Wednesday, June 30, 2004

When Someone Tells You That Evil is Stronger Than Good...

...point them to this.

It is coincidental that I came across this on CAEI because this was the exact thing we were talking about in my Catechism class. God is all powerful and at the same time, God permits evil to win a round so that mercy and forgiveness may prove their greater might. Don't believe me? Hear it from the Catechism:

272 Faith in God the Father Almighty can be put to the test by the experience of evil and suffering. God can sometimes seem to be absent and incapable of stopping evil. But in the most mysterious way God the Father has revealed his almighty power in the voluntary humiliation and Resurrection of his Son, by which he conquered evil. Christ crucified is thus "the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." It is in Christ's Resurrection and exaltation that the Father has shown forth "the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe".

273 Only faith can embrace the mysterious ways of God's almighty power. This faith glories in its weaknesses in order to draw to itself Christ's power.113 The Virgin Mary is the supreme model of this faith, for she believed that "nothing will be impossible with God", and was able to magnify the Lord: "For he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name."

274 "Nothing is more apt to confirm our faith and hope than holding it fixed in our minds that nothing is impossible with God. Once our reason has grasped the idea of God's almighty power, it will easily and without any hesitation admit everything that [the Creed] will afterwards propose for us to believe - even if they be great and marvellous things, far above the ordinary laws of nature."
Too Cool To Pass Up

Found this link to a blog about Flannery O'Connor on Against the Grain. She is one of my favorite authors in the modern Catholic writers' sphere. Her story, The Displaced Person graphically demonstrates both the work of grace and man's inhumanity to his fellow man.

Check her out today!
Region VI Deanery Meeting
Fr. Tharp and I are just back to our respective parishes following the first of what will be a regular meeting of the priests of our deanery, called "regions" in our archdiocese. It was a good opportunity for some priestly fraternity and some -- hold on to your seats, kids! -- actual planning and coordinating of ministry in our little area. Meeting more regularly was an idea I had to help develop our region into a little local gem. I suppose since I am the priest in the region with the most priestly ministerial experience, it comes as no surprise that I came up with the idea to communicate and work together. (I can't wait until Fr. Tharp gets a hold of that last sentence!) Fr. Tharp had the wonderful idea of bringing in speakers to the parishes of the region and sharing the costs, thus cutting down on substantial drain from any one parish and actually providing our sheep with some presentations that foster faith and adult education. I am also excited about a new development that our deanery will be the first to try: quarterly penance rites. The parish-wide penance rites typically held in Advent and Lent are usually well-attended and seem rather popular. Since we can't seem to get regular numbers to weekly confession opportunities we are going to test out the idea of offering parish-wide penance rites on two other occasions throughout the year. We hope it works and that people will come even though these additional rites won't be during the penitential seasons of Advent and Lent. If it works it may mean that people who come to the Advent Penance Rite may have actually gone to confession another time since the previous Lent! Imagine!

And now, one of the best lines from our Deanery Meeting overheard this morning at breakfast:
We were speaking of differences in the local Church of our Archdiocese and local Churches back east in heavily Catholic areas:

Fr. Tharp: Some of my classmates from Philly are scandalized that I am already a pastor [being only four years ordained].

Fr. Hamilton: [Well-timed pause and relaxed sip of coffee] Uh, well, some people here are scandalized too, but for different reasons!

Yes, cheap shots abound even at the Deanery Meeting.
For the first time since new blogger has taken hold, it remembered my username and password at login. I hope that is a trend that continues.
If Only Teachers Could Marry...

then this sort of thing might not happen. Oh, wait...

Tuesday, June 29, 2004


I hate to suggest this, but has Envoy Magazine folded? I don't think my subscription lapsed but that is entirely possible. I checked out the webpage and there is no mention there. Does anyone have the scoop?

Also, the busy bees have been beavering away at Ignatius Press. They have added two new features available on line. The first is a blog called the Insight Scoop and the second is called Ignatius Insight. Both are featured in our links area.

In addition, a new link to Couple to Couple League graces our webpage.

If you have a group or diocese that deserves inclusion in the links area, email me at the address above. Fr. H and I will review and decide.
More for the Solemnity

Got the image from a group called "Women for Faith and Family." Simply a cursory glance at the web page demanded that I link them to us. Visit them today! Got the quote from St. Augustine, the Doctor of Grace, thanks to Magnificat. If you don't have a subscription, you simply don't know what you are missing. Subscribe today! Morebo insists!

With what joy then, and with what glory to God do we behold the wealth of emperors being set at nought by the soul of a fisherman, the prayers of emperors being poured out at the tomb of a fisherman, with the result that the latter is not spurned on account of what he did not possess, and the former do not grow haughty on account of what they do!
As regards Christ's making Paul into a preacher of his out of a persecutor, I would rather the apostle himself explained how important it was for our salvation that even those with great crimes and wickedness on their consciences ought never to despair of God's mercy. "It is a human world," he says, "and worthy of complete acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners, of whom I am the first. But it was for this reason that I obtained mercy, so that Christ Jesus might demonstrate all forbearance in me first of all, for the sake of those who were going to trust him to bring them to eternal life (I TImothy 1:15-16)."
The Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul

I particularly liked this image when I saw it. So often Christians of differing stripes want to put these two men at odds, as though you had to choose between St. Peter or St. Paul. The Catholic way is take them both. St. Peter, and the office given to him and to his successors, reminds us that definitive revelation needs a definitive arbiter. Through the power of binding and loosing that the keys give, St. Peter gives us a confidence in knowing that the Gospel will be able to speak to every age, if written and first spoken many ages ago. St. Paul points out the effect of such a confidence. With confidence in the faith that St. Peter and his successors and those in communion with him hands on to us, we rise again to call not just those we think should hear the message, but also all the "Gentiles," those we had written off as being beyond God's approach.

I have been waiting for someone else to realize the deadly implications of an outbreak of smallpox. "But wait, Father," you say, "I thought smallpox had been eradicated." Guess again, kids. Several high level defectors from the Russian Bio-Defense Agency, Bio-Preperat, report that the Russians for years were working on weaponizing smallpox. They used a particularly nasty strain called the India-1. It was thought that India-1 could kill as many as 3 of out 4 of those exposed and many with the bloody form of smallpox. The Russian scientists created a warhead that made it possible to transport the smallpox on an ICBM. But that isn't the scary part.

The scary part is nobody knows where the warheads went or what happened to them.
What's the frequency, Kenneth?

When I saw the title of this article, I thought that there might be some worried forecasts of the invasion of the Saturnians. Rather, it has to do with mass differential ratios and electromagnetic pulse discharge.
Steps Toward Reunion

It has been my personal assertion (therefore, take it for what it's worth) that we will not probably reconcile Protestant denominations as a whole with the Church. In other words, don't go looking for a Lutheran-Catholic Rite to be promulgated anytime soon.

The Orthodox are a different story. The chances are good that they would come back as a group, but it would be nation by nation, rather than all the Orthodox at once.

The significance of this reaches two levels for me, at least. On the first level, at least, we aren't trying to spit on one another. On the second level, as the Orthodox give us more access to the East it allows us to work together as a force to counter militant Islam.
Maybe the squirrel has connections with Al-Queda...

Sorry, folks, I couldn't resist.
This makes Atkins the Ultimate Diet.

So, does this mean that Planned Parenthood will be including a copy of the book with each of their "referrals"?

Monday, June 28, 2004

I already have a Priesthood Sunday!

One of the biggest bureaucratic wastes of time in the U.S. is the National Federation of Priests' Councils.

Case in point: I received a flyer from this body that announced the upcoming Priesthood Sunday. Inside it explains how priests are so disheartened right now and how the laity need a chance to express their thanks for the priests' presence. So they have created this arbitrary day for the "celebration of Priesthood." I was advised in bold, italic letters, "Please give this to the Parish Council." I gave it to the waste bin.

Okay, first, I already have a day to celebrate the priesthood. It's called Holy Thursday. Furthermore, since Sunday is the primary celebration of the Paschal Mystery, isn't every Sunday Priesthood Sunday? Second, if I were a lay person on a parish council and was handed this, I would be ticked. If my priest needs encouragement or praise, I think I can handle dishing it up. I don't need a special Sunday Mass celebration to do this. Third, handing this off to the Parish Council strikes me as though I were inviting them to a surprise party for myself. The whole thing seems incredibly self-serving.

So here's my suggestion. If you love your pastor, whatever the reason, stop tomorrow, write a note, phone him up, or get in touch somehow and tell him. Give him the reasons and tell him you are praying for him. If you hate your pastor, spend a half an hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament, and pray for both of your conversions.

What's the opposite of Episcopal Spine?

Saw this question on somebody's blog. And I think I have the term.

The opposite of "Episcopal Spine" is "Episcopal Exoskeleton."

Think about it. Only a true invertebrate needs an exoskeleton. In addition, once you take away the skeleton, which is on the surface level only, the creature collapses into a quivering state of boneless-chicken-hood.

So, there's your answer, faithful readers. When a bishop misses the opportunity to demonstrate some spine, just chalk it up to Episcopal Exoskeleton.
(Ad-)Where have you been my blue-eyed son?
Well, I am back from my mysterious adventures with Adware and Spyware. My computer is, for the most part, functional as it should be. However, I am still getting pop-ups. Some time ago, I downloaded a "NoAdware" program, which my computer technician did not like. He tried to uninstall it and it would not. So, he did his magic in the computer's registry and deleted it. He said that program keeps certain things out, but it allows other things. He said I should just use my e-mail servers free online scan once a week to check for and delete harmful programs. Anyway, I may call him to ask for a good pop-up blocker. So, I am back and I will try to do some blogging.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

They needed a study to find this out?

I don't know about the rest of the clubhouse, but I think I picked this one awhile back. I love the fact that TV PSAs (Public Service Announcements) claim that if you talk to your kids you can keep them in school, away from tobacco, off drugs, eating a better diet, and exercising regularly. But the instant puberty starts hanging out in the bedroom, then parents are practically shamed into buying a subscription to Playboy/Playgirl, a year's supply of oral contraception/condoms, and free pass to a strip club for the kid. (Okay, that last one might be an exaggeration...might be.) The message is a child can control everything but their sex drive.

Given some of the things mentioned in this post, I can't wait to see who accidentally ends up here through Google Searches.
The Church of the Masses

With all due tip of the biretta to Barbara Nicolosi, I received an email concerning voting for the best "pro-Catholic films out there." Here's a snippet:

That's why we're conducting a poll of the favorite 'pro-Catholic' films for the National Catholic Register and Faith and Family magazine. We've received over 100 nominations--now it's time to vote for the finalists. Results will be published in August in the National Catholic Register and Faith and Family magazine--and be certain to include your comments, too, at the end of the poll.

Visit this site. There, you can choose your personal TOP FIVE movies that make you proud to be Catholic from the final list of nominees.

Hurry: only THREE DAYS left to vote--voting ends on June 28, 2004.

As today is June 26, that means you only have TWO days. Go there and vote and then come back for more fun.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

We are the Borg. You will be assimilated. Your technological and biological distinctiveness will be added to our own. You will come to service...US!

What?! That didn't convince you that the nanoprobes are on the way? Okay, smart guy! How about this?

Huh?! A wise guy?! Check this's how the hive will begin to communicate. You hear that, Shea! You're next, Bucky!

Hmmm...Still not convinced? Okay, read this and tell me that this isn't an insidious plot to incorporate extra genes into our genome...

I've Got a Prayer Request

Dear Readers:
A person I know via Instant Messenger recently pinged me with a prayer request. This young lady, who we'll call Amarada, has had two miscarriages in the last year alone, and now finds herself pregnant again. She would appreciate any and all spare prayers you guys and gals can offer for the benefit of this woman. She has wanted to have a child but thus far has not had a pregnancy come to a successful conclusion. The doctors have no clue what is causing the miscarriages which adds another layer of grief to the equation. I would recommend the following novena prayer to St. Gerard Majella:

Most Blessed Trinity, I, Your child, thank You for all the gifts and privileges which You granted to Saint Gerard, especially for those virtues with which You adorned him on earth and the glory which You now impart to him in heaven. Accomplish Your work, Oh Lord, so that Your kingdom may come about on earth. Through his merits in union with those of Jesus and Mary, grant me the grace for which I ask {mention your petition}.

And you, my powerful intercessor, Saint Gerard, always so ready to help those who have recourse to you, pray for me. Come before the throne of Divine Mercy and do not leave without being heard. To you I confide this important and urgent affair {mention your petition}. Graciously take my cause in hand and do not let me end this prayer without experiencing the effects of your intercession. Amen.

P.S. Also, to all my fellow bloggers, if you can spare the space, would you mind terribly linking this article as well? With prayer, the more the merrier I always say.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Rooney in Running for Sexiest Newscaster

In what universe? This must some messed-up transmission from the Mirror Universe.
The Heart of the Matter

I think I've got it. Something has been nagging at me, like an appointment I haven't quite forgotten about, for about two weeks. Tonight, I figured it out.

During the discussion of the Catechism, the topic came up about whether or not other religions are going to go to Heaven. Of course, I reiterated the Church's teaching concerning there being no salvation outside the Church, adding the notes about invincible and inculpable ignorance. This really bothered several people in the class. One woman in particular was just horrified that the Church could teach this. That all of these well-meaning people could be excluded from Heaven just because they don't hold the full picture of faith. And the rest of the class trotted out the same tired arguments, like a God of Love wouldn't send someone to Hell, e.g. That was when what was bothering me finally had a face.

For most folks, faith equals someone's opinion. If the revelation of God amongst Christians of every stripe can be confused into a galamafrey of different creeds, then that's okay as long as you are sincere. But that's the problem. Just because you sincerely believe something doesn't make it true. If I sincerely believe that arsenic is not poisonous, that doesn't mean I will be spared a trip to the emergency room, depending on how much I ingest.

While faith and reason are not the same thing, they are closely akin. Faith has foundations in reasonable data (reasonable = according to reason, non contradictory). Reason is always darkest without Faith to raise it to its heights. So many people want to be able to hold two totally contradictory beliefs at the same time. They want that Christ comes to reveal the fullness of God, but it doesn't matter if you believe in what He reveals.

I suspect the reason people like to conceive of faith as merely someone's opinion is it frees one from having to evangelize others and to stand distinct from the rest of the world. Go back to the arsenic analogy. If you spotted your child about to down the whole bottle of arsenic, although why you would have a bottle of arsenic lying about is beyond me, what would your reaction be? I suspect, hopefully correctly, that you would leap across the room and knock the bottle out of his hand, even before the word "STOP!" would be on your lips. And if this is a teenager we are talking about, you know that the little charmer would have an argument about how old-fashioned it is to think that arsenic is poisonous and anyway, everyone is doing it.

If Faith is about salvation, that the Church is the sacrament of salvation, then when you profess that you assent to the Faith, it obliges one to a way of life, a life that is always ready to provide a reason (a good explanation) for one's hope. If you aren't, it isn't much of hope you have in Christ, is it? I mean, I can explain all the internal logic of most of the Star Trek:The Next Generation episodes, and I know lots of folks like this. But ask them to explain why Christ is their savior, or how they came to know Christ, and you get a puzzled look. They never thought about the "why" of the "yes" they had made.

FWIW, this obligation, to provide witness, also bothers people. I challenged this woman to consider that she might be risking hell because she didn't profess the Faith in all the occasions where she could have. She had been in my bible study, and this same problem came up. She couldn't accept that God held us responsible for our choices is what it came down to. She wanted it both ways: you could be free to love but not free to receive punishment for not loving.

So here is the heart of the matter. Either salvation is dependant on possessing Faith with fullness or it isn't. Either one believes in God and the fullness of Revelation or they accept something else, essentially rejecting the other position. But let's stop kidding ourselves into believing that I can hold both propositions at the same time and not sound like a raving lunatic.
I guess explains why she kept demanding that people "COMPLY"
In case you don't follow Star Trek: Voyager and politics, the senate candidate in question is the ex-husband of Jeri Ryan, known to geeks everywhere as Seven of Nine. You can read how Senate Hopeful Ryan's Honesty Questioned after weirdo things from the divorce is revealed. Why he needed outside assistance, if you catch my meaning, when his wife is HOT, HOT, HOT, is beyond me.
Are you all Happy now?

If you look me in the eye, you can see that the weatherpixies are gone. Are you prudish people happy now? Now the only way I will have ripped abs is after 6,000,000 sit-ups. I hope you feel good about yourselves.
Speaking of Making Amends for Past Errors

Dresden Celebrates Crowning of Church I believe that this is a Catholic parish church although the article is a touch vague. If you want a sense of the horror the British bombing campaign caused I would recommend the short section in Ambrose's Citizen Soldiers. It is concise and terrifying.
Auschwitz to Undergo Preservation Work

Why? Because we need to be reminded that progress, or any other human ideology's idol, is not the source of salvation.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Taking "Getting a Leg Up" to New Heights

There are literally hundreds of classic jokes to be made here. Knock yourselves out.
A Kingdom Divided...

Say what you will about Chris Hitchens, he does strive for some form of journalistic honesty.
Another Ringing Endorsement of my Latent Vegetarianism

I don't know about you, but having stable neural connections beats a tasty hamburger any day of the week.

Monday, June 21, 2004

If you can find someone snarkier and wittier...
they might have to be featured here more often. Dale Price of Dyspetic Mutterings crystalizes my feelings about those bishops who lack the gonads to correct the faithful in orthopraxic behavior.
Score Another One for the Seven Deadly Sins

I really thought that the Fox Network would score the hat trick and feature shows that promote all Seven Deadly Sins. Thus far, we have had Lust (Temptation Island, The O.C.), Anger (Cops), Greed (Greed, Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire), Pride (American Idol), Gluttony (The Glutton Bowl), and Sloth (American Idol, again, on the principle that being famous should stem from hard work and not a populist vote). We are only lacking Envy to have the ultimate Trifecta. In this same spirit, I thought that the International Federation of Competitive Eating deserved a nod. I wonder if I could put together an international federation of competitive napping?
Not Funny but Beautiful

Remember my motto: If you must choose between suffering and non-existence, suffering is always a better bet. The resident merry prankster of the blogiverse, Jeff Miller, gives us an example of how Life is precious

Sunday, June 20, 2004


Read this post and then answer this question. Is this a good development or a bad development? No screeds allowed, only well reasoned opinions. via Zorak.
When It's Hers and Hers and His, Three's Company, too...

Although I doubt Jack Tripper would recognize this arrangement.School Gives Transvestites Own Restroom. Let's all thank our collective lucky stars that this hasn't happened in the U.S....yet.

Friday, June 18, 2004

A great Tragedy

U.S. hostage Johnson apparently beheaded. Please remember the repose of his soul and his family's needs in your prayers tonight. Eternal Rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen.
More on the Inquisition

Was sunning myself on the porch when I came across this on Mark's blog. Even more reason to read heavily and smile... Read Thomas F. Madden on the Inquisition if you know what's good for ya!
A Strange Convergence

When I was driving to the Cathedral for the Ordination Mass recently, I got behind a SUV that had three items on it/in it that taken separately aren't odd. When you put them together, it's a different story.

Here they are in the order I noticed them. 1. On the bumper, there was a pro-abortion bumper sticker. I particularly hate this specific sticker: "If you can't trust me with a choice how can you trust me with a child?" Well, let's see. Since you think that there is no problem with killing the child you are carrying, and that this "choice" has no moral implications, then you're right. I don't trust you with children...anyone's children. 2. A sticker on the back window from the Kairos movement. Kairos is a retreat program done in prisons to permit them the opportunity to know Christ better. 3. Hanging from the rear view mirror was a rosary. Now that's weird.

So let me see if I understand how this works. The driver of the car venerates Mary, the ultimate symbol of being pro-life. Imagine how things would be if she had said "no" to the Incarnation. At the same time, she promotes a choice that actively contradicts both God's special time and the possibility of conversion represented by Kairos and the rosary hanging from her rear view mirror. If you ever wanted a definition for the fragmented modern person, here it is.
I am sure this will make Fr. H feel better.

Fr. H has been having some serious troubles with his P.C., but I will let him regale you with them. You might remember to invoke St. Isidore of Seville as patron of the Internet as an assist to Father. You might also contact St. Dogbert and find out if he will work on the case.
You can't trust the Jesuits

Read this article to find out why. Kerry advisers tell hopeful to 'keep cool' on religion. Yes, Heaven forfend, that we actually find out from his own lips, that Kerry has sold his soul to Moloch. And I am soooo edified by the fact that a Jesuit advised Kerry to take this step. I am sure that all the Jesuit saints in Heaven, St. Ignatius of Loyola, the North American Martyrs, etc, get to watch one of their brethren sell out the common good and the Most Blessed Sacrament in one fell swoop.

Disclaimer: Before anyone says this, I know that all Jesuits aren't evil. Just this guy. Resume reading.
Novena to the Sacred Heart, Day Nine

Begin with the Sign of the Cross.

Act of Consecration to the Sacred Heart
Most sweet Jesus, Redeemer of the human race, look down upon us humbly prostrate before Your altar. We are Yours, and Yours we wish to be; but, to be more surely united with You, behold each one of us freely consecrates himself today to Your Most Sacred Heart. Many indeed have never known You; many too, despising Your precepts, have rejected You. Have mercy on them all, most merciful Jesus, and draw them to Your Sacred Heart.

You are King, O Lord, not only of the faithful who have never forsaken You, but also of the prodigal children who have abandoned You; grant that they may quickly return to their Father's house lest they die of wretchedness and hunger.

You are King of those who are deceived by erroneous opinions, or whom discord keeps aloof; call them back to the harbor of truth and unity of faith, so that soon there may be but one flock and one Shepherd.

You are King of all those who are still involved in the darkness of idolatry or of Islamism; refuse not to draw them all into the light and kingdom of God. Turn Your eyes of mercy toward the children of that race, once Your chosen people. Of old they called down upon themselves the Blood of the Savior; may it now descend upon them a laver of redemption and of life.

Grant, O Lord, to Your Church assurance of freedom and immunity from harm; give peace and order to all nations, and make the earth resound from pole to pole with one cry: Praise to the Divine Heart that wrought our salvation; to It be glory and Honor forever. Amen.

Sacred Heart Novena Prayer (1)
Hail, O Sacred Heart of Jesus, living and animating source of eternal life, infinite treasure of the Divinity, burning furnace of divine love. Our amiable Savior, consume our hearts with that burning love with which Yours is ever inflamed. Pour down on our souls those graces which flow from Your love, and let our hearts be so united with Yours, that our will may be one, and in all things conformed to Yours. May Yours be the standard and rule of our desires and of our actions.
V: O sweetest Heart of Jesus, we implore,
R: That we may ever love You more and more.

Conclude with the Sign of the Cross.

(1) Father Hardon's Catholic Prayer Book with meditations. Eternal Life Publishing: Bardstown, KY. pg. 175-6.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Entranced by the bitter harmony of your lips, I gaze beyond reason to find the oasis of your ruptured soul.

It would be beautiful, if only I could figure our what it means. More available at The Surrealist Compliment Generator.
Novena to the Sacred Heart, Day Eight

Begin with the Sign of the Cross.

Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart
Most sweet Jesus, whose overflowing charity for men is requited by so much forgetfulness, negligence and contempt, behold us prostrate before Thee, eager to repair by a special act of homage the cruel indifference and injuries to which Thy loving Heart is everywhere subject.

Mindful, alas! that we ourselves have had a share in such great indignities, which we now deplore from the depths of our hearts, we humbly ask Thy pardon and declare our readiness to atone by voluntary expiation, not only for our own personal offenses, but also for the sins of those, who, straying far from the path of salvation, refuse in their obstinate infidelity to follow Thee, their Shepherd and Leader, or, renouncing the promises of their baptism, have cast off the sweet yoke of Thy law.

We are now resolved to expiate each and every deplorable outrage committed against Thee; we are now determined to make amends for the manifold offenses against Christian modesty in unbecoming dress and behavior, for all the foul seductions laid to ensnare the feet of the innocent, for the frequent violations of Sundays and holydays, and the shocking blasphemies uttered against Thee and Thy Saints. We wish also to make amends for the insults to which Thy Vicar on earth and Thy priests are subjected, for the profanation, by conscious neglect or terrible acts of sacrilege, of the very crimes of nations who resist the rights and teaching authority of the Church which Thou hast founded.

Would that we were able to wash away such abominations with our blood. We now offer, in reparation for these violations of Thy divine honor, the satisfaction Thou once made to Thy Eternal Father on the Cross and which Thou continuest to renew daily on our Altars; we offer it in union with the acts of atonement of Thy Virgin Mother and all the Saints and of the pious faithful on earth; and we sincerely promise to make recompense, as far as we can with the help of Thy grace, for all neglect of Thy great love and for the sins we and others have committed in the past. Henceforth, we will live a life of unswerving faith, of purity of conduct, of perfect observance of the precepts of the Gospel and especially that of charity. We promise to the best of our power to prevent others from offending Thee and to bring as many as possible to follow Thee.

O loving Jesus, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mother, our model in reparation, deign to receive the voluntary offering we make of this act of expiation; and by the crowning gift of perseverance keep us faithful unto death in our duty and the allegiance we owe to Thee, so that we may all one day come to that happy home, where with the Father and the Holy Spirit Thou livest and reignest, God, forever and ever. Amen.

As we near the end of our novena, hopefully God has made us more aware of our weaknesses. Let us today beg of God a new beginning. By going to confession and receiving Communion devoutly, let us turn our thoughts and our love back to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Sacred Heart Novena Prayer (1)
Hail, O Sacred Heart of Jesus, living and animating source of eternal life, infinite treasure of the Divinity, burning furnace of divine love. Our amiable Savior, consume our hearts with that burning love with which Yours is ever inflamed. Pour down on our souls those graces which flow from Your love, and let our hearts be so united with Yours, that our will may be one, and in all things conformed to Yours. May Yours be the standard and rule of our desires and of our actions.
V: O sweetest Heart of Jesus, we implore,
R: That we may ever love You more and more.

Conclude with the Sign of the Cross.

(1) Father Hardon's Catholic Prayer Book with meditations. Eternal Life Publishing: Bardstown, KY. pg. 175-6.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004


I got the next series of questions up at A Dusty, Sunny Corner. I have been enjoying doing this book club, but I would like to see more comments. Ah, what can you do?

Also, I put up the next book selection up and I think most of our readers will be interested in reading this one.
Just like a lending Library...

I lent out my copy of Mark Shea's "Making Senses Out of Scriptures," and now I can't find the silly thing nor recall to whom I lent it. So, if you have it, please email me so that I can recover it. I am thinking seriously about using it as the next book for the book club.
As I suspected...
Inquisition Not So Widespread When will people finally learn how to understand history? You can't project your attitudes into the past. Maybe this will be a good start.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Novena to the Sacred Heart, Day Six

Begin with the Sign of the Cross.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, today I wish to live in You, in Your grace, in which I desire at all costs to persevere. Keep me from sin and strengthen my will by helping me to keep watch over my senses, my imagination, and my heart. Help me to correct my faults which are the source of sin. I beg You to do this, O Jesus, through Mary, Your Immaculate Mother.

Many people speak of the Catholic Faith as though it were something they could tuck into their pocket, something that they possess. Rather, we should desire to be possessed by the Faith, utterly absorbed by it, while at the same time never losing that unique identity that God has given us. As John Paul II pointed out in his letter, Redemptor Hominis, man cannot discover himself unless he discovers Christ. Today let us pray for a more zealous desire to love Christ and His Church. Let us also pray that whatever we do to harm communion with the universal Church, we will have the good sense to repent off.

Sacred Heart Novena Prayer (2)
Hail, O Sacred Heart of Jesus, living and animating source of eternal life, infinite treasure of the Divinity, burning furnace of divine love. Our amiable Savior, consume our hearts with that burning love with which Yours is ever inflamed. Pour down on our souls those graces which flow from Your love, and let our hearts be so united with Yours, that our will may be one, and in all things conformed to Yours. May Yours be the standard and rule of our desires and of our actions.
V: O sweetest Heart of Jesus, we implore,
R: That we may ever love You more and more.

Conclude with the Sign of the Cross.

(1)Father Hardon's Catholic Prayer Book with meditations. Eternal Life Publishing: Bardstown, KY. pg. 175.
(2) Father Hardon's Catholic Prayer Book with meditations. Eternal Life Publishing: Bardstown, KY. pg. 175-6.
Thank God for Lortab

I have been away from the blog because of particularly nasty back spasms. The doctor gave me Flexaril and Lortab. The Flex is a muscle relaxer and the Lortab is a pain pill. So after this post, and after I post to ADSC, I will be taking it easy and reading heavily.

Monday, June 14, 2004

How many bishops does it take... screw in a light bulb? I don't know the answer to that question and, to tell the truth, I am afraid to find out. But I do know it only takes one to install a pastor. Though I have been pastor for just over a month, the ritual installation took place this weekend as the bishop stopped in to assist with Masses before continuing his drive to the bishops' meeting near Denver. My family and a grade school/high school classmate came up from Oklahoma City for the installation. It was a simple ceremony, punctuated by the bishop's presentation of me to the parish, my leading of the flock in professing the Creed, and my signing of the profession of faith before the archbishop and the parish.

Afterwards, several parishioners, life-long Catholics, remarked to me, "I don't think I have ever seen such a ceremony before." With glee, I replied in each instance, "You probably haven't. It was the first time for me to see it too! It is a ceremony our bishop almost never does, but it exists and so I requested that during his already-scheduled visit to the parish, he make use of that ceremony. And he agreed." Especially in a time when dissent or simply vague profession of faith seems in vogue, I think the ceremony of installation is crucial because it is centered on the public profession of the Faith. In addition to the Creed normally recited at Mass, the pastor (or other cleric given an office to be exercised in the name of the Church) must add the following profession. I will type it here because I think upon reading it you will see how important it is that (1) each priest be required to publicly state it; and, (2) that our people, whose own profession of faith may need to be encouraged, hear their pastor make such a statement. It could lead to a wake-up call for each parishioner. At the end of the Creed the pastor adds:

With firm faith I also believe everything contained in God's Word, written or handed down in tradition and proposed by the Church, whether in solemn judgment or in ordinary and universal magisterium, as divinely revealed and calling for faith.
I also firmly accept and hold each and every thing that is proposed by the Church definitively regarding teaching on faith and morals.
Moreover, I adhere with religious submission of will and intellect to the teachings which either the Roman Pontiff or the college of bishops enunciate when they exercise the authentic magisterium even if they proclaim those teachings in an act that is not definitive.
"Under God"
A Supreme Court ruling today, Flag Day, allows the phrase "under God" to remain in our Nation's Pledge of Allegiance. I'm not sure that the ruling is much of a victory for the phrase because the Court's ruling seems to be based more on legal procedure or jurisdiction than the constitutional question itself. The Court found that the man who filed the lawsuit on behalf of his minor daughter did not have full custody of her and so could not legally speak or act on her behalf. Though concurring opinions written by other Justices seem to address the constitutional question, the matter, it seems to me, was decided outside of that realm.
Novena to the Sacred Heart, Day Five

Begin with the Sign of the Cross.

Triple Intention(1)
Eternal Father, I offer You the Sacred Heart of Jesus, with all its love, all its sufferings, and all its merits:
First -- To expiate all the sins I have committed this day and during all my life. Glory be to the Father...
Second -- To purify the good I have done badly this day and during all my life. Glory be to the Father...
Third -- To supply the good I ought to have done, and that I have neglected this day and during all my life. Glory be to the Father...

How good is the love of Jesus that He invites always to renew ourselves at the founts of His Most Sacred Heart! From this Heart, undiluted flows of grace, love, and unity with God most high. And in general, our response is in difference. Let us pray today for freedom from our sins and the hope to grow more perfectly united to the days that remain to us.

Sacred Heart Novena Prayer (2)
Hail, O Sacred Heart of Jesus, living and animating source of eternal life, infinite treasure of the Divinity, burning furnace of divine love. Our amiable Savior, consume our hearts with that burning love with which Yours is ever inflamed. Pour down on our souls those graces which flow from Your love, and let our hearts be so united with Yours, that our will may be one, and in all things conformed to Yours. May Yours be the standard and rule of our desires and of our actions.
V: O sweetest Heart of Jesus, we implore,
R: That we may ever love You more and more.

Conclude with the Sign of the Cross.

(1)Father Hardon's Catholic Prayer Book with meditations. Eternal Life Publishing: Bardstown, KY. pg. 175.
(2) Father Hardon's Catholic Prayer Book with meditations. Eternal Life Publishing: Bardstown, KY. pg. 175-6.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Novena to the Sacred Heart, Day Four

Begin with the Sign of the Cross.

Eucharistic Heart (1)
O most sacred, most loving Heart of Jesus, Thou are concealed in the Holy Eucharist, and Thou beatest for us still. Now, as then, Thou sayest, "With desire, I have desired." I worship Thee, then, with all my best love and awe, with my fervant affection, with my most subdued, most resolved will.

O my God, when Thou dost condescend to suffer me to receive Thee, to eat and drink Thee, and Thou for a while takest up thy abode within Me, O make my heart beat with Thy Heart. Purify it of all that is earthly,all that is proud and sensual, all that is hard and cruel, of all perversity, of all disorder, of all deadness. So fill it with Thee, that neither the events of the day nor the circumstances of the time may have any power to ruffle it, but that in Thy Love and Thy fear it may have peace. Amen.

Sacred Heart Novena Prayer (2)
Hail, O Sacred Heart of Jesus, living and animating source of eternal life, infinite treasure of the Divinity, burning furnace of divine love. Our amiable Savior, consume our hearts with that burning love with which Yours is ever inflamed. Pour down on our souls those graces which flow from Your love, and let our hearts be so united with Yours, that our will may be one, and in all things conformed to Yours. May Yours be the standard and rule of our desires and of our actions.
V: O sweetest Heart of Jesus, we implore,
R: That we may ever love You more and more.

Conclude with the Sign of the Cross.

(1)Father Hardon's Catholic Prayer Book with meditations. Eternal Life Publishing: Bardstown, KY. pg. 174.
(2) Father Hardon's Catholic Prayer Book with meditations. Eternal Life Publishing: Bardstown, KY. pg. 175-6.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Novena to the Sacred Heart, Day Three

Begin with the Sign of the Cross.

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought they intercession, was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To thee I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen. (N.B. A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who reverently recite the Memorare.)

Without Mary, there is no Incarnation. Without the Incarnation, there is no manifestation of the Love of God embodied in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. During this time of meditation, thank Mary for her "yes" to the decrees of the Lord. Pray that you can have a Heart like hers and Her Son's. Especially, remember those who are estranged and distant from their families.

Sacred Heart Novena Prayer (2)
Hail, O Sacred Heart of Jesus, living and animating source of eternal life, infinite treasure of the Divinity, burning furnace of divine love. Our amiable Savior, consume our hearts with that burning love with which Yours is ever inflamed. Pour down on our souls those graces which flow from Your love, and let our hearts be so united with Yours, that our will may be one, and in all things conformed to Yours. May Yours be the standard and rule of our desires and of our actions.
V: O sweetest Heart of Jesus, we implore,
R: That we may ever love You more and more.

Conclude with the Sign of the Cross.

(1)Father Hardon's Catholic Prayer Book with meditations. Eternal Life Publishing: Bardstown, KY. pg. 211.
(2) Father Hardon's Catholic Prayer Book with meditations. Eternal Life Publishing: Bardstown, KY. pg. 175-6.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Reflections on Reagan
I stridently avoid any hint of canonization at funerals. The reality of the matter of death is that the death of a person is the death of a sinner needing redemption, no matter how good he was. (Notice the issue of the passing of the Blessed Virgin Mary was the passing of one already redeemed beforehand by special grace from God.) So, please don't take these words as a canonization. I do find it interesting however that Reagan's funeral coincides with a certain selection in the Liturgy of the Hours, the Office of Readings for St. Barnabas, which begins: "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden." How many times have we heard that phrase this week? How many times have we been reminded that it was a motto of sorts for Reagan's optimism for our country?

It seems to me, with the death of Ronald Reagan we have the passing of a genuinely decent gentleman. As I watched the extensive coverage and saw images of him from the past, I couldn't help but recall my maternal grandfather (the only one I ever knew). That generation of people born in the early 1900's certainly seemed to produce some fine moral character. Reagan was credited with it. I know my grandfather possessed it. Of course, that generation had its share of evil too. I pray history may eventually look back on my generation and note it more for its good moral character than a deficiency thereof; though, I fear much work must be done before that can happen.

The pageantry surrounding the funeral rites was majestic, beautiful, and moving. Seeing so many of the world's leaders, current and past, gathered in a House of God, singing hymns of faith really inspired me and made me hope that the conversion of each of them continues on course, as it must for me too. For some reason, I was really intrigued by the images of world leaders contemporary with Reagan as they stood near his coffin lying in state in the Capitol rotunda. They most suredly thought back to the days Reagan walked the earth with them. Did they recall high level meetings, tense diplomacy, and former power? Facing his coffin, did they wonder what it all amounted to, how it would be judged by history and, more importantly, by God? Did they think of the day, no doubt coming soon, when they would be placed inside a coffin? The tributes to Reagan and to Nancy were quite dear. I thought the current President Bush did a fine job with his eulogy.

I have really felt drawn to watch the many events surrounding America's farewell to President Reagan. I don't know why. It doesn't feel like I am glued to the TV simply because it is "an historic moment". I don't think I am watching just to take note of the intricacies of State funerals. I wasn't very politically aware during Reagan's presidency, so I don't think I am watching due to any party nostalgia. But I am drawn. Perhaps it is because his presidency was at a time when I was just beginning to take a bit more note of politics (I was starting high school at the end of his terms). It was a time that seemed more simple than today. A time when I could still fairly safely be naive. A time I wish, in many ways, would return but cannot. The "why" of this week's hold on me remains a mystery. And maybe your experience of this week is the same, though perhaps for different reasons.

I have also marveled at the ability of a public figure to make such seemingly personal connections with ordinary people he never actually met. Seeing the many faces of citizens weeping along Constitution Avenue and among the crowds at the airports made me ask, how? How does a public figure do that? What is it about a personality, a charisma, that can elicit such strong emotional reactions from strangers? And is it really the figure of Reagan and his passing that is responsible for those reactions, or is it more an emotional reaction in honor of Nancy and those President Reagan leaves behind? A curious matter.

Oh, and to lighten the mood a bit, no offense intended to the Navy, but I think it really got the short end of the stick when it comes to cool uniforms!
Indulging in Opera, Part One

In the mail yesterday arrived my copy of Bryn Terfel singing Wagner arias. Selections on this album are from "The Flying Dutchman," "The Master Singer of Nuremberg," "Tannhauser," and "Parsifal." The liner notes are quite good as they give a snapshot of the operas in question and show a connection between all of the characters featured. In this collection, we are dealing the imperfect hero seeking redemption.

This is the first step in my efforts to better appreciate Opera as an art form. Many critics would say that Wagner represents essentially the last stage of evolution before the art form begins to change into operetta and musical theater. So, as with so many aspects of my life, I am beginning bass-ackward.

I must admit how stirring and dramatic and powerful Wagner's orchestrations are. They remind me of what the soundtrack to a thunderstorm should be. It also becomes clear to me why Hitler would find this music inspiring to his vision of a new Germany. But that's beside the point.

So here's a thank you to the Meisterlehrer Cacciaguida for his most useful notes. More updates as I learn the music...
I don't think this is what is meant by "the Church militant"

Church Uses Boot Camp To Teach Discipline. Funny how the Baptists can accuse Catholics of having corrupted the faith with pagan influence when at the drop of a hat they will import any secular model into the general practice of their local congregation. *Roll of the eyes*
Novena to the Sacred Heart, Day Two

Begin with the Sign of the Cross.

King of the Universe (1)
O Christ Jesus, I acknowledge You king of the universe. All that has been created has been made for You. Exercise upon me all Your rights.

I renew my baptismal promises renouncing Satan and all his works and pomps. I promise to live a good Christian life and to do all in my power to procure the triumph of the rights of God and Your Church.

Divine Heart of Jesus, I offer You my poor actions in order to obtain that all hearts may acknowledge Your sacred royalty and that thus the reign of Your peace may be established throughout the universe. Amen.

Pause to reflect on how you could more perfectly surrender yourself to Christ, our Eternal King. Consider all the people you have hurt or imperfectly served because you were too wrapped up in trying to be king of the Universe. Ask Jesus for forgiveness for your sins and for the graces necessary to overcome them. At this time, you may mention your particular intentions for this novena.

Sacred Heart Novena Prayer (2)
Hail, O Sacred Heart of Jesus, living and animating source of eternal life, infinite treasure of the Divinity, burning furnace of divine love. Our amiable Savior, consume our hearts with that burning love with which Yours is ever inflamed. Pour down on our souls those graces which flow from Your love, and let our hearts be so united with Yours, that our will may be one, and in all things conformed to Yours. May Yours be the standard and rule of our desires and of our actions.
V: O sweetest Heart of Jesus, we implore,
R: That we may ever love You more and more.

Conclude with the Sign of the Cross.

(1)Father Hardon's Catholic Prayer Book with meditations. Eternal Life Publishing: Bardstown, KY. pg. 174.
(2) Father Hardon's Catholic Prayer Book with meditations. Eternal Life Publishing: Bardstown, KY. pg. 175-6.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Umm, the devil made me do it?

Glad to see that the outside of this guy didn't match the inside.
I told you could fix anything with that stuff!

I am sure that a dozen home repair shows are waiting to snap her up.
Novena to the Sacred Heart, Day One

Begin with the Sign of the Cross.

In the Eucharist(1)
Lord Jesus Christ, in union with that divine intention by which on earth You offered to God Your praises through Your most Sacred Heart, and now offer them in the sacrament of the Eucharist everywhere on earth even to the end of time, I most gladly offer You throughout this day all my thoughts and intentions, all my affections and desires, all my words and deeds, in imitation of the most sacred heart of the blessed and ever Virgin Mary Immaculate. Amen.

The most basic posture of man before the mystery of the Holy Eucharist is thanksgiving. Spend some time in quiet reflection considering every good thing God gives and every difficult trial God permits you to suffer.

Sacred Heart Novena Prayer (2)
Hail, O Sacred Heart of Jesus, living and animating source of eternal life, infinite treasure of the Divinity, burning furnace of divine love. Our amiable Savior, consume our hearts with that burning love with which Yours is ever inflamed. Pour down on our souls those graces which flow from Your love, and let our hearts be so united with Yours, that our will may be one, and in all things conformed to Yours. May Yours be the standard and rule of our desires and of our actions.
V: O sweetest Heart of Jesus, we implore,
R: That we may ever love You more and more.

Conclude with the Sign of the Cross.

(1)Father Hardon's Catholic Prayer Book with meditations. Eternal Life Publishing: Bardstown, KY. pg. 173-4.
(2) Father Hardon's Catholic Prayer Book with meditations. Eternal Life Publishing: Bardstown, KY. pg. 175-6.
All the News that is not News

Well, it isn't news to us who strive to remain in full communion (thanks, Fr. H for the reminder). I received this news report for ZENIT via email. A tip of the biretta to Marie Steine for sending it my way. Ah, I love the smell of episcopal dope slaps.

U.S. Cardinal: Lay Ministers Should Be in Sync With Church

CHICAGO, JUNE 10, 2004 ( Catholic lay ministers who
disagree with the Church's teachings should not be allowed to assist in
distributing Communion, according to a letter reportedly sent by Cardinal
Francis George to pastors in his archdiocese.

"If a minister should manifest his/her disagreement with Church
teaching, he/she should not continue in active ministry until such time that
the minister is reconciled to the Church's teaching," wrote Cardinal
George, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Though this has been the policy of the archdiocese all along, Cardinal
George said earlier this month he was writing in response to questions
posed to the Church and in the media recently, the newspaper said.

In Arizona, meanwhile, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix said that
Catholic politicians who unambiguously support abortion "rights" should not
receive Communion, the Arizona Republic reported today.

But he declined to say he would deny Communion to politicians who do
not follow Church teaching on abortion, the newspaper said.

Asked what he would do if John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic
candidate for president who is a Catholic and pro-abortion, came to him for
Communion, the leader of the Phoenix Diocese told the newspaper: "If he
asked about it, I would tell him he should not receive Communion."

Just as a side note, I think it is really interesting how much Olmstead has stressed that the pro-choice candidate must himself choose to refrain from receiving Holy Communion. Could it be that His Excellency is trying *GASP* to form people's consciences. Run for cover, folks. It's the Apocalypse...(just kidding...I really don't know when that will be...really...stop asking...)
(Un-)Planned Parenthood Visit
Fr. Tharp told me to blog on this. The event I will describe took place at my first assignment, some three years ago. First you need to know something about me. Every once in a while I get really sassy. I don't know if it is a full moon or misplaced zeal, or what... but it happens. A wild idea will come to my mind and, presuming it is not contrary to divine and civil law, I go for it. This story is one such example.

I was driving back to the parish and glanced over to see the Planned Parenthood local office. I had passed by it many times before, but today the wild hair sprung! So, I turned around and parked in front of it. I walked inside the office into the waiting area. A young couple was seated there (I was glad I did not recognize them as parishioners). Folks, remember I was in Roman collar. You should have seen the looks. I stepped up to the sliding window (much like a doctor's office) and asked the receptionist if they had any information about what Planned Parenthood is and what they do. She disappeared for a bit and returned with a few pamphlets, pointing to one she described as their best one. She was clearly taken aback by my presence. She handed me the pamphlets and, I am sure, she expected me to leave. Instead, I just stood there and proceeded to SLOWLY thumb through the pamphlets, reading them, searching for buzz words. The phone rang and she answered it, occasionally quickly glancing up at me as if to ascertain whether I might be leaving soon. As she spoke, I noticed a sign attached to her glass window notifying patrons of an office policy regarding children playing in the lobby (I'll save what it said for the end because it is the punch line).

When she hung up the phone, I began asking her questions. I went directly for the jugular asking, "You don't give referrals for abortions, do you?" She responded, "We offer confidential, professional advice about all the options available to those who come to us." I said, "Oh, I see." Then I raised my hand to that sign I had seen, tapping on it as I said, "It sort of makes this sign rather ironic then, doesn't it?" The sign read: "WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR CHILDREN." Then I turned and walked out.
Thick with irony
I came across a business card for the pastor of the First Christian Church, part of the ecclesial community known as the Disciples of Christ. On the back of the card was a statement that made me howl with laughter, so thick with irony was it. It reads in part:

This mainline Protestant denomination centers faith not in a creed but in Christ, allowing plenty of room for differing personal beliefs."

Well, there is at least honesty to their credit. The negative formation "not in a creed" is certainly true to the character of being one who protests. Now considering the origin of the word "disciple", its link to being a follower, adhering to and spreading the teachings of another, and the derivative word "discipline", what can it possibly mean to claim to be a disciple while at the same time not having a common system of beliefs. For, ultimately, that's what "allowing plenty of room for differing personal beliefs" means. How can one be a disciple when there is no discipline?

And the final point I want to make: Though the business card pretends to center faith in Christ without creeds, isn't the brief statement precisely that? A creed? And still more, how can one have a belief about someone or something without at the same time having a statement about one's belief? I mean, to take a mundane example, I believe bologna is evil. So, with such belief, I must necessarily make a statement when presented with the idea of eating bologna: No to bolgona; yes to real meat. Hhhmmm. Bologna. The irony is thicker still!
Bardot Convicted of Inciting Racial Hatred

I am can she be so insensitive?! Oh, I know...because she is paying attention to details.

Mustn't make a joke...must resist evil temptation...
Posted by Hello
I was blind, but now I see.

We received sad news that Ray Charles Robinson died today. His life was filled with tragedy and difficulty. He was a talented musician and a profound gift to the world of music. Granted, he wasn't an angel by any stretch of the imagination with a history of drug abuse and frequent womanizing. May God have mercy on him and all the faithful departed.
What is it worth to you?

I often hear good, faithful Catholics lament that there are no opportunities for them to be better formed in the Catholic Faith. Fair enough; there ought to be more. But what if something was right under your nose? What would you be willing to sacrifice to go?

The Fifth Annual Midwest Family Life Conference will take place on August 6-8, 2004 in Wichita, KS. Last year's conference was great and this year's is shaping up to be more of the same. The conference's theme this year is "Be Not Afraid: Open Your Heart to Christ the Savior." The list of featured speakers is long with some notable names among them such as Fr. Andrew Apostoli, C.F.R., Jason Evert, Jeff Cavins, Tim Staples, et al. Did I mention there will a concert by John Michael Talbot and a one woman performance on the life of Saint Therese. There are programs also for high school, jr. high, and children. This way, you really are discovering the depths of the Faith as a family. Also, the show floor has some of the best in Catholic literature for sale. I have to hide my credit cards before I go, lest I permanently bankrupt myself. Also, since St. Joseph's Communications helps to put this on, tapes of ALL the talks are available at reasonable prices.

Now, let's talk practical stuff. As far as travel time goes, I sat down with a map and estimated that most people would be willing to drive 8 hours to get to Wichita for such a great conference. So along the outer ring of cities would be: Sioux Falls, SD; Des Moines, IA; Kansas City (both versions); Little Rock, AR; Dallas, TX; Abilene, TX; Lubbock, TX; Colorado Springs, CO; and Denver, CO. If you are inside this ring, then you are less than 8 hours from the conference. How much does it cost? If you register before July 22, then the cost $80.00 for each family, $70.00 for married couples, $35.00 for each adult, $30.00 for each senior citizen, and $15.00 for each child/teen. That's for the WHOLE WEEKEND! That's a steal! Hotel costs of course vary but the average is about $70.00 a night.

Call to Register at 877.526.2151 or online. Tell 'em the Ragemonkey sent you!

I'm not sure this is what was meant by using all means of social communication to spread the Gospel, but maybe I am mistaken. On the other hand, it makes a very good point clearly.
Posted by Hello
I’ll spare him the research

Since Fr. Hamilton is busy, presumably, with being the pastor of the largest parish, territorily speaking, in the Archdiocese, I thought I might pinch hit for him for a moment. In his post, “Communion with Christ,” a couple of people commented on having the baptism of the child delayed due to not having adequate godparents. Lydia asks this: I was very surprised (to put it mildly) that anyone would consider teaching on "parenting and Catholic faith" who waited almost a year before having her own child baptized. The CCC makes it clear that "The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless gift of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth." (CCC 1250) The Code of Canon Law puts it this way: "Parents are obliged to take care that infants are baptized in the first few weeks..." (CIC 867). I may be wrong about this, but I think godparents are not an absolute necessity for baptism. On the other hand, Baptism is so important that Canon Law considers it licit in the case of an infant in danger of death, even if the parents are non-Catholic and even against their will. This led me to ask “are godparents mandatory for a baptism to take place?” Please permit me to dog my fingers for a moment for an answer.

First, we need to make a distinction between “delaying” and “denying.” For some reason, when people hear the words “not now,” they immediately understand them as “no, not ever.” (It must be our microwave-instant gratification culture at work.) This is not the case. While the Church recognizes the great gift of Baptism, the Church also understands that the sacrament is not magic. On the part of parents and godparents, preparation must be undertaken so that the sacrament’s graces may be realized in the child (cf. Canon 851, degree 2). In canon 868, paragraph 1, degree 2, we are advised that for a baptism to be lawful “there be a realistic hope that the child will be brought up in the Catholic religion. If such hope is truly lacking, the baptism is, in accordance with the provisions of particular law, to be deferred and the parents advised of the reason for this.” The Church understands that, all things being equal, every effort is to be made to insure that the celebration of Baptism is not merely functional, but leads to a true change in the daily life of the person requesting Baptism or the parents forming the children they have baptized.

Second, the comparison Lydia makes with normal situations and situations where the danger of death is present limps a little. The Church recognizes, with all due charity and common sense, that when death is imminent, all bets are off. Only the most serious matters cannot be overlooked; otherwise the person is to receive the sacraments, especially Baptism, for the good of their salvation. Therefore, to compare emergency situations with normal every day situations doesn’t really work.

Now to the specific matter. Are godparents strictly necessary for Baptism to take place? Canon 872 addresses this issue. It says: “In so far as possible, a person being baptized is to be assigned a sponsor. In the case of an adult baptism, the sponsor’s role is to assist the person in Christian initiation. In the case of an infant baptism, the role is together with the parents to present the child for baptism, and to help it to live a Christian life befitting the baptized and faithfully to fulfill the duties inherent in Baptism.” The Commentary on the Codex from the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland adds this salient point: “A person who is to be baptized is to be assigned a sponsor ‘in so far as possible.’ Under normal circumstances this will always be possible, but in danger of death or other similar difficult circumstances it may not be (CIC Commentary – GB/I pg. 481).” So under normal circumstances, a child is to have a godparent although it is not absolutely forbidden not to. Since the practice of having sponsors and godparents for the newly baptized extends back to the earliest days of the Church, it is a practice that should be respected more than avoided. This also suggests to me that when parents are selecting godparents, they ought to be looking for the best candidate available, and not merely dispensing it as though it was a nepotistic spoil.

One of our commentators mentioned that they couldn’t find a godparent because they were new in the area and most of their family were not Catholic. This is a situation envisioned by the Code as well. In Canon 874, paragraph 1, degree 1 notes that a godparent can be selected by the parish priest if the need arises. While it is not as intimate a connection, it can be a very good way to encourage a newly arrived couple to think of the parish as their new home. I would imagine this would be especially true for immigrants and people newly arrived in the U.S. This suggests that in normal circumstances, before a baptism takes place, every effort should be made to find a suitable sponsor for the one to be baptized.

So in the end, I think you have to say, that having a godparent is a good idea, and is strongly encouraged, but if a serious enough reason arose, then this absence of godparent is not a diriment impediment to administering the sacrament.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Did you all forget?

Forget what?, you ask. Forget to check out A Dusty, Sunny Corner and Apologize and Don't Be Sorry. There is new stuff up at both. I gathered from the lack of response at ADSC that WWII is not exciting material for everyone. But the eschatological hijinks continue at AADBS as we consider briefly the reality of purgatory. Also, I think I am going to start working on some posts about the moral implications of voting and posting them there. They will be very provisional and meant only to stimulate conversation and hopefully to sketch out the large outline of the question. Other smarter folks will have to flesh out my poor thoughts, if they are worth the effort. I'll keep you posted.
Can I get a "Boo-Yah!"?

Tonight was the first night of the Borromeo Project in Alva. This class is the small one, only four participants. For the most part it went well, but I felt like I talked too much. I may need to keep a stopwatch of my talking or something like that. It is very rewarding to see people start to get excited about learning the Faith.

Anyway, to fulfill my role in the universe as "theological crack dealer," I thought I would give you all a little taste of the Borromeo Project, just so you can get a sense of what it is like. Now remember, you do these sessions by yourself in preparation for a group discussion once a week. So, here are days one and two of week two, first term of the Borromeo Project. Paragraph numbers refer to the CCC.

The opening and closing prayers are recited as one begins and concludes one's time of study.
Opening Prayer:

Let us Pray:
O my God, I firmly believe that you are one God in three divine Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; I believe that your divine Son became man and died for our sins, and that he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, because you revealed them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived.

Closing Prayer:

Let us pray:
O My God, I love you above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because you are all-good and worthy of all love. I love my neighbor as myself for the love of you. I forgive all who injured me and ask pardon of all whom I have injured.

Week 2, Day 1

Step One: Preparation for Study
A. Begin by making the Sign of The Cross
B. Recite the Opening Prayer: See Page 14

Step Two: Reading
Read Paragraphs #84 – 95

Step Three: Time for Reflection
A. Reflection Questions:
1. Whose task is it to give definite interpretations of the meaning of Sacred Scripture and Tradition? What is the obligation of the faithful in reference to these definitive interpretations?
2. Define a dogma. By whose authority does the Church define these things?
3. What relationship does a dogma have with our spiritual life?
4. List three ways in which the Church deepens and perfects her faith as found in the Catechism.
5. True or False: The Magisterium of the Church is not necessary for our salvation. Why?

B. Time for Meditation – Spend a few minutes reflecting upon what you have learned and what God might be trying to direct you to do. List a few of them below.

Step Four: Conclusion of Study
A. Recite the Closing Prayer: See Page 14
B. Finish by making the Sign of The Cross

Week 2, Day 2

Step One: Preparation for Study
A. Begin by making the Sign of The Cross
B. Recite the Opening Prayer: See Page 14

Step Two: Reading
Read Paragraphs #101 – 108

Step Three: Time for Reflection
A. Reflection Questions:
1. How can we think of the writing of the Sacred Scriptures as an “incarnational” act?
2. What kind of truth does the Sacred Scriptures teach and for what purpose is it given?
3. When were the Sacred Scriptures brought together in one book, the Holy Bible? What “age” do we rely upon for the canon of Sacred Scripture?
4.Who is the primary author of the Sacred Scriptures? What role do the human authors play in the composition of the sacred texts?
5. Is Christianity a religion of the Book like Islam and Judaism? How do they differ from those religions that also possess a sacred text?

B. Time for Meditation – Spend a few minutes reflecting upon what you have learned and what God might be trying to direct you to do. List a few of them below.

Step Four: Conclusion of Study
A. Recite the Closing Prayer: See Page 14
B. Finish by making the Sign of The Cross

Does that whet your appetite?
I knew the Canadian Health Care System cared more for its patients

All I can say is, "I hope I get sick in Saskatoon sometime soon." Canada Agency Buys Starbucks for Hospital. I wonder if they would deliver to my room...
When will the madness end?

Those crazy folks at Angry Alien have struck again. After seeing the original in the theater, this is a marked improvement. I give you Titanic in 30 seconds with bunnies. Enjoy!
First Lady "knocks one out of the park!"
I saw an interview with the First Lady this morning on the Today Show. In discussing the death of President Reagan, the news bimbo mentioned that Nancy Reagan has become an advocate for Alzheimer's research and that her opinion on the use of stem cells to find a cure has differed from the opinion of President Bush. Laura Bush responded that she herself has been an advocate for Alzheimer's research for years, since her own father, who suffered from Alzheimer's, died. She said, "We all want to find a cure" and, quoting roughly, "We have to balance science with moral and ethical concerns over the use of embryonic stem cells. Adult stem cells do exist for this research. We all want to find a cure."

First Lady 1
News Bimbo 0

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Wait! Does this mean the Pope does have an army?

More lovely information to confound the modern media. Pope Pius XII, pray for us.
Strong enough for a woman; unsafe for chimps

Here's a big "secret" (get it? the title again). Contraceptives are harmful. I am so pleased to see research starting to come together. Here's my noodle scratcher for the day. Even after all the horrible effects of contraceptives come to light, will this lead people to stop using them?

(Via Alicia of Fructus Ventris)
Communion with Christ
I have been pastor for just a bit more than a month now. It has been very exciting and, in some cases, rather frustrating. Sort of like life, huh? In my pastoral field I can already see that I will need to make a public statement (perhaps by letter to the parish or my pastor's column in the bulletin) about what it means to be in communion with Christ. No, I'm not dealing with pro-abort politicians here. This is much farther down the chain of subsidiarity. I have encountered serious misunderstandings about communion with Christ through a few fevered attempts to force my hand in approving certain persons for the role of godparent, when in fact the persons in question are not eligible for the role. In addition to some teaching about the godparent's role, I need to state some of the particulars of a Catholic's full communion with Christ.

(1) Ecclesial communion: Christ does not call followers in isolation. He calls disciples to be his followers, and not his "autocephalous" followers, but followers in a band of followers. From the very beginning of Christ's public ministry, we find him gathering followers in a group, including his most intimate band, the Apostles. He established his Church to continue this work of gathering the harvest. Especially for us who live so many ages after Christ, we do not and cannot hear the message and call of Christ if not for the preaching of his band, the Church. Scripture teaches us that this band of followers is indeed Christ's Body. Therefore communion with Christ is not an isolated, "Me and Jesus" affair. Communion with Christ is necessarily wrapped up with communion with his Church. One who rejects the Church is not in full communion with Christ.

(2) Doctrinal communion: There must be a communion of faith if one is truly in communion with Christ. Christ teaches us in Scripture, and the Church, guided by his Spirit of Truth, continues to teach and explain revealed Truth to disciples and to the whole world. Jesus says to his first followers, "He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me" (Lk. 10:16). This can be so because Jesus' Church is guided by his own Spirit Who takes from what is Christ's and hands it on to the Church (cf. Jn. 16:12-15). This guarantee of authenticity for the Church's teaching is not based on the human merits of those who occupy the office of teacher. Thus, communion with Christ is effected by communion with Christ's teaching as found in Scripture, but also by communion with Christ's teaching as found in his Church. One who does not profess Catholic Faith is not in full communion with Christ.

(3) Moral communion: Communion with Christ can also be seen, perhaps most visibly, by the style of one's life. There is a moral component to communion with Christ. One could be seen in the gathering of Christ's Church (say, at Holy Mass) and one could claim the same confession of Catholic Faith, but how one lives speaks volumes about the authenticity of the other hallmarks of communion. If one is not living in accord with Christian morality, one is not in full communion with Christ.

When there is a deficiency in any or all of these hallmarks, full communion with Christ does not exist. When such deficiency is a matter of public knowledge, one can also be publicly excluded from full communion, most especially the visible participation of reception of Holy Communion.

I have already encountered some surprise from someone who is cohabiting when I refuse to allow that person to serve as a godparent. I have even heard from that person's family. "But," the argument goes, "we have been members here for such-and-such number of years, we come to Mass, we are registered here, and have always been Catholic..." In other words, they have a mistaken notion that communion is based almost exclusively on whether a person is seen at Mass, or whether somewhere in their past the Church means something to them, or whether the Parish Office knows their mailing address. Mere attendance at Mass, as important as attendance at Mass is, is not the litmus test for full communion. In the case that prompted these thoughts, the moral aspect is missing. The person thinks that, despite the cohabitation, as long as a marriage hasn't taken place outside of the Church, it is all okay. I have to inform the person that a marriage contrary to the laws of the Church would indeed be a problem, but so is cohabiting outside of marriage. Both are public moral matters that demonstrate a person is not in full communion with Christ. Therefore, such a person is in no way eligible to serve as a godparent for another soul, taking on the responsibility of imparting the very spiritual life the person himself is not living.

To put in bluntly, and in natural or physical parental terms (as an analogy for a godparent), if you don't have certain functioning equipment, you can't impart physical life. Likewise, imparting spiritual life by service as a godparent requires the full package of communion with Christ, the giver of that spiritual life.
I knew this was coming
I have been waiting for these words: The Holy Father's telegram to Mrs. Reagan on the death of her husband.

Monday, June 07, 2004

'Tis a pity: Part II
This post has nothing to do with Fr. Tharp's previous one of the same title. However, the title fits my post too. I just saw something on the news that caught my eye. It is a seemingly small matter, but, then again, if it is so small and simple, why isn't it obvious? I really hope there is a simple explanation for this that I am overlooking. I don't want to make fun of someone nor harp on something that may have been a one time mistake, but here we go...

I just saw footage of the Governor of California paying respects to President Ronald Reagan. The footage showed the Governor making the sign of the Cross. I was delighted as I saw him begin to make the sign. But immediately, my expectations were dashed. After touching his forehead and chest, he then moved to his right shoulder first, followed by the left. Perhaps he hails from an Eastern Catholic Rite. But if not, why can't an adult Latin Rite Catholic AT LEAST know how to make the sign of the Cross?

Lord, help us!

If we only followed our own advice....But then again if we did, there wouldn't be much point for you to read this blog.
Posted by Hello
What Do Fidel Castro, Greg Palast, and Chris Hitchens have in common?

They are the deplorable masters of bad taste and political saber rattling all for the comfort of their egos. I am sooooo glad that these men and the media outlets they represent finally are here to remind me of how terrible Reagan really was. I am sooooo happy that two foreigners can inform me of the failures of a former president. By the way, Mr. Castro, how goes the systematic refusal of religious and political freedoms to the people you govern? I know that finding salvation in a political power is wrong; I hope these guys figure it out as well.

'Tis a Pity

Well, I have been meaning to mention this for the last several days, but I received word back from Ignatius Press. They have turned down the Borromeo Project. Frankly, I am not surprised by this as I know they tried to make a foray into adult formation curriculum that didn't pan out. I must admit that at least the rejection letter was hand-signed and not terribly impersonal. On a past occasion, I received a rejection letter from another publisher where you could clearly see the imprint of the rubber stamp used to emboss the signature. On a side note, I did receive an email from someone at the Press who thought that the project is a good idea, but that they were not the publishers. I can understand that. Once bitten, twice shy.

Now, you may be asking yourself, "If you suspected, Father, that they would say "no", then why did you even send it to them?" I sent it to Ignatius because I respect and appreciate the work they do. If you were to examine my shelves, you would find that a great number of my books are from IP. The works they have published have been very influential in my life and my formation as a priest. As a matter of fact, when I see a book is published by Ignatius, I take it as a stamp of orthodoxy. So, I wanted the BP to be part of that stable of most excellent works. Is that so wrong?

Thank you for all your prayers during these last two months while I waited to hear back. I think that I will farm this out to Our Sunday Visitor or Liturgical Training Publications. Before you flood my comments box, the person from Ignatius mentioned that Cardinal George was looking for a way to turn around LTP and that the BP might be a good way to start that. If only I had some sense of how involved he was with LTP's editorial board...

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Solemnity of the Holy Trinity, Year C

There is actually an overlap between the commemoration of D-Day's 60th anniversary and the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity. When I think about what those brave soldiers did on that day, braving death diving out of airplanes, offering themselves up on the altars of the foreign shores of Normandy, staggering through the hedgerows which impeded everything they were told to do, I can think of only one motive. That motive is love. Even those German forces who had the living tar pounded out of them, I suspect the motive was the same. In the German forces, a large part of the enlisted infantry were conscripted Poles, Romanians, and other folks the Germans had run rough-shod over. They knew to flee meant a bullet in the back from their commanders, but all they wanted to do was go home and be free. So, pushed from the front and pinned from the back, these men opposed our fighting men, but I don't think it was happily, and I am more than certain that they did not endorse what the higher-ups of the Nazi government were up to.

The Trinity is the same way. The inner economy of their existence is translated into their external economy of action in the world. So, Creation becomes an expression of the Father's desire to love another and to show His care and solicitude for it. The Son's redemptive death is love poured out for us. The Spirit's sanctification is love rebuilding the one redeemed to be the image of the love that saved Humanity. In short, the Love which binds the Trinity together is not just for the three persons to share; it leaves a thumb print on everything it touches. That's why I particularly like this version of the Trinity rendered by El Greco.

The crossover extends to us as well. If we have been redeemed, then we are remade in the image of the Son, restored to the image and likeness of God, and therefore must live in the world as a participant in the life of the Trinity. In Heaven, the beatific vision will be unveiled before our "eyes". For now, in this life, the vision peeks through the edges of reality, making itself felt and known even now. But just as the Trinity and the soldiers of D-Day share in works exemplified by love, we know this life to be a trying battlefield. Oh, I know, the poet would have us overlook this, but the battle remains. We must strive against our foes (our sins, our vices, and our Ancient Enemy) and fight in the hard scrabble soil of our souls. In this day and age, we need not just the Theological and Moral Virtues to live the Christian Faith. We must have courage if we are live in the light of the Holy Trinity.
Papal Ally Dead
Rest in Peace, Ronald.
This is how we communicate with each other at Catholic Ragemonkey:

Finally the recognition we deserve!
Actually no, but this story's title is too strange a coincidence not to take note of it. CRM For Consumer Goods This reminds me. Have you picked up your Ragemonkey merchandise? Remember all proceeds go to support Rachel's Vineyard and Catholic Answers.
Clay Aiken Launches Solo Tour This Summer

Hey, this would be a great ordination anniversary gift for Fr. Hamilton whose fifth anniversary is coming up soon. I am sure he would appreciate it deeply.
Techmonkey Dave here.

Fr. Hamilton and Fr. Tharp visited the Daveshack tonight after the ordination mass. Snacks were eaten, Guiness was quaffed, jokes were cracked. A good time was had by all, and we will soon have photographic proof that there are indeed two Ragemonkeys.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Truly beautiful...
I have just read the words of President Bush to Pope John Paul II, in particular the words inscribed on the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which the President bestowed upon the Pope today. The words are truly beautiful. May more people recognize the truth of the words accompanying this honor given to the Pope!
So Long and Thanks for All the Fish

Tonight, the Archbishop will ordain two men to the priesthood of Jesus Christ. Their names are Rev. Mr. Kirk Larkin and Rev. Mr. Rex Arnold. If you think of it, please pray for them today and in the weeks to come.

I am headed out the door so that I can speed down to the city for the festivities, plus go to confession and do some banking. So, this is it for today. Talk to you tomorrow.