Friday, October 28, 2005

What I Think You'll Like

UPDATE: I'm taking some time off from blogging while I try to refocus. I expect I'll be back from time to time though. In the meantime, feel free to peruse the archives and the "What I think You'll Like" links at the right side of the page. God bless.

I seem to have lost focus in this little corner of the Internet. Don't ask me why, but I seem to have lost my oomph. Seeking inspiration, I dug into the archives of this blog and plastered my all-time favorite posts along the right side of this page. I encourage one and all to spend some time here and to drop me a line letting me know what you think!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I Just Might Do That

Abp. Charles Chaput recommends reading The Chronicles of Narnia in anticipation of the Dec. 9 release of the movie based on C.S. Lewis's tales.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

This Picture Makes Me Smile

Thanks to Spirit Daily for posting this picture of a happy-looking Padre St. Pio.

I Wouldn't Mind At All If Anne Rice Commented Here

Anne Rice reads the blogs! Apparently she took a look at Speculative Catholic's take on her upcoming novel and felt compelled to reply.

Anne Rice (or somebody using her name) wrote: "I ask you not to pre-judge this book. It has absolutely nothing to do with the gnostic gospels. The book is an attempt to fictionally depict the Jesus of faith, the jesus of the four gospels, set against a backdrop that has been thoroughly researched as to archaeology, sociology and history. I can understand if you have no interest in it, but I ask that you not jump to conclusions about based on fragmentary comments. Whatever, thank you for caring enough to mention it, and I appreciate the interest you've shown. Anne Rice, Paradise West, California."

Reviews of and other information about Rice's Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt can be found here.

High School Catholic Persecuted

The daughter of the woman who notified the Archdiocese of Sacramento of the pro-abortion activism of a Catholic high school teacher is being harrassed on her blog following the publication of the girl's name in a local newspaper article.

Katelyn Sills was identified in the account as a sophomore at the high school where the fired teacher worked. Agents of the culture of death have been quick to target Sills for insult and condemnation.

Here's a sample from someone called "alum68": "you and your family are an embarrasment to Loretto. Mind your own business. Hopefully all your families hard earned money will go to Mrs. Bain. Worry more about the priest abusing children and think about all the nums that have done unspeakable things that the media is only time away from mentioning."

And from another commentor:"I think it would be great if your peers all bring cameras to school Monday. I hope they follow you after school, to your job, to your home, to the mall. I hope you're treated to the barbaric intrusiveness of being photographed at all times, and that it makes you think. And then I hope you transfer, not only to a different school, but into a different religion. Catholicism isn't a hate-based belief system, and we don't need your kind ... Christ is love, not hate."
Unfreaking believable.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Can Abraham's Children Co-Exist?

Bono seems to think so, according to Beliefnet.

Thank You, God

Bishops reaffirm clerical celibacy.

Anne Rice's Interview With The Savior

Okay. I'm in. Despite Anne Rice's soft-core pornographic tendencies. Despite the author's life's work as a marketer for paganism through her Vampire series, (After these novels came out, Rice repented and returned to the Catholic Church.) And despite Rice's preoccupation with darkness and moral ambiguity, I'm really, really, looking forward to her upcoming series on the life of Jesus.

Update: Mark Shea urges caution regarding Anne Rice's latest series: "It is a trade hazard of writers that we can build idols out of characters. All the more dangerous when the character is our Lord. Pride makes it easy to mold him to our preferences and then worship the fictional Jesus rather than let him mold us to his as we worship the real Jesus." An important point, especially coming from Shea who has just written a book on the Virgin Mary.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Blogosphere Reacts to Chaput Saying State Murder Is Wrong

Over at Open Book, the Catholic blogosphere is in a tizzy over remarks by Archbishop Chaput in his latest column that the death penalty is wrong. The column is adapted from the archbishop's address to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Chaput admonishes the bishops that "Choosing against the death penalty is choosing in favor of life. We need to end the death penalty, and we need to do it soon."

I saw the archbishop's column the other day but it never occurred to me to blog on it because Chaput says nothing that is new here. I mean, what part of "Thou shalt not kill ..." do we not understand? Okay, so the Church's argument is more nuanced, than I'm crediting it here. Let's see what the archbishop has to say.

Chaput writes:

"What Catholic teaching on the death penalty does involve is this: a call to set aside unnecessary violence, including violence by the state, in the name of human dignity and building a culture of life. In the wake of the bloodiest century in history, the Church invites us to recover our own humanity by choosing God’s higher road of restraint and mercy instead of state-sanctioned killing that implicates all of us as citizens.

“The Catechism of the Catholic Church” explains it in these words: If “non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor [i.e., the convicted murderer], authority [should] limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity with the dignity of the human person” (2267).

Conservative Catholics tend not to accept this reasoning, preferring to parse the catechism into tiny shards of meaninglessness, each reflecting their own biases. Read the comments at Open Book, and you'll see what I mean.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Bono and The Funky Pontiff

Hat tip: The Curt Jester.

What Ever Happened to the Real Presence?

Fathers at the Synod in Rome are scratching their heads over how to explain the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, according to Catholic News Service.

The problem appears to be universal, bishops said, who are seeking ways to improve catechesis on the Eucharist. Reasons given for this lack of understanding include the rational, materialist mentality in the so-called North, and the difficulty in distinguishing between the Eucharist and animistic idols in the South.

A provocative point:

"Nigerian Bishop Joseph Bagobiri of Kafanchan called on the synod to develop a "theology of presence" so that the faithful are not confused and know that Christ is present sacramentally but not physically in the Eucharist.

The problem, he said, is that in trying to teach about the real presence the church must confront "the delicate line of demarcation between that which is real and that which is only a representation of the reality."

Pope Film Problematic

George Weigel corrects several glaring inaccuracies -- and in some cases fabrications!-- that showed up in the Hallmark movie, "Karol: A Man Who Would Be Pope".

A Teachable Moment In Oregon?

The Catholic Medical Association will hold its conference in Portland, Oregon, where people think it's okay for doctors to give deadly doses of drugs to their patients.

When Criminal Acts Become Acts Of Mercy

Americans may believe otherwise, but when Jesus gave his Sermon on the Mount, he did not say, "You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, 'You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment ... unless it's the sick, disabled, or elderly.'" Over the past several decades, this nation has confused compassion with killing because we no longer understand that life is a gift from the Creator, not the government. Find out how we lost our way here.

Seize the Dei Helps CISTO Seek CHIM

CISTO= Catholic In Skimpy Tight Outift. CHIM = Catholic Hyper Intellectual Male. Seize the Dei defines Catholicism. Hat tip to Bettnet.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Is The Priesthood Really This Glam?

Last summer images of a priest in a Matrix-like pose holding a cross and a rosary caught on, and even though it's now autumn, I still don't know what to make of this particular priest recruitment campaign. The Matrix movie was very popular with its Christian themes, its heroism, and bad ass special effects. The poster's tie-in to The Matrix is intentional, and detailed. In fact, like in the movie, the vocations poster has the imagery of a series of computer codes arranged vertically, except the poster's computer code is actually the words to Salve Regina.

So, why am I doubtful about this campaign? The message of the ad series is that holy priests are heroes, saving the world from evil, much in the same way that Neo and Trinity fought for good in the movie. A worthwhile and important message, but I wonder about the effectiveness of using worldly images in order to attract men who will then (we hope) reject the world in favor of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Fr. Jonathan Meyer, associate director of youth and young adult ministry for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, conceived and starred in the poster (shown above). He says this image of a warrior priest will draw vocations.

"Today's seminarian," he said, "is engaged with the world but is also committed to orthodoxy, like (Pope) John Paul II," Fr. Meyer told Catholic Online.

The poster's designer, Missy Scarlett explains on her web site, "This vocations poster calls us to ponder the message behind the sunglasses. The truth of the priesthood, is a fulfilling life of sacrifice, a life that testifies to the meaning of the sacrifice of the Mass. The Mass - a living organism requiring the importance of your presence, the priest, and Jesus Christ." She's got more pictures of other recruitment campaign posters up on her site. None of them as popular as the Matrix-themed one, but all every bit as good.

Perhaps I am in a minority with my misgivings about this ad. According to Google, only two commentators objected to the poster -- neither of them fond of the Catholic Church.

Rebuilding the Gulf Coast the Third Way

Got an email from Michael Greaney of the Center for Economic and Social Justice, about the center's project to rebuild the Gulf Coast areas that were devastated by Hurricane Katrina and Rita "in a manner consistent with Catholic social teaching and without putting everything on the backs of the taxpayers while at the same time embodying a preferential option for the poor."

This rebuilding project would use a method called "capital homesteading".

Greaney writes:
"Capital homesteading is derived from the social doctrine of Pius XI, particularly as found in Quadragesimo Anno and Divini Redemptoris, and the economic justice ideas of Louis Kelso and Mortimer Adler in their books, The Capitalist Manifesto (1958) and The New Capitalists (1961). Despite the latter titles, what Kelso and Adler discuss is the antithesis of both capitalism and socialism."

Umm ... okay. I'm a person of prayer not economics, and, frankly, haven't the background to form an opinion on CESJ, I'm just passing this along in case anyone's interested.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Depressing ...

Every news article on the topic of "Death With Dignity Act" supports Oregon.

Madonna Again Proves Irony of Her Name

I'm not into celebrity gossip but -- poor Lourdes. Her mother is named Madonna, but she behaves more like Mommy Dearest than the Mother of All Peoples. (Exception: According to the Drudge Report Madonna is now preaching that all who do not repent will go to Hell and that "the Beast" is the modern age.)

But I digress. This week, Madonna over shares that she takes away little Lourdes clothes if she leaves them on the floor, forcing the 9-year old to wear the same outfit over and over. Also, Lourdes and her little brother Rocco are not allowed to drink milk or eat ice cream. Further, Madonna (Lord, how I hate calling her by that name. Can I call her Cruella De Ville instead?) withholds chocolate from the kids.

Is she mean, or has Madonna finally lost her mind? It seems to have already happened to Tom Cruise and Michael Jackson (whom Madonna accompanied to the Grammys one year in the '80s.)

AP Uses The Words "human" and "sacrifice" in Embryonic Stem Cell Story

The Curt Jester notes an interesting detail in a recent AP story on the search for ethical means of obtaining human stem cells for research:

From the AP story: "Currently, scientists must sacrifice human embryos to harvest such cells, which can form any tissue type and are seen as valuable for studying and treating illnesses like diabetes and Parkinson's disease."

As the Curt Jester says: "Alleluia."

Reading this makes me proud to be Catholic, the only faith to have spoken up aggressively against using embryonic stem cells. If it is true that abortion is a poverty, then human sacrifice is slavery.

Simplicity, Chastity and Continence? Dude, it's the prom!

A Long Island Catholic high school's prom has been canceled by the school's principal due to decadence:

As the principal put it in a letter last spring:

"It is not primarily the sex/booze/drugs that surround this event, as problematic as they might be; it is rather the flaunting of affluence, assuming exaggerated expenses, a pursuit of vanity for vanity's sake in a word, financial decadence," Brother Hoagland said, fed up with what he calls the "bacchanalian aspects" of the prom.

"Each year it gets worse becomes more exaggerated, more expensive, more emotionally traumatic," he added. "We are withdrawing from the battle and allowing the parents full responsibility. (Kellenberg) is willing to sponsor a prom, but not an orgy."

Congratulations on this school for living up to the values of the faith. It's shame that other Catholic high schools have not taken a similar stance.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

From the Dept. of "If We Forget the Poor We Will Go To Hell"*

Religious leaders in Colorado -- including my own shepherd Archbishop Charles Chaput -- rally around Referenda C and D, which would increase spending for the poor, the elderly, and the sick if passed in November. Astonishingly, this time the media are okay with religious "meddling" in public policy. In fact, the Denver Post quotes from the Gospel of Matthew in a glowing editorial.

*Phrase coined by Abp.Chaput during a 2004 Mass when he had parishioners repeat three times during the homily: "If we forget the poor,we will go to Hell."

When Dawn Breaks: A Man's Life and Death

Found via Open Book, a blog about a man whose brother is dying. The first blog entry is about the brother's death. Go back and read the early posts about the diagnosis. All the important things are here and it's nothing less than a miracle that a grieving brother has found the words to bring life to this moment of death.

What Religion Is Your OS?

"I am firmly of the opinion that the Macintosh is Catholic and that DOS is Protestant. Indeed, the Macintosh is counterreformist and has been influenced by the methodical path of the Jesuits.... It is catechistic: the essence of revelation is dealt with via simple formulae and sumptuous icons. Everyone has a right to salvation. DOS is Protestant, or even Calvinistic. It allows free interpretation of scripture, demands difficult personal decisions, imposes a subtle hermeneutics upon the user, and takes for granted the idea that all can reach salvation"--Umberto Ecco 1994.

Ecco's words are still true even though most of us don't spend much time with DOS these days and the hallmark of the Macintosh, the GUI (graphical user interface), is now featured in both PCs and Macintoshes. Some day, perhaps, the Protestants will likewise adopt the Catholic version of the GUI (i.e., icons, smells, and bells).

Friday, October 14, 2005

Doctor exercises conscience ....

... refuses to prescribe contraceptives.

Paradoxical Piety

A sculpture by Surrealist Spanish painter Salvador Dali given to an Italian friar who exorcised a demon from him has been found. Hat tip to Open Book.

Synod Double Shot

John Allen's report from the Synod yesterday is posted at National Catholic Reporter, and his weekly column,Word From Rome,also covers synodal doings this week. Here's a list of the issues raised by Cardinal Scola considered to be important to guiding the work at the Synod:

How to educate people in the various dimensions of the Eucharist?
How to link the liturgy to life?
How to offer the Eucharist in a regular way to all the faithful, and how to structure the assembly on Sunday for communities awaiting a priest?
How to promote Eucharistic adoration that leads back to a liturgical celebration?
How to fashion an ecclesiology that sees the Eucharist as the principle and form for organizing the church?
How to recover the integrity of Christian initiation -- baptism, confirmation and the Eucharist? How to foster the connection between Eucharist and the sacrament of reconciliation?
How to promote a welcoming pastoral stance for those who live in irregular situations?
How to educate people about the centrality of the Sunday Eucharistic celebration?
What are the criteria for organizing multiple Eucharistic celebrations for small communities within larger parish communities?
How can the Eucharistic celebration be brought to the sick and the old? How can psychologically ill people best participate in the Eucharist?
How to foster the missionary dimension of the Eucharist?
How does the Eucharistic celebration educate for social responsibility?
How to educate people about the cosmological dimension of the Eucharist?
How to foster "full, conscious, active and fruitful" participation in the Eucharist?
What are the criteria for art and architecture in service to the beauty of the liturgy?
Is it opportune to revisit certain aspects of the Roman Rite (such as the location of the kiss of peace)?
What are the criteria for correct inculturation of the single Eucharistic mystery?

The Trinity Explained

Mark Shea and Jeff Cavins explain the Trinity in this morning's "Word of Encouragement" from Catholic Exchange, a real blessing for me since I can never really get a handle on the Trinitarian nature of God, let alone explain it to others. So, I'm very grateful for this:

Genesis 1:27
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

The Trinitarian nature of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is hinted
at in the mysterious words of today's verse. For the image of God is
not fully expressed in Adam alone, but in Adam-and-Eve together.
Indeed, Scripture tells us -- after a relentlessly upbeat account of
creation which is repeatedly punctuated by the exclamation "God saw that
it was good... God saw that it was good... God saw that it was very
good" -- that there was one thing God saw that was not good: a human
being all alone. So God gives Adam to Eve and Eve to Adam just as the
Father gives himself completely to the Son and the Son gives himself
completely to the Father. Moreover, just as Adam and Eve together bear
fruit a new human life, so from the eternal love of Father and Son
proceeds the person of the Holy Spirit. In a mysterious way, Genesis
and the mystery of human love foreshadow something of the ultimate
reality behind the world: the love of the Blessed Trinity. Today, thank
God for the family, whether natural or spiritual, that God has given you
in his love as a school for heaven."

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Miracle of the Sun

Today is the 88th anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima, where the sun appeared to hurtle towards the earth before the astonished eyes of tens of thousands at the site where Mary appeared to the three shepherd children in Portugal.

I watched the movie on Fatima with a group of friends a few months back. The children of one of them -- herself about 8 years old -- remarked that Jacinta, one of the shepherds who saw the Blessed Virgin, seemed not to do much but cry a lot. I hadn't noticed, either because I cried a lot as a child, or because it seemed to me that Jacinta had a lot to cry about.

Spirit Daily has a remarkableprofile of little Jacinta, who at the time of her death had reached a depth of spiritual maturity that was way beyond her years -- even for a saint.

Here's an excerpt:

"Even after she was taken sick, which eventually led to her death, she would get out of bed to bow her head to the floor, and pray as the Angel had taught for the glory of God, Jesus in the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference by which God is offended and to beg for the conversion of poor sinners. A priest finally had to tell her, as she would fall over at times doing this, that she should say the prayer in bed."

Thanks to Money Bags for remembering this day.

Christ Touching the Untouchables

Brian Saint-Paul (what a cool last name) writes in the Crisis magazine e-newsletter that many of India's "untouchables" are converting to Christianity and Islam. Known as the Dalit, India's untouchables number 250 million and account for nearly 1/3 of the country's population, yet they have no political voice.

Here's what Betsy Vigneri, a media consultant with the Dalit Freedom Network told Saint-Paul:
"I've found that when Dalits hear about Jesus, they're deeply
moved to learn that He loves them," Vigneri said. "All their lives,
they've been told how horrible they are. But they hear that Jesus not
only loves them but died for them. In their minds, He reached out to
the Untouchables of His day. Touched them... talked to them... ate
with them... These are all forbidden for a higher caste person to do
with the Dalits."

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A Snapshot of The Global Church

The Eucharist is suffering from the West's indifference, persecution from Romania to Mogadishu, and a global shortage of priest. The global church is a rich tapestry of contrasts, according to Sandro Magister, who provides an analysis of the Synod in Rome so far. It ends Oct. 23.

Hat tip to Amy Welborn, who also inspired the title of this post.

I Spy Godspy

Don't check in too much with Godspy, but when I do it's always a couple hours of solid reading -- of either content found on the site itself, or from Godspy's compendium of links.

Today is a meaty news link kind of day featuring: an article in the journal First Things on Bush's indifference to the pro-life movement; a review by Robert Pinsky of Joan Didion's Year of Magical Thinking, an account of the death of Didion's husband and her daughter's terminal illness, (with an excerpt); and an article on how the so-called "emergent" church is looking to "dead Christians" as examples of how to be close to Jesus,which is what Catholics have been doing with the saints for centuries, but I won't tell if you don't.

Synod Update

Cardinal Pell offered one of the more forceful defenses of clerical celibacy yesterday at the Synod.

From the National Catholic Reporter:

“To loosen this tradition now would be a serious error, which would provoke confusion in the mission areas and would not strengthen spiritual vitality in the First World,” Pell said.

“It would be a departure from the practice of the Lord Himself, bring significant practical disadvantages to the work of the church, e.g., financial, and weaken the sign value of the priesthood; it would weaken, too, the witness to loving sacrifice, and to the reality of the Last Things, and the rewards of Heaven,” Pell said.

Also, an interesting and provocative quote:

"Wednesday morning the synod heard from some of its “auditors,” including Henrietta de Villa, former ambassador of the Philippines to the Holy See.

Noting that a traditional Latin term for the church is mater et magistra, “mother and teacher,” de Villa suggested that perhaps one reason the church fails to impress some young people as a teacher is because “they have never experienced her as a mother.

Also, good, tough questions from the Protestants on intercommunion.

Allard the Dullard

Colorado senator Wayne Allard was one of the 9 Republican senators who voted in favor of torture this past week.

"Love Is Infinite Desire"

The Magnificat provides an essay by British mystic Caryll Houselander to illuminate yesterday's Mass reading. Lots of spiritual nourishment in this piece. Here's an excerpt from the print publication:

"It is impossible to know God, even through the sense of absence, without falling in love with him ... By a curious paradox, our loss reveals the Divine Presence to us: Love is infinite desire.

On all the works of man we find the touch of Christ, provided that we are looking for some sign that God has been there... Only complacency can take away the sharp edge of love; boredom cannot do it and neither can aridity, for love is known as desire, which is stronger than we are and drives us as the wind drives a sail.

It is expedient that Christ should go, because we shall then seek, and seeking, touch the edge of the truths we cannot yet bear; because in the search we become aware of the wonder and mystery that contentment blinds us to."

More information on Houselander here, including an essay she wrote on simplicity.

Lonely? Looking For Love?

Consider this:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin or your selfishness. But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell”-C.S. Lewis.

via Bishop Olmstead's essay on the Eucharist and loneliness.

New Features

To your right are a couple of brand spankin' new features: a Catholic news ticker, courtesy of Catholic World News, and the day's Mass readings, courtesy of Catholic Value add: Click on the "Reflection" button under the Mass readings for a mini catechesis on the day's Gospel.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Does This Pancake Look Like The Pope To You?

Tip o' da hat to Spirit Daily.

Sign of Peace News

Catholic News Service reports that some bishops are urging moving the sign of peace to before the offertory, and that one bishop has proposed that bear hugs should replace handshakes during the sign of peace.

Myself, I can do without the sign of peace altogether, not to mention the pre-Mass handshake greeting urged of us schlubs in the pews by the lector.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Taking Christ Out Of The Eucharist

One of the bishops at the Synod warns that Catholics are becoming secularized in their outlook and that this is affecting how they view the Eucharist.

Voice of the Faithful: The Tiny Pebble Lodged In The Shoe Of The Body Of Christ

This may say something perverse about me, but often the things that make me laugh are also very sad, such as the Voice of the Faithful's gathering in San Francisco last week to discuss the Church's selection of a new archbishop. According to VOTF's web site, "Voice of the Faithful –Northern California will host a Day of Discernment to pray, discuss, reflect and discern the future pastoral leadership of the Archdiocese of San Francisco."

A VOTF press release stated:"Voice of the Faithful points out that this gathering is in the best traditions of the ancient Church wherein the People of God selected their leaders and bishops."

This talking point was dutifully parroted twice in the inevitableSan Francisco Chronicle article although the reporter did work in the reality check that the pope picks the bishop, not delusional lay groups. Unfortunately, the reporter did not report this inconvenient fact until the very end of the article. Like, the last sentence.

The Chronicle should have known better but you can't blame the casual reader for getting the impression that VOTF wanted to make; that VOT's Day of Discernment will determine the selection of a new archbishop to replace William Levada(who is going to Rome to head the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith). And from there, it's not a huge leap to believe, as VOTF does, that this bitchfest is a critical development in VOTF evolving from the tiny pebble that could into ... something else!

From The Chronicle with funny/sad parts in bold:

"With their gray hair and their overwhelming preference for decaffeinated drinks, the nearly 100 members of the lay Catholic group Voice of the Faithful who gathered inside St. Matthew's Catholic Church gym in San Mateo on Sunday didn't look intimidating.

But theologian Sally Vance-Trembath of San Francisco said leaders of the Catholic Church see the group as a force to be reckoned with.

Fifty years from now, the Voice of the Faithful will be remembered as the tiny pebble that rolled down the hill and became the biggest thing to hit the church," Vance-Trembath, 51, said before delivering a keynote address to the group, which gathered to discuss its potential role in choosing the next archbishop to lead the San Francisco archdiocese."

No. Fifty years from now, the Voice of the Faithful will not be remembered at all because it is the tiny pebble that rolled down the hill and into a lake where it will remain forever buried in the muck.

The VOTF is serious. They really think they -- not the pope -- but THEY are going to pick the new Archbishop of San Francisco, and that Benedict XVI is quaking in his papal boots over this as history will inevitably prove.


How funny. How sad.

God's Revolution

A 144-page book of speeches by Pope Benedict XVI in the days just before and during World Youth Day 2005 will be published Tuesday. The book is titled God's Revolution and the theme is that political ideologies that promise revolution without God are false.

Intercommunion and Ecumenism at the Synod

Zenit has a fascinating round up of topics discussed at the Synod so far. (The Eucharist is the theme.) Note that the topic of ecumenism and intercommunion generated much interest among the fathers.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Prolife Movie

Check out the trailer for A Distant Thunder, a 35-minute "pro-life" movie by one of the people at Disney. (But made independent of Disney). Hat tip to Lifesite, via Spirit Daily. Earthquake News Source

The indispensable Amy Welborn notes an extremely helpful site for earthquake updates in, a Catholic news site for the faithful in Asia and abroad.

Friday, October 07, 2005

"We Don't View Assisted Suicide As A Benefit"

The quote is from Not Dead Yet's president Diane Coleman. Not Dead Yet has the goods on what's happening with Gonzales vs. Oregon. It's eerie how the culture of death is disguising this case as states' rights. It's not. It is really about whether a sick/disabled person's life can be viewed as so lacking in value that the law allows for their lives to be terminated and assisted in such by the medical establishment via prescribing lethal drugs.

As Not Dead Yet sees it:

"People already have the right to refuse unwanted treatment, and suicide is not illegal. What we oppose is a public policy that singles out individuals for legalized killing based on their health status. This violates the Americans With Disabilities Act, and denies us the equal protection of the law. Some bioethicists have even started to argue that intellectually disabled people are not persons under the law. That hasn’t happened since slavery was legal.

Legalized medical killing is not a new human right, it's a new professional immunity. It would allow health professionals to decide which of us are "eligible" for this service, and exempt them from accountability for their decisions. Killing is not just another medical treatment option, and it must not be made any part of routine health care. In these days of cost cutting and managed care, we don't trust the health care system, and neither should you."

The Real Beginning of B16's Pontificate

The synod taking place in Rome this month has been fascinating so far. Before this week, I had no idea that the Vatican holds these meetings every so often (Synod is latin for a council or an assembly)for invited bishops and laity (13 women this time around) to discuss topics around a theme. This year's theme is the Eucharist and the fathers have been talking about priest shortages and mandatory celibacy, rubrics, communion for pro-abortion politicians, and social justice. The Tablet calls this synod "the real beginning of Benedict XVI’s pontificate."

Mother of All Peoples

Since today is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary and the day that its latest issue is published, now seems like a good time to give a special mention to Mother of All Peoples, a weekly e-'zine devoted to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Our Lady of the Rosary

Friday is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. As John Paul II wrote regarding Jesus in his Apostolic Letter of 2002, "It is not just a question of learning what he taught but of 'learning him.' In this regard could we have any better teacher than Mary? From the divine standpoint, the Spirit is the interior teacher who leads us to the full truth of Christ. But among creatures no one knows Christ better than Mary; no one can introduce us to a profound knowledge of his mystery better than his Mother."

Anybody interested in learning more about the rosary has lots of options. A friend of this site, Moneybags, maintains a rosary page. The world headquarters of the Rosary Confraternity has a site that describes how to pray the rosary. You can enroll in the confraternity here. And if you don't have a rosary of your own, this site will show you where to get one.

We Are Legion

Waiter Rant is a, dare I say -- Christ-haunted seminarian turned waiter who blogs about his experiences as a server. Sometimes he mixes in a little reflection and theology such as with this lovely post on the story of Jesus healing the man who called himself Legion.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Not Dead Yet And Don't Wanna Be Made Dead Either

Disability rights group Not Dead Yet cites a report from the Journal of Disability Policy Studies stating that, not surprisingly, people who are disabled have reservations about assisted suicide. This news comes as the Supreme Court hears oral arguments on the law in Oregon that allows physicians to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to patients who are terminally ill and wish to die. Also on NDY's home page is a link to a Seattle Post-Intelligencer column by NDY's president, Diane Coleman, on why the argument of states' rights in this case is a red herring.

Why Amy Welborn Is A Must Read

Over at Open Book, Amy Welborn lays a smackdown on "Bible fanfic" AKA The Da Vinci Code. In response to questions basically saying what's wrong with speculating about Jesus and what the Gospels say?, Amy gives several reasons and she puts it way better than I can here, having written a book on the subject and all.

A Catholic Blog

Moneybags over at A Catholic Life has some really nice posts up today. The first deals with the story making the rounds about the people who smashed an altar after Communion at a Catholic church. In response, Moneybags has posted a series of catecheses on Catholic basics.

The second is about yesterday's Feast Day of Saint Francis of Assissi. Moneybags incorporates some reflections on St. Francis into a post commemorating the saint. I don't like lamb so I don't eat it, but if it were part of my diet, I'd give it up after reading what Moneybag has to say about it.

Near and Dear to Their Hearts?

Today the Supreme Court hears oral arguments regarding Gonzales v. Oregon, the case challenging Oregon's assisted suicide law. This AP article departs from the typical new story by describing how the justices have been affected by serious or terminal illness:

"The case, the first major one to come before the new chief justice, John Roberts, will be heard by justices touched personally by illness. Three justices — Sandra Day O'Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and John Paul Stevens — have had cancer, and a fourth — Stephen Breyer — has a spouse who counsels young cancer patients who are dying.

Their longtime colleague, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, who once wrote about the "earnest and profound debate" over doctor-assisted suicide, died a month ago after battling untreatable cancer for nearly a year."

I wonder how these brushes with mortality have affected their views too.

Synod Summary

Catholic News Agency has a round up of some of the topics raised in Rome during the Synod so far.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

A Marvelous Idea

Michael Dubriel notes a proposal to the Synod by a Chilean bishop to mark a Year of the Sacrament of Penance focusing on the following:

"the meaning of the true and living God, and His eclipse in modern culture; the need of salvation and the announcement of Jesus Christ; ... the sense of sin, which is diminished or annulled, due to the loss of God and moral relativism; conversion and the virtue of penance; spiritual guidance or accompaniment; the celebration of the Sacrament of Penance as an encounter between the sinner, who converts from his misery, and God who, in His mercy in Christ, welcomes and forgives him; the conditions for receiving Holy Communion; new life in Christ, as His disciples and members of the Church"

Hat tip to the Curt Jester.

Sense and Sacramentality at the Synod

Rocco Palmo eavesdrops on some of the discussions going on over in Rome this week and performs a nice service to his readers by excerpting a talk given by Fr. Joseph William Tobin, a Redemptorist at the Synod. Fr. Tobin spoke of a critical misunderstanding the sacraments.

This line from Fr. Tobin grabbed my attention:

"If the sacrament of Penance is de facto absent in many local Churches we must wonder whether the Church can be properly recognised as the Church willed by Jesus Christ..."

Amen. Amen. I can't tell you how often I've looked for Reconciliation times in churches around Denver only to find them limited to an hour and a half or less a week and even then at times that I can't attend.

The excuse given for this sorry state of affairs is lack of interest on the part of parishioners. Untrue if the lines of people waiting for confession are anything to go by.

Fr. Tobin further describes the misuse of the Eucharist to make personal statements and the use of Penance by those who see it as a means of cheap grace. Good stuff.

"What Was Formerly Bitter Changed to Sweetness"

The first time I heard the Canticle of Brother Sun it was set to folk music. "Ugh," I said later. "That hymn sounded like something some hippie would write." Rightly or wrongly, St. Francis tends to be regarded as the first hippie saint due to his love for all of the Lord's creation. And then there is the peace prayer that goes: Lord make me a channel of your peace ... " It's usually attributed to St. Francis, though that is in doubt.

The title quote is taken from St. Francis' testament and describes the saint's conversion. The best definition of conversion I've heard to date.

Lots of good places online to learn more about St. Francis but here are a few to get you started:

  • Franciscan Friars

  • Patron Saint Index

  • Very Cool Flash Presentation of "Canticle of Brother Sun"
  • Monday, October 03, 2005

    EWTN Stops By Denver

    It was a love fest this weekend here in Denver when some of the stars in the EWTN network paid a visit to Cowtown, the first city in the Catholic television netork's 25th anniversary tour.

    As the Rocky Mountain News notes,hordes of EWTN fans lined up in front of the Colorado Convention Center to meet celebrities such as Raymond Arroyo and Mitch Pacwa. Even Archbishop Chaput, a member of the EWTN's Board of Directors, got caught up in the love. During Mass, broadcast live over EWTN, Chaput greeted Mother Angelica and wished her a happy anniversary.

    Not Dead Yet

    Prolifers should get behind this group, Not Dead Yet. It's made up of disabled people, many of whom would normally support the progressive agenda but for the Left's embrace of "death with dignity" in Oregon. Not Dead Yet will be rallying in D.C. on October 5th -- the day the Supreme Court begins hearing oral arguments in the Gonzales v. Oregon case that deals with legality of Oregon's assisted suicide law.

    This Should Please ProLifers

    Harriet Miers apparently lobbied the Texas Bar Association to not supportion abortion.

    Update: For what it's worth (and I'm not sure that it's even worth mentioning), Marvin Olasky says Miers belongs to an conservative, evangelical church.

    The Visitation Links

    Amy Welborn notes a links page at Catholic World News to various voices in the blogosphere -- some more rational than others -- opining on the Vatican visitation of the seminaries. Commentary provided at the bottom of the page as well.

    Saturday, October 01, 2005

    Littleton Woman Objects to Life Teen

    Don't understand what the problem this woman has with Life Teen. Yeah the founder of it seems to be no good, but he is in another state and has nothing to do with the 19 or so parishes in Colorado that have been running the program without any problems.

    The Day of the Little Flower

    Today's the Feast Day of St. Therese of Lisieux, who was declared a Doctor of the Church in 1997 by Pope John Paul II.

    In her spiritual autobiography Story of A Soul St. Therese describes the path of holiness as being a path of love for the Lord, with humility guiding us.

    "Jesus set the book of nature before me and I saw that all the flowers he has created are lovely. The splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not rob the little violet of its scent nor the daisy of its simple charm. I realized that if every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness and there would be no wildflowers to make the meadows gay.

    It is just the same in the world of souls - which is the garden of Jesus. He has created the great saints who are like the lilies and the roses, but he has also created much lesser saints and they must be content to be the daisies or the violets which rejoice his eyes whenever he glances down. Perfection consists in doing his will, in being that which he wants us to be.

    Jesus, help me to simplify my life by learning what you want me to be - and becoming that person."

    That prayer. Is there anybody alive right now who could not relate to it?


    Links are working again. Sorry about the non-functionality.