Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Father Stan Fortuna, CFR

Had the pleasure of catching two of Fr. Stan Fortuna's concerts at World Youth Day. For those who do not know Fr. Stan, he is also known as the "Rappin' Monk of the Bronx". He preaches the Gospel undiluted, full of vigor and to the point. He calls it "Keeping It Real" and in those two sessions he most certainly kept it real. Not all of his music is rap, actually most of his stuff has a blues/jazz flavor to it, and he is a brilliant musician. He is an even better motivational speaker, and to say that he clicked with the kids at WYD would be an understatement. In short, the man is a marvelous priest. I'm hoping to bring him to the attention to the planners of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City Men's Conference, it'd be awesome to have him here.

Anyways, he has a website (He'll be listed in my Plug's and Prop's section) so you should go check it out: Francesco Productions.

Error 503

Nice to see that some things have not changed around here. *sigh*

I'm baaacccck!

I'm back from World Youth Day. Had a great time, and picked up a lot of information to blog about. For those of you who have left (I told you I'd be back), it's your loss. For those of you who have returned, you will not be disappointed. I hope to have the 100+ pictures of WYD downloaded tonight and arranged in some sort of logical pattern for viewing (with captions). Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 20, 2002

Ok folks...

This may be my last blog until probably tuesday of not this upcoming week, but the next week (July 30th). I'll be in Toronto (if you hadn't guessed that by now), attending World Youth Day. It's not really a day, more like a week. I plan on bringing back lots of pictures so I'll share them with everyone when I get back. Until then, thank you for visiting my blog (and my website *nudge nudge*) and may God bless you and your families.

Deo iuvante,
Thomas Joseph

To Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe, mystical rose, make intercession for Holy Church, protect the Sovereign Pontiff, help all those who invoke thee in their necessities, and since thou are the ever Virgin Mary and Mother of the true God, obtain for us from thy most holy Son the grace of keeping our faith, sweet hope in the midst of the bitterness of life, burning charity and the precious gift of final perseverance. Amen.

Our Lady, please protect the Pope as he travels to World Youth Day.

Tracts for World Youth Day 2002

Here is one of the tracts I am printing up for distribution at World Youth Day in Toronto.

Myth #4 - Faith Alone

This is probably the one single issue that separates Catholics and Orthodox Christians from their Protestant Christian counterparts.

The “doctrine” of “faith alone” began with Martin Luther in the 16th century when he added the words “alone” and “only” after the word “faith” in the Epistle to the Romans on three separate occassions as he was making his German translation of the Bible. When told about this translational error, Martin Luther replied: Tell them that Dr. Martin Luther will have it so!

Before this insistence on “faith alone”, no Christian had ever advocated such a theological position. However, it has now grown to be the dividing line between Catholics and their Protestant brothers and sisters.

The problem is though, that the phrase “faith alone” is only found once within the Bible and that is in the Epistle of James. That particular verse states:

You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. (James 2:24)

So how do Catholics view this theological stance? The Catholic Church states that faith must present itself in the form of works. St. Paul referred to this as “faith working by charity” (Gal 5:6).

In an ecumenical work between the Catholic and Lutheran Churches, the Catholic Church ellaborated on it’s position by stating:

Catholics stress, however, that the indwelling Holy Spirit brings about in believers not only assent and trust, but also a loving commitment that issues in good works.

Such an insistence on good works is evident throughout the Gospel and the New Testament Epistles. Probably the most well-known insistence of Jesus on good works can be found in Matthew, Chapter 25, verses 31-46.

Paul, in his letter to the Romans tells us:

For he will render to every man according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life... (Romans 2:6-7)

In his letter to the Ephesians, he tells us:

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)

Jesus Himself tells us, in the Gospel of Matthew:

If you would enter life, keep the commandments. (Matthew 19:17)

Friday, July 19, 2002

Blogger is possessed.

I don't know what is wrong with Blogger, but it appears that one of my blog entries a few blogs down mysteriously loses it's first few lines of text. As I add to my blog, another entry loses it's first few lines while the one that had been missing the lines before gets them restored. In the blog editor everything looks just fine though. I'm at a loss as to what the glitch is, but I do not think I introduced it. Oh well... perhaps when I return from World Youth Day this mess will be fixed. Either that or Blogger.com will be dead and buried. Maybe I'll eventually pony up the money for Blogger PRO, but ONLY if they can guarantee that these sorts of things will not happen, and if they do they have the support system to immediately rectify these sorts of niggling little problems that drive people like me absolutely insane!

Obedience is not arbitrary...

After calling me "haughty" and saying I had no business having an opinion on the "nine year old pregnant child having an abortion" because I didn't have children, I caught said hypocrite saying the following on an thread regarding baptism:

Christianity is all about OBEDIENCE.

Note: I did not put the word "obedience" in all caps, that emphasis was hers.

It's ironic because I had just gotten done, a day prior, telling her that the Church's ruling on abortion was unequivocal. There were no extenuating circumstances, that there were no "What if?" scenarios and that if we were to be considered good Catholics, we needed to be good, obedient Catholics. I was summarily brushed off.

My exact words were as follows (after quoting the Catechism's comments on abortion):
Obedience, obedience and obedience.  For a Catholic there can simply be no other way.  The Church doesn't make these rulings to lord over us, they make these rulings because it is the Will of God and if the Church is to be a good shepherd, it must keep the flock from straying.  To think abortion is okay in certain circumstances is straying.

Now, a day later and I read the above, and I couldn't help but call her on it. So far, no response.

No, I don't expect one either.

Back to Dr. Singer...

Came across the following article by Mr. John Mallon, editor of Inside the Vatican and blogger of Mallon's Media Watch fame.

The article is entitled Positively Beastly. It's a good read and goes a long way to explaining why the Catholic way is the best way... because anything else is simply uncivilized. Unless, of course, you consider sex with your pets as civilized.

Good job once again Mr. Mallon.

Culture of Death alive and well in England.

Yes, that was an intentional pun. However, the newslink is just as sickening.

# posted by Tom @ 12:48 PM
No abortions, ever

Over at Christian Forums there are a couple of threads (one of which has been closed due to the arguments that erupted over the issue) which talk about abortion. Sounds cut and dried, but the example presented to the Christians (by an atheist) was of "Your nine year old has been raped and is now pregnant, do you consider an abortion?"

A great many people said that yes they would get their daughter an abortion. A handful of those speaking in such an affirmative call themselves Catholics.

This makes me so sick that I could almost vomit, and if I had just eaten lunch I might have.

For those of you who might say "What's the big deal?" allow me to quote the Catechism of the Catholic Church for a second to show you why it is a big deal.

2271 Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law:

You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.

God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes.

The Church is unswerving on it's insistence that every abortion is wrong, no matter the circumstances.  There are no "What if?" instances as it pertains to abortion, there are no "special qualifiers".  Willful abortion is a grave sin.  How grave?

2272 Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. "A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae", "by the very commission of the offense," and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law. The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.

So grave that formal cooperation in an abortion is the only documented case within the Catechism that automatically warrants excommunication.  There is nothing else that a Catholic could do that the Church, within the pages of the Catechism, would say automatically results in excommunication.  Abortion is the only instance.  I think that speaks volumes as it pertains to the gravity with which the Church views abortions.

I've seen all sorts of excuses to justify abortion in this case. One argued that since it was a nine year old, the chances of a premature birth were enhanced, and prematurity could result in disability and that that would be unfair to the child. Another said that it would be child abuse to force a nine year old to go through with a pregnancy after rape. Yet another said I was cold, calculating, devoid of love and an abomination to Christianity for thinking it was wrong to abort the unborn child. Another said they'd take their child to the abortion clinic so fast that my head would spin. One *ahem* Catholic said I was haughty and since I did not have children of my own that I couldn't make such an unequivocal condemnation of abortion. I wonder if that is how she responds to her priest on this issue.

It's certainly nice to know that Christian charity, love and mercy are alive and well.

Now, the thread is not all doom and gloom. By close to a 7 to 1 margin, people said they would not get an abortion for their child. In these instances, I assume they would do everything possible for their child (and their family) to help them get over the stress of the rape, they would get the best medical help they could to help their child with the pregnancy and take it as close to full-term as possible to ensure that the unborn child has the best chance of survival. From there, they would leave it in God's more than capable hands.

One poster presented the following Psalm to the discussion:

Psalm 139

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb. 
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. 
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 
your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

She went on to say the following:
The Bible is clear that if conception takes place, it is God's will.  We cannot become God ourselves and decide to take that life to spare another.

Are you all forgetting about Abraham?  I am sure it was terribly difficult for him to bring his son to the altar and be fully prepared to kill him, but he did it out of obedience to God.   It's called Faith.

I pray that my family is never put in such a horrendous situation, but it has been my strong conviction since the day this thread was first started to remain steadfast in His will and also in prayer for my family's safety and well-being and for the safety of all children.

I pray that God would give me the faith of Abraham if, Heaven forbid, I ever had to make such a horrible decision.

The faith of Abraham. Amen and amen.

Dear Heavenly Father, may we see the wisdom of Your commands and may we see the beauty in all of Your creations. Your word says that children are a gift from You to us. Please help us to respect that gift all the time, no matter what the circumstances may be. Help us to have a faith comparable to the faith of Abraham. We ask this in the name of Your Son and our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

# posted by Tom @ 12:46 PM

Sunday, July 14, 2002

I'd like to blog more...

...honest. But Blogger won't let me. If it's not a 503 error, it's something else and it's driving me absolutely crazy! So I'll keep forcing myself to blog in the hopes that it somehow sees the light of day. Personally, I think these errors are intentional so we all pony up the dough it costs to switch to Blogger Pro.

# posted by Tom @ 5:39 PM
I'm published!

Well, it's a small article in the Epicentre Forum, the house organ for Epicentre, a molecular biology company which we employ for a variety of biological tools. It's not a peer reviewed journal, so it doesn't count for my thesis (I need to work on that small aspect of my degree) but it's a step in the right direction. At least I hope it is!

Anyways, if you want to be dazzled by my scientific brilliance, check out the following article and go to pages 6 and 7. You'll need Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader to view it.

# posted by Tom @ 5:38 PM

Friday, July 12, 2002

Veggie Tales Music? Who cares?!?!

While various entities within St. Blog argue the *ahem* finer points of Veggie Tales music, I contend that they're skipping over an even better genre of music, that of the love song. Given below is my opinion of the "Best Love Song Ever":

Never My Love (by: The Association)
You ask me if there'll come a time
when I grow tired of you;
never my love, never my love.

You wonder if this heart of mine
will lose its desire for you;
never my love, never my love.

What makes you think love will end
when you know that my whole life,
depends on you?

Never my love, never my love.

You say you fear I'll change my mind
I won't require you;
never my love, never my love.

How can you think love will end,
when I've asked you to spend your
whole life with me?

# posted by Tom @ 11:07 AM

Thursday, July 11, 2002

You want to talk "sports hero"?

Look first at Lance Armstrong, and then look no further.

# posted by Tom @ 4:38 PM
I wonder what would have happened if they had decided...

... to freeze Jesus' body instead of placing Him in the tomb?

# posted by Tom @ 9:35 AM
Cure for HIV?

Over at Mark Shea’s Blog he talks about an article that says that some researchers claim to have a cure in 5 years. He also speaks about a friend of his who said this would never happen. I have to agree with his friend. I’m a PhD candidate in Microbiology/Immunology (which includes studies in Virology) and I’m also what you would call a “gene jockey” (i.e.: molecular biologist). In the history of man, there has only been one virus that has ever been eradicated (that being smallpox), and smallpox ain’t HIV folks. Smallpox was easy to target and eliminate because it did not employ the immune evasion techniques that are the hallmark of HIV. It had stable epitopes (i.e.: targets) on the surface, which allowed for antibody production, making a vaccine highly effective. HIV has a penchant for changing the epitopes that are exposed on its surface (thanks to the inefficiency in the reverse transcriptase, which inserts mutations through the original sequence upon replication), making an antibody vaccine (which has been proposed) virtually impossible.

Do I hope they can do it? Yes.

Do I think they can do it? No.

My PhD revolves around the studying of a sexually transmitted disease, gonorrhoeae. There is also no vaccine for gonorrhea, and people always ask me when such a vaccine will be developed. I tell them that we already have the means to eradicate this disease and it’s 100% effective. They’re stunned when I say this, and then they ask me how this is possible.

My reply? Abstinence followed by marriage followed by monogamy.

Sometimes the hardest things to implement are the things that just make too much sense.

But you know what? HIV can be eradicated the same way nowadays. At least in the United States of America.

# posted by Tom @ 9:25 AM

Friday, July 05, 2002

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

Controversy At Hot Dog Eating Contest

Don't people have better things to worry about?

# posted by Tom @ 12:51 PM

Thursday, July 04, 2002

Respect the Flag

Happy 4th of July everyone.

# posted by Tom @ 2:10 PM

Wednesday, July 03, 2002

For those who...

... thought that appointing Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating as the chairman of this new laity oversight committee was a "Good Thing (tm)".

Guess again.

I'll touch on this subject again in a later blog... like when I can find something charitable about this man. The problem is, he's always opening his mouth and saying something really stupid.

Pr 17:28
Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.

# posted by Tom @ 10:49 PM

Tuesday, July 02, 2002

Say what?

Over at Verus Ratio, on the topic of the recent ruling against the death penalty, he states:

But here, the judge has set himself up as a legislature, overruling the expressed will of the vast majority of the American people, who view the death penalty as just and necessary.

If it truly is a majority, and I do not think it is any longer, the majority must be 51% (Yay) to 49% (Nay). More and more states are coming to the conclusion that the death penalty is not a deterrent, it is more costly and innocent people have been convicted. We do not yet know if an innocent person has been executed, but we know they have been convicted.

Personally, I feel it was the right decision, and I applaud the ruling. I know many others feel the same way. Perhaps if Verus Ratio put aside his desire for revenge, and saw the ruling in light of some Christian charity and mercy, he'd see the value in it.

# posted by Tom @ 10:26 AM

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