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Today Is The Day
Get ready for it.
Okay Then, That Was Unexpected...
Church Art Shouldn't Make You Say "Blech!"
Or cringe.
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.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Brainpower Quiz

It's been a wild month, what with Obamacare, and the TAC bombshell, the balloon boy hoax and the close of another *ahem* violent hurricane season. I don't know about you, but my head has been reeling from all the clatter and chatter. It almost feels as if I've gotten dumber the past 4-1/2 weeks - so in order to gauge my regression - or lack thereof - I took a Brainpower Quiz. Just a simple test to determine whether dementia has set in. Perhaps you might want to give it a shot.

Brainpower Dementia Test

Exercise of the brain is as important as exercise of the muscles. As we grow older, it's important to keep mentally alert. If you don't use it, you lose it! Below is a very private way to gauge your loss or non-loss of intelligence.

Take the test presented here to determine if you're losing it or not. The spaces below are so you don't see the answers until you've made your answer.

OK, relax, clear your mind and begin.

1. What do you put in a toaster?

Answer: 'bread.' If you said 'toast,' give up now and do something else. Try not to hurt yourself. If you said, bread, go to Question 2.

2. Say 'silk' five times. Now spell 'silk.' What do cows drink?

Answer: Cows drink water. If you said 'milk,' don't attempt the next question Your brain is over-stressed and may even overheat. Content yourself with reading a more appropriate literature such as Auto World. However, if you said 'water', proceed to question 3.

3. If a red house is made from red bricks and a blue house is made from blue bricks and a pink house is made from pink bricks and a black house is made from black bricks, what is a green house made from?

Answer: Greenhouses are made from glass. If you said 'green bricks,' why are you still reading these??? If you said 'glass,' go on to Question 4.

4. It's twenty years ago, and a plane is flying at 20,000 feet over Germany (If you will recall, Germany at the time was politically divided into West Germany and East Germany) Anyway, during the flight, two engines fail. The pilot, realizing that the last remaining engine is also failing, decides on a crash landing procedure. Unfortunately the engine fails before he can do so and the plane fatally crashes smack in the middle of 'no man's land' between East Germany and West Germany. Where would you bury the survivors? East Germany, West Germany, or 'no man's land'?

Answer: You don't bury survivors. If you said ANYTHING else, you're a dunce and you must stop. If you said, 'You don't bury survivors', proceed to the next question.

5. Without using a calculator - You are driving a bus from London to Milford Haven in Wales .

In London ,17 people get on the bus.

In Reading , 6 people get off the bus and 9 people get on.

In Swindon, 2 people get off and 4 get on.

In Cardiff , 11 people get off and 16 people get on.

In Swansea , 3 people get off and 5 people get on.

In Carmathen, 6 people get off and 3 get on.

You then arrive at Milford Haven.

Without scrolling back to review, how old is the bus driver?

Answer: Oh, for crying out loud! Don't you remember your own age? It was YOU driving the bus!!

95% of people answer most of these questions incorrectly. They probably won't make it through November.

Oh, I answered all of them correctly. Honest.

The Human Camera

Interesting video of an autistic artist with incredible memory skills.

Friday, October 30, 2009



Desperate fame hound "Octomom" dressed up as Angelina Jolie as a pregnant nun, holding 25% of her children, outfitted in little devil costumes. Awwww - isn't that just special?!?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Out Of Control

Nicked from Fr Erik

A Confession

The recent development with the Traditional Anglican Community has given me pause to reflect and think about my place in the Catholic Church. Over the course of the last week, I've read thoughtful, well-reasoned opinion pieces in main street media publications. I've pored over numerous Catholic commentators who have done their level best in explaining the motivation for the upcoming Apostolic Constitution. When you combine the journalistic firepower of Maureen Dowd, David Gibson, the Young Voices column at the National Catholic Reporter, and Call-to-Action's Young Adult Catholics blog, you're forced to look in the mirror, own up to the facts, and accept things as they are.

At least, that's how it affected me.

So after some deep soul-searching these past couple days, I've come to a decision. It was difficult, but I can no longer live a lie. It may mean that some of you, perhaps most of you, will no longer read my blog, and may even encourage others to do the same. So be it. Like I said, I can no longer live a lie and be someone I'm not. I don't want to be misleading anyone, any longer.

So here goes.

I'm a misogynist/homophobe/closed-minded/ultra-conservative Catholic. MHCU, for short.

I've been trying to hide my lifestyle for years, by appearing compassionate, loving and respectful towards others. Not even my closest friends know, and Mrs LarryD? Well, she always had suspicions, and the gig was up when she uncovered my collection of Scott Hahn books squirreled away behind Hans Kung texts, and my Fr. Corapi CD's tucked inside a hollowed-out copy of Richard McBrien's Catholicism. She's bearing this patiently, and for that I'm grateful. But make no mistake - I am a hater. The mask is off, and it's time to start being true to myself. I feel better already as I'm typing these words.

Before people start linking to this and going viral with the bombshell that LarryD has come out and admitted his ultra-conservatism, let me just say a few more things.

First, I didn't choose this lifestyle. Do you honestly believe that I've willingly become a hater, to be someone that others will despise simply due to the way I live my life? To be the object of derision? And don't preach to me about "changing" - that's all a sham and unsupported by biased psychological studies. I am who I am - and since I have to deal with it, so do you. I'm asking you to accept me for who I am. I'm really no different just because I'm a hater. Just because I don't care about your feelings, doesn't mean you have the right to disrespect mine.

Secondly, I believe I was born this way. My parents did a great job raising me, teaching me to love my neighbor and treat everyone equally, but deep down, all of that felt...unnatural to me. As a high schooler, I finally came out to my parents, explaining to them that I would never ever belong to a Church that ordained women. If they were disappointed, they didn't show it. In fact, they were very supportive. Sometimes I wonder if maybe they're not closet haters too.

Thirdly, don't bother quoting Scripture to me. All those passages in the Bible about how "no haters shall enter the Kingdom" have been misinterpreted purposely to suppress the MHCU community, to deny us equality. And besides, Christ said almost nothing about hating in the Gospels, so it couldn't have been an important matter to Him.

Finally, I'm tired of the unfair treatment haters are getting. Did you know that haters are being excluded from the upcoming American Catholic Council? From their website:

This qualification decision was made to ensure that groups committed to a pre-Vatican II restoration of a clerical, hierarchical Church or who rejected the roles and responsibilities of all baptized did not attempt to co-opt or abort the Council. We realized that the importance of Vatican II was often lost on Catholics born after the 1950s—but we decided that we could articulate the principles of Vatican II without focusing on the Vatican Council itself.

See? We're not being invited to the table, which is not something Jesus would have done.

Haters like me are made in the image and likeness of God, and God doesn't make mistakes. We're baptized members of the Church, and such exclusion is very un-Christlike. Jesus hung out with haters, you know. He was inclusive. The MHCU community is growing, and we have a voice. More and more people are coming out every day, proud of our haterness.

I'm sorry if this revelation disappoints any of you...well, actually, no I'm not.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

An All Souls Day Project

All Souls Day is soon approaching. Fr Z has some good recommendations on things we can and should do:

Pray for the souls of priests.

First, remember that you can gain indulgences on All Souls and the days following.

Second, 5 November is a first Thursday. You can gain a plenary indulgence during this year for Priests.

Third, would it not be a good idea in this Year for Priests, during the week after All Souls, for this 1st Thursday, to pray in a special way for the souls of deceased priests?

May I recommend that you bring this up with your parish priests, who might make pulpit announcements this Sunday?

If you are a blogger, would you post something on this?

Would you recommend this to your prayer groups, friends and family?

Grab up those indulgences! They're not talked about much nowadays, but they're important and helpful.

Priests dead and alive need our prayers - they're under constant vicious attack (the live ones mostly!) I'm passing this on to our associate pastor.

Halloween Traditions

Halloween in the LarryD household is a fun time shared by all. Now that the Sons of LarryD are older, they roam the neighborhood on Halloween night by themselves or with friends. Mrs LarryD and I would alternate taking them around when they were younger -which was cool, because some houses provided adult beverages for the dads!

But one tradition that hasn't changed is getting a family picture, in costume. Below is this year's picture. Cool, eh?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Elephants' Graveyard

Detroit is the home of a group called Elephants in the Living Room (link in sidebar under Wandering Tribes), a collaboration of priests, laity and even a renegade bishop. Here's their mission statement: "We are an organization of priests of the Archdiocese of Detroit, strongly supported by participating laity, who seek renewal of the Church of Detroit. We do this by offering opportunities for education and creating an open forum for discussion and dialogue that will lead us to developing and advocating more collegial solutions to the challenges we face. We firmly believe these efforts will contribute to a greater solidarity among priests and a renewed Church of Detroit."

Standard boilerplate. Ambiguous while sounding noble. Translation: We disagree with Church
doctrine and want changes - our changes! Now!

Their most recent event was held at an archdiocesan parish church, and featured Sr Helen Prejean as the keynote speaker. I was looking through photos taken from that event, and noticed a trend throughout. The one that tells the story the best is below:

Out of all the attendees, I counted four who looked to be under the age of 50 (open photo #9 and click to enlarge). Which probably explains why the Archdiocese isn't all that concerned with them.

Nature is a cruel mistress.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Spin Cycle

Poor David Gibson. His opinion piece in today's Washington Post is the latest attempt to creatively interpret Pope Benedict's recent invitation to the TAC. The liberals are trying so hard to frame the ecumenism angle to their advantage, and they're looking like idiots in the process. It's actually quite funny.

I nicked it from the National Catholic Distorter: Washington Post Calls Pope Benedict 'Closet Liberal'

The Washington Post has posted an article online today exploring the recent news that the Vatican will be creating special structures for Anglicans wishing to convert to Roman Catholicism.

The article, written by David Gibson, author of "The Rule of Benedict: Pope Benedict XVI and His Battle with the Modern World", claims that the news shows that Benedict is, like any good 'liberal', a fan of change.

Here's one of the take-away quotes:

With the latest accommodation to Anglicans, Benedict has signaled that the standards for what it means to be Catholic -- such as the belief in the real presence of Christ in the Mass as celebrated by a validly ordained priest -- are changing or, some might argue, falling. The Vatican is in effect saying that disagreements over gay priests and female bishops are the main issues dividing Catholics and Anglicans, rather than, say, the sacraments and the papacy and infallible dogmas on the Virgin Mary, to name just a few past points of contention.

That is revolutionary -- and unexpected from a pope like Benedict. It could encourage the view, which he and other conservatives say they reject, that all Christians are pretty much the same when it comes to beliefs, and the differences are just arguments over details.

And that could be the final irony. For all the hue and cry over last week's developments, Benedict's innovations may have glossed too lightly over the really tough issues: namely, the theological differences that traditional Anglicans say have kept them from converting, as they could always do.

The whole article is worth a read; take a look here.

Here's the thing - this accommodation has little to do with main issues dividing Catholics and Anglicans - but it has everything to do with the issues dividing Anglicans and Anglicans. Pope Benedict is extending a hand, or as I read elsewhere - sending them a rescue boat. The Anglican Church is imploding over women's ordination and openly homosexual bishops, and yet Gibson is claiming it's the Catholic Church that's softening on these issues. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

What the liberals call 'ecumenism' is what normal people call 'compromise'. To them, reaching out to our separated brethren means acquiescing on contentious doctrine in order to make the others feel happy and good about themselves, thus considering us Catholics as 'open-minded' and 'progressive'. But that's just a failure to stand on principle - it's a failure to act as Christ acted. They are extremely miffed that the Holy Father, The Pope of Christian Unity, has shown how theologically vacuous, as well as spiritually dangerous, such thinking is. And I think deep down, they realize the gig is up, and that Pope Benedict has no interest in wasting his time 'dialoguing' with them anymore. The liberal Catholics are stuck in a cul-de-sac of stagnation, and the Holy Father has driven on by.

There is no proof that the Church is ceding any doctrine or dogma with this development. In fact, AFAIK, Anglicans wishing to join the Church via this process still have to profess submission to Church teaching. Just because they'll be able to maintain their liturgical rites and such is not a sign that the Church is beginning to bend on the teachings of the Eucharist, or Mary, or any other doctrine.

Doctrines that include, by the way, the all-male priesthood. As well as the teaching that homosexuality is a disorder.

Nice try, Gibson, and thanks for the laugh!

Monday Madness XXXI

Welcome to Monday Madness, the weekly feature at AoftheA where that spiraling out-of-control feeling you're experiencing is the last remnant of sanity swirling done the drain.

From the New York Times: To Cut Global Warming, Swedes Study Their Plates

STOCKHOLM — Shopping for oatmeal, Helena Bergstrom, 37, admitted that she was flummoxed by the label on the blue box reading, “Climate declared: .87 kg CO2 per kg of product.”

“Right now, I don’t know what this means,” said Ms. Bergstrom, a pharmaceutical company employee.

But if a new experiment here succeeds, she and millions of other Swedes will soon find out. New labels listing the carbon dioxide emissions associated with the production of foods, from whole wheat pasta to fast food burgers, are appearing on some grocery items and restaurant menus around the country.

People who live to eat might dismiss this as silly. But changing one’s diet can be as effective in reducing emissions of climate-changing gases as changing the car one drives or doing away with the clothes dryer, scientific experts say.

“We’re the first to do it, and it’s a new way of thinking for us,” said Ulf Bohman, head of the Nutrition Department at the Swedish National Food Administration, which was given the task last year of creating new food guidelines giving equal weight to climate and health. “We’re used to thinking about safety and nutrition as one thing and environmental as another.”

Some of the proposed new dietary guidelines, released over the summer, may seem startling to the uninitiated. They recommend that Swedes favor carrots over cucumbers and tomatoes, for example. (Unlike carrots, the latter two must be grown in heated greenhouses here, consuming energy.)

They are not counseled to eat more fish, despite the health benefits, because Europe’s stocks are depleted.

And somewhat less surprisingly, they are advised to substitute beans or chicken for red meat, in view of the heavy greenhouse gas emissions associated with raising cattle.

“For consumers, it’s hard,” Mr. Bohman acknowledged. “You are getting environmental advice that you have to coordinate with, ‘How can I eat healthier?’ ”

Many Swedish diners say it is just too much to ask. “I wish I could say that the information has made me change what I eat, but it hasn’t,” said Richard Lalander, 27, who was eating a Max hamburger (1.7 kilograms of carbon dioxide emissions) in the shadow of a menu board revealing that a chicken sandwich (0.4 kilograms) would have been better for the planet.

Listen - if Sweden is leading the world on marking foods with environmental impact information, we ought to pay attention. I mean, this is the country that has given us Volvo, Ericsson and IKEA. They're leading-edge kinda folks. Although Alfred Nobel, the guy who invented dynamite, also instituted the Nobel Peace Prize, and we all know they've been acting screwy lately, but never mind all that.

So with all forward-thinking in mind, I've spent the past few minutes conducting a study, calculating AoftheA's environmental impact. The calculation is a complicated algorithm involving average visit length, on-line connection speed, the type of snacks I'm eating while blogging, the combined monthly averages of bird photos, Youtube videos and exclamation marks, plus the number of commenting trolls. The result? AoftheA: "Climate declared: .03kg CO2 per post". What an embarrassment - I've got to work harder at getting that value higher.

By the way, I ran a couple of other blogs through the algorithm. Let me just say that Fr Z. may want to consider even more "Feeder Feeds" posts if he wants his CO2/post value to stay above 4kg. And Creative Minority Report? You're CO2 value is off the chart! Keep up the good work!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Just Awful - Nun In Illinois Volunteers At Abortuary

For those of you who are angered that the Vatican has ordered an investigation of the LCWR, who feel that these religious women are being unjustly persecuted, perhaps the following story will demonstrate the wisdom of Rome's decision. I cannot think of any example that synthesizes more succinctly the depths to which some of the religious communities have sunk.

From Nun Volunteering as Abortion Clinic Escort in Illinois

A Dominican nun has been seen frequenting an abortion facility in Illinois recently - but not, as one might expect, to pray for an end to abortion or to counsel women seeking abortions, but to volunteer as a clinic escort.

Local pro-life activists say that they recognized the escort at the ACU Health Center as Sr. Donna Quinn, a nun outspokenly in favor of legalized abortion, after seeing her photo in a Chicago Tribune article.

"I've called her sister several times, and she never responded," local pro-lifer John Bray told (LSN). "But it's her."

Amy Keane, a pro-life witness for 11 years, says Quinn has acted as escort for "six years, at least." Keane described one incident in which Quinn began shouting at the pro-lifers as they spoke to a woman about to enter the abortion facility.

"[Quinn] was so angry, and burst out very loudly so everyone could hear: 'Look at these men, telling these women what to do with their bodies!'" said Keane. "She was so angry, that it really took all of us aback." Keane says that the group was peaceful, and that the men present were not among those engaging the woman.

"For those of us who are Catholic, to have a member of a religious order so blatantly - it is so disheartening. It really is," said Keane. "She's participating actively in abortion. That is what is so disturbing for us."

Sr. Donna Quinn, OP, is renowned in the Chicago area as an advocate for legalized abortion and other liberal issues.

In 1974 she co-founded the organization Chicago Catholic Women, which lobbied the USCCB on a feminist platform before it dissolved in 2000. She is now a coordinator of the radically liberal National Coalition of American Nuns (NCAN), which stands in opposition against the Catholic Church's position on abortion, homosexuality, contraception, and the male priesthood.

While (LSN) was unable to reach Sr. Quinn for comment, NCAN's Sr. Beth Rindler confirmed to LSN that Quinn is still a member of their group, which favors unrestricted legalized abortion and disagrees with the teaching that abortion is intrinsically evil. "We respect women, and believe that they make moral decision, and so we respect their decisions," Rindler explained.

In a 2002 address to the Women's Studies in Religion Program at Harvard Divinity School, Sr. Quinn described how she came to view the teachings of her Church as "immoral": "I used to say: 'This is my Church, and I will work to change it, because I love it,'" she said. "Then later I said, 'This church is immoral, and if I am to identify with it I'd better work to change it.' More recently, I am saying, 'All organized religions are immoral in their gender discriminations.'"

The more I think about this (and I'm trying not to, this is so unbefreakinlievable), it would be better if she was turning tricks as a traditional escort than working at the abortion clinic - at least with an escort service, no one ends up dead.

Now I don't know if NCAN is affiliated with LCWR, and frankly, I don't care. They're peas in a pod - and a quick check of NCAN's website showed that a former president of the LCWR was a keynote speaker at a recent conference, so there you go - having strayed so far from Catholic teaching, I think their GPS is stuck on "Gehenna".

For Beth Rindler to say "We respect women, and believe that they make moral decision, and so we respect their decisions", I have to believe she hasn't the foggiest as to what "moral" means. Because where I come from, "having an abortion" does not mean "moral". Add to that the doozy from Quinn about some Church teachings as "immoral" - it's like Bizzaro world to these folks! Permanent opposite day.

Fortunately, their influence is waning. The sun is setting on their best days. The night is falling for them. Which is why they are acting so desperately - their time is short, and all bets are off. This sister of death is just the latest outrageous example.

UPDATE 10/26/09 - Canonist Ed Peters (In The Light Of The Law blog, under my Sites of Interest and Information in the sidebar) has put up a post here going over possible canonical options regarding Sr. Quinn, should any ever be take. Interesting stuff.

s/s to romish graffiti

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Support A Catholic Speaker Month

Fallible Blogma organized something pretty neat for October - Support A Catholic Speaker Month. Over one hundred Catholic speakers - some nationally known, others not-so-famous - were put on a list, and then Catholic bloggers were asked to post about one of the speakers. The goal is to increase awareness about all these speakers and provide support to their ministries (btw, there are a couple 'orphan' speakers left - consider adopting one and help out the cause!)

I was asked to participate, and I selected Ralph Martin.

Ralph Martin is co-founder and President of Renewal Ministries, based in Ann Arbor, MI. Their mission is to foster renewal and evangelization in the Catholic Church by helping people know the personal love of God in Jesus and grow in holiness.

Ralph hosts the television program The Choices We Make (seen locally in the Archdiocese of Detroit), as well as The Fulfillment of All Desires, as seen on EWTN. He participates in mission events around the world, and when he's not travelling hither and yon, Ralph teaches Theology as an Assistant Professor at the Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit - as well as directing the seminary's Graduate Programs in the New Evangelization.

I've had the good fortune of hearing Ralph speak on three different occasions, most recently at a men's conference held at our parish last December. He spoke on persevering joyfully through the ups and downs of life - a very uplifting message at the time, given the onrush of uncertain economic conditions and the 2008 Presidential election. He didn't rely on opinions, but on the truths of the Church, and brought together his own life experiences with the examples of the saints. What resulted was an inspirational talk that focused on authentic Hope, unswerving Faith and powerful Love. His soft-spoken, easy-going style underscores a deep love for Christ and His Church, and a fervent commitment to spread the Gospel, encouraging his audiences to grow in holiness, regardless of present circumstances.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Open Letter To The TAC

Well, well, well. Look who's welcoming the Anglican community to the Catholic Church - it's Call-to-Apostasy! They've issued an open letter. (my comments in blue)

An Open Letter to our Sisters and Brothers in Christ in the Anglican Tradition

We greet you in the name of the One who unites us all (what? Obama unites us all? Why is it so hard for you to write 'God'?) . We were disappointed with the Vatican's announcement of a stream-lined process for Anglican conversion to Roman Catholicism for individuals and dioceses who do not support women's and LGBT equality (because it further marginalizes CTA, that's why they're upset - with only 25,000 members, CTA is dwarfed by the TAC).

The Anglican tradition embodies a courageous history of seeking reform in the face of church injustice (they must be referring to King Henry VIII here). In the last decades, you have built on that history and stood strongly in support of marginalized women, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in your (lack of) faith tradition. We have watched (with envy, most likely) and supported your struggles over the years to welcome all God's people equally to ministerial leadership. You should stand proud.

The majority of Catholics in the United States also hope for a day when we might be able to say that we, too, have heeded the gospel call for justice within our own church leadership (when stats are trotted out, it's no longer about theology - it's about ideology). Studies show that 83% of U.S. Catholics believe that it is morally wrong to discriminate against homosexuals (Contemporary Catholic Trends Survey) and 61% of U.S. Catholics believe that women should be priests (National Catholic Reporter Survey) (LOL! An NCR survey?! Now there's authority for ya!). We know the numbers are similar and growing in many other countries around the globe. The kin-dom is at hand ("kin-dom"? Jesus said "Kingdom", not "kin-dom". Kin-dom is stu-pid).

So while a few church officials cast lots for the allegiance of a small remnant of Christians who continue to favor discrimination, we know the majority of the faithful will continue to support all God's people equally (wait a minute - if you're part of the majority who supports all God's people equally, then why aren't you supportive of this small remnant?).

We pray for a time when our church officials will also come to know the blessings that come from living, not as a divided community, but as one people united with God (no you don't - you pray for a time when sin is no longer sin).

With peace,

Jim FitzGerald,
Executive Director of Call To Action

Boy, Jim sounds miffed, doesn't he? Good - their days are numbered anyway.

In the spirit of justice and truth, AoftheA has also issued an open letter to the Anglican Community. I think you know where I'm going with this.

An Open Letter to our Sisters and Brothers in Christ in the Anglican Tradition

On behalf of the staff at Acts of the Apostasy, I greet you in the name of God and His only begotten son, Jesus Christ, with the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. The issuance of the Apostolic Constitution by the Pope of Christian Unity, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, will be forever remembered as a historic occasion in the journey of the Catholic Church. It is truly a joyous occasion.

One piece of advice - ignore Call-to-Action, okay? They're no different than the liberal Anglicans you're seeking to leave. Worse, actually, because they refuse to go. Most of them are in nursing homes now, and the rest are as relevant as a Baha Men Greatest Hits album.

Oh, one more thing. The National Catholic Reporter? Nuh-uh.

In closing, we pray for a time when all Christians will be gathered within the visible boundaries of the Holy Catholic Church, fulfilling the words of our beloved Savior "that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me and I in thee", thus living as a united people of God.

With peace,

Editor-in-Chief, Acts of the Apostasy

s/s to Fr Z. for the "Pope of Christian Unity" title. Start using it!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sticker Shock

So I'm driving my van this morning, on my way to see a customer, when a car passed me, bearing the following bumper sticker:I nearly drove off the road.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Brief Thoughts On The TAC Story

Yesterday's Apostolic Constitution from Pope Benedict to the TAC is indeed a historic occasion. We are witnessing authentic ecumenism, and while it remains to be seen how many members of the Traditional Anglican Communion respond and join the Catholic Church, this is a development that ought to have Catholics rejoicing. As Christ prayed that we might all be one, this is one step towards the fulfillment of that prayer.

Alas, not all Catholics are pleased with this. Go to any liberal Catholic site - Commonweal, America, the National Catholic Reporter - and the editorials and comments overflow with less than charitable sentiments. It's unfortunate that their bias and unhappiness cloud their vision, but that's how they are. Their hearts are hardened with bitterness, and are thus unable to rejoice with the angels at the return of lost sheep. I'm reminded of the older brother in the parable of the Prodigal Son. With a major difference being that at least the older brother remained faithful to the father - these poor souls are unhappy backbiters joylessly toiling in the field.

The main-stream press is also showing their true colors, viewing this story through political lenses. Who can blame them, I suppose - the secular media understands religion about as well as they understand conservatism. They tend to lump both together. An editorial at the Globe & Mail is one such example.

However, the funniest (unintentionally, I would presume) headline I've seen comes from the TimesOnline: "Desperate Bishops Invited Rome to Park its Tanks on Archbishop's Lawn", by Ruth Gledhill

I presume Ms. Gledhill is referring to tanks like this?


Coming to a bookstore near you, just in time for the Christmas season! A new exciting mystery featuring Scooby Doo and the gang!
Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and the world's most famous canine sleuth visit Velma's Aunt Veronica and soon become embroiled in a cryptic case of canonical chaos. Aunt Veronica's church has been invaded by a screeching spectre, The Spirit of Vatican 2, soon after she requested to have the Extraordinary Form of the Mass held there. Now the more-traditional minded parishoners are being driven away from the frightful fiend and its ghastly guitar of Haugen Hymns.

Does the pastor, Fr Fencesitter, have something to do with this haunting? Or perhaps the overbearing Pastoral Associate, Sister Dee Sentyr, is behind the fiendish plot? Maybe the musical director Miss Claphappy is responsible. Or maybe...just maybe it's the Smoke of Satan....

Regardless, Scooby Doo might need divine intervention along with his Scooby Snax, if he and the gang are to successfully help Velma's aunt! Collect the clues as you read along, and see if you can solve the mystery before they do....the mystery of The Spirit of Vatican 2!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Europeans Discover 32 New Planets

From Yahoo! News: Europeans Find 32 New Planets Outside Solar System by Seth Borenstein

WASHINGTON – European astronomers have found 32 new planets outside our solar system, adding evidence to the theory that the universe has many places where life could develop. Scientists using the European Southern Observatory telescope didn't find any planets quite the size of Earth or any that seemed habitable or even unusual. But their announcement increased the number of planets discovered outside the solar system to more than 400.

Six of the newly found planets are several times bigger than Earth, increasing the population of so-called super-Earths by more than 30 percent. Most planets discovered so far are far bigger, Jupiter-sized or even larger.

Two of the newly discovered planets were as small as five times the size of Earth and one was up to five times larger than Jupiter.

Astronomer Stephane Udry of the University of Geneva said the results support the theory that planet formation is common, especially around the most common types of stars.

"I'm pretty confident that there are Earth-like planets everywhere," Udry said in a Web-based news briefing from a conference in Portugal. "Nature doesn't like a vacuum. If there is space to put a planet there, there will be a planet there."

What astronomers said is especially exciting is that about 40 percent of sun-like stars have planets that are closer to being Earth-sized than the size of Jupiter. Jupiter's mass is more than 300 times that of Earth's.

These discoveries were made through the Europeans' High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher, which is located at an observatory in Chile. NASA scientists, in an attempt to confirm the Europeans' findings, focused the Hubble telescope on one of the newly discovered planets, and the high-powered telescope revealed that life does exist in outer space:

OK, well, it still doesn't prove intelligent life...

St. Paul Gets A Makeover

Here's a rule of thumb that is true 99.9% of the time: Any book endorsed by the National Catholic Reporter is not worth your time or money. I give em 0.1% in case they make a mistake.

Here's the latest example: St Paul: New and Improved by Maureen Fiedler

The renowned scripture scholars, Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan, have just published a great new book on St. Paul. It's called The First Paul: Reclaiming the Radical Visionary Behind the Church's Conservative Icon.

These writers say what New Testament scholars have known for some time: that Paul wrote only seven of the Epistles ascribed to him in the New Testament. Among the other six, they say three (1 and 2 Timothy and Titus) are definitely not written by Paul, and three others (Ephesians, Colossians and 1 Thessalonians) are disputed, although the majority of scholars believe that Paul did not write these either.

Borg and Crossan show that the "authentic" Paul was a radical egalitarian, on issues like slavery, patriarchy and obedience to civil authority. The later authors (whoever they were -- and we don't know) tried to "tone down" the radical Paul, making him more acceptable in Roman culture. It's in the six non-Paul letters that we get admonitions about slaves being subject to masters, wives being subject to husbands, and other passages that contradict the egalitarian message of Jesus.

Isn't it about time that the people in the pews heard about this scholarship? We need this message in parish preaching.

A quick bio on the two authors: Borg and Crossan were prominent in The Jesus Seminar - in fact, Crossan was a co-founder. Here is a citation of Crossan's "theology" - Crossan maintains the Gospels were never intended to be taken literally by their authors. He challenges those who would debate whether Jesus "really" walked on water to recognize that, whether history or parable, the larger issue is the meaning of the anecdote. He proposes the historical probability that, like all but one known victim of crucifixion, Jesus' body never made it to a tomb, but was scavenged by animals (Source). Oh, he's a former priest too. So he's Catholic. No, really, he is! Just because he holds heterodox views means nothing. In fact, that's why the NCR loves his book so much.

What the authors and this reviewer forget (or discount, more likely) is that the Scriptures are the inspired Word of God. If those six letters were written by someone other than St. Paul, my reaction is to shrug my shoulders and say "So? Does that make them any less inspired?"

What this book, and others like it, attempt to do is discredit and distort the truths the Scriptures impart to us. It shouldn't matter if those letters were written by a goat herder named Numidiah - they're still inspired. And the Church is the authoritative interpreter of those inspired words. Not a couple "scholars" who have shed their beliefs for crazy opinions. Saying the disputed letters of St. Paul 'contradict the egalitarian message of Jesus' is ridiculous - for the obvious reason that God cannot contradict Himself - but their opinion makes sense only by accepting the premise that the Scriptures are not the inspired Word of God.

If the Scriptures aren't inspired, then why read them at all? And if they aren't, then this new book is just a wanton waste of trees, more worthless than the alleged uninspired Scriptures they attempt to discredit.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Cross Of Toothpicks

Okay, I'm gonna come right out and admit it. No spin, no excuses.


I am a lousy sufferer. I'll complain to whomever will listen. I stink at it. I avoid it. Mortification? I cross the street to get around it. Self-denial? Whowherewhat'sthat?

I know it's good for me - it's downright necessary. Christ tells us we must deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow him. The last part, that I can do. It's the first two conditions that I'd rather just pass on, if I could.

But I can't. My spiritual life needs a kick in the pants, and I'm wearing the pants.

I'd like to say that by denying myself self-denial, I am in effect embracing self-denial. But it doesn't work that way, I know. Sure would be easier though, if avoiding temptation and avoiding mortification were synonymous. I'd be halfway there.

The older I get, the more I realize how important self-denial is in deepening one's spiritual life. I mean, it's not even Lent, and I'm talking about giving stuff up? On top of that, the older I get, the more entrenched certain habits become - and it's those habits and tendencies that can get in the way of drawing closer to God. Stupid.vicious.cycle.

Despite my poor efforts in the past, which were poor mainly because I relied on my own strength, it's time to try again. Nothing big, mind you. I'm kinda like St Therese on this suffering stuff - I'm not capable of large sufferings. Although it's probably more accurate to say I'm not willing to endure any sufferings, large or small, or deny any of my desires all at once (or at all!). I have got such a long way to go that I had better just start on the small things and work my way up.

So starting today, I'm shedding one of my tiny pleasures out of love for God. It's so ridiculously insignificant, I'm almost embarrassed to talk about it.

No more Diet Coke. In fact, no more soda period. Yes, this will be healthier for me, and yes, it will mean saving some coin - but those are secondary benefits. Thing is, I drink that stuff like water, when I really ought to be drinking more water. My habit's not all-consuming and overdone - at least I don't think it is - but I consume on average two 20-oz bottles of the stuff every day. It used to be worse - it used to be Mountain Dew.

So, for a few days, I'll struggle to prevent the SpongeBob Crabby Pants within from erupting uncontrollably, which will be an unfair burden on my family if I'm not careful. But once the caffeine withdrawal subsides, normal human behavior should resume. Provided I don't fall asleep at the wheel and veer off an exit ramp somewhere first.

Like I said - it's a small small step. It's a cross of toothpicks. On the order of grace, it ranks pretty low. But if I approach this life change with great love, as St Therese exhorts us to do, then in time, I'll be able to handle greater expressions of self-denial.

Such as giving up watching hockey....well, next season. Maybe.

Monday Madness XXX

Welcome to the weekly AoftheA feature Monday Madness. How ironic that the thirtieth installment, as indicated by Roman numerals, perfectly reflects the subject matter. Trust me - I didn't plan this.

From the Biblical Sex Row Over Explicit Illustrated Book of Genesis

(WARNING: graphic image at source site!!)

A sexually explicit illustrated Book of Genesis by controversial artist Robert Crumb, which features Bible characters having intercourse, has been condemned by religious groups.

The book, which is released this month, carries the warning "adult supervision recommended for minors", and is described as "scandalous satire" by its publishers.

It includes graphic illustrations of Bible characters having sexual intercourse, and other scenes depicting naked men and women as well as "gratuitous" depictions of violence.

Crumb, the book's author, is most famous for his creation Fritz the Cat, a sexually graphic "underground" comic strip. It was turned into a film that became the first animation to receive an X rating.

He has said he does not believe that the Bible is the word of God. "I take it all for myth from start to finish, with probably some faint relation to historical reality." he said.

"They're great stories. But for people to take texts as something sacred, handed down from God... that's pretty backward, I think."

The Book of Genesis illustrated by R. Crumb has been criticised by leading religious groups such as the Christian Institute.

"It is turning the Bible into titillation," said Mike Judge, of the Christian Institute, a religious think-tank. "It seems wholly inappropriate for what is essentially God's rescue plan for mankind.

"If you are going to publish your own version of the Bible it must be done with a great deal of sensitivity. The Bible is a very important text to many many people and should be treated with the respect it deserves.

"Representing it in your own way is all very well and good but it must be remembered that it is a matter of people's faith, their religion.

"Faith is such an important part of people's lives that one must remember to tread very carefully."

Other leading religious figures have been more supportive of the work. "I didn't think it was satire," said the Bishop of Croydon, the Rt Rev Nick Baines.

"He set out to say; 'this is important, fundamental myth' and it seems to me he's done a good job."

A spokeswoman for the Bible Society said she hadn't seen the book but that reviews had suggested that Crumb had "really engaged" with the Book of Genesis.

"It may surprise people but the bible does contain nudity, sex and violence. That's because it contains real stories about real people.

"If by reading the book people are encouraged to re-engage with the Bible then that can only be a good thing."

A spokesman for the Church of England said: "I haven't seen the book but I think trying to sell something by emphasising the sexual nature of some of the scenes doesn't seem to be a good way to pass on the message of the bible."

Gee, Mr. C of E spokesman, ya think?

Okay. First of all, the Rt Rev Nick Baines is talking all sort of stupid like. Who cares if Crumb has achieved his goal - the guy has adulterated the holy word of God, while at the same time, has published a work of pornography! What a tolerant twit!

Secondly - the Bible Society spokeswoman seems to be straining to salvage this situation by seeking the silver lining. Personally, I don't see this vile creation as helping people to re-engage the Bible. That's like saying Playboy will help lead men to read more because the magazine has a pretty decent book review section. If anything, the opposite will happen. It more than likely will acerbate the objectification of women, and further promote an unhealthy and unholy view of marital love.

Thirdly - and I've said this before and I'll say it forever - the attack on Christianity, the Last Acceptable Form of Bigotry, continues. Crumb has zero courage - how about satirizing the Koran next time?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Something Inspirational

A friend emailed me the below link to a Golf Channel video - now, even if you're not a golfer, or perhaps hate golf, or may not even know the first thing about playing the game, I think you'll be inspired by the story. Check it out!

Spotlight: Kevin Chappell - May 24, 2008 - Golf Video | Golf Channel

(Sorry about no embedding - Golf Channel doesn't seem to have that feature.)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Some Things Are Better Left Undone

You know those Capital One credit card commercials, where they ask at the end "What's in your wallet?"? That's what came to mind when I saw this over at Cheeky Pink Girl's blog, except the question was "Who's on your Bible?"

Introducing the "Obamble" - the most insane and inappropriate Bible cover ever.

Personally, citing Proverbs 15:9 would have been better...

But c'mon, Libs - where's the hue and cry over "separation of Church and state"? I doubt even Joel Osteen would put his picture on a Bible, and he's a preacher for goodness sake.

I like what CPG wrote on her blog: "What WOULD you do if you saw someone carrying this around at your church? Me? I think I'd seriously question what was being taught at that church and get!"

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Dr. Seuss Bible

Imagine you're sitting in Church, and the lector approaches the ambo for the 1st Reading. He clears his throat.

"A reading from the book of Genesis....

In the beginning, God created.
The rules were established. The physics translated.
In the nothing God shouted, "Let there be light."
He created the first day, and thus made the night.
Then the waters, the sky, and the land from the seas
upon which He placed all the seed-bearing trees.
Then the seasons, the stars, and the moon and the sun
then sea creatures, birds; the Lord made each one.
Next came the beasts who covered the land
and all that God saw was as good as He'd planned.
Though everything here is within My control,
its missing a piece to make the earth whole.
A man in My likeness, to rule all the beasts.
To govern the greatest and govern the least.
God took up His dirt, and He took up His dust
and then in the swiftest, most powerful gust
He blew into Adam the Godbreath of life.
But God realized Adam needed a wife
to be a companion, for man was alone.
So from His new man, God plucked out a bone.
So there in the new and glorious earth,
out in the open, woman was birthed
and as they lay gasping from being created
unto the woman and man God related,
"This is My Earth, but I give it to you.
It is now yours to rule and subdue.
Multiply, prosper, for I love you best."
He saw it was good. So God took His rest.

It's from the Bible In Rhyme. I did not make this up.

Unlike the following...the untold story of Noah's sons Shem, Japheth and Ham. IMHO, it's one thing to strip God's Word of its power by rewriting it, which the Bible in Rhyme does. We are not to add or subtract anything from Scriptures, which the Book of Revelation tells us. But since I'm not purporting this "untold story" as canonical, why not have a little fun?

I am Shem.
Shem I am.

That Shem-I-am
That Shem-I-am
I do not like that Shem-I-am!

Do you like
Japheth and Ham?
I do not like them, Shem-I-am.
I do not like Japheth and Ham.

Would you want them here or there?

I would not want them here or there.
I would not want them anywhere!
I do not like Japheth and Ham.
I do not like them, Shem-I-am!

Would you like to meet our pop?
Would you like to help us chop?

I do not want to meet your pop.
I do not want to help you chop.
I do not want them here or there.
I do not want them anywhere!
I do not like Japheth and Ham
I do not like them, Shem-I-am!

Would you help them build an ark?
Would you like to strip the bark?

Not build an ark
Not strip the bark.
Not meet your pop.
Not help you chop.
I will not want them here or there.
I do not want them anywhere.
I do not like Japheth and Ham
I do not like them, Shem-I-am!

Would you? Could you? In a tent?
Meet them! Meet them! There they went!

I would not, could not, in a tent!

You may like them. You will see.
They are standing by that tree.

I would not, could not by a tree!
Not in a tent! You let me be!

I do not want to strip off bark!
I do not want to build an ark!
I do not want to help you chop!
I do not want to meet your pop!
I do not want them here or there.
I do not want them anywhere!
I do not like Japheth and Ham
I do not like them, Shem-I-am!

The rain! The rain!
The rain! The rain!
Could you, would you, in the rain?

Not in the rain! Not by the tree!
Not in a tent! Shem! Let me be!!

Would you, could you, in a boat?

I would not, could not, in a boat!

Okay. How long can you float?

I've always like limericks, too....

There once was a prophet named Jonah
Who just wanted to be left alone-ah.
He sailed off one day
But God said "No way!"
And got caught by a really big tuna.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Celebutard Alert, Redux

Two in one week.

All I can say is, is if some entertainment figure had said this about George W Bush, their career would have ended faster than Cop Rock.

From Big Hollywood: Russell Simmons: "God Will Destroy Us If We Don't Follow Barack"

The president’s honest attempt to promote world peace through the same methods taught by Jesus Christ are met with contempt by a country whose collective consciousness is extraordinarily fearful and at times, sacrilegious.

If we allow leaders of a political party that only know one word, and that is “no,” to work against the best interests of our country, we will not only be found guilty of charge four, we will be sentenced by God to

Those are just two excerpts. I have no idea what "charge four" means - the entire piece appeared at the HuffPo blog, and if you can decipher his stream of consciousness, I applaud you.

But I think Simmons has it backwards. Perhaps Obama is the punishment. After all, our nation tends to get the leaders it deserves.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

San Francisco Loses 4 Catholic High Schools

Should you find them, please return them to The Faith.

From California Catholic Daily: Dozens of Brightly Wrapped Condoms

Four Catholic High Schools in the Archdiocese of San Francisco are scheduled to host a performance of the condom-endorsing sex-education play Secrets. The play was written by openly lesbian playwright Patricia Loughrey. Secrets will be performed on October 14, 2009 at Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory High School in San Francisco; on November 5, 2009 at Sacred Heart High School in Atherton; on January 19, 2010 at Mercy High School in Burlingame, and on February 9, 2010 at St. Ignatius College Preparatory High School in San Francisco.

The play depicts a teenager who is HIV positive. Some content in Secrets was considered, by the Fremont, California Unified School District, to be sufficiently graphic to require that a permission slip be signed by parents before their child would be allowed to see it. The Fremont Unified School District also posts an online flyer (in English and Chinese) for parents, informing them of the performance, and inviting them to watch a video of Secrets before giving their permission. The flyer also describes two of the scenes: “A character dumps dozens of brightly wrapped condoms on the floor with a discussion about which type of condoms are the best to use and how to use them effectively.” Another scene is a “Discussion about contraceptives and a visual display of them.” The production of Secrets in the San Francisco Archdiocese is sponsored by the Educational Theater Programs division of the Kaiser Permanente HMO.

Secrets author Patricia Loughrey is currently the coordinator of the play reading series Queer Theatre – Taking Center Stage at San Diego’s Diversionary Theatre, which bills itself as “the nations third-oldest LGBT theater.” Ms. Loughrey is author of The Daddy Machine, a play about children with two lesbian mothers, and most recently, Dear Harvey, a celebration of the life of the openly homosexual San Francisco politician Harvey Milk.

In all the world, since the advent of theatre and acting, there are zero plays celebrating chastity? There are no productions advocating Catholic virtues, appropriate for Catholic schools? Why not just bring The Vagina Monologues to the schools, too?

Listen, I know these are high school students, and that most are not naive about sex, and AIDS, and homosexuality. And maybe, just maybe, the schools will use the occasion of this play to present and defend Church teaching. I'm not going to hold my breath - we are, after all, talking about San Fransisco here. Not exactly a bastion of traditional Catholic teaching, as Nancy Pelosi bears witness to that fact. But why give the Culture of Death an opportunity to state its case in the first place? Wouldn't it be better to put the Culture of Life upon the stage, and give that top billing? That way, The Better Way To Live is highlighted and celebrated, instead of A Terrible Way To Die.

What this comes down to is the failure of these schools to hold faithfully to the proper sense of Catholic identity. In the end, that helps no one, and serves to weaken believers rather than strengthen them.

Archbishop Sheen, Servant of God, was right: If you want your child to lose their faith, send them to a "Catholic" school.

Think Pink

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I figured that out watching the NFL games the past two weekends, where nearly every player was wearing something pink - shoes, wristbands, armbands, caps with pink bills. I wonder if the players felt silly wearing such an effeminate color in conjunction with their uniforms. Maybe it made them more aggressive out of embarrassment.

Well, in any case, breast cancer is not a laughing matter. One of my older sisters is a survivor, thanks be to God, but I bet she has the same opinion of me about all this Awareness business. To me, it seems to be just a money making scheme for the Susan J Komen Foundation. Did you know that they are in league with Planned Parenthood? I don't think a lot of women were aware of that. Now that's Breast Cancer Awareness for you! There have been numerous studies showing a link between abortions and breast cancer, so it seems kinda odd that a foundation whose mission is to cure breast cancer has been giving grants to the nation's largest abortion provider. An unholy alliance, right?

So I keep seeing pink. Even in the grocery stores. It seems that more than half the packaging includes a printed pink ribbon, or the manufacturer has completely changed their logos. Have you ever seen Campbell's Soup printed in pink and white instead of their usual red and white? I know! I don't buy it either!

All this in-your-face awareness has given me pinkeye. And it makes me glad that there is no Testicular Cancer Awareness month. Just imagine what that be would like! What would they use, fuzzy dice? (ok, forget I said that!)

I bet somewhere a progressive liturgist is dreaming of ways to incorporate the Think Pink into masses. Can you imagine that?

The altar servers

The priest's collar

The lector

Chalice, ciborium and paten

Oops! How'd they get included?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Celebutard Alert!

One consolation regarding the anti-Catholic cabal out there (other than the fact that they get their butts kicked in the end), is that the majority of them are really, really stupid.

Most recent case in point:

From Sarah Silverman Attacks Pope: 'Sell the Vatican, Feed the World'

A few years ago, comedienne Sarah Silverman disparaged God on her Comedy Central program by throwing him out of her apartment the morning after having sex with him.

On Friday's "Real Time with Bill Maher," Silverman expounding on her anti-theism by introducing a new video wherein she offered a solution to solve world hunger: "Sell the Vatican, Feed the World."

As she chided the Pope for preaching about living humbly despite residing in a "house that is a city," she advised him that such a noble deed would absolve him of any guilt he might have over his alleged connections to the Holocaust.

There's more to read at Newbusters, but let me warn you - it's pretty vulgar and unbecoming.

I know, I know, you're asking yourself 'Who the heck is Sarah Silverman, and why should I care?' And that's the point - in this crazy world, some people have to mock the Church in order to get noticed.

And who can't but help admire the courage of a woman who needn't fear her decapitated head getting stuck on a pike as retribution, or have a fatwa issued against her? Oh so very very brave.

The Last-Acceptable Form of Bigotry Club remains chock-full of people who probably couldn't get a real job (if any were available) and are thus fully qualified to be either vapid talk-show hosts or vacuous guests whose IQ is slightly higher than the audience who watch. They really ought to stand up from time to time so that their brains don't bruise from the pressure.

We know that the Church will always have Her enemies - it's just a shame that their intelligence and wit is of such low caliber. As Mark Shea has said, sin makes you stupid. It keeps you stupid, too.

Not In My Diocese!

It's good to see this kind of thing happening - needs to happen more often.

From The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - This is the statement of Bishop Alexander K. Sample of the Catholic Diocese of Marquette, issued this morning:

"I attempted to handle this matter in a private, respectful and fraternal manner with Bishop Gumbleton. It is unfortunate that what should have remained a private matter between two bishops of the Catholic Church has been made available for public consumption.

"I want to first of all say that my decision to ask Bishop Gumbleton not to come to Marquette had absolutely nothing to do with the group who invited him to speak, Marquette Citizens for Peace and Justice, nor with the topic of his publicized speech, since the Church is a strong advocate of peace and justice. I am sorry for the negative impact this has had on those planning this event.

"There is a common courtesy usually observed between bishops whereby when one bishop wishes to enter into another bishop's diocese to minister or make a public speech or appearance, he informs the local bishop ahead of time and seeks his approval. I have had no communication whatsoever from Bishop Gumbleton.

"As the Bishop of the Diocese of Marquette, I am the chief shepherd and teacher of the Catholic faithful of the Upper Peninsula entrusted to my pastoral care. As such I am charged with the grave responsibility to keep clearly before my people the teachings of the Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals. Given Bishop Gumbleton's very public position on certain important matters of Catholic teaching, specifically with regard to homosexuality and the ordination of women to the priesthood, it was my judgment that his presence in Marquette would not be helpful to me in fulfilling my responsibility. I realize that these were not the topics upon which Bishop Gumbleton was planning to speak. However, I was concerned about his well-known and public stature and position on these issues and my inability to keep these matters from coming up in discussion.In order that no one becomes confused, everyone under my pastoral care must receive clear teaching on these important doctrines.

"I offer my prayers for Bishop Gumbleton and for all those who have been negatively affected by this unfortunate situation."

s/s to Curt Jester

Monday Madness XXIX

Welcome to the weekly feature Monday Madness at AoftheA, where your boarding pass for a one-way flight to insanity is waiting for you.

From the Airline Asks Passengers to Use Toilet Before Boarding

A Japanese airline, All Nippon Airways, has started asking its passengers to visit the lavatory before boarding, in an attempt to reduce carbon emissions.

All Nippon Airways (ANA) reasons that empty bladders means lighter passengers, which in turn means lighter aircraft and lower fuel use.

The airline will position staff near the boarding gates in terminals to ask passengers waiting for their flight to relieve themselves before boarding the aircraft.

It hopes that the weight saved will lead to a five-tonne reduction in carbon emissions over the course of a month.

According to Japan’s NHK television, the airline started the unusual policy on 1 October. Initially intended as an experiment lasting one month and 42 flights, ANA says that it may expand the trial if results are positive and it is well received by passengers.

Flying is the fastest-growing source of carbon dioxide emissions, accounting for more than 600 million tons of the greenhouse gas per year.

A return flight between London Heathrow and New York’s John F Kennedy airport creates around 2700lb (1.35 tons) of CO2 per passenger – more than one-third the yearly emissions of an average person worldwide.

All Nippon Airlines needs a new slogan. How about "ANA: When Urine Our Planes, Urine The Clouds!"

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Mysterious 'Sister X'

Commonweal ran an article written by someone calling herself 'Sister X', remaining anonymous to avoid retribution. Her piece is concerned with - what else? - the upcoming Vatican Visitation, the three year "doctrinal assessment".

There's nothing new in the article - it's a tug on the heartstrings and an appeal to emotion, and a cry against alleged injustice. The article shows that if you can't prove your point on facts, then focus on feelings. If you are unable to defend your position, then attack the integrity and intentions of your adversary. It's kinda sad to read.

It's also really long. So to spare you a lot of time, I'm presenting you a condensed version.

Why are American sisters being singled out? One widely shared area of concern, of course, is the dramatic drop in vocations in recent decades. Forty years ago, there were 180,000 vowed sisters across the country; today there are fewer than 60,000.

The implicit accusation underlying the doctrinal assessment of the LCWR is that its leaders are not Catholic enough in the church’s eyes.

Let’s back up a bit and ask: Where did the impetus for the visitation and investigation originate? Cardinal Rodé told LCWR officers that “concerns” had been expressed on issues ranging from living arrangements to the lack of new vocations to the public positions some women religious take on topics such as women’s ordination, homosexuality, and abortion.

Perhaps there exists a basic problem of communication. Perhaps the personal and interpretive language women religious speak to each other is not sufficiently “Vaticanese.” The theological worldview of women has evolved in ways that bishops may not understand, let alone accept.

Our directors introduced us to the basics of religious life: union with God in prayer, identity with the church, Scripture, the vows, mission and apostolate, community life. But we also read sociology, psychology, and literature. Along with our Vatican II documents and the Jerusalem Bible, we read Jung, historical novels, and poetry. Our retreats included the Psalms, but also meditative films about nature. There was a great effort to integrate our spiritual life with “real life.”

Later, in 1976, came Inter insigniores, the CDF’s “definitive” rejection of the possibility of ordination for women. It shut down any formal discussion of women’s equality in the church. For many women religious, the emphasis shifted then to social-justice concerns.

Particularly offensive was the 2004 Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and the World, issued by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, which demeaned feminist theory as inimical to the common good of the church, the family, and society, and as the logical outcome of this analysis argued against women’s ordination.

What I sense today is that the Vatican will not budge in how it thinks theologically about what it means to be a woman; nor will it consider opening positions of real ecclesial authority to women.

See? When you cut out all the fluff, you come to find out that she answers her own question, yet still doesn't seem to understand. Sad. Very sad.

Oh, and before any of you ask, the answer is "No - Sister Patricia is not the mysterious Sister X."

Friday, October 9, 2009

AoftheA Wins Pulitzer Prize!!!!

It is my solemn intent, at this very moment in time, to write a best-selling fictional novel that involves the peaceful end of nuclear proliferation, brings reconciliation to peoples throughout the world, and saves the Earth from the ravages of climate change.

I graciously and humbly accept the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for excellence in fiction. Thank you one and all.
Geez, that was easy!

Zero Credibility

When I saw this on the Yahoo! News front page, I nearly choked. Was this some sort of parody piece?

Alas, no.

President Barack Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize

OSLO – President Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday in a stunning decision designed to encourage his initiatives to reduce nuclear arms, ease tensions with the Muslim world and stress diplomacy and cooperation rather than unilateralism.

Nobel observers were shocked by the unexpected choice so early in the Obama presidency, which began less than two weeks before the Feb. 1 nomination deadline.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama woke up to the news a little before 6 a.m. EDT. The White House had no immediate comment on the announcement, which took the administration by surprise.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee lauded the change in global mood wrought by Obama's calls for peace and cooperation but recognized initiatives that have yet to bear fruit: reducing the world stock of nuclear arms, easing American conflicts with Muslim nations and strengthening the U.S. role in combating climate change.

"Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future," said Thorbjoern Jagland, chairman of the Nobel Committee.

It'd be interesting to know who nominated him - maybe himself!

The Nobel Committee has sunk to zero credibility. They've given an award for platitudes and intentions. On top of that, the committee has now given an award to two of the worst (if not THE worst) US Presidents. As well as a former Vice-President and presidential candidate for promoting a hoax. What the heck are they smoking in Norway?

As bizarre as this news is, it does kinda make sense. We have a President who "wrote" two autobiographies even though he hadn't accomplished anything; he got elected despite a non-existent legislative record; conditions in the US have worsened since taking office; and now he's gotten a Nobel Peace Prize for....doing nothing.

Does his teleprompter get honorable mention?