Friday, May 31, 2002

Much more eloquent that I could ever say it myself...

A long time ago, I said something along these same lines, but Peter Vere of C.L.O.G. has said it much more eloquently.

Another debate rages over whether or not homosexuals should be admitted to the priesthood, especially in light of recent events. I would be lying if I didn't say this debate troubles me. Basically, if a man remains faithful to his vows of celibacy or chastity (depending upon whether he's ordained a diocesan or religious), as he is suppose to do in conformity with Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Gospels, who the heck would know whether or not he faces homosexua temptations?

By the way...

I'd like to thank those people who frequent my blog. My site meter informs me that roughly 40 to 50 people view my site each day, and some have even been from outside of the country... and I don't mean just Canada :) ! All of which is rather humbling... I hope I'm actually saying something of substance. Hello to all of you, please visit often and email me if anything I've said is of interest to you (Gee, I hope someone emails me now *grin*).

The only dissappointment? I still haven't been checked out by the Vatican! :(

Thursday, May 30, 2002

All gave some, some gave all.

Very interesting article

Had the oppotunity to read this article today and something really jumped out at me...

Said said some of the suicide bombers, men and women, were socially isolated -- such as one bomber who suffered from epilepsy -- and were trying to gain social acceptance.

"Many of them feel powerless in all other aspects of their life but now...they can change reality, they can prove to their mothers and fathers and schoolteachers that they are worth something," he told Reuters.

This sort of reminds me of high school bullies that make people who want to be their friends do really embarrassing things. Once those people looking for acceptance do these things, they find that they are the object of ridicule rather than friendship. It is a pathetic attitude, but it obviously pervades society here and abroad. These cowards (who can't strap a bomb on themselves and hoof it over to Israel) take those who long for acceptance and say "Hey, you can be our friend... you just have to kill yourself and a few Jews while you're at it."

Yah, some friends alright.

What I do today is important because I am paying a day of my life for it. What I accomplish must be worthwhile because the price is high.

Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation. Your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are. - John Wooden

If a good God made the world, why has it gone wrong?

A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What do you compare the universe with when you call it unjust? If the whole show was bad and senseless from A to Z, so to speak, why do you, who are supposed to be a part of the show, find yourself in such violent reaction against it? A man feels wet when he falls into water because a man is not a water animal : a fish would not feel wet. Of course, you could give up your own idea of justice by saying that it is nothing but a private idea of your own. But if you do that, then your argument against God collapses too - for the argument then depends on saying that the world is really unjust, not simply that it does not happen to please your private fantasies.

That is why atheism is too simple.

Conservative Catholicism v. Liberal Catholicism

Let me say something right off the bat: I hate those two phrases. Always have hated them, always will hate them. Matter of fact, I think those two phrases are oxymoronic. If catholic means "universal", how can one be liberally universal or conservatively universal? Doesn't the word "universal" mean all-encompassing? To clarify the point I am trying to get across, allow me to quote Blaise Pascal:

I do not admire the excess of some one virtue unless I am shewn at the same time the excess of the opposite virtue. A man does not prove his greatness by standing at an extremity, but by touching both extremities at once and filling all that lies between them.

Exactly what does a Catholic mean when they call themselves "conservative" other than the fact that they don't want to be labeled a "liberal"? Exactly what is a liberal Catholic anyways? I've heard it used in the sense that a "liberal" Catholic is one who tends to focus on social justice issues to the detriment of liturgical issues. Hrm... last time I opened up the Gospels, Jesus could be viewed as someone concerned with social justice issues. Do you think Jesus wouldn't speak up against abortion or euthanasia or the misapplication of capital punishment in today's world? If you think He'd stay silent you're sadly mistaken. Would this make Jesus a liberal?

I've heard the term "liberal" used to label people who hold dissenting positions from those of the Catholic Church, such as advocating a woman priesthood for example, but is that really a liberal Catholic viewpoint at all? I don't think it is, seeing as how the Magesterium of the Catholic Church has infallibly stated that a woman priesthood is impossible, that the Church has no authority whatsoever to ordain female priests. So is it a liberal Catholic viewpoint or a dissenting Catholic viewpoint? I would venture a guess that it is the latter.

I guess my major problem with the terms "liberal Catholic" and "conservative Catholic" are that they sound much too political, and if they sound much too political then they sound much too pharisee-ical too. When someone labels themself one or the other, typically they stress one aspect of Catholicism over another. This doesn't make them more Catholic, it makes them less Catholic. In my opinion, either you hold the Catholic faith, or you do not. One does not hold "some" bits of Catholicism (usually those bits that appeal most to them) and discard the rest and get to be Catholic. Catholicism is the perfect example of all or nothing.

Tuesday, May 28, 2002

Sometimes this world simply amazes me...

After reading this article and I was simply floored. So, cross burning may be protected under freedom of speech eh? Oh, I dunno, to me it seems that if someone is willing to go to the lengths of building a cross, driving to my house, erecting the cross, dousing it with gasoline and then lighting it on fire... while trespassing the entire time, logic tells me that my life is in danger. And last time I checked, if someone intentionally places my life in danger that it's a crime... reckless endangerment at the very least perhaps?

Of couse, the article gets even more pathetic when it mentions how the ACLU (Anti-Christian Liberties Union) got involved...

The case drew national attention when the American Civil Liberties Union hired a black lawyer, David P. Baugh, to defend Black.

Barry Elton Black (nawww... that name doesn't conjure up images of the deep south) was arrested in Virginia for burning crosses at a Klan rally. I don't know, maybe it's just me... but having a black lawyer defend such a racist smacks of sensationalism and would be, I imagine, degrading for the lawyer. Then again, who knows... people do stupid things in the world.... like burning crosses on lawns.

Why do people feel the need to force-feed people agendas?

Read the following article, and I'm left scratching my head. According to Mr. Lively, who states in the article : It's a national campaign that is being pushed by homosexual activists, and that campaign is to homosexualize the public-school environment...

Excuse me? Homosexualize the public-school environment? Are you kidding me? Whatever happened to giving students facts and allowing them to come to their own conclusions?

I happen to agree with Mr. Lively when he further states: These are activists who got in positions of authority and use it to advance a selfish social agenda, and, frankly, that's evil.

Our children should be doing things like learning how to spell and read, do math, learning foreign languages (something our nation is woefully lacking in). Our children need to be adept at science and geography and mathematics, they need to be prepared for a world that is becoming technologically more advanced each day. Education at the national level already places us behind other developed nations in key categories such as science and math, yet all people seem to be concerned with is whether or not first and second graders read Heather Has Two Mommies?!?!

Give me a break!

Now, don't go labeling me a gay-basher either because I'm not. I think anyone trying to push any political agenda (and it is a political agenda) should be rebuffed. If you don't consider it a political issue, then it's a sexual issue and I still have a problem with it. As a parent, I should be able to know about, and act upon, any material that my child will be exposed to. That includes any books and material that will be used in a classroom setting. If a male teacher suddenly decides to burst forth and proclaim his love for Mr. So and So in the next classroom, I have lost my rights as a parent to see that my child is educated properly.

I don't go around flaunting my heterosexuality for the whole wide world. If people think I look or act like a homosexual, so be it... I frankly could care less. Therefore, why do certain people think that every homosexual must let the world know, and in as vocal a way as possible, that they are gay?

Alongside people who call the pope a hypocrite and those who use the Mass as a time to push an agenda, activists stick in my craw as well. The school setting is not and should not be made to be a political battleground. I'm all for tolerance but I don't think force-feeding a particular tolerance (for homosexuals) by legal mandate is the way to go about it.

That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

Questions, comments or death threats, send them my way.

I took the quiz...

You are Gonzo!
You're a bit loopy, and many people have trouble figuring out exactly what you're supposed to be. You take pride in your eccentricity and originality.

Monday, May 27, 2002

The worst sinners make the greatest saints...

Why? Because such people are, in my opinion, some of the greatest displays of God's grace and it's ability to save even those we would write off as irredeemable. Now, I'm sure people will say "Thomas, this just isn't so... just look at the examples of holy men and women such as Padre Pio, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Terese of Avila, The Blessed Virgin Mary... they were not bad sinners and they are some of the great Saints in Heaven."

But what are we to make of men and women such as St. Paul, St. Augustine and St. Mary Magdalene? In addition, if we could speak to people such as Padre Pio and St. Terese, they would indeed claim to be stained by sin. Why? Because you can't pull a fast one on a Saint of the Church and these two were no doubt aware of the terrible consequences of removing ourselves from the sight of God even for a mere instant.

When I think about sin, my thoughts turn almost immediately to Luke 15:10 which states: Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.... and it is that verse which speaks to me and leads me to the conclusion that the worst sinners make the greatest saints. What this means is that each one of us has an opportunity to lead by example and to be a billboard for the graces of God. If we can effect a change of heart for ourselves, what would this mean for others? If we can be proof of the redeeming gifts of Christianity, and they are very important and necessary gifts for salvation, wouldn't more people want them? The worst sinners can make the greatest saints because their turn-around can be, especially in this day and age, one of the greatest signs of God's greatness.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen stated : Sin, in all its forms, is the deliberate eviction of Love from the soul. If we could turn from sinner to saint, love will flow forth. With all the terror, war and fear in this world, isn't love needed above all things? Didn't St. Paul say Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law, in Romans 13:8? St. Paul went on to say that love does no wrong to a neighbor (Romans 13:10) and in this world, we are all neighbors... we just don't act like it. And since we don't act it, love is not in the world, and the world is still steeped in sin.

I know I didn't do a very good job of stringing these thoughts together, but that title was just too good to pass up on, and I needed to get my thoughts, however crude in form they were, onto virtual paper before they slipped from my mind. Perhaps people can expound on these musings and do a better job of it than I did, and please feel free to do so.

In closing, let me finish up with the Second Reading from Holy Trinity Sunday, taken from the Second Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians, Chapter 13, verses 11-13:

Brothers and sisters, rejoice.
Mend your ways, encourage one another,
agree with one another, live in peace,
and the God of love and peace will be with you.
Greet one another with a holy kiss.
All the holy ones greet you.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ
and the love of God
and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.

I am not what I ought to be. I am not what I want to be. I am not what I hope to be. But still, I am not what I used to be. And by the grace of God, I am what I am. -John Newton

All that is essential for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. -Edmund Burke


Wouldst thou learn that the penalty He is exacting of thee is less, far less, than thy sins deserve. - Job 11:6

Life is fragile...

As this story so aptly illustrates. In short, a barge knocked over several columns on a bridge in Oklahoma, causing it to collapse. Up to 20 cars fell into the swift moving river, and to date four people have been confirmed dead... chances are, many more will be shown to have lost their lives this weekend. This was supposed to be a weekend of vacation, sun and fun, barbeques and spending quality time with the family. For some, this weekend will have turned into tragedy, mourning and grief.

If life for these people could turn on a dime, what makes us think that we are immune from this? Is it any wonder that Jesus urged us to live each day as if it were our last?

Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. - John 5:25

Why God Chose Mary

God looked over the world for an empty heart - but not a lonely heart - a heart that was empty like a flute on which He might pipe a tune - not lonely like an empty abyss, which is filled by death. And the emptiest heart He could find was the heart of a Lady. Since there was no self there, He filled it with His very Self. - Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Sunday, May 26, 2002

Taking a stand...

I was going through Zenit tonight and came across an article that was, in essence, a letter written by Archbishop Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney. In this letter, found in it's entirety here, Archbishop Pell outlines his reasons for denying Communion to homosexuals activists during Pentecost Sunday.

Now, let me go on the record that I feel that Archbishop Pell's actions were justified. Aside from people calling the Pope a hypocrite, another thing that sticks in my craw is when people use the Holy Mass to make political statements. There may be a time and a place to air out one's grievances (be they legitimate or a bunch of hot air) but during the Mass, and especially during the Liturgy of the Eucharist, is not the time, nor the place!

Archbishop Pell stated: Receiving the sacrament is the ultimate expression of our Catholic faith, an intensely personal matter between communicant and Almighty God. An unworthy communion, wilfully made, is a serious matter.

Matter of fact, knowingly taking the Eucharist when in a state of mortal sin, is in and of itself, another mortal sin. Therefore, it is the duty of a priest, if he knows of this, to deny the communicant from further damning themselves. Never mind that taking the Body and Blood of Christ while in a state of mortal sin is a defilement of Christ. Makes me wonder if these people even believe in the Real Presence of the Holy Eucharist is they're willing to soil Christ to make a political statement...

Additionally, Archbishop Pell stated: The rule is basically the same for all Catholics:

A person who publicly defines himself at any given time as supporting or practising activities contrary to Church teaching in a serious matter is not entitled to receive Holy Communion.

So in essence it wasn't an attack against homosexuals. Anyone (as Archbishop Pell illustrated immediately after this quote) who lives in an open unrepentant acknowledgement of mortal sin should not receive Holy Communion. Can any Catholic truly find fault with this, and still consider themselves Catholic?

Rather, one should commit oneself, in good faith, to the Church and its teachings and work towards following these teachings as closely as possible.

In this day and age everyone wishes to make Christ fit their image, when in Truth we're made in His. It's about time people started acting like it.

Saturday, May 25, 2002

Prayer of a Soldier in France

My shoulders ache beneath my pack
(Lie easier, Cross, upon His back).

I march with feet that burn and smart
(Tread, Holy Feet, upon My heart).

Men shout at me who may not speak
(They scourge Thy back and smote Thy cheek).

I may not lift a hand to clear
My eyes of salty tears that sear.

(Then shall my fickle soul forget
Thy Agony a bloody sweat).

My rifle hand is stiff and numb
(From thy pierced palm red rivers come).

Lord, Thou didst suffer more for me
Than all the hosts of land and sea.

So let me render back again
This millionth of Thy gift. Amen.

-Joyce Kilmer

When Christ Sang

The only recorded time in the history of Our Lord that He ever sang was the night He went out to the Garden of Gethsemane and His Death. - Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

The Church

Let us see the Church as Mother to be loved. If papal primacy were presented to us as meaning first in service, and as the response to the threefold question of love Christ put to Peter, it would be a language that all Christians, even non-Christians, understood. - Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

Well, surprise surprise...

Saw the following article recently.

It's entitled Anti-Catholic Views Common, Poll Shows, and for those of us who are Catholic and feel at home on the internet, especially religious message boards, we are not surprised whatsoever. Anti-Catholicism is rampant, especially amongst the ignorant and those who favor conspiracy theories over reality.

The article itself states:
The survey of 550 non-Catholic Americans, conducted in March, found that 73 percent believed that Catholics "do what the pope and the bishops tell them to do," with 52 percent saying that Catholics "really are not permitted to think for themselves."

Which I find highly ironic, especially if one looks at the voting record of Catholic politicians. Daschle, one of the more prominent Catholic's in D.C. is a Democrat and is pro-choice. Last time I checked, the Pope spoke out against abortion, and it is condemned by the Catholic Church and has been since time began.

Obviously non-Catholics are not familiar with Catholicism in America, because it seems that in order to be Catholic in America, one seemingly must disagree with Rome on most matters, especially on matters of sexuality. I've always held that the phrase "American Catholic" is an oxymoron, and more often than not, I believe I'm right. That non-Catholics however think the reverse... that all Catholics march in lock-step with the Pope is funny, and also shows how out-of-touch with reality people can actually be.

The article also states:
Moreover, 83 percent said that instead of worshiping only God, Catholics also worship Mary and the saints, while 57 percent believed the statues and images in Catholic churches are idols.

Yah, surprise surprise. Of the 550 non-Catholics polled I bet 457 of them were Baptists.

It goes on to say:
Although he had not expected those stereotypes to disappear in the interim, Greeley said, he was "staggered" by the extent of their persistence.

To a degree, I am stunned as well. However, as I have alluded to before, anti-Catholicism runs extremely deep within the fiber of America. Catholics were the unwanted, immigrants of mostly Irish, Italian and Polish backgrounds. These people did not, and still do not, fit the W.A.S.P. criteria of being a "good American".

In this day of "political correctness" the only time it's alright to NOT be P.C. is if you're talking about an R.C.

Friday, May 24, 2002

Iconoclasts amongst us?

There have been a couple of posts over at Relapsed Catholic where Ms. Shaidle has addressed some comments made by the Pope as it pertains to the crucifix being worn as jewelry.

The first comments that were made have Ms. Shaidle stating: The pope added that it was wrong to "spend thousands on a sacred symbol of Christianity"--evidently forgetting the millions of dollars worth of similar expensive objects the Vatican itself owns, too.

Well, to set the record straight, that is not what the Pope said. Matter of fact, the Pope didn't actually say anything at all, according to the article that originally broke the story. They state the following:
A crucifix is not simply a piece of jewelry, so wearing one should be accompanied by acts of Christian charity, said the Vatican's Fides news agency.

Exactly. If you're going to sport the symbol of Christianity, perhaps you should actually be a Christian, no? For example, the article states that Jennifer Aniston, a member of the cast of the television program "Friends," wears a platinum crucifix decorated with diamonds. And we all know that Mrs. Pitt plays a tramp on Friends. Of course she's not a tramp in real life, she just plays one on television, right? Yah, whatever.

I personally think this is simply a case of Ms. Shaidle not knowing what she was talking about. Looking at her site though, I'm not too surprised by this possibility, but hey... she can fly her broom however she wants (her words, not mine), right? However, this doesn't mean she can fly it wherever she wants.

In essence, she called the Pope (who wasn't even involved in the actual story) a hypocrite. I take umbrage with that, as any good Catholic should. Likening two millenium of Christian art to some floozie that wears some "bling bling" is ludicrous to say the least. Prince and pauper alike have dedicated their lives to instilling Catholic values into not only religious life but the social culture as well as evidenced by art (paintings, sculptures, literature, etc). And that is how it should be in my not so humble opinion.

The Vatican holds and displays almost two millenium of art so that the world can benefit from these precious pieces. Would Ms. Shaidle prefer if they were sold and stashed in some private collection somewhere? Perhaps we should raze St. Peter's Basilica and St. Patrick's Cathedral cause we wouldn't want the Church to have a physical presence in the world now would we?

It's iconoclastic comments like Ms. Shaidle's that really get in my craw. Yah, I know, Ms. Shaidle has been blogging for over two years now (something she seems to remind the rest of us everytime she can... as if I truly care or as if it truly matters), and that supposedly gives her carte blanche to say whatever she wants. No, sorry... the comments were uninformed to start, and they were stupid to finish.

How stupid? She relates a Cher story where Cher stated (in response to the "If you wear a crucifix, you should act the part of a Christian" story) : Asked about the Pope's scolding of celebrities for wearing expensive crucifixes, Cher apparently quipped: "Tell him to clean up his own house before he tells us what to do." To which Ms. Shaidle replied: Cher rocks, natch. (NOTE: Natch is slang for naturally).

Cher rocks? Oy vey! Not since the 60's Ms. Shaidle. Oh, and if anyone should avoid wearing a crucifix (especially with those buttock and bosom revealing fishnet body suits... in front of her own child no less) it should be Cher.

Since Ms. Shaidle agrees with Cher, does she think the Church should also take a "time out" on talking out against abortion, euthanasia or human cloning? I mean, obviously we need to get all our affairs in order before we tackle other issues right?

No, sorry... things don't work like that. But, when one runs their mouth (or their blog) without backing it up with a coherent thought process this is the sort of things we wind up espousing.

Next time you want to fly your broom Ms. Shaidle, pick out a flight plan beforehand.

Well, it appears that Mr. Mark Shea and Miss Emily Stimpson are going to be on vacation this Memorial Day weekend. Which means you guys are stuck with me! Muwahahahaha!

Well, at any rate, I'm not going anywhere and so I'll be blogging this weekend.

They're done (Part Deux)!

Ok, seems Geocities doesn't like to let people link to pictures, so I "fixed" the problem and things should be working now without any hitches or requiring people to do anything fancy to see the tracts. So, just click on the links (if you have not already done so) to see the tracts:

Tract #1

Tract #2

Thursday, May 23, 2002

They're done!

As some of you may know, I am going to World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto. At least, I think I've mentioned it on this blog before. If I haven't mentioned it... well, now you know. :)

At any rate, according to Catholic Answers, WYD's are a major attraction for not only the Catholic youth of the world, it's also a "favorite" place for anti-Catholics to "sheep steal". These venomous cretins target the youth and young adults of the Catholic Church with lies about Her during what should be a safely spiritual experience.

I have decided, in my own small way, to combat such devious and damnable behavior. I have therefore proposed to publish a pamphlet (4 pages - 2 front/back pages) combating the top 6 or 7 anti-Catholic fallacies. To date, I have finished work on the first two pages, and covered 3 topics.

1. Call no man Father
2. Crucifixes are evil
3. Eucharist is symbolic

They can be found at the following links (NOTE: You may need to hit refresh once or retype in the address):

Tract #1
Tract #2

While these tracts are designed for World Youth Day, if any Catholic would like to have a copy of these tracts (in PowerPoint format), just send me an email and I would be happy to provide you with a copy of the files. You may then edit them to fit your own purposes, though I ask you, on your honor, to use them to defend the Catholic faith.

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Support your priest

Saw this comment by a priest over on one of the various message boards I visit.

People so caught up with money that they don't even care what the real mission of the parish is. I have a stack of hate mail an inch deep, but rarely hear of anything good. (I hear things from people outside my parish about our parish, and I hear a lot from past parishes- although I didn't hear it while I was there). Sometime I feel like: "If nobody else cares why should I?"--- I could throw in the towel, get a small parish without a school and devote all my time to doing ministry. Fighting people constantly about money saps me totally of who I am.

Have you thanked your priest lately for what he does for you and your parish? If you haven't... shouldn't you?

Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Stephen J. Gould, dead at 60

Today Stephen J. Gould, one of the "saints" of atheism, died after losing battle with cancer.

Even though Dr. Gould was "one of them", my prayers extend for him and his family. Pray for an atheist? Well, why not? How do you or I know the final state of his mind? Do we know that there was not a last, split second conversion process? Is it possible that Dr. Gould's atheistic obstinancy won out over God's gracious and bountiful mercy? I suppose with free-will being what it is, this is a distinct possibility, but I know that God's love is strong, stronger than anything you or I can ever imagine, can ever fathom, and so there is the possibility that Stephen, in his last breath spoke the words, "Father, into Your hands I commend my spirit."

Lord, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy. Amen.

Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.

Weblogs in the news...

Researchers map world of Weblogs.

And in keeping with my "community" theme of the week.... the end of the article states:

What could set the Weblog phenomenon apart is that it’s more of a social phenomenon than a technological trend, Shirky said.

“If the other Webloggers don’t treat you as one, and don’t link to you,” he said, “you’re going to be relegated to the long, flat plain of the power-law curve.”

Ack! The long, flat plain of the power-law curve? Link to me folks... please! Ahhhhhhh!

More on community...

Too often we think of hope in too individualistic a manner as merely our personal salvation. But hope essentially bears on the great actions of God concerning the whole of creation. It bears on the destiny of all humanity. It is the salvation of the world that we await. In reality hope bears on the salvation of all men - and it is only in the measure that I am immersed in them that it bears on me. - Jean Cardinal Danielou, S.J.

Holy Trinity Sunday

This up coming Sunday is Holy Trinity Sunday. An article in the Catholic Encyclopedia can be found here, and a Cycle A Bible Study can be found here. The readings for this feast can be found here.

At Bible study this past weekend, we went over these scriptures (we go over the Scriptures a week ahead of time... it is our Scripture study session for lectors), and the conversation turned to exactly how do we come to understand the Trinity. Since the Trinity is a mystery, people may use certain comparisons to make it an easier topic for them to handle. For instance, St. Patrick used the three-leafed clover. One leaf for each person, and the three leaves together make the plant which symbolizes the single divine nature.

So we took turns expressing our opinions and thoughts on the matter. However, I tried to take it from a different approach. They say that this life is but a shadow of what is to come. Currently, we see into the mirror dimly (1 Corinthians 13:12), yet there will come a day when all will be made known. To me, the Trinity is the epitome of community. Three distinct persons, yet so united that they share a single divine nature. Each different, yet all the same. Each having certain personas, yet all a single God. Hard to grasp your mind around that one, I agree... but if there is one thing to be said is that all three Persons share a united purpose, which manifested itself in Jesus Christ, who came to redeem man... to save man from himself.

We fail daily as a community. One look no further than the current Church scandal to see the harm we inflict upon our community. One look no further than the daily paper to see the harm we inflict upon our community. One look no further than our own streets to see the harm we inflict upon our community. We are miserable at being a unified community. There is too much pride at stake, there is too much ego and greed. We live in a "Me first, you... maybe never" society. It's all take and no give.

It is time that we looked to God, something we should always do, but always seem to forget and examine the example He has shown to us. In the Trinity we have the pinnacle of community, we should imitate that. This week, let us commit ourselves to strengthening the community around us.

Love of Jesus Fill us.
Holy Spirit Guide us.
Will of the Father be done.


New Blogs on the Block

A Catholic Blog for Lovers

In Formation


Gregorian Rant

Some I have just been notified about, some I have just come across on my own. If you're Catholic, and you blog, and you're not on my list... let me know about you!

Monday, May 20, 2002

And you thought the priest scandal was bad...

Get a load of this.

PS: Yes, it is a joke. It is, afterall, from SatireWire.com. Sometimes I think we all need to poke a little fun at one another, and ourselves. If people find the following article offensive (can't please everyone) then I apologize, but don't expect me to not post links like this in the future... personally, I find them funny.

Crazy, crazy weekend...

Sorry that I didn't blog this weekend folks, things just got a little bit out of hand. I thought the weekends were for relaxing? ha ha ha... yah right.

Friday, May 17, 2002

More on confession...

Remember folks, partake of the Sacrament of Confession this weekend. What do you have to lose? Aside from your sins that is...

A Prayer of Saint John of Damascus

O Lord and Master Jesus Christ, my God, who alone have power to absolve men from their sins : forgive all of my transgressions both deliberate and indeliberate, committed in word or in deed. O Lover of Mankind, allow me to partake of Your Divine, Glorious and pure Mysteries. Let my sharing in Your Body and Blood be for the cleansing of my sins and the healing of my body and a pledge of the life to come and of Your Kingdom. You are a God of mercy, loving and kind and full of compassion. To You we render glory, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Salve Regina

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, hail, our life, our sweetness, and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve! To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears! Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus! O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!

Indulgence of 5 years; indulgence of 7 years every day in May. A plenary indulgence once a month, on the usual conditions, for the daily recitation of this prayer. (332)

We are all capable of good and evil. We are not born bad : everybody has something good inside. Some hide it, some neglect it, but it is there. God created us to love and to be loved, so it is our test from God to choose one path or the other. - Mother Teresa

Thursday, May 16, 2002

While we're on the topic of Confession....

Check out this article: Pope Cracks Down On Confession.

And go here to see the Apostolic Letter Misericordia Dei

Bright Promise, Failed Community

One can point to many examples of the religious and moral rot found within the once solidly Catholic nature of the Church's ecclesiastical institutions. Many priests in their parishes today, purposely or unselfconsciously, blur the important distinction between God's infinite mercy with the uncritical acceptance of a therapeutic mentality. Psychologist William Kirk Kilpatrick, for instance, speaks of a priest in one Catholic Church who tells his congregation, "The purpose of Christ's coming was to say, 'You're OK, and I'm OK'". Kilpatrick continues, "In other churches, parents are told that their children are incapable of sinning, because 'that's what psychologists tell us.' ...Almost everywhere, salvation is being equated with self-growth or feelings of OK-ness. In short, Christians have let their faith become tangled in a net of popular ideas about self-esteem and self-fulfillment that aren't Christian at all." As such, sociologist James O'Kanes (1991) study indicating that priests are themselves going to confession less often today than in previous decades should come as no surprise.

-Page 71, Bright Promise, Failed Community : Catholics and the American Public Order by Joseph A. Varacalli (2000, Lexington Books)

If anything, that very last sentence is the scariest part. Our priests, obviously, lead us by their preaching of the Gospel, but like it says at the top of my web page, leading by action is just as important, if not moreso. When we diminish the importance of the Sacrament of Confession, we trivialize the very serious nature of sin. I'm sure this pleases Satan to no end, but it sets a very deadly trap for ourselves. One need not look very far nowadays to see where that has led us.

Go to confession this weekend folks. I beg you to go. Lord, have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Got a favorite new song (even though it's been around for a bit now).

P.O.D. (Payable on Death), a quasi-Christian band (most of their lyrics are clearly religious in nature but they place their music in the secular realm), and their song Alive.

Everyday is a new day
I’m thankful for every breath I take
I won’t take it for granted
So I learn from my mistakes
It’s beyond my control, sometimes it’s best to let go
Whatever happens in this lifetime
So I trust in love
You have given me peace of mind

I feel so alive for the very first time
I can’t deny you
I feel so alive
I feel so alive for the very first time
And I think I can fly

Sunshine upon my face
A new song for me to sing
Tell the world how I feel inside
Even though it might cost me everything
Now that I know this, so beyond, I can’t hold this
I can never turn my back away
Now that I’ve seen you
I can never look away

Now that I know you (I could never turn my back away)
Now that I see you (I could never look away)
Now that I know you (I could never turn my back away)
Now that I see you (I believe no matter what they say)

Pretty cool if you ask me.

This ticks me off

Liturgical abuse by laity. While we have people all over blogdom complaining about priests and liturgical abuse, we have laymen and laywomen running rough-shod over priests.

Sickening. This lady is probably really proud of herself for getting one up on the Church. Well missy, ain't no bishop you have to worry about. Try explaining it to Jesus Christ come judgement day. God have mercy on your disobedient soul.

Ah, I got something... Catholic fact-oids!

Have you ever heard the following argument from an anti-Catholic?

The RCC also did much to prevent the spread of translations of the Bible written in the common language.

Well, if you have before, here is the answer, it can be found in it's entirety at the Catholic Encyclopedia.

But first a personal note: It was the Catholic Church which was the first "group" to bring the Bible into a "relevant" language (latin) [by which I mean it was appropriate for the time, since people knew and read Latin] when the majority of Christians could not read Greek or Hebrew (if they could read at all). If people look at the literacy rates of the time, they would have been extremely low. Literacy rates of basically the whole world before the institution of public education would have been poor as a matter of fact. Latin was the language of the learned. Everyone who could read, knew latin. Translating the Bible into Latin was not a way whereby the Church sought to prohibit people from reading Scripture, but rather it was a way to make the Bible more accessible.

Now, with that out of the way, let us proceed to the evidence at hand.

Italian - Catholic Bible made by Nicholas de Nardo, O.P., in 1472 (it is preserved in the National Library of Paris). In comparison, the first Protestant Bible made in Italian was published in 1562, 90 years later.

Spanish - Catholic Bible in 1478. Protestant version in 1567.

French - Catholic Bible in 1478. Protestant version in 1535.

German - Catholic Bible in 1477. Protestant version (New Testament) in 1522 by Luther. Finished by Luther (in it's entirety) in 1545.

Dutch - Catholic Bible in 1475. Protestant version in 1526.

English - St. Bede translated the Psalms and the Gospels in the 8th century (Bede died in 735). By the 14th century the English had a complete translation of the Bible.

Hrm, now what is wrong with the anti-Catholic statement and the actual evidence? In every case the Catholic Church had a vernacular bible printed at least 50 years prior. I'll let everyone come to their own conclusion... this one is a no-brainer.

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

Sorry, didn't blog at all today. Around 3pm, a guy I play softball with during the fall season asked me if I wanted to play a couple of games... starting at 6:30. Yikes! Had to finish work, scramble for home, get ready and get out to the fields which are on the other side of town... and I mean the other side. And then, they place me at the hot corner, and I haven't played third base in like... 18 to 20 years maybe (since little league). Well, first game wasn't so bad. Fielded about five grounders and caught a lazy pop-up. No errors. Went 4 for 4 too and we won 13-9 so it was a good game. Second game... not so good. Had one hit to me and I let it get under my glove (fortunately no one scored on it) and there were a couple in the hole that I may have had a chance on if I had been a bit quicker... but the worst part was going 0-3 (oh and losing 13-9 too... that bit). You NEVER go 0-3 in softball... sheesh! If you don't hit 1.000 in softball, you're a disgrace! Yah yah, I have a competitive edge... I'm trying to work on that. :)

Whelp, let me try to find something to blog about before bed...

Plugs and Props

No, I'm not talking about plumbers or pilots. I'm talking about sites that I plug (ie: they have something I find cool and want everyone to share in my joy) and sites that I give props (ie: personal sites that I like so much I've got to give them credit for a job well done). So, you will see that on the right hand column, I have a new section entitled just that... plugs and props and you can go there to see the sites that I'm impressed with, visit and find useful for whatever reason I have mentioned in my blog entries. As usual, everything is in alphabetical order so no one feels slighted, unless your site starts with a "Z" I suppose.

Anyways, the newest entry to the "plugs and props" is none other than the Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club. No, it has nothing to do with the fact that I am on their recommended links page... ok, maybe it does a bit :) but after looking at their site, it's played just a minor role. The site has lots o' stuff on it. Good stuff too. Lots of links to some good, faithful, Catholic literature. So here's to Cardinal Ratzinger's Fan Club. Link to them, visit them, stop by and tell them they've done a good job!

Tuesday, May 14, 2002

The word of God is not a tangled ball of yarn.

It's a beautiful woolen thread which winds itself around the spindle.

As he spoke to us, thus we ought to listen.

As he spoke to Moses.

As he spoke to us through Jesus.

As he spoke to us all, thus we ought to listen.

Yes, my child, if that's how it is, if it's like this that we ought to listen

     to Jesus.

That we ought to listen to God.


To the letter.

Strictly, simply, plainly, exactly, soundly.

On the level.

Then my child what a trembling, what a commandment of hope.

What an opening up, what a shock of hope. What a crushing. The

     words are there.

There's nothing to analyze, what an entry into the thoughts of God.

Into the will of God.

Into the intentions, (the ultimate intentions), of God.

Abyss of hope, what an opening, what lightning, what thunder, what a


What an entrance.

Irrevocable words, what an entry into the very Hope of God.

God deigned to hope in us.  Hope for us.

Revelation, what an incredible revelation. Sic non est, Thus it is not.

Incredible hope, unhoped-for hope Thus it is not

Voluntas ante Patrem vestrum, the will before your Father,

Qui in caelis est, Who is in heaven.

Ut unus.  That a single one

Of these little ones.  De pusillis istis.

Pereat.  Should perish.

And he told them this parable, saying:

Which one of you, if he had a hundred sheep;

(This is according to St. Luke);

And if he lost one of them,

Would not dismiss
(would not leave), the ninety-nine in the desert,

And look for the one,

quae perierat, which was lost, which had perished,

That's what had happened.

Until he finds it?

And when he finds it,

he places it on his shoulders rejoicing;

(He puts it) on his shoulders.

And returning to the house, he summons, (he calls), his friends and

     relatives, saying to them:

(be happy), with me, because I have found my sheep that

     had perished?

I tell you,

There will be as much joy in heaven

Over one repentant sinner,

Than over ninety-nine righteous ones who have no need of repentance.

Excerpted from Charles Péguy's The Portal of the Mystery of Hope

Law "wigs out" in deposition

In a bit of brilliant journalism, FOXNews.com reported that Cardinal Law wigged out. So, now not only do people think that the Church has a major problem with managing it's affairs, but they can start thinking that we're insane too. Now, it is my opinion that FOXNews could, maybe, for once actually, do some responsible journalism rather than the "fancy schmantzy, we're gonna tell it to ya straight" way they typically handle the news, but Cardinal Law should have been on his best behavior in these depositions. Come on Cardinal Law, how long did you have to prepare for these depositions? Weeks? Months? Was it necessary to fly off the handle when you're trying to do some damage control? Seems self-defeating to me when you start pontificating at a deposition.

Ok Vatican, give me your best shot!

I see lots of Catholic bloggers out there claiming that they have been viewed by the Vatican. So, I've been checking my site meter each and every day, dreaming the impossible dream... that one day, someone from the Vatican... maybe even His Holiness himself... will check out my blog. Yet... nada, nunca, nothing. No Vatican today, no Vatican ever. Perhaps I need to change the name of this site from "The Christian Conscience" to "The Catholic Conscience".

May, the month of Mary

I have a prayerbook from The Catholic Press, Inc. copyrighted 1954. It is entitled simply The Prayer Book. I love this prayer book, the prayers are so powerful, authoritative. Back then, it doesn't seem that people were conscious of the non-Catholic criticism about the evils of "structured prayer". Or, if they knew about it, they didn't really give two hoots. These prayers have "structured!" stamped all over them, and that is why I love them. Not because I cannot burst out into spontaneous prayer, but I feel more connected with the Catholic Church when I pray her prayers. Prayers said by countless generations of Catholics. The only other time I feel such a connection is at the Eucharist. Anyways, there is a section of this book that lists various prayers for not only morning and evening, but prayers for the days of the week and then for the month. As you can tell by the title of this blog entry, May is the month of Mary. Here is what the book has to say about it.

Toward the end of the eighteenth century a zealous Jesuit priest, Father Lalomia, started among the students of the Roman college of his Society the practice of dedicating May to Our Lady. The devotion, which others had promoted in a small way, soon spread to other Jesuit Colleges and to the entire Latin church and since that time it has been a regular feature of Catholic life.

After this little blurb (did they call stuff like this "blurbs" back in the 1950's?), the book lists a number of Marian prayers along with the corresponding indulgences. So, every few days, I'll post a prayer or two and the indulgence. Perhaps people would like to pray along.

For the Grace of Love
O Mary, my dear Mother, how I love thee! And yet in reality how little! Thou dost teach me what I ought to know, for thou teachest me what Jesus is to me and what I ought to be for Jesus. Dearly beloved Mother, how close to God thou art, and how utterly filled with Him! In the measure that we know God, we remind ourselves of thee. Mother of God, obtain for me the grace of loving my Jesus; obtain for me the grace of loving thee!

-Cardinal Merry Del Val
Indulgence of 500 days; plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, for the devout repetition of this prayer every day for a month. (352)

So... I'm the nosey type and I was going through my site meter and looking at where people were coming from, and where they were being referred from. I saw a referral from one site that is entitled My View Of the River, and guess what? On the list of blogs, I'm the first one listed! For me, this is a major coup! And so I would be remiss if I did not return the favor of a link for a link. So check out Christina Marie's blog, it's a good read!

PS: Folks, if you're linking to me, let me know so I can return the favor!


Mike Hardy of Enemy of the Church? fame replied to my question down below about the song "Anthem" and the hope that it was not the RUSH song by the same name. He put my fears to rest, sorta.

We are called, we are chosen, we are Christ for one another, we are promised to tomorrow while we are for him today.

We are sign we are wonder we are sower we are seed we are harvest we are hunger we are question we are creed...

The verses aren't quite so "we" centered but the whole song is like this, filled with uplifting imagery but, as a whole, making little sense and virtually impossible to tie to the them of any liturgy I've prepared.

I see your point Mike, and though I've actually sung this in Church, reading it outside of church really made me notice "Hey gee, that's a lot about us (we), and not a lot about Christ." Guess I'll never look at this song the same way again. You guys have destroyed my innocence! :)

Good news!

The team that is doing the studies on providing insulin producing cells via implantation (which I just got done talking about in the blog entry just below this) do not use fetal stem cells. On the other hand, it appears that MSNBC got the story wrong because it doesn't appear to be the case that stem cells are being used in this treatment, unless the researchers have vastly changed their protocols from the time of their last update (April 11, 2001).

In an article published in the World Journal of Surgery (World J. Surg. 25, 481-486, 2001), Boker et. al. describes the procedure as taking pancreas tissue from fresh cadavers (ie: people who have just died). They then isolate as many islet of langerhan cells (the cells that produce insulin) as possible for transplantation into the diabetic patient. Since the cells are already producing insulin, these cells are differentiated and are not stem cells.

So what have we learned here folks? Don't trust the print media to teach us science. Chances are, they're wrong. Stay tuned though, you never know what might turn up next!

Diabetes cured by non-fetal tissue stem cells?

Read the article here. To quote: The researchers obtain donated pancreas tissue, which contains the cells that make insulin. They remove those cells and keep them alive in lab dishes.

Now, it's not clear to me whether or not this "donated pancreas tissue" is derived from fetuses (ie: aborted life) or from cadavers or from people who have had their pancreas removed for some medical reason. If it is one of the two latter cases, this is a huge boost to the pro-life bloc. Unfortunately, MSNBC isn't very clear on the entire matter so I'll have to do a Medline search to see if this work has been published (surely it has... you don't start treating people without putting it through peer-review). Anyways, stay tuned and as I find out more, I'll comment.

Women waiting too long to have children?

Recent studies have shown that the answer is "Yes" and for some it's just too late now. You've got to read this article. One of the most telling pieces of the article is the ending:

"You don't have to wait until everything in your life is perfect," she says. "We wanted all this still for ourselves and wanted financial security before we decided we were ready to raise a family. And I wouldn't do it that way again."

Welcome to the advice of the Catholic Church ma'am. Too bad you had to learn it the hard way.

Signs that the end of the world is near

1. The leader of Hamas thinks that it is ok to kill everyone under the sun who is not Palestinian.

2. Major earthquakes rock the West Coast of the United States.

3. Israel states that an unreformable Palestinian government must reform before the peace process can continue.

4. The priest scandal is getting way out of hand.


5. It looks like I'm going to have some of my work published in the next quarterly of The Epicentre Forum. It's not a peer reviewed journal (which I need in order to get my thesis approved) but they pay cash and that's the next best thing.

Yes! There is a God!

Finally, finally, finally! The American Broadcasting Company (ABC) is taking Bill Maher and his sorry excuse of a show "Politically Incorrect" off the air. Here's the link.

Allelulia, allelulia, allelulia!

Monday, May 13, 2002

Oh, and before Mark Shea gets a big head about me mentioning the profound impact he has had on my life as a Catholic by introducing me to Hans Urs von Balthasar, let me just say: With great power comes great responsibility.

Sorry, just had to get the Spiderman reference in there! ;)


If people could clue me in on what all this talk about "Anthem" is about I'd appreciate it. Surely people are not talking about the RUSH song.

Live for yourself, there's no one else more worth living for.
Begging hands and bleeding hearts will only cry out for more.

If they are, I'm going to have a coronary.

More on the Jesuit Memo

Got an email from Mark Shea this morning where he wrote: I don't have time to write more stuff on it, so please feel free to post what I emailed you. He is referring to the email that I originally sent both him and Emily entitled Those damn alcoholic Jesuits! which I posted here.

Mark replied to that email as follows: It's what the email doesn't say. The warning is against "notorious" gay bars. It doesn't say "Don't get drunk" but "have a designated driver".

Now, before I give my reply, I want to make something clear. I am a Shea-ite. I have the highest respect for Mark Shea and the work he has done as a Catholic apologist. It's just that I disagree with him on this particular subject. In no way does my differing opinion place a strain on how I view him. It was Mark Shea who I attribute with giving me a new profound insight (and thereby affecting my life as a Catholic) through his defense and recommendation of Han Urs von Balthasar on the idea of living a charitable life. One that involves intense prayer, forgiveness, mercy and hope. I say all this because I don't want to be misrepresented and labeled as part of an anti-Mark Shea faction (it's been my observation that people have been riding him hard lately, as a fellow Catholic in the trenches, I think that's a shame).

Anyways, my back-tracking placed aside now, I must disagree with Mark's comments here. I don't see anything in the letter itself which addresses "notorious gay bars". The letter makes no mention of homosexuality here whatsoever, and while Mark might feel justified in looking at the draft in the light of the "bigger picture" I think this memo is nothing more than just an "FYI" given to the priests telling them to "be careful of what you do, especially during this trying time".

As another emailer said to me about the issue: I do not see why anyone should make a big fuss about the Jesuit draft memo. In the words of my military friends: "That's just standard op that we hear sometimes."

I tend to agree. Also, about the designated driver bit. Does one need to get smash-mouth drunk to need a designated driver? Not really. Even a single beer can impair one's ability to drive. I don't see the Church condemning the drinking of alcohol (I think we leave that up to the Southern Baptists) and so I assume that it is ok to go out and have a beer or two on occassion (I do not believe in taking it to excess). I would also recommend that even if you only planned on having one, that you have a designated driver... it is, afterall, only prudent. Imagine the scandal if suddenly priests start getting pulled over for breath-alyzer tests? Come on, with this "fair free press" even if the priests blood-alcohol content is well below the legal limit, nowadays, just taking the test is front-page news. "Catholic: Guilty until proven innocent, and even afterwards." is the motto of the press of today.

So, to put this issue to rest: It's a memo, matter of fact, it was a draft. Not a pastoral letter. It was issuing a warning, in the best interest of the Church to be exact. People should be happy something is being done.

Sunday, May 12, 2002

Happy Mother's Day

To all the mothers who may read this blog (don't know if any do but that wouldn't stop me for praying for them anyways), this prayer is for you. I tried to find a prayer for Mothers on Mother's Day, but my searches proved futile. Therefore I have taken a prayer for Health and Happiness from the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and modified it slightly. May St. John Chrysostom forgive me if I do not do it justice.

Prayer for Mothers

For all mothers, grant, O Lord, many years.

For all mothers-to-be, grant, O Lord, many years.

For all grandmothers, grant, O Lord, many years.

For all matriarchs, grant, O Lord, many years.

God grant them many years, God grant them many years, God grant them many happy years: in health and happiness, in health and happiness, God grant them many happy years.


It's here! It's here!

CatholiCity has come out with a new tape/CD by Father Larry Richards. It is simply entitled, The Truth. According to the site, this tape/CD covers three questions:

What is the real meaning of our life on earth?
What does it mean to truly love Jesus?
What are the practical, nuts & bolts ways to be totally Catholic?

If they are anything like Father Larry Richards other two tapes, Confession and The Mass Explained, this will be a gem. I'm looking forward to receiving it. Best thing of all, CatholiCity gives out all of their tapes for FREE! Yep, you heard it... FREE! Of course, if you have a computer, you can afford to give them a small donation to keep things operating.

At any rate, anything from CatholiCity gets two thumbs up from me (yah, like I'm the Judge of Orthodoxy[tm] or something) :) Go get this tape/CD, you'll be glad you did!

Saturday, May 11, 2002

It never hurts to seek forgiveness... or does it? :)

Troparion of Repentance
Have mercy on us, Lord. Have mercy on us. At a loss for any defense, we sinners offer this prayer to You, the Master; have mercy on us.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

Lord, have mercy on us, for we have put our trust in You: Rise not in anger against us, remember not our transgression, but in the depth of Your mercy look upon us even now and save us from our enemies: For You are our God and we are Your people, we are all the work of Your hands and we constantly call upon Your Name.

Now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Jesuits be damned! (Part Deux)

Ok, earlier on (matter of fact, the blog entry right beneath this one), I mentioned that once I got correspondence back from Mark and Emily that I would post it here. I've had second thoughts about that since we were speaking in a private setting. Therefore, I will simply post my thoughts about the entire situation here and let everyone decide for themselves about the situation. Mark and Emily can defend their positions on their own blogs if they so wish.

For the record, I grew up within a few hours driving distance from Auriesville Shrine (which can be seen in part at MartyrShrine.Org). The place where the first Catholics were martyred for the faith in the New World. I'm sure most people who read this blog have heard of St. Isaac Jouges, St. Rene Goupil, and St. John Lalande (all associated with the Order of the Society of Jesus). These men, and Blessed Kateria Tekakwitha (whose mother was converted to Christianity by St. Isaac Jouges), were an integral part of my life growing up. It therefore stands to reason that I hold the Jesuits in an extremely high regard. Therefore, I refuse, REFUSE, to let a few bad apples (in today's modernistic world) taint the holy fruits of the Society of Jesus.

Now, in regards to the memo. Do I need to point out that it was a draft? Do we know for certain that the letter was not revised at a later date to contain more than just the concerns that Jesuits don't go "cruising bars to look for sexual partners"? At any rate, I did not see this letter as a means to act pastorally as it pertains to the possible sexual promiscuity of some of the Jesuit Order. I simply saw this letter as a "Hey, Bad Things (tm) are going on nowadays. The slightest thing you could do can cause scandal... so watch it!" Seems pretty straightforward and direct to me. There is a concern (a very good one) and the Order wants to make it clear that the Jesuits should avoid adding to the scandal. What more do people want from a one page memo?

It seems that at least reading Mark's reply and Emily's comments about the Jesuits being "bad" that they think the Jesuit Order is falling down on the job. That this memo is to tell the "large number of sexually active Jesuit priests" (something I have never ever seen proof of by the way) to avoid cruising at bars and to "find their kicks some other way". I disagree completely with this. I see this memo as simply a warning that given the current media frenzy, that priests take extra care in what they do. This is completely understandable. Now, people might think this is a stretch, but can priests minister to people at bars? Didn't Jesus go to society, rather than have society come to Him? Perhaps some Jesuit priests were doing this very thing. Perhaps the Jesuit Order is saying "Guys, it's just not worth it right now." I know, it's a stretch, but it is a possibility, is it not?

I have too much respect for priests in general to think the Jesuit Order has some secret modernist agenda, whereby they consciously condone their priests being sexually active, against the position of the Church! It may be true that there are sexually active priests amongst the Jesuits, but I am sure other Orders may have similar men within their ranks as well. You'll find cretins wherever you go. Doesn't mean the Jesuits as a whole are bad fruit. They do too much good in my not so humble opinion to be labeled as "bad". As a matter of fact, I would be extremely wary to say anything negative whatsoever about any priest or order. Not just because I'm a Knight of Columbus and I promised to defend the priesthood at all cost, but because without solid evidence (of which I do not see any) it's just plain wrong.

And last but not least... perhaps Mark (sorry Mark, I am a Shea-ite but I can't agree with you on this topic) can explain to us exactly why he feels the letter tells the Jesuits that it's "better to look good than be good". From reading the memo and looking at the questions of introspection, it seems to me that the Rector was asking the priests to do an examination of conscience.

Personally, I think the criticism this memo generated is just generating heat and no light. That's my opinion, I'm sticking to it.

Friday, May 10, 2002

Jesuits be damned!

Ok, first and foremost, let me state that I have the highest degree of respect for the Society of Jesus. As a matter of fact, it is because of this respect that I am writing this blog entry. Today, over at Mark Shea's blog he has an entry entitled Jesuit Moral Theology 101 where he criticizes a draft memo from the Rector to the individual communities of The Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley.

Then, over at Emily Stimpson's blog, she refers to Mark's blog entry with the comment: Earlier This Week My Roomate Asked Me, " What's So Bad About The Jesuits?" Maura, here is your answer.

The Jesuits are bad? So, naturally I rifled off an email to both Mark and Emily.

Subject: Those damn alcoholic Jesuits!

Mark (and Emily),

I fail to see exactly how this letter shows that the Jesuits are "bad" (as Emily called them). Are bars inherently evil? Should we only consume alcoholic beverages in the seclusion of our own home? I wonder how this would impact the Mass, given the presence of wine and all.

So the Jesuit Order is asking Jesuit priests to avoid scandalous situations. Oh no! We wouldn't want people thinking before they place themselves (even if done innocently) into a potentially scandalous situation.

I see everyone crying for action, yet when action is taken it's criticized. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. You just can't win can you?

Deo iuvante,
Thomas Joseph

Both Emily and Mark have replied to me on the subject. I, in turn, have replied back to Emily. I'd like to be able to post the discourse on this blog, but until I get permission (and a copy of the replies back... since I forgot to cc: myself *sigh*), this space shall remain blank.


Pentecost will soon be upon us. Now is the perfect time to start saying the Chaplet of the Holy Spirit.

Use your rosary.

Say one Apostle's Creed. Say one Doxology. Say one Our Father.

Now recite the following prayer: Father, Father, send us the promised Paraclete, through Jesus Christ Our Lord.  Amen.

On Each bead, instead of the Hail Mary say: Come, Holy Ghost, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and kindle in them the fire of Thy love!

When done pray:

V: Send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be created.
R: And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.
V: Let us pray.  O God, Who didst instruct the hearts of Thy faithful by the light of the Holy Ghost, grant us by the same Spirit to be truly wise and evermore rejoice in His consolation.  Through Christ our Lord.
R: Amen.

Then be prepared to be inspired by the Holy Spirit!

You are a David Weinberger.

You are smart, savvy, interested in why people do what they do,
enjoy questioning yourself and are not balding.

Take the What Blogging Archetype Are You test at GAZM.org

Holy cow... how'd they know I have a full head of hair? Spoooooooky.

See, we don't need to use aborted children

Liposuction a novel source of stem cells

It's a fact folks. Stem cell's from adults have just as many uses as stem cells from "undifferentiated tissue" (aka: an aborted life). as a matter of fact, science also seems to confirm that adult-derived stem cells have less of a potential to go off willy-nilly and form things like hair and teeth inside your brain*.

*Folkerth, R.D., Durso, R. (1996) `Survival and proliferation of nonneural tissues, with obstruction of cerebral ventricles, in a parkinsonian patient treated with fetal allografts', Neurology 46, 1219-25.

The following link is an old (but still hanging around) debate I had on this very issue. It got a bit ugly, but it does do a semi-good job of explaining the entire scenario. Perhaps I'll clean this conversation up and put it on my website.

Just in time for Mother's Day

Son's spell shorter lives for mom.

Sorry mom, but it's really not my fault I was born a male. If anyone is to blame, it would be you and dad. :)

PS: Happy Mother's Day (I know I'm early this time, but usually I'm late).

Racial bias in capital punishment cases?

Naw, really? You serious? Sheesh. Well, at least someone has finally shown some common sense and has decided to examine all the facts.

Maryland's governor issues death penalty moratorium.

Wednesday, May 08, 2002

Part of being a good Christian is being a good steward of the gifts God gives to us. That includes the earth itself. Come on folks, exactly how many cell phones do we need? And who can really throw away an object that typically costs well over a hundred dollars? Dang... I don't have a cell phone because I cannot afford it, and people are throwing them in the trash!

Cell Phone Pollution - MSNBC article

The Shirt

I don't know why I put the shirt on, I wasn't trying to make a statement. I just needed something to cover my upper body because, you know, it's a bit inappropriate to go to work topless, even for a guy. I woke up this morning, minding my own business, kissed my wife good-bye as she left for work, and then decided to get dressed. Went into the laundry room and stooped over the clean laundry basket. There was a shirt on top of the pile, a deep green color. I figured it would go well with the jean shorts I was already wearing. I picked it up out of the basket and put it on.

About two months ago, I wore this same shirt when I was visiting my grandparents back home in New York City. Didn't think much about it then either, but my grandfather pulled me over to the side later in the day and told me to be careful when I wore this shirt.

You see, the shirt says Roman Catholic on it.

My grandfather told me that when he was younger, he used to have to hide his crucifix (or not wear it at all) because if people caught wind of the fact that he was Catholic he could expect to either get the crummiest job in the company or suddenly find his position "closed". Of course I thought the times had changed, I mean come-on, with all the political correctness nowadays, no one is going to target Catholics right? They're the biggest single "voting bloc" in the United States, certainly we have some clout and respect right?

Guess not. I never expected that when I walked out my front door this morning that I was about to be subjected to verbal abuse, all because of those two words, Roman Catholic, on the shirt I was wearing.

So, you proud of your pedophiles?

So, you want to be a child abuser yourself?

What's it like to confess your sins to a child molester?

And it's not even noon yet. I don't know if I've just been exposed to discrimination or not. I'm white and I'm male, which pretty much rules me out of most discriminatory activity. To tell you the truth, I certainly do feel discriminated against, and the saddest part about it is the fact that I actually know all the people who made those comments. It wasn't some jane or joe on the street tossing a barb my way, these are people I work with everyday and considered friends.

If I have ever acted in such a derogatory manner to another person, I apologize. I have now been on the other side of the fence, and I do not like it here. Perhaps there is a reason I put this shirt on this morning. Perhaps it was intended for me to feel the pain of countless others who endure this everyday of their lives, and to attach their suffering to mine and offer all of it up to God the Almighty, for the forgiveness of sins and mercy for the world. A world that seems everyday, to need it more and more.

At least I can take the shirt off, most everyone else doesn't have that option.

Monday, May 06, 2002

Over at a message board I used to visit, there was talk about the Eucharist. In particular, there was talk about how it was seemingly "ok" to add honey to the Eucharist. The person who originally made the comment that their parish added honey didn't defend the practice (as a matter of fact he left the board quite quickly thereafter) but other people (who shall remain nameless) thought it perfectly acceptable to add honey. The reasoning of which was [The] addition of a bit of honey to the Eucharist as symbolic of the sweetness He inbues into us.

Horse pucky.

The Catholic Church is quite clear on what can and cannot be added into the Eucharistic bread. The Catholic Encyclopedia states:
The necessity of wheaten bread is deduced immediately from the words of Institution: "The Lord took bread" (ton arton), in connection with which it may be remarked, that in Scripture bread (artos), without any qualifying addition, always signifies wheaten bread.

The Code of Canon Law states:
The bread must be made of wheat alone and recently made so that there is no danger of corruption" (CIC 924:2).

And from Pope John Paul II:
"The bread for the celebration of the Eucharist, in accordance with the tradition of the whole Church, must be made solely of wheat, and, in accordance with the tradition proper to the Latin Church, it must be unleavened. By reason of the sign, the matter of the Eucharistic celebration 'should appear as actual food.' This is to be understood as linked to the consistency is of the bread, and not to its form, which remains the traditional one. No other ingredients are to be added to the wheaten flour and water. The preparation of the bread requires attentive care to ensure that the product does not detract from the dignity due to the Eucharistic bread, can be broken in a dignified way, does not give rise to excessive fragments, and does not offend the sensibilities of the faithful when they eat it" (Inestimabile Donum 8).

And last but not least:
"The requisite material for the celebration of the Eucharist and the confection of the sacrament is only weatenbread, recently made whereby the danger of corruption is avoided... Unleavened bread alone is to be used in the Latin Rite.

"The bread must be made from wheat, mixed with natural water, baked by the application of fire heat (including electric cooking) and substantially uncorrupted. The variety of the wheat or the region of its origin does not affect its validity, but bread made from any other grain is invalid material. Bread made with milk, wine, oil, etc., either entirely or in a notable part, is invalid material. The addition of a condiment, such as salt or sugar, is unlwaful but valid, unless added in a notable quantity. Unbaked dough or dough fried in butter or cooked in water is invalid matter; likewise bread which is corrupted substantially, but not if it has merely begun to corrupt....

"The bread must be of wheat flour and only in case of necessity a white material thrashed or crushed from wheat. It must be free from mixture with any other substance besides flour and water. It is gravely unlawful to consecrate with doubtful matter. Altar breads must be fresh or recently baked and must not be allowed to get mouldy, which condition varies with regions, climates, etc." (Nicholas Halligan, The Sacraments and Their Celebration, [New York: Alba House, 1986], 65-66).

At this point, there should be no doubt that wheaten bread, unleavened and without additions should be used for the Latin Rite eucharist. To NOT do so, intentionally, is a very serious matter. It goes against Canon Law, which I imagine, can carry an extremely stiff penalty. All Catholic priests should know better than to futz with the Eucharist.

Anyways, what does this all mean? Why am I writing about it?

I think it is a clear indication of where certain elements of the Church have gone. You see, the Eucharist truly is Christ. Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Yet, people still feel the need to "change Him". Make them fit their own feelings and desires. To me, these people are like the people we find in John 6:60 who say This is a hard saying; who can listen to it? They do not understand Jesus' message, they do not want to understand Jesus' message. They want to place God in a box, a convenient box. They think that by placing God in this box, they can control Him. This faux Christ, this anti-Christ condones homosexuality (marriages, unions and practices), condones abortions, condones birth control and condones every other evil we can find in this disgustingly liberal world. To them, Jesus actual sayings are "hard" and "who can listen to them"? So instead of listening to them, they place words in Christ's mouth.

And since they think they can get away with this, they think they can get away with sacrilege of the Eucharist. I doubt these people believe in the Real Presence, because if they did, they certainly wouldn't slap honey on Jesus Christ. They would treat Him with the reverence that He deserves. It goes full circle really. They don't respect His message, so they definitely won't respect Him. They don't respect Him, so they definitely won't respect His message.

And when they don't respect Him or His message, they are not decent representatives of Him or His message. I am willing to bet you that Paul Shanley didn't believe in the Real Presence. And that my folks, is part of the problem. So, when is the Church going to get back to Perpetual Adoration? Teach respect for Christ and you teach respect for His message, and His message is the Way, the Truth and the Life. And that Life is a life in Christ.

So, accept the Eucharist as it is. Adding honey to the Eucharist? That is not the Christ I worship, that is not the Christ that any Catholic should worship. We should accept Christ as He meant for us to accept Him, hard sayings and all. We should not try to mask these things, or ignore them. They will not go away. Jesus Christ is not stupid, nor will He forget.

Once we stop trying to mold Jesus Christ into OUR image, but rather... let Him mold us into His image, perhaps the world will change.

Over at Nota Bene, Sean has a blog entitled Is Donatism rearing it's head?

In this blog, he talks about a lady who compared priestly ordination with marriage, and how an anullment in the later might somehow imply that priests too can have invalid ordinations because the "right frame of mind" was lacking. Since I am not a theologian, I went to the one reliable on-line resource I know of, and that is the Q&A Forum of Father Joe Horn, O.Praem.

My questions to him will be in italics, and Padre Horn's replies will be in bold.

How do you know that a priest had a valid ordination?

As you know, ordination imparts sacramental "character", which is an indellible but invisible mark on the soul. Baptism also imparts character. So your question parallels this question: How can you tell whether or not a person has been validly baptised?

The answer is that you can't. There is no "character detector" nor does it seem possible that one will ever be invented. It'd be cool to have one; just wave it over the person and it'd give a complete readout of which sacramental characters they have, when and where obtained, by whom, and in what state of grace they were at the time. Sort of like the mythical "blessing detector" that you wave over an object to see if it's been blessed, and it has a meter that shows how "strong" the blessing is.

Seriously, you could look up a priest in the Catholic Directory, or on the website of his diocese or Order, to verify that he is at least considered to be a validly ordained priest by Those Who Ought To Know. Beyond that, we cannot know, nor do we need to know. If there is no serious evidence that a priest was not validly ordained, then you ought to dismiss any doubts and claim your right to peace of mind, since even if he WASN'T validly ordained God will not withhold any graces from YOU on that account.

Would sexual impropriety be an indication that it may have been invalid?

No. Although the sacraments give grace, they do not eliminate temptation nor prevent us from falling into sin. Indeed, the baptised are tempted MORE than the unbaptised, since the unbaptised are already in the devil's clutches.

The person then equated it to annulments and the sacrament of marriage by asking... did this man fully understand the commitment he was making? Was he in a position both mentally and emotionally to make such a commitment?

A "full" understanding is not necessary, because it is not possible. The priesthood is a mystery, which means it is an infinite source for meditation that can never be exhausted no matter how deeply it is understood. All that is requested is sufficient understanding, but even that isn't necessary for validity. If the intention is something as minimal as "I want to do whatever it is that the Church does", it's valid!

One of the purposes of the many years of seminary training is the discernment by the bishop (and his appointed helpers) of the level of understanding of each ordinand. Before ordination, each is given sufficient understanding, and that understanding is tested sufficiently. It would be a very rare case indeed that somebody would be determined retroactively to have had insufficient understanding AFTER all those years of training, discernment, and testing.

Where does the "intention" of the Sacrament of Holy Orders lie? Is it with the Bishop or the Priest?

The bishop. Saint Augustine was ordained a priest without having any intention whatsoever of becoming a priest, and only later did he acquiesce to his new state in life. As long as the matter (the laying on of hands), the form (the prayer of ordination) and the intention (of the bishop) are present, then the ordination is valid.

Hope this helps!

It most certainly did Father Joe. If anyone would like to see the exchange, just go to the following link.

Sorry I did not blog over the weekend (I know there are maybe one or two of you who are absolutely crushed over that... if that many) but I was at the wedding of my brother-in-law. However, once I get the photo's into my computer (from the handy-dandy digital camera my wife and I purchased recently), you can see pictures of the Largest Cross in the Western Hemisphere, which is located in Groom Texas.

At any rate, here are some "words of wisdom" that I received from my parishes deacon:

1. God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts...

2. Some marriages are made in heaven, but they ALL have to be 'maintained' on earth...

3. Unless you can create the WHOLE universe in 5 days, then perhaps giving "advice" to GOD, isn't such a good idea!

4. Standing in the middle of the road is dangerous.  You will get knocked down by the traffic from both ways.

5. A skeptic is a person who when he sees the handwriting on the wall claims it's a forgery.


6. The tongue must be heavy indeed, because so few people can hold it.

Amen, amen and amen!

Thursday, May 02, 2002

Keeping in theme with my comments as it pertains to additional innocent victims of these evil pedophile priests, peruse the following article over at the National Catholic Register entitled Collateral Damage.

If you are a Catholic male, dedicated to Jesus Christ and committed to serving His Church, then you should consider joining the The Knights of Columbus, if you are not already a member. "The strong, right arm of the Church" could always use a few more Catholic men.

I would be remiss if I didn't live up to my purpose of creating The Christian Conscience in the first place. Part of the goal of my website was to put forth the Catholic position on issues of Apologetics, Ecumenism and Social Justice. Rather than place any emphasis on these three missions, I have been partly playing "damage control".

So, without further ado, I present the following article (printed in 1997 but relevant nonetheless) on the death penalty:

Would Jesus Pull the Switch? This piece was written by none other than Sr. Helen Prejean C.S.J., author of Dead Man Walking.

Wednesday, May 01, 2002

So, are humans dumber than rice?

I dunno, I guess as a molecular biologist/genomics graduate student, I got a kick out of that. But hey, take their test and satisfy your curiosity as to whom is actually smarter. :)

Over at Louder Fenn, Jimmy Tomato stated:

I think that it is sound policy to hold back every single dime from the diocese and every parish around. This is our chance for a limited revolution: not to change the rule of celibacy or rewrite the liturgy, but to tell bishops simply one thing: Stop the molesters. Certainly more faithfulness would cure this problem, but it is also amenable to worldly solutions like strict policies regarding molesters and seminaries.

Oh sure, that sounds like a nice idea and all, but since Mr. Tomato suggested it, perhaps he has thought this through a bit more and can tell us, for instance, how long this "boycott" is going to last? A day, a week, a month, a year or an entire generation? And in the meantime, what does Mr. Tomato think about the parishes that will have to close down because they can't pay their bills, or pay their staff? What about the Catholic schools that rely on parishoner tithes to operate? Should we start praying that the government gives us the "big ok" on waivers? What about Catholic societies that work at the parish level, like St. Vincent de Paul? Are we going to make victims of the poor who rely on those charitable donations to ease their suffering (see my commentary of 4/28/2002)? What about individual parish outreach programs? Do we just let them fall to the wayside while a few parishoners throw a hissy fit?

He also states:
The momentum is on the side of the laity; if we lose it, the change may indeed come over a generation, but with much sorrow in the meantime.

Which may be the saddest commentary of all. This should not be an "us versus them" issue. We're all the Body of Christ, are we not?

Over at EveTushnet.com, Eve posed the following question:

Which Presidential Hopeful Are You?

I turned out to be John McCain. Could be a lot worse, I coulda been Al Sharpton (right Eve?)

Going back to De Adhaerendo Deo, Chapter 11, I want to place emphasis on the last sentence of that chapter written by St. Albertus Magnus.

What is more, to be tempted is not a sin, but the opportunity for exercising virtue, so that temptation can be greatly to a man's benefit, since it is held that the whole of a man's life on earth is a testing.

Of course, St. Albertus Magnus is a Doctor of the Church, he was also the mentor of St. Thomas Aquinas. I wonder what he would say if he ever found out that some people were desiring the removal of priests who had, but resisted, temptations of a homosexual nature. Since the temptation, according to St. Albertus Magnus, is not a sin, and the rebuffing of that temptation is actually an opportunity to exercise virtue (both statements which are affirmed by the Catholic Church). One may even argue that these men, by denying these temptations and adhering to their vows of obedience to Church teaching are made better men, and thereby better priests because of it.

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. - 1 Corinthians 10:13

By the way, the entire text of On Cleaving to God by St. Albertus Magnus (a Doctor of the Church) can be found at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library. It is worth the read, it's only 16 chapters long, and you can even download it as a PalmDoc from this page.

How one should resist temptations and bear trials

Now there is no one who approaches God with a true and upright heart who is not tested by hardships and temptations. So in all these temptations see to it that even if you feel them, you do not consent to them, but bear them patiently and calmly with humility and long suffering. Even if they are blasphemies and sordid, hold firmly on to this fact in everything, that you can do nothing better or more effective against them than to consider all this sort of fantasy as a nothing. Even if they are the most vile, sordid and horrible blasphemies, simply take no notice of them, count them as nothing and despise them. Don't look on them as yours or allow yourself to make them a matter of conscience. The enemy will certainly take flight if you treat him and his company with contempt in this way. He is very proud and cannot bear to be despised and spurned. So the best remedy is to completely ignore all such temptations, like flies flying around in front of your eyes against your will.

The servant of Jesus Christ must see to it that he is not so easily forced to withdraw from the face of the Lord and to be annoyed, murmur and complain over the nuisance of a single fly, that is, a trivial temptation, suspicion, sadness, distraction, need or any such adversity, when they can all be put to flight with no more than the hand of a good will directed up to God. After all, through a good will a man has God as his defender, and the holy angels as his guardians and protectors. What is more, any temptation can be overcome by a good will too, like a fly driven away from a bald head by one's hand.

So peace is for men of good will. Indeed we can offer God nothing more valuable than a good will, since a good will in the soul is the source of all good things, and the mother of all virtues. If any one is beginning to possess that good will, he undoubtedly has what is necessary for leading a good life. For if you want what is good, but cannot do it, God will make good the deed.

For it is in accordance with this eternal law that God has established with irrevocable firmness that deserts should be a matter of the will, whether in bliss or torment, reward or punishment. Love itself is a great will to serve God, a sweet desire to please God, and a fervent wish to experience God. What is more, to be tempted is not a sin, but the opportunity for exercising virtue, so that temptation can be greatly to a man's benefit, since it is held that the whole of a man's life on earth is a testing.

-Chapter 11, De Adhaerendo Deo (On Cleaving to God), St. Albertus Magnus

So, is it actually possible in this day and age to ignore those who utter blasphemy and slanders? Can we truly ignore the squeaky wheel to the point where it will stop squeaking? Is it possible to, for instance, leave the modernists to their wailing and just wait for the water works to dry up? Can we, as Catholics, preach the orthodox faith through silent obedience? Can we, as orthodox Catholics, hope that the world can see and recognize true faith by action alone? In a world that is flooding with information (most of it useless) can we hope for people to recognize the wheat from the chaff?

I wish I could say that that is the case.

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