Because When I Have To Choose Between Believing the POTUS or the Pope…

Regarding threats to religious liberty, I go with believing the Pope every day of the week, and twice on Sunday. The choice is pretty easy to make in my book. See, on the one hand we have a man who says this, [Read more...]

Because Catholics Make the Best “Meme Busters” on the Planet

One of the ironies of the internet age is that of the supposed brilliance of those who concoct memes that allegedly destroy 2,000+ years of thinking based on scriptures, natural law, and tradition (with a capital “T”) in short and sweet snippets of thought, usually in formats of 10 succinct, “self-evident” pseudo-knowledge points or less. Most memes are shorter, and are comprised of a single photograph of a pop-cultural saavy, or iconic, scene that is superimposed with haiku length half-baked wisdom suitable to the internet wizard’s target market of folks willing to commit no more than 2 seconds of their time to “searching their feelings,” with nary a second to spare on searching their thoughts, on whatever subject the meme-meisters magnum opus is meant to destroy. [Read more...]

Marc Barnes is like Ted Williams Hitting .400

And just as fun to watch. Take for instance this post he wrote yesterday, which has gone as viral as the Spanish Influenza, being seen by close to 37,000 people in a little more than 24 hours. Like Ted drinking a bottle of Moxie, Marc wades right in.

Oh dear. Matthew Inman of the marvelous web-comic, The Oatmeal, seems to have experienced that exquisite twitch all modern atheists are doomed to experience — the I-know-what’s-best-for-you-silly-religious-people-come-heed-me spasm. This particular train of thought requires the thinker ignore the vast majority of Christian belief — which is entrenched in reason — and focus solely on minority caricatures of the creationist or the wailing-out evangelical, caricatures firmly established and grounded in The Holy Internet Worldview. Having thus defined the term “religion”, the moral high ground is taken, the sneers are unleashed, and all religious people fear and tremble, for atheism has demonstrated itself as supremely reasonable, authoritative, scientific, and gosh-darnit it’s a wonder everyone just doesn’t convert on the spot. Check it out. [Read more...]

Because Life Goes On, And Is Worth Living UPDATED

Acts of terror, senseless violence, wars, rumors of wars, budget crises, scary headlines, scandal, political vitriol, etc., etc., got you down? It’s good to remember that life goes on, and is worth living. It is good to remember that for “the world,”

These were their thoughts, but they erred;
for their wickedness blinded them, [Read more...]

For the Courage to Obey the Call to Become a Catholic

There are a number of readers here who have decided intellectually that becoming a Catholic Christian is what they want to do with their lives. Others, who were Catholics at one time, find themselves yearning to return home. Yet both groups hesitate to join the Church. [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 Good News in Six Minutes: The Sacrament of Reconciliation

Remember the anti-drug campaign using the photograph above? The video below is kind of like that too. It’s from out of the Richmond Diocese, and in the interest of sharing “best practices,” maybe it ought to be utilized in all the dioceses. What we have below is a different statement: This is your heart on fire,

YouTube Preview Image

Any questions? :)

H/T Micah Murphy of Truth and Charity. Also, you’ll find Blessed Pope John Paul II’s “Reconciliation and Penance” right here.

 

The Beach Boys Sing the Our Father

The boys hiking the Janss Steps at my alma mater (UCLA).

Thomas L. McDonald shares his Saturday Song — “The Lord’s Prayer,” as sung by the Beach Boys. ==> It doesn’t get much better than this. <==

Fr. Pontifex Strikes Again…

Father Claude Dusty Burns with a little ditty on the compatibility of faith and reason. Help make it go viral! [Read more...]

Because Catholics Say Stuff Like This…And Mean It

You know, like soon after their city has been devastated by a nuclear bomb. Catholics, being fallen human beings, say other stuff that is less encouraging too. But thoughts like the ones above are timeless, beautiful, and true.

I have faith that I will meet Takashi Nagai in person one day.

Which reminds me! My friends Ian and Dominic Higgins are busting their buns trying to squeeze the film version of Nagai’s life into the can before the next anniversary of the Nagasaki bombing rolls around (August 9). I’m talking about All That Remains. [Read more...]


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