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Monday, August 31, 2009

Gods Among Us

Stupid me. I thought Jesus Christ was the only legitimate deity to have walked upon the face of the Earth. The world's political stage is getting crowded with gods.

From the President Medvedev Is A Buddhist Goddess

President Medvedev of Russia was hailed as a goddess during an official visit to a Buddhist monastery in eastern Siberia.

During the first trip in 16 years to the remote Ivolginsky monastery in Buryatia by a head of state, he was shown a statue of the White Tara, a seven-eyed, female figure in the Buddhist pantheon, whose embodiment he is believed to be, it was reported.

The spiritual leader of the monastery, Pandito Khambo Lama Damba Ayusheyev, said when asked about the president’s spiritual significance: “It’s very hard to understand this for non-Buddhists and even for some Buddhists too.”

Speaking to the Interfax news agency, he added: “The leader of the country is a man who bears very serious responsibility for others. The Buddhists must support him, identifying him as a deity.”

White Tara is the mother of all Buddhas and is thought to embody compassion, long life, healing and serenity. She is also known as “the wish-fulfilling wheel”.

Russia’s Buddhists, of whom there are between 700,000 and a million constituting less than one per cent of the population, consider the country’s leaders to be an emanation of the female Buddha. This belief dates back to the 18th century, when the Empress Elizabeth officially recognised the religion.

The monastery at Buryatia is 30 kilometres from the region’s capital, Ulan-Ude, and is the biggest Buddhist centre in Russia.

In addition to being hailed as a goddess, President Medvedev promised financial support to the Buddhist community while he was there and announced that he will be introducing Buddhist chaplains to the Russian Federation’s army.

That's it? He's a goddess, and the best he can do is give away other people's money and allow chaplains to minister to the troops? Heck, even Obama, the Messiah, promised lower sea levels when he became President. Can't Medvedev do better than that?

Monday Madness XXII

Welcome to Monday Madness, the weekly feature at AoftheA where logic and lunacy collide and innocent bystanders inevitably get hurt.

This time, it's bad news for cows. Cows 'Commit Suicide' Off Swiss Cliff by Lily Fu

More than two dozen cattle have mysteriously fallen from a cliff to their deaths in the Swiss village of Lauterbrunnen, leading some to wonder if the bovines committed suicide.

The Daily Mail reports that in just a span of three days , 28 cows and bulls plunged hundreds of feet and were killed instantly.

"'We are investigating because cows growing up in the mountains normally can estimate dangers and do not plunge down cliffs," a police spokesman said. Rescue crews flew helicopters into the valley to retrieve the carcasses, which posed a pollution threat to the local groundwater.

Cows are usually let loose by farmers at high altitudes in the Alps so they can graze. Some occasionally do fall to their deaths, but many agree that to have so many fall in such a short span of time is unusual.

Locals speculate that recent thunderstorms may have spooked the animals. But scientists dismiss the notion that the cattle committed suicide. They said the more likely explanation is that the animals were migrating in huge droves in search of more food and tightly followed each other one when they fell off the cliff to their deaths.

Last week more than 30 cows fell to their death off a cliff into the Fresno River near Coarsegold, Calif. Neighbors complained after the carcasses were left to rot for more than a week.

I think a mooment of silence is called for.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Life Is So Unfair!

Hello, gentle readers. It's Sister Patricia Owens O'Flannery, OP. For those of you who don't know me, I'm a member of a local religious order, and LarryD allows me to post from time to time.

My, it's been a dreadfully long time since my last post. I've been busy...well, maybe occupied is a better word for it. I volunteered to answer the phones for the American Catholic Council that's scheduled for 2011 - a complete waste of time. I did it for three weeks straight, and I received only four calls. Three wrong numbers, and one from the motherhouse asking me if I knew where the copy of Sr Chittister's "Called To Question" had gotten to. I suggested they pray to St Anthony - to which they said "What for?"


I'm secretly praying the ACC gets canceled. Can you imagine? All those progressive Catholics shuffling into Detroit to pray a new Church into being....remember how Minneapolis was smacked with a tornado when the ECLA was voting for gay clergy, and how that church steeple was knocked off? I mean, if God did that to the Lutherans, I shudder to think what He might do with a group of forward-thinking Catholics. I don't think it's worth the risk. We should hold a Web meeting instead.

Listen to me, prattling on! I haven't even gotten to my point yet!

Okay - I saw a most depressing article online the other day. It has cast a pallor over the motherhouse, let me tell you. It's gotten so bad, we had to cancel the liturgical dancing for today's Mass - who wants to dance when you have the blues, right?

Here's the article, from Spero News: Nuns Sprouting in Ann Arbor Michigan

Though the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor are celebrating the completion of the construction of their Motherhouse, they are already near capacity, with 17 new sisters entering at the end of this week. The community has grown from four sisters to 99 in less than 13 years and shows no signs of slowing down.

The community of sisters, which has an average age of 26, was founded in 1997 by four Dominican sisters responding to John Paul II’s call for a new evangelization.

Though their primary apostolate is Christian education, they are open to other areas of evangelization as well, a fact evidenced by their new catechetical show on EWTN called “Truth in the Heart,” the multiple summer catechesis camps they host each year and their frequent vocation talks.

CNA recently spoke with the sisters’ vocations director, Sr. Joseph Andrew Bogdanowicz, OP, who credited the community’s tremendous growth to “God’s goodness and mercy” in providing “spiritual mothers” for the world. She also pointed to the example of John Paul II who “embraced all the world” and gave witness to truth, joy and suffering.

See why I'm so distraught? My hands are shaking so much right now, I can barely type (Thank God for spellcheck!).

17 new sisters? 99 in all?? In only 13 years??? Average age of 26???? So unfair!!

And what's a "vocations director" anyway? I should call and offer her space at our motherhouse, since they're so close to full capacity (again! grrrrr). We have plenty available rooms...

I'd print more of the article, but it's so depressing, I might cry into the keyboard and short out the computer.

Okay, maybe another paragraph.

The Dominican Sisters of Mary consist of women from 32 states as well as Canada. Sr. Joseph Andrew explained that the sisters are drawn to the community because they are real, faithful and joyful. She added that women come because the sisters share a common, clear vision, place emphasis on the Eucharist and use Mary as the example for their spiritual motherhood. Finally, said Sr. Joseph Andrew, women are drawn because the sisters are “on Fire with the Love of Mother Church and all her children!”

I know I ought to rejoice that God has blessed this order. I know that being envious is sinful. I realize that Sophia distributes Her gifts as She wills. But this is soooooo unfair!!! Our order is real, faithful and joyful too! That's what makes me so angry! We're really REALLY JOYFUL!!!!! CAN'T ANYONE SEE THAT WE ARE REALLY JOYFUL!?!? And when women become priests, we will be even MORE joyful!!!
I apologize for that outburst - I think I'll go walk the labyrinth and calm down.

The Problem Of Imprecision

There is a lot to the Catholic faith. 2,865 paragraphs in the Catechism - and not a vague one among the entire lot. Sure, the Nicene Creed sums up the faith - but explaining it, proposing it, being "prepared to give a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope" that is in us - that takes more words, and precise ones at that.

Which is why it's frustrating to read imprecise responses to basic questions of the Catholic faith. Imprecision, whether it's intentional or not, creates a faulty foundation upon which stands an edifice named Poor Catechesis. When the Truth is presented weakly, then the resulting structure is similarly weak. And then people leave the Church because they don't have firm footing.

The following from USCatholic is, unfortunately, a good example of a bad answer, IMHO at least.

From the "Glad You Asked" department: "When Do the Bread and Wine Become the Body and Blood of Christ?" by James Field

The question of exactly when the eucharistic gifts become Christ's Body and Blood has commanded attention and debate for centuries. From the supper at Emmaus, disciples have cherished the Eucharist as the clearest sign of the Risen Lord's abiding presence.

Yet, beginning in the Middle Ages, for a thousand years laypeople in the West seldom received Communion, and even then only under the form of bread. For that reason knowing when Christ became present at Mass was a key to spiritual life, since the ordinary way of worship was looking at the consecrated Host raised high over the priest's head rather than eating it. Medieval scholars-all priests-naturally looked at the Eucharistic Prayer and the cherished memory of the words and deeds of Jesus at the Last Supper, called the "Institution Narrative." The winning answer in the debate was keyed to the words of the priest: "This is my body." (Hoc est enim corpus meum.)

Today, the answer can be found in the Catechism, but also by observing the liturgy. The Catechism says that as soon as the Institution Narrative begins, the Lord is present in the elements of bread and wine. That is why the universal law of the church directs the assembly to kneel for this part of the Eucharistic Prayer, even though in the United States we are already kneeling at that point.

The ritual direction in the sacramentary says that after the Institution (sic) Narrative, the "priest holds the consecrated host and shows it to the congregation." The postures and gestures and texts of the liturgy are clear that the transformation is already complete midway through the Eucharistic Prayer.

The same question never captured the attention of the Eastern Catholic and Orthodox traditions. For them, the critical moment has always been the epiclesis, or the calling down of the Holy Spirit on the gifts of bread and wine and the assembly. The priest extends his hands over the gifts and asks the Holy Spirit to "change them for us into the Body and Blood of Christ." For an Eastern Christian, that's the critical moment.

There is a deeper, more personal question. At what point do we become the Body and Blood of Christ? The bread and wine is not consecrated for its own sake, after all, but for the good of the church and for the world. The question is worth thinking over. Maybe knowing the answer to "when" the bread and wine are transformed will lead to the more critical and personal question as to "why" the Lord comes to us in Holy Communion.

Maybe my frustration is overstated, but if the writer is going to cite the Catechism, don't you agree that referencing the paragraph would have been appropriate? It's paragraph 1353: "In the institution narrative, the power of the words and the action of Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit, make sacramentally present under the species of bread and wine Christ's body and blood, his sacrifice offered on the cross once for all."

I'm not sure why he adds "all priests" after the 'Medieval scholars' bit, either. And then there's this: "The winning answer in the debate..." Excuse me, but is "winning answer" proper? Yes, I know the councils were full of vibrant debate, contentious arguing over the nuances and meanings of the faith - but that phrase makes it sound like a popularity contest had just been won. A more fitting descriptor, to me, would be "Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, it was decided that..." But that's me.

I'm not implying that the answer is incorrect - but it is a bit fuzzy and bloviated. There seems to be more information than asked for. Instead of a concise, simple reply, providing the fullness of the faith without any tangential (and even inapplicable) data, there's six paragraphs of discourse. It's like asking someone how to get from New York to Chicago, and the answer includes a short history on the construction of the Erie Canal and tips on how to fly to a Boeing 747.

Which leads me to the final paragraph. It has nothing to do with the question! This addendum to the answer means several things - all of which have to do with making the Mass about us, instead of about Christ. At least that's how I see it.

Oh! And the writer? Here's his bio: James Field is pastor of Incarnation Parish in Melrose and Saugus, Massachusetts and the former director of the Office of Worship for the Archdiocese of Boston. Hmmm. Excluding his title from the by-line. Massachusetts - bastion of liberal Catholics. I googled the parish just for kicks - here's a line from the "About Us" page: "Nearly 1,000 people gather each Sunday for worship, building on our desire to be a hospitable and welcoming place for people wherever they may be on life’s journey." And their most recent bulletin provided a link to the National Catholic Distorter, as well as a recommendation for the parishoners to subscribe. Hoo-boy.

Being the Year of the Priest, my intention is not to question the priest's fidelity and knowledge, or cast aspersions concerning his character (yeah - just wait till next year! Just kidding!). But when answers to basic questions of our faith - and this question centers on the most important aspect of our faith! - lack precision, they add to the confusion rather than provide enlightenment. When it's a priest who gives an answer such as this, it makes it all the more frustrating. By virtue of our baptism, we are all commissioned to pass on the faith handed down to us - and when what's handed down is....imprecise....well, we know what happens.

Catechesis in America is pretty bad. With answers like this, USCatholic is making the problem worse.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Lunch With A Friend

A friend came into town yeZterday; after a couple rounds of phone tag, we coordinated our schedules and enjoyed a lunch together.

Being a last minute affair, I didn't have time to make the usual meal arrangements - improvisation was called for!

We decided to meet at a popular steak restaurant.

First, the appetizer:

A rich blend of fine mozzarella, parmesan and ricotta cheeses, coated with artificial bread crumbs combined with quasi-Italian spices, bathed in non-trans fat for two and a half minutes to a perfect texture of crispy exterior and melted gooey interior.

Ooops! Is double-dipping allowed?? Ah, the joy of eating with a friend, when some of the nicities of proper etiquette can be overlooked!

Next, the main course!

Thinly-sliced oven-roasted prime rib served on a bun of the finest Midwestern wheat baked with Cargill preservatives - piled high and fresh. So fresh, I could almost smell the farm where the steer had been raised! Perfect with shredded romaine lettuce and a slice of succulent tomato - like it had been plucked off the vine that morning! All combined with crispy pepper bacon and a bleu-cheese sauce - French chefs would be hard pressed to prepare better.

Good to the last bite!

And don't forget the drink!

AAAAAAHHHHHH!!!! Nothing washes down a delicious gourmet sandwich like a diet cola!

I hope next time my friend comes to town, we'll have more time - maybe dine in rather than drive thru!

Fr. Z - should you be reading this, understand I'm just kidding! Please don't hurt me!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Into The Hands Of God

Like all men, Ted Kennedy was a sinner. But unlike all men, some of his transgressions were infamously public - we are familiar with them, so there's no need to expound on it. They were scandalous and terrible, yet if we as Catholics believe in God's mercy, and hope for Him to forgive our secret and private sins out of His Mercy, then we have to believe that Kennedy could have sought forgiveness in his final days.

And now some are decrying the fact that he will be given a Catholic funeral at the Mission Church in Boston. Another scandal, it's being said.


He did receive the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. As far as the Church is concerned, to the best of their ability to ascertain, and well beyond our capability of knowing, the man died reconciled to God. He has passed into the hands of God.

What is scandalous is how the MSM and Democrat party are politicizing his death - I've read comments at various other sites, hoping that he burns in Hell for eternity, and those are equally scandalous - and have, for all intents and purposes, canonized him.

What is also scandalous is allowing President Obama to give the eulogy at his funeral Mass, because beyond its liturgical inappropriateness, his death becomes politicized even further. I'm interested to learn of Cardinal O'Malley's explanation for this - until then, I'm reserving my opinion.

But the funeral Mass - I don't see the scandal in that. I'm sorry for his family and friends, but I'm not sorry he's no longer in the Senate. I'll pray for his soul. No one this side of eternity has been granted the inside scoop of his final resting place, so we commend him to God's mercy - and justice - while striving to undo his temporal legacy where necessary.

May he rest in peace - and may we as Catholics use this opportunity to show the world the best of our faith and beliefs by professing what the Church teaches, and not create scandal where none ought to be.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Some Recognition

Acts of the Apostasy was selected as a "Pick of the Week" by the podcasting priests at That's quite an honor! I guess the pickins' were slim!

It's in their CU Episode 108 (can be heard here), and comes in at about the 24:50 mark of the podcast.

Thanks to Fr. Chris and Fr. Ryan! I've linked to their site in the 'Collared Catablogue' column.

s/s to Nod at Wynken, Blynken & Nod for the heads up.

More Malarkey From McBrien

This week's piece in the National Catholic Distorter from Richard McBrien had a vague familiarity to it...oh, I know why. He's basically reprinting an EJ Dionne column published in Commonweal, NCR's evil twin sister, back on July 9, prior to President Obama's meeting with Pope Benedict XVI.

Plus, it has to be, like, the fourteenth column by McBrien extolling his admiration for the One since the election. He must be running out of material.

From the NCReporter: President Obama and the Vatican

While most of the attention was focused on President Barack Obama's audience with Pope Benedict XVI on July 10, there was an important bit of news in a column published the day before in Commonweal's on-line edition.

The article, written by Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne, a Catholic layman who often addresses issues related to religion and politics, was entitled, "Does Obama have a friend in the Vatican?"

Dionne noted that, when President Obama had his audience with Pope Benedict XVI, just three days after the release of the Pope's new social encyclical, Caritas in Veritate ("Charity in Truth"), there were no right-wing Catholic demonstrators upbraiding the Pope, as they did outside and inside the University of Notre Dame's graduation exercises this past May.

Nor, one might add, was there any single-engine, propeller-driven plane flying overhead with an anti-abortion message and picture.

Sigh. Come on - must we go through this again? He's comparing two very disparate situations, trying to equate them. The Notre Dame fiasco was scandalous for several reasons, while the Holy Father was meeting with Obama as the duly elected leader of the United States. Ah, what's the use in explaining. It's obvious McBrien is wearing O's colored glasses.

The next nine paragraphs are mainly cut-and-paste quotes from Dionne's article. The poor guy is soon becoming a blogger! I'm not going to put any of it here, except for two parts:

This is not to say that President Obama and Pope Benedict XVI are in full agreement on all moral issues, such as abortion, contraception, or embryonic stem-cell research.

And then a little later, he includes: Dionne suggests -- and I am in full agreement with him -- that the Pope's new encyclical shows that President Obama is in accord with most of Catholic social teaching.

Didja catch that? McBrien just called the President a cafeteria Catholic. Which makes sense, given that it was that kind of Catholic who voted him into office. McBrien continues to assuage his readers that it's okay to support him and his Obamacare plan. Just ignore the tough parts of Catholic teaching - the moral issues - and focus on the issues that make you feel good. McBrien's been doing it for years.

But here's the thing. The core of Catholic social teaching affirms the dignity of the human person. Obama does not do that. A lynch pin in Catholic social teaching is the principle of subsidiarity. None of Obama's proposals and plans honor that principle - especially the health care reform. Socialism runs counter to Catholic social teaching, and yet there is much in his platform that walks, talks and quacks like socialism.

The third word in Pope Benedict's latest encyclical is Veritate - Truth. To me, President Obama more closely resembles Pontius Pilate than Jesus Christ - I doubt he is unable to recognize truth, because he has demonstrated difficulty in speaking it.

McBrien cites another article in his piece, in which the author described Obama as a "Vatican II president". Given the problems, confusion and chaos experienced in the Church the past 40 years, caused by people like McBrien who helped sow the seeds of dissent, I'm inclined to agree with the description.

Yikes! I agreed with McBrien?!? Better not let that become a habit, even if it's not in a way he intended.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Saga Of The S.S. Castromobile

Manuel Cabrera had a dream. It wasn't a dream of epic proportions - he had no aspirations of fame or greatness, no false hopes of becoming wealthy. No, it was a simple dream. He only wanted to own a new car, one that would provide reliable transportation for his family. A car he could show off to his friends with pride; a car that said "Look, mi amigos! I have something to show for my pitiful life! I have something to live for!"

And so, one day, Manuel and his family loaded into his car and off they went to get a new car. Throughout the trip, he transmitted messages to his friends on how the trip was progressing. "Very little traffic!", he would transmit. Or "We are nearly there!" All night he drove, approaching his destination, filled with hope and eager for change.

But alas, due to unfamiliar tidal patterns and no Garman navigation device, Manuel and his family arrived on the southern Florida shore mere hours after the Cash For Clunkers program had expired.

Dejected, Manuel turned the car around, drove through the early morning surf, and returned to Cuba, hopes unrealized. There would be no new Manuel transmission throughout the silent trip home.

The End.

The Mouse That Squeaked

The 2009 Heresy Tour rolls on. The bus has pulled out of Boston following a Sunday speech delivered to a whopping 100 attendees.

That ex-communicated Roy Bourgeios sure packs 'em in!

From the Boston Excommunicated Priest Takes Catholic Church to Task For Not Ordaining Women"

WESTON - A prominent priest whose support for women’s ordination has him in trouble with the Catholic Church ratcheted up his confrontation with the hierarchy yesterday, calling the church’s refusal to ordain women a “scandal’’ and “spiritual violence.’’

“I will not be silenced on this issue,’’ said the priest, the Rev. Roy Bourgeois, to about 100 people in Weston at an event hosted by the congregation of Jean Marchant, a former staffer for the Archdiocese of Boston who claims she was ordained as a priest in an unsanctioned ceremony four years ago.

The Catholic Church views Marchant and Bourgeois as having been automatically excommunicated for participating in unsanctioned ordination ceremonies.

Yesterday Bourgeois said he remained unclear about his status because he has had no formal communication from his order, the Maryknoll Fathers, or from the Vatican, which last fall told him he would face excommunication if he did not recant.

“If they choose to kick me out of the church because I believe that men and women are equal, so be it,’’ Bourgeois said. “I will never be at peace being in any organization that would exclude others.

“What’s going on in our church today is spiritual assassination, it’s spiritual violence being done that’s inexcusable. That is a scandal,’’ he said.

Squeak, squeak, squeak. As in a mouse, not a rusty wheel. You just gotta love the Little Guy vs. The Big Bad Church scenario the article establishes. Rather laughable, actually.

And notice the common factor in the following three pulls from the article (emphasis mine):

...In an interview yesterday, Bourgeois, 70, a Louisiana native...

...Another attendee at yesterday’s event was Joe McLaughlin, 60,...

...Roberta Robinson, 60, of West Roxbury,...

I bet Joe and Roberta were two of the younger attendees.

Yes, the furor over women's ordination can be frustrating. However, the Church has spoken, and has delivered Her ruling: women's ordination is impossible, and those who persist in supporting/attending/encouraging women in following through with the charade will be ex-communicated. These people know what the Church teaches, and they are making the conscious choice to ignore and complain. I doubt they are gaining many adherents. At least those still enjoying the sunshine years of their lives.

Still, scandal is occurring here. Prayers have to be said, and reparation has to be done. According to the article, He (Bourgeios) said five priests around the country have agreed to go public with their support for women’s ordination, and yesterday’s gathering drew at least three archdiocesan priests, none of whom would comment publicly. That's the scandal part. Their attendance at such events and support of such people can and does confuse people who aren't knowledgeable of Church teaching - some of the comments following the article clearly demonstrates that. As faithful Catholics, we have to cogently explain what the Church teaches and why. As laity, we reach areas of society the clergy doesn't have access to. A little apologetics can go a long way to helping weak Catholics understand that this isn't an issue of gender discrimination, but divine will ordered to the proper role of the ordained priest. Reducing the argument to mere sexism is not only incorrect, but makes mockery of the sacraments of Holy Orders and Holy Communion, and is very misleading. It might make for good copy, but it's false copy - another scandal, by the way.

The Archdiocese of Boston remained mostly mum on Bourgeios' talk, only issuing a statement repeating Church teaching, probably because the event wasn't being held on diocesan property. Although a short formal statement on Bourgeios, either from the Maryknolls or the Vatican, would be nice to see.

Oh - Squeaky's next scheduled stop is in Columbus on October 1 - brought to you by the dissenters at Call-to-Action.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Jim Caviezel: "I Just Don’t See Abortion as Helping Women."

Came across this interview of Jim Caviezel from the July 2009 Catholic Digest, (via Big Hollywood), so a lot of you may have read it - it's not exactly 'new' news, but it's worth repeating. Here's an excerpt:

Part of what had spurred the adoption was a pro-life challenge. Could you share a little about that?

This guy I know said, 'You’re pro-life. Tell you what, if you really believe in what you speak, adopt a child — not any child, he’s got to have a serious deficiency,' (and I will become pro-life). He never changed his (position), but it convicted me. I don’t think he thought I would step up to the plate.

I was listening to Johnny Mathis the other day and I said, “What an amazing voice.” I have yet to hear another person sound like Johnny Mathis. How are we so arrogant to think the 51.5 million babies who have died in this country… Look, I am for helping women. I just don’t see abortion as helping women. And I don’t love my career that much to say,
“I’m going to remain silent on this.” I’m defending every single baby who has never been born. And every voice that would have been unique like Johnny Mathis’. How do we know that we didn’t kill the very child who could have created a particular type of medicine that saves other lives?

Gotta hand it to him, he sticks to his principles. Much of the article centers on family life, fatherhood and acting. Check it out.

Monday Madness XXI

Welcome to "Monday Madness", the weekly feature at AoftheA, where a dumb deed never goes unpublished.

From Woman Sues Zoo Over Splashing Dolphins

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A woman is suing a Chicago-area zoo for a 2008 fall near a dolphin exhibit, accusing zookeepers of encouraging the mammals to splash water and then failing to protect spectators from wet surfaces, local media reported on Thursday.

In her suit filed earlier this week, Allecyn Edwards said she was injured while walking near an exhibit at Brookfield Zoo, where a group of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins were performing, media said.

Officials "recklessly and willfully trained and encouraged the dolphins to throw water at the spectators in the stands, making the floor wet and slippery," but failed to post warning signs or lay down protective mats or strips, the suit said, according to the reports.

Edwards is demanding more than $50,000 for lost wages, medical expenses and emotional trauma from the Chicago Zoological Society and the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, which operate the zoo in Chicago's southwest suburbs.

The suit was filed in Illinois' Circuit Court of Cook County.

When asked what the dolphins' thought of the lawsuit, their legal representative replied: "Clik-a-clik-clik-clik-clik-a-clik-clik tweeeeeeeeeeet eeeeeeya eeeeeeeeya clik-a-clik clik clik clik!"

I don't know what it means either!

Saturday, August 22, 2009


I don't watch the news - local, national, commentary, whatever. I gave it up for Lent and haven't looked back since. Even FOX was spiking my blood pressure. The Internet and radio comprise my sources today, along with the now 3-days-a-week delivery of a Detroit newspaper.

Oh, I still watch tv - sports mainly, a lot of EWTN and the occasional syndicated episode of Law and Order or Without A Trace or Cold Case. I'll watch an episode or two of Mythbusters with the Sons of LarryD. No reality shows, no Dancing With Bachelorette American Idols Who Have Talent And Eight Kids. One show I do make time for is Dr Who, of course. Can you believe that it won't be on again for another 7-8 months? What's up with that?


A lot has been in the news lately as to how much Obama has been on television since being elected. He's already held five press conferences in his first 200 days - that's more than Bush held in his first term, IIRC. Making statements here, there and everywhere. Webcasts, radio spots, town hall meetings, op-eds. ABC News broadcast from the White House for an entire day. Brian Williams had an exclusive one-on-one interview. Made a guest appearance on Jay Leno's show.

The guy is everywhere, 24/7 - more so as of late to push Obamacare, even though he's supposed to be on vacation. Interestingly enough, the more visible and vocal he is, the lower his numbers fall. Zogby's poll had his approval rating at 45% today. Rasmussen's Presidential Approval Index stood at -8 this morning. Support for his health care reform is tanking. You'd think his handlers and administration officials would suggest he pull back from all the appearances and lay low for a little while.

Nope. Now the One's going to be on an After-School Special.

From Obama Helps Kids Get in Back-to-School Spirit

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama will appear in a back-to-school television special with singer Kelly Clarkson and basketball star LeBron James next month.

Obama is appearing in a 30-minute documentary that will air at 8 p.m. Sept. 8 on BET, MTV, VH1, CMT, Comedy Central, Spike TV and Nickelodeon, all of them Viacom networks. Obama also plans to deliver a back-to-school speech to the nation's students on the same day.

In the program, the president says education is the key to people living out their dreams.

Hmmm. Given the trend in the polls, this move might guarantee future Republican voters.

So rather than disparage the President for this onslaught of over-exposure, I say forge ahead. Continue to appear on late night TV talk shows and schedule those prime time press conferences. Hold more town hall meetings and sync up those webcasts. Why stop campaigning? Look at how far it's gotten you! To help out, I've come up with some ideas for you to consider:

  • Sing the National Anthem before every game of the World Series.
  • Appear as a contestant and a judge on Dancing With The Stars.
  • Get a recurring role on General Hospital (maybe as a death panel bureaucrat?) so you can continue to push health care reform.
  • Be a torch bearer for the 2010 Olympics.
  • Sub for Larry King from time to time.
  • Become an animated character on South Park or The Simpsons.
  • Be a judge on Iron Chef America.
  • Take over for Billy Mays on The Pitchmen - you'd be a natural!
If you were to do these things, two things would happen. You'd have less time to run America into the ground, and your approval numbers would continue to plummet. Sounds like a win-win to me!

Got any other ideas for the President?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Light Blogging Weekend

Off to be with Mrs LarryD and the Sons for the weekend - they've been camping since Wednesday, with her sister's family. Joy joy.

It's not how you spend time together that counts, but the fact that we're spending time together....that's what I'm telling myself. Tents ain't my thing.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The LCWR Strategy

Shortly after the Vatican announced they would be conducting an apostolic visitation of US women religious communities, IHM Sister Sandra Schneiders issued an email (published by the National Catholic Distorter) describing the strategy the communities ought to employ in the face of the investigation:

"We cannot, of course, keep them from investigating. But we can receive them, politely and kindly, for what they are, uninvited guests who should be received in the parlor, not given the run of the house. When people ask questions they shouldn't ask, the questions should be answered accordingly. I just hope we will not, as we American Religious so often do, think that by total "openness" and efforts to "dialogue" we are going to bring about mutual understanding and acceptance. This is not mutual and it is not a dialogue. The investigators are not coming to understand -- believe me, we found that out in the seminary investigation. So let's be honest but reserved, supply no ammunition that can be aimed at us, be non-violent even in the face of violence, but not be naive. Non-violent resistance is what finally works as we've found out in so many arenas. . ."

AoftheA has obtained an LCWR memo that gives specific details of Sister Schneiders' call for "non-violent resistance". A member of the Apostolic Visitation team, who covertly attended last week's LCWR National Assembly held in New Orleans, nabbed a copy of the memo and gave AoftheA permission to publish it on condition of anonymity.

State Of Sin

At Sin In America: Researchers Attempt to Find Who's Good and Who's Not

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- How much sin is in America?

It depends on where you live, according to four Kansas State University geography researchers.

In what researcher Thomas Vought described as a not-too-serious study meant to garner attention at a convention of geographers in Las Vegas as much as to contribute to understanding the habits of people around the country, the foursome found that the South -- encompassing an arc from North Carolina through Louisiana -- was most prone to the traditional seven deadly sins.

And the least sinful areas?

The Midwest and western Appalachia, the study's findings showed.

Lest Southerners beg to differ, Vought told Catholic News Service the study is not meant to serve as an authoritative review of the country's sinfulness.

"I don't think we started this to send a message to anyone," he said. "It was a fun exercise."

The study revolved around the traditional seven deadly sins: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride. Vought explained that the researchers wanted to use objective data to help in their analysis to avoid subjectivity and bias. So they turned to census data, FBI crime reports and Department of Health and Human Services statistics.

Okaaaaay - a "fun exercise". As Catholics know - or at least ought to know - sin is not fun. The culture tends to give a wink and a nod to every sort of sin. Except the "sin" of being religious in public, though - you know, "judging others" and all that. Oh, and smoking and driving an SUV. And working for an industry that the One and Democrat Party has demonized (insurance companies, oil producers, etc). But fornication, voyeurism, materialism, et al - never mind those!

I knew the study was flawed because Washington DC wasn't included in "most sinful" - lying, cheating, graft, members of Congress too lazy to read legislation or getting angry at their constituents, the unbridled lust for absolute power. I could go on.

-- Sloth: expenditures per capita on entertainment and recreation, such as video games and movie rentals, that tend to keep people isolated from one another as reported in the "U.S. Census Bureau 2002 Economic Census: Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Report."

-- Greed: comparing total per capita income with the number of people living in poverty per capita as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau.

-- Envy: statistics from "FBI Uniform Crime Reports" related to stealing, i.e., robbery, burglary. larceny and motor vehicle theft.

-- Wrath: more statistics from the FBI, but for rape, assault and murder.

-- Gluttony: comparing the total number of fast-food restaurants per capita as reported by the "U.S. Census Bureau 2002 Economic Census: Food Services and Drinking Places Report."

-- Lust: the number of sexually transmitted diseases per capita from data collected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

-- Pride: With no data that could be related, the researchers calculated pride as the aggregation of the other six sins.

I doubt that any state will seriously consider this study when they develop their branding or marketing programs. "Michigan! Now With 35% Less Wrath!"

I suppose they had to use some sort of subjective data set to come up with their findings. Sloth is not mere laziness, though - it is the refusal of "the joy that comes from God and to be repelled by divine goodness." (CCC 2094) Perhaps Church attendance would have been a better quantifier of sloth - something like only 25-30% of Catholics attend Sunday mass. On a basic level, that highlights how deep-seated sloth (also known as acedia) is. I heard sloth described as a sadness at having to strive for holiness.

I wonder if divorce statistics would be a better indicator of lust than STD's. Or maybe teenage pregnancies. Oh, I know! The number of public school districts that distribute condoms! Gotta help those young kids deal with their "lustful" feelings, you know. Given that Nevada has legalized prostitution, you would think they'd be near the top of the list.

Using income levels to determine greed is iffy for me. There are a lot of greedy poor people out there, just as there are a lot of humble, well-balanced wealthy people. So mere income doesn't cut it. I think they should have used charitable contributions as a percentage of income. I guess they didn't want to embarrass Joe Biden and Al Gore, though.

No matter how you measure it, we do live in a sinful world. Which is why Christ came - to save us from our sin. Infinite grace is available to us, through the Church and the sacraments. By reading Scripture. Through the rosary and other devotions. By spending time before the Blessed Sacraments. And as we grow in our love for Christ, we are then in turn able to go out and love our neighbor. I heard Matthew Kelly once say that our internal love of God is proved by our external love of neighbor. To be authentic and true, the one has to precede the other. In one of St John's letters, he writes we are only able to love because He (Christ) loved us first.

It doesn't matter if we're living in Sloth Dakota, WisconSin, Pridesylvania or Wrathachusetts. The state of our soul is what matters, not the name of our state. We're merely resident aliens here, working out our salvation before emigrating to our true home, Heaven.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Open, Theatrical And Flashy

Naw, I'm not talking about a new Broadway musical, Barney Frank's townhall meeting or the premiere of Dancing With The Stars.

Those are the words of famed producer Franco Zeffirelli, describing the type of pope the conclave ought to have elected, rather than Pope Benedict XVI.

From the New York Times: Maestro Still Runs The Show, Grandly

...But the maestro is not completely enthusiastic about the current pope, Benedict XVI. “When they elected him, I felt the church was making an image error,” he continued. “Catholic is another thing,” he said. “It’s open, it’s theatrical, it’s flashy.” He waved his hands for effect. “When you have to deal with the Vatican — St. Peter’s, ‘The Last Judgment’ of Michelangelo — you have to be larger than life, you can’t be a professor from north Germany.”

In fact, the pope, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, is a theologian from Bavaria, southern Germany. “Theologically,” Mr. Zeffirelli added, he is “a wonderful man.” The maestro, who in 1977 directed the television miniseries “Jesus of Nazareth,” said he remained a devout Catholic...

I got something to tell you, Mr. Zeffirelli. There are too many people (like the following) mucking up the Church as it is.

Clown Masses, super-soakers, "womynpreests" - - - aren't those "open, theatrical and flashy" enough for you?

Caption Contest #10


(Click here for last contest winning entry)

Winning caption: From Michael - "I know I've seen Cardinals up on a wire before, but I didn't know that red-bellied black-caps flocked there too!"
Submit your captions in the combox!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Sound Of Our Name

Sunday evening, Mrs LarryD asked me if I was interested in seeing The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, so I said "Sure!" I think she sensed my enthusiasm was less than authentic - hey, I'm not a huge fan of Brad Pitt movies, unless it also happens to star Angelina Jolie - but that's how it goes sometimes - compromising on the little things. It even might have been payback for asking her to watch The Illusionist, which I thought was great while she fell asleep....but I digress.

So I hoofed it to the local Blockbuster, found the disc, stood in line to pay and then stepped up to the cashier, a perky young lady with brunette pony-tailed hair. As she rang up the rental, I glanced at her nametag - I do that all the time, whether at the grocery store, or fast food restaurant, wherever - I make it a point to notice the person's name. I guess it's something I picked up all these years in sales, or from the Dale Carnegie course I took ages ago. People love to hear the sound of their name. It creates a connection, and establishes familiarity on a basic level.

And this time was no exception. As the cashier handed me the movie and my change, I said "Thanks, Kita! (Kee-ta)", and the girl's faced just beamed. "Ohhh, you pronounced it right! Hardly anyone does that!!" I probably made her day/evening/night, and I was glad to have brought some joy, no matter how simply, into another person's life. Her name might have been a nickname, or maybe it was the one her parents' gave her, I don't know. Either way, for one brief moment, Kita was happy at hearing the sound of her name.

I feel bad for people who have strange bizarre unfamiliar names - the countless times they are compelled to correct other people on how to pronounce it must get tiresome and frustrating - lending tough reality, I suppose, to the desire to be unique. Or uber-unique. Like Moonunit or Dweezil Zappa. What the heck were their parents thinking? Sometimes the names have cultural significance, or are a connection to one's lineage - a person's name is important, of that there's no denying, regardless of how it sounds or what it means. It's how we are known to the world.

And it's also how we are known to God. He calls us all by name, and He never mispronounces it. When Jesus called the apostles, I really doubt Levi came up to Him and said, "Um, listen, I'm gonna follow you and all, but it's 'Leee-vi', not 'Leh-veee'", to which Jesus responded, "Oh. Well, how's Matthew sound?"

When we hear God call our name, there is no sweeter sound. The trick is being open to hearing His call. Even Samuel guessed wrong three times before Eli set him straight, and so it can be with us. And when we do hear the sound of our name, our hearts will leap. Perhaps we won't hear His call until our final breath - I like to think one reason the martyrs were able to endure their suffering was because Jesus repeated their names, filling them with joy and perseverance, knowing that He was calling them home.

Our relationship with God is meant to be so personal, He desires that we call Him "Abba". I'm willing to bet God loves to hear the sound of His name, too.

Anniversary #19

19 years ago today, Mr LarryD said "I do" to Mrs LarryD, marrying a woman much more than he deserves.

Mrs LarryD agrees.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Anti-Muffin Award

Joe of St Therese has graciously awarded me The Anti-Muffin Award. I'm honored, despite the fact it resembles a moldy, past-the-due-date, lost in the back of the pantry muffin.

According to the Catholic Nerd Writer (who bestowed this on Joe), the Anti-Muffin Award is for "bloggers who are decidedly "Anti-Muffins". Bloggers who promote what they believe without hesitation and without fear of possible negative feedback. Bloggers who don't conform to the world's standards." Well, that's an understatement, fer sure!!

Naturally, the award has to be passed on to other fellow Anti-Muffins. I hereby pass this along to the following bloggers: Paul, the Regular Guy; Dale Price; Kit; Sarah-kala (duuuuuuuude!); Robert; and Terry.

The danger with such award thingys is that some people might be upset for having been omitted, and start whining or something. I'm just gonna say that Joe awarded them already! LOL!

Monday Madness XX

Welcome to the weekly feature at AoftheA, where the sewers of the Internet are scoured and scrubbed in order to flush out the stories you would have otherwise ignored. After this one, you may want to take a shower...

How long before this one ends up on the U.S. environmentalist wackos' to-do list?

From Brazilian Environmentalists Tell Residents to Urinate in Shower to Save Water

Environmentalists in Brazil are urging the country's residents to urinate in the shower while washing themselves, to help conserve water and save the rainforest. Television ads being aired in the country claim that by doing so, the nation could save over 1,000 gallons of water per household each year.

SOS Mata Atlantica ran the ad campaign in an attempt to use comedy to get people to reduce the amount of water they use. "[The ad is] a way to be playful about a serious subject," said Adriana Kfouri, a spokesperson for Atlantica.

The animated ad narrated by children shows people, including a trapeze artist, an alien and dancers, all taking a shower while at the same time, urinating in it. The ending of the ad then states, "Pee in the shower! Save the Atlantic rainforest!"

Ken Livingstone, former mayor of London, England, proposed a similar campaign in 2006. He said urine should be classified as a "green waste" and that "there is no earthly reason that you need to flush the loo if you have merely urinated. That's a huge saving of water."

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Obligatory Highbrow Literary Post

(There are a lot of bloggers who post about the books they've read. Which I think is cool. I've learned of some authors I hadn't heard of before, such as S.M. Stirling and Tim Powers. So, I figured that since I read books too, even ones without pictures, AoftheA will feature posts about books on occasion. Done in my usual style, of course....)

As President and Founder, I welcome you, as charter members, to the inaugural meeting of the Obligatory Highbrow Literary Post Confraternity, established by the Department of Literature and Fine Arts at Acts of the Apostasy. Membership is available to one and all, exempt from dues and duty.

Here we will examine and expound upon the great masterpieces of literature, poetry and theatre. A forum, if you will, to discuss the themes and thoughts of the greatest authors who graced our civilization with works that have withstood time, tempest and tyranny. Works of great influence and import that have served to shape our world and form our culture.

Our first action is to consider a question, borne from the antecedent statement:

Do cultures shape and form the books and plays produced within that sphere, or do the works themselves influence the culture? Or is it a combination of the two forces, juxtaposed against each other like the immovable object steadfast against the unstoppable force? It is a question that has spanned the ages, ever since primordial man drew crude figures upon the walls of his cavern abode. For centuries, anthropologists have wondered: was the caveman portraying the creatures he hunted and ate, or were they representations of dreams unfulfilled, the proverbial "one that got away"? Or was it just the work of a prehistoric environmentalist warning future generations of species extinction? I suppose we'll never really know the truth behind those sketches, because all the primordial men are dead. Come to think of it, every ancient species depicted in those illustrations is dead, as well, so perhaps they were warnings after all. Whispers of a lost time. Riddles that perhaps only Dan Brown has the capacity to unravel.

An author that seems to have transcended cultures and the passage of time is Jane Austen. The author of only six novels, her stories of early 19th society as depicted in novels such as Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility have proven to bridge the gap, as it were, between generational media. While the novels might be enjoyable to read on a rainy day or while on holiday, the tedious exercise of wading through the winsome words stretches one's capacity. Thankfully, these works have been adapted for film - eliminating much of the mundane sections and honing in like a hawk's talons on all the juicy bits.

Even with this technological improvement, however, the sense of classicism pervades. The displays of construed polite behaviour, the modest accoutrement of the genteeled class, the overt reliance on relationships, character and dialogue - these representative hallmarks of Austen's works compels the modern-day masculine reader to cry out with anguish to the heavens:

"Oh, where is the action?!? Oh, where is the gore?!?"

Well, fellow charter members of the Obligatory Highbrow Literary Post Confraternity, rend your garments no further. Salvation has been delivered unto us.

In September, Quirk Books is publishing Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters!

From Jane Austen With Zombies. What's Not To Like?

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a Jane Austen novel in possession of added gore will be a surefire best-seller.

That's the conclusion reached by publishers since the success of "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," an unlikely literary sensation created by adding dollops of "ultraviolent zombie mayhem" to Austen's classic love story.

"Zombies" — billed as 85 percent Austen's original text and 15 percent brand-new blood and guts — has become a best-seller since it was published earlier this year, with 750,000 copies in print. There's a movie in the works. And it has spawned a monster — or, more accurately, a slew of literary monster mash-ups.

Next month, "Zombies" publisher Quirk Books is releasing "Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters," which adds giant lobsters and rampaging octopi to Austen's love story. Out this week from another publisher is "Mr. Darcy, Vampyre," a supernatural sequel which portrays the aloof hero of "Pride and Prejudice" as an undead bloodsucker. Later this year comes "Jane Bites Back," in which the author herself develops a taste for blood.

Unfortunately, fellow members, I have yet to read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Truth be told, I just learned of its existence the other day, and no, I am not delaying until the movie's release. Before the OHLPC reconvenes, I resolve to have read the novel and thus be amply prepared, with profound hope and regard, to facilitate a discussion. Or at least describe the cool parts.

The debate of whether culture influences its art or art influences the culture remains far from resolved. Perhaps it will be answered when someone pens Last of the Undead Mohicans or Great Expectations From Beyond the Grave. In any case, adding the macabre to the masters of literature will lend blood and fury to otherwise prosaic jejunum, the likes of which would have the original authors regret not having included such elements in the first place.

Happy reading!

What literary mash-ups would you like to see published? Put 'em in the combox. Entering a title confers automatic membership to the OHLPC. I hope to create a badge you can proudly display at your blog....or hide it away in a deep corner somewhere if you want, I don't care....either way, make it fun!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Jesus Was A Dissenter?

The following was deposited in the combox from a previous post, and it bears commenting on:

"Whenever I see the word "dissenters", I remember that Jesus was a dissenter from what the Pharisees saw as the law. And, good Pharisees that they were, theirs was the only correct interpretation of the law."

The notion that Jesus was a dissenter pops up from time to time, routinely used as an argument by those who disagree with the "institutional Church" on doctrinal matters, to defend their actions and perhaps even attempt to gain sympathy. Because everyone knows if you got Jesus on your side, there's no way you can be wrong, right? (remember that "What Would Jesus Drive?" campaign? meh)

So what does Scripture say about dissent?

When Jesus started His ministry, the first thing he said was "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand!" (Mt4:17) He did not say: "Dissent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand!"

Then there are these two passages from St. Paul's letters:

1 Timothy 6:3-5 "If any one teaches otherwise and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching which accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit, he knows nothing; he has a morbid craving for controversy and for disputes about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, base suspicions, and wrangling among men who are depraved in mind and bereft of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain."

Galatians 5:19-21 "Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."

So the inerrant Word of God tells us that dissension is a "work of the flesh" and an evil that leads to the loss of eternal life. Since Jesus is the Son of God and sinless, it was impossible for Jesus to have had dissented. God cannot dissent against Himself - a ridiculous notion if there ever was one.

If anything, it was the Pharisees who had dissented from the Jewish faith, by imposing strict laws upon their people, and creating burdens for the Jews to bear while providing no assistance whatsoever. Jesus then arrived - sent to save us from sin and death - and to reveal to us the Father, who is love. His intent was not to eliminate all burden and all rules, but to offer us a new burden, one which is easy and light - the burden of loving God, and loving one's neighbor. Jesus' mission was not to dissent from Jewish teaching, but to expand it, develop it, enflesh it and fulfill it. He came in the fullness of time to reveal the Father and bring salvation to all people. How in the world, then, can that be dissent?

From the Pharisees' perspective, Jesus was a dissenter par excellence - accused of blasphemy, handed over to be crucified. In reality, Jesus showed where the Pharisees had gone wrong, which isn't dissent. He did that to establish His authority, not to "show up" and "shake up" the powers-that-be. What Jesus did had been foreshadowed by the Old Testament prophets - and Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, John the Baptist and the rest were not dissenters. They were obeying God, acting like shepherds reining in wayward flocks.

So when 90%+ of Catholics disagree with Church teaching on contraception, they are in dissent. When a percentage feel that women ought to be ordained, and the Church is wrong, they are in dissent. They disagree with and reject Church teaching, as well as the Church's authority. They are not being Christ-like. In fact, they are acting very similarly to the archetypal dissenter Lucifer, who spurned God and heaven by declaring "I will not serve!"

The claim that Jesus is a dissenter, therefore, is a projection by those who feel the Church is Pharisaical in their handling of doctrinal and dogmatic issues: squash, suppress, silence, ex-communicate. In reality, though, the Church is only following Paul's, and thus Christ's, exhortations:

1 Corinthians 5: 9-13 "I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with immoral men; not at all meaning the immoral of this world, or the greedy and robbers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But rather I wrote to you not to associate with any one who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber--not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. "Drive out the wicked person from among you."

There will always be wolves among the sheepfold - and some are equating them to the Good Shepherd. We are called to stand and warn against the dissenters - especially when they seek to cloak their misdeeds with false righteousness and misplaced charity. By their words they make themselves known.

Women's Ordination: The Video Game

(AoftheAP) The controversy of female ordination has crossed over into the arena of interactive games. Nintendo Games, hoping to capitalize on the publicity generated by the dispute within certain quarters of the Catholic Church, has released "Wiimenpriests: From The Convent To The Conclave", designed exclusively for the Wii Console.

"We're excited by this newest entry into the console game market," announced Libby Farberstein, spokesperson for the electronic game manufacturer. "This issue of Catholic women priests seems to be gathering steam throughout America, so we're confident these games are going to fly off the shelves."

Nintendo sent dozens of games, handheld controllers and Wii consoles to the LCWR 2009 Assembly that convened in New Orleans, August 11-14. The early buzz on the game is that it is a sure-fire hit.

"There were lines waiting to try out the game," Farberstein said. "To say it's acceptance has exceeded our expectations would be an understatement."

"Wiimenpriests: From The Convent To The Conclave" is a role-playing game (RPG). The player starts out as a novitiate in a convent, then by completing a variety of tasks and missions, sees their level rise up to the point where they're in the running to be elected Pope. As the game progresses, the tasks become more difficult and the obstacles are much tougher to overcome.

For instance, to move from "novitiate" to "priest", the player has to shut-down a military installation while avoiding arrest, deliver a gender-neutral translation of the Bible to a printer while evading gangs of "rad trad" Catholics, and bankrupt a pharmaceutical company because of "unethical business practices" without being detected by the SEC and Big Pharma hit squads.

All this, armed only with her wits and charm. Oh, and a pocketful of New Age "Tolerance Crystals" and a big, bad Conscience Ray-gun, used to neutralize opponents. There's also a Spirit Guide named Roy who can be called upon for wisdom and answers to difficult clues and riddles.

When the player is ordained (once the secret location is found by solving a series of riddles), she moves on to pastoring a parish, then is elevated to a bishop in control of a diocese, then a cardinal before finally arriving in Rome for the final challenge.

And the opposition gets tougher with each level. Priests armed with GIRM Warfare weapons; bishops equipped with Cannons of Law; teams of Apostolic Examiners accompanied by Ex-communicators; and countless hordes of Orthobots, zombie-like parishioners that resemble genetically altered rabid sheep. The final stage of the game has the player confront The Grand Inquisitor in an all-out battle.

"It's not all action and violence, though," said Farberstein. "With the handheld controller, the player is able to perform liturgical actions commonly used during Mass, like blessings, the consecration and Sign of Peace. In a way, it's a practice tool, should women become officially ordained. Plus, a player can gain experience points in a variety of peaceful ways - delivering Communion to ex-communicated Catholics, making their way through labyrinths or even ordaining other priests, for example."

Sister Patricia Owens O'Flannary, a progressive-nun from Michigan, tried the game and found it exhilarating. "I just loved it! I'm definitely buying this for the convent - who knew that zapping rad trads could be so much fun!"

There is also an on-line feature that will allow up to four players to combine forces and battle their common foes. "Working together gives them encouragement and improves their self-esteem," Farberstein commented. "Let's face it - becoming a real priest will most likely forever remain a fantasy for them. We might as well make the fantasy as enjoyable as possible."

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Progressive Bible Quotes #6

Genesis 3:11-13 (McBrien-Kmiec 2008 American Edition)

11He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" 12The man said, "The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate." 13Then the Lord God said to the woman, "What is this that you have done?" The woman said, "I was just following my conscience."

Once again, the National Catholic Distorter has printed a canary cage canard on the all-sacred domain of one's conscience.

Conscience Led Me to Ordination as Woman Priest by Janice Sevre-Duszynska (my comments)

Conscience is something very sacred. It gives us a sense of right and wrong and urges us to do the right thing. (remember these statements for later...)

Conscience is what compelled Austrian Franz Jagerstatter to refuse to enlist in Hitler's army. On August 9, 1943, this humble farmer and father of four was executed for following his conscience. (A jab at Pope Benedict XVI who was conscripted into the Hitler youth and later deserted. Nice. Oh - and how exactly is this lady's life being threatened for 'following her conscience'? Straw man comparison.)

One year ago, the story of Franz Jagerstatter was the theme of the homily by Maryknoll priest Roy Bourgeois when, on Aug. 9, 2008, he attended my ordination in Lexington as a Roman Catholic Womanpriest. A longtime friend, Roy is the founder of the School of the Americas Watch. He has spent a total of four years in prison as a "prisoner of conscience" as part of the movement to close the SOA. The SOA, a U.S.-military training school for Latin American troops located in Fort Benning, Georgia, has been producing death squad leaders and human rights abusers since 1946.

Roy participated in my ordination Mass. He celebrated the Eucharist with me, the other women priests and the woman bishop who ordained me. He laid hands on me in blessing after I was ordained.

In his homily Roy said, "It is our conscience that compels us to be here today. How can we speak out against the injustice of our country's foreign policy in Latin America and Iraq if we are silent about the injustice of our church here at home?"

Roy Bourgeois followed his conscience (no, he disobeyed the Church) and crossed the ecclesiastical line against women's ordination - the first time a male priest in good standing participated in the ordination of a Roman Catholic woman, a watershed event in the Roman Catholic Church. His prophetic words and actions, today's Good News, have traveled across the planet in newspapers, magazines, TV and the Internet. They have evoked much joy about renewing our church and priestly ministry with women priests in a discipleship of equals.

Within a few days of the ordination, Roy was summoned to his religious order's headquarters in Maryknoll, New York to account for his participation in my ordination and for his homily. He was questioned by his superior and two council members and asked to fill out the "dissenting priest's form" which was sent to the Vatican. When asked to recant his support for women priests, he refused. (prideful, stubborn, arrogant - aren't those "wrong" things? Are those "sacred" actions?)

The Vatican's Office for the Doctrine of the Faith (formerly The Inquisition) (yeah - let's not forget that!), now run by former San Francisco Cardinal William Levada, said Roy would be excommunicated from the church he has served for over 37 years if he did not recant.

Meanwhile, Catholics and interfaith peace-and-justice makers ("makers"?) wrote letters in support of Roy and women priests to the superior general of the Maryknolls, the Papal Nuncio, and their local bishop. They sent emails to the pope and to Cardinal Levada.

Catholic reform groups, including Call to Action, Women's Ordination Conference and Roman Catholic Womenpriests (Unfaithful dissidents, every last one - on the wrong side of conscience) put together a petition to the Vatican to support Roy's prophetic stance. Among the thousands who signed were 122 women religious leaders who identified themselves and their religious orders. These women thus also crossed the ecclesiastical line against women's ordination and followed their conscience.

Not long afterwards, the Vatican announced that it would be conducting two investigations of American nuns to determine whether the sisters are "living in fidelity to the religious life." Nuns in no other nations are being asked this question.

Did the courageous women religious leaders frighten the Vatican bullies? (Bwah ha ha ha ha ha!!!.......pant, pant,.......bwah hahahahahahaha!!!) Are the investigations connected to the boldness of these "uppity" nuns? (you bet your polyester pantsuits!) Are the men in the Vatican quivering because more women religious might step forward to claim their vocations and be ordained priests? (Seriously...quivering? More likely they're letting the "uppity" nuns play out more rope. But seriously, they're concerned with the state of these women's souls and how many people are being misled down the wide and easy path)

Roman Catholic Womenpriests continues to grow and serve the people of God in grassroots communities. We have ordained and continue to ordain women, including nuns, whose vocation is the priesthood. (God doesn't call women to the priesthood, ok? That wasn't God who called you to the priesthood!)

Pope Benedict XVI has named this the "year of the priest." I invite our brother priests to hear the voice of their conscience and cross the line with us as we women are ordained.

Well - this is more of a propaganda piece for poor Roy Bourgeios, as well as a flimsy defense against the upcoming Vatican investigation. It says little about her own life and includes several digs and pokes at the authority of the Church.

The progressive/heterodox hodge-podge so-called Catholic groups certainly have the conscience angle down pretty well, though. If something they want to do is forbidden, or if a particular Church teaching leaves them cold, then they play their 'Conscience Card' and act out of sorts when their position is challenged by the authority of the Church. Their actions are not that dissimilar to children who whine "You can't make me!" of "But I don't wanna eat my vegetables!" Not mature at all.

Another popular tactic is "Well, the Church has changed its teaching on things in the past, so I'm going to do what I want because eventually the Church will change Her mind on this issue (like, for instance, women's ordination), proving that I was right all along." Nuh-uh. Doesn't work that way. That's like saying: "Someday the government will repeal the Federal Income Tax, so I'm going to stop paying my taxes today, because eventually it will be legal." Logic like that doesn't work in the real world. It is a very harmful approach to life - in the most important aspect, no less: one's spiritual well-being.

Disobeying Church teaching while claiming loyalty to one's conscience, and subsequently avowing that one is still a faithful Catholic, is objectively impossible. It's better to humbly submit - like so many of the saints, such as St Pio, who was prohibited from saying public Mass or hearing confessions for many years by his bishop, yet humbly obeyed. That's the example worth emulating - not thumbing one's nose at legitimate authority. That kind of action brings about only one result. And you can find that at the end of Genesis 3.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Illustrated Progressive Catholic Alphabet, Part IV

(Part I is here; Part II is here; and whaddya know?! Part III is here!)

Are you a progressive Catholic blessed with children grandchildren young nieces and nephews who are showing interest in the Catholic faith, and you want to make sure they don't grow up orthodox? Or do you lead Children's Liturgies at your Catholic community, and are seeking a fresh new text with which to indoctrinate educate your young impressionable charges? Well, AoftheA Publishing has the perfect book for you! It's the Illustrated Progressive Catholic Alphabet! Help that young person you know learn their ABC's while discovering the creative and spirit of Vatican II-filled world of progressive Catholicism.

Here is fourth and final part of the Illustrated Progressive Catholic Alphabet:

T Tolerance


Tolerance is an important Christian virtue. Jesus was a tolerant person because He told people not to judge others. The Hierarchy is very intolerant of those who follow their conscience (see "C"). If they practiced tolerance, there would be peace in the Church because everyone would be allowed to do what they want without being judged.

U Universe


The Universe is everything that is in existence, created by God(de). All the galaxies, every star, each planet that exists. And someday we will touch the Cosmic Force that unites every living thing and live forever in Her psychic embrace.

V Vatican II


Vatican II was a Council in the 1960's that ushered a New Church into being. The "Spirit of Vatican II", as it's commonly called, permitted women to become priests, prohibited Latin, did away with the Rosary, introduced guitars and drums during Liturgy (see "M"), said contraception was okay, rewrote the 10 Commandments, sanctioned divorce and remarriage, allowed shacking up, embraced feminism and introduced the DH rule into Major League Baseball.

Unfortunately, the Hierarchy hi-jacked Vatican II, and prohibited nearly everything, except for the DH rule (but only for the American League).

W Worship


Worship is the time when we do Eucharist and celebrate Church. You can tell the time of year by the types of clothes the priest wears; for instance, if the priest is in a costume, then it's Halloween time. Worship is about hospitality, fun and making everyone feel good about themselves.

X X-communication


Ex-communication is the unjust penalty the Hierarchy gives to people who faithfully dissent from official teaching, or try to follow their conscience. An ex-communicated person is forbidden from receiving Eucharist, and has to find a new place to do Church. Sometimes, the ex-communication is lifted, but that mostly happens centuries after the person has died, when the Hierarchy admits it made a mistake.

Y Yuletide


Yuletide is the "new" way of doing Christmas. In order to be tolerant of other people's beliefs, it's not nice to say "Merry Christmas" anymore, because it might offend them. So, it's best to say "Happy Yuletide!" or "Season's Greetings!" This way, you will be thought of as being open-minded and non-threatening.

Z Zealot

The guy who writes the above blog is a zealot.