Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Same-sex civil unions? Not in Hawaii

HONOLULU --Hawaii lawmakers effectively killed a proposal to create civil unions for gay couples by declining to vote on the legislation.

(The Aloha state also boasts incredible weather!)

Proponents of the homosexual civil unions bill wanted "the legal benefits granted to married couples, such as tax breaks, adoption rights and health benefits."

"For me, it's very clear cut that it's gender discrimination," said Scott Orton, who is gay. "I would like to take on a partner in the future and have the same rights as a married person."

Scott? You can do this. You have the same access to these rights as anyone else. All you have to do is get a woman. Because that's what marriage is: a unity between a male and a female. How the bleep is this "gender discrimination"?

The Hawaii Catholic Church nails it:

"This is essentially a re-examination of the same-sex marriage issue except with a different title," said Kelly Rosati, a spokeswoman for the Hawaii Catholic Church and executive director for the Hawaii Family Forum.

Like Massachusetts, the Hawaii Supreme Court tried to legalize same-sex "marriages" about ten years ago.

Unlike Massachusetts, the state had the gumption to, in a constitutional amendment, define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Monday, February 26, 2007

To the unborn Bettinelli babe...

Dearest Francis or Frances,

Please pray for your mom and dad.


their friend and yours,


The unborn baby of Dom and Melanie Bettinelli died yesterday. Melanie tells us about it here. I know you'll pray for them. Thanks.

"Your Lent Superstore"

Saint Blog's Curt Jester does it again...and as with so many of his parodies, he's what Mark Shea calls "disturbingly funny."

Sunday, February 25, 2007

"We love Jesus" chant results in "sensitivity training:

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- A Catholic school principal has organized sensitivity training for students who shouted, ''We love Jesus,'' at a basketball game against a school with Jewish students.

That just sounds plain dumb to me.

Apparently the Catholic school fans and the public school fans exchanged "chants" during the game. This is pretty normal for rivaling fans in any athletic competition, in my experience.

The Catholic school principal was offended by the "We love Jesus" cheers.

''It was obviously in reference to the Jewish population of Norfolk Academy; that's the only way you can take that,'' he said.

Whether this is true or not isn't the point. What is the point is that "sensitivity training" is not the answer.

What these students of this Catholic school might need far more is a lesson in the Second Commandment.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Bishop Tobin: "another reason to pray for forgiveness..."

Earlier this week, [Rhode Island] Attorney General Patrick Lynch issued a non-binding opinion saying that he sees nothing in Rhode Island law preventing the state from recognizing same-sex unions performed in Massachusetts.

In a written statement, Bishop Thomas Tobin says Lynch's thinking has been influenced by the "relentless gay agenda."

The Catholic Bishop of Providence says it's ironic Lynch's decision was announced on Ash Wednesday, which starts a traditional period of repentance and prayer. Tobin calls the decision another reason to pray for forgiveness.


A question about ashes

A reader writes:

I attended the 9 am Ash Wednesday Mass this morning, after which I went
almost directly to work at 11 am, and worked until about 8 pm. I kept
the ash on my forehead the whole time. All day long I got comments from
co-workers and customers, mostly saying something to the effect of,
"What's that on your forehead?" One co-worker even said, in a somewhat
hushed tone reserved for those who have forgotten to zip up, "Um, I
don't know if anyone's told you, but you've got something on your
forehead." (By that time, the shape of the Cross had smudged away
somewhat.) Out of all the people I encountered who made reference to it,
only one customer knew what it was, and matter-of-factly asked me if I
knew what time the evening Mass was going to be.

Now I've never been to a Catholic church up until I
started the RCIA classes a few months ago, but I have been in Lutheran
churches which have a very similar service on Ash Wednesday (I actually
attended a Lutheran high school), and the tradition there was, you kept
the ash on your forehead all day, or until it wore off, whichever came
first. And everything I read since then implies, although never directly
states, that as Catholics we do the same. However, my wife, who grew up
Catholic, says she never heard of keeping the ash for the whole day and
seemed surprised I had done it.

So, please tell me, which is it?

I think it depends on who you ask. Last night, Cardinal O'Malley said in his sermon that he'd been pleased to see so many people during the day with ashes on their foreheads, proclaiming their Christianity.

On the other hand, a deacon once told me he thought keeping the ashes on went against yesterday's Gospel injunction against appearing ostentatious in piety.

I tend to hold the Cardinal's view, although I sympathize with the deacon's.

(Frankly, I'm rather amazed that so many people didn't realize what the "dirt" on your forehead signified!)

In any case, it's important to remember that the ashes you received yesterday are blessed, and as such, should be reverently disposed of. I was taught to carefully remove the ashes with a tissue, and then burn the tissue.

Anybody care to share their thoughts on this? Thanks!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Remembering that you are dust...

A blessed Lent to you!

Today was a grace-filled day for me. I attended Ash Wednesday Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross which was celebrated by Sean Cardinal O'Malley, and concelebrated by Cathedral rector Father John Connolly and Father Richard Kickham.

As a bonus, I received a Lenten reflection from Father Dave at Saint Francis Chapel:

"Write up your own obituary, just as you would like to be remembered as."

I thought about it and ended up with a four sentence obit.

What would you write?

Monday, February 19, 2007

A prayer for faith

One of the most poignant lines in the Bible, for me, is in today's Gospel. After Jesus chastises his disciples for their faithlessness; after he challenges the faith of a father of a boy possessed, the father responds, with complete honesty and humility:

I do believe! Help my unbelief!

It's a prayer I would do well to repeat, 70 x 70 a day.

Domenico Bettinelli: a gracious host, indeed!

I don't know about you, but a stop at is pretty much a daily practice for me. I like the way he finds stuff, find his analyses interesting, and, since I'm lazy, I appreciate the fact that he notifies a participant like me, via email, when someone else comments on a topic in which he or she has expressed an interest.

You'd think that'd be enough, right?

But wait...there's more!

Notice at the top of Dom's blog is a pretty much made-to-order Google News Search engine for Catholics, using the key words (as far as I can count) "Catholic," "Vatican," and "Pope."

This is very cool for bloggers and blog readers alike.

I often find myself using Google News to see what's going on in, say, the [keyword] "Catholic" world. It takes time, but it's often worth it.

Now Dom makes the job simpler.

You can click on the key word on the left itself (let's say it's flashing "Vatican") and whamo, you're at Google News with the latest stories on what's going on in the Holy See.


You can just watch the ticker and see if any opening to a story catches your eye. The bonus here is that before deciding to click on it -- let's say you're intrigued by the opening words of a story about Michelangelo -- you can see the source of the story. If the source happens to be "Queer Daily News" you may opt to bypass it. Or maybe not. If the source of the story is "Inside the Vatican," you may decide to follow it up.

The point is, it's a terrific resource.

As is Bettnet.Com.

Disclaimer: Dom's a friend. But even if I didn't know him, I'd consider his site top notch. Because it is. He's taken geekiness to new heights and everybody, Catholic or not, can benefit greatly from it.

Domenico Bettinelli: Better Blogging through Bettnet.

Thanks, Domenico!

Today we celebrate WASHINGTON'S BIRTHDAY

Not "Presidents Day." Nor "President's Day."

Not even a combination of the birthdays of Presidents Washington and Lincoln.

Happy birthday to the Father of our country!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Mayor rejects Catholic call to end free bullet-proof vest program

Dopeyville -- Dopeyville Mayor Mickey Mouseberg has rejected calls by the Catholic Church to end its program of offering free bullet-proof vests.

The mayor explains that the vests will stop the penetration of bullets into human flesh, adding, "This is not an issue of faith, this is a health issue for the city."

Catholic authorities criticized Mouseberg in a statement saying he's failed "to protect the moral tone of our community when they encourage inappropriate murder attempts by blanketing our neighborhoods with bullet-proof vests."

"The taxpayer money that is being spent to distribute vests and promote the attitude that anything goes would be far better spent in fostering what is true and what is decent."

However, Mouseberg fired back against the statement saying, "they should preach to their congregants what they think is the appropriate ways to live your lives, but the health department has to work with the real world of people not practicing safe pot-shots, not practicing abstaining from murder, and this is a way to keep people alive."

Dopeyville has contracted Stupid Life Styles to supply the 1.5 million vests the Big Dopey gives away each month. This Valentine's Day the city also unveiled a new design, with volunteers handing the free vests out across the city in commemoration of the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

More sublime than the most exquisite valentine...

Perfect Love Personified.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Edwards staffer quits in a snit: press blames "conservatives"

RALEIGH, N.C. Feb 12, 2007 (AP)— One of the chief campaign bloggers for Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards quit Monday after conservative critics raised questions about her history of provocative online messages.

That would be the lovely and talented Amanda Marcotte.

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, demanded last week that Edwards fire Marcotte and a second blogger, Melissa McEwan, for remarks he deemed anti-Catholic. Edwards, a former North Carolina senator, called the messages personally offensive, but decided to keep Marcotte and McEwan on staff.

Miss Marcotte appears...hurt.

"No matter what you think about the campaign, I signed on to be a supporter and a tireless employee for them, and if I can't do the job I was hired to do because Bill Donohue doesn't have anything better to do with his time than harass me, then I won't do it," Marcotte wrote Monday night.

That's not all she wrote last Monday:

Earlier Monday, Marcotte wrote on her personal Web site, "The Christian version of the virgin birth is generally interpreted as super-patriarchal, where … women are nothing but vessels."

One hopes Miss Marcotte grows up as faster than she grows wearisome.

Monday, February 12, 2007

How Cain screwed up

In today's First Reading, Cain killed his brother. Why?

He was jealous.

He needn't have been.

Cain made the supreme error of believing that God "loved" Abel more than He loved Cain. Not true. God preferred Abel's offering over Cain's, but, like the good Father He is, that didn't diminish His love for the latter.

Cain made a common mistake...I've been there myself.

Have you?

Have you ever misinterpretted another's superior "looks," (and we can devote an entire post to this silly notion alone!) skills, accomplishments, possessions and the like to mean that this other person was somehow "better" than you? I have. And, having inherited human nature, this mistake has often lead to envy...jealousy...which in turn leads not just to coveting another's gifts, but actually resenting the other for having them in the first place.

And resentment leads to dislike and, if we're not careful, hatred, and hatred leads to murder...if not in fact then certainly in one's heart.

Envy, or jealousy, is for good reason numbered among the major sins. It stems, of course, from Pride -- the grand daddy of all sin.

Pray that you and I don't fall for the "green-eyed monster" which is what Satan dangles before us every chance he gets.

By the way...anybody know where the expression "green-eyed monster" comes from?

Bonus: how 'bout telling us, along as you're at it, why jealousy is considered "green?"

(Hint: same source, two different instances of use that I know of.)

And remember: "...a demon is lurking at the door; his urge is toward you, but you can be his master."

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Banned posts: an apology


If you've posted here and find you've been "banned" from doing so, it's probably not your fault.

Some birdbrain, so I discovered today, has been spamming this blog for the past month in the Halo Scan comment boxes. So with Every Good Intention I tried to (a) delete the offending comments and (b) ban the commenters.

I did both but inadvertently deleted some legitimate comments and am afraid I "banned" some legitimate commenters! Unfortunately, I'm not sure who they are. It's one o' those...uh...technical things that make my head spin.

If you are among those unfairly deleted and/or banned, please let me know...and accept my apology in advance.

If, on the other hand, you deserve to be banned from this site -- and you know who you are -- then go fly a kite.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

World Day of the Sick: February 11, 2007

We are all terminally ill.

But there are among us who are suffering from the pains of near death.

For the fifteenth year, February 11 -- the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes -- has been designated by the Magisterium of the Catholic Church as a day to reflect on, and pray for those, who are in the final stages of life here on earth, and for those who care for them.

“The church turns her eyes to those who suffer and call attention to the incurably ill, many of whom are dying from terminal diseases,” he said. “They are found on every continent, particularly in places where poverty and hardship cause immense misery and grief.”

If you are suffering from the pains of terminal illness, the Holy Father asks that, amid your own sufferings, you reflect on the sufferings of the crucified Christ, place your trust in God's hands, and know that your pains, united to those of Jesus, will prove fruitful for the needs of His Church and His world.

If you know of those suffering from incurable illness -- and you do, of course -- please pray for them, for their caretakers, and for the grace to face the inevitable end of our own earthly journeys with courage and complete trust in Jesus Christ.

Pray for the grace to emulate Jesus, Who, during His final hours on earth, frankly admitted His agony to our Father, and yet submitted obediently to His Will.

Pray with me now:

Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed by Thy Name!
Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Mary, health of the sick, pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette, pray for us.

Prayer. It's not just a pious thing to's great for your health.


Friday, February 09, 2007

Don't mess with "Mister In-Between" (that would be Satan)

From today's first reading:

“Did God really tell you not to eat from any of the trees in the garden?"

In other words: "Are you sure that what I'm going to tempt you to do is all that bad? I mean really bad?

Satan is "Mister In-Between."

Note that he didn't say: "Aw, heck, just tell God to jump in the lake."

No, no! He seduced the willing-to-be-seduced Eve into becoming luke warm. Into justifying herself by convincing herself that maybe, just maybe, God didn't really mean for her to deny herself the pleasure of...disobeying Him.

This happens to me all the time.

Take fasting, for instance. Why is it that exactly one hour before Mass I sometimes think to myself: "Self, does God really want me to go hungry?" (This, while looking at a Milky Way candy bar, of course.)

And I think it happens to a lot of people.

Take abortion...please.

Imagine -- no you don't even have to imagine, you can hear it from Catholics everywhere, in words more or less like these:

"Does God really want you to spoil your whole life because of a baby? After all, God loves you, He wants you to be happy, right?"

Or homosexuality:

"Did God really tell you to deprive yourself of pleasure? Oh, dear, think about it...doesn't God love you and want you to enjoy yourself in this world He created...just for you?


The Prince of Lies is terrific at avoiding the truth. He'll never come out and say "God is Bad. You must disobey Him." No way! What he'll do -- what he does all the time! -- is try and seduce us into believing (although we really don't believe it) that we can slither ourselves between Good and Evil...that Good is relative, really...and that there's no such thing as "Really Bad."

More examples:

"Catholics for a Free Choice."

"Call to Action."

"Voice of the `Faithful."

And take me, as another example. And perhaps, you too.

Don't fall for this guy.

Don't even listen to him. This is not easy because he's sweet-talking us all the time. All the time this guy is trying to convince you that "what God calls `sin' is really not all that big of a deal." That "don't worry, be happy" is the anthem of humanity.

Don't fall for it.

Our first parents did and the war is still going on...albeit we got a reprieve and help in that Sacrifice God made Man gave us a couple of thousand years ago.

Accentuate the good...eliminate the bad.

And tell that bleeping enemy to get lost.


You gotta accentuate the positive,
Eliminate the negative,
Latch on to the affirmative and

Don't mess with him, friend.

God bless you!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

John Edwards: "personally offended, but..."

From The Candidate's blog:

The tone and the sentiment of some of Amanda Marcotte's and Melissa McEwan's posts personally offended me. It's not how I talk to people, and it's not how I expect the people who work for me to talk to people. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but that kind of intolerant language will not be permitted from anyone on my campaign, whether it's intended as satire, humor, or anything else.

That's tellin' em!

But I also believe in giving everyone a fair shake. I've talked to Amanda and Melissa; they have both assured me that it was never their intention to malign anyone's faith, and I take them at their word. We're beginning a great debate about the future of our country, and we can't let it be hijacked.

Uh...that would be not tellin' em.

From Amanda Marcotte, we are advised:

One thing I vow here and now–you mother******s who want to ban birth control will never sleep. I will **** without making children day in and out and you will know it and you won’t be able to stop it. Toss and turn, you mean, jealous mother******s. I’m not going to be “punished” with babies. Which makes all your efforts a failure.

No maligning of anybody's faith here, right?

Last December, dear Amanda opined that the Roman Catholic Church’s opposition to the use of contraception forced women “to bear more tithing Catholics.”

That's just harmless opinion. No anti-religion going on here, right?

The -- uh -- "ladies" have been retained by candidate Edwards to help get him elected president of the United States. Because, after all, they deserve a "fair shake."

I'd like to give 'em a "fair shake" all right.


"It is not good for man to be alone"

I don't know about you, but I'm loving the Genesis readings we've been hearing the past few days at Mass. Today's is it we learn how God, the Creator of all, created marriage when he created woman.

Adam's reaction to God's gift of Eve is delightful:

“This one, at last, is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
this one shall be called ‘woman,’
for out of “her man’ this one has been taken.”


Friday, February 02, 2007

The Presentation of the Lord...joyful and sorrowful

Simeon is joyful:

He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: "Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel."

The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple is the Fourth Joyful Mystery of the Rosary.

Yet this fact is, as Simeon foretells about Jesus himself, "a sign of contradition."

Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, "Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted, and you yourself a sword will pierce, so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."

Simeon's prophesy is also the first of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady. Joy and sorrow meld together, and this is a good thing.

Like Simeon, and like Anna, we have been given the miraculous gift of intimate Communion with Jesus Christ, present in Tabernacles throughout the world, present in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, present within us as we receive Him in the Blessed Sacrament.

Lent is approaching.

Again, the joy and sorrow our Faith demands is with us. Today, we rejoice with Simeon as he cradles the Messiah, as we receive Our Savior. Soon, God willing, we will welcome the final stage of catechumens and candidates as, on the First Sunday of Lent, they and we celebrate the Rite of Election.

Good Friday soon follows.

And as Simeon foretells, a sword shall pierce our hearts as we relive those hours of agony that only the purest of love could offer us.

And then...and then...Easter.

Twenty days from now, God willing, we will begin to repent in earnest. For forty days, we will make ourselves strong through prayer and fasting.

And then there will be Easter.

Joy, and sorrow, and glory.

That's what being Catholic is all about.

A blessed Candlemas to you!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

A message for you from Cody's Aunt Denise

Cody opened his eyes and looked at his mom today and whispered "mom!!!!!!" Praise God!!! This is the best news that they have had for well over 3 months. They took him home today and all are doing well. It will be a hard road ahead, but their faith and the prayers of hundreds of people have kept them strong.

God bless you for your part in this!



I, too, thank you for the prayers. Keep 'em up, please, and if you haven't sent me a birthday greeting for Cody that I can forward to Denise, please consider doing so. Use the "email Kelly" button on the left. While you can add to the automatic subject line, please leave the words "Lady in the Pew" intact so my filter doesn't try to snatch it away. Thanks!