Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Mind Games

This messed up my brain...and my eyes.

U2's Ode To Mary

Magnificent is a great song off of U2's new album. I have praised both the song and the album previously and was suprised that the lyrics of Magnificent are as explicit as they are in praising God.

Bono has now revealed, in a recent interview, that Magnificent is inspired by Mary.
“All music for me is worship of one kind or another,” says Bono.

The song appears on the band’s new album, “No Line on the Horizon.”

“Magnificent was inspired by the Magnificat, a passage from the Gospel of Luke in the voice of the Virgin Mary that was previously set to music by Bach,” says Bono. “There’s this theme running through the album of surrender and devotion and all the things I find really difficult.”

The lyrics include: “Magnificent, Magnificent, I was born, I was born to be with you in this space and time. I was born, I was born to sing for you. I didn’t have a choice but to lift you up and sing whatever song you wanted me to. I give you back my voice. From the womb my first cry, it was a joyful noise ... Only love, only love can leave such a mark, but only love, only love can heal such a scar.”

Thinking Like An Adult

Pope Benedict XVI tells us what it means to think like an adult.
I wanted to emphasize parts of it, but ended up emphasizing it all. Read carefully.
In the last few decades, the expression ‘adult faith’ [fede adulta, 'grown up faith'] has become a widespread slogan. It is often used in relation to the attitudes of those who no longer pay attention to what the Church and her Pastors say — which is to say, those who choose on their own what to believe or not to believe in a sort of ‘do-it-yourself’ faith. Expressing oneself against the Magisterium of the Church is presented as a sort of ‘courage’, whereas in fact not much courage is needed because one can be certain of receiving public praise.
Instead, courage is needed to adhere to the Church’s faith, even if it contradicts the 'order' of today’s world. Paul calls this non-conformism an ‘adult faith’. For him, following the prevailing winds and currents of the time is childish.

For this reason, it is part of an adult faith to dedicate oneself to the inviolability of life from its beginning, thus radically opposing the principle of violence, in defense precisely of the most defenseless. It is part of an adult faith to recognize the lifelong marriage between one man and one woman in accordance with the Creator’s order, re-established again by Christ. An adult faith does not follow any current here and there. It stands against the winds of fashion.
Benedict XVI
Homily - First Vespers of the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul
June 28, 2009

Obama Celebrates LGBT Pride Month

From the White House, the president made a speech to a LGBT Pride Month group. He said the following (emphasis added):
It's good to see so many friends and familiar faces, and I deeply appreciate the support I've received from so many of you. Michelle appreciates it and I want you to know that you have our support, as well. (Applause.) And you have my thanks for the work you do every day in pursuit of equality on behalf of the millions of people in this country who work hard and care about their communities -- and who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. (Applause.)

Now this struggle, I don't need to tell you, is incredibly difficult, although I think it's important to consider the extraordinary progress that we have made. There are unjust laws to overturn and unfair practices to stop. And though we've made progress, there are still fellow citizens, perhaps neighbors or even family members and loved ones, who still hold fast to worn arguments and old attitudes; who fail to see your families like their families; and who would deny you the rights that most Americans take for granted. And I know this is painful and I know it can be heartbreaking.

And yet all of you continue, leading by the force of the arguments you make but also by the power of the example that you set in your own lives -- as parents and friends, as PTA members and leaders in the community. And that's important, and I'm glad that so many LGBT families could join us today. (Applause.) For we know that progress depends not only on changing laws but also changing hearts. And that real, transformative change never begins in Washington.

In other words, those of us who see the homosexual marriage movement as a danger to the family structure and the morality of our country are just ignorant old-fashion folks who need to get with the times and get over their bigotry.

Bad argument.

I have posted many good arguments (see some here, here and here) and take offense at these comments. I will continue to fight for traditional marriage and for the good of the traditional family, the bedrock upon which our culture is built. The tearing down of the family means our culture is crumbling.

Because I, and others, oppose homosexual marriage and believe homosexual sex is a sin, does not automatically make us a homophobe (which literally means "fear of the same" and makes no sense) or someone who "hates" persons of a homosexual inclination. I don't like sin of any kind, and this one is particularly troublesome, not because of what it is, but because of the cultural shift that it is causing.

Listen

Listen to the words of the Pope when he preaches in this video, then listen again.



The Gospel is beautiful.

Traffic

I thought it got bad at our crosswalks around campus.

News and Such...

*Jack Scarisbrick lists the five homilies he would like to hear. He should just hang out at St. Mary's more, I have heard every single one of these over the past three years I have been back in Aggieland.

*Deal Hudson gives us some good news on our bishops. Lucky me - I already knew it.

*Jeff Miller has a great argument on why the pro-abortion movemenent is anti-child. Sad but true.

*Maybe this new technology that models in-utero children will help them see the truth.

*We can't forget the abortion politics and how the plan that the White House has to "dial down" the abortion wars in order to have compromise.

*I loved Dr. Ed Peters when I had him as a prof and I still love reading his commentary. He hits this one out of the park.

*Rocco found a nice pic of Archbishop Aymond getting the pallium.

*It is the last day to vote in the Catholic New Media Awards.

Thou Shalt Not

The Ten Commandments are still valid, even today.
Thou Shall NOT:

1 - Steal from someone's purse while they are kneeling to pray.

2 - Assault your spouse using Cheetos. Remember, there might be a Jesus Cheeto in there.

3 - Accuse sharks of being serial killers. They have to kill to be sharks. Humans don't.



6 - Charm worms. Snake charming is bad enough.

7 - Transport illegal drugs in a casket. No commentary needed.



10 - Waste your time on stupid news.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Pallium

Archbishop Aymond received his pallium along with other new Archbishops from around the world this weekend.
The pallium dates back to the 4th century, according to the Catholic Church. Modern pallia are two-inch wide circular bands worn around the neck, breast and shoulders. The bands are made from blessed lamb wool, to symbolize the archbishop's role as a shepherd, according to the Catholic Church.

Two pendants about two inches wide and 12 inches long hang from them, one in front and one behind.

Only the Pope and metropolitan archbishops can wear a pallium. Aymond will wear his only on specified feasts such as Christmas.

Video of the Pallium Mass can be found here (this is part 2 of the Mass where the Pallium are conferred).

Widening Age Gap - New Study

Another study I find fascinating. With some comments.
In a 1969 Gallup Poll, 74% of respondents said there was a generation gap, with the phrase defined in the survey question as "a major difference in the point of view of younger people and older people today." When the same question was asked a decade later, in 1979, by CBS and The New York Times, just 60% perceived a generation gap. But in perhaps the single most intriguing finding in this new Pew Research survey, the share that say there is a generation gap has spiked to 79%--despite the fact that there have been few overt generational conflicts in recent times of the sort that roiled the 1960s. It could be that the phrase now means something different, and less confrontational, than it did at the height of the counterculture's defiant challenges to the establishment 40 years ago. Whatever the current understanding of the term "generation gap," roughly equal shares of young, middle-aged and older respondents in the new survey agree that such a gap exists. The most common explanation offered by respondents of all ages has to do with differences in morality, values and work ethic. Relatively few cite differences in political outlook or in uses of technology.
I agree that the gap is there, but I think that in many ways there are some answers to why. Speaking with large strokes of the brush, I will be making some generalizations.
  1. Younger people are being raised without as much discipline, more disposable income, and a more secular culture than ever before. This is leading to a more narcissistic lifestyle. Think of marketing - the biggest target age is the teen to young adult demographic.
  2. Our cultue glorifies youth culture as THE way to live a good life. Irresponsible behavior, selfishness, entitlement, etc. are contrary to what adult maturity is about - personal responsibility, sacrifice, others first, etc. Think of the movies/music/books that are popular today vs. 40-50 years ago when many older people were young.
  3. The "big" issues are different. Younger generations think of Vietnam, Vatican II, gender equality issues, segregation, etc. as ancient history. While environmentalism, Iraq war, torture, the Sudan, etc. are current.
  4. The technology gap is widening. It makes for comedy when the 5 year-old knows more than grandpa about the internet, but it isn't uncommon.
  5. Communication has changed. Few people over 60 text, use FaceBook or Twitter, know how to use all the features on a cell phone, etc. But, youth culture of today doesn't exist without these technological advances.
This list isn't exhaustive or scientific, but I consulted with myself and think I am correct in my assumptions.

Here is the big kicker in the study:
Religion is a far bigger part of the lives of older adults than younger adults. Two-thirds of adults ages 65 and older say religion is very important to them, compared with just over half of those ages 30 to 49 and just 44% of those ages 18 to 29. Moreover, among adults ages 65 and above, a third (34%) say religion has grown more important to them over the course of their lives, while just 4% say it has become less important and the majority (60%) say it has stayed the same. Among those who are over 65 and report having an illness or feeling sad, the share who say that religion has become more important to them rises to 43%.
God becomes important the older you get and the more you are smacked upside your head with life and our churches need to do a better job of training up evangelists to reach youth and yound adults without being condescending, out-of-touch, too preachy, or too wishy-washy.

New Encyclical

The Pope's latest encyclical has been signed and will be out soon.

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI signed his latest encyclical Monday, a text on ways to make globalization more attentive to meeting the needs of the poor amid the worldwide financial crisis.

The document, entitled "Charity in Truth," is expected to be published soon.

The pope has said his third encyclical will outline the goals and values that the faithful must defend to ensure solidarity among all peoples.

Benedict has frequently spoken out on the financial crisis, urging leaders to ensure the world's poor don't end up bearing the brunt of the downturn even though they are not responsible for it. He has said the downturn shows the need to rethink the whole global financial system.

Looking forward to this one.

UPDATE: Some paragraphs of the new encyclical have been revealed.
This one is going to cause some major storms, which we need.

Stoning of Soraya M

Steven D Greydanus thinks the movie is just okay. That is a shame to hear, because I respect his opinions on film and had high hopes for it after seeing the following trailer and reading Archbishop Chaput's recommendation.

Nice Video

Catholic Bioethics Formation

A very nice formation program on the Catholic Church's teachings on healthcare and bioethics will start in the fall, in San Antonio. If you know someone interested in these issues who is within driving distance, you might let them know about it.

Aggie Vocations Update

Fr. Will Straten '00 was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Austin in June.

Fr. Pat Garrett '83 was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston in May.

Deacon Cesar "Charlie" Garza '02 was ordained a transitional deacon for the Diocese of Austin in May 2009.

Father Fred Bayler '79 was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Fairbanks, Alaska in June.

Sr. Gianna (Jennifer Junker '99) will make her final vows as a Dominican Sister of St. Cecilia on July 24 in Nashville.

Br. Mariano (Jon Demma '04) will make his final vows as a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal in August.

Sr Mary Sophia (Blinn student Melissa Prazak) made her first vows as a Holy Spirit Adoration Sister in May 2009.

Sr. Rose Marie (Shannon Schoppe '07) entered the novitiate for the Passionist Nuns july 26.

At least seven Aggies will enter the seminary this fall.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Profession of Vows - Another Aggie Catholic Vocation Story

Another Aggie vocation story. Sr. Gianna (formerly Jennifer Junker) was in grad school with me for a year before leaving to join the Nashville Dominicans. From the Austin Diocese:
Profession of perpetual vows
The Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia joyfully announce the religious profession of perpetual vows of their sister, Sister Gianna, OP, (Jennifer Junker) on Friday, July 24, 2009 at 9:30 a.m. at the Cathedral of the Incarnation of Nashville. Sister Gianna is a graduate of Texas A&M University and a former parishioner of St. Mary’s Catholic Center in College Station. Please pray for the gift of faithful perseverance of Sister Gianna and all women and men in religious communities.

Sr. Gianna is in the front in the picture, along with other Aggies who have visited. We have several Aggies who have entered the Nashville Dominicans, including a recent campus minister - Katie Collins.

Friday Fun

I would love to see video of this:
SYDNEY (Reuters) - The mystery of crop circles in poppy fields in Australia's southern island state of Tasmania has been solved -- stoned wallabies are eating the poppy heads and hopping around in circles.

"We have a problem with wallabies entering poppy fields, getting as high as a kite and going around in circles," the state's top lawmaker Lara Giddings told local media on Thursday.

"Then they crash. We see crop circles in the poppy industry from wallabies that are high," she said.

Many people believe crop circles that mysteriously appear in fields around the world are created by aliens.

Poppy producer Tasmanian Alkaloids said livestock which ate the poppies were known to "act weird" -- including deer and sheep in the state's highlands.

"There have been many stories about sheep that have eaten some of the poppies after harvesting and they all walk around in circles," said field operations manager Rick Rockliff.

Australia produces about 50 percent of the world's raw material for morphine and related opiates.

Friday News

-I don't like the sound of "practical bioethics".

-Archbishop of Medjugorje warns that the apparitions there are divisive and dangerous to the faith.

-Ed Peters thinks something further should be done about Archbishop Milingo's antics.

-A relic of St. Therese' made it into space via the space shuttle Discovery.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

RIP

First Ed McMahon, then Farah Fawcett, now Michael Jackson is reported dead by some, in a coma by others.

God rest their souls.

U2 Biblical References

U2 is one of my favorite bands. They are all Christians and are not afraid to mention Jesus, faith, etc. in their songs. So, I like seeing this list of all the biblical references found in their songs.

One of my favorite songs of U2 is Drowning Man, which is not one of their better known songs. Here are the Biblical references from Drowning Man - the song is below.
"Rise up, rise up/With wings like eagles/You'll run, you'll run/You'll run and not grow weary" -- Isaiah 40:31: "but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."


Tip O' the Hat to Insight Scoop.

Research Money Wasted

There are a lot of people wasting time on doing bad research into things we already know. Examples include:
-Viagra reduces jet-lag for hamsters. No, I am not kidding.
-Rats can't understand Dutch or Japenese backwards. Heck, I can't understand them forward.

Now, with all the "duh" research going on we add the social-science research that tries to prove bad hypotheses. For instance - Disney films perpetuate heteronormativity. This is also "duh" research, but more dangerous because it attacks the core of our society. As David Novak points out.

Pallium Mass

Archbishop Aymond, along with several other new archbishops, will receive his pallium this weekend. The Mass will be televised at 2:30 am and 10:00am on EWTN on June 29.

Also, Archbishop Vigneron, of Detroit, is blogging about the trip to Rome. Here are some details about the pallium:
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The sign of an archbishop's authority is not a scepter, but a circular stole made of lamb's wool to evoke the idea that he is, first of all, a shepherd.

The stole, called a pallium, goes around the archbishop's neck and is worn over his chasuble when he celebrates the Eucharist. It has a 12-inch strip of material hanging down the front and back.

Every year on June 29, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, the pope places a pallium around the neck of each prelate named in the past year to head an archdiocese.

Prelates from the U.S. and Canada scheduled to receive a pallium from Pope Benedict XVI this year are: Archbishops Allen H. Vigneron of Detroit; George J. Lucas of Omaha, Neb.; Robert J. Carlson of St. Louis; Timothy M. Dolan of New York; Gregory M. Aymond of New Orleans; J. Michael Miller of Vancouver, British Columbia; and Pierre-Andre Fournier of Rimouski, Quebec.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster, England, will be among those receiving the pallium.

As the church's chief pastor, Pope Benedict also wears a pallium. But while an archbishop's is made from the wool of lambs blessed by the pope on the feast of St. Agnes, the pope's is made of the wool of both lambs and sheep to reflect Jesus telling Peter "Feed my lambs" and "Feed my sheep."

Stay Inside Today

If you live in Texas, stay inside today. It was 103 degrees in the shade at 11am this morning. Wow. At 9pm after the sun set last night it was still over 100. Heat advisory is on. The forecasted high is 104 - but it is 104 at noon.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Miracles Still Happen

What a story.

People in Colwich like to touch Chase Kear's arm or his shoulder with their fingers. Or they hug him. "Miracle Man," they say. "Let me touch the miracle." With anybody else in Colwich, this would be just talk. But it's not just talk to the Vatican.

Prompted in part by what the Kear family has said publicly, and partly by a preliminary investigation begun by the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, a Vatican investigator named Andrea Ambrosi will arrive from Italy in Wichita on Friday.

He will investigate on behalf of the church in Rome whether 20-year-old Chase Kear's survival qualifies as a miracle; whether he survived a severe head injury last year in part because his family and hundreds of friends successfully prayed thousands of prayers to the soul of Father Emil Kapaun, a U.S. Army chaplain from Pilsen, Kan., who died a hero in the Korean War.

Hotze has investigated Kapaun's proposed sainthood for eight years, which is only a fraction of the time the church has been considering whether to elevate Kapaun to sainthood.

Soldiers came out of prisoner-of-war camps in 1953 with incredible stories about Kapaun's heroism and faith. Across Kansas, his memory is kept alive at Wichita's Kapaun Mount Carmel High School, in his hometown of Pilsen and elsewhere.

Kapaun is so well-known and so highly regarded by area Catholics that the diocese has received other reports of miracles involving Kapaun, Hotze said. Ambrosi on Friday will consult area physicians in at least three such cases, including Chase's, Hotze said.

two American-born people have ever been canonized as saints. For sainthood, the church will require at least one and possibly two miracles be proven on Kapaun's behalf, depending on whether he died a martyr, something the church is also trying to determine.

Among people that Ambrosi will consult on Friday will be Chase's neurosurgeon, Raymond Grundmeyer, who said in a brief e-mail last week that he considers Chase's survival a miracle.

Read more.


Tip O' the Hat to CMR.

Quote Of The Day

"A psychiatrist asks a lot of expensive questions your wife asks for nothing." - Joey Adams

Priests

Good Question


Tip O' the hat to AmP.

Another Split in Anglican Church

Not good to have more splits between Christians.

Former Episcopalian leaders from across North America gathered in Bedford, Texas on Monday to launch the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), described as an “alternative” to the U.S. Episcopal Church within the Anglican Communion.

The new denomination claims 100,000 members from several varieties of Anglican spirituality described as evangelical, charismatic or catholic. A union of eight groups, it is seeking recognition as part of the Anglican Communion.

Graduate College at 18

This is one self-motivated kid. Good for him.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Business

I have a friend (and grad school classmate), Andrew Muras, who just published his first book on business - Process improvement & Performance Management: The Fast Track Approach to Getting Results Quickly Made Simple.

That is one heck of a title, but it tells me a lot. His next book he is planning will be on "Catholic, work, and business ethics".

Things You Ought to Read

Here are some posts from other blogs I have run across recently that you ought to read.
Here is the trailer for The Stoning of Soraya M. - some are calling it a great movie, including Archbishop Chaput.

PIXAR

I really like Pixar. They put out phenomenal movies with great messages. I absolutely loved Toy Story, Toy Story II, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, and Ratatouille. I have enjoyed every film they have made. I plan on taking my two oldest kids to see UP this week.

I also like Pixar, because they employ several dozens of Aggies.

Lastly, I really like Pixar, because of they granted the last wish of a dying girl and never looked for publicity in doing it.
After a family friend made frantic calls to Pixar to help grant Colby her dying wish, Pixar came to the rescue.

The company flew an employee with a DVD of Up, which is only in theaters, to the Curtins’ Huntington Beach home on June 10 for a private viewing of the movie.

The animated movie begins with scenes showing the evolution of a relationship between a husband and wife. After losing his wife in old age, the now grumpy man deals with his loss by attaching thousands of balloons to his house, flying into the sky, and going on an adventure with a little boy.

Colby died about seven hours after seeing the film.

Pope Benedict XVI to Meet With President Obama

PBXVI will be have an audience with President Obama on July 10. This is nothing to get too excited about (though many will), because the Pope meets with leaders of almost every nation that asks. Continue to pray for both of these leaders.

Tim Staples - Blessed to be Catholic

Bishop Murphy Defends Marriage

Here is a statement from Bishop Murphy of Rockville Centre (Long Island) on a Nassau County Executive's (a Catholic official in the county) support of gay marriage. It is a very good defense of traditional marriage, so I am posting it in full:
The Nassau County Executive, Thomas Suozzi, has announced in The New York Times that he “now supports gay marriage”. In his op-ed piece he states he is concerned about equality for gay couples but “as a practicing Catholic felt that the state should not infringe on religious institutions’ right to view marriage in accordance with their own convictions”. This second point is correct and one that every state is bound to respect. No state can legitimately infringe on a religious institution’s right to live by their beliefs. That, however, is not the heart of the wrongheadedness of Mr. Suozzi’s argument.

The logic of Mr. Suozzi’s argument is difficult to discern. It seems that he has become convinced that because he has met homosexual persons who have suffered discrimination, they now have a “right” to insist that the state re-define their private sexual relationships and give such the term of marriage. The issues Mr. Suozzi names such as employment benefits, life and health insurance and inheritance laws either are already enjoyed by individuals who wish to name a companion to benefit from these or they can be so granted by simple adjustment of existing laws. None of these require that homosexual relationships between consenting adults need to receive the state’s blessing declaring them marriage. Mr. Suozzi’s argument fails logically because all the reasons he cites can easily be met without calling such relationships marriage.

Mr. Suozzi next wants to insure “equality” that he opines cannot be guaranteed if private homosexual relationships between consenting adults are given the status of mere “civil unions”. In this he is correct. The answer, however, is not to give them a title, “marriage” that has a meaning with a purpose, a meaning and a purpose that homosexual relationships cannot fulfill. Whatever may be the intensity of a relationship between two persons, it cannot become what it is not. Some may find all kinds of positive qualities to such relationships but it cannot be re-defined into marriage. To use an absurd example, no matter how much a man might like so to do, he cannot give birth to a child and if he is blessed to be the father of his child, he cannot claim he is really the mother.

At the heart of this is a truth that cannot be truthfully denied even by those who do deny it. The teleology (the natural meaning, end and purpose) of the human body demands that the sexual construct of human beings be respected. That construct and that teleology demonstrate only one legitimate conclusion. The sexual reality of male and female is such that they are related to each other and to each other only in a complementarity that alone can naturally create new human life.

And that is why the state has a stake in having sound and healthy family life. I will pass over in silence Mr. Suozzi’s remarks about the history of marriage in civil and religious society. He simply is wrong. But there is a point that is implicit in his remarks. Civil society has regulated marriage because, early on, the state has recognized that the most basic social unit, predating any other social institution including the state, is the bond between a man and a woman. For the good of the society, the state has made rules about marriage because the union of a man and a woman in faithful commitment to each other is a major factor in ensuring a healthy society as a whole. Other private sexual relationships are immaterial to the state because they have no impact on the common good which the state exists to foster and protect.

That is why the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 16) has included the marriage of a man and a woman as a basic human right. That would mean that it is a right that inheres to us men and women because we are human, not because of sexual preference, nor because of a desire to give certain benefits to one group of persons or all persons. It is a human right to be exercised by the free choice of a man and a woman to appropriate this right to themselves. All a legitimate state can legitimately do is recognize a human right, protect it, foster it and not contradict it by some particular law that empties it of its meaning in response to the pressure of a powerful lobby or special interest group.

Such a group is the “gay lobby” which wants to claim the title “marriage” for gay and lesbian couples as a “civil right”. That cannot be because there is no legitimate civil right here. To claim a civil right is to contradict the human right of marriage between a man and a woman. True civil rights reflect and have to reflect, not contradict, human rights.

Mr. Suozzi predicts that his wish which he calls “equal civil marriage” will one day become law in New York. He may be right that this will happen. But this will mean nothing other than that a special interest group managed to persuade legislators or the courts to create a particular class and give it a label. The law will be as false as the claim. Unfortunately in our society where the government more and more feels free to create its own rules and definitions, the majority of people will then think that we have to acquiesce “because it is the law”. Unjust and false laws are not binding except in a society that does not respect the freedom of its own citizens. We can hope and trust that the legitimate right to religious freedom Mr. Suozzi seeks to protect will in fact not be compromised by what I have called elsewhere “this journey into madness”.

There is a further consideration that, as his bishop, I have to raise to Mr. Suozzi because he publicly identifies himself as a practicing Catholic. By so doing he certainly admits that he knows he is contradicting some basic moral teachings of his own faith. This is not the first time he has done this. He has already placed himself publicly in the category of “pro choice” on abortion. While homosexual orientation is a neutral reality on a moral level, homosexual acts are not morally neutral. They are wrong and they are sinful. Abortion is wrong and it is sinful. We bishops, the authentic teachers with the Pope of the Catholic faithful, have made this abundantly clear. Our teaching is unambiguous, faithful to the Lord and binding on all Catholics. No Catholic is free to ignore or disregard this teaching. It is normative in the formation of the conscience of every Catholic who seeks to be faithful to the Lord and qualify as a “practicing Catholic”. In saying this, I am not singling out Mr. Suozzi. I am speaking to all Catholics in our Diocese and beyond, reminding them that what we bishops teach is not “another opinion” among many that Catholics may choose or not choose. Instead, such truths are “non-negotiable”, binding on all of us who claim to be “practicing Catholics”. Otherwise we are not faithful to our Lord, to His Church and to the ultimate truths about the human person which alone can bring us freedom, justice, joy and peace.

Very nicely written and argued.

Monday, June 22, 2009

OSV on West Controversy

Our Sunday Visitor has a cover story on the Christopher West controversy.

USCCB vs. Notre Dame

The USCCB released this statement today:
The bishops of the United States express our appreciation and support for our brother bishop, the Most Reverend John D'Arcy. We affirm his pastoral concern for Notre Dame University, his solicitude for its Catholic identity, and his loving care for all those the Lord has given him to sanctify, to teach and to shepherd.

Archbishop Aymond's Farewell

From Archbishop Aymond:
I will be in Rome to receive the Pallium from Pope Benedict XVI from Thursday, June 25 to Wednesday, July 1. Please be assured that I will remember the clergy, religious and laity at Mass and as I visit the tomb of Pope John Paul II.

It will be hard to leave Central Texas, and I will always hold you in my heart.

July/August Schedule
My schedule for July and August 2009 is as follows.
July 3-10, I will be on retreat.
July 11, I will return to Austin.
July 12-August 14, I will fulfill all pastoral committments that are scheduled.
August 15, I will leave for New Orleans.
August 20, I will be installed as the Archbishop of New Orleans.

Confirmations
After Aug. 15, pastors are delegated for the celebration of the sacrament of confirmation in their respective parishes. I suggest the scheduled date be maintained and the pastor or his delegate celebrate the sacrament of confirmation. Obviously, I will not be able to fulfill any appointments and events scheduled after Aug. 14.

More information to come
I will schedule four "Masses of Thanksgiving" throughout the Diocese and a farewell to my brother priests. More information on those events will be forthcoming.

Another Aggie Vocation

This story of one of the newest Aggie Catholic priests is quite unique.
Here is a snip of the article.
Texas born and raised, Bayler joined the Marines after high school and worked embassy duty in Uruguay and Nigeria during his four years of service.

Following discharge, Bayler earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Texas A&M University in political science and public administration, respectively.

That’s when he decided to try out the priesthood for the first time and entered the Society of African Mission Fathers seminary. It didn’t fit, and he dropped out after nine months.

“It felt like I was in another graduate program,” Bayler said of the experience.

From there he worked on oil rigs, received an appointment to the State Department as a foreign service officer in Nicaragua, married in 1983 and was divorced in 1988.

When the marriage was officially annulled in 1996, Bayler said he called his mother, and said, “You know what that means, I can get married again.”

His mother responded, “You know what that means — you can become a priest.”

Bayler’s Catholic upbringing and his now-deceased mother’s strong faith and prayers eventually influenced his path.

Bayler changed careers to be involved with his son’s upbringing. He worked as a real estate appraiser, federal bank officer, U.S. Customs Inspector, teacher, national park ranger at Big Bend National Park in Texas, and a backcountry ranger at Denali National Park in the summer months.

As his son neared high school graduation and planned to attend college on a football scholarship, Bayler decided to give the priesthood a second chance.

Initially, Bayler’s son, David, was concerned that the priesthood would change his father.

“I told him, the only thing that would change is that he would have to say, ‘Bless me Dad, for I have sinned,’ in the confessional,” Bayler joked.

David wasn’t so sure.

“When I first heard he what he wanted to do, I thought he might take on a different persona and wouldn’t be the same guy ... kind of like a Santa Claus.

“He hasn’t changed at all,” David said. “He’s the same guy he was four years ago.”
Now he is a priest in one of the toughest places in America - Alaska.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Not Good

I wouldn't want to make this list (emphasis added):

Parents wondering what their hard-earned money is supporting at Catholic colleges and universities might be interested in the latest findings from the Cardinal Newman Society.

The organization has discovered 10 Catholic colleges and universities that are promoting student internships with organizations whose missions or activities are directly opposed to the Church’s moral teachings on issues related to abortion and marriage.

“Under what definition of ‘Catholic education’ do students receive academic credit to work for leading pro-abortion organizations?” asked Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society.

The “Dirty Deca” includes the following schools:

Boston College - recommends opportunities for students to work ‘pro bono’ for the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts.

College of St. Benedict & St. John’s University - the school’s Gender and Women’s Studies program promotes internship opportunities with the pro-abortion Feminist Majority Foundation and organizations supporting same-sex marriage.

DePaul University - the institution’s Women’s and Gender Studies program offers credit for internships, noting that students have interned with abortion provider Planned Parenthood and the Chicago Women’s Health Center, which offers emergency contraceptive services and alternative insemination for “lesbians, bisexual, and queer couples, single women of any sexual orientation, and trans people.”

Georgetown University - permits students to receive universityfunding for interning at abortion advocacy organizations.

Loyola University of Chicago - their website lists opportunities for internships and volunteer opportunities at Chicago’s National Organization for Women, the Feminist Majority Foundation, Planned Parenthood, and the Chicago Abortion Fund.

St. Edward’s University - has allowed students to work at NARAL Pro-Choice Texas to fulfill a “Community Service in Women’s Studies” credit requirement.

St. Norbert College - - the college’s Women’s and Gender Studies program recommends internships at several pro-abortion and same-sex marriage promoting organizations, including NOW, Legal Momentum, Planned Parenthood, the National Women’s Health Network, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and PFLAG.

University of Notre Dame - the university’s Gender Studies program offers internships for academic credit at places such as the National Organization for Women.

University of San Francisco - the school’s Media Studies program has promoted internships with the California Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League and Girlfriends Magazine.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Blogs Worth Your Time

Here are a few blogs I have never mentioned, but that are worth your time:

Comments

I won't be checking comments until Monday, so if you post any they won't appear until I get a chance to approve them.
Peace.

TOB

The first of a four-video series on the Theology of the Body.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Another Article About The Christopher West Controversy

This is a fair and balanced article that gives the highlights of the controversy.

Here is another article featuring Janet Smith, who says the criticisms of West are unfair. I disagree that all of Schindler's criticisms are unfair, but I agree that he should have done it in a different forum.

Death Metal Worship

I was somewhat frightened and I laughed anyway.
I shouldn't forget to tell you that my ears and sensibilities hurt after I watched it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

PBXVI Appoints American Priest To Oversee Liturgy

Another American gets moved to a significant post in the Curia:
This morning, the Vatican announced a significant change by Pope Benedict at the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, the body charged with overseeing the liturgy. The American priest, Fr. Agustine Di Noia O.P., was appointed by the Pope to be the secretary of the Congregation and raised to the level of archbishop.

Pope Benedict's appointment of a native English speaker will prove to be valuable as the Congregation prepares to approve and introduce a new English translation of the Roman Missal.

Archbishop-elect Di Noia will be working under Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, who was appointed by Pope Benedict last December.
Prior to his new appointment, the Dominican priest worked at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, where he served under the future Pope Benedict XVI from 2002-2005.

The archbishop-elect was born in New York City in 1943 and ordained a priest in 1970. He received his licentiate in theology at the Dominican House of Studies, and holds a doctorate in philosophy from Yale University.

As part of being assigned to his new post, Archbishop-elect Di Noia will be given the titular see of Oregon City, Ore.

The current secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith, has been appointed by the Holy Father to be the Archbishop of Colombo, Sri Lanka.

News Bits

*Dawn Eden tells a pitiful story of one famous family and the end of motherhood.

*The Vatican bans FaceBook. I think this is a bad decision and agree with the "employee" in the article.

*Some Anglican nuns are becoming Catholic. I am going to bet that a number of readers didn't know Anglican nuns existed.

*"If you have a dream, go after it." This video shows what sport is really about and why so many people find such good in competing and challenging themselves. It isn't in the honors, the fame, money, or being the best. Sport is about learning something about life.
You want to see this video.







Tip O' the Hat to New Advent.

Very Interesting Study

As someone who cares about and is involved in what happens to college students, I find this study fascinating. It is a detailed study done on Evangelical Protestant kids from youth to college. The findings first, then some commentary:
The survey found, much to Ham's surprise, a "Sunday School syndrome," indicating children who faithfully attend Bible classes in their church over the years actually are more likely to question the authority of Scripture.

"This is a brutal wake-up call for the church, showing how our programs and our approaches to Christian education are failing dismally," Ham writes in the book.Among the survey findings, regular participants in Sunday School are more likely to:
  • Leave the church
  • Believe that the Bible is less true
  • Defend the legality of abortion and same-sex marriage
  • Defend premarital sex
Very interesting indeed. In other words, the problems are not rising up from college, but from the upbringing of the kids as youth. His conclusion is completely off, in my opinion.
The book explores a number of reasons for the findings, but Ham sees one overarching problem that is related to how churches and parents have taught youth to understand the Genesis account of creation.
The article then goes on to explain that the problem is that kids don't understand a "biblical" account of creation well enough to defend it against the evolutionary idea of creation, which then undermines the Bibles authority in the young minds.

This is not good theology or Biblical study. The initial study is probably fine (although I am not a stat guy, so I wouldn't know any way), but the conclusions are off-the-wall bad. The problem is not in evolution vs. the Bible. The problem is in how we parent our kids and don't give them a solid basis in truly understanding who they are, who God is, what their purpose is, and the freedom to ask questions and then help them seek the answers.

Archbishop Burke on Notre Dame

Comments from Archbishop Burke, head of the Apostolic Signatura, the office which oversees the correct administration of justice in the Church, on Notre Dame:
We all have witnessed the compromise and, indeed, betrayal of the Catholic identity of Notre Dame University. Thoughtful Catholics cannot help but reflect upon the great danger for a Catholic institution in pursuing a kind of prestige in the secular world, which leads to a betrayal of the sacred aspect of its work, namely the fidelity to Christ and His teaching.

So I think everybody now realizes the gravity of the situation. Also I believe that the whole situation has sensitized more people with regard to the gravity of the practice of procured abortion in our nation, that is, they realize even more how far we have gone away from God’s will for human life. That the premiere Catholic university in the United States would give an honorary doctorate of law to one of the most aggressive pro-abortion politicians in our history is profoundly shocking.

Now, we cannot forget what has happened at Notre Dame. We need to take the measures that are necessary so that this is not repeated in other places. If it could happen at Notre Dame, where else could it happen?

We have to give witness to the Gospel of Life in a way that people can receive it. Bishop John D’Arcy of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, the diocese in which Notre Dame University is located, has given a very powerful witness. He knows the good things that are happening at Notre Dame, for example, a very strong participation in sacramental life among the students, daily Mass, regular confession and so forth. As a Bishop, he wants to save these good things, while at the same time correcting what is gravely wrong.

I have friends who are professors or students at the university who tell me that there are a great number of the students are very devout in their practice of the Catholic faith, and strive in every way to live their faith and grow in it. We certainly want to save that and promote it.

Criminals

You have heard the saying "crime doesn't pay". I certainly agree.

We might also add another saying. "Crime makes you stupid".


Don't break the law.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Close The Garage Door At Night

or else you might find this...

Catholic Church Errors?

Q - Is a Papal Decree binding? The reason I ask is that I stumbled across this quote today:
"We decree and order that from now on, and for all time, Christians shall not eat or drink with Jews, nor admit them to feasts, nor cohabitate with them, nor bathe with them. Christians shall not allow Jews to hold civil honor over Christians, or to exercise public offices over them."
--Pope Eugenius IV, Decree of 1442

A - Thanks for the question. There are many dark moments in the Church's history where individuals do very bad things. This is one of them. Pope Eugenius IV was playing politics and the Jews got the brunt of it.

There is also an unfortunate history of anti-semitism in many eras of the Church, as in every other part of Western culture. There is no excuse for it. But, the Church has never had any doctrinal statement that is anti-semitic. In fact, all doctrinal statements have been very pro-Israel and pro-Jew, because of the Jewish foundations and necessary part of salvation history. Jesus, Mary, and the apostles were Jews and anti-semitism necessarily means one acts/thinks in an un-Christian manner.

The basics, in this incident cited, goes something like this:
-Pope Eugenius IV was in a power struggle with other Church leaders.
-To win over some allies in Spain he issued restrictions on Jews and those associating with them.
-There is no excuse for it.
-The bull issued is not in any way binding.

A while back I wrote about the different levels of church teaching. This decree of Eugenius IV is of the lowest level and requires no religious submission of intellect or will. A papal bull /decree is not always doctrinal or enforceable ipso facto. It is merely a medium to get a message out. Here the decree should not have been issued and is contrary to the faith. Remember that not every act of a Pope is automatically correct. While given special graces to fulfill his duties as Pope, he has to cooperate with them and can always sin, mess up, or generally act like a fool.

John Paul II apologized for the way in which some Catholics have persecuted Jews over the centuries, and Benedict XVI has continued the push for inter-faith dialogue and peace.

Pray for all non-Christians, for peace, and for forgiveness.

:-P

For Rich, my buddy and dentist.
If you are a student who never had to spit into a tiny sink - we did in that in the olden days...


For my parents:


Hunger Is Never Acceptable

Prayer Request

Please pray for my sister who is in surgery this morning. The doctors are not sure what they will find, but she is so sick, they felt they needed to operate.
UPDATE - she is out of surgery and recovering. Please continue to pray for her.

National Champs

I didn't mention that the Texas A&M golf team won the national championship last month. But, I won't forget to mention that both the men's and women's track teams won national championships this weekend. WHOOP!

Homosexual "Marriage" and Religious Liberty

An interesting piece from The Christian Post.
As more states-like Iowa-approve same-sex “marriage,” conservatives are claiming that freedom of religion is in peril. Same-sex “marriage” supporters accuse them of engaging in hysterical gay-bating. Who’s telling the truth?

Let me share some stories with you from an excellent news broadcast produced by National Public Radio. Then you decide.

Two women decided to hold their civil union ceremony at a New Jersey pavilion owned by the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association. This Methodist group told the women they could not “marry” in any building used for religious purposes. The Rev. Scott Hoffman said a theological principle-that marriage can only exist between one man and one woman-was at stake.

The women filed a discrimination complaint with the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights. The Methodists said the First Amendment protected their right to practice their faith without being punished by the government. But punish the Methodists is exactly what New Jersey did. It revoked their tax exemption-a move that cost them $20,000.

Then there’s the case of the Christian physicians who refused to provide in vitro fertilization treatment to a woman in a lesbian relationship. The doctors referred her to their partners, who were willing to provide the treatment. But that wasn’t good enough. The woman sued. The California Supreme Court agreed with the woman, saying that the doctors’ religious beliefs didn’t give them the right to refuse the controversial treatment.

In Massachusetts, Catholic Charities was told they had to accept homosexual couples in their adoption service, or get out of the adoption business. They chose correctly-get out of the business.

In Mississippi, a mental health counselor was sued for refusing to provide therapy to a woman looking to improve her lesbian relationship. The counselor’s employers fired her-a move that was backed up by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

In New York, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University refused to allow same-sex couples to live in married student housing, in keeping with the school’s orthodox Jewish teachings. But in 2001, the New York State Supreme Court forced them to do so anyway-even though New York has no same-sex “marriage” law.

In Albuquerque, a same-sex couple asked a Christian wedding photographer to film their commitment ceremony-and sued the photographer when she declined. An online adoption service was forced to stop doing business in California when a same-sex couple sued the service for refusing, on religious grounds, to assist them.

Convinced? Clearly, homosexual “marriage” and religious liberty cannot co-exist-because gay activists will not allow them to. As marriage expert Maggie Gallagher puts it, same-sex “marriage” advocates claim that religious faith “itself is a form of bigotry.”
Interesting isn't the right word. Frightening for our society.

Friday, June 12, 2009

More Video

Campus Ministry Quote

Archbishop Hughes said in his news conference introducing Archbishop Aymond,
“in case you don’t know the campus ministry program in the Diocese of Austin TX, in my opinion, is the model program throughout the country.”
Whoop!

Video of News Conferences



Here is more video of the first news conference (in New Orleans).
Another video of the same press conference.

More soon.

What Happens To A Diocese Without A Bishop?

Q - What happens to the diocese between now and the appointment of a new Bishop? I have no idea how such things work.

A - Thanks for asking. We really won't see much change in how things work at all, because immediately after a bishop given a new assignment to a new diocese (or retires), he becomes the administrator of his former diocese (in this case, Bishop Aymond is currently the administrator of the Diocese of Austin) until he is installed in the new diocese.
The "episcopal see" of Austin will not be without someone over it through this process. Canon 416 reads:
An episcopal see is vacant upon the death of a diocesan bishop, resignation accepted by the Roman Pontiff, transfer, or privation made known to the bishop.
The canons that follow 416 then explain that the bishop is named administrator of the diocese he has just left until he takes possesion of his new see. If there is no new bishop named by the time he leaves, a priest (or another bishop if there are other bishops in the diocese) administrator will be named to replace him in the interim within eight days by the college of consultors within the diocese (the presbyteral council). If they fail to elect someone administrator within eight days, then the metropolitan (archbishop of the area) will name one.

The administrator has limited duties and cannot take on financial responsibilities. Their role is to keep things going until the new bishop takes over. They also are forbidden to have any "innovations" during the vacancy of the bishop.

This process is an ordinary part of the life of the Church. Pray hard during it.

One of the interesting things is that immediately upon having a bishop notified of a new assignment to a new diocese, the office of vicar general (and other administrative offices) ceases. We just had Fr. Mike Sis (our former pastor) named co-Vicar General a few weeks ago. He is no longer vicar general.

LINKS ABOUT BISHOP AYMOND

I will be posting as many stories as I come across. Please let me know in the comments box if you know of others. The New Orleans press conference starts at 10:30am.


UPDATE - Here is the letter sent to priests and others in the Diocese this morning.
Dear Brother Priests, Friends and Co-workers in Ministry:

This letter is very difficult to write. I wish I could communicate this message personally, but that is not possible.

I have been informed by Archbishop Sambi, the Apostolic Nuncio, that our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has named me Archbishop of New Orleans.

Needless to say, this appointment creates in me very mixed feelings. I have been privileged to serve as the Bishop of Austin for the last nine years. Central Texas has become home. I have worked with a great group of priests who have become my brothers. The deacons, religious, diocesan and parish staffs have been most supportive and genuine co-workers in ministry. I have enjoyed our ministry together and being a part of this vibrant, fast-growing diocese. I am very grateful to God and to each of you.

I also feel humbled that the Holy Father has asked me to serve as Archbishop of New Orleans. In recent years, the city has gone through many changes and I am aware of the challenges ahead.

Today I write primarily to thank you for your ministry and to request your prayers for me in this time of transition.

This morning I will be in New Orleans for a news conference at 10:30 a.m. and return to Austin for a conference at 4 p.m.

In the near future, I will schedule a “Mass of Thanksgiving” in four areas of the Diocese to express my gratitude to God and to you for the privilege of serving as the Bishop of Austin.

I will be in Rome to receive the pallium, a symbol of the ministry of the Archbishop, on June 29, the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul.

The installation in New Orleans is on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2009 at 2 p.m.

I hold you and all the people of this diocese in my heart and in prayer. Please lift me to God in your prayers.

Sincerely in Christ,
Most Reverend Gregory M. Aymond
Bishop of Austin

BISHOP AYMOND TO BE ARCHBISHOP OF NEW ORLEANS

In news that could not get bigger for the Austin Diocese, our Bishop, Gregory Aymond, has been named the next Archbishop of New Orleans, his home town.

I ask for prayers for him and whomever replaces him, because he is one of the best bishops in the USA and we are losing a great man. I am saddened and happy for New Orleans, because they need him. He is a visionary, a fair man, a gentle shepherd, an fatihful priest, a wise leader, and just a good person. He understands and preaches the Gospel and isn't afraid to challenge those that need to be challenged, but always with mercy. Merc

I will miss Bishop Aymond. Austin will miss him as well. He has always been a very strong supporter of campus ministry and his priorities are the Church's priorities. He supported evangelization, strong formation/education, vocations, growth in prayer, family life, pro-life
efforts, and social justice. He is also well respected by his brother bishops and helped lead the USCCB's efforts to implement policies after the priestly abuse scandal hit.

He has it all.

According to the Austin diocese, Aymond is set to make the official announcement in New Orleans Friday morning and will be back in Austin to make the announcement Friday afternoon.

From the Archdiocese of New Orleans:
Pope Benedict XVI appoints New Orleans Native Archbishop of New Orleans
Friday June 12th 2009

Archbishop-designate Gregory M. Aymond to become 14th Archbishop of New Orleans; first New Orleans native to become Archbishop of New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS, La. -His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Most Reverend Gregory M. Aymond Archbishop of New Orleans. Pope Benedict XVI made the announcement today at noon at his public audience in Vatican City. Upon making the appointment, the Holy Father has accepted the retirement of Archbishop Alfred C. Hughes, who turned 75 on December 2, 2007, and served 18 months after the age established by canon law for bishops to submit their letters of retirement.
In becoming the 14th Archbishop of New Orleans, Archbishop-designate Aymond will become the first native-born New Orleans priest to hold that position. His installation Mass is scheduled for Thursday, August 20, 2009, at 2 p.m. at St. Louis Cathedral.
ABOUT ARCHBISHOP-DESIGNATE AYMOND
Archbishop-designate Aymond currently is Bishop of the Diocese of Austin, Texas. A New Orleans native, he a was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of New Orleans in 1975 after completing studies at Notre Dame Seminary. Following his priestly ordination he served as a parish priest and high school teacher, and was appointed to the faculty of Notre Dame Seminary in 1981. He was later appointed the seminary rector in 1986 and served in that capacity for 14 years.
Archbishop-designate Aymond was ordained auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of New Orleans on January 10, 1997. On June 2, 2000, he was appointed coadjutor bishop of Austin and was installed there on August 3, 2000.
He has served on numerous committees and boards of U.S. bishops on the national level and served as chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Catholic Educational Association from 2000-04 and chair of the U.S. Bishops’ Committees on the Protection of Children and Young People and the World Missions Committee. He also has been a member of the USCCB Committees on Diaconate, Catholic Education, Vocations, Priestly Formation and Campus Ministry. He currently serves as a member of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, and the Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations.
More from Rocco.

I will be posting much more into the future.