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

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Most Influential Catholic Of 2009 - The Results

Thanks to everyone who participated in the first AoftheA "Most Influential Catholic Of 2009" poll. More than 100 people voted in both categories - the St Thomas More Division and the Baron Richard Rich Division - and here are the final tallies:

Archbishop Chaput won recognition in 2009, in a contest that was never all that close.

St Thomas More

Archbishop Chaput: 48%
Bishop Tobin: 31%
Mary Ann Glendon: 19%

The Richard Rich race was close throughout the entire contest - which just goes to show that poor examples of the faith are by and large equally bad. But in the end, Rev. Jenkins escaped with the dubious honors.

Baron Richard Rich

Reverend Jenkins of Notre Dame: 34%
Doug Kmiec: 33%
Sister Donna Quinn: 31%
Ray Grosswirth: 2%

Who will emerge as Most Influential Catholic in 2010? Time will tell.
I predict that the fields in both categories will expand, especially with further debate over Health Care and upcoming elections. It will be an interesting year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Alternate Realities

Over at The Recovering Dissident, Cathy of Alex's fine blog, she posted yesterday about "Reality TV" shows, and how unreal they are. The contests are unreal, the contestants are unreal, the situations are unreal. And, of course, these shows remain on TV because they enjoy some degree of success. Which is a sad statement concerning the level that current television entertainment has sunk to.

Well, she'll be glad to know that EWTN will be producing their own version of "Survivor" that I'm sure she'll approve of. AoftheA has got the scoop on "Survivor: Vatican"!



Preliminary reports indicate that two teams of contestants - most likely an orthodox vs. heterodox set up - will undergo various trials and tests, such as Catacomb Races, St. Peter's Square-dancing and Long-Distance Thurible Hurling. Each week, a contestant will be "ex-communicated", not by direct voting per se. Rather, contestants will ignite pieces of paper with their names written on them, and if the resultant smoke is white, they are cast off, as the host shouts out "Habemas haereticum!"

EWTN is accepting applications for contestants right now, and interviews will be conducted in late January. Sources tell me that filming will begin in February - on Ash Wednesday, in fact. Perhaps the first contest will be Fasting and Abstinence...

No word yet on when "Survivor: Vatican" will air, but when it does, I'm watching!

"...Or Something Like That"

I was reading the Fall 2009 newsletter of Call-to-Action of Michigan, and came across this short column written by the chapter president Jeanine Daly: (emphases mine)

Next year we have invited Fr. Roy Bourgeois to come to Michigan as part of the “Shattering the Glass Ceiling" tour, supporting women’s ordination. We will also be discussing the American Catholic Council at that conference slated for September 11, 2010 at a site to be determined.

Recently I wrote to Jimmy Carter to acknowledge and support his decision to leave the Southern Baptist Conference after sixty years due to their refusal to accept women as equals. I also corresponded with Bishop Vigneron (it's Archbishop Vigneron!) when he sent a representative to welcome CTA picketers at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral, but he didn’t accept my invitation to sit down and discuss the church we both love, but see from very different perspectives. He said he has to be protective of the people in his diocese, or something like that. Bishop Samples (sic) of the Marquette Diocese (where I was raised), did respond when I challenged his refusal to allow Bishop Gumbleton to speak on peace issues. (and what was his response? It was the same as Archbp Vigneron's...or something like that...which is why she doesn't publish it)

What makes her statement doubly funny is that the following quote from Cardinal John Henry Newman appeared on the same page:

"I want a laity not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men and women who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, who know the creed so well that they can give an account of it, who know so much history that they can defend it. I want an intelligent, well-instructed laity."

Sorry, Cardinal no intelligent laity here...

There's nothing like an "or something like that" to reveal one's insincerity or weaken one's argument. It's like crossing your fingers when making a pledge. For example, imagine the following...

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, or something like that."

Or...

"I, Tiger, take you Elin, to be my lawfully wedded wife. To have and to hold from this day forward, or something like that."

Or...

"Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, or something like that, so help you God?"

Or...

"I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful, or something like that." (Ordinatio Sacerdotalis)

Or...

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, or something like that."

I wouldn't be surprised if that was Obama's frame of mind when he was sworn in.

Got any other ideas? Put 'em in the combox!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Thinking With The Mind Of The Church

St Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, wrote The Spiritual Exercises. Here is an excerpt:

1. Always to be ready to obey with mind and heart, setting aside all judgment of one's own, the true spouse of Jesus Christ, our holy mother, our infallible and orthodox mistress, the Catholic Church, whose authority is exercised over us by the hierarchy. (Source)

Awesome wisdom - not to restrict or inhibit us, but to protect us. We are stupid sinners, and it doesn't take much for us to veer off into unsafe territory. Pride, willfulness, inflated sense of intelligence, inordinate desire to live in "freedom" - singly or in combination, these can cause significant harm to our spiritual life. And before you know it, you're no longer on the narrow path to salvation.

Case in point: compare that Rule of Thinking with the Church with the following excerpt from The Sour Patch Kids'* blog, from a post titled "And the Word became one of us, and dwelt among mankind": (emphases mine)

Another matter to consider is that Jesus, being the Word Incarnate experienced all the same feelings, emotions, desires, and pains that we did. However, He experienced all these things without sin. Just as we are tempted Jesus never gave in or was susceptible to the wiles of evil. Experiencing all that we do, even sexual feelings (although, to the best of our knowledge modern scholarship continues to prove that Jesus was probably not married), it is highly probable that Jesus could have had homosexual feelings at one point or another during His life upon this earth. Scripture speaks of St. John as being Jesus’ “beloved” disciple and the one whom He loved. We are even told that during the Last Supper John rested his head upon the chest of the Lord, in a gesture of both intimacy and adoration. Jesus, with the very wellspring of Love itself aflame within His Sacred Heart, did not spurn John’s gesture but rather welcomed it. This is of course only spectulative on my part, but how can we not ask what this gesture says to us?

Love itself does not turn away the affections of another man but rather welcomes them, even if it was not His destiny to experience them. Love welcomes another expression of love and approves of it and blesses it by accepting John’s embrace.

This is what happens when you don't think with the Church. His "speculative thinking" is spiritually dangerous. It seems he's relying on his speculation rather than Church teaching, perhaps to justify personal behavior, or to support an agenda contrary to Church doctrine in the area of homosexuality. Whatever the reason, the writer is clearly off-base in his speculation.

While same-sex attraction in and of itself is not sinful, the Church still teaches that the inclination is intrinsically disordered. Thus, to suggest that Christ may have been intrinsically disordered is ludicrous. Yeah, Christ could have had allergies, or diabetes, or maybe even halitosis - but same-sex attraction?

Once you leave the narrow path of Church thinking, you'll soon wind up on the wide path of anything goes. And we know where that leads.

*it's really called Young Adult Catholics, but they seem to complain a lot.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Exploiting Kids On The Feast Of The Holy Innocents

It should come as no surprise that progressive Catholics use every opportunity to turn any and every event to further their own agenda. They have no shame. Even today, the Feast of the Holy Innocents.

From the National Catholic Distorter: Feast of the Innocents by Gerelyn Hollingsworth

It is a fitting day to mourn the Innocents who were kicked, beaten, stripped, starved, tortured, raped, worked to death, and buried in unmarked graves by bishops, priests, brothers, nuns, sisters.

A day to bewail the Innocents sentenced to the Magdalen laundries and industrial schools of Ireland, and for the Indian children confined in boarding schools in North America.

A day to lament the parochial school children molested in sacristies and in confessionals and in rectories and in lake cabins and in cars and on picnics and in their parents' houses.

Some varying perspectives may be found in Sin Against the Innocents: Sexual Abuse by Priests and the Role of the Catholic Church, edited by Thomas G. Plante, Ph.D., published by Praeger in 2004.

On the day the Church has set aside to recall that King Herod ordered the brutal murder of all children under the age of 2 in order to kill Jesus Christ, Ms. Hollingsworth uses the occasion to bash the Church.

She doesn't lament the fact that the government permits, and perhaps even encourages, over 1,000,000 American children each year to be lawfully murdered via abortion. She doesn't bewail the 4,000+ American children aborted today, on the Feast of the Holy Innocents. She doesn't admonish the parents who procure them, or who use abortifacient contraceptives. Nor does she mention that children are employed as suicide bombers by some Islamic terrorists. These are the evil things being done to children right now, and yet...

...none of that. Because she doesn't care. Her readers don't care - they only desire to see the hierarchy of the Church attacked and brought down, to be reassembled into their view of how the Church ought to be.

And they're using innocent children to do it. Shameless.

Monday Madness XLI

Welcome to the final installment in 2009 of Monday Madness, the weekly feature at AoftheA where it's revealed that people who attempt to be too clever by half end up looking twice as stupid.

From the Telegraph.co.uk: Angels Can't Fly, Says Study

It's an integral element of the Christmas story; angels appearing on high to herald the birth of Jesus to shepherds minding their flock.

But, according to a new academic paper, there is a major flaw. Angels can’t fly.

A leading biologist has compared the physiology of flighted species with the representations of spiritual and mythical creatures in art – and found the angels and fairies that sit atop of Christmas trees did not get there under their own steam.

Prof Roger Wotton, from University College London, found that flight would be impossible for angels portrayed with arms and bird-like feathered wings.

“Even a cursory examination of the evidence in representational arts shows that angels and cherubs cannot take off and cannot use powered flight,” said Prof Wotton. “And even if they used gliding flight, they would need to be exposed to very high wind velocities at take off - such high winds that they would be blown away and have no need for wings.

“Interestingly, the artist Giotto showed one angel with a rigid 'mono-wing’ which could be an adaptation for gliding flight. But if they do just glide, how are the wings folded, unfolded and held rigid?”

The depths of inanity that academics sink to never fails to amuse me.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Cards, Part II

(No pictures this time! I promise!)

So what's your opinion on the single-spaced double-sided "Look How Exciting And Wonderful Our Past Year Was...Oh, And Aren't Our Children Talented???" newsletters that some people include in their Christmas cards?

Just wish me a Merry Christmas, ok? Stop trying to make me feel special by sending me the same form letter you've sent everyone else, detailing your self-absorbed lives.

Chapter 1, verse 2 of Ecclesiastes comes to mind...

Did I tell you that I got a new paper shredder for Christmas?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Cards, Part I

It's been our family tradition to send out photo Christmas cards every year, usually with just the Sons of LarryD - but this year we did a family photo just to prove to our out-of-town family and friends that Mrs LarryD and I are still around and doing fine.

But believe me when I say this: this is NOT our Christmas family photo card.



For the funniest photos you'll ever see - check out Awkward Family Photos.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Twas The Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the 'net
Not a blogger was stirring, not e'en Exultet
The Cavemen were sleeping down deep in their Lair
With the hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The Archbolds were nestled all snug in their beds
While photoshopped visions all danced in their heads.
And Patrick Madrid, arrayed in his cap,
Was settling his brain for a long winter nap.

the Crescat had closed her contests most tacky
And the Curt Jester was resting from being all wacky.
Terry had put his paint brushes away
And Fr Z's feeder feeds were calm for the day.

Campaigning suspended at Regular Guy
While Fr Erik's firearms were loaded, nearby.
And while there are many more bloggers to mention,
Please don't assume I've paid no attention.

So to Joe and to Cathy and Erin and Sarah
To Adrienne and Angela and I.C. and Tara
To all of my readers and followers and trolls
May the peace of Christ fill your hearts and your souls.

So before I log off and turn down the light....
"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night!"


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Last Minute Shopping

If you're the type of person who waits until the last moment to get your Christmas shopping finished, and you're still struggling to come up with the perfect gift for the liberal progressives in your life, then you'll be glad you stopped here today. I've got some ideas.

For the liberal priest:

Nothing says "I want to be the center of attention!" like this stunner! Guaranteed to wake up the sleepy members of your congregation.

For the liberal deacon:
Mesmerize your parishoners with these stunning Test Pattern stoles. They'll be falling in line with your "Social Justice" schtick in no time!

For the WomanPreest:

What more needs to be said! If she can fake being a priest, then who's to say she can't fake being a bishop?

Another idea for that progressive priest:

Earthy pottery ciboriums! Traditional too - replicas of the kind used in 1st century Judea! And they double as tortilla containers during the week for fajita night! And at the parish festival, use 'em at the Games booth for a challenging round of Cups!

For the progressive "nun" at your parish.

I'm not sayin' nuthin'!

For the liberal liturgist at your parish:

To look up the meanings of those tough hard words in the new English translation!

Hopefully these ideas are helpful. If all else fails, get 'em a Catechism. Chances are they don't have one.

ps: The liturgical vestments pictures (the first 3 images) came from the blog Bad Vestments.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Mystery Of Christmas

Let me tell you a story.

I treated a couple customers to a Christmas lunch on Monday, two buyers from my largest client. I noticed that E was noticeably not her ebullient self, and I asked how things were. E told me she was in a down mood. Why, I asked. Turned out that a childhood friend's mom was extremely ill, in the hospital, suffering from kidney complications. It wasn't looking good, E told me, from her friend's description.

So out of concern, I called E this afternoon, and she sounded somewhat more cheerful. I asked if she was feeling better today. Yes - her friend's mom had a remarkable turnaround overnight, and was discharged in the morning. E didn't use the word 'miraculous', but the recovery was unexpected, and while she still wasn't totally out of the woods, she was well enough to go home.

"Like an early Christmas present," I threw out there, and she agreed.

But just this afternoon, E said, something terrible happened. Her department held their Christmas luncheon, and it was a good time shared by all. Afterward, she went to her office, closed her door and went back to work.

"Larry," E told me, "I then heard the most agonizing wail and cry that I had never heard before in my life. Through my closed door - and it had come from the far side of the room." I pictured her work area - E's office is at one end of a 300 foot long room, populated by a cube farm and bisected by two large conference rooms. And her office door is thick, as well as the walls. No cheap pre-fab material.

"What happened?" I asked.

"I ran out of my office - it sounded inhuman, okay? - and I get to the far end, where I find out that M - you know her? The traffic gal?"

I confessed that I didn't know M personally, but would probably recognize her if I saw her.

"Well, she got a phone call that her husband died suddenly."

Bam!

E and I talked a few moments longer - M was in her early 50's, he had no health complications, what a shock on what had been an enjoyable day - then some business came up, and then the phone call was over.

Throughout the rest of the afternoon, I thought about M and how her life would never be the same. She might never really experience Christmas joy again, the pain and sorrow of her husband's death forever hanging over her family, a heavy pall. I tried to put myself in M's shoes, and it was difficult to do so, but not impossible. The gift of an active imagination, I suppose. It wasn't too hard for me to imagine M's sorrow, despair and sense of confusion and loss. I think everyone, to one degree or another, can empathize with such a situation. The death of a loved one is never easy - around Christmas, it seems backwards or disjointed, as if God made a mistake. But if we seriously look at Christmas - the birth of Christ - what is it, really, but the first breath of a dead man walking? Christ came to die - He came to bring us salvation, even though we didn't deserve it. It was God's infinite gift of love to the human race.

Christmas is a day full of hope and joy, not despair and sadness, right? It ought to be, but there are so many people who don't look forward to this time of year - homelessness, loneliness, hard times, illness, loved ones away from home, death - the harsh realities of life don't take time off, and they're often exacerbated around Christmas. My heart and prayers go out to those who are suffering.

Mostly, we look forward with joy to the birth of the Savior. We anticipate the reactions of loved ones when they open their gifts, and we wonder if we'll get that "special" gift we've wanted. We look forward to celebrating with family members near and far. As Christmas day approaches, the expectations compound, culminating in a day filled with happiness and good cheer.

The season of Advent is a time when we anticipate Christ's second return as well. He has promised to return one day - we know neither the time nor the hour - and so we're reminded that we have to be prepared. We prepare our hearts for His first coming - that boundless gift of love that God sent us so that we might be saved. And we prepare our souls for His second coming - that we might be found worthy to enter into eternal life.

The Christmas season reflects the reality of our own birth and death - life is God's first gift to us, and death is that event that allows our passage into eternity. We can't escape it, we can't deny it. Death is not something we like to think about at Christmas, because we'd rather focus on the happiness, the joy and the gladness. And there's nothing wrong with that - God wills that we be happy, but He wills that we continually prepare ourselves, each day, to do His will and to be found ready upon His call. So that on our last day, we can present our soul to God as a gift to Him, one that He has anticipated since the beginning of time.

Joy and sorrow. Happiness and sadness. Our lives bounce between those two poles continually. Happiness seems so fleeting, while sadness seems so ceaseless. The happiness we experience this time of year can be a salve, a consolation for the sadness that pervades this vale of tears. We tend to appreciate those around us more, because we recall those who no longer grace us with their presence.

And when we contemplate on the child Jesus in the manger - helpless, weak, innocent yet also the King of Kings and Lord of Lords - we ought to reflect on our own helplessness, how we are so indebted to God for our lives and His grace. We ought to reflect on our weakness, that without God, we are incapable of doing any good, that we are lost without Him. And we ought to reflect on our lost innocence through our sinfulness - that by the blood of His cross, Christ has died for love of us, that He never abandons us even though we all too often stray.

As I've grown older, I have come to appreciate the fuller meaning of this holy day, this holy season. At times, I experience deep sadness - just briefly - whether it's brought about by a song, or a passing thought - and then it's replaced with great joy. Joy in the hope that Christ is faithful in His promises. That's why I could empathize with M. Her husband's death helped to remind me that God has so much more in store for us, much more than the happiness that exchanging gifts can bring, much more than the gladness which the company of family and friends can supply. That the sadness we experience in this life cannot compare to the eternal joy awaiting us in the next. It truly is a deep and great mystery, and today's news helped me appreciate a little bit more about the meaning of Christ's birth. He came to show us the way, that His path was laid with stones of sorrow. Yet following Christ brings us no greater joy. He came to testify to the truth, that His testimony was met with persecution and death. Yet proclaiming Christ brings us no greater joy. He came to bring us life, that His life was given for the salvation of all. Yet denying our life for His sake brings us no greater joy.

I'm no theologian, so you don't have to listen to me. I'm just a Catholic dad and husband with a two-bit sales job doing the best he can in a world gone mad. All the while working out his salvation with fear and trembling. But to me, the mystery of Christmas comes down to this - out of sorrow, joy.

Religion Newsmaker Of The Year?

The awards keep piling up for The One. How fitting that the Messiah gets "Religion Newsmaker Of The Year" award the week of Christmas.

From NCR: Religion Newsmaker of the Year: President Obama

Every year, on Interfaith Voices, I interview leading religion journalists about the top religion stories of the year just past, and about the top religion newsmakers of the year. This year, I talked with Kevin Eckstrom, Editor of Religion News Service, and Kim Lawton of Religion and Ethics Newsweekly on PBS TV.

Both of these top-notch analysts named President Obama as the “Religion Newsmaker of the Year.” They cited his speech at Notre Dame University, his address to the Muslim world in Cairo, his faith-based outreach, and even his Nobel Peace Prize speech in Oslo, where he cited the just war theory, and for many, gave new voice to the theology of Reinhold Niebuhr. I agree with them.

Granted, the "top-notch analysts" (who the heck are they, really?) aren't all that. But they forgot several of his other religious "achievements":
And then there are comments he made in 2008 about "bitter clingers". Classy.

I'm sure there are other achievements I've forgotten. But there is one achievement he can take credit for...

...a heck of a lot of folks are praying harder than they ever have before.

Oh - and the "top notch analysts" selected Pope Benedict XVI as number 2. I'm surprised they didn't pick Patrick Kennedy.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Monday Madness XL

Welcome to Monday Madness, the weekly feature at AoftheA where the stupid and the strange are New Normal.

Today's story features stupid parents acting strangely.

From the DailyMail.co.uk: Over-protective Parents Sleeping on Floors of Halls of Residences to 'Help Their Children Settle in'

It is meant to be the time when the apron strings are untied.

You wave goodbye as your not-so-little one heads off to college or university, happy that you have equipped them to make their way in life.

But in the age of the over-protective parent, things are not quite so simple.

Mothers and fathers are increasingly hanging around at their children's student digs to keep an eye on them, university officials complain.

They are even sleeping on the floor in halls of residence for several days to help their youngsters 'settle in', it is claimed.

Universities have had to persuade 'helicopter' parents - who hover over their children's lives - to leave their sons or daughters so they can experience independent living.

We do our best to accommodate these mothers, but we do try to discourage it. University is after all about independent living as much as independent learning.'

He added: 'Accommodation is now not far off Holiday Inn standard. You can sleep comfortably on the floor, whereas previously you would not have been able to.

'But you can see students' eyes visibly rolling.'

U.S. psychologist Dr Madeline Levine has claimed that children of over-involved parents are three times more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Wild Kingdom

I saw this story at Fr. Z's, and it is simply incredible.

From the Archdiocese of Colombo website: "Elephants Attack in Orissa Exactly One Year After of Persecutions"

In July 2008 a severe persecution of Christians broke out in the Indian state of Orissa. A 22 year old nun was burnt to death when angry mobs burnt down an orphanage in Khuntpali village in Barhgarh district, another nun was gang raped in Kandhamal, mobs attacked churches, torched vehicles, houses of Christians destroyed, and Fr. Thomas Chellen, director of the pastoral center that was destroyed with a bomb, had a narrow escape after a Hindu mob nearly set him on fire. The end result saw more than 500 Christians murdered, and thousands of others injured and homeless after their houses were reduced to ashes. Recently a strange and dramatic event took place in Orissa, which has many people talking and wondering.

In recent months, herds of wild elephants have begun to storm villages that are home to some of the worst persecutors of Christians during the troubles. In one village, where in August a year ago the Christians had to run for their lives while their homes were being destroyed by rioters, a herd of elephants emerged from the surrounding jungle exactly one year later, in July 2009, at the same time of the day of the attack.


It is, however, unclear why this herd of elephants migrated from the Lakheri sanctuary in a neighbouring district. He said
the herd had travelled some 300km into Kandhamal, and even entered a town in the district. Wildlife officials were camping at the site of the attacks and trying to find out why the elephants had come out of their sanctuary. The villagers say elephants attack their areas in herds, causing heavy destruction.

Gaining momentum, they rampaged through other non-Christian homes, demolishing gardens and singling out the home of persecutors, leaving Christian homes untouched.

As Fr Z said, "elephants never forget".

Let me add Isaiah 56:9: "All you beasts of the field, come to devour - all you beasts in the forest." Creatures know who the Master is, and if they were doing His will, then all glory and praise to God.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Peas On Earth

This is rather funny in a whimsical kind of way. Definitely not controversy-worthy...

From the DailyTimes.co.uk: Controversial Fruit and Vegetable Nativity Shows Baby Jesus as a Carrot

A controversial fruit and vegetable nativity scene that depicted Jesus as a carrot has been given the church's blessing.

Tulleys Farm, in Turners Hill, near Crawley, West Sussex, also used onions for the heads of Mary and Joseph.

One visitor labelled the representation as "offensive" but Rev Gordon Parry, the local vicar, has given it his backing.

"One understands that people have sensitivities around this issue," said Rev Parry.

"However, Tulleys Farm are merely portraying the nativity in the context of their business. It seems fitting that they have chosen to use what Christians regard as gifts from god, ie vegetables, to create a symbol of God's greatest gift, ie his son, Jesus Christ."

Donations from the display will go towards the upkeep of St Leonards Church in Turners Hill.

Stuart Beare, the farm's owner, said: "Barring one or two criticisms, reaction from children and adults alike has been overwhelmingly positive."

To me, it's funny, and nothing like the many truly offensive attacks on Christianity. Bill Donohue might even crack a smile at this one.

In fact, the story has inspired me to update a well-known Christmas carol...

Chard! The Herald Mangos Sing

Chard! The herald mangos sing, "Glory to the blue corn king!

Peach on Earth and maqui mild, Gourd and spinach reconciled!"

Joyful all ye raisins rise, join the white plums and the limes;

With the garlic host proclaim, "Quince is born in wild plantain"

Chard! The herald mangos sing, "Glory to the blue corn king!"

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sacrilegious

It's not uncommon to see material offensive to Christians on shows like South Park or Family Guy - appeals to crass humor and cheap laughs are their stocks-in-trade. It doesn't make the material any more acceptable, mind you. It's just expected (and thus avoided by me).

However, it's quite another thing when the offensive material is promulgated by someone claiming to be Christian. This is bad. Really bad.

From ekklesia.co.uk: Christmas Advert to Feature Mary and Joseph in Bed

As Atheist adverts claiming “There’s Probably No God” are set to adorn buses in New Zealand, a church has launched a controversial billboard advert for Christmas, depicting Mary and Joseph in bed together.

The advertisement, which promises to cause upset down under, pictures the pair with disgruntled expressions and carries the slogan: “Poor Joseph. God is a hard act to follow.”

St Matthew's-in-the-City, an Anglican church based in Auckland, commissioned the billboard.

The advert was designed by M&C Saatchi with the brief that it had to be sufficiently provocative to keep most other churches from allowing it.

It is designed to challenge stereotypes about the way that Jesus was conceived, and get people talking about the Christmas story.

Glynn Cardy, priest at the progressive church, told Ekklesia that the advert has already sparked considerable conversation around the meaning of the incarnation.

“Progressive Christianity is distinctive in that not only does it articulate a clear view, it is also interested in engaging with those who differ. Its vision is one of robust engagement,” he said.

“At Bethlehem, low-life shepherds and heathen travellers are welcome while the powerful and the priests aren’t. The stories introduce the topsy-turvy way of God, where the outsiders are invited in and the insiders ushered out.

It's been my experience that progressive Christianity never articulates a clear view, because it can't - it only serves to disrupt views that are already clearly articulated. It's a "make-it-up-as-you-go" philosophy, a revisionist history worldview. This is a prime example - upending the mystery of the Incarnation and promoting concepts denying His divinity. How Cardy can seriously describe himself a "priest", much less a Christian, boggles me.

And it's heretical stupidity like this that explains why the Traditional Anglican Communion is eagerly escaping to Rome. I don't blame them one bit.

s/s to The Curt Jester

Most Influential Catholic Of 2009 - The Poll

The polls are up in the sidebar. The nominations that readers graciously submitted are there for you to vote on. There are two polls - one for the St Thomas More Division, and one for the Baron Richard Rich Division.

If you're wondering why Pope Benedict XVI isn't on the list - - - well, of course he's the most influentialest Catholic. This is for most influential. So there is a difference.

Poll is open until December 30, 2009. Have fun!

ps - I added Mary Ann Glendon to the St Thomas Moore Division - a last second nomination. She turned down the Laetare Medal from Notre Dame due to the Obama scandal at commencement.

***UPDATE*** It is with great embarrassment to announce that I forgot to add Fr Alberto Cutie's name to the Richard Rich list! Voting irregularity! You'd think a Democrat set up this poll or something! So, if you wish to vote for the *former* Catholic priest, just say so in the comments. Mea culpa!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

We've Waited Long Enough

Liturgical liberals are all beside themselves because of the new English translation of the Roman Missal, and they launched an on-line petition to delay its implementation, called "What If We Just Said Wait?" I blogged about it here, at "What If We Just Said Shut Up?"

Well, now we have a way to respond: "We've Waited Long Enough"

Here's the text from the site -

"We believe that the newly approved English translation of the 2002 Missale Romanum needs to be implemented as soon as possible.

We believe that the Church in English-speaking nations has waited far too long for an accurate, faithful translation of the original Latin.

We believe that the current translation currently in use in English-speaking nations is overdue to be replaced, as it was developed using the method of dynamic translation, a method rejected by the Vatican in the document Liturgiam Authenticam.

We stand united with the English-speaking bishops' conferences in their approval of the new translation.

We oppose any efforts to continue to delay this new translation."

Go and sign the petition - show your support for the new translation. Write about it on your blog. Show the progressives that real faithful Catholics are eager to have this implemented without delay.

s/s to the famous Fr. Erik

"No One Will Follow An Uncertain Trumpet"

If you recall, earlier this month I posted about a "Mass of Resurrection" that was actually a funeral notice. The term seemed to gloss over the reality of what was going on, and projected a presumptuous attitude that has become prevalent at Catholic funerals as of late. That post is here.

Well, there's at least one priest who doesn't mince his words when it comes to funerals. Last night, I came across a powerful post by a Monsignor Charles Pope from Washington DC, via Patrick Madrid, called "Talking (Tough) Truth at Funerals". I've nicked a couple excerpts, but go and read the whole thing. (My title comes from his post, and that statement resonated with me - it is so true!)

I celebrate just over 50 funerals a year; about one a week. (People are dying to come to church here). And most of these funerals feature large numbers of fallen away Catholics and unchurched individuals. Most of these people I see ONLY at funerals and sometimes weddings. For this reason, in recent years, I have altered my approach at funerals and direct almost half of the sermon to the unchurched and call them to repent and return home. Surely in the first part I speak of the deceased, offer thanks to God for their life, entrust them to God and ask the congregation to pray for the repose of the deceased soul. I never fail to menton judgment and purgatory as reasons for this prayer. That is too often not mentioned at Catholic funerals, a terrible oversight if you ask me. But the bottom line is that I spend the first half of the sermon commending the deceased person to God’s benevolent mercy and care.

[...]

I will admit that some of the things I say are tough. But remember, I only have them once and I have to come right to the point. No one will follow an uncertain trumpet. A very few have criticized my approach by insisting that funerals are sensitive times and we ought just to console the grieving family and say pleasant and encouraging things. Others, especially the older ones come to me and say, “Thanks Father, there are people in my family that needed to hear it!” But in the end I cannot preach either to please or displease man. Rather, I have a conviction that this is what God would have me do. I cannot waste an opportunity to clearly warn, as Jesus often did, that judgment day is coming, and maybe sooner than you or I expect. We have to be ready for, at an hour that we do not expect the Son of Man will come (eg Mat 24:44).

Here's a video of one of his homilies:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sister Patricia: On The New Translation

(Sister Patricia Owens O'Flannery, OP, a post-modern pre-traditional omni-spiritual Dominican sister, periodically contributes to AoftheA. Today she has something to say concerning the new English translation of the Roman Missal.)

Greetings, dear readers! My, how time flies! I haven't posted since early October. And here we are less than one week until the Winter Solstice, and then comes Kwanzaa. And my favorite holiday too - Boxing Day! There's something else, too, but it's slipped my mind. It's right on the tip of my brain. No matter - it'll come to me sooner or later. My calendar is so filled up, I don't know how I am ever going to get everything done.

And I've been very busy, too. I just returned from a "Creative and Liberating Liturgies Workshop" featuring my good friend Victoria Rue. It.was.awesome! Just thinking about it gets me liturgically dancing! There's so much to say about it, I scarcely know where to begin!

Actually, I do know where to begin. And it won't be all that pleasant for LarryD, I'm afraid to say. He's due a bit of a tongue-lashing.

I see that he posted about the new English translation, and he chastised Fr Ryan of Seattle and the other nice people who are asking the bishops to exercise some prudence in their mad dash to implement the translation. LarryD is so hierarchy-happy, I don't know why we are still friends. His statements about how changes to the liturgy were rammed through after Vatican II are completely off-base. Vatican II made the Church more democratic, and since most people wanted the changes, how could they have been made without concern for people's feelings? Some people objected, sure, but they got to vote and like all sore losers, they've been complaining ever since. At least, I think that's how it happened...

And I know Fr Ryan personally - believe me, he's not nearly the dissenter as he has been made out to be. His "What If We Just Said Wait" program is truly inspired, and I believe in it so much, I signed the petition fourteen times. Anonymously, of course.

The "What If We Just Said Wait" approach is crucial because of the divisions in the Church.
It distresses me at how much strife continues to persist. The name calling today is so terrible and destructive to the harmony and peace that the kin-dom of God has promised to bring about. If only those stupid rad-trads hadn't ruined everything and taken over the USCCB...well, anyway. If the bishops were to heed Fr Ryan's advice, then healing in the Church could commence. Dialogue will permit disparate views to be heard. As you all know, dissent is necessary for growth. If dissent gets stifled, then it might die. And no one, especially me, wants dissent to die.

LarryD's post was a topic of discussion at the Liturgy Workshop on Saturday, during one of the breakout sessions. I had just completed an aerobic "Praise and Worship the Mystic Cosmos" exercise and was cooling down, when Victoria Rue sat at my table. She is so nice - a great priest in her own right.

So I asked her. "Vicki, did you read LarryD's post on the new translation?"

She scowled something fierce. She looked like Archbishop Burke for a second! "Don't get me started! He's such a so-and-so, and I really wish he would just such-and-such!!" (I can't really repeat what she said, but it involved a paper towel tube, two D batteries, Tabasco sauce and an acetylene torch).

I was shocked! "Why, Vicki, you haven't talked like that since the time we protested the G-7 Conference!" I patted her hand consolingly. "Your aura of tranquility is under attack! Breathe, Vicki, breathe! Inhale harmony, exhale stress! Let the peace of the universe flow through your prisms of light!"

After ten minutes of breathing exercises, she relaxed, and LarryD's name was not mentioned again. We did, however, discuss the new translation at length. If women like us had been consulted exclusively, a much better translation would have resulted. Women have an innate sense about this sort of thing, because we focus on all elements of worship, not merely the words. We incorporate moods, colors, actions, personalities, aromas, ambiance, the seasons, fruits and vegetables, the spirit world, vibrations, decor, fabrics, fashion and natural sunlight into everything that we do. What have the bishops got? Words?? Hah! Words have meanings, but those meanings are enhanced when all those other factors are included.

For instance, let's look at the Confiteor. Here's the new translation (changes in bold):

I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault; therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

That sounds so dry and uninspiring. Who can rejoice with all those guilty feelings? Not me! Now, in less than five minutes, Vicki and I came up with a better version that is more expressive and meaningful:

"I confess to the Creator [reach to the heavens!] and to you, my sisters and brothers [make large sweeping open-armed gestures to acknowledge those around us], that I have been misunderstood [place back of hand against forehead] in my dialogue and actions. I forgive those who, through their fault [pound fist into palm], through their fault [make kicking action], through their most careless fault [stomp the ground 3 times rhythmically with each syllable of "careless fault"], hurt my feelings [frown and bow head slightly]; therefore I ask Sophia [hug oneself], and you, my sisters and brothers [repeat open-armed gesture] to make me feel good about myself [smile and hug the person next to you]. Amen."

See? Now that's active participation! And there no big confusing words, either. Imagine reading that out of an embroidered text lightly scented with lavender and vanilla. It would make you feel so good!

That's just one proposal - I spent the remainder of the workshop making other improvements, some of which were incorporated into the closing liturgy. That was rather exciting for me, and they everyone there loved them. You ought to see how I improved the Creed!

I'm sorry if LarryD's feelings are hurt, but he only has himself to blame. I think he needs to inhale harmony and exhale strife, don't you?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Carter: Roman Catholicism To Blame For Abuse Of Women

It turns out that America's worst-ever president is also a really bad theologian. And not just bad, but horribly, historically, logically and politically-correct bad. He makes Bishop Spong look almost intelligent.

Last Friday, he gave an address to the participants of the Parliament of World's Religions that was held in Melbourne Australia, and his talk centered on the urgent need for religious equality for women and girls. Now, that's just code for "women's ordination", which is why he singles out Roman Catholicism and the Southern Baptists.

LifeSiteNews.com has the story: (my comments in blue)

In an address to a gathering sponsored by the World Parliament of Religions (PWR) last Friday, former US President Jimmy Carter has once again blamed traditional religion, particularly Southern Baptists and Roman Catholics, for "creating an environment where violations against women are justified."

It is a theme that Carter has successfully used to garner media attention for several years.

Although in a July column in The Observer Carter admits to "not having training in religion or theology," in his address to the PWR Carter appeals to his authority as someone who has "taught Bible lessons for more than 65 years." (I feel sorry for all the people he's misled in those 65 years...)

In opposition to the vast majority of authentic scholars and historians, Carter asserted: "It's clear that during the early Christian era women served as deacons, priests, bishops, apostles, teachers and prophets." He added: "It wasn't until the 4th century or the 3rd at the earliest that dominant Christian leaders, all men, twisted and distorted Holy Scriptures to perpetuate their ascendant position within the religious hierarchy." (ah, the CRONES talking points. To quote Fr Groeschel: "How do you know? Were you there?")

Contrary to the theorizing of Carter, Pope John Paul II taught, "The Lord Jesus chose men to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry." He added: "the Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason the ordination of women is not possible." (Catechism of the Catholic Church; 1577)

Carter singled out the Southern Baptist Convention and Roman Catholic Church, claiming that they "view that the Almighty considers women to be inferior to men." (sure, which is why we honor Mary. Because she's so inferior. Actually, God probably holds women in higher esteem, because He trusted one to bear His son. And He had to keep sending an angel to Joseph to tell him what to do.) However, both Christian faiths hold to the Scriptural truth that God created men and women equal.

"Their continuing choice provides a foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world," said Carter. Carter goes on to list horrific violations against women such as rape, genital mutilation, abortion of female embryos and spousal battery. (No women priests = rape. That's not a logical step, it's a stumble of stupidity)

So the "abuses" of Roman Catholicism and Southern Baptists have led to genital mutilation??? How courageous to not point out to his audience that FGM has never been condoned by or practiced by any Christian, ever. I checked it out on Wikipedia (I know, I know - I take its accuracy with a grain of salt), and according to the citation, it apparently predates the time of Christ.

Still - when you look at a map of prevalence in Africa, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see the types of nations where FGM is found. And this doesn't include Middle East countries, such as Syria, regions of Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, and also Indonesia. Those aren't exactly strongholds of Christianity - rather, they're highly Muslim. To be fair, the practice predates Islam, and is condemned:

"... Al-Azhar Supreme Council of Islamic Research, the highest religious authority in Egypt, issued a statement saying FGM/C has no basis in core Islamic law or any of its partial provisions and that it is harmful and should not be practiced." In fact, this pre-Islamic barbarity runs contrary to the Islamic tenet which dictates that a man should make sure his wife enjoys their lovemaking.

But - it does seem prevalent in mainly Muslim nations. If Carter was going to make a ridiculously inaccurate statement, he should have at least mentioned the predominant faith in those countries where FGM mostly occurs. But nope - like all liberals, he has no courage, so he condemns Catholicism and Southern Baptists, because he knows adherents of those faiths won't issue a fatwa.

As a matter of fact, it appears that this practice is cultural and not religious - so Carter had no reason to include it in his list, other than to rile up his audience and foment whatever it is they wanted to foment. As well as rape - how has Christianity caused that? And the abortion of female embryos? That's a communist/socialist directive (and would probably be supported by enviro-nazis, too) - but not a religious one. Spousal battery? That one could be laid at the feet of Islam, but not Christianity. It wasn't all that long ago that an Islamic television producer in Buffalo beheaded his wife, an act of alleged "honor killing". Even more recently is the story of Rifqa Bary, the Ohio teen who converted to Christianity, and now fears that her family may kill her as a result. Here are two high profile examples of religious abuse against women, one that resulted in a gruesome death, and yet Carter's conspicuously silent about it. It's not surprising that he didn't mention any instances of honor killings - it's a PC thing, you know. It's okay to trash, impugn and lie about Catholics, but it's never okay to point out real abusive Islamic practices; the accepted reaction is to ignore them and let them go unchallenged.

Carter ought to be an embarrassment to our nation and to Christians everywhere. Instead, he is held up by some to be a wise and learned man...but only by those who are more intellectually challenged than he.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Save The World? Yes. Save Your Soul? Not So Much

Here's yet another story that shows the sorry state of the Church in Europe.

From Radio Netherlands Worldwide: Bishop: Fish on Friday Helps Fight Climate Change

A Dutch Roman Catholic bishop has called for the Catholic tradition of eating fish on Friday to be restored, as a contribution to the fight against climate change.

Speaking on a Catholic current affairs programme on public service TV, Bishop Gerard de Korte said a meat-free day a week would make a huge contribution to cutting CO2 emissions.

The Bishop of Groningen made his suggestion on Sunday, as more than nine hundred churches in the Netherlands rang their bells to urge world leaders to reach an effective treaty at the climate summit in Copenhagen. “We know that every kilogram of meat takes a vast amount energy to produce and causes a great deal of CO2 emissions,” he said. The bishop’s idea gives a religious twist to singer Paul McCartney’s campaign for a meat-free Monday.

Friday is traditionally a day of fasting in the Catholic Church, with fish replacing meat as the dish of the day. In 1989 the Dutch bishop’s conference decided that it was sufficient to eat frugally on a Friday rather than abstaining from meat entirely. However, Bishop De Korte says for environmental reasons it would be better to re-establish Friday as a meat-free day.

Boy, is that inspiring or what? Don't do penance as a means of reparation, or to deepen one's relationship with Christ, or for any spiritual reason. Heck no, that doesn't resonate anymore. Do penance to save the environment, that's the ticket. The bishop said that's a better reason to re-introduce meatless Fridays. If you ask me, statements like that contribute more to 'global warming' than a whole herd of cattle could ever hope to, because it's just a load of b.s.

Pope Benedict once stated that we are at war against the dictatorship of relativism. He nailed that one, didn't he?

Monday Madness XXXIX

Welcome to Monday Madness, the weekly feature at AoftheA where only the most hair-raising stories make the cut.

From FoxNews.com: 'Edwards Scissorhands' Stylist Cuts Hair With Razor-Sharp Fingers

Valentino LoSauro, of Fort Myers, Fla., has spent close to $244,000 and many years developing the menacing-looking "Clawz," which he says shaves the time it takes to cut hair.

With small razors attached to his fingers, the stylist has drawn comparisons to Tim Burton's famous Edward Scissorhands character, played by Johnny Depp in the 1990 film.

LoSauro, a hairdresser for 35 years, claims his musical dexterity helped inspired the creation.

"I am a pianist as well as a hairdresser and wanted to combine that light-fingered touch with my styling," he said.

The cutters are made from stainless steel and responsive elastic and are fitted with replaceable razor blades that last for up to 15 cuts.

I think I'll stick with the traditional scissors - I'm not ready for the crab-like tease and snip treatment. Especially by a guy named Valentino. Just sayin'.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Press '1' For English

We attended Mass at our "home" parish today due to scheduling conflicts, and I was quickly reminded why I don't like going there.

It was announced that, in honor of yesterday's Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, that the first reading would be read in English and Spanish. And, as an added bonus, the Prayers of the Faithful would be read in English and Spanish.

And the secret surprise was...the final blessing, in Spanish.

Never mind that we're a white-bread suburban parish.

It got me thinking, though - since the Mass included elements not spoken in the vernacular, then why not just use Latin?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Blessed Be God, Forever And Heifer

From Yahoo!News: Holy Cow! White Cross on Forehead of Calf at US Dairy Farm Seen by Some as a Divine Sign

STERLING, Conn. - A holy cow in Connecticut, perhaps? Or maybe a divine bovine?

A calf with a white marking on its forehead in the approximate shape of a cross was born last week at a dairy farm in Sterling, a small rustic town on the Rhode Island border. Owner Brad Davis tells WFSB-TV he thinks the marking may be a message from above, though he's still trying to figure out what that message might be.

I dunno. Maybe it's Calfolic.

Friday, December 11, 2009

What If We Just Said Shut Up?

At the November bishops' meeting, the new English translation for the Roman Missal was approved. It's going to have a lot of big hard to understand words in it, like "ineffable", "consubstantial" and "oblation". So, naturally this has the progressives in an uproar. Apparently they haven't heard of a dictionary. But whatever. They think the translation won't go over well with many in the congregation and it will be disruptive.

Funny thing is, when all the junk was jammed into the "new Mass" way back when, they didn't seem all that concerned that it wouldn't go over well with many in the congregation and would be disruptive. So it seems that the shoe is on the other foot, and it's kinda funny to see.

The new translation has a retired priest in Seattle, a Fr Ryan, all worried and concerned, so he formed a group called "What If We Just Said Wait?" They have a website (here) that details their mission in a "Statement of Concern":

We are very concerned about the proposed new translations of the Roman Missal. We believe that simply imposing them on our people -- even after a program of preparation -- will have an adverse effect on their prayer and cause serious division in our communities.

We are convinced that adopting translations that are highly controversial, and which leaders among our bishops as well as many highly respected liturgists and linguists consider to be seriously flawed, will be a grave mistake.

For this reason we earnestly implore the bishops of the English-speaking world to undertake a pilot program by which the new translations -- after a careful program of catechesis -- can be introduced into some carefully selected parishes and communities throughout the English-speaking world for a period of one (liturgical) year, after which they can be objectively evaluated.

We are convinced that this approach will address the concerns of those many bishops who feel that they have lost their voice in this matter and that it will also give a voice to the People of God whose prayer is at stake and who accordingly have the most to gain or lose by the translations.

We realize that a pilot project of this kind is unprecedented, but so is the process by which these translations have been approved.

What a load - like I said, they didn't seem all that concerned about the "serious division in our communities" when the Traditional Mass was kicked to the curb. And I don't sense any remorse on their part over that. This is just selfish pandering to disaffected progressives, and a fear of losing their sense of control.

The problem with a pilot program, of course, is that it provides opportunities for further confusion and obstruction. It would lead to additional committees and even more focus group studies and endless dialogue. That's what progressives are really good at.

The bishops ought to go full steam ahead with the new translation. Prepare their parishes by all means - perhaps a video homily, or some materials that can be mailed to homes or stuffed in the bulletins, or provide some after-Mass sessions for interested parishoners. Hey - maybe even get materials in the Catholic grade schools and high schools, and teach the students about the new translation! I'm sure the schools have a dictionary or two.

And if there's still massive resistance and hurt feelings over the new translation, then perhaps the solution is to have the Mass said in Latin, as it was intended.

Regardless, the bishops need to find out good and early who the obstructionists are and handle them as they happen. And thankfully, they'll be able to do just that. The WIWJSW site has a petition form, encouraging dissenters to sign their name, along with their position (priest, religious, lay) and their diocese. As of this writing, there were 2,734 signees, a fair portion of whom are priests. So when the list is delivered, all the bishop would have to do is have a "come to Jesus" meeting with his troublesome priests and deacons. That's what I would do.

I recognized a few names from Call-to-Action and The American Catholic Council on the list. No real surprise there. Not only that, I recognized two priests from the AOD, one of whom is the *former* chair of my local vicariate, and the other is the pastor of a neighboring parish. No real surprise there either; however, I am surprised my pastor hasn't signed yet. I'll check back in a few days.

Oh, I signed the petition too, as Spongebob Squarepants, from the Bikini Bottom diocese. It was deleted about five minutes later. Which is rather discriminatory, because the other signees are equally ridiculous, immature and obnoxious, don't you think?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Most Influential Catholic Of 2009

Time for some year-end fun. AoftheA introduces The Most Influential Catholic of 2009 contest, as chosen by you. It's a chance to look back and reflect on the people and events that have shaped the direction of the Church, for good and for ill, during the past year. Not just in America, but throughout the whole world. There are a few simple rules:

1. Leave nominations in the combox.
2. There are two divisions: The St Thomas More Division, and The Baron Richard Rich Division. The categories, I think, are self-explanatory. But indicate the division to which your nominee belongs.
3. You can nominate one person in each category.
4. Nominees must be accompanied with a short reason for their nomination. They ought to be based on something they did or said in 2009. Be objective - for instance, stating "So-and-so is in the Rich Division because he/she is stupid", or "I nominate Whats-his-name for St Thomas More because he's a nice guy" are unacceptable.
5. The Holy Father is exempt.
6. Eligibility of nominees is up to the discretion of AoftheA.

This isn't to see who's naughty or nice. As Scripture says, by their fruits ye shall know them. This is just to remind ourselves that there are Catholic men and women worth emulating and holding up, and it's important to discern the difference.

Nominations will be accepted until Midnight (EST) Thursday December 17. Voting will be from December 18 until December 31 (I'll have a poll in the sidebar).

(p.s. - to help grow the list of nominees, please consider linking to this post at your blog)

#1 Non-Theological Argument Against Ordination Of Women


Hideous liturgical vestments.

s/s to Fr Larry for the heads up (I think!) - photo nicked from Fr Longenecker's blog.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Theology Of The Shopping Cart

Yesterday I had to go to one of those big-box stores. Upon seeing countless shopping carts scattered about as I returned mine to the "cart corral", it got me to thinking.

Catholics are a lot like shopping carts out in the parking lot.

THE CORRAL

These are the faithful Catholics, staying inside and remaining true to corral teachings. Although it would appear that there would be greater freedom to roam about the parking lot, there are many dangers - vehicles, getting blown by the wind to all points, getting buried by snow when the plows blow through, getting stolen. From time to time, they are taken to the store where they can fulfill their God-given duty to be of service to others. And then, they return to the corral to be with other like-minded shopping carts, where they patiently wait for God's call to work in the field. The important thing is that they're safe and sound.

NEXT TO THE CORRAL

These are Catholics who waffle on faith issues. They straddle the fence on moral teachings, keeping one set of wheels near the corral, while the other set is in the world. They want to join whole-heartedly, but just can't seem to make the commitment. They feel that being in the corral will impede their ability to have fun, or think for themselves. They wish the corral were just a little bit larger to accommodate their opinions, or perhaps they think there isn't room for them. But there's always room - those in the corral just need to squeeze in a bit tighter, and show by example that being completely in the corral is the source of true freedom and happiness.

IN THE PARKING LOT

There are a lot of Catholics in this group. There are the loners who go their own way, and are soon blown about and end up way on the fringes of the parking lot, lost and ever searched for. They seem so far gone that there seems little hope for their salvation. But some are indeed found and returned with great rejoicing; but many, alas, are lost forever.

The loners sometimes cause damage to others, too, by their wild and out-of-control existence. They roll this way and that, crashing about. This can cause anger and bitterness, which is sometimes directed unjustly towards the corral, because they failed to control one of their own.

There are the ones who cluster about a light post, seeking truth by hovering near what they believe to be true, because a bit of light is shed into their lives. From time to time, these are brought to the corral, but even then, they leave and continue to seek out other sources of light, thinking they'd be better off somewhere else.

Then there are larger groups that congregate in the parking spots. They're in the way, and they accuse those who want to use the spot as being oppressive and judgmental. Strangely enough, they think they're in the Church because "where two or three are gathered", they say. But they aren't tolerant of those who try to use the space - they get defensive and become more stubborn. Sometimes, though, another cart comes along and gathers them in, and by God's grace, they find their way back to the corral. But by and large, this group believes the institutional corral is wrong, that Christ never intended to create a corral the way it is today. They stay where they are, becoming a nuisance and source of irritation to everybody.

Some are stuck over a curb, and they feel that there's no escape. Fortunately for them, they get unstuck, and are thus free to make a choice again.

Some carts have a wobbly wheel, and no matter how much it wants to roll straight, it tends to lean one way or the other, off the narrow path. They might go their whole life in that condition, which can be rather sad. But sometimes, when such a cart is in the corral, its woundedness is discovered, and it gets healed. Then it rolls straight once again. It might become wobbly again in the future, but now it knows that it can be healed again if it stays in the corral.

So the next time you go to the store, be charitable towards the carts out of the corral. They are, after all, the lost sheeping carts, and there go us all but for the grace of God.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Guess The Author

OK, you bibliophiles and poet laureates - who's the author of the following poem?

One thin September soon
A floating continent disappears
In midnight sun

Vapors rise as
Fever settles on an acid sea

Snow glides from the mountain
Ice fathers floods for a season
A hard rain comes quickly

Then dirt is parched
Kindling is placed in the forest
For the lightning's celebration

The shepherd cries
The hour of choosing has arrived
Here are your tools

No Googling allowed! If you do, I will send out these guys to find you and they will take away all your incandescent light bulbs!



Patrick Madrid knows about this group. Acts of a posse, see?

The State Of McBrien's Brain

The Rev. Richard McBrien is acting strangely. His latest essay for the National Catholic Distorter is kinda bizarre. He writes quite a bit about Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul I, and then ends with a statement that comes out of nowhere.

The State of the Catholic Church

If anyone wonders why the Catholic church presents such a different face to the world and to the Body of Christ today in comparison with the world and the church of the 1960s and 1970s, we need look no further than the extraordinarily abbreviated pontificate of John Paul I.

To appreciate the significance of that brief pontificate, the eleventh shortest in the history of the church, one must have some sense of the mark left by John Paul I's predecessor, Paul VI.

Although Humanae Vitae, the birth-control encyclical, cast a dark shadow over his entire 15-year pontificate, the pope had many other pastoral achievements to his credit before and after the release of that document in July 1968.

In that year, he instituted the annual observance of the World Day of Peace, which is still celebrated on Jan. 1, and in 1970 elevated both St. Teresa of Ávila and St. Catherine of Siena to the status of Doctors of the Church, the first women to be so recognized.

He fixed the retirement age for priests and bishops at 75 and decreed that cardinals over the age of 80 should not participate in papal elections, and he also determined that the maximum number of cardinal-electors could not exceed 120.

Pope Paul VI convened and presided over four international synods of bishops and continued John XXIII's example of enlarging and internationalizing the College of Cardinals.

Okay, so he lists some of Pope Paul VI accomplishments that are acceptable to him, even though he wrote the eeeeevilllll Humanae Vitae encyclical. Before that, though, he starts with the premise that the Church's image to the world is dramatically different today than it was 40 years ago. Gee - he must mean about the time Vatican II was issued. The problem is, and he most likely knows this, is that the Church's approach to the world hasn't changed. It has always been a sign and contradiction to the world. It will never change its teachings on faith and morals. So from the very start, McBrien starts with a false premise, and implies Vatican II without mentioning it.

So rather than talk about Vat II, he shifts the focus onto Pope John Paul I, who ascended to the papacy in 1978.

His successor was the Patriarch of Venice, Albino Luciani, who was the first pope to take a double name, to honor, he said, the pope (John XXIII) who had ordained him a bishop and who preceded him as Patriarch of Venice, and the pope (Paul VI) who had named him a cardinal.

In his remarks just before he gave the traditional Sunday blessing from the window of the Apostolic Palace (it was Aug. 27, the day after his election), he pointed out to the enthusiastic crowds below in St. Peter's Square, "Be sure of this: I do not have the wisdom of heart of Pope John. I do not have the preparation and culture of Pope Paul."

John Paul I was not only the first pope to take a double name; he was also the first pope in more than a thousand years to refuse to be crowned with the triple tiara.

Late in the evening of Sept. 28, John Paul I died of a heart attack while reading in bed. The Romans had taken such a liking to this humble, smiling pope that they reacted more emotionally to his death than they had to Pope Paul VI's only two months earlier.

The cardinal-electors rushed back to Rome in virtual shock, determined to elect someone with the necessary physical vigor to bear the burdens of the office.

I sense that McBrien really liked Pope John Paul I only for the fact that he refused the triple tiara crown. I was only 13 at the time, not interested in papal things at all. I remember the shock my parents expressed at his sudden death, but not much more than that.

Here's the conclusion of McBrien's essay (bold is my emphasis).

This left the Italians without a viable candidate, and so for the first time since 1522 they elected a non-Italian, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla of Poland, who took the name John Paul II.

Although he would do many good things in the 26 and a half years he occupied the office, John Paul II's appointments to, and within, the hierarchy were not among them.

And that is the main reason why the Catholic church is experiencing such difficulty today.

So according to the Notre Dame Nutter, the main reason the Church is in trouble today is because Pope John Paul II appointed bishops and cardinals who were what? Orthodox (for the most part) and faithful to the magisterium. Men who would strive to bring about the true reforms of Vatican II. Without even mentioning the council, McBrien manages to inpugn Pope John Paul II's work of reforming the Church, a work being continued by Pope Benedict with phenomenal success. According to McBrien, if John Paul I hadn't died, the Church would be in better shape.

Honestly, the reason why the Catholic church is experiencing difficulty is because of men like McBrien. It's sad that he hates the Church so much.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Compendium Of Progressive Saints #3

----Third in a series in anticipation of the 2011 American Catholic Council----

3) Saint Alyssa de Milano (1742-1795)

Saint Alyssa was born in the small Italian village of Milano in 1742 to humble peasant parents. As she grew, many were charmed by her beauty, and countless young men sought to become her suitor. But she was also very headstrong, and held a deep desire to "be the boss", and this attitude served to drive all eligible suitors away.

Thus, at the age of twenty, she joined a nearby order of Carmelized Nuns, devoted to Our Lady of Sweetness. In three short years, she was appointed abbess. She adapted the order's charism to that of promoting social justice issues, and changed the order's name to Our Lady of Sweet Justice. Some of the issues included fighting for better working conditions for employees of the local mozzarella cheese industry; protesting against the use of boiling oil at the local battlements; better pay and benefits for starving artisans; more humane treatment of the ecology, by eliminating grape-stomping at local vintners.

She also was the first advocate for male nuns - she believed that if her order was going to engage in social justice work, they deserved the opportunity to have suitors, just like the laity did. Her revolutionary idea never caught on, proving to be centuries ahead of its time, having evolved into the modern notion of "female priests".

In 1791, a papal visitation was summoned to determine whether her order was faithful to all the Church's teachings, as rumors swirled that pagan rituals were being introduced at the abbey. Alyssa successfully resisted the visitation, claiming that her order was being oppressed unjustly. She is quoted as having said: "We are completely faithful to Jesus! I have consulted with the spirits and they shall curse those who attempt to challenge us! So mote it be!"

Saint Alyssa is renowned for her development of the Spiritual Works of Social Justice:
  • Admonish the hierarchy
  • Obstruct the militant
  • Assuage the doubtful
  • Comfirm the victimized
  • Defend perceived wrongs legally
  • Get reparations for injuries
  • Contact the dead on behalf of the living
Saint Alyssa's feast day is March 21. She is the patron saint of Nuclear Disarmament, Ouija boards and Reiki.

*NB - progressives can't honestly admire real saints because they upheld the full and entire teachings of the Church. So, I'm creating "saints" more in line with their progressive pick 'n choose theology - since most of what progressives believe isn't true, it makes sense that their "saints" be make-believe as well. Below are links to the first two.

Progressive Saint #1 - Saint Percy MacWafful the Tolerant
Progressive Saint #2 - Saint Lorraine of Toulouse