Friday, October 29, 2010

Belief Under Assault: Scientific Atheism and the Assault on Reason and Faith

St. Mary's Institute of Catholic Studies - Distinguished Speaker Series hosted Dr. Christopher T. Baglow on the evening of October 15, 2010. Dr. Baglow spoke to about 400 students about "Belief Under Assault: Scientific Atheism and the Assault on Reason and Faith."

Dr. Baglow is the author of Faith, Science, and Reason: Theology on the Cutting Edge. Christopher T. Baglow is from New Orleans, LA. He has a B.A. in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville, an M.A. in Theology from the University of Dallas and a Ph.D. in Theology from Duquesne University. He currently works at Notre Dame Seminary, where he serves as Professor of Theology and Director of the Master of Arts Program in Theological Studies for lay students.

You can now listen to the podcast of the presentation at the links below:
If you would like to download them, right-click on the link and save it to your computer.

My Interview on NET TV

You can skip to around the 14:00 mark to see my interview on NET TV.

An Open Letter To Politicians

We are Catholic and we are American. You will be in our prayers and we promise to pray for you as you serve us. Our nation is struggling financially, yet we still have hope that things will get better. Yet, we believe that the nation's recovery should not come at the cost of the principles that have made our nation strong. While the economy is extremely important, we can not abandon the ideas that define us as a nation and expect to be a great society.

With that being said, we have quite a bit to ask of you.
Our hope is you will consider our words carefully.
  • We are Catholics first. We may be Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green, etc. Many of us do not claim a political party. Regardless, we will never abandon our faith for the purposes of politics. Being Catholic is not defined by political party affiliation.
  • As elected representatives, you work for us. We do not work for you.
  • Abortion isn't just another issue. It is the primary issue, unlike any other of our time.
  • We will not ignore other attacks on life and family - euthanasia, fetal stem cell research, cloning, same-sex marriage, torture, etc.
  • We will not forget the poor, the disenfranchised, immigrants, the elderly, the young, the disabled or any other group that society might not champion. Nor will we allow you to forget them either.
  • We take our responsibility to be good citizens very seriously.
  • We will look past the rhetoric, the slogans, and the ads. We will look for integrity, character, ethical behavior, and honesty.
  • We expect that you will see your position as a great responsibility to serve and not one of mere authority.
  • We ask that you implement policies that protect life, family, true freedom, and just laws.
  • Our country needs you to be holy. If we are to start to rise again, then common sense dictates our leaders become examples for us to rally around. Being holy is the only option.
  • If you are a Catholic, you have a special obligation to follow the Church's teachings, in addition to your obligation to defend and uphold the Constitution. Neither are optional once you are in office. The "personally opposed" argument is a smoke-screen and we see right through it. 
  • Please don't abandon your faith in order to win an election, make a political deal, stay high in an opinion poll or make money. It is not worth it for you or us.
  • We will encourage our fellow citizens to vote and to give you their feedback and opinion.
  • We appreciate your service to our country and to us. We promise to pray for you, support you, challenge you, and expect a lot from you.
"It must be noted also that a well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law which contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals. The Christian faith is an integral unity, and thus it is incoherent to isolate some particular element to the detriment of the whole of Catholic doctrine. A political commitment to a single isolated aspect of the Church’s social doctrine does not exhaust one’s responsibility towards the common good."
—Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
"For the Christian people of America conversion to the Gospel means to revise "all the different areas and aspects of life, especially those related to the social order and the pursuit of the common good." It will be especially necessary "to nurture the growing awareness in society of the dignity of every person and, therefore, to promote in the community a sense of the duty to participate in political life in harmony with the Gospel.""
—Pope John Paul II
Thank you and God Bless,
-Marcel LeJeune - Aggie Catholics
-Kevin Knight - NewAdvent.org
-Matt Archbold - CreativeMinorityReport.com
-George Sipe - ConvertJournal.com
-JC Sanders - equusnomveritas.blogspot.com
-Mark Shea - Catholic and Enjoying It
-Brandon Vogt - The Thin Veil
-Elizabeth Scalia - TheAnchoress
-ADeaconsWife
-abbafatherchapter.blogspot.com
-Dan Lower - Keyboard Theologians
-Why I Am Catholic
-Bill Daugherty - Commonplaciana
-Virtue Quest
-Coalition for Clarity
-Erin Manning - and Sometimes Tea
-In Commissum Quo Deus
-Brian Sullivan - Deny the Cat
-Arkanabar T'verrick Ilarsadin
-Patrick Alog
-Casey Truelove
-Lori Pieper, SFO - Bronx, New York
-Larry Denninger - Acts of the Apostasy.
-Rebecca Frech - Shoved to Them
-Sean Herriott - Relevant Radio
-Matt Korger

Other Signatures:
-Renee Aste - Lowell Massachusetts
-Adolfo Rodriguez - Covington, LA
-Brett Powers - Richland, WA.
-Tony
-Mickey Jackson
-Barbara C.
-Marguerite Nolan
-Terri Duhon
-Bull Schuck
-David and Jennifer Harris - College Station, TX
-Listener Rick
-Dolores
-Jon Winterburn
-Paul Henry
-PBS
-Daniella Alejandro
-Corina
-David Casson - Warwick, RI
-Mark and Jennifer Flusche - Muenster, Texas
-Emily Goodrich-Gazda - San Antonio, TX
-David G. Smith - New Oxford, PA
-Chris Molter - Orlando, FL
-Cory Fisher - Rapid City, SD
-JoAnna
-Milagros
-Ed Southall - St Louis MO
-Hugh
-Daniel Stevens
-Ray Rondini - Cleveland, OH
-Al
-Theo
-Michael Blissenbach - Saint Paul, Minnesota
-Jennifer Woo - Maryland
-Steven P. Cornett - Medway, Ohio
-Nicole Stallworth

If you would like to add your name to this list. Please leave a comment below.
Feel free to re-post in other places.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Code Maroon: Man With Gun Seen on Campus Of A&M

UPDATE: CODE MAROON - All Clear. Person with replica weapon identified. No danger. Resume normal activity. 5:34pm

The Code Maroon was issued at 4pm. A man with a gun was seen near Rudder Tower. If you are near campus, please be careful and stay away from Rudder Tower.
Code Maroon: Sighting of armed subject at Rudder Tower. SEEK SAFE SHELTER until further notice. 4:00p
Please pray for the safety of all at TEXAS A&M.

Anti-Abortionists Reject Science In Order To Support Abortion

This video is a head-scratcher. Opinion matters more than science to this group of abortion supporters who have forgotten logic.
"Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance."
-Plato

Tip o' the hat to Chesterton and Friends.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Do Dogs Go To Heaven? This One Will.






If you want the real answer to the question do animals go to heaven, then click here.

Fr. Barron asks Who is Jesus and What Makes Him Unique?

Matt at FallibleBlogma has been given an exclusive look at Fr. Robert Barron's new series, which I am really looking forward to. Here is the first clip he has been given. It looks AMAZING!!!
From Matt's description of the clip:
I’m honored to be working with Word On Fire to bring you some exclusive previews of this revolutionary series over the next year. The ten part production will be released Fall 2011. Between now and then, every month you’ll be able to find a new and exclusive preview from the series right here on FallibeBlogma.com. So be sure to subscribe over on the right follow along!

This first clip is called “Amazed and Afraid: The Revelation of God Become Man” and it’s from episode one:

Gig 'em Matt!

Holy Baseball Card Batman! - Nuns to Auction Rare Baseball Card

They will use the money to fund their ministry to the poor:
Sister Virginia Muller had never heard of shortstop Honus Wagner.

This damaged Honus Wagner card is expected to fetch a six-figure sum at auction.
But she quickly learned the baseball great is a revered figure among collectors, and the most sought-after baseball card in history. And thanks to an unexpected donation, one of the century-old cards belongs to Muller and her order, the Baltimore-based School Sisters of Notre Dame.

The sisters are auctioning off the card, which despite its poor condition is expected to fetch between $150,000 and $200,000. The proceeds will go to their ministries in 35 countries around the world.

The card is part of the T206 series, produced between 1909 and 1911. About 60 Wagner cards are known to exist.

A near-mint-condition T206 Wagner card sold in 2007 for $2.8 million, the highest price ever for a baseball card. Muller remains aghast that the 1 1/4-inch-by-2 1/2-inch piece of cardboard could sell for even a fraction of that.

"It just boggles your mind," Muller said. "I can't remember a time when we have received anything like this."

The brother of a nun who died in 1999 left all his possessions to the order when he died earlier this year. The man's lawyer told Muller he had a Honus Wagner card in a safe-deposit box.

When they opened the box, they found the card, with a typewritten note: "Although damaged, the value of this baseball card should increase exponentially throughout the 21st century!"

The card was unknown to the sports-memorabilia marketplace because the nuns' benefactor had owned it since 1936.
Since we are talking baseball - GO RANGERS!

What Abortion Supporters Are All About...

I will let the abortion supporters speak for themselves.

A video where an abortionist claims "women have abortions because they care about motherhood". She also says. "This is excellent medicine, this is mandatory for public health, for all of our health, for children’s health."


Then the head of Planned Parenthood said the following:
"I think it's important, Bill, to understand that unlike some other issues of cost, birth control is one of those issues that actually saves the government money," said Richards. "So an investment in covering birth control actually in the long run is a huge cost savings because women don't have children that they weren't planning on having and all the sort of attendant cost for unplanned pregnancy.

"So we actually feel that covering birth control is not only it's the right thing to do for women, it's good for women it's good for their health care, but it's frankly good public policy."
Lastly, we have this:
"The whole purpose of health care reform was to expand coverage of basic health services, which logically should include the full range of reproductive health services, including abortion,"
Tip o' the hat to CMR.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Archbishop Dolan Goes After the New York Times

Fr. Jonathan Morris comments:

Social Media Has Changed Our Culture

The Pope on Immigration

This should be read by every Catholic who is struggling with the topic of Immigration. It won't settle policy debates, but it is a good way of understanding the Catholic principles on the topic (emphasis added):
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The World Day of Migrants and Refugees offers the whole Church an opportunity to reflect on a theme linked to the growing phenomenon of migration, to pray that hearts may open to Christian welcome and to the effort to increase in the world justice and charity, pillars on which to build an authentic and lasting peace. "As I have loved you, so you also should love one another" (Jn 13:34), is the invitation that the Lord forcefully addresses to us and renews us constantly: if the Father calls us to be beloved children in his dearly beloved Son, he also calls us to recognize each other as brothers and sisters in Christ.

This profound link between all human beings is the origin of the theme that I have chosen for our reflection this year: "One human family", one family of brothers and sisters in societies that are becoming ever more multiethnic and intercultural, where also people of various religions are urged to take part in dialogue, so that a serene and fruitful coexistence with respect for legitimate differences may be found. The Second Vatican Council affirms that "All peoples are one community and have one origin, because God caused the whole human race to dwell on the face of the earth (cf. Acts 17:26); they also have one final end, God" (Message for the World Day of Peace, 2008, 1). "His providence, His manifestations of goodness, His saving design extend to all men" (Declaration Nostra aetate, 1). Thus, "We do not live alongside one another purely by chance; all of us are progressing along a common path as men and women, and thus as brothers and sisters" (Message for the World Day of Peace, 2008, 6).

The road is the same, that of life, but the situations that we pass through on this route are different: many people have to face the difficult experience of migration in its various forms: internal or international, permanent or seasonal, economic or political, voluntary or forced. In various cases the departure from their Country is motivated by different forms of persecution, so that escape becomes necessary. Moreover, the phenomenon of globalization itself, characteristic of our epoch, is not only a social and economic process, but also entails "humanity itself [that] is becoming increasingly interconnected", crossing geographical and cultural boundaries. In this regard, the Church does not cease to recall that the deep sense of this epochal process and its fundamental ethical criterion are given by the unity of the human family and its development towards what is good (cf. Benedict XVI, Encyclical Caritas in veritate, 42). All, therefore, belong to one family, migrants and the local populations that welcome them, and all have the same right to enjoy the goods of the earth whose destination is universal, as the social doctrine of the Church teaches. It is here that solidarity and sharing are founded.

"In an increasingly globalized society, the common good and the effort to obtain it cannot fail to assume the dimensions of the whole human family, that is to say, the community of peoples and nations, in such a way as to shape the earthly city in unity and peace, rendering it to some degree an anticipation and a prefiguration of the undivided city of God" (Benedict XVI, Encyclical Caritas in veritate, 7). This is also the perspective with which to look at the reality of migration. In fact, as the Servant of God Paul VI formerly noted, "the weakening of brotherly ties between individuals and nations" (Encyclical Populorum progressio, 66), is a profound cause of underdevelopment and – we may add – has a major impact on the migration phenomenon. Human brotherhood is the, at times surprising, experience of a relationship that unites, of a profound bond with the other, different from me, based on the simple fact of being human beings. Assumed and lived responsibly, it fosters a life of communion and sharing with all and in particular with migrants; it supports the gift of self to others, for their good, for the good of all, in the local, national and world political communities.

Venerable John Paul II, on the occasion of this same Day celebrated in 2001, emphasized that "[the universal common good] includes the whole family of peoples, beyond every nationalistic egoism. The right to emigrate must be considered in this context. The Church recognizes this right in every human person, in its dual aspect of the possibility to leave one’s country and the possibility to enter another country to look for better conditions of life" (Message for World Day of Migration 2001, 3; cf. John XXIII, Encyclical Mater et Magistra, 30; Paul VI, Encyclical Octogesima adveniens, 17). At the same time, States have the right to regulate migration flows and to defend their own frontiers, always guaranteeing the respect due to the dignity of each and every human person. Immigrants, moreover, have the duty to integrate into the host Country, respecting its laws and its national identity. "The challenge is to combine the welcome due to every human being, especially when in need, with a reckoning of what is necessary for both the local inhabitants and the new arrivals to live a dignified and peaceful life" (World Day of Peace 2001, 13).

In this context, the presence of the Church, as the People of God journeying through history among all the other peoples, is a source of trust and hope. Indeed the Church is "in Christ like a sacrament or as a sign and instrument both of a very closely knit union with God and of the unity of the whole human race" (Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium, 1); and through the action within her of the Holy Spirit, "the effort to establish a universal brotherhood is not a hopeless one" (Idem, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, 38). It is the Holy Eucharist in particular that constitutes, in the heart of the Church, an inexhaustible source of communion for the whole of humanity. It is thanks to this that the People of God includes "every nation, race, people, and tongue" (Rev 7:9), not with a sort of sacred power but with the superior service of charity. In fact the exercise of charity, especially for the poorest and weakest, is the criterion that proves the authenticity of the Eucharistic celebration (cf. John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Mane nobiscum Domine, 28).

The situation of refugees and of the other forced migrants, who are an important part of the migration phenomenon, should be specifically considered in the light of the theme "One human family". For these people who flee from violence and persecution the International Community has taken on precise commitments. Respect of their rights, as well as the legitimate concern for security and social coherence, foster a stable and harmonious coexistence.

Also in the case of those who are forced to migrate, solidarity is nourished by the "reserve" of love that is born from considering ourselves a single human family and, for the Catholic faithful, members of the Mystical Body of Christ: in fact we find ourselves depending on each other, all responsible for our brothers and sisters in humanity and, for those who believe, in the faith. As I have already had the opportunity to say, "Welcoming refugees and giving them hospitality is for everyone an imperative gesture of human solidarity, so that they may not feel isolated because of intolerance and disinterest" (General Audience, 20 June 2007Insegnamenti II, 1 [2007], 1158). This means that those who are forced to leave their homes or their country will be helped to find a place where they may live in peace and safety, where they may work and take on the rights and duties that exist in the Country that welcomes them, contributing to the common good and without forgetting the religious dimension of life.

Lastly, I would like to address a special thought, again accompanied by prayer, to the foreign and international students who are also a growing reality within the great migration phenomenon. This, as well, is a socially important category with a view to their return, as future leaders, to their Countries of origin. They constitute cultural and economic "bridges" between these Countries and the host Countries, and all this goes precisely in the direction of forming "one human family". This is the conviction that must support the commitment to foreign students and must accompany attention to their practical problems, such as financial difficulties or the hardship of feeling alone in facing a very different social and university context, as well as the difficulties of integration. In this regard, I would like to recall that "to belong to a university community… is to stand at the crossroads of the cultures that have formed the modern world" (John Paul II, To the Bishops of the United States of America of the Ecclesiastical Provinces of Chicago, Indianapolis and Milwaukee on their ad limina visit, 30 May 1998, 6: Insegnamenti XXI, 1 [1998] 1116). At school and at university the culture of the new generations is formed: their capacity to see humanity as a family called to be united in diversity largely depends on these institutions.

Dear brothers and sisters, the world of migrants is vast and diversified. It knows wonderful and promising experiences, as well as, unfortunately, so many others that are tragic and unworthy of the human being and of societies that claim to be civil. For the Church this reality constitutes an eloquent sign of our times which further highlights humanity’s vocation to form one family, and, at the same time, the difficulties which, instead of uniting it, divide it and tear it apart. Let us not lose hope and let us together pray God, the Father of all, to help us – each in the first person – to be men and women capable of brotherly relationships and, at the social, political and institutional levels, so that understanding and reciprocal esteem among peoples and cultures may increase. With these hopes, as I invoke the intercession of Mary Most Holy, Stella Maris, I cordially impart the Apostolic Blessing to all and, especially, to migrants and refugees and to everyone who works in this important field.

From Castel Gandolfo, 27 September 2010
BENEDICTUS PP. XVI
Rome Reports video on it:


For some of my thoughts on the competing principles we face in immigration policy, click here.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good
Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, announced that they have signed an agreement to buy Washington's Pope John Paul II Cultural Center, as a house of studies. This order is thriving and has two communities in the Diocese of Austin. They are looking at starting a mother-house in our diocese. Now, we just need to get them to send some sisters to a school closer to St. Mary's.

Here is a video announcing it all:


The Bad
Anti-Catholicism / Anti-Christian sentiment has always been an ugly part of politics. But, this ad might be the worst example I have ever seen. Not only that, but it is in support of a Catholic candidate opposing another Catholic candidate. Thomas Peters has more.

The Ugly
The Population Research Institute does amazing work. They show how the Government healthcare plan has allowed for abortion and expanded coverage for it, through back-door deals.

Drive-Through Fun

If you missed this one, it is worth a view.
The guy working at Taco Bell deserves a raise.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Marian Devotion and Scripture

A very nice apologetic of Marian devotion defended from Scripture.

Tip o' the hat to Sr. Lynn for sending this to me.

The 7 Signs of The Apocalypse - In Sports

Either the Apocalypse is upon us or this is the 13th year of our Bizarro world in sports. See the evidence of such hyperbole below:

7 - Texas A&M's basketball team is better than the football team and has been for some time now. Does this make us a basketball school? Not yet, but growing fast.

6 - The Dallas Cowboys, who many predicted would be the first team to play in the Super Bowl in their home stadium, is stinking it up and is in last place in the division.

5 - The longhorns lost to Iowa State. Did I mention it was at home for the second home loss of the season?

4 - This summer more Americans paid attention to the World Cup than ever before. That is soccer, for those of you who don't care about games which feature the rule that you can't touch a ball with your hands.

3 - Michigan State, Missouri, and South Carolina are in first place in their respective conferences.

2 - Baylor is leading the Big12 South in football. The South has A&M, OU, UT ("tu" for us Aggies), OSU, and Tech.
Baylor? Seriously?

1 - The Texas Rangers beat the Yankees and are in the World Series!


The world has gone mad I tell you!!!

Am I missing anything here?

Man Adopts 50 Children to Save Them From Abortion

What an amazing story - a Vietnamese man is inspired to live out his Catholic faith by helping save babies from abortion through adoption!
Tip o' the hat to Eric Sammons.

Fr. Robert Barron on St. Thomas More

I Will Be On NET NY TV Tonight - EDIT...make that Thursday

I will be interviewed (I will be on the phone and my picture will be on TV) for the show Currents, which is on NET NY Television, tonight (changed to Thursday). This is a Catholic station out of the Brooklyn Diocese that airs on cable. But, you can watch the episode online live here.

CURRENTS airs 7:30PM & 11:30PM (EST) on NET. If you are in the Central time zone, it airs at 6:30PM and 10:30PM.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Texas State Welcomes FOCUS Missionaries

Fr. Brian Eilers welcomed six FOCUS missionaries to Texas State this year. Fr. Brian is one of our Aggie priests. CNA has a story about them:
Six new FOCUS missionaries have joined the Catholic Student Center at Texas State University in San Marcos to evangelize and minister to college students.

FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) is a national Catholic outreach program providing missionaries to college campuses all over the country. The missionaries are recent college graduates who have been taught effective methods of evangelization. Their purpose is to expand Catholic campus ministries.

Kayla DiNardo, the development director at the Texas State University Catholic Student Center, said the center is blessed to have the missionaries.

“They spend their days out on campus, inviting kids to our Sunday Masses, to get involved in our Catholic Center activities, and most of all, to join one of our weekly Bible studies,” DiNardo said. “This August, the day before classes started, our FOCUS missionaries attracted a crowd of new students to the Catholic Center by setting up a big water slide and snow cone booth outside. The wonderful part was that more than 100 students walked inside the Catholic Center for the first time.”

DiNardo said ministering to college students is an ideal opportunity to carry out the church’s call to evangelize.

“Young college students are extremely malleable, and looking for a place to fit in. It’s an ideal time for us to encourage them to live an authentic Catholic life,” she said.
Continue Reading.
Please pray for Campus Ministry.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Modern Hero

This is a great story:
Driving to a Mariners game, Duane Innes saw a pickup ahead of him drift across lanes of traffic, sideswipe a concrete barrier and continue forward on the inside shoulder at about 40 mph.

A manager of Boeing's F22 fighter-jet program, Innes dodged the truck, then looked back to see that the driver was slumped over the wheel. He knew a busy intersection was just ahead, and he had to act fast. Without consulting the passengers in his minivan — "there was no time to take a vote" — Innes kicked into engineer mode.

"Basic physics: If I could get in front of him and let him hit me, the delta difference in speed would just be a few miles an hour, and we could slow down together," Innes explained.

So he pulled in front of the pickup, allowed it to rear-end his minivan and brought both vehicles safely to a stop in the pull-off lane.

Some might say the driver of the truck, 80-year-old Bill Pace, of Bellevue, and anyone Pace's truck might have slammed into had luck on their side that day. A retiree who volunteers for Special Olympics and organizes food drives, Pace didn't know it at the time, but he'd had a minor heart attack two days earlier and his circulation was so poor he passed out at the wheel with his foot resting on the accelerator.

But those who know Pace best don't see his rescue as luck so much as an example of "what goes around comes around." And Innes, who met Pace for the first time since the incident over dinner with their wives Monday night at a Bellevue restaurant, believes that, too.

"For all the good that he's done, he's probably deserving of a few extra lives," said Innes, who talked for hours with Pace about their shared interest in aviation and their family ties to Yakima Valley.

State Farm, Pace's insurance company, covered the roughly $3,500 in damage to Innes' car, and a claim representative sent Innes a letter of appreciation this summer.

"We wish to thank you for the actions you took to save Bill's life," State Farm's Clayton Ande wrote. "State Farm and the Pace family consider you to be a hero. I wish there were more people like you in the world."
Continue Reading.
This man thought on his feet, took action, and saved a life.

Most of us will never have the opportunity for an act such as this that makes the news. But, we can save others in a way that is even more important. We can lead others to Christ and his Church and help rescue a sinner from eternal death.

Who has God put in your life in the hope that you will be the instrument of God's salvation?

The Differences Between Christian Denominations

Q - is there any good way to find out about differences in beliefs between denominations? I know I've heard you say multiple times that you can't assume what someone believes based on what denomination that associate with, but I'm curious as to what the actual denominational beliefs are.


A - Thanks for the question. Because each different Protestant denomination has different doctrines and teachings, it would be impossible for me to go into the differences between them all in this space. But, there are some good resources that might help you.

Before I get to the resources, I want to point out a definition that is important. If we define a "denomination" as a group that has split off from the Church of Christ, then the Catholic Church is not a denomination. If you define it as a group with the same beliefs, then it could be considered a denomination. But the Catholic Church is just that - a Church. In fact, it is the one true Church. Thus, when Protestants broke off from The Church, they "denominated" from it. Thus, the Catholic Church is not just another Christian denomination.

Now, this isn't to say Protestants are bad, Catholics are awesome, etc. Rather, it is the way the Catholic Church understands the nature of the Church.

Now, as to the differences between Protestant denominations and the Catholic Church, there are somewhere between 30,000 and 60,000 denominations. So, I know of no resource that lists them all - nor would anyone read it if there was!

But, there are resources that track the major differences between groups. One of the best is this book -
Handbook of Denominations of the United States. It is pretty comprehensive and gives a quick overview of beliefs, size, origin, etc.

I think knowing the history of Christianity helps understand the splits in the Body of Christ. So, I recommend the following books as well:

  • The Faith of the Early Fathers. Edited by W. A. Jurgens, 3 volumes,
  • Where We Got the Bible: Our Debt to the Catholic Church. By Henry Graham.
  • Triumph by H. W. Crocker III.
  • How the Reformation Happened by Hilaire Belloc
  • Characters of the Reformation by Hilaire Belloc
  • How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization by Thomas Woods

If you want a quick chart on major differences, this one is fairly accurate.

I hope this helps.

What Life Is Like For Justin Bieber

Some Friday Fun for you:

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Vision of Humanity In Music

What a great teacher of the beauty of music and the untapped potential in us all.
Worth a second and maybe a third viewing.

The Problem With Donating to the Susan G. Komen Foundation

It is quite trendy to buy pink items, donate to pink causes and to support cancer awareness (esp. breast cancer awareness). But, some organizations can be problematic for Catholics and other Christians.

From LifeNews:
Like many families, my grandmother and great-grandmother both had breast cancer. The issue of wanting to fight what harms your family or friends is noble. So when I tell people that I do not support Susan G. Komen an organization that exists to “fight breast cancer”, I normally get the look of one: why would you abandon your family or two: oh there goes one of those extremist.

However, my reasons are not that extreme, but rather principled.

I'm sure many of you reading this article have also been confronted with the issue of if I ‘m pro-life then how can I support an organization that supports the nation’s leading abortion provider. Hopefully, the following principles can shed some light on how to respond sympathetically, yet firm with why you cannot wear pink, or join the race, or all the various ways that Susan G. Komen is supported.

Principle # 1 Don't give to organizations that promote the shedding of innocent blood.

If this were a list of commandments, we could start with Thou Shall Not Kill. However, Proverbs 6:17 states that one of the seven things God hates are hands that shed innocent blood.

Unfortunately, Susan G. Komen has given over $3 million dollars between 2003 and 2008 to Planned Parenthood which is the nation’s leading abortion provider.

While Susan G. Komen makes claims that these grants go for breast exams, once the funds go to Planned Parenthood they are fungible. For example, you can throw two twenty dollar bills into a purse one from a friend and one from your own account, but when you go to pay the light bill you use both.

The same is true with Planned Parenthood’s money it receives from Komen. Whenever someone applies for a grant they can say that while this $5,000 is going to breast cancer research, 20 percent of that money is going to pay for administrative costs like keeping the lights on and paying rent. So in essence, the money that people are raising to fight breast cancer is also going to keep the lights on at Planned Parenthood.

According to the 2008 Annual Report from Planned Parenthood, breast cancer services decreased by 4% and abortion procedures increased by 6%. In 2008, Susan G. Komen gave $731,000 to Planned Parenthood.
Continue Reading.
Further reading:
**Why I won't donate to Susan G. Komen Foundation.

The Greatest T-Shirt Idea Of All-Time

My t-shirt idea can never be beat.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What YouTube Can Do For You

YouTube can make you an unintentional star.

Evidence 1:


Evidence 2:

Good Things To Know About...

**The Pope has named 24 new Cardinals. They will be formally made Cardinals on Nov 20. Two are Americans.

**Jimmy Akin has a sober discussion about youthful passions, sin, and masturbation that I think is very well done.

**Fr Landry on the Miracle at the Mine.

**What do you say to a cradle Catholic who doubts the doctrine of the Communion of Saints? Patrick Madrid answers the question.

**Contraception: The Bitter Pill.

**In a stupefying article, the Vatican newspaper said that The Simpsons are Catholic. In a response, Carl Olson proclaims that every TV show is Catholic.

Dead Sea Scrolls Going Digital on The Internet

This is pretty dang cool.
Scholars and anyone with an Internet connection will be able to take a new look into the Biblical past through an online archive of high-resolution images of the 2,000-year-old Dead Sea Scrolls.

Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), the custodian of the scrolls that shed light on the life of Jews and early Christians at the time of Jesus, said on Tuesday it was collaborating with Google’s research and development center in Israel to upload digitized images of the entire collection.

Advanced imaging technology will be installed in the IAA’s laboratories early next year and high-resolution images of each of the scrolls’ 30,000 fragments will be freely accessible on the Internet. The IAA conducted a pilot imaging project in 2008.

“The images will be equal in quality to the actual physical viewing of the scrolls, thus eliminating the need for re-exposure of the Scrolls and allowing their preservation for future generations,” the Authority said in a statement.

It said that the new technology would help to expose writing that has faded over the centuries and promote further research into one of the most important archaeological finds of the 20th century.

The scrolls, most of them on parchment, are the oldest copies of the Hebrew Bible and include secular text dating from the third century BC to the first century AD. For many years after Bedouin shepherds first came upon the scrolls in caves near the Dead Sea in 1947, only a small number of scholars were allowed to view the fragments. But access has since been widened and they were published in their entirety nine years ago. A few large pieces of scroll are on permanent display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
You can read more about the project here.

Babies and Bonding

Q - I have some friends who understand and agree with the church's teaching on abortifacients (chemicals that cause abortions as the birth-control pill can), but do not agree with its stance on barrier methods of contraception. Our main argument revolves mostly around the use of condoms. I think the basic disagreement is whether there is a dual purpose behind sex: as both bonding and procreative. I bring up this point and we tend to stalemate. Could you explain the history of Christian teaching on contraceptives and also the logic behind the duality of purpose for sex that the church teaches? If you can reference the specific example I always get of whether a barren couple's marriage would be considered valid, I would appreciate it too. My friends are not Catholic, so Biblical references would be better than Church documents in this case.

A - Thanks for the question. First of all, as I always do, I want to remind you that the point of dialogue with another is not to "win", but to propose what the Church teaches. So, while I will help answer your questions, it isn't meant to be to give anyone ammunition to fire away.

The logic is simple behind while God intended there to be two purposes to sex, the procreative dimension (babies) and the unitive (bonding). The simple reasons are that God wants us to perpetuate our species and do so with love. Sex is a deeply spiritual exercise. It brings a man and wife closer than anything else could. When the end result is having a baby, then both purposes of sex are accomplished. Anything that would intentionally take either purpose out of the sexual act makes it into something it wasn't intended to be.

In this line of reasoning we can see why contraception is wrong. It is an intentional act of saying that we do not want the gift of fertility that God has given us. This is not a Biblical way of thinking about sex. In the Bible fertility is thought of as a blessing and to be infertile was a curse. In today's society we see children as the curse that we guard against.

The difference with an infertile couple is that they do not intend to be infertile. Therefore, they are not intentionally taking one aspect out of the sexual act.

For more on this topic, you can read a longer post I did a while back.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bobby McFerrin - Ave Maria

A jazz musician, who is unfortunately most known for "Don't Worry, Be Happy", Bobby McFerrin does a wonderful version of an Ave Maria.



Music certainly can lift the soul!

Faithful Catholic on Undercover Boss

What a wonderful depiction of a Catholic family. It isn't a very long part of the show, but this episode of Undercover Boss really shows what faith is all about at the beginning of the episode.

Start about the 3:00 mark until about th 5:30 mark at least.
The following description of the episode doesn't do it justice:
Bryan Bedford, Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of Frontier Airlines, goes undercover in his own company, where he "gets christened" while emptying a plane's lavatory and discovers how company-wide pay cuts are impacting his employees.
Tip o' the hat to New Advent.

Taming My Tongue

My newest article on Catholic Exchange:
In the year 2000, while in graduate school, I decided to challenge myself to 30 days of loving my wife how she wanted me to love her, instead of loving her how I wanted to. This challenge transformed my marriage, as I will explain shortly. Because of how well it worked, and because I was recently challenged by God, through my personal reflection, I have now embarked on a second 30-day challenge. The final results are yet to be determined.

While studying for my Master degree I really enjoyed the subjects I was studying because they were intellectual candy for me. But, I knew, as every theology student should, that if it didn’t transform my life, then it was of no value to me personally. It was at this time that I first encountered John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, which is an extraordinary teaching on God, humanity, sexuality, and love. I couldn’t get enough, at least intellectually. It provided me with insights into God, humanity, my own destiny, and more that I never had previously. To sum it up – I am made to be a gift of self to others – just as God is an infinite gift of self to all of us. This was a wake up call for me. It lead me to examine many areas of my life and question many aspects of my relationships, one in particular: Was I really living my life as a gift for my wife or was it all about me?

This resulted in my first 30-day challenge. I decided to love my wife as she wanted me to love her, which wasn’t the way I wanted to love her. She wanted me to do little acts of service for her (e.g. wash the dishes, help bath the kids, clean up messes, etc.). I, on the other hand, wanted to love her by being affectionate and telling her nice things. Of course, this is the way I want to be loved, not necessarily the way she wants to be loved. So, while my intent was decent, I was going about loving my wife in the wrong ways.

For 30 days I challenged myself to love my wife as she wanted me to. At the end of the 30 days, and ever since, our marriage was transformed. We stopped arguing over house work. I started to appreciate how much she did for me. She knew more deeply that I loved her because I was willing to change for her sake and love her as she wanted me to.

This leads me to my second 30-day challenge.

I have noticed recently that with 5 little kids it is easy to get upset and raise my voice, this (most certainly) teaches my children that to solve a problem you need to raise your voice and have an angry tone. While it is sometimes quicker to stop a misbehavior or an argument by raising my voice, it isn’t the best way to do so.
Continue Reading on Catholic Exchange

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Modern-Day Prophet on Christians Who Are Formed By the Culture and Not The Church

Archbishop Chaput is a prophet for the Church.

WE NEED TO LISTEN...

Our culture teaches us what to believe every day. Our Church is not nearly as good at handing on the faith (catechesis). Archbishop Chaput comments on this cultural catechesis. A few snips (emphasis added):
Some of you may know the short story, “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson. If you don’t, I need to spoil the ending to make my point. But I promise the story will still be worth reading.

“The Lottery” is set on a summer day in a small town in 1940s America. The people are assembling for a very old annual ritual. The ritual has something to do with imploring a good corn harvest -- but there’s no mention of any God, and no clergy anywhere in the picture.

Each person in the village lines up to draw a slip of paper from an old wooden box. Tessie Hutchinson, a young wife and mother, draws a slip with a black mark.

From that moment, the story moves quickly to its conclusion. The lottery official gives the word, and the villagers move in on Tessie. And they stone her to death.

“The Lottery” is one of the most widely read stories ever published in my country. And for good reason. It’s well told. The ending leaves you breathless. Teachers like it because it provokes sharp classroom discussions.

Or at least it used to.

A few years ago, a college writing professor, Kay Haugaard, wrote an essay about her experiences teaching “The Lottery” over a period of about two decades.

She said that in the early 1970s, students who read the story voiced shock and indignation. The tale led to vivid conversations on big topics -- the meaning of sacrifice and tradition; the dangers of group-think and blind allegiance to leaders; the demands of conscience and the consequences of cowardice.

Sometime in the mid-1990s, however, reactions began to change.

Haugaard described one classroom discussion that -- to me -- was more disturbing than the story itself. The students had nothing to say except that the story bored them. So Haugaard asked them what they thought about the villagers ritually sacrificing one of their own for the sake of the harvest.

One student, speaking in quite rational tones, argued that many cultures have traditions of human sacrifice. Another said that the stoning might have been part of “a religion of long standing,” and therefore acceptable and understandable.

An older student who worked as a nurse, also weighed in. She said that her hospital had made her take training in multicultural sensitivity. The lesson she learned was this: “If it’s a part of a person’s culture, we are taught not to judge.”

I thought of Haugaard’s experience with “The Lottery” as I got ready for this brief talk. Here’s where my thinking led me:

Our culture is doing catechesis every day. It works like water dripping on a stone, eroding people’s moral and religious sensibilities, and leaving a hole where their convictions used to be.

Haugaard’s experience teaches us that it took less than a generation for this catechesis to produce a group of young adults who were unable to take a moral stand against the ritual murder of a young woman. Not because they were cowards. But because they lost their moral vocabulary.

Haugaard’s students seemingly grew up in a culture shaped by practical atheism and moral relativism. In other words, they grew up in an environment that teaches, in many different ways, that God is irrelevant, and that good and evil, right and wrong, truth and falsehood can’t exist in any absolute sense.

This is the culture we live in, and the catechesis is on-going. But I don’t think this new kind of barbarism – because that’s what it is; a form of barbarism -- is an inevitable process.

It’s not easy to de-moralize and strip a society of its religious sense. Accomplishing the task requires two key factors: First, it takes the aggressive, organized efforts of individuals and groups committed to undermining faith and historic Christian values. Second, it takes the indifference of persons like you and me, Christian believers.
In other words, the problems we face rest on our shoulders - we can't just blame the culture.
More:
Instead of changing the culture around us, we Christians have allowed ourselves to be changed by the culture. We’ve compromised too cheaply. We’ve hungered after assimilating and fitting in. And in the process, we’ve been bleached out and absorbed by the culture we were sent to make holy.

If our people no longer know their faith, or its obligations of discipleship, or its call to mission -- then we leaders, clergy, parents and teachers have no one to blame but ourselves. We need to confess that, and we need to fix it. For too many of us, Christianity is not a filial relationship with the living God, but a habit and an inheritance. We’ve become tepid in our beliefs and naive about the world. We’ve lost our evangelical zeal. And we’ve failed in passing on our faith to the next generation.

The practical unbelief we now face in our societies is, in large measure, the fruit of our own flawed choices in teaching, parenting, religious practice and personal witness. But these choices can be unmade. We can repent. We can renew what our vanity and indifference have diminished. It’s still possible to “redeem the time,” as St. Paul once put it. But we don’t have a lot of time. Nor should we make alibis for mistakes of the past.
Archbishop Chaput isn't backing down. This is of the utmost importance:
We need to really believe what we claim to believe. We need to stop calling ourselves “Catholic” if we don’t stand with the Church in her teachings – all of them. But if we really are Catholic, or at least if we want to be, then we need to act like it with obedience and zeal and a fire for Jesus Christ in our hearts. God gave us the faith in order to share it. This takes courage. It takes a deliberate dismantling of our own vanity. When we do that, the Church is strong. When we don’t, she grows weak. It’s that simple.

In a culture of confusion, the Church is our only reliable guide. So let’s preach and teach our Catholic beliefs with passion. And let’s ask God to make us brave enough and humble enough to follow our faith to its radical conclusions.
Read the entire thing here.

What Is A Relic and Why Should I Care About Them?

Q - What is a relic and why should I care about them?


A - Thanks for the questions. I know there is a lot of misunderstanding and confusion surrounding the veneration of relics and what exactly they are. I hope I can clear some of it up.

The first thing we should understand about the spiritual life is that it is connected with the physical world. Jesus could have healed with merely a thought, but he used words, mud, water, etc. He could have given us a purely spiritual communion, but he gives us bread and wine, which is transformed into His Body and Blood.

In other words - God uses the physical world to give us His grace. The greatest time was in the person of Jesus, who took on a body (something physical) to give us something spiritual (grace). We also have this in all of the Sacraments. The grace we are given is through the imposition of hands, water, oil, bread, wine, and words spoken.

Why does God use the physical world? Because we are physical beings. This is why the woman who touched Jesus cloak was healed in. A miracle occurred when she touched his tassel. Then there is Peter's shadow healing the sick in Acts 5 and handkerchiefs that Paul touched used as a means of healing and deliverance in Acts 19.

The physical is used as the instrument of the spiritual.

But, these aren't the only way God uses the physical world, which He made. He also uses it to redeem us. The cross, the nails, the hammer, the spear, the tomb, etc. - all physical things that are part of how God redeems all of us.

Once Christ was dead, the body of Christ was still treated in a special way. So special that Joseph of Arimethea was willing to put his life on the line for it:
"Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate's permission, he came and took the body away." - John 19:38
WHAT IS A RELIC?
Relics are the remains or the possessions of a holy person. They are generally divided into three different "classes" or types of relics:

  1. First-class = the remains of saints' bodies and the things used in Jesus' Passion, death, and Resurrection (e.g.the True Cross)
  2. Second-class = personal items of saints. This can be clothing, or anything else they owned.
  3. Third-class = objects which have had contact with first- or second-class relics.

WHY SHOULD I CARE?
You don't have to care as a matter of faith. But, there can be great spiritual treasure in doing so. We never worship anything which is merely created. Thus, no saint, person, object, etc. should ever be worshiped. But, we can venerate (or honor) these people and things because of the great work that God has done through them.

In other words, they can lead us closer to God. So, why should we not care?

The bodies of the Saints were living temples of the Holy Spirit and one day these bodies will be Resurrected and re-joined their souls in Heaven. They have the Church's stamp of approval that they will be in Heaven and we can view them now!

Around the year 165 AD, Justin Martyr wrote this:
"The holy martyrs, having glorified God and having gone forth to the accustomed place, were beheaded and perfected their testimony in the confession of the Savior. Some of the faithful, having secretly removed their bodies, laid them in a suitable place, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ working with them, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen."
- Martyrdom of Justin Martyr 5.
In a way, every burial is a way of honoring a relic - the body of another person.

The early Christians continued the practice of revering the bodies of the martyrs in particular. They would honor the day they were martyred as their birthday into heaven. Those that were killed by the Roman government would have their bodies dumped, not buried. The Christians would secretly take their bodies and bury them in secret places.

These places began to be churches and houses of worship. Thus, the early Christians worshiped on the tombs of the martyrs and Saints.

When we venerate the relics of the Saints, we get a spiritual glimpse into heaven.
We also get a connection to our heroes - the Saints and Martyrs.
Lastly, we get a better connection to the Mystical Body of Christ - the Church - which is made up of all persons on earth, in Purgatory, and in Heaven.
"Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his holy ones" [Ps 116:15]
Below is an image of the True Cross relic that we had in our Activity Center here at St. Mary's during a presentation and exposition of relics:

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Another Protestant Discovers the Problems of Sola Scriptura

A post on what happened to a man searching diligently for the truth, no matter where it leads him.
Some snips:
For all of my life up until recently, I was a member in that complex and confusing part of Christendom known as evangelical Protestantism in both its mainstream and Reformed expressions. Though my transition from the generically Arminian church of my childhood to classical Reformed Presbyterianism was marked by several significant developments in my beliefs, one certainly maintained its place at the bedrock of my entire theology. This is no surprise for despite the doctrinal differences of the some 20,000 to 30,000 denominations within Protestantism, there is perhaps one that underlies every last one of them and that is the doctrine of Sola Scriptura (Latin for “by Scripture alone”). What the doctrine means is rather self-explanatory given its translation. Simply put, the doctrine states that only that which is contained in the Scriptures or can be directly derived therefrom should be received with the certainty of infallibility. In other words, anything that is not in and of the Scriptures is necessarily the wisdom of men and therefore does not possess the infallibility of God’s inspiration. The consequence of this doctrine is that any idea that cannot be found in the Scriptures is immediately suspect at best and should probably be discarded. No matter what denominational affiliation a Protestant is aligned with, he maintains some form of Sola Scriptura for it is the bedrock of the whole experiment.

Sola Scriptura, of course, sounds like a doctrine that is so obviously true that to question it could only indicate a doubt in the infallible divine inspiration of Scripture. However, I assure you that the doubts I began to consider that finally led me to shed my belief in Sola Scriptura were only because of my firm conviction in the absolute infallible divine inspiration of Holy Scripture. I must also say that my beliefs that must replace Sola Scriptura are still being worked out in my mind and heart. I simply do not yet know precisely how I will articulate the alternative at this time. This is the collection of thoughts that led me to consider Sola Scriptura as itself a man-made doctrine that is internally inconsistent and ultimately leads to an ironic conclusion characterized by complete uncertainty.
Then he bumps up against the biggest obstacle - the canon of Sacred Scripture:
To restate the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, it is the idea that only that which is contained in Scripture can be received with certainty of infallible divine inspiration. But think about this. When you open up your Bible to the first few pages and you come to the table of contents, has it ever occurred to you that that list is not itself a part of Scripture? That list, otherwise known as the canon, cannot be found within any book of the Bible. For what ever reason, God did not see fit to reveal to us a chapter-and-verse table of contents of what books possess that criterion of God-breathed Scripture. Therefore, given the Sola Scriptura principle, it would seem that any attempt to declare which books count as Scripture and which books do not is necessarily an extra-biblical claim that would be deemed uninspired and fallible because we don’t have an inter-Scriptural canon. Continue reading.
Please pray for all who search for the truth.
Tip o' the hat to Devin Rose.

High-Def Art

This is really cool:



Check it out here.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Reflection on "The Social Network"

“How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people?” - the first line from the song "Baby Your The Rich Man" by The Beatles which ends the movie "The Social Network". In an awkwardly sarcastic way to end a movie that is filled with despair and loneliness, it has an upbeat feel to it.

On Wednesday, I was in Dallas to give two different talks, one in the morning and one in the evening. Having a lot of time to do whatever I pleased, I decided to go to the movies. I went and watched the new movie about Facebook called "The Social Network". This movie was striking in several ways.

First of all, the movie starts with a lightning fast conversation between the main character, Mark Zuckerberg (played by Jesse Eisenberg) and a his girlfriend, Erica (played by Rooney Mara). Mark is clueless to the emotional needs of the woman in front of him and is caught up in his own selfish world. The desire to be recognized, liked, admired, and powerful catches up to him when she decides to break off the relationship.

Mark, who is hurt by the breakup, decides to get drunk and then post negative commentary about Erica on the internet. This leads to an idea, which leads to other ideas, which eventually starts Facebook (called The Facebook originally).

The deep desires of Mark's heart are never satisfied, even though he finds money, fame, sex, recognition, and power. He just can't leave the thought of Erica behind. Why? Because every human being is made for something better. We can't be happy with just having our own selfish desires fulfilled. We have to live for something greater than ourselves.

Mark never seems to learn these truths.

The movie isn't a historically accurate portrayal of Facebook, but is based on Ben Mezrich’s book “The Accidental Billionaires”, which is a book that doesn't claim accuracy but storytelling.

What I liked about the movie:

  • -It displayed the hopelessness in a world in which we are the only god.
  • -Power, fame, sex, recognition, and money can't buy happiness.
  • -The storytelling is very well done.
  • -The acting was superb.
  • -It portrayed the perils of the world we live in today - with privacy on the internet being so important.
  • -The natural consequences of immature decisions is naturally played out.

What I didn't like about the movie:

  • -There is no answer given about what brings ultimate happiness - an agnosticism fills the air of the movie.
  • -Very little redemption is found in the movie.
  • -It isn't a very accurate depiction of what really happened to the history of Zuckerberg and Facebook.
  • -Though the ethics in the movie are questionable, a different alternative is never given.
  • -Too much sex portrayed. They didn't need all of it.

I give the movie a B+

Fr. Barron on The Depressing Pew Forum Study

The Vatican Does Not "Get" Technology

This headline might be the saddest thing I have seen in a long time:

"Office for evangelising cyberspace does not have internet access, says official"

A snip:
The head of the new pontifical council charged with evangelising cyberspace has said that his new office does not have an internet connection.

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promotion of the New Evangelisation, made the startling admission at a press conference unveiling the new council.

A Motu Proprio issued on Tuesday established the responsibilities of the council, which include “studying modern means of communications”.

But Archbishop Fisichella said: “Right now, I’m just hoping to get a computer in my office so I can get on the internet myself.”
Tip o' the hat to Deacon Greg.

Aggie Catholic Who Figured Out How To Save Chilean Miners To Be Ordained A Catholic Deacon In February

From FoxHouston.com:

Below he talks about how he got involved and how his faith is involved and how prayer was what brought it together - with this quote:
Hall isn't only a businessman. He's a long-time member of Houston's Christ the Redeemer Church. He will be ordained as a Catholic deacon in February. It's something he has studied to become for the last six years. He says his faith was only strengthened in Chile when his years of experience only took him so far as he worked on that rescue shaft to reach the miners.

"There was a few times I was technically stuck. There was one time I specifically remember I didn't know what else to do. So I actually started praying and the prayer worked. A good friend of mine, he came up to me. He goes there's no way you could have drilled that hole. You know it's impossible. He goes God drilled that hole.

This was one of the most technically difficult jobs that anybody has ever heard of. It would be considered to be impossible to do. People come up to me in church and say where are the miracles now. We don't see the miracles. I've always told them miracles happen everyday, you just don't see it. This is a time when we see it. This is a miracle."

Gig 'em Aggie Catholics!!!

Once he is ordained we will have 133 Aggies who are priests, deacons, and religious, with more later in 2011.

More Please

I am still waiting for some A&M students to plan something like this.
Remember, you plan it - I will help do it.

New Archbishop Named for San Antonio

As is usually the case, Rocco has the details before anyone else.
An auxiliary bishop of Chicago since 2003, Gustavo García-Siller has largely been a stealth figure on the wider scene, keeping a remarkably low profile while tending an 82-parish vicariate of the Windy City archdiocese, alongside at-large responsibility for the Hispanics soon to comprise a plurality of its 2.3 million Catholics.
This is a young Archbishop.
Keep him in your prayers.
More:
Already, Santone chancery has announced the sixth archbishop's installation date for 23 November... and here, a quote from the Pope's "shock pick," with his reaction on getting news of the appointment:
“I felt a sense of gratitude for the opportunity to serve the people of the Archdiocese. I felt real happiness and joy tempered by a deep awareness of the great responsibility I had been asked to embrace. From the moment I said yes, I felt, in faith, a deep affection for the people of the Archdiocese of San Antonio.”
Now the 18th Latin-rite metropolitan (of 32) named by B16 since his 2005 election, García-Siller is the second Chicago auxiliary to leave town in just the last six months; the new archbishop's ordination classmate, the "Holy Goalie" Bishop Tom Paprocki, was named to Illinois' capital-church of Springfield in April.