Friday, July 31, 2009

I thought I was over Baseball

I grew up a Red Sox fan, making regular pilgrimages to Fenway to see Luis Tiant, Carlton Fisk, Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, and company play the Great American Pastime. Be it in the bleachers near the Green Monster, behind home plate, or underneath the "Jimmy Fund" billboard, every seat was the best seat because I was at Fenway.

I moved to Philadelphia later, and went to Veterans Stadium to see the Phillies play. While they weren't the cherished Red Sox, it was still a good game to watch. Mike Schmidt, Juan Samuel and Von Hayes made the game interesting, and I even got to watch the pitchers swing the bat.

Eventually, the Strike of '93-94 came along, and I swore that I was done with professional baseball. Greed on all sides had ruined the game.

Later, I would occasionally catch some Red Sox game on TV, as I flipped through the channels. I would be glued until the game was over, but I still never purposely made time for it.

Then, in September 2004, I started paying attention again. The Red Sox were doing pretty well, and all Bosox fans were waiting for the inevitable choke, stumble, and fiery crash. And we kept waiting, and the Sox kept avoiding disaster, sometimes only just. During the ALCS, I was glued to the Red Sox site, reading box scores, columns, and recaps. I watched them on TV, my son's Red Sox cap on my head, sometimes inside out (as needed). I'd cheer. I'd sigh. I'd even yell occasionally . "Don Zimmer gets pwned!"

After the Sox clinched the AL pennant, I was pumped. The 2004 World Series just seemed perfunctory, as the outcome was preordained. This was Boston's year. No Mookie Wilson, no Bill Buckner this time, we were going all the way. I was hooked, reeled in, and on the skillet. Red Sox forever! The World Series win in 2007 was just extra icing on the cake.

Naive? Sure. But it was such a rush at the time, all my childhood dreams at Fenway were realized. But the revelation was slow and steady, as the news rolled out player after player testing positive for steroids and HGH. After Manny Ramirez tested positive last year, and got suspended, I started wondering if he was juicing back in 2004 as well. Then I looked hard at Big Papi, and marveled, "Dang, he's as big as Barry Bonds." 2 + 2 = Dirty.

So, this week's news is not terribly surprising, but it just further fuels my disgust with the sport in general. I thought I was over baseball. But the ache in my heart tells me otherwise.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Audacity of Despair

I'd had secret fears of this for some time now, and now it's happened: Someone's killed an abortion practitioner.

After a 10-year respite from violent opposition to abortion, we've had an unwanted, unnecessary, and even detrimental event. Wasn't the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act supposed to stop all this?

It wasn't any law, regulation, or statute that prevented anti-abortion violence; hope to end abortion through legal process prevented violence. For the last 10 years, social conservatives hoped that legislation, Republicans, and conservative judicial nominations would end abortion.

Now, faced with a proven pro-abortion administration bent on negating the minute gains made over the last ten years, despair is creeping into the fringes. The more the Obama administration advances the abortion agenda, the more I fear that despair will drive more to immoral and illegal means of opposing abortion.

The Obama administration is doing nothing to assuage the fear and prevent despair. First order of business was to start funding overseas abortions again. Next, Obama moved to strike down conscience protections for people refusing to provide information on, deliver or perform contraceptive or abortive services. In every forum on the issue, he equivocates and dodges, spouting platitudes based on his read of the audience. I ignore his words and focus on the deeds, and they are no encouragement.

Still, to despair, and allow ourselves to justify violence as a means to prevent abortions is counter to the very principles that we base our opposition on.

And every time an abortion doctor is killed, the media lionizes the deceased and manufacture a martyr, and people who otherwise think abortion is repugnant become more sympathetic. Like every time Israel sends a missile strike into the West Bank to nail one Hamas leader, 10 more civilians join to take his place. It's a sure-fire way to lose the war.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Deniable Plausibility

Say I tell a racist joke, but then immediately afterward say that it's not nice to be racist. Do you think I'm a racist? Do you buy my quick disclaimer afterward?

ex abundantia enim cordis os loquitur (For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh).

Judge Sonia Sotomayor:
The Court of Appeals is where policy is made.

And I know -- and I know this is on tape and I should never say that, because we don't make law. I know.

She spoke her opinion from the heart, and then the brain said "whoa, grab a fig leaf" and she made that hasty disclaimer. "She's neither advocating judicial activism, nor indicating a personal predilection for it" screams partisans on the left.

You buy that? If so, I have some land in Florida you may be interested in.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Soap Opera in Miami

When the news broke in early May, I wasn't going to give much mental time to Fr. Alberto Cutié. He was a man who'd stumbled, fallen, and needed to pick himself up, stand as a man, and keep carrying his cross as he should. I prayed for him, hoped that he'd resolve the situation and stay true to his faith.

Well, he had other ideas:
The Rev. Alberto Cutié, the celebrity priest removed from his Miami Beach church after photos of him kissing and embracing a woman appeared in the pages of a Spanish-language magazine earlier this month, has left the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Miami to join the Episcopal church and announced that he will marry the woman he has dated for two years.

I guess since the vow of chastity was quietly tossed, any notion of obedience to his bishop and Church went with it. Were I either the Episcopal Church or this man's paramour, I'd be leery of accepting any vow or promise he makes in the future. Caveat Emptor.

From the CNN story:
"This is something I've struggled with," he[Cutié] said this month. "I don't support the breaking of the celibacy promise."

I beg to differ with him, as his actions over the last two years indicate his tacit support for breaking the celibacy vow, and his leaving the Catholic Church most publicly indicates such support. Had he taken his vow seriously, he would have ended the relationship once it crossed the line, and sought Reconciliation, counseling, and the advice and guidance of his bishop. Instead, after his duplicity has been exposed, he's running to another church.

The Episcopal church is doing itself no favors in proudly scooping up notoriously integrity-challenged men like Fr. Cutié and former governor and catholic Jim McGreevey. If these men could not uphold their commitments to Christ, Church, or spouse, why is the Episcopalian church so eager to throw them into vestments and a pulpit?

The Episcopal bishop, Leo Frade, speaks to Fr. Cutié's vow of celibacy:
"That promise is not recognized by our church. If you can find it in the Bible that priests should be celibate, that will be corrected,"

Episcopalians have become deft at dismissing things that are IN the Bible, so this challenge to "find it in the Bible" is laughably ironic. Others have tackled this topic at length, but here are a couple highlights:

1 Corinthians 7:
32 But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord;

33 but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how he may please his wife,

34 and his interests are divided. The woman who is unmarried, and the virgin, is concerned about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and spirit; but one who is married is concerned about the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

35 This I say for your own benefit; not to put a restraint upon you, but to promote what is appropriate and to secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.

And this from the Gospel via both Luke and Matthew, which makes it even clearer, with those having ears to hear:
"No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other.."

There was a time when men were unconcerned with the raising of their children and the running of the household, and there are still men today who behave that way. But, we've come to the conclusion that a man needs to be engaged in the family, and not some distant provider, a socio-economic god, ruling from his reclining throne in the den. Being a husband and father requires a man's full attention and devotion.

A Catholic priest is not just a sacrament-dispensing ATM that works a couple hours on Saturday, and a couple hours on Sunday. He not only guides, but is intimately involved in the spiritual life of the parish: Morning Mass, visiting the sick, memorials, funerals, weddings, baptisms, counseling, confessions, vigil masses, etc, etc.. It's a full-time, mom's hours, vocation that requires a man's full attention and devotion.

A man seeking to undertake both priesthood and family life will end up giving short shrift to one or the other. He cannot be fully devoted to both. He cannot be two men.

The Catholic Church understands both the biblical admonitions and the practical implications on this, and so its discipline reflects these realities. Candidates for priesthood in the Catholic Church are taught this in the seminaries, so Fr. Cutié has made his choice not in ignorance, but in spite of what he's been taught.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mad Mutterings #5092028

" Out of passion for their country, the people form a Party.
Out of passion for the people, the Party forms a State.
Out of passion for the Party, the State ruins the country and destroys the people."

This thought sprung to mind after reading 'That Hideous Strength' by C.S.Lewis, 'Gulag Archipelago' by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, watching 'Der Untergang' ('Downfall', about the last days of Hitler), and observing North Korea.

It is a hideous bloom that despises its soil and devours its own roots.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Close Shave

From a blogger at the English-language Pakistani news source,
Latest reports claim that the Taliban are shaving off their beards to escape the operation in Swat. The Taliban have maintained that the beards are a sign of being a devoted and true Muslim...

Already listed as the modern-day barbarians, these men have now taken to shaving off their supposed ‘identity’ in order to escape without being noticed by the Pakistan military. Clever tactic but is it worth shedding off their religious beliefs for? Or do their beliefs allow them to go clean shaven if it’s about the question of their survival? If that is the case then they are no different than the society they target – double standards persist either way.

A quick fade when the heat comes down? Sorry, Achmed, no virgins for you.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Grinding Gears

So, a long, long time ago, in a mental state far, far away...

Shaking Off Sleep

After giving up blogging for Lent,
two years later, St. Jimbob awakes to
find the blogosphere a changed place. The
recent change of power in government promises
peace and reconciliation. But, by peace means cloture
votes in the senate, and reconciliation means that any opposition
is expected to learn their place. Vapid "dialogs" threaten to undermine
long-held values, and "common ground" is code word for capitulation....

I gave up blogging, as my influences were less charitable than they should be, and I found myself being less charitable than I should be. So, I took an extended break, focused on my studies, and an indulged old joy of mine, hand-rolled cigars. The break is hard to end, but it's time to refocus, and again speak up at a time when many are just going along with the dominant culture of self-centered gratification.

Still, I have been blessed by my wife coming into the Church, and my oldest son receiving the Eucharist for the first time, all during this Eastertide. I would credit the charitable witness of our parish family, and passionate example of love of God and the Church by our pastor, more than any persuasion I could have offered.

This has been a season of reflection, especially after the sudden illness and death of my infant godson, John Paul. I contemplated upon the examples of St. Veronica, and St. Simon the Cyrene, upon helping, aiding, and comforting the suffering of my sister and her family. I prayed often for their intercession, not only for my sister and family, but also to inspire in me the same spirit of reaching out to the afflicted.

With all that's been going on in the large world, it's time to start speaking out again. Speaking the truth with charity, offering correction without calumny, and making damned sure that people don't mistake me for a milquetoast Catholic. No pussy-footing here folks, no equivocations, and no "I know the Church teaches this, but..." nonsense.

In short, I have every intention of leaving a vertiable mountain of evidence that I'm a follower of the one, true God, and a truly faithful Catholic.