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

Friday, December 31, 2010

All Washed Up

Fr Finigan, author of the brilliant The Hermeneutic Of Continuity blog, gets a little end-of-the-year rant going, in a very humourous fashion.

My Mum Forced Me To Clean My Teeth

I am heartily sick of the protest "I don't go to Mass because my parents forced me to go when I was young." OK Son, what else did your parents force you to do?

Your parents forced you to wash before you went out in the morning. Those cruel tyrants made sure that you cleaned your teeth before you went to bed. They dragged you kicking and screaming to school so that you could learn to read - and the teachers collaborated by forcing you to learn the alphabet and put the words together.

To top it all, after looking after your physical needs, they had the temerity to exercise their authority by looking after your spiritual needs and taking you to Mass on Sunday.

If they had neglected to see that you were clean, had suitable clothes, eat some sort of nourishing food, get some education and cross the road safely, they would have been visited by social services and given a care plan so that you could be healthy and safe.

And you are complaining because they took responsibility for your eternal life?

In this context, it is relevant to quote again the classic:
Ten reasons why I never wash
  1. I was forced to as a child.
  2. People who wash are hypocrites - they think they are cleaner than everybody else.
  3. There are so many different kinds of soap, I can't decide which one is best.
  4. I used to wash, but I got bored and stopped.
  5. I wash only on special occasions, like Christmas and Easter.
  6. None of my friends wash.
  7. I'll start washing when I get older and dirtier.
  8. I can't spare the time.
  9. The bathroom is never warm enough in winter or cool enough in summer.
  10. People who make soap are only after your money.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Most Influential Catholic Of 2010 - The Final Tally

Thanks to everyone who participated in the 2010 Most Influential Catholic poll. Nearly 200 people voted in the "St Thomas More Division", while 125 folks voted in the "Richard Rich Division". Interesting, that - I suppose the RR roster was chock-full of so many rogues that some people felt ill just looking at it, and couldn't bring themselves to vote. I totally understand that!

In any case....

Here are the results:

St Thomas More Division

Cardinal Burke - 44 votes (out of 195)
Michael Voris - 42
Bishop Olmsted - 36
Fr. Barron - 29
Archbishop Dolan - 22
Thomas Peters - 6
Bishop Su Zhimin - 4
Seminarian Jacob, SJ - 4
Ewald Stadler - 3
Raymond Arroyo - 2
Catholics Come Home - 2

Close race between Cardinal Burke and Michael Voris - their totals were tied going into the final day. And I thought Bishop Olmsted was going to pull ahead at the end, but alas, it was not to be.

Richard Rich Division

Sr. Carol Keehan - 49 votes (out of 125)
Nancy Pelosi - 24
National Catholic Reporter - 18
L'Osservatore Romano - 17
Rep. Bart Stupak - 10
Archbishop Fisichella - 3
Gov. Schwarzeneggar - 2
Bishop Lori - 1
Bishop Gumbleton - 1

This contest was never ever close, and not much of a surprise. Sister Keehan garnered nearly 40% of the votes.

2011 is just around the corner - who will earn the prestigious titles next year?

Resolutions

New Year's Day is just around the corner -the traditional time for making Resolutions.

Do you make them or not? If so, what are they? If not, how come? Is January 1 just another start of another month?

Here are mine, in no particular order - pray more; read more; be the dad and husband God created me to be.

Share yours in the combox, if you want!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Holy Father Speaks On...Conscience

Last week, Pope Benedict addressed the Roman Curia in anticipation of Christmas (the entire speech is here.) The speech covered many topics - the Year of the Priest, his trip to England, the sex abuse crisis, the Middle East Synod - but I wish to focus on one aspect of his address, that of conscience, on the occasion of the beatification of John Cardinal Henry Newman.
The driving force that impelled Newman along the path of conversion was conscience. But what does this mean? In modern thinking, the word “conscience” signifies that for moral and religious questions, it is the subjective dimension, the individual, that constitutes the final authority for decision. The world is divided into the realms of the objective and the subjective. To the objective realm belong things that can be calculated and verified by experiment. Religion and morals fall outside the scope of these methods and are therefore considered to lie within the subjective realm. Here, it is said, there are in the final analysis no objective criteria.
The ultimate instance that can decide here is therefore the subject alone, and precisely this is what the word “conscience” expresses: in this realm only the individual, with his intuitions and experiences, can decide. Newman’s understanding of conscience is diametrically opposed to this. For him, “conscience” means man’s capacity for truth: the capacity to recognize precisely in the decision-making areas of his life – religion and morals – a truth, the truth. At the same time, conscience – man’s capacity to recognize truth – thereby imposes on him the obligation to set out along the path towards truth, to seek it and to submit to it wherever he finds it. Conscience is both capacity for truth and obedience to the truth which manifests itself to anyone who seeks it with an open heart.
The path of Newman’s conversions is a path of conscience – not a path of self-asserting subjectivity but, on the contrary, a path of obedience to the truth that was gradually opening up to him. His third conversion, to Catholicism, required him to give up almost everything that was dear and precious to him: possessions, profession, academic rank, family ties and many friends. The sacrifice demanded of him by obedience to the truth, by his conscience, went further still. Newman had always been aware of having a mission for England. But in the Catholic theology of his time, his voice could hardly make itself heard. It was too foreign in the context of the prevailing form of theological thought and devotion. In January 1863 he wrote in his diary these distressing words:
“As a Protestant, I felt my religion dreary, but not my life - but, as a Catholic, my life dreary, not my religion”.
He had not yet arrived at the hour when he would be an influential figure. In the humility and darkness of obedience, he had to wait until his message was taken up and understood. In support of the claim that Newman’s concept of conscience matched the modern subjective understanding, people often quote a letter in which he said – should he have to propose a toast – that he would drink first to conscience and then to the Pope. But in this statement, “conscience” does not signify the ultimately binding quality of subjective intuition. It is an expression of the accessibility and the binding force of truth: on this its primacy is based. The second toast can be dedicated to the Pope because it is his task to demand obedience to the truth.
I excerpted this portion as an example of how succinctly the Holy Father explains the difference between how the Church defines conscience, and how the World views it. Sadly, Catholycs here and abroad latch onto the erroneous, worldly view while attempting to co-opt Blessed Cardinal Newman's words (which Pope Benedict mentions, for obvious reasons) in order to support their claims. In the space of several paragraphs, Pope Benedict undermines their arguments.

In the coming weeks, I will be taking an in depth look at the recently released updated and revised American Catholic Council's "Catholic Bill of Rights and Responsibilities" - 10 statements on which they hang their theological hats and build their case for their upcoming Council in Detroit, in June of 2011. The Holy Father's words will help form the foundation of my analysis - which is why I posted them.

Here are the ACC's Catholic Bill of Rights and Responsibilities:
Catholic Bill of Rights and Responsibilities (rev. December 15, 2010)

This is a foundational document of the American Catholic Council and will be a central element of the agenda at the national gathering of the ACC in June of 2011. The Planning Committee has been developing this document over the last two years and is pleased to share this latest revision, reflecting much input from the grassroots during some 50 local/regional listening sessions to date.

1. Primacy of Conscience. Every Catholic has the right and responsibility to develop an informed conscience and to act in accord with it.

2. Community. Every Catholic has the right and responsibility to participate in a faith community and the right to responsible pastoral care.

3. Universal Ministry. Every Catholic has the right and responsibility to proclaim the Gospel and to respond to the community’s call to ministerial leadership.

4. Freedom of Expression. Every Catholic has the right to freedom of expression and the freedom to dissent.

5. Sacraments. Every Catholic has the right and responsibility to participate in the fullness of the liturgical and sacramental life of the Church.

6. Reputation. Every Catholic has the right to a good name and to due process.

7. Governance. Every Catholic and every Catholic community have the right to a voice in the selection of leaders and in the manner in which governance and decision making are exercised.

8. Participation. Every Catholic has the right and responsibility to share in the interpretation of the Gospel and Church tradition.

9. Councils. Every Catholic has the right to summon and speak in assemblies where diverse voices can be heard.

10. Guarantee of rights. Church leaders shall respect the rights and responsibilities of the baptized and their faith communities.

"Primacy of Conscience" will be analyzed first - I'm not sure when I'll have it published, so please be patient with me.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Eco-logical Disasters

Nuts. Plain nuts. Nothing logical at all about their ecological ideology.

From the National Catholic Distorter (where else?): Ecopsychology: Healthy Planet, Healthy People [emphases mine]
The only discipline now that recognizes and explores this connection between the health of the planet and the wellbeing of the individual is one that is quite new. It is the emerging field of ecopsychology, sketched out for the first time in Theodore Roszak’s book The Voice of the Earth. [ecopsychology - also known as "quackery". Just sayin']

The ecopsychologist asks: Does it make much sense to aspire to health in the individual when his or her surrounding and sustaining environment is on the decline in every way? Ecopsychology emphasizes the interconnectedness of the human psyche with the rest of life. [it also emphasizes that you ignore common sense, dumb yourself down and blithely accept pagan beliefs]

Fr. Diarmuid O’Murchu writes “A list of mental illness and the huge amount of stress that we suffer as humans are because of what we are doing to the planet, because of the ongoing destruction of the environment. Until we begin a new relationship with the cosmos around us, we can’t know how to relate meaningfully to anything, especially our own innermost being. [but Christ came to teach us how to relate to God (He's our Father) and with our neighbors - not to teach us some Gaia mumbo jumbo. This guy's a priest???]Without this meaningful relationship between humans and the Earth, the planet suffers profoundly and so do we suffer greviously both physically and in our psyches as well.” [the Earth doesn't care]

The emerging field of ecopsychology is just one sign in our times showing that old, tired-out views of our world are slowly beginning to yield to fresher perspectives.[more likely, it's a way of charlatans to make some $$$]

Rozsak writes: "We need a new discipline that sees the needs of the planet and the needs of the person as a continuum and that can help us reconnect with the truth that lies in our communion with the rest of creation." [This is to supplant the Biblical truth that we are stewards of creation and are to subdue it. There is nothing Christian about this stuff.]

We really cannot separate ourselves from everything else. Remnants of ancient oceans flow through our veins. [Okay, Aquaman] Ashes of expired stars provide the material for our very cells. [Whatever you say, space cowboy] When we look into the night sky, the stars and the swelling emptiness that contains them are, precisely by virtue of their vastness, the cradle that makes our awareness possible.

"Ecopsychology holds that there is a synergistic interplay between planetary and personal wellbeing," Roszak says. "The term 'synergy' is chosen deliberately for its traditional theological connotation, which once taught that the human and divine are cooperatively linked in the quest for salvation ["theological connotation" means there's no real relationship at all, if they have to resort to verbal gymnastics]. The contemporary ecological translation of the term might be: The needs of the planet are the needs of the person, the rights of the person are the rights of the planet." [He's claiming that the planet is human....or divine? Or both? Or maybe he's just crazy...]

Some issues that ecopsychology have brought into focus:

-- Consumption habits. What are the deep psychological roots of what Harvard psychologist Sarah Conn calls our 'materialistic disorders'?

-- Child psychology and development: Children are probably born closer to the ecological unconscious than they ever will be again. In what ways do we "educate" this innate consciousness of harmony with the natural world out of them?

-- Design. What would environmentally intelligent homes, workplaces, churches, cities look like? Why don't we have many such in the world today?

-- The need for wilderness. Does our mental health require access to authentic wilderness and our untamed fellow species? If so, what might be our best strategies for preserving the endangered lands and species?

Eco-psychology? Really?? These people make those folks who scream over dead trees seem somewhat rational.

The "issues brought into focus" can be answered quite easily - and because it's the season of Christmas, a time of giving - AoftheA will answer them for you. At no charge.

1) Consumption habits? "Materialistic disorders"? Simple - SIN!!! Avarice, greed, gluttony, envy, jealousy - it's different for every person.

2) Child development - "ecological unconscious"? For goodness sake, children don't spring out of the ground! This is all about indoctrination of the kids - that human beings are a dangerous virus that harms the Earth.

3) Design - "environmentally intelligent"? What does that even mean? Are we supposed to go back to caves and thatched huts because they're not destructive to the environment? You first, dude.

4) Need for wilderness - the Federal Government currently owns 1 out of 3 acres in America. How much more do they need to steal?

The article states that "A list of mental illness and the huge amount of stress that we suffer as humans are because of what we are doing to the planet..." - but fails to support that statement. But hey - if these people want to assuage their guilt by claiming if only they were nicer to an inanimate object that doesn't care or know about us because it can't care or know about us, then the world would be a better place - then go for it. Obviously, if only we were all nicer to the Earth, it wouldn't be compelled to punish us with earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, tsunamis and tornadoes.

No mention of God, no mention of Christ. No mention of personal sin.

Pure pagan pablum. In a "Catholic" publication, no less.

Okay, I'm Psyched

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve 2010

"For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God."
– St. Irenaeus

To all my readers, followers and friends - Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Zombie Christmas PSA

For Fr. Erik...



"May your days be merry, and briiiiiight!
And may no zombies come at you Christmas night!"

s/s View From The Choir

Study: Christmas Trees Hurt People's Feelings

Scientists, researchers, quacks - whatever you want to call them - some of them have too much time on their hands.

From The Telegraph [bold my comments]
Researchers at Simon Fraser University in Canada, found non-Christians feel less self-assured and have fewer positive feelings if a Christmas tree was in the room.

The scientists conducted the study using 77 Christians and 57 non-believers, including Buddhists and Sikhs.

The participants did not know the survey was about Christmas, and were asked to fill in questions about themselves both when a 12-inch Christmas tree was in the room and when it was not.

"Non-celebrators" reported fewer positive feelings and less self-assurance in the Christmas room. Christians were mostly cheered by the tree.

Christians, however, did report feeling more guilt when a tree was in the room, which, claim the researchers, suggests the holidays can be stressful.

Michael Schmitt, a social psychologist behind the research, decided to carry out the study after controversy over whether Christmas should be celebrated in public in case it offends non-Christians. [please do a study if the Call to Prayer is offensive to non-Muslims, please. Please?]

He said: "Simply having this 12-inch Christmas tree in the room with them made them feel less included in the university as a whole, which to me is a pretty powerful effect from one 12-inch Christmas tree in one psychology lab.

"I don't think it's really going to undermine anyone's experience of Christmas to tone it down.

"We're not suggesting 'no Christmas' or 'no Christmas displays at all,' but in contexts where we really do value respecting and including diversity in terms of religion, the safest option is not to have these kinds of displays. [so yes, he is suggesting no Christmas displays]

"I understand why it might feel threatening to people. [no, I don't think he does, actually]

"But I think if people do care about making a whole range of different kinds of people feel included and respected, then we can make some small changes that would go a long way toward creating a more multicultural or inclusive society."

I'm sorry, but the desire of folks such as this guy is not to create a more multicultural or inclusive society, but a less Christian one. I have no doubt about that at all.

Perhaps the scientist should take a look at Lk 12:51-52: "Do you think that I have come to give peace on Earth? No, I tell you, but rather division; for henceforth in one house there will be five divided, three against two and two against three;"

The point of Christmas, and of Christianity, is not to "feel" inclusive, or have high self-esteem or have positive feelings about oneself. And the point of living is not to make it to the end having offended the least amount of people by our religious beliefs or expressions thereof. Believe me, many Islamists have no qualms about expressing their faith - and Christians never ought to be uneasy about expressing our faith either.

The point of Christmas is to remember this: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son...not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him." And as history has shown - lots of people are threatened by that, because it means having to repent from sin and turn away from selfishness; to admit we are sinners. And many many people don't want to do that - myself included, at times. That's part of the "division" Jesus spoke about - we have to separate ourselves from the world, and from the flesh, and from the devil if we profess to follow Him.

And apparently, something as innocuous as a Christmas tree, on some subconscious level, tugs at the souls of the people who feel excluded and uncomfortable. But the answer is not to do away with the public displays. Because there will always be signals and signs of Christ in the world - churches, cemeteries, bumper stickers, and more. Should those be done away with too, in the name of inclusiveness and multi-culturalism?

No, the answer is for those of us who claim to be Christian to be the living witnesses of Christ's love - to be the paradoxes of our age - so that others will be drawn to Christ through us, as we allow the Holy Spirit to work through us. That is true inclusiveness.

Now - when will this scientist conduct a similar study, this time with a picture of an ayotollah or Muslim extremists on the wall?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Woman's Touch

Another reason why womynpreests are a really, really bad idea.

When you let a woman into your life, at first it's all butterflies and rainbows. So it's natural that there might be some, let's say 'acquiescing' on your part. "You should change your hair, make it look sexier," she says. Sure, no prob. "I think this style of shirt would look great on you," she suggests. Anything for you, hon. "Oooh! Ooooh! Have you thought of ditching the glasses and getting contacts?" No big deal - sure.

Next thing you know, you no longer drive the type of car you like, you've moved into an apartment that's more upscale (not hers - this is a Catholic blog, y'know), your DVR'ing "American Idol" instead of "CSI", and the beer and chips are replaced by wine coolers and bruschetta. You know I'm right. Most guys know this to be true - even if they won't admit it in public because they value their well-being and all.

But we draw the line at ripping out the pews and replacing them with plastic chairs!

From the Daily Mail Online:

Worshippers at a 12th century village church have launched a bitter battle to oust their vicar.

Some members of the congregation at St Nicholas Church in Tillingham, Essex, are 'at war' with vicar Lorna Smith, claiming that her modernisation plans will be the 'ruination' of the historic church.

A petition has been started calling for the Reverend Lorna Smith to quit her post as vicar after she pushed ahead with proposals to rip the pews and replace them with informal plastic chairs, dig up the floor and install underground heating.

Ordinatio Sacerdotalis doesn't include this as a reason as to why the Church can't ordain women - but it sure as heck is a good reason as to why they shouldn't.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Companion To The Forgotten

This man is an inspiration.



To some who lean a little leftward, though, stories such as this induce self-loathing. I swear I will never ever understand such people.

Pity Party

Sometimes I read stuff and think "Hey! I should share this dumbness with my readers!"

So here you go - an early Christmas present from me to you...

From National Catholic Distorter (bold my comments)

"Shattered Expectations of Institutional Change Bring True Vision of God" by Jaime Manson [boy, talk about spin, eh? The Church hasn't done what we want, which means that God is revealing Himself to us Catholycs 'cos we're disappointed and sad and stuff. Right.]
As life-giving as it is for me to attend meetings with progressive Catholics who are committed to inviting this institutional church into greater integrity and inclusion, [translation: the hierarchy are meanies] I always come away from these gatherings with a slight heaviness in my heart.

What weighs on me, I believe, is the palpable hurt in this group of faithful people whose expectations have been betrayed. [Betrayed? No - their expectations were wrong] In the late 1960s and through the 1970s it was not unreasonable for Catholics to believe that major reforms were beginning to unfold. [and most of those 'reforms' constituted the hermeneutic of rupture]

So often traditional Catholics make progressive Catholics feel like they are asking the impossible, or they are imposing their own secular needs on a church that is unchangeable. [let's see...what things are the Catholycs 'asking for'?...women's ordination is impossible; gay sex is sinful; no such thing as gay marriage...gee, I wonder what could possibly give Catholycs such ideas?]

In the face of these criticisms, it helps to remember that the movement to bring a spirit of change and open-mindedness to the Catholic Church was initiated by the hierarchy. [yep, and even bishops can be wrong.] It was church authorities that sought the reforms that would allow them to understand more fully the lives of the people they were serving.

The first Call to Action conference was actually called by [American] bishops to engage lay people in dialogue through an innovative consulting process. The bishops recognized that a church that ventures to speak about justice must first be just in the eyes of those it serves. [justice without prudence - the virtue of being able to tell good from evil - is not true justice, but selfishness. True justice is independent of subjective opinion and personal feelings.] The phrase “Call to Action” was taken from Pope Paul VI’s conviction that the laity receives the primary call to action to create a more just world.

More than 100 bishops attended the first Call to Action meeting in Detroit in 1976, which hosted three days of discussion and debate among 1,340 voting delegates and 1,500 observers. [and since then, many bishops had backed off their support due to CTA's uber-radical proposals] The assembly recommended that the church become a prophetic force in decrying racism, sexism, and poverty.

In the wake of such progress many Catholics felt hopeful that reforms like the ordination of married men and of women were on the horizon. [that's happening now - in some non-Catholic Christian denominations. And guess how great those particular groups are doing...answer? Badly.]

Given these auspicious beginnings, it is no wonder that there is unrest and sorrow among the lay people who worked with bishops to achieve these goals. They have stood by powerlessly, watching the hierarchy spend three decades gradually breaking their own promises. Their expectations have been shattered. [the hierarchy didn't break any promises. They realized they were being hoodwinked.]

During the third week of Advent, we heard another account of disappointed expectations.

The Gospel recounts the stunning news that Jesus had failed to meet John the Baptist’s expectations about the Messiah. [say what?] Even after Jesus has healed multitudes of blind, deaf, paralyzed, and possessed people, John -- who is in prison at this point -- sends an emissary to ask Jesus whether he was really the Messiah. The question is almost comical: “Are you the one, or should we wait for another?”

[This is where the article really goes off the rails, where she tries to equate the Catholyc experience to John the Baptist.]

John was expecting the Messiah to be a fiery judge, filled with anger and indignation at those whose lives are not upright in the eyes of God. This Jesus, however, reserved his power not for judgment, but to heal the afflicted and give good news to the poor. John was expecting a didactic, imposing figure. [does she even know what 'didactic' means? Jesus wasn't a teacher?] Instead he got a marginal and marginalized visionary.

[Really? John was expecting a firebrand? On several occasions in St John's Gospel, he called Jesus 'the Lamb of God'. He knew Isaiah's prophecies, and that's why Jesus gave him the reply that He did - to assure him that yes - He was the one sent by God.

Here's another thing to consider - John is languishing in prison. He's in a dark place, and he asks Jesus that question in order to find out if all that he had done was worth it. And don't we do that too? When times are difficult and we find ourselves seemingly abandoned, we want to know if Jesus is still with us - is He who He claims to be. John wasn't suffering from shattered expectations. Not.one.bit.

And referring to the Son of God as a 'visionary' - treading awfully close to heresy there. Visionaries don't heal the sick, make the blind see, forgive sins...visionaries are folks who see things or have impractical ideas - kinda like Catholycs!]


Jesus invites John to see a different face of God: the God who is at one with the weak, the impoverished, and those living on the edge of society. [you know, not like the God who rescued the Israelites from Egypt, or lifted up prophets, or saved Noah...]

Perhaps it’s because only the vulnerable are willing to make themselves vulnerable to the power of God. Perhaps God likes to go to the places where God is most welcome.

Jesus shows John that those places of powerlessness and brokenness can also be places of strength and holiness. They are the places where God has chosen to dwell. [notice the dichotomy - because the hierarchy has the 'power', God isn't dwelling there.] John’s disappointed expectations turn out to be good news for all of us. [Again, John wasn't disappointed. She's projecting onto John her own disappointment, that the ideals she has in mind for the Church won't ever happen.]

What else could we expect of a God who comes into the world as an imperiled infant, born in a barn -- and exits the world as a humiliated, common criminal? [ummm...actually, Jesus exited the world as a triumphant King who conquered death and sin, when He ascended into heaven. That's our hope and promise if we stay true to His Church, too.]

Advent may be an occasion for us to reflect on the ways in which our own unfulfilled expectations might also be good news. [I agree - her 'unfilled expectations' is good news...for faithful Catholics.]

Yes, it is painful to be alienated by the institutional church, and the hierarchy’s disempowering actions are spirit-breaking. [sniff sniff] But in these fragments of our shattered expectations we may find an opportunity to see God in the faces of the rejected believers, of the powerless ministers, of the isolated prophets. [question: can one really see God in the face of those who reject Christ's teachings and His Church? Who reflects Christ more closely - Fr Barron or Fr Bourgeios? Mother Teresa or Sister Carol Keehan?]

Being free of the trappings of church authority has a way of illuminating the path of integrity, of true wholeness. [Yeah sure - ignoring Church teaching on homosexuality, for instance - there's none of that icky guilt stuff getting in the way...] Working on the margins of religious institutions can allow us insight into where God is fully alive. [But...but God is everywhere, isn't He? Isn't that what these Catholycs preach? So isn't He fully alive in the center of religious institutions, as well as at the margins? Remember that dichotomy earlier? Hypocritical] There is so much holiness brimming like living water on the margins of the parched desert of the institutional church. [translation: feeeeeeelllinnggss! whoa whoa feeeeeellllinnnnnggs! Many people confuse emotions of holiness with actual holiness.]

In the Gospel, Jesus asked those in the desert what they were expecting to see. It is a question that we should ask ourselves about our own expectations. [Good idea - but Catholycs only want God to affirm them in their crushed expectations, instead of enlightening them that their expectations are wrong.]

We know that it is imperative that we continue the work of calling church leaders to accountability for the harm they have created and the promises they have broken. But we must continually ask ourselves how the church we are hoping for can be realized in such a structure of power. [IOW, current Church = bad; CTA Church = good. Except....it won't be good for faithful Catholics. Kinda like the desolation of the 70's and 80's here in America. If Catholycs made the Church in the image they desire - it would be bad for everyone, ultimately.]

What is this church we are expecting to see? What is it that keeps us fighting for our vision? [delusion, maybe? The Catholyc vision of the Church is as real as unicorn farts.]

Is it a desire to have a place at the center of religious authority? [you betcha!] Is it to claim a seat on the bench of ecclesial judges? [That would mean no Burke...heck yeah!] Or is it a longing to develop a church that immerses itself, fearlessly, into those ailing, broken, and abandoned places in our lives and our world? [which is what the Church does today, everyday, all over the world, more than any other institution around, religious or secular. Go to China, or Saudi Arabia, or Baghdad and preach this tripe to the faithful persecuted Catholics. I doubt they would care much for her complaints. Those places are rather ailing, broken and abandoned. She's projecting her own condition - whether it's real or contrived, doesn't matter - and is mad that the Church won't accommodate her ailments, brokenness and feelings of abandonment.]

Advent is a season of joyful expectation, but it is also a season that reminds us that God reaches God’s fullness of life on the margins. [That's part of Advent? I thought we were supposed to prepare ourselves for Christ's first coming, and for His second coming too. This 'life on the margins' paradigm is meaningless.]

Even if the hierarchy does one day decide to renew its Vatican II promises, we must not let our expectations cloud our vision of the God who has continually emerged from the unexpected places. [what Vatican II "promises"? There's nothing in the documents about ordaining women, approving gay marriage, or contraception, or divorce and remarriage, or abortion, or....you get the idea.]
There you go - Merry Fiskmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Is This The Future Of The US Military?

Chruddy Christmas Films

Bad movies get made all the time. Unfortunately.

Just as unfortunate is that bad Christmas movies get filmed way too often. Nothing says "Hallelujah! The Savior is born!" like a truly awful movie that hijacks Christmas in order to sell tickets. And I'm not even talking about some of the more poorly-contrived Rankin & Bass Christmas specials either. Oh well - such as it's ever been, such it will ever be.

Here are my selections (not in any particular order) of terrible Christmas-themed movies - if you got any to add, put 'em in the comment box. And then sit down and watch a good Christmas film to erase any thought and memory of these chrappy ones.

Ernest Saves Christmas


Jingle All The Way


Deck The Halls


Fred Claus


The Santa Clause, Parts II and III
(I'll give a pass on the first one, because it actually had a little bit of charm - not much, but a little) - and Part III was much much worse.


The Polar Express

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Mama's Bible

A friend emailed this to me -

Four brothers left home for college, and they became successful doctors and lawyers and prospered. Some years later, they chatted after having dinner together. They discussed the gifts they were able to give their elderly mother who lived far away in another city.

The first said, "I had a big house built for Mama."

The second said, " I had a hundred thousand dollar theater built in the house."

The third said, "I had my Mercedes dealer deliver an SL600 to her."

The fourth said, "You know how Mama loved reading the Bible and you know she can't read anymore because she can't see very well. I met this preacher who told me about a parrot that can recite the entire Bible. It took twenty preachers 12 years to teach him. I had to pledge to contribute $100,000 a year for twenty years to the church, but it was worth it. Mama just has to name the chapter and verse and the parrot will recite it."

The other brothers were impressed. After the holidays Mom sent out her Thank You notes.

She wrote: "Milton, the house you built is so huge I live in only one room, but I have to clean the whole house. Thanks anyway."

"Marvin, I am too old to travel. I stay home, I have my groceries delivered, so I never use the Mercedes. The thought was good. Thanks."

"Michael, you gave me an expensive theater with Dolby sound, it could hold 50 people, but all of my friends are dead, I've lost my hearing and I'm nearly blind. I'll never use it. Thank you for the gesture just the same."

"Dearest Melvin, you were the only son to have the good sense to give a little thought to your gift. The chicken was delicious. Thank you."

Luv Ya,

MAMA

Voting For 2010 MIC Now Open!

The polls are in the sidebar for Most Influential Catholic of 2010. Here are the nominees (as chosen by You - and approved by the AoftheA Board of Elections - me!), with links provided for some of the more obscure ones.

St Thomas More Division

Seminarian Jacob, SJ
Fr. Robert Barron
Michael Voris
Catholics Come Home
Cardinal Burke
Archbishop Dolan
Raymond Arroyo
Dr William Mahrt
Bishop Su Zhimin
Matthew Kelly
Thomas Peters (American Papist blog)
Ewald Stadler (In case you never saw the video of his speech at an EU meeting. Awesome.)
Stephen Ray
Bishop Thomas Olmsted

Richard Rich Division

L'Osservatore Romano
National Catholic Reporter
Archbishop Fisichella
Sr. Carol Keehan
Nancy Pelosi
Gov. Schwarzeneggar
(former) Rep. Bart Stupak
Bishop Lori
Bishop Gumbleton

Voting runs until December 30. Have fun!

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Dr Who Christmas

If you're not a fan of the show, you won't get this. I thought it was pretty funny.



Bonus points to the first person who can correctly identify which Doctors were spoofed, by number.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Having "The Talk" - 21st Century Style

One day, in the not-so-distant future....

Perspective

This is for the CRONES and all their supporters out there.

You are forever prattling on and on about how oppressive the Vatican is, and how misogynistic the hierarchy is. Because you aren't getting your way on becoming priests and bishops.

Well.

I watched the following video today, and it angered me. It provides perspective on how fortunate you are to be women in the Catholic Church (WARNING! Video contains disturbing images of a woman being flogged repeatedly).



This woman was flogged by Sudanese police because she wore pants. Pants! This punishment is permitted in Islam - the so-called 'religion of peace'. Imagine how they would treat you for sporting some of the outfits you wear from time to time.

Oh yeah - and no one in the Roman Catholic Church is calling for any womynpreest who puts on an alb or chasuble to be flogged. You're being told you can't play at being priest - that's all - but you aren't being physically assaulted and tortured. Your feelings are hurt? Well, that's your own d*** fault - the price of admission for pride and disobedience.

And another thing...

You claim you're being denied your right as a baptized Catholic, to participate fully in Christ's priesthood. You accuse the Church of prohibiting women from realizing their call from God. You say you're being attacked for your beliefs, persecuted because you dare to speak out against the hierarchy.

B as in B, S as in S (as Fr. Z likes to say). This is real persecution...

From One News Now: (published 9/22/10)
Reports of violent attacks against Christians are coming in from India and Pakistan.
"A pastor and his wife were returning home from a prayer meeting when they were stopped by masked communist guerillas," Jonathan Racho of International Christian Concern tells OneNewsNow about an incident in India. "They decapitated the pastor, and also, they assaulted his wife."
In addition, in response to a Quran burning in the U.S., Muslims in Kashmir burned down a Christian school that provided education for 550 children from 150 villages. A church in Punjab was also destroyed.
Meanwhile, five young men in Pakistan stopped a pastor who was returning from preaching the gospel.
"Pastor Emmanuel Bashir was [asked] by the young men...'Why do you preach that Jesus Christ is Lord and nobody can get salvation without Jesus Christ?' Then the pastor replied, 'We will never stop preaching about the Lord Jesus Christ, and we will tell about Him to all the nations.'"
At that point, the pastor was attacked and left with broken ribs and a broken hand. Racho stresses these cases should remind Christians in America to lift up in prayer their brothers and sisters in nations like India and Pakistan where Christians are being persecuted for their beliefs.
Here's more, from The Christian Post: (published 12/4/10)
A 17-year-old girl in Somalia who converted to Christianity from Islam was shot to death last week in an apparent “honor killing,” area sources said.

Nurta Mohamed Farah, who had fled her village of Bardher, Gedo Region to Galgadud Region to live with relatives after her parents tortured her for leaving Islam, died on Nov. 25. Area sources said they strongly suspected that the two unidentified men in Galgadud Region who shot her in the chest and head with a pistol were relatives or acting on their behest.

“Reports reached the relatives in Galgadud that Nurta Farah had converted to Christianity,” one source said. “The suspicion that the family is responsible is a solid one. The sister was killed in Abudwaq, a district in Galgadud Region, and the place where the incident took place is about 200 meters from where the sister was staying with relatives.”
And let's not forget the Church attack in Baghdad this past November, where two priests were killed along with dozens of church-goers by a group of Islamic fundamentalists.

I never hear you speak out against these atrocities, or issue press releases condemning these actions. Fellow women - beaten and killed, treated as less than human. Fellow Christians and Catholics being murdered because of their faith. And yet...and yet you continue to whine and complain about how evil the Vatican is because your demands aren't met, and you shriek "persecution!"

Give me a break.

You remain silent on the violence because to speak out against Islam might invite real persecution - it's much safer to harangue the Church, because the worst you can get is ex-communication - which is actually an expression of charity, not that you see it as such.

So count your blessings that you're a member of a faith that doesn't call for murdering its apostates or flogging its transgressors. Until you start taking a stand against real persecution and real violence, STHU. You get no sympathy from me for the perceived injustices you endure. Compared to what countless men and women endure every day around the world, your "sufferings" are frivolous. Each time you complain, you dishonor the sacrifices of the martyrs and the memories of those who held fast to their faith to the last.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Theme Songs For Saints

What? You mean you don't have a theme song (I'm still working on mine)? Everybody ought to have a theme song - including the saints. I'll get the list started - you add more in the combox...

St. Bartholomew - "(I've Got You) Under My Skin"

St. Lucy - "I Only Have Eyes For You"

St. Athanasius of Alexandria - "Exile"

St. Joan of Arc - "I'm Burnin' For You"

St Lawrence - "Light My Fire"

St John of the Cross - "Total Eclipse Of The Heart"

St Therese of Lisieux - "The Rose"

St Anthony of Padua - "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"

St Joseph of Cupertino - "I Believe I Can Fly"

St Antony of Egypt - "All By Myself"

(Of course, these are based solely on the titles - lyrics, eh, not so much)

Later I'll be generating a list of theme songs for Catholycs and heretics...

Monday, December 13, 2010

The 12 Days Of Chris...I Mean, Winter

The public education system's take on a Christmas Carol classic.



s/s Divine Ripples

Saint Lucy Of Syracuse


Today is the commemoration of Saint Lucy, a 4th century virgin who was martyred because she refused to marry a pagan guy. Here's a synopsis from Saints.SQPN.com:

Her rejected pagan bridegroom, Paschasius, denounced Lucy as a Christian to the governor of Sicily. The governor sentenced her to forced prostitution, but when guards sent to fetch her, they could not move her even when they hitched her to a team of oxen. The governor ordered her killed instead. After torture that included having her eyes torn out, she was surrounded by bundles of wood which were set afire; they went out. She prophesied against her persecutors, and was executed by being stabbed to death with a dagger. Her name is listed in the prayer “Nobis quoque peccatoribus” in the Canon of the Mass.

Legend says her eyesight was restored before her death. This and the meaning of her name led to her connection with eyes, the blind, eye trouble, etc.

Curiously, St Lucy is also the patroness of salesmen - my occupation, as it so happens. I've been selling in the packaging industry for over 15 years now. You might think - what does have a 4th century virgin martyr have do with sales?

I'm glad you asked. I've given that a little bit of thought...

First, there's the reference to forced prostitution. Now you might be thinking about the stereotypical randy milkman soirees or the door-to-door vacuum cleaner hawker rendezvous of days gone by. Although...years ago, a general manager at one of my company's competitors was caught in flagrante delicto with a tooling supplier's female salesperson, in exchange for more favorable pricing...so the 'prostitution' thing is apropos. Turns out they both got fired.

Actually, I'm thinking of the "doing anything to get the sale" attitude that involves keeping ones clothes on. That can take different forms - gifts, tickets to sporting events, etc. - and the disreputable actions of a few can sometimes mar the reputation of the many. Things nowadays aren't as blatant, but still - it can be a good thing to call upon St Lucy to stand firm on principle and ethics and not give in to the temptation to sell oneself along with the product.

Second - the bit about a team of oxen being unable to move her, and how the death by fire was an epic fail. Heh - have you ever tried to get rid of a salesman, either the telemarketing sort or the vulturous kind at a furniture store? We can be a persistent lot - like maggots on meat. One of the nicest compliments I received from a customer was that she considered me to be "pleasantly persistent" - not overbearing or in-your-face, but considerate and mindful. I've made it a point to treat my customers the way I like to be treated - available when needed, but not a nuisance and in the way. So being persistent and steadfast are important traits - and sticking to principle at all times goes without saying.

Third - having her eyes gouged out. Ouch. Sometimes it's easy to "look the other way", regardless of one's profession, but especially in sales, when it means getting that order or keeping the customer. It's never right to be blind to problems or unethical behavior - whether it's others or our own (especially when it's our own). I need to be aware of always doing the right thing - and sometimes that might mean losing a customer, or leaving a company over their unethical business practices - which I've had to do once.

Sales is a hard job - very competitive, and at times, extremely cutthroat - and considering the economic times (and the fact I live in Michigan), it's even more cutthroat. Still - regardless of the conditions, behaving morally and ethically must be the foundation, and that is best achieved by holding fast to the virtues espoused by the saints and taught by the Church.

Of course, that is all my opinion on why St Lucy is the patroness of salesmen. If anyone knows why she was chosen for that role, I'd love to hear about it!

St Lucy of Syracuse, ora pro nobis!

*Update* - commenter Robert thought I should have used the following image of St Lucy. What do you think?

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Most Influential Catholic Of 2010

It's that time again - the 2nd Annual Most Influential Catholic of the Year.

Here are the basic rules:
  1. Leave your nominations in the comments box.
  2. There are two divisions - the Thomas More Division and the Richard Rich Division. Include a short reason why you're nominating the person. No "I nominate X for Richard Rich Division because he/she is a jerk" or statements similar to that. Try to be specific.
  3. You can nominate one person for each division.
  4. Nominations are open to ALL Catholics (not just Americans) - except Pope Benedict. He be exempt. (maybe I should rename this 'Most Influential Catholic not named Benedict?)
  5. Eligibility of the nominees are subject to the discretion of the AoftheA Editorial Staff.
Nominations will be accepted until Friday December 17th (Midnight EST), and voting will take place from December 18 through December 30 (I'll have a poll in the sidebar), with the winners being announced on December 31.

This isn't an exercise in judging others - this is merely a reminder that there are a few Catholics who excelled in defending the Church and her teachings this past year, and that there are others who sought to undermine her authority - and it's important to recognize the difference. And then we all get to pray for them as well.

I have my nominees in mind, but I'll wait until the 17th before submitting them, should no one else do so. Have fun!

Last year's winners: Archbishop Chaput (Thomas More Division) and Father Jenkins (Richard Rich Division). Last year, over 100 folks voted. Maybe that'll double this time...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Want To Prevent Teen Pregnancy?

I thought this was rather witty.




s/s to Restore-DC-Catholicism

Christmas Cards, 2010

It's that time of year again - creating the family Christmas card.

Now - last year I posted a Christmas card that could be considered scandalous. I'm sure some readers sensitivities were offended, and for that I apologize.

I've learned my lesson. No more controversy. None.at.all.

This Christmas, I'm trending more traditional. Going with the tried and true, good ol' family values style. Something that hearkens back to simpler times, and happier days. This year's card will be just me and Mrs. LarryD, as the Sons are still a bit camera shy after last year's sitting.

So anyway - here's our card...









What??

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ah - Now I Remember...

....why I don't attend Mass at the 'home' parish anymore, especially weekday masses when the school's student body is in attendance.

The inane Children's Liturgy - or in today's case, the Feast of the Inordinate Corruption.

I had no other option today - so there I was.

Oh, it's not so much the 4th grade girls who twirled their colorful ribbons during the procession, or in the sanctuary throughout the Offertory hymn. Nor was it the quasi-signing/hand jive thingy those same girls did along with Responsorial Psalm, standing in the sanctuary again, leading the congregation - at least I think that's what they were trying to do, because I noticed some of the other students wriggling along and moving their hands while in their seats - doing something comparable to Marlee Matlin giving Macarena instructions to deaf people. I can even overlook the end-of-Mass applause for the children's chorus, and for how well behaved the kindergartners were (which is easily achieved by telling them Santa is watching, y'know).

No, I think it was the pantomime gospel - as the deacon read the Gospel (children's version, no less), a girl dressed in a blue sari/toga and a boy donning angel wings acted out the verses. In front of the altar. While moms videotaped.

Yeah, that was it.

Here's the ironic thing - during the homily, Father spoke on how Mary had been preserved from sin from the first moment of conception....he referred to sins as "making bad choices", so Mary never made any "bad choices"....I was thinking - "This whole liturgy is a litany of bad choices!"

Thankfully I didn't throw money away by sending the Sons of LarryD to that school.

Mary, Mother of God, save us from active participation!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Kids Sure Grow Up Quickly, Don't They?

This one seems to grow in no time at all...

A dad put together a time lapse video of photos of his daughter Natalie - taken every day, from when she was born until she was ten years old - so you watch her grow up in a little under ninety seconds.



Pretty cool.

Indiana Man Gets Thank-you Note From Himalyan Glacier

(AoftheAP)All Ray Klydehooper wanted to do was take part in preserving the environment. The Muncie, IN electrician never expected the environment to tell him "Thank you".

But that's exactly what happened. Tucked between his energy bill and his wife's Oprah magazine in yesterday's mail was a small letter postmarked from India, with the return address "Siachen Glacier".

"I don't know anyone in India," Ray told AoftheAP, "and I'm not even sure where it is. So I was curious. When I opened it and read the note, I was really surprised, let me tell you."

Here's the contents of the letter:
"Dear Ray -
Just wanted to say "thanks!" for your recycling efforts. Your commitment to environmental responsibility has saved me. I've stopped receding and I'm growing in mass again, all because of you. Thanks again!
Sincerely,
Siachen Glacier
p.s. - If you're ever in India, let's hook up for some Tandoori chicken and naan, okay?"
Three months ago, Ray started returning his plastic grocery bags to the local supermarket, stuffing them into the recycle barrel located at the entrance. He didn't know how much of a difference that little act was making, until receiving the thank you note.

"It just goes to show that every little bit counts," he said. "I'm just glad I was able to do my part and save one of the world's largest glaciers from extinction."

The Siachen Glacier felt that saying thanks was the right thing to do.

"Ray made the tough choice to save the planet," it said. "He's made sacrifices, and they paid off. I just felt it was important to let him know that his sacrifices mattered. If it weren't for him, I'd melt away completely."

This isn't the first time the environment has responded to individual's efforts.
  • In 2007, Florence McNuthington-Smythe of Upper East Over-Under in Essex received a fruit basket from the Guatemalan rain forest, in gratitude for saving it from destruction after she switched her incandescent light bulbs to CFL's.
  • In 2008, Chuck Flambeaux received Whole Foods Market gift certificates from the ozone layer, for having installed solar panels on his house.
  • And just last month, three polar bears arranged to have a twenty pound case of free-range salmon fillets delivered to Phil Higgles of Modesto CA, who bought the first Chevy Volt, for singlehandedly stopping the Arctic ice depletion.
Not all correspondence has been positive, however. Back in 2009, blogger Matthew Archbold from Philadelphia received a postcard from the Great Barrier Reef that simply read "Thanks for nothing - we're disappearing, and it's your fault. Jerkwad."

So what will Ray do with the thank-you note?

"I'm going to frame it and hang it on the wall," he said. "The envelope's going in the paper recycle tray at the shop, of course. That way I might prevent a hurricane."

And his advice for others?

"Just do something. You'll feel better for it, and you might avert a huge environmental catastrophe. Even if you don't get a thank-you note, just keep telling yourself you're saving the world."

Monday, December 6, 2010

Does This Mean I'm A Bad Catholic?

I failed the "Eco-Catholic" Bioregional Quiz at the National Catholic Distorter. I couldn't answer all of them. My answers are in blue. I'm damned.

How well do you know your region? Take the quiz and find out.

Describe the way your drinking water goes from its point of origin to your faucet. In pipes.

How many days until full moon? (errors of up to two days allowed) Define "moon"....because, you know, the next time I step in the shower...

Describe the basic geology of the place you are living. What type of natural ground is there? The natural ground is made up of dirt. With some stones.

Approximately how much rain does your region get in a year? Less each year because of global warming climate change climate disruption.

When was the last great fire in your region? There was a three alarm a couple weeks ago.

What kind of food was usually consumed by the ancient cultures in your region? The dead kind.

Name five local herbs and the best time when they can be gathered. Lessee, I only know one - Herb Muehlhausen - and the best time to get him is closing time at the local bar.

From which direction do the storms come during winter in your region? They come from "up"...you know, like out of the sky.

Where is your garbage deposition? I keep it under the sink in the kitchen, like most people.

How long is the tillage and the harvest period in your region? Til it gets dark.

On which day in the year are the shadows shortest in your region? Depends on the person's height, doesn't it? And the time of day?

When is the rut of deer and when are the fawns born? They're born when the mom starts dilating. duh

Name five kinds of trees in your region! Are they native to your region? Hmmm...we have idola, pundri, indus, papis and the chemis varieties.

Name five birds which stay the whole year and five migrant birds of your region!

Do you know the history of utilization of your countryside?

Which ecologic processes were primarily influencing your region? Around these parts, it was Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.

Which species of your region are already extinct? I don't know - they were dead before I moved here.

Which types of plants are prevalent in your region? Right now, the dead ones are more prevalent.

You are sitting and reading this text now. Point to the north! It's over there!

Which spring wildflower is among the first to bloom in your region? Whichever one survives the rabbits, chipmunks and squirrels.

What is the primary source of electricity in your area? The outlets.

It's amazing that anyone takes that publication seriously.

"Eco-Catholic"? More like "Wacko-Gaian".

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Volition

A friend sent me a link to a 15 minute film called "Volition". It was a finalist in 2008 in the Doorpost Film Project. I had never seen it before, and I found it very powerful.

Here's the trailer:



The film can be watched by clicking here.

Watch it - and tell me what you think.