Sunday, December 30, 2012

Age of Persecution

From the Telegraph:
Nigeria: 15 Christians 'have throats slit' by suspected extremists 
Suspected Islamist extremists have killed 15 Christians by slitting their throats in an attack on a village in Nigeria's volatile northeast, residents and a relief source have claimed.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

France and Us

How the AP covers a tax-the-rich government scheme, when it's not about Obama:
In a stinging rebuke to one of Socialist Hollande's flagship campaign promises, the constitutional council ruled Saturday that the way the highly contentious tax was designed was unconstitutional. It was intended to hit incomes over 1 million euros ($1.32 million). 
The largely symbolic measure would have only hit a tiny number of taxpayers and brought in an estimated 100 million to 300 million euros - an insignificant amount in the context of France's roughtly 85 billion euro deficit.
Has the press ever reported on the "insignificant amount," in relation to our outrageous debt, that would come in as a result of Obama's plan to tax the rich, and how it would make virtually no impact on eliminating the deficit? As Mark Steyn so memorable wrote:

"If you took every single penny that Warren Buffett has, it'd pay for 4-1/2 days of the US government. This tax-the-rich won't work. The problem here is the government is way bigger than even the capacity of the rich to sustain it. The Buffett Rule would raise $3.2 billion a year, and take 514 years just to pay off Obama's 2011 budget deficit."

Friday, December 28, 2012

At the Altar of God

The martyrdom of Saint Thomas Becket 


This is a point that I'm sure I've made before, but cannot help making once again: I simply cannot believe how many parents allow their children to play on their mobile devices at restaurants. I've been out and about quite a bit the past week or so and have noticed this phenomenon every time. (Adults are just as guilty of doing this, so it's no wonder the kids simply follow suit.) It is something that never ceases to amaze me, and yet at the same time, isn't really all that surprising, given the sorry state of our boorish culture, where social mores and etiquette, along with morality, reason, common sense, political astuteness, taste, etc., have gone out the window. The art of conversation is a casualty of the mobile age, ironic, since this dazzling technology's goal is allegedly to bring us "closer together" and to make the world smaller. I disagree. Parents sitting right next to their own kids at dinner are now farther apart, more detached, than ever.

I have to wonder how much these kids are using these devices at home, if, for even an hour-long dinner, they cannot put the stupid hand-held device down. And shame on the parents for being so lazy and insouciant. It's a rather awkward scene: the parents kind of just sit there, with a deer-in-the-headlights stare, occasionally sipping their coffee and talking to each other, while the kids are in la-la land, thumbing away with text messages or video games. Don't they realize how ridiculous this looks? When will these kids be forced to grow up? When will they learn how to have an actual conversation?

Have you ever tried talking to an American adolescent lately? It's like trying to pull teeth. I usually just give up after a noble effort, since extracting any serious thought is now, evidently, some form of torture or "bullying," an act which I'm sure the U.N. Security Council will be passing a resolution against in the near future.

If parents aren't going to teach their kids, I don't see much hope for improvement.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Son of Thunder

Saint John the Apostle

Marco Basaiti's Call of the Sons of Zebedee, located in Venice

At the Cross

Catechism, Q&A

Here's a link to a great resource, St. Peter's List, that presents straight-forward questions and answers about the faith, drawn straight from the Baltimore Catechism.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The First

The Martyrdom of Saint Stephen 
by Adam Elsheimer

With prayers for a dear friend, honored with this Saint's name.

The Holy Father offered the following mediation on the life and martyrdom of Saint Stephen:
The life of Saint Stephen is entirely shaped by God, conformed to Christ, whose passion is repeated in him; in the final moment of death, on his knees, he takes up the prayer of Jesus on the cross, trusting in the Lord (cf. Acts 7:59 ) and forgiving his enemies: " Lord, do not hold this sin against them" (v. 60). Filled with the Holy Spirit, as his eyes are about to close, he fixed his gaze on "Jesus standing at the right hand of God" (v. 55), the Lord of all, who draws all to Him. 
On St. Stephen’s Day, we are called to fix our gaze on the Son of God, who in the joyful atmosphere of Christmas we contemplate in the mystery of His Incarnation. In Baptism and Confirmation, with the precious gift of faith nourished by the Sacraments of the Church, especially the Eucharist, Jesus Christ has bound us to Him and wants to continue in us, through the action of the Holy Spirit, his work of salvation that redeems, enhances, elevates and leads all to fulfillment. Allowing ourselves be drawn by Christ, like St. Stephen, means opening our lives to the light that calls, directs and makes us walk the path of good, the path of humanity according to God’s loving plan.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Force of Reason

"The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man's fundamental choice where he himself is concerned." ~Pope Benedict XVI

This devastating quote should be the starting point for any further discussion on the matter. From Reuters:
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict, indicating the Vatican's desire to forge alliances with other religions against gay marriage, on Friday said the family was threatened "to its foundations" by attempts to change its "true structure". 
The pope made his latest denunciation of gay marriage in a Christmas address to Vatican officials in which he blended religion, philosophy, anthropology and sociology to illustrate the position of the Roman Catholic Church. 
He threw the full weight of his office behind a study by France's chief rabbi on the effects the legalization of gay marriage would have on children and society. 
"There is no denying the crisis that threatens it to its foundations - especially in the Western world," the pope said, adding it had to be protected because it is "the authentic setting in which to hand on the blueprint of human existence". 
The 85-year-old pope, speaking in the frescoed Clementine Hall of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, said the family was being threatened by "a false understanding of freedom" and a repudiation of life-long commitment in heterosexual marriage. "When such commitment is repudiated, the key figures of human existence likewise vanish: father, mother, child - essential elements of the experience of being human are lost," the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholic said. ... 
Significantly, the pope specifically praised as "profoundly moving" a study by France's chief rabbi, Gilles Bernheim, which has become the subject of heated debate in that country. 
Bernheim, also a philosopher, argues that homosexual rights groups "will use gay marriage as a Trojan Horse" in a wider campaign to "deny sexual identity and erase sexual differences" and "undermine the heterosexual fundamentals of our society"
His study, "Gay Marriage, Parenthood and Adoption: What We Often Forget To Say", argues that plans to legalize gay marriage are being made for "the exclusive profit of a tiny minority" and are often supported because of political correctness.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mandates and Opportunity

The Federal Government (The Department of Health and Human Services) says that Catholics must pay for contraception.  This is bad news.  But why?  Mostly, we hear the religious liberty argument, which goes roughly like this: the Catholic Church says that Catholics must not pay for contraception; people should be free to follow their own religious rules; so Catholics should not be required to pay for contraception.  The argument is meant to appeal to a broad audience.  Who, after all, could be against religious liberty?

The religious liberty argument, however, can distract us--if we are not careful.  Don't forget how the federal mandate violates our religious liberty; don't forget what the mandate will force us to do.  Remember that it forces us to pay for contraception.    

If we focus entirely on religious liberty, then we will miss the chance to say what's wrong with contraception.  And this is a real shame.  The Church has (enjoys?) a lot of public attention as a result of the mandate.  Why not use this time to speak, not only about the importance of religious liberty, but also about the Church's positive teachings on life, marriage, and the family, and how contraception is poison for all these things.  We should be using this time to communicate.  Regardless of whether or not the mandate stands, contraception is an enormous problem.  We have to deal with that problem, and this is a good time--perhaps the only time we have left--to deal with it.

This is also the perfect time to deal with contraception within the Church.  The Bishops say they will go to jail before following the mandate.  That's quite a witness.  Let's talk about contraception against the backdrop of their witness.  It is a perfect time for Catholics to step back and say: "Wow.  Apparently contraception is a big deal to the bishops and priests.  Maybe there is something wrong with what I'm doing.  Maybe I shouldn't be on the pill."  A perfect opening for teaching--or for discussion. 

I propose, for the next few posts or comments, that we talk about reasons for the Church's position on contraception, in its various forms.    

Catholic Culture and Cardinal Burke

For your viewing pleasure. If it's serious Catholic identity you're looking for, this is it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christians in Egypt

Checking in on the status of our beleaguered Christian brethren in Egypt, here's an excerpt from the Associated Press:
A campaign of intimidation by Islamists left most Christians in this southern Egyptian province too afraid to participate in last week's referendum on an Islamist-drafted constitution they deeply oppose, residents say. The disenfranchisement is hiking Christians' worries over their future under empowered Muslim conservatives. 
Around a week before the vote, some 50,000 Islamists marched through the provincial capital, Assiut, chanting that Egypt will be "Islamic, Islamic, despite the Christians." At their head rode several bearded men on horseback with swords in scabbards on their hips, evoking images of early Muslims conquering Christian Egypt in the 7th Century. ...

Friday, December 14, 2012

Our Lady of Sorrows

Pray for the families of those murdered in the Connecticut massacre. So many children... 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Genius of Right to Work Laws

An excerpt from a brilliant editorial appearing in The Wall Street Journal:
Union activists want voters to believe that right-to-work laws deny union organizing rights, or ban collective bargaining. President Obama peddled this distortion on Monday in Redford, Michigan, claiming that "what we shouldn't be doing is trying to take away your rights to bargain for better wages and working conditions." 
Right to work does no such thing. It empowers individual workers. As allowed under the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act, right to work merely lets individual workers choose for themselves if they want to join a union. The laws prevent closed union shops, which coerce individual workers to join unions and to pay union dues. A teacher who opts out under right to work, for example, could save several hundred dollars in annual union dues that go to political causes he may not even believe in. 
Unions loathe right to work because they know that many workers would rather not join a union. Americans have seen what happened to the auto and steel industries, the Post Office and so many others. Unions can extract monopoly wages and benefits for a time from a profitable industry, but often at the cost of making that industry less competitive and eventually at the cost of union jobs. Thus did Teamster work rules—cake and bread had to be delivered in separate trucks—cost the bakery workers their jobs at Hostess. Right to work gives workers a choice. ... 
According to the West Michigan Policy Forum, of the 10 states with the highest rate of personal income growth, eight have right-to-work laws. Those numbers are driving a net migration from forced union states: Between 2000 and 2010, five million people moved to right-to-work states from compulsory union states.
In light of what's coming out of Washington, it is deeply encouraging that states like Michigan are taking aggressive positions like this. Wisconsin is no stranger to union fury. There are battles, and even wars, that are worth fighting, and can be won, even with Obama in the White House.


Monday, December 10, 2012


"I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever."
~Thomas Jefferson 

We look back at a time when our presidents "trembled" before the justice of God.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Obama: high priest of the new religion

Obama secured the vote of people most like him: secular humanists with just a dash of fluffy spiritual patois. Not really a story of earth shattering proportions, but it is a sign of the times.

From NPR: Add This Group To Obama's Winning Coalition: 'Religiously Unaffiliated'.

Yeah. Big surprise. The burgeoning, "I'm spiritual, but not religious" trend is simply a manifestation of our decadent, vulgar culture: reject traditional morality rooted in reason and embrace vague, irrational concepts of the spiritual, but only to the extent that it doesn't limit MY freedom to do whatever the hell I want. Identify yourself as a Christian, but then define for yourself what being Christian means. This can only lead to defining, on your own, who God is, a shocking demonstration of pride and blasphemy.

The truth is, they have made themselves gods.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Milwaukee Jesuit Priest, OUT

From the National Catholic Reporter
A Catholic priest who participated in a eucharistic liturgy with a woman priest last month has been ordered to no longer celebrate the Mass or perform any other priestly duties. 
Jesuit Fr. Bill Brennan, a 92-year-old Milwaukee-area priest, said the superior of his religious community told him of the restrictions Nov. 29, saying they came at the request of Archbishop Jerome Listecki. 
Brennan, a retired parish priest and former missionary to Belize, participated in a liturgy Nov. 17 with Janice Sevre-Dus

Monday, December 03, 2012

Creepy Phone Issues

From the Daily Mail:
Young people's attachment to their mobile phones is eroding their personal relationships, according to a new study. 
The claims come after research revealed that young adults - in addition to sending over 100 texts - check their mobile up to 60 times a day. Experts behind a new study have now said compulsively checking a mobile phone is an addiction similar to compulsive spending or credit card misuse. 
They said their research showed mobile and instant messaging addictions are driven by materialism and impulsiveness - which also plays a role in behavioural and substance addictions.
Not at all surprising.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Frontline Catechesis

From the Frontline Faith website

Frontline Faith. Read about it. If you can, support it. The people at Frontline Faith are doing amazing work catechizing our troops around the globe.

Twins Skirmish

Time to relax

It's the weekend! From the Associated Press:
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI greeted thousands of clowns, acrobats, puppeteers and even a pair of lion cubs on Saturday as the circus came to town for an unusual papal performance. 
Benedict clapped and watched amused as circus workers flipped, flopped, juggled and twisted before him in what the Vatican has called a historic audience to make street performers and other itinerant entertainers feel like they belong to the church.