Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pope Impervious to Spiders!

The Pontiff recently visited Prague, Czech Republic, where he gave a speech. The AP reports that
A large arachnid appeared on the pope's white robes as he addressed politicians and diplomats in Prague on Saturday afternoon. The pope didn't seem to notice at first — but journalists following the speech on a large screen flinched as the spider inched toward Benedict's neck.

It disappeared from view for a moment, but then could be seen crawling up the right side of the 82-year-old pontiff's face.

When it reached his ear, Benedict gave it a swat.

Apparently the spider was telling the Pope that he didn't agree with the upcoming revisions to the GIRM.

But it didn't go away — it reappeared on the pope's left shoulder and scampered down his robe.

As the pope left the medieval Prague Castle's ornate Spanish Hall, the spider could be seen hanging from a piece of web.

Ooooh, ominous. Kinda like those people who like guitar masses and liturgical dancing.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Middle East Synod in 2010

Yahoo news has the story.

VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI has announced a special meeting of bishops next year to discuss Middle East peace efforts and the role of the Catholic Church in the region.

Addressing bishops and patriarchs from Eastern rite churches, Benedict said Saturday that the meeting will take place Oct. 10-24, 2010, and will be titled "The Catholic Church in the Middle East: communion and testimony."

The meeting of bishops, called a synod, will gather church leaders from the Middle East and around the world.

The pope and the Vatican have long been active on the Middle East diplomatic front, seeking to protect Christians in the Holy Land and elsewhere in the region while supporting efforts to solve the Israel-Palestinian dispute.

Could this have anything to do with this post?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Dan Brown And The Masons

Dan Brown, notorious anti-Catholic and author of The Davinci Code, has a new book coming out about the Masons called The Lost Symbol. Bill Donahue of The Catholic League has his take on it here:

Dan Brown may loathe Catholics, but he just adores the Masons. “Brown goes out of his way in ‘The Lost Symbol’ to present the lodge as essentially benign and misunderstood,” says an AP story today. The Catholic Church, of course, is seen by Brown as essentially wicked and misunderstood only by its followers. “Masons are praised for their religious tolerance,” the article says. Somehow Catholics failed to notice: so abhorrent were Masons in their thrashing of Catholicism that the 1917 Code of Canon Law provided for automatic excommunication to any Catholic who joined a lodge. The current stricture in the Church, following the 1983 revisions to the Code, doesn’t mention Masons by name, but does retain excommunication for those who join anti-Catholic organizations.

In his new book, Brown defends the Masons against “unfair” portrayals. So kind of him. In real life Brown says he has “enormous respect for the Masons.” Must be their historic anti-Catholicism that won him over. Showing nothing but sweetness and light, the man who has made millions dumping on the Catholic Church says of his new work, “It’s a reverent look at their philosophy. I’m more interested in what they believe than all their rituals and conspiracy theories about them.” Now if only Brown had cut Catholics the same break.

EWTN has an article by Fr. William Saunders about the history of Freemasonry's anti-Catholic heritage here.

And here's a link to Top 10 Reasons Catholics Cannot Be Masons.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Stoning of Soraya M.

I saw the trailer for this movie awhile ago and it's apparently showing now in limited theatres. I saw that Jim Caviezel starred with the always amazing Academy Award nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo (you'll recognize her when you see her), but had no idea that the producer, Stephen McEveety, is a devout Catholic who has also been involved with the movies Braveheart, We Were Soldiers, The Passion of the Christ, and Bella. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee's Catholic Herald has an article here.
The film, based on the book of the same name and inspired by events that took place in 1986 during the reign of Ayatollah Khomenini, tells the story of Soraya, a woman who lived with a womanizing, abusive husband for 20 years.

In his quest to leave her for a 14-year-old girl, the husband turns her two sons against her and ignores his daughters as if they do not exist. When she refuses to divorce him, he falsely accuses her of adultery. She is tried and convicted. The villagers in the small Iranian town bind her arms and legs, bury her up to her waist and bombard her with rocks for hours until she bleeds to death.

Only her aunt, Zahra, is brave enough to stand up for her and speaks out against this atrocity. She unexpectedly meets up with a passing journalist played by Jim Caviezel (“The Passion of the Christ”) when he stops in the village to get his car repaired.

After weaving him through the story, which he puts on tape, she unravels the political components that combined to make this tragedy happen the day before he arrived.
What McEveety really wants to do with this film is have it "serve as a mirror for victimizers, who regularly abuse women or children all over the world,” he said. “I think that certainly someone in an abusive relationship will take one thing from the film that no one else would take – especially about the role of victims, particularly women as victims. For some reason, this movie gives them some kind of meaning to their experience.”

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Church, Gender Roles, and Feminism

Many people will attack the Church on the idea that she is an archaic and out-dated old relic of a time-gone-by whose chief offense is being anti-woman. This charge is far from the truth. It's not like we're advocating the requirement of wearing veils or wives walking ten paces behind their husbands or not speaking unless spoken to! If the Church is so anti-woman, then why is Mary so highly venerated as first among saints? The Church celebrates women frequently. The problem that opponents of the Church have is that they aren't looking at women the same way.

Let's face it. Women and men are different. God created Man and Woman, separate and distinct, but both human and both capable of the love and salvation of Christ. Some of these differences are (obviously) physiological, some emotional and mental. But those differences lend themselves to complementariness! What one lacks the other has in spades. Granted there is a wide spectrum and much overlap, but you get the point. Someone has to harvest the wheat and someone has to thresh it or no one's going to eat.

In the second creation narrative, through the symbolism of the woman's creation from the man's rib, Scripture shows that humanity is not complete until woman is created (cf Gen 2:18-24). . . . . "Created together, man and woman are willed by God one for the other" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 371). Woman's presentation as a "help similar to him" (Gen 2:18) does not mean that woman is man's servant — "help" does not equal "servant"; the Psalmist says to God: "You are my help" (Ps 70:6; cf 115:9-11; 118:7; 146:5). Rather, the expression means that woman is worthy of collaborating with man because she is his perfect correspondence. Woman is another type of "I" in a common humanity, constituted in perfect equality of dignity by man and woman. — Pope John Paul II, General Audience, "Woman as Masterpiece of God's Creation," November 24, 1999

The Church celebrates femininity. John Paul II wrote much about it (see in particular Evangelium Vitae). Radical Feminists celebrate women being masculine. See the difference? Radical Feminists want women and men to be the same, and in so doing, deride what is feminine. Now I'm not talking about social justice here. Obviously equal pay for equal work and suffrage and the like are commendable and necessary. But this radical feminism scoffs at child-birth, breastfeeding, stay-at-home moms, being a loving wife, modesty, sexual fidelity, etc.

So who is really in favor of femininity? Sociologically making women into men hurts women. It objectifies them. The sexual revolution has done more to hurt women than any other movement in civilized society before it because it essentially advocates the objectification of women into sexual objects instead of people who are mothers and daughters who deserve to be respected and whose image and dignity protected.

In transforming the culture so that it supports life, women occupy a place, in thought and action, which is unique and decisive. It depends on them to promote a ‘new feminism’ which rejects the temptation of imitating models of ‘male domination’, in order to acknowledge and affirm the true genius of women in every aspect of the life of society, and overcome all discrimination, violence and exploitation. — Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, par. 99 (1997)

RIP Patrick Swayze

Apparently he was born and raised Catholic. I didn't know this. His movies ran the gamut and some of them were awesome! Red Dawn was one of my favorite movies in the 80s. Let's face it, this guy was iconic, even if most will recognize him for some pretty cheesy movies.

Until the age of twenty, Swayze lived in the Oak Forest neighborhood of Houston, where he attended St. Rose of Lima Catholic School
I was wondering if he was Catholic and it wasn't until I saw this on Wikipedia that I saw any mention of it. It's my understanding that he struggled with alcohol abuse at points in his life and that he also had some association with Buddhism and Scientology. It is a familiar story that fame, money, celebrity culture, and Hollywood corrupts individuals. But many times we've also seen people's struggles bring them back to the One True Faith. We can only hope and pray that during his courageous battle with a horrible cancer that Mr. Swayze came to realize the love and comfort of Christ and had the time to confess and receive Anointing. Let us pray for the repose of his soul.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Poverty Breeds Violence

Yahoo News reports:

VATICAN CITY – The Vatican has invited Muslims to work together to end poverty and the violence and extremism that are often its result.

The Vatican office in charge of interreligious dialogue issued a message to Muslims Friday to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

In the note, Cardinal Jean Louis Tauran said poverty has the power to humiliate people and is a source of isolation, anger and revenge. Since extremism and violence are also the result, he said it is important to tackle poverty at its root.

The Vatican has sought to mend relations with Muslims that were strained after Pope Benedict XVI in 2006 quoted a medieval text depicting Islam's Prophet Muhammad as violent. Benedict apologized and said the text didn't reflect his views.

I find it curious that Yahoo reports this as trying to mend relations with Muslims. I would think the real motive is to help people in horrible living conditions and to stem the flow of violence created by extremists who prey on the poor in order to bolster their ranks of terrorists and suicide bombers.

But in all honesty, Muslims and Christians need to mend relations. The two largest faiths in the world who, at the non-extremist level, have very similar ideals and goals (monotheism, alms-giving, prayer, resisting moral secularization). It's just a tough sell when most Muslim nations are militant theocracies that destroy religious freedom (as well as freedom in general). And it's this general freedom that leads to economic freedom which leads to economic prosperity which leads to fewer poor and extremists and terrorists. Of course, religious freedom will help the Church protect those who are persecuted by these regimes which will in turn help the Church grow and spread within these regions. So it's a win-win!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Bringing Up Geeks

This is a great little book being featured in some women's groups lately. It gives good advice to raising your kids to be polite, respectful, cooperative, engaged, and not easily distracted by today's secular appeal. Fantastic commentary on the sexualization of girls and the lure of technology and its effect of turning kids off to interaction with family and others. One negative is that the author tends to draw predominately from her own experience and children which gives the reader a sense of "this lady's kids are perfect and annoying." However, the valuable (if somewhat obvious) information contained within more than makes up for any distraction.

You can purchase the book here at the Vernacular Catholic store.

Catholic Artists: ModHMary

I thought every so often I'd feature a Catholic artist's website that I like. Something not quite as big as EWTN or a famous speaker, but the local, small business, mom-and-pop type Catholic shops online. Those of you out there making hand-made rosaries or print art or writing.
So, this is the inaugural post!

How cool is this!? I want to see a whole comic book done.
Check out more great stuff from ModHMary here.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Live Matt Maher Video

Alive Again gets better every time I hear it.
Here's a great live acoustic version from K-Love radio.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

President Obama Prayed In School

I found it interesting that President Obama ended his speech to American students today with "God bless you" and "God bless America."
I thought we had a separation of Church and State.
I thought prayer wasn't allowed in public school.
Uh-oh! :)

Pope: religion should build peace, fight racism

Well, duh!
From Yahoo news:

VITERBO, Italy – Pope Benedict XVI marked the 70th anniversary of the start of World War II on Sunday by saying religion should promote peace and fight racism and totalitarianism.

The German-born Benedict said the memory of one of the worst conflicts in history should serve as a warning to never repeat such a "barbarity" as the Holocaust and the extermination of millions of innocents.

"The contribution that religion can and must make is particularly important in promoting forgiveness and reconciliation against violence, racism, totalitarianism and extremism, which defile the image of the Creator in man," he said.

Benedict spoke during his traditional Sunday blessing while visiting Viterbo, a city north of Rome that once rivaled Rome as the residence for popes. Viterbo also was the site of five papal elections, or conclaves, and is affectionately known as the "city of popes."

The 82-year-old Benedict has spoken out frequently about the horrors of World War II. The pontiff was forced to serve in the Hitler Youth corps and later in the army before deserting near the end of the war.

This week, European leaders gathered in Gdansk, Poland to mark the 70th anniversary of the opening salvo of the war, when a German battleship shelled a Polish military outpost.

A lot of people make the argument that religion causes wars and killing. Well, that's just wrong. Mankind causes war and killing. Greed and vengeance cause war and killing. If mankind stopped defiling "the image of the Creator in man," and started acting more Christ-like, living the way the Church teaches us to, then we'd be just fine, wouldn't we?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day

The long-awaited sequel to the very violent and obscenity-ridden Boondock Saints released 10 years ago. Boondock Saints is about a pair of Irish-American Catholic brothers who turn to vigilantism for a variety of reasons I won't spoil. While not suitable for family viewing, many Catholics really like this movie and it's become quite the cult classic.
Here's the recently released trailer for the sequel. Needless to say, the more sensitive among you may want to skip this due to lots of people getting shot and cussing!

Legal Religious Discrimination

According to this article from the Associated Press, Oregon has a law that forbids public school teachers from wearing religious clothing. A law that was backed by the Ku Klux Klan to keep Catholics out of schools.
Oregon's law, originally aimed at priest collars and nun habits, survived a legal challenge in the 1980s by a Sikh convert who wanted to wear her turban in the classroom and was recently upheld by the state's Legislature.
Now, Oregon is supposed to be all liberal and progressive, but apparently not when it comes to the religious. Oh, that's right, progressive means getting rid of that old out-dated belief in God. Nonetheless, Gov. Kulongoski did sign the Workplace Religious Freedom Act in July that allows workers to wear religious clothing on the job. So what gives? Well, bet you can guess who is behind this:
the did law did not change the ban for teachers enacted in the 1920s, after that portion was opposed by the Oregon chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union on the grounds that impressionable children should not feel indoctrinated by their teachers.
Congratulations, ACLU, you agree with the KKK! Apparently the ACLU is only interested in protecting the civil liberties of certain Americans in this case, namely the irreligious. And what liberty is that, exactly? The liberty to not look at the way someone dresses?

Mona Elgindy, a Muslim law student at Loyola University in Chicago (A Jesuit Catholic school) and a former teacher, wrote a paper on the issue of religious clothing laws. She points out that it's not the students or parents that invoke the laws but that "the recent legal history has been created by teachers trying to keep their jobs after administrators confronted them."

Rajdeep Singh Jolly, legal director for the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, has asked the Justice Department to investigate. He suggests "the best way to deal with any problem involving religion in classrooms is to discipline teachers if they try to proselytize students or advocate favoring a particular religion, not for the way they dress."

"I think it's perfectly reasonable to expect that teachers will not talk about their religion in the classroom," Jolly said.

But when it comes to a Sikh turban or other clothing, he asked: "Why should I have to surrender something that is such an integral part of my life in order to pursue a career? It just doesn't make sense."

But that's exactly what proponents of these laws want the religious to do - give up their religious beliefs for secularism.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Penn and Teller Talk Bullsh*t

Penn and Teller's program, Bullsh*t, on Showtime (owned by CBS), spent its season finale blatantly spewing ignorance, bigotry, and outright lies about the Catholic Church. Catholic League president Bill Donohue has this to say:

Go to our website at www.catholicleague.org and click on the Penn & Teller video. There you will be able to see in its entirety the vile August 27 episode of their Showtime program. The mass mailing of the DVD to religious and lay leaders across the United States begins today and will continue until completed.

It is important that CBS, which owns Showtime, hears from you about this unprecedented attack. I spoke to a high-ranking CBS official on Monday about this, and though he was genuinely concerned and very professional in his response, it is still important that all CBS officials be sent the message: Enough is Enough—show Penn & Teller the gate.

Contact CBS rep Nancy Tellem at nancy.tellem@tvc.cbs.com.


Mr. Leslie Moonves

Chairman of CBS

7800 Beverly Blvd., Rm. 23

Los Angeles, CA 90036-2112

Just imagine what would happen in the media and in the public if this were any group other than Catholics.

You Have To Be A Real Man If You Want To Become A Priest

The quote from the title is by John Cardinal O'Connor, and he couldn't be more right. In today's society it seems that the definition of what a man is or should be is in direct conflict with what God wants men to be. Real men know sacrifice and humility and devotion and kindness and respect. This is the year of the priest. Let's pray for our priests and pray for our young men to discern their vocation, to listen for the call, and answer it if it comes.
Here's a great video for nypriest.com created by Grassroots Films (the company behind the fantastic Fishers Of Men).

Abortion Documentary

A new documentary entitled Blood Money attempts to expose the motivation in this country behind legalized abortion. As the title implies, a lot of it has to do with making money (surprised?)! Also featured are Roe V. Wade, Planned Parenthood, the scientific fact that life begins at conception, and how abortion affects women who have had one. Lifesite News has an article here.
Watch the trailer: