Daily Archives: April 27, 2009

St. Teresa of Avila on positive friendships

St. Teresa de Jesus says that it is good to pursue friendships with those who are more spiritually advanced.

“Love such persons as much as you like. They must be few, but the Lord does desire that ti be known when someone has reached perfection. You will be immediately told that speaking with him is unnecessary, that it is enough to have God. But a good means to having God is to speak with His friends, for one always gains very much from this” (Way of Perfection, Ch. 7, para. 4).

A cool website on the Jesus Rosary

"Oops" Pregnancy?

A popular straw man argument holds that Christians, and Catholics in particular, are “anti-sex.”

The reality, of course, is that we see sexuality as something sacred and exalted. Thus, the use of the term “Oops Pregnancy,” as in the title of this article from a Phoenix FOX affiliate, embodies exactly what we think is wrong with this culture, that sexuality could be treated so casually that one can have an “oops”.

As for the article itself, it concerns some selfish materialistic family with the ironic name of Lent, and why they are turning to “permanent contraception” so they can afford to send their four children to expensive private colleges.

Getting Candy from your pieta

Last weekend, the girls were playing. Gianna said something like, “Allie, here’s the candy from your pieta.”

As it happened, the pieta had just flashed on the religious pictures screen saver on our desktop, so we were a bit puzzled.

Mary asked, “Where did you learn the word pieta?”

Gianna said, “You know, when we had one a couple years ago.”

“What do you mean?” I asked

Gianna said, “You know, the thing that you hit, and the candy comes out of it?”

“Oh!” I said. “You mean a piñata! A pieta is a statue of Mary holding Jesus after he died. A ñ is a thing you hit and candy comes out.”

Gianna: “OK.”

I Told You So: Hate Speech Bill Passes Judiciary Committee

Tyrosine supplements may help ADHD

Commonweal writer believes that the ends justify the means

Commonweal columnist and Fordham professor Margaret O’Brien Steinfels has reprinted, verbatim, a letter from one Dennis O’Brien (any relation?) to Cardinal George, comparing Cardinal George to Polish anti-Semites before World War II, and implying that pro-lifers are racists.

“One may be opposed in general to abortion – I am, I believe that President Obama is also – and yet have compassion in specific cases. Something that Abp. Sobrinho of Brazil evidently did not have in the recent case of the nine year old raped by her stepfather”
How can you have compassion for murder?
Would Mr. O’Brien suggest compassion for the soldiers and CIA operatives who are engaging in torture?

“One may disagree about stem cell research but at least credit the motive of the research to cure intractable suffering. “
The ends do not justify the means. Why not credit the Bush Administration’s motive of wanting to prevent terrorism by engaging in torture?
What about compassion for those of us who want ethical cures?

Why doesn’t the Church issue some kind of condemnation of Commonweal? The magazine is nothing but satanic filth.

People who like _Star Trek V_

My wife pointed me out to the fact that one can click on one of the “interests” in the blogger profile to see a list of people who share that interest. In the process of testing it, I discovered that my blogger profile was inactive (sorry, Joy! Now I understand what you mean about no e-mail).

Anyway, I put down Star Trek V: The Final Frontier as one of my favorites. Then I clicked on the profile to see who else puts it down as a favorite movie.

You see, Star Trek V concerns the appearance of Spock’s heretofor unmentioned half-brother, Sybok. He’s a bit of a loon, in Vulcan terms, and doesn’t believe in total logic. Odd that he’s apparently a full-blood Vulcan, unlike his bro.

Well, Sybok is also unusual for a Vulcan in that he believes in God. And he has assembled this cult of galactic rejects who also believe in God (the weirdos!). In the second pilot for the series, Where No Man Has Gone Before (watch it on CBS.com!), the Enterprise is on a mission to explore outside the galaxy, but it discovers a Great Barrier. Sybok, in this film, insists that the Great Barrier is mostly psychological, that it poses no risk to a ship.

He is right. When he and his band of misfits commandeer the Enterprise, they pass through the Great Barrier. They encounter a being known as The One. He’s one of the various highly powerful yet merely preternatural beings that have surfaced on Star Trek. Apparently, a series of novels ties him into Q and some of the others.

Anyway, what makes the argument with “The One” different from all the others is that, everytime they encounter a godlike being, they argue against it from the presumption of atheism. This time, the tone of Kirk and McCoy is that there *is* a God, but “The One” ain’t Him.

For this reason, Gene Roddenberry dismissed the film and said it wasn’t “canon.” It is largely disliked by die hard Trekkies. So I was curious to see who else on Blogger likes it. I’m one of only 27 people who list it as a favorite film.

Most of them are, not surprisingly, Christians who like Star Trek. The ones who aren’t are, by and large, are big time New Agers and/or occultists, which also isn’t surprising.

When Country Supersedes Religion

Having been in Myrtle Beach for a few days last week, I got the chance to read the actual newspaper a bit. On Friday morning, the front page of the newspaper depicted those who were on the beach in spite of the fire. Allie’s comment: “Why are there naked people on the front of my newspaper?”

Wednesday’s paper had something a bit more offensive yet fascinating: an existential crisis by Leonard Pitts under the title “When Ideology Supersedes Country.”

You see, Mr. Pitts is seeing things from the other side now. I’d love to find a copy of the “Mallard Fillmore” I happened to see a few months ago: “All around the country, Volvos on college campuses are taking down their ‘Question Authority’ bumper stickers . . . and replacing them with ‘Respect the Office of the President.'”

For eight years, we’ve heard the most vile filth coming from the Left, including fantasies of assassinating former President George “Dubya” Bush (not counting the “Go to the theatre” joke, which I have heard applied to both Clinton and Bush, I have never heard a conservative seriously or unseriously ponder assassination of a Democrat president, yet somehow we’re labelled as being more hateful by liberals ranging from Al Franken to Archbishop Charles “Neocatechumenate Way is the future of the Church” Chaput).

Now, conservatives are unhappy, and Mr. Pitts is disgusted that people would put “ideology” above “country.” The people who talk about tolerance for ideas are saying that those of us who disagree with the vote of 29% of the American Public (54% of the 54% of the population who actually voted) are somehow alienating ourselves from “the country.”

It’s all part of the “You will agree with us or you will be silenced” rhetoric we heard from Michelle Obama in the campaign trail.

Pitts’ reflection is inspired by the sovereignty resolution by the state of Texas, and the comments by Gov. Rick Perry, suggesting the possibility of secession.
“That it is borderline traitorous for Perry to obliquely threaten it might be tried again goes without saying. That it is dangerously irresponsible in a nation where there are, in fact, goobers in the woods with guns, is likewise obvious. And no, I am not unaware of the legal theses which hold that any state has the right to leave the Union, though I tend to agree with Abraham Lincoln that the nation that would stand passively by and watch itself disintegrate is unworthy of the name.”
Why is it borderline traitorous? Why are we a “nation”? We have no culture, no common ethnic heritage. The United States of America is not a nation. It is, for all intents and purposes, an Empire.

What’s important, though, is this comment: “Country, after all, is supposed to be that which pulls us back together after everything else — politics, race, religion — has conspired to pull us apart.”
Aha! So Pitts believes that country supersedes religion. When it comes down to it, for a liberal, religious people must suppress our beliefs, and the demands our beliefs place on our lives, if “country” and “unity” demand it.

This is of course the very heresy for which the Catholic Church condemned freemasonry.

“In a sense, it feels as if secession has already occurred, except that it’s not geographical but, rather, what columnist Michael Gerson has dubbed, a ‘spiritual secession,’ a nation of extremes pulling away from the center, rejecting the very idea of common cause.”
Even more of the Masonic ideology: a “common cause,” vaguely defined, which calls for people to set aside their individual beliefs and differences.

Thankfully, the Myrtle Beach newspaper balanced this with a refreshing column by Walter Williams, also inspired by Perry’s comments, explaining how many states have reserved, upon ratifying the Constitution, the right to reject any or all Federal policies. He suggests that, while secession may be impractical, it is still perfectly in a State’s rights to reject a federal policy (as Gov. Mark Sanford is desperately trying to do in the case of the Obama’s multi-trillion dollar “Bankrupt our Country” plan).

I thought they wanted "population control"

Mad Cow Disease. Bird Flu. Now it’s Swine Flu.

I thought they wanted “population control,” but every time a new bug appears on the radar, the MSM start panicking about a “pandemic”.

Whatever happened to evolution? Survival of the fittest. Survive Swine Flu? You’re fitter. The species evolves.

Why care, if everything the liberals claim to believe is true?

Why should we impede the swine flu virus’s right to exist as a species?

In any case, it wouldn’t surprise me if God’s permissive will allowed a pandemic to hit the world that has collectively turned its back on Him yet againn.

If Holocaust Denial is a reason someone shouldn’t be a priest, what about denial of the history of the Church itself?

[NOTE: Point here is certainly not to excuse Bishop Williamsons’ notions. The connection is merely that many people have quite obviously taken issue with his false opinions of historical fact, and have said it is a reason he should not be in communion with the Catholic Church. Now here is a pastor of a church “in union with Rome” giving a homily challenging the very history of the Church itself, and I doubt the enemies of the Society of St. Pius X will care].

Well, it’s been 2 years. It’s been a good run. We have some great priests here in Columbia. Several very orthodox ones. So far, while I know certain parishes and pastors have liberal leanings, I have yet to be really bothered by anything I’ve heard in a homily.

OK, maybe that’s a factor of how few homilies I actually get to *hear*, but, nonetheless. . . .

Today the two year streak was broken by what is probably on the line of the worst homilies I’ve ever heard, certainly equalling the “I hope this Pope dies soon so we can get a new one who will get rid of canon law . . ..” trope I’ve heard so many times.

This just took the cake. Ironically, I had just come out of my Carmelite meeting, feeling very inspired and ready for Mass. Then this had to happen.

I left in the middle of it, so I don’t know if it got to where it was logically going. I don’t want to know. I couldn’t stand it if it did.

Msgr. Lehocky at St. Peter’s has raised red flags for me before. The parish has three things going for it: gothic architecture, a really good “traditional” music group (they regularly do polyphony, Latin, etc. at the Sunday morning Masses, though we usually don’t make it), and a very orthodox parochial vicar. But he named the parish center after Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, among other things.

So, tonight, he started off well, noting how 4 out of 7 Resurrection accounts in the Gospels include food. That could lead two ways, I thought: the importance of the Real Presence (“they knew Him in the breaking of the bread”) or the physical reality of the Resurrection.

But, no.

First red flag was when he talked about how significant it is to dine with others. He said how it’s one thing to see an important person you admire–“Let’s say Pope Benedict or President Obama”–in a crowd. Quite another, he said, to shake his hand or get his autograph. But what an honor to eat as his table! He returned to the example of President Obama, and what an honor it would be to have supper with him.

Then he began a step-by-step deconstruction of the Liturgy and, by implication, of the Eucharist Itself.

“You know, in the early Church, there were no churches. Mass was held in people’s homes. . . . ” The rest was a lecture on “communal meals” right out of Roger Cardinal Mahony’s playbook, full of outright lies and falsehoods about the history of the Church, and implicitly undermining the authority of the Church herself to “loose and bind”.

Nevermind the archaeological evidence of first century church buildings.

“It was usually held in the context of an evening meal. They got together to eat. They’d read short passages from Scripture and discuss them.”

Why were there ordained bishops and presbyters to preach the Scriptures if this was the case? Why were deacons and deaconesses specifically ordained to *go into people’s homes* and read the Scriptures and distribute communion if Liturgy was already in their homes?

He talked about how people found such a presence of Christ in these alleged dinner parties that they were converted, and they were converted in such numbers that the Church had to build buildings. “And they didn’t know how to build a church, so they based it off of Roman government buildings.” HUH?

How about “they based it off the Jewish temple”? How about “they based it off the synagogue”?

Then he said, “And they needed more room, so they kind of pushed the table back, to make room for more chairs.” WHAT?? They didn’t even sit in chairs! If you’re going to make this ludicrous claim to begin with, you can at least get the facts right. In Roman days, one reclined on something like a chaise lounge to eat.

“And since they moved the table back to the wall, the priest had to turn his back on the people.”
What about praying to the East, as both Jews and Muslims do as well??

“And the crowds got so big that they started to worry about people coming up to the altar, so thye put up barriers. That’s where altar rails came from.”
What about protecting the Sacred Mysteries???
What about keeping the Sacred Mysteries mysterious???

“And the priest didn’t have a microphone, so he just started mumbling the words in a language nobody understood.”
It was their official language!!! And everything else he’s saying–barriers, praying ad orientem, fixed altars–applies just as well to the Eastern Churches, which used the vernacular. In fact, in the Eastern CHurches, they use the Vernacular and the priest still prays parts of the Liturgy silently.

By this time, I really wasn’t even paying close enough attention, because I was turning my wheelchair back on, but he did a sweeping gesture towards the Tabernacle and said something like, “They gradually built up all of this, and all of this is completely not what Christ intended.”

That was the point where I turned my wheelchair around and left.

If it got any worse, I would’ve had to rend my garments.

Most Holy Trinity,Father, Son and Holy Spirit,I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences whereby He is offended. And through the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners. Amen.

Random Thought

I have a Bach CD with the most stirring rendition of the Davey and Goliath theme song. I wonder why that is. . . .

What makes people like Walter Williams, Alan Keyes, Laura Ingraham and Mother Angelica special

If there’s one thing liberals hate, it’s someone from one of their claimed constituencies having conservative beliefs.

There are many fine African American conservative thinkers out there, for example, ranging from Alan Keyes and Armstrong Williams to Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell (not to mention Justice Clarence Thomas). And liberals hate them. With a passion. They’re “Uncle Toms.”

Liberal Catholics say that the Church should be run by “the people.” Mother Angelica points out that she *is* the people: raised in poverty by an immigrant family, an unordained woman, no advanced degree . Suddenly, they say that we should be listening to theologians with degrees and not to uneducated peasant women.

Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham only got where they are because of their looks, they say. Liberals bring out the most misogynistic stereotpyes when it comes to conservative women, including that they slept their way to the top. As much as they despite Coulter and Ingraham, however, they treat people like Maggie Gallagher, Judie Brown, Janet Smith and Dawn Eden as beneath contempt.

I read a review recently–not sure if I blogged about it– of Oliver Stone’s W. The reviewer said the movie, in spite of itself, makes George Bush look really sympathetic, in part because it goes to such lengths to make Dick Cheney and Karl Rove out to be completely evil villains. Even more, though, the reviewer pointed out the filmmakers’ contepmt for Condoleeza Rice.

Liberals hate it when one of their demographics doesn’t goose-step for them. In my own case, I tried when I was a teenager to play to their “all teenagers are liberal card,” and was told, “You’re just an ignorant kid who’s been brainwashed.” Mary tried something similar: when her newspaper ran a glowing article on the Young Democrats at her high school, she wrote a letter to the editor pointing out that not all teenagers were liberal, and received a great deal of contempt from her classmates–including family members–for it.

When they said that Bush’s tax cuts “only helped the rich,” and that “$300 barely buys half a dress,” as one liberal columnist moaned, I would reply with facts on how Bush’s tax cuts helped my low-income family, and was told, “No one wants to hear your whining” or similar comments.

But the thing that struck me is this: yes, conservatives like to flock around those who express conservative beliefs while breaking a mold, just as much as liberals like to hate them. We love to point to anti-feminist women conservatives precisely because they answer NOW’s claims that all women are feminists. We point to Alan Keyes when they say that all blacks are Democrats, or that anyone who opposes Barack Obama is a racist.

But there’s still something else at work there. Often times, and maybe it’s because they have to try harder, these people are better conservatives than the white males. I mean, there are guys like George Will and Cal Thomas whom we sometimes overlook because they’re not as flamboyant as the Limbaughs and the Hannitys, and certainly Ann Coulter can give Limbaugh and Hannity a run for their money when it comes to making idiotic statements and putting political ideology above all else (as, for example, Mike Huckabee recently pointed out).

But there is something more eloquent about, say, Walter Williams and Alan Keyes than about Limbaugh and Hannity (maybe it’s that, unlike Limbaugh and Hannity, they have college degrees–doctorates, in fact).

I don’t just like Alan Keyes because he’s a conservative who happens to be black. I like him because he’s a Catholic who is consistent in his Catholic beliefs in the public sphere. I like him because he’s a conservative who doesn’t compromise to federalism when the Republicans are in power.

I like Maggie Gallagher not just because she’s a conservative and she’s a woman, but she’s a conservative woman who writes about marriage, morality and chastity. She does so as a single mom with a “past.” She does so in a way that challenges *both* parties for their complicity in the breakdown of the family. She’s willing to look past ideology and party to see where the anti-Catholic or anti-family wolves may be found under sheeps’ clothing. For example, she argued, against Republican conventional wisdom, that vouchers would give further incentive for religious schools to sink into apostasy, or her argument, against Bush, that the “marriage penalty” is a tax penalty for two-income families, and eliminating the “marriage penalty” would create a *new* “marriage penalty” for stay-at-home parents.

I was inspired to this thought process because Walter Williams calls his column “A Minority View,” and any white conservative who wrote an argument like this would be called a closet Klan member.