2010-12-31

Abstaining from Meat on Fridays

Was reading Musings this morning and came across a really well written post on why we abstain from meat on Fridays. The article is long, but well worth reading. I will re-post some of the article here:

Regardless of the available options, there are at least seven reasons to keep the traditional sixth-day penance:
  1. It is corporate. Having everyone do his own form of penance lacks the marvelous unity of almost the entire Catholic world performing the same act on the same day. This is not only spiritually constructive, it is socially edifying, building up solidarity and deepening our awareness of joint membership in the mystical Body of Christ.
  2. It is ancient. A single practice unites all the living, but when it is ancient it also unites them to their forebears. If tradition is, as Chesterton put it, the democracy of the dead, then Friday abstinence is the veritable apple pie of Catholic life. In the words of the American bishops in 1966: We show "out of love for Christ Crucified... our solidarity with the generations of believers to whom this practice frequently became, especially in times of persecution and of great poverty, no mean evidence of fidelity to Christ and His Church."
  3. It is testimonial. Friday abstinence bears powerful witness to the distinctiveness of the Church. My Protestant friend whom I mentioned earlier knew little about Catholics when he was young, but he knew they stood for something when he watched his papist peers exercise self-discipline even away from the watchful eyes of their parents.
  4. Abstinence is efficacious. Ancient authors taught that abstinence from food and drink was useful in dampening "the ardor of lust." Bodily passions are not bad per se, but left untrained they can become the occasion of sin. Trimming the body’s food intake, as modern studies have confirmed, can lower lustful proclivities.
  5. Abstinence is appropriate. The Church still teaches that every human being is required to do penance by virtue of divine law (Can. 1249), and Friday abstinence is an especially appropriate way to do this. It was on a Friday in Eden that Adam and Eve transgressed the first law of abstinence. And, of course, it was on a Friday that our Lord was crucified in order to undo the effects of that transgression. It is therefore appropriate to make abstinence our Friday penance, in sober memory of the Fall and "in prayerful remembrance of the passion of Jesus Christ."
  6. Abstinence from meat is particularly appropriate. Catholicism ingeniously teaches both through presence and through absence. Usually, the Church employs physical signs to convey invisible realities; but sometimes, she temporarily withdraws something as a way of arresting our attention and heightening our awareness of what is missing.

    Hence, the suppression of the Alleluia during Septuagesima and Lent effectively demonstrates that we are in exile from our true Home, where the angels sing Alleluia without ceasing. Veiling sacred images in church during Passiontide — when we would most expect to gaze upon a crucifix — paradoxically heightens our awe of Christ’s Passion. And prohibiting the sacrifice of the altar on Good Friday draws us in an inverted way to the sacrifice of the cross made that day.

    Similarly, when we "make meager," we withdraw from our table the flesh of an animal whose blood was shed for us on the day in which the Blood of the God-man was shed for us. The absence of the former paradoxically reminds us of the latter; not having a bloody victual backhandedly alerts us to the Bloody Victim.
  7. It is Christ-like. Jesus Christ consumed nothing on Good Friday except the gall He tasted shortly before His death. With fasting or abstinence on the day of the Crucifixion, Catholics in some small way "suffer with Christ that they may one day be glorified with Him. This is the heart of the tradition of abstinence from meat on Friday."


2010-12-24

A gift to give...

What gifts can we present to our Lord? Christ longs for our salvation, a simple gift is our cooperation with His grace.

2010-12-15

Quotes to ponder...

"Technology can be among the most powerful weapons in the dictator's armory. Propaganda, the suppression of the truth, particularly in democratic societies, will bring upon an age of enslavement where instead of yokes and chains, people in celebrated 'free' societies like America will be bound by the soft restraints of ignorance, incuriousness, distraction and irrationality."

"Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth. By simply not mentioning certain subjects, by lowering what Mr. Churchill calls an 'iron curtain' between the masses and such facts or arguments as the local political bosses regard as undesirable, totalitarian propagandists have influenced opinion much more effectively than they could have done by the most eloquent denunciation, the most compelling of logical rebuttals."

Both of these quotes are attributed to Aldous Huxley.

2010-12-12

Today is Gaudete Sunday

Rejoice!

Odd presidential news...

It seems that President Clinton has settled back into the White House. President Clinton joined President Obama to help endorse a new tax plan during a press conference.

Obama introduced Clinton lightly as "the other guy" and recalled how Clinton has overseen heady economic times. Obama warned that he wouldn't be staying long -- another White House Christmas party was waiting, as was his wife, Michelle.

After Obama left the conference, Clinton essentially slipped in and commanded the press conference as if he was president again.

Clinton was asked what advice he had for Obama, given the context of the times: the current president has to deal with a Republican Party that just won a convincing victory in the midterm election and will soon grab control of the House. Clinton faced the same halfway through his embattled first term in 1994, worked some major deals with the opposing party and rebounded to re-election.

"I have a general rule," Clinton said, "which is that whatever he asked me about my advice, and whatever I say should become public only if he decides to make it public." Obama didn't provide that permission, saying: "I've been keeping the First Lady waiting for about half an hour, so I'm going to take off."

Where is the leadership?

What may have been less foreseen by President Obama’s team, however, was the stark contrast in what the military calls command presence. Seeing President Clinton in front of the microphone, deftly parrying the tough questions of the White House Press Corps, I couldn’t help but wish that the former Arkansas governor was doing more than consulting in these harrowing economical times.

[EDIT:  This next part comes from an article that is satirical in nature.  This did not happen.]
All of this followed by the fact that President Clinton still has not left the White House.

But twenty-four hours after former President Bill Clinton appeared at the White House to endorse his tax plan, President Barack Obama is "still looking for the right way to ask him to leave," an aide confirmed today.

How about... "get the hell out... you had your turn!"?

Mr. Obama had assumed that once the former president wrapped things up with reporters yesterday, he would say his goodbyes and depart in a waiting car, "but that kind of didn't happen," the aide said.

"Clinton kind of went, 'Do you have a computer I can use? I just want to check my email,' and then kind of made himself at home in the Oval Office," he said. "The president was being polite and all, but you could tell he was kind of pissed."

?!?!

Links of interest:
Bill's Back: Clinton commands stage at White House
The Ghost of Presidents Past – Clinton’s Unexpected Sub for Obama is Telling
[Satire]Obama "Still Looking For Right Way" to Ask Clinton to Leave White House
Has Obama jumped the shark?

Ron Paul on Wiki Leaks

Recently a commenter posted a You Tube video in response to one of our entries related to WikiLeaks. The video (about 5 minutes long) is a speech given by Ron Paul on the US House floor. Ron Paul concludes his speech with a number of the following questions to consider (emphasis mine):

Number 1: Do the America People deserve to know the truth regarding the ongoing wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen?

Number 2: Could a larger question be how can an army private access so much secret information?

Number 3: Why is the hostility directed at Assange, the publisher, and not at our governments failure to protect classified information?

Number 4: Are we getting our moneys worth of the 80 Billion dollars per year spent on intelligence gathering?

Number 5: Which has resulted in the greatest number of deaths: lying us into war or Wikileaks revelations or the release of the Pentagon Papers?

Number 6: If Assange can be convicted of a crime for publishing information that he did not steal, what does this say about the future of the first amendment and the independence of the internet?

Number 7: Could it be that the real reason for the near universal attacks on Wikileaks is more about secretly maintaining a seriously flawed foreign policy of empire than it is about national security?

Number 8: Is there not a huge difference between releasing secret information to help the enemy in a time of declared war, which is treason, and the releasing of information to expose our government lies that promote secret wars, death and corruption?

Number 9: Was it not once considered patriotic to stand up to our government when it is wrong?

I would like to encourage readers to provide commentary on how they view WikiLeaks.

2010-12-11

Vestibulo-ocular reflex

On a rare occasion we will take a break for the typical topics of interest to experience the "dancing babies" and "epic beard men" that the internet has to offer. After seeing an advertisement for Fushigi the following video representing Vestibulo-ocular reflex in chickens came to mind.

TV Christmas Specials

'Tis the season for numerous "Christmas Specials" that fill the prime time airwaves. While many of the Christmas specials have little to do with the Nativity of Christ, a number of them have a common theme. The theme consists of a group trying to celebrate (some version of) Christmas while a antagonist is trying to ruin said celebrations. The stories generally end up with the antagonist mending their "evil" ways or having a change of heart that allows them all to celebrate (some version of) Christmas.

During this Advent season the rest of the world has already started celebrating (some version of) Christmas that often has little to do with the Son of God. Every year the "secular Grinch" attempts to steal more and more of (the real) Christmas... a parallel concept to that which is addressed in the the TV specials.

Many of us watched these formulaic Christmas Specials with our children, or as we were growing up. The secular shows (often divorced from Christianity) urges its viewers to defend (some version of) Christmas and proclaim the need for conversion of those who are against the "season." Seems we should be prepared to do the same for the true reason for the season.

2010-12-09

Christmas Music

I thought I would share a great deal that Amazon has going on right now... 99 (real) Christmas songs for $2. Having never purchased mp3s from Amazon before, the process was a bit awkward, but not difficult in the least.

2010-12-08

Talking points for discussing the TSA full-body scanners

BACKGROUND

There is a plan afoot to market X-ray devices for use in all transportation checkpoints and eventually at football stadiums and schools until they become ubiquitous. This is being done to make money for some government insiders and must be resisted at all costs. It's dangerous and unnecessary. People are also being forced to step into these devices under threat of an onerous and invasive government frisking. The following are talking points to debate the use to abolish of these machines. And when you are at the airport, please opt-out, these machines are indeed dangerous.

POINTS TO ADDRESS WITH FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND NEIGHBORS
  • Why did we go from spot checking to everyone getting X-rayed? What changed?
  • It's all about the marketing. They want to sell more and more of them.
  • Michael Chertoff is behind the machines. His consulting firm helped develop the marketing scheme. Do you think that's right?
  • Next thing you know they will put them in schools. Do you want your child X-rayed daily?
  • Most experts agree that X-rays at any dose are unhealthy and cause cancer.
  • X-rays cause cancer. Minimum exposure levels are just suggestions.
  • Physicists and medical experts at UCSF Medical Center say the government is wrong about the safety of these machines. Others agree.
  • These machines have not been fully tested. Just the idea has been tested, the machine themselves have not.
  • Radiologists do not run the machines. Why not?
  • The TSA workers are not allowed to wear dosimeters to check for X-ray exposure... Why? What are they hiding?
  • What happens if a machine malfunctions? What happens if you are in it?
ADDITIONAL POINTS REGARDING THE MORE RARE MILLIMETER WAVE MACHINES
  • These machines are not proven safe.
  • The effect of millimeter waves are still being investigated
  • Current evidence shows that millimeter waves cause DNA damage.

2010-12-07

Avoiding the Lemming Effect...

Lemmings. Small soft furry rodents with short tails found in the North. Some species of lemmings migrate in large groups and get themselves in trouble when encountering bodies of water or other similar hazards. Many are familiar with stories about large groups of lemmings mindlessly following each other off cliffs committing mass suicide.

The lemming effect is often used to refer to group-think and those people who mindlessly follow popular opinions, newest trends, or latest fads.

When you see everyone else quickly being led a certain direction stop and look where you are headed and why you are being led there.

The titillating WikiLeaks information being unleashed on the public should not be dismissed, but it also should not be accepted with open arms. When information suggests the potential for some serious consequences, a moment of pause should be taken to examine the possible outcomes more thoroughly.

Cowards be damned

Apocalypse 21:8:
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, they shall have their portion in the pool burning with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

Please view this week's Vortex: Who Goes to Hell First?

2010-12-06

December 6th: St. Nicholas

Recently RCTV posted a Vortex video that shows St. Nicholas punching Arius in the face. I wanted to take the opportunity to share another picture of the event.


Above is a painting of the First Ecumenical Council of Nicea. Notice St. Nick on the left, Arius cowering on the right, and Constantine leisurely observing the incident from his throne.

2010-12-03

Man up...

The etymology of the word virtue essentially is tied to the Latin word for manliness. The seven cardinal virtues are divided into two groups, Theological (Faith, Hope and Charity) and Moral (Justice, Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude). Over the past few days the Vortex has been covering the Moral Virtues. All of the videos have been insightful, but I was particularly urged to write after watching today's video on Fortitude.

[F]ortitude removes from the will those obstacles arising from the difficulties of doing what reason requires. Hence fortitude, which implies a certain moral strength and courage, is the virtue by which one meets and sustains dangers and difficulties, even death itself, and in never through fear of these deterred from the pursuit of good which reason dictates. The virtues annexed to fortitude are:
  • Patience, which disposes us to bear present evils with equanimity; for as the brave man is one who represses those fears which make him shrink from meeting dangers which reason dictates he should encounter, so also the patient man is one who endures present evils in such a way as not to be inordinately cast down by them.
  • Munificence, which disposes one to incur great expenses for the suitable doing of a great work. It differs from mere liberality, as it has reference not to ordinary expenses and donations, but to those that are great. Hence the munificent man is one who gives with royal generosity, who does things not on a cheap but magnificent scale, always, however, in accordance with right reason.
  • Magnanimity, which implies a reaching out of the soul to great things, is the virtue which regulates man with regard to honours. The magnanimous man aims at great works in every line of virtue, making it his purpose to do things worthy of great honour. Nor is magnanimity incompatible with true humility. "Magnanimity", says St. Thomas, "makes a man deem himself worthy of great honours in consideration of the Divine gifts he possesses; whilst humility makes him think little of himself in consideration of his own short-comings".
  • Perseverance, the virtue which disposes to continuance in the accomplishment of good works in spite of the difficulties attendant upon them. As a moral virtue it is not to be taken precisely for what is designated as final perseverance, that special gift of the predestined by which one is found in the state of grace at the moment of death. It is used here to designate that virtue which disposes one to continuance in any virtuous work whatsoever.

Gentlemen (and ladies) you must persevere and you must endure. "Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven. For so they persecuted the prophets that were before you."



2010-12-01

Merry Xmas!

Yes I said Xmas. No, I am not taking Christ out of Christmas. The X is one of many monograms of Christ. Chi Rho (XP) is also one of the earliest ways that the name of Christ was abbreviated.

While it is true that many attempt to use Xmas as a way to take Christ out of Christmas... we don't have to allow that to be so. Take back the X!

2010-11-30

It would please God to supply me with bread

At noted this quote of the day on survivalblog.com recently:
I foresaw that, in time, it would please God to supply me with bread. And yet here I was perplexed again, for I neither knew how to grind or make meal of my corn, or indeed how to clean it and part it; nor, if made into meal, how to make bread of it; and if how to make it, yet I knew not how to bake it. These things being added to my desire of having a good quantity for store, and to secure a constant supply, I resolved not to taste any of this crop but to preserve it all for seed against the next season; and in the meantime to employ all my study and hours of working to accomplish this great work of providing myself with corn and bread. It might be truly said, that now I worked for my bread. I believe few people have thought much upon the strange multitude of little things necessary in the providing, producing, curing, dressing, making, and finishing this one article of bread. - Daniel Defoe (1661–1731), Robinson Crusoe

St. Theresa of Jesus on Humility

From her book The Interior Castle VI:11, p. 7.

Once I was pondering why our Lord was so fond of this virtue of humility, and this thought came to me -- in my opinion not as a result of reflection but suddenly: It is because God is supreme Truth; and to be humble is to walk in truth, for it is a very deep truth that of ourselves we have nothing good but only misery and nothingness. Whoever does not understand this walks in falsehood. The more anyone understands it the more he pleases the supreme Truth because he is walking in truth. Please God, Sisters, we will be granted the favor never to leave this path of self-knowledge, amen.

Currently in our society, we are overloaded with information, but very little encouragement to seek Truth. The result is clearly seen.

November 30th: St. Andrew

John the Baptist, with his testimony, paved the way for St. Andrew recognize Jesus as the Messiah. St. Andrew was the brother of Simon (St. Peter), and was the first to introduced him to Christ.

It is generally agreed that he was crucified by order of the Roman Governor, Aegeas or Aegeates, at Patrae in Achaia, and that he was bound, not nailed, to the cross, in order to prolong his sufferings. The cross on which he suffered is commonly held to have been the decussate cross...

For two days after being bound to the cross he continued preaching to the people who gathered near.

2010-11-29

Theology leads to healthy psychology

Whatever ends... can be lived through.

[...]

Theology, properly understood and lived, leads to healthy psychology and then eternal happiness.

What does Theology have to do with Psychology? Watch today's Vortex for some comments on that question:

History of Thanksgiving Day

Some interesting notes on the history of how the day came about:

Signed by Washington on October 3, 1789 and entitled "General Thanksgiving," the decree appointed the day "to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God."

While there were Thanksgiving observances in America both before and after Washington's proclamation, this represents the first to be so designated by the new national government.

After their first harvest, the colonists of the Plymouth Plantation held a celebration of food and feasting in the fall of 1621. Indian chiefs Massassoit, Squanto and Samoset joined in the celebration with ninety of their men in the three-day event.

The first recorded Thanksgiving observance was held on June 29, 1671 [50 years later] at Charlestown, Massachusetts by proclamation of the town's governing council.

[...]

Later, on October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for the observance of the fourth Tuesday of November as a national holiday.

In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday to the third Thursday of November (to extend the Christmas shopping season and boost the economy). After a storm of protest, Roosevelt changed the holiday again in 1941 to the fourth Thursday in November, where it stands today. 

When are you really dead?

Often when discussing beginning of life issues ensoulment is brought into the debate. It is not often that we hear about desoulment. The point at which a person dies is the point at which the soul is separated from the body. Christ died when he released his spirit. When does desoulment take place? Is it at brain death? Is it some period of time after brain death? Is it when our heart stops beating? Do we know for certainty this answer?

Traditionally in medicine, a person was considered dead when he was "cold blue and stiff", but organs cannot be harvested from these patients. The sermon at Audio Sancto titled: May We Donate Our Organs contains some interesting insight on how the definition of death has been pushed to ensure viable organ harvest.

Federal Wage Freeze

Federal employees will not receive any pay increases for two years, Obama administration officials announced on Monday. President Obama's proposed pay freeze for 2011 and 2012 will apply to all civilian workers, including Defense Department employees, but not military personnel.

Federal civilian employees... I welcome you to a taste of what the rest of the economy has been going through for a few years now. I am sorry that you have to join in all the fun, but it was bound to happen sometime. If you can ignore inflation for the moment... just be glad that you are not yet seeing pay cuts in addition to your wage freeze.

According to an administration statement, the two-year pay freeze will save $2 billion for the remainder of fiscal year 2011, $28 billion over the next five years, and more than $60 billion over the next decade.

The projected savings of $60 Billion over 10 years hardly seems like it will bring the government back into "fiscal responsibility." It is as if this drop in the bucket will magically remove the mortgage crisis, or the private bank bailouts, or the massive amounts of quantitative easing taking place.

From the White House Fact Sheet:
Because of the irresponsibility of the past decade, [Really only the last 10 years?!?] the President inherited a $1.3 trillion projected deficit upon taking office and an economic crisis that threatened to put the nation into a second Great Depression. He moved quickly to get the economy moving again. Now, the economy is growing,[How is that?] and we have gained private sector jobs for the past 10 months.[Again, How is that?] But families and businesses are still hurting, and our top priority is making sure that we are doing everything we can to help boost economic growth and spur job creation.[Oh I see... wait no I don't.]

Now, we need to turn our attention to addressing the massive deficits we inherited and the unsustainable fiscal course that we are on. Doing so will take some very tough choices. Just as families and businesses around the nation have tightened their belts so must their government.[By of course helping the families of federal workers to tighten their belts.] That must be done in a targeted way that focuses our investments in what works and in what will lay the foundation for job creation and economic growth for years to come while cutting back elsewhere in our budget.

Most people have a hard time seeing problems in the economy until they are directly effected by those problems. Maybe this will wake a large portion of our population up.

2010-11-28

Bread and circus to fight the boredom

"If you want to make man better you just need to educate him. All man needs is the right information. If you tell man what truth is, and you tell him what is bad he will do the right thing." This mentality comes from the "enlightenment" of the French Revolution. Our secular society often embraces this errant philosophy, claiming that societies' problems can be solved with better education while completely disregarding the spiritual aspect of the person. Our Church teaches that man has a darkened intellect, a weakened will, and that he tends towards doing evil. Man can know what is right and good, and still choose to do what is wrong. Simply addressing the intellect (with secular godless philosophies) is not enough to make man better. "Information" is not enough.

The Industrial Revolution views man as simply a cog... a part to play in society. To make society successful you must make successful cogs. Man ends up being so specialized in one field that he fails in other fields, especially in spiritual matters. Man needs many things (intellectually and spiritually) and to treat him like a line in production is to treat him like an animal.

The human mind was not made by God to be narrow. We are spiritual as well as physical. Study is a form of work that we can use to expand ourselves on many subjects, but knowing information for the sake of knowing is not enough. Studying should help you to become more than a simple animal. Studying should help you to become more virtuous. Studying should allow us to work in a way as to focus on God.

For deeper take on this subject please see the Audio Sancto sermon titled: Studying for Sanctification

2010-11-27

Advent Eve

Tomorrow begins the penitential season of Advent. I write this web log with lit pipe warmly glowing in hand. Over the next 4 weeks it will be a minor sacrifice to offer up while preparing for the coming of our Savior.

With Advent the ecclesiastical year begins in the Western churches. During this time the faithful are admonished

  • to prepare themselves worthily to celebrate the anniversary of the Lord's coming into the world as the incarnate God of love,
  • thus to make their souls fitting abodes for the Redeemer coming in Holy Communion and through grace, and
  • thereby to make themselves ready for His final coming as judge, at death and at the end of the world.

2010-11-26

Unwise comment on condoms.

I had the courtesy to thumb through a close friend's copy of Light Of The World this evening to read the English translation of the well talked about Pope Benedict XVI quote for myself.

From Chapter 11, "The Journeys of a Shepherd," pages 117-119:
**On the occasion of your trip to Africa in March 2009, the Vatican’s policy on AIDs once again became the target of media criticism.Twenty-five percent of all AIDs victims around the world today are treated in Catholic facilities. In some countries, such as Lesotho, for example, the statistic is 40 percent. In Africa you stated that the Church’s traditional teaching has proven to be the only sure way to stop the spread of HIV. Critics, including critics from the Church’s own ranks, object that it is madness to forbid a high-risk population to use condoms.**

The media coverage completely ignored the rest of the trip to Africa on account of a single statement. Someone had asked me why the Catholic Church adopts an unrealistic and ineffective position on AIDs. At that point, I really felt that I was being provoked, because the Church does more than anyone else. And I stand by that claim. Because she is the only institution that assists people up close and concretely, with prevention, education, help, counsel, and accompaniment. And because she is second to none in treating so many AIDs victims, especially children with AIDs.

I had the chance to visit one of these wards and to speak with the patients. That was the real answer: The Church does more than anyone else, because she does not speak from the tribunal of the newspapers, but helps her brothers and sisters where they are actually suffering. In my remarks I was not making a general statement about the condom issue, but merely said, and this is what caused such great offense, that we cannot solve the problem by distributing condoms. Much more needs to be done. We must stand close to the people, we must guide and help them; and we must do this both before and after they contract the disease.

As a matter of fact, you know, people can get condoms when they want them anyway. But this just goes to show that condoms alone do not resolve the question itself. More needs to happen. Meanwhile, the secular realm itself has developed the so-called ABC Theory: Abstinence-Be Faithful-Condom, where the condom is understood only as a last resort, when the other two points fail to work. This means that the sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalization of sexuality, which, after all, is precisely the dangerous source of the attitude of no longer seeing sexuality as the expression of love, but only a sort of drug that people administer to themselves. This is why the fight against the banalization of sexuality is also a part of the struggle to ensure that sexuality is treated as a positive value and to enable it to have a positive effect on the whole of man’s being.

There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants. But it is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection. That can really lie only in a humanization of sexuality.

**Are you saying, then, that the Catholic Church is actually not opposed in principle to the use of condoms?**

She of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality.

The last sentence of the quote... the answer to "Are you saying, then, that the Catholic Church is actually not opposed in principle to the use of condoms?" is unfortunate. A simple answer of "No that is not what I am saying." seems to be a wise place to start the answer. Even a person who has the Faith in the teachings of the Church to bolster them up has a hard time reading this last sentence as an answer to the question asked. It is difficult to say if this is a translation problem, a publisher problem, or just an unfortunate answer.

I can hardly get a web log post to come out right after I have proof read it multiple times. I can't imagine having an intellectual conversation during an interview and expect to keep nuanced conversation clear and straight forward.

2010-11-20

Pope is pro-condom?!

Of course not.

[Our Holy Father] uses the example of prostitutes who might use prophylactics as a first step toward moralization, that is, becoming moral. In such a case, condom use might be their first act of responsibility to redevelop their consciousness of the fact that not everything is permitted and that one cannot do everything one wants.

It goes to show... the secular media just prints what it wants to believe. L'Osservatore Romano has posted some information on the Holy Father's upcoming book. I do not read Italian, but here is a direct quote from L'Osservatore Romano followed by a google translation.

Concentrarsi solo sul profilattico vuol dire banalizzare la sessualità, e questa banalizzazione rappresenta proprio la pericolosa ragione per cui tante e tante persone nella sessualità non vedono più l'espressione del loro amore, ma soltanto una sorta di droga, che si somministrano da sé. Perciò anche la lotta contro la banalizzazione della sessualità è parte del grande sforzo affinché la sessualità venga valutata positivamente e possa esercitare il suo effetto positivo sull'essere umano nella sua totalità.
Vi possono essere singoli casi giustificati, ad esempio quando una prostituta utilizza un profilattico, e questo può essere il primo passo verso una moralizzazione, un primo atto di responsabilità per sviluppare di nuovo la consapevolezza del fatto che non tutto è permesso e che non si può far tutto ciò che si vuole. Tuttavia, questo non è il modo vero e proprio per vincere l'infezione dell'Hiv. È veramente necessaria una umanizzazione della sessualità.

Concentrate on condom means trivializing sexuality, and this trivialization is precisely the reason why so many dangerous and many people do not see sexuality as an expression of their love, but only a sort of drugs that are administered by itself. So the fight against the trivialization of sexuality is part of a great effort to ensure that sexuality is perceived and can exert its positive effect on the human being in its entirety.
There may be individual cases warranted, such as when a prostitute using a condom, and this may be the first step toward a moralization, a primary responsibility to develop a new awareness of the fact that not everything is permitted and which can not be do everything you want. However, this is not the proper way to overcome the infection of HIV. You really need a humanization of sexuality.

Other links of interest:
-The Pope did not endorse the use of condoms
-Condoms, Consistency, and the Vatican’s Crisis of (mis)Communication

2010-11-19

The rejection of God is insanity

Sometimes the most basic things are the most overlooked. For those unfamiliar with the work, the Baltimore Catechism No.1 was designed to teach very young children -- those who have not yet reached the age of reason -- the basic truths of the Catholic Faith. Among the first few questions we find the following:

  • Who made the world?
  • Who is God?
  • What is man?
  • Why did God make you?

Even poorly catechized Catholics know that man was made by God to know, love, and serve Him, and the primary way by which we serve Him is by following His commandments. Conversely, if we wanted to reject Him, we would simply not follow the Commandments. By why would one want to disobey Commandments given to us by a loving God which are for our own benefit? Wouldn't that be, by definition, insanity?

It doesn't take much investigation to realize that in the united States the majority of people (and Catholics?) have chosen to disregard one or more of the Ten Commandments. In addition to the supernatural and spiritual consequences, this rejection of God has natural consequences as well: the rejection of order. This disorder has many manifestations, including mental illness. Which brings us to yesterday's report that states 20% of American adults suffer from mental illness.

Doesn't anyone else see this as a symptom of the general rejection of God and His order?

2010-11-12

What to do about the CCHD

If you are unfamiliar with what the CCHD situation is all about, please take a look at some of our recent posts on the subject.

Besides the RCTV videos we have been posting there is additional news and documentation to be found at the Reform CCHD Now website. That website also contains a "coupon" to place in the collection instead of a financial contribution. This is a link to the coupon that you can print out and use.


Besides talking to your local pastor, you might also consider talking to the director(s) of the CCHD in your diocese. Here is a link to the CCHD website that lists the directors by location:
http://www.nccbuscc.org/cchd/director.shtml

Reform CCHD

Follow up: Catholic Campaign for Human Development

In the coming Sundays... many diocesan parishes will have a collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD). Earlier this week we posted some links about the CCHD and its connection to Saul Alinsky. If you decided not to watch the videos, you would have missed the details on how the CCHD has collected money to provide to "charities" that support abortion and the gay agenda. Some diocesan bishops have seen around this and have not collected for the CCHD, or have used the collection to apply to local diocesan Catholic charities instead. Most diocese in America are still planning for the collection.

A lay man with a wife and family was recently fired from one of the CCHD offices for contacting faithful Catholics about the corruption he had noted in this organization. The currently nameless (for now) individual sent the following email in response to his being let go:

The USCCB, its administrators, bishops or lay people in charge of the entire CCHD program(s) are NOT an official arm or representative of the Vatican or the Roman Catholic Church.

In no way should any Roman Catholic obedient to the Magisterium support a collection that has violated donor intent since its inception. Despite the attempts made by many well intentioned individuals in the [local CCHD office], the powers-that-be at the USCCB and some local bishops and priests, have plans to return to business as usual with this program.

The lack of respect for the sanctity of life and the destruction of the necessary societal institutions of traditional marriage and family are the major reason for the moral, physical and spiritual poverty we suffer in the western world.

Pray that our Catholic church in America be protected under Our Lady of Guadalupe and that the Culture of Life defeat the evil Culture of Death that has permeated the USCCB and specifically the CCHD for far too long.

Please forward this along to Catholics so they can be prepared for this collection this weekend. (It is possible that some diocese will wait until lent.)

2010-11-10

More Bombings Against Christians in Baghdad

Christians in Baghdad continue to be targeted, apparently by the same group responsible for the martyrdom of the innocent people assisting at Holy Mass just a few days ago.

May God grant the Catholic people of Baghdad the courage and faith to carry them through this ordeal. May the hearts and souls of the killers be softened and converted through the mercy of God, by the Blood of the Lamb.

May the souls of those killed, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

2010-11-08

Saul Alinsky on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development

The Vortex today... Usually I can watch the video and provide some sort of commentary that gives a reason on why you want to watch it. I have watched it three times now... and I really don't know where to begin.

I suppose I can say that it is a lead in to the new CIA (Catholic Investigative Agency) production on Saul Alinsky and his relation to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD). If you don't know who Saul Alinsky is... you should. Among many things, Alinsky wrote Rules for Radicals which stressed that activists must be "people committed to change" and goes on to discuss how to lull the middle class into calmly accepting changes. Here is another quote from the book:

Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history... the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom.

The quote of course is a salute to Lucifer... I am not saying that one could make that assumption... I am saying that very specifically the book is opened with this dedication specifically to Lucifer.

Please watch today's Vortex (embedded below) and then make a decision to sit down and watch RCTV's documentary. (Follow up episodes can also be found at the website.)



Please see: Saul Alinksy on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development

The Spiritual Practice of Detachment

So what is "detachment" anyway? In reading through the Carmelite doctors of the Church, one comes across this term constantly. At first, I was baffled by it. Well, I still am to a great extent. How does one go through life as a secular Carmelite (a seeming contradiction in terms if I ever heard one) practicing detachment? Aren't we SUPPOSED to do our best to attach ourselves to our families, our parishes, our work? How can we subject our loved ones to something so cold and unfeeling as "detachment"? The answer is in the way we view attachment. In my recent reading for my Carmelite formation, I was given this to ponder (the author was not named). It is a very helpful description of what St. John of the Cross means when he speaks of "detachment".

ATTACHMENT: a clinging to things, people, ideas, customs, etc., for the pleasure, comfort, or satisfaction they give us.

DETACHMENT: letting go of our need to find pleasure, comfort, or satisfaction in things, people, ideas, customs, etc., so that we seek God first in all things.

The key to detachment in the spiritual life can be quickly summed up in the admonition to "seek first the Kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you."

Detaching ourselves from something or someone can range from very difficult to impossible, unless a greater love overshadows our attraction or affection. The key, then, to detachment, is to center our efforts on seeking to know God better, to love Him more, and to serve Him better. If this becomes our highest priority, as it should, detachment from our lesser gods will follow.

Detachment does not mean that someone or something has to be taken away from us, but that our relationship to the person or things must be purified. In detachment we learn to love people and things in right measure and for the glory of God. Sometimes, however, the Lord does step in and take away our created loves, or allows them to become disappointing to us, sot hat we find it easier to turn to him for what is lacking in our lives.

In the case of our problems, failures and concerns, to which we can also be attached, we will grow in our ability to turn these over to the Lord as we ourselves grow in love of Him, and develop a deeper trust in His loving providence. However, if we spend more time dwelling on these things than we do on loving and serving God, we are not seeking Him or His Kingdom first. But if we can keep these things "on the back burner" while we continually focus our loving gaze upon the Lord, He will certainly take care of them all in the best possible way. Our part in this process is to present our needs to Him in prayer, but without anxiety, trusting that He will hear us and do what is best.

Finally, we need to periodically make a careful examination of how we are spending our time in thoughts and actions. this will quickly help expose whether or not we are really seeking God first and foremost, and provide the key to further detachment.

It is only by detaching ourselves from our carnal and worldly (and therefore selfish) ideas of what is good and fostering a proper and holy attachment to God first that we will be able to form proper and holy and helpful attachments to our loved ones. As I understand it, this is what is meant by the command to love as God loves.

Hello 1400

http://www.24hgold.com/

2010-11-07

We have another new author...

Christus Vincit is a Catholic writer who is devoted to the Faith. We eagerly look forward to reading posts from our newest author.

2010-11-06

Treated like he was the devil....

This sermon was given in May of 2009 during the "Obama / Notre Dame" scandal. I post this here as a reminder to pray for all of the Catholic schools who we entrust our children to. Pray that these institutions can serve to support and strengthen the faith of those who are in attendance.

Please listen to:If Our Prayers Are to be Effective

Letter from Bishop Morlino

I post this here in its entirety. Emphasis mine.

****

October 28, 2010
Feast of Sts. Simon and Jude

Dear Members of Christ’s Faithful of St. Mary and St. Augustine Parishes:

I am in receipt of your October 8, 2010 letter and petition. I am grateful that you have approached me with your concern, and I certainly recognize and respect your right to do so (Code of Canon Law, c. 212, §§2-3). By means of this letter I am replying to what you requested, namely, the "immediate removal of the priests of the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest from St. Mary and St. Augustine parishes in Platteville." A number of you have written to the Apostolic Nuncio about this matter. He has forwarded the letters to me after having read them. He asked that I inform you that he has forwarded these letters to me for my pastoral consideration, since the responsibility for priestly assignments rests with the diocesan bishop.

The removal of a priest assigned to a parish is a very serious matter, and I as a Bishop may only do so, at my discretion, for certain serious causes (c. 1741). I have found that much of what has been said amounts to opinion, misunderstanding, and rumor rather than fact. Nonetheless, after carefully weighing all of your reasons for the proposed removal, I have decided to keep Rev. Lope Pascual, Rev. John Del Priore, and Rev. Miguel Galvez in their current priestly ministry at St. Mary and St. Augustine parishes in Platteville. Their charisms for Catholic education and vocations will serve the people of Platteville very well, and they have my full support. With regard to each of your concerns, see the attached Addendum.

While I am available to all of the faithful of the Diocese of Madison, it is always best to resolve concerns with one’s Pastor(s) personally and locally. Not only does this give due respect to the priests, who have given their lives to serve you, but it is usually more efficient. I urge you to speak openly with these priests about your concerns; and I am confident that you will be treated with dignity and respect.

It grieves me to acknowledge that the reputation of three happy, holy, and hardworking priests has been seriously tarnished by rumor, gossip, and calumny (lying with the intent to damage another’s good name) by some within the parish community. Such conduct is gravely sinful, since some parishioners have been driven by fear, anger, or both, to distance themselves from their priests and even the Sacraments. This situation must cease, and charity must prevail on the part of all.

Furthermore, activities such as protest-letter-writing seminars, leafleting of motor vehicles, doorto- door canvassing for signatures on a petition, etc (that is, exerting organized political pressure on people, where the end justifies any means) is an appropriate tactic in a political campaign, but not in the communion of faith which is the Catholic Church. Groups such as "Call to Action" and "Voice of the Faithful" regularly employ such tactics against legitimate authority in the Church. Because these groups dissent from basic tenets of Catholic Doctrine and Discipline, they are not recognized as Catholic in the Diocese of Madison, much less are they able to exercise legitimate authority. It is my hope that these clarifications will prove helpful.

Please give these priests time and open hearts. I assure you of their good will and pastoral concern for all of you, and I ask you to join me in praying for them in their sacred ministry.

With warm regards in Christ Jesus, I remain,

Sincerely yours,

Most Rev. Robert C. Morlino
Bishop of Madison

Enclosure: Addendum

ADDENDUM
Since it is obvious that much thought and care went into the formulation of the reasons for the petition of October 8, I want to provide a response to each point for the ongoing reflection of the Parish.

A. Impact on Faith of Parishioners

1. Allegation: Introduction of faith doctrine that is pre-Vatican II in format and content

– Response: First of all, it is necessary for us to appreciate the eloquent teaching of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI regarding the false dichotomy between the pre-Vatican II and post-Vatican II Church. While the Council introduced much renewal, this dichotomy is not healthy in the Church. It is what the Holy Father described as the "hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture." We must rather adopt the "hermeneutic of reform," which recognizes continuity in the Church’s life from before the Council to the present day. The hermeneutic of reform rejoices in the renewed presentation of the Church’s self-understanding without attempting to divorce itself from our rich Catholic heritage. The Holy Father taught this in his Christmas Greeting to the Roman Curia (December 22, 2005); I earnestly recommend that all the faithful prayerfully study this speech.

a. Allegation: Reversion to obedience rather than acting as Body of Christ

– Response: It would not be correct to see obedience to Church authorities and the common priesthood of the faithful as in any way opposed to each other. The Council itself highlighted both of these as important components to the life of the Church (Lumen gentium, no. 37). Indeed, the example of Christ our Savior is the very epitome of these two elements, since he offered his priestly sacrifice to the Father by being obedient to the point of death on the Cross.

b. Allegation: Treating not as true believers but as lost souls

– Response: It is not proven that any of the priests have called the parishioners "lost souls" in the paternalistic way implied in the petition. I would encourage parishioners not to infer that the priests currently assigned to St. Mary and St. Augustine Parishes are criticizing their predecessors simply on the basis of their own pastoral decisions. Every Pastor must prayerfully discern how to proceed in his ministry, and this not uncommonly takes a different course and expression than that of his predecessors. Likewise, I would urge parishioners not to infer that the priests are making personal judgments when they preach doctrines and disciplines of the Church which may have been less emphasized in the past or when they encourage or offer pious practices which may be a change in experience.

2. Allegation: Introduction of faith practices that are pre-Vatican II in format and content

– Response: The petition did not include any evidence of when the indicated practices were mandated by the priests. It is my understanding that the priests have made a kneeler available for those who wish to receive Holy Communion kneeling, without requiring it. The options of receiving Holy Communion on the tongue or in the hand are both acceptable; and I know that the priests respect this. In general, it is important for priests to verify that a person is properly disposed to receive Holy Communion (c. 843, §1), and this may include an assessment of whether a person’s hands are too dirty to handle the sacred species. In one incident of this in Platteville, after the priest received more complete background information, the offended party immediately received the priest’s apology, and the apology was accepted. As far as I am aware, this was an isolated incident and should not be characterized as a general trend.

3. Allegation: Homilies transmit teachings inconsistent with the Vatican II Council

– Response: Regarding this concern, it is probable that the remarks at no. 1 above are applicable. I note also that Fr. Pascual publicly invited any concerned parishioners to review his homilies, which he has recorded, so that they could tell him where they think he diverges from the teaching of Vatican Council II. To date, no one has stepped forward, nor was any evidence of this included in the petition. If anyone has very clear examples, I would encourage you to bring your concerns, along with the helpful citations from the documents of the Second Vatican Council to Fr. Pascual.

4. Allegation: Limiting altar service only to males so that young females aren’t deemed worthy in the eyes of Christ

– Response: It is permissible in the Diocese of Madison for Pastors to reserve altar service at the Holy Mass to males. This is particularly beneficial for the promotion of priestly vocations, which is a particular charism of the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest. Once again, it is unfair and unreasonable to infer that the priests, by employing only males in this service, deem women to be unworthy in any way. Also, while it is a particular charism of the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest to foster vocations to the priesthood, that does not mean, nor will you find, that they ignore the vocations of young women to the consecrated life, nor of young men and women to holy marriages.

5. Allegation: Reducing visits to homebound parishioners compared to Extraordinary Ministers

– Response: Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion have no "right" to administer Holy Communion at all—whether within the Holy Mass or outside of it. The administration of Holy Communion is proper to the clergy; and extraordinary ministers may only be used when there is a true necessity (Instruction Ecclesiæ de mysterio, art. 8, §1). Therefore, the priests are obliged to administer Holy Communion to the homebound if they are able; they may only call on an extraordinary minister if they judge there to be a true necessity. To my knowledge, now that the priests are settled in Platteville, they are known to be consistent and diligent in this aspect of their priestly ministry.

6. Allegation: Lack of support for families suffering loss of a loved one with inappropriate comments at a funeral

– Response: I have known the priests to be quite supportive and attentive to grieving families. As for the comments about hell and purgatory, it is natural for the Last Things to be discussed at the time of a funeral. While it would be gravely wrong for a priest to declare that the deceased is in or deserves hell, there is no indication that this has ever been done by the priests of the Society. At the time of a loved one’s death, it is very important for priests and deacons to remind the faithful to pray for the departed and to have Masses offered for them in order to help make satisfaction for the temporal punishment due them for their sins (purgatory). If a soul is in heaven it can do no harm. If the soul is in purgatory, it can do great good.

7. Allegation: Insisting on an open flame candle at a nursing home that prohibits open flames

– Response: To my knowledge, this was an isolated incident, which was immediately resolved between Fr. Pascual and nursing home management, and in fact Mass is now regularly offered by the priests at the nursing homes.

B. Change of Worship Environment

Allegation: Worship environment has become unwelcoming and lacks joy

– Response: It is not proven that the celebrations in Platteville are lacking in due joyfulness, calling to mind also the characteristic sobriety of the Roman Rite. From other letters and communications it is also clear that what is reported in the petition is not the unanimous experience in Platteville. In fact, it is well known that the priests are reintroducing many images and practices that have never ceased to be an important part of the Church’s spiritual heritage. As for decisions about the kinds of music to be used in the Sacred Liturgy, this is prescribed by the universal liturgical norms of the Church. Also, it is the responsibility of priests to implement these norms in their parishes. Finally, it is entirely permissible for the tabernacle to be placed in a prominent, dignified place in the sanctuary; and in fact I routinely insist on this for renovation projects in the Diocese. On a personal and spiritual level, I would offer for consideration the reality that each of us is called constantly to seek real and lasting peace and serenity in our life of prayer – the very center of which, of course, is the Holy Mass. While I do not doubt that there have been some external changes at the parish nor that these changes – as change almost always does – may cause a certain unsettledness, the reality of Christ’s real presence in the Holy Eucharist is the same. God, Himself, remains constant, unchanging from age to age. I encourage each of you – as I remind myself each day – seek the interior peace and serenity that only God can grant you. Sincerely approaching your liturgical prayer with this at heart, and allowing all things to point to God, I am confident that whatever unsettledness you might be feeling will fall away and be replaced with a renewed and lasting peace in our God, who desires passionately to speak to you in the silent depths.

C. Parish Donations

Allegation: Parish donations have decreased by 50%

- Response: Parish donations often decrease when changes occur at a parish. The exact level of change at the two parishes here is not yet clear. Regardless, it would be wrong to imply that the priests should carry out their ministry in a way that is pleasing to the faithful in order to generate income for the parish. On the one hand, the priests have the responsibility to proclaim the Gospel in season and out of season, even if it is unpleasing to those whom their preaching challenges. On the other hand, it is the obligation of the faithful to support the work of the Church as a good in and of itself, irrespective of the popularity of the clergy. Financial support is not to be treated as a vote of confidence but as a gift of love. This was emphasized by Vatican II in many places (Presbyterorum ordinis, nn. 20-21; Apostolicam actuositatem, no. 21; Ad gentes, no. 36).

D. Approval of Finance Council

Allegation: Consultation with parishioners is next to non-existent; no approval of finance council

– Response: The duty of administration of the parish is entrusted to the Pastor and no other (c. 532); the Parochial Vicars participate in this according to the determinations of the Bishop and the Pastor. The Pastor never needs the approval of the finance council, pastoral council, or any other committee before making any decision (c. 536, §2, and c. 537). These councils and committees offer him insights, suggestions, and support; he can never allow them to bind him to make any specific decision, even by their unanimous vote (Instruction Ecclesiæ de mysterio, art. 5, §§2-3).

2010-11-05

There is no true common ground with liars

There is no compromise with that which is wrong or evil. Talk of "common ground" is how those with liberal agendas grab a foothold when they are being backed into a corner. Those with liberal agendas count on indifferentism (under the guise of tolerance) in order to gain this "common ground."

2010-11-04

Change is what they want...

I was thinking about the elections earlier this week. It seems that politicians have caught on to the new buzz word that equates with "electable."

Citizens recognize something is wrong with our country, and that something needs to be different. However, it seems that the majority of citizens are willing to accept anything that resembles a chance at something different. This is very dangerous, and has a great potential to lead our country to its ruin. Many (but not all) voters are being lead down a hidden path by the piper who can best play the tune of change.

2010-11-02

Christianity in Baghdad

Reports still vary from source to source, but the story seems to be that a Catholic Church (Our Lady of Salvation) was targeted on Sunday by Islamic terrorists tied to Al-Qaida.

They said, 'We will go to paradise if we kill you and you will go to hell' ... We stood beside the wall and they started shooting at the young people. I asked them to kill me and let my grandson live, but they shot him dead and they shot me in the back.

An accusation (that many sources claim to be false) was made by the terrorist that two Islamic woman were abducted, and thus attacks on the Catholic Church would take place until the women are returned. The terrorists state:

We direct our speech to the Vatican and say that as you met with Christians of the Mideast a few days ago to support them and back them, now you have to pressure them to release our sisters, otherwise death will reach you all.

More than 50 were killed in the horrific event that started with over 120 attending Mass at the Church. The armed terrorist came into the church and immediately killed the priest. Some reports talk about others along with the priest being murdered when the terrorist first arrived. People were beaten and herded into a church hall. After four hours, Iraqi security forces arrived. The terrorist detonated their suicide vest killing themselves, and more than 50 others.

I saw at least 30 bodies ... Many appeared to have been blown apart by explosions detonated by the hostage-takers ... They said it was 'halal' to kill us ... They hated us and said we were all going to die.

Pray for these souls, and all of the souls of the faithfully departed. (Some of these recent souls could be martyrs.) Also pray for the our fellow Catholics and priests who will be targeted by these Islamic terrorists.

Pray for the soul of Declan Sullivan

Twenty year old Declan Sullivan died last week in a preventable accident at the University of Notre Dame. Pray for Declan's eternal soul and his family. Pray for this once orthodox university that has forgotten its identity.

2010-10-26

Can non-Catholics be saved?

Quite recently, on the Catholic blogosphere, the question was raised of whether non-Catholics can be saved. Let me answer that question with a question: if you were in a house that was engulfed in flames, would you be able to survive by staying inside? Of course you could; the odds would be significantly against it, but if you wanted to bet your life on it there technically is a chance.

Likewise, non-Catholics have the possibility of being saved; only God can see into the soul of a (wo)man and see if there exists a reflection of Himself (supernatural Charity), a quality without which we cannot be saved. To receive and maintain this quality of the soul God gave us the Sacraments of the Catholic Church. Could you obtain and maintain this quality of the soul without formal membership in the Christ's Church? Technically yes... but do you really want to bet your soul on it?

2010-10-25

The sole reason why society is perishing...


"The sole reason why society is perishing is because it has refused to hear the word of the Church, which is the work of life, the word of God. All plans for salvation will be sterile if the great word of the Catholic Church is not restored in all its fullness.

"The right to preach and instruct the people which the Church has received from God Himself in the persons of the Apostles, has been usurped by a crowd of prattling newspapermen and the ignorant babblers. The ministry of the word of God, which is the most elevated and important of all -- because by it the earth has been conquered -- has turned from a ministry of salvation to an abominable ministry of ruin. As nothing or nobody could check the triumph of the word of God in the time of the Apostles, so also will no one or nothing be able to repress the ravages of false preaching and doctrines unless by opposing them with the preaching of priests and by the distribution of abundant good books and other holy and profitable works."

-- Saint Anthony Mary Claret, The Autobiography, Chapter 28, Part 3. St. Anthony's feast day was this past weekend.

2010-10-22

Follow up: Wolves become superfluous

A couple days ago I posted on Cardinal-designate Raymond Burke addresses to Human Life international. The speech can be read (PDF) and watched on Real Catholic TV's website.

2010-10-20

Wolves become superfluous

Last week Archbishop Cardinal-designate Raymond Burke addressed Human Life international with a speech that was not only directed at the faithful, but also specifically directed at our bishops.

"When shepherds of the flock are obedient to the magisterium entrusted to their exercise, then surely the numbers of the flock grow in obedience," he said. "If the shepherd isn't obedient, the flock easily gives way to confusion and error." Quoting the Prophet Zechariah, he said the shepherd can be "especially tempted" by the assaults of Satan who, "if he can strike him, the work of scattering the flock is made easy."

"Faith is first of all personal adherence of man to God," underlined Archbishop Burke, and recalled the words of a wise professor of canon law he knew who would often tell his classes: "Where there are problems of chastity, there are problems of obedience." Rebellion against the moral truth, Archbishop Burke noted, "is a rebellion against God and all that he teaches us."

[...]

"When a person has culpably espoused and cooperated in gravely sinful acts, leading many into error and confusion over fundamental questions regarding respect for life and integrity of marriage and family, his repentance of such actions must also be public," Archbishop Burke added, referring to Catholic politicians who support abortion and same-sex marriage. ... He stressed that responsibility is "especially heavy" for political leaders.

[...]

The "perennial discipline of the Church [has] prohibited the giving of Holy Communion or the granting of a Church funeral to those who persist after admonition in the grave violation of the moral law," he noted. "It is said that these disciplines which the Church has consistently observed down the centuries presume to pass judgment on eternal judgment of a soul, a judgment that belongs to God alone, and therefore can be abandoned."

[...]

"A unity which is not founded on the truth of the moral law is not unity..."

See the Zenit article for more information.

The following videos were sparked off after the speech by Archbishop Raymond Burke, and provide some interesting insight.



Don't Steal: The Government Hates Competition...

When the government is guilty of so many crimes against morality and prudence, is it any wonder that the contractors they hire (at the lowest bid, no less) will resort to unethical practices as well? As it turns out, the contractor whom the CIA hired to work on the targeting system for the Predator drones used pirated software. Not surprisingly the company who makes the stolen software is suing; they also assert that the stolen software was incomplete when it was stolen, which could result in targeting errors on the part of the drones.

So in summary: a shadowy government agency hires software pirates to work on the targeting systems for drones which are then used to conduct "surgical strikes" in Pakistan... and the faulty targeting systems means the CIA will be hitting the wrong targets (read: people). I guess it's a less overt way of picking a fight with the Pakistanis than appointing a Koran burning pastor as U. S. ambassador to Pakistan.

2010-10-15

Well, anyway, happy Feast of St. Teresa of Jesus!


Since my fellow bloggers have current (sad) events pretty well covered, they free me up to post about the Feast of St. Teresa of Jesus, also known as St. Teresa of Avila. The Discalced Carmelites claim her as their Mother, as indeed she is, after Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, of course.

An excerpt from St. Teresa's "Life", taken from the Carmelite Office of Readings for this feast:

Whoever lives in the presence of so good a friend and excellent a leader as is Jesus Christ can endure all things. Christ helps us and strengthens us and never fails; He is a true friend. And I see clearly that God desires that if we are going to please him and receive his great favours this must come about through the most sacred humanity of Christ, in whom he takes his delight.

Many, many times have I perceived this through experience. The Lord has told it to me. I have definitely seen that we must enter by this gate if we desire His sovereign Majesty to show us great secrets. A person should desire no other path, even if he be at the summit of contemplation; on this road he walks safely. This Lord of ours is the one through whom all blessings come to us. He will teach us these things. In beholding his life we find that he is the best example.

What more do we desire from such a good friend at our side, who will not abandon us in our labours and tribulations, as friends in the world do? Blessed is the one who truly loves him and always keeps him near. Let us consider the glorious St. Paul: it doesn't seem that any other name fell from his lips than that of Jesus, as coming from one who kept the Lord close to his heart. Once I had come to understand this truth, I carefully considered that lives of some of the saints, the great contemplatives, and found that they hadn't taken any pther path: Francis, Anthony of Padua, Bernard, Catherine of Siena. A person must walk along this path in freedom, placing himself in God's hands. If His Majesty should desire to raise us to the position of one who is an intimate and shares his secrets, we ought to accept gladly.

As often as we think of Christ we should recall the love with which he bestowed on us so many favours and the great things God showed in giving us a pledge like this of his love; for love begets love. Let us strive to keep this always before our eyes and to waken ourselves to love. For if at some time the Lord should grant us the favour of impressing this love on our hearts, all will become easy for us and we shall carry out our tasks quickly and without much effort.


What does it mean to "live in the presence" of Jesus? I'm not sure I know how to go about carrying this out, practically speaking. Prayer? I think that is what St. Teresa would say. Of all kinds-- most especially a certain amount of every day given in meditative prayer. Simple? Yes, but hard for me to do. I'm very attached to "my" time. But if I never give Him my time, when will the opportunity come that of the Lord "impressing this love on my heart"?

St. Teresa, pray for us, especially that we may be strong enough to give up the illusion that we are masters of our own "time".

2010-10-13

Who owns your mortgage?

By now you should have heard about the foreclosure fraud. Keep in mind that even if you are not risk for foreclosure this may still effect you. These "documentation problems" have the potential "to cloud title on not just foreclosed mortgages but on performing mortgages."

The mortgage is still owed, but there's going to be a problem figuring out who actually holds the mortgage, and they would be the ones bringing the foreclosure. You have a trust that has been getting payments from borrowers for years that it has no right to receive. So you might see borrowers suing the trusts saying give me my money back, you're stealing my money. You're going to then have trusts that don't have any assets that have been issuing securities that say they're backed by a whole bunch of assets, and you're going to have investors suing the trustees for failing to inspect the collateral files, which the trustees say they're going to do, and you're going to have trustees suing the securitization sponsors for violating their representations and warrantees about what they were transferring.

The SEIU currently has a webpage that helps you to create a form letter to send to your mortgage lender. I would not recommend submitting your personal data to the SEIU, but the form letter generated is well written.

To: Mortgage Lending Department
Subject: Request for original mortgage note and additional information

Dear [NAME OF LENDER]:

This is a qualified written request under Section 6 of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). I own the property at the address listed above, and your bank services my mortgage.

Over the last several weeks there have been many stories documenting the problem that banks are foreclosing on homes without proof that they own the loan. I have learned that in many cases, banks like yours do not even know who owns the loans you service. Employees at several leading banks have admitted to rubber stamping tens of thousands of foreclosures every month, without even checking to make sure that the bank had a legal right to proceed with foreclosure. In some cases, banks allegedly falsified mortgage documents to cover up their mistakes. There have been reports of two banks trying to foreclose on the same home, banks foreclosing on homeowners who were current on their payments, and even of a bank foreclosing on a home where the homeowner had never taken out a mortgage to begin with. This is not merely a "technical problem"--it is the difference between having a warm bed at night and being out on the street.

As a homeowner and a customer of your bank, I am horrified. I had always believed that it I played by the rules, I would be protected, but now I know that banks like yours think the rules don't apply to them.

To protect myself and my family, I need to know who owns my mortgage. Within sixty days, I would like to know the name, address, and phone number of the bank or investor that owns my mortgage. Furthermore, in light of the recent allegations of foreclosure fraud, I demand to see the original mortgage note proving ownership over my home loan. If you fail to produce a mortgage note proving that you have a right to collect my mortgage payments, I will be forced to consider all options available to me to ensure that my family and my home are protected.

I ask that I receive my response in writing. I understand that under Section 6 of RESPA you are legally required to acknowledge my request within twenty business days and must try to resolve the issue within sixty days.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.