Postage for Pakistan and other parts of the planet

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Readers, please tell me

Where are you from? If you from a foreign country, what is the nearest major city? If you live in the US or Canada, from what state or province do you view this page?

Also, what brought you here? Do you read regularly? What are your interests? Do you agree or disagree with the things you've found posted here?

Any feedback would be great and highly appreciated.

In Christ,
Look in the Mirror

In Germany, the Pope makes a good point

With so much of the ridiculousness (and here) of contemporary German Catholicism swirling around him (and the ridiculousness of contemporary Catholicism period), you almost are tempted to give B16 points for simply showing up for this visit to his homeland, especially since it is to the heart of German Protestantism and atheism. That he is able to do so and move the ball forward to the extent he is perpetually able, I find remarkable.

However, in this address, he makes a point that seems to bear more reflection:
Faced with a new form of Christianity, which is spreading with overpowering missionary dynamism, sometimes in frightening ways, the mainstream Christian denominations often seem at a loss. This is a form of Christianity with little institutional depth, little rationality and even less dogmatic content, and with little stability.
For those who can't figure what he's on about, he's talking about the evangelical movement, the new/emergent/emerging church movement, the megachurch movement, etc. It seems to me that evangelicalism as it is becoming will become the death knell of Christianity in the future. So much of it is founded on emotionalism. There is little taste for doctrine as such. Holding something as dogmatic is itself often held as anathema, and much of it is about what religion gives "me," and not what I bring worship, honor, service, and praise to my God, "who art all good and worthy of all my love."

I once had a fundamentalist criticize the Church's not inviting to the eucharistic table those who simply said, "I want to be Catholic." Why, he asked, do you make catechumens take anywhere from six months to two years of instruction to become officially Catholic? Well, simply put, it's because doctrine matters. It would be like saying back at one of the early Councils, "Eh, who cares if Jesus is wholly God and wholly man or simply God under the appearance of man or God's highest creature?" Had the Church not insisted on the the meeting of Christ's divinity and humanity as the hypostatic union, Christianity would today be a dead letter. Had the outcome of the Council of Nicaea not been what it was, the same would be true.

And yet the growth in Evangelicalism as a "non-denominational" denomination is an outgrowth of an idea that such dogmatism is no longer needed, if it ever was (and let's not kid ourselves: Calvary Chapel, etc., they're all very denominational with a strict set of beliefs, yet beliefs that can morph and change as times and circumstances require with no reference to the truth, e.g., Ron Bell and Rick Warren et al). It is not doctrine that is important, we're told, but one's personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. How else to explain, "Once saved, always saved," or, "I'm a good person, and Jesus and I love each other, and thus I will go to heaven," or "If Jesus was here today, He wouldn't bother with XYZ. He would just tell us to love one another."

If that's the case, why bother? It's an offshoot of what Miss Flannery O'Conner once said about the Eucharist: "Well, if it's a symbol, to hell with it." Dogma and doctrine are the glue that bind us together with our predecessors in the Faith, and they ensure we will pass on the faith handed down whole by the apostles to our progeny and beyond.

Megachurches and the new or emergent church movement may look impressive on paper now, but they are ultimately nothing more than today's fad, a flash in the pan. They are, in short, just another form of Modernism. Thus, they will only further undermine institutional Christianity than has already happened.

God help us and save us from this, please.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I ask my Iranian friends again ...

If even half of this is true, I ask my Persian friends again: When will you come to realize that Islam is not incidental to your woes but the direct cause of them.

Bl. Bartolomeo Longo, pray for us.

Boy, did I need to read this. Do you?

This comes at just the right time. Are you just incredibly busy these days? I am, man, I tell ya. My life is way too stressful, and I'm looking for ways to cut back.

Let's see:
  • A huge campaign at work with even bigger pressure coming from those above me and those above them and those above them, and so on.
  • A manuscript that is due November 1, where my word limit is 40,000 words, and I'm about 10,000 words above that. And cutting words for me -- details, really -- is a hateful thing. Hateful. Still, I have to do that.
  • A pilgrimage to Rome that I'm leading that starts November 3. There are still so many loose ends to wrap up, it's mind numbing.
  • There are yard projects to finish before winter (rabbit hutch, winterizing the chicken coop), and there's no time to do so. Plus, my wife is pressing me to cull all our animals, which I don't want to do a) because I like our animals, especially my rabbits and b) I want to see if I can get animals alive through the winter.
  • I teach CCD.
  • I lead my parish's Bible study.
  • I do our family's grocery shopping.
  • I'm out of certain types of animal feed and am scrambling to feed them each day until I can get to the feed store.
  • We're (I'm) caring for our weekend neighbors farm animals during the week.
It's just nuts. So tonight, as much as I want to just work on my MS when I get home tonight, I'm going to play with one of the kids. That article I linked to above clinched it for me. Did it have any effect on you?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Three cheers for Lichtenstein

This is great. Somewhere in Western Europe they have stood up for life. However, not to be Debbie Downer, but it was just a six percent margin. How long will the culture of death liberal Catholicism that runs rampant in neighboring Austria and Switzerland be held at bay on this issue? In any event, a win's a win. Kudos to His Majesty Prince Alois, Liechtenstein's monarch. His threat of veto must have had a very positive influence.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Big Brother is watching you

Can you believe this? How have we devolved to this level?

You know what the funny thing about this sordid situation is? The very people who have set this in motion are those who cry "Christian Taliban!" and "theocracy" at the drop of a hat. When did an established Christian state -- Catholic or otherwise -- ever do something like branding a 3-year-old, thus jeopardizing or at least limiting their entire future? Dear God, help us.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What do you do?

Have you ever felt your efforts on behalf of Christ are so much rubbish in the face of your manifest sins? What do you do in response? Truly, I am very deeply interested in your thoughts.

In His powerful and holy name.

Has the fat lady sung for Pat Robertson

In the Gospel of Matthew, Our Lord makes it very clear that "what God has joined, let no man rent asunder [i.e., tear apart]. In other words, man and woman upon marrying become a fabric. They are interwoven together like threads in a garment. And Our Saviour says the only reason to part is for "unchastity," from the Greek porneia, which is either taken to mean serious sexual unchastity or, as the Catholic Church has historically defined it, that the marriage was never valid in the first place.

Now Rev. Pat Robertson is saying you can divorce your spouse if he or she has Alzheimer's. What about "for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others"? How is the sola scriptura (i.e., the Bible as the sole rule of faith) authorized to overturn two millenia of Christian teaching? Where does he find this in Tradition or Scripture?

As depressing and disappointing as this is, I think it clearly shows what happens when we become a magisterium unto ourselves or reject the Church's legitimate magisterium. Eventually, traditional doctrine will slough off to become a religion made in the image of man and not a reflection of the one, true, triune God.

Please pray for this man's return to orthodoxy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hints of sunshine poking through the forest's darkness

I tend to be very cynical and fatalistic. However, Kathryn Lopez is right: There are signs of hope. It's not that Bob Turner shares my party affiliation. It's that he favors a traditional worldview that the so-called intelligentsia view as not only passe but bigotted. It's not. It's the truth, it's God's plan, and we ignore it our peril.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Canada has gone insane

Peter Singer must be proud. Taking the idea that newborns aren't persons and are thus not protected by the law, a judge in Alberta has found innocent a woman who admitted she had strangled ... a mother strangled ... her newborn baby. See more here.

New contraceptives even more dangerous than before

Hey, ladies, does getting a blood clot sound good to you? If not, see here.

What does this say to you?

The BBC reports that more Chinese attend church on Sundays than in all of Europe. Belloc famously said, "Europe is the Faith." Now maybe China owns that distinction, just it's starting to own everything else.

See here for more information.

Monday, September 12, 2011

9/11 aftermath - bit of unknown history

When the jihadists make a huge attack such as 9/11, etc., research the date. If you do, you'll usually see that something significant -- and usually bad for their side -- happened on that date, even if it was centuries ago. It's as if they see their choosing these dates as both advancing their cause and exacting revenge.

September 11 is no different. Vienna was theirs. It was in their grasp. That is, until Poland's King Jan (i.e., John) Sobieski came to the rescue. Christendom was saved. It also marks the the advent of drinking coffee in the West, but that's a different story.

Read more from Fr. Z in this short article here.

Warning: All potential converts to Catholicism

I'm reading this conversion story. As I'm doing so, it calls to mind a warning I'd like to give all thinking about coming into the Catholic Church. You've come to the point where you want to call the local parish and ask the priest some question. After you explain your situation, the first question you should ask, however, is, "Do you sometimes recommend that people should just strive to be the best Anglican they can be, the best Methodist, the best Muslim/Zoroastrian/Taoist, etc.? Or are you convinced the Catholic Church is the one, true Church founded by Jesus Christ on the apostles, and that all her teachings have been handed down from by the Christ through the apostles and their successors, especially the successors of Peter?" If he answers the former, thank him for his time and call another parish. Keep going until you find someone who affirms the latter. If he affirms the latter from the get go, proceed accordingly and good luck. Our prayers are with you!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

RIP - the last living connection to Bl. Emperor Karl I of Austria has gone

From my friend Br. Nathan Cochran, OSB, vice postulator for the cause of Emperor Karl I of Austria:

The family of Archduke Felix of Austria has requested the prayers for the repose his soul. He died earlier today, and his grandson reports: “His death was very quick. He didn’t suffer at all.  He just fell into a deep sleep. He was laughing and praying before he fell asleep and died.”

Archduke Felix was the last surviving child of Bl. Emperor Karl of Austria, King of Hungary and his wife the Servant of God Empress Zita of Austria, Queen of Hungary. He was born at Schoenbrunn Palace in 1916, and was married to Anne, the Duchess of Arenberg, who preceded him in death. He was an industrialist who made his long-term home in Mexico City. He had a marvelous sense of humor and spoke English with a Brooklyn truck driver’s accent.
May the soul of Archduke Felix and all the souls of the faithfully departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. Amen.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Just curious

Is anyone actually reading this blog? My "stats" page tells me I get several hits most days (and, frankly, that's not why I do it, i.e., to get hits; I write because I need to). However, I notice a lot of my traffic seems to come from something called "TrafficFaker," which makes me wonder. Anyway, make it a great Sunday and have a blessed week.

Had you ever heard about this? I hadn't.

Have you ever heard about the devshirme, Christian boys -- and only Christian boys -- kidnapped/conscripted every 4-5 years in the Ottoman Empire and given highly specialized education, privileges, rank, and all the rest, although they were essentially slaves and they had to convert to Islam to stay in the system. Why do historians and such take such glee in throwing the Crusades and Inquisition in the face of the Church (even though the conventional wisdom on these is largely so very wrong) and say nothing, absolutely nothing about such an attrocity that lasted for several hundred years?

"Well, they were Catholics. They deserved it." Most weren't. Most were Greek or Serbian Orthodox. "Oh, well, whatever. They were Christians, and Orthodox ain't much better than Catholics, are they?" Why did they deserve it, though? "Because they were Christians. Don't you get it? They deserved whatever they got.... And you'll deserve whatever you get, too, buster."

"They will hate you for My Name's sake."

Friday, September 2, 2011

The approach of 9/11

On September 11, 2001, I was getting ready to go into work at the state Capitol. My boss called me and sounded very strange. "You can't go in," he told me. "What?" I asked him in an incredulous tone. "Why?" Thoughts started racing through my mind. "You haven't seen the television?" he asked me. "No," I replied. "Go turn it on. There's been an attack in New York, they think it might be a terrorist attack, and they're worried about an attack on the Capitol. They're not letting anyone go in."

Now I was really confused. I sorta stumbled to the television, wanting to see the news out of curiousity, not wanting to because if it was big enough to close down our distant although major state Capitol, it must be really, really big.

I turned on the set. The first tower had just been slammed into. Confusion, panic, fear, incredulousness, we saw this in the people pictured live at the scene, in the people broadcasting the news, and in those of us watching. Then the next plane hit. As I remember it, it was about 9:30 a.m. when the first tower collapsed (whether Eastern time zone or my own, I don't recall).

I couldn't believe it. This was one of the Twin Towers. When I was a kid -- I think it was in 1977 -- the remake of King Kong came out with Jessica Lange. The promotional posters showed that iconic shot of King Kong atop a skyskraper, and for the 1977 Kong, that skyscraper was one of the Twin Towers. I mean, c'mon, give me a break: This is the building up which climbed King Kong. For a brief instant, the part of me that is still 10-years-old thought, 'If it was strong enough for Kong, how could it collapse, right?'

But before our disbelieving eyes, it did collapse. Both of them did. In between the planes hitting and the final collapse, we saw it all, especially the people. No, not the people who were covered with dust, who were injured or grossly maimed or stumbling in a daze toward what they hoped was safety (but, hey, at that point, who actually knew?). No, it wasn't them. It was the people jumping. The most basic instinct in life is not food, is not sex, is not shelter. It is survival. Only something that is more motivating like love of Christ or love of country will make a person willingly give up their life. Those who jumped, they were not giving up their lives. They were doing the only thing that might have possibly saved their lives, the only thing that made sense. Think of jumping off a high dive or even from a two storie window. For the majority of us, that's a frightening or at least unnatural prospect. Now think of being 52, 78 floors above the ground. How bad, how hellish must it be behind you that you look at the prospect of jumping from that height as the better choice? Or was it fear, even cowardice, a fear of what it would be like to burn and die from what is coming toward you, so let's jump? And, again, how bad, how hellish must it have been behind you, to see that nightmare slowly creeping up like a demon, prowling its way closer, inch by inch, smacking its lips in anticipation of devouring you?

As I a boy, I lived for a time in Iraq. It was one of the best times of my life. I loved it there. And I grew to love Muslims there. I loved their generosity, their openness, their hearty laughter, their fatalistic look at life, their kindness, their common sense that meshed with their ability to be absolutely maddening. Growing up, I always stuck up for Muslims. As an adult, I did the same thing.

Until that day. Until 9/11. Until I saw celebrating in places not far from where I had lived as a boy, cretins dancing a jig glorifying death on cafe tabless and in the streets. Until I heard nary a word of condemnation from supposedly moderate Muslims. Until I heard cries of, "You deserved this." Until I heard the cries of mothers now unwillingly left to raise their children on their own. Until I heard the sobs of grown men over the loss of their soul mates, of fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, godparents, godfamilies, and even mere admiring acquaintances. Until I heard my own sobs, until I felt my own anger, which has not failed to be felt, to be acutely felt each and every time in the last 10 years I have seen those damnable scenes, listened with my soul and with horror to the retelling of stories of lives lost and forever damaged by the decision of 20 some insane men to serve as Satan's agents and to do so in the name of an all good God. Truly, this must rank as the greatest single blasphemy ever committed.

We are supposed to turn the other cheek. We are supposed to bless our enemies, to love them, and to bless those that curse you. By that measure, I obviously have a long way to go toward sanctity; it is not something of which I'm proud. I suppose that will change when I get over the disbelief that something like this could have happened 10 years ago on Sunday. God help us. God forgive us. God lead us, and God unite us all the world over under the love that is Jesus Christ and within the secure embrace of His Bride, the one, holy, apostolic, Catholic Church. We pray these things in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ and through the intercession of His Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary.

Beatification and canonization news for August

Funds needed

The cash-strapped canonization cause for Bl. Joseph Vaz has issued an appeal for donations. According to Asia News, Bishop Fernando Vianney of Kandy, president of the bishops’ Secretariat which deals with the canonization cause explained the Secretariat has submitted miracles to the postulator general, but the process of canonization of Bl. Joseph is at a “critical” stage.

To find out more, fill out the form at this page:

You can send donations to:

Bl. Joseph Vaz Secretariat
Bishop’s House
873 Peradeniya Road
Kandy, Sri Lanka

Sanctuary of Bl. Joseph Vaz
413, Sancoale
403710 Goa

Guatemalan pilgrimage

To help promote the canonization cause of the Servant of God Fr. Stanley Rother, 38 pilgrims from Arkansas and Oklahoma journeyed to the small village of Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala for the 30th anniversary of his death. On July 28, 1981, he was shot in the rectory of the parish here that he served for the last 13 years of his life.
According to the Little Rock diocesan newspaper Arkansas Catholic, Fr. Rother “was a farm boy from an ordinary town in western Oklahoma. He struggled as a student in his first year of studies at the seminary. He served the first five years of his priestly ministry without much notice in a series of little known Oklahoma towns. Then everything changed when Father Rother answered the call to serve at the mission in Guatemala, finding his heart’s vocation as a missionary to the Tzutuhil people.
“Rother was only 46 when he was shot to death in his rectory. “Padre Apla’s” as he was called in Tzutuhil, was so beloved by the people of Santiago Atitlan that they requested permission to remove his heart before his body was returned for burial to Okarche, Okla. His heart, both figuratively and literally, will always remain with his beloved Tzutuhil as part of the church’s altar.”

New Doctors in the offing?

Not counting St. Juan de Avila, who is a shoe-in, 17 saints are under consideration for declaration as doctors of the Church. According to the Chiesa website of the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, the candidates include six women: St. Veronica Giuliani, St. Hildegard of Bingen, St. Gertrude of Helfta, St. Bridget of Sweden, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, and Bl. Julian of Norwich.

Besides St. Juan, the men include: St. Gregory of Narek, St. John Bosco, Ss. Cyril and Methodius, St. Lorenzo Giustiniani, St. Antonino of Florence, St. Thomas of Villanova, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Louis-Marie Grunion de Montfort, and St. Bernardino of Siena.

Saint once was lost but now is found

In early August, a lead container was uncovered thought to contain remains of St. Edburg, who was the daughter of a pagan King and born in around 620 AD.

According to the UK paper Daily Mail, "St Edburg was a nun at Castor, Northamptonshire, under her sister St Cuneburga, before building a monastery on land given to her by her father King Penda of Mercia.

She died in 650 AD and from 1182 her relics were kept at Bicester Priory, Oxfordshire, until 1500 when Pope Alexander VI ordered her remains to be removed and relocated to Flanders in Belgium."

The tomb was located when construction workers had made excavations for a large redevelopment project in Bicester, England.

Mass for the “Grunt Padre”

Finally, on Tuesday, September 6, Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio of the US Archdiocese for the Military Services will celebrate a memorial Mass in the crypt church at Washington, DC’s Basilica of the National Conception for the Servant of God Vincent R. Capodanno, a Maryknoll Father and Navy chaplain who was killed performing his duties for soldiers in Vietnam.