Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Saints: my very good friends

I realized today that — outside of daily Mass — I probably spend more time asking saints to pray for us than I spend praising God for allowing them to do so!

For instance, let's saying I'm praying for you. I'll pray an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and a Glory Be...and then I'll ask anywhere from one to five saints to pray for you (and me) as well. Moreover, the saints I ask for intercession will have something to do with you.

If you're sick, for example, I'll not only ask Our Lady, Health of the Sick, to pray for you...I'll ask, if I know him or her, the patron of your particularly illness to do the same. If you're a musician, say, I might ask Saint Cecilia to pray for you. In health care? Saints Luke, Cosmas, and Damian will be asked for prayers. You know what I mean.

Do you pray "litanies" like this? Am I overdoing it?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Whatever happened to "white martyrdom?"

Every day -- and I'm not exaggerating -- I get a letter from a Christian or Catholic organization to protest. Something. Sometimes the causes indeed deserve some protest...but more often, it seems to me, the call to protest is an invitation to waste time in protesting instead of using it more wisely in prayer.

Not to pick on the American Family Association, but gee...

Today's subject line -- "Federal Government Strips 'God' From the Washington Monument" introduces a plea to write the President protesting the fact that the words Laus Deo (Praise be to God) have been removed from a plaque on the Washington Monument.

Wait. If I'm reading this right, the actual words haven't been removed from the monument itself, but rather from a plaque of a replica of the monument. (Somebody please tell me if I'm wrong on this...I don't think I am, but just in case.)

Here's the thing:

It's a good thing to defend the Faith. I'm not arguing that at all. My point is, though, that Christianity is and always has been, in one way or another, attacked. God, since He created the universe, has subjected Himself to attack by His creatures.

Wake up and rejoice, for Heaven's sake!

Yeah, it's a good thing to defend the Faith but I put it to you that it's a silly thing to waste all of the time -- or a good deal of it -- writing angry letters and sending angry faxes when we could all be praying and praising God and, well, acting like saved people!

Not too many of us will ever have the opportunity to die for Christ. But I think we all could put up with a bit of grief for the honor and glory of the Lord.

Do you know what I mean?

Sunday, October 28, 2007


You know, you've gotta love those Rockies. No quitters, they.

Congrats, BoSox. And congrats to a class team, the Rockies. You and your fans are great.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Roman Cathlic bishop consecrated in Russia: for the first time since 1917

Today in Moscow, for the first time since the Communist Revolution in 1917, a Catholic bishop was consecrated on Russian soil.

The ceremony, held in a packed Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in central Moscow, marked the end of one era and the beginning of another for the Catholic Church in Russia, as the new bishop, Paolo Pezzi, a 47-year-old Italian theologian, took over the leadership of the Catholic Church in Russia's capital from the Belorussian Archbishop Tadeusz Kondrusiewicz, 57, who will move to a difficult assignment in Minsk, the capital of Belorussia.

More, thanks to Spero News and Inside the Vatican's Robert Moynihan.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee!

Friday, October 26, 2007

"Bella"...are you anxious to see it, or have you?

Every pro-life office in the world (okay I'm exaggerating, but not by much) has urged me to see the "Pro Life Movie Bella" which opens I this weekend. This includes Cardinal Justin Rigali, chairman of the U.S bishops' conference committee on pro-life activities.

I haven't gone to any of the numerous private screenings, and, for some odd reason (and this could be just a silly aversion to the leading guy's persistent description as a "heartthrob") I'm not all that anxious to see it on the big screen. And I feel bad about that.

I gather from the hype that the movie is about a pregnant waitress who gets fired from her job, and doesn't get an abortion. Call my cynical, but isn't this the way it's supposed to be?

I realize that it isn't. But what is it about this movie that turns the culture of death around? I've read a couple of mainstream reviews...the consensus is that it's "sweet."

Again, I haven't seen the movie. If anybody wants to tell me why I should, feel free! Also, your reviews are welcome.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Rosary around the neck

While waiting for the cashier guy to ring up the few things I'd bought at my local Walgreens tonight, I noticed he was wearing a Rosary around his neck. Since the computer thing-a-ma-bob was taking its own sweet time, and since their weren't any customers behind me, I struck up a conversation, which sorta went like this:

ME: Nice Rosary.
HE: Huh?
ME: Your Rosary. It's nice.
HE: Yeah? What.
ME: Around your neck. You pray the Rosary?
HE: Oh, this? Nah. I don't believe in that stuff.
ME: No?
HE: I don't believe in anything.
ME: But...
HE: Sign here.

(The computer thing-a-ma-bob had come alive.)

ME: Well, gee, what you're wearing is a Rosary.
HE: So?
ME: Well, it means something to me...and to many people. It's...
HE: So?

I have a feeling I didn't handle this all that well. Especially when a lady cashier popped up from nowhere and said:

"Hey. You're wearing a bleeping ROSARY, for God's sake." (I could be wrong, and I hope I am, but I'm not sure she meant "you are wearing a Rosary for the sake of the Good Lord" if you know what I mean.)

The lady continued:

"I'm a bleeping CATHOLIC and what you're doing is WRONG, bleep it!"

I signed the credit card slip and left.

Glitterati aside, I really don't have much of a problem with people wearing their Rosaries. But it did bother me that this guy "didn't believe in anything"...or so he said.

I ended up solving the whole thing in my mind by saying a quick prayer for the guy.

Still, the incident made me a bit uneasy.

What do you think?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Holy Cross College sends students to Planned Parenthood

Okay. If a student or anybody suspects contacting a sexually transmitted disease, it is imperative that he or she get tested. And treated, if possible. Nobody's arguing that.

But of all places for Holy Cross College to send its students, why Planned Parenthood?

It's not like there aren't other alternatives in the area. Even if there were not—even if the student had to travel a few miles—does this excuse this supposedly "Catholic" college from sending students to a place such as this?

No, it does not.

In case you don't get it, the number to contact for "Sexually Transmitted Infection Testing"—508-854-3300—is none other than "Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts, your trusted reproductive health care center."

(Thanks to Operation Rescue, Boston, for this information.)

Monday, October 22, 2007

"Women Deliver" evidently don't and don't want other women to deliver either.

LONDON, OCT. 22, 2007 ( The global conference Women Deliver failed in its objective of finding ways to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity, reported various participating humanitarian organizations dedicated to the woman, family and the protection of life.

And a bunch of groups sent a letter to the conference organizers protesting the conference's emphasis on abortion as the way to prevent maternal death.

While I certainly agree with the signatories, my question is:

What did you expect???

Take a look at the "Women Deliver" website and tell there any reason to have believed that this conference would've turned out otherwise?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Malvern Clark, R.I.P.

Please pray for the happy repose of the soul of Malvern Clark who died early Friday morning.

Malvern and his wife cooperated with God to give life to four children, six grandchildren, and four great grand children, all still living in this world, save one son.

He is my father-in-law. I love him very much.

Thank you.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Dawn Eden's alternative to the Holy Cross College fiasco

From The Dawn Patrol:

The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., is planning to host an October 24 conference on preventing teen pregnancy that will feature Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts. In doing so, the college is expressly defying Diocese of Worcester Bishop Robert J. McManus, who issued a strongly worded statement urging the college to uphold its Catholic identity.

My employer, the Cardinal Newman Society — whose mission is to renew and strengthen Catholic identity at America's 224 Catholic colleges and universities — is presenting an event at St. Paul's Cathedral in Worcester on the night before the teen-pregnancy conference. A Holy Cross alumnus and a current student will speak briefly, followed by a talk from me on chastity. The purpose is to support Bishop McManus and to call attention to the message that Holy Cross and all Catholic colleges should be giving with regard to human sexuality and the culture of life. Here is the official press release — please tell your friends

Please Join Us for an Important Talk on:

Preventing Teen Pregnancy: The Catholic Approach

What Holy Cross Could Have Done to Address This Critical Problem

Featuring CNS Love & Responsibility Program Director Dawn Eden

Tuesday, October 23rd at 7:00 p.m.
St. Paul's Cathedral, Worcester, Mass.

Please join The Cardinal Newman Society, in cooperation with St. Paul's Cathedral and the Worcester Diocese's Respect Life Office, on the eve before the College of the Holy Cross hosts a conference on teen pregnancy that includes representatives from Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts.

Despite a strong and courageous statement from Worcester Bishop Robert J. McManus condemning the conference and asking Holy Cross to cancel the event, the college's President has steadfastly supported it and says he will let it take place.

In her talk, Miss Eden will detail how Church teachings on chastity offer a solution to not only the problem of teen pregnancy but also the wider problems of family breakdown — while abortion, contraception, and other "solutions" offered by Planned Parenthood and their allies exacerbate those problems. She will also place the issue, in accordance with Church teachings, into the context of what steps Catholic colleges can and should take to promote Catholic values on life, love and sexuality.

This event is open to the public and The Cardinal Newman Society encourages a strong showing of support for Bishop McManus's principled stand.

Portland Maine school committee invites 11-year-olds to have sex

This is not a sensational headline. It's simply the truth.

The Portland, Maine School Committee yesterday okayed a plan allowing King Middle School (for my friends in the mid-west, read "grade school") to give birth control pills and patches to sixth graders. Not only is parental consent not needed—it's bleeping outlawed.

The school, by the way, has been giving condoms to kids as young as eleven since 2002.

Are parents outraged? Some are. Some are acting stupid.

Richard Verrier is a parent in the Portland School district. "If my daughter were not able to talk with me about something, if she couldn't reach me for whatever reason, to keep her safe and healthy, I would want to make sure she had access to those resources from trusted adults."

Father Jonathan Morris of FOX responds:

Mr. Verrier’s idea of a trusted adult is abnormal. In the real world, a trusted adult does not give an eleven-year-old girl a birth control pill when the little girl comes to his office saying she is about to have sex and can’t reach her daddy. In this case, a trusted adult either makes contact with the parents or calls Child Services. If he can’t reach Child Services, he calls 9-1-1.

Read more, if you can stomach it, here, or just google the words "children birth control maine."

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

John Edwards on parenting. Sheesh!

The moderator at Dartmouth College's recent debate asked the Dems if they'd be comfortable in having the "gay fairy tale" (I'm not making this up) called "King & King" read to their children in school.

John Edwards replied, "yes, absolutely!"

“I don’t want to make that decision on behalf of my children,” he said. “I want my children to be able to make that decision on behalf of themselves, and I want them to be exposed to all the information, even in — did you say second grade? Second grade might be a little tough, but even in second grade to be exposed to all those possibilities, because I don’t want to impose my view. Nobody made me God.”

Nobody made Edwards God, of course, but God made him a parent. Parents are supposed to impose their views, aren't they?

See this story and also Jeff Jacoby's column in today's Boston Globe.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Gerard...the mother's saint

Oh, I know that at least three saints are honored today, October 16...but I have a special affection for Saint Gerard Majella.

Every time I pass an expectant mom, I ask for his prayers!

Monday, October 15, 2007

From Saint Terese of Avila

Let nothing upset you,
let nothing startle you.
All things pass;
God does not change.
Patience wins
all it seeks.
Whoever has God
lacks nothing:
God alone is enough.

Saint Terese of Jesus, pray for us.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Why on earth would Father Leo Tibesar enlist my cooperation?

In the mailbag yesterday:

Father Leo Tibesar cordially requests that you announce this wonderful loving GLBT lecture on your boards, in homilies and in your bulletins and other communication means.

God Bless Always.

CPCSM, Catholic Rainbow Parents, and
St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church Invite
CPCSM's Members and Friends to the
Second Annual Bill Kummer Forum

Featuring . . .
Carol and Robert Curoe, Co-authors of
Are There Closets in Heaven?
A Catholic Father and Lesbian Daughter Share Their Story

7:00 p.m., Monday, October 22, 2007
St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church
1500 Franklin Ave. SE, Minneapolis

After this "invitation," the alleged writer, calling himself "Peter Canisius" (c'mon!) waxes enthusiastic about the author, the book, the joys of "tolerance," yada yada yada.

And, oh, yes, I'm treated to an interview with the authors in which I'm assured, among other things, that Bishop Gumbleton is A Great Guy.

Note to Archbishop Harry Flynn:

With all due respect, Excellency, please try to keep your "pastors" (i.e. Father Leo Tibesar) and your parishes (e.g. Saint Frances Cabrini) in tow...

Failing the ability to that, please at least keep them out of my bleeping mailbox, thank you very much and may God bless you.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Hope. It's a gift. Here's a splendid one for you.

No doubt about it. Being pro-life, trying to articulate the pro-life message, can be a task that leads either to anger or weariness or frustration...or all three.

One antidote, the most important one, of course, is prayer. It really works.

And one answer to that prayer is the assurance that you are not alone. Not by a long shot.

From our good friends at Unborn Word of the Day, we receive an overwhelmingly hopeful source of pro-life groups from all walks of life. I visited today and had to practically force myself out of my chair. It was so wonderful to explore these sources I could've spent hours doing so! (Okay, so you've been warned...this link can be addictive!)

With thanks to God, to Michael Roderick, to Kanawha County Right to Life (and of course to George and Michele Peate) allow me to present:

May this work of love bring you peace...and hope.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Holy Cross College defies Bishop

Following up on the post just below this one, Holy Cross College president Reverend Michael C. McFarland, S.J., has decided to turn down the request of Worcester Bishop Robert J. McManus to cancel the college's plans to allow representatives of Planned Parenthood and NARAL to use its space.

(I don't know how long the whole story in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette will be available...I think it might be a subscription-only site.)

Here's the thing. Even though it would leave a horrible taste in my mouth, I could at least attempt to understand a response something like:

"Gee, Excellency, you're absolutely right, we goofed up big time, yes sirree, but jeepers, if we cancel now, at this late date, these jokers are going to sue us for a zillion bucks so let's say we make a statement that we definitely don't approve of these guys but we're backed up against the wall and so we're forced to let 'em use the space but they'll never get to use it again and what's more we're going to give the rental money to the diocesan pro-life apostolate, what d'ye say?"

But the college seems actually proud of what they're doing!

Though he said that he appreciated the duty of Bishop McManus to uphold church teachings, Rev. McFarland said the school would honor its arrangement with the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy. He said the alliance is an organization of 50 schools, social service agencies and health care groups dedicated to providing services for pregnant and parenting teens.

“Beyond the contractual obligation, it is important to emphasize that the college believes a meeting of adult professionals pooling resources, engaging in a dialogue and exchanging information is a beneficial way of grappling with pressing issues related to the health and well-being of Massachusetts teenagers and children,” said Rev. McFarland. “As an institution of higher learning, we are dedicated to the open exchange of ideas. As a Jesuit college, Holy Cross is committed to its mission of engaging with the larger culture on even the most problematic and divisive of moral and spiritual issues.”

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Worcester bishop...acts like one

As blogged earlier, Jesuit-run Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts planned on hosting a conference featuring Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion speakers. In response to the uproar, Worcester Bishop Robert J. McManus has issued a statement today. It reads, in part:

I have received numerous complaints from people who are shocked and outraged that a Catholic institution like Holy Cross would have anything to do with such groups. They have appealed to me to ask Father Michael McFarland, president of the College of the Holy Cross, to revoke the College’s agreement to rent space to the Massachusetts Teen Alliance. I have done so.


Both Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice are notorious for their policies and practices that directly reject the Church’s teaching on artificial contraception and abortion. The College of the Holy Cross should recognize that any association with these groups can create the situation of offering scandal understood in its proper theological sense, i.e., an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. Certainly it is understandable how people of good will could interpret the college’s allowing presentations to be made by such groups as truly scandalous.

Amen. One nit, and perhaps I'm being too picky, but...

It is my fervent wish that the administration of the College of the Holy Cross will unequivocally disassociate itself from the upcoming conference sponsored by the Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy so that the college can continue to be recognized as a Catholic institution committed to promoting the moral teaching of the Roman Catholic church.

"Fervent wish?" Can't he force the college to do what he wants?

Anyway, good for Bishop McManus for his statement, and good for all the folks who contacted the diocese to express their outrage.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

i broke my middle finger...

...and am typing with one hand. your understanding is much appreciated!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

In vitro fertilization kills kids too

Dom wonders if pro-lifers picket or pray at IVF clinics.

After all, there are many babies who are aborted in the process of in vitro fertilization. For every baby born, there are several more who die in the fertilization process or by “selective reduction”.

To tell you the truth, I'd never thought about it. But he's got a good point. Here, for example, is some of what happens at Boston IVF:

The retrieved eggs are placed in a petri dish with a special solution for 2 to 3 hours. During this time, the male partner provides a semen sample. The sample is delivered to the lab where it undergoes a clarifying process referred to as “washing.” The washed sperm are incubated and placed in the petri dish with the eggs. After 18 hours, the eggs are examined. If fertilization occurs, then two to four of the resulting embryos are selected for transfer back to the woman. [my emphasis]

Guess what happens to the remaining "embryos?"
Embryo freezing permits high quality embryos that are not immediately used for IVF to be frozen for the couple’s later use. Approximately half of all frozen embryos remain viable after thawing and can be successfully used in IVF treatment. If the frozen embryos are no longer needed, they can be sometimes donated to research, donated to other infertile women or discarded. [Again, my emphasis, but you get the point.]

This is not in any way a criticism of pro-life activists who do far more than I do to save babies. But I do wonder why we're not at least maybe half as outspoken against this practice as we are against abortion. Is not an embryo in petri dish as human as one in the womb?

The irony cannot be escaped. In the same world where so many parents do not want their children and therefore dispose of them before they are born, so many people do want children and for any number of reasons cannot conceive (double-irony: one reason for infertility is a past abortion). And so they choose to cooperate with what we call "science:" abetting in the destruction of many children in order to obtain their desire.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Connecticut bishops: where are your heads? (They gave the nod to "Plan B")

Look, rape isn't pretty. I realize that.

Rape, which isn't a sexual act but rather a violent one, sometimes—rarely but sometimes—results in pregnancy.

Now pregnancy is not only pretty. It's beautiful. It's a gift from God. And nobody has the right to take it away.

Am I saying that women should become pregnant via a rapist's attack? Of course not. Am I saying that should such a pregnancy occur it should be "terminated?" Of course not. Am I saying that the rape victim and all concerned should be open to pregnancy?

Yes I am!!!!

(So shoot me.)

Here's the thing about "Plan B":

It's wrong.

The bishops of Connecticut used to think so. They've changed their minds.

An "evolution of thinking." (Huh?)

The bishops could've at least fought for an ovulation test—to determine whether the woman's egg had been fertilized—but no.

Barry Feldman, a spokesman for the Connecticut Catholic Conference, said that since the bill passed, the bishops had "an evolution of thinking" about "the state of existing science and the lack of definitive teaching by the church and the fact that there are many who are affiliated with the church that believe the ovulation test isn't necessary."


Check out what more level heads (not necessarily saner...just more level) than mine have to say about this atrocity:

Father Thomas Eutenneuer of Human Life International

Catholic World News

Thursday, October 04, 2007

An earnest request for my friends in Purgatory

Every soul in Purgatory is my friend. I hope each is yours, too.

As you probably know, you can obtain a plenary indulgence for a soul in Purgatory in many ways. Since this is the month of the Rosary, I'm asking you for this favor:

1.) Pray, with a group—in either a chapel, church, oratory, family group, or religious community, five decades of the Rosary.

2.) Make sure the prayers are vocal, and that you and your colleagues meditate on each mystery.

3.) Announce each mystery (e.g., "The Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist") aloud.

That's pretty easy, right? Okay. To continue:

4.) Receive the Sacrament of Confession within a few days.

5.) Receive the Blessed Sacrament within a few days.

6.) Pray for the intentions of our Holy Father.

Now, to make it even simpler:

When you go to confession, try and assist at Mass on the same day, and try to find a Mass at a chapel or church where the Rosary is prayed either before or after. Obviously, receive the Blessed Sacrament! In the prayers following the Rosary, remember the Pope's intentions.

And offer your plenary indulgence on behalf of a soul in Purgatory!

Here's why I'm asking:

Probably I should've realized this before, but I didn't. Only a partial indulgence is granted, evidently, even given all the above conditions, if the recipient isn't free of all attachments to sin—even venial sin!


I've come to realize that it is a rare—very rare—occasion indeed that I am free from all attachments to sin, including venial sin.

I may walk out of the confessional, perform with great love my penance, assist at the Holy Sacrifice, receive the Blessed Sacrament with gratitude, and participate in the communal praying of the Most Holy Rosary, remembering with my friends to pray for the Pope's intentions.

But—alas—imperfection assails me!

Today, for example, I found myself annoyed at a lady who wandered around the chapel while we were praying the Rosary. Why? Why did I concentrate on her (and by the way, what in the world is wrong with wandering around a chapel while others pray? She wasn't hurting anybody!) instead of meditating on the Mystery?

Well, you get my point.

It seems that, try as I might (and I must try harder!) to avoid even venial sin, I'm not doing such a hot job as yet.

And so I'm asking you:

Try and make up for my lack.

Holy Mother Church, founded by Jesus Christ and ably assisted by His Most Gracious Mother, is offering us a chance to spring souls from Purgatory. During, especially, this month of the Rosary, I'm asking you to do whatever you can to grab this chance with gratitude and love.


Jesuit-run college allows Planned Parenthood speakers on campus

The conference on preventing teen pregnancy is planned at Holy Cross College in Worcester, Massachusetts. RC at Catholic Light notes:

...the PR spokesman denies the college's responsibility for hosting the event, but does acknowledge that Holy Cross “evaluates all requests by individuals and organizations to the College to rent facilities."

Outrageous. Unfortunately, not all that surprising.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Your Guardian Angel loves you!

Angel of God, my guardian dear,
to whom His love commits me here,
ever this day be at my side,
to light and guard and rule and guide.


Go here for more great prayers to celebrate your Guardian Angel!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Who could be afraid of a God...

...who became a child? Saint Therese of the Child Jesus wondered about this and it's a very good question.

Certainly, the "fear of the Lord is the first stage of wisdom" but what sort of fear are we talking about? Fear of a harsh, temperamental God given to inexplicable rages and demands for appeasement?

That doesn't quite dovetail with a God who gladly and willingly became an embryo...and then a helpless infant.
No, if any fear of the Lord is necessary—and of course it is—it is the filial fear. The sort of trepidation that my young niece experienced while baking her first batch of chocolate chip cookies: "Will Daddy think they taste good...maybe as good as Mommy's? Or almost, at least?"

Or, probably a better example: "I'm so afraid Daddy will be disappointed in me because I didn't do my homework. Oh, how I wish I'd done it instead of watching TV!"
The main thrust of Therese's relationship with God was and remains the absolute certainty of His mercy and forgiveness and, above all, His understanding. Her "little way" is the path of everyday acts of holiness...and glorious are these acts when made with an unambiguous desire to please our loving God, and all of His children.

Be not afraid.

And Little Flower, please pray for us.