Monthly Archives: May 2011

Larry King and Tavis Smiley are Racists

I happened to hear a few moments of the _Tavis Smiley Show _ on PBS, in an installment where the host was “turning the tables” and having special guest Larry King interview him on his own show about his upcoming book.

Smiley was making a very good point about, as he puts it, “failing up”–turning incidents of failure into opportunities–and gave the example that our abortionist-in-chief, Barack Obama, “failed his way up” by losing some elections.  Then King notes, “Plus, he kind of won by good luck because he had a terrible opponent,” and Smiley agrees, “Yeah, he did have a terrible opponent.”

Now, of course, to start with, Obama’s opponent in the 2004 Illinois Senate race was the disgraced Jack Ryan, ex-husband of _Star Trek_ star Jeri Ryan, who resigned from both the election and political office because of a very outrageous sex scandal.   However, his actual opponent in the election was former Ambassador Alan Keyes, Ph.D., who is of course one of my personal political heroes.  Dr. Keyes started the whole “birther” movement in that election in a notorious debate moment (later suppressed by the MSM) where he pointed out that Obama did not meet the requirements for the presidency because he wasn’t a natural born citizen, and Obama said, “Yes, but that’s irrelevant because I’m not running for president.”   Keyes also famously said that Jesus would not vote for Barack Obama, and no Christian could in good conscience vote for Obama, because Obama was not just “pro-choice” but opposed Born Alive Protection, something that even Hillary Clinton and NARAL are at least “neutral” on.  Any regular reader of this blog should know all this background, but it bears repeating.

So, either Smiley and King don’t consider Keyes to have been Obama’s “real” opponent,” or else they consider Keyes a “terrible opponent.”  Why?

This gets to the reason why Keyes has never won an election.  He is labelled a “bad candidate” by the media, constantly, and the good Republicans listen to their media masters just like they do about every Republican candidate who has any convictions and doesn’t suit the needs of the liberal media.

They cannot tolerate the idea that an African American man is a pro-life, constitutional strict constructionist conservative.  Hence, they are racists.


Treatise Against Sedevacantism II: Bad Hermeneutics

The problem with Sedevacantism is it undermines every Catholic apologetic versus Protestantism or Orthodoxy. When it comes to considering the questions of Orthodoxy and Protestantism, a Catholic points out that the Catholic Church is the most truly “universal” form of Christianity, and the most truly evangelical. Protestant sects continually divide over every dispute. They have no sense of authority other than the “book.” They are very provincial. Orthodoxy is equally provincial, but doesn’t win converts. Only the Catholic Church has the full sense of what Christianity should be. If the sedevacantists are right, she doesn’t.

Most importantly, if the Seat is vacant, then where is our standard of authority? As Catholics, we are to see the primary authority not in any book but in the living authority of the occupant of the Chair of St. Peter. Sedevacantists are textual fundamentalists: they look at the pre-Vatican II texts, and the Vatican II texts, and they balk at any apparent contradiction. Rather than considering historical context. For example, Pius XII was condemning very specific things that were going on in specific countries at the time of his writing. Pius XII in many of the RadTrads’ favorite passages was writing to specific audiences about contexts that were specific to his day. It’s like today when a Pope writes about something going on in some dictatorship, and liberal Catholics take the teaching and assume it applies to what’s going on in the US.

Pius XII was very clear in defining what he was condemning: a certain notion of liberty or “freedom of conscience” which separates the individual from both society and the Church. He was specifically condemning radical libertarianism and the French model of “liberty.”

Meanwhile, certain passages from Paul VI get taken out of context, particularly the following from Paul VI (Address During the Last General Meeting of the Second Vatican Council, 7 December 1965):

Secular humanism, revealing itself in its horrible anti-clerical reality has, in a certain sense, defied the council. The religion of the God who became man has met the religion (for such it is) of man who makes himself God. And what happened? Was there a clash, a battle, a condemnation? There could have been, but there was none. The old story of the Samaritan has been the model of the spirituality of the council. A feeling of boundless sympathy has permeated the whole of it. The attention of our council has been absorbed by the discovery of human needs (and these needs grow in proportion to the greatness which the son of the earth claims for himself). But we call upon those who term themselves modern humanists, and who have renounced the transcendent value of the highest realities, to give the council credit at least for one quality and to recognize our own new type of humanism: we, too, in fact, we more than any others, honor mankind.

RadTrads are fond of quoting the above passage by starting with “The religion of the God who became man” but leaving out the part where Paul VI calls secular humanism “horrid” and “anti-clerical.” He says secular humanism has “defied the Council,” yet the sedevacantists try to use this very passage, inexplicably, to accuse Paul VI of secular humanism!!!tw

A similar conflict occurred in the late Renaissance.  In the Renaissance, two forms of “humanism” emerged: one embodied by Erasmus, and the other by St. Thomas More.  More was criticized by many in the Church merely for being a “humanist”, even though his humanism was not in conflict with Catholic teaching.

A few centuries earlier, St. Thomas Aquinas was criticized for trying to reconcile Aristotle to the fath.

Why is it evil for a Pope to suggest a different approach to dealing with the world, an approach of sympathy?  I cannot understand what there is to object to in this passage, unless one is admitting to a view of judgementalism and hatred?

In my Carmelite group, which has some pretty brilliant people, including two highly trained theologians, it always strikes me that I’m the only one trained in literature, and while I often regret that I never got a theology degree, it amazes me now how much my literature degree has helped me better understand theology.

Text is always open to interpretation, reinterpretation and misinterpretation.  Text is never absolute.  As Catholics, we know we must look at the Bible through the guidance of the Church.  We know that the Biblical authors were writing in historical contexts that we must understand to fully understand what they’re saying.  We know that the Biblical authors were addressing specific audiences about specific issues, and we must consider those audiences and issues.

Did Jesus have “brothers” or “brethren”?  Or did Jesus speak a language, Aramaic, which had one word for both?  When Paul says things about fasting or eating meat, was he talking about Catholic disciplinary practices or was he talking about things the Gnostics were doing?  We understand, as Catholics, that we must read the Bible with the Church’s guidances, yet somehow radical traditionalists think they can read the Church’s documents without the Church’s guidance and take them out of context.

If the Church tells me how to read a document, I’m going to listen to the Church’s guidance on how to read that document. My job as a Catholic is to believe in order to understand.  I trust my own reason only so far, and I do not presume the arrogance to think that I’m smarter than, say, Cardinal Burke or Cardinal Dulles or Cardinal Arinze or certainly Pope John Paul or Pope Benedict.

_Sherlock_: Post-_House_ Holmes

This weekend, on Netflix, I discovered a new BBC/WGBH co-produced series called Sherlock. It takes Holmes and Watson and moves them into the Twenty-First Century. The producers said they wanted to recapture the characters for audiences by moving the setting and not necessarily following the canon, but I get the sense of the influence of _House_ and _Monk_, as well. Certainly a lot of cliches of the genre, but watching the pilot movie _A Study in Pink_ (they did 3 movies in 2010 and have 3 more coming up in 2011), I caught a lot of things that could have been “ripped” from _House_ or _Monk_, which is only fair.

I don’t recognize the dude who plays Holmes, but he’s *very* good.

Martin Freeman, “Tim” from the original UK The Office, plays Dr. John Watson, who in this case is a veteran of the contemporary Afghanistan war as opposed to the Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878–1880). Watson has a leg injury and limp which may be real or psychosomatic, which obviously evokes Dr. Greg House but also plays on the inconsistent way Conan Doyle treats Watson’s leg in the books.

Their choice of how to handle Lestrade evokes something of Capt. Stottlemeyer on _Monk_, and I kept waiting for them to say that Holmes was an ex-cop. There are two cops who can’t stand him-DI Lestrade’s sergeant, whose name I don’t recall but they should call her “Gregson”, and a forensics guy named Anderson. In a scene reminiscent of both _Monk_ and _Psych_, though again potentially cliche, Holmes deduces that the two are having an affair, and the Sergeant spent the night at Anderson’s house–because she’s wearing his deodorant.

Interesting that forensics basically exists because Conan Doyle pioneered the idea through Holmes, and that is one of the challenges here. As shows like _Monk_ have handled the problem, they emphasize Holmes’ ability to see the significance things that others don’t catch, such as a victim’s death note actually being her computer password, or the victim’s coat being wet in a pattern that indicates she was recently in the rain (he whips out his Smart Phone and looks up where within a 2 hour radius of London it had rained that afternoon). The series definitely makes use of computer technology–in a more realistic manner than _Bones_ or _CSI_ but far more than contemporary whodunit shows like _Monk_ and _Psych_. The characters carry smart phones and netbooks, and Holmes doesn’t have to know everything in this version; just how to look it up.

He tells Watson that he knows he has a brother with whom Watson isn’t close who’s going through a divorce, probably due to alcoholism.
Watson asks how he figured that out. Holmes replies that Watson is an out of work Army doctor looking for a cheap rental to share, so he obviously doesn’t have a relative he’s close enough to stay with, nor a lot of relatives. The condition of Watson’s fancy smart phone indicates he got it for free, and the smart phone is inscribed “To Harry Watson, from Clara.” Holmes observes that the phone’s power connector has scratches like a person fumbled to plug it in all the time; unsteady hands most likely indicate alcoholism, especially in the context of Holmes’ hypothesis. The recent model phone was obviously a gift to “Harry” from “Clara,” so they’d have to be married to have such a fancy expensive gift, and separated or divorced for Harry to regift it to John Watson so quickly. Tying into the power supply thing, the divorce is probably over alcoholism.

Watson is astonished that Holmes got it “exactly” right. Holmes says, “I never get it exactly right; there’s always something.” Then Watson replies, “Clara gave Harry the phone 6 months ago for their anniversary, and they split up 3 months ago because of Harry’s alcoholism, but ‘Harry’ stands for ‘Harriet.'”

When Holmes and Watson arrive at 221B Baker Street for Watson to decide if he wants to rent the extra room, Holmes explains his rent is so cheap because he helped Mrs. Hudson a few years back when her husband was on trial in Florida for a potential death sentence. “And you got her off?” asked Watson. “No, I assured his execution,” Holmes replies dryly.

The cops keep warning Watson that Holmes is a psychopath, and that the day may come when he gets bored with solving murders and starts committing them. When Anderson calls Holmes a “psychopath” in his presence, Holmes snaps, “I am not a psychopath; I am a high-functioning sociopath. Do your homework.”

Plus, Watson gets abducted by one mysterious figure, who claims to be Holmes’ greatest friend and greatest enemy, while Holmes learns of another mysterious figure, a “fan” of Holmes (Holmes has a website) who financially sponsors promising murderers.

This is a great show. Too bad it wasn’t picked up for a full series but only the series of movies, but hopefully it will have as long a life as the classic BBC/PBS mystery movie series from the 80s and early 90s.

Treatise Against Sedevacantism 1: Compare and Contrast

Pope John Paul II kissed a book, to be polite.
Pope Alexander VI kissed a bunch of women, out of lust.
Pope John Paul II prayed with Muslims.
Pope Urban II preyed on Muslims.

The Church and history tells me the Crusades were “just wars.” I believe it. John Paul tells me that there’s a higher standard of behavior, and war is always a failure of humanity, and I believe that, too.

The Church tells me that the sins of Rodrigo Borgia do not constitute a violation of the Papacy because his personal sins do not constitute heresy. Yet the Sedevacantists would have me believe that the alleged personal sins of John Paul II–which may or may not even have been sinful in his case–constitute acts of heresy.

Now, it’s important to observe the caveat that they may or may not have been sins in his case: after all, intent is a key element of mortal sin, and those who judge these acts to have been mortal sins on JPII’s part are thereby judging his intent.

What I don’t get is why the sedevacantists tell me to honor the papacy of Alexander VI and not that of John Paul II? Why does some corrupt Medieval pope who lived in luxury and filth merit my respect, but John Paul–whose life exhudes evidence of living the Beatitudes–does not?
If I were to hold up the two and say, on the basis of actions, “Which is obviously an invalid Pope? Which of these is not living according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ?” The answer would not be John Paul II.

If sedevacantism is possible–and I’ll grant it’s theoretically possible–then there are a lot more presumptive popes throughout history who have been invalidated than just John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

Hour of Mercy: Don’t forget the Corporal Works of Mercy

Feed the hungry
Give drink to the thirsty
Clothe the naked
Shelter the Homeless
Visit the Sick
Ransom the Captive
Bury the Dead

Hour of Mercy: Jesus, I trust in You!

An Article Which Proves, Once Again, that the “Fashion” Industry is run by Gays

. . . And has nothing to do with what men actually find attractive, but men get blamed for supposedly holding women up to impossible standards. No, the impossible standards are set by homosexual “friends” who tell women they have to look like freaks.

Hour of Mercy: Litany of Divine Mercy

+ The Love of God is the flower – Mercy the fruit.
Let the doubting soul read these considerations on Divine Mercy and become trusting.

Divine Mercy, gushing forth from the bosom of the Father, I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, greatest attribute of God, I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, incomprehensible mystery, I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, fount gushing forth from the mystery of the Most Blessed Trinity, I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, unfathomed by any intellect, human or angelic, I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, from which wells forth all life and happiness, I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, better than the heavens, I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, source of miracles and wonders, I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, encompassing the whole universe, I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, descending to earth in the Person of the Incarnate Word, I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, which flowed out from the open wound of the Heart of Jesus, I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, enclosed in the Heart of Jesus for us, and especially for sinners, I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, unfathomed in the institution of the Sacred Host, I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, in the founding of Holy Church, I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, in the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, in our justification through Jesus Christ, I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, accompanying us through our whole life, I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, embracing us especially at the hour of death, I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, endowing us with immortal life, I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, accompanying us every moment of our life, I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, shielding us from the fire of hell, I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, in the conversion of hardened sinners, I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, astonishment for Angels, incomprehensible to Saints, I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, unfathomed in all the mysteries of God, I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, lifting us out of every misery, I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, source of our happiness and joy, I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, in calling us forth from nothingness to existence, I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, embracing all the works of His hands, I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, crown of all of God’s handiwork, I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, in which we are all immersed, I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, sweet relief for anguished hearts, I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, only hope of despairing souls, I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, repose of hearts, peace amidst fear, I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, delight and ecstasy of holy souls, I trust in You.

Divine Mercy, inspiring hope against all hope, I trust in You.

+ Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.

+ O incomprehensible and limitless Mercy Divine, To extol and adore You worthily, who can? Supreme attribute of Almighty God, You are the sweet hope for sinful man.

Into one hymn yourselves unite, stars, earth and sea, and in one accord, thankfully and fervently sing of the incomprehensible Divine Mercy.

Hour of Mercy: The Passion According to John

(John 19, Douay Rheims)
[1] Then therefore, Pilate took Jesus, and scourged him. [2] And the soldiers platting a crown of thorns, put it upon his head; and they put on him a purple garment. [3] And they came to him, and said: Hail, king of the Jews; and they gave him blows. [4] Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith to them: Behold, I bring him forth unto you, that you may know that I find no cause in him. [5] (Jesus therefore came forth, bearing the crown of thorns and the purple garment.) And he saith to them: Behold the Man.

[6] When the chief priests, therefore, and the servants, had seen him, they cried out, saying: Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith to them: Take him you, and crucify him: for I find no cause in him. [7] The Jews answered him: We have a law; and according to the law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. [8] When Pilate therefore had heard this saying, he feared the more. [9] And he entered into the hall again, and he said to Jesus: Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. [10] Pilate therefore saith to him: Speakest thou not to me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and I have power to release thee?

[11] Jesus answered: Thou shouldst not have any power against me, unless it were given thee from above. Therefore, he that hath delivered me to thee, hath the greater sin. [12] And from henceforth Pilate sought to release him. But the Jews cried out, saying: If thou release this man, thou art not Caesar’s friend. For whosoever maketh himself a king, speaketh against Caesar. [13] Now when Pilate had heard these words, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat, in the place that is called Lithostrotos, and in Hebrew Gabbatha. [14] And it was the parasceve of the pasch, about the sixth hour, and he saith to the Jews: Behold your king. [15] But they cried out: Away with him; away with him; crucify him. Pilate saith to them: Shall I crucify your king? The chief priests answered: We have no king but Caesar.

[14] “The parasceve of the pasch”… That is, the day before the paschal sabbath. The eve of every sabbath was called the parasceve, or day of preparation. But this was the eve of a high sabbath, viz., that which fell in the paschal week.

[16] Then therefore he delivered him to them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him forth. [17] And bearing his own cross, he went forth to that place which is called Calvary, but in Hebrew Golgotha. [18] Where they crucified him, and with him two others, one on each side, and Jesus in the midst. [19] And Pilate wrote a title also, and he put it upon the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. [20] This title therefore many of the Jews did read: because the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, in Greek, and in Latin.

[21] Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate: Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am the King of the Jews. [22] Pilate answered: What I have written, I have written. [23] The soldiers therefore, when they had crucified him, took his garments, (and they made four parts, to every soldier a part,) and also his coat. Now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. [24] They said then one to another: Let us not cut it, but let us cast lots for it, whose it shall be; that the scripture might be fulfilled, saying: They have parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture they have cast lots. And the soldiers indeed did these things. [25] Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen.

[26] When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. [27] After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own. [28] Afterwards, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said: I thirst. [29] Now there was a vessel set there full of vinegar. And they, putting a sponge full of vinegar and hyssop, put it to his mouth. [30] Jesus therefore, when he had taken the vinegar, said: It is consummated. And bowing his head, he gave up the ghost.

[31] Then the Jews, (because it was the parasceve,) that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath day, (for that was a great sabbath day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. [32] The soldiers therefore came; and they broke the legs of the first, and of the other that was crucified with him. [33] But after they were come to Jesus, when they saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. [34] But one of the soldiers with a spear opened his side, and immediately there came out blood and water. [35] And he that saw it, hath given testimony, and his testimony is true. And he knoweth that he saith true; that you also may believe.

[36] For these things were done, that the scripture might be fulfilled: You shall not break a bone of him. [37] And again another scripture saith: They shall look on him whom they pierced. [38] And after these things, Joseph of Arimathea (because he was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews) besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus. And Pilate gave leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. [39] And Nicodemus also came, (he who at the first came to Jesus by night,) bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. [40] They took therefore the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths, with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.

[41] Now there was in the place where he was crucified, a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein no man yet had been laid. [42] There, therefore, because of the parasceve of the Jews, they laid Jesus, because the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

Hour of Mercy: the Chaplet, Varied a bit

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Byzantine Our Father:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be
thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth
as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who
trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation
but deliver us from evil.

-For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory,
Father + Son, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
now and ever, and forever. Amen.

Byzantine Angelic Salutation:Hail, Mother of God, Virgin Mary,
full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you
among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb; for
you gave birth to Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of
our souls.

Athanasian Creed (used in certain liturgies):
P. Whoever wills to be saved must before all else hold fast to the Catholic faith.
A. Unless one keeps this faith whole and untarnished, without doubt he will perish forever.
P. Now this is the Catholic faith: that w worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in unity;
A. Neither confusing the Persons one with the other, nor making a distinction in their nature.
P. For the Father is a distinct Person; and so is the Son; and so is the Holy Spirit.
A. Yet the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit possess oen Godhead, co-equal glory, co-eternal majesty.
P. As the Father is, so is the Son, so also is the Holy Spirit.
A. The Father is uncreated, the Son is uncreated, the Holy Spirit is uncreated.
P. The Father is infinite, the Son is infinite, the Holy Spirit is infinite.
A. The Father is eternal, the Son is eternal, the Holy Spirit is eternal.
P. Yet they are not three eternals, but one eternal God.
A. Even as they are not three uncreated, or three infinities, but one uncreated and one infinite God.
P. So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son is Almighty, the Holy Spirit is Almighty.
A. Yet they are not three almighties, but they are the one Almighty.
P. Thus the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God.
A. Yet they are not three gods, but one God.
P. Thus the Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, the Holy Spirit is Lord.
A. Yet they are not three lords, but one Lord.
P. For just as Christian truth compels us to profess that each Person is individually God and Lord, so does the Catholic religion forbid us to hold that there are three gods or lords.
A. The Father was not made by any power; He was neither created nor begotten.
P. The son is from the Father alone, neither created nor made, but begotten.
A. The Holy Spirit is fro the Father and the Son, neither made nor created nor begotten, but He proceeds.
P. So there is one father, not three; one Son, not three; one Holy Spirit, not three.
A. And in this Trinity one Person is not earlier or later, nor is one greater or less; but all three Persons are co-eternal and co-equal.
P. In every way, then, as already affirmed, unity in Trinity and Trinity in unity is to be worshipped.
A. Whoever, then, wills to be saved must assent to this doctrine of the Blessed Trinity.
P. But it is necessary for everlasting salvation that one also firmly believe in the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
A. True faith, then, requires us to believe and profess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of god, is both God and man.
P. He is God, begotten of the substance of the Father from eternity; He is man, born in time of the substance of His Mother.
A. He is perfect God, and perfect man subsisting in a rational soul and a human body.
P. He is equal to the Father in His divine nature, but less than the Father in His human nature as such.
A. And though He is God and man, yet He is the one Christ, not two.
P. One, however, not by any change of divinity into flesh, but by the act of God assuming a human nature.
A. He is one only, not by a mixture of substance, but by the oneness of His Person.
P. For, somewhat as the rational soul and the body compose one man, so Christ is one Person who is both God and man;
A. Who suffered for our salvation, Who descended into Hell, Who rose again the third day from the dead;
P. Who ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, from there He shall come to judge both the living and the dead.
A. At His coming all men shall rise again in their bodies, and shall give an account of their works.
P. And those who have done good shall enter into everlasting life, but those who have done evil into everlasting fire.
A. All this is Catholic faith, and unless one believes it truly and firmly one cannot be saved.
P. Glory be to the Father . . .
A. As it was in the beginning . . .

Decade Bead:
Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ,
in atonement for our sins, and those of the whole world.
On smaller beads, 10 times:
For the sake of His Sorrowful Passion,
have mercy on us and on the whole world.

[Repeat for 5 decades]

[After five decades]
-Holy God, holy and mighty, holy and immortal, have
mercy on us and on the whole world.
-Holy God, holy and mighty, holy and immortal, have
mercy on us and on the whole world.
-Holy God, holy and mighty, holy and immortal, have
mercy on us and on the whole world.

Eternal God, in Whom mercy is endless, and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible.
Look kindly upon us, and increase Your mercy in us, that, in difficult moments, we might despair, nor become despondent, but, with great confidence, submit ourselves to Your Holy Will, which is Love and Mercy itself. Amen.

Hour of Mercy: Divine Mercy Chaplet MP3 from EWTN (normal version)

This is EWTN’s free MP3 of the “classic” recording of the Divine Mercy Chaplet from Stockbridge, MA

Is Self-Defense about “Guilt”?

For years, I have struggled against a popular but erroneous notion–even spread among many pro-life leaders–that there is a difference between “killing the guilty” and “killing the innocent.” Yes, the Church often refers to “innocent victims,” but the Church *never* says that the guilty “forfeit their right to life” This is a common notion, selectively used by pro-life leaders regarding terrorists and US enemies and serial killers–yet they get all defensive when you ask, “So, is it OK to kill abortionists? Do they forfeit their right to life by their guilt?” Suddenly, the next inconsistency is, “Well, the state doesn’t consider what they do murder.”

Well, the problem is the Church never says you have a right to kill anyone. The idea is to do everything possible to protect against an agreessor, up to and including taking that person’s life if there is no other course of action.

However, the Church never says “guilt”, and the example that occurs to me is that a person does not have to be “guilty” of anything for one to engage in self-defense.

Let’s say, for example, that I’m out in my yard, and my next door neighbor comes running and screaming at me, wielding a butcher knife. I have a reasonable assumption that he attacking me with the butcher knife, and I grab the nearest weapon or potential weapon and, in the attempt to defend myself, kill my next door neighbor. Now, I had no right and no need to try and judge my neighbor. I just had to know he was coming at me with a butcher knife. He might not have been *guilty* of anything: he might have been chopping meat in his kitchen and found out he had a gas leak, and his kitchen was about to explode. He was “innocent,” but from my perspective, I had a reasonable view that he as attacking me.

Similarly, let’s say Tom is driving along, and Harry, coming down the side of the road, has some kind of medical event. Harry is not driving recklessly or drunkenly; through no fault of his own, he loses control of his vehicle, and he swerves out of his lane. Tom uses a defensive maneuver, and Harry is killed. Tom hasn’t intentionally killed Harry, and Harry hasn’t intentionally tried to kill Tom. Harry is, like the neighbor in the first scenario, objectively innocent. However, he was endangering Tom’s life, and Tom was justified in saving his own life, even at the cost of Harry’s.

“Guilt” and “innocence” doesn’t have anything to do with it, yet Bl. John Paul II did say that, even when the death penalty is justified, it must be carried out objectively and not with a desire for revenge or anger.

I can objectively admit that the killing of Osama bin Ladin was justified. What I will not do is rejoice over it.

Top Risk Factors for Brain Aneurysm Rupture

A study published in this week’s Stroke magazine lists the 8 top triggers of brain aneurysm rupture:

Vigorous exercise
Nose blowing (!)
Straining on the toilet
Being startled
being angry

The nose blowing one kind of surprises me, and also doesn’t surprise me, and seems an interesting parallel to the risk that coughing posts to aortic aneurysms.

The article says it’s uncertain how much anti-hypertensive drugs help to prevent brain aneurysm rupture, but I know i get my TIAs/Migraines when my blood pressure is above 130, and I know that my blood pressure meds help to keep them away.

On the day of my dissection, I was actually expecting my brain aneurysm to blow. I had a lot of the above risk factors that day (I don’t drink coffee, but I was pumping myself full of far more caffeine than usual; I think I had 3 32 oz. sweet teas and a couple Barq’s root beers). Even early in the day, my neck started throbbing badly, as did the side of my head.

Hour of Mercy: The Glorious Mysteries from the Cathedral of the Holy Cross (Catholic Broadband Network)

Hour of Mercy, Sept 14: Triumph of the Cross

Look down upon me, good and gentle Jesus, while before Your face I humbly kneel, and with burning soul pray and beseech You to fix deep in my heart lively sentiments of faith, hope, and charity, true contrition for my sins, and a firm purpose of amendment; while I contemplate with great love and tender pity Your five wounds, pondering over them within me, and calling to mind the words which, long ago, David the prophet spoke in Your own person concerning You, my Jesus: “They have pierced My hands and My feet; they have numbered all My bones.”

[Devotion to the Sacred Wounds]

I kiss the wounds in your Sacred Head,
With Sorrow Deep and True;
May every thought of mine this day
Be an act of love for You.

I kiss the wounds in Your Sacred Hands
With sorrow deep and true;
May every touch of my hands this day
Be an act of love for You.

I kiss the wounds in your Sacred Feet
With sorrow deep and true;
May every step I take this day
Be an act of love for You.

I kiss the wound in Your Sacred Side
With sorrow deep and true;
May every beat of my heart this day
Be an act of love for You.


O My Jesus, release all my affections and draw them upwards;
May my crucified heart sink forever into Yours
Into the mysterious wound left by the entry of the lance.

O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the heart of Jesus
As a Fount of Mercy for us, I trust in You!

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner!
O Master, remember me when You come into Your Kingdom!
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

[Fatima Prayers]

Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore you profoundly. I offer You 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 by which He is offended, and, by the infinite merits of His Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I ask You for the conversion of all sinners!

My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You! I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You!

O, my Jesus, forgive our sins! Save us from the fire of Hell! Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are in most need of Your mercy!

It is for Your Love, for the conversion of sinners, in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and for the Holy Father.

Hour of Mercy: Chaplet MP3 from EWTN

Divine Mercy Chaplet from EWTN

The Hour of Mercy: Absalom and the Prodigal Son

Originally written in May 2009:

Absalom was taken up and cast into a deep pit in the forest, and a very large mound of stones was erected over him. And all the Israelites fled to their own tents.   During his lifetime Absalom had taken a pillar and erected it for himself in the King’s Valley, for he said, “I have no son to perpetuate my name.” The pillar which he named for himself is called Yadabshalom to the present day. 
Then Ahimaaz, son of Zadok, said, “Let me run to take the good news to the king that the LORD has set him free from the grasp of his enemies.”
But Joab said to him: “You are not the man to bring the news today. On some other day you may take the good news, but today you would not be bringing good news, for in fact the king’s son is dead.” . . .

Now David was sitting between the two gates, and a lookout mounted to the roof of the gate above the city wall, where he looked about and saw a man running all alone.  The lookout shouted to inform the king, who said, “If he is alone, he has good news to report.” As he kept coming nearer, the lookout spied another runner. From his place atop the gate he cried out, “There is another man running by himself.” And the king responded, “He, too, is bringing good news.”  . . .
But the king asked, “Is the youth Absalom safe?” And Ahimaaz replied, “I saw a great disturbance when the king’s servant Joab sent your servant on, but I do not know what it was.”. . .
When the Cushite came in, he said, “Let my lord the king receive the good news that this day the LORD has taken your part, freeing you from the grasp of all who rebelled against you.”
But the king asked the Cushite, “Is young Absalom safe?” The Cushite replied, “May the enemies of my lord the king and all who rebel against you with evil intent be as that young man!”
The king was shaken, and went up to the room over the city gate to weep. He said as he wept, “My son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you, Absalom, my son, my son!”
Joab was told that the king was weeping and mourning for Absalom; and that day’s victory was turned into mourning for the whole army when they heard that the king was grieving for his son. 
. . .
Meanwhile the king covered his face and cried out in a loud voice, “My son Absalom! Absalom! My son, my son!”  (1 Sam 18:17-19:5).

Scott Roeder likely turned to his “prayers” and said, “God, George Tiller, your son who rebelled against you, is dead.”

And God wept and said, “O George! O George! George my son is dead!”

11 And he said: A certain man had two sons: 12 And the younger of them said to his father: Father, give me the portion of substance that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his substance. 13 And not many days after, the younger son, gathering all together, went abroad into a far country: and there wasted his substance, living riotously. 14 And after he had spent all, there came a mighty famine in that country; and he began to be in want. 15 And he went and cleaved to one of the citizens of that country. And he sent him into his farm to feed swine.

16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks the swine did eat; and no man gave unto him. 17 And returning to himself, he said: How many hired servants in my father’s house abound with bread, and I here perish with hunger? 18 I will arise, and will go to my father, and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee: 19 I am not worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. 20 And rising up he came to his father. And when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and running to him fell upon his neck, and kissed him.

21 And the son said to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, I am not now worthy to be called thy son. 22 And the father said to his servants: Bring forth quickly the first robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it, and let us eat and make merry: 24 Because this my son was dead, and is come to life again: was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. 25 Now his elder son was in the field, and when he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing:

26 And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him: Thy brother is come, and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe. 28 And he was angry, and would not go in. His father therefore coming out began to entreat him. 29 And he answering, said to his father: Behold, for so many years do I serve thee, and I have never transgressed thy commandment, and yet thou hast never given me a kid to make merry with my friends: 30 But as soon as this thy son is come, who hath devoured his substance with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.

31 But he said to him: Son, thou art always with me, and all I have is thine. 32 But it was fit that we should make merry and be glad, for this thy brother was dead and is come to life again; he was lost, and is found.  (Luke 15:11-32)

“My name is Mercy,” he said to St. Faustina.

Of all the Names we give Him, that is most truly His Name.  That is what the name Jesus means: YHWH Saves.  God is love. 

Even the Tetragrammaton itself speaks to God’s love, as the Medievals realized.  The problem with Aristotelian Deism is that it leaves out the basic question of philosophy: “WHY?”

The Deist asks why the universe is the way it is, how the universe came be, etc.  The Deist finds the answer to those questions in God.  Then the Deist formulates, more or less, the Aristotelian God.

Aristotle, who seems to equate God with the Universe, says God is the Prime Mover, the first cause that started everything in motion.  God is also the Unmoved Mover, becaues God would not be God if something moved Him first.  God is also Being itself,”being qua being,” since God has to transcend existence.  God is also in a state of perpetuation self-reflection.

“His mind is enaged in a rapt contemplation of the thought of the thought of the thought of his name,” says T. S. Eliot, paraphrasing Aristotle.

The problem with the Deistic Unmoved Mover is that it explains why the universe exists, but it doesn’t explain why the universe exists.

OK, God made it.  But why would a disinterested, self-contained, unmoved God create the Universe to begin with.

Boethius answered that (anyone know why he isn’t a saint yet?) .

God, said Boethius,  is “That than which nothing greater can be conceived.”  Another rephrasing of “being qua being“, which is itself a third person rephrasing of “I AM THAT I AM.” 


Like people who contracept so they can have ski trips and big screen tvs and McMansions and a yuppie lifestyle, God could have just as well sat back and dissolved into an eternal existence of self-gratification.

However, like the person who “has it all” and finds it empty in worldly terms, God literally “has it all” .

While watching Disney’s Aladdin , I thought about a Twilight Zone episode where a man finds a magic bottle.  He wishes for money, and finds it empty.  He wishes for women, and finds that empty, too.  He wants real joy.  There’s a pause after he decides on his wish.  At the ending, a man is walking along and finds the magic bottle.  He rubs it. 

Our hero appears.  His wish was that he could be the genie and help people by granting their wishes.

That’s why God made us.  God made us to love us. 

His Name is Mercy.

He doesn’t “need” us.  We give Him absolutely nothing.

But He does need us.  He needs us so He can give us everything.  And since we get everything from Him, and He is “sixpence none the richer” for knowing us, what *we* can give Him in return is the totality of our love.

God gives all His love out of His Perfection, and we give all our love out of our poverty.

Samuel 19 goes on to relate how the officers are furious with King David: they have just restored him to the throne from a rebellion.  Their soldiers and officers have died.  They feel insulted that David has chosen to mourn the traitor Absalom rather than celebrate with his surviving sons and his lords and officers.

This real incident involving the King After God’s Own Heart is a kind of inverse of the Parable of the Prodigal Son: both show the father’s unconditional love, expressed with different circumstances.

But those of us who stand by, realizing we have our own areas of rebellion, but generally trying to do our best to serve Our Father, and to give all our love to Him, feel resentful that He seems to lavish so much attention on the lost sheep and just leaves the rest of us penned up.

Mercy is His Name.

He forgives.  That’s what He does.  He loves us.  That’s why He made us. 

He wants us to repent and be forgiven.

He cries infinite tears when we don’t. 

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him, may not perish; but may have life everlasting.

16 For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world, to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by him. 18 He that believeth in him is not judged. But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: because the light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light: for their works were evil. 20 For every one that doth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, that his works may not be reproved.

I carry a lot of bitter memories.  They shape who I am.  But I try not to carry bitterness.  It occurred to me some time last year how I tend to confuse righteous anger with self-indignation, that I used to think it was OK to be resentful about insults against me if they were tied to some other insult aganist God.  I realized last fall that I had to shed that way of thinking. 
Then I reread The Way of Perfection this spring and found St. Teresa saying the same thing.

My heart aches for all the Absaloms in my life, and those I know of in the world.  I don’t see how anyone who is a Christian could justify murder or torture.  It pains me that people who claim to be Christians go to such lengths to do so.

I don’t see how anyone who has heard the testimony of Norma McCorvey (“Jane Roe”), or Sandra Cano (“Doe”), or Dr. Bernard Nathanson (the founder of NARAL) or Dr. John Bruchalski (not a former abortionist but a former member of the clinic that pioneered in vitro fertilization in the US, and researched several contraceptives), and then say that killing abortionists is the right thing to do.

How can anyone hear Fr. Corapi’s story and think any soul is beyond saving?

How can anyone read the New Testament and think that?  St. Paul!

We cannot believe that any heart is too hard to be broken.  God has shown us that.  To think that is to commit the sin against the Holy Spirit.

My heart is shattered to bits as I think of the Absaloms in my life.  I pray for their returns.  Jesus gave St. Faustina a simple prayer.  He promised her that anyone for whom that prayer was said, devoutly, would not be lost.  That if you pray that prayer devoutly for some person who has strayed from the Church, that, even if it’s only at the moment of death, that person will be brought into a state of grace before death.

For the abortionists:
“O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a Fountain of Mercy for Us, I trust in You.”

For those who have had abortions or are considering them:
“O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a Fountain of Mercy for Us, I trust in You.”

For those who do violence in God’s Name:
“O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a Fountain of Mercy for Us, I trust in You.”

For terrorists:
“O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a Fountain of Mercy for Us, I trust in You.”

For torturers:
“O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a Fountain of Mercy for Us, I trust in You.”

For Fr. Cutie, and for all priests who break their vows:
“O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a Fountain of Mercy for Us, I trust in You.”

For all priests who engage in sexual abuse:
“O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a Fountain of Mercy for Us, I trust in You.”

For all those who have strayed from the Church and from their families:
“O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a Fountain of Mercy for Us, I trust in You.”

For all those in need of God’s mercy:
“O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a Fountain of Mercy for Us, I trust in You.”

For all those in my family who have strayed or who struggle:
“O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a Fountain of Mercy for Us, I trust in You.”

Hour of Mercy: Contemporary Divine Mercy Chaplet


The Hour of Mercy

I don’t have my copy of Divine Mercy in My Soul (the diary of St. Faustina) in front of me, and I wouldn’t know where to look in it if I did, but Jesus, in His Mercy, keeps His demand for the “Hour of Mercy” rather general. While the Chaplet is recommended, He asks that we make some act of devotion to His Passion and/or His Mercy during that hour. Certainly, it’s an ideal time to make a Holy Hour: say the chaplet, say the rosary (particularly Sorrowful or Glorious Mysteries), stations of the Cross, etc. I like to say the Prayer before a Crucifix that hour, if I haven’t already, or to say the 15 Prayers of St. Bridget.

But another way I like to observe the Hour of Mercy, with or without the Chaplet, is to pray the Penitential Psalms. On Divine Mercy Sunday itself, I posted links to YouTube videos of all seven. In the modern day numbering, they are Psalms 6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130 and 143. I also posted a YouTube video of each Psalm for each day of the past week at 3 PM.

If haven’t already, please scroll through the icons. I found some really cool videos. Some are classical settings of Psalms; some are “praise and worship” settings. At least one is in Latin. One is in Hebrew. Some are in other languages. Some are recited; some are sung. KJV and NAB are both represented. If the translation wasn’t provided in the video, I provided it below.

Now that I know how to advance post, I’m trying to set it so that there will be some special feature here for the Hour of Mercy every day. This week, I’m linking the Psalms in the New American Bible online (just click the title bar to get the Psalm), and posting an image of Jesus (three versions of Divine Mercy, and other images related to the Paschal Mystery) to reflect on as you pray the Psalm.

We’re entering into the Month of May. Time for the Thirty Days’ Devotion to Mary. From our brethren in the Eastern Lung, it’s also a great month for praying the Moleben to Mary.

G. K. Chesterton on Catholic Pride

G. K. Chesterton, speaking of Protestant-Catholic relations but also speaking prophetically of the state of the Church today, what with all the “spirit of Vatican II” progressives:

I do not want the crucifix to be a compromise, or a concession to the weaker brethren, or a makeweight or a by-product. I want it to be a blazon and a boast. I want there to be no more doubt about our all glorying in it than there would have been in any body of old Crusaders pitting the Cross against the Crescent. And if anyone wants to know my feelings about a point on which I touch rarely and with reluctance: the relation of the Church I left to the Church I joined, there is the answer as compact and concrete as a stone image. I do not want to be in a religion in which I am allowed to have a crucifix. I feel the same about the much more controversial question of the honour paid to the Blessed Virgin. If people do not like that cult, they are quite right not to be Catholics. But in people who are Catholics, or call themselves Catholics, I want the idea not only liked but loved and loved ardently, and above all proudly proclaimed. I want it to be what the Protestants are perfectly right in calling it; the badge and sign of a Papist. I want to be allowed to be enthusiastic about the existence of the enthusiasm; not to have my chief enthusiasm coldly tolerated as an eccentricity of myself.

–G. K. Chesterton, Autobiography, Chapter XI