Deborah Gyapong: May 2011

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

More gays than Catholics?

Who woulda thunk it? Apparently, lots of Americans have.

Let’s take a survey: Are Americans (a) really bad at estimating, (b) really gullible, (c) both really gullible and really bad at estimating? After seeing the results of this Gallup survey, I think the answer is obvious:

U.S. adults, on average, estimate that 25% of Americans are gay or lesbian. More specifically, over half of Americans (52%) estimate that at least one in five Americans are gay or lesbian, including 35% who estimate that more than one in four are. Thirty percent put the figure at less than 15%.

As the Gallup articles points out, demographer Gary Gates recently released a review of population-based surveys on the topic which found 1.7% of Americans identify as lesbian or gay and another 1.8% (mostly women) identify as bisexual. Yet, as economist Karl Smith notes, “most Americans believe that there are significantly more gays and lesbians than blacks (12.6%) or Hispanics (16.3%) and 35% of Americans believe there are as many or more gays than Catholics (~25%).”

Why do Americans think there are so many gays in the U.S.? Maybe they are basing their estimations on what they see on television.

In which Janet Smith takes on Thomas Aquinas and Augustine

And wins, in my opinion. Great arguments. Read it all at First Things. Here's the opening:

The exposé of Planned Parenthood engineered by Live Action has not only disclosed some illegal and immoral operations of Planned Parenthood, it has also revealed sharp divergences in the pro-life movement and Catholic community about what counts as lying. Pro-lifers are, of course, thrilled that more of the evildoing of Planned Parenthood has been brought before the public, leading many legislators to vote to cease government funding of the organization. But some ask: By utilizing actors posing as pimps and prostitutes and falsely claiming to employ fourteen- and fifteen-year-old sex workers who need abortions and gynecological services, did Live Action use an evil means to a good end?

A different look at the preferential option for the poor

Great essay over at First Things:


But we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that there is a unifying consensus: The moral character of a nation is measured to a large degree by its concern for the poor.

On this point I agree with many friends on the left who argue that America doesn’t have a proper concern for the poor. Our failure, however, is not merely economic. In fact, it’s not even mostly economic. A visit to the poorest neighborhoods of New York City or the most impoverished towns of rural Iowa immediately reveals poverty more profound and more pervasive than simple material want. Drugs, crime, sexual exploitation, the collapse of marriage—the sheer brutality and ugliness of the lives of many of the poor in America is shocking. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us, poverty is not only material; it is also moral, cultural, and religious (CCC 2444), and just these sorts of poverty are painfully evident today. Increasing the minimum wage or the earned-income tax credit won’t help alleviate this impoverishment.

We can’t restore a culture of marriage, for example, by spending more money on it. A recent report on marriage in America from the National Marriage Project under the leadership of W. Bradford Wilcox, When Marriage Disappears: The New Middle America, paints a grim picture. The lower you are on the social scale, the more likely you are to be divorced, to cohabit while unmarried, to have more sexual partners, and to commit adultery. One of the most arresting statistics concerns children born out of wedlock. In the late 2000s, among women fifteen to forty-four years old who have dropped out of high school, more than half of those who give birth do so while unmarried. And this is true not only of those at the bottom. Among high-school graduates and women with technical training—in other words, the struggling middle class—nearly half of the women who give birth are unmarried.

A friend of mine who works as a nurse’s aide recently observed that his coworkers careen from personal crisis to personal crisis. As he told me, “Only yesterday I had to hear the complaints of one woman who was fighting with both her husband and her boyfriend.” It’s this atmosphere of personal disintegration and not the drudgery of the job—which is by no means negligible for a nurse’s aide—that he finds demoralizing.

Teachers can tell similar tales. The wife of another friend told me that her middle-school students in a small town in Iowa were perplexed by Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter: “What’s the big deal about Hester and Reverend Dimmesdale gettin’ it on?” It was a sentiment that she wearily told me was of a piece with the meth labs, malt liquor, teen pregnancies, and a general atmosphere of social collapse.

Preferential option for the poor. A Christian who hopes to follow the teachings of Jesus needs to reckon with a singular fact about American poverty: Its deepest and most debilitating deficits are moral, not financial; the most serious deprivations are cultural, not economic. Many people living at the bottom of American society have cell phones, flat-screen TVs, and some of the other goodies of consumer culture. But their lives are a mess.

Mentor priest visits Toronto Ordinariate group

Fr Bill Foote, appointed by Archbishop Collins to visit and mentor groups of Anglicans and Catholics who wish to enter the Ordinariate, visited the Toronto Group on 29 May. As Fr Foote put it, in guiding groups of Anglicans toward entering into the full communion of the Catholic Church, his job is to be “the horse’s mouth.” Here is what we heard from the horse’s mouth:

Anglicanorum Coetibus does not propose to establish a kind of uniate structure, where entire jurisdictions “unite” with Rome. Rather, the Apostolic Constitution provides a bridge or doorway, so that individuals and groups may journey together to enter into the Catholic Church, and find room within the Latin rite for former Anglicans, now Catholic, to preserve their liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions, a gift for the whole Church.

Fr Foote emphasized the necessity of personal choice and commitment. To enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church – to become Catholics – each person must make a profession of faith, to the effect that he or she believes everything that the Catholic Church believes and teaches. If an individual is already baptized, he or she will then be confirmed.

The Toronto Group is relatively small. Our contact list extends to about 30 people, but it is unclear how many have sent letters to Archbishop Collins, and therefore how many are prepared, at present, to be received into the Catholic Church, or (if already Catholic) to enter the Ordinariate. However, Fr Foote stated that very few are needed to constitute a viable worshipping community. Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt 18.20). The 14 people we had gathered to hear Fr Foote on Sunday would be enough to provide the basis for building a parish. (With reference to numbers, Fr Phillips has provided a reflection on little acorns.)

Accordingly, an Ordinariate parish in Toronto will be established.

Fr Foote speculated that it would be very possible for the initial group of Anglicans, who wish to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church, to begin catechetical instruction in September (possibly using the Evangelium program), with a view to being received in Advent. This would mean that an Ordinariate parish in Toronto would be able to celebrate its first mass by Christmas.

Importantly, Fr Foote made the point that catechesis beginning in the fall could accommodate people who aren’t yet sure of their decision. To enter a program of preparation does not imply an obligation to be received! At least initially, then, anyone would be welcome who wishes to join catechesis in order to explore the Catholic faith and discern whether God is calling them to enter the Church through the Ordinariate.

Finally, Fr Foote raised the issue of irregular marriages - that is, anyone who has been remarried should consult a Catholic priest to determine what should be done in their situation. He made the point that divorce is not an issue, but that remarriage is potentially a barrier to communion.

We are grateful to Fr Foote for spending time with us, despite the demands of his regular Sunday duties and the concerns of a large parish, and welcome his guidance, and that of Archbishop Collins, as we joyfully seek to respond to the Holy Father’s invitation.

Balthasar on the Petrine Element

Notwithstanding all the problems connected with the papacy throughout the history of the Church, two things speak in favor of its recognition within the Communio Sanctorum and its apostolicity.

In the first place (and we have already touched upon this) the Petrine element is taken for granted, so to speak, right at the beginning, in the Petrine texts of the New Testament. And of these the most impressive is not the passage in Matthew but rather the overpowering apotheosis of Peter at the end of John's Gospel of love, which begins with the choosing of Peter in the first chapter and contains, at its center, the Apostle's great confession of faith in the Lord.

The Lukan text, in which Peter is commissioned to strengthen his brethren, is no less striking than the passage in Matthew. Then there are the very many other places in Gospels, letters, and in the Acts of the Apostles. How can anyone who claims to adhere to the Word-the Word alone-fail to be profoundly struck by these texts?

In addition there is the fact that, since the first and second centuries, an undisputed primacy of the Apostolic See has been attributed to the Bishop of the Roman community. Rome had no need to demand to be recognized; rather, it was unquestioningly acknowledged, as we can see from the Letter of Clement, the Letter of Ignatius, from Irenaeus, from the sober Admonition to Pope Victor, etc. The principle of primacy had long been established by the time Rome allegedly began to put forward exaggerated claims when starting to develop its own theology of primacy. There can be many differing views as to when these increasing claims began to be unevangelical and intolerable within the context of the Church–in the fourth or ninth or twelfth century–but the "unhappy fact" had already taken place.

One can only try to restore an internal balance within the Church, as the Second Vatican Council saw its task to be; it is impossible to abolish the principle without truncating the gospel itself.

The second argument for the Petrine principle is the qualitative difference between the unity of life and doctrine within the "Roman" Catholic Church and the unity that exists within all other, Christian communions. For, if we begin with the Orthodox, no- ecumenical council has been able to unite them since their separation from Rome. And if we turn to the innumerable ecclesial communities that arose from the Reformation and subsequently, even though they are members of the World Council of Churches, they have scarcely managed to get any further than a "convergence" toward unity. And this unity, as we see ever more clearly, remains an eschatological ideal. Christ, however, wanted more for his Church than this.

If we look only from the outside, the Petrine principle is the sole or the decisive principle of unity in the Catholica. Above it is the principle of the pneumatic and eucharistic Christ and his everliving presence through the apostolic element, i.e., sacramental office, fully empowered to make Christ present, and tradition, actualizing what is testified to in Scripture.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day, my peeps

Hillbuzz has this magnificent rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.

Hillbuzz gets goosebumps over this photo

Here is a photo that literally gave me goosebumps. It’s from SarahPac.com, shared by a couple of Alert Readers.

Sarah Palin and LTC Allen West (R-Florida) at Rolling Thunder 2011 | Hillbuzz.org

Sentimental journey

I went off to the gym tonight and while I was trying to read First Things Magazine on the recumbent bike thingamajig and doing the weight machines, the club was playing all these old songs from my teenage years such as You are my special angel.

And Do you want to dance.

So while I was looking for some of these songs on You Tube, I came across this song done by some old friends of mine.

Fr. Hezuk Shroff's testimony


I posted pictures of his ordination here. This is an excerpt of the profile I did no his faith journey to the Catholic Church and the priesthood.


OTTAWA - When Father Hezuk Shroff thinks of his journey from the Zoroastrian faith to the Catholic Church, he thinks of the journey of the Magi.

Oral tradition holds that the Magi were Zoroastrian priests, Shroff said in an interview after his recent ordination.

"The Zoroastrian priests took a tremendous long journey across a desert, a physical pilgrimage and an interior spiritual pilgrimage, and knelt before the Christ child in the manger," he said.

"I was raised in that faith, and little by little God was leading me towards the fullness of revelation of Christ. That was my pilgrimage through the desert to the stable of Bethlehem."

Born in Calcutta, India, in 1971, Shroff came to Canada in 1975 with parents and younger sister. They practised the ancient Zoroastrian faith that can be traced back to Persia and the Prophet Zoroaster.

A dualistic religion that believes in principles of good and evil, light and darkness, the Zoroastrian faith stresses "good thoughts, good words and good deeds," he said.

Though his family was not especially religious, they became involved in Ottawa's small Zoroastrian community. An introspective and shy child, he found something beautiful in religion.

But his personal encounter with God did not come until he was studying biochemistry at McGill University in Montreal. His roommate, a "fervent practising Christian, a Pentecostal, introduced me to the Gospel, the message of the Christian faith and the person of Jesus," he said.

SATURDAY MASS

Shroff attended a nondenominational Christian church for two years before he accompanied a Catholic friend to the Saturday afternoon Mass at St. Patrick's Basilica in Montreal.

"I had a very deep encounter with God during the Mass," he said. "I left there thinking to myself, this is where I'm supposed to be."

He began reading on his own, books like the Confessions of St. Augustine, and Thomas à Kempis' Imitation of Christ. The Eucharist - "that God comes to us especially in the Eucharist" - and the Virgin Mary were the two strongest attractions, he said.

In his study of Church history, he began to realize the Catholic Church was doing the same things the early Christian Church did 2,000 years ago.

Shroff did not tell his Christian friends he was becoming Catholic, though he told some of the leaders to tell them he was going to be attending another church.

A BIBLE CHURCH

"So long as it's a Bible church," they told him.

He wanted to say, "Yes it is, this is the Church that gave us the Bible," but he wanted to leave on peaceful terms.

Conversion story at The Anglo-Catholic

I love reading about peoples' faith journeys. I like writing about them, too.

Here's an excerpt of a long but interesting post by a medical doctor who grew up Baptist, became and Anglican and is now Catholic, posted over at The Anglo-Catholic:

We explained that we were not renouncing our denominational upbringing as though it had somehow become evil or harmful. Rather, while remaining thankful for how God had used our prior traditions, were now building and expanding upon them. The process was one of growth, not replacement; of addition, not subtraction. One immediate result was a richer closeness in our marriage.

To be sure, the Catholic Church contains sinful, erring humans. But the Church is, certainly, the best place for sinners to be. What matters is that she is Christ’s Church—and the Church of Francis of Assisi; the Celtic saints; Newman and numerous Anglican converts; teachers such as Augustine, Aquinas, and Ignatius; and untold thinkers, heroes, martyrs, and holy men and women. Among them, no doubt, were some of my English forebears.


I like the attitude of this man who is thankful for how God had used his prior traditions and is building and expanding, adding not subtracting.

Religious freedom and Vatican II

An interesting story from Sandro Magister that frames an interesting ongoing debate:

ROME, April 28, 2011 – In the memorable speech that Benedict XVI gave to the Roman curia on December 22 of 2005, on how to interpret Vatican Council II, there is a point that still continues to be a source of conflict today.

It concerns the freedom of religion.

On this point, the Council innovated in a decisive way. It affirmed what various popes had denied before: the freedom of every citizen to practice his own religion, even if it was "false."

The 1864 encyclical "Quanta Cura" by Pius IX had explicitly condemned such freedom. Only the one true religion, the Catholic religion, deserved full right of citizenship in a state. The practice of other faiths could only be tolerated, within certain limits.

Vatican Council II, however, put at the center of the duties of a state not the truth, but the person. And it affirmed that recognition must be granted to every person's right to practice his religion, whatever it might be.

*

This innovation of the Council was immediately seen by many as a drastic rupture with respect to the tradition of the Church.

With great jubilation for those who saw in Vatican II a radiant and epochal "new beginning."

With great consternation for those who saw in it a sinister abandoning of right doctrine.

For Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and his followers, this innovation – together with others introduced by the Council – led to nothing less than schism.

But within the Catholic Church as well, there were some who maintained that this shift was mistaken and unacceptable.

It is no surprise, therefore, that Benedict XVI should have dedicated the entire final part of his speech on December 22, 2005 precisely to the analysis of this conciliar innovation. Which was not of "rupture" – he said – but of "renewal in continuity."

Pope Joseph Ratzinger explained that the Council, in affirming the freedom of religion, did in fact accept "an essential principle of the modern state" that various popes had previously opposed. But in doing this, it had not broken with "the deepest patrimony of the Church." On the contrary, it had put itself back "in full harmony" not only with the teaching of Jesus on the distinction between God and Caesar, but also "with the Church of the martyrs of all time," because they died precisely "for the freedom to profess their faith: a profession that no state can impose but which, instead, can only be claimed with God's grace in freedom of conscience."


I side with Papa Ratzinger and Vatican II on this one. But . . .in the distinction between God and Caesar, Caesar must not wander into the dictatorship of relativism either, pretending a kind of neutrality among religious beliefs that is in itself an ideological position that is then favored and imposed.

Interesting.

As I prepare to give a talk in Pittsburgh in June on blogging and the Church, one of the principles that is increasingly being driven home to me is that one must be careful not to take a verse of Scripture, or a line from a papal encyclical, or a section of Canon Law or a line in the Catechism and stress it in isolation and use it to hammer other people over the head.

What the Pope is doing is putting the papal decrees and Vatican II in a wider context and showing the continuity that way.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A little Jamie Glazov to provoke some thought today

Bit by bit, decorate it, arrange the details, find the ingredients, imagine it, choose it, get advice on it, shape it into a work without spectators, one which exists only for oneself, just for the shortest little moment of life.

—Michel Foucault, describing the pleasure of preparing oneself for suicide.

The Italian cheerleader for Hamas, Vittorio Arrigoni, has died at the hands of the Islamic terrorism that he venerated throughout his life. The fellow traveler journeyed to the Gaza Strip to prostrate himself before his secular deity, Hamas, and to assist its venture of perpetrating genocide against Israelis. Islamic terrorists, who call themselves “Salafists,” showed their gratitude to Arrigoni by kidnapping, mercilessly beating, and executing him.

This episode was, of course, all part of an expected script: even though the media and our higher literary culture never discuss the reasons, the historical record reveals one undeniable fact: like thousands of political pilgrims before him, Vittorio Arrigoni went to Gaza to die. Indeed, consciously or unconsciously, in their unquenchable quest for sacrificing human life on the altar of their utopian ideals, fellow travelers always lust for death, and if not the death of others, then of their own.

snip

Arrigoni is the contemporary poster boy for the political pilgrims who traveled to despotisms to help build the paradises in which they hoped to shed themselves of their own unwanted selves. They paid the ultimate price. And no lesser cost must be paid for the momentous transformation of sterilizing the unclean earth. Such disinfection can be made possible only by the purifying power of human blood — blood which, in the utopian enterprise, must, in the final chapter, become one’s own.

Who is doing the forced conversions?

From FrontPageMag.com


In recent weeks, we saw how the Muslim world’s obsession with gaining converts evinces, in the words of one Muslim intellectual, an “inferiority complex”—a deadly one at that.

As it happens, inferiority complex is not the only psychological ailment besetting the Muslim world: some Muslims are also projecting the worst traits of Islam onto the beleaguered Christian communities living among them.

Take Egypt’s Christian Copts, for example. Much of the recent violence inflicted upon them is based on the constant—but baseless—accusation that the Coptic Church is abducting and tormenting Coptic women who convert to Islam. Amazingly, it is precisely the opposite scenario—Muslims kidnapping Christian women and forcing them to convert to Islam—that is a notorious phenomenon in Egypt.

Privacy law trumps First Amendment?

SAN DIEGO (CN) - The First Amendment does not protect the conduct of two conservative activists who secretly filmed an employee of the national community organizing group Acorn, a federal judge ruled.
Juan Carlos Vera claimed James O'Keefe III and Hannah Giles visited his office in August 2009, and conspired to create video and audio tapes of him, even after asking him if their conversation would be confidential. The Acorn acronym stands for Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.
O'Keefe and Giles are best known for going undercover to discredit organizations like Acorn and Planned Parenthood. In one encounter, Giles posed as a prostitute and O'Keefe as a pimp to videotape an Acorn employee offering advice on how to run a tax-free brothel for underage sex workers.Link

Denyse O'Leary on why there aren't more Christian apologists

Read the whole thing, it is most interesting. Very sharp, that Denyse. She knows that reality matters, but it takes courage to face it and stand up for freedom. My bolds.


The upshot is that, the Christian risks more, speaking out, and is far more responsible for the need to have intelligent ideas. It’s much safer for Christians to bury themselves in fluffy Christian books and sweat off the flab in Christian weight loss programs, and little by little accommodate themselves to the reigning orthodoxy. After a couple of decades, they don’t even know.

How many readers have had this experience: One catches up some years later with a former small prayer group member, now twice divorced and in therapy, dressed like … oh let’s not go there, and talking a mile a minute, dumping all her programs, unsolicited, on her hearer, absolutely convinced that she bears no responsibility for her situation except insofar as she never indulged herself enough?

I am pleased to know you haven’t encountered it. But I have. The main thing to see is that she is now much more in tune with the world around her than she was when she was studying her way through Paul’s Letter to the Romans a decade and more earlier.

She’s not the one who will be standing in the dock; it’ll be her long-ago group study mate who refuses to recite some ridiculous orthodoxy about transvestism, Wicca, or Islam. But who is obviously more sane? And if you are committed Christian or observant Jew, who would you rather be? I mean, if God is watching.

All freedom comes at a cost: Courage. If people are unwilling to pay it, they could at least try to avoid assisting the persecution of those who can. But the problem is, the longer they avoid the conflict with reality, the less the benefits of freedom matter to them anyway. They don’t even understand what the brave are doing or why.

That’s the real risk that Wintery Knight’s silent passive Christian faces. In a few years, she doesn’t notice any conflict because there isn’t one. Instead of reading trashy Christian novels, she is now reading trashy secular ones because she is “free in the Spirit,” … and her therapist says it is good for her. Which settles it.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The perils of living in California

Victor Davis Hanson writes from personal experience:

December 2011: rear-ended by a texting driver; I called 9/11 and the police; she called “relatives” who arrived in two carloads. You get the picture. Luckily the police got there before her “family” did, and cited her. Still waiting to fix the dented truck.

March 2011: riding a bike in rural California, flipped over a “loose dog,” resulting in assorted injuries. Residents — well over 10 in various dwellings —claimed ignorance about the dogs outside their homes: no licenses, no vaccinations, no leashes, no fence. Final score: them: slammed door and shrugs; me: ruined bike, injuries, and a long walk home.

May 2011: two males drive in “looking to buy scrap metal.” They are politely told to leave. That night barn is burglarized and $1200 in property stolen.

Later May 2011: a female drives in van into front driveway with four males, “just looking to rent” neighbor’s house. They leave. Only later I learn they earlier came in the back way and had forced their way in, prying the back driveway gate, springing and bending armature.

Later May 2011: shop is burglarized — both bolt and padlock knocked off. Shelves stripped clean. It is the little things like this that aggravate Californians, especially when lectured not to sweat it by the academics on the coast and the politicians in Sacramento.

NB: I have been hit three times in the last 10 years: 1) driver ran stop sign, slammed into my truck, limped off, was run down and detained by me until police arrived; 2) speeding driver hit a mattress in the road (things such as that are rarely tied down by motorists in California), swerved, was hit, did a 180, braked, but still hit me at 45 mph head-on (survived due to the air bags of the Honda Accord); 3) rear-ended as explained above. But this time your wiser author, when the car rear-ended me at 50 mph, was driving a four-wheel-drive Toyota Tundra with huge tow bar in back; the texter was driving a Civic. Nuff said.

Such is life 180 miles — and a cosmos away — from the Stanford campus.

Hilary can make even shopping for sewing patterns interesting

My mother tried to force me to learn how to sew. She made me make a dress with her. Fat lotta good it did her. I never sewed a thing after that. As for mending? Sewing on buttons? I can barely thread a needle and sew a hem, though I did learn a few different stitches in home ec class. So stacks of items needing mending mount up. Once or twice a year I'll remember to get at the stack while I'm watching movies with the better half. I am soooooo undomestic. Though my cooking is not bad. And my friend Mary was impressed at how thorough my cleaning is, when I get around to it. Here's Hilary describing how hard it is to find sewing patterns in Italy.

The trouble is, that no matter how much news, political, medicine, cancer and reastaurant-related Italian I learn, none of it will be any use in a sewing shop.

I once was given the task for the parish of going to a sewing shop and obtaining iron-on pellon. I went to the shop and realised I was utterly at a loss. I spent 20 minutes in that tiny shop looking desperately around, unable to articulate to the shop people what I wanted, before I stumbled upon a packet of fusible interfacing, which more or less served.

Very specialised Italian is a bit of a problem for which dictionaries are useless. And I noticed that, as with most Italian shops, they don't mix the categories in the sewing world.

There's no such thing as "convenience shopping" in this country, and the boundaries between the types of things sold in different sorts of shops are very strictly maintained. It took me ages to figure out that although larger supermarkets will often sell barbeque briquettes and even the white firestarter stuff, they under no circumstances will sell you matches. Matches are sold only at tabacchi.

If you want to buy magazines, go to a newsagent. If you want to buy a packet of crisps and a soda, go to a grocery shop. If you want to buy shampoo and cosmetics, go to a profumeria. If you want to buy bandaids and mercurochrome, or fill a prescription, you have to to to a farmacia. The idea of combining these totally and rigidly separated categories of things into one shop and calling it a "drug store" or a "chemist" as we do in N. America and Britain, would be completely unfathomable to them. So, shopping involves a bit of skill in guessing, from what you know of the Italian mind, what sort of shop would sell the thing you want.

In addition, many of the shops you go to are the old fashioned kind, where the things you need are behind the counter and you have to ask the shop person to give you what you want. I'm sure this has to do with the Italian people-orientation. Italians, no doubt, consider our sort of shopping, where you just roam freely around the shop picking things up as you find them, intolerably impersonal and cold. Where's the human element? I can hear them saying. Well, yes, and I appreciate very much the lovely old-fashionedness of the ladies shops where you go up to the counter and ask the ladies there for your underthings. But it falls down as a system for us ferners when we get in there and realise there is simply NO WAY to describe the thing we want.

I went to that sewing shop in the Jewish section, which we would refer to as a "notions" shop, that sold all sorts of wonderful gadget-y sewing things (men, picture a 19th century hardware/fishing supply store and you will get an idea of the heart's little skip of delight and fascination involved for girls) and realised that neither they nor the fabric shop I had just been to sold dress patterns.

John L. Allen Jr. on Benedict XVI's Quiet Revolution

Most interesting. Here's an excerpt:

For those with eyes to see, the suppression of the Cistercian abbey at the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, one of the traditional seven major pilgrimage sites in Rome, rates far more than placement in a "news of the weird" column. Instead, it's the latest chapter in what might be called a "Quiet Revolution" under Pope Benedict XVI, referring to a reform in clerical culture beginning in Rome and radiating beyond.

-snip-

Without great fanfare, Benedict XVI has made it clear that today a new rule applies. No matter how accomplished a person or institution may be, if they're also involved in what the pontiff once memorably called the "filth" in the church, they're not beyond reach.

-snip-

Yet around the same time, rumors began to swirl that something wasn't quite right. Some critics charged that Fioraso seemed more interested in cozying up to social elites than in the traditional disciplines of the monastic life, while others raised questions about money management, especially given that the monks ran a successful boutique and hotel, apparently without clear accounting of the revenue flows. More darkly, there were rumors of "inappropriate relationships" carried on by some of the monks, understood to be code for some sort of sexual misconduct.

=snip-

As is its practice, the Vatican hasn't provided a public explanation; in typically euphemistic argot, officials say only there were "numerous allegations of conduct incompatible with the vowed life." The gist is that there were real problems at the abbey, in terms of both financial accountability and personal morality.

As one official put it, "It was not a good scene."

The suppression is part of a pattern under Benedict XVI, which began with crackdowns against high-profile clerics such as Gino Burresi, founder of the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of the Legionaries of Christ. More recently, in September 2008 Benedict laicized a well-known priest in Florence, Lelio Cantini, whose Queen of Peace parish was regarded as among the more dynamic in the country. Earlier this year, Benedict permanently removed Fernando Karadima from ministry, a legendary priest in Chile known as a spiritual guide to a large swath of the clergy and episcopacy.

All those cases, and others like them one could mention, pivoted on charges of sexual misconduct and abuse.

-snip-

Critics, of course, will object that this quiet revolution remains incomplete until it reaches into the episcopacy -- that is, until the bishops who presided over the sexual abuse crisis, or various financial scandals, or other forms of "filth" in the church, are themselves brought to account.

Whatever one makes of that objection, the fact remains that even an incomplete revolution is still a revolution. And that's no joke.

Some thoughts about enforced gay studies

Let me say at the outset that I find all bullying loathsome, since by definition bullying brings violence against someone who is peculiarly vulnerable — such as a lonely young man with feelings he does not fully understand and perhaps does not welcome, or an innocent boy in the period of sexual latency, before he has any inkling as to what it is that men and women do. If I see a couple of linebackers hulking over the outcast, sneering and pushing him into a corner, I know what they deserve, and may God give me the courage to give it to them. But what if I see a posse of legislators hulking over the child, assaulting him with “knowledge” it is not their business to give, holding out to him the possibility, which he is not old enough to understand, that he too may be “gay”? Who are the bullies then?

Seraphic on feeding an infant

This about nails it:

Babysitting the Youngest Parishioner was equally absorbing. I'm not sure what Zen is, but I think Zen might have something to do with giving up any concept of time when feeding infants tomato-pasta-and-legumes. The YP gazed at me, he looked coy, he shook his head No, he gazed at me some more, and after galaxies had born, expanded and died, he opened his mouth to the spoon. Repeat.
Here's my grandson feeding his baby sister. My daughter-in-law writes:

Mae has also moved on to various solids and Benjamin has been wonderful at helping me feed her. He shows her how to open her mouth wide and then is very slow and precise at trying to get all the food in.

Thank God this decision went the way it did

Ghastly case. The things people get up to.


In a six-to-three decision, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled the man, known only as J.A., was guilty of sexual assault against the Ottawa woman, known as K.D.

The majority concluded that the Criminal Code protects the right of an individual “to consent to particular acts and to revoke her consent at any time,” and does not allow for an individual to provide consent to sexual activity if they are not conscious.

“I conclude that the code makes it clear that an individual must be conscious throughout the sexual activity in order to provide the requisite consent,” wrote Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin in the ruling.

“Parliament requires ongoing, conscious consent to ensure that women and men are not the victims of sexual exploitation, and to ensure that individuals engaging in sexual activity are capable of asking their partners to stop at any point.”

Thank God, there is still a vestige of common sense on the bench of Canada's highest court. Wasn't so sure after the Swinger's decision.

It's also amazing the kind of thing that gets printed in daily newspapers these days. I pity any poor fifth grader (and her parents) who might have to do a current affairs assignment like we had to do when I was in elementary school.

We've come a long way from the days where kids just asked "Where do babies come from?"

Heh heh heh. No one wants to pay for porn

God is not mocked. Heh heh heh. From the HuffingtonPost's new Canadian edition.

LinkIf sex sells, there's one place it isn't selling: online.

Once the pioneers of the e-commerce movement and advancing online technology during the early stages of the Internet, the porn industry is now in the same boat as the music industry, demonetized by a proliferation of free porn sites and struggling to find a way to profit in a world where money's for nothing and the clicks are free.

"The average consumer thinks porn is free and that has really devalued our product," Allison Vivas, chief executive of Arizona-based adult entertainment company Pink Visual, said during a panel discussion at the Mesh technology conference in Toronto on Wednesday. "It's hard to sell a product most people think they shouldn’t have to buy anymore."

It's an uncomfortable position for the adult industry to be in since historically it's been in the forefront of embracing and shaping technology and the Web as we know it today.
Previously, premium cable and satellite channels were the only means for users to see adult content, with magazines like "Juggs" still nestled between the mattresses and box springs of pimpley faced teen boys.

But once the adult trade hustled its way online, it found a way to grow exponentially. As the Internet grew, so did the number of adult-oriented websites, which began using the same subscription model used by television, allowing users to pay a fixed fee and have access to instant content. As these sites multiplied, competition drove better content to attract and maintain users and that better content came in the form of online video and streaming technology pushed by the porn industry.

Ugh! Legalized prostitution and corporate perks in Germany

My Libertarian friend Andrew Phillips called my attention to this article in Der Speigel:

Germany legalized prostitution in 2001, giving sex workers the right to job contracts, social security and public insurance. But the profession remains taboo. Sex as an "incentive" or means of bribery in the business world -- such as the corporate prostitution party for German insurance salesmen organized by Mannheimer International -- is incompatible with western values. A businessman mixed up in red-light parties can't be tolerated -- at least not officially.

"Here, that never would have happened," says one employee at a competing insurance company. "People might go to a brothel after a party, but it wouldn't be organized or paid for by the company."

Though most companies may not openly arrange such things for their employees, insiders say, the business world remains tied to the red-light industry.

"I earned the best money when I took people to brothels," says a taxi driver turned banker. The red-light establishments pay drivers a premium for bringing them patrons, who are usually in town on business, he says.

"The recent case is certainly no exception, even if the execution was unusual," says Klaus-J. Eisner of eventmanager.de, a web portal for the events industry. "The fact that bordello visits are used as rewards can be observed at every trade fair."

Sex as a business incentive is "widespread," confirms Mechthild Eickel, who works for a sex worker educational association called Madonna. "It's in every branch, it's just that not every company can afford it."

The Ties that Bind

At a certain level workers and customers can "no longer be rewarded with money," another industry insider says. But incentives outside the ordinary pay raise or bonus are not simply a question of hierarchy, event specialist Eisner says. The likelihood of such perks is higher for certain roles.

"Generally the trade and management industries work more with incentives than in manufacturing. In decades of personal experience with, for example, the automobile industry, I've never seen workers, technicians or engineers rewarded with incentives or events. Instead it was the buyers, sellers, press, salesmen or trade partners."

Sexual incentives are a special cementing agent, and thus particularly interesting from a managerial perspective, says Madonna's Eickel. "Rewards bind the interested parties and are therefore often the little connection to corruption," she says. "If a reward in the form of prostitution is taken, then a much easier potential for personal blackmail emerges." But the person who arranges and pays for the sexual encounter is also at risk of blackmail.

Of course, benefactors only profit when they operate in a hierarchical boy's club. "For female colleagues," says Eickel, sexual rewards would "not be an attractive incentive event."

Yeah, right! And not attractive for the male colleagues' wives, I might add.

Andrew writes:

Considering the recent court ruling about prostitution in Ontario this article from Germany where it was legalized in 2001 might give everyone pause for thought. At least it should make people think about what the consequences of that ruling might be. When any decision is made there are always consequences and some of them might not be in the publics' best interest. These days when it comes to government decisions I take the overall view that few of them have good consequences attached to them. What might be worse from a woman's perspective is this article looks at it as a corporate perk. If it can happen there it can happen here.

But the possibility of corporations doing this and well aware of the unhealthy aspects of corporatism - the unholy marriage of big business and big government - I wonder what the effects would be in this country. Could the possibility ever arise where a job requirement for women would be a willingness to engage in prostitution? Many feminist groups, which have been hijacked by lefties, now view being strippers and prostitutes as legitimate career options which means it must be considered. While prostitution is still illegal in Canada and will remain so for several more months that question comes to mind and it isn't all that far fetched.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Ezra Levant and Kathy Shaidle talk about Section 13

Social justice and prudential judgment--interesting take

Earlier this month, over 80 Catholic scholars — mostly professors — sent an open letter to Rep. John Boehner, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, on the occasion of his presenting the commencement address at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. They accused him of being out of line with the teaching of the Catholic Church on social justice, especially concerning the needs of the poor. They suggested that in light of the teaching of the Magisterium — the pope and the bishops in union with him, who are the authoritative teachers for the Church — he is a theological dissenter. Some in the media were quick to draw a parallel with President Obama’s controversial appearance at Notre Dame’s 2009 commencement: It was supposedly another case of a Catholic university inviting a speaker who is at odds with the Church’s teachings.

The gist of the signers’ claim is that Boehner is against the poor. There is no question that the Church has always had a special love for the poor, although the signers seem not to realize that that includes the spiritually impoverished as well as the economic. Their concern is strictly with government programs directed to their economic and physical well-being. They criticize the proposed 2012 House budget proposal for substantially cutting Food Stamps and Medicaid, “effectively ending” Medicare, and carving out new tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. The proposal was largely the work of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. The signers could probably also have called him a dissenter, since he too is a Catholic. What they have done is to confuse a basic point about Catholic social teaching: They have convoluted the teaching that must be upheld with how it must be done. Catholic social teaching stresses a “preferential option for the poor,” but addressing the problems of poverty involves a heavy dose of prudential judgment. The social encyclicals make clear that the Church offers no political or economic program, that within Catholic orthodoxy many different approaches may be undertaken to achieve the principles and moral teachings that are set out. What the letter signers have done — in good para-magisterial fashion — is to absolutize programmatic approaches and try to treat them as moral imperatives.

-snip-

The irony of the signers’ calling Boehner to account for passing an “anti-life” budget and ignoring subsidiarity can hardly be missed when some of them are strong supporters of pro-abortion politicians and dissenters on abortion and contraception, and seek a continued expansion of federal power. One sees nothing in their letter indicating an awareness of the problems of bureaucracy and the welfare state mentioned in Centesimus Annus, or of the consistent Catholic stress on intermediary, non-governmental “civil society” groups as a way to address social needs.

There is a big difference in Catholic colleges and universities having proponents of abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, and same-sex “marriage” — which involve exception-less moral teachings — as commencement speakers (like Obama), and those (like Boehner) who seek to achieve the economic justice sought by Catholic social teaching by a means other than that approved by the Great Society or the statist left.

Pope Benedict XVI addresses Caritas Internationalis' General Assembly

Being in the heart of the Church, being able in a certain way to speak and act in her name for the common good, entails particular responsibilities in terms of the Christian life, both personal and in community. Only on the basis of a daily commitment to accept and to live fully the love of God can one promote the dignity of each and every human being. In my first Encyclical, Deus Caritas Est, I reaffirmed how critical the witness of charity is for the Church in our day. Through such witness, seen in the daily lives of her members, the Church reaches out to millions of persons and makes it possible for them to recognize and sense the love of God, who is always close to every man and woman in need. For us Christians, God himself is the source of charity; and charity is understood not merely as generic benevolence but as self-giving, even to the sacrifice of one’s life for others in imitation of the example of Jesus Christ. The Church prolongs Christ’s saving mission in time and space: she wishes to reach out to every human being, moved by a concern that every individual come to know that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ (cf. Rom 8:35).

Caritas Internationalis differs from other social agencies in that it is ecclesial; it shares in the mission of the Church. This is what the Popes have always wanted and this is what your General Assembly is called forcefully to re-affirm. It should be noted that Caritas Internationalis is basically made up of the various national Caritas agencies. In comparison with many Church institutions and associations devoted to charity, Caritas is distinctive; despite the variety of canonical forms taken by the national agencies, all of them offer an outstanding aid to Bishops in their pastoral exercise of charity. This entails a particular ecclesial responsibility: that of letting oneself be guided by the Church’s Pastors. Since Caritas Internationalis has a universal profile and is canonically a public juridical person, the Holy See is also responsible for following its activity and exercising oversight to ensure that its humanitarian and charitable activity, and the content of its documents, are completely in accord with the Apostolic See and the Church’s Magisterium, and that it is administered in a competent and transparent manner. This distinctive identity remains the strength of Caritas Internationalis, and is what makes it uniquely effective.

I would also like to emphasize that your mission enables you to play an important role on the international level. The experience you have garnered in these years has taught you to be advocates within the international community of a sound anthropological vision, one nourished by Catholic teaching and committed to defending the dignity of all human life. Without a transcendent foundation, without a reference to God the Creator, without an appreciation of our eternal destiny, we risk falling prey to harmful ideologies. All that you say and do, the witness of your lives and activities, remains important and contributes to the advancement of the integral good of the human person. Caritas Internationalis is an organization charged with fostering communion between the universal Church and the particular Churches, as well as communion between all the faithful in the exercise of charity; at the same time it is called to help bring the Church’s message to political and social life internationally. In the political sphere - and in all those areas directly affecting the lives of the poor - the faithful, especially the laity, enjoy broad freedom of activity. No one can claim to speak “officially” in the name of the entire lay faithful, or of all Catholics, in matters freely open to discussion (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 43; 88). On the other hand, all Catholics, and indeed all men and women, are called to act with purified consciences and generous hearts in resolutely promoting those values which I have often referred to as “non-negotiable”.

Interesting look at the Catholic Church in Australia

Meanwhile, back in Queensland, which in the past had been a bastion of old-fashioned Irish-Catholic tradition, there is a growing group of dissatisfied conservatives, sometimes referred to by the radicals as "restorationists". Toowoomba is not unique. The reaction against do-it-yourself liturgies and make-up-your-own doctrine is understandable when one looks at the most extreme example, the complete break with orthodox sacraments practised in Brisbane by Peter Kennedy.

Consequently, a polarisation is emerging in the Catholic Church between doctrinal and liturgically orthodox minorities (some championing a revival of the Latin mass) and the mainstream, infected in various degrees with irreverence, lax practices and, in its most extreme manifestations, heresy. Pity the confused everyday middle-of-the-road Catholic.

To non-Catholics these divisions seem unimportant because Morris was, and is, popular and in one particular area an effective and decisive pastor. Although the sex abuse scandals have not been as catastrophic in Australia as they have been in the US and Ireland, it has been because of the foresight of the so-called conservative Cardinal George Pell in setting up mechanisms to deal with them.

However, Morris was one of the few Australian bishops to act personally and immediately in the matter of child sexual abuse by a former teacher in a Catholic school. Controversially, he insisted on sacking a principal who failed to take action over his suspicions about a teacher who was later convicted of rape, and for this Morris rightly won plaudits from the Toowoomba flock.

Since the announcement of Morris's sacking on May 2 his situation has become something of cause celebre in the secular press, and there has been a general outpouring of sympathy in mainstream congregations for him in places as far from Toowoomba as Canberra and Sydney, including impromptu sermons greeted with applause. Sources close to the hierarchy say half of an informal meeting of bishops wanted to send a letter of protest to Rome on behalf of Morris.

That the simmering discontent of the Australian hierarchy has bubbled over on this issue is not surprising. The church in Australia, both priests and laity, partly because of its origins in the Irish convict-descended underclass, and its traditional links with the Labor movement, has always emphasised social action over doctrinal purity. Since the 70s the Australian church has moved rapidly to the Left, with doctrinal orthodoxy almost gone in many institutions, especially schools. It is a phenomenon of a church under the thrall of secularism that although the schools are bursting with kids, there are no babies crying any more in church on Sunday.

We're supposed to be preventing atrocities not making them easier

An Eritrean priest in Rome, Don Mussje Zerai, who oversees the Habeshia cooperation and development agency, is reporting that murderous atrocities are being committed against non-Arab black Libyans in territories under the control of the US and NATO supported "Libyan freedom fighters."

Some 800 Africans were massacred in Misrata alone, as allegedly documented in a number of videos of the Habeshia agency website that depict "cruel episodes and fury on lifeless bodies," which are "manifestation of deep held hate."


Thursday, May 26, 2011

What David Lyle Jeffrey is up to

I miss getting to see this wonderful man and scholar on a regular basis. In the early 1990s, I used to see him once a week when I joined a group of professors and graduate students for an informal breakfast seminar that stretched my mind and exposed me to the intellectual side of the Christian faith. Here's a story about him in relation to the King James Bible, via the Prairie Messenger.

Last time I heard from David, he emailed me from China! BTW, we use the KJV in our parish and I hope the Pope provides a way for us to keep it in the Anglican Ordinariate. It is jarring to hear Cranmer and Cloverdale's poetic English, then some modern, inclusive translation of the Bible. Grating.
But as the KJV marks its 400th birthday this year, some Christian scholars are hoping to spark interest in a new Bible translation capable of attaining the KJV’s cultural authority, poetic power and theological depth.

Chief among them is David Lyle Jeffrey, a professor of literature and humanities at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and an expert on the KJV.
“The celebration of the KJV has made us realize that there is a job to be done to create something of similar anchoring value for readers of the Bible in English,” he said.

Most of the Bible translations crowding American bookstores lack the KJV’s gravitas and spiritual substance, Jeffrey said, and their sheer variety fractures Christian unity.

The need for the KJV itself was prompted by a related situation, Jeffrey argues in a forthcoming book, The King James Bible and the World It Made.

In King James’ England, the Bishops’ Bible, favoured by Anglicans, prevailed in churches, while the Puritan-preferred Geneva Bible was read in homes. Dissonances between the two versions sowed theological doubts and divisions. Hoping to paper over those divides (and supersede the anti-monarchical Geneva Bible) King James seized on the idea of a new, unifying Bible.

“One could be forgiven for thinking that a similar case for a common Bible in English is far stronger now than it was then,” Jeffrey writes.

Jeffrey and other scholars acknowledged, though, that such a task would be difficult.

“Another translation could be created, but it would never have the cultural uniqueness and authority that the KJV had,” said Timothy Larsen, a Wheaton scholar and author of a book about the KJV’s influence on the Victorian era. “Too many choices would have to be made.”

Go on over to the PM and read the rest!

Some bracing Cardinal Pell to start your day

At a recent ordination he said:

WHEN there are no vocations of any type for decades we need to examine the priorities of the Catholic community itself, said the Archbishop of Sydney, George Cardinal Pell.

“Some Catholic communities unfortunately are not life giving,” said the cardinal in his homily as five young men were ordained to the priesthood in an “historic celebration for the Church” at St Mary’s Cathedral last Saturday.

“Some Catholic communities can be contraceptive, even while Catholic life seems on the surface to continue vigorously.

“This phenomenon of different growth rates deserves examination and discussion, although focusing energies on the promotion of faith, on encouraging the recognition and love of
Jesus as the son of God as well as the son of Mary (‘I am in the Father and the Father is in me’), on regular prayer, Catholic orthodoxy, and an explicit and regular explanation to young people of the need of priests and Catholic leadership and service in many areas is essential; and sometimes missing or obscured.”

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hilary may be recuperating, but she's still as sharp as ever

Here's a bit of one of her latest posts. But go on over and read it all. I think the statue looks like a phone booth with a head stuck on top, a head that does not resemble John Paul II at all. I fear the hollow inside will be quickly used as a urinal. Was that the artist's intention?

Art for the Non-Stupid


So, everyone still seems pretty upset about this new JPII statue.

-snip-

But I've really only got one thing to say.

The artist has a website. It was really easy to find out what his stuff is like.

Seriously, did anyone really think regular, non-stupid, non-trendy people wouldn't hate it?

Dr. Sanity blogs about narcissism and shame

I love when she's blogging. My favorite online shrink. Here's a taste:
In a book titled WHY IS IT ALWAYS ABOUT YOU? The Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism, authors Hotchkiss and Masterson identify what they call the "seven deadly sins" of narcissism and their origin:

1. Shamelessness: Shame is the feeling that lurks beneath all unhealthy narcissism, and the inability to process shame in healthy ways.
2. Magical thinking: Narcissists see themselves as perfect using distortion and illusion known as magical thinking. They also use projection to dump shame onto others.
3. Arrogance: A narcissist who is feeling deflated may reinflate by diminishing, debasing, or degrading somebody else.
4. Envy: A narcissist may secure a sense of superiority in the face of another person's ability by using contempt to minimize the other person.
5. Entitlement: Narcissists hold unreasonable expectations of particularly favorable treatment and automatic compliance because they consider themselves special. Failure to comply is considered an attack on their superiority, and the perpetrator is considered an "awkward" or "difficult" person. Defiance of their will is a narcissistic injury that can trigger narcissistic rage.
6. Exploitation: Can take many forms but always involves the exploitation of others without regard for their feelings or interests. Often the other is in a subservient position where resistance would be difficult or even impossible. Sometimes the subservience is not so much real as assumed.
7. Bad boundaries: Narcissists do not recognize that they have boundaries and that others are separate and are not extensions of themselves. Others either exist to meet their needs or may as well not exist at all. Those who provide narcissistic supply to the narcissist are treated as if they are part of the narcissist and are expected to live up to those expectations. In the mind of a narcissist there is no boundary between self and other.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Theodore Dalrymple on tattoos

(Read the whole article, it is most interesting. An oldie but goodie)

I was recently consulted in the prison in which I work by an inmate who was the proud father of two children. I asked him whether he still saw them: continued contact with their biological offspring being something of a rarity among the imprisoned paternal community. Instead of answering me directly, he rolled up his sleeves and pointed to two tattoos on his forearm, red hearts with scrolls across them bearing the names of his children—two tattoos among many others, needless to say. He hadn’t seen either of his children for years, and had never contributed anything to their upkeep. Indeed, the idea that he should have done so was so completely alien to him and to the mores of the world in which he moved that the thought had never crossed his mind, even fleetingly. By contrast, he obviously believed that his tattoos were a sign of genuine devotion to his children. Their names were engraved, if not on his heart exactly, at least on hearts painfully engraved on his skin, and one could easily imagine a touching deathbed scene in which he would be reunited at last with his children and would there show them the tattoos as proof that he had never really forgotten or abandoned them. They would probably accept this as having been true, and therefore forgive him his dereliction of duty.

Fr. Tom Rosica on the need for heroes

Last week, I attended the Pastoral Day hosted by the Ottawa Archdiocese. In the afternoon, Fr. Tom Rosica gave a really good talk on the call to holiness and the need for heroes and role models in the saints.

B.C. Catholic has picked it up. Here's an excerpt:

The saints give hope to a generation hungry for heroes, says Father Rosica

By Deborah Gyapong
Canadian Catholic News

OTTAWA (CCN)--Pope John Paul II canonized or beatified many saints because he knew “the world needed heroes,” Father Thomas Rosica, CSB, told priests and lay people gathered for a pastoral day May 19.

During a reflection on the call to holiness, Father Rosica recalled how in the 90s, when he was in charge of the University of Toronto’s Newman Centre, Michael Jackson and Madonna were all the rage. Young people were looking to rock stars, athletes and other celebrities.

What Pope John Paul II did was present “a lot of people who look like us,” the CEO of the Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation and CEO of the 2002 World Youth Day in Toronto said.

“They became an invitation to others to be like them.”

He knew the Holy Father was onto something in shifting the focus to ordinary people who had led extraordinary lives for God.

Not all were mother abbesses, priests or members of religious orders, he said, but “real ordinary folks.”

These ordinary people show that no everyone is called to holiness and there are no excuses: “Oh, she’s a nun, she never had a husband, that’s why she’s a saint,” Father Rosica joked.

"If Jesus only got 10% approval, we shouldn't be complaining."

Archdiocese of Toronto Communications Director Neil McCarthy reports on Stockwell Day's talk last week at the Leadership Dinner that preceded the National Prayer Breakfast:

Wednesday evening is traditionally the Leadership Dinner where faith representatives from across the country come together. More than 500 were in attendance - I had a chance to chat with faith leaders from many different denominations as well "normal folks" drawn to the dinner because of the important role faith plays in their own lives. The "leaders" are varied in their roles - they may be bishops, pastors, committed members of a faith community so in that way, we are all seen as leaders.


The dinner included a keynote talk from retiring Member of Parliament, Stockwell Day. With the overall theme for the 2 days of meetings drawing on "Be Not Afraid", Mr. Day spoke of his own personal and political career, how faith intersected at key moments in the journey and how we must all remember how important it is to be driven by our faith in all that we do.

He also reminded those in attendance that, yes, they would be misquoted, taken out of context and ridiculed from time to time. He indicated that even the ultimate leader, Jesus Christ, likely had some heated discussions with his "caucus", the 12 disciples. Remarking that the "scribes" may have have misquoted Jesus a time or two, he suggested that we're in good company. Mr. Day recounted how at times it's not easy for politicians who feel they may not be appreciated or thanked, only critiqued when something goes awry. He recalled Jesus healing the lepers and that only one out of 10 came back to thank him. "If Jesus only got 10% approval, we shouldn't be complaining. That's not why we do it. So we need to dust ourselves off and get back to work."

Monday, May 23, 2011

Some things for Catholics to understand about Anglo-Catholics

Excerpt of an interesting post via The Ordinariate Portal from the Catholic League, an ecumenical society based in England promoting Christian unity, on those from the Church of England wishing to come into the Catholic Church. My bolds:

First, there should be no doubt that those approaching us are not simply wishing to avoid the advent of women priests. To describe them in such terms is inaccurate and a real disservice. Rather they reveal depth of Catholic faith which is both impressive and moving. The doctrines they hold concerning the sacraments and the Eucharist in particular, including its reservation for prayer and devotion, are substantially Catholic. Many follow the same devotional and liturgical practices as we do; they have a deep respect for the Holy Father and acknowledge the primacy which is his as the successor of Peter.

It is important for members of our Catholic community to understand that for some of these Anglicans, especially the clergy, the principal aim in their Church life has been to help bring about the visible unity of the Church of England with the See of Peter. In their judgement, recent decisions make this no longer a realistic possibility within the Church of England, and lead them to seek that full visible unity individually or in groups. As we said in our statement of November 1993: “Many have arrived at the conviction that visible communion with the Bishop of Rome is a necessary element of Catholic life. To them we wish to extend a warm welcome.”

Secondly, it has become clear that question the key question from many who are approaching us is the view they should take the sacramental life they have faithfully lived as members of the Church of England. This is an important question for our Catholic community, too. It is the clear teaching of the Second Vatican Council that visible elements of the Church of Christ can and do exist outside the boundaries of the Catholic Church. The visible elements and sacred actions spoken of by the Conciliar Decree on Ecumenism include “the celebration of the memorial of the Lord’s Supper” (para 22). These sacred actions, and the ministries by which they are carried out, are clearly to be found in the Church of England. Catholic teaching is, then, that the liturgical or sacred actions of those in the Church of England “most certainly can truly engender a life of grace and, one must say, can aptly give access to the communion of salvation.” (para 3). No one who is considering full communion with the Catholic Church is, therefore, expected to deny the value of the liturgical life they have celebrated in the Church of England, which has sustained them to this point. Rather they are coming to recognise that it is “through Christ’s Catholic Church alone … that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained.” (para 3).

These perspectives have important consequences for the nature of the journey into full communion to be undertaken by those seeking full communion with the Catholic Church. Undoubtedly they will engage in a period of exploration of contemporary Catholicism, offered in discussion with the neighbouring Catholic community. But the period between their decision to leave the Church of England and their reception into full communion need not be lengthy. As the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults states, when speaking at the reception of baptised persons, such preparation is to be “adapted to individual pastoral requirements” (No 391). For those who have been accustomed to regular, if not a daily, Holy Communion in the Church of England, a lengthy delay before they are admitted to the Eucharist is not desirable. Their sharing in the sacramental life of the Catholic Church will help the process by which they come to an experience of being part of the local Catholic community.

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