Monthly Archives: December 2008

Having an Advent Hedge

Back at our old townhouse in Fredericksburg, VA, there wasn’t much room for decorating. However, I realized during our first year there that we had exactly four bushes in our front hedge.
I remembered seeing pink Christmas lights at various Christmsa stores I’ve visited over the years and even at some of the department stores.

I wondered what purpose there would be in pink Christmas lights till I saw those four bushes:

An Advent Hedge!!

Instead of just putting generic colored lights on one’s front hedge, why not decorate in purple and pink, gradually adding lights through the weeks of Advent??

But, as Adrian Monk would say, “Here’s the thing . . .”
Suddenly, those formerly ubiquitous pink lights that were seemingly tacky *had* a purpose, and, of course, they were nowhere to be found, not even at Christmas stores. I asked, and they said they used to carry them, but not anymore. I found them online, but they were expensive, and the shpiping was more expensive than the lights.

For years, I searched and searched. I would substitute red lights ,or red and white lights, for pink. My mother-in-law found a set of pink bulbs at a craft store that was closing, but they weren’t enough for a a string, nad they weren’t compatible with any I had.
Then, this year, ironically, at Halloween time, I found them.

We went to the pumpkin patch at Harmon’s Christmas Tree Farm in Lexington, SC. They have a Christmas store on site, and the store carried *pink lights*!! Plus, they were having a 30% off sale, so I stocked up.

Mary, did you know?

“Mary, did you know that some blasphemous jerk would write a song about you?
Mary, did you know that thousands of ‘Christians’ would curse, deride and doubt you?
“Mary did you know that people who claim to follow the Bible literally would completely dismiss Luke 1:28 (how can anyone be “full of grace” who is in sin?) , Luke 1:42 (“blessed are you among women”), Luke 1:43 (“the mother of my Lord,” which, of course, in Hebrew, means God), Luke 1:45 (“blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled”) and 11:28 (Jesus echoes Elizabeth’s words and says that Mary is blessed because she heard the word of God and observed it), Luke 1:48 (“all generations shall call me blessed”), Luke 2:19 and 51 (“Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart”), Luke 2:34 (“and you yourself a sword shall pierce”), John 19:26-27 (Mary is our mother, too, and a beloved disciple takes Mary into his home).

Protestants take the few verses that vary on Luke 11:28 and Mk 3:34-35 as indicating that somehow Mary did *not* “hear the word of God and keep it,” yet that is clearly confirmed by the aforementioned verses in Luke 1 & 2. She *did* hear the word of God and keep it in her heart.

Many fundamentalists have tried to argue that the Mother of Jesus somehow strayed away from Him. I have been told that Mary was indeed a great sinner. Yet we see her standing by her Son at the Cross–not even off in the crowd, but near the Cross.

So, yes, Mark Lowry, Mary *did* know. Your little seemingly pious lyric is really an insult to the Theotokos, a contradiction of the Holy Bible, and a denial of the truth of the Immaculate Conception.

What’s worse, this song gets “performed” at many Catholic parishes, even at Mass, and people are offended when anyone points out that it is heretical.

Christmas shopping suggestions

Several years ago, when people asked what to get Allie for Christmas, we suggested some _VeggieTales_ titles.

At the family Christmas celebration, when the other kids were getting their toys, Allie was absolutely ecstatic over, as she put it, her “DVDVs!”

We like the kids getting religious kid show DVDs as presents because a) they’re sometimse more expensive than secular ones, b) (obviously) they help with the kids’ upbringing; c) it keeps them away from the secular garbage and d) DVDs dont’ contribute as much to our clutter problem as toys do.

Sadly, Big Idea Productions is in big trouble. Phil Vischer has reported that Big Idea’s current parent company, Entertainment Rights, has downsized Big Idea to *11* staff members. Even Kurt Heinecke, who’s been the composer since the beginning and an integral part of VeggieTales’ success, has been laid off. The total net worth of Entertainment Rights is now *less* than the worth of the original Big Idea when it went bankrupt in 2003 and was bought by Classic Media (which was later bought by ER).

Apparently, Tommy Nelson and Focus on the Family aren’t doing well, either. Our local Catholic book store, the St. Francis Catholic Shop, operates on a deficit.

We are living in a time when as Phil Vischer as prevoiusly reported, polls say that most teenagers think that “christian” means “homophobe”.
We are living in a time when the majority of Catholics supported the most pro-abortion president in history.
We are living in a time when the most pro-abortion candidate in history has been elected president of the United States, a man with ideological ties to Marxism, the New Age and Islam.
We are living in a time when the world is on the verge of an economic collapse to rival or exceed the Great Depression.
We are living in a time when “holiday” shoppers trample store employees to death and shoot each other in the check out lines.

In the spirit of Tossmas, why not eschew the secular retailers altogether? Instead of buying all the usual junk that people don’t really need, why not spend your Christmas shopping money at your local (or online) Catholic or Christian book store?

Buy the kids _VeggieTales_ DVDs . Buy SuperBook Vol. II (That’s what our kids got for St. Nicholas Day) or Vol. III (coming to the Hathaway house this Christmas) or its follow-up The Flying House.

The Donut Man’s ministry has taken a hit since he converted to Catholicism a few years back and lost his Evangelical fan base. Give some of his DVDs and CDs some support.

Subscribe to Netflix and watch many of the great Christian videos they have on their download service: so they’ll get more. Some of the best kids’ series (like _Cherub Wings_) and some of the best Catholic movies of all time (including _The Mission_, _The Song of Bernadette_, _The Fourth Wise Man_ and _The Scarlet and the Black_) are available for download through Netflix.

Buy some good Catholic DVDs for the adults in your life, like the many offerings in the Ignatius Catalog and the EWTN catalogue.

While you’re at it, consider a book or two. I saw my brother and his kids for the first time in several years a few weeks ago, so I bought them some books at the aforementioned St. Francis Shop. I told them they could gladly exchange them. One of the books was a Navarre New Testament. Turns out his teenaged daughter had just asked him for her own Bible. His younger daughter, who has previously expressed a desire to be a nun, loved the saints book I gave her.

Discussion with Gianna

Before gymnastics:
Gigi (age 4): “I think there will be a big feast at my gymnastics class!”
Me: “Why?”
Gigi: “Because Our Savior is coming!”

After gymnastics:
Gigi: “This girl at gymnastics kept jumping and yelling, ‘It’s Christmas! It’s Christmas!’ I told her it’s not Christmas yet; it’s Advent.”
Mary: “Do you know what Advent is?”
Gigi: “It’s when we wait for Jesus to get born!”

_The Simpsons_ on Christmas Commercialism


“In honor of the Birth of Our Savior, Try-N-Save is open all day Christmas”

Merry Tossmas!


Merry Tossmas!
Boycott stores that celebrate “the holiday(s)” and shop at the ones that recognize “Christmas”

RamuHanuKwanzMas!

A few years ago, I heard this tune on Glenn Beck’s radio show. I tried searching for it, but someone else has a similar parody called “HanuRamaKwanzMas,” which is not quite so biting in its satire.

Have a RamaHanuKwanzmas, it’s the PC Time of Year!

Every holiday displayed –because of morbid fear.

Happy RamaHanuKwanzmas, yeah we know the name is queer.

Oh, good golly, can’t offend nobody on [BEEP]mas this year!

Oh, no! The eskimos need a holiday! We’ll get right back to you

When we think up one for gays!

Happy RamaHanukwanzmas, what a time for winter cheer!

But if you see a Christmas Tree, you’ll hear Christmas jeer!

Screw you, ACLU, for winning the $12 billion in your lawsuit

Versus Santa and his elves!

Have a RamaHanuKwanzmas, and everyone must now adhere.

So, by golly, don’t hang up that holly on [BEEP]mas this year!”

Been busy and sick

Updates have been scarce because I’ve had a very busy term, and I haven’t been in the best of health. Way behind in my work because of it all. Plus, the election results were just too darn depressing to comment.

Had pneumonia for at least a few weeks in November. On Thanksgiving, found out I have a “nodule” in my lung–may be a side effect of the pneumonia; may be something worse. Also found out my aneurysm has grown 4 mm since June.

So, it’s been a tough time.

Bishops Vying for Promotions?

We’ve heard it all: IRS tax exemptions, “seamless garment,” etc.

The Bishops have used many excused for their support of pro-abortion Democrats and their poor commitment to the pro-life cause. I heard a priest last spring give a talk in which he accused the USCCB of giving millions to support abortion. I thought that priest was a crackpot. Then I heard about ACORN and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. (That same priest talked about the “Amero”; my wife’s brother-in-law works in the banking and finance industry, and told my mother-in-law that the banks are talking about changing our currency to the “Amero”).

For years, we’ve seen bishops like Raymond Burke, Fabian Bruskewitz and Robert Vasa characterized as “rogues” and “hard-liners” and the like, even when they’ve been vindicated by the Vatican.

Archbishop Burke even got promoted to being Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, and the Catholic Left tried to say this was an attempt to silence him by putting him in a job “nobody’s ever heard of”. Quite the contrary: we’ve heard plenty from him since he moved to the Vatican, and he’s been *very* outspoken, condemning the Democratic Party, as a whole, by name, among other things. Cardinal Stafford–who, as a speaker, is one of the most boring people I’ve ever heard–has called Obama’s election “disruptive” and “apocalyptic.”

My wife had the misfortune of listening to CNN at a doctor’s office a few weeks ago, and they were talking about Cardinal Stafford’s comments. Playing the actual talk–in which Stafford spoke very calmly and reasonably–the anchors called it a “rant” and demanded that he apologize. Later, they talked about a “speech” by Al Franken–in which Franken was screaming and truly ranting–and were praising him.

Meanwhile, Pope Benedict has been taking his time filling empty Sees, then appointing vibrant young bishops who are very actively pro-life (including several young bishops who participate in Planned Parenthood prayer vigils) and actively support the Traditional Latin Mass (including attending and even celebrating it themselves).

Suddenly, many of the “John Paul II” bishops who were always “better than most” and “really cool” but never seemed to take the “hardline” approach of the Bruskewitzes and Burkes, are suddenly getting backbones.
Cardinal George began the USCCB convention in November by saying that abortion demolishes the common good, that we cannot say that “common good issues” are proportionate to abortion.

Cardinal O’Malley stated in the _Boston Globe_ that Barack Obama’s support of Planned Parenthood is hypocritical, since Planned Parenthood exists to eliminate blacks, and he also talked about the fundamental importance of the Right to Life in our society.

Archbishop Chaput (“rhymes with ‘slap you,'” according to a blog commentor I read who knows him) has issued some very strong statements about the election and about Joe Biden in particular.

Part of this is because of the absolutely pro-abortion stance of Barack Obama and the threat he poses with FOCA and the efforts to take away the conscience rights of medical professionals and hospitals.

Yet, 16 years ago, we also had a president elected who vowed to pass FOCA as a top priority, and the USCCB called him a fine candidate because of his support for “universal health care” and such, and because he was educated at Georgetown.

And part of it is because Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden threw down the gauntlet with the interviews in which they both claimed that Catholics do not have to oppose abortion or to believe that life begins at conception.

But we’ve heard Catholic politicians make statements like that–and far worse–before. Again, Obama’s Catholic “outreach” team said collectively in theiir response to Bill Donohue that they support artificial contraception, but no one responded to *that*.

No, the real reason these bishops are getting backbones is that they can read the “signs of the times” in the Church herself. The guys the USCCB tried to marginalize are getting the attention of Rome–and getting promoted.

Also, while Burke gets more press, let’s not forget that Archbishop Levada–while there are a few controversies about him–actively sued the City of San Francisco to avoid giving benefits to homosexual couples and to avoid having to provide contraceptive coverage on diocesan health insurance.

And don’t forget sending Bishop Baker to Birmingham–giving EWTN a bishop who is an ally.

Vatican: Kmiec is a "traitor"

Let’s rehash the chronology a bit.

2007: pro-choice “Catholic” Rudolph Giuliani and formerly pro-choice (until he decided to run for president) Mormon Mitt Romney are considered, along with ultra-liberal John McCain (Pat Buchanan: “Everything Bush did wrong, he supported; everything Bush did right, he opposed”; Rush Limbaugh: “McCain’s entire campaign was a concession speech!”) are somehow pre-ordained as the front-runner Republican candidates. Pro-life “leaders” scramble to pick which of these guys to endorse (though a few stand by Brownback) while several authentic pro-life candidates (Brownback, Paul and Huckabee in particular) are completely ignored.

Suddenly, we see pro-life Republican Catholics using the same arguments that Catholic Democrats have used for the past 30-some years: “there are more issues than just abortion”; “better to reduce than ban”; “social programs”; “faith shouldn’t dictate politics”.

So, McCain wins the nomination. Catholic legal scholar, Republican and former Reagan employee Douglas Kmiec, who’d previously endorsed Mitt Romney, writes an article endorsing Barack Obama as the Catholic more truly in keeping with “Catholic” values, including the audacious claim that Obama is “pro-life.”

Meanwhile, Obama already has a “Catholic Outreach” team staffed by the usual suspects: Kennedys, Joe Biden, etc. Bill Donohue issues an open letter saying that these people on Obama’s Catholic committee do not authentically represent the Catholic Church. The members, acting as a group but not “officially” for the campaign, respond with an open letter calling Donohue judgemental and hypocritical, and saying that , among other things, they support Obama because he wants to prevent abortion by encouraging artificial birth control(!)

So, in the midst of this battle, a staunch Republican writes a glowing endorsement of Obama, and the media eat it up.

Shortly thereafter, Kmiec publishes *another* article, saying he attended a Mass where the priest preached against Obama and then denied him Communion for his endorsement of Obama.

Worse, a prominent, normally conservative, Canon Lawyer and Blogger, Ed Peters, wrote an article supporting Kmiec in this matter: not supporting his position on Obama, but saying that individual voters should not be denied Communion for their political choices (politicans being another story). I wrote directly to Peters myself, arguing that Kmiec’s public endorsement and article constitute actively campaigning for Obama, and that to actively campaign for someone who has vowed to pass the Freedom of Choice Act as his top priority is to campaign for the FOCA, whatever Kmiec’s motivations may be. Peters called me an illiterate hothead.

Kmiec went on to become Obama’s top apologist among Catholics. Deal Hudson later admitted that he was at the Mass in question and that it was a mass for Legatus. He tried to stay out of the fray at first, due to his friendship with Kmiec, but he and Kmiec eventually exchanged an increasinly heated open letter/column-based argument.

Other reports indicated that it was a permanent deacon, not a priest, that the Mass took place in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and that the cleric (whichever kind he was) was disciplined by Cardinal Mahony(!)

As Kmiec increasingly became involved in the Obama campaign and talked pleasantly about his “fruitful conversations” with the candidate, many suggested that Kmiec was vying for a Vatican ambassadorship or perhaps even a federal court nomination. Admittedly, if Kmiec has not truly gone too far to the Devil, it might be interesting if he were actually appointed to the Courts by Obama, but he has a snowball’s chance in Hell of that actually happening.

So, a report comes from Lifesitenewes that the Vatican is rejecting any notion of Kmiec being made Ambassador to the Vatican. While the Vatican certainly cannot tell any nation whom to appoint as Ambassador, it *can* revoke its concordat with that nation, as it did with France when France tried to send an openly homosexual ambassador.

An unnamed Vatican State Department official said that the Vatican values its relationship with the US, but that such relationships are handled through many channels, just one of them diplomatic. American clergy at the Vatican, like Cardinal Stafford and Archbishop Burke, along with laity like Carl Anderson, are the people through whom the Vatican channels its most important relations with America, and, says the article, these people view Kmiec as a “traitor.” It is far more important that any potential ambassador be acceptable to the likes Stafford, Burke and Anderson than that the Vatican have an official diplomatic relationship with Barack Obama.

All of this was said in response to an article in _America_ suggesting the ambassadorship. That article characterized those of us who criticize Kmmiec as part of the “right wing fringe.” :

The official also explained, “Those who the article refers so disrespectfully as ‘extremists on the right,’ or ‘the far right political fringe,’ are the serious, loyal Catholics [the Vatican] precisely takes into account, because they are the ones who are there when the Church needs them.”

So there, Ed Peters!

Been busy and sick

Updates have been scarce because I’ve had a very busy term, and I haven’t been in the best of health. Way behind in my work because of it all. Plus, the election results were just too darn depressing to comment.

Had pneumonia for at least a few weeks in November. On Thanksgiving, found out I have a “nodule” in my lung–may be a side effect of the pneumonia; may be something worse. Also found out my aneurysm has grown 4 mm since June.

So, it’s been a tough time.