Wednesday, August 31, 2011

There's Work To Be Done

From The Atlantic Wire:
According to the Public Religion Research Institute, America is evenly divided on the issue of gay marriage: 47 percent favor its legalization while another 47 percent oppose it, as can be seen in the institute's chart above. But strong preferences manifest themselves among religious groups. Unsurprisingly, about seven in 10 of those who aren't affiliated with any religion or who are affiliated with one other than Christianity support same-sex marriage. What is surprising is that a slim majority of Catholics and a similar-size majority of white mainline Protestants support gay marriage too. In contrast, 60 percent of black Protestants and 76 percent of white evangelicals are against its legalization.

Those Catholic schools have been doing a great job over the years in catechizing the faithful, eh? This embarrassing survey should be a clarion call for bishops and leaders in Catholic education in America to finally get serious about what is actually being taught to students at so-called Catholic schools and universities. From the perspective of a layman, I can only shrug when I hear the annual calls to "support your local Catholic school". Support them? For what? Start producing results that actually serve the unity of Catholics, rather than contributing to the divide, and then we'll talk. I speak from experience (diocesan grade school and Jesuit high school) when I state categorically that most Catholic schools are not transmitting to their students the nuts and bolts of the faith. Surveys like these only add weight to that claim.

Tea Party Under Vicious Assault

From Politico:
A top lawmaker in the Congressional Black Caucus says tea partiers on Capitol Hill would like to see African-Americans hanging from trees and accuses the movement of wishing for a return to the Jim Crow era.

Rep. Andre Carson, a Democrat from Indiana who serves as the CBC’s chief vote counter, said at a CBC event in Miami that some in Congress would “love to see us as second-class citizens” and “some of them in Congress right now of this tea party movement would love to see you and me ... hanging on a tree.”

A serious question: Is Carson non compos mentis?

Maxine Waters, another black democrat in Congress, said the tea party can "go to hell". Where is Obama on all of this? Where are the calls for an apology on the left? Where are the cries from the media about the dangerous tone in Washington?

One thing is certain: the left is absolutely terrified that the Republicans will win in a landslide election. As liberals desperately try to gain some sort of traction in the run-up to election day, the race card will increasingly be employed by blowhards like Waters and Carson. I think the prospect for large scale race riots is in the cards, and as long as totally irresponsible and reprehensible leaders in the black community continue to stoke the flames of hatred, rage and fear among their peers, the situation will only get deteriorate.

If you listen to the audio of Carson's remarks, you will note the enthusiastic shouts of approval he receives from his constituents. The question must be asked: to what degree are Carson's remarks shared in the black community?

Soft on Terrorism

From the BBC:
A Kosovo man has told a German court he regrets shooting dead two US servicemen at Frankfurt airport and does not understand why he did it.

Arid Uka, 21, told the court he had been radicalised by jihadist propaganda videos he watched online. ...

Prosecutors say Mr Uka went into one of the airport terminals, saw some US airmen and followed them back to their military bus. They say he asked one of them for a light, asked him where the bus was going, and then shot that man dead.

The indictment says he then boarded the bus, shouting "Allah-u akbar" (God is great), and shot another man dead. Two others were severely injured; one of them was blinded in one eye.

He put his gun against the head of a fifth serviceman but the trigger jammed.

If the court accepts his confession, he is likely to get 15 years in prison.

Two soldiers killed, others permanently maimed, and Uka might get 15 years? What a disgrace.


From the Telegraph:
As the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks approaches, 21 per cent of respondents told a study they had detected "a great deal" or "a fair deal" of support for extremism in their areas.

While the vast majority said that suicide bombings and other forms of violence against civilians to protect Islam were never justified, 19 per cent of respondents did not agree with this statement.

Peter King, a Republican congressman for New York, said the findings "reinforce the need" for him to continue holding controversial hearings on the radicalisation of American Muslims.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Suicide: The Acceptable Kind of Autonomy

Some insightful observations from Brendan O'Neill, writing for the Telegraph:
These days, the only time you hear the word “autonomy” said with any vigour, with heartfelt oomph, is in relation to assisted suicide. In every other area of life, the idea of moral autonomy has taken a beating in recent years. Parental autonomy is continually blitzed by know-it-all politicos and supernannies who want to subject mums and dads across the kingdom to parenting classes. Intellectual autonomy is undermined by ceaseless state intervention into the sphere of education and by the PC culture of “You Can’t Say That!” Individual autonomy counts for little in a world governed by long-nosed nannies and nudgers keen to police every aspect of our lives, from what we scoff to where we smoke. Yet when it comes to the desperate act of electing to die, suddenly autonomy becomes important again. You could be forgiven for thinking that the only right our betters trust us with these days is the “right to die”.

Left In Apoplexy Over Perry

The governor with the tailored suit, gold cufflinks and a vintage revolver

From Politico:
In his two weeks as a presidential candidate, Rick Perry has done something that neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney could do: wake up the left.

Perry panic has spread from the conference rooms of Washington, D.C., to the coffee shops of Brooklyn, with the realization that the conservative Texan could conceivably become the 45th president of the United States, a wave of alarm centering around Perry’s drawling, small-town affect and stands on core cultural issues such as women’s rights, gun control, the death penalty, and the separation of church and state.

The epidemic of lefty angst isn’t just a matter of specific Perry policies though; it goes to the heart of the liberal worldview.

"Women's rights"... don't you just love how liberals dress up the act of killing baby boys and girls in the womb?

Monday, August 29, 2011


This probably ranks among the most laughable stories ever posted on this blog. You'd think the editors over at the Guardian would be embarrassed to publish this.
Aliens may destroy humanity to protect other civilisations, say scientists

Rising greenhouse emissions could tip off aliens that we are a rapidly expanding threat, warns a report

It may not rank as the most compelling reason to curb greenhouse gases, but reducing our emissions might just save humanity from a pre-emptive alien attack, scientists claim.

Watching from afar, extraterrestrial beings might view changes in Earth's atmosphere as symptomatic of a civilisation growing out of control – and take drastic action to keep us from becoming a more serious threat, the researchers explain.

"Among Those Born of Women"

Caravaggio's The Beheading of John the Baptist

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Step in the Right Direction

Pro-life progress in the UK, from the Telegraph:
The Department of Health is to announce plans for a new system of independent counselling for women before they finally commit to terminating a pregnancy. The move is designed to give women more “breathing space”.

Pro-life campaigners suggest the change could result in up to 60,000 fewer abortions each year in Britain. Last year, 202,400 were carried out.

The plan would introduce a mandatory obligation on abortion clinics to offer women access to independent counselling, to be run on separate premises by a group which does not itself carry out abortions.

Still a long way to go, but every inch counts.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Shooting Down Conventional Wisdom

During a visit to a relative's house, I came across an issue of the Catholic Herald on the table. Now I do not subscribe to the Herald, mind you. I was informed by a close friend in the know that the paper has a long way to go, in terms of aligning the content of its pages to the cutting edge vision of the Holy Father when it comes to liturgy, ecclesiology, etc. Generally, that observation has been verified whenever I do chance upon an issue. Sadly, many diocesan newspapers, and Milwaukee's is no exception, are heavy on the fluff and sentimentalism and light on the substance. Back to the issue: as I was flipping through its pages, I was stunned that the paper featured an extensive and fulsome encomium on the glories of the recently retired Father Robert Wild S.J., the former president of Marquette University.

"What's the big deal," you might ask. Of course. Well, a bit of history might help, and for that we can turn to papal biographer George Weigel for some clarity. Curious readers should review this brilliant article by Weigel in 2004, in which he takes Fr. Wild to task for overseeing a years-long breakdown in Catholic identity at Marquette University. Please, read Weigel's piece. It is well-worth it.

There is a poignant anecdote to this story. The Catholic Herald used to carry Weigel's articles. I don't believe they are picked up anymore... one can only wonder why not. When Weigel's piece on Fr. Wild came out in 04, the Catholic Herald, preferring to ignore constructive, serious criticism of a phenomenon that has overtaken most mainstream Catholic universities in America, opted not to feature it. How dare Weigel criticize anything having to do with the Archdiocese of Milwaukee! My father called the office and politely asked why the article did not appear. He was told that this one article, which just happened to be critical of Marquette, was "lost in cyber space" before it could appear in the Herald. Um, ok. Do you really believe that? If you do, then you probably believe that Marquette University is a bastion of rock-ribbed Catholicism and that Father Wild is responsible for it being so.

For further evidence of Marquette's shameful track record of betraying its Catholic identity, read this post, in which I interviewed a Catholic friend who attended Marquette. This fellow offers some pretty tough reflections on the total dearth of authentic Catholicism promoted on the grounds of Marquette, and the moral decay among its students. Lest anyone think that he is just an angry, "right-wing" Catholic, I can assure you he is not. He's extremely intelligent and balanced, and is presently an MD and an officer in the Navy. Here's an excerpt from that interview:
Overall, strong Catholic culture is not something I associate with Marquette. But again, I wasn’t actively looking for it. I had poor friendships, and I was a member of the crew team—a club that was known for its annual “hook-up or throw-up party.” At this party, the upperclassmen had a policy that you couldn’t leave the party without hooking up or throwing up, whichever came first. It made the school newspaper after a female student on the team came forward and claimed she was date-raped at the party. The drinking culture and the basketball fanfare really took center stage over any Jesuit presence. I think this was the fault of the Jesuits and the student body as a whole.

Okay, so Marquette, under the watchful eye of Fr. Wild, suffered a staggering lost of its Catholic identity. Sure the cash kept flowing, and boy, did it flow with Fr. Wild! But the moral fabric and soul of the university? Gone baby, gone.

As Weigel accurately points out, the greatness of a true Catholic university, contrary to what Fr. Wild and apparently the writers at Catholic Herald think, is assayed in how it forms students in truth, not simply in how much cash is raked in. Serious Catholics, of course, know this. Delusional ones ignore it. That's why I could only roll the eyes when I saw the glowing bon voyage screed standing out in the pages of the Herald. Some things never change. In certain quarters, it's easy to follow the conventional wisdom and pretend that everything is peaches and cream.

Disgusting Mob Behavior

Leftist agitators, acting more like criminals than concerned citizens, descended on a Catholic school in Milwaukee in the lead-up to a visit by Governor Scott Walker.
MILWAUKEE - Someone has vandalized a school in Milwaukee ahead of a visit from Governor Walker and threats of protests over the Governor's visit. Someone super glued the front door to Messmer Preparatory School on Milwaukee's north side before the Governor's visit.

"Some of these folks super glued our front doors at the prep school," said Br. Bob Smith, OFM, the president of Messmer Catholic Schools, about the school on the corner of North Fratney and East Burleigh Streets.

He told Newsradio 620 WTMJ that a woman was walking in front of the school Thursday, asking people to protest.

According to Br. Smith, one protester said " 'Get ready for a riot,' because they were going to disrupt the visit."

This deed only adds credibility to Ann Coulter's thesis that mobs are evil, and that they will always be a favorite tool of the left to get their way. So much for tolerance and COEXISTING! Conservatives, and all sane citizens, are beginning to push back against this outrageous behavior.

Cohabitation: The Other Attack on Marriage

From Rich Lowry, writing for National Review Online:
The great divorce revolution of the 1960s and 1970s has faded. The great cohabitation revolution has begun.

The divorce rate for married couples with children is almost back to the levels of the early 1960s, before the run-up that crested in the early 1980s. Considering the decades of social turbulence buffeting the institution of marriage between then and now, this is a notable restoration.

But it only means that marriage is unraveling in a different way. According to a new study by the Institute for American Values and the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, cohabitation has increased 14-fold since 1970. About 24 percent of children are born to cohabiting couples, more than are born to single mothers, while another 20 percent experience a cohabiting household at some time in their childhood.

There needs to be a more aggressive response to cohabitation from the Catholic Church in America. I have heard stories of cohabitating couples who, while planning their wedding day, will try different parishes until they find a weak-willed priest who won't insist that they live separately before getting married.

Unexpected Praise

From Reuters:
PARIS (Reuters) - Pope Benedict has reaped praise before his visit to his German homeland next month from one of the last people one would expect -- the sharp-tongued leader of the former communists from old East Germany.

Gregor Gysi, parliamentary leader for a small party in the German Bundestag called The Left, thanked the conservative pontiff Thursday for consistently preaching that a modern society must have moral norms in order to function properly.

"It won't work without the concept of the good," he wrote in the weekly Christ und Welt. "But modern science can't tell us what is good. Its concepts focus on empirical experience. Ideas such as morality play no role there."

Despite his reputation as a staunch conservative, Gysi wrote, Benedict turns out to be a modern theologian who says societies need both religious traditions and rational arguments to forge the moral consensus they need to operate.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Usus Antiquior in Milwaukee

Photos from St. Stanislaus Oratory's website

Today, I attended noon mass at St. Stanislaus Oratory on Milwaukee's ever-active South Side. The church is under the watchful care of The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, and so the mass was offered in the extraordinary form. The more I become familiar with the usus antiquior, the more spiritually dependent I become on the beauty and richness of it all.

The beauty of this mass is found in the frequent stretches of silence, in the perpetual reverence that permeates the sacred space, and in the recurring yet faint whispers of ancient prayers uttered in Latin by a priest who, first and foremost, is noteworthy for his solemn attentiveness, a preoccupation even, to solicitously overseeing with an eagle's eye the ineffable mysteries taking place on the high altar. It's a sacred, mystical process that allows those in attendance to disentangle themselves from the web of the world's noises and distractions, and be swept up, rather caught up, like a wave in the sea or a strong gust of air on the open plains. I've noticed that with the old mass, there is a certain spiritual relaxation, a peace that sinks deeply in the soul. It is a quiet place to encounter God.

What set this liturgical experience apart? Simply put, there were no distractions. No jokes. No sideshows. No superfluous overtures. No obsequious "Welcome to such and such parish" from an obtrusive voice in the sanctuary before mass. No silly liturgical pantomiming. No blurring the line between priest and layman. No patronizing sermons. No schmalzy, effeminate hymns from an ersatz Peter, Paul and Mary wannabe ensemble. No soft-sofa Oprah-esque priest-parishioner kibitzing. I could go on. You know the drill at most parishes across America: No identifiable Catholic culture.

The alternative? Enter St. Stanislaus Oratory, and similar parishes and find: God's majesty. Captivating solemnity. Reverence. Timeless mystery. Transcendent awareness. Silent encounter. Seriousness. Captivating beauty. Sacramental awareness. Connection to past ages (and souls). Spiritual maturity. Manly priests and penitent faithful.

Critics gain a lot of mileage portraying the old mass as "so yesterday" and its adherents as quirky and hidebound to a bygone era. This criticism is not only totally inaccurate, but it is actually more aptly applied to those very critics of the old mass. The richness of the old mass is precisely found in its timelessness. It is emphatically not a dated thing of "so yesterday". It is, quite the contrary, so timeless and so ageless. The liturgical silly season of the past few decades, on the other hand, is what is truly "so yesterday", hackneyed and spent.

Of course, I am not referring to the legitimate novus ordo mass, but rather the countless abuses that have cropped up in the ensuing years after Vatican II. These abuses carry with them dated and worn-out trends and fads which have been forced onto the liturgy, despite admonitions from the Vatican. It is a rather refreshing experience to attend liturgy and to simply not have to worry about these things anymore.

Wisconsin Recap.

Appearing in the The Washington Post, George Will penned an excellent review of the goings on in Madison, Wisconsin: the GOP Revolution at the state level, Scott Walker's greatness, the contra-collective bargaining law, the feckless recall elections, etc.
Democrats furiously oppose Walker because public employees unions are transmission belts, conveying money to the Democratic Party. Last year, $11.2 million in union dues was withheld from paychecks of Wisconsin’s executive branch employees and $2.6 million from paychecks at the university across the lake. Having spent improvidently on the recall elections, the Wisconsin Education Association Council, the teachers union, is firing 40 percent of its staff.

At Prayer in Iraq

AP Photo

Condi's Take

As she was saying...

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is set to release her DC memoirs. I expect it to be an excellent book.

From Politico:
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will add her voice to the growing chorus of Bush administration officials telling their side of the story in a memoir due out in November.

Rice’s “No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington” is set to be published Nov. 1 by Crown, the publisher said Thursday, describing the book as “a vivid and forthright account” of Rice’s time at the State Department and, before that, as National Security Advisor.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

On "Community"

Cristina Odone, writing for the Telegraph, reflects on the British media's frequent use of the term "community" when referring to the bands of rioters in London:
But isn’t the point of the London riots precisely the opposite: there is no such thing as community. At least, not among the residents of Tottenham. The broadcasters and the talking heads may try to paint a politically correct portrait of a united community that has come upon hard times (all fault of the cuts of course) and is now rent apart by violence; but it’s unconvincing. The young hoodies rushing across our screens, plasma screens under their arm, shiny trainers dangling from their hands, have no sense of wronging a community, because they’ve never felt they belonged to one in the first place. The neighbours and shopkeepers being forced out of their homes by the fires don’t feel they have any more in common with the urban terrorists than the shocked TV audience does. The chorus of disapproval that has gone up among residents during the weekend of rioting has been loud and strong: these are criminals, not brothers. They may live nearby, but these thieves and scoundrels do not belong to the community.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Church and Statism

An excellent piece by Ed West, writing for the Telegraph:
Statism is theoretically attractive because only the virtuous state can eliminate the natural inequality and discrimination that occurs when groups and individuals are left to their own devices. That’s human nature, and to eliminate inequality one has to eliminate human freedom; I seem to remember previous attempts to do this haven’t been entirely successful.

What’s striking is that so ingrained has statism become that it has even infiltrated the Church. Indeed many in the Catholic Church’s hierarchy, both bishops and lay people, see the Church as just one more branch of the state with its holy mission to deliver “social justice”. Which is a strange strategy, since statists ultimately wish to enfeeble the Church.

An Atheist Defends Confession

For what it's worth, I thought that parts of this editorial from Brian O'Neill were very well-stated. He discusses, sometimes irreverently and colorfully, the push in Ireland to force priests to violate the seal of confession. Hopefully, through the intercession of Blessed John Henry Newman, O'Neill will return to the faith of his fathers.

From the Telegraph:
Now, as it happens, I am not the confessing type. As a severely lapsed Catholic and now immoveable atheist, I haven’t been inside a confessional since I was 17 years old. ... But there are millions upon millions of people for whom confession is a central part of their faith, and for whom absolute privacy is a central part of confession. They believe, and should have every right to believe, that the confessional facilitates communication with God, providing a tiny, darkened space, utterly cut off from the world, where they can offload their various horrors and heartbreaks in private. For the state to invade this space, to colonise it on the basis that it is a sinister place where lurid stories about paedophilia might be swapped between a pervert and his priest, is an attack on freedom of religion. ...

Often, a priest will tell those who confess to criminal activity that absolution depends upon them handing themselves over to the secular authorities. Priests don’t simply hear penitents talk about child sexual abuse and then tell them: “Say 10 Our Fathers.”


From the Telegraph:
Ban Christian churches on streets with Islamic names, says Indonesian mayor

Critics say the decree, proposed by Bogor mayor Diani Budiarto, is another example of growing religious intolerance in the world's most populous Muslim country.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Train of Liturgical Abuses

"liturgical abuses lead to serious damage to the faith of Catholics." - Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke

Saint Jerome: That was then...

This is now. My high school, Marquette High School, was all about this kind of "student involvement" in liturgy. I can assure you that there was little, if any, sense of reverence among the students toward the Holy Eucharist. I wonder why... Looking back, it makes me cringe when I think of how so many of my peers were denied exposure to the beauty of the Church's liturgical heritage.

Today at Mass, the priest did not distribute Holy Communion. After the Eucharistic prayer, he retreated to his chair and two laywomen took over, one taking the priest's chalice and the other the ciborium. They proceeded to give Communion to the faithful. I was stunned. Later on, I did a little research on extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist (Google is such a great tool!) and came across these excerpts from Redemptionis Sacramentum, put out by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacrament in 2004.
[157.] "If there is usually present a sufficient number of sacred ministers for the distribution of Holy Communion, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion may not be appointed. Indeed, in such circumstances, those who may have already been appointed to this ministry should not exercise it. The practice of those Priests is reprobated who, even though present at the celebration, abstain from distributing Communion and hand this function over to laypersons."

[158.] "Indeed, the extraordinary minister of Holy Communion may administer Communion only when the Priest and Deacon are lacking, when the Priest is prevented by weakness or advanced age or some other genuine reason, or when the number of faithful coming to Communion is so great that the very celebration of Mass would be unduly prolonged. This, however, is to be understood in such a way that a brief prolongation, considering the circumstances and culture of the place, is not at all a sufficient reason."

One of the great tragedies of the post-Vatican II liturgical culture is the degree to which abuses in liturgy, and there are many, have gradually become the norm, so that most of the faithful are completely unaware that an abuse is actually taking place, or as during Mass today, that they are involved in the abuse. Another regrettable part of all of this is that the set norms for liturgical life are seen to be optional and unimportant by far too many priests. The priest can, if he so wishes, simply opt out of following the letter of the law when it comes to liturgical rubrics. Because of the extreme laxity and laziness in following the prescriptions given by the Church regarding the Sacred Liturgy, I doubt there is even an awareness of what constitutes a liturgical abuse in the minds of most Catholics.

Sadly, many faithful Catholics, totally disgusted by the insouciance on the part of pastors and bishops, feel discouraged, convinced that nothing will ever change and that the abuses will continue to spread. Is it any wonder why the Latin Mass is growing in popularity?

Reason for Ryan

Is the Paul Ryan for President crowd simply spinning its wheels on a dream? Perhaps. But at least Mona Charen is on-board. From National Review:
He is, additionally, the most knowledgeable and articulate antagonist to Obamacare in the party — one who has reduced the president to sputtering incoherence in a direct confrontation. In February 2010, during the health-care debate, Ryan was among the Republican leaders who met with the president and Democratic leadership. In a six-minute presentation, Ryan eviscerated and embalmed Obamacare. The statistics rolled off his tongue with easy fluidity. He was direct and unflinching without being rude or needlessly aggressive. If that was a foreshadowing of what a presidential debate would look like, President Obama would be profoundly overmatched on this most critical issue.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pope Benedict's 2 Million

"Whoever caves to the temptation to 'go it alone' or to live the faith according to the individualistic mentality, which predominates in society, runs the risk of never encountering Jesus Christ, or just following a false image of Him. ... Yes, the Church is not simply a human institution, like any other, but rather she is intimately united to God. Christ Himself refers to her as "His" Church. One cannot separate Christ from the Church, just as a head cannot be separated from the body" (1Co 12, 12). -Pope Benedict XVI, Madrid

Read the entire homily here (in Spanish).

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Symbolic El Escorial visit for Pope Benedict | euronews, world news

Symbolic El Escorial visit for Pope Benedict | euronews, world news
On day two of Pope Benedict’s visit to Spain the pontiff left Madrid, boarding the pope-mobile for the journey to El Escorial – a vast palace and monastery with a huge cathedral 50 kilometres outside the capital.

The setting was symbolic as El Escorial was built in the late 1500s, when Spain’s kings controlled a vast empire dedicated to defending and promoting the Roman Catholic faith.

El Escorial: One of the top five places in the world I hope to visit.

Note the brief clip of the maniacal anti-Catholic protesters in Madrid. How appropriate that their activities, like those of Judas Iscariot, took place in the dark of night. I was flipping through a slideshow of the pope's visit and was struck by the look of devilish fury that was imprinted on the faces of the condom throwing rabble. It was such a contrast to the serene, joyful expressions on the faces of the Catholic youth.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Siempre Joven

"Sí, hay muchos que, creyéndose dioses, piensan no tener necesidad de más raíces ni cimientos que ellos mismos. Desearían decidir por si solos lo que es verdad o no, lo que es bueno o malo, lo justo o lo injusto; decidir quien es digno de vivir o puede ser sacrificado en aras de otras preferencias". - el Santo Padre, en Madrid

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Leaving the Cloister

Sister Teresita

A heartening story from the Telegraph:
103-year-old nun to leave convent for first time in 84 years to meet Pope

The sprightly centenarian has been confined within the convent of Buenafuente del Sistal since she took her vows as a 19 year old, two years before the Wall Street Crash.

By strange coincidence she entered the convent on April 16, 1927 – the day that Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, was born in Germany.

Sister Teresita has remained at the convent ever since leaving its seclusion for only a few hours at a time during the 1936-1939 Spanish Civil War when the nuns fled to escape the fighting.

But on Friday she will join a delegation to meet Pope Benedict during his three day visit to the Spanish capital to celebrate World Youth Day.

"She said she thinks she will make the trip with her eyes closed, so that nothing will distract her," said the convent's mother superior, Maria.

Ryan Running?

The Next President?

He's apparently mulling it over. Paul Ryan is simply too big for congress. Few blogs have been more supportive about the idea of Ryan running for the presidency as this one, but I still think it's a long shot that he will decide to run. If he does run, he will win the Republican primary with relative ease and then the presidency. I am sure of that. And who wouldn't just love to see him debate Obama? From FoxNews:
Just when it looked like the GOP Presidential field was finally taking shape, there is speculation that another big name may be joining the fray.

Stephen Hayes reports in the WEEKLY STANDARD that Congressman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is "strongly considering a run for president," and has been quietly meeting with political strategists over the past three months to discuss a possible White House bid. Hayes also writes that Ryan is presently on vacation in Colorado where he is discussing the subject with his family.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Titian's Assumption of the Virgin

"By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory". -Pope Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus, 44

Going After God

Watch a surly David Gregory confront Michele Bachmann on her faith in this interview from Meet the Press. I couldn't repress my incredulity and laughter, as Gregory doggedly attempted to pigeonhole a somewhat taken aback Bachmann as a loopy Christian. Just ridiculous! Despite the best efforts of Gregory to make a fool of her, she handled herself extremely well. By the way, did Obama ever face this kind of inquisition about his faith, or about anything else for that matter?

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

With Friends Like These...

Chopper down, China in

From Reuters:
ISLAMABAD — Pakistan gave China access to the previously unknown "stealth" helicopter that crashed during the commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May despite explicit requests from the CIA not to, the Financial Times reported on Sunday. ...

"The US now has information that Pakistan, particularly the ISI, gave access to the Chinese military to the downed helicopter in Abbottabad," the paper quoted a person "in intelligence circles" as saying. ...

Pakistan, which enjoys a close relationship with China, allowed Chinese intelligence officials to take pictures of the crashed chopper as well as take samples of its special "skin" that allowed the American raid to evade Pakistani radar, the newspaper reported.

The thanks we get from our "ally" Pakistan after billions of US dollars in aid. Disgusting.

Victory Lap

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Ron Paul on Liberty and Life

Today in Iowa, Congressman Ron Paul eased up, at least for a moment, on the Federal Reserve bashing, and sought to highlight his strong pro-life credentials. From Politico:
The libertarian-leaning presidential candidate, who is an obstetrician by training, has long opposed abortion rights, but has not emphasized it in his presidential campaigns.

In his speech this afternoon, Paul described himself as "very strong right to life" and claimed that when he was in training in the 1950s, "It was assumed everybody was pro-life and abortions weren’t to be done."

By the 1960s, Paul said, that was changing. He recalled that physicians were "defying the law in doing abortions," and told a bracing story of seeing doctors deliver a baby via Caesarean section and then "put it in a bucket in the corner of the room and let it die and pretended nobody heard it."

"We cannot play God and make those decisions. All life is precious," Paul said. "You have to understand where that liberty and that life comes from. It does not come from the government. It comes from our creators."

I wonder why no one did anything about that baby...

I admire his tenacity. This is one of the most impassioned, personal pro-life speeches I have heard. He goes on, of course, about the wars, the Patriot Act, etc., which is classic Ron Paul, but his pro-life message and critique of airport security are worth listening to.


“For Americans, the quickest way to understand modern Britain is to look at what LBJ’s Great Society did to the black family and imagine it applied to the general population”. -Mark Steyn, After America: Get Ready for Armageddon

Rebuilding a Culture of Confession

And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. 20:23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." -John 20: 22-23

"My hearer, thou to whom my discourse is addressed, thou who today art come hither in remembrance of Him to partake of a holy feast, the Lord's Supper-today thou didst go first to confession before coming to the altar." -Søren Kierkegaard, Training in Christianity

I was deeply struck by this excerpt from a sermon delivered by Kierkegaard. It shows that even the Protestants once had an awareness of the need for confession. It was not sacramental in the Catholic sense, of course, but it is remarkable that they also believed in the necessity of being purified before receiving communion.

This is something that unfortunately, many Catholics need to hear today, as Confession has, in many respects, fallen by the wayside. Once an essential component in the weekly and monthly life of a Catholic, Confession has become a total mystery, something unnecessary and to be avoided for far too many of the faithful. A priest friend related to me that, at his parish here in St. Louis, only thirty minutes are allotted for Confession per week on Saturday afternoon. I was also told that, in his thirty years of priesthood, this is the first time ever that he has been in the confessional and, at times, no one will come for the Sacrament. This is a serious problem, and one that is not at all isolated to this particular parish. I have noticed that there are far too many parishes that do not properly encourage the reception of this most important Sacrament of Penance. If the pastors do not convey this to their flock by a combination of a failure to preach and to avail themselves, how are everyday Catholics supposed to appreciate the need for the great gift of sacramental absolution?

Contrary to this common practice of limiting the Sacrament of Penance to thirty minutes a week is the Cathedral-Basilica of St. Louis. Everyday during the week, after the 7:00am Mass, confessions are heard until the line is gone. The weekend also gives ample time for Confession. I have noticed that there is almost always a line of people waiting to confess, even with the generous availability of the Sacrament. This demonstrates that, if Confession is offered frequently, people will go. One doesn't have to rely on a once a week, thirty-minute window, or on "Calling to schedule an appointment." Sadly, the norm is not the practice of the Cathedral-Basilica.

Priests who have neglected to properly avail themselves for Confession, and to catechize the faithful about the need for this Sacrament will have to answer to God for the disservice that has been done over the past several decades.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Bishop's Conviction

The Cleansing of the Temple

Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo, North Dakota gave an interview to Catholic World Report, much of which was devoted to his staunch pro-life advocacy over the years. Noteworthy were his refreshingly strong words when it came to Catholic politicians who are pro-abortion. What should be done? Bishop Aquila says,
Their particular bishops can use the process of correction that is given to us in sacred Scripture, especially in Matthew’s Gospel. Our Lord tells us to speak to the person, and then take two or three others with us if he does not change.

If he still does not change, the Church can speak to him, which is done through the bishop. [The bishop] exercises the authority of Christ. Christ then says that if that person is still obstinate and will not change, treat them as a tax collector or Gentile. Expel him.

We do this out of love for the person, seeking his conversion. He needs to understand that the salvation of his soul is in jeopardy because of the positions he is taking.

Lost Manhood

What would Churchill think?

What has happened to manliness in modern society? It is a question that a growing number, thankfully, are taking very seriously.

In an excellent piece that I hope garners much attention, Frank Miniter, writing for National Review, assesses reasons behind the feckless reaction by many in the UK to the out of control riots and looting:
With London succumbing to looters and muggers, it’s time to ask what happened to the once-manly English people. The August 9 issue of the Daily Mail, for example, includes a photo of a young man taking off his pants on the street as an impatient looter waits with the emasculated Briton’s sneakers and shirt already in his hands. ... I can’t help wondering if men such as T. E. Lawrence, Winston Churchill, or Lord Acton could have stomached the state of manliness in this generation of Englishmen. ...

I submit that one of the chief causes of their now emasculated spirit is the loss of so much of their individual liberty — like a child used to a parent fighting his or her battles, a people dependent on their government for everything cannot take care of themselves and are prone to childish outbursts.

By giving up their natural right to self-defense, for example, England’s law-abiding citizens have become defenseless both physically and psychologically. The loss of their right to self-preservation has created a culture of dependency on government (for protection and so much more) that has helped neuter the English male. This has also prompted some English citizens to blame the police for the crime rates that law enforcement is legally constrained from doing anything practical to fight.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

UK Pandemonium

Mincing few words, Max Hastings offers some of the best thoughts I've come across on the root causes of the maniacal riots ravaging Great Britain. I think many, if not all, of his observations can easily be applied to the spate of recent flash mob attacks in Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Chicago and DC. From the Daily Mail:
A former London police chief spoke a few years ago about the ‘feral children’ on his patch — another way of describing the same reality.

The depressing truth is that at the bottom of our society is a layer of young people with no skills, education, values or aspirations. They do not have what most of us would call ‘lives’: they simply exist.

Nobody has ever dared suggest to them that they need feel any allegiance to anything, least of all Britain or their community. They do not watch royal weddings or notice Test matches or take pride in being Londoners or Scousers or Brummies.

Not only do they know nothing of Britain’s past, they care nothing for its present.

They have their being only in video games and street-fights, casual drug use and crime, sometimes petty, sometimes serious.

The notions of doing a nine-to-five job, marrying and sticking with a wife and kids, taking up DIY or learning to read properly, are beyond their imaginations. ...

So who is to blame? The breakdown of families, the pernicious promotion of single motherhood as a desirable state, the decline of domestic life so that even shared meals are a rarity, have all contributed importantly to the condition of the young underclass.

Read on. It's a sobering piece, but the observations contained therein are right on and brilliantly conveyed by Hastings. The truth must be confronted.


Republican Senator Alberta Darling's hard-fought victory ensured that the GOP will control the Senate.

I'll be honest. I didn't have a good feeling about the Wisconsin recall elections yesterday. Considering all of the pro-union, anti-Walker cash coming in from outside groups, I expected the Democrats to eke out the needed victories to take back the Senate. Talk about a pleasant surprise! From The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Democrats won two state Senate seats in Tuesday's historic recall elections, but failed to capture a third seat that would have given them control of the chamber.

By keeping a majority in the Senate, Republicans retained their monopoly on state government because they also hold the Assembly and governor's office. Tuesday's elections narrowed their majority - at least for now - from 19-14 to a razor-thin 17-16.

Republicans may be able to gain back some of the losses next week, when two Democrats face recall elections.

Democrats had hoped to block the Republican agenda by taking control of the Senate in the recall elections, but the GOP should be able to continue to advance its agenda.

And this, from The Washington Times:
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A stand by Wisconsin Republicans against a massive effort to oust them from power could reverberate across the country as the battle over union rights and the conservative revolution heads toward the 2012 presidential race.

Democrats succeeded in taking two Wisconsin state Senate seats away from Republican incumbents on Tuesday but fell one short of what they needed to seize majority control of the chamber.

Republicans saw it as a big win for Gov. Scott Walker and a confirmation of his conservative agenda, the hallmark of which was a polarizing proposal taking away most collective bargaining rights from public workers.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

A Liberal Confesses

This is a remarkable confession from a liberal academic offering a candid assessment of President Obama. Drew Westen recycles all of the favorite talking points of the left in his screed/whine, which makes it tedious to read, but the following excerpt is telling, precisely because it is a liberal who finally admits it. (But it's nothing that a conservative didn't already know. We were shouting it from the rooftops in '08.)

From The New York Times Sunday Review:
Those of us who were bewitched by his eloquence on the campaign trail chose to ignore some disquieting aspects of his biography: that he had accomplished very little before he ran for president, having never run a business or a state; that he had a singularly unremarkable career as a law professor, publishing nothing in 12 years at the University of Chicago other than an autobiography; and that, before joining the United States Senate, he had voted "present" (instead of "yea" or "nay") 130 times, sometimes dodging difficult issues.

But hey, let's hand him the keys to the Oval Office! Nice work, libs.

Monday, August 08, 2011

More From Kierkegaard

Kierkegaard on those offended by Christ

Kierkegaard distinguishes between Christians who authentically believe, and the “offended." Those who believe are willing to undertake, even embrace, personal sacrifices that will, as Christ Himself predicted, lead to intense personal persecution, ridicule etc. These crosses will far exceed the normal trials and tedium that come with everyday life. The “offended” on the other hand are those who are ostensibly with Christ up to a point, perhaps for public reputation, but then, when He [Christ] prescribes a radical remedy to eradicate sin or anticipates the persecution of the believer because of Him, the believer quickly back off. “That’s going too far. What was I getting into with this whole Christianity thing? 'If my eye causes me to sin, pluck it out?!' That's crazy talk!" Fair weather faithful like these are not genuine Christians.
The decisive mark of Christian suffering is the fact that it is voluntary, and that it is the possibility of offense for the sufferer. … What therefore offends is the endless passion with which the eternal blessedness is conceived, corresponding to the endless fear of offense. This is precisely what offends natural man.

In a singular way, Kierkegaard has in his sights those Christians who offer up hardships and trials as Christians, and yet the “trials” are simply the regular, day-to-day burdens that anyone, Christian or Pagan, will surely face at one point or another. Such Christians presumptuously assume that they’ve done their duty as Christians. Not so fast, says Kierkegaard. You’ve done nothing exceptional, nothing saintly. As he colorfully explains,
But listening more closely, one discovers with surprise that these many tribulations are nothing else but illness, financial difficulties, anxiety for the year to come. … or the fact that one has not become what one desired to be in the world, … and one crazily connects them with Gethsemane. In case it were through these many tribulations one enters into the kingdom of heaven, the heathen also must enter into the kingdom of heaven, for they also pass through the same. No, this way of preaching is in an exceedingly dangerous way the abolition of Christianity, in part it is even blasphemous.

Again, Kierkegaard’s message has such relevance today when, all too often, Christianity is co-opted to give sanction or cover for every kind of lifestyle under the sun. Christianity, according to the modern, is not about a deep, personal commitment to Christ, rooted in self-denial and demanding a daily struggle against sin. It is not about "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done." Rather, it is about being, first and foremost, non-judgmental and accepting about other people’s ways of doing things. It is about tolerance, openness and understanding, or as Peter Kreeft put it when speaking about ethics, "It is about 'sharing views' rather than seeking truth." It is about "My will be done." If this is the essence of Christianity, why did Christ predict, even assure, persecutions for those who remain faithful to Him? Why should persecution be expected if our new universal axiom is all about “Celebrating Diversity”? There’s simply no room or need for persecution in the magical land of I’m Okay, You’re Okay. Again, to cite Kreeft: "Why have we reduced him to 'meek and gentle Jesus'? Because we have reduced all the virtues to one, being kind; and we measure Jesus by our standards instead of measuring our standards by him."

That is why, in a world where most of the brake-off brands of Christianity are petering on irrelevance or incoherence against the onslaught of secularism’s relentless demands for lifestyle accommodation, the Catholic Church’s granitic, even stubborn refusal to acquiesce is so remarkable. And so it has been for 2,000 years.

Of course, the dirty little secret is that these harbingers of a new epoch of tolerance and diversity have their knives drawn against the Catholic Church. There you have the persecution. There you have Kierkegaard's offended on the one hand. And there you have the martyrs, saints and, ultimately, Christ on the other.

Selective Screening

Is pro-life too political? I guess at one basilica in Montreal. From LifeSiteNews:
MONTREAL, August 8, 2011 ( - A Montreal priest has turned away young pro-life pilgrims from entering the city’s basilica because their message in defense of the unborn was too political.

Wearing stylish jeans and a white button-down shirt, Fr. Robert Gagne, PSS, insisted that the young people walking across Canada to promote the pro-life message could not enter the famous Basilica to pray because of the ‘pro-life’ message emblazoned on their T-shirts. ...

The T-shirts were in French stating ‘pro-vie’ in large letters across the font. The French-language tees came courtesy of Campaign Life Coalition’s Quebec branch – Campagne Quebec Vie (CQV). CQV President Georges Buscemi was at the Basilica Monday to pray with the Crossroads team.

Buscemi said he was taken aback at the rejection - especially in light of the scanty clothing and 50-cent T-shirts passing muster at the same entrance - and told (LSN) it was like Notre Dame had been caught being a ‘den of thieves’ rather than a house of worship.


Navy SEAL Aaron Vaughn, resquiat in pacem

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

"I'm most proud of Arron's humility and his nobility. But more than anything I'm most proud of the way he loved God."

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Catherine of Aragon's Cause

There's a grassroots movement underway to promote the life of Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England, for beatification and canonization. That would be something! She certainly carried a heavy cross during her difficult marriage to King Henry VIII. Read more about the cause here.

From the website:
Her story speaks loudly enough for itself and serves as the perfect justification as far as I can see for either placing her name on the list and gifting her with the title of Blessed Katharine of Aragon or given a special recognition by the Church. From everything history tells us we know that Katharine of Aragon lived a model life of piety, patience and faith. She proved herself a worthy daughter of the Church. Her example of faith and perseverance should no longer be forgotten. The people of Peterborough – Anglicans not Catholics – have never forgotten this good woman and continue each year to recognize and honor her. Perhaps I overstate or over-dramatize when I go so far as to suggest that she should be named the patroness for the cause of reunification between the Roman Catholic and Anglican Church; perhaps not.

Facing Facts

"Protesting" in Athens

A wonderful piece on the free society and its opposite, from Janet Daley, writing for the Telegraph:
...the US has a very different historical experience from European countries, with their accretions of national remorse and class guilt: it has a far stronger and more resilient belief in the moral value of liberty and the dangers of state power. This is a political as much as an economic crisis, but not for the reasons that Mr Obama believes. The ruckus that nearly paralysed the US economy last week, and led to the loss of its AAA rating from Standard & Poor’s, arose from a confrontation over the most basic principles of American life.

Contrary to what the Obama Democrats claimed, the face-off in Congress did not mean that the nation’s politics were “dysfunctional”. The politics of the US were functioning precisely as the Founding Fathers intended: the legislature was acting as a check on the power of the executive.

The Tea Party faction within the Republican party was demanding that, before any further steps were taken, there must be a debate about where all this was going. They had seen the future toward which they were being pushed, and it didn’t work. They were convinced that the entitlement culture and benefits programmes which the Democrats were determined to preserve and extend with tax rises could only lead to the diminution of that robust economic freedom that had created the American historical miracle.

Old vs. New

Raphael's Allegory of Virtue

"For the wise men of old, the cardinal problem of human life was how to conform the soul to objective reality, and the solution was wisdom, self-discipline, and virtue. For the modern, the cardinal problem is how to conform reality to the wishes of man, and the solution is a technique." -C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man

Impossible to Ignore

Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera

I came upon this excellent story from Catholic News Agency about comments made recently by Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. (One could say he carries a bit of influence and has the ear of the Holy Father.) The cardinal discusses the centuries-old Catholic tradition of receiving Communion kneeling and on the tongue, and makes some pretty strong recommendations for Catholics today.
“It is to simply know that we are before God himself and that He came to us and that we are undeserving,” the prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments said in an interview with CNA during his visit to Lima, Peru.

The cardinal’s remarks came in response to a question on whether Catholics should receive Communion in the hand or on the tongue.

He recommended that Catholics “receive Communion on the tongue and while kneeling.”

Receiving Communion in this way, the cardinal continued, “is the sign of adoration that needs to be recovered. I think the entire Church needs to receive Communion while kneeling.”
Emphasis added

Wow. I don't think it is a stretch to say that these are bombshell comments. No doubt, many (and I mean many) will try to sweep these remarks under the rug as simply the solitary opinion of a hidebound prelate, but given Cardinal Llovera's prominent position within the Church, how can they be totally glossed over and ignored?

Kneeling is not really a part of our egalitarian culture today. But it is very much a part of our liturgical culture. So explained then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in The Spirit of the Liturgy:
The Christian liturgy is a cosmic liturgy precisely because it bends the knee before the crucified and exalted Lord. Here is the center of authentic culture—the culture of truth. The inability to kneel is seen as the essence of the diabolical. ... A faith or liturgy no longer familiar with kneeling would be sick at the core.

When we see someone bend the knee in adoration, so rare is the gesture that it can elicit a double-take. Observing others receive Communion kneeling, and to kneel for oneself, reinforces and accentuates, both externally and internally, the reality of Who is being received. This isn't business as usual. Some may see this matter as trivial. "Stand, kneel, on the tongue, in the hand...what's the difference?" I think it is most important however, and the widespread insouciance on the issue on the part of so many Catholics proves the point that Cardinal Llovera is trying to make.

This is an issue that has occupied me for some time. As someone who was reared in the Communion in the hand culture of the 1980s, I have to say that reverence toward the Blessed Sacrament was not reinforced with this method of reception.

I am not someone who wistfully longs for the good ole days of my youth when it comes to matters liturgical. Those were not the days of Latin, beautifully embroidered fiddlebacks, haunting chant, plumes of aromatic incense and mystery. No, they were the days of schmaltzy English, multicolored, polyester vestments, sappy liturgical hymns, pastel ribbons, banners and cacophony. Often, the self-determined au courant critics of traditional Catholics impugn calls for the return of certain elements of liturgical life as being not "with the times" and, God forbid, if they were ever implemented, would only serve to alienate those on the outside. "They'd make us look weird before the outside world."

Traditional Catholics themselves are often caricatured as quondam desperados, irrationally enamored with a bygone era, long since dead and buried that, God help us, should never again be allowed to see the light of day in mainstream Catholic life. Those devoted to the old ways of liturgy are treated as oddities within the Church, attached to a bizarre, medieval fetish. So, to placate this bunch, a parish or two within a diocese might offer the old Mass. But dream on if you think that every or most parish, or heaven forbid, the cathedral itself, will begin to offer its parishioners the option of attending Mass in the usus antiquior once a week or even monthly. "You have your parish where you can do your thing, just don't get too ambitious."

It is true that many older Catholics have expended much time, talent and treasure to eradicate the memory of what liturgical life used to be like, you know, the beautiful, thousand-plus-year-old way. So in a certain sense, the deep frustration they now experience at the emerging indicators of a more traditional liturgical life is understandable, given the sure conviction that their hard work had paid off and that the ancien régime was finished for good. But then something unexpected happened: A younger generation surfaced and inexplicably began displaying a keen interest in their own Catholic past and identity. Fortunately, not all of the shreds of tradition had been swept away in the period of iconoclasm. Great damage was done, but it was not total and irrevocable. In a certain sense, the patronizing liturgical silliness forced on us served only to accentuate our desire, our thirst, for something different, timeless and inspiring. The more we read about our past, probed the mystery and absorbed the beauty, and compared it with what we had been exposed to for the past twenty or thirty years, the noise and the silliness of it all, greater still was the sense that we had been missing out on something great. Had we been gypped? Why not set out to recover our past?

That is why, from the perspective of a young Catholic, stories like this one from CNA are so encouraging. We know that, much to the squirming and worrying of certain iconoclasts, there are individuals in positions of authority within the Church that actually agree with us and are fighting on our side.

Dark Day in Afghanistan

What a sad day for America.

From the Associate Press:
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- A military helicopter crashed in eastern Afghanistan, killing 31 U.S. special operation troops and seven Afghan commandos, the country's president said Saturday. An American official said it was apparently shot down, in the deadliest single incident for American forces in the decade-long war.

The Taliban claimed they downed the helicopter with rocket fire while it was taking part in a raid on a house where insurgents were gathered in the province of Wardak late Friday. It said wreckage of the craft was strewn at the scene.

NATO confirmed the overnight crash took place and that there "was enemy activity in the area." But it said it was still investigating the cause and conducting a recovery operation at the site. It did not release details or casualty figures.

Réquiem ætérnam dona eis Dómine;
et lux perpétua lúceat eis.
Requiéscant in pace.

Friday, August 05, 2011

'Fear and Trembling'

Fear and trembling signifies that one is in process of becoming, and every individual man, and the race as well, is or should be conscious of being in process of becoming. And fear and trembling signifies that a God exits--a fact which no man and no established order dare for an instant forget. ...

So holy in fact had the Pharisees and the scribes become, and so holy do men always become when they deify the established order, that their divine worship is a way of making a fool of God. Under the pretense of serving and worshipping, they serve and worship their own device, either in self-complacent joy at being themselves the inventors, or through fear of men. -Søren Kierkegaard

How relevant for today! More and more, we are witnessing a spike in wild innovations and inventions, new ways of doing and defining things that were once considered sacred and inviolable.

Around the World in One Minute

This is a pretty amazing video. I can't imagine the time that went into it. There are some some beautiful churches here. Catch them if you can!

MOVE from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

On Denying Communion

From LifeSiteNews:
ROME, August 4, 2011 ( – Top officials at the Vatican are throwing their support behind pro-life Catholic leaders campaigning against dioceses allowing pro-abortion politicians receive Holy Communion, says one such leader.

American Life League President Judie Brown spoke with LifeSiteNews yesterday about her recent trip to Rome, where she spoke with Vatican officials about Communion for pro-abortion politicians and the changing pro-life landscape in America.

Cardinal Raymond Burke told Brown to be “persistent” in her campaign to have Canon 915 enforced, she said.

Canon 915 states: “Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion.”

Brown also noted that Burke encouraged her to make use of the numerous articles he himself has written on the subject.

“He encouraged us to be persistent, to use his articles and not to back down from our position which is the same as his,” she said. “It’s not arbitrary it’s a matter of the law of the church which needs to be enforced.” ...

The fact that many bishops are “not comfortable” about it, said Brown, doesn’t matter.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Rate Your Priest?

Interesting. From the Telegraph:
Priests rated on new website
German churchgoers are to be given the opportunity to rate the performance of their priests and post reviews on a new website.

The Hirtenbarometer, or 'shepherd' barometer in English, gives people the chance to post lavish praise or withering criticism about their local preacher or senior church members in complete anonymity.

The website also allows parishioners to rate the performance of clerics by judging such attributes as "standard of religious service", "work with young people" and "credibility". The average scores are represented by a sheep's colour with those with good scores getting a white sheep while those with indifferent or poor ratings getting a grey or black sheep.