Friday, November 30, 2007

Personally I don't care if you see "The Golden Compass" or not but sheesh, didn't Harry Forbes and the the US bishops learn anything...

...from the "Brokeback Mountain" fiasco?

(They gave the "gay cowboy" movie a great review until about a zillion people gave the artistic boobs a big DUH!)

I didn't want to give any virtual ink to "The Golden Compass" because I figured ignoring the work of its anti-religion creator was the best way to elude what this guy Philip Pullman is really after, or at least is in my opinion: sales of his "Atheism Rules" books to unsuspecting parents who want something hip to give to their kids this Christmas.

Then the USCCB film gurus screwed it all up.

The thing is, Philip Pullman has every right to promulgate his atheism in any way he sees fit. But for Heaven's sakes, do the bishops--aided and abetted by Forbes--have to hold the door for him?

Here's the "review." It speaks for itself and its writers and not all that flatteringly so.

Spe Salvi and hope for the souls in Purgatory

As we near the end of the month traditionally dedicated to prayers for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, I was heartened by this section of the Holy Father's latest Encyclical, Spe Salvi:

Now a further question arises: if “Purgatory” is simply purification through fire in the encounter with the Lord, Judge and Saviour, how can a third person intervene, even if he or she is particularly close to the other? When we ask such a question, we should recall that no man is an island, entire of itself. Our lives are involved with one another, through innumerable interactions they are linked together. No one lives alone. No one sins alone. No one is saved alone. The lives of others continually spill over into mine: in what I think, say, do and achieve. And conversely, my life spills over into that of others: for better and for worse. So my prayer for another is not something extraneous to that person, something external, not even after death. In the interconnectedness of Being, my gratitude to the other—my prayer for him—can play a small part in his purification. And for that there is no need to convert earthly time into God's time: in the communion of souls simple terrestrial time is superseded. It is never too late to touch the heart of another, nor is it ever in vain. In this way we further clarify an important element of the Christian concept of hope. Our hope is always essentially also hope for others; only thus is it truly hope for me too. As Christians we should never limit ourselves to asking: how can I save myself? We should also ask: what can I do in order that others may be saved and that for them too the star of hope may rise? Then I will have done my utmost for my own personal salvation as well.

Please remember those souls undergoing purification in your daily prayers. Thanks!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Henry Hyde. Requiescat in pace

The fine gentleman from Illinois died today at the age of 83, a few weeks after being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Just two years into his first House term, the obscure Illinois Republican became an instant household name in June 1976 when he offered an amendment to ban the use of Medicaid funds for abortions.

And if he didn't coin the term "cafeteria Catholics" he sure came close to doing so.

Henry Hyde. A gift from God and an inspiration for many. May his soul rest in peace.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

"Dear Mary and Joseph...about your Son" (Jesus gets expelled!)

The good folks at Unborn Word of the Day -- or actually, Michele Peate's mother-in-law -- cracked me up with a mock letter to Mary and Joseph about their trouble-causing Son. A snippet:

Dear Mary and Joseph,

We regret to have to inform you that your son has been expelled from school...Great concern has been expressed that songs sung about Him might promote the novel and somewhat quaint notion of peace on earth...

Go read the whole thing!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thomas Groome keynotes Boston Archdiocesan Catechetical Congress. Why?

Every day, following the Rosary which follows the Mass at Saint Francis Chapel in Boston, prayers are offered for the Holy Father and his intentions, as well as for the Archdiocese of Boston and our pastor, Sean Cardinal O'Malley.

When I read something like this, I'm doubly grateful for the latter prayers and think maybe they're bearing fruit. At least, that's what I really want to think.

Still, I've gotta ask:

Why would someone who has openly challenged Church teaching on everything from "women's ordination" to priestly celibacy to homosexuality be the star of the Catechetical show in Boston?

Has he changed his mind? Recanted his previous teachings and opinions?

I hope so. Because although I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, so to speak, it seems a bit odd to me to ask someone who has publicly dissented from Church teachings to teach the teachers of Church teaching.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving and the folly of "self-sufficiency"

When we were children, our parents taught us to say Thank You as a way to educate us in good manners. As we progressed in age, we also learned from experience and from our faith tradition that life is an ongoing gift for which we need to remain forever grateful. There is always a danger of changing the gift into a given, thus ending the spirit of gratitude that should constantly inspire us. Thanksgiving Day helps us correct any false impressions about our self-sufficiency.

Father Raymond Lebrun, OMI, Spiritual Director, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Thank you to my friend Lisa for passing this on.

Marinated mushrooms redux!

Okay, guys, here we go. For those of you looking for that masterful touch to add to your Thanksgiving repast, I now redirect you to one of my most cherished of secret recipes.

Bon apetit!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Taking back Advent

It's not easy to take advantage of the Advent Season when "Christmas" decorations and holiday shills start working on you as soon as Halloween is over, sheesh.

However, Unborn Word of the Day promises something very hopeful.

...we will be offering prayerful short Advent meditations starting on December 2 till Christmas. Beginning with the waiting of the chosen people for the Messiah, we will then follow the Unborn Christ Child’s time of waiting from conception to birth. This will be our small contribution to help put Advent back in Christmas.

You can get these and other great quotes directly in your mailbox every day. Check it out and subscribe!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

"No comment" to O'Malley's remarks by the Dems

From today's Boston Globe:

Last week, after Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley said the support of church members for Democrats "borders on scandal" because of the party's support for keeping abortion legal, most of the state's leading Catholic Democrats responded with silence.

John Walsh, chairman of the Democratic Party, declined to comment, as did Senators Edward M. Kennedy and John F. Kerry, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, and nearly all of the state's Democratic Catholic congressmen, on both sides of the abortion issue.

Ah, but the exceptions:
  • [House Speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi] said he makes decisions based on what he thinks would be best for the Commonwealth, not "just following what my religious leader tells me to do."
  • City Councilor-at-large Michael Flaherty, in an interview, quoted the prophet Micah: "We are called to act with justice, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with God," he said. "Instead of hearing about the church plans to exclude groups of people from God's table, I would rather hear how the church could be a place where we are all truly welcome."
  • John Tobin, another city councilor, said, "I don't fault the cardinal. . . . I'm sure he feels a lot of frustration. But there are Catholics and Catholic politicians who feel frustrated with the church sometimes."
  • "I don't recall in my lifetime any leader of the Catholic church making such a bold partisan statement," said Philip Johnston, a former state Democratic Party chairman who is also Catholic. "I think it's very regrettable."

I think the above quotes are pretty regrettable.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Response to O'Malley by College of the Holy Cross prof

Within hours of Cardinal O'Malley's remarks regarding pro-abortion leaders and Catholics who vote for them, "Catholic Studies" teacher David O'Brien hits back, in a column hosted by—who else—the Boston Globe.

The gist of the teacher's point seems to be a call for support of HR 6067: "a package of programs with broad support designed to prevent unwanted pregnancies and support parents and families."

Alas, mourns O'Brien, the Church won't support this legislation: "because the bill includes support for education about contraception."


Hey, teach? While realizing you're billed as a "professor of Catholic studies" at good o' Holy Cross, here's a newsflash for you (make sure you take notes here):

Artificial contraception, which is what you're talking about, interferes with human life—which, by the way, the Church considers sacred. Like your life, for example, and my life. The Church considers both sacred. Ditto the lives of the students you teach. Sacred. Got that? Good. Try and squeeze that in to your next course on "Catholic Studies," will ya? Thanks.

(By the way, does the bill you're shilling include anything on natural family planning?)

O'Brien concedes that:

"In practice the Catholic community reaches out to support women with unwanted pregnancies..."

Not just "in practice" but in fact. Small point but worth making. But evidently that's not enough because the rest of the sentence reads:

"...but when women with reservations about the church's position on abortion prevention attempted to address the hierarchy, they were firmly rejected."


Professor O'Brien. If I came to you with "reservations" about your right to teach, your right to tenure, your right to ride the bleepin' subway, for crying out loud, would you welcome me with open arms? I suspect I would be "firmly rejected."

Can anybody read the column and tell me what this guy is talking about? And explain to me what a professor in a supposedly Catholic college means by "common ground on abortion?"

Thursday, November 15, 2007

O'Malley: Catholics backing pro-abortion candidates "borders on scandal"

From today's Boston Globe:

In his sharpest comments about the political landscape since he was installed as archbishop of Boston four years ago, O'Malley made clear that, despite his differences with the Republican Party over immigration policy, capital punishment, economic issues, and the war in Iraq, he views abortion as the most important moral issue facing policymakers.

"I think the Democratic Party, which has been in many parts of the country traditionally the party which Catholics have supported, has been extremely insensitive to the church's position, on the gospel of life in particular, and on other moral issues," O'Malley said.

More here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Safety of unborn children undermined more by Massachusetts legislature and governor

BOSTON (Reuters) - Massachusetts enacted the toughest restrictions in the United States on protesters at abortion clinics on Tuesday with a law that forces them to stay 35 feet away.

The law signed by Gov. Deval Patrick takes immediate effect and expands on legislation from 2000 that sought to keep protesters 6 feet from a patient within an 18-foot (5.4-metre) zone outside the state's 10 clinics that perform abortions.

The state government said in a statement that the old law, especially the 6-foot rule, had proven difficult to enforce.

"By widening the buffer zone around reproductive clinics, we will protect patients from the harassment that so many have encountered as they seek care," said Patrick, a Democrat.

Governor Patrick? Legislature folk? You are lying. Period.

Unless you consider hearing Rosaries prayed or receiving information providing alternatives to what anybody with any sense at all would consider a drastic and dangerous measure "harassment," you're flat out lying.

(On the other hand, the babies who are killed may rightly claim "harassment.")

Since this was framed as "emergency" legislation, the bill went into effect today. (Off topic, perhaps, but one wonders why the legislature couldn't act maybe a decade or so faster to, for example, finish the bleeping "big dig.")

What this means is that women and men contemplating abortion will have less or perhaps no access to alternative choices.

And that more babies will be legislated to death.

Not incidentally, I have heard nary a protest of this legislation from the Archdiocese of Boston.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Pope plans U.S. visit April 15-20, 2008


His Holiness plans to visit these shores this spring, specifically, Washington, D.C. and NYC.

This is rather cool, since the visit coincides with both the Pope's 81st birthday and the third anniversary of his election as Vicar of Christ.

Boston, alas, isn't on the itinerary.

Among those saddened by Boston's loss of the papal visit are:

Me. I'd offered a spare room close to Boston's Cathedral of the Holy Cross, sheesh. FREE, even! 'Course, this renders a cleaning chore unnecessary, so that's alright.

Anne Barrett Doyle (google her...I'm not giving her any easy ink) who's p.o.'d at the missed opportunity to insult the Pontiff. The woman actually believes the Pope is "afraid" of her idiotic protests.

David Clohessy (ditto on the googling thing) who once upon a time sounded like a sensible fellow but now, like Doyle, acts like a professional whiner.


One reason the Pope may not have Boston in his travel plans has to do with timing...his visit coincides with the eve of the running of the Boston Marathon.

Or, he just might not have the time.

Or, he might not have ever considered it. Hard as it is for Bostonians to believe, New York and D.C. are sorta major cities when compared to us.

In any case, this country should feel honored to host such a prince of the Church.

Long live the Pope!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veterans Day, Martin of Tours, and November

Today, November 11, is Veterans Day. It is also the memorial of Saint Martin of Tours, who is the patron saint of...soldiers!

And, it's November, the month we devote especially to praying for the souls of the dead.

To top it all off, today's readings focus on our resurrection.

All in all, a great day.

Thank you, vets...and may God bless you.

Friday, November 09, 2007

A martyr's last letter to his earthly love

This one is wonderful. The day before he was executed during the religious persecution of Spain in the 1930s, Bartolomé Blanco Márquez wrote a beautiful letter to his girlfriend Maruja. Thanks to Zenit for the translation. Please do read it.

¡Viva Cristo Rey!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Ambassador Glendon and the Boston Globe: what "mixed" views?

Gotta love the cutting edge reporting of The Boston Globe, especially in the story headlined "Views mixed on Bush pick for envoy to Vatican."

If you read the article, the only one (besides Father Richard McBrien who really doesn't offer a personal opinion on Glendon herself) who had anything negative to say about the appointee is — get ready! — the president of "Catholics" for a Free Choice, who called her a "reactionary."

Be prepared for equally incredible revelations, including:

Boiling water is hot!

Ice is cold!

French fries aren't really French!

Meanwhile, prayers for Mary Ann Glendon are appreciated.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Giving birth control to children redux

( - A conservative legal group demanded on Monday that a school district in Maine abandon its policy of distributing prescription contraceptives to students as young as 11 years old without parental consent or become the target of a lawsuit to have the policy struck down.

(I blogged about this school here.)

You don't have to be a "conservative" to recognize that giving children birth control devices without parental consent is just plain wrong. Even Hillary Clinton thinks that —at least!—parents should be involved. (Ah, what feasts we make of crumbs.)

Monday, November 05, 2007

Presidential Medal of Freedom winners: reason #2,0983 for being glad I voted for Bush

Among the winners:

Henry Hyde. The Illinois Republican served for 32 years in the House, where he was known for his battles against abortion rights and his leading role in the impeachment of President Clinton. He was honored as a "powerful defender of life" and an advocate for strong national defense...

Oscar Elias Biscet. A human rights advocate and champion of freedoms in Cuba, Biscet is a political prisoner in Cuba who is being recognized for his fight against tyranny and oppression.

(Which includes abortion, although you've got to google a bit to read this mentioned. To save time, go here. H/T to Cardinal O'Malley, among others.)

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Archbishop Chaput talks about a certain society...

In his October 26 address at Saint John's University School of Law in New York, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver sketches "an anonymous society:"

This society is advanced in the sciences and the arts. It has a complex economy and a strong military. It includes many different religions, although religion tends to be a private affair or a matter of civic ceremony.

This particular society also has big problems. Among them is that fertility rates remain below replacement levels. There aren't enough children being born to replenish the current adult population and to do the work needed to keep society going. The government offers incentives to encourage people to have more babies. But nothing seems to work.

Promiscuity is common and accepted. So are bisexuality and homosexuality. So is prostitution. Birth control and abortion are legal, widely practiced, and justified by society's leading intellectuals.

Every now and then, a lawmaker introduces a measure to promote marriage, arguing that the health and future of society depend on stable families. These measures typically go nowhere.

Ok. What society am I talking about? Our own country, of course, would broadly fit this description. But I'm not talking about us.

I've just outlined the conditions of the Mediterranean world at the time of Christ...

Read the whole thing here.

A timely public service message from the lady in the pew:



My name is Kelly Clark...and I approve of this message.

Friday, November 02, 2007

"Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed..." (Wisdom 3)

I therefore encourage Catholics to pray fervently for the dead, for their family members and for all our brothers and sisters who have died, that they may obtain the remission of the punishments due to their sins and may hear the Lord’s call: “Come, O my dear soul, to eternal repose in the arms of my goodness, which has prepared eternal delights for you” (Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life, 17, 4).

From the Vatican, 2 June 1998, Ionnes Paulus PP. II

Eternal rest grant on to them o Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Another example of God's kindness

We were talking after Mass today (All Saints Day) about the miracle requirements for canonization and how strict they are.

Afterward, though, I reflected on how kind God is to allow these miracles to occur in the first place. After all, He could easily and quite justifiably demand unconditional faith in Him and in His promise of everlasting life.

Yet, as still another demonstration of His overwhelming love for us, He allows miracles to happen, thereby helping to boost our hope...and our faith.

Indeed, we are blessed by the Good God!

Thank you, Frank T. Wells of Center Harbor, NH...your timing is perfect!

From today's Gospel on the Feast of All Saints:

Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me.

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in Heaven.

Matthew 5:11-12

From today's Boston Globe letters section:

So, the good reverend at St. Joseph's School in Wakefield has banned Harry Potter books because the themes of witchcraft and sorcery were inappropriate for a Catholic school (City & Region, Oct. 25). Really? How about transubstantiation, immaculate conception, virgin birth, walking on water, resurrection? Sounds a little Dumbledorish to me.

Frank T. Wells
Center Harbor, N.H.

Pray for Mister Wells. (And rejoice and be glad!)