Thursday, July 31, 2008

Torture

Torture - as the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us:
2297 Torture which uses physical or moral violence to extract confessions, punish the guilty, frighten opponents, or satisfy hatred is contrary to respect for the person and for human dignity.
It goes on to say

2298 In recent times it has become evident that these cruel practices were neither necessary for public order, nor in conformity with the legitimate rights of the human person. On the contrary, these practices led to ones even more degrading. It is necessary to work for their abolition. We must pray for the victims and their tormentors.

The Pope - in quoting the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church - says this about torture:

Public authorities must be ever vigilant in this task, eschewing any means of punishment or correction that either undermine or debase the human dignity of prisoners. In this regard, I reiterate that the prohibition against torture “cannot be contravened under any circumstances”

Now, I know that there are several Catholic writers, theologians and others who are trying to blur the distinctions between what constitutes torture and what doesn't. Violence is the key here, as the Catechism defines torture. This is a moral absolute and the game of "what if" doesn't do justice to the situation, because we cannot justify the means by the ends.

Mark Shea has done a great job in defending the Church in this regard and has taken a heck of a lot of heat because of it. I for one applaud Mark for standing firm and being convicted of the facts, as the Church teaches them.

So, in light of all of this, I give you Colbert. Who brings it all home for us. Tip O' the Hat goes to Mark.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Government to Woman - Have You Considered Euthanasia?

So, the state of Oregon decided a woman's cancer treatment was too expensive, but killing her with a Dr.'s help isn't. Disgusting.

After her oncologist prescribed a cancer drug that would cost $4,000 a month, the newspaper reported, "Wagner was notified that the Oregon Health Plan wouldn't cover the treatment, but that it would cover palliative, or comfort, care, including, if she chose, doctor-assisted suicide."

That presents an unacceptable conflict. The state health program should not be in the position of denying chemotherapy to terminally ill patients while offering to pay the cost of helping them die.

Update - The link above is no longer working, either they pulled the editorial or they put it in their archives where you have to pay to get it. But, here is more on the story.

Catholic News Agency.
The Register Gaurd.
Fox News.

Pope Laicizes a Bishop

For the first time ever, the Pope has allowed an ex-bishop to be laicized, without penalty, in order to become president of Paraguay. Very interesting.

Mass. House Redefines Marriage For Us All

The Mass. House of Representatives has repealed a 1913 law in order to allow non-Mass residents to come to their state and get married. This means that homosexual couples can now get married in Mass even if they are from TX. This also means that those same couples will then try to get their marriages recognized in their home states, setting up a whole host of lawsuits.

The pro-homosexual marriage groups know they can't win by having the populace support them, so they are trying to do it via the courts.

I expect this to last a long time and I expect the Supreme Court to ultimately have to decide it.

Please pray for wisdom, justice, and prudence in our courts.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Abstinence Education vs "Comprehensive" Sex Ed

Back in March, I posted about a disturbing study from the CDC that stated that 1 in 4 girls had a sexually transmitted disease. But, what disturbed me more than anything was the media's reaction to the story. They immediately blamed abstinence education programs as the reason behind it. Here are the problems that have happened with the study since that day.

1 - There was no causal evidence that abstinence programs were the problem. In fact, the study never even sought out a reason. So, blaming it on abstinence education was done to further an agenda of sex ed advocates.

2 - Later, the study was debunked as being inaccurate. Leading analysts said the study was unsound and had a margin of error above 30%, which is tantamount to making it unscientific.

3 - The first release of information was spit out by all major media outlets with the same basic message - abstinence doesn't work. This is bunk! There was no critical analysis, but rather a cut-and-paste job in the media. So, when the story was issued that there were problems, nary a word was found on any major media outlets.

4 - Now, the RAND corporation has released a new study that abstinence programs and abstinence pledges taken by teens do seem to work. But, again, no press coverage can be found. If you want to read the abstract of the study that was printed in the Journal of Adolescent Health, it can be found here.

For some good coverage on the issue, then getreligion.org has some good insights. I will quote one:
so unlike that silly CDC report, here we have a legitimate study that shows that abstinence pledges “work” and where is the mainstream coverage? All I could find was that blog post and a sidebar mention accompanying an uncritical story in The Columbian (Wash.) about the purity movement

New York Times and Contraception

John Allen has a pretty decent op-ed piece in the NYT about the Catholic Church's opposition to contraception. Check it out.

Monday, July 28, 2008

YouTube

The things you find on YouTube. One of my students told me I was out of touch when I missed a reference to the sneezing panda. For those who missed it like I did.

New English Liturgical Translation Coming Soon

Rocco has the details.
The USCCB has a news release.
Some of what we can expect:
The more significant changes of the people’s parts are:
  • et cum spiritu tuo is rendered as “And with your spirit”
  • In the Confiteor, the text “through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault” has been added
  • The Gloria has been translated differently and the structure is different from the present text
  • In the Preface dialogue the translation of “Dignum et justum est” is “It is right and just”
  • The first line of the Sanctus now reads “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts”
  • The response of the people at the Ecce Agnus Dei is “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”
At this time, no date is available as to when the entire translation of the Roman Missal will be released.

EWTN

Oh my! I found out that EWTN aired the wrong episode of the series, Being Human, that I have recently posted about.

If this would have happened at any other network, someone would be fired. While EWTN fills an important need, the way they deliver the truths of the Catholic faith is, for the most part, boring and not very engaging. This being one of the best programs they have, they should make it a priority, not a second-class series on their network.

But, I digress. They will be airing the second (and correct) episode soon.

UPDATE: Below is an email from the Coalition for Life:
EWTN ACCIDENTALLY AIRED WRONG EPISODE BUT MADE HUGE IMPACT!

Last Friday as many of you tuned in to watch "being HUMAN" on EWTN you were surprised to see that the first episode was aired.

Despite this small mishap thousands of viewers tuned in and watch the episode which was followed by some communities registering for the Fall 40 Days for Life!

Many people had not seen the first episode of "being HUMAN" which features local volunteers and a local pastor. This powerful episode earned tons of positive feedback from across the nation to the Coalition and EWTN. For good comments send all feedback to viewer@ewtn.com.

We will have a new date for the second episode featuring the national results and interviews with volunteers, leaders, and former abortionists very soon. We will announce the new airdate for Episode II via email and on http://www.coalitionforlife.com

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Morality of Plastic Surgery

I found one of the more interesting articles that links to our blog. It is an article an a health related website about the different ways of determining the morality of having elective plastic surgery. We are cited for my answer to this question I received a while back.

Check out the article.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Humanae Vitae's 40th Anniversary Today

July 25th, 1968 was when Humanae Vitae was promulgated (officially released). Since then it has met scorn and ridicule for being "backward". It has been ignored by a majority of Catholics in the USA and other western countries.

But, on the flip-side, it has changed lives and marriages. It has been an occasion of conversion and it has given life to millions of children that may not have been born otherwise.

Humanae Vitae is prophetic and there are only a few choices. Either we ignore the voice of the prophet, of we pay the price. As the Bible says:
But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD. - Joshua 24:15
The facts are indisputable, as I have stated elsewhere. It is now time to help those that cannot see the truth or deny it. We must get the message out to others - a contraceptive mentality is anti-God. It is a shutting off of God's creative power and goodness for our own purposes.

Is it an easy road to choose? Absolutely not. Nor is is something that should be undertaken lightly. But, it is worth it.

For more on the 40th anniversary, check out these resources.
*What the secular media thinks.
*One priests opinion on how to turn things around.
*One of the best arguments ever put to paper about the issue.
*A good debate between Janet Smith (pro-Humanae Vitae) and Fr. Charles Curran (anti-Humanae Vitae). You can bet that Dr. Smith knocks this one out of the park.
-Part I
-Part II

Pray for our Church and for conversion.

Sex Selective Abortions

Happening in the USA.

Heavy Metal + Capuchin Friar = ???

One of the more interesting videos I have seen in a while.

Tip O' The Hat to American Papist.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Being Human Episode II

Remember that Being Human, episode II airs this Friday, at 5:30pm CST on EWTN. This is a show you don't want to miss.
Two of the people that appear in the show are friends of mine and St. Mary's - Shawn Carney and David Bereit. Of course, I know others that were in the first episode as well, including our pastor, Fr. David Konderla.

Check out the excellent work that some Aggie Catholics are doing.

If you live here and miss the show (probably because you are at daily mass or work), then come see it aired at St. Mary's tomorrow, Friday, at 6:30 or come at 6 and get free food.

Humanae Vitae and The Catholic Church

Let me preface this post by saying it is a commentary on one of the most well-argued articles I have read in a long, long time. So, skimming this post is not an option.

I have often said that once contraception is thoroughly examined, and when reason is used to examine the arguments for it, there is not one single pro-contraception argument that has a leg to stand on.

Good for women - No. The opposite.
Good for marriage - No. The opposite.
Reduces abortion - No. The opposite.
Better sex - No. The opposite.

These arguments, and more, fail the test every time. Furthermore, I have only found a few reasons that people ultimately still use contraception once they know the truth. These include:
-Fear
-Lack of faith
-Selfishness

What a sorry lot of excuses.

There has been a lot written and many books filled on this subject, yet most Catholics still don't know much about the subject and most life in their "cafeteria catholicism" very comfortably - because ignorance is bliss.

For all of you who read this, I highly recommend a recent article in First Things, entitled The Vindication of Humanae Vitae by Mary Eberstadt. It is a masterpiece. It thoroughly demolishes the arguments I list above using secular and anti-Catholic sources of data that show that contraceptive sex is exactly what Paul VI claimed it was in Humanae Vitae. While I have posted short answers to the questions about contraception, Eberstadt does the necessary background research to make the argument bullet-proof. It is a study in the proper use of the rhetorical argument.

Here is a sampling of the argument. I will begin by showing part of what she does with the secular data.

And therein lies an irony within an irony. Although it is largely Catholic thinkers who have connected the latest empirical evidence to the defense of Humanae Vitae’s predictions, during those same forty years most of the experts actually producing the empirical evidence have been social scientists operating in the secular realm. As sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox emphasized in a 2005 essay: “The leading scholars who have tackled these topics are not Christians, and most of them are not political or social conservatives. They are, rather, honest social scientists willing to follow the data wherever it may lead.”

Consider, as Wilcox does, the Nobel Prize-winning economist George Akerlof. In a well-known 1996 article in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, Akerlof explained in the language of modern economics why the sexual revolution—contrary to common prediction, especially prediction by those in and out of the Church who wanted the teaching on birth control changed—had led to an increase in both illegitimacy and abortion. In another work published in the Economic Journal ten years ago, he traced the empirical connections between the decrease in marriage and married fatherhood for men—both clear consequences of the contraceptive revolution—and the simultaneous increase in behaviors to which single men appear more prone: substance abuse, incarceration, and arrests, to name just three.

Along the way, Akerlof found a strong connection between the diminishment of marriage on the one hand and the rise in poverty and social pathology on the other. He explained his findings in nontechnical terms in Slate magazine: “Although doubt will always remain about what causes a change in social custom, the technology-shock theory does fit the facts. The new reproductive technology was adopted quickly, and on a massive scale. Marital and fertility patterns changed with similar drama, at about the same time.”

To these examples of secular social science confirming what Catholic thinkers had predicted, one might add many more demonstrating the negative effects on children and society. The groundbreaking work that Daniel Patrick Moynihan did in 1965, on the black family, is an example—along with the critical research of psychologist Judith Wallerstein over several decades on the impact of divorce on children; Barbara Dafoe Whitehead’s well-known work on the outcomes of single parenthood for children; Sara McLanahan and Gary Sandefur’s seminal book, Growing Up with a Single Parent; and David Blankenhorn’s Fatherless America, another lengthy summarization of the bad empirical news about family breakup.

But, as she notes, not even this evidence has change many minds.

Who could deny that the predictions of Humanae Vitae and, by extension, of Catholic moral theology have been ratified with data and arguments that did not even exist in 1968? But now comes the question that just keeps on giving. Has this dramatic reappraisal of the empirically known universe led to any secular reappraisals, however grudging, that Paul VI may have gotten something right after all? The answer is manifestly that it has not. And this is only the beginning of the dissonance that surrounds us in 2008.

She then uses the feminists' arguments against themselves, because even they cannot deny the obvious. This is very good stuff...

Consider just what we have been told by the endless books on the topic over the years. If feminists married and had children, they lamented it. If they failed to marry or have children, they lamented that, too. If they worked outside the home and also tended their children, they complained about how hard that was. If they worked outside the home and didn’t tend their children, they excoriated anyone who thought they should. And running through all this literature is a more or less constant invective about the unreliability and disrespect of men.

The signature metaphors of feminism say everything we need to know about how happy liberation has been making these women: the suburban home as concentration camp, men as rapists, children as intolerable burdens, fetuses as parasites, and so on. These are the sounds of liberation? Even the vaunted right to abortion, both claimed and exercised at extraordinary rates, did not seem to mitigate the misery of millions of these women after the sexual revolution.

Then she turns an eye toward pornography.

To these and other examples of how feminist-minded writers have become inadvertent witnesses for the prosecution of the sexual revolution, we might add recent public reflection on the Pill’s bastard child, ubiquitous pornography.

“The onslaught of porn,” one social observer wrote, “is responsible for deadening male libido in relation to real women, and leading men to see fewer and fewer women as ‘porn-worthy.’” Further, “sexual appetite has become like the relationship between agribusiness, processed foods, supersize portions, and obesity. . . . If your appetite is stimulated and fed by poor-quality material, it takes more junk to fill you up. People are not closer because of porn but further apart; people are not more turned on in their daily lives but less so.” And perhaps most shocking of all, this—which with just a little tweaking could easily have appeared in Humanae Vitae itself: “The power and charge of sex are maintained when there is some sacredness to it, when it is not on tap all the time.”

This was not some religious antiquarian. It was Naomi Wolf—Third Wave feminist and author of such works as The Beauty Myth and Promiscuities, which are apparently dedicated to proving that women can tomcat, too. Yet she is now just one of many out there giving testimony, unconscious though it may be, to some of the funny things that happened after the Pill freed everybody from sexual slavery once and for all.

That there is no auxiliary literature of grievance for men—who, for the most part, just don’t seem to feel they have as much to grieve about in this new world order—is something else that Humanae Vitae and a few other retrograde types saw coming in the wake of the revolution. As the saying goes, and as many people did not stop to ask at the time, cui bono? Forty years later, the evidence is in. As Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver observed on Humanae Vitae’s thirtieth anniversary in 1998, “Contraception has released males—to a historically unprecedented degree—from responsibility for their sexual aggression.” Will any feminist who by 2008 disagrees with that statement please stand up?

I want to point out one statement here again - "sexual appetite has become like the relationship between agribusiness, processed foods, supersize portions, and obesity. . . . If your appetite is stimulated and fed by poor-quality material, it takes more junk to fill you up. People are not closer because of porn but further apart; people are not more turned on in their daily lives but less so."

She then turns her attention toward the resulting disintegration of the Anglican communion, who first allowed contraception in 1930 and is currently imploding.
By giving benediction in 1930 to its married heterosexual members purposely seeking sterile sex, the Anglican Church lost, bit by bit, any authority to tell her other members—married or unmarried, homosexual or heterosexual—not to do the same. To put the point another way, once heterosexuals start claiming the right to act as homosexuals, it would not be long before homosexuals start claiming the rights of heterosexuals.
But, not to be outdone. The best argument is saved for last and is saved for Catholics. Please read carefully - I will emphasize some parts myself.

As with the other ironies, it helps here to have a soft spot for absurdity. In their simultaneous desire to jettison the distasteful parts of Catholicism and keep the more palatable ones, American Catholics have done something novel and truly amusing: They have created a specific catalogue of complaints that resembles nothing so much as a Catholic version of the orphan with chutzpah.

Thus many Catholics complain about the dearth of priests, all the while ignoring their own responsibility for that outcome—the fact that few have children in numbers large enough to send one son to the priesthood while the others marry and carry on the family name. They mourn the closing of Catholic churches and schools—never mind that whole parishes, claiming the rights of individual conscience, have contracepted themselves out of existence. They point to the priest sex scandals as proof positive that chastity is too much to ask of people—completely ignoring that it was the randy absence of chastity that created the scandals in the first place.

In fact, the disgrace of contemporary American Catholicism—the many recent scandals involving priests and underage boys—is traceable to the collusion between a large Catholic laity that wanted a different birth-control doctrine, on the one hand, and a new generation of priests cutting themselves a different kind of slack, on the other. “I won’t tattle on my gay priest if you’ll give me absolution for contraception” seems to have been the unspoken deal in many parishes since Humanae Vitae.

A more obedient laity might have wondered aloud about the fact that a significant number of priests post-Vatican II seemed more or less openly gay. A more obedient clergy might have noticed that plenty of Catholics using artificial contraception were also taking Communion. It is hard to believe that either new development—the widespread open rebellion against church sexual teachings by the laity, or the concomitant quiet rebellion against church sexual teachings by a significant number of priests—could have existed without the other.

During Benedict’s recent visit to the United States, one heard a thousand times the insistence that Humanae Vitae somehow sparked a rebellion or was something new under the sun. As Peter Steinfels once put the over-familiar party line, “The pope’s 1968 encyclical and the furor it created continue to polarize the American church.” On this account, everything was somehow fine until Paul VI refused to bend with the times—at which point all hell broke loose.

A brilliant argument. A sad and true conclusion. The reaction of the Catholic Church to the truth brought the problems we see in our Church today on ourselves.

Time for sackcloth and ashes.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Pope to Houston? May Happen

There is a strong rumor that Houston is in the lead for World Youth Day 2014. If this were to happen, it would be phenomenal for St. Mary's. We are only an hour or so up the road from Houston and I think the Pope should take a short helicopter ride up Hwy. 6 to visit us.

You never know, it could happen, because the whole purpose of WYD is to engage young adults and we are known to have one of the best, if not the best, campus ministries in the country.

Pray for God's will in this.

Rocco broke the story.
Also, there is already a Facebook group touting Houston for 2014.

Hurricane Dolly

Please keep TX and Mexico in your prayers as Hurricane Dolly comes ashore. There are many extremely poor people who live in sheds (if that) in the Rio Grande Valley. The shelter they use could very well be blown or washed away, as well as the threat of mudslides and tornadoes.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

One More WYD Post

*It seems that the pilgrims to World Youth Day changed a lot of minds (and hopefully hearts) during their stay in Sydney.

*If you are the kind of person who likes to read Papal talks and homilies, like me, then check them out at the Vatican website.

Cricket

I don't think the game of cricket would be good to solve doctrinal differences, but an Anglican bishop does.

I am glad they didn't take him up on it.

Contraception and Congress

If you didn't know. Oral contraceptives were illegal in the USA until 1965. Now, the government has decided to issue new guidelines that state that they can cause chemical abortions. Of course, this has received quite a backlash. Senator Clinton said the following about the guidelines:
This is a gratuitous, unnecessary insult to the women of the United States of America. These rules pose a dire threat to women's health, to health-care providers, and to uninsured and low-income Americans seeking care. It is a disgrace, but unfortunately it is not a surprise. We will not put up uwith this radical, ideological agenda to turn the clock back on women's rights.
Why is it an insult?
Why is it a "threat" to women's health?
Why is it a disgrace?
Why?

Of course, logic won't enter into arguments on this subject from those opposing the memo the Bush administration issued. Why? Because those who oppose the issuing of these guidelines can't win the argument. Contraception can cause abortions. Period. There is no argument. Therefore they resort to rhetoric, which fails if you can see through it.

Monday, July 21, 2008

World Youth Day wraps up

*The Pope announced that Madrid will host the next World Youth Day.

*His homily for the closing Mass was nothing short of phenomenal. I suggest you read it all. If you won't, then at least look at the highlights below.

On mission and prayer:
Yet this power, the grace of the Spirit, is not something we can merit or achieve, but only receive as pure gift. God's love can only unleash its power when it is allowed to change us from within. We have to let it break through the hard crust of our indifference, our spiritual weariness, our blind conformity to the spirit of this age. Only then can we let it ignite our imagination and shape our deepest desires. That is why prayer is so important: daily prayer, private prayer in the quiet of our hearts and before the Blessed Sacrament, and liturgical prayer in the heart of the Church. Prayer is pure receptivity to God's grace, love in action, communion with the Spirit who dwells within us, leading us, through Jesus, in the Church, to our heavenly Father. In the power of his Spirit, Jesus is always present in our hearts, quietly waiting for us to be still with him, to hear his voice, to abide in his love, and to receive "power from on high", enabling us to be salt and light for our world.
The power of God to change lives:
Dear young people, let me now ask you a question. What will you leave to the next generation? Are you building your lives on firm foundations, building something that will endure? Are you living your lives in a way that opens up space for the Spirit in the midst of a world that wants to forget God, or even rejects him in the name of a falsely-conceived freedom? How are you using the gifts you have been given, the "power" which the Holy Spirit is even now prepared to release within you? What legacy will you leave to young people yet to come? What difference will you make? The power of the Holy Spirit does not only enlighten and console us. It also points us to the future, to the coming of God's Kingdom. What a magnificent vision of a humanity redeemed and renewed we see in the new age promised by today's Gospel! Saint Luke tells us that Jesus Christ is the fulfilment of all God's promises, the Messiah who fully possesses the Holy Spirit in order to bestow that gift upon all mankind. The outpouring of Christ's Spirit upon humanity is a pledge of hope and deliverance from everything that impoverishes us. It gives the blind new sight; it sets the downtrodden free, and it creates unity in and through diversity (cf. Lk 4:18-19; Is 61:1-2). This power can create a new world: it can "renew the face of the earth" (cf. Ps 104:30)!
God's power which changed us now sends us out to change others:
Empowered by the Spirit, and drawing upon faith's rich vision, a new generation of Christians is being called to help build a world in which God's gift of life is welcomed, respected and cherished - not rejected, feared as a threat and destroyed. A new age in which love is not greedy or self-seeking, but pure, faithful and genuinely free, open to others, respectful of their dignity, seeking their good, radiating joy and beauty. A new age in which hope liberates us from the shallowness, apathy and self-absorption which deaden our souls and poison our relationships. Dear young friends, the Lord is asking you to be prophets of this new age, messengers of his love, drawing people to the Father and building a future of hope for all humanity.

The world needs this renewal! In so many of our societies, side by side with material prosperity, a spiritual desert is spreading: an interior emptiness, an unnamed fear, a quiet sense of despair. How many of our contemporaries have built broken and empty cisterns (cf. Jer 2:13) in a desperate search for meaning - the ultimate meaning that only love can give? This is the great and liberating gift which the Gospel brings: it reveals our dignity as men and women created in the image and likeness of God. It reveals humanity's sublime calling, which is to find fulfilment in love. It discloses the truth about man and the truth about life.

The Church also needs this renewal! She needs your faith, your idealism and your generosity, so that she can always be young in the Spirit (cf. Lumen Gentium, 4)! In today's second reading, the Apostle Paul reminds us that each and every Christian has received a gift meant for building up the Body of Christ. The Church especially needs the gifts of young people, all young people. She needs to grow in the power of the Spirit who even now gives joy to your youth and inspires you to serve the Lord with gladness. Open your hearts to that power! I address this plea in a special way to those of you whom the Lord is calling to the priesthood and the consecrated life. Do not be afraid to say "yes" to Jesus, to find your joy in doing his will, giving yourself completely to the pursuit of holiness, and using all your talents in the service of others!

Penance

This is the prayer I got for my penance. Difficult. Beautiful.

Respect everyone - Christ resides in everyone. Be sensitive to others - they are your brothers and sisters.

Think well of everyone - think ill of no one. Try to find something good even in the worst of circumstances.

Always speak well of others - do not cast a slur on anyone. Repair any harm resulting from an uttered word. Do not provoke strife between people.

Speak to everyone in the language of love. Do not raise your voice. Do not swear. Do not vex others. Do not provoke tears. Reassure others. Show a kind heart.

Forgive everyone everything. Do not hold grudges. Always be the first to extend your hand as a sign of reconciliation.

Act always to your neighbor's advantage. Do good things to others, as you would like them done to you. Never give a thought to what others owe you, but always to what you owe them.

Be actively compassionate in time of suffering. Be quick to offer consolation, counsel, assistance, kindness.

Work conscientiously - others benefit from the fruits of your labor, just as you benefit from the labors of others.

Be active in your community. Be open to the poor and the sick. Share your goods. Try to see the needs of those around you.

Pray for everyone, even your enemies.

Stefan Cardinal Wyszynski

Friday, July 18, 2008

Catholic Carnival

This week's Catholic Carnival is up. Check it out.

WYD - WOW

*This might be the grandest Way of the Cross ever performed. Magnificent. The Photos are absolutely stunning. Please check them out.
Video can be found here.

The stations went throughout the city.

Station 1: The Last Supper with a special appearance by the Holy Father
St Mary’s Cathedral
Performance by St Mary’s Cathedral choir

Station 2: The Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane where Christ prepares for his death
The Domain

Station 3: Jesus before the Sanhedrin
The Art Gallery of NSW

Station 4: Jesus before Pontius Pilate
Sydney Opera House

Station 5: Jesus is whipped and crowned
Sydney Opera House Forecourt

Station 6: Jesus carries his Cross
Sydney Opera House Forecourt

Station 7: Jesus is helped by Simon of Cyrene onboard a floating pontoon
Cockle Bay, Darling Harbour

Station 8: Jesus speaks to the women of Jerusalem
Barangaroo, Centre Stage

Station 9: Jesus is stripped and nailed
Barangaroo North Stage

Station 10: Jesus and the Good Thief
Barangaroo North Stage

Station 11: Jesus speaks to Mary and John
Barangaroo North Stage

Station 12: Jesus dies on the cross
Barangaroo North Stage

Station 13: The body of Jesus is brought down from the Cross
Barangaroo North Stage

*Here are the texts to the different presentations the Pope has made recently:

*Meeting with disadvanted youth
*Meeting with other religions

Holy Saints Batman

With all the buzz about The Dark Knight, and I admit that I really want to go see it (but not so bad that I will stay up until 3 am), I thought a fun video of real heroes is needed:

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Random WYD Items

*I have posted about this months ago but now it is happening - the Pope has started to text WYD pilgrims messages on their phones.
Messages include:
"the Holy Spirit gave the Apostles and gives u the power boldly 2 proclaim that Christ is risen! -- BXVI"
*At a Theology on Tap in Sydney, Archbishop Chaput, from Denver, urged those in attendance to shun "part-time Christianity".

*The liturgy wars have hit WYD. Interesting nonetheless.

*The Sisters of Life are blogging about being at WYD. If you look long enough you will find pictures of two of our Aggies who are in their order. If you don't want to work at it, I will give you a link to one group photo.

Campus Ministry

Cardinal Pell, from Australia, writes about World Youth Day and the importance of Campus ministry.
Check it out.

Pope Reaches out to Anglicans Wanting to Come to Rome

This is a huge step that will bring many Anglicans to Rome.

Pope Address Young Adults

Remember that "youth" means "young adults" every but the USA.

Here is his first address to the youth at World Youth Day (highlights mine):
This evening I wish also to include those who are not present among us. I am thinking especially of the sick or mentally ill, young people in prison, those struggling on the margins of our societies, and those who for whatever reason feel alienated from the Church. To them I say: Jesus is close to you! Feel his healing embrace, his compassion and mercy!

Almost two thousand years ago, the Apostles, gathered in the upper room together with Mary and some faithful women, were filled with the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 1:14; 2:4). At that extraordinary moment, which gave birth to the Church, the confusion and fear that had gripped Christ's disciples were transformed into a vigorous conviction and sense of purpose. They felt impelled to speak of their encounter with the risen Jesus whom they had come to call affectionately, the Lord. In many ways, the Apostles were ordinary. None could claim to be the perfect disciple. They failed to recognize Christ (cf. Lk 24:13-32), felt ashamed of their own ambition (cf. Lk 22:24-27), and had even denied him (cf. Lk 22:54-62). Yet, when empowered by the Holy Spirit, they were transfixed by the truth of Christ's Gospel and inspired to proclaim it fearlessly. Emboldened, they exclaimed: repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 2:37-38)! Grounded in the Apostles' teaching, in fellowship, and in the breaking of the bread and prayer (cf. Acts 2:42), the young Christian community moved forward to oppose the perversity in the culture around them (cf. Acts 2:40), to care for one another (cf. Acts 2:44-47), to defend their belief in Jesus in the face of hostility (cf Acts 4:33), and to heal the sick (cf. Acts 5:12-16). And in obedience to Christ's own command, they set forth, bearing witness to the greatest story ever: that God has become one of us, that the divine has entered human history in order to transform it, and that we are called to immerse ourselves in Christ's saving love which triumphs over evil and death. Saint Paul, in his famous speech to the Areopagus, introduced the message in this way: "God gives everything - including life and breath - to everyone ... so that all nations might seek God and, by feeling their way towards him, succeed in finding him. In fact he is not far from any of us, since it is in him that we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17: 25-28).

And ever since, men and women have set out to tell the same story, witnessing to Christ's truth and love, and contributing to the Church's mission. Today, we think of those pioneering Priests, Sisters and Brothers who came to these shores, and to other parts of the Pacific, from Ireland, France, Britain and elsewhere in Europe. The great majority were young - some still in their late teens - and when they bade farewell to their parents, brothers and sisters, and friends, they knew they were unlikely ever to return home. Their whole lives were a selfless Christian witness. They became the humble but tenacious builders of so much of the social and spiritual heritage which still today brings goodness, compassion and purpose to these nations. And they went on to inspire another generation. We think immediately of the faith which sustained Blessed Mary MacKillop in her sheer determination to educate especially the poor, and Blessed Peter To Rot in his steadfast resolution that community leadership must always include the Gospel. Think also of your own grandparents and parents, your first teachers in faith. They too have made countless sacrifices of time and energy, out of love for you. Supported by your parish priests and teachers, they have the task, not always easy but greatly satisfying, of guiding you towards all that is good and true, through their own witness - their teaching and living of our Christian faith.

Today, it is my turn. For some of us, it might seem like we have come to the end of the world! For people of your age, however, any flight is an exciting prospect. But for me, this one was somewhat daunting! Yet the views afforded of our planet from the air were truly wondrous. The sparkle of the Mediterranean, the grandeur of the north African desert, the lushness of Asia's forestation, the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, the horizon upon which the sun rose and set, and the majestic splendour of Australia's natural beauty which I have been able to enjoy these last couple of days; these all evoke a profound sense of awe. It is as though one catches glimpses of the Genesis creation story - light and darkness, the sun and the moon, the waters, the earth, and living creatures; all of which are "good" in God's eyes (cf. Gen 1:1 - 2:4). Immersed in such beauty, who could not echo the words of the Psalmist in praise of the Creator: "how majestic is your name in all the earth?" (Ps 8:1).

And there is more - something hardly perceivable from the sky - men and women, made in nothing less than God's own image and likeness (cf. Gen 1:26). At the heart of the marvel of creation are you and I, the human family "crowned with glory and honour" (Ps 8:5). How astounding! With the Psalmist we whisper: "what is man that you are mindful of him?" (Ps 8:4). And drawn into silence, into a spirit of thanksgiving, into the power of holiness, we ponder.

What do we discover? Perhaps reluctantly we come to acknowledge that there are also scars which mark the surface of our earth: erosion, deforestation, the squandering of the world's mineral and ocean resources in order to fuel an insatiable consumption. Some of you come from island nations whose very existence is threatened by rising water levels; others from nations suffering the effects of devastating drought. God's wondrous creation is sometimes experienced as almost hostile to its stewards, even something dangerous. How can what is "good" appear so threatening?

And there is more. What of man, the apex of God's creation? Every day we encounter the genius of human achievement. From advances in medical sciences and the wise application of technology, to the creativity reflected in the arts, the quality and enjoyment of people's lives in many ways are steadily rising. Among yourselves there is a readiness to take up the plentiful opportunities offered to you. Some of you excel in studies, sport, music, or dance and drama, others of you have a keen sense of social justice and ethics, and many of you take up service and voluntary work. All of us, young and old, have those moments when the innate goodness of the human person - perhaps glimpsed in the gesture of a little child or an adult's readiness to forgive - fills us with profound joy and gratitude.

Yet such moments do not last. So again, we ponder. And we discover that not only the natural but also the social environment - the habitat we fashion for ourselves - has its scars; wounds indicating that something is amiss. Here too, in our personal lives and in our communities, we can encounter a hostility, something dangerous; a poison which threatens to corrode what is good, reshape who we are, and distort the purpose for which we have been created. Examples abound, as you yourselves know. Among the more prevalent are alcohol and drug abuse, and the exaltation of violence and sexual degradation, often presented through television and the internet as entertainment. I ask myself, could anyone standing face to face with people who actually do suffer violence and sexual exploitation "explain" that these tragedies, portrayed in virtual form, are considered merely "entertainment"?

There is also something sinister which stems from the fact that freedom and tolerance are so often separated from truth. This is fuelled by the notion, widely held today, that there are no absolute truths to guide our lives. Relativism, by indiscriminately giving value to practically everything, has made "experience" all-important. Yet, experiences, detached from any consideration of what is good or true, can lead, not to genuine freedom, but to moral or intellectual confusion, to a lowering of standards, to a loss of self-respect, and even to despair.

Dear friends, life is not governed by chance; it is not random. Your very existence has been willed by God, blessed and given a purpose (cf. Gen 1:28)! Life is not just a succession of events or experiences, helpful though many of them are. It is a search for the true, the good and the beautiful. It is to this end that we make our choices; it is for this that we exercise our freedom; it is in this - in truth, in goodness, and in beauty - that we find happiness and joy. Do not be fooled by those who see you as just another consumer in a market of undifferentiated possibilities, where choice itself becomes the good, novelty usurps beauty, and subjective experience displaces truth.

Christ offers more! Indeed he offers everything! Only he who is the Truth can be the Way and hence also the Life. Thus the "way" which the Apostles brought to the ends of the earth is life in Christ. This is the life of the Church. And the entrance to this life, to the Christian way, is Baptism.

This evening I wish therefore to recall briefly something of our understanding of Baptism before tomorrow considering the Holy Spirit. On the day of your Baptism, God drew you into his holiness (cf. 2 Pet 1:4). You were adopted as a son or daughter of the Father. You were incorporated into Christ. You were made a dwelling place of his Spirit (cf. 1 Cor 6:19). Baptism is neither an achievement, nor a reward. It is a grace; it is God's work. Indeed, towards the conclusion of your Baptism, the priest turned to your parents and those gathered and, calling you by your name said: "you have become a new creation" (Rite of Baptism, 99).

Dear friends, in your homes, schools and universities, in your places of work and recreation, remember that you are a new creation! Not only do you stand before the Creator in awe, rejoicing at his works, you also realize that the sure foundation of humanity's solidarity lies in the common origin of every person, the high-point of God's creative design for the world. As Christians you stand in this world knowing that God has a human face - Jesus Christ - the "way" who satisfies all human yearning, and the "life" to which we are called to bear witness, walking always in his light (cf. ibid., 100).

The task of witness is not easy. There are many today who claim that God should be left on the sidelines, and that religion and faith, while fine for individuals, should either be excluded from the public forum altogether or included only in the pursuit of limited pragmatic goals. This secularist vision seeks to explain human life and shape society with little or no reference to the Creator. It presents itself as neutral, impartial and inclusive of everyone. But in reality, like every ideology, secularism imposes a world-view. If God is irrelevant to public life, then society will be shaped in a godless image, and debate and policy concerning the public good will be driven more by consequences than by principles grounded in truth.

Yet experience shows that turning our back on the Creator's plan provokes a disorder which has inevitable repercussions on the rest of the created order (cf. 1990 World Day of Peace Message, 5). When God is eclipsed, our ability to recognize the natural order, purpose, and the "good" begins to wane. What was ostensibly promoted as human ingenuity soon manifests itself as folly, greed and selfish exploitation. And so we have become more and more aware of our need for humility before the delicate complexity of God's world.

But what of our social environment? Are we equally alert to the signs of turning our back on the moral structure with which God has endowed humanity (cf. 2007 World Day of Peace Message, 8)? Do we recognize that the innate dignity of every individual rests on his or her deepest identity - as image of the Creator - and therefore that human rights are universal, based on the natural law, and not something dependent upon negotiation or patronage, let alone compromise? And so we are led to reflect on what place the poor and the elderly, immigrants and the voiceless, have in our societies. How can it be that domestic violence torments so many mothers and children? How can it be that the most wondrous and sacred human space - the womb - has become a place of unutterable violence?

My dear friends, God's creation is one and it is good. The concerns for non-violence, sustainable development, justice and peace, and care for our environment are of vital importance for humanity. They cannot, however, be understood apart from a profound reflection upon the innate dignity of every human life from conception to natural death: a dignity conferred by God himself and thus inviolable. Our world has grown weary of greed, exploitation and division, of the tedium of false idols and piecemeal responses, and the pain of false promises. Our hearts and minds are yearning for a vision of life where love endures, where gifts are shared, where unity is built, where freedom finds meaning in truth, and where identity is found in respectful communion. This is the work of the Holy Spirit! This is the hope held out by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is to bear witness to this reality that you were created anew at Baptism and strengthened through the gifts of the Spirit at Confirmation. Let this be the message that you bring from Sydney to the world!

Aggies At World Youth Day

This morning I watched the amazing entrance of the Pope Benedict XVI at World Youth Day on EWTN, while I was exercising. It was a moving event of hundreds of thousands of young adults screaming and waving flags as the Pope floated down the Sydney harbor on a huge yacht. The flags of different countries were beautiful in the crowd. I saw dozens of American flags and a couple of Texas flags. Then, I saw it - the Texas A&M flag amongst many others. Below is a screen shot of it.
I have highlighted the flag, because there are many others amongst the crowd. It is in the lower right-hand corner.

But, then later on, I saw it again. But this time, you couldn't miss it. Patrick Thompson, a student of ours, was in the middle of the screen jumping up and down and waving the A&M flag.

Thanks Patrick! You just gave millions of people around the world a glimpse of St. Mary's and Texas A&M.
Below is a screen shot of it, but if you want to see the video, then click here. Patrick is on screen from 45:07 - 45:22 (about 15 seconds of air time).

Gig 'em Patrick.
Gig 'em Pope Benedict XVI.
Gie 'em Aggie Catholics.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Soccer Player Retires to Enter Seminary

In a Bella-like story (sans the tragedy and tears), a professional soccer player has retired in order to enter the seminary to become a priest. You probably don't want to play this guy in a pick-up soccer game in the seminary's courtyard. Check it out.

"I felt called to something greater," Hilgenbrinck said. "At one time I thought that call might be professional soccer. In the past few years, I found my soul is hungry for something else.

"I discerned, through prayer, that it was calling me to the Catholic Church. I do not want this call to pass me by."

Hilgenbrinck accepted the calling on Monday when he left the New England Revolution and retired from professional soccer to enter a seminary, where he will spend the next six years studying theology and philosophy so he can be ordained as a Roman Catholic priest.

"It's not that I'm ready to leave soccer. I still have a great passion for the game," he said in a telephone interview. "I wouldn't leave the game for just any other job. I'm moving on for the Lord. I want to do the will of the Lord, I want to do what he wants for me, not what I want to do for myself."

He then has some even better quotes in this part of the story:

"I fell back on what I knew, and that was the Catholic Church," he said. "I grew up as a Catholic. I was always involved in the church, went to Catholic schools. It was when I got out on my own that my faith really became mine. I really embraced it. I didn't have to go to church any more, I was free to really believe what I wanted to believe.

"I looked to strengthen my personal relationship with Christ. And when my personal life started to flourish, I couldn't turn my back on that relationship."

Hilgenbrinck was signed and cut by the Colorado Rapids before he landed with the Revolution. He played in four MLS games for New England and started in both of the Revolution's U.S. Open Cup matches this month.

Although he has felt the calling for some time, Hilgenbrinck also knew it would be easier to continue playing soccer. He tried to convince himself that he was not ready, not deserving, or not in a hurry.

"I was putting up a bunch of barriers, saying I'm not worthy to be called to something like that," he said. "But, one by one, the barriers started to come down."

Tip O' the Hat to the Curt Jester.

The Abortion Pill

The government wants to speak the truth about contraceptives and point out the fact that they can cause abortions. Wow.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

God, Nuns, Conversion, Death, and Baseball

What a great video!





Hunger

We might complain about gas prices, mortgages defaulting, layoffs, etc. But, we are still in a strong economy and are part of the wealthiest civilization humanity has ever known. We forget that others go hungry. We don't know what it is like to worry about where food will come from. As is the case throughout history, there are others who need help to survive and from what some experts are predicting, the number of those needing help with food and other basic needs might soon skyrocket.

"What we are seeing is unprecedented," says Catholic Relief Services food aid expert Lisa Kuennen-Asfaw. "If immediate needs are not met, and if resources and policies supporting increased agricultural production are not put in place soon, we are heading for a cascade of hunger the world over."

Prices are increasing sharply in every region of the world for some of the most basic foodstuffs traded on international commodity markets. The price of wheat has doubled in less than a year, while other staples such as corn, maize and soy are trading at well above their 1990s levels. Rice, which is the staple food for about 3 billion people worldwide, has tripled in cost in the last 18 months. In some countries, prices for milk and meat have more than doubled.

In Egypt, a 110-pound sack of wheat cost about $8 two years ago. Today, that same sack of wheat costs more than $25. As prices rise, more and more Egyptians are unable to afford their daily bread. They stand in long lines for hours to buy government-subsidized bread, missing work or school to do so.

In the West Bank, students are suspending their studies because of the increasing cost of food and transportation. Many households are depending on family members who live in other countries to send money in order to help them to survive.

In Ethiopia, Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity, whose urban centers take in the poorest of the poor, has seen a 20 percent increase in demand for services. As CRS' biggest partner in Ethiopia, the Missionaries of Charity tells CRS staff that the signs of the problem are visible; increasing numbers of women, children, elderly and disabled people are living on the streets.

The price of rice and other food staples has increased dramatically over the last 18 months.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Politics and Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood has more than $100 million left over from last year and the Wall Street Journal does a front page story on the money trail as well as the new marketing strategy to try and change their image. They do this with $330 million in tax money. Then they turn around and do lobbying, political activism, and community outreach to further their influence and agenda. On top of it all, they are trying to run their competitors out of business to further increase their influence.

So, several members of Congress have called for de-funding them. This is one of the speeches made on the floor.


Of course, there were much more important things going on in Congress at the time.

Congress Struggles To Come Up With Cool Name For Anti-Drug Initiative

Pope in Australia

During his flight to Australia, the Pope gave a wide-ranging interview. They talked about the sex scandals (which is the only portion that made it into the local paper this morning), culture, God, technology, the environment, and more. But, this stood out to me. Of course, it won't make most papers:

Asked too if he was concerned about faith in Europe and Australia, the Pope said he did not feel pessimism. "I will do my best to answer in English. I think that Australia, in its historical configuration economically and politically is part of the [Western] world and so shares also the successes and problems of the rest of the Western world.

"Australia in the last 50 years, has had great economical and technological successes and religion has been relegated … people have said, 'We don't need God, religion it is not necessary. We do not need God to be happy, we do not need God to create a better world. It is not necessary; we can do it ourselves.'

"But God always exists, and religion always exists. It is needed, it is a part of human beings. It can never disappear as it is always present in the heart of human beings."

Amen! This is the heart of his pontificate summed up. I also think his "trying" to answer in English was a success.

Bishops and Abortion

There is a difference of opinion on how to handle pro-abortion politicians who are Catholic. Some don't want to do anything. Some want to handle it all privately. Some want to start privately, but if necessary bring it to the public. I won't give my opinion - except to say I am glad I am not a bishop who has to make such decisions.

In the Philippines, which is largely a Catholic country, this is being played out in the press. Some bishops are proposing a very strong reaction to pro-abortion politicians. But, beyond the controversy, what struck me about this article was some of the rhetoric from the politicians who are supporting abortion. It is as if they are just reading the play straight from the Planned Parenthood book. For this reason, they make no sense. For instance:

Lagman said both the government and the Church should find a “common ground” on the population management issue instead of criticizing one another’s position on the matter.

The Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development Foundation agreed, saying “it is time for the Church and the national government to look beyond the usual debate on population and contraceptives.”

“They should focus on being not just pro-life, but pro-quality of life, by contributing to the immediate passage of a Reproductive Health and Population Management Policy,” the foundation said in a statement.

So, the Church shouldn't criticize someone for advocating abortion? This is ridiculous. Some people think that saying an act is evil is the worse thing we could do. So, they try to make us feel guilty for feeling guilty about abortion! Talking about reducing abortions and poverty is one thing. But, denying that the Church is trying to stop all abortions is not going to happen.

Then it gets worse:

“Instead of denying them (Catholic politicians) communion, why doesn’t the Catholic Church look for measures to effectively solve the problem?” Canson asked.

Why is it an either/or issue? It is possible to do both.

She said Gabriela research had found that poverty was the leading cause of abortion.

“Is it the solution? Why don’t we instead get to the root cause of the problem which is poverty? If we can solve poverty, then no mother would be heartless enough to abort her pregnancy,” she said.

Wrong. Most women abort because of inconvenience, regardless of economics. Money may play a part, but there is always adoption as well.

Moralizing will never be the answer to the problem, Canson said.

Saying something is wrong is the worst crime of all to some people. Sorry, but killing an innocent human being isn't just "moralizing". It is truth that must be brought out into the light and fought for.

She said another reason that women were resorting to abortion was because of the lack of correct education on reproductive health.

In countries where abortion is legal, where the process is safe, there is low incidence of abortion-related deaths, Canson noted. “And we don’t want women to die,” she said.

How is it reproductive or healthy to get an abortion? Why should I trust that a government bureaucrat with and agenda to advance could do a good job at educating in this sphere?

Lastly, it has already been proven that the stats she sites are bogus.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Friday Headlines

*Make a billion dollars and still call yourself a non-profit? Please stop spending my money on PP.

*Possible title for the Pope's next encyclical - "Caritas in Veritate" (Charity in the Truth)

*I am currently kicking caffeine (for the second time), so this article about caffeine poisoning is quite interesting and I don't drink nearly as much as these kids do. I found this particularly interesting:
But energy drinks may be only part of the story. Team 5 Investigates discovered extra caffeine is being added to gum, mints, candy bars, even lip balm. A small bag of one caffeine-infused snack food called Engobi contains as much caffeine as two Red Bull drinks, but consumers would never know that by reading the label. Companies often don’t specify how much caffeine individual products contain. And other ingredients may add an extra punch.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Communion and Conversion

Fr. Dwight Longenecker is a Catholic priest who left the Anglican church. He has a wonderful post on his blog about how many of our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Communion struggle with what is going on internally with the church they know, love, and are a part of.

He posts a message he received from and Anglican priest who is struggling with the politics, theology and problems he sees. It is a powerful testimony of how hard it is to come to grips with God's will in conversion (meant in the spiritual sense - not as in converting to Catholicism, which can also be difficult). To believe that what you thought was God's will is crumbling down around you is not an easy situation for anyone.

Peace to all our Anglican/Episcopalian brothers and sisters.

Suing The Bible?

Wow. I knew it was coming, but suing a publisher of the Bible because it offends you? Seriously.

Thursday Thoughts and Things

*World Youth Day trips have started. You can see the official WYD website here. But, if you want something more personal, then check out a local College Station group that is there from our neighboring parish, St. Thomas Aquinas. Tom, who is entering the seminary, is doing the blogging.

*Some of you who are students might also recognize Fr. John Sims Baker, from Vanderbilt, who is also leading a trip to WYD. Check out his blog. If you want to wait on all the WYD hype until the Pope arrives, you can check out his schedule here.

*Reading the entire Bible with the Pope, other Christians, and the chief Rabbi of Rome. Cool.

*A couple of random websites.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Being Human Part II

The Coalition for Life, a locally-run pro-life organization that has been very successful (and is a partner in the fight against abortion with St. Mary's), has completed the second episode of Being Human. The first episode was the best thing ever aired on EWTN and the second looks to be just as good. It airs on July 25 at 5:30pm CST and it kicks off the next push for 40 Days for Life on a broader national scale. A pro-life movement started by Aggie Catholics.
Here is a sneak peak.

The Exodus Begins

The mass exodus from the Church of England, and the entire Anglican Communion, has begun.

Pray for all involved. Because, I don't believe unity between Rome and the Anglicans will come in any form other than individuals and congregations leaving the Anglican Communion and coming to Rome - at least the way things are progressing.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Anglicans Vote to allow Women Bishops

This is already causing quite a stir. Expect a mass influx of Anglicans into the Catholic Church.
The attempt for "super bishops" isn't going to help much, in my opinion.
Of course, the Vatican is saddened by the news.

YouTube and the Things You Learn

A reader, and friend, who saw the posting about how to fold a chip bag tightly, decided that I needed to see the t-shirt folding video. So, how could I keep it to myself? Enjoy.



Yes, I already tried it and it works!
Thanks Joe.

Super Powers

WARNING: random stream of consciousness post coming.

Everyone has thought of having a super power and I certainly imagined it quite a bit when I was a kid reading all of my comic books. I always thought being super strong, being able to fly, teleporting, and other super powers would be fun to have.

In our Catholic tradition, we have something close to super powers - the extraordinary charisms of the spirit. These can be displayed in several ways. Some are in the form of tongues or prophecy. Others are only manifested in the Saints. For example, St. Padre Pio could bi-locate and read others' souls. Now, that is cool.

On the other end of the spectrum we have the Wonder Twins' super powers. The Wonder Twins are side-kicks to the Justice League superheroes. Hence, they are the weak kids who mess up everything. Then, they have a sidekick monkey, Gleek (how would you like to be named after spit?).

The brother, who can form himself into any kind of water (e.g., vapor, ice, etc.), is the weakest of all of the Justice League. In fact, I wouldn't even put him into the category of "super" hero. He is more of an averagehero. But, I digress.

Even those with lesser gifts are valuable. Even Gleek and the weak Wonder Twins, as this video clearly shows.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Thank You

Thank you Lord for our freedoms in this country.

Have a good weekend. Happy 4th of July.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Catholic Carnival is up

Check it out.

Catholic Hospitals and Sterilizations

The US Bishops have had many issues with Catholic Hospitals. Now, the Texas Bishops are examining a whistle-blowers' report that there were thousands of sterilizations done at dozens of Catholic hospitals in Texas. This will be big very soon.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Using Your Talent Makes Me Happy

Here are a few examples of a person who excels at using his talent. Tommy Emmanuel might be the greatest guitarist in the world.





Another Aggie Catholic

When I posted about Monica Ashour writing on the Theology of the Body, I forgot to mention that another Aggie Catholic, Annie Vining, is also writing about the same topic. Thanks to Ray for pointing this out.

They are both members of the the Theology of the Body Evangelization Team (TOBET).

Summer Reading

I recommended these three books for summer reading on Sacred Heart Radio's morning program this morning.

What are some books you might recommend to others?

Wed. Things

*Cardinal Rigali does a very nice job of explaining the Church's stance on homosexuality and our pastoral response in a short interview.

*The Transalpine Redemptorists have come into full communion with Rome. Good news!

*Another good video in the NFP vs. Contraception series:

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

How to Not Vote


Today Now!: How To Pretend You Care About The Election

Tip O' the Hat to Mark Shea.

Hey Early Birds

I will be on Sacred Heart Radio tomorrow morning. But, I will be going on at about 6:20am (CST / 7:20am-Eastern). So, if you get up early enough, then you can get on the website and listen live (as long as I wake up when they call). I do these once every few months and it is a lot of fun, although I have to go into the garage so I don't wake anyone else in my house.