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

Monday, January 31, 2011

Vocations: UR Doing It Wrong!

If dancing in a cathedral is your besterest idea to foster an increase in religious vocations, it's a safe bet your best days are behind you.

From Inquirer.net:
BAGUIO CITY, Philippines — Never too old for “Toyang.”

Catholic nuns on Saturday night danced to this Eraserheads hit inside Baguio Cathedral as part of a vocational drive to recruit new blood.

“There is a dwindling [number] of [entrants] through the years. But because of this, we might be able to get recruits,” Sr. Eva Vargas of the Villa Milagrosa Convent told the Inquirer.

About 30 nuns, aged between 25 and 80 years and who came from different Catholic congregations, danced at the altar before more than 100 churchgoers to the tune of “Toyang,” a hit among the youth in the 1990s.

The song, released in 1993 by the band Eraserheads, talked about a young man’s wish to be with a simple girl.

Joining the nuns was a group of actors who depicted how parents instill values among their children.

“The family is beset with problems. We think that discussion about vocation should start in the family,” Vargas said.

New members needed

She said they wanted to reach out to young women so the program would be brought to the city’s Catholic parishes and universities.

“We danced to ‘Toyang’ because the song is very popular among the youth. This will call their attention,” Vargas said.

The nuns also danced to “I Will Follow Him,” which became a household tune courtesy of the 1992 Whoopi Goldberg starrer “Sister Act,” to Abba’s “I Have a Dream,” and “Our Mission,” a composition by Fr. Carlo Magno Marcelo of the San Carlos Seminary here.

Vargas said 10 more performances were scheduled in Catholic churches and universities here until Feb. 7. The nuns will be joined by child performers and dancers as they tour the community.

Sad. Actors, dancing, 20-year old pop tunes, Whoopi Goldberg, Abba....ABBA??? I mean, I know Jesus told us that we can call God "Abba", but I doubt He'd go for a bunch of nuns dancing to Abba tunes around an altar.

If more vocations result of this program, then more power to them. But only 100 church-goers? Color me doubtful.

We can be grateful that there is no YouTube video of these shenanigans. I'm not sure I could handle 80-year old nuns shakin' it, you know what I'm saying?

I just hope the CRONES don't pick up on this. It's bad enough seeing pictures of them pretending to be a priest - watching them juking and jiving could be the one thing that would swear me off the Internet forever.

For Today

The Church honors some weird stuff...

What?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Various And Sundry Sunday

--- Please keep my sister-in-law in your prayers - on Monday January 31, she is undergoing surgery to have one of her kidneys removed due to cancer. Thanks.

--- For the musically inclined among you...on my old laptop, I had a music composition program called MusicWrite, which had been produced by Voyetra. They've since discontinued that product altogether; so when I upgraded 'puters, I couldn't download the program [insert frown here] because it no longer existed. So I have about thirty compositions in limbo right now as I decide which program to get next. Anyone out there familiar with Sibelius First or Finale PrintMusic? They're comparable in price (forget about Sibelius 6 - at $600? No way!), but beyond that, I have no idea which one would be better suited for a person who thinks he has a midge of talent in composing music. Any advice or opinions based on personal experience would be appreciated!

--- The Middle East descends deeper into mayhem and unrest. Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan - and of course the oppression in Iran and tumult in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Begs the question - so what else is new? Name me one period in history when that region of the world experienced any semblance of sustained peace in the past, oh, 4 thousand years or so. I'm going to try and not lose any sleep over this, regardless of the impact this may have on a global scale. There are poor and homeless people living in and around where I live - at least I can do something about that. But Egypt? I'll pray for peace - especially for the Copts who are gonna face persecution regardless of how this ends - and leave the rest to God's providence.

--- Another musical tidbit - the NY Times came out with a list of the Top Ten Greatest Composers Of All Time. The writer's top three are Bach, Beethoven and Mozart. No real surprise there. The other seven, though, contain some surprises - more so by the omissions. No Chopin. No Mendelssohn. No Tchaikovsky. What do you think - who would you have put on the list?

--- Traps are everywhere.

--- Some jokes for the nerd in your life.

--- So, how many points was the basket worth, anyway?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Single Dad - Temporarily

For the past week now, Mrs LarryD has been away on a business trip to southern California, leaving me home with the Sons. She didn't want to go - but there are worse destinations than San Diego in January.

And she doesn't return until next Friday evening.

This represents the longest we've been apart from each other since we were married. There have been the occasional weekend here or there - but nothing close to 14 days. It's been an interesting experience thus far.

There are good things to report:

* the dishwasher has been run, emptied and refilled more than once.
* clothes have been taken care of properly. Even mine.
* neither the cat nor the fish have died. So that's good.
* the Sons made it out the door each morning on time for the bus - and they even returned each afternoon.
* no episodes of food poisoning. Bonus!
* no unidentifiable fuzzy growths on the kitchen counters or inside the refrigerator. Or in the showers either.
* the house plants are thriving, provided I remember to water them today.

Lest you think I'm one of those husbands who doesn't know the difference between a stove and an oven, or how to operate a washer and dryer, or even know where the vacuum cleaner is kept, I ought to tell you that way back when, one way in which I wooed my wife was by cooking for her. When we were dating, I would show up at her apartment with grocery bags of ingredients and whip up dinner for two. Even now, I prepare dinners 90% of the time (and breakfast, and everyone's lunches). So, no, it hasn't been only fast food and pizza since last Saturday. I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm cook, cleaner and chief bottle washer all the time - but my mother made sure that none of her sons were unskilled in domestic matters.

However....

...it is lonely, not having the love of my life around. Phone calls and texts are a poor substitute for face-to-face conversations. The bed seems bigger, the house a bit larger. One less person around to groan at my awful puns. The Sons, being teenagers (Younger becomes an 'official' one in 5 months), are managing just fine, and there's probably a small part of them that's quite thankful they only have one parent to deal with. Fortunately, they climbed out of the "clingy" phase just within the past few months....just kidding! They miss their mom - but I can only imagine how difficult it would be if they were toddlers or young 'uns. They've been helpful when called upon, and have (for the most part) resisted the urge to get on each other's last nerve. For which I'm grateful.

Still - I can only imagine how single parents manage every day. With me, I know she's coming back. Single parents, though....no one "comes back". I don't have to be both the dad and the mom - because the mom is coming back. Like I said, with the Sons being older, and independent in their own ways, this two week separation isn't a real killer. So it's only in a really really small way that I can somewhat appreciate the trials and tests single parents have to endure every day. They have it tough, and they deserve all the help they're willing to receive - prayers, assistance from friends and the church, and so on.

So, one week down, one more to go. I'm looking forward to picking her up from the airport next Friday. I know this period of separation is nothing compared to what some of my readers have gone through - especially for those of you in the military. But for me, and for Mrs LarryD, it's a new experience - which is kinda cool, considering we've got twenty years of marriage behind us. It's good for a relationship to experience new stuff together, even if it means having to be apart in order to do so.

Friday, January 28, 2011

I Will Not Be Going To Malawi Anytime Soon

This stinks.

From the Daily Mail:
Breaking wind is set to be made a crime in an African country.

The government of Malawi plan to punish persistent offenders 'who foul the air' in a bid to 'mould responsible and disciplined citizens.'

But locals fear that pinning responsibility on the crime will be difficult - and may lead to miscarriages of justice as 'criminals' attempt to blame others for their offence.

One Malawian told the website Africanews.com: 'My goodness. What happens in a public place where a group is gathered. Do they lock up half a minibus?

'And how about at meetings where it is difficult to pinpoint 'culprits'?

'Children will openly deny having passed bad air and point at an elder. Culturally, this is very embarrassing,' she said.

Heh - coming soon to a national health care plan near you...

Back in the day, the playground law was "Whoever smelt it, dealt it", remember? That still ought to work, doncha think?

Or maybe this is an opportunity for an entrepreneurial person to come up with a device that will accurately pinpoint the culprit, something small that people will be required to have on their person at all times, maybe in their back pocket. They can call it the Flatulence Alarm Reporting Tool. Each time the wearer activates the FART, a pre-recorded voice inside the device would alert others. Possible alert phrases could be "Sorry, my bad!"; " "Who cut the cheese?"; "Must have been something I ate!"; or "Oooh, that's gonna leave a mark!"

Well, all I know is, I'm striking Malawi off the list of places I want to visit - as long as the government over-reaches itself and seeks to restrict the freedoms of its citizens, I'll pass. I'm sure that those in charge don't want much publicity on this possible new law, either, because of its freedom-killing potential. They prefer it to be silent, but deadly.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The 1st Annual AoftheA "The Winter Of Our Snarky Discontent" Contest

It's winter, folks. A bit blah-sy for a lot of you, I'm sure. Which means it's time for a contest.


The 1st Annual AoftheA "The Winter Of Our Snarky Discontent" Contest!

Here's the scenario: In order to raise funds for their upcoming American Catholyc Council, the board of directors decided to host a Winter Festival. Thing is, they're having difficulty coming up with a) marketing slogans; and b) events/features/activities.

Your challenge is to come up with the Best Slogan and/or Best Event/Feature/Activity. Don't be skimpy with the snark or puns - your chances of winning increase in direct proportion to the amount of each.

For instance, one possible slogan could be "The ACC Winter Festival: Hell HAS Frozen Over!" Or possibly "It's All Downhill From Here!" Regarding an activity, how about a toboggan run called "The Dissent Descent".

Have at it! Have fun! Be creative! Let's get some laughs going! Then go to confession.

A winner from each category will be announced whenever. Prizes to be determined later, depending on how I feel.

Gay Math In England?

What the heck is "Gay Math"??

From The Telegraph:
Lesson plans have been drawn up for pupils as young as four, in a scheme funded with a £35,000 grant from an education quango, the Training and Development Agency for Schools.

The initiative will be officially launched next month at the start of "LGBT History Month" – an initiative to encourage teaching about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual issues.

The lesson plans, spread across the curriculum, will be offered to all schools, which can choose whether or not to make use of them.

But critics last night called the initiative a poor use of public money which could distract from the teaching of "core" subjects.

Among the suggestions are:

Maths – teaching statistics through census findings about the number of homosexuals in the population, and using gay characters in scenarios for maths problems;

Design and technology – encouraging pupils to make symbols linked to the gay rights movement;

Science – studying animal species where the male takes a leading role in raising young, such as emperor penguins and sea horses, and staging class discussions on different family structures, including same-sex parents;

Geography – examining the transformation of San Francisco's Castro district in the 1960s from a working-class Irish area to the world's first "gay neighbourhood", and considering why homosexuals move from the countryside to cities;

Languages – using gay characters in role play scenarios, and teaching "LGBT vocabulary".

The lesson plans, written by teachers and backed by the Department for Education, will be available for schools to download from the Schools Out website.

For younger children, the plans will suggest using images of same sex couples and also promoting books such as "And Tango Makes Three", which is about two male penguins raising a young chick, inspired by actual events at New York's Central Park Zoo.

Well, you know what they say about gays and math - they can add, subtract and divide well enough. They just can't multiply.

And I can only imagine the types of gay math word problems the students will have to solve...


"Joey Sparkles is shopping for leather bondage kits for his upcoming date. The red ones cost $25.99 each, the black ones cost $27.99 each, and the studded version costs $31.99. How much money will be spend if he buys two red, three black and one studded (include 6% sales tax)?"

"Elton John and his "husband" have $1,000,000 dollars. If surrogacy costs $50,000 per pregnancy, how many children can they pay for?"

Something tells me the kids will be learning much more than just mathematics - which is the intent, of course. Just out of curiosity, how are English kids scoring in math compared to other nations? I bet their scores trend downwards next month. Just a hunch.

I wonder if they'll use statistics from the NIH (or even the US's CDC) on how gays are more likely to contract AIDS and other STD's than the rest of the population. Somehow, I kinda doubt it.

And Gay Geography? Well, at least the kids will learn what areas to avoid, if you know what I mean.

"Merry" Old England indeed.

s/s That The Bones You Have Crushed May Thrill

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The False Dichotomy Of Love Vs. Truth

Example #3,214,538 of how Catholycs misunderstand Love, the nature of the Church, and what Truth is.

From The Sour Patch Kids blog:
...German liberation theologian Dorothee Solle wrote, “God and love are inseparable. It is not possible—and this is probably the gravest error of all conservative theologies—to tear God and love apart and to say that God is primary and permanent while love is some secondary, derivative thing.”

It’s not so much that God is primary. God needs descriptors and modifiers, so we take some quality ascribed to God, supposedly more fundamental than love, and make that primary...In the Catholic Church, the hierarchy emphasizes Truth, with a capital T.

This has been explicit in the reigns of the last two popes. John Paul II and Benedict XVI have often framed their missions as calling us back to a crisp, rigorous, detailed Truth.

Benedict’s motto is Cooperatores veritatis (“Co-workers of the Truth,” 3 John 8). John Paul devoted an entire encyclical, Veritatis splendor (“The Splendor of Truth”), to the concept. Benedict wrote an encyclical titled Caritas in veritate (“Charity in Truth”), which is a reflection on socio-economic problems, but I find that title interesting: charity, or love, as a subset of Truth.

Consider the two. Love, whether euphoric and romantic or the “harsh and dreadful thing” of Dostoevsky, is about relationships. Love is regard for flesh and blood, flesh and blood that cries and laughs and sweats and burps, that demands respect in and of itself, for itself. People must be approached carefully, gently, individually.

Truth, however, is abstract. It is Plato defining a chair in its ultimate chair-ness. It is about coolly contemplating perfection. Perfection comes before people, and things may be done to people in perfection’s name.

One need not ask too many questions about what it means for a man to fall helplessly in love with another man, or for a woman to fall helplessly in love with another woman. Since tab A so obviously fits slot B, one may simply file such people under “intrinsically disordered.”

Nor does a bishop need to look too closely at a nun, a hospital administrator, who reluctantly approves an abortion to save the life of a mother of four. Rather, the bishop can confidently excommunicate her, and strip the title of Catholic from her medical center, depriving it of liturgy and sacrament a few days before Christmas.

“Truth,” strangely, doesn’t require you to think too much. In the end it is about implementation, not reflection. As John Paul told the Vatican Supreme Court, the Sacred Roman Rota, in 1992, “There can be no question of adapting the divine norm or even of bending it to suit the whim of a human being.”

Jesus, in the recent cycle of daily Mass readings from Mark, associates with lepers excluded by the “divine norm” and exercises his “whim” to heal and include them. He also heals the sick and lets his hungry disciples pick grain on the Sabbath day, thereby transgressing the “divine norms” of the Sabbath so egregiously that he signs his own death warrant.

If “Truth,” or wrath, or anything but love is really first in Christianity, then Jesus says Christianity is not “for you.” Let “them” keep it.

The author claims to have a bachelor's degree in Theology - given that he's a devotee of Call-to-Action (which the blog is associated with), it makes me wonder if it's a degree in Catholic Theology.

A few snarky points. First - God is both Truth and Love, simultaneously and equally. As Christ said: "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life"; and, "I have come to testify to the Truth"; and yet again: "...you shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free."

As faithful Catholics then, we have to balance the divine law of Love with the Pontian question of "What is Truth?" And not just balance them - but daily commit to Love while seeking and giving assent to the Truth. Obviously, this writer has a ways to go in getting there, when he writes: "One need not ask too many questions about what it means for a man to fall helplessly in love with another man, or for a woman to fall helplessly in love with another woman." Heck yeah you gotta ask a lot of questions! Problem is, too many people are ignoring the hard answers, and instead of relying on the Truth That Will Set Them Free (which is not 'love makes the world go round', by the way, or 'two consenting adults + sex + commitment = love'), they rely on their own interpretation and end up suffering miserably.

Second - the writer's claim that John Paul II and Benedict XVI have focused primarily on Truth throughout their pontificates. Hello, McFly! Remember B16's first encyclical , a little something called "Deus Caritas Est"?? Selective memory - my sons suffer from the same malady. And Pope Benedict's motto, from 3 John 1:8? If you read that letter, John uses the word 'truth' about ten times, even before reaching verse 8! So the writer must think that John is primarily focused on truth, too.

Third - the writer's JPII quote in his speech to the Rota in 1992. Here's his 'quote': “There can be no question of adapting the divine norm or even of bending it to suit the whim of a human being.”

Now, here's the actual quote from his actual speech (I've emphasized the presumed quote the writer has abrogated): "In this search, as in the Church’s uninterrupted tradition and the ceaseless work of this Apostolic See, there is a continual effort to harmonize, on the one hand the supreme demands of God’s unavoidable and immutable law, confirmed and perfected by Christian revelation, and on the other hand the changeable conditions of the humanity, its particular needs, its most acute weaknesses.

Obviously, it is not a matter of modifying the divine law, and still less of bending it to human caprice, because that would mean the very denial of the former and the degradation of the latter. It is rather understanding people of today; placing them in proper harmony with the absolute demands of the divine law; of pointing out the most consistent way of conforming to it."

The context changes everything, as well as the original wording. I find it rather dodgy that he attributed a quote to the late Holy Father (and shortened it too, which changed the meaning) - but then again, Call-to-Action has always resorted to twisting words and interpreting meanings to fit their worldview.

All the writer has done in his piece, in setting up a false dichotomy of Truth v. Love, is to contrast a misinformed interpretation of the Truth with his distorted interpretation of Love. It's too bad he's not associating with folks who can help him learn the difference.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"O Beautiful Heaven, When Shall I See You?"

I've been reading the book "The End of the Present World and the Mysteries of the Future Life" by Fr Charles Arminjon. It is an excellent book - a collection of talks that Fr Arminjon gave to his parishoners in order to give them "the abiding conviction that heavenly aims, not temporal enthusiasms, must guide everything we think, say, and do." According to the book, St Therese of Lisieux found it very inspirational - she once said that reading it "plunged my soul into a happiness not of this earth," and filled her with a sense of "what God reserves for those who love Him, and seeing that the eternal rewards had no proportion to the light sacrifices of life." I had bought the book on the Little Flower's recommendation - and I have not been disappointed. [quotes taken from the back of the book]

So last night, before bed, I was reading a section on the Joys of Heaven - and came to a passage describing one time when St Augustine was delivering a sermon to his congregation.
One day, St Augustine was describing the marvels of the city of God to his people of Hippo. He did so with a voice charged with emotion, so that golden eloquence, nurtured at the fount of Scripture, which made it seem that an angel was speaking, not an inhabitant of earth. The assembled people were deeply moved and captivated, and felt as if transported to those feasts of eternity of which such a striking picture was being drawn for them, having a kind of vision of that day when the Lord would adorn the brows of the faithful with an imperishable laurel. Suddenly, their emotion was so great that they broke into groans and cries of wonder, and tears flowed from every eye. The respect due to the majesty of the sacred precincts and the silence imposed by the presence of the speaker were forgotten, and each one invoked the day when, far from all affliction, he would drink abundantly of the waters of truth and life. Each trembled lest, overcome by his frailty or led astray by seductions, he might be deprived of the blessed vision. From all sides of the holy place rang out the words: "O beautiful heaven, when shall I see you? Shall I be so senseless as to prefer the pleasures and fortune of a day to you? Who would not consent to purchase you at the price of the heaviest sacrifices and labors?"

Interrupted by these exclamations and sighs, and surprised at the effect produced by his words, Augustine was no less moved than the multitude. He wanted to proceed, to continue with the portrait of the heavenly Jerusalem he had begun; but the sobbing of his listeners and of his own emotion stifled his voice; and his tears, mingling with those of his people, formed, as it were, a torrent of mourning for the sorrows of exile and the remoteness of the beloved fatherland.

[...]

A few moments longer, and all that must end will be no more; a few more efforts, and we shall be at the close; a few more combats, and we shall attain the crown; a few more sacrifices, and we shall be in Jerusalem, where love is always new, and where there will be no other sacrifice but praise and joy. Amen.

[From 'The Seventh Conference - Eternal Beatitude and the Supernatural Vision of God']
Keep keepin' on, friends. Beyond the brutality and ugliness, despite all the sin and the suffering - the fruits of out labors will be borne out. The best is yet to come.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Equilibrium

So much ugly insanity in the world. I apologize for having contributed to it. Must.restore.balance.



Wolfie and Vladimir - an unbeatable combo of grace and skill.

(Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major, 3rd movement [K. 488])

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sex Acts In Second Grade?

Talk about education. Sheesh!

From AOL News:
Outraged parents in Oakland, Calif., are demanding answers after learning that a pair of second-graders performed sex acts on each other in an elementary school classroom while a teacher was present.

A male teacher at Oakland's Markham Elementary School has been suspended with pay, Oakland Unified School District spokesman Troy Flint told KTVU. He did not identify the teacher.

"I think everyone is taken aback over this shocking incident," Flint told KCBS, channel 5 in San Francisco. "Of course, it is hard to understand how that could have occurred."

In a letter to parents, caregivers and staff, Markham Principal Pam Booker expressed "deep regret" about two incidents that took place last week but were not reported until Wednesday.

"According to the allegation, the first incident involved several students who undressed, at least partially, while acting disruptively in the classroom," the letter read, according to KRON. "The second incident concerned two students who engaged in sexually explicit behavior, also in the classroom."

Local media reported that in the second incident, a boy and a girl -- both second-graders -- performed oral sex on each other. Both incidents occurred in the same classroom, and the teacher is believed to have been present at the time, Flint said. He said the teacher is not accused of taking part in or orchestrating the incidents.

Obviously, there is still much unknown regarding these two incidents. But...

...this teacher has been suspended with pay? You kidding me?? This is California - he should be getting a promotion and a front row parking spot. He should become the national spokesman for Planned Parenthood's plan to uber-sexualize the youth of America.

Given that Planned Parenthood wants kids - babies even - to be taught about sexuality and developing their sexual awareness before they can even speak, why all the hullabaloo? I mean, isn't this what PP and liberal-types want? Kids experimenting with each other? At least they had adult supervision, right?

Believe me when I say this: such behavior is exactly what the deranged folks at Planned Parenthood want. Kids having sex leads to kids having abortions. Read this, from LifeSiteNews:
A program touted as “a bold, nationwide, social change effort” is being launched by Planned Parenthood to alter family dialogue about sexuality and encourage parents to ease their children’s transition into a sexually active lifestyle.

Entitled “Real Life. Real Talk,” the program was first used in Connecticut, New York, Maine, and Arizona between 2004 and 2008, and its nationwide distribution is now being funded by groups that include the Ford Foundation.

The stated goal of the program is “to positively change the social climate in communities” with “more open, honest, and balanced talk” about sex; it targets parents and guardians of children as young as 8 years old.

“A more positive social climate will, over time, help to ensure that people — particularly young people — have adequate information and services to enable them to make healthy sexual choices,” states Planned Parenthood, noting that “getting people to talk openly ... about ... sensitive or stigmatized” issues is always “a critical step in making social change happen.”

The program teaches parents to promote communication and “clear up slang” regarding such topics as oral sex and masturbation, and to help children navigate the sexually active lifestyle by “point[ing] out…condoms” in the drugstore and providing other forms of contraception.

"Healthy sexual choices" - don't forget that PP is pro-choice. Except for the choice to not sexualize kids before they're capable of comprehending it. That's a choice that PP wants to make for parents.

Maybe the problem is that second graders tend to be about seven years old, while PP's "bold" program is for kids as young as eight. If that's the case, then maybe there's a valid reason for the outrage. The teacher jumped the gun - started a year too soon. Even evil has standards, right?

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Archbishop And The "Educated" Catholic

The Michigan Chapter of Call-to-Apostasy publishes a quarterly newsletter. The most recent newsletter includes the following article on correspondence that took place between a member and Archbishop Vigneron, head of the Detroit archdiocese, earlier in 2010.
Earlier this year, one of our CTA North Metro members had occasion to write a letter of apology to Archbishop Allen Vigneron that initiated an exchange of views. At the CTA demonstration supporting women's ordination, and married priests, Susan overheard a hurtful, disrespectful remark made by a first-time participant. In her letter, she conveyed sincere and heartfelt apologies for the incident. However, she also noted that “we feel very strongly about the need for Rome’s policies in regard to priestly gender and mandatory celibacy to change - -I make no apology for that or for protesting. Our intent is to call attention to the need for change, not to disrespect anyone participating in the ordination
ceremonies.”

Shortly thereafter, the Archbishop responded to Susan with a lengthy letter. He graciously accepted her apology. He then explained that limiting ordination to men is not based on “Rome’s policies” but infallible doctrine, stating that “the Pope cannot change it, since it is given to the Church by Christ himself.” In fact, “If a man were to be elected Pope and then try to change this, he would be a public heretic and by that fact no longer Pope. As a bishop, charged with a duty that, while different in scope than that of the Pope, is equal in gravity, I would not accept and could never accept the possibility of women being ordained priests.”

The Archbishop then warned Susan of the dangers of continuing to place her own opinions above “the truth of Christ offered to us in the Church.” He reminded her that she is at a “crossroads” between following “authoritative truth” and growing weaker in her faith. “In short, if you persevere in your conviction women can be ordained you are undermining your faith in Christ.”

But now the rest of the story! Susan decided to respond. She summoned the assistance of people with a more extensive theological background than she has and conducted extensive research. Then, she wrote back to the Archbishop: “I was frankly surprised to read in your letter that women could never be ordained because it violates infallible doctrine given by Christ himself. I have understood that infallibility in matters of faith and morals was declared by Vatican I and that popes have declared infallibility only twice, for the doctrines of Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of Mary into heaven.”

Susan’s carefully written paper then challenged Vigneron on every point. She quoted from the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA) on “Tradition and Ordination of Women;” she stated how Cardinal Ratzinger confirmed that it was not John Paul II’s intention to issue an excathedra definition in “Ordinatio Sacerdotalis;” she recalled how Jesus and the early church included women in ministry; she found a statement written in the 14th century by Bishop Pelagio complaining that women are still being ordained and hearing confessions.” She included quotes from Canon Law of the Church. Space in this newsletter allows for only this small portion of her entire document.

She concluded her letter with “Finally, I send my prayers and sincere caring for you as you lead the church in Detroit during these challenging times.”

Since the Archbishop’s letter had been a private correspondence, Susan requested that she be permitted to share his letter with other members of Call to Action. The Archbishop’s Secretary (Rev. Charles Fox) wrote back to give this permission, and also to reiterate the Archbishop’s reason for the infallibility of the ‘doctrine’ limiting ordination to men (that the “ordinary” Magisterium can be infallible as are the acts of Extraordinary Magisterium (i.e., solemn declarations from a council or when the pope speaks “ex cathedra.”) The Secretary also noted that the “analysis of the Catholic Theological Society of America regarding this teaching cited in your reply to the Archbishop, is unreliable.” Not that any of Susan’s analysis was flawed, but that the CTSA's analysis was unreliable!

We in CTA support Susan’s effort here to speak out as an educated lay person. She did her homework and was able to respectfully disagree with the Archbishop. She summarized her position in her second letter to the Archbishop: “I am an educated Catholic. I listened as Vatican II opened the windows to the Spirit, recognized as acting in laity as well as clergy. It is my quest to follow Christ ever more faithfully that compels me to be active in my parish, participate in Call to Action, work and volunteer in organizations that work towards charity and justice.” This is exactly the position of many CTA members. We believe it is critical for more of us to speak up and write informed respectful, loving letters to the members of the hierarchy to express what we believe we hear the Spirit say.
Sounds to me like Archbishop Vigneron did some darn good bishing in his response - concern for the state of her soul and the condition of her faith. There was no condemnation - only teaching and some gentle persuasion. Granted - none of the letters are reprinted in full, so the only information we have is that which CTA desired to give. But from what was quoted, it seems that the archbishop was polite and charitable.

But since Church teaching conflicted with Susan's opinion, she would not go quietly to reflect upon the archbishop's wise words. Instead, relying on the mere scant handful of historical 'facts' other more theologically retreated (can't really say they're theologically advanced) friends could give her, Susan went ahead and tried to prove to Archbishop Vigneron why her opinion was correct and the Church was wrong.

I can just imagine his reaction when getting her second letter. He had seen the light! His eyes had been opened to the blinding truths that the Church he had been faithfully serving all these years was deviously hiding from him. But what to do? He couldn't just flat out admit that he had been duped, fooled by a 2000 year institution. No - he had to save face. Thus, he instructed his secretary to pen a response that kinda sorta disputes the second letter, but only by referring to the CTSA reference as "unreliable". There was no repudiation of Susan's other 'facts' - which meant, of course, by virtue of Call-to-Apostasy logic that THEY ARE CORRECT! Silence gives consent and all that.

Oh happy day! Oh joyous wonder!

Oh what a load of horse hockey pucks. More likely the archbishop wasn't falling for the bait laid out by this 'educated Catholic', refusing to get dragged into a fruitless argument designed only to feed the pride and hubris of a malcontent Catholyc.

I did a little research on one of Susan's 'facts': "she found a statement written in the 14th century by Bishop Pelagio complaining that women are still being ordained and hearing confessions.” Okay, first of all - complaining to whom? Is this just general whining and moaning and groaning, or was it a legitimate complaint to a competent authority? The mere fact that women were being ordained doesn't mean at all that it was acceptable Church practice. My guess is that the bishop was complaining to the Pope about this, and he was looking for additional support. CTA tries to make it sound that he was just a mean misogynist.

On a hunch, I googled the phrase "
Bishop Pelagio complaining that women are still being ordained and hearing confessions.” Just to see what would turn up. Heh - first entry is an April 2010 blogpost from a blog called 'Ratbang Diary', which includes nearly word for word the sentence from Susan's letter: "In the 14th century Bishop Pelagio complained that women were still being ordained and hearing confessions." Wow - awesome research. Such an authoritative source. A blog written by an angry woman angry at the church. So she didn't "find a statement written in the 14th century" - she found a statement that stated as such, written in 2010.

I'm not refuting the assertion that Bishop Pelagio complained about the 'ordinations' - but come on. Dig a little deeper why doncha? Where's the original source? I haven't had time to dig deeper myself yet - but my guess is that the original source probably contains information that smacks down the whole women's ordination fallacy.

Another thing - her statement at the end, where she declared:
“I am an educated Catholic. I listened as Vatican II opened the windows to the Spirit, recognized as acting in laity as well as clergy. It is my quest to follow Christ ever more faithfully that compels me to be active in my parish, participate in Call to Action, work and volunteer in organizations that work towards charity and justice.” I'm tired of the implication that Catholics who obey Church teaching are somewhat uneducated. To them, Catholics like me are merely mindless drones who "pay, pray and obey". Well, to me, Catholycs like her are merely "gray, gay and betray". Fact is, she isn't educated as much as she's been indoctrinated. Which is kinda ironic considering she refuses to give assent to some of the Church's doctrines. That's supposed to be the sign of an 'educated' Catholic?

Christ told Peter and the apostles: "Whoever hears you, hears me. And whoever rejects you, rejects me and the One who sent me." Archbishop Vigneron spoke, and she - and the rest of the CTA crew - rejected him. So where does that put her in her quest to follow Christ faithfully?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

C Of E's Baptism To Become A Baptisn't?

The Anglican Church in England continues to implode. It's becoming too unbearable to watch. How do you folks in the UK do it??

From the Daily Mail:
Church of England baptism services may be re-written to remove some references to Christianity.

The plan for a new ‘baptism lite’ service designed to make christenings more interesting to non-churchgoers will be considered next month by the Church’s parliament, the General Synod.

Supporters say the baptism service should be ‘expressed in culturally appropriate and accessible language’ that is readily understood by ‘non-theologically versed Britons’.
But traditionalist clergy said the idea amounted to ‘dumbing down’.

So what will it be now? "I baptize you in the name of Conscience, Tolerance and Good Vibes For All"? Or maybe "...the Doctor, the TARDIS and all his companions"? I'm beginning to think that the C of E isn't all that interested in evangelizing Christ to the world. No wonder the Tiber is getting clogged up with dissatisfied Anglicans.

The new service would be used at 150,000 christenings each year. If the plan is accepted, it will be the third full re-write of the baptism ceremony in around 30 years – the version in the Church’s Book of Common Prayer went virtually unaltered for more than 400 years until 1980.

Complaints centre on three sections of the baptism service from the Church’s latest prayer book, Common Worship, authorised for use in 1997.

In one, parents, godparents or an adult being baptised are asked to ‘reject the devil and all rebellion against God’ and to renounce ‘the deceit and corruption of evil’. They are asked to ‘submit to Christ as Lord’.

The Reverend Dr Tim Stratford, from Liverpool, who is putting the plans before the synod, said in a paper that ‘there remains some unhappiness about the language not being earthed enough’.

'...language not being earthed enough' means the words currently being used are too religious. Baptism, a religious ceremony, in order to be more 'interesting', ought to have earthier, less-religious language. Somehow that's supposed to make sense. So don't reference Christ, or the devil, or sin, or evil - just sing a few verses of the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love", or John Lennon's "Imagine" while pouring water on the baby's head, and you're all good.

And this will crystallize Christian identity how exactly? If the Baptism is being rewritten once every ten years on average since 1980, it wouldn't come as a surprise if C of E members struggle to articulate what it means to be a Christian. At the very least, there are some who recognize that the Catholic Church says what it means, and means what it says, as evidenced by a fair number of conversions.

Several years ago, the Vatican decreed that Baptisms were declared invalid where the words "Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier", or other similar terms, were used instead of "The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit". Why, to be mean and authoritarian? No - because those were the words Christ gave to his apostles prior to their Great Commission. Those words have power - along with the water - to bring a new man into existence, to incorporate that new man into the body of Christ. The Church recognized that getting cute and fancy with the vernacular invalidated the sacrament - just as changing the words at the moment of consecration invalidates the Eucharist - and people's souls were at stake. Their salvation was in jeopardy. Individual creativity has no place in the serious business of sacraments.

I wonder if the Church of England really cares about the souls of their members. Seems to me they care more about whether or not non-Christians find their services interesting, inoffensive and earthy.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Distracted Walking Is Dangerous!

You know that old expression of "can't walk and chew gum at the same time"?

It's time to update it, make it more contemporary . Watch the video.



Thankfully the woman was uninjured. Her last text was: "found a gr8 deal on shoes! they r blk w/ straps & OMG they r so cute! u will luv them 4 su,,.fdpogfnlsdflilnlk....."

Don't text and walk - be careful out there!

This has been an AoftheA Public Service Announcement.

Woman Creates Last Supper Out Of Lint

Here's something you don't read about everyday. And probably for good reason.

From The Daily Mail
A northern Michigan woman has put her own spin on Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper... by making a replica out of laundry lint.

Laura Bell of Roscommon collected lint from her dryer and fashioned it into a four-foot tall by 14ft wide reproduction of the Italian Renaissance painter's masterpiece.

Bell says she needed about 800 hours to do enough laundry to get the lint, and 200 hours to recreate the mural.

She bought towels of the colours she wanted and washed them separately to get the right shades of lint.

It's unlikely to be hung in the Louvre in Paris, but it's not merely being hung out to dry.


The artwork has caught the eye of Ripley's Believe It Or Not! - famous for collecting outrageous, bizarre and unusual curios.
The company plans to put it on display at one of its museumsm, and a Ripley's spokesman says it already has replicas of The Last Supper made from a grain of rice, a dime and burned toast.

The original Da Vinci painting measures 15ft tall by 29ft wide and covers the back wall of the dining hall at the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy.
Oooookaaaayyy.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Air Force Test


Presumably the above image is part of an Air Force test for pilots - I have no idea if that's true, but one thing's for sure - it can be addictive. The idea is to click and hold the red square, and move it around to avoid being struck by the blue objects. Oh, and you can't touch the black walls either.

My best score is 15.116 seconds.

So if you've got nothing better to do, click the link and try out.

Air Force Test

Friday, January 14, 2011

Things You Didn't Know About Vatican II

Ten things you didn't know about Vatican II -

1. The single most important event of the 20th century EVER!!!!

2. Vatican II was not on the grassy knoll in Dallas, but it knows who was.

3. It stopped the Global Ice Age back in the 70's, and it could solve global warming climate change climate disruption if it wanted to.

4. It shut down the BP oil spill.

5. It helped end the Great Depression.

6. It discovered penicillin.

7. It brought about the DH rule in baseball, the two-point conversion in the NFL, and the shootout to break a tie in the NHL. However, it had nothing to do with the BCS.

8. It invented the Internet.

9. It broke the four-minute mile first.

10. It discovered America.

I felt it was important to point out that Vatican II was responsible for way much more than just bringing the Church into a New Enlightened Age Of The Spirit Except Its Being Suppressed By B16, as some folks in the Church are wont to believe. I've only listed ten things - I'm sure there are many many more...

UPDATE: Fr. Larry informs me that Gloria.TV has mentioned this post in their 1/17 newscast.

(Inspired by a comment left at Mark Shea's blog.)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

AoftheA Reader Alert!!

Without a doubt, there are countless momentous and critical issues facing us these days - as Americans, as Catholics, as men and women of good will. So much is happening at once, it's like being trapped in a tornado during an earthquake in the middle of a hurricane. It's nearly impossible to stay abreast of current events, or at least maintain some sense of proportion and balance throughout these tumultuous times.

Which makes me somewhat reticent to bring up the following subject. But I would be remiss if I failed to make you aware of a significant development that has far-reaching implications.

It's a subject that impacts every Catholic reading this blog. Without exception.

My dear friends, time is of the essence.

It's time to decide...
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...because it's the 2011 Blogger's Choice Awards! You know what to do - click the button and vote for me. And once your there, vote for any other blog you like, too.

My site was nominated for Best Religion Blog!


Not to engage in any vitriolic rhetoric or anything, but if you don't vote for me, I may just have to send out you-know-who to, um, discuss the matter with you.






Jus' saying.

UPDATE: A kind reader also nominated AoftheA for Best Humor Blog - so if you feel inclined to cast a vote for me in that category as well, click the button at the top of the sidebar.

Note - you have to register to vote - which is free and easy. Real easy.

The ACC Bill Of Wrongs - Part One

(This is the first in a series analyzing the American Catholic Council's Catholic Bill of Rights & Responsibilities [CBRR], wherein we will take an in depth look at each of the ten delineated 'rights & responsibilities'. Part One takes a look at the CBRR Preamble)

To be human is to have rights. These include life and freedom, together with rights necessary to sustain them: shelter and nourishment, health and work, education and leisure.

None of these rights is absolute. One may not exercise them in such a manner that other people are exploited.

Citizens of the United States are particularly conscious of their rights, written into our constitution: speech and peaceful assembly, dissent and due process, the choice to believe or not, freedom of the press and protection from cruel and unusual punishment, voting and the presumption of innocence.

When one decides to become a Catholic, one brings all these human rights into the Church. The Church has a solemn obligation to protect these and not to violate them. When one is a Catholic in the United States, the Church is obliged to safeguard those rights that define what it is to be a citizen-unless they are incompatible with Catholicism. One must not be told that one becomes a Catholic at the expense of being less an American. We cannot declare that fundamental rights have no place in the Church of Christ.

We often hear that "the Church is not a democracy". This is not true: ecumenical councils, papal elections, and the election of religious superiors occur regularly. The first Ecumenical Council in 325 declared that no priest was validly ordained unless the community made the selection. Popes and bishops were chosen by the people at large. Fundamentally, Catholic doctrine maintains that the Spirit is given to all and that baptism makes every Catholic equal.

Distinctions between clergy and laity are functional and arbitrary. Their value is always subordinate to the baptismal equality which gives all Catholics the priesthood, the right to the Eucharist, and full status in the community.

Christ did not preach a gospel of privilege and priorities, of entitlements, and of lesser and greater discipleships. Christ did not proclaim that the Reign of God was made up of those whose right to speech or due process or presumption of innocence would now be curtailed.

The Reign of God has its charter in the beatitudes, its constitution in the Gospels, and its mission in the Great Commandments.

In light of these principles and precepts, we, mindful of our baptism, eager to be fully citizens of the United States and thoroughly Catholic, articulate this Catholic Bill of Rights and Responsibilities.
What to make of this - how about 'pure pablum'? Or maybe 'abject idiocy'?

I don't intend to look at every line in this preamble - but let's take a look at some of them.

"To be human is to have rights." The truth is "To be human is to be created in the image and likeness of God, which affords each of us equal and inherent dignity." You have to remember, these folks are unwilling to humbly afford due credit to God for things they'd rather proudly ascertain for themselves. From the very first line of the preamble, it's obvious that everything revolves around them - they are the center of their own universe.

"None of these rights is absolute." False - the right to life is absolutely absolute. As is the right to liberty. To the folks at the ACC and others like them, they fail to acknowledge that there is a hierarchy of rights. For example - the right to life of the unborn child exceeds the right to pursuit of happiness of the mother considering an abortion. The ACC has to say this, though, in establishing their false premises, which are more evident within the preamble. One such premise is that the right of the Church to develop its own rules and structure is not absolute, nor does it take precedence over the rights of the baptized.

"Citizens of the United States are particularly conscious of their rights, written into our constitution: speech and peaceful assembly, dissent and due process, the choice to believe or not, freedom of the press and protection from cruel and unusual punishment, voting and the presumption of innocence." The listing here is intentional - these are the areas where the ACC feels the Church has unjustly overstepped her limitations. These make up the bulk of their "Bill of Rights and Responsibilities", which will be discussed later. The error here is conflating our rights as Americans with our responsibilities as faithful Catholics. Just because we have the right as adults to vote for our representatives does not automatically extend to voting for our bishops.

"The Church is obliged to safeguard those rights which define what it is to be a citizen." Excuse me, but it's the government's responsibility to do that, not the Catholic Church. The ACC seems to neglect the fact that the rights we have as human beings are there because they were endowed by God - we are free because we have been created in His image and likeness, regardless of our citizenry. The Church works to uphold those rights for all people, not just Americans. The Church is obliged - as instructed by Christ and directed by the Holy Spirit - to preach the truth and save souls.

"When one decides to become a Catholic, one brings all these human rights into the Church." Yes and no - when one is baptized Catholic, the "old man" dies and a "new man" comes is resurrected to life, a life in Christ. Did Christ go around demanding His rights? Is that really the gospel message? Or did He serve? Didn't Christ say "If a man asks for a cloak, give him your shirt as well?" He didn't say "If a man has a cloak and a shirt, you have the right to take both." Of course we have our rights as Americans - but by becoming Catholic, we have taken on duties and obligations that may and does require us to subjugate some of those rights, or relegate them to lesser status. For instance, once we become Catholic, we are not permitted to join the Masonic Lodge, even though as an American, we have the guaranteed right for peaceful assembly and association. Is the ACC saying that our rights as Americans overshadows our obligations as Catholics? One might think that.

"Fundamentally, Catholic doctrine maintains that the Spirit is given to all and that baptism makes every Catholic equal." Equal in dignity in the eyes of God - not in role. You'd think they've never read 1 Cor 13:28-30: "And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators, speakers in various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?" And I hate to break the news to them, too - but we won't all be equal in heaven either. So might as well get used to it here on Earth...

"Distinctions between clergy and laity are functional and arbitrary." This is their argument to do away with the ministerial priesthood - they hate Holy Orders, failing to recognize the ontological change that sacrament imparts upon an ordained man. And they disagree that the Church cannot ordain women. Thus, they base their argument upon the notion that by virtue of our baptism, everybody has the right to be a priest. In one sense, we are all priests - joined to Christ through his universal priesthood. But that's not the same thing as saying we all have the ability and right to be a priest. How is it they accept the Church teaching on Baptism, but not Her "arbitrary" teaching on Holy Orders? If the Church is wrong on the ministerial priesthood, in their eyes, then what makes them so sure the Church's teaching on Baptism is correct? One of the many disconnects ACC members suffer from.

"Christ did not preach a gospel of privilege and priorities, of entitlements, and of lesser and greater discipleships." Although there is the parable of the man who wasn't properly dressed for the wedding feast, and got tossed out. Or the foolish virgins who ran out of oil, and couldn't gain entrance. Christ also said that to those who have given much, much will be required. He also said that if didn't become like a little child, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. That's sounds rather discriminating, doesn't it? Christ was clear that if one's priorities were wrong, then salvation was out of reach.

"Christ did not proclaim that the Reign of God was made up of those whose right to speech or due process or presumption of innocence would now be curtailed." Strawman argument. This is the same argument the ACC and their ilk uses to defend homosexual activity - Jesus never spoke out against it, so it must be okay. What the ACC doesn't like is that what they define as 'rights violations', the Church rightly defines as heresy and dissent. Tough tiddlywinks.

"The Reign of God has its charter in the beatitudes, its constitution in the Gospels, and its mission in the Great Commandments." The Church is not sola scriptura. There is also Sacred Tradition and the magisterial teaching - equal parts of Church authority, and all necessary for a proper understanding of where She derives her authority. It's a nice sounding sentence, sure - but inaccurate. "Constitution in the Gospels" - yeah right, except for the parts of the Gospels they don't agree with.

"In light of these principles and precepts, we, mindful of our baptism, eager to be fully citizens of the United States and thoroughly Catholic, articulate this Catholic Bill of Rights and Responsibilities." Americans first, Catholics second. Backwards. Makes me wonder if these folks would be Catholic in a country where such rights aren't recognized by the government.

As it stands right now, as Catholics, our rights and responsibilities are already enumerated in the Code of Canon Law, in a section titled "The Obligations and Rights of All The Christian Faithful" (sections 208-223). Notice that the word 'obligations' comes before 'rights', and that the ACC has is backwards.

Now, I'm no canon law expert, nor am I a theologian. But I can read, and I can tell the difference between what this preamble says and what the Code of Canon Law says. In fact, here's what Canon 208 says the following: "From their rebirth in Christ, there exists among all the Christian faithful a true equality regarding dignity and action by which they all cooperate in the building up of the Body of Christ according to each one’s own condition and function". That's quite a bit more detailed and nuanced than the ACC's simplistic statement that our baptism makes us all equal, doesn't it? They're peddling half-truths.

And no one has the right to do that...

(Part Two of this series will take a look at the 1st enumerated right of the CBRR: Primacy of Conscience. Every Catholic has the right and responsibility to develop an informed conscience and to act in accord with it.)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Dousing Inflammatory Rhetoric

Saturday's tragic shooting in Tucson of 19 people, including Rep. Giffords, and the deaths of six victims, has become a flashpoint for political opportunism of the worst kind. So much inflammatory rhetoric, mainly from the Left, on how violent society becomes because of...inflammatory rhetoric. Boy, talk about circular reasoning, huh?

It's one thing for political pundits and elected officials to sling mud from the trenches - that's their milieu and frankly, the way it's done today is no different than how it's been done in this country for more than two centuries. One only needs to read about how Adams and Jefferson went after each other - verbally - during their campaigns to recognize that, in some ways, we have progressed to somewhat more dignified mud-slinging. Not much, mind you, but a little. Now, I don't say this to justify it - stirring up emotions via hyperbole and rhetoric may be the practice du jour in politics, but that doesn't make it right.

So the barrage of unreasonable attacks and unsupported assertions as to the shooter's motivations, and the legislative solutions proposed by some elected officials - plexiglass shielding in Congress? Really? - are not all that unexpected. Unfortunate, ridiculous and opportunistic - yes. Unexpected - not that much.

But it's a completely other thing when certain Catholyc commentators fail to restrain themselves from joining the "blame the political (read as: right-wing) rhetoric" bandwagon, though - especially since it's been fairly well established that the rhetoric and posturing had nothing at all to do with this attack. And why jump on that bandwagon anyway? Political operatives and elected officials use this approach to gain some perceived political advantage, or curry favor with their supporters. So what advantage would Catholycs gain? Simple - they're bound at the hip with such people - ie., the Left, progressives, Socialists, Communists, whatever you want to label them - and to them, events and circumstances are much more political than spiritual anyways, and the average Catholyc leans left. Government is their God, while their professed faith is just an accessory - nice to look at, doesn't cost much, and never gets in the way.

For instance -it should come as no surprise that the National Catholic Distorter, in a column by Jamie Manson, has seen the light of day. It goes off on a tangent in the first sentence, and never looks back:
It is unclear to what extent Jared Lee Loughner, the gunman who attempted to assassinate Representative Gabrielle Giffords, was influenced by the epidemic of hostile, fear-mongering rhetoric that dominates public discourse on critical issues such as health care, immigration, and Islam.

Regardless of whether Loughner’s motivation was induced by the media or mental illness, the incident compels us to take a serious look at the violent overtones of political speeches, and the ways in which misinformation and exaggerations about hot button issues strike fear and trigger aggression in the minds of listeners.

In a country that spent the last several months exploring the problem of bullying in our schools, it is time to have a public conversation about the raging, manipulative demagogues who use untruths and scare tactics for their own personal and political gain.

Okay, so regardless of the reason, she's framing the issue as if "violent overtones of political speeches", and "misinformation and exaggerations" were the reason. And where did she get Islam from? Has anyone out there made that connection? None of what she says makes any sense. For a supposed Catholic publication, you'd think a more spiritual approach to the issue would be appropriate. Then again, this is the National Catholyc Distorter...

And wouldn't you know it - she does have something to say regarding spiritual issues - namely, the comixture of politics and spirituality of two people in particular, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck!

Perhaps the most vocal and visible preachers of rancor in our country right now are Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck. But one other aspect of their lives unites them as well. They are both avowed Christians who claim that many of their political convictions are rooted in their faith.

Palin frequently draws upon violent imagery to drive home her points. As has been widely reported, she used “crosshairs” to designate members of Congress who needed to be removed -- Giffords was in the top twenty -- and often invoked her favorite motto, “Don’t Retreat, RELOAD!” and “aim for Democrats” to incite the crowds.

The icon and the mantra were quickly and quietly removed from her website after Saturday’s massacre.

Palin claims to have been saved as a Christian at the age of 12. She spent her high school and college years devoted to Christian causes. She proudly attends a non-denominational church and declares herself a Bible-believing Christian. She vehemently defends the notion that the United States is a Christian nation, and frequently addresses evangelical groups. Beck’s speech at his “Rally to Restore Honor,” sounded much more like a religious revival as he exhorted America to “turn back to God.”

Funny how she doesn't mention the "violent imagery" that Rev. Jeremiah Wright is known to have used. Maybe she agrees with him.

Now I don't watch Beck, and I think Palin is an intriguing figure. But what's the problem with turning back to God? Yeah, they're playing to their bases - but what politician or pundit doesn't do that? And being a Catholyc, you'd think Manson would agree with the idea that turning back to God is a good thing.

But of course she doesn't. Mainly because her view of God conflicts with the Church's view of Him. That while He is infinitely merciful, He is also infinitely just, and that the 10 Commandments he gave Moses were meant to be followed and not just not a neat idea whose time has come and gone. That He sent His only Son to save us from sin; that His Son established one church; that He finds sinful behavior abominable - some behaviors more than others, by the way; and so on.

Not only that, Catholycs like herself, and the publication she writes for, continually engage in inflammatory rhetoric, and her article reflects an awful lot of projection. A.lot.

In that regard, I agree that the inflammatory rhetoric ought to stop.

Hence from this moment forward, I call on Catholycs to cease using inflammatory rhetoric that the Church is misogynistic because women cannot be ordained priests; that women who go through fauxrdination and subsequently are excommunicated are spiritually harmed by the Church; that the Church is doing violence against women's religious orders vis a vis the Apostolic Visitation; that the Church only regards women's value as breeding children and serving their husbands.

I call on Catholycs to cease using inflammatory rhetoric that the Church is homophobic because She teaches it is impossible for gays to be married; that the Church is engaging in homophobic activity when She supports traditional marriage voting initiatives; that gay couples are disrespected because Catholic adoption agencies would rather close than be forced to allow gay couples to adopt children; that She is being hateful when She teaches that homosexual activity is sinful, unnatural, harmful and not in the slightest way an expression of authentic love.

I call on Catholycs to cease using inflammatory rhetoric that the Pope is killing AIDS victims and women in Africa because of the ban against condoms.

I call on Catholycs to cease using inflammatory rhetoric that certain bishops are politicizing the Eucharist when they prohibit pro-abortion Catholic politicians from receiving communion; that bishops are endangering the lives of people when they prohibit Catholic hospitals from calling themselves Catholic if they engage in procedures that are contrary to the Catholic faith; that certain bishops would rather have two people die instead of just one.

I call on Catholycs to cease using inflammatory rhetoric that the Church is imposing its will on the faithful through the new translation, that it will cause division and strife within parishes.

I call on Catholycs to cease using inflammatory rhetoric that Pope Benedict, and Pope John Paul II before him, are quashing the "Spirit of Vatican II", and preventing the Holy Spirit from working throughout the entire Church.

I call on Catholycs to cease using inflammatory rhetoric that the sex abuse crisis was only because of clericalism and celibacy rules, and that none of it would have happened if women could be priests.

I call on Catholycs to cease using inflammatory rhetoric that pro-lifers only care about the unborn child; that once the child is born, they don't care about it, the mother, her family or anyone else living for that matter, except other pro-lifers and their political connections.

Until those things happen - until they cease fomenting division within the Church and until they cease striking at the roots of the faith - well, then I will not cease calling them out on it.

Lead by example, Catholycs. Cease using the rhetoric you claim to abhor. Otherwise, shut the H-E-double hockey sticks up.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Theme Songs For Catholycs

Last month, I wrote a post called Theme Songs for Saints - and at the end of it, I said I'd come up with a list of theme songs for Catholycs and heretics.

Your patience has been rewarded. Here it is:

Martin Luther - "My Way"

St Joseph Hospital in Phoenix - "I Fought The Law (And The Law Won)"

Richard McBrien - "The Fool On The Hill"

Joan Chittister - "Lost In Space" or "2000 Lightyears From Home" (an old Rolling Stones song)

Carole Keehan - "Evil Woman"

National Catholic Reporter - "Please Stop Your Lying"

Leave your suggestions in the combox - I'm sure you can come up with ones better than mine...

ThePulp.it

Tito Edwards, who regularly blogs over at The American Catholic, recently established a new Catholic news digest site called ThePulp.it. He scours the Catholic blogosphere for the best of the best in punditry and analysis, updating his links twice a day on weekdays, and once each on Saturdays and Sundays. He must not have much of a life if he's able to do that much work - so convince him that all the hard work he does is worthwhile, and check out the Pulp.it - he's got great stuff there!

Except...



...he hasn't linked to a single post of mine.





Yet...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Rocks For Brains

Okay. Watch the video and ask yourself - if this something that ought to happen at a Catholic college? Does it seem New Age-y to you, or is it just "infantile intellectualism", as it's described at Gloria.TV?



I think it's dumb. It's one thing to have a bunch of magnetic words stuck to the side of your refrigerator, where kids can have fun making silly sentences, or leave cute messages for their dad or mom, or whatever. But for college professors to make a verbal garden? (get it? "verbal", sounds like "herbal"...aw, never mind) Seems like a colossal waste of money, to me. How much was that rock artist paid, anyway?

Oh! Oh! Did you catch the part where the woman wished a spell could be cast over the garden? What kind of Catholic college is this, where the word "spells" come out of her mouth so easily, instead of a word like, oh, I don't know....maybe "prayer"!?!?

What do you think?

Was One Of The Magi A Woman?

This is a month-old story, but I came across it this weekend. I haven't figured out if this is good, bad or just plain stupid.

I'm leaning towards stupid.

From The St. Louis Beacon:
As St. Louis Christians set up their Nativity scenes and give church Christmas pageants, they may want to add a new character: a woman among the magi.

The figure of a woman would put their creche scenes on the cutting edge of a fascinating and fresh idea in serious biblical scholarship that is likely to get much more attention next year.

A revered international authority on the Gospel of Matthew, the Rev. Benedict Thomas Viviano (right), who spent much of this year teaching New Testament at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford University, offers this original theory.

The professor, Dominican friar and priest used his command of Old Testament references and his ease with gender in ancient Hebrew words to suggest that one or more women may have been among the magi who visited the infant Jesus in the brief story told in Matthew's Gospel, Chapter 2.

Viviano's full theory about the possibility of women among the magi will be published next year in "Studies in Matthew" by Leuven University Press, edited by another august biblical scholar Joseph Verheyden.

Viviano talked with the Beacon about his theory during his annual visit St. Louis.

Viviano, a St. Louis native, who has spent the past quarter century teaching New Testament in Europe and Israel, is neither a biblical hysteric nor populist. He's written several scholarly books. The deliberate friar, like most scholars, excels at long footnotes linking his reader to texts in half a dozen languages by biblical scholars of several Christian denominations. He writes clearly with occasional flashes of wit, which are evident in person.

Once they heard that a leading Matthew expert suggest the idea of a woman "wise man," all but one of a dozen church women we interviewed this month expressed immediate delight. The exception was a Christmas play director and adult religious education director who said the idea was too controversial to act on.

First off - I think the writer is all agog about this notion that one of the magi could have been a woman. Just look at some of these adjectives and phrases she uses: "cutting edge"; "fascinating and fresh idea"; "ease with gender"; "revered international authority".

Secondly - the timing seems calculated. With the recent push for so-called women's ordination in the Church, and the spurious claims of misogyny and patriarchy - I wouldn't be surprised is this "fascinating and fresh idea" might end up on Womynpreest blogs and websites, and Rev. Viviano gets invited to their conferences and demonstrations.

But given that we don't know how many magi there were - the presumed number is three, because three gifts were presented - I doubt anyone's salvation would be in jeopardy if they want to think that one or more of the magi were female. It's not part of revealed truth, so what's the harm, right?

Speculation on who the magi were has been discussed and debated for centuries - and as long as the central truths are maintained, then there would be no harm in speculating that one or more of them might have been women. The article's writer made the tongue-in-cheek comment that it's likely a woman was part of the group, because they stopped and asked for directions. haha But if said speculation leads down dangerous paths where truths are doubted and denied, that's a whole different ball of wax.

It boils down to this - is this truly serious biblical scholarship, or just an attempt to be relevant and post-modern? If it's the former - it'll be interesting to see if other biblical scholars comment on Viviano's work - to challenge it, support it, refute it or ignore it. But if it's the latter - which I think it is - then why bother? The test will be to see who picks up this idea and runs with it. If groups the likes of the CRONES or LCWR do, then it's definitely the latter.

In either case, anyone interested in developing some female magi creche figurines? There might be a market for 'em come next Christmas...

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Need Prayers?


I'm filling in at our parish's Perpetual Adoration chapel at 10:00 PM EST tonight, to be with our Lord for an hour. I'll offer up your intentions and prayer requests, if you'd like. Just let me know in the combox.

Dissent - In Pictures!

As a public service - because here at AoftheA, I'm all about keeping you louts informed on stuff you are all too lazy to learn on your own - I've decided it would be instructional to display some photos of dissent in action.

In November 2010, Call-to-Apostasy held their annual shindig - what, you didn't know about it? You didn't get the chance to go? Man, what a shame because Sr Joan Chittister and Ray Bourgeios were in attendance, along with some other notable dissenters.

Now, before y'all get the silly notion stuck in your head that I attended their conference - stop. Now. Or I'll ban you. Even you, Terry.

I did, however, come across some pictures of the event....

Here's one of the Welcoming table...


"Because not everything is Black and White." Yes, that's very true. Why, there also happens to be a heck of a lot of gray!

It's everywhere!!


At the end of the meeting, they held a mass...

We know it's a mass because there's a table cloth on the dining room table, and there are no precious metal vessels on the table. And there's a womynpreest. Oh - we also know it's a mass because they started the mass with the requisite...


....Liturgical Dancing!

Sorry - no giant puppets this time.

Oh look! They even had a bishop show up!

Apparently, CTA's bishops need to be recharged from time to time.

So there you have it - dissent, in pictures. You're welcome.

I bet more people see these photos here, than the number of people who will have viewed them at the CTA site (only 107 as of 1/7) AND the number of people who attended the event, combined.

Call-to-Action is dying, folks. Just not fast enough.