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

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Great And Coming Divide

Deal Hudson at InsideCatholic wrote an article the other day on the advances of the pro-gay lifestyle and marriage coalitions within the Catholic Church, with the launching of a new initiative called "Catholics For Equality". A rather innocuous sounding name (don't all the dissenter group names have a neutral/positive ring to them?) that, on its surface, one would be hard-pressed to find any objection. But peel back the curtain, and you find that it's not equality they're really after, but a wholesale change in Church teaching on the sinfulness of homosexual activity.

Catholics Organize To Promote Gay Marriage

Those wondering why Francis Cardinal George suddenly announced his condemnation of New Ways Ministry on February 5 should take note of a meeting held a few days earlier in Washington, D.C. During the last weekend of January, a group of Catholics, lay and religious, met in Washington to launch "Catholics for Equality" (CFE).

New Ways Ministry, a homosexuality advocacy group, had long been considered controversial even before Cardinal George -- president of the USCCB -- publicly stated, "It has no approval or recognition from the Catholic Church, and they cannot speak on behalf of the Catholic faithful in the United States."

One of the founders of Catholics for Equality, Father Tony Adams, regarded Cardinal George's statement as "retaliation" for the creation of an organization dedicated to changing Church teaching on homosexuality and marriage.

Father Tony goes on to describe the founders of CFE as an "A List of Catholic thorns in the sides of American Bishops," including two people associated with New Ways Ministries, Frank DeBernardo and Matthew Myers. Not all the names at the meeting were disclosed, for "political and practical reasons," but among those mentioned were members of the Human Rights Campaign, People for the American Way, the Georgetown LGCTQ Resource Center, Dignity USA, and the newly formed Catholics for Marriage Equality groups in Massachusetts and Maine.

Another attendee, not mentioned by Father Tony, was Rev. Geoffrey Farrow, a priest from Fresno, California. Father Farrow made headlines in October 2008 when he told his congregation at the local Newman Center about his opposition to Proposition 8 and revealed his own homosexuality. He was promptly removed from his ministry by Bishop John T. Steinbock for making a public statement contradicting the teaching of the Catholic Church and, interestingly, "using the Internet as a means of continuing your conflict with the Church's teaching."

Father Farrow described the Church's support for Proposition 8 as "bigotry," but thought that even more "egregious" was the directive of Bishop Richard T. Malone in Maine that his priests preach a series of sermons on how Catholics should vote on a same-sex marriage referendum.

On his personal blog, Father Farrow wrote of his recent visit to D.C. to attend "meetings with representatives of various Catholic organizations and theologians who are organizing into a voice for the laity, clergy, and religious of our Church." Father Tony portrays the meetings in more colorful terms: Those who came together that snowy weekend were

a cordial group of folks who are sorely discontent with the aggressive, inappropriate and hateful actions of the Catholic bishops regarding the LGBT community. We aren't here to discuss just gay marriage, folks, although our losses on those state battlefields have awakened us to the need for a united voice that will help all Catholics guide their clueless bishops back onto the path of goodness and grace. Those bishops, the supposed shepherds of the flock, have lost their way, and it is up to the sheep to repair the damage they have done.

What's particularly interesting about reading these blogs is the refrain that the bishops don't represent the majority view of the Catholic laity. Both Father Farrow -- "a public voice to the vast members of our Church" -- and Father Tony -- "the bishops no longer speak for the Catholic Church" -- believe they are the spearheads of an inevitable Catholic uprising.

I'm unaware of any polling that shows that the majority of active Catholics no longer regard homosexual acts as sinful, or that same-sex marriage should be legalized. But even if such data could be produced, it would only prove the need for the Church to be more forthright in arguing its position on those issues. Catholic doctrine is not defined by polling -- not yet, anyway.

Recent polling has been published, by the way. The Knights of Columbus "US Catholic Millenial" poll taken recently showed that among 18-29 year old Catholics, a majority of them did not regard homosexual activity as "sinful". 65% responded that gay relations were morally acceptable, or did not constitute a moral issue. Also, 63% answered that so-called same-sex marriage is morally acceptable, or did not constitute a moral issue. ( Ed. note: The poll is a 40-page PDF, and the data is located somewhere in there. I got the figures from an NCR article - I know! My computer is molasses-like slow on large downloads, so I've relied on the research of others. If there's any errors in my numbers, I'll gladly fix them.)

Which proves Deal's final point - the Church has to be more direct - in a compassionate, Christ-like way - on the grave sinfulness of homosexual behavior and continue to properly catechize the laity. One thing is for certain: the Church will not change Her teachings on these matters - one only needs to see the freefall the Anglican Church is experiencing to see the chaos and confusion that would result. Not to mention that sin is sin in any age and for every generation. The Church cannot change that which She has no authority to do so.

Of course, the other option is for the dissenters to stop their shenanigans, accept Church teaching and work towards reconciliation rather than work towards rupture. I highlydoubt that a significant number of them will do that - sure, a smattering here or there will come to learn the error of their ways and repent, but by and large, the uber-majority will not. Isn't that kind of how things have happened throughout history? And in so doing, they may lead a great many other Catholics who don't know their faith all too well off the narrow path and onto the wide road.

IMHO, I think the homosexual issue, centered around gay marriage, may be the great and coming divide within the Church. More than abortion, contraception, divorce, the sex abuse scandal - this might be the final wedge to formalize a schism. What makes it all the more...perilous, and likely, is how highly politicized the issue has become. One only needs to recall the recent furor over Pope Benedict's comments regarding the Equality Law in England, a law that has the potential to affect religion in deleterious fashion. It may only be a matter of time before similar measures are proposed and passed in the U.S.

It's going to get a whole lot messier.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Good Catholic Girls

It's encouraging to see and read about young Catholic women who are taking courageous stands on important social issues, such as the right to life and modesty. Their witness is refreshing and inspiring. Two women who have gained national prominence immediately come to mind.

First, there's Lila Rose of Live Action, who's making headlines and causing headaches for Planned Parenthood with her undercover videos showing illegal activities taking place at numerous clinics throughout America. Her most recent expose took place in Wisconsin, which you can read about at their website. Her organization is energizing the pro-life movement.

The second is Leah Darrow, who was profiled last week by Creative Minority Report. She had been a contestant on "America's Next Top Model" and was modeling in the fashion industry, before experiencing a deep conversion and returning to her Catholic faith. Now she works with 'Pure Fashion', an organization designed to help teen-age girls discover their true worth as women and focus on authentic femininity, instead of succumbing to the world's view of what it means to be a woman.

And now a third can be added. She's not known on a national level by any stretch of the imagination (at least not yet), but thus far she has shown she is not afraid to speak her mind on issues of chastity, abstinence, and the sanctity of marriage being between one man and man woman.

Here's an article about Lauren Ashley, Miss Beverly Hills 2010, from CathNewsUSA:

Following in the footsteps of former Miss California Carrie Prejean, recently crowned Miss Beverly Hills 2010 Lauren Ashley has spoken out in support of man-woman marriage.

"The Bible says that marriage is between a man and a woman. In Leviticus it says, 'If man lies with mankind as he would lie with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death and their blood shall be upon them.' The Bible is pretty black and white," Ashley told Pop Tarts, Fox News reports.

"I feel like God himself created mankind and he loves everyone, and he has the best for everyone. If he says that having sex with someone of your same gender is going to bring death upon you, that's a pretty stern warning, and he knows more than we do about life."

Ashley, 23, will be representing Beverly Hills in the Miss California pageant in November.

[...]

Ashley also said she plans to remain a virgin until her wedding night.

"I don't drink alcohol and I don't smoke weed or cigarettes. My definition of partying is a little different," she said. "I feel like my body is the Temple of God and it's my temple so it's really good to treat it well.

"I also feel like sex was made for marriage. You really show your future husband or wife respect and you build a lot of trust before you get married. You don't have sex with other people, so that should definitely build trust, because you waited."

If I had daughters, I'd point to these women as worthy role models for them to emulate - in that, it's possible to live the Catholic faith actively and confidently, and that it's important to stick to one's principles. And I would have no problem if either of my sons - when they're old enough, of course - were to court women such as these. At the very least I can show them what to look for and wait for in a woman - one who isn't fearful of living her faith. One who has her priorities in the proper order. One who loves God above all else - which then allows her to truly love others fully and sincerely.

I think Scripture says something about how such a woman is a rare treasure.

s/s to Catholic Caveman on the Lauren Ashley story.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Disturbing Trend

President Obama greeted another dignitary the other day...is there anyone he won't bow to???



You want fries or onion rings with that?

s/s to Moonbattery via Creative Minority Report

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Babies, Don't Let Your Grandmas Grow Up To Be Bikers

As if Chicago-style thug politics wasn't bad enough - now there is the deadly fear of senior citizen biker gangs riding roughshod through the Windy City!! Be careful Paul!

From NBC Chicago: Nursing Home Residents Form a Biker Gang by Andrew Greiner

Lydia Scheltes woke up in her bed at Bethesda Retirement Center one morning with pinkish hair, a tattoo on her arm and a hangover. Not a typical morning for the 90-year-old.

“Seniors are more fun than you’ll ever know,” she said.

Scheltes wasn’t alone: Seven ladies and one dude – aged 65 to 97 – all had a similar hazy look in their eyes after they hung out with bikers at the Evil Olive bar in Wicker Park on Feb. 11.

Some of them were still wearing their own biker gear.

Bethesda’s residents usually spend their time knitting or quilting or doing an activity typical of their age group, but they wanted something different for a change. They often drive past the Evil Olive during day trips and fantasized about what goes on inside.

One day Elizabeth Barrett, 68, asked their Life Enrichment Director, Ruth Werstler, if they could check it out.

“I did a little digging and found out it was a nightclub,” Werstler said. “But that didn’t deter them.They still wanted to go.”

In fact, Barrett upped the ante: She suggest going out as bikers.

“It was all my idea,” Barrett says with a devious laugh. “We aren’t the regular type of nursing home.”

Werstler indulged her crew and reached out to various people who could help transform the retirement home crew into a boss biker gang. She recruited hairstylists, make-up artists, a professional costumer and a tattoo artist from Artreach at Lillstreet to donate their time to make the ladies look fearsome.

While I'm sure they're not intending to head out and terrorize Sign of the Beefcarver restaurants or shake down local Bingo halls, it'll only be a matter of time. Once you trade in a walker for a Harley, the temptation to wreak havoc will be difficult to resist. Sure, it's all fun and games right now, but you just know that another retirement home will start up their own biker gang sooner or later, and that'll lead to turf wars, generic prescription drug trafficking and black market Depends and Polident cartels. And it'll get worse because the baby boomers are getting older, so more are moving into the retirement homes. And once AARP starts funneling money to these groups, all bets are off.

This sort of thing was predicted over forty years ago. Remember Hell's Grannies?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

An AoftheA Public Service Announcement


Thank you for your time. We now return to regularly scheduled blog-casting.

Another Pro-Life Victory

Not your typical pro-life battle, but it's a victory nonetheless. Catholic News Agency has the story.

Proposed Textbook's Treatment of Roe v. Wade Changed After Catholic Opposition

.- A proposed North Carolina school textbook that described Roe v. Wade as a ruling against government oppression of rights has been altered following opposition from Catholics and other pro-life advocates.

More than 1,800 participants in the Catholic Voice campaign e-mailed the state’s Department of Public Construction with their concerns. The material was removed on Feb. 18.

Bishop of Raleigh Michael F. Burbidge and Bishop of Charlotte Peter J. Jugis wrote a letter of thanks to those who e-mailed their protest.

The bishops reported that any reference to Roe v. Wade has been removed from the essential standards and prototype assessments from the draft versions of the curriculum.

“We are grateful to all who notified the Department of Public Instruction of your opposition to the way Roe v. Wade was being used in the proposed text. We believe your voices helped to make this change possible,” the bishops added.

“May the Lord bless you for your efforts to defend the unborn and ensure that our children are being properly educated.”

The proposed text had asserted that Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that mandated permissive abortion laws nationwide, was an example of the Supreme Court upholding rights “against oppressive government.”

If the text were approved, the bishops had warned, children would be taught the textbook’s interpretation was the correct one. They had argued the proposed text implied that opposition to Roe v. Wade was wrong.

Not only is the implication that opposition to Roe v. Wade wrong, but so is the premise. The decision created rights not articulated in the Constitution, and stands as a testament to judicial activism. And the proposed textbook stands as evidence that indoctrination of children does occur through revisionist history and inaccurate (and in some cases, downright fraudulent) interpretations and explanations of past events.

It's good to see that at least in this case, liberal proponents of the Culture of Death were thwarted. Makes me wonder, though, just how many more inaccuracies slip through the cracks.

Monday, February 22, 2010

How Green Is Your Lent?

Want proof we're rushing headlong towards the apocalypse?

The Environmental Outreach Committee of the Archdiocese of Washington DC published a Lenten Carbon Fast Calendar, in coordination with The Greater Washington Interfaith Power & Light, a quasi-ecumenical group more in line with pagan Earth-worship than traditional Christianity.

Here's a link to the PDF that gives a day-by-day blueprint to get green for Lent.

Oh! - and the PDF comes from the LCWR website! Who'd-a-thunk-it? I guess the Vatican-directed visitation and investigation of certain women religious groups is unwarranted after all...not!

Some of the suggestions are pretty hilarious - "Friday Feb 19 - Go meat free today! Christians have been eating less meat for Lent for generations. Choosing meat-free meals is one of the most powerful things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint." I guess they didn't see this article earlier in the month where becoming a vegetarian may actually cause more harm to the environment. Not to mention abstaining from meat on Fridays in Lent is an obligation on all Catholic adults.

Then there's this: "Thursday March 18 - When heating water on the stove, use a pot with a lid to conserve energy." But what if I don't want to boil water on Thursday? What if I want to boil water on Saturday the 20th? Would it be okay if I don't use a lid on that day?

If you think about it, Jesus was rather eco-friendly during his 40 days in the desert - no meat, no littering, he left the bottled water with John the Baptist, he didn't leave any powertools plugged in at the carpenter's shop back in Nazareth, and he didn't drive an SUV out into the wilderness. I say - if these environmentalists want to make a real impact, they should do exactly what Jesus did, and just go away for the next seven weeks.

Full disclosure time - I've already blown it for Lent, at least according to this Carbon Fast Calendar. Yesterday, I replaced a light fixture for Mrs LarryD, and the new one uses two light bulbs while the older fixture only held one. But that's not the worst of it.

The old fixture had a CFL - I put incandescent bulbs in the new one. I am so eeeeeeeeevilllllll!

s/s to Fr. Z

Friday, February 19, 2010

Study: Children With Same-Sex Parents Worse Off

Here's something you won't see discussed on CNN, MSNBC or any other major news agency.

From Catholic News Agency: Children With Same-Sex Parents Prone To Suicide, Study Reveals

A study presented at the symposium in Mexico, “Homosexual Adoption: What Science Has Discovered,” revealed that most children adopted by same-sex couples display “greater levels of stress,” and suffer from “suicidal tendencies and attempts.”

The symposium was organized by the Mexican Institute on Sexual Orientation, “Renacer,” in order to provide scientific information about homosexuality, homosexual adoptions and their impact on child development.

During his presentation, George A. Rekers, Professor of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Science at the University of South Carolina, said that “boys and girls adopted by lesbian and homosexual couples show a greater level of stress than that which is already generated by their status as orphans or children abandoned by their biological parents.” He added that this situation “produces diverse trauma and behavioral disorders that can even lead to suicidal tendencies or attempts.”

“According to various studies containing testimonies from children of homosexual parents, most them of admit to suffering strong emotions, such as fear, anxiety, apprehension, shame and anger in trying to hide from their friends and relatives the homosexuality of their father or mother,” he continued.

Adoptive families

Likewise, addressing the issue of homosexual “marriage,” the study pointed out that “they are significantly and substantially less stable and shorter on average compared with marriages between a man and woman.” Consequently, “homes with a homosexual adult inevitably contribute to substantially higher rate of changes in adoptive homes.”

“Due to the high incidence of psychological disorders among children who enter the adoptive care system,” those “living with a practicing homosexual in the adoptive home,” are especially “ vulnerable to psychological damage and an increasing inability to adapt,” Rekers said.

Granted, this is only one study, and more collaborative work needs to be done to support the position that gay adoption is damaging and detrimental to children. The study was sufficient in one instance, though, because the article later stated that Dr Rekers' work "...was the basis for rulings in the state of Florida prohibiting the adoption of minors by same-sex couples." Still - it's encouraging to see a secular study affirm Catholic teaching:

(From the Vatican document "Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons")

As experience has shown, the absence of sexual complementarity in these unions creates obstacles in the normal development of children who would be placed in the care of such persons. They would be deprived of the experience of either fatherhood or motherhood. Allowing children to be adopted by persons living in such unions would actually mean doing violence to these children, in the sense that their condition of dependency would be used to place them in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development. This is gravely immoral and in open contradiction to the principle, recognized also in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, that the best interests of the child, as the weaker and more vulnerable party, are to be the paramount consideration in every case.

It's possible to see how the gay activist community will spin this study. Proponents for adoption by gay couples will argue that the children feel stress because their shame stems from society's perception of their same-sex parents. In other words, the prevalent Christian attitude towards same-sex marriage/couples - that it's immoral, wrong and decadent - is what's causing the shame and embarrassment, not the relationship itself.

And of course that's a lie. I think children inherently know that having two moms or two dads is not normative nor is it optimal. Which is why gay activists are working hard to indoctrinate kids at a young age in the public schools, to convince them that being gay is normal and even good. That being heterosexual is just an option among other options, and not the "normal setting", as it were. That being opposed to same-sex marriage is discriminatory.

But being opposed to same-sex marriage is not discriminatory - the basis for the objection is multi-faceted: to preserve traditional marriage; to protect children; to ensure stability in society. Note that none of those reasons are religious. And as this scientific study seems to show, the results support the reasons for the objection. Kids.Get.Hurt. Even to the point of contemplating suicide.

But the gay activists will vehemently object and probably conduct their own study. And the result of their study will be this: they will state that more time is needed to change the perceptions and squash the Judeo-Christian views of sexual morality - eliminate them, to be more accurate - so that kids aren't traumatized by having homosexual parents. Which means more kids would have to be sacrificed upon the altar of political correctedness and deviant behavior as attitudes are adjusted and mores are marginalized. All the while, the activists will be pointing their fingers at the "bigoted homophobic Christians" - folks like us - accusing us of fomenting an environment of hate and fear, the sort of environment that causes damage to the children.

And yet it's the Church who is backing out of adoption services - first in Massachusetts, most recently in Washington DC - because the act itself of placing adoptive children with same-sex couples is what is damaging. The Church's moral stance, embedded in natural law, is not the damaging agent here. The Church's stance is objectively true. The position of the gay activists is objectively disordered. No amount of spin, hyperbole or conjecture will ever change that reality.

Erin Manning at And Sometimes Tea published a great post yesterday about how children have become the innocent pawns in the gay activists' end game. It's worth your time, and dovetails with this CNA story. (If you go there, leave her a comment - tell her I sent you!)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ash Wednesday Interpretation Reference Guide

You can tell a lot about the priest who administers ashes based on the shape and style of the imprint he leaves on your forehead. AoftheA has developed an Ash Wednesday Interpretation Reference Guide to help you identify what sort of priest just gave you ashes.

(Yeah, I know it's a day late, but you can use it for next year.)

1. Traditional priest


2. Priest with slight depth-perception problem.


3. Pro-women's ordination priest.


4. Bleeding-heart liberal Obama-supporting priest.


5. Anthropogenic global warming alarmist priest.


6. PETA supporting priest.


7. New-age priest.


8. Internet savvy/blogging priest



9. Fr Erik @ Orthometer

PP Gets Pwned!!

However you want to describe it - getting smacked down, or thrown a curveball, or getting steamrolled - it happened to Planned Parenthood in Viriginia. Too awesome.

From LifeNews.com: Virginia Legislature Strips Planned Parenthood From Its License Plate Bill

Richmond, VA (LifeNews.com) -- In what pro-life advocates are hailing as a brilliant legislative move, Virginia lawmakers stripped Planned Parenthood funding from its own bill to sponsor pro-abortion license plates. The plate bill now sends the proceeds from sales of the plate to a state fund that actually helps pregnant women.

Money generated from the sales of the “Trust Women, Respect Choice" license plates was intended to go to the Planned Parenthood abortion business.

When Democrat Delegate Robert Brink brought up the bill, on the House floor in preparation for today's final vote, the legislation said the Virginia League of Planned Parenthood would receive $15 of the $25 plate fee.

In an interesting turn of events, Delegate Todd Gilbert, a Republican, offered an amendment to the bill to change it so all funding would go to the Virginia Pregnant Women Support Fund -- a move that the pro-life Family Forum group describes as a devastating blow to Planned Parenthood.

The Virginia Pregnant Women Support Fund was created in 2007 to “support women and families who are facing unplanned pregnancy” and is managed by the Virginia Board of Health. The goals are far different from Planned Parenthood's abortion agenda as it provides funding for ultrasound machines, parenting programs, and other support.

Brink urged defeat of the amendment and Delegate David Englin argued that changing the recipient of the funding was unconstitutional, claiming court precedent.

But Victoria Cobb, the president of the Family Foundation, tells LifeNews.com that is a misreading of court decisions saying Planned Parenthood should have a chance at its response to the popular Choose Life license plates.

"Court rulings have said if one viewpoint is allowed on a license plate another viewpoint must also be allowed, but it does not address the funding aspects of the license plates," Cobb explains.

Gilbert responded by saying that the Virginia Pregnant Women Support Fund was a better fit for the language of the plate.

He also pointed out how Planned Parenthood violates its own message of trusting women.

"Delegate Gilbert, citing Planned Parenthood’s opposition to pro-woman legislation including informed consent requirements that do exactly that – trust women – stated that plate funds if directed to Planned Parenthood would not be going to an organization in conformity with the plate’s message," Cobb recounted.

Delegate Gilbert’s floor amendment was accepted on a 56-43 vote and the state House is expected to vote on the bill today.

Kudos to Delegate Gilbert for his brilliant maneuver. He managed to find "common ground" with the pro-aborts, even though they weren't all that willing to cooperate. Surely helping the Virginia Pregnant Women Support Fund ought to please PP, because then women will make an informed choice and do what's best for them. Women will be empowered. Isn't that what having "choice" is all about??

Hopefully the bill will be passed with Gilbert's amendment still intact. Any legislation that makes PP upset is surely a good piece of legislation.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

CMR Exclusive - The Baby Gianna Story Part III

Matthew and Patrick Archbold at Creative Minority Report are publishing a week-long series of serious import concerning an important cause: Right to Life. In their own words: ...a week-long series telling this incredible and gut-wrenching true story about life, death, abortion, and betrayal. They've asked for help in giving this story wide exposure, and I'm honored to do my small part.

Jessica Chominski delivered this eulogy for Baby "Miracle Gianna:"

On January 9, the world changed forever because of a baby girl. I know that many of you do not know the whole story of Miracle Gianna. Many of you have been praying for her fervently- praying for her to heal, praying for her to be OK, praying for her to live.

We have all had a piece of this story, which on the outside, looks like a tragic, sad, devastating defeat. But this is not a story of defeat. This is a story of triumph- the triumph of Baptism.

Read the rest here.

Receiving Ones Reward

Lent. The liturgical season during which we prepare ourselves for the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ. A time of self-denial and sacrifice - to enable us to recognize the narrow path more clearly, to strengthen us to bear our crosses. A time of detachment - from the things and concerns of the world, from sin - and of attachment - to the things of holiness and sanctification. A time of repentance and renewal.

A period to reorient ourselves towards Christ, and to deepen our love for Him, and to open ourselves to His infinite love and mercy.

So we are asked to suffer a little bit, to "give up" this that or the other - to be purged of the gunk that gets in the way of our relationship with Christ and with our neighbor. We are asked to build up virtue and discard vice, and in so doing, we build up our strength, holiness and constitution, and contribute to the strengthening of our families, our culture and the entire world. While so many in the world focus on being of the world - refusing to deny themselves any of the gratification or pleasure the world purports to provide - we are asked to be a sign of contradiction, to be a city on a hill, to be a light shining amidst the darkness. We have ashes applied to our foreheads, not just as a reminder of our bodily mortality and abject nothingness in comparison to the almighty infinite all-holy God, but also as a reminder to the world that the pursuit of all worldly things is just ashes - that it's the pursuit of heavenly things that defines the true purpose of our lives. We are reminded that we need to return to God who calls us, despite our sinfulness. Despite the smudge marks on our heads and souls - God continually calls us. That in and of itself is a momentous cause for joy!

Yet, as Christ tells us in today's Gospel, we are to perform these acts of self-denial and reparation in secret, not in the open. It sounds like a contradiction - be a witness to the world, just don't go around announcing the fact. If we seek the approval of men, then we will receive the reward we hope for. But if we seek the love of God - something we can't earn anyway - or to put it another way, if we seek to improve the quality of our love for God and neighbor - then our reward will be great and unimaginable at a time not of our choosing.

It's kind of like a retirement IRA. We pay into it monthly, either through payroll deduction or monthly contribution, with the hope that many years down the road, a tidy little nest egg will be there when needed. We've deferred some level of present satisfaction for the hope of future security. And it's done with a certain degree of secrecy - we're saving without really even knowing it.

In this case, though, it's investing in an eternal windfall. I'm not saying we earn our salvation through our works or acts of self-denial and repentance - but we do gain merit, and we do inch forward in increasing our love of God and neighbor. We proceed along the path of perfection.

So we tighten our belts and wash our faces. It's not a show or fakery - perhaps for some it is, but that is not for any of us to judge. The season of Lent, paradoxically, is a time of joy. The call to repentance leads us out of sin - which leads us to love. If the penances are chosen with the intent to lead us closer to Christ - and not just to kick a bad habit or lead to a slimmer waistline - and to draw us deeper into love, then we will be experiencing joy even as a result of any amount of suffering we will endure. And that joyfulness will be the witness - thus we must be prepared to give a reason for our joy.

And at the end - the ultimate end - we will, by God's grace, receive our reward. Lent is the cyclical practice run. After 40 days, we receive the reward of the promise of eternal life - Christ's resurrection. It's a foreshadowing and foretelling of what awaits us at the end of all our Lents.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Oh, The Irony Of It All

The air in Michigan got a bit more stupid today, because VP Joe Biden made an appearance in the Saginaw area to tout the Stimulus Package that was passed last February. You know, the one that was supposed to prevent the unemployment rate from rising past 8%, and provide jobs jobs jobs? Yeah, that one.

Wouldn't you know it - the same day he's talking up the package - saying that it will help keep America competitive in the 20th century (yes, he did say that!) - the following story hit the news:

From ClickOnDetroit: Flat Rock Plant To Cut 950 UAW Jobs

The AutoAlliance assembly plant in Flat Rock said it would cut 950 blue-and white-collar jobs this summer after a shift is eliminated.

The plant is a joint venture between Ford and Mazda. Workers at the plant make parts for the Mazda 6 and Ford Mustang.

The shift is scheduled to be eliminated July 12.

So how's that hope and change workin' for ya?

CMR Exclusive - The Baby Gianna Story Part II

Matthew and Patrick Archbold at Creative Minority Report are publishing a week-long series of serious import concerning an important cause: Right to Life. In their own words: ...a week-long series telling this incredible and gut-wrenching true story about life, death, abortion, and betrayal. They've asked for help in giving this story wide exposure, and I'm honored to do my small part.

Part II In A Series


Rebecca had been on the fence for months over whether to abort her child as her boyfriend wanted her to. But through Jessica Chominski’s efforts and prayers, along with volunteers at the crisis pregnancy center, Rebecca made the brave decision to keep her baby. Unfortunately, Rebecca’s boyfriend upon learning that she’d chosen to keep the baby kicked her savagely and repeatedly in the stomach.

While treating her, doctors discovered fetal abnormalities in the 18-week-old fetus, including diseased kidneys and underdeveloped lungs resulting from a dearth of amniotic fluid. Despite being in a Catholic hospital, the doctor stunned them by saying that since the baby had no chance of living he recommended an abortion.

Jessica was stunned but managed to remind him that they were in a Catholic hospital but the doctor, according to Jessica, merely said that while he couldn’t do it there, Rebecca could come to his office in Abington where he could arrange it.

“'Utter frustration', 'Disappointing', 'Infuriating'” are still some of the only words Jessica can use to describe her feelings regarding the doctor's suggestion in a Catholic hospital.

Read the rest here.

Mass Marketing

(AoftheAP) The effects of the weak US economy continue to reach nearly every sector - manufacturing, agriculture, education, services. Consumers are holding onto their cash at a higher rate than in years past, reducing their spending and carefully counting every penny.

The pinch is felt by the print media as well - subscription rates have slipped considerably, which has resulted in falling advertising revenues as companies, reluctant to increase expenditures in an area where exposure is shrinking, seek other ways to get a bigger bang for their buck. Several publications in the Catholic sphere, however, have pooled together their marketing savvy to increase exposure and grow market share.

Ad executives for two major publications - the National Catholic Reporter and Commonweal - have struck a deal this week with several prominent left-leaning progressive organizations in an effort to stem the tide of red ink and restore some profitability to their respective publishers.

Sources from Commonweal and NCR spoke with AoftheA this morning, on the condition of anonymity, and provided some details of their plans.

"We're losing readers," the NCR source explained. "Mostly through attrition - we have quite an elderly demographic - but some have not renewed their subscriptions due to the weak economy. Our falling rates have nothing to do with the quality unbiased reporting on the part of our staff, of that I'm sure."

Similar sentiments were echoed by Commonweal. "I think part of our problem, too, is that so few average Church-going Catholics have heard of us. We're kind of invisible to them."

Invisibility will no longer be an issue when their new advertising blitz begins in March. The publications have struck a deal with several US dioceses to start marketing their offerings - in the churches.

"It might turn some people off at first," the anonymous NCR editor admitted, "but this is truly a win-win-win for all parties involved. A, we get our name out there in front of the parishoners; B, the parish generates income from our product placement; and C, the parishoners learn of alternative sources to augment their faith, and perhaps learn a little bit more of what's going on in the church at large."

Unofficially, the first parish to unveil the marketing campaign will be Our Lady of Good Investment in the Cleveland diocese. The pastor, Fr McGuffinutty, declined to comment for this article. He did, however, agree to pose in his new vestments.


"It occurred to us that the most obvious place to place our ads are on the priests' vestments," the NCR source admitted. "No one really reads the bulletins, and to plaster ads on the altar or baptismal font or the ambo is just plain tacky and tasteless. But everyone looks at the priest - it just makes sense. Look, NASCAR drivers do it. Why not this?"

There is speculation that the publications will also provide sponsorship of the Liturgy of the Word. For instance, when the lector pronounces "A reading from the Book of Isaiah", he will follow up with "Brought to you by the fine people at Commonweal". Or, prior to the Prayers of the Faithful, the lector will first state "Today's prayers are sponsored by Call-to-Action".

"Believe me" the Commonweal source said, "we're going to push this aggressively. This could be a cash cow for dioceses around the country. When you look at parishes being forced to close because of declining attendance, well, the income generated from our advertising could help keep the doors open."

Which begs the question: if falling attendance rates are forcing churches to close, then will enough people be exposed to the marketing to make a difference in the lost sales? Will the publications gain enough subscriptions to offset the advertising costs?

"Listen," the NCR source said when asked those questions, "using logic like that is a cheap shot, and is really rather offensive. That kind of talk just isn't acceptable."

The effort here, they say, is to engage the parishoner and promote active participation. To generate dialogue and develop greater interest in the collaborating organizations. To get them to ask questions. To foster unity. And to spend their money.

"On one hand," the Commonweal source explained, "we have to be creative in our marketing approach. We have a captive audience. On the other hand is to help those groups who have helped us for many years. The bottom line isn't so much 'the bottom line', but keeping the Spirit of Vatican II alive."
(original vestment photos from Bad Vestments blog.)

Monday, February 15, 2010

CMR Exclusive - The Baby Gianna Story, Part I

Matthew and Patrick Archbold at Creative Minority Report are publishing a week-long series of serious import concerning an important cause: Right to Life. In their own words: This is the first part in a week-long series telling this incredible and gut-wrenching true story about life, death, abortion, and betrayal. They've asked for help in giving this story wide exposure, and I'm honored to do my small part.

Part I: Answering the Call

Jessica Chominski fights for the lives of others. Little lives. The ones many don’t think are worth fighting for. She is the sole full time employee of the Bucks County Community Women’s Center, a crisis pregnancy center in Pennsylvania.

About once a week a woman calls or walks into the center asking about abortion and Jessica asks them why they feel the need to abort their child, she tells them about other options, explains what abortion is, and tells them about the dignity of every human life. “Hopefully they leave thinking twice,” she says.

It’s nerve-wracking work. At 24 years old, Jessica works daily under the weight that lives depend on her. Every phone call. Every conversation. And she knows that she can’t control what a woman does when she walks out of the center so she just does all she can. And when there's no more she can do she prays. But to her it’s all worth it because in the end Jessica knows, “there are babies crawling around right now because of the work we do. And that is miraculous.”

Read the rest here.

The Post Turtle

(From my mailbox....)

While suturing up a cut on the hand of a 75 year old rancher, whose hand had been caught in the gate while working his cattle, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man. Eventually the topic got around to Obama, and his being our president.

The old rancher said, "Well, ya know, Obama is just a Post Turtle."

Now not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked,

What's a "Post Turtle?"

The old rancher said, "When you're driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that's a post turtle."

The old rancher saw the puzzled look on the doctor's face so he continued to explain. "You know he didn't get up there by himself, he doesn't belong up there, he doesn't know what to do while he's up there, he sure as heck ain't goin' anywhere, and you just wonder what kind of idiot put him up there in the first place."

Saturday, February 13, 2010

On Assignment

Terry at Abbey Roads has given me a job to do. He wrote about it on his blog.

"BTW - The Bishops of England and Wales just came out with a pastoral explaining that the Bible is not true. I know! Acts of the Apostasy better get moving on this one."

Now, I'm not entirely sure what I'm supposed to do on this assignment. Should I get on the next plane to London and investigate? Should I go undercover - maybe as Basil Fawlty or Austin Powers - and infiltrate the English hierarchy? Dig for secrets and all that stuff?

Neither option is feasible on such short notice. So I checked Fr Tim's blog to see if he's written on this yet. No such luck. So much for the Cliff Notes approach.

So I decided to look at the article - which was WRITTEN OVER 4 YEARS AGO!!

Solved the mystery for ya, Terry! Case closed!

El Buen Samaritano

Here's a feel-good story for the weekend. Check out this video from Argentina of a man coming to the aid of a van stalled on a set of train tracks.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Etymology Of Fake Catholics

Etymology is pretty fascinating. It's possible to trace the origin of nearly every English word, seeing how it passed down from one civilization to another across the span of time. Words mean things, and how their definitions and usages developed affects how those words are used today.

Take a look at the following word, one that is fond and quite common among fake Catholics.

L 'sōns' (guilty) ---> ON 'synd', akin to G 'Sünde' ----> OE 'syn'(n.) offense ----> ME 'sin'(n.) [bef. 900] ----> SOV2 'mistake'(n.) [+1968].

PP Desecrates St. Valentine's Day

St. Valentine's Day is almost here. I'm looking forward to no longer being assailed by the vapid Pajamagram commercials, the Vermont Teddy Bear ads and the Pro-Flowers spots for the next year.

But what has to be the worst Valentine's promotion is no doubt Planned Parenthood's take on the holiday. Make sure your cup of coffee is on a flat surface.

From LifeNews.com: Valentine's Day Cards From Planned Parenthood Promote Abortion, Condoms

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- New Valentine's Day cards from Planned Parenthood and a national organization for "pro-choice" doctors don't have the typical phrases like "Be Mine" or "I Love You." Instead, the promotional cards promote abortion, condoms and promiscuity.

Jodi Magee, the head of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, emailed supporters of abortion practitioners and pro-abortion doctors letting them know of their special Valentine's Day cards.

"Let pro-choice physicians know that you appreciate them. With the stigma and harassment our doctors face, they deserve to know that they make us proud," she says.

The cards feature a large heart on a white background with the message, "I love pro-choice doctors" and a link to the pro-abortion group's web site.

Blogger Valerie of 2 Seconds Faster blog noticed the cards and responded, "I can't imagine sending ANY physician a valentine, but the thought of sending one to an abortionist makes my skin crawl to say the least. But that is exactly what 'Jodi' is urging members of PRCH to do."

Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland has a slew of cards promoting condoms and promiscuity. The cards come with an dotted-lined box show the giver of the card where to place a condom inside.

One card shows a picture of a pair of jeans on the outside and features the message, "I always stay safe with my pants on the ground" -- a parody of the infamous American Idol song.

Another has a boy condom and girl condom looking at each other saying "Looking good sexy thing."

A third features a tic-tac-toe box where three condoms in a row beat the Xs and inside, the message reads, "I like playing with you."

Jill Stanek, the pro-life nurse and blogger, noticed the cards and is disappointed by the message they send to teenagers.

"If Planned Parenthood's honest goal is to help women control their procreation - to plan their parenthood - why does it expend so much energy promoting sexual titillation and promiscuity?" she wondered. "Obviously the organization has become financially dependent on selling contraceptives and abortion, and what better way to increase sales than promote rampant sex."

Yeah, nothing says romance like promiscuity, sleaze and sin. And then walking hand-in-hand to an abortion clinic later on if a "mistake" happens. But this is par for the course from the organization that gave out abortion gift certificates back in 2008, just in time for Christmas.

I'm no prude, and I understand the sex-saturated culture in which we live. But this is outrageous. What needs to happen is for Catholic groups to reclaim this holiday from the culture - by promoting authentic love, chivalry, respect. Maybe that's being done, I don't know - if it is, it's being drowned out by the secular forces. And I'm not talking about a Christopher West TOB Valentine's Day book, either.

I have an idea for Planned Parenthood: make up your own holiday instead of co-opting the Christian ones. See what kind of support you get by going that route. And be honest about the name. Call it Eugenics Day, or Snuff-a-Life Day, or St. Sanger's Day. Just keep your defiling claws off our holidays.

Given the choice, I'd happily suffer through every Pajamagram commercial if it meant the stain of Planned Parenthood was scrubbed from St. Valentine's Day.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Battling Heresy And Dissent: Pro Football Style

Congratulations to the New Orleans Saints on winning Super Bowl XLIV! But very few people knew - in fact, probably zero people knew - that before the first snap of the Super Bowl, another football game had been played. And AoftheA has portions of the transcript...

(Well, of course I do! Who else would??)

--------*--------

*PREGAME*

Keith Jackson: "Good afternoon, and welcome to EWTN Stadium in sunny Alabama, where we're mere moments away from the kickoff of the Supernatural Bowl. I'm Keith Jackson, and alongside me in the booth is fan favorite Fr John Corapi."

Fr Corapi: "Hello, Keith. It is certainly good to be here with you, and with our viewers."

Keith Jackson: "The Catholic faith and football. The time-honored ritual of full-contact religious debate. It has a rich and storied tradition. The Four Horsemen of Notre Dame. Touchdown Jesus. The Immaculate Reception. And today, the Supernatural Bowl. Two teams, a clash of titans, vying for the ultimate victory: The New Jerusalem Saints versus the Los Arias Mules. Father, it's no secret who you're rooting for - it's as obvious as a rooster song at daybreak on a Georgian pecan farm. Talk a little about the Saints."

Corapi: "Keith, the Saints are, for lack of a better word, perfect. Or perhaps I should say, perfected. Their offense is led at quarterback by St Peter. Inspired play-calling, calm in the pocket, accurate throws. He is the quintessential leader. The Saints' offensive line is large and quick, anchored by St Thomas Aquinas at center and GK Chesterton at right tackle. Plenty of other offensive weapons as well - Joseph of Cupertino and Alphosus Ligouri are stellar wideouts, and at running back is St Augustine. On the other side of the ball, they run a tenacious 3-4 defense, with the inside linebackers, brothers James and John Zebedee, the "Sons of Thunder", providing many of the big plays. Coach St Christopher believes on being prepared to make a defense, and he does just that with multiple blitz packages and various formations designed to confuse the opposing offense."

Jackson: "And what about the Mules?"

Corapi: "The Mules are not led by anyone because they don't acknowledge authority. They have a committee of coaches, they employ a rotational system of eight quarterbacks, and always want to play by their own set of rules."

Jackson: "The umpire crew will have their hands full today. Well, team captains are approaching midfield....actually, it's the entire Mules team coming out, and the Saints captains - Sts Peter, James and John. The head referee for today's championship game is Dr. Scott Hahn. Let's go down to the field for the Official Coin Toss."

Hahn: "Gentlemen...and ladies..."

Jackson (whispering): "Did he say 'ladies'?"

Corapi: "It's the mules, Keith."

Jackson: "Whoa, Nellie!"

Hahn: "Here is the official coin of the Supernatural Bowl. On this side, the image of a chalice, is 'heads'. And on this side, the image of a paten, is 'tails'. And what's interesting about this symbolism, is that in ancient Hebrew traditions, a person in possession of the cup during sacrificial meals signified he who was 'the head', which points to Christ as revealed in the New Testament. Meanwhile, the paten, when translated from the Greek, by tracing back the etymology..."

St Peter: "Will you just get on with the coin toss?"

Mules team member: "We object to the use of 'heads' and 'tails'. It sounds too hierarchical!"

Another Mules: "Yeah, and misogynistic too! Use 'fronts' and 'backs' instead!"

Jackson: "Sounds like things are quickly getting out of control down there, Father. I've seen calmer proceedings at a slaughterhouse."

Corapi: "Just wait until the game actually starts."

Hahn: "Fine, fine. We'll go 'fronts' and 'backs'. Saints, you're the Away team, so you call."

[Flips coin]

St Peter: "Backs!"

[Coin lands. Everyone crowds around to see.]

Hahn: "Crap, it's 'fronts'. Mules pick - kick or receive?"

Mules team member: "We'll have to take a vote!"

*2nd QUARTER*

Jackson: "Less than three minutes to go before halftime, Saints have the ball on the Mules' 18 yard line, up 28-6. Third and seven."

Corapi: "Augustine has been shredding the Mules' defense all half. Expect St Peter to keep it on the ground."

Jackson: "Yes, it's been all Saints thus far. The Mules points came on a trick play when several offensive players asked for the Sacrament of Confession, and while St James and St John were distracted, their running back snuck into the end zone."

Corapi: "Typical tactic, Keith. And of course, they failed on the 2-point conversion. If there's one thing dissidents don't do well, it's conversion."

Jackson: "Here we go - Saints coming to the line of scrimmage, St Peter under center. Calls the play....hand off to Augustine...big hole off right tackle...dekes the linebacker! To the ten.....the five....jukes the safety for the touchdown! Saints score again!"

Corapi: "Just a reminder here for our viewers - the Supernatural Halftime Show is coming up, featuring the LCWR Liturgical Dancers with their Tribute to David Haas."

Jackson: "Here's the extra point....it's up and it's good. Saints 35, Mules 6, coming up on the two minute warning. And to think there's still a second half to go."

*Start of 3rd Quarter*

Jackson: "Well, Father, your thoughts?"

Corapi: "There are no words to describe the horror we have been subjected to."

Jackson: "It has been ugly to watch, that is for certain. Saints 35, Mules 6. Very one-sided."

Corapi: "I was referring to the half-time show!"

Jackson: "Let's go down to the field for a sideline report from Danny Abramowicz. Danny?"

Danny: "Keith, I caught up to St Augustine as the teams came back on to the field. He had a great first half, 153 yards on 18 carries, crossing the goal 3 times for touchdowns. I asked him about his third touchdown, the one near the end of the first half. He told me that his feet are restless til they rest in the end zone. He also mentioned he's enjoying the game a lot, reminding him of when he battled Pelagians and Manicheans. Running over heretics and dissenters, he said, in a football game is providing a great deal of satisfaction. Keith?"

Jackson: "Father, what do the Mules have to do to get back in the game?"

Corapi: "They don't have a prayer, Keith. They're failing in every aspect of the game - offense, defense, special teams. Too many penalties. Lack of leadership. Their game plan has as many holes as their theology. The only thing they're doing well is complaining to the officials. The Saints could pack up and go home right now, and the Mules would still end up losing."

Jackson: "You knew this wasn't going to be any ordinary game when the Mules threw out a challenge flag on the Saints' first offensive play."

Corapi: "It was while the Saints were still in the huddle! They accused the Saints of being secretive and not participating in a spirit of collegiality. It's gone downhill from there."

*Middle of the 3rd Quarter*

Jackson: "Saints are lined up at their 47, first and ten after the Mules' ninth punt of the game. St Peter brings the team out of the huddle, Augustine in the backfield, Joseph of Cupertino wide left, Alphonsus of Liguori lined up in the slot. Still 35-6."

Corapi: "Mules are expecting a pass - they have the dime package out there."

Jackson: "St Peter is under center, calls the play..."

St Peter: "John---3:16!---3:16! hut.....hutHIKE!"

Jackson: "St Peter drops back in the pocket, looking left....he has Joseph on a deep post....St Peter lets it go....into triple coverage! WHOOOOAAAA NELLLIIIEEEE!!"

Corapi: "What a catch by Joseph of Cupertino!"

Jackson: "I'll say! He certainly elevated above the defenders to catch that high pass! In fact, he's STILL elevated!"

Corapi: "He's levitating! Ten feet above the playing field!"

Jackson: "He caught it at the fifteen, and is floating....ten...five...touchdown Saints! Now that's an Immaculate Reception! He's back on his feet, being mobbed by his teammates!"

Corapi: "Expect the Mules to challenge the play, Keith. They deny miracles, but I don't think there's anything in the rulebook that prohibits levitation."

*Late in the 4th Quarter*

Jackson: "Mules have the ball on their own 27. Fourth and 41. 1:09 left in the game, and they're down 42-6. It looks as if the Mules are going to go for it rather than punt. Do you think they'll throw a Hail Mary here?"

Corapi: "Unlikely. That's not a play in their handbook."

Jackson: "Father, it seems that the Saints sat back in the second half and resisted running up the score."

Corapi: "Well, that makes sense, Keith. It's no surprise that the Saints are showing compassion, and mercy, and charity. It's in their nature. And it ought to surprise no one, that as the dust settles, and as the smoke of battle clears away, the Saints are standing victorious. Truth will always win in the end."

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Federal Hate Crimes Law To Be Challenged In Court

Well, that didn't take long.

Back on October 28, President Obama signed the "Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act" into law - the Hate Crimes Bill, for short - which had such overwhelming bipartisan support, that it was included as part of the $680-billion defense spending bill. Actually, the only way the bill was going to get past both the House and Senate was by adding it to a major piece of legislation.

Never mind that each state has their own version of 'hate crimes' laws on their books.

And never mind that all this legislation accomplishes is gives certain individuals added rights. Who cares, big deal - all in the name of tolerance and fairness.

So here we are a little over three months since Obama signed the bill into law, and...

... and it's constitutionality is being challenged. This is from a week ago, and of course it's not being covered by the national news. But it's important.

From the Thomas More Law Center: First Court Challenge to Federal Hate Crimes Act Filed by Three Pastors and a Pro-Family Advocate from February 2, 2010

ANN ARBOR, MI – The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor Michigan, this morning filed a federal lawsuit against U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., challenging the constitutionality of the recently-enacted federal Hate Crimes Act. The Act criminalizes so-called “bias” crimes motivated by a person’s “actual or perceived” “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” and thus elevates those engaged in certain deviant sexual behaviors to a special, protected class of persons under federal law.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, on behalf of Pastor Levon Yuille, Pastor Rene Ouellette, Pastor James Combs, and Gary Glenn, the president of the American Family Association of Michigan (AFA-Michigan). [Read Complaint].

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Law Center, and a former county prosecutor, commented, “There is no legitimate law enforcement need for this federal law. Of the 1.38 million violent crimes reported in the U.S. by the FBI in 2008, only 243 were considered as motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation. Moreover, Eric Holder himself testified at a Senate hearing that the states are doing a fine job in this area.”

Thompson continued, “This is part of the list of political payoffs to homosexual advocacy groups for support of Barack Obama in the last presidential election. The sole purpose of this law is to criminalize the Bible and use the threat of federal prosecutions and long jail sentences to silence Christians from expressing their Biblically-based religious belief that homosexual conduct is a sin. It elevates those persons who engage in deviant sexual behaviors, including pedophiles, to a special protected class of persons as a matter of federal law and policy.”

“Christians are taught to love the sinner, but hate the sin. In fact, the greatest threat of violence to ‘homosexuals’ comes not from Christians but from other ‘homosexuals,’ according to statistics compiled by their own advocacy groups,” said Thompson.

The Hate Crimes Act, cited as the “Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act,” was dubbed by its critics as the “Pedophile Protection Act,” after an amendment to explicitly prohibit pedophilia from protection under the act was defeated by a majority of Democrats. The Act itself is poorly written, based on erroneous facts and internally incoherent principles.

[...]

The lawsuit alleges that this new provision of the federal hate crimes law violates the plaintiffs’ rights to freedom of speech, expressive association, and free exercise of religion protected by the First Amendment, and it violates the equal protection guarantee of the Fifth Amendment. The lawsuit also alleges that Congress lacked authority to enact the legislation under the Tenth Amendment and the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.

Read the whole article at the TLMC site. Note how it's the homosexuals activists who are agitating the hate speech.

Keep your eyes on this. The suit was filed in US Distrcit Court, but I bet it ends up in the US Supreme Court before all is said and done.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Creepy

This is so...ghoulish...I doubt even Saturday Night Live will touch it.

The following video is of the president at a fund-raiser last week. In the midst of a health-care spiel, he mentions a deceased former campaign worker - and it's just so wrong. Pay particular attention to the audience's reaction.



As one commenter at the Big Hollywood site mentioned: "I gave money, energy and time to the Obama campaign and all I got was this lousy t-shirt."

Can he act any more non-presidential? No...wait...don't tell me. I really don't want to know.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Constant Companion

I have a constant companion. I don't like him very much, and I've asked him to go away on many occasions. But he sticks around, ignoring my protests. He's Cousin Eddie Johnson to my Clark Griswold. If I'm not careful, he can get me in all sorts of trouble. He's mischievous with the TV remote. He likes to needle me, occasionally nudging me with his elbow when an attractive woman is nearby. "It's just looking," he teases, knowing full well what he's doing. When I say a prayer to Mary, or to Jesus, he gets offended and stomps off in a huff. But before long, he's back again, acting as if nothing happened.

I really don't like him.

His name is Ken.

Ken Q. Puissance. I bet you've heard of him.

He is a real thorn in my side.

"And to keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I besought the Lord about this, that it should leave me; but he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." (2 Cor 12:7-9)

I bet St Paul knew Ken, too.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
I don't like Ken. But he just won't go away.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Spanish In(i)quisition

A clear example that an increase in Socialism leads to an exponential decrease in morality. When God's standards are tossed aside, then everything and anything (with emphasis on 'anything') becomes acceptable.

From CNA: Spanish Government Course Teaches Sex Can Be Practiced With 'Girl, Boy or Animal'

Parent organizations in Spain are fiercely protesting the curriculum of the Socialist government’s required education course, “Education for the Citizenry,” after it was revealed that in one Spanish city, students are being taught that sex can be freely practiced, even with animals.

According to the organization “Professionals for Ethics,” third grade students in Cordoba, located in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia, are using course material stating that “nature has given us sex so we can use it with another girl, with a boy or with an animal.” Parents groups say the material indoctrinates children and camouflages an agenda that is pro-homosexual and critical of moral norms and values.

In the region of Castille and Leon, some 500 students have been excused from participating in the course for reasons of conscience, while hundreds in Madrid and Valencia are awaiting a ruling from the courts on whether or not they are required to attend.

When sex is disassociated from procreation, this is the kind of sick stuff that results. So what'll be next? Necrophilia?

s/s to Catholic Cavemen

One Degree Of Stupid

Ever play that game where someone names an actor or actress, and you have to connect them to Kevin Bacon in six "moves" or less? It's called "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon", and I'm sure everyone has heard of it. So, for instance - start with "James Stewart", and find the connection to Kevin Bacon.*

Well, one of the writers at the National Catholic Distorter kinda does that by trying to equate the US bishops with the preacher character in the movie "Footloose". I've reprinted a portion here.

Bishops: It's Time To Cut Loose by Kate Childs Graham

[...]

And that got me thinking, what could "Footloose" teach the leaders of the Catholic church?

Rev. Moore's impetus for banning dance and rock-and-roll was full of good intentions. He wanted to stop the town's teens from being hurt -- a laudable effort. Much like Rev. Moore, I believe that many church teachings, particularly around gender, sex and sexuality, began with good intentions. In excluding women from leadership, for instance, the bishops of yore were aspiring to do what they thought Christ would do (though I believe Christ would have done exactly the opposite). And you can't blame them for that.

Quickly though, Rev. Moore's good intentions transformed into wielding power for the sake of power. He himself even lost sight of why he stood so firmly opposed to something he once enjoyed. But he thought that letting go, admitting he was wrong, would show signs of weakness. The church hierarchy has been in this position, too. Their unwillingness to reverse their teaching on condom use for people living with HIV is but one example. At some point it's no longer about protecting people, it's about the fear of losing power and seeming weak.

Ultimately, Rev. Moore is able to release his fear-filled grip -- and cut loose, if you will -- because he realized that by ignoring the wants and needs of the people, he was driving a wedge between himself and those he served. There is no doubt in my mind, and the number of people leaving the church confirms, that the church hierarchy's unwillingness to revamp its teachings on gender, sex and sexuality is driving a wedge between the hierarchy and the faithful.

Rev. Moore was able to cut loose from his distrust and power. And it's not that everyone's lives were perfect because of it, because not every choice is the right one. It's that in cutting loose everyone is free to follow their conscience. And that type of trust brings a community together.

Bishops, perhaps it's time to cut loose.

Same ol', same ol'. What the author fails to grasp is that a) it's just a stupid movie, and b) bishops don't have control of anyone's conscience. Duh! If her premise were true, she wouldn't have been allowed to write the editorial in the first place. The bishops aren't about coercing people's free will - they're about trying to guide souls to heaven, despite ourselves and because of our sinful inclinations.

She's comparing apples to oranges here. Rev Moore's private interpretation of scripture is not the same as apostolic tradition and revealed truth. Big difference. But in the blind drive to rationalize immoral behavior, and in the heady rush to idolize primacy of conscience without the gentle guide of the Church's teachings - well, some crazy things are written, and some very silly ideas are espoused. Crazy, silly, and very dangerous. Typical of most of the staff at the NCR, actually.

After having read the article, I had the "Footloose" theme running in my head. So now I get to share it with you - complete with updated lyrics:

You think you're so smart
No more than willful upstarts
Write columns. For what?
I'll tell you what you've got

I got this feeling
You're not playing with a full deck
But still you're squealing
About your 'deep intellect'

Lemme me tell ya, bud -

Your, screw's loose
Logic is quite obtuse
Kate, too late
One ace short of a straight
Joan, you crone
Ten bucks short of a loan
Views confused
Cos' all of 'em have screws loose!

You're playing so cool
Denying every rule
You try to sound so wise
But your Kids' Meal's missing some fries

Someone should tell you
To quit when you are ahead
But you're listening to
Dickie McBrien instead
You're misled! Which is why -

Your screw's loose
Logic is quite obtuse
Oohwee, Dickie,
Givin' out heresy
Oh, I know
Light's on but no one's home
Views confused
Cos' all of 'em have screws loose!

*James Stewart starred with Katherine Hepburn ("The Philadelphia Story") who starred with Henry Fonda ("On Golden Pond") who starred with Hal Holbrook ("Midway") who starred with Tom Cruise ("The Firm") who starred with Kevin Bacon in "A Few Good Men".

Thursday, February 4, 2010

AoftheA SOTB Address

2010 State of the Blog Address

*thump thump* "Is this mike on? Can you hear me back there? I'm good?...what? No - I don't need no telprompter!! OK - let's get this thing started."

"Ladies and gentlemen of the blogosphere, esteemed members of St Blogs, random visitors and faithful Followers - it is said that there is a first time for everything. Thus, for the first time, as Editor-in-Chief of Acts of the Apostasy, I shall give the blogosphere information on the state of the blog.

"First of all, I wish to extend heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all who patronized AoftheA this past year. Your support and encouragement was very supportive and encouraging.

"2009 was a good year for AoftheA - month-to-month increase of visits, rapid expansion of Followers, and a rising volume of comments. AoftheA welcomed visitors from 132 different nations in 2009, and not a single one was turned away at the border. "For I was a stranger, and you welcomed me". (applause line)

"Much was accomplished in the past year. 545 posts. An improved layout. The addition of the Instant "Acts"cess page element. The introduction of guest blogger Sr Patricia Owens-O'Flannery. The humbling recognition as "Best Hifreakinlarious" blog in the 2009 Cannonball Awards. The opportunity to be a guest blogger for several weeks at Creative Minority Report. AoftheA even won the Pulitzer Prize in 2009. (applause line)

"All this was accomplished without having to charge fees or impose taxes on any of the thousands of visitors to AoftheA, whether rich or poor. I remain committed to the ideal of free subscription, and promise you that I will not waver in this commitment throughout 2010 and beyond. Read my lips: no Paypal widgets! (applause line)

"I will continue to promote the principle of a strong defense - - - of the Catholic Church, against all enemies, both within and without. Especially the 'within' crowd. The enemy may be ruthless, and while I am confident they will continue to provide opportunities for humor and satire, it must never be forgotten that they, whether consciously or not, are putting souls in peril. Not just their own, but the souls of all those who support their dangerous positions. (applause line)

"Let me be perfectly clear - the War on Terror is not over. (big applause line) Far from it. In this battle, bipartisanship is not an option. There might be dialogue, there may even be ecumenism, but there will never be bipartisanship. The battle continues to be waged on many fronts: over liturgy and doctrine, over faith and morals, on the blogs, at newsites, and in the comboxes. I am not interested in reaching a compromise, or reaching across the aisle. I am committed to fighting this battle until the bitter end. (applause line) I may not always be successful, but I assure you, I will always be faithful! (applause line)

"AoftheA maintained unwavering support for the Culture of Life in 2009. Whether the topic was abortion, or so-called same-sex marriage, or embryonic stem-cell research - in each case, the Catholic position was always clearly stated and defended. And I promise you, that trend shall continue in the upcoming year. (applause line)

"An issue that dominated 2009 was health care. Everybody knows that laughter is the best medicine, so this past year I strove to provide comprehensive health care to all visitors. Who can say how many lives were saved as a result of the Illustrated Progressive Catholic Alphabet or The Dr Seuss Bible? (applause line) Who knows how many illnesses were shortened via Women's Ordination: The Video Game", or by the Feigned Outrage Oscillating Locator? (applause line) Only the good Lord knows how many cures came about from learning of the Latest Bishop's Scandal, the newest Scooby Doo Mystery, or from reading An Open Letter to the TAC. (applause line)

"When I started this blog, I promised that transparency would prevail. I believe that I have made good on that promise - by making a startling Confession, by revealing My Softer Side, and by posting a photo of my family's Halloween costumes. I must publicly state, despite charges to the contrary, that no Christmas photo of my family ever appeared on this blog, at any time. (this is where Cathy of Alex mouths "not true")

"That is the state of the blog right now, today. I am pleased with the progress that has been made. I am proud that my Cuss-o-meter is at 0%. But let me be perfectly clear - that in no way means I am satisfied with the status quo. I have no intention of resting on my laurels. I have outlined some aggressive goals for 2010. Continued transparency.(applause line) A commitment to improved photo-shopping. (big applause line) A 20% increase in humor for 2010, with plans to introduce more snark. (applause line) New features. (applause line) All without raising fees or taxes. Your fees will not be increased one single dime. One.Single.Dime. (big applause line)

A good year lies behind, while a new one, full of hope and change, stretches ahead. It won't always be easy. There may be days where the intent to post something cogent will be overcome by the desire to post something silly and inane. It has happened before, it will happen again. Some may say it is even happening right now. But I won't quit. Let's seize this moment - to start anew, to carry the dream forward, and to continue to strengthen this blog. Ever serious. Ever satirical. Ever humorous. Ever faithful. (applause line)

Thank you. God bless all of you. God bless the blogosphere, and may God bless AoftheA. (big applause line)

Hey, if it's good enough for the President and governors and mayors, then what the heck!