Monday, April 30, 2007

Mainline churches failing to hold the line

Mike Adams, a professor way down south in North Carolina, a Baptist with a libertarian bend, a love of butchering the sacred cows of political correctness, and a truly witty satirist, has a pretty good column up attacking a quasi-pagan (at best) church in (do I even have to say it?) San Francisco. Some of Adams' column will be a bit of deja vou for many readers. Stories about this "Lutheran" "Church;" known as "Herchurch," where they have such innovations as a "Goddess Rosary," made there rounds in the Catholic blogsphere a year ago. You may recall, among others, this post over at Cafeteria is Closed. Anyway in his column "My Conversion to the Lutheran Feminist Faith" Adams writes... "I was initially attracted to ELCA because they claim to be “a diverse community.” As a professor at a university, I know that when people claim to be diverse they really mean it. Also, ELCA stands firmly within the Christian tradition in an effort “to re-image the divine” by focusing more on her feminine persona. I’m sick and tired of a God who made me in his image. I want to make up my own God. And I want him to be a chick - preferable a cute lesbian with lots of cute friends." Mike Adams is joking, sadly Herchurch is not. While this San Francisco attempt to conjoin radical feminism and Christianity is, more-or-less, a campy 70's throwback by a bunch of aging hippies who, in another era would have been referred to as "spinsters," it also speaks to two real crisis in Christendom. The first is exemplified in a more wide-spread way in misunderstandings of religion that give ideas like the "Sacred Feminine" from Dan Brown traction. The great tragedy here, as Gerald said in his post last year... "I'd like to point out Mary, Mother of God. How come these gals never mention her?" It is a real shame that in looking for a female spiritual role-model some people would scoff at Our Lady Queen of Heaven and instead try to elevate themselves for worship. Don't bother reading the comments at the end of Adams' article, some of the comments descend into anti-Catholic bigotry that we've all heard a million times before, with some conservative Protestants basically saying this is a result of the ELCA becoming "too Catholic," it is simply absurd. In case you aren't aware, there are three major synods of Lutheranism in the US. The smallest group, the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Church still espouses the "Pope is the anti-Christ" idea as if it were fresh of a Wittenberg printing press. Then you have the MO Synod, pretty moderate, for them the anti-Catholic stuff is kind of like the adultery laws, still on the books, but no one ever enforces it. Theological hostility to the Bride of Christ aside, at least these groups have held the line on respect for life and marriage as well as most other moral issues. The largest synod, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is a combination of three smaller ones and was founded in the 1980s (as opposed to 33 A.D.), it is the most ecumenical. Some of the more liberal Catholic priests will even hold joint services on Good Friday and "pulpit exchanges," with the ELCA pastors. In terms of liturgical style, Church architecture, etc, the ECLA is the most "Catholic," of course don't read into that too much, they are "Catholic" in the same way the Episcopalians are, they like some of the externals, they say the "Our Father" (well most do) the clergy have vestments, etc. In terms of faith and morals though, the ELCA leadership is far from Catholic, they ordain women, and the denomination has actively been campaigning against a federal amendment to protect that sanctity of marriage. The ELCA is a church that "church neither supports nor opposes" abortion-restricting legislation, however it doesn't take much Googling to learn that, "The ELCA funds elective abortions in the church’s health care coverage for pastors and professional church workers, and some Lutheran-affiliated hospitals perform elective abortions."

Oh and in case you were wondering... "Six mainline Protestant bodies among the 25 largest churches showed losses in membership in 2005. The United Church of Christ was down 3.28 percent; the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), 2.84 percent; American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A., 1.97 percent; Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, 1.62 percent; Episcopal Church, 1.59 percent; and United Methodist Church, 1.36 percent.

Three of these, the Episcopalians, Presbyterians and United Church of Christ, lost more than 10 percent of their membership between 1995 and 2005. "

Back to Adams, one comment to his article which is worth repeating, for the sake of example... "I belong to this branch of Lutheran Church -- a southern congregation -- and have never seen anything remotely similar to this. They do say that they welcome people of all sexual orientations. But that is it. And I could care less who is praying next to me so long as they are quiet and respectful of the rights of others...However, this column is in fact disturbing. Let the Left criticize and belittle religious conduct (as they do so often with respect to conservative Christianity). But the right need not adopt the same tactics. If these people in the specific California church are attacking him personally, that may be a different story, but at least he should set the context." This is the problem with a lot of the "Mainline" churches and brings us to a second major crisis in Protestant Christianity. The more conservative folks sit back and think, 'sure there is some foolishness in my denomination, but certainly not at MY church, and certainly not MY pastor!' And so it goes, these people bury their heads in the sand, plenty happy going to their old churches, singing the old hymns, reading the Bible, and everything has the outward appearance of normalcy. I guess when salvation is such an individual matter of being saved, the greater decay of denomination and society doesn't seem as much of a problem. Still, I am sympathetic to these people, there really is no reason for them to believe that traditions, basic Christian morality, and simple common sense, won't triumph in their denominations, and yet, exactly the opposite occurs. Theological liberals are professionals at subverting mainline churches, they are the Delta Force of fighting the stealthy behind the scenes ideological battles. They have an impressive arsenal of mission statements and Orwellian double-speak about "diversity," and "inclusiveness." I would imagine they have a stranglehold on the seminaries in such a way that it would make even the most liberal Catholic seminary rector look like Pope St. Pius V. The squeaky wheel gets the oil and the liberals know how to squeak. While the good people go on making pot-luck suppers and having Bible-studies, the liberals sit on committees and take control of the purse-strings on a national level, hence the subsidized abortions, which I guarantee you, would probably come as a shock to many of the people in the pews on Sunday and would be bad for the collection plate to say the least! Now in fairness to the comment cited above, you can't judge a denomination based on one church. I would be a crying shame if Roman Catholics were judged by the craziness that goes on in more than a few of our parishes, such as St. Joan of Arc, which Gerald has blogged on frequently. However, as a Catholic, I know that such dissidents are just that, dissidents, they don't call the shots, and with each passing day it is more and more clear that their time is up. In the mainline churches, the momentum is going in the opposite direction. If I were a conservative member of the ELCA right now, no matter how good the sermons I was getting at my local church were, I'd be asking myself, why a semi-pagan group like "Herchurch" and I are sharing the same umbrella? What kind of crisis of authority has brought us to the point where being Christian is not necessarily an important part of belonging to a Christian church? I'd really be wishing that I'd left my church, before my church left me. The rural areas of the upper-Midwest are dotted with pretty little Lutheran churches, many from the 19th century, that have a very nice look and feel, it's almost idyllic. I'll bet being a pastor at one of these churches is not a bad gig either. It would be sort of like being the country vicar from old English novels, a kindly, mostly elderly congregation, a nice salary and housing stipend, respectability in the community, being able to help people with their problems, a bully-pulpit every Sunday to talk about religion, and a nice musical tradition of Bach songs to enjoy. Heck if you want to live the sort of distributionist lifestyle in the countryside that Chesterton wrote about, there you go! And hey, if you don't like it, you can always quit and try a new career. Nice, maybe, but a world of difference from the Catholic priesthood, instituted by Christ. When Jesus says, "Do you love me," and one says, "Yes Lord!" Jesus doesn't give us a pat on the back he says, "then follow me!" Following Jesus, as we all know is a road that is challenging, sometimes lonely, and even, in some cases dangerous. Following Jesus got Peter crucified upside-down, following Jesus brought Blessed Miguel Pro before a firing squad, following Jesus led St. Kolbe to death in a concentration camp. Needless to say, it is a road of continuous self-sacrifice, and it can be, the road of ultimate sacrifice. There are few who understand this better, or exemplify it more throughout history, than the men of the Catholic priesthood. Well when I started this post as a link to a funny a humorous article, I never thought it would end like that. Chalk that last paragraph up to some stellar homilies I've been hearing lately!

Lastly, I should say, this is not Schadenfreude, I know we have some great Protestant readers, and I'll be curious to see what they have to say on this. I am not rooting for mainline denominations to collapse into post-Christian amorality, quite the contrary! That does nothing to advance the culture of life. Rather, I would like to see the good people in those denominations stop the slide and turn the tide and re-infuse their churches with the Christian morality of their ancestors. Good luck, my prayers are with you!

Catholic News-Monday, April 30, 2007 A.D.

EVENING UPDATE NY Times Double-Standard on Christianity - Bill Donohue, CL German Gov't Release's Homeschooler - Peter J. Smith, LifeSite ABC News Double-Standard on Religion - Ken Shepherd, NewBust... Dems Push Bill to Make Christianity Illegal - La Shawn Barber, TH Bishop Braxton, Another Great U.S. Bishop - LoyolaLaw98, RCB Sarkozy, Vote Immoral Heritage of '68 Out - Henry Samuel, DT(UK) Death Threat by Gay Activists to Archbishop Bagnasco - AP-Chron Civil War Among Atheists - Christopher Orlet, American Spectator Why We CAIR - Glen Reinsford, Family Security Matters MORNING EDITION Abp Burke Mocked - Matthew Hathaway, St. Louis Post Dispatch A Day in the Life of Homeschooling - Sally Thomas, First Things Partial-Birth Bigotry - John Yoo, The Wall Street Journal Supreme Anti-Catholicism - Phyllis Zagano, Beliefnet Motu Proprio Pool - Jeff Miller, The Curt Jester Pope's New Book Selling Very Well - Amy Welborn, Open Book Catholic Numbers Rise in U.S. - Jerry Filteau, Catholic Online Implosion of the Episcopal Church - staff, The Daily Citizen Episcopal Diocese's Wanting Rome - Christopher S. Johnson, MCJ Snobbery of the Episcopal Bishops - Jordan Hylden, First Things Movie Review: Into Great Silence - Jane Wilson, The Georgia Bulletin (for my post, click here.) (Hat Tips: Catholic Report, Built on a Rock, A Catholic Mom in Hawaii, & Pro Ecclesia * Pro Familia * Pro Civitate.) Catholic of the Day: Bishop Edward K. Braxton of Belleville Diocese (Illinois) (see pic to the right) Last 7 Days News: For April 29 click here. For April 28 click here. For April 27 click here. For April 26 click here. For April 25 click here. For April 24 click here. For April 23 click here. Tip of the Day: How to Repel a Jehovah's Witness by Esther, A Catholic Mom in Hawaii Shameless Blog Plug of the Day: ROMAN CATHOLIC VOCATIONS.
Saturday, April 28, 2007

Catholic News-Sat/Sun, April 28/29, 2007 A.D.

SUNDAY EVENING EDITION Episcopal Diocese's Coming to Rome? - Christopher S. Johnson, MCJ Democratic Bill to Criminalize Christianity - BigJolly, LST Catholic Ireland's Suicide Watch - Fidei Defensor, Custos Fidei Notre Dame's Catholic Identity - Brad S. Gregory, ND Magazine Defending the Crusades - Fred Thompson, NRO Giuliani Supports Traditional Marriage - Ryan Sager, New York Sun Motu Proprio Rumor: May 5 Release - Damian Thompson, Telegr... 300,000 Protest Islamic Gov't in Turkey - Noel Sheppard, NewsB... Cartoon Pic of the Day see below- Carbon Credit Confession SATURDAY AFTERNOON EDITION Fighting Secular Tyranny - Fidei Defensor, Custos Fidei Mel Gibson's New Conquistador Movie - staff, TMZ More Motu Proprio Rumors - New Catholic, RORATE CÆLI Refuting Anti-Semitic Charges of Latin Mass - Shawn Tribe, NLM Pro-Choice Scared of Ultrasound Tech - Kevin Roeten, Abortion Debate Shifts to Unborn - Wendy Wright, Catholic Expert at Age 7 - Philip Turner, San Diego Union-Tribune Ugliest Catholic Church... Ever - Jeff Miller, The Curt Jester A Pro-Life Candidate Will Win in 2008 - Nathan Tabor, LifeNews... Partial Pro-Life Democrats In a Bind - Robert Novak, LifeNews... Of Relics & The Resurrection - Fr. Dwight Longnecker Jesus Missing at VoTech Memorial Convocation - Frank Pastore, TH SATURDAY MORNING EDITION An Atheist's Journey to God - Fr. John Powell, retired professor Tide Turning Toward Catholicism - Dave Hartline, Catholic Excha... Christianity at Root of Secular Evils? - Fjordman, Brussels Journal Anti-Catholic Bigotry in St. Louis Media - Bill Donohue, Catholic L... Protestants & Anti-Catholic Bigotry - Gudrun Shultz, LifeSite Anti-Catholic Bigotry in Euro Parliament - John-Henry Westen, LS N.Y. Gov Spitzer Unveils Gay Marriage Bill - Marc Humbert, AP MSM Won't Report Adult Stem-Cell Progress - Tom Blumer, NB Gov't Returns Seized Home Schooled Girl - Peter J. Smith, LifeSite Religious Intelligence - Christina, Confessions of a Crazy Schoolm... San Fran's 'Gay Mass' on BBC This Sunday - Jeff Miller, Curt Jester San Francisco Archdiocese Refutes 'Gay Mass' - Hilary White, LS Gay Episcopalian Bishop to Marry Partner - AP via Boston Globe Shameless Blog Plug of the Day: A Catholic Life. Odd News Item of the Day: French Outpace Americans in French Bashing - Reuters (Hat Tips: Catholic Report, Musings of a Pertinacious Papist, Built on a Rock, National Catholic Register, MercatorNet, Me Monk. Me Meander., Hot Air, & Seattle Post-Intelligencer.) Cartoon Pic of the Day: Carbon-Neutral Credit Confession by Noel Sheppard of NewsBusters This Weeks Catholic News: For April 27 click here. For April 26 click here. For April 25 click here. For April 24 click here. For April 23 click here. For April 22 click here.
Friday, April 27, 2007

Catholic Ireland Suicide Watch-Threatdown

This probably seems like a real minor story, but it is sad none-the-less, to see Catholicism in Ireland dying by a thousand little cuts. The worse part of it all is that the Irish were subjected to some of the most fiendish attempts to stomp out the faith, and stayed strong. I guess a few years of economic prosperity are accomplishing what Oliver Cromwell and his thugs never could. H/T CWN... No skipping school for altar boys, Irish officials say Dublin, Apr. 27, 2007 ( - Irish education officials have called for an end to school policies allowing altar boys to leave school in order to serve at Mass, the Irish Independent reports. Several schools were reportedly told that they should not allow students to miss classes in order to serve at funerals. The policy change was ordered, the Independent said, because students were missing classes, and were not under the direct supervision of school personnel while they were serving at Mass. Irish school officials said that the practice of allowing altar boys to leave school had once been commonplace, and is now disappearing. Liam Neeson, who is a great actor, though his relationship with Catholicism is on-and-off with the same reliability as a junior-high relationship, once recounted how the most peaceful moments of his life were as a young boy, ridding his bicycle in the freezing pre-dawn darkness to serve as an altar boy at the daily Masses at his little parish church. A beautiful sentiment. Too bad the school system is ensuring that this venerable tradition becomes a relic of the past. We all know that vocations are born at the foot of the altar so this may be another nail in the coffin for Irish Catholicism. This article does raise a few questions though. I was under the impression that most schools in Ireland were run by the Church, so is this really going to affect a lot of altar boys? Also, does this mean that they don't have girl altar servers in Ireland? I would be kind of shocked if they didn't, but at the same time, I guess I hold a glimmer of hope that they haven't adopted that practice. Now in contrast to my dour tone, I will say, there is always room for some hope. I have faith in the good people of Ireland. Mass attendance and birthrates in Ireland are still the highest in Western Europe, also pro-life laws have survived many attacks and statistics show the great bulk of people believe in protecting the unborn. I think this is a case of Dublin vs. the rural areas. Dublin is increasingly becoming a clone of any other western European city, but I hear reports that in the countryside the Catholic Culture is still in-tact. Anyway one may wonder, what is happening to Ireland? Why is the great bastion of Catholicism losing the faith? Well I have five reasons... 1-Elite Eurocrats: The folks who are embarrassed by the fact that their nation is lagging behind the rest of Western Europe in pace of secularism, abortion on demand, and gay-marriage. 2-The Church: Yep, sorry to say, but not for being "too authoritarian" in the orthodox sense, or whatever liberals will say. The Church dropped the ball with some major scandals, and then folded. You may recall a few years ago some Irish seminarians were kicked out of seminary for kneeling during communion! Way to pre-empt men who were much needed as priests. Right now the Irish church has the same issue that many dioceses in the US have, wishy-washy old bishops and clergy clashing with the more orthodox and zealous JP-II generation priests. The good news is the young guys will be able to wait them out. 3-Money: Sure it may be unfair to blame the Irish for losing so much of their faith as soon as some prosperity comes their way, as no nation seems immune to this, so I'm just saying. 4-Americans: Yep, a lot of Americans have screwed up. It's not just the fact that the ranks of Irish-Catholics in America are dominated by names like John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, and George Carlin, though that is a major problem. It is American tourists who basically turned holy St. Patrick's Day into a twisted version of it's real self. The St. Patrick's Day celebrations in Dublin are "Americanized" to the core. Also I just want to take a dig here at Irish-Americans who in the name of "rediscovering their heritage," developed some sort of neo-pagan, new age, concept of Irish culture, people who on their most Christian day love flaunting thier Celtic cross necklace, but would never pray the Rosary. 5-Socialists: I love the Irish Pub music, why is it that so many of these guys are socialists? I guess once again I am meaning Americans here. There are some great Irish bands, but there are way too many with some sort of Che T-Shirt spirit Socialism that is not really part of the Irish tradition. Maybe this portion of my complaints should have been filed under number 4. Anyway I think that maybe they are trying to be more "authentic," but these are usually the same bands that wear suspenders and old time newsy caps, thus telling me that all their concepts of Ireland are based on stereotypes and a few clips from Titanic. Yes, some of the big names of the 1916 rebellion were socialists, but maybe that's why they failed? Anyway this brings me to insert name of other radically anti-British groups and such that are Catholic in name only. Now believe me, I am the first person to bash on what the English did to Ireland. However many (by no means all) people marching against the English today give me the Al Sharpton v. Don Immus vibe. That is to say, these folks are perpetuating a movement, just so it still exists, though it has no real purpose or roots (as it may have had, had it stayed truly Catholic). Look, if there was some sort of real oppression of Irish Catholics on religious grounds, I would be backing these people to the bitter end, however, of what I've seen of such rallies, there is a strong anti-clerical bend and an eerie sort of secularism. Sorry Irish Socialist radical types who are the ultimate Catholics in name only. If I saw you people leading the charge in some kind of Catholic revival in Ireland the check would be in the mail tomorrow, if you are just essentially clinging to the Catholic identity so you can play the victim game you have lost my respect. Consider this gem from Sinn Féin the "Catholic" and "Nationalist," party of Ireland... IRA Party Sinn Fein Passes Pro-Abortion Motion "At its weekend conference, the Irish Republican Army associated Sinn Fein Party has passed a motion calling on a change to the Southern Constitution to permit "a woman's right to choose". Sinn Fein also gave support to the Irish Family Planning Association's campaign for free abortion both North and South of the Border." Hey guys, I understand your rage when rocks and insults get thrown at Catholic girls on the way to school, thank God we don't have those problems in America, and if we did I'd be more than willing to put myself between the rocks and the children... but take your faith up a notch and be just as adamant about defending your own unborn, and your culture in general. The less Catholic Ireland becomes, the more it looks to me like Wales or Scotland, areas which have some unique history of their own but when it's all said and done, put the U in U.K. Also, worth asking, who knows, maybe the whole "sectarian" conflict in Ireland would have been over-by now by virtue of demographics if so many people weren't flaunting Church teaching these past thirty years? I mean in the US Episcopalian leaders not to have children, and the Anglican church was the first to green-light contraception, they've had a demographic handicap for like 70 years! You were probably one generation away from making Irish Anglicans as much of a factor of influence as Sikhs in Idaho. Rest assured I will be keeping a close eye on events in Ireland and blogging on the state of the nation much more in the future.

Founders Spin- CA says no to kin- and let's hope to God Thompson's in!

Tito is the real master of blogging the news, and I love how he is like a one man "Reader's Digest," bringing articles of Catholic interest to light. He is the news guy, I am the history guy, the separation of powers is clear, and I am not trying to beat him at his own game! I did however run into some things that I wanted to comment on a bit and you all should read. Of course, to some, this collection of articles may seem very hodge-podge, but I am sure most readers know full well how this is all linked. One of the most important things you can do, as an American, as a Catholic, as either, or both, is know your history! Don't let secular progressive loons bully you into being ashamed of our heroes. The Crusaders put their lives on the line to defend the Christians in the Holy Land, the Minutemen put their lives on the line so their children would not have to submit to tyranny. If these men of times past could stand up to such formidble foes, what excuse do way have showing fear in the face of legions of aging hippies and their ilk? Toledo Blade Editorialist Wants Forcible Dis-Arming of America's Citizenry The disarmament process would begin after the initial three-month amnesty. Special squads of police would be formed and trained to carry out the work. Then, on a random basis to permit no advance warning, city blocks and stretches of suburban and rural areas would be cordoned off and searches carried out in every business, dwelling, and empty building. All firearms would be seized. The owners of weapons found in the searches would be prosecuted: $1,000 and one year in prison for each firearm. -Thanks for getting the word out on this Jay, maybe I ought to buy another World War II rifle one of these days. I seem to recall that even John Kerry had to brandish a gun in Ohio for a photo opp, I have a feeling the good folks there would not stand for this Stalanistic program which, thankfully, is just a crazy fiction at this point. Still, the fact that any American is even saying this must have the heroes of '76 spinning in their graves!
Ban on 'mom' and 'dad' considered – again California agenda would require K-12 'gay' indoctrination Cheerleading and sports teams would have to be gender-neutral. Prom kings and queens would be banned, or if featured, would have to be gender neutral so that the king could be female and the queen male. Gender-neutral bathrooms could be required for those confused about their gender identity. A male who believes he really is female would be allowed into the women's restroom, and a woman believing herself a male would be allowed into a men's room. Even scientific information, such has statistics showing AIDS rates in the homosexual community, could be banned. _ -Hey wait! I thought it was Galileo torturing Catholics and Scopes oppressing Protestants who were trying to suppress science, what gives? Anyway, this CA stuff all seems whacky, but, I am familiar with some universities having "HERstory" events since they apparently have no idea of the etymology of the word "History." Also, efforts to suppress the use of B.C. and A.D. in history texts are on the verge of success. This may be a surprise to you folks reading this, but unless colleges have a major common sense wake up call, you aren't going to see B.C. and A.D. anymore. I am one of the few history students who hasn't gone over to the "new" system, C.E. and B.C.E. (Common Era and Before Common Era.) Anyway, back to the topic at hand, I usually don't trust Governor Arnold to do the right thing, but in this case, I think he'll whip the veto pen out.
Back to Backbone-History is fundamental This would be a good place to quote an important British writer, George Orwell, who wrote, “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” Even in America, our children are often taught a watered down, inoffensive, and culturally sensitive version of events ranging from the Crusades to the battle at the Alamo. -Thank you Fred Thompson, yes that's rumored '08 candidate Fred Thompson. Now as I have stated before, my heart is with Brownback, as is my primary vote. However, Thompson is an acceptable alternative, and my second favorite man in the Republican field. Read this brief column by him, Fred gets it. He doesn't apologize for the Alamo or the Crusades, he is candid in a way McCain, Romney, and Rudy would never even care to be. Anyway, Thompson-Brownback ticket anybody? Maybe they can even snag Colbert as press secertary, and if they are real lucky, Jay Anderson for Attorney General?

Catholic News-Friday, April 27, 2007 A.D.

AFTERNOON UPDATE Catholic Ireland's Suicide Watch - Fidei Defensor, Custos Fidei Orthodoxy Fuels Vocations - Pope Benedict XVI, Prayer for Vocations Motu Proprio Rumor: May 5 Release - Damian Thompson, Telegr... Fighting Secular Tyranny - Fidei Defensor, Custos Fidei San Fransisco's 'Gay Mass' This Sunday - Jeff Miller, The Curt Jes... San Francisco Archdiocese Refutes 'Gay Mass' - Hilary White, LS Ban on 'Mom, Dad' Considered - Bob Unruh, WorldNetDaily Bias Against Latin Mass - Kathryn Westcott, BBC News Partial-Birth & VoTech Massacre - Matt Barber, Pro-Choice Extremists - Christine M. Flowers, Philly Daily News New Salvo Mag & Sex-Obsessed Society - Rebecca Hagelin, THF Tide Turning Toward Catholicism - Dave Hartline, Catholic Excha... An Atheist's Journey to God - Fr. John Powell, retired professor Anti-Catholic Bigotry (Audio) - Chuck Colson, Breakpoint St. Louis University's Catholic Issue - Michael Deem, EC Defending the Crusades - Fred Thompson, NRO Problems With Gay Marriage - Davide Blankenhorn, Mercatornet Off to Work She Should Go - Linda Hirshman, New York Times Evangelicals Dressing as Catholics - Fr. Dwight Longnecker, SOMH Gay Parenting Destroyed Dawn - Dawn Stefanowicz, Mercatornet Abp Burke Takes On Sheryl Crow (Video) - Rocco Palmo, WITL Atheism's Lack of Substance - Don Feder, USA Today MORNING EDITION Abortion & Infanticide, Same Thing - Domenico Bettinelli, Bettnet Legal Victory for TX Bible Monument - Allie Martin, One News Now 114 Year Old Convert - Agenzia Fides About Archbishop Nienstedt - Pamela Miller, V2 Liturgical Changes Not So Good - Archbishop Ranjith, CDF-Sec. Study: Health Risks for Gay Sex (PDF) - Dr. John R. Diggs Jr., CRC Crushing Christian Dissent - JonJayRay, Stop the ACLU Brownback Drops Amnesty Bill - Stephen Dinan, Washington Times Gay Propaganda Works - JonJayRay, Stop the ACLU US Bishops Dereliction of Duties - New Oxford Review Shameless Blog Plug of the Day: A Catholic Mom in Hawaii. (Hat Tips: Catholic Report, New Liturgical Movement, The Curt Jester, Recta Ratio, Musings of a Pertinacious Papist, The Cafeteria is Closed, LifeSite, New Oxford Review, Renew America, & The WebElf Report.) This Weeks Catholic News: For April 26 click here. For April 25 click here. For April 24 click here. For April 23 click here. For April 22 click here.

Tommy, an Atheist's Journey to God

I really do enjoy reading conversion stories. Here is one story of a former atheist who through a lecture class given by Father John Powell at Loyola University in Chicago found God. The story has been researched and verified by Here is his story... John Powell a professor at Loyola University in Chicago writes about a student in his Theology of Faith class named Tommy: Some twelve years ago, I stood watching my university students file into the classroom for our first session in the Theology of Faith. That was the first day I first saw Tommy. My eyes and my mind both blinked. He was combing his long flaxen hair, which hung six inches below his shoulders. It was the first time I had ever seen a boy with hair that long. I guess it was just coming into fashion then. I know in my mind that it isn’t what’s on your head but what’s in it that counts; but on that day I was unprepared and my emotions flipped. I immediately filed Tommy under "S" for strange ... very strange. Tommy turned out to be the "atheist in residence" in my Theology of Faith course. He constantly objected to, smirked at, or whined about the possibility of an unconditionally loving Father-God. We lived with each other in relative peace for one semester, although I admit he was for me at times a serious pain in the back pew. When he came up at the end of the course to turn in his final exam, he asked in a slightly cynical tone: "Do you think I’ll ever find God?" I decided instantly on a little shock therapy. "No!" I said very emphatically. "Oh," he responded, "I thought that was the product you were pushing. "I let him get five steps from the classroom door and then called out: "Tommy! I don’t think you’ll ever find him, but I am absolutely certain that He will find you!" He shrugged a little and left my class and my life. I felt slightly disappointed at the thought that he had missed my clever line: "He will find you!" At least I thought it was clever. Later I heard that Tommy had graduated and I was duly grateful. Then a sad report, I heard that Tommy had terminal cancer. Before I could search him out, he came to see me. When he walked into my office, his body was very badly wasted, and the long hair had all fallen out as a result of chemotherapy. But his eyes were bright and his voice was firm, for the first time, I believe. "Tommy, I’ve thought about you so often. I hear you are sick!" I blurted out. "Oh, yes, very sick. I have cancer in both lungs. It’s a matter of weeks." "Can you talk about it, Tom?" "Sure, what would you like to know?" "What’s it like to be only twenty-four and dying?" "Well, it could be worse." "Like what?" "Well, like being fifty and having no values or ideals, like being fifty and thinking that booze, seducing women, and making money are the real ‘biggies’ in life. "I began to look through my mental file cabinet under "S" where I had filed Tommy as strange. (It seems as though everybody I try to reject by classification God sends back into my life to educate me.) But what I really came to see you about," Tom said, " is something you said to me on the last day of class." (He remembered!) He continued, "I asked you if you thought I would ever find God and you said, ‘No!’ which surprised me. Then you said, ‘But he will find you.’ I thought about that a lot, even though my search for God was hardly intense at that time. (My "clever" line. He thought about that a lot!) But when the doctors removed a lump from my groin and told me that it was malignant, then I got serious about locating God. And when the malignancy spread into my vital organs, I really began banging bloody fists against the bronze doors of heaven. But God did not come out. In fact, nothing happened. Did you ever try anything for a long time with great effort and with no success? You get psychologically glutted, fed up with trying. And then you quit. Well, one day I woke up, and instead of throwing a few more futile appeals over that high brick wall to a God who may be or may not be there, I just quit. I decided that I didn’t really care ... about God, about an afterlife, or anything like that. "I decided to spend what time I had left doing something more profitable. I thought about you and your class and I remembered something else you had said: ‘The essential sadness is to go through life without loving. But it would be almost equally sad to go through life and leave this world without ever telling those you loved that you had loved them.’ "So I began with the hardest one: my Dad. He was reading the newspaper when I approached him." "Dad". . . "Yes, what?" he asked without lowering the newspaper. "Dad, I would like to talk with you." "Well, talk." "I mean. .. It’s really important." The newspaper came down three slow inches. "What is it?" "Dad, I love you. I just wanted you to know that." Tom smiled at me and said with obvious satisfaction, as though he felt a warm and secret joy flowing inside of him: "The newspaper fluttered to the floor. Then my father did two things I could never remember him ever doing before. He cried and he hugged me. And we talked all night, even though he had to go to work the next morning. It felt so good to be close to my father, to see his tears, to feel his hug, to hear him say that he loved me. "It was easier with my mother and little brother. They cried with me, too, and we hugged each other, and started saying real nice things to each other. We shared the things we had been keeping secret for so many years. I was only sorry about one thing: that I had waited so long. Here I was just beginning to open up to all the people I had actually been close to. "Then, one day I turned around and God was there. He didn’t come to me when I pleaded with him. I guess I was like an animal trainer holding out a hoop, ‘C’mon, jump through.’ ‘C’mon, I’ll give you three days .. .three weeks.’ Apparently God does things in his own way and at his own hour. "But the important thing is that he was there. He found me. You were right. He found me even after I stopped looking for him." "Tommy," I practically gasped, "I think you are saying something very important and much more universal than you realize. To me, at least, you are saying that the surest way to find God is not to make him a private possession, a problem solver, or an instant consolation in time of need, but rather by opening to love. You know, the Apostle John said that. He said God is love, and anyone who lives in love is living with God and God is living in him.’ Tom, could I ask you a favor? You know, when I had you in class you were a real pain. But (laughingly) you can make it all up to me now. Would you come into my present Theology of Faith course and tell them what you have just told me? If I told them the same thing it wouldn’t be half as effective as if you were to tell them." "Oooh . . . I was ready for you, but I don’t know if I’m ready for your class." "Tom, think about it. If and when you are ready, give me a call." In a few days Tommy called, said he was ready for the class, that he wanted to do that for God and for me. So we scheduled a date. However, he never made it. He had another appointment, far more important than the one with me and my class. Of course, his life was not really ended by his death, only changed. He made the great step from faith into vision. He found a life far more beautiful than the eye of man has ever seen or the ear of man has ever heard or the mind of man has ever imagined. Before he died, we talked one last time. "I’m not going to make it to your class," he said. "I know, Tom." "Will you tell them for me? Will you . . . tell the whole world for me?" "I will, Tom. I’ll tell them. I’ll do my best." So, to all of you who have been kind enough to hear this simple statement about love, thank you for listening. And to you, Tommy, somewhere in the sunlit, verdant hills of heaven: "I told them, Tommy . ... best I could." (Major Hat Tip to Dr. Philip Blosser at Musings of a Pertinacious Papist) To read the original story at Musings of a Pertinacious Papist click here. To confirm the veracity of this story click here.
Thursday, April 26, 2007

Moving On Up . . . And Up

...on the ttlb ecosystem that is.
Ttlb, or The Truth Laid Bear, has me ranked up to 'Marauding Marsupial'.
I'm sure this is an anomaly, but I'm marking the moment that I leaped up in the ecosystem stratosphere of a Marauding Marsupial. I'm sure things will get back to normal soon. In the meantime, I'd like to thank Fidei Defensor for contributing to this HUGE leap into the ecosystem.
And to think I was just a wiggly worm back in November of 2005.
To learn more about the ttlb click here.

Catholic News-Thursday, April 26, 2007 A.D.

EVENING UPDATE 114 Year Old Convert - Agenzia Fides Abp Burke Takes On Sheryl Crow (Video) - Rocco Palmo, WITL An Atheist's Journey to God - Fr. John Powell, retired professor Congress to Criminalize Christianity - Bob Unruh, WorldNetDaily Giuliani Tap-Dancing Around Abortion - Steven Ertelt, LifeNews... Ideological Tribalism - Fr. Jonathan Morris, Hispanics Turning Evangelical - Kim Vo, The Mercury News The Problem With Mr. Auth - Robert T. Miller, First Things Shutting Down Opposition - Charles Colson, Catholic Exchange About Archbishop Nienstedt - Pamela Miller, Syphilis Rate Rises Among Gays - John-Henry Westen, LifeSite Backlash for Catholic Justices - Jan Crawford Greenburg, ABC News Pro-Lifers & Illegal Immigration - Michelle McIntyre, Life of the P... "Not Enough Flair!" - Domenico Bettinelli, Science & Gays - Professor Glynn Harrison, Anglican Mainstream Stamping Out Christian Dissent - Pat Dague, Transfigurations Kilt-Wearing Surrender Monkeys - Staff, Ekklesia Anglican Liberals Unhinged! - Christopher S. Johnson, MCJ MORNING EDITION The Joy of Abstinence - Arielle Spivey, Boston Globe Bob Novak's Short Conversion Story - Rod Dreher, Crunch Con Consequences of Redefining Marriage – Allie Martin, One News Now The New Yorker & Shoddy Journalism - George Weigel, DCR Texas Futile Care Law May Change – Steven Ertelt, Sexual Abuse Charges on Bp Todd Brown – Gustavo Arellano, OCW Abortions Compared to War Deaths (all US) – MJ, Ad Maiorem De… Roe v. Wade Can Be Overturned – Allie Martin, One News Now How 4 Coaches Converted - Maryanne Meyerriecks, AR Catholic China Passes U.S. As Worst Polluter - Christopher S. Johnson, MCJ The Post-West - Victor Davis Hanson, Private Papers Anglican Liberals Unhinged-Part 2! - Christopher S. Johnson, MCJ I'm a Marauding Marsupial! - Tito, Custos Fidei Shameless Blog Plug of the Day: Confessions of a Crazy Schoolmarm. (Hat Tips: Catholic Report, The Curt Jester, Recta Ratio, National Catholic Register, Catholic and Enjoying It!, & The WebElf Report.) This weeks Catholic News: For April 25 click here. For April 24 click here. For April 23 click here. For April 22 click here.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Catholic News-Wednesday, April 25, 2007 A.D.

EVENING UPDATE Abp Burke Takes Issue w/Sheryl Crow (Video) - Palmo, Whispers... Girls Gone Wild Founder Jailed – AP, Texas Futile Care Law May Change – Steven Ertelt, Culture of Death Returns to Mexico – Fidei Defensor, Custos Fidei Catholic Blogger is Now a Seminarian - A Catholic Life MORNING NEWS ROUNDUP Texas Passes Abortion Bill Ultrasound Viewing - S. Ertelt, LifeN... Nuns Killed for Church Treasure - Malcom Brabant, BBC News Gay Propaganda Fed to Public School Children (Video) – LifeSite Science Study: Religion Good for Kids – M. Wenner, Live Science 'Faith-Based Justices' – Jan Crawford Greenburg, ABC News Orthodox Abp to Succeed Abp Flynn - David Hanners, Pioneer Press Austin Bishop Aymand’s Scandal: Baby Emilio – Tito, Custos Fidei Nigerian Anglican Praises JP2 - Andy Uba, This Day via allAfrica... Shameless Blog Plug of the Day: Built on a Rock. (Hat Tips: The Cafeteria is Closed, RealClearPolitics & Hot Air.) This weeks Catholic News: For April 24 click here. For April 23 click here. For April 22 click here.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Bishop Aymond's Scandal: Baby Emilio

Bishop Gregory Aymond of the Diocese of Austin is creating a scandal by publicly siding with doctors to pull the plug on baby Emilio Gonzales’s ventilator. I’ll briefly go over what has led up to this scandalous stance by Bishop Aymond. Baby Emilio is disabled, suffering from Leigh’s Disease, and will eventually die from it. Currently he is in a coma like state due to the overwhelming amount of drugs that are being used for his symptoms. He wakes up from time to time and can acknowledge his mother, Catarina Gonzales. Baby Gonzales is 17 months old and is currently in intensive care at Austin Children’s Hospital. Leigh's disease is a rare disorder that affects the central nervous system. Unfortunately there is a notorious state law called the Texas-Futile Law concerning those close to death that are only alive due to life support. This Texas law allows the ethics committee at the hospital to pull the plug off life support if the sickly child receives no benefit from such care. The family can be given ten (10) days notice to find another hospital that will accept said child. After that period of time, the hospital can then pull the plug if the child hasn’t been found another hospital to be cared in. Last week Monday a judge postponed a court hearing that would determine whether or not to pull the plug. The hearing will reconvene on May 8. That is where the baby Emilio drama stands. That is until Bishop Gregory Aymond jumped into the fray by publicly stating:
“We have to look at the reality and the ethical dimension and the Catholic moral dimension to the situation,”
Good enough, so we now know that Bishop Aymond so far agrees with Catholic teaching that states (CCC
2276) Those whose lives are diminished or weakened deserve special respect. Sick or handicapped persons should be helped to lead lives as normal as possible. But then Bishop Aymond makes the mistake of publicly making a stand with the ethics committee that creates this scandal by making the following statement:
…while his heart goes out to Emilio’s mother and the difficult decision she’s faced with, he says he believes the Pediatric Ethics Committee at Children’s Hospital has made the right decision to remove Emilio from life support.
Let’s not mince words here; Bishop Aymond said “he believes the Pediatric Ethics Committee at Children’s Hospital has made the right decision to remove Emilio from life support.” Incredible. Though after reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church carefully it seems that Bishop Aymond falls within Catholic teaching, but due to his public stance, has created a scandal because of such a controversial and sensitive subject. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2268) The fifth commandment forbids direct and intentional killing as gravely sinful. The murderer and those who cooperate voluntarily in murder commit a sin that cries out to heaven for vengeance.(Gen 4:10) “…that cries out to heaven for vengeance.” Vengeance is His. Bishop Aymond, assuming he is within Catholic teaching, is treading a very difficult position here. If he is wrong, vengeance is His. Is this morally imputable? Does this exonerate Bishop Aymond? Let’s see what the Catechism says, (2268 cont.) unintentional killing is not morally imputable. But one is not exonerated from grave offense if, without proportionate reasons, he has acted in a way that brings about someones death, even without the intention to do so. Bishop Aymond defends his actions by saying:
“The Catholic Church would teach if there is no possibility of recovery, that extraordinary means can be withdrawn, and it’s not taking the life of a person, but simply allowing them to die naturally and with dignity,”
I beg to differ, the Catechism states (2269) The fifth commandment forbids doing anything with the intention of indirectly bringing about a person's death. The moral law prohibits exposing someone to mortal danger without grave reason, as well as refusing assistance to a person in danger. Baby Emilio's mother represents my own, "shock".
Bishop Aymond says he’s based his moral and ethical decision on the medical reports and consulted with theologians across the world.
Houston's own Dr. Joseph Graham of the University of St. Thomas objects:
“Baby Emilio is not dying in any immediate sense. He will continue to live if he is kept on the ventilator. It is the constant teaching of the Catholic Church that parent[s] have primary responsibility for the welfare of their children – not hospital administrators.”
One more thing, Bishop Aymond pretty much violates the 5th Commandment, 'You shall not kill', if the attempts at saving baby Emilio are ordinary instead of extraordinary circumstances*. I can only assume that Bishop Aymond views the procedures that are prolonging baby Emilio's young life as extraordinary instead of ordinary. To read the article that my posting is commenting on click here. To read about the Catechism of the Catholic Church click here. (Hat Tip: Catholic Report) *[see CCC 2278: Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate; it is the refusal of "over-zealous" treatment. Here one does not will to cause death; one's inability to impede it is merely accepted. The decisions should be made by the patient if he is competent and able or, if not, by those legally entitled to act for the patient, whose reasonable will and legitimate interests must always be respected. (emphasis mine)]

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