Sunday, December 25, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

12 Days of Christmas - An Unusual Version

How Animals Might Present It

12 Days of Christmas is certainly an interesting song, though not one of my personal favourites.  Here, from the Talking Animals channel on You Tube is what cats, dogs and other animals have to say and sing about it.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

New Mass Translation

The Process and The Intent

A short video prepared for Life Teen explaining the process and reasons for the changes in the Roman Missal.

Intellect versus Wisdom

In recent years I have followed the goings on over at Father Tim Moyle's blog, Where the Rubber Hits the Road.  There have been a number of commenters, almost to the one thoughtful people, who have something to say either supporting an item linked on Father Tim's site, or raising a criticism of something read.

One of the most frequent and verbal of the commenters is a man named Martin, s former classmate of Father Tim's at the St. Peter's Seminary in London, Ontario, who one would therefor expect to be Catholic in his beliefs and comments.  Such is not the case, and Martin, well versed in the words of scripture always seems to have an axe to grind.  He is frankly better versed than yours truly, and generally raises interesting arguments.

A while back, he felt that verses in the bible about Jesus commenting on the end times proved that Jesus could not be God, since he apparently erred in Martin's humble opinion.  We went back and forth for some time, and I thought he made good points, though I felt they were erroneous.  One thing that was never mentioned is that the books of the Bible were not produced in the time of Jesus, but 30 years later or so, which gives one pause.  Jesus did not stand beside Matthew, Mark, Luke or John, and say: "Take this down.  This is good."  They also had the benefit of about 30 years of seeing how what they understood Jesus to have said played out, if it did.

But, the bigger issue for me is one I took umbrage with Martin on.  I believe that he possesses a great deal of intelligence, or intellect, but is lacking in wisdom.

Being an atheist in our times is a very difficult task, and requires one to undertake machinations to prove the unprovable, which of course, is what atheists say about Christians.  But, beyond the words of the Bible, there are instances, and many of them protracted, where the Blessed Virgin Mary is appearing to people around the world, and communicating with them in no uncertain terms.  As well, Jesus has appeared to many as well, and has shared His Heart with them.

Christians and non believers, are not required to believe in these things, but prudence requires us to at least examine them for their veracity.  The appearances of Mary at places like Garabandal in Spain, Fatima in Portugal, have borne much fruit, as people have been drawn into a greater commitment to life in Christ.

One of the most interesting recent phenomena is the communications purported to be between Jesus himself, and Vassula Ryden, which took place over more than 15 years, and have been published, with a letter from a Catholic Bishop indicating that reading and meditating on this book is spiritually beneficial to all, and in no way contravenes Catholic Church teaching.  The book also contains dialogue between Vassula and the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, where questions were asked and satisfactory answers provided.

But, this particular book, True Life in God, at page 419 had an insight into what I thought was going on between Martin and the things he rails against.  It differentiates between Wisdom and Intellect.

Vassula asks the Lord: "Give us the Wisdom then to imitate You."

Jesus responded in kind: "Wisdom is given to mere children; unless they seek Me in simplicity of heart, Wisdom shall not be given to them and as long as their intellect is at work, Wisdom will remain hidden and as a riddle to them."

She then prays as follows:"Tear away, Lord, their intellect so that they may at last see with their eyes Your Beauty and Your Splendour!"

Jesus says: "little heart, pray for them then; pray in these godless times; let your prayers be like blended incense;"

"pray that I may give them back their sight; pray that I may go over to them and wake them up from their everlasting sleep; pray, My little one, you who had the Law brought to you by Me; and directed by My Holy Spirit, pray that they die to their sin and resurrect to Holiness, Love and Faith; and if there are any wise men, let them show their wisdom by their simplicity of heart towards Me, their zeal to all that is holy, and by their ardour to draw souls to Me; may all these things be done with humility and love; remember that if you do not get what you ask it is because you do not pray hard enough and with your heart;"

You can improve your intellect by studying, reading, even watching certain things, but you cannot get Wisdom that way.  Wisdom cannot be chased.  Wisdom comes from submission, even a tiny bit of submission.  Wisdom, once it starts to have its way with us can grow and blossom.

When our intellect is allowed to be in the driver's seat, we limit what we can understand and what we can accomplish.  We claim certain things to be factual, where they are only opinions, and incomplete understandings.  Wisdom has no such bounds, because it is not from us, and not about us.

Intellect is about what we know, what we have seen, what we have interpreted.  As such it is very limited; yet we rely on it to guide us.

We cannot bring another to Wisdom, but we can pray for that person to be visited by Wisdom, and if we are to pray and seek an answer to our prayer, then the admonition of Jesus to pray hard enough and with our hearts is essential.

Many have wandered away from the faith we profess; many of whom once made the same professions.  They have been deluded by intellect, not Wisdom, and that matters.  Pray that all those who have wandered far from home, would be visited by Wisdom, and would receive it so that they may turn their hearts towards home.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Christmas Rush

A Capella

A fun song to help us remember what Christmas is about.

The Christmas Rush - LYRICS
I hit the mall, spendin' dollars.
To show people what they mean to me.
Got trampled trying to find an elmo.
Got pepper sprayed, guess that was free...
They gotta know, that gifts mean love.
I got my Mom MJ's glove.
And as for pops, a crystal bird house.
It doesn't really even matter what Christmas about baby.
I bought the fam lots of crap for Christmas,
Forgot who I bought it for yeah.
It won't be Christmas without presents,
Spending till my card gets sore yeah.
And who knew,
that this holiday could make me so poor yeah.
And who knew,
That i'd almost break my pelvis in a revolving door yeah.
I got my bro some N'Sync earmuffs,
then fought off Britney tryin' to steal from me.
My sis is gettin' a brand new loofa,
the jokes on her cause it was free.
This time of year the stores get nuts.
Who knew that meat mitts could cost so much?
I think the Mall Cop just grabbed my butt.
I'm gettin' kind of sick of this Christmas rush baby.
I bought the fam lots of crap for Christmas,
Forgot who I bought it for yeah.
It won't be Christmas without presents,
Spending till my card gets sore yeah.
And who knew,
that this holiday could make me so poor yeah.
And who knew,
That i'd knock a granny over face first on the floor yeah.
Feeling sweaty, feeling nervous.
Shopping's not supposed to make you bleed.
I got a feelin' there's more to Christmas.
Then buying stuff that no one needs.
Look around you and find somebody,
who matters more than you can believe.
This is love so spread it around you.
Love's a gift that all can receive yeah.
I don't need all this crap for Christmas,
Don't matter who I buy it for yeah.
It's still a Christmas without presents.
To me it means so much more yeah.
And wooo,
You can't buy love from any store yeah.
And wooo, with peace and love you'll never be poor yeah
And wooo,
You can't buy love from any store yeah.
And wooo, with peace and love you'll never be poor yeah

Change of a Dollar

Patrick Madrid

Patrick Madrid came across this video and it shows what small things can mean in the bigger picture.

Many years ago, I was attending morning prayer with a number of my Catholic Christian friends, and on one particular morning, my friend Wayne asked me if I wanted to drive with him to take his cousin, Paul to meet his father about 30 miles outside of London, Ontario.  I had some time on my hands, and went with him.

When we got to our destination, a truck stop along the highway, I heard a voice tell me to give Wayne $50.  Since I knew whose voice it was, I did as I was old, and turned to Wayne, giving him the money and telling him that the Lord told me to.

He immediately turned to his cousin Paul and gave it to him.

As we started back to London a short while later, I was mulling over what had just happened, and told Wayne that if I had wanted to give the money to Paul, I would have, but I was told to give it to him.

Wayne was non-plussed about the whole thing, and old me the Lord told him to give the $50 to Paul.

Then he explained.  He said that as I was obedient, I was blessed by what I had done.  But, as he was obedient, he too was blessed by what he did next. As well, Paul was blessed by receiving money that he, in fact needed,.

So, in essence, God is capable of making something bigger out of a small thing, and the film at the link below is about blessings from small things, and how they go full circle.

Let us not lose sight of the fact that we are called to do the small things to the best of our ability, and that in our obedience to God, these small things make the world better.

Change: This movie will mess you up . . . in a very good way

Friday, December 9, 2011

Merry Christmas I Mean MERRY CHRISTMAS

Not Happy Holidays, Though I Hope They Will Be

We will be celebrating Christmas this year on December 25. Same date as last year. Same date as next year. Same date people around the world have been celebrating it for generations, come to think of it.

I was going to let go after my little rant last year, complete with musical accompaniment here.  But, then I got to watching the news on our local television station here in London, Ontario.  And frankly, I got mildly bothered.  You can substitute another word or two if you want, maybe one that is less . . . well . . . mild.

A  lot of companies that we have never really heard of, take it upon themselves to issue a commercial greeting during the news this time of year.  I lost count of how many lawyers, accountants, purveyors of things we need and other stuff did their thing but it was several.  Of that several, more than half wished me and My Dear Wife in the next chair a Happy Holiday.  Too bad I can't remember who they were, since it was coming so hot and heavy.  I would gladly communicate to them where I think they should put their Happy Holiday.  Think lack of sunshine.

The brave ones who remembered that we would be celebrating Christmas were somewhat outnumbered, but not overcome.  In fact, in most instances they had a gaggle of employees, students or friends with them to make sure that we knew they communally were wishing us a Merry Christmas.

As I said I would have let it go.  But, a friend from Petrolia, who lives near us in our winter home in Tucson, Norm Sutherland, sent out the following in an email, which he invited us to share with others.  It is cute.  It is relevant, and it is poignant.

And so, I am sharing it with you in this forum, my blog.  Should any of you want the original email, so that you can send it to your friends, relatives, mortal enemies (to whom you wish glad tidings) leave me a comment with your email address, and I will forward the original to you. 

We will be making a conscious effort to wish everyone
a Merry Christmas this year ...
My way of saying that we are celebrating
the birth Of Jesus Christ.

So, we are asking readers,
if you agree with us,
to please do the same.

And if you'll pass this on to
your friends, and so on...
maybe we can prevent one more Canadian/American
tradition from being lost in the sea of
"Political Correctness".

To One and All ! ! ! ! !

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Kids Say the Darndest Things

Humor from GodVine
Funny Things Kids Have Said

The Sunday School teacher was describing how Lot's wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt, when little Jason interrupted, "My Mother looked back once while she was driving," he announced triumphantly, "and she turned into a telephone pole!"


A Sunday school teacher was telling her class the story of the Good Samaritan. She asked the class, "If you saw a person lying on the roadside, all wounded and bleeding, what would you do?"

A thoughtful little girl broke the hushed silence, "I think I'd throw up."


A Sunday school teacher asked, "Johnny, do you think Noah did a lot of fishing when he was on the Ark?"

"No," replied Johnny. "How could he, with just two worms."


A Sunday school teacher said to her children, "We have been learning how powerful Kings and Queens were in Bible times. But, there is a Higher Power. Can anybody tell me what it is?"

One child blurted out, "Aces!"


Nine-year-old Joey was asked by his mother what he had learned in Sunday School.

"Well, Mum, our teacher told us how God sent Moses behind enemy lines on a rescue mission to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. When he got to the Red Sea, he had his army build a pontoon bridge and all the people walked across safely. Then he radioed headquarters for reinforcements. They sent bombers to blow up the bridge and all the Israelites were saved."

"Now, Joey, is that really what your teacher taught you?" his Mother asked.

"Well, no, Mum, but, if I told it the way the teacher did, you'd never believe it!"


A Sunday School teacher decided to have her young class memorize one of the most quoted passages in the Bible - Psalm 23. She gave the youngsters a month to learn the chapter.

Little Rick was excited about the task - but he just couldn't remember the Psalm. After much practice, he could barely get past the first line.

On the day that the kids were scheduled to recite Psalm 23 in front of the congregation, Ricky was so nervous. When it was his turn, he stepped up to the microphone and said proudly, "The Lord is my Shepherd, and that's all I need to know.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Discourse on Jesus Return - Civil or Not?

Recently, a discussion broke out at Father Tim Moyle's Blog "Where the Rubber Hits the Road" over what appeared to be a humorous and innocuous posting he made linking to Harold Camping's revised prediction of the Rapture coming on October 21, 2011.
If you are reading this, then you know that the Rapture, if there is ever really going to be one, did not occur as promised by Mr. Camping.  This was not his first prediction of the end, but was as accurate as his previous ones.

But, of greater interest was the ensuing comment thread, largely involving myself, and another Catholic Christian named Paul, pitted in a contestuous battle of wits, our 2 halves against Martin's nit.

The discussion I felt was worthy of being brought out more into the open, because Martin, who was educated here in London, Ontario at St. Peter's Seminary has taken the knowledge he received and has built upon,  and has wandered over to the dark side (no offence meant Martin).

We have ultimately agreed to disagree.  At least we do disagree, and have drawn no closer to agreement.  Ignore the testiness that crept into the comments, particularly my own.

The actual frolicking began when Paul reerenced the bible stating that we know not the time nor the place of Jesus' return, in reference to Mr. Camping fixating on a particular date and time.  Martin is categorically an SD (you know disturber of excrement), and so he dutifully stirred the pot.

He raised the ante, by referencing Luke 21:32, "In truth, I tell you before this generation has passed away all will have taken place."  Specifically, he said:
Jesus clearly tells his audience that the world will end in their own lifetimes. Not only was Jesus wrong, but his words contradict your citation. No matter how you try to square that circle, the world cannot be both ended in the lifetime of the apostles and still in existence and facing an immanent destruction in 2011.
There was more and you can read it in the comments, but that was a pretty pivotal point, and remained the main topic of the comments.
Frankly, it seemed such a walk in the park to refute what Martin had said, that I started out lazily, and never really got past it, try though I might.
What, of course, was missed in the discussion, was when the text of Luke and the parallel texts of Matthew 24, and Mark 13 were actually written.  Since Luke was not probably written until about the 60s AD, use of the term generation becomes even more of a challenge.  So, I looked up this commentary from Bible and quote from there:
Jesus assures the disciples that these signs will be so. "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away." The things Jesus has taught are true, more firm than creation itself.

In the midst of this note of assurance is one of the most-discussed passages in Luke. For Jesus also says, "This generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened." The prediction is made emphatically, using the strong Greek phrase ou me. This generation will not (!) pass away.

On the surface it looks as if Jesus is predicting the end within his generation, especially since Luke normally uses the term generation (genea) to mean the current generation (7:31; 9:41; 11:29-32, 51; 17:25; Acts 2:40; 8:33). Often the term also has a negative implication, meaning this current generation is evil. Against applying this interpretation to 21:32, however, is the reality of the delay. The generation of Jesus' utterance was passing away even as Luke wrote, and Luke had described numerous intervening events. Jesus had spoken in the thirties, but Luke was writing, in all likelihood, in the sixties. A reference to the current generation is unlikely.

Neither is it likely that Luke refers to the Jews as this generation. According to this view, the promise is that "the generation of Jews" will not pass away. Though this approach removes any problem for the meaning, it is unlikely because genea is not used in this general, nontemporal, ethnic sense elsewhere.

Two other options are possible. If the term has no temporal force, then it could mean "the evil generation of humankind." Using the term with this descriptive, ethical force would mean Jesus is speaking of a quality of human being: evil persons will not escape the judgment when it comes. This evil generation will not pass away before God deals with them. There will be judgment and vindication.

Finally, the term might refer to the generation of the end. In other words, once the beginning of the end arrives with the cosmic signs of verses 25-26, the Son of Man will return before that generation passes away. Such a meaning honors the term's temporal force and reads it as somewhat contextually limited by Luke's clear distinction between near and far events. This view has been rejected by some as too obvious a sense--the last generation will not pass away (Stein 1992:526). However, this misreads the view's force. It is arguing that the end will occur within one generation; the same group that sees the start of the end will see its end. This is the option I slightly prefer, though the previous sense is also possible.

However the phrase this generation is taken, Jesus' statements in verses 32-33 emphasize that Jerusalem's destruction and then the events of the end, including the Son of Man's return and the cosmic signs that accompany it, are more certain than creation's permanence. Be assured, Jesus says, these things will come to pass.
It was and may continue to be an interesting discussion.  But, what came to me in prayer was some thoughts on attitude.  Zig Ziglar, a well known Christian says this: “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude”.

Though I respect Martin's knowledge, my challenge is with his attitude towards the Bible, and Catholic teaching.  Jesus told us that we were to come to Him like little children.  Well, little children are curious, inquisitive, helpful, and trusting.  At least, they are that way until we, of the older generations, train it out of them.  We eventually train them not to trust, to be petulant, and argumentative.  They move from being child like, to being childish in their behaviours and attitudes, and that is how we enter adulthood.

I hope I am not misrepresenting concepts I believe I have read from him.  What I have understood from what I have read, is that he takes a critical approach to scripture, what I would characterize as a childish attitude, as opposed to an attitude of trusting inquiry and inquisitiveness.  This is not meant as a criticism of Martin, as when I look at some of the things I have written in response to him, I see the same petulance and childishness.  In fact, I doubt that the verbal jousting would have gone on as long as it did if I had presented a better attitude.

Be that as it may, mayhaps we will re-engage over this topic or others as time passes.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

No Hurry???

From Father John Pirt's Sermon This Morning

Today's Gospel reading was about the 10 virgins waiting for the Bridegroom (Jesus) to come (Matthew 25:1-13).  The scene of the gospel was apparently a common scene in Jesus day on earth.  The bridegroom would possibly play tricks on the bride and attendants by showing up at an odd time.  So, while 5 attendants had lamps and oil, five only had lamps, and ran out of oil before the bridegroom arrived, and their lack of preparedness and diligence was to their eternal sorrow.

To start his homily, father John told this story about the devil.

The devil was about to send three newly trained devil apprentices to earth to test our their skills, and so he met with them prior to their starting this assignment.

He asked the first one what he planned to do on earth.  He said, he was going to tell everyone he could that there was no God.

Satan smiled at him, and told him that that would get a few, but that most over time know from their heart that there is a God, and so as a strategy, it would not be very productive.

When he queried the second one, his response was that he planned on telling everyone he could that there was no hell. 

Again, the devil was amused but told him that the people on earth knew in their hearts that there was a hell, and so he might have minor success, but that it was not a very effective plan.

When he asked the third demon what he planned, his response was chilling.  He said that he was going to tell everyone on earth, that there was no hurry.

The Gospel tells us to stand guard, be vigilant and prepared.  The devil tells us there is no hurry.

Who are you going to believe?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs - Requiescat in Pace

Most interesting quote -IMHO

“.. almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

Not everybody liked Steve Jobs, certainly not those who were jealous of him. He had a significant impact on how we do things, including me sitting here on my iPad writing this.

I hope he ran into the loving arms of God when he left this mortal coil.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Will this have any impact on Your Thoughts?

A Movie For Our Times

Please watch this.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Judge tells offenders to go to jail or church - Weird News -

The article linked below was captioned under weird news on Canoe this morning. The MSM cannot get into their heads that current approaches to minor crimes are not in any way restorative, or remedial. So, offering miscreants jail or Church as options could prove to be excellent options to halt a downward spiral in behavior. Have we lost our way so badly that the existence of a loving God and of people who want to serve Him and help others to find Him is considered weird?

Judge tells offenders to go to jail or church - Weird News -

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Touch of Deja Vu: The Case against Rev. Gordon ...

The Truth is Relative?

Does the truth matter? We Christians know that the truth alone can set you free. Yet, we see evidence daily of where intentional lies and falsehoods are treated as factual truths, and produce success for their bearers. Thou shalt not bear false witness, or so the commandment goes, yet it is everyday fare for so many among us.

The case that was put together against Father Gordon MacRae, the author of These Stone Walls is one of those blatant circumstances where lies of gargantuan proportions were perpetrated by alleged victims, and possibly also by investigating detectives, and prosecutors, though maybe the detectives and prosecutors were just so focused on their objective that they lost their . . . objectivity.

Ryan MacDonald who has done a lot of long distance research into the tragic case of Father Gordon has once again brought some of the lies and corruption to the surface about this case.  And still midst all the evil falsehoods perpetrated against this man of God, he languishes in prison, and his accusers go free to spend their ill gotten lucre.

The story will not end well for those who deal in lies and falsehoods.  It just may take some time.  My hope and prayer for all those who have contributed to the deceptions that have kept Father Gordon in prison for about 17 years is that the lies are weighing on the hearts and minds of those who were their source, and that God's Holy Spirit is working to turn their hearts back to Him, who is the Truth.

A RAM IN THE THICKET:: by Ryan A. MacDonald Whatever you think about the guilt of Catholic priests accused over the last two decades of the Church's sex abuse ...

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Young Girl Confronts an Atheist

A Moral Inside Humour

A friend sent me this as a joke, but considering the source, I expected something more than just a laugh, and I was not disappointed.

See what you think:

An atheist was seated next to a little girl on an airplane and he turned to her and said,"Do you want to talk? Flights go quicker if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger."

The little girl, who had started to read her book, replied to the stranger, "What would you want to talk about?"

"Oh, I don't know," said the atheist. "How about why there is no God, no Heaven or Hell, or no life after death?" as he smiled smugly.

"OK," she said. "Those could be interesting topics but first let me ask you a question. A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same stuff--grass. Yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns out a flat patty, but a horse produces clumps. Why do you suppose that is?"

The atheist, visibly surprised by the little girl's intelligence, thinks about it and says, "Hmmm, I have no idea."

To which the little girl replies, "Do you really feel qualified to discuss why there is no God, no Heaven or Hell, or no life after death, when you don't know shit?" And then she went back to reading her book.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Invisible Woman

A Friend sent me this video to watch,

and to be astounded with the simplicity of faith it calls us to, not self centredness, but other centredness, because God sees everything, and it is for Him that we are called to live.

The Anti-Catholic Moment

Robert Royal on what may be (in the reverse of Richard John Neuhaus) the Anti-Catholic Moment in contemporary history.

Over at The Catholic Thing, Robert Royal writes with reference to Father Richard John Neuhaus, a now deceased Roman Catholic priest (and friend of Father Tim Moyle from whence I came upon this article) and former Lutheran Pastor. Though Father Neuhaus wrote of a Catholic Moment, My Royal has noted anti-Catholic sentiment, much of it brought on by our own sinfulness in the Catholic Church, and what we can expect.

The Anti-Catholic Moment:

Eucharistic Miracles

Monsignor Charles Pope - Archdiocese of Washington

Monsignor Pope writes today over here of a Eucharistic Miracle he was a part of 15 years ago.  I had my own experience of a Eucharistic Miracle many years ago, that I wrote about last year here.

Some of us need these experiences to help us get the truth of the Eucharist into our hearts and out of our heads.  What a blessing for those who without these physical experiences have a faith deep enough to know that they know that they know without external evidence beyond the Eucharist itself.

The Holy Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith.  We in the Catholic Church believe that Christ becomes present in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at the Consecration, when the priest performs that rite as Christ prescribed it before His death on the Cross at Calvary.

BUT, we are so often not giving faithful witness to this fact, and bear much responsibly for the ongoing separation of our Christian brothers and sisters from this miraculous appearance of Our Lord and Saviour.  When we do not show appropriate reverence to the Eucharist, how can we expect others to?  When we dress casually to attend Mass, and make it an occasion for seeing our friends, when we are in fact in the presence of our best friend and lover, how can we expect others to grasp that truth?

If we truly believe that Jesus Christ is present on the altar at each and every mass, and that He is residing in every tabernacle in every Catholic Church, should we not show Him respect?  Dare we create scandal for ourselves and our brothers and sisters by showing disrespect for the One who dies to save us and was resurrected again on the third day?

Forgive me Lord for the many, many times in my life that I have not shown reverence for who You are, and for what you have done for me.  Wash away my sins; cleanse me from my iniquity.

Life is Precious

From Australian X Factor - Choosing Life
Keep your head back from your keyboard.  Don't want to short out your computer should this video hit you in the tear ducts.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Largest ever study finds abortion increases risk of severe mental health problems by 81%

Life Site News
The loss of an unborn child to abortion is a tragedy, but abortion is the gift that keeps on giving. The mother (and the father) will live forever with the decision (choice) they made. Short term gain (questionable). Long term pain (guaranteed).

You might notice that the study referenced in the linked article is not one you have seen in the Main Stream Media. Why is that? Because, it is one of the real inconvenient Truths.

Largest ever study finds abortion increases risk of severe mental health problems by 81% |

Saturday, September 3, 2011

My Chocolate Heart: The Gospel of Tolerance: You Must Approve

My Chocolate Heart: The Gospel of Tolerance: You Must Approve: at Catholic Online Stacy Trascanos is one gutsy lady.  Last week she wrote a little blog post about how she’s getting tired of wonderi...

Abortion and Diabolical Lies

Fr. Dwight Longenecker

Abortion is probably the most absurd thing in our world today. If abortion raises the risk of mental health issues for women, should they not get some independent advice other than from an abortion provider before making their "choice"? If abortion raises the risk of breast cancer for women, should the leading breast cancer awareness group be funding Planned Parenthood?

Abortion and Diabolical Lies

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How Can This Be?

Shock and Horror at the continued incarceration of Father Gordon MacRae
Unless you or I have been asleep under a rock for the last decade or two, we have heard about how DNA evidence has exonerated a not insignificant number of prisoners on death row, or in the general prison population of murders, rapes, and other crimes where such evidence was able to be gathered in the days of the investigation of the crimes.

But, we all think that justice, though it may be blind, its blindness is meant not as a problem, but that it is not prejudiced against or for a particular victim or accused perpetrator.  So, we conclude that mistakes happen, and isn't it a good thing that those wrongly incarcerated will one day be freed.  It is of course easy for us, since it isn't us, and besides he/she probably got away with something else anyway.

So, someone proclaims his/her innocence for year after year, when he/she could probably have been paroled simply by saying that he/she had committed the crime, and by showing sincere remorse for having done such a heinous thing, whatever it was.  But, because someone did not know how or desire to fake sincerity and remorse, he/she languished in prison wrongfully, until some group or individual pursued their innocence for years to get them freed.

Justice might be blind, but it appears in not just a few incidences that it is deaf, dumb and stupid as well.  We think that in a criminal court of law that a preponderance of evidence will cause the guilty to be found so, and the innocent to be exonerated.  Most times it works that way.  But not always.

How does one exonerate someone if a crime was never committed?  How does a non crime make its way into the criminal justice system, and how does someone get convicted and sent to prison for 67 years for a non-crime?  Well, it's not easy, but it can be done, and there is at least one example of which I am familiar where the perfect storm conspired for it to be so.

The perfect storm of which I speak is the sexual abuse scandal of Catholic priests.  In the US between 1960 and 2004, 10,667 individuals claimed sexual abuse by 4,392 priests, and 90% of these claims were from prior to 1990.  It seems like a lot, but in fact in the totality of sexual abuse in the US during the time period, it is not even statistically a dot on the radar, not 1%, not even .1%, or even .01%.  Yet, the only sexual abuse we have heard about for 20 years is that by Catholic priests.

There are reasons for this, and Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York said this in a recent post, which is worthy of a read for its own sake:
“For one,” I continued, “we priests deserve the more intense scrutiny, because people trust us more as we dare claim to represent God, so, when one of us do it – even if only a tiny minority of us ever have — it is more disgusting.”
“Two, I’m afraid there are many out there who have no love for the Church, and are itching to ruin us. This is the issue they love to endlessly scourge us with.”
“And, three, I hate to say it,” as I wrapped it up, “there’s a lot of money to be made in suing the Catholic Church, while it’s hardly worth suing any of the other groups I mentioned before.”
The first one is true.  Priests lives should be able to withstand close scrutiny, since they represent Christ to Catholics around the world.  But, lest we get to intense about this, I assure you that my life breaks down under close scrutiny, and I rely on the grace and mercy of God to survive my own sinfulness.

The second one is about the animosity to the Church that goes on daily in our world.  Good on you, Archbishop for saying this, because although it is the truth, most won't believe it.

But, it is the third one that salts the clouds of the perfect storm, and which has led to the incarceration of at least one priest of my electronic acquaintance, Father Gordon MacRae of These Stone Walls.

In the early 90's as the eyes of the US fell on priests and sexual abuse, many of the cases that had occurred and had been buried either by victims who felt ashamed, as victims of sexual abuse often wrongly do, or worse still buried by Church administrators and bishops, who felt shame as well, and sought to protect the Church, came bubbling up to the surface.  As they percolated in our collective consciousness, opportunity surfaced as well.

Necessity may be the mother of invention, but greed and opportunity are the parents of copycats.  As reports surfaced of financial payoffs by the Church, new claims of abuse surfaced, and money changed hands with nary a peep, and no evidence beyond a claim that something had happened.

Many priests were correctly caught in their deceptions, but many others were caught in a web of deceit and lies and hidden agendas, not their own, such as Father Gordon.

Father Gordon has been an inmate of the New Hampshire State prison for about 17 years as of now, for a crime or set of crimes that never could have logistically happened, and which earned those claiming that they did handsome settlements from the local diocese.  You can read the case history of the case against Father Gordon here.

One writer, Ryan A MacDonald, who lives in London England, has taken up Father Gordon's cause, and has done considerable research into it.  Though he has had much of his work published, he has taken it on himself to create a blog for this purpose.  It is called very appropriately "A RAM in the Thicket".

Here is his dedication of the blog:
When God stayed Abraham's hand, sparing Isaac, "Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in the thicket by its horns, and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up as a burnt offering in place of his son." Genesis 22:13. A Ram in the Thicket is a blog by Ryan A. MacDonald (RAM), a writer, Catholic convert, and advocate for the Church as a mirror of justice in the public square. Too often in the current climate the Church's own sons - our priests - are sacrificed to satisfy the demands of contingency lawyers, insurance companies, and a scandal-hungry news media. This blog is dedicated to those priests who are accused falsely, or with wild exaggeration, and who wait with patience and fidelity for their reflection in the mirror of justice that our Church must be.
In his latest post, Ryan opens up a can of worms that is worthy of reading, To Azazel: Father Gordon MacRae and the Gospel of Mercy .

Ryan presented in this posting about the abandonment of Father Gordon by his brother priests, and by his own Bishop.

In a 2001 confidential memo to Bishop McCormack, diocesan attorney Bradford E. Cook wrote: "There were certainly imperfections in the judge's handling of [MacRae's trial]." In regard to the actual claims against Father MacRae he wrote: "Whether it was all trumped up or totally manufactured is impossible to know .... That it was embellished is clear.” The diocesan attorney cited that a number of other priests where Father MacRae served were also accused - some by the same people who accused MacRae: "It is impossible to discount that one or more of them may have been involved with one or more of [MacRae's accusers]."

In another confidential 2001 memo, diocesan Chancellor Rev. Edward Arsenault noted that errors occurred in MacRae's trial, and cited the unfairness of the diocese's refusal to assist him with an appeal forcing him to rely on a public defender for his only remaining hope for justice. Arsenault recommended that the diocese deal with the matter of funding an appellate defense for MacRae by coming up with a remedy for "the lack of base remuneration" from the diocese as required by Church law. On the very verge of these Church officials finally stepping to the plate to help their priest, the 2002 national scandal implicated Bishop McCormack and cast Father Gordon MacRae back into the abyss.

Two persons, a New Hampshire attorney and a former television news producer, have attested under oath that in 2000 Bishop McCormack told them of his belief that Father MacRae is innocent of the claims for which he is in prison, then demanded secrecy, saying, "None of this can ever leave this room."

So, here we have a situation, where Father Gordon's own superiors in the Roman Catholic Church, are pretty sure that he is not guilty of any crimes, and yet no one has lifted a finger to defend him originally, or to assist him today. 

In the name of Our God of Mercy, how can this be?

Sunday, August 21, 2011


About the Erroneous Conviction of Father Gordon MacRae

This should shock you.


Therapists should be held professionally and civilly liable when they promote junk science to help convict...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Feeding Delusions

Disputing Revisionist History from an Anonymous Commenter

Recently, Fr. Tim Moyle, at Where the Rubber Hits the Road, provided a link to an article about Archbishop Chaput, which spoke of his rallying the troops against a piece of legislation that would have opened the civil statute of limitations on sexual abuse in the state of Colorado.  This piece of legislation had no impact whatsoever on criminal culpability of those who abused the young in their charge.  The only logical targets of such a piece of legislation, which was successfully launched in 4 other states have proven to be the local dioceses of the Roman Catholic Church.

An anonymous reader took umbrage at Mr. (Archbishop for those of us who respect the office)Chaput's audacity, and provided vitriolic commentary to same.  The commenter indicated that the purpose of the proposed defeated legislation was to "penalize an institution that is guilty of wrongdoing in both the past and in the present."  If the Catholic Church had been the major contributor to the sexual abuse of young in the past 50 years, this might in fact have been reasonable.  However, statistically that is not the case now, and has never been the case in America or Canada, nor of course anywhere else in the world.

So, I took up the cause, wasting valuable brain cycles in what is probably a fruitless exercise, including yesterdays article here. It seems that Anonymous has his or her mind made up, and facts are irrelevant. Anonymous seems to have been educated by newspaper reports alone, and has no context for this umbrage taking, turning it into a virulent form of anti-Catholic bigotry.

So, how about some context. For that we can turn to the John Jay College study of sexual abuse by priests in America.   This exhaustive study was commissioned as an independent study by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, and in its first phase was an analysis of what had happened between 1960, the first time when reasonable data was available, and 2004. The Executive summary is available here.

That study found that there had been 10,667 individuals who had made claims of some form of abuse by 4,392 priests, approximately 4% of all priests active during those years.  Nobody is pretending that this is a total complete list of all instances of abuse.

The incidents reported, based on the dates when the alleged abuse occurred peaked in about 1980 at 775 incidents, and 490 priests accused of abuse.  Between 1992 and 2004, the number of incidents was always below 100, and has dropped to about 30 by 2004.  The number of priests accused has dropped from about 90 in 1995 to less than 30 in 2004.

How does that compare to the totality of sexual abuse.  In Canada, the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics used a General Social Survey conducted in 2004 and 2007 to find the prevalence of sexual abuse in Canadian society, and reported on it accordingly.  It can be inferred that with a population approximately 1/10th that of the US, that US incidents of abuse would likely exceed the Canadian numbers by a factor of 10.

That study, which also examined police reporting of abuse, found that in 2004 about 80,000 incidents in Canada were reported to police.  But quoting from this statistical report, the following is noted: "According to the 2004 GSS, there were about 512,000 incidents of sexual assault, representing a rate of 1,977 incidents per 100,000 population aged 15 and older.

In Canada police reported incidents of sexual abuse peaked at about 137,000 in 1991-1993, and have since declined to about 75,000 by 2007.

Assuming that the number of incidents in the US would be about 10 times that in Canada, then in 2004, there would have been about 5,120,000 incidents of sexual abuse in the country, and maybe 800,000 of them were reported.  Priests accounted for about 30 of approximately 80,000, or .00375% of the reported incidents or about .0006% of all incidents.

Extrapolating again, in 1991 when abuse reporting peaked at 137,000 incidents reported to police in Canada, or about 1,370,000 in the US, 130 priests were involved in about 175 allegations of sexual abuse.  As incidents are under reported by a factor of about 7 to 1, there were more likely about 9,600,000 incidents in total in the US, so priests were involved in  .00018% of the total number of incidents, and .0013% of those reported to police.

So, following the logic of our commenter, the "RCC did not just have bad apples in its barrel, but it also had leaders who enabled the rape and sexual abuse of children."  If the RCC did that, I wonder how, and what about the rest of society?  So, why does only the RCC come under scrutiny?

However, there is more to the vitriol found in the phrase "leaders who enabled the rape and sexual abuse of children" that tells the tale of bigotry in this commenter's own agenda.

Let's look at the appropriate words for sexual abuse, particularly in this context. "Rape" is "a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person's consent".

But, is that what happened or what was even reported?  Most reports focused on the term pedophilia to describe what priests did in the way of sexual abuse.  Pedophilia is defined as a psychiatric disorder in adults or late adolescents (persons age 16 or older) typically characterized by a primary or exclusive sexual interest in prepubescent children (generally age 13 years or younger.  However, that too is a misnomer.  Hebephilia is the interest in those children in the early years of puberty, and per the John Jay Study accounted for about 51% of all reported incidents.  Only about 22% of incidents involved actual pedophilia.  Further, another 27% of the incidents were in fact Ephebophilia, which is the interest in post pubescent young people ages 15-17.  Calling things what they are does not in any way justify the horrors brought to the lives of victims of priests sexual deviance, but a spade is still a spade, and calling it by a term that has a meaner ring to it does not make it be that term.

Most sexual incidents involving priests were as follows from the John Jay report: "The most frequent acts allegedly committed were: touching over the victim’s clothing (52.6%), touching under the victim's clothes (44.9%), cleric performing oral sex (26%), victim disrobed (25.7%), and penile penetration or attempted penile penetration (22.4%)."

Not a lot of rape going on there.

But, our commenter had a further comment yesterday that deserves to be responded to.  He/She said:

MBrandon - I fail to see how posting anonymously impedes your ability to respond to what I am saying. I will remind you that you chose to respond to my anonymous post and not the other way around.

Wrongfully accused people are an unfortunate reality regardless of the crime for which they are accused. I fail to see the relevance of your point.

You still have not answered how an educated and privileged man of great power, and with many resources at his disposal (e.g. Mr. Bernard Law) was incapable of understanding that the recidivism rate for pedophiles was very high, and that there was no effective psychological treatment for a child rapist at the time he recylced those rapists through his parishes. If Mr. Law did not know, he should have known. Mr. Law should have acted accordingly.

While we may all be sinners, I will wager that neither of is a child rapist. I will also wager that neither of us has knowingly enabled a child rapist. That makes us very different from the priests who raped these children, and the hierarchy that enabled them. That you see this "unity among sinners" as some great validation of your church is a matter for your own personal conscience.

There is no excuse for child rape or the enabling of child rape. None. The same laws that apply to the RCC apply to all. No special persecution involved. If there are more convictions against the preists of the RCC, it is probably due to the fact that no other organization has had so many child rapists in its ranks. You are free at any time to show statistical evidence to the contrary.

For Mr. Chaput to twist the truth in order to limit the depletion of the temporal wealth of his church is just one more example of the church putting its own interests above those of the victims. To do so in the name of "innocent Catholics" is shameful.

That you endorse the actions/inactions of Mr. Chaput and Mr. Law is truly sad. The only good news is that Catholics like you are a dwindling minority.

Our commenter stated that recidivism is known to be high and Cardinal Law, then of Boston where one of the parts of the scandal erupted should have know that.  Well, studies in New Zealand and in the state of Vermont disagree with our detractor.  They found that recidivism in those who went for treatment was approximately 5%, and only 30% in those who did not once they were caught.  Of course, these statistics were not actually known to Cardinal Law, the local bishop I referenced in my last post, or other bishops and administrators.

As the commenter said: " If there are more convictions against the priests of the RCC, it is probably due to the fact that no other organization has had so many child rapists in its ranks. You are free at any time to show statistical evidence to the contrary."

Amazing conclusion that can only be reached from reading some main stream media and ignoring the rest of the world to come to the desired conclusion.  Above is my statistical evidence to the contrary, which took me all of about 2 hours to find.  Our commenter has not produced one piece of evidence, even anecdotally to support wild and frivolous claims.

Does the truth matter?  Only the truth will set us free, free of our own prejudices, and of the lies that the devil would plant for us to believe to separate us from each other in the body of Christ.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What Happens When a Bishop Actually Stands Up for His Church?

Archbishop Chaput

Recently, Father Tim Moyle (not Mr. Tim Moyle)  linked to an article at, the daily Hampshire Gazette web site about Archbishop Charles Chaput (not Mr. Chaput).  The article carried this title to which I have linked the actual article: "New Philadelphia archbishop says church singled out unfairly on sex abuse".

A number of years ago, some states enacted legislation to open the window of civil statutory limitation for sexually based incidents to allow for lawsuits against plaintiffs for sexual abuse that happened beyond the normal statutory limitations for such lawsuits.  Not surprisingly, in the states that opened up the window, there were many claims made, 850 in California alone, and again not surprisingly most of them were made against the various dioceses of the Catholic Church.

Archbishop Charles Chaput, the recently appointed, yet to be installed, Archbishop for the Diocese of Philadelphia, while the Archbishop of Denver stood up against the opening of such a window in Colorado, and he and those who supported him were successful.  There is more in the article worth noting.

While in Philadelphia for a news conference about his appointment, he said the following: "The Catholic Church wants to be treated like citizens with equal access to protection of the law. That's all we were asking for in Colorado."

Over the last 60 years of my life, I have generally travelled in Catholic circles, though not exclusively, and though I have met male and female victims of sexual abuse often, I have yet to meet one who was the victim of a Catholic priest.  I know there are many who were victimized by Catholic clergy, but proportionally it is in fact small.  Yet, almost all the financial pressure for redress has been directed at the Catholic Church.

In a 2001 report on Family Violence in Canada, The Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics found that family members, including relatives, constituted the vast majority (93%) of alleged perpetrators, including sexual abuse.  Parents were responsible for 46% of sexual assaults against youth, and siblings accounted for 26%.  An additional 28% were perpetrated by members of the extended family. 

Yet, I have never known of any person I know who was abused to have tried to sue their parents for the pain inflicted on them by sexual abuse, and for some that I know it was particularly horrific.  I have heard of hardly any instances where a scout troop leader, a guide leader, a teacher, or anyone but the Catholic Church being targets for financial compensation.

Yet, it was hardly surprising to see a flash of anti-Catholic bigotry in response to Father Tim's posting of the link.  Anonymous engaged the conversation, and I hate it when Anonymous (in one form or another) turns up because there is an agenda and it is a secret, and so if you engage, you do so with one hand tied behind your back.  Be that as it may, I did and here is the commentary that followed.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Chaput is quoted as saying: "I have an obligation - a duty I can't avoid - both to help the victims and to defend innocent Catholics today from being victimized because of earlier sins in which they played no part,"
What a very clever way of reframing the issue. Unfortunately, what Mr. Chaput implies is false. The intent of criminal charges and lawsuits is not to "victimize Catholics today" but to obtain compensatory awards for the victims, and to penalize an institution that is guilty of wrongdoing in both the past and in the present.
Let's never forget that the RCC did not just have bad apples in its barrel, but it also had leaders who enabled the rape and sexual abuse of children. These crimes did not just occur in the distant past - they are also recent. These rapes did not occur just in the US or in Canada, but all around the world.
The men responsible for enabling these child rapists (e.g. Bernard Law) are not former members of the hierarchy, but are current "priests in good standing" who are being sheltered today by the Vatican from criminal prosecution.
How dare Mr. Chaput twist the truth to set up this false framing of the issue? You should be ashamed of what Mr. Chaput did in your good name. You should be calling this man to account for mispresenting the truth. 

MBrandon said...


You should be ashamed of yourself for reframing the truth of sexual abuse that has run rampant in our society and continues in much of our society, making it just an issue about the Catholic Church. The catholic Church is the safest place in the world today for young people, far safer than schools, scout troops, girl guide troops, and other institutions.

Anonymous said...

MBrandon - How do you respond to the fact that the Vatican continues to shelter Bernard Law from further investigation? Do you think this demonstates that your church has really learned anything from its sins?
Are children really safer in the Catholic Church when the church evades financial and legal responsibility for its recent and past abuses?
Even if I accept your assertion that the RCC is the safest institution in the world right now for our children, how is this relevant to the church's culpability and responsibility for recent and past abuses?
People who unquestioningly support Mr. Chaput's shameless distortions are part of the problem and share in his culpability. 

MBrandon said...

I see that carrying on this discussion would be like trying to put a dress on a pig. It only wastes time and irritates the pig.
Clearly you have an agenda. Enjoy your life.

Anonymous said...

MBrandon - thought you had no response of your church's indefensible behavior. Your "flounce" confirms it. As for agendas...we all have them honey. Instead of bemoaning this fact, you should have addressed my points and questions directly. But then again, how does one defend Bernard Law, the great enabled of child rPe, and the popes who protect him? You are in my prayers. God bless.

MBrandon said...

Being in your prayers offers no solace. If your prayers are as misguided as your information about the Catholic Church I am better off without them. Bernard Law sadly did what every other organization did about sexual abuse, not so much covered it up as pretended that it was just a minor issue, and so sent offenders for repair,and returned them to ministry when the professionals said that they were repaired.
As news of the rampant sexualization of the young in Hollywood starts to surface, if the main stream media will allow it, will you condemn them, or give them a pass as you do other organizations?
News flash. The Catholic Church mishandled sexual abuse, just like the rest of society. It should never have happened. It does not change the truth of Jesus Christ and the Church he founded. It proves once again that we are powerless to do good consistently without His guidance.

Anonymous said...

MBrandon – my prayers ought to be as efficacious as anyone else’s – that is unless you think prayers in general are a waste of time.
As for Mr. Bernard Law – you are partially correct. He acted like many other members of the hierarchy by placing the PR image of his church ahead of the well being of the children who were raped by his priests. If only his tender tolerance for child rapists was as keen as that for the innocent children. I will remind you, and other apologists for this heinous scandal, that it was well known then (as it is now), that the recidivism rate for pedophiles is very high, and that there is no effective psychological treatment for a child rapist. Had Mr. Law reported these child rapists to the authorities, he could have prevented the rape and sexual abuse of literally hundreds of children (according to the Attorney General of the Sate of Massachusetts dated July 23, 2003). If the Vatican is so convinced of the innocence of Mr. Law – then send him back to the US to face his accusers. 
It is no moral or legal defense to claim that other organizations behaved as badly as the Roman Catholic Church. It is laughable for you to suggest this, while providing no evidence that any other organization actually did behave as badly or worse.
I have made no claim that this scandal in any way invalidates Christianity or Catholicism. You have placed those words in my mouth. I do, however, wonder how any Catholic can claim divine guidance of the church and her ministers when both have behaved so badly time after time. It takes a special kind of faith to be utterly blind to reality.
Whether or not you welcome my prayers, I pray that truth, clarity, and charity will visit your heart and mind. God bless.

MBrandon said...

Dear Anonymous:
Attempting to communicate with people who Hyde behind anonymity is very disadvantageous.
The efficacy of your prayers is not up to me. However, I suggest that you might more properly pray that truth, clarity and charity visit your own mind as well.
Unless you have been blinded by anti-Catholic bigotry, or have been educated by the Main Stream Media and their particular bias only, it would be nearly impossible for you to not be aware that the statistics of sexual abuse, which is by the way not the rape of young children particularly has been statistically more prevalent through this ugly last 4 or 5 decades many places in our society, which in no way excuses that it occurred in the RCC.
In fact, there are a number of Catholic priests, like Father Gordon MacRae Of the These Stone Walls blog who have been falsely accused of things they could not have logically, geographically done. Still, contingency lawyers have wrung many dollars out of their bishops with no proof whatsoever, merely a threat.
The Church has always had sinners in it, who like Peter, have betrayed the Lord. Count me in that number. I deserve to be there. The Church was founded by Christ for such as us. The failure of it's members, even those popes who have been miserable failures does not take away from the truth of the Church.

Michael Brandon
To imply that sexual abuse did not occur in the Catholic Church is head in the sand thinking.  To imply that it was a significant proportion of all sexual abuse going on is absurd.

I find it equally absurd to think that Anonymous or I have a clue as to why Cardinal Law is in Rome.  Certainly there is no practical evidence online that he was implicated criminally, personally in what happened on his watch in Boston.

I have known 4 bishops in my adult lifetime, and hold each of these men in high regard.  I happened to do a lot of work for one particular diocese in the day, and knew of some of the struggles that that particular bishop was dealing with.  He was and is, even in retirement, a good man, desirous of doing the best he could for those under his care. 

I met a particular priest, who was working in the tribunal office that dealt with annulments, and who had been sent to this particular diocese from his home diocese after allegations were made about hissexual misconduct with young people.  This particular bishop put him away from any contact with young people while his court cases worked themselves out.  He was convicted of several sexual assaults.  He was never allowed back into public ministry, as is appropriate.  Last year, he committed suicide.

This bishop and his confreres tried to deal with the unthinkable to the best of the knowledge they and the professionals they consulted with had at the time.  They took a long time to get it partly right.  Could I have done better, or Anonymous?  I have no idea.

Does the failures of those in the Church hierarchy diminish the truth of the living presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist, which is the source and summit of Our Catholic Faith?  Not one iota.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Embracing Feminity - A Man's Perspective

Becoming Worthy of Our Wives
Recently, a talented female Catholic writer, Mrs. Jennifer Hartline, relayed on her blog, My Chocolate Heart,  and at Catholic Online a conversation between her and her husband about the nature of feminine beauty, which was at once intriguing, and as well, thought provoking.

In it she presented this quote from Bishop Fulton Sheen, long since deceased, but still touching our Catholic faith lives:
"To a great extent the level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood. When a man loves a woman, he has to become worthy of her. The higher her virtue, the more her character, the more devoted she is to truth, justice, goodness, the more a man has to aspire to be worthy of her. The history of civilization could actually be written in terms of the level of its women."
As a belatedly devoted husband, having previously failed miserably at marriage, and the father of three young adult women, what Mrs. Hartline wrote challenged me to examine my view of the women in my life, and to ponder what the appropriate response is from me as a man, husband and father.  I take full responsibility for all of my actions that have diminished the women who have touched my life, those which have been sinful, and those which has been merely inappropriate for the circumstance. But, without excusing my ignorance, there have been also societal influences that have helped me and other men to form the wrong impressions of what women require from us as men.

What we now see as traditional feminism, though it is a short but pervasive tradition, flies in the face of all that we men hold deep and dear in our hearts about the nature of a woman.  Feminism was, in essence, a response to generation upon generation of men failing to be the men we were created to be, particulary in our response to those women in our lives, our wives and daughters.  As such, it took on a radical tone and totally lost the complementarity of women and men, in favour of some kind of melding of women into trying to be better men than men are.

Father Benjamin Bradshaw has an interesting perspective on the feminine over at The Theology of the Body Institute in an article he recently wrote about The Unique Nature of the Feminine Soul according to St. Edith Stein and Blessed John Paul II

But, what does all of this mean to men practically, for if anything, we men do attempt to deal with things practically. 

That reminds me of what lives in my mind and that of My Dear Wife as the quintessential argument of our married life together.  One evening we were in the sitting area of our bedroom in a home we lived in many years ago.  My wife was "prattling on" (in my mind at the time) about her feelings about something or other.  As I sat across from her, not really hearing her, I interrupted her to share my wisdom with her and told her the following: "I need to deal in facts, not all this emotional B??? S???."  For emphasis I had turned my left hand over and was slapping the back of my palm into my other hand.  That pretty much brought an end to the discussion, and God has used the constant memory of that low point in my communication with My Dear Wife to heal me of the arrogance and lack of sensitivity to her over the years.

As men, we may participate in discussions with other men about the women in our lives, and how irrational they are.  Somehow we feel better to be able to share in this misery with others who are more like us.  Women, of course, are not immune from this, but this is not about them in that sense, but about us as men.

I have discovered this over many years, and by much grace from a God who loves and me and loves My Dear Wife more than we can possibly imagine, and wants to give us the desires of our hearts, and there is the rub.  The desire of my heart, though not one I could articulate, was to participate in an exclusive loving relationship with another person, in my case as a man, with a woman, to come to a spiritual, mental, emotional oneness, that both united us, and respected our individuality.

My Dear Wife has been challenged by autoimmune diseases for the last decade.  As such, rounds of medications, too many to count, where we are not sure which is worse, the disease or the cure, has left her looks different than they were.  But, in my eyes, she has grown more beautiful over the years, as I have witnessed her courage under fire, as she lives in constant pain, yet continues to love all who come her way.  God has given me immense grace to accept her as she is, to love her where she sits, and yet not to leave her there, but to pray for the best for her, and to encourage her daily in her walk of faith and life.

Somehow God gave me the grace to seek my own healing of those things that prevented me from seeing women, and in particular the one to whom I am married, through his eyes, the eyes of faith, rather than as something or someone less, particularly less than me.

When we men engage in sexual relations, even if only in our mind, with women who we are not married to, we diminish all women, even though the sex may be consensual.  When we allow our daughters to wear clothes that are not respectful of their bodies, as opposed to most current fashions that turn our attention away from eye contact to objectifying them, we perpetuate the degredation of our society that has made sex an end in itself, and has taken away from the sanctity of the marriage bed.  We are equally capable of disrespecting our wives in many ways, too many actually to count.

I have the amazing good fortune, (read that for what it actually is - amazing grace) to be married to my best friend in the whole world, to wake up beside her almost every day, and to share faith, love, and a delight in the simple things of life with her.  She sees most things of life so totally differently from me, that I essentially get to see things twice, through my eyes, and through her eyes.  I see flowers I never noticed before, and feel emotions I did not know even existed 10 years ago.

What is missing from our life that hampered our marriage, is the competition.  She is not trying to be a better man than I am.  I have no reason, and there would be no value in it either, to put down her viewpoints that do not correspond to mine.  As my equal in our journey of life, what she sees is of value, as what I see is of value.

But, this is all only possible, because God has opened my male eyes to see the particular beauty of a woman, in My Dear Wife; to live without relationship stress because we can accept each other as we are.  To reduce the day to day tensions of life with a smile, a tear, a kiss, a prayer, so they take on the perspective that they deserve, is an amazing blessing. 

Yet, it is also only possible if we men choose to love.  Women are by their nature responders.  They respond for example with their emotions to the various stimuli of life more than we do.  We men have been trained to take that for weakness, rather than for the strength that it is, particularly if nurtured and accepted by one who loves them unconditionally.

When I place My Dear Wife as number 1 for me in our relationship, I have found that I am a big winner.  She melts in a sense into the relationship, and all is well.

So, the face of radical feminism is a response to bad behaviour on the part of men for many generations, and though it contains some good, it is a distortion of the truth, as much as our behaviour was and continues to be.  To me, the best way to combat radical feminism is not to fight or rail against it, since that resistance gives it more power, and consumes energy better used for more meaningful purposes.

No, the best way to deal with the feminine is to embrace it as God has intended for us to do, by loving with no conditions, by being patient, kind, forgiving, seeking forgiveness.  Essentially, it is to live the words of Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, where in Chapter 13, verses 4-8, he said:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails.
Marriage works when men choose to love radically, not for what is in it for us, but for what it is, an opportunity to see Jesus in the other, and to be Jesus for that other.

We men are called to a radical masculinism, not one that is self serving, but one that is other serving.  So let us men leave our egos at the door of our homes, not to ignore our egos, but to give them their proper due and place in us, and embrace all aspects of the one we have chosen to live out our lives with, and to form a family with.  Our patron in married life, St. Joseph is a wonderful model for us, of quiet fidelity, in the midst of trials, and he is worthy of our emulation.
Let us prove to the woman that we love that we are worthy of her, and that in seeking to be worthy of her and her love, that she is a pearl of great price.  Then we will see the level of women in our society rise so that we can once again be proud of the society in which we live.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Eucharist & Cannibalism

Are Catholic Christians Cannibals for believing that they are eating the Bodyand drinking the Blood of Jesus?

I was disturbed when, in response to some comments on another blog, a fundamentalist Christian, formerly a Catholic came up with the last year. Belatedly, here is the answer and it is a good one.

The Eucharist & Cannibalism: "Michael Foley answers the questions: Are Christians cannibals?"

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Thoughts on the arrest of Linda Gibbons on Aug. 4, 2011 |

Life Site News

Here is a report well worth reading and viewing abut the most recent arrest of Linda Gibbons, a senior citizen who is a strong, yet often silenced voice of the pro-life movement here in Canada. The temporary injunction that was instituted in 1994 to protect the abortuaries from senior citizens who might silently pray in front of them, or perish the thought might try to present other Choices to the poor young women who are coming there to participate in the death of their unborn child, are an embarrassment to the people of this province.

Linda Gibbons has spent more than 8 years in jail for her very peaceful disobedience of this injunction, not law, as a conscientious objector to it's insanity.

She needs our prayerful support, and LifeSite News needs our financial support to be able to continue to bring to us important news of the trampling of real human rights, such as the right to life for the unborn. Please follow the link below.

Thoughts on the arrest of Linda Gibbons on Aug. 4, 2011 |

Monday, August 1, 2011

Preserving Our Faith

Archishop Timothy Dolan
H/T Fr. Tim Moyle - Where the Rubber Hits the Road
I have immense respect for Archbishop Dolan. I have heard him on Catholic Radio on Sirius XM (channel 129), when he speaks every Thursday for an hour. I have read his blog postings, and have found several things about the man. He is totally committed to Jesus Christ. He is faithful to the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. He is a strong voice teaching about the love of Jesus Christ, as found in holy writ, traditions and the teachings of the Catholic Church which come directly from scripture and tradition. If you want to see somone waver to fit the political mood of the day, move along. There is nothing to see here.
Here is his blog posting on the straight line teachings of the Church under a heading Preserving Our Faith. He is so clear, so very crystal clear, that there is no wiggle room in what he says. And no surprise here, it is totally consistent with Church teaching since Jesus left the Church in the hands of Peter and the Apostles.
Read what he has to say over here.

Jesus Christ Superstar

Thoughts on the 2011 Stratford Festival Presentation

As an anniversary present this year, I purchased two tickets for My Dear Wife and I to see Jesus Christ Superstar at the Avon Theater in Stratford, Ontario. Here are thoughts compiled over 40 years of loving the music created by Timothy Rice and Anthony Lloyd Webber.

Webber and Rice put out some fine musicals together, and also separately over the years. Jesus Christ Superstar was actually their third collaboration, the second being Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat after The Likes of Us, which was slow to see the light of day.
When I first heard the music in 1971, I fell in love with it, which was interesting as I had recently begun my self imposed exile from the Catholic Church, in what I refer to as my agnostic period. But, the music struck me and stayed with me. 40 years later, I knew every lyric of every song, and followed every musical nuance. This too is interesting, since 7 1/2 years ago, I incurred a brain injury that makes it difficult for me to recall what I had for lunch yesterday. I had owned the album, and the sheet music, which I had played on the piano for many years. As well, I saw the movie a number of times.

But, this time I saw it with different eyes. The production was fantastic, beautifully done, sung and acted.

However, I noticed the play's focus was on the humanity of Jesus, not His divinity.   This did not matter in the least to me 40 years ago, but provided opportunity this time.  I did not find this disturbing, as Jesus was and is both divine and human.    Some evangelicals had picketed 40 years ago, when the play first hit Broadway, but I think they missed the point.  Clearly the focus was His humanity. Additional focal points were the humanity of Mary Magdalene, and Judas Iscariot.

We see in the play, a Jesus who has some trepidation about his death. We Christians think of Jesus as God, and can easily forget that He was about to be killed in a most brutal way. On the way to "Father forgive them, for they know not what they are doing," there is a great deal of anguish, and I think we lose sight of that. The play helped me to rethink the human aspect of Jesus' sacrifice for us, without diminishing His divine work to redeem us.  He did it in human form.

Mary Magdalene is portrayed as a woman, a former prostitute, who is confused by the love she has for Jesus. But then, why should this not be so? When she was loved by Jesus and turned from her life of sexual sin, would all those learned behaviors have just disappeared in a flash? I know that after Jesus touched me, all my learned sin responses and rebellious acts did not suddenly disappear. Yes, I am a new creation, but there is much of the old me yearning to get out, oft times successfully. So, Mary Magdalene seemed very real and human to me, confused about who Jesus really is.

Judas also came off as very human to me. He was afraid that Jesus was getting out of hand. Clearly, he could not get his head around the divinity of Jesus, and so he tried to bring him down to reality to protect his view of how Judaism needed to function in the Roman occupation. Judas was clearly most interested in protecting his own hide, a lot like I am often in my life.  We know historically that Judas was less interested in the poor and their needs, than in setting aside money for a rainy day for himself.

So, I could relate to Mary Magdalene, and Judas, and also to the betrayal by Peter, which is portrayed briefly. I would have been capable of playing any one of those roles in 33 AD, and can even play them today, thank you very much, and for the same reason as they did. Often times, I diminish the divinity of Jesus, and focus on His humanity, excusing my own behavior, when I am called to imitate His divinity.

I still love Jesus Christ Superstar, the musical, but even more so, I love Jesus Christ, my Lord and Saviour.

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