Saturday, June 29, 2002


The fleecing of the American public

Can you believe it? Starting June 30th, a stamp for a first class letter will cost you 37 cents. When I was born, a stamp was 8 cents. That is an increase of 460% over the span of almost 30 years. This change will net the U.S.P.S. 500 million dollars extra, a month.

Compare that to the value of a fetus. During that same time, a fetus' value was downgraded from priceless (protected under law) to around 300 dollars (the average cost of an abortion). This change has robbed the United States of countless individuals who could have made tremendous ethical, moral, philosophical, scientific and theological impacts on our world. Just imagine if Martin Luther King or Jonas Salk's parents had decided to get abortions.

Now, you tell me that the inhabitants of the United States aren't getting fleeced. Oh, and say it with a straight face.

Eye Can Knot Believe It!

First eye get snubbed bye the Vatican, end now eye get snubbed bye Nihil Obstat? My paranoia must bee flaring up, everyone is out two ignore me!

Mail Call Deux - Prop/Plug

Received the following email from Charles:

Dear Mr. Joseph,

I am a Catholic who experiences same sex attraction and who endeavors to live chastely in accordance with Catholic teachings. I have written a website on this topic called the "Same Sex Attraction Morality League", which is at "http://www.ssaml.com". Please feel free to check it out if you wish and recommend it to anyone who might be helped by it.

The hotlink for the site is : Same Sex Attraction Morality League. Checked out, and now recommended to my readership. Looks pretty orthodox to me... quite a difference from most agendas you see nowadays. Keep up the good work Charles.

Mail call!

Received the following from Peter Sean, the fellow who runs Lex Communis:

Subject: Tale of Two Brothers

I first read a version of the Tale of Two Brothers in a collection of stories by Manley Wade Wellman called Who Fears the Devil. The common character in the collection was a John, a wandering folksinger, who would wander into Appalachian folktales. The story was Over the Hill and Everywhere and was first published in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1956.

Do you know if your story comes from Wellman's story, or was Wellman's story based on a rescripting of an earlier folktale? And, if you don't know, that's cool too. Just curious. I always liked the story, especially around Christmas.

Unfortunately, I have no idea where the story comes from. I received the story in the mail from the deacon of the parish I attend. However, Peter does give us more info on his theory over at his blog in this blog entry.

New additions to my Catholic Blog's list

First up is John Mallon who blogs to Mallon's Media Watch and the other is Anthony Marquis who blogs to Veni Sancte Spiritus. Also, I should make mention of the man who reneged on his comment to quit blogging "cold turkey", Mike Hardy of Enemy of the Church? fame. I know you've been back awhile Mike, but it's good to have you around.

P.S.: Found out that my major in-flux of people a few days ago were Shea-ites. Welcome and I hope you guys found something worthwhile! And if anyone knows anyone at the Vatican, can you send them here? I'm still waiting for my hit from the Vatican... so far... nada! :(

Friday, June 28, 2002

Sick, sick, just plain sick

Add this to the You've Got To Be Kidding Me files.

Quote: “What’s all the fuss about? It was all a joke.”

Yes, just a joke. I guess when I have children it'll be a regular laugh riot to dress them up as David Koresh and Timothy McVeigh.

Some people are just plain morons. Hundreds if not thousands of Jews have been killed in suicide bombing attacks, hundreds if not thousands of Palestinians have been killed in counter-attacks and this Palestinian family thinks dressing their child up as a suicide bomber is nothing more than a joke?

Oy vey!

Thursday, June 27, 2002

Can you say "militant atheist"?

I certainly can, especially after I read the following interview from the guy who filed the lawsuit that got the words "under God" yanked from the Pledge of Allegiance.

Neville: At what point did your daughter come home to you and say she was ostracized for not saying the Pledge of Allegiance?

Newdow: My daughter is in the lawsuit because you need that for standing. I brought this case because I am an atheist and this offends me, and I have the right to bring up my daughter without God being imposed into her life by her schoolteachers. So she did not come and say she was ostracized.

And the gem...

The framers were quite wise in recognizing what religion can do and how it can cause hatred and how it can cause death.

My opinion? What an ass. This fool (he's a lawyer and a doctor?) has never heard of Stalin or Pol Pot or Mao Tse Tung? Give me a break. More people have died under communist rule (which imposes a strict atheism for the Masses, and when it allows religious worship it does so under a very tight noose) than all the Crusades, Inquisitions and witch burnings combined.

For the facts, check out the following article at Stand to Reason dot Org.

Pathetic... truly pathetic. This guy used his daughter as a pawn to advance his own personal agenda. Now THAT is true love for you. NOT!

Humanae Vitae hits the nail on the head once again...

Found this following article saying that men are afraid of committment and so are not getting married. Here is an excerpt:

Researchers say one of the biggest reasons that men are delaying marriage is that more and more couples are choosing to live together before marriage. As a result, sex -- traditionally one of the main reasons for men to marry -- is relatively easily available, they say.

"In a sense, with cohabitation he gets a quasi-wife without having to commit," said David Popenoe, co-director of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

An excerpt from Section 17 of Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae states the following:

Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.

Whoever doesn't think Pope Paul VI was a prophet needs to examine those two things very very closely.

Grass Roots Movement?

I know a lot of people bought flags in the days immediately following September 11, 2001. How do I know? The local Wal-Mart was sold out of flags for weeks afterwards, and we couldn't buy one anywhere. My wife and I actually flew the flag she received at her Girl Scout Gold Award ceremony (a flag flown atop the Capitol) until we could purchase a new one.

My question is... how many people are still flying those flags that they purchased after 9/11/01? On my block, I count only one family flying the American flag in front of their house each and every day (weather permitting)... my wife and I. No one else.

Gee, that patriotism sure lasted long, eh?

Well, this threat to the Pledge of Allegiance is an attack on this great nation, but now it is an attack from within. Just like we rallied around our country immediately following the attacks of 9/11, and flew the flag as a sign of that support, I suggest that we fly those flags again in support of our Pledge of Allegiance. Fly those flags day in and day out, and let your voice be heard. Contact every law-maker you can and tell him or her how tragic you think the decision handed down by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was.

Do it... now.

What would Red Skelton say?

The following was taken from USFlag.org.

As a schoolboy, one of Red Skelton's teachers explained the words and meaning of the Pledge of Allegiance to his class. Skelton later wrote down, and eventually recorded, his recollection of this lecture. It is followed by an observation of his own.

I - - Me; an individual; a committee of one.

Pledge - - Dedicate all of my worldly goods to give without self-pity.

Allegiance - - My love and my devotion.

To the Flag - - Our standard; Old Glory ; a symbol of Freedom; wherever she waves there is respect, because your loyalty has given her a dignity that shouts, Freedom is everybody's job.

United - - That means that we have all come together.

States - - Individual communities that have united into forty-eight great states. Forty-eight individual communities with pride and dignity and purpose. All divided with imaginary boundaries, yet united to a common purpose, and that is love for country.

And to the Republic - - Republic--a state in which sovereign power is invested in representatives chosen by the people to govern. And government is the people; and it's from the people to the leaders, not from the leaders to the people.

For which it stands, One Nation - - One Nation--meaning, so blessed by God.

Indivisible - - Incapable of being divided.

With Liberty - - Which is Freedom; the right of power to live one's own life, without threats, fear, or some sort of retaliation.

And Justice - - The principle, or qualities, of dealing fairly with others.

For All - - For All--which means, boys and girls, it's as much your country as it is mine.

And now, boys and girls, let me hear you recite the Pledge of Allegiance:

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic, for which it stands; one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Since I was a small boy, two states have been added to our country, and two words have been added to the Pledge of Allegiance: Under God. Wouldn't it be a pity if someone said that is a prayer, and that would be eliminated from schools, too?


Oh, if you only knew...

Wednesday, June 26, 2002


205 visitors yesterday! 195 the day before. I don't know where all you folks are coming from, but I hope you enjoy your stay! Please visit often!

God bless.

P.S. on the Pledge of Allegiance

The words "one Nation under God" were added to the Pledge in 1954. Why? A campaign led by the Knights of Columbus, (a Catholic organization), lead Congress to add the words. Ironically enough, I bet all the anti-Catholics right now are trying their hardest to see this decision of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court reversed though. If the situation wasn't so horribly pathetic, I'd say it was funny.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals can stick it in their ear

'I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all, (born and unborn*).'

*Newest addendum (see above) added by the Knights of Columbus, to be said at the beginning of all meetings.

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Random musing...

I like to consider myself a history buff, it was always my best subject in grade school and high school. Unfortunately, for me anyways, I never saw much of a career in history so I went into the life sciences for my degrees in college. So far that decision has paid off well, though with the length of time it's taking me to get my doctorate, I might need to rethink it all (no turning back now son!). Anyways, one of my favorite speeches came from Winston Churchill. It's the famous "We shall never surrender!" speech and was delivered on June 4, 1940 to the House of Commons. The part that strikes me the most is the following excerpt...

We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

Given the depths to which we have sunk into the Culture of Death today, could we liberate anyone from anything?

Article on another firefighter's prayer

Found this article over at the National Catholic Register. It's a good read, and deals with a story from September 11th. It also has a second, but similar, version of the prayer found just in the blog entry just below this one.

The Firefighter's Prayer

When I am called to duty, God - wherever flames may rage,
Give me strength to save a life, whatever be its age.
Help me embrace a little child - before it is too late,
Or save an older person from the horror of that fate.
Enable me to be alert, and hear the weakest shout,
Quickly and efficiently to put the fire out.
I want to fill my calling, to give the best in me,
To guard my friend and neighbor, and protect his property.
And if according to Your will - I must answer death's call,
Bless with your protecting hand,
my family one and all.

This prayer goes out to all those firefighters who protect each and every one of us, day in and day out. Your sacrifice and service are appreciated. This prayer is said especially today for those firefighters who are battling the blazes out in Arizona and Colorado.


Are you telling me that Jennifer Aniston's diamond-studded crucifix didn't cover things up enough?

Monday, June 24, 2002

The rich always get richer...

To tell you the truth, I never liked Martha Stewart's materialistic approach to things. I mean, who cares if the napkins for dinner match the curtains. Now with the ImClone fiasco busting out on the scene, it turns out she's also a criminal. Lovely.

First it was the Enron scandal where the executives and big-wigs bailed out, leaving their middle class, blue and white collar workers and shareholders to foot the bill. Now we've got people like Ms. Stewart being exposed for the frauds that the rich and powerful always seem to be. Jesus hit the nail on the head when He said (Matthew 19:23-24):

And Jesus said to his disciples, "Truly, I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

No doubt it will be difficult for these people to enter into Heaven because their greed and avarice leads them down a road devoid of charity. They'd gladly step on the skulls of the poor (including the middle class which is seemingly shrinking day by day) to get more. No, I'm not bitter... I just hate being abused for the profit of others.

Saturday, June 22, 2002

What is wrong with people?!?

Come on folks, really... grow up already!

PETA sez:

It is OK to have consensual sex with chickens, but it's wrong to play tic-tac-toe with them.

Can someone please explain to me why PETA is so screwed in the head?

Friday, June 21, 2002


My apologies for those who come to this blog, looking to read some new blog entries from me. Let me say that I appreciate the visits, it means a lot to me to know that people actually care [some of you might, at any rate :) ], and allow me to apologize for slacking in getting out something worthwhile for blog entries. Alas, my graduate career beckons, and I've neglected it far too often. Ergo, my time blogging hasbeen restricted, and while I hope to blog more, I need to get myself organized. So please, pray for me, that I can prioritize and organize so I can do the things that I love to do (blogging being one of them) while doing the things I need to do (like doing my work so I can graduate)!

Thank you, and God bless.

Love Begs

If thou wouldst learn, not knowing how to pray,
Add but a faith, and say as beggars say:
"Master, I'm poor, and blind, in great distress,
Hungry, and lame, and cold, and comfortless;
Oh succour him that's gravell'd on the shelf
Of pain, and want, and cannot help himself;
Cast down thine eye upon a wretch, and take
Some pity on me, for sweet Jesus' sake";
But hold! take heed this clause be not put in,
"I never begged before, nor will again."
- Francis Quarles

The real test of the Christian is not how much he loves his friends, but how much he loves his enemies.
- Fulton J. Sheen

Thursday, June 20, 2002

Question: How stupid is this?

Answer: Very.

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

God won't ask what kind of car you drove, but He'll ask how many people you drove who didn't have transportation.

God won't ask the square footage of your house, but He'll ask how many people you welcomed into your home.

God won't ask about the clothes you had in your closet, but He'll ask how many you helped to clothe.

God won't ask about your social status; He will ask what kind of class you displayed.

God won't ask how many material possessions you had, but He'll ask if they dictated your life.

God won't ask what your highest salary was, but He'll ask if you compromised your character to obtain it.

God won't ask how much overtime you worked, but He'll ask if your overtime work was for yourself or for your family.

God won't ask how many promotions you received, but He'll ask how you promoted others.

God won't ask what your job title was, but He'll ask if you performed your job to the best of your ability.

God won't ask what you did to help yourself, but He'll ask what you did to help others.

God won't ask how many friends you had, but He'll ask how many people to whom you were a friend.

God won't ask what you did to protect your rights, but He'll ask what you did to protect the rights of others.

God won't ask in what neighborhood you lived, but He'll ask how you treated your neighbors.

God won't ask about the color of your skin, but He'll ask about the content of your character.

God won't ask why it took you so long to seek Salvation, but He'll lovingly take you to your mansion in heaven, and not to the gates of Hell.

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

A Tale of Two Brothers...

Once upon a time two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict. 
It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side by side, sharing machinery, and trading labor and goods as needed without a hitch. 
Then the long collaboration fell apart. It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference, and finally it exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence. 
One morning there was a knock on John's door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter's toolbox. "I'm looking for a few days' work", he said. "Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there I could help with? Could I help you?" 
"Yes," said the older brother. "I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That's my neighbor; in fact, it's my younger brother. "
"Last week there was a meadow between us and he took his bulldozer to the river levee and now there is a creek between us. Well, he may have done this to spite me, but I'll go him one better. See that pile of lumber by the barn? I want you to build me a fence - - an 8-foot fence -- so I won't need to see his place or his face anymore." 
The carpenter said, "I think I understand the situation. Show me the nails and the post-hole digger and I'll be able to do a job that pleases you." 
The older brother had to go to town, so he helped the carpenter get the materials ready and then he was off for the day. The carpenter worked hard all that day measuring, sawing, nailing. About sunset when the farmer returned, the carpenter had just finished his job. The farmer's eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped. There was no fence there at all. It was a bridge -- a bridge stretching from one side of the creek to the other! A fine piece of work handrails and all -- and the neighbor, his younger brother, was coming across, his hand outstretched. "You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all I've said and done." 
The two brothers stood at each end of the bridge, and then they met in the middle, taking each other's hand. They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox on his shoulder. 
"No, wait! Stay a few days. I've a lot of other projects for you," said the older brother. 
"I'd love to stay on," the carpenter said, "but, I have many more bridges to build." 

Saturday, June 15, 2002

Yo, people... repeat after me. It's... Just... A... Game...

Add this to the "You've got to be kidding me" files.

Friday, June 14, 2002

Horrible, horrible... just horrible

I enjoy debating. Actually, I don't enjoy debating, I enjoy winning debates. I think there is a distinct difference. If I can pummel my opponent into submission with a literary show of force, I consider it a huge success. In my mind, I am a debate stud. This is not a Good Thing (tm). If pride always goes before the fall, I am bound to fall, and hard, sooner or later.

This past week I was debating a charge of anti-semitism leveled against the Church. Part of that charge involved the use of a book entitled "Babylon Mystery Religion" by a Mr. Ralph Woodrow. It relies heavily on another anti-Catholic book by Alexander Hislop entitled "The Two Babylons" which seemingly connects the Catholic Church with paganism. Both books are a piece of pooh. Neither one is worth the paper they are printed on.

Not all is lost though. Mr. Woodrow, after a long time of researching the subject further realized the greivous error he committed in publishing that first book that he pulled it off the shelves and replaced it with a book entitled "Babylon Connection?" in which he refutes his previous position. On his site he describes the newest book in the following way:

DESCRIPTION: THE BABYLON CONNECTION? shows that claims about Babylonian origins often lack connection, takes a closer look at the oft-quoted THE TWO BABYLONS by Alexander Hislop, and provides some much needed clarification on this subject. In a scholarly and understandable style, the book explains why Woodrow removed his Babylon Mystery Religion book from publication.

The person I was debating had no clue about the existance of this second book, nor did she know that the first book of Mr. Woodrow's had been pulled from the shelf. I reveled in the knowledge that I effectively cut her position out from underneath her. For two days after this, she remained silent on the board.

My egotistical self thought it was because I had stumped her and she was off licking her wounds. I was about as far from wrong as wrong can be. She was off the board because her youngest daughter (named Cheyenne) had been accidentally strangled in a set of mini-blinds.

A mea culpa is due on my part, and I really need God's forgiveness for the un-Christian attitude I portrayed and reveled in while another Christian suffered the worst possible loss anyone could ever experience. No parent should have to outlive their children.

Prayer for Cheyenne

Saints of God, come to her aid!
Come to meet her, angels of the Lord!
Receive her soul and present her to God the Most High.

May Christ, who called you, take you to himself;
may angels lead you to Abraham's side.
Receive her soul and present her to God the Most High.

Give her eternal rest, O Lord,
and may your light shine on her for ever.
Receive her soul and present her to God the Most High.

Let us Pray.

All-powerful and merciful God,
we commend to you, Cheyenne, your servant.
In this world she has died: let her live with you for ever.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.


Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord.
And let perpetual light shine upon her.

May she rest in peace.


May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace.


Prayer for Cheyenne's Family

Lord, God,
you are attentive to the voice of our pleading.
Let Cheyenne's family find in your Son comfort in their sadness,
certainty in their doubt,
and courage to live through this hour.
Make their faith strong through Christ our Lord.


Ok Mr. Shea, enough is enough...

... with the slamming the Jesuits. I am referring specifically to this article here.

My reply in Mr. Shea's comment section was as follows:

Ok Mark, this "It's the Jesuits!" stuff is getting real old, real quick. Cut it out.

To counter your broad-brush attack on the Jesuits, I provide you with the following: this and in it's entirety, this. How does Father Fucek, S.J.'s comments match up with your labeling of the Jesuits as "pro-homosexual agenda"?

Note: They don't match up.

Mr. Shea is quick to point out that one priest does not tarnish the image of every other priest (as it well should be). Therefore, why the individual comments of one Jesuit seemingly damns the entire order in his eyes is beyond me. Frankly, I think it is rather unfair.

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

We have a Black Hawk Down...

Watched the movie Black Hawk Down last night. Don't know how to describe it. I can't call it a "good movie" when I know that it was inspired by actual events. I guess the only thing I can call it is... disturbing. Nineteen American men killed. Their acts of bravery and sacrifice are documented in that movie. If you've seen the first twenty minutes of Saving Private Ryan... well the whole movie is like those first twenty minutes. I've always been proud of our armed forces, of what they do, what they represent and what they sacrifice to protect us and our country. This movie only enforced those feelings of honor and respect that I have for those men (and women) who typically are fresh out of high school. I imagine one grows up really fast under those sorts of conditions.

I found a website which chronicles the events that happened in Mogadishu that day at the following link : Night Stalkers.

From the opening chapter:
Just 13 minutes before, three miles away at the Ranger's base on the Mogadishu beach, Eversmann had said a Hail Mary at liftoff. He was curled into a seat between two helicopter crew chiefs, the knees of his long legs up around his shoulders. Before him, arrayed on both sides of the sleek UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter, was Eversmann's Chalk, a dozen men in tan, desert camouflage fatigues. He had worried about the responsibility. Twelve men. He had prayed silently during Mass at the mess hall that morning. Now he added one more.

 . . . Pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Make sure you get...

seven or eight hours of sleep per night.

Anything more, or less, can prove fatal. I kid you not.

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

There is hope for me yet...

You are 30% evil! [?]

You're still on the good side of 50%, but you're gaining on it. You're not as good as you should be, but you're good ALMOST all of the time. There's only an occasional time when evil takes over you, but when it does...

Prayer Before Logging Onto The Internet

Almighty and eternal God, who created us in Thy image and bade us to seek after all that is good, true and beautiful, especially in the divine person of Thy only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant we beseech Thee that, through the intercession of Saint Isidore, bishop and doctor, during our journeys through the internet we will direct our hands and eyes only to that which is pleasing to Thee and treat with charity and patience all those souls whom we encounter. Through Christ our Lord. - Amen.

Sunday, June 09, 2002

Should I, or shouldn't I?

Got to work tomorrow morning (8:30am) but the USA plays South Korea tomorrow morning (2:30am Central). Hrm... soccer or sleep?

Well, if I sleep through it... Go U.S.A!

Isn't this an interesting turn of events!

For all those who poo-poo the Jesuits, take a gander at this article.

To quote:
An underlying problem facing the Church in the United States is that of excessive "tolerance," which has allowed conduct and teachings among seminarians that go against what the Pope says, a Vatican adviser says.

Jesuit Father Ivan Fucek, theologian of the Apostolic Penitentiary, the Church´s highest tribunal for "inner forum" questions (matters of conscience), made his comments as the U.S. bishops´ conference prepares to meet in Dallas, Texas, next week.


ZENIT interviewed Father Fucek about the dimensions and implications of the problem.

Q: From your point of view, what is the characteristic of the North American case?

Father Fucek: I have been in the United States on several occasions, where I met with excellent priests and bishops. But at the same time I noted a certain passivity in accepting candidates to the priesthood with problems of sexual disorder and homosexuality -- an excessive "tolerance" dictated especially by the prevailing cultural model.

So, does Father Fucek have his head in the sand as it pertains to his order? Some people have claimed that the Jesuits are a haven for actively gay seminarians. Yet here we have Father Fucek clearly stating that the American Bishops must take steps to weed out candidates with sexually disordered problems. I sense tension between my observation (as witnessed by Father Fucek's words) and what other people claim.

Received the following email from CatholiCity dot Com. Thought I'd share it with everyone...

RE: Consecration of America for U.S. Catholic Bishops Meeting

June 8 through June 17th, 2002

Dear Friend,

Please join me and countless Catholics around the world by praying for our bishops and reconsecrating America to Immaculate Mary during the week of June 8 through June 17th. Please pray with us this very minute and please forward this to everyone you know.

The Catholic Church needs your help right now as the bishops of the United States prepare to meet in Dallas next week. If you pray this prayer with all your heart and forward it to your Christian friends around the world, the future of the Catholic Church in America will change forever.

(The prayer below is adapted from one used by August Cardinal Hlond of Poland in 1946 when he renewed Our Lady as patroness of Poland as originally done on 1656 by King Casimir. Our own bishops formally consecrated the United States to Immaculate Mary as our Patroness in the mid-1800s.)

"In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit...

"Immaculate Mary, most Holy Mother of God and of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we the people of the United States of America at this historic moment stand before you in a humbled condition of love, loyalty, affection, and thankfulness. To your Immaculate Heart we recommit and dedicate ourselves throughout the entire American nation. To your Son Jesus Christ we pledge to serve His teaching, His church, and to work for His kingdom on earth. O Mary, to you do we flee for protection. Surround the American family with your maternal care; enfold us in your arms. Give to this American land, built on the blood and tears of so many faithful forebears, a peaceful and praiseworthy existence in truth, love, justice, and freedom. O Mary, we submit to you as the Patroness of our beloved country. O Mary, Help of Christians, enfold the Holy Father and the Catholic Church within your protective cloak; be our shield in the days ahead. Give to the Church true holiness and freedom. Obtain for our leaders holy zeal, the ability to face the truth, and the courage to correct all abuses. Stop the flood of atheism, greed, heresy, impurity, lukewarmness, materialism, and selfishness that threaten our nation. Show to those who have strayed from the Church the way to Our Lord Jesus Christ. Mother of God, accept our personal consecration to you and, through you, bind us forever to the Holy Trinity. Gather us all into your Immaculate Heart and unite us forever with Jesus. O Mary, we love you. Amen."

(Thank you for joining us in prayer. Please forward this to everyone you know. God bless!)

So please, join us in prayer.

I am linus

Which Peanuts Character Are You Quiz

Hrm, this doesn't certainly match up with the "Which Muppet Are You?" quiz I took a week or so ago. I don't think Gonzo and Linus are all that similar...

Who is Gary Suson?

A few days ago, I plugged September Eleven dot Net, a site designed by Mr. Gary Suson. It's a beautiful site and an elegant tribute to the victims of 09-11-2002. Anyways, I had thought that perhaps Mr. Suson was a fireman (I admit, I didn't view the entire site, for in the site lies the answer) and had asked if this was correct. A few days ago, Mr. Suson wrote me the following letter, I thought I'd share it:

Hi - it's Gary Suson. I saw your comments and wanted to thank you on your kind words on my work at Ground Zero and the SeptemberEleven.net website. To answer your question - I am not an active firefighter - but am the Official Archive Photographer at Ground Zero for the Uniformed Firefighters Association. I have only just started releasing my images from 6 months of shootiong. There were only 2 photographers allowed full access into the hole - Joel Meyerowitz who shot the ever changing architecture - and Me, who chronicled the human side and emotions down in the hole. I am also the only photographer allowed to walk in the firemans honor guard. I have a book coming out in the Fall. I hope you will look for it. Take care, thanks again and God Bless...

Gary Suson

First, I'd like to thank Mr. Suson for setting me straight and for the additional information. Second, I'd once again like to make know my appreciation for the site. Even though I live in Oklahoma, I was a born and bred New Yorker. I grew up in Queens, not more than 15 minutes from the WTC. From my aunt and uncles house you used to be able to see the Towers. My mother remembers the Towers going up. Matter of fact, she was a teller in a bank in the financial district and she has always talked about how the workers building the Towers would come in and cash/deposit their paychecks with her.

When things like this happen, years later people always ask "Do you know where you were when it happened?" Well, there will be no forgetting where I was, nor I imagine will I forget what I was feeling. Taking a look at those pictures, especially the earliest ones in Mr. Suson's sequence (the collapses) still give me the gut-wrenching feeling I felt on that day when it first happened. I remember my wife waking me up and telling me one of the World Trade Towers was burning and I remember debating whether I should get up or not. I had remembered that the Empire State Building had been hit by a plane once and it had stood, and I figured it was just an accident. However, get up I did (if you knew me you'd know what kind of chore that was in and of itself!) and I remember the bewilderment of the first few minutes when I tried to gauge just how big the hole was (given that the building itself was roughly 1/10 of a mile in width) and what sort of plane could have done such damage.

And then I remember the horror as I saw, live, the second plane ram into the other tower and knowing instantly that something evil was afoot but hoping that it was just a freak accident with a lookie-loo pilot straying too close. To this day I cry when I think about it. I will never, ever forget. How could you?

Anyways, I think Mr. Suson's site is tastefully done. I hope his project reaps a bountiful harvest for the UFA Widows & Children's Fund and I hope he never has to do anything like this ever again.

Friday, June 07, 2002

Are you insane?

Take the test.

Thanks to O.M.M. from the Catholic Convert board for the link. :)

Maybe it's time to rethink the whole Church PR thing...

Came across this article over at MSNBC.com and found it slightly disturbing. Not just because it's in the gossip section of the website, but because of the following paragraph:

“Large conglomerate [PR firms] don’t want to be associated with this, but hiring Sitrick is a fiasco,” says Kevin McCauley, editor of O’Dwyer’s PR Daily, an industry newsletter. “Sitrick’s whole thing is spin. The last thing the church needs is spin. They need honesty.”

If this is the sort of PR that the Catholic Church in Los Angeles, then the Church is better off getting no PR at all. As I've already said, the Church does need honesty, not just someone to sweep the whole thing under the rug. I'm hoping the PR can help with the former and not with the latter.

Have you ever wanted to live in (or own) a lighthouse?

Now you can.

Father's Day is fast approaching...

In the June 2002 issue of Columbia, the Knights of Columbus house organ, there are two excellent articles that reflect on how we can apply a Catholic meaning to fatherhood and the family.

Men on a Mission - In living out the vocation of fatherhood, men are called to imitate the holiness that led Christ to give his entire self in love of others.

How to be a better Dad - There's only one expert on the subject — God the Father.

They're good reads, I recommend them to everyone (especially husbands and fathers).

Happy Father's Day Dad.

Invocation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
O Heart of Love, I put all my trust in Thee; for I fear all things from my own weakness, but I hope for all things from Thy goodness. - Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque

Indulgence of 300 days; plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions, if this invocation is repeated daily with devotion. (232)

Wednesday, June 05, 2002

Vote for the Vatican!

The Vatican website is up for a "Webby Award" which is the Internet's equivalent of the Grammy. The category is of course "Spirituality/Religion". There are 5 choices listed and a write-in section. Right now, a wiccan website is winning as the write-in, with BeliefNet second and the Vatican third (with 8% of the vote). The voting ends on June 7th, which means you have today and tomorrow to vote, so do it!

Go to Webby Awards, sign-up, go to the Spirituality group and then vote for the Vatican! NOW!

Tuesday, June 04, 2002

Another Plug

Got an email from Mr. David Kopel today asking me to plug MaryLinks.org, a site that describes itself as follows:

This page is an organized collection of links about the Virgin Mary. All of the linked sites have been selected for inclusion because of high quality content. Each of these links will help you see someone's understanding of or relationship with Mary. I hope this page helps you consider, create, or strengthen your own spiritual or intellectual links with Mary.

After perusing the main page and checking out a few of the links, what they claim is true. The site is thorough, the work it links to and contains is of the best quality and it will personally serve as a reference for me and my Marian apologetics work. Thank you for the heads-up Mr. Kopel, and I'm more than happy to plug this site.

Folks, if you want to know about "all things Marian", this is the site to check in with first.

One last comment on hiring PR firms...

A short while ago, I wrote a small blog entry on why I thought hiring a PR firm might be a Good Thing (tm).

From that, I actually got an email reply from St. Blog's Padre-To-Be, Steven Mattson, the blogger of In Formation fame. In his email, he wrote: Perhaps I've been under the sway of Mark Shea too long (well, okay, it hasn't been that long), but I was also a bit troubled by the PR move.

Of the first (being under the influence of Mark Shea) there is not much I can do but offer my prayers, but it's probably too late :) As to the second, here was my reply:

Thanks for the heads-up on your comments
(Editor note: They are located here and here). I see your point, I'm just going to have to respectfully disagree. I do not think that this move was calculated to be an attempt at avoiding reform (as Mark stated), because even with some good PR, reform IS going to be needed and it's going to be demanded by both the people of the United States and by those in the Vatican. On the point of the former, one just needs to look at the blood-thirsty press who can't seem to get enough of this situation and will ride the Church until something is done (and probably will continue to do so because certain things, like women priests just won't ever come about). On the point of the latter, Peter Vere made a good point when he said that Rome is unusually quiet and when that happens it means She is taking a "wait and see approach" and if things don't straighten up She will make wholesale changes at the appropriate time.

There is nothing that PR can do to prevent the latter, but I think that PR can help with the former. I agree with you when you say that what the Church needs is more honestly, holy men in the priesthood. As a Knight of Columbus, it is something that we spend a great deal of time trying to bring about and support and it's something I pray for daily. I understand that we should be worried about our character more than our reputation, but I can't help but think how much better off we'd be if both were intact.

If the hiring of the PR firm was simply to get people off of the back of the Archdiocese and once that happened the Archdiocese went right back to the lax ways it had prior to this whole fiasco, then I would be terribly upset and offended. However, I think the PR firm will tell the Archbishops and Bishops EXACTLY what is expected of them and how to implement it and make sure people know what is being done. I don't think that this would be a case of handing over the reigns to the laity or even non-Catholics, making our leaders lame-ducks but rather I think that this is a time where certain leaders within the Church, who may have never been adept at handling Church matters will need to be goaded into making the right decisions. Some of these decisions might be common sense, but seriously... a lot of things are common sense (like saving for retirement) and people never do them until, usually, it is too late.

I'm willing to let this PR thing play itself out and see how it benefits of the Church in the United States where it is employed. I think if utilized properly, it will help those Archdioceses restore their image over time and regain the trust of the people it has betrayed. Is it unfortunate that it has come to this? Yes it is, but I don't think seeking an ally with communication-savvy is necessarily wrong when you have to deal daily with an anti-Catholic press.

Monday, June 03, 2002

I can feel my arteries hardening.

Sunday, June 02, 2002

Prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus for the Church

O most holy Heart of Jesus, shower Thy blessings in abundant measure upon Thy holy Church, upon the Supreme Pontiff and upon all the clergy; to the just grant perseverance; convert sinners; enlighten unbelievers; bless our relations, friends and benefactors; assist the dying; deliver the holy souls in purgatory; and extend over all hearts the sweet empire of Thy love. Amen.

Indulgence of 500 days; plenary indulgence once a month on the usual conditions for the daily devout recitation of this prayer. (262)

Does God exist in England?

Was checking out this article and was stunned about half-way down when I read:

In a move unthinkable in more God-fearing times when the queen took the throne in 1952, the Church of England gave its blessing for clergy to change service times to avoid a clash.

“Worship comes first, of course, but this [the World Cup] comes round only every four years so we can afford to be flexible,” said the Church’s soccer-loving leader, Archbishop George Carey, a fan of English league champions Arsenal.

Some clergy wrote special soccer-related hymns and prayers, while at least one hired a big screen for the vicarage lawn so parishioners did not have to choose between God and country.

Avoid a clash? Can afford to be flexible? Soccer-related hymns and prayers? A big screen television so people did not have to choose between God and country?

And people think we have it bad here? Forget about it!

Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, no matter how it turns out. - Vaclav Havel, Disturbing the Peace

Why do I quote this? It pertains specifically to the topic I will be discussing in length over the next week or so. Possibly the most ignored aspect of the Culture of Death... euthanasia.

The Biggest Idiot On the Planet

This award should definitely be given to anyone who advocates/participates in a wrongful birth lawsuit.

Read a good argument against such a stupid proposition at First Things - Better Off Dead?

Liturgical Dance?

Ok, it seems to have been a "hot topic" of discussion lately and one that I thought particularly amusing (at least in how it was described) can be found over at Oremus - Adventures in Orthodoxy. Alas, I must say that I have never experienced such a beast. I've traveled a small bit, but most of the masses I have attended have either been in the Diocese of Brooklyn, the Archdiocese of New York or the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. I have never seen a liturgical dance in any Masses held in these three (arch)dioceses, nor have I seen a dance when I have been to mass outside of them either.

Am I just lucky? Are they really that common place? Or is it that when people experience one, the nightmare is hard to forget?

Personally, if I experienced one I don't know what I would do. If I was a visitor, I'd probably just get up and leave. If it happened in my parish, chances are I'd know about it beforehand since I am on both my parishes parish council and liturgy committee, and I'd do my best to prevent it from happening. However, if it did manage to slip in, and I pray to God that it does not, I imagine I'd do my best Jonah in Nineveh impersonation right there on the spot.

Hey, if anyone is going to do any performance art in Church, surely I can too right?

Moving site...

Saw an interview with Gary Suson this morning, I think it was MSNBC but I was too tired to remember. :) I did manage to remember the site that he was speaking about though. He is a photographer, I believe that he is with the FDNY (perhaps someone can update me with details as to who Gary Suson is via email) and his site is a plethora of photos (color and black&white) of the WTC. The site is moving, beautiful and tasteful. I'm going to list it as one of my "Plugs and Props" sites because it is only fitting that we honor as best we can those who lost their lives on that horrible day.

September Eleven dot Net

Saturday, June 01, 2002

Psalm 130:1-8

A Song of Ascents. Out of the depths I cry to thee, O LORD! Lord, hear my voice! Let thy ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications! If thou, O LORD, shouldst mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the LORD more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. O Israel, hope in the LORD! For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is plenteous redemption. And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

Daniel 9: 3-6, 8-10, 13-14, 17-19

I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and supplications with fasting and sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the LORD my God and made confession, saying, "O Lord, the great and terrible God, who keepest covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from thy commandments and ordinances; we have not listened to thy servants the prophets, who spoke in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. To us, O Lord, belongs confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness; because we have rebelled against him, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God by following his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. As it is written in the law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us, yet we have not entreated the favor of the LORD our God, turning from our iniquities and giving heed to thy truth. Therefore the LORD has kept ready the calamity and has brought it upon us; for the LORD our God is righteous in all the works which he has done, and we have not obeyed his voice. Now therefore, O our God, hearken to the prayer of thy servant and to his supplications, and for thy own sake, O Lord, cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary, which is desolate. O my God, incline thy ear and hear; open thy eyes and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name; for we do not present our supplications before thee on the ground of our righteousness, but on the ground of thy great mercy. O LORD, hear; O LORD, forgive; O LORD, give heed and act; delay not, for thy own sake, O my God, because thy city and thy people are called by thy name."


Keep It Simple Stupid!

Yesterday (or this morning, depends on how you look at it :), I asked people if I should break down to peer pressure and install a comment system on my blog. One reader replied: Fight the urge! and fight it I shall. So, if you have a comment or two, praises or threats you'd like to send my way, you'll have to email me. Thanks for the responses!

Public Relations

I suppose I have a different spin on this whole "PR" thing. Over on his blog, Mark Shea seems to think that the hiring of a PR firm is so a particular archdiocese can substitute PR for reform.

I don't see it that way. I think it is plainly obvious that our Archbishops and Bishops are having a hard time understanding and communicating with the laity, and they're having an even worse time dealing with non-Catholics. If the Archdioceses of the United States had had PR firms on-hand when this whole thing began to pick up steam, I think they would have received adequate counsel to make better decisions and comments. In other words, I think the scandal could have been averted if someone, anyone had had a finger on the pulse of the nation.

Now, perhaps it's a Good Thing (tm) for the American Catholic Church to have to endure this scandal. It is surely to be a trying time, and only the faithful will persevere. I have full confidence that the Vatican is keeping an eye on our leaders here and things will get better given time. This stigma won't go away anytime soon, but I truly think that what does not kill us only makes us stronger.

I mean, just today we've seen reconciliation and reconciliation is the first step towards healing. We must confront our sins, and then and only then can we be forgiven. I think that a PR firm might just help facilitate this process, rather than hinder it. That's my opinion, I'm sticking to it.

Keeping up with the Joneses...

In blogdom, it appears that most everyone has a comment system for their blogs now. Should I cave in to peer pressure and install one as well? I'm afraid that my blog would look terribly depressing with all my blog entries and Comments [0] after them. So, should I or shouldn't I?

He who has not the Church for a Mother cannot have God for a Father. - St. Augustine

St. Justin Martyr - June 1st - Patron of Lecturers

In 165, while bearing witness to the Faith in Rome, he was announced as a Christian, most likely at the instigation of a Cynic philosopher whom he had outshone in a public debate. Arrested and ordered to sacrifice to the gods, he replied: "No right-minded man forsakes the truth for falsehood." The six others who were with him remained steadfast with him and they all attained the palm of martyrdom.

God, in a wonderful manner You taught St. Justin the Martyr the lofty science of Jesus Christ manifested in the folly of the Cross. Through his intercession grant that we may never fall into error but remain firm in the Faith. Amen

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