Deborah Gyapong: April 2011

Friday, April 29, 2011

One Love---Bob Marley

Heard this on my car radio while in the Costco Parking lot.

One heart, one love, let's get together and feel all right. It's a prayer for Christian unity, believe it or not.

I love the readings during Easter Week. This was our Lesson at Mass on
Wednesday, from the Song of Solomon:

9My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice.

10My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.

11For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;

12The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;

13The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.

14O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.

15Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.

16My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

"Cranmer" not amused by the NRSV Bible use in Royal Wedding

His Grace is delighted to reproduce the Order of Service for the Royal Wedding. It all looks quite splendid. His only regret is that the Scripture reading is from the Anglicised edition of New Revised Standard Version of the Bible. You'd have thought, with this year being the quatercentenary of the Authorised Version... O, never mind.

Jack Layton's risky game

William Johnson looks at what the NDP leader has said and done to court nationalist voters in Quebec. Scary. It's hard not to like Jack Layton. He's got a wonderful personality. But my oh my, he is Mr. Pandora, especially on his willingness to reopen the constitutional debate. To say nothing of his statist policies. Brrrrrrr!

In his first election campaign as leader in 2004, Layton sent out two messages targeting Bloc supporters, as reported in The Globe and Mail on May 29 by Steven Chase. "NDP Leader Jack Layton, trying against tough odds to win the first Quebec seat for his party in 14 years, said yesterday he would repeal Ottawa's 2000 Clarity Act on secession."

On that same occasion, Layton repudiated the 1998 decision of the Supreme Court of Canada on the secession of Quebec, which said that secession was not a right, it could only be accomplished legitimately with the consent of the other provinces and the Parliament of Canada, and that it would require a number of conditions, such as determining the new borders of an independent Quebec.

As Steven Chase reported, "Mr. Layton also said the NDP would recognize a unilateral declaration of independence by Quebec after a referendum vote."

To understand what is happening now in Quebec, one should consult a 2,782-word portrait of Layton published in the July 1, 2003 issue of l'Actualité magazine. There, the new leader of the NDP revealed himself and his intentions to an ultra-nationalist journalist, the late Michel Vastel. The title was significant: "The left, Quebec and Jack Layton." More significant was the subtitle: "We will see Jack Layton a lot this summer because, to revivify the NDP, Jack Layton has undertaken to court the supporters of the Bloc Québécois."

As Layton described himself, he had always supported Quebec nationalist causes. He was a student at McGill University in 1969 when a huge demonstration was held under the slogan, "McGill français." Some 10,000 people marched to have Mc-Gill transformed into a French-language university.

Read more:

The "gods" and Stephen Harper--John Ivison

In ancient Rome, nothing of any importance was done until an augur interpreted the will of the gods. If an augur was to take the auspices on the Conservative election campaign over the last 24 hours, he’d probably conclude the gods are angry. At a rally in a hangar at Ottawa airport Tuesday evening, lightning knocked out the sound system and the teleprompter, just as Stephen Harper started speaking. His microphone eventually came back on but he was forced to read the speech from pre-prepared notes. Later that evening, a thick blanket of fog prevented the Prime Minister’s plane from landing in Kitchener and we were forced to come down in Toronto and drive to the hotel by bus. Finally, after his morning rally at a hockey glass factory in Waterloo, rain of Biblical proportions greeted the Tory faithful as they left the event. Journalists sat on the tour bus filing their stories as the storm raged, wondering what else could possibly go wrong.

Ivison continues with this theme of angry gods in a subsequent column.

Stephen Harper stood on the breezy rooftop deck of a hotel overlooking the American and Canadian falls at Niagara. In one of his rare unscripted comments, the Conservative leader ad libbed: “The winds of change.” Nervous laughter ensued, until Rob Nicholson, the Tory candidate in the city, chimed in: “Blowing in our direction.”

Not quite. The natural calamaties that have afflicted the Tory campaign this week continued – boats capsized in Hamilton Harbour and the main highway was closed by an overturned 18-wheeler, thanks to 90 km winds.

More worryingly for the Conservatives are polls that show their lead over the NDP narrowing. It seems probable that the next round of polls might even show Jack Layton’s nifty campaign overtaking Mr. Harper’s lumbering effort. Questions at the daily Tory press conference have turned from musing about majority to whether they have left it too late to defeat the NDP.

Well, we thought this was going to be a boring election.

Cardinal George! Wow.

Via Father Z (his emphases), this story on the suspension of Fr. Pfleger in Chicago.

“Many love and admire you because of your dedication to your people,” the cardinal wrote. “Now, however, I am asking you to take a few weeks to pray over your priestly commitments in order to come to mutual agreement on how you understand personally the obligations that make you a member of the Chicago presbyterate and of the Catholic Church.

“With this letter, your ministry as pastor of Saint Sabina Parish and your sacramental faculties as a priest of the Archdiocese are suspended.” []

The cardinal ended the letter by saying, “This conflict is not between you and me; it’s between you and the Church that ordained you a priest, between you and the faith that introduced you to Christ and gives you the right to preach and pastor in his name. If you now formally leave the Catholic Church and her priesthood, it’s your choice and no one else’s. You are not a victim of anyone or anything other than your own statements.

The picture of me with His Eminence was taken when Cardinal George was in Ottawa to receive his Alumnus of the Year Award from Saint Paul University, his alma mater, in Sept. 2008.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What about religious freedom at home, Mr. Harper?

OTTAWA (CCN)--Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s promise to fight religious persecution abroad has won applause from religious freedom advocates. But some say he needs to pay more attention to religious freedom on the home front.


But while recognizing religious persecution is “a serious problem,” Catholic Civil Rights League executive director Joanne McGarry pointed out “there are some trouble spots at home.”

“We would like to see some attention to that, notably through the repeal of Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA).”

Section 13 is the notorious so-called “thought crimes” section of the Act that makes any statement that could be “likely to expose” any member of an identifiable group to hatred for contempt.

Provincial human rights acts have similar provisions that have seen many Christians, including the Bishop of Calgary, facing expensive human rights complaints for public upholding Catholic doctrine. Catholic Insight, a small-circulation magazine, has spent $40,000 defending itself against complaints under the CHRA.

McGarry said provincial equity policies are also encroaching on Catholic educational rights.

“I’m not pretending for a moment that our problems are like the bloodshed we see in other parts of the world,” she said. “But nevertheless it is a real problem. It has presented significant challenges for expression of religious belief.”

“It’s really going to need a chance in human rights code to address that,” McGarry said, noting that it can be extremely costly to defend one’s self or one’s organization against complaints even if they are later dropped, dismissed or overturned by a higher court.

Religious freedom expert and constitutional lawyer Iain Benson praised the religious freedom promise.

"Canada has lagged behind various countries in its public recognition of the extremely important role that religions play in our society.”

But he, too, would like a more robust defence of religious freedom at home in Canada.

“I see an overseas only approach as strange since Canada could use deeper thought about and encouragement for religions within Canada.” He said he hoped “a domestic approach will be added soon."

The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) also supports the initiative, noting that it has been engaged in raising awareness of religious persecution for over a decade.

“It’s exciting to see this issue hit the agenda of federal party leaders,” said EFC’s Centre for Faith and Public Life director Don Hutchinson in a blog post. “Purely by the numbers, Christians are the most persecuted body on the planet today. There are over 200 million Christians facing persecution on a daily basis around the world, simply because of their religious beliefs.”

But Hutchinson noted other religious minorities face persecution as well, especially minorities within religious faiths who get persecuted by the larger group.

The EFC has also urged consideration of religious freedom in Canada in its 2011 voter guide, highlighting the use of human rights complaints to attack religious Christian religious freedom, such as the complaint faced by a Vancouver Knights of Columbus chapter for refusing to allow its hall to be used for a Lesbian wedding.

The guide also raised the concerns about provincial policies on education.

“Parents in several provinces are having their right to educate their children in accordance with their Christian beliefs and values challenged, in both private and public schools,” the guide says.

The Canadian Centre for Public Policy Studies president Joseph Ben-Ami also raised concerns about the Ontario government’s equity policy being imposed on Catholic schools.

“This is the same government that tried to initiate sex education for children as early as kindergarten,” he said in a blog post.

Ben-Ami also criticized the role various licensing bodies for medical practitioners play in undermining religious freedom and conscience rights. “These quasi-government bodies have been increasingly brazen in their attempt to compel medical professionals under their jurisdiction to either provide, or support, controversial procedures such as abortion or risk losing their licenses to practice,” he wrote.

He warned that “little by little, in a hundred different ways,” inherent rights to religious freedom and freedom of speech are being eroded by “the relentless expansion of a militantly secular government and its unremitting encroachment into every aspect of our public and private lives.

What you're missing if you aren't watching Sun TV

Ezra Levant is hilarious

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The beauty of a grace-filled life

Most interesting essay at First Things by Ross McCullough:

In that sense moral behavior is a grace-ful thing, and the saint behaves in something like the way that Astaire danced or Sugar Ray boxed or (to sample the life of the mind) Capablanca played chess. The examples can be multiplied indefinitely, but the point is this: There is a beauty to the moral gesture, the moral life, the moral soul; there is a quiet harmony to the parts of the act and to the priorities of the life and to the passions of the mind; and there is from all this a beauty that spreads slowly and subtly but unstoppably out across this sleeping world, like the first signs of the sun.

For there is no doubt that here the world is asleep. Whatever we think of the politics and prohibitions of modern morality, there is little draw to them. We lie dumb and desensitized in a picturesque moral landscape and dream in browns and grays. I frame this as a secular sleep, but I do not see why such dreams should be inherent to secularism. There is no straight-forward syllogism to show why in denying Providence we must deny beauty or goodness, including the beauty of goodness. I spoke of Birkenstocks and Volvos and righteous indignation, but I spoke in caricatures; there are also atheists who live a patient, everyday sort of nonviolence, who do approach the beautiful in their moral life. This indeed is why I am making a sort of pretheistic argument, be-cause this is a thing available to the unconverted atheist, because I am urging on him something other than simple conversion, because this is more about becoming a man than becoming a god.

And importantly, the inverse is also true: None of this is guaranteed the theist. Intimacy and the eve-ryday are all well and good, but the Catholic might be confessing through sheer legalism and scrupulos-ity, the evangelical might be chaste in pure terror, thinking always of avoiding the dancing demons and never of joining—in this very act, however imperfectly—the dancing God. We all know to act for the glory of God, even if the saints and my sequel have much to do in unfolding its meaning, but we some-times forget that we can act in and with that glory, that our acts can be shot through with the rhythm and symmetry of a supernatural elegance. We must first see ethics in the everyday, but we must second see beauty there, and the serious theist is often only halfway along.

I will not attempt a full genealogy of the problem here: The exercise too often proves facile and unconvincing. Somewhere along the way the traditional scheme of virtues was greatly flattened. Morality was collapsed into jus-tice and justice reduced to its political dimensions: Prudence came to be conceived as cleverness, tem-perance as a lifestyle choice, fortitude as an admirable but not a moral thing. General prohibitions and political action items became the substance of everyday moral thought: Do not rape; end global warm-ing. We lost sight of the truth that chastity is no more about avoiding rape or even adultery than kind-ness is about avoiding murder: Certainly the two are incompatible, but cultivating the virtue goes far beyond avoiding its most flagrant violation.

Some blame may be laid at the feet of moral philosophy, which in the ¬anglophone world has been dominated by utilitarian and Kantian theories, and, whatever their merits, the first tends to focus us on the grand social problems—a thing is good in proportion to the quantity of goodness it produces, so that the everyday actions of a life matter not at all in relation to large social currents—and the second has the popular effect of destroying any positive category for moral action, sorting everything into prohibited and permissible with little room for the startling, splendid, and wonderful.

George Weigel on the Communist infiltration of the Vatican

Fascinating article on Communism vs. the Church:

The election of Angelo Roncalli as Pope John XXIII in 1958 marked the beginning of a new phase of this war. Roncalli was concerned that the Church had experienced a certain sclerosis in the latter years of Pius XII. In the first decade of his pontificate, Pius XII had been something of a reformer, encouraging the liturgical movement, giving new impetus to Catholic biblical studies, and trying to get the Church to think of itself in biblical and theological, rather than canonical and legal, categories. If these tentative movements toward reform were to take hold, Roncalli believed, the energies they represented should be focused through an ecumenical council. This papal concern for the renewal of Catholicism’s internal life quickly bumped up against the problem of the communist war against the Church: How were the bishops behind the Iron Curtain to participate in the Second Vatican Council?

This turned out to be less of a problem than anticipated, because the KGB and its sister intelligence services throughout the Warsaw Pact saw Vatican II as a golden opportunity to penetrate the Vatican, deploy new intelligence assets throughout Catholic institutions in Rome, and use the council’s deliberations as a means of strengthening their own grip on restive Catholic populations behind the Iron Curtain. John XXIII’s concerns about central and eastern European participation at Vatican II, and the new pope’s conviction that it was time to test the possibility of a less frozen relationship between the Holy See and Moscow, combined to give birth to what was known as the Vatican’s new Ostpolitik. The Ostpolitik, in turn, seemed even more urgent when the opening of Vatican II coincided with the Cuban Missile Crisis. Where the pope and the Vatican sought a new dialogue in the interests of world peace, however, the KGB and other Soviet-bloc intelligence agencies sought a new beachhead inside Vatican City in their war against the Catholic Church. The atmosphere of cordial hospitality extended by the Holy See to observers and “separated brethren” at the council created an ideal atmosphere for this communist effort to penetrate the Church’s central administration.

Think you have freedom of expression? Think again

Lots of alarming stuff on the web today. Here are some links.

First, at The Corner, a report on the exception to the First Amendment:

Pastor Terry Jones and Assistant Pastor Wayne Sapp may be leaders of an obscure and failing micro-church, the Dove World Outreach Center, in Gainesville, Florida, but they are world class blasphemers against Islam. Earlier this month they applied for a permit to continue their public and provocative criticism of Islam — which this time was not to burn a Koran but to “peacefully … protest sharia and jihad” in front of the largest mosque in the United States, in the most Muslim area of the country. Not only was their protest, planned for last Friday, blocked by court order, but they were convicted by Michigan’s 19th District Court of being likely to breach the peace.

In March, the two pastors stirred international controversy and, in Afghanistan, lethal violence, by staging a Koran burning. On Friday, April 22, they had planned a two-man demonstration to protest “sharia and jihad” during the weekly prayer service outside the the Shiite Islamic Center of America, in Dearborn, Michigan. News of their application for a protest permit prompted at least four serious death threats against them from “metro Detroiters,” according to the police chief. They were told by authorities they would have to cover the costs of a massive security effort for their protest, amounting to $46,000. They refused and were promptly prosecuted on the afternoon of the 22nd. They were found guilty of intending to disturb the peace, ordered by the court to stay away from the Dearborn mosque for the next three years, and briefly jailed for refusing to pay the “peace bond,” to ensure there would be no public disturbance — a bond that the prosecutor had requested to be set at $46,000 but which the court had reduced to $1. It appears that the jury, judge, prosecutor and police chief, all feared that the planned protest would set off local Muslim riots or other violent actions.

Kathy Shaidle responds:

Doesn’t that make the jurors “racist”? After all, that’s the “soft bigotry of low expections,” correct?

And then there's a insane British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal decision against Guy Earle.

Mark Steyn:

This is an assault on one of the most basic principles of justice - equality before the law. Instead, one citizen has different rights than another according to which preferred identity groups he (or more often she) falls into. In his newspaper column, my friend Ezra Levant wonders if, under the Geiger-Evans Comedy Regime, it's okay for Chris Rock and Eddie Murphy to use racist words for which pastier types would be prosecuted. But this isn't even a hypothetical fancy: This very month at the University of Connecticut, an anthropology professor teaching a class on the cultural significance of "the N-word" showed clips of Chris Rock and Richard Pryor using "the N-word". Shortly thereafter the professor was reported for, er, using "the N-word". The prof is white. The student who reported him is the "Multicultural and Diversity Senator" on the student council, a member of the Black Students' Association and an activist who wants to "instigate unity on campus". And let's face it, the easiest way to "unity" is to "instigate" it, isn't it? So the hapless professor is now being forced to take "diversity training", because nothing says "diversity" like mandatory "unity". And to think American students have run up a trillion dollars in college debt for the privilege of being "taught" by the kind of pansies who agree to submit to "diversity training" for commiting the crime of using "the N-word" in a class about the cultural significance of "the N-word".

The great strength of Common Law is its antipathy to "collective rights" - because the ultimate minority is the individual. If you elevate group rights over individual liberty, you're mainly empowering not "minorities" but the state, which becomes the sole legitimate arbiter of relations between various groups. And empowering the state means empowering the likes of Commissar Geiger-Adams to preside over four-year investigations into the precise degree of smooching between two patrons of a late-night comedy club. That's why group rights are "the key Nanny State concept". What we are witnessing, from the comedy clubs of Vancouver to the groves of academe in Connecticut, is not just the collapse of liberty but the death of the human spirit. There is something deeply sick about the willingness of freeborn citizens to submit to statist enforcers like Geiger-Adams.

Kathy Shaidle's solution:

So my challenge to Canadian candidates is: abolish the corrupt, costly state-censorship bureaucratic apparatus we call Human Rights Commissions.

When we encourage citizens to pose as victims with chronically “hurt feelings,” and reward them with thousand-dollar settlements for whining and tattling on each other, the social fabric is torn.

There’s a chill in the Not So Great White North, all right. Watch what you say, comedians. Careful what you publish, publishers. Be “nice,” everybody. Or else.

We Canadians think our culture is superior to the more litigious one in the United States. But are tens of thousands of dollars doled out for “hurt feelings” anything to feel smug about?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Too much estrogen in our water supply?

FiveFeetofFury gives:

a particularly exquisite example of that “on the one hand, on the other hand” Canadian low testosterone beta male blather that passes for “opinion writing” these days):

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Rebecca was confirmed today;  Carla tries to keep Kyle from the sausage

Nadia, Barbara, Mary, Vera and Rebecca got the "memo" to wear yellow!

Bishop Carl gives Rebecca her confirmation certificate and a prayer book

Lovely mom, Elena, and lovely daughters, Nadia and Vera

Archbishop Prendergast's Easter Message

I love this message. I trust the Archbishop won't mind if I repost it here. But follow the link to his blog, because there are more pictures from the Way of the Cross and other good things.


A few weeks ago, we saw the suffering in Japan that followed the earthquake, tsunami and threat of nuclear radiation. The world held its breath and hurried to help.

For the Japanese, nothing would ever be the same. From now on people would tell each other where they were when the earthquake struck. And how all these happenings had changed their lives.

The Bible describes the Paschal Mystery—the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ—as just such a moment, one of epic proportions and shattering significance.

Two earthquakes revealed that the end times had broken into our world. The evangelist Matthew tells us that at Jesus’ death and again at his resurrection the earth shook (Matthew 27.54; 28.2).

We are not informed of the magnitude of these seismic movements, only that they touched people’s lives profoundly.

On Calvary, when the centurion and those with him keeping watch over Jesus saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified. Then they confessed, ‘Truly this man was God’s Son!’

On Easter morning after the earthquake, the guards shook and became like dead men when the angel rolled back the stone from the tomb.

The angel urged the women who had come to anoint the body of their Lord not to fear. Jesus the crucified, he announced, had risen. They were to go and report this to his disciples.

Our faith experience should parallel that of the women and disciples who, on encountering the risen Lord, became believers. Filled with the Holy Spirit, they began spreading the Good News of God’s love and forgiveness.

The news of Jesus’ resurrection, when it touches peoples’ lives, has similar effects. First the experience of the Risen Lord shakes us up. Then it challenges us to share the news we have come to believe.

Such sharing of the Christian message will be difficult in a culture like ours. Our current world circumstances require us to conceive of a new way of evangelizing—spreading the Good News revealed in Jesus Christ.

Some people we meet seem to have been immunized against the Christian faith. Perhaps earlier on in their lives they got a mild and ineffective dose of the Christian story, which they took to be the real thing. Unimpressed, they turned away, looking elsewhere for meaning and purpose in life.

Ours is not an easy world in which to speak the message of Jesus, who summons us to a new way of being free from all that holds us in bondage.

Knowing Christ changes us to the core of our being! I see this whenever I hear young people speak of the transformation Christ works in their lives each day. Older people, too, tell what happens to them when notions about God, Christ and the Church become real.

We should realize that none of the people of our world are completely resistant to grace, to the beautiful message of Jesus, and to examples we can give of genuine service and forgiving love. This should give us hope at Easter and help our resolve to proclaim Christ where we study, work and play.

It helps to recall how the Christian message spread rapidly in the ancient Roman Empire—one at times officially hostile to Christianity—in a society which was much more cruel and uncaring, violent and sexually chaotic than today's society.

The Good News of the Kingdom, Christ and his message can still bring healing, health and peace. In all our struggles and disappointments, we must remember this and dare to proclaim what we have seen, heard and touched through the liturgy, in God’s word and in the sacrament of our Easter communion.

May God give all Christ’s followers zeal to share the Good News we have received as God’s gift!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Speaking of praise and worship songs

I like this. We would never sing it during one of our masses, but I love to hear it on the radio or when I visit another parish.

But maybe some time, we could persuade our musician-seminarian in residence Michael Trolly to host an evening of praise and worship for us at the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada.

Bishop Carl calls them campfire songs. But there's nothing wrong with praising God with campfire songs.

Father Z LOL

Jesus would not have heard "Gather Us In"... except perhaps during the time He spent in the harrowing of Hell.]

Gather Us In? What's that? Okay, I've had a listen. Not crazy about it. But I do confess to liking a great deal of praise and worship music from evangelical and charismatic circles. I do find them, however, theology thin and musically cheesy.

Free Guy Earle---The Binksmeister is on it

Here's a sample of some of the links at Free Canuckistan:

When You’re Not Mark Steyn…

with 4 comments

~ UPDATE: The ‘judgment’ was for $15K from Guy Earle, and $7.5K from the club owner, for a shakedown total of $22.5K.

~ ITEM: Comic Guy Earle Fined 15K For Offending Heckling Dyke By BCHRT!; what Shaidle said; what Scaramouche said; links piling up at Catfur

~ ITEM: Pardy v. Earle and others (No. 4)

~ ITEM: Steyn on Earle (2010); FRESH STEYN on Earle (2011): The Human Right Not To Be “Offended”

~ ITEM: Kate McMillan: “I’ll miss the comedy clubs…” ~ By the way, what happened to all those “comics for freedom“? In the end, the liberals won’t be there for you.

~ ITEM: Guy Earle

YOU are kidding ME

I’m shaking over here… what a bloody joke.
15K for being misquoted and I NEVER thought I would have to correct/defend my words in a free country. (Alas, we ain’t free are we?) The way the thing is worded, its like the BCHRT looked for every excuse to hang me. BIZARRE, what did I ever do to Canada, except help promote and educate starting comics for the last 20 years?? You can read the pointless “findings” of the BCHRT here. Funny, how they STILL admit they have no jurisdiction but continue to harass and harm me.

I hate to ask, folks… but it looks like I’ll be going to the Supreme Court after-all…

~ ITEM: Guy On Ezra’s Sun-TV; Ez in 2008: Lorna Pardy, embarrasser of lesbians

~ ITEM: Earle ‘trial’ blow-by-blow

~ HUMANS LIKE inequalities, when the balance is in their favour. A lesbian comedian mocking a heckling straight couple is the flavour of the times; vice-versa? Why, that’s a Hate Crime, according to the petty comedy-police of the BCHRT. Guy Earle: THOUGHT CRIMINAL!

The Keystone Kops of the BCHRT were the ones who wasted a pretty penny in Maclean’s lawyers, magisterially deciding whether or not Mark Steyn were real funny, or not real funny. They had alleged “humour” experts, even, and blustering Sock-Puppets, and everything. Two-ring circus, maybe.

Said marsupial show-trial got live-blogged, blogged, media-attention, and Steyn-friendly bloggers onsite for moral and media-support. Guy Earle? I honestly thought he’d been acquitted of said foolishness.

Go over to Guy Earle's site and press his PayPal button. Remember, freedom of speech is about protecting speech you may find repugnant. Remember someone may find yours repugnant. Many find the truth, or should I say the Truth, repugnant. That's why this right must be cherished and defended.

Father Phillips on Baptism

I love the Easter Vigil where we renew our Baptismal vows. Father Christopher Phillips has a wonderful reflection posted on the Anglo-Catholic about Baptism. Go on over and read the whole things. Here's an excerpt:

This is the night which shines with the glory of Christ’s resurrection – the night in which we recall and reaffirm our own participation in His resurrection which is ours through the power of our baptism. And tonight we consider what Baptism means for daily life. Certainly baptism is a one time thing, but it isn’t something that is done once and then simply remembered with a certificate, like graduations and anniversaries. It is something done once, but with eternal effects. And so in that sense, baptism is not just a one time thing “over and done with…” It’s a daily thing in its effects: baptism is a daily garment, something we wear each and every day. In baptism God has marked us with his seal of ownership, branded us as sheep of His pasture, and taken away the stain of original sin by washing us with Christ’s blood. The Christian life is a daily baptism, and baptism is the daily life of a Christian. It’s a daily dying and rising. Just as we go to sleep each night and get up in the morning, so we daily die to sin and rise up to live in Christ through our baptism. Daily dying and rising is the daily life of the baptized.

St. Paul writes, "Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?" He writes this as though everyone would know this and agree wholeheartedly with it. We were buried with Christ by baptism into His death. Baptism unites us with the death of Jesus.

In the death of Jesus on the cross, God has given the world a death in which a sinner may die now and live forever. We can either die now in the death of Jesus and live forever in His life, or we can live now apart from the death of Jesus, and die forever in our own death. There is no third option. Jesus died for sin and rose from the dead. Scripture teaches us that "the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God." Baptism joins us to the death of Jesus. It nails us to His cross, buries us in His tomb. God has put our sin out of His sight. He has buried it in the death of His Son. He has hidden it in His wounds. He has sealed it in His grave.

Read it all.

Dear Winnipeg Free Press, my name is Deborah not Debra

Please, never spell my name Debra.
You can call me Deb, or Debby, or even Debbie, but that's not how my parents spelled it, or Deborah. But not Debra!!!!!

For Catholic journalist and blogger Debra Gyapong, it wasn't just the issue of same-sex marriage that cost Liberals support from Roman Catholics, but their "ramming the redefinition of marriage through Parliament."

She also points to the Liberal Party's "partisan messaging that painted traditional marriage supporters as un-Canadian and anti-Charter, and that attacked Christian voters in general."

"Self-inflicted" wounds

John McKay, the Liberal Member of Parliament who represents the Ontario riding of Scarborough-Guildwood, agrees with those sentiments.

McKay acknowledges that support from Catholics and other church-goers for the Liberal Party is "bleeding away." What's worse, he adds, the wound was "self-inflicted."

"You can disagree with someone, but you don't have to insult them," he says of the times when the Liberal Party had different views from some religiously-inclined Canadians. "There are times that the Liberal Party has been disagreeable in its disagreements."

I wanted to post this but the Archbishop beat me to it

This morning in our Easter Saturday service, Bishop Carl Reid read from the new missal our Metropolitan Bishop Peter Wilkinson has compiled an ancient homily for Holy Saturday. I wanted to put in on the blog, but Bishop Carl did not have it electronically. Well, lo and behold, I did not have to email Bishop Peter in Victoria to get the homily to reproduce here, I only had to go over to Archbishop Prendergast's blog to find it published there, along with some wonderful art and a report on yesterday's Walk of the Cross organized by Communion and Liberation.

Here's the homily.
The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and Hell trembles with fear. He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, He who is both God and the Son of Eve.

The Lord approached them bearing the Cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone, ‘My Lord be with you all.’ Christ answered him: ‘And with your spirit.’ He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: ‘Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.

‘I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in Hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in Me and I in you; together we form one person and cannot be separated.

‘For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, Whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.

‘See on My Face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On My back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See My hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.

‘I slept on the Cross and a sword pierced My side for you who slept in Paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in Hell. The sword that pierced Me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.

‘Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly Paradise. I will not restore you to that Paradise, but will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The Bridal Chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The Kingdom of Heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.’ (from an ancient homily for Holy Saturday)

Friday, April 22, 2011

What have Popes had to say about socialism?

"Hideous", "destructive", "wicked", and "perverted" are only some of the adjectives used by the Popes to describe socialism. From Pius IX to Benedict XVI, the popes have thoroughly and consistently condemned socialism. Given the advance of socialism in America, TFP Student Action is glad to offer its readers a brief selection of thought-provoking quotes from the Popes on the topic.
Who woulda thunk it?

Good Friday

Bishop Carl Reid delivered a powerful sermon today in our little Anglican Catholic Church of Canada cathedral here in Ottawa. I paste it below. Blogging will be light for the next few days.



I’m certain that, with a little bit of thought, most, if not all of us here, could tell us what are the seven last words of our Lord on the day of His Crucifixion. A slightly more challenging task would be to list them in their traditional order. Perhaps there are several people here who could do just that. Equally, there may be some here who are very familiar with the sayings, but perhaps aren’t aware of their designation as the seven last words.

Therefore, in their traditional order:

The First Word

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) Soldiers have just driven nails, or perhaps are in the process of doing so, through the hands and feet of our Lord, and have hoisted Him up by those nails. But Jesus does not fear those who kill His body; He pities them and prays for them. They are unwitting instruments of the higher purpose that brings Him here. We shall come back to this first word, after a review of the words that follow.

The Second Word

“Verily I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43) In order that the indignity of the death to which He was condemned might be enhanced, our Lord, as we know, was crucified between two thieves, the one on His right hand and the other on His left. It was to one of these, to the one either who before being led to execution or who while hanging on the cross had repented of all his life-long wickedness, of his murders, and violences, and robberies, that our Lord, when dying, addressed the second of His sayings. This may be a discomforting word for those who would wish to limit God’s grace in some way. “Why should someone who has lead a life of crime be admitted so readily into Paradise?” But let us consider that someone in the midst of dying the unthinkably horrible death of crucifixion is hardly to be interested in some political movement or leader, is he? Is not this episode so very important, not just in terms of its historical context, but also for generations that have followed? This man, hanging on the cross, dying on the cross beside Jesus saw what others apparently failed to see – the Kingliness of Jesus Christ. In his penitence, he had nothing to plead but Jesus Himself; and that is how any of us should approach confession of our sins.

The Third Word

“Woman, behold thy Son. Behold thy Mother.” (John 19:26-27) Even though last night, following the Last Supper, all of His disciples forsook Him and fled, here on Calvary, He is not alone. We might look at this word purely in practical terms: Jewish society unhappily condemned widowed women who had no children to a life of beggarly poverty. We think of the widow of Nain whose only son had died, and which son, compassionately, Jesus brought back to life.

Tradition states that Jesus’ adoptive earthly father, St. Joseph, in being much older than Mary, had died years before Calvary. Tradition further maintains that our Blessed Lord was the only offspring of Mary – those referred to as his brothers and sisters being relatives. The word that we translate from either Greek or Hebrew into English as “brother” can also mean a close male relative – cousin, nephew, half-brother. Thus, when our Lord was to be taken from her, Mary indeed would be desolate. It is also remarkable that John does not use the name “Mary” in recounting this episode. She is the “Mother of Jesus;” and, “woman.” Just like the previous word, is not this also perhaps of significant importance for generations that follow? John seems to be saying to us, “This is not just Mary of Nazareth, she is the Mother, and she is the Woman that was foretold in Genesis, who would not submit to Satan, as Eve did, but would crush his head with her heel.” In that the disciple at the foot of the cross is also not identified by name, but always understood to be John himself, does he not also perhaps represent all of us? Mary, Mother of God Incarnate; therefore the perfect Mother, the model – our Mother.

The Fourth Word

“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46) The first three words which we have thus far somewhat considered would seem to have been spoken by our Lord when first nailed to the cross. It was not until nearly the three hours had elapsed, until He was drawing near unto death, that the four following sayings were spoken. During this interval, while there was darkness over all the land, He remained silent. In all that He had said previous to the darkness, the reference had been solely to others: to those who crucified Him, to the penitent thief, and to His Blessed Mother and St. John. In all that now follows, the reference is solely to Himself. With our Lord, even when dying, it is others first, then Himself. Three of these last four words concerning Himself are taken from the Psalms, and it is supposed that the other also, "It is finished" was the original ending of the twenty-second Psalm.

In this fourth word, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” is Jesus crying out in apparent abandonment by His Father, or is He quoting Psalm 22 which begins in apparent tragedy, prophesies in particular detail events that would happen on this very day, and then ends in triumph? Certainly, we must not minimize the words themselves; our Lord must indeed have felt the unimaginable weight of the sins of all mankind, past, present and future. How could any bear such a burden and not feel alone, yea, abandoned, forsaken?

Many western Christians, since the Reformation, maintain that this word signifies that, at this point, Jesus was separated from God the Father. Martin Luther said, “God forsaking God! Who can understand it?” Indeed, how can God be separated from God? We must also keep in mind the ever-present acknowledgement that the Old Testament is fulfilled in the New. If our Lord was not purposefully quoting Psalm 22, and we accept the current Reformed thinking that this word signifies nothing more than Jesus being separated from God the Father, I fail to see how there is any fulfilment of the Old in the New here. If, however, as has traditionally been understood, His words were full of purpose, then the fulfilment is rather more obvious. Surely we must also note that Psalm 22 also contains phrases that were being fulfilled before the very eyes of those who witnessed the Crucifixion: “They pierced my hands and my feet … they stand staring and looking upon me … they part my garments among them, and cast lost upon my vesture”.

And further, contextually, might this fourth word also be intended, not just for Jewish hearers who would have recognized one of their hymns, for that is what the Psalms were and are to them, but also for all generations who would follow? When we feel spiritually forsaken, abandoned, do we dwell in misery, or do we look ahead to the promise of triumph, as does Psalm 22, as did our Lord - as St. Paul in his letter to the Philippians stated, “Jesus, for the joy that was set before Him, endured the Cross?”

The Fifth Word

“I thirst.” (John 19:28) Time passes slowly; His remaining strength is failing; as we have heard in other graphic descriptions of what is the usual consequence of crucifixion, He is beginning to suffocate. Loss of blood, such as our Lord had already experienced in His agony in the Garden, during his flogging, the painful crown of thorns; loss of blood can precipitate the most agonizing thirst. Is this the moment for which the Tempter has been waiting? Through the voices of the cynical onlookers do we hear Satan echoing his invitation from the wilderness temptation for Jesus to prove Himself, “Save yourself, and impress the people?”

On Shrove Tuesday this year, the eve of Lent, we commemorated the life of the late 19th and early 20th century Bishop of Lincoln, Edward King, of whom it was said by a Roman Catholic priest, “Of course I do not believe that no Protestant can go to Heaven. I have known many Protestants whom I firmly believe to be in Heaven, and I have known some that I believe went straight to Heaven without passing through Purgatory. Edward King is the one that comes first to mind.” Aside from his preaching and personal holiness, King, with his well-developed understanding of Jesus being both fully God and fully man, was wont to encourage his flock to recognize that we are fully human. Of this word from the Cross, King observed, “Our Lord did thirst as any mere man might thirst, and He was not above saying so--not above expressing a weakness of body. Let us not then be above saying we are tired; let us not be above saying we cannot do so much as others, that we cannot stay so long on our knees as others do, that we cannot fast so long as others, and let us not be ashamed to own it and eat. If we find that we cannot do without a little more sleep than others, then let us have it. Let us not be ashamed that we are human beings, and that we have various degrees of weakness, and are not such perfect models as we are tempted sometimes to appear. Let us not be above honestly saying, ‘I am tired, I cannot go to church four or five times a day as some people do. I may get better, I may learn to do more. I trust I may, but I cannot now.’ Our Lord could have kept back this word, but he said, ‘I thirst,’ and I thank Him from my heart, for it is a word of sympathy with me in my frequent bodily weariness, when I am trying to do the will of God. For we do get tired, physically tired, even in prayer. Let us be real and true, admit the fact that we are of different degrees of strength, and we cannot do what some people do. We should be much more cheerful, much better tempered, much happier, and. get on much better with our spiritual duties if sometimes we had the humble courage to say, ‘I can not do so much as you do, but I try, and I hope God will lead me on’.”

Our Lord was indeed physically thirsty when he uttered this word, and as King observes, that should be for us both sympathetic and encouraging. But might we not, as in the case of the previous word, also find an equally, yea even perhaps more significant fulfilment of the Old in the New yet again. The Psalmist expressed our own spiritual thirst, our souls’ built-in desire of love for God, more than once, “My soul is athirst for God, yea even for the living God,” and, “Like as the hart desireth the water-brooks, so longeth my soul after Thee, O God.” In this, His very last hour, almost His last breath, was our Lord, in the matchless Divine Love that God has for each human soul, expressing His thirst for human souls?

The Sixth Word

“It is finished.” (John 19:30) This particular word is one that we often clarify in terms of the proper understanding of the word ‘finished.’ Better translations for the modern English speaking world might be ‘accomplished,’ or even ‘consummated.’ But even these fall short of expressing fully the meaning of what our Lord meant. When our Lord, speaking for the sixth time from the cross, said, “It is finished,” He used these words in a sense in which none other than He could use them. Everything which He had come into this world to do was accomplished--perfectly, entirely, thoroughly, completely, finished--so that there was nothing lacking, nothing that could be added, nothing that could be further done. He had fulfilled all that the prophets had foretold, He had realized every type of the Old Testament Scriptures, He had wrought every miracle that He came to perform, spoken every word that He was to speak, set up and established the New Kingdom, His Church, instituted the Sacraments, and made, by His now dying on the Cross, a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world. He had done all that was to be done, or that could be done, and had done all in such a way that in regard of every single detail thereof, as His eyes were now closing in death, He could say, “It is finished.” It could not be better, more perfectly, more entirely accomplished than it is. It could not have been brought to a more thorough and complete end than it has been: “It is finished.”

How does this apply to us today, beyond the obvious of encouraging us, by His example to complete any task that we undertake? Certainly, as it relates to the existence of the Traditional Anglican Communion, while we try to remain steadfast to our Lord’s most obvious instructions in terms of how the Church is to be ordered, other parts of the Church in the western world seem bent on revisiting so much of what our Lord said, what He did, what He ordained, what He consummated – glibly claiming that they know better than God by saying such things as, “If Jesus were alive today, He would have done this, that and the other thing differently than He did two thousand years ago.” The import of, “It is finished, accomplished, consummated, perfectly and finally completed” seems to be lost on them. Lest we Anglican Catholics become guilty of pride, collectively and individually, we must acknowledge our own less-than-perfect record of following His commandments and examples.

The Seventh Word

“Father, into thy hands, I commend my spirit.” (Luke 23:46) Before we visit this last word in any depth, might we return to the first word that begins the same way, “Father?”

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” This is a word of prayer; and, as mentioned, offered on behalf of others. It is also a word of majesty, proclaiming the Divinity of the Sufferer. It is a priestly Word, a Word of absolution. It may have been spoken before the Cross was lifted up, when the nails were actually piercing those blessed hands.

Our Lord’s life was begun, continued, and ended in prayer. His first recorded words were that He must be in His Father’s house, about His Father’s business; and, as the perfect prayer which He taught us begins with the words “Our Father,” so on the Cross His first and last word is “Father.”

Let us visit the scene in some detail. The Cross is laid on the ground. Jesus is stripped and thrown roughly on to the Cross. Nails are driven into the hands and feet. The Cross is jerked up, throwing the whole weight of the body upon the tortured hands and feet. Then with a sickening jar, the Cross is dropped into the hole prepared for it, and wedges of wood are driven in to steady and support it, each blow of the hammer sending a thrill of agony through the whole of our Lord’s body. And He meets each fresh thrill with the prayer, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” The Greek makes it quite plain that this word was not spoken just once. A better translation might be “Jesus kept on saying, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing’.” Nor was it for the soldiers only, who drove the nails and lifted up the Cross, that He prayed. Darkness falls upon the earth, and here is the thought that is truly beyond comprehension - hell empties itself from all sins accumulated there throughout all the ages of the fallen human race.

Adam brings his sin and places it into the outstretched arms of the Adam, the Man on the Cross. Cain presents his crime. The generations that perished in the Flood because of their sins; Sodom and Gomorrah carry their heavy load and place it into the heart of the Crucified One. Idolaters and blasphemers, adulterers and thieves, all who rebelled against God also follow this dark, ghostly procession to His Cross. Here come Pharoah, Judas Iscariot, also Caiaphas and Pilate, scribes and Pharisees, and add to the load placed on the Son of Man.

For those who passed by and railed on Him, wagging their heads and saying, “Ah, Thou that destroyest the Temple, and buildest it in three days, save Thyself and come down from the Cross,” for the Chief Priests who mocked and said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save,” and for all who took part, He prays, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Ah yes, here comes Nero and the other Caesars who threw Christ’s believers to wild beasts, or crucified them in the arena. Behind them follows another endless stream of those who have accumulated sins during the two thousand years since His Crucifixion. Everyone carries his own heavy burden and loads it upon the Man on the Cross. Now I see myself, with all my many, many sins, nearing the Cross. I load them all on Jesus, nearly collapsing under the weight of just my own sins myself.

All hell of the past and future emptied itself completely during those three hours of Calvary. Nothing was left behind, nothing forgotten, omitted or neglected. Everything was loaded upon the Son of Man. These are the contents of Good Friday as men made it. Beyond comprehension.

But not only hell, also heaven was opened that day. All the infinite Might of God poured down to the earth that the Crucified One could be strong enough to accept the terrific burden of the world. Man and God in one on the Cross! As Man, He took the sin of the world, the sin of all men, and as God, He let it die in His Holiness. He accepted the death of the world and returned life to His earth. Of all His miracles, this was the greatest, which far exceeds human imagination and understanding.

Must we not marvel at the power, the absolute self-control which refused to be crushed by the nails driven through hands and feet, or by a wreath of thorns pressed down on a weary head, or by the taunts of coarse soldiers, or by the sarcasm and jeering from the priests, scribes and Pharisees who were just so happy over their clever scheming that had at last disposed of this prophet of Nazareth? This Prophet could have asserted His power, and confounded them all; but He shows a more excellent way, and with amazing control over Himself and the whole situation, He calls out, “Father, forgive them.”

“Revenge is sweet” – so goes the Proverb. Is it really? “Forgiveness is sweeter.” There are many human hearts in the world that are chilled and hardened because they demanded reparation and revenge from those who wronged them; they asked for justice, and when justice extended its hand to them, it was as cold as ice. Might we all think personally of our own experience under the shadow of the Cross? Can we recall a time when we have forgiven anyone a wrong, and been sorry for it afterwards? To forgive without exacting any condition whatever is a great thing. It makes us resemble Christ Himself. To be great means to have a great soul. There is nothing that we can desire that could be more precious. A great intellect, a great name, a great influence, a great popularity may be desirable in many ways. But none of these can compare with a great soul, which is within the reach of each of us. One of the indications of a great soul, following the example of Jesus, is to forgive, from the bottom of our hearts, anyone and everyone who may have wronged us.

“Forgive.” It is the first word that echoes from the Cross to each of us. Is there anyone who has hurt any of us? Please let us forgive them, as God forgives us. Always forgive, otherwise we may not be forgiven. Forgive in our hearts, and also say it aloud as Christ did, to those whom we forgive. Let us not say that it is difficult; let us not count the cost of our forgiveness; but rather, let us remember how much it cost God to forgive each one of us. Father, forgive all of your human creatures whose sins nailed your only begotten Son to that Cross; they know not what they were doing.

“Father, forgive them.” “Father, into Thy hands, I commend my spirit.” And so from the first Word to the seventh, everything begins and ends with God the Father. Now at the very end, Jesus quotes another Psalm – 31, “Into thy hands, I commend my spirit, for thou hast redeemed me, O Lord, thou God of truth.” We have come to the last, the supreme moment. Jesus is dying. His sacred head is sinking down upon His breast. The light is going out from those loving eyes. Almost the last drop of his blood has oozed out and trickled down from those cruel wounds. The earth is quaking; the graves are opening; the rocks are rending; the darkness is growing thicker and blacker; the veil of the temple is parting asunder from top to bottom; and the people are beginning to smite upon their breasts and to hide their faces. The Divine Sufferer has but one more, only one single more breath to expire, and with it--listen--listen--as if summoning back all His energy, all His life, He lifts up His voice, and with a cry that pierces even to Heaven, He pours forth from those lips, by which the tidings of a lost world's salvation was proclaimed, His last, last words: "Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit." "I now give up the breath of life, I cease to breathe and to live, but this spirit, this life, I commend to Thee, O Father, that after three days Thou may restore it to my body again."

All is over. Jesus is dead. There He hangs lifeless, crucified and slain for us men, and for our salvation. And as we look up to Him with adoring love and gratitude, and with the echo of these last words still sounding in our ears, how shall we use these words? First of all, will they move us with gratitude for all that was accomplished for us and for all mankind on this day? Will they be a source of inspiration so that we might resolve to be more like Christ, our Master and example? Will they move us to seek only the will of the heavenly Father in our own lives – to give up ourselves – body, mind, and spirit, into the hands of our faithful Creator; and to be content to let Him direct and rule our hearts in everything that concerns us, from the least to the greatest thing? Shall we see His hands in all things, yea, whether living or dying? Might we make our last words at night, as our eyes close in sleep the same words of our Blessed, dying Saviour, “Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit?” Every time we approach the altar to commemorate His most precious death, might we repeat them, as have generations of saints before us? And then, with our own last, expiring breath when we too shall be dying, might we make them our own last words!

The Seven Last Words. Simply words of agony from the lips of a dying criminal? Or words with eternal meaning, each and every one of them, from the heart of God incarnate? Our first hymn observed in verse 3, “Seven times he spake, seven words of love.” Divine Love suffered Crucifixion for each one of us. All was done in accordance with the will of God the Father; all was done for the sake of fallen humanity. Today then is a day when we kneel as we would on no other day, at the foot of the Cross and bewail our sins that nailed Him to that tree; when we renounce one by one the sins of our past: our pride, our coldness and hardness of heart, our rash and idle words spoken hastily, our impiety, our anger and malice, our impurity, our dishonesty, our untruthfulness, our covetousness. But also for praying that in our humble attempts we may be enabled ever hereafter to walk in the blessed steps of the most holy life of Him who was truth, and patience, and tenderness, and spotless purity, who was silent before His accusers, who did humble Himself even to the death upon the cross, and even when dying could be mindful of the needs of his mother and brethren.

Today is a day for the lowliest adoration but also for the highest worship. If indeed it be God Incarnate Who hangs on that Cross, dying for each and every one of us, how can we possibly express our gratitude for His unspeakable act of Love? Surely, within our hearts, we should proclaim as never before, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing!”


Thursday, April 21, 2011

American TAC priest writes on "Holy Weak"

If you get to the end of the Lenten season and say "wow, I really did great this year!" there is a good chance that you really did awful. Yet, we are supposed to feel like we have grown in our faith and are able to love God and neighbor more than we did before. God wants us to be encouraged. It is this tension that Paul saw and tried to root out of the Church in Corinth. This is why he also pointed out to them that Jesus said "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Cor 12:9). When we hold on to the two different ideas it can be confusing, but the world we live in is created that way. "You have to go down to go up." If you have grown into a deeper relationship with Christ, then your heart should be saying both "I am weak" and "Jesus is strong", so that you can also say "I have grown" and do so without pride.

In this Holy Week are you feeling a bit weak? I know I am, and I also know that is a good thing. When we are weak and pliable, then we are able to be used. Dried clay is set and is only useful for one purpose; wet clay can be formed for many uses. Strength in the flesh will only make us break like clay pots when God calls us to service. None of us who are waiting to be received into the Catholic Church knows exactly what we will be called to do; that can be frightening. Let us accept our weakness, seeing that Christ appeared as weak on these days of the Triduum. Yet in that apparent weakness was found the greatest strength man can know. The strength of faithfulness and determination; the strength of the accomplishment of our redemption; the strength that led to the victory of the Resurrection of that first Easter morning. When we are weak, then we are strong.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A blast from the past

We've all heard versions of the proverbial story about the Christian woman or man who gushes out a manuscript on coffee stained three-hole binder paper, and through providential circumstances, the novel or true life story gets published and ends up being a best seller.

"It is was all God," they say, teary-eyed. "I give Him all the glory."

Those of us who have spent years honing our craft, going through many rewrites, the pain of rejection, the sometimes brutal critiquing process, and more rewrites say, huh?

And the less gracious among us might mutter to ourselves, well, if God wrote that, don't you think He'd do a better job?

Anna Arco: A whole community coming into the Catholic Church together

The whole process of reception and confirmation, when Mgr Newton welcomed each new Catholic into the Church by name, called the Holy Spirit down on them and then anointed their foreheads with chrism, was incredible. It always is, but there was also the sense, last night, of a whole community coming into the Catholic Church together.

William Oddie on American Irish Catholics

Having never been to Ireland, I wouldn't know about this. But I grew up in a predominantly Irish Catholic neighborhood and many of my friends went to parochial school. I used to wish I were Irish.

The Cardinal introduced me to his secretary, then said, mischievously, Dr Oddie is an Englishman. Mrs so and so is Irish, he explained, as she glowered at me, she doesn’t like the English. Why not, I asked, puzzled: well because of the way you persecuted Irish Catholics, she said. Yes, I said, but they cruelly persecuted English Catholics, too, probably worse; I’m an English Catholic”. This was not a part of Catholic history of which she had been previously aware. She just knew that the Irish are supposed to hate the English.

Nor had she ever been to Ireland, about which she clearly knew nothing at all. I was an undergraduate in Dublin (one of the best decisions of my life) over fifty years ago, long before the vast improvement in Anglo-Irish relations that has taken place in recent years. In all my time there, including an extra postgraduate year, despite my evident Englishness I never once encountered anything but friendliness and courtesy.

From Irish Americans, I have through the years encountered a certain amount of discourtesy. “I’m Irish”, was the explanation, the first time I came across this phenomenon. “Really” I replied, genuinely puzzled, I wasn’t being a smartass; “you sound American to me: what part of Ireland do you come from?” He, too, had never been to Ireland. Neither had his father or his grandfather. But they all called themselves simply “Irish”, tout court.

“I don’t understand it”, said Archbishop Martin last week; “American sentimentalism for a country they don’t know, it’s not my dish”. Well, it’s not my dish, either. It can be entirely harmless, of course (though the real Irish do sometimes regard the phenomenon with puzzlement) and it does help the tourist trade. I remember, one St. Patrick’s day, in the entrance hall of a Dublin hotel, watching in astonishment as a group of Irish Americans, all dressed in bright emerald-green suits, stood drinking pints of bright green beer and smoking huge bright green cigars.

Father Z on the Holy Father's Wednesday audience

Father Z emphasizes some text and adds a comment (in red) to the Holy Father's Wednesday audience via Vatican Radio. Powerful, powerful stuff:

“Dear Brothers and Sisters, Tomorrow marks the beginning of the Easter Triduum, the three days in which the Church commemorates the mystery of the Lord’s passion, death and resurrection. The liturgies of these days invite us to ponder the loving obedience of Christ who, having become like us in all things but sin, resisted temptation and freely surrendered himself to the Father’s will. Tomorrow, at the Chrism Mass, priests renew their ordination promises, the sacred oils are blessed, and we celebrate the grace of the crucified and risen Lord which comes to us through the Church’s sacramental life. On the evening of Holy Thursday, the Mass of the Lord’s Supper begins the actual Triduum and recalls the institution of the sacraments of the Eucharist and Holy Orders”.

Reflecting more specifically on the episode of Christ’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, in comments in Italian the Pope noted that – not unlike the apostles who failed to hold vigil with Christ and were overcome by a “sleepiness” – “It ‘s our very sleepiness to the presence of God that renders us insensitive to evil: we don’t hear God because we don’t want to be disturbed, and so we remain indifferent to evil” [Though isn't it interesting that so much of our entertainment in the form of TV or movies or video games, and new reporting, is relentlessly filled with evil actions and images? Desensitizing, isn't it?]

Pope Benedict said that “Jesus experienced great anguish, such suffering as to sweat blood, aware of his imminent death on the cross”, but chooses to keep watch. This is “a matter of great importance for the Church” said Pope Benedict: “Jesus says to his disciples ‘stay here and keep vigil’, and this appeal to be vigilant concerns precisely this moment of anguish, of threat, but it also covers the entire history of the Church, it is a permanent message for all time because the disciples’ sleepiness is not a problem of that one moment, rather of the whole of history, “the sleepiness” is ours, of those of us who do not want to see the full force of evil and do not want to enter into his Passion”.

This reminds me of the experience I had of horror and evil, as if I was gazing into the gaping maw of hell, during my conversion. I became deeply and profoundly aware that Jesus knew about the horror of evil and that I was helpless against it on my own. It was an intuitive glimpse into the atonement that I still cannot put into words.

The other day, I attended a talk given by Dr. Edward Tingley, a philosophy professor in residence at Augustine College. It was called "Hear it with Eyes" about Christian Art.

But instead of the usual history of Christian art with explanations of the symbolism and so on, Tingley took a different approach, even though his talk was accompanied by a powerful video and slide presentation.

"We cannot start talking about art unless we first talk about the eyes that see," he said.

It was one of the most powerful sermons outlining how the wages of sin is death, using art, that I have ever heard.

"If you are a Christian you surely know that the world is a tomb," he said, noting being born again is the desire to get out of that tomb.

"What does the world want for you?. It wants you dead. The world will tease you with excitement and kill you. Sin is crouching at the door; it's desire is for you. It knows the kind of God you can settle for."

Christian art asks you to hear the Gospel, he said.

"Truly Christian art does not want you to look at it, it wants to look at you and peel you," he said.

The audience greeted the talk with stunned silence.

There should have been an altar call.

St Jerome 2 by Marinus Van Reymerswaele

Hilary says to remember Ratzenfreude

Hey, remember "Ratzenfreude"? Defined as "The expression of joy about others's dismay about the election of Pope Benedict XVI."

Upcoming trial highlights need for renewal

Here's a link to a story I wrote in advance of the trial of Bishop Raymond Lahey, coming up in early May.

OTTAWA (CCN)--When Bishop Raymond Lahey goes to trial on child pornography charges May 4, the anticipated news coverage will reopen wounds caused by the worldwide clerical sexual abuse, regardless of the trial’s outcome.

But observers say the pain provides an opportunity for needed renewal.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cool story about the Pope's daily schedule

From Time Magazine:

Until 2005, under John Paul II, the papal apartment was run by Polish nuns. The memores aren't nuns, do not wear religious garments, are laypeople and live in the world. But this isn't the first time that lay housekeepers are allowed inside the papal apartment. In 1922, upon his election, Pope Pius XI demanded that his housekeeper follow him inside the Vatican. When he was told this might seem inappropriate and had no precedent, Pius cut it short: "I'll be the first one then," he was said to have responded. (See more international news in Global Spin.)

Also part of Benedict's pontifical family is his aide Paolo Gabriele, who waits at the table and helps the Pope during trips and public events.

A typical "Benedictine" day:

The Pope's day begins at 7 a.m. with Mass; one hour later breakfast is served. At 9 a.m. the Pope goes into his private study, the one where he recites the Angelus prayer every Sunday, speaking from the window overlooking St. Peter's Square. He does his work in the study, where another consecrated laywoman, Birgit, helps him in her role as secretary and typist — she can read Benedict's tiny handwriting better than anyone else. (See pictures of the Path of Pope Benedict XVI)

Following Birgit in the study is Gänswein, the Pope's secretary, to discuss the day's agenda. Typically, the Pontiff works until 11 a.m., when audiences, or meetings, begin. At 1:15 p.m. lunch is served, with the secretaries and the memores sitting at the table with Benedict.

After a brief stroll in the roof garden, the Pope rests, to return to his private study at 4 p.m. He says the rosary and then resumes his work. After a prayer, dinner is served at 7:30 p.m., in time to watch the 8 p.m. newscast on RAI, the Italian state broadcaster. An hour later, the Pope says good night and retires, though he works some more before going to sleep.

Read more:,8599,2065958,00.html#ixzz1K1W58v3r

Alan Yoshioka objects to new policy

Bless you, my friend.

At a meeting of the Toronto Catholic school board last night a large crowd of parents took issue with board officials who were proposing a draft ‘equity’ policy.

One of the speakers who spoke on behalf of concerned parents, Alan Yoshioka, said he was himself a former homosexual activist. “I am a former gay activist, five years or more. I disagree with your treating the legitimate need for respect for all students with this imposition of a policy and groups that focus on sexual orientation,” he said.

“Love and respect for students is fine. [The issue is] how is that going to be implemented?” A Catholic school policy that contradicts Catholic teachings “is not acceptable,” he said to loud applause, according to the Catholic Register.

Hilary's excellent adventure

Rome is a very walk-able city and it often richly rewards those who eschew the horrible buses. That day, the buses looked particularly gruesome, and while all my friends mashed themselves on, I just couldn't face it. I waved them good bye and decided to walk, and to take a different route from the usual.

I ducked through the old ghetto and took the Tiber-side route past the back side of the Theatre of Marcellus, past S. Nichola in Carcere and around back of the Capitoline, glimpsed the edge of the Forum and took a long detour round the base of the Palatine and found myself, not entirely un-lost, at the bottom of the Circo Massimo where I heard drums.


My first thought was "Damn hippies!"
Go on over and read. Great pictures, too.

It's sad when Catholics think they need to leave the Church to find a stronger faith

The U.S. Religious Landscape Survey by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life has put hard numbers on the anecdotal evidence: One out of every 10 Americans is an ex-Catholic. If they were a separate denomination, they would be the third-largest denomination in the United States, after Catholics and Baptists. One of three people who were raised Catholic no longer identifies as Catholic.

Any other institution that lost one-third of its members would want to know why. But the U.S. bishops have never devoted any time at their national meetings to discussing the exodus. Nor have they spent a dime trying to find out why it is happening.

Thankfully, although the U.S. bishops have not supported research on people who have left the church, the Pew Center has.

Pew's data shows that those leaving the church are not homogenous. They can be divided into two major groups: those who become unaffiliated and those who become Protestant. Almost half of those leaving the church become unaffiliated and almost half become Protestant. Only about 10 percent of ex-Catholics join non-Christian religions. This article will focus on Catholics who have become Protestant. I am not saying that those who become unaffiliated are not important; I am leaving that discussion to another time.

Why do people leave the Catholic church to become Protestant? Liberal Catholics will tell you that Catholics are leaving because they disagree with the church's teaching on birth control, women priests, divorce, the bishops' interference in American politics, etc. Conservatives blame Vatican II, liberal priests and nuns, a permissive culture and the church's social justice agenda.

One of the reasons there is such disagreement is that we tend to think that everyone leaves for the same reason our friends, relatives and acquaintances have left. We fail to recognize that different people leave for different reasons. People who leave to join Protestant churches do so for different reasons than those who become unaffiliated. People who become evangelicals are different from Catholics who become members of mainline churches.

Spiritual needs

The principal reasons given by people who leave the church to become Protestant are that their "spiritual needs were not being met" in the Catholic church (71 percent) and they "found a religion they like more" (70 percent). Eighty-one percent of respondents say they joined their new church because they enjoy the religious service and style of worship of their new faith.

In other words, the Catholic church has failed to deliver what people consider fundamental products of religion: spiritual sustenance and a good worship service. And before conservatives blame the new liturgy, only 11 percent of those leaving complained that Catholicism had drifted too far from traditional practices such as the Latin Mass.

Dissatisfaction with how the church deals with spiritual needs and worship services dwarfs any disagreements over specific doctrines. While half of those who became Protestants say they left because they stopped believing in Catholic teaching, specific questions get much lower responses. Only 23 percent said they left because of the church's teaching on abortion and homosexuality; only 23 percent because of the church's teaching on divorce; only 21 percent because of the rule that priests cannot marry; only 16 percent because of the church's teaching on birth control; only 16 percent because of the way the church treats women; only 11 percent because they were unhappy with the teachings on poverty, war and the death penalty.

The data shows that disagreement over specific doctrines is not the main reason Catholics become Protestants. We also have lots of survey data showing that many Catholics who stay disagree with specific church teachings. Despite what theologians and bishops think, doctrine is not that important either to those who become Protestant or to those who stay Catholic.

People are not becoming Protestants because they disagree with specific Catholic teachings; people are leaving because the church does not meet their spiritual needs and they find Protestant worship service better.

Nor are the people becoming Protestants lazy or lax Christians. In fact, they attend worship services at a higher rate than those who remain Catholic. While 42 percent of Catholics who stay attend services weekly, 63 percent of Catholics who become Protestants go to church every week. That is a 21 percentage-point difference.

Catholics who became Protestant also claim to have a stronger faith now than when they were children or teenagers. Seventy-one percent say their faith is "very strong," while only 35 percent and 22 percent reported that their faith was very strong when they were children and teenagers, respectively. On the other hand, only 46 percent of those who are still Catholic report their faith as "very strong" today as an adult.