Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Not Worth Saving

Imagine if you collapsed in your house while having a heart attack. You call 911 and the ambulance gets there to find you passed out. When the paramedics come inside they notice you haven't cleaned in a while because you haven't been feeling well. Because the house is a mess and because your heart just stopped the medics decide not to resucitate you, because you "aren't worth saving".

This really happened in Britain and it was all being recorded, because the phone was never hung up.

We do not have the right to determine what lives are worth saving and which are not. When we get into the business of making those kinds of decisions based on utilitarianism or bioethics, we act as evil beasts, not as free human agents. Human life is human life from conception until natural death. When we take that from someone, we take the most fundamental right of all - we play god - and others die because of it.

I hope these men repent of their sin and realize what they have done. Pray for them.
Tip o' the Hat to

John Paul II understood that human suffering does not make someone less worthy of life. In 1982, he warned Britain of the consequences of utilitarianism and treating the sick, dying, suffering, elderly, babies and other vulnerable humans as objects. It is prophetic. Emphasis is mine:

7. I support with all my heart those who recognize and defend the law of God which governs human life. We must never forget that every person, from the moment of conception to the last breath, is a unique child of God and has a right to life. This right should be defended by the attentive care of the medical and nursing professions and by the protection of the law. Every human life is willed by our heavenly Father and is a part of his loving plan.

No State has the right to contradict moral values which are rooted in the nature of man himself. These values are the precious heritage of civilization. If society begins to deny the worth of any individual or to subordinate the human person to pragmatic or utilitarian considerations, it begins to destroy the defences that safeguard its own fundamental values.

8. Today I make an urgent plea to this nation. Do not neglect your sick and elderly. Do not turn away from the handicapped and the dying. Do not push them to the margins of society. For, if you do, you will fail to understand that they represent an important truth. The sick, the elderly, the handicapped and the dying teach us that weakness is a creative part of human living, and that suffering can be embraced with no loss of dignity. Without the presence of these people in your midst you might be tempted to think of health, strength and power as the only important values to be pursued in life. But the wisdom of Christ and the power of Christ are to be seen in the weakness of those who share his sufferings.

Prison Ministry

One of the most difficult of all ministries is prison ministry. We have two deacons here at St. Mary's with years of experience going into jails and prisons to minister to the incarcerated. My oldest sister, will be helping with her first prison retreat this weekend. The retreat is an ecumenical Christian retreat based on the cursillo retreat, called Kairos.

Please pray for the men who will be attending this retreat.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Holy Day on January 1

Reminder - Jan. 1 is the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God and it is a Holy Day of Obligation.

We will have a vigil Mass at 5:30 on the 31st and a 5:30 Mass on Jan 1 as well.

Mary pray for us.


Humans are enthralled with power. We desire to have control over our own lives and many of us want control over others. Christianity turns power upside down. "The last shall be first and the first shall be last." "If you wish to be my disciples, take up your cross and follow after me." "When I am weak, then I am strong." We know that the search for power is ultimately a search for that which we cannot control and will never truly attain.

Yet, we still crave it.
We still grasp for it.

This is where humility guides the Christian, little do I know about the subject. Humility is the foundation for all other virtues and ultimately our own happiness. In finding that we are not in control, we release the desire for power and allow God to control things. We understand that we are human, God is God, and we will never be like Him. Humility gives us the perspective we all need to be truly human.

But power draws us in and so we label others as more powerful than us and we seek it out. We want to associate with others with power. We are proud that the US is a powerful country. We are boastful of the power of friends and family. We even seek it in delicate ways of trying to control the most fundamental of all things - the creation of life itself - by contracepting ourselves into a position of seeming power.

It is all for naught. Christ taught that the meek, humble, poor and suffering were blessed and so they are.

So, what are we to make of the lists of power that society likes to read, such as Newsweek's top 50 most powerful people in the world? Note: I think lists such as these don't mean much - it is a subjective process that is flawed (Bloomberg at 36? Not any NY bias there, huh? They also put Jeff Bezos on the list and lost me), but it tells us something about our society's preoccupation with power.

We find Pope Benedict XVI on the list at #37. It really matters not where he is, because while he certainly has authority, it is unlike any other power the others on the list have (the next closest being the Dalai Lama). The Pope does not reside over doctrine as a president does over policy decisions. The Pope doesn't search for growth in the economy as the big CEOs of companies do. Rather, the Pope's authority is as a shepherd who is pastoring the flock for Christ. He still answers to a much higher power.
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs." He then said to him a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep." He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, "Do you love me?" and he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." (Jesus) said to him, "Feed my sheep. - John 21: 15-17


Death will come for all of us one day. It came for a wife, mother, and Catholic columnist / blogger on Christmas Eve at the age of 40. In her suffering she wrote about the struggle, the guilt, the fear, the frustration and the battle with cancer she was going through. In it all she found wisdom and the presence of God. Her name was Emilie Lemmons, hence the name Lemmondrops for her blog.

I recommend her writing to you. It is sad, but there is something to be learned from sadness. Life happens in the midst of it.
She asked her husband to put these words on her blog after she died:
"And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?

I did.

And what did you want?

To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth."

— Raymond Carver
God rest her soul and comfort her family and friends.
Tip o' the hat to Amy.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Prayer Requests

Please pray for these intentions:
  • Friends who have a family of five and were about four months pregnant with number four when the child died in-utero.
  • A co-worker and friend whose very sick mother died last night.
  • Peace in Gaza, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other war-torn parts of our world.
  • Those held in slavery and those who hold them in bondage.
  • Victims of abortion, genocide, euthanasia, cloning, fetal stem cell research and other manipulations and abuses of human life.
  • For our ministry at St. Mary's.
  • Families.
  • Our leaders.
  • The Pope's intentions.

The Breviary for IPhone and IPod

If you pray the liturgy of the hours and have an IPhone or IPod, this might interest you. It has made the rounds on the blogosphere and has been featured in several news sites and magazines. So, you heard it here last! But, I decided to post it after Fr. Paolo Padrini sent me this email:

I'd like to offer this story on my application that brings the prayer on iPhone.
I believe that prayer is Christian and Catholic from spreading. You wonder why you can publish the news and if you can spread it to your friends on the blog.


fr. Paolo Padrini

Sacred texts: Vatican embraces iTunes prayer book
5 days ago

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican is endorsing new technology that brings the book of daily prayers used by priests straight onto iPhones.

The Vatican's Pontifical Council for Social Communications is embracing the iBreviary, an iTunes application created by a technologically savvy Italian priest, the Rev. Paolo Padrini, and an Italian Web designer.

The application includes the Breviary prayer book — in Italian, English, Spanish, French and Latin and, in the near future, Portuguese and German. Another section includes the prayers of the daily Mass, and a third contains various other prayers.

After a free trial period in which the iBreviary was downloaded approximately 10,000 times in Italy, an official version was released earlier this month, Padrini said.

The application costs euro0.79 ($1.10), while upgrades will be free. Padrini's proceeds are going to charity.Monsignor Paul Tighe, secretary of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Social Communications, praised the new application Monday, saying the Church "is learning to use the new technologies primarily as a tool or as a mean of evangelizing, as a way of being able to share its own message with the world."

Pope Benedict XVI, a classical music lover who was reportedly given an iPod in 2006, has sought to reach out to young people through new media. During last summer's World Youth Day in Sydney, Australia, he sent out mobile phone text messages citing scripture to thousands of registered pilgrims — signed with the tagline "BXVI."
A priest who wants publicity...who can say no?

The Apostles

Not THE apostles, but rather, The Apostles of the Interior Life - an Italian religious order who has four sisters here at St. Mary's - was featured in an article in the Lawrence, Kansas paper and then picked up by Rocco. A&M got a quick mention.

Christmas with the Pope

Rocco posted a nice video of highlights from Christmas Mass with Pope Benedict XVI.

A quote:
"Only if people change will the world change and in order to change people need the light that comes from God. The light that so unexpectedly entered into our night."

Smaller Than a Grain of Sand

I have seen this posted on several websites, but haven't posted it until now.
This is quite an amazing feat - carvings smaller than a grain of sand. What a gift and yet what a lot of pain this man is feeling. I have mixed emotions - empathy for him and his pain and suffering he expresses and yet I am confused. He sold his collection for $20 million and uses the time on international T.V. to complain about his teachers. I am perplexed. Nonetheless, gifted, strange and interesting all rolled into one. Enjoy.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Great Story of Faith

This is one of the best stories I have read in a long time. Read and enjoy.

They played the oddest game in high school football history last month down in Grapevine, Texas.

It was Grapevine Faith vs. Gainesville State School and everything about it was upside down. For instance, when Gainesville came out to take the field, the Faith fans made a 40-yard spirit line for them to run through.

Did you hear that? The other team's fans?

They even made a banner for players to crash through at the end. It said, "Go Tornadoes!" Which is also weird, because Faith is the Lions.

It was rivers running uphill and cats petting dogs. More than 200 Faith fans sat on the Gainesville side and kept cheering the Gainesville players on—by name.

"I never in my life thought I'd hear people cheering for us to hit their kids," recalls Gainesville's QB and middle linebacker, Isaiah. "I wouldn't expect another parent to tell somebody to hit their kids. But they wanted us to!"

And even though Faith walloped them 33-14, the Gainesville kids were so happy that after the game they gave head coach Mark Williams a sideline squirt-bottle shower like he'd just won state. Gotta be the first Gatorade bath in history for an 0-9 coach.

But then you saw the 12 uniformed officers escorting the 14 Gainesville players off the field and two and two started to make four. They lined the players up in groups of five—handcuffs ready in their back pockets—and marched them to the team bus. That's because Gainesville is a maximum-security correctional facility 75 miles north of Dallas. Every game it plays is on the road.

This all started when Faith's head coach, Kris Hogan, wanted to do something kind for the Gainesville team. Faith had never played Gainesville, but he already knew the score. After all, Faith was 7-2 going into the game, Gainesville 0-8 with 2 TDs all year. Faith has 70 kids, 11 coaches, the latest equipment and involved parents. Gainesville has a lot of kids with convictions for drugs, assault and robbery—many of whose families had disowned them—wearing seven-year-old shoulder pads and ancient helmets.

So Hogan had this idea. What if half of our fans—for one night only—cheered for the other team? He sent out an email asking the Faithful to do just that. "Here's the message I want you to send:" Hogan wrote. "You are just as valuable as any other person on planet Earth."

Some people were naturally confused. One Faith player walked into Hogan's office and asked, "Coach, why are we doing this?"

And Hogan said, "Imagine if you didn't have a home life. Imagine if everybody had pretty much given up on you. Now imagine what it would mean for hundreds of people to suddenly believe in you."

Next thing you know, the Gainesville Tornadoes were turning around on their bench to see something they never had before. Hundreds of fans. And actual cheerleaders!

"I thought maybe they were confused," said Alex, a Gainesville lineman (only first names are released by the prison). "They started yelling 'DEE-fense!' when their team had the ball. I said, 'What? Why they cheerin' for us?'"

It was a strange experience for boys who most people cross the street to avoid. "We can tell people are a little afraid of us when we come to the games," says Gerald, a lineman who will wind up doing more than three years. "You can see it in their eyes. They're lookin' at us like we're criminals. But these people, they were yellin' for us! By our names!"

Maybe it figures that Gainesville played better than it had all season, scoring the game's last two touchdowns. Of course, this might be because Hogan put his third-string nose guard at safety and his third-string cornerback at defensive end. Still.

After the game, both teams gathered in the middle of the field to pray and that's when Isaiah surprised everybody by asking to lead. "We had no idea what the kid was going to say," remembers Coach Hogan. But Isaiah said this: "Lord, I don't know how this happened, so I don't know how to say thank You, but I never would've known there was so many people in the world that cared about us."

And it was a good thing everybody's heads were bowed because they might've seen Hogan wiping away tears.

As the Tornadoes walked back to their bus under guard, they each were handed a bag for the ride home—a burger, some fries, a soda, some candy, a Bible and an encouraging letter from a Faith player.

The Gainesville coach saw Hogan, grabbed him hard by the shoulders and said, "You'll never know what your people did for these kids tonight. You'll never, ever know."

And as the bus pulled away, all the Gainesville players crammed to one side and pressed their hands to the window, staring at these people they'd never met before, watching their waves and smiles disappearing into the night.

Anyway, with the economy six feet under and Christmas running on about three and a half reindeer, it's nice to know that one of the best presents you can give is still absolutely free.


Friday, December 26, 2008

Our Lady of Sorrows - Africa

I have found another area of the Church's life that I am quite ignorant of - the less-popular Marian apparitions. While I have never had a huge personal devotion to any of the Marian apparitions, I have always had a devotion to Mary. I pray the rosary daily, I talk to her frequently, and I am consecrated to her via St. Louis de Monfort's method of consecration.

Yet, none of the apparitions have appealed to me spiritually. Don't get me wrong. I have asked for prayers from Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Lourdes, and Our Lady of Fatima. But, never have I read long books about them or developed a great devotion to them and that is okay with me. Not every spirituality must have this kind of devotion.

Then today, I found one apparition that is quite amazing to me - The Marian Apparition of Our Lady of Sorrows in Kibeho, Rwanda. What amazes me about it is that three of the visionaries have had their apparitions approved by the Vatican and that the visionaries predicted the Rwanda genocides years before they happened. This is the only fully-approved apparition, with miracles and messages, to have happened in Africa.

To read more, check out Our Lady of Kibeho by Immaculee Ilibagiza.
Nov 28th is the feast day and anniversary of the first apparition.

Living Beyond Your Means

It is easy to whip out the credit card and charge your purchases. But, is is smart? Not if you are carrying a balance from month-to-month. Many of the bad spending habits start in college. I beg you, if you are a college student, to get a budget going and stick to it. Why? For these reasons:
  • If you get into credit card debt in college you most likely won't get out of it anytime soon.
  • The habits you start now can carry into the rest of your life - good or bad.
  • Stewardship of your money is very important. The money isn't your own, it belongs to God.
  • Living beyond your means is a bad way to go through life. Debt handing over your head can be stressful and keep you from being able to purchase a home or save money later.
  • If college students aren't a cash cow for credit card companies, then why would they give you free stuff to sign up? Why are they constantly sending you junk mail? Why are you their #1 target audience?
So, just say no to credit cards.
If you can't pay for it in cash - say no.
If you can't afford it, you don't "need" it - even if you really want it.
Otherwise, you will join these statistics:
  • The average credit card debt owed by college students is about $2,700.
  • About 10 percent owed more than $7,000!
  • Students held an average of three separate credit cards
  • 78 percent of students had at least one credit card
  • 32 percent of students had four or more credit cards
  • 95 percent of graduate students carried credit cards
Think of it like this. If I told you I would pay for your $500 computer and you just have to pay me about $10-$20 a month - with small interest rate of 15% - it will take you 74 months and you will have paid me $258.03 in interest.
Good for me - bad for you. That is just the beginning. Credit card debt is stupid.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Role Models

I don't think there are very many men who play professional sports that I would want my kids looking up to. But, after reading this article, I found one more. Kurt Warner. I want to point out just a few quotes that struck me.
Warner has one hand on the steering wheel and the other buried in a carton of french fries when the conversation turns to how he's perceived. He knows what some people think -- that he's a do-no-wrong perfectionist who doesn't curse, doesn't drink and lives this straight-laced, holier-than-thou life.

And in a way, he understands. That's what happens when you talk about Jesus, mention God or explain your selfless ways by professing your faith. That's what happens when you pass out football cards that in bold, red letters proclaim: "Read The Bible -- Attend Church -- Pray to God -- Tell Others About Jesus." And that's what happens when, after winning the Super Bowl MVP award, you stand on the biggest stage of your life and begin a postgame interview by saying, "First things first, I've got to thank my Lord and Savior above."
A man who isn't afraid of his God is my kind of Christian.

"Now he's reading that we shouldn't have premarital sex, we shouldn't drink in excess or be drunk," Brenda Warner said. "He's finding all these things and calling me on it. So we had to make changes. He wanted to get our lives right. He decided no sex for the year until we were married. Who does that? Who goes back? But he found that in the Bible and wanted to live that way.

"He made the decision that if he was going to do this, it would be all the way, it wouldn't be pick and choose like I was doing."

He isn't perfect, but he works on his problems. But, it comes with a price:

"I've heard it all," McCown said. "Holy Roller, Bible thumper. And then there are the guys who don't want to be around him because they feel like he's judging them, which is hilarious because people will say that and Kurt's never said a word to them. There are even fellow Christians who roll their eyes because it bothers them."

Said Warner: "I think a lot of times where people see they're insufficient or lacking in certain areas they feel they're being judged even when they're not. And they condemn themselves more than anyone else does. But that's part of it. That's part of this stigma, this preconceived idea of who I am."

These two quotes are very telling of his life:

"By understanding what my priorities are and never wavering, that's how you influence people," Warner said. "It isn't standing on my chair with a Bible and yelling out scripture or condemning people for being sinners. It's about living your life with a certain sense of excellence. And when people start to scratch their heads and wonder what it is that makes me different, that's when I tell them the answer is Jesus. And then I let him do the hard work."


And he can never escape the everyday roller coaster of being a father of seven. There's the fourth-grader who hasn't turned in his past three book reports, the 16-year-old who just found out she got accepted into NYU and the 3-year-old who is tugging on his pants begging for money to stuff into her change purse.

Yet every time the Warners go out to eat, they ask their kids to select one family in the restaurant to anonymously buy dinner for. They ask their kids to tell them the eye color of any guests to their home, making sure that they've made eye contact when introducing themselves. There are 38 pictures of the Warner kids that cover the walls of the family home gym. Warner won't go on an extended vacation with Brenda because he can't stand to leave his kids for more than a couple of days.

And then there are those 106 overstuffed Christmas stockings lining the entryway to the Warners' home, filled with socks, toothbrushes, lotions, Tic Tacs, chewing gum and $150 gift cards.

No matter how much people argue, Warner is not your usual guy.
Sounds like a good man. A good Christian man.

Feliz Navidad

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pope to Curia

The Pope gives an annual address to the Curia officials as a "Christmas Message". This message was translated by Teresa Benedetta into English and I highly recommend a thorough reading of it. Go here and scroll down to the post titled "The Pope's Christmas Message to the Roman Curia".

Here is a good report by John Allen on the highlights.

UPDATE: There is a lot of mainline press on this presentation because some think the Pope is anti-homosexual when he defends marriage. I dare anyone to read what he said and then come to the same conclusion. Silly. Notice he is defending the Church's teaching. Not demeaning any person.

A few quotes about World Youth Day, and some of the criticisms about it:
The phenomenon of the World Youth Days, particularly, has become increasingly an object of analysis, by those who seek to understand this particular species, one might say, of youth culture.

Before this, Australia had never seen as many people from all the other continents as during the last World Youth Day in Sydney, not even during the Olympics. And if earlier, there had been apprehensions that the appearance of such great numbers of young people would represent a threat to public order, paralyze traffic, block daily activities, provoke violence and make room for drug use, all such fears were proven to be unfounded.

It was a feast of joy - a joy that ultimately involved even those who were reluctant. Ultimately, no one felt it as an annoyance or a disturbance.

The days of the youth became a feast for everyone. Or rather, it was the first time everyone realized what a feast is, a celebration - an event during which everyone is, so to speak, outside himself, beyond the self, and therefore, truly with oneself and with others.

What then is the nature of what takes place during World Youth Day? What are the forces that act? Fashionable analyses tend to consider WYD as a variant of modern youth culture, as a type of rock festival modified in the ecclesial sense, with the Pope as somewhat of a star; and that with or without faith, these festivals would basically be the same thing. In this way, such analyses would do away with the question of God.

There are even Catholic voices who share this tendency, seeing WYD as a great spectacle, beautiful even, but with little meaning for the question of faith, and on the presence of the Gospel in our time. They would consider them days of festive ecstasy which, in the end, would leave everything just as before, without making any deep influence on life. Thus, they can find no explanation for the specialness of those days and the particular nature of their joy, the creative power of communion.

But first of all, one must note that the World Youth Days do not simply consist of that one week during which the events are publicly visible to the whole world. There is a long exterior and interior path that leads to them.

The Cross, accompanied by the Icon of the Mother of the Lord, goes on pilgrimage through the countries of the world. Faith, in its own way, needs to be seen and touched.

The encounter with the Cross, which is carried and touched by the faithful, becomes an interior encounter with Him who died on the Cross for us. The encounter with the Cross inspires within the hearts of young people the memory of the God who made himself man and suffers with us. And we see the woman whom he has given us to be our Mother.

The solemn WYD days are only the culmination of a long road along which young people proceed to encounter each other and to encounter Christ.

In Australia, it was not by chance that the Via Crucis through the inner city became a climactic event of those days. It synthesized once more all that had happened in preceding years and called attention to him who brings us all together - the God who loved us to the point of death on the Cross.

And so, the Pope is not the star around which these events take place. He is totally and only the Vicar [of Christ]. He points to the Other who is among us.

Finally, the solemn Liturgy is the center of all the celebration, because in it, what we cannot realize takes place, that for which we are always in wait. He is present. He is among us. He has torn open the heavens and this makes the earth bright. It is this that makes life joyous and open, and that unites us with one another in a joy that cannot be compared to the ecstasy of a rock festival.

Friedrich Nietzsche once said: "The problem is not how to organize a feast, but to find the persons who are able to enjoy it". According to Scripture, joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (cfr Gal 5,22): this fruit was abundantly perceptible in the days at Sydney.

Just as a long road precedes every World Youth Day, another long road follows. Friendships are formed which inspire a different lifestyle that is interiorly sustained. The great World Youth Days, not least of all, have the purpose of inspiring such friendships capable of making new places of faith emerge in the world, which are also places of hope, and of charity that is practised and lived.
Notice that Pope Benedict can use just about any thinker to his advantage (Nietzsche anyone?).
He then moved on to creation, ecology, spirituality, sexuality and being stewards of it all:
First of all, there is the affirmation that comes to us from the start of the story of Creation, which tells of the Creator Spirit that moved over the waters, created the world and continuously renews it.

Faith in the Creator Spirit is an essential element of the Christian Creed. The fact that matter has a mathematical structure, is full of spirit (energy), is the foundation of the modern science of nature.

Only because matter is structured intelligently, our mind is able to interpret it and actively remodel it. The fact that this intelligent structure comes from the same Creator Spirit that also gave us our spirit, implies a task and a responsibility.

The ultimate basis of our responsibility towards the earth is our faith in creation. The earth is not simply a property that we can exploit according to our interests and desires. It is a gift of the Creator who designed its intrinsic order, and through this, has given us the orientative indications to follow as administrators of his Creation.

The fact that the earth, the cosmos, mirror the Creator Spirit also means that their rational structure - which beyond their mathematical structure, become almost palpable through experimentation - carries in itself an ethical orientation.

The Spirit that shaped them is more than mathematics - it is Goodness itself, which, through the language of creation, shows us the road to correct living.

Since faith in the Creator is an essential part of the Christian Creed, the Church cannot and should not limit itself to transmitting to its faithful only the message of salvation. She has a responsibility for Creation, and it should validate this responsibility in public.

In so doing, it should defend not just the earth, water and air as gifts of Creation that belong to everyone. She should also protect man from destroying himself.

It is necessary to have something like an ecology of man, understood in the right sense. It is not outdated metaphysics when the Church speaks of the nature of the human being as man and woman, and asks that this natural order be respected.

This has to do with faith in the Creator and listening to the language of creation, which, if disregarded, would be man's self-destruction and therefore a destruction of God's work itself.

That which has come to be expressed and understood with the term 'gender' effectively results in man's self-emancipation from Creation (nature) and from the Creator. Man wants to do everything by himself and to decide always and exclusively about anything that concerns him personally. But this is to live against truth, to live against the Spirit Creator.

The tropical rain forests deserve our protection, yes, but man does not deserve it less as a Creature of the Spirit himself, in whom is inscribed a message that does not mean a contradiction of human freedom but its condition.

The great theologians of Scholasticism described matrimony - which is the lifelong bond between a man and a woman - as a sacrament of Creation, that the Creator himself instituted, and that Christ, without changing the message of Creation, welcomed in the story of his alliance with men.

Part of the announcement that the Church should bring to men is a testimonial for the Spirit Creator present in all of nature, but specially in the nature of man, who was created in the image of God.

One must reread the encyclical Humanae vitae with this perspective: the intention of Pope Paul VI was to defend love against consumer sex, the future against the exclusive claim of the moment, and human nature against manipulation.
I skipped a lot, but he ends with this:
An integral part of celebration is joy. The feast iself can be organized, but not joy. This can only be received as a gift. In fact, it is given to us in abundance, and for this, we are grateful.

Just as St. Paul describes joy as the fruit of the Holy Spirit, so too, John in his Gospel, links the Spirit and joy closely. The Holy Spirit gives us joy. He is joy itself. Joy is the gift in which all the other gifts are contained. It is the expression of happiness, of being in harmony with oneself, which can only be achieved by being in harmony with God and his creation.

Part of the nature of joy is to radiate itself, the need to communicate itself. The missionary spirit of the Church is nothing but the impulse to communicate the joy that has been given to us.

That such joy may always be alive in us and thus irradiate the world in its tribulations - that is my wish at the end of this year. Along with a sincere gratitude for all your efforts and work, I wish that this joy which comes from God may be given to us abundantly in the New Year.

Masterful...go read it all.

Prayer Request

I have a friend who is pregnant who had to be rushed to the hospital this morning. Please keep her and her baby in your prayers. Things are very serious.

God please rain your mercy on them!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Good People

There are a more people trying to do the right thing than we think there are sometimes. My friend works for TXDOT (Texas Department of Transportation) and is a traffic engineer. When his own agency gave the green light to a project that he and two of his colleagues did not think was safe, he spoke up. Too bad he wasn't listened to, because the Dallas news got hold of it.

"Hokey Pokey" is Anti-Catholic in Origin

Interesting story from Scotland taught me something I didn't know. Here is the story:

Catholic leaders say Hokey Cokey is 'faith hate'

A spokesman for Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland said the song – most often heard at kids parties and family gatherings – has "disturbing origins".

They claim the tune was composed by Puritans during the 18th century in an attempt to

Now politicians have urged police to arrest anyone using the song to "taunt" Catholics under legislation designed to prevent incitement to religious hatred.

Peter Kearney, a spokesman for Cardinal O'Brien, leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, said: "This song does have quite disturbing origins. It was devised as an attack on, and a parody of, the Catholic mass.

"If there are moves to restore its more malevolent meaning then consideration should perhaps be given to its wider use."

According to the Church, the song's title derives from "hocus pocus". The phrase is said to be a Puritan satire on the Latin hoc est enim corpus meum, or "this is my body", used by Catholic priests to accompany the transubstantiation during mass.

But football fans and opposition politicians have blasted the claims, describing them as "utter nonsense".

Murdo Fraser, deputy leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, said: "I can't believe Scottish children performing the 'Hokey Cokey' are doing so in pursuit of any sort of anti-Catholic agenda."
I don't think anyone needs to be arrested, but apparently the story is true - that the Hokey Cokey (known as the Hokey Pokey in the USA) did originate with Anti-Catholic overtones (yes, I know that wikipedia is not an authoritative source). Apparently the overtones didn't make it across the Atlantic and through time, because I know of no Catholic who knew of this in the USA.

I do like the headlines some papers are using - "Do the Hokey Cokey and You End Up In the Pokey".

The People

The People of California have voted to keep marriage as one man and one woman. But, those who want to reinvent marriage won't go down easy. Now they want to ignore the vote or I should say, invalidate it, by declaring it unconstitutional.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Pope Says Church Must Be on Internet

I agree. The Church must use technology to advance the Gospel message. I also think the Vatican needs to do a better job of it.

They need to have more video online, podcasts, upload to YouTube and other such sites, etc. Blanket the internet with good stuff and more and more people have the opportunity to hear the fullness of truth in the Church.

Friday, December 19, 2008


This English Bishop is wrong. Here's a list of the things Bishop Conry says in an interview:

1. The Church's teaching on birth control "could be wrong" and is not infallible. Asked if Humanae Vitae was a mistake, he says: "I don't know."

2. "You can't talk to young people about salvation," says the bishop, because that concept means nothing to them. Instead, talk in their language - for example, about saving the planet.

3. Asked if frequent confession is a a good idea, he replies: "No, because my own experience when we had Confession every day at St Chad's Cathedral in Birmingham was that regular penitents came back with exactly the same words week after week. So there you would say, actually, there is no conversion taking place."

4. He insists that Summorum Pontificum is not intended to provide ordinary Sunday Tridentine Masses. He paraphrases the Pope as saying: "Have it [the traditional Mass] but not as part of your standard Sunday repertoire."

Wrong on all accounts.

1 - The Church is completely right in this regard.

2 - Wrong. Young people want to hear about salvation more than anything else. One example.

3 - Frequent confession leads to conversion, not staying away from confession and remaining in sin.

4 - That isn't what the document says.

Not good, not at all.


Have you ever read an article that was a complete waste of time, money and energy? I just did. I would equate this article, entitled "Pope More Likely To Die After Wales Won Grand Slam", with the reasoning some sports fans use to show just how good their teams are. For instance - in the 2008 college football season:

--Texas A&M beat Colorado who beat West Virginia who beat Auburn who beat Mississippi State who beat Vanderbilt who beat Ole Miss who beat Florida...and therefore - A&M is as good as Florida and should be playing for the national championship.

Lojik iz hardd.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Weird News

Weird News headlines:
Fast-Food Worker Laughs, Tells Robber To Get A Job.
Egyptian Offers Daughter to Iraqi Shoe-Thrower.
Answering the Call of Nature in the Nativity.
Airplane Hits Cow During Landing

Another Great Christmas Song

Mary Did You Know sung by Kathy Mattea. Written by Mark Lowry.

One of My Favorites

A great Christmas Song from Mary's point of view.
Breath of Heaven - Amy Grant (I am not a fan, but this is her best).

What do Kids Want?

From a survey of kids in Great Britain:
  • Kids want to ban divorce.
  • They think being fat is the worst thing in the world.
  • They know more about Simon Cowell than God.
  • They would get rid of bullying.
This tells me that broken homes and self image issues aren't going away anytime soon. That parents have abdicated their responsibility to teach their kids the most important things.

Sad. Pray for our kids. They are the future.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Should Christians Seek Conversion of Non-Christians?

Seems like a simple answer to me - yes.

But, some don't find it quite so simple.
Clearly, some don't understand the purpose of the Church - which is to evangelize.

Abortion Bailout Package

This is quite frightening. Inside Catholic has a story about how the abortion lobby has a plan to get $3 billion out of the government for their groups and stop funding all groups who oppose them. Here is the heart of the matter:
Go to, the Web site of President-elect Barack Obama, and you'll find a document titled "Advancing Reproductive Rights and Health in a New Administration." Signed by dozens of pro-abortion groups, including Catholics for Choice, this 55-page document provides an overview of the marching orders for the Obama administration in removing all present restrictions on abortions while dramatically increasing abortion funding.
Anyone who has bought into the myth that Obama is "moderating" his positions should notice that the first section is titled "Steps for the First Hundred Days." The groups that have spent millions supporting pro-abortion members of Congress, including Obama and Vice-President elect Joe Biden, aren't in the mood to wait.
Many of the recommendations are about who gets government support. The pro-abortion groups not only want more money -- nearly $3 billion -- but they also want the government to stop funding groups who do not share their ideology.
For example, notice the following four recommendations out of the many contained in the document:
· Provide $1 Billion for International Family Planning Programs
· Restore Funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
· Increase Funding for Title X Family Planning Program to $700 million
· De-fund Abstinence-Only Programs
Taken together, the proposed policies would accomplish three things: 1) treat abortion as a health care right, 2) provide funding for abortions by insurance carriers or the government, and 3) put judges and political appointees in place who will protect abortion and government funding from future challenges.
Included in the document is a complete list of vacancies in the Federal Circuit Courts and a two-page list of federal appointees who should be vetted closely on their support for the abortion right. The bulk of these positions are found in the Department of Health and Human Services, the Justice Department, the State Department, and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
The billions being demanded for abortion funding will eventually flow unimpeded through these channels.
The Susan B. Anthony List has an action plan to oppose it all.
NARAL - one of the most extreme pro-abortion groups is now trying to get hospitals which refuse to offer chemical abortions in trouble.

Another Bishop Blogging

Bishop Robert Lynch from St. Petersburg has a blog entitled "For His Friends" and he is posting frequently. He began the blog the same time the diocese stopped publishing the Diocesan newspaper and moved to more modern publications. Check it out.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Planned Parenthood Caught AGAIN

This is going to break Planned Parenthood wide open if they keep getting caught breaking the law. Below is the second video in what is titled "The Mona Lisa Project" of having undercover girls expose Planned Parenthood. You might remember this video I posted a while back. Well, on the same day, another clinic hid a rape too. Trouble for PP.


Before you watch the video, read this explanation from the guys at CMR.
Greetings!As you know, I am a medical mess, and I am medically disabled by poor health. I live in a Residence for Senior/Retired Priests. There is a Deacon who works here as the Coordinator of Senior Priests Services. He and I are the same age, and share a wicked sense of humor. We frequently have a lot of laughs. The mini-movie you'll find at the link below is evidence of what a medication-induced insomniac priest does during the wee hours of the night. It is a combination of model building, comedy and movie making. It was my "top secret project" for about a month as I worked on it on and off. The whole project was based on a running joke that the Deacon and I have had, concerning the older priests drag racing down the hallways on their scooters. It's all meant as a lot of good natured fun. Hope it will give you a few chuckles.
Father Jim

A bit strange, but not bad for a first video.

Diocese of Phoenix and Fr. Dale

The Diocese of Phoenix released a statement yesterday:

Re: The excommunication of Dale Fushek and Mark Dippre

December 15, 2008-The Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix, has issued a Decree of Excommunication to Reverend Monsignor Dale Fushek and Reverend Mark Dippre.
Fushek and Dippre have incurred the censure of excommunication because they have chosen to be in schism with the Catholic Church by establishing and leading an opposing ecclesial community known to the public as the Praise and Worship Center. Both priests have consistently refused to comply with explicit directions by Bishop Olmsted to discontinue engaging in public ministry. The excommunications were incurred after repeated offers of reconciliation were ignored. The decree of excommunication by Bishop Olmsted declares the censure that Fushek and Dippre, as ordained priests, have brought upon themselves. The purpose of these sanctions is to reconcile both men with the Catholic Church and to preserve the integrity and unity of the Diocese.
As excommunicated priests, Fushek and Dippre cannot participate in the celebration of the sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist or in any other ceremonies of worship. They are also prohibited from celebrating or receiving any of the sacraments. In addition, they forfeit the benefits of dignity, office, or any function that they had previously acquired in the Catholic Church.
Bishop Olmsted continues to express his grave concern for Catholics who may be misled or confused by the actions of Dale Fushek and Mark Dippre. The Diocese of Phoenix does not endorse the actions of these excommunicated priests and we encourage Catholics to refrain from attending or supporting the Praise and Worship Center. We remind Catholics that the ultimate form of praise and worship is and always will be the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and we urge them to keep the Mass as the center of their lives. There is no substitution for the graces received at Mass and no prayer more edifying.

Peace and grace be with Fr. Dale and all who have separated themselves from the grace of the Sacraments.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sad News

From LifeTeen:

Important Update from Randy Raus, Life Teen President

Dear Friends in Ministry,

I pray this letter finds you well. Thanks for all you do for teens.

I am writing to let you know some sad news. The Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix, has issued a Decree of Excommunication to one of the Life Teen founders – Reverend Monsignor Dale Fushek. He incurred the censure of excommunication because he has chosen to be in schism with the Catholic Church by establishing and leading an opposing ecclesial community known to the public as the Praise and Worship Center.

This excommunication is not connected in any way with the ministry of Life Teen, as all of the actions that led to this occurred after Rev. Dale Fushek’s involvement with our ministry. Further, I want to make it clear that Life Teen is in no way associated with his new venture.

Even though it has been almost four years since he has been directly involved with the movement of Life Teen, the media continues to associate Rev. Dale Fushek with Life Teen. While we continue to pray for Rev. Dale Fushek, the movement of Life Teen is in full support of Bishop Olmsted and Diocese of Phoenix in this matter.

Life Teen continues to faithfully and enthusiastically serve the Roman Catholic Church in complete obedience to the Magisterium and strict fidelity to Church teachings.

Our 2009 theme for Life Teen is “Heroic Virtue.” With the focus of living the virtues, through the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary, we continue to pray for your ministry with teens. Likewise, we pray for all who played a part in our movement over the past two decades. We wish to thank all our Life Teen family from around the world who continue to support our mission of leading teenagers and their families closer to Christ in communion with the Roman Catholic Church.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. May we all stay focused on the mission of leading teens closer to Christ!


Randy Raus

Life Teen President / CEO

Pray for Fr. Dale and LifeTeen.
For more on excommunication, read this. It isn't what a lot of people think it is.


I posted the following video back in September and I haven't decide which is more frightening:
1 - The song/video itself or
2 - That the band was Catholic and one of the members became a priest.

Sonseed was formed at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Brooklyn
Oh. My.
Thanks for the info one Carl.

FOCA Postcard Campaign

From The Diocese of Austin.
Attention: Clergy and Pro-Life Coordinators

In regards to the opposition of the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA)

During this Christmas season, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, we are in awe of how God became one of us, humbling Himself to the point of being a child, vulnerable before and after birth. We are reminded that every life is precious and deserves protection from conception to natural death.

We are facing a serious threat to pro-life policies in the “Freedom of Choice Act.” This bill if passed would create a right to abortion the government could not limit and bring about a national abortion policy far worse than the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. For the first time, abortion would be an entitlement the government must fund and promote. Citizens would lose the freedom they have now to enact even modest regulation of the abortion industry. This bill would override state regulations in regard to abortions. Parents would no longer have the right to be involved in their minor daughter’s abortion decision and state’s would be forced to allow partial-birth abortions.

In order to make our opposition to the Freedom of Choice Act heard, the Diocese of Austin is participating in a national postcard campaign. Postcards will be sent to our senators and representatives after the inauguration of our president. The target day for this event is the weekend of Jan. 24-25, 2009. You will soon receive information on how to order postcards for your parish, how they might be distributed and mailed and resources for promoting and educating in regards to this campaign. Now is the time to begin preparing for this campaign.

Thank you for your commitment to uphold the dignity of life.
I hope many other dioceses, parishes and organization will also take part.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Nativity

Not the way you remember it though...

Tip o' The Hat to CMR


There are a lot of offensive things in our culture. But, this might be one of the most offensive things I have ever seen. The Mexican edition of Playboy magazine's most recent cover had a model posing as Mary. It was released last Thursday, the day before the feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe. The title read "We Adore You, Mary".
Fox News has the story.

Oh, how our culture needs a cleansing.
Oh, how we need the Theology of the Body to take root.

UPDATE: Playboy has issued an apology for "offending". When will they apologize for the smut they peddle, the culture they helped to change for the worse, the marriages ruined, etc.?

Oh, Holy Night

Another good one:

Saturday, December 13, 2008


Want to hear another statistic about the pornification of our culture?
22 percent of all teen girls say they have electronically sent, or posted online, nude or semi-nude images of themselves.
And of course these things don't stay private long.
One-third (33 percent) of teen boys and one-quarter (25 percent) of teen girls say they have had nude/semi-nude images — originally meant to be private — shared with them.
Not a good idea for more than the reason above.

Carol of Bells

One of my favorites:

Friday, December 12, 2008

CDF Issues New and IMPORTANT Document

This document should be read by everyone in the Church. It is a titled Dignitas Personae (The Dignity of the Person) and is about bioethics. In this day where lines are blurred and people very confused about life and death issues being practiced in the medical field, this is sorely needed.

The USCCB has it up in a PDF format with some Q&A and a news release.

Some of the issues discussed in the document include:
  • The life and dignity of unborn human beings
  • Fertility treatments
  • Infertility
  • Stem cell research
  • Embryo adoption
  • Pre-implantation drugs and devices
  • Gene therapy
  • Genetic enhancement/designer babies
  • Human/animal hybrid embryos
We need to be informed on this subject.

Avery Cardinal Dulles R.I.P.

Avery Cardinal Dulles, one of the greatest American theologians, died last night. His theological work, esp. his book the Models of the Church, have had a profound impact on the Church's thought. John Paul II raised him to a Cardinal because of his theological work.

May God rest his soul.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Don't Mess With Jesus (statue) and More

*Hey all you Nativity scene thieves. The owners of baby Jesus statues have gone high-tech and the police will be finding you using GPS devices and cameras. The Curt Jester is having a lot of fun with this one.

*On a more serious note. One study finds that 80% of women who get abortions suffer from depression.

*Congratulations to everyone who is done with the fall semester. I hope you all had fun celebrating in the snow yesterday. A special congratulations to all who are graduating this weekend. Our prayers are with you.

Spreading Ashes of the Deceased

Q - My wife and I recently had our wills done and both of us wish to be cremated upon our deaths. However, my wife now has told me she wants her ashes scattered somewhere because she says we are "only ashes" after death. I told her I would respect her wishes concerning cremation but that I cannot "scatter" her ashes since it is contrary to the teachings of our shared Catholic faith. What can I do to convince her of the sacredness of the human body?

A - Thanks for the question. I think you can explain the teachings of the Church to her, tell her (calmly) your issues with it, and then discuss it with her. If she believes that our bodies have no meaning after death, then she doesn't understand a Christian meaning of our bodies. Also, I don't understand why she would care what happens with her remains, because she believes them to have no meaning after death, when you do. Therefore, it seems to me, the logical conclusion would be the one that finds more meaning, (you who are still alive) would be the one to choose what happens.

If you can't come to an agreement I suggest you find a good and wise priest to discuss it with.

If you want to read what I have written previously about the Church's teachings on cremation, you can find it here and here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


It is snowing in College Station, TX. This is a very rare occurrence. Because of the snow and a staff planning day - no blogging.
But, I am going running in the snow now. Brrrrrr.

UPDATE: Snow pics - it is really coming down right now (at least for this part of TX).

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Santa and Daddy

Made me tear up. I can't imagine being away from my kids for that long.
Now time to go home.

Aggie Catholic = Thinkers

At least the typealyzer thinks so.

INTP - The Thinkers

The logical and analytical type. They are espescially attuned to difficult creative and intellectual challenges and always look for something more complex to dig into. They are great at finding subtle connections between things and imagine far-reaching implications.

They enjoy working with complex things using a lot of concepts and imaginative models of reality. Since they are not very good at seeing and understanding the needs of other people, they might come across as arrogant, impatient and insensitive to people that need some time to understand what they are talking about.
Of course they are crazy to think that anyone around here is arrogant, impatient or insensitive. But, what can I say? The typealyzer misspelled "especially".
Tip O' the Hat to Carl.

New Vatican Prefect

Rocco broke some news:
the Pope has named the primate of Spain, Cardinal Antonio CaƱizares Llovera of Toledo, as prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.

Dubbed the "Ratzingerino" -- the "Little Ratzinger" -- as a collaborator of the then-prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the 63 year-old prelate succeeds Cardinal Francis Arinze, who reached the retirement age of 75 in November 2007.
Interesting development. We might start to see some more twists and turns in the reform of the liturgy, the way PBXVI sees it happening under Llovera's watch.

Tune In

For all Sirius XM Radio listeners, I will be interviewed tomorrow morning on Seize the Day, which is hosted by Gus Lloyd.

I will be on at 8:30 central time (9:30 EST) for a 20 minute interview titled Catholic Evangelization: Fear Not.

If you want to listen but are not a subscriber, you can register for a free trial.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sabbath Rest

Q - What are the obligations of Catholic as regards resting from work on Sunday's and Holy Days. The Code of Canon Law says that on these days we are to "abstain from those works and affairs which hinder the worship to be rendered to God, the joy proper to the Lord's day, or the suitable relaxation of mind and body." What exactly does that mean?

A - Thanks for the question. You should be commended for caring about how you should observe a day of rest. Good for you! I know very few people who care to look up Canon Law, but be careful with it, because it is a foreign language for the uninitiated in parts of it.

Here is part of what the Catechism says about the Sabbath rest (it quotes Canon Law in part):

2184 Just as God "rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done," human life has a rhythm of work and rest. The institution of the Lord's Day helps everyone enjoy adequate rest and leisure to cultivate their familial, cultural, social, and religious lives.

2185 On Sundays and other holy days of obligation, the faithful are to refrain from engaging in work or activities that hinder the worship owed to God, the joy proper to the Lord's Day, the performance of the works of mercy, and the appropriate relaxation of mind and body. Family needs or important social service can legitimately excuse from the obligation of Sunday rest. The faithful should see to it that legitimate excuses do not lead to habits prejudicial to religion, family life, and health.

The charity of truth seeks holy leisure- the necessity of charity accepts just work.

2186 Those Christians who have leisure should be mindful of their brethren who have the same needs and the same rights, yet cannot rest from work because of poverty and misery. Sunday is traditionally consecrated by Christian piety to good works and humble service of the sick, the infirm, and the elderly. Christians will also sanctify Sunday by devoting time and care to their families and relatives, often difficult to do on other days of the week. Sunday is a time for reflection, silence, cultivation of the mind, and meditation which furthers the growth of the Christian interior life.

2187 Sanctifying Sundays and holy days requires a common effort. Every Christian should avoid making unnecessary demands on others that would hinder them from observing the Lord's Day. Traditional activities (sport, restaurants, etc.), and social necessities (public services, etc.), require some people to work on Sundays, but everyone should still take care to set aside sufficient time for leisure. With temperance and charity the faithful will see to it that they avoid the excesses and violence sometimes associated with popular leisure activities. In spite of economic constraints, public authorities should ensure citizens a time intended for rest and divine worship. Employers have a similar obligation toward their employees.

The first obligation is to rest spiritually. The best way to do this is to enter into communal worship in the Mass. It is an obligation, right, and privilege to worship God every Sunday.

Second, we are to rest our bodies from the everyday labor. This means, if possible, we should not work. There are some who must and so they do nothing wrong in doing so. We wouldn't want a firefighter to let someone's house burn as part of a Sabbath rest.

Third, we rest our minds from the business of life. We should turn our minds toward God. This means an increase in our prayer and meditation. A spiritual book can be a nice addition to the day. This rest helps us properly order the good things in our life. Work is a gift and a good thing, but not in comparison to the highest good - God. We also remember that God is really the one doing (and already completed it) the hard work for us.

So, our rest should be one of the entire person. This will look different for every person. For instance, a student with a big final the next day might not look very restful one week, while the professor who already wrote the exam might not do much of anything the same Sunday. The point is to keep God in proper order and our lives as well.

What you do in your particular circumstances, I cannot say. But, remember the purpose of the sabbath -
"The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath." Mark 2:27

Feast of the Immaculate Conception Today

Don't forget to go to Mass. Today is a Holy Day of Obligation.

For more on the Immaculate Conception and what it is all about, then here is one resource - Catholic Answers
The Immaculate Conception means that Mary, whose conception was brought about the normal way, was conceived without original sin or its stain—that’s what "immaculate" means: without stain. The essence of original sin consists in the deprivation of sanctifying grace, and its stain is a corrupt nature. Mary was preserved from these defects by God’s grace; from the first instant of her existence she was in the state of sanctifying grace and was free from the corrupt nature original sin brings.
We have mass at 12:05 and 5:30 here at St. Mary's.

Communion From Priest Only?

Q - Is it wrong for me to want to only receive communion from a priest? Am I being too scrupulous?

A - Thanks for the question. There is no Church law which says you must receive Communion from an extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. So, you are free to receive only from priest if you so choose.

That being said, I would offer a bit of advice for you.
  1. Make sure your focus is on the one who is truly doing the ministering and the one who is offering the sacrifice you receive - Christ. Not the human in front of you. During Mass the priest does act in persona Christi, but you don't go to Communion for the man, but Christ.
  2. If your conscience is bothering you I suggest you take this to confession or spiritual direction. It is not a major matter, but their guidance can help you.
  3. Scrupulosity in liturgical matters can keep us from truly entering into the Mass, so I am glad to see you have the right attitude about addressing it, but you shouldn't worry about this too much.