September 2005 Archives

28.09.05 General Audience


Here is the Zenit English translation of the address delivered by Pope Benedict XVI at the weekly general audience held this past Wednesday.

An excerpt:

he divine omnipotence is manifested continually in the whole world "in heaven and on earth, in the seas and the oceans." He it is who produces the clouds, lightning and winds, imagined as kept in "stocks" or storehouses (see verses 6-7).

But it is above all another aspect of the divine activity that is celebrated in this profession of faith. It is the amazing intervention in history, where the Creator shows his face as Redeemer of his people and sovereign of the world. The great events of the Exodus are made to pass before the eyes of Israel recollected in prayer.

Mentioned first of all is the synthetic and essential commemoration of the "plagues" of Egypt, the scourges inflicted by the Lord to subdue the oppressor (see verses 8-9). It is followed afterward with the evocation of the victories of Israel after the long march in the desert. They are attributed to the powerful intervention of God, who "smote many nations and slew mighty kings" (verse 10). Finally, there is the much longed for and awaited end, the promised land: [He] "made their land a heritage, a heritage for Israel his people" (verse 12).

Divine love becomes concrete and can almost be experienced in history with all its harsh and glorious vicissitudes. The liturgy has the task of making the divine gifts always present and effective, above all in the great paschal celebration which is the root of every other solemnity and constitutes the supreme emblem of freedom and salvation.

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One for Chris Abraham

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First Photos of a Giant Squid in the Wild

If anybody out there understands my headline above, leave a comment below, eh?

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Opus Dei has hands in CBS miniseries on JPtG


CNA has the scoop on this miniseries and ABC's movie on the late pope.

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Family Day!


Unfortunately, we missed the fact that Monday the 26th was "Family Day" (thanks Dubya). We should all still celebrate, however.

I also think Tucker Carlson has a great point.

I propose that we celebrate “Family Day" by advancing legislation that finally offers real help for families. The proposed “Parents’ Tax Relief Act of 2005" (HR 3080, S 1305) is the most important piece of pro-family legislation to be introduced in decades. Initially sponsored by Lee Terry (R – NE) in the House and by Sam Brownback (R – KS) in the Senate, this new bill recognizes the value of the parental care of small children and would expand the child care choices of all new mothers and fathers. It affirms marriage as a public good and would restore recognition of the marital couple as an economic partnership.

Hat-tip Family Scholars.

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Important new book


Congratulations to Elizabeth Marquadt of the Family Scholars blog on the publication of her new book: Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce. I've been checking her blog out for a few months out, and I think that her book will be very helpful in our national debate on family issues.

You can buy it here.

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Hurrah for George

Attorney General Lisa Madigan is both Catholic and a strong supporter of abortion rights, which the church opposes. That's why she's been quietly banned from appearing at Chicago's Catholic schools, a move pro-life groups support.

CBS 2 news learned that Archdiocese officials directed principals not to invite Madigan to their schools, a policy in line with a 2004 statement by Catholic bishops. It says, "Those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles...should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions."

Full story.

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Holy Childhood Day


How incredibly cute is this?

Las Piedras (Fides Service) - "Jesus calls us to be his friends" is the slogan for this year’s Holy Childhood Day in Uruguay celebrated on Sunday 2 October by Holy Childhood member children and adolescents with their animators.

The event has two main goals "Celebrate together the feast-day of the co-patroness of universal mission, Saint Therese of the Child Jesus and provide an opportunity for children, adolescents and animators to share the faith and renew missionary commitment".

The Holy Childhood Day programme will include prayers, games and talks to illustrate the theme of missionary animation. The participants will work in discussion groups as well as a "mini Plenary" for the presentation of Conclusions. The programme also includes a distribution of paper flowers made by the children themselves, a play with the title "Jesus continues to call us today". The highlight will be a solemn celebration of Mass at which children will present offerings for the missions and missionaries collected in their mission boxes.

I think this is one of the greatest ideas for celerating a feast day I've ever heard.

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Can married parents reduce crime?


"Can married parents reduce crime?" (WARNING: .pdf) from the Institute for Mattiage and Public Policy.

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John Allen on the Global Church


Allen proves himself again to be the man when it comes to Americans covering the Church. This week's word contains a snippet about the homosexuality issue, but most of it is a talk Allen gave to in Chicago about the global Church. It's quite good.

I'll say it again: the paper he writes for is not at all recommended reading, but Allen's reporting is always accurate, fair and insightful - and when it comes to journalism, that's the Triple Crown.

Some snippets follow, but if you have the time, the whole thing is worth reading:

In September 2001, the Vatican issued a controversial document called Dominus Iesus, about the relationship between Christianity and other world religions. While the heart of its teaching was that the church cannot abandon its faith in Christ as the unique and lone savior of humanity, it also ruffled feathers by asserting that adherents of other religions are in a "gravely deficient" situation with respect to Christians.

Just after it appeared, I attended a workshop for rectors of seminaries around the world, held in Rome at the Casa Tra Noi, down the street from my office. In one workshop, a Jesuit theologian led a discussion on Dominus Iesus. A rector from Bangalore in India popped up and said, "This document is a disaster. It has destroyed our dialogue with Hinduism, since they don't understand these exclusivist claims." Next a rector from St. Petersburg in Russia jumped up to say, "No, you've got it all wrong. This document has saved our dialogue with the Russian Orthodox, because they have an even higher Christology than we do, and this is the first Vatican document since the Council they've been excited about."

The same document, filtered through two different cultural perspectives, produced diametrically opposed reactions. Catholicism finds itself increasingly faced with the challenge of making room for the instincts, concerns, and aspirations of an astonishing variety of cultural backgrounds. Church officials in a globalized world have to be concerned not merely with how something will play in Peoria, but also in Beijing, in Tehran, in Kinshasa, and in Kiev.

In all the reporting I ever read about Dominus Iesus (caveat: I wasn't this much of a newshound when it came out), I never saw coverage of any positive effects it was having on dialogue. This bit about the Russian Orthodox is nice to hear.

He then analyzes the Church's changing global demographics, demonstrating that the future of the Church in terms of growth is the so-called "global south." From here, he makes some predictions as to what the top issues in Rome will be in coming years/decades:

Inculturation" ...Striking the right balance between unity and diversity will be a defining challenge in the church of the future, especially as a faith incubated in Europe and the West continues to expand and come of age in cultures with very different attitudes, instincts and modes of expression. Generally speaking, theologians and prelates from the developing world will push for greater freedom to adapt Eurocentric models of worship and doctrinal expression of the Western church to their own circumstances. Further, as immigration and cultural mobility increasingly bring the South to the doorstep of the West, the patterns of thought, life and worship of the South will more and more be part of the warp and woof of the church everywhere...

Poverty/Globalization: ...For many African Christians, the defining issues for the church are not the usual topics in the West -- birth control, women in the church, theological dissent, and so on. African Catholics will of course have different views on these questions, but by and large the overwhelming majority of Southerners regard them secondary. The truly urgent matters, they tend to believe, are poverty, war, the arms trade, HIV/AIDS, and structural reform of the international economic system...

Religious Pluralism: There's a sense in which Asian Catholicism is to the Catholic church today what Latin America was in the 1970s and 1980s, that is, the frontline of the most important theological question of the day. In Latin America, the debate was over liberation theology, and more broadly, the proper relationship between Christianity and politics. Today, it's over what theological sense to make of religious diversity, meaning whether or not we can say that God wills religious diversity, and if God does will it, what does that do to Christianity's missionary imperative?...

Traditional Sexual Morality: ...As the South comes of age, the Catholic church will be proportionately less likely to tolerate liberal positions on these questions... Some suggest that as Africa develops economically, more relativized secular attitudes on sexual morality will take hold there as they have in much of the West. Archbishop John Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria, told me some time ago that he finds this a patronizing Western conceit, as if to say, "Once the Africans get out of their huts and get some education, they'll think like us." He predicts that if anything, as Africa's self-confidence and development levels grow, it will become bolder about asserting its moral vision on the global stage.

Islam: ...Many Catholic bishops in the South, especially Africa, take a harder line, insisting that the church must stand up for itself in situations of conflict, especially in states where Islam is in the majority and seeks the application of Islamic law. This is likely to press the Catholic church towards a more cautious stance with respect to Islam, especially around issues of reciprocity... Phenomena such as the $65 million Mosque in Rome, the largest in Europe, while the one million Christians in Saudi Arabia cannot legally import Bibles, will be less likely to pass under silence within church circles...

His concluding remarks are worth citing:

The bottom line is that in a globalized church, America's sense of what's important, which issues need immediate engagement and which can wait, what the pope ought to be thinking about when he gets out of bed in the morning, will increasingly yield pride of place.

This reality will pose a challenge to the "catholicity" of some American Catholics. How willing are we to see ourselves as part of a worldwide family of faith, even if things don't go the way we believe they should? To what extent can we accept that Roman Catholicism is a maddeningly complex welter of different, and at times competing, cultures, theological schools, political agenda and private instincts, the interplay among which always involves compromise, disappointment, and frustration? Can we bring ourselves to accept that the church before our eyes will probably never be the church of our dreams, and perhaps that's for the best, since our own dreams are always more limited than those of the entire communion spread across space and through time?

My take: if American Catholics can come to grips and adjust in a healthy way to being a small part of a global community, we can be an example for the rest of the country.

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Shhhh.. pilgrims a-praying


Zenit reports (first item) that - following The Pope's wishes - the Vatican is taking steps to make St. Peter's a more peaceful, prayerful environment:

One new regulation requires all large groups touring the basilica to wear headsets while the guide speaks into a microphone. In the inevitable chaos surrounding the implementation of a new policy, several astonished tourists have seen their guide forbidden to speak in the absence of the so-called whisper sets. The sets are available for rental at the entrance to the basilica, but one should reserve ahead as they tend to be always taken.

The custodians are also strictly enforcing a no-tour rule from 4:30 p.m. on. Whisper set or no, large groups cannot tour the basilica as the sacristans are preparing for the 5 p.m. Mass.

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One for Mama Lu

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For all young mothers aspiring for large families.

"God Equips the Called" from Danielle Bean on Catholic Exchange.

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Good for them!

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Keep it Fields

| | Comments (3), dedicated to keeping Marshall Field's from being renamed "Macy's."

Sad as I am to see it go, Chicagoans have to face economic realitites. People view Field's as a museum, which is all nice in terms of tradition, but they weren't spending money there.

Frankly, I'm not all that sure that the name change will do much good. I understand the economic concerns, but the last thing you want to do is bring a New York name to Chicago. If they're hoping for the Macy's prestige to impress Chicagoans, they are soooorely mistaken. We're our own people (even those of us who are transplanted); we can live with losing Field's, but adding insult to injury by replacing it with Macy's is not going to win hearts and wallets.

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New links


I've updated the left-hand sidebar. I've re-organized the Catholic links and split them into three categories: Catholic, Catholic/Religious Media and Good Journals. I expect to make more additions, as there are some good sites there that are long overdue to be in my links.

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21.09.05 General Audience


Here is the Zenit English translation of the address delivered by Pope Benedict XVI at the weekly general audience held this past Wednesday.

An excerpt:

The second part of Psalm 131(132) has just resounded. It is a song that evokes an important event in the history of Israel: the transfer of the Ark of the Covenant to the city of Jerusalem.

David was the author of this transfer, as is testified by the first part of the psalm which we have already commented. The king had already made his oath to not install himself in the royal palace until he had found a proper place for the ark of God, the sign of the Lord's presence among his people (cfr. vv. 3-5).

Now God himself responds to the vow made by the king, "The Lord swore an oath to David, a pledge never to be broken" (v. 11). This solemn promise is substantially the same that the prophet Nathan had already made in God's name regarding the David's future descendants, destined to stable reign (see 2 Samuel 7:8-16).

The divine oath implies human commitment, in such a way that it is conditioned by an "if"; "If your sons observe my covenant, the laws I shall teach them" (v. 12). To God's promise and gift, which has nothing magical about it, there must be a response of faithful and active adherence on the part of man in a dialogue that weaves two freedoms, the divine and human.

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Designed for Sex


One of the best pieces I've ever seen on sexual morality is by J. Budziszewski and can be found here, courtesy of Touchstone mag.

An excerpt:

Mutual and total self-giving, strong feelings of attachment, intense pleasure, and the procreation of new life are linked by human nature in a single complex of purpose. If it is true that they are linked by human nature, then if we try to split them apart, we split ourselves. Failure to grasp this fact is more ruinous to our lives, and more difficult to correct, than any amount of ignorance about genital warts. It ought to be taught, but it isn’t.

The problem is that we don’t want to believe that these things are really joined; we don’t want the package deal that they represent. We want to transcend our own nature, like gods. We want to pick and choose among the elements of our sexual design, enjoying just the pieces that we want and not the others. Some people pick and choose one element, others pick and choose another, but they share the illusion that they can pick and choose.

Sometimes such picking and choosing is called “having it all.” Having it all is precisely what it isn’t. A more apt description would be refusing it all, insisting on having only a part, and in the end, not even having that.

It's an argument based purely on philosophy, not theology, and it's a winning argument. Go read it, especially the section on the "Sexual Landscape," from which the above excerpt was taken.

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Those enlightened Scandinavians

Danish activists for the disabled are staunchly defending a government campaign that pays sex workers to provide sex once a month for disabled people.

Full story.

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New Pictures of my boy!

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Check them out! I think I've deactivated the feature that made you sign in to see them last time. Somebody let me know if it doesn't work.

Oh, by the way, Happy Feast Day, Mateo!


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General audience from last Wednesday - 14.9.05


I'm a bit behind on posts. Here's last week's General audience held by Pope Benedict XVI.

Our hymn seems to imply a liturgical dimension: It was probably used during the course of a procession, with the presence of priests and faithful and the involvement of a choir.

Following the Liturgy of Vespers, we shall pause on the first 10 verses of the Psalm, those now proclaimed. In the heart of this section is the solemn oath of David. It is said, in fact, that he -- leaving behind the sharp disagreement with his predecessor, King Saul -- "swore an oath to the Lord, vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob" (Psalm 131[132]:2). The content of this solemn commitment, expressed in verses 3-5, is clear: The sovereign will not step into the royal palace of Jerusalem, will not go calmly to rest, unless he has first found a dwelling place for the ark of the Lord.

At the very center of social life there must be, therefore, a presence that evokes the mystery of the transcendent God. God and man walk together in history, and the temple has the task to point out this communion in a visible way.

At this point, after David's words, is introduced, perhaps through the words of a liturgical choir, the memory of the past. Re-evoked, in fact, is the rediscovery of the ark in the country of Jaar, in the region of Ephrata (see verse 6): It remained there for a long time, after being restored by the Philistines to Israel, which had lost it during a battle (see 1 Samuel 7:1; 2 Samuel 6:2,11). For this reason, it was taken from the province to the future holy city and our passage ends with a festive celebration that shows, on one hand, the worshipping people (see Psalm 131[132]:7,9), that is the liturgical assembly and, on the other hand, the Lord who makes himself present and acting with the sign of the ark placed in Zion (see verse 8).

The soul of the liturgy is in this crossing between priests and faithful, on one hand, and the Lord with his power, on the other.

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Our Sorrowful Mother

Perhaps someone will say "Had she not known before that he would die?" Undoubtedly. "Did she not expect him to rise again at once?" Surely. "And still she grieved over her crucified son?" Intensely. Who are you and what is the source of your wisdom that you are more surprised at the compassion of Mary than at the passion for Mary's son? For if he could die in body, could she not die with him in spirit? He died in body through a love greater than anyone had known. She died in spirit through a love unlike any other since his.

-St. Bernard

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Slate's Dahlia Lithwick on Roberts

John Roberts is putting on a clinic.

He completely understands that he needs only to sit very quietly, head cocked to signal listening-ness, while senator after senator offers long discursive rambling speeches. Only when he's perfectly certain that a question has been asked does he offer a reply; usually cogent and spare. Here's a man long accustomed to answering really hard questions from extremely smart people, suddenly faced with the almost-harder task of answering obvious questions from less-smart people. He finds himself standing in a batting cage with the pitching machine set way too slow.

Full story.

Yahoo has the transcripts and CNN has some video. Dahlia is right on.

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Stepping waaaaay out on a limb


This is bunk; Mary is not God.

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Wily Judge Roberts


From an AP article:

He deftly wielded the Latin term "stare decisis," for standing by past decisions.

"While I'm happy to talk about stare decisis and the importance of precedent, I don't think I should get into the application of those principles in a particular area," he said.

Whoa! That is deft.

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Time Magazine reports on forced abortions in China


This is old news to many of us, but it's nice to see mainstream press take notice.

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Campus Newspeak

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Labor-Day party

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NY Times: Move Over, Doc, the Guests Can't See the Baby.

Jessica Anderson still has months to go, but her family and friends are already hinting about invitations. Stephanie Bullock, due in November, thought she had decided on her mother, grandmother, the baby's father and two friends from work. But now her children are clamoring to join in, and she worries about slighting her boss. And with mere days left in her pregnancy, Tiffany Pena was still torn. "I didn't have my mom there when I was conceiving, so why should I have her when I'm delivering?" she asked.

Just a generation after fathers had to beg or even sue for the right to be present, the door to the delivery room has swung wide open. Even the most traditional hospitals now allow multiple guests during labor, transforming birth from a private affair into one that requires a guest list. Like bridesmaids and pallbearers, the invitees are marked as an honored group of intimates. But few weddings or funerals involve nudity, blood or heavy anesthetics.

Sick, sick and sick. I guess I'm just old-fashioned, but anything beyond a hubby (or boyfriend, or baby-daddy or whatever - I'm liberal like that), a doctor or a midwife, maybe a dula and the mother's own mother (or other suitable, close FEMALE relative or friend) is just twisted. And this also goes for the army of nurses and observers that magically appeared when my wife was pushing with Matthew. If you have no direct role in helping this woman get this baby out, you are welcome to wait outside.

My problem with all of this, is the seemingly lack of respect for the intimacy and privacy of our bodies. Tiffany Pena above has it dead on right, and I hope she stuck with her gut instinct.

Back to the article:

"I've always been really close to my dad, but I don't think he'd seen me without my clothes on since I was 13," said Kate Bickert,

And he has no reason to. Sounds like a reasonable woman, right? Wrong:

who nonetheless asked her father and six others to her first delivery.

Oh my gosh. If Baby-Lu #2 is a little Maria, I hope she has more sense than this.

Then there's this terrifying phenomenon - the drop-in:

And laboring women are no longer protected from messy social tensions during their most vulnerable hour. Liberal visitation policies have given rise to a new and supremely irritating variety of guest: the labor crashers. Sometimes, "a sister starts giving the O.K. for who can come into the room, and there's no preset list for who can be there," Ms. Golden said.

Here's our preset list:

Got it?

Ms. Bullock, whose children want to attend her next delivery, had an unpleasant surprise at her last birth, at Gritman Medical Center in Moscow, Idaho. A less-than-favorite male cousin appeared; the next thing she knew, a nurse was yanking her gown up to neck level, right in front of his eyes. Staff members at Bellevue Hospital Center in New York recently watched agape as two men argued in a delivery room, each asserting paternity of the child about to appear.

Look people, I know our culture cultivates narcissism (pair this naricissism with our "gawker" mentality and there's the explanation for this whole phenomenon, btw), so it may come as a shock that you - your wonderful, fun-loving, all-around great person, life-of-the-party self, yes, YOU - are not wanted in a particular place, but that is in fact the truth. If the mother does not call and invite you to come witness the birth, consider yourself spurned. Get over it. Call me and I'll buy you a beer, just stay the hell away from the hospital.

And to any of family and/or friends who think I may want to witness your moment: please spare the invite. I'll wait a few hours or - gasp! - even a few days before meeting your little one.

Comment away, but I am absolutely unpersuadable.

Hat-tip to the Family Scholars Blog (an excellent, blog, btw).

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A cartoon to think about

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The Internet - improving the world

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Vatican "Year of the Eucharist: Page


The Vatican has a page of documents relating to the "Year of the Eucharist" including Scripture, Magisterial documents, various writings by Pope John Paul II and other popes, and writings fo the saints.

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For all my Chicago readers

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Richard Garnett on Rehnquist


Listen to St. Blog's own Richard Garnett on NPR discussing the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist. He also has a piece on Rehnquist up on Slate here.

Rich blogs at Mirror of Justice.

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Kids do what their parents do!

What would we do without the AP?

(Apologies to Best of the Web Today)

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Hurricane Katrina Soundbyte:


"The Good Lord done put a whoopin' on us!"

Can't remember where I heard it.

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Uniting survivors


The Red Cross Website has a searchable registry where survivors that their status and whereabouts and families and friends can look for their loved ones.

Family registry.

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General audience 6.9.5


Here is Zenit's translation of the papal general audience held this past Wednesday in St. Peter's Square. The topic was the vespers canticle from Colossians 1.

Here is an excerpt:

Christ is, then, proclaimed "firstborn of all creation" (verse 15). Christ precedes the whole of creation (see verse 17), having been begotten from all eternity: because of this "all things were created through him and for him" (verse 16). Also in the ancient Jewish tradition it was affirmed that "the whole world was created in view of the Messiah" (Sanhedrin 98b).

For the Apostle, Christ is the principle of cohesion ("in him all things hold together"), the mediator ("through him"), and the final destiny toward which the whole of creation converges. He is "the firstborn among many brethren" (Romans 8:29), namely, the Son par excellence in the great family of the children of God, in which baptism inserts us.

At this point our gaze moves from the world of creation to that of history: Christ is "the head of the body, the Church" (Colossians 1:18) and he is so already through his Incarnation. In fact, he entered the human community, to rule it and constitute it in one "body," namely in a harmonious and fruitful unity. The consistency and growth of humanity have their root in Christ, the vital pivot, "the principle."

Precisely with this primacy Christ can become the principle of the resurrection of all, the "firstborn from the dead," because "in Christ shall all be made alive ... Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:22-23).

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Great moments in abortion rhetoric

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"This freedom, guaranteed by the Constitution, is strengthened by the separation of religion and the state," she said. "Make no mistake, the Roe v. Wade decision protects our religious liberty."

Wow, abortion really is their religion.

Full story.

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Your friendly neighborhood abortion doctors

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Kanas clinic busted shredding documents ahead of hearings.

According to Operation Rescue, this is the second week that Tiller has been seen shredding documents. Last week, red bags marked "infectious waste" were dumped in the clinic's dumpsters, in an apparent violation of medical waste disposal laws. Police were summoned and discovered that the bags contained "shredded documents."

"We didn't think much of it until Friday when the industrial shredders showed up," said Karen Myers, who had reported the infectious waste incident to police.

Pictures here.

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I went to bad sad last night, as Andre Agassi was down two sets to none in his quarterfinal against James Blake.

I woke up to this.

3-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (6)

I should add that Agassi's opponent was difficult to root against. James Blake is an African American (definitely underepresented in this sport) who has had some pretty harsh life events go down in the past year or so, including breaking his neck (!) and the death of his father. Blake is a rising star, and definitely one to keep on eye on.

Agassi faces an unranked Robby Ginepri in the semis, and it's unclear if that's an easy road or not. The semis in a Grand Slam are never an easy thing, and Ginepri is on a run that so far has knocked off three seeded players, including Guillermo Coria, the sixth-ranked player in the world.

Still, how can you not be psyched for the 35-year old Agassi?

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Oh when the Saints, go over there.


Inspired by Matthew at the Shrine, who last week was having some saintly, slightly irreverent fun with the hymn For All Your Saints Still Striving, I present my own verses:

Now praise we Jose M'ria
Great founder of "The Work"
Even though 'bout half the Church
believes you are a jerk.
They fell for Dan Brown's slander:
murder, conspiracy.
We love your prelature, but
what's with the secrecy?


All praise to John Paul the Great,
who took on the Commies.
For his efforts he received
a slug in his tummy.
He preached human dignity
the Polish Pontifex,
and taught us every Wednesday
about the joys of sex.

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America the beautiful?


Not these days. Consider the evidence:

Exhibit A:
Presidential Scandal: the musical!

Exhibit B:
"33 Years of Clinical Ethics in Minnesota: Ron Cranford’s Stories of Heroes and Courage." Honoree: Michael Schiavo

Exhibit C:
Girl Scouts convention to feature pro-abortion and pro-lesbian speakers.

Exhibit D:
MSNBC declares the end of monogamy and theorizes that this is good for families.

Happy Labor Day!

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Where is the justice?


From the this-should-make-your-stomach-turn department, a teenager who pleaded no contest to charges that he beat his girlfriend (with her consent) with a baseball bat to kill her unborn child will receive probation and no jail time. The mother of the child was not charged with a crime.

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Papal Improv


On my World Touth Day post below (way below), I linked to this speech delivered by the Pope to an Ecumenical Christian gathering in Germany.

That link takes you to the remarks which the Pope had prepared for the day. Well, Sandro Magister has the transcript of the speech he actually delivered. It is about twice as long as the original, and very interesting to read. The underlined portions of the transcript are where the Pope deviated from the prepared text.

According to Magister, the Pope often makes these "off the cuff" remarks when delivering prepared texts. I has heard about him doing this with regards to the Wednesday general audiences where he has been delivering speeches written by JP2, but this is the first time I've seen the full speeches with the ad-libs included.

What captivates me about this is how the Pope has such a deep respect for those with whom he meets that he tries as much as possible to speak to them from the heart. Not only do we have a genius Pope, but we have an authentic witness to Christ's charity.

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Mark Steyn on Katrina

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Wishful Thinking


Nice try, Tom Roeser.

Let me be the first to make this statement: I think the Daley corruption in Chicago issue could wipe out the entire Democratic ticket next year -- and affect some national congressional races for the Democrats as well.

In principle, I agree with him. The Democrats should be going down in '06. The problem is that this state's Republican party is a mess. There's no unity, due to the fact that there' no real common cause. Yes, they can unite around Daley/Blagojevich hatred, but unless and until they can formulate a policy vision upon which suburbanites and down-staters alike can agree, their chances are thin.

What about the city? Well, who cares? Chicago Republicans are Democrats who want slightly lower taxes - a noble goal, but harldy one to excite most people south of I-80. Yes Tom, the Democrats are quickly losing respectability, but the state Republicans are in no position to capitalize.

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September papal prayer intentions


Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for the month of September is: "That the right to religious freedom may be respected by the governments of all peoples."

His mission intention is: "That the proclamation of the Christian message in the new Churches may ensure its thorough insertion into the existing cultures."

From Vatican Information Service

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A hero for our times


10 year old Joshua Heldreth, who tried to give a thirsty woman some water.

(warning, .pdf file)

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General Audience from 8-31-05


On Psalm 126 (127). Note the exhortation to have babies!

At this point we move to the other scene outlined by our psalm. The Lord gives the gift of children, seen as a blessing and grace, a sign of life that continues and of the history of salvation moving toward new stages (see verse 3). The psalmist exalts, in particular, "the children born in one's youth": The father who has had children in his youth not only will see them in all their vigor, but they will also be his support in old age. So he will be able to face the future with security, having become like a warrior, armed with those sharp and victorious "arrows" that are his sons.

The purpose of the image, taken from the culture of the time, is to celebrate security, stability, the strength of a numerous family, as is repeated in the subsequent Psalm 127(128), in which the portrait of a happy family is sketched.

The last image portrays a father surrounded by his children, who is greeted with respect at the gate of the city, seat of public life. Procreation is, therefore, a gift bearing life and well-being for society. We are aware of it in our days in the face of nations that are deprived, by the demographic loss, of freshness, vitality and the future incarnated in children. Over all, however, rises the blessed presence of God, source of life and hope.

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The Solidarity Revolution


Zenit has an interview with an Polish-Italian journalist on the events of August, 1980.

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The Solidarity Reviolution


Zenit has an interview with an Polish-Italian journalist on the events of August, 1980.

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Rest in Peace

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Young adult outreach


Adapted from a comment I left on a friend's blog.

How do we get young people to meet Christ? Here are some ways I can think of:

The Eucharist
Service (in the poor)
Each other

I would say that the easiest, most effective way to enable young people to find Christ and - very important - actually get them to show up, is to bring them to meet other Christians. And by "meet," I don't mean "attend a talk together." I agree that without a serious attempt to build community, "Theology on "Tap and talks and any other program aren't going to do anything seriously productive.

My thoughts go to our late Holy Father, Pope JP2 who, when charged with the pastoral care of young adults in Poland - living under a Secularist Communism which was had as a goal the destruction of their faith - simply gathered these university students and young professionals around him and developed friendships with them and among them. A similar approach with today's Catholics can be effective. If we can bring people together to see that there are other Catholics curious about their faith, that's the first step of healing aloneness. From there, we can keep inviting them to meet Christ in other ways.

Do we need service? Yup. Do we need prayer? Yup. But at the root of it, we need to help people experience a taste of Christian life, which - day to day - is experienced most often through the kindness and friendship of others. Giving people a taste of the richness of the Chrisitian experience, and continuing to invite them to go deeper into the mystery of that kindness, is the best thing we can do for them.

An email today reminded me of this - look at the life of Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati. He was a young man - a rich young man, actually - who was alive with Christ, and he spread this life to all of his friends by simply being a friend to them. He had a deep love for the poor and for prayer, but he also was socially active and engaged in his friendships, bringing those close to him to Jesus.

Our parish has a group with which we're peripherally involved (never enough time) called YSYM - Young Single and Young Married. The first meeting was wine and refreshments in the parish hall. Now, they have a couple of events a week, including prayer, community service, happy hour, talks from a priest and just plain fun.

This group is a great model, I think, for several reasons. First of all, it brings single and married people together - which I think benefits the single people who haven't experienced being around their peers in healthy Christian marriages or around children. So many single young people are disconnected from any kind of family reality.

Second, I think they do a good job of incorporating the group into all different parts of the life of the Church - prayer, Sacraments, service, catechesis. This is what I meant by giving them a taste of the richness of Christian life. Catholicism is not just about any one of those things; its about all of them together.

Finally, the group got started when our pastor got a group of young people together and charged them with planning the group and its activities, which I think is one of the greatest strengths. It's not a "program" put together to deliver a certain message - it's simply a bunch of young people who plan Christ-centered activities to do together to help their faith lives. The priests support the group by their presence, which is another great gift, but the group members in a sense have "ownership" of what the group does

Just some thoughts and ideas.

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Not much I can say. Here's links:

To help:
Catholic Charities/Catholic Relief Services
Red Cross

The Interdictor: blogging from a new Orleans office building, with a link to a live webcam
Before and after satelite pics.

Pray, pray, pray.

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Fetal pain et cetera


I have three articles on abortion that all caught my attention recently.

First, from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, comes one from Minnesota physician Steve Calvin: Think fetuses can't feel pain? Try telling them that.

Twenty-five years of delivering babies and a specialization in high-risk obstetrics provide me some experience to refute the claim that fetuses feel no pain until 30 weeks. Many of the tiny babies that I deliver, some as small as 1 pound at 23 weeks, have required surgery during their difficult neonatal battle for life. All of them receive anesthesia.

Before the 1970s, many newborns, both term and preterm, were operated on without anesthesia in the mistaken belief that they could not feel pain. They certainly couldn't tell anyone about their discomfort. With more sophisticated monitoring it became clear that blood pressure and pulse rose dramatically during the trauma of surgery. Subsequently, a subspecialty of pediatric anesthesia developed.

Those who deny fetal pain claim that hormonal and withdrawal responses to invasive procedures are mere reflexes and are no evidence of pain. Recently, I performed an amniocentesis on a patient at 21 weeks gestation because of a possible infection. On ultrasound, the fetus pulled away from the needle when it grazed her arm. It is clear to me that this fetus felt discomfort, and that she would feel horrible pain if she were dismembered in the exercise of an unjust constitutional right.

The article starts by claiming that the JAMA study about fetal pain "proves the desperation of the defenders of unrestricted abortion." He's right, and for further proof, I point you to the second article, by the WaPo's resident hystericist Ceci Connoly: Access to Abortion Pared at State Level. I won't quote because, well, she doesnt say much worth quoting, but you can read it if you want or just take my word and believe that she does indeed sound desperate.

Finally, from the Daily Illini, we have this abuse of language and reason in attempt to maintain the ruse that a fetus is not a human person.

Soon, fetuses outside the mother would be considered persons whether or not they are still connected to the mother...

The infant's extraction from its mother into a state of aliveness can occur from induced labor, cesarean section or induced abortion...

This act would be applied to cases of failed aborting surgeries. Should a mistake in an abortion occur that leads to a fetus with a functioning muscular, cardiovascular or respiratory system outside the mother, that infant would be deemed a person...

"A critical question is whether the fetus is viable (and) can it subsist when removed from the female's body?" Carmen said. "If yes, the proposed legislation is consistent with Roe v. Wade, which gives the states considerable authority to regulate late-term abortions. If no, then the bill runs afoul of Roe. Thus, if the fetus requires an umbilical chord for survival, it likely is not viable and the mother retains her right to choose..."

What's worse, the reactions of U of I students to the born-alive act leaves one with little hope for the future:

"I can understand how the pro-life side sees this as a victory, but at the same time, many of them believe a human-being is alive at conception, not when it's functioning on its own."

Actually, all of us believe that. The problem is not with how pro-lifers view things, but with those who - in the absence of and even despite this legislation - think it's OK to kill a human baby who has just been born simply because its mother never intended it to live.

"I don't think it solves any issues with the continued abortion debate," Mallon said. "It is another technicality that answers no questions. It doesn't seem to provide any resolution in any direction."

Well, she's half-right. This law doesn't settle any debates, but hopefully it will provide a resolution in the direction of allowing children to survive

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I have now seen it all

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Mama-Lu's Etsy Shop

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This page is an archive of entries from September 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

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