Friday, September 29, 2006

Abortion is still a sin. Right? Cardinal Mahony?

His Eminence Roger Cardinal Mahony of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles urges his flock to vote Yes on Proposition 85 this November, which requires a physician to notify at lease one parent 48 hours before performing an abortion on a girl under 18.

As you may know, under current California law a minor girl under the age of 18 cannot leave school to go on a field trip, she cannot get a flu shot, a tooth pulled, or even an aspirin from the school nurse without one of her parents being notified. Yet that same child -- a girl as young as 12 years old -- can be taken by a complete stranger to an abortion center, put under general anesthesia, and undergo a surgical or chemical abortion without her parents’ knowledge or consent.

This is why I urge you to support, work for and vote YES on Proposition 85, the Parents’ Right to Know and Child Protection Initiative, on Election Day, Tuesday, November 7th.

That's good. But isn't there something missing from his message?

Parents have a duty to protect their own children. Engaged in the raising of their daughter, parents have insight into what is best for their children; they know her personal and medical history. Parents are the best ones to help a minor daughter understand all her options if she becomes pregnant. Without parental involvement, other influences can dominate.

Parental notification laws are desperately needed to protect young girls.

Wait a sec.

I'm all for protecting young girls from the horror of abortion. But what about protecting innocent babies? There's no mention of this.

"Parents are the best ones to help a minor understand all her options if she becomes pregnant."

All her options? Presumably, His Eminence is referring to options such as adoption. Presumably. But why doesn't he say so?

More to the point, why doesn't he tell his flock what is not an option?

The Cardinal makes a strong case for the effectiveness of parental notification laws in preventing "secret abortions," and that's a good thing.

What he does not do is state what I don't think "goes without saying." He doesn't say -- and I wish he did -- that abortion is not an option because it is murder and murder is a sin.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

"The greatest heresy of this age..." Cardinal O'Malley nails it

The greatest heresy of the modern age is the denial of sin. We have lost a sense of sin, a sense of the offense it causes to God, the destruction it does to ourselves and our loved ones, the poisonous effects it has n the fabric of society. We are like people with a deadly disease and in complete denial, refusing to admit that we need a physician. We have made such advances in science and technology and have become so blind to the reality of our human nature.

I don't know about you, but I need to hear stuff like this.

The pictures are nice, Eminence, but in this case, words are worth a thousand of 'em.

Check out "Prayer, Charity, and the Joy of Forgiveness."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Examination of conscience: The sixth commandment (and a quiz!)

Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Nope, I haven't forgotten this series.

And on this commandment, single, widowed, consecrated, and ordained folks do
not get a pass.

First, let's be clear: God is not redundant.

People tend to lump this commandment with the Ninth: "Thou shalt not covet they neighbor's wife." I don't think this is good idea. If and when we get to the Ninth Commandment, we'll deal with the notion of "covetousness." Here, though, we're talking about deeds and thoughts directly related to our sexuality.
Of course, having sex with somebody else's spouse breaks this commandment. But how else do we abuse our bodies by abusing the God-given gift of our sexuality?

Don't think that temptations against chastity "go away" as you age.

They don't. I'm over 50 years old and have been widowed for 20 years. To my absolute outrage I found myself tempted a few months ago! True! During a sleepless night! How dare that Old Scratch!

Anyway, my confessor gave me a good solution.

"Get up and eat a cookie." It worked, and still does.
'Course, the downside of this is that one can become addicted to cookies, get fat, and all sorts of bad things but so far this hasn't happened. (I do wish I could lose a few pounds, but I certainly can't blame my confessor for that!) But the idea is a good one. If this happens to you, regardless of your age, get out of bed! You don't have to eat a cookie...maybe take a walk, or pick up a book, or -- hey, great idea! -- pray a decade of the Rosary!

How else can Satan tempt us into breaking this commandment?

Some key words: dress, marriage, conversation, "jokes," TV, movies, the get what I mean. More importantly, how can we guard ourselves from breaking this commandment?

Now for the quiz: Name that saint!

A canonized saint, was, while in his old age -- if I remember correctly, he was at least 80 or even 90 -- found himself tormented by temptations against chastity. Who was it?

Disclaimer: I don't remember the guy's name! God willing, I'll find out tomorrow because I hope to see the priest who told me about him. But don't let my miserable memory stop you!
Winner gets some beautiful prayer cards of the Litany of the Unborn Christ Child.


1) What are ways we sin against this commandment?

2.) How can we fight against the temptation to do so?

3.) ...and what is the name of this saint I'm trying to remember?
Have God's sense of the word!

Monday, September 25, 2006

James Carroll's pulpit vs. those in our parishes

From today's Boston Globe op-ed:

Pope Benedict XVI celebrated the fifth anniversary of 9/11 by citing, on the next day, a 14th-century slur that Mohammed brought "things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached." The patently false characterization of Mohammed's teaching, displaying an ignorance of the Koran, of the magnificence of Islamic devotion, and of history was offered almost as an aside in the pope's otherwise esoteric lecture about reason and faith. After Muslim uproar, the pope, while not really apologizing, insisted he had meant no harm.

First of all, the Holy Father is not "ignorant of the Koran" and I suspect Mr. Carroll knows this. Secondly, glossing over the Muslim reaction as an "uproar" is, in my opinion, a bit of an understatement.

Mr. Carroll continues his -- let's call it "chastisement" -- of His Holiness, particularly, one can only surmise, for the latter's defense of the Roman Catholic Church. Why? Evidently acknowledging the Roman Catholic Church as the true faith is "insulting" to others.

"But Kelly...nobody takes these pundits seriously!"

No? Maybe readers of this blog don't, but many people do!

Last week here in Boston, an 80+ year old lady walked out of the chapel prior to the Vigil Mass, decrying the Pope as the devil incarnate (besides being a Nazi). Okay, maybe being 80+ and not in the best of health had something to do with it.

But following a week-day Mass, again, here in Boston, a reasonably intelligent, thoughtful gentleman opined to me that the Pope had "no right to criticize Islamic violence, given the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Holocaust, and all that other stuff." When I tried to question him I was advised to "read the New York Times and listen to NPR."

Has anybody heard anything about this from the pulpit? Should we?

I haven't. And I'm wondering why not. Should priests and bishops address the criticism the Holy Father is subjected to? Is the sermon at Mass the appropriate vehicle in which to do this? If not, why not?

Thanks for your thoughts!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

NBC cancels Crucifixion mockery, according to NewsMax

Hat tip to Tim for the news.

Friday, September 22, 2006

L’shanah tovah

May you, my Jewish friends, be inscribed and sealed for a good year.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

New blog! (By a Cardinal!)

Boston's Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley plans to blog on his trip to Rome.

Update: Okay, looks like there's a few bugs, but the man's trying! :-)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Madonna to mock Mohammed during Sweeps Week on NBC!

Nah. Not really. That wouldn't be nice.

She's only going to mock Christ Crucified.

NBC entertainment president Kevin Reilly accepted the stunt after previewing the production.

“We viewed it,” he told Access Hollywood, “and didn’t see it as being inappropriate.”

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

"Unborn Jesus Our Hope"

Once upon a time I was arrested and jailed -- like so many others -- for attempting to rescue babies from the horror of "termination." Forty eight hours later I was charged with trespassing and let go by a sympathetic judge. Since then I reluctantly admit that, to my shame, the cost of fighting the pro-life fight was a wearisome one. The exhilaration of that rescue attempt slowly but inexorably began to be replaced by a feeling of helplessness. Abortion figures grew and grew. Pro-life politicians began the trip of the did pro-life Catholics! The pro-life movement, to my mind, became nothing more nor less than a futile exercise in picketing, "debates," and baby showers. Don't get me wrong...I've remained active in the battle (albeit far less than many!) but the spark was difficult to maintain.

I recently read this amazing paragraph:

By coming into the world as a little unborn baby, and living that existence for nine months, Jesus sanctified the unborn state and the relationship between the unborn child and his parents, particularly the relationship with his mother. Day after day, month by month Jesus was nothing but an insignificant unborn baby. He chose this restricted unborn life to show the depths of God's love for us. Perhaps the world can not unerstand nor appreciate it, but we Christians must!

This is but one gem from an amazing book called "Unborn Jesus Our Hope." Aptly titled, the volume offers a "jump start" for those of us who, humanly enough, flag in the fight for the unborn in the face of the Culture of Death surrounding us.
"Unborn Jesus Our Hope" offers just that...hope. Within its pages we hear -- actually hear! -- the words of Jesus in Mary's womb throughout the Bible: the very Word of God. From God, who willed Himself into the helplessness of a babe in the womb we receive encouragement, life, and -- despite a world of contradiction surrounding us -- hope. Hope from the Babe in Utero.

It's one of those books you can read from cover to cover -- or open at random -- and discover a, perhaps once known but somehow forgotten reason for hope. And for joy!
And, among many other gifts, a way to claim real hope from a simple Ave Maria.

While written from a Catholic perspective, the book is richly rewarding to all Christian readers.
I thank writer George A. Peate for writing this book and his wife, Michele, for sending it to me. And I urge you to, if not purchase it (it's cheap!) to at least visit the sponsor website here and learn more about it.

At Christmas, we sing in praise of "The Newborn King." At Easter, we proclaim "Our Risen Savior." And during Lent, we offer supplications "In the Name of Christ Crucified."
Right now, and always, I ask Our Father to bless you, in the Name of the Unborn Christ Child. Thank you!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

He did NOT apologize! (Despite what the headlines say)

Even Zenit got it wrong in its headline: "Benedict XVI Apologizes for Muslim Offense".

Here's the first definition of "apologize":

1. To make excuse for or regretful acknowledgment of a fault or offense.

Here's what the Holy Father said:

"I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address at the University of Regensburg, which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims."

In no way does B16 acknowledge his "fault or offense." Nor should he be expected to do so.

He's sorry for the reactions of some to his words.

I am, too, although not, alas in such a humble way as is the Holy Father.

I'm sorry, for example, for the apparent need to "react" by burning the Pope in effigy. And I'm far more sorry if this "reaction" had to include the murder of an Italian nun.

Pray for Islam. May Our Lady lead them to Christ.

Help needed with blog comments (or: I NEED A TECHIE!!!)

Awhile ago, somebody emailed me complaining that comments on this blog were unavailable. That puzzled me because I could see them both on my computer and on my business partner's computer.

I began noticing yesterday that I couldn't see the comments no matter what computer I used. Emptying the cache brought them back...for a while. Now that doesn't seem to work either.

I've been to the HaloScan site but nothing much helped me, primarily because I don't understand the language. (Yes, I know it's English.)

If you can help me out, would you might using the "Email Kelly" button on the left to clue me in? Or steer me in the right direction? Thanks a lot...there's a shiny new quarter in it for you!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Pope calls violence "incompatible with the nature of God"

And the New York Times demands an apology.


Friday, September 15, 2006

About the Crucifix: calling Protestants on this one

I wear a Crucifix -- a cross with the image of the slain Jesus on it -- every day. There is a Crucifix in most rooms in my house.

Today we celebrated the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows...a Friday, when, traditionally, Catholics pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, which focus on the death of Jesus.

Yesterday we celebrated the Feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross, and because it is my parish's titular Feast, we also celebrated it last Sunday, complete with the opportunity, after the Mass, to venerate a Crucifix which contains a relic of the True Cross.

All of which brings me to the question:

Of all the things that separate Catholics from Protestants, why should the Crucifix be one of them? I ask because, as I understand it, many Protestants eschew the Crucifix, preferring instead a bare cross. Or, as in the Lutheran church in my neighborhood, a beautiful cross with the resurrected Jesus on it.

Do Protestants object to a Crucifix? If so, why?


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Our Lady of Sorrows...and a Catholic Quiz!

September 15 is the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.

Can you name all seven?

Can you tell us which ones are connected with the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary?

Cheating, as always, is allowed.

Bitten by the snake: The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

At Mass today, I finally realized the connection between the First Reading (Numbers 21:4-9) and the Gospel (John 3-13-17). And it took me two sermons to get it! (My parish celebrated today's Feast last Sunday as its titular day.)

I mean, I knew that Jesus, in talking to Nicodemus, compared Himself to the bronze serpent on a pole...the one Moses made, at the Lord's command, to save those who were bitten by snakes sent to punish the complaining Chosen People.

But why would Jesus compare Himself to a bronze serpent of all things???

The connection is in Genesis.

The Fall of man came about by his free submission to the temptation offered by Satan...that old snake in the grass. The result? Original Sin and death.

It was only through the Cross that each of us -- and we've all been "bitten" by that snake -- could be cured...redeemed.

Do more than just look upon a Crucifix today and every day. Thank Jesus -- God made Man -- for emptying Himself out and submitting Himself to an ignominious, shameful death for the love of each one of us. For saving us from the deadly snake bite.

We adore Thee, O Christ and we praise Thee, Because by Thy Holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Is the National Catholic Reporter...Catholic?

In an unbelievable display of coldness-disguised-badly-as-compassion, Canadian writer Isabel Gibson ineffectually tries to make the point that the deliberate slaughter of 2,996 people on 9/11/01 is not all that different from the deaths that occurred the day before, or the day after, or last week, presumably. Ho-hum, is Gibson's evident attitude, as far as the 9/11 victims are concerned.

There are no national monuments to the dead of Sept. 10, no televised commemorative services, no international attention or community events, for they offer us no way to think about them as a group. They did not die in an attack on the United States, nor for any other cause that might stir our souls. Instead, they died in the normal course of events, as part of the normal wear and tear of life as we know it.

There are people -- too many -- who would have us believe that 9/11 never happened. This is only a new way of trying to use the Catholic doctrine of praying for the dead, all dead, into trying to justify the notion that the United States should simply roll over when people try to kill her citizens.

Nice try, Isabel.

Yes, we should and must pray for all those who have gone before us. But to try and equate a natural, inevitable death with cold blooded murder is beyond the pale.

Not incidentally, it should be noted that, on September 10, 2001, there were probably 3,600 unborn babies killed. This was not mentioned in Isabel Gibson's National Catholic Reporter column.

(Thanks to Dom for the link.)

Monday, September 11, 2006

Examination of conscience: The fifth commandment

Thou shalt not kill.

In today's Gospel, Jesus healed a withered man's hand on the Sabbath. And the religious leaders of His time were furious about it, and plotted against Him.

Why, do you think?

(In his sermon, the priest spoke about the "demonic twisting" of religion...particularly apt for September 11.)

There are many, many ways to "kill" without actually shedding blood. Let me share this, this -- I don't know what to call it other than maybe my guardian angel nudging me, once again.

Recently I got into an argument with my best friend and business partner over something I don't even remember. (That's how important it was!) I said some nasty things. Later that day, while I was out doing something totally unrelated, I suddenly was given an image of Jesus at the scourging, while simultaneously hearing my unkind words to my friend. With every insult I remembered uttering, I heard the crack of the whip against the flesh of Jesus.

Words can maim. Words can "kill." But other things can, too.

What else can? What do you think the Lord meant when He blessed us with this commandment?


September 11: Remember. And Pray.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Birth of our Blessed Mother

Blessed art thou among women,
And blessed is the Fruit of thy womb.
For from thou hast risen of Sun of justice,
Christ our Lord.

Happy Birthday, Mary our Mother!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Roland Pacheco: October 12, 1976 - September 11, 2001

This is a tribute to Roland Pacheco.

At the age of 25, the Brooklyn native worked as a data administrator for Alliance Consulting. His offices were on the 102nd floor of 1 World Trade Center.

His son, Ryan, was two and a half years old at the time of Roland's death.

Roland and his fiancee, Annie Guerrero, were looking forward to their wedding and a long and happy marriage.

His friends remember him as "sweet, outgoing, and happy." Annie tells us that Roland was a "great dad, my best friend, my soulmate."

2,996 people died on September 11, 2001.

Roland Pacheco was one of them. It is an honor to pay tribute to him.

Please remember him, his family, and his friends in your prayers.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let Your Perpetual Light shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace. Amen.

(Many thanks to Dale Roe for this opportunity.)

Update: for more information about Roland and reactions to his death, please visit this site. Thank you.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Examination of conscience: The fourth commandment

Okay, we're into the second greatest commandments. (Quick, somebody tell me why this is?)

Honor thy father and thy mother.

Let's get this straight. Orphans do not get a pass on this one! (Speaking strictly about parents, why do you think this is so?)

This commandment, as I see it, has to do with parents, yes, but also with authority -- those who have it, those who are under it, and, as in the case of most of us, those who fall into both categories.

Okay gang: How do we observe this commandment, break it, and celebrate it?

Have fun! As I said in my first parenthetical comment, this one inaugurates a shift, so to speak, in God's law. How so? It's rich in opportunities to relish our faith. What does it tell you and how can we help each other "honor" this commandment?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Examination of conscience: The third commandment

Remember to keep holy the Lord's Day.

"The day of the new creation." "The image of eternity." "The day of Christ-light." "The day of the gift of the Spirit." "The day of faith." "An indispensable day!"

These are some of the ways His Holiness, John Paul II, described Sunday in his wonderful Dies Domini.

It seems almost an act of insanity for the Catholic to neglect to remember, and to keep holy, such a day as this. But we do. I know I have.

In what ways can this gift -- it is difficult to even call it a commandment! -- be abused...and in what ways can it be cherished?