The Tragic Death of Savita Halappanavar UPDATED

The news of the tragic passing of Savita Halappanavar is burning up the wires and stirring hate and discontent among folks both in Ireland and elsewhere.

I suggest we pause and say a prayer for her and her family as they sort through their loss. This is not the time to be playing armchair surgeon, nor is it time to grab pitchforks and torches and come after the Catholic Church either. The Halappanavar family has enough grief to sort through without us turning them into political footballs and kicking them hither and yon.

Human Life International has put out a press release which makes a lot of sense to me. [Read more...]

News Flash: Dead Chinese Jesuit Befriends Catholic Blogger

You may remember my friend named Wu Li, SJ.  I introduced him to you in a post a few years back.Wu died as a Jesuit priest in Macau in 1718.

There is something about departed Catholics and me. I’m like Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense, or something. Except I don’t really see dead people. But I make friends with them so maybe they might be saints. [Read more...]

For Something Old and Something New (Thoughts for Thursday)

On Thursdays I serve as lector at the parish near my office. I’ve been the Thursday reader for a couple of years now and these days, I don’t even look ahead at the readings beforehand. There are two reasons for this. A) I like to be surprised and B) I found that I was often surprised anyway, as the readings for the day are often changed by the pastor to reflect the memorials for saints that the Daily Readings I found at the USSCB weren’t picking up on.

So now, I just say a prayer that I will read well, and then I head on up and dive in. Today, I was happily surprised to read aloud the words from my favorite Old Testament book, Ecclesiastes. I hope I wasn’t grinning too much as I launched into the classic beginning of Qoheleth’s riddle of life, [Read more...]

Public Prayer at University of Tennessee, Revisited


The other day I shared the story about the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s letter to the University of Tennessee regarding prayer before events. The University has stated that they will continue to allow “non-sectarian” prayer before sporting events, etc., and the FFRF has said they will not pursue further legal action, but that they will continue to monitor the situation.

As the clip below reports, the FFRF is on the march throughout the state of Tennessee, doing what they can to free the masses from what they consider to be an exclusive practice, and one that violates the separation of church and state. Roll tape, [Read more...]

The Attacks in Libya and Egypt: A Muslim Perspective and More UPDATED

Image credit: AP

Brave words from a brave woman who happens to be my blog neighbor from the Muslim Channel. Here name is Nancy Shehata, and thanks be to God, hear her roar,

Yesterday, U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens and three of his staff were killed by RPG fire as they tried to leave their embassy.  The crowd outside the embassy there, and another unruly mob outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, were puffed up into a froth by a video, a stupid, useless, anti-Islamic video that had been posted to youtube by fools.  Fools directed by fools.  Someone, some Muslim, some person or people claiming to follow the same religion as I do, fired a rocket into the car to kill a man who had absolutely nothing to do with the video and who would have himself soundly condemned it, had he had the chance. [Read more...]

Because the Dalai Lama Says Things Like This UPDATED

 

Which points out to me that though he (perhaps) will be perceived as being on the right/correct side of history, he’ll still be just another casualty in the train wreck of relativism.

All the world’s major religions, with their emphasis on love, compassion, patience, tolerance, and forgiveness can and do promote inner values. But the reality of the world today is that grounding ethics in religion is no longer adequate. This is why I am increasingly convinced that the time has come to find a way of thinking about spirituality and ethics beyond religion altogether.

Sounds like anarchy to me. What do I know that the 61,789(and climbing) folks (in four hours) that liked this thought on Facebook don’t know? Something G.K. Chesterton observed regarding our proclivity to throw in the towel and cry uncle. [Read more...]

For The Thoughts Of (And a Prayer For) My Favorite “Friendly” Atheist Who Believed in Hell


Let me preface this post with an acknowledgement of the fact that philosopher George Santayana died as an atheist. But as an atheist, Santayana put pen to paper on some Catholic ideas that lack only one thing, really. And that one thing is the simple faith of a child in order to believe them.

As minds of adults go, George had an intellect that was top notch. But as Our Lord said,

Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

[Read more...]

Because We Need Sheets, Even If We Think We Don’t

On Sunday, my family and I made a trip to a little college in a little town near the peach capital of South Carolina. We did so in order to drop my daughter off at a camp that her lacrosse team was attending. After a lunch stop at a local eatery, we wound our way through the town on our way to the campus. As we did, we passed by an old, impressive looking Baptist church, established in 1878.

Up and down that same street were a number of other churches with impressive steeples, and my daughter asked the following question. “Dad, how is Mass different in these churches from ours?” A short question, and as we were getting close to our destination, and as I was navigating for my 16 year old son, a freshly minted driver, I just gave her a few brief answers on basic Protestantism like this.

“Well the first thing to know is they don’t have a Mass, actually. See, they don’t believe that Christ is actually present in the Eucharist, like Christians have believed since the very beginning. Also, in most cases Protestants, which means “to protest,” believe that if something isn’t written down in the Bible, that it isn’t true. Only if something is spelled out clearly in black and white in the Bible, will they believe it. Keeping in mind that there were no Bibles for hundreds of years after the Church began, that makes you wonder, right? We believe in the Bible too, Tradition, and the teaching authority of the Church.  Also, most Protestants don’t revere the Blessed Virgin Mary, despite the fact that in the first chapter of Luke, right there in black and white, she proclaims that “all generations will call me blessed.”

And that was about all I had time for, as navigating which way to turn, and where to find the registration building for the camp put an end to her query. In the back of my mind though I was happy that she had asked the question, and I figured we could revisit the issue at some point in the future as a topic to discuss during the summer before CCD classes picked up again.

As it turned out, events would conspire to bring this topic back to the fore much earlier than that.

We got my daughter checked in at the registration desk, were issued keys to the dorm where she would be staying, and then we headed off to check out the room. It was in an older wing of the dormitories, but nice and clean. Bonus! Her roommate from the team had already moved in, bed made and everything. Mom stayed back as gear guard while the kids and I headed to the car to unload her stuff, and head back to the room to settle her in. We saw her coaches dropping their daughters off, exchanged pleasantries, etc.  All was well.

Safely in the room with her gear I say, “Well, let’s make your bed. Where are your sheets?” There had been a checklist on what to bring, see, and sheets, blanket, pillow, or sleeping bag, had been on the list of items to bring. Noting that she had her pillow and her quilt, and not a sleeping bag (like she had brought the previous year) I was surprised, nay, shocked (!) to learn that she had not brought sheets. “I don’t need them. I didn’t have sheets last year.”

“But you had a sleeping bag last year, and this year you didn’t bring it. You will not be sleeping on this mattress without sheets, honey. That is impossible.”

Clearly, it’s not impossible. My daughter seems to have an austerity streak going that shocks her Mom and me sometimes. This girl can rough it with the best of them. Now, though, I’m doing my level best not to turn into Drill Instructor Staff Sergeant Weathers, reading her the riot act for deciding to ditch bringing her sheets to camp. My wife was not too happy about the sheet situation either.

What to do? Take action! “I saw a Walmart on the way here from lunch. The boys and I will go get her some sheets while you two stay here, unpack, hang out with the other girls etc. Also, let me know if there is anything else on that check list that she forgot, okay?” Actually, the tensions had risen to the point where the boys had high-tailed it out of there at the first intimation that the check-list hadn’t been followed to the letter. I found them outside, rallied them to the cause, and headed to Walmart which, love them or hate them, would have sheets a-plenty standing tall and awaiting purchase by me.

As my son piloted the vehicle through the unfamiliar town, and we passed by the big Baptist church again, the idea hit me that ditching the sheets on the checklist was another answer to my daughters’ question earlier on how we Catholics are different from these other churches. My mind is weird that way.

Long story, short, we bought a set of brand new sheets, learned that we also needed to pick up some hand soap (sheeesh!), and then we beat feet back to quarters. Upon arrival, sheets and soap was distributed, and the naked bed was clothed with brand new sheets with that smell that probably only Marines can understand when I write the phrase “smells like Cash Sales.” In other words, so new, they haven’t even been washed. You know the smell.

The lack of sheets crisis had been averted! Bed now made, and ready to hang out with her teammate/roommate, it was time for the parents to depart. Kisses and hugs all around, but I asked my daughter to step out in the hall so I could tell her something before I left.

“Remember how you asked me what makes Catholics different from the Protestant churches? And I told you some things that, as protesters, they decided to get rid of? It’s kind of like how you decided to not bring any sheets. You didn’t think you would need them, but you did. They too have decided that they didn’t need sheets. And now, though they may find themselves living in sumptuous mansions, the beds inside their rooms do not have sheets on them. Isn’t that strange? Beds need sheets, whether you live in a shack, or in a palace. The fullness of the Faith is found, and lived, in the Catholic Church. We haven’t decided to ditch what we have been given, and what we have needed, from the very beginning. Understand?”

She did, of course, because how much simpler can you put it?

 

The Most Interesting Man in the World Sent Me His Latest…

 

 

And he does so calmly, clearly, charitably, and intelligently. Take a look from the show that aired this past April, [Read more...]

Because of Catholics Like Vincent Liem of Vietnam (1732-1773)

November is the month that we Catholics remember the dead. There’s the Feast of All Souls, and the Feast of All Saints, celebrated right after Halloween.  Here in the United States, as the Fortnight for Freedom enters its third day, the Archdiocese of St. Louis suggests we remember the martyrs of Vietnam, and St. Andrew Dung Lac. I don’t know much about Andrew, but I found a treasure trove worth of information about the Vietnamese martyrs, especially one named Vincent Liem. [Read more...]


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