Friday, February 29, 2008

Father Frank Pavone on "sitting out" the election

What’s this I hear from some people that they might “sit out” the Presidential election because they aren’t comfortable with the likely choice of candidates?

Since when are elections supposed to make us “comfortable?” Since when do we exercise that right to vote, for which people fought and died, only when it’s easy and clear-cut, and our choices are just the way we want them to be?

At Mass we pray, “I confess to Almighty God…that I have sinned…in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do…”

What we fail to do can make us just as guilty as what we do. A sin is a wrong choice, and to decide not to do something is just as much of a choice as to decide to do something.

A sin of omission is still a sin - and we are still responsible for the results.

Read the whole blog might not make you "comfortable," but more important than that, it'll give you solid, Catholic reasons not to "sit this one out."

(H/T to Michele Peate of Unborn Word of the Day.)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Thanks, Father Dan Kennedy

Catholics and the Komen "Race for the Cure"...and Lent

First, here's a link to why the Diocese of Little Rock, Arkansas discourages Catholics from participating in the Susan G. Komen "Race for the Cure" fund raiser. In a nutshell:

The international organization raises millions annually for the detection, treatment and research of breast cancer. A portion of the money nationally is given to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings. Planned Parenthood is also the largest provider of abortions in the United States.

But do read the whole thing. It'll prepare you, perhaps for the amazing amount of lion-tossing found in the com boxes of this blog:

It's Lent, of course.

Still, truth is important to me and this line from the blogger perplexes me:

In some places, not Arkansas, Planned Parenthood is an abortion provider.


Then what does this mean?

Lies. Still, it's Lent. Offer it up, I guess.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"What have you done for your marriage today?"

I heard an ad on the radio today and would've sworn it was one of those rather good commercials created by the Church of Latter Day Saints.

It wasn't. The sponsor of the ad was the Catholic Communications Campaign and gave this website.

It's actually quite good! The videos are fun, the tips are cute, and the search feature—as a test, I entered "contraception"—seems to offer no-nonsense, straight-to-the-point info.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Pray for priests...pray for MORE priests!

Back in January, Zenit ran an article stressing the need to pray for priests, especially women.

Spiritual mothers

“Regardless of age and marital status, all women can become spiritual mothers for a priest,” he explained. He [ Cardinal Hummes, prefect for the Congregation for Clergy] said the commitment implies praying “for a specific priest and thus accompanying him for life,” usually anonymously.

I think this is great. But I'm asking for more...

More priests! More good priests!

When Lent began, I started asking God for the following:

Heavenly, Most Adorable, and All Loving Father, please send more good priests to work in the vineyard of Your Son. I know you hear my prayer. I trust that you will answer it, because I ask you this favor through Jesus Christ, Who with You and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.

Since beginning this prayer, the following has happened in chronological order.

1.) A local priest died.
2.) A priest in residence at my parish...left the parish.
3.) An Archdiocesan priest left the priesthood, and today I learned that...
4.) A former rector of Saint Francis Chapel in Boston drowned in a boating accident last Saturday.

I still know that God my Father hears my prayers. I still trust that He will answer them.

I'm asking you to join me.

Thank you.

P.S. Please, too, pray for the souls of Father Jim Nibler, his brother Lawrence and their friend Curtis Heuer, and for the consolation of their families. Thanks.

Friday, February 22, 2008

And for those of you who wonder why anyone would vote for Obama...the definitive answer!

He's got the right message and the right delivery at the right time. I mean,
everytime I hear him speak, i have this guilty suspicion that i'm getting
suckered...but I just don't care.

"Yes we can't! Yes we can't! Yes we can't!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lazarus, the rich man, and the unborn

Today's Gospel is the familiar parable of Lazarus and the rich man.

Fully expecting a homily that—and rightly so—would instruct the congregation on the necessity of noticing and feeding the hungry, I heard instead a no-holds-barred condemnation of the modern day "rich man"...those who ignore the plight of the unborn.

"Who are the Lazarus' of today? The unborn who are murdered brutally on a daily basis!" The words of the soft-spoken homilist, Father Gregory Staab, temporarily pitch-hitting at Saint Francis Chapel, ripped through the hushed worship space.

And those emulating the rich man?

Father Greg spoke of an abortion debate at Boston College he attended back maybe 15 years ago. The pro-life debater and the audience waited and waited for the pro-choice counterpart to show up. He never did.

After an hour or so, the pro-life speaker told the gathering that such was often the case.

When it came to slogans and signs and rhetoric, you could always count on a pro-choicer to be visible and loud. But call for a logical analysis of the issue and the pro-choice advocate tends to eschew the opportunity.

And this was over a decade ago.

Today, as Father Greg pointed out, it is scientifically impossible to deny that abortion snuffs out a human life. Which is why we don't hear these days much about "abortion rights" but more stuff like keeping abortion "safe" and "rare" and, of

Upon reflection, I am thinking that the modern day "rich man" is not so much limited to the dedicated pro-choicer...but also includes those of us, including myself, who, while in complete comprehension of the atrocity which is abortion, have grown weary of the fight.

This weariness must not be allowed to overtake us. Because if it does, Satan will laugh, Jesus will cry, and we will ultimately end up not in the bosom of Christ but in the eternal death of Hell.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tonight's lunar eclipse...

This isn't my picture...I was too enthralled to hold my camera steady.

Lord, how great Thou art!

Photo courtesy

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

On the other hand, speaking of Obama the man...

I don't think slack need be cut for the Senator who just won Wisconsin. In listening to his speech in Texas, it is clear to me that this guy shouldn't have been elected dog catcher.

"At no time has change been more necessary in the United States."

No kidding? You mean that we need change in this country now, more than, say, when blacks were slaves?

That we need more change now, than when women were denied the right to vote?

"Every American child needs to be nurtured," I just heard the Senator say. Do tell. How about a "change" in a country that allows untold numbers of children to be brutally murdered every day?


Pray for this fellow. But cut him no slack.

(Give his wife break, though.)

Michelle Obama and cutting slack time

Look, there are so many reasons not to vote for Obama but his wife's inane (and in my mind, unthinking) comment— "...for the first time in my adult life I am really proud of my country...—simply isn't one of them.

Yes, it was a stupid thing to say.

(And yes, one might find many stupid things people have said...explore this blog, for example.)

But cut the lady some slack on this one. Please.

Just don't vote for her husband.

Monday, February 18, 2008

James Carroll nails it in his first paragraph...

As the priest began his sermon, he had trouble with the sound system, and muttered, "There's something wrong with this microphone." To which the congregation automatically replied, "And also with you."

Exactly! The banal, rote, and incidentally redundant and absurdly inelegant response requires no thought, no prayer, no...holiness.

Unfortunately Carroll loses it in the second.

That joke, told to me by a priest, takes off from the ritual exchange between priest and Mass-goers: "The Lord be with you," answered by "And also with you." It assumes a certain level of communication between clergy and congregation - the use of a common language.

It assumes nothing of the kind. It assumes, rather, a robotic response that has nothing to do with prayer, or even common courtesy.

The column is, unsurprisingly, still another dreary rant against the Magisterium...this time another hack job at the Tridentine Mass. The errors in the column are startling, even to me.

For example:

But the Latin Mass published by the Vatican last year resuscitated the conversion insult, praying on Good Friday that God "lift the veil" from "Jewish blindness."

Uh...correct me if I'm wrong but no Mass is celebrated on Good Friday.

The second most important change to take place in the Catholic Church in my lifetime was the substitution of vernacular tongues for Latin in the Mass. When it is the whole people saying, "And also with you," instead of a solitary altar boy reciting "Et cum spiritu tuo," nothing less than the democratic principle is being affirmed.

Mr. Carroll's chauvinism is showing. He is assuming that the English "translation" of the Mass is the one-and-only.

Not true, Mr. Carroll. If you'd ever, for example, participated in a Spanish language Mass, you would discover that the congregation responds to the celebrant in the very same way you deplore: And with your spirit.

The "Jewish insult" thing is, perhaps, something to be taken up in another post. (But frankly I'm tired of the whining.)

I love people. I'm bound to, as commanded by my Heavenly Father and His Son. Therefore it is only natural to give my hearty "Amen" to this prayer:

"Almighty and eternal God, long ago You gave your promise to Abraham and his posterity. Listen to Your Church as we pray that the people you first made your own may arrive at the fullness of redemption. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen."

Or however the Holy Father wants to put it.

You know, I'm sorry if people are "insulted" by prayers on their behalf, but there's more important things to worry about...salvation for all comes immediately to mind.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Peter Phillips can't be king, on accounta he's marrying a Catholic

When the Princess Royal's son, Peter Phillips, marries his Canadian fiancee, Autumn Kelly, at St George's chapel in Windsor in May, he will give up any hope of being crowned king of England...

Peter Phillips is Princess Anne's son. (They live in England.)

Her Majesty's eldest grandson, who is 11th in line to the throne, has been forced to make the decision because Autumn was baptised a Catholic. It is a provision of the 1701 Act of Settlement, which enshrined the Protestant ascendancy, that monarchs and their heirs are forbidden to become or even marry Catholics.

In cases like these—you know, abdicating rights to thrones and all that—I always choose to look at the bright side. Like, you gotta know that the wedding will be a blast!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Father Edward McDonough, R.I.P.

Father Edward McDonough, CSSR, died. Perhaps appropriately, he died on the 150th anniversary of Our Lady's first appearance at Lourdes. I know him. In many ways, he was an instrument God used to change my life.

Requiescat in pace
, dearest man. See here and here and please pray for his soul. Thank you.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hope for Judeo-Christian unity?

The Archdiocese of Boston and the Anti-Defamation League are partnering to teach Jews about Christianity. According to The Boston Globe's Michael Paulson:

...interest in Christianity among Jewish educators has been growing in part for one simple reason: the high rate of interfaith marriages. Many Jewish educators now teach children who have a Christian parent or grandparents.

I'd like to think it's more than that.

The world's largest faith is often mentioned in Jewish schools largely in negative contexts - the Crusades and the Holocaust. But the advocates of the New Directions program are arguing that Jewish teachers should be able to answer questions about Christianity accurately and respectfully both for moral reasons - because it's the right thing to do - and practical ones - because many children in Jewish schools have Christian relatives, and most live in predominantly Christian communities.

I'd like to think "because it's the right thing to do" trumps the "practical" considerations. Or that maybe the "practical" considerations are God's tool in bringing this effort about.

The story is both hopeful and frustrating to me. Mostly hopeful, thank God.

"What has struck me, and I include myself in this, is how little Jews know about Christianity," said Diane Rosenbaum, the senior associate director of the Anti-Defamation League's New England region. "As Jewish educators, it is important to know about other traditions so you can teach about them with the same respect you want Judaism taught with."


The blithe comment about "the Crusades and the Holocaust" is disturbing, of course. But perhaps this effort will enable a deeper understanding of the misunderstandings so entrenched in these events.

Catholic educator Celia Sirois co-runs the program with her Jewish counterpart, Naomi Towvin. The story notes that Sirois spent 45 minutes answering a question about The Trinity.

Don't even try, Celia! :-)

Pray that this effort bears much fruit.

And may the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob bless us all abundantly during this holy season, and always.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Mary: isn't it about time to recognize Her for Who She is?

No, my Protestant friends. I am not suggesting in the least that the Mother of God is a "goddess."

And yet I agree wholeheartedly with the cardinals who are pleading with our Holy Father to recognize Mary as "the Spiritual Mother of All Humanity, the co-redemptrix with Jesus the redeemer, mediatrix of all graces with Jesus the one mediator, and advocate with Jesus Christ on behalf of the human race."

I agree and pray that our Vicar of Christ makes this truth known and believed for only one reason: it's the truth!

150th anniversary of Our Lady of Lourdes

"While I extend my cordial greetings to all sick people and to all those who take care of them in various ways, I invite the diocesan and parish communities to celebrate the next World Day of the Sick by appreciating to the full the happy coinciding of the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady at Lourdes with the International Eucharistic Congress. May it be an occasion to emphasise the importance of the Holy Mass, of the Adoration of the Eucharist and of the cult of the Eucharist, so that chapels in our health-care centres become a beating heart in which Jesus offers himself unceasingly to the Father for the life of humanity! The distribution of the Eucharist to the sick as well, done with decorum and in a spirit of prayer, is true comfort for those who suffer, afflicted by all forms of infirmity."

Pope Benedict XVI, Message for World Day of the Sick 2008

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Yeah but see, Ray...she's pro abortion. Doesn't that make a difference?

I'm sorry, but I just don't understand "loyalty" as defined by Ray Flynn.

“Sure, I’ll tell you who I voted for,” Ray said. “Hillary Clinton. I could give you plenty of reasons why, too, but the first one is the most important: Her husband gave me a job. And a pretty good one.

“Look, I happen to come from the old school,” he said proudly, “and that happens to be a place where loyalty means everything."

Yeah, but...loyalty to whom, Ray?

And for those of you who think this doesn't really matter, it being after all, a primary, not a "real" election:

If, in the end, loyalty is not enough to propel his candidate to the Democratic nomination, Flynn said he would have no trouble supporting Barack Obama. “We’ve got to get back to old-fashioned politics,” Flynn said, “when people tried to get past their differences and work with each other. It’s time. The country can’t take anymore of what’s been happening these past eight years. Democrats are in a good place this year. The country needs someone who’ll listen to their heart and trust their feelings and value old-school things like loyalty.”

Loyalty. The unborn might want a bit of that too, Ray.

Sometimes I just don't get politics.

Even if I were a Democrat, I can't imagine voting for someone so blatantly pro-abortion. I'd change to independent status, I guess. In any case, were I one of the most visible pro-life, pro-family personalities in the Bay State, I can't imagine bragging, for bleep's sake, about supporting anybody who so obviously is fighting on the other side.

“Look, I wish with all my heart she was pro-life,” he said, “but back when I worked for her husband, she was well aware of why my opinions were on the pro-life/ pro-choice debate and both of them respected that."

What feasts we make of crumbs.

Source: The Boston Herald

On Satan and Christ's victory by Father Cantalamessa

From Father Raniero Cantalamessa's First Sunday of Lent commentary:

Demons, Satanism and other related phenomena are quite topical today, and they disturb a great part of our society.

Our technological and industrialized world is filled with magicians, wizards, occultism, spiritualism, fortune tellers, spell trafficking, amulets, as well as very real Satanic sects. Chased away from the door, the devil has come in through the window. Chased away by the faith, he has returned by way of superstition.

"Do demons really exist?"

Many intellectuals do not believe in demons in the first sense. But it must be noted that many great writers, such as Goethe and Dostoyevsky, took Satan's existence very seriously. Baudelaire, who was certainly no angel, said that "the demon's greatest trick is to make people believe that he does not exist."

Brilliant! Both in the demon's strategy and in Baudelaire's recognition of it.

Yet the most important thing that the Christian faith has to tell us is not that demons exist, but that Christ has defeated them...Satan, said an ancient Father of the Church, after Christ's coming, is like a dog chained up in the barnyard: He can bark and lunge as much as he wants, but if we don't go near him, he cannot harm us.

The key, of course, is to stay away from Satan, and close to Christ.

Here's the whole sermon.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Lenten thoughts by Cody

Cody at "Taking Back Vatican II" has a good post on Lent, along with some great ideas on penance during this holy season.

The purpose of Lent, however, is to bring us back to Christ. The word actually comes from the Anglo-Saxon word "lente" meaning "springtime". We are to have a new springtime (=rebirth) to Christ. An American Protestant might wonder why Catholics never have revivals. Well, we actually have two every year. They are known as the penitential seasons of Lent and Advent. Let's make this year a true revival of both our own spiritual life and of the universal Church!

Read the post here.

Monday, February 04, 2008

About Ash Wednesday...think before you come

From the novel "The Rabbi" by Noah Gordan:

[Lemme set it up. The young rabbi is happy because his temple is filled with his congregation on the high holidays. In the neighborhood, an elderly Catholic priest is a bit worried about the new building his congregation is constructing.]

The high holidays came and the temple overflowed with people who remembered suddenly that they were Jews and that it was time to fill up with enough repentance to last another year. The sight of the crowded scanctuary excited him and filled him with new hope and firm resolve that he would not fail to win them over in the end.

He determined to make another try while the Yom Kippur sermon was fresh in their minds. One of his former professors, Dr. Hugo Nachamann, was spending some time at the Los Angeles branch of the rabbinical institute. Dr. Nachmann was an expert on the period the the Dead Sea Scrolls. Michael invited him to San Francisco to lecture at the temple.

Eighteen people attended the lecture. Michael recognized fewer than half of them as temple members. Two of them turned out to be science reporters there to interview Dr. Naqchmann on archeological aspects of the discovery of the scrolls.

Dr. Nachmann made things easy for the Kinds. "This isn't at all unusual, as you know," he said. "People are simply not interested in lecturers on certain nights. Now, if you had offered them a dinner dance...!

The next morning, leaning on the fence overlooking the half completed church, Michael found himself telling Father Campanelli about it. "I keep failing," he said. "Nothing I do will get them inside the temple."

The priest fingered the mark on his face. "On many a morning I give thanks for the Days of Obligation," he said quietly.

Sigh. Ash Wednesday isn't a "Day of Obligation."

Yet, for as long as I can remember, it's a day that fills every church and chapel I can recall. Why? I don't know.

Here's the thing.

If you come to church this Wednesday, hurray! I'm glad!

Just don't be a stranger, okay?

Congratulations to those New York Giants.

It was a great game. Both teams played well. The Giants played better.

Friday, February 01, 2008

It takes a nun, I guess: why the Equinox "Fitness" ad is really stupid

A couple of days ago I lost it while blogging my outrage of Equinox "Fitness" club's ad featuring heavily made up "nuns" and a buffed up naked male body. I ended up deleting the blog.

Sister Julie of A Nun's Life helped me see where I made my mistake. While spending my time plotzing about the disrespect shown to the "poor nuns" I missed the crucial point.

The ad is absurd. The ad agency did a disservice to their client and the advertiser, a disservice to itself.

But Sister Julie puts it far better:

...I want to say that this ad has nothing to do with appreciating the human body or the human person. While I agree wholeheartedly with the Paulist Sisters who are taking the high road, I’ve got to take one little detour off that road to say that the ad is just bad. Bad taste. Bad spirit. Even bad advertising. ”Work out at our gym so you can get a killer body which will attract nuns.” Is that really the message you want to send, Equinox?

The money spent in a stupid ad by Equinox? Thousands.

Sister Julie's commentary? Priceless.

Read the whole thing here.

"Finding Faithful Spouses for Our Children"

From Catholic Exchange, my friend Leila Miller writes about a project dear to her heart — and that of her cohort, Lisa Graas.

Their kids and their concern over their vocation of marriage.

The idea for this apostolate is simple, and it grew naturally over some time. A few years ago, I started to notice an epidemic of unhappy marriages and the ripple effect that spread a couple's misery to children, extended family, and even friends. It then occurred to me that many parents are working hard to ensure their children's academic and career success, but few are sweating and sacrificing to ensure that their children are marriageable. This is a grave cultural mistake. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that the single biggest factor in one's happiness is the state of one's marriage. And a happy marriage cannot be realized unless a parent teaches a child, by word and example, how to be a good husband or wife. We expect our children to find a spouse of worthy character, but do we make sure that our own children are themselves a "catch"?

Self-described "frustrated yenta" Leila and our mutual friend Lisa tackle this question via the a unique site called "Catholic Moms Matchmaking."

Read the article here.