Catholic Interest

Interesting things Catholic

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    Saturday, December 30, 2006

    In a kitchen in Yuma

    Once when my kids were young, and we were out of the city at a summer trailer

    I looked up and there was a cloud formation that looked just like the Virgin
    Mary standing straight, her hands folder in prayer. I asked my oldest boy to
    look at the clouds and tell me what he saw, and he said.. that looks like

    It happens. But come on folks, there are easier ways to deliver messages than
    via odd pictures on the wall and cloude. Our atheist friends are amused and I would think more certain in their position. It happens, but so does real life. Let's stay

    Oh and by the way, white pigeons flying past the car while winking at you are
    most probably not the Holy Spirit. Either is blubbering in 'tounges', but that's
    another topic.


    An image of the Virgin Mary has appeared in Yuma — on the kitchen wall of Angela Sandoval's house.

    Although the family doesn't believe in praying to the image or creating shrines before it, Sandoval takes the appearance to be a calling from God through the Virgin for the Sandoval family to come closer to him, she said.

    The Sandovals regularly attend Mass at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission — but Veronica has not been as regular in her worship, her mother said."

    I plead to God and the Virgin to call on her so that she returns to the church. I pray to God every day. If the revelation was made to her (Veronica), I feel joy because she saw (the image)," said Sandoval, who is a lay eucharistic minister.

    After leaving her mother's house Monday, Veronica drove past 15th Avenue near the Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission and saw a white dove flying right across her car. The dove, which caught her attention because they are not common in Yuma, flew to a tree and turned in her direction, Veronica said."

    It was white, white like snow," she said. "I felt something, but I don't know how to explain it ... I felt something stronger when I saw the dove than the image."

    That, Sandoval said, was a sign from the Holy Spirit confirming to Veronica that what she saw in the kitchen was a true calling from God through the appearance of the Virgin of Guadalupe."We're happy, it's a blessing from God and the Virgin,".

    Yummy revenge

    Here in the USA, revenge through law has felt quite normal now for some years.

    The latest catchword is 'closure'. The family of the wronged in court usually says 'we want closure', then adds 'but nothing can bring our child (or whomever) back'.

    And there it is. The admission of the uselessness of the act, AND the satisfaction of revenge.

    It's just in the air. Now this has little to do with the Nazis. But that was in the air at one time also. I only bring it up because we are always carried around by which way the wind blows. We know it, and can't seem to help it.

    Now that area of the globe, and many others are plainly death holes. It's nice of the catechism and the Vatican to remind us of the higher calling. Sometimes though, it's nicer to ignore that. Or easier, or just more practical.


    For the intentions of the Pope

    VATICAN CITY, DEC 29, 2006 (VIS) - Pope Benedict XVI's general prayer intention for January 2007 is: "That in our time, unfortunately marked by many episodes of violence, the pastors of the Church may continue to indicate the way of peace and understanding among peoples."

    His mission intention is: "That the Church in Africa may become a constantly more authentic witness of the Good News of Christ and be committed, in every nation, to the promotion of reconciliation and peace."


    Wednesday, December 27, 2006

    Cordova touchpoint

    The church that looks more like a mosque for good reason.

    An interesting modern ecumenical dilema. I don't think it will become a
    mosque, but I do think the authorities will permit muslim prostrate prayers. And
    ecumenical meetings could be held there.. why not?


    In a letter to Pope Benedict XVI, Spain’s Islamic Board said that senior Spanish Catholic clergy had rejected requests for Muslims to be allowed to prostrate themselves inside the Cathedral, which was converted into a church in the 13th century.

    “What we wanted was not to take over that holy place, but to create in it, together with you and other faiths, an ecumenical space unique in the world which would have been of great significance in bringing peace to humanity,” the letter said.

    No one at Spain’s Catholic Bishops Conference was immediately available for comment, but earlier in December it issued a news release stating it “did not recommend” Muslims prayed in the Cathedral. In the communique, quoted by newspaper ABC, it added that it was not prepared to negotiate the building’s shared use with other faiths.

    Security guards often stop Muslim worshippers from praying inside the old Mosque, said the board’s general secretary, Mansur Escudero, who complained elements of the Roman Catholic Church felt threatened by Spain’s growing Muslim population.“There are reactionary elements within the Catholic Church, and when they hear about the construction of a mosque, or Muslim teachings in state schools, or about veils, they see it as a sign that we are growing and they oppose it,” he told Reuters.

    Mansur said Muslims came from around the world to see Cordoba’s Cathedral, still known as the Cathedral-Mosque and built when much of Spain was the Moorish territory of Al-Andalus, a major centre of Islamic thought and architecture.

    Spain’s last Muslim territory fell with the conquest of Granada in 1492 after almost eight centuries of presence.

    Monday, December 25, 2006

    Blind to need

    "Does a 'Saviour' still have any value and meaning for the men and women of the third millennium?" he asked in his address to tens of thousands of people in a sunny St. Peter's Square.


    "Is a 'Saviour' still needed by a humanity which has reached the moon and Mars and is prepared to conquer the universe; for a humanity which knows no limits in its pursuit of nature's secrets and which has succeeded even in deciphering the marvelous codes of the human genome?"

    "Is a Saviour needed by a humanity which has invented interactive communication, which navigates in the virtual ocean of the Internet and, thanks to the most advanced modern communications technologies, has now made the Earth, our great common home, a global village?"

    In his midnight mass for some 10,000 people in St. Peter's Basilica earlier on Monday, he said the image of the baby Jesus in a manger should remind everyone of the plight of poor, abused and neglected children the world over.

    "People continue to die of hunger and thirst, disease and poverty, in this age of plenty and of unbridled consumerism," he said from the central balcony of Christendom's largest church.

    "Some people remain enslaved, exploited and stripped of their dignity; others are victims of racial and religious hatred, hampered by intolerance and discrimination, and by political interference and physical or moral coercion with regard to the free profession of their faith," he said.

    "Others see their own bodies and those of their dear ones, particularly their children, maimed by weaponry, by terrorism and by all sorts of violence, at a time when everyone invokes and acclaims progress, solidarity and peace for all," he said.

    "What are we to think of those who choose death in the belief that they are celebrating life?" he said.

    Sunday, December 24, 2006

    British wasteland

    LONDON: An overwhelming number of Britons believe religion does more harm than good, an ICM poll for The Guardian newspaper suggested yesterday.

    Eighty-two per cent of the 1,006 adults questioned for the left-leaning newspaper in the run-up to Christmas said they saw religion as a cause of division and tension between people compared to 16% who disagreed.At a time when Britain’s multi-cultural, multi-faith model, their outward symbols and culture are under the microscope after last year’s suicide bombings, 63% said they were not religious.


    82% can be expected to misunderstand religion if 63% are not religious. Tragic

    Although Britain is Protestant, with its monarch Queen Elizabeth II the “defender of the faith”, only a small minority (17%) described it as a Christian country.

    Instead, 62% said Britain was better defined as a “religious country of many faiths”.

    Such nice architecture and rich history. How long can they stand on
    historical noblesse oblige alone?

    We can not judge their success by economics, look at China which is
    certainly non-Christian and doing well.

    What is the essential difference? I think it is their love alone. So many
    of the Enlightenment countries only show their lack of God around the fringes..
    with abortion and euthanasia. Those signposts will lead to others more basic.

    I think it will be the mechanisms of real killing machines when not stopped
    by money or productive worth invading more and more to the center of the

    But as all things Enlightenment, it will make perfect sense at the

    Stalin, Hitler, Mao... all the killing regimes do.

    Saturday, December 23, 2006

    Ah HA! Now I know

    Now I know where this screwy holding hands creeping into the Lord's prayer comes from.

    Please close your eyes, bow your heads, join hands, and pay attention to the overhead projector as it indicates 'prayer'.

    At first I thought it was some misunderstood use of the orans posture. Although cool, it is not suggested.

    But no, it looks like hand holding comes to us from these corner churches. Those that insist they are anti-liturgy, yet obviously prescribed nevertheless.

    Oh well, now I know.

    The worst I have seen was at a weekday morning Mass where the Priest rushed down to hug some women during the Our Father.

    The usual is people linking up, and raising their hands higher during "the power, the glory..".

    And the best? It is starting to disappear.

    If you have hand holding during the Lord's Prayer in mind if we happen to be sharing a pew someday, stay away. If you're a guy I will slap your sissy paw away. If you're a woman, I will decline with a smile after a cough into my palm.

    A long time ago, I read an explanation between store front Protestants and Catholics that stayed with me.

    For Protestants, they have to pray extra hard so the Lord will bend his ear to their assembly, perhaps even enter where 2 or 3 are gathered. For Catholics, Christ is right there in the Eucharist whether we are praying hard or not. For us, it is not only the gathering, but the adoring of God present whether we hold hands, kneel, or even show up.

    No matter what the current wave of liturgists think, we don't primarily gather at Mass, although gather we do. We come to be close to Christ. Holding hands, squinting our eyes, girl altarboys, waving banners, dancing, singing really loud notwithstanding. First things first.

    Although kneeling is always appropriate.

    Friday, December 22, 2006

    Dark Dark Continent, and our dark little hearts

    "Where is the moral outrage?" Emry asked, calling for moral and collective responsibility.


    Most important, Emry said, is "do not forget." If people were to leave the meeting and forget about Darfur, "then the genocide is complete," he said. "They'll be wiped out of our consciousness."

    Here is a stink hole certainly crafted by the Devil himself.

    Since 2003
    the usual response from the world community has not turned the tide. The usual
    response has been ineffective.

    Matthew Emry of American Jewish World
    Service is right. We are forgetting. And coming from a Jew, it is chilling when
    he says "then the genocide is complete,", "They'll be wiped out of our

    All real actionable power is local right?. Locally the
    neighboring nations have been unable to be effective. In fact the whole
    local continent has been unable to summon the fortitude to stop the evil. If local
    power does not work, what is the world to do?

    What can we do when even
    the charitable relief organizations are suppressed?

    Nothing short of
    re-Colonizing this chaotic continent. So the answer is nothing.

    pardon my racial eye, but where is the indignation from the Black race across
    the globe? These are the people you left behind, your blood relatives.

    Stalemate. Some new yet unheard of idea is needed.

    When the
    Light came into the world, he brought the light to answer this darkness.

    This is the evil that is not yet put under his feet. I suspect this is
    the reason that after 2,000 years the Father still delays His return.

    When we do not rise up in moral indignation we prove ourselves unready
    too well. How can I have the fuzzy warm Christmas spirit when I prove myself
    also unready. I can't.

    I can't think of a solution given the current
    world political structures, or our proven world moral state. This "I can't" is
    also my Judgement.

    I am sorry we are fallen creatures still blind to the
    Light we are about to celebrate. And I wonder what lies ahead for our future
    generations in their part of the journey toward the victory already won, but not
    yet consumated.

    The Psalms often speak "How long O Lord before you
    return?". You have returned, and will again someday. But as I daily prove why,
    not in my lifetime.

    Emry, senior program officer for conflict and emergency relief for the Jewish organization, said moral outrage is needed to make things happen in Darfur. He challenged his audience to consider genocide not in terms of millions but rather one person exterminated at a time.

    The people of Darfur in flight bring to mind the flights of the Jews of the Old Testament, and of Joseph and Mary. Now, he said, it's not just a matter of faith but of history -- and that history is repeating itself.

    "Where is the moral outrage?" Emry asked, calling for moral and collective responsibility.

    While CRS is the largest supplier of aid to Darfur, LeFevre noted, that aid has been progressively interrupted. With poor access for humanitarian efforts, the CRS representative said, aid agencies are hoping that diplomatic efforts will "produce some movement."

    Scott LeFevre, a CRS representative to the Horn of Africa, which includes Darfur, said 3.5 million people need assistance in a dry, arid region where the temperature reaches 120 degrees.

    More than 100 people of various faiths came together at the university's Alumni Hall to hear from representatives of Catholic Relief Services and American Jewish World Service, two agencies providing emergency humanitarian relief to Darfur.

    At least 200,000 people have died in Darfur and more than 2 million people have been displaced since 2003 when fighting escalated between rebel groups and government troops and Arab militias known as Janjaweed.

    Despite a May peace agreement meant to end the conflict, the fighting has continued and threatens to spread to neighboring Chad, where many displaced people from Darfur are taking shelter.

    Thursday, December 21, 2006

    Proper timing

    Just look at the difference in timing that has developed in U.S. culture (and perhaps elsewhere) between the Christmas season and the advertising media xmas holiday season.

    Christmas trees adorned the stores around Haloween. Lawns got decorated a month ago.

    But here at the trusty Vatican, things wait as they should.

    Here our liturgy is still Advent preparation, but outside the Church doors it's been Christmas already for weeks.

    Sad and discount.


    VATICAN CITY, DEC 20, 2006 (VIS) - This afternoon, Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, president of the Governorate of Vatican City State, will preside at the official lighting ceremony of the Christmas tree which was erected in St. Peter's Square last Wednesday. The tree stands next to the nativity scene, which will be inaugurated in the next few days.

    The nativity scene, which will be unveiled on the evening of December 24, has seventeen life-size statues. Of these, nine are the original figures donated by St. Vincent Pallotti for the nativity scene in the Roman church of Sant'Andrea della Valle in 1842. The other eight figures were added over the course of the years. The Italian province of Trento, and the local council of Tesero - a village at an altitude of 1,000 meters in the Valle di Fiemme in eastern Trento - have provided a further thirteen sculpted wooden figures and animals, as well as household utensils for the depiction of daily life.

    Sunday, December 17, 2006

    Scorn for porn

    Calling pornography an evil plague that is ravaging society, Bishop Loverde uses strong and unambiguous language in his 20-page teaching titled “Bought with a Price: Pornography and the Attack on the Living Temple of God” to rebuke oft-repeated defenses of pornography.

    Bishop Loverde then goes on to speak to the youth, married and engaged couples, and even priests of the diocese to provide advice and counsel to guard against addiction or to break free of its grip.


    Australian Cardinal George Pell of Sydney issued a pastoral letter on pornography and sex addiction titled “Sexual Sickness” this past July. Bishop Loverde’s pastoral letter may be the first one dedicated exclusively to this issue in the United States.

    “The threat of pornography is always a necessary and timely issue. It is pervasive and constant in our society,” Bishop Loverde said.

    Ken Henderson knows what it’s like to be trapped in the vice of pornography.
    Addicted for more than 25 years, Henderson would go on to defeat his dependence, embrace Catholicism and found the apostolate True Knights, which is dedicated to helping men fight such addictions.

    According to Henderson, the majority of men who turn to the True Knights for assistance understand their faith and agree with church teachings, yet still become addicted.

    The Diocese of Austin, Texas, has formed an Anti-Pornography Task Force and just launched a Web site titled “Pornography Isn’t Pretty” that posts news reports and studies to make the case that “pornography is not a harmless product but a tumor that needs to be removed in its entirety from the face of the human community.”

    Helen Osman, director of communications for the diocese and a task force member, said the idea was born from priests who were being inundated with requests for help from parishioners addicted to pornography.

    Other anti-pornography projects in the works include panel discussions, a speakers’ bureau, and formation of support groups for addicts and their families, Osman said. The diocese, which covers 25 counties in central Texas, is also working to translate the site into Spanish.

    Bishop Loverde articulates how pornography, far from being a victimless crime, exploits its subjects, dehumanizes its viewers and inflicts significant damages on families, especially spouses and children.

    “This plague stalks the souls of men, women and children, ravages the bonds of marriage and victimizes the most innocent among us. It obscures and destroys people’s ability to see one another as unique and beautiful expressions of God’s creation, instead darkening their vision, causing them to view others as objects to be used and manipulated,” he wrote.

    In his letter, Bishop Loverde provides specific points of counsel that can be used by all of the faithful struggling to attain a state of purity in a world where pornography is gaining acceptance.

    Really, what's all this addiction talk? It's not. Addiction implies victimhood..
    Help, I've fallen and I can't get up.

    Porn is no good for a person
    striving for purity no doubt. But in the general culture, sex is a right up
    there with food. It is just another road down to the bottom. Different people
    pick different poisons.

    Unlike alcohol, it is not a physical addiction.
    Let's not confuse the issue. All sin gives a person an identity less than the
    dignity intended. Just like all the other vices, if impurity is a hard habit to
    break, then perhaps a support group will help, but not because the person is
    somehow addicted, but because the person could use a little support in their

    The main social problem with labeling porn an addiction is
    that it invites nanny do-gooders to meddle. Something like early century
    prohibition laws. Please.

    Something difficult to change is not an
    addiction, and does not produce an addiction. Let's concentrate on men being men
    finding the strength to endure and win with a little help from above.

    Men have been emasculated enough, let's not see them as victims of
    something like sex. They should have the gahoonies to stand up and fight.

    It's not easy, and failure beckons around every corner. So what else is

    Nazi reproductive 'health' again

    United Nations, Dec. 14, 2006 (CNA) - Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Apostolic Nuncio and Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations delivered a speech yesterday stating the Holy See’s overall approval for a new U.N. Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities, but stated, for the record, the Vatican’s refusal to sign the Convention due to its inclusion of a provision that would support the abortion of babies with disabilities.


    The Archbishop then offered for the record, a few positions of the Holy See on the Convention. As stated by Migliore, the most important of his points was in regard to rights for reproductive and sexual health services for those with disabilities. “The Holy See,” he said, “understands access to reproductive health as being a holistic concept that does not consider abortion or access to abortion as a dimension of those terms.”

    “However, even with this understanding, we opposed the inclusion of such a phrase in this article, because in some countries reproductive health services include abortion, thus denying the inherent right to life of every human being, affirmed by article 10 of the Convention.”

    “It is surely tragic,” the archbishop continued, “that, wherever fetal defect is a precondition for offering or employing abortion, the same Convention created to protect persons with disabilities from all discrimination in the exercise of their rights, may be used to deny the very basic right to life of disabled unborn persons.”

    “For this reason,” he said, “and despite the many helpful articles this Convention contains, the Holy See is unable to sign it.”

    Saturday, December 16, 2006

    One thing leads to another

    As we suspect, one thing immoral breeds another thing immoral.

    It seems
    that the Ukraine is still quite communist.


    Healthy new-born babies may have been killed in Ukraine to feed a flourishing international trade in stem cells, evidence obtained by the BBC suggests.

    Disturbing video footage of post-mortem examinations on dismembered tiny bodies raises serious questions about what happened to them.

    Ukraine has become the self-styled stem cell capital of the world.

    There is a trade in stem cells from aborted foetuses, amid unproven claims they can help fight many diseases.

    But now there are claims that stem cells are also being harvested from live babies.

    The BBC has spoken to mothers from the city of Kharkiv who say they gave birth to healthy babies, only to have them taken by maternity staff.

    In 2003 the authorities agreed to exhume around 30 bodies of foetuses and full-term babies from a cemetery used by maternity hospital number six.

    Put them in prison

    Catholic people do bad things. I hope I have not been avoiding that in the blog. I just didn't think it was all that surprising.


    An employee at a Catholic prep school was indicted on charges that he accepted bribes from contractors who did work at the school.

    A state grand jury charged Richard P. Rochefort, 48, the director of buildings and grounds at La Salle Academy in Providence, with 20 counts of accepting or soliciting a bribe.
    His wife, Gail Rochefort, 48, was also charged with a single count of conspiring to solicit or accept a bribe -- as well as aiding and abetting the solicitation of a bribe.

    Prosecutors say Richard Rochefort accepted or solicited more than $10,000 in bribes from companies that received contracts to do work at the school.
    The alleged scheme occurred between August 2001 and September 2005.


    A gym teacher and coach has been accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old student over a period of 10 months while she worked at a Catholic high school in Somerset, N.J., authorities said.
    Pamela Balogh, 39, of Bethlehem, taught and coached the female student, who was subjected to the assaults starting in December, 2004, according to the Somerset County prosecutor's office.


    There.. This proves I know Catholics are a fallen people too.

    But at the known risk of being very very un-PC, this gym teacher is another case of an old person playing a young game.

    The headline.. "Prosecutor says woman used her Catholic school office for attacks". Attacks indeed.

    A 15 year old over the span of 10 months. An attack upon the willing for a good long time.

    I know most will say any sex with someone under 18 is bad bad bad. But it's all over the place. This is something we have done to our young people. For the most part, our culture has prodded them to engage in sex as soon as puberty arrives.
    Yet somehow we think we can protect their modesty with laws. Just some leftover it seems from a broken taboo.

    Now I know that we have been awakened to the power play in use when an authority figure presses the advantage. True, but hardly surprising, and something present since Eden.

    A case of culture saying one thing, and laws saying another. Two voices, same people. One powerful, the other punishing. Such is life when schizophrenic is the norm.

    God help us on our journey, but a journey it is.

    Thursday, December 14, 2006

    Offering it up to high heaven

    One of the things I struggle with is the common attitude in homilies that the
    supposed 'old' practice of offering up our sufferings is not to the point.

    Mainly the Priest will say something like advice to turn the situation
    around, or that God does not want anyone to suffer.

    Baloney... a misuse
    of words and the introduction of feel good psychology.

    Yes, at the root
    is the fact God wishes us only good. Yes, the devil is the base source of
    misery. And yes, the Priest is often talking about poor women caught in an
    abusive environment. Very PC and soft and at the bottom confusingly

    But I can not forget Job. That is one long story put there for a
    clear teaching reason. And Christ's Passion is a teaching that can never be

    So here we have the good Pope teaching the 'old' practice at
    that last undeniable meeting with suffering waiting for all of us.

    God for this Pope too.


    The message is also addressed to terminally ill patients. "I encourage you to contemplate the sufferings of Christ crucified, and, in union with him, to turn to the Father with complete trust that all life, and your lives in particular, are in his hands," Benedict XVI exhorts. "Trust that your sufferings, united to those of Christ, will prove fruitful for the needs of the Church and the world."

    Wednesday, December 13, 2006

    There is killing, of course. It is a video game

    "There is killing, of course. It is a video game," he said. "But the basis of the game is spiritual welfare."


    "The reality is that our game perpetuates prayer and worship and that there is no killing in the name of God," said Troy Lyndon, the CEO of Left Behind Games Inc. who describes himself as a "follower of Christ."

    "After you kill somebody you need to recharge your soul points and to do that you need to bend down in prayer ... I think the message is extremely clear," said Clark Stevens, co-director of the advocacy group Campaign to Defend the Constitution.

    A spokeswoman said Wal-Mart would continue selling the game online and in stores where it expected demand.

    "Left Behind: Eternal Forces," is a teen-rated PC strategy game based on the wildly popular Left Behind Christian book series. Set in New York City after millions of Christians have been transported to heaven, its players are charged with recruiting, and converting, an army that will engage in physical and spiritual warfare with the Antichrist and his evil followers.

    Tuesday, December 12, 2006

    Looking for a problem

    I think this is interesting.

    In our culture, the idea of too much work as a bad, even sinful, thing just has no traction. Maybe it's our Calvinist heritage. Or maybe it's that, while many sins are conceived as paired examples of excess (e.g., cowardice and foolhardiness), with virtue (courage) as the mean, I'm not sure there is a counterpart to the sin of sloth.


    In reading Catholic Social Teachings on labor for my CST class, I've often strugged to make its lessons relevant to a class full of future (usually highly paid) lawyers.

    Part of the problem is that the CST discussions wage and hour issues typically address the question of workers who work long hours in order to put food on the table. Most of my students, however, are heading for the law firm world, where they will bill anywhere from 2200 to 3000 hours per year and work many additional non-billable hours and be well compensated for their sacrifice. The question of what to say to workers who would volunteer to work overly long hours is, apparently, not something the encyclical writers have even considered. But many of the harms identified in the CST writings as resulting from too much time at work -- e.g., not enough time for family, leisure, worship, or spiritual reflection -- are the same, whether the long hours are chosen or imposed by necessity.

    I think the answer is that "working too much" is a subjective psychological
    issue, not a sinful issue.

    It is mostly involved in the balance that is struck between an individual
    and their social environment when the amount of work time is somewhat voluntary.
    The impulse to work is no vice, but our nature since leaving Eden.

    For men it is the compliment to putting food on the table and providing
    shelter. For women it is the compliment to the 24/7 responsibilities of

    Jesus and his group worked while not finding enough time to eat. Their
    time for prayer had to be carved out of their allocation for sleep. They had to
    be reminded now and then to gather themselves apart to pray. Now and then.
    That’s a good enough example for me.

    There is a point to be considered though regarding what exactly it is
    that we are working for. Food and shelter and extras have become way too large a
    goal which is simple materialism. After physical comforts have been secured, it
    would be good to expend effort elsewhere, I agree. But the expending of effort
    is never ending, or we have sloth. Except on Sunday of course.

    The opposite of sloth does not exist which is something that never
    occurred to me, but the message is plain. The problem of lawyers working 70
    hours is a problem of doing one thing beyond what is necessary for comfort. The
    apportionment of that work impulse to other non-lawyer activities, which
    hopefully advance the Kingdom, is perhaps Prudence.

    A mother of someone I know always said.. there will be time enough to sleep
    when were dead.

    Saturday, December 09, 2006

    Setting things right

    Lincoln, Neb., Dec. 08, 2006 (CNA) - Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, Prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops has sent a letter supporting Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz’s decision to excommunicate members of the dissonant group Call to Action in the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska. Cardinal Re affirmed that, in the judgment of the Holy See, belonging to or supporting Call to Action is “irreconcilable with a coherent living of the Catholic Faith,” due to some of their anti-Catholic activities and stances.


    CTA was begun in 1976 based on an initiative of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. However, according to the Diocese of Lincoln, by 1990 CTA leadership was growing impatient with their own lack of influence on Catholicism in the United States and decided to take more drastic action.

    To motivate change, CTA founders Dan and Sheila Daley, both former religious, drafted a document titled “Call for Reform in the Catholic Church.”

    In the statement, printed as a full-page ad in the New York Times on Ash Wednesday in March 1990, they chastised the Church for “ignoring” social issues like a threatened environment, growing poverty, increased drug abuse, and international conflicts. By contrast, the solutions they offered included ordination of women, an end to the discipline of priestly celibacy, popular election of bishops instead of papal appointments, new forms of liturgy, and the use of artificial contraception.

    The group has also closely linked themselves to abortion providers and strong abortion supporters and more recently have begun supporting homosexual agendas and protesting the Church’s ban on openly homosexual clergy.

    Bruskewitz’s statement cited Call to Action (CTA) and ten other organizations, including the Freemasons, Catholics for a Free Choice, Planned Parenthood, the Hemlock Society, and the Society of St. Pius X, declaring that membership in the organizations, “is always perilous to the Catholic faith and most often is totally incompatible with the Catholic faith.” The bishop’s 1996 letter invited Catholics who supported the groups to remove themselves from their rosters and to seek the Sacrament of Reconciliation so that they could return to full communion with the Catholic Church. Those who refused to do so within a month were automatically excommunicated.

    “Parents have to tell children that they can’t test everything in the medicine cabinet or drink everything under the sink,” the bishop explained. “The Church is our mother and gives us these instructions as protection against dangers we might not perceive…It is liberating, not enslaving.”

    Whether or not the organization attempts to appeal the cardinal’s ruling, the press release from the Diocese of Lincoln continues to offer individuals a way back to full communion. To overcome the excommunication, the release notes, is still not difficult, “Catholics who wish to return to full communion with the Church need only repudiate their membership in these groups by sending a letter to the organization and having their names removed from any rosters or mailing lists. Then, they can seek out the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where their priests can guide them in confession and penance.”

    “They may be asked to make a profession of faith,” added Bishop Bruskewitz, because membership in these organizations often requires them to reject Catholicism and take dissenting oaths.

    “The Lord loves everyone and died for everyone, and He wants all to be saved,” he said. “The best lesson that can be learned from everything that has happened is that one finds happiness, joy and satisfaction in obedience to the Church.”

    Friday, December 08, 2006

    Old homosexuals and teens

    A Roman Catholic couple has joined the United Church after the Catholic archbishop denied them communion because of their same-sex wedding.


    Daniel Poirier and Jack Murphy, of Meteghan Centre, were married last spring and announced their wedding with a photograph in the newspaper.
    Murphy and Poirier, both 69, have been together for seven years. They say residents and parishioners at Stella Maris church accept them as a couple.

    The men have since joined the Deacon United Church in Yarmouth, but once a month they go back to Stella Maris.

    "The hardest thing is when people go to communion and we have to sit down," said Poirier, who would normally be rehearsing the choir at this time of year for the Christmas mass.

    "It breaks my heart to hear that music and I can't be part of it."

    The couple met with Prendergast to argue their case, but Murphy said it was clear the archbishop wasn't going to change his mind when he said the men should do what Jesus said to the prostitutes: sin no more.

    "I was very angry at that because Danny and I are not prostitutes. We love and are committed to each other," Murphy said.

    They can sin some more because they're not paid prostitutes. I think he
    missed the point.

    The Archbishop perhaps thought we had enough gay choir directors as it is.
    I am an organist, and at first told very few people since there were so many
    fringe folks in that area, I was not ready for the controversy. I don't see that
    fringe there anymore, but I do see a lot of "church people" in those roles. It's
    a little harder to fix that problem.

    And on another note...

    Catholic bishops are hitting out at the proposal to lower the age of consent to 16, saying it sends the wrong signal to young people and parents.


    They say it sends out the wrong signal to a young generation who, under the influence of teenage glossy magazines, peer pressure and binge drinking, feel engaging in sexual activity is something trivial.

    The bishops also feel it sends out the wrong signal to parents, who they claim are themselves confused as to how they should react in the face of their children's activities.

    The heads of the Irish Catholic Church go on to say they are amazed that politicians and public opinion makers shy away from confronting the basic demands of morality.

    Of course I see the Bishops point of view. But I think 16 is the right age.
    As right as 18 anyway.

    The American press is full of stories about young adults getting in trouble
    with 17 and 18 year olds. Comon... we're locking folks up not really because of
    the wrong, but because we're sending the 'right' message by having the age set
    at 18.

    Someone at 16 is hardly more able to make the right choice than
    someone of 18, or 21. Youth has its problems that no arbritary age can define.
    The correct age is probably closer to 25.

    We all know sin is a result of the heart's morals. If lawmakers wish to
    send a message, get a billboard. And youth's heart? Get morals.

    Thursday, December 07, 2006

    Men crying, Lesbians doing the impossible

    The enemies of the USA have a pretty firm conviction that we are like a failing modern Roman Empire. A house with rotting foundations that can not withstand pain, without moral authority and lacking fortitude.

    Was Bush crying over something worthy? Nope.

    Former President George H.W. Bush came here Monday to talk about leadership and opened his remarks with advice on working with rivals, being patient and building personal relationships.

    He then broke down in tears mentioning his son, Gov. Jeb Bush, as an example of leadership and the way he handled losing the 1994 governor's race to popular incumbent Democrat Lawton Chiles. He vaguely referred to dirty tricks in the campaign.


    And how about that Cheney? Tough as nails and morally certain one would be led to believe.

    The vice president and his wife issued a statement saying they are "looking forward with eager anticipation to the arrival of their sixth grandchild."

    White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said that when Cheney told President Bush of Mary Cheney's pregnancy, "the president congratulated them and said he is very happy for them."


    Is this where we find ourselves? If we are worried about the breakdown of the American family, here it is for all the world to see.

    It is impossible for lesbians to have a child. But it is currently possible for the father to ship his manhood via Fed Ex to be squirted into unknown females via something like a small turkey baster. Breakdown indeed.


    Our enemies are right. Men are crying all over the place, at least in popular media, and within the Bush clan. This Cheney grandchild will have 2 mommies with hardly a blink from the watching culture.

    Remember the Immaculate Conception? It's a Holy Day of Obligation tomorrow. Cheney's conception was anything but.

    Back to our enemies. If we think we offer them something that they ought to emulate, we are badly mistaken.

    Tuesday, December 05, 2006

    This article has everything

    All kinds of opinions. Unfortunately only one can be correct.


    Didier Sicard, the head of France's national ethics committee, denounced the Church's intervention as "unfortunate and extremely unwelcome".

    "Of course it has the right to a judgement. But it should not impose it on the public as it is doing right now," he said Thursday.

    Health Minister Xavier Bertrand voiced his "unflinching support" for the Telethon, calling it "a beautiful initiative".

    Even the head of the Catholic Scouts and Guides association — which takes part in the Telethon each year — said the Church had chosen the worst possible moment to raise its protest.

    France's scientific community took a joint decision to stay silent on the issue until after the Telethon, out of fear the row could jeopardise the event.

    The French biomedical agency simply published a statement recalling that PGD had been legal since 2004.

    Meanwhile the AFM issued a statement saying it did not finance PGDs — which it said were covered by the national health system — while defending the procedure as a vital medical tool.

    The AFM also rejected Catholic calls for a pick-and-mix system letting donors choose what their money pays for, saying it could lead to some illnesses being neglected compared to others.

    HA, the AFM is looking for fairness toward illnesses. The ultimate

    The Catholic Church has set off a major row in France by accusing a much-loved medical charity of "eugenics" for helping to fund the screening of human embryos for hereditary diseases.

    A Catholic official warned last month it was "no longer possible", for ethical reasons, for the Church to donate to the Telethon, a gigantic medical fundraiser that draws in millions of French people each year.

    Organised by the French Association Against Myopathy (AFM), last year's Telethon — short for television marathon — raised EUR 104 million for research into muscle-wasting diseases with 22,000 sponsored runs and concerts held in what has become an annual French ritual.

    On November 9, the head of the Catholic bioethics committee in Fréjus-Toulon in southern France published an article denouncing the Telethon, which holds its 20th edition on December 8-9, as part of a "great eugenic strategy".

    The good, the bad, and the revolting.

    The obtaining of embryonic stem cells from "spare" embryos -- resulting from in vitro fertilization -- is allowed in Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Spain and the Low Countries, it confirmed.

    Estonia, Hungary, Latvia and Slovenia, have no specific regulation on embryonic stem cells, but allow some research with "spare" embryos. Italy and Germany have restrictions and cannot obtain new embryonic stem cells, though they can import them.

    Austria, Lithuania and Poland prohibit research with embryonic stem cells. Belgium, the United Kingdom and Sweden allow therapeutic cloning, expressly excluded from the Community's program, the Europarliament press office noted.


    Good for Austria, Lithuania and Poland.

    Bad for Denmark, Finland,
    France, Greece, Spain and the Low Countries.

    Perhaps worse of all are
    Italy and Germany. Themselves they wish to appear clean, and let other 'lesser'
    countries do their dirty work. It's all revolting, and they are the most

    The European Parliament's approval of funding for research on human embryos reflects a situation of inequality in how individual countries recognize fundamental rights, warns a Vatican official.

    This pronouncement of the Europarliament "makes evident the moral and ethical relativism that now governs Europe," lamented Bishop Elio Sgreccia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life.

    "Where there is one kind of law, one is recognized as a human person from conception; where there is another, instead, it is no longer the same," he lamented. "So I no longer see that Europe which was born from a charter of man's rights.

    Saturday, December 02, 2006

    Obama is popular and practical

    "I also believe we can't ignore the fact that abstinence and fidelity, although the ideal, may not always be the reality, that we're dealing with flesh-and-blood men and women and not abstractions, and that if condoms and potentially things like microbicides can prevent millions of deaths, then they should be made more widely available," Obama said. "That's my belief."


    He said men and women often are "contracting HIV because sex was no longer part of a sacred covenant, but a mechanical physical act." He said government programs cannot solve that problem, but churches can make a real difference by providing people with a moral framework to make better choices.

    Obama is making the same arguments that all folks who wish to dish out condoms
    make. Ideal vs. Practical.

    "abstinence and fidelity, although the ideal,
    may not always be the reality"

    Right. But somehow the word 'ideal' makes
    it sound unattainable. If the language would shift to abstinence and fidelity
    being right, but not always the reality, we could communicate better. These
    folks shun claims of right and wrong. But the church is only interested in right
    and wrong.

    So abortion folks and condom folks say... be practical. And
    there's a lot to be said for that. If one is not Catholic, or of a denomination
    that understands right from wrong, then they should be allowed to be practical.
    The Pope reiterated in Turkey that the Church does not impose but only proposes.

    Yet if the Church proposes, and the individual agrees, then that
    individual votes and is active for the cause of right vs. wrong. The Church is
    interested in what is practical in real terms, not the short term. Salvation
    first, temporal second. But both at the same time.

    No abortion, no
    condoms, abstence and fidelity right this very instant cures AIDS right now..
    this very instant. Very practical. In fact, the solution. All it takes is a
    change of mind.

    The Obama thinkers would say, have mercy on those who
    can not understand. Practically save their lives now. However these are not
    helpless people crying out for food. These are people doing things to kill

    Why exactly should the church feel compelled to stop them? In addition, how could it?

    One of the main tenents of moral behavior is that one can never do a wrong thing to attain a right goal. The Church can not advocate a wrong thing by its very nature.

    So how can we move ahead together?

    Let the Church propose the right thing, as it does. Let Bush, and all
    others that have found some actionable authority push that same purpose if they
    are able. This makes the right thing a more and more real lived experience. And
    it promotes Salvation to those that give such a thing worth and striving.

    And for others who follow some different path? Then those others should
    be able to help each other simply live while doing wrong. That is not something
    that improves the situation, but it does save lives. I would not stand in the
    way, as long as I am not asked to promote the agenda.

    He said men and women often are "contracting HIV because sex was no longer part of a sacred covenant, but a mechanical physical act." He said government programs cannot solve that problem, but churches can make a real difference by providing people with a moral framework to make better choices.

    Exactly almost. The Church's solution is 'the' solution, and as much as
    government supported by voters support the same goal, then the solution is
    promoted in the right way. And if Churches provide people with this moral
    framework, further accepted by voters and political will, then they are making
    real measurable progress. So it is not that government cannot solve the problem,
    if churches through convinced voters change society's norms. That's what
    represenative government is about. After all, we are the government.

    Let groups that are not the church,
    and not the government, take care of people who are not doing right. As best
    they can. And for always fewer and fewer we hope.

    Friday, December 01, 2006

    He made it

    Perhaps I shouldn't have worried about his safety.

    I think the Gulf Times is playing it up a bit about the part of the Pope
    facing Mecca. Seems he was standing next to the other fellow who said "I am
    going to pray silently now a bit".

    Anyway, whatever works for them I guess.


    Istanbul/Rome: Pope Benedict ended a sensitive fence-mending visit to Turkey yesterday amid praise for visiting Istanbul's famed Blue Mosque and praying there facing towards Makkah.

    The pope, who sparked protests across the Muslim world with a speech two months ago seen as criticising Islam, looked relaxed and pleased as he entered the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit for a mass at the end of the sensitive four-day trip. Pope landed back in Rome yesterday from Istanbul.

    catholic interest.