in case you missed it, was this sentence: "Year after year, however, the bishops get little in return for their antiabortion political endorsements, while often aiding in the election of politicians who have little regard for the rest of the church’s social agenda." This is our unshakable paradigm: Democrats are true Christians in every way (even if you have to squint to get past that speck in their eye called abortion) while Republicans take as their model the innkeeper at Bethlehem, whose concern for his evil profit margin made him put the Holy Family in a stable and made the Baby Jesus cry. Democrats champion the oppressed; Republicans try to figure out new ways of oppressing the poor, coming up with such evil strategies as objecting--can you believe it!--to
giving federal income tax rebates to people who don't actually pay federal income taxes in the first place. Since it is perfectly clear (to us anyway) that Jesus would have insisted on wealth distribution and community organizing "power" strategies as the only basis for a just Christian society, we can't understand how the bishops could possibly let concern for the unborn trump all of this.
Paragraphs Four (b), Five and Six:
Of course, the abortion rate has been going down. But it's not because the bishops keep talking about it, and it's certainly not because pro-life politicians have been elected and continue to be elected. We don't know why the abortion rate has been going down--education, maybe? We like teachers, so we'll call it that. Of course we're ignoring the abstinence-focused education programs pushed by those pro-life politicians, because we know that had absolutely nothing to do with the decline in abortion. We mention it briefly, but we don't want our readers to stop and think about it, because if abstinence education works, and if abstinence education is proposed by pro-life Republicans and hated by pro-abort Democrats, then our entire premise that the bishops are shilling for pro-life political candidates without getting anything in return is as faulty as a lay-led liturgy workshop at a bishops' conference. Lucky for us, our readers aren't terribly strong in making logical connections--if they were, they wouldn't read our paper for very long.

Having carefully translated most of the NCR editorial for the benefit of And Sometimes Tea readers who may have escaped the "Progressive Catholic" dialect in their own youths, I'll just repeat the title of this post in summation: balderdash.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

This Isn't Your Father's Merriam-Webster!

Ignorant Redneck is onto something with a Progressive Catholic Dictionary.

Here's several entries:

DIALOGUE IS NEEDED: We just got told no, but we'll continue to whine anyway.

SPIRIT OF VATICAN II: We want 1600 years of history and tradition to go away.

INCLUSIVE LANGUAGE: We think that when the Holy Spirit inspired the Holy Scriptures, hegot it wrong.

Check it out and add some of your own - he's taking suggestions in his combox.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Night Funny

Dedicated to all the teachers out there who had a rough week:

Handwritten answer: "Because he slept with his boss' wife."

This Ought To Be Interesting....

Came across this ad in a local parish bulletin:

Decide in Faith Presidential Forum
Monday, October 27
Gold Rooms, Oakland Center, Oakland University

Rise above the sound bites and attack ads! Here is your chance to ask YOUR questions of the candidates’ campaigns and find out where they stand on the issues that are important to you. Democrat and Republican Presidential candidates will send Catholic surrogates to this forum, which will not be a debate (emphasis mine), but a forum to hear their responses to questions posed by students and young adults. All questions will be based on the 7 themes of Catholic Social Teaching. To submit your questions, please visit For more information, please contact Priority seating will be given to students and young adults.

This is interesting since McCain long ago abandoned Michigan, and a recent Detroit News poll has Obama up by about 16 points or so. But perhaps this was scheduled some time ago, and it was decided to hold the forum anyway.

Not thinking much of it, I checked out another local parish bulletin (see how boring my life is?) and saw an ad for the same event. This was a full-page front cover display, which listed the names of the two 'surrogates', and guess who the Democrat Obamanut is.

None other than Doug Kmiec.

Which explains why the first ad stated: this is not a debate. Expecting trouble, mayhaps? There's also some false advertising if they think there's going to be any "rising above the sounds bites". Kmiec's pretzeling of Catholic doctrine on abortion and the ensuing rationalization will not help those in attendance make the right choice in local and state elections. I highly doubt the moderator priest will do anything to defend the Church's teaching either, opting instead to maintain objectivity throughout. If he does, then he'd be complicit in the scandal, IMHO.

This event is jointly sponsored by the Archdiocese of Detroit Office For Young Adult and Campus Ministry and The Newman Center for Oakland University. But if you check out the ad, you'll see the small Catholic Services Appeal logo in the bottom right hand corner. Well, I'm justified in not having made a donation to this year's appeal drive then.

But wait! There's more!!

The second parish's ad lists a third co-sponsor that's not included in the AOD's ad: Catholics In Alliance For The Common Good. Bastards - that sealed it. I'm never giving to the CSA now. The AOD ought to know better than to sponsor events like this, aligning with dissenting and dishonest individuals and groups.

And it makes me feel bad for the McCain rep, too - he might be in for a long two hours, debate or not.

Should any of my readers attend this, I'd be interested in hearing how the forum went.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Stark Contrast...

...between good and evil.

"Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven" (Mt 5:11-12 NAB)

RedWingStickSalute to Fr Philip

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I Keep Telling Myself It's Just A Dream

Let me tell you about a recurring dream that's been affecting my sleep.

It's post-inauguration, 2009. The morning is bright and crisp. Tree limbs and swing sets are covered with a fresh dusting of overnight snow. Deer tracks criss-cross the lawn, evidence of their early morning jaunt through my back yard as they had made their way towards the patch of woods that stood off in the distance. The boys are already off to school, and I'm preparing to leave home for work.

Like any other weekday morning, this morning is no different. I gather my Franklin planner and laptop case, step into my garage and load them into my mini-van. As the garage door creaks and clanks open, I start the van and turn on the radio, pretuned to the local Catholic station, WDEO, expecting to hear Teresa Tomeo's program Catholic Connection.

And my expectations are not unmet. The unmistakable Italian/New Jersey-turned-Midwestern tones of Teresa's voice emanate from the speakers: "Good morning, faithful listeners, to a beautiful January morning, and the Tuesday edition of Catholic Connection. I'm Teresa Tomeo..."

And then, a second, different voice...

"...and I'm Sr Joan Chittister."


That's the moment when I wake up. Realization hits me like a Fr Corapi sermon on the perils of sin and heresy. Election day. Inauguration. President Obama. And the reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine. I tell myself it's only a dream, but it seems so real...

There are variations to this dream from time to time. Sometimes it's Al Kresta sharing the microphone with Fr Tom Reese. Other times it's dual hosts of EWTN Open Line, like Fr Mitch Pacwa with Bishop Gumbleton. Once I dreamt Richard McBrien was the host of Catholic Answers (I was unable to get back to sleep that night, let me tell you!).

Doubtful that it could happen, should Obama become President? Do we really want to find out? It's pretty evident that should the Democrats control the Presidency and the Congress, that the Fairness Doctrine would be reinstated early in Obama's term.

And while these "dreams" are only meant to illustrate a possibility through reductio ad absurdum, it's still certainly plausible that the Fairness Doctrine could affect Catholic television and radio. If conservative talk radio would be impacted (the target of the FD, anyway), then who's to say that Catholic radio (and probably all Christian radio, for that matter) wouldn't be next in line?
Sweet dreams, everybody.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Church Has No Shopping Carts Or Express Lanes

...and Jesus ain't a greeter at the door!

Fr Philip, O.P. has created a great 10-point list on his blog that I'm reprinting here(emphasis is original). Good to read thoughts like these from time to time!

I had a much longer piece, but I scrapped it for something a lot shorter and more to the point.

1). The Roman Catholic Church isn't WalMart or Burger King; it's the Body of Christ.

2). Catholic priests, nuns, sisters/brothers and laity aren't employees; we are members of the Body of Christ.

3). The doctrine and dogma of the Catholic Church are not consumer products that the Church's employees sell to those who want them; Catholic doctrine and dogma express the unchanging truth of the faith.

4). Life in a Catholic parish is not a trip to Disney Land or Target or McDonald's where your consumer needs and whims are catered to by the whimpering clergy and lay staff; parish life is the life of Christ for the local Catholic family.

5). You do not come into the Catholic Church b/c you like the building better than you like the Methodist chapel; or because the priest at the Catholic parish is cuter than the Baptist preacher; or because you heard that the homilies are shorter at St. Bubba's by the Lake than they are at the Unitarian Church. You come into the Catholic Church because you believe that the Catholic faith is the truth of the gospel taught by Christ himself and given to his apostles.

6). Leaving the Catholic Church because a priest was mean to you, or because sister whacked you with a ruler, or because the church secretary looked at you funny is as stupid as giving up on the truths of math because you hate your high school algebra teacher. Why would anyone let a crazy priest or a cranky nun or anyone else for the matter drive you out of the faith you believe is true? My only conclusion: you never thought it was true to begin with; or, you have a favorite sin the Church teaches against and crazy priests and cranky nuns is as good an excuse as any to leave and pursue your sin all the while feeling justified b/c Father and/or Sister are such jerks.

7). Anyone who comes in the Catholic Church thinking that they will find clouds of angels at Mass dressed as parishioners; hordes of perfect saints kneeling for communion; seminaries packed with angelic young men burning to be priests; a parish hall stacked to the ceiling with morally pure people eager to serve; and a priest without flaw or blemish, well, you're cracked and you probably need to go back and try again. Telling Catholics that they aren't perfect makes as much sense as telling fish they're wet. We know already. Move on.

8). Of the hundreds of priests and religious I know, I know two who could count as saints right now. The rest of us are deeply flawed, impure, struggling creatures who know all too well that we fail utterly to meet the basic standards of holiness. For that matter: so do you. Get in line.

9). The Catholic Church owes no one a revision of her doctrine or dogma. She didn't change to save most of Europe from becoming Protestant, why would you imagine that she would change just to get you in one of her parishes?

10). If you want to become Catholic, do it. But do it because you think the Church teaches the true faith. If a cranky priest on a blogsite is enough to keep you from embracing the truth of the faith, then two things are painfully clear: 1) you do not believe the Church teaches the faith; 2) and you care more about expresssing your hurt consumer feelings than you do for your immortal soul.

Fr. Philip, OP

UPDATE: Yes, I am a priest, and a huge part of my ministry is to console, to be present, to advise, and to try my best to shine out the light of Christ. As a Dominican friar, I do all of that first and best by telling the truth! The best pastoral approach is always to tell the truth, so please, forget the notion that "to be pastoral" is somehow opposed to "telling the truth" or "teaching the faith."

The Truth is Always Pastoral.

The Play's The Thing

Back in early September, the pagan priestess Janice Sevre-Duszynska celebrated her first fake Mass in Washington DC. During her homily, she revealed that she wrote a musical, called "Altar Girls". Below is an excerpt from that homily and script, found at a Call-to-Apostasy blog called Bridget Mary's Blog.

During my 20s and 30s I wrote plays। In 1980 when I was 30, I began work on my musical, ALTAR GIRLS, which has never been produced। Set in 1962 during Vatican II, it is about a young girl, Bibbianna, who wants to become an altar girl. Every Saturday morning when she cleans the sanctuary and priests' sacristy with Sister Joan, she tells her about her desire to become an altar girl. As time goes by, Sister Joan decides to take on Bibbi's quest as a lark at first. Later, however, her consciousness rises and not only does she support Bibbi, but she is able to name sexism in the church. In doing so she finds herself in trouble. The following dialogue is from Act II and it is between Bibbi and her parish priest.

BIBBIANNA: I've come here again, Father, to tell you that I still want to be an altar girl.
PRIEST: Now just a minute, little girl.
BIBBIANNA: I told you last time that I've memorized the Latin. Where to stand during Mass...
PRIEST: And I told you that the Catholic Church has a pope who's a man, priests, bishops and cardinals who are all men. You realize, of course, that Jesus was a man.
PRIEST: And you believe he was the Son of God
PRIEST: For two thousand years everyone's believed this. Should the Church change a rule just for you?(She opens up a book.)
BIBBIANNA: It says here in the Bible: "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness. In the divine image, male and female they were created."
PRIEST: I'm well acquainted with that passage.
BIBBIANNA: If women are in God's image, God must be part girl.
PRIEST: Such blasphemy! Say the Creed, the pledge of allegiance to our faith. Now!
BIBBIANNA: I believe in God the Father Almighty...
PRIEST: Does it say "Mother?"
BIBBiANNA: No...but in the Bible the Holy Ghost is referred to as "her," in feminine pronouns. As a woman.If you believe the Bible to be God's word, Father, then God is also part woman.
PRIEST: And I suppose God wears lipstick so She can look pretty.
BIBBiANNA: I don't know what God wears. But my Mother doesn't always wear lipstick, and she looks just as pretty without it.

Wow. Riveting dialogue. What tension, what depth. As in, what tension? What depth? I can't believe this has never ever been produced! If it weren't for the thin veneer of blatant stereotypical 60's priest bashing, I'd say the nuanced character development is inspiring and thoughtful. And I can only imagine the choreography she envisioned for the liturgical dance numbers. Well, actually, I'm attempting to not imagine it - this was written in the 60's after all.

Sad thing is, there is no need to imagine such garbage. Her play has been produced, many times over....thanks to Call-to-Apostasy, the CRONES, RomanCatholic Womynpreests and other groups of similar ilk. We've seen the videos of puppet masses, liturgical dancing, lay preaching, and the spate of fauxrdinations that have occurred in America and overseas. Some of you live in dioceses that passively permit or actively encourage such heresies and abuses to occur. Many other Catholics had to leave their parishes because of the heterodoxy, having little or no support from pastors who are inclined to allow such actions to continue.

So, it's interesting that she laments how her play has never been produced, while at the same time, she's directing, acting and co-producing the very thing, and doesn't even realize it. She, and other misguided women like her, have swapped reality for fantasy, no longer able to tell the difference. They're not participating in an authentic, holy liturgy - they're performing a pantomime, pulling off a type of confidence scheme, a kind of inverted Monty Python sketch, complete with caricatures, unintended humor and over-the-top insult.

And when the final curtain falls, there will be no encores or repeat performances, and they'll find that The Ultimate Critic has panned their performances in no uncertain terms.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Pope, A Bear And A Day In The Woods

The Pope took a couple of days off to visit the mountains of Alaska for some sightseeing. He was cruising along the campground in the Pope-mobile when there was a frantic commotion just at the edge of the woods.

A helpless Democrat, wearing sandals, shorts, a 'Save the Whales' hat, and a 'To Hell with Bush' T-shirt, was screaming while struggling frantically, thrashing around trying to free himself from the grasp of a 10-foot grizzly bear.

As the Pope watched horrified, a group of Republican loggers came racing up. One quickly fired a .44 magnum into the bear's chest. The other two reached up and pulled the bleeding, semi-conscious Democrat from the bear's grasp. Then, using long clubs, the three loggers finished off the bear and two of them threw it into the bed of their truck while the third tenderly placed the injured Democrat in the back seat.

As they prepared to leave, the Pope summoned them to come over. "I give you my blessing for your brave actions!" he told them. "I heard there was a bitter hatred between Republican loggers and Democratic environmental activists, but now I've seen with my own eyes that this is not true."

As the Pope drove off, one of the loggers asked his buddies, "Who was that guy?"

"It was the Pope," another replied. "He's in direct contact with heaven and has access to all wisdom."

"Well," the logger said, "he may have access to all wisdom, but he sure don't know anything about bear hunting! Is the bait holding up, or do we need to go back to Massachusetts and get another one?"

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Modern Fables #1: The Ant And The Grasshopper

Two Different Versions! Two Different Morals!

OLD VERSION: The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.
The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Be responsible for yourself

MODERN VERSION: The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.

The grasshopper thinks the ant is a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.

Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.

CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, and MSNBC show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food. FOX News' repeated requests to interview the grasshopper are ignored.

America is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be, that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?

Kermit the Frog appears on Oprah with the grasshopper, and everybody cries when they sing, 'It's Not Easy Being Green.'

Jesse Jackson stages a demonstration in front of the ant's house where the news stations film the group singing, 'We shall overcome.' Jesse then has the group kneel down to pray to God for the grasshopper's sake. Al Sharpton expresses "It's an outrage!"

Barack Obama exclaims in an interview with Larry King that the ant has gotten rich off the back of the grasshopper, and calls for an immediate tax hike on the ant to make him pay his fair share and spread the wealth around.

Finally, the EEOC drafts the Economic Equity & Anti-Grasshopper Act retroactive to the beginning of the summer.
The ant is fined for failing to hire a proportionate number of green bugs and, having nothing left to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the government.

Hillary gets her old law firm to represent the grasshopper in a defamation suit against the ant, and the case is tried before a panel of federal judges that Bill Clinton appointed from a list of single-parent welfare recipients.

The ant loses the case.
The story ends as we see the grasshopper finishing up the last bits of the ant's food while the government house he is in, which just happens to be the ant's old house, crumbles around him because he doesn't maintain it.
The ant has disappeared in the snow.

The grasshopper is found dead in a drug related incident and the house, now abandoned, is taken over by a gang of spiders who terrorize the once peaceful neighborhood.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Be careful how you vote in 2008

It Certainly Will Be Rich In Taste!!!

Check your local paper's inserts for the "Take One, Get Three Free" coupon come February 2009!!

Red Wings stick salute to The Cavemen

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Sanctify The Vote

From Redneck Catholic:

The course of the current campaign seems incredible. Really. So much is happening that isn't making it to the news, and so much is making it to the new that's not happening! Some of the major issues just don't get talked about. And some of the things that will occur at the end of the election are just evil.

I have begun to suspect that what we're seeing, the moral dimension of this race, is the temporal aspect of a spiritual battle. And that has put me in mind of Scripture. Specifically, the story in Matt. 17:21, where the disciples have been trying unsuccessfully to cast out an unclean spirit, and when Jesus does so, they ask him why he could, when they couldn't. He answers them by telling them that some spirits can't be cast out except through Prayer and Fasting.That made me think that perhaps what this country needed, what we, the people need, is Prayer and Fasting, especially for our electorate.

But there is more. I can't help but think of all the Marian Apparitions, where our Lady (and I'm talking here of approved apparitions) has asked us to pray and fast, and do penance. That, with the warnings of persecution and Chastisement, and of division within the Church Motivate me as well.

Not to mention the Old Testament! I'm thinking of Sodom, where the Lord said he'd spare the city for ten good men. And the Story of Jonah, where Nineveh was spared through repentance, and fasting. I think we need to do this, because we are so close to loosing our freedoms in today's political climate, and there is so much rancor directed at Christians in general, and Catholics in particular.

We need to pray and fast.

Prayerfully consider joining the cause, of praying and fasting the three days leading up to the election.

Poll Results

Thanks to everyone who participated in the poll concerning on what I should do about my heretic smackdown. Since ACORN had no involvement in the process, I have the utmost confidence in the results.

38% - Keep preaching it, brutha!
26% - The Confetior at Mass will take care of it.
19% - An apology wouldn't hurt.
15% - Perfectly legitimate response to malarkey like that.
7% - Get thee to the Sin Bin!
3% - You're being over-scrupulous.

I was planning on apologizing, but the forum where this exchange had been taking place closed the comments, so my response was never posted. I'll take that as divine intervention, that my response was uncharitable and thus forever banished to the ether.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Product Of Public Education, Perhaps?

It's math like this that explains how he thinks 95% of people would get a tax cut.

Must Have Been A Slow Day At The Local Precinct

Vatican police were called in to quell a protest march that descended towards St Peter's Square Wednesday evening, stopping eleven representatives of the Womyn's Ordination Conference (affectionately dubbed the CRONES, by AoftheA) from delivering a petition to the Holy Father.

The "official" press release regarding the incident is here.

Here's my guess as to how they'll describe this event to their Crones-y friends.

"Well, let me tell you, it was frightening. Here we were, approaching St Peter's, singing songs of peace and love, when all of a sudden, the police had us surrounded. Dressed in full riot gear, with dogs, guns pointed as us, ordering us to get down on the ground! And we could hear Pope Benedict shouting orders from his apartment, declaring us anathema, telling the police to set loose the dogs. We were never so scared ever before at all in our whole lives. Then they confiscated our passports, threatened immediate expulsion from Italy, and after what seemed like hours, we were finally allowed to return to our hotel. It was so humiliating! So typical of the patriarchal, misogynistic, fearful women-loathing Church! We are outraged at how we were treated. All we wanted to do was give the Holy Father a polite petition. And what does Pope Benedict do? He orders the entire police force out to intimidate us and frighten us."

Meanwhile, this is probably what the chief of police relayed to his law enforcement amici.

"Mama mia, it was a slow day. I was so bored all day. Then I get a call from one of my deputies that a group of women were shuffling towards St Peters. And he asks me, "Chief, what do I do? They carry signs, they want to see the Papa. So I say, how many? And he say to me, ten, maybe eleven. Well, I was going to send in a couple more uniforms, but then I figure, eh? What the heck? Maybe I go to the piazza and take care of this myself. You know, it's been a slow day. So I go there, and mama mia, I think all these ladies are old enough to be my own mama. So then I tell them, please, don't bother the Papa, and I promise that I take their note to him. You know, make them happy a little bit. Then I tell them about a nice place that sells gelati at senior discount. And that make them a little happier. They seem like nice women, maybe a little pazzo, or bizzarro. I suggest they do a little sight-seeing and take pretty pictures, stop this priest silliness."

Check out Fr Z's blog for a great fisk of the official press release.

CRONES = Coalition of Resentful "Ordained" Non-Episcopal Sistahs

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Save A Puppy, Kill A Baby

This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, since there's so little left in the world that comes as a surprise anymore.

Animal rights advocates are quick to condemn pro-life advocates for not supporting their agenda for the protection of animals. Yet, a recent move by the Humane Society reveals why many pro-life advocates have misgivings -- as it endorsed the candidate who many consider the most pro-abortion in history.

The Humane Society Legislative Fund issued an endorsement for Barack Obama, who supports abortions throughout pregnancy for any reason and has been criticized for opposing anti-infanticide bills in the Illinois legislature.

The group says it has never made an endorsement for president before, though it has backed hundreds of candidates for Congress.

"But, in an era of sweeping presidential power, we must weigh in on this most important political race in the country," the group said.

"The Obama-Biden ticket is the far better choice on animal protection," the group says, adding that it only "evaluates candidates based on a single criterion: where they stand on animal protection policies."

Ah, the ol' double standard employed once again. Pro-lifers are often villified for being single issue voters, but it's okay for other groups to be.

Last time I checked, the Republican platform doesn't advocate animal abuse or plan to give tax breaks to mink farms. But perhaps the fact that Sarah Palin hunts moose and caribou forced the Humane Society to endorse Obama. It doesn't really matter in the long run, though, since caribou, moose and pets don't normally get to vote. Although given the registration fraud ACORN is being accused of, I wouldn't be surprised if pets are being registered. After all, Mickey Mouse was registered in Florida.

A little more of the article:

For Jill Stanek, the nurse who exposed the born-alive abortion practice leading to the bills Obama opposed, that's an understatement.

"The disconnect is insane," Stanek says in response. "The Humane Society has no problem promoting single issue voting" while pro-life advocates don't get equal treatment.
The people "the Humane Society touts as pro-humane treatment of animals are radically anti-humane treatment of pre-born humans."

Stanek also condemned the photo that accompanied the endorsement on the Humane Society's web site -- which features a picture of Obama holding a puppy and standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
If the Humane Society needs a new advertising poster, I have a suggestion:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Spiritual Combat....

...21st century style!

(photo of a model by Kris Kuksi)

The photo brings to mind one of the great hymns of old....

"Now tank we all our God With hearts and hands and missals. Who wondrous things hath done With Gospels and epistles.

Who with our men at arms Hath blessed us on our way. With countless rounds of fire To blast her'sy away."

Consider this a caption contest, too!

Red Wings stick salute to The Curt Jester

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Synod Synicism

While a lot of attention was given to Pope Benedict's impromptu words at the opening of the Bishop's Synod last Monday - regarding the economic turmoil that has gripped the world (American Papist has the quotes, along with a great four word sentence wrap-up!) - less noticed was the on-the-scene report of the Opening Mass on Sunday, October 5, as given by Sr Chris Schenck of FutileChurch. So here goes:

"Waaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!! W-w-w-w-w-w-aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!! Not fair not fair not fair!!!"

OK, those aren't her actual words. They might as well be, as you read the text of her report. Hers are red, mine are blue.

On a Sunday morning filled with sunshine I hopped the 23 bus to St. Paul’s outside the Walls for the Papal Mass celebrating the opening of the Synod on the Word. Normally the ceremony would have been held at St. Peter’s. But since it is the year of St. Paul, Pope Benedict chose to honor this plainspoken missionary who, with the help of women such as Prisca, Junia, Lydia, and Phoebe [along with Mark, Barnabas, Timothy, Titus, many of the apostles] brought the Gentile world to Christ. [I thought it was bringing Christ to the Gentile world, but heck, what do I know?] I waited, along with 2,000 other expectant souls, while hundreds of Bishops, assorted priest functionaries and finally a gently smiling Pope,[concealing an evil, sexist maleficient intent, she forgot to add] processed in to the solemn chant of the litany of saints. Yep, nary a female among them. [well, there's always the Diocese of Rochester!]Adding insult to injury, the litany’s 59 saints included only five women. [but who's counting?] So much for Prisca and her sisters. Yet I was expecting this. After all, it is why I came to Rome.

To console myself, I reflected how quickly the simple man from Nazareth would have shunned all the pomp and circumstance. [and you know this how?] I really couldn’t see him marching in all that regalia, [wait until He returns in triumph!] though I do respect these bishop leaders of our church [since when?]. For that matter, I couldn’t see Peter and Paul processing in the regalia either [they were in the fourth row, just off to the left!]. After all, chasuble and miter are modeled on the garb worn by magistrates of the Roman empire, not earlier Christian leaders. I wondered what it is about the psyche of Church leaders that needs all the processing. [ummm, could it be something about showing reverence to the King of Kings?]

Particularly annoying was the litany’s refrain: Christus vincit! Christus regnat! Christus imperat! Umm, yes, Jesus was all about conquering, ruling and reigning. Not. [Ummm, yes - he conquered sin and death. He reigns in heaven. This is, after all, a kingdom, Chris. Perhaps you think the Church is all about community activism?] Somewhere along the line, the successors of Peter and Paul seem to have missed the point about Jesus’ servant-leadership-even-unto-death. [You mean like all the popes in the first several centuries of the Church who were martyred? Or perhaps you forgot that one of the Pope's titles is Servant of Servants.] When did the processing, ruling, conquering model become tradition? [We are the Church Militant, remember? Or do you prefer the Church of the Waving White Flag of Surrender?]

As the assembly joined the choir in chanting the Asperges Me (Wash me O Lord) I was taken back to fifth grade when Sr. Rosemary taught me Gregorian chant. I loved it, and still do. So many faithful women of the church taught tens of thousands of Catholic children not only Gregorian chant, but the deeper lesson of how to glorify God with the goodness of our lives. [All the while being faithful to the Church, too. Imagine that!] None of them ever seemed to need to process anywhere. They were just happy if we learned our lessons, learned how to pray and learned how to behave. That was plenty recognition enough. [So what's your excuse then?]

To my relief, a woman proclaimed the first rather ominous reading from Isaiah 5: 1-7: “What more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done in it? When I expected it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes? [Ironic] And now I will tell you what I will do…I will make it a waste, …for the vineyard of the Lord is the house of Israel...he expected justice but saw bloodshed; righteousness, but heard a cry.”

The gospel from Matthew 21:33-43 for this Sunday, the 27th week in ordinary time, is even more sobering. Jesus addresses the chief priests and elders, telling of the landowner who planted a vineyard tended by unfaithful stewards who ultimately kill his son rather than yield good fruit to the owner. “What will the owner do to those tenants when he comes?” asks Jesus. “Have you never read in the scriptures: “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone… Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom.” [Funny how the irony shoots past her head here]

Oh right. This is a “Synod on the Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church.” How could I have forgotten? I ponder whether Church leaders could possibly have known what they were doing when they called such a dangerous synod into being. [dangerous for you perhaps.]

It is painful and humiliating to face our unfaithfulness to the values of the kingdom [like obedience, maybe?]. Our infidelity automatically means the kingdom will be given to others. This is because fidelity to the kingdom’s values, in itself leads to fruitfulness whereas infidelity makes fruitfulness impossible. [I hate to repeat myself again, but oh! the irony!] What stones rejected by our church, could be the priceless cornerstones for a new reign of God still to come? Some of my picks include the value of the feminine, [ever read Mulieris Dignitatem?] the value of gay people, the value of acknowledging that, like Paul, we are imperfect and need Jesus’ example of forgiveness and loving beyond the rules. [in your case, I think you mean ignoring the rules??] How about the value of married priestly calls [it's called the permanent diaconate], or in Henri Nouwen’s felicitous phrase, the value of downward mobility and even the value of the Eucharist?[you've gotta be kidding! The Church has rejected the value of the Eucharist?? Maybe it's just the jet lag talkin' here...]

If it is true that “the Word of God is sharper than any two edged sword,” then we, the People of God, and our leaders should prepare to hear some things we would rather not hear. [The Church has ALWAYS been saying things people like you don't want to hear - thing is, you haven't been listening]

Which of course, is I why I’ve come to Rome.

Field Trips Sure Have Changed Since I Was In Grade School

Apple orchards. Petting zoos. The planetarium. Those were some of the places I remember visiting when I went on grade school field trips.

Never a same-sex "wedding" ceremony though.

Creative Minority Report has more on the story. Here's a snippet (emphasis mine):

In the same week that the No on 8 campaign launched an ad that labeled as “lies” claims that same-sex marriage would be taught in schools to young children, a first grade class took a school-sponsored trip to a gay wedding. Eighteen first graders traveled to San Francisco City Hall Friday for the wedding of their teacher and her lesbian partner, The San Francisco Chronicle reported... The school sponsored the trip for the students, ages 5 and 6,...

"Taking children out of school for a same-sex wedding is not customary education. This is promoting same-sex marriage and indoctrinating young kids," said Yes on 8— Campaign Co-Manager Frank Schubert. "I doubt the school has ever taken kids on a field trip to a traditional wedding," Schubert said.

You can read the whole story at No permission slip required.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Here's A Question... a verbal smackdown sinful?

Here's the situation. I've been 'debating' with a person, and the topic turned to Martin Luther. I made a statement that baptized Catholics can fall from grace, with the reminder that even Luther was a baptized Catholic. That generated this response:

I would guess you're talking about "St. Martin Luther"? :-)

I'm not sure what or how you have determined that Martin Luther 'fell from grace', but I have my doubts that God sees such a stern challenge to the church in the same light as you do. Not only did Martin Luther point out many things that the Church itself later reformed in the light of his challenges, but he came to his position from a personal struggle with religious scrupulosity, and sternness was perhaps more to any problem with accepting grace than his personal decision and challenge to the institutional church.

Lots of buzzwords in there: "stern"; "challenge"; "institutional church". So I responded thus:

I hope you're kidding when you say "St Martin Luther". I presume from the smiley emoticon, you are. Because truth be told, in spite of his intentions, while he was right to point out the errors of certain behaviors that individuals were engaged in, such as selling indulgences, for instance, he is not a hero to be praised...

...His "fall from grace" were the sins of schism and heresy. Note I did not say or imply that he died in a state of mortal sin - I in no way judge the state of Luther's soul - and the Church doesn't either. Whether or not Luther is in heaven is of no consequence to me.

That garnered this response:

Well, I love the church's concept of the communion of saints, and, yes, I see Martin Luther right in there. I think that one person's sins of schism and heresy are often another's challenge to institutional problems and deficits. I don't see schism and heresy as sins, nor as a "fall from grace," which indeed suggests that you place consequence to his life in heaven, or not.

This person is obviously not in union with Church teaching here, and apparently not kidding about the Luther's saintliness either. Their opinion that heresy and schism are not sins is just that: an opinion. On top of that, this person has assumed the ability to canonize whomever they see fit. Well, I couldn't let that go unanswered, so I responded with this:

"Schism is the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him" (CCC2089)

"Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same" (CCC2089)

If you don't see them as sins, and you consider yourself Catholic, then I hate to break it to you, but you're not really Catholic. You're picking and choosing what you want to believe and rationalizing away the rest.

If a person is challenging authentic institutional problems and deficits, then by definition, that isn't heresy or schism. But when a person denies defined truth (which Luther also did), then the person, by definition, has committed the sin of heresy which can lead to schism. Regardless of how you choose to define schism and heresy, it's still a serious sin. Whether Luther is in heaven is irrelevant to me - and I make no judgement either way. You have made a judgement, that he is in heaven. All I know is that if Luther is in heaven, it's because he repented of his sins and accepted Christ's mercy before death. Which, in the end, is necessary for all of us.

(here's the verbal smackdown part)
I tell you what, though. If he's in heaven, then when I die, I'll ask him what it was that got him in. If he's not in heaven, then when you die, you ask him what kept him out.

I'm interested to know what you, my readers, think. Do I need to go to confession for my smackdown? Sure, it was pointed, snarky, direct, humorous and implied that the person is going to go to Hell. But is it confession-worthy? Did I go too far in instructing the ignorant? Did I cross the line in reproaching the obstinately stupid? There's a poll on my sidebar - your input would be helpful. I aim to be charitable to these types of people, no matter how much it hurts them.

Gotta admit - it was a pretty good response. Oops! That was prideful, wasn't it?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Instructional DVD's I'd Like To See

The world is full of Instructional Videos and "How To" DVD's. Whether they're for exercise, or crafts and hobbies, or the disk that came with the garage door opener you lugged home from Lowe's, with the annoying, smiling couple happily installing the darn thing in about 30 minutes, without getting dirty or oily or sweaty...well, never mind that.

On the radio today, I heard a story of how President Vladamir Putin of Russia has put out a Judo Video, starring himself. Here's a little bit of the story from the International Herald Tribune:

Just weeks after Russia's state-run media reported that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had saved a news crew from a wild tiger, he was flexing his muscles again, this time in an instructional martial arts video.

A montage on Russian television of the white-robed prime minister body-slamming opponents accompanied the release of the video, "Let's Learn Judo With Vladimir Putin," in Putin's hometown, St. Petersburg, on Tuesday.

At a news conference coinciding with Putin's 56th birthday, the prime minister described the video's title as a "marketing trick."

"Anyone who watches this material will learn not from your humble servant, but from true masters," he said.

The video is part of a growing media library highlighting Putin's masculinity that includes episodes of Putin, a former KGB agent, bare-chested on a fishing expedition and in flight in a fighter jet.

The first thing I asked myself is, why would Putin do this? It can't be for the money - he can just take as much as he wants from whomever he wants whenever he wants. The guy's a socialist, for Pete's sake. Sure, it's a marketing gimmick to help sell the videos, but let's face it; this guy is former KGB. I think this video is part of a larger plot to send a not-so-subtle message to the people of Russia: yes, I know Judo, and there's more where that's coming from, so stay loyal to the Motherland if you know what's best for you.

So then I got thinking some more. There are people in America who need to produce their own instructional videos and How To DVD's. And not just any ol' people. I'm thinking about dissident Catholics, specifically (I have to stay loyal to the spirit of my blog, after all).

So here are some of my ideas - I offer them freely to the parties cited. After all, we're in tough economic times, and since many of these heterodox Catholics are getting on in years, their retirement portfolios have been decimated, so the revenue would be helpful.

"Keep Your Nose To The Millstone!" How to grind, fit and decorate your very own personal millstone! Presented by Fr Thomas Reese and Bishop Gumbleton.

"Purls Before Swine: 99 Ordination Mat Patterns" Easy instructions to create a beautiful ordination mat that says 'I'm a priestess of the New Evangelization!' Includes bonus disc for albs and stoles! Presented by The CRONES in association with JoAnn Fabrics.

"Teeth Gnashing In Four Easy Steps!" Comes with special neuromuscular EndlessNightGuard, FREE! Guaranteed to provide an eternity of grinding discomfort or your money back! Includes effective wailing techniques, recorded in state-of-the-art Ululation Surround Sound. Presented by Sr Joan Chittister.

"So You Want To Write A Catechism?" Learn the easy and fun way to change the CCC into your very own personalized Catechism with the patented Paragraphigram Renumbering System! Presented by Rev Richard McBrien. (CCC not included).

I'm thinking that these could be marketed to new Catholics, Confirmandis and RCIA Classes, so that they can learn what to avoid as they grow in faith. Maybe these should be called "How Not To" DVD's, then, as well as Instructional Videos.

Strawmen Unite!

Check out Creative Minority Report for a report on a new advocacy group, Save The Strawmen. They might be lobbying for bale-out legislation.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Real Rescue Plan

No doubt about it, we're in tough times right now. Not just here in America, but globally. Markets tanking, economy struggling, the federal government passing an unprecedented bailout package. Not to mention a pivotal presidential election that has ramifications for the next generation and beyond.

While the first week of October has been tumultuous, I found it interesting in reading through this month's issue of The Magnificat, how the Church, by divine providence, has been sending a clear message. A message in complete contrast to that which the world has been sending. Wholly diametrically opposed to the incessant urgency of "we must do something, and do it now!!"

October 1 - Feast of St. Terese of Lisieux: childlike trust in God; do little things with great love.

October 2 - Feast of the Guardian Angels: we each have a personal protector from God, to guide and lead us every day.

October 3 - First Friday of the Month, a day to meditate on the Sacred Heart of Jesus. One of the promises Jesus makes to those who have a devotion to the Sacred Heart is to establish peace in their homes.

October 4 - Saint Francis of Assisi: his life shows how we must always trust in Christ, and to develop a true spirit of detachment to the things of this world.

October 5 - Saint Faustina: "Jesus, I trust in You!!"

October 6 - Saint Bruno: Founder of the Carthusians, an order of contemplative monks. A simple lifestyle, dependent on God.

October 7 - Our Lady of The Rosary: There is no better prayer than the rosary, to bring peace to the family and ultimately, peace to the world.

No one knows what will transpire in the days ahead. For some, hardships will only deepen. For others, security will shatter as the things they thought would prevail will crash about them. For all, uncertainty may be the only thing that is certain from one day to the next. At a talk I attended several weeks ago, the speaker described it as life behind enemy lines. Right now, the battle tactics are economic turmoil and financial worries, and it's real and painful.

But if we keep Christ at the center of our lives, clinging to him through all this chaos and confusion, we will have peace in our hearts. The Church has provided us with great examples of how to do this. Holy saints to emulate. Incredible devotions to embrace. Powerful prayers to meditate on. Not as an escape from the responsibilities we have towards our families, our jobs, our neighbors. Not as a psychological refuge from suffering or even as a refusal to admit that our country is undergoing a time of crisis.

No, these are the tools and aids the Church provides for our relief and sustenance.

The Real Rescue Plan.

Marriage Advice

A real tear-jerker....


Sunday, October 5, 2008

With Friends Like These...

This is the kind of story that makes you want to pull your hair out by the roots and scream.

From Catholic Exchange: Catholics Keeping Catholics In The Dark, by Brad O'Leary.

It's a good article, and I encourage you to read it. Here's a few choice excerpts:

At a family gathering I was shocked when I learned I had children and grandchildren planning to vote for Barack Obama. Their reasoning was he was handsome, articulate, and “for change.” Yet none of them could tell me what he stood for on any of the issues. I thought the best way to educate them would be to draft a letter, detailing Obama’s stances on the important issues of the day. However, I soon realized that I had a enough material for a book, and so, The Audacity of Deceit: Barack Obama’s War on American Values, was born....

...Now, as a veteran political consultant, I know politics is a nasty business and I am well acquainted with phenomenon of certain media outlets refusing to run paid advertising on the grounds that they don’t agree with the ad’s message.

However, I never expected to have paid advertising for my book censored by nearly every Catholic diocesan newspaper editor in the country.

The ad in question simply provides public polling information that shows a majority of Catholics are opposed to abortion. The ad also provides Barack Obama’s well-documented stance on various issues pertaining to abortion. The ad, and my book for that matter, do not specifically endorse any candidate, nor do they urge readers to vote for, or against, any candidate.

Despite all of this, only two dioceses out of 194 agreed to run this paid advertisement in their papers.....

While my paid advertisement is “too political,” many of these same dioceses had no problem publishing a piece disseminated by the Catholic News Service that praises Obama’s pro-abortion running mate, Senator Joe Biden, as an ally of the Church and its policy interests....

To learn more about the book, go to Brad's background is extensive, well-documented and grounded in the Church. If you can, get the book, and if you're living in one of the other 192 dioceses that refused to run his ad, write the editor of the diocesan paper.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

OK, But What Would Karnak Say?

When there are no more pundits to ask, or talking heads to question, or so-called experts to interview, it only makes sense that the media would descend into the cellar of credibility and seek the opinions of....


From The Politico: Psychics: Stars Not Aligned For Palin

Well, that about seals the deal for me. If those who make a living at predicting the future are saying that Sarah Palin's karma is kaput, then the election is surely over. Here's some of the story:

"Well-known psychic Elizabeth Joyce has doubts there will be an election this November. Her instincts tell her that, come next week, there might be “rioting in the streets and martial law” and that President Bush will henceforth carry out his term indefinitely.

"But that’s next week. Tonight, there’s a vice presidential debate. And Joyce’s predicted outcome runs closer to conventional wisdom on the much-anticipated matchup between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden. She believes that the debate will ultimately go a long way in determining the next president, and that Biden will take the day so long as he doesn’t push her too much."

Whoa!!!! Back up there, Nelly! Did Elizabeth just say that there will be riots in the streets and martial law next week, resulting in a suspended election? Holy smokes! Is that the October surprise?? Why isn't that the headline of the story? Oh wait, let's not get ahead of ourselves here - one crisis at a time, you know. The riots won't start until next week. Sort of like going to a doctor for an ingrown toenail and discovering you have stage 4 cancer, and the doctor saying "hold on now, sure you're terminal, but dang it, YOU'VE GOT AN INGROWN TOENAIL!!!!"

OK, sarcasm off. More article now.

Joyce, whose website claims she was “born with the authentic gift of psychic ability,” was one of a handful of prominent psychics Politico surveyed to get a better “sense” of how the Palin-Biden matchup might shake out. According to their occult minds, Biden has the edge and, ominously, the moon and stars are not aligned in Palin’s favor.

Deanna Fitzpatrick, a Reiki Master from Biden’s home state of Delaware, also got the vibes the senator would win. Her psychic instincts tell her that during the debate, Palin “should take some pauses, instead of trying to answer too quickly. I think she’s going to struggle at that. I think she’s going to have a tendency to grab at things too quick and she just has to take her time.”

A Politico reporter predicted that Fitzpatrick was a supporter of the Obama-Biden ticket; she confirmed the premonition.

Before the Thursday evening debate, the gang over at Psychic Source TV (self-promoted as “the nation’s oldest and most respected psychic service”) will do a debate preview, the first of its kind they’ve done.Psychic Moira O’Dowd, numerologist Paige Kelley and “not just a tarot card reader” Therese Baxter broke it down for Politico on Wednesday.

When asked how many customers have asked them questions about the election, O’Dowd said that they’ve gotten quite a few requests to do astrological readings of Obama and Biden, but not really any of McCain. “Maybe that’s an indication of our client base,” O’Dowd said.

Notice the last line? Most of the requests for astrological readings are for Obama and Biden, but not nearly as many for McCain. I thought Obamaniacs were enlightened, educated and intelligent. Hmm. Turns out, some are just plain ol' nutjobs.

Palin is an Aquarius, which, O’Dowd said, means she’s free-spirited, free-thinking, innovative, outspoken and articulate — "although she hasn’t shown that lately.”

That means Mercury’s retrograde could really stultify Palin. “There’s a slight astrological possibility that Mrs. Palin would pull out. ... Or she maybe just have one of those long Ms. South Carolina pauses,” O’Dowd said, referring to a notorious and excruciatingly embarrassing beauty pageant flub that occurred in 2007. She pegged its likelihood at 50 percent.

“It should be very interesting," she said. "With moon square Neptune, it is going to make it problematic for her to find her words.”

Man, don't you just hate that moon square Neptune condition? Granted, though, it's a lot better than when comets circle Uranus.

Overall, the consensus among the psychics was that the presidential race has at times been too unpredictable for them.

“I am a very good psychic, but every four days everything has changed for me in the last month and a half,” Baxter said.

Yeah, like after every four days, the effects from her drugs wear off. Talk about cover. (*UPDATE* Today must have been the fourth day. Sarah done pretty good!)

Enough of that. The Church is wise to teach that it is very sinful to seek answers from psychics, Ouija boards, astrology charts and horoscopes. And as it turns out, it also makes you look downright stupid.