Sunday, December 4, 2011

Trouble in the Amen Corner

I just love this song.  I had to sing a solo on the Agnus Dei this morning.  I told our music leader that if I was messing up the choir like Brother Ire in this song don't be afraid to send the committee out to fire me.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Are the German Bishops Selling Porn?

Interesting commentary from Jimmy Akin of National Catholic Register on the story that the German Catholic Bishops own a publishing house which publishes pornography.

What happened to black vestments?

Interesting post from The New Liturgical Movement about the appropriateness of black vestments.

Why I am No Longer a Tea Totaling Baptist!

Another reason to be happy to be Catholic:  Beer!

Pope Beer

Here is the official Beer Blessing:

V: Our help is in the name of the Lord.

R: Who made heaven and earth.

V: The Lord be with you.

R:  And with thy spirit.

Let us pray.

Bless, O Lord, this creature beer, which thou hast deigned to produce from the fat of grain: that it may be a salutary remedy to the human race, and grant through the invocation of thy holy name that, whoever shall drink it, may gain health in body and peace in soul.  Through Christ our Lord.

R: Amen.

The beer is then sprinkled with holy water.

Beer Blessing

Thanks to the Bad Catholic Blog (great name don't you think?) who I shamelessly stole this post from.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Gay Brownshirts on the March!

Enjoy the fireworks care of Mark Shea at Catholic and Enjoying It!

The Persecution of Catholics Continues

Faithful Catholics are no longer qualified to be nurses in public hospitals in New Jersey.  Twelve New Jersey nurses have been threatened with being fired if they refused to assist in performing abortions.  The Alliance Defense Fund has filed suit on behalf of the nurses.  The hospital first scheduled a meeting with the nurses but cancelled it when they arrived with an attorney.  Full story from National Catholic Register.

So this is where we have now arrived in the demon inspired Culture of Death.  Either kill babies or loose your job and maybe even your professional credentials.  We are fast approaching a time when anyone dissenting from the culture (i.e. opposed to abortion, gay marriage, etc.) will be deemed unqualified to hold a professional license of any type.  How long will it be before the signs go up saying "Catholics need not apply" ?

Brother Can You Spare a Billion?

Will the collapse of the Greek economy mean the beginning of a world wide depression?  Full story here.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Battle In El Paso


Joseph Pearce's Literary Converts: Spiritual Inspiration in an Age of Unbelief (Ignatius Press: 2000), is one of those books which I intended to read but has wound up sitting around on the shelf unread for several years. During a brief vacation to the beach a couple of weeks ago, I finally sat down and read it.

My general reaction is that in comparison with the literary intellectuals of the early and mid twentieth century, we live in a world populated by intellectual pygmies.  Like I previously noted with respect to Pearce's book Literary Giants, Literary Catholics, all the usual suspects are here: Oscar Wilde and his death bed conversion, G.K. Chesterton, Robert Hugh Benson, Eric Gill, Siegfried Sassoon, Ronald Knox, Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, Roy Campbell, Malcolm Muggeridge and others. Pearce does not confine his book to converts to the Roman Catholic Church however, and also includes those atheists or agnostics who became High Church Anglicans like T.S. Eliot, C.S. Lewis and Dorothy L. Sayers.

The intellectual level of these folks was so high that I wonder if there is anybody today of this stature. It seems that although we live in "the information age" we are really dumber than ever. Some of it was the product of the early twentieth century education that these folks received in the British "public schools" (which are really what Americans would call exclusive private schools).   Back then students received instruction in Greek and Latin and read the classics in the original languages. This education laid the foundation for lives of intellectual inquiry.  These people did things which astound us today.  C.S. Lewis corresponded for years with a monk in Italy in Latin which was their only shared language. Mystery writer Dorothy L. Sayers spent the last fifteen years of her life studying Dante and translating The Divine Comedy into English. Monsignor Ronald Knox translated the entire Latin Vulgate Bible into English.

Almost all of the literary converts who survived into the nineteen sixties and seventies were appalled at the changes in the Church following the Second Vatican Council. They were especially upset at what they felt was the banal translation of the sacred liturgy from Latin into the vernacular. Many, like Evelyn Waugh, also prophesied that the watering down of the liturgy would lead inexorably to the decay of the faith and moral life of the faithful. There are many who believe that this was a correct assessment.

Literary Converts is a great read and a great intellectual tour de force. The breadth and depth of Professor Pearce's knowledge of twentieth century literature and the history of the Church is truly impressive. Highly recommended.

Professor Joseph Pearce

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Saint Teresa of Avila, Mystic and Doctor of the Church

Today, October 15, the Church celebrates the memorial of Saint Teresa of Avila, one of the greatest mystics of all time. Along with a Carmelite priest, the mystic and poet Saint John of the Cross, she founded the Discalced Carmelites.

From THE LITURGY OF THE HOURS: Saint Teresa was born at Avila in Spain in 1515. She joined the Carmelite Order, made great progress in the way of purification and enjoyed mystical revelations. When she reformed the order, she met with much resistance, but she succeeded with undaunted courage. She also wrote books filled with sublime doctrine, the fruit of her own spiritual life. She died at Avila in 1582.

PRAYER: God, You raised up St. Teresa by Your Spirit so that she could manifest to the Church the way to perfection. Nourish us with the food of Heaven, and fire us with a desire for holiness. Amen.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Our Lady of the Rosary

Today, October 7, the Church celebrates the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.

Under the name of Our Lady of Victories, Pope Pius V instituted the annual feast to celebrate the victory of Don Juan of Austria and Christian forces over the invading Turks at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571.

Pope Pius V with the victorious flags of the Battle of Lepanto in the background.

Pope Gregory XII changed the name of the feast to OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY.

Pope John Paul II praying the Holy Rosary

"It could be said that each mystery of the rosary, carefully meditated, sheds light on the mystery of man.  "Cast your burden on the Lord and he will sustain you." Psalm 55:23.  To pray the rosary is to hand over our burdens to the merciful heart of Christ and his Mother.  The rosary does indeed 'mark the rythm of human life' bringing it into harmony with the 'rhythm' of God's own life, in the joyful communion of the Holy Trinity, our life's destiny and deepest longing.  Through the rosary the faithful receive abundant grace, as though from the very hands of the Mother of the Redeemer."

PRAYER:  God, fill us with Your Grace.  We know the Incarnation of Your Son by the message of an Angel.  Through the intercession of Mary may we obtain the glory of resurrection through Christ's Passion and Cross.  Amen.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Catholic News Roundup

Saint Francis of Assisi

Today, October 4th, the Church honors one of the most beloved saints of all time, Francis of Assisi.

From the Liturgy of the Hours:

Saint Francis was born at Assisi in 1182.  After a carefree youth, he renounced his paternal wealth and committed himself to God. He led a life of evangelical poverty and preached the love of God to all.  He established a rule which a number of his companions followed and which gained the approval of the Holy See.  Subsequently, he founded an order of nuns and a society of laypersons who practice penance while living in the world.  He died in 1226.

From a letter written by Saint Francis:

Furthermore, let us produce worthy fruits of penance.  Let us also love our neighbors as ourselves.  Let us have charity and humility.  Let us give alms because these cleanse our souls from the stains of sin.  Men lose all the material things they leave behind them in this world, but they carry with them the reward of their charity and the alms they give.  For these they will receive from the Lord the reward and recompense they deserve.  We must not be wise and prudent according to the flesh.  Rather we must be simple, humble and pure.  We should never desire to be over others.  Instead, we ought to be servants who are submissive to every human being for God's sake.  The Spirit of the Lord will rest on all who live in this way and persevere in it until the end.  He will permanently dwell in them.  They will be the Father's children who do his work.  They are the spouses, brothers and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Jesus vs. The Department of Health and Human Services

Hello Comrades!  Boris Here!  The freedom loving workers of the United Soviet-Socialist States of America (U.S.S.A.) will no longer tolerate these backward religious believers, like Catholic Hospitals and Catholic Charities,  who do not want to give full healthcare to their workers.  Diseases like pregnancy must be treated!  The Workers must have the right to abort their unwanted children and to responsibly have sex using birth control paid for by the idiot religious believers!  If they do not submit they must be punished or re-educated.  Read more here. Long live the Revolution! Boris Out.

Canadian Woman on Trial for Participating in Illegal Mass

A Montreal Catholic group rented a room in a public facility.  The regulations for the facility say that no "cultic activity" is allowed on public property.  The Catholic group held a Mass.  The woman who rented the room has been charged with violating the regulations and is scheduled to stand trial in Montreal.  Apparently, you can drink and party till you drop in these rented banquet halls but prayer and celebration of the Holy Mass is considered Disorderly Conduct.  Read the full story here.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Facebook, Google and Other Social Media Sites Censor Christian Content

Full story from LifeSite News.  I would love to hear from any bloggers out there who have been censored.

Canadian Priest Suspended for Preaching Church Teaching

An elderly Canadian priest has been suspended for preaching against sexual immorality.  A diocesan spokesman said the priest's comments were consistent with Church teaching but were not "pastorally sensitive."  Read the full story here.  Apparently, the openly gay mayor of the town was on the parish council.  I guess it begs the question to ask why an open and notorious sinner was allowed to be a member of the parish council to begin with?  So here we have a priest who says the same things that the Pope does who is suspended for it.  Shame.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Allen Tate and the Catholic Revival

At one time, the poet, critic, historian, and novelist Allen Tate (1899 - 1979) was a well known name in academic circles. With the advent of “post-modernism” and “deconstruction” as a technique of literary criticism, Tate has faded into oblivion as just another “dead white man.” A member of the so-called “Fugitive Poets” and “Southern Agrarians” at Vanderbilt University in the 1920s, Tate was critical of a modern world which was showing signs of abandoning belief in God and all tradition. Attracted to the Catholic Church as early as the 1920s, Tate finally converted to Catholicism in 1950, having been sponsored by the French Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain and his wife Raissa.

Allen Tate and the Catholic Revival: Trace of the Fugitive Gods (Paulist Press: 1996) was the Ph.D dissertation of Professor Peter A. Huff who currently teaches Religious Studies at Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana. Huff’s thesis is that Tate and other intellectuals were attracted to the Catholic Church by their rejection of the values of the modern world and modernism.  However, by the time Tate joined the Church in the 1950s, the Church was on its way to making peace with the modern world and rejecting its earlier uncompromising stand.

Allen Tate (1899 - 1979)

As early as the 1929 Tate wrote a letter to a friend that he was feeling drawn to the Catholic Church.

"Feeling an attraction to the Catholic Church in the Roman Jubilee year 1929 meant appreciating a religious tradition unapologetically dogmatic and avowedly illiberal. The Lateran Treaty of that year, for instance, rejected the notion of the exclusively spiritual nature of papal authority and reaffirmed the pope’s claim to temporal power over the Vatican territory. Only recently free from association with Action Francaise, the monarchist movement led by French traditionalist crusader Charles Maurras, the church on the eve of the Great Depression also found itself newly entangled with Opus Dei, the controversial movement of Spanish origin promoting aggressive lay involvement in right-wing political ventures. It was a church which proscribed involvement in the fledgling ecumenical movement, obliged its clergy to forswear modernist thoughts, denounced the liberal “hypothesis” of church-state separation, prohibited the use of artificial birth-control methods among its laity, legislated precise norms of proper dress for female communicants, and censored new motion pictures along with an already long Index of Forbidden Books."

Pope Pius IX
"In the United States, rudely reminded of its tenuous status by presidential candidate Alfred E. Smith’s political defeat, the church remained discredited in intellectual quarters by Pius IX’s earlier Syllabus of Errors and Leo XIII’s 1899 condemnation of “Americanism,” controversial papal pronouncements that seemed to reinforce Rome’s age-old reputation for authoritarianism and obscurantism. The perception of American Catholic opposition to the republican Popular Front battling General Franco’s fascist forces in the Spanish Civil War a few years later only served to validate that conclusion for non-Catholic American progressives. Drawing from a venerable tradition of anti-Catholic polemic reaching back to the eschatological musings of seventeenth-century Puritan divines, critics now ranked “Romanism” in the same category as the fundamentalist rabble that put Dayton, Tennessee on the cultural map. In the heyday of American progressivism, no better example of hidebound resistance to modern civilization could be found than the Roman Catholic Church.”

Pope Leo XIII

The “Catholic Literary Revival” had begun in England in the nineteenth century with the work of John Henry Newman. It had continued in the twentieth century with the work of authors like G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc. In France, the Catholic Revival had produced thinkers like the neo-Thomist philosopher Jacques Maritain and novelists like Francois Mauriac and George Bernanos. In the mid-twentieth century, the Catholic Revival finally reached America where a number of intellectuals became notable converts:

“Born between 1890 and the close of the First World War, two generations of American writers felt deeply the attraction of the Catholic faith. They found their spiritual home in the church, believing entrance into the Catholic community to be an integral part of their literary careers. Including Katherine Anne Porter, Ernest Hemingway, Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton, Robert Lax, Clare Boothe Luce, Robert Lowell, Tennessee Williams, Wallace Stevens, and Walker Percy, the American literary converts were drawn to Catholicism for intellectual and aesthetic reasons, motives mixing undefined spiritual aspirations with romantic countercultural protests.” 

Jacques Maritain and Thomas Merton

Many of these converts had rejected the values of the modern world. They rejected the notion that life was about the mere acquisition of material wealth and prosperity and yearned for spiritual completion. In the ancient liturgy of the Catholic Church they found beauty which appealed to their artistic tastes as well as a weighty theology and world view which rejected the modern world in favor of higher values.
“Many of the converts, enticed by the exotic features of Catholic doctrine or the high drama of Roman liturgy and devotion, shared the imaginative “nostalgia for Catholic order” that Harold Bloom has found in Hemingway’s literary consciousness.”

“For all of the converts of the Catholic Revival, the church represented the realm of mystery sadly absent from modern experience. More than just a religion, Catholicism was for them, as Anne Roche Muggeridge has described it, “a country of the heart and of the mind.” Disgusted by the banal dimensions of what Merton called a “society of salesmen,” they found an oasis of beauty in the divine drama of the church’s worship. Critical of the reductionism of modern thought and the shallowness of liberal Protestantism, they found the integrity of Neo-Thomism and classical Christian orthodoxy intellectually stimulation. Witnessing the contemporary menace of totalitarian politics, they sought the remedy to secular society’s ills in the sacred tradition of the church. Even the pre-conciliar church’s requirement of personal sacrifice appeared as an attractive component of Catholic life. Though the converts were often drawn to the faith precisely because of orthodox Catholicism’s antimodernist stance, they nevertheless expressed impatience with the Catholic ghetto’s naive rejection of modern art and literature. What the American literary converts advocated was aggressive interaction with the modern world, not retreat into separatist folkways. They sought a religious tradition that would directly address the authoritative wisdom of the past to the fragmented world of the present.
Intellectual converts like Tate, Thomas Merton, and Dorothy Day had “read themselves into the Church.” Huff notes that the conversion of intellectuals also stimulated an intellectual Renaissance among cradle Catholics:
"As a rule, the American literary converts, like their European counterparts, followed an intellectual path into the faith. Ever since Augustine heard the child in the garden singing, “Tolle lege, tolle lege,” people have been reading their way into the Catholic Church. But Thomas Merton’s conversion, triggered by a chance encounter with Gilson’s The Spirit of Mediaeval Philosophy in a Fifth Avenue bookstore, became nearly paradigmatic of the intellectual American’s conversion before and after his time. Others, born into the church, experienced an analogous rebirth of faith and religious identity after immersing themselves in the literature of the Revival.”

Why did all of these intellectuals, most of whom were self-proclaimed atheists or agnostics but who came from predominately Protestant backgrounds, become Catholic? The Catholic Church was generally considered to be backwards and stagnant. It has been said that intellectual converts of the 1930s who left Communism for Catholicism merely exchanged one authoritarian world view for another. This was an age in which the Church still set forth The Index of Forbidden Books and demanded unconditional assent by the faithful to all areas of teaching and dogma. The Church seemed an unlikely venue for all of these artists and intellectuals. Why did these people become Catholic rather than, say, Episcopalian?

“Rejecting the strategy of liberal Protestantism designed to attract Christianity’s “cultured despisers” by minimizing claims to infallible truth and reliance upon a supernatural world view, the intellectual converts to Catholicism overcame long-standing cultural barriers to accept the Catholic religion precisely because of its claim to possess a body of supernaturally revealed dogma. They were not inspired by a demythologized Christianity, nor were they convinced of the apologetic potential of the modernist project. As Ronald Knox put it, “the latitudinarian appeal, as a matter of experience, does not attract.” Rather, like Chesterton, the Revival converts found the church’s insistence upon doctrinal accuracy curiously “romantic.” Regularly, they described submission of the intellect to the mind of the church as an act of “mental emancipation.” Thomas Merton, for instance, thought it a liberating thing “to breathe the clean atmosphere of orthodox tradition.” Seeing themselves as spiritual heirs to Newman’s opposition to nineteenth-century liberalism, the intellectuals of the twentieth century Catholic Revival were stimulated, not stifled, by the church’s critique of modernity.”

Tate had a romantic admiration for the Middle Ages as a time in which Western Europe was bound together by a common Christian culture:

“Though he repeatedly denied that his admiration for the Middle Ages entailed reversion to an ideal past, he shared the Catholic Revival’s affection for the period and used it as the reference point for discussion of a restored Christian civilization. The organic unity of the culture, the agrarian pattern of its economy, and the common mythic structure shaping its vision were stock features of the Revival’s interpretation of the Middle Ages, but they appealed to the same instincts in Tate that drove him to reject much of what he found mediocre and destabilizing in modern culture. For most of his career, Dante figured as the icon of the fully developed artist in Christian society, and the medieval university served as his model for the understanding of genuine religious humanism.”
Tate predicted cultural disaster if the West abandoned its Christian heritage:
“. . . he predicted the rise of “a complete Gnostic society,” should the West abandon its fundamentally religious insights into the human condition. . . . Along with Maritain and Dawson, Tate maintained that any hope for an authentically democratic future in national or international affairs necessitated the acceptance of a genuinely Christian humanism. Like Chesterton, who identified the dogma of the incarnate Logos as the idea ‘central in our civilization,” he placed the Christological mystery at the heart of his analysis of culture. Without that controlling idea, he said, every quest for the perfect society yields only another “perishable god” for the scrap heap of the world’s worthless idols: “I have come to the view that no society is worth ‘saving’ as such: what we must save is the truth of God and Man, and the right society follows.”

Tate and his first wife, the Catholic convert and author Caroline Gordon, to whom he was married and divorced twice.

Throughout his life Tate struggled with his own personal demons including alcoholism and divorce. Due to his multiple divorces and remarriages, Tate became estranged from the Church he loved. (Tate was married and divorced twice to the novelist Caroline Gordon, also a Catholic convert). However, during his last marriage to former nun Helen Heinz, Tate was able to be restored to full communion before his death.

Huff details how the changes to the Church after the Second Vatican Council distressed Tate who thought that the Church had gone too far in compromising with the modern world. Tate was particularly critical of modern theology, like that of the Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and was opposed to the Ecumenical movement.

“ . . . Tate shared Maritain’s misgivings regarding the apparent trajectory of postconciliar Catholicism. The “neo-modernist” theological fads of the age concerned him and irritated him and confirmed his suspicions of an emerging Catholic gnosticism. Especially exasperated by the cult of popularity surrounding Teilhard (described by an exasperated Gilson as “the most Christian of the gnostics”), Tate once blasted a lay enthusiast of the Jesuit mystic, telling him in no uncertain terms to “shut up about Chardin.” At the same time, he chafed under the liturgical experimentation of the period and worried about the destructive effort of ecumenical ferment on Catholic devotion. As one who “got into the Church only through the Virgin,” he was distressed by the tendency of the Vatican Council to “play down” Marian devotion in obvious overtures of friendship toward separated Protestant brethren. “If the Ecumenical movement is merely a levelling process towards 20th century rationalism,” he prophesied during the second session of the Council, “it will fail.”

“Attempting to describe the anxieties of that age of Catholic transition, James Fisher has recently produced a provocative portrait of convert Dorothy Day making her way into the old-fashioned Catholic subculture of personal piety and sacrificial obedience, precisely at the moment when her birthright Catholic followers, seeking to rid themselves of alien citizenship, were fleeing from the immigrant ghetto into the pluralism of America’s secular city. In a sense, Allen Tate was engaged in a similarly ill-timed pilgrimage. Walker Percy, fellow apologist for the forlorn values of the Catholic Revival, saw the plight of the modern Catholic writer as that of “a man who has found a treasure hidden in the attic of an old house, but (who) is writing for people who have moved out to the suburbs and who are bloody sick of the old house and everything in it.” To his dismay, Tate discovered the attic’s treasures just as the house was going on the market. In his career, he witnessed not only the disappearance of the South’s regional tradition in the wake of America’s unrestrained march toward standardization but also the dissolution of what he perceived to be the best of the Catholic tradition as well. To borrow a phrase from historian Mark Noll, Tate - as southerner and Catholic - joined the ranks of the twentieth century’s “alienated losers twice over.”
Allen Tate and the Catholic Revival is out of print but is still worth a look for those, like this Bad Catholic, who are interested in seeing a new Catholic Revival.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Belief in God Boils Down to a "Gut Feeling"

A new survey indicates that belief in God boils down to a "gut feeling."  Read the full story from Yahoo News.

Music Wars

I may have mentioned that I normally attend Sunday Mass at a small mission church in a nearby town that is also served by the priest in my city.  The only music is provided by a small pick-up choir and two guitar players.  There is an elderly organ, but there has been no one to play it in many years.  The situation in this church is simply: No Guitar = No Music.

So far, being a convert and not feeling really comfortable wading into the war being waged in the Catholic blogosphere about liturgy and music, I have not commented on this.  It appears that the post-conciliar "folk mass" may soon be a thing of the past and that we may have to put away our guitars and bone up on our Latin and Gregorian Chant.

Every time I see something about music at mass, I have been forwarding it to our parish music leader.  Last Sunday he gave me an article from Oregon Catholic Publishers ("OCP") who publish the Journey Hymnal which our parish uses.  It appears that they are not going to go quietly into the night and retire all those songs by the Saint Louis Jesuits in favor of Gregorian Chant.  The author, Elaine Rendler-McQueeny, writes:

". . . in these next few columns, I'll sketch a plan for teaching some new music and offer pointers on how these missal changes give us an opportunity for parish liturgical renewal.
Much has been said about the departure of Catholics from their parishes. . . . "those who have left Catholicism outnumber those who have joined the Catholic Church by nearly a four-to-one margin."  . . . Of those who joined a Protestant religion after Catholicism, when asked why they converted 81% of former Catholics named the enjoyment of services and worship style as the most common reason for selecting that particular church.
Perhaps we should focus some of our evangelization efforts on the retention of Catholics, including young adults, rather than on their reasons for leaving. . . ." 

I can already envision the comment boxes filling up with comments that Catholics don't go to Mass to be entertained.  We go to Mass to Worship God and anybody that would leave the Church which Christ founded, and in which Christ's sacramental presence dwells, because they like the praise music at the Pentecostal Church down the road wasn't really Catholic to begin with.

As  a convert, I am kind of astounded that I hear some of the most vehement resistance to Latin and Chant from cradle Catholics.  I don't have a point to make, it's just interesting.  As a convert, I am still in love with the mystical romanticism of Gregorian Chant.  I often keep a chant CD going in the background to help me calm down.  However, I think that there is a happy middle ground somewhere between total chant and totally abolishing modern music.  I don't think that every praise song written from the sixties, seventies and eighties has to be banned from the celebration of the Mass.  Some of them are quite worshipful.  In my lifetime, I have heard very reverent guitar music and very bad organ playing.  There should be room in Christ's Church, which after all encompasses the whole world and everything in it, for both.

Southern Baptists Consider Name Change

According to an article in Christianity Today the Southern Baptist Convention will consider changing its name to something "less regionally exclusive."  They already changed the name of the Southern Baptist Sunday School Board to "Lifeway Christian Resources," which sounds like something from George Orwell's novel 1984.  It is just going to seem really wrong if Southern Baptists become "The World Christian Federation" or something.

What's wrong with "Southern Baptists."  I think that it is very descriptive of the theology of the organization. Centenary College Religion Professor Peter A. Huff has perfectly captured my own feelings about my Southern Baptist heritage:
"The church in which I grew up was affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in the United States.  Because of its status in the Sun Belt,  Martin Marty once called it the Catholic church of the South. . . . I memorized scores of Bible verses, learned the parts to hundreds of hymns, tithed my allowance, and never attended a school dance.  In early adolescence, I also "got saved." . . .  I can look back at the religious milieu of my childhood and call it a warm pietism shaped by the revivalist tradition and the peculiar experiences of white southerners in the generations after the Civil War.  Ours was an experiential and mildly ascetic "heart religion" emphasizing personal conversion.  It was permeated with the cadences of the King James Bible, steeped in the four-part harmonies of the Baptist Hymnal, and filtered through the ethos of a sectional consciousness. As a child in the Bible Belt, Flannery O'Connor's "Christ-haunted" South, I suppose I was never very far from fundamentalism.  But no one I knew ever spoke of it."
Is "Roman Catholic" too regionally exclusive?  Of course, the moniker "Roman" was given to us by the Protestants to distinguish the Church from them.  The Catholic Church is just the Catholic Church.  Although I no longer have a dog in this fight, I hope they keep the name "Southern Baptists."  "Lifeway Christian Convention" just ain't gonna do.

Today, September 23rd, the Church celebrates the Memorial of Saint Padre Pio

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Few More Thoughts on Capital Punishment

The execution of train robber and murderer Tom Ketchum in 1901.

The American Catholic has some more thoughtful ruminations on Capital Punishment.

Abortion and the Death Penalty

The blog Catholic Anarchy has a post criticizing conservative pro-life Catholic blogs for not condemning the execution of Troy Davis here in Georgia as a "Lynching." Here is the comment which I posted in response:

As an attorney and a former Assistant District Attorney in the State of Georgia, (and one of the “pro-life Catholic bloggers” you are criticizing) I am hesitant to call a Judicial execution a “Lynching.” This Defendant was convicted by a jury, and his case was exhaustively reviewed by Courts all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court. (I will admit that before I was a Catholic, in my prior career as a State Prosecutor I have prosecuted a man for murder who is currently still on Georgia’s Death Row, so my opinions may be held to be suspect.) However, without personally examining the trial transcripts and evidence, as the Appellate Courts and the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles presumably did, I am not willing to second guess the opinions of all those Judges and declare the execution “a Lynching.” I will agree with you that this case is more evidence of why the death penalty should be abolished. In the event that it is later discovered that Mr. Davis was factually innocent, as he and his witnesses claimed, the carrying out of the sentence will make the State of Georgia look pretty barbaric. Catholics should be pro-life across the board. The government should not be in the business of killing people and doctors should not be in the business of killing babies. You are correct, we should be against the Death Penalty and against abortion. However, Mr. Davis got a trial and a bunch of hearings, what due process does an aborted baby get?

The Liberal Thought Police Strike Again!

A Fort Worth, Texas high school student was punished for saying that he was a Christian and thinks that homosexuality is a sin.  They are punishing the kids now, sooner or later they will use the power of the government to punish the adults for improper opinions.

Great Food for Thought

My friend Carl McColman has been ruminating on some interesting articles on the internet.  Here is the link to Carl's blog.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Gay Website: "We Do Want to Indoctrinate Your Kids!"

A post at the Gay website "Queerty" says that the purpose of "Gay Awareness" Education in public schools is to indoctrinate young people.  The author opines that he fervently wishes to "recruit" more children to be homosexuals.  Read the whole thing here. (Warning: Some parts of this article are quite graphic).

New Jersey Music Minister Says Priest's Homily Was Harassment

A gay music minister in a Catholic parish in New Jersey has resigned and hired a lawyer to sue because the Priest preached against gay marriage which the music minister said was "harassment."  Read about it here.  So the official teachings of the Catholic Church are now considered "harassment" and teaching them may subject priests and the Church to legal action.  Welcome to the Brave New World!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Our Lady of Sorrows

Today, September 15th, the Church honors the Blessed Virgin Mary under her name of Our Lady of Sorrows.


Hail Mary, full of sorrows, the Crucified is with thee; tearful art thou amongst women, and tearful is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.  Holy Mary, Mother of the Crucified, give tears to us, crucifiers of thy Son, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Triumph of the Cross

Today, September 14th, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross.

"We preach Christ crucified - a stumbling block to Jews and an absurdity to Gentiles; but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God."  1 Corinthians 23 - 24.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Arizona Police Raid "Goddess Temple"

Tannhauser Worships in the Venusberg

A group in Arizona calling  itself "The Goddess Temple" that offered prostitution as "religious healing" has been raided by Arizona police.  Full story here.

Saint John Chrysostom

From The Liturgy of the Hours:

"Saint John Chrysostem was born at Antioch about the year 349.  After an extensive education he embraced a life of asceticism.  He was ordained a priest and distinguished himself by his preaching which achieved great spiritual results among his hearers.  He was elected bishop of Constantinople in 397 and proved himself a capable pastor, committed to reforming the life of the clergy and the faithful.  Twice he was forced into exile by the hatred of the imperial court and the envy of his enemies.  After he had completed his difficult labors, he died at Comana in Pontus on September 14, 407.  His preaching and writing explained Catholic doctrine and presented the ideal Christian life.  For this reason he is called Chrysostem, or Golden Mouth.


Michael Voris' Latest Tirade

Although I agree with a lot of what Michael Voris' says, I think that he can be a bit too sarcastic and uncharitable.  After all, we are supposed to love our enemies.  Although I think that some of his comments on this video are uncharitable and may be "over the top," (especially what he says about charismatics opposing the Latin Mass), I thought that his assessment of the factions within the Church is generally accurate.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mexican Drug Dealers Worship Santa Muerte

Mexican drug dealers are devoted to the cult of Santa Muerte or "Holy Death."  This evil cult mimics devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Saints but worships the personification of death.  Full story here.