Sunday, May 31, 2009

What Is the Church?

The recent defection of Father Alberto Cutie to the Episcopal Church disturbs the BAD CATHOLIC in a number of ways. (Father Cutie appears above flanked by Episcopal Bishop Leo Frade and Father Cutie's fiancee Ruhama Canellis).

First, let me say that it is not my place nor my intent to judge Father Cutie. Our priests are only human and the vow of celibacy is difficult. We should pray everyday for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on our priests.

However, I am disturbed by how fast his vows as a Catholic priest were abandoned in order be a Protestant minister where he can marry his girlfriend and continue his career as a clergyman.

Presumably, as a Catholic priest, Father Cutie was supposed to believe that the Catholic Church is the one true church established by Jesus Christ. The Baltimore Catechism says "We know that the Catholic Church is the one true church established by Christ because it alone has the marks of the true Church. . . . We know that no other church but the Catholic Church is the true Church of Christ because no other church has these four marks.

1. One Faith, One Sacrifice, One Sacramental System, One Head.

2. Holy in its Founder, Holy in its Teachings, Holy in its Means of Grace, Holy in its Members who follow the Teachings and use the Means of Grace provided.

3. Catholic. It is not the Church of one nation or one race, but of all nations and all races.

4. Apostolic. It can trace its origin back to the Apostles on whom Christ founded the Church.

Only the Catholic Church has all four of these marks. It alone is the Church Christ founded. But we must convince men of this by love. . . ."

Of course, Father Cutie can engage in the High Church Anglican fantasy that "Anglicanism" is a branch of the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. They can argue that Reformation Archbishop of Canterbury THOMAS CRANMER and other English bishops who became Protestants stood in apostolic succession and that the Protestant bishops whom they subsequently ordained were, therefore, in Apostolic succession. Therefore, so the argument goes, Anglican bishops are in apostolic succession and Anglican holy orders are valid. For a number of reasons, which are too detailed to go into here, the Catholic Church has always rejected this argument. As a former Anglican/Episopalian, I cannot believe that a Catholic priest would seriously accept this argument as correct. The harsh truth is that the Episcopal Church is a Protestant church with some trappings of catholicism.

Second, I am disturbed by the manner in which Father Cutie's conversion to Protestantism has been handled. Apparently, neither Father Cutie nor the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida bothered to notify Archbishop John C. Favalora of the Catholic Archdiocese of Miami that Father Cutie was going to be received into the Episcopal Church and then ordained an Episcopal priest. An article at Episcopal Life Online reports that Father Cutie had already undergone a two year discernment process for the Episcopal ministry, presumably under the nose of his Catholic superiors. It seems to the BAD CATHOLIC that it would have been polite to at least tell the Catholic Archbishop that this was coming and not make him hear it for the first time on the news. At the point that Father Cutie was even thinking about becoming a protestant, he should have notified his superiors and resigned from active ministry in the Catholic Church. I think that Archbisop Favalora is totally justified in saying that Episcopal Bishop Frade's actions are "a serious setback for ecumenical relations and cooperation between us."

Episcopal Bishop Frade was quoted by Episcopal Life Online as saying "We welcome Father Alberto into the ministry of the Episcopal Church. Our ministry has centered on spiritual growth, love, forgiveness, and a sense of community. Guided by a spirit of fellowship and understanding, the Episcopal Church remains a beacon of hope and faith for all." This statement heavily implies that the Roman Catholic Church does not have "spiritual growth, love, forgiveness and a sense of community." Therefore, the Episcopal Church is "a beacon of hope" for Father Cutie and other victims of Roman Catholicism.

I know that many of my friends are members of the Episcopal Church. What I am about to say will probably hurt their feelings. Please forgive me. In my opinion, the Episcopal Church has theologically degenerated to the point that you can pretty much believe anything you want to and still claim to be a good Episcopalian. There is very little that one can do, other than fail to be politically correct under current cultural standards, that will be definitely condemned by the Episcopal Church as sin. So violating one's ordination vows is certainly no big deal. Father Cutie should make an excellent Episcopalian.


From The Acts of the Apostles:

"When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly, a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."

Acts of the Apostles 2:1-4 (RSV)

From a sermon by a 6th century author:

"The disciples spoke in the language of every nation. At Pentecost God chose this means to indicate the presence of the Holy Spirit: whoever had received the Spirit spoke in every kind of tongue. We must realize, dear brothers, that this is the same Holy Spirit by whom love is poured out in our hearts. It was love that was to bring the Church of God together all over the world. And as individual men who received the Holy Spirit in those days could speak in all kinds of tongues, so today the Church, united by the Holy Spirit, speaks in the language of every people.

Therefore if somebody should say to one of us, "You have received the Holy Spirit, why do you not speak in tongues?" his reply should be, "I do indeed speak in the tongues of all men, because I belong to the body of Christ, that is, the Church, and she speaks all languages. What else did the presence of the Holy Spirit indicate at Pentecost, except that God's Church was to speak in the language of every people?"

Prayer: Come Holy Spirit. Fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in us the fire of your love. O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy his consolations, through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Friday, May 22, 2009


From The Acts of the Apostles (Good News Bible):

"When the apostles met together with Jesus, they asked him, Lord, will you at this time give the Kingdom back to Israel?

Jesus said to them, "The times and occasions are set by my Father's own authority, and it is not for you to know when they will be. But when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." After saying this, he was taken up to heaven as they watched him, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

They still had their eyes fixed on the sky as he went away, when two men dressed in white suddenly stood beside them and said, "Galileans, why are you standing there looking up at the sky? This Jesus, who was taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way that you saw him go to heaven."


Almighty God, whose blessed Son our Savior Jesus Christ ascended far above all heavens that he might fill all things. Mercifully give us faith to perceive that, according to his promise, he abides with his Church on earth, even to the end of the ages; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

(Book of Common Prayer).

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Few Notes On Taking Faith Seriously

We live in a secular age in which the received wisdom is that religious faith is not supposed to interfere with secular activities and obligations. In other words, religion is OK so long as you don't really take it seriously.
A case in point is the recent action of the National High School Mock Trial Board which decided that high school students with religious obligations should be required to abandon them in order to participate in the national mock trial championship.
The State Champion team selected to represent Massachusetts in the national competition was an Orthodox Jewish school in Brookline, Massachusetts. The national mock trial board scheduled the championship, which was held at the Fulton County Courthouse in Atlanta, Georgia, for Wednesday through Saturday. As orthodox Jews, the students would not be allowed to observe the sabbath from sundown on Friday until sundown Sunday. The national board refused to give any consideration to accommodating the Massachusetts students.
When the State Bar of Georgia, who co-sponsored the event, wished to make accommodations, the National Board cited their contract and demanded that no changes could be made. This matter was only resolved when Chief Judge Doris Downs of the Fulton County Superior Court ordered that if the Jewish students were not accommodated, that the National High School Mock Trial could not use the Fulton County Courthouse.
Reluctantly, the mock trial board agreed to make concessions to allow the Massachusetts team to compete. However, the national high school mock trial board, which appears to this writer to be an embarrassment to the legal profession (which already has enough embarrassments), made a public statement that they felt that the board was forced into making concessions and that, in their opinion, JUDGE DOWNS had no legal right to take the action she did. As a member of the Georgia bar, I am proud of JUDGE DORIS DOWNS. If the National High School Mock Trial Board wants to sue the Georgia Bar and Fulton County for breach of contract over this, BRING IT ON BABY! I am sure we have some fine attorneys of the Jewish faith in Georgia that will be happy to represent the Judge and State Bar pro bono.
In other faith notes, yesterday I visited the nursing home where my grandmother is a patient and listened to a choir from a local MENNONITE community sing. These are definitely people who take their faith very seriously and are counter-cultural in this society. The women don't wear make-up, don't wear pants, and keep a covering on their heads. The New Georgia Encyclopedia says this about the Mennonite communities in Georgia:
"Mennonites derive their names from Menno Simons, a Catholic priest in Holland who, after joining the movement in 1536, unified and led scattered Anabaptists suffering persecution under various European authorities. . . . Mennonites tend toward a literal interpretation of the Bible that often leads them to practice a rigorous form of communal discipleship that does not always conform with modern society. Many communities choose to adopt a rural, separatist lifestyle, and these groups frequently restrict the use of modern technology, dress in traditional attire, and retain their native German language. . . ."
If, as the Baltimore Catechism says, the purpose of our life on earth is to "To know God, to love Him, to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with him forever in Heaven," then we would all be well advised to take a few pointers from Mennonites, Orthodox Jews and others who take God seriously.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

What I've Been Watching

Lately, I've had the opportunity to view two excellent films dealing specifically with Judaism but both films have wider implications with regard to faith in general.

God On Trial was an episode of Masterpiece Theatre on PBS in 2008 and is a play based upon the legend that a group of prisoners in Auschwitz convened a rabbinical court and put God on trial for his crimes against the Jewish people. This is heavy stuff and has many theological and philosophical aspects to it. This film can easily be a doorway to deep reflection on the nature of evil and existence of God. The discussion goes back and forth between God's defenders and God's detractors. When one of the prisoners says that the trial is blasphemy, this is responded to by saying that putting God on trial and questioning him is very biblical. It is pointed out that Abraham questioned God, Jacob wrestled with God, this is, in fact what the name ISRAEL means, "one who struggles with God," Moses questioned God, and Job questioned the justice of God. One of God's defenders argues that God has promised that the Jewish people will survive but has not promised anything to anyone individually. At one point, one prisoner who was ethnically Jewish but was raised as a gentile but was arrested by the Nazis anyway says "Don't let them take your God away from you, even if he doesn't exist." As in the legend, the prisoners find God guilty. Anyone watching this should be prepared to do some extensive reflection. The Bad Catholic gives it five Torah scrolls.

A Life Apart: Hasidism in America is a documentary film released in the late 1990s dealing with the lifestyle of Hasidic Jews living in the United States particularly in New York City. The film is narrated by Leonard Nimoy and Sarah Jessica Parker. The Bad Catholic is fascinated by people who take their faith seriously, and for the Hasidim, Judaism permeates every aspect of their lives. While living in the most commercial and materialistic country in the world, the Hasidim have tried to keep their lifestyle uncorrupted by the modern American culture around them. They do not allow television and modern media into their homes, and they try to keep away from other corrupting influences like secular education. This film is an excellent introduction into the world of ultra - orthodox Judaism. Definitely Five Torah Scrolls.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


THE LETTER TO DIOGNETUS is an early Christian apologetic work from the 2nd or 3rd century A.D. Diognetus was apparently a highly regarded pagan. The author of the work is unknown. The work survived antiquity in one medieval manuscript which was destroyed by fire in Strasbourg, France in 1870.

A reading from THE LETTER TO DIOGNETUS was appointed for the Liturgy of the Hours for today, Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter.


Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs. They do not inhabit separate cities of their own, or speak a strange dialect, or follow some outlandish way of life. Their teaching is not based upon reveries inspired by the curiosity of men. Unlike some other people, they champion no purely human doctrine. With regard to dress, food and manner of life in general, they follow the customs of whatever city they happen to be living in, whether it is Greek or foreign.

And yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labor under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country. Like others, they marry and have children, but they do not expose them. They share their meals, but not their wives. They live in the flesh, but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth, but they are citizens of heaven. Obedient to the laws, they yet live on a level that transcends the law.

Christians love all men, but all men persecute them. Condemned because they are not understood, they are put to death, but raised to life again. They live in poverty, but enrich many; they are totally destitute, but possess an abundance of everything. They suffer dishonor, but that is their glory. They are defamed, but vindicated. A blessing is their answer to abuse, deference their response to insult. For the good they do they receive the punishment of malefactors, but even then they rejoice, as though receiving the gift of life. . . . As the soul benefits from the deprivation of food and drink, so Christians flourish under persecution. Such is the Christian's lofty and divinely appointed function, from which he is not permitted to excuse himself.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Today, May 12, the Church remembers 1st century martyrs Saints Nereus and Achilleus and 4th century martyr Saint Pancras.

"According to Pope Saint Damasus, Nereus and Achilleus were Roman soldiers of the 1st century who became Christians and refused to remain in the service. They were martyred for the Faith and buried in the cemetary of Domitilla on the Via Ardeatina. The bas-relief of Achilleus being stricken is the oldest known representation of martyrdom.

The legendary Acts of these martyrs state on the other hand that they were servants of Flavia Domitilla, a niece of the Emperors Titus and Domitian, who became a Christian. They further relate that she was banished to the island of Pontia and was finally martyred at Terracina together with Nereus and Achilleus.

Saint Pancras was a Phrygian of noble birth who was baptized at the age of 14 and proceeded to give all his possessions to the poor. This drew the attention of the authorities to him and ultimately to the fact that he was a Christian. When he refused to renounce his Christianity, he was decapitated under Diocletian about the year 304.

PRAYER: Almighty God, we have seen Your glorious Martyrs Nereus, Achilleus, and Pancras remain steadfast in their profession of Faith. May we also experience their piety in their intercession for us before You. Amen."

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Yours truly, the BAD CATHOLIC, and SHE WHO MUST BE OBEYED, traveled to sunny Miramar Beach near DESTIN, FLORIDA for a few days of much needed rest and relaxation.

Day 1: Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I got up and went to Mass while SHE finished packing and went to the office. The famous Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes once said that "The law is a jealous mistress." And it's true, many times it feels like we are both married to a law practice. After leaving in the late afternoon, we arrived at our rented condo in Miramar Beach, Florida in the early evening and went for dinner at that famed establishment for fine dining BEEF O'BRADY'S where I drank Yuengling Beer for the first time. (It was love at first swallow).

Day 2: Thursday, May 7, 2009

I got up early, said Morning Prayer, and took a brisk walk down the beach. Before leaving, I had checked mass for the closest Catholic Church and found that THE CHURCH OF THE RESURRECTION was right around the corner within walking distance from where we were staying. Believe it or not, my wife actually made an 8:30 A.M. mass on a weekday! God Be Praised! (It helped that it was 8:30 AM Central Time which would have normally been 9:30 AM to us.)

THE CHURCH OF THE RESURRECTION is a beautiful modern church. I was impressed by the Stations of the Cross and impressive crucifix located in a garden of palmetto and palm. The church was also very beautiful on the inside. However, THE BAD CATHOLIC is something of a traditionalist in these matters. Although the architecture of the church, round with glass walls from floor to ceiling, was very beautiful, this was one of those churches where the altar is in the middle of the church, there is no apparent front of the altar since it appears to be square, and no matter how hard you look you can't find the tabernacle. The choir is behind the lectern, like in a Protestant Church, and it appears to me that it would be difficult to conduct a Tridentine Mass in this Church since the pews are pretty much 360 degrees around the altar. I finally saw the tabernacle and it was kind of in a corner out the way. And that, my brothers and sisters, in a nutshell, is what is wrong with the "modern" church in architecture and in theology, it has a tendency to put us in the forefront and put Jesus away in a corner someplace. But enough about that.

The Pastor of Resurrection Parish, Father Tom, was celebrating his anniversary in the priesthood on Friday. When I spoke to him and he asked me where I was from and I told him, he said "Your priest is that guy who rides the motorcycle, if he's still there." And I said, yep, sure enough, the motorcycle riding priest is still there. I then laughingly told Father Tom that I had to get used to hearing him say mass since he doesn't have a Polish accent.

After leaving church on Thursday, we went out for breakfast. SHE wanted a WAFFLE HOUSE waffle. So we very carefully snuck the contraband into WAFFLE HOUSE in SHE'S massive purse. The contraband being 100% pure organic maple syrup. Then we hit one of SHE'S favorite places, THE GOODWILL STORE, and another thrift store run by a church mission group. SHE found a lot of bargains and I found a surprisingly large amount of good used books. We finished the day at LANDRY'S SEAFOOD HOUSE where SHE had grouper and I had the stuffed flounder.

Day 3: Friday, May 8, 2009

The day began with morning prayer and mass at RESURRECTION PARISH. We had lunch at POMPANO JOE'S on the beach in DESTIN. POMPANO JOE'S is right on the beach and has a Caribbean Bar theme to it. SHE had a fried grouper sandwich and I had a POMPANO JOE original, a GROUPER REUBEN. It was excellent.

Following this excellent repast, we saw the new STAR TREK movie. As an old Trekkie, I thought it was way cool, however, I still am a little bit worried about what they are going to do all of these beloved characters in sequels since they have ingeniously developed a plot line in which all the STAR TREK history that we know from all the TV shows and previous movies has been wiped out so they can do whatever they want with the characters, and in fact, they already have.

Following the movie, we hit THE OTHER GOODWILL STORE in downtown DESTIN.

We finished the day with a swim in the pool, a walk on the beach, and an excellent steak from WINN DIXIE plus our leftovers from LANDRY'S.

Day 4: Saturday, May 9, 2009

Began the day with Morning Prayer and a walk down the beach. Came back to the condo where my wife made me homemade pancakes with real 100% natural organic maple syrup. Watched Christopher Buckley talk about his new book about his parents on C-SPAN 2. (Uncle Sonny, A GREAT AMERICAN, once told me when he found me watching C-SPAN 2 "Book TV" on the weekend, "I didn't know that real people really watched this channel.")

Then we did SHE'S favorite pastime, we did more shopping. However, SHE made the mistake of keeping me occupied by putting me off at BOOKS-A-MILLION where I engaged in an occasion of sin and proceeded to buy things.

Lunch Saturday was at GILLIGAN'S on the porch overlooking the bay. SHE had another fried grouper sandwich and I had a combo platter of fried shrimp and oysters.

There were a lot of people around in DESTIN and it did not appear to me that THE RECESSION was keeping anybody away or causing anyone not to spend money. However, a closer look revealed that the place is way overbuilt and that many condos and beach houses are for sale at reduced prices or in foreclosure.

We ended the day with Mass at RESURRECTION PARISH and split the steak and potatoes we had leftover from Friday.

Day 5: Sunday, May 10, 2009

Unfortunately, we had to leave and come home. After a nice drive back to Tallahassee, we met our friend LAWYER LAURA for INDIAN FOOD. After hitting NEW LEAF MARKET another of the favorite haunts of SHE WHO MUST BE OBEYED, we headed back to SOUTH GEORGIA.

Of course, SHE wanted to go to the office after we got back. It took me about 2 seconds of reviewing my messages to be totally sick of the legal profession once again. And so, now, here we are: BACK TO THE RAT RACE!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Elvis is Dead!

While we're doing the trip down memory lane thing, here's the group FLASH AND THE ASSASSINS performing their greatest hit! Enjoy!

A Blast From My Past!

An Old Friend of Mine found this bad video (it was shot on high speed audio tape by some toy camera made by Fisher Price, that's why it looks a sting operation video) It's me (I'm Flash) and Mark doing a post game analysis of a military simulation board game published by Avalon Hill called Victory in the Pacific in about 1985. LOOK AT HOW THIN I WAS!!!!! LOOK AT ALL THE HAIR I HAD!!!!! IT SEEMS LIKE IT WAS A MILLION YEARS AGO!!!!!! IT WAS A MILLION YEARS AGO!!!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


"I, for example, am a Roman Catholic, albeit a bad one. I believe in the Holy Catholic Apostolic and Roman Church, in God the Father, in the election of the Jews, in Jesus Christ His Son Our Lord, who founded the Church on Peter his first vicar, which will last until the end of the world. . . . I believe in God and the whole business but I love women best, music and science next, whiskey next, God fourth, and my fellowman hardly at all. Generally I do as I please. A man, wrote John, who says he believes in God and does not keep his commandments is a liar. If John is right, then I am a liar. Nevertheless, I still believe."
Dr. Tom More in
by Walker Percy


Here's my legal assistant, Tammy, celebrating CINCO DE MAYO !


Today is the 5th of May or CINCO DE MAYO. Contrary to popular belief in the United States, Cinco de Mayo IS NOT Mexican independence day.

CINCO DE MAYO celebrates the victory of the Mexican Army over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. While the United States was busy fighting the Civil War and unable to intervene, France invaded Mexico after the Mexican government defaulted on payments of loans which France had made. French forces landed at Vera Cruz on the Mexican Gulf Coast and attempted to march inland to attack Mexico City. The French Emperor, Napoleon III, sought to install his relative, the Archduke Maximillian of Austria, as Emperor of Mexico, thus effectively making Mexico a colony of France.

Although outnumbered almost two to one, the Mexicans, led by General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin, soundly defeated a larger and better equipped French army. The Mexican victory was of limited strategic importance, however, as a year later the French captured Mexico City and installed Maximillian as Emperor. In 1867, Maximillian was overthrown and the French were driven out of Mexico by forces led by President Benito Juarez. Maximillian was later executed.

CINCO DE MAYO is primarily a holiday among Mexican and Chicano communities in the United States. The celebration has taken on a significance far beyond celebrating a military victory in an obscure battle. Like ST. PATRICK'S DAY among those of Irish descent, CINCO DE MAYO is a day for Americans of Mexican ancestory to celebrate their heritage.

Monday, May 4, 2009

What I've Been Reading Lately

I have recently finished reading two books about the Mexican Revolution, Zapata and the Mexican Revolution by John Womack, Jr. and Villa: Soldier of the Mexican Revolution by Robert L. Scheina.

I enjoyed both of these books very much. However, if you are reading history for pleasure, I would recommend the Poncho Villa book over Womack's exhaustive microscopic look at the movement in the Mexican State of Morelos led by General Emiliano Zapata, whose image appears at left.

It is easier to describe what Zapata and the Mexican Revolution is not than what it is. The book is not a biography of Emiliano Zapata. It is also not a general history of the Mexican Revolution. This book is an exhaustive and detailed treatment of the Mexican Revolution in the State of Morelos, the events leading up to the Revolution, and the events following the assassination of Zapata and the end of the fighting. This is excellent history which is rich in detail. This reviewer's only criticism is that the book is so detailed that it is easy to get lost in the details.

By contrast, Villa: Soldier of the Mexican Revolution is a gold mine of information contained in a fast paced, well written narrative. Although the book is only a little over 100 pages long, after reading the book, I feel like I was riding along with Villa's army on campaign. Poncho Villa must go down in military history as one of the great captains. A master of light cavalry tactics and the lightning raid, Villa learned how to "get their first with the most," and conduct what the Germans would later call blitzkrieg. Although almost illiterate and uneducated, Villa was a natural soldier who mastered logistics. I was fascinated by Scheina's narrative, which explained the reason behind all those old photographs you see of the Mexican Revolution with all the soldiers sitting on top of railroad boxcars. Villa's soldiers rode on top of the train because their horses rode in the boxcars. Villa would transport his entire army by train near where he wanted to attack, unload the troops and horses, and let them have it.

The byzantine politics behind the Mexican Revolution are too detailed to go into here, but after reading these two books I probably know more about the politics of Mexico in the years 1910-1920 than I do about the politics of the U.S. in 2009. The story of Zapata and the small farmers of Southern Mexico is the endless struggle of the weak against the strong, the poor and disenfranchised against the rich. The Bad Catholic highly recommends both books.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


This morning at Mass, my pastor announced that because of the danger of transmission of the Swine Flu virus, the Diocese of Savannah has made the decision that, until further notice, the communion cup will not be administered to the laity.

Father added that up until after the Second Vatican Council the host only was ordinarily received at Communion. He assured everyone that Jesus is just as present, body, soul, blood and divinity, in the bread as in the wine.

The Bad Catholic is glad that the diocese is worried about the health of its parishioners. The Bad Catholic wonders, however, if we are not over reacting a little bit. So far, it really doesn't appear to be any worse than the regular influenza virus that reportedly kills approximately 38,000 people every year that most of us hardly notice. Some talking heads I heard on the radio last week were saying that this strain of flu may not be as virulent as first thought. I suppose that if the CDC or the World Health Organization decides that this is not a major health hazard, or whenever there is an effective vaccine or treatment, that we can get our communion cups back. Until then, it looks like it is Jesus versus the Swine Flu.

And all joking aside, theologically speaking, it is Jesus versus sickness and death. Sickness and death came into the world as a consequence of sin. This is why there is death and decay. The world is not like it is supposed to be. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that suffering, illness and death are temporal consequences of sin. (CCC paragraph 1264).

Illness and suffering have always been among the gravest problems confronted in human life. In illness, man experiences his powerlessness, his limitations, and his finitude. Every illness can make us glimpse death. . . . It is the experience of Israel that illness is mysteriously linked to sin and evil . . . Christ's compassion toward the sick and his many healings of every kind of infirmity are a resplendent sign that 'God has visted his people' and that the Kingdom of God is close at hand. . . .

Moved by so much suffering Christ not only allows himself to be touched by the sick, but he makes their miseries his own: 'He took our infirmities and bore our diseases.' But he did not heal all the sick. His healings were signs of the coming of the Kingdom of God. They announced a more radical healing: the victory over sin and death through his Passover. On the cross Christ took upon himself the whole weight of evil and took away the 'sin of the world,' of which illness is only a consequence. By his passion and death on the cross Christ has given a new meaning to suffering: it can henceforth configure us to him and unite us with his redemptive Passion.

(Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraphs 1500 - 1505).

In the meantime, let us offer up the sacrifice of taking communion in both species as a penance, and use this as an opportunity to pray for our brothers and sisters who are suffering from all kinds of sickness.

For an excellent discussion of the mystery of suffering and evil from a Catholic Christian perspective, I strongly recommend The Tears of God: Perservering In the Face of Great Sorrow or Catastrophe by Father Benedict J. Groeschel.


Last night, the Bad Catholic, a.k.a. Rumpole, and SHE WHO MUST BE OBEYED, ventured out to the wilds of rural South West Georgia for a lovely dinner with a lovely young lady and her guests.

We laughed, told tall tales, looked at our friend's artwork (an example of which appears to the left) and drank copious quantities of Cheap Red Wine.

This talented young woman calls herself VENUS DE PAVO. Everyone needs to buy a copy of her book of poetry and art which is available through a link on her blog

(Wonder if I am going to get in trouble having a picture of a belly dancer next to the portrait of my bishop? Well, after all I said I was a BAD Catholic.)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Bad Catholic is a huge fan of the late Leo McKern starring as RUMPOLE OF THE BAILEY.

(In some of his worse habits, Rumpole reminds me of me!)


Sacred Scripture says:

An excellent wife, who can find?

For her worth is far above jewels.

The heart of her husband trusts in her.

And he will have no lack of gain.

She does him good and not evil

All the days of her life.

Proverbs 31: 10-12 (New American Standard Bible)

Standing before me in my life and in the attached photograph is my lovely wife. She to whom I make love amid the smouldering ruins of Western Civilization.

She is also the head of our law firm, and as Head of Chambers, entitled to the affectionate title "SHE WHO MUST BE OBEYED."


Today, May 2, is the Memorial of Saint Athanasius, Bishop and Doctor of the Church. The Liturgy of the Hours for today says "Saint Athanasius was born at Alexandria in 295. He accompanied Bishop Alexander to the Council of Nicaea, and succeeded him as bishop of Alexandria. He fought courageously against the Arian heresy. For this he suffered many hardships and was exiled several times. His writings are outstanding in their explanation and defense of the the true teachings of the faith. He died in 373."

Although the Bad Catholic would like to keep this blog non-political, he would observe that in today's heathen, pagan, post-Christian, post-religion, post-culture culture, that all of us who keep steadfast to orthodox belief can expect to be persecuted and to suffer for our beliefs. We, too, may soon face persecution, imprisonment or worse when our beliefs conflict with what is deemed to be politically correct.

The Bad Catholic does not wish to get involved in the current controversy over President Obama's impending commencement address at Notre Dame except to say that this entire controversy could have been avoided if the President was invited to speak without an honorary degree being conferred upon him. By the same token, if the current Administration had any sensitivity to and understanding of the moral teachings of the Catholic Church, which it is obvious, in this writer's opinion, that they do not, the President would have been advised to decline the honorary degree.

The Bad Catholic fears, however, that the ultimate agenda of the powers that be is to indoctrinate us to abandon the moral teaching of the Church. If we cannot be "re-educated" to correct thinking then we are probably to be persecuted, if not punished as criminals. The President said during the recent election that the people of Western Pennsylvania were "clinging to their guns and their religion." The Bad Catholic does not like guns, but states for all the world to hear that he is down in South Georgia rigidly clinging to his religion.

PRAYER: Father, You gave us Saint Athanasius, Your Bishop, to defend the divinity of Your Son. Grant that we may enjoy his teaching and protection and grow continually in our knowledge and love of You. Amen.

Friday, May 1, 2009


My friend, Yocheved Artzi, has written a book about her mother's experiences during the Holocaust. Except for her mother, all of Yocheved's family was killed by the Nazis. Yocheved's book is a powerful account of the triumph of the human spirit amid the horrors of man's inhumanity to man.
The Bad Catholic highly recommends Stealing German Bread by Yocheved Artzi. I guarantee that you will not be the same after reading it. It is one thing to read about the Holocaust and Aushwitz in the abstract, but knowing the people involved makes it hit home that this happened to real people. The Bad Catholic had to wait until he went away on retreat to be able to handle it.
This book should be read on one's knees in an attitude of prayer. There were then and are now real demonic forces at work in the world just as sacred scripture tells us. Until death and the devil are finally defeated at the end of the age, murders and genocides will continue somewhere in the world. And it can happen to me and you.
Stealing German Bread is available for puchase at Amazon. com.


I have just returned from Eucharistic Adoration. Just being in the presence of Our Lord and Our God for even a few minutes can change your whole life. What are we talking about? When I was an Evangelical Protestant I would not have understood this at all. I would have thought that it was strange, I might have even thought that it was idolatrous.

What are we talking about? Catholics believe that at the Mass the bread and wine become literally the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, when the sacred elements are present in the tabernacle in the Church, God is more than spiritually present, He is sacramentally present, body, blood, soul, and divinity. Eucharistic adoration is time spent praying in the sacramental presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ. As another of my favorite people, Father Benedict Groeschel, has said, Eucharistic Adoration is the Crown Jewel of Catholic Devotions. Most of the saints have been devoted to spending time with the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.
As Pope Innocent VI said:

"Hail true body that was born of Mary, the Virgin, that truly suffered and was offered in sacrifice on the cross for man and that gave forth true blood from its pierced side. Be to us a foretaste of Heaven when we are in death's agony, kind, loving, and gentle Jesus, son of Mary."

Lunch with Uncle Sonny

Thursday between hearings in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Georgia, the Bad Catholic failed to avoid an occasion of sin and accompanied Uncle Sonny, a Great American, to Hooters in Valdosta, Georgia for hot wings and the attentions of well endowed young ladies.
(Uncle Sonny is, strictly speaking, not my uncle, he is the uncle of one of my employees, and Sonny is only about 10 or 12 years older than me, however, he is everybody's Uncle Sonny.)
At this fine establishment, we had the pleasure of being waited on by Miss "C.J." an attractive young lady who is a junior at Valdosta State University majoring in accounting. C.J. first arrived at our table shivering from the cold air conditioning. Being a true Southern Gentleman, Uncle Sonny said "I'm sorry you're cold." Whereupon Miss C.J. asked if we thought that the A.C. was on too high. The Bad Catholic stated that he didn't think that it was too cold, but then wearing all of his Court clothes, the Bad Catholic was wearing a lot more clothes than Miss C.J. Miss C.J. is interested in being an accountant and an attorney. The Bad Catholic, after making a few cynical remarks about his profession, provided a few words of encouragement between wings. The Bad Catholic will pray for Miss C.J. and all of her intentions in the future.
Since the Bad Catholic cannot seem to avoid occasions of sin, this is why the Bad Catholic is a Bad Catholic. Bad Catholic needs to go to confession more often. On the way out of the aforementioned establishment, Uncle Sonny commented that there was a T-shirt for sale which said "A Hooters Girl Thinks I'm Sexy." The Bad Catholic remarked to Uncle Sonny that what we need is the T-Shirt which says, "A Hooters Girl Thinks I'm a Dirty Old Man." The Bad Catholic has commented to Uncle Sonny in the past when we have visited the aformentioned establishment that the little girls who are waiting on us are a little older than his 15 year old niece, but not by much. It reminds me of a quote from the immortal Fred Sanford: "I'm a dirty old man, and I'm gonna be a dirty old man until I'm a dead old man!"
The Bad Catholic must now rush off to confession. (Really, believe it or not I'm going to First Friday Eucharistic Adoration in about 40 minutes). But remember, the Church is a hospital for sinners, and the Bad Catholic admits that he is one of the most wretched and wicked of sinners.

The Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker

Today, May 1st, is the Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker. Of course, May 1 is MAY DAY, which was celebrated by Communist countries as a celebration of workers. As a response to this the Church, the Bad Catholic thinks it was Pope Pius XII but is not sure without looking it up, declared this the Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker in order to sanctify the atheistic communist holiday for Christ.
From the Liturgy of the Hours: "Saint Joseph faithfully practiced the carpenter's trade. He is a shining example for all workers, alleluia."

I was very impressed by this morning's second reading from the liturgy of the hours. This is a quote from the pastoral constitution on the Church in the modern world of the Second Vatican Council: "Where men and women, in the course of gaining a livelihood for themselves and their families, offer appropriate service to society, they can be confident that their personal efforts to promote the work of the Creator, confer benefit on their fellowmen, and help to realize God's plan in history." Amen.