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    Thursday, October 25, 2007

    Pity the ignorance

    It's not really lying when one speaks from ignorance right? Right.

    Most ignorance is innocent. There is just so much to know, that conversation and controversy help expose the facts and change minds. I love controversy.

    But what is the correct response to invincible ignorance. Ignorance that will not change because of religious belief?

    Faith and reason is a big subject for Catholics. It makes us constantly strive to bring the two together. New controversy, especially coming from science, keeps our faith fresh and exposed as we find the ways to better explain faith in the light of new discoveries from God's creation. Faith and reaon can not be in ultimate conflict because they are both God's gifts.

    Invincible ignorance though, is a stand taken that resists the truth. Reason made little compared to faith will produce confusion, and confusion accompanies ignorance to the same results as confusion accompanies purposeful lies.

    When there is confusion and lies, there is also present their author Satan. We need not fear him though, because even in the Bible accounts, he and his helpers do not come off as too clever. It is almost as if being the father of murder and lies, he himself is tainted by confusion.

    This mufti is willing to disregard all of Roman history, if he ever knew it, by focusing on something which betrays his original premise:

    "There was never a Jewish temple on Al-Aksa [the mosque compound] and there is no proof that there was ever a temple," he told The Jerusalem Post via a translator. "Because Allah is fair, he would not agree to make Al-Aksa if there were a temple there for others beforehand."

    Because his allah is fair, what history records could never be true. And you know where this leads... that either his allah is wrong, or history is wrong. Invincible ignorance then demands that it must of course be history that is wrong.

    Lies that cause confusion are seldom so clearly black and white. There is usually a blend of some truth, some lies, so that what is left are good people clinging to the pieces of truth that do exist, and also clinging in ignorance to the lies.

    Although in the Bible accounts Satan is not too clever, there is one act of his that I think was exquisitely clever. I suspect that the angel whispering to the muslim prophet was really one of Satan's buddies. Mixing a lot of truth from the Jews and Christians, with just the right amount of lies and confusion from the author of lies and murder, and throwing in the requirement of total submission. Clever no?

    Pity the ignorance. Love the sinner, hate the sin. Run the good race. God help us.


    The former mufti of Jerusalem, Ikrema Sabri, has made the claim that there never was a Jewish temple on the Temple Mount, and the Western Wall was really part of a mosque.

    "There was never a Jewish temple on Al-Aksa [the mosque compound] and there is no proof that there was ever a temple," he told The Jerusalem Post via a translator. "Because Allah is fair, he would not agree to make Al-Aksa if there were a temple there for others beforehand."

    "The wall is not part of the Jewish temple. It is just the western wall of the mosque," he said. "There is not a single stone with any relation at all to the history of the Hebrews."

    Asked if Jews would ever be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount under Muslim control, he replied: "It is not the Temple Mount, you must say Al-Aksa. And no Jews have the right to pray at the mosque. It was always only a mosque - all 144 dunams, the entire area. No Jewish prayer. If the Jews want real peace, they must not do anything to try to pray on Al-Aksa. Everyone knows that."

    "Zionism tries to trick the Jews claiming that this was part of a Jewish temple, but they dug there and they found nothing," Sabri added.

    Monday, October 22, 2007

    Weakland is not Augustine, and prayer

    This Sunday's readings theme.. the answer to prayers.

    Isn't a child's 2nd impression of God that He really doesn't answer prayers. I would think so. That's a tough thing for a child to know. The answers are God's answers, not human answers. Perhaps Weakland's tree story can help.

    I ran across this vintage Weakland '86 story at of all places the Call to Action site. And as it was with Weakland, you get some good, and some bad.

    First the good. Here's a great Weakland story about how God always answers prayers. If that's not what Weakland had in mind, let's make the best of it.


    I want to close with a story. Three young trees were growing up side by side in the forest. Each tree was dreaming. Each tree was dreaming in a very selfish way. One tree said, "I want to be a part of a luxurious house, where all kinds of fancy well-dressed people will come and stroke me and say, 'What beautiful paneling!"' The second tree said, "When I grow up, I want to be the mast of a ship, where everyone will see me, and I will carry the flag." The third tree said, "I don't care for the sea, but I want to do the same thing on land. I want-- to be the top of a great tower, so that all who pass by will look up and say, "Ah, that must have been a great tree." Now the first tree that wanted to be part of a luxurious house was chopped down and made into a manger for a baby. The second tree that wanted to be the mast of a ship was cut down and made into a simple plank where someone could sit in the bark and teach. The third tree that wanted to be a tower was cut down and made into the beam of a cross.

    Those 3 lucky trees got one heck of an answer. Perhaps they were not explicitly praying, but as I said, let's make the best of it.

    Now the bad. An interesting peek into the thinking of Weakland, and other Call to Action type folks. A little rant against Augustinianism. From a man who felt like "St. Sebastian, full of arrows. I remember when I was a young monk, we had table reading and we used to read the martyrology, the lives of the saints. There was one monk -- I identify very much with him -- who the martyrology says was stabbed twenty-five times, eighteen of which were fatal."

    Ouch. Sounds like a persecution complex. And after all, we did persecute him right out of the diocese, so perhaps he was right in some way.

    And by the way,--and I say this very seriously,-- there is a new Augustinianism permeating the Church today. I sense it everywhere. It is almost as if the world is so evil, we are going to pull back from it and create our little perfect world. We are going to get rid of the divorced, the gays, and everybody else that gives us problems. We are going to pull back and live in our own perfect society. Such a tendency is out there, a total negativism toward the world, and therefore you detach from it and get above it, a little bit transcendent. That is all foolishness. Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes, says there is only one model now: compenetrability. You and I live in a world that is mixed. The wheat grows up with the tares. If we detach ourselves, the detachment is for the world, not from the world.

    He sensed it everywhere while full of arrows, bravely marching on. There is no Augustinian that withdrawing from the world, does not withdraw for the world. All contemplative orders withdraw only to serve.

    "It is almost as if the world is so evil, we are going to pull back from it and create our little perfect world. We are going to get rid of the divorced, the gays, and everybody else that gives us problems. We are going to pull back and live in our own perfect society."

    Did Weakland see avoiding sin an attempt to "create our little perfect world"? I think yes. Did Weakland see holding to the sinful nature of divorce and homosexual acts a way to "get rid of the divorced, the gays, and everybody else that gives us problems". Yes again.

    Avoiding sin does not create a perfect world, it brings down a fire that Jesus wished was already lit. Avoiding sin is tough work that brings the world into contrast. Greys go away. Everything looks less perfect. Weakland misunderstands the motive.

    Weakland also thinks it is an attempt to get rid of folks who "gives us problems". That's a near miss, but a big miss. They don't give "us" problems (we have problems enough of our own), but they have problems that they themselves carry. And for the sake of their eternal souls, if the problems are public, they need to be pointed out. As the 2nd Sunday reading said... "be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching."

    Well anyway, I found Weakland's '86 chat interesting in that it is found in Call to Action's "foundation documents" section. Some views through the dark glass that through persistent patience and teaching can be cleared up with time, we pray.

    Thursday, October 18, 2007


    I know it sounds trite, but Back to the Future helped me concretize the vague ideas I had back then about trying to imagine people my parent's age as once being young.

    I saw Marty's mother as young Marty's mother, and it helped me get over the delusion that most young people have about old people.... they have a hard time visualizing old folks as once being young folks.

    What was your take-away from Schindler's List?

    Mine was seeing how normal people could step by step start seing the Nazis as normal. Pretty soon pushing around Jews in public became normal. Pretty soon shooting them in public became normal. All nice and organized and normal.

    Really.. who knows what Europe would look like today had they not been defeated.

    And so it is with the today's killing of the young and old right here in the grand U.S. of A.

    Really.. who knows what we will look like tomorrow if it is not defeated today.


    Dr. Jean Garton, in her classic pro-life book, Who Broke the Baby?, noted that the legalization of abortion opened the door to a dangerous and destructive “new ethic.” She wrote,

    In the acceptance of abortion-on-demand, there occurs a subtle but profound shift in the attitude of society toward all people who are unwanted, imperfect, and dependent. The same forces involved in legalizing abortion, while claiming to alleviate the suffering of a woman with an unwanted pregnancy, are the same forces involved in the promotion of infanticide and euthanasia, claiming to want to eliminate the suffering of the handicapped, sick, and senile. When we choose to offer death as an alternative to suffering, the list of those who qualify under “the new ethic” expands greatly.

    On September 18, United Church of Christ minister Kristi Denham announced that a new organization of clergy called the End of Life Consultation Service (ELCS) had been created that would be devoted to ministering to critically ill medical patients. Rev. Denham explained that this organization would “help terminal patients access hospice, pain treatment, and other excellent end of life care.”

    The new organization plans to man a 1-800 hotline that would provide potential callers with “volunteers [who would] visit patients and families in the home, and together they [could] identify a path to peaceful dying, well-suited to an individual’s illness and circumstances.” After the consultation, the clients would then be free to “obtain and self-administer the means” of killing themselves.

    As disturbing as the creation of the ELCS is, with its effort to wrap doctor–assisted suicide in clerical attire, its methods are really nothing new. Indeed, one cannot fail to see the parallel between the creation of the ELCS and the effort forty years ago by activist clergymen and women to legalize abortion.

    The pro-choice movement in the 1960s and 1970s was greatly assisted by many Christian denominations’ support for the liberalization of existing abortion laws. The American Baptist Church, the Episcopal Church, the two denominations that became the Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Church of Christ, the United Methodist Church, and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) all spoke out in support of legal abortion. Even the Southern Baptist Convention, which is today seen as one of the most pro-life denominations, originally approved of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, calling it an advance in the efforts for “religious liberty.”

    The Nazis were crazy, then they were stopped. They're back.

    Tightening Grip

    Science claims and abilities, and what we do with that information.
    Health, beauty, planet environment, smells, safety, genetics, quality of life issues. These are more and more directing us socially rather than being at the service of mankind's social snapshot.
    Here's a Nobel Prize winner that suspects that intelligence is genetic. Well sure, our carbon selves are genetic. His social controversy has to do with the pooling of genes around race.
    It offends our social agreement that we are somehow all equal in all carbon ways. But that's an overstep. We are all equal before the law, and all equal in dignity as God's children. Regarding our carbon and genetic arrangement we are all most unequal. However that can increasingly be fixed.
    I would guess that if lower intelligence can be fixed, we will clamor after it like we do straigtened teeth, and like the old folks do with their horrific face lifts (Pelosi comes to mind). And not only intelligence, but the height, weight and symmetry of what we think of as beauty.
    A PBS show lately explained the entertaining notion that the environment of grandparents can somehow affect the health of grandchildren. Grandfathers who suffered famine somehow produced healthier boy grandchildren, and grandmothers who suffered famine somehow gave the gift of ill health to girl grandchildren. This through the transmission of genetic information via epigenetics... a layer or information above the basic genes.
    Can you imaging the social strictures we may put upon ourselves toward the ends of health and beauty with this epigenetic knowledge? Already pregnant mothers are social lepers if they drink or smoke. What if they diet and thus harm the grandchildren? Studies with rats seem to show that lack of nurturing during infancy makes the little ones and their grand-rats nervous and obese in later life, and that this also is via epigenetics that can be cured with chemicals that reverse the genetic imprint.
    All I mean to point out is that God could care less. Health, beauty, and intelligence have no bearing on our eternal destiny. He doesn't care if we're ugly, sick, or dumb. Many of the great Saints were just that.
    So to arrange our social and carbon efforts around these things is to live for the moment. That's OK for the secular, but not the saved. It just doesn't matter, so let's not assemble our lives and fortunes around these things.
    A great social marker for me in the U.S. are dog owners. They happily walk their dogs carrying a plastic bag and paper towels to immediately pick up the warm, sometimes steaming feces from the clean landscape. This plastic bag must be held in plain view so that others will know what a good dog owner they are. What's the matter with a little dirt on the dirt? It smells perhaps. And some smells are not allowed (smoking smells come to mind). Our forefathers would laugh us to disgrace.
    The popular social scene is insanity of some order and perhaps always has been. The only way to escape is God's Word. The early Christians were known to others by "see how they love each other". Wouldn't that be something great and rare!... no plastic bag waving required.
    One of the world's most eminent scientists was embroiled in an extraordinary row last night after he claimed that black people were less intelligent than white people and the idea that "equal powers of reason" were shared across racial groups was a delusion.

    James Watson, a Nobel Prize winner for his part in the unravelling of DNA who now runs one of America's leading scientific research institutions, drew widespread condemnation for comments he made ahead of his arrival in Britain today for a speaking tour at venues including the Science Museum in London.
    The newly formed Equality and Human Rights Commission, successor to the Commission for Racial Equality, said it was studying Dr Watson's remarks " in full". Dr Watson told The Sunday Times that he was "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says not really". He said there was a natural desire that all human beings should be equal but "people who have to deal with black employees find this not true".
    The furore echoes the controversy created in the 1990s by The Bell Curve, a book co-authored by the American political scientist Charles Murray, which suggested differences in IQ were genetic and discussed the implications of a racial divide in intelligence. The work was heavily criticised across the world, in particular by leading scientists who described it as a work of " scientific racism".
    Critics of Dr Watson said there should be a robust response to his views across the spheres of politics and science. Keith Vaz, the Labour chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said: "It is sad to see a scientist of such achievement making such baseless, unscientific and extremely offensive comments. I am sure the scientific community will roundly reject what appear to be Dr Watson's personal prejudices.

    "These comments serve as a reminder of the attitudes which can still exists at the highest professional levels."
    In 1997, he told a British newspaper that a woman should have the right to abort her unborn child if tests could determine it would be homosexual. He later insisted he was talking about a "hypothetical" choice which could never be applied. He has also suggested a link between skin colour and sex drive, positing the theory that black people have higher libidos, and argued in favour of genetic screening and engineering on the basis that " stupidity" could one day be cured. He has claimed that beauty could be genetically manufactured, saying: "People say it would be terrible if we made all girls pretty. I think it would great."
    Anti-racism campaigners called for Dr Watson's remarks to be looked at in the context of racial hatred laws. A spokesman for the 1990 Trust, a black human rights group, said: "It is astonishing that a man of such distinction should make comments that seem to perpetuate racism in this way. It amounts to fuelling bigotry and we would like it to be looked at for grounds of legal complaint."
    Genetics, the new powerful social stricture coming soon.

    Monday, October 15, 2007

    Archbishop George H. Niederauer

    It does seem Californicate needs some special pastors. And I am guessing striving to be all things to all people, the Bishops and Priests assigned there have a special outreach to our homosexual brothers.

    I really think it is that simple. That ministering in California brings one close to the mindset. And that sometimes then, the line gets blurry.

    Remember that Bishop that went over to the Rev. Moon group? Same thing. Just simple human clay feet. God bless them, and let's hope for the best.


    Nearly a week after being filmed giving communion to two gay activists dressed as 'nuns' Archbishop George H. Niederauer has apologized in a column for the diocesan Catholic San Francisco newspaper. In his column, the San Francisco Archbishop repeats statements previously given to about not being aware of any disruption, nor recognizing any "mock religious garb."

    Anthony Gonzales of St. Joseph's Men Society, one of the groups which filmed the Archbishop giving the 'sisters' Communion, told that he was pleased with the apology. Gonzales, who will be discussing the matter on Fox's O'Reilly Factor tonight, added, however, that "The Archbishop has a history of "mistakes" especially where homosexuality is concerned."

    In 1986, Niederauer wrote a letter to an Orange County judge asking that a priest convicted of 26 counts of felony child sexual abuse be spared prison time - the priest received no jail time for the offences. Niederauer wrote that the boys involved might have mistaken "horsing around" for molestation. Niederauer later admitted that the letter had been a "mistake."

    In 2004, Archbishop Niederauer publicly opposed a Utah ballot initiative that constitutionally banned same-sex marriage because it included a ban on civil unions.

    In 1996, as bishop of Salt Lake City, he helped form a coalition of religious leaders opposing the ban on high-school "gay-straight alliances" proposed by the Utah legislature.

    In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle last year the then-incoming Archbishop praised the film Brokeback Mountain which had been condemned by pro-family groups as a dangerous homosexual propaganda film. Niederauer admitted to seeing the film and called it "very powerful". He added that "one of the lessons (of the film) is the destructiveness of not being honest with yourself and not honest with other people and not being faithful, trying to live a double life."

    When the Vatican proposed that homosexual men, practicing or not, should not be ordained to the priesthood, Archbishop Niederauer's spin on the document incorrectly took it only to mean that homosexuals, like heterosexuals, must be able to "be able and willing to subordinate all relationships and conduct all relationships with others in a way that's compatible with a celibate lifestyle."

    Friday, October 12, 2007

    Government, Business, Church.. Odd man out

    Catholic hospitals and adoption services used to be welcome and needed. But things have changed.
    Health care has become a right, as has adoption. And rights change with time, whereas Catholic truths do not. We are stuck being Catholic. Which to me is a good thing, but obviously that does not hold for everybody. And hospitals and adoption have become an everybody thing.
    It's simply time to leave. And although Connecticut's Bishops are temporarily confused on the subject, Colorado Spring's Bishop Michael Sheridan is not confused. "My opinion on moral questions is to err on the side of safety, rather in the other direction.". "How could you continue to call yourself Catholic if you were doing things that were contrary to Catholic teaching even if you were being forced by the state to do them."
    In Connecticut,
    Massachusetts and
    state law overrules freedom of religion and conscience and requires administration of the abortifacient pills without exemption for Catholic hospitals. Other states are currently considering similar legislation, including
    Wisconsin and
    I think of government run institutions, and have a revulsion because of the lack of funding, tired policy bound staff, long lines, and lack of vision.
    I think of business run institutions, and associate the ads for Lasik eye surgery. Glowing reports, happy people, no payments for 2 years, and doctors performing profit on tissue. For one thing, the fine print on the contracts to be signed is enormous. For another, what will induce business to chase after money losing activities? We will end up with money making hospitals only. Unprofitable procedures will be sent to government hospitals. I am guessing that they will not be happy places to suffer in.
    Anyway, it's time to go. Government and business will have their way. Between the two is a natural attraction.
    Catholics will be confined to building the hearts of men with grace alone. We will have to leave the "works" on heart tissue to our elected officials and their bureaucracy, and business and its profit motive.
    It's temporarily not a good time to be sick in body, but it's eternally never a good time to be sick in soul.

    Wednesday, October 03, 2007

    They killed the wrong one

    If you wished to abort a twin, which one would you choose?

    the pleasant one,

    the cute one,

    the taller one,

    the smart one,

    the healthy one?

    Perhaps you would choose the crabby, ugly, short, dumb, sickly one?

    It seems they have killed the wrong twin in Italy, and then had to kill the right one anyway. This was upsetting to the mother who was given 2 new children, and now has zero new children.

    If Italian laws are anything like American laws, mom is now free to sue for wrongful death. They killed the wrong kid. Someone must pay.


    In June, a doctor in a Milan hospital mistakenly aborted a healthy baby instead of a twin sister with Down Syndrome.

    After discovering that the abortionist had killed the “wrong” child – the doctor was unaware the fetuses had switched position in their mother’s womb – the mother returned to the hospital to have her remaining twin aborted, as well.

    In an interview Aug. 29 with the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, the mother said her life had been ruined. “Neither my husband nor I can sleep at night,” she said.

    Milan’s San Paolo hospital, where the abortion was carried out, said the case was a “misfortune” and a “terrible fatality.” Dr. Anna Maria Marconi, the gynecologist who carried out the Milan abortion, said that the mother requested the operation after an amniocentesis test, The Times of London reported Aug. 29. Marconi said that her conscience was clear about both killings, and called the first abortion an “act of fate that could not have been foreseen.”

    Father Williams said that it is contradictory to single out the killing of the “wrong” innocent child as exceptionally tragic. Isn’t it “more tragic still,” he said, that many more unborn children are killed “intentionally, legally and with no remorse whatsoever?”

    “The value of human life does not come from its flawlessness, but from its singularity,” said Legionary Father Thomas Williams, dean of theology at Rome’s Regina Apostolorum University. “When we start assigning different values to different persons – based on abilities, health, intelligence or any other qualities – we reduce them to their utility.”

    “If children’s lives matter only insofar as they matter to us, then they don’t really matter at all,” he said.

    Said Father Williams, “Choosing who will live and who will die is always an exercise in devilry.”

    Devil-ry. Now there's a new word for an old friend who is having his way at St. Paul's hospital in lovely Milan. As memory fades, Mussolini's facist killing impulse is returning.

    Tuesday, October 02, 2007

    Hell and denial

    Of the 2 homilies I heard this past Sunday, and the Pope's midday audience, only the Pope mentioned hell... not by name, but but allusion.

    For those who live in comfort, the Holy Father continued, the parable is a stern warning. "We cannot say that we do not know what is coming," he said, reminding his audience that the rich man of Luke's Gospel "ends in agony in the flames" because of his indifference to his poor neighbor.


    The other 2 local homily Priests were in a bit of denial about hell.. they did not mention it, but concentrated instead on the plight of the needy. One Priest pointing out that perhaps the rich man never really saw Lazarus because he was too busy in his comfort.

    The Jews that were hearing Jesus talking would have been amazed as usual by his words. Even today, Jews see the afterlife as nothing... no joy, no awareness, no anything. But Jesus painted quite a clear picture that they never heard before. Complete with awareness, flame, and a chasm between heaven and hell that can not be breached.

    What was it that sent the rich guy to hell? He seems to have arrived there by surprise.

    I would think he was in denial about denial. The Pope equates living in comfort with hell, and rightly so. The Jews thought living in comfort a direct and deserved blessing from God. Jesus says otherwise. From Luke 17:

    As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man; they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage up to the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.

    Similarly, as it was in the days of Lot: they were eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building; on the day when Lot left Sodom, fire and brimstone rained from the sky to destroy them all.

    So it will be on the day the Son of Man is revealed.

    Today, even in Catholic circles it is most common to be encouraged to enjoy ourselves... that it is no crime to be human with human wants and desires. So that whatever we want must be natural. That it is no sin to be a man. God "don't make no junk".

    We share when we feel like it, and don't when we don't. Just like the rich man and Lazarus. But the Pope get's it right as usual. It is the living in comfort that is clear proof we are not sharing as required. It was enough proof to send the Rich Man to hell.

    How the Rich Man lived was not unlawful, but it was not Christian. Jesus did not merely refrain from sin, because he had no sin. He denied himself what was lawful and per his own advice, picked up his cross daily, and asked others to do the same.

    God so loved the world that he gave us his only Son. This giving was denial of God's comfort for our sake.. a real giving. And as in the Gospel acclamation Sunday, Jesus though he was rich for our sakes became poor. Again Jesus denying himself what was rightly his.

    The type of sharing we typically think of does not come close to what Jesus asks of us. This is why we know that his radical poverty made Francis a Saint. And our comforts make us something else.

    It's really not fair at all. That Rich Man didn't do much wrong. He ate and drank in comfort. For all we know, he was probably a nice guy and a good Jew.

    It's that little difference between fairness and justice. As the Pope says "earthly iniquity is overturned by divine justice,".

    That last judgement is going to be one hell of a scene.

    catholic interest.