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Today Is The Day
Get ready for it.
Okay Then, That Was Unexpected...
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.

Friday, February 27, 2009

See You Next Month!

Weekend blogging is verboten this Lent - fun and games resume on Monday!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Annual Los Angeles Travelling Heresy Show

If Los Angeles were to suffer unprecedented ecological calamities this weekend, say being consumed by lava as in the movie Volcano, or devastated by monster tornadoes as in The Day After Tomorrow, here's the reason why:

The 2009 Sacrilegious Indoctrination Congress has rolled into town.

SperoNews has brief bios of many of the speakers, some of which are: Fr. Michael Crosby; Fr. Richard Fragomeni; David Hass and Marty Haugen; Fr. Brian Massingale; Sr. Fran Ferder; Fr. Richard Rohr. Many of the speakers listed have ties to Call To Apostasy and Voice of the Faithless, which is par for the course for this event. And how much you want to bet that the "Eucharistic Liturgies" will be, um, creative?

The keynote speaker is Jim Wallis, founder and editor of Sojourners Magazine. Here is the theme of his address, taken from the RE Congress site:

Title: "The Opportunity of Crisis" (sounds like something Rahm Emanuel would say....oh wait, he did say that, didn't he!)

We stand at a unique historical crossroad — a moment pregnant with expectation for progress, and burdened with the reality of hardship. In the context of our faith we call this “hope.” Jim Wallis defines hope as, “believing in spite of the evidence and watching the evidence change.” It is hope, he says, grounded in faith that can stir our nation into the action needed to produce lasting change.

Wallis sees a “new faith coalition” emerging not bound by the usual denominational, cultural, racial, or even political distinctions, but rather, united in its pursuit of the common good and justice for the “least of these.” Together, these believers can open up a new “two-way street” of dialogue in the public square. Here, we can offer prayerful support of our elected officials as they face their responsibilities, especially when their agenda is consistent with our own. At the same time the faith community must exercise it’s prophetic responsibility to challenge our leaders when necessary, particularly in defense of the poor and vulnerable. At the present crossroad we can choose this street of hope and travel this road to progress.

It's no wonder that the Los Angeles archdiocese is suffering.

Joe of St Therese, if you can get out of town for the weekend, do it!

Weapon Of Mass Dysfunction

There's just one word for it: unbefreakinlievable.

From the Corning Curmudgeon, via Rich Leonardi's Ten Things:

My son Anthony attends Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Normally, he avoids the on-campus Neumann Center Mass and goes to St Stanislaus' down town for the Latin Mass. Well the weather was bad, and so he and his fiancee went to the Newman Center mass. Well, it was an "interesting" mass. Not in good way either. He sent me pictures.
Apparently the priest decided to "sprinkle" water on the congregation at the begining of Mass. Well the ritual deviated from the usual sprinkling rite. First there was the ritual blessing of the super-soaker (!)
Then we had the filling of the super soaker with holy water and then the "sprinkling" of the congregation with the super soaker.

Truely if that wasn't strange enough, apparently Father's liturgical color of the day was "tie-dyed." While colorful, it less than impressed the congregation of 20 or so college students who either were laughing through out or muttering under their breath. Of course all this was proceeded by even more loony-tunes stuff:
As Anthony puts it:
It was actually worse than the pictures make it out to be. He processed into mass behind the cross wearing the Mickey Mouse hat and a gold masquerade mask. Once the singing stopped, the first thing he did was blow a kazoo and say, "Happy Mardi Gras."

Things like this are not helping attract the youth to mass, nor to the Church. Bishop Clark....are you listening?
I grew up in the Diocese of Rochester, and it's maddening as hell to see how badly things have regressed there. Pray.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday


"Yeah, Mass was good. 'Cept when Father sneezed just as he was going to give me ashes."
I like Ash Wednesday - it's sobering to hear the words "Remember man, that thou art dust, and unto dust thou shalt return". To some, mainly those who are weak in their faith, it sounds moribund. To others, it can be a startling wake-up call. I imagine that progressives loathe it because it's not PC, but the words "Remember, human, that thou art dust..." have a hollow meaningless sound to them.
It's good to be reminded that life as we know it is not permanent, that our existence here is contained by its mortality. At times, when circumstances are difficult and situations are dire, there is solace in knowing that "this too shall pass", and not only in a literal temporary sense, from a movement out of sadness to joy, despair to elation, or illness to health. "This too shall pass" foretells of our eternal existence. For many, the circumstances and situations never improve - but by remaining close to the Lord, uniting our suffering with His, knowing that His suffering wasn't permanent either, and that He's endured far worse than anything we endure, He will shower us with the grace necessary to persevere.
And when life is on Easy Street, where there's gold at the end of every rainbow and chickens in every pot, it's good to remember that these blessings are temporary. Not in the sense where it's "Eat drink and be merry, because tomorrow it's all going to Hell in a hand basket". No, more along the lines of showing gratitude to God for his blessings, and being thankful for all the good fortune that befalls us. Experience has shown that even in these circumstances, the axiom "this too shall pass" is equally true, and oftentimes, change occurs much more quickly when things are going well than when they are not. But that's probably because it's tougher to be patient when times are rough, and it's easy to take for granted when times are smooth.
St Augustine wrote: "Our hearts are restless, Lord, until they rest in thee." It's a truth that's imprinted our our souls. The things of this Earth may be passing away, but the ashes on our foreheads remind us that we weren't created to be part of that passage. We're along for the ride, but our destination is eternity.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

This Might Get Ugly

Acts of a posse, see?

Look Out! Lent Is Coming!!

You know Lent is coming (esp. if you're in metro Detroit) because all the bakeries have been advertising their paczki specials (pronounced "poonch-ski") for weeks now. Mmmm - if you're feeling a quart low in the cholesterol department, a paczki will take care of that for you!

Lent is the Church season where we prepare for the joy that is Easter. Preparing traditionally takes the forms of fasting, praying and giving alms. Many of us take the approach by "giving stuff up" for Lent, such as candy, chocolate, television, and other indulgences. Others work on developing the virtues, such as patience, kindness or generosity. Others focus on increasing their devotional practices, or attending Mass more frequently, or reading Scripture and other books with the aim to increase holiness and a deeper love for Christ.

Some have mentioned that they will be blogging less, or spending less time on the Internet. Creative Minority Report has posted on penitential practices they have vowed to avoid, with their usual humor. Fr Philip has an awesome post on resisting Satan during Lent - a phenomenal read. Other blogs, such as And Sometimes Tea (here and here) and Abbey Roads, have posted their insightful reflections on the upcoming Lenten season, being mindful to remain general in their advice and comments. They're especially careful in avoiding any specific revelations of their own Lenten practices. And that's advice I'm going to follow, keeping my Lenten observances and devotions private.

When I hear or read of people broadcasting their Lenten sacrifices or mortifications are going to be, I wish them well and offer my prayers, but I also silently wonder if that's one of the types of people Jesus referred to when he spoke of long tassels and wide phylacteries. The things we do or give up for Lent increase in power when kept quietly in a room behind a closed door.

There's a deeper sense of urgency this Lenten season than in past years, it seems to me. As if the personal spiritual battles we wage are being played out in a much more real sense in the physical world. Which could mean an even more glorious Easter.

So as Fat Tuesday rolls up into Ash Wednesday, please keep me in your prayers this Lent. And I promise to do the same.

The Hermeneutics Of Stupidity

Richard McBrien at National Catholic Distorter has penned another editorial of gobbledy-gook and nonsense. This time it's centered on Pope Benedict's view of the Second Vatican Council....what a surprise, eh?

Pope Benedict on Vatican II

(just a few excerpts, with my comments)

The controversy generated by Pope Benedict XVI's recent lifting of the excommunications from the four bishops of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X (also known as the Society of St. Pius X) has given some critics, on both left and right, occasion to question the pope's commitment to the Second Vatican Council. (it gave the progressive critics night sweats and aneurysms, most likely)

On the left, some voice the suspicion that the pope is really in sympathy with those who question whether the council really changed anything in the Catholic church, even if his views do not exactly match those of the Society of St. Pius X, which openly rejects the council in whole or in substantial part. (partly right. The Holy Father is concerned about the changes wrought by the gross misinterpretations of the Council - and he has little sympathy for their agents.)

Both sides, however, seem to base their judgments on the pope's previously stated views (especially in his address to the Roman Curia at Christmas 2005) that distinguished between two opposing interpretations of the council: what he called, on the one hand, a "hermeneutics of discontinuity" and, on the other, a "hermeneutics of reform."

The problem is that both sides, left and right, have interpreted the pope's own view, not as he actually expressed it, namely, as a "hermeneutics of reform," but as they assumed he meant it, namely, as a "hermeneutics of continuity." (McBrien can read minds but not words, because the Holy Father used both terms synonymously, as I will show later, via Fr Finigan's blog The Hermeneutics of Continuity)

McBrien goes on to cite portions of an article printed in the Feb 2 issue of America, written by Fr. Joseph Komonchak, Novelty In Continuity: Pope Benedict's Interpretation Of Vatican II. Notice how the author misapplies the Holy Father's words, and how McBrien readily adopts that position.

The pope had begun his address to the Roman Curia by contrasting two ways of interpreting the council. The first interpretation Benedict did call the "hermeneutics of discontinuity," which he described as an approach that runs the risk of positing a rupture between the preconciliar and postconciliar church.

According to Fr. Komonchak's rendition of the pope's remarks, this approach "disparages the texts of the council as the result of unfortunate compromises and favors instead the elements of novelty in the documents."

Later in his editorial, McBrien further cites Komonchak: Komonchak suggests that the real target of the pope's words may have been the traditionalist followers of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who reject the council because of its perceived discontinuities from church doctrine.

The papal address could be read, therefore, as an effort to persuade traditionalists "that a distinction is legitimately made between the level of doctrine ... and the level of concrete application. ..."

Sound the Wrong Answer Buzzer. McBrien conveniently assigns the "hermeneutics of discontinuity" tag to the SSPX while omitting himself and other wreckovators like him. Mighty big blind spot, I'd say.

Let's look at a further reading of the Holy Father's address to the Roman Curia back in December 2005. I stumbled across a portion of that text at Fr Finigan's blog, The Hermeneutics of Continuity - in fact it's the inaugural blogpost of Father's fine blog, called Pope Benedict XVI On The Hermeneutic Of Continuity. It's a great read in and of itself, and I've pulled several quotes from the Holy Father's speech.

The last event of this year on which I wish to reflect here is the celebration of the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council 40 years ago. This memory prompts the question: What has been the result of the Council? Was it well received? What, in the acceptance of the Council, was good and what was inadequate or mistaken? What still remains to be done? No one can deny that in vast areas of the Church the implementation of the Council has been somewhat difficult, even without wishing to apply to what occurred in these years the description that St Basil, the great Doctor of the Church, made of the Church's situation after the Council of Nicea: he compares her situation to a naval battle in the darkness of the storm, saying among other things: "The raucous shouting of those who through disagreement rise up against one another, the incomprehensible chatter, the confused din of uninterrupted clamouring, has now filled almost the whole of the Church, falsifying through excess or failure the right doctrine of the faith..." (De Spiritu Sancto, XXX, 77; PG 32, 213 A; SCh 17 ff., p. 524).

We do not want to apply precisely this dramatic description to the situation of the post-conciliar period, yet something from all that occurred is nevertheless reflected in it. The question arises: Why has the implementation of the Council, in large parts of the Church, thus far been so difficult?

Well, it all depends on the correct interpretation of the Council or - as we would say today - on its proper hermeneutics, the correct key to its interpretation and application. The problems in its implementation arose from the fact that two contrary hermeneutics came face to face and quarrelled with each other. One caused confusion, the other, silently but more and more visibly, bore and is bearing fruit.

On the one hand, there is an interpretation that I would call "a hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture"; it has frequently availed itself of the sympathies of the mass media, and also one trend of modern theology. On the other, there is the "hermeneutic of reform", of renewal in the continuity of the one subject-Church which the Lord has given to us. (Here's where the Holy Father has used both terms - reform and continuity - in a synonymous sense) She is a subject which increases in time and develops, yet always remaining the same, the one subject of the journeying People of God.

The hermeneutic of discontinuity risks ending in a split between the pre-conciliar Church and the post-conciliar Church. It asserts that the texts of the Council as such do not yet express the true spirit of the Council. It claims that they are the result of compromises in which, to reach unanimity, it was found necessary to keep and reconfirm many old things that are now pointless.

However, the true spirit of the Council is not to be found in these compromises but instead in the impulses toward the new that are contained in the texts. These innovations alone were supposed to represent the true spirit of the Council, and starting from and in conformity with them, it would be possible to move ahead. Precisely because the texts would only imperfectly reflect the true spirit of the Council and its newness, it would be necessary to go courageously beyond the texts and make room for the newness in which the Council's deepest intention would be expressed, even if it were still vague.

In a word: it would be necessary not to follow the texts of the Council but its spirit. In this way, obviously, a vast margin was left open for the question on how this spirit should subsequently be defined and room was consequently made for every whim.

There's plenty more at Fr. Finigan's blog - this speech is yet another unfailing example of the Holy Father's brilliance and intelligence. While at the same time, this latest editorial of McBrien displays the complete opposite.

Now For Something Completely Different

This is cool. Watch the video, then click the link to read the article.

Mind The Crevasse! at the Daily Mail online

Monday, February 23, 2009

Caption Contest #5

Submit your captions in the combox. Have fun!

**Update** Winning caption by DimBulb:

"I know a cat named Way-Out Willie,
Got a little cool chick named Rocking Millie.
He can walk and stroll and Susie Q
And do that crazy hand jive too.

Hand jive, hand jive,Do that crazy hand jive."

stick salute to Fr.Z for the photo

The 2009 Apostasy Awards

"Good evening, everybody, and welcome back to the Spirit of Vatican II Academy Awards ceremony, live from the basement of the Unitarian Universalist Worship Center. I'm Joan Chittister." (audience applauds)

"And I'm Ray Bourgeois." (audience applauds, along with the screams and ululations of a large number of middle-aged women).
"Gee, Ray, sounds like your fan club is still going strong there!"

"Can you blame them?" (flashes smile, women swoon) "Well, Joan, it sure has been an exciting evening. Compelling liturgical dance numbers, synchronized reiki, a moving tribute to Marty Haugen, a surprise appearance by Bishop Tom Gumbleton..."

"...I'll say that was a surprise. I thought he had died! Just kidding, Tom!"

(audience laughs, Gumbleton smiles and wags a finger at Joan)

"And on top of all that, a Lifetime Achievement Award to Richard McBrien for his work in the media. It's been quite an evening."

"It sure has, Ray. And you know what? It's not over yet. We've one award left to hand out, and it's the biggie. The 2008 Sophia V2 Spirit Award for Political Influence And Impact."

(audience applauds)

"That's right, Joan, and here to present the Sophia V2 Spirit Award is last year's winner, Rev Tom Reese."

(Tom Reese strides to the podium)

"Good evening, everyone. It's my honor and privilege to announce the nominees for this year's Sophia V2 Spirit Award for Political Influence and Impact. The nominees are..."

(lights dim, projector lights up, and a picture of Nancy Pelosi from her Meet the Press appearance appears on the screen)
"...Nancy Pelosi, ardent Catholic and Speaker of the House of Representatives..."

(audience applauds, as image of Joe Biden appears on screen)

"...Joe Biden, Vice-President of the United States..."

(audience applauds as image of Doug Kmiec appears on screen)

"...and Doug Kmiec, Catholic advisor to President Obama and Catholic legal expert."

(audience applauds; Reese pulls out envelope as drum rolls commences)

"And the winner of the Sophia V2 Spirit Award goes to.....DOUG KMIEC!!!"

(audience applauds as Kmiec stands and makes his way to the stage)

"No surprise there, Joan. Some claim he was solely responsible for convincing 56% of voting Catholics to pull the lever for Obama, and he continues to stand firm for social justice issues to this day."

"I agree, Ray. He's the best friend progressive Catholics could wish for. He's still going strong, and it wouldn't surprise me one bit if he snags this award at next year's ceremony."

"And it's too bad he can't give his acceptance speech. We've run out of time as we promised the Unitarians we'd be out of here by 9 so that they can hold their weekly GLBT outreach meeting."

"Thanks for watching! For Joan Chittister, I'm Ray Bourgeois. Keep the spirit alive!"

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Enemies Of The World

Adoro (her blog is Adoro te Devote, in the Catablogue) is a gifted writer, evidenced again in her post from last Friday, entitled Enemies of the World. I'm presenting it in its entirety here, but check out her blog if you're unfamiliar with it. She possesses a keen sense on how we ought to live our faith as Catholics (and a sharp sense of humor, too!)

We have to make a choice...all of us.

As Catholics, the world hates us with a passion of hatred we cannot fathom. It's everywhere. We see it in popular media in the ongoing and obviously biased articles about the Church in which they can't write about something positive without focusing on whatever is wrong. We see it in movies and television programs that paint all of the priesthood with a brush that labels ALL of them as drunk, unhappy pedophiles. Religious sisters or nuns are shown as either complete idiots or women bearing scowls and rulers used to beat children into submission.

In general, as the Catholic laity, we are called upon to defend our Faith, but where to begin? The hatred attacks us from all sides. And people we think are our friends buy into the hype of mainstream media (MSM), and assume the worst of us, and assume our positions on any given thing.

We are rendered voiceless because of their inability to listen.

We find this even WITHIN the Church, from people who are otherwise good Catholics, but cannot intellectually separate themselves from their own personal pain, and instead choose to hold on to the bonds of emotion without understanding what it is they are really grasping.

We see this in those "Catholics" that argue for the "right to abortion" and "right to use contraception"; those who argue for such "rights" outright refuse to see the harm done to the woman who kills her child, refuse to see the physical effects of contraception on the woman who takes those poisonous chemicals into her body and the subsequent damage to her and her entire family.

We also see a problem in our society of pluralism; many Catholics don't understand that the fullness of Truth resides in the Catholic Church, period. This is not triumphalism. There are those I know who grew up hearing that those "outside the Catholic Church can't be saved."

The fact is this: those baptized in the name of the Father, of the Son, and the Holy Spirit are inducted into the Catholic family, even if they don't attain the fullness of the Faith by virtue of the other Sacraments and full Communion with the Church. Thus...they are coming to God through Christ, and thus, they CAN be saved.

The ONLY way to get to Heaven is through Christ. If we are baptized Catholics, we are OBLIGATED to believe this.

No, we don't know what happens to people who aren't baptized, or were never given that option. We can't speak for centuries of pagans who were perhaps better people than we are. We entrust them to the Mercy of Our Lord. Can they be saved? We can't say...God can, and He alone has the authority to judge the salvation of souls. We certainly can't claim our own salvation, no matter how holy we think we are, for we are all sinners.

At work, I've had to fight this battle...the claim of some that can't understand that to claim to be a member of the one True Church isn't's Truth. Period.

Often simple definitions are needed, so here they are:

Catholic: Those who profess the Catholic Faith (to include many Rites...Byzantine, Maronite, Ukranian...etc.) and believe and follow all that the Church teaches with regard to faith and morals. (In other words...Pelosi is a declared Catholic, but not in full communion because she dissents...thus she is not really Catholic. All who follow her typology...likewise)

Non-Catholic: Anyone who does not profess the Catholic Faith: to include other Christian religions, all pagan religions, secularism, atheism, etc

Christian: Catholic and Christian religions who recognize the Trinity, recognize that Christ died for our sins. This is a very broad category.

Time and time again, I run into people at work (in a Catholic Church), and in my real life who profess Catholicism but embrace pluralism; they have tight bonds to their non-Catholic friends and family, and so fear offending them that they nearly canonize them even as they live. Teens and adults alike have a hard time articulating it's OK to profess the Faith of Christ and understanding true ecumenism involves bring OTHERS into our Faith...whether they be Baptist, Wiccan, Muslim, Amish, Mennonite (my cousin * ahem *), Lutheran, Bah'ai, etc.
Ecumenism isn't triumphalism and it isn't is entirely geared towards conversion of ourselves and others into what is the TRUTH, and that ENTIRE Truth is found in the Catholic Church.


I'm not going to apologize for that fact. If you're looking for one, go elsewhere.
As a Catholic, I am an enemy of the world. Not because I choose to be, but because the WORLD chooses me as it's enemy, just as it chose Our Lord whom I follow. They killed Christ, and He was under threat from the beginning of His life...but did not compromise. There are many ways to follow Him, many manifestations, and I've met people of many different Christian religions who love Him and follow accordingly. We are ALL enemies of the world, because we refuse to engage the world on its terms; on that of the Church.

We of many religions stand together in love of Christ, enemies of the world that rages around us, at us, condemning us, vilifying us.

And I, for one, wouldn't have it any other way.

Hollywood can do what it wants; it doesn't affect my faith, but makes it stronger. The culture of atheism can sue us all they want...we won't acquiesce to their doctrine. Planned Parenthood can shout us down all they want; we'll continue to have children even if we have to do so illegally. Our Bishops will continue to ordain new Priests, ESPECIALLY under persecution, for that very persecution is what most inspires Vocations...for we all desire a love for which we are willing to die.

Christianity sprouted from the side of Christ, from His Sacrifice on the Cross...why should we, as His Mystical Body expect to do any different? Just as He set the example in life, He set it in his Death, and invites us to the Resurrection.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm Catholic before anything else. I'm Catholic even before I'm woman. Everything else comes second. And I don't care who is offended by that fact. Our forebears died for the Truth...we can withstand a little light persecution, can't we?

That's not to say we should not defend our Faith...indeed we should, and without compromise! But we should not be so surprised that we are reviled. We should not be surprised when our friends leave us, we should not be surprised when trolls spam our blogs with profanity.

I've lost friends in the embrace of the Truth, and I'll no doubt lose more or put off more in the years to come. So be it. I belong to Christ first...everyone else in my life, in comparison, is incidental.

Don't take that personally.

I am NOT willing to compromise my Faith in order to keep a friendship. I will discuss, I will explain, I will listen, I will enjoin...but I will not compromise.


Our Faith does not come from us, it comes from God; those who have a problem with our Faith have a problem with God and they take it out on us. That's a fact.

So when we become Christian, we are, in a sense, agreeing that this is going to happen and we're willing to suffer it.

We must also be willing to fight it, in charity, in Truth, and always in seeking a deeper understanding.

I am an enemy of the world. I'd be a friend if I could, but the world won't have me, just as it wouldn't have Christ.

What do YOU choose?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Red Coats Are Coming!

This commercial creeps me out every time I see it.

American Idol, But Without The Singing

A new Harris Poll, conducted online among over 2,600 adults, and as reported in the Chicago Sun-Times, revealed that America's hero is President Barack Obama, wresting the top spot away from Jesus Christ. In third place is Dr. Martin Luther King. The first time this poll was taken, in 2001, Jesus was first, followed by Martin Luther King and Colin Powell.

The people being asked were not given a list from which to choose - they were merely asked whom they admired enough to be called a hero.

In the grand scheme of things, this poll means little, if anything at all. But it's interesting on several points.

I wonder if people chose Obama simply because he's the man of the moment. What has he done that merits the title "hero"? Who has he saved? What exploits has he undertaken (other than fundamentally change America into a European-style socialist nation and given a whole slew of people false hope) that people find admirable? And please, don't tell me that becoming the first black president is hero-worthy. Yes, it's historic, but his is no Horatio Alger story. I don't consider Democrat Chicago-style politics an admirable lifestyle.

How many people chose him, thinking that he will solve their problems? That "only government" can bring America out of this period of crisis? Thus exists the disconnect. These people who have chosen him did so not because he has done anything heroic, but because they hope he will do so. That's not the definition of heroic.

A hero is someone whose life is worthy of emulation, not adulation. Someone to look up to and think, "that's the kind of person I'd like to be", or "if they can overcome adversity and setbacks, so can I." They inspire genuine hope. Their lives are filled with sacrifice and perseverance, not slogans and pep rallies.

I'm glad to see John McCain made the top ten. I don't agree with some of his positions, but he exhibited courage, bravery and determination, formed in the crucible of torture and torment. His acceptance speech at the Republican Convention, when he described his time as a POW, gave me a new perspective of the man. He's a man of character who's been formed by his history and experience.

I just don't see any of that in Obama. How he responds to a personal crisis will be very telling - and this economic mess isn't really a personal crisis - because to this point in his life, from what we know, he hasn't had to walk a path of hot coals. And when that time comes (and it will, cos Joe Biden said it will, remember?), will the country be willing to follow him down that arduous path?

The other point about this silly poll is that a lot of people said that Jesus Christ is their hero. This is another disconnect. Jesus is the second person of the Trinity, Son of the everliving God, Savior of the world. A bit higher in the pecking order than a mere mortal hero, I'd say. I wonder - if the people who selected Jesus took a real serious look at all His teachings, and not just the easy ones, would they still consider Him their hero? "What? I have to pick up my cross every day to follow you? I have to deny myself to be your disciple? I have to eat your body and drink your blood?? And I have to love my enemies??"

Heroes don't make demands on people - fan club membership is arbitrary and optional - they don't come to your door and say "You must do such-and-such if you look to me as your hero!" Jesus Christ, though, does make demands on us. If we freely choose to follow him, then we have to follow him - all the way. Even to our death, as so many martyrs throughout time have done.

The dichotomy in this poll is striking. On the one hand, we have a man who's elevated to a status that's above him. On the other, we have a divine person who's lowered to a status that's beneath Him. I think it's best to maintain proper perspective: leave the pedestal unadorned, and keep Jesus Christ in His rightful place.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Pope Nancy I???

Fr Longenecker has got the funny going at Standing On My Head. Check it out.

Burial At Sea

This puts a new twist on the lyric "I'd like to be under the sea in an octopus' garden in the shade."

From A Lasting Last Carbon Footprint by Erin Browne (comments in blue)

It was 69-year-old Carole Dunham’s last request: she would like to “be a home for fish.” That’s right; she wanted her remains to construct an artificial, underwater reef.

Valerie Streit, of CNN, wrote an article highlighting the Green Burial Council, a nonprofit organization that accommodates the last wishes of those who desire to minimize their final carbon footprint. Streit quotes only the eco-friendly death-care providers, ignoring any who might be oppose this particular type of “burial.”

Streit writes that while dying may be very natural, modern burying rituals such as “formaldehyde-based solutions” and “concrete vaults” are not at all “nature-friendly.” The Green Burial Council's executive director Joe Sehee supported the basis for Streit’s point by saying that “We can rebuild the Golden Gate Bridge with that amount of metal,” he said referring to Streit’s figure that the U.S. buries 1.6 million tons of reinforced concrete, and 90,000 tons of steal each year. “The amount of concrete is enough to build a two-lane highway from New York to Detroit,” he said. (concrete and steel are by and large constructed from elements occurring naturally in the environment, right? So putting them back in the ground from whence they came is bad for the environment how exactly?)

But there’s more to burial than just the body. The story ignored what eco-burial means for Americans with religious belief. Traditionally, Catholics have strictly practiced burials and not cremation of the deceased body because cremation can be viewed as a dismissal of the belief in the resurrection of the body and was commonly practiced in pagan cultures. Streit failed to include any religious figure’s opinion in the piece. (actually, the Church doesn't discourage cremation; she teaches that the ashes must be treated with dignity and stored, not scattered into the sea or to the four winds.)

Eternal Reefs, a company approved by the Green Burial Council, provided the memorial reef for Carole Dunham’s final request. “We're the surf and turf of natural burial,” CEO of Eternal Reefs George Frankel said in the article. According to the web site, “Eternal Reefs offers a new memorial choice that replaces cremation urns and ash scattering with a permanent environmental living legacy.”

Streit also highlighted a slightly creepier “green” phenomenon: coffin couches. “While it might be a bit macabre for some, sells eclectic couches made out of used coffins,” Streit writes.
Okay, who else thinks this is creepy and weird? What if surviving family members want to pay respects at the burial site? Would they have to take a glass-bottom boat cruise to the reef? "Look Bobby! See that pink coral growing out of that skull's eye socket? That's Grandma! Hi Grandma!"
Come Judgment Day, we could very well see resurrected bodies that look like this:

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Modern Fables #2: The Little Red Hen

One day as the Little Red Hen was scratching in a field, she found a grain of wheat.
"This wheat should be planted," she said. "Who will plant this grain of wheat?"
"Not I," said the Duck.
"Not I," said the Cat.
"Not I," said the Dog.
"Then I will," said the Little Red Hen. And she did.
Soon the wheat grew to be tall and yellow.
"The wheat is ripe," said the Little Red Hen. "Who will cut the wheat?"
"Not I," said the Duck.
"Not I," said the Cat.
"Not I," said the Dog.
"Then I will," said the Little Red Hen. And she did.
When the wheat was cut, the Little Red Hen said, "Who will thresh the wheat?"
"Not I," said the Duck.
"Not I," said the Cat.
"Not I," said the Dog.
"Then I will," said the Little Red Hen. And she did.
When the wheat was threshed, the Little Red Hen said, "Who will take this wheat to the mill?"
"Not I," said the Duck.
"Not I," said the Cat.
"Not I," said the Dog.
"Then I will," said the Little Red Hen. And she did.
She took the wheat to the mill and had it ground into flour. Then she said, "Who will make this flour into bread?"
"Not I," said the Duck.
"Not I," said the Cat.
"Not I," said the Dog.
"Then I will," said the Little Red Hen. And she did.
She made and baked the bread. Then she said, "Who will eat this bread?"
"Oh! I will," said the Duck.
"And I will," said the Cat.
"And I will," said the Dog.
"No, No!" said the Little Red Hen. "I will do that."
Just as she was about to slice the fresh bread, there came a knock at the door.
"Now who could that be?" asked the Little Red Hen.
Standing outside the Little Red Hen's door was President Obama and Vice-President Biden.
"Hello," said President Obama.
"Hi ya!" said Vice-President Biden.
"Hello," said the Little Red Hen.
"You know, these are troubling economic times, and many of our citizens are suffering. We must act now, and we must act swiftly. Otherwise, conditions will spiral out of control and become much worse before they improve," said President Obama.
"Uhh...," said the Little Red Hen.
"Now is the time we must live within our means," said President Obama.
"Errr...," said the Little Red Hen.
"It's time to be patriotic. Time to help out. Time to do your share," said Vice-President Biden.
"Shut up, Joe," said President Obama.
"Ummmm....," said the Little Red Hen.
"I believe spreading the wealth, to help out others, is a good thing," said President Obama.
"Wellll....," said the Little Red Hen.
"I'm taking the bread," said President Obama. And he did.
And the Duck, the Cat and the Dog registered as Democrats the very next day.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Diseases of Dissent

There's a saying that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. So it should come as no surprise that progressive so-called Catholics lean a bit unbalanced on the issue of women's ordination.

The latest evidence from National Catholic Distorter: Female Power And The Power Of God by Jamie Manson. What follows are excerpts.

...I'm not sure why I'm surprised, but each time I read an NCRonline reader's comment that denounces the notion of women priests, I'm struck by how deeply distressing the issue of women's ordination is of some of our readers. The excommunication of Fr. Roy Bourgeois offers a painful reminder that these convictions are very much in line with the governing authority of the Catholic church.

There are many levels at which these comments and excommunications are disturbing. They are laced with deliberate misogyny and a complete, unkind lack of regard for half of the church's population. But what is, for me, most exasperating about this searing opposition to women's ordination, is that it is a rejection of faith in the power of God to work in our world. By banning women from serving as priests, the church is saying that God simply cannot work sacramentally in the body of a woman. The church places limits on God and God's own capacity to work inside God's very own creation.

Now, not only does this demonstrate a cosmic level of chutzpah, it also runs completely contrary to good, centuries-old Catholic sacramental teaching. There is a fundamental Catholic belief that all of creation -- all finite things existing in the world -- are capable of revealing infinite meanings about goodness, holiness, and God. By barring women from ordination, the church suggests that God is incapable of working through the body of a woman because it does not match the bodily design of Jesus and his disciples.

The irony is that the ban is also a rejection of the life and work of Jesus. Throughout the Gospels, we are given account after account of Jesus' encounters with women of extraordinary faith. In John's Gospel, the Samaritan woman is the first to inspire followers of Jesus (4:39), while Martha, sister of Lazarus, makes a confession of faith in Jesus that is unparalleled in any of the four Gospels (11:27). These exceptional women demonstrate great faith while the disciples, particularly Peter, continually misunderstand Jesus' teachings (4:33; 11:12).

Those who denounce the ordination of women ought to be reminded that their intense love affair with conformity with the church stands in direct conflict with the life of Jesus and a fundamental principle of sacramental theology. Their appeals to doctrines and canons and catechisms are sorrowful evidence that the power of the church has a much greater hold over their hearts and imaginations than the power of God. church teaching has been made into an idol, while the work and witness of Jesus and the continually unfolding revelation of God's work in creation goes largely ignored...

There's a lot to refute in there. An awful lot. I think the worst line is this one: "By banning women from serving as priests, the church is saying that God simply cannot work sacramentally in the body of a woman." How come she can't (or rather, won't) understand that the Church is saying that God has chosen of His own desire that the priesthood is to be male only?

In reading this, and the ensuing comments that tended to support this poor women's opinion, I've come to a conclusion. It's been the common belief that the underpinning of these apostates' views is sin - pride in their own mistaken beliefs, lack of humility in submitting to the Church that Jesus founded, arrogance in "knowing" Jesus' intentions all the while ignoring apostolic teaching and writings of the early Church fathers. And that is true.

But now, I think I've overlooked another aspect. These poor poor people are suffering from serious medical conditions, heretofore undiagnosed and sadly ignored. I, for one, am guilty of not recognizing these symptoms and thus have not extended compassion and sympathy. After all, it's not really their fault if they're sick, right? If they're not in their right mind, then can they really be blamed for their opinions and positions? Are you believing anything I've written in this paragraph?

So after careful analysis and a minute or two of quick thinking, I'm presenting for the first time a list of five diseases these progressives suffer from.

1) Dissentaholism - this is a terrible disease. It starts with accepting a heretical idea, maybe at home after a hard day at work to help unwind. Then it progresses to a few more, such as stopping at a spiritual center on the way home to wander a labyrinth. Left unchecked, it quickly degenerates, with symptoms including, but not limited to, reading Kung and Schillibeeckx, protesting at nuclear missile sites, or subscribing to the National Catholic Reporter. Fortunately, it's not congenital, because it's been shown that Dissentaholics don't reproduce.

2) Cataractechesis - this is a vision problem with dual symptoms: seeing things written in the Catechism that aren't there, and not seeing the things that are there. A derivative of this illness is Scrapture, where Biblical passages that challenge the patient's questionable lifestyle choices are scrapped.

3) Endoauthoriphobia - the irrational fear of external authority figures. This afflicts nearly 100% of all progressives and is extremely contagious. Common symptoms of this condition are the repetition of phrases such as "according to my conscience" and "guided by the Spirit". In addition, this phobia can mutate into two distinct forms: Endoauthoriphalliphobia, which is the irrational fear of male authority figures; and Endoauthoriphalliascetiphobia, which is the irrational fear of celibate male authority figures.

4) Upper Respiratory Inflection - a speech impediment whereby the vocal chords constrict involuntarily, causing the voice to sound whiny and critical. This normally occurs when the person is exposed to strong Magisterial teaching.

5) Meemyselphaniophagia - a bacterial infection (Spiritus Vaticanus II) whose symptoms include, but are not limited to, the following: speaking in gender-neutral language; convulsions (often termed 'liturgical dance'); mental incoherence (typically expressed as historical revisionism); and a general abhorrence to anything 'traditional' or 'patriarchal'. If this is untreated, it can mutate into Iamdapopa carcinoma, a spiritually fatal condition.

This list is not exhaustive. Given time and a hefty slice of the 2009 Economic Recovery Package, AoftheA could discover other diseases afflicting these poor dissenters. And perhaps cutting edge treatments could then be developed to help them overcome their sicknesses.

Until then, we'll have to pray for them, that by some miracle of God, they'll be cured. And in fact, that's what it will come down to. We can take them to the Doctors of the Church, but we can't make them take the medicine.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Funniest Thing I Heard Today

I was watching "On The Record with Greta von Susteren" tonight, and during the segment where they play viewers' voice messages, I heard something that made me LOL:

"President Obama should have given all $787 billion to the Department of Agriculture, because he obviously believes that money grows on trees."

New Link In Catablogue

If you haven't checked out LOLSaints yet, go there. It's pretty funny while showing due respect to our elder siblings in the faith.

Monday, February 16, 2009

McBrien, Meet Fudd; Fudd, Meet McBrien

Remember the classic Bugs Bunny cartoons where the intrepid Hare of Hilarity is chased by the hapless hunter Elmer Fudd? No matter what Fudd tried, that "wascally wabbit" turned the tables on him, and every episode ended with Bugs escaping, and Fudd the victim of his own attempts.

I remember one episode where Fudd, after having chased Bugs down his rabbithole, inserted the end of his rifle in the hole, and inexpicably, the barrel emerged from a nearby hole, pointed directly at his head. As Fudd moved the rifle in and out, the barrel moved in unison. Still unsure of what he was seeing, Fudd pulled the trigger anyway, and subsequently shot himself in the face.

Rev. McBrien has done just that in his latest piece for the National Catholic Distorter.

The Lifting Of Excommunications (my emphases and my comments)

Late last month Pope Benedict XVI revoked the excommunications of four schismatic bishops, all members of the Society of St. Pius X, a group founded in 1970 by the French archbishop Marcel Lefebvre (d. 1991) in protest against the reforms initiated by the Second Vatican Council (1962-65)–reforms that had the full approval of Popes Paul VI (d. 1978) and John Paul II (d. 2005).

The four bishops had been validly but illicitly ordained by Archbishop Lefebvre, whose own ordination as a bishop was never in question but whose ordaining of the four priests to the episcopate in 1988 had been in direct violation of canon 1382.

That canon imposes an automatic excommunication on a bishop who presumes to consecrate someone a bishop “without a pontifical mandate.” The excommunication also applies to the person who receives such a consecration.

So when Archbishop Lefebvre was excommunicated in 1988, it was not because Pope John Paul II thought that he deserved such a penalty and therefore imposed it. According to the church’s Code of Canon Law, the excommunication is automatic.

To be sure, John Paul II could have subsequently lifted the excommunication because it is “reserved to the Apostolic See,” but he was unable to do so, in spite of his repeated efforts to achieve reconciliation, because Archbishop Lefebvre and the four newly consecrated bishops were unrepentant. Indeed, they regarded their excommunication as “invalid.” (I made 'unrepentant' big because it's important)
But the situation changed in December when the four bishops wrote to the Vatican requesting the lifting of the excommunications...(...don't forget, they were repentant.)
Unfortunately, there has been no such effort within the Vatican to balance its outreach to the Society of St. Pius X with a corresponding outreach to disaffected progressive constituencies in the Catholic church.

Only recently theologian Jesuit Fr. Roger Haight was forbidden to teach or to write by order of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith and formal reconciliation has never been achieved between the Vatican and the famous Swiss theologian, Hans Küng.
This is where McBrien has pulled the trigger and served himself a face full of buckshot. A double-barrel's worth, in fact, because he overlooks two things.

First, the Vatican did not reach out to the SSPX bishops. They approached the Vatican, mitres in hands, seeking reconciliation. Sure, there were past meetings and previous discussions, but in order for the ex-communications to be lifted, they had to exhibit remorse and contriteness.

And second, the Vatican isn't reaching out to the progressives, because the progressives aren't willing to repent!! They chose to reject the Church's God-given authority on doctrinal and dogmatic issues. They chose to ignore the Church's requests to recant their positions. And till now, the people who have been excommunicated and/or reprimanded have shown no sign of repentance - rather, they expect the Vatican (and the whole Church, actually) to come begging for forgiveness and take them back in!

Once again, McBrien's aim is off, and his intended target is unscathed.

We Are Not Alone...

...according to the opinion of cosmologist Paul Davies.

At the Daily Mail: Alien Life May Be All Around Us (Or Even In Us), Says Professor by Fiona MacRae

Forget little green men on Mars - aliens could be right here on Earth, a leading scientist has claimed.

Cosmologist Paul Davies said it was 'entirely reasonable' to believe that we share the planet with a form of life different to anything we know of.

This 'life, but not as we know it' might be lurking in poisonous lakes or deep under the sea or could even be inside our bodies.

Professor Davies said: 'It could be right under our noses, or even in our noses. It could even be that "weird life" and real life are intermingled.' (intermingled? you mean, like that nice normal Katie Holmes having married Tom Cruise?)

Professor Davies, of Arizona State University, said any aliens that do exist on Earth will be too small for the naked eye to see. (how convenient!)

Their unusual biochemistry could allow them to thrive in arsenic-rich lakes or in blistering hot vents underneath the ocean.

There is even a theory that alien particles, a tenth the size of bacteria, live inside our bodies and trigger the formation of kidney stones, the American Association for the Advancement of Science's annual conference in Chicago heard.

He said: 'As more terrestrial environments are explored, it seems very likely that new and ever more exotic forms of life will be discovered.

Actually, when you consider pictures like this:

I'd say alien life has already been discovered...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Providing Cover, Again

Doug Kmiec is at it again. His latest editorial, published in the mouthpiece of dissident Catholics, the National Catholic Distorter.

Protecting Unborn Life: Human Law and God's Law

I'm not a lawyer, and Kmiec would argue circles around me in all sorts of legal matters, and in the end, I might even be fooled into believing that he was correct. Except for one thing.

Abortion is always and everywhere the killing of an unborn defenseless child. It always resorts in the murder of a human person. As it's been written elsewhere, abortion has three victims: one dead, two wounded.

And as long as I keep that maxim foremost in my mind, any argument Kmiec makes collapses like a house built on sand.

For instance, take this passage from the editorial: Professor Vincent Rougeau writing in America (citing America is an indication that Kmiec is stretching to support his position) recently speculated that this would largely amount to telling women that "more of them need to be prosecuted as criminals."

No doubt it will be claimed that jailing women who get abortions is not a “fair representation” of the pro-life argument, but if not, we need to understand why not.

The simple reason why not? Because it's presumed that the woman is also a victim. Now when Roe v. Wade passed, I was only eight, and unaware of the abortion issue at the time, so I'm in need of some answers. Prior to 1973, were women ever prosecuted and jailed for having procured an abortion? What were the penalties then, and who was punished?

It seems to me that Kmiec brings up this strawman argument for only one reason: as a smoke-screen to obscure the horrific truths of abortion - a child dies, and the mother is deeply wounded. His sleight-of-hand only serves to give so-called Catholics cover, to justify their support of Obama.

Then there's this gem: ...the message was quite simply: “no exceptions” (which is the title of a book by Dr. Rice explaining why even exceptions for the life of the mother could contradict church teaching -- absent some fancy ethical footwork under the “principle of double-effect.”)

"Fancy ethical footwork"? Another instance of providing cover by portraying Church teaching merely as an end-run around difficult moral circumstances. Thus, Obama followers can spout this talking point in order to mislead others and wave off the abortion issue as not all that important.

I'm sure other blogs will fisk his editorial with greater depth and precision. I'm a simple guy who's just smart enough to recognize that Kmiec has greater love for nuanced legal interpretation than the life of the unborn child.

The Dupe Of Windsor

Another example where a university calling itself 'Catholic' is egregious false advertising.

Priest/Catholic U. President: "Abortion Is Not A Fallible Teaching"

By Kathleen Gilbert
WINDSOR, Ontario, February 12, 2009 ( - The President of the Catholic Assumption University of Windsor told (LSN) in an interview today that the Catholic Church's position on abortion "is not an infallible teaching."

Fr. Paul Rennick, who is also Vice Chancellor of the school, gave the remarks when LSN sought comment regarding the school's decision to invite Cokie Roberts, a pro-abortion Catholic news analyst who has criticized the Church for preaching against homosexuality and contraception, to address the school as part of the "Christian Culture" lecture series.

Fr. Rennick told LSN that he had "personally vetted" the selection of Roberts and chose her because she was "a woman of faith," a "well known Catholic" and "successful as an individual Christian."

LSN asked Fr. Rennick, "Do you think there is a possibility of scandal from the fact that she has professed very pro-abortion views and has criticized Catholic bishops for teaching Church doctrine on homosexuality and contraception?" The President of the Catholic University replied, "No, I don't."

Asked to elaborate, Fr. Rennick said: "If you look at the catholic population, you'll find a whole variety of positions on all of those topics. It seems to me that disagreement on a particular position doesn't disqualify one from being a Catholic. Unless, of course, that position is whether Jesus is the Christ."

"Abortion is not an infallible teaching. It never has been proclaimed infallibly," he said. "This attempt to put everything that the Church teaches in this one set of categories, it seems to me, is not a proper Catholic position, not according to the history of our church," he added.

So according to this impostor priest, the only position that disqualifies a person from being Catholic is if they deny that Jesus is the Christ. Not belief of the Eucharist as the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus. Not the existence of Heaven, Purgatory and Hell. Nor the Final Judgment. Nor the papacy. Not even the 10 Commandments.

According to his logic, though, he neglected to mention the Immaculate Conception and Assumption of Mary, because those two dogmas are infallibly taught. But whatever.

The first thing I thought when reading this was, has this guy been listening to Nancy Pelosi, instead of the Church?

Just to set the record straight:

LSN...sought clarification from the Canadian Catholic Conference of Bishops (CCCB), who referred to the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF). COLF Assistant Director Lea Singh noted that the Catechism reads: "Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every produced abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable." (CCC 2271).

"As an 'unchangeable' teaching, it does indeed seem to be an infallible teaching," said Singh. "Over the years the CCCB has repeatedly spoken out strongly against abortion." She quoted a 1990 CCCB document which stated: "Catholic teaching on abortion is clear and unequivocal. Abortion is a moral evil because it involves the destruction of human life. Direct killing of an unborn child is never justified."

Stick salute to DimBulb for making mention of this in my combox.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Are You Sure That's Mello Yello You're Drinking?

This. Is. Just. Plain. Ridiculous.

Indian Inventors Create A 'Healthy' Soft Drink...Made From Cow's Urine

Here's a drink for the true connoisseur - a new soft drink made from cow urine.

Indian inventors have spent months concocting the brew which (they claim) doesn't smell and will have a pleasant taste.

It's also meant to be very healthy.

Quite how makers at the Hindu nationalist movement have accomplished this using waste products remains something of a mystery.

The drink has been devised by the Cow Protection Department of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), who are based in Hardwar, one of four holy cities on the River Ganges.

Rather coyly, they've called it 'gau jai,' the Sanskrit for 'cow water' and say it is in the final stages of devlopment.

Okay, just a couple things here, beyond the fact that they're concocting drinks using COW URINE of all things.

First, who drew the short straw to be taste tester, to finally determine that it tastes pleasant?

Second, if drinking it doesn't kill you, does that make it healthy?

Third, how are they going to collect the urine? And who the hell wants to be that guy with that job?

Finally, a Cow Protection Department? I know that Hindus worship cows, but a protection department? Really??

'Its unqiue selling point will be that it's going to be very healthy. It won't be like carbonated drinks and will be devoid of any toxins.'

He added that it would be cheap and good competition for the American cola brands, which are popular in India.

'We're going to give them good competition as our drink is good for mankind,' he said.

'We may also think of exporting it.'

Great - they get our jobs, we get their piss.

Best Unintentional Funny Line. Ever.

The best humor writes itself...

From Catholic Culture: Schismatic Priest At Breakaway St Louis Parish Allies With Milingo.

Father Marek Bozek, the excommunicated Polish priest associated with a suppressed St. Louis parish, has become “incardinated” in Married Priests Now!, the movement founded by excommunicated Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo. The movement is funded by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Father Bozek has also become “incardinated” in the Reformed Catholic Church. Subsequent to his affiliation with both organizations, Bozek said, “With all due respect for the independent Catholic movement, it's full of weirdos.”

The whole article can be read here.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Crowning Achievement

Last month, I wrote about my impending root canal surgery, which I survived without any complications or recurring nightmares. It actually wasn't as bad as I had feared, so thanks be to God for that.

Yesterday was my appointment to get the tooth crowned - it's actually a temporary crown, and the permanent gets installed first week of March.

So I thought you'd be interested in seeing some before and after photos.

Here's before.....

And here's after....

Now about those glasses.....

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Another Bishop Scandal Brewing?

(AoftheAP) It's not just Alex Rodriquez, Barry Bonds and Miguel Tejada that are feeling the heat for steroid abuse. Similar accusations are being levelled against a small number of American Catholic bishops as well.

According to a Justice Department official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, federal investigators are drafting subpoenas on behalf of several unnamed elected members of Congress. Indications are the subpoenas will be served before week's end, and that the Bishops to be summoned are Archbishop Burke, Bishop Martino and Archbishop Chaput. If so, a Senate subcommittee hearing might be scheduled as soon as early March.

Allegations of steroid abuse comes as sweet justice to many progressive groups, including Gimme Back My Church. Agnes Flurferstine, co-director of Gimme Back My Church, is especially pleased.

"There is no way that these bishops are not doping," she said, resplendent in a silver-blue pantsuit with matching hair. "Their recent statements regarding Catholic politicians are much too powerful to not be enhanced in some way."

When asked what type of illegal substances the bishops might be taking, Agnes was reticent in her reply. "Well, I'm not sure what they're called out on the street. We don't rely on unnatural substances in our organization - we rely solely on the Spirit of Vatican 2."

One substance these bishops are rumored to be taking is called "Vitamin B16". The reported effects of "Vitamin B16" are increased boldness, improved resistance to liberal public opinion, and pronounced Magisterial teaching. Another suspected substance is "Vicar's VapoRub", a topical cream that is very difficult to test for, and extremely powerful. According to an unverified lab report, its use can only be detected by heightened levels of liberal Catholic Internet outrage, usually within 24 hours of use, and sustained for days and weeks afterwards.

None of the bishops were available for comment. However, a spokesman for Bishop Martino issued the following statement:

"The allegations against Bishop Martino are baseless and completely devoid of facts. The bishop's name is being smeared by gutless, evil-cooperating anonymous politicians engaging in a campaign of character assassination."

Upon hearing this, Senator Bob Casey appeared on CNN and declared that he is not gutless.

It is unclear what penalties would be assessed if it's proven that the bishops are indeed taking illegal steroids. Canon lawyers are poring legal texts for direction, as this is unprecedented.

"In the past, strong forceful bishops were usually martyred for speaking the truth," canon lawyer Mark Wittington remarked. "I guess today, in America, it's far worse to be called before a Senate panel."

The Legend Of Pope Joan

There have been rumors and whispers that a movie will be made based on the fictional legend of Pope Joan.

No, not this "Pope Joan", progressive 'Catholic' and self-pronounced heretic of Erie PA with her entourage of nuns.

No, I'm referring to this story: In the middle ages, there was a "Pope Joan," a woman who hid her gender and rose through the ranks of the Church, became a cardinal and was elected pope. No one knew she was a woman until, during a papal procession through the streets of Rome, she went into labor and gave birth to a child. She and the baby were killed on the spot by the mob, enraged at her imposture.

Check out Patrick Madrid's blog for an in-depth post of the legend and refutation, drawn mainly from his book Pope Fiction. The facts will come in handy as the release date for the movie approaches.

The Stealth Health Plan

Erin Manning at And Sometimes Tea posts on provisions buried in the Economic Stimulus Bill that would lay the foundation for nationalized health care:

Tragically, no one from either party is objecting to the health provisions slipped in without discussion. These provisions reflect the handiwork of Tom Daschle, until recently the nominee to head the Health and Human Services Department.

Senators should read these provisions and vote against them because they are dangerous to your health. (Page numbers refer to H.R. 1 EH, pdf version).

The bill’s health rules will affect “every individual in the United States” (445, 454, 479). Your medical treatments will be tracked electronically by a federal system. Having electronic medical records at your fingertips, easily transferred to a hospital, is beneficial. It will help avoid duplicate tests and errors.

But the bill goes further. One new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective. The goal is to reduce costs and “guide” your doctor’s decisions (442, 446). These provisions in the stimulus bill are virtually identical to what Daschle prescribed in his 2008 book, “Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis.” According to Daschle, doctors have to give up autonomy and “learn to operate less like solo practitioners.”[...]

Read the rest - at the end of the post, Erin provides links for emailing your representative and senators. Tell them these provisions have no place in a bill that is supposed to be about economic recovery (and tell them you don't want the bill itself, while you're at it!).

It is reprehensible that a program which would not survive the light of day is being ushered in under the cover of darkness. Passage of this bill could be harmful to your health - it will limit the medical options for elderly citizens, and it establishes the framework for even more deleterious "improvements" in the future.

Monday, February 9, 2009

If "The Messiah" Gig Doesn't Work Out...

...there's always the papacy.

Hans Kung Says Obama Would Make A Better Pope Than BenedictXVI from Religion Dispatches, via

The dissident theologian Hans Küng has suggested that Barack Obama would be a better pope than Benedict XVI. “The mood in the church is oppressive," Küng told a German outlet. “Benedict is unteachable in matters of birth control and abortion, arrogant and without transparency and restrictive of freedom and human rights." The theologian who once argued for greater democracy in the Church suggested that the Pope should follow Obama's example and issue executive orders to bring about radical changes in Church doctrine and discipline, "using the power of his executive office to issue decrees."

Kung is 81 years old, same as the Holy Father. Obviously, aging has been much kinder to Pope Benedict XVI.

Cold Comes As Silence

In mid-January, Michigan endured a devastating cold snap - sub zero temperatures at night, single digits during daylight hours. In the midst of that spell of freezing cold, the following tragedy occurred in Bay City:

Autopsy: Bay City Man Froze Inside Home

A pathologist said a 93-year-old Bay City man froze to death inside his home - his body found days after city workers said they limited electricity flowing to the house.

Marvin E. Schur suffered "a slow, painful death" inside his home at 1600 S. Chilson St. on Bay City's southwest side, said Dr. Kanu Virani, who performed an autopsy on the body.

Virani said the temperature inside Schur's home was less than 32 degrees when neighbors George A. Pauwels Jr. and his wife, Shannon, found Schur's body Jan. 17.

George Pauwels Jr. said Schur owed almost $1,100 in electricity bills to the city of Bay City, though Pauwels said he noticed money clipped to those bills on Schur's kitchen table the day he found Schur's body.

Bay City Manager Robert V. Belleman said a worker with Bay City Electric Light & Power placed a "limiter" device outside Schur's home, between Schur's electricity meter and electrical service, on Jan. 13.

The device restricts the amount of electricity reaching the home and if a homeowner tries to draw more electricity than the limiter allows, "it blows the limiter, just like blowing a fuse, and then you go outside and reset it," Belleman said.

Belleman said he doesn't know if a city worker made one-on-one contact with Schur to explain the limiter's operation. Virani said he doesn't know if Schur suffered from dementia, which could have interfered with his ability to know how to reset a limiter.

Pauwels said Schur couldn't hear well, and said he believed Schur "had a little bit" of dementia.
Belleman said city workers keep the limiter on a residence for 10 days, at which point the city shuts off all electricity if the homeowner hasn't paid his utility bill or arranged to do so.

Jim Hernden, 41, a neighbor of Marvin Schur, said Bay City Electric Light & Power workers should insist on meeting face to face with a homeowner, or a homeowner's neighbors, before installing a limiter or shutting off power.

"We're a small enough town where someone like Marvin should get a little bit extra care," he said.

Bay City Police Department officers investigated Schur's death, but declined comment, referring all questions to Belleman.

Pauwels said he blames the city for Marvin Schur's death.

"His furnace was not running - the insides of his windows were full of ice the morning we found him," Pauwels said. "This (limiter) is supposed to regulate the amount of electricity he was using, but still allow enough power to run the furnace.Obviously, it didn't work."

Belleman said city officials will review Electric Light & Power policies in the wake of Schur's death. Belleman said he doesn't believe the city did anything wrong.

"I've said this before and some of my colleagues have said this: Neighbors need to keep an eye on neighbors," Belleman said. "When they think there's something wrong, they should contact the appropriate agency or city department."

This article generated over 450 comments, the majority of which were filled with outrage and disgust for this tragedy. Many called for the utility to be punished, stating that corporate greed had claimed another victim. Others said the city was responsible, and that the city manager ought to step down immediately for having allowed this to happen.

They are right to be outraged. I just think their outrage is misdirected.

Love thy neighbor

The article displays the photo of one the victim's neighbors, standing alongside his son, in front of the victim's home. He is quoted in the story saying: "We're a small enough town where someone like Marvin should get a little bit extra care."
Care from whom? From the city? From the utility? How about from neighbors? Has our culture sunk so far that business and government are the only ones whom we demand to act charitably? These are impersonal entities, incapable of accomplishing the personal. This story reveals one thing, and one thing only. It exposes individuals refusing to reach beyond themselves and assist someone who might be a burden. It's being done with aging parents who become difficult to care for. It's being done with children in the womb. And increasingly, it's being done with those who live next door, or down the street, or around the corner. Marvin was hard of hearing, and might have suffered from dementia. Perhaps the difficulties of his conditions were used as an excuse by his neighbors to ignore him. These people had erected false barriers to compassion, and now that he's dead as a result of their indifference, they're deflecting blame by pointing fingers elsewhere.

As Marvin slowly froze to death, his neighbors concerned themselves with their own need to stay warm. As Marvin slowly succumbed to hypothermia, his neighbors went about their lives, grateful that they had heat, and gave no thought to the elderly widower across the way. Did no one think it odd that Marvin's house was dark at sundown, with no lights on, for several days? Did no one notice that his chimney was dormant? That ice was building up on the windows?

Times have changed

I grew up in a modest neighborhood in Rochester NY. Typical city street, lined with two-storey homes, separated by a driveway, sidewalk on both sides, mature elms in front of each house. The kind of community where every family knew each other - where moms punished other families' kids, where we walked to school, where you had to be in when the street lights came on. You might not have gotten along with every family, but you knew who the families were.

And there were elderly people in our neighborhood. There was Mrs Brinks, four houses down. Next to Mrs Brinks were the Gibbons' - he was blind, and she suffered from Parkinsons. Their neighbors were the Moore's, whose sons were always at our house. And Miss Martindale lived across the street, a former piano teacher. Our neighbors were the Bandermeer's, and when they died, their daughter and son-in-law moved in. Across from my house were the Winters', a divorced mom of three, whose son Steve was my best friend growing up (and whose older sister I had a crush on, and I think she knew, because she would never talk to me). There were the O'Krepky's, the Griffin's, the Gripp's, the Sullivan's, the Abbate's, old Mr Sonderman....I haven't lived in my house for 25 years, and I still remember these families, their kids, their homes.

Summers were spent cutting lawns for the Brinks, Gibbons and Martindales, and the winters were spent shovelling their driveways and walks. We'd get yelled at for cutting through their backyards on the way to friends' homes, and get it double from our folks when we came back for dinner because they'd had gotten a phone call.

My parents had neighbors over for dinner quite often. Some were invited for family parties. I remember Mr Gibbons being in our home, being blind, and my dad would lead him to the couch. He'd help him maneuver around the piano, past the ottoman, and then do the 180 turn and guide him down to the seat. He'd sit there and wait for my dad to come over and gently place a Manhattan in his hand. And the man was a riot. He'd have us laughing so hard over his stories and tales, I didn't think the laughter would ever stop.

But the lesson I learned is that no matter how much of a burden or inconvenience a person's condition might be, you acted with compassion and generosity. Mr Gibbons was no less a person because of his blindness - but his blindness helped others to become more of a person. The elderly neighbors weren't troublesome - they provided the opportunity to learn how to treat others with respect, dignity and love.

This tragedy in Bay City would have never happened in my old neighborhood. There was care, concern and compassion then - commodities that seem to have gone the way of the 8-track and Beta. Much has changed the past two decades, and it hasn't been for the better. Individuality is being smothered by isolation, and common decency is being trampled by uncommon ambivalence. Neighbors need to be neighbors.

This is also a sad commentary on authentic Christian charity. While the article doesn't specify anyone's faith, chances are some of Marvin's neighbors are followers of Christ. Now more than ever, if the culture is ever to believe the Gospel, people must live the Gospel.

The cold came as silence, Marvin's final companion. He had actually died long before, a victim of inconvenience and indifference. Hopefully people's hearts will be awakened as a result of this tragedy, and open up to others who are dying in their midst.