Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Lent: Catechumens, Candidates, and joy in the desert

Fast times a'comin'!

I love Lent. This God-given season does my soul good, as long as I let it.

There are so many blessings to enjoy in this season, but let me share one of my favorites: praying for — and with! — the catechumens and candidates as they come down the home stretch, so to speak, to the goal of complete Communion.

The trouble with being a "cradle-Catholic"...

...for me, anyway, has often been taking for granted the glories offered by the True Church. In my wacky mindset, Lent generally shook me up.

Lent was a "sad" time. Gee. No "Gloria." No "Alleluia" verses. And, depending on where my life was, at the time, "giving up" of things: candy, TV, trash novels, whatever.

One day I met a catechumen — and everything changed.

Lent became a time of joyful preparation!

And not just for my friends' baptism, or anticipating my Protestant friends' coming into full Communion with the Church. It became a time for my own renewal...a time to contemplate just what it means to be Baptized in Christ...to die with Christ in order to, please God, share in the glories of His Resurrection.

The Rite of Election...

...generally coinciding with the First Sunday of Lent, is an amazing celebration. In the presence, usually, of the bishop, those who will become Roman Catholics affirm their intention of joining the Church, inscribing their names in the "Book of the Elect" as a pledge of their fidelity. It's an almost overpowering ceremony and I never, if possible, miss it.

And so I ask you, as we enter into Lent...

...to enter into the desert with those who will, come Easter, become what God our Father wants all of His children to be: joyful brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, ready to follow Him wherever He leads us. To be reborn in Christ, filled with the grace to endure anything and everything the world throws at us, for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven.

To you who are intensely preparing for full Communion:

Know that I'm cheering you on, praying as hard as I can, and am completely confident that you will make it to victory. How can you miss with Christ at your side?

And please accept my humble and loving gratitude...you are as needed as you are welcomed.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Life before BIRTH (was "Life before conception")


Everything I wrote yesterday in the post directly beneath this one is completely accurate...

...except the stuff I got wrong.

Alarmed at impending heresy charges, I skedaddled back to the chapel from whence the Italian priest's words were heard, anxious to save my sorry skin from the rack or worse.

(Okay, okay, I was on my way out to Mass anyway.)

After Mass, I got to talk to the priest. Guess what?

I got the quote wrong. (Mama Mia!)

From what I can remember (and no, I wasn't going to make a further fool out of myself by writing down what the priest said this time but I think I've got it right...it was only about a half an hour ago), Padre was referring to the baby's dreaming about the angel friends he remembered from the womb...not when he was in Heaven.

So that "rather wonderful something" I heard yesterday? I didn't hear it right, after all.

Which is odd, since I'm usually such a good eavesdropper!

Still, it's pretty cool, I think...the notion that unborn babies can sense the angels watching over them, being their friends.

Thanks to Catholic Mom, Barb, and JenB for their kindness in the comment boxes below.

In this case, the good Padre wasn't wrong...the lady in the pew was.

It happens. (I hate when it does, but it does happen.)

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Life before conception

Right on the heels of posting a link to Melanie Bettinelli's Pregnancy Reflection, I heard something rather wonderful after Mass this morning at a wonderful chapel I love to frequent.

An young-although-elderly Italian priest was speaking to a young couple. A baby was sleeping in his mother's arms.

(I, cheapskate that I am, was waiting to get my parking validated.)

The priest said something like:

"I wonder...is he dreaming of his angel friends?"

The parents — and I — looked at him. The priest continued his theory:

"You see, it hasn't been long since he, or his soul, was in Heaven. Of course, I don't know this from books, but it is possible, no? I think your souls and my souls were in Heaven before God gave us our bodies and placed us in our mothers' wombs. Children remember...but, ah, as we grow older, we forget. I think maybe he is dreaming of his angel friends."

Makes sense to me.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

And under the heading "Catholic Identify Theft"...

Another kind of Catholic: Breakaway groups reject Vatican teachings on issues such as priestly celibacy and divorce

I guess my question is this: are Roman Catholics facilitating "identity theft?"

Paul Veliyathil, a former Roman Catholic priest who leads weekly prayer and discussion for lapsed Roman Catholics in his Coral Springs home, spent 13 years as a priest in India, Canada and the United States before breaking with Roman Catholicism over a host of issues, ranging from the prohibition on birth control to the infallibility of the pope.

''I couldn't honestly teach some of the teachings of the church,'' said Veliyathil, who started holding meetings at a Lutheran church five years ago. ``Every time you put on the collar, you are a representative of the church, and it's a very difficult cognitive dissonance.''

I guess what confuses and saddens me the most is also what tears me apart — and, presumably, people who subscribe to the above —and that is, people really want to be Catholic.

The tragedy, in my opinion, is that they want to be "Catholic" on their own terms...not on those of Christ.

Bishop Villaire, who was raised Roman Catholic in Bay City, Mich., said he felt called to the priesthood at a young age. But shortly after being ordained in 1965, he started to feel uncomfortable with church teachings condemning divorce and birth control, he said.

His father, a grocer, and his mother, a beautician, had raised him to believe ''the customer is always right,'' he said. Denying communion to divorced Catholics made him uncomfortable, he said.

See, the thing is, we're not "customers." We're sheep. And sheep — as any shepherd will tell you — need leadership, guidance, direction.

(Otherwise, God wouldn't have invented sheep dogs!)

Here's where I think Roman Catholicism might want to shoulder some responsibility...and become a part of the solution.

At a recent Mass, [sic] Villaire led the congregation in a revised version of the Mass, administering [sic] communion and offering healing through a laying on of hands. Aside from subtle differences -- no one knelt during the service, and no references were made to the pope -- Villaire conducted a traditional Catholic liturgy.

I've been to Masses like this, or darn close to it.

And again:

The Rev. Ricardo Rivera, a former Roman Catholic seminarian who was ordained as a priest in the National Catholic Church last November, said he did not realize he was joining an independent Catholic movement when he first attended Mass at an independent Catholic church in Fort Lauderdale.

''The liturgy is the same, everything is the same,'' said Rivera, who joined the National Catholic church after moving to South Florida from Puerto Rico two years ago.

Rivera now serves as a priest at Santa Barbara Catholic Church, a Spanish-speaking independent Catholic parish in Little Havana with about 400 parishioners, many from Cuba and Central America. The simple, white church is adorned with large statues of the Virgin Mary and other saints. A wall of votive candles flickers in the back corner.

''It's confusing for some people,'' Rivera said. ``Most of the people that come to the church visiting, they are under the impression that we're Roman Catholics.''


There was a time when one could walk into a Roman Catholic Church and identify it unmistakably by the Mass offered. That is evidently not true today.

I wish you'd read the whole article and tell me what you think. And, please, pray for the Church.


Pregnancy Meditation

Little babes in the womb, bless the Lord.
Praise and exult him above all forever.

Melanie Bettinelli shares a sublime reflection with us as she awaits the birth of her child...it's amazing and prayer-inspiring.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Bishop Richard G. Lennon: You bet he works here!

The trouble with Brian...and the Globe.

First, a word about Lennon: trouble. It seems like whenever anything goes awry in the archdiocese, Lennon's hand can usually be felt, whether in the removal of a popular parish priest in Newton for reasons that are dubious at best or the lockout of kids at a parochial school in Brighton for no apparent reason at all.
— Brian McGrory, Boston Globe

First two words about Bishop Richard G. Lennon: holiness and testosterone. (Okay, he can't sing...but he once organized a choir!)
— Kelly Clark, nobody lady in the pew

You can read the tripe that the Boston Globe published on Friday, February 24...and let your heart strings get tugged. You can read, with a bit more clarity, Dom's take on the latest attempt to demonize Bishop Lennon.

You can also read what I've got to say. I'll be brief.

Bishop Richard G. Lennon is a servant of God.

On Friday, December 13, 2002, Bernard Cardinal Law left the Archdiocese. Some downed champagne. Others cried. Two men came to grips.

John Paul II and the newly ordained bishop, Richard G. Lennon.

On Sunday, December 15, 2002, Archbishop Richard G. Lennon took over a bleeding diocese...and the tourniquet he strongly, lovingly, and manfully applied worked.

The Apostolic Administrator (what a title!) did his job ably and well.

And he's still a shepherd, waiting in the wings, ready to fight for the right of every bleeping sheep here to claim and cultivate holiness.

I said I'd be brief, and I will be. There's no need for me to enumerate the Bishop's unselfish gifts to this Archdiocese (although there's nothing to stop you from doing so.)

Thank God for giving us Bishop Richard G. Lennon.

We needed him then.

We need him now.

You know why? Because, dammit, he works here!

Test (you don't have to read this)

I tried to upload an edited version of an earlier post, only to get the message that the "blog was not found." Wonder if this new post will make it.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Duped! By kids! In sneakers! (Sheesh!)

Okay, I'll admit it. I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer and, yes, I probably have been remiss and then some in Following Fads. But still!

Here's the thing. I tromp around alot in the city.

So sneakers are important to me. Walking is important to me. When I walk — and I tend to walk so fast that even the most casual stroll with a companion turns into an argument...

: Would you slow the bleep down???
: (oblivious) So anyway, as I was saying...hey, where'd ya go? ...and so I tend to walk alone.

But I like watching other walkers.

Especially kids. And for the past year now, I've been mesmerized by kids, tiny kids, middle- sized kids, even big kids, doing something remarkable as they walk.


Yes! I've seen them, I've complimented them, I've tried to emulate them. Yes, I've tried to push my toe (right toe, left toe, it doesn't matter) in the way they do, attempting in vain to achieve that absolutely magnificent glide these young walkers — and at such a young age! — have mastered.

To no avail.

No matter how hard I tried (and believe me, I've even tried the maneuver in my own room) I've failed abysmally. And even though I attempted to brush off my failure with a casual "who gives a bleep"...still, it hurt.

I swallowed my pride, time and time again.

Everytime I saw some kid doing his or her masterful glide on sneakers, I'd watch first...furtively, naturally. (After all, I'm An Adult and Therefore Above Such Antics.)
Ultimately, though, I'd succumb.

"How do you
do that???"

My reward for asking varied.

"It's not hard."
"You just need to practice."

"My mom taught me."


"I think the shoes have something to do with it...they gotta be the right shoes."

The right shoes? Me, a connoisseur of walking sneakers? Like I'm not the queen of discernment among the Nike, Reebok, and Adidas lines? Hogwash.

I started to practice on my very large tiled floored kitchen.

And got pretty good at it, if I do say so myself. But...alas...whenever I took my hard-won skills to the pavement? Well, but for the grace of God I didn't end up in the emergency room with a broken leg.
I gave it up. Grudgingly.

Until today.

Today, while walking — briskly and gracefully, thank-you-very-much — three little girls zoomed past me...
gliding! I tried, honest I did, to ignore them, but then they started to swirl — actually swirl — around me! It was too much. Noticing they were accompanied by what seemed to be their parents, I swallowed what was left of my pride and appealed to them.

"Excuse me, please...but how do they do that?"

Fully expecting to be either rebuffed or mocked, or perhaps (worse) politely ignored, I got, instead, a surprise. The mom and dad smiled. And beckoned one of the little girls over to say hello to me.

: "Hi."
: "Hiya."
She: "How are you?" (Polite little minx!)
Me: "Fine, although can I ask you something?"
: (please keep in mind this girl was about 6) "Sure!"
: "How do you glide like that?"
: "Really good."
: (checking exasperation admirably) "Yes, I know...but how? I mean, what's the trick?"
She: (giggling) "Oh! My shoes!"

I'd heard that one before but I never quite got it.

This time, I got it.

The little girl patiently took off one shoe and handed it to me.
The shoe had a wheel on the heel. Sheesh. Okay. For my birthday, I'm asking for Roller Sneakers.

(And for the grace to 'fess up when anybody — if there's anybody in the world left who doesn't know about these sneakers — asks me how I glide!)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Chair of Saint Peter (and another giggle from the Curt Jester)

A great feast today...and how apt to announce the new Cardinal delegates, but even more important, to keep the Holy Father and his intentions in our daily prayers.

From Vatican I:

"(Canon) Therefore, if anyone says that it is not according to the
institution of Christ our Lord himself, that is, by divine law, that St
Peter has perpetual successors in the primacy over the whole Church;
or if anyone says that the Roman Pontiff is not the successor of St
Peter in the same primacy: let him be condemned.


"We think it extremely necessary to assert solemnly the prerogative
which the only-begotten Son of God deigned to join to the highest
pastoral office. "And so, faithfully keeping to the tradition received
from the beginning of the Christian faith, for the glory of God our
Savior, for the exaltation of the Catholic religion, and for the
salvation of Christian peoples, We, with the approval of the sacred
council, teach and define that it is a divinely revealed dogma: that
the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks "ex cathedra", that is, when, acting
in the office of shepherd and teacher of all Christians, he defines, by
virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, doctrine concerning faith or
morals to be held by the universal Church, possesses through the divine
assistance promised to him in the person of St. Peter, the
infallibility with which the divine Redeemer willed His Church to be
endowed in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals; and that such
definitions of the Roman Pontiff are therefore irreformable because of
their nature, but not because of the agreement of the Church.

"(Canon) But if anyone presumes to contradict this our definition (God
forbid him to do so): let him be condemned"

Allow me to echo the "God forbid" part!

And now (to quote Rocky, the Flying Squirrel), here's something you' ll really like!

Archbishop O'Malley, Cardinal-Designate

Quodcumque dixerit facite.

When +Sean Patrick O'Malley, O.F.M./Cap., became Archbishop of Boston, he chose these beautiful words of Our Lady as his motto.

Please pray that these words — the last words of Mary in the Gospel — remain the guiding force, not only of the Pastor of this Archdiocese, but of his flock.

Thank you for your prayers...I pray for you all the time!

Information about the Cardinal-designate can be found here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Is this a "tricky pro-life issue?"

From Lifesite:

Michelle McCusker was hired to teach pre-kindergartners at the St. Rose of Lima School in Queens. She loved her job and was hired on a teaching contract set to last for one year.

However, a month after school began, McCusker told school officials she was pregnant but would keep the baby rather than have an abortion. She was fired.

This reads as if Miss McCusker was fired because she wouldn't have an abortion. But is this the case?

McCusker has filed an employment discrimination lawsuit against the school, which is run by the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn. But the school defends its decision.

"The school requires its teachers to convey the faith, to convey the gospel values and Christian traditions of the Catholic faith," Frank DeRosa, a spokesman for the Diocese of Brooklyn, told ABC News.

Feminists for Life steps in:

Serrin Foster, president of Feminists for Life, says the firing sends the message to women and employees that they should have abortions if they become pregnant.

"When an employer fires a woman for carrying a child to term, they send an unintended message: An abortion will cover up the sex," she says.

"How would the employer feel if they later learned that their actions contributed to pressuring Ms. McCusker into having an abortion," she asked.

"The compassionate response to a woman who is carrying a child should be to ask if she needs help," Foster explained. She added that firing a pregnant woman is to "cause a crisis for her by taking her career, her income, and the obstetric/prenatal care that is critical to the health and well being of both mother and unborn child."

What's the answer? Abortion is — and this should go without saying — is not an option.

My prayers are certainly with Miss McCusker, her child, and the Diocese of Brooklyn, and I know you're joining in these prayers.

Here's the question: is the Diocese of Brooklyn wrong in its stance?

I'm asking you because I really don't know.

Here's the whole article.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Great new Catholic blog resource!

In a hurry but want to check on any particular issue from a Catholic blogger's perspective? Check out "CatholicBlogs.com."

Thanks to Dom for the tip.

Parishioners say "no thanks" to VOTF

Earlier this month, VOTF sent out a frantic call to action; i.e., to disrupt a Sunday Mass at Saint Joseph's Parish in Mendham, NJ, on the grounds that the parish's new pastor was "not in keeping with a parish formed in Vatican II spirituality."

At first the protest was scheduled for February 12; hours later it was rescheduled for February 26.

Now, it's un-scheduled...at the parishioners' request.

From an e-mail forwarded to me today:

The call to join St. Joseph parishioners in Mendham on February 26th for the celebration of the liturgy, and a potential demonstration, in conjunction with the bishop’s visit, has been called off. The decision to do so was made last week by St. Joseph parishioners.

VOTF issued an Action Alert on February 8th in support of St. Joseph parishioners. The plan was to join them in the celebration of the 10:30 AM liturgy, and if the issue of parish finances arose, to leave the pews and proceed outside to demonstrate with them in support of the concerns they have attempted to address with their pastor, and subsequently with the bishop.

Some sleight o' hand going on here.

The initial letter made it clear that this protest was initiated by ex-parishioners, not "parishioners." This, of course, might be a bit of face-saving on VOTF's part, but that doesn't make it true. In fact, it makes it false.

Still, they try.

VOTF initiated the Action Alert at the invitation of St. Joseph parishioners, as a support to their objectives, and as an activity consistent with VOTF’s goals. Due to their current assessment of their situation, we have recalled it. VOTF does not wish to force any action on anyone or to interfere with any parish and its self-definition.

No, "the invitation" came from ex-parishioners. And the irony of the claim that the organization "does not wish to...interfere with any parish" is priceless. It's my guess that the rebuff has set VOTF noses painfully out of joint.

One final bit o' bluster:

Canon 212 recognizes the duty of the faithful “to manifest to their sacred pastors their opinions on matters which pertain to the good of the Church.” To the bishops, Lumen Gentium 27 warns: “Let him not refuse to listen to his subjects.” (Come to think of it “subjects” does sound a bit dated. Perhaps it is time for the laity to call another council.)

Perhaps it's time for VOTF to face the music and dance...right off the floor and out of the picture.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

And don't tell me Jesus was a "nice guy," sheesh

If you're like me...then quick, for Heaven's sake, light a candle and pray!!!!!

Ahem. Sorry. Reflex reaction.

Anyway, if you've had the same experiences that I've had, then you've heard non-Christians — atheists, agnostics, wiccans (whatever they are), nation of Islam folk (I never know whether "Muslim" or "Moslem" is P.C. so I use that phrase), and Jews, tell you, in one form or another:

"Jesus of Nazareth was an important figure in history. He did much good. He is to be admired as a proponent of peace and justice. He was a nice guy."

They generally fall short of suggesting a stamp be issued in Jesus' name, but you can tell they're itching to do so.

Such remarks are balderdash. Tomorrow's Gospel (Mark 2:1-12) proves their folly.

"Child, your sins are forgiven."

That's what he said, folks. "Your sins are forgiven."

Now you know and I know that only God can forgive sins. (So did the scribes in the Gospel reading. So — if you're an honest and learned atheist — know this, if only in theory.)

So. Given this, Jesus was:

1.) Stark raving mad, or...
2.) A blasphemer and/or a first-class con artist, or...
3.) God

Forget the miracles that preceded or followed His self-proclaimed ability to forgive sins. Just concentrate on what He said. "Your sins are forgiven."

So please. Either Jesus was a nut, a jerk, a creep, a liar...or was and is and always will be God.

If, as a man on earth, he happened to do "nice" things...that's nice.

But hardly the point.

Millions more Catholics...I think...

Okay all you math expert: step up to the plate, here!

What does this mean? I can't make it add up.

'Course I struggle to add 2 + 2, so that's no surprise.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Questions about Purgatory, life after death

A reader writes:

I just read from your website and was wondering if I
could ask you about purgatory?

Where does the Bible discuss purgatory? Jesus speaks
more about hell than heaven and I don't remember if
purgatory is mentioned?

PS-Would you say you know for certain where you are
going when you die? Is there a way to know? If so,
where do you believe you're going and why?

My response:

Thank you for your note.

The word "purgatory" is not mentioned in the Bible.

Nor are the words "Trinity" and "incarnation" and "Bible."

But the notion of "purification" after life on earth certainly does appear in Sacred Scripture. Jesus speaks of sins to be forgiven "in the life to come." (Matthew 12:23)

Saint Paul writes of those saved in the next life "through fire." (1:Corinthians 3:15)

In 2 Maccabees 12:44-46, Scripture explicitly tells us to "pray for the dead." If there was only Heaven and Hell, what would be the point of praying for the dead?

As to your second question:

No, I do not know for certain where my soul — which I assume is what you mean — will be upon the end of my life here on earth. Jesus has given me every chance to make that destination Heaven. But God created me with a free will, to either embrace or reject Him. I pray I will never reject Him and will one day be with Him forever in Heaven.

I hope this is helpful. I do urge you to read an article by Mark Shea on Purgatory, which can be found here:

Purgatory? Where Is That in the Bible?

If anybody wants to add, correct, question, or otherwise clarify, feel free to jump in. Thanks!

Mass bishops opt to give Catholic teaching a try

Vatican teaching states that adopting children to homosexual couples is "gravely immoral."

How unambigious is that? I get it. Do you get it?

Well, after the four Massachusetts bishops spent three months of studying the "theological and practical impact" of adhering to Church teaching, it looks like they get it, too.

Now all they have to do is convince the state. And a bunch of lay people who evidently call the shots.

This decision to seek an exemption from state anti-discrimination rules pits the bishops against the 42-member board of Catholic Charities of Boston, which is made up of some of Boston's most prominent lay Catholics. The board voted unanimously in December in support of continuing to allow gay couples to adopt children.

Prominent Catholic[TM] Peter Meade is in a predictable snit.

''This is an unnecessary, unmitigated disaster for children, Catholic Charities, and the Archdiocese of Boston," said Peter Meade, who remains a board member.

Let the legal games begin.

Reportedly, the bishops have hired the Boston law firm Ropes & Gray to help them figure out what to do. (Ropes & Gray does not come cheap.)

The Massachusetts Catholic Conference weighs in...if anybody can translate it.

In a prepared statement yesterday, he [Ed Saunders, director] said that while the bishops want to maintain the ''good work" that Catholic Charities does in the area of adoption, they must also deal with ''substantial first amendment issues that arise from any government regulations which force Catholic social service agencies to provide services that conflict with church doctrine."

Call me simple-minded — (hey, that's just a saying!) — but the solution seems simple to me. In fact, I don't even see a problem.

Vatican teaching states that adopting children to homosexual couples is "gravely immoral."

We're not supposed to do "gravely immoral" things.

So what's the problem?

Source: The Boston Globe

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

O, Canada! (Sheesh!)

From LifeSite:

Canada's Largest Catholic Paper Lauds Gay Propoganda Film

To be fair, please read, if you have the chance, both Michael Swan's (rather gushing) review as well as that of John Bentley Mays (both links are at the end of the LifeSite article.) I'm wondering if LifeSite is being a tad rough on Mays.

Then we have:

Canadian Bishops' Twelfth-Grade Moral Textbook "Fails Dismally" to Present Moral Teaching

Dr. [John] Shea, retired doctor and medical consultant for the pro-life group Campaign Life Coalition, reviewed the book In Search of the Good: A Catholic Understanding of Moral Living, written and produced by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), for the February 2006 issue of Catholic Insight.

“I cannot and would not recommend this book for Grade Twelve students,” Dr. Shea writes. “A significant flaw in this work is its failure adequately to present the moral teaching of the Church (his emphasis) to its intended readers…In particular it is deficient in its instruction about chastity and sexual morality, areas which are so important in this hedonistic age.”

Dr. Shea raises a series of questions about the authors’ use of vague and confusing language in reference to the Church’s moral authority, such as “a church in dialogue” and the Church as a “community of moral deliberation.” He suggests that for a Catholic text, authored by the CCCB, the book presents an alarmingly relativistic approach to moral understanding and the exercise of conscience.

Again, a link for the review is provided at the end of the LifeSite article. On this one, I'd definitely recommend reading the complete review.

(And lest any of my friends in the Northern country think this a "misery loves company" post...au contraire mon frere! This stuff happened to come to me from an orthodox Catholic list moderator...who happens to be a Canadian.)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

"Plan B": apparently Wal-Mart has no choice

BOSTON, Feb 14 (Reuters) - A Massachusetts regulatory board voted on Tuesday to require Wal-Mart stores to stock morning-after contraceptives, two weeks after three women in the state sued Wal-Mart for refusing to fill orders for the pills.

When, I wonder, did certain "boards" get the power to tell businesses what they must offer for sale?

I'm a co-owner of an advertising/design studio. Were a potential client to ask us to create an advertising campaign, for, oh let's say for the sake of argument, a local abortion clinic, we would decline. For two reasons. One, it would be morally repugnant. And two, it would be bad for business.

Could some "board of registration in advertising" make us do it? Not yet, seeing that such a board doesn't exist. Yet.

Why should Wal-Mart of any retailer stock something it would prefer not to?

The company has stated repeatedly that there's no real demand for what some health professionals call an abortifacient. But that's not a good enough reason, evidently, for the folks who brought the suit in the first place. In fact, it's, from their point of view, a terrible reason.

There should be a demand, apparently!

Time after time I've seen dramatized the pathetic case of a woman raped. What can she do? Nothing, one is told, unless access to "Plan B" is readily available.

But even the drug's makers don't use that ploy.

Some snippets from the manufacturer's website:

Things do not always go as planned. You might have forgotten to take your pill, or another birth control method you used might have failed, like your condom broke. Now you have a second chance to prevent pregnancy with Plan B.

Plan B is an emergency contraceptive that can still prevent a pregnancy after contraceptive failure or unprotected sex.

Ask your healthcare professional for a prescription in advance, so that it will be there for you — in time — if you ever need it.

Does this sound like words from a knight in shining armor rescuing a maiden in distress?

Come on...this is just another way the government is pushing the "pro-choice" agenda.

It's bad business. In more ways than one.

Happy Saints Cyril & Methodius Day!

Not to make light of you romantic types, but I'm celebrating the saints remembered in today's Church calendar...and why not? They remind me of the church of my baptism!

Denver Catholics fight "unfair bias" in abuse punishment

Sad, no matter how you look at it.

From Catholic News Agency:

Denver, Feb. 13, 2006 (CNA) - In a continuing battle against what many of the state’s faithful call an unfair bias against Catholics, the Archdiocese of Denver has uncovered a previously unseen, but sordid list of sexual abuses by many of Colorado’s public school teachers.

The Archdiocese has lifted the lid on some 85 Colorado Department of Education reports of sexual impropriety among teachers since 1997. Reportedly, the state had revoked or denied teaching licenses, all for reasons involving sexual misconduct with minors. But critics charge, the punishment ended there.

From the secular press:

Facing intense lobbying pressure from the Roman Catholic Church, Democratic lawmakers said Saturday they are crafting legislation that would make it easier to sue not only churches and private entities but also public schools when adequate steps are not taken against child molesters.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Father Gregory Elder: convert, priest, husband

"I joined the priesthood because I want to serve Jesus Christ and his people, and I felt that I could more honestly do it as a Catholic."

Gregory Elder, an Episcopal priest until his conversion to Catholicism in 2003, was ordained a priest yesterday. His application for the priesthood was approved by John Paul II, days before the latter's death. Elder, however, did not learn of this until after Pope Benedict XVI had been elected.

I pray that the Reverend Gregory Elder, newly ordained Catholic priest, receives many graces from God, along with his wife and two sons.

As for whether Catholics should allow priests to marry, Elder said, "I think that discussion is more suitable to be raised among those who were raised Catholic."

For more, see Redlands Daily Facts

(Just as an aside...I love names like "Father Elder." I was treated, as a child, by an optometrist named "Ivan Doctor." What did it read on his business card?)

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Standing Head: "New England Braces for Snow. Home Depot Reports Shovel Shortage"

Okay, I'm stumped.

It's February. It's New England. A snowstorm is expected.

This is not what I'd call anywhere near, say, the miracle at Lourdes that happened nearly 150 years ago.

I mean, it's February!

And yet, people 'round these parts are acting as if "snow" is some unknown, terrifying phenomenon.

Supermarkets are wiped out. Bottled water is at a premium.

And Home Depot is out of shovels.

My question is simple: what did people do with their snow shovels after the last storm?

Or, even after last winter?

Did they throw them away? Bury them somewhere? Forget where they put them?

And so, once again, I ponder...the Mystery of the Missing Shovels.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Jesus sighed, groaned, cried, got mad

In today's Gospel, (Mark 7:31-37), Jesus sighed (or, in the NAB translation, "groaned") as he looked up to Heaven and then healed the deaf man.

I'm moved, terribly moved, and I'm not quite sure why, by passages like this. The two most poignant words in the Bible, it seems to me, are "Jesus wept."

He wept at the death of Lazarus, raged at the abusers of His Father's House, sobbed in near despair at the fear of abandonment on the Cross.

Like us, Jesus felt things. He knows how we feel. I'm not big on "feelings" but even that claim may be (may be?) falso bravado because of course I do feel things!

God knows that while groping to understand what seems impossible to comprehend, to cope with what seems impossible to handle, I groan (and cry, and get mad, too, and certainly heave many a sigh.)

God certainly does know.

Because God deigned to become like me in all ways but sin, He knows what it's like to groan, to sigh, to get mad.

"Deigned" maybe isn't the right word because it implies "condescended" which sounds (or reads) like a jet-setter deciding on a night of slumming as a lark.

Jesus sighed, groaned, cried, and got mad.

Because He loves me.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Parishes Report Extraordinary Minister Shortage

“It has gotten so bad we only have two Eucharistic ministers for every one parishioner,” said Nelda Roarke, an extraordinary minister at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Davenport, Iowa. “I can remember the days when we had more people up here with the priest than we had people in the pews,” Roarke said. “It looks like those days may be gone.”

Hey, if you've read this before, sorry...I only just did and it cracked me up. Maureen Martin rules!

Be sure and visit Maureen's blog, too.

"A Distant Thunder"

"A Distant Thunder" is a psychological thriller based on the horrific realities of partial-birth abortion.

Read a review.

And see the website, including the trailer and the conversation with the film makers.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Uh...about that priest Father Lasch...

...mentioned here?

This would be his website.

'Nuf said. Except, of course......sheeeeeshhhh! (And, sadly, why am I not surprised?)

Update on VOTF Mass disruption

From an e-mail referring to the post directly below (please read breathlessly):

"We have been informed that the new date is Sunday, February 26, 2006!

"Place: St. Joseph Parish, 6 New Street, Mendham, NJ.

Time: 10:30 AM Liturgy"

Question...why do these people seem to avoid, at all costs, the use of the word "Mass?"

VOTF, NJ plans to disrupt Mass this Sunday

Evidently some disgruntled ex-parishioners at Saint Joseph's Parish in Mendham, NJ (I'm guessing a small number) are in a snit over the new pastor.

From a VOTF e-mail forwarded to me, some background:

"Fr. Ken Lasch was pastor for 21 years and retired from there 2 years ago after trying to heal the parish and giving his parishioners a wonderful formation in Vat. II pastoral life--spiritually rich, collegial, consultative, encouraging their involvement in many ministries and the flourishing of their gifts and talents."

Upon the retirement of this paragon, the letter informs us that:

"Overnight, with no consultation with the people of the parish, he was replaced by Fr. Joseph Anginoli, You might say he is not a good fit for this community. His style of leadership is not in keeping with a parish formed in Vatican II spirituality. He began his stay there by dismissing the Advisory Board, and canceling programs (a retreat that they had planned for over a year, VOTF meeting, and other outreach programs for the poor which were a tradition there). He made it quite clear that he was the boss and people had to either accept it or leave."

Gee. A pastor who makes it clear that he's...a pastor. Horrors!

Anyway, it seems some people got ticked off over the new pastor (after all...he cancelled a VOTF meeting!) and left the parish. Hearing that Bishop Serritelli has planned to visit the parish this Sunday...

They have formed a plan, duly outlined by the VOTF lady:

"Their plan is to attend the 10:30 AM Liturgy this Sunday, Feb.12th and to stand up and leave if he talks about money. They will then proceed outside to demonstrate their objections to the situation there. They are looking to VOTF members to assist with this demonstration."

The letter, signed by Theresa Padovano, VOTF/NJ, pleads:

"Please come to increase the support for their VOICE. This is the only Voice they have been afforded by this system of feudalism. Let the bishop know that we are the People of God and we won't be treated like pawns of the feudal lords. WE WILL NOT PAY FOR OUR OWN OPPRESSION!"

Then there are the practical concerns:

"They also need our support making placards for the event. Please e-mail us at info@votfnj.org and let us know if you will be able to help making placards and if you would be willing to join us a St. Joseph's--Feb. 12, l0:30 PM."

Helpfully, Ms. Padovano provides suggesting wording for the protest signs:

Possible messages for the placards:


Once again, Voice of the Fuddled chooses the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as the venue for its perennial foot-stomping.

6-year-old boy suspended for "sexual harassment"

A 6-year-old boy was suspended last week after school officials said he sexually harassed a girl in his class.

No doubt the kid shouldn't have touched the little girl as he did, but couldn't the school have found a more reasonable way to handle the situation?

As the boy's mom said:

''He doesn't even know what that word 'sexual' is. I don't see how I'm going to explain it to him," she said. ''I can't. He's just too young for that."

"Shut up and MOURN!" (Coretta King's Funeral)

Writes FrontPageMagazine.com's Ben Johnson:

If Laura Ingraham writes a follow-up book, it should be titled "SHUT UP AND MOURN!" Yesterday, the Left again chose division over reconciliation, bitterness over harmony, and the transient over the transcendent at the funeral of Coretta Scott King. For the third time in as many years, leftists politicized a funeral service. And the most outspoken partisans present were a failed former president and a man who once bestowed an award on Moammar Qaddafi.

I couldn't agree more. Catching snippets of the various speeches on the radio yesterday, I found myself actually embarrassed for former Presidents Clinton and Carter, along with their evidently adoring audiences.

In fact, I was halfway waiting for somebody -- perhaps the Rev. Joseph Lowery -- to blame President Bush for the lady's death...if not that of Martin Luther King himself.

May she rest in peace.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Pro-aborts sometimes aren't...smart (as this e-mail sorta demonstrates)

Back in the days before Al Gore invented the Internet, somebody gave me some really good advice:

"Never, ever, write anything on a post card that you wouldn't want the world to see."

Wise words. And they can equally apply to e-mail...especially e-mail the sender urges the recipient to PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY.

Case in point follows...from my mailbox today.


N.B. I wouldn't advise contacting the sender, nor calling the phone number. 'Course I wouldn't have advised the sending of this e-mail out willy-nilly either, but then the "organization" didn't consult me.


please forward widely!


8:30 am to 11:30 am
Saturday, Feb. 11
Outside Planned Parenthood in Allston - 1055 Commonwealth Ave.
(near Pleasant St. T-stop)
** Please RSVP (daplanning@lists.riseup.net or 617-566-2861 ) **

Every second Saturday of the month, 30 to 100 anti-abortionist demonstrators hold mass "vigil" outside the Planned Parenthood in Allston -- verbally abusing, videotaping, and even physically harrassing anyone trying to enter the clinic.

Come support choice and women's access to reproductive healthcare!

Our clinic actions have directly resulted in some law enforcement of the buffer zone! By claiming the police pen closest to Planned Parenthood, we've forced right-wing protesters to retreat to the pen farther from the building -- a first in years. We've deterred anti-abortionists from using their dead "fetus" pictures and posing as traffic cops! See below for an in-depth summary.

We use SILENT and PEACEFUL deflection to counter those who try to intimidate and shame patients. We will:

* Wear color-coordinated uniforms, block invasive cameras, and hold PINK CLOTH with supportive symbols over anti-abortion propaganda!

* LEAFLET with reproductive justice, abortion, and healthcare info to non-patient passersby. "Operation Rescue" (or as well call them, "Operation Oppress-You") hands lies and sexist literature to all who pass -- we must to counter them on the streets!

* Occupy the first police pen, causing anti-abortionists to retreat to the pen farther from the building, where their shouts and "holy water" will be blocked. Peaceably divert "Operation Rescue" members who illegally approach patients. Block those OR members who pose as traffic cops to trick patients into parking far away. Monitor legal violations.

Women must seek reproductive health services without humiliation, isolation, and intimidation!

We must inform the public on reproductive justice, not allow anti-woman lies to blast unopposed. "Operation Rescue" prevents women from receiving medical services, threatens the safety of clinic staff, has assaulted patients, and has vandalized doctors' offices. Every woman should be able to choose what happens to her body!


PLEASE RSVP so we can divide roles and ensure the clinic action is highly disciplined and well-coordinated, given its sensitive location: daplanning@lists.riseup.net or 617-566-2861.

COME TO A PLANNING MEETING to be trained in logistics, and learn about our other projects:

******* We need your help! ********
8 pm - Mondays
45 Mt. Auburn St. (near Harvard T-stop)
Get involved! daplanning@lists.riseup.net or 617-566-2861

Monday, February 06, 2006

Michael Jackson hysteria...calm down!

You can get all upset and believe something like this.

Or you can take a deep breath, do a bit of searching, and discover something like this.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

UNBorn in the USA

"If Springsteen really wanted to sing about his country’s forgotten generation, he should have titled his signature work, UNborn in the USA."

This is a great site...go see it!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

NH legistators want to break to seal of Confession

A confessor who directly violates the sacramental seal incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the apostolic see; he who does so only indirectly is to be punished according to the gravity of the offense" (Canon 1388).

If you're a Catholic -- or even if you're not -- you're probably aware of this.

Unless you're Representative Eileen Flockhart. She's a co-sponsor of bill that would mandate priests to disclose crimes against children -- even if this information is obtained via the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Representative Flockhart is a Catholic.

Sorry, but I don't see this as an act to "Protect Our Children." I see it as an obscene attempt to destroy a Roman Catholic Sacrament.

It won't work. The Sacrament cannot be destroyed, no matter how many earthly lawmakers try to do it.

The American TFP is sponsoring an effort to block the legislation.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Jewish group opposes efforts to bank prayer in Jesus' Name

Jews Against Anti-Christian Defamation opposes efforts of the Anti-Defamation League to ban prayers in Jesus name during meetings of the village council in Wellington, Florida.

"The ADL should change its name to the Anti-Christian League," said JAACD President Don Feder.

Christians have a friend in Feder.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Alito. Confirmed. Let's be dancin'!

Courtesy of The Curt Jester.

C'mon, y'er Honor...let's be takin' care of business!


Honestly. Can you -- especially you moms and dads out there -- imagine how you'd feel if, when you were lifting your young baby to offer to the Lord, some old guy takes the baby from you and cradles him in his arms?

That's what Simeon did.

At Mass today, the priest spoke of Mary presenting Jesus not just to God, but to us as well.

From Malachi in today's first reading:

"...suddenly there will come to the temple of the Lord whom you seek."

The prophet goes on rather frighteningly:

"But who will endure the day of his coming? And who can stand when he appears?"

And what happens when he does appear? Not much. Only two old folks, Simeon and Anna, even recognize him.

Yet Simeon's prophetic words ring through the ages:

"Behold, this child is set for the fall and the rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against, and a sword will pierce through your own soul also, that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed."

Jesus, today and every day, is presented by His mother into the temple of our hearts. Recognize Him.

FOUR. (Whatever it's worth)

Dom's tagged me with a "Four Things" meme...(a word I have to look up in the dictionary whenever I see it and still don't quite get what it means). Okay, here we go:

Four jobs I've had:

1. Short order cook
2. Deli waitress
3. Ad agency creative director
4. Ad agency co-owner

Four movies I watch over and over again:

1. "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" (Steve Martin, John Candy)
2. "Heidi" (Shirley Temple)
3. "It's a Wonderful Life" (James Stewart, Donna Reed)
4. "Gone with the Wind" (Vivian Leigh, Clark Gable)

Four places I've lived:

1. Detroit, Michigan
2. Royal Oak, Michigan
3. Swampscott, Massachusetts
4. Boston, Massachusetts

Four shows I watch:

1. Monk
2. Jeopardy!
3. The Simpsons
4. Old "Andy Griffith Show" reruns when I can catch them

Four places I've vacationed:

1. Big Sur, California
2. The Rocky Mountains (Colorado)
3. Yosemite National Park
4. Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Four websites I visit daily:

Pro-Life Google
Google News

Four of my favorite foods:

Fried chicken
Broccoli Normandy (the frozen in the bag kind)

Four places I'd like to be right now:

Right here
Right here
Right here
Right here (going over my Caribbean cruise itinerary)

Four people I'm tagging:

1. Claude Muncey
2. Father Martin Fox
2. Ellyn at Oblique House
and, since we haven't heard from her in a while,
4. Sister Mary Biko, PhD

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Haleigh in good hands?

11-year old Haleigh Poutre, condemned to death by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and the Massachusetts Department of Social Services last month, is now evidently safe for the moment at Franciscan Hospital for Children, according to the Boston Herald.

The hospital located in Boston, claims to be sponsored by the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary.

The latter's website gives me hope. But let's keep our eyes on this story. And our prayers for this child. She's still under sentence of death by starvation. Let's pray that, unlike Terri Schiavo, she doesn't have to face it.

Bullies for you: Father Chris Coyne leaves Our Lady Help of Christians

"There's a lot of good people at Our Lady's, and I will miss them very much," the Rev. Christopher J. Coyne said in an interview at Our Lady Help of Christians last night, after he had informed members of the parish council of his decision. "Unfortunately, there was a small minority that made it difficult for me to continue here, so I asked the archbishop for a transfer, and he accepted."

This line cracked me up, despite the sadness of the whole mess:

Parish council members, following a policy of not publicly commenting on their meetings, declined to comment last night on Coyne's transfer.

No kidding? What about all that "transparency" these folks have been screaming for?

The reporters' spin is also amusing.

Coyne is, right off the bat, identified as "the former spokesman for Cardinal Bernard F. Law." Wrong. He acted as one spokesman for the Archdiocese, (Donna Morrissey held the main job), and then only briefly.

This poor soul was not as reticent as the parish council members:

''We had recognized from the very beginning that he's been in a very difficult position," said Dan Foley, a spokesman for Our Lady's Friends, a group formed initially to seek the reinstatement of the Rev. Walter H. Cuenin. Some of the group's members had called for Coyne's resignation.

"Initially" formed? According to the group's website, that's still its mission.

And now for a bit of condescension...and amazing chutzpah:

''There are a lot of really good things we see in Father Coyne, and we hope he'll be transferred to a parish in line with his skills," Foley said. ''The other side of that is we hope that the next person assigned to Our Lady's is in line with the direction the parish has been heading for 10 or 12 years."

Remember Eddie Haskell of the old "Leave it to Beaver" show? This guy makes Eddie look like a mensch.

If you're a Boston Globe subscriber, please read

Publisher accidently releases bank and credit card information of some quarter of a million subscribers.

If you're a Boston Globe subscriber, please visit the above link. Identity fraud is on the rise and from bitter experience, I can tell you it's no picnic.