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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Batwoman a lesbian

From BBC News:

Comic book heroine Batwoman is to make a comeback as a "lipstick lesbian" who moonlights as a crime fighter, a DC Comics spokesman has confirmed. Read Entire Article



Are you kidding me? What happened to superheroes with moral fiber?
From Daily Mail:

The ethical storm over abortions has been renewed as it emerged that terminations are being carried out for minor, treatable birth defects.

Late terminations have been performed in recent years because the babies had club feet, official figures show.

Babies are being aborted with only minor defects.
Other babies were destroyed because they had webbed fingers or extra digits. Read Entire Article

Check out these reader comments:

There appears to be a complete abuse of the legally permitted abortion. Now that the morning after pill is so readily available to counter "accidents", I consider abortion should only be permitted in the following circumstances:
1. Where it is very likely that the fetus could not develop into a self sustaining adult in society.
2. Where it is likely that the life of the mother would be endangered if the pregnancy continued to birth.
3. Where pregnancy is the result of rape.
4. Where the pregnant female would be under 14 at the due birth date.

Common sense tells us that it's morally unacceptable to terminate a pregnancy due to such minor problems, it could soon gravitate to other conditions such as minor learning difficulties etc. However with the genetic tools now at our disposal it seems foolish to NOT screen for genetic cancers and other life threatening diseases, surely this is just part of our evolution?
Do these people not realize that its the use of these types of arguemtns for the rationalization of abortion that leads to things like clubbed feet and extra toes being rationalized as acceptable reasons for abortion?

Nearly all of us exist because our parents, a man and a woman, sexual union. I believe therefore that the couple, or the woman, has the right to terminate the pregnancy if both, or the woman, wishes to do so.
?????????? Some people.........At least she knows that parents typically are a man and a woman. But I guess having sex entitles you to kill people?

Priestesses

From The Mercery News:

The fledgling congregation gathered in a circle at Sunday Mass at Spartan Memorial Chapel to introduce themselves. A woman in a long, white robe spoke first.

``My name is Victoria Rue,'' she said. ``And I am a Roman Catholic woman priest.''

Rue belongs to a renegade movement that is ordaining women as Catholic priests, in defiance of the Vatican. Today, Rue celebrates Mass at the non-denominational chapel at San Jose State University.

Joining her at the altar on Sundays -- also in clerical robes -- have been a married man, his wife and another woman. The ceremonies prompted the Diocese of San Jose this month to warn Catholics that the sacraments there would be invalid.

It's a prickly issue more Catholic dioceses will face as increasing numbers of women join the ordination movement.

``God has called me,'' said Juanita Cordero, a Los Gatos woman who will soon be ordained as a deacon and aims to be a priest by 2007. ``Growing up it was never a possibility because it was always for men.''Read Entire Article


First, there are no Roman Catholic woman priests.
Second, nothing has changed since growing up. It's still not a possibility. The priesthood is still reserved for men.

For more of my thoughts on this see my earlier post Truth

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Our Lady of the Ozarks Shrine

I've known that this shrine existed for about a year and a half. It's a short drive, so I decided to check it out. It is located on HWY 71 just south of Winslow, Arkansas. A sign on the church door said that it would be open until 4:00 pm on Sundays. I will go back to check out the inside.

Our Lady of the Ozarks
Virgin of the Smile

St. Therese of the Child Jesus and The Holy Face


Sacred Heart of Jesus

Cruxifiction

Our Lady of the Ozarks Shrine

St. Anthony of Padua

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Friday, May 26, 2006

CatholicHistory.net

CatholicHistory.net is a resource for students, teachers, researchers, and anyone interested in the history of Catholicism in the United States. Its purpose is to promote deeper and wider understanding of the place of Catholics and the Catholic Church in the history of the American nation.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

End Times

I have been asked by a friend to comment on the end times from a Catholic perspective. I am far from any type of authority on this matter. What I will do here is try to present as much information as I can. If anybody reads this and has helpful knowledge, please share.

Eschatology is the branch of theology that deals with the last things.

The common belief of dispensationalists is that there will be a secret Rapture during which "true believers" will be carried away before the Tribulation and Second Coming of Christ. The Church has not officially rejected the notion of a secret Rapture, however Catholic eschatology does not lend support to the idea.

The Church rejects the dispensationalist claim of the Millennium, the literal, early reign of Christ on Earth for a thousand years.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism. CCC 676
St. Augustine interpreted the reference to a "thousand years" found in the Revelations as a metaphor of the Church age. The Church has yest to make a formal statement what the Millennium is or was. However the Church does say this:

Before his Ascension Christ affirmed that the hour had not yet come for the glorious establishment of the messianic kingdom awaited by Israel which, according to the prophets, was to bring all men the definitive order of justice, love, and peace. According to the Lord, the present time is the time of the Spirit and of witness, but also a time still marked by "distress" and the trial of evil which does not space the Church and ushers in the struggles of the last days. It is a time of waiting and watching. CCC 672
One explanation is that the present day Church is the "Church between times". We are between the times of Christ's First and Second Comings, the "Church Age". We are in the end times that began with Christ coming to Earth as Man and will end with his Second Coming.

The Catholic Encylopedia provides an article on Eschatology that compares the eschatolical beliefs of various cultures and those of the Old and New Testaments here.

St. Bede the Venerable, pray for us.
St. Gregory VII, pray for us.
St. Mary Magdelene de'Pazzi, pray for us.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Truth

From cbsnews.com:

When the pope or official Catholic teaching differs from one's own conscience, the conscience should be the guide, said 72 percent of Catholics surveyed, with just 18 percent saying the pope must be obeyed.Read Entire Article
Forgive me for bringing back a year old article, but the above quote highlights something I've been thinking about a lot lately. Its very disheartening to hear and read all the rumblings coming from people who call themselves Catholics, yet insist on raging against the teaching of the Catholic Church and calling for change. To name a few examples; abortion, homosexuality, artificial birth control, female priest, etc.

The big thing that brought me to the Catholic Church was the fullness of Truth. The Truth of God, the Truth that is God, was established before time itself began and will remain after time ceases. It is the sacred charge of the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, to preserve and guard the Truth through time.

The Truth of God is timeless. Likewise the Church in its stewardship of the Truth is not affected by the tides of social norms and popular conjectors through time. The Church stands as the Pillar of Truth. It is not in the capacity of the Church to change the deposit of Truth to appease the conscience of the day.

All mankind is imbedded with a fundamental moral conscience, a knowledge of right and wrong. To often the ebb and flow of cultural and societal beliefs distorts the fundamental conscience. The Church exists as a steady guide to right the direction of the conscience. When official Catholic teaching in matters of faith and morals differs from individual conscience, the Church should be the guide.

Who is the Bread of Life?

There is this one particular communion song that is used a lot in my parish that has always bugged me. I'm pretty sure it is titled Bread of Life. Regardless, it includeds lyrics such as, "you and I, are the bread of life. Broked and blessed, broken and shared by Christ, that the world may live." That may not be exact but its the best from my memory. Anyway, the song has always bothered me, but I couldn't put into words what bothered me about it. Then I ran across this passage in Catholic Matters by Fr. Richard John Neuhaus,

It is frequently said today that the "body" to which St. Paul refers is the community, which is the body of Christ. Thus one bishop writes that when the priest or lay minister distributes the host with the words "The body of Christ," he should exchange a "deeply meaningful look" with the communicant so that it is understood that the words mean "You are the body of Christ." This is a fundamental shift in Catholic piety and sacramental practice. Of course the Church is the body of Christ, but she is that by virtue of the gift of Christ, as in the body of Christ in the Eucharist. I am not the body of Christ. I participate in the body of Christ by virtue of the gift that is given. In the Eucharist we are gathered not to celebrate our amazing selves and what we are doing but to be incorporated in thte myster of what Christ is doing. What Christ is doing and what we are doing are not to be seperated; they are, however, to be clearly distinguished. It is a question of emphasis, but not merely of emphasis. The emphasis is all.
In a sense Fr. Neuhaus sums up my own thoughts. I don't really feel comfortable wth the "we are the bread of life, aren't we wonderful?" mentality. Yes we are each a member of the Body of Christ by virtue of being members of His Church which is the Body with Christ as its head and receiving th Eucharist. Christ is the Bread of Life and we participate in the Body of Christ by receiving Him in the Eucharist.

Edit: I found this today. It addresses the particular song that I was thinking of.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Listening to the Holy Spirit


Today, I attended a noon Mass at St. Edwards Catholic Church in Texarkana, AR. In his homily the priest talked about how the Church is led by the Holy Spirit. He talked about how that which we don't want to hear, but keep being told, may be the voice of the Holy Spirit and to expect Him to speak to us through unexpected means. I think way to often we get wrapped up in wanting a big booming definative answer from God that we miss many of the subtle things he is trying to tell us. We must listen for the voice of God everyday. If we listen we will hear Him.

Today's Jesus Sighting:

At Mass today, there was a young mother with her two children. The boy was maybe a year old and the girl was somewhere around four or five. I was reminded of when Christ said, "Let the children come to me and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it." -Luke 18:16-17. Of course the mother had problems with the children making noise and generally doing what small children do. But that didn't matter. What did matter was that a young mother was taking the time to takl her children and go to Mass at noon on a Friday. I saw Jesus Christ in this young family today. I was inspired and led to hope that one day I will take my children to daily Mass. The world would be a much better place if more people attended daily Mass, it would be even greater if more people took their children. Not to say that I've attended very many weekday Masses. I hope that it will soon be part of my normal routine.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Bishop Sartain appointed to Diocese of Joliet, Ill.

From Arkansas Catholic:

"The Vatican announced Tuesday, May 16 that His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Bishop J. Peter Sartain bishop of the Diocese of Joliet in Illinois. For the past six years, Bishop Sartain has served as bishop of the Diocese of Little Rock, which encompasses the entire state or Arkansas."
Read Entire Article.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Faith in the Church

In his new book, Catholic Matters, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus writes that he had the following thoughts before making his solemn profession of faith when he converted to Catholicism:

Am I writting a blank check on my soul? What if the Magisterium the solemn teaching office of the Church, get something wrong? May I even admit that question to my mind? By what criterion, by what measure, coudl I judge a teaching to be wrong? (p. 75)


I have to think that this is a pretty common thought for many converts. Personally, I know that it sums up what I felt at many points during my conversion process.

Fr. Neuhaus goes on to say:

Because I believe in Christ, I believe in his Church, I entrust myself to her. Christ thehead and the Church his body constitute the totus Christus, the total Christ. (p. 75)


Trust is risk, trust is faith. Not blind faith but faith with eyes wide open. Christ as true God and true man can, by definition, not betray my trust.(p. 76)

I think that these statements provide a good answer for those who often ask me about my decision to join the Catholic Church and how I can profess to believe all that the Catholic Church believes and teaches to be true. It is trust grounded in faith and faith built on the words of Christ.

Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." - Matthew 16: 17 -19

Friday, May 12, 2006

What A Year

On one hand August seems like a long time ago. On the other, it seems like yesterday. In August, I was getting ready to enter my second year of graduate school and anxiously awaiting the start of RCIA. Now, here I am in May. I've been Catholic for almost a month and I graduate tomorrow. I think I've grown more in the last 9 months that at any other period in my life. I can't wait to see what God has planned for me next.

Today's Jesus Sighting:
This afternoon my parents, sister, and brother-in-law arrived in town for graduation tomorrow. We spent the afternoon together and had a nice dinner. As I sit and think tonight I realize how blessed our family truely is. My parents are both happy and healthy, my sister and brother-in-law are expecting thier first child, and I am graduating with a Master's degree at 24. Where I really saw Christ the most today was in the love that our family shares. I hear and see so many stories of disfunctional families, broken homes, loveless marriages, and siblings not on speaking terms. Christ is truely present and working in our family.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Today's Jesus Sighting

I've been stuck in my apartment all day working on a paper for class. Just a few minutes ago I went out to check my mail. As I was doing so I happened to look up at the porch of the upstairs apartment near the mailboxes. There on the porch was a statue of St. Francis of Assisi. Some will say, "well you saw a statue of St. Francis not Jesus." That may be technically true. However, that I saw was someone (whoever lives there) that doesn't mind displaying their faith. They don't mind being a public witness to Christ and His Church. At least it would seem that way with a statue of a saint right next to the door. So this got me thinking, "where is my St. Francis statue on the porch?" Of course, I mean more than just a St. Francis statue on the porch. How do I provide a public witness everyday. I wear a cruxific, under my shirt. I try to remember to thank God in prayer before eating a meal (I forget more often than not and that's something else I need to work on), but I rarely make the Sign of the Cross when eating in public. I'm not talking about being a religious zeolot that borders on giving a bad image of the Faith through thier actions. I'm just thinking about the small little details. The simple things that might make someone stop and think about thier relationship with God just like a statue of St. Francis on a strangers porch has made me think about mine.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Seeing God

"When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, you will find me with you, says the Lord" - Jeremiah 29: 13-14

One of the things that I have been reflecting on the past few days is when and how I see God every day. We believe that God is omnipresent, that he his all around us, but do we actually SEE Him?

Do I look for Christ in other people? Do I interact with them in an appropriate manner in regards to the fact that we are "created in the image of God"? Do I appreciate the things around me as the creation of God and a reflection of His Glory?

I think that I am too often distracted by the material matter of this world and forget to realize God's presence in all things. So I have decided to take time to reflect upon when, where, and how I have seen Christ each day.

Today's Jesus Sighting:
This morning I decided to walk to work. My walk took me by contruction projects, my parish church, large trees, birds, squirels, etc. Obviously, I saw Christ when walking past the church. I think of the community that gathers there and how we are part of the visible Church on Earth. But as I reflect I can also see Christ in something as simple as the construction of a building. Such endevours wouldn't be possible without the abilities to think, imagine and build given to us by God. Everything else I saw this morning is also a reflection of God. The trees, grass, and animals, they are all part of God's creation. And as is said in Genesis, "it is good". The way that the entire world and everything in it works together gives us but a glimpse of the magesty of God.

Forgiveness

"Christ emphasizes so insistently the need to forgive others that, when Peter asked him how many times he should forgive his neighbor, he answered with the symbolic number of "seventy times seven," meaning that he must be able to forgive everyone every time." ---Pope John Paul II

I ran across this quote yesterday. I had forgotten that I had written it down almost four years ago. Today I had an experience that got me pretty fired up. I spent quite a while afterwards ranting about the situation. However, as I sit and think about the above quote I have to ask myself, "what did all the ranting really accomplish?". What was the point in letting this situation and the people involved get me so worked up?

I have to say that the situation and my reaction to it provided a valuable learning experience which highlighted several issues that will be valuable in the future. This was good. Getting worked up allowed me to bring to light some very important insights to the situation and life. However, I realize that it is useless to continue to harbor an ill feelings towards anyone involved. I must now follow the instruction of Christ and forgive while wishing the best for all those involved. As I continue to reflect upon this situation I must do so in a spirit of learning and hope that others will learn and benefit also.

I think that being passionate about something is good. But we must be passionate with an ever present sense of Christian charity. We must look for the good in all things and realize that we all have the potential to grow and gain from even the most unpleasent of situations. We must not let anger and a refusal to forgive block our potential to learn. We must forgive each other in order to learn from our disagreements, failings, and humaness.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Becoming Catholic

Welcome to my blog. I decided to give this whole blog thing a try. I’m not really sure what shape this thing is going to take. My general thought is to detail my journey as a new Catholic as I seek to follow the call of God in whatever he may have me do in life.

After several years of casually, and then more intensely, inquiring into the Catholic faith I was received into full communion this past Easter Vigil. I’ll start with a brief insight into how this all came about.

I was invited to Mass by a friend after having a Catholic vs. Baptist “discussion” in which I was totally outmatched due to my ignorance of the Catholic Church. Something stuck with me during that first Mass. For the next couple years I attended Mass at the local parish sporadically and occasionally read things about Catholicism. Then, another friend suggested that I go to Mass at the university parish which exists to serve the students and employees of my University. For the next year, I launched head first into an exploration of the Faith. I attended Sunday Mass every week and read every book I could get my hands on. At some point I ran across the story of the Road to Emmaus in Luke 24.

“And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. What that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight.” – Luke 24: 30-21

“Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.” – Luke 24: 35

These verses, in context of the entire 24th chapter of Luke, were the straw that broke the camel’s back in my journey into the Roman Catholic Church. Through these verses I came to realize the True Presence of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. Suddenly everything from the offering of bread and wine by Melchizedek in Genesis 14 to the manna in Exodus to the feeding of the multitudes by Jesus and the Bread of Life discourse and Christ’s last supper with his disciples all clicked. This moment, the breaking of the bread and the full revelation of Christ through it, was the sum of all Christian history! Christ truly present, body, blood, soul, and divinity, in the Eucharist is the center of Christian faith! How could I have struggled with accepting this doctrine?

From here everything fell into place. All the normal objections that would be expected from someone coming from a Southern Baptist background grew silent. I found myself ready to accept the role of Mary in the Church, the authority of the pope, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, etc. Of course I was still plagued by doubt along the way, at one point event doubting the Real Presence even thought ironically those doubts were settled during an hour or so spent in Eucharistic Adoration. After a year of seriously studying the Catholic Church, I enrolled in RCIA and now I’m happy to be “Calling Rome Home”

We may know Christ in no deeper and fuller way than by receiving the Eucharist. And we are called proclaim His gift to everyone we meet through our words, actions, and relationships. Being an imperfect human I am far from living up to the full measure of this call. As I grow in faith, I pray that the Lord will shape me into a more perfect vessel. This shall be the chronicles of my journey.