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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Human Life International's Statement on the Passing of Senator Edward Kennedy

"We must, as a matter of precept, pray for the salvation of heretical Catholics like Senator Edward Kennedy, but we do not have to praise him let alone extol him with the full honors of a public Catholic funeral and all the adulation that attends such an event. There was very little about Ted Kennedy's life that deserves admiration from a spiritual or moral point of view. He was probably the worst example of a Catholic statesman that one can think of. When all is said and done, he has distorted the concept of what it means to be a Catholic in public life more than anyone else in leadership today.

Obviously we don't know the state of Senator Edward Kennedy's soul upon death. We don't pretend to. We are told by the family that he had the opportunity to confess his sins before a priest, and his priest has said publicly he was "at peace" when he died. For that we are grateful. But it is one thing to confess one's sins and for these matters to be kept, rightfully, private. It is another thing entirely for one who so consistently and publicly advocated for the destruction of unborn human beings to depart the stage without a public repudiation of these views, a public confession, as it were.

It is up to God to judge Senator Kennedy's soul. We, as rational persons, must judge his actions, and his actions were not at all in line with one who values and carefully applies Church teaching on weighty matters. Ted Kennedy's positions on a variety of issues have been a grave scandal for decades, and to honor this "catholic" champion of the culture of death with a Catholic funeral is unjust to those who have actually paid the price of fidelity. We now find out that President Obama will eulogize the Senator at his funeral, an indignity which, following on the heels of the Notre Dame fiasco, leaves faithful Catholics feeling sullied, desecrated and dehumanized by men who seem to look for opportunities to slap the Church in the face and do so with impunity simply because they have positions of power.

It is not enough for Kennedy to have been a "great guy behind the scenes" as we have seen him referred to even by his political opponents. It is also not praiseworthy to put a Catholic rhetorical veneer on his leftist politics that did nothing to advance true justice as the Church sees it or to advance the peace of Christ in this world. Every indication of Senator Kennedy's career, every public appearance, every sound bite showed an acerbic, divisive and partisan political hack for whom party politics were much more infallible than Church doctrines. Whatever one's political affiliation, if one is only "Catholic" to the extent that his faith rhymes with his party line, then his Catholicism is a fraud.

As the Scriptures remind us, there is a time for everything under the sun. This, now, is the time for honesty about our Faith and about those who are called to express it in the public forum. If we do not remind ourselves of the necessity of public confession for public sins such as Senator Kennedy was guilty of, then we are negligent in our embrace of the Faith and we are part of the problem. As Pope Benedict has reminded us recently, charity without truth can easily become mere sentimentality, and we must not fall into that error. A Catholic show of charity for the family must not eclipse the truth that is required of all with eyes to see and ears to hear.

Senator Kennedy needs to be sent to the afterlife with a private, family-only funeral and the prayers of the Church for the salvation of his immortal soul. He will not be missed by the unborn who he betrayed time and time again, nor by the rest of us who are laboring to undo the scandalous example of Catholicism that he gave to three generations of Americans."

Sincerely,


Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer,
President, Human Life International

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Parenting: The Path of Most Resistance

The first evidence that I was really taking this pregnancy/parenting thing seriously was my reading of a book entitled: "What to Expect When You're Expecting". I eagerly digested every morsel. Remember those tomes? They sequeled them out to "What to expect in the first Year; What to Expect of the First Bowel Movement.....the First Tooth. ..you get the drill. I've decided that I will offer my wisdom and experience to the next iteration of the "What to Expect" series as I have discovered that they are missing an entire segment of the life cycle: The Teenager. Here are some possible Chapter sketches.

THE ANNOUNCEMENT
Birth Announcement for Baby: "We're expecting a Baby! We're registered at Pottery Barn for Kids, Toys R Us, Kids R Us (or just send a check). Baby shower will be _______. We will play silly games and guess the gender FOR HOURS. If this is not fun enough, we will eat a great deal of food & punch containing carbs and sugar so that you will not be able to function for the rest of your day. "

Birth Announcement for Teen: "We're expecting that our child may grow up but we are not sure when or into what. We are registering with many colleges in hopes that he will make it into one of them. It cost $50 a pop so if you can send money, that would be great. We're having a graduation party on ________ where we will sit around and play games and guess what he will do for the rest of his life FOR HOURS. If this is not fun enough, we will eat a great deal of food and punch (which we hope Junior won't spike), so that you might be able to function the next day."

PREPARING THE HOME ENVIRONMENT
Nesting Habit for Baby: Happy parents transform spare room into a welcome place for new baby replete with teddybears, sailboats and soft colors named after food items like "melon", "lime" and "butter". Gentle fabric puffy creatures adorn walls and mobiles with chimey sounds hint a simple lullaby. I proudly hang a pastel crucifix over the crib for special blessings on baby. The environment smells of fresh powder.

Nesting Habit for Teen: Catatonic parents shudder to learn that bedroom has been turned into a den of bats featuring actual guano-like substance stuck on desk (don't ask). There might actually be melon, lime or butter under his dresser. I think the color of paint is 'scuffmark' beige. Che Guavara, Vladimir Lenin and the Flaming Lips posters adorn the walls making it look like a fool's holiday. There is a challenging feng shui notion going on as there is fire in one corner and water in another. I hang a St. Benedict Cross under his bed and sprinkle the room with holy water. It smells....bad.

LEARNING THE BIRTH TECHNIQUE
Lamasz Class: Expectant parents bring pillows and nervously tell each other to calm down and BREATHE.

Substance Abuse Class for Teen who just got caught: Angry parents bring notebooks to class and nervously tell each other to calm down and BREATHE. This technique also applies to Driver's Education and/or Rock Band Recitals.

THE NEW ARRIVAL
First Trimester Mom of Baby: "I am sooooo sick"
First Trimester Mom of Teen: "I am soooo sick of this kid"
Second Trimester Mom of Baby: "Was that a kick?"
Second Trimester Mom of Teen: "Would you like a swift kick in the rear end?"
Third Timester Mom of Baby final Push: "Get it out."
Third Trimester Mom of Teen final Expulsion: "Get out."

There is screaming, then there is silence.

THE FAMILY AFTERWARDS

The baby comes out all fat, wrinkly and slimy.

The parents end up all fat, wrinkly and sweaty.

But our story does not end here. Oh no. Let us fast forward several years from now to a special place in the future. Remember that powdery fresh room? It now has been decorated by my son and his wife. I now understand God's punchline: a parent's greatest revenge is the arrival of his or her grandchild. Through a wry smile I quote scripture to my reconverted son: "Vengence is mine, I will repay".

Monday, August 24, 2009

Be a Child of God


"Whatever did not fit in with my plan

did not lie within the plan of God.

I have an ever deeper and firmer belief

that nothing is merely an accident

when seen in the light of God,

that my whole life, down to the smallest details

has been marked out for me

in the plan of Divine Providence

and has a completely coherent meaning

in God's all seeing eyes.

"To be a child of God,

that means to be led by the hand of God,

to do the Will of God, not one's own will,

to place every care and every hope in the Hand of God

and not worry about one's future.

On this rests the freedom and the joy of the child of God.

But how few of even the truly pious,

even of those ready for heroic sacrifices, possess this freedom.


"When night comes, and you look back over the day

and see how fragmentary everything has been,

and how much you planned that has gone undone,

and all the reasons you have to be embarrassed and ashamed:

just take everything exactly as it is,

put it in God's hands and leave it with Him.

Then you will be able to rest - really rest -

and start the next day as a new life."


St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, OCD (Edith Stein)

October 12, 1891 - August 9, 1942

From Catholic Online:
Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)Virgin and Martyr Edith Stein, born in 1891 in Breslau, Poland, was the youngest child of a large Jewish family. She was an outstanding student and was well versed in philosophy with a particular interest in phenomenology. Eventually she became interested in the Catholic Faith, and in 1922, she was baptized at the Cathedral Church in Cologne, Germany. Eleven years later Edith entered the Cologne Carmel. Because of the ramifications of politics in Germany, Edith, whose name in religion was Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, was sent to the Carmel at Echt, Holland. When the Nazis conquered Holland, Teresa was arrested, and, with her sister Rose, was sent to the concentration camp at Auschwitz. Teresa died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz in 1942 at the age of fifty-one. In 1987, she was beatified in the Cologne cathedral by Pope John Paul II. Out of the unspeakable human suffering caused by the Nazis in western Europe in the 1930's and 1940's, there blossomed the beautiful life of dedication, consecration, prayer, fasting, and penance of Saint Teresa. Even though her life was snuffed out by the satanic evil of genocide, her memory stands as a light undimmed in the midst of evil, darkness, and suffering. She was canonized on October 11, 1998.



Sunday, August 23, 2009

Scot Free?

Dear Gordon Brown: What may start out as a letter "Dear Muammar"...


Will end with the reality that there are still 270 dead people.

Gordon Brown in new storm over freed Lockerbie bomber
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/aug/23/gordon-brown-letter-gaddafi-lockerbie

Friday, August 21, 2009

UNJustice

Before:

After:




Just in case you were wondering...this is what happens when good people fail to do the right thing.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lions and Tigers and Liturgy, oh my!



This article says it all and says it well. Thank you Arlene Oost-Zinner and Jeffrey Tucker of Inside Catholic.

Boredom during the liturgy is something all Catholics have felt from time to time, and it's never justifiable. No matter how mundane the architecture, how dull the homily, or how bad the music, what's taking place on the altar is a miraculous sacrifice that gives us the grace for salvation. That reality should be enough to keep our attention.

And yet boredom is a reality that good liturgy can help fight. Many parishes try to do so by inventing every manner of new enticement: brighter and larger banners, forced attempts to create an upbeat environment of friendliness and community, big bowls of incense carried by special ministers, and Donahue-style homiletics.

The attempt to jazz up the liturgy usually takes the form of musical enhancements and nearly always means more instruments and rhythms drawn from popular music. The rationale isn't complicated. Liturgists are frustrated that people don't get as excited about religion as they do about the pop divas and music videos, and they conclude that they need ever more musical pyrotechnics to make the difference.

But these approaches often backfire since the argument for them is flawed at its root. Community feeling and fun are fine, but if the liturgy doesn't offer a setting conducive to prayer and the contemplation of eternal mysteries, it has failed its first aesthetic aim.
Keep reading...
http://insidecatholic.com/Joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=6704&Itemid=121&ed=1

Sunday, August 16, 2009

An Eagle in a Chicken Suit


A man found an eagle's egg and put it in a nest of a barnyard hen. The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them.

All his life the eagle did what the barnyard chicks did, thinking he was a barnyard chicken. He scratched the earth for worms and insects. He clucked and cackled. And he would thrash his wings and fly a few feet into the air.

Years passed and the eagle grew very old. One day he saw a magnificent bird above him in the cloudless sky. It glided in graceful majesty among the powerful wind currents with scarcely a beat of its strong golden wings.

The old eagle looked up in awe. "Who's that?" he asked.

"That's the eagle, the king of the birds," said his neighbor. "He belongs to the sky. We belong to the earth - we're chickens." So the eagle lived and died a chicken, for that's what he thought he was.

This story by Anthony De Mello has always captivated and frustrated my imagination. The good news of it is that we all possess unrealized potential in our "eagle-ness". The other good news is that we get to learn how to FLY! The bad news is that we will undoubtedly fall on our beaks a few times and this will cause pain. It is invaribly more difficult to learn things as an adult than as small children. As children, we are molded as soft clay in the potter's hands while spinning around in circles; as adults, we are chiseled with the sharp tools of the sculptor as we sit watching the bits fly off...

Speaking of watching bits flying off...Happy 50th Birthday to my brother, Brian in Missouri. You rock, old timer! AARP will be calling any day now....lucky you.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Capital Idea!


Michigan has had its share of foul luck in the last few decades and I'm not just talking about the Pussycats....er, uh, I mean, Lions. Looks like the fickle finger of fate has just changed directions however and could be that the pleasant penninsula is poised to make history if the folks on capital hill have their way.

The Obama administration is considering a maximum-security state prison set to close in northeast Michigan as a possible site to house suspected terrorists, Sen. Carl Levin said Sunday. The Standish Maximum Correctional Facility, which has enough room for 600 prisoners and provides the community with roughly 300 jobs, could be one of the locations for a heavily guarded site to hold the 229 suspected al-Qaida, Taliban and foreign fighters now jailed at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba.

If the proposed hybrid prison -- a courtroom-within-a-prison complex -- heads to Standish, it could create a boon for a state struggling with a 15.2 percent unemployment rate, the highest in the United States, and an area heavily dependent on corrections for its economy.
So I say, PILE ON! If we're going to do this deal, let's do it up right and trade US capital for car capital. We'll give everyone in the motor city the option to move to DC while we move the seat of the US government over to Detroit. Capital idea! Pentagon could fit nicely in the Ren Cen/Joe Louis/Cobo Hall Compound. Fisher Theater could seat congress. I'm sure there are plenty of abandoned factories and foundries that could house Homeland Security, National Archives, Judicial Branch. Pretty sure there's some nice real estate left in Dearborn for the White House (Old Fairlane Mall?) . Don't knock it, it used to have a people mover.
TOP 10 REASONS WHY WE SHOULD RELOCATE THE CAPITOL OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA TO DETROIT, MI:
1. Surrounded by water on three sides so it is similar to Cuba

2. Is a short trip over to Canada where many of us will be defecting for better health care

3. The painted turtle is the state reptile: an excellent representation for the movement of meaningful bills through congress

4. Already home to government-owned (eh-hem...public-optioned) General Motors so it wouldn't be a stretch

5. Boasts riverboat gambling so that our lawmakers could feel secure knowing that they can gamble with their own money too.

6. Pistons uniforms are already red, white and blue

7. "Michigander" just sounds cool

8. Congress could really get in touch with its roots at Greenfield Village

9. Its motto is already E PLURIBUS UNUM seo we'd save a little money there...

10. There is a "Hell" in Michigan which is where we could send all of the bad politicians or terrorists. I'm sure it would be good for their economy too.

Sooo, here's your invitation for politicians and terrorists alike:
"If you are seeking an amenable (pleasant) peninsula, look around you."

Monday, August 10, 2009

Supersonic

I was at a little gathering today where someone shared briefly on the very first infamous supersonic flight piloted by Chuck Yeager back in 1947. I've always been fascinated by air/space travel so my ears perked up when conversation went supersonic...

60 years ago, the quest to break the sound barrier was a big deal. Several brave test pilots died in the attempt. As planes approached the speed of sound, Mach 1, their control surfaces became useless. The planes shook uncontrollably. Some of them literally disintegrated in midair. Finally, on a cloudless October day in the skies above the California desert, Yeager penetrated the magic barrier — 700 miles an hour at 43,000 feet — and made aviation history.

Play around with that thought for a moment. You're 43,000 feet above where you ate your breakfast and for the next few tense seconds as the cockpit is lurching and pinging, you are not certain if you will draw your next breath. KABOOM!....and then.....silence. Serenity. Peace. God's language.

Metaphorically speaking, aren't the trials and temptations of life sort of like this? When 'life happens' we tend to want to stomp it to death. We wrestle with it, spit on it, control it, yell at it and obsess over it. It rattles us, shakes us, wakes us from sleep and gets up in our face. Our "control surfaces" are useless and our lives are shaking out of control, ready to disintegrate. KABOOM!...and then....silence.

When a jet travels at Mach 1 speeds nowadays, the reverberations are unnoticeable by the occupants of the aircraft. Technology has made it so undramatic that the next paradigm shift will probably be when we breach the light barrier. Ultraviolet Travel? Superluminal Flight? Just guessing. What would happen if someone designed a better "mental aircraft" or supersonic jumpsuit that would allow us to be able to eliminate the shake/rattle & roll of turbulent problem barriers. What if I were to tell you that there is a mental defense against rattling oneself to pieces. It can be found in the divinely directed detour of prayer & pause: the two ingredients most useful for turning things over to God. The simple toil and enlightened freedom of letting go is an adventure worth taking. Just ask anyone who is a student of the many 12-step recovery programs. As the platitudes reveal:

Let go and let God

Came to Believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity

Let go or be dragged (one of my personal favorites)

I can't, God can, I think I'll let Him

Let go of the outcome

If you can't turn it over, at least lay it down

I plan, God laughs

THY will be done

There is something blissfully peaceful about that letting go, isn't there? In my estimation, slow is real and boring is very good. Make your own history. Defy your personal physics. There is a deafening, thrilling liberty of silence that can be found at the speed of sound.

The miracles in our own backyard

"Does the Blessed Virgin Mary need to be appearing some place to prompt the kinds of things Austin talks about? Not if we believe in the graces connected with the Sacraments - especially with confession. The same can be said about Eucharistic and Marian devotion, and when priests teach the fullness of the faith from the pulpit, and in the confessional, without ambiguity. In fact, the homily or sermon should prompt us to make an examination of conscience, unless we are there to examine the conscience of all those other people. I remember the preaching in Medjugorje decades ago. It touched on subjects otherwise undiscussible. They talked about.... [gasp]......sin. And you know what? Folks wanted to hear about such subjects. There are parishes today where a handful of people will probably get up and walk out because their self esteem was bruised. So? They have a free will. The pride of a few should not lead to the neglect of the many who want to hear that admonition."

(Just a sampling of an exceptional post by Diane M. Korzeniewski over at Te Deum Laudamus. She's a secular carmelite with a real gift for writing; I especially loved what she said about church silence.)

Here is the link to the rest of the story...http://te-deum.blogspot.com/2009/08/weighing-medjugorje-even-more-lessons.html

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Top 3 Most Difficult Things To Do:

"The three most difficult things for a human being are not physical feats or intellectual achievements. They are, first, returning love for hate; second, including the excluded; third, admitting that you are wrong."
-anonymous