Friday, August 28, 2009

A Word on Senator Kennedy and American Catholics

We all struggle with sin. The difference is when someone consistently and obstinately, with a full consent of the will, advocates those things that are directly contradictory to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. Not only that, but when one uses one's status in society to advocate that which is in direct opposition to the Church's message. Many American Catholics find themselves in a situation similar to Senator Kennedy, namely that they do not believe all that the Church teaches. Let me be the first to say "that's okay" on some things. But there are other things that cannot, will not, and should not change. They're just not up for discussion because they are inherently evil and the Bride of Christ just isn't into Evil.

Abortion and embryonic stem-cell research are, of course, the front runners in the list of evils I'm talking about here. This isn't about a woman's right or privacy. This is about killing. Whether you think women should be priests or nuns should wear habits or the priest should face versus populum are not issues of life and death. None of the excuses that "pro-choice" advocates give for allowing abortion trump the fact that an innocent human being dies in the process (and a second human being is put in danger).

The most tragic thing about Senator Kennedy's death is not the grief of his loved ones at his passing but the fact that he never publicly denounced his previous positions on abortion and embryonic stem-cell research. Thousands of American Catholics can point to him, and others like him in positions of power who call themselves Catholics and advocate otherwise, as a justification for their own beliefs. This is a great disservice not only to the Church but to those individuals who use pro-choice Catholic politicians to prop up their own misguided opinions.

Kennedy advocated for signature Catholic causes, such as help for the poor, health care and immigration reform, and opposition to the Iraq war. Working at social justice is very admirable but is ultimately not enough. In these issues he did much good but left much to be desired in his work for the justice of the weakest and most innocent among us. So let us pray for this man, let us pray for each other and for the Church, but we should not exalt him like some modern-day martyr. Let us grieve for the pain his family must be feeling, but most importantly let us use his death as a talking point on these contradictions between his Faith and his politics to illustrate why his politics were wrong. Let us hope that on his death-bed he remembered his words from 1971 (before Roe V. Wade and before his political party was influenced more by NARAL and "Feminist" organizations instead of pro-life Southerners and pro-life Catholics) in his letter to Catholic League member Tom Dennelly:
While the deep concern of a woman bearing an unwanted child merits consideration and sympathy, it is my personal feeling that the legalization of abortion on demand is not in accordance with the value which our civilization places on human life. Wanted or unwanted, I believe that human life, even at its earliest stages, has certain rights which must be recognized—the right to be born, the right to love, the right to grow old.

...[O]nce life has begun, no matter at what stage of growth, it is my belief that termination should not be decided merely by desire.

When history looks back to this era it should recognize this generation as one which cared about human beings enough to halt the practice of war, to provide a decent living for every family, and to fulfill its responsibility to its children from the very moment of conception.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mickey Rourke Thanks God and Catholic Faith

The extremely talented and extremely foul-mouthed actor was on the verge of suicide but credits his Catholic faith for saving his life and God for giving him a second chance.

Catholic News Agency has the story.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Good Kind of Change

The Church has been working, for some time now, on perfecting the imperfect translation of our English-language mass from the original Latin. Other countries, with mass in their vernacular language, have a more exact translation. The English version is woefully out of synch! So here is a link on the upcoming changes, present vs new.

Changes are in bold. This is kind of exciting! I bet there are going to be people screaming about it, though! Some people will see this as more "Traditionalism" crammed down their throats. But really, let's just think of it as a more correct version.


Priest: The peace of the Lord
be with you always.
People: And also with you.

Priest: The peace of the Lord
be with you always.
People: And with your spirit.
See how much cooler that sounds!?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Kourtney Kardashian Keeps Kid

While not much the Kardashians do is even worth talking about, let alone posting on a Catholic blog, it looks like Kourtney made a great decision to not get an abortion.

Though these days she couldn't be happier about her mother-to-be status, Kourtney Kardashian admits to People magazine that she initially had mixed feelings about her pregnancy and seriously considered terminating it.

"I definitely thought about it long and hard, about if I wanted to keep the baby or not, and I wasn't thinking about adoption," Kardashian reveals.

While Kardashian's baby daddy, Scott Disick, told her, "I really want you to keep it, but I will support you whatever you decide to do," Kardashian eventually turned to a close pal to discuss her dilemma.

"I called my best friend crying, and I was like, 'I don't know what to do,'" Kardashian says. "She said, 'Call your doctor, and at least find out the risks and stuff.'"

Well, looks like the "risks and stuff" along with a thorough search of the interwebs weren't the only thing that factored into her decision! And it's nice to see the father actually weighed in on the debate - and he wanted to keep the baby!

After consulting with her doc, Kardashian did some research on the Internet.

"I looked online, and I was sitting on the bed hysterically crying, reading these stories of people who felt so guilty from having an abortion," Kourtney recalls. "I was reading these things of how many people are traumatized by it afterwards...I was just sitting there crying, thinking, 'I can't do that.' And I felt in my body, this is meant to be. God does things for a reason, and I just felt like it was the right thing that was happening in my life."

Kourtney says she is still pro-choice but does admit that too many women these days are just going out and getting abortions without thinking about the consequences or long-term effects.

"I do think every woman should have the right to do what they want, but I don't think it's talked through enough" Kardashian says. "I can't even tell you how many people just say, 'Oh, get an abortion.' Like it's not a big deal."
Well, it certainly is a big deal - it's a human life! Maybe those years at an all-girl Catholic school did her some good afterall.

original here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Catholic Church's Woes In Asia

Looks like Asia is actually having similar issues as America. Most notably inter-faith marriages, the secularization of society, fewer children, and materialistic tendencies.
MANILA (AFP) – Mixed marriages, dwindling entrants to the priesthood and violence against its members are among problems facing the Catholic church in Asia, bishops said at a conference here Saturday.

Inter-religious marriages have helped the number of Catholics to fall even further, Philippine Archbishop Orlando Quevedo told a meeting of the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences (FABC) being held Manila this weekend.

Catholics who marry outside the church in countries where they were part of a minority often converted to their spouse's religion, said Quevedo, secretary-general of the FABC.

Many bishops also said there was difficulty attracting young men to the priesthood because of poverty and the secularisation of society.

Poverty meant that many parents found it "a big sacrifice to give up their young son" to a seminary, Pakistani Archbishop John Saldanha said.

"More girls are joining the convents now than the boys entering the seminaries," he added.

"The number of vocations is going down. The Christian families have fewer children and the reason is secularisation of the society," Cardinal Oswald Gracias of India said.

Hong Kong Bishop John Tong said "materialistic tendencies" were also an obstacle, but remarked that there had been an increase in the territory's seminarians, to 15 this year from 10 last year.

Sources who asked not to be identified also said that the bishops discussed the issue of Asian governments who did not do enough to protect Christian minorities under attack in their countries.

Quevedo said the FABC was preparing a document that "will mention endemic corruption in countries in Asia, not just the Philippines but corruption in most of the governments of Asia."

The FABC represents dioceses from across Asia, including Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

Let's not forget the outright hostility that many Asian governments hold towards Christianity in general and Catholicism specifically. Attacks in these countries don't just come from non-Christian citizens, it comes from the State itself. Whether the atheistic government of China or the blasphemy laws in Pakistan.

Original link here.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Nuns Help Catch Armed Burglar

Now, this is just cool.

A man who robbed a house and ran near an Independence convent was chased from the building by one of the nuns Thursday morning, police said.Police said the man took a shotgun and other items form a house and then ran near the Sisters of St. Francis convent. Sisters Connie and Catarina said they saw a suspicious man walking in a bean field behind the convent.At first the sisters thought he may have been a hunter, which they said is illegal. The two nuns said they approached the man and saw that he had a shotgun in one hand, boxing gloves and other items in the other hand. They said when they began to question the man, he ran into a nearby wooded area.Sister Catarina chased the man when he started to run until police arrived.
Yes, that's right. A 50 year old nun in full habit chased him!

"Knowing Sister Catarina, I thought she might have caught him and tackled him," Sister Connie said."I reacted because that was our property," Sister Catarina said. "We want to know who's coming here, why he is here."
Congratulations, Sisters of St Francis! See, people, there are no excuses not to wear habits. You can even run through a field after a suspected criminal. Something most of us wouldn't do in a track suit, this sister does in a habit and flip-flops.

Original link here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Pendulum Swing

The Catholic League recently referred to a study by Georgetown's Center for Applied Research that noted :
that men and women entering the priesthood and joining an order of nuns are more likely to be non-white and conservative than their predecessors. Asians, Pacific Islanders, Latinos and Africans make up an increasing share of the new recruits. Also, young women joining an order of religious are twice as likely to join an order where wearing a habit is expected than not.
What a beautiful and diverse Church we have! This is a trend I've been noticing, that younger Catholics and converts are tending to be more conservative and nostalgic for our ancient traditions, many of which have been pushed out or to the side by liberals that dominated much of the (particularly American) Church in the zeitgeist of the 1960s and '70s.
Sister Mary Bendyna, who authored the study, explained why women wanting to become a nun don't choose to join those orders which are dying out: "Volunteering, social work, working for the poor - they can do that elsewhere."
Exactly. Some watered-down Catholic girls-club is not appealing to religious today. Young people thirst for a genuine vocation and dedication to Christ. A way out of all the secular noise and distraction and pressures and into a life committed to something entirely other-worldly. Hopefully whites, both American and European (where we need the most help), can follow suit and more of them return to a true culture of following the Church's thousands of years old teachings.

Answered Prayer

I think this prayer, from The Catholic Youth Prayer Book, is a great lesson for people of all ages:

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve;
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health, that I might do great things;
I was given sickness, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy;
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men;
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need for God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life;
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I received nothing I asked for - but everything I hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayer was answered;
I am, among all men, most richly blessed.
(Unknown Confederate Soldier)
This is a great reminder that what we want is not always what we need and that God provides for us in even the most unexpected ways.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Dear, God, We Changed Our Minds!

GENEVA – Villagers from deeply Roman Catholic south Switzerland have for centuries offered a sacred vow to God to protect them from the advancing ice mass of the Great Aletsch glacier.

Global warming is making them want to reverse their prayers, and the Alpine faithful are seeking the permission of the pope.

Since the vow was established in 1678, the deal was simple: the citizens of the isolated mountain hamlets of Fiesch and Fieschertal would pledge to lead virtuous lives. In exchange, God would spare their homes and livelihoods from being swallowed by Europe's largest glacier as it expanded toward the valley with heavy winter snows.

Times have changed, and the once-fearsome Aletsch is melting amid temperatures that are 0.7 degrees Celsius (1.3 Fahrenheit) warmer than in the 19th century. The pastor at the Ernerwald Chapel has warned his flock that a new danger threatens.

"We all know — and the Holy Father reminded us in his Easter message — that an unprecedented change in the climate is taking place," Rev. Pascal Venetz said in his sermon to 100 people at the chapel, where until modern times pious women were prohibited from wearing colored underwear for fear of provoking the glacier.

"Glacier is ice, ice is water and water is life," Venetz said to the villagers from the Valais region, which has sent its sons to protect the Vatican as Swiss Guards since the 16th century. "Without the glacier the springs run dry and the brooks evaporate. Men and women face great danger. Alps and pastures vanish and towns die out."

The Aletsch was once seen as a threat because it could encroach on inhabited areas. These days, the glacier is more of a threat because of its melting ice, which risks worsening floods in the valley and, eventually, a loss of water supply. Experts say the glacier will continue to shrink — even if temperatures stay at current levels — because the warming of the last few decades has yet to take full effect.

In a telephone interview with The Associated Press, Venetz said many townsfolk have begun questioning the ancient vow that has been commemorated every year since 1862 in a procession to the chapel on July 31, St. Ignatius' feast day.

The idea to alter the vow came from Fiesch Mayor Herbert Volken, but the concern was not driven by worldly or secular impulses. Instead, the villages "were seeing nature change all around them," and realized the glacier might soon need saving, Venetz said.

Conservation body Pro Natura says the glacier base is receding up the mountain by about 100 feet (30 meters) a year. University of Zurich geographer Hanspeter Holzhauser estimates the river of ice has retreated 2.1 miles (3.4 kilometers) since peaking in 1860 at a length of 14 miles (23 kilometers). Nearly half of the shrinkage has happened since 1950.

Venetz said there were "countless, horrible natural catastrophes" in his parish from the 17th to the 19th centuries as the glacier expanded. "These led to the big volumes of water with floods that brought great damage and calamity in our villages," he said.

Villagers should continue with the vow, but the request for divine assistance should be adjusted to conform with the changing reality of nature, the pastor said.

"Praying should of course continue, because our villages should be spared from natural catastrophes," Venetz said in his sermon. "We should at the same time pray that our glacier does not melt any further, but instead grows, and that the most important thing in life — water — remains well preserved."

He said he would ask the local bishop to seek Pope Benedict XVI's permission to change the vow, and a statement from the cantonal (state) government of Valais said a papal audience was planned for September or October.

"At our next procession, we might just be able to pray against climate change, global warming and the receding of the glacier," Venetz said. -Yahoo

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Matt Maher is "Alive Again!"

Eminent Catholic musician, Matt Maher, has a new album coming out in September. The new single, Alive Again, was just released yesterday and can be found on iTunes. However, you can hear it now at Matt's website!
Maher's lyrics are frequently very Catholic. He has songs about the Eucharist and uses phrases and words right out of the liturgy. No wishy-washy pseudo-Christian vagueness here. Also - some songs even have Latin in them!
I've liked just about everything I've heard from him and after a somewhat disappointing last album (
Empty and Beautiful) because it included many re-releases, I'm excited to check out the new album in its entirety. If this first single is any indication, it should be great.

The Prisoner

Catholic actor and Jesus stand-in, Jim Caviezel, stars in the upcoming new reimagining of the 1960s classic television series, The Prisoner. A nine minute trailer/preview premiered at Comic Con recently. I for one am really excited about seeing this. Looks very much an opportunity for a study in nihilism, etc.!

Check it out here and let's discuss!