Wednesday, March 31, 2010

This Isn't Free Speech - It's Stalking!

The Federal Appeals Court is nuts. The jury and Bill O'Reilly are right. Maybe SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) will uphold the jury's verdict. Westboro Baptist Church and Rev. Phelps don't preach Christianity, they preach Insanity.

Wednesday in Holy Week

Lord God, whose blessed Son our Savior gave his body to be whipped and his face to be spit upon: Give us grace to accept joyfully the sufferings of the present time, confident of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ Your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever, Amen. (Source: 1979 BCP p. 220).

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday in Holy Week

O God, by the passion of Your blessed Son you made an instrument of shameful death to be for us the means of life: Grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(Source 1979 BCP p. 220)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Happy Passover!

Monday in Holy Week

Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first He suffered pain, and entered not into glory before He was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ Your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(Source: 1979 BCP p. 220)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Is Obama Resigned To a Nuclear Iran?

Here's a good post from RICK'S AMERICAN CAFE about whether the Obama administration is resigned to allow Iran to become a nuclear power.

And since President Obama offered Prime Minister Netanyahu the left foot of fellowship at his recent White House visit, it raises the question of who the red carpet is being rolled out for at the Obama White House. How about Louis Farrakhan and Bill Ayers. More food for thought from RICK'S AMERICAN CAFE.

Our Enemy Is Not Flesh and Blood

The above painting is of demons attacking Saint Anthony. In yet another excellent post, Father Dwight Longenecker reminds us that we are engaged in spiritual warfare and that the current attacks against the Pope and the Church are ultimately engineered by the Father of Lies. Father Dwight also points out that "tolerant" secularists are tolerant only so long as religion complies with the demands of the culture. At some point, "tolerance" will demand that religious people abandon their beliefs and principles in order to be "tolerant."

"For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12.

Quote of the Day

I plagiarized this post from THE DEACON'S BENCH. It's well worth stealing.

"To be connected with the church is to be associated with scoundrels, warmongers, fakes, child-molesters, murderers and hypocrites of every description.

It also, at the same time, identifies you with saints and the finest persons of heroic soul of every time, country, race and gender.

To be a member of the church is to carry the mantle of both the worst sin and the finest heroism of soul because the church always looks exactly as it looked at the original crucifixion, God hung among thieves."

Father Ronald Rolheiser, THE HOLY LONGING

British Government is Anti-Christian Says Former Archbishop of Canterbury

CRANMER reports on a letter sent to the Sunday Telegraph by former Anglican Archbishop George Carey and other bishops saying that the British National Health Service and the current government are anti-Christian and hostile to Christian faith.

Media Feeding Frenzy

Patrick Archbold at CREATIVE MINORITY REPORT has a good post on the current Media Witch Hunt going on against Pope Benedict.

Palm Sunday

Almighty and everliving God, in your tender love for the human race you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon Him our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of His great humility: Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of His suffering, and also share in His resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(Source: 1979 BCP p. 219)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Clarity in the Midst of Gloom

Father Dwight Longenecker brings us Clarity in the Midst of Gloom about the current efforts of the media and others to smear Pope Benedict. The editorial that this post links to from the London Telegraph contains excellent analysis.

Mexican Drug Gangs Active in Every U.S. State

The blog 360 Degrees reports that the Mexican Drug Cartels are active in every state in the Union. As one who is active in the criminal justice system, I would have to say that based on what I see in criminal court, I believe it.

Another Great Post By Father Dwight

Here's another great post from Father Dwight Longenecker about what's really wrong with the Church and what should be done about it. And the short answer is HOLINESS. And getting HOLY ain't easy.

I Alone Have Escaped To Tell You

I just finished reading the memoirs of the late Professor Ralph McInerny (1929-2010). From the mid-1950s to his retirement in the 21st century, Professor McInerny taught philosophy at Notre Dame. He also found time to write an incredible number of novels. This book, published in 2006 by the University of Notre Dame Press, is called I ALONE HAVE ESCAPED TO TELL YOU: MY LIFE AND PASTIMES.

The Bad Catholic found this to be a very enjoyable read, as well as a profound one. Professor McInerny surveyed the highlights of his life, which include the death of his first born child at age three to the writing of the highly popular Father Dowling mysteries.

Professor McInerny also spoke at great length about the Church and Catholic education and the poor state that both have fallen into. He talks about his early years in the junior and senior seminaries and his higher education after he left the seminary. Even going to graduate school in the late 40's and early 50's, McInerny felt that there was much that was wrong with "modern philosophy." McInerny says "To doubt everything is impossible. . . . No wonder philosophy over the last century has seemed to real from one form of self-assertive subjectivity to another, with its last state being skepticism that there is anything beyond our construals to know anyway. Truth along with objectivity goes out the window."

Professor McInerny felt that the Zeitgeist of the 20th century was very destructive and that the smoke of Satan had definitely entered the Church through "the Spirit of Vatican II." In his chapter on his various extended stays in Europe, McInerny says this: "Of course Europe has changed since our first visit, and not for the better. It is not simply that lovely national currencies have given way to the euro. There is something post-Christian about the continent, England seems neo-pagan to me, and even holy Ireland is taking on the worst traits of modernity. Cardinal Schonborn has said that our cathedrals have become museums and our museums have become churches. That does not begin to capture the change that has occurred."

Professor McInerny attacks the idea that in order to be a first class university, that a school must be totally secular and abandon its religious affiliations in the classroom. "I have portrayed the conflict as one between believer and nonbeliever . . . In Catholic departments of philosophy, one now has tenured colleagues whose training disposes them to take seriously positions which, however implicitly, are in conflict with the faith. And of course, students in our colleges and universities are likely to be taught by professors, whose views, if true, would undermine the student's faith. That is why those of us who have spent long careers in traditional Catholic institutions are involved in a long twilight struggle within the walls. Positions dubiously compatible with the faith are maintained and taught all around us. A young colleague of mine announced in a departmental meeting that, since he regarded Catholicism as false, he had a moral obligation to disabuse his students of their faith. That is where we have come." This is underscored by the recent commencement address controversy at Notre Dame. Professor McInerny loved Notre Dame passionately and was deeply saddened by the forces of secularism and evil at Our Lady's University.

In discussing the decline of the Church, Professor McInerny says that the post-conciliar problem was primarily Catholic intellectuals and left-leaning bishops who fostered changes on the Church which were not intended by the Council. The hot button issue was sexual ethics. According to McInerny, this one issue is the primary fire bringing Pope Paul's "smoke of Satan" into the windows of the Church. Professor McInerny opines that the open rebellion against the teachings of the Church in this one area has opened the door and led to the collapse of moral theology.

This quote is worth reproducing in full:

". . . many of the priests who are currently costing the Church millions upon millions of dollars in court-ordered payments were already priests before the collapse of moral theology. Their training surely would have enabled them to see that adulterous and homosexual activities were morally wrong. How can one explain this? I will provide an anecdote.

Priests of that age, though not only they, were regularly sent to programs allegedly designed to familiarize them with the brave new post-conciliar world. There was such a program at Notre Dame. A St. Paul priest I had known years before, who had been engaged in dedicated and effective pastoral work, came to Notre Dame to be renewed. We had lunch one day in the University Club. After pleasant reminiscing, it became clear that he wanted to talk about what he was undergoing. He leaned across the table and said to me in a whisper, "They told us to forget everything we had been taught in the seminary." Perhaps the one speaking to those priests was indulging in hyperbole, a little rhetorical excess to gain attention. Perhaps. The effect on my old friend was obvious. He was not, I can say, a fast-ball pitcher in the seminary, but he was a good priest. He had walked in the vocation to which he had been called. Now he was being told to forget everything that had defined his life. How could he not feel vertigo? He finished the course and went home and a few years later left the priesthood, under a cloud of accusations of sexual irregularity."

It is no doubt that Ralph McInerny was a remarkable man and led a very rewarding life as a husband, father, teacher, and author. The chapter in the book on writing fiction and detailing how McInerny broke into the publishing business and came to write mystery novels is worth the price of the book by itself.

Professor McInerny does not close his memoirs on a sour note. "Have I become a Cassandra, in despair of the Church and the modern world? Not at all. With William Faulkner in his Nobel Prize address, I am confident that man will prevail, and as for the Church, the gates of hell will not prevail against her. But one would have to be a mindless Pollyanna not to admit that we live in strange and antinomian times."

I ALONE HAVE ESCAPED TO TELL YOU is highly recommended. I have previously reviewed Professor McInerny's book SOME CATHOLIC WRITERS and his novel THE PRIEST.

Virtual Tour of the Sistine Chapel

Take a wonderful virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel on the Vatican's wesite.

Pray for the Holy Father

We must all pray for the Holy Father and Our Church, which it seems, like Our Lord during his earthly life, is constantly under attack from within and without.

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil; may God rebuke him, we humbly pray and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Real Problem in the Church

Once again, Father Dwight Longenecker has hit the nail on the head. Here is Father Dwight's article about the real problem plaguing the Church. Be sure and read the underlying editorial in the British Daily Telegraph by Gerald Warner which Father Dwight references. It is awesome as well.

Canadian Anglicans Line Up to Become Catholic

Apparently, Canadian Anglo-Catholics have had enough of "Your OK, I'm OK, God's OK," liberal Anglican theology and have come out in force to come home to Rome. Full story here.

Back in the U.S.S.R.

Good Morning Comrades! We are so lucky to live here in the worker's paradise of the Soviet Union (U.S.S.A. - United Soviet Socialist States of America).

Here in Soviet Union the rich, that is those who actually have a job that pays money, happily pay 75% of our income in taxes. We no longer need money since we now have affordable health care unlike under evil Capitalism. We no longer need bourgeois ideas like disposable income!

Here in Soviet Union, artists and writers do not have to get a real job, so long as the art they produce is acceptable to Comrade Pelosi and the immoral majority of San Francisco!

And we have new jobs to stimulate economy! Comrade Obama will hire 16,000 new KGB, I mean IRS, agents to enforce the People's Health Care Law against bourgeois capitalist resistance! Any who oppose the will of the people will be sent to the Gulag!

Although the bourgeois capitalist media reports that the majority of Soviet citizens are against the law, our leaders know that all these people are stupid and have been mislead! They must be re-educated!

Of course, Comrades, this is just a joke. Or is it?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Light Invisible

Robert Hugh Benson said that THE LIGHT INVISIBLE (1903) was the least favorite of his books. In CONFESSIONS OF A CONVERT Benson says that when he wrote THE LIGHT INVISIBLE, he was trying too hard to show the truths of religion and that the book was too sentimental and relied too much on mystical intuition rather than divine authority. Benson said that he thought his book RICHARD ROLLE SOLITARY was a much better book. Benson further comments that THE LIGHT INVISIBLE is more popular among Anglicans than among Catholics. However, I must agree with Hugh's brother Arthur who wrote that "The Light Invisible always seemed to me a beautiful book."

Published just before Benson's conversion to the Roman Catholic Church, THE LIGHT INVISIBLE consists of a series of related short stories. The story arch which links stories together concerns the visit of an un-named narrator to the country home of an elderly retired Anglo-Catholic priest. The priest has what is called in Eastern mysticism a "third eye." Throughout his life he has been able to see past the material world to the spiritual reality behind it. The old priest relates to his young visitor his experiences beginning in childhood. The stories continue throughout the priest's life. The last story narrates the priest's death.

Most of the stories illustrate some point of Christian theology. However, there is one story, The Traveler, which is a straight up ghost story. In the beginning, Benson's florid Edwardian style of writing can be somewhat off-putting, however, once you get used to it and become engrossed in the stories this no longer makes a difference. There is a reason why Benson was a very popular author in the early twentieth century. THE LIGHT INVISIBLE is very good fiction which is well worthy of our time.

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Few Thoughts on "Jihad Jane"

It strikes me that as our country becomes less Christian, the more we are going to have of people whose families used to be Christian looking for something solid to anchor themselves to.

Our hedonistic secular culture is, ultimately, spiritually bankrupt. People are looking for something greater than themselves to dedicate their lives to. Of course, we who know Christ know the truth and the power of the words, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no man comes to Father except through me." Christ is the way. However, the former witnesses of Christ, including some parts of the Holy Catholic Church, have been taken over by the "smoke of Satan" which has brought with it all the evils of the secular culture.

As author Thomas C. Reeves wrote in his 1996 book The Empty Church: The Suicide of Liberal Protestantism: "And so the mainline churches wane - disheartened, aging, increasingly irrelevant, all too often satisfied to serve as a sort of sanctimonious echo of National Public Radio or the left wing of the Democratic Party. For a variety of reasons, many liberal Protestants, especially church leaders, have endorsed a view of reality and a way of life that have helped produce a society that is breaking up. And they have become part of the problem."

The same thing can be said of liberal Catholicism.

We must face facts. As Southern Baptist Convention President R. Albert Mohler has said of liberal protestantism, "As the boundaries between liberal Protestantism and the secular culture vanish, there is little reason for anyone to join one of these churches." Read that quote again and replace the words "liberal Protestantism" with "liberal Catholicism." Same result.

As Christianity becomes more irrelevant and both religious and secular culture become more decadent, more and more people will be foundering for direction in their lives. Unfortunately, I can see how fundamentalist Islam can be attractive. It has a simple theology that even a child can grasp: "There is One God, Allah is His Name, and Mohamed is His Prophet." It has clearly defined rules. And it has enough religious truth in it to be dangerous.

All the great heresies have taken real religious truth and distorted it to one degree or another. Hillare Belloc was right when he wrote that Islam is really a Christian heresy. Jesus is declared to be a great prophet but not God incarnate. Our Lady is declared to be a pure vessel who gave birth to the prophet Jesus while a virgin. For someone lost in the dark pit of our evil culture, and who does not have the Christian gospel preached to them in a way to make them want to take up their cross and follow the Master who leads to the only way to heaven that there is, Islam may seem very attractive. We must never forget that John Walker Lynd, the American arrested fighting for the Taliban, was raised in a family which was nominally Catholic, but was a broken home where his parents had divorced and the father had abandoned the mother for his gay lover. As our culture deteriorates further, brothers and sisters, I fear that we can expect more "boys and girls next door" to become jihadists.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Saint Perpetua and Saint Felicity

Today the Church commemorates the martyrdom of Saints Perpetua and Felicity who suffered martyrdom at Carthage in the year 203. A most accurate account of their death still exists, derived partly from their own testimonies and partly from a writer of the period.

Perpetua was a young Roman noblewoman and Felicity was her servant girl. When Perpetua was arrested for being a Christian she was pregnant and her execution was delayed until after she gave birth.

Perpetua, along with other Christians of Carthage, went bravely to her death while admonishing other Christians, "Stand firm in faith, love one another and do not be tempted to do anything wrong because of our sufferings."

Not being killed outright by the beasts, Saint Perpetua guided the sword of a frightened gladiator assigned to kill her to her own throat. The ancient account of her death says "Such a woman - one before whom the unclean spirit trembled - could not perhaps have been killed, had she herself not willed it."

Several years ago, I read an excellent scholarly book about the persecution of Christians under the Emperor Septimus Severus and the martyrdom of Saint Perpetua and the martyrs of Carthage. The book is called Perpetua's Passion.


England Should Be A Catholic Country

Here's an amusing article from The London Telegraph about a debate where it was decided that England should still be a Catholic country. Enjoy! (I find the guy describing himself as a "Protestant Atheist" particularly interesting).

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Gargoyle Code

FROM: Fliptizzle, Senior Temptor
TO: Serpentbreath, Demon First Class

Dear Serpentbreath:

I couldn't help but notice that this morning after his digusting little habit called "Morning Prayer" (gag), which you fortunately have caused him to miss saying a lot lately, your patient finished reading that lying book The Gargoyle Code which that dirty goody two shoes priest Father Dwight Longenecker has written as a marvelous homage to C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters.

This is totally unacceptable Serpentbreath. You were doing a great job at the beginning of Lent when, instead of praying more and making an effort to do more spiritual reading, your patient was sitting around slothfully watching Star Trek episodes and reading trashy Science Fiction. But now your patient has his mind back on the enemy! This is not good at all Serpentbreath. Unless you want to be the guest of honor at a special state dinner for His Lowliness, I suggest you shape up.

Yours Damnably,

Friday, March 5, 2010

More Food For Thought From the Orthodox

Here's more food for thought for Lent from the Orthodox. This was apparently filmed in the 1990s and is about hermit monks and nuns in Romania. Enjoy!

Monday, March 1, 2010