Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The host, too, can assimilate

Don't put it beyond the scope of possibility that the influx of Anglican clergy making their way into Catholic ordination may act as a catalyst for the removal of the celibacy pre-requisite on Catholic clergy. Just because the Catholic Church is the host, it doesn't mean that some of what is inherently Anglican can't rub off on the Catholic majority.

I am aware that the Vatican is setting up a new structure to allow Anglicans coming into the Church the ability to retain their practices and identities. This does not mean that as new Roman Catholics, former Anglicans will be segregated from mainstream Catholic communities or operate disconnected from traditional Catholic circles. But it does mean that Catholic laity will see more and more married Catholic priests than ever before, and such a customary encounter might lift the taboo connotation such an arrangement has within some Catholic coteries.

Now, I know that for a change like this to occur the numbers of Anglican clergy coming back home will have to truly be significant. But you never know. On the other hand, Eastern Catholics have ordained married men but that's never changed anything in the Roman side of the house.

Should we be prepared for a possible shock?

Pray for our Priests

Tu es sacerdos in aeternum

Pray for our priests on All Souls Day and on the first Thursday of November. Terry is spreading the message. Please post a word or two on your blogs to encourage others to do the same.

Monday, October 26, 2009

BIG test in school tomorrow. Wish me luck.

Also, Toby turned one this month. He is a minion of the dark lord. Misbehaves to no end.

Gotta go study.

Rita, Aussie, Shirley, Cathy and Terry, thank you for your prayers and for your support. I'm not exactly sure how I did, but I'm glad it's finally over. And, Terry, you might be on to something there! LOL!

Monday, October 19, 2009


I don't believe that God is full of contradictions, but I do believe we often find some aspect of His Mystery revealed through paradoxes. In this video, an excerpt is taken from the work of Thomas Merton in which he tries to explain the nature of a Cistercian. This man, Thomas Merton, was no lunatic as some individuals might try to suggest. He simply was able to see the salvific presence of his Creator at work in places unfamiliar to him.

You might realize as you hear this excerpt that the life of a contemplative is characterized by a simplicity so complex, that those with insuficient faith who try to live as a Cistercian eventually walk away aflicted and frazzled.

This is Thomas Merton's real voice. I like what he says in this recording.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Grey Areas?

Many people find themselves admirers of artists, actors, or celebrities who may lead lives in opposition to their religious, philosophical, or political beliefs. Sometimes the views of these celebrities clash with our view of the world, and we subsequently rebuff their work. Other times we are acutely aware of who and what these individuals are but nonetheless watch their movies, listen to their music, and buy whatever product the peddle. Here is a list of celebrities that find popularity across a wide section of the population, but have liberal political leanings, or live a life that is diametrically opposed in some way to Catholic social teaching. Are you a fan despite the incongruity or is there something about their lives that turns you off to their work?

Ellen Degeneres
As you know, Ellen has her own syndicated talk show that is now in its seventh season, and has been contracted by American Idol to replace ousted judge Paula Abdul. She came out of the closet a few years ago and is in a long-term relationship since 2004 with the very beautiful Portia de Rossi. Personally, I don't like Degeneres. Not because she's a lesbian, but because she simply isn't all that funny. That dancing routine she does on her show is completely anserine (yes, anserine is a word).

George Clooney
American actor George Clooney has starred in such films as The Perfect Storm; O Brother, Where Art Thou?; Syriana; Michael Clayton; and the upcoming film Men Who Stare at Goats. He is a highly sought after actor who can rake in big profits at the box office just by merely including his name on the credits. George, however, is extremely liberal, supporting many leftists politicians and slamming just as many conservative ones.

Sir Elton John
He's been singing and writing music with his long-time collaborator Bernie Taupin since the late 1960's, and has produced hits that are considered rock-n-roll classics. Everyone has heard "Bennie and the Jests", "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting", "Your Song" and "Candle in the Wind." He has a gig here in Vegas at the Caesars Palace called The Red Piano (which, by the way, still accepts reservations), and performs in sell-out concerts throughout the world. Elton, as you all know is gay, but has managed to remain an extremely popular music figure even after he came out of the closet. Are you a fan of Reginald (his real name) or do you find his music not to your liking because of his sexual orientation?

Susan Sarandon
I'm not sure if Susan Sarandon has remained Catholic, but she definitely had strong connections to the Catholic faith as a child and then later as a student attending The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Susan is a huge supporter of liberal causes and liberal politicians. In the early to mid 2000's, she supported Ralph Nader for president and in 2004 threw her support behind John Kerry. She is also a supporter of EMILY'S List, a pro-abortion political action committee whose aim is to help pro-abortion politicians get elected. Sarandon has starred in such films as Lorenzo's Oil; Bull Durham; Thelma and Louise; the cult favorite The Rocky Horror Picture Show. In 1995 she won an Oscar for her work in the film Dead Man Walking.

Martin Sheen
Actor Martin Sheen is a Catholic who has backed some of the most liberal politicians American politics can produce. He has played presidents on television and has been involved in many liberal causes throughout his entire career. In 2004 he campaigned for Howard Dean and John Kerry, and is a harsh critic of the war in Iraq. Having said that, according to Wikepedia, Martin Sheen is a supporter of the Democrats for Life of America's Pregnant Women Support Act. If this is true, Mr. Sheen scores major brownie points with me.

Barbra Streisand
Some of you love her voice. I know that some of the more musically inclined members of a parish I used to attend love her to death, regardless of her political leanings. Streisand has enthusiastically supported Democratic party candidates since I can remember, and is a huge supporters of gay rights. In 1992 she publicly supported a boycott of Colorado when it passed a controversial referendum that gay and lesbian groups found to be discriminatory. By the way, in 1993 Kirk Kerkorian discreetly paid Streisand 20 million dollars to be the New Year's Eve headlining show at the MGM Grand Hotel.

Julia Roberts
"Republican comes in the dictionary just after reptile and just above repugnant...I looked up Democrat. It's of the people, by the people, for the people..." I once read that she married her first husband, Lyle Lovett, because she thought he looked like Abraham Lincoln. She is a strong supporter of Democratic candidates running for office.

Fr. Richard McBrien of Notre Dame
I'm not staying neutral on this one. This man is a disgrace. I have never heard him say anything but continued criticism of the Catholic Church. Take a hike and join the Episcopalians, will ya? They're not bad folks. However, some of you might actually like Father McBrien despite his, shall we say, perfidious tendencies.

IMHO: Why President 'Obummer' is in Power

I remember back in 2001, shortly after the attack on the World Trade Center towers, driving to work on an early weekday morning and listening to a traffic reporter on the radio praise the President's response to the brutality of the terrorists attacks in New York. After a prolonged presidential election caused partly by hanging chads and confused Florida voters, the announcer stated, "we got the right man for the job." That was approximately nine years ago, and George Bush at the time was enjoying a wave of enthusiastic voter approbation.

Fast-forward to the 2008 presidential elections.

The senator from Illinois, Barack Hussein Obama II, is elected the 44th president of the United States. He is the first black American to hold this position, and hopefully not the last (there are some VERY competent and EXPERIENCED black Americans who would do a superb job as president of the United States). His record as a senator isn't at all impressive. As senator, he has managed to side-step voting on major political hot potato issues through either absenteeism or "no vote" procedure. He does not possess any military experience, nor does he have any outstanding qualifications that would lead anyone to conclude that he is a consequential and efficacious leader. He is extremely liberal, and has associations to some shady organizations and less than reputable individuals. How then did this man become president? Very simple: George Bush.

I blame George Bush for afflicting me with Barack Obama.

While I enjoyed Bush's relatively conservative positions on many issues (most of all the abortion issue) towards the end of his presidency he had managed to bungle so many important issues that the American people simply didn't give a dam about who or what Obama is. They were just glad he wast NOT George Bush or a member of his political party. Such an opportunity must have made Hilary Clinton all the more bitter for losing her party's presidential nomination. Her chances for winning the presidential election were golden, thanks to the anathema status given to George Bush and the Republican Party.

Perhaps the single most deleterious act George Bush committed which, in turn, led to other detrimental afterclaps was, of coarse, the war in Iraq. I recall hearing something about weapons of mass destruction, don't you? And just how many of these have we found? NONE. Yes, he was mislead by his advisers, but it also appears to me that George Bush pressed on with this war during moments he knew he shouldn't and did so anyway because he feared the consequences of having committed a gargantuan mistake.

But to be fair, George Bush is blamed for many derogatory events that happened during his administration that were not his doing. He also had the misfortune of surrounding himself with individuals advising him on the quickest way to take the world into perdition. Individuals who placed ego before sound, political advice.

It was George Bush who gave momentum to the Democratic party in the latter part of his presidency with terrible decision-making, with which the American people became exasperated. It was those decisions and their continued effects that empowers Barack Obama this very day. If this is true, that the continued, pernicious impacts of Bush's decision making gives vitality to the Obama agenda, than one must conclude that the Obama administration is a continuation of the Bush presidency. And as long as we (and the world) continue to suffer the consequences of President Bush's poor judgment, Obama will have ALL the justification he needs to operate in almost politically consequence free environment. Now we are stuck with Obama for at least four years and running the risk of a second term with this man at the helm.

Don't Laugh at the Imbeciles

To give you an idea of just how fed-up the American people were with President Bush and the Republican Party in 2008, look who got elected. The most unfunny, crack brained, feeble-brained, demented deformity in all of American politics: Al Franken. Under normal circumstances, what constituency would vote for this insufferable jackass?

I almost forgot our beloved Vice President Joe Biden. A good Catholic whose brilliance shines at every moment of the day. Here he is introducing Missouri State Senator Chuck Graham by telling him to "Stand up, Chuck, let 'em see ya."

In case you haven't figured it out, Senator Chuck Graham is on a wheel chair.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Wrecking My Nerves

I can't look away. It's like driving past a car wreck. It's like the cast of Hee Haw took they day off to go to church...right on their set.

My friends, some of you might be sympathetic to music like this, but every time I hear it I come that much closer to taking anti-depressants. But despite my dislike for this type of music, I want to state unequivocally that I don't want to reticule these people for having this particular taste in music. I am, however, infused with a strange type of morbid curiosity for these good folks, and I'm baffled by their affinity to this type of music. You be the judge.

There is no Mystery in this type of music. There is no "seduction" to leave yourself behind and become a part of this Mystery. There is an implied belief that life is in shades of black and white, and that as long as I proclaim Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I'm heaven bound. This is not my cup of tea.

Here is one piece that those good people in the above video might find equally incomprehensible and repulsive, but DEFINITELY to my spiritual liking. It's the beautiful Nunc Dimittis (Lord, Now Let Thy Servant Go) from Rachmaninoff's Vespers, which I was saving for another post.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Pecan in the Cemetary

Kinda cute...

On the outskirts of a small town, there was a big, old pecan tree just inside the cemetery fence. One day, two boys filled up a bucketful of nuts and sat down by the tree, out of sight, and began dividing the nuts.

"One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me," said one boy. Several dropped and rolled down toward the fence.

Another boy came riding along the road on his bicycle. As he passed, he thought he heard voices from inside the cemetery. He slowed down to investigate. Sure enough, he heard, "One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me."

He just knew what it was. He jumped back on his bike and rode off. Just around the bend he met an old man with a cane, hobbling along.

"Come here quick," said the boy, "you won't believe what I heard! Satan and the Lord are down at the cemetery dividing up the souls."

The man said, "Beat it kid, can't you see it's hard for me to walk." When the boy insisted though, the man hobbled slowly to the cemetery.

Standing by the fence they heard, "One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me."

The old man whispered, "Boy, you've been tellin' me the truth. Let's see if we can see the Lord."

Shaking with fear, they peered through the fence, yet were still unable to see anything. The old man and the boy gripped the wrought iron bars of the fence tighter and tighter as they tried to get a glimpse of the Lord.

At last they heard, "One for you, one for me. That's all... Now let's go get those nuts by the fence and we'll be done."

They say the old man made it back to town a full 5 minutes ahead of the kid on the bike.


You may need Realplayer to listen. One of the most beautiful arrangement I've ever heard.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Cover Up?

Do you recall those seven monks who were brutally murdered in Algiers back in 1996? Now there is a story circulating throughout multiple news outlets that the official report of the murders was fabricated to conceal the true perpetrators of the crime. The official investigation blames Muslim militants for the murders of the Trappist monks, but now a former military attaché to France’s embassy in Algiers claims that the monks were accidentally killed by the Algerian army, and that both France and Algiers have conspired to cover up the incident for the sake of maintaining good diplomatic relations with each other. The new allegations - which were made by General François Buchwalter - claim that an Algerian army helicopter opened fire on what they mistakenly thought was a campground for Muslim extremists and struck the seven monks instead.

Regardless of who is at fault, the end result is the same: seven peaceful souls dead prematurely and unjustifiably. I'm hoping France and Algiers can come clean about the entire situation, and hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions.

I've never been able to completely shake from memory the senseless deaths of these Trappist monks. I have such an unswerving affection for them.

In Honor of St. Francis