Saturday, January 28, 2012

Bp. Jenky's great move — and a poll to vote on NOW!

This post was just going to be in support of Peoria's bishop, Most. Rev. Daniel R. Jenky CSC.  But something else cropped up to add to it ....

Yesterday EWTN News reported that Bp. Jenky has instated the St. Michael Prayer in all Sunday Masses during the intercessions to pray for Catholic's freedom "until these grave issues are favorably resolved".  (Full text of the letter at the diocesan website news post.)

While it is primarily the laity who should take the leading role in political and legal action, as your Bishop, it is my clear responsibility to summon our local church into spiritual and temporal combat in defense of Catholic Christianity.  Have faith!  Have courage!  Fight boldly for what you believe!  I strongly urge you not to be intimidated by extremist politicians or the malice of the cultural secularists arrayed against us.  Always remember that the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world (1 John 4:4).
 Now, I leave it up to you to decide whether this decision, as well as the full-throated blast at the Obama Administration that came with it, deserves an Ecclesial Backbone nomination.  The Prayer was originally said after Low Mass as part of the Leonine Prayers which Leo XIII instated in 1884 (the St. Michael prayer was added two years later).  If anything, it should be brought back nationwide, so I applaud Bp. Jenky's decision and hope other bishops follow his lead on this.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

AP feeds Yahoo! News readers' bigotry

Abp. Carlo Maria Viganò (© EWTN News)
Yesterday, AP reporter Nicole Winfield posted a story which in effect insinuates that Abp. Carlo Maria Viganò, the new Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, was kicked out of his position as Secretary-General of the Governatorate of Vatican City State for being a whistleblower.  So here we go:

VATICAN CITY – An Italian news program has obtained letters from a top Vatican official to the pope in which he begs not to be transferred after exposing corruption in the awarding of Vatican contracts that cost the Holy See millions of euros (dollars).
Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano was removed in October as the No. 2 administrator of the Vatican city-state and was named the pope's ambassador to Washington. While the job is highly prestigious, the posting took Vigano far from headquarters and out of the running for the Vatican's top administrative job, which carries with it the rank of cardinal.
The investigative news program "The Untouchables" on the private La7 network broadcast a series of letters Vigano sent Pope Benedict XVI and the secretary of state last year in which he claimed to have exposed corruption and abuse of office in the running of the Vatican's administration.
Vigano said he corrected them during his two years as secretary-general of the Vatican city-state, the Vatican department that is responsible for everything from maintaining the pope's gardens to running the Vatican Museums.
But in the process of cutting costs, Vigano made enemies who he blamed for launching a smear campaign in the Italian media in 2011 calling for his removal that, he claimed, sealed his fate. ...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The man to watch!

Matt Archbold at Creative Minority Report posted this YouTube clip of Rep. Allen West (R-FL22).  Army Artillery, but with Airborne training.  Bronze Star and Meritorious Service medals.  Although he left the Army under a little bit of a cloud, he retired with full benefits, and there's no doubt the man is a hero.  And he's the first black Republican from Florida since Josiah T. Wall's term ended in 1876.

This clip shows that the lieutenant colonel knew how to get his men properly motivated — it's a knockout speech.  He's someone to watch for the future; as one person said over at CMR, "I have dreams of the words 'President Allen West'."

Monday, January 23, 2012

Day of Shame and Repentance

Yesterday Our Glorious Leader issued a statement celebrating the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.  According to Steven Ertelt of LifeSiteNews, the statement says:

As we mark the 39th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we must remember that this Supreme Court decision not only protects a woman’s health and reproductive freedom [bulls***], but also affirms a broader principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters [double bulls*** and a side of fries].  I remain committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose and this fundamental constitutional right [that for some reason isn't mentioned in the Constitution, professor ... not even in any of the 27 Amendments; oddly enough, the right of life is mentioned — twice — as not to be taken "without due process of law"].  While this is a sensitive and often divisive issue — no matter what our views, we must stay united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant woman and mothers, reduce the need for abortion [what, reduce the income stream for your biggest supporters, Planned Barrenhood?  You're talking through your hat], encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption.  And as we remember this historic anniversary, we must also continue our efforts to ensure that our daughters have the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.

I'm no longer angry as much as I am sad — sad that so many children's lives have been taken, sad that so many women have been either killed or damaged (physically and psychologically), sad that so many other women are driven by a collective neurosis of self-hatred and false autonomy, sad that our view of children, sex and reproduction has been twisted by hedonism and self-centeredness.

One day, when we have finally recovered from our national lunacy and put an end to the Great Western Atrocity, I hope that Congress passes and the President signs a law making January 22nd forever a Day of Shame and Repentance, requiring the closure of all but the most necessary businesses and services, flying the flag at half-mast, and some sort of ceremony such as a memorial burial at Arlington with full military honors.  Perhaps at that time we will also mourn the victims of slavery and racial discrimination, as well as the wrongs done to the Native Americans.  We're quick to shove the Holocaust in German faces; we should never be so quick to forget our own genocidal efforts.

Update: Later, same day
Writes former pro-abortion feminist Barbara Curtis:

My prediction is that someday the slavery/abortion connection will be so obvious that Roe v. Wade will be as shameful a part of our past as the Supreme Court’s 1857 Dred Scott decision, which dehumanized another group to deny them the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
 Amen, Barbara.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday Snippets—A Catholic Carnival (1/22/12)

Welcome back to Sunday Snippets!  Sunday Snippets is a circle of traded posts hosted by RAnn at This That and the Other Thing.  For some fine Catholic reading, please follow this link!

Tomorrow, January 23, is my 48th birthday.  If you want to send me a gift, send me a picture of yourself at a March for Life rally!  Unfortunately, because of my financial circumstances, I can't go myself.  But I know what I want for my birthday next year: I want to watch as a pro-life President gets sworn into office.

Speaking of pro-life, we shouldn't be downcast so much by the HHS' decision to keep its restrictive mandate in forceAs the Motley Monk pointed out in The American Catholic, the mandate is not likely to survive the process of judicial review, so it's a cubic zirconia from the Obama Administration to his pro-abort supporters, especially Planned Barrenhood.

Well, what else is of interest?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Three down, another seven Amendments in the Bill of Rights to go—UPDATED

Having signed just last month a law that effectively made our Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights inapplicable when accused of terrorism, the Obama Administration confirmed today that First Amendment rights are revokable when contraception is the issue.
The Obama administration will allow religious organizations an additional year to comply with a new rule requiring employers that offer their workers health insurance to include coverage of birth control without out-of-pocket costs, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announced Friday.
But the rule itself and the types of employers covered by it remain unchanged [bold type mine.—TL]. This is likely to disappoint [understate much?] religious groups such as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which had lobbied vigorously for a permanent exemption for all employers that oppose birth control on religious grounds.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Another way to make chili

Nothing better for this time of year than either home-made soup or home-made chili.

There are almost as many ways to make chili as there are people who cook chili.  And there are twice as many wrong ways to cook chili because every last dang chili cook knows better than to ....

That's why it's always a risk to post a recipe for The Best Darn Chili You Ever Tasted — you just know half the people reading it are saying to themselves, "Well, that's the start, but what if you took out this, and added that?"  (And you have Texans who grump, "If it's got beans in it, then it ain't real chili!")

You know what, folks?  I've had KC barbecue, Texas barbecue and someday, God willing, I'll sit down to some Tennessee barbecue with Frank WeathersIt's all great!  I've had chili with beans, without beans, using hamburger, beef, chicken, turkey ... and it's all great!  Don't get hung up on one style of chili, or barbecue, or pizza or whatever, because you never know how a variation tastes until you try it.

Ask Tony: Why do Saturday evening Masses count for Sunday?—UPDATED

Easter Vigil, Cathedral Shrine of St. Paul, MN
A blogger friend of mine was posting tongue-in-cheek blessings upon the Lord for Saturday vigil Masses.  Another person cracked, "I love how the vigil Mass can begin at 3:30 on Saturday and the 'last chance" Mass end at 6:00 on Sunday. Apparently, we Catholics have 26½ hour days."

Sometimes it would help to have a 26½-hour day ... haven't we all felt like that?  But what's really going on with this wide range of times?  And why should a Saturday Mass count for Sunday at all?

Strictly speaking, Saturday evening Masses aren't "Vigils"; rather, they are anticipated Masses.  Vigil Masses, while a long-standing custom (defended and recommended, according to the old Catholic Encyclopedia, by no lesser lights than Ss. Augustine and Jerome), attach now only to specific feast days: Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, Ascension (where celebrated on the Thursday after the Sixth Sunday after Easter), Pentecost, St. John the Baptist, Ss. Peter and Paul, and the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mother.  What's the difference, you ask?  Vigil Masses have propers associated with them, while anticipated Masses use the propers of the next day's Masses.  (See my post on parts of the Mass for a refresher on propers.)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday Snippets—A Catholic Carnival (1/15/12)

Welcome back to Sunday Snippets!  Sunday Snippets is a circle of traded posts hosted by RAnn at This That and the Other Thing.  For some fine Catholic reading, please follow this link!
This last week has been largely political, between the "Catholic circular firing squad" opening up some whup-a$$ on itself over which candidate is "more conservative than thou", the not-really-surprising victory of Mittens up in New Hampshire (South Carolina will be more interesting to watch), and a SCOTUS victory for freedom of religion.  However, I did manage to write on some other things, too.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Internet dumbth goes viral again—UPDATED

If there's anything the Internet excels at, it's in spreading bad history, bad science and complete absence of common sense in catchy, fun ways.

Consider Jefferson Bethke's poem "Why I Hate Religion, but Love Jesus".  Several people have already written takedowns of Bethke's trope-laden blather; while I especially recommend Fr. Andrew Damick's thorough fisk, I can also point you to Marc Barne's smack upside the head, Joe Heschmeyer's comments and Marcel LeJeune's analysis of the false dichotomies Bethke utilizes.

Unfortunately, reading intelligent commentary isn't as fun as listening to lyrics set to a phat beat, so all the written remonstrations exposing Bethke's baloney are like obese men running up a hill to catch a bus they've missed (I'm obese myself, so I can use that simile).  And Bethke's poem will be passed around on Facebook and MySpace, where the uninformed can cheer over it like a throng of pre-teen girls at a Justin Bieber concert, while us poor, traduced "religious" types will be left to shout in the social-network wastelands in righteous futility.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

First Amendment Wins!

As expected, the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC (10-553) today. in Hosanna-Tabor the Court ruled 9-0 in favor of the defendant, Hosanna-Tabor Lutheran Church and School, recognizing that there is a "ministerial exception" to anti-discrimination laws based on both religion clauses in the First Amendment.

While the central issue of the case concerned a minister who was relieved of her duties due to illness and then later fired when she sued to be reinstated against the rules of her church, Court-watchers have been nervous about the outcome because a decision in the plaintiff's favor could have opened the doors to further government intrusion in Church affairs ... for instance, forcing the Church to ordain women or homosexuals.  However, in his opinion for the Court, Chief Justice John Roberts noted that while there is often some tension between the establishment and free-exercise clauses, one of the reasons both clauses exist is to keep the government from meddling in the internal affairs of churches.  The "wall of separation" is not a one-way barrier.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Ask Tony: What does "infallible" mean?

Some people have butchered the definition of “torture” and twisted it up like a pretzel in order to fit the politically correct culture of today. This even departs from Church Tradition. Since the Catholic Church is infallible and it has sanctioned torture in the past how can it possibly be an intrinsic evil? If the Church committed an intrinsic evil that would mean that the Church is fallible and that is impossible.

This question occurs in the last paragraph of Teresa Rice's post on Catholibertarian, "The Tortured Definition of Torture".  The question is meant to be rhetorical; and yet, it involves a highly mistaken and misleading understanding of infallibility and how it applies to the Catholic Church.  I do have thoughts on torture, but the topic of infallibility seems better suited for this forum; look for a post on torture on The Other Blog within the next day or so.

Perhaps we should start first with what infallibility is notIt does not mean that the Pope and bishops are right about everything.  It does not mean the Pope and bishops have never committed sins or made mistakes of prudential judgment (that would be impeccability, not infallibility).  It does not mean that every passing comment coming out of B16's mouth or pen should be treated as magisterial pronouncements or changes in Church teaching, as happened with the controversial "condom" passage in Light of the World: The Pope, the Church, and the Signs of the Times (with Peter Seewald); in fact, the Pope has written his books on the life and ministry of Jesus under his secular name, Joseph Ratzinger, in order to separate them from the Petrine authority of the Papacy.  It is most certainly not a claim that the Church possesses every little detail of God's plan for the universe.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sunday Snippets—A Catholic Carnival (1/8/12)

Welcome back to Sunday Snippets!  Sunday Snippets is a circle of traded posts hosted by RAnn at This That and the Other Thing.  For some fine Catholic reading, please follow this link!

This was an odd week for me.  Since I'm an independent, I normally stay back from the nomination process.  However, the question this year is, Who is the alternative to Obama?  So I've not only picked a candidate to back, I've found myself writing on political issues a lot more than I ordinarily do.

On Outside the Asylum, I wrote two posts in response to a hysterical screed posted on CNN by comedian Dean Obeidallah, who accused Rick Santorum of wanting to impose a "Judeo-Christian Sharia".  While the first simply looked at Obeidallah's vision of horrible dhimmitude and found it somewhat less oppressive than Nazi Germany, the second post looked at Sharia and the Western concept of human rights.  I also threw a nutty about David Clohessy's claim that SNAP should be held to a "different standard of transparency" than should the Catholic Church.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Rick a homophobe? Not according to gay former aide!

Thanks to Tom Peters the American Papist for pointing everyone to this segment on Hardball with Chris Matthews, where former Santorum aide Robert Traynham (who is both gay and black ... a double whammy!) defends his quondam boss' character and beliefs.  You get the impression that Matthews invited Traynham onto the show expecting the man to diss on Santorum, and wasn't happy when Traynham refused to oblige him in the slightest.

The fact is, many gay people are not happy with the Dan Savages and Andrew Sullivans of the LGBT lobby, with their temper tantrums, their incessant name-calling and their juvenile stunts (like the Santorum Google Bomb).  My kind of social conservative willingly admits, and even posits as a fact, that there are plenty of gay people who are good, responsible, contributing citizens; we simply hold that same-sex attraction is a cross to be carried, not a gift (or "difference") to be celebrated.  [In fact, I was pleased to see that Cdl. Francis George retracted his ill-considered comment comparing the gay lobby to the KKK; while various apologists for gay rights are quite skilled at verbal bullying and intimidation tactics, I don't think terms like "Gay Brownshirts" advance the cause or make reasonable discussion possible.  Just sayin'.]  And people like Traynham know this and respect it, even if they don't agree.  Mister Traynham, I tip my hat to you, sir!


Friday, January 6, 2012

New York City sees red

I don't own the copyright.
Cardinal red.

It was bound to happen.  Although NYC is no longer the largest metropolitan area in the US, the Big Apple is still "America's first city" in a way that neither Washington nor LA can be; it's the iconic American city (sorry, Chicago!).  And when its Ordinary is also the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, you have double cause to expect that guy to get the red hat.

But Archbishop Tim Dolan is more than that.  He manages to combine straightforward leadership with coalition-building, straight talk with humor.  He takes his role and responsibilities seriously, but he doesn't take himself too seriously.  He's an attractive, charismatic figure whom many inside and outside the New York archdiocese love even when they disagree with him.  (In some ways, he reminds me of Gen. H. Norman Schwartzkopf ... not just in size, but in stature and appeal as well.)

Also appearing on Pope Benedict's list is Abp. Edwin O'Brien, the Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre.  According to Wikipedia, the Order's principal mission is "to reinforce the practice of Christian life by its members in absolute fidelity to the Popes; to sustain and assist the religious, spiritual, charitable and social works of the Catholic Church in the Holy Land; and to conserve and propagate the faith in the Holy Land and the rights of the Catholic Church there."  (Alas, as is all too common, the article doesn't cite near enough sources.)  Abp. O'Brien's career includes stints as an auxiliary of New York, Archbishop for Military Services and Archbishop of Baltimore (of which see he is still apostolic administrator). He was an outspoken critic of the Legionaries of Christ even before the predations of its founder, Rev. Marcial Maciel, became public knowledge.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Ask Tony: What is a fundamentalist?

Gee, could you be a little less subtle?
First of all, I want you to read Pat Archbold's excellent post in the National Catholic Register on "Generation Porno" ... first of all, because it is an excellent post; second, because it provides context.

The first line is, "Liberal intelligentsia circa 1990:  'You know, you fundamentalist types are all hung up on sex.'"  Later on, Pat writes, "So were the fundamentalists right?  What is a fundamentalist anyway other than someone who says something unpleasant that you know to be true?"

Rover Serton, an atheist, commented: "Unless you are talking about some other kind of Fundy, I suspect you don't believe the flat earth, 6000 year old, ID stuff is true."  Since Pat is a well-educated Catholic, it follows that he doesn't believe the "6,000-year-old flat earth" stuff (ID, however, is a different animal that goes well beyond the scope of this post) to be true.

But then, neither do many Christian fundamentalists.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Your right and your obligation

Did you know the word "idiot" comes from idiōtēs, a term the ancient Athenians used to deride a person who didn't take part in public affairs?
I'm amazed by the number of people who spend hundreds of dollars a year on lotteries at odds of 100,000,000+:1 against, yet won't take an hour out of their day to drop their votes (for free!) for a political candidate they like because "s/he has no chance of winning" and "my vote won't count".

Last night's Iowa caucus showed the difference just a handful of people can make — eight votes between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, with Ron Paul trailing them by a mere 3,788, in one of the most nail-biting finishes seen in American politics.  Santorum has every right to be pleased with his strong placement.  Yet I know in my heart that there are people who, regardless of whom the GOP candidate turns out to be, will sit the election out because "my vote won't count".

My dad (God be good to him) had only one thing to say about elections: "If you don't vote, you don't have a right to bitch about the government."  Qui tacet consentire videtur ubi loqui debuit ac potuit: "He who is silent, when he ought to have spoken and was able, is taken to agree."  Your vote is your voice; it's the most effective thing you will say to any politician.  To not cast it in any direction is to consent by default to whomever the rest of the people elect.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Occupy the News Roundup

How to Embarrass Friends and Alienate Potential Allies
I started out with a simple clip I found on Michelle Malkin's site: Three days after four men were arrested after allegedly setting fire to two American flags that had flanked the information desk at the Old City hall where they are camping, members of Occupy Charlotte have broken off and formed a splinter group, the People’s Coalition of the Carolinas.  (The title of the YouTube clip is good: "Occupy Charlotte breaks up with itself".  That's the ultimate rejection — when your hand just wants to be friends.) [H/T Doug Powers!]

Just for the heck of it, I checked three MSM sites to see if any of them were paying attention to any of the "Occupy" groups any more.  Come to find out, FoxNews had a report on a song supposedly written by third-grade students at Woodbrook Elementary in Albemarle Co., Va., which shows signs of political indoctrination through its references to "1" and "99 percent".  (“We really don’t censor the topics that students come up with,” school spokesman Phil Giaramita told Fox News, which caused one wag to crack: "Oh really? Let's just put 'Jesus' and 'God' in there and see what happens!")

Monday, January 2, 2012

And the winner is ...

ARCHBISHOP JOHN C. NIENSTEDT OF ST. PAUL-MINNEAPOLIS!

Here's the original nomination post:


Ecclesial Backbone: Standing up for religion and families

The angel of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, Abp. John C. Nienstedt, is having a heckuva month.

First, he puts out an action alert to his archdiocese in reference to the Department of Health and Human Services' regulation amendment requiring most religious employers to include contraceptives and sterilization coverage in any health plan under the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. ... That in itself would be commendable.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sunday Snippets—A Catholic Carnival (Week 19)

Sunday Snippets is a circle of traded posts hosted by RAnn at This That and the Other Thing.  Please follow this link to find a very interesting and Bohemian a clutch of fellow Catholic bloggers!

Actually, now that I think about it ... "Catholic Carnival" is almost redundant, as "carnival" stems from Carnevale, the "farewell to meat" celebrations that culminate on Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras).

A-a-a-anyway .... HAPPY 2012, EVERYBODY!

I didn't participate last Sunday, as I'd taken Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off from blogging.  Also, this last week I haven't written anything for Lisa Graas.  So I have both more and less to choose from this Sunday: