2010-09-30

Google Translates Latin

It has been noted on numerous web logs and news articles that Google Translate now supports English to Latin, and Latin to English.

Edit: I have been throwing quite a bit at this translator, and I have found it spot on many times and awkward but still accurate other times. Google has an interesting page on the technology behind Google Translate.

A country paying off its debt

This coming Sunday (October 3rd, 2010) Germany will pay the last of its debt / war reparations from World War I. On June 28th 1919, the Treaty of Versailles was signed to end the war between the German Empire and the Allied Powers. Articles 231-238 of the Treaty involved payment reparations to certain countries. In 1919, this amount totaled approximately $31.4 Billion. Compared with today's dollar value, that amount can equate anywhere from $1900 Billion ($1.9 Trillion) to $5000 Billion ($5 Trillion).

To say the least, this impossible amount of debt had an impact on the German economy. One solution was for the government to print its way out of debt. In a few short years German banknotes had lost so much value, that they were used as wallpaper. This Hyperinflation combined with the effects from the American Depression sent the German economy in a downward spiral.

The German Workers' Party that had formed at the end of World War I changed its name to the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei) in 1920. The conditions of war torn Germany and its failing economy set the stage for this Nazi party's rise to power.

Anyone reading this should be able to recognize parallels with our current governments economic actions, and what road this may be leading us down.

2010-09-29

September 29th: Archangels

In the current calendar, today is the feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel, Raphael. (Until recently it was only the feast of St. Michael.)

Michael the archangel, whose name in Hebrew means "Who is like God?", is revered as the leader of the angelic army who will conquer Satan and his armies of demons, and is considered the defender of the Church. Michael is more often represented in art thank any other angelic being. He is often shown wearing armor, in the act of slaying the great Dragon of the Apocalypse [Satan] in Revelation 12:7-9.

The archangel Gabriel, whose name in Hebrew means "Strength of God", announced the birth of John the Baptist to Zachariah, and soon after, announced to Mary that she was to become the mother of Our Lord. His address to her, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee" (the "angelic salutation") is familiar to all who say the Rosary.

The archangel Raphael, whose name means medic or ointment of God, is mentioned by name in the Old Testament book of Tobit (Tobias), whom the angel aided by healing him of blindness and guiding him on his travels.

St. Gregory the Great and the apocryphal book of Enoch list names for the other four archangels, but the information varies among different sources.

Speaking of Pizza.....


Apparently, if you want authentic Neapolitan pizza, you want a Pizza Margherita. There are many versions, but all with the same basic ingredients: fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, and fresh mozzarella. Simple, yes. But even so, they're not always easy to find at good quality. I found a recipe that's pretty good, even when I substitute for, erm, less than fresh. However, since tomatoes and basil are in season right now, it seems like a good time to share... especially after seeing the greasy, yummy picture on here a few days ago.



Pizza Margherita
The bit of cake flour is essential in producing a crispy crust. Do not substitute. White whole wheat flour can be used, but it does make the crust a bit more chewy. If you have fresh tomatoes, substitute about 4 good sized roma tomatoes cut into chunks for the canned tomatoes, and processed and drained the same way. If you use mozzarella packed in brine, pat dry before using. You can shape the second dough round while the first is baking, but do not top until right before it goes in the oven. If you want to use a pizza stone, pre-heat the stone with the oven. A pizza peel dusted with cornmeal or flour helps greatly to get the dough rounds on the hot stone, but I don't have one, so I manage without.

Dough
1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
OR
2 teaspoons regular yeast
1 cup very warm water
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (8 3/4 ounces), plus extra for dusting work surface and peel
1 cup cake flour (4 ounces)
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
2 teaspoons sugar

Topping
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
OR
4 good sized roma tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 small clove garlic, or more to taste, minced or pressed through a garlic press
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (or more, to taste!)
Table salt
16 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

  1. For the crust Add yeast to warm water and let sit for a few minutes until yeast is dissolved. Meanwhile add flours, sugar and salt to a stand mixer or dough-capable food processor. When yeast is dissolved, add water to flour and knead thoroughly: ` 10 mins. in the stand mixer, or 2-3 mins. in the food processor, until dough forms satiny, sticky ball that clears sides of workbowl. If dough is too sticky add a bit more flour, if too crumbly, add a bit more warm water. Allow to rise in warm, draft-free environment, 1-2 hours, until doubled in size.
  2. For the topping In clean bowl of food processor, process tomatoes until crushed, two or three 1-second pulses. Transfer tomatoes to fine-mesh strainer set over bowl and let drain at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to release liquids. Just before shaping pizza rounds, combine drained tomatoes, sugar, garlic (if using), 1 tablespoon basil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in bowl. (DO NOT ADD SALT BEFORE TASTING IF YOUR CANNED TOMATOES WERE PACKED WITH SALT!)
  3. Shaping and topping the pizza Set oven to 500 degrees. Punch down dough and divide it into two equal parts. Shape one part into a circle about 12 inches in diameter and transfer to pizza pan. Top evenly with half your tomato mixture and place pan in oven for about 5-6 minutes. Remove from oven, and top with half the mozzarella cubes and return to oven for another 5ish minutes, just until the cheese melts. Remove from oven, sprinkle generously with basil (leaving some for the other pizza!), drizzle with about a teaspoon of olive oil, and let sit for a minute or two before cutting. And then watch in amazed satisfaction as it disappears in front of your eyes. Oh yeah, and repeat this step for the second dough round.

John Paulson on Inflation

John Paulson's Scary Speech makes some interesting points on our inflationary economy. I do however question his time line, and his bullish take on the housing market.

Internet Censorship: it's for the good of the children!

Congress is back at it again, seeking to censor the internet one site at a time with the "Combating Online Infringement and Couterfeits Act" (or COICA in Washingtoneese). In short, this bill would allow the Attorney General and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to block internet users from reaching certain websites. Which websites? For now the target is websites where it's possible to "pirate" copyrighted material. The bill would allow for the creation of two lists of blocked sites: the Attorney General's list and a DOJ list. For a site to be on the former list a court order against the site must be obtained; to get on the latter list, no judicial oversight is required (but your site will be just as blocked nonetheless).

If you happen to think this is a good idea, that copyright pirates ought to be shut down, please explain to me why this bill is necessary when we already have the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) which, while onerous in its own right, is sufficient for copyright holders to protect their content. At the very best, COICA is a duplication of previous protections; at worst it's a foot in the door for the government to decide which websites are allowed to exist. Today the excuse is copyright protection; tomorrow it will be hate speech and putting a digital muzzle on anyone who, for example, re-states the perennial Catholic teaching that homosexual acts are intrinsically evil. The end-game will be that every website or update to a website will have to be cleared by the thought police. Does this sound like a good idea to you?

2010-09-28

Mary, Mediatrix of All Graces


Though not a formally declared a Dogma of the Church, the teaching of Mary as the channel through which Jesus chooses to bestow graces upon us is a teaching of the Church through Sacred Tradition. Her mediation on our behalf began with the Incarnation, and continued throughout Jesus' earthly life, from the Wedding Feast at Cana ("Do whatever He tells you") to His passion and death ("Here is your mother; there, your son"). Mary's mediation continues still, and will for all eternity, flowing out of her love for her Son, and for us, her children.

Quoting from the VII document Lumen Gentium, Pope John Paul II said in his encyclical Redemptoris Mater,

...Mary 'by her maternal charity, cares for the brethren of her Son who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties, until they are led to their happy homeland.' In this way Mary's motherhood continues unceasingly in the Church as the mediation which intercedes, and the Church expresses her faith in this truth by invoking Mary 'under the titles of Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adjutrix and Mediatrix.'


Pope Leo XIII says of Mary in Octobri Mense,

The Eternal Son of God, about to take upon Him our nature for the saving and ennobling of man, and about to consummate thus a mystical union between Himself and all mankind, did not accomplish His design without adding there the free consent of the elect Mother, who represented in some sort all human kind, according to the illustrious and just opinion of St. Thomas, who says that the Annunciation was effected with the consent of the Virgin standing in the place of humanity.(5) With equal truth may it be also affirmed that, by the will of God, Mary is the intermediary through whom is distributed unto us this immense treasure of mercies gathered by God, for mercy and truth were created by Jesus Christ.(6) Thus as no man goeth to the Father but by the Son, so no man goeth to Christ but by His Mother.


Pope St. Pius X, in Ad Diem Illum Laetissimum:

13. It cannot, of course, be denied that the dispensation of these treasures is the particular and peculiar right of Jesus Christ, for they are the exclusive fruit of His Death, who by His nature is the mediator between God and man. Nevertheless, by this companionship in sorrow and suffering already mentioned between the Mother and the Son, it has been allowed to the august Virgin to be the most powerful mediatrix and advocate of the whole world with her Divine Son (Pius IX. Ineffabilis). The source, then, is Jesus Christ "of whose fullness we have all received" (John i., 16), "from whom the whole body, being compacted and fitly joined together by what every joint supplieth, according to the operation in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in charity" (Ephesians iv., 16). But Mary, as St. Bernard justly remarks, is the channel (Serm. de temp on the Nativ. B. V. De Aquaeductu n. 4); or, if you will, the connecting portion the function of which is to join the body to the head and to transmit to the body the influences and volitions of the head - We mean the neck. Yes, says St. Bernardine of Sienna, "she is the neck of Our Head, by which He communicates to His mystical body all spiritual gifts" (Quadrag. de Evangel. aetern. Serm. x., a. 3, c. iii.).


I have always found the works of St. Louis Marie de Montfort on the subject of Mary to be particularly moving and helpful, especially his books True Devotion to Mary and The Secret of Mary. From The Secret of Mary:

10. (4) In the new dispensation of grace to the world through Christ, God also chose Mary to be the treasurer, the administrator and the dispenser of all his graces. The sanctifying grace which brings about our spiritual adoption as children of God, passes to us through her soul as through a crystal clear channel. Thus, everyone who is a member of the mystical Body of Christ is spiritually born both of God and of Mary - just as Jesus was. Through Christ, the salvation and grace of God is available to all men. Man's personal response of faith establishes his spiritual adoption and life in God. But, the sanctifying of graces of God gained by the sacrifice of Christ, come to us through the spiritual mediation of Mary. This is why the Church calls her the 'Mediatrix of Grace.'


Damned... by society...

Today, I drove in a carbon emitting vehicle to pray a Rosary at the local abortion clinic (protesting the 15 murders that tend to take place when their abortionist is in). Later in the day I stopped for a slice of hot greasy pizza and a cold fermented pint sized beverage (it is still October Fest after all). Tonight I will sit down and smoke a bowl of Bob's Chocolate Flake. I could go on counting the numerous "deadly sins" of society... but I already know that said "society" considers me lost. Good thing the Catholic Church still has a place for me.



Atheists Know More About Religion

At least that's what a new study from the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion and Public Life says.

To a certain degree this makes sense. St. Thomas teaches that we can know of the existence of God simply by natural reason. Given that God is knowable with the human intellect unaided by Grace, it stands to reason that the anti-faith of an atheist would mean being able to explain away the positions held by theists, which means knowing about what various religions say about themselves.

Then again, this study is really pointless. The larger trend seems to be that the prevailing religion these days is non-religion, not anti-religion: more people don't know and don't care about religion to even bother with the effort of being atheist. And it's a lot harder to convince someone who doesn't care about the Truth to accept it that it is to convert one's misconception of it.

2010-09-27

Snitching on your neighbors: there's an app for that!

This is simply revolting. On the home page of SnapScouts.org you'll find this description:

Want to earn tons of cool badges and prizes while competing with you friends to see who can be the best American? Download the SnapScouts app for your Android phone (iPhone app coming soon) and get started patrolling your neighborhood.

It's up to you to keep America safe! If you see something suspicious, Snap it! If you see someone who doesn't belong, Snap it! Not sure if someone or something is suspicious? Snap it anyway!

Play with your friends and family to see who can get the best prizes. Join the SnapScouts today!

A few things stand out here:
  • This is a site and app aimed squarely at kids.
  • The idea that being a "good American" involves being a snitch or invading people's privacy.
  • Being a good snitch earns you cool badges and prizes (a bigger camera to more effectively snoop? a parabolic mic for listening in on and recording neighbors?)

SnapScouts.org's founders, George Parsons and Winston O'Brien, claim they are doing this for a public service and don't look to make money on this. They also admit they are being funded by the likes of CCTV UK, Xe (formerly known as Blackwater), and a couple other groups that look like thinly veiled fronts for foreign and domestic intelligence agencies.

The site creators admit that the app is aimed squarely at children, claiming that kids make "the perfect reporters, unbiased and unprejudiced by media concepts." Kids are also much easier to brainwash and haven't yet learned that being a snitch isn't equivalent to good citizenship (and quite possibly illegal).

As revolting as the privacy implications of this app are, it puts kids in danger. Eventually Johnny Snitch is going to try to earn his "Busted a Mobster" badge and end up at the mercy of Don Vito and his crew as a result. Somehow I suspect George Parsons and Winston O'Brien will hide behind their lawyers when something unfortunate befalls Johnny Snitch.

2010-09-24

Belgian Priest: End mandatory celibacy

The Wall Street Journal is running a short piece and poll on whether the Roman Catholic Church should drop mandatory celibacy as a priestly requirement. They even have a couple of deserting Belgian priests to shill for their position (something about married men should be allowed to become priests).

The issue here isn't celibacy but spiritual contraception. For the better part of fifty years there has been an absence of solid doctrine and sound teaching coming from the bishops of the Church. And in this era of "anything goes" what has "gone" the most is vocations: a tiny fraction of what they were two generations ago.

A big reason for this is that the concept of sacrifice has been removed from the concept of what the priest does. By offering the Sacrifice of Calvary and conforming his life to Jesus crucified, the priest becomes little more than a social worker or community leader, searching for meaning in his life.

If the role and purpose of the priest were better understood by young Catholic men then more of them would enter seminary to become priests themselves. But because that message has not been delivered, much hand-wringing and calls to abandon clerical disciplines that date back to the time of the Apostles is what results.

Water down the concept of the priesthood and you get watered-down priests. Renew the concept of the manliness of the priestly function and more than a few good men will step forward to answer the call.

The Basics of Resilience

Chris Martenson presented a seven part article entitled What Should I Do? The Basics of Resilience. Martenson writes:

It can feel pretty personally overwhelming to learn about all the economic, environmental, and energy challenges in store for us for the rest of this century. There's plenty of work to be done by governments and businesses, sure—but what about preparing yourself and your family for this quickly changing world? The choices seem overwhelming. Where does one begin?

[...]

This article is part of a series on personal preparation to help you answer the question, "What should I do?" Our goal is to provide a safe, rational, relatively comfortable experience for those who are just coming to the realization that it would be prudent to take precautionary steps against an uncertain future. Those who have already taken these basic steps (and more) are invited to help us improve what is offered here by contributing comments, as this content is meant to be dynamic and improve over time.

The seven part article is divided up by the following topics:

Be Prepared

Estote Parati - "Be Prepared" is a logical concept that is difficult to challenge. It is such a universal concept that this motto has been adapted to languages world wide. The application of the motto can range from standard every day tasks such as driving your vehicle and attending a meeting to extreme circumstances such as preparing for judgment.

Would you like to make money?

Would you like to make money? Not by working hard, or selling a product or an idea.... I mean would you like to create currency? Would you like to be able to grow money on trees and harvest an endless supply?

This is a two part video from Mike Maloney that was recorded at the 8th International Banking Forum in Sochi, Russia.

The purpose of the conference was for bankers from around the world to meet and discuss the current state of the global economy, the banking system, and strategies for protecting their personal wealth (hence the speaking spot for Mike).

The first morning passed without too much fuss as each speaker gave an introduction and a brief talk on his or her area of expertise. However, by the end of the day...it became obvious that something was definitely wrong. After speaking with many of the attendees, Mike was alarmed to find that practically none of the international bankers understood our present monetary system. Most had no idea how currency is created! Here at wealthcycles.com, we've often wondered exactly how well modern day bankers understand the worldwide predicament that we find ourselves in. Ladies and gentlemen, our worst fears have been confirmed - the lights are on, but there's nobody home.

Mike's presentation on personal protection of wealth changed overnight, into one of basic education on our monetary system. How can anybody take the role of wealth protection (or running an economy!) seriously unless they can see the massive storm that lies ahead?



Lex Orandi - Lex Credendi - Lex Vivendi

The law of prayer - the law of belief - the law of life. The way we pray and worship has relation to what we believe (our faith) which also has relation to how we live our lives. It is not a one way relationship between the three as it can be noted that how we live our lives can certainly have an influence on how we pray and believe.

It can become easy to "forget" where we are, and who we are in the presence of when we attend Mass. It becomes even more difficult when others surrounding us forget. When a priest forgets efforts can be burdensome to say the least. This all can have an effect on not only our faith, but our daily life.

2010-09-23

Dr. Robert Moynihan on the Vatican Banking Scandal

The Drew Mariani Show invited guest Dr. Robert Moynihan (of Inside the Vatican) to discuss the Vatican Banking Scandal yesterday afternoon. While the commentary on the scandal was interesting, the slight off topic conversation was even more interesting. The audio for the yesterday's show is available on the Relevant Radio website. If you are looking to get to topic commentary listen to hour 3 (mp3/asx) starting at the 19 and 30 minute mark.

Mass, priesthood and sacrifice must never be separated

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf writes:

The altar is the supreme place of priestly service. An altar is about sacrifice. Priesthood is about sacrifice. Priesthood and sacrifice must never be separated in our minds.

We must never lose sight of Mass as propitiation, or of the priest as offering sacrifice to God. This deep current in Holy Mass must inform every word and gesture, ornament and sign.

The rest of father's article can be partially read on his web log, and in its entirety in the upcoming edition of The Wanderer.

September 23rd: St. Padre Pio da Pietrelcina

(I have been a bit short on time today, so this post on our beloved friend and intercessor is a bit lacking. I hope to add to it as I have a moment.)

A few months before the canonization of Padre Pio I had been given the opportunity to stay at a Passionist monastery. The monastery kept a relic of one of the gloves that St. Pio wore to cover his stigmata. When given the opportunity to venerate the dark blood stained glove a strong fragrance was noted.

Named for St. Francis of Assisi, Francesco Forgione was born in 1887 to a farming family in the southern Italian town of Pietralcina. Devout even in childhood, Francesco was ordained to the priesthood in 1910 and took the name Pio of Pietralcina. Illness had forced him to pursue his studies at home, and he remained there until 1916, when he moved to the seminary at San Giovanni Rotondo. He lived there for the rest of his life.

His intense suffering began in 1918, as he was hearing confessions. Suddenly a figure appeared, mystically piercing his heart with a lance. The same vision occurred again about a month later, sending the priest into screams of anguish. The friars who rushed to him found him unconscious and bleeding profusely and discovered that he had received the stigmata, or visible wounds of the crucifixion. Doctors could find no reason for the marks.

Padre Pio received other mystical signs as well. It is said that the blood from his wounds smelled like flowers, and he was also reported to have had the gift of bilocation.

St. Pio was canonized on June 16, 2002 - 34 years after he called to meet our Lord. St. Padre Pio da Pietrelcina pray for us and our priests!

2010-09-21

The Church Suffering

On the Vortex today:

With the tide of unapproved changes by Modernists that swept over the Church the last 40 to 50 years, many Catholics are in deep pain. Take heart. Yours is a calling of special grace.

Climate Change is a Religion. Officially.

In a landmark ruling, English Justice Mr Michael Burton said that "a belief in man-made climate change ... is capable, if genuinely held, of being a philosophical belief for the purpose of the 2003 Religion and Belief Regulations". Read the full story here.

I applaud the progressiveness of the British Judiciary. I fully expect, on my next trip to England, to be recognized and embraced for new religion, one that is marked by my genuinely held philosophical belief that Justice Mr. Michael Burton is a blithering idiot and a threat to England and all of civilized people.

Ineffable Propaganda

Last year the swine flu was all the scare and populations everywhere were urged to get a new, experimental vaccine. I forget what was predicted for those who didn't get the shot, but the merchants of fear mainstream press parroted public health officials' pleas that everyone get the shot. Most people didn't get the shot, and pandemic didn't result.

So this year there's a new tactic in the information war: spread the lie word that the vaccine helps prevent heart attack.

You'll forgive me if I don't believe this latest round of propaganda or rush out to get the shot.

Ineffability

To quote the wiki:
...ideas that cannot or should not be expressed in spoken words (or language in general), often being in the form of a taboo or incomprehensible term. This property is commonly associated with philosophy, aspects of existence, and similar concepts that are inherently "too great", complex, or abstract to be adequately communicated. In addition, illogical statements, principles, reasons, and arguments are intrinsically ineffable along with impossibilities, contradictions, and paradoxes. Terminology describing the nature of experience cannot be properly conveyed in dualistic symbolic language; it is believed that this knowledge is only held by the individual from which it originates. Obscene profanity and vulgarisms, however, can easily (and clearly) be stated – but they simply should not be and so are still considered ineffable.

Enough said...

The Wizard of Oz

In 1964 Henry Littlefield wrote about an interpretation of The Wizard of Oz (children's novel) in the American Quarterly. Littlefield's interpretation was that the story was actually a parable on populism. There is, of course, obvious debate on whether or not it was Frank Baum's intent to write a parable on this subject.

Baum certainly saw the results of the frightful depression which had closed down up on the nation in 1893. Moreover, he took part in the pivotal election of 1896, marching in "torch-light parades for William Jennings Bryan". Martin Gardiner notes besides, that he "consistently voted as a democrat...and his sympathies seem always to have been on the side of the laboring classes." No one who marched in even a few such parades could have been unaffected by Bryan's campaign. Putting all the farmers' hopes in a basket labeled "free coinage of silver," Bryan's platform rested mainly on the issue of adding silver to the nation's gold standard. Though he lost, he did at least bring the plight of the little man into national focus

[...]

Not understanding the magic of the Silver Shoes, Dorothy walks the mundane -- and dangerous -- Yellow Brick Road. The first person she meets is a Scarecrow. After escaping from his wooden perch, the Scarecrow displays a terrible sense of inferiority and self doubt, for he has determined that he needs real brains to replace the common straw in his head. William Allen White wrote an article in 1896 entitled "What's the Matter With Kansas?". In it he accused Kansas farmers of ignorance, irrationality and general muddle-headedness. What's wrong with Kansas are the people, said Mr. White.[18] Baum's character seems to have read White's angry characterization. But Baum never takes White seriously and so the Scarecrow soon emerges as innately a very shrewd and very capable individual.

In any case, this possible parable is an interesting read. The interpretation lends insight into some of the political happening taking place during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Others(PDF) have also given similar accounts that mirror Littlefield's interpretation.

Other inks of interest:
The Wizard of Oz: A Parable on Populism
Littlefield's Interpretation

2010-09-20

2012: Hillary vs. Sarah for President

Have you noticed the news stories beginning to pile up about the Obamas not being so happy in the White House? First Lady Michelle has been quoted as saying "life is hell" at 1600 Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, Colin Powell (among others) is saying that Barack has lost some of his ability to connect with people that he demonstrated during the campaign.

At the same time, Hillary is grabbing headlines for having a new hairdo.

And Sarah Palin continues to get headlines wherever she goes or opens her mouth.

So here's how it's going to play out: Hillary will step down as Secretary of State (to be replaced by John Kerry) early next year. Barack Obama will cite "wanting to be more available as a dad for his girls" as the reason he won't seek another term. Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton will seek and obtain their party's nomination for President. Palin will come across as an idiot in the debates; Hillary will become President.

I really hope I'm wrong about all of this...

2010-09-17

Under the poverty line

In reference to 2009 Obama said: "Last year we saw the depths of the recession, including historic losses in employment not witnessed since the Great Depression."

But hey... its unlikely that we are headed for a "double dip recession."

The US Census Bureau defines poverty as any family of four living on less than $22K a year. 1 in 7 Americans are under this poverty line.

2010-09-15

Inflation into perspective

Most people know enough about inflation to recognize the effect that goods and services increase in price over time. Typically the change in the consumer price index (CPI) is used to represent current inflation in the United States. For a moment in this article let us assume that the methods for computing the CPI are accurate and reasonable.

Some employers attempt to compensate for inflation by adjusting salaries, by giving inflationary raises at the end of the year, however many employers do not. Many people currently concerned with the economy have taken investments and placed them into a stagnant bank account earning fractions of a percent in interest. Let look at an example for those who have stagnant savings (let us assume they have saved one year worth of their salary) and for those folks who do not get an inflationary raise every year.

Leaving out job benefits, assuming 52 weeks a year, 3 weeks paid time off, and 5 day work weeks... each day of work equates to approximately 0.4% of a year's salary. If inflation goes up 1% a person will have essentially need to work 2-1/2 extra days of time in order to equate the previous year's value. The person with savings will essentially have lost 2-1/2 days worth of pay. 2% increase is approximately one work week (5 days) of value lost. 5% is almost 2-1/2 weeks.

Some alternative inflation charts show us currently at 8.5% inflation (4 weeks of work). Now multiply this over a period of a few years... those who have one year worth of salary (or more) in stagnant savings for more than 3 years, have essentially lost 1/3 of their purchasing power. To carry the illustration further, some projections suggest that the United States is headed for 20% inflation (2-1/2 months of work.)

The reality is not this simplified. Various products are affected in different ways (and at different times) by inflation. I post this exercise to help people realize that while the $dollar$ amount may not be changing from year to year... the value is.

How Bishop Sheen Tolerated...

In today's Vortex, Michael Voris briefly discusses his eyewitness account of Bishop Sheen's reaction to a man looking to dialog his relativistic ideas:



Some quotes of interest to look for while watching:
-"GET OUT! The Catholic Faith is a gift from Almighty God and I will not have you polluting it!"
-"We humans too often judge as man judges, not as God"

September 15th: Our Lady of Sorrows


Today is the feast for our Lady of Sorrows. Our Blessed Mother's sorrows remind us of the bond she has with her Son. Mary suffered and shared the passion of our Lord. The feast is a call to reflect on Our Blessed Mother's personal suffering, and her compassion. Today, please consider praying and meditating on the Stabat Mater, The Seven Sorrows, and the Litany of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows.

Other links of interest:
-Our Lady of Sorrows
-The Seven Sorrows Devotion
-Devotion to the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin Mary

Do you know the corporal and spiritual works of mercy?

Can you recite corporal and spiritual works of mercy without looking at a list? Do you practice them when the opportunity is presented?

The corporal works of mercy:

The spiritual works of mercy:
  • To instruct the ignorant
  • To counsel the doubtful
  • To admonish sinners
  • To bear wrongs patiently
  • To forgive offences willingly
  • To comfort the afflicted
  • To pray for the living and the dead

2010-09-14

RealCatholicTV.com - Back in business

RealCatholicTV.com (the website, not the organization) was experiencing technical difficulties late last week, and earlier this week. It seem that the website is back to it normal operating conditions. For those of you not aware, RCTV acts as an online television station and has both free and premium content available to watch daily. RCTV is more than just the Vortex!

Voris at the ND vs Purdue game

I think Voris should attend more games...

2010-09-13

Insight into Abdul Rauf

Interesting post on the man behind the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero. The author of the post, Wario Hussein, is a convert to Christianity from Islam. Wario Hussein concludes his article:

Imam Abdul Rauf’s recent statements show he knows Islamic teachings but he is exercising Tauriya ["outwitting" or deliberate lying permitted in Islam]. There is no such thing in authentic Islam as what he is trying to achieve. It has become very evident he is not a Sufi Muslim. He has been using Sufism as a cover and has just blown it. This man knows very well no one who embraces the Qur’an’s teachings and adheres to Prophet Muhammad’s sayings and deeds can build a bridge with people who believe in human rights and religious freedom. He doesn’t believe in these ideals, just maximizing them to advance his cause of spreading Islam in the West. In the words of a prominent Muslim scholar who, unlike Imam Abdul Rauf, is unashamed of Islamic teachings, “‘Democracy, freedom, and human rights have no place’ in Islam.”

Kneeling

WDTPRS had a review of an article this morning entitled: "Overcome idolatry in life by kneeling during Mass"

Today kneeling – especially on a bare floor – has fallen into disuse. So much so that Benedict XVI's desire to give communion to the faithful on the tongue, and kneeling, is cause for amazement.

Kneeling for communion is one of the innovations that pope Joseph Ratzinger has introduced when he celebrates the Eucharist.

But rather than an innovation, this is a return to tradition. The others are placing the crucifix at the center of the altar, "so that at the Mass we are all looking at Christ, and not at each other," and the frequent use of Latin "to emphasize the universality of the faith and the continuity of the Church."

Here in America many diocesan parishioners are still under the impression that since standing is now the "norm" that kneeling to receive communion has been forbidden. This is simply a misunderstanding. Redemptionis Sacramentum says the following:

[90.] "The faithful should receive Communion kneeling or standing, as the Conference of Bishops will have determined", with its acts having received the recognitio of the Apostolic See. "However, if they receive Communion standing, it is recommended that they give due reverence before the reception of the Sacrament, as set forth in the same norms".

[91.] In distributing Holy Communion it is to be remembered that "sacred ministers may not deny the sacraments to those who seek them in a reasonable manner, are rightly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving them". Hence any baptized Catholic who is not prevented by law must be admitted to Holy Communion. Therefore, it is not licit to deny Holy Communion to any of Christ’s faithful solely on the grounds, for example, that the person wishes to receive the Eucharist kneeling or standing.

Now... this all assumes that the communicant approaches his Lord with a heart of reverence.

Other links of interest:
-In the USA is it against the law to kneel for Communion?
-Conflict with priest over receiving Communion kneeling
-Overcome idolatry in life by kneeling at during Mass
-Bishop says Catholics should kneel, receive communion on tongue


Worship the same God?

The anniversary of 9/11, Koran burning, and the beginning of Rosh Hashanah has created many opportunities for discussion on a few of the Catholic web logs I read. In a number of those discussions I see it mentioned that "We all worship the same God." The "we" refers to Muslims, Jews, and in some discussion Protestants.

Worship in its most general sense is homage paid to a person or a thing. Christian worship is "homage paid to God, to Jesus Christ, to His saints, to the beings or even to the objects which have a special relation to God."

It could be argued at length whether another religion/faith or even a specific person is or is not actually worshiping God. One alternative possibility is that the other religion/faith practices Idolatry. Idolatry is divine worship given to anyone or anything but the true God. Another possibility is heresy which is defined by St. Thomas as "a species of infidelity in men who, having professed the faith of Christ, corrupt its dogmas." St. Thomas goes on to say:

The right Christian faith consists in giving one's voluntary assent to Christ in all that truly belongs to His teaching. There are, therefore, two ways of deviating from Christianity: the one by refusing to believe in Christ Himself, which is the way of infidelity, common to Pagans and Jews; the other by restricting belief to certain points of Christ's doctrine selected and fashioned at pleasure, which is the way of heretics

While idolatry is certainly not worship of God, Those who are of heresy and infidelity practice, at best, an imperfect worship of God.

Discussion could take place about the various degrees of worship, and when Infidelity or Heresy can turn to Idolatry. But let us put that all aside for a moment and ask ourselves a question. What does it mean if the statement is true that "we" worship the same God? Does it mean that those other religions/faiths are not called to conversion? Does it mean that we as Catholics should not pray and work towards the conversion of their souls? Is it a means of just recognizing "common ground"? For what purpose is the statement made?

On the question of "common ground"... it seems that when attempting dialog with a Muslim or Jew (and sometimes the Protestant)... simply saying that we worship the same God is not received well. It is not received well, because often those other religions/faiths do not themselves believe that we worship the same God.

I leave things open ended a bit in hopes to encourage discussion of the topic. Please remember to keep it Charitable.

On the Catholic Calendar: Sept. 13th

On the new liturgical calendar (as of 1970) in the Catholic Church the feast of St. John Chrysostom is celebrated. In the Church these days there are many people who either "dissent" from Church teaching or have a lax view of it. So let's consider three quotes of St. Chrysostom for today:
  1. The majority of adult Christians damn themselves. That's right: a majority of people who are in the Church of Christ, the true religion, go to hell (and it goes without saying that heretics -- eg: everyone who adheres to the spirit of the protestant revolt of the 16th century -- apostates, and pagans go to hell as well, but I digress). St. Chrysostom is joined in this statement by the following Saints: Gregory the Great, Jerome, Basil, Ephrem, Thomas Aquinas, Robert Bellarmine, Francis de Sales, and others.
  2. He who neglects the service of the Blessed Virgin will die in his sins. Saints Alphonsus, Bernard, Hilary, Augustine of Hippo, Cyril of Jerusalem, Anselm, Albert the Great, Bonaventure, Thomas Aquinas and others also agree with St. Chrysostom on this point. Lest we forget, on both the new and old Calendars, yesterday was the feast of the Holy Name of Mary. Did you talk with your Mother yesterday?
  3. It is impossible for a client of Mary who is faithful in honoring and recommending himself to her to be lost. Again, St. Chrysostom is joined by Saints Alphonsus, Bernard, Ephrem, Hilary, Augustine, Bonaventure, John Damascene, Anselm, Albert the Great, Thomas Aquinas and more.
I encourage you to re-read those three points and who is endorsing them. Even the most strident of "dissenters" should take pause and re-evaluate their position if they see that a great number of Fathers and Doctors of the Church hold an opinion opposed to their own.

Our Lady, refuge of sinners, pray for us!


2010-09-12

Day of Wrath

The Dies Irae is a hymn "describing the day of judgment, the last trumpet summoning souls before the throne of God, where the saved will be delivered and the unsaved cast into eternal flames."

The hymn, while no longer utilized in the Novus Ordo funeral Mass, is the sequence during a Requiem Mass.



2010-09-11

Goodbye light bulb

The Washington Post had an article earlier this week on the the closing of the last major GE factory that manufactures incandescent light bulbs.

The last major GE factory making ordinary incandescent light bulbs in the United States is closing this month, marking a small, sad exit for a product and company that can trace their roots to Thomas Alva Edison's innovations in the 1870s. The remaining 200 workers at the plant here will lose their jobs.

[...]

During the recession, political and business leaders have held out the promise that American advances, particularly in green technology, might stem the decades-long decline in U.S. manufacturing jobs. But as the lighting industry shows, even when the government pushes companies toward environmental innovations and Americans come up with them, the manufacture of the next generation technology can still end up overseas.

Wisdom (teeth)

Would you look at that! Murdered unborn children really are not needed to gather stem cells. It also seems that our "useless" wisdom teeth have some value after all.

War Against The Catholic Church

Being a Catholic often means that we are at war. The primary most important battle is fought over our souls, but secular battles (skirmishes?) rage daily. Recently an article at "The Catholic American" had a lengthy article on Al Qaeda’s Little Reported-On War Against The Catholic Church.

While most of the world mourns the nearly three thousand who were brutally murdered by Al Qaeda on September 11, 2001, many assume all of Al Qaeda attacks stem from a warped political motive. Most may not be aware that since the day of its inception many of Al Qaeda’s targets have involved the Catholic Church and her holy sites.

The article is full of links and supporting information that pertains to the subject.

RealCatholicTV.com - Currently down for maintenance

A note from RealCatholicTV.com says:
RealCatholicTV.com (the website, not the organization) is currently experiencing technical difficulties (caused, it must be said, by the popularity of the website) and is currently "down". We are working dilligently to get it back up and running as quickly as we can.

Until then, you will have to get your fix of Micheal Voris on the RCTV youtube channel.

Fr. Corapi on Islam

Related to my last post I would like to post some videos of Fr. Corapi's discussion of Islam. I have only embedded the first part, but all six parts can be found here queued up. I do not subscribe to everything the Fr. Corapi says in the ~60 minutes of video but some interesting points are made.

Today is September 11th

Nine years ago most of us were coming to the realization of the events taking place in our country. It has been determined that 19 men hijacked 4 jets and used them as weapons to cause the death of about 3,000 others.

In recent news we have heard quite a bit about the plans and protests surrounding the building of a mosque/Islamic cultural center/Córdoba/rabat near ground zero. The NY Post's recent article places forth some discussion that this building has more sinister purposes than a Islamic gathering place. I found some interesting discussion about the NY Post article at WDTPRS.

We have also heard of the on again off again decision to burn Qurans in protest of the plans to build the Muslim building.... not to mention the protests against the Quran burning.

Remember to pray for the souls who died today 9 years ago.

Other links of interest:
1) The elephant in the mosque
2) Journalistic Malpractice: Time Magazine’s Bobby Ghosh and CNN’s Ali Velshi on “Cordovan Ecumenism” in Muslim Spain
3) Pastor's Page - Fr. George Welzbacher - August 29, 2010
4) Questions raised by Nostra aetate about the Christian God and Muslim Allah
5) To remember or forget?
6) How are they down, how have they fallen down

2010-09-10

Flower of Carmel

Flos Carmeli,
Vitis florigera,
Splendor coeli,
Virgo puerpera,
Singularis.
Mater mitis,
Sed virinescia,
Carmelitis esto propitia
Stella Maris. (Alleluia.)

In English...

Flower of Carmel
Flowering vine,
Splendor of Heaven,
Child-bearing Virgin
Singular.
Gentle Mother,
But unknown to man,
To the Carmelites
Be favorable,
Star of the sea.

Is it getting warm in here, or is that just eugenics?

A couple weeks ago Real Catholic TV - Catholic Investigative Agency produced their 4th episode titled "Global Warming Unmasked : The Hidden Agenda."

Are the environmental movements and groups simply devoted to laudable, correct stewardship of God's creation, or do they have a more sinister, hidden agenda? Is "global warming" being used as an excuse for something far darker? Is the final goal of the liberal elites behind the push of junk science population control, eugenics and Gaia worship?

RCTV also provides a plethora of links to go along with the 90min video.

Here is the promo video:

Tungsten, bad mortgages or carbon credits: which is the best scam?

As Anon just reported, the Bangladesh Bank just acquired 10 metric tons of gold. Or did they?

There are reports on the web that some very sophisticated counterfeiters have constructed thousands of gold-plated tungsten bars which look, weigh, and measure the same as an ordinary 400 oz gold bullion bars. In other words, the unscrupulous and proficient counterfeiter could convert $270 of tungsten and a few ounces of gold into a bar which cannot be easily distinguished from the approximately $480,000 real thing.

But that's actually a lot of work to only make a few billion. What would be better is if you could make tens or hundreds of billions of dollars like Goldman Sachs and Magnatar did when they (1) created super-risky collateralized debt obligations (CDO) from sub-prime mortgages and then (2) bought credit default swaps which paid out many times their portion of the CDO when the CDO defaulted. How slick is that? No precision manufacturing of physical products or inventory management to worry about!

But who has time to scrap over a few billion when there are trillions to be made selling air? Imagine how much money you could make if (1) you could simply make "credits" from nothing, (2) sell them to people for the right to create/emit carbon dioxide, and then (3) charge an overhead fee when people sell those excess credits to one another? That's exactly what will happen when the "cap and trade" bill passes. And of course, none other than Goldman Sachs is there to reap the profits...

I think the gold-plated tungsten peddlers have the most honest business going of the three.

10 Metric Tons to the Bangladesh Bank

The IMF sold 10 metric tons of gold to the Bangladesh Bank on September 9th. Total sold to date is around 222 metric tons of the total 403.3 metric tons that the IMF is attempting to dump what they probably don't have on the economy raise money to help "boost the Fund's capacity to provide concessional loans to low income countries."

Side note... a 10 metric ton solid gold cube would have dimension of about 2'-8" on all sides.

Parts of the Liturgy are just pious claptrap?!

Claptrap - Noun: Absurd or nonsensical talk or ideas.

Words like "claptrap" in the same sentence with "Liturgy" set off my quizzical brow (aka "The Darcy") almost immediately.

In recent months lots of talk and commotion has taken place in regards to the New "Corrected" Liturgical Translation. There has been talk of how extra words are added that do not come from Sacred Scripture.

The following related web logs address this well: "Precious chalice or cup?" and "The Savior's chalice is forever precious and His hands are ever sacred"

Words that Matter

I am by no means a master of the English language. (A bit of the opposite actually.) However, I have noticed on numerous occasion how my improper word usage can put a halt to what would have been fluid communication.

Word usage is so important in the Sacraments that they can effect whether or not the Sacrament is "valid and licit."

During the Consecration the form is "This is my Body... This is my Blood..." changing that to what may seem like an equivalent meaning "This is my flowing life force..." can most certainly lead to an illicit if not an invalid Sacrament.

This must also be taken into account when dealing with translations. Often times translating from one language to another, there is not an equivalent word. Great insight is necessary to preserve meaning and usage of that which is being translated.

2010-09-09

Too Bad Tom Brady Wasn't Hurt in That Car Accident

Let me be clear: I don't hate Tom Brady or wish ill to him per se. But his physical injury would have done more to motivate Bostonians to care about illegal immigration than everything right-wing radio talkers have been able to achieve in the last decade.

Let me summarize: Tom Brady, a sports stud and hero to Bostonians, was involved in a two-car accident this morning in Boston (full story here). The driver at fault in the accident had had his driver's license suspended five times. That driver's name is Ludgero Rodrigues.

Now I don't have proof that Ludgero is in this country illegally, but most real American's cannot keep driving after five suspensions of their license. And there have been many cases where illegals have been in vehicular accidents and gotten off without a citation (even though sometimes they do).

The sad reality is that more people in Boston would have noticed and cared about illegals -- and the dangers they pose on the road -- if their precious jock quarterback would have been hurt. And if they would have noticed, they would have done something... how dare an "undocumented immigrant" threaten New England's chance at another Super Bowl trophy?

So I wish Tom would have taken one for Team USA. Maybe next time...

New authors....

I have decided to add two new authors to this web log. I look forward to reading their posts and insight on various subjects.

Attack on Protesters

This is what abortion protesters in Vienna have to put up with:

2010-09-08

The Economic Boycott

A couple good articles on "The Economic Boycott: Is It Moral? Does It Work?" and "History Of The Economic Boycott." The common misconceptions listed under the first article was particularly interesting:

The boycott will make no difference.

LDI has documented over 231 corporations that have pledged to no longer support Planned Parenthood. To understand how corporations might see the results of a boycott, look at the economic effects on a larger scale. Suppose just 250,000 boycotters vowed to spend their money elsewhere and they redirected a small figure of $15 per week. That would amount to $3.75 million per week or $195 million a year. That amount is enough to stand any business executive's hair on end and change philanthropic policy.

Boycotts punish the innocent employees of a targeted corporation.

LDI does not suggest that people cease working for boycott targets unless their job directly influences corporate profits (cashier at a supermarket versus insurance salesman). Those who remain employed by a boycott target are encouraged to work from the inside to change the philanthropic policy. In many cases, corporations that stopped funding Planned Parenthood did so due to pressure from inside as well as outside the company. The goal is not to punish the employees but to change corporate behavior. If the friendly Christian door-to-door salesman wants you to buy a boycotted product, respectfully explain your commitment to the pro-life cause and urge the salesman to ask the parent corporation to stop funding Planned Parenthood.

The Boycott List is overwhelming. It is impossible to keep up and if everything were to be boycotted, we would go naked and hungry.

Boycotting companies on The Boycott List is not as overwhelming as it might first appear. The Boycott List comes with a handy Checkbook List. The Checkbook List is a checkbook-size version of The Boycott List and includes the names of corporations and products/services one may encounter while outside the home. Simply read over the Checkbook List and highlight those products/services you may use. Be sure to put the Checkbook List in your car, pocketbook, or checkbook so it is handy when you leave home.

No one who has been a faithful participant in the boycott has gone naked, hungry or unsheltered. In most cases there are competing products that can be bought in place of those on The Boycott List. CFP guidelines clearly indicate that one should not forgo purchase of a product for which there is serious need and no substitute. The Boycott List is not a call to extreme sacrifice. It is an opportunity to join with like-minded people to encourage the elimination of corporate funding of Planned Parenthood. We are asking you to be a good steward of the resources God has given you.

Boycotting is a strong-armed, political tactic that is tantamount to extortion.

It might be that some understand "boycotting" as meaning something other than it actually does. You might be more comfortable with the term "economic non-cooperation" or "smart shopping." You will shop, support, or buy from companies based on a set of consistent guidelines and principles. That is your right as a consumer and is neither political nor strong-armed.

The LDI boycott is not extortion because neither you nor the organization calling for the boycott has anything to gain financially. On the other hand, pro-abortion groups sometimes threaten corporations with a boycott if they end funding. Such a boycott does constitute extortion (morally, if not legally) because they are demanding monetary gain.

What harm is really being done?

Besides the actual destruction of preborn children through abortion, the anti-Christian and immoral teachings by Planned Parenthood have a devastating impact on young men and women. (For example, one common educational tactic of Planned Parenthood is "desensitizing." The goal is to break down inhibitions about sex so indoctrination can occur more readily accepted. In reality this tactic desensitizes the conscience and reduces the sanctity of the sexual relationship, while actually arousing interest in the topic.) It is important to remember that, in the eyes of God, abortion is murder.

Live updating Google search

Google Instant is a new search enhancement that shows results as you type. It may not be available to everyone at the moment. http://www.google.com/instant/

I was curious what might happen in the event that you typed a word such as "assume" where the beginning of a word or phrase may bring up unintended search results. Google provides a safe search experience, and seems to assume that you are not done typing the word or phrase. In the event that you decided to search for something like "Equus Africanus Asinus" and used the shortened term "ass" google requires you to hit "enter key" before results are posted. Having google's Safe Search filtering turned on is still good practice.

BP's report on Gulf spill says "Not our fault!"

Today British Petroleum released their report on "Causes of Gulf of Mexico Tragedy"

Commenting on the report, which he commissioned immediately after the Macondo explosion, BP’s outgoing chief executive Tony Hayward said: “The investigation report provides critical new information on the causes of this terrible accident. It is evident that a series of complex events, rather than a single mistake or failure, led to the tragedy. Multiple parties, including BP, Halliburton and Transocean, were involved.

Other links of interest:
NPR - BP Report Blames Multiple Companies For Gulf Spill
The Oil Drum

Lead is a poisonous substance...

To quote wikipedia:

Lead is a poisonous substance to animals. It damages the nervous system and causes brain disorders. Excessive lead also causes blood disorders in mammals. Like the element mercury, another heavy metal, lead is a potent neurotoxin that accumulates both in soft tissues and the bones. Lead poisoning has been documented from ancient Rome, ancient Greece, and ancient China.

...Very chilling. (not really) A little known fact... lead by itself (or alloyed with antimony and/or tin) combined with common propellants can be used as an efficient and economical 'substance' to incapacitate animals from a distance. This combination (known to some as 'hot lead', 'ammo' and 'shot') can also be used for recreation and self defense. Other non-lead containing alloys can also be used for the same effect, but those alloys have been limited for use by laws and regulations.

It seems that the EPA is very concerned about lead and how it acts as a poisonous substance... so much so that they want to ban its use as ammunition. The alternatives to lead based ammo are very expensive, and in many cases illegal to use.

Take a look and Vin Suprynowicz's article for more information: Birdshot petition gets taken for a ride

(Thanks goes to C.Anon for forwarding this article to my attention)

Thoughts on Tolerance

I have never met Msgr Charles Pope, but his article on tolerance is very interesting. Please read it for yourself, but I have provided a few quotes with emphasis added.

Toleration — from the Latin tolerare: to put up with, countenance or suffer — generally refers to the conditional acceptance of or non-interference with beliefs, actions or practices that one considers to be wrong but still "tolerable," such that they should not be prohibited or constrained... [I]t is essential for the concept of toleration that the tolerated beliefs or practices are considered to be objectionable and in an important sense wrong or bad. If this objection component (cf. King 1976, 44-54) is missing, we do not speak of "toleration" but of "indifference" or "affirmation."

In effect tolerance involves putting up with something we consider wrong or displeasing but not so wrong that we must move to constrain it. Tolerance does NOT mean we approve of something as good. This essential point is often glossed over by those who often demand that tolerance mean approval, and that to disapprove of something makes one “intolerant.”

Msgr goes on in the article to discuss how tolerance is essential in our imperfect world but that it must have limitations.

[T]here are limits to tolerance. There are just some things in human relationships that are "deal breakers." There are things that cannot be tolerated. For example serious and persistent lies breach the trust necessary for relationships and such behavior is not tolerated reasonably. Behavior that endangers one or both parties (either physically or spiritually) ought not be tolerated and often makes it necessary to end relationships or establish firm boundaries. ... We do not permit people to drive on sidewalks, run red lights or drive in the left lane of a two way street. Neither do we permit breaking and entering or the violation of legitimate property rights.

Our culture has a tendency to misunderstand what it mean to be tolerant. Often times those who call a "wrong" what it is are labeled incorrectly as intolerant. The article also discusses the ever changing views of where the limits of tolerance stands. The article gives some examples related to the topic of abortion and homosexuality.

The article is concluded with an interesting point on "ownership" of tolerance.

Opponents of traditional Christians often claim the high ground of tolerance for themselves. But the paradoxical result of this is a holier-than-thou attitude and an increasing intolerance of Christian faith by the self-claimed tolerant ones. Legal restrictions of the proclamation of the Christian faith in the public square are increasing. Financial exclusion of Catholic Charities from Government money used in serving the poor are becoming more common as well. In other parts of the world where free speech is less enshrined, Catholic priests and bishops are being sued and even arrested for "hate speech" because they preach traditional biblical morality. None of this sounds very tolerant. Our opponents need not approve of our beliefs but they ought to exhibit greater tolerance of us, the same tolerance they ask of us.

Now my only point of contention with the article is the last underlined statement "...the same tolerance they ask of us." The "they" can refer to many different groups in our current culture, but as this article pointed out earlier... those groups tend not to practice tolerance but instead indifference.

2010-09-07

The Cost of Abortion

This video on the costs of abortion has been around awhile now, but it is worth posting about. The video does contain some very graphic reminders of what abortion is, but decent warning is given during the video for those who should turn away.

The video also provides a number of secular arguments against abortion that are worth having on hand. I have not spent much time on the website, but it too seems to contain a plethora of information. Please see: http://thecostofabortion.com/

Opposite extreme from indifference?

On a scale where indifference is on the far end and tolerance is in the middle... what is on the other end? Fanaticism perhaps?

In any case this gentleman may not be a fanatic, but he certainly is not indifferent: Burning Qurans

Seems strange that more people do not get upset when a child on youtube spends day after day coming up with perversions to desecrate the Eucharist.

New 'Corrected' Translation

I think semantics are more important than what most people realize. Often during a conversation where a disagreement is taking place, one party will intend to deflate the others argument by essentially saying 'That concept is not important because it is only about word usage.' It is true that on many occasions semantics can get in the way of having a meaningful conversation. It should be noted however that semantics can also be used to completely change the way we think and react to the subject being discussed.

The following web log highlights an interesting point in regards to the New Translation: A Semantic Proposition

I think it is worthwhile to think about how semantics effect the Liturgy of the Mass.

Google Particles

Seems today that http://www.google.com/ has updated is logo to be interactive with the mouse. (If you use iGoogle, you may have to switch to "Classic Home" to see the bouncing logo.) Shaking the browser also produces the effect. I am sure that this is only temporary, so I plan to add a permanent link when one is available.

Being Human

This sequence of pictures is a nice reminder of how spectacular the beginning of life is. I only wish the time periods were shown along with the pictures. More pictures taken by that particular photographer can be seen here: http://www.lennartnilsson.com/child_is_born.html

Fit of Pique

If someone reacts badly because their pride is hurt, this is a fit of pique.

I don't know the truth behind this story, (or this story) but I suspect that "fit of pique" accurately describes the response from the boys involved here.

In any case... as I read on another web log about this article "He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him takes care to chastise him."

2010-09-04

Every Catholic Must Oppose Certain Things

This is getting to be old news now, but I noted today that the Father Michael Rodriguez's letter has now been removed from the "El Paso Times" (See: El Paso Times ) I wanted to post a copy of the letter here for record in case someone else decides to search for it. After the letter, I include a link to a video where Fr. Rodriguez is interviewed about the letter he submitted to the "El Paso Times".

Rev. Michael Rodriguez: Every Catholic must oppose certain things

By the Rev. Michael Rodriguez Guest columnist
Posted: 08/01/2010 12:00:00 AM MDT

I sincerely hope and pray that all El Paso Catholics will take to heart the precious and infallible teachings of Holy Mother Church in the moral sphere, particularly those most relevant to our city at this critical juncture.

Remember: Every single Catholic, out of fidelity to charity and truth, has the absolute duty to oppose (1) the murder of unborn babies, and (2) any and all government attempts to legalize homosexual unions.

Any Catholic who supports homosexual acts is, by definition, committing a mortal sin, and placing himself/herself outside of communion with the Roman Catholic Church.

Furthermore, a Catholic would be guilty of a most grievous sin of omission if he/she neglected to actively oppose the homosexual agenda, which thrives on deception and conceals its wicked horns under the guises of "equal rights," "tolerance," "who am I to judge?," etc.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops published a pastoral letter on marriage in November 2009, which is endorsed by our own local bishop, his Excellency, Most Rev. Armando X. Ochoa.

This pastoral letter states the following:

"Among the many blessings that God has showered upon us in Christ is the blessing of marriage, a gift bestowed by the Creator from the creation of the human race.

"The Church has taught throughout the ages that marriage is an exclusive relationship between one man and one woman.
"One of the most troubling developments in contemporary culture is the proposition that persons of the same sex can 'marry.' This proposal attempts to redefine the nature of marriage and the family and, as a result, harms both the intrinsic dignity of every human person and the common good of society.

"It is not unjust to oppose legal recognition of same-sex unions, because marriage and same-sex unions are essentially different realities. The denial of the social and legal status of marriage to forms of cohabitation that are not and cannot be marital is not opposed to justice; on the contrary, justice requires it."

I urge all of the Catholic faithful to treat homosexuals with love, understanding, and respect. At the same time, never forget that genuine love demands that we seek, above all, the salvation of souls. Homosexual acts lead to the damnation of souls.

Recently, a couple of letter writers claimed that in a democracy, it's up to the majority to decide between right and wrong. This form of reasoning is not only false, it's ludicrous!

While it's true that a majority of the citizens in a democracy has the political power to impose its "morality" on society, this juridical reality has no bearing whatsoever on the intrinsic moral value of actions.

That which makes something right or wrong is the objective moral order established by God, which can also be grasped and appreciated through the use of human reason. In philosophy, this is known as natural law.

Even the ancient Greeks had a basic respect for the principles of natural law.

To simplify: One would have to be ghastly morally decrepit to think that if 51 percent of Americans opine that rape is OK, then rape becomes, in effect, all right. Sure, the majority is politically capable of such a vote, but this could never make rape morally right.

Abortion and homosexual acts are unequivocally intrinsic moral evils. And friends, this objective truth doesn't depend on the opinion of the majority. Frighteningly, if the majority chooses to deny the objective moral order, then we will all suffer the pestiferous consequences.

Fr. Michael Rodríguez is the parish priest at San Juan Bautista Catholic Church.

Here is the link for the video of Fr. Rodriguez