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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

iPhone Apps For Catholycs

There sure is a lot of hullabaloo out there about Apple's new iPad and iPhone 4. Apparently they're the bee's knees on all things technofantastical-like. I don't own either product, and I won't anytime soon - although my birthday is coming up. Even still, I highly doubt stuff that extravagant is on the list, because when I told Mrs LarryD I had dropped off my golf clubs at the shop to be regripped, all she said was "Happy Birthday!"

Anyway.

I'm thinking of developing some apps for these new products, catered just for Catholycs. I know what you're thinking, and you're right: I'd be marketing products for a declining demographic - not the wisest of business plans. Fair enough. Still, there's what, like 163 billion iPhones and about half as many iPads or so in the world? Heck, declining demographics or not, there's bound to be a few Catholycs using the things.

So here are my ten ideas:

1) The Chit Chat. This app provides the user a daily message from Sr. Joan Chittister. Just click on the app, and a pre-loaded inspirational quote appears on the screen. Sayings like "A self-creating universe becomes co-creator with the humble God who shares power and waits for the best from us and provides for what we need to make it happen." Or maybe this gem: "In an evolving world, then, God becomes “becoming.” God is the one who stands by as we grow from one self to another, from one level of insight to another, from one age and awareness to another." The sayings may be pure gobbledy-gook, but who cares? They're from Jooooaaaaann.

2) Womyn's World. This app brings up the closest Womynpreest-led pagan ritual at an undisclosed non-Catholic location, using specially developed GPS - Gyntile Positioning System. It's like Masstimes.com, only without the Mass. Very useful during vacation trips. A secondary function informs the user of the next scheduled Womynpreest Fauxrdination.

3) Da Bomb. Curious as to where all the missile silos are located? This app pinpoints the closest military installation to cut down on time organizing a protest!

4) A-maze-ing! This app has two functions. One gives the sites of local labyrinths. The second function pulls up a "virtual" labyrinth for the user to walk - works best when standing in the middle of an empty field. But if the user wants to do it near a busy highway, I won't stand in their way...

5) Pantsuits R Us. Need to know which stores in town have the best deals on polyester pantsuits? This app alerts the user to sales and markdowns - perfect for the CRONES!

6) The B-List. The perfect app when in the bookstore or library - tells the user if a particular spiritual or theological book is on the Vatican's Banned Books list, or if the author is an ex-communicated married ex-priest. Links to Amazon.com to facilitate ordering if the user prefers on-line shopping!

7) H&H Hits and Jesuit Jingles. These apps bring up every song ever written by Marty Haugen and David Haas, and every hymn published by the St Louis Jesuits. Special 'Karaoke' feature allows Music Directors to broadcast hymns during Mass - great for communities with no talented musicians!

8) Sin-opsis. This app allows the user to determine whether or not they need the sacrament of confession. By selecting from a list of probable sinful acts, a complex algorithm program calculates their overall degree of sinfulness. For instance - selecting "remarried without first obtaining an annulment"; "contracepting" and "occasionally attends Mass" generates a 0% Sin-opsis. However, if the user also drives a Tahoe, the Sin-opsis rises to 34.1%. If the user also selects "reads Catholic blogs like AoftheA"...92.5% Sin-opsis. Ouch!

9) Toler-apps. Want to find the least offensive, most PC thing to say in any given situation? This app provides one or more compassionate, thoughtful phrases - say a friend complains her daughter is living with her boyfriend out of wedlock. "Toler-apps" suggests saying "Think of all the money they're saving!" If the friend's daughter is living with her lesbian girlfriend, "Toler-apps" suggests "How interesting, not that there's anything wrong with that." This app is also useful for the parish pastor who wants to deliver homilies that don't hurt anyone's feelings.

10) Eco-licious. This app finds the user sources for organic, free-trade and/or locally-grown vegetarian low-fat products, sorted by carbon footprint, and the location of the neighbor's gardens who are growing them so that the user can trespass in the middle of the night to steal them.

All I need to do now is learn how to code 'em.

Catholycs: A Dying Breed

More proof that time is not on the side of the Catholycs.

The American Catholic Council shuffles forward in their plans for "renewing" the Catholic Old Folks' Home Church. They've recently published the roster of speakers for their June 2011 Heresy Hoedown in Detroit.

Hans Kung (he's still alive?)
Dr Jeanette Rodriguez (a fem theologian at Seattle U.)
Dr Anthony Padovano (ex-priest and founder of CORPUS)
James Carroll (another ex-priest and writer at the Boston Globe)
Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (former Lt Gov of Maryland, member of some famous MA family)
Sr Joan Chittister (needs no introduction)

I researched these Cantankersauruses, and came up with their ages (by the time the ACC convenes in 2011). Here they are:

HK - 83
JR - 57
AP - 68-ish (couldn't find anything definite, but he left the priesthood in '74, so I'm making as educated a guess possible)
JC - 68
KKT - 59
JC - 75

Average age comes to 68.33 years. Kinda telling that they didn't book any speaker under the age of 50. Probably because there aren't any.

Just for fun, I did the same for the speakers who participated at the recent 2010 Statewide Men's Conference held 6/26 in Michigan. This is an annual event where faithful Catholic rock-solid presenters give testimony and sound spiritual advice, while numerous priests hear confessions, and then Mass is celebrated at the conclusion. I was unable to attend, but I heard it was phenomenal.

Here's the list of speakers and their ages:

Fr John Riccardo - 45
Matthew Kelly - 36
Fr Stan Fortuna - 53
Danny Abramowicz - 66
Vic Faust - 41 (local newsreporter and contibutor to RealCatholicTV.com; he interviewed Danny at the conference)
Curtis Martin - 48-ish (couldn't find actual age, so I'm guessing here)

Average age comes to 48.17.

More than 20 years' difference - nearly a generation.

The good guys are going to be around a lot longer.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"Don't Devalue Christian Heritage"

Fr Robert Sirico of the Acton Institute, located in Grand Rapids, MI, has an excellent column published in today's Detroit News. Go read the whole thing - I've included only a couple snippets.
[...]

It does not take the training of a professional sociologist to realize that a major cultural shift regarding faith, morals and the place of Christianity is under way in Western Civilization. And this has nothing, really, to do with some haphazard lightning strike in Ohio.

Consider the following, which is a mere sampling of recent efforts to undermine the place of faith in the public life of Western democracies:

• The European Union's insistence that neither God nor the Christian Church be mentioned in its Constitution, despite the clear historical role belief in the form and the institution of the latter played in the formation of Europe.

• The litany (if you will excuse the pun) of coarse jokes, cheap shots and outright viciousness directed specifically at the person of Christ or the Christian faith on TV and which are passed over by the same people who would readily file hate crime charges against their promoters if addressed to any other religion.

• The subtle but clear shift in language away from "freedom of religion" to "freedom of worship" on the part of the current administration, retaining only one dimension of religion (worship) while setting the stage to curtail its public witness. It is freedom of religion, not merely worship that has been venerated since the American founding.

[...]

The very idea of limited government and hence tolerance (yes, tolerance, which is not to be confused with the relativism offered as a substitute) emerge from the Judeo-Christian view of the sovereignty of God in personal and social life, rather than the sovereignty of political elites.

The very juridical systems we have grown accustomed to -- and have been the envy of the world -- did not just appear; they unfolded from the logic of the biblical faith. So, too, with the scientific method which followed from the knowledge that, if things are ordered by a divine plan and we are made in the image of God, then the truth of the physical world is knowable to reason.

Christianity has endowed Western Civilization with a priceless heritage. To lose this to a mass amnesia in the culture, would be an inestimable loss to the sense of who we are as a people and to any real hope we might have of building a just and tolerant future.

IMHO, I don't think it's as much as "mass amnesia" as it's a case of willful disregard. To admit that Christianity has impacted Western Civilization would also mean they'd have to consider the mores and truths that Christianity in general, and Catholicism in particular, have proposed for centuries. There really can't be any picking and choosing. That'd be like saying that the Law of Gravity is great, but the Third Law of Thermodynamics? Heck no, not for me!! Just as we are all subject to the laws of physics, or the laws of mathematics, we are also subject to the Natural Law and ultimately, subject to God. And there lies the rub. We all accept the fact that 1+1=2, or that if you light a match near leaking gas, you'll blow up. But admit we are not in control of our own destiny? Or that there is a Higher Power who will one day judge us? Nope, not gonna happen.

It's becoming easier and convenient for Western Civilization to ignore and denigrate Christianity across the board, to the peril of us all. For some - perhaps many - that peril is eternal. For others - believers who stand for Truth - it's temporal. Battle lines are emerging more clearly.

The question is - what are we going to do about it?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sermon In The Key Of Springfield

All I can say is "Gaaaaaagggghhhhh!"



A song by a former "Backstreet Boys" member? Really???? I mean, singing during the homily is bad enough, but...."Backstreet Boys" alum? Really?????

s/s to Pewsitter

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Fear Not, Faithful Readers

All is well. I was not a victim of the Great Earthquake of 2010. In fact, I didn't even feel it. Which kinda bums me out, now that I think about it.

No, truth is, the family of LarryD went camping for a couple nights, and we returned home this afternoon.

To commemorate my return, and out of respect for the gallant effort put forth by the U.S. team in the World Cup, I present you the following. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Scholar Says Christ Did Not Die On A Cross

There are lots of "theologians" who have crazy theories about Jesus. You got the ones who deny the Resurrection. You got others that attempt to explain away His miracles. There's a bunch who don't believe in Mary's perpetual virginity or her Assumption. There are loonier ones who see so no problem with gay sex, abortion or any other sort of sexual sin because Jesus didn't explicitly say anything about those topics. Of course, nearly every non-Catholic Christian has a blind spot concerning John 6 - the Bread of Life discourse.

But this one is new to me:

From the Telegraph.co.uk: Jesus Did Not Die on a Cross, Says Scholar

Jesus may not have died nailed to the cross because there is no evidence that the Romans crucified prisoners two thousand years ago, a scholar has claimed.

The legend of his execution is based on the traditions of the Christian church and artistic illustrations rather than antique texts, according to theologian Gunnar Samuelsson.

He claims the Bible has been misinterpreted as there are no explicit references the use of nails or to crucifixion - only that Jesus bore a "staurus" towards Calvary which is not necessarily a cross but can also mean a "pole".

Mr Samuelsson, who has written a 400-page thesis after studying the original texts, said: "The problem is descriptions of crucifixions are remarkably absent in the antique literature.

"The sources where you would expect to find support for the established understanding of the event really don't say anything."

The ancient Greek, Latin and Hebrew literature from Homer to the first century AD describe an arsenal of suspension punishments but none mention "crosses" or "crucifixion."

Mr Samuelsson, of Gothenburg University, said: "Consequently, the contemporary understanding of crucifixion as a punishment is severely challenged.

"And what's even more challenging is the same can be concluded about the accounts of the crucifixion of Jesus. The New Testament doesn't say as much as we'd like to believe."

Any evidence that Jesus was left to die after being nailed to a cross is strikingly sparse - both in the ancient pre-Christian and extra-Biblical literature as well as The Bible.


I think that being a scholar or theologian is a sort of handicap. If either of my sons says they want to be a scholar when they grow up, I'm getting them psychiatric help straight away. I don't know about you, but more and more of these brainy types are displaying signs of dementia or something.

I seem to recall the Gospels saying that Christ was "crucified". Remember the part where the Jews shout to Pilate "Crucify him! Crucify him!"? Or how about the numerous times where Jesus told his disciples that he would be handed over and crucified? Or how St Thomas probed the nail marks in His hands? And then there's St Paul in one of his epistles stating he preaches "Christ crucified".

And hey, I'm no scholar myself, but even a quick check on "Crucifixion" brought up some historical references.

The Roman historian Tacitus records that the city of Rome had a specific place for carrying out executions, situated outside the Esquiline Gate, and had a specific area reserved for the execution of slaves by crucifixion. Upright posts would presumably be fixed permanently in that place, and the crossbeam, with the condemned person perhaps already nailed to it, would then be attached to the post.
The person executed may have been attached to the cross by rope, though nails are mentioned in a passage by the Judean historian, Josephus, where he states that at the Siege of Jerusalem, "the soldiers out of rage and hatred, nailed those they caught, one after one way, and another after another, to the crosses, by way of jest."
Despite its frequent use by the Romans, the horrors of crucifixion did not escape mention by some of their eminent orators. Cicero, for example, in a speech that appears to have been an early bid for its abolition, described crucifixion as "a most cruel and disgusting punishment", and suggested that, "the very mention of the cross should be far removed not only from a Roman citizen’s body, but from his mind, his eyes, his ears."
Sure, it's Wikipedia, but the way I look at, is their info any less credible than Samuelsson's? Granted - the citation refers to various forms of crucifixion other than being nailed to a crossbeam, such as being impaled on a stake, or affixed to a tree or upright pole, but come on - there is less Biblical evidence that Jesus was not crucified than there is that supports the fact that He was. After all - Jesus didn't exhort us to "pick up our pole and follow him", did he?

I'm not sure what Samuelsson hopes to gain from this research, besides notoriety. He says the Biblical texts are not explicit as to how Christ was executed. Fine, whatever. But if our faith requires us to rely solely on explicit texts of Scripture, then why have faith at all? Sadly, there are many examples where people have intellectualized themselves from belief to doubt to loss of faith - not in an instant, but through a gradual process.

Jesus told St. Thomas after touching his wounds: "Because you have seen me, you believe. Blessed are they who have not seen, and have believed." Samuelsson may want to consider those words.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Is Joy Behar Clueless, Insane Or Just Plain Rude?

It is so hard to tell.

Here's an exchange she had with Elizabeth Hasselback on the June 22nd episode of 'The View'. And no, I do not watch 'The View'. What few brain cells I have left, I won't expose to a show that makes that Trolololol video Masterpiece Theatre-esque. If idiots could fly, that show would be an airport.

So anyway, back to the exchange, where Joy manages to insult every person who prays - Christian, Jew, and Muslim.

(taken from Newsbusters)

"Faith is something that you feel," Behar said. "Thinking is something that you do with your brain. It's different."

Behar's criticism of prayer riled co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who challenged the attack.

BEHAR: When prayer takes the place of logical thinking, then I think it's dangerous.

HASSELBECK: Prayer's not illogical.

BEHAR: No. But it takes the place of thinking.

HASSELBECK: No it doesn't. That's a complete bigoted statement to say that when I'm praying, I'm not thinking.

BEHAR: How dare you say that to me! Excuse me!

After Behar clarified her statement by saying that intellectual people can pray, she called for people to pray preemptively for regulation.

Okay. So what's your call? Clueless, insane or rude?

Is Joy Behar...
Clueless
Insane
Rude
A combination
All of the above
pollcode.com free polls

Ancient Icons Of Apostles Discovered

This is pretty cool. One of the neat things about being Catholic is that they keep finding old stuff from the early period of the Church.

From the Telegraph.co.uk: Earliest Known Images of Apostles Discovered Under Rome Streets

The earliest known icons of four of Christ's apostles have been found adorning an elaborately decorated chamber in a catacomb beneath the streets of Rome.

Scientists used advanced laser technology to remove a hardened crust of dirt and calcium deposits in order to bring to light the brightly coloured 4th century paintings of Saints John, Paul, Andrew and Peter.

The images adorn the ceiling of a vault, carved out of volcanic rock, which provided the last resting place of a rich Roman noblewoman who converted to Christianity after it was declared legal by the Emperor Constantine.

Archeologists also found an early image of Christ, a painting of a naked Daniel with lions at his feet and a sketch of Jesus raising Lazarus, wrapped in mummy-like white bandages, from the dead.

The paintings are rendered in bright yellow and red ochre, black charcoal, and a rare mineral-based paint known as Egyptian Blue.

A balding St Paul is depicted with dark piercing eyes, a pointed black beard and a furrowed forehead, while St Peter has the white, bushy beard and sturdy look of a fisherman.

The archeologists believe the images may have set the standard for all later depictions of the saints in Christian iconography.

Sorry, CRONES. No paintings of wymynpreests or female bishops. Better luck next time!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Does God Have A Union Card?

I don't believe in coincidences - but given our current president and his affinity for unions, the timing of this article gives me the feeling that this leftist group is attempting to prop up his Catholic support numbers. But that's just me.

God's not on the Side of Union-Busters

God may or may not be on the side of unions, but a Catholic scholars group says that being on the other side, that is being against unions, is a "grave violation" of the church's social doctrine. Opposing unions is, in fact, a mortal sin. And should be.

Anti-union actions violate both the letter and spirit of Catholic social doctrine, declared the Massachusetts- based Catholic Scholars for Worker Justice in a document distributed recently by the Catholic News Service.

Specifically, say the scholars, it violates church doctrine to try to block union organizing campaigns, stall in union contract talks, unilaterally roll back wages and benefits and violate existing labor contracts and other labor-management agreements.

Those tactics are far too common among the tactics used against unions by far too many employers, including many who are Catholic and presumably follow church teachings. That's not to mention the lay employers who operate Catholic hospitals and other facilities for the church and are openly – sometimes fiercely – anti union.

There's more at the SFBG Online.

So, expect your liberal pastors to start talking up the morality of unions and the sinfulness of any anti-union activity in upcoming homilies. It is, after all, the start of the political season, and the Democrat party wants to keep it's hook in the mouths of namby-pamby social justice zombies occupying the Catholic church.

But just because workers ought to have the right to unionize, that doesn't automatically translate into it is always right to do so.

According to CSWJ, it's only company management that engages in unfair and unethical business practices. Bull. Picket lines sometimes resemble gauntlets, where salaried employees get intimidated and suppliers and vendors experience harassment. Some unions commit sabotage on the manufacturing floor. And union leadership is not immune from not bargaining in good faith. They can be ruthless and merciless. No one can ever confuse the Teamsters with the Vienna Boys' Choir, IYKWIMAIKYD.

Not only that, sometimes unions employ strong-arm tactics to increase membership - even people who have no desire of joining! Recall in Illinois, how in-home caretakers were intimidated by SEIU members to join up, on direction from the state governor. Or in Michigan, there was secret, forced unionization of in-home childcare providers. How do these tactics square with Catholic teaching? Short answer - they don't.

The way I see it, Big Business and Big Union are responsible for many of the problems we have in the US economy today. I live near Detroit - built by unions, and subsequently destroyed by them as well. Many of the scars criss-crossing southeastern Michigan are the result of Big Business as well. And don't get me started on the damage wreaked by liberal politicians and policies.

Chesterton once wrote of "Hudge" and "Gudge" - personifications of Big Business and Big Government - who conspire to oppress the individual, and individual rights. Perhaps if he were alive today, he would add a third for Big Union - maybe name him "Sludge". Or, perhaps Big Government and Big Union are just two sides of the same coin. In any case, there are no angels pure as the wind-driven snow on either side of the table, yet the CSWJ is attempting to paint such a picture - that unions are blameless and persecuted.

That's evidenced by their attempt to smear Catholic business owners, who "presumably" follow Church teachings. Well, no one on this side of eternity is a saint, but I'd like to believe that Catholic business owners - at least a fair majority - who do follow Church teaching treat their employees fairly and ethically. I have no data to support such a claim, just some anecdotal evidence based on my sales experience, but still, I'd like to believe that it's true.

People who start businesses do so in order to support themselves and their family. They see an opportunity to provide a service or product, thus assuming the risks to turn that opportunity into a success. In fact, there are many many reasons - some more virtuous than others, to be sure - why people start businesses. But, no one starts a business thinking "I want to hire as many as people as possible to reduce unemployment". Labor is a cost, one that has to be paid for in the price of the product. A successful business owner works hard to keep costs low in order to maximize profits. A virtuous successful business owner works hard to also treat his employees fairly in order to increase his odds of staying in business, hopefully eliminating the chance that the union will wedge themselves in.

Chalk this group's document up as the latest social justice quasi-Marxist anti-capitalist arrow in the pro-Obama Catholic's quiver. Whether it gets much traction remains to be seen - although I'm sure it will only be a matter of time before this story appears in Commonweal, America and the National Catholic Distorter.

Hey - do you think those publications are unionized?

World Cup Inspires Liturgical Changes

(AoftheAP) There are two topics guaranteed to get Whedley Kinninnship talking. One is music - as Director of Music at Our Lady of Perpetual Motion parish, music is clearly his number one passion. But a close second is soccer. And with the World Cup underway in South Africa, some at the parish may think the sport has taken over.

"I played throughout high school and college," Whedley said. "I wanted to be goalie, but I feared that my hands would get injured, affecting my piano playing. So I played midfielder."
Several trophies stand upon a shelf above his desk, including one from a 2009 adult recreation league team - "Sure, everybody got a trophy, and we weren't supposed to keep score, but truth be told - we won every game!" - along with a framed autographed photo of David Beckham.

With the World Cup underway, Whedley has attempted to catch every game.

"Thank God for the DVR," Whedley said. "I conduct the choir at two Masses, a youth music group at the Saturday vigil, and a mariachi band for our Spanish Mass. Throw in the occasional funeral and wedding - well, my days are pretty full. Practices, research, my weekly Marty Haugen Glee Club and Appreciation Society meeting...doesn't leave much time for soccer."

But he makes the time, sometimes employing creative tactics. Playing one less verse of each song during Mass. Increasing the tempos here and there. For the most part, though, he has resigned himself to sleeping less and neglecting household chores. Whedley admits that since the World Cup began, his wife has had to assume more responsibility at their home. So far, so good, he says.

"She's a real trooper," Whedley explained. "She hardly complained at all while building the deck and laying the patio stones. And when my teammates have come over to watch, she's gone on beer runs and grilled up food like it's nobody's business."
Whedley said that the build-up during the months leading to the first game was more excitement than he could take. The anticipation for the World Cup was all-consuming, but there was one aspect of the games he was totally unprepared for:

"I was fascinated," he said. "A musical instrument I had never heard of before. And then the idea popped into my head: how cool it would be to use those in our masses!"

The next day, Whedley informed his pastor, Fr. Kip Bunjlee of his plan: buy a dozen vuvuzelas, drum up volunteers, and use them instead of the guitars, drums, violins, bass guitars, keyboards, marimbas, xylophones, tambourines, trumpets, flutes and cellists normally used at the Sunday Family Mass.

"Fr Kip was fully supportive," Whedley said. "I mean, it's no secret that the Music Director pretty much runs the liturgy anyway, so what was he going to say? No?"

Whedley quickly composed some pieces for the vuvuzela, and just like that, he had transformed the liturgy.

(An example of Kinninnship's compositions)

"The choir was a little off-put at first, but once I explained we were being culturally diverse, well, it just took off. Everyone got behind the change, and this Sunday will be our debut. Stuff like this is what the spirit of Vatican II is all about. We're being faithful to the council, which makes us all very excited."

And if this proves successful, what's next?

"Well, I'm thinking of transposing some of Marty Haugen's more popular hymns - I'm sure they'll be a big hit with the Glee Club and Appreciation Society."

p.s. Actual source of the sheet music.

Monday, June 21, 2010

LCWR And The Child Sex Abuse Cover-up

Fr. Z has a must read post.

You know the meme amongst the MSM, progressive Catholycs and nearly everyone else in the world regarding the child sex abuse scandal, right? How it's a big cover-up by the hierarchical patriarchal men's club headquartered in the Vatican City. That it goes as high as Pope Benedict. That it's all because of celibacy. That if only there were womynpreests, so much of what had happened could have been prevented. Remember Peggy Noonan's op-ed sometime back, where she said saving the Church would require a woman's touch?

Well.

It's all just a feint. And it's all rather disturbing.

LCWR's Long Standing Cover-up of Sexual Abuse of Children by Nuns
The Dissenter’s Breviary, NCR, and the "magisterium of nuns", LCWR, are abusing the abuse crisis for their own ends.

Have a look at the recent NCR piece, "Compromised hierarchy needs relational wisdom of women" by Charlene Spretnak.

Spretnak draws an opposition between the "patriarchal value system" of the "men’s club" and the "relational wisdom of women", which she says is exemplified, in part, by the "[harassed] communities of nuns" and by other women in the Catholic Church.

NCR’s Spretnak turned a blind eye to the voluminous new emerging data concerning the sexual abuse of children by women, and, in particular, by Catholic nuns, as reported here and here and especially here.

In the latter article, "Nuns On the Run From the Truth" (Salon - 17 August 2009), self-described "feminist and progressive Catholic" Frances Kissling, moans,
"we were surprised when the LCWR leadership refused to allow survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic sisters to address the past few annual meetings. The survivors want to share their stories of abuse as well as suggest processes to prevent such abuse in the future, including recommending that the sisters adopt the bishops’ anti-sex-abuse guidelines. To date, the nuns have just said no."
Zowie!

Just imagine! Frances Kissling is surprised that the LCWR, that besieged bastion of religious integrity, of female "relational wisdom" (to quote Spretnak), would ape the bishops and major superiors!

But wait, there’s more!

Even as they wag fingers at male bishops and priests, the LCWR, fully supported by the liberal press, has covered up sexual abuse of children by women religious.

Just focus for a moment on how the LCWR has for years been fighting off SNAP.

SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) has been trying to get the LCWR to deal with them since at least 2004.

SNAP tried to engaged the LCWR about women religious who have abused children but the LCWR has stonewalled them. In their "relational wisdom", LCWR responded to SNAP, thanking them for "raising their consciousness" about this problem. Then they did nothing to work with SNAP. In 2009 LCWR was still "raising their consciousness" and still stonewalling.

What would Spretnak say about the superiority of women’s "relational wisdom" over the men’s club’s "patriarchal socialization" if she had bothered to do this simple Google search – "Catholic nuns child sexual abuse" – before she emailed her corrosive article to NCR’s HQ?

The dirty little secret is that both Catholic priests and nuns – yes women! – have engaged in sick, immoral acts against children and minors. This is not an exclusively male problem. This is not a celibacy problem. See my article here on Protestant ministers – married ministers – and sexual abuse of children.
Read the whole thing.

This is a sin problem. It's an epidemic that crosses cultural, racial, sexual, religious and secular lines. But it's the Church that's in the target because of Her stance against the world, and it's the priesthood in particular that stands in the bullseye. Minimize the Church's influence in the world, as well as attempt to eliminate the priesthood. It's a brutal front on the front lines of the spiritual battle.

The point isn't to deflect blame away from guilty priests and bishops. Nor downplay the evil that has been done to innocent children. It's not a game of "gotcha!" Abuse of any child - in any circumstance - is never acceptable.

No - the point is to show the hypocrisy on the part of feminist forces within the LCWR, who have been screeching without ceasing, that it's the exclusive all-male club that has fomented an atmosphere conducive to the abuse of children. The point is to show the lack of transparency of the media and progressive Catholyc publications who have turned a blind eye to this issue. The National Catholic Distorter is equally complicit - they unswervingly and uncompromisingly support the LCWR - in caring more to tear down the Church and the priesthood than protect innocent children.

It makes me wonder if there is more to the Apostolic Visitation than meets the eye.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

ACC Update

Some of you may be aware of the American Catholic Council - I blogged about them here - and I thought it might be worthwhile to update you all on how their plans on coming along. I do this as a service for my readers, so that they don't have to bother looking them up themselves. It's a dirty job, but I don't mind.

From time to time I check their website to see how progress is coming along - they are, after all, "progressive", so one would expect progress, right? Since they'll be descending on Detroit in June 2011 like a horde of insatiable locusts intent on stripping the land of every shred of vegetation - or at least clogging up the local Bob Evans, IHOP's and other "Heaven's Waitingrooms" style restaurants for a few days - I regularly visit their site to get up-to-the-minute info on their nefarious plots. The agendas, the speakers, the sign-up lists, travel tips, coupons for 'Depends' and Metamucil...that sort of stuff.

So here's what's been going on with the ACC since publishing their Spring 2009 "Introduction to the ACC" update:
















In case that update was unclear, I'll post the info a second time:
















If there's still any confusion, email me and I'll send you a link to the site so that you can verify all those details for yourselves.

Friday, June 18, 2010

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

I mean, it's not like anyone's ever abused power before, right?

From The MailOnline: Obama to be Given the Right to Shut Down the Internet With 'Kill Switch'

President Obama will be given the power to shut down the Internet with a 'kill switch' in a new law being proposed in the US.

He would be able to order popular search engines such a Google and Yahoo to suspend access their websites in times of national emergency.

Other US based Internet service providers as well as broadband providers would also come under his control in times of a 'cybersecurity emergency.' Any company that failed to comply would be subject to huge fines.

Critics of the new law, which has been proposed by former presidential candidate Joe Liebermann, said it would be an abuse of power to let the White House control the internet.

TechAmerica, one of the largest U.S. technology lobby groups, said the new law had the 'potential for absolute power.'.

The proposed legislation, introduced into the US Senate by Lieberman who is chairman of the US Homeland Security committee, seeks to grant the President broad emergency powers over the internet in times of national emergency.

I'm rather surprised that Lieberman would propose such a thing, but then I remembered: he's a politician. And the main job of any and every politician is to stay in power, and not relinquish any bit of it whatsoever. Sure, it may be couched in terms of 'protecting the nation' or 'saving the infrastructure', but I interpret it like this: potentially 'nationalizing another sector of the economy'.

And I don't care if the president is liberal or conservative. Such far-reaching power and ability to affect people's lives with the "push of a button" is exactly the kind of situation our Founding Fathers wanted to restrict and eliminate. This is completely against the principal of limited government and counters the ideals of what it means to live in a free society.

Is it the responsibility of the president to uphold the Constitution, and to protect and preserve the country, and lead it into war when necessary? Absolutely - but for Congress to give the executive branch this kind of potentially unbridled power could lead to infringements upon 1st Amendment rights of free speech. I hope that other Senators - those who love freedom and liberty more than the acquisition or power (I know, that could be a fool's hope) - quash this legislation. Let's use ingenuity and creativity and free enterprise to prevent and protect against a cyber emergency - not executive power. And besides - is giving more control to an incompetent, bloated, sloth-like entity such as the Federal Government the wisest thing to do? The best things they do are a) run wars; and b) print money. But computer systems and the Internet? Hey, I know that AlGore invented it and all, but managing it in a time of national crisis? Gulf oil crisis, anyone?

Benjamin Franklin once said: "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." I think he would be horrified by this proposed legislation. And we ought to be as well.

Obama At The World Cup



s/s Newsbusters

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Dear Communion Of Saints: The Book

One of my favorite blogs is The Ironic Catholic - IC, for short - and it was one of the blogs that provided the inspiration for the creation of AoftheA. Her blog is everything mine aspires to be - alternating between intelligently witty and wittily intelligent, completely faithful to the Church.

Last week, IC graciously sent me an advance copy of her new book, "Dear Communion of Saints: unusually apt advice for foolish Christians", available at Smashwords. It's a collection of questions and answers (which originally appeared on her blog), written in a "Dear Abby" format, where fictional folks (except for one, I noted!) have their questions concerning faith, worship and theology answered by an appropriate saint or two.

IC has written a book that balances humor with solid catechesis, provided in a style that is never overbearing. She captures the nature and character of the various saints who are "chosen" to answer each question - from St Teresa of Avila to St Pio, from St Francis to St Lawrence - with a perfect blend of charity, wisdom and gentle, wry admonishment.

The questions range from the bizarre - "Why are teeth so poorly made?" - to the laugh-out loud funny - "Is Hell a dry heat?" The answers provide solid Catholic teaching, written in an entertaining way designed to make you chuckle as well as think.

It's a very quick read - less than 10,000 words. I found myself smiling and laughing as I read, clicking from page to page. You can purchase the book through the Smashwords site (a place that allows writers to e-publish their work) for only $2.99, and it's available in a variety of Ebook reading formats.

Oh - and if you're not reading The Ironic Catholic, I can't recommend her blog highly enough.

A Witness To Life

From CNA: Young Florida Woman Chooses Baby's Life Over Her Own

The story of Benny Abreu, a young woman from the Dominican Republic, has moved Floridians because of her testimony to motherly love. The Florida woman suffered from serious heart problems and preferred to die rather than abort the baby she was carrying.

Abreu, 25, graduated from Florida Central University at the beginning of May and decided to continue with her pregnancy, knowing that her serious heart condition could lead to complications.

According to Florida’s La Prensa newspaper, she never considered the possibility of abortion and saw her pregnancy as a blessing.

“The doctor told her she had to abort if she wanted to survive, but she told him no, that she could not kill her baby and that she was going to continue with her pregnancy,” said Martha Motley, the baby's grandmother.

On May 17, Abreu gave birth to her son but her condition worsened. She was transferred to Shands Hospital in Gainesville, which specializes in cardiology, where she died on May 30.

“I knew that she had a medical condition with her heart. I even took her to the doctor on several occasions, but it never entered my mind that she was going to die,” said Jovan Toliver, the baby’s father. “They (the doctors) said the baby should be delivered early and that she might suffer a little, but I never expected this to happen.”

Toliver added, “I have lost a part of me, but the only thing that sustains me is knowing that she never would have wanted me to leave her baby alone and for this reason I have to be strong.”

“She was very courageous and never doubted having her baby, even though as a result she had to pay the highest price,” Motley, who is Toliver's mother, told reporters. “I know that now she is in God’s hands and when she looks down she will see that the best part of her is with us and she’ll know that we will always take care of him.”
What a great witness - how we are all called to sacrifice for the ones we love, even to the point of laying down one's own life. While the article doesn't provide any details concerning Abreu's faith, the choice she made - to let her baby live - helps make Christ known to the world - regardless if that was her intention or not.

Some may say "How tragic and pointless that a 25 year old woman, so young and whose life was just beginning, had to die!" while not noticing that out of this tragedy emerged a beautiful new life that truly is, just beginning.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Richard McBrien - Dissident, Liberal...Jedi Master?

Richard McBrien's essays for the National Catholic Distorter are much more amusing if you run them through a Yoda Speak Generator. Here's the revised opening from his latest, U.S. Bishops from a Better Time.
Of Williams Borders the death, this past April at age 96, of Baltimore retired Archbishop, dramatized the acute change in the composition of the U.S. hierarchy over the past 30 years has, that is, since of Pope John Paul II in 1978 and the departure of Archbishop Jean Jadot the election, to the United States Apostolic Delegate, in 1980. Yes, hmmm.

So the change been that many Catholics today, marked and long-lasting has, clergy, religious, and laity alike, to view many tend, if not most, as ciphers at best bishops, hopeless reactionaries at worst. To such Catholics, irrelevant to the life and mission of the Church, bishops are, and to their own lives as well. Yes, hmmm.

This week's column offers a reminder that this was always the case not.
It seems to read better than the original! But for goodness sake, Richard - shorten your sentences! That first paragraph ought to be two or three sentences instead of just one. It's a veritable stream of consciousness!

Click the above link if you want to read the whole piece. Let me warn you - he lists all the bishops and archbishops he finds admirable, and most served during and immediately after Vatican II. You know, guys like Weakland, Hunthausen, Dearden, Bernadin.

As Yoda would say: "The dark side I sense in him."

(For a more traditional analysis of this essay - check out Cleansing Fire.)

Monday, June 14, 2010

My First Tridentine Mass

Yesterday I attended my first Tridentine Mass, celebrated at St Albertus Church in Detroit. It was the first Polish Catholic Church built in Detroit, back in 1872. The church is no longer affiliated with the Archdiocese - it's not an active parish anymore - but is now run by a non-profit historical preservation association that raises funds for upkeep and maintenance. Sunday masses are celebrated by visiting priests. Signs of past glory and magnificence still abound throughout the church, despite the wear and tear of decay and disuse.

I took some photos with my cell phone:

The high altar in the sanctuary. The seated statue above the tabernacle is St Albertus.


One of the side altars, dedicated to St Stanislaus Kostka (that's just a mannequin behind the glass beneath the altar, not the real thing!)


Another side altar - dedicated to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.


The pulpit. The priest gave his homily from here during Mass. Note the marble communion rail behind it.


The choir loft - fully restored and functioning organ. Three cantors (is that the right term?) sang during the Mass. Incredible.


The historical marker outside the church.


Once a quarter, St Albertus celebrates the Extraordinary Form - the High Mass - and this time around, my sister-in-law, who is a member of the preservation association, invited us to attend. So, with the Sons of LarryD in tow, we met her at the church.

I had some idea of what to expect before the Mass started - I've read numerous accounts of other people's impressions of the Tridentine Mass (both positive and negative) - yet I had wanted to attend one in order to form my own opinion. One's imagination is an insufficient substitute for the experience, as it so happens with most things in life.

I'll come right out and say it - I prefer the Extraordinary Form. The quietude. The majesty. The solemnity. The reverence. The mystery. Despite my unfamiliarity with the rite - the Asperges and the "sung" reading and Gospel, for example - I had little trouble following along with the aid of the 'Red Book'. The basic format and progression of the Mass was the same. The Latin didn't throw me - I had two years of Latin in high school. I had no problem saying "Et cum spiritu tuo"! And the Gregorian chant was the perfect complement to the mystery and wonderment.

Several observations - this was no "getting caught up in the novelty" moment. I didn't attend the Tridentine Mass in order to gain membership into an exclusive club. But I went in fully aware that this was the mass that saints such as St Therese of Lisieux, St Maximillian Kolbe, numerous Popes and countless Catholics before me had attended. There was a deeper sense of the continuity with the Body of Christ from centuries past - a connectedness with brethren of the faith who have gone before me. This is in no way to suggest I was "disconnected" from the congregation worshiping with me, though. It's hard to explain, but the union with the Church from the past strengthened the unity with those around me. But not due to any personal action - all because of the actions of Christ with, through and in the sacrifice on the cross made present. Christ's words "I will draw all men to myself" were actualized during Mass, in a way that I had never experienced in a Novus Ordo mass.

Also, the redemptive nature of the Mass, it's sacrificial reality, was more obvious. The priest became nearly invisible to me - the Extraordinary Form is all about Christ. Perhaps it was because of a higher focus on our sinfulness and need for redemption - there's no opportunity for the priest to interject "I'm okay, you're okay" pablum into the Mass; no insipid Prayers of the Faithful (I'm not saying the Prayers of the Faithful are insipid - some of the intentions can be, though); no watered down Eucharistic prayers. The Mass was 100% centered on Christ's saving actions - on the cross and at the Last Supper. My participation - yes, exteriorly it was less than the Novus Ordo, but interiorly....wow! - accentuated the fact that my salvation is entirely dependent on what Christ did for me. "Doing stuff" at Mass shifts the focus from Him to me - for Him to increase, I must decrease. The EF humbled me, and at the same time, lifted me up. It became clearer to me that in the Novus Ordo - at least at the majority that I have attended in my lifetime - the attempt is made to "lift up" people without the humility part first. Christ was lifted up onto the cross only after he was humiliated - so why should it be any different for us? The EF makes it very clear - we are sinners in need of a savior. We must seek forgiveness of our sins.

The Latin, the Gregorian chant, the incense and bells - these elements drew me out of the everyday, and pulled me into a supernatural reality. Time seemed to stop - certainly the focus on "me me ME!" did! - and Christ opened a doorway between His heavenly realm and our earthly home. Not only did I receive His flesh to eat - to strengthen my faith - but I was given a glimpse of What Lies Beyond - to bolster my hope. The Mass creates saints for this very reason - supernatural sources of faith and hope, combining to stoke the desire to live lives of supernatural charity.

So that's it. For now, I'll still be attending the Novus Ordo at a nearby monastery, because it just isn't practical to attend the EF regularly at this point in time. At the very least, I'll make it to the quarterly celebration at St Albertus. Yesterday's mass touched me very deeply - my love for Christ, my gratitude for His sacrifice and my realization that the Mass is the Most Important Thing - all were strengthened. I'm not going to be bashing the Novus Ordo left right and center -it is, after all, an approved rite of the Church - but I know in my heart which rite is superior.

Oh! And the celebrant was a priest blogger - Fr Acervo from Fr. Acervo's Corner, ordained only two years ago. I introduced myself and the Sons to him after mass - very cool to meet a fellow blogger.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sacrilegious Hyundai Ad Mocks Catholic Mass

Latest example of the Last Acceptable Prejudice -



Isn't that nice? Making fun of three Catholics sacraments at once - Marriage, the Eucharist and the priesthood. Serving pizza at the communion rail? A (liturgical) dancing referee, boogieing down in the sanctuary? Wow, what will those edgy ground-breaking Madison Ave types think of next, mocking a Muslim hajj?

Somehow, I seriously doubt it.

And if some Argentinian soccer fans treat their sport as a "religion", then why does it have to be the Catholic faith that gets mocked? Why not make something up instead? Perhaps that takes too much effort...

*UPDATE* - Fr. Z has the news that Hyundai has pulled the ad. Deo Gratias!

s/s to Pundit and Pundette - where she has links to Hyundai and ABC Sports if you desire to contact them.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

This Is The Kind Of Thing...

...that gives Christianity a bum rap.

An oil fast? Really??

The BP Oil Spill: A Christian Call For Lament And Reconciliation (emphases mine)

As followers of Christ, creator and redeemer of all creation, we mourn the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe and the BP oil spill now polluting the Gulf of Mexico. We mourn the human and animal lives lost, the economies and ecosystems destroyed, and the gifts of God, created from and for his love, squandered and poisoned. Most of all we mourn our complicity and active participation in an economy based on toxic energy that has made such death inevitable.

We find our lives dependent upon the destructive forces that have been made visible in the oil spill, but which have been a sinful and deadly presence in creation for many decades now. We acknowledge that our current lifestyle of convenience and hyper-mobility, which is based on oil and oil-based products is at the root of the problem and that the irresponsibility and hubris of companies such as BP are only outgrowths of this deeper reality. As the prophets of old said, we hear the land witnessing and testifying against us.

Having acknowledged these realities we now make a public confession of the sins against God’s creation that we have committed and have been committed on our behalf. We pray for the grace of God to change our lives, and we invite all of our Christian sisters and brothers to join us in this acknowledgment of our sin and culpability, and in working toward a true repentance.

As a sign of this recognition of our sin we commit to:

•Fasting from all food on Fridays except that which has been locally grown with methods that do not rely on petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides.

•Making every effort to take each Friday as a day when we do not drive but rather walk, bike, ride public transit, or carpool to school or work.

•Praying for the transformation of our lives as individuals and churches toward freedom from fossil fuels and reconciliation with all God’s creation.

•Continuing these practices until the oil spill has been cleaned up and the work of restoration of God’s creation in the Gulf has begun.

On Sunday June 20, the two month anniversary of the beginning of the spill, we invite all Christians to lament the oil spill with a fast from oil. On that day, we will celebrate the Sabbath as we mourn: abstaining from driving motor vehicles of any kind, avoiding food that was grown and shipped great distances, and reflecting on the aspects of our lives that are so entrenched in the oil economy that we cannot even quit them for one day.

We commit to exploring other appropriate acts of lament in our own church communities.
What sounds like a pious idea actually comes off as rather lame. Let's take a look at the first three commitments.

1) The food thing. Tractors, harvesters, and the like use oil, don't they?
2) The car fast. Let's see - shoes have plastic, bicycle tires are a petroleum product, buses use gas...
3) Freedom from fossil fuels - what, back to horses and wood burning stoves?

Truly the oil spill is an ecological tragedy. The effects from this spill will be felt for many many years, and alter the lives of millions of people. That all goes without saying.

But to make reparation to God because of our dependence on fossil fuel is ridiculous. The insatiable demands of Americans didn't cause the spill -greed, pride and vanity on the part of individuals directly involved caused it, and incompetence and dereliction of duty on the part of BP and the administration have helped extend the misery and pain. My driving everyday for my job had nothing to do with the oil spill (besides, I buy Shell!). And these sins weren't done on my behalf, either. They were the result of the exercise of people's free will.

This petition idea wasn't thought through all that well, in my opinion. Isn't oil part of God's creation? And didn't it's discovery lead to scientific breakthroughs in nearly every aspect of our lives? Oil isn't evil - it's a neutral product that can be used for good purposes as well as evil ones. Just like anything else. The oil is in the ground for a reason - to be used responsibly, yes - but it's not the blood of Satan, for goodness sake.

I'd like to see them shut off the electricity and air conditioning in their churches - go all in, you know?

I'm not questioning anyone's beliefs - just their common sense. So much of what we use every day, in common household products, is derived from oil. From crayons to deodorant, purses to the shingles on our roofs. We enjoy the benefits of oil-based products way beyond its use to power our cars and airplanes.

This call for 'Lament and Reconciliation' will do nothing more than to make a bunch of people feel as if they're doing something positive. And perhaps, since we're all rather helpless to do anything at all, this might provide some people with the sense that they're contributing. I dunno - in the end, it won't make a bit of difference.

Why? Because God isn't all that concerned whether we drive a car or ride a bike; or whether we use paper, plastic or a reusable tote bag; or whether we buy local or imported. The world won't recognize a Christian from a pagan through any of those actions - what sets us apart is our radical love for the other - God first, then our neighbor. What sets us apart is our joy, even in the midst of suffering. These folks don't sound all that joyful to me - they kinda remind me of those wacky environmentalists crying over dead trees (remember that Youtube video? Sure you do!). It's not authentic Christianity. Yes, we must repent of our sins - but the oil spill is not our sin. It is not our fault.

This petition is a distraction - an attempt to Christianize political correctedness. Want to make a real difference? Make reparations for the insults against the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Do penance for the scourge of abortion. Offer up sacrifices for the pierced Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Just don't try to make me feel guilty about driving my van to Church this Sunday.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Random Thought

Nothing says "You know what? I need more stress in my life" quite like holding a garage sale.
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I swear - this is the last one.

Not Aging Gracefully

Man, I hope I don't become bitter as I get older. This is rather sad.

From Maine Voices:
[...]

The church is imploding, suffering the largest defection ever in the turn on council reforms; re-emphasis on doctrine over living the Gospel; abandonment of John XXIII's pursuit of peace and justice for the poor; rejection of women's equality and birth control; sex obsessions; denial of the Eucharist and pastoral care to half of the faithful for lack of male celibate priests, and continued failure to act responsibly regarding priest abuse.

To reassert authority, the patriarchy has engaged in a heartless war on "objectively disordered" gays and lesbians that runs roughshod over their dignity and human rights and flouts Vatican II recognition of church-state separation, religious liberty and primacy of conscience. In Maine, the anti-marriage equality campaign was, for many, the last straw.

Benedict XVI himself has been derelict, hiding abusers and refusing to defrock them even after they are caught. His defenders claim that he has done everything possible about abuse -- except the essential, putting the healing of the abuse victims foremost by affirming their dignity.

That requires holding abusers accountable, ending legal stonewalling, removing hundreds of complicit bishops and recognizing Vatican culpability. He and they still don't get it: Their first pastoral obligation is to give succor to the wounded.

It is time for a humble Benedict XVI to search his conscience, to acknowledge that fear of change, patriarchal authoritarianism and righteousness have led the church into a moral morass.

It is time for him to recognize that his temporizing while thousands more were victimized; his refusal to acknowledge his and the Vatican's wrongs, and his lack of care and compassion for still-wounded victims make him unfit to lead the people of God -- so it is time to resign. Before he goes, he should remove bishops and cardinals who have been party to that misdirection and abuse cover-up.

[...]
The writer is a gentleman by the name of William Slavick; according to his Wikipedia page, he was born in 1928, and leads the Maine chapter of Pax Christi.

It's rather disingenuous for Slavick, and others like him, to demand the resignation of the Holy Father and half of the Curia, as if it would be the end-all and be-all solution to the sex-abuse crisis. Thing is, solving the sex-abuse crisis is not the End Game - it's the elimination of all those who have stood in the Catholycs' way. That is what they have always wanted, and thanks be to God, Pope Benedict XVI will not satisfy their craven and ill-begotten desires. They're mad and bitter and totally demoralized that their upside-down views and incorrect interpretations of Vatican II have been, for all intents and purposes, squashed.

Also from his editorial:

By rejecting the council's first fruit -- Latin America's liberation theology and the implementation of a preferential option for the poor -- both hierarchs initiated a precipitous decline there. The Vatican was removing the Salvadoran poor's champion, Archbishop Oscar Romero, when he was assassinated for protesting death-squad killings.

They dumped on out-of-step theologians -- Hans Kung, Leonardo Boff, Charles Curran and Tisa Balasuriya. They have carved away at the council's well-prepared, almost unanimously approved and welcomed liturgical reforms, again distancing the celebrant from the assembly; now mandating sexist Latinate language that won't pray, and encouraging the Tridentine Mass, which reduces the assembly to audience.

See? It's always about Vatican II. They can't help themselves. Some Catholycs have spent a lifetime striving to bring a "new Church into being", and they're profoundly pissed that their hard work and effort will come to naught. Which is a real shame, but ultimately, they only have themselves to blame. When you live a continuity of rupture, everything gets torn to shreds. I can't imagine living my whole life - or at least 40 years of it - constantly angry, suspicious, and, well, to be rather blunt...crazy. Crazed with rage. Christ came to give all of us the fullness of His joy, and here's a witness to how some have crowded it out of their souls. Their hearts are scowling.

I have a lot of pity for these people. Not much sympathy, because of the damaging and hurtful things they have done and have said that has sown confusion and discord in the Body of Christ. But I have pity for them - it takes grace - actual and sanctifying - to age joyfully. That's what it takes to have a happy death - I don't think that's possible after living a joyless life, is it?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Obama Sings "Kick A$$ Rap"

Put your drink down. Stop chewing and swallow. Trust me.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Fire Photon Torpedoes!



This would be the proper response to the LA Religious Education Conference, as well.

s/s to Patrick Madrid

TV University

For many, a major time waster during college was watching TV. Probably because it was cheap - as in free cheap.

Well - imagine if there was a college where the department heads and professors were TV characters (plus some film ones). Well, someone did, and came up with a TV University org chart. Pretty clever.

Click image to enlarge it.
(Source)

My favorites are Dr Who as Dean of Department of Science, MacGyver as Professor of Practical Engineering and Forrest Gump as head of Track & Field. Oh, and whatever you do, don't mess with the Dean.

Got any other ideas or suggestions?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Progressive Bible Quotes #9

Matthew 15:22-28 (2010 McBrien-Kmiec Edition)

22 And behold, a Caananite woman from that region came out and cried, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely possessed by a demon." 23 But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, "Send her away, for she is crying after us." 24 He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, help me." 26 And he answered, "It is not fair to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." 27 She said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs must eat the crumbs that fall from their master's table." 28 Then Jesus answered her, "O woman, you have opened my eyes to my injustice, and have changed my mind! Be it done for you as you desire." And her daughter was healed instantly.

Some Catholyc biblical scholars point to this passage as proof that Jesus really didn't know He was divine, because the Canaanite woman, by her persistence, "changed his mind" and if Jesus knew He was divine, He wouldn't have admonished her in the first place. This opinion, of course, is utter hogwash. Jesus didn't have His mind changed - He used this encounter in order to accomplish at least two things: 1) for the woman to humbly profess her faith, as a witness to his disciples and to us - we must remain persistent; and 2) to teach his disciples that His mission is ultimately for the entire world. That's how I see it, at least. But in no way does this passage demonstrate that Jesus learned something He didn't already know.

I thought of this passage when I read at the Voice of the Faithless website that they had sent a letter to the Holy Father back in March, titled "Consulting the Laity on Candidates for the Episcopacy". Here's a bit of the cover letter that preceded the document (emphasis mine):

On behalf of Voice of the Faithful, and in constructive response to the damage done to our Church as a result of the ongoing global sexual abuse crisis, I request that you require the formal participation of lay men and women in the Episcopal recommendation processes held at archdiocesan and diocesan levels, preliminary to your appointment of new bishops.

In support of this request, I enclose a document entitled “Consulting the Laity on Candidates for the Episcopacy.” This analysis reviews the history of selecting bishops in the Roman Catholic Church; argues the timeliness and benefits of restoring the role of lay men and women in the recommendation processes at this critical time; and, finally, offers a model for implementing this lay participation, which the Holy See may find useful.

As you so well know, Holy Father, the participation of all members of a local church, clergy and laity, in the selection of their new bishop was regarded as a sine qua non by the Fathers of the Church throughout the first millennium and well into the second. But major abuses by the nobility in the appointment of bishops led Church authorities gradually to restrict and eliminate any substantive role for the laity in the selection of their bishops.

Today, the Code of Canon Law and the Second Vatican Council uphold the sole right of the Pope to appoint all the Church’s bishops, and nothing prevents you from restoring to the laity a substantive role in the recommendation processes held in their archdioceses and dioceses prior to your appointment of new bishops. Indeed, the local recommendations forwarded to the Congregation for Bishops would enjoy a breadth of information that could only more wisely inform the deliberations of the Congregation as it prepares its recommendations to you.
Gee, how nice of them to point out stuff the Holy Father already knows, but might have forgotten. He has to remember so much as it is, and after all, he is 80+ years old. So thoughtful of them to remind him of Church history and papal authority.

They dedicate 13 paragraphs in the document to the history of how some bishops were selected with input from the laity (complete with footnotes!), and then a couple more on current practice. Which is all well and good. Thing is, though, they really don't want input in order to prevent "bad" bishops from being selected - to prevent future child abuse - or to help repair the image of the global Church. That's what they say, but it isn't what they mean. They really don't care about how the world sees the Church - when all is said and done, they hate the Church as much as the world does. VOTF has hijacked the global sex abuse crisis, taking advantage of the crisis to work on eroding the authority of the Church, in order to remake the Church according to their whims and designs. One only has to look at VOTF's affiliation with the American Catholic Council to realize that. They aren't all that interested in justice as they are in acquiring power and influence.

No, groups like VOTF want this incremental nose-under-the-tentflap access in order to have priests who support their ideology and believe as they do, to be elevated to bishop. Ones who will argue for women's ordination; ones who will advocate for so-called same sex marriage; ones who will declare that contraception is acceptable. They may be requesting merely for preliminary recommendations today, but tomorrow they will be demanding for more, until at last, it'll no longer be recommendations, but appointments. That's their end game.

Seeing how the Holy Father hasn't responded to this document tells me that he knows that, too.

I suppose I could send them a reply on his behalf...

Dear Voice of the Faithless:
On behalf of the Holy Father, and in constructive response to the damage done to our Church as a result of your ongoing undermining of legitimate Church authority, I request the formal participation of lay men and women involved with VOTF in the sacrament of Penance held at archdiocesan and diocesan levels, preliminary to your restoration with the Church.
In support of this request, I have sent you a copy of the "Catechism of the Catholic Church". This text includes a broad and specific review of Church teaching, complete with Biblical citations and references to Vatican II documents - you know, the ones you probably haven't read - which all members of VOTF may find useful.
As you so well know, VOTF, there was participation of all members of a local church, clergy and laity, in the selection of their new bishop throughout the first millennium and well into the second. But how do you know that was always a good thing? Were you there? Ever notice that the overwhelming majority of bishops from those centuries that we know of, were the good ones?

I suppose you think Jesus did a poor job of picking his first "bishops" - after all, one betrayed him, one denied him, and all but one abandoned him on the eve of His crucifixion. The Holy Father is under no illusion that he can outdo our Savior; but he's fairly certain...no, in fact, he's absolutely certain he can do a heck of a lot better
than you.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Annual Progressive Catholyc Spelling Bee

The 83rd National Spelling Bee started on Thursday, June 3, in Washington D.C., should you be interested in that kind of thing. The word that kicked off this year's competition was "serendipity". I've watched past competitions - bits and pieces, here and there - and I can only imagine the pressure those young kids are under. There's a pretty decent movie that came out several years ago - Akeelah And The Bee - I rather enjoyed it. Nice balance of human-interest and drama.

But let me tell you - there is nothing more dramatic than the annual Progressive Catholyc Spelling Bee. It's r-i-v-e-t-i-n-g, let me tell you! Unfortunately, though, there are no videos or audio copies of any of the contests. All that exists is a transcript of the last couple rounds from the 2008 PCSB - and wouldn't you know it, AoftheA just happens to have that transcript!

Moderator: We are now down to the final two contestants - Ms. Candace Brikkupp-Urbhutt and her fiancee Fr. Amos N. Thrope. Ms. Brikkupp-Urbhutt, you're up first. [pause] Before I give you your word, let me say we're all very excited for you on the announcement of your engagement to Fr. Thrope. You just met, isn't that right?

Candace: Yes, during round 3.

Moderator: How special. And -

Candace: But I have to correct you on one thing.

Moderator: What's that?

Candace: We got married during round 11. We couldn't wait.

Moderator: Wow! Well, given that your husband is a priest, there was no need to find a minister! Congratulations!

Candace: Thanks - we're very happy.

Moderator: And we're happy too. Okay, let's get on with round 25. Are you ready for your word?

Candace: Yes.

Moderator: Orthodoxy. Or-tho-dox-y.

Candace: Please use it in a sentence.

Moderator: 'The bishop challenged the parish administrator's orthodoxy on liturgical issues.' Orthodoxy.

Candace: Orthodoxy. F-A-I-T-H-F-U-L D-I-S-S-E-N-T. Orthodoxy.

Moderator: Correct!! Okay, Fr Amos, here's your word. Magisterium. Ma-gi-ster-i-um.

Fr. Amos: Origin, please?

Moderator: From the Latin, magister, meaning master, or teacher. Magisterium.

Fr. Amos: Magisterium. R-I-G-I-D H-I-E-R-A-R-C-H-Y. Magisterium.

Moderator: Correct!! On to round 26. Are you ready, Candace?

Candace: Ready.

Moderator: Here's your next word: Patriarchy. Pa-tri-ar-chy.

Candace: Oh, that's easy. Patriarchy. S-E-X-I-S-T. Patriarchy.

Moderator: Correct! Fr. Amos? Here's your word. Transubstantiation. Tran-sub-stan-ti-a-tion.

Fr. Amos: Whoa - I've never heard of that word. Could you please use it in a sentence?

Moderator: Certainly. Um, let me think...you know, I'm having a little trouble coming up with one. Sorry.

Fr. Amos: [sigh] Transubstantiation. T-R-A-N-S-U-B-....S-T-A-N-....T-I-A-.....T-I-O-N? Transubstantiation?

Moderator: Ohh, I'm sorry, that's incorrect. The correct spelling is W-E A-R-E C-H-U-R-C-H. Which means, this year's champion, of the 2008 Progressive Catholyc Spelling Bee, is Candace Brikkupp-Urbhutt!! Congratulations!!

Candace: Thank you! Thank you!

Fr. Amos: I want a divorce.