Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday Fun - Family Edition

A pro-family, pro-life commercial. It tells a great story. Lastly, it also does a good job of showing why siblings are one of the best gifts we can give to our children (if we are able to).

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Same Sex Marriage or Civil Unions?

In a masterful unmasking of the arguments for civil unions of homosexual couples, one of my favorite authors, Jennifer Roback Morse, shows that that ultimate victim may be society itself. Here is a snip, though I recommend the article in its entirety.
The freight train of same sex marriage will not stop at the station called simple “equality.” The legal equivalence of same sex couples with opposite sex couples means that marriage will no longer be society’s most reliable method of attaching mothers and fathers to their children and to each other. Marriage will become a gender-neutral creation of the state, which actively detaches children from at least one of their parents. Parentage will not flow automatically from the marital union, but will have to be assigned by the state. The final stop on this train is the complete de-gendering of society, along with the continual incursion of the state into civil society.

The state must hold that mothers and fathers are completely interchangeable. Biological parents married to each other become officially equivalent to one parent plus their lover. The state will be indifferent as to whether children have any connection with their biological parents.
The kicker is this:
This ruling gives the electorate the chance to gain genuine clarity from the candidates. The “I oppose same sex marriage, but favor civil unions,” position is the equivalent of “I’m personally opposed to abortion but support your right to have one.” It is a cowardly subterfuge that should no longer fool anyone.

New Encyclical On The Way

This time, a social justice encyclical.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cultural Comment

The guys over at Creative Minority Report have a great post on IPods. I highly recommend it.

Our Culture

We are in a cultural dogfight and in many ways, we are losing. Yes, there are great signs that the next generation is one that could lead the fight to take back our culture for God. But, that is many years (and many lost battles) into the future.

A new poll tells us that more Americans condemn fur clothing than they condemn divorce or embryonic stem cell research. Now, stop and think about this point. Animals are seen as more important than babies and marriage to many, if not most, of the citizens in the country - if the poll is correct.

Many times we like to assign blame for these problems. Frequently TV, pornography, movies, music, bad schools, advertising, government, etc. are blamed. But, these usually reflect the changes (and magnify) that are already going in a certain direction. I think there are two definite reasons for the problems and we must fix these two problems before there will be a change in our culture.

1 - Our family life. Our culture puts the individual's satisfaction and pleasure at a premium. Think of how things are sold today - you "deserve" this product. Until we start to think of the other before ourselves, we will never be able to have strong marriages and strong families that raise strong Christians and strong citizens, who are well-adjusted and confident in their ability to challenge the prevailing culture that will only get worse before it gets better.

2 - Our parishes and dioceses. We are satisfied at having the status quo in our parishes and dioceses. We are generally satisfied with them doing a "decent" job at formation, education, discipleship, prayer, etc. Yet, we are all called to excellence by Christ. Many of our parents have abdicated their spiritual responsibilities of educating their children in the faith and we have allowed them to do so.

I will stop complaining now. But, I do think that such stories like this one about sex on college campuses, are a call for us to fight harder.

What is the answer? Well, the Church has provided it since the day of pentecost. It is simply this:
1 - Be holy. Pray. Form your conscience, then follow it. Have a deep and abiding relationship with Christ.
2 - Be a good disciple. Evangelize. Be fervent. Be zealous. Seek conversion. Serve the less fortunate.
3 - Be a good Catholic. Know and follow what the Church teaches (study then live it). Pass this one to others. Frequent the Sacraments.

This simple game plan for life will win the cultural war, eventually.
God help us.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Sat Stuff

*England has made two mother IVF families a part of their law.

*In another interesting story, an Anglican Bishop calls for what he calls "Gay Christianity".
He says:
The Anglican tradition is uniquely capable of holding two seemingly contradictory ideas together. Its position on abortion, for example is that all human life is sacred. And, that no one has the right to tell a woman what to do with her body. Both are true.
No they are not. They are not "seemingly contradictory" they are contradictory and cannot both be true. This is basic reasoning 101. He then goes on to say:
“Just as surely as Jesus called to his friend Lazarus to ‘Come out!’ of his tomb, Jesus called me to come out of my tomb of guilt and shame, to accept and love that part of me that he already accepted and loved.”
I ask him what he thinks love is? Is it wanting the best for another, regardless of the cost to myself (the definition I use)? Because if it is, then entering into a homosexual relationship can never be "want what is best for the other" and therefore isn't real love. It is inherently selfish.

*WOW! China's 1-child policy has "prevented 400 million births". God have mercy. I can't even comprehend it.

Friday, May 23, 2008

How To Help Burma - Condoms

Yep.
The UN decided that the people of Myanmar could use thousands of condoms and that would help in this disaster. Ug.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Not a good idea

Not at all.

Stay Away From These "Catholic" Sites

Apparently the head of several online Catholic websites (some very big ones) is involved in a scandal of possibly taking money from different Catholic organizations. If true, then Catholic.org and other major websites may not be around much longer. I have never used the website much, because of the annoying ads, but it is one of the biggest Catholic websites there is. It would be a pretty major scandal.

Say a prayer for all involved.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Prayer Requests

*This is from Mark. I agree with every word he writes.
As you may know, Ted Kennedy has brain cancer. This is a great time to let him know that we Catholics are praying for him. You can go here:
On the right hand side, you will find a place to leave him well-wishes and other comments. Please pass this on.
Mark
May he be healed if it be God's will.

*Today is the funeral for Mary Beth Farmer here at St. Mary's. Please keep her, her family, and her friends in your prayers during this time of mourning. Thanks. If you haven't heard already, she just graduated and died due to injuries sustained in a car accident a few days after her graduation.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Catholic Basics

Mike, our Director of Liturgy and Music, is putting together a worship aid for tomorrow. He was asked to put some short blurbs on why Catholics do what we do in the Mass for those who may not understand it fully. So, I gave him the following (extremely) brief explanations of some of the particulars we see in Catholic worship, which I thought might be useful to some of our readers. Enjoy!

Incense represents our prayers being offered to God in heaven. "From the angel’s hand the smoke of the incense went up before God, and with it the prayers of God’s people" (Rev. 8:3-5)

Holy Water is a reminder of our baptism and of our commitment to live a Christ-centered life. “And the priest shall take the holy water in an earthen vessel and take some of the dust that is on the floor of the tabernacle and put it into the water.” (Num. 5:17)

The Sign of the Cross is also a reminder of our baptism, the Holy Trinity, and our identity in Christ. "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 28:19).

We ask Mary and the Saints in heaven to pray for us, just as we would other Christian friends. The book of Revelation tells us of the Saints in heaven praying for us on earth. "the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints" (Rev. 5:8).

Catholics pray for those who have died bodily, not to achieve their salvation, but rather to speed the process of purification their souls undergo before entering heaven, if needed. Since “nothing unclean will enter” (Rev. 21:27) heaven and because of “sin that clings to us” (Heb 12:1), many souls will undergo this purification that Catholics call Purgatory.

All candles in the church are signs of Christ being the light of the world. "The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned" (Matt. 4:16)

Catholics kneel and genuflect as a sign of respect to the God whom we worship. “Eery knee shall bend before me, and every tongue shall give praise to God” (Rom 14:11)

We use Latin – a universal language of the church – as a sign of the universal nature of the Church. One language unites us all beyond our cultural boundaries.

The Eucharist is not just a symbol of Christ for Catholics. But, we believe it to be the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus. “For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.” (John 6:55-56)

Parenting

I highly recommend that you read Amy Welborn's most recent post about parenting, even if you aren't a parent. Beautiful.

Made me think of my kids. So, I responded to her post with these comments (read her post first before reading this):

I have five kids and like everyone, I am in awe and amazement at how God has made them so good. But, in my moments of frustration, anger, or just being moody, I forget that I am the reflection of THE Father and a poor one at that.

Thanks for such a beautiful reflection. It made me think that I have many selfish desires - including wanting to capture the moments of love and innocence that my children have and never let them leave the nest. To see them giggle, to see them cry and run to daddy’s arms. To have them great me at in the driveway all jumping up and down yelling “daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy!”

I don’t want to give up those moments but then, like you Amy, I realize that God didn’t make us to live for our own desires.

Sometimes that hurts.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Prayer Request Follow-Up II

Please continue to keep the Farmer family and friends in your prayers. The vigil and funeral details are below. I know many of our students and former students are hurting right now.

Visitation, Vigil & Rosary - Tuesday May 20, 2008

Vigil and Rosary at 6:30 pm
Visitation from 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Hiller Funeral Home
2301 E. 29th, Bryan, TX 77802
(979) 822-1571 Map

Mass of Christian Burial - Wednesday May 21, 1:00 pm
St. Mary's Catholic Church
603 Church Avenue
College Station, TX 77840
(979) 846-5717 Map

Monday Morning Mayhem

*Rocco has a great post up on Bishop Farrel and his first year in Big D.

*Scary, stupid, and bad reasoning all rolled into one.

*Cistercian Monks groomed to become stars.

*The Supreme Court upheld a child pornography law.

*Pope talks about the duty for all of us to seek converts.

Evangelism is a central mission of the Church, the pope told a Vatican body that encourages Catholic missionary activity.

The appeal for the conversion of "all nations," attributed to Jesus Christ in the Gospels, remains "an obligatory mandate for the entire Church and for every believer in Christ," the pontiff said.

"This apostolic commitment is both a duty and an inalienable right, the very expression of religious freedom with its moral, social and political dimensions," he said.

Like his predecessors, Pope Benedict is keen to promote missionary zeal among Catholics, most of whom live in a world of religious pluralism and other proselytising faiths such as Islam.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Prayer Request Follow-Up

One of our recent graduates, Mary Beth Farmer (graduated this past weekend), died late Wed. night from injuries she received in a severe auto accident in Austin on Monday. The funeral will most likely be here at St. Mary's next week. Please pray for Mary Beth, her family, her friends and St. Mary's.

Questions

It is a busy day today, so not much blogging will happen. But, I do want to point out to readers that you are more than welcome to ask questions.

Here are most of the questions that have been asked previously and the top 10.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Nicely Done.


tip o' the hat to Mark

Prayer Request

Please pray for a special request for the St. Mary's community.
I will provide details later in the day.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Amen!

Preach it!

Tip O' the Hat to Happy Catholic.

Aliens in the Vatican

It isn't really news, but it is fun.

VATICAN CITY (AP) - The Vatican's chief astronomer says that believing in aliens does not contradict faith in God.

The Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, the Jesuit director of the Vatican Observatory, says that the vastness of the universe means it is possible there could be other forms of life outside Earth, even intelligent ones.

In an interview published Tuesday by Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Funes says that such a notion "doesn't contradict our faith" because aliens would still be God's creatures.

The interview was headlined "The extraterrestrial is my brother." Funes said that ruling out the existence of aliens would be like "putting limits" on God's creative freedom.

Nothing really new here and I agree. But, I can see the headlines now:
-Pope is from Mars, Laity from Venus
-Vatican re-writes Bible to include parable of the prodigal martian
-Ecumenical prayer service to now include extraterrestrials.

I know our readers can do better than that. What headlines would you like to see?

-Tuesday Tidbits-

*One of the few politicians that I still think has a good head on his shoulders is Senator Sam Brownback. A Catholic convert, he raises issues of justice that few Republicans would touch, such as slavery. Now, he is fighting the marriage penalty that the poor have built into our system. Good for him.

*Blaming poverty and other problems on the Catholic Church's doctrine is easy. But, assigning blame to corrupt governments, bad policy decisions, greed and the real root of the issue is harder, because then we have to look in the mirror, because we are the ones with the wealth.

*Designer babies? Yes, they are here.

*The Pope's visit was a success. But, will it last?

*Pray for the Chinese that are suffering from the earthquake and for other people around the globe from natural disasters.

*The Supreme Court has denied a request for asylum by the husband of a woman who was forced to abort her baby in China. Land of the free?

*ABC is showing the first gay "wedding" on TV and the call it progress.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Church vs. The Culture - round 2,312,094,858

*I think that many people still expect the Pope to step out on to his balcony one day and tell the world that the Church's teaching on contraception was all a big mistake. Otherwise, why write a headline that sounds as if we are surprised that the Pope supports what the Church teaches?
"Pope Benedict Praises Vatican Teaching Against Birth Control".

*Archbiship Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, KS has told the governor not to receive communion and to apologize for her support of abortion. Strong words and he did it the right way. He didn't bring it to the public, until he tried the private pastoral approach first. But, since she refused his directive, he has no choice.

UPDATE - Here is the Archbishops column on the subject, which is masterful in my opinion. Also, read Ed Peters great commentary on the issue from a canon lawyer's perspective.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Friday Fun - Simpsons Go to Heaven

This is old but great. The Simpsons have Catholic vs. Mainline Protestant heaven.
But, what makes it better is that it is in German!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Thursday Thoughts

*Here is my latest column from The Catholic Spirit (in pdf format)

*Pray for peace in Lebanon. We don't need another war.

*Bishops have set a wide-ranging agenda for their next meetings. They include liturgical translations, stem-cell research, research on sex-abuse, and more.

*Catholic FaceBook? The Vatican is rolling it out soon. Here is a video of Cardinal Pell talking about text messaging and more at World Youth Day.


Tip O' The Hat to Pope 2008

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Wild Wed.

*I always appreciate a good discussion. It seems that some of the best discussion starters are had on Amy Welborn's blog. Once again she started a great one, this time about clericalism.

*Don't forget to pray for the people of Myanmar.

*Going to World Youth day? Like texting? Want to get text messages from the Pope? Then check it out.

*Some new appointments in the Vatican.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Kill 'em All.

A group of doctors has drawn up a list of who should be "allowed to die" during a pandemic. The list includes:
  • People older than 85.
  • Those with severe trauma, which could include critical injuries from car crashes and shootings.
  • Severely burned patients older than 60.
  • Those with severe mental impairment, which could include advanced Alzheimer's disease.
  • Those with a severe chronic disease, such as advanced heart failure, lung disease or poorly controlled diabetes.
If they don't deserve to be treated then, do they deserve to be treated now? Why do doctors make this decision about another person's life? Well, at least some raise a concern, but not a loud enough one. One of the quotes - "there are some real ethical concerns here." You think so?

Well, the doctors at least wrestled with the issue, which is all that matters to a lot of people in today's society. One of them said that it, "was emotionally difficult for everyone." The rational is that as long as you struggle through the process there isn't a wrong decision to make. This is the same rational others use for abortion, euthanasia, etc.

There is objective truth. There is right and there is wrong. This is wrong, not just an "ethical issue" or an "emotional struggle". Now, we need some doctors and medical ethicists to raise the issue strongly. Any takers?

Church Rumors

*Some Church rumors are fun. This one should be fun to watch the sparks fly. I don't think it has much of a footing though, but you never know.

*On a much more serious note, please keep the people of Myanmar in your prayers. More than 22,000 dead currently.

*More new ageism - this time from CNN, disguised as "medicine".

*10 years old and already working on a sex change. Ug. A 10 year old doesn't need help worrying about these kind of issues and if they do, they need counseling, not someone to encourage them. When I was 10, I was much more concerned about what kind of ice cream I ate, not what sex to be.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Aggie Ring Blessing

Our ring blessing tradition made it to the Dallas Morning News.

Prayer Requests

Please pray for Sonia Drabek. An Aggie Catholic and a good friend (and classmate of '95) who is undergoing heart surgery on Thursday. Please pray for her healing, her husband Steve and her two kids. Please also pray for her recovery which will be long and hard.

Monda Morning MishMash

*Interesting article from Time entitled, "Is Liberal Catholicism Dead?" It depends on what you mean. I don't like political labels such as 'conservative' and 'liberal' as applied to the Church. You are either in union with her or in dissent. But, the article doesn't eventually answer the question. So, I will. The experimenting with trying to change the divine nature of the Church and her priesthood, moral teachings and doctrines is a failed enterprise from the beginning. As would be any attempt to do so from any angle. The problems from the other side of the argument are doomed to fail also - those who are 'conservative' so much that they want to turn back the clockto the 50s and who don't believe Vatican II is valid. Both have the same problem - they don't like the authority to teach being in the hands of the Church's hierarchy. They want it for themselves and set themselves up as a counter-magisterium. Cardinal George had this one right in 1997.

*Speaking of Church authority, the Church has recognized another French Marian apparition.

*Catholic churches have been directed by the Vatican to not release baptismal records to Mormons. Good idea, because the Mormon "baptism of the dead" isn't a Christian practice.

*A German nun, Mother Rosa Flesch, has been beatified.

*Check out this great site (but take it with a grain of salt) - Stuff Catholics Like.

*Because he rocks - some Colbert for this morning.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Good Old Days

Oh, the good old days. When cigarettes were marketed via children's shows and didn't have to try to hide their marketing.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Friday, May 2, 2008

Friday Fun - Colbert Stylings

Random Things

*Would you sell your faith to be a royal? Autumn Kelly did. I don't think I am going out on a limb to guess that she was neither a practicing Catholic or a well-formed one.

*Our government has actually passed a good law. It has been a while.

*A great story about faith, athletics and suffering.

*I am a little late in posting this, but John Michael Talbot's hermitage burned down.

*Minneapolis-St. Paul has a new archbishop.

*Jennifer Roback Morse is one of the smartest Catholic women you have probably never heard of. I highly recommend her books to you. This video gives you a good intro into how cogent her argumentation is. She is addressing a topic we need to talk about more - casual sex and "hooking up".

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Human Chimp Hybrids and more

*"Ethical dilemma" is a little too nice. Making chimp/human hybrids is sick.

*Of course, when plants and animals have more rights than unborn humans, why not cross animals and humans?

*Want to read what two great Catholic women think about the future of the Church (two women I have come to admire for their clarity and great writing)? Then check out Amy Welborn and Sherry Weddell's recent posts.