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Today Is The Day
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Okay Then, That Was Unexpected...
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Church Art Shouldn't Make You Say "Blech!"
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Cardinal Urges Priests To Liven Up Sermons
I got some ideas...
New Translation Objections Are Becoming More Ridiculous
Grasping at straws...
This Comes As No Surprise
Up with the ex-communicated!
Things A Catholic Ought Never Say
Watch your mouth!
Sister Patricia: On Seven Quick-Takes Friday
Catching up with Sr Pat.
Just Thought You'd Like To Know...
A public service announcement.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Czar-Crossed Lovers

(AoftheAP) President Obama shows no sign of slowing in the creation of czar positions within his administration. Along with the Car Czar, the Climate Czar, the Faith-based Czar, the recently announced Domestic Violence Czar, and a dozen or so others, comes the latest appointment.

The Romance Czar.

No, it's not Cupid with his signature bow and arrow. The speculation around Capitol Hill is that the President intends to tap Franck Eggelhoffer for the job.

Mr. Eggelhoffer could not be reached for comment, but an anonymous source close to the famed wedding planner issued the following statement: "Mr. Eggelhoffer would gwadwy sewve at the pweasure of the Pwesident - he's awso wilwing to become Fashion Czar to assist Michele with her accessowizing, if necessawy."

At this morning's press briefing, Mr Gibbs made the following short announcement: "It is the intention of the President to create the position of Romance Czar within his administration. The President feels very strongly on this issue, that it is vital to the national economy, and would provide balance to the Domestic Violence Czar. It is his belief that the two go hand-in-hand."

A White House aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity, gave AoftheA exclusive background on the Romance Czar. "Given the recent scandal of Governor Sanford's adulterous affair, Obama feels that if couples had the resources and time to get romantic, these things could be avoided. I mean, just look at the First Couple. Plays in New York, dates in Chicago, the late night romps down in the bowling all....uhhh, I probably shouldn't mention anything about those."

The highly publicized romantic dates had drawn ire from some in the press and plenty of conservatives, mainly because the bills were footed by the taxpayer. However, many people looked upon those dates positively, impressed that even amidst trying and stressful times, the First Couple made time just for themselves and dozens of secret service agents.

"Sure, some people grumbled about the dates," the anonymous aide said. "But those complaints were made by people who probably have no love life, or have been rejected by E-Harmony, or are stodgy conservatives. By creating the Romance Czar, the president hopes to increase awareness on the importance of romance, regardless of race, creed, gender or species."

Details are sketchy concerning the reach and scope of the position. Some studies have shown that lack of romance affects the poor and minorities more deeply than any other segment of the population. It's believed that the initial focus will concentrate in those areas.

"We're floating the idea of Romance Credits being issued to individuals who earn at or below 150% of the poverty level," the aide explained. "These are people who struggle to fit romance into their lives. The credits will be deposited directly into the account of their choosing on a monthly basis, with the expectation that they will be used for dates, babysitting, flowers, small gifts, movie-going. People spending money on their loved ones will help stimulate the economy...maybe more than just the economy, if you know what I mean."

Another idea being discussed is distributing DVD's of Sleepless in Seattle to each couple, but that's considered unlikely, for several reasons: Tom Hanks is a polarizing figure, Meg Ryan scores abysmally low in "hotness factor", and the movie also stars Rosie O'Donnell.

When asked how the Romance Czar intends to ensure that the Romance Credits will be used appropriately, the aide scoffed. "We're not going to pry into the lives of private citizens. We're not going there."

It's conceivable that Obamacorps members would be expected given the opportunity to provide free babysitting so that low-income couples with children can spend more quality time together.

As for individuals in the higher income brackets, there's little optimism for any substantial help. One lawmaker allegedly suggested allowing people to itemize their date expenses, but that idea was shot down quickly - "No lower taxes for rich people in this economy!" was the general response - however, there might be relief for those who purchase over-the-counter contraceptives.

"Here's the bottom line," the aide continued. "When people are in love, they're not going to be distracted by political things, like healthcare, or socialism, or North Korea, or climate change. They won't be thinking about their congressman or their senator. They'll just be thinking about the person they love, and they'll be happy. We believe, in the long run, that will be good for America, and very good for this administration."

Richard Dawkins' Summer Camp

From the TimesOnline: Dawkins Sets Up Kids' Camp to Groom Atheists

GIVE Richard Dawkins a child for a week’s summer camp and he will try to give you an atheist for life.

The author of The God Delusion is helping to launch Britain’s first summer retreat for non-believers, where children will have lessons in evolution and sing along to John Lennon’s Imagine.

The five-day camp in Somerset (motto: “It’s beyond belief”) is for children aged eight to 17 and will rival traditional faith-based breaks run by the Scouts and church groups.

Budding atheists will be given lessons to arm themselves in the ways of rational scepticism. There will be sessions in moral philosophy and evolutionary biology along with more conventional pursuits such as trekking and tug-of-war. There will also be a £10 prize for the child who can disprove the existence of the mythical unicorn.

If you ask me, it sounds a lot like school. These kids can't be all that rational and intelligent if they want to go to school in the summer. Not to mention the Lennon sing-alongs.

Monday, June 29, 2009

California Schemin'

Do you live in Modesto, CA? Know anyone who does? Do they have junior high or high school age daughters? If they do, they might be interested in knowing that the School Board has driven another stake in the heart of parental rights.

From CNA: California School District Votes to Let Students Leave Campus for Services Like Abortion

.- The Modesto City School Board on Monday voted to allow junior high and high school students to leave campus during the school day for “confidential medical services,” such as abortions, without the consent or knowledge of their parents.

The school board adopted the new policy in a preliminary vote of 4-3, the California Catholic Daily says. The board members will take another vote on the issue on July 13.

Karen England, executive director of the pro-family lobbying group Capitol Resource Institute, attended the meeting and reported that four people testified in favor of “excluding parents.” Three were from Planned Parenthood while one was described as an “activist.”

“Every single additional testimony asked the board to include parents,” England said in a statement following the meeting. “Modesto parents and pastors left the meeting fired up. They are ready to tell their communities what is going on -- so that more families can get involved, because people are still unaware.”

England encouraged opponents of the decision to contact school board members before the July 13 vote and to attend its next meeting.

This is unbefreakinlievable. A kid can't have a cough drop without parental consent, but to be taken from the school (a school counselor would drive, right?) to go procure an abortion, or any other medical service, without parental consent, defies logic. Downright evil even. Even more so when this would include junior high school students - around here, that includes grades 6-8, or kids as young as 11-12.

IMHO - there ought to be no-nada-none-zero confidential medical services offered to any minor anywhere anytime. They can't go on field trips without parental say-so; they need parental approval to get a driver's license; they need parental approval to join a club or sports team; they're told not to smoke, not to drink, not to litter, not to harm the Earth, not to vote Republican, use paper not plastic.

But to get an abortion, or contraceptives, or any other health service?

Well, then, the only 'parent' needed for that stuff is Planned Parenthood.

Monday Madness XIII

Welcome to Monday Madness, the weekly installment at AoftheA where once you're done reading, you can sit back, relax and think to yourself: "What?!?"

Short and sweet today.

From Yahoo! News and the AP: Tennessee Couple Accused of Assault Using Cheetos

SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. – Authorities said a couple got into a fight using Cheetos. The Bedford County Sheriff's Department said a 40-year-old man and 44-year-old woman became involved in a 'verbal altercation.' Somehow, the orange puffy snacks were used in the assault.

Deputies said they were charged with domestic assault. No one was hurt.

According to the Shelbyville Times-Gazette, both posted bond of $2,500.

The way this part sounds - "Somehow, the orange puffy snacks were used in the assault." - makes me think they might not have been used merely as projectiles.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

DOJ Tells Pro-lifers: You Don't Deserve Protection

Not only does the Obama Administration have zero interest in protecting unborn life, they seem to have little interest in protecting Pro-life life as well.

From Lifenews.com: Pro-Life Group Wants Justice Department to Investigate Death Threats, Gets Refusal

Wichita, KS (LifeNews.com) -- A pro-life group is asking the Justice Department to review several death threats it has received in the wake of the shooting of late-term abortion practitioner George Tiller. However, Operation Rescue officials say the Obama administration has not responded.

The pro-life group has released the copies of audio recordings of calls it has received from abortion advocates who threatened the pro-life organization after Tiller's death.

One caller says it's "time to start killing Bible-thumping morons" while another says "I hope somebody comes and kills you all" and a third caller says "One of you is going to die."

"Would you want some protection after receiving these kinds of threats?" asked Operation Rescue president Troy Newman. "Too bad. The current government isn't interested in protecting your life... unless you happen to be pro-abortion."

In an email to LifeNews.com, Newman says there is a dichotomy in how the Obama administration has responded -- with Attorney General Eric Holder offering protection to abortion centers and staffers but pledging no support for pro-life groups that feared retaliation.

"Apparently, the Obama administration's Justice Department is playing favorites when it comes to protecting the lives of Americans," Newman says. "If you promote or provide abortions, Attorney General Eric Holder will dispatch U.S. Marshals to protect you when threatened. But if you're not one of those privileged minority... you're out of luck. Even if you receive scores of death threats."

"We expected that Barack Obama would not be a friend to life; but we didn't expect the favoritism to be so blatant and so callous," he added.

Other pro-life advocates have also received death threats in the aftermath of the Tiller shooting.

Staff at the Wichita office of Kansans for Life received calls from abortion advocates that were threatening.

"This person was out of control, emotionally, you could just tell," Mary Wilkinson said of one call.

"I hope you're happy," the person said. "You've killed him. Now I hope somebody comes and kills you all."

At the office of the Kansas Coalition for Life, one person left a text message a few hours after the shooting: "One of you is going to die for what you did to Tiller."

Instead of responding to the threats, Newman says he worries the Obama administration and abortion advocates will use the Tiller killing for political gain.

"To be honest, I'm very concerned for the safety of my family and friends who are making a stand for life every day. But I'm also very concerned that the Obama administration and other Democrats may try to capitalize on the murder of Tiller to defuse the abortion issue in upcoming Supreme Court confirmation hearings," he says.

"Like so many other pro-life leaders, I have condemned the killing of Tiller. But I'm also concerned that pro-abortion activists are going to use this incident to brand the entire pro-life movement as 'extremist,'" he said.

I posted on the death threats a week ago (Is This Tiller's Legacy?).

The disparity is telling. Protect the abortuaries and their employees immediately after the murder of Tiller, but callously ignore the requests by pro-life organizations to investigate these death threats. Is it going to take the murder of a protestor or pro-life leader to spur the DOJ into action? Let's pray not.

The appeal to reach common ground on the abortion issue was a blatant lie. This inaction on the part of the DOJ can be filed under "agree to disagree". To the Obama administration, it seems that some lives are worth protecting while others are not. It's not as if pro-life groups are asking for around-the-clock police protection - only an investigation into these threats. Is that too much to ask?

Apparently so.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Strange Bedfellows In Connecticut

No, it doesn't concern so-called gay marriage.

From The Hartford Courant.com: ACLU Backs Bridgeport Diocese In Fight Vs. State Agency

Saying it is a matter of free speech, the ACLU has filed a brief in support of the Diocese of Bridgeport's battle against a state agency seeking to require the church to register as a lobbyist.

"The free exchange of ideas are at stake here,'' said Andrew Schneider, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut. "The application of this lobbying law to public gatherings such as the church's rally have the effect of chilling free speech.''

The diocese filed a lawsuit in federal court last month, seeking an injunction against an attempt by the Office of State Ethics to require the church to register as a lobbyist. [...]

Schneider said such a requirement undermines the church's First Amendment rights.

Registering as a lobbyist, he noted, is more intrusive than merely filing out a form. "It requires you to be subject to certain financial disclosures, to submit to audits of expenditures,'' he said. The diocese issued a statement welcoming the ACLU's brief. "

"The ACLU's decision to join with the Diocese in this case demonstrates that this is a matter of fundamental civil liberties that threatens the Constitutional rights of all citizens," says The Most Rev. William E. Lori, Bishop of Bridgeport.

In a battle as important as this is, it helps to have allies. Even if the ally is someone who traditionally acts as an adversary. The attacks against the Church in Connecticut have been savage, and if they aren't defeated, a precedent is set that could be adopted by any other state bothered by the Church's stance on moral issues. Issues such as embryonic stem cell research, or abortion, or so-called same-sex marriage.

Hmmm. Guess this was about gay marriage after all.

Friday, June 26, 2009

An Award


An award with strings attached, no less. Here are the four conditions:

1) Say "Thanks!" to the presenter of the award and provide a link to their blog.

So, to Sarah at Ora et Labora: Thanks!!

2) Share 10 honest things about myself.

Yikes!! Part of the charm surrounding my humble little blog is the air of mystery and aura of inexplicability I've cultivated. It would seem a shame to dispel those qualities...however, in the spirit of the award, I will comply.

a) I have no food allergies.
b) I've been in a hot air balloon. It was an anniversary present to my wife. She was super ecstatic until she learned I would be coming back...no seriously, we went together. It was a fun once-in-a-lifetime experience we totally enjoyed.
c) I took 11 years of piano lessons as a kid. I hated it so much that I now teach other kids as an outlet for my repressed anger at my mom...no seriously, it wasn't all that bad. And I still teach (5 students now, but had as many as 11) and it's rewarding to see them develop and grow in skill.
d) I always wanted to be an author, but could never get the dialogue to sound real.
e) I love playing golf, and have one hole-in-one to my credit. That doesn't include miniature golf. If it did, then I'd have two.
f) I've never been to Butte, Montana.
g) I've never smoked cigarettes.
h) My fashion sense was awful until I met my wife. Then it got even worse...no seriously, Mrs LarryD improved that area of my life immensely so that she wouldn't be embarrassed when we went out. Now my shirts match my pants on a much more regular basis, and I'm allowed to go clothes shopping by myself.
i) I used to work for Bill Laimbeer, Jr. He used to play basketball for the Detroit Pistons in the late 80's/early 90's. In 1994, his dad bought two corrugated container plants in Detroit, putting his son in charge of them. They were out of business by 2000. It wasn't my fault, either! I was one of the salesmen there - you know things aren't going well when the Sales Manager says "Our quality policy is our entertainment package." (we had suites at the local sports arenas) I quit 2 years before they went under.
j) I took the mule ride tour at Bryce Canyon National Park with Mrs LarryD in 1994 - I had four separate near death experiences while doing so. I've never been so simultaneously frightened out of my wits and exhilarated simultaneously before or since.

3) Present this award to 7 others whose blogs I find brilliant in content and/or design, or those who have encouraged me.

This one can be tricky - but here goes: Erin at And Sometimes Tea; The Archbolds at CMR; Joe at Mahonyland; Terry at Abbey Roads; Adoro at Adoro te Devote; Dimbulb at The Divine Lamp; and Paul at The Regular Guy. Each blog, in their own way, has either inspired me, or taught me something, or made me laugh, or blown me away with their wit and wisdom. They are bright lights in the Catholic blogosphere compared to my faint lustre.

4) Inform those 7 that they've been awarded the 'Honest Scrap' Award.

Easy. Done.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ed, Farrah, Michael

And thus the "celebrities dying in groups of three" myth is fulfilled again. I'm shocked by Michael's death. Yeah, I know - everyone dies sometime, but his was rather unexpected.

Have mercy upon them, O Lord, and may their souls rest in peace.

One Cartoon You Won't See In The NYTimes

Nor would the "letter to the editor" ever see the light of day. Read below.

From LifesiteNews.com: Polish Cartoon Sparks Homosexual Activists Backlash by Alex Bush and Thaddeus M. Baklinski

POLAND, June 19, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Polish newspaper "Rzeczpospolita", a major conservative Polish daily, has caused a commotion among homosexualist groups in the country by running a cartoon in its paper edition on Monday, June 15. The cartoon shows two men getting “married” in the background, while in the foreground a man tells a goat, “We'll just wait until these two gentlemen get married and then it's our turn.” (see the cartoon here)

“We were used to the homophobia of your paper, but this time the border of rudeness has been crossed,” said Homiki.pl, a homosexualist website in a letter to the editor of Rzeczpospolita. “We demand an apology on the pages of your paper. We have our dignity and we also deserve respect.”

The letter also threatens Rzeczpospolita with lawsuits, saying, “Let us remind you that in 2006, at a court in PoznaƱ, four lesbians forced city council members to apologize for comparing homosexuality to zoophilia.”

The cartoon was drawn by Andrzej Krauze, a Polish cartoonist living in the UK. Upon learning of the threats from the pro-homosexual groups, he laughed, saying, “This only proves that the cartoon message was correct and that I was able to represent the whole absurdity of so-called civil unions.”

[...]

Well-known opinion journalist Maciej Rybinski published a mock letter to the editor in today's Rzeczpospolita, impersonating a female goat who is offended by the cartoon, because it suggests that human-goat sexual relationships are homosexual in nature.

Rybinski writes:

"Dear Editor in Chief

"It was with outrage that I myself and our whole community saw the cartoon by Andrzej Krauze published in RZECZPOSPOLITA. To suggest that shegoats in stable relations with men should have any homosexual tendencies is a scandal, an offence and slander. Putting an equation sign between gays and goats is a testimony to the author's ignorance and bad will.

"Leading sexologists have long ago established that relations between female goats and men -inter-species sexual relations - are heterosexual in nature. Such relations have a long historical tradition and are mentioned in the oldest written sources, including the Bible. To ridicule them is barbaric obscuration and backwardness.

"Also in our community, sex between male goats and men is treated as an abuse of the norm, at least a promiscuous perversion. That's why we think that mixed human-goat marriages, as opposite-sex institutions, are in accordance with nature. To consider them equal or even worse to homosexual marriages is irresponsible and reprehensible.

"Your paper has discredited itself by publishing this image hostile to goats. I regret to inform you that the Association of Liberated Goats has made a decision to eat up the whole circulation of the incriminated issue of RZECZPOSPOLITA, at the same time reserving the right to pursue legal action. We also have the support of sheep on this issue.

"Regretfully and without respect to you, shegoat Mecka from Polonina"

I find the whole thing hilarious - while at the same time, demonstrating the unnaturalness of the gay marriage movement. Once the definition of marriage between one man and one woman is distorted and destroyed, the way becomes cleared for any and all forms of perversion.

On a positive note, Teresa Tomeo, on her radio program Catholic Connection, interviewed Maggie Gallagher, president of National Organization for Marriage on Tuesday this week. She cited a June 17th CBS poll where support for gay marriage dropped from 42% down to 33% (the article describes this as being "down somewhat". Yeah - a 9% drop is off the edge of a cliff, IMHO!). Gallagher described this decline as the 'Carrie Prejean factor' - the hate, vitriol and downright nastiness she endured for stating that marriage ought to remain 1 Man + 1 Woman seems to have turned off more of the public. Which is an excellent thing.

Oh, I Get It...It's A Joke!!

I forgot to laugh, that's all.

From Catholic Culture News Briefs: White House Confirms Pope-Obama Visit; 'We're Not Joining A Church In Italy" Says Press Secretary

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs announced that President Barack Obama will meet with Pope Benedict at the Vatican on July 10. In making the announcement, Mr. Gibbs quipped, “we’re not joining a church in Italy.”

The White House released the following transcript of Mr. Gibbs’s remarks.

MR. GIBBS: Just one quick announcement before we get going with questions. On his upcoming trip overseas, on Friday, July 10, the President will visit with the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI to discuss a range of issues, including their shared belief in the dignity of all people. That’s on the upcoming trip.

Q Does he have a church --

MR. GIBBS: I can assure you, April, we’re not joining a church in Italy. (Laughter.)

Q I didn’t ask that.

MR. GIBBS: I know. But you know what I did? I just fast-forwarded right to the follow-up. (Laughter.) I’m going to do that -- that’s actually what I’m going to do all today. So if I don’t answer your question, I will presume your follow-up and answer that instead. (Laughter.)

Q That’s very efficient.

MR. GIBBS: Right, this will be like a 10-minute deal.

Q Is Mrs. Obama going to the Vatican, as well?

MR. GIBBS: She will, as far as I know, be on the entire trip, yes.
What a twerp.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Maybe I'll Open A Theological School

Move over, Dr. Scott Hahn. Step aside, Fr. Fessio. Applications are now be accepted for the inaugural Fall term at the AoftheA Bible and Theology Institute for Advanced Catholic Snarkiness. Because if the following is indicative of contemporary theological scholarship, then there's a slight chance I can do better.

From the Washington Times: Guest Voices: God the Father by Valerie Elverton Dixon (June 19)

The god of our fathers is not always God our Father. The god of our fathers, the god of our biblical ancestors often showed himself in immoral ways. He was a god of destruction, destroying most of the world with a flood. He commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, then stayed the father's hand and provided a ram in the bush instead. This was no moral benefit to the ram. This god hardened the Egyptian pharaoh's heart against allowing the Hebrew slaves to go free and then punishes the Egyptian people for pharaoh's stubbornness. He sent plagues. The plagues included the monstrous killing of the Egyptian first born.

Jephthah's daughter dies because of her father's careless vow, and God is silent. He provides no alternative sacrifice for her. This aspect of god orders genocide and his prophets speak of his wrath against a wayward nation with images of rape: "it is for the greatness of your iniquity that your skirts are lifted up, and you are violated." (Jeremiah 13:22)

This is the vicious face of an angry death-dealing distant God. There is an eternal space between him and us. The divine and human hand can never touch, except that all too often we humans perceive ourselves as the destructive hand of God. This leads to violence upon violence. This is not God the Father.

God the Father is father to the fatherless, protector of widows, women without male protection in a patriarchal culture. He houses the homeless and liberates prisoners. He has compassion on those who recognize his awesome power. God the Father loves those who keep his commandments with a steadfast love. He is our creator. He is our friend.

When Jesus, the Jewish rabbi, the Christian savior, the Muslim prophet, the moral philosopher, spoke about God the Father, he spoke of a loving parent. This is a God with whom we can have relationship. This is a God who teaches us a radical love. This God wants us to love as he loves, completely, perfectly, to love friends, enemies, and our neighbor as ourselves. God the Father is a god of hyper-morality.

Jacques Derrida, writing about forgiveness, engaging the thought of Vladimir Jankelevitch, refers to an "ethics beyond ethics." This is an ethics "beyond laws, norms, or any obligation." Forgiveness comes from this place. I say: radical love is the fount of such hyper-ethics. We know what is right to do based on an intuitive insight into our own humanity. The moment we know the deepest desires for love and relationship, for sustenance and joy within our own heart/mind, then we know what our brother and sister needs from us. This is the ground in which the Golden Rule - to do unto others as we would have them do unto us - is rooted.

God the Father is the source of this love that asks for compassion and justice and peace. God the Father is the creative force and ethical impulse that requires us to shelter the homeless, protect the weak, welcome the stranger, liberate the prisoner. God the Father is the Being that existed before time began and will exist after time ends, that gives us the capacity to love with a love that erases fear. God the Father is the aspect of God that sends us grace and mercy and peace. He sends these to us through others of us.

Happy Father's Day.

Valerie Elverton Dixon is founder JustPeaceTheory.com. She taught Christian Ethics at Andover Newton Theological School in Newton, MA and United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.


Man, I had never realized it before, but ding dang it, she's right - the ram totally gets hosed in the Abraham/Isaac story.

I'm going to break it down for you. See, God was really cranky for a long time. Once He became a dad, though, He mellowed out, probably because He got in touch with His "feminine side". He realized "Gee, I was a real jerk there all those centuries. Having a kid of My own has made Me realize that love and mercy is so much better than fire and brimstone." So God put away the thunderbolts and Plague-O-Matic, and started up the Peace-n-Justice Company. The End.

Sheesh.

If you think I can do better as a teacher, instructor and scriptural exegete, get your applications to me. Actually, there are no applications. Just leave a note in the combox. Limited space is available at the AoftheA Bible and Theology Institute for Advanced Catholic Snarkiness, so it's first-come, first-serve. You can create your own curriculum. There's self-directed study. Grade your own tests, should you choose to take them. Print out your degree and diploma. Because if that's good enough for Ms. Dixon, then it's good enough for the rest of us.

Irony Of Ironies

OK, the Fourth of July is coming up - we commemorate the independence of America. Maybe you'll have a picnic with your friends, or with your family. Perhaps spend the day at the beach. Hang out with folks you like and love.

So let me ask you this. Do you think the Hatfields' tossed back a few with the McCoys? Or maybe Ness and the feds had Capone and his pals over for ribs and a friendly game of badminton? Most likely not.

So then why is this happening?

From Gateway Pundit: Would the US Invite Hitler of Saddam to the 4th of July? (warning - graphic photos)

Then why is Barack Obama inviting the killer Iranian Regime to Independence Day festivities this year?

Iranian regime officials will be celebrating the 4th of July with Team Obama while the blood of democracy supporters dries on the street.

The regime in Iran is charging families of those murdered by government forces a "bullet fee" before they can take the body of a loved one from the morgue.

Team Obama Is Having a Picnic-- Killer Regime Invited

The Obama Administration is inviting Iranian Regime officials to July 4th celebrations this year!
The AFP reported:
The United States said Monday its invitations were still standing for Iranian diplomats to attend July 4 celebrations at US embassies despite the crackdown on opposition supporters.

President Barack Obama's administration said earlier this month it would invite Iran to US embassy barbecues for the national holiday for the first time since the two nations severed relations following the 1979 Islamic revolution.

"There's no thought to rescinding the invitations to Iranian diplomats," State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters.
This is just awful.

Sun-Tzu is quoted as saying: "Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer." I doubt that is what's happening here though. This is a slap in the face to the thousands of protesters in Iran who believe their election is a fraud, and who desire greater liberty. It is ironic, is it not, that on the day we Americans celebrate our freedom, our President may very well be celebrating with those who are denying freedom to their own citizens.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Battling Heresy And Dissent: Pro Wrestling Style!!

"Good evening, everybody, and welcome to the CDF Arena in Vatican City! It's a packed house, and the crowd is rowdy, eager for tonight's Main Event: Heresy Smackdown 2009! I'm no prophet, but I predict an epic battle of biblical proportions! I'm Michael Cole!"

"And I'm Fr John Corapi. Michael, this is very exciting. For years now I've been preaching on the spiritual battle that rages all around us, and tonight... yes, tonight the fans here and the viewers tuning in on EWTN Sports, are in for a real treat."


"You got that right, Fr C! Let's tell our viewers who our combatants are tonight."

"Representing the forces of darkness, those who profess to be Catholic but spread lies and deceit through their words and actions, who seek to drag the Gospel into the gutter rather than use the Gospel to raise men up out of the gutter and out of their sin..."

"Uh, Father C, this ain't a lecture now. Jus' introduce the guy, you know?"

"Oh, right. OK, representing Team Heresy is "The Rev'rend", Richard McBrien."




"Oh, he's one nasty dude, Fr C. If he wrestles anything like he writes, then his opponent will hafta be sharp. It's gonna be down and dirty in the ring tonight!"

"Not to mention his theology - denial of doctrine, appeal to false ecumenism, and prone to disobedience. I agree - he won't be fighting by the rules."

"Yeah, is this gonna be great or what?!? Tell our viewers a little bit about his opponent."

"Representing the Truth Squad, and battling "The Rev'rend" will be none other than "The Ox", St Thomas Aquinas, 13th century Dominican and Doctor of the Church."


"Whoa! A blast from the past! The dude looks tough - and check out that hair!"

"He was very tough, Michael. I had the chance to interview him before we went on the air, and asked him about the upcoming match."

[****************[***]****************]

FC: "Standing with me is "The Ox", one of tonight's combatants in Heresy Smackdown 2009.
Ox, talk to me about tonight's match. What are you expecting?"

Ox: "Though I wrestle in the ring of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for He art with me."

FC: "Care to talk about your strategy?"

Ox: "My 'Yes' shalt be 'Yes", my 'No' shalt be 'No', and my piledriver shalt be my piledriver; all else shalt be from the devil."

FC: "Many of our viewers are probably surprised to see a Doctor of the Church participating in this event. Explain to them how you can justify your participation."

Ox: "Objection 1. It would seem that it would always be sinful to wage violence. Because punishment is not inflicted except for sin. Now our Lord has admonished us not to perpetuate violence, according to Matthew 5:39: "But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also." Therefore, violence is unlawful.

"Objection 2. Further, whatever is contrary to a Divine precept is a sin. Violence is contrary to a Divine precept, for it is written in Romans 12:19: "Not revenging yourselves, dear brethren, but give peace unto wrath." Therefore, violence is always sinful.

On the contrary, Saint Nicholas, out of great zeal for the truth, struck the heretic Arias during the Council of Nicea. And while he was removed from the Council for that act, our Lord and blessed Mother both revealed to the hierarchs that he was in their approval. Also, in the Gospels, our Lord displayed great zeal for His Father's house when He overturned the merchants' tables, in an act of justifiable anger.

"I answer that, in order for violence to be just, two conditions must be met. First, the adversary must needs have it coming to him. And second, it is necessary that the belligerent should have rightful intention, so that they intend the advancement of good, or the avoidance of evil.

"Reply to Objection 1. It is fitting in this case, that my combatant practice turning his cheek, because his words and actions have brought upon him true justice.

"Reply to Objection 2. This is not a situation of vengeance, but of Divine comeuppance."

FC: "Thank you for your time, Ox, and God speed."

Ox: "I shall be the 10 plagues to this cretin's Egypt."

[***************[***]**************]

"Well, there you have it, folks. The Ox seems ready to plow under the Rev'rend, but I have a feeling it ain't gonna be all milk and honey out there. Your prediction, Fr. C?"

"When the dust settles, and the smoke of battle has cleared away, and time gives way to eternity, one is going to be a winner.....and the other, a looooooooser..."

"Yeah, we know that. What's your guess?"

"Ox, early."

"LLLLLLLet's get ready to rrrrrrummmmble!!!!"

***DING DING DING!!***

"There's the bell - the Rev'rend, in his signature black leather shorts, circles the ring with the Ox, decked out in his robe and hoodie."

"That would be a cowl, Michael, part of his traditional Dominican habit."

"Whatever - wait a minute?!? What's this?!? The Rev'rend has pulled out of his shorts a handful of small medals or somethin', and he's tossed them on the mat near the Ox's feet!"

"Why the - - - those are Miraculous Medals! I know the Rev'rend has little respect for the blessed Mother, but that's just despicable!"

"And I don't even want to know where he had them in his shorts. Look! The Ox is on his knees tryin' to pick up the medals, while the Rev'rend climbs the ropes and is now atop the turnbuckle. Looks like he's gonna deliver a flying block elbow into the Ox's back! WHOOAAA!!! LOOK AT THAT HANGTIME, AND HE GETS THE OX RIGHT BETWEEN THE BLADES!!!!"

"Ohh, that's going to leave a mark, Michael. The Rev'rend came straight down onto the Ox, and he's facedown on the mat."

"The Rev'rend quickly gets to his feet, and is springboardin' off the ropes, generatin' speed. Looks like he's plannin' a clothesline while the Ox staggers to his feet. Here it comes....WHOOAAA!!! THE OX CAUGHT THE REV'REND COMPLETELY BY SURPRISE, SMASHIN' HIM IN THE CHEST WITH WHAT LOOKS LIKE A HUGE BOOK!!! WHAT A MOVE!!!"

"Ha! The Ox had a copy of his Summa Theologica under his habit, and caught the Rev'rend completely off-guard!"

"I guess that means they're 'Summa wrestling' now, eh, Fr C?"

"..."

"The Rev'rend looks dazed and confused..."

"Not surprisingly. Heretics often look that way when confronted with the Truth."

"...while the Ox is preparing his next move. Or not. The Rev'rend is chargin' him, and WHOOOAAA!! A FLASHY MOVE BY THE BIG GUY! The Ox dropped down and executed a perfect legsweep, sendin' the Rev'rend into the turnbuckle! O-U-C-H Ouch!!"

"Great move by the Ox, sending the Rev'rend to his knees. He's probably not all that familiar with that position."

"The crowd is getting into this, Fr C. Looks like the folks in the papal box are gettin' into it - I sure hope that's incense smoke comin' from there! And a group of blue-haired ladies and elderly gentlemen are holdin' up signs that say 'McBrien McRocks!' and 'Time For A Call To Action'. Wait a sec....what's this? There's a skinny guy coming down the gangway, dressed in red....why, it's the Gnat!!"




"None other than Fr Thomas Reese, aka The Gnat! Looks like he's going to enter the ring and make this a two-on-one battle!"

"Our prediction of an unfair fight has come true, Fr C. Doesn't look good for the Ox! The Gnat has climbed through the ropes. He and the Rev'rend are chargin' the Ox, and THEY GIVE HIM A DOUBLE CLOTHESLINE, AND THE OX CRUMPLES TO THE MAT!!! OH, HE'S IN A LOT OF PAIN OUT THERE!!"

"That was a brutal attack, Michael, but let's not write off the Ox just yet. Look! He's getting to his feet!"

"The Gnat and the Rev'rend separate, approachin' the Ox from opposite sides. The Rev'rend rushes first....and WHOOAAA!! THE OX SURPRISES HIM AND GRABS HIM IN A HEADLOCK!!! LOOKS LIKE HE'S GONNA PILEDRIVE HIM...wait, wait, something's happenin' down there. Somethin' I've never seen before!!"

"Incredible, Michael! It's truly miraculous!!"

"It looks like a second Ox has appeared in the ring, directly behind the Gnat!"

"Bilocation!! What a fantastic strategy!"

"Bilo what? Check it out! The second Ox has put the Gnat in a headlock!! AND NOW BOTH OX'S ARE RUSHIN' FULL SPEED TOWARDS EACH OTHER, AND WHOOOAAAA!!! HE'S HEADBUTTED THE GNAT AND THE REV'REND TOGETHER, AND THEY'RE KNOCKED OUT COLD!!!! WHAT AN AWESOME FINISH!"

"Truly incredible!"

"I guess you can say they were Ox-communicated, eh, Fr C?"

"..."

"Yeah, I'm almost speechless too. Any final thoughts?"

"The outcome was never in doubt, Michael. The Ox, after all, is a member of the Church Triumphant. And dissent, while it may seem invigorating and exciting, will only leave you dead and lifeless in the end."

"I hear ya, Fr C. It's a dogma eat dogma world out there! This has been a presentation of EWTN Sports. I'm Michael Cole, along with Fr Corapi - good night everybody!"

Monday, June 22, 2009

NC Reporter: Iran = Vatican

The Curt Jester disassembles artfully (and wittily) an article published by the National Catholic Distorter, called "Iran Makes Me Think of the Vatican". There are no typos in that title - believe me, I checked. A woman named Maureen Fielder actually wrote that. And I don't think it's satire, either. It's just the latest example of journalistic barf regurgitated by that so-called news source. Here are the first three paragraphs:

I am mesmerized by the Iranian citizens, most of them young, who are marching in the streets of Tehran. They show courage, spirit and a deep desire for justice. I’m especially intrigued by the women, many of whom are letting their head scarves slide back on their heads. A good number, I am sure, believe that the “hijab” is not essential for Muslim women. In that highly religious nation, this crowd clearly wants a government that reflects the best of Islam, the best of what their religion has to offer.

All this makes images of St. Peter’s Square flash through my mind. I recall in the late 1990s, marching through that square with hundreds of Catholic reformers from all over the world. We too wanted justice: justice in our church, such as gender equality in all ministries, optional celibacy for priests, and the right to elect our bishops. None of us wore veils, but if we had, they would have been slipping, you can be sure. We wanted a church that reflects the best of the Catholic tradition.

True, Iran is not the equivalent of the Vatican. Iran is a nation-state, and can put physical force behind its demands. The Vatican, although technically a “nation,” is really a seat of ecclesial power, with no physical security forces (only psychological ones) to enforce its will. But both are theocratic and although both have traditions of democracy in their history (yes, we did elect bishops in the church at one time), and neither seems to embrace the meaning of that tradition.

The National Catholic Distorter is the mouthpiece for Call-to-Action (and nearly every other dissident group out there). So after giving it some thought, I've written the following:

"Call-To-Action Makes Me Think of 'Shaun of the Dead'"

I am mesmerized by the Call-to-Action members, most of them old and graying, who are shuffling with their walkers and canes. They show dissent, a spirit of Vatican II and a disproportionate desire for out-of-whack social justice. I’m especially intrigued by the women, many of whom are wearing albs and cassocks irreverently. A good number, I am sure, believe that the “all-male priesthood” is not essential for Catholicism. In this highly heretical group, this crowd clearly wants a church that reflects the "best of Catholicism", the best of what their religion has to offer.

All this makes images of the movie "Shaun of the Dead" flash through my mind. I recall watching it on DVD in 2006 (or maybe 2007), zombies shuffling through the streets of London with hundreds of other zombies. They too wanted justice: well, actually, they just wanted to bite people and eat them. But they had no real purpose in their lives, no guiding principle to provide them peace and joy. And they were more humorous than scary. Kind of like the CTA'ers.

True, Call-to-Action members are not the equivalent of zombies. Call-to-Action is a national group who uses protests, letter campaigns and toothless press releases to back up their crazy demands. Zombies, though technically a "group", are really just disorganized animated corpses, with no real physical skill (other than psychological ones, cos they're scary!) to enforce their will. Actually, they sound oddly similar when described that way. But both are fanatical and although both have traditions of illogical actions in their history (yes, it is true there is no such thing as "faithful dissent"), neither seems to embrace how silly and strange they seem to the rest of us.

And zombies are so much easier to dispense with, aren't they?

Tainting Ethics With Bias

Ethical behaviour in any given situation ought to be absent any bias. For instance, even though I disagree with how the current administration has decided to allocate tax revenues and increase taxes, I am not going to stop paying income tax. Whether in politics, in business, in religion, in science - there are right ways and wrong ways of acting. Regardless of what a person believes, there is never a reason to act unethically.

More so for those who are paid to give ethics advice.

From Newbusters.com: NY Times 'Ethicist' Rules Catholic Priests Benefit From 'Entrenched Workplace Discrimination'

In Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, Randy Cohen’s column titled "The Ethicist" has a perfectly liberal sense of ethics. [...] Cohen agreed with a Portland man studying to become a Catholic priest that receiving scholarships in preparation for a lifelong vow of poverty is sexist: "You might regard yourself as preparing to be a beneficiary of entrenched workplace discrimination, an ethically troubling position."

This is the entire exchange:

I belong to a Catholic religious order and am in formation to become a priest. As part of my training, I attended a university that was founded by my order and whose president is a priest and a member of the order. Nonreligious students also attend, but we religious students receive scholarships. Is this akin to any other scholarship, like that for an athlete, or is it discriminatory, especially because the order does not admit women? – NAME WITHHELD, PORTLAND, ORE.

There’s nothing wrong with a religious order establishing a school for its members, subsidizing their education and later broadening the student body to include tuition-paying nonmembers. Many first-rate American schools, now secular, once had religious affiliations — Wesleyan with the Methodists, for example, or Princeton with the Presbyterians, a tie forged during the Great Awakening.

What is at issue, as you suggest, is sex discrimination: your order’s refusal to admit women and, more significant, your aspiring to the priesthood, a leadership position in your church, one closed to women. Calling a practice "religious" does not exempt it from ethical scrutiny. You might regard yourself as preparing to be a beneficiary of entrenched workplace discrimination, an ethically troubling position.

Cohen isn't impressed with the Catholic view that priests act in the person of Christ, administering the sacraments, and that Christ chose only males to be his apostles, or the first bishops of his church....Politics trumps religion when you're a liberal.

Yeah, I suppose if you're liberal, ethics are fluid depending on who's the victim.

Monday Madness XII

Welcome to Monday Madness, the AoftheA feature that offers a gentle nudge at the start of the week...in exactly the same way Lucy van Pelt offered to hold the football for Charlie Brown. And we all know how that turned out!

From the Telegraph.uk.co: Woman Hit by Falling Branch Sues Enivronment Agency

A woman is suing the Environment Agency for £300,000 - after a tree branch fell on her head during a countryside stroll.

Teacher Doreen Prior, who was left with a cut head, says she has been unable to work since the accident - and fears she could consequently lose her home.

Her lawyers believe if she wins it could force the agency to check every tree it maintains across Britain to prevent further people being hurt and launching legal action.

Ms Prior is claiming £300,000 in damages from the government agency - claiming the accident which happened two years ago could have been prevented if a more recent safety check had been made.

Her claim to the High Court says checks should have identified the poor condition of the branch before the accident occurred at Barcombe Mills, a disused corn and paper mill close to her home near Lewes, East Sussex.

Speaking from her home, which is a stone's throw from the site of the accident, Ms Prior said today: 'I'm just so worried this could happen to a child with all the families that come down here. It was right on the path.'

The force of the branch cut Ms Prior's head, but she said the knock-on effects were much more serious.

Since the accident she suffers from tiredness and impaired memory as well as having difficulty planning, organising and multi-tasking, making it impossible to work as a teacher.

She fears that if she is ever able to return to work in the future, she will be disadvantaged in looking for employment because of her handicap.

So this begs the question, does the family of the German boy who got struck by a meteorite have precedence to sue the European Space Agency?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day, Dad

I always thought my dad was the strongest guy in the world. He was in the Navy, he played college football, his backhand was so quick and strong, that when he would smack one my brother's, I'd feel it. But when I saw him cry at my brother's funeral, I learned the meaning of authentic strength.

He was quiet, resolute and dependable. A man of few words, that didn't give in to idle chatter. He had earned the respect of all us kids, yet was able to break out in laughter at the crazy and silly things we did.

He supported us in our interests - music, sports, scouting. As long as it was affordable.

He taught his sons how to be gentlemen, and gave his daughters a good example so that they would be able to choose good husbands. I think he did fairly good job at that, for the time and effort we were willing to pay attention. Good manners and etiquette were important to my dad - he taught me the rules and proper actions of golf ("It's a gentlemen's game," he used to say) long before he taught me how to hold a club. For that one little thing I will be forever grateful.

Seeing my dad pray, on his knees, every morning, is an image I will always remember.

Disappointing him when I didn't practice sound financial prudence during college left a lasting impression. I made sure I didn't let that happen again. There's something about being held in good esteem by a father - whether it's nature or nurture, sons strive to make their dad proud. For mine, it was doing our best at everything we did ("A job worth doing is a job worth doing well," is another of his well-used statements) - grades, chores, anything. Some kids go overboard to win the love and affection and approval of their dads - for us, we knew that our dad always loved us, so that wasn't a problem. I think he was more concerned that we didn't embarrass our mom.

As he grows older (he'll be 83 in September), he's slowed down quite a bit. Although you wouldn't know it the way he and my nephew were mowing down the competition during a makeshift euchre tournament last weekend at his anniversary party. I think they lost one match in about three hours.

So Happy Father's Day, dad! Thanks for the lessons. Even now, long after all the kids have grown up, moved out and started our own families, you continue to teach.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Stormy Weather

Younger Son of LarryD came up to me Friday evening and said, "Hey, Dad, you should go check out the list of 2009 Hurricane Names." You have to know Younger Son - he's eleven, interested in unique and obscure things, very creative, athletic. It was no surprise to me that he would even think of looking at the 2009 list. Here it is from About.com: Geography:

Ana
Bill
Claudette
Danny
Erika
Fred
Grace
Henri
Ida
Joaquin
Kate
Larry
Mindy
Nicholas
Odette
Peter
Rose
Sam
Teresa
Victor
Wanda

And you know what else? Mrs LarryD's name is on the list too! Good thing I'm not superstitious! All I ask is that I'm not anything worse than a Cat 1, nor a Tropical Depression.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Where's That In The Job Description???

CatholicCulture.org's "Catholic World News Briefs" had two headlines in succession that caught my eye and made me shake my head.

#1: Climate Change: Challenge for Lifestyles, Solidarity and Global Justice, a report from the Commission of the Bishops' Conference of the European Community.

#2: Bishops Question Nuclear Ethics, from the Calgary Herald.


Here are several paragraphs from the first story:

Urgency

The Vice-Chair of the IPCC, Prof. Jean-Pascal van Ypersele presented the latest figures concerning climate change according to which the EU’s emissions’ reductions target of a maximum of 30% by 2020 compared to 1990 levels would not be sufficient to ensure keeping global warming below 2°C. Prof. Helga Kromp-Kolb, meteorologist and winner of several scientific awards emphasised, with regard to the EU’s negotiating position in the forthcoming Copenhagen Conference, that: “30% is not enough, 2°C is already too high and 2020 is too late”.

Responsibility

Both EU and Church representatives agreed on the urgency of the situation that climate change has become a question of survival, especially for the poor and vulnerable who will be the first to suffer. Karl Falkenberg, Director General for DG Environment at the European Commission stated, “We, the European Union, have not only to assume our responsibility but also to be the leader for the rest of the world. The outcome of Copenhagen will be positive only if we manage to convince other large emitters like China, India or Russia to join our commitment to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions”.

Commitment to Action

Many Church representatives spread the message of hope and showed their commitment to ambitious mitigation targets and lifestyle changes. The Secretary General of COMECE, Fr Piotr Mazurkiewicz held that “an effective response to climate change requires both political leadership and ethical reflection and debate. These are essential in order to win over not only minds but also the hearts of citizens and to make change effective” and he posed the question “What is a good and happy life about?”. On the basis of numerous expert and reflection papers issued by Churches and Church organisations over recent years, participants stressed that the necessary lifestyle changes can be conveyed best by education at all levels and by encouraging more responsible consumer habits.

Here are a few from the second story:

CALGARY - Alberta's six Catholic bishops say serious ethical questions must be answered before any decision can be made about whether or not to build nuclear reactors in the province.

In a pastoral letter issued Wednesday, the Alberta Conference of Catholic Bishops called for more public input into the nuclear power question, citing concerns about stewardship of the environment, effects on water supplies, protection of human life, security threats and adequate consultation.

Calgary Catholic Bishop Fred Henry said expert opinions on nuclear energy are divided and the debate can easily become polarized.

"The recent online survey the department of en-e rgy conducted was hardly adequate considering the size of this issue and the potential impact it could have on future generations and on the environment," said Henry.

My point for highlighting these? What in the name of Archbishop Sheen's cue cards do these statements have to do with saving souls and catechizing Catholics? IMHO, these stories illustrate that at times bishops are focusing on the wrong issues. No wonder Catholics in Europe and Canada are falling away.

I know, I know - as Catholics, we have a mandate to be good stewards of the Earth God has given us. I get all that. But come on! "Climate change"?? Talk about crippling one's credibility - endorsing the false premise of junk science and preaching about it from the pulpit. And nuclear power? Sure, there are protections and safeguards that need to be ensured, but puh-leeze! Aren't there more pressing matters, like so-called gay marriage, Human Rights Commissions, abortion, contraception, liturgical abuses, personal sin, salvation??

I'm not saying these bishops don't preach about the bedrock and foundation of the faith, or address the moral questions of the day, or encourage the faithful to grow closer to Christ. But when I read these statements, I scratch my head and roll my eyes. Social justice is all well and good....well, actually, I take that back. They ought to focus on things that endanger the soul and scatter the flock. As Christ said, we are not to fear the one who destroys the body; instead we are to watch out for the one who destroys both body and soul.

Sorry for the rant - I fail to see how actions described in these two stories will help anybody make it to heaven, and that really bothers me.

Witches Are Cast Out...

...fly off the (broom) handle and curse an entire diocese with plagues and boils.

OK, the last part isn't true. But here's the story from the Telegraph.co.uk:

Witches Claim Religious Discrimination After Church Ban (emphases mine)

Sandra Davis - High Priestess at the Crystal Cauldron - had reserved Our Lady's Social Club in Shaw Heath, Stockport for her Pagan group's Annual Witches' Ball.

But when she rang to make payment arrangements she was told the event could not be held there and - despite already having printed tickets - another venue must be found.

The Diocese of Shrewsbury have since confirmed witches are not 'compatible with the Catholic ethos'.

Sandra, 61, said: "I'm appalled."

Okay, let's interrupt Broom Hilda before she goes on. First of all, the church hall is named after Mary, Mother of God, and a group of witches want to have their shindig there? Hello?!? What was the person thinking when they took the phone call in the first place? Secondly, why was she appalled when the reservation was cancelled? Did she really believe that any compatability whatsoever exists between her pagan hoop-de-doo and Catholic teaching? Or is she a product of the ecumenical culture that says whatever you believe is good, that it's all the same anyway? Who knows. Who cares. Read on.

"My congregation is shocked that in this day and age there can be such religious discrimination.

"We're normal people who follow an earth-based religion and want to enjoy ourselves.

"We thought we were bridging the gap with other religions but misconceptions still exist, like we sacrifice animals.

"Does the church check everyone's beliefs before allowing them in the club?

"Now we need another venue for at least 100 people with a stage for entertainment.

"At this point that's going to be very difficult."

Clarification time. This isn't religious discrimination. If the venue in question was a public place, available for any group to use, then yes, this would be a case of religious discrimination. But this is a private social hall, owned and operated by the Diocese of Shrewsbury (how ironic is that? Shrewsbury?....shrews?...too funny!). They have the right to rent it out to whomever they choose.

"Congregation"? Shouldn't they be called a coven or something?

'Normal people"? Umm, normal people don't dress like this:

"Bridging the gap"? The gap between absurdity and reality can't be bridged. That'd be like, oh I don't know, meeting with dictators without preconditions....oh wait, that's being considered. Bad analogy.

Moving on with the rest of the story now -

Sandra, of Bridge Hall, set up the Crystal Cauldron as a pagan meeting place and hopes to turn it into a temple.(witches have temples?)

This year's ball was planned for October and Sandra agreed to hire the social club for £175.

But the Reverend John Joyce, from the Diocese of Shrewsbury, said there was no way the event could go ahead.

"Parish centres under our auspices let their premises on the understanding users and their organisations are compatible with the ethos and teachings of the Catholic church," he said.

"In this instance, we aren't satisfied such requirements are met."

Well, good for you Reverend Joyce. Although don't be surprised if you start feeling incredible jabbing pains anytime soon - kewpie dolls can be a real nuisance. Remember Indiana Jones?

The way I see it, they have four months to come up with a new venue. Here's my humble suggestion for their Beltane Bash: rent some tents, go out in the woods somewhere, bring some generators to power up the entertainment (if need be), do their prancing about with the satyrs and fauns, play some Warhammer 40,000, finish up with some incantations to the Forest Gods and then go home and sleep until 2 in the afternoon.

Like any other day.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Is This Tiller's Legacy?

Shortly after abortionist George Tiller was murdered, most pro-abortion groups roundly criticized the pro-life movement for perpetrating the crime through the use of (what they described as) violent rhetoric and vitriolic language. President Obama said he was "shocked and outraged" by the murder, and Attorney General Eric Holder announced that he had "dispatched U.S. Marshals Service to protect 'appropriate people and facilities around the nation' in the wake of the murder of late-term abortion provided Dr George Tiller...".

Pro-life organizations across America condemned the murder immediately, while expressing sorrow for his family. Once the alleged murderer was apprehended, it became apparent that he was not associated with any pro-life group. That didn't stop abortion advocacy groups from continuing their barrage, and some nightly news programs joined in, such as Keith Olbermann of MSNBC slinging mud at Jill Stanek.

So is it fair, then, to blame people like Keith Olbermann for the following?

From LifesiteNews: Pro-life Leaders Face Death Threats, Require Protection From Abortion Rights Radicals

June 17, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Since the murder of George Tiller, the Kansas late-term abortionist, several pro-life leaders have been receiving credible death threats, according to a report at pewsitter.com.

Jill Stanek, a pro-life blogger and columnist, Troy Newman, from Operation Rescue, and Fr. Frank Pavone, from Priest for Life, have all received death threats from at least one person, whom Stanek says is a pro-abortion activist whose mother has aborted a number of siblings.

Stanek has been a particular target of the ire of pro-abortion activists who believe that the "rhetoric" of the mainstream pro-life movement is responsible for Tiller’s murder. Last week she was singled out as the “worst person in the world” by MSNBC host Keith Olbermann, who accused Stanek of posting the addresses of the abortion facilities of late-term abortionists – a charge that Stanek says is completely false.

"Let me know which address is right, there's a few I could post. Or I could just drive around the houses and wait to see which one you walk out of.... Don't worry, I will find it,” states one threat Stanek received.

On the blog of Priests for Life, of which Fr. Frank Pavone is the head, an anonymous writer wrote: "Killing Father Frank will not be murder. It will be justifiable homicide."

Fr. Pavone also received another threat directed at him which says:

“I am predicting that there will be more anti-abortion terror because of this election. I AM ALSO PREDICTING THAT THIS TIME IT WILL BE ANSWERED IN KIND BY PRO-CHOICE COUNTERTERRORISTS, who will mount similar terrorist attacks against well-known right-to-lifers. FATHER FRANK will be a natural target for pro-choice counterterrorists.

“I therefore advise you, Fr Frank, if you read that there has been another abortion-clinic shooting or bombing, get out of town immediately. Take a vacation abroad. Go visit the Vatican. If there is another act of anti-abortion terror, your life will not be safe in the USA.

“Good luck.”

Another message said: “Father Frank, It would make me very happy if someone were to respond to this by snuffing YOU. No fooling. Right-to-lifers, in my book, no longer have a right to life.”

Fr. Pavone told pewsitter.com that he needs armed escorts when he is at speaking engagements, although this is nothing new for him. Pavone said that protesters frequently disrupt his presentations and radical pro-abortion groups will sometimes express their intent to engage in violent demonstrations before his visits to various places.

Stanek is presently under police and federal protection.

Federal Agents are investigating the threats.

So how soon before the abortions advocacy groups denounce these actions? Or do they consider these threats as fair treatment? When will President Obama issue a statement declaring that "difficult issues such as abortion [...] cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence"? When will NOW, Emily's List, NARAL and Apostates for Choice publish their press releases condemning these death threats?

I'm not holding my breath.

Add It To The List

Backers of so-called same-sex marriage continually insist that gays and lesbians getting "married" won't negatively impact society or infringe on people's rights. And yet the list of those very things continues to grow.

From CNA: Conscience Protections Sought for Nebraska Psychologists

.- Responding to concerns that psychologists might be required to counsel homosexual couples about strengthening their relationship, Catholic leaders in Nebraska are asking for conscience protections for psychologists who refuse to treat or refer clients because of religious or moral convictions.

Speaking during a licensing rules hearing before the Board of Mental Health Practice, Nebraska Catholic Conference executive director Jim Cunningham proposed a “convictions of conscience” rule for psychologists. The Lincoln Journal Star reports that he warned that Catholic Charities in Omaha and Catholic Social Services in Lincoln might have to stop hiring licensed counselors and psychologists if they are not protected by the law. The Lincoln agency provides about $100,000 in free mental health services.

I imagine it'd be pretty difficult for a Catholic marriage counselor to provide a gay couple advice, for instance, on how to improve their sex life, especially if the counselor is faithful to Church teaching. But there are many people (Catholics included) who argue that "professionals" ought to keep their faith separate from their work, and if they have issues with certain lifestyles and behaviors, they should have not gotten into that particular line of work. They believe the same of Catholic pharmacists who refuse to dispense contraception - to not do so is un-Christian, if you can believe that.

However, if Catholics are to retain and bolster their Catholic identity (a theme Fr Z constantly discusses), then exercising one's faith ought not be turned on or off like a spigot. It must flow freely into all areas of life. If we are to affect the culture, or impact society, then faith must inform every decision, and not be overshadowed by the pressure of the secular environment.

The issue of so-called marriage is not a private affair, as this story demonstrates. It goes way beyond the two individuals, affecting many areas and layers of society. The "just let two people who love each other call it marriage" argument is a strawman. The effort here is to force the culture at large to accept homosexuality as normal and mainstream, and term anyone and everyone who oppose it on any grounds, but especially religious grounds, as bigoted and homophobic.

I don't have much hope for Nebraska in this situation - but with prayer and fasting, all things are possible.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"Ignorance And Apostasy....Since The Vatican Council"

You gotta love it when a bishop speaks plainly and leaves the nuance for the pudding-brained. This is clear concise teaching.

From Alive!: Bishop Tells Students: Challenge False Teachings



Cork-born Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue urged Catholic students at Oxford University to have “an enquiring fidelity” to the teaching of the Church and to abandon “the fictions foisted on us by some clergy, religious and laity who are disobedient and arrogant in their will-to-power.”

It was, for him, he said, a “great joy” being part of a Church “that has left behind the ghetto and the siege mentality,” in order to “proclaim to the world the liberating power of Christ’s Gospel.”

But he was distressed by “the pathetic situation of catechetics in this country, and the extent of ignorance and apostasy among generations of Catholics since the Vatican Council.”

The UK’s most outspoken bishop, he regretted “the diminishment of the Catholic understanding of sin, man’s need for redemption, the sacrificial nature of the Mass.”

This had led to “the virtual abandonment of Confession, the marginalisation of devotion to Mary, the intercession of the saints, and adoration of the Blessed sacrament.”

The bishop is the author of the 2-part plan for renewal called Fit for Mission? Schools and Fit for Mission? Church which has created a stir not just in Britain but around the English-speaking world.

He believed that full renewal will only happen when Catholics, particularly leaders in “schools, seminaries, parishes, and dioceses,” stop obstructing the authentic implementation of the Council and “positively engage with it.”

Another problem for the Church is the way “the secular mindset has gained a foothold in the lives of many Catholics, clergy and laity.”

It is seen in “a certain scepticism or embarrassed reserve about the supernatural dimension of the Faith.”

This has led to essential Church doctrines being downplayed: the divinity of Christ, the Real Presence, the Trinity, the Immaculate Conception.

“These bedrocks of the faith are either ignored or passed over quickly as unintelligible, irrelevant to our young people,” he told the Newman Society.

Many Catholics cannot get beyond the human. “We have clergy and laity criticising the Church as if she were only a human institution, not one that originates in the divine will,” he said, while “Christianity is reduced to an agency for the social betterment of mankind.”

The bishop gave a list of recommendations to the students, urging them to “embrace sacrifice as the hallmark of our lives and our spirituality.”

He invited them to “re-discover the devotions of the Church, such as praying the rosary, the Stations of the Cross, Benediction and regular confession. The Holy Father goes every week, so why not us also.”

He asked them to “start from the assumption” that the Church has good reasons for what she teaches, and to “search out those reasons” in the Scriptures and the Catechism.

A Catholic who says or teaches anything contrary to Church teaching should be politely but firmly challenged, “be they a lay catechist, teacher, deacon, priest or even a bishop.”

The students should take seriously the teaching “that you have a totally unique, immortal soul directly created by God, that when you die you will experience purgatory, and heaven, or hell.”

And they should “reject that wrong-headed view that dominates theology and New Testament studies that Jesus did not know himself to be the divine, the incarnate Son of God.”


I don't think he left anything out, do you? God bless Bishop O'Donoghue!!

Czar-Struck

(AoftheAP) President Obama still hasn't picked his Cyber Czar, but he's developing strategies for the soon-to-be-named appointee. It is no secret that he wants the czar to hit the ground running quickly after taking the helm, with the directive to prevent harmful attacks to the Internet infrastructure as well as covertly detect hacker activity and other unlawful practices.

But there's more to the Cyber Czar's position than just working to keep our nation safe. Some believe that this new position within the administration, which is not subject to congressional oversight, may have more insidious plans. Conspiracies abound as to how deep the Cyber Czar will pry into citizens' personal computers, email accounts, and Internet activity. The combination of zero oversight with nearly unfettered powers has overactive imaginations in overdrive, and more than likely, these ideas will in the long term be proven groundless.

However, there is one area where such thoughts will become reality. An anonymous source close to the administration has revealed details of a new program to AoftheA, tentatively titled "Total Blogger Syncretism". Within the administration, it's sometimes referred to as "Kmiec's Revenge".

Here's the details of "Total BS": Working in conjunction with the Faith-Based Outreach Office, the Cyber Czar will review, coordinate and oversee the syncretization of Catholic blogs in order to provide the public with a balanced presentation of Catholic ideas, teaching and opinions. In doing so, there is hope that common ground can be achieved, and the heated rhetoric can be cooled down.

A spokesman for the FBOO, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told AoftheA that this will be done with compassion and discretion. "There's no disputing that a rift exists on the Internet between so-called 'Orthodox Catholics' and so-called 'Cafeteria Catholics'. This program will seek to reduce the rancor and eliminate the unbalance out there."

When asked what he meant by 'eliminate the unbalance', he answered, "The president wants to share the wealth. Let's face it - there are some prominent Catholic blogs out there that get more hits a day than some news shows on MSNBC get viewers. At the same time, there are many progressive Catholic blogs, ones that provide a valuable service to the public by presenting a different opinion and point of view, that just don't get any visitors. It's our goal to help redress that inequality."

The Total BS program will identify Catholic blogs with high-volume traffic and seek to match them with other progressive Catholic blogs struggling to attract visits. To make that happen, html code will be rewritten so that accessing one or the other blog will direct the user to a split screen showing both blogs. AoftheA has learned of some of the pairings:

  • Fr Z's "What Does The Prayer Really Say" will be combined with Fr Ray Grosswirth's blog "Towards A Progressive Catholic Church", renamed as "What I Want The Prayer To Really Say".
  • Dawn Eden's "The Dawn Patrol" will be combined with "Enlightened Catholicism", renamed as "Dawn of Enlightenment".
  • The Archbold brothers' "Creative Minority Report" will be combined with Call to Actions' "Young Adult Catholics", renamed as "Creative Catholics Reporting On Young Minority Adults".
There are many other well-known blogs awaiting their pairings. When asked which blog "Acts of the Apostasy" would be paired with, the FBOO source replied: "What's Acts of the Apostasy?"

"We believe that this is what the American Catholic wants," said a law professor from Pepperdine who worked hard to get Obama elected by lying to telling Catholic voters that they could in good conscience vote for Obama - in fact they didn't have any other choice but to vote for Obama. "Everyone is tired of the name-calling by the bigoted, extremist right-wing Catholics. This plan will address that. More Catholics voted for Obama than who didn't. Therefore, it makes perfect logical sense that they want plurality in the blogs they read. If you can't see the logic in that, then you're beyond professional help. And tell Robert George to stop emailing me."

When it was pointed out that this program seems to infringe on bloggers' First Amendment rights, the law professor responded, "Hey, everyone will still have the right to blog how they want. They just won't be allowed to do the fisking, the photo-shopping, the hateful bigoted extremist name-calling, crazy satirical parodies, one-sided apologetics, frequent use of Latin, or talk about their large families. Beyond that, there are no restrictions. What we'll see will be civil discourse and peaceful dialogue. Which is what Catholicism is all about."

The question remains, though, is this what the progressive bloggers want? Are they really concerned about hits, visits and traffic? AoftheA tried to ask several of them, but was repeatedly told to stop being so judgmental in calling them progressive.

Calls to Fr Z, the Dawn Patrol and the Archbolds were not returned. There are unconfirmed reports they are planning to outsource their blogs to off-shore sites to avoid the program's domestic reach and maintain their autonomy.

Not having a Cyber Czar makes it difficult to pinpoint when Total BS will be launched. Neither the Faith-Based Outreach Office nor the administration could provide a firm date, stating that they hope to have this in place as soon as possible.

"You heard the President's speech at Notre Dame," the Pepperdine law professor said. "He wants common ground and dialogue - and by God, we're going to give it to him whether the bloggers want it or not."


Editor's Note: Links to the progressive blogs does not indicate my endorsement. I only show the links as proof that they exist - I wouldn't recommend reading them any more than I would recommend someone disemboweling themselves.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

From The Mailbox

A friend of mine sent the following to me:



"...so then I said: Barack, I know Abe Lincoln, and you ain't no Abe Lincoln!'"