Saturday, March 29, 2003

Quote from the front lines...

"When I go home, people will want to treat me like a hero, but I'm not," he told the Times. "I'm a Christian man. If I have to kill the other guy, I will, but it doesn't make me a hero. I just want to go home to my wife and kids."

Read the article.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

This is not the way...

... to meet women.

Someone is feeling foolish...

After being trapped in their bed. Oy!

Tribunal of Mercy

That is the name of an interesting article over at First Things dot com.

The opening paragraph reads as follows:
It is surprising, given the events of the last year, to imagine that some members of the Roman Catholic clergy actively seek to be ordained a bishop, and even regard their path towards this office as an ecclesiastical “career.” St. Augustine regarded his ordination as a grave danger to his salvation, because he knew he would have to answer to God for the souls of all those in his diocese. Pope Gregory the Great, worrying about the ease with which the sins of a bishop are magnified into scandal, argued that “no one does more harm to the Church than he who, having the title or rank of holiness, acts evilly.” The widespread criticism of the bishops’ handling of sexual abuse by Catholic priests ought to bring home to everyone the tremendous burden that comes with the office of bishop.

Saturday, March 22, 2003

Oh no. They're surrendering at us from all sides!

Hopefully this will continue to happen throughout Gulf War II. The less life lost, the better.

Can you say 'crazy'?

I can... Clonaid.

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Water, Wine and Blood. Moses and Jesus Christ.

Saw an interesting conversation on Catholic Convert which was talking about who performed the greater miracle: Moses turning water into blood, or Jesus turning water into wine.

Exodus 7:17 : Thus says the LORD, "By this you shall know that I am the LORD: behold, I will strike the water that is in the Nile with the rod that is in my hand, and it shall be turned to blood...

Through Moses, God proves that He is Lord by turning the waters of the Nile into blood. This "proof" for the benefit of the Egyptians, by God, is somewhat ironic. Blood is symbolic for life, yet this miracle results in the contamination of all water supplies in Egypt, making it unuseable, unable to sustain life. Because of their disbelief, the water, now blood, becomes a curse rather than a blessing for the Egyptians.

The Gospel of John is the one that Catholics turn to the most for the teaching of the doctrine of the Real Presence. It should be known that John is the only one that covers the wedding at Cana, where Jesus turns water into wine. Four chapters later, Jesus is talking about how His blood becomes real drink. Taking these comments by Jesus, as related by John, and reading the Last Supper discourse, we see Jesus fulfilling His comments by the institution of the Eucharist.

In John 6, it is interesting to point out that Jesus makes mention of the manna, a physical reality, sent by God to sustain the Jews. Jesus however trumps the manna, saying that something even greater than that food which sustained a nation for fourty years, was now present... His own flesh and blood.

So what do we have?

Moses : Water -> Blood
Manna -> Food

Jesus: Water -> Wine -> Blood
Body -> Food

The Real Presence was typed in the Old Testament.

Yes, but! Moses turning the water into blood was a curse upon Egypt! Jesus' blood is the exact opposite, it's supposed to give life!

True, but look at Jesus' words in John 6: 53-54:
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

If we tie this into St. Paul's comments on the Eucharist in 1 Corinthians 11:29:
For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.

Truly, those who disbelieve will suffer a fate similar to the Egyptians.

Prayer for our United States soldiers

Saint Michael, Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray. And you, Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into Hell Satan and the other evil spirits who prowl the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.

St. Michael, protect our soldiers who are abroad, defending our country. Be it in Afghanistan, Iraq, North Korea or elsewhere, watch over them and guide them. Give them courage to obey their orders and do their duty and if it be the Lord's will, to return home safely.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

The end is near!

At least according to the few, the proud and the paranoid. Anyways, don't things seem to be lining up quite handily?

First we're about to bomb the living heck out of Iraq and we all know that this is going to precipitate World War III.

Second, a mystery plague is sweeping across the world. Granted, it's only infected maybe 300 people so far, a far cry from the millions people would expect with Armageddon around the corner, but it's a start, no?

I'm not one to go reading the Apocalypse into every little thing that is going on in the world today. I figure that the plague that wiped out about half of Europe's population in the Dark Ages as compared to some chicken flu killing a dozen people in Hong Kong, would have been more worthy of a "End Times" moment. Yet, we're all still here.

Personally? We should be living every day as it is were our last anyways. Do you know when the Lord is going to return? If not, shouldn't you be prepared? We don't know when he's going to return, probably because He didn't even know when He was going to return. So why do we keep standing at the door waiting for Him to come through the gate into our yard? This time is better spent cleaning your house for when He does come a-knockin!

What the?!?!

Was reading this article and something jumped out at me...

Different colored faceplates could top $1 billion in annual sales worldwide, researchers say. A typical faceplate costs between $15 and $25.

One billion dollars?!?! Yes, our society is completely vain when someone will spend fifteen to twenty five dollars on a piece of plastic to replace another piece of plastic which is working just fine. I guess this is yet another example of why our society is headed to "hell in a handbasket"... or maybe over a cell phone line.

Pathetic, really pathetic.

Fifteen dollars goes a long way in terms of food for third world nations. Heck I can eat a whole weeks worth of dinners on fifteen dollars and I'm italian!

God grant us Your grace and forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of hell. You certainly know we're going to need it (Your grace that is... not hell of course)! Amen!

Monday, March 17, 2003

Archbishop Salatka, Requiescat In Pace

Received the following email this afternoon:

Archbishop Salatka died peacefully this morning at Saint Ann Retirement Center. Archbishop Beltran and Father Monahan immediately offered the prayers for the dead and blessed his body.

Tomorrow Archbishop Salatka will lie in state here at the Pastoral Center beginning at 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. On Wednesday he will lie in state at the cathedral from 10 a.m. until the wake. The wake service will be held at 7:00 p.m. at the cathedral. The Mass of Resurrection will be Thursday at 2 p.m. with burial in Resurrection Cemetery Chapel following.

As a tribute to Archbishop Salatka and in gratitude for his role as our shepherd, the archdiocesan offices (of Oklahoma City) will be closed all day Thursday.

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

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


For information on the Archbishop Emeritus of Oklahoma City go here.

Sunday, March 16, 2003

A classic...

Interesting article at CNN that states that cows like classical music over rock and roll.

Quite educational. Never even knew there was an American Society of Mammalogists. Try saying mammalogists three times really fast. I dare ya.

Saturday, March 15, 2003

While we're on the topic...

Allow me to provide the following and then ask a question.

First some background on the term "partial birth abortion" which is a lay-man term, not a medical term.

"D&X" procedures, an abbreviation of "dilate and extract," or
"Intact D&E," or
"Intrauterine Cranial Decompression" abortions.

The terms "Partial Birth Abortion" and "D&X" were recently created by pro-life groups when the procedure became actively discussed at a political and religious level. We will use the medical term in this essay.

The procedure is performed during the fifth month of gestation or later. The woman's cervix is dilated, and the fetus is partially removed from the womb, feet first. The surgeon inserts a sharp object into the back of the fetus' head, removes it, and inserts a vacuum tube through which the brains are extracted. The head of the fetus contracts at this point and allows the fetus to be more easily removed from the womb.

The exact number of D&Xs performed is impossible to estimate with accuracy. Many states do not have strict reporting regulations.

One often quoted figure was that over 1000 D&Xs had been performed annually in New Jersey. From this number, many inflated national totals were estimated. But the New Jersey figure appears to be an anomaly. A single physician in a single NJ hospital had been ignoring the regulations of the state medical association and performing D&Xs in cases not involving the potential death or serious disability of the woman.

Ron Fitzsimmons, executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, estimated (Nightline program, 1997-FEB-26) a total of 3,000 to 4,000 annually in the US -- about ten a day.

Pro-life groups uncovered an internal memo by Planned Parenthood which estimated that up to 60 (0.24%) of the more than 25,000 abortions performed annually in Virginia were D&Xs. If this figure is accurate nationally, then there would be up to 2,880 D&X procedures per year in the U.S.

My question: Pro-choice advocates, who'd like to see this procedure remain legal, say that this procedure is obviously done to 'protect the life of the mother'. Of course, to a woman considering an abortion she isn't a mother because mother's give birth to babies and this is not a baby, it's an inconvenience... but I am digressing.

Anyways, do people realize that with this procedure, the baby is already ~80% delivered already? The entire body has been passed through the birth canal except for the head. If this procedure is done to 'protect the life of the mother', does passing the head through the birth canal pose a considerably higher risk to the mother than what happened with the rest of the body passing through the birth canal?

I find this extremely hard to believe.

Can anyone explain what appears to be this non-sensical justification? For the life of me, I can't see how the mother can be put in any higher risk at this point in the procedure.

Message Board Wisdom

On a message board thread at Christian Forums dot com entitled Partial Birth Abortion banned by Senate there was a post by a Catholic poster (who goes by the screen name of Wolseley) on the second page which puts the entire issue of abortion in perspective.

He said, and I quote:

Legalized abortion (any kind, partial-birth or not) is basically the same thing as the Nuremberg Laws tied in with the Wannsee Conference.

In both cases, one segment of the population has been declared "not human" and therefore it's licit to destroy them. In the case of the Nuremberg Laws/Wannsee Conference it was Jews, in the case of abortion it's unborn children.

The business about the danger to the mother's health is a red herring. First, if they actually believe their own propaganda, she isn't carrying a child, so therefore she's not a mother. Second, most medical authorities agree that outside of necropsic pregnancy, the cases of a baby in utero being enough of a threat to the mother's health to require an abortion are small to non-existant.

So, we have another parallel: in the case of the Nuremberg Laws/Wannsee Conference, it was Lebensraum for the Germans; in the case of abortion, it's the convenience of the woman who doesn't want to be bothered with the child.

In either case, one group of human beings has to die, so that another group of human beings won't have to be bothered with them. The easiest way to do this is simply to declare that the first group of human beings aren't really human beings at all---they're something else entirely, and so it's therefore morally acceptable to kill them.

It's amazing what becomes acceptable when a segment of the population is declared to be something other than human beings. Suddenly laws don't apply to them any more---you can murder them, and it's legal, because that's not a baby, it's a fetus, or a blob of tissue; and Jews aren't people, they're subhumans.

You just have to be careful that you don't end up being in the next group to classified as something other than human (or something less than "convenient"), that's all. The Nazis started out with Jews and worked their way up to Poles, Slavs, Gypsies, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, the insane, the handicapped, and the chronically ill. We started out with unborn children and have worked our way up to halfway-birthed children and the chronically ill and the elderly uninsured in Oregon.

Once you declare one portion of your population free to be liquidated, no portion of the population is safe; that's been demonstrated.

So: who's next?

Indeed... who is next? Abortion is just the tip of the iceberg folks. It is a clear manifestation that life, at its most basic, most fundamental levels, is no longer respected.

Why is it...

... that every actor and musician thinks we want to know what their opinion is on politics? In the latest instance of Musician Ego and Extravagant "I am Extra-Important and You Must Hear What I Have to Say on Every Issue"-ism we have the Dixie Chicks saying they are "ashamed that President Bush is from Texas". Of course, when the backlash came down in spades, they quickly backtracked, indicating that it isn't really "all about politics" but rather it's really "all about money".

To justify herself, Maines said : ... My comments were made in frustration, and one of the privileges of being an American is you are free to voice your own point of view ...

Yah, and one of the priviledges of being an American is that I don't have to buy or listen to any of your crap anymore either. Stick to music Ms. Maines, you make a horrible politician, not that your music was much better IMNSHO.

Chesterton-ian Wisdom

Mr. [Bernard] Shaw cannot understand that the thing which is valuable and lovable in our eyes is man -- the old beer-drinking, creed-making, fighting, failing, sensual, respectable man. And the things that have been founded on this creature immortally remain; the things that have been founded on the fancy of the Superman have died with the dying civilizations which alone have given them birth. When Christ at a symbolic moment was establishing His great society, He chose for its cornerstone neither the brilliant Paul nor the mystic John, but a shuffler, a snob, a coward -- in a word, a man. And upon this rock he has built His Church, and the gates of Hell have not prevailed against it. All the empires and the kingdoms have failed, because of this inherent and continual weakness, that they were founded by strong men and upon strong men. But this one thing, the historic Christian Church, was founded on a weak man, and for that reason it is indestructible. For no chain is stronger than its weakest link.


Remembering our most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, the Mother of God and Ever-Virgin Mary with all the Saints, let us commend ourselves and one another, and our whole life to Christ our God.

O gentle Protectress of Christians, unfailing Mediatrix before the Creator, do not despise the prayerful voices of sinners; but, in your goodness, hasten to assist us, who trustfully cry out to you: "Inspire us to prayer, and hasten to hear our supplication. Intercede always, Mother of God, in behalf of those who honor you."

Mothers cannot be virgins, nor virgins be mothers; but in you, O Mother of God, both virginity and motherhood were present. Therefore, all the people of the earth unceasingly extol you.

Today the Virgin is present in the Church and with the armies of Saints invisibly prays to God for us. The Angels worship with the Archangels and the Apostles rejoice with the Prophets, because in our behalf, the Mother of God prays to the Eternal God.

It is truly right to call you blessed, O Theotokos: you are ever-blessed and all-blameless and the Mother of our God. Higher in honor than the Cherubim and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim, you gave birth to God the Word in virginity. You are truly Mother of God: you do we exalt.

-Prayer from the Byzantine Liturgy

Friday, March 14, 2003

By the way...

I've been seriously under the weather lately and have not been in the mood to do much of anything, let alone blog. I apologize for my absence but I do hope to return to a steady blogging rate in the near future. Thanks folks!

Ecclesiastes 7:12
For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money; and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it.

I suppose I'm not very wise today. All week I've been hearing on the radio and on television about this wonderful sale going on at the State Fair. Supposedly they would be selling all sorts of electronic equipment at prices that were simply unbelievable. What caught my eye the most however were the Playstation2 games that would be on sale for $12.99. For those people who have a PS2, they know that this is 1/2 to 1/3 of the price of your usual game. I couldn't wait to get there and buy three or four games. What a bargain! Seemed to good to be true. So today, instead of going to lunch, I hopped into my car and drove down to the State Fairgrounds to get in line to get into this wonderful electronics sale. Like a hundred or so other people, I happily ponied up my dough (6 bucks) to just walk into the building.

First stall in the exhibit? The Playstation booth. I searched and searched the games but they all said $25 ( 2 for $45... what a deal! NOT! ). I wasn't the only one miffed as I overheard several people grousing about how they couldn't find these twelve dollar games. Finally, convinced this was a case of false advertising, I located a manager and told them the problem. They took me to the owner of the booth who then pointed me to this obscure table over in the far corner. On it sat two games, games that in stores sold for under 10 dollars, labeled $12.99.

Sheesh. I walked out in disgust.

A fool and his money are quickly parted. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I hope I never fall for something like this ever again. If it's too good to be true, chances are... it is.

Thursday, March 06, 2003

Light blogging today...

I've been feeling a bit under the weather lately, coming down with something, I don't know what. So, as that being the case, I'm going to cut my loses today and head off to bed early (around 3pm early if I can manage it). If I blog anything today, it's going to be soon. :)

Monday, March 03, 2003

Lent is fast approaching...

Fasting on Fridays (and Ash Wednesday) is rather simple. With that said however, it is often forgotten or overlooked. In my opinion, the fast is as much a sacrifice as it is a reminder of just how lucky we are. On a day of fasting, we are called to have two small meals (smaller portions than usual) and then one regular sized meal (like you'd usually have). In between these meals you should refrain from snacks or goodies (no candy, soda, etc). You should try to drink water only in between meals. As far as the meals go, use your judgement. On days of fasting they should not contain meat (this covers pork and poultry) but you may have fish. These days are not about extravagance so having a two small meals and then splurging on a huge tuna steak at night is sort of self-defeating. Be frugal. It's but one day of the week.

Perhaps an example might help illustrate a typical day of fasting:

Breakfast - An english muffin.
Lunch - tuna fish sandwich.
Dinner - fish sticks and french fries.

If you get overly hungry in between those meals, drink plenty of water, it'll help keep you full.

Not a whole lot of fanfare right? Plus, if you keep track of how much money you saved by eating light on friday, when you go to the Stations of the Cross for that week, drop that money into the alms box and then go and pray for those people.

Remember, it is as much about contemplation and thanksgiving (trust me, after you've fasted you'll be thankful of what you regularly take for granted) as it is about sacrifice.

Sunday, March 02, 2003

... one another ...

I had the pleasure to attend the seventh annual In the Father's Footsteps, Catholic Men's Conference of Oklahoma on March 1st. It was a pleasure to attend and to see so many men (well over 500) on fire for the Lord. The second talk of the day was Steven Ruda, a captain in the Los Angeles Fire Department. His talk was entitled Finding God in Tragedy. So, where might we find God in those circumstances? Mr. Ruda would say that we find it in each other. He touched on a very interesting point, and one I had never made myself. Just check how many times the New Testament tells us to act with "one another"... why? Because we are all the Body of Christ, our Christian lives are based on a community.

So, let us look at some of these "one anothers"....

1. John 13:14 - If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.
2. John 15:12 - This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
3. Romans 12:10 - ... love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor.
4. Romans 12:16 - Live in harmony with one another...
5. Romans 14:13 - ... let us no more pass judgment on one another ...
6. Romans 15:5 - ... live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus ...
7. Romans 15:7 - Welcome one another, therefore, as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
8. Romans 15:14 - ... instruct one another.
9. Romans 16:16 - Greet one another with a holy kiss.
10. 2 Corinthians 13:11 - Mend your ways, heed my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.

There are many more exhortations, made by Paul, James, Peter and John to the same extent, enough to write a few blog entries on. However, shouldn't this suffice? Do we follow this advice, passed down by the Apostles themselves? How are we to find Christ in one another, if we don't make Him available in these very ways ourselves?

The Lord and His Mercy

I have been giving the following verse some thought:

First of all, then, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity. This is good and pleasing to God our savior, who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth. - 1 Timothy 2:1-4 (NAB)

If one reads the NAB notes on these verses, they see that it states the following : This marked insistence that the liturgical prayer of the community concern itself with the needs of all, whether Christian or not, and especially of those in authority, may imply that a disposition existed at Ephesus to refuse prayer for pagans. In actuality, such prayer aids the community to achieve peaceful relationships with non-Christians (1 Tim 2:2) and contributes to salvation, since it derives its value from the presence within the community of Christ, who is the one and only savior of all (1 Tim 2:3-6). The vital apostolic mission to the Gentiles (1 Tim 2:7) reflects Christ's purpose of universal salvation.

Now, compare that verse with the phrase There is no salvation outside the Catholic Church.

Now, there is no doubt that I believe both the Scriptures and this belief issued by the Catholic Church. However, how do the two go together? According to the Catechism, our non-Catholic Christian brothers and sisters are members of the Catholic Church, albeit separated, by baptism. That they contain the Truth, though in various phases of incompleteness, is evident by their fruits. So I'm not so much worried about them as I am about those who are not Christian.

Which is where Paul's comments to Timothy come into play. Are we as Catholics, responsible for the salvation of those who do not know Jesus Christ? Are we to pray for them, that God might have mercy on them and judge them based not on their ignorance, but on our own belief, given vicariously on their behalf?

I think, to be Catholic, is a greater burden than to not be Catholic. Finding ourselves in the Church established by Christ on Pentecost is a great honor, it is also a great responsibility. I don't say this out of pride, I say this out of concern for both myself and other Catholics. Are we going to be held to a higher standard come judgement day? The answer may very well be "Yes".

How so?

Take the parable of the servants and the talents in Matthew 25:14-30. There are three servants given talents. One was given five, one two and one one talent. What if the one given the largest sum of money is the Catholic Church? Do we not have a greater responsibility then, as opposed to the ones that have less?

Luke 12:48 (RSV) - Every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required...

I look at the Catholic Church and I see that we have been given much. I have no doubt then that much is required of us. I believe it is our duty to pray for those who do not know Jesus Christ, and those who may never have that opportunity. Can we afford to fail them, and if we should not fail them, does failing them also mean we have failed ourselves and more importantly, failed God?

Interesting Justice

Appears that at least a couple of judges are turning to what can be described as nothing but "old skool" justice... duct tape and sandwich boards.

Where Would I Be?
by: Cake

I've been waiting for so long
I've been hoping your love's not gone
Houses are sliding in the mud
Rivers are raging in your blood

Where would I be without your love?
Where would I be without your arms around me?

You were to be the only one
If I knew you I would not run
You have been cloudy, distant, dark
I'm thinking of Noah and the ark

Where would I be without your love?
Where would I be without your arms around me

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