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

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

Thursday, April 30, 2009

PanicMongers, Inc.

If there was such a company, I'd buy stock left, right and center. They consistently develop exciting products, their newest one seems to have staying power, and their marketing department rivals anything Madison Avenue has to offer.

All the hoopla and hype over Mexican swine flu H1N1 is just that - hoopla and hype. Gin up fear and uncertainty, offer up clouds of "expert opinions", make it a 24/7 event on the major news channels, and what do you end up with? Panic.

Remember Asian bird flu? SARS? None of the catastrophic results that had been predicted ever occurred. It comes down to staying calm and rational. You know that old saying "let cooler heads prevail", right? Seems that few people are keeping that perspective right now. Take a look at some of these statements from a recent AP article, World Takes Drastic Steps To Contain Swine Flu, and you'll see that every action being considered to "contain" H1N1 includes a contradiction.

...Egypt ordered the pig slaughter even though there hasn't been a single case of swine flu there and no evidence that pigs have spread the disease...

...Lebanon discouraged traditional Arab peck-on-the-cheek greetings, even though no one has come down with the virus there...

Officials in Hong Kong, which has no confirmed cases, said workers were scrubbing public toilets every two hours in an effort to improve hygiene...Experts, however, said it's debatable how much good disinfecting public places will do...

...governments worldwide have been distributing millions of face masks, even though the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and other agencies have questioned their effectiveness...

...Other measures, such as installing thermal cameras at airports to screen passengers from infected countries, are simply inconclusive. Scanners were set up across Asia during the SARS outbreak, but officials aren't sure they caught any cases. WHO says the usefulness of such devices is debatable...

So whatever you do, this story seems to be saying, it won't matter because it probably won't make a difference. But continue listening to us "experts" - we might not have the right answers, but we have a lot of them and one is bound to be correct. But whatever you do, do NOT rely on common sense! There is no cure for common sense.

And now for the worse part, something I bet very few people know about, and I guarantee something that isn't being reported on any news channel. Ready?

From the Sydney Morning Herald, online version, April 29, 2009: Only 7 Swine Flu Deaths, Not 152, Says WHO

A member of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has dismissed claims that more than 150 people have died from swine flu, saying it has officially recorded only seven deaths around the world.

Vivienne Allan, from WHO's patient safety program, said the body had confirmed that worldwide there had been just seven deaths - all in Mexico - and 79 confirmed cases of the disease.

"Unfortunately that [150-plus deaths] is incorrect information and it does happen, but that's not information that's come from the World Health Organisation," Ms Allan told ABC Radio today.

"That figure is not a figure that's come from the World Health Organisation and, I repeat, the death toll is seven and they are all from Mexico."

Ms Allan said WHO had confirmed 40 cases of swine flu in the Americas, 26 in Mexico, six in Canada, two in Spain, two in Britain and three in New Zealand.

So we have two conflicting stories here - which one is correct? I'm inclined to believe the latter for two reasons: first, the WHO member is identified by name and is not the ubiquitous "anonymous source"; and second, because no one is reporting on this. It doesn't fit the "panic template". It isn't Headline News. It's not sensational enough. It doesn't establish a state of fear.

And if Vivienne Allen is unemployed next week, all the more reason to believe the second story than all the hype and spin that PanicMongers Inc is producing.

I, for one, am not buying what they're selling.

s/s to KrestaInTheAfternoon on Sydney Morning Herald story

My Toaster Scares Me

I think the thing needs to be exorcised, because this is not a good sign.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Unexpected Visitor

Check out who stopped in and left a remark in my combox (from Monday Madness IV):

"One of the challenges in preaching is to attract and gain attention. This was service of around 300 with lots of children present. The point of the sermon was that we can have confidence in the truth of the resurrection of Christ because of the eye witness accounts in the Scripture. The roller skating illustration was only to make the point that if 300 people saw it happen in church and reported it outside - then however unusual the event is - then it is likely to have been true. It was not a gimmick, or publicity stunt - simply an illustration of a message. Church must allow times of mystery, silence and fearful awe and reference of God, but also we need to think of creative ways of connecting to people in order to communicate the message."

Roger Preece
Vicar of Bowdon

Here was my reply, in which I tried to be charitable:

"Dear Vicar Preece - I'm honored that you came to my humble blog. And while I try not to criticize priests (whether Anglican or Catholic), wouldn't the point have been made if you just talked about roller blading in Church rather than actually doing it? People have vivid imaginations and would have gotten the point. My concern is, whether the congregation is Catholic or Anglican, is that the purpose of attending is to worship the transcendant God and not worry too much about making the preaching attractive and attention-getting. Your job is to preach the Truth, not to "connect" to the people. Those who are disposed to hearing the Truth will hear it, and God will be pleased with your faithful attempts in doing so."

Here's something I found interesting. He found AoftheA through Google, after searching 'Roger Preece "skating"'. I'm wondering if he was checking to see how much publicity his skating stunt had gotten - so was it a mere "illustration of a message", or something else? Thoughts? (please be charitable!)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Softer Side Of AoftheA

I've noticed on some of the woman-authored blogs I peruse something called "A Simple Woman's Daybook". I'd give credit to the creator, except I don't know who it is - one blog I know I've seen it is at Catholic Prodigal Daughter.

What is the Daybook? Well, it's replies to a group of incomplete phrases that describe what that particular day is like, what's going on, what's on their mind, etc. I'll neither admit nor deny that I actually read all the questions and answers, but it made me realize that I've never seen anything like it on any guys' blogs.

And probably for a good reason.

But that won't stop me from submitting my own, with a little tweak here, a slight adjustment there, throw in some testosterone and voila! Introducing...


"The Y Chromoso-minute".



For Tonight: Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Outside My Window... Dark. Really dark.

I am thinking about... hmmmmmm…..nope, nothing. I’ll have to come back to this one.

I am thankful for… Fox Sports and Fox Sports Plus, so I can catch both Red Wings playoff hockey and Tigers baseball when their games are scheduled simultaneously.

From the kitchen... oh that’s easy! See here!

I am wearing... jeans, sweatshirt, socks, boxer briefs…oh, is that TMI?

I am creating... carbon dioxide. Lots and lots.

I am reading... The Protector’s War by S.M. Stirling; Imitation of Christ, by Thomas a Kempis; Which Way To The Inquisition?, by Anne Ethema

I am hoping... for a lot of votes at the 2009 Cannonball Awards – voting starts soon!!! Most Underappreciated Blog and Most Hifreakinlarious Blog.

I am hearing... rumors that since GM and Chrysler might soon be owned primarily by the US Government and the UAW, every newly purchased car will include an I ♥ Obama sticker, a “Vote 9 times, vote the 10th time free” card, and a “I spat on the grave of Capitalism” t-shirt.

Around the house... pfft! I’m a guy! Since when does a guy notice anything around the house?

I am thinking about.... OK, I got one now. Who'd win in a cage match...Ellen Ripley or Sarah Connor?

One of my favorite things... how effectively Combat Rat poison works on chipmunks.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Work like a dog so that slackers can live off my income. Isn’t that what every hard-working American with integrity and dignity is doing?

Now you know a little bit more about me. And a little bit might be more than enough. This was more touchy-feely than I expected, requiring me to get way too close to my inner LarryD. Only one thing to do now...







VS

Bring it!

No Room For Joy

I spent some time this evening last night lurking around various progressive and liberal "Catholic" blogs, and came away with the following observations:

1) Many suffer from a victim complex. They believe they're being marginalized. They wail over excommunications and gnash their teeth over the 'reform of the reform'. They firmly believe that Pope Benedict XVI (and John Paul II before him) is suppressing the true authentic "Spirit of Vatican II" and thus leading the Church backwards.

2) No "conservative" Catholic ever ever follows their conscience, as a progressive always does. They only follow orders and cower before the Vatican hierarchy and the pro-life wing of the Republican party. For instance, one blog I read said that Mary Ann Glendon's decision to refuse the Laetare Medal was capitulation to right wing party interests.

3) Very little discussion on devotional aspects of the faith, lives of the saints, or love for the sacraments, especially the Eucharist.

4) Lots of alternative theology intellectual backwash.

5) No joy.

The joylessness was most telling. And how could there be any joy, when there's anger over misogyny, distrust of the hierarchy, fear of tradition, and resentment over the failed implementation of their misguided interpretation of Vatican II? Sure, they talk about love and compassion and non-judgmentalism - but only as it pertains to other so-called Catholics who believe as they do. But to Catholics such as myself, I'm a bigoted, knuckle-dragging, unenlightened goon who just doesn't know any better. Not in so many words - because they don't judge other people.

No joy. No humor. Not even self-deprecating humor. It's all very serious business in the world of progressive "Catholics". And I don't think that's how God wants us to be.

Yes, the faith is serious. Salvation is serious business - especially when you consider that so many martyrs over so many centuries gave their lives to remain faithful to Christ and His Church. But that does not mean we ought to take ourselves seriously. To do that would get in Jesus' way, where we increase and He decreases, instead of the other way around. Humor and humility have the same root for a reason, you know. From the word humus - of the earth. Lowering ourselves, not insincerely or falsely. It's understanding that apart from Jesus we are nothing, and sometimes, our nothingness can be downright funny.

Now I can be rather sarcastic here at AoftheA - and sometimes my satire and parody goes close to the edge. A lot of the time it falls like a lead balloon, too, but that's a whole other discussion! But I use it to prove a point - not that I'm right and they're wrong. I'm right only to the degree to which I'm faithful to the Church - and they're wrong where they make it an issue to promote dissent, heresy and downright inanity. And sometimes the foolish and silly ideas they promote deserve to be skewered - because they are more than merely foolish and silly. They are dangerous. And humor can be effective in the face of danger.

I once read that there can be no such thing as a joyless Christian. Even in the face of mortal danger or unimaginable suffering, a constant attribute has been joy. When the apostles were released from prison after being scourged, they were full of joy for being found worthy to be persecuted for Christ's sake. Testimonies of the saints - like St Therese of Lisieux, St Faustina, St Padre Pio - there they counted as joy the sufferings they endured on behalf on Jesus. Even my namesake, St Lawrence, told his executioners while being grilled alive, that he was 'done' on the one side and could be flipped over. If that's not joy, then I don't know what is (the progressives would probably say he was delusional from the pain or some other psychological mumbo-jumbo...that's what happens when the mystical and supernatural are downplayed).

I didn't sense any of that from the blogs I read tonight. Their persecution is self-inflicted, and their victimhood is the result of their own device. Otherwise, their blogs would be full of elation for the suffering they endure out of love for Christ. There was none of that though. Fear, anger, and despair even. But no joy. There was no room for joy.

Monday, April 27, 2009

An Observation

The recent outbreak of swine flu in Mexico, with other countries now reporting cases of the sickness, has gripped national and international attention. Rightly so, I believe, and it ought to be treated seriously - whether it evolves into a pandemic situation remains yet to be seen.

But I think Congress was infected with a strain of the swine flu long before this outbreak. One only needs to see all the pork oozing from the recent stimulus package and budget proposal to see that Washington is ill indeed.

Monday Madness IV

Most, if not all, have heard of the Flying Nun. Well, time to meet the Rolling Reverend.

From the Telegraph.co.uk: The Rolling Reverend: Vicar Skates Up And Down The Aisle


Roger Preece, 44, has been dubbed The Rolling Reverend after skating up and down the aisle of his church in roller blades.

Parishioners at St Mary's Church, Bowden, near Altrincham, Cheshire, had expected a conventional sermon on the Resurrection.


But midway through his service the Rev Preece slipped on his blades, stepped out of the pulpit and took to the boards.

The one-time investment banker hit upon the roller-blading idea as a way of illustrating the astonishment that would have greeted Christ's Resurrection.

"While I was skating I was saying to the congregation 'Some of you will no doubt say later that you saw the vicar of Bowden skating around the church. If two or three of you say this then people will know it is true'.

"The skating seemed to get my message across.

"All the adults were wide eyed with shock and the children were thrilled and giggling," he recalled.

And for an encore, he did a grind on the communion rail....

Seriously, though, this type of shenanigans is what one might find at a Rock n' Roll Bible School, with the big screens, big stage and mega-Church theatrics. The place some of my relatives attend had a "Stomp"-like performance for their Easter celebration, for instance. What garbage cans and other unlikely percussive instruments have to do with the Resurrection, I've no idea. But then, I don't understand much that goes on at those mega-Churches. But I digress.

Rev Preece's congregation isn't going to remember anything about the Resurrection - but they're going to remember the roller blading. And that's the problem here; despite his so-called 'good intentions', the focus is on him and him alone, instead on Christ and Christ alone.

And as it so often happens, it opens the door to the possibility that the congregation will come to future Masses with an expectation of "what is the Rolling Reverend going to do this week?" A zip-line from the choir loft to the sanctuary? Rappelling down from the bell tower? I'm guessing it might not be with the expectation of worshipping God and participating in the Holy Sacrifice. And that's the danger.

Think about it - do amusement parks build new rides that are less exciting than the one they just installed the summer before? Are movie remakes and sequels less exciting with worse special effects than the original (no one mention Planet of the Apes, okay?)? Do you think next Easter the mega-Church my relatives attend will put on a show less exciting than Stomp? Of course the answers are No.

But the Mass is not for our entertainment. It is not a diversion, a way to spend an hour or so on a Sunday. The Mass is for our salvation.

Hopefully someone will remind the Rolling Reverend of that, and he'll use his in-line skates anywhere else other than the Church.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Impersonators


Catholics acting like Episcopalians pretending to be Catholics. The vaudeville show goes on...although you just gotta love the Styrofoam croziers. Seeing this on the same day when my son was confirmed by a real bishop makes this all the more ironic.

From Orate Fratres - he points out that one of these women graduated from Notre Dame, and another from St Mary's University, located in Notre Dame. He also says that if ex-communication were not such a serious matter, the photo would be laughable.

So when does the CDF's investigation of the LCWR begin?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Now This Is Embarrassing!

I've had my fair share of embarrassing moments. There was the Youngstown NY Labor Day parade fiasco back in '86. I once asked a woman when her baby was due, only to emphatically find out seconds later she wasn't pregnant (although it was at a wedding reception, I was beered up, and the lighting was bad! It coulda happened to anyone!). And then there was the time I tried to rent a car with an expired driver's license. With about twenty people in line behind me.

But after reading the following article, I'm confident I've got a way to go to earn The World's Most Embarrassing Moment title.

From the Telegraph.uk.co: Whale Protection Research Boat Hits Endangered Whale

A research vessel for the federal agency charged with protecting the endangered right whale hit one of the animals off the Massachusetts coast this weekend, cutting into the animal's left tail fluke with its propeller.

Officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the lacerations suffered by the animal in Sunday's accident did not appear to be life-threatening.

But the accident shows how difficult it is to protect the animal, even with the extraordinary precautions taken by a NOAA boat, said Regina Asmutis-Silvia, a Plymouth-based biologist with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society.

"To me, if it can happen to NOAA, it can happen to anybody," Ms Asmutis-Silvia said. "Therefore, everybody needs to up the ante and up their vigilance and take the issue much more seriously."

I only hope that my tax dollars don't go to fund NOAA Whale-Research-Protection-Boat Protection Boats.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Prayer Request

Elder Son of LarryD is being confirmed on Saturday, April 25th. As the catechist for his class (with 13 other students), I'm proud of the effort he showed in preparing for this great sacrament.

He chose St Joseph of the Holy Family for his confirmation name - an excellent choice!

Please keep him and all the other confirmandees in your prayers - the newest battalion of soldiers for Christ! - Thanks!

What Is An Ecumenical Catholic Church??


And this could be the parish staff...

That is the pastor-ette in the royal blue muu-muu. Yeah, so denying truths and doctrines of the Catholic Church apparently is 'ecumenical'. Separating oneself from Rome apparently means you can still be part of a tradition. IMHO, a more precise word might be 'heretical'. So the next time you're in Tucson, find another church to worship at.

Here's their idea of the "sacrament" of marriage:

The Sacrament of Marriage for relationships of same or mixed genders are celebrated. All of the marriages that we perform are sacraments that have religious significance and we consider them to be marriages that are blessed by a loving and caring God. Ceremonies between a woman and a man are recognized by the State of Arizona and have all the legal rights of a married couple. Same gender marriages are not recognized by the State of Arizona and do not have the legal rights of a married couple, however, they are given equal respect and treatment within the Ecumenical Catholic Communion.

They call themselves a "community of communities", but to me, they're more like a community of apostates. They need a lot of prayers.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thou Speakest Likened To The Bard

To commemorate the 445th anniversary of the birthday of William Shakespeare...
Sonnet CLV

The sun hath travelled long this April day,
Perchance my eyes scanned Z's most noble site.
Of Shakespeare's birth a recent post doth say
Be minded like the Bard ought speak and write.
As fools forget the wisdom of the past
And rush headlong where seraphim fear tread,
The wealth of words he wrote tis unsurpassed
Much poorer now art we and thus seem dead.
Betwixt the gates of paradise and Hell
Struggles mount and peace 'pears unattain'd;
Of life and love didst the Bard pen so well
On Cath'lic themes his grand works contain'd.

If thou desirest, to leave replies
Scribe as he doth, or be excised.

EPA: Pregnant Women Pose Environmental Risk

(AoftheAP) In light of a report issued by the Environmental Protection Agency on April 17, in which it declared carbon dioxide, along with five other greenhouse gases, as a pollutant, the federal agency is prepared to hand down new regulatory identification requirements for expectant mothers.

An anonymous EPA official provided AoftheA with a firsthand look at the proposed identification standard:

(identification color option #1)

Below is the proposed identification standard application location:


(identification color option #2)

There have been unconfirmed reports that the EPA is discussing as to whether pregnant women ought to be regulated under federal carbon emission guidelines, as they are in the process of creating future producers of highly dangerous pollutants.

"We are taking this very seriously," the EPA official said. "Disposable diapers are bad enough, but those are produced for two years, three years max. In terms of longevity, though, with the child, we're looking at additional unregulated production of carbon dioxide for 75-80 years. It only makes sense that something has to be done."

The words 'something has to be done' don't sit well with family-rights groups and women advocacy organizations. Large And In Charge director Melanie Juggsworth sees this action as dangerous.

"What we're concerned with is what we call a "Cap and Spayed" program, whereby women would be sterilized against their will. Or families might be fined, or see their itemized child tax deduction eliminated should they desire a large family."

The EPA official scoffed at the notion of forced sterilizations. "What we are considering, though, is a carbon-trade program, where people who do not want or can not have children can sell their carbon credits to a couple who does want them. We see this to be a fair system that protects the environment and provides a framework in which people can be responsible with their fertility. After all, we want to protect the Earth for future generations, so we see this program as very child-friendly."


s/s to Redstate for the idea...

If Not Love, Then What?

Nothing but complete capitulation on our values and morals - which are the morals taught and defended by the Church - will please these people, that's what.

Not even Christian love - because to them, it's not "love" but A Kinder, Gentler Homophobia. From Religious Dispatches:

...In an op-ed in USA Today he (Jonathon Merritt) outlines the same kind of “love ‘em until they see the error of their ways” philosophy that the religious right should employ toward gays and lesbians:


It is time for evangelical Christians to reform our rhetoric.

This means doing away with clichés such as the infamous “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” Self-gratifying monologues are neither helpful nor loving. These slogans make good bumper stickers, but they’re lousy conversation starters. We must begin talking with our gay and lesbian neighbors in meaningful ways.

And it doesn’t end with dialogue. Let us not forget that love is not only a noun, but also a verb. Love is an action. Our assertions that we love our neighbors must be accompanied by visible expressions of that love. Therefore, we need to begin looking for ways to affirm, rather than undermine, our claims to love our gay neighbors.

As Christians, we clearly won’t be able to support any and everything. For example, our biblical convictions prohibit a redefinition of marriage. Yet, there are other areas where we may be able to offer support. We should support protecting our gay and lesbian neighbors from discrimination in the workplace and cleaning up the legal cobwebs that govern hospital visitation rights and inheritance for same-sex couples.

On first blush, this all appears to be fantastic news! Merritt is encouraging the religious right to change its tune about gay and lesbian people—have dialogue with them, stop the mindless “love the sinner, hate the sin” rhetoric that closes the ears, hearts and minds of gays and lesbians. Instead, he urges the religious right to love gays and lesbians—and not just in word, but in deed—in real tangible ways and look for ways to affirm that love. Certainly it would be welcome to have the support of the religious right on important legal matters like job discrimination and hospital visitations.

But, look carefully at what Merritt does NOT want the religious right to change—it’s mind or it’s heart. Instead, like my sister—the insidious goal of this line of “love the sinner, hate the sin” is merely a kinder and gentler form of homophobia. The ultimate goal is to change the homosexual into —a non-homosexual!

Merritt makes some commendable points in his op-ed, which are instantly firebombed by this writer. For her, the only acceptable approach is for the Christian to abandon the Christian principle of "Love they Neighbor", because it's really just a smoke-screen. See, it's just fakery and covert discrimination. What she's really saying is that if we truly love her and others like her, we'll change our beliefs (and the Church needs to change Her teachings at the same time) rather than expect them to critically take a look at their own beliefs and behaviors, and let them live as they please. While they strive to "eat, drink, simulate natural sexual love between spouses and be merry, for tomorrow we die and get into heaven because of all the suffering we were forced to endure", we are being told to approve, shut up and go away.

Further in the article, the author writes:

It’s telling to see what rights Merritt urges the religious right to support for gays and lesbians—everything that has nothing to do with gays and lesbians actually having sex. They’ll support our right to a job, our right to visit someone we love in the hospital or inherit money from them—but bless our most precious union—the one that might involve two men or two women getting it on? Forget it. Can’t go there.

What's ironic regarding gay and lesbian activists, even among those who consider themselves Christian, is that they insist on being in your face when it comes to their sexual activity, but don't want to be identified merely by their sexuality. Perhaps if they focused on becoming faithful children of God instead of remaining faithless children of the world, they'd recognize the motive behind Christian love for what it truly is: an earnest desire to see them reach heaven and experience the true joy and peace God desires for them.

Snack Du Jour


Cheesy. Spicy. Tasty.
Temptation, thy name is Jalapeño.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Class And Grace

By now, most have read or seen how Carrie Prejean, Miss California, lost in her bid to become Miss America 2009 because she refused to be politically correct and spoke honestly on the question of so-called same-sex marriage. When asked during the competition on Sunday, by gay gossip slimeball blogger Perez Hilton, she responded that marriage ought to remain between one man and one woman. Regardless of your opinion on the Miss America pageant, in this one instance, a contestant displayed courage and as she said, "followed her heart" and stood by "what she believes."

Not surprisingly, Hilton crassly disparaged her character and admitted that the answer lost her his vote. His behavior typifies the militant, take-no-prisoner intolerant approach gay activists display when someone dares to disagree on this topic.

The next page in this saga has turned, and it's encouraging. Check out this video from MSNBC:

s/s to Gateway Pundit and CMR

The Climate Change Guild

To reduce my carbon footprint in commemoration of this austere and venerable Earth Day holiday, I'm using green font and typing very slowly.

What better way to recognize Earth Day than by having three midgets from the Climate Change Guild sing you a welcoming song?


"Weeeeeeee..........represent
The Climate Change Guild,
The Climate Change Guild,
The Climate Change Guild.
And on behalf of
The Climate Change Guiiiiiiillllllllllllddddd!!!
Weeeeeeee're gonna screw you big time, wait and see!!"


And now, a moving tribute produced by caring and concerned citizens who are several logs short of a cabin. An oldie but goodie...



This concludes today's Earth Day commemoration. We now resume normal programming here at Acts of the Apostasy.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The 2009 Cannonball Awards

Ahh, Spring. Baseball, hockey playoffs, tree pollen, and the 2009 Cannonball Awards.
The Cannonballs is a Catholic blog award contest hosted by The Crescat - and she includes some rather unique categories. If you've never read The Crescat, you should check it out. Funny, sassy and often full of incredible religious art and photographs - it's one of the funniest blogs out there.

Click the link to see the list of categories (such as "Snarkiest Catholic Blog" and "Best Hifreakinlarious Blog", to name a couple) and nominees - if you don't see a certain shall-go-unnamed blog (*cough cough*) nominated for any of the listed categories, feel free to make your choice known (*ahem!*) in the combox, for any appropriate category.

Have fun! And hurry - the nomination process closes May 1.
(picture appropriated from The Crescat site)

Monday, April 20, 2009

AoftheA Is On The Air!!

(source)
...kinda.

Ave Maria Radio, which broadcasts out of Ann Arbor MI, is running their 2009 Spring Pledge Drive this week. This is a bi-annual event whereby they raise funds to continue producing original programming heard in Southeast Michigan, over a large number of EWTN affiliate stations, and via live streaming over the Internet. The drive features all their radio personalities, such as Al Kresta and Teresa Tomeo, along with prominent guests - like Fr Groeschel, Steve Ray, and Dr Scott Hahn - to help spur donations.

And this year, they have invited....me!

They're introducing a "15 Minutes Of Fame" segment this spring, where not-so-famous people, such as myself, are asked why Catholic Radio is important to them, how it has affected their lives and how it's impacted their faith. My affiliation with the network developed in a couple different ways: one, they've helped to promote my parish's men's group, Bravehearts, over the past two years, as well as broadcast our events on their "Sundays at Three" program (also available on CD); and two, I sell packaging materials to them which they use when mailing out books/DVDs/CDs to listeners. I've gotten to know a number of the fine men and women who work there - so when I was there a couple weeks ago, I was asked if I would be interested in being interviewed. Being the humble, shy guy that I am, I said "Sure!!"

So here's the skinny - on Wednesday April 22, sometime between 11:30 AM and Noon EST, yours truly will be chattin' it up with Teresa Tomeo. If you're in SE Michigan, you can catch it on 990 AM WDEO and 1090 AM WMAX; in SW Florida on 98.5 FM WDEO; and it will be live on the Internet (click here and then click the "Listen Live" button).

I don't know if I have enough to say for a full 15 minutes, so here's some strategies I may have to employ:
  • talk real slow
  • ask a lot of questions ("I'm sorry - could you repeat that again?")
  • vacuous compliments ("What a great place you've got here!")
  • tell jokes

Oh, and one more thing - anyone have a teleprompter I can borrow?

Way Beyond Jesus

Erin at And Sometimes Tea waxes poetic on the upcoming CDF investigation into the Leadership Council of Women Religious. Awesome.

On Beyond Jesus (with apologies to Dr. Seuss)

Said Sister Androgina Guevara Mao,
(An old friend of mine who worships the Tao):
You start out by studying Adam and Eve
(Though I find that story too hard to believe)
Then you go through the prophets; you study the kings
Who all hated women (misogynist things!)
Some poems called psalms, and some proverbs, and then--
You get to the Gospels; and that's where it ends.
You read about Jesus, you learn His whole story,
With good bits with women, and other parts gory,
And then you should know, from the very Creation,
he whole of the story of humans' salvation.

I was nodding--because that is how it should go--
When she frowned and said sternly: No. Oh, dear, no!
That's what they tell you, that's what they try
To make you believe while you live till you die.
But some of us know this is no place to stop!
I could keep finding prophets and myths till I drop!
You can stop, if you want, with the Lord Jesus Christ.
But not me! I won't stop here, not at any price!

If you stop here with Jesus, you'll never explore
The non-androcentric religions galore:
The ones that have goddesses, holy and wise
With perhaps a bit more than their fair share of eyes,
The one around Buddha--you really should try it!
If nothing else Buddhism's good for your diet.
nd then there are legends of spirits that come
When you carve a big totem or beat a big drum.

So, on beyond Jesus! To Zeus and to Hera!
Don't let a word like "heretic" scare ya.
There's so much empowerment you'll never know
If you stop at Jesus. So go, go, go, go!
Go on to the Norse Gods, to Freya or Thor
You'll learn so much more than you could have before.
Cosmology, circles, spell-casting and chant--
But not the old sort. No, that kind we can't.
We've forgotten the words, if we ever did know them,
Besides, we worked hard so we could overthrow them.

Click here to read the whole thing.

Monday Madness III

And now for today's manic Monday Madness...

I've noticed a disturbing trend in the news as of late. There seems to be a disproportionate number of snake stories slithering around the Internet. And not just any normal snakes - pythons. Alarming armloads of articulated asphyxiators.

A few weeks ago, in CMR's weekly feature "8 Signs of the Apocalypse", they posted on the rapidly increasing Burmese python population in South Florida.

On Thursday April 16, in the Guardian.co.uk, it was reported that four baby pythons escaped on a Qantas flight in Australia, and they still haven't been located. CMR cited this too (now that I think about it, that is a disturbing trend, too).

But the weirdest python story of all has to be this one: Man Escapes Python Coils By BITING It!!!

From the DailyMailOnline (April 15, 2009) -

A farm manager escaped from a python which had wrapped him in its coils and hauled him up a tree by biting it.

Ben Nyaumbe was working when the serpent, which was apparently hunting for livestock, struck in the Malindi area of Kenya's Indian Ocean coast.

The struggle went on for hours as the snake dragged the struggling man into the tree and attempted to crush him to death.

Mr Nyaymbe eventually escaped by sinking his teeth into its scaly skin, causing the creature to slacken its grip.

He was able to reach his mobile phone in his pocket to call for help.

I don't know about you, but if there are no python stories the next few months, I won't be disappointed.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Divine Mercy Sunday


From St. Faustina's Diary -

848 While I was saying the chaplet, I heard a voice which said, Oh, what great graces I will grant to souls who say this chaplet; the very depths of My tender mercy are stirred for the sake of those who say the chaplet. Write down these words, My daughter. Speak to the world about My mercy; let all mankind recognize My unfathomable mercy. It is a sign for the end times; after it will come the day of justice. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fount of My mercy; let them profit from the Blood and Water which gushed forth for them.

Jesus, I trust in you!!

St Faustina, ora pro nobis.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I Love You, Man


"Hugie, just let me say I'm impressed with what you're doing in Venezuela, and you are a true inspiration to me."

Divine Earth Mercy Day

Readers of AoftheA know I'm not a true believer when it comes to anthropomorphic global warming - okay, I'm a downright skeptic. And that is equally true in regards to the pagan-ish druidic Earth Day foolishness.

Now Earth Day is officially Wednesday April 22, but I promise you this Sunday, in churches all across the fruited plain, homilies and sermons will focus on this eco-spiritual nonsense. How do I know? Read this:

From the Washington Times.com: Pro-Earth Messages Urged (April 15 2009)

As Earth Day approaches, many in the faith community are working with the Earth Day Network and other eco-organizations to "honor God's creation" in religious services this weekend.

"We have had an overwhelmingly positive response again to our outreach to thousands of Catholic priests asking them to deliver a sermon on Earth Day, Sunday, April 19th on climate change and equitable sustainability," says Susan Bass, senior vice president of programs and operations for the Earth Day Network, also known as EDN.

Since 2007, the EDN has connected with thousands of parishes, asking ministers to include pro-Earth messages in their sermons on the Sunday before Earth Day.

"All across the country, parishes will be taking action to protect the Earth, from recycling batteries to incorporating climate change into their religious education programs," Ms. Bass explains.


It's like this - as Catholics, we are called to be good stewards of God's creation. We ought not waste our resources, and we ought to share with others. I'm all for that. It's good, proper and shows love for our neighbor and reverence for God. However, I don't like the indoctrination-feel to the message. It's as if the kids are being told that the the human race was created for the Earth, rather than the other way around. That humanity has done nothing but destroy, damage and desecrate Earth all these millenia, and THERE IS VERY LITTLE TIME LEFT TO TURN BACK THE TIDE OF DESTRUCTION!!!!!

But you know what's worse than all that? This Sunday is Divine Mercy Sunday, a feast day instituted by the Pope John Paul the Great. And it's being supplanted by a pagan holiday. I'm just guessing here, but it wouldn't surprise me (in fact, it would sadden me) if Earth Day homilies will outnumber Divine Mercy homilies by 20 to 1. Perhaps higher.

So while many Catholic churchgoers this weekend will be told various ways in order to "save" the planet, they aren't going to hear a beautiful message on how to save their souls.

Friday, April 17, 2009

"It Has Been Our Most Daunting Challenge"

The makers of the world's #1 selling language-learning computer program, RosettaStone®, has just released it's most ambitious translation program yet: ProgCath®, short for "Progressive Catholic". The first installation includes three discs, sold in an audio program format (shown below) and also in either PC or Mac format.


Hermann Nillbucket, the Director of Translational Engineering for RosettaStone®, confided to AoftheA that ProgCath® was the most difficult project he had ever worked on.

"It has been our most daunting challenge to date," Nillbucket said. "And not only due to the complexity of the terminology and variations of colloquialism. Three of our programmers had to take leaves of absence because of frustration and the sheer madness of the progressive language."

Nillbucket demonstrated the program's interface feature as part of the product launch. Typically, users enter in a common word or phrase, and the corresponding meaning, or choice of meanings, appear on the screen.

"This program is unlike anything we have ever produced. Translating words from one language into another is fairly easy and unburdened. It can be time consuming, to be sure, but straightforward. But to give you an idea of the challenge we faced, consider this comparison: it took us eight months, three servers and nine full-time programmers and linguistic experts to produce our Mandarin Chinese program. ProgCath® took us two years, seven servers, twenty-two programmers and three Vatican theologians. Not to mention countless hard-drive crashes and two exorcisms."

Nillbucket and his team spent eighteen months collecting words, phrases and obscure terms by attending Call-to-Action seminars, listening to three years' worth of LA Religious Education Congress talks on CD, combing the websites of numerous religious orders' websites, and purchasing a one year's subscription of the National Catholic Reporter. Nillbucket related how his team culled four hundred and fifteen terms from the NCR 'Letters to the Editor' alone. "Some of the more colorful phrases come from lay people, believe it or not," he said.

As part of the demonstration, Nillbucket typed in the phrase "the spirit of Vatican II". A few seconds later, several different translations appeared, such as 'the smoke of Satan', and "misguided beliefs and faithless liturgy'.

"So for instance," Nillbucket said, "if someone told you 'Our parish is awash in the spirit of Vatican II", what they're really saying is 'Our parish is awash in misguided beliefs and faithless liturgy'."

He admitted, though, that the program doesn't include every term or phrase, because the necessary algorithms haven't been developed yet to handle every nuance of ProgCath®.

"You tell me: how in the world can anyone translate: 'Our Soul, goes everywhere, like an old woman in her right mind, going anywhere she wishes, saying whatever she wants, bending to mend whatever is in her reach.' ? Given today's technology, it just isn't possible. Even the Vatican theologians had to take a pass on that one." Nillbucket shook his head and then added: "And don't even get me started on progressive Catholic poetry."

RosettaStone® has yet to establish a retail price for this program. Given all the time, investment and difficulties they experienced, it's quite likely to cost so much that only Catholic universities will be able to afford it - should there be any left, that is.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Wishes

Today is Pope Benedict's 82nd birthday. Happy Birthday, Holy Father!


Drink a Fanta today in his Holiness' honor.

Co-opting The Catholic Name

Ran across a great commentary at Spero News tonight - there's not much new in it, but it's worthwhile to be reminded that even though our battle is against powers and principalities, human agents get duped into doing their work. And sometimes they hide behind the name Catholic.

Do Catholics Have A Friend In Obama? by Mary Ann Kreitzer

If anyone wonders if the devil is alive and well and busy as a nest of termites, he has only to examine the George Soros-funded "Catholics United." The group is currently running 1,150 radio ads in 5 states touting the moral nature of the budget. It would be laughable if it weren't so despicable.

The fact that this group operates thanks to one of the most anti-Catholic rich guys in the country (who also funds Catholics for a Free Choice) stinks to high heavens. At the end of their lying ads should be the statement, "This spot was paid for by George Soros and other anti-Catholic sources."

With regard to the "morality" of the budget, it at least doubles the national debt which puts our grandchildren and even their children in hock. This is justice? It also steals from current taxpayers to fund all kinds of unconstitutional pork barrell projects. This is moral? Worst of all it includes multi-millions to fund abortion, chemical birth control, immoral and ineffective AIDS programs, pornographic sex education for kids, etc. both here and in the third world. What do these bogus Catholics not understand about, "Thou Shalt not Kill?" and "Thou Shalt not Steal?" What does dismembering unborn babies and stealing from present and future generations have in common with God's laws?

It's worth a full read. Mary Ann also blogs at Les Femmes - The Truth - check it out.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Inquisition, 21st Century Style

Good news has been hard to come by, so it's gratifying to be able to report the following:

From Damian Thompson's Holy Smoke blog: Great News: Vatican To Investigate America's Bossy Feminist Nuns

One of the worst things about American Catholicism is its militia of feminist nuns, who long ago decided that the Magisterium was too restricting for them, and that if they couldn't be priests they could at least swan around like them, issuing bossy diktats about "being Church".

How satisfying, then, to learn that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is launching a "doctrinal assessment" of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), a stronghold of the finger-wagging, right-on sisterhood.

They're furious, of course! And so is the National Catholic Reporter, a weekly whingefest of "empowered" laity and their priest lackeys.
Here is the NCR's report of Rome's decision.

Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the CDF, has announced the assessment in the light of the sisters' insistence on challenging Church teaching on women priests, non-Catholic churches and homosexuality at their dreary conferences.

To give you a flavour of the LCWR, here's part of their mission statement: "Developing models for initiating and strengthening relationships with groups concerned with the needs of society, thereby maximizing the potential of the conference for effecting change." We're not talking Mother Teresa here, we really aren't.


The RCWP (Roman Catholic Women Priests) and the CRONES (Women's Ordination Conference) ought to be shaking in their polyesters over this.

It's encouraging to see the Holy See begin to take action, and hopefully their investigation will lead to a real crackdown against this destructive organization and others like it.

Let the wailing and grinding of teeth commence - this could be fun.

s/s to CMR

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

All Nature Rejoices At The Resurrection Of The Lord


...with some rejoicing more than others.

Instrument Of Discrimination

The juggernaut of P.C. continues to steamroll through Europe - this time in the form of a new EU draft discrimination directive that seeks to promote "equality" but will in effect legislate bias against faith and conscience.

From the Telegraph UK.com: EU Directive Could Open Up Faith Schools To Non-believers by Jonathon Wynne-Jones, April 12, 2009

Proposals contained in the EU's draft discrimination directive could lead to churches being sued if they refuse to give communion, baptism or membership to non-Christians trying to get their children into a church school, experts said.

The Church of England said last night that it would raise concerns with the Government over the draft directive.


It fears that if the proposals are approved in their current form, religious bodies would lose an exemption they enjoy under current UK law to discriminate on grounds of conscience.

Religious groups warned that the anti-discrimination measures could also lead to gay marriage and homosexuals demanding wedding services in church.


The draft discrimination directive would make it illegal to offer goods and services only to particular sections of society.


It would apply to all organisations offering a service to the public, including hospitals, charities, businesses and prisons, as well as churches.


Faith-based welfare projects could be outlawed if they failed to comply with the EU rules.


One of Britain's leading human rights lawyers has predicted that the directive could become an "instrument of discrimination or oppression".

However, when the draft directive came before the European Parliament this month, MEPs passed a series of amendments which strengthened the package of proposals and stripped out the exemptions for "organisations based on religion and belief".

MEPs also decided to qualify exemptions that allow for "differences in treatment in access to educational institutions based on religion or belief" by claiming that this "must not represent an infringement of the right to education and does not justify discrimination on any other grounds".
They also passed an amendment that weakened a commitment to maintain "national laws on marital or family status and reproductive rights".

Following the amendments, the directive as it now stands could force churches across Europe to accept atheists as members and open the door to legalising homosexual marriage.


Granted, there are a number of "coulds" in the article, but so what? The principle of incrementalism is at work here - today's 'could' becomes tomorrow's 'should', and before too long, it becomes an 'is' or 'shall be'.

So does anyone want to argue that gay so-called marriage won't affect society in an adverse way?

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Sad Day For RPG'ers

Devotees of the role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons were saddened when it was learned that Dave Arneson, one of the co-creators, passed away Friday April 10 Tuesday April 7.

It is believed he was struck by a +5 Sword of Destruction, and his Spell of Healing failed when his die roll fell several points short.

For the real story, click here.

Monday Madness II

Another installment chronicling the weird and the wacky, giving your Monday a caffeine-free jolt...

Below is a photograph of the new Israeli cabinet:




But because an ultra-conservative Jewish newspaper, the Yated Neeman, believes that it is immodest for women to have their pictures published, the photo was altered in their publication:



AoftheA discovered that this is not the first time doctoring such as this had been done. AoftheA searched high and low and uncovered another instance of, what some might justly call sexist, photoshopping.

This image is from a press conference given by then-President Clinton and his Attorney General, Janet Reno. The First Lady, Hillary Clinton, stood demurely behind her husband in quiet support.



However, alterations were made to remove any female representation, resulting in the following photo:



It just goes to show you can not trust the media, you know?

If It's A Story On The "Historical Jesus"...

...then it must be close to Easter.

The latest entry in the "I really know who Jesus is!!! I really really do!!" parade.

In the 4/10/09 Washington Post, even.

The Historical Jesus, by Rex Weyler

I set out five years ago to write "The Jesus Sayings" (Anansi, 2008) with a simple goal. I wanted to know: Did a real Jesus exist in history? And if so, what did he actually say and do? Scholars have labored over these questions for centuries, and offer no simple answers, but evidence exists to guide such a quest.

Some historians believe the Jesus story is a composite of myths, and indeed later writers attached certain legends to his name. Nevertheless, some 200 ancient sources - sayings collections, gospels, letters, and fragments - attest to Jesus traditions during the two centuries after his death. Most scholars believe the diversity of accounts suggest a real Jesus - Aramaic Yeshua - who strode barefoot and poor from the Galilean hills into history.


The earliest physical evidence of a Jesus story, called "P52," a little scrap of papyrus the size of a cash register receipt, appears a century after his life, in about 125 A.D. The fragment contains 110 Greek letters comprising twelve complete words, with Jesus explaining that he came into the world, "to witness the truth."

The earliest complete gospel manuscripts appear in the fourth century, so we may fairly wonder how well Jesus' message survived centuries of oral transmission, and lost written accounts. Text scholars have pealed (sic) back layers of language, compared texts, and concluded that source documents appeared before any narrative gospels were written. These include the gospel of Thomas and other source material used by Mark, Matthew, and Luke.

Let's stop there and make a few points, shall we?

Point #1: Dude, you just wasted five years of your life. Nice going.
Point #2: It's "PEELED", not "PEALED"!!! If you don't know that much, then I have to presume that your book, is equally poorly edited. Not to mention that the premise is wrong anyway.
Point #3: Is this the best the Washington Post could do?

Stories like this come out this time of year like clockwork. And only eight more months until Christmas for another round of silliness...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What Scripture Failed To Mention

I have got to stop letting my imagination get away from me!

No blogging between Holy Thursday and Easter Sunday - but I'll be back on Easter Monday.
Please keep me and my family in your prayers through this most holy time - I will be praying for you as well. A blessed Easter to all!!

The Sister Patricia Poll

*A note for newcomers - on April 1, "Sister Patricia" contributed a post that, shall we say, bucked the trend for this blog. Because of the response, it was only fair to put up a poll to determine her fate.*

Okay, the poll is closed and the results have been tallied. Here's how it all shook out:
  • In first place, with 38% of the vote: Let her post on occasion.
  • In second, with 23%: Excommunicate her and never let her return!!
  • And tied for third, with 19% of the votes: Have her start her own blog; and, Burning her at the stake is a waste of good wood.

Being the benevolent dictator that I am, I will follow the will of the people. It may be awhile before Sister Patricia gets word, however, as she is currently on a pilgrimage. She is on her way to Tibet to study ancient Buddhist practices, after which she will be spending a couple days with Madonna to learn about Kabbalah, and perhaps some dance moves in the process - for liturgical reasons, I'm guessing. Her return date is pending, but I'm sure she'll be ecstatic at the news.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Progressive Bible Quotes #5

Matthew 28:18-20 (McBrien-Kmiec 2008 American Edition)

18Then Jesus approached and said to them, "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, if you recall, I said very little, if anything, regarding sexual mores."

I've been engaged in a quasi tete-a-tete over at the Sour Patch Kids' blog over a post titled "Sex: What If God Just Doesn't Care?" It's the typical article written by a liberal catholic whose choices regarding sexuality are at odds with Catholic teaching. It includes statements like "If Jesus wasn't hung up on sex, why are Christians?" and "...the Christian obsession with obsolete sexual codes is a way to keep (us) from having to make adult, difficult, nuanced moral decisions". You know, intellectual, deep theological arguments.

So I commented: "What if God Just Doesn’t Care? And when you stand before God, and find out only then that He really DID care, then what?"

That elicited the following response from the post's author: "It’s interesting that you seem to think I lead a life of debauchery simply because I don’t think sex should be Christianity’s highest priority. I am not exploring this issue out of any desire to “justify” my own choices but to really find what’s at the heart of the Christian faith. And I have absolutely no qualms about what will happen when I stand before God, so we can both rest easy on that front." Apart from reading way more into my question than I had intended (guilty conscience, perhaps?), she also displayed a bit of presumption.

Then another reader posted this: "Actually, if you look at Matthew chapter 25, verses 34 to the end, Jesus is pretty clear and unambiguous about what God will care about at our final judgement. Sex doesn’t make the cut."

To which I responded: "Provided that those are the only criteria God is concerned with. So when Paul says in 1 Cor 6:8 “Do not be deceived; neither fornicators not idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor sodomites nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God”, are you saying St Paul is wrong? 4 of the first 5 conditions Paul mentions are sex related.

Jesus’ statements constitute our mandate on showing mercy towards others, which translates to how we treat Christ. Paul’s statements constitute, more or less, how we are to live morally. They are complimentary, not mutually exclusive."

Bottom line - God, who loves us with an infinite love, does care about our sex life. The Creator of all, who knows the number of hairs on our head, who knew us before we were in our mother's womb, cares about everything about us. And He desires that we be holy, so that we can spend eternity with Him in heaven.

Here's how the exchange has ended for now.

Author: "I also think it’s important to note that I am NOT arguing for sexual permissiveness or saying that the Bible has nothing to say about sex. What I’m saying is that I don’t think sexual mores are necessarily central to Christianity and that too many people get fixated on them, to the exclusion of what is central to Christianity: namely, Jesus."

My reply: I’m not implying that you’re arguing for sexual permissiveness. I do think, though, that you and I disagree what constitutes permissiveness. What it ultimately comes down to is this - do we order our lives to conform to the teachings of the Church, or do we decide on our own what is necessarily central to Christianity? Jesus can be, and ought to be, central in our lives, while at the same time having our lives conformed to all of the Church’s teachings. After all, Christ did tell Peter “Whoever hears you, hears Me, and whoever rejects you, rejects Me and the one who sent Me.”

Monday, April 6, 2009

Ho Hum. Easter's (Yawn) Coming

Dear Reverend McBrien: If Easter bores you so much, why did you waste an entire essay about it?

Easter is at the heart and center of the Christian faith, and yet every year it seems more and more difficult to say or write anything about it that doesn’t strike many listeners or readers as repetitive or riddled with clichés...

And later:

I wrote...“belief in the Resurrection is just that -- an expression of faith. It is not grounded on scientific evidence, which is not to say that the belief is without any basis whatever.

“In fact,” the column continued, “there was a remarkable and wholly inexplicable change in the disciples (some 500 in all) who claimed to have ‘seen’ the risen Lord. Many willingly accepted martyrdom rather than deny him or his resurrection from the dead.”

“In the end, however, the Resurrection is not about [newly discovered] bones but about the transformation of one’s life. Faith in the Resurrection requires us to live as Jesus did, dying to self for the sake of others, in the hope of rising again.”

Last year, too, this column raised the problem of familiarity. What we say and write about Easter always runs the risk of becoming a kind of religious boilerplate.


Yep - proclaiming the Good News of Jesus' resurrection is just standard boilerplate. Nice. I get the impression that he doesn't believe in the Resurrection except as an allegory of what it means to be a Christian. Very sad.

Monday Madness I

A new feature at Acts of the Apostasy. Something odd to kick start your week, to confirm that the lunatics are indeed still running the asylum.


From the DailyMailOnline: Tesco Tells Farm To Stop Using Sheepdogs Because They 'Stress' The Flock

Sheepdogs herding a flock may be a familiar farmyard scene, but it could soon be confined to the past if bosses at Tesco have their way.

The supermarket chain has told its major supplier of lamb to stop using dogs, which it claims cause stress to the animals.

It means shepherds at the farm may need to use methods such as beating the ground with sticks and waving their arms to control the flock.


Outraged staff at Silver Fern Farms in Fairton, New Zealand may now have to get rid of up to 60 dogs to comply with the orders, meaning several of the animals will be destroyed.

Shepherd Mick Pethram told the Telegraph newspaper: 'New Zealand sheep are used to dogs, they know dogs.

'There's more stress in a human herding and manhandling them, waving their arms and beating sticks. Dogs are part of a sheep's life. This is absolute baloney.'

And all this time, I thought it was the slaughtering bit that stressed out the sheep. Shows what I know!

No word yet if the dogs plan on unionizing to protest this action by Tesco.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Filling In The Blanks

Of President Obama's recent campaign visit European vacation overseas trip, I watched some reports on the television, read a fair number of on-line articles and listened to varied analyses on the radio. The majority of what I saw/read/heard was neither inspiring nor comforting - Obama is an authentic liberal and has no problem in dissing our nation.

But the best piece I came across is a hilarious parsing of an Obama response to an English journalist, printed in the Guardian.co.uk. Hems, haws and copious pauses are actual. I've cleaned it up where necessary.

The Question That Flummoxed The Great Orator


Nick Robinson: "A question for you both, if I may. The prime minister has repeatedly blamed the United States of America for causing this crisis. France and Germany both blame Britain and America for causing this crisis. Who is right? And isn't the debate about that at the heart of the debate about what to do now?" Brown immediately swivels to leave Obama in pole position. There is a four-second delay before Obama starts speaking [THANKS FOR NOTHING, GORDY BABY. REMIND ME TO HANG YOU OUT TO DRY ONE DAY.] Barack Obama: "I, I, would say that, er ... pause [I HAVEN'T A CLUE] ... if you look at ... pause [WHO IS THIS NICK ROBINSON JERK?] ... the, the sources of this crisis ... pause [JUST KEEP GOING, BUDDY] ... the United States certainly has some accounting to do with respect to . . . pause [I'M IN WAY TOO DEEP HERE] ... a regulatory system that was inadequate to the massive changes that have taken place in the global financial system ... pause, close eyes [THIS IS GOING TO GO DOWN LIKE A CROCK OF **** BACK HOME. HELP]. I think what is also true is that ... pause [I WANT NICK ROBINSON TO DISAPPEAR] ... here in Great Britain ... pause [SHOOT, GORDY'S THE HOST, DON'T LAND HIM IN IT] ... here in continental Europe ... pause [DARN IT, BLAME EVERYONE.] ... around the world. We were seeing the same mismatch between the regulatory regimes that were in place and er ... pause [I'VE LOST MY TRAIN OF THOUGHT AGAIN] ... the highly integrated, er, global capital markets that have emerged ... pause [I'M REALLY WINGING IT NOW]. So at this point, I'm less interested in ... pause [YOU] ... identifying blame than fixing the problem. I think we've taken some very aggressive steps in the United States to do so, not just responding to the immediate crisis, ensuring banks are adequately capitalised, er, dealing with the enormous, er ... pause [WHY DIDN'T I QUIT WHILE I WAS AHEAD?] ... drop-off in demand and contraction that has taken place. More importantly, for the long term, making sure that we've got a set of, er, er, regulations that are up to the task, er, and that includes, er, a number that will be discussed at this summit. I think there's a lot of convergence between all the parties involved about the need, for example, to focus not on the legal form that a particular financial product takes or the institution it emerges from, but rather what's the risk involved, what's the function of this product and how do we regulate that adequately, much more effective coordination, er, between countries so we can, er, anticipate the risks that are involved there. Dealing with the, er, problem of derivatives markets, making sure we have set up systems, er, that can reduce some of the risks there. So, I actually think ... pause [FANTASTIC. I'VE LOST EVERYONE, INCLUDING MYSELF] ... there's enormous consensus that has emerged in terms of what we need to do now and, er ... pause [I'M OUTTA HERE. TIME FOR THE USUAL CLOSING BOLLOCKS] ... I'm a great believer in looking forwards than looking backwards."

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The True Survivor

Below is a portion of a profound article, published in The Michigan Catholic, about abortion, a priest, and the depth of a mother's love.

...Today, many people wonder if it is our Christian duty to support life at all its stages or can we be 'pro-choice' and still be good followers of Christ. For me the answer is quite simple.

If you proclaim to be a Christian, you must be pro-life! There is no choice in that call! I stand here before you as the true survivor, as a priest who could have been aborted. In the 1970s, Poland was a Communist country and abortion was legal at all stages of development.


My mother, Helena, was six months pregnant with me when, after a routine test at the hospital, doctors discovered a tumor on her liver. The diagnosis was not good. The cancer treatment in Poland at the time was very limited, but even so, there was a complication, which was me! The doctors told her to abort and to seek further treatment. My mother refused, sacrificing her life for mine. She died shortly before my third birthday.


I was too young when my mother died. I do not know her likes or dislikes; I don't remember her touch, her tenderness and her love. I know that God has blessed me. The Heavenly Father gave me a second chance when he allowed my father to marry again. I am very blessed that I have my "second mother" and that because of her I am an upright Christian man, who through his weaknesses tries to be of service to others. But sometimes, I look at the few pictures left by my grandmother and I can see my mother's love....


Click here for the whole story.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Weekend Sports Edition

What I'll be watching Saturday night...



...because my Alma mater...

...the Michigan State Spartans, have made it to the Final Four. They're up against the University of Connecticut (boo! hiss! Remember when those two state legislators had submitted a bill to restructure diocesan administration?). Go Green! Go White!

The other game has the University of North Carolina against Villanova. I'm hoping 'Nova wins - not just because they're a Catholic university, but UNC smoked MSU earlier in the season.

But first the Huskies! Rock on Sparty!

***UPDATE*** Yeah, baby!! Michigan State 82, UConn 73. Championship game Monday night against either UNC or Villanova. GO GREEN!! GO WHITE!!

***SECOND UPDATE*** Well, there is sadness in Spartytown. UNC won in decisive fashion, 89-72, earning the NCAA Championship. But there's always next year...

Deadline Looming

You've heard the talk that President Obama is contemplating rescinding conscience protection laws, laws that currently protect doctors, nurses and other health personnel from being forced to either perform abortions or provide abortion referral services. Should the laws be repealed, then large numbers of medical professionals may have no choice but to seek different employment.

What you might not have known is that you have the opportunity to make your voice heard. The Health and Human Services Department is collecting feedback from the public, so it is urgent to make them aware of your support of the conscience protection laws.

And the USCCB has made it easy for you. Click on the banner below, and you'll be taken directly to the website where you can send HHS an email telling them to retain this important legislation. But hurry - you only have until April 9.

Conscience Protection

It only takes a minute. And pass it on.

s/s to CMR

Papal Intercession?

Yesterday was the 4th anniversary of Pope John Paul II's death.

Which makes this story really really cool.

Did Late Pope Cure Ohio Shooting Victim? (AOL Wire services)

Four years after his death, Pope John Paul II is moving closer to being canonized. And the incredible recovery of an Ohio shooting victim may speed the late pontiff's path to sainthood.

The chaplain at a Cleveland hospital is crediting John Paul's intercession for the recovery of Jory Aebly, who was shot in the head execution-style during a mugging five weeks ago,
ABC News reported on 'Good Morning America.'

Although doctors told Aebly's family his wound "non-survivable," the 26-year-old did survive. He was released from MetroHealth Medical Center on Tuesday, just two days before the fourth anniversary of John Paul’s death.

Hospital chaplain Father Art Snedeker said Aebly's condition began improving steadily after the priest gave him a rosary that had been blessed by John Paul.

"[Pope John Paul II] promised me that he would always pray for the patients at Metro and he blessed a dozen rosaries with special patients here," Snedeker told a news conference Tuesday. "The first night that Jory arrived and I performed the sacrament of the sick, I also asked Pope John Paul to pray for Jory and to protect him.


"I stand before you today and can say, to my mind, Jory is a miracle," Snedeker said.
Addressing media at the hospital before his release, Aebly thanked Cleveland police and hospital staff. He also attributed his recovery to the power of prayer.


"I truly believe that one of the reasons I am here today able to speak to you is the many prayers I’ve received from family, friends, co-workers, even people that I haven't met," Aebly said.


The church also requires one miracle for beatification and a second for canonization. In March 2007, a French nun, Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre, said she had been cured of Parkinson's disease after praying to John Paul. The late pope suffered from the same ailment.

Pope John Paul II, ora pro nobis!!