Monday, January 31, 2011

EXCLUSIVE: Interview With An Anti-Catholic Aggie Turned Catholic Theologian

Taylor Marshall is an Aggie Catholic who has had an amazing journey from an Anti-Catholic Christian into the Catholic Church. Below is an interview he gave us. Please spread this post to others that might benefit from reading about his story.

Marcel LeJeune - "Taylor, you are both an Aggie and a Catholic, but you haven't always been an Aggie Catholic. Can you tell our readers about your story?

"

Taylor Marshall - "I was not always drawn to the Catholic Church. I once resisted it with great force. As a college student at Texas A&M I believed that Pope John Paul II was the Antichrist, and boldly concluded that the Catholic Church was the Scarlet Whore of Babylon described by Saint John in the Apocalypse. My freshman and sophomore year I attended Grace Bible Church in College Station and was highly involved in the Evangelical group Campus Crusade for Christ. I went to China as a missionary during the summer after my freshman year.

I eventually became a Presbyterian through Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) at Texas A&M and then an Anglican/Episcopalian after I graduated. I graduated from Westminster Theological Seminary and then Nashotah House Theological Seminary. I was ordained an Anglican/Episcopalian priest in 2005.

I entered the Catholic Church because I believe with all my heart that the Church is the Body of Christ. As Saint Paul once wrote, "Love believes all things" (1 Cor 13:7), and I believe that the Church isn't merely an institution, but that she is the Mystical Body of Christ.

He is the head of the Body, the Church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything He might be pre-eminent (Col 1:18).

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of His body, that is, the Church (Col 1:24).

That you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth (1 Tim 3:15).

The "Church question" is therefore unavoidable. The biblical description of "the Church" cannot be equated with a local congregation or voluntary club. It is something much more. The Church is not the "invisible Soul" of Christ, she is the visible "Body of Christ." There is no such thing as "an invisible Church," because the Church is defined as "the Body" which is a visible, empirical reality.

Secondly, since the Church is the Body of Christ, then she must also be one. Christ cannot be divided. We must belong to a visible and united reality.

Thirdly, I became convinced that Christ instituted this Church to be authoritative on earth ("whatever you bind on earth"). He appointed Apostles and He promised that the gates of Hell would not prevail against His Church. The only way Hell could prevail against the Church is for the Church to be in error. To deny the Truth is to deny Christ Who is the Truth. Consequently, the true Church must be free from error. As Saint Paul wrote, the Church is "the pillar and ground of truth." The doctrine that the Church is the pillar and ground of truth is in the Bible, which I hold to be infallible.

When I was an Anglican priest, I basically accepted the Catholic "package." I believed in the importance of the sacraments, the priesthood, Apostolic succession, tradition (to a certain extent), the infallibility of Scripture with respect to faith and morals, the communion of the saints, the centrality of Christ, the role of Mary in the incarnation of Christ, etc. However, I was not willing to grant the Roman claim that the fullness of the Church "subsists" in the Catholic Church under the pastoral oversight of the Pope.

I believed that the Church consisted visibly of all baptized and faithful believers. Consequently, the Church was "visible" in a certain sense. It was "one" in that all the baptized faithful consisted of one single "group." However, the problem lay in that this "group" was not free from error. In fact, as I experienced it as an Anglican priest, the Church was indeed plagued with heresy. There was no final authority for truth, except the Bible and then even the Bible might be subjected to many conflicting interpretations.

In Anglicanism alone, even among the "conservatives" there were Low Churchmen (more Protestant) and High Churchmen (more Catholic). These doctrinal parties never could unite together in order to fight the evil liberals who also carried a very different interpretation of Christianity. So my quest was one for authority. The ultimate "breaking point" for me was the realization that the Episcopal Church officially condoned abortion and supports groups like Planned Parenthood. I couldn't in good conscience persevere in fellowship with those who stood silent about the destruction of our society's most vulnerable members.

The argument for the authority of Rome is not sophisticated. It is simply that Christ instituted St Peter to bind and loose on earth (clearly "earth" denotes universal jurisdiction) and that this office is protected by the Holy Spirit so that the Church will never be led into error in the realm of faith (doctrine) and morals (ethics). The buck stops with Peter and with his successors in Rome, which includes the present Pope, His Holiness Benedict XVI. This charism for truth is not based on the moral superiority of the popes or their intellectual astuteness. It is based in the power of the Holy Spirit fulfilling the promise of Christ made to Peter and the Apostles."

Marcel LeJeune - "What do you have to say to our non-Catholic readers about the Catholic faith?

"

Taylor Marshall - "To non-Catholic readers I would ask them to contemplate a blog post that I wrote entitled: “Catholic Challenge for Protestants”. It essentially goes like this: “As a Protestant, how do you know that the book of Esther (or 3 John) is inspired by God and belongs to the canon of Scripture” Sure, it’s printed in your Bible, but how do you know for sure?”

Now the Catholic Christian can answer this question in confidence because he believes that the Church is infallible and that she can thereby infallibly decree which books are inspired and which books are not. The Protestant cannot do this because he doesn’t believe in an infallible Church.

This little exercise reveals that Protestants cannot have infallible knowledge of the books of the Bible – hence their claim to the “Bible alone” is undercut by their claim that there is not an infallible Church on earth to make such a clarification. It’s a somewhat complicated argument, but once somebody sees that the list for the books of the Bible requires an infallible Church for ratification, Catholicism becomes the only clear option since it alone claims infallibility."

Marcel LeJeune - "If you had us read one post from your blog, which would it be?
"

Taylor Marshall - "This might be cheating, but if I could get readers to click on anything on my blog, I would hope that they would listen to a podcast, especially the podcasts we’ve recorded on Saint Paul. College students are very busy, but they have iPods. Podcasts are therefore easier and more time efficient than blog posts. So please download the podcasts via iTunes or on the blog."

Marcel LeJeune - "Can you tell us a bit about your book? Where can our readers buy a copy (we already have a copy in our library)?

"

Taylor Marshall - "My book The Crucified Rabbi describes how Christ and the Catholic Church fulfill over 300 Jewish prophecies about the Messiah and his Messianic kingdom on earth. It goes through the seven sacraments, the Pope, the Blessed Virgin, architecture, vestments, and even the afterlife—all by examining how Catholicism was the natural and proper fulfillment of the Jewish expectations found in the Old Testament. The book is available at Catholic bookstores and through Amazon.com.

I just wrote The Crucified Rabbi’s “sequel” entitled The Catholic Perspective on Paul and it's also available at amazon.com and Catholic bookstores. This book continues on the Jewish theme but shows how Saint Paul has been hijacked throughout history and how the authentic Saint Paul was thoroughly and robustly Catholic. The last chapter touches on Paul’s mission to Rome and its significance for Roman Catholicism."

Marcel LeJeune - "What plans do you have for the future?

"

Taylor Marshall - "Currently, I’m working on a Ph.D. at the Catholic University of Dallas on philosophy. My interest lies in the natural law theory of Saint Thomas Aquinas.

The third part of the Catholic books series should be out by next year. It’s entitled The Eternal City: Rome and the Origins of Catholic Christianity. It continues the themes of Crucified Rabbi and Catholic Perspective on Paul but examines the theological significance of Rome for the Catholic Church. Of the three books in the trilogy, I’m most excited about this one.

I’m also working on an annotated translation of Saint Augustine’s famous book On Nature and Grace—hopefully also published sometime next year.

Most importantly, Joy is pregnant with our sixth baby - a boy. We're excited and trying to figure out a name. Currently, I'm going for Joseph or Raphael."

Marcel LeJeune - "What is your favorite Aggie tradition?"

Taylor Marshall - "My favorite tradition by far is singing the Aggie War Hymn. It’s probably blasphemous to say that it’s my “favorite hymn,” but I’m always filled with pride when I lock arms with fellow Ags and sing this “hymn.” I was recently at a wedding with tons of Ags and we locked up and sang the Aggie War Hymn at the reception. Nothing stirs my blood like singing, “Saw varsity's horns off!” and rocking back forth. It’s surreal even after so many years."

---------
Thanks to Taylor for taking the time to do this interview with us. Be sure to visit Taylor's blog.

This is the first in what will be a series of features on Aggie Catholics who are changing the culture.

Why Do We Sometimes Pray The Kyrie and Sometimes We Don't?

Q - Why do we sometimes pray the Confiteor and other times we pray the Kyrie during Mass? Thanks!


A - Thanks for the question. There might be a bit of confusion about what we ought to do during the Penitential Rite and the Kyrie.

Here is what the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (the document that lays out the order of Mass) says about this part of the Mass - I have underlined the part that might help you understand what is going on.
The Act of Penitence

51. Then the priest invites those present to take part in the Act of Penitence, which, after a brief pause for silence, the entire community carries out through a formula of general confession. The rite concludes with the priest's absolution, which, however, lacks the efficacy of the Sacrament of Penance.

On Sundays, especially in the Season of Easter, in place of the customary Act of Penitence, from time to time the blessing and sprinkling of water to recall Baptism may take place.

The Kyrie Eleison

52. After the Act of Penitence, the Kyrie is always begun, unless it has already been included as part of the Act of Penitence. Since it is a chant by which the faithful acclaim the Lord and implore his mercy, it is ordinarily done by all, that is, by the people and with the choir or cantor having a part in it.

As a rule, each acclamation is sung or said twice, though it may be repeated several times, by reason of the character of the various languages, as well as of the artistry of the music or of other circumstances. When the Kyrie is sung as a part of the Act of Penitence, a trope may precede each acclamation.
So, there are three options for the penitential rite, they are as follows and then I include the options for the Kyrie as well:
Option A (the Confiteor):
All: I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do; and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord, our God.
Priest: May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.
All: Amen.

Option B:
Priest: Lord, we have sinned against you: Lord, have mercy.
All: Lord, have mercy.
Priest: Lord, show us your mercy and love.
All: And grant us your salvation.
Priest: May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.
All: Amen.

Option C (has 8 different sets of invocations, this is just one - also, they can make their own invocations, if suitable.):
[The following or other invocations may be spoken by the priest or another minister, but the priest always gives the final blessing.]
Minister: You raise the dead to life in the Spirit: Lord, have mercy.
All: Lord, have mercy.
Minister: You bring pardon and peace to the sinner: Christ, have mercy.
All: Christ, have mercy.
Minister: You bring light to those in darkness: Lord, have mercy.
All: Lord, have mercy.
Priest: May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.
All: Amen.

Kyrie:
Priest: Lord, have mercy. All: Lord, have mercy.
Priest: Christ, have mercy. All: Christ, have mercy.
Priest: Lord, have mercy. All: Lord, have mercy.
OR
Priest: Kyrie, eleison. All: Kyrie, eleison.
Priest: Christe, eleison. All: Christe, eleison.
Priest: Kyrie, eleison. All: Kyrie, eleison.
If Option C  of the Penitential Rite is used, it already incorporates the Kyrie into it and thus the Kyrie would not be prayed again. This is most likely what is happening and why you were confused.

Finally, we omit the Kyrie if the blessing and sprinkling of water is done in place of the penitential rite, as we do in Easter.

I hope this helps.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Time-Lapse of the March for Life

The comment on Youtube says "The time it took for the March to pass our camera was 1 hour 31 minutes."

Fr. Barron - Arguments For God's Existence

This is another peek at the new Catholicism project that looks amazing.
I can't wait to get my hands on it.

Tip o' the hat to Matt Warner - another Aggie Catholic changing the culture.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Friday, January 28, 2011

Can An Unconscious Adult Be Validly Baptized?

Q - Can a person, who is beyond the age of reason, be validly baptized?


A - Thanks for the question. This one stumped me in class last night, for the first time in a while. It is good to be stumped. It makes me do my homework. Here is what I found in the Code of Canon Law:
Can. 865 §1. For an adult to be baptized, the person must have manifested the intention to receive baptism, have been instructed sufficiently about the truths of the faith and Christian obligations, and have been tested in the Christian life through the catechumenate. The adult is also to be urged to have sorrow for personal sins.

§2. An adult in danger of death can be baptized if, having some knowledge of the principal truths of the faith, the person has manifested in any way at all the intention to receive baptism and promises to observe the commandments of the Christian religion.
Therefore, an adult who has shown an intention to be baptized, and not recanted that intent, can validly be baptized while unconscious.

A person who has not shown such intent, cannot be validly baptized, because a baptism cannot be validly received if a person beyond the age of reason does not consent to it.

Once again the beauty of free will is upheld as a great gift by the Church.

I hope this helps.

Is My Baptism Valid?

Q - I have a question about my Baptism. When I was baptized my parents didn't have the understanding of the faith that they have now and neither of my Godparents are Catholic. My parents want to know if anything should be done. What does this mean for me? Thanks for your time. I enjoyed the class tonight like always!


A - Thanks for the question. The question comes down to - is your baptism valid or not? If it is not, then you would need to be baptized. If it is, then nothing would need to be done.

With the information you gave, your baptism is valid. Here is what is required to have a valid baptism:
  1. Proper Matter
    • This is "true and natural water"
  2. Proper Form
    • The minister of the Sacrament must immersein water or pour / sprinkle water upon the candidate, while saying, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
  3. Proper Intention
    • The minister of the Sacrament must intend to baptize as the Church intends.
Even a non-Christian can validly baptize as long as the criteria above are met. For the intention, the person must intend to baptize as the Church intends, even if they don't believe in the baptism or Christ.

While a deep understanding of the faith is certainly a goal, it is not a necessity for a valid baptism. Furthermore, while the Church asks that there be a Godparent who is Catholic, it isn't necessary for a valid baptism either.
"Go, therefore, 12 and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit," - Matthew 28:19
I hope this helps.

New Confession App for iPhone

This sounds pretty cool, and it comes with a Nihil Obstat and an Imprimatur (see here for a quick explanation of what those are).
Confession: A Roman Catholic App
Designed to be used in the confessional, this app is the perfect aid for every penitent. With a personalized examination of conscience for each user, password protected profiles, and a step-by-step guide to the sacrament, this app invites Catholics to prayerfully prepare for and participate in the Rite of Penance. Individuals who have been away from the sacrament for some time will find Confession: A Roman Catholic App to be a useful and inviting tool.

The text of this app was developed in collaboration with Rev. Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM, Executive Director of the Secretariat for Doctrine and Pastoral Practices of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Rev. Dan Scheidt, pastor of Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Mishawaka, IN. The app received an imprimatur from Bishop Kevin C. Rhodes of the Diocese of Fort Wayne – South Bend. It is the first known imprimatur to be given for an iPhone/iPad app.

- Custom examination of Conscience based upon age, sex, and vocation (single, married, priest, or religious)
- Multiple user support with password protected accounts
- Ability to add sins not listed in standard examination of conscience
- Confession walkthrough including time of last confession in days, weeks, months, and years
- Choose from 7 different acts of contrition
- Custom interface for iPad
- Full retina display support

Nihil Obstat: Reverend Monsignor Michael Heintz, PhD
Censor Liborum

Imprimatur: + Kevin C. Rhoades
Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend

December 17, 2010
Taylor Marshall has 10 other cool Catholic iPhone apps.

Ask A Catholic A Question

A very complimentary article in the student paper at Texas A&M, The Battalion, about our evangelization program - Ask A Catholic A Question. The author has a few quotes that are slightly off, but he did a nice job.
Discussing the divine
Ask a Catholic ministry educates peers about faith
By Joe Terrell

In what has become a familiar sight on campus, a man stands in the middle of Academic Plaza, screaming condemnation down on those who walk past. One hand forms an accusing finger, viciously jabbing in the direction of the onlookers clutched in his other hand is a Bible.

"I don't know the hearts of those doing it, but Christianity is about love," said Steve Hanson, senior computer engineering major. "And I don't think [that type of evangelizing] sends that message well."

Marcel LeJeune, class of 1995, thinks he has found the proper approach to on-campus evangelizing.

LeJeune graduated from Texas A&M in 1995 with a degree in history before earning a master's degree in pastoral theology at Ave Maria University and serving as director of campus Catholic ministries at Texas Tech from 2002-2006. While at Tech, LeJeune taught a class on evangelizing, which formed the genesis of the Ask a Catholic ministry.

"During the class I would challenge [students] with weekly assignments. The first week their assignment was to tell someone they didn't know they were Catholic. As the semester progressed, the challenges got more difficult," he said. "One week we decided to write the words ‘Ask a Catholic' on a board and we stood in the busiest part of campus. And that's how the ministry was born."

LeJeune is the assistant director of campus ministries at St. Mary's Catholic Center, which is the largest campus ministry in the country. More than 5,000 students attend St. Mary's Sunday services and 40 people work on staff. There are more than 80 student organizations that operate outward from St. Mary's.

When LeJeune took his position in 2006, he brought his unique ministry idea, even going so far to write a manual, which can be viewed online.

"Beginning every semester, we have a training course here at St. Mary's, which emphasizes basic do's and don'ts, interpersonal communication, basic argument formation and, most importantly, we teach them how to teach," he said.

The training sessions clock in at just under an hour and a half, which might seem short to some, but to LeJeune, the scant time frame is a necessity.

"You're only going to learn so much in a class setting, especially when you're learning about communication," he said. "The only way to know how to do it is to just go out there on campus and start talking to people."

Newer members are paired with veteran students in groups of three and four who then, donning bright lime green shirts and signs, head out to the most heavily trafficked areas on campus, including Academic Plaza, Sbisa, Blocker and Koldus.

"It's really born out of respect for people's free will," LeJeune said. "We don't think yelling is an effective ministry. We want to expose our faith, not impose."

Each three to four person group has a designated leader, whose job is to coordinate the schedules and find times for everyone to meet. The groups are typically deployed for an hour at a time, but it is not uncommon for a group to be out on campus for a longer period of time. The members of the Ask a Catholic ministry encounter a wide spectrum of questions from curious students.

"There's a lot of misconceptions about the Catholic Church and we want to clear that up," LeJeune said. "We get basic questions like ‘How can you prove God exists?' and then we get a lot on Catholic particulars about Mary, purgatory and the pope."

But LeJuene said he emphasizes that one of the goals of Ask a Catholic is never to argue.

"We get some people who just want to pick a religious debate," LeJeune said. "We want to build relationships and have respectful relationships. The person is more important than the question."

Students involved are told to be aware of their own limitations. At times, students might encounter a question that they do not know how to answer.

"I think an important part of the conversation dynamics is to know when it's OK to say, ‘I don't know,'" LeJeune said. "This way it's a learning experience for both parties involved."

Since Ask a Catholic's appearance on A&M's campus, three other campuses have adopted the ministry, using the guide that LeJeune wrote himself. The three other branches are at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Charlottesville and the University of Kansas.

"I really think we've changed the dynamic of evangelism on campus," LeJeune said, "Universities are a place of ideas and Christianity is a religion of ideas. We are bringing it back to its roots with relevant discussion."
The program continues to expand and I got another request this week, from a school in Colorado, to help them start the program there.

The manual and more information on Ask A Catholic A Question can be found here.

St. Thomas Aquinas

Today is the feast of one of our greatest Saints, and one of the most intelligent men to live - St. Thomas Aquinas.
Here are a few facts about St. Thomas Aquinas:
  • Patron of students, universities, Catholic schools, booksellers, Philosphers, publishers, and more.
  • He is one of the 33 Doctors of the Church
  • Son of a Count
  • Studied under St. Albert the Great
  • Greatest work is the Summa Theologica, which is still one of the most influential of all theological works. It systematized theology and brought together doctrine and Greek philosophy into one rational work. It was never finished.
  • Before he died, he had a mystical encounter with Christ that caused him to say, "all that I have written seems like straw to me."
  • Also Known as:
    • Angelic Doctor
    • The Dumb Ox
    • The Universal Teacher
One of his most beautiful prayers (English version):
Tantum Ergo Sacramentum
Down in adoration falling,
Lo! The Sacred Host we hail.
Lo! o'er ancient forms departing,
Newer rites of Grace prevail:
Faith for all defects supplying,
Where the feeble senses fail.

To The Everlasting Father
And The Son Who reigns on high,
With The Spirit blessed proceeding
Forth, from Each eternally,
Be salvation, honor, blessing,
Might and endless majesty. Amen.

Learn more in this video:

St. Thomas Aquinas pray for us!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Another Pro-life American Idol Story

A great story of real love (choosing what is best for the other, despite the cost to myself).
People keep sending me these. Keep them coming.

Movin' On Up The List Of Most Popular Catholic Blogs

Eric Sammons has once again listed the most popular Catholic blogs, according to Google Reader Subscribers. We came in at #34!

The last time that Eric rated the blogs (June 2010), we barely cracked the top 50. So, we are movin' on up!

Thanks to everyone who subscribes to our blog. We pray for you, please keep praying for us.
If you are not subscribed, but would like to, there are several options.
We have nearly 1,100 people following the blog!
If you aren't subscribed, we encourage you to do so. It is much easier than surfing to it. I esp. like using a reader which compiles all the blogs you want to read.

Also, you can like us on Facebook - with almost 4,000 others!
Lastly, there is Twitter, which is our smallest number (we were late to the Twitter game) at 91

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Abby Johnson To Speak On The Campus of A&M

Abby Johnson, the former director of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Bryan, TX and the former Planned Parenthood employee of the year, will speak about her journey into the pro-life movement next month. This is part of St. Mary's Distinguished Speaker Series.

This is an event you will not want to miss. Her story has become a best-selling book  entitled - Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader's Eye-Opening Journey across the Life Line.

In addition, the sisters of the Daughters of St. Paul will once again host their annual vocations team meeting here at St. Mary's Catholic Center the week of this event. But, in addition they are bringing their Postulants with them and the sisters will put on a short concert before Abby talks.

Did I mention it is FREE. So, how can you say "no"?

Friday, February 25 - 7pm - Rudder Auditorium. You can RSVP on Facebook here.

Dads - Who is Watching You?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fast "Food" or Fast Food

Yikes, three things you may not want to know about. But, you ought to anyway.

1 - The ingredients to Taco Bell's "beef" (aka - "taco meat filling"):
Beef, water, isolated oat product, salt, chili pepper, onion powder, tomato powder, oats (wheat), soy lecithin, sugar, spices, maltodextrin (a polysaccharide that is absorbed as glucose), soybean oil (anti-dusting agent), garlic powder, autolyzed yeast extract, citric acid, caramel color, cocoa powder, silicon dioxide (anti-caking agent), natural flavors, yeast, modified corn starch, natural smoke flavor, salt, sodium phosphate, less than 2% of beef broth, potassium phosphate, and potassium lactate.
It looks gruesome but passable... until you learn that, according to the Alabama law firm suing Taco Bell—only 36% of that is beef. Thirty-six percent. The other 64% is mostly tasteless fibers—which are there to increase volume while keeping the cost down—additives and some flavoring and coloring. Everything is processed into a mass that actually looks like beef, and packed into big containers labeled as "taco meat filling." These containers get shipped to Taco Bell's outlets and cooked into something that, again, looks like beef, is called beef and is advertised as beef.
2 - A six-month time lapse video of what happened to a Happy Meal from McDonalds. It isn't what I expected and yet I am more frightened by what didn't happen:

There isn't much difference in a 4-year old Happy Meal either...

3 - Processed Chicken nuggets and patties start from a pink goo that is hard to describe, but you can see a pic of it here. This is a partial description:
Basically, the entire chicken is smashed and pressed through a sieve—bones, eyes, guts, and all. it comes out looking like this.

There’s more: because it’s crawling with bacteria, it will be washed with ammonia, soaked in it, actually. Then, because it tastes gross, it will be reflavored artificially. Then, because it is weirdly pink, it will be dyed with artificial color.
***One advantage to what you now know - it makes it easier to eat healthy.***

Disclaimer: This picture above is a parody. Taco Bell logo is a registered trademark. Taco Bell does not sponsor or endorse, and is not affiliated with, this website.

What Do You Regret?

Don't let the things you regret define you.

Dysfunctional Love Songs

Chris Stefanick has a great article on dysfunctional love songs:
The lessons packed in the love songs that are getting the most radio play today all seem to have a similar theme: if it isn’t dysfunctional, it isn’t love.

Take the song “Grenade” for instance, wherein Bruno Mars sings a litany of pains he’d endure for his beloved, ranging from catching a grenade, to throwing his hand on a blade, to taking a bullet through his brain. His beloved is evil, it seems. According to the song she’d “smile in (his) face then rip the brakes out of (his) car.”

Her response to his “loving” rant is total indifference. He goes so far as to lament that if his body was on fire she’d watch him burn in flames. Yet, despite all this, at the end of the song he still sings, “I would die for you baby, but you won’t do the same.”

It seems that Bruno has so effectively broken the stereotype of the emotionless, standoffish male that he has become the psychotically needy girlfriend. Good boy, Bruno. Contemporary, feminized society has trained you well in the ways of “manhood.” The lesson of this song is clear: If it isn’t codependence it isn’t real love.

In a recent drive to work I turned the radio dial in a vain attempt to avoid “Grenade” only to find it on three other stations. Moving on…

In one of the most popular songs of 2010, “Breakeven,” singer Danny O’Donoghue laments after a hard breakup, “I’m still alive but I’m barely breathin.’” Everyone who has had their heart broken can relate with those words. But he goes on to sing, “What am I supposed to do when the best part of me was always you?” Romantic words? Yes. Emotionally healthy words? No.

No offense Danny, but if the best part of you was her I can see why she dumped you. While a couple is called to unity, individuals still need to maintain autonomy for a relationship to be stable and lasting. If people lose themselves in one another, soon there is no self to give to the other. The lesson of “Breakeven”: If it isn’t enmeshment it isn’t love.
Continue reading.

New Report on Abortion You Must See

On the heals of the NY City statistics that 41% of pregnancies end in abortion, this is another sad statistic and it comes from the research arm of Planned Parenthood - 35% of women will have an abortion by the time they reach the age of 45. Some other sobering stats:

  • 93 percent of all abortions occur for “social reasons”
  • black women are more than four times more likely than non-Hispanic white women to have an abortion.
  • Catholic women account for more than 31 percent of all abortions performed in the United States
  • About 20 percent of women having an abortion report using Medicaid to pay for abortions
  • Worldwide, there are 42 million abortions are performed each year

More from CNS:
(CNSNews.com) - Statistics compiled over the past decade show that the number of abortions in the United States has dropped precipitously since the early 1980s, but the procedure still remains a prevalent form of birth control in this country and around the world.

According to the U.S .Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, there were 846,181 abortions in the U.S. in 2006, the latest year for which government records are available.

The pro-abortion rights Alan Guttmacher Institute reports that there have been nearly 50 million abortions performed since 1973, the year the Supreme Court issued the Roe v. Wade decision ushering in legal abortion nationwide.

In 2008, Guttmacher says, there were 1.2 million "legally terminated pregnancies" in the United States, based on reports complied from state and local health agencies -- down from 1.3 million the year previous.

According to Guttmacher, 35 percent of all U.S. women will have had an abortion by age 45.

Guttmacher also reports that 93 percent of all abortions occur for “social reasons” such as a mother’s decision that the child is unwanted or “inconvenient.”

Both Guttmacher and CDC say that black women are more than four times more likely than non-Hispanic white women to have an abortion, and Hispanic women are 2.7 times as likely.

BlackGenocide.com, a pro-life campaign to stop abortion in the African American community, estimates that 13 million abortions have been performed on African American women since 1973. They also estimate that, on average, 1,876 black pregnancies are terminated in the U.S. each day.

Surprisingly, Guttmacher estimates that Catholic women account for more than 31 percent of all abortions performed in the United States while 18 percent of all abortions are performed on women who identify themselves as born-again Christians or evangelicals. Both religious groups preach against terminating pregnancies.

Continue Reading.

Fr. Barron on Abortion in New York

Monday, January 24, 2011

Marry Me

A great song, although I can't get over how the guitarist resembles Howie Mandel a bit.


Lyrics:
Forever can never be long enough for me
Feel like I've had long enough with you
Forget the world now, we won't let them see
But there's one thing left to do

Now that the weight has lifted
Love has surely shifted my way

Marry me today and every day
Marry me if I ever get the nerve to say hello in this cafe
Say you will, say you will

Together can never be close enough for me
Feel like I am close enough to you
You wear white and I'll wear out the words I love you
And you're beautiful

Now that the wait is over
And love and has finally shown her my way

Marry me today and every day
Marry me if I ever get the nerve to say hello in this cafe
Say you will, say you will

Promise me you'll always be happy by my side
I promise to sing to you when all the music dies

And marry me today and everyday
Marry me if I ever get the nerve to say hello in this cafe
Say you will, say you will marry me

Is This Red Bull Commercial Anti-Catholic?

Tell me what you think...


Red Bull Anti-Catholic?

Benedict XVI Speaks on Social Media and the Internet

The Prophecy of John Lennon is Fulfilled

On the way to work this morning, I heard the Beatles song, Imagine, written by John Lennon. Many consider it his greatest work. While I am a Beatles fan, I do not like this song, because the lyrics remind me that Lennon was somewhat of a prophet wrapped up into a world-view that glorified selfish pleasures and a contradictory understanding of reality.

I thought I might give a response to the song.
Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today
How to make this a reality? By not believing in anything above our own sensory knowledge. This is an atheistic nihilistic understanding of life - there is no point to it all. I don't want to imagine any sort of world as Lennon sees it. Because all I end up seeing is selfishness, might-makes-right totalitarian systems, and vice. We can see where "living for today" gets us - just look at the average 16 year-old. Is that what Lennon wants the rest of the world to look like?
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
We have just such an experiment happening in Western Civilization right now, especially in the European Union. The EU is a God-less experiment that is resulting in their society dying a fast death. Why? Because they aren't even replacing their population and can't agree on what society is for.

Then we have China, North Korea and the other Communist countries that do not allow God, unless He is safe and off to the sides. We see what Mao, Stalin, Lenin, Pol Pot and the other atheistic communists have done.

I imagine hell-on-earth after I hear those lines.
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You, you may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you will join us
And the world will be as one
Nice sentiment, but the way he foresees it happening just doesn't work. History proves it.
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world
Communism once again. Here is what the Catechism says about Communism:
2425 "The Church has rejected the totalitarian and atheistic ideologies associated in modem times with "communism" or "socialism.""
We must reject it because the state must be the highest power because God is a threat to their power. Of course, it is easy for a multi-millionaire like Lennon to have such sanguine feelings about the world when he lived in the lap of luxury. But the fact remains, Communism doesn't work.
You, you may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you will join us
And the world will live as one
I wouldn't call him a dreamer. I would call him naive and dangerous. I also think he contradicts himself. If we are all "living for today", then why worry about the brotherhood of man, peace, greed, or hunger?

To sum it up - I imagine selfish vice-filled nihilistic deadly Communism when I think of this song.

I only imagine a bunch of radical atheists rejoicing in this song and therefore naming it one of the greatest songs of all-time.

A Mother Gives Back

This is a wonderful new service that is being offered locally to parents of premature babies. It is called Preemie Prints and here is a snip from their website:
Welcome to Preemie Prints, a charitable venture, based in the Brazos Valley, offering support, complimentary high-quality photography, and gift bags to moms with premature babies.
I have been called to share my gifts of compassion, understanding, courage, and photography with families who have a child born early or a child who must be a NICU (Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit). Through Preemie Prints, I am offering complimentary photo sessions to these deserving families, a complete disk of all edited photos, a DVD slideshow, and a small booklet of prints. These pictures will help families and mothers through their difficult journey with a premature baby. In addition, pictures can aid NICU moms who have post partum depression (PPD) and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). NICU moms are at a significantly higher risk of contracting both. Also, if a photography session is not possible or of interest, we will also take your NICU/HOME pictures taken throughout your journey and create a beautiful DVD slideshow for you.
Share with parents who might be interested.

What Starts at St. Mary's Catholic Center is Changing our Modern Culture

St. Mary's Catholic Center is changing lives and changing the culture.

Proof #140 Days for Life was started here by Aggie Catholics. Below is video of David Bereit and Abby Johnson at the West Coast Walk for Life. David is a former parishioner and Abby is going through RCIA here.


Proof #2 - Over 130 Aggie Catholic Vocations to the priesthood and religious life + over 40 in formation. We have averaged over 8 young men and women entering formation over the last dozen years or so.

Proof #3 - Sr. Lynn D'Souza invented the low-gluten host that allows Catholics who have celiac disease to receive the Eucharist in the form of the bread. Her story was featured on PBS.

Proof #4 - The number of lay Aggie Catholics working in the Church or in businesses that support the church. Just a few examples:
These 4 proofs are just the tip of the iceberg.

Please pray for our Aggies.
Please pray for the continued success of St. Mary's Catholic Center.
Please consider support us financially, if you are able.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Documentary on The Nashville Dominicans

Salt and Light TV has a documentary on the Nashville Dominicans (The Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia) that looks phenomenal. Here is a promo for the documentary:

Friday, January 21, 2011

No Regrets

To choose life means living with no regrets. This mother understands the sacrifice is worth her daughter's life.

MTV's Skins May Violate Child Porn Laws!

The show Skins, on MTV, has already created quite a dust-up. Here is a timeline of what has happened.

  1. The Parents Television Council (PTC) called it "the most dangerous program that has ever been foisted on your children!"
  2. I agreed and called for prayers and action to stop the soft-core porn that the show was pushing.
  3. The NY Times found out that the parent company of MTV, Viacom, asked the execs to tone down the show, for fears they were violating child porn laws!
  4. The PTC calls for a boycott of Taco Bell, one of the advertisers on the show.
  5. Taco Bell pulls their advertising from the show.
  6. The PTC is now calling for a federal investigation.

We must continue to get the word out about this show. We must fight for our children (even if they don't watch this filth, many of their peers will). We must pray and take action for the sake of our world.

Facts About College in America - An Infographic

Continuing with the infographics we have been posting this week:

College in America
Via: OnlineSchools.org

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Priest from US Civil War declared Venerable by Pope

Fr. Barron on Why MLK Still Matters

News

***I wrote that MTV's new show, Skins, was the worst that MTV has ever aired.
Now, the proof - MTV is worried their show might violate child porn laws. From the article:
It is unclear when MTV first realized that the show may be vulnerable to child pornography charges. On Tuesday, a flurry of meetings took place at the network’s headquarters in New York, according to an executive who attended some of the meetings and spoke only on the condition of anonymity. In one of the meetings, the executives wondered aloud who could possibly face criminal prosecution and jail time if the episodes were broadcast without changes.
***The Alabama Governor said that only Christians are his "brothers and sisters" and that non-believers are not. For a Catholic response, read Msgr. Pope.

***In one of the most grisly discoveries you will read about. An abortionist was arrested recently for some truly horrific acts, including killing babies born alive with scissors. He has been charged with 8 counts of murder. Lord have mercy.

***For some good pro-life news, actor Eduardo Verastegui has announced that his organization, Mantle of Guadalupe, is planning to build the largest pro-life women's clinic in the United States.

***The Anchoress has some news about this new Gloria, for the new Roman Missal.

BRAVO!

Toy Story 3 meets Inception.

Small Vs. Big Colleges Infographic

Small vs. Big Colleges
Via: OnlineSchools.org

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Get To Know Archbishop Dolan

Salt and Light TV has a great interview with the Archbishop of NY.

The "Smoking Gun" Letter To Bishops In Ireland Is A Dud

A host of media outlets are absolutely giddy about the reported "smoking gun" of a letter that supposedly links the Vatican directly to the abuse scandal in Ireland. But, Jimmy Akin reports it is all about the media reading something into the letter that isn't there.
"Vatican Warned Bishops Not To Report Child Abuse"!
That’s the sensationalistic headline of this story in the New York Times. As usual, it’s by Laurie Goodstein, and as usual she makes significant errors in her reporting that make the story more sensationalistic in a way that (just coincidentally) paints the Holy See in an unfavorable light. (So . . . what’s up with that, Laurie? You’ve been on the beat long enough that you should be better informed on these matters.)

As with previous stories of the same nature, this one involves a document from back in the 1990s that has now come to the attention of the press. It was a letter written by the Apostolic Nuncio of Ireland (that’s basically the Holy See’s ambassador to Ireland, though he also has a liaising role with the local bishops). In the letter the Nuncio—then Luciano Storero—communicated a message to the Irish bishops from the Congregation for Clergy concerning a document that the Irish bishops had drafted on child sexual abuse.

This letter was immediately hailed by groups like SNAP as the “smoking gun” they’ve been waiting for, showing that the Holy See took part in the cover up of sexual abuse, allowing it to be sued in court, humiliated, and have money extracted from it.
Continue reading.
This is not to say that certain individuals in the Vatican didn't have bad judgments on how to handle this issue. But, the media also has a responsibility to accurately report the facts, not innuendo. But, the media has degraded to the point of merely looking for the sensational and scandalous - forget the facts.

The Price of College

The Price of College
Via: OnlineSchools.org

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

College Student Debt

The average college grad graduates with $22,422 in debt. More info below:

Student Debt
Via: OnlineSchools.org

#1 Most Wanted on "America's 7 Most Deadly Sins"

There are seven "deadly sins" or "cardinal sins". They are:
  • Lust
  • Gluttony
  • Greed
  • Sloth
  • Wrath
  • Envy
  • Pride
For each age, it seems, we have a new favorite. Many might argue that with our over-sexualized culture that #1 on the list should be lust. I don't disagree that it is rampant, and growing worse, but I disagree that it is as socially acceptable as another one.

You might be thinking that greed or envy are most acceptable, because of our materialistic culture. I don't think so.

Maybe it is pride. We think too much of ourselves. Not #1 though.

What about sloth. Just look at your average Gen X'er. Nope.

We are such a violent people, could it be wrath? I ain't buying it.

That leaves us with GLUTTONY, which I believe has become the most socially acceptable deadly sin.

Evidence #1 - The new Starbucks Trenta cup is bigger than the average adult stomach:
To satisfy the unquenchable gullets of America's brand-name coffee drinkers, Starbucks will introduce a 916ml Trenta cup. That's more than the average capacity of the human stomach, and enough caffeine to stand in for a defibrillator.

Of course, it's not much—if any—different from a Big Gulp or any movie theater's large beverage container. But for some reason coffee's just that much more insidious. You'll be able to sample one for yourself when the Trenta rolls out nationwide by May 3rd.
Evidence #2 - Our debt:
*Average credit card debt per household with credit card debt: $15,788
*Total U.S. consumer debt: $2.42 trillion, as of June 2010
Evidence #3 - Our Weight:
Once considered an affliction of the lazy and indulgent, obesity now affects about one-third of Americans. The epidemic has swept up the wealthy, middle class and the poor; city dwellers, suburbanites and those in rural areas; and people of all races and ethnicities.
Of course their are multiple other examples. The fact is - we accept this vice. The saying "never enough of a good thing" has found a home.

Pray for change. Pray for and practice temperance.

What is Going On With The New Anglican Structure The Pope Established Recently?

Q - I'm excited about the personal ordinariate, but a little puzzled about it too. How is it any different than the individual Anglican churches that have come over the Roman Catholic church? Is is a group of churches in England? Is it because it answers to the Pope directly and not set up by a Bishop? Thanks.

A -
Thanks for the question. Since Pope Benedict announced that he would allow the Ordinariates to be formed, there have been a number of questions surrounding them. Here is the difference.

Previously, if an Anglican/Episcopalian wanted to become Catholic, they had to do it like everyone else - RCIA. If they wanted to then have an Anglican-Rite parish established had to wait for years to get approval through the Vatican.

The declaration by Pope Benedict XVI, Anglicanorum Coetibus, makes the process much easier for not only individuals, but groups, to become Catholic. But, they get to keep their liturgy, songs, pastoral practices, governance, etc. that come from the Anglican Communion. They will be overseen by an "Ordinary" (a bishop or priest) who will run the group similar to a Diocese.

Here is some additional information from the first Ordinariate established in England and Wales. I will provide a snip:
The central purpose of Anglicanorum coetibus is "to maintain the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church, as a precious gift nourishing the faith of the members of the Ordinariate and as a treasure to be shared". Members of the Ordinariate will bring with them, into full communion with the Catholic Church in all its diversity and richness of liturgical rites and traditions, some aspects their own Anglican patrimony and culture.

It is recognised that the term Anglican patrimony is difficult to define but it would include many of the spiritual writings, prayers, hymnody, and pastoral practices distinctive to the Anglican tradition which have sustained the faith and longing of many Anglican faithful for that very unity for which Christ prayed.

The Ordinariate will then bring a mutual enrichment and exchange of gifts, in an authentic and visible form of full communion, between those baptised and nurtured in Anglicanism and the Catholic Church.
Then the question that might help understand the structure:
What is the ‘Ordinariate’ then?

The Ordinariate will be a specific ecclesiastical jurisdiction which is similar to a diocese and will be led by its own ‘Ordinary’ (see below) who will be a bishop or priest. However, unlike a diocese its membership will be on a ‘personal’ rather than a ‘territorial’ basis; that is, no matter where a member of the Ordinariate lives within England and Wales they will, in the first instance, be under the ordinary ecclesial jurisdiction of the Ordinariate and not the diocese where they are resident.

The Ordinariate will be made up of laity, clergy and religious who were formerly members of the Anglican Communion. Following reception into full communion with the Catholic Church, the laity and religious will become members of the Ordinariate by enrolment in a register; with ordination as priests and deacons, the clergy will be directly incardinated into (placed under the jurisdiction of) the Ordinariate.
I hope this helps.

Pro-Life Mass

The Annual Diocesan Pro-Life Mass is this Thursday, January 20 at 5:30 at St. Thomas Aquinas. Bishop Joe Vasquez will be the celebrant, along with local priests concelebrating with him. A reception will follow the Mass.

A note for those that might be interested in singing in the diocesan choir. You can come to rehearsal on Wednesday from 7 to 8:30 PM at STA.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Would You Take Jesus To Taco Bell?

Do you know any misers? I am not talking about someone who prudently spends their money frugally, but someone who selfishly hoards it. A hypothetical example might help illuminate what a miser is.

Imagine you were dating someone who asked you out to dinner. But, the only place they are willing to take you is Taco Bell. It isn't because they think that Taco Bell is good food, but they know they can keep the date cheap. Now imagine that this happens every time you go out on a date. They only want to take you to fast food joints because they don't want to spend their money on taking you anywhere else.

This kind of person is a cheapskate. They selfishly value their money over you. They show just how little they value you by their actions.

How would you feel about the prospects of this relationship continuing? Doesn't sound much like marriage material in my opinion.

But, don't be too quick to judge. Too many Catholics treat Jesus in the same manner. How? Many of us don't tithe, but rather give when it is convenient and easy.

Most Catholics are tippers, not tithers. Many don't sacrificially give to God, but tip Him when they feel like it.

Most Catholics only give when convenient. This isn't a loving gift to God. Imagine if someone else only gave to you when it was convenient and never sacrificed for you. This action doesn't show a real deep love for another, but a selfishness and a love of money.

The questions then start to bubble up:
  • Is God good to us? 
  • Did He not give us everything? 
  • Did He not die for our sins? 
  • Did He not bless us with material belongings? 
If He did all these things, then what do we owe Him? I believe we owe Him everything.

A good way to examine where we are in our journey with Christ is to check our next bank statement. Have I given what I should? How does this reflect my relationship with Christ?

The widow's mite can teach us much:
"He sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, 'Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.'" - Mark 12: 41-44
A note on this passage:
  • It isn't the amount that we give that God is pleased with, but the attitude of faith that is behind the giving. We either give with faith or hoard in fear and doubt.
We have a choice - we can give from our abundance and tip God or we can sacrificially give and tithe. We can give to God first or open our wallets and purses when it doesn't hurt too much.

In understand how hard this can be. In fact, my wife and I made one of the two biggest leaps of faith as a couple when we chose early-on in our marriage to start tithing. Why did we start? Because some friends challenged us to do so. I thank them for doing so, because it changed my life and marriage. It changed how I look at what I "own" and what is really owned by God.

We do not regret our tithe and the money we return to God  Why?
Because Jesus is more than a cheap date...

Why Can't Catholic Bishops Marry?

Q - I was reading about the Anglican bishops who recently ordained Catholic priests. In the article, it said that they could not be ordained Catholic bishops for doctrinal reasons. This is a much stronger statement than that it is a discipline, as is the norm for Catholic priests being married (though there are exceptions that allow for married priests). I know that even in the Eastern Catholic Churches priests can marry but bishops may not. Why is this a matter of doctrine if some of the early bishops were married?


A - Good question. Thanks for bringing it up. Let us first look at what Scripture says about celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom of God:
**"Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it." -Matthew 19:12

**"At the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like the angels in heaven." -Matthew 22:30

**"Are you free of a wife? Then do not look for a wife." -1 Corinthians 7:27

**"I should like you to be free of anxieties. An unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord. But a married man is anxious about the things of the world, how he may please his wife." -1 Corinthians 7:32-33
We can see that the consensus from Scripture is that celibacy is a good thing that is preferred for those who are ordained. But, marriage is not prohibited in all circumstances. As you referred to above, there are situations where the discipline of celibacy is relaxed.

Celibacy is a very good thing and here are some reasons why:
  1. It is the model of Christ and the 12 Apostles. Even though 11 of the 12 were probably married at some time (John being the exception), the early Church affirms that they remained continent (inactive sexually). The early Church Fathers also echo this preference for celibacy. Thus, it is historical.
  2. It is preferred as an objectively higher state of living, as affirmed by Scripture.
  3. It frees up the priest/Bishop to live a life totally dedicated to the Church.
  4. It is a greater way of being a sacrament (sign) of Christ and conforms the man more perfectly to Him.
  5. Celibacy shows the great gift of marriage. A cleric gives up the right to marry and have children. Through his celibacy he "marries" the Church and looks to the time of heaven where all of us will be celibate and married to Christ. This foreshadowing of heaven shows the great dignity that marriage has, being in the image of Christ and the Church.
With that in mind, in all of the Catholic Churches (including Eastern Catholics) as well as the Orthodox Churches, there are no married men who are elevated to the episcopal office (Bishop). Why is this and is it a doctrine?

I think there is still a debate whether it is doctrinal or not. In order to be a doctrine, it must have been a rule given by Christ and handed to the Apostles. There is certainly clear evidence that it is a preferred state of life, but was no universal prohibition on married clergy either. There is strong evidence that even early married priests/bishops were asked to live a continent marriage (without sex) and there is some evidence to this. This gave rise to the prohibition of ordaining married priests to the episcopacy later on.

But, we have to remember that doctrine can develop over time, even if it does not change. Doctrinal development means that our understanding of that truth grows, even if the core of that truth stays the same.

In other words, the question is still somewhat open until the Church definitively rules on it. If they do, my guess is that it is declared a doctrine. But, this is merely my guess and I have been known to be wrong before - just ask my wife or my Bishop.

I hope this helps.

3D Without Glasses

A new device that creates 3D without glasses.

I have a feeling it may not catch on...


Of course you can save a lot of money and drink a whole lot of 5-hour Energy drinks and get the same effect.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Live for HIM

A great video.

Note - posting of this video is not an endorsement of the organization that made it.

Webinar With Dr. Michael Barber

This sounds good:

The Wedding Feast of the Lamb and the New Creation 
with Dr. Michael Barber


Friday, January 28 - 4:00 pm

Learn more about how the second Luminous Mystery of the Rosary, the Wedding at Cana, reveals a New Creation with Jesus as the New Adam and Mary as the New Eve.

Join us as Dr. Michael Barber hosts a webinar entitled The Wedding Feast of the Lamb and the New Creation, sponsored by John Paul the Great Catholic University.

The webinar lasts about a half-hour and there will be a Q&A session during which Dr. Barber will answer your questions.
Get more info here.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Odd News Friday: Woman Recreates DaVinci's Last Supper Using Dryer Lint

Quite interesting (note - the picture here is the original, not the recreation):
Maybe this will give all of you inspiration to meticulously separate your laundry: Laura Bell of Roscommon, Michigan used lint from her dryer to make a 14' by 4' reproduction of Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper.

The AP reports:
Bell says she needed about 800 hours to do enough laundry to get the lint, and 200 hours to recreate the mural. She bought towels of the colors she wanted and laundered them separately to get the right shades of lint.
The people at Ripley's Believe It Or Not! were so impressed they bought it for their collection. According to their press release, Bell started her masterpiece in 2009 and it took some experimenting to get it just right:
Bell says she spent seven months saving the lint from her own dryer, but the problem was it was usually the same color. She tried laundromat lint, but it was always shades of gray and full of dog hair.
Continue Reading.
-Click here for a picture of the Lint Supper.
-It was bought by Ripley's Believe It Or Not.

Master of Theological Studies Degree To Be Offered in Fort Worth

I am excited to hear this news. This is the graduate program I graduated from (after two years at the University of Dallas) and it is top-notch.
Dear IPT Students and Alumni,

Good news like this is too good to wait to announce! This week we received notification from our accrediting agency that we have received the final authorization to offer the IPT program in the Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas. Our plans are to begin advertising and promotion immediately – in fact, that begins with this email – to get the word out and to invite prospective students to apply. The first classes will begin in August, 2011.

Almost two years ago I met with two groups of former students in Dallas and Fort Worth. At that time I indicated that we were hoping to launch the IPT in the area, and I asked for their prayers that the Lord’s will would be done regarding this. Today I am happy to inform you that those prayers have been answered as we had hoped they would be. Now I would like to invite you to continue praying for the IPT, first with prayers of thanksgiving for this great blessing, but also with prayers for the faculty and staff of the IPT and for current students as well as those who will embark on the three year journey of IPT studies beginning this August....

Prof. Douglas Bushman S.T.L.
You can read more about the program on their website.

Vote Early - Vote Often

Time for some shameless plugging. Please vote for us. It helps others hear about our humble blog.
It is also better than being beat by a Feng Shui blog...

JPII To Be Beatified on Divine Mercy Sunday

WHOOP! This is great news.
The much-anticipated beatification of Pope John Paul II will take place on May 1, the Sunday after Easter, the Vatican announced.

The healing of a French nun with Parkinson's disease is to go down in history as the miracle that made John Paul II a "blessed." The title is given to martyrs and other Christians to whom a miracle has been officially attributed, thus bringing them one step closer to sainthood.

Pope Benedict XVI approved the decree for the beatification of his predecessor during a Jan. 14 audience with the head of the Vatican department for saints' causes, Cardinal Angelo Amato.

John Paul II's cause arrived in the current's Pope's hands for approval after doctors studied the miraculous healing of Sister Marie Simon Pierre Normand and concluded it was "scientifically unexplainable." Following approval from theologians and Church officials, Pope Benedict promulgated the decree with his signature.

The atmosphere was electric at noon in the the Holy See's Press Office with journalists from all over the world expecting news of the beatification decree.

During the rather cheerful press briefing, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi explained some of the details of the process and revealed preliminary plans for the ceremony.

In what some have called "record time," the Pope's cause was seemingly expedited through the trials to prove his sainthood. Fr. Lombardi admitted that the cause for the Pope was "facilitated" because of his "great fame of sanctity."

At Pope Benedict's bidding, norms stipulating that saints' causes begin five years after the individual's death were waived. His cause, as those of others Popes and special cases, also leapfrogged others in what is usually a "first in, first examined" process.
Continue Reading.
UPDATE - JPII to be patron of next World Youth Day!
Also, here is the full text of the decree.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

MTV's New Show Skins = The Most Immoral MTV Show Ever

It is hard for a TV show to "push the boundaries" in our modern culture. What else is there to push? We have been bombarded with violence, sex, scandal, macabre / twisted stories, and more. Yet, producers continue to try to push because it creates buzz and buzz means more $$$. Don't fool yourself, MTV doesn't care a like about helping anyone but their investors and pocketbooks. So, I am not surprised to find out that they are pushing another sleazy show on our youth. But, what does surprise me is the level to which they have sunk this time.

What is it teenagers need? Is it MORE sex, drug abuse, irresponsible behavior, and license to do whatever they please? If so, then Skins is the show for them. If not, then it is time to do something.  Here is a description from the NY Times on the show and the original in the UK:
The only limitation placed on the original “Skins,” broadcast in Britain and Ireland on the E4 channel, was the prohibition of two particular swear words. The series took full advantage of this freedom, depicting its characters in various sexual couplings and triplings, struggling with unrequited crushes, eating disorders and unwanted pregnancies, and even dying.
The promos are nothing less than soft-core porn and all of this earns the show a "mature" rating which is the highest given. The show's website (I have deliberately left out the link) even has an interactive map where teens can post where their own indiscretions "went down" to brag about their behavior.

Here is what the Parents Television Council said about the show:
The following is the most urgent alert the PTC has ever sent to parents.

It is absolutely crucial that you be aware of the most dangerous program that has ever been foisted on your children!

Next Monday, January 17th, at 10:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific (only 9:00 p.m. Central/Mountain), MTV will debut its new series Skins. Here’s why this program is so dangerous to your kids:

· Skins is filled with graphic content involving high-school children, including depictions of teens drinking, smoking marijuana, and using massive quantities of drugs, engaging in violent acts, and having irresponsible sex with each other, with their schoolteachers, and with other adults. Other TV shows, like Gossip Girl, have included some of these activities; but Skins’ depiction of such activities is on a scale never before seen on TV. Skins is so extreme that MTV is rating the program TV-MA – a rating cable has previously reserved for programs like FX’s ultra-violent and quasi-pornographic series Nip/Tuck, which was wholly unsuitable for all but those who crave explicit material.

· Skins is about high-school children. Mixed in with the graphic drug use and sex scenes are storylines about falling in love and problems at school – elements sure to generate interest from teens. The show is being written, in part, by teens. And the Skins cast is actually made up of teenagers, not adult actors playing teens. One cast member is only 15 years old.

· Skins has been extensively marketed to high-school children. Internet sites like Teen.com have carried dozens of promos and stories about the new show. Many of the Internet ad campaigns have shown how Skins blatantly urges children to lie to and defy their parents, and engage in risky and dangerous behavior. MTV may try to claim that this show is intended for adults – but the way the show has been peddled to kids reveals the truth. MTV WANTS your kids to see – and be influenced by -- this program!


MTV is deliberately aiming an explicit adult series – one the network itself rates as appropriate only for adults – at YOUR CHILDREN!
After looking at the website and promo video (WARNING - Extremely graphic language, situations, and images), I have to say I am shocked by how bad it is. I can't believe they can get away with it. It is Ephebophilia on film and all sent directly into millions of homes where they will negatively influence teens in a culture that is already sick.

I will not post the videos or the website to the show, you can view them from the link above if you must, but I will warn you again - it is scandalous.

Sign a petition from the Parent's Television Council here to fight back.

Pray for our culture, our children, and the makers of this filth.