Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Suffering has meaning

From Catholic Exchange's daily Word of Encouragement feature (you can sign up using the link above):

Jan 30, 2007
Suffering Has Meaning!

Colossians 1:24
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of His body, that is, the Church.

Some people complain that the Catholic Church's theology is a "theology of suffering." By this, they mean to accuse the Church of encouraging people to knuckle under in hardship instead of striving to right the wrongs of the world. It is an accusation that the Church is one vast attempt to make a human being into a sheep. Of course, in the next breath, such people also often accuse the Church of making people too warlike, but we won't address that contradictory complaint today. Rather, we simply point out that whether or not we have a theology of suffering, we all suffer anyway. The Church does not discourage people from fighting injustice just look at Archbishop Oscar Romero, Dorothy Day or Pope John Paul II. But it does discourage us from believing the lie that all the suffering we endure is just meaningless junk that has no purpose, goes nowhere, and does no good. Secularity, which regards pain as the highest evil, simply throws up its hands in mute helplessness at the tho
ught of suffering. The most creative thing it can think to do in the face of it is to kill the sufferer with euthanasia. Catholic belief, founded on faith in the Crucified One, rebukes this lie and affirms that even our suffering brother and sister has something to give to the Church. Today, make an offering of your sufferings to God for the sake of His body, which is the Church. You have a share in the precious gift of Christ to His people thereby. You become part of His gift.
Just a Word of Encouragement from Mark Shea and Jeff Cavins.

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Church hasn't supported her!

This is interesting twist on the Church's politics from both Amy and Rob: (NOTE: The speaker is her daughter, Alexandra)

During Nancy Pelosi's speaker celebrations this month, as the Pelosi clan drove through the streets of Washington and Baltimore together, some protesters held up signs that read, "Pelosi Preys on Children" -- a reference to the speaker's pro-choice stand, which contradicts church doctrine.

" My mother, throughout her entire life, has been faithful to the church, even though the church has not been that faithful to her because of her politics. And I think that takes a lot of perseverance," she says. "And still, people protest her right to go to her own church."

Um, wow. This is really spin at its worst, because it makes no sense. She is not, and cannot befaithful to the Church if she doesn't follow Church teachings!! Hello! This is the most basic tenet of any religion. If you don't follow what it believes, then you aren't being faithful. She is rabidly pro-choice. Rabidly. We all know that. That's totally against Catholic doctrine. To have the temerity to say that the church hasn't been faithful to her is just a statement that is beyond ridiculous.

How she cannot be denied communion in D.C. is just beyond me.

More to that Shrek song

I love the movie Shrek, and I especially love the "Hallelujah" song that is sung near the end, when it looks like Shrek and Fiona are parted for good. But I never knew the lyrics.
Well thanks to Anchoress, I have finally found the lyrics to that song. And there's a lot more to them than I originally thought (emphases mine):

I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played and it pleased the Lord

But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah


Your faith was strong, but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you
To a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah
A Samson and Delilah reference?


Baby I've been here before, I know this room
I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you
I've seen your flag on the Marble Arch
Love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah


There was a time you let me know
What's really going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
I remember when I moved in you
And the holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah
love in the physical relationship--TOB stuff, maybe? Or at least it could be construed that way.


Maybe there's a God above, all I ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who out drew you
And it's not a cry you can hear at night
It's not somebody who's seen the light
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah


Wow, I mean, look at some of that. We've got King David, Samson and Delilah, the "holy dove" moving when the lovers were together. Whew! Pop culture can, occasionally, surprise us--in a good way.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


This post from The Anchoressreally struck a chord with me, so I thought I'd share my thoughts on it here. In a strange coincidence, I will be posting this on both this blog and my TX blog, since they have to do with both health and faith, two things very close to me.

The Anchoress talks about the day her doctor told her she was losing her hearing due to Lyme Disease. Well, having lost a good deal of my hearing due to drugs pre-tx, I can relate to her feelings of shock and dismay. And even anger. Both her sons are musicians. I am a musician. Of all the things that had been taken from me, this was the one that really hit home. I mean, it was what I did. I was a singer. I had been trained in classical singing. Music was the thing for me. In college, I really developed and ear and was coming up with good relative pitch (OK, not as good as Tiff, who has perfect pitch, but we can't all be perfect). We first noticed (well, my friends noticed) in my later years at college that I wouldn't hear them when they asked me things, or were talking to me. I chalked it up as being distracted or involved in my work. Even as a kid, when I was reading, if you tried to talk to me it could be very hard to get my attention.

But I didn't just have good hearing, I had great hearing. I could hear my name being whispered two rooms away. It drove my parents crazy. I never did the loud rock concerts, loud walkmans, whatever, that ruins your hearing. And yet, the drugs that saved my life in the end took away quite a bit of it.

Fortunately, God has blessed me with the ability to still have my music. Some of the upper, upper registers are gone but I have pretty good musical memory. And that's what singing is, hearing the pitch in your head. So if it's a song I know (and, thank God, I know many) I'm OK. I can go to musicals that I've known and loved and still enjoy them. I can learn new pieces, as well, and my musicals abilities haven't abandoned me. In regular conversation, however, it's another story. People get frustrated because I can't hear them. Well, I'm frustrated because I can't hear them. When I'm in a noisy restaurant and everyone's complaining because they can't hear each other, I always say, "welcome to my world." It makes them a bit more conscious. There's nothing more inane about being mad at someone for being unable to physically do something. It's stupid.

The Anchoress also writes about the Dark Night of the Soul, how God uses people in their weakness. I love the concept of the Dark Night. To me, it is very comforting to know that those who are closest to God can also be, at times, the farthest from him. St. Terese of Avila, I believe, calls these periods of "aridity," like being in the desert. Immediately before St. Therese of Lisieux's death, she was in severe aridity. She couldn't pray, she doubted her vocation, she doubted the existence of Heaven. Now I haven't doubted the existence of Heaven, but I have been in one of these periods lately. Not just because of the hearing problems, but because of the health issues overall, and how dependent they can make you. Dependent on other people, when we all want to be as independent as possible. We don't want other people giving us meds, washing our hair. These are things we have been able to do since childhood, or can handle ourselves. To be reduced to an almost sub-child position can be intolerable. But to not have the support is the worst of all. And when it seems God is silent...

I remember something I read once, from a letter Mother Teresa wrote to her confessor (I think). She said that sometimes she found her mission almost too hard to accept. She couldn't do it. And she would pick up her rosary, very deliberately, and just say it. The Creed. The Our Father. The Hail Marys. The mysteries. Just going through it, almost, if I may say, mechanically, until she reached the end. And it would be enough.

I have taken this strategy to heart. When it is too much, I take my beads, whichever set is handy, and just pray them, letting whatever is in my heart be opened and presented before God and Mary. They know what is there. And, in the end, it is enough.

Friday, January 26, 2007

"Silence is the ally of atrocity"

Here is my cousin, Bishop Wuerl's, comments on Right to Life on Monday.


I will be upgrading my web browser this weekend so I can make this blog more user-friendly by inserting links, block quote demarcations, and things like that. Hopefully you will like the changes!

Detroit Bishop no longer a pastor...

and I can't say I'm surprised.
This is from the NY Times , and the general argument is that Bishop Gumbelton is being stripped of his duties b/c of his involvement with SNAP and SB 17 here in Ohio (which I have written about previously). As many of you know, the church sex scandal didn't really affect me all that much. I wasn't outraged, I didn't lose my faith, etc. I have always known that the Church is made up of imperfect men--that's just the way it is. Yes, they do horrible things. I am not excusing them, and they should be punished for what they did. But I also take some of these sex abuse stories with a bug grain of salt, and I think that the 20-30 year gap that SB 17 here in Ohio considered was far too long. I know a lot of people have beefs with the church and these are "he said, she said" things. The church here has even set up a coounseling network and set aside money so people can get the help they need. But SNAP members write to papers and say that that's not enough. No matter what the church here does, it's not enough. And, to be honest, that makes me mad.

I found this part of the article to be particularly interesting (emphasis mine)

Bishop Gumbleton, though he never led a diocese, is known nationally in church circles as a liberal maverick. He co-founded the peace ministry Pax Christi and accompanied antiwar delegations to Haiti and Iraq. He broke ranks with church teaching by preaching in favor of acceptance of gay men and lesbians and the ordination of women.

Last January, he lobbied in favor of a bill in Ohio to extend the statute of limitations and allow victims of sexual abuse to sue the church many years after they were abused. He said he was speaking out because he had been abused by a priest as a teenage seminarian and knew how hard it was to speak publicly even decades later. Bishops in Ohio opposed the bill, which failed.

So Bishop Gumbleton doesn't exactly seem to be following the playbook, so to speak, when it comes to Church doctrine. Is it possible, just possible, that may that that something to do with it? That the higher-ups finally got wind of this stuff and decided, "uh huh, we're not having this?" Just a thought.

Here's the article:

Outspoken Catholic Pastor Replaced; He Says It’s Retaliation
Published: January 26, 2007
In his last Mass as pastor at the inner-city parish in Detroit where he had served for 23 years, Auxiliary Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton told his parishioners that he was forced to step down as pastor because of his lobbying efforts on behalf of the victims of sexual abuse by members of the clergy, a stance that put him in opposition to his fellow bishops.

Enlarge This Image

Matt Sullivan/Reuters
Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton at a recent news conference in Ohio.
Last weekend, the archbishop of Detroit, Cardinal Adam Maida, sent a letter to the parish, St. Leo, saying Bishop Gumbleton had to be removed because of church rules on retirement. But as Bishop Gumbleton, who turns 77 on Friday and had already retired last year as a bishop, told his parish last Sunday, there are many pastors even older than he who are allowed to continue serving.

“I’m sure it’s because of the openness with which I spoke out last January concerning victims of sex abuse in the church. So we’re all suffering the consequences of that, and yet, I don’t regret doing what I did because I still think it was the right thing to do,” he said, as the congregation rose and erupted in applause.

Bishop Gumbleton, though he never led a diocese, is known nationally in church circles as a liberal maverick. He co-founded the peace ministry Pax Christi and accompanied antiwar delegations to Haiti and Iraq. He broke ranks with church teaching by preaching in favor of acceptance of gay men and lesbians and the ordination of women.

Last January, he lobbied in favor of a bill in Ohio to extend the statute of limitations and allow victims of sexual abuse to sue the church many years after they were abused. He said he was speaking out because he had been abused by a priest as a teenage seminarian and knew how hard it was to speak publicly even decades later. Bishops in Ohio opposed the bill, which failed.

A spokesman for the archdiocese of Detroit, Ned McGrath, said Bishop Gumbleton’s removal from St. Leo Parish had nothing to do with his lobbying on sexual abuse or his political stands.

All bishops are required at age 75 to submit resignation letters to the pope, Mr. McGrath said, and the pope has the option to accept or reject the resignation. Bishop Gumbleton’s resignation was accepted last year, and, Mr. McGrath said, “it was with the understanding that he would give up any pastoral office.”

Cardinal Maida announced in his letter to parishioners that he had appointed a new pastor, the Rev. Gerard Battersby.

In his brief remarks at Mass on Sunday, Bishop Gumbleton told the parish that after he turned 75, he had sent a separate resignation letter to Cardinal Maida asking to stay on as pastor at St. Leo’s on a year-by-year basis. He said he was surprised by his sudden replacement.

“I did not choose to leave St. Leo’s,” he said. “It’s something that was forced upon me.”

Three canon lawyers interviewed on Thursday said there was nothing in canon law that would prohibit an archbishop from permitting a retired auxiliary bishop from serving as a pastor after 75.

Bishop Gumbleton, who has already moved out of his room behind the church and plans to move into an apartment in Detroit, did not respond to an interview request. A video of his remarks during Mass was taken by a parishioner and posted on the Web site of the National Catholic Reporter, an independent Catholic weekly newspaper that publishes a column by Bishop Gumbleton.

Mary M. Black, a parishioner at St. Leo’s, said: “Almost universally, everyone in the parish is hurt and angry and upset and bewildered.”

Ms. Black said: “He talks after Mass with people, and he is there ahead of Mass to say the rosary for anybody who has problems. And we all have his personal phone number. You do not have to go through a secretary. He was a pastor in the truest sense of the word.”

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Healing the trauma

Here is a good article about speaking out in the post-abortion ministry. Also links to helpful organizations.

"Abortion or a son"

From Catholic Exchange, this is a poignant article about one family's decision to be "pro-life." Very appropriate as Monday is the anniversary of Roe v. Wade .

As a side note, the Diocese of Columbus will hold a special Mass in remembrance of that decision on Monday at 10 a.m. at St. Joseph's Cathedral, with Bishop Campbell presiding. There will also be a "Youth for Life" rally (though all ages are welcome) at the Statehouse, corner of Broad and High, at noon.

Mary and the Evangelicals

Great pots over at First Things on Evangelicals and the "Mary issue." Well worth reading. Here's a bit:
So why should evangelicals participate in and celebrate the Marian moment that seems to be upon us? The answer is: Precisely because they are evangelicals, that is, gospel people and Bible people. Mary has a pivotal and irreducible place in the Bible, and evangelicals must reclaim this aspect of biblical teaching if we are to be faithful to the whole counsel of God. When it comes to the gospel, Mary cannot be shunted aside or relegated to the affectionate obscurity of the annual Christmas pageant. In the New Testament, she is not only the mother of the redeemer but also the first one to whom the gospel was proclaimed and, in turn, the first one to proclaim it to others. Mary is named a “herald” of God’s good news. We cannot ignore the messenger, because the message she tells is about the salvation of the world.

Evangelical retrieval of a proper biblical theology of Mary will give attention to five explicit aspects of her calling and ministry: Mary as the daughter of Israel, as the virgin mother of Jesus, as Theotokos, as the ?handmaiden of the Word, and as the mother of the Church. Consider Mary’s first title, Daughter of Israel. Mary stands, along with John the Baptist, at a unique point of intersection in the biblical narrative between the Old and the New Covenants. When Mary cradles the baby Jesus in the Temple in the presence of Anna and Simeon, we see brought together the advent of the Lord’s messiah, and the long-promised and long-prepared-for “consolation of Israel.” The holy family is portrayed as part of a wider community, namely “all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38).

The Church in China

Apprently BXVI is getting ready to send them a letter about the current situation...

Scared Space

I recently discovered, via Danielle Bean , a new daily prayer site from the Irish Jesuits called Sacred Space. OK, so it's new to me. But anyway, go check it out. It is a great way to help with your daily prayer, and you can do it at work!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Following up

on my St. Elizabeth Seton post from yesterday is this comment from Peter Robinson in the corner:

Re: Questions About God [Peter Robinson]

Michael Novak writes, “I do wish our atheist brothers and sisters would learn a little more than they now know about the profound and thoughtful sorts of believers that surround them, by the millions.”

Me too. I’m always a little taken aback when someone attacks religion because life can prove painful and unjust or because prayers often go unanswered, as if believers simply hadn’t noticed. Praying in Gethsemane, for example, Jesus himself offers a petition that goes unanswered, asking to be spared the bitter cup of crucifixion. Pain? Injustice? Take a look at the Church calendar. The day after Christmas? The feast of St. Stephen, a blameless man executed by stoning. Two days after that? The feast of the Holy Innocents, the infant males whom Herod had slaughtered.

Pain, injustice, unanswered prayers—these are all difficult problems, obviously. But to suggest that Christianity has failed to grapple with them demonstrates ignorance of the scriptures, of Chrysostom, of Augustine, of Aquinas—of the whole body of Christian thought.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Tips for making a good Confession

From Fr. Z's website (and, Lord knows, I need these as much as anybody!)

Fr. Z’s 20 Tips For Making A Good Confession o{]:¬)

We should…

1) ...examine our consciences regularly and thoroughly;
2) ...wait our turn in line patiently;
3) ...come at the time confessions are scheduled, not a few minutes before they are to end;
4) ...speak distinctly but never so loudly that we might be overheard;
5) ...state our sins clearly and briefly without rambling;
6) ...confess all mortal sins in number and kind;
7) ...listen carefully to the advice the priest gives;
8) ...confess our own sins and not someone else’s;
9) ...carefully listen to and remember the penance and be sure to understand it;
10) ...use a regular formula for confession so that it is familiar and comfortable;
11) ...never be afraid to say something "embarrassing"... just say it;
12) ...never worry that the priest thinks we are jerks…. he is usually impressed by our courage;
13) ...never fear that the priest will not keep our confession secret… he is bound by the Seal;
14) ...never confess "tendencies" or "struggles"... just sins;
15) ...never leave the confessional before the priest has finished giving absolution;
16) ...memorize an Act of Contrition;
17) ...answer the priest’s questions briefly if he asks for a clarification;
18) ...ask questions if we can’t understand what he means when he tells us something;
19) ...keep in mind that sometimes priests can have bad days just like we do;
20) ...remember that priests must go to confession too … they know what we are going through.

I hope that these are helpful as we prepare for Lent...and get to confession more often, possibly (maybe. I'm not making any promises here)

Today's Saint quote

Can you expect to go to heaven for nothing? Did not our Savior track the whole way to it with His tears and blood? And yet you start at every little pain.
— St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

A very good thing for us to ponder, especially as Lent is coming up in about a month. People who ask, "why is their suffering in the world? Why does God permit it?" need look no farther than the Cross. If God sent His own Son to suffer and die, then how can we expect to be exempt from it? Suffering is a natural part of our spiritual growth. Some of us are called to more than others, but God knows what is best for each of us. And we have, in Jesus, a Savior who has "drunk to the dregs of human suffering" (as Fr. Benedict Groeschel writes in his Rosary: Light and Life ) and knows what we are feeling.

In Colorado--pro-life? Ehhhh....

H/t Amy Welborn...

Colorado's governor is not what I would call pro-life:

Archbishop fires 1st salvo at Gov. Ritter
The Catholic leader blasts a plan to restore state funds to family-planning clinics that offer abortion.
By Eric Gorski
Denver Post Staff Writer
Article Last Updated: 01/16/2007 10:55:04 AM MST

Archbishop Charles Chaput opposes Gov. Bill Ritter's plan to restore state funding to Planned Parenthood. (Post)Less than a week after his inauguration, Gov. Bill Ritter is getting heat from the outspoken Catholic archbishop of Denver over a familiar topic: abortion.

In his column in this week's Denver Catholic Register, Archbishop Charles Chaput calls the Democrat's pledge to lift eligibility restrictions on state-funded pregnancy prevention and family-planning programs "seriously flawed public policy."

Ritter, a Catholic who describes himself as "pro-life," wants to lift an order by his predecessor, Republican Bill Owens, also a Catholic. The order restricted groups that perform abortions from getting state money for family planning and pregnancy prevention.

Ritter spokesman Evan Dreyer declined Monday to respond

Chaput's Column
Read Archbishop Chaput's complete column challenging Gov. Ritter.
directly to Chaput's criticism but emphasized Ritter is opposed to funding abortions.
Only family-planning groups that show they can segregate state funds from money spent on abortions would be eligible, Dreyer said. An amendment to the state's constitution forbids the use of state dollars to subsidize abortion directly or indirectly.

"The archbishop and the governor agree on certain aspects of this issue," Dreyer said. "The governor believes strongly it is good public policy to attempt to reduce unintended pregnancies, and that is his goal."

Calling out Ritter is in keeping with Chaput's belief that Catholic politicians must adhere to church teachings in their public life in order to remain true to the faith. The Denver prelate has gained a national reputation for his willingness to speak out.

Chaput praised Ritter's desire to improve health care and education and said his State of the State address brimmed with "good will, good sense and hope."

Much of Chaput's ire focused on Planned Parenthood, which lost nearly $400,000 in state funding under the Owens administration. Chaput highlighted a passage in Ritter's State of the State talk in which he talked about judging legislation's impact on future generations.

"It's hard to have a future 'for our children and our children's children' without children, and in practice, Planned Parenthood specializes in the business of preventing them," Chaput wrote. "Even more troubling is Planned Parenthood's long involvement in abortion 'rights' and the lethal services associated with them."

Chaput questioned whether it's possible to segregate money for abortion and family planning. He wrote that it's reasonable to believe Ritter's stated opposition to abortion and his "pro-life" label given Ritter's "engaged and active" Catholic faith.

"What his words do actually mean will become clear in the demands he places on Planned Parenthood for proof that state funds truly are segregated from abortion services and don't materially support the killing of unborn children," Chaput wrote.

But Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains may not seize the opportunity if the restrictions are lifted, given the high costs of restructuring to meet the state's demands and other factors, said spokeswoman Kate Horle.

She said Planned Parenthood also would be reluctant to take resources from smaller clinics statewide that currently receive state money for family planning.

"While I recognize it's Bishop Chaput's religious prerogative to want to believe Planned Parenthood somehow wants to increase the abortion rate in Colorado - which is what he implies - what we have always done is try to make sure every child is a wanted and a loved child," Horle said.

Jeanette DeMelo, spokeswoman for the archdiocese, said Chaput's chief objective in the column was to start a conversation and find common ground in the debate over family-planning funding.

Chaput did not challenge Ritter's abortion stance during the campaign.

NFP, etc.

I recently have started reading Danielle Bean's blog and came across this old post in NFP, etc. I thought it was great;

Your Turn: Being Open to Life
6/26/06 9:18 PM
A reader writes:
It would be nice to know that there are others out there who struggle with the conflict of truly being open to life and loving children and wanting a big family, but at the same time being overcome by the fear of the realities of a really big family and not knowing how to “slow down.” Because NFP isn't as easy as everyone says it is and depending on one's fertility signs, it doesn't really always work. At least not for me.

Hmmmm, I do not want to get bogged down in the details of whether or not NFP “really works” here other than to mention that NFP methods test out at 98 point whatever percent effective, but what really counts for most people is “user effectiveness” which is a lower number. The simple fact is that using NFP to space or prevent pregnancy, particularly for some people, is not quite as simple as popping a pill. And that’s a good thing. Because we ought not to be using it the way some people pop a pill.

I think that with NFP, there wind up being many “accidental” pregnancies that are not truly “accidents” at all. Couples often know when they are bending or breaking particular rules or not paying close enough attention to fertility symptoms and lo and behold—a pregnancy results!

This might lead to a great deal of frustration with NFP, but as I said, I think it is a good thing. NFP is not fun. This fact likely encourages many couples to be more generous in planning their families than they would otherwise be. The seriousness with which most couples learn and use NFP is usually directly proportional to the seriousness of their reasons for using it. Personally speaking, if conception did not come easily for us and my husband and I had to actively plan every single pregnancy in the way people using artificial birth control do, we might have 3 or 4 children by now. We surely wouldn’t be expecting our eighth. We would be missing out and wouldn’t even know it.

All of which brings us to the heart of the emailer’s struggle. It can be hard—so very hard—to accept God’s plan for our families in place of our own. It is downright scary sometimes to turn something as powerful and potentially life-changing as our fertility over to God. And this works both ways. I know women struggling with infertility who want desperately to conceive and are unable to. These women too experience frustration, disillusionment, and fear in accepting God’s will for themselves and their families.

But our bodies and our fertility do belong to God. Sometimes the hardest words in the world to pray are “Thy will be done.” I know that when I pray it, my mind sometimes races through all the possibilities of what “God’s will” might be and I am tempted to add, “Oh, except for that! Thy will be done as long as it isn’t that!” Something to work on.

"You're a catfish!"

Sent to me by one of my co-workers....

Each Friday night after work, Bubba would fire up his outdoor grill and cook a
venison steak. But all of Bubba's neighbors were Catholic...and since it was
Lent, they were forbidden from eating meat on Friday. The delicious aroma from
the grilled venison steaks was causing such a problem for the Catholic faithful
that they finally talked to their priest. The Priest came to visit Bubba and
suggested that he become a Catholic. After several classes and much study, Bubba attended Mass.....and as the priest sprinkled holy water over him, he said, "You
were born a Baptist, and raised a Baptist, but now you are a Catholic."

Bubba's neighbors were greatly relieved, until Friday night arrived, and the
wonderful aroma of grilled venison again filled the neighborhood. The Priest was
called immediately by the neighbors and as he rushed into Bubba's yard clutching
a rosary preparing to scold him, he stopped and watched in amazement.

There stood Bubba, clutching a small bottle of holy water which he carefully
sprinkled over the grilling meat and chanted: "You wuz born a deer, you wuz
raised a deer, but now you is a catfish."

Anglican update

So what is going on with the Anglican Commuion? Amy Welborn asked, and got this answer:

The over-arching thing is the coming Lambeth Conference in 2008. Every ten years all Anglican bishops the world over gather in England for this; it lasts about five weeks, I think. Invitations from the Abp of Canterbury go out shortly. The "Global South" churches -- places like Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, the Southern Cone of South America -- are threatening to run a rump conference in Africa if the pro-gay USA and Canadian churches are not disciplined, and they're adamant that the gay bishop must not be invited. If that rump Lambeth Conference is held the Anglican Communion will be over.

Meanwhile, next month there is a meeting of Anglican primates which has been called months ago to discuss the issues raised by the "Windsor Report" (dealing with the gay issue, sexuality in general and how teachings on these subjects should be approached by the inter-related provinces of the Communion) and the USA and Canadian response to the Windsor Report.

The primates' meeting is the immediate crisis. The Global South Bishops are outraged at what they see as the inadequate North American response to Windsor. The North American bishops are offended that certain other provinces (Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda) are actually planting jurisdictions in North America, accepting oversight of formerly Episcopal congregations and even consecrating bishops for North America. And the powerful Archbishop of Nigeria (19 million Anglicans) and others are now saying that they will not sit down at the meeting with Katharine Jefferts Schori, the new Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, if she comes -- not because she is a woman, but because of her heterodox views. These Global South folks are strongly Evangelical Anglicans, and Mrs Schori seems to find regarding Jesus as the one Way to the Father excessively limiting.

Then there's England. The Global South is enraged that the Church of England is permitting its gay clergy to enter into civil partnerships (officially it expects these to be celibate unions). The Anglo-Catholic "Forward in Faith," a powerful organization, is lobbying for its own English province with orthodox bishops; now Evengelicals have told the Archbishop that they want to be free to avoid dealing with heterodox bishops and are threatening to leave. The Archbp of Nigeria has said that he believes Canterbury and the CofE should be disciplined for tolerating heresy.

Meanwhile, parishes all over the United States have been announcing their withdrawal from the Episcopal Church. They then seek oversight from a foreign bishop or one of the new American bishops the foreign bodies consecrated. The Episcopal Church Center in NYC is therefore coordinating a concerted legal strategy with the various dioceses aimed at squelching the secessionists with litigation to prevent them from taking their property.

And the Archbp of Canterbury said publicly last week that he feared he was losing control of the Communion. A website with a wealth of info on this is Virtue Online, www.virtueonline.org

Monday, January 15, 2007

Nancy and Donald

No, not Trump. Wurel, as in the archbishop of D.C.

Now I understand that the U.S. bishops, with a few notable exceptions, are not really willing to publicly discipline the more "celebrity" wayward members of their flock. Especially in D.C., where most of the Catholic pols you hear about are of the lefty variety. But, in the case of Nancy Pelosi, I really feel the time has come for something to be done.

Pelosi isn't "working" on her stance toward abortion, homosexual marriage, etc. She's not "evolving." She's been a staunch supporter of these policies, and others, for years. This has not changed. She is now the third most powerful politician in the coutnry (shiver). It is time for action to be taken.

Archbishop Wuerl really needs to step up to the plate, like he did in Pittsburgh, and make it known that Church teachings have to be followed by everyone. What kind of example does it set for normal Joe and Jane Catholic, who are trying to live lives faithful to the Church's teachings, even when it's hard, when they see people like Pelosi, Kerry, Kennedy, et al., being given an essential free pass? They're going up and receving Holy Communion, even though being conscious of mortal sin means you can't receive communion. You cannot tell me that Pelosi et al. do not know how the Church feels about abortion.

From a PR perspective, would it be the greatest thing? No, probably not. More calls about how Catholics are nutty, intolerant, behind the times. But you know what? We have to preserve the integriry of our faith. We can't just let people get away with these things because they're powerful or prominent citizens. If anything, they should be held to a higher standard. We should be proud to tell our kids that the Speaker of the House is Catholic. As it is, at least we've got Roberts, Alito and Scalia for examples. And Senators like Brownback and Santorum. But American bishops must step up and set an example for everyone. You cannot divorce your faith from your life. Your life is meant to be a testimony to your faith. What kind of message are they sending? Not one I want my kids to see.

I was hopeful when Bishop Wuerl was sent to D.C. that he'd take a firm stand on this. I don't want to be disappointed.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Forgiving yourself

Great article from Catholic Exchange. I don't know about you, but this is something I have often struggled with. Even though I go to confession and I know that God has forgiven me for my sins (well, once I do the penance :) ), it can still be hard to tell myself that I'm forgiven and not go back and confess it again, saying "wait, no, I'm really sorry. I don't think you get how badly I screwed it up."


On a recent episode of 7th Heaven, Rev. Eric Camden had suffered a heart attack and made a temporary sojourn in heaven. While there, he was able to pick out some non-traditional gifts for his children. For his oldest daughter Mary, he chose an eraser which would allow her to forget some of the mistakes of her past, thereby allowing her to stop compounding those mistakes.

What a wonderful gift! Who among us wouldn't like to forget some of the things we have done or failed to do in our lives? We know we can always seek God's forgiveness for our mistakes. In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we have the opportunity to be washed clean. Jesus suffered and died to save us from our sins. We know that if we approach God with true contrition, forgiveness is ours for the asking.

Human forgiveness is not always so easy to obtain. There are amends to make to those whom we have hurt. Sometimes, sadly, there are consequences of our actions that cannot be changed. We simply have to move on and make the best of our wounded relationships.

Perhaps the hardest forgiveness to come by is the forgiveness of ourselves. Memory is a wonderful thing. It allows us to look back and recall all those different threads that have come together to weave the fabric of our lives. Over the years, the bad times also seem to recess in importance thereby making it easier to forgive others who have hurt us in our lives. And yet, we do seem to remember the times we have hurt others. We remember our bad choices, harsh words we may have spoken in anger, and times that we just chose to walk away rather than take action. Perhaps remembering these things does serve a purpose in that, hopefully, we won't repeat the same error. But once we have sought and received God's forgiveness, we need to make an effort to forgive ourselves. Our mistakes have brought us where we are and there is nothing so bad in our lives that God can't bring some good out of it. We need to put the past behind us and move forward from where we are, trusting that God is there to guide our steps.

Catholics in Public Life

I have blogged about this since time immemorial, but if you need primers on what, precisely, the Church teaches about Catholics and the political life, go here:


There are links to several USCCB docs, statements by (former) Archbishop Cardinal McCarrick of DC, and things from America magazine, although I generally hold that publication at arm's length due to some of the comments of its editors on TV.

Trinity College, btw, is Nancy Pelosi's alma mater. Methinks she should read the President's blog. But I really doubt she cares. Much like John Kerry.

Catholics in Public Life

I have blogged about this since time immemorial, but if you need primers on what, precisely, the Church teaches about Catholics and the political life, go here:


There are links to several USCCB docs, statements by (former) Archbishop Cardinal McCarrick of DC, and things from America magazine, although I generally hold that publication at arm's length due to some of the comments of its editors on TV.

Trinity College, btw, is Nancy Pelosi's alma mater. Methinks she should read the President's blog. But I really doubt she cares. Much like John Kerry.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

By the way...

Below I listed St. Elizabeth Ann Seton as one of my favorite saints. Today is also her feast day. If you've never seen the movie on her life, A Time For Miracles , with Kate Mulgrew as St. Elizabeth, it is a great, great movie. In my all-time top 10. You can order it from Ignatius Press, since I've never seen it in a secular retail store, like Best Buy. Of course Barnes and Noble or stores like that may also be able to order it for you. It is fantastic (I overlook the fact that her husband ran for Ohio Governor as a Democrat).

While I'm on it, other good Saints' movies:
--Leonardo de Fillippis' Therese , which came out last year, starring Lindsay Youmas, Fillippis, and his wife. Great movie, gives a nice primer to her life (Therese serves are narrator) and told me a lot I didn't know about her, so it inspired me to do more reading on Therese and Theresian spirituality. Available at mass retailers (I got mine at Target, of all places). Also available via Ignatius press. There is a soundtrack, composed by a nun (a Carmelite, I believe) that is also available. Be sure to read Story of a Soul , if you haven't already. I have the Institute for Carmelite Studies, based in D.C.. version, which has all three manuscripts and a bunch of geeky scholary stuff. But if that's not for you you can certainly find a basic version just about anywhere.

--Bernadette , which is available through Ignatius press. I haven't seen this one at the mass-market stores. Haven't watched it all the way through but looks very good. There is also the "sequel", The Passion of Bernadette , with the same actress and director, but I haven't seen that one yet. I actually just finished the novel The Song of Bernadette tonight, which has recently been re-issued by Ignatius press with a new forward by George Weigel. It is long, but don't let that stop you, because it is great. I loved it. I found I really needed a dedicated lot of time to read it (yay, two hour steroid infusions at Children's!) but once you get going it has fantastic pacing and wonderfully realistic characters. Great novel and a great movie, o the same name, which won Jennifer Jones (Bernadette) a Best Actress statuette. Can you believe that??? You can get that movie just about anywhere. Black and white, I believe, but don't let that stop you!!

Catholic devotions

Tagged by Nutmeg over at Life In A Nutshell (see the blogroll, I think she's there, she should be! Otherwise: http://lastthingonmymind.blogspot.com)

1. Favorite devotion or prayer to Jesus?
Morning Offering....when I remember to do it. Without a Magnificat for this month (store sold out, grrr), my morning prayer has really suffered...

2. Favorite Marian devotion or prayer?
I am an (attempted) daily Rosary girl, so the "Hail Mary" and the "memorare," whenever I have a special petition. When I was in 6th grade that meant getting to sleep over at Anne's house (my best friend). Now I use it, um, a bit more reverently. :)

3. Do you wear a scapular or medal?
I used to wear a great miraclous medal but the chain broke. So I have to get a new one...once I have the dough. I like to get nicer chains than the ones they come with because those are too clunky for me, and this is a small medal.

4. Do you have holy water in your home?
When I lived at home, we did. I have to find my font, which I brought with me in the move, and get it up.

5. Do you ‘offer up’ your sufferings?
Dude, I grew up with a Catholic Mom. It was the first thing out of her mouth. So yeah, it's a habit.

6. Do you observe First Fridays and First Saturdays?
My dad does, so I try to. When I remember. Which reminds me--this weekend is one!!

7. Do you go to Eucharistic Adoration?
I wish my parish offered it! When I go to Mass at the Cathedral I go early so I can sit in front of the tabernacle and say my rosary. When I'm driving in Pickerington and I pass Seton Parish I may go in because they have perpetual adoration.

8. Are you a Saturday evening Mass person or Sunday morning Mass person?
Sunday morning--gotta sing!

9. Do you say prayers at mealtime?

10. Favorite Saint(s)?
My patron saint, St. Therese of Lisieux. St. Teresa of Avila. St. Thomas Moore. St. Gregory (patron saint of singers), and St. Cecelia (patroness of music). St. Gianna Molla. St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, because she was a wife, mother, and a nun. How cool is that? St. Bernadette.

11. Can you recite the Apostles Creed by heart?

12. Do you usually say short prayers (aspirations) during the course of the day?
The occasional "Our Father" as I'm walking around.

13. Where is your favorite place to pray?
On my couch, with my rosary and my bible, in the late afternoon, because the couch is right by my glass patio doors, so the sun comes in through the trees and warms up the room. I feel like a contented cat. :)

14. Bonus Question: When you pass by an automobile accident or other serious mishap, do you say a quick prayer for the folks involved?
I've started to. I do cross myself when I pass a Catholic church, however.

Monday, January 01, 2007

LOTR is done!

OK, so much for the slow! I got so into them I just kept reading and finished them last night. Much, much better than the movies, at least I think so. Not that the movies are bad , I just like the books better. As I usually do. It was great to read more about some of the characters that the movie sort of short-shrifted (i.e., Galadriel) or eliminated together (i.e., Tom and the Dark Forest). I could've done with 1) less Gollum and 2) less Ents (wow they really annoyed me in the movies, too). But other than that, much to my surprise, I really liked them. Now all my Tolkien-obsessed friends can say "I told you so."