Thursday, October 30, 2008

I Have Never Been More Proud

I got an e-mail that a "friend" had sent me this video. This immediately made me suspicious since I have no friends. Also, this is apparently from the future; a wonderful future to be sure, but the future nonetheless. Here's the video.

Here's a link to the rest of the story...

Monday, October 13, 2008

An Angry Squirrel

About a month ago, Sen. John McCain was scheduled to be on The Late Show with David Letterman. He cancelled and Letterman was miffed, especially when substitute guest Keith "big head" Olbermann set-up a live CBS news feed showing McCain getting ready for an interview with Katie Couric.

Letterman has never met a grudge he couldn't nurse ad infinitum, so he's spent a few days last month ragging Sen. McCain about the cancellation at every opportunity. Now he's back to attacking the McCain/Palin ticket as per usual, although with a little more rancor--if that's possible. Strangely, he's said nothing about Obama. As the Center for Media and Public Affairs pointed out in August, "David Letterman told only 46 jokes about Obama..." That seems high to me; certainly none that I can recall in the last few weeks.

Sen. McCain has been rescheduled to appear on Thursday night's show. I'm guessing Letterman will be doing his usual impression of an angry squirrel as he barks and chirps at Sen. McCain, even though he rightly considers McCain a hero for his actions as a POW. I wouldn't mind so much except that Letterman is giving a free pass to Obama. But then he's not the only one to do so.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Marian Gangs?

Recently several high school kids in Texas and Oregon have been asked not to wear rosaries as the local police consider them gang signs.

I hope the kid wearing the rosaries are praying them as well.

Today is the memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Nancy Pelosi, Non Capite

Nancy Pelosi lectures the Catholic Church on it's own beliefs.

On Sunday's "Meet the Press" Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi did Catholics in America a huge, though unintended favor; she woke up our bishops! I am so proud of New York's Cardinal Egan or Archbishop Chaput of Denver, or Washington's Archbishop Wuerl or even the USCCB!

Speaker Pelosi, a self-decribed ardent Catholic claimed that her long-time study of Catholic theology, notably St. Augustine, she has come to the conclusion that the Church hasn't really defined when human life begins and even if it did "The point is, is that it shouldn’t have an impact on the woman’s right to choose."

This is so wrong, I honestly don't know where to begin. Fortunately others have done the heavy lifting for me: Amy Welborn, Fr.Z here and here, American Papist and even that other AP!

PS Forgive me if my attempt at an Italian pun via Babelfish failed. "Non Capite" is supposed to mean "you don't understand". I hope I did!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

An Explosion of Apologists

I was listening to EWTN’s Life on the Rock tonight. During the discussion someone mentioned the explosion of apologists and apologetical works. Hearing this I thought “Wow! That’s a great collective noun; an explosion of apologists!” It seems fitting since many apologists seem to be on the verge of exploding much of the time!

Let me ‘splain. St. Peter in 1 Pt 3:15-16, a favorite of apologists, talks about always being ready to give people a reason for your hope. We all need to understand our faith well so we can explain to others the reasons we believe, not just apologists. Notice that St. Peter talks about a reason for our hope. This is more than just intellectual faith. It speaks to our emotions as well. Not only that, but hope gathers all we believe and are and entrusts it into the hands of a God who is love. That hope then lifts up to heavenly places with Christ where we have an inheritance “that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading, kept in heaven” for us (I Pt 1:4).

I believe that it is especially because St. Peter is referring to hope, that he reminds us to explain the reason for it “with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear (1 Pt 3:16a). We are dealing with people’s deepest emotions here.

Yet some apologists seem to get the idea of explaining but miss the gentleness and reverence. In the heat of defending the faith, there can be rudeness rather than reverence and a kind of greediness in having the truth rather than gentleness in reasoning from it.

When people bring up these attacks on others rather than defending the faith, a common reply is that they are just being honest and to-the-point. They say that St. Paul could be a bit prickly. Even Jesus woe-ified the Pharisees, calling them whitewashed tombs. So they see their lambasting as a legitimate strategy.

To which I say when you are as brilliant as the apostle Paul, you can be as bombastic as he; when you are the Son of God like Jesus, you can be discourteous to the sons of men.

Until then we must all practice that gentleness and reverence as we give an explanation to anyone who asks about the reason for our hope.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Myers Wanna "Cracker"?

PZ Myers is a godless liberal. Hey, that's what it says on his blog! He's a professor of biology at the University of Minnesota at Morris. He is an atheist and proud of it. In recent days he has become notorious for the sacrilege of desecrating a consecrated host or, as he calls them, "horrible little crackers."

According to the Catholic Church, when a priest speaks the words of consecration over the hosts (i.e. thin wafers of wheat bread) during a Mass, by the power of God the hosts become the body, blood soul and divinity of Jesus Christ in their essence while retaining the appearance of bread. Since the hosts are changed in what they essentially are but not in how they appear they still look and taste like bread. If you could examine them in a lab they would have the chemical composition of bread. Except for a few Eucharistic miracles, the consecrated hosts don't become physical flesh and blood. If you prick them, they do not bleed.

But that is apparently what PZ Myers expected or thought Catholics would expect. He did prick a consecrated host by pushing a nail through it. It did not bleed. Imagine his surprise and dissappointment. (It's funny how fundamentalist atheists become when it's to their advantage, but I digress). Remember this is not the first time someone put a nail through Jesus. On that occassion he said, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." I'm sure that what Jesus said when PZ Myers drove a nail through him--again!

Catholics must forgive PZ Myers for his sacrilege. This desecration of the Eucharist, this taking something of value to someone else and breaking it, is the action of a frightened, arrogant, petulant child who can't play nicely with others and whose vocabulary consists of profanity, silly blasphemies and "nyah, nyah, na, nyah, nyah!"

PZ Myers said that "nothing must be held sacred." I suppose that includes even the U of Minnesota and it's students. So the University might want to be careful. This breed will turn on you. For militant atheists have only their anger at a God they don't believe exists and at anyone who believes in anything other than their bitter screed. To them, all religions are lies and we would be better off without them. They are right in a sense. As St. Paul says if Christ is not raised our faith is in vain; we are still in out sins. If Christ is not God, if God doesn't exist, then the Eucharist is just a "horrible little cracker".

Fair enough. If PZ Myers wants a world without religion, especially Christianity, especially Catholicism, he can have one as long as he gives up any of the benefits of the Church. No hospitals, no art, no genetics, no seismology, no music, no charitable organizations, no universities, no care for the poor or elderly, no atheists, no one to rant and rail against.

So let's not rail and rant against PZ Myers. Let's pray for and forgive him. Priests at the London Oratory are doing just that!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Me? A Scholar?

You'd be best at writing text books for students or just regular scholarly reading. You are very intelligent and enjoy analyzing everything. You take in every thing you learn, rather than one thing in the ear and out the other. Every piece of information you collect makes you that much smarter.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The House That Benedict Built

A few brief words about the Papal Mass at Yankee stadium. After driving to Yonkers yesterday, it was nice to take a bus in from my church and get to know some of my fellow parishioners. It took a while to get into the stadium until some more security check points became available. We had great seats. The altar staging was set-up over second base. Our seats were in the mezzanine directly behind home plate.

Due to an almost vain and very frustrating attempt that saw me spend 45 minutes or more on line at the concession stand to get a $8 Yankee stadium hot dog, I missed most of the pre-mass Concert of Hope.I did get to see most of it on the TV behind the concession stand! The only lines worse than the food lines were the lines for the ladies room. I know that because the ladies were even lined up outside the men’s rooms stalls! It’s a little difficult to be a gentleman and, you should excuse the expression, let ladies go first *ahem* when you have to go too!

I got back to my seat in time for the Benedict’s entrance via Popemobile to great cheering and applause. Interestingly, the Pope and Cardinal Egan were taken into the dugout (was it the home or visitors? Hmm…) to vest for the mass. They joined the processional several minutes later.

The mass itself was serenely beautiful. The readings were appropriate not only for the 5th Sunday if Easter, but for the Pope’s final mass on his apostolic journey to the United States. They really summed up what the Catholic Church is all about. The Pope’s homily brought out so clearly the teaching of the Scriptures and the theme of the mass.I’m sure my old Southwestern Baptist seminary preaching professors would have given it high marks indeed! Right, Dr. Fasol?

The music was excellent. It modeled what liturgical music should be: beautiful classical pieces, some basic chant, use of several languages in a way that fits the liturgy. Not to mention well-performed! Solo Deo Gratia! Let’s not forget the beautifully chanted Gospel. None of the insipid, stultifying music so common in parish masses today. You know what I mean.

I have heard some disparaging comments regarding the music at the Nationals Stadium mass. From what little I have seen, I think it important to keep in mind that mass was a votive mass of the Holy Spirit, so there was a Pentecostal theme (I mean the Holy Day, not necessarily the denomination!). It was also a weekday mass. So I think there was more room in that mass for music that might not be appropriate for a Sunday liturgy.

The Holy Father has returned to Rome. While his apostolic visit was so moving, profound and celebratory in every way, I think I can safely say it’s good that it’s over! Now we can begin the hard but necessary work of reflecting and meditating on his words and example. Let’s us imitate Pope Benedict XVI as he imitates Christ.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Lost in Yonkers with Pope Bendict XVI

I attended today's Youth Rally with Pope Benedict XVI in Yonkers, NY--if someone my age can attend a youth rally! Getting there was indeed half the fun! Traffic wasn't too bad considering how much of it there was! So as I sat in traffic I said a prayer to the Blessed Mother asking her to get me to the rally in time. No surprise, I made it! At the merchandise booth a Yonkers police officer asked me how traffic was. I told him about my prayer and it's good result. He got a nice chuckle out of it.

The rally was tremendous. If you watched the coverage, especially on EWTN, you saw the main field with the stage at one end and the media at the other. Up the hill from there across a one-lane path was another field with the food and merchandise concessions. There was a large TV screen there, but no audio. Next to that field there was an adoration chapel and several areas with priests hearing confession.

Security definitely tightened up once the Pope arrived. People who left the main field to get food, for example, found that they couldn't get back. Since the video screen didn't have audio I could only hear what drifted over from the main field. Even so Pope Benedict was clearly enjoying himself. I'd say he smiled more than I've seen in any other event so far. And I thought Kelly Clarkson did a fine job singing Schubert's "Ave Maria".

Monday, February 18, 2008

Who Do You Say That I Am?

Christ’s question to his disciples “who do you say that I am?” is the most important question ever asked.

Jesus and his disciples were in Caesarea Philippi when he took the first messianic straw poll and asked them, “who do men say that the Son of Man is?” “Some say John the Baptist…” John the Baptist was Jesus cousin. Herod had John beheaded. Apparently, some people, including Herod, thought Jesus was John the Baptist risen from the dead. Like Jesus, John was popular with the common man, not so much with the religious leaders. John had said that he was not the Messiah. “…others, Elijah….” Elijah was supposed to return before the Messiah and prepare the people’s hearts for his coming. Jesus had said earlier that John the Baptist had fulfilled the role of Elijah. “…still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” One popular idea was that Jeremiah had hidden the Ark of the Covenant until the messianic kingdom was established. Surely Jesus was at least a prophet?

Now Jesus asks these men who have been with him and know him “But who do you say that I am?” The first time he asked “who do men say that the son of man is?” But these are his disciples. He wants to know who they think he is. Silence. Crickets chirping. Throat clearing. Then Peter says, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.” Peter’s statement is a revelation--literally!

Jesus tells him that this has been revealed to him by the Father. When Peter says that Jesus is not only the Christ but also the Son of God, we miss how startling this is. For Peter to say that Jesus is the Son of God is to acknowledge his divinity. It is an insight not only into who Jesus is but into the nature of his Messiahship. He didn’t say “you are the Christ, the liberator of Israel from the Romans”; that’s what most people expected of the Messiah. It’s what the disciples expected most of the time. Not this time. Peter realizes that the nature of Jesus mission is to reveal God as our Father.

Peter’s first thought after this answer might have been something like “what did I just say?” Had he said too much or too little? Did he get it right or did he disappoint Jesus again? He must have been astonished at what Jesus said next. “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven.” Peter was right! He was right because he had listened to what God was telling him. No other person had clued him in. The Father himself had. This answer, this blessing, would change Peter’s life.

Whether Peter understood all he said or not, he got it right. He listened to God and passed on what had been revealed to him. And of all the disciples, it was Peter who said it; the Rock that Jesus would build his Church on.

To let Peter know how much his life would change, Jesus changed his name. Peter’s given name was Simon. Now he would be Peter, a Greek translation of the Aramaic name Cephas, “the Rock.” In the Bible, whenever someone’s name is changed it indicates a change in their identity, in how they will be used by God. Abram, “exalted father”, becomes Abraham, “father of a multitude”. Jacob, “deceiver”, becomes “ Israel ”, “he who contends with God”. Now Simon will be known as Peter, “the Rock”. Jesus goes on to say that he will build his Church on this rock. All this was because Peter listened to the Father when he revealed to him who Jesus was.

When Jesus asked “who do men say that I am?” he wasn’t only asking Peter or the other disciples. He was asking all of us. Go ahead, answer him. And get ready for your life to change.