Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Woman And A Dragon

Mark Mallett
Mark is a very interesting writer, and I suggest that you wander over to his blog site, through the link below to a particular article of his, to see what I mean about interesting.

In the particular article linked here, he writes about Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Mariology is a tough pill for our brother and sister non Catholic Christians to follow, about as hard as it is for those who do not believe in Christianity.  But, in this particular article, Mark writes about the science around the apparition and the history of the time, when Mary appeared in 1531 in Mexico to a humble man Juan Diego.

Certain things of the time relate to her appearance, as do certain miraculous pieces of physical evidence.  I won't spoil it for those of you who might have the interest to follow the link above, but I suggest that it would be well worth your while to see what he has to say.  Though I have always believed that Mary appeared as what we know as Our Lady of Guadalupe, but I had no idea how deep the symbolism, and the evidence ran about this apparition.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

My Chocolate Heart: On Beauty

Jennifer Hartline

The word beautiful to describe a woman of substance goes far beyond the mere physical. As My Dear Wife has aged, and been somewhat subject to the ravages of illness, her character and particularly her faith has grown stronger, day by day. I see it happening, and even more so than I see the impact of illness and the required medicines. I am not blind to the physical changes; they just are not nearly as significant as the growth of her inner, true beauty. So, I thank God daily for the gift of beauty in the woman that I share life and love with in the sacrament of our marriage.

Jennifer Hartline has written a thoughtful posting over at My Chocolate Heart about this. Follow the link below to read her insights.

My Chocolate Heart: On Beauty: "Tonight a thoughtful conversation with my husband turned out this question:  If you asked a woman if she would rather have her husband think..."

Friday, July 29, 2011

Are You and I a Hard Case for God?

Monsignor Charles Pope

Interesting viewpoint on the challenges we sheep/goats present to a God who knows only love. Cthis article describes me pretty well. How 'bout you?

Are You and I a Hard Case for God?

Scandals in Ireland and Miami

Mark Shea

Interesting thoughts on scandals affecting the Roman Catholic Church, from a Catholic apologist with a wary eye.

Scandals is Ireland and Miami

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Terror of Evil and Sin, Christian News

Chuck Colson knows whereof he speaks.

Here is an interesting take from a respected Christian man, who by the grace of God has turned his life into one that gives witness to God's mercy and abounding love for all of us. The tragedy in Norway cannot be easily explained, but understanding our fallen human nature can bring us closer to seeing it for what it is.

Does a tragedy such as this draw people to the love of God, or are they so stubborn as to ignore it.

The Terror of Evil and Sin, Christian News

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Errant Blindness of Justice Denied

Father Gordon MacRae

Justice is blind, in and of itself, but the agendas of those purporting to work on it's behalf adds more dimension to the blindness. Fr. Gordon MacRae, a priest who has spent about 17 years in jail for crimes that were never committed is an of systemic blindness to the truth, while furthering the agenda of participants in it. Dominique Strauss-Kahn was treated differently and in this case fairly, though one question his personal moral fiber.

Father MacRae examines aspects of the cases against Roman Polanski and Dominique Strauss-Kahn, and how justice sometimes works, particularly for those of influence, but may be really blind for Catholic priests and other selected targets.

Why the Sordid Case of Dominique Strauss-Kahn matters to Catholics

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What Are Attachments and What Are They Not

Monsignor Charles Pope

I sometimes wonder about attachments, those things that draw me in certain directions. The prayer to the left, the Drain Me Prayer speaks to a desire to be drained of all attachment to the flesh; easily said, not so easily done. In the link below, Monsignor Pope references the teaching of a now deceased priest on the subject with his own insights into the topic.

What Are Attachments and What Are They Not

Abby Johnson: Yes, I oppose ALL abortions! But being pro-life doesn’t stop there |

Recall that Abby Johnson for many years worked for Planned Parenthood.. She saw the light miraculously.

Abby Johnson: Yes, I oppose ALL abortions! But being pro-life doesn’t stop there |

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Rise of the Evangelical Catholic Bishops - George Weigel - National Review Online

George Weigel

There is only one Holy Roman Catholic Church, but there is a Catholic attitude that is tuned by the society it exists in. Since Luther et al attempted to break apart the Church that Christ founded, in what has erroneously been called a reformation, not a revolt, the RCC has been considered to be in a post Reformation, Counter Reformation mindset. But men like Archbishop Chaput, recently of Denver, and now going to Philadelphia, are the new breed, men of evangelical fervor, and just the tonic that the Church needs in this challenging epoch.

The faithful need the leadership of men like Chaput, and Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, to wake us up to the joy of the faith we hold dear, and to bring back to the fold those who have wandered off, while drawing those who have not heard the Gospel previously in to the Church.

Read what George Weigel has to say about it at the link below.

Rise of the Evangelical Catholic Bishops - George Weigel - National Review Online

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

ZENIT - South Sudan Bishop Dies Celebrating Mass


RUMBEK, South Sudan, JULY 18, 2011 ( Just one week after welcoming the independence of South Sudan where he had been a missionary for three decades, Bishop Cesare Mazzolari of Rumbek died Saturday while celebrating Mass.

The Bishop had just consecrated the Eucharist, and died where he stood. What an amazing witness to Christ.

Read at the link below.

ZENIT - South Sudan Bishop Dies Celebrating Mass

Monday, July 18, 2011

Debt Ceiling Debate

Paul Ryan vs. Stephen Schneck – A Budget Debate between Catholics and a Request for Your Input

In the US currently there is a debate underway with lots of rhetoric, finger pointing and arm waving going on. There are party lines which have been drawn, and there is much at stake. As a Canadian, I appreciate that this issue, which is monumental, is to an extent, out in the open. In Canada we don't have a debt ceiling; we just spend the money we don't have. Well, I guess that is what is happening in the US as well in reality?

The blog post by Monsignor Charles Pope over at the Archdiocese of Washington linked below shows the two sides of the debate from Catholic perspectives.

But, they seem to be missing a major point, in my personal opinion. The US is in debt - public debt only excluding unfunded pension liabilities, for example, - to the tune of about $14.4 trillion at the moment, and it is climbing daily by numbers that are beyond our individual comprehension.

So, the House, Senate and President's Office are debating how to get to borrow more money, to fund the 40 cents out of every dollar of government spending that they are not taking in in tax revenues.

So let me put this as clearly as possible. The US owes $14.4 trillion and spends 66% more than it takes in in revenue. In the real world, a company operating like this is called an undeclared bankrupt, or is pushed into bankruptcy officially. But, they intend to raise the debt ceiling a few trillion or so, and might make some cuts in spending. The Republicans don't want to raise taxes, and the Democrats do not want to cut programs.

So to an extent both parties are wanting to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Here in our house, My Dear Wife and I give from our income to assist charities that we believe in. We do not borrow from the bank, or from foreign governments to make charitable donations, because that would be bad stewardship of our assets.

What's wrong with this picture?

Paul Ryan vs. Stephen Schneck – A Budget Debate between Catholics and a Request for Your Input

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Saints and Ain'ts Gospel of the Wheat and the Tares

Today's Gospel is the parable of the wheat field that is seeded in the night by the evil one with Tares/darnel, and how the infestation of weeds in the food crop is to be dealt with.

Monsignor Charles Pope at the Archdiocese of Washington has a very interesting homilitic on it today, and linked below.

For those of us who have to tend our own gardens at home we are familiar with weeds that have to be pulled. They are generally easily identifiable from the plants that we have planted with intention in our gardens. But in the story of the Wheat and the Tares from today's Gospel, there is a little bit more that gives context to the parable.

The weed that is called tare or darnel is also called false wheat, because of its similarity in appearance, until it is near harvest time. So, if you knew of its existence among your wheat, because of similarity, pulling it early would put pulling wheat plants at risk as well. If you wait until nearer to the harvest, then the risk is that the weed roots are integrated among the roots of the wheat, and pulling the tare would take the wheat with it. So, it is not until harvest that you could separate the two by their fruits. The wheat yields a lot of seed and the wheat heads droop with the weight. The darnel heads are light and stand up. So, in imagery, the wheat is humbled, while the darnel stands up proud for all to see.

The parable shows us that evil is at work in our lives and in our society,and that there are appropriate steps to take to remove it from our lives and society.

Monsignor Pope sums it up as Wake up, Wise up, Wait up, and Wash up. Read the linked posting to see what he has to say about it.

Is you is or is you Ain't a Saint

Saturday, July 16, 2011

USCCB Media Blog: A Catholic by any other name…

Awesome article by the US Catholic Conference of Bishops

We all have family and friends who are baptized Catholics who have lapsed in the practice of their faith. But, they are family, and they are part of the family of God, in the Catholic Church, even if they do not come by for dinner like they used to. We are all one, and are called to be one. Read the article by Sister Mary Ann Walsh over at the USCCB site, linked below.

USCCB Media Blog: A Catholic by any other name…

Trash and Truth

Father Dwight Longenecker

Father D was raised in Jolly Olde England, and many of his postings have links there. From the article, it seems that they have a problem with trash over there, much like we do here. The author of the originating piece, a right leaning atheist, notices the garbage, and the metaphor that it is for English life. His observations are meaningful, but only go so far.

Father D though, ramps it up a notch or two, adding a spiritual dimension that we, of faith, believe must be present, and brings more meaning to the situation. For him, the issue comes down to accountability, which is lost in the nanny state of the UK, but also here in Canada and in the USA. When you add in Father D's imagery of Gehenna to the mix, with appropriate history attached, the picture becomes clearer.

We tut tut about the nanny state in the UK, while we wander down that same path with blinders on. We in Canada are, for some mysterious reasons, trying to replicate the disastrous situation of our parent, and have created Human Rights Commissions/tribunals to right the imagined wrongs in our land, adding new rights regularly, most importantly, the made up right to not be offended. That has a name - political correctness, and the fruit of it is that everybody has rights and nobody has responsibilities anymore.

With the proliferation of birth control in our society, and all that that has come to mean, I have a right to have sexual relations with anyone (or thing) I want, and with abortion free for the taking here in Canada, and readily available in America, I need not take any responsibility for the product of my sexual deviance. But, what is really produced by my exercise of these rights? Nothing good, as I have observed from my own sinfulness.

What are my responsibilities?

Trash and Truth

Friday, July 15, 2011

Courageous Cardinal Arinze Decries Abortion 'Word Games' - International - Catholic Online

Real Straight Talk

There are still Catholic Church leaders who will lead us. And there are many Catholics who wish to be led, not by the whims of their bodies, but by the natural laws that God has placed on our hearts. What we Catholic Christians need is to be told the truth so that the Holy Spirit can then prompt us to follow it. Lie to us; hide the truth from us out of fear of rejection, and we will all perish, and it will then be on the heads of those who were given the charism to show leadership and did not do so.

Real Straight Talk: Courageous Cardinal Arinze Decries Abortion 'Word Games' - International - Catholic Online

Michele Bachmann’s pro-life heart – and credentials - Jill Stanek

This Woman Would Get My Vote - if I were a citizen

Michele Bachmann has the credentials of her heart, a heart that loves all American people, including those in thue womb, and the vulnerable in our society. This is someone very special.

Michele Bachmann’s pro-life heart – and credentials - Jill Stanek

Once Saved Always Saved? - Salvation and Sports Ca...

Taylor Marshall

There are a number of Protestant beliefs that fly in the face of what the Catholic Church has taught, as handed down by Our Saviour Jesus Christ through the Apostles and those they have chosen to lead the Church after their demise. Once Saved, Always Saved is one such belief. It would be nice to know that I am saved and there is nothing I can do about it, but it flies in the face of all logic, and also in the face of Catholic teaching since the beginning of the Church.

If life is meant to be a journey, that takes us to the foot of the cross, then how we handle the journey really ought to matter.

As my wife heard today in a voice message from a physician she sees, "Our lives are God's gift to us. What we make of that gift is our gift back to God."

Canterbury Tales by Taylor Marshall: Once Saved Always Saved? - Salvation and Sports Ca...: "Most Protestant Evangelicals hold that a Christian is “once saved always saved,” by which they mean that once a person has committed his li..."

The Sin of Human Respect?

Monsignor Charles Pope at Archdiocese of Washington

I have given a little thought to the topic of whether I am trying to please others more than I am interested in pleasing God. The examples in the good Monsignor's piece linked here hit too close to home for me.

Do we wish to be like and to be liked by those we meet daily, or do we wish to be like and receive the unconditional love of our God? For me the answer too often has been the former.

The article is food for thought, and more importantly food for action.

On overcoming the sin of self respect through the fear of the Lord

Saturday, July 9, 2011

On Cell Phones and Prayers to the Saints

The Protestant Revolution Threw the Baby out with the Bathwater

This is a very interesting article by a well studied, well read, wise convert to the Christian faith as expressed in the Roman Catholic Church. The comments that follow the article are quite interesting as well.

It is most interesting to me to read the attempts by those who would call themselves "saved" "bible believing" Christians, to defend one of many thousands of distorted versions of Christianity, ignoring history under the guise of sola scripture, while criticizing the Catholic Church, which despite being filled with sinners, and frail humans, has continued the faith and traditions of the early Church and it's Fathers for over 2,000 years and counting. For, the moment that their pastor makes some new error (in their minds) they will scurry off looking for the next, perfect model of a Christian church. All they need to do is drop their age old prejudices and look at the Catholic Church with the eyes of their hearts and see that Jesus is there waiting for them to come home.

Canterbury Tales by Taylor Marshall: On Cell Phones and Prayers to the Saints: "Recently in the comments box, someone named Wayne wrote: 'I can say with 100% certainty that Mary can't hear your prayers. This cruel joke ..."

Sacred Heart of Jesus we trust in your love for all those who would persecute your Holy Church. Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us that we may be made worthy of the promises of your Son Jesus Christ.

I Suspect There’s More Talking Going On, than Listening: Some Questions about Social Media

Monsignor Charles Pope at Archdiocese of Washington

The good Monsignor poses questions about social media from the perspective of his own use of it, and an attached video. Well worth the read, and viewing of the video.

I Suspect There’s More Talking Going On, than Listening: Some Questions about Social Media

Friday, July 8, 2011

Example Over Advice - Fallible Blogma

Kids do what they see us do

Although this applies particularly to young parents and young children, it is true of older ones as well. We will be parents all the rest of our lives, from the moment of conception.

How we love our spouses is the most important example we can give our kids. If the two parents are the most important humans in each other's lives, the children win, because there is more than enough life to go around. If the parent's make the children more important than their own relationship, everybody loses because the example given will remain in their training for the rest of their lives.

Example Over Advice - Fallible Blogma

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone

(Father) John Corapi, you, and me

I was shocked to hear about the SOLT press release yesterday about (Father) John Corapi, and about the double life he has lived during his public ministry. That is, until I looked into the mirror and remembered the particular time in my life where I did the same.  That simply brings to mind the Gospel words: "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone," words that Our Saviour said, and words we must live by.

(Father) John Corapi has an opportunity that I did not have in that period of my life. He has been publicly called to repentance and to return to his community.  When I was in serious sin nobody called me out. I was left to my own devices and fortunately for me God took matters into His own hands largely and pulled me out.

My darkest days looked bright to those around me.  I made really good money.  Though I lived well, I was not ostentatious with the money I had, but I did not spend much of it wisely.  I looked pretty good to much of the world I inhabited.  Most people did not see the shambles that I had made of the most important aspects of my life, my family, my faith.

Then God hit me in the back of the head with a Ford Windstar van.  What grace.  What mercy. That my God loves me so much that he would not let me stray far from Him.   One reason that God came to my aid, was that I had a praying mother, who prayed that God would hit me over the head with a baseball bat.  Maybe somebody else was praying too, and God upped it to a van.

(Father) John Corapi is a sinner. Breaking news. OK, so his sins might be different than some of yours or mine. But the pride with which any one of us puffs up our chest and claims our own innocence is as serious a sin as any he has committed.

He needs one thing from the Body of Christ. He needs our prayers.   The Canticle of Zechariah antiphon today in the Lauds (Morning Liturgy of the Hours) is "Let us serve the Lord in holiness all the days of our lives." May we do so ourselves, and may we in communion with all the saints pray that (Father) John Corapi returns to the holiness to which he was ordained by Blessed John Paul II in 1991.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

If This is the Way You Treat Your Friends

It's no wonder you have so few! ~St. Teresa of Avila (about God)

Father Tim Moyle over at Where the Rubber Hits the Road has highlighted two recent articles focused on anti-Catholic bias, and prejudice, here and here.

As a Roman Catholic lay person, I have a view on this topic.  I have been witnessing a lot of incidents of what I would call bias against the Catholic Church. 

If you take for example the one-sidedness of the sexual abuse scandal, and how it has resulted in reaction from American bishops in particular to accusations against their priests, and then seeking out the facts you see two things at play.  First of all, sexual abuse carries on in our society regrettably, but it does not by and large occur in the Roman Catholic Church anymore.  That boat has sailed, and not largely because the US bishops finally in 2002 created the Dallas Charter to protect young people. 

I have written often about Father Gordon MacRae, a guest of the state of New Hampshire prison system for a crime that was never committed, and if it was, it was not by him.  His case is an example of prejudice run amok.  The detective examining the evidence or lack of it in the first place, had a clear prejudice against Catholic priests, and so was less inclined to look for incontrovertible proof than he was to believe the lies against Father Gordon.  The prosecutor and then the judge were similarly inclined to believe in their prejudice, and so Father Gordon did not get a real chance to prove his innocence.  But, in a case of the Church knuckling under to the prejudice, and in fact supporting it, he was abandoned by his bishop and the successor to his bishop at the time, and left to his own devices.  And so, he sits in prison for a crime that  he did not commit.  If he were not a Catholic priest, would he have ever been tried, and convicted?  I think not.

But, the prejudice is often more subtle and also often comes from sources one would not expect.  In the US, there has only been one Catholic President, and we saw how that ended up.  In Canada, we have had a number of senior politicians of some Catholic persuasion, though from their actions, it appears that their Catholicism is nominal, and therein lies the rub.  Here in Ontario, we have a Premier, Dalton McGuinty, who claims to be a Catholic.  However, he leads a government bent on removing the Catholicism from the Catholic School System, with education policies that are meant to give precedence to homosexualist agendas at our expense.  One of our own is putting the screws to us.

While on that, if the Gay Pride parades and celebrations, rife with overt sexuality, and nudity, are not an affront to all that we Catholics hold reverence for regarding the sanctity of the human body, then I miss my guess.

And there is more.  Much more, but I am preparing to head to the LifeTeen Mass at Holy Family Parish around the corner to celebrate the Sacred Mystery of our Saviour's Passion and Death on the Cross, in the midst of like minded individuals.

Prejudice has been there always, and will be until He returns, and we, as Catholic Christians will bear the brunt of it, along with many of our other Christian brothers and sisters, but we will bear more of it.  God allows it to occur.  He could certainly stop it, if He chose.  But, he does so for our greater good, and for the strengthening of our faith with trials.

As we grow in our individual faith, the existence of prejudices and trials matter very little.  Our vocation is to grow in holiness, and the trials and prejudices help us with that, if we look with our eyes of faith at what is going on in our lives and in the lives of the Church.

Father Gordon, for one, is being tried and is growing daily in his own faith, and love of Our Saviour.  If his life had been peachy keen, it likely would not have happened. 

So, I say bring on the prejudice and the trials, and Lord mold us into Your Image.