Friday, January 30, 2009

Christopher West

Tickets to Christopher West's presentation here at St. Mary's are on sale now.

Prayer Request

Please pray for safe travel for myself and for several students who are going to the Louisiana Catholic College Student Conference this weekend.

Pro-Life Politics

Two interesting pro-life political stories.

1 - Only 6 of 24 Catholic senators voted to try and stop money going for overseas abortions. Shameful.

2 - A good point made about whether the FOCA bill is somewhat of a distraction. Something to think about.

The Pope and a Lion

This is a great video of the Pope being presented with a lion cub.


Tip O' the Hat to AmP.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fair? No.

Another sign that major media outlets idea of "fair" or "balanced" isn't either.

Wow...you must read this

The Curt Jester pointed out a GREAT article about a pro-abortion, hedonist who turned into a pro-lifer and has to admit the obvious finally. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you read it all. Send it to friends. It has some rough language, but in the context I completely understand it.

Tidbits to get you to read the rest:

I have been on all sides of this issue for most of my life, and I can simply not escape the logic. That fetus a pregnant woman is carrying inside of her, regardless of the gestation stage, is a living, breathing human being. Yes, breathing – the amniotic sac forms 12 days after conception, and in the second trimester the baby is actually breathing the amniotic fluid. It’s not an ‘unviable tissue mass.’ Not a wart, a mole, a skin outcropping, a boil, or a bundle of uncoordinated cells. It’s not just a ‘fetus’.

It’s a baby. Not fully developed, true. Like an infant is not a fully developed and mature adult. But it’s a baby.

But, there is more - but you ought to just go read it all.

And the first time I got a girl pregnant, I would have wrestled you to the ground for saying that. How dare you? You don’t know what you’re talking about! You piece of crap, you don’t know!

Well I do know. And I stand condemned. I’ve paid for three of them and was responsible for probably several more, I’m not really sure. But it breaks my heart. Because I’ve been convicted in my soul. It took years after the fact, but I was shown the Truth. And not to get mumbo-jumbo, oogly-boogly on you, but it was a spiritual awakening that did it. It happened unexpectedly, and it threw me to my knees in sudden tearful epiphany of what it meant for a man to be with a woman, what sex was really designed for by our Creator and… what abortion is.

And up until that point, I was completely ‘Pro-Choice’. I had bought the whole ‘women’s rights’ thing, completely agreed with ‘the constitutional right of a woman’s freedom to choose’…and I was just fine with that. Sure took the pressure off of me, a guy, interested in sex who had been raised in the era of, “Hey, you get a girl pregnant, you marry her!” But times had changed. Now abortions could be had legally if a doctor determined the life of the mother was in danger. Girls in college told me what a joke that was. They’d go in to see a doctor, tell him they’re pregnant, and the conversation went like this:

Doctor: “You’re feeling suicidal?” (hint hint, wink nudge.)

Girl: “Oh. Yeah… suicidal. I’m feeling suicidal.”

Doctor: “All right, then.”

Abortion as a method of birth control became the norm. I knew a few girls who had had as many as five of them by the time they were twenty-five. And they seemed fine on it…mostly because everyone around them was telling them that they should feel fine about it.

So this abortion thing was pretty damn convenient for a guy.

Unity with Rome

I have been writing quite frequently about both the Anglican issues and the Anglicans who are coming into full communion with Rome. I also have been watching the issues with the SSPX.

So, here are two more updates on these issues:
But, the Holy Father made clear today that the lifting of the excommunication is about one thing only: Church unity.

"In the homily delivered on the occasion of the solemn inauguration of my pontificate, I said that the 'call to unity' is an 'explicit' duty of the pastor," he said.

The Pontiff recalled how he reflected in that first of his papal homilies on the story of the miraculous catch of fish, and how Christians could now say: "Alas, beloved Lord, with sorrow we must now acknowledge that it [the net] has been torn."

But, he continued quoting from his homily, "We must not be sad! Let us rejoice because of your promise, which does not disappoint, and let us do all we can to pursue the path towards the unity you have promised. … Do not allow your net to be torn, help us to be servants of unity!"

Weaving torn threads

Benedict XVI said that it was "precisely in fulfilling this service to unity, which determines in a specific way my ministry as the Successor of Peter," that he decided to lift the excommunication.

And, he clarified, "I have carried out this act of paternal mercy because repeatedly these prelates have manifested their sharp suffering in the situation in which they found themselves."

Furthermore, the Holy Father stated, there is the expectation of further steps from the four newly released bishops.

"I trust that following from this gesture of mine will be the prompt effort on their part to complete final necessary steps to arrive to full communion with the Church," the Bishop of Rome said, "thus giving testimony of true fidelity and true recognition of the magisterium and the authority of the Pope and the Second Vatican Council."

My Morning

I had to pick up a few items from the grocery store this morning in preparation for a road trip to the Louisiana Catholic College Students Conference, where I will be speaking. I am taking some of our students with us. While in the store, I heard this song from Hall and Oates, which brought back a lot of memories of bad mustaches and clothes:


Then on my way in to work, I saw something that made my day. A cop had pulled over a woman and they just happened to be having a discussion directly under the sign for the Conflict Resolution Center.

It brought my morning full circle.
Fun times.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Your Tax Dollars

Go for things such as:
Grassley, the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, on Tuesday fired off a letter to the NSF’s inspector general requesting all documents related to the “numerous reports” and seven investigations into “Abuse of NSF IT Resources” cited in the foundation’s 68-page semiannual report.

Despite the less-than-lurid sound of the probes, the employees in question weren’t just logging onto their Facebook accounts or buying birthday gifts on Amazon.com. The report says they were watching, downloading and e-mailing porn, sometimes for significant portions of their workdays, and over periods of months or even years.

In one particularly egregious case, the report says one NSF “senior official” was discovered to have spent as much as 20 percent of his working hours over a two-year interval “viewing sexually explicit images and engaging in sexually explicit online ‘chats’ with various women.”

Investigators calculated the value of the time lost at more than $58,000 — for that employee alone.
The pornification of our culture continues.

New Russian Patriarch

The Russian Orthodox have a new patriarch, Kirill.
  • The good - he is not as close to the Kremlin as the Kremlin would like.
  • The bad - he calls Catholic efforts of evangelization "proselytizing" and calls on his Church to resist it.
  • More good - he is not seen as quite so strident about the Catholic Church as his predecessor.
Pray for Christian Unity.

Pope John Paul II pray for us all, that the Church may "breathe with both lungs".

Pope Benedict has already sent a letter of congratulation. (note the pic on the right is not of the two).

Another Bill in Congress To Know About

Thanks to Thomas Peters at AmP for pointing this out. I had not heard of it before.
This act, introduced three weeks ago, is more dangerous than FOCA because it is already in Congress.

Select things the Prevention First Act (PFA) will do:

  • prohibit[s] a group health plan from excluding or restricting benefits for prescription contraceptive drugs, devices, and outpatient services
  • Requires hospitals, as a condition of receiving federal funds, to offer and to provide, upon request, emergency contraception to victims of sexual assault.
  • expand[s] Medicaid's coverage of family planning services ... and contraception
  • Expands Medicaid rebates to manufacturers for the sale of covered outpatient drugs at nominal prices to include sales to student health care facilities and entities offering family planning services.

American Life League has a comprehensive overview of what this bill will bring about should it pass.

LifeNews also covered this story. They recommend contacting members of the U.S. Senate.
Contact your Senators and Representatives about this.

Vote?

If you like us, you will vote for us.
My site was nominated for Best Religion Blog!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

SSPX Bishops Big Mouth

Bishop Felay, the head of the SSPX, has apologized for Bishop Williamson's comments. Good.

On another note. Read Ed Peters canonical insight on why the excommunications were valid, despite some arguing otherwise.

Pope Benedict thinks unity is important. We ought to as well, even with those we might find "difficult" on some issues.

Smile

Thanks to Mark for this one.

Pelosi And Birth Control

Nancy Pelosi believes that the government paying for contraception helps stimulate the economy. At least that is what she said when she had to defend her actions - she tried, with a few others, to slip that one into the stimulus bill, not thinking anyone would catch it. It was caught and lucky for us, the supporters of the idea are backing down.

Oh, politics.

Fr. Barron on Catholic Commentary

Very good commentary on commentary and the conversation within Catholic circles.

Monday, January 26, 2009

SSPX Update

So, the Pope revoked the excommunications for four Society of St. Pius X bishops. This should be interesting.

Because of the strong feelings on both sides of this issue, please be charitable, though honest, when commenting. More from the NY Times.

Other news items about the story:
-Zenit
-Rocco's commentary
-Inside the Vatican Magazine
-Canonist (and one of my former Profs) Ed Peters' commentary
-Catholic News Service
-Catholic News Agency
-Bishop Fellay comments appear in the Daily Telegraph
-AP article

More to come, I am sure.

Prayer Request

Please pray for my wife and three year old. Both are sick today.
Thanks.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday Fun II - Drum Battle

Amazing drumming - Buddy Rich and Ed Shaughnessy.

Friday Fun - Batman Spoof

Nice.

SSPX and Excommunication

For those who may not know, the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) is a group of Catholics, started by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre (yes, his name is too close to mine for comfort) who has been excommunicated for denying the legitimacy of Vatican II, among other things.

It has been reported that the Pope is planning on lifting the excommunications of the bishops in SSPX. But, now one of them has opened his big mouth to spew some stupid statements denying the Nazi gas chambers.

Please pray for this bishop and all in SSPX. This might not go as planned.

Vatican YouTube Channel is Up

Check it out.
I do agree with Amy, they should disable comments and allow embedding.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Blogosphere Update

Some happenings in the blogosphere:

**AmP is posting from the March for Life in DC. God bless all those who are marching peacefully in support of all life, starting at conception.

**Today, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, is a day of penance as Amy Welborn points out.

**The excommunication of several SSPX bishops may be lifted soon. God please grant them full communion with the Church once again.

When Washing Feet Isn't Enough

John tells us the story of Jesus washing his apostles' feet:
So, during supper, fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God, he rose from supper and took off his outer garments. He took a towel and tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and dry them with the towel around his waist. - John 13: 2-5
Of course this is symbolic of the call for all Christians to humble serve others. But, sometimes feet literally need to be washed. One ministry in Georgia takes the call to server others by washing the feet of the homeless literally. But, they don't stop there. They also "soak, pumice, nail trim, massage" the feet as well.
Thanks to Kimberly for sending me the link.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Prayer Request

While driving to work this morning, I saw some smoke blowing over the road. When I started to get closer, I noticed the smoke was coming from a Suburban lying on the driver's side in the ditch and the smoke was coming from it. I slammed on my brakes and dialed 911.

I hopped out and found a woman who was clearly in shock. She was screaming and I could not console her any. She spoke very little English and I speak only a bit of Spanish, though I understood what she was saying. She wanted to use my phone, but I had 911 on the line still. I was able to figure out that she was not hurt (physically) and there was no one else in the Suburban. She then went back to the vehicle and started shoving the broken glass out of the way, trying to get a phone. She didn't find it, but she cut herself up badly.

By this time several other vehicles stopped. A group of construction workers stopped and I asked them to help me calm her down while I talked to the dispatcher. They asked her to sit, she would not. They let her use a phone to call her family. Then they discovered that she has no insurance, just bought the Suburban and was most likely illegal. She was scared and still in shock, bleeding all over her hands and wiping it all over her face and head.

When the paramedics and firefighters showed up, it took them several minutes to even get her to sit down. They told me thanks and that I was no longer needed.

But, Maria needs our help. Please pray for her.

Fear

Fear keeps many of us who are Christians from acting as Christians.

Fear of rejection keep us from sharing Christ with others.
Fear of how we will be treated keeps us from saying what is true.
Fear of being labeled keeps us from witnessing to those who need it most.

But, for most of us, we don't fear being killed for what we believe in. Most of us have no concept of what martyrdom would really be like.

This woman does, pray for her.

Tip O' the Hat to CMR.

Father Zakaria Boutros also knows what it is like putting your life on the line for Christ. He is a Coptic Orthodox priest from Egypt who has had to live in the USA, because of being arrested and threatened. He has a $60 million bounty on his head.
He still won't be quiet.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Question About Catholic Newspaper

Q - While looking up the National Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, I came across this essay on the website for the National Catholic Reporter.

I was pretty surprised by the content, given the serious lack of regard for the fact of the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and the difference between what the Catholic Church celebrates as Communion and that of Protestant denominations.

Two questions:
1) What is your opinion of the National Catholic Reporter?

2) What is your take on the article itself and efforts for greater Christian Unity?

A - Thanks for the questions. I will try and give you an answer, but a good deal of my opinion might go into it, so bear with me. I usually don't answer such questions on the blog, but I have had others that have asked similar questions, so I felt it was time to go for it.

As for question number 1 - I generally don't pay much attention to what the National Catholic Reporter does. Some of their writers and editors have a history of dissenting from Church teaching in many areas including advocating homosexual marriage, birth control, women priests, etc, etc, etc. The one columnist I think is fair is John Allen, who has softened many rough edges over the years. I think that Cardinal George had a good commentary on the mindset found in many pages of NCR:
Many writers who claim to be Catholic make names for themselves by attacking truths basic to our faith. Without the personal integrity that would bring them to admit they have simply lost the faith that comes to us from the Apostles, they reconstruct it on a purely subjective, individualistic basis and call it renewal. The Second Vatican Council wasn’t called to turn Catholics into Protestants. It was called to ask God to bring all Christ’s followers into unity of faith so that the world would believe who Christ is and live with him in his Body, the Church.
As for question number 2 - I would like to first introduce what ecumenism is. The Catechism says:
820 "Christ bestowed unity on his Church from the beginning. This unity, we believe, subsists in the Catholic Church as something she can never lose, and we hope that it will continue to increase until the end of time." Christ always gives his Church the gift of unity, but the Church must always pray and work to maintain, reinforce, and perfect the unity that Christ wills for her. This is why Jesus himself prayed at the hour of his Passion, and does not cease praying to his Father, for the unity of his disciples: "That they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be one in us, . . . so that the world may know that you have sent me." The desire to recover the unity of all Christians is a gift of Christ and a call of the Holy Spirit.
Full Christian unity is the will of God. It is an irrevocable call for all Christians to work toward this goal. But, we cannot sacrifice the truth of Jesus Christ for this unity, because we would then have a false unity. As John Paul II (who had a passion for ecumenism) said in his amazing encyclical on Christian Unity, Ut Unum Sint:
The unity willed by God can be attained only by the adherence of all to the content of revealed faith in its entirety. In matters of faith, compromise is in contradiction with God who is Truth. In the Body of Christ, "the way, and the truth, and the life" (Jn 14:6), who could consider legitimate a reconciliation brought about at the expense of the truth? The Council's Declaration on Religious Freedom Dignitatis Humanae attributes to human dignity the quest for truth, "especially in what concerns God and his Church, and adherence to truth's demands. A "being together" which betrayed the truth would thus be opposed both to the nature of God who offers his communion and to the need for truth found in the depths of every human heart.
It is not true ecumenism when we toss out the truth in order to achieve unity. This is a unity made by humans, not God. True unity lies in communion with God and others - in doctrine and practice.

So, the problem with the article you cite is one of bad theology. The author, who is known for trying to ruffle feathers of others, wants to have "open communion". But, this is contrary to Christian history (see here) as well as Catholic doctrine on the Eucharist. Why do we have closed communion? Because communion is just what the word signifies - a sign of unity in faith and practice. Only Catholics who are in the state of grace are to receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist (1 Cor 10-11). To do otherwise would be a false sign of unity.

Having Communion together is a sign of full unity that already exist. It strengthens the unity, but cannot create it fully. Therefore, to have Communion with our Protestant brothers and sisters would be a sign of something that doesn't exist and would be a step backward for ecumenism, not forward.

We should pray and look forward to the day when all Christians can receive the Eucharist together, but we should not pretend that the day is upon us already or try and deceive ourselves that huge hurdles to unity don't still exist .

JPII says:
Certainly, due to disagreements in matters of faith, it is not yet possible to celebrate together the same Eucharistic Liturgy. And yet we do have a burning desire to join in celebrating the one Eucharist of the Lord, and this desire itself is already a common prayer of praise, a single supplication. Together we speak to the Father and increasingly we do so "with one heart". At times it seems that we are closer to being able finally to seal this "real although not yet full" communion. A century ago who could even have imagined such a thing?
Just because Fr. McBrien doesn't think progress in ecumenism has taken place recently, doesn't make his statement true. We are closer than ever to reuniting with several Eastern Orthodox Churches. This is significant and should be recognized. Cardinal George was correct.

Pope Writes Obama

From Rocco:
THE HONORABLE BARACK OBAMA

PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

THE WHITE HOUSE

WASHINGTON, DC

ON THE OCCASION OF YOUR INAUGURATION AS THE FORTY-FOURTH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA I OFFER CORDIAL GOOD WISHES, TOGETHER WITH THE ASSURANCE OF MY PRAYERS THAT ALMIGHTY GOD WILL GRANT YOU UNFAILING WISDOM AND STRENGTH IN THE EXERCISE OF YOUR HIGH RESPONSIBILITIES. UNDER YOUR LEADERSHIP MAY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE CONTINUE TO FIND IN THEIR IMPRESSIVE RELIGIOUS AND POLITICAL HERITAGE THE SPIRITUAL VALUES AND ETHICAL PRINCIPLES NEEDED TO COOPERATE IN THE BUILDING OF A TRULY JUST AND FREE SOCIETY, MARKED BY RESPECT FOR THE DIGNITY, EQUALITY AND RIGHTS OF EACH OF ITS MEMBERS, ESPECIALLY THE POOR, THE OUTCAST AND THOSE WHO HAVE NO VOICE. AT A TIME WHEN SO MANY OF OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD YEARN FOR LIBERATION FROM THE SCOURGE OF POVERTY, HUNGER AND VIOLENCE, I PRAY THAT YOU WILL BE CONFIRMED IN YOUR RESOLVE TO PROMOTE UNDERSTANDING, COOPERATION AND PEACE AMONG THE NATIONS, SO THAT ALL MAY SHARE IN THE BANQUET OF LIFE WHICH GOD WILLS TO SET FOR THE WHOLE HUMAN FAMILY (cf. Isaiah 25:6-7). UPON YOU AND YOUR FAMILY, AND UPON ALL THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, I WILLINGLY INVOKE THE LORD’S BLESSINGS OF JOY AND PEACE

BENEDICTUS PP. XVI

Potential

This ad is being aired on BET. Give me your thoughts.

Monday, January 19, 2009

IT has started...

Won't take long to get started.

Bishop Vasa Comes Out Swinging

Check out the title to this column by Bishop Vasa of Baker. If this doesn't get you to read the whole column, I don't know what would.
"Those Who Profess to Love God, But Back Abortion, Are Liars"
Tip O' the hat to Carl.

Vatican on YouTube

Interesting development:

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican will soon have its own channel on the video sharing site YouTube where the Catholic faithful or the curious will be able to see Pope Benedict or Church events, a Vatican source said on Saturday.

The details of the accord are due to be presented on Friday at a news conference attended by Vatican officials as well as Henrique de Castro, managing director of media solutions for Google, which owns YouTube.

The initiative will involve Google, the Vatican Television Center and Vatican Radio.

It will mark the Vatican's deepest plunge into new media. The Vatican opened up its website, www.vatican.va, in 1995.

Tip O' the Hat to AP.

22 Weeks - The Movie

A new pro-life movie, called 22 Weeks, is out. It is done by Born Alive Truth folks. I warn you that even the trailer below is chilling.

Tip O' the Hat to CMR.

Facebook Catholics

There is a PhD student at the Catholic U in DC who is doing a survey on those who identify themselves as Catholic. You can take the survey here.
She is using facebook as the primary way of randomizing the data. Read about it here.

MLK Day and the Inauguration

A thoughtful post from one of my grad school adjunct faculty members, Mark Brumley, at Ignatius Insight Scoop.

Progress or Regress or Both?

My Augustinian side is not so pronounced as to deny the possibility and indeed the reality of social progress. It is social progress that our nation once constitutionally allowed some people to buy and sell other people but no longer does. It is progress that the half the population that could not vote a hundred years ago possesses suffrage today. However, my progressivism is not so na├»ve as to pretend that the diabolical is not at work within history. Two steps forward and one step back. Or is it one step forward and two steps back? In any event, we have gone from constitutional protection of some people buying and selling other people, and half the population being disenfranchised, to some people legally killing their unborn babies in the name of freedom and equality of gender. And on a day when a figure who symbolizes America's triumph over the evil of slavery and racism is celebrated and we anticipate the first black American President, America's accomplishment is tainted by our new President’s commitment to upholding the legal right of mothers, in the name of freedom and equality, to destroy the next generation. As a lover of my country, I cannot but rejoice and take pride in the fact that Barrack Obama represents the triumph of our nation and our political process over the grave evils of slavery and racism. That is not to be gainsaid. Yet as a lover of my country, I cannot but weep and hang my head in shame that more unborn children will die during a single year of Mr. Obama’s term in office, with his support and his invocation of the rhetoric of rights to sanction the evil, than deaths occurred on both sides during the entire Civil War.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday Fun - El Nino

For John.

FOCA Postcards

The Austin diocese now has more info up about the FOCA postcard campaign. We need to get behind this.
The Diocese of Austin will be participating in a national postcard campaign the weekend of Jan. 24-25 to make known our opposition to the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). FOCA goes far beyond the Roe v. Wade decision to make abortion an entitlement that the government must fund and promote. This bill would override state regulation of abortion, remove a parent’s right to be involved in their minor daughter’s abortion decision and require states to allow partial-birth abortion and other late-term abortions. Please take the time to educate yourself further on this legislation by visiting the link provided below. The letters provided, both in English and Spanish, are designed to be read at Masses or provided in the bulletin the weekend of Jan. 24-25.
Here is the letter from Bishop Aymond.
Dear Catholics of the Diocese of Austin,
As we remember the 36th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in our country, we are especially reminded of the absence of protection for the child in the womb. Each life is the result of his love and the gift of the Breath of Life. He created us in his very image and likeness and entrusted us to love, care and protect one another, from conception to natural death. We recall that God became one of us, humbling himself to the point of being a child, vulnerable before and after birth. Through his incarnation, 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 states 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. Postcards will be distributed the weekend of January 24-25, 2009. Please take the time to make your voice heard along with many other Catholics around the country.
Thank you for your commitment to uphold the dignity of life.
Sincerely in Christ,
Most Reverend Gregory M. Aymond Bishop of Austin

FOCA Novena Correction

Thanks to my friend Mark who tipped me off to this.

The popular email asking for Catholics to pray a Novena to prevent FOCA from becoming a reality has some factual mistakes. From a lifenews:

LifeNews.com has received dozens of emails from pro-life advocates who are now confused about the bill's timing and, in an email we received, Richard Doerflinger, Associate Director of the USCCB’s Secretariat of Pro-life Activities, helped correct the record.

"This novena item is misleading in any number of ways," he explains.

"Of course there is no possibility of FOCA being passed this month," and he denied a rumor that Obama could merely approve the bill by executive order. A president doesn't have that ability -- which also refutes the detractors who don't understand why President Bush couldn't abolish abortions by executive fiat.

Doerflinger said the authors of the novena email may have been confused about an executive order Obama is likely to issue on his first day in office which concerns taxpayer funding of abortions.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Prayers

Another person has died from the helicopter crash that happened on Monday on A&M's campus.

Please keep them all in your prayers.

Seminaries in the USA

The Vatican has completed the report they have been doing for years on seminaries in the US. The report has an overall positive feel to it. CNS has the story and the USCCB has the full report.

The recommended changes include "stronger focus on moral theology, increased oversight of seminarians and greater involvement of diocesan bishops in the formation process."

San Francisco Politics and The Catholic Church

I haven't posted anything on what is happening in California lately, but thought it was time. There have been several attacks on Catholic Churches (see an example here) and vicious tirades against those who voted for prop 8, not to mention a few physical attacks on individuals.

Now, there are extremists who resort to violence in every group. But, this has gone too far and in some instances is condoned by government officials. In San Francisco the city is known for having some of the most polarizing politicians around. One of them has decided to try and payback the Catholic Church by insisting the Church should pay taxes on some property. Details here.

Please keep our country in your prayers and start evangelizing more. We need Catholics to act more Catholic - not run and hide their beliefs.

FYI - the last time I posted on Prop 8 the blog had several new visitors that decided to try and attack the Church in the comboxes and didn't appreciate my responses (or deletions in a few cases). Remember that there are some policies about posting comments you might want to read.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sunday Obligation Question

Q - Does having an infant excuse one from the Sunday obligation to attend Mass?

A - Thanks for the question. First a bit of background on why there is an obligation to attend Mass in the first place. The Catechism says:

2180 The precept of the Church specifies the law of the Lord more precisely: "On Sundays and other holy days of obligation the faithful are bound to participate in the Mass." "The precept of participating in the Mass is satisfied by assistance at a Mass which is celebrated anywhere in a Catholic rite either on the holy day or on the evening of the preceding day."

2181 The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor. Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.

2182 Participation in the communal celebration of the Sunday Eucharist is a testimony of belonging and of being faithful to Christ and to his Church. The faithful give witness by this to their communion in faith and charity. Together they testify to God's holiness and their hope of salvation. They strengthen one another under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

2183 "If because of lack of a sacred minister or for other grave cause participation in the celebration of the Eucharist is impossible, it is specially recommended that the faithful take part in the Liturgy of the Word if it is celebrated in the parish church or in another sacred place according to the prescriptions of the diocesan bishop, or engage in prayer for an appropriate amount of time personally or in a family or, as occasion offers, in groups of families."

The answer is given in paragraph 2181 of the Catechism. So, care of infants can be a reason for not attending mass. But, we must try to remember that all are welcome in God's house and should not stay home with an infant, except for a good reason.

Missing mass is not something we should take lightly. The mass gives us access to our lifeline to heaven - the Eucharist.

Forgiveness

Forgiving another who has wronged you isn't always easy. We adult humans tend to hold grudges for too long. The catch is that when we do, we hurt ourselves more than the other person(s).

For a lesson on how to forgive and in the motives of why we should forgive (out of a deep love for others) I highly recommend this story about a Canadian couple who went to Africa on missionary work, was attacked, gang raped, and yet forgives their attackers, wanting nothing more than their salvation to come from it all. Thanks to Mark for the link.

The cross isn't the end. Sunday follows.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mike Mangione

I have quickly become a fan of Mike Mangione, a artist who happens to be a good Catholic - and is friends with Christopher West. Here is a song of his done live, called "It's Me Now You". He describes it as
"The song is a conversation between God and Man. God is saying “don’t get to sure of your self, let me take care of it, I always have in the past.” This is one of my favorite to play live."


Lyrics to It's Me Not You :
I remember what you said
The very first day that we met
Oh baby it's me not you
I was with you when you left
Behind each and every step
Cause oh baby it was me not you
Oooh Baby

Can you live with the thought of me instead
To ask for love is to ask for someone too
With every broken glass
Behind every shattered past
Oh baby it's me not you

Been in and out of every room
Walking like this bleeding groom
With the broom I sweep away dust and devils
But you heal every hurt by recycling old dirt
And through your eyes I can see your heart disheveled

Oh baby how you pretend to hold me in your hands
Yet when you rise I'm the first thing you let you go
And in the cold desert land I fingered in the sand
Cause oh baby it was me not you

There's a hidden wound that cries
For every man that's brushed your thigh
But you cover up and play it all again
You flinch with every touch
Hoping he won't take too much
But there's a Novocain that enables you go

Oh baby
Look inside
It's in my heart you'll find
Which is worth more than gold or silver
Yes I bleed for them all and I'll be there when you fall
Cause oh baby its me not you
Baby it's me its true


The Victims of Abortion

The number of victims of abortion grows daily. Dawn Eden has a sobering story of a disabled woman's abortion. The blogger who originally posted the story opines about how hopeful she is about the future of our country:
All I know is I can't wait for a day when our national health care policy and our leadership can find a solution so that no woman's unplanned pregnancy creates this kind of crisis. After eight years of the Bush Presidency can you even imagine a world where women and mothers get their basic medical needs met? One week to go until a leadership change. Godspeed, President Obama!
If this is not the kind of future you are waiting for - one where abortion on demand is funded by taxpayers and has no kind of restrictions - then you need to stand up and be heard. We need to fight FOCA now!

If you aren't already doing it - you should start the FOCA novena with those of us already doing it.

Lord have mercy on a society that would allow others to kill the most innocent and helpless.
Pray for those injured by abortion. If you have ever been a victim of abortion or participated in one, there is hope for healing.

Diving Deep

We can either dive into the depths of Christ - as Pope John Paul II suggests ("set out into the deep") or we can dive into the depths of our sick culture.

Some choose Christ.

Some choose not Christ.

Tip O' The Hat to Mark.

Economy Means More Jobs Lost

Sometimes, having to fire someone is a good thing.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Good News about Death

Mark Shea wrote a great post on how the Good News of Christ extends into our suffering and preparation for death.

Thanks Mark for sharing your heart!

Prayers Needed

A Blackhawk helicopter has crashed on the campus of Texas A&M. At least four injured and one dead.

More information here and additional info and pictures of the crash as it happened here.

Update: Two of those involved were Catholics. One was anointed after the crash. I will update more later.

Update 2: Jen tells us that the pilot is her second cousin (see combox).

Sex Sells

We all know it has unfortunately become a truth in modern advertising - sex sells. Well, apparently so does sex with a virgin.

A woman from San Diego is auctioning off her virginity and the price is approaching $4 million. She got the idea to do it because:
she was persuaded to offer herself to the highest bidder after her sister Avia, 23, paid for her own degree after working as a prostitute for three weeks.
To top it all off, she has a degree in Women's Studies.
Sick. No matter how much she denies it, this is not empowering and her act is certainly demeaning. Why? Because she is making herself into an object and throwing the dignity of the sexual act and her humanity out the window (never completely losing either, but ignoring them). Sex isn't bad, but isn't intended to be used merely for pleasure, or even more base - for money.

She said: "I get some men who are obviously looking for a girlfriend but I try and make it clear that this is a one-night-only offer.

"I know that a lot of people will condemn me for this because it's so taboo but I really don't have a problem with that.

"My study is completely authentic in that I truly am auctioning my virginity but I am not being sold into this. I'm not being taken advantage of in any way.

"I think me and the person I do it with will both profit greatly from the deal."

She added: "It's shocking that men will pay so much for someone's virginity, which isn't even prized so highly anymore."

Sounds like the degree she got didn't help her understand the world, the human person, our destiny, or life much.
Pray for her and those that would offer money to take her virginity.

I wonder what would happen if the winning bidder decided to "buy" her virginity and then never take her up on the offer?
Our Lady pray for us all to grow in purity and chastity.
Tip O' The Hat to CMR.

Evangelization

Don't you long to shout to those youths who are bustling around you: Fools! Leave those worldly things that shackle the heart - and very often degrade it - leave all that and come with us in search of Love!
--St. Josemaria Escriva

More Videos

These two videos are a little different from what I generally post.
The first is a promo video of Point 5 Covenant - a Catholic Hip Hop group. I know both Flip and Kiel, who are both great guys. I may not be a big fan of hip hop, but it can be a lot of fun.

This second video is set to one of their tracks and done well.
Enjoy.



Videos

Speaking of videos - this one is pretty good.

The Catholic Church is More than a Scandal

Recently, I pulled up a video of a priest giving a homily which I heard good things about. But, I only listened to about 15 seconds of it before closing the page. Why? Because the priest set up the homily be saying something about the "sexual scandals in the Church" and I just don't want to hear about them anymore.

I may be alone in this, but:
  • I am tired of blaming every problem in the Church on a few sinners, when we need to all be looking in the mirror. Yes, it is a big deal. But, not so big as to be the sole reason for so many issues. I think there are much bigger issues that lie deeper - but we don't hear about them all the time.
  • I am tired of every homily, talk, or article linking topics such as dwindling mass attendance, low vocations to religious life / priesthood, and other issues to the scandal.
  • I think our Church should never forget our problems, but needs to move on and look to the future, not the past.
  • I think our mission as evangelists who give the Good News to others has a cloud hanging over it and we need to move out from under it.
  • I think the scandal has become an excuse to stay in the status quo and not challenge ourselves, our neighbors and our leaders to grow.
We need to stop complaining about the issues in our Church and start working out our own holiness.

Maybe it is just me.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Woman Tries to Bite Pope

A mentally ill woman tried to bite the Pope at Midnight Mass. God Bless her.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Catholic Church Losing Members

It is a fact that the Catholic Church has lost millions in the USA in the last few decades. A Pew Forum study has confirmed the numbers and given a sad picture overall to the decline in native-born Catholics leaving the Church.

What to do now?
Evangelize and Catechize. Back to the basics, but using new approaches and new tech.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Catholic Google

Thanks to one of my students, Chris, who sent this along to me. CatholicGoogle. This is their description:

Catholic search engine powered by Google striving to provide an easy to use resource to anyone wanting to learn more about Catholicism and provide a safer way for good Catholics to surf the web.

CatholicGoogle is powered by Google using "safe search" technology, it produces results from all over the internet with more weighting to given to Catholic websites and eliminates the vast majority of unsavoury content, such as pornography. The site is not associated or affiliated with Google.com, we work closely with Google to help ensure that the adverts are not objectionable in nature, however, some of the results and adverts that are displayed may not be in line with Catholic doctrine and we do not endorse of any of the results or adverts displayed on Catholic Google.

The review from TechCrunch is not very good. It seems to me that if you put your Google search filter to strict and then put "Catholic" in every search you get similar results.

Atlanta

I am leaving for Atlanta tomorrow and I don't know if I will have time to do much posting. Peace to you all. Thanks for reading!

Friday, January 2, 2009

SonRise Morning Show Goes National

I have been a guest on the SonRise Morning Show (a radio show out of Cincinnati) several times over the past year. They announced they were going national, on EWTN radio, a few months ago. Now it is coming closer.

I got this from Matt, the producer of the show:

As some of you know, the Son Rise Morning Show with Brian Patrick launches this Monday, January 5, on the EWTN Global Catholic radio network! This is an exciting time for all of us here at the show, as our 7:00 hour will be broadcast on over 100 stations and satellite radio. We’re hoping to bring a new and vibrant way of doing Catholic morning radio to the network.

You all have been a HUGE part of this new transition into a national audience. We want to thank all the authors, bloggers, publicists, speakers, and ministries that have added their unique perspectives to the program to help it be a rounded out lineup that is a truly unique New Evangelization effort. Where else can you hear about the Culture of Life, apologetics, saints, current events, Bible foods, movie reviews, and Catholic history in the course of a single hour? I know I speak for all of us here at the Son Rise Morning Show when I say that I have learned more about my faith working with you all this past year and a half than I have since I came into the Church.

We hope you’ll tune in when we launch on Monday, either on your local EWTN affiliate, or online at www.sacredheartradio.com. And if you have a blog or other form of grassroots communication, we’d truly appreciate it if you’d let your readers know about the syndication of the program, and particularly your own role in it. God has blessed us more than we’re able to put into words, and we pray constant prayers of gratitude for all of you who have helped us better understand all the many facets of the Body of Christ.

Pax Christi

Matt Swaim
Producer
Son Rise Morning Show

SRV

If not my favorite, then one of my top 3 guitar players of all time - Stevie Ray Vaughn. Absolutely amazing.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Raving Atheist to Raving Theist

The conversion of The Raving Atheist to The Raving Theist.

More from the Curt Jester and Dawn Eden.
Welcome home! Keep him in prayer as he walks the path of conversion and for those who are still unbelievers.

Ave Maria

In honor of The Blessed Virgin Mary on her feast day.