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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

How Will You Send Off the Old Year and Ring in the New?

The end of the old year for many is an orgy of excess, as though the last day of the year is the final opportunity in life for hedonistic delights. So eat, drink, and be merry and, for some - hopefully not many - drunk-driving collisions.

How will you say good-bye to the old year? I plan to look back, consider the blessings of the past year and its challenges, the things that bring a song of grateful praise to my lips and those that make me blush with embarrassment or shame. For the first I'll thank God; for the second I'll ask His mercy. And I can't think of a better way to welcome the new year than attending the vigil Mass and praying the rosary with my husband, offering it for our family and asking for all the graces to be better Catholics in the year ahead than we were in the year behind us.

Then as the song says, "We'll drink a cup of kindness yet for auld lang syne." Maybe that cup will be filled with Irish coffee (decaf at that hour of the night) or maybe a little red wine in honor of a favorite writer:

"Wherever the Catholic sun does shine there is music, and laughter, and good red wine." Hillaire Belloc

And I'm sure that goes for the Catholic moon as well.

Turning out all the lights except for those on the Nativity scene and the Christmas tree, with carols on the stereo and maybe a blazing fire in the fireplace will set the scene for a peaceful passing of the old year and anticipation of the new. Despite the economic challenges and concerns about the growing darkness in our culture of death, every new year is a time of hope. Remember St. Thomas More's admonition that there is no time so evil a good man cannot live in it.

Resolve to live for Christ in 2009. Make it a year of thanksgiving for all your blessings, sharing those blessings with others less fortunate, and recalling often Pope John Paul II's frequent encouragement to "Be not afraid" and Padre Pio's "Pray, hope, and don't worry."

Facebook and the Mommy Wars

The Mommy Wars are raging on Facebook between nursing mothers who want to let it all hang out and the Facebook admin team who are committed to keeping the site family friendly for all, including children. The war began with moms posting bare-breasted photos, nipples and all including one shot in the bathtub with the baby nursing on the far side in the background and a large bare breast in the foreground. Facebook removed it and other nursing photos for violating their terms of use explaining that, "Photos containing a fully exposed breast - as defined by showing the nipple of areola - do violate those terms on obscene, pornographic or sexually explicit material." The moms responded with a petition drive and a "nurse-in protest" which involved posting more bare-breasted pictures on Facebook. Before dismissing this as the corollary to the Lilliputian War over which end to crack a soft-boiled egg, I think there are some serious issues that bear discussion.

As a former nursing mother who often breast fed in public, I think the moms are absolutely correct that there is nothing obscene or indecent about nursing in public with the proviso that mothers are discreet, modest, and respectful of others. And there's the rub. Many of the photos are neither discreet nor modest. Is it possible to nurse modestly without baring oneself to the world? Of course, I used to wear loose knit tops that fell over the baby's face as he/she nursed and fed my little ones in movie theatres, on mall benches, in church, and wherever else the baby was hungry or needed to be quiet. Once at a meeting a male friend came over to admire my newborn and only when he got close did he realize I was nursing. He couldn't see anything, but got flustered. I just smiled and showed him the baby when I was finished and put back together. A nursing acquaintance of mine took her new, long-awaited baby on a pilgrimage of thanksgiving to Lourdes. She bought a large brimmed bonnet for her little girl and nursed across Europe totally covered by the baby's hat.

But discreet nursing isn't what these moms are talking about. They want to proclaim their right to pop out their breasts in public for all to see. I have known nursing mothers like that. It's as if feeding their babies is not so much about nourishment and nurturing, but a political statement. If you don't like it, don't look, they say. Easier said than done especially if little boys or teenagers on the cusp of manhood are nearby.

So I stand with Facebook on this one; they are upholding common sense. The mothers, on the other hand, are illustrating a grave problem in our culture -- the lost virtues of modesty and prudence. Yes, breastfeeding is natural and good, but it also deserves to be treated with dignity and mystery. Something mystical happens between the little one at the breast who looks into Mommy's eyes and sees her as the first image of God. When Mom shoves her bare breast in the public's face what does she think people see? Certainly not the baby focusing on Mommy's face. No, the breast takes center stage - in a way not too unlike the exploitation of women's bodies in other settings.

Let the breastfeeding moms of the world unite, not in a war over their right to let it all hang out in public, but in a contest on creative ways to breastfeed modestly in public. If these moms think about it perhaps they will have the same concern for young men tempted by nudity, whatever the setting, as they have for the little newborn suckling at the breast.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What is marriage anyway?

With "same-sex marriage" likely to be hotly debated in 2009 and very likely forced on us by out-of-control activist courts, it would be helpful if people would define what they are talking about?

So what is marriage anyway? What is a working definition?

In our culture today there seem to be two views.

The first is that marriage is a contractual union by and for the individuals involved. Its function is their emotional comfort and sexual pleasure and, therefore, its parameters are defined by the individuals contracting the relationship. Society has no role except to recognize and offer the identical legal rights enjoyed by those in traditional marriages.

The second, and still prevalent, view of marriage is as a contractual union between a man and a woman for the purpose of the emotional well-being of husband and wife and the protection, upbringing, and education of the children of the union.

An important question that is often overlooked in the debate over same-sex marriage is "are there implications for society?" If yes will they be positive or negative? While homosexuals claim that there will be no negative aspects to granting them "marriage" rights, the burden of proof must be on them since this is a social experiment of monumental proportions.

There obviously isn't much data about same-sex marriage. But there are many studies that compare the intact nuclear family of mom, dad and children with other arrangements, and children perform better on all of them when they grow up in an intact family with biological/adoptive mom and dad. A heavily-footnoted article at the Heritage Foundation documents many studies that show the benefits to children of growing up in a traditional family.

It makes sense before you hitch a ride on a bandwagon that you know it isn't about to drive over a cliff.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Gays Outraged at the Pope

The gays are furious with the pope for speaking the truth recently. An unofficial translation of his statement was provided by the coadjutor bishop of Lancaster, England. Here's what Pope Benedict said:

"Since faith in the Creator is an essential part of the Christian Credo, the Church cannot and should not confine itself to passing on the message of salvation alone. It has a responsibility for the created order and ought to make this responsibility prevail, even in public. And in so doing, it ought to safeguard not only the earth, water, and air as gifts of creation, belonging to everyone. It ought also to protect man against the destruction of himself. What is necessary is a kind of ecology of man, understood in the correct sense. When the Church speaks of the nature of the human being as man and woman and asks that this order of creation be respected, it is not the result of an outdated metaphysic. It is a question here of faith in the Creator and of listening to the language of creation, the devaluation of which leads to the self-destruction of man and therefore to the destruction of the same work of God. That which is often expressed and understood by the term ‘gender;, results finally in the self-emancipation of man from creation and from the Creator. Man wishes to act alone and to dispose ever and exclusively of that alone which concerns him. But in this way he is living contrary to the truth, he is living contrary to the Spirit Creator. The tropical forests are deserving, yes, of our protection, but man merits no less than the creature, in which there is written a message which does not mean a contradiction of our liberty, but its condition. The great Scholastic theologians have characterized matrimony, the life-long bond between man and woman, as a sacrament of creation, instituted by the Creator himself and which Christ-- without modifying the message of creation-- has incorporated into the history of his covenant with mankind. This forms part of the message that the Church must recover the witness in favour of the Spirit Creator present in nature in its entirety and in a particular way in the nature of man, created in the image of God. Beginning from this perspective, it would be beneficial to read again the Encyclical Humanae Vitae: the intention of Pope Paul VI was to defend love against sexuality as a consumer entity, the future as opposed to the exclusive pretext of the present, and the nature of man against its manipulation."

The main issues as I see them are:

1) The Church has an obligation to publicly proclaim the truth about the created order including God's creation of humanity as man and woman. Devaluation of this truth leads to the self-destruction of man.

2) We must protect the physical earth but even more so protect man from his own worst instincts. (Implied here is the reality of original and personal sin which destroy man's integrity and make him an enemy of himself.)

3) The terminology of "gender" is an attempt by man to make up his own theology and be his own God.

4) Matrimony is the "sacrament of creation" that Christ made part of his covenant with mankind. Our liberty is conditioned on the correct understanding of this truth.

5) Humanae Vitae defended true love against the view of sex as a consumer item to be manipulated by every fad and perversion of the age.

Reading the pope's words, it's not hard to see why gay drawers are tied in knots. How dare the pope affirm marriage between a man and woman and imply that failure to recognize the creation by God of man and woman (not a panoply of disparate combinations) leads to the "self-destruction of man." Beyond that to imply gender confusion is just as damaging to the earth as the destruction of the rain forests - what a low blow!

Well, rage against the Vicar of Christ when he speaks the truth illustrates that he must be doing something right. So raise a toast to the pope and pray for his continued courage to bear prophetic witness to a world gone mad. And don't be afraid to imitate him by speaking the truth in love even when they stone you for it.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

On the Feast of the Holy Family Become Like Little Children

What could be more appropriate than to celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family with a daughter and son-in-law, their four children, and four additional grandchildren whose parents are off on a little Christmas adventure? To add to the fun, one of the wee ones turned three today so we planned a birthday brunch complete with a recycled cake made by stacking and refrosting leftovers from a Christmas eve birthday cake for Jesus. Just think: we avoided increasing the sugar supply, saved money, and minimized our carbon footprints by not using extra electricity to bake a new cake. Wouldn't Al Gore be proud?

I never enjoy life so much as when I am surrounded by a houseful of little voices. Just thinking about them brings a smile to my face and a song to my heart. Jesus must have felt the same way. "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them," he told the apostles, "for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs."

Why did Jesus say that? Was he praising their childishness? If he was, he must absolutely love our Peter Pan culture where big babies in adult bodies avoid reality, use sexual promiscuity and other vices as grown-up lollipops, and refuse any adult responsibility to the point of murdering their own children.

No, Jesus wasn't praising children for being childish, but for their innocence, their trusting dependence, and their complete guilelessness. The dictionary defines guile as "treacherous cunning, skillful deceit." When was the last time you were deceived by the "treacherous cunning" of a little child? When did a toddler betray you with a kiss?

The world tends to admire guile especially when the "skillful deceit" succeeds. Saul Alinsky, the father of community organizing whom Barack Obama considers a mentor, taught his followers to use guile whenever necessary to get what they wanted. He called himself the Machiavelli of the poor, as if dishonesty can bring good to anyone. Guile-filled adults cook books and run ponzi schemes that rob hardworking people of their life savings. How many poor people with the "help" of community organizers lost whatever savings they had by the forclosure of a bad loan? Who benefitted? Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, and the CEOs of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, not the poor. Guile-filled people believe they are above the rest of men; rules of morality don't apply to them. They make their own rules no matter how evil the outcomes. As the world's powerful ones, they stand at the opposite end of the spectrum from the powerless, especially children.

Fr. John Hardon, SJ often said that only little, humble people will get into heaven. That means adults must foster the virtues of innocence, dependence on God, and guilelessness. Those virtues make one fit to serve the Lord like Nathaniel whom Jesus called to be an apostle saying, "Behold an Israelite indeed in whom there is no guile." Wouldn't you love to be described by the Lord in that fashion? The prescription is simple even if filling it is hard. Choose the virtue and work toward it every day through practice. That could make a great new year's resolution!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Make 2009 the year you study St. Thomas Aquinas

I was a young adult during the turbulent sixties. I entered college in Washington, D.C. in 1964 and graduated in 1968. What a time: lunch counter sit-ins, , assassinations, the rebellion following Humanae Vitae, D.C. riots not far from campus, drugs, sex, rock and roll, bell bottom trousers, mini-skirts and tie-dyed T-shirts, the mantra: "If it feels good do it." Blowing your mind was a phrase that describes the decade well. Reason was thrown out the window, and feelings raged unchecked. What chaos! I don't remember the sixties with fondness, but relief that I survived despite the fact that almost every cultural anchor (including the hierarchy of the Church) failed us. Many self-destructed on the shoals and haven't recovered yet. How many today base their opinions on "personal truth" which is nothing more than feelings and rationalizations to do whatever they please? The culture endorses this irrational approach to life. Since the 60s, schools have focused more on promoting self-esteem than critical thinking skills.

But there's hope. St. Thomas Aquinas, that champion of wisdom, logic, and clear reasoning, is making a comeback. Thomas had a profound impact on the areas of ethics, philosophy and political theory. He is among the Doctors of the Church and one of the greatest thinkers of all times. If you want to know the truth about the big questions of life, you can hardly do better than to study St. Thomas and his method of examining life. Pope Leo XIII considered him an effective prescription against modernism and, during his pontificate, called for schools of higher education to teach Thomistic philosophy.

The Summa Theologica offers an excellent example in how to find the truth about any subject. St. Thomas states the question, then provides the objections; then he answers each objection and makes a declaration. His approach is open-minded and respectful of disagreement. It thoroughly and seriously evaluates all aspect of an issue. The desired end, for St. Thomas, as it should be for all of us, is to know the truth; and Thomas is methodical in his search. If he seems obscure at first, he becomes clearer and clearer the more you read him. As Peter Kreeft says, "St. Thomas aimed only for light, not heat." Aquinas' writings, he says, are filled with wisdom.

Make St. Thomas a guide in 2009. More and more our culture is returning to chaos, but St. Thomas can be a rock and an anchor against the current of confusion. He knew what philosophy truly was, "not the study of what men have opined, but of what is the truth." If you want to know the truth, study St. Thomas.

Friday, December 26, 2008

In the Shadow of the Christmas Star

Today Catholics celebrate the feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr. In her wisdom the Church follows the joyful celebration of Christ's birth with the solemn reminder that following the Lord means to "pick up your cross" and follow Him. We must be ready to carry it wherever the Savior leads - even to a bloody martyr's death. Stephen dies under a hail of rocks thrown by a mob. With a vision before his eyes he prays for forgiveness of his murderers. In that screaming mob stands Saul, the future St. Paul, whose misguided zeal leads him to endorse the killing. Think of zealous Muslem terrorists invoking Allah to justify their evil acts and you won't be too far off from the future saint who will hear Jesus call, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"

When I was confirmed, made a "soldier of Christ," the bishop ended the sacrament with a tap on the cheek, a reminder that following Christ means being ready to suffer. Unfortunately, that meaningful symbol has disappeared from the rite. Too bad. It sent a graphic message that the Christian life isn't for sissies and wimps. It takes strength, courage, fortitude, and a lifetime commitment.

It's easy to follow the star to the stable, a sanitized stable without the smell of manure and urine. Following Christ on the dangerous road to Egypt in the dead of night or up the rocky hill to Calvary is another story, one many would rather not live out.

Christmas Day and St. Stephen's feast day are the mini-series of the Christian life with only the ending shrouded in darkness, our personal ending. Will we see the vision of beatitude and hear the words "well done, good and faithful servant?" If we are willing to follow in the footsteps of St. Stephen and accept and turn to good the small, everyday sufferings and persecutions of life, we need not fear.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Browsing Home Schooling Blogs

I'm a blog browser. I especially enjoy visiting home schooling families because, as Fr. John Hardon, SJ often said, they are the monasteries of our time - preserving Catholic (and Christian) traditions and culture. They also are great watchdogs who alert us to what's happening to ordinary people when they displease Big Brother. Here are a few interesting blogs to visit.

Under her starry mantle is the blog of a mom of six in Australia. Check out her directions for making a poinsettia wreath for the O Antiphons during the last days of Advent. It may be too late to do it this year, but what a great project! There's lots more practical ideas for home schooling families.

Family in Feast and Feria doesn't feature as many pictures, but has some fun posts including Name that Christmas Carol with lines from popular carols and a challenge to identify them. I got most of them and enjoyed just thinking about how many beautiful religious songs enrich the season.

Spunky Home School has an alarming story about a family with ten children raided by the Ohio State Agriculture Dept. because they were running a co-op for families who wanted to get organic food. They called it an illegal retail store! The cops came in with guns drawn and thuggish behavior, kept the family corralled in their living room for six hours, and confiscated a year's worth of their own food as well as the co-op food. They also took computers and other items like cell phones. I used to be in a food co-op. We took turns buying the food, dividing it, and collecting money. What's ironic is that this family contacted the state in 2007 to make sure they were meeting all the requirements. After not responding to the family's mail for a year, the raid came out of the clear blue. Why didn't someone just call them and make an appointment? There's a lawsuit in the works.

Happy browsing and if you know of a good home school website, leave the address in the comment section. I have some happy memories from my five years as a home schooling mom!

Congress Gets Merry Christmas and a $4700 Pay Hike

Congress is smart - like the proverbial fox. Our lawmakers know how to feather their own "nests":

1) raid the hen house,
2) grab a chicken by the neck,
3) enjoy the innards for lunch
4) use the outers to make a nice warm feather bed

Yes, Congress is smart. Our lawmakers set up their pay increases automatically. It spares them the unpleasantness of a recorded vote which might upset their constituents. So while more than two million Americans line up for unemployment, the very ones who helped create the financial crisis (Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, etc.) will enjoy, not only the fruits of their conflicts of interest with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but will reach deeper into the taxpayers' pockets for their $4700 pay raise. The average lawmaker's salary is $169,300. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi takes home $217,400. Of course that doesn't include the perks, privileges, and office expenses billed to the taxpayer as well. Do we get our money's worth? Maybe not, but the amusement value is worth a little something. After all, they told America's CEOs to take a salary this year of $1. But those guys are rich, not like Senators Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton.

To be fair, not all Congressmen support the automatic pay hike. Rep. Harry Mitchell, a first-term Democrat from Arizona, introduced a bill to freeze salaries. He had 34 co-sponsors but the legislation didn't even make it out of committee. Surprise, surprise. Heck, where's my Christmas spirit. Joe Biden and Barack Obama have told us we need to be patriotic and not mind higher taxes to help others. And, after all, charity begins at home. What could be homier than the halls of Congress?

So Merry Christmas from the taxpayers! Ted Kennedy, Barney Frank and all you other Foxy Loxies, enjoy your plum pudding while you think about the elderly living below the poverty line and the millions out of work. I'm sure it will bring a smarmy tear to your eye as you lift a glass of sherry to the politically correct spirits of the holiday season.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Gay Propaganda Reigns at Newsweek

Back in 1993 when the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' arrival in the new world brought out the attack dogs to rage against white Christian Europeans, Fr. John Hardon, SJ predicted that the battle would be nothing compared to the one targeting Jesus Christ and his teachings at the beginning of the new millenia. Since faith and culture have been under attack for generations, Father really didn't need to be a prophet to make that prediction. He just needed to have his eyes open. The attack has been relentless in recent years and we are still two decades away from the 2000th anniversary of Christ's crucifixion. Newsweek's apologia for gay marriage earlier this month by religion editor Lisa Miller (Our Mutual Joy, December 6) represents just one more attack, this one on Biblical teaching about traditional marriage.

Miller's selective interpretation of the Bible leads to her conclusion that it defends gay marriage. This is how she puts it: "Should gay people be married in the same, sacramental sense that straight people are? I would argue that they should. If we are all God's children, made in his likeness and image, then to deny access to any sacrament based on sexuality is exactly the same thing as denying it based on skin color—and no serious (or even semiserious) person would argue that." Take that, you Christian homophobes; Lisa Miller has spoken. (This obviously also makes mincemeat out of the Catholic sacrament of priestly ordination since the Church teaches that only men can be ordained.) But Miller never even makes an argument to support her outlandish statement. Despite thousands of words she never addressed the central issue.

What is marriage? Is it a lump of playdough to be formed according to each man or woman? John wants to marry Dick. Jane plans to wed Jill. Betty wants a menage a trois with Susie and Bob. Woody wants to marry his daughter and Kitty wants....fill in the blank. Can all these situations be described as marriage in Miller's view? We can't say since she never defines what marriage is, except that homosexuals have a right to it, whatever it happens to be. But what possible reason can she use to exclude the rights of these other folks to define marriage however they want if marriage, by definition, has no definition?

But the Bible is actually pretty clear about it. Jesus blessed the institution of marriage between a man and a woman at the wedding feast of Cana when he performed his first miracle. Miller ignores that Biblical event completely. The first book of Genesis is also very clear - God made Adam and Eve and blessed them and said, "That is why a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." That's pretty clear: 1 man plus 1 woman equals two in one flesh, also known as marriage.

There are two purposes for marriage. The first is to procreate and educate children to know, love, and serve God and be happy with him in heaven. That particular purpose is physically impossible for same-sex couples although, who knows, immoral technologies may one day be able to surgically alter a male so he can bear a child, not from a union with the "marriage" partner, but through another immoral technology like cloning. The other purpose of marriage is to unite the couple in love, a love that doesn't seek self-gratification through lust, but desires the good of the other. The depraved practices of homosexuality certainly don't resemble marital love as God intended.

Miller claims that 2000 years of interpreting the bible as defending traditional marriage is just plain wrong. The Bible wasn't written for our time, she says, and must be interpreted with modern eyes as a "living document." This is the same argument liberals use to undermine the Constitution. Whatever aberration they want is found in the document's "penumbra" (the term used in Roe v. Wade to create the right to abortion). Let's face it, very few people actually read, much less study, the Bible so Miller's distortions will no doubt be accepted by those who want to believe what she says. To hell with reality when it conflicts with what I want to do.

Columnist Don Feder and Biblical scholar Robert Gagnon demolish Miller's arguments better than I can. I was, however, intrigued by her comparison of the fight for same-sex marriage to the abolitionist fight to end slavery. "Not since 1860," Miller writes, "when the country's pulpits were full of preachers pronouncing on slavery, pro and con, has one of our basic social (and economic) institutions been so subject to biblical scrutiny."

There is an argument to be made using the issue of slavery for comparison, but it's not the one Miller puts forward. The civil right that applies will never scream for attention because these victims of discrimination are tiny and voiceless. Abortion is the new slavery that makes mothers the slavemasters of their unborn children. Keep them or kill them, it's the mothers right to decide just like keeping or selling slaves was the right of the master. Only one difference for the babies; there's no hope for freedom once the abortionist gets through with them. As for "gay rights" they are based, not on any physical characteristics, but on sinful choices. Gays have as much claim to civil rights protection as kleptomaniacs and adulterers.

Lisa Miller's article is just one more attack on Jesus Christ and his teachings. The saddest thing about the article to me, however, was the ending. She tells her readers, "My friend the priest James Martin says his favorite Scripture relating to the question of homosexuality is Psalm 139, a song that praises the beauty and imperfection in all of us and that glorifies God's knowledge of our most secret selves: 'I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.' And then he adds that in his heart he believes that if Jesus were alive today, he would reach out especially to the gays and lesbians among us, for 'Jesus does not want people to be lonely and sad.' Let the priest's prayer be our own."

Fr. James Martin, is a Jesuit and acting publisher of America, a Catholic dissenters' magazine that has undermined Church teaching for years. If Miller's interpretation of Fr. Martin's words is correct, he needs to be disciplined. Psalm 139 no more relates to the "question of homosexuality" than it relates to fornication or adultery. Being "lonely or sad" is often part of the human condition and it does not excuse evil actions. Jesus would say to sodomite homosexuals exactly the same thing he said to the woman taken in adultery. "Neither do I condemn you. Go your way and sin no more."

It's hard to believe that Fr. John Hardon, a champion of orthodoxy who died on December 30, 2000 at the age of 86, came from the same religious order as Fr. James Martin. May Fr. Hardon pray for his confrere's conversion and for a renewal of sexual purity in the United States.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

St. Francis de Sales and Advent

One of my favorite spiritual writers is St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church. Among his many works are his Sermons For Advent and Christmas. Here's an excerpt from the fourth Sunday of Advent:

"Now St. John [the Baptist] was by the River Jordan, at the edge of the desert, crying out and preaching penitence. [Lk. 3:3]. People hastened from all sides to hear him and to be baptized by him. It was there that he cried out: 'Do penance! Prepare the way, make straight the paths, for the Lord is near. [Matt.3:1-3, 5-6; Mk. 1:4-5]. But because I cry out and preach in the desert, you want to know who I am. I protest to you that I am only the voice of Him who cries out. It is not I who cry out in the desert: "Do penance." It is God who says it to you through me, and I am only the voice, the trumpet He uses so that you will understand how you are to prepare to do penance and dispose yourselves for His coming. That is what I am. And you ought to hear my words, not as mine, but as those of God who speaks to you through my mouth, for I am the voice of Him who cries out in the desert.'...

"[John] was bound to cry out that the people must prepare the way and that they must level the paths and roads of the Lord. the people whom he addressed were likewise bound to listen, to receive the baptism he offered them, and to do what he told them. If the preacher has the duty to preach to you, you also have that of listening to him and of receiving with good dispositions what he announces to you on behalf of God. I come here to preach to you, but if I am bound to bring the divine word to you, you are bound to pay attention to it, and not only that but to learn it well and carry out what you are taught."

This 17th century bishop was a catechist, a true son of Mary, and a lover of the poor. he dressed simply, ate plain food, and dispensed with many of the comforts of life in his living arrangements. Oh, would that today's bishops followed the example of this great cleric who converted tens of thousands because of his goodness and clear teaching. Few among our bishops are as effective as he is because they are so much of the world. How many bishops' houses reflect their worldly status of "prince" rather than a spiritual richness? Pray for them!

I heartily recommend St. Francis' Introduction to the Devout Life which is filled with common sense advice for the soul who wants to grow in holiness. If your heart's desire is to know the Lord better, run to St. Francis, a sure guide.

He is also the patron saint of journalists and, since blogging is journaling of a sort, I claim him for my own special friend. St. Francis, pray for us.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Strange Bedfellows Oppose Warren

What do Hollywood liberals and gay activists have in common with Catholic and Christian pro-lifers? Not much one would think. But these days they're united against an upcoming event: Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church giving the invocation at Barack Obama's inauguration. Liberals who oppose California's Proposition 8 upholding traditional marriage feel betrayed by Obama for selecting Warren. Catholics and Christians feel betrayed by Pastor Warren for aiding and abetting an incoming president who champions abortion, infanticide, and same-sex marriage. While Warren's selection may be making diverse groups angry, Obama's choice looks like a shell game to promote himself as one thing to the uninformed while acting behind the scenes as another.

Obama has already positioned himself as the enemy of pro-life Christians. They see him as a plague who will undo all progress made during the last 35 years to defend the unborn and their mothers, to provide conscience protection to health care workers, etc. His support for same-sex marriage, expansion of homosexual privileges, and assaults on first amendment free speech rights also has earned their staunch opposition. From that perspective, the Warren choice loses Obama nothing but gives the appearance of him being less strident than he really is. The social issues played virtually no role in the election, and many voters still have no idea of his extremism. Choosing Warren, known for being pro-life and for his defense of traditional marriage, allows Obama to maintain the charade of a man who believes in Christian values and wants to make abortion rare. The strategy, after all, worked for Bill Clinton, who faithfully carried his Bible to Church while he committed adultery in the oval office and attacked the religious right. What worked for Bill can work for Barack on the political level. Play Christian in public, destroy Christian values in private.

Obama has more to lose with the liberal left who are his staunch supporters. But they are smart enough to know that actions matter a lot more than appearances. Their outrage may even be part of the game, done with a wink and a smirk. After all, Warren played a huge role in getting evangelicals on board to support Al Gore's alarmist pseudo-documentary on global warming. Why not use his charismatic appeal again to keep a large voting block in line. Since Obama has promised to pass FOCA, support homosexual rights legislation, reinstall the Fairness Doctrine to censor conservative views, go after fossil fuels, etc. why should they care if he stages Warren as window-dressing? Even if the liberals are really angry, they won't jump ship. They'll stay on board ready to forgive all as long as the payoff comes. And it will, with executive orders signed immediately after the inauguration. The orders are probably already drafted and awaiting the presidential pen. And there will be more payoffs to come.

Obama is, one must remember, a disciple of Saul Alinsky and will do whatever is necessary to accomplish his goal of radical social change: tell the truth or lie, flatter or criticize, wear gucci's or cowboy boots. We've already seen that if someone is useful to him he'll keep him as a friend, but cut the ties if the relationship starts to cost him. Which is why Jeremiah Wright will not be at the inaugural podium leading the prayer. It's all part of the manipulative strategy: the end justifies the means. That's the Alinsky method and, as Alinsky's son, David pointed out during the campaign, "Obama learned his lesson well." The Rick Warren controversy takes its place as just one more gimmick in the community organizer's bag of tricks.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Saddleback Preacher Takes National Spotlight, Slaps Jesus in the Process

Great Catholic Colleges Part III - Franciscan University of Steubenville

One of the biggest changes in college life over the past few generations has been the abandonment of young people by adults. When I entered college in 1964, most schools, at least those that were Catholic, still took seriously their obligation to operate in loco parentis. Students signed out with a destination when they left campus. Curfews (similar to what students might have at home) were in effect. The rules weren't intrusive; they simply provided an opportunity to gradually make the transition to adult life without some of the dangers inherent in the first foray away from home. I especially appreciated that after watching my son's freshman roommate at the University of Virginia turning from a Catholic gentleman into a dissipated drunk over the course of the year. My husband and I made a decision early on when our first left home (also to attend UVA)to visit one Saturday or Sunday a month so our kids wouldn't forget where they came from. We went bowling in bad weather or took lawn darts and a picnic in good. The strategy helped our kids stay connected with their younger siblings and just have family fun. They looked forward to it, and often asked before we left when we were coming again.

Franciscan University takes seriously their responsibility to act for parents and they offer many opportunities for students to create a family-type atmosphere while they enjoy their new freedoms. The household program brings young people together in a group that has a spiritual focus. Each household has its own charism, but all are focused on growing in the faith. They allow students leaving home for the first time not to be alone, but to find deep friendships centered on Jesus Christ. The household program at Steubenville is just one element that makes the university truly unique among all the rest.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sarah Palin, One Firecracker Politician with a Bright Future

When John McCain chose Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, he sparked a ho-hum candidacy with an electric surge that sent fireworks all over the country. Everywhere Palin went tens of thousands turned out to see the Alaska soccer mom turned governor turned vice presidential candidate. One of the risks to McCain, in fact, was being upstaged by his smart, articulate, and beautiful running mate. Palin saved an unpopular candidate, in danger of losing much of the Republican base, from a complete meltdown at the polls. Despite being defeated handily by Obama, McCain won 46% of the popular vote and may well have done better but for the economic downturn, his refusal to engage the social issues, and the mainstream media’s relentless harping on trivial issues magnified into the latest Palin (blank)-gate. the obvious bias showed exactly how powerful Sarah Palin was. Obama got a pass and media excuses for his questionable associations, fundraising irregularities, and indeterminate citizenship; while Palin had to contend with hundreds of reporters roaming Alaska to root out anyone with a grudge. Throughout it all she retained her sense of humor, graciousness, and dignity. A lesser woman would have collapsed under the relentless assault.

The savaging of Sarah Palin from liberal Democrats isn’t hard to understand. Liberals on both sides of the aisle hate her Christian take on social issues. Her unabashed pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-family credentials expose their own moral bankruptcy. The feminists, who should be thrilled at the rise of a woman through her own merits to run for the Vice Presidency, hold her in contempt for not being the “right kind” of woman. What’s that? One who will proudly kill her unborn child and unapologetically encourage her daughter to abort as well. The mean-spirited attack on little Piper Palin as she played mama cat to baby brother Trig at the Republican convention slicking down his hair with a few licks on her hand, showed how totally out of touch these angry women are with American families. The vicious rumors that Trig was Palin’s grandchild were particularly hateful. In the course of the feminist feeding frenzy, leaders from NOW, NARAL, etc. ignored Palin’s remarkable rise from small town council member to popular governor of the largest state in the country. They wanted her destroyed.

Although she's a woman with a thorough grasp of energy issues, feminists painted Palin as a diva, a prom queen, just another pretty face with no brains behind it. Their behavior was laughable. To see NOW question whether Palin could be a good mom and hold down a job at the same time made them patently (and hypocritically) ridiculous. After urging moms with children into the workforce for years, they could hardly be taken seriously. The Palin smear was reminiscent of the high tech lynching targeting Clarence Thomas during his Supreme Court confirmation. Sarah, the uppity woman, meet Clarence, the uppity black.

But it isn’t just liberals who hate the governor as the nasty leaks from the McCain camp showed. The neo-con and country club Republicans detest Palin as well and appear bent on making sure this upstart soccer mom’s political career is nipped in the bud. Their anonymous attacks on her intelligence, her ability to work with others, the innuendo that she was responsible for the ridiculous wardrobe debacle, etc. were meant to undermine any future run for presidency. The Republican establishment doesn’t want Palin’s grassroots populism anywhere near the White House. Neither do they want to see a return to Reagan-style governance. Colin Powell, one more big government RINO (Republican in name only) recently joined the Palin attack basically calling on the party to move closer to the Democratics. That just indicates how very out of touch Powell is with reality. His recommendation is the very strategy that has brought the Republican party to near dissolution. Only by reclaiming authentic conservatism: less government, lower taxes, individual accountability, promotion of small businesses, etc. can the Republican party recover. Sarah Palin and other young turks like Bobby Jindal offer the best and brightest hope for a Republican comeback.

In the end, all the attack strategies against Sarah Palin are doomed to failure. Saxby Chambliss’ recent Senate run-off win in Georgia illustrates the Palin power. Despite the Obama campaign sending thousands of workers into the state to secure victory for Democrat Jim Martin and gain a filibuster-proof Senate, Chambliss won a stunning 57-43% victory. He credits it to Sarah Palin. "I can't overstate the impact she had down here," he told reporters, “when she walks in a room folks just explode.” The fireworks set off by Sarah Palin’s nomination as Vice President have just begun. She’s one smart lady with a bright political future and she has a growing fan club. Take a look at Team Sarah on the web.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bishops Plan to Fight FOCA

The bishops made it clear at their annual fall meeting that they will fight FOCA (Freedom of Choice Act). And now a postcard campaign is in the works. I remember the bishops' 1994 postcard campaign urging Congress to keep abortion and contraception out of any universal health care plan. It was launched at a July press conference on Capitol Hill. Several hundred people attended including myself with my mom, my adult daughter, and my two-year-old granddaughter. A friend took a photo of our four generations of pro-life women to commemorate the event. At the time I was chairman of my parish's pro-life committee and coordinated the drive. It was an impressive effort with millions of cards delivered to the Hill. By all means let's do it again.

But I'd like to suggest something else to go with it that will impress Congress much more than a stack of postcards with a pre-printed message collecting dust in the corner of a congressional office, something that occurred about six months before the bishops' press conference and organized by a different group -- home schoolers. In February 1994 Congressman George Miller attached an amendment to HR 6, a reappropriatons bill for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. It required teachers in full-time schools to be certified in the subject they were teaching. The amendment read:

"Each State applying for funds under this title shall provide the Secretary with the assurance that after July 1, 1998, it will require each local educational agency within the State to certify that each full time teacher in schools under the jurisdiction of the agency is certified to teach in the subject area to which he or she is assigned."

While the amendment said nothing about home schooling, it raised a red flag for lawyers at the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA). Many local school administrators across the country consider private and home schools "under [their] jurisdiction" and the bill could be used to threaten home schoolers who obviously could not be certified in every subject, particularly at the high school level. HSLDA attempted to negotiate with Miller, but he wouldn't budge. Congressman Dick Armey introduced an amendment to specifically exclude home schools from the bill, but it was rejected by Democrats on a straight party line vote. Since Miller was a staunch advocate of the NEA (National Education Association) which strongly opposed home schooling, HR 6 looked like a backhanded way to regulate and limit home schoolers.

Telephone trees and home school associations across the country went into high gear. James Dobson, Rush Limbaugh, and other radio personalities helped expose the story. Over the next few days home schoolers generated over a million telephone calls to Capitol Hill, 20,000 to Representative Miller's office alone. They literally shut Congress down. There was certainly no business as usual and the lawmakers were shocked and overwhelmed at the reaction to what they presumed was an innocuous piece of legislation.

In the end, the objectionable amendment was defeated and Dick Armey's amendment carried in the House 374-53. [You can read more details about this exciting success story in Part VI section B of The Politics of Survival by Scott W. Somerville, Esq.]

If the bishops are really serious about stopping FOCA they need more than a postcard campaign. They must generate the same intense grassroots activity for the unborn that the home schoolers did for their own children. We know CINOs (Catholics in Name Only) are unlikely to support this effort. The unborn are invisible to them. But faithful Catholics, united with other pro-life Christian churches, orthodox Jews, pro-life Mormons, etc. can overwhelm the culture of death on Capitol Hill with a pro-life avalanche.

Let every bishop call a press conference to launch the "Call for Life" campaign. Let every parish priests preach on the value of each tiny baby, our littlest brothers and sisters, and urge their congregations to pick up the phones. Let ecumenical religious groups network together as "Christians and Jews united to stop FOCA."

Imagine if every voter at the March for Life on January 22nd pulled out his or her cell phone and called Congress saying "Stop FOCA."

Discouragement is not an option. Despite the election of a radically pro-abortion President and the most pro-abortion legislature in history we are a people of God with faith in the power of the Holy Spirit. By the grace of God through the intercession of Our Lady we can restore our country. Let it begin with the "Call for Life Campaign."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Great Catholic Colleges Part II - Christendom

I admit I'm partial to Christendom for several reasons. First of all it is, as the Newman Guide says, joyfully Catholic. I occasionally go to daily Mass there and it's an incredible experience to see a chapel filled at midday with several hundred students who sing the hymns (including some Latin responses) with clear young voices that sound almost angelic. The college president and his wife and children, as well as many faculty members, sit side by side in the pews with the students. Sometimes students have younger children in tow which always brings a smile to my face. Daily Mass at Christendom is not only a treasure for the school, but the local community.

The chapel itself is absolutely beautiful with stained glass windows recycled from the old Blessed Sacrament Church in downtown Winchester. The window depicting the Sacred Heart of Jesus is located above the white marble altar which is another piece of art. Two large angels bend toward the altar from the sides. Everything about the church lifts the mind and heart to God.

The library, built within the past few years, is another architecturalal beauty set back in the woods on a small knoll. It has a large foyer that invites one to pause in admiration to read the latin inscriptions set in the ceiling. The entire campus is a reminder that God speaks in the true, the good, and the beautiful. When I think of Christendom's humble beginnings I am in awe of what a handful of faithful Catholics with vision can accomplish. (Thank you, Dr. and Mrs. Carroll and all your associates who had the courage to begin this great work of God.)

If you haven't seen Christendom and you are ever near Front Royal, Virginia stop and visit. I feel very blessed to have them in my own backyard. (Out in the country a 40 minute drive is the back yard).

Monday, December 15, 2008

Great Catholic Colleges Part I - WCC

In light of my post about the scandal at the University of San Francisco, I thought it would be good to present the flip side: great Catholic Colleges that celebrate their orthodoxy. This will be the first of several posts.

One of my favorite Catholic colleges is a new kid on the block -- Wyoming Catholic College. The school describes itself this way:

"Wyoming Catholic College is a four-year college committed to offering a liberal arts education that steeps its students in the awesome beauty of our created, natural world and imbues them with the best that has been thought and said in Western civilization, including the moral and intellectual heritage of the Catholic Church. The college strives to promote a love of learning, an understanding of natural order, and the quest for virtuous living so that its graduates will assume their responsibilities as citizens in a free society.

"The curriculum and campus are devoted to the formation of the whole person, i.e., the spiritual, physical and intellectual dimensions. Studies include the classics of imaginative literature, history, mathematics, science, philosophy, fine arts, and theology. They employ the great and good books as well as the natural created world, effecting a rich combination of intellectual and experiential or poetic knowledge. Students’ imaginations are enriched and their capacity for wonder deepened. Moreover, students and faculty share in a campus life that reflects the ideals taught directly and indirectly in the classroom.

"In this Catholic tradition, emphasis lies not on the dissemination of information, but on the development and perfection of the intellect, the passions, and the will, enabling students to approach and embrace the good, the true, and the beautiful throughout their lives.

"In addressing the whole person, the college contributes to the students’ spiritual and moral formation. This is done via Catholic culture, context, and traditions. The faculty and college are faithful to the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church and the deposit of faith handed down over the past two thousand years."

If I were college age how I'd love to sign up for a four-year adventure at WCC. The Cardinal Newman Society included them in their latest College Guide of twenty-one authentically Catholic schools in the United States. Sad, isn't it that with hundreds of so-called Catholic schools only a few really teach and defend the faith? All the more reason to give WCC a serious look if you have children, relatives, or friends approaching college age.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Talking about weather, global warming, and carbon footprints

It's in the 40s today in Shenandoah County and is supposed to hit 60 degrees tomorrow. That must be a warning to us and proof of global warming. The planet is heating up and we all better build our arks in the back yard so we can hop in and slam the doors when the polar ice caps melt and the coastlands disappear under rising ocean water. Be sure to stock plenty of seasickness pills.

On the other hand, we just had one of the coldest Novembers on record with many cities in the southeast experiencing record lows. Augusta, Georgia recorded the sixth coldest November since 1900 and Asheville the chilliest in ten years. Perth, Australia had the coldest November of the past 37 years. So this must be a warning that we are entering a new ice age. Better stock up on thermal underwear and prepare ourselves for more of what the northeast is suffering: ice storms, frigid temperatures, and power outages.

Meanwhile, the glaciers in Norway and Alsaska are growing despite the fact that they were shrinking in the 80s. If shrinking glaciers point to global warming what do expanding glaciers point to?

The founder of the weather channel, John Coleman, has called global warming a "total myth" and a "scam." Coleman and 30,000 other scientists (including 9,000 PhDs) may sue Al Gore and others selling carbon credits for fraud. Coleman says the manipulated hysteria over global warming has become an "environmentalist religion."

Ho-hum who cares, you say? Well, how about the impact biofuels are having on the third world where the cost of grain has skyrocketed because it is now being grown for cleaner-burning fuel, thus creating food shortages. Al Gore's environmentalist hoax takes bread out of the mouths of babes literally. I doubt he loses any sleep at night. After all, Gore is a long-time anti-natalist who with President Clinton aggressively promoted population control in the third world. What's a few million starved poor folk in Africa who don't look like the Gores anyway? - Fewer carbon footprints messing up the planet.

Elitists consider the teeming masses in the third world a threat and the Clinton-Gore Cairo Conference of 1994 made it absolutely clear that population control, particularly in the third world, was at the top of their priority list. Could it be that global warming is just one more way to promote de-population? Already, voices clamor for carbon taxes on newborns who will clutter up the planet for eighty years or more interfering with the lifestyles of the the rich and famous whose favorite tourist attractions are overrun with the hoi-polloi these days.

As for global warming, I'm not worried about it. Even the global warming scare-mongers are changing their tune, singing a new song about "climate change." It's hard to sell global warming in the middle of some of the coldest weather on record. Meanwhile I'm rooting for Coleman's lawsuit against Al Gore and I plan to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather tomorrow. It's a nice break from all the unseasonably cold weather we've had lately.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Victory at USF...sort of

Yesterday, I published a post about abortion being written into the health coverage at the University of San Francisco. Apparently the heat from the exposure put enough pressure on the school that they sent out a message saying they were altering the health plan to delete abortion coverage. That's good. But then comes "the rest of the story." Kathleen Gilbert writing at LifeSiteNews reports that "a contributing editor with Our Sunday Visitor has just revealed that the University's health clinic refers students seeking abortion to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers." So the battle continues to rage at a "Catholic" school that is committed to and fully cooperates with the murder of unborn children if that's what their students want.

If you look at the USF home page, the photo at the top shows a campus building in a bizarre shot tilting almost 45 degrees to the left. What a subliminal message and an accurate one as well. USF doesn't stand upright for Catholic truth, but tilts to the radical left. Any student who goes there can expect to come out with off-balance views not Catholic ones. Parents, be warned! If you value your faith don't send your kids to USF or any other Jesuit school of higher education.

By all means write another letter to university president:
Stephen Privett, S.J.
Office of the President
LMR 415
2130 Fulton St.
San Francisco, CA 94117
phone: 415 422-6762
e-mail: privett@usfca.edu

Then send a copy of your correspondence with a cover letter to both the apostolic nuncio:
Most Rev. Pietro Sambi
Apostolic Nuncio
3339 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, D.C.

and also to the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education:
Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski
Prefect, Congregation for Education
Palazzo della Congregazioni,
Piazza Pio XII, 3
00121
Vatican City, Europe

Pray that schools like USF will either return to the Catholic Church or will close. This debacle brings to mind Archbishop Fulton Sheen's advice to parents to send their children to secular schools where they will have to fight for the faith rather than to Catholic schools where their faith will be taken from them. As for the scandalizers -- it's millstone time. Have you ever seen a millstone? Big ones wait inscribed with the names of USF staff who rob young people of whatever weak faith they have when they enter college. Most young people have been so poorly catechized that are easy to decieve. God help you, Fr. Privett, on judgment day, for being at the helm, not of a Catholic lifeboat attached to the barque of Peter, but a leaky boat with oarsmen busy drilling holes in its bottom.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Protector of the Unborn, Pray for Us

Today is the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, mother of the Americas and patron of children not yet born. Run to the Blessed Mother when you are in trouble or fear anything. She is a strong protector. Under her title of Our Lady of Guadalupe she is a powerful advocate, especially against the wickendness and snares of the devil. If you know anyone who favors abortion ask the Blessed Mother to intercede and here are several websites (below) where they can get more information. There are many others. There is no excuse to be ignorant about the reality of abortion. And those who know the reality and still defend it need our prayers and sacrifices. The Lord promised to treat us the way we treat the least among us. Can there be anyone littler or more helpless than the child in the womb? We have an obligation to defend those being led to the slaughter. If you want justice for yourself, defend life. If you want peace, defend life. If you want eternal life in heaven, defend life. The alternative is indifference and apathy (lukewarmness) toward one of the gravest moral evils of our time. And the Lord made it clear what he would do with the lukewarm - "I will vomit you out my mouth."

Abort73.com
The Center for Bioethical Reform
Priests for Life
Abortion Facts
After Abortion

Kansas State Senator Bolts the Party of Abortion

Veteran Kansas state Senator Mark Gilstrap bolted the Democatic Party December 4th for the GOP. After serving three terms in the state Senate, Gilstrap lost his reelection bid in the primary after facing major opposition from pro-abortion Catholic governor Kathleen Sebelius and the Democratic party of Kansas. The Gilstrap situation may have deep-sixed Sebelius' chances of being named vice-president because of Obama's courtship of Catholic voters. Gilstrap is a pro-life Catholic and the attack from his own party was too reminiscent of the treatment accorded to Pennsylvania Governor Robert Casey Sr. in 1992.

For some interesting articles on the Gilstrap situation check out these headlines:

Sebelius confounds Obama effort to appeal to Catholics

Kansas State Senator Switches From Democrat to Republican Over Abortion

Another Jesuit Scandal

The Jesuits continue to build their reputation as the religious order most likely to be a scandal to the Church. One of their latest atrocities? Life News reported December 10th that the University of San Francisco has "crafted a new student health care plan that covers abortions... Full-time undergraduate students at USF are automatically enrolled in the university's plan unless they request a waiver and prove that they have other, comparable insurance."

Patrick Reilly of the Cardinal Newman Society told Life News USF's plan was not a generic one and appeared to include abortion deliberately. That would not be surprising as the school has a long history of pro-abortion activity (as do many other Jesuit schools in the United States).

Should USF continue to call themselves Catholic? No!

Write to USF President Father Stephen Privett at president@usfca.edu to protest this obvious formal cooperation with evil which is seriously sinful. And pray through the intercession of Fr. John Hardon, S.J. for the Jesuits to return to the holy model of St. Ignatius of Loyola, their founder.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Gay Bible?

An American film producer, Max Mitchell, will publish The Princess Diana Bible for gays in Spring 2009. Here's his version of Genesis:

"And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Aida, and she slept: and he took one of her ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, which the Lord God had taken from woman, made he another woman, and brought her unto the first. And Aida said, 'This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of me. Therefore shall a woman leave her mother, and shall cleave unto her wife: and they shall be one flesh.' And they were both naked, the woman and her wife, and were not ashamed."

Mitchell says, "There are many different versions of the Bible; I don't see why we can't have one." His Bible is coming out of REVISION STUDIOS, which seems appropriate, although it is more perversion than revision. But aside from that if this excerpt indicates the quality of the rest of the book, who would buy it?

One might think this was an attempt at a spoof if homosexuals weren't so relentlessly humorless. But the so-called "gay" community has stripped all the fun out of what used to be a perfectly delightful word. They take themselves and their delusional fantasies absolutely seriously and more commonly illustrate anger than humor.

The idea of rewriting the Bible demonstrates the nature of the homosexual mind which believes the real world and the natural law are putty to be formed anew according to their creative juices and genital urges.

Unfortunately for them, the Bible is a real book written by real people. Whether one believes it was inspired by divine revelation or not, the Bible certainly is what it is. Rewriting it to accommodate a particular sin is about as intellectually honest as rewriting Tolstoy's War and Peace from a gay perspective or Shakespeare's plays, Dickens and Hemingway's novels, or Wordsworth's poetry. But that has never stopped a gay project yet. They delight in claiming that everything and everyone under the sun is really gay, only the hetero-sexist world has denied the truth for four thousand years. (Yawn.)

Making up their own reality and playing let's pretend is endemic to the gay lifestyle. From their skewed perspective, rewriting the Bible makes perfect sense because they have a civil right to be whatever they want to be no matter how biologically impossible it is. And if facts get in the way, well...just make up new ones.

There's more than a little insanity evidenced by people who create their own make-believe reality divorced from the real world -- like claiming to be Napoleon or deciding that your house on Main Street is really a palace in India. On the other hand, perhaps it is less insanity and more infantilism. I think I've hit it. Gays have never outgrown the anal stage and their behavior is like the little child playing in his own feces and making up stories - like this piece of homosexual fiction. Whatever it is, it is certainly NOT the Bible. Saying it is makes as much sense as calling your nose an eye and claiming that now you can see better.

Let's pray for our homosexual and lesbian brothers and sisters. Sin makes you blind and dumb and this project illustrates plenty of evidence of both.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

As Illinois Goes, So Goes the Obama Nation

Ah, Illinois, land of Lincoln, and land of bigtime political corruption. Poor Rod Blagojevich is nothing new for Illinois; he just happened to get caught -- on tape no less. Now one question that needs an answer: how did Blago know that Obama was refusing to deal for the Senate seat? Obviously he had been talking to folks on the president-elect's team, if not the president-elect himself. This fact was confirmed on November 23rd by David Axelrod, Obama's campaign chairman, when he said the governor had, indeed, talked to the president-elect about filling his senate seat. Ah...but that fact is inconvenient now in light of the scandal; so drop it down the memory hole and tap dance away from the truth. Axelrod now claims he misspoke and Obama denies any conversations with the gov. It's shuck and jive time.

No surprise. Remember, Obama was trained according to Saul Alinsky's ethics. The end justifies the means and lying is perfectly acceptable when necessary to accomplish the desired goal. At this point, the goal is obviously to put as much distance as possible between Obama and the scandal.

But Blagojevich obviously knows more than what he's said so far (although his foul mouth has certainly said plenty) and does anyone think he will go down quietly? There is no honor among thieves nor among corrupt politicians. Obama will sacrifice Blagojevich in a heartbeat just has he has others if he can. But if the governor has any hard evidence of Obama involvement watch for a deal -- a pardon perhaps after Obama becomes president and maybe an appointment down the line?

One thing's for sure -- political watchers who enjoy scandals will have plenty to keep them riveted in the days and weeks ahead. The cover up has already started and the inauguration is still five weeks away. Rush and Sean will have plenty of fodder for their radio shows if they aren't forced off the air by the (UN)fairness Doctrine.

As for us ordinary folk -- tighten your seat belts and check the air bags.

When Times are Dark the Lord raises up.....

Monks of course. Think about it. During the dark ages the monks preserved much of the knowledge of western civilization. The image of a monk working over his illuminated manuscript is familiar, but that wasn't their only contribution to culture. Monasteries were places of both prayer and a wide variety of work. The monks experimented with agricultural techniques and animal husbandry, use of medicinal herbs, etc. They built irrigation and drainage systems. They shared their knowledge with the peoples around them and, when the various monastic communities met for their annual meetings, they swapped discoveries and new ideas. These quickly spread throughout western Europe. The monks also took care of the poor and sick in their communities and, in fact, England had no need of poor houses until the monasteries were stripped, the religious orders dispersed, and their properties confiscated during the Protestant revolution. There's a wonderful book by William Cobbett (The Protestant Reformation) written in 1821 that details, among other things, the horrors brought about by the destruction of the religious orders in England. Read the introduction here. What a gift the monasteries were, not just to the Church, but to society and culture.

I remember reading an inspiring poem in my eight grade poetry class by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow called The Legend Beautiful. It tells of a monk who, in the midst of an apparition of Christ, hears the chapel bell calling him to feed the poor at the gate. He struggles with his desire to stay and worship and his responsibility and finally decides, "Do thy duty; that is best; Leave unto thy Lord the rest!"

When he returns after dispensing food to the beggars, he marvels to find Christ waiting for him. Jesus tells the dutiful monk, "Hadst thou stayed I must have fled."

The Lord is still calling men and women today to religious life. One inspiring new monastery is in Wyoming where a handful of young men(and I do mean young) are answering the call to form a New Carmel. You can take a virtual visit of their monastery and share in their work by (and now for the commercial) purchasing their own secret coffee blend. It gets high marks from Coffee Review. Check it out. Isn't there someone on your Christmas list who would enjoy their Christmas coffee? It's only available for a short time.

Suicide Rate Higher in Women who Abort

Study finds depression suffered by 80% of women who abort

Madrid, Dec 9, 2008 / 03:52 pm (CNA).- A study by a group of experts in Spain has revealed that 80% of women who have had an abortion suffer symptoms of depression, while 40% have considered suicide. (More)

Called to be a prophet

I am slowly moving through the book of Isaiah on my Advent journey. Christmas will come and the prophet and I will have walked only a short way toward the New Jerusalem. But that's okay; I'd rather enjoy his company on a long-distance walk than a run. In chapter six the voice of the Lord calls out, "Whom shall I send?" (to be a prophet to the nations). Isaiah has just confessed his sinfulness as a "man of unclean lips." He has seen the Lord of hosts, but recognizes his own unworthiness to speak the words of God. That's no problem for the Lord...He sends one of the seraphim "holding an ember which he had taken with tongs from the altar." The angel touches Isaiah's lips saying, "Your wickedness is removed, your sin purged." With that assurance, Isaiah can answer the Lord's question, "Whom shall I send," calling out "Here I am; send me!"

Every Christian is called to be a prophet in his own times. The prophet's role is to call people back to the Lord. He usually brings evil tidings that are unwelcome, not to discourage people, but to warn them and sound the alarm. Some evils are so obvious that it hardly takes a prophet to predict them, which is certainly the case with what I'm going to say now. I predict that in the next few years, likely before the end of Obama's first term, we will see both homosexual marriage and assisted suicide brought to us, not by popular vote, not by state legislatures, but exactly the same way we saw abortion forced upon us through Roe v. Wade...the courts will impose them. Both issues will be treated as civil rights undergirded by the same spurious principles that the Roe court found in the "penumbra" of the Constitution. Assisted suicide will likely be cast as a "privacy" issue like Roe using Griswold v. Connecticut which also legalized contraception. What I do with my body (contracept it, abort it, fornicate it, adulterate it, kill it) is up to me. I think the homosexual issue will be framed as equality. If heterosexual couples have a right to marry, adopt, etc. so do we. The natural law, the inability of two same-sex individuals to have a child will likely be turned upside down by cloning and other evil reproductive technologies. Until that happens, same-sex couples will play let's pretend as they "parent" children together.

Is there anything Christians can do to halt this from coming to pass? I don't know. When the Lord told Isaiah to warn the people about imminent evils, the prophet asked, "How long?" until the people would be healed. God's answer was not encouraging. "Until the cities are desolate, without inhabitants...and the earth is a desolate waste."

But the very next chapter of Isaiah offers the hope of the coming Messiah. The Lord sends Isaiah to the evil king Ahaz telling him to ask for a sign. Ahaz pretends piety (Oh how like a modern politician he is.) saying, "I will not tempt the Lord" by seeking a sign. God gives him one anyway. "The virgin will be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel."

Advent is a dark time, but one filled with the glowing twilight of the SON rising in the east, the morning star. It is a time to rededicate ourselves to the Lord's truth and to reform our lives through Confession and penance. The Lord is coming. He will not disappoint. He chastises us only because He loves us. Take heart and do not be afraid.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Another Court-Ordered Contribution to the Culture of Death

Montana judge: Man has right to assisted suicide
By AMY BETH HANSON Associated Press Dec. 6, 2008, 5:16PM


HELENA, Mont. — A Montana judge has ruled that doctor-assisted
suicides are legal in the state, a decision likely to be appealed as the
state argues that the Legislature, not the court, should decide whether
terminally ill patients have the right to take their own life. (more)

St. Juan Diego, Pray for Us

The feast of St. Juan Diego is an instructive one for Americans living in the culture of death because he also lived in a culture of death. Juan may very well have witnessed, as a young teenager, the three-day pagan festival held in 1487 when the Aztec priests offered 80,000 human sacrifices. They cut out the still-beating hearts from the chests of their victims before thrusting their bodies down the stairs of the pyramids.

After the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs by Cortes in 1521 human sacrifice and devil-worship were banned, but the native population continued to practice its pagan rituals in secret. Although Juan Diego was among the first to convert to Christianity, little progress was being made by the Catholic missionaries. That is until the Blessed Mother appeared to Juan four times on Tepeyac Hill in 1531.

Juan Diego was up early on the morning of the first apparition to walk the 15 miles to daily Mass. As he passed the hill he saw a glow and heard music and a woman's voice calling to him, "Juanito." Juan met the Blessed Mother dressed as an Aztec princess. She told him to go to the bishop and ask him to build a church there. Juan Diego obeyed, but the bishop, although kind, did not believe him. On another visit the bishop asked for a sign. When Juan told the Blessed Mother, she promised to give him one the next morning.

But on that day Juan's uncle was deathly ill so he attempted to avoid Mary by rounding the hill on the other side in order to hurry and fetch the priest. Our Lady, however, met him on the side of hill. "Where are you going, my little son?" she asked. When he told her about his uncle's illness, she replied, "Nothing should frighten or grieve you. Let not your heart be disturbed. Do not fear that sickness, nor any other sickness or anguish. Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything." She assured him that his uncle would get better and again commissioned him to take her request to the bishop.

Although it was winter, Mary sent Juan Diego to gather roses as the sign the bishop sought. He did and Mary herself arranged them in his tilma before sending him off as her ambassador. When he opened his cloak in the bishop's office and the roses fell to the floor, there embedded in the weave was the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

In the next few years millions of natives converted to Catholicism because of the miracle. The symbolism of the image spoke a clear message that God had visited His people through the Holy Virgin.

St. Juan Diego, on your feast day we beg for your intercession to build in America a culture of life. Please ask the Blessed Mother to act as she did in Mexico to end the human sacrifice of abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, and all other assaults against human life.

Will Obama Risk Holy Hell Over FOCA?

Ray Kerrison of the New York Post has a powerful article,Obama's Holy Hell questioning whether, as new president, Obama will really risk all-out war with the Catholic hierarchy over FOCA. It begins:

"IF President-elect Barack Obama goes through with his campaign pledge to sign into law the Freedom of Choice Act, holy hell is going to break loose.

"FOCA may be the most radical social legislation in decades. It seeks to strip every last restraint from abortion - outlawing states' requirements for waiting periods, informed consent or parental consent; preventing health and safety regulation of abortion clinics and abortionists - and even ending restrictions on partial-birth abortion.

"With one stroke of the president's pen, it would nullify every one of the 330 or so federal, state and local abortion laws on the books, most of them supported by a majority of Americans.

"And that's just the start.....(more)

The E- word, that is excommunication, comes up with Cardinal George saying, depending on the wording of the law, it may be a real possibility for any Catholic politician who would formally cooperate with evil by voting for FOCA.

As a serious Catholic who has watched the bishops tapdance and sway over many issues, I hope they will finally find their spines and stand firm on a moral position that is unnegotiable. It's long past time for them to enforce Canon Law 915 and refuse Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians like Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Ted Kennedy and all the rest who call themselves "devout Catholics" while they vote to murder children and destroy marriage. Faithful Catholics need to hold their bishops' feet to the fire and take back the Church demanding that the bishops preach Humanae Vitae, discipline those scandalizing the flock, and stop waffling on doctrine. If the evil positions of Barack Obama cause that to happen, his election may turn out to be a blessing even if it results in active persecution.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Headlines I Wish We Could See Here

America has a morality problem when it comes to many of those we elect to government. Today it's often the leaders of other countries who stand on the moral high ground and could teach us a thing or two. Good for them.

Let us pray for a return of wisdom and goodness among America's leaders. But remember, you tend to get the leaders you deserve. If you want wise and good leaders, the wisdom and goodness must start with every citizen because the leaders of a country generally reflect like a mirror the people they govern.

President...leaves...party after rift over abortion

...Congress shelves controversial law against life and family

(President) set to block euthanasia law

Immaculate Mary, Your Praises We Sing

December 8, Feast of the Immaculate Conception

As we get ready for Christmas the Church gives us a beautiful reminder that God Himself prepared in the days before He sent His Son. He gifted the Blessed Mother with her Immaculate Conception, saving her from the effects of original sin at the very moment she was conceived in the womb of her mother, Ann. That preparation is a reminder to us. God didn't start out by choosing apostles, teaching them, and sending them out to the world. No, He began at the very beginning preparing the hearts and minds of the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph. St. Joseph himself revealed to Blessed Catherine Emmerich that he was saved from original sin immediately after his conception. So God prepared a holy home for His Son before Jesus was conceived in Mary's womb.

I think the message for Christians is that we need to be saved personally before we can evangelize others. How can we help to "remove the beam of sin" from the eyes of others, if we haven't repented of our own sins and sought God's forgiveness, especially in the Sacrament of Confession. How many of us are out saving the world while we ignore evil and faults in our own lives?

We are called to be witnesses to the world, but our witness begins with giving an example of repentance. In Advent especially we should listen to the call of St. John the Baptist, "Reform your lives." We cannot hear the good news if our own ears are ringing with the world's noise. We can't hear the angels' hosannas while we listen to the siren song of the evil one. We can't help others to see the truth if our own eyes are filled with images of heterosexual lust from the catalogues of Victoria's Secret and homosexual lust from the catalogues of Abercrombie and Fitch. In today's world protecting our eyes is more important than ever because evil is mainstreamed in mall windows, grocery store magazine racks, and on the Internet.

We need to pray constantly for protection and conversion. A good model for us is St. Augustine whose mother, St. Monica, pursued him literally and in prayer until he finally succumbed to the Hound of Heaven.

Pray the conversion prayer of St. Augustine today to prepare yourself to be a soldier in the army of Christ.

St. Augustine's Conversion Prayer

O God, Framer of the universe, grant me first rightly to invoke Thee; then to show myself worthy to be heard by Thee; lastly, deign to set me free. God, through whom all things which of themselves were not, tend to be. God, who out of nothing hast created this world, which the eyes of all perceive to be most beautiful. God, the Father of truth, the Father of wisdom, the Father of the true and crowning life, the Father of blessedness, the Father of that which is good and fair, the Father of intelligible light, the Father of our awakening and illumination, the Father of the pledge by which we are admonished to return to Thee.

God, from whom to be turned away, is to fall: to whom to be turned back, is to rise again: in whom to abide, is to stand firm. God, from whom to go forth, is to die: to whom to return, is to revive: in whom to have our dwelling, is to live. God, whom no one loses, unless deceived: whom no one seeks, unless stirred up: whom no one finds, unless made pure. God, by whom we distinguish good from ill. God, by whom we flee evil, and follow good. God, who leadest us to the door of life. God, who causest it to be opened to them that knock. God, who givest us the bread of life. God, who cleansest us, and preparest us for Divine rewards, come graciously to me.

Thou the only God, come unto my help. God, whom all things serve, that serve, to whom is compliant every virtuous soul. By whose laws the poles revolve, the stars fulfill their courses, the sun enlivens the day, the moon tempers the night: and all the framework of things, day after day by turns of light and gloom, month after month by waxings and wanings of the moon, year after year by unceasing order of spring and summer and fall and winter, and through the mighty orbs of time, folding and refolding upon themselves, as the stars still recur to their first conjunctions, maintains, so far as mere visible matter allows, the mighty constancy of things. God, by whose laws the choice of the soul is free, and to the good rewards and to the evil pains are distributed by necessities settled throughout all natures. Who hast made man after Thine image and likeness, as he who has come to know himself discovers. Hear me, hear me, graciously hear me, my God, my Lord, my King, my Father, my Cause, my Hope, my Wealth, my Honor, my House, my Country, my Health, my Light, my Life. Hear, hear, hear me graciously, in that way, all Thine own, which though known to few is to those few known so well.

Henceforth Thee alone do I love, Thee alone I follow, Thee alone I seek, Thee alone am I prepared to serve, for Thou alone art rightly Lord, and of Thy lordship I desire to be. Direct, I pray, and command whatever Thou wilt, but heal and open my ears, that I may hear Thine utterances. Heal and open my eyes, that I may behold the signs of thy command. Drive delusion from me, that I may recognize Thee. O Lord, most merciful Father receive, I pray, Thy fugitive; enough already, surely, have I been punished, long enough have I served Thine enemies, whom Thou hast under Thy feet, long enough has error had its way with me. To Thee I feel I must return: I knock; may Thy door be opened to me; teach me the way to Thee.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Merry Tossmas - From My House to Your Store (where I'm not shopping)!


Now this is an idea that can really see results. Suppose every Christian who got a "holiday" gift catalogue tossed it in the circular file. Wouldn't retailers take note? I've decided it's a good strategy. So any store that sends me a "holiday" catalogue this year can save a tree by dropping me from its mailing list. Merry Christmas, Costco, and all you other Grinchy stores who refuse to use the word Christmas. You are off my Christmas (or as you say "holiday") shopping route. Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas! Or Merry Tossmas if you prefer.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Pearl Harbor Remembered

I don't remember Pearl Harbor because I was only in the mind of God when the Japanese attacked on December 7 1941. But I've heard about it from those who were there, my mom and dad. Daddy graduated from the Naval Academy, class of 1940. His was the last full, four year class to graduate before the onset of the war when studies were accelerated to get men into service more quickly. My parents married in September of 1941 and left for Daddy's duty station in Hawaii where he was assigned to the U.S.S. Detroit, a light cruiser berthed at Pearl Harbor.

In the early morning of Sunday, December 7, Daddy was asleep in his bunk having hit the sack after finishing his duty shift. Mom was asleep in their small apartment on the island of Oahu. Even though he was only an ensign, low officer on the totem pole, Daddy was the ranking officer on board since the ship's captain had gone ashore for the weekend. When the attack began, Daddy ran up on deck barefoot and in his skivvies. He ordered the ship out of the harbor, but after stepping on a hot shell casing decided the war would have to wait until he got some clothes on. The Detroit began putting up a lot of fire-power eventually getting credit for shooting down two Japanese planes. Because the Japanese hit the airstrip which was a mass of flames and smoke they pretty much had total control of the skies over Pearl.

The Detroit was one of only two ships to make it out of the harbor. All of the battleships which operated on multiple boilers had most of them inactive. They were also berthed adjacent to each other, where disabled and exploding ships around them blocked them from getting out of their berths. The USS Nevada which was moored separately was the only battleship able to fire up and get underway attempting to leave the harbor, but she was hit by several torpedoes and bombs and the officer in charge beached her rather than risk blocking the channel. Despite some of the battleships getting their anti-aircraft guns going, most were sitting ducks for the Japanese attack. Daddy lost many classmates at Pearl Harbor and never talked much about the war. I learned more about it when the Navy sent an archivist to talk to him toward the end of his life.

Mom shared about how frightening it was to see the smoke and flames lighting up the sky and having no idea whether Daddy was dead or alive. One of the senior officers sent someone over to her apartment to pick her up and bring her back to their house so she wouldn't be alone, but it would be several days before she saw Daddy and knew he was safe. Mom was evacuated from Pearl Harbor with the other civilians and only found out later that the Detroit was one of the ships in the convoy sent to escort them back to the west coast. Poor Mom had a miserable time at sea with morning sickness since she was carrying my oldest brother who was born in June of 1942. When the ship arrived in California Mom and Dad had only a brief chance to see each other before Daddy shipped out again.

My parents went on to have nine more children. Perhaps they had a greater appreciation for life having been so close to death. They passed that respect for life on to all of us. I rejoice in my own family for our five children and eighteen grandchildren. Daddy didn't live to see any of his great grandchildren, but mom did -- almost 40. My parents demonstrated the adage that it takes a village to raise a child, but not Hillary's village -- the village of the family.

May God give all of us the same courage, fortitude, and integrity that marked my parents' lives. Dad and Mom, please pray for us.