Postage for Pakistan and other parts of the planet

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Movie review: The Way

If you have not seen the movie, The Way with Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez (and populated with cameos by a number of well-known, recognizable foreign actors), please do. It is such a wonderful movie, and well worth tracking down. (Note: Ignatius Press sells this film, and I saw it for sale in several Catholic bookstores and WalMart.
The movie starts by setting the subtext, namely, a father and son's distant, difficult relationship. The father Tom is a widower, and since his wife died, he and his only child, his son Daniel, have not gotten along. Tom wanted Daniel to finish his PhD work and be a great scholar. Daniel, on the other hand, wanted to experience life and see the world. Daniel made the decision to disappoint his father, further widening the divide between them.
Daniel announces his plan to hike el Camino, the Way, the 800km/500 mile walking pilgrimage from the French Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostella in northern Spain, and he makes himself vulnerable by asking his oh-so-practical dad to join him. Tom, naturally, scoffs at this foolishness, causing the conversation to devolve into acrimony. While neither knows it, these effectively are the last words the two will ever share in this life.
A few scenes later, Tom is playing a round of golf with some buddies when he takes a call from a French police captain informing him his son has died. Tom then travels to France to identify his only child's remains. Next, he decides to have his son cremated (an option that was given to him at the police station) and to take his son's remains to Compostella. He will belatedly take his son up on his offer to accompany him on his journey.
During the journey, he progressively picks up three fellow pilgrims, none of whose company he looked for or wants (which he makes abundantly clear in as curmudgeonly a way as possible and as frequently as possible). The ensuing relationships give the movie much of its ample humor. However, they also provide the means by which we see much of the pain and shortcomings brutally on display in these people.
Indeed, no one in this movie is a saint. The characters' behavior is often beyond unedifying. Tom, for instance, is hard to like for much of the movie. A loud, overweight Dutchman lives to eat and drink, and he smokes several joints through the film. Each pilgrim is fully in the world and of the world and has little use for religion. None -- well, almost none -- has a religious reason for walking the Camino.
There is also Tom's disregard of the Church's teachings regarding the proper disposal of cremated remains. This is put on display several times. Then again, he is not a religious man, much less well catechized. He openly says he only assists at Mass on Christmas and Easter. When he goes to see a priest after learning of his son's death--a priest who knows his name but with whom he obviously doesn't have a spiritual relationship (which begs the question, why did he go see him?)--the priest asks if he would like to pray with him. Tom's reply is something to the effect of, "What for? What good would that do?" In other words, this is not a well-formed Catholic, folks. Therefore, his improper disposition of his son's remains is pretty much what you would expect.
I wish they would have had Fr. Frank (a pilgrim they meet on the way) ask Tom if he'd like him to hear his confession. Or that anyone would have been encouraged to go to confession. Then again, maybe that would have been too tidy, too perfect. Now that I think of it, I'll take the scenes in the cathedral after they reach Compostela over something nice and pat. It's much truer to life and how the Holy Spirit works in most people's lives.
In any event, whatever its theological faults and philosophical shortcomings (there are a small few), none of this detracts from this film being so lovely. The Way is so touching, so very, very well done. It speaks in a profound way to the yearning, the longing within the hearts of each and every one of us. These are the longing for community, for relationship. After all, God made us for relationship with Him forever in heaven, and He allows us to express and experience that in the here and now through our relationships.
Therefore, to the extent we love and give of ourselves as He does, the happier we are. Think of Christmas, when we see the truth of "Tis better to give than to receive." Or consider what Our Lord says are the two greatest commandments: To know, love, and serve God with your whole body and soul, and to love your neighbor as you love yourself. Or recall Matthew 25: "Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto Me." This is what will lead to happiness.
To the extent we don't love and give of ourselves, we're not happy. Well, suffice it to say, none of these people are happy. Each thinks they're searching for one thing, but at the end, we see that the reality is very different, and it has to do with the true happiness to which God calls us.
How that resolves itself is very satisfying. Because in the end, this film is very true to the pilgrimage, not the one to Compostela, but to the pilgrimage of life. I don't think it's a mistake that several times Tom gets headed in the wrong direction, and someone kindly, gently turns him around and points him in the right one. That's often how it is with conversion, isn't it? And each person does experience conversion, although not necessarily in conventional ways. The film leaves you wondering about just what is really happening in their hearts. Just as with the people in our lives, so it is with these people: Only God knows. Deo gratias.
Congratulations to the Estevez family. They accomplished their goal: To create something fresh.
I hope you will watch it somehow. It is a breath of fresh air.

Saint(s) of the Day for April 1, 2012

This is no foolin': Today, Sunday, April 1, is the feast of St. Valéry, OSB, who actually was a man. Don't know when it became a girl's name, but there you have it.

Today is also the feast of St. Macarius the Wonder-Worker. He was an abbot of a monastery on an obscure island in the Black Sea off the coast of Bithynia, which is now part of northern Turkey. Given his death on August 18, c. 830, he is one of those rare saints whose feast occurs on a date different than their dies natalis (Latin for "day of birth," that is, birth into eternal life). He wrote an amazingly beautiful prayer. See if you agree.
To you, O Master, who loves all mankind, I hasten on rising from sleep. By your mercy I go out to do your work, and I make my prayer to you. Deliver me from every evil thing of this world and from pursuit by the devil. Save me and bring me to your eternal kingdom, for you are my Creator. You inspire all good thoughts in me. In you is all my hope and to you I give glory, now and forever.
Isn't that great? Why not share it with someone? Maybe someone you know needs some hope, and maybe this would be a great way to give some to them.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

This is remarkable

In the past, China and Russia have been very reticent to criticize their dependent, North Korea. Also, the DPRK cannot survive without the support of either, especially China.

So today comes this editorial reporting on comments made by the Russian and Chinese presidents which in the eyes of this observer are completely out of form and unheard of, but in a good way.

[Chinese] President Hu Jintao commented that the launch was “not good” and that North Korea would be better off focusing on improving the lives of its people; in a meeting between the South Korean leader and Russia, President Dimitry Medvedev noted that “North Korea should put the survival of its people before the launch of long range rockets” and reminded Pyongyang that it cannot live off international aid forever. (Emphasis added.)

Whether any of the harsh words will translate into concrete actions in the capitals concerned is a moot point, of course; nevertheless, it was a change of scene (you can say that again) in the context of Russia and China, nations which used to protect North Korea every time it played with international fire like this. (Emphasis added.)

In particular, President Hu’s open opposition to the launch was surprising; though known to be regularly unimpressed at North Korea’s behavior, in past instances Beijing’s leaders have largely resisted the temptation to openly criticize North Korea. Of course, it is possible that he was simply playing to international public opinion, but speaking that way with the leaders of 53 countries representing 90% of world productive capacity forming the audience nevertheless puts a significant degree of pressure on the regime of Kim Jong Eun. (Emphasis added.)

Not surprisingly, the North responded like a spoiled child:
A spokesman for the North’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs seemed almost boastful yesterday when he retorted that the country “will absolutely not abandon the satellite launch,” and called the problem one of an international community with an insatiable appetite for confrontation rather than a North Korean state with an insatiable appetite for controversy.
It’s a short editorial and well worth reading, so why not?

Don't know why, don't care

The Chinese have quietly agreed to allow North Koreans living in South Korean missions in their country to leave for Seoul.

This is a major turnaround and one wonders what it says about the status of Kim Jong Eun. After all, China didn't take the North Korean refugee situation as seriously as they have in recent years until Kim Jong Il (ca. 2008?) gave them hell about it. Since then, they've steadily ratcheted up the pressure on refugees, doing almost everything possible to keep them from getting into their country and hunting them down and returning them when that fails. Now with Jong Eun sending more and more NSA security agents into China to hunt down ever greater numbers of "traitors," maybe the Chinese are thinking this isn't such a big deal. Maybe it's a case of, "Hey, why are we being so accomodating to this young man when our sources inside the Politburo tell us he isn't long for this world?" Remember that rumored hit on him? What a crazy rumor to start if it had no basis. Maybe it was an assassination gone wrong.

In any event, is this a true turnaround for the Chinese? Is it a way of telling Pyongyang, "Hey, we're your biggest supporter and the reason your miserable government doesn't come crashing to the ground. And when we say launching this rocket isn't a good idea, take a hint." Or is it something else entirely?

I don't know, and I don't care, as long as it happens. Of course, we won't know until we see those defectors get off the plane in Seoul, but if it happens, it can't come too soon. Praise God at least these people will have a shot at a better life. Let's pray it all comes to fruition and fast and that many more join them soon thereafter.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Two thoughts on indulging ourselves

"I've earned this." "I need [read: want] a scotch." "Mmmmm. [XYZ] sounds really good right now. I think I'll have some." "I know I can't afford this, but I just have to have it." "Wow. Wouldn't that look great [fill in place where said object would look great]." "If I own this, it will say something about me."

I—probably all of us—have said all of these things to justify indulging my wants, my tastes, my passions, my desires. 

For instance, many pints of Ben & Jerry’s “Chubby Hubby” later, I know the saying, “You are what you eat,” is very, very true. Ten to fifteen more pounds, and I will be exactly 100 lbs. heavier than I was when I graduated from high school. In that time, I have not grown a fraction of an inch/centimeter taller, mind you. Clothes that were once big on me, to squeeze into them now, I must indulge in self-asphyxiation and the constricting of abdominal must muscles (my now-abominable abdominal muscles). And if you are so fortunate as to not have this problem, let me assure you how uncomfortable it is.

Has any of this indulgence—as pleasurable as it certainly was at the time—done me any good? Yes, a good glass of scotch can’t be beat. The creaminess of B&J’s ice cream of any flavor is unsurpassed. Hot sauce—particularly of the Thai variety—on any dish makes a below par dish edible and gives a delicious meal just that much more to write home about. It also makes me want to quote the title character in Oliver Twist, when he asks, “May I have more?”

All of this is true, but what good had it done me? I can’t see it.

I can see, however, is the harm it’s done me. Indeed, I can see and feel it every day.

Any ultimate good it’s done me, though, that is imperceptible. This is especially true in the spiritual realm.

I bring this up because today, I finally popped open my newest Cum Petro newsletter, which is the periodical for the Confraternity of St. Peter, the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter’s “third order,” for lack of a better descriptor.

On page 5 is piece titled, “Lenten Advice From the Saints & Servants of God,” featuring 12 sayings on various aspects of the season.

Two quotes seem to put quite nicely the problem I’m getting at above.

The first is from my honey, my dear, my love St. Rita of Cascia:

The more we indulge ourselves in soft living and pamper our bodies, the more rebellious they will become against the spirit [i.e., as in “the flesh is willing but the spirit weak”].

The other comes from that great saint of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, St. Jean Marie Vianney (“Jean” is pronounced the French way, i.e., not “jean” as in blue jeans, but as a more nasally form of our own “John”):

It is also true that we should practice mortification in many things to make reparation for our sins. There is no doubt that the person who lives without mortifying himself is someone who will never succeed in saving his soul.

Uhm, gulp. I believe what St. Jean Marie was getting at—because this is what I know from my own experience—is that the more we indulge ourselves in the good things in life, the less we practice saying, “No,” to ourselves in situations that are morally neutral, the harder it is to say no to temptation and sin and thus evil and spiritual death when we encounter those.

To wit, in my young adult years, I had several relationships with women, but two in particular bring suffice to make the point. One I’d had a crush on in college. We had met as part of our involvement with WRGC, where she was some sort of representative for Pi Beta Phi and/or her school, UCSB. She had long, dirty blond hair, sometimes died an enticing auburn,” a great body, a gorgeous smile, and lustrous, sparking, and alluring brown eyes. When we reconnected in 1994, I couldn’t believe she had an interest in me, and I was very much ready to give my heart to her (with disillusioning consequences on several levels as it turned out).

The other lady I met at a friend’s house on Halloween 1992. She was not a stunner but very pretty. Her dark brown eyes were not hard to look into for a very long time, her hairstyle, although simple, bespoke a very traditional and comfortable femininity that appealed to me, and she had a beautiful smile. It was just beautiful.

The thing I found most attractive about her, however, was her personality. Vivacious, exuberant, girlish, and she was very funny. We laughed together a lot. She was so not right for me, though. I was not right for her. That said, I miss her still. Not as a girlfriend, mind you. I have a fantastic wife, and I wouldn’t trade her for the world. But I miss this other lady’s friendship and voice and the ease with which it was possible for us to talk together.

The common thread between both relationships is that going into them, I was going to be good, by golly. I sincerely desired chastity. I valued that virtue. I understood the need to be pure, the need to love God by not loving my passions. I wanted to not offend God and to have the gift of myself be truly that to my wife on our wedding day, not some used hand-me-down.

Furthermore, my faith that the Church taught rightly in this area of morals was solidified by the philosophical reasons she had proposed in support of this teaching.

Sadly, neither lady shared these sentiments, these convictions, these beliefs. And since I indulged myself in all other ways, when they attempted to seduce me with their come-ons … let’s just say I didn’t flee at the near occasion of sin.

After a while, it became easy to overlook how much I was sinning (that whole graying of conscience St. Thomas Aquinas talks about). Also, the sex was great, making it even easier to willfully blind myself to the spiritual reality of my actions. Only when I face my particular judgment will I know just what damage it did to my soul.

In my defense, I was not a very well formed Catholic at the time, and I didn’t know the relationship between indulging one’s right passions and the ease that gives towards indulging one’s wrong passions, etc. That came about ten years later. Still, I knew what I was doing was wrong.

Again, the point is what did indulging myself give me? Yes, the sex between Halloween Lady and me was memorable. However, given that I’m now making love to the mother of my children, should I even have memories like that, especially when she and USCB woman have not part in my life today? I’m still in touch with Halloween Lady only through Facebook, and we almost never communicate. As for UCSB woman, the last I heard she had some high profile job in San Jose (for the Chamber of Commerce?), and that information came from our last conversation in 1999 or thereabouts.

In the intervening years, I have faced similar temptations, even if it was only to look at something I know I shouldn’t. If I was indulging my taste for hot sauce, fending off the desire to see “hot babes!” was made more difficult and less likely. If I was mortifying my right passions in this and other ways, walking away from the temptation didn’t take much effort.

The purpose in bringing all of this to the fore is that we’re at the fourth Sunday in Lent. Next Sunday is Palm Sunday. After that, we enter into Holy Week. That means we still have time in Lent to do some great things for the Lord, to draw closer to Him, and to lead ourselves further away from sin. We can show He is our Beloved by suffering however slightly for that love. (Lest love involves suffering to some degree—e.g., sacrifice, etc.—do not insult it by giving whatever is there that sacred name.)

In other words, even if this has been a bad Lent, if you haven’t done with it what you wanted when it started, there is still time to make it a good one. All it takes is a decision and an effort.

The choice is yours. Do you pick the way that is narrow and rough, or the road that is wide and easy and “leads to perdition”?

“I have set before you death and life. Choose life.”

God bless you. Please pray for me as I will for you.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Review: The Hunger Games

Although I'm only a fifth of the way through the book (which is a page turner), I saw The Hunger Games this morning. My 14-year-old really wanted to go, so I thought, why not, I could use the break. But the first showing was at 12:00 a.m.! What was I thinking? Especially since I came home at 3am to a wife who'd been up since we left the house taking care of one sick child and trying to get the toddler back to sleep, which meant that I then got to take over and essentially sacrifice most of what little of the morning was left for sleep.

However, the sacrifice of sleep was well worth it. This is just a very well done movie, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Entertaining, compelling, and filled with characters that make you care (just like the book).

One thing I appreciated about The Hunger Games the most is the innocence of what little romance there is in it. No one's jumping each other's bones, which, you know, I understand is a little hard to do when someone is hunting you. I get that. However, this is Hollywood we're talking here, and who would it past them? Would you? I didn't think so.

Also, yes, there is violence and people die, but it's not the now oh-so-typical "Let's give you a lesson in arterial spraying and and blood spatter on faces." Most of the violence and almost all the killing is done off camera. You have to imagine it, which was great because I got it. That is, I didn't have to imagine it if I didn't want to, and I didn't. I understood that this person is dead. Now, show me what else you have for us as your $9.50 + $1 service charge/ticket-paying audience.

If there was one draw back, it was the cinematography. Hated it. The film has lots of unusually tight, quick shots. My brain would be trying to focus in on this, that, or the other element, and I couldn't, because just as I had just about done it, vfffffft! Off to another angle we flew.

Right now, if the Oscars for this year were held today, I'd give it one for best script adaptation, another for set design, and a third for best lead actress (for the look of "I'm a caged animal" fear that is in her eyes as she's put into the arena if for nothing else, but there's a whole lot else there).

And if there was an Oscar for best cinematic depiction of what community, love, and the dignity of the human person are really all about, I'd give it one for that, too. In a more sane world, maybe we would have such an award. Hmmmm.

If the Razzies were held today ... Yep, cinematography. (But you got that already, didn't you?)

It's a great film worth seeing whenever or whereever you can (legally, mind you ... I'm not encouraging piracy, which is unjust and therefore wrong).

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The HHS situation is frightening, but at least we're not in these people's shoes

Here is the latest Catholic World Report piece on the situation in North Korea, titled "Perfecting the Art of Totalitarianism." I can't imagine what a nightmare it must be for those folks.

God bless America, and may we turn once more to him.

Friday, March 16, 2012

This should be a priority for all world leaders, not just Obama

Don't forget to see the following. Well worth reading.

If you have a Chinese consulate anywhere near you, please call them and tell them to stop repatriating North Korean defectors. Here are the embassy and consulate contact numbers:

Chinese Embassy in Washington DC
Address: 2201 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., Washington D.C. 20007
Tel: (202) 338-6688, (202)5889760
Fax: (202) 588-9760

Chinese Consulate General in Chicago, IL
Address: 1 East Erie Street, Suite 500, Chicago, IL 60611
Tel: (312) 453 0210 / (312) 803-0095
Fax: (312) 803-0122

Chinese Consulate General in Houston, TX
Address: 3417 Montrose Blvd., Houston, TX 77006
Tel: (713) 520-1462
Fax: (713) 521-3064

Chinese Consulate General in Los Angeles, CA
Address: 443 Shatto Place, Los Angeles, CA 90020
Tel: (213) 807-8088
Fax: (213) 807-8091

Chinese Consulate General in New York, NY
Address: 520 12th Avenue, New York, NY 10036
Tel: (212) 244-9392
Fax: (212) 465-1708

Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco, CA
Address: 1450 Laguna Street, San Francisco, CA 94115
Tel: (415) 674-2900
Fax: (415) 563-0494


March 16, 2012
WHEN: Tuesday, March 20, 2012
WHERE: 11 am: The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C.
(sidewalk across from Lafayette Park)
12:00 noon: Embassy of the People's Republic of China, 3505 International Place, NW, Washington, D.C. 20008
1 pm: Embassy of the People's Republic of Korea,2450 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington DC
WHO: North Korea Freedom Coalition, Korea Freedom Alliance, and Pilgrim Church
WHY: To Save North Koreans Facing Torture, Imprisonment and Execution
(Washington, DC)...Despite appeals by the Republic of Korea, the United States, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the People's Republic of China illegally forced over 40 North Korean refugees ranging in age from 71 years to infancy back to North Korea to face certain torture and execution. Among those repatriated were North Koreans whose family members were in South Korea including a 71 year old mother, a 19 year old daughter, a 16 year old brother, and a mother and her baby.
On March 20, activists will assemble at the White House at 11 am to release a letter urging President Barack Obama to call upon China to stop their policy of forced repatriation when he meets with President Hu Jintao for the Nuclear Security Summit in South Korea on March 26 and 27.
Following the White House visit, activists will go to the Embassy of the Republic of China to dramatize the fate of these refugees and deliver a letter to Hu Jintao citing his role in sending North Koreans to their death.
The activists will then stop by the Embassy of the Republic of Korea to deliver a letter encouraging President Lee Myung Bak and the South Korean government to continue their efforts in trying to save the lives of North Korean refugees in China.
Despite the fact that North Koreans face certain torture, certain imprisonment, and increasingly, execution for fleeing their homeland, China continues to force them back to North Korea in violation of its international treaty obligations. China is a signatory to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol.
Among those participating will be members of the North Korea Freedom Coalition, Korea Freedom Alliance and Pilgrim Church, which has become the home church for defectors residing in this area.
In related efforts, demonstrations will be occurring simultaneously on March 20th in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles.
For further information contact NKFC at or phone:
Dr. In Y. Park at 571-222-7313 or 276-971-7332 or
Suzanne Scholte at 703-534-4313

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Dialogue and Discussion

The current online issue of the National Catholic Reporter has an interesting article titled, “Vatican II priests still embrace council's model despite reversals.”
It previews a forthcoming (April 2012) study from Georgetown’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) study called “Same Call, Different Men: The Evolution of the Priesthood since Vatican II,” which looks at the difference between priests who were born between 1943 and 1960 (i.e., roughly during the Baby Boom) and those born before or after that period.
It terms the Baby Boomers as “Vatican II” priests. Others call them Gaudium et Spes priests, after the conciliar document whose English title is “Joy and Hope” or the better known “Constitution on the Church in the Modern World.” They desire dialogue on what the Church says are closed issues (e.g., women’s ordination, clerical celibacy, contraception, etc.). They want ecumenism, but one that minimizes rather than tries to resolve sticky differences. They also want more ecclesial involvement in some modern issues that have not typically fallen under the Church’s main competency, which is to save souls.
For instance, the National Catholic Reporter characterized the perspective of one such priest from Australia as wanting the Church to focus on “global involvement in issues from social justice and technology to economics and ecumenism.”[i] Such clerics also tend to be relativistic and not much different than many social libertarians in their approach to sexuality. Perhaps most tellingly, they claim to value dialogue and discussion. As an example of this, the Reporter quotes the aforementioned Australian priest as saying, “Priestly celibacy, despite being highly contentious, was reasserted by Paul VI in 1967 without discussion.”[ii]
Look at the issue of dialogue and discussion from another perspective, however.
The conciliar records and actual documents clearly show that the desire of Council Fathers was that some vernacular be allowed into the Mass. Furthermore, Gregorian chant was to have pride of place in the liturgy. When Paul VI promulgated the revised Roman rite in 1969, what we now call the extraordinary form of the Mass—that is the form of the Mass that had more or less existed in the same form since Pope St. Gregory the Great (590-604) —was suppressed, and Latin was almost nowhere to be found on Sundays.
As for Gregorian chant, it disappeared so quickly and so ubiquitously, that Paul VI had a letter sent to every bishop in the world on his half called Jubilate Deo, which contained sheet music for congregations so they could sing the plain chant versions of prayers like the Gloria, Sanctus, Our Father, and Agnus Dei. That letter was effectively dead on arrival. It certainly didn’t have the impact the Pope desired for it. Instead, guitar music reigned unabated.
Then consider the issue of altar girls. Over the course of Church history, three popes—St. Gelasius (492-496), Innocent IV (1243-54), and Benedict XIV (1740-58)—all had condemned and forbade the practice.[iii]
Furthermore, two post-conciliar instructions,[1] Liturgicae Instaurationes (1970) and Inaestimabile Donum (1980) also declared the service of women at the altar to be illicit. Reports conflict, but some even say Bl. John Paul II had promised Bl. Mother Teresa of Kolkata he would never allow altar girls during his pontificate.
So let me ask: Where was the dialogue and discussion on any of these issues? The late Bishop Ray Lucker of New Ulm, MN (may God rest his soul), arguably the most liberal bishop the United States has ever had, considered people attached to the extraordinary form of the Mass (i.e., the traditional Latin Mass) to be dissenters. And yet all these people simply wanted was to worship in the same way as their ancestors and the saints had for centuries.
Therefore, would it be fair to ask that just as those who cry for tolerance today are often the most intolerant, are the people who shout most for dialogue and discussion those who want it least when that works to their favor?

[1] Instructions are Vatican documents that can define or clarify something (e.g., the will of Council Fathers) or provide a correction to certain errors that have begun to crop up.

[i] “Vatican II priests still embrace council's model despite reversals,” by Dan Morris-Young, National Catholic Reporter, March 12, 2012
[ii] Ibid.
[iii] Respectively, the 9th Letter to the Bishops of Lucania, Brutia, and Sicily, Ch. 26; Letter to the Bishop of Tusculum; and Etsi Pastoralis, VI:21, a papal bull issued in 1742.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Look who's defending Europe's Christian heritage! A Muslim!

I was so heartened to read this transcript of a speech given by an English Muslim baronness and current UK cabinet minister. The article speaks for itself. Praise God for her.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Saints news for February 2012

Boys Town Founder Could be a Saint

Actor Spencer Tracy up for beatification!
Well, actually, not ol’ “Spence,” but the man he played in his 1938 Oscar winning performance as Fr. Edward Flanagan, the founder of the Boys Town orphanage in Omaha.
The impact Fr. Flanagan had can be measured in the fact that the faithful in nine countries and 36 of the United States have expressed a profound devotion to him, according to the Archdiocese of Omaha.
The archdiocese says it will open Father’s beatification on March 17, the Feast of St. Patrick, which is appropriate for this Irish born priest. They also have six cases of people who claim to have been miraculously cured through his intercession. We should stress the archdiocese has not yet closely investigated any of these.
Fr. Flanagan came to the US in 1904 at age 18 and was ordained at age 26 for the then-Diocese of Omaha. As anyone familiar with his biopic knows, at first, he worked with homeless men. Then, however, he began noticing all the street kids, so he opened a home for them, regardless of race, creed, or ethnicity.
Soon there were so many street urchins that the streets of Omaha couldn’t hold them. So he bought a large farm on the city’s outskirts, and pretty soon there was a school, post office, and shops where boys could learn all sorts of different trades.
Oh, and that Oscar Spencer Tracy won for playing Fr. Flanagan? “Pops” gave it to the Boys Town founder.
After World War II, President Truman asked him to travel the world, investigate the situation of orphans in former war zones, and advise governments on what to do in their particular situation. However, it was on that trip that he died of a heart attack in Berlin in 1948.
When I lived in Omaha, Fr. Val Peter, then the executive director of Girls and Boys Towns, would some time say in his sermons. “That is a bee-ewe-tee-fuhl thing.” Well, I’m sure Fr. Peter is saying that very thing right now: It is a bee-ewe-tee-fuhl thing. And that it is, indeed, Father.

Cause of Down’s Syndrome geneticist moves forward

The archdiocese of Paris has completed diocesan phase of the beatification cause of Dr. Jérôme Lejeune has recently concluded and documents relating to the cause are now with the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
            Born in 1926, Lejeune was a pediatrician and geneticist best known for his discovery of Trisomy 21, the gene that causes Down’s Syndrome. Ironically, this brilliant discovery was quickly advertised to parents as a way of finding out whether the baby they had on the way was not going to be perfect. They would then, of course, have the option destroying that life. Well, God blessing him, for the rest of his life, Dr Lejeune fought to keep these unborn jewels from being aborted.
Sadly, he was not very successful. Today 90 percent or so of all Downs babies diagnosed in utero lose their lives to the abortionist’s scalpel. However, God doesn’t ask us to be successful, he asks us to be faithful, right? And that is something Dr. Jérôme Lejeune.

Cause of Communion and Liberation founder opens

On February 22, Fr. Julián Carrón, successor to Communion and Liberation founder, the late Msgr. Luigi Giussani, formally petitioned the Cardinal Archbishop of Milan, His Eminence Angelo Scola to open the monsignor’s beatification cause. If Cardinal Scola agrees, then the diocesan phase of the investigation into Guisanni’s life and virtues will begin. If that goes well, the cause will then move to Rome.
According to the website Vatican Insider, “Luigi Giussani was born in Desio, in the Italian Province of Monza and Brianza in 1922. After entering the diocesan seminary in Milan at a very young age, he continued his studies, completing them in the Faculty of Theology in Venegono in the Province of Varese in Northern Italy. He was ordained priest and started teaching in this same seminary, specializing in the study of Oriental Theology, Protestant American Theology and the analysis of the rational motivation for joining the faith and the Church. In the mid 1950s, Fr. Giussani left his seminary teaching post to teach religion in middle school and high school for ten years, from 1954 to 1964, at “Berchet” high school in Milan.
“These were the years of the birth and diffusion of the Catholic Student Youth movement (Gioventù Studentesca -GS). He taught an Introduction to Theology course at Milan’s Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and went on to become the leader of the Communion and Liberation movement. On 16 March that year, during the 5th celebration of the Law of the Lombardy Region, Fr. Luigi Giussani was awarded one of the sixteen Longobard Seals (Sigilli Longobardi) which are given to citizens who have distinguished themselves in social work.
“Fr. Giussani died on 22 February 2005 at his home in Milan. The then cardinal Joseph Ratzinger presided over his funeral in Milan’s Duomo Cathedral, as a special envoy sent by John Paul II. He was buried in the memorial chapel at the Monumental Cemetery of Milan and his corpse was later moved to a new Chapel in the same cemetery. Fr. Giussani’s tomb is a popular pilgrimage destination.” 

Bishop Baraga case moves forward

People with a devotion to Bishop Frederic Baraga’s beatification cause got a big boost on Tuesday, February 7, when the Congregation for the Causes of Saints agreed that he lived a life of “heroic virtue,” and thus should be called Venerable. The Congregation has forwarded its finding to the Holy Father who will rule on whether he concurs with those findings or not.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Ethicists Argue for Post Birth Abortions

It's been seven days. Did you miss me? Didn't think so.

"Ethicists Argue for Post Birth Abortions." You read that right. See here for more:

It's the logical end result of the "It's an unviable mass of tissue" argument, no? After all, if it's not a person in utero, and you can stick scissors into the back of its skull just before the head come out and have it be perfectly legal, or you can inject a woman's uterus with saline solution or have the baby vacuumed out into little grotesque, bloody bits and pieces at any moment before it's actually born, why not after it's born? What makes it any more a person after it's fully out of the mom's womb and the umbilical chord's been cut than it was before any of that happened?

Bravo for these ethicists for painting such a clear logical conclusion of the pro-choice argument. Disagree? The onus, then, is on you to demonstrate in a logical fashion why these "ethicists" have it in any way wrong.

Understand, I don't agree with them in the slightest. Instead, like Lenin with capitalists, I find them useful idiots.

Hat tip to Matthew Archbold.