Deborah Gyapong: March 2011

Thursday, March 31, 2011

I know my Redeemer live! Nicole C. Mullen

I love her.

And this song is beautiful. Heard it on the radio the other day.

Spirit Song

John Wimber's wonderful worship song. I remember how he once asked, "I'm a fool for Christ, whose fool are you?

The gal singing as a sweet voice.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Father Z does a Lenten penance

It’s like … how to describe this experience … like a power drill with a large bit straight to the side of your head.

Please note that often liberals accuse traditionalists of being interested in things they label as “effeminate”.

And for those who don’t understand Italian… what is said and sung here will make you wish you didn’t understand Italian.

And now… 103 minutes of pure agony.

Today's Oswald Chambers

From My Utmost for His Highest

He . . . wondered that there was no intercessor . . . —Isaiah 59:16

The reason many of us stop praying and become hard toward God is that we only have an emotional interest in prayer. It sounds good to say that we pray, and we read books on prayer which tell us that prayer is beneficial— that our minds are quieted and our souls are uplifted when we pray. But Isaiah implied in this verse that God is amazed at such thoughts about prayer.

Worship and intercession must go together; one is impossible without the other. Intercession means raising ourselves up to the point of getting the mind of Christ regarding the person for whom we are praying (see Philippians 2:5). Instead of worshiping God, we recite speeches to God about how prayer is supposed to work. Are we worshiping God or disputing Him when we say, “But God, I just don’t see how you are going to do this”? This is a sure sign that we are not worshiping. When we lose sight of God, we become hard and dogmatic. We throw our petitions at His throne and dictate to Him what we want Him to do. We don’t worship God, nor do we seek to conform our minds to the mind of Christ. And if we are hard toward God, we will become hard toward other people.

Are we worshiping God in a way that will raise us up to where we can take hold of Him, having such intimate contact with Him that we know His mind about the ones for whom we pray? Are we living in a holy relationship with God, or have we become hard and dogmatic?

Do you find yourself thinking that there is no one interceding properly? Then be that person yourself. Be a person who worships God and lives in a holy relationship with Him. Get involved in the real work of intercession, remembering that it truly is work-work that demands all your energy, but work which has no hidden pitfalls. Preaching the gospel has its share of pitfalls, but intercessory prayer has none whatsoever.

Canadian Ordinariate timetable

OTTAWA (CCN)—Toronto Archbishop Thomas Collins has asked Canadians interested in joining a Personal Ordinariate for former Anglicans to signal their intention in writing by May 31.

He told the Anglicanorum Coetibus Conference on March 26 he wanted to “clarify the commitment” of individuals to find out “who wants to proceed, understanding exactly what it means.”

Archbishop Collins, who is the Episcopal Delegate representing the Holy See in the formation of a Personal Ordinariate for former Anglicans within the Catholic Church, stressed the importance of individual conscience, and that each individual have “fully informed consent to this.”

Though May 31 is not a deadline and Anglicans can commit to joining later, Archbishop Collins said he wanted to provide the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) with an idea of preliminary numbers.

“My role is to facilitate this,” he told the 140 delegates from the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada, the Anglican Church and former Anglicans who are already Catholics.

The setting up of Ordinariates, which will be on a parish by parish basis, is “more complex than it looks,” he said, noting that each country has different circumstances requiring the set-up of ordinariates to be different as well.

The archbishop described himself as a “sympathetic friend doing my best” to deal with what he sensed was a “certain tension and anxiety out there.”

“It is based on a great degree of suffering, rejection and mistrust, often because of bitter and difficult experience,” he said.

As a friend, “hoping to be a brother,” he wanted to “just simply say 'relax; be at peace. It’s a liberating experience to have one Pope.'”

Because of the strain and uncertainty, Archbishop Collins said he hoped to move as quickly as possible.

“We’re going to do this right,” he said. “It is worthy of that.”

He pledged there would be “no delay, no dithering,” but the Ordinariate would need to have a solid foundation.

Fr. Aidan Nichols speaks in England to new Confraternity

Fr Aidan Nichols OP spoke today to a gathering of the newly-founded British Confraternity of Catholic Clergy at St Joseph's, New Malden. His paper was followed by a thoughtful discussion after which we looked at one or two practical questions regarding the structure of the Confraternity. Fr Marcus Holden (Parish Priest of Ramsgate) then gave Benediction in the beautiful and well-kept Church, assisted by Fr Peter Edwards (Parish Priest of New Malden) and Fr Richard Whinder (Parish Priest of Mortlake) before the parishioners provided us with a delicious lamb hotpot.

Fr Nichols' address was filled with original and provocative ideas. As priests forming a new confraternity, he encouraged us to consider what Newman and his friends were trying to achieve through the Tractarian movement. In the Apologia Pro Vita Sua (chapter 2) Newman explained that his first principle as a tractarian was the battle against liberalism or the anti-dogmatic principle. He protested that although he had changed some of his religious opinions in his journey to the Catholic Church, he had never changed on that principle. On returning home, I checked his Biglietto speech of 1879 (upon being created Cardinal), in which Newman returned to the theme of this fundamental struggle of his life, saying:
For thirty, forty, fifty years I have resisted to the best of my powers the spirit of liberalism in religion.
Liberalism, he explained as follows:
Liberalism in religion is the doctrine that there is no positive truth in religion, but that one creed is as good as another, and this is the teaching which is gaining substance and force daily. It is inconsistent with any recognition of any religion, as true. It teaches that all are to be tolerated, for all are matters of opinion. Revealed religion is not a truth, but a sentiment and a taste; not an objective fact, not miraculous; and it is the right of each individual to make it say just what strikes his fancy.
A major theme Fr Nichols urged upon us was the importance of evangelisation for the life of the Church. He suggested that the decline of Catholic life in England according to every measurable criterion, was directly attributable to loss of the imperative for the conversion of England. He compared the failure to be missionary to that obex or obstacle which may be placed by the recipient of a sacrament, preventing its fruitfulness. Just as the removal of the obstacle will enable the reviviscence of grace, so the removal of the obstacle of the lack of missionary activity will enable the revival of the Church - for those within the Church as well as by the reception of those to whom this missionary activity is directed. In other words, people who evangelise will find that their own faith is strengthened by the very fact of doing so.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mark Steyn on "Pushing Deviancy Up"

It's so good to have Mark Steyn back. "Unmanned drones." Ouch.

If you've ever wished your Third Grade daughter had a better rack, good news!

ABC reports that A&F has a new line of bikinis for preadolescents that feature padded, “push-up” bikini tops for girls as young as eight years old.

The Pundette calls this "the sexualization of childhood". But it's worse than that: it's the abolition of childhood, and the mass conscription of the young for a hideous social engineering project. From the United Kingdom:

Children as young as 11 could soon be asked about their sexuality without their parents’ consent, it has emerged.

Teachers, nurses and youth workers are being urged to set up pilot studies aimed at monitoring adolescent sexual orientation for the first time.

A report commissioned by the Government’s equalities watchdog found that it was ‘practically and ethically’ possible to interview young children about their sexuality.

Wonderful! So we'll be available to identify any Third Grade boys thinking about a sex change and issue them with Abercrombie & Fitch push-up bras. A state commissar hectoring grade schoolers into approved orientations isn't merely "the sexualization of childhood" but the totalitarianization of childhood.

In a way, this is part of the same story as Libya, and I'm not so sure that in the long run it isn't the more important part. Islam will readily acknowledge our technological superiority: If you want to operate a no-fly zone over Benghazi or send an unmanned drone into Waziristan, we have the capability and they don't. The difference is that Islam thinks our technological superiority doesn't matter - because we're unmanned drones in a more basic sense: we believe in nothing except the most transitory and dreary self-gratification, an endless adolescence that begins with a push-up bra at eight and continues through free government condoms for 30-year olds. Not only do the surging Muslim populations in European cities have no wish to "assimilate" with such a culture, they do not believe they will have to - for they have bet that such a society cannot survive.

Are they right? A hyper-sexualized society becomes, paradoxically, sexless, and certainly joyless. Listening in recent weeks to young women in both New York and London complain that the men they meet would rather look at pictures of them naked on the Internet than actually see them naked in the same room reminded me of The Children Of Men, in which P D James' characters, liberated from human fertility, find sex too much trouble.

We need an Acton Institute North

Rich donors? Let's get this going.

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Lord Acton

Can the U.S. learn from Europe’s green mistakes?

Louie Glinzak

Posted by Louie Glinzak
on Monday, March 14, 2011

Kenneth P. Green, of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), recently examined green energy in Europe in an essay titled, “The Myth of Green Energy Jobs: The European Experience.” Green thoroughly analyzes the green industry in Europe while seeking to discover the reasons behind its current downward spiral. As readers discover, this is largely due to the green industry being unsustainable while heavily relying on government intervention and subsidies.

Green uses the failing green industry in Europe to forewarn the United States that its policies, if continued, will bring the same unfruitful results. If the green industry is going to succeed it should not be a government supported industry, as Green states:

…governments do not “create” jobs; the willingness of entrepreneurs to invest their capital, paired with consumer demand for goods and services, does that.

All the government can do is subsidize some industries while jacking up costs for others. In the green case, it is destroying jobs in the conventional energy sector—and most likely other industrial sectors—through taxes and subsidies to new green companies that will use taxpayer dollars to undercut the competition.

The Binks has many more links

And this commentary, among several. Brew yourself a cup of something and go on over for a read.

~ UTOPITARDS AND worshippers of current intellectual fashions cannot ever leave well enough alone. It’s like an addiction.

Now Mother England, the homeland of democracy and constitutional monarchy and liberty within law is being remade in the image of Eutopitard ideals. That inheritance arises from the pre-Roman ways of the old British people; some Roman ingredients; an overlay of Saxon laws and customs; then the battles of king and church and barons hashing out people and laws and rights and legal protections and individual rights and duties. It’s been a 2000 year gift of divine providence and hard work and the battle between different levels of power and the balancing act of crown and peasant and lords– all founded on the faith of Christianity, on the foundations of Greco-Roman law & thought, and Judaeo-Christian roots.

Newfangled R Us

Now, by simple bureaucratic dictat, a big chunk of that heritage– the 1689 Bill of Rights has been repealed, and the law of that land of democracy is now the wicked and witless modern style Equalitarian European Convention on Human Rights.. yes, the EU Human Rights Commission is now rewriting reality for the English and everybody else. Equality– whatever that means– uber alles. Judges to remake laws, and not those pesky legislatures; equalitarian rights-grabbing, not rule by vote, and rights by law.

Though we are told to love rain-forests and protect every little species, and the like, yet radical equalitarians would pave over human nature, clear-cut the long growth of law and liberty over millennia; tamper with precious things, and manhandle these costly riches of civilization like worthless rubbish, as if careless children were given the Crown Jewels as mere toys.

Draw me close

To tell you the truth, I sometimes miss worshiping with my evangelical and charismatic brothers and sisters in Christ. Though I prefer my Traditional Anglican style of worship, I love this, too:

Mary's Fiat

Oh, so that's what it means!

I kept hearing about Mary’s Fiat, but I never could find a picture of it until now.

What were they thinking?

I wonder what the Roman Catholics who showed up for their regularly scheduled mass at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Streetsville thought with the ad orientem, smells and bells Anglican Use Mass. Fr. Christopher Phillips assured them this was truly a Catholic Eucharist.

Being present for this liturgy, which I could only observe, was greatly reassuring. This is the liturgy we may have once the Ordinariate is set up, until the liturgical books for us are approved.

We found it beautiful and most familiar to what we already do in our churches.

Canadian Anglican Patrimony --- Sing of Mary!

This hymn was written in 1938 by one of our priests, Fr. Roland Palmer, who, when he was still with the Anglican Church, revised the Canadian Book of Common Prayer, 1962.

Smells and Bells from the Anglican Use Mass in Canada

More video links and photos at the English Catholic.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Father Phillips on The Defilers

I gave Father Christopher Phillips and Father Aidan Nichols copies of my novel The Defilers to read on the plane on the way home to Texas and Cambridge, England respectively.

Here's what Father Phillips had to say:

"What a page-turner! And it was the perfect length...I started it in the Toronto airport, and finished as we were on our descent into San Antonio. It was great... Thanks!"

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Shortly after I came home last night it was . . .

Earth Hour! I looked out onto the ravine and could see no lights across the way. Nada.

An economist explains why he abhors Earth Hour

In 2009 I was asked by a journalist for my thoughts on the importance of Earth Hour. Here is my response.

I abhor Earth Hour. Abundant, cheap electricity has been the greatest source of human liberation in the 20th century. Every material social advance in the 20th century depended on the proliferation of inexpensive and reliable electricity. Giving women the freedom to work outside the home depended on the availability of electrical appliances that free up time from domestic chores. Getting children out of menial labour and into schools depended on the same thing, as well as the ability to provide safe indoor lighting for reading.
Development and provision of modern health care without electricity is absolutely impossible. The expansion of our food supply, and the promotion of hygiene and nutrition, depended on being able to irrigate fields, cook and refrigerate foods, and have a steady indoor supply of hot water.
Many of the world's poor suffer brutal environmental conditions in their own homes because of the necessity of cooking over indoor fires that burn twigs and dung. This causes local deforestation and the proliferation of smoke- and parasite-related lung diseases. Anyone who wants to see local conditions improve in the third world should realize the importance of access to cheap electricity from fossil-fuel based power generating stations. After all, that's how the west developed.
The whole mentality around Earth Hour demonizes electricity. I cannot do that, instead I celebrate it and all that it has provided for humanity. Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty and backwardness. By repudiating the greatest engine of liberation it becomes an hour devoted to anti-humanism.

Bill Ayers wrote Obama's Dreams from My Father

Here it is, on tape, in a post by Jack Cashill at American Thinker:

Last Thursday evening at Montclair State University, with a video camera rolling, Bill Ayers volunteered that yes indeed he had written the acclaimed Barack Obama memoir, Dreams from My Father.

Unprompted, Ayers also noted that while Dreams deserves its praise, Obama's second opus, Audacity of Hope, is "more of a political hack book."

Not surprisingly, Ayers retreated into irony as he ended the session. "Yeah, yeah," he said after confirming again that he wrote Dreams, "And if you help me prove it, I'll split the royalties with you. Thank you very much."

With his final comment, the Ayers-friendly audience laughed in relief. The media will laugh nervously upon seeing the video as well. The White House will not.

Barack Obama knows what I know and what the people who have read my book, "Deconstructing Obama," know: Bill Ayers is the principal craftsman behind Dreams. The evidence is overwhelming.

Ayers also established, as I have contended from the beginning, that he is not the author of Audacity of Hope. Although Obama claims unique authorship of this book too, it was, as Ayers suggests, a disingenuous feint to the center written by committee.

Worse for Obama still, Ayers knows that the story he and Obama contrived in Dreams is false in many key details. The fact that Donald Trump has proved willing to challenge that story has got to make the White House even more apprehensive.

I'm baaaaack

I got home last night from the historic Anglicanorum coetibus conference in Mississauga last night and am still assimilating the information and experiences. The talks by Fr. Christopher Phillips and Fr. Aidan Nichols were amazing and so was Archbishop Collins' hospitality. He went to great lengths to make us feel welcomed. I will try to put up some more detailed reports of what was said in days to come. My first priority is filing a story or two for the Catholic papers tomorrow.

Among the many joys of attending this conference was meeting the Anglicans from outside my own Traditional Anglican Communion's Anglican Catholic Church of Canada. We are already united in heart and mind and spirit in bonds of love for our Lord Jesus Christ and One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Our lay people, at least those from Ottawa, were favorably impressed by Archbishop Collins and grateful for his shepherding of the Ordinariates here in Canada. He received a standing ovation of thanks from the 150 or so delegates present.

We now see at least a glimpse of a timetable, as Archbishop Collins has asked for letters from the folks who want to join an Ordinariate to be in his hands by May 31 so that Rome will know how many of us are ready to be part of the first wave.

As soon as I know what the letter needs to say, I will be sending it in.

If you know who to look for, you can see a number of our Ottawa delegates in this photo.

Oh, by the way, the food at Queen of the Apostles Retreat Centre is second to none. I don't think I have ever been so well fed. And for those of us who are gluten intolerant, they made a special effort to cater to our dietary needs.

Thank you, Archbishop Collins!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I'm blogging the Anglicanorum Coetibus Conference

Fr. Aidan Nichols will give three talks tomorrow

Check out my posts at the English Catholic.

I am having a glorious time.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I wish I could bi-locate and be in Quebec on Friday night

Because I love the new Archbishop of Quebec who will be installed on Friday night. But I will be in Mississauga at the Anglicanorum Coetibus Conference with fellow Anglicans hoping to be part of the Personal Ordinariate in the Catholic Church.

Here's a bit of an interview Archbishop Gerald Cyprien Lacroix gave to The National Post:

Q. What can you do to bring more people back into the pews?
A. I think the first thing is not to try to bring people back to the pews. People in Quebec will resist that. They don’t want us to use them as instruments that fill our pews and raise our statistics. That’s not our mission. Our mission is to bring people to a deeper relationship with the Lord and the Gospel and by doing that the rest falls into place. If God becomes the centre of your life that changes everything and then people will find their way back to the Church. The Pope has said very clearly we’re not looking to build up numbers and statistics.

Q. Some of the Protestant churches have tried innovations such as same-sex blessings or allowing communion without baptism as a way to bring more people in. Is that an option for the Roman Catholic Church?
A. We don’t use tactics and strategies that would diminish the message of the Gospel or discard pages from the Word of God to attract more people. Some people think we’re going to have to change our views on abortion and euthanasia and we’re just going to forget those ideas to attract more people. That will not happen. We have to be faithful to the message of Christ first.

I wish him a fruitful and joyous ministry in Quebec.

Reflections on the upcoming Anglicanorum coetibus Conference

An excerpt from my post at The English Catholic:

Because it is Lent, and because the upcoming Anglicanorum coetibus Conference here in Canada is so important to those of us who hope to be part of a Personal Ordinariate in Canada, I have been spending a more time in prayer than in blogging.

I have made an effort to pray specifically and concertedly for the conference and all the participants and I, like probably the majority of the 150 or so delegates from across Canada, look forward to it with a mixture of joy, anticipation and perhaps a little trepidation. To say this has been a difficult year would be an understatement.

All I can say, is I wish I had taken this approach months ago instead of getting into the fray and I regret very much my hotheadedness and any lack of trust in either God or in Holy Mother Church that I have put on public display over the last several months.

I have been using the Rosary and the Mysteries of the day to guide my prayers, pausing to reflect and make a prayerful intention that is infused with the particular Mystery for each bead. Of course, prayer changes us, it does not change God! And I anticipate this conference is going to be an amazing, historic and life-changing experience.

Some of what God has been impressing upon me as I pray this way as been Mary’s attitude of “Be it unto me according to thy word,” or Jesus’ willingness to take the cup in the Garden of Gethsemane—”Not my will, but thine.” Or Mary’s saying, “Do what he tells you!” at the Wedding at Cana.

So, in myself, and for all of us who might be attending, I am praying that we might have the same kind of yieldedness to God’s will that Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary displayed. That all of us will examine what “non-negotiatiables” we are bringing with us that need to be offered up to the Lord.

I pray that everyone involved will have that mind that was in Christ Jesus—that the Catholic bishops who are entrusted with carrying out the Holy Father’s wishes in Anglicanorum coetibus will line up with Pope Benedict’s wishes as the Pope himself lines up with the will of Jesus that we may be One, as He and the Father are One—and that we Anglicans coming from various parts of the Anglican diaspora–will hear the Voice of the Lamb in these shepherds and any fear or distrust or reluctance will melt away on all sides.

More at the English Catholic. Please pray for us! The conference starts tomorrow in Mississauga.

Alberta bishops’ decision over graphic signs could affect national March for Life

Alberta bishops’ decision over graphic signs could affect national March for Life

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Cardinal Marc Ouellet speaking at last year's March for Life. Photo courtesy of CCNCardinal Marc Ouellet speaking at last year's March for Life. Photo courtesy of CCNArchbishop Prendergrast of Ottawa says march will go on as planned
By Deborah Gyapong
Canadian Catholic News

OTTAWA (CCN)--The Alberta bishops’ decision to pull out of the Edmonton March for Life could have an impact on Ontario and Quebec bishops’ participation in the National March for Life also set for May 12.

A spokeswoman for Campaign Life Coalition, organizers of the national March, expressed disappointment at the Alberta bishops’ decision of the May 12 March in Edmonton.

“They should be there, supporting, participating and leading,” said Mary Ellen Douglas. But she noted that the fact the Alberta bishops were also involved in organizing the march might have been part of the problem.

She said that a pro-life march is not a Catholic event, as such, so it should not be run by bishops.

Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith said the bishops made the decision because organizers could not guarantee no one would show pictures of aborted babies at the gathering.

Archbishop Smith said he finds the pictures offensive “because they do not honour the dignity of human remains and the dignity of the human person.”

“They have to realize that when the March is taking place, the organizers have no control over the freedom of the people on the street to show signs or to demonstrate,” Douglas said. “They can control their march; they can’t control everyone else.”

Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast said that the national march should continue as planned.

“It may be that the Alberta bishops’ decision will have an impact on attendance by Ontario and Quebec bishops here in Ottawa but the issue has not been brought to my attention by bishops thus far.”

He noted the Ontario bishops have a plenary assembly in Toronto in early April.

“Personally I’m not sure the graphic signs help, so I just look away,” Archbishop Prendergast said. “But the National March is a big umbrella gathering organized by lay people, and they have many approaches to defending life.”

“I believe that the bishops’ support is important and each bishop, like each individual Catholic, needs to make a personal decision about how and in what circumstances to stand up for life, and whether they are compromised by one or other aspect of the March, including, for example, whether they are comfortable with the heckling of the counter-demonstrators.”

Killing me softly ---who really means it?

Yesterday, as I was driving I heard Roberta Flack sing her famous hit song "Killing me softly."

And it made me think of Luther Vandross and how every cover he sang, he did it better than whoever did the original.

He sounds as if he means it. That, in addition to his amazing vocal control?

And for a bonus, listen to how he does this song, The Impossible Dream

RIP, Luther
As someone writes in the comments section:

luther can sing the ingredients to hair spray and i would buy that single

On the temptations associated with the priesthood

As the Catholic world reels over allegations against popular EWTN priest Fr. Corapi---The Anchoress has a good roundup---Fr. Dwight Longenecker takes a look at the temptations that go with being a priest:

So I must thank Fr Corapi for indirectly giving me a salutary insight into my own overwhelming vanity and pride, and for giving me much to think about afterward. The job of being a priest is hard enough without the minefield of psychological tricks the devil has in store for us. Think about it. Most priests have an awful lot of power. No one really tells us what to do. We can make up our own schedule. Many of us hold the check book for the parish and with a bit of ingenuity can spend money as we like. On top of all this we are surrounded by a group of people who really want to love us. They want to invest in us and want us to be the role model for them and their children. They are longing for someone to look up to, and we poor souls that we are and longing to be loved, fall for it hook, line and sinker.

Add to that any kind of a reputation as a writer, speaker or 'Catholic celebrity' and the minefield is suddenly doubled. They thought you were wonderful to start with, and now thousands hang on your every word. You start to attract all sorts of vulnerable and needy people. If your celebrity status grows you start enjoying 'success'. Media people want to jump on your band wagon. Offers come you way. More money flows in. You can't help it. That goes with success. Meanwhile, you're probably getting lonely because, while thousands love the person they think you are, very few people really know you and love you for who you really are. If you are a celibate priest (unless you've developed for yourself a good support system) you're stuck in that false world of celebrity with no one to turn to. If you don't have the inner strength you may start believing in your false image yourself. It's hard not to.

Why do some priests start believing the false image of themselves? I'm afraid to say that too many men who are drawn to the priesthood already have a poor self image. Often they lack real personal identity or they dislike the person they are. It's very attractive, therefore, to have a job where you put on a uniform and assume a different persona--the persona of a hero, a good guy, a knight in shining armor. Priests aren't the only ones who fall into this trap. Policemen and soldiers and nurses and others in the helping professions do the same.

So for the priest: every morning we put on the uniform. We're God's guys. We dress the part. We parade up and down in our long robes and we try our hardest to be saints. Much of it is a part we have to play. The church even teaches us that we're Christ personified. It's a part we have to play, and also a part we have to grow into, but until we grow into it fully we have to act the part. It is, very often, a useful fiction, but if we fall into the trap of believing the fiction ourselves we're really in trouble. The bubble gets bigger and bigger. We feed the adulation and those who adore us grow more fervent in their worship. Meanwhile the real friends--those who would criticize us and bring us down to earth--often simply walk away or worse--in our egomania--we drive them away, refusing to take criticism, we see them as 'naysayers' and we are glad to see the back of them.

Then too often the bubble bursts. The secret sins come out. The priest or pastor is disgraced. Why does this happen so often? I think it is almost like one of those 'accidents' that the shrinks tell us were somehow 'deeply intended'. The priest can't live with the lie he's living and some deep and dark part of him makes it become public. It's as if he has to have a public confession. I've seen it happen so often, and it's always the ideal priest, the 'perfect' monk, the 'most fantastic' bishop or pastor with the most to lose.

What's to learn from it? Simple lessons really. First of all, don't believe what you see. Even the best holy man has got a shadow side. The good ones admit it. Secondly, just because of this don't drift into cynicism. You weren't supposed to put your trust in those guys anyway. You were supposed to look through them to see Jesus. Thirdly, while you don't believe what you see, still strive to think the best. Don't idolize that priest, but don't cast him away either. He's a real man. He has faults and foibles and sins and secrets....just like you. Try to love him for that and not for how good you think he is at his job. Most of all, look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Demonstrators show up at Caledonia event!

Fred Litwin, founder of the Free Thinking Film Society was delighted. He's been running the Free Thinking Film Society for four years and this is the first time he has ever had demonstrators!

I think he said something along the lines of "We've arrived!"

Tonight was an unusual presentation, because the films were merely short clips interspersed into a jaw-dropping set of testimonies and eye-witness accounts of what happens in a community when the police begin a race-based policing policy and fail to protect people, based on their race, from the thuggish actions of others of a favored race.

What this event showed was an astonishing erosion of the rule of law and constitutional rights.

A couple of demonstrators got into the theatre and heckled. They were finally warned, then police escorted them out.

It's nice when officers to their jobs and protect law-abiding people.

I picked up Christie Blatchford's book Helpless: Caledonia's nightmare of fear and anarchy and how the law failed all of us.

More about Caledonia here.

So, we're going to have an election?

All eyes were on NDP Leader Jack Layton after today's Budget Speech.

It quickly became clear that he would not be supporting the budget without amendments.

And Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has said no amendments.

Looks like we're going to the polls, probably by Sunday.

Jack Layton is in the House of Commons foyer being interviewed by Evan Solomon, while Kady O'Malley is either live blogging or sending out one of her many Tweets of the day on Twitter. She has amazingly fast thumbs on her BlackBerry.

Fr. Tom Rosica interviews Immigration Minister Jason Kenney

Great interview about how Kenney's Catholic faith informs his public service.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Definitely worth watching! Archbishop Timothy Dolan

Rocco Palmo has a link to the 60 Minutes piece at Whispers in the Loggia.

What a difference five months makes!

My granddaughter Mae at one month:

My granddaughter at five months. Does she ever resemble my son, her Dad:

I dunno. Another sad story from the Anglican world

UK: Gay vicar who swapped dog collar for gold leggings and pink high heels retires after outraging clergy

By Jaya Narain
March 21, 2011

Colourful: Reverend Martin Wray who has retired from the church after causing alarm with this daring 'tarts' outfit - complete with gold leggings

With a white dog collar and ecclesiastical gowns already at his disposal, one would assume Reverend Martin Wray already had the perfect outfit for a 'tarts and vicars' party.

Instead he swapped his work clothes for shiny gold tights, a little black dress and pink high heels.

He finished off his daring ensemble with a bright pink necklace and a long, black wig.

But Rev Wray, who is openly gay, was apparently stunned when some of his parishioners complained to his church superiors after pictures appeared in the local newspaper.

Worshippers at St Lawrence's Church in South Shields, Tyneside said they were horrified by his behaviour and told diocese bosses he had brought the church into disrepute.

Now the 59-year-old - a vicar for 20 years -has quit his church and taken retirement over the furore.

But his family say he has been the victim of a homophobic witch-hunt by narrow-minded worshippers.

The vicar revealed he was homosexual when he announced he was entering a civil partnership with partner Lee Lovely, 34 - a divorced father of one - at their local registry office last May.

The ceremony came three years after the death of Rev Wray's wife Carole after a prolonged illness.

Janet Bridges, Rev. Wray's sister, said: 'My brother has been subjected to a witch-hunt for being gay. When he announced to his congregation at a service one Sunday that he was getting a civil partnership everyone stood up and applauded.

'But a lot of people in that church are elderly and very old-fashioned. When his picture appeared in the paper dressed like that some people used it as an excuse because they didn't like the fact he is gay.

'He started receiving threatening abuse. Martin played me one message left on his phone which threatened violence against him and called him a pervert.' Vicars and tarts party: Left - party organiser Dave Wood, Rev Martin Wray in gold leggings, Lee Wray and Kerry Lee in a pub in South Shields

Lenten reflection by Archbishop John Hepworth

From the Primate of the TAC, Archbishop John Hepworth

* * *

Two of the most powerful Gospel images confront us on the first two Sundays of Lent.

Christ goes into the Wilderness. There, He is tempted by the Devil. This is the Devil Leader of the Satanic force that sought to supplant God in a titanic heavenly struggle among the first and most powerful of God’s creation – the angelic powers.

God created freedom. If we had not been made free, we could not choose to do good. God risked that we might choose to do evil. Firstly among the angels, and then in our own midst, evil has been chosen.

On that high mountain, where Jesus could see every nation and power on earth, He turned his back on the devil.

In Lent we learn again what strength is needed to turn away from the Power of Darkness and Evil.

The allurement of human power, of the promise of lust fulfilled, the rewards held out by the Evil One in his eternal quest to be worshiped as only God can be worshipped, swirl every day around us.

To turn our backs on such power and allurement is tough, very tough. It is the struggle that the drug addict and the alcoholic face day by day. Each moment of our life is a turning moment.

Only when we show the Devil our back do we realise what turning has done. In turning from the Evil One and all his ways, we find suddenly that we are facing God. The Apostles who went up the high mountain with Jesus saw Him transfigured in the company of saints in glory. They had a glimpse of heaven. And in the presence of heaven they collapsed and hid their faces, like children in a thunderstorm.

It is this turning to God, speaking to God, studying the things of God, that makes our Lent.

And in turning with freshness to the God who confronted our evil and our sinfulness on the Cross, we turn the Church, His crucified Body, towards the moment of Resurrection, and the conquering of the Powers of Darkness.

Lent is the darkness before the dawn. Our Lenten prayer and study point us towards the spot where the first rays of dawn light will appear. Lent is for the transforming of our lives, and the transforming of the Church. May it be a good Lent for each of us.

+John Hepworth

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Bishop Peter Elliott on Pope Benedict's vision

The text of a wonderful talk given in the United States by Australian Bishop Peter Elliott, who is the Episcopal Delegate for the implementation of Anglicanorum coetibus there, has been posted in its entirety on The Anglo-Catholic. What reassuring words for those of us in the Traditional Anglican Communion who care deeply about organic development of liturgy and preserving the rich theological dimensions. Here's an excerpt, my bolds:

His cosmological vision of the Eucharist explains the Pope’s appreciation for celebrating the Eucharist ad orientem, that is, towards the East.[8] Led by the priest, the pilgrim people turn towards the Light of the risen Lord, reigning in his cosmos and coming again in his parousia. As cardinal he was well aware of the cultural difficulty of appreciating this ancient universal Christian symbolism in the secularized Western World.[9] But he did not even consider that ignorant expression we still hear, celebrating Mass “with his back to the people”. That misses the whole point of the priest who is leading a worship procession towards the Lord.

As a cardinal he was not popular for putting that view. He partly challenged the most obvious and prevalent post-conciliar change, the almost universal practice of moving altars and celebrating Mass facing the people.[10] As I shall explain, at the same time he gives us a way to enrich Mass facing the people by focusing on the Lord.

Moreover while he integrates the sacrificial dimension and the meal dimension of the Mass, he rejects the meal as the paradigm for the Eucharistic liturgy. The term “meal” in German and English cannot convey the depth of the liturgical action and its Passover roots.[11] Nor does he accept “sacrificial meal” – which still gives the meal priority. He favors a deeper understanding of the priority of Sacrifice through a Hebrew concept of sacrifice, personalized and internalized in the self-immolation of Christ crucified and risen.[12]

Our Pope invites us to see the glory of Christ Priest and Victim in the liturgy. He leads us into this glory, above all by his own example of a priest humbly entering the divine mysteries of the altar. By word and demeanor he reminds us that liturgy is a gift to be received in humility, not something we construct for ourselves, not a fabrication.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Catholic Register on Michael Voris

TORONTO - American Catholic YouTube sensation Michael Voris doesn’t mince words.

His direct, no-nonsense approach to hot-button issues like abortion and contraception may rub some the wrong way. But a dedicated following, including young Catholics like 24-year-old Therese Miller of Cambridge, Ont., has discovered him online and say they find his countercultural message inspirational as they live out their faith in their schools and workplaces.

Voris’ appeal is extending north to Canada, where he had recent exposure on the Michael Coren Show and he was scheduled to speak at a March 19 World Youth Day fundraiser in Kitchener, Ont.

Voris is an Emmy award-winning broadcaster who founded St. Michael’s Media in 2006. His YouTube show The Vortex averages thousands of viewers and has been downloaded more than five million times over the past two years.

At the “Celebrate a Real Catholic Man” gala dinner, Voris will speak on “A Virtual Blueprint for Catholics Today.” Tickets have sold fast — 500 out of 600 just a week before the dinner — which suggests an eagerness to hear Voris’ message, said Fr. Paul Nicholson, pastor of St. Patrick’s Church in Kinkora, Ont., an hour west of Toronto.

Voris’ videos reflect a politically conservative viewpoint. But a common thread in his videos is an unapologetic defence of the Catholic Church’s teachings. And some controversy has come from his critique of Catholics who stray from those teachings.

Voris says he doesn’t understand critics who label him a “right wing” or “conservative” Catholic.

“In Catholicism, there is no such thing as ‘left’ or ‘right.’ That doesn’t capture the reality,” he told The Register.

“Either you are a Catholic, go to Mass and believe all of the teachings of the Church or you don’t.

“It’s like you’re not ‘sort of pregnant’ or ‘largely pregnant.’ You either are or you aren’t. You’re either a faithful Catholic or you aren’t.”

My friend Jeanne goes to the gym

And turns it into a writing exercise over at The Master's Artist:

I call him the singing Marine. He always wears a tee shirt with a USMC logo or slogan, and a number of the shirts mention Viet Nam in a light that reveals fierce pride in his service there. I won't go into specifics, but let's just say a pacifist would cringe at some of the images and messages. He's clean cut with ramrod straight posture and walks with a swagger, but often appears to be wandering somewhat aimlessly. The impression is that he's boldly and deliberately going nowhere. He stops often to talk to other patrons, his body language one big gesticulation, like multiple exclamation marks punctuating his words. These conversations are almost completely one sided, and I usually can't tell if the person he's talking to is a friend or stranger.

Occasionally he wanders into the free weights area, and once or twice I've seen him attempt to bench press far too much weight. His arms shake then give out, and the barbell crashes back into the cradling frame, drawing attention from every corner of the room. He mumbles something, gets up, and moves on, maybe attempting a few chin ups before resuming his militant meander. Mostly he just walks, chin up, chest out, striding around the jogging path that corrals the exercise equipment into the center.

And that's when he sings.

I've never been able to make out the words, but the melodies and the gusto suggest something in the robust drinking song vein. It's a bit unnerving when one of these ditties erupts full volume as he's rounding the corner right behind me. But I don't think he means to startle. I'm not even sure he realizes he's doing it.

This is what I see. And this is where the questions begin, question leading to question, curiosity fueling them, and imagination filling in the blanks.

"You might want to let him drive."

A wonderful story about St. Joseph by Father Christopher Phillips over at the Angl0-Catholic.
To whet your appetite:

I was a young Episcopal cleric just returned to Rhode Island from a stint of serving in the Anglican Diocese of Bristol, England. The parish I had come to was middle-to-high: vestments, occasional incense, a few statues strategically placed.

There was a parishioner who wanted us to have a new statue of St. Joseph. The old statue was small and not in terribly good shape. I was deputized to find a new one, but there were a couple of requirements. It had to be two feet tall and it had to be cheap. The only solution was to go to a local religious goods store and look for something that might look half-way acceptable if the lights were dim.

I found one. It wasn’t beautiful, but it didn’t look as though it had been dragged behind a truck either. “Wrap it up and I’ll take it,” I told the clerk. “Sorry, sir, but this is the last one and we don’t have a box for it,” was the reply. A dilemma. I was driving a Volkswagen, and the back seat was already fairly full with a child’s car seat and other assorted items. The only option I could see was to stand it up in the passenger’s seat and strap the seat belt around it, which I did.

I was just closing the passenger door. St. Joseph was safely strapped in, facing ram-rod straight ahead. I heard a voice behind me. “You might want to let him drive.”

Lifted from the Archbishop's blog! Shhhhh!

I love this. I had thought of trying to get out to this, but I have had trouble adjusting to the new time. Here's a picture and some info from Archbishop Prendergast's blog:

Earlier this week, I joined a small band of friends of St. Joseph who gathered each morning at 6:15 on Parliament Hill to pray the Novena of St. Joseph (March 10-18) for the good of faith and family (and other intentions) in Canada.

The statue of St. Joseph is carried around the compound surrounding the eternal flame, under the Peace Tower, asking the intercession of the spouse of the Blessed Virgin who is patron of the universal church, of Canada and the Archdiocese of Ottawa for the graces and blessings needed at this time. I am grateful for their witness and their intercessary prayer for the intentions I confide to them.

I'm off to mass, then to Day Five of time in the Adoration Chapel, in concerted prayer for the upcoming Anglicanorum coetibus conference.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Whether certain practices are "barbaric" or merely "unacceptable."

From Brian Lilley:

Last week I wrote about our immigration system, so messed up we can’t even kick out convicted terrorists. For that I was called racist.

This week we have Justin Trudeau, the Liberal immigration critic, blasting the federal government for calling female genital mutilation, forced marriages and “honour killings” barbaric.

“There’s nothing that the word ‘barbaric’ achieves that the words ‘absolutely unacceptable’ would not have achieved,” he said.

He also called for the government to show “responsible neutrality” when discussing issues like this.

Trudeau has retracted those comments after a barrage of abuse and added he was sorry if his words had been “interpreted by anyone as dismissing or diminishing the serious and appalling nature of honour killings and other gender-based violence.”

How did we get to the point where the first reaction on the part of an elite member of the political culture is to shudder at the sight of a blunt word to describe the brutal murder of women whose behaviour is deemed dishonourable (such as when they get raped) and the barbaric practice of mutilating young girls’ genitals to keep them “pure”? What on earth is a “neutral” response in such cases?

If the government had issued a guide on good old-fashioned Canadian spousal abuse, Trudeau and the Liberals would probably have complained the government’s language was not strong enough. The only reason they wanted to mince words in this case is because the government guide in question, Discover Canada, is aimed at newcomers as a way to help them study for citizenship.

On Twitter, while still defending his comments, Trudeau mused that using the word barbaric gave the impression the government was saying, “us civilized, you not.” I’d have to disagree. The government was saying, “us civilized, you better be as well if you want to come here.”

Trudeau’s qualms over the use of a blunt word betray a mindset that has swallowed multiculturalism so fully that it doesn’t know what to do when confronted with cultural practices that don’t jive with Canada’s core values.

Alberta bishops object to graphic images

Edmonton (CCN)--Alberta's bishops will not participate in this year’s March for Life because organizers could not guarantee that placards displaying dead fetuses would not be present at the event.

Edmonton Archbishop Richard Smith, liaison bishop with the march organizers, said the presence of images of aborted babies at the march is not consistent with the message the bishops want to portray about the dignity of human life.

The graphic images “have started to become a predominant image in the march,” Archbishop Smith said on a March 9.

He said that because the Alberta bishops have been in the forefront of organizing the march, people could naturally assume that they have given their blessing to those images.

This year’s March for Life is scheduled for May 12 and Smith said the bishops “will not stand in the way of anybody else participating.”


Archbishop Smith said he personally objects to the photos aborted babies.

“I do find them offensive because they do not honour the dignity of human remains and the dignity of the human person.”

He said the images may work to dissuade some women from having abortions, but is still not the right approach.

“We think a far more effective image, that would be consistent with what we are proclaiming, would be the images of unborn living children," he said. “That says the same thing and it says it far more beautifully.”

Archbishop Smith said he has had several discussions with organizers about the issue since the 2010 march. He spoke with the WCR shortly after meeting with the organizers when he informed them of the bishops’ decision.

Sister Elisabeth Coloumbe, chair of the march organizing committee, told the WCR she did not wish to comment on the bishops’ decision.

Archbishop Smith said he respects the organizers who are “wonderfully committed to life. This is not a fight or struggle with the March for Life organizers.”

“We all want to end abortion,” he said, but the presence of graphic images at the march threatens the unity and growth of the event.

Archbishop’s blog

In his blog, the archbishop wrote “from many discussions over this issue in the last several months, it is clear that the March for Life organizers are unable to pledge that the event will proceed without graphic displays. It is not that they will not do so; they simply cannot because it is beyond their control.”

The archbishop said he is also concerned about the effect the graphic images may have on women who are “deeply repenting” for abortions they’ve had in the past. He is further concerned about their effect on the growing numbers of school-age children attending the march who have not been prepared to see such images.

The Archbishop is talking about the March for Life in Edmonton. At the National March for Life in Ottawa, there have been, for the past several years, a group of people who display graphic images to the marchers----which I always find annoying, personally, because we know, already, what abortion is, and we don't need it shoved into our faces. And children participate in the march.

But the people who do this display ---I don't know who they are----they are not under the control or direction of Campaign Life Coalition, which always has a positive message.

Even though the water is "freezing"

My favorite boy in the whole world is going swimming anyway.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Theodore Dalrymple---always thought-provoking

Great essay, via the excellent Catholic Education Resource Centre.

It is difficult now to imagine a modern university intellectual saying something as simple and unequivocal as 'I disagree with what you say, but I defend to the death your right to say it.' He would be more likely to think, if not actually to say out loud or in public, 'I disagree with what you say, and therefore rationalise to the death my right to suppress it.' In public, he would be more circumspect, presenting a suppression of freedom as being actually an increase in freedom, that is to say of real freedom, not the kind that leaves everyone free to sleep under a bridge. But he would know perfectly well in his heart that what he was after was power: the greatest power of all, that to shape, mould and colour indelibly the thought of others, a power to which he believes that he has a right by virtue of his superior intellect, training and zeal for the public good.

Sorry for the light blogging

It's Lent and my focus is elsewhere.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tsk! Tsk! Damian Thompson

I am sure any Ordinariate-bound Anglicans will be grateful. But LOL.

Screen shot 2011-03-15 at 16.02.28

This cross between a public lavatory and a Christian Science Reading Room used to be a Catholic Church: St Anne’s, Laxton Street, near King’s Cross

Schedule so far for Anglicanorum coetibus conference

This following has been posted at the Toronto Archdiocese's website.

Anglicanorum Coetibus Conference March 24-26, 2011 - (Tentative Schedule)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

4:00 p.m.
Registration opens

7:00 p.m.
Welcome: Archbishop Thomas Collins
Evening Prayer

7:45 p.m.
Opening Session: Father Christopher Phillips: "Becoming One"

9:00 p.m.
Wine/cheese reception

Friday, March 25, 2011

8:00 a.m.

9:00 a.m.
Morning Prayer

9:30 a.m.
Father Phillips: "Living the Anglican Patrimony"

10:30 a.m.

10:45 a.m.
Father Aidan Nichols:
“The Theological Context of Anglicanorum Coetibus”

12:00 p.m.

1:30 p.m.
Father Nichols:
"The Place of Anglicanorum Coetibus in Pope Benedict's Vision”

2:45 p.m.

3:15 p.m.
Father Nichols:
"Liturgical dimensions of Anglicanorum Coetibus"

5:30 p.m.

6:45 p.m.
Buses to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church

7:30 p.m.
Anglican Use Mass celebrated by Fr. Christopher Phillips
(held at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Streetsville)
(Reception to follow in parish hall)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

8:00 a.m.

9:00 a.m.
Morning Prayer

9:30 a.m.
Archbishop Thomas Collins:
"Anglicanorum Coetibus in Canada"

10:30 a.m.

10:45 a.m.
Panel Discussion
"The Path Ahead"

12:00 p.m. Lunch & Adjournment

Keynote speakers include:

  • Fr. Christopher Phillips, Pastor, Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas. He is the founding pastor of the first Anglican Use parish, erected in 1983 under the terms of the Pastoral Provision.
  • Archbishop Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, Delegate, Anglicanorum Coetibus in Canada (as appointed by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith).

  • Father Aidan Nichols, O.P. has the honorary status of Affiliated Lecturer in the University of Cambridge. He has also taught at the Pontifical University of St Thomas, Rome; St Mary’s College, Oscott; and Blackfriars Hall, Oxford. He has published some thirty books, and over seventy articles.

Official statement from Minister Jason Kenney's office

Official Statement from Jason Kenney’s office on the cancellation of his talk at York University during “Democracy Week”

“I won’t speculate on York’s motivation in quoting us a thousand-dollar security tab, let alone whether they apply that practice consistently to pro-Israeli Apartheid Week events on campus. What I do know is this: York University is ground zero for Israeli Apartheid Week activities; so much so, in fact, that at York they keep it going for two weeks.

Minister Kenney, as the cabinet minister responsible for anti-racism programs in the federal government, wanted to deliver a speech at York about anti-Semitism during Israeli Apartheid Week. He wanted to stand in solidarity with the silent majority on York’s campus who are disturbed by the climate of hatred, fear and bigotry Israeli Apartheid Week’s activities promote. The Minister’s office has never been quoted such a high security cost to deliver a speech before. York did this even though we assured them the RCMP was responsible for the safety and security of cabinet ministers, and would be on hand if the situation required.

We couldn’t in good conscience impose a thousand-dollar security bill on a few already-under-siege student groups. This, truly, is a very unfortunate situation, and a powerful reminder that Israeli Apartheid Week, rather than encouraging debate and free speech, actually suppresses them – at least, that is, if you happen not to believe that Israel is a Bantustan-promoting apartheid state.

Alykhan Velshi
Director of Communications and Parliamentary Affairs
Office of the Hon. Jason Kenney, PC, MP

Via Jay Currie

Monday, March 14, 2011

The plight of free speech on campus

From Blazing Cat Fur:

Jason Kenney abruptly cancelled a scheduled appearance at York University last week, during the Israeli Apartheid Week festivities. No public reason was given, until now.

Like Norman Finkelstein's cancelled apprearance at Mohawk College, Jason Kenney faced an identical Security Fee Shakedown. Kenney cancelled out of a desire not to spend taxpayer dollars on the extra police presence demanded by York to guarantee the "security" of the event. The student groups involved simply could not afford the fees for rent-a-cops, hence no event. The fees are steep as you will see in the e-mail I was provided (posted below).

Now there is no question that security is a concern for conservative speakers and organizers, the list of cancelled and disrupted events continues to grow. Christie Blatchford, Iranium - twice, the 2nd time at guess where-
York U, and most recently Michael Coren.

Robert Sibley's book signing

My friend Barbara, author Robert Sibley, myself and my friend Debbie
Before heading to see Of Gods and Men, my friends Barbara and Debbie and I stopped by Chapters' Rideau to show support for senior Ottawa Citizen writer Robert Sibley, who had a book signing there on Saturday afternoon.

Robert is a deeply thoughtful, elegant writer on the Citizen's pages and I look forward to reading my signed copy of A Rumor of God. Meanwhile though, we had fun hanging out with him for a while. Please note how accidentally color-coordinated Barbara and I are with the book's cover!

Another little rumor of God perhaps?

Here's a little excerpt from the book so you'll see why I am eager to read it:

It’s all very well to consider everyday mysticism from the high ground of philosophy and theology, but the task at hand is learning “how extraordinary the ordinary is when we rediscover it by way of the mystical”i How do you foster this attitude in the quotidian realities of our lives, particularly in our aggressively secular society? How, in other words, do experience all those “concrete approaches” to the mystery in the humdrum here-and-now? I have already offered the examples of experiences of Munro’s fictional character, and elsewhere I have pointed to the epiphanic evidence of poets and novelists, philosophers and theologians. Perhaps, though, a few examples of people experiencing “moments of being” would be worthwhile.

I’m rather fond of the example of Rev. Mark Roberts, a Lutheran minister in Texas. Roberts recounts how he was waiting in a long line at Costco, and as he stood there he could feel his blood pressure rising. “The more I waited, the more frustrated I became. Words I never say (well, almost never say) filled my mind,” he writes. “Then, all of a sudden, it dawned on me. I had one of those moments of grace, in which God managed to slip a word into my consciousness. As I stood in line at Costco, I was waiting. Waiting! I was doing exactly what Advent is all about. Of course, I wasn’t waiting for God to save me or anything momentous ... But, nevertheless, I was waiting. I was forced to experience something that’s at the very heart of Advent.”ii

Roberts’ epiphany is not particularly profound. I’m sure he would agree that as epiphanies go, it was a modest one. Nonetheless, it qualifies as an epiphanic moment in the sense that Roberts gained a modicum of self-knowledge and, for a brief moment, transcended the ethos of instant gratification that prevails in our society. You might call this a moral epiphany. In any case, his experience also demonstrates another aspect to the practice of everyday mysticism: You become attentive by deliberate acts of attention.

Please go see this movie! Of Gods and men. Beautiful.

A couple of friends and I went to see Of Gods and Men at the Bytowne Cinema on Saturday afternoon.

It is everything it is described as being in this blurb, and more. Tremendously moving and amazingly respectful and realistic about the Christian faith. I would see this again and again.

The images and emotions of the French film Of Gods And Men are likely to stick with you for a very long time. Xavier Beauvois’ haunting film is based on life in the Cistercian monastery of Tibhirine in the mountains of Algeria in the run-up to the kidnapping and murder of seven monks in 1996, the circumstances of which are still not fully explained.

Poster art for French release of Des hommes et des Dieux (Of Gods And Men)

The peace of the monks’ existence seeps into the opening scenes, flowing from their full, unhurried days – praying, singing, doing agricultural work and making honey – and their warm relationships with the Muslim villagers who are their close neighbours.

The Cistercians attend the birthday parties of local children and run a free medical clinic. Religion, as they practise it, is about the transforming effect of kindness and charity rather than any strident evangelism.

But Islamist fundamentalism is taking root in Algeria and, with the barbaric murder of Croatian workers nearby, apprehension circles the monastery for the first time. On Christmas Eve, an armed group breaks in, although no one is hurt.

The Algerian government advises them to return to France, and there is a sense that official impatience with the monks’ ethical stance is turning to hostility, although local people are desperate for them to remain.

The strength of the film lies in its unsparing focus on the monks as they question whether their future lies elsewhere: the superb cast quietly conveys the men’s fears and fraying nerves. At first the pressure fractures the harmony of the monastery, as their leader, Christian (Lambert Wilson), argues for staying while certain others press to leave. Then, with further contemplation, they all decide to stay.

Thereafter, there is the sense of an increasingly embattled group of men, many of whom are physically frail, supporting each other with tenderness.

These days it is unusual to see a screen depiction of faith so entirely devoid of fury, and it is a testimony to the delicacy of the director that what remains with you is not the brutality of the monks’ fate, but the gentle, sustaining power of their belief.

– Jenny McCartney, Seven Magazine

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I know zilch about Canon Law, but this guy is interesting

Edward N. Peters, JD, JCD writes at In the Light of the Law:

There is a line of thought emerging in regard to the Cuomo-Communion controversy that runs as follows: “Okay, maybe Peters has a point about the canon law of this case, but c’mon, questions about individual reception of holy Communion are really matters of pastoral practice.”

You know, as if canon law and pastoral practice were two entirely different things.

Let’s think about this.

Certainly, there are many canons in the Code that scarcely impact pastoral practice. It’s difficult (not impossible, just difficult) to see a pastoral application for, say, Canon 141 on priority among successive delegees, or for Canon 707 on residence options for a retired religious bishop, or for Canon 1601 on a judge’s discretion over time limits for filing briefs in tribunal cases. No one seriously argues that the faithful are bound to recall such canons in daily life or at least to think about them during the Communion rite.

But, while many canons do not have immediate pastoral relevance, many other canons do have obvious pastoral implications, and surely the canons on the reception and administration of holy Communion count among them. Indeed, the whole purpose of
Canons 915 and 916 is to direct concrete pastoral practice!

Canons 915 and 916 boast aged, even ancient, nay apostolic, roots, and both norms are illuminated by copious and consistent canonical commentary reflecting many centuries’ worth of . . . . . what? . . . . . pastoral practice. In other words, one cannot discuss Canons 915 and 916 without discussing pastoral practice at the same time. The two disciplines are inextricably related. And not because I say so, but because they are.

Ours is certainly not the first generation to face the serious problem of Catholics whose lifestyle is protractedly and publicly at odds with important Church teachings, nor are we the first to face rampant ridicule and accusations of hypocrisy* for holding Catholics to higher standards for their public behavior than we hold others to. It is precisely because the Church has such extensive experience in dealing with difficult issues that she has set down, for the guidance of pastors and faithful alike, certain norms for behavior in her Code of Canon Law, norms such as Canons 915 and 916.

Obviously, the time to think about what certain canons on pastoral practice might require of bishops and faithful is before controversy arises over them, if only because, if fundamental and reasonable norms for conduct are not attended to before controversy over them erupts in the Church, they will most assuredly be invoked afterward.

You are the sunshine of my life!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Horrible news from Japan

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Victor Davis Hanson on Libya and Obama

As usual a most interesting post at The Corner entitled "Obama as Hamlet." A taste (my bolds):

All this is not to deny that Sarkozy et al. are shrewd. They hope to get out in front of the U.S. (and have) in terms of humanitarian concern for the Libyan rebels, without any concern for themselves: If we do nothing, they, not us, appear the custodians of Western values; if we do act, even better for them — France and Britain finally shamed the U.S. into action. Or, to put it another way, we take the risks, incur the costs and ill-will, and yet appear to be reacting to a more moral Europe’s far earlier and stronger hectoring.

Somehow this administration is slouching toward the worst of both worlds: moral ambiguity and an open-ended, messy sorta-involvement.

The Pope speaks to priests in Rome

An excerpt, which applies to us lay folk in the priesthood of believers, too. (my bolds):

The Apostle Paul "did not preach an 'a la carte' Christianity, organised according to taste, he did not preach a Gospel according to his own preferred theological ideas". Priests "must announce the will of God entire, including the 'more difficult' will, ... the themes they may least like personally".

Referring then to Lent which has just begun, the Pope spoke of conversion which, he said, must be reflected, above all, in "a change of thinking and of heart" which leads us to focus not on the things of the world, "but on the presence of God in the world".

The Pope also highlighted the importance that spiritual life must have for priests. "Praying and meditating on the word of God is not time lost from the care of souls, but a condition enabling us to remain in contact with the Lord, and so be able to speak first hand of Him to others".

Finally, the Pope encouraged priests not to lose hope, despite the difficulties they may encounter in their ministry.

"The truth is stronger than lies", he concluded, "and love is stronger than hatred. God is stronger than all adverse forces. With this joy, with this inner certainty we follow our journey amidst the consolations of God and the persecutions of the world".

I love you, Holy Father! Thanks for your inspiring words.

My comment on Father Z's blog

Father Z has put up a post quoting some Lenten reflections by Fr. Andrew Burnham, a former Church of England bishop now part of the first Ordinariate, the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. Here's an except:

Fr. Andrew Burnham of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham will has Lenten Reflections in the print edition of the Catholic Herald, the UK’s best Catholic weekly.

His column this week is entitled “The secular gospel is our true enemy”.

Here are a couple passages. He takes an interesting cue from texts of motets by great composers of the difficult 15th-16th centuries, Byrd, Tallis:

“The battle between the old religion and the new one is one that constantly reinvents itself. Its modern version is not Catholic versus Protestant. Christians – Catholic and Protestant – are mowadays on the same side of the battlefield. Our common enemy is the secular gospel that puts man at the centre of the universe, wealth as our main objective, and fulfilment as the central aim of our lives.”

I put this comment on his blog:

Fr. Burnham writes: “Our common enemy is the secular gospel that puts man at the centre of the universe, wealth as our main objective, and fulfilment as the central aim of our lives.”

But the secular gospel has cloaked itself in Christian terms—and has become in many churches, — what New Testament scholar Edith Humphrey described as a “Gospel of welcome,” of inclusiveness, of compassion that has displaced the Gospel of redemption through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. This is a different from secularism—which, as Fr. Burnham rightly says, poses a huge threat, though it is related. This Gospel of Welcome—which sounds so close but isn’t the real Gospel—displaces sin and salvation with modern concepts of therapy and forms of self-fulfillment rather than Christ-centeredness. It preaches another Jesus, a Jesus without the cross.

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My YouTube video has now had 111 views!!!!!

The Pope stresses human ecology

From VIS News:

The theme of the 2011 campaign is: "Fraternity and life on the planet", and its motto is: "the creation groans with labour pains. This, the Pope writes, "is an echo of the words used by St. Paul in his Letter to the Romans. One of the reasons for these groans is the damage caused to creation by human selfishness", he says.

Benedict XVI affirms that "the first step towards a correct relationship with the world around us is the recognition by humans of their status as created beings. Man is not God; he is His image. For this reason he must seek to be more sensitive to the presence of God in his surroundings. In all creatures, and especially in human beings, there is an epiphany, or manifestation, of God".

"The human being will be capable of respecting other creatures only if he keeps the full meaning of life in his own heart. Otherwise he will come to despise himself and his surroundings, and to disrespect the environment, the creation, in which he lives. For this reason, the first ecology to be defended is 'human ecology'. This is to say that, without a clear defence of human life from conception until natural death; without a defence of the family founded on marriage between a man and a woman; without an authentic defence of those excluded and marginalised by society, not overlooking, in this context, those who have lost everything in natural calamities, we will never be able to speak of authentic protection of the environment".

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Anglicans eager for U.S. Ordinariate

From the Catholic Key:

KANSAS CITY — Like children waiting for Christmas, the establishment of a “personal diocese” in the United States under provisions of a 2009 Vatican constitution can’t come soon enough for Anglicans seeking full communion with Rome while retaining their Anglican traditions, prayers and liturgies.

But the waiting is also a time for the Holy Spirit to work on hearts, according to the keynote speakers at the “Becoming One” Conference Feb. 25-26, held at St. Therese Little Flower Parish, where an Anglican Use Mass is celebrated weekly.

Some 80 people, nearly half of them rectors of Anglican worship communities, attended the conference to discuss what the “ordinariate” — or special governing structure for Anglican Use Catholics in communion with Rome — might be when, not if, it is established under the 2009 Vatican document, Anglicanorum Coetibus.

And they came from Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Arkansas, Illinois and Missouri.

At the conclusion of the conference, Kansas City-Bishop Robert W. Finn promised to pray “always for that great unity.”

“We know that a vital part of the mission of Pope Benedict XVI is to work and pray for the unity of all believers,” Bishop Finn said.

“Since it is the Holy Father’s mission, it is our mission as well,” he said. “We want to be united with you. We want to do all we can to make this invitation of the Holy Father be extended here. Now we pray to the Holy Spirit that the full unfolding of God’s plan may take place.”

The conference explored what the Anglican Use ordinariate might be as it gathers diverse communities of Anglicans together, in communion with Rome.

“It will be what you bring in,” said Father Christopher Phillips, pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Parish in San Antonio, Texas, in his Feb. 26 keynote.

“There is going to be a much deeper understanding of our Anglican patrimony (traditions) because it will be experienced in the fullness of communion with the Holy See,” Father Phillips said. “You are not leaving anything of importance behind. You are bringing everything of importance with you.”

Traditional Anglican Bishop David Moyer of Rosemont, Pa., who is working with an ad hoc committee headed by Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., to establish the Anglican Use ordinariate in the United States, said that now is the time “to put our hands to the plow and follow where the Holy Spirit is leading.”

Bishop Moyer was among the Traditional Anglican Communion bishops who petitioned Pope Benedict XVI in 2007 for full, corporate reception into the Roman Catholic Church, while retaining their Anglican worship and traditions.

That request was answered in November 2009 with the Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum Coetibus, which not only invited the Anglicans to bring their traditions with them, but encouraged them for the enrichment of the entire church.

Bishop Moyer recalled reading his copy with his wife, Rita, as soon as it arrived, both of them pausing to weep.

“It was more than an answer to the petition and to the countless prayers that had been uttered,” he said.

“To this day, I remain in a state of awe, wonder and thanksgiving for this incredibly creative, caring and visionary gift from the Holy Father,” Bishop Moyer said.