Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Different Christmas Story

A Christmas tradition from my wife's family, we let the kids open one present each on Christmas eve. I would select something, usually small, from the pile for each child, and they would open it before bedtime.

This year, my 7 year-old son unwrapped his early gift to find a, ummm, surprise: A statuette of Jesus, from Sr. Faustina's vision of the Divine Mercy.


I held my breath a moment.

"How am I supposed to play with this, his arms don't even move" Sam said, getting simultaneously teary and agitated. Merry Christmas, from my parents, I thought to myself."Look, Sam, He's got red and blue lasers coming from His Heart," I said,"like one of those big, Japanese monsters." I tried to comfort him, but he fumed and raved for quite a while, wondering what grandma and pépère were thinking.

Eventually, I thought I'd shuffle everyone off to bed. "Alright, Sam, let me put this up on the shelf to keep it from getting broken," I said, taking the much-maligned gift." Wait, no," Sam said,"I want Him up in my bunk, where He'll be close to me." So, Sam made a small shrine up in his bunk, and set up the statuette of Jesus near his pillow.

I guess that it's something to think about, next time God gives us something that we're not asking for at the time.

Heck, I wanted a new set of golf clubs for Christmas, and instead, I got a lesson about faith and expectations.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Lucky Sevens meme

Paul, at Thoughts of a Regular Guy, tagged me with this meme. And So, to disprove rumors of my untimely demise, I'll gladly cooperate. Here are some of the rules:

1) Link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.

2) Share 7 facts about yourself that you think most people don't know.

3) Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.

4) Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog

Facts about me that most people don't know:

My 8 year-old Mac G4 is running OS X 10.4, and I CAN print in landscape mode (sorry for you, Paul ;-p )

Despite being pro-life and socially conservative, I'm not really a happy Republican.

I'm entirely too fond of Pepsi.

I've used rolls of pennies to pay for gasoline.

Just over 10 years ago, I was homeless, though I preferred to view myself as a mendicant postulant of the Friars Minor.

It's bad enough having ADD, but when my kids are conscious, I don't get 2 minutes to think without an interruption.

I'm not going to try to lose weight in the new year.

Ok, as far as tagging others to do this, I'd just suggest: Those with a compulsive need for disclosure can do this meme.

For the rest of you, Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 07, 2007

When Bad Things Happen



As most people are aware now, an angry young man stole a gun from a family member, and spread his agony by killing eight people and injuring others. My prayers have gone up for the dead, their families, and the rest of us witnessing this tragedy.

Some will condemn the young many as a monster, others will paint him as a victim.

Some will blame the gun, some will blame the State, and some will blame the parents. I wonder how many will blame the video games he played and other entertainment choices?

One of the first details about the shooter is how he was a nice kid who liked to drink alcohol, smoke pot, and play video games. I'm not a psychologist, but I have first-hand experience with ADD, depression, self-medication, and substance abuse. Here's my theory, and one that will likely never be seriously entertained: The shooter drank, smoked, and played video games to self-medicate his condition. When put through the tremendous upheaval of a romance and job, he needed to escalate the intensity of his self-medication. A mood swing that, in the past, was treated with a few hours of Halo or Splinter Cell, now required a live shooting rampage to deal with.

Despite years of tax-payer funded mental health treatment, it seems this young man was still completely unequipped to deal with his frustrations. I've always had a sneaking suspicion that mental health professionals are just fronts for the big pharmaceutical companies, pushing pills and feel-good platitudes about self-actualization(gratification). But I'll stop there.

Another thing, which screams out from this episode: If you are not ready to meet your maker right now, get ready today, as you may not get another chance. Whatever preparations your faith demands, get them done, be it reconciliation, confession, prayer, repentance, or any other act of contrition and penitence. Do it today!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Two Years

Wow, I've been blogging for two years, time sure flies when you're wasting time. Here are some of my favorite posts from the last two years:

The Invincible Poor
Discernment in Progress...
I've gone after the public utterances of certain "catholic" theologians.
My idea of what to do with disordered priests.
A reminder to myself and other Catholic Bloggers.
I've used Monty Python sketchs to illustrate points about Women's Ordination and Gay Identity.
And I've done more than a couple posts about the plight of christians in China, and how our consumerism enables the Maoist government to repress the people.

And my favorite visual statement:


Not really food

Not really marriage


.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Spe Salvi

Just in time for Advent, Pope Benedict XVI releases an encyclical on hope.

Here too we see as a distinguishing mark of Christians the fact that they have a future: it is not that they know the details of what awaits them, but they know in general terms that their life will not end in emptiness. Only when the future is certain as a positive reality does it become possible to live the present as well.


Speaking of certain futures, there's Microsoft's continuing disaster called 'Vista':

Monday, November 26, 2007

Spot the Fake

Two tales from current events, about spotting something fake:

A wedding procession is stopped near Bagdad, Iraq, by those meddling American troops:

Upon inspecting the convoy, soldiers found a stubbly-faced man, Haider al-Bahadli, decked out in a white bride's dress and veil.

Bahadli was wanted on terror-related charges, as was his groom, Abbas al-Dobbi, the official said.

It may be a good thing that the soldiers intervened. Whatever would betray such an oddly conceived masquerade?

The soldiers became suspicious of the convoy because its members -- save the "bride" -- were all male and because one of the cars in the convoy did not heed orders to stop, the official said.

Also, soldiers said, the people in the car seemed nervous and the groom refused to lift his bride's veil when soldiers asked him to, according to the official.

Ahh, so the behavior of the party and composition of the group belied its appearance. That's something to remember.

A homily is delivered by a Roman Catholic priest, at a Roman Catholic Mass, at a Roman Catholic church:

"Two people came into Church to pray. One was an Evangelical pastor whose regional services are broadcast nationally who prayed " I give you thanks oh God that I am not like others - greedy, dishonest or like others who give into same gender sex drives which the bible calls an abomination."

The others who came into Church to pray for a same sex couple raising children born by way of donor insemination who prayed: "Oh god, be merciful to us for not finding our own medium to share with the broader audience the biblical passage of 1 John 4:16 – God is love and when we abide in love we abide in God and God in us."

Jesus concluded the last ones went home more worthy in God's sight than the first."

Hmm, the person delivering this alternative view of the Gospel looks like a Roman Catholic priest, but he's showing a decidedly firm deviation from the doctrines of the Catholic Church. I sense that he's closer to an Episcopalian than a Catholic. What other cards is the priest playing?

Two people came into Church to pray, one was a Catholic Archbishop who refuses communion to Rainbow Sash people at the Cathedral on Pentecost Sunday who prayed " I give you thanks oh God that I am not like others – greedy, dishonest or like others who need to make their dissent from official Church teaching so public and divisive."

The other were Rainbow parents of GLBT people at the Cathedral on Pentecost who stood off on the side and prayed, "Oh God be merciful to us for failing to attend our own Churches more often; they say they love God then turn there backs on us in hate directly contrary to 1:John,4 – whoever loves God must also love the neighbor."

Jesus concluded the last ones went home more worthy in God's sight than the first.

There's another straw man argument against the doctrines of the Church whose uniform he's sporting. He's not supportive of Catholic doctrine on sexuality, and he's promoted the LGBTQI agenda before, and only backed down when promised some heat.

So, we have a terrorist dressed as a bride, and an Episcopalian dressed as a Roman Catholic priest. Which do you think will end up doing more damage?

h/t Curt Jester

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Humidor is online

I've moved all the cigar items to their own blog, called "The Humidor of the Apokalypse". If you're shopping for a good stogie for yourself, or someone else, you can wander over there to get an Idea about some good cigars that don't cost much. One could even leave suggestions for your humble host.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Descriptive

A local laundry operator was held up at knifepoint, and the local paper gives the usual details:

The man walked into the business, asked for a piece of paper and wrote a demand for money. He left without further incident and no injuries were reported.

The man was described as being about 40 years old, about 6-feet tall, about 225 to 250 pounds and with a light mustache.

Wow, the description avoids any racial description, but offends other gender, age, and physical attribute groups.

Describing the suspect as male is sexist, as the perp could be a woman trapped in a man's body. The facial hair trait is also sexist. So, we better scratch the descriptors "man" and "with a light mustache".

Giving an age range is patently offensive, as age shouldn't be a factor in assigning blame for a crime. So, scratch the "about 40 years old".

By announcing his height, you've disparaged people of moderate stature. So, you'd better lose the "about 6 feet tall" as well.

The overweight are constantly discriminated against, and would be insulted by a weight bias in the paper's report. Better to eliminate the derogatory "about 225 to 250 pounds" as well.

That leaves us with a more socially just description of the unfortunate offender:

The suspect was described as being.

Everyone happy now?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Oblivious, or Lying

Russian president Vladamir Putin chanted praises for the Russian Orthodox church, this time for promoting interreligious dialog:

"We attach serious importance to the efforts being made by the Russian Orthodox Church to promote interreligious dialogue and cooperation, and to assert religious tolerance," Putin told the hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church in the Kremlin on Monday.

That's pretty interesting, considering that the Russian Orthodox delegation huffily left the recent interreligious dialog meeting in Ravenna. Maybe Vlad is referring to Patriarch Alexy II's assertion of authority over the orthodox in Estonia. The Russian Orthodox church is just continuing the Russian tradition of asserting authority over an unwilling group. It must have made Putin proud.

h/t CWNews

Propter Hoc

"The District of Columbia -- a densely populated urban locality where the violence caused by handguns is well documented -- will be unable to enforce a law that its elected officials have sensibly concluded saves lives."

So say attorneys representing gun control before the US Supreme Court. The violence caused by handguns is well documented, eh? Well, let's stretch this out in proper Apokalyptic fashion:

The poverty caused by playing cards is well documented.

The alcoholism caused by wine is well documented.

The heart disease caused by hamburgers is well documented.

The AIDS epidemic caused by penises is well documented.

Each of these extrapolations takes a benign object and turns it into a malevolent sentience bent on destroying humanity. Heaven forbid that people are accountable for the choices they make with the tools/materials/substance of the world.

The idiocy caused by Liberalism is well documented.

.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Posturing Poll



Yes, some of the combinations seem improbable, but I wanted to give all the options. The more responses we get, the better our information will be.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Apokalypse Watch, Month 2

Well, the next Apokalypse/i is due in mid-June, with the likelyhood of it/them coming before finals of the spring semester. Mrs. Apokalypse is still tired and always hungry, but is hoping that it will pass as we cruise into the second trimester. Though only one heartbeat was discerned this week, we may get an ultrasound next month to steel ourselves for the high likelyhood of twins.

I will trust in the Lord, that he will provide us the grace to care for these new children, and the means by which to feed them.

Red Friday 2007

The Friday after Thanksgiving is referred to as Black Friday, as the retaillers usually see a profit that day. I refer to it as RED Friday, as most americans will only add to their debt on that day, and the money spent will find it's way into the coffers of the communist Chinese government. I started this last year in this other post, and I will continue to do an annual jeremiad about it until people listen, or our economy crashes. Yes, it's looking like the former possibility is more likely.

So, what's changed since last year? Well, the value of the American Dollar is down 30% versus the Euro, and also down against the British Pound and Japanese Yen. Ahh, but the dollar hasn't fallen in relation to the Chinese Yuan right? The Chinese currency is pegged to the US Dollar, so that as our dollar gets weaker, chinese imports to this country won't spike in value. Which means that americans can continue to buy chinese goods until the Dollar is 1:1 with the old Italian Lira, and the destruction of our economy is complete.

Oil, on the other hand, is not pegged to the Dollar, as any observer will note that the cost of a barrel of oil is up 60% from this time last year. Yes, it hurts, and will continue to hurt, until we both reduce consumer consumption and get our currency under control.

So, what does this have to do with shopping on RED Friday? Here are some suggestions:

1. Don't buy so much stuff!
2. If you just have to but stuff, don't buy stuff made in China.
3. Instead of buying a plasma TV, buy a copy of 'The Wealth of Nations' by Adam Smith.
4. Instead of buying a new Playstation, buy a copy of 'The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire' by Edward Gibbon.
5. Some of you are talented folks, so craft something instead. We used to make stuff in this country, so revive the tradition.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Idea for 2008

July 25th, 2008 will be the 40th Anniversary of Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae. Mark your calendars.

Call To Subterfuge

From the Lincoln Journal-Star, Call To Action gets sneaky:

A group critical of the Lincoln Diocese for being the only one in the nation not to participate in a sex abuse survey said it was turned away Monday when it tried to hand-deliver petitions to bishops from across the country.

The USCCB is a sitting target for all sorts of grief when e're they gather. Call to Action, having been previously rebuffed and embarassed in their quest to shame Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, are trying to push their 'prophetic' agenda using some fairly underhanded tactics:

The Catholic reformist group Call to Action instead planned to use a person not known as a member of the group to sneak roughly 1,000 petitions into the hotel where the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was meeting in Baltimore, said a member of the group.

Classy, guys, really classy. Next time, try it without the Groucho Marx disguise. While their battlecry is "Save the Children", Call To Action was excommunicated SIX YEARS before the abuse scandal hit. In reality, they're still hacked off that they got excommunicated, and most people know it:

Monsignor Timothy Thorburn of Lincoln said in statement that Call to Action is “venting its ire” at the bishop for his decision to “not allow the group to operate in the Diocese of Lincoln because of its anti-Catholic doctrines.”

Failing to whip up further scorn from other bishops, Call to Action proceeds to further advertise the root of their misunderstanding of the Church:

“It’s a disappointment ... because Bishop Bruskewitz has just thumbed his nose” at the policies from the bishops’ conference, said Gordon Peterson, Call To Action Member. “The position he takes is he’s only answerable to the pope.”

Well, Gordon, I hate to break it to you, but the bishop is right. The sad part is, Bishop Bruskewitz knows that he answers to the Pope, while too many catholics, like Mr. Peterson, think that they don't.

The model church of Call To Action makes the bishops obedient to the people, and the people obedient only to their 'conscience', however well or ill formed it may be.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

With Such Ardor

From the NCR:
The archbishop's out of town, as are his co-adjutor and auxiliary bishop, and some suspect shenanigans are scheduled to take place at a local parish. In steps Dennis McGrath, communications director for the archdiocese, to fill the shoes of his absent Archbishop by declaring Catholic teaching..umm, sort of:

[McGrath] contacted Fr. Leo Tibesar, pastor of St. Frances Cabrini, to tell the priest that “news of this would likely not be acceptable to the bishops.”

Ok, not a particularly rousing expostulation for the Magisterium, but we'll take what we can get. The event was cancelled, the Catholic Father/Lesbian Daughter duo were banished to a U.C.C. church for their lecture, and all is well.

In speaking to a National catholic Reporter writer, McGrath further softens his intervention, lest he come off like a modern Bernard Gui:

McGrath said he told Tibesar, “I do not speak for the archbishops and do not want to represent their authority, but this talk does not seem to be in keeping with archdiocesan rules and policies or Vatican rules and policies.”

Alright St. Jimbob, just shut up and be glad he said something to begin with..

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Sufficient

Shocker: Pat Robertson Endorses Rudy Giuliani

Robertson said he decided to endorse Giuliani because he was "a proven leader who is not afraid of what lies ahead and who will cast a hopeful vision for all Americans."

"In all of the crises which confront our nation and the world, we need a leader with a bold vision who is not afraid to tackle the challenges ahead," Robertson said.

Well, that's enough info for me to NOT vote for Rudy. Rudy may be a fearless leader, one who doesn't blanch at the notion that the engine of the economy is greased with the blood of aborted children. Rudy certainly does not fear God. As an accomplished adulterer, I'm not surprised that traditional family values are not his strong suit.

If any politician claiming to be a Roman Catholic could appear to be any less catholic than John Kerry, it would be Rudy Giuliani. Rudy's inconsistent approach to his faith is probably not a problem for Robertson. Romney's out, as Pat probably considers Mitt a pagan, and McCain's just not hawkish enough on apocalyptic conflicts, in addition to being federalist on the issue of same-sex marriage.

So, what does that leave? For Robertson to jump on board the Giuliani Express, my guess is that he thinks Rudy would do anything to defend Israel from Islamist aggression. Anything.

Robertson's previous public remarks have already warranted dismissal, and this time serve as a warning to go a different way.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Lift High the MDGs

I caught this picture over at Titus One Nine (T19), a fairly conservative Episcopalian blog. Can you see "something wrong in the photo (beyond the hippie fashions and female 'priests'.)



The U.N.'s "Millenium Development Goals"(MDGs) have effectively replaced the Gospel, so naturally the MDGs should be given the preferential placement during their worship services. While many of the MDGs are erstwhile goals that would be corporal works of mercy, the elevation of them as commandments by a supposedly christian church is disturbing because it makes no mention of God nor Jesus, which we are all called to proclaim.

The U.N. goals would try to save Man with rice in stead of Resurrection, with troops in stead of Truth, with condoms in stead of Christ, and abortions in stead of Absolution. Instead of free people, they will have created well-fed sex slaves, breeding only the replacement amount of proles to keep the diamond mines, textile mills, and computer factories working.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Swept Series

Series Swept:
Natural Family Disorganization 4, Creighton Method 0


Or, in subtler terms, Mrs. Apokalypse is pregnant. Prayers are welcome, as are large amounts of cash (small bills, non-sequential). Also looking for a sleeper sofa ;-)

It's just not challenging enough, working full time, on call 24/7, with a wife and 3 young children, AND attending university half-time. Let's throw something else into the mix... how about a new baby!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Tempest, Teapot, Cleanup

The furor this week was all about the Archbishop of San Francisco and a group of homosexual activists. Let's see if I can boil it down a bit:


If your 'Sunday Best' is drag, you might be in San Francisco


"Psst, I wonder if he'll notice we're in drag.."


And so, the drag queens did receive the Eucharist from the hands of Archbishop Niederauer. Video captured at the event shows a slightly befuddled prelate.

The catholic corner of the blogosphere was in full lather over the offensive display, and many, including myself, dropped a note to the Vatican urging an explanation. And lo and behold, a couple days later, an apology from Archbishop Niederauer:

At Communion time, toward the end of the line, two strangely dressed persons came to receive Communion. As I recall one of them wore a large flowered hat or garland. I did not recognize either of them as wearing mock religious garb...

Although I had often seen photographs of members of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, I had never encountered them in person until October 7th. I did not recognize who these people were when they approached me.

After the event, I realized that they were members of this particular organization and that giving them Holy Communion had been a mistake.

I apologize to the Catholics of the Archdiocese of San Francisco and to Catholics at large for doing so.


Good enough for me.

Still, I would hope that the Archbishop will become more aware of the spiritual challenges of his archdiocese. After all, everyone knows that San Francisco is the Gay Mecca, with the Castro district being the core.

Autocephalous Hypocrisy

I saw this news Item earlier in the week, a meeting in Ravenna, Italy, turns sour:

A delegation of the Moscow Patriarchate led by Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and Austria walked out of a meeting of the joint commission on the Orthodox-Catholic dialogue in the Italian city of Ravenna on Tuesday,

Not surprising, given the chilly relations between the two. As much as the Russian Orthodox fuss about Catholic proselytizing in Russia, at least Rome isn't leaning on the Italian government to expel foreign-born clergy.

But alas, the bug in Russia's bonnet is different this time:

During the Orthodox meeting, Russian Orthodox Bishop Hilarion of Vienna and Austria told the other Orthodox participants that his delegation would abandon the meeting if they did not ask the Estonian Orthodox delegation to leave.

well, that's not a very prime example of christian love for our brothers, is it? What resentment could lead to such uncharitable behaviour?

The Russian Orthodox Church does not recognize the Estonian Apostolic Church, which is tied to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, said a statement by the Russian Orthodox Church. The Russian Orthodox Church believes the Orthodox in Estonia fall under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church, not the ecumenical patriarchate.

Hmm, okay, lemme see if I've got this right: Russia refuses to entertain the notion of the authority of Rome, but expects to wield authority over others. I see. Russia can be autocephalous, but christians in their territory, and neighboring areas, cannot be trusted to make their own religious decisions? They need to get over themselves.

I wouldn't be surprised if Estonians, tired of Russian political and military hegemony, aren't excited by the imposition of russian religious hegemony.

Friday, October 05, 2007

By Extension #71006


Ok, I've been goaded into making these slogans available as bumper stickers. Here's the first

Death Penalty - Making sure that every inmate is a wanted inmate.

Just click on the link above to order.

As CafePress won't let me have multiple offerings without paying the fee, I'll let this first one float for a while, then post others as interest would indicate.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

By Extension, #71003

Some people criticise pro-life supporters as being hypocritical when it comes to the death penalty. 'Tis fair to expect a people that claims to believe in mercy to really extend it. I would, in turn, like to see abortion supporters be thoroughly pro-death, extending their logic about the unborn to capital offenders.

With that in mind, I give you: Pro-Choice Slogans for the Death Penalty.


Lethal Injection: Making sure every inmate is a wanted inmate.

My Prison, My Choice.

If you don't believe in Lethal Injection, don't have one.

Pro-law, Pro-order, Pro-death penalty

If you can't trust me with a lethal injection, how can you trust me with a life sentence?

Keep your defense attorney off my lethal injection gurney.


More submissions will be posted when you cough 'em up.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Beware NeoChurchspeak

The new bishop of Pittsburgh, David Zubik, talks the talk of the felt banner crowd:

In many ways we have to think outside the box and look for the ways in which the Holy Spirit is calling us to be church.

[barf]

He speaks like an Episcopalian Marine Biologist. I hope that this does not bode ill for the Faith in Pittsburgh. They don't need any repeat's of this summer's nonsense on the river.

When asked about social justice, the bishop hits the chord on life issues:

The most important social justice issue is the fabric of respect for life from the first moment of conception to the point of natural death. We have to be able to have profound respect for life, no matter what the world may say about how disposable people are.

So, then, how will he deal with pro-abortion catholic politicians? Time will tell, especially in dealing with U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), who feigned a pro-life position before his election.

Bishop Zubik also appear to be on the anti-border bandwagon:

I am a little bit baffled by what appears to be a growing insensitivity to immigrants coming into our country. Whatever nationality we all are, we became part of this country because our ancestors were immigrants. Our country is a mosaic of different nationalities.

It's not about immigrants, Excellency, it's about immigrants obeying the law of the land. Just ask Pedro Zapeta.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

TLM in Lincoln

I spoke with our pastor about the TLM, but waited for a month after the motu proprio had come out, lest I appear over-eager. His indication was that the bishop, his Excellency Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, wanted to make sure that clergy were properly prepared to offer the Latin Mass before widening its usage in the diocese. Currently, there's one parish doing two latin masses on Sundays, and possibly weekday masses as well.

I noticed this snippet in the local paper:

Priest training Latin Mass workshops, Oct. 5-9 and Nov. 2-6, Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary, Denton. 797-7700 or seminary@fsspolgs.org

I take this to mean that the bishop's plan is rolling forward. Interestingly enough, the topic came up in this week's 'Ask the Register' column in the diocesan newspaper.

Didn't the Second Vatican Council outlaw the use of Latin in the Mass? Isn't the pope defying the Second Vatican Council by reinstating Latin in the Mass with his new document "Summorum Pontificum"?

No, the Second Vatican Council did not outlaw the use of Latin in the Mass, but said just the opposite. The Council said, "Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites. But, since the use of the mother tongue, whether in the Mass, the administration of the sacraments, or other parts of the liturgy, may frequently be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment may be extended." The Council also said, "In Masses which are celebrated with the people, a suitable place may be allotted to their mother tongue.... Nevertheless steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or sing together in Latin those parts of the ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them." It is important, before making such unfounded claims, that you read carefully the documents of the Second Vatican Council. Your error will become apparent to you when you read the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of that Council. If you were to actually read the "Motu Proprio" Encyclical Letter of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, you would also see how untrue and unjust your accusations against him are. The sooner you read and study his Encyclical and the Council's Con-stitution "Sacrum Concilium," the better off you will be.


My pastor also indicated that he'd not just spring it suddenly on the laity, but he didn't have any other details to offer. As I've indicated before, the vernacular Mass is celebrated well in Lincoln, and in our parish as well. Most hymns sung during Mass are from BEFORE 1950, many parts of the Mass are sung in english and during Lent and Advent, some Latin is sung as well. I've been to parishes in other states where the liturgy is every bit the felt banner clad nightmare of the 1970's.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Logic

Since I'm on the long road to a BS in electrical engineering, the subject matter has been occupying more of my waking thought. And like anything else in my scrambled brain, some things are bound to get swirled around with other oddities. So without further ado:

The Logic of Matthew 7:13

Friday, September 28, 2007

Mistake, or Crime?

Mistake costs dishwasher $59,000, CNN says. What was his big mistake?

he carried a duffel bag filled with $59,000 -- all the cash he had scrimped and saved over the years -- to the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. But when Zapeta tried to go through airport security, an officer spotted the money in the bag and called U.S. customs officials.

"They asked me how much money I had," Zapeta recalled, speaking to CNN in Spanish. He told the customs officials $59,000. At that point, U.S. customs seized his money, setting off a two-year struggle for Zapeta to get it back.

Zapeta, who speaks no English, said he didn't know he was running afoul of U.S. law by failing to declare he was carrying more than $10,000 with him. Anyone entering or leaving the country with more than $10,000 has to fill out a one-page form declaring the money to U.S. customs.

Now, it would be easier to explain to the customs officials the mistake if one spoke english. It would also enhance one's credibility to be a US citizen, or legal immigrant. Oops:

For 11 years, Pedro Zapeta, an illegal immigrant from Guatemala, lived his version of the American dream in Stuart, Florida: washing dishes and living frugally to bring money back to his home country.

DOH! There's the mistake. He was illegal on accident? It was just a mistake, see. CNN's hopped on that happy hispanic bandwagon, that all immigrants should be legal, and their manner of entry into this country should have no bearing on their rights.

Notice this guy was here 11 years, and never picked up the language? Funny, my French Canadian, Irish and German immigrant forbearers decided to learn the language when the got to this country, not just prennent l'argent et se sauvent , or sie nehmen das Geld und fliehen [take the money and run]. In fact, they joined the US Army, and fought in WW II, and when that was done, they worked and paid taxes. Unlike Mr. Zapeta:

Zapeta's story became public last year on CNN and in The Palm Beach Post newspaper, prompting well-wishers to give him nearly $10,000 -- money that now sits in a trust.

Robert Gershman, one of Zapeta's attorneys, said federal prosecutors later offered his client a deal: He could take $10,000 of the original cash seized, plus $9,000 in donations as long as he didn't talk publicly and left the country immediately.

Zapeta said, "No." He wanted all his money. He'd earned it, he said.

Now, according to Gershman, the Internal Revenue Service wants access to the donated cash to cover taxes on the donations and on the money Zapeta made as a dishwasher. Zapeta admits he never paid taxes.

Despite his legal transgressions, Mr. Zapeta seems convinced that he's in the right:

"They are treating me like a criminal when all I am is a working man," he said.

Dismissing protestations of innocence, the legal apparatus is making sure that situation is going to be resolved:

On Wednesday, Zapeta went to immigration court and got more bad news. The judge gave the dishwasher until the end of January to leave the country on his own. He's unlikely to see a penny of his money.

"I am desperate," Zapeta said. "I no longer feel good about this country."

You think?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Just Not Getting It

Ok, so, your state has a public relations problem. The national media is making it look like your town is full of racist rednecks. While white citizens declare their love for their black neighbors, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton slither in to town to express righteous indignation for the TV cameras.

So what do you do? You decorate your pickup truck with nooses.


Sure, that'll set everyone over at NPR straight about race relations in Jena, and in Louisiana in general.

You cannot buy stupidity of this quality just anywhere.

Maybe Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton should take up residence in Louisiana. Sounds like they all deserve each other's illustrious company.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Civil Rights Movement Fails

The media and civil rights organizations are all atwitter over the 'Jena 6'. Six black teens had beat a white teen. When a guy is on the ground, and you're still punching and stomping him, and doing this as a group, it eclipses any claim to civilization you may present.

Most of the black teens were charged as adults, which is what the civil rights crowd is so outraged about. But there's some background to this:

[Mychal] Bell, 17, has been in prison since his arrest in December. The judge has refused to lower his $90,000 bail, citing Bell's criminal record, which includes four juvenile offenses -- two simple battery charges among them.

I wouldn't be surprised if Mr. Bell's prior inclination to violence was part of the decision to try him as an adult. Since he's obviously not learned his lesson from his parents, the black community, or the juvenile justice system, one would conclude that it's time to try something different.

Rushing to the scene to fan the flames of racial discontent are two reported civil rights "leaders", Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton.

This is a march for justice. This is not a march against whites or against Jena," said the Rev. Al Sharpton, a civil rights activist and one of the protest organizers.

"It breaks our heart to see [Bell] handcuffed and in leg shackles," Sharpton said. "But his spirit is high. He has said that he is very encouraged to know that thousands are coming to this town to stand up for him and his five friends."

So then, I don't imagine that the good reverend will be standing up for the victim of this mob attack? In his thinking, the assailants are the victims, and in a way he's right. But we'll get to that later.

Jesse Jackson, in his indestructable obtuseness, tried to link Jena to another civil rights moment:

"If I were a candidate, I'd be all over Jena. Jena is a defining moment, just like Selma was a defining moment."

I don't know if you could ask for a contrast more stark. In the Selma march, blacks were beaten by white cops during a non-violent demonstration for the right to vote. In Jena, a white teen was beaten by black teens over racist taunting. Earth to Jesse, the two events are worlds apart. If Jena is a defining moment, then let it be as the indictment of the failure of black leadership, and the death of any pretense of concern for non-violent advancement of black rights. What the outrage pimps and disaffected crowds are pushing for is a biased leniency for violence.

In that face of racial taunting, these black teens resorted to violence to try and stop the intimidation. And now that the consequences come, who's to blame? The blame is going to some white kids that put up nooses on a tree weeks prior. No personal responsibility to be found in Jena.

How about acknowleging that the civil rights leadership has failed to continue teaching Dr. Martin Luther King's message of non-violence? The 'Jena 6' are in their throes because of this failure. If these black teens are to be portayed as victims, let's show who's really caused their injury. Leadership in the black community has been replaced by outrage pimps, running from one scene to another. They spot the insults by noticing the presence of media attention, and then dive in front of the cameras to feign a guiding role in the community.

Both Jackson and Sharpton are quick to address any perceived slight AGAINST blacks, except when it's perpetrated BY blacks.

Look how quickly the outrage pimps jumped on the Don Imus quip, yet were ony grudgingly pushed to hold the same standard to black rappers, and even that's slipped into obscurity. It's just not a priority.

Jackson and Sharpton loudly blame gun manufaturers and sellers for black gun violence, yet do nothing in the face of the billion $$$ business of Hip-Hop, whose current superstar sports a bullet-proof vest on stage.

How does Dr. King's vision of non-violence square with that? If you listen closely, you can hear Dr. King, spinning in his grave.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Quebexican food

In explaining the pronunciation of the end of my last name, my train of thought jumped the rails and landed in a twisted heap that you're about to see:


Taceau - Cretons avec laitue déchiquetée, tomates découpées, et le fromage Lechevalier Mailloux dans un pain frais. [Translated: Potted Pork meat with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and a Quebec cheese served in a loaf of fresh bread]

Nacheau - Pied-de-Vent fondu avec retailles d'hostie. [Translated: Melted Pied-de-Vent cheese with unconsecrated communion wafer cuttings]

Buerre-iteau - Pain frais, bourré du beurre, porc haché, noix de muscade, clous de girofle et pommes de terre. [Translated: fresh bread, stuffed with butter, ground pork, nutmeg, cloves and potatoes]

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Blogger Credentialed as Newsweek Reporter

Jeff Miller has a vocation, though one not recognised by the editorial staff of Newsweek. In a secret ceremony, and in defiance of the editorial staff, Jeff Miller was credentialed as a Newsweek reporter. "I am taking this step forward so that others in the future will have the opportunity to be a Newsweek reporter without having to face their discriminatory hiring practice of only hiring those with a journalism degree and having the ability to write and to act as a reporter," Miller wrote, about his calling to credentials.

Some accuse Newsweek of credentialism, paying for and publishing work only a select few reporters that conform to Newsweek's dogmas. St. Jimbob of the Apokalypse, chairman of We Are Magazine, claims that Newsweeks denials of Miller's credentials are futile. "When will the editors wake up and realize that, credentialed or not, it's the reporters that are Newsweek? The editors only have the power we allow them, so we're pressing for a more horizontal model of the magazine." Apokalypse went on to note "we are striving to write into our calling to be Magazine, and it's really for the good of Newsweek to be inclusive enough to recognise us."

Future clandestine credentialing ceremonies are planned, but details are being kept secret.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Side-by-Side

Comparing vocational gravity between two diocese. One, you'll likely guess quickly, as for the other, that may be fairly obvious as well.




Diocese ADiocese B
Catholic Population: 4,349,267Catholic Population: 89,412
Seminarians from the Diocese: 50
Seminarians from Other Dioceses: 85
Diocesan Students in Other Seminaries: 18
Seminarians from the Diocese: 28
Seminarians from Other Dioceses: 7
Diocesan Students in Other Seminaries: 15
Local Seminarian to Catholic Ratio: 1 : 63,959 Local Seminarian to Catholic Ratio: 1 : 2,079


So, does this mean that a catholic in Diocese B is 30 times more likely to find a vocation to the priesthood or diaconate? To quote Bugs Bunny, "Ehhh, Could be."

Friday, September 07, 2007

Good News

Twenty-three new seminarians in the Diocese of Lincoln, according to the Southern Nebraska Register. Nineteen are locals, four from other parts of the country or farther:

Sean Wilson of Gimli, Manitoba in Canada had originally intended to study for the Diocese of Winnipeg. However, various circumstances led him to enter the seminary for the Diocese of Lincoln instead.

“I ended up reading about the Bishop of Lincoln, and that made me curious,” he said. He came to visit St. Gregory the Great and was impressed with the friendly and faith-filled atmosphere."

Wow, he read about Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, and came here all the same. He must be an intrepid Catholic, and looking for more than just milquetoast doctrinal dissent taught by nancing poofs. Were in cassock country here, with many sporting the biretta as well. Please check all Call To Action membership cards and National Catholic Reporter subscriptions at the gate.

We are very fortunate to have such men, willing to contemplate taking up the cross of a religious vocation. And to have so many with such interest is special as well.

“We’re very blessed by God,” agreed Father Robert Matya, vocations director.

Yes, Father, indeed we are.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

A Straighter Path

Tiber Jumper, over at 'Crossed the Tiber', has been posting gems from Thomas á Kempis' 'Imitation of Christ'. Feeling lost? Á Kempis points the way, like all good witnesses, to Christ. Feeling full of yourself? Step up for some deflation and humility.

Like a discipline in a monk's cell, one can flog the wayward conscience with 'Imitation of Christ'.

Over at Cosmos-Liturgy-Sex, David explores the place for dissent in the Church (which is NOT IN the Church). The fear of fervent Catholicism is making some dissenters nervous. A big surprise, assent to Catholic teaching requires humility.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Meadering Path of the Spiritually Lost

The Labyrinth lady cometh. Rev.Dr. Lauren Artress (Episcopalian) is winding her way to Nebraska, bringing her spiritual practice with her:

"There are many ways to describe a labyrinth. It is a path of prayer, a walking meditation, a crucible of change, a watering hole for the spirit and a mirror of the soul. May you be nourished."

Let me describe the labyrinth. It is a toilet of wasted time, a sink of prayer, a medicine cabinet of spiritual placebos, and a mirror of self-seeking. It has been weighed on the bathroom scale and has been found wanting.

With her "may you be nourished" line, it sounds like the labyrinth is more a substitute for the Eucharist than anything else. Is it really so difficult to seek Christ in the Blessed Sacrament and in our neighbors, that one has to wander on large-scale doodles?

Let us compare and contrast the winding way of the labyrinth versus the Gospel:

Proverbs 15:21 Folly is joy to the fool: and the wise man maketh straight his steps.

Isaiah 35:8 And a path and a way shall be there, and it shall be called the holy way: the unclean shall not pass over it, and this shall be unto you a straight way, so that fools shall not err therein.

Hebrews 12:12-14 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, And make straight steps with your feet: that no one, halting, may go out of the way; but rather be healed. Follow peace with all men, and holiness: without which no man shall see God.

Deuteronomy 27:18 Cursed be he that maketh the blind to wander out of his way.

I know that there are many catholics who wander lost on these paths as well. Why is it that some would rather walk in circles rather than kneel in front of the Tabernacle?

Friday, August 31, 2007

Orthodoxy Enforced, to a Degree

Fox News reports on a story of a Catholic university that's enforcing orthodoxy, of a sort:

The private Chicago Catholic university recently informed professor Norman Finkelstein that his three courses were canceled after a dispute over tenure that drew charges of anti-Semitism against him.

Critics find issue with Finkelstein, the son of Holocaust survivors, who believes that some Jews have exploited the Holocaust. Finkelstein is the author of five books, including "The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering."

I wish that DePaul University was so zealous in defending the Catholic Faith as it is defending Jewish victimhood. Not too long ago, De Paul started turning heads with it's avant garde Gay Studies program.

"I understand that there's a tension there," says Assistant Prof. Gary Cestaro, the program's director. "Institutions of higher learning, even if they are Catholic, aren't spokespeople for the Vatican," he says. "Like any university, there should be room for free inquiry."

I guess that some inquiry should be more free than others? Or is it that the only kind of free inquiry desired is that inquiry free of Catholic doctrine. What ever happened to Ex Corde Ecclesiae?

Looking over the course offerings and course descriptions for the LGBTQ Studies, I don't see anything that points to a discussion on Catholic doctrine on human sexuality. Maybe the topic will be touched upon at the upcoming "Out There Conference" at DePaul in October. There's a session in the program called “Roman Catholicism and its Teaching on Homosexuality: Past, Present, Future” with James Halstead and Tom Judge from DePaul University, and Patricia Jung, Loyola University Chicago. The rest of the sessions seem to be the usual rah-rah for gay causes.

Halstead's not the most solid bulwark against the prevailing culture, as evidenced by his comment on CNN in regard to pro-abortion politicians and the Eucharist:

"It's precisely the people that are sick or in error that need to be going to communion. It's not a reward. It's a help on the journey."

There are few better ways to tell someone that they are sick or in error by declaring that they are not in communion with the Church, but you won't hear that from Halstead. Patricia Jung, inline skating gold medalist at the 1994 Gay Games, is not a notorious stalwart for true Catholic doctrine either. In her paper, "The Call to Wed: Why Catholics Should Celebrate Same Sex Marriage," Ms. Jung displays her ignorance/disregard for catholic teaching:

"When the church’s long-standing emphasis on the significance of procreativity to marriage is
critically analyzed, it becomes clear that both the church and society should encourage all those so called – whether queer or straight – to wed."

"Critical analysis", in Academe-speak, is code for rationalized dismissal. With Halstead's and Jung's records, it looks like the deck is stacked against any straight, pardon the pun, discussion of Church teaching on human sexuality at this conference.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

America LOVES Failure

Two pointless incidents which americans, and their media vending machines, have turned into a stomach-turning, ubiquitous display of our crass interests.

a) The stunning blather of a beauty pageant contestant. Hey folks, she was on the spot, probably with a prepared comment in her mind, and was thrown a curveball. What I heard was a young person thinking with their mouth open. How merciless are we becoming, as a society, when brief moments of our humanity are suddenly national news, and something we're forever marked by.

b) The more lurid accusations and circumstances that a certain U.S. Senator has found himself in. Like Ted Haggard before him, Larry Craig has not made the "I'm a Gay American" speech, ala Jim McGreevey, which makes the militant gay lobby that hounds him even the more enraged. Really. The nerve of this guy, trolling public restrooms for gay sex, but voting against gay interests. Craig's denials make it sound as if being gay is something to be ashamed of, and our society won't tolerate that. That's why the media is being so merciless.

The Democrat-controlled congress is even going to spend some precious Ethics Committee time to further explore the issue, further cementing the idea that democrats are more interested in fanning scandals than actually accomplishing anything.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Like a Horoscope

Your Birthdate: June 28

You have a Type A personality so big it makes other Type A's shrink away in shame.
You never shy away from adversity - and you love to tackle impossible problems.
Failure is not an option for you, and more than a few people are put off by your ego.
You tend to be controlling, and you hate leaving anything up to chance.

Your strength: Your bold approach to life

Your weakness: You don't accept help

Your power color: Bronze

Your power symbol: Pyramid

Your power month: October


Interesting coincidence, and I would have to agree that some of it does describe an aspect of my personality. Yes, I am high-strung, and prone to taking personal control of certain projects. Nonetheless, I'm nowhere near conceited or egotistical about my work, as colleagues would tell anyone. I even blush at any public praise.

Sometimes I'm an INTJ, and other times an ENTP. I'm frequently a Rat, and sometimes a Cancer. I tend to be socially conservative, but fiscally liberal. But, I don't let any of it define me, or look to these systems for guidance that only the Holy Spirit, Sacred Scripture, and Holy Mother Church can provide.

h/t Regular Guy.

The Sword in the Cistern

Jeremiah was a popular guy, notorious for telling people exactly what they DIDN'T want to hear. He was charged with undermining the common unity. Folks wanted some peace of mind, so they put ol' Jeremiah down a muddy cistern.

Jesus is popular as well, notorious also for telling people what they don't want to hear. Today's gospel reading from Luke is one such lesson from Jesus that too frequently is put down the cistern:

" Think ye, that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, no; but separation. For there shall be from henceforth five in one house divided: three against two, and two against three."

Ecumeniacs and syncretists don't like to dwell on this scripture much, unless it's to bolster perception of their own righteousness. Another teaching that ends up in the cistern is the second half of a liberal favourite, from John 8, when an adulteress is brought to Jesus:

And this they said tempting him, that they might accuse him. But Jesus bowing himself down, wrote with his finger on the ground. When therefore they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said to them: He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

Now, most liberals will stop there, having used scripture to support their notion of blissful non-discernment. Despite their abridgement, the scripture continues:

And again stooping down, he wrote on the ground. But they hearing this, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest. And Jesus alone remained, and the woman standing in the midst. Then Jesus lifting up himself, said to her: Woman, where are they that accused thee? Hath no man condemned thee?

11 Who said: No man, Lord. And Jesus said: Neither will I condemn thee. Go, and now sin no more.

The "go, and sin no more" often ends up in the cistern because it indicates that adultery is sin, and that there are still consequences for sin. What other teachings of Jesus agitate us to us put Him in the cistern?

Friday, August 17, 2007

You Might Be an Apostate If..

This silliness was inspired by some seriousness over at 'Crossed the Tiber.' My apologies to both Tiber Jumper and Jeff Foxworthy...

If you think John Shelby Spong is a wise theologian, you might be an apostate.

If you consider one of the Seven Deadly Sins to be wearing white shoes after Labor Day, you might be an apostate.

If Easter afternoon finds you still in your jammies, eating jelly beans and peeps, you just might be an apostate.

You might be an apostate if you welcome homosexuality as "the Spirit doing something new in the Church."

You might be an apostate if you think that venereal disease and pregnancies are best prevented with condoms, preferably distributed in grade schools.

If you can sit through an entire televised football game, but usually leave Mass right after Communion, you just might be an apostate.

* New* If you complain about how the Church opresses women, but never bother praying the Rosary, you might be an apostate.

Any others, from the few who bother to haunt this place?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Ignorance and Enablers

Okay, the article in the local paper was headlined as "Churches help couples prepare for their future together", so I figured to see how bad it could be. Oh yes, pretty bad.

The family highlighted is listed as such: Bride goes to temple and wants Jewish wedding. Groom is Seventh Day Adventist, but isn't particularly adamant, and agrees to the Jewish wedding. Bride's mum goes to a UCC church. The temple balks at the interfaith wedding, so mum gets the kids to have a co-officiated wedding at her UCC church. Getting it so far?

Bride has this to say:

“He [groom] would’ve been fine with a justice of peace, but I wanted a wedding, and I wanted a religious wedding,” she said. “I said, ‘I want God at my wedding and if he wants to bring his little friend Jesus along, then that’s fine with me.’”

Okay, you can get up off the floor now, catch your breath, and dry the tears.

A rabbi of local renown, who co-officiated the ceremony for the confused couple "said he believes churches should be blind to the cultural and religious differences that a couple might have." Does that include one spouse proclaiming Jesus as Lord, while the other spouse considers Him "[God's] little friend?"

The senior minister at First-Plymouth said that weddings are an advertisement for his congregation’s inclusivity and lack of anything deeper than passing discernment.

“We look at this as a moment for them (couples) to begin a potential relationship with the church or a moment for us to express the warmth of the Christian church,” he said. “Will the church be a place of compassion and inclusion and spiritual depth or not?”


Well, how about instructing the spiritually ignorant, for starters? The couple getting married in his church obviously need some instruction, as ambivalent as they are. But this minister does like to collect the lukewarm. He has, in a televised sermon, smugly intoned about one of his congregants that "still considers herself a Catholic", yet attends his church because she disagrees with Rome on many issues.

You know, a sewer will take anything that drops down the hole as well..

The article then prepares us for the coming section on Catholic teaching on Matrimony with this:

"Not all clergy are as progressive."

The director from the diocesan Family Life office then gives the proper Catholic teaching on marriage, and the article explores a catholic couple's long road to the Altar.

“The church is trying to present an authentic view of marriage and to preserve and protect that understanding,” he continued. “There are so many images and presentations in our culture of marriage that are not authentic and not Christian. They are warped views of marriage. We are trying to protect and preserve what God has established.”

The article concludes with it's punchline, that the UCC is starting a marital preparation course as well, though with the muddle of theology the UCC subscribes to, I can't imagine that it will be of much service.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

If I Only Had a Brain

How smart are you?Am-I-Dumb.com - Are you dumb?


I actually quit Mensa 13 years ago, when I discovered that a high IQ doesn't necessarily make you a good person. Around the same time, I also figured out that Democrats don't love their fellow man any better than Republicans do. C'est la guerre.

h/t to Regular Guy, who is, lamentably, 0.2% dumber than I. I may have to strike him from the blogroll ;-)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Tiptoe Around the Taliban

Taliban, you say? In Pakistan?

No, we don't have Taliban in Pakistan.

Ohhh, THAT Taliban.

Well, we do have some of them, but they blow themselves up.

A creeping disaster is continuing to run its course in northwest Pakistan, in the border regions with Afghanistan. Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf is reaping the rewards for mollifying Islamist factions in his country:

Isolated politically, he is incapable of making the strategic changes necessary to meet the challenges the country faces today. Five years ago, he threw in his lot with the clerics of the MMA [Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal]. He gave them political space by driving secular parties into the wilderness. Some selective rigging saw them come to power in the NWFP [Northwest Frontier Province] and in Balochistan as a coalition partner. In exchange, the clerics used their suddenly expanded presence in the assemblies to allow him to remain army chief. Now, the same religious parties have turned against him.

And like this month's showdown at the Lal Masjid mosque, any attempt to bring the Islamists to any civil order will be messy. Just this week, a Taliban commander, Abdullah Mehsud, was discovered in a pakistani border town 350 km northwest of Quetta. When security forces found him, on a tip from some locals, he blew himself up.

Sure, you could say "well, thant's one less militant", but the bigger question is why do Taliban have such free reign in northwest Pakistan and southern Afghanistan? You can chalk it up to a combination of diverting US forces to Iraq, and political maneuvering from Musharraf. the situation is becoming intolerable.

AS bouquets and brickbats are being flung at the government following the Lal Masjid operation, the tough questions are sure to follow. Even as the corpses of the victims and the villains are being buried, most Pakistanis are already asking how events were allowed to come to such a bloody pass.

One of the hallmarks of military governments is that they all pretend to be very keen on accountability. So who will be the scapegoat for allowing the six-month old stand-off at the mosque complex to drag on? Clearly, the Ghazi brothers used this time to stock up on arms and ammunition, apart from sneaking in dozens of trained militants.

Musharraf is not long for the political scene if he cannot defuse the Islamist timebomb under his arse. His maneuvers to preserve his autocratic rule are coming home to roost, as debated in the pakistani Supreme Court last week:

In the 60 years of our tumultuous and mostly star-crossed history, nothing of greater importance has ever come before the Supreme Court. Other famous cases in the past – Tamizuddin, Dosso, Nusrat Bhutto, etc – helped legitimise one martial law after another. In doing so, the highest court in the land became a party to the twisting and distorting of our history, helping to turn Pakistan into a congenial playground for civil and military dictatorships.

In this case alone has the opportunity arisen to mend that history by putting a rein and bridle on military adventurism. For the central issue in it is not just about the person of Justice Chaudhry and the treatment he received when he defied the wishes of Army House, the source of so much of Pakistan’s many discontents.

It is about something far greater: whether Pakistan’s destiny – and this was put well by Fakhruddin Ebrahim, one of the lawyers defending the Chief Justice – is to be ruled by the power of the gun or the power of the law.

Unfortunately, Musharraf's "power of the gun" has been the only thing keeping Pakistan from completely sliding under the power of the Islamist bomb. The vaunted "power of the law" usually wilts in the face of the Islamist threat, which is why the Taliban has such haven in the northwest, and why the Lal Masjid situation mushroomed into the bloodbath that it did.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Back on the Street Corner

I am going to take whatever I have left and go home. I am going to go home and be a mother to my surviving children and try to regain some of what I have lost. I will try to maintain and nurture some very positive relationships that I have found in the journey that I was forced into when Casey died and try to repair some of the ones that have fallen apart since I began this single-minded crusade to try and change a paradigm that is now, I am afraid, carved in immovable, unbendable and rigidly mendacious marble.

She said she was leaving. She said she'd go home. But the lure of the red-light district in D.C. was too much. Yes, Cindy Sheehan is back.

"The Democrats will not hold this administration accountable, so we have to hold the Democrats accountable," Sheehan said outside Conyers' office after the meeting. "And I for one am going to step up to the plate and run against Nancy Pelosi."

So, what happened to going home and reconnecting with her family? Did she get home and find out that they've decided to "move on" without her? Was the solitude frightening? Were there no news cameras to capture the histrionic wailing and gnashing of teeth?

Well, if she tries to run for office, I'm sure she'll get the rabid pacifist vote, but the cooler heads will vote for someone more stable.

Telling Omission

The screen behind the democratic candidates for President caught my eye, and I noticed a telling omission that really speaks to the flaw in their foreign policy ideas. Here's the backdrop:


A good deal of the background image is from the great seal of the United States, but with a curious part left out. I circled the omission above, so that you could reference it to the seal in it's entirety:


Yes, they took the arrows from the Eagle. They think that the United States can protect its liberties with olive branches alone. They prefer to throw aid packages, abortion doctors and condoms at the world's problems. What a sorry lot.

All of them are for retreating from Iraq. To avoid his obligations, Onan, too, was eager to pull out. So much for fearless leadership from the Left.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Unseen Blogger Nails It

From the Unseen Blogger:

Isn't it interesting that the New York Times can keep the ending of the new Harry Potter book a secret, yet they'll publish top secret documents from the Pentagon and jeopardize national security?

What else can be said?

Friday, July 20, 2007

A Pig by Any Other Name

Nobody knows the trouble that Genarlow Wilson's seen.

The courtroom was packed with supporters and cameras Friday as Georgia's top justices heard arguments over whether a young man serving a 10-year prison term for consensual oral sex with a fellow teenager should be freed.

Poor boy, somehow got busted for what the media's calling "consensual oral sex" with a minor. Only It wasn't some awkward episode in the back of his parents' car. This was a romp at a party that included sexual contact with multiple underage, inebriated females, videotaped for future self-aggrandisement. So lurid was the video, it was labelled as Child Pornography by federal authorities.

The sex act was videotaped by another partygoer -- and that tape shows the faces of several underage girls. David Nahmias, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, said earlier this week: "We have advised that the videotape at issue constitutes child pornography under federal law and should not be knowingly distributed, received or possessed outside of law enforcement and judicial proceedings."

Wilson was acquitted of a rape charge, stemming from the same party, for having sexual relations with another girl that prosecutors asserted was too drunk to consent. This kid, though only 17 at the time of the offense, has perfectly emulated his hip-hop heroes in their objectification of women and using them for careless sexual gratification. Whatever his mother may say, he's far from innocent.

You may see the smiling visage of the young man on CNN, clean cut, with a cross dangling around his neck. Here's a shot from the party:

Sorry, but this image has been deemed Child Pornography. If you were to see this image, you'd see a smiling, happy Genarlow Wilson at a gang-bang. Sorry to disappoint.

Wilson's supporters are pushing for retribution against the D.A., who released the tape to media and other judicial bodies. Ostensibly, the outrage is that the tape makes their unfairly persecuted angel look like just another pig.

"Why do you care about this, St. Jimbob" you may ask. I've got daughters, and believe me, after a stunt like this, jail is the safest place for guys like Genarlow Wilson.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Mowing and Musing

I’ve had a lot on my mind, recently, and it’s been swirling around without any focus. Until last night, when I was mowing my lawn, when it came to me:

“Santino, come're. Whattsa matter with you? I think your brain is going soft from all that comedy your playing with that young girl.

Never tell anybody outside the family what you're thinking again!

Yes, words of wisdom from Vito Corleone.

America’s brain has gone soft. Soft from all the comedy it’s playing with it’s culture of consumption and gratification. From the overweight kids playing their Playstations, to the parents over-leveraged with consumer debt (spent on stuff that the debt will outlast) to the politicians who pander to the self-indulgent.

Thanks to our Incontinental Congress, and their Media enablers, everyone in the world knows what we’re thinking (or that we’re not), and knows the limits of our fortitude.

Everyone now knows that 2.500 dead troops will make our people squeamish and our politicians start looking for something white to wave. Everyone now knows that if a force can keep us tied up for more than a year or two, we’ll throw in the towel. Everyone now knows that if they can bloody our nose, they can expect an apology FROM US for making them angry.

What’s now to stop China from taking Taiwan?! Or is Chuck Hagel (or any in the Yellow GOP) thinking beyond the next election? Don’t pander to the American people, as they’ve become too soft-headed from a couple generations of affluence without sacrifice.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Live Squat

Live Earth is a 24-hour, 7-continent concert series taking place on 7/7/07 that will bring together more than 100 music artists and 2 billion people to trigger a global movement to solve the climate crisis.

So, the archsongsters of environmentalism are convening a global community sing to proclaim their looming apocalypse, otherwise known as 'Global Warming'. A scant 22 years ago, another band of well-meaning musicians put on a similiar event, called 'Live Aid', to eliminate hunger in Ethiopia. It was a smashing success, as far as raising money is concerned. £150M successful.

Ethiopian President Mengistu Haile Mariam was very grateful for the generous donations. So grateful, in fact, that he was able to expand his army and maintain his fleet of soviet-made armor, needed to secure his Marxist government against surging domestic rebel groups. His starvation of opposition populations in his own country was what spurred the Live Aid project to begin with, so the whole decade from 1976 to 1986 was win, win, and win. Some figures claim Mengistu's Derg party was responsible for 1.5 million dead Ethiopians. So, Mengistu's government got paid £1000 for each person they killed. Nice.

So, who's the money going to this time, and who are they being paid to kill?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Grace Under Fire

So, the goings on in Pakistan have finally hit the fan and the headlines here in America. The al Masjid, the Red Mosque, has been a thorn in Pakistan's side for quite a while now. The students of al Masjid have been kidnapping various people and demanding implemantation of Sharia Law as the ransom. Pakistan already has an anti-blasphemy law, severely punishing anyone who blasphemes Muhammad (I'd be hanged within the hour I touched down in Karachi). The tribal areas already do Sharia, with little intervention from any real government. Women are properly oppressed. What are the students complaining about?

Well, now that the military has moved in to administer some perspective, the students have been armed and are resisting. Where's the teacher, you may ask? He went that-a-way:

MAULANA Abdul Aziz, the leader of the Lal Masjid brigade, was arrested while trying to flee in a burqa.

“After all the things he has said and all the oaths he took from his students that they should embrace martyrdom with him, look at this man,” Minister of State for Information Tariq Azeem said.

Maulana Aziz was caught after a group of 50 burqa-clad women from the mosque started screaming as they were taken to a nearby school for security checks after giving themselves up, saying the procedure was un-Islamic.

“Our officers spotted his (Aziz’s) unusual demeanour. The rest of the girls looked like girls, but he was taller and had a pot-belly,” an official said.

So much for the courage of the righteous. Intending to die last, I guess he was figuring Allah would be out of virgins by the time all the students in the mosque were killed.

Pakistan is beset by a bevy of conflicts. Most people are fixated on the conflict between President Musharraf and the Chief Justice of Pakistan's supreme court, while there are Taliban in Waziristan, and rebels and natural disasters in Balochistan. The country is poised to become another Afghanistan. With nukes.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Horror

I don't watch TV much, as it's usually a waste of time. It can occasionally be instructive, or so the producers would hope, but you can also learn more about the culture than what the show is actually trumpeting. I happened across a show call 'On The Lot', a reality show about budding film producers having to make short films in different genres. Last night's episode was an excercise in horror films, or so it was announced. The last short was 'Profile' by Mateen, an African-American film student. Just what kind of horror story was it? I'm sure you can guess.

An African-American driver is pulled over by a white cop, and faster than you can say "license and registration, please," the driver is in a bathroom being brutally assaulted by three white cops. Explaining his choice of drama, the filmmaker said he wanted to convey a horror that people could actually relate to.

Here's a horror that would be more helpful for African-Americans:

In 1999, firearm homicide was the number one cause of death for Black men ages 15-34, as well as the leading cause of death for all black 15-24 year olds.[1]

AND

In 1998, 94 percent of the Black murder victims were slain by black offenders.[2]

As much as the brother wants to spin a yarn about evil white cops, the larger horror is still wrought by his own people. While race-agitating shakedown artists keep the focus on the White Devil, the Black auto-genocide of violence, family disintegration and drug use will continue.

Bill Cosby, anathema to the victimhood mafia, proposed a solution on CNN's 'Situation Room':

It's not outrage as much as sadness that Dr. King started us in a winning position with nonviolence and that our youthful people are picking up guns, knives, and voices against each other, against their parents, against the school system, and a great deal of it has to do with the fact that we need to start in pre-K through 12th grade talking to the children in school, in school, because it isn't happening in the neighborhood, about nonviolence and how to solve one's sadness issue that has grown into frustration and then outrage.

For Cosby, it's not just a 'black thing':

The most important thing, Wolf, is, as time goes by, how many of these candidates, like Mr. Martin said, will address the invisible white people who are not graduating from college, who are teenage pregnancy at the age of 13, who are broke, who are looking for subsidy, who are looking at schools that are broken down? It isn't just blacks.

It's the poor. It's the lower economic people, the lower middle economic. And these people have to speak up. They have got to get themselves together. They are the most powerful. You have politicians who care about them, as opposed to some of these other things...

But will anyone in the Black community hear it? Maybe someone can do a film about that?
1. National Center for Health Statistics, 2002
2. FBI Uniform Crime Reports, 1998

Monday, July 02, 2007

Pope Writes to China, pt II

To begin, let's look at a statement, early in the Pope's letter to Chinese Catholics:

I realize that the normalization of relations with the People's Republic of China requires time and presupposes the good will of both parties.

Yes, presupposing the good will of both parties. Well, one party doesn't have the same concept of good will:

Some Catholic websites in mainland China that uploaded Pope Benedict XVI's letter to Catholics in the mainland shortly after it was released were ordered hours later to remove it.

A priest in charge of such a website registered with the government told UCA News on July 2 he felt helpless because he strongly believes that "China Church websites should publish the pope's letter."

The priest, who asked not to be named, said some government officials who came to his office on June 29 asked about the letter but did not explicitly say he could not carry it. The next evening, he uploaded the letter to his site, but he was told on July 1 morning he was not allowed to upload the text.

China's good will seems to have a price, and they want the goods up front:

The Vatican should take actions, instead of creating barriers, if it wants to improve ties with China, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Saturday.

"China's stance on improving relations with the Vatican is consistent. Namely, Vatican should sever the so called diplomatic ties with Taiwan and recognize the People's Republic of China is the sole government representing China," said Qin.

"We hope the Vatican can take actions (to improve relations) and no longer creates new barriers," Qin said.

I will continue to hope for the best, but I won't hold my breath for good fruit from a wicked tree.

I'm still waiting for free trade and the market economy to bring freedom to Chinese christians. Any day now, right? Right?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Post # 250, Swiss Cheese

A blogger dedicated to revealing the truth (condemnations) about Catholicism had posted the following:

"...Peter: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!" ... Jesus: "You are right Peter, Upon this ROCK (THE TRUTH that I AM GOD'S SON), I will build my Church. And the gates of hell (extra-biblical doctrines and man-made rituals for salvation), will not prevail against it!" Matthew 16:18"

The first problem is that he cannot even disclose the truth about the scripture he's using! Here's the entire section of Matthew 16 he was editing:

16 Simon Peter answered and said: Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.

Now, I'm a context junkie, and really get annoyed when people turn Holy Scripture into holey scripture. I'd hate to tar all Protestants with the same brush, but like Jack Chick's cartoon theology, I see too much strategic omission when Protestants try to make a case against the Church. Why is that?

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Know Thy Enemy

From CNN's continued gloating about their homosexuality poll:

For the Rev. Mel White, the founder and president of faith-based gay rights group Soulforce, the poll results were a "tremendous relief."

"The poll is such good news," White said Thursday. "Over half of America thinks we don't have to be healed from a sickness; suddenly we are OK as we are."

White, once a ghostwriter for the Revs. Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and Billy Graham before coming out in a public sermon in 1993, said the church was the barrier to nationwide acceptance of gays and lesbians.

"Until the church changes, this debate will go on and on and on," he said. "Once the church changes, it'll be over."

Good to know that there's still tension between the World and the Church, and the World knows that it cannot win the argument unless the Church cedes her authority. It's also good to know the stakes that the other side is playing for.

Pope Writes to China, pt I

Pope Benedict XVI writes the the faithful Catholics of China:

I realize that the normalization of relations with the People's Republic of China requires time and presupposes the good will of both parties.

Yes, and China's advance preparation to denounce the Pope's message telegraphs the true nature of the Patriotic Association of Chinese Catholics. The Communist Party is a jealous god, and will have no other gods before it. From CWNews:

Chinese officials have summoned Catholic bishops to a meeting in Huariou, north of Beijing, to coordinate their response to a forthcoming message from Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) to the Catholics of China, the AsiaNews service reports.

Ever the optimist, the Pope presses on:

at the same time, though, compliance with those authorities is not acceptable when they interfere unduly in matters regarding the faith and discipline of the Church. The civil authorities are well aware that the Church in her teaching invites the faithful to be good citizens, respectful and active contributors to the common good in their country, but it is likewise clear that she asks the State to guarantee to those same Catholic citizens the full exercise of their faith, with respect for authentic religious freedom.

Like I said before, Maoism is inherantly anti-christian in it's avowed repression of any religious expression not worshipping the State. More later, after I read the whole document.

h/t CWNews

Friday, June 29, 2007

Slouching Toward Sodom

My, my. The handbasket is picking up speed:

Poll majority: Gays' orientation can't change

In addition to orientation, a majority is coalescing around the rainbow flag for adoption and marriage issues. More people have a sitcom view of human sexuality anymore, and it will continue to worsen, especially when they pass those mores onto their children:

CNN's Paula Zahn speaks with a transgendered 7-year-old and her family.

The video report includes the parents telling how horribly sad their son was until he was allowed to dress like a girl. How could good parents countenance waiting one nanosecond before allowing their child to dictate their own identity. Were I as good a parent as these folks, I'd have already changed my son's name to 'Godzilla' and let him exclusively dress in reptile costumes.

But, I should be mindful of my criticism. The closer our comfy handbasket gets to the iron gates of Dis, the more likely this will apply here:

Belgian Bishop Accused of Homophobia
Belgian homosexual activists have brought charges against Mgr André-Mutien Léonard, the Roman-Catholic bishop of Namur, for homophobia, a criminal offence in Belgium according to the country’s 2003 Anti-Discrimination Act. In an interview last April in the Walloon weekly Télé Moustique, the bishop is said to have described homosexuals as “abnormal” people.

We are not to blaspheme the popular sacrament, as our intolerance will not be tolerated.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Evangelism, à la McBrien

Fr. Richard McBrien is at it again. In the latest issue of the Tidings, Fr. McBrien critiques conversion motivations in the post-Vatican II Church. Evangelism in the Catholic church has suffered:

"With the Second Vatican Council, however, and with the ecumenical movement which the council and the popes had endorsed, it became practically impossible to present the Catholic Church any longer as "the one, true Church" and all other denominations as awash in error and falsehoods."

Of course, you cannot present the Catholic Church as the one, true Church if you don't really believe it. Can you? That's also a large and unspoken variable in the calculus; the scores of clergy and theologians, in the Church, that cannot acknowlege the Church and thus cannot proclaim it. Skeptics make lousy salesmen, and cynics are even worse.

McBrien goes on to examine recent conservative converts to the Church, noting:

"Conservative Protestants and Jews who convert to Catholicism, especially of the Opus Dei kind, rarely shed the religious, social and political biases they had in their pre-Catholic life."

I didn't realise that there is a Opus Dei Catholic Church. Or, is this a backhanded slap at conservatives who come to the Church expecting some orthodoxy? Some converts have no interest in Cafeteria Catholicism, especially of the Most Holy Redeemer (San Francisco) kind, or else they would have joined the Episcopalians.


At least converts to the Church have the good grace and intellectual honesty to leave a church (or 'faith community') that they do not agree with. Right, Fr. McBrien?

h/t to Curt Jester and da Cafeteria.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Obama on the Achille Lauro

From USA Today, Barak Obama decries the polarization of the faith debate:

"Somehow, somewhere along the way, faith stopped being used to bring us together and faith started being used to drive us apart... Faith got hijacked, partly because of the so-called leaders of the Christian Right, all too eager to exploit what divides us."

I shant chide him for his selective ignorance of Scripture, it's to be expected. Here's our Lord speaking about the unity that He will bring:

Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword. For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

And as a man's enemies shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not up his cross, and followeth me, is not worthy of me.
Matthew 10:34-48

Obama belongs to both a church and a political party that are selective in discriminating good from evil, unless a poll be taken first. The firm discernment of the Faith proposed by the Catholic Church, and select splinters, is anathema to the Left:

"At every opportunity, they've told evangelical Christians that Democrats disrespect their values and dislike their church, while suggesting to the rest of the country that religious Americans care only about issues like abortion and gay marriage, school prayer and intelligent design,"

Let me turn this one around a bit:

" At every opportunity, party leaders told Democrats that evangelical Christians are drooling troglodytes that only care about issues that oppress women, bash gays, force theocracy on schools, and insist that some 'god' created the universe."

Barak, if you want to find out why evangelical christians and pro-life catholics don't support liberal Democrats, why don't you ask the Democratic Party chairman, Howard Dean.