Saturday, December 30, 2006

Double-Edged Rope

So, Saddam got the short drop, and a sudden stop. While Shiites and Kurds (and not a few NeoCons) will be dancing with glee, something tells me that the world has not been markedly improved with the execution of Saddam Hussein. The blood on his hands and in the Iraqi soil, still cries out, but will get no answer. There will never be any penance, and never any reconciliation.

It was a foregone conclusion that Saddam was going to hang, from the moment that they pulled him out of his hidey-hole, and he knew it as well. Despite the efforts to put on an apparently fair trial, it will always the seen as just a veneer of civility to an otherwise delayed execution. There was never any question as to the eventual outcome, it was just a matter of observing formality.

There was a TV movie, in 2000, about the trials at Nuremberg. In the movie, Hermann Goering sums up the trials as such; Yes, I understand, we lost the war and now you're going to hang us. To him, and by extension, many others now, Saddam's hanging will be seen as only a consequence of losing an armed conflict with the United States.

Holy Innocents, Matthew 25, and Abortion

The feast of the Holy Innocents was this week, and I was pondering not a few things about abortion, and how it's usually dismissed by the Social Justice crowd. Matthew 25 figures big into the Social Justice Gospel, as well it should for all of us, but let's apply it to the unborn as well:

"But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.
"All the nations will be (gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats;

and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.

"Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

'For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;

naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.'

"Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?

'And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?

'When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'

"The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'

"Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;"

I know that the Left will instantly recoil from the thought of the unborn as one of the 'least of them', in an instinctive fear of acknowledging their horrific error. Abortion is the denial of our hospitality to Christ, a refusal to welcome him. A child, in his or her needs, acts in Personae Christi as a recipient of our love and charity. This also implies the inverse, that our hostility to, or neglect of, children will be held against us at the Last Judgment.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Whinepress of Wrath

Oh no! National Call to Action is going to start bombarding Lincoln, Nebraska Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz with the "Fraternal Correction" suggested by Patricia Ewers. It's like illegal immigrants lecturing a congressman about environmental policy: An attempt to cover one's own illegitimacy by accusing an adversary of an unrelated fault.

They're also going to copy the head of the USCCB, Bishop William "[uncharitable comment edited]" Skylstad on the letters. Might as well CC Santa Claus as well, for all the good that will do, as Bruskewitz gives creedence to the USCCB to the same extent as he might the Tooth Fairy. So, having washed out at the Vatican, are they going to the next higher authority (in their minds) by going to the USCCB?

From CTA's press release:
“Bishop Bruskewitz may try to excommunicate our Nebraska members, but he cannot excommunicate our efforts for justice,” says Rachel Pokora, President of CTA/Nebraska. “We want our daughters to be able to be altar girls and we want to protect the children in our diocese in the wake of the sexual abuse revelations. Every other diocesan bishop in the United States allows altar girls and has complied with the sex abuse-related national Charter for the Protection of Children
and Young People, except Bishop Bruskewitz. The bishop has excommunicated us for simply wanting justice in our diocese.”

Don't be disingenuous, Rachel, those reasons are not why you got excommunicated. The CTA gang was excommunicated 7 years before the abuse scandal even broke out. There's nothing like blatant falsehood to communicate one's innocence. So what does CTA want that got them excommunicated: Birth Control, Abortion, Married Priests, Women Priests, Gay Marriage. Once again they try to clothe the rest of their agenda with the "Protection of Children" issue:

“Does this mean that any Catholic is at risk of excommunication when they disagree with their bishop or Catholic teaching? What about the more than 90% of US Catholics who disagree with the Vatican’s stance on birth control? What about the two-thirds of US Catholics who desire women’s ordination? Does this recent letter from the Vatican mean that any Catholic who advocates for the protection of children in the wake of the sexual abuse crisis could be subject to excommunication?

The devious insinuation of legitimate issues to mask the advance of the illegitimate desires are proof enough that EVERY catholic, in EVERY diocese, should get out of Call To Action, period. Any remaining should be excommunicated.

h/t CWNews/OTR

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Et Erit Iste Pax

"He shall stand firm and shepherd his flock
by the strength of the LORD,
in the majestic name of the LORD, his God;
and they shall remain, for now his greatness
shall reach to the ends of the earth;
he shall be peace." (Micah 5:4)

Notice the Things/Institutions that are NOT peace:

The U.N. is NOT Peace.
The U.S.A. is NOT Peace.
Canada is NOT Peace.
The E.U. is NOT Peace.
Russia is NOT Peace.
China is NOT Peace.
Wealth is NOT Peace.
Might is NOT Peace.
Communism is NOT Peace.
Capitalism is NOT Peace.
Democracy is NOT Peace.
Environmentalism is NOT Peace.
Pacifism is NOT Peace.
Sexual Liberty is NOT Peace.
Abortion is NOT Peace.
Buddhism is NOT Peace.
Hinduism is NOT Peace.
Islam is NOT Peace.

Some of the above institutions have their uses, some of the philosophies can placate, and some can even simulate peace. But, only in Christ can we truly find a real peace, a peace that can withstand the ravages and illusions of the above listed ideologies.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Calling Al Sharpton

The lab, DNA Security of Burlington, found during tests performed last April that not only did the DNA not match the three defendants, but that it also did not belong to any of their lacrosse teammates or anyone else who submitted DNA samples to police, including the accuser's boyfriend. Those findings were not turned over to the defense until October, when District Attorney Mike Nifong's office turned over thousands of case-related documents.

The DNA evidence that does not instantly convict must in turn, be repressed, lest someone think that the accused are innocent. Or so thinks District Attorney Mike Nifong. After it hit the presses that Nifong colluded with management of the DNA lab to conceal exculpatory evidence, the case continues to disintegrate, to the point that it's starting to resemble the Tawana Brawley incident.

Nifong said in court papers the accuser told an investigator Thursday she is no longer certain whether she was penetrated vaginally with the men's penises during the alleged March 13 attack, as she had claimed earlier. Without any "scientific or other evidence independent of the victim's testimony" to corroborate that aspect of the case, he said, there is "insufficient evidence to warrant prosecution" for rape.

Now, something terrible may have happened to the young lady in question, but continuing a prosecution with nothing more that scattered and inconsistent testimony smacks more of malicious intent more that upholding the rights of all the citizens involved.

Charges of sexual offense and kidnapping remain, but District Attorney Mike Nifong for the first time admitted weakness in his case: "The state is unable to meet its burden of proof with respect to this offense," he wrote.

D.A. Nifong must be beside himself that he had to drop the Forcible Rape charges against those three, white, college boys. As the case goes forward, it's getting weaker and weaker. When it finally crumbles, Nifong should be fitted for an orange jumpsuit himself.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Better Bread Needed


Nun still hungry for experiences

'I want the church to be relevant,' the skydiving, bungee jumping and 88-year-old former NASA employee says

Why doesn’t sister think that the Church is relevant? Let’s look at her career:

Lolich is a nun with the Community of the Holy Spirit, a Catholic order she and 15 other sisters created when they left the more restrictive Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose in 1970.

It was within this new community that she was able to do something unusual for a nun — work outside of the order. For years she was employed by NASA and broke the stereotype of what people typically associate with nuns. In her 70s, she bungee-jumped, and skydived on her 80th birthday — her third time.

Okay, so she helped form a looser religious life, and worked in the world for a scientific organization. So she’s really not so different from us lay-folk, right? What drove her quest for a different religious order?

"The rules were anachronistic," said Lolich, of the order that had very strict rules requiring them to wear wool habits, travel in pairs and not have any money with them.

In 1970, after Vatican II — when the Pope decreed to renew the church, and to lessen the restrictions set on nuns — Lolich and 15 others decided to form the Community of the Holy Spirit, knowing the Dominican Sisters would resist change.

Ahh, yes, the Spirit of Vatican II™, vent of all discontent and dissatisfaction with all things Catholic. Not that the Second Vatican Council was at all bad, but it gave many folks enough rope, like poor Sister here, and now they’re spiritually dangling in the wind.

"We were searching for a way to be authentically religious women, but have the opportunities to develop and grow according to our God-given talents," she said. "That was an innovative thing to do at the time — creating the community from the ground up, and making sure we were well founded."

Faith is not built from the ground up, but centers on Christ, and builds outward. The order may have been well founded, but well formed would have been better. The article leads on to believe that this nun's order was more about personal fulfillment with the veneer of religious life.

And it was within that community where Lolich was able to find her niche in aerospace education.

In 1976, she became an education specialist for NASA at the Ames Research Center, Moffett Field in Mountain View. For six years, Lolich traveled alone in a white work van filled with moon rocks, space suits and models of spacecraft, visiting school assemblies and classroom programs.
After that, she visited inner city schools for NASA's headquarters in Washington, D.C., for another six years.

I wonder if it ever occurred to Sister that instead of evangelizing for NASA, she could have rode around in a van proclaiming Christ to children and adults, or even teaching in a nearby catholic school.

Here’s the whole hook of the story, now that they’ve painted a saintly, albeit secular as possible, portrait of our nun:

She also wants to see change in the Catholic Church.
"I want the church to be relevant," said Lolich who still has close ties with the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose. "I want priests to be allowed to marry if they wish, I want women priests, and bishops selected by the people. I may not see those happen, but I think it will be possible that you will.

Going back to the headline, let’s see if there’s an answer for Sister’s hunger:

John 6:32-36
Jesus then said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven.
"For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world."
Then they said to Him, "Lord, always give us this bread."
Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.
"But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe.”

h/t CWNews

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Monday, December 18, 2006

Keel-Haul the Scurvy Lot

Pirates are a hot topic these days, and folks are trying to cash in on a salvaged pirate ship display in Tampa, Florida. Oh, but here cometh the baggage:

But before pirates hijacked the Whydah, which sank in 1717, it had been a slave ship, and when leaders of Tampa's black community learned of the vessel's full history late last year, they were outraged.

Ahh yes, it had to be something like that, didn't it?

Many black ministers, lawyers, businessmen and academics here argue that the city's eagerness to embrace the Whydah pirate complex without asking blacks for advice was insulting.

You just cannot avoid insulting someone who is ever seeking insult. And after the outrage is leveraged by the media coverage, the claim of insult pays off:

From a strictly economic point of view, the Whydah could help "create a critical mass of tourism and convention destinations that would be a real magnet," Mr. Schmitt said. Equally important, it would create some 350 permanent jobs as well as hundreds of construction jobs, some of which backers of the project have said they will guarantee go to blacks.

Talk about piracy, eh? Well it's following the tradition of the ship in question:

On its maiden voyage, the Whydah carried slaves from West Africa to Jamaica, then was hijacked by Samuel Bellamy, the pirate known as Black Sam.

Dr. Christopher E. Hamilton, the salvage project's principal archeologist, said research by his team indicated the pirates were an international, multiracial crew who voted on major decisions and shared loot fairly equally...

Mr. Bernstein, however, remains undeterred. "It is a remarkable and compelling irony that blacks and whites lived together as equals on board this pirate ship," he said.

So let me get this straight. African slaves were freed, who then went straight to the vocation of piracy, with the attendant activities of murder and robbery. That doesn't sound like something the black community should be celebrating... oh, wait:

h/t NPR & NYT

Saturday, December 16, 2006


Happy Blogday to St. Jimbob,
Happy Blogday to St. Jimbob,
Happy Blogdat dear St. Jimbob,
Now start writing something worth reading, eh?

Not all of this has been crappage, has it? Here's a few of my favourite posts:

Preparing the Way

the Invincible Poor ( One of my first, and a musing which prompted me to start blogging in the first place)

Red Friday Cometh

of Food and Marriage

Tolerance ≠ Mercy

And some of you may remember Maoist China, and their treatment of fellow catholics, as being of particular interest to me:

Can We Buy Their Freedom?

Render Unto Mao

Marxist Love

of Mice and Martyrs

Before You Shop..

I've taken time to critically examine heretics and schismatics at both extremes, much to the dismay of traddies who dislike my scorn of the SSPX. Liberals don't really care about what I think of their heretic champions, ordained and not. Here's to another year of dancing on the edges of Detraction and Calumny.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Muslims Protest For Right To Rape

h/t Cosmos-Liturgy-Sex

Ok, the headline is really:

Thousands Rally Over Pakistan Rape Law

Musharraf last week signed into law some amendments to the Hudood Ordinance, a 1979 law against rape that human rights activists said punished rape victims while providing legal safeguards for their attackers.

The ordinance required a rape victim to produce four witnesses in court to prove her assault claim. Under the new amendment, judges can choose whether a rape case should be tried in a criminal court where the four-witness rule does not apply or under the Islamic ordinance.

The new law also drops the death penalty for sex outside of marriage. The offense now would be punishable with five years in prison or a fine of $165.

20,000 Pakistani Muslims fill the streets to bewail the overturning of some portions of Islamic law, which previously shielded assailants, and even punished victims who filed complaints. International scrutiny has been brought to bear on this issue by Mukhtar Mai, a Pakistani woman who was raped on the orders of her village council, imprisoned for reporting it, threatened with murder for calling attention to the issue.

Every daughter's father in this crowd should be ashamed to call himself a man, much less a father. The support of wicked legislation by these Imams would indicate that Allah is nothing more than a demon prince of murderous satyrs.

The new legislation has political ramifications as well: (click 'Read More')

Dawn commentator Ayaz Amir gives the political scoop:
WHETHER anyone designed it this way or not, the Women’s Protection Bill is the best thing to have happened in Pakistan for a long time. Not so much for what it contains but for what it has led to: the entrapment of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) leadership in the web of its own cunning and the prospects of a rapprochement between Gen Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto’s PPP.

The mullahs are trapped, that’s for sure. If they resign from the National Assembly as they have sworn to do, they lose influence without getting anything in return, least of all public sympathy, the Pakistani people tired of the religious leadership’s prowess in the most amazing gymnastics. If they don’t resign, they will become more of a laughing stock than they already are: the butt of endless jokes.

Alas, both [ruling party president] Shujaat and the mullahs miscalculated. Instead of backing down, Musharraf held his ground (perhaps the bravest thing he has done in his career) and insisted that the bill be pushed through parliament.

Musharraf is by no means a saint, but he's a cork in a cracked bottle of potential Islamic radicalism, armed with nuclear weapons.

Dawn contributor Irfan Husain speaks to the religious dimension of Islam's deficiencies in the treatment of women:

The truth is that for many Muslim women today, several Islamic provisions regarding the laws of evidence and inheritance do appear to disadvantage them. And as they give men authority over women, the former are naturally reluctant to contemplate a change in this set-up. Indeed, the entire social order is tilted in favour of men, and when one community or sex wishes to redress the power balance, an intense struggle takes place. This happened in the West over the last century, as women fought for, and won, equal rights. But although western women are equal under the law, pockets of discrimination and gender bias remain.

We need to remember that Muslim societies were not the only ones to treat women unjustly. Across the world, these attitudes have held women back for millennia. But as mankind moved from hunting-gathering to farming to industry, physical strength gave way to education and intelligence in determining an individual’s place in society. Especially in the last 50 years or so, it became clear that to unleash a society’s potential, half the population could not be locked up at home. A major reason why Muslim countries continue to lag behind the rest of the world is because their women are not being allowed to make a full contribution to progress.

And women in the West complain bitterly, yet they've never had it so good. I guess that it's all a matter of perspective.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Preparing the way

I had some reflections on Sunday's readings. Part of the first reading struck me:
(Baruch 5:7)
For God hath appointed to bring down every high mountain, and the everlasting rocks,
and to fill up the valleys to make them even with the ground: that Israel may walk diligently to the honour of God.

In our lives we have both excesses and deficits, which need to be rectified so that we can properly welcome Christ. We may be zealous in defending orthodoxy, but lax in self-discipline. We may spend many hours before the Tabernacle, but don't spare time to help the needy. We may extol the vitues of social justice, but neglect obedience to the Church. Excesses and deficits, Mountains and valleys, all need to be graded and smoothed to prepare the way for Christ.
This preparation is rarely comfortable, as the mountain will complain about the violence done to its heights, and the valley bewail the invasions of its spaces. Penance is not pleasant, but is necessary.

Parate viam Domini rectas facite semitas eius!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Bishop's Judgment Upheld

via CWNews:

In March 1996, Bishop Bruskewitz had announced the excommunication of all Catholics in his diocese who were members of Call to Action or several other dissident groups which he described as “totally incompatible with the Catholic faith.”

The Nebraska chapter of Call to Action appealed the bishop’s decision to the Vatican. In his November 24 letter to Bishop Bruskewitz, Cardinal Re reports that Vatican’s finding that the disciplinary action was “properly taken.”

It's interesting that CTA would bother appealing to an entity who's authority they routinely reject. It's like an anarchist in queue for the dole, he only regards the entity inasmuch as it's beneficial to his ends. In this instance, the Vatican wasn't sympathetic to the plaintiff's cause.

The Vatican has determined that “the activities of ‘Call to Action’ in the course of these years are in contrast with the Catholic Faith due to views and positions held which are unacceptable from a doctrinal and disciplinary standpoint,” Cardinal Re writes. He concludes: “Thus to be a member of this Association or to support it, is irreconcilable with a coherent living of the Catholic Faith.”

This appears to be a fairly potent indictment of the Call To Action movement as a whole, and so begs the question voiced by others: If Call To Action is bad for Catholics in Nebraska, isn't it bad for Catholics everywhere else as well?
I wonder if other bishops are paying attention, or if they're ducking in hopes of not being noticed for being conspicuously silent on this issue.

Update 12/08/06:

The Lincoln Journal Star picked up on the story, and got reactions from local CTA members.

Local CTA member Jim McShane, who signed the original appeal of Bruskewitz’s ruling, said the local group has never received any response from Rome or been given the opportunity to state its case to Vatican officials.

“This letter is very unfortunate,” McShane said. “I’m deeply distressed by it. There’s every evidence that Rome is acting on misinformation.”

Rather than getting correct information about the beliefs and purposes of Call to Action from members of the organization itself, Vatican leaders have received incorrect information from Bruskewitz, McShane said.

Bishop Bruskewitz had advice for the sanctioned group:

Bruskewitz said Re’s letter makes clear the Vatican’s opposition to Call to Action and other groups considered incompatible with the faith.

“My prayer will always be that when people understand they have taken a wrong turn, they will stop and take the right turn,” he said.

The bishop urged local Catholics to “repudiate their membership in these groups” and then seek the Sacrament of Reconciliation in order to be reinstated with the church.

He's giving them every opportunity to repent and reconcile. Why are these people so stubborn?

Rachel Pokora, president of Call to Action-Nebraska, said she plans to continue attending church in the Lincoln Diocese and taking communion, as she has in the past.

“It will be interesting to see what the implications (of Re’s letter) are,” she said. “Will other dioceses take stronger actions against Call to Action?” So far, Bruskewitz is the only bishop to issue an excommunication ruling.

Obstinate, aren't we? But then, it's to be expected that CTA folks won't listen to a Bishop that they didn't vote for. My advice? Either repent and reconcile with the Church, or go join the Episcopalians. If you're going to join the TEC, though, you'd better hurry. They're about to throw themselves over a cliff, and may end up being Unitarians.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Turf, Catfight

From CWNews
Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexei II has renewed his frequent complaint that the Catholic Church is engaged in “proselytism” in Russia and other traditionally Orthodox countries of Eastern Europe.

The Russian prelate told the RIA-Novosti news service that the “extremely unfriendly policy” of the Catholic Church is straining relations between the Moscow patriarchate and the Holy See.

I cannot imagine that Catholics living their vocations in Russia are any less friendly than the Russian officials that harass Catholic clergy or deny them entry into the country. I'd hate for this situation to escalate, as russians settle their scores in nasty ways, like poisoning people with Polonium 210.

It seems that the national, autocephalus Orthodox churches' ecumenical attitudes border on xenophobic in their relations with the Catholic Church and protestant denominations. By their reactions, you'd think Catholics were Operating Thetans looking to spread the Word of Hubbard. The Prosperity Gospel is making ground in eastern Europe as it is in South America, so the good patriarch should worry more about Benny Hinn than Pope Benedict XVI.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Holiday Q&A

So tagged by da Clam Rampant

Getting To Know You Holiday Edition
Welcome to the 2006 Holiday Edition of Getting to Know Your Friends! You know the drill. Don't be a scrooge!!!

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Hot Chocolate, made with hot coffee, so it's more like a po' boy mocha.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? We're doing an experiment, being of a hippie nature when it comes to consumerism, and we're wrapping presents in colored fabric this year. No tape, no tearing, no waste.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? I'm a bit pedestrian in my tastes, and prefer coloured lights. Mrs. St. Jimbob prefers white lights, as do all the lawyers, bankers, legislative aspirants, and legislative has-beens on our street. I like my coloured lights, and everyone else can sod off.

4. Do you hang mistletoe? Um, what's missile-toe, some Air Force ground crew ailment? I can see how dropping a Sidewinder on your foot could have repercussions.

5. When do you put your decorations up? Day after turkey day, more to work off the tryptophan than any other reason.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? A good savory, cornbread stuffing/dressing.

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child: Watching the Muppet Christmas Special, with John Denver, with 2 siblings, while my aunt gave my mother a manicure. Oh yeah, mom was timing contractions at the time.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? It's foggy, but I remember sneaking to the top of the stairs, and creeping down while my parents were wrapping/placing presents.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? I try not to, but I'm lousy at impulse control, and with the kids keening to get ripping, it's hard to resist.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? I wind lights around it, stream a dozen colourful ribbons down the sides, like a huge may pole, then let people hang other ornaments on it.

11. Snow! Love it or dread it? It's alright, but I'd rather be able to play golf.

12. Can you ice skate? It depends on what you mean by skate. If falling down a lot counts, I'm a pro.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? A car key, on a key ring featuring an electric guitar, when I was 16.

14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you? Trying to repel the materialist frenzy and remind my family not only about the gift of Jesus, but also why we so desperately need Him.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Nugat cookies. Even as I say it, I feel both glee and repulsion. I hate carbs, and I hate that I love carbs so.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Christmas Mass, because everyone sings for once.

17. What tops your tree? A red velvet bow.

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? It's a draw, especially when I'm giving clever or funny gifts.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song? 'Adeste Fidelis', otherwise known as 'O Come All Ye Faithful' to the non-latin crowd.

20. Candy canes: yuck or yum? Eh, I'm partial to chocolate myself, but a candy cane isn't too bad. The funky flavors can be fun as well.

21. Favorite Christmas movie? 'Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol' for the cartoon lot, and 'A Christmas Carol' with either George C. Scott or Patrick Stewart for serious film.

22. What do you leave for Santa? My credit card bill.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!...or Advent, anyway!

Friday, December 01, 2006


Well, I got accepted to the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, which begs the question: Just who were they turning away? Now I need to get registered for classes, and figure out how to get anyone else to pay for the tuition, books, et cetera. Maybe I'll be getting some money from you, American Taxpayer, for which I will now thank you profusely.

Balancing the job, family, and adding classes is going to be tough. My parents, having three kids and one full-time job, tag-teamed their way through college in the late 70's. I remember them working on term papers and the piles of text books, I was in 2nd or 3rd grade when they graduated together. It would have been impossibly expensive, but the G.I. Bill benefits (both were USAF vets) kept the costs under control. I used my G.I. Bill bennies on getting my AA in Audio Engineering, so I'll be financing this new venture on my own.

So, if you'd all be so kind, give word to Sts. Gregory the Great and Jerome to pray for me, that my brain will actually function for this project.

I've been working fiendish hours lately, FYI, hence the general blog quiet.

Saturday, November 25, 2006



(a) Any member of the armed forces who--

(1) without authority goes or remains absent from his unit, organization, or place of duty with intent to remain away therefrom permanently;

(2) quits his unit, organization, or place of duty with intent to avoid hazardous duty or to shirk important service; or

(3) without being regularly separated from one of the armed forces enlists or accepts an appointment in the same or another on of the armed forces without fully disclosing the fact that he has not been regularly separated, or enters any foreign armed service except when authorized by the United States;

is guilty of desertion.

(b) Any commissioned officer of the armed forces who, after tender of his resignation and before notice of its acceptance, quits his post or proper duties without leave and with intent to remain away therefrom permanently is guilty of desertion.

(c) Any person found guilty of desertion or attempt to desert shall be punished, if the offense is committed in time of war, by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct, but if the desertion or attempt to desert occurs at any other time, by such punishment, other than death, as a court-martial may direct.

I think the bolded assertions are the reason behind this headline: AWOL soldier: Army won't return lawyer's calls.

Well, duh, you don't just get to have your lawyer phone into the DOD and tell them why you won't report for duty. Your commander will have counsel appointed for you to defend you during your court-martial.

Pvt. Kyle Snyder, 23, a former combat engineer, went AWOL from his Army unit after failing to report to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, on November 1 -- a day after turning himself in after an 18-month AWOL stint. He had fled to Canada in April 2005 while on leave to avoid a second tour in Iraq.

"Legally, I'm AWOL again," Snyder said Friday. "My lawyer has tried to contact Fort Leonard Wood like 75 times -- it's documented, 75 times -- and tried to get in touch with the military. They've avoided this entire subject."

This second disappearance is going to be the nail in your coffin, Kyle, you blew you only hope of just claiming AWOL. You had a deal worked out with your unit to inprocess you as a soldier, now your running like a scared rabbit. There are consequences for pledging to defend your country, and then turning tail when the opportunity presents itself.

Snyder said the military doesn't chase down people who are absent without leave. "I'm not a rapist, not a murderer, not a child molester. I'm not doing anything negative," he said. "I'm doing what I feel I have to do as a human being."

Kyle is doing something negative: Not only is he demanding someone else go into the breach for him, he's refusing to accept the due consequences of his actions. If he really couldn't stand to bear arms, he should claim Conscientious Objector status, and be done with it. At worst, before he ran the second time, he was looking at a short stint @ Ft. Leavenworth and a Dishonorable Discharge. If the folks at the DOD weren't so gunshy of the publicity, this kid would be looking at a date with a strong rope.

Ahh, the World, pt. 112906

Bears cannot change stripes-

A makeover, wardrobe overhaul, and name-change doesn't change who you are. Just look at Russia. It's the same viscious Stalinist state, but stripped of a layer of bureaucracy of the Politburo and the superficial rhetoric of being "for the worker". Picture Stalin in a pin-striped suit instead of the Red-trimmed uniform. Just in recent memory:

- Poisoning an unsympathetic candidate in a neighboring country's election
- Shutting off natural gas supplies to a neighboring nation to influence policy
- Mysterious murder of a journalist investigating government malfeasance
- Radioactive poisoning of a former spy, turned critic of the government
- Sales of defensive missiles to a state that's creating banned weapons
- And a host of other diplomatic maneuvers designed to foil scrutiny at the U.N.

And our President looked deep into the soul of the Russian president, eh? Just another questionable judgment call.

Islamic Communion

The vicious sectarian violence in Iraq is enabled by the lack of a central religious authority in Islam, and by the lack of a peaceful hermeneutic to guide the discussion of the different interpretations of the Q'uran and Hadith. It's the same authority vacuum that enables Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hez'b allah to use their religion to authorise their violence against the rest of us. They claim their sacred texts are the only authority needed.

Well, you know, Gene Robinson and Fred Phelps claim to reference the same Bible. So much for authority.

Little Sympathy

For all the people who let them selves be herded through the chutes on Red Friday, and eventually sheared, why are you willing to endure or inflict injury to get a $40 DVD player? Injuries are reported in Torrance, CA, in another shopper stampede.

Dessert Leftovers


It's just a small slice, enjoy ;-)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Terms of Endearment, pt. II

In a recent item decrying the vacuous advocacy of sexual license, the writer chose to tar the subject of his ire with the epithet ‘Slut’. I found it a bit shocking, especially since I know that the writer was capable of making his case without derogatory commentary. Such language, I feel, belittles the target and is a reduction of their humanity. Even if the detraction is warranted, using such slurs only diminishes the moral weight of the argument.

As I have in the past, with writers utilizing ‘rump ranger’, ‘butt pirate’ and ‘faggot’, I decided to gently nudge the writer in the ribs about his choice of words. This is what I got in return:

You know what? I tend to think that the Lord who called his enemies, "you brood of vipers" would understand my use of the word "slut".

That may well be, let’s look at the specific episode invoked:

Matt 12:34-

33"Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit.
34"You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.
35" The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil.
36"But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.
37"For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."

Sounds like the Gospel can cut both ways. In every instance in which Jesus spoke on such a manner to His audience, the objects of his ire were the self-righteous who spent their time passing judgment on other sinners.

While we should be zealous in proclaiming the Truth, and denouncing that which is evil, we’d be better to leave the derogatory remarks to Fred Phelps and his friends down in Kansas.

Thanksgiving for the Troops

153rd Infantry picture

One of the things that really sticks with me about Thanksgiving in the military, was the meal service on that day. The senior NCOs, First Sergeants, squadron and base commanders, and even flag officers would be serving chow to the troops that afternoon. There's nothing like having a four-star general serve up some turkey and gravy for you, even if it doesn't make up for the two-week base cleanup detail you got put on the week before.

Let's be thankful for our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters that choose to serve EVERY day for our safety and security.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Before you shop..

Please think of these two men, Chinese Catholic priests, Fathers Shao Zhoumin and Jiang Sunian. Why think of them? No one knows where they are right now, since being arrested by Chinese police in late September.

Why does this abduction, a routine event for Catholics in China, have anything to do with shopping? While you're out shopping, look at the things you're about to purchase, and observe where they are made. Do you notice something? Any eerie similarities? Most of the stuff is likely made in China. Christmas cards, holiday light strands, Christmas ornaments, and the lot. By buying stuff made in China, we incrementally validate China's right to dispose of Catholic priests as the Maoist government sees fit. And it seems that China is into disposing of their "problems" piece by piece, organ by organ:

Some experts estimate that well over 90 percent of all organs transplanted in China come from executed prisoners, given the limited supply of other organs. China has no system of voluntary donor cards. Furthermore, experts say, because China defines death as a cessation in heart rather than brain-stem activity, there's little opportunity to recover organs from other sources.

So, more to think about this holiday season, eh? Or you can NOT think about it. It's your choice.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Red Friday Cometh

The Friday after Thanksgiving is now commonly known as Black Friday, as it’s insinuated how the pre-Christmas shopping done on that day puts merchants “in the black”. I propose a different moniker for it: Red Friday. Here’s why:

1) A large number of Americans will surrender their meager savings, and many go into debt, in an orgy of fiscal incontinence, also called “Holiday shopping”. The average American adult will accrue an extra $1,000 in debt for holiday shopping, Americans will be “in the Red” for next year’s landfill fodder and yardsale flotsam.

2) Many of the products purchased by said Americans will be produced overseas, adding to our overall trade deficit. Last year’s trade deficit was $655 Billion (excluding petroleum), which is a tremendous drag on our own economy, and has been devastating to our own manufacturing base. Buying cheap has never cost so much.

3) Much of the above trade deficits will be the products made in Communist China. In 2005, the trade imbalance with China, alone, was $202 BILLION. They also happen to hold a sizeable amount of U.S. debt, which end up giving them a significant amount of leverage over us, especially in the arena of currency values and trade.

4) Oh, sure, the products are inexpensive. That’s because they’re made by people in squalid conditions, making a pittance. I believe that we found those conditions intolerable in our own country, so why do we turn a blind eye to it elsewhere, precisely when we’re generating the demand for it? And if earning squat was bad enough, these people don’t get to practice their religion freely, nor speak freely, nor have unfiltered information sources (Thanks for your help with that, Google). Many are killed by their oppressive governments.

So, when you go out shopping for holiday merchandise this year, be it on Red Friday, or any other day, look at your labels, and decide if it’s really worth the cost to you, your country, and the people who suffer to bring you these items.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Wiki B-Day meme

Thanks, Caveman, here goes:

Three events:

1098 - Fighters of the First Crusade defeat Kerbogha of Mosul.
1243 - Innocent IV becomes Pope.
1914 - Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria and his wife Sophia are assassinated in Sarajevo by young Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip , the casus belli of World War I.

Two B-days:
1476 - Pope Paul IV (d. 1559)
1491 - King Henry VIII of England (d. 1547)

One death:

767 - Pope Paul I

And one Holiday/Event:

Feast day of Saint Irenaeus of Lyon

I'll tag TiberJumper.

1) Go to Wikipedia

2) In the search box, type your birth month and day but not the year.

3) List three events that happened on your birthday

4) List two important birthdays and one death

5) One holiday or observance (if any)

Santa v. Jesus

Yes, It's that time of year again, when parents cringe when turning on the telly, or going to the mall, or even getting the mail. We are beset by advertisements, enticements to avarice and discontent, and all under the smiling visage of 'Santa Claus'. It's hard enough for adults to keep a clear head between Halloween and New Years, but how do we keep our kids focused on Christ for Christmas?

In past years, I said nothing of Santa, or as age demanded more details, I told my kids the history of St. Nicholas. But, being now in school, they're surrounded by kids with other notions of Christmas. Call me a grinch, but I'm not inclined to tell my kids that an ancient saint is going to bring them the things they ask for, as seen in the latest 'Toys-R-Us' advert. I'd rather have the Incarnation be the focus of our festivities, rather than the consumerism.

And, by the by, the Chinese are positioned, once again, to make a killing on our fiscal incontinence. I wonder if anyone sees the irony in the primary color of holiday trappings as being Red.

Parents out there, what do you do?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Relatively quiet

If wondering about the lull in posts, I busted a tooth the other night, and was preoccupied with that ramifications. Looks like I'm getting a crown for Christmas. Joy to the world, my dentist' rich.

I've also been wrangling admission to a local university, continuing my education and trying to add a degree that will qualify me for more than soldering cables. I'm hoping to get the max transfer credits, and try to knock it out in 2-3 years, while working full time. This should be interesting.

The challenge will be to find something to major in that will result in higher pay, while getting my current employer to foot the bill for the classes.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Quid pro quo?

Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE), is greenlighted for a seat on the Senate Appropriations Comittee. Whoa. Now how would a second-term, conservative-voting democrat from Nebraska, of all places, suddenly rate a seat on the Pork Cmte? As a reward for voting with the democrats in the past? Not likely. As an incentive to vote with a more liberal agenda in the future? Mayhaps. I think this maneuver is a tacit admission by the Senate Democrats that the election swing was more centrist, rather than the Liberal Landslide they've been crowing about on TV.

All through the campaign, Nelson's talked about fiscal responsibility, which simultaneously crowing about the pork he's brought home. What's his line going to be, now that he's got a seat right next to the barrel, with his hand on the lid?

Nelson said he’ll approach the task with three goals in mind:

* identify and reduce needless spending.

* improve transparency and accountability in the appropriations process.

* work with local officials in Nebraska to “ensure Nebraska priorities are recognized in the Senate.”

What that means, Nelson said in a telephone interview, is that “Nebraska is going to get its fair share now.”

By "fair share", I would imagine that means a restrained approach to appropriations, or does it mean that we'll get our "fair share" of needless spending?

And now that Nebraska has a hand in the cookie jar, how beholden are we to the folks that pushed the chair to the kitchen counter? We'll just have to watch his voting record this term to see if there's a sudden shift to the Left.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

DNC War Planning Division

Buck Knife, $55

Running shoes, $60

A Democratic plan to leave Iraq, priceless.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Interesting Acquisition

At our parish bazaar, this weeked, I scored a copy of the Jerusalem Bible, printed in 1970, and illustrated by Salvador Dali. For $12. Most of the color Illustrations are mixed media, mainly pencil and spastic watercolor, not the lush oils of some of his more prominent work. But, the book's in outstanding condition, complete with it's original box, and it even includes the deuterocanonical books.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Tolerance, Eh?

"From my point of view, I would ban religion completely. Organized religion doesn't seem to work. It turns people into really hateful lemmings and it's not really compassionate." - Elton John

So much for tolerance for the hateful lemmings, eh? That kind of generalization is what the gay lobby has been trying to shrug for years, so why are they engaging in the very stereotyping and dehumanization as their "oppressors"? If you can find some essential difference between labelling folks "hateful lemmings" and "flaming butt pirates", you're much more the scholar than I.

Religious leaders have also failed to do anything about tensions and conflicts around the world, he said.

"Why aren't they having a conclave? Why aren't they coming together?" he asked.

I guess that Elton doesn't keep up with Vatican news releases, him being him and all. Unfortunately, all we can do is tell people how they should be towards each other, we can't force them to actually do it. If religious authorities had that sort of power, Elton would be the first to decry it when it conflicts with his carnal predilections. So if believers cannot bring peace, who can? Elton knows:

"It's like the peace movement in the '60s. Musicians got through to people by getting out there and doing peace concerts, but we don't seem to do them any more," he said. "If John Lennon were alive today, he'd be leading it with a vengeance."

Those peace concerts were really successful, weren't they? Tibet is free from Chinese domination, everyone in Africa has something to eat, and the family farm is flourishing. Oh, none of those happened? But the musicians played, sang, and shouted for "Peace".

Oh. and by the by, if John Lennon were alive today, he would be crushed to death inside his cremation urn.

h/t Dad29

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Evangelicals Rediscover Reconciliation

Only, they won't admit that that's what it is, for fear of appearing to be Catholic, and they won't declare it's sacramental nature. Ted Haggard's fall from grace has suddenly focused attention to sin, and how the Evangelical churches handle sin. Here's the four-step plan for rehabilitating Mr. Haggard, as presented in CNN's 'What is Spiritual Restoration?':

1. Submit to the authority of his couselors
2. Admit his sins
3. Make restitution
4. Be humbled

Wow, sounds like that Papist ritual, popularly known as 'Confession'! Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought that since the Protestant Reformation, sinners only had to ask Jesus for forgiveness, and voila, sins are forgiven. This 'Spiritual Restoration' plan sounds like a tacit endorsement of Catholic sacramentality. I wonder if the megachurches are going to start installing confessionals in their facilities.

Friday, November 10, 2006

New Suit

I've got a new "sack cloth and ashes" theme for the blog, a la Revelations 3:19.

Such as I love, I rebuke and chastise. Be zealous therefore and do penance.

aemulare ergo et paenitentiam age

How I did it (for those who want to do similar):

Go to edit your template for your blog (in Blogger), and you'll see the section for the Body:

font-family: Georgia, Times, Times New Roman, sans-serif;
font-size: small;
background:#483521 url("") repeat;

Just plug in the URL for the graphic you want. If you want to use mine, please download it to your own hosting site instead of just linking mine. The above section will do the dark areas on the sides.

For the lighter, center section, change these in the layout section:

#main-top {
background:#FFF3DB url("");
#main-bot {
background:#FFF3DB url("") ;
#main-content {
background:#FFF3DB url("");

And there you have it. Just change the bolded items to link your graphics from your own storage site.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Ok, I'm going to ignore the dead elephant in the room for a bit, as there's much more interesting things going on. At least I tell myself that.

The USCCB is getting together for some collective ... um, whatever it is that they do when they get together. Apparently, there's an issue that's not on the agenda, and it bothers Thomas J. Reese S.J.(though I think he prefers not to be so titled, Father, but the S.J. at the end is very revealing)

Reese notes that "the biggest thing about next week is what is not on the agenda — Iraq."

The late Pope John Paul II opposed the war, and the U.S. bishops spoke against it earlier. But, Reese says, "It's a message they need to be repeating. It's clearly the most important and visible moral issue in the minds of the voters, and the bishops are taking a pass on it."

Fr. Reese, you should be satisfied with the silence. Were the bishops expounding on the moral teaching they should, before the election, we'd have heard about Abortion, Embrionic Stem Cell research, and the position of the Magisterium on those issues. If the Iraq war was the leading thing on Catholics' minds this election, the bishops failed their charges miserably.

In other news about the heft of the USCCB's teaching authority, the Manchester, NH diocese is dumping the USCCB's vaunted Liability Avoidance Program, otherwise known as 'Talking about Touching'.

The diocese wanted something that incorporated parents into the program and was rooted in the Catholic faith.

So-called safe environment programs, designed to help children identify and resist potential abusers, have come under fire by some parents for the graphic nature of instruction and the fact that they place the burden on children to resist abuse.

Rather than cede to the USCCB's LAP dance, the diocese has come up with an alternative program.

Then, incorporating the writings of Catholic school children and the ideas of Manchester Bishop John McCormack — including the idea that parents are the best resource for teaching their children to become aware of both their right and responsibility to safeguard their own bodies, and for teaching their children that they will support them when they say “No”

Whoa, there's a concept, letting parents do some of the teaching instead of Planned Parenthood proxies. It's pretty sad when a group of Catholic bishops cannot come up with a program that sufficiently infuses Catholic teaching into it. Somehow, I don't think that Rev. Thomas Reese is really broken up about this lapse, in this instance. Let's just stick with the fuzzy areas.

Humanae Vitae just cannot get any traction in some places. Like San Francisco, for example:

Pope Paul VI, who wrote that encyclical, was merely reaffirming the church's standard teaching on artificial birth control with his absolute no-never. But many Catholics were surprised by his absoluteness because, well, it was the 1960s for one thing, but it was also public knowledge that Paul's handpicked papal birth control commission had just recommended a relaxation of the contraception rules, though not unanimously.

Why would San Francisco care if the Vatican relaxed rules on condoms in Africa, unless to use it as an ever-expanding exception rule, and undermine the entirety of the Church's theology of the body.

However, no matter how narrowly focused, any relaxation of the rules about condoms will have far-reaching consequences.
It is difficult, and one has to be precise, to cite nature as an argument against any natural human endeavor.
Paul VI praised man's "stupendous progress in the domination and rational organization of the forces of nature." Condoms and contraceptives, like dams and appendectomies, seem like a good way to fulfill this duty.

So there's their theory: Man is Animal is Nature, and so the Church imposes it's morality against Nature. Perpetual chastity is impossible, as Man was created to satify his penis. I don't buy it, and I'm starting to think that the institution of Circumcision as the sign of the first Covenant was apt, as it was a strike against the sexual nature of Man. Just me thinking out loud.

I imagine that we'll hear less about this from the USCCB as well.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Satan Workin' It.

A couple things jumped out at me from recent statements from different people. Here's the first:

"When I stopped communicating about my problems," he wrote, "the darkness increased and finally dominated me." - ex-pastor Rev. Ted Haggard

Ladies and Germs, get to Reconciliation. Find time if you're busy, and make time if you're really busy. Be wary of the excuses that keep you from making a good confession. Don't fall for the placation that "Well, Jesus has already forgiven my sins, so there's no need." I think Ted will now agree that that sophistry just doesn't hold when you're in battle.

Another tidbit, this time from Madison, Wisconsin, from people upset that the bishop is very intent on informing his flock:

Later, Scott said he thought the church leaders over-reacted and showed that they don't trust their parishioners to form their own opinions on civil matters.

If you are in a Catholic Church, there is an implied obligation to listen to your bishop. And the bishop has the obligation to inform the souls under his care with the Gospel and pertinent spiritual guidance. That's the way the Church has run for thousands of years. People are free to leave the Church and do their own thing, another long-standing tradition: schism.
There should be no differences between your civil and spiritual politics if Christ is truly Lord of All. If there are areas where you won't let Christ reign, then you really don't accept His reign at all. The Bishop of Madison, Wisconsin is trying to remind his flock of that.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Pertinent Scripture for Last Week's News

Romans 7:14-25

"For we know that the law is spiritual. But I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I work, I understand not. For I do not that good which I will: but the evil which I hate, that I do. If then I do that which I will not, I consent to the law, that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it: but sin that dwelleth in me.

"For I know that there dwelleth not in me, that is to say, in my flesh, that which is good. For to will is present with me: but to accomplish that which is good, I find not. For the good which I will, I do not: but the evil which I will not, that I do. Now if I do that which I will not, it is no more I that do it: but sin that dwelleth in me.

"I find then a law, that when I have a will to do good, evil is present with me. For I am delighted with the law of God, according to the inward man: But I see another law in my members, fighting against the law of my mind and captivating me in the law of sin that is in my members.

"Unhappy man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? The grace of God, by Jesus Christ our Lord. Therefore, I myself, with the mind serve the law of God: but with the flesh, the law of sin."

This is for all the unhappy sinners out there, who's sins were public entertainment this past week.

Detraction (a timely reminder)

Crossed the Tiber has a great and timely reminder on the sin of Detraction.

With everything on the news and blogs lately, it becomes easy to participate in the sin of Detraction without giving it much thought. I am ashamed to admit that this is one area of sin that continues to trip me up. As Christians, we overcome the "big sins" easily but these so called" little sins" seem to go unnoticed and at times are not so little. I think gossip becomes a sin that is justified by many Christians because we "share" information about another with the intention of "praying for them." This may be worse since it is using spirituosity to mask our sin! Yes , I have done this as a "concerned brother in the Lord."

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. It's contagious, it's affirming (in a twisted way) to denounce our adversaries. If were to silence all Detraction, and it's next-door neighbor, Calumny, the world would be a much quieter place. For example, this week, John Kerry felt entitled to fling some calumny/detraction towards the President, only it ended up hitting the military instead. The ensuing ruckus of calumny and detraction, in response to Kerry's comments, was similarly untoward. Myself included. C'est la guerre.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


Last weekend, my wife and I got our marriage blessed by the Church. After a year without the Sacraments, it's good to be in communion once again with Christ's Church.

Seven years ago, my wife and I got married outside the Church. There was reluctance to get married in the Church, as my wife's a lapsed Baptist, and her family has issues with the Church. To salve my own conscience, I sought out a 'catholic' priest to do the ceremony. At that point in time, I was not particularly concerned with issues of licity and validity in regards to Holy Orders and the Sacraments.

Soon, Son #1 was on his way, so I started going to Mass again, taking my wife along. Our child had come, and we eventually had him baptised in the Church. I started getting more and more involved in the Church. Then our girls came, 10 weeks early, and had them baptised right away.

All the while, I had this nagging doubt about the validity of our marriage, and eventually decided to take the matter to my confessor. A year later, here we are. What a merry hunt, trying to find your original parish where you were baptised, getting a note from a different parish, confirming that you've been confirmed, and trying to get marriage prep started betwixt two holiday seasons in a small parish. Maybe more on all that later..

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Modern Major Democrat

a musical number, inspired by Jay @ Pro Familia.

(to the tune of Modern Major General, from the Pirates of Penzance)

I am the very model of the modern major Democrat,
I've been on MTV, so that you know that I know where it's at,
Senators from Massachusetts can be thin or very fat.
We'll filibuster judges, 'cause we love a game of tit for tat.

I'm a decorated veteran with documented bravery,
despite my voting record indicating frequent wavery.
About the strife in Persia, I've given quite a lot of thought,
But if you ask about a plan, I'll have to tell you I have naught.

But if you ask about a plan, I'll have to tell you I have naught.
But if you ask about a plan, I'll have to tell you I have naught.
But if you ask about a plan, I'll have to tell you I have naught.

I'm very good at calumny, detraction and hyperbole
I'll tell what you want to hear, to get all you to vote for me
In short, in matters cultural, social, and all of that,
I am the very model of the modern major Democrat.

In short, in matters cultural, social, and all of that,
I am the very model of the modern major Democrat.

I know our civic history, of Washington and Jefferson
I quote the Founding Fathers with the U.S. Constitution
I'm person'ly against, but publically support abortion
Though some catholics think that I deserve excommunication

Sister Joan Chittister makes a lot of sense to me
On war, retired bishop Gumbleton and I agree
To the Church's Magisterium I give no authority
The National Catholic Reporter is the rag for me

The National Catholic Reporter is the rag for me
The National Catholic Reporter is the rag for me
The National Catholic Reporter is the rag for me

Condescension is my native tongue, I speak it rather fluently
And if you cannot understand, I'll nod most patronizingly,
In short, in matters cultural, social, and all of that,
I am the very model of the modern major Democrat.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A Glimpse Inside The Liberal Mind..




Ok, so John Kerry flatly implied that military service is for proletarian fools. What's new? Really. The liberal elite has ALWAYS felt that military enlistment was for proles without a future. A stint in the officer corps is good for future politicians, but that's as close to a rifle as most liberals want to get.

So, el Presidente calls Kerry on the obvious classist smear, and the best Kerry can come back with is that it was a botched joke, meant to insult the president. For someone lecturing young men and women about studying hard, that was an awfully dumb joke, and even weaker excuse afterward. I'm grateful that the less malicious of these two brain surgeons got elected.

This vet is proud that, though I had other options, I chose to serve my country. It may be a shock to sentators from Massachusetts, but some people study hard, excel, AND join the US Military.

Sen. John Kerry is heading back to Washington and away from tight congressional races after igniting a firestorm of GOP criticism with a "botched joke" about bad students getting stuck in Iraq. He canceled plans to campaign for fellow Democrats today and one party official said: "I would be surprised if you see him welcomed out there anywhere and certainly not in a race that is meaningful."

Bwah hah hah hah hah. Thank you, John Kerry, for reminding the American public that the Democratic Party is chock-full of condescending demogogues. Just in time for the mid-term elections, I may add.

h/t Unseen Blogger for the pic.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Small Victories for the Vain

"You made my day! There's a new hope and a new spirit."
- Camden, New Jersey Mayor Gwendolyn Faison, upon hearing that St. Louis, not Camden, is now the top on the list of most dangerous cities in America.

Don't start planning the party yet, Gwen, Camden is still #5 on the list, and for good reason. Almost 1,700 violent crimes last year, and only 80K residents? Ok, minus the 33 that got killed last year.

If you're into spreadsheets, you can get the national scoop here:

Now, Francis Slay, the mayor of St. Louis is duly crushed, and had not, as yet, found words to express his disappointment. I imagine that Ms. Faison's exuberance will not help much.

Bishop Bruskewitz Speaks

From an address to the Catholic Citizens of Illinois, h/t Cafeteria Is Closed:

" I have chosen for the title of my talk Facing the Crisis: Some reflections on the Current Crisis in the Church. It is important, I believe, to place a background against which my reflections will reflect. This has to be, of course, my conviction and I am sure yours, that the Catholic Church is very large with more than 1 billion 500 million of our fellow inhabitants of this planet, all across the globe, being our brothers and sisters in a common faith. We must also never forget that the Church is ever ancient and ever new, and has journeyed through more than two thousand years of human history, facing innumerable trials and difficulties, as well as triumphs and joys, carrying on her garments the dust of the journey, and sometimes on the feet of her members the mud of the trip. The Catholic Church, which is the bride of Jesus Christ, is holy and sinless, although she is composed entirely of sinful human beings, and all her members are required to pray that they be forgiven for their trespasses as they forgive others. [click 'read more' link for the rest of the address]

As she journeys through history and into our time and place, the Catholic Church carries deep within her the assurance of Jesus Christ that she will last until the end of time, and they he will be with her until He comes again in glory on the clouds of heaven. As His Mystical Body, she has God Himself, the Holy Spirit, as her informing soul, and as the one who protects and guides her despite the obstacles placed in her way, sometimes by her own disloyal and betraying children, as well as by those who, wittingly or unwittingly, at the source of the gates of hell's projected attempts to prevail against her. These thoughts might enable us to adopt an historical perspective as we consider the present problems and crises that the Church is encountering in this time and place, and will give us the necessary buoyancy to confront these crises which we should perhaps look at as the chastening rod of God, but not allow ourselves to be overcome with pessimism. It is said that the Chinese word for crisis is the same as the word for challenge or opportunity, and perhaps that understanding of the crises that we face will enable us always to be Easter people with Alleluia as our song.

That being said, we should however, realize that the Catholic Church in the United States, and to a large extent throughout the Western World, is facing a very formidable series of crises. Although the Catholic population of the United States is consistently growing, and now exceeds 67 million out of our total American population of 300 million, we have to remember that almost all of the growth has taken place by way of immigration, and almost none or less than none, by natural demographic increase. It should also be pointed out that the number of conversions to the Catholic faith in our country has fallen precipitously in the last forty years. As a matter of fact, it is an aphorism that probably can be statistically verified that the largest religious group in the United States is the Catholic Church, but the second largest is fallen-away Catholics, lapsed, non-practicing, those who have abandoned the Catholic faith. This leakage from the Catholic faith in the United States, which is undeniable, can be attributed to many factors, at least as far as can by observed. Thousands and thousands of Catholics have become Protestants and many thousands more have given up the practice of religion altogether. Except for the total number of Catholics in our country, every other category of Catholic statistics is in decline. There is and continues to be a very steep decline in vocations, a very steep decline in the number of priests, an extremely steep decline in the number of religious, especially women religious. There has been the closing of hundreds of Catholic schools throughout the United States. Many seminaries are closed or have such infinitesimally small enrollments that they ought to be closed. There are many Catholic colleges and universities, some of which are trying to maintain a Catholic identity, but many of which are Catholic in name only. There is a breakdown of authority in the Church, constant and open dissent by people who call themselves theologians; great doctrinal and moral confusion, and Catholics who while professing to belong to the Church are, perhaps, within her pale but outside of her orthodoxy. Catholics in many parts of the United States are confronted by banal, shallow, and irreverent liturgies that have no or only a most remote connection with the holy sacrifice of the Mass. In 1965, all the statistical studies showed that at least 85% or perhaps more of the Catholics in the United States attended mass each Sunday. The present statistical studies show that this has gone to 27% of the Catholics in the United States attending mass on Sundays. This is still in excess of certain countries in Europe such as Belgium and France, but there are some countries in Europe that have a higher Mass attendance than the United States, such as Poland and Italy. Unfortunately, Mass attendance in Ireland is descending rapidly to the tragic American level. Recent studies show, for example, that in the Archdioceses of Newark, in New Jersey, and Boston in Massachusetts, only 17% of those who say that are Catholic go to Mass at all. At the State university of Nebraska, located in Lincoln where I live, and where most of the Catholics who attend that university are not from the Lincoln Diocese, only 25% of the Catholic student body ever attend mass on Sunday, and after freshman year, more than half of the Catholics who attend that State university have lost their faith. In nearby Chicago, here, I believe that the census taken each October by the Archdiocese shows that only 22% of those who claim to be Catholic regularly attend Mass.

I need not point out to a wonderful group such as yours, that some of the leading proponents of such horrors as abortion, including partial birth abortion, are Catholic senators or senators who claim to be Catholic, and their names are quite familiar to you and I am certain that they are also very dedicated to such monstrous practices such as human cloning for therapeutic purposes, and embryonic human cell research. The picture, when one steps back and looks at it from some distance, can be quite bleak, and in many ways a source of anxiety and perhaps, desperate despondency. On the other hand, it can also be an opportunity to re-determine and reinvigorate our own faith, so that we can answer the question in the affirmative, that Jesus left unanswered in Sacred Scripture. "When the Son of Man comes again, will he find any faith on earth?"

Unless there is a strong realization among practicing Catholics that there is a crisis, and that this crisis deserves our resolute determination to confront it and overcome it, we will not get very far, except to descend further into the bleakness of this sad kind of winter. Unless the patient realizes he is sick, he will not expose his wounds to the necessary healing medicine that would provide a cure for his problems.

There are, of course, many causes for these ecclesiastical crises in which we are involved. There are many causes outside of the Church. We live, for example, in a culture that is dominated by materialism and hedonism, invisibly and imperceptibly the values of those things creep in the lives and attitudes of all, including Catholics. Even the healthiest fish cannot swim along in polluted waters. In our country, especially, a serious misunderstanding of freedom has turned freedom into license, and we live in a pan-sexual and irresponsible age, in which pleasure, comfort, and material possessions appear to be the goals of human existence. Lacking solid catechetical teaching, it is very easy for people, especially young people to be lured into that kind of attitude and condition their entire life-style by such an attitude.

As Archbishop Fulton Sheen used to say, "Most poisons are quite sweet to the lips. It is only when they are ingested that they destroy one."

However, we would certainly be blind to reality if we did not also realize that there are many causes of the current crises within the church herself, and the children of the Church who are in large measure betraying her, being one of the principal causes. First of all, the creed is absolutely the basis of what we are and what we do. When heretical and erroneous teachings are allowed to run rampant, it is a very short time before total disaster engulfs the entire ecclesiastical enterprise in any one area. We should remember that there was a time when North Africa was almost entirely Christian, almost entirely Catholic. Today, one can journey across North Africa from Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, and Egypt and find very little, if any, Catholic presence in most locations on that shore of the Mediterranean Sea. We should not think this cannot happen here. Although we are promised that the Church will endure until the end of time, we have no promise that it will be enduring in North America.

A great amount of dissent and turmoil has come about because of a very serious misunderstanding of the Second Vatican Council. The documents of the Second Vatican Council are excellent. All of the documents deserve careful study and careful consideration in all their implications and all their nuances. The intentions of the Popes of the Council, Blessed John XXIII and Pope Paul VI are also quite clear in their writings and speeches and in all the things they saw as derivative from the Council. The Council in itself we consider a great act of the Holy Spirit. However, what happened was (and I speak from first-hand experience because I was in Rome at the conclusion of the Council) that a great number of personages and causes gathered around the Council as a kind of para-Council, which gave, because of their domination of the media, an incredibly wrong impression which persist even to this day, about what the Council was and what it was intended to achieve. For example, one hears very little about the continuity of historic tradition which is inherent in the very actions of the Council and in its documents, that it always understood itself as in organic unity with the previous Councils of the Church, including both the Council of Trent and the First Vatican Council which is explicitly affirmed and intended to incorporate in its outlook. This para-Council of advisors, experts and non-Catholic observers bestowed on the media incredibly distorted and even totally inaccurate impressions of the Council, giving to many Catholics even today, expectations for changes that were unrealistic and completely unintended. There was, in a certain sense the rigidities of the past and perhaps some faulty catechetics about issues in the past that made it possible for Catholics to be severely mistaken in what the Council intended and what would be within the capacities of the church to accomplish. The turbulent times of the 1960's especially in North America and Western Europe - with problems of racial justice, war and peace, and similar matters - got mixed up in the minds and hearts of many people and some Catholics were completely led astray, that Pope John's opening the windows to let fresh air into the church was an act they didn't see, which Pope John actually did see, the need for screens on the windows to keep foreign bodies from entering into the Church. Thus, we heard a few years later, Pope Paul VI saying that the very smoke from the fires of hell had crept into and under the window sashes and doors of the Church.

There was also a mistaken notion, even among some people who should have known better, that by removing or changing accidental matters, sometimes considered accretions in ecclesiastical life, it would not affect the substance of that life. I think there was misunderstanding of the Thomistic view of accidents and substances. Sometimes pulling out accidents which inhere in substances disturbs the substances themselves. Among the mistaken notions and distortions that derive from the Council was that of liturgical chaos. We also had a completely mistaken idea of the relationships of non-Catholics, individually and in groups, to the Catholic Church. The decree on ecumenism and the declaration on non-Christian religious, Unitatis Redintegratio and Nostra Aetate became the launching points of what later became, according to our present Holy Father, the dictatorship of relativism; namely, that there is no religious truth, or that religious truth is good for this person, but not necessarily true or good for that person, or while emphasizing that there are oftentimes, positive and truthful elements in other churches and other religious, and other denominations, and other religious experiences, and trying to be positive about that, may have misled a lot of people into thinking that religious truth is simply not contained in its fullness, in all its integrity and beauty only in the Catholic faith, but might also be contained similarly in others.

In Nebraska, where I come from, at this time of the year, harvest time, there are a lot of rodents who try to intrude themselves in, feasting on the corn, soybeans, and other products of the fields. This requires the farmers to put out appropriate amounts of rat poison to prevent this from happening. The rat poison that is put out is always 95% healthy, good, wholesome, nourishing food. It is only the 5% in the poison that does the killing. I think that this has been overlooked in the ecumenical and inter-religious dialogues sometimes, that inserted into things which might have elements of truth, are also very serious elements of error that place in jeopardy one's eternal salvation.

On hundred and fifty years ago, Cardinal John Henry Newman confronted the same situation in large extent that we are presently facing. He said, "Liberalism in religion is the doctrine that there is no truth in religion, but that one creed is as good as another. It is inconsistent with any recognition of any religion as true. It teaches that all are to be tolerated for all are matters of opinion. Revealed religion is not a truth, but a sentiment and taste, not an objective fact, not miraculous, and it the right of each individual to make it say just what strikes his fancy. Devotion is not founded on faith. Men may go to Protestant church or to Catholic, may get good from both, or belong to neither and may fraternize together in spiritual thought and feelings without having any views at all of doctrine in common or seeing any need of them."

It does not take much inquiry or insight to see how this kind of liberalism in religion affects many people of our time. Newman said this liberalism "is the view that the Governor of the world does not intend that we should gain the truth, that we are not more acceptable to God by believing this rather than believing that, that no one is answerable for his opinions, that it is enough that we simply hold what we profess, and that we should follow what seems to us to be true without any fear lest it should not be true, and that we may safely trust to ourselves in matters of faith, and need no other guide."

Newman then says that "the Catholic faith opposes this idea of liberalism in religious. It asserts very emphatically that there is a truth, then, that there is one truth, that religious error is of itself an immoral nature, that its maintainers, unless involuntarily such, are guilty in maintaining it, that the mind is below truth and not above it, and is bound, not to descant upon it, but to venerate it, that truth and falsehood are set before us for the trial of our hearts, that our choice is an awful giving forth of lots on which salvation or its rejection is inscribed, and that before all things it is necessary to hold the Catholic faith, and that he who would be saved must think thus and not otherwise."

What then should be the method by which we face the rises in the Church at this time? There must be, I think, a supreme effort to recapture our Catholic faith in all its orthodox splendor, and to take a stand for Christ as in the olden days. The Church has ever been counter-cultural. She has always and ever been that which stands against the age because she is the custodian of the Deposit of Faith, inherently and intrinsically conservative, as Pope Paul VI observed, because she to maintain the integrity of that faith without distortion or mutilation down through the centuries. It is important that we see the truths of our Catholic faith as liberating realities, and not as some kind of constraint, and that true freedom is linked with truth, and that truth trumps freedom and that unless one is in possession of the truth, one is not actually free. The words of Jesus are always appropriate to every age, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

It is also important in this regard to reinvigorate in ourselves and in all with whom we have any connection, the spirit of obedience. Saint Paul, in his epistle to the Romans speaks about the obedience of faith which we must give to God Who reveals Himself in Christ Jesus. Jesus Himself redeemed us by obedience; not just that He died, but that He was obedient unto death. Obedience means submitting our will to the will of God. The medieval Doctors of the Church always encouraged those who listened to their teaching and preaching to sentire cum ecclesia, that is, to think with and be with the Church.

And so, the question arises, "Where is this church?" It is certainly not situated in Andrew Greeley or Richard McBrien, or Sister Chittester, or in the myriads of other personages and voices whose faces and words appear to dominate the media when it come to Catholic expression. No, Saint Ambrose, long ago, told us where we would find the Church, where she is always situated. He said in Latin, Ubi Petrus, ibi ecclesia, et ubi ecclesia vita eterna. Where Peter is, there is the church and where the Church is, there is everlasting life. It is especially through apostolic succession, and most particularly in the apostolic succession of the See of Rome, that we are able to reach back through history, and touch, not only the bodies and souls of the apostles, but the One Who sent the apostles forth, that is the Divine Founder of our Catholic religion of the Catholic Church, the Divine Source of all faith, as well as the Object of that faith, Jesus Christ. The great martyrs who preceded us in our Catholic faith were willing to see Jesus as the Person to die for, and we certainly, to be worthy of their memory, must see Him as the Divine Person to live for.

The clash of culture represented by the Muslim demography and onslaught in our time, which reflects the Islamic expansionism of times past, cannot be successfully confronted by an easy-going pluralistic tolerance. It can only be confronted by a reinvigorated Christianity, a reinvigorated Catholic faith. The dynamism, the Tielhardism, the Communism, the Marxism, the Socialism, and countless other isms of the last centuries will never be successfully confronted either, apart from a reinvigorated and grace-filled Catholic faith. This duty to profess again, not just with mouth and words, but with heart and soul, the Catholic faith, the profession of faith, is incumbent, not simply upon priests, religious, and bishops, preoccupied as they are and assailed as they are by abominable scandals in their number and confusion in their thoughts, but also by a laity that takes again very seriously what Chesterton observed. "There are an infinity of angles at which one can fall, but only one at which one can stand." Once the Catholic faith is flaming alive in the hearts of a dedicated laity, they will be able to carry out the function that the Second Vatican Council places upon them, to bring Christ and the truth of his faith and the truth of the faith He founded into the market place, into the work place, into the home and family, into the realm of politics, business, industry, commerce, the professions, arts and culture.

In summary, a laity that will be the salt, the leaven and the light that will penetrate our world. Initially, there were only twelve apostles, largely shabby fishermen from Galilee, who were able, with the grace of God and under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to bring the light of Christ to 2000 and more years of human history. Why should we think we are any less capable, provided that we are people of prayer, dedication and devotion, of doing something similar in our time and place. Let it be our prayer that God will give us here and now, the ability to dare to be different, and to stand for Christ whatever the cost, and to convince our world that our Catholic faith is so beautiful that all people would wish it to be true, and then to inform our world in the most certain terms that it is true. Thank you very much.

God is good, and gives us the shepherds we need, if we are willing to be led. I'm grateful to be in the Diocese of Lincoln.

Friday, October 27, 2006

of Food and Marriage

Both are best with natural ingredients.

Food used to be a substance that one would make with raw materials, effort, and care. There was wheat flour, real sugar, eggs, butter, cream, salt, all of which you’d get at the grocer’s. In 2006, a trip to the grocery store is more like a trip to a laboratory supply warehouse, judging from the ingredients in the “food”. There are pre-fab meals that you just have to heat, no effort involved (just don’t ask about the ingredients), and foods pre-segmented in small portions, for those who cannot count their own portion sizes. Our food today is less nourishing, and in cases, more harmful than ever before. It’s because we got lazy and stopped caring for the work involved in our own sustenance.

Now we have marriage, which alongside our cupboards, has disintegrated into toxic convenience relationships. We no longer are content to serve each other without an exit clause in the contract, and it shows. Don’t forget to add pornography, artificial birth control, and rampant consumer debt. Marriage is just not the same thing as it used to be.

So, now people are willing to push the marriage recipe further by doing away with the heterosexual nature of the institution. They’re making soda with Sucralose now, instead of sugar, so what’s the difference? Our society has already stripped the other essential elements out of marriage, so why are we shocked when they clear away the last recognizable element? Marriage has become a legal maneuver, like an omnibus power of attorney, and homosexuals want that privilege.

So, instead, why don’t we throw out the Pop-tarts, pornography, Pepsi, condoms, frozen pizzas, birth control pills, Spaghetti-os, and pre-nuptial agreements. Start over again. Make it count. Both food and marriage are best with natural ingredients.

Not really food

Not really marriage

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Dad29 Brings it.

Homosexual Marriage is a big issue, and one that's facing Wisconsin voters. The Catholic Archbishop of Milwaukee, Timothy Dolan, has supported and encouraged Wisconsin catholics to vote for the measure, banning gay marriage. Clergy and laity that dissent from Catholic teaching and the archbishop's exhortations, are rallying to at least muddy the waters surrounding the gay marriage issue. One such dissenting cleric was planning on speaking at St. John Vianney parish in Brookfield. Enter Dad29, catholic blogger and amateur Inquisitor:

So at around 7:00 yours truly hauls through the parking lot at St John's. Counted cars, because there would be a "magic flyers" assignment--the news item would appear on all those cars' windshields during the lecture on Dissent.

Got back from Kinko's and most of the cars were gone. A few people (quite old, by the way) were standing around outside.

The lecture was cancelled. Awwwwww......

Aww indeed. Not that his presence alone made the dissenters flee, I do believe that he, with other faithful catholic bloggers, are raising general awareness of dissenters' activities. Heretics love attention. Sometimes. They love to chat with Commonweal writers and National Catholic Reporter columnists (calumnists?). It makes them feel authoratative in the Church.

But the thrill dissipates when people start complaining to their bishop. Then, the dissident can put on the airs of a martyr, fighting against the rigidly orthodox. More chats with Commonweal ensue.

It seems to be a never-ending cycle of public griping and sniping in the press. Orthodoxy just doesn't get much play in the MSCM, and many catholics easily dismiss the EWTN crowd as overly scrupulous and pious. Bloggers provide the counterbalance, collating small, unnoticed items, and circulating the news. Like the USCCB publishing thier calendar with a Call To Action conference on it. Bloggers quickly nailed it, and the USCCB made it vanish in a twinkle.

Keep the heat on, ladies and gentlemen, it's Springtime.