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.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Inquisition Needed

"Indeed it is all too difficult to get the heretics to reveal themselves when they hide their errors, instead of frankly confessing them, or when reliable and adequate testimony against them is lacking. In such a case all kinds of problems confront the Inquisitor... Laymen of staunch faith find it a scandalous matter if an inquisitorial trial, once begun, is abandoned for some kind of lack of method. When they see the learned thus deceived by common and vile persons, the faith of the Faithful is to some degree weakened; for they believe that we have at our disposal luminous and certain arguments that cannot be refuted, and that they expect us to be able to vanquish [the heretics] in such a way that even a layman can clearly follow the arguments. It is therefore inexpedient in the presence of laymen to debate matters of faith with heretics who are so astute."

Practica Inquisitionis Heretice Pravitatis
Bernardo Gui, 1323.
trans. Peter Amann. 1967.

Heretics running amok in Wisconsin, take notice! Dad29 has your number, and is gathering the firewood.
Fr. Massengale at St. John Vianney 10/24
Abp Dolan's Problem
List of Milwaukee Dissenting Priests

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Verdict on Veggies

Okay, I just got done watching the NBC-neutered Veggie Tales with the kids. It will, I think, be the last time. While the general message of the show is no worse than anything else on TV that I DO NOT let my kids watch, the ballast of materialist advertising and promos for other, more crass shows outweighs any benefit. We'll stick with the DVDs, thank you.

I understand Phil Vischer's gambit in the face of the disappointing alterations to his show, but I think that he will be inevitably be discouraged with the results. He's secularised, against his preferences, his christian-themed show, and still holds out some hope that the TV exposure will result in sales of the videos with the original content. If our experiences in the Catholic church of softening our public message are any indications, the strategy is doomed.

There eventually may be legions of kids with Veggie Tales lunchboxes, but will they have Jesus?

Litany for Parents

Over at Crossed the Tiber:

Litany for the Protection and Guidance of Our Children

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us, Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us!

Mary, Mother of God . . . pray for us and for our children (repeat after each intercession)
St. Joseph, role model of Christian homes . . .
St. Michael, St. Rafael, and St. Gabriel . . .
All you guardian angels . . .
All you saints in Heaven . . .

From wrong companions . . . shield them, O Lord
From bad magazines . . .
From evil TV shows . . .
From filthy images and words on the Internet . . .
From worldly music and lyrics . . .
From violent movies and bad language . . .
From all the snares of the devil . . .

For guidance to make good choices . . . please, send them Your Holy Spirit
For guidance to discern situations . . .
For guidance to despise vanity . . .
For guidance to suppress pride . . .
For guidance to recognize and avoid the occasions of sin . . .
For guidance to banish evil thoughts and imaginations . . .

That they may love what is good . . . we beseech Thee, O Lord
That they may recognize the needs of others . . .
That they might be selfless in humble service to others, especially within their own families . . .
That they may joyfully make sacrifices . . .
That they have a great desire to hear and read Holy Scripture . . .
That they may grow in holiness . . .
That they understand more clearly that no one enjoys interior peace of heart who turns away from You and is disobedient to Your will . . .
That they may all reach heaven . . .

Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world . . . spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world . . . graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world . . . have mercy on us, O Lord!

With things being the way they are today, this prayer should be ever on the lips of christian parents, as they raise children in these sin-saturated times. Thanks TJ!

Technorati Profile

Friday, October 20, 2006

Custom Bible

From WorldNetDaily, a story about a new bible, seemingly customised for stalwart Republicans:

A new publication of the Bible by a Dutch organization could take a lot of the stress out of reading the Holy Book's instructions for contemporary Christians, according to its publisher.

That's because those troublesome verses about justice for the poor, responsibility for the rich to address their neighbors' needs, and all that talk about money, are gone. Not just edited out, cut out...

"Jesus was very inspiring for our inner health, but we don't need to take his naïve remarks about money seriously. He didn't study economics, obviously," said a Mr. De Rijke, the chairman of the foundation, in a news release obtained by ANS.

Wow, to the DNC bible excises any sexual moral component of scripture, and the RNC version excises any materialist moral component of the Gospels. Poof! No more Bible. The money shot in the article comes early:

After all, no serious Christian takes such texts literally, he said.

Bwah-hah-hah-hah, these guys kill me. Sign him up for Friday nights at the Funny Bone. Now for the punchline:

However, the names listed for the officials of the foundation, "De Rijke" and "Fortuijn" give away the joke, which sometimes has produced more anger than humor among Christians.

"De Rijke" means "rich," and "Fortuijn" means "fortune," and the Bible actually is published by Time to Turn, a network of Dutch Christian students "who want to choose a sustainable and just way of life, based on their faith in Jesus Christ."

"They do not believe in a new legalism, or in a utopian state, but in a God who is willing to deliver the world from materialism and injustice. Time to Turn is linked to the international student movement Speak," the announcement said.

I love parody. Don't you?


from CWNews:

"There could be a relationship between Rome and us, but it would not yet be a juridical relationship," Bishop Fellay told reporters.

A Catholic bishop, if that is what you are, should know that to be a Catholic, Rome DOES have a juridicial relationship with the Church. Memo to Fellay: The excommunication wasn't about the Tridentine Mass, it was about Lefebvre's disobedience. The sooner you deal with it, instead of dissembling, the better. Motu proprio aside, there's a bigger elephant in the room that most traddies deny is there.

Tell me, if Rome backs down on the SSPX excommunication issue, how do you think the Poncho Ladies (aka Roman Catholic Womenpriests) are not going to take that as a big, green light to continue their rebellion? This will be a precedence that will, as all precedents do, get stretched to validate the unthinkable.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

MIGHT be Perceived as Sexually Inappropriate?

From the Sarasota Herald-Tribune:
"From his home on the island of Gozo, near Italy, Anthony Mercieca described a series of encounters that he said Foley might perceive as sexually inappropriate.

Among them: massaging Foley while the boy was naked, skinny-dipping together at a secluded lake in Lake Worth and being naked in the same room on overnight trips."

Talk about oblivious. These events are not just perceived as inappropriate, they are inappropriate, and a priest should know that. Unless the priest gig is only active so long as one's clothes are on.

Mercieca, 72, told the Herald-Tribune he and Foley became fast friends when Mercieca moved from Brazil to Florida in 1966 and "loved each other like brothers."

Mercieca said he taught Foley "some wrong things" related to sex, though he wouldn't specify what he meant. He also said they were naked together in a sauna twice.

Mercieca said that, at the time, he considered his relationship with Foley innocent. But he now says he could see how his actions could be labeled inappropriate.

Once again, the disconnection from reality and sound moral judgment is appalling. Are we penitent yet?

Mercieca was adamant that his encounter with Foley was an aberration, and that the Catholic Church never had to send him for counseling during his 38 years in the priesthood in Florida.

"I have been in many parishes, and I have never been" accused, he said.

Never been accused, or never been caught and PUBLICLY accused? Forty years ago, this was unthinkable, and so many abuse tales were relegated to 'Twilight Zone' credibility. Not so anymore.

Is the deference to sin to blame for the Foley episode? Of course not:

One night, when Mercieca says he was in a drug-induced stupor, there was an incident he says he can't clearly remember that might have gone too far.

"I have to confess, I was going through a nervous breakdown," he said. "I was taking pills -- tranquilizers. I used to take them all the time. They affected my mind a little bit."

Substance abuse and depression are the hallmarks of closeted gay men, regardless of vocation. Maybe the reviled "Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations With Regard to Persons With Homosexual Tendencies in View of Their Admission to the Seminary and to Sacred Orders," has some merit, and should be used instead of thrown in a seminary closet, along with the seminarians who persist in deference to the Magisterium.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Casting suspicions

h/t Amy Welborn

The media's casting about for Foley's perp, and they find this fine fellow. When asked about Foley:

"Don't even try to pin that one on me!" he said. "I've been smeared enough. Mark Foley is not in any of those pictures."

But quickly Romero adds he has talked to the man who allegedly abused the future Republican star.

It's a dialog right out of NYPD Blue! Det. Sipowitz has an ex-con in the interview room, and he's putting the screws to him. "Don't even try to pin that one on me", the ex-con says, looking towards the window, wiping his nose. "And who do you think the papers, and the jury pool will believe, eh?" Sipowitz would retort. " Okay, okay. I know this guy," the ex-con squirms as he says it "he was into the same scene, if you know what I mean."

The whole thing reeks, and something tells me it's going to get worse the farther Foley gets into his "healing process."

Meanwhile, while his deviant cruising will be excused, and his deviant sexuality will never be questioned. Sure, older gay men never rarely go cruising for young men.

In other news, Ted Kennedy announces that in 1969, his car was FORCED off the road, and into Poucha Pond, by a drunk driver in another car. He will announce the name of the driver to the Massachusetts DMV.

Naming Names

Foley will give archdiocese name of alleged abuser, says CNN. Wow, I'm sure that Mr. Foley has had ample time to peruse Google, the John Jay report, and any public archdioscesan records for a suitable patsy.

Mark Foley is intending to work with the Archdiocese of Miami and Greater West Palm Beach for the purpose of revealing the name of the particular priest who is involved so the archdiocese can then deal appropriately with the issue," said Gerald Richman, one of Foley's attorneys.

Richman said, however, he will not press criminal charges against the still-unnamed clergyman because of the difficulties the case would face.

It's the perfect cover, as Foley doesn't have to actually prove anything, he just has to name someone who has been accused in the past, and his area was full of them. By telling the Archdiocese, the name will leak out, and the heat will be on someone else.

I must admit, if Mark's story is true, then it is a lamentable crime, and the perp should be tarred as such. But, Mark's a politician, and in a politically untenable situation he's lobbed out this charge of abuse. It makes it really hard to be sympathetic, even for this abuse "survivor" (I've never bought into the whole "abuse survivor" thing, it didn't kill me, and I don't need a medal, thank you).

Monday, October 16, 2006

More Fun

h/t Crescat

Make George say anything you've ever wished he'd say.

More fun to be had here.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

And now for something completely different..

In a recent expedition to the public library, my children have brought forth a gem. Of sorts.

Meet Backbeard the Pirate. That's right, Backbeard. It's a funny story and a welcome reprieve from the news of the day.

Backbeard was so hairy, it was sometimes tough to tell if there was a pirate underneath.
Backbeard was also the toughest, loudest, most unsanitary pirate ever. This made it hard for him to keep a parrot. Most quit after the first few days.

Written by Matthew McElligott, and illustrated by same, Backbeard and the Birthday Suit will hopefully be followed by others.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Serious Motivation

A couple more posters, more serious, for the Lapped Catholic's contest.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


"Okay, men, hands-up: Who had breakfast this morning?"

"Very good."

Ladies and germs, I am firmly convinced that malnutrition causes insanity.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Skinny On North Korea

This is a soldier for the army of North Korea, throwing a stone at reporters. Check out his waist, and his left arm. Notice anything? If the army is that malnourished, what chance do you think that the general populace has of getting a meal once in a while? That soldier is so skinny, that the recoil from firing a standard-issue AK-47 would knock him down and probably dislocate his shoulder. And that's if he had the strength to aim the thing in the first place. Why do you think that, in this picture, he's throwing a small rock? It's the only strength he can muster.

I'm going to speculate a bit:

The nuke test was a dud. They cannot admit it was a dud, because the spectre of a NK nuke allows them little more leverage in extorting deperately needed commodities. They are straining to hide the utter failure of their Maoist government, and if they cannot admit it soon, Kim Jong Il will be the sole caretaker of Asia's largest graveyard.

China has been willing to play along in the charade, rather than admit that Maoist government is hazardous for your health. Once the bluff is called, it's anyone's guess as to what will happen.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Tolerance &ne Mercy

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

In a recent e-mail, an old friend of mine stated that tolerance IS mercy. I think otherwise, and wrote the following to him:

As for mercy and tolerance, I would posit this: There are times when mercy requires intolerance. Look at the world today, and look at the conditions that we tolerate. We tolerate Arab militias to rape, murder, and pillage in the Sudan. We tolerate Maoist repression of Christians in China. We tolerate the AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa. We tolerate the in utero eradication of our future. Sure, we throw fund-raisers, put ads on the tele, wag our fingers at our politicians and the U.N., but nothing changes. The status quo is tolerated.

2000 years ago, when fallen Man was in direst need, God changed the status quo. Sin, and it's dominance over Man, could no longer be tolerated, which is why He sent His Son. Jesus did not tolerate sin, and exhorted us to be perfect. Not just be good, but be perfect, as God is perfect. Jesus told all He came into contact with to sin no more. Some listened, like the adultress, Zaccheus, and Nicodemus. Others could not bear His admonishments, like the wealthy man who could not give it away, and the Pharisees.

It is not merciful to tolerate slavery. Would you agree? Merton did not think that tolerating segregation was merciful. Jesus did not think that letting someone persist in sin was merciful either.

Discrimination (as in perception of difference) is vital to our ability to see need in others and to give of ourselves to fill those needs. If I see someone panhandling on the street, this discrimination comes into play. I know I am well fed, and I can tell that he is not, and that his need requires something from my bounty. If I am oblivious to all differences, I cannot know his need, and I will walk past, like all the others in their self-centered oblivion, because they can tolerate his situation.

ego quos amo arguo et castigo aemulare ergo et paenitentiam age

Compulsive Motivation

Friday, October 06, 2006

Pro-Life Petition @ Modern Commentaries

h/t Kasia

Abortion is bad, even most Democrats squirm when discussing it, so let's sound off in the face of shameless advocacy of this horrible practice. From a news article about the Ms. campaign:

Jones said she got an abortion 10 years ago _ enduring harassment from protesters when she entered the clinic _ in order to finish high school. She went on to become the first member of her family to graduate from college, and hopes at some point to attend law school.

"I wanted to do something bigger with myself _ I didn't want to be stopped by anything," she said in a telephone interview.

It's all about 'Me', isn't it?

Blogroll Cleanup

I've added a couple blogs that i've had bookmarked on my browser for a while now. I've also nuked a couple that aren't really doing anything.


Crossed the Tiber - Tiber Jumper chronicals the thoughts of a Catholic convert, and with a fervor that is rarely found in most cradle Catholics.

Dad29 - Dad29 writes a great mixture of wisconsin politics, national politics, and general whistleblowing on B.S..

The Clam Rampant - Kasia is in the process of coming into the Church, and has much to share about that and other things.

Check them out, my small handful of readers.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

More Motivational Silliness

Abusing technology, I give you..

if you know the man, then you get the joke.

extra motivated

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


(psst, it's Richard P. McBrien)

Another entry for the Lapped Catholic motivation contest, "Mortification"

For extra motivation, this.

Do your own here.

h/t Crescat

Oh, well that explains it..

Foley alleges he was abused by clergyman

Oh, alright, we understand then. Why didn't you just say that in the first place. Which diocese should we sue for you? Any particular prelate you want to accuse, while we're at it? Bernardin is conveniently dead, and Weakland would be an easy mark as well.

/ sarcasm.

The whole thing stinks to me, both the timing of the revelations, and the political posturing afterwards. It makes sense that he'd use the Church to try and deflect some of the fecal splatter. Cue Rosie O'Donnell.

More Media Dhimmitude

Again, from Time magazine:

Did a Critic of Islam Go Too Far?

A teacher in France is the latest to face death threats for daring to criticize the religion and its prophet's emphasis on violence

Do critics of Christianity or Judaism ever get questioned as going "too far?" Not really, as there is no criticism of the Catholic Church that is beyond the pale, as far as the western media is concerned. What if we measure our hate group criteria against Islam, and see what we find?

Or is that going to far?

Only Time magazine can tell.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Lord of War, and other musings

I watched Lord of War this weekend, and found it provoking the interior argument it was designed for. A pillar of George Soros' drive to restrict the trade of small arms is the thought that if people don't have guns,they won't kill each other. It's a bit naive, as we saw in Rwanda and other african massacres, machetes are cheaper and don't require bullets. Shall we ban machetes as well, why not fingernail clippers too?

Still, should we be making murder easier and more efficient for belligerant parties? Killing a dozen people with a machete takes much longer than with a semi auto/automatic rifle. Sure, If we don't sell them the weapons, they'll just buy them from someone else. But it's a matter of conscience.

In our own country, gun violence is of a different character. We have a subculture, spawned by the formerly oppressed, that values the claiming of authority through the threat and use of firearms. While not a campaign of ethnic cleansing, it is still unhealthy for our society, and presents a threat to social order. Shall we ban handguns in this country? The NRA would beg to differ, but I may have the apostle Paul on my side..

1 Corinthians 8:7-n

7 But there is not knowledge in every one. For some until this present, with conscience of the idol: eat as a thing sacrificed to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8 But meat doth not commend us to God. For neither, if we eat, shall we have the more; nor, if we eat not, shall we have the less. 9 But take heed lest perhaps this your liberty become a stumblingblock to the weak. 10 For if a man see him that hath knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not his conscience, being weak, be emboldened to eat those things which are sacrificed to idols?

11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ hath died? 12 Now when you sin thus against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 Wherefore, if meat scandalize my brother, I will never eat flesh, lest I should scandalize my brother.

Does our liberty regarding firearms become a stumbling block for the weak? Yes, as does our liberty with entertainment, consumerism, and sex. Look at all the people stumbling around and falling flat on their faces, tripping over our freedoms. Our country is littered with spiritual landmines. What now?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

LifeChain 2006

" Don't you have anything better to do?!?" a young woman shouted out her window, as she drove past. "No, not really" I answered in a more measured tone. This is the state of our discourse, on abortion, in this country. Christians stand by the side of the road with their signs, and liberals drive past with their middle finger thrust in the air. No, I really don't have anything better to do.

It's better than blowing up a clinic. Or shooting an abortion provider. I need to make a couple new signs for next year. Here are a couple suggestions, feel free to add more:

No Children...No Social Security.

Your Social Security Was Aborted...What Now?

Ask Europe About Depopulation.