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Sunday, December 17, 2006

New UN Convention Forbids Withdrawal of Food or Fluids from Disabled like Terri Schiavo


UNITED NATIONS, December 15, 2006 ( - The newly approved United Nations "Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities" which was adopted by the General Assembly Wednesday forbids nations which sign on to it from denying "food and fluids" to disabled persons.

Article 25 of the Convention, which deals with health, directs (in sub-section f) nations to "Prevent discriminatory denial of health care or health services or food and fluids on the basis of disability."

Commenting on the development, Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition told that "To cause death by dehydration by denying food and fluids to a person based on their disability or cognitive ability, such as Terri Schiavo, is to kill them by euthanasia."

Read Entire Article

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Truth About Priests

Please say a prayer for your priest and those considering a vocation to the priesthood.

O my Jesus, I beg You on behalf of the whole Church: Grant it love and the light of Your Spirit and give power to the words of priests so that hardened hearts might be brought to repentance and return to You, O Lord.

Lord, give us holy priests; You Yourself maintain them in holiness. O Divine and Great High Priest, may the power of Your mercy accompany them everywhere and protect them from the devil's traps and snares which are continually being set for the souls of priests. May the power of Your mercy, O Lord, shatter and bring to naught all that might tarnish the sanctity of priests, for You can do all things. I ask You, Jesus, for a special blessing and for light for the priests before whom I will make my confessions throughout my lifetime. Amen.

wonderful news

From Luukas' dad:

I think I'm in love with St Lucy.

We went to see the eye doctor today. When she examined Luukas he showed quite clearly that he was fixing his eyes on many different objects and even following them, though only for a short time. Of course his vision is extremely far from perfect, but at least he sees light, wide stripes and movement. And he has great problems in directing his eyes on whatever he wants to look at. Now we have instructions on what to do to help him with all that. The doctor said his vision can only improve from now on, but nobody can say how good it will be. We'll be talking to St Lucy again, I think Wink

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Saint for the Year: 2007

I was chosen by St. Charbel Makhlouf

Look for more post later as we learn about this saint.

disturbing statistics

49% number of Catholics that do not agree that all abortions should be illegal
1% those who are unsure
30% number of Catholics who never attend Mass and believe all abortions should be illegal
60% number of Catholics who attend Mass at least once a week and believe all abortions should be illegal.

Read article on

Catholic Carnival #97

Here it is

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Update on Luukas and Rosa

Baby Luukas is going for a vision exam on December 12th.

From Luukas' mom:

On 13 December Luukas has an appointment in the eye clinic in Helsinki. It is the day of St Lucy, the patroness of people with seeing difficulties. I hope this is not a coincidence. Please, join us and pray the following novena from 4 to 12 December, preceding the appointment day. On 6 December, I ask you to say a little prayer to St. Nicolas on his day, too. He is the saint I have been praying to for Luukas' vision the most.

(For Perfect Vision)

Relying on Your goodness, O God,
we humbly ask You,
through the intercession of Saint Lucy,
virgin and martyr,
to give perfect vision to our eyes,
that they may serve for Your greater honour and glory.

Saint Lucy,
hear our prayers
and obtain our petitions.


Also, Rosa has been diagnosed with epilepsy. Please keep her in your prayers.

Luukas has a blog! Luukas' Story

Monday, November 06, 2006

Possible 2nd miracle attributed to John Paul II

Miracle attributed to John Paul II

Extraordinary ministers of Eucharist barred from purifying vessels

I saw this when it was originally posted over a week ago. I didn't get around to putting it up then.

From Catholic News Service:
At the direction of Pope Benedict XVI, extraordinary ministers of holy Communion will no longer be permitted to assist in the purification of the sacred vessels at Masses in the United States. Read Entire Article

UK Docs: "Active Euthanasia" on Disabled Newborns Will Cut Abortion Rates

Britain's Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology has put forth a proposal calling for the active euthanasia of babies born with serious health problems, the Times reported Sunday. One argument the doctors are using is that the possibility of killing newborns after birth will reduce "late abortions".

The college is arguing that medical advances which allow severely disabled babies to survive more often and with longer life spans make the option of "active euthanasia" necessary for the wellbeing of families.

"A very disabled child can mean a disabled family," the proposal said. "If life-shortening and deliberate interventions to kill infants were available, they might have an impact on obstetric decision-making, even preventing some late abortions, as some parents would be more confident about continuing a pregnancy and taking a risk on outcome."Read Entire Article

Are they really making this arguement? What person in their right mind proposes killing newborns as a way to stop late term abortions? Correct me if I'm wrong but aren't doctors supposed to help preserve life? To many in the medical profession have become power manic monsters with a god complex. As we pray for all children, both born and unborn, let us also pray for those doctors who recognize the sanctity of life and thier duty to protect it and pray that more who share thier convictions will join their ranks.

I'm back and I'm an uncle!

I was away all last week. I spent the week at home seeing my new nephew. Andrew Luke was born at 11:21 pm on October 31st and weighed 7 lbs. 13 ozs. and was 19.5 inches long.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

US Bishops Set to Tell Catholics Opposed to Teaching on Abortion or Homosexuality not to Receive Communion

From LifeSite News:
The U.S. bishops will vote on a proposed document, "Happy Are Those Who Are Called To His Supper: On Preparing To Receive Christ Worthily in the Eucharist" during their annual November meeting in Baltimore, Nov. 13-16.

The document, addressed to all the faithful, points out that Catholics may not receive communion if they do not accept Church teaching on matters such as abortion and homosexuality. Catholics should refrain from Holy Communion, says the document, "when they lack adherence to what the Church authoritatively teaches on matters of faith and morals."

The document is designed to help Catholics properly prepare to receive Holy Communion. It is organized as a series of questions and answers, and explores topics such as what the Catholic Church believes about the Eucharist, who may receive Holy Communion, and how Catholics can prepare to receive the sacrament more worthily. Read Entire Article

It will be interesting to see what comes of this. I think that the Church's teaching on the reception of the Eucharist needs to be highlighted much more. We need more priests and bishops like the one's I've found in the parish that I've been attending since my recent move.

I had a priest specifically ask me if I had received the Eucharist while in a state of sin during a recent visit to the confessional. There's no getting off the hook in this parish! Thankfully, I was able to tell him that no I had not received while being conscious of grave sin. It would be nice to see more priests and bishops step up with some tough spiritual directing.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Pray the Rosary for Pope Benedict XVI

Join in praying the rosary for Pope Benedict XVI as he prepares for his trip to Turkey on Nov. 28-Dec. 1.

Thanks to Moneybags at A Catholic Life

Feel free to copy this image and post it on your blog.

Luukas and Betuska

Luukas has had test ran on his hearing and eyesight. His parents are awaiting the results. Early indications point to some problems but their severity is not yet known.

I'm also adding Baby Betuska to the "Babies of the World" prayer list. Betuska is being treated in a hospital in Prague. At first it seemed that she was developing allergies to almost every food they tried to give her. Now it seems that she is actually suffering from some type of disease. Her doctors are searching for similar cases to try to figure out treatment. Please add her to your prayers.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

I'm still here

I apologize for not updating the blog much recently. I have lost focus lately. With a new job, living in a new state, meeting new people, etc. I have lost sight of what is important. It seems like I've been put to a spiritual test. One, that to this point, I have been failing miserably. Today's gospel and homily seemed to be a well timed reminder that we have to shrug off the baggage that is weighing us down and follow Christ will all of our being. I think it's a real sign of God's love and power that just when you need a swift kick there is Christ speaking TO YOU through the Gospel and others such as the priest delivering today's homily.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Catholic Carnival is up

Catholic Carnival #88

Luukas updates

Luukas is battling a virus in his throat. He will be having neurological tests this week. Keep him in your prayers.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Milingo excommunicated

A renegade African archbishop who wanted the Vatican to allow priests to marry has been automatically excommunicated after he ordained four married men as bishops, the Vatican said on Tuesday.

Roman Catholic Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo made world headlines in 2001 for getting married himself in Reverend Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church at a mass wedding in a New York hotel. His union was never recognized by the Catholic Church.

The Vatican said he finally went too far when he ordained the four married men as bishops on Sunday in Washington D.C.

"For this public act, Archbishop Milingo as well as the four ordained men have incurred the excommunication latae sententiae," the Vatican statement said. Reuters: Read on

It's about time something was done about this guy.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Rest in peace little one

After being away from the blogging world for a few days, I am sad to learn that Baby Emmie-Rose whom I wrote about last week has passed on.

Réquiem aetérnam dona eis, Dómine,
et lux perpétua lúceat eis.
Requiéscant in pace. Amen.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Catholic Carnival

This weeks Catholic Carnival is up. I have a post included this week. Check it out.

Catholic Carnival 86

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Today's homily

In today's homily Father managed to work in the Church's position on the following topics: are you ready for this?

Artificial birth control
Update: I remembered that he also included embryonic stem cell research in his homily and he related all of this to the day's Gospel.

Wow! Unfortunately I'd only heard a couple of those topics mentioned in a homily a few times in the 2 or 3 years I've been going to Mass. To get them all in one homily was a pleasent surprise.

Militant Islam targets Pope Benedict XVI

Very disturbing news. Pray for Pope Benedicts XVI's safety.

Mujahideen's Army threatens Pope with suicide attack

On a website used by rebel movements in Iraq, a message posted by the Mujahideen's Army said members of the organization would "smash the crosses in the house of the dog from Rome."

Islamic world rails against 'Unchristian' Pope
Sheikh Taj al-Din al-Hilali, the Mufti of Australia, said the Pope's statement "did not come across as the way of the prophet Jesus."

"It's not what I expect from a holy person. The church needs to re-examine its thoughts about someone who doesn't have the qualities or good grasp of Christian character or knowledge."

Speaking outside a conference of Australian Islamic leaders, Sheikh Hilali said the Pope's comments would add fuel to the fire of fundamentalism and terrorism. "The result is to all but destroy the moderates, whereas the fundamentalists gain traction," he said.

Somali cleric calls for pope's death
Sheikh Abubukar Hassan Malin urged Muslims to find the pontiff and punish him for insulting the Prophet Mohammed and Allah in a speech that he said was as offensive as author Salman Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses.

"We urge you Muslims wherever you are to hunt down the Pope for his barbaric statements as you have pursued Salman Rushdie, the enemy of Allah who offended our religion," he said in Friday evening prayers.

Saturday, September 16, 2006


The issue of confession, or more appropriately the Sacrament of Reconciliation, was a big deal in my own conversion process. It's also one of the favorite targets of those who oppose the Catholic Church.

Having just come from confession, I have a few thoughts. What a great gift the sacrament of reconcilliation is! I've sorta been down and out for the last couple of weeks needing to go to confession. It was painful not being able to go up for communion and left me feeling very unmotivated. Part of that unmotivation resulted in very little blog activity over the past couple weeks. I apologize to those of you who have continued to visit this blog just to find nothing new to read.

And so much the more did they wonder, saying: He hath done all things well; he hath made both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak. - Mark 7:37

Christ does all things well. By virtue of our baptism we are called to follow Christ, emulating Him in doing all things well. However, by virtue of our humanity we are prone to fail in doing well.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation allows us to start anew. It allows us to start over in our pursuit of doing all things well, to live the example that Christ set for us.

Having once been one of them, I understand why some people take offense at the thought of confession to a priest. However, I have found that to keep our sins hidden from the world makes it that much more easier to sin again and again. Confession both humbles us and fulfills us. It gives us motivation to avoid sin and fills us with the knowledge that God's love is ever abiding.

On a side note, I couldn't help but make the intersting observation that men far out numbered women in the confession line today. I find that interesting in light of some's arguement that the Church is losing its attractivness to men.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A heartbreaking story

Please pay a visit to The Story of Emmie-Rose and ad this child to your prayers.

Basically, it seems that the doctors at U of M have decided that Emmie-Rose is a lost cause and have decided to refuse her both treatment and nourishment. Emmie-Rose has continued to live after they discontinued treatment so now they have decided to starve her to death.

This story reflects so much of what is wrong with society today. Our society has stopped believing in miracles. We have studied our way out of faith.

Our doctors have abandoned the vow of protecting human life and easing the pain of the suffering for a preference to the culture of death. It is cases like this one that are so reminiscent of the Terri Schivo case. I am saddened that our culture has resorted to the inhumane practice of starving those who are deemed "imperfect".

From that limited information made available on the above linked blog it seems that there is little hope for this baby. But, that in now way gives anyone the right to deny this child the basic necessities of life (food, water, and shelter). By virtue of her human dignity this child is entitled to at least these basics. Sadly many in our society have cast aside the notion of human dignity.

Please pray for this family and help spread the word. Both prayer and the blogosphere have accomplished great things. Let's combine these two tools in the fight for life and human dignity.

Luukas' second EEG results

From his dad:

The EEG still showed abnormalities, i.e. slow motion in some parts and solitary spikes everywhere. Those spikes are related to epileptic activity, but the fact that they do not spread to the whole brain cortex (which would cause a seizure) is a positive sign. The neurologist said that these findings are by no means lifelong and permanent, so we will just go on observing the situation and giving a small amount of anti-epileptic medication. On the other hand, she was very pleased with Luukas' progress in movement, reactions and contact with other people. He really showed the best he can by listening and watching toys as well as smiling and "talking" to the toys and to the doctor and physiotherapist. His movements seemed normal for his age. His vision and hearing will be checked in October.

We also happened to meet Rosa with her mother in the hospital, and while she is not as active in contacts as Luukas, she drinks milk from a bottle, keeps her eyes open and understands things that are going on around her.
Please continue to keep Luukas and baby Roosa in your prayers.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Something to think about

Today I stopped in a pizza shop to order a pizza. I noticed a man sitting at a table who appeared to be "of the street". He was counting out change and when he was done he went to the counter and asked the clerk to exchange it for paper cash. He probably had 3 or 4 dollars all together. As he was leaving he walked over the a table where some people had just left. He then picked up one of their half finished glasses of soft drink and drank it. He then picked up the two slices of pizza left on the table and walked out.

I couldn't help but think what a sad moment I had just witnessed. I have no idea who this man was or what his situation in life is. He could be homeless and jobless through no fault of his own or through all of his own fault. When I see people like this I often feel guilty for not doing anything to help. By practice I rarely carry any cash, but I sometimes think that I should for situations where it may do well to offer to buy another person a meal. After all, our Lord did say:

35 For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in:

36 Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. 37 Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and fed thee; thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 And when did we see thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and covered thee? 39 Or when did we see thee sick or in prison, and came to thee? 40 And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.

41 Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you covered me not: sick and in prison, and you did not visit me. 44 Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee? 45 Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me. -- Matthew 25

But then, another man came through the door. He also looked to be "of the street". He walked up to the counter, looked down at what was in his hand, and turned away. He stopped at a table where another person was sitting. He held up what was in his hand and said, "I found this on the street. I thought it was a credit card, but its just one of those hotel key cards." He dropped it on the table and walked out. Again, I don't know who this man was or what his situation in life is. Whas he in this situation through no fault of his own and willing to steal by using a lost credit card out of desperation? Or, was this act an example of his fault that has lead to his status in life?

These two episodes have given me more questions that answers. What should be my response to those who appear less fortunate than I? Am I to trust fully in the goodness of each human person? Where do I draw the line between charity and recklessly allowing myself to be taken advantage of? Why was I in that resturaunt at the time when these two men would also be there? What am I supposed to learn from this experience?

On Notice

Make your own

Sunday, September 03, 2006

the WORST mass I have attended thus far

I just got back from mass at St. John the Evangelist in Lawrence, KS. This is my second weekend in Kansas so I decided to visit my second church in the city. Last weekend I was very happy with St. Lawrence campus center and parish.

Well not long after I enter the church the band/choir starts rehearsing. Piano (almost jazz piano) guitar and drum set.


I can already tell from what they are rehearsing that I'm in for a bad ride. But at this point I'm afraid that I don't have enough time to make it to St. Lawrence for the same time mass and I've heard some pretty bad music as mass before. So, I decide to just deal with it.

"Then, the priest walks out to the front of the church and says to the band, "what do you have for us?" They then proceed to sing some song that no one appears to know and for which there are no copies. After this song, the priest again asks, "what else do you have for us?" And the band starts into another song; this one is in the "Proclaim" photocopied “songbook” full of lyrics. Something that I’m starting to recognize as a bad sign.

Finally, the priest makes the announcements, INVITES EVERYONE TO GREET ONE ANOTHER AT WHICH POINT EVERYONE GOES THROUGH A ROUND OF HAND SHAKING AND TWISTING IN THIER PEWS LIKE OWLS, and goes to the back of the church for the processional.

The Gloria is a very strange version with rock beats coming from the drums and from what I tell only about 1/3 of the people trying to sing along. When it comes time for the responsorial psalm, it's not the one in the missal and I can't understand a word that the girl singing is saying.

After the gifts are presented and the creed (side note: maybe 10 people NOT INCLUDING THE PRIEST make anything resembling a bow at the words, "by the power of the holy spirit . . .") a group of about 10 what appear to be high school students proceed to the alter and form an arc behind the alter on both sides of the tabernacle. NO ONE kneels and the priest launches into the consecration.

When it comes time for the Our Father the priest says, "AS WE JOIN HANDS. . .” and the whole congregation shifts so that people can join hands across the aisle. The priest also steps back from the altar to join hands with the kids behind him. I really think I offended some people by prayerfully clasping my hands in front of me. The Our Father is sung with the choir/band singing each line and then the congregation repeating it.

Then comes the sign of peace with people roaming across the aisle and all over the place to shake everyone's hand they can reach. The priest takes part in this roaming as well.

At this point the 5 EMHCs come up and form an arc behind the altar. The priest distributes each of them with a consecrated host BEFORE THE "Lamb of God".

4 EMHC's distribute the wine while the priest and another EMHC distribute the hosts. Then, the priest goes and sits down while the EMHC distributes communion the band/choir. The EMHC then places the left over hosts in the tabernacle.

Finally, the closing hymn is "Our love is loud": here are the lyrics

When we sing
Hear our songs, to You
When we dance
Feel us move, to You
When we laugh
Fill our smiles, with You

When we lift our voices
Louder still
Can You hear us?
Can You feel?

We love You, Lord
We love You
We love You
We love You, Lord
We love You
We love You

When we sing [LOUD!]
Hear our songs, to You
When we dance [ROUND!]
Feel us move, to You
When we laugh [ALOUD!]
Fill our smiles, with You



And our love is big
Our love is loud
Fill this place with this love now [4x]
And our love is big
Our love is loud
Fill our lungs
To sing it now...

(Chorus [4x])

We lift our voices louder still
Our God is near
Our God is here

I didn’t realize that the bible said, “And the world so loved God that they sang their own praises and demanded that He listen”.

When the choir/band finished the song, of which the loudest part is the rock beat coming from the drum set, EVERYONE CLAPS FOR THE CHOIR/BAND!

Let me tell you, I got out of that church as fast as I could praising and thanking God that it isn't the only parish in town. I came close to leaving many times during mass.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Don't forget Luukas in your prayers

From his mom:

Luukas' physical therapy started this week. He has problems with concentrating his eyes on one's face and with following things with his eyes. His eyes also move involuntary.

So far, Luukas has won the biggest fight of his young life, FOR HIS LIFE! Now he needs our prayers in helping him to fight for everything that life has to offer.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Sidebar fun

If you haven't done so already, please join the Calling Rome Home map. The link is in the sidebar.

Also, check out my other blog: Catholic Converts. It's a project that I started and then all but abandoned due to how hectic my life became recently. I hope to pay more attention to it again soon. I think it has potential to be a great gatherings place for blogs by Catholic converts. And if you aren't a convert, there's an option for you too. Check it out.

You'll also notice a search box in the sidebar. The search box searches this blog only.

Also, you may have noticed that the monthly Memorials, Feasts, and Solemnities" has disappeared. It was HTML coded and didn't work as well as I wanted. I've experimented with some Java programs but hosting the external file required for the ones I've found is a bit of a problem. If you know of an option, either a Java client or a hosting option, please let me know.

Cardinal Arinze is the man

Thanks to KaleJ for posting this:

un-Muted Mumblings: and the cardinal will NOT dance

Monday, August 28, 2006

Is the Anglican church in a death spiral?

If so, lets hope that those Anglicans who are faithful to the teaching of Christ find their way home to the Catholic Church.

Original article from

Some excerpts:

Rowan Williams, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury and titular head of the Worldwide Anglican Communion, said that homosexual activity is contrary to the teachings of Christianity and that homosexuals must change their behaviour if they are to be welcome in the Anglican church.

In an interview last week with a Dutch journalist, Williams, who admitted to knowingly ordaining an active homosexual to the Anglican ministry, said that homosexual persons need to be “welcomed” but their activity could not be “included,” in the normal life of the church.

In 1989 while a Divinity professor at Oxford, Williams wrote in a paper, “The pressure that some church figures put upon people of differing sexual identities is a greater disgrace than anything else seen in the church.” In that paper, he called for a “revision” of the Christian doctrine on marriage and sexuality to include homosexual relationships.

Since the start of the crisis, the Church of England confused the issue by agreeing last year to allow homosexual clergy to “marry.” While the Church of England still officially prohibits the ordination of homosexual persons, the move was accompanied by a concession to the ‘conservatives’ that a bishop who allows clerical same-sex “marriage” must extract a promise that the relationship will remain celibate.

So what does Williams and the Anglican church really believe? This is what happens when you abandon the authority of the one true Church guided by the Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Luukas update

Last Thursday Luukas' dad posted some positive news. Since, Luukas' mother has asked for continued prayers as Luukas continues to have some problems breathing. Below is the news from Luukas' dad.

Luukas had an appointment with a neurologist yesterday, and her findings were that there is nothing pathological in his movements apart from a slight anomaly in left eye movement (which, according to her, might just go away as he gets more used to focussing his sight). He was also found to listen and watch things, which we of course already knew. He will start physical therapy twice a week starting next week or the one after. Also, the neurologist said both the EEG and the MRI will have to be re-run because they obviously do not reflect the present situation. Luukas' present dosage of anti-epileptic medicine is about half of what it should be, and he has had no seizures, so there is hope we will be able to stop giving that, too, but it will depend on the new EEG.
This is wonderful news. Luukas is now nearing 3 months of age. When he became ill a week or so after being born the doctors didn't expect him to live more than a few days. When he did, they said he would never show any brain activity. Now his neurologist has confirmed that he is indeed exhibiting brain activity. There have been a lot of people praying for this little guy and there's not much more to say other than, God is good! Please remember Luukas in your prayers.

I'm back online!

I finally found the power cord for my computer, so I am now back online. Things in the apartment are slowly taking shape. So far I am very happy with my new job and Lawrence seems to be a great city. It really doesn't feel that much different than Fayetteville.

Thank you to all of you who have commented to wish me well on my move. Now that I have internet access at my apartment I will be back to posting regularily.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Back in Arkansas . . .

. . . for less than 24 hours.

The first few days in Kansas were good. I found an apartment and will be moving my stuff up there tomorrow. My rent includes high speed internet access, so hopefully I will be back online regularily soon. Almost everything is set, I just have to locate the Catholic churches in Lawrence.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Update on what's happening with me

I am leaving for Lawrence, Kansas tomorrow morning. I will be living in a hotel for a few days, working and looking for an apartment. Pray that finding an apartment goes well with all of the college students moving back.

I will be coming back to Arkansas on Sunday. Monday I will load all of my stuff into a U-Haul and head back to Lawrence and try to get moved in so that I can be back at work Tuesday morning. Hopefully this all works out well.

So to the few regular readers I have, please don't give up on me. I may not be able to write much over the next week or two.

BTW, I missed the 1000 page load milestone when it happened. But, this post just happens to be post #100. I don't know why any of that was important but I thought I'd share.

Oh! And happy Feast of the Assumption!

Friday, August 11, 2006

A new job and moving

Today I accepted a job at the University of Kansas. My first day is next Wednesday. So the next few days will be pretty crazy and I may not have much of an opportunity to write. Bear with me.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

When man plays god. . .

Made-to-Order Babies for Sale at Texas IVF Facility

SAN ANTONIO, August 8, 2006 ( - The day many ethicists have long feared and predicted has arrived as a US “embryo bank” has begun to create and sell embryos with specific genetic characteristics, matching them to clients’ preferences.

Many ethicists have long complained that the use of IVF technology with preimplantation genetic diagnosis, combined with recent breakthroughs in understanding of human genetics, will lead to a nightmare “Brave New World” in which babies are made to order in labs and sold as commodities.

The Daily Mail reports that made-to-order embryos are being offered, at a cost of about $10,000, at an exclusive private IVF facility, the Abraham Center of Life in San Antonio in Texas. Couples are offered the chance to buy embryos screened for hair and eye colour along with other characteristics and have them implanted.

The facility creates the embryos entirely in the lab with donated sperm and ova, boasting that sperm “donors” all hold PhD’s. Demand is high and there is a waitlist for white, blue eyed, blonde haired babies.

Centre director Jennalee Ryan responded to religious objections saying, “Jesus was not conceived in the normal way either. I don't lose any sleep over what we are doing.”

“We are helping couples and putting good genes back into the universe,” she said.

If I was the one quoted as making those last two statements I would be losing plenty of sleep....and looking for lightening bolts at any moment.

Does Ryan not realize that she is doing exactly what the Nazis were trying to do? She and her company are trying to play god and using the name of Jesus to justify it.

Who wants to tell their kid the story of how they were picked out of a catalog and bought for $10,000? Yeah, that won't give the kid any complexes about being perfect in everything.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The news just keeps getting better

As you know I've been following the story of Baby Luukas for some time now. His parents have long suspected that he was showing signs of brain activity and was aware of his surroundings, something that his doctors said would never happen. Well his mom has just provided this update.

Right. The neurologist. Since Luukas is at hospital, the neurologist came to see him to his room. He was hungry and crying for food, so she couldn't check him very well, but from what she saw and from what we told her, she said that Luukas is aware of his surroundings. A neurologist said so! God is great and works miracles for us! I was proud of Luukas because he looked at the doctor so she could see this reaction and recently he starts to follow things moving in front of his eyes and he did so a little bit when she examined him.

But yesterday it was so sad to look at him being tired and crying. His breathing is getting better, though. We pray that Luukas is able to beat the virus very soon and come home.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Prayer request

Growing up in a small town has its benefits. I grew up in one of these "everybody knows everybody" type towns. The next nearest town was even smaller and my grandparents lived there. The one thing my grandparent's town did have was a small public library. I spent a lot of time there as a kid and the librarian, who is a wonderfully kind lady, was very instrumental in encouraging my reading habit.

My mom has been filling in at this particular library for the past few weeks while the librarian has been out with health problems. Mom tells me that her condition is not improving and her doctor has not been able to diagnose the problem. Now she has been sent to another doctor for another round of tests. I would appreciate you taking a moment to lift this wonderful lady up in prayer.

And don't forget to pray for Luukas and relief of suffering in the world.

P.S. In case you were wondering, I didn't get the job that I flew out to the East coast to interview for a couple of weeks ago. I don't like asking for prayers for myself, but I would appreciate any that you offer. I would also take a job if you have the need for a recent college graduate with a Master's degree.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Luukas returns to the hospital

According to his dad Luukas has a mild viral infection in his lungs. He is now in the hospital receiving treatment by way of inhaled medication that can only be administered in the hospital. However, his dad did say that the nurses were overjoyed to see how much Luukas has improved since the last time he left the hospital.

Prayer does make a difference...please include Luukas in yours.
If you've read this blog or know me very well you know that I detest the very thought of abortion and that I have very little patience for those who support it. I've commented before on an article that dealt with the question of screening for birth defects in order to abort deformed babies and the heartless people who would do such a thing.

The people who would like to abort babies that will otherwise be born with some defect should watch the following two videos of Dick and Rick Hoyt. Actually anyone with children or who wants to have children should watch these videos. I don't have children now but I hope that I can one day be able to show my children this kind of love.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Traditional Latin Mass

View full screen at YouTube

Tip to Absolutely No Sping for the link.

From the poster on YouTube:
Traditional Latin Mass filmed on Easter Sunday in 1941 at Our Lady of Sorrows church in Chicago. The film presents the ceremonies of the Missa Solemnis or Solemn High Mass in full detail with narration by then-Mgr. Fulton J. Sheen. Celebrated by Rev. J. R. Keane of the Order of Servites (hence the white cassocks and cowls), the ceremonies are accompanied by a full polyphonic choir, orchestra, and fifty Gregorian Chanters.

The attention to detail in the ceremonies is impressive. Notice, for example, how the servers and ministers always take great care to move in order. Notice too that the servers are all almost identical in height. The Ordinary of the Mass, composed by Rev. Edwin V. Hoover, while pleasant in places, is very much a reflection of its time. The Proper on the other hand is timeless and sung to perfection by a healthy throng of Seminarians from Mundelein, Illinois.

Unfortunately due to size restrictions at Youtube around 20 mins have been cut from the original. However, I hope to upload a full version at Google soon or perhaps here when Youtube improves its director accounts. In addition to the cuts I have added new captions and edited the opening credits. The credits had deteriorated quite badly in the original. I retyped what I could see of them and faded them in at the beginning and at the end. Other than this the film remains largely unchanged.

Catholic Carnival is up

Catholic Carnival

Just when you need a reason to smile

Luukas' dad posted this update yesterday morning but I didn't see it until just now. Great news that Luukas is showing yet more signs of brain activity.
Today, something wonderful happened. I was bottle-feeding Luukas and he was falling asleep as usual. Then DW came to say something to me, kissed him and walked back towards the kitchen. Luukas opened his eyes and looked behind her. I told DW what happened, and she hurried back, talking as she got nearer. Now Luukas opened his eyes and turned his head towards his mother's voice, fixing his eyes on her for a moment, and then returned to eating. Nobody can convince me anymore that he is not conscious, and we have a grounded hope he will start communicating some time soon. God is great!!

Type the word Luukas into the search box in the sidebar for more info on this little fighter and please join in prayer for his continued improvement and full recovery.

Shock and sorrow

This may be a little off topic for this blog but I wanted to ask you to pray for the families of Paul Eells and Billie J. Burton who were both killed in a two car accident near Russellville, Arkansas late Monday night.

Mr. Eells was the long time "Voice of the Razorbacks" heard by many, many University of Arkansas Razorback fans as he provided play-by-play for Arkansas football radio broadcasts and Arkansas basketball television broadcasts. He was also sports director for KATV Channel 7 in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Mr. Eells was more than just a sports play-by-play guy. He was an extremely nice man who I had the pleasure of meeting just a few months ago. I have heard that he was active in his church and I pray that he is at peace tonight.

Arkansas will miss you Paul and we will miss hearing you say, "TOUCHDOWN ARKANSAS, OH MY!"

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Silencing the critics

From Catholic Exchange:
Young Ratzinger Resisted Hitler Youth Membership
Saturday, July 29, 2006 12:00:00 AM GMT

German historical records have confirmed that the young Joseph Ratzinger-- the future Pope Benedict XVI -- was enrolled in the Hitler Youth movement against his will.

The German historian Volker Laube, researching the archives of Sankt Michael seminary in Bavaria, has concluded that the young Ratzinger resisted the pressure to enter the Hitler Youth movement. Laube was commissioned as an independent investigator by the Munich archdiocese, in response to public questions about the Pope's youthful affiliation.

The results of Laube's inquiry, based primarily on the records of the little Sankt Michael seminary in Traunstein, Bavaria, will soon be available in Germany in book form. The German daily Suddeutsche Zeitung has released a story based on an early draft.

The seminary records show that in April 1938, financial support was withdrawn from students who were not members of Hitler Youth. The archdiocese then requested, and received, tuition payments from the Ratzinger family.

In 1939, membership in Hitler Youth became obligatory for all young Germans. Joseph Ratzinger was then 12 years old, but when he reached his 14th birthday he was formally incorporated into the movement. The records show that he was marked as Zwangs-Hitlerjunge--- a young member enrolled under the universal policy-- rather than Stamm-Hitlerjunge, a volunteer.

The Bavarian seminary archives thus confirm what Church officials had indicated before and after the election of Benedict XVI as Roman Pontiff: that he had been enrolled in the Hitler Youth involuntarily. In August 1943, he was pushed a step further, and enlisted as an auxiliary to work in an anti-aircraft unit. Eventually the future Pope would desert his military unit and make his way home, where he was taken into custody by advancing Allied troops as World War II neared its end.

The independent investigation, and the opening of the Munich seminary archives, required the Pope's personal consent. Ordinarily, archives are kept secret until 30 years after the death of the individuals concerned.

The investigation sheds new light on the comments that Pope Benedict made during his May 28 visit to Auschwitz, where he remarked that many German people "had been exploited and deceived by a group of criminals" in the Nazi regime. Suddeutsche Zeitung comments that the Pope's words might represent "the memory of what the young Joseph Ratzinger lived through" during his youthful experience in Bavaria.

Not surprisingly, the Sankt Michael seminary archives also reveal that Joseph Ratzinger was an outstanding student.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Donohue on Colbert

Stephen Colbert has gained quite a bit of notoriety among Catholic bloggers for his common references to his Catholic faith on his Comedy Central show, The Colbert Report.

Earlier this week the man who recited the entire Nicene Creed on his show brought Catholic League president William Donohue on as a guest. The interview below has become an instant classic.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

the latest on Baby Luukas

Luukas continues to show small signs of progress and hope. This little guy is a big example of what prayer and Christian charity can do. How many people can say that they have united people from around the world in prayer? I would venture to say that it its not too many. . . pretty impressive for a newborn child in Finland.

From his mom:

Just came back from a doctor's routine check-up. As we had already known, Luukas' physical state is all right, and even more than before, because his lungs are better. The doctor said something about his being more prone to pneumonia and too weak coughing, but I don't know where her "knowledge" came from as she doesn't see Luukas daily and we know he coughs, and since his lungs are now ok, it should mean he coughs enough, right? Hopefully she said only what she had read in the doctors' statement from last month, and besides she added that she can't really know because she usually doesn't deal with babies like Luukas.

And as for Luukas' brain. Well, babies at his age usually keep eye-contact and smile. And the doctor said so. So we can pray that Luukas does that some day.

But we have noticed recently that he pays attention (stops crying, opens his eyes wider) to sounds like running water or a beep made by a rubber duck. That is brain activity, isn't it?
To read more about Luukas' story type his name into the search box in the sidebar.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Reflection on this past Sunday's readings

Heart, Mind & Strength has a good reflection on this past Sunday's readings.

Check out this week's Catholic Carnival at Alabama Improper

Monday, July 24, 2006

Something I wrote

About once every two or three years I have moment of creativity during which something worthwhile comes forth. The following is the product of one such moment which occured today. If you like it, be sure to check back around July 2008, maybe I'll having something new.

In the silence,
A moment of doubt;
Wondering what the future holds.

I hear a voice,
"Come follow me now,
I am the God of all ages,
The Lord on high."

On the narrow,
I stumble and fall;
Obstacles rise up before me.

I hear a voice,
"Come follow me now,
I am the Guide of the true path,
The Lord on high."

In the darkness,
Nothing to be seen;
Reaching for what might be there.

I hear a voice,
"Come follow me now,
I am the Light of the whole world,
The Lord on high."

On the journey,
So many questions;
Pondering what it means to be.

I hear a voice,
"Come follow me now,
I am the one and great I AM,
The Lord on high."

Saturday, July 22, 2006

communion patens making a comeback

At least in the local parish they are. I happened to attend the 5:00 pm Mass at the local parish tonight. I normally attend the university parish in town but decided to go to St. Joseph's tonight. Before Mass the priest highlighted an announcement in the bulletin concerning altar server training. He asked that anyone interested in being an altar server and all existing altar servers attend the training in order to learn to use the communion patens that will be returned to use in the parish!

I was very happy to hear that the local parish is taking this step in the right direction. My parish doesn't use patens for communion, actually I've only been to one Mass anywhere when they were. I currently receive in the hand even though I would prefer to receive on the tongue. However, I'm always nervous about the consecrated host falling without the safety net of a paten. I do try to be very careful to check my hands for any stray particles. Maybe the return of patens for communion will catch on, or already be standard wherever I move next, and I won't have this problem.

Pope calls for day of prayer and penance for peace on Sunday

Pope Benedict XVI has called on people of all religious faiths "to implore God for the precious gift of peace" in dedicating Sunday, July 23 as a day dedicated to penance and prayers for peace in the Middle East.

Specifically the pope has urged for prayers for
  • an immediate cease-fire between the sides
  • the establishment of a humanitarian corridor to bring aid to the suffering people
  • the start of reasonable and responsible negotiations so as to end the objective situations of injustice in that region.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

A good read....

Check out Annabel's post Trust Me at My Journey Into the Catholic Faith. Also be sure to read Greg Long's comments at the bottom of the post.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I'm back and an update on Luukas

I am back from my trip east. Hopefully, I will know something on the possible job in the next few days.

I was very happy to see this update on Baby Luukas:

From his dad:

Thank you all for your continuing prayers Smile Today we went to see the local midwife with him, and it was a very positive visit. He weighs already 4 kg which means that he has gained 60 g (2+ oz.) a day now that he is fed according to his own appetite, without the tube. The midwife also said that if she had not seen Luukas' papers, she would not suspect anything extraordinary.

The midwife also gave us a very simple picture - a yellow smiling "face" (two black dots as eyes and a black line as the smile) on a red background. Later, we put the picture at his bedside. When DW put him to the bed to sleep, he opened his eyes a bit and apparently saw the picture, because his eyes went wide open and he just stared at the picture for a few minutes, becoming very lively when he had previously been falling asleep. If I am not mistaken and not just imagining this all, it seems like a very sure sign of brain activity. Glory be to God and thank you all for your prayers Smile Please keep up the good work!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

I'm leavin' on a jet plane . . .

I will be leaving on Monday for a quick trip to the East coast for a job interview. I will be returning late Tuesday night.

Compendium online

The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is now available online in English.

Thanks to Gerald at The Cafeteria is Closed for the link.

Friday, July 14, 2006

some props for Nebraska


Nebraska Amendment Banning Gay "Marriage" Stands - Federal Appeals Court
The US Eighth Circuit Court in St. Louis has reversed a federal district court ruling and has reinstated an amendment to the state constitution protecting the institution of marriage.

The amendment ruled out not only the possibility of gay “marriage” but of recognition of “civil unions,” often proposed as a back door to legal equivalence.

It reads, “Only marriage between a man and a woman shall be valid or recognized in Nebraska. The uniting of two persons of the same sex in a civil union, domestic partnership, or other similar same-sex relationship shall not be valid or recognized in Nebraska.”
U.S. Senate Passes Resolution Reaffirming National Motto: “In God We Trust”
This past Wednesday, July 12, the United States Senate unanimously passed resolution S. Con. Res. 96, which requests senators and all American citizens “To commemorate, celebrate, and reaffirm the national motto of the United States on the 50th anniversary of its formal adoption.”

The passage of the Senate resolution comes only a few days after a California federal trial judge dismissed the lawsuit filed by Michael Newdow challenging the constitutionality of the American national motto, "In God We Trust."

Co-sponsor of the resolution, Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson, in bringing forward the resolution said that part of his motivation for so doing was that it is “important to reaffirm our traditions at a time when there are misguided court challenges to the fundamental principles that have been a part of America since its birth.”


Austrian Doctor Threatened with Child-Support Payments after Birth of Disabled Child
VIENNA, Austria, July 14, 2006 ( – A doctor may be forced to pay lifetime child support for a girl born with Down’s syndrome, after the child’s mother said she would have aborted the girl if she had known about the disability in time, Fox News reported Wednesday.

The Austrian Supreme Court has ordered the Salzburg Provincial Court to consider the case, saying if the woman was not provided with sufficient details about a high-risk pregnancy, the doctor involved would be held financially responsible for the child’s care.

The doctor, who has not been named, advised his 31-year-old patient to have further tests done on her unborn child, but did not give her complete information on the risks, said Supreme Court official Ronald Rohrer. The mother did not discover her child’s condition until 10 weeks later, when she had passed the allowable time period for an abortion.

Her daughter, now nine years old, was born with a congenital condition known as Down’s syndrome that causes developmental delays, reduced learning capacity and physical problems.

Screening for chromosomal abnormalities is routinely suggested for pregnant women aged 35 or older, when pregnancy is considered to be higher-risk by the medical community, according to the U.S. National Institute of Health.

An expert from Vienna University, Gerhard Marschuetz, said the case could pressure doctors to treat all pregnancies in women over 30 as high-risk, the Kurier reported.

In a similar Canadian case in 2003, a B.C. Supreme Court judge ordered Dr. Ken Kan of Richmond to pay $325,000 to the parents of a Down’s syndrome child for “failing” to diagnose the girl’s disability before birth. The child’s mother, Lydia Zhang, said the birth of her daughter Sherry “totally disrupted our plans.” If she had known of the disability beforehand, she said, she would have aborted Sherry.
Emphasis mine

How can a person possibly so heartless?  I understand that having a child with a disability can be a difficult burden but who can have a heart so stone cold that they can look at their child and say, "I wish I would have aborted her"? 

Besides the obviously disturbing, one of the most alarming things about cases like this is that it could encourage doctors to be more liberal in recommending abortions in order to avoid having to pay for the child's care. 

Catholic content for your cell phone

I noticed a link for Catholic Mobile on New Advent.

Catholic Mobile has ringtones, wallpapers, and more for cell phones. You can subscribe to text messages including the daily Mass Gospel, daily saint, or daily prayer.

Of course all of the content has a cost associated with it. But I thought some of you (the 3 to 5 people who visit this blog) might be interested.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Old ways are hard lost

CNS STORY: African archbishop rebuked for seeking change to celibacy rule
African archbishop rebuked for seeking change to celibacy rule

Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Zambian Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, whose 2001 marriage to a Korean acupuncturist capped a long series of controversial actions, announced July 12 in Washington that he wants to change the Roman Catholic discipline on celibacy and "reconcile" an estimated 150,000 married priests worldwide with the church to allow them to resume priestly ministry.

Archbishop Milingo's announcement drew a sharp rebuke from church officials on both sides of the Atlantic.

"The Holy See has not yet received precise news about the aim of (the) visit to the United States of Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, former archbishop of Lusaka, Zambia," said a July 13 statement from the Vatican press office.

"In any case, if the declarations that have been attributed to him about ecclesiastical celibacy turn out to be true, the only possibility would be to deplore them (the declarations), given the fact that the discipline of the church in this regard is quite clear," it said.

Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, in whose archdiocese Archbishop Milingo made his declaration, said, "His appearance in Washington has once again placed himself in opposition to the practice and teaching of the church on the matter of priestly celibacy." He added that Archbishop Milingo's involvement in a move to end the celibacy rule "comes as a surprise and is also a disappointment."

Archbishop Wuerl noted that "as recently as the Synod on the Eucharist in October 2005, bishops from all over the world reaffirmed again the value of celibacy and the significant place it has in the life of the church and her ministry."

Click link above for full story.
From reading the rest of the article it doesn't seem that this should necessarily be a "surprise".
Archbishop Milingo renounces his marriage and his brief alliance with Rev. Moon's movement in an August 2001 private audience with Pope John Paul II -- although in the CNS interview he said that he considered himself still married.
He was removed from public ministry once and "renounced" his ways to Pope John Paul II. Now he's back to his old ways it seems.

However, Archbishop Wuerl's statements seem to follow along the lines of the positive words I've seen about him lately.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Stories like this need more attention

Catholic News Agency
Priest donates kidney to ailing parishioner Birmingham,

July 11, 2006 (CNA) - Last Thursday, Patricia Sanchez, a 60-year old mother of four received a new kidney during a successful transplant in Birmingham Alabama. Her 12-year wait finally ended when an unlikely donor came forward--her parish priest. 51-year old Father Ken Ramon Landry had been a close friend of the Sanchez family leading workshops with Patricia and working closely with husband Rafael through the Diocese of Biloxi’s Hispanic ministry. Last year, Rafael confided to the priest, who is also his pastor at Hattiesburg’s Sacred Heart parish about his wife’s long-time illness and the unlikelihood that the family would be able to find a donor. Almost immediately, Fr. Ramon-Landry offered one of his own kidneys. Shying from local praise, Father Ramon-Landry told the Hattiesburg American that, "neither of us wants notoriety. Both of us think it is a worthy cause to raise awareness to the fact that within some of our bodies we carry life for others - even us men - by offering a kidney, a lung. Perhaps this is why God gave us two, to see if we would share and take seriously what his Son did for us... 'laying down our lives freely.'" Expressing her gratitude, Patricia added simply, "This is
the gift of life for me.
Hat tip to Catholic Fire

Monday, July 10, 2006

"The Collar"

I recently finished reading Jonathan Englert's The Collar. Englert followed five seminaries for a year at Sacred Heart Seminary. Sacred Heart specializes in second-career vocations. Therefore most of the seminarians are older and most of them have been married, now either widowed or divorced. The book is an un-apologetic look at life in a Catholic seminary. Nothing is held back when describing the seminarian's struggles with theology, celebacy, and various other issues.

However, I was not entirely impressed with the book. Often Englert ventures to explain various Catholic teachings and practices. I found many of the explanations lacking in depth and accuracy. The book also gives an at times unbalanced weight to the issue of celibacy. Even though I realize that this probably is a very big issue for many seminarians, I thought that the book didn't provide a balanced view of the issue. It lacked in discussion of the deeper meaning behind priestly celebacy.

I read the book because I think it is important to understand the struggles our priests face and what priestly formation entails so that we may better support our priests and those considering a vocation to the priesthood.

My rating:

Sunday, July 09, 2006


I thought it would be interesting to see where people who visit this blog are from. If you would like to add yourself to the CRH map, there is a link at the bottom of the sidebar.

Luukas update as promised

From Luukas' dad last Thursday:
Luukas is now officially out of hospital. His feeding tube was taken off today after 36 hours of successful feeding without the tube, which only seems to have increased his appetite. The only medication he continues to get is a medicine that prevents epileptic convulsions. The pediatric doctor checked him today and said that the murmur around his heart has ceased and his liver returned to normal size. He also moves much more and stretches his muscles. Everybody in the hospital was surprised and happy to see the changes in his condition. Of course we do not know how the brain is, though even the doctor seems to have her doubts about the EEG result, but Luukas has an appointment with a neurologist again in the second half of August. Anyway, the doctor mentioned the possibility of him starting to smile which is quite contrary to the earlier predictions (="will never communicate, will never learn anything").

DW is worried about his periodically irregular breathing. We still ask you to pray in this matter and for the complete healing of his brain.
Luukas' parents have also asked for prayers for a baby girl named Roosa that has been in the same hospital with the same disease as Luukas.

I'm back

I'm back after spending part of the week at home celebrating the 4th of July with the family. My sister and I celebrated our birthday on Thursday, her 21st and my 25th (yes we have the same birthday). Internet access was very frustrating over the week. My parents only have dial-up and it kept dropping the connection every 4 or 5 minutes.

There has been some good news on Baby Luukas this week. More to come on that tomorrow. For now, keep praying for him.

Monday, July 03, 2006

4th of July

Happy 4th of July. I'm off to the land of dial-up in the morning. I will not have very good internet access until I get back on Sunday.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Grace, Faith, or Works?

Since I've had this discussion on whether we are saved by grace, faith, or works many times during my journey into the Catholic Faith, I thought I'd address the question here. Actually, the idea of this post started during today's Gospel reading.

In today's Gospel we heard the story of Jesus' healing of Jairu's daughter and the woman with a hemorrhage. Mark obviously presents this story the way he does in order to focus on the healing power of faith in Christ. However, from my personal experience it seems that we tend to focus on the raising of the girl from the dead and skim over the woman with the hemorrhage.
Mark 5: 25-34

There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years. She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse. She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. She said, "If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured." Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who has touched my clothes?" But his disciples said to him, "You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask, 'Who touched me?'" And he looked around to see who had done it. The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling. She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth. He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction."
This passage gives the perfect opportunity to take a single line of scripture, "Daughter, your faith has saved you", out of context and make the "saved by faith" arguement. But something very important happens in this story. The woman commits a "work". She reaches out to Christ. She could have had all the faith in the world that if she touched Jesus' clothes that she would be healed. But the healing didn't take place until she put her faith in action. James tells us that faith without works is dead.
James 2: 17-26

So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Indeed someone might say, "You have faith and I have works." Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works. You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe that and tremble. Do you want proof, you ignoramus, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by the works. Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called "the friend of God." See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by a different route? For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
Growing up Southern Baptist I was taught, but never really believed, that once you were "saved" nothing else need be done. When I was told that we were saved by grace, I had no problem. When I was told that we found faith through God's grace, I had no problem. But when it came down to faith alone without the need for works, I had a problem. Christ warns us in Revelation about being lukewarm and having a false sense of security.
Revelation 3: 15-17

"I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, 'I am rich and affluent and have no need of anything,' and yet do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
We shouldn't fall into a false sense of being "rich" with salvation after walking down an aisle and making a profession of faith and saying a prayer with a preacher (in other words and "alter call" or "invitation" in many Protestant churches). Christ tells us that he KNOWS our works and will spit us out.

All throughout the Bible (read the stories of Noah, Abraham, Lot, the Blessed Virgin Mary, etc) we see stories of people to whom God extended his grace. They had faith in Him and did works to show their faith. Their faith and works were enabled by the grace of God. God pours out his grace on mankind, it is up to us by our God-given free will to respond to his grace with faith AND works.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

"God's Invisible Hand"

If you are a regular reader of this blog you have already seen me talk about Gerald O'Connell's book, God's Invisible Hand: The Life and Work of Francis Cardinal Arinze. Other posts about this book can be found HERE and HERE.

I have finished reading the book and I highly recommend it. It is no wonder that many considered the possibility of Cardinal Arinze as the next pope during the last Papal Conclave. Be sure to pay attention to the footnotes. They contain interesting details and the reference information for other books and documents mentioned in the text. Many of these sound interesting as possibilities for future reading material. I found the following quote to be highly applicable to all of us on the journey of faith.

"We learn, and we strive and pray to understand more and more of God's plan; and more than understanding it, to love it and to live it, especially when we don't understand it. And to realize that even when we think we understand, what we understand is only the surface of the deeper mystery. But to sense that God loves us, and never to doubt this, that is important." - Francis Cardinal Arinze
My Rating:

Friday, June 30, 2006

Arkansas OK's gay foster parents

Not the greatest day in the history of my home state.

Arkansas cannot ban homosexuals from becoming foster parents because there is no link between their sexual orientation and a child's well-being, the state's high court ruled Thursday.

The court agreed with a lower court judge that the state's child welfare board had improperly tried to regulate public morality. The ban also violated the separation of powers doctrine, the justices said. Read Entire Article

Thursday, June 29, 2006

A good news update on Baby Luukas

From Luukas' mom:
Dear Friends, we have more good news Smile We are still officially at the hospital, but we took Luukas home for several days and nights unless we need to go back there. Hopefully there will not be such a need and we can stay at home for good.

We see he is improving. He eats from the bottle (seldom the whole meal, but anyway), moves more, breathes better, and the doctor says his heart sounds better than a week ago. Perhaps we have even seen a few miracles? Like the fact that the doctors expected him to die twice and he survived. And the doctors expected him to have breathing problems due to his not being able to cough well and move strongly - and he has less breathing problems, coughs and is stronger than before. Slavo, I think he coughed for the first time after you came to the intensive care unit to give him the holy oil. Thank you, you are a great godfather.

Well, having said all this I still ask and beg you to pray for Luukas. He still doesn't breathe normally, there are some sounds at his heart, and most importantly, no doctor changed their opinion about his brain damage and the decision not to treat his potential major infections is still valid. I hope he will have brain activity, but since the doctors say what they say, it still seems it would have to be a miracle, and perhaps the biggest of all that we have already seen.

So please continue to pray and thank you very much for your prayers!
Search of "Luukas" in the search box in the sidebar for more about this amazing child.

Bishop Sartain

Moneybags a A Catholic Life has pictures from Bishop Sartain's installation mass in Jolliet, Ill.

See them here

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Bishop Sartain installed in Joliet, IL.

Peter J. Sartain, former Bishop of Little Rock was installed as Bishop of Joliet yesterday. Bishop Sartain will definately be missed in the Diocese of Little Rock.

Gerald has an interview with Bishop Sartian over at the Cafeteria is Closed.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Your letter has been received and filed appropriately.......trash

From RCFM by way of

Open Letter to Cardinal O’Malley and the Roman Catholic Bishops of Massachusetts

As ministers, rabbis and religious leaders of many faith traditions, we urge you to stop your political campaign to take away civil marriage rights from gay and lesbian citizens. At a time when the Roman Catholic Church says it is trying to promote tolerance and diversity it is lobbying the legislature and campaigning publicly to ban same-sex marriage in the Commonwealth.

The Roman Catholic magisterium teaches that homosexuality and gay unions are gravely immoral (not exactly correct, read CCC 2357-2359). We disagree with that doctrine (the esscence of protestantism and cafeteria catholicism . . . wait protestantism is sufficient), and we rejoice and celebrate marriage equality in Massachusetts. However, we honor your right to believe as you wish. We respect your right to practice your faith according to your laws.

We ask that you respect our faith traditions in return. Taking away civil marriage rights from committed, loving gay and lesbian couples would deny us the right to practice our beliefs. (so you want the Church to back off of promoting its position to society so that you can force yours on society through activist judges and radical politicians?) We would no longer be able to marry same-sex couples legally. The state would be in the position of granting full rights and protections to everyone married according to your beliefs, while denying those rights and protections to couples married according to ours.

You are promoting prejudice through your political campaign, intentionally or not.
By proclaiming homosexuality and same-sex unions to be universally immoral and worthy of second-class status under state law, you are sending a message that our faith communities are immoral. You are harming us and our families and your own faithful as well. Thousands of Roman Catholics have signed our Roman Catholic Statement in support of marriage equality. They have signed out of their pain and their love and concern for the Church. (You know you can't say that with a straight face!)

We all have a right to speak our minds and to vote according to our beliefs, but in the political realm, we also have a constitutional responsibility to protect minorities, including the gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual individuals and our minority religious communities. Our founding fathers understood the importance of protecting minorities and of preventing sectarian beliefs from becoming civil laws.

Worldwide, we can witness the unfortunate consequences when religious groups try to use government power to impose their will on multi-cultural societies.(and what are you doing? Homosexual marriage is not the norm, you are trying to force it on society.) Respecting and protecting the dignity of every soul, regardless of sexual orientation or religious beliefs, is the American way -- and the only way to protect the religious freedom and the democratic society we all cherish.

We urge you to stop trying to make your religious definition of marriage and family the law of our Commonwealth. Please stop trying to put personal faith up for a popular vote in 2008. Let’s return our focus to our common mission of promoting a socially just and tolerant society.

The Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry Board:

The Rev’d. Anne C. Fowler, President
Rabbi Howard Berman
Rabbi Devon A. Lerner, Executive Director
Rev. Quinn Caldwell
The Rev’d. George C. Welles, Jr.
Rev. Tiffany Steinwert
Rev. David Pettee
Rabbi Daniel Judson
Charles Martel, Roman Catholic Liaison
Rev. Irving Cummings
Constance Cervone, Roman Catholic Liaison
Rev. Maureen Reddington-Wilde
First of all. The right to marry comes from God, who established it for one man and one woman. As far as taking away any civil the overwhelming majority of states (all but Massachusetts) this civil right doesn't exist and therfore can't be "taken away".

But, I really want to address the fact that these "religious leaders" including thier "Roman Catholic" liaisons don't know diddly about the Catholic Church. This letter continually talks of the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and the Roman Catholic magesterium. There is no "Roman Catholic Church". There is the one Catholic Church made up of several rites one of which (and the largest) happens to be the Roman or more appropriately Latin rite. There are over twenty rites, in 4 major groupings, in communion with the Bishop of Rome.

Read about the rites in communion with Rome at EWTN

Monday, June 26, 2006

Pope on music at Mass

In relation to my earlier post about Liturgical Music:

VATICAN: POPE AGAINST POP MUSIC DURING MASS Vatican City, 26 June (AKI) - Pope Benedict XVI has called for traditional sacred music to be played during mass, condemning the ongoing custom of contemporary music at religious celebrations. "Updating sacred music is possible, but this cannot happen unless it follows the tradition of Gregorian chants or sacred polyphony," the pontiff said on Sunday on the sidelines of a concert in the Sistine Chapel. A skilled pianist with a predilection for Bach and Mozart, Benedict XVI spoke against a custom reportedly appreciated by his more informal predecessor John Paul II, who worked very hard throughout his papacy to make the Church more appealing to the younger generations.

In an interview published in Turin-daily La Stampa on Monday, the former Archbishop of Ravenna, veteran Cardinal Ersilio Tonini also condemned the practice saying that "Benedict XVI is right, mass is a meeting with God and to meet God sacred music is better than the turmoil of electric guitars, hand clapping and the husstle and bustle of disorderly sounds."

Tonini said that 40 years ago after the Second Vatican Council "making mass more popular and inviting could be understood." However, the cardinal added, "we exaggerated and now I believe it is legitimate to consider as over this season of breaks with tradition."
Hat tip: Gerald at The Cafeteria is Closed

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Liturgical Music or "Let's Pat Ourselves on the Back in Song"

I can't help but notice how much of the music is focused on, "I'm so good, look at what I've done" or "Look at what Jesus did for us because we are such wonderful people"

It's amazing how often the words I, my, me, we, us, our, and you pop up in the "hymns" we sing at Mass. What is more disturbing is the hymns that don't make any reference to God or Christ at all. We are there to worship Him, not to pat ourselves on the back. Don't get me wrong, I don't think we should be self-loathing or anything. But when we are at Mass, before the Alter of God, our focus should be on worshiping him not telling each other how wonderful we are.

Articulation of the Faith

I have this standing debate with a friend about Apostolic succession and the Church's guardianship of the Truth and how that Truth has been passed down. I think some of what Cardinal Arinze says in God's Invisible Hand sheds some light onto this subject. Please bear with me as I quote at length with emphasis added.

O'Connell: We say we have the fullness of revelations, and yet at the end of time we know that there will be a full revelation in a way that we had never imagined.

Cardinal Arinze: When we say we have the fullness of revelation, we must go carefully. The fullness of revelation has been given to manking in Jesus Christ, and he has entrusted this to his Church. But that does not mean that every one of us in the Church knows God fully. We would not be so proud. We only know a little. We can grow.
It does not even mean that the Church as a whole does not grow. The Church grows in that knowledge of God, and in the knowledge of revelation, and as the ages role by, the Church -- by prayer, by reflection, by reading the lives of the saints and the early teachers or Fathers of the Church, and by the assistance of the Holy Spirit--comes to a better understanding of some parts of our Faith. So the whole Church grows; much more do individuals grow.

O'Connell: Thos who will read this will say your words speak to thier own experience, more so than documents that seem to affirm with great certainty adn clarity but, at times, do not reach the hearts of people.

Cardinal Arinze: To say that one individual can be nearer to God than another does not mean that the Church should abandon her duty to articulate the faith. We notice that from the early years of the Church, from the second, third, and fourth centuries, the bishops, coming together with the Pope or his delegate, felt it their duty to say, "This is what we believe, we believe, we believe." That is the origin of the Credo.
It is the duty of the teaching authority of the Church to articulate that faith, that is, to state it in human language, also using philosopical terms or concepts, because the faith has to be handed down. If we handed down the fiath only by silent witness, but not by a simple word, you would soon find that the child growing up does not know in what faith he is being initiated. That's why the credos were often tied to baptism. The person is being baptized into the faith of that community as articulated. The articulation of the faith retains its imporantce, otherwise we will soon become a type of spiritiual group in which nobody knows what he believes, nobody can articulate it, nobody knows what to hand down, and nobody can say to anyone, "You are not believing what our ancestors in the faith handed down to us."
Because in the days of the aposles, Saint Peter and Saint Paul, we are told that Saint Peter said, "There are several things Paul wrote that are difficult to understand and that some abuse to their own destruction." Saint Paul was very strict on what people were to believe. He told the Galatians, "If anyone preaces a Gospel to you different from the one we have preached to you, let him be anathema. So you are to believe what has been handed down to you, and not to believe anythign else." This means that they were also very careful about the articulation of the faith even in the days of Saint Paul.
How much more so, later one, when the Church had met Greek and Roman philosophy, and the faith had to be expressed in those terms. How much more so also when some began to say there are two persons in Christ, so the Church was compelled to express herself on this quesion; or again when people said Christ was not God, the the Councils of Nicaea and Constantinople had to say no: "He is God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten not made, one in substance with the Father, and through him all things were made." All that articulation came with time.
So to address a point raised recently, the Church is the guardian of the Truth revealed to us through Jesus Christ. But as humans, none of us posses the capability of completely understanding the Truth. We grow in our understanding through time. Likewise the Church, as a human institution, could not be expected to fully understand the Truth immediately. Trough time the Church gains a deeper understanding and knowledge of the Truth, with it then articulates as part of its duty. The Church doesn't make the Truth, it holds and articulates the Truth.

Without this central authority in the Church to hold and articulate the Truth we get exactly what Cardinal Arinze is speaking about when he says, "The articulation of the faith retains its imporantce, otherwise we will soon become a type of spiritiual group in which nobody knows what he believes, nobody can articulate it, nobody knows what to hand down, and nobody can say to anyone, 'You are not believing what our ancestors in the faith handed down to us.' " The Protestant churches today, and thier many disagreements in belief and doctrine, provide a perfect example of what happens when the teaching authority of the Church, established by Christ and given to the apostles, is rejected.

US amendments to new Mass translation

Gerald has them over at The Cafeteria is Closed

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Douay-Rheims Bible Online

I found this great resource lately. Searchable Douay-Rheims Bible and if you are into Latin Latin Vulgate. I'm adding it to the sidebar.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist

Luke 1:5-20, 36-44, 57-80

There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zachary, of the courese of Abia; and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name Elizabeth.

6 And they were both just before God, walking in all the commandments and justifications of the Lord without blame. 7 And they had no son, for that Elizabeth was barren, and they both were well advanced in years. 8 And it came to pass, when he executed the priestly function in the order of his course before God, 9 According to the custom of the priestly office, it was his lot to offer incense, going into the temple of the Lord. 10 And all the multitude of the people was praying without, at the hour of incense.

11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing on the right side of the alter of incense. 12 And Zachary seeing him, was troubled, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him: Fear not, Zachary, for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elizabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John: 14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness, and many shall rejoice in his nativity. 15 For he shall be great before the Lord; and shall drink no wine nor strong drink: and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.

16 And he shall convert many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias; that he may turn the hearts of the fathers unto the children, and the incredulous to the wisdom of the just, to prepare unto the Lord a perfect people. 18 And Zachary said to the angel: Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years. 19 And the angel answering, said to him: I am Gabriel, who stand before God: and am sent to speak to thee, and to bring thee these good tidings. 20 And behold, thou shalt be dumb, and shalt not be able to speak until the day wherein these things shall come to pass, because thou hast not believed my words, which shall be fulfilled in their time.

36 And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: 37 Because no word shall be impossible with God. 38 And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. 39 And Mary rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda. 40 And she entered into the house of Zachary, and saluted Elizabeth.

41 And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: 42 And she cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. 43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.

57 Now Elizabeth's full time of being delivered was come, and she brought forth a son. 58 And her neighbours and kinsfolks heard that the Lord had shewed his great mercy towards her, and they congratulated with her. 59 And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they called him by his father's name Zachary. 60 And his mother answering, said: Not so; but he shall be called John.

61 And they said to her: There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. 62 And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. 63 And demanding a writing table, he wrote, saying: John is his name. And they all wondered. 64 And immediately his mouth was opened, and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. 65 And fear came upon all their neighbours; and all these things were noised abroad over all the hill country of Judea.

66 And all they that had heard them laid them up in their heart, saying: What an one, think ye, shall this child be? For the hand of the Lord was with him. 67 And Zachary his father was filled with the Holy Ghost; and he prophesied, saying: 68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; because he hath visited and wrought the redemption of his people: 69 And hath raised up an horn of salvation to us, in the house of David his servant: 70 As he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets, who are from the beginning:

71 Salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us: 72 To perform mercy to our fathers, and to remember his holy testament, 73 The oath, which he swore to Abraham our father, that he would grant to us, 74 That being delivered from the hand of our enemies, we may serve him without fear, 75 In holiness and justice before him, all our days.

76 And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways: 77 To give knowledge of salvation to his people, unto the remission of their sins: 78 Through the bowels of the mercy of our God, in which the Orient from on high hath visited us: 79 To enlighten them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death: to direct our feet into the way of peace. 80 And the child grew, and was strengthened in spirit; and was in the deserts until the day of his manifestation to Israel.