December 2005 Archives

Coming Home

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All his tests came out well, so we'll be bringing Charlie home this afternoon.

Matthew met Charlie yesterday and it went very well! Matthew was fascinated and kept giving Charlie spontaneous kisses. I think he's going to be a great big brother!

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Prayers, please!

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Well, it looks like Charlie may have caught the beta strep.

Ishould explain. Jenny is a carrier for beta strep, which from what I understand, is pretty harmless except for newborns. The remedy for this is to get in a couple rounds of antibiotics before the baby is born. With Matthew, since were at the hospital for over 22 hours before delivery, we were able to get in like 5 bags, I think.

Well, things went a lot faster this time, and we had about a half a bag in before Charlie was born. They're not entirely sure he caught it, but he's got high white blood cell counts and really low hemoglobin, so they're going to keep us there until Saturday and they're giving Charlie antibiotics, just in case.

It doesn't seem to be too serious. The staff seem to be on top of everything that happened, and Charlie seems to be doing pretty well. He doesn't have a fever and he's alert and relatively bright eyed for a newborn. Still, nothing puts a damper on the joy of parenthood like seeing your one-day-old hooked up to an IV.

So anyway, can you please pray for my our little Charlie, that he can get better so we can all come home soon?

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Hooray for Wi-Fi!

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Provena hospital is a hot-spot, so I'm bloggin' from our room!

Charlie is asleep next to me and Jenny's taking a nap on the other bed. I like the way this kid lives. He eats and eats and eats, and then sleeps forever. He hasn't cried since a couple hours after birth.

In fact, if I had to sum up his personality in one word from what I've seen so far, it would have to be "low-key." And that's OK by me!

All his tests have been fine so far, and in 24 hours he'll be released. We have to stay for 48 hours after birth because Jenny is a carrier for beta strep, which can be dangerous for newborns.

Matthew is staying with Jenny's mom, and he'll be coming to meet his baby brother tomorrow before we're discharged, and then we'll all go home together.

Besides that, all I have to say is hooray for 4 day weekends and tax exemptions and credits!


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Meet Charles Joseph

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Here are pictures of the new boy! Charles Joseph was born yesterday at 13:01, weighing 8 lbs 10 oz and measuring 22 inches in length. Labor was fast and relatively smooth compared to the last go round. We were at the hospital only about 4 hours before Charlie was born.

Here are some of the pics you can find at the link above:




Compare the first Charlie pic above with this one of Matthew:


Cool, huh?

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Cashing in on OLOG


The AP reports on the rise of Our Lady of Guadalupe as a fashion statement.

In Phoenix, men and women of different ethnic and religious backgrounds are buying up Virgin Christmas ornaments, ashtrays, candles and medallions at Suenos Latin American Imports. Sales of Virgin products have soared, said owner Robert Bitto, with today’s sales reaching $10,000 compared with about $200 in 1999, the first year he stocked shelves with her image.

Customers buy Virgin-decorated ashtrays to help them quit smoking, he said. "You don’t want to put your cigarette butt out on her face, do you?"

They also buy greeting cards, handbags and Virgin-decorated mouse pads.

"One woman came up to my register, slapped down a mouse pad and said, 'I’m getting this for my husband. Maybe he’ll think twice next time he clicks on his dirty Internet (sites),'" Bitto said.

Self-described Virgin addict Elisa Walker, who is not religious, has spent at least $4,000 on crosses, paintings, key chains and statues, which range from 4 inches to 6 feet tall.

"She’s kind of like the new Frida," the 38-year-old said, referring to legendary Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, who is famous for her iconic self-portraits. "The pieces are kitschy and are kind of like modern art."

Het, I'm all for kitsch - Mama-Lu and I even have a kitsch wall in the apartment, but things can go too far:

Twenty- to 70-somethings are snatching up $189 to $360 belt buckles, rings, T-shirts and chokers at Barbwire Western Couture boutique in Scottsdale.

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Puff piece on St. Joseph


The Pittsbirgh Post-Gazette has a cute little piece on St. Joseph. The most hidden of saints deserves some recognition. One thing that isn't mentioned is that his silent faithfulness has earned him the title of "Protector of the Universal Church."

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Great news!


Buddies.JPGNo, we didn't have the baby yet, but I did get the digital camera working. As a result, I have pictures up on Ophoto going back to September, including Thanksgiving in Ohio. Check them out here (somebody please leave a comment if the link doesn't work).

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Merry Christmas!


A Merry Christmas to all of our friends and family.

To all those in Chicago, Delavan, Cary, Chamaign, Philadelphia, Westerville, Southern California and elsewhere who are looking for updates, there's nothing to update. The due date was Monday so we're in overtime. As soon as Baby Lu part deux makes an arrival, I'll be making the phone calls and trying to get pix up here. The one snag is that the cord that connects the camera to the 'puter isn't working, so I don't know when I'll be able to post the pics. But I'll find a way!

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Sodergren interview

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Zenit has a two-part (1, 2) interview with Catholic therapist Andrew Sodergren, a fellow U of I alum I know from the St. John's Newman Center. I was actually an usher at his wedding. I haven't had a chance to read it yet (I figure if I blog it, I won't forget), but it's probably worth your while.

Good work, Bongo!

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The Lord Jesus is coming!


Here is Zenit's translation of Pope Benedict XVI's address at yesterday's general audience, delivered in St. Peter's Square.


In preparing to celebrate the birth of the Savior with joy in our families and ecclesial communities -- while a certain modern and consumer culture tries to make the Christian symbols of the celebration of Christmas disappear -- let us assume the commitment to understand the value of the Christmas traditions, which are part of the patrimony of our faith and our culture, in order to transmit them to the new generations.

In particular, on seeing the streets and squares of our cities adorned with glittering lights, let us remember that these lights evoke another light, invisible to our eyes, but not to our hearts. Contemplating them, when lighting the candles of churches or the Nativity and Christmas tree lights in our homes, may our spirits open to the true spiritual light brought to all men and women of good will. The God with us, born in Bethlehem of the Virgin Mary is the Star of our lives!

"Rising Sun, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come, illuminate those who lie in darkness and in the shadows of death." On assuming this invocation of today's liturgy, let us pray to the Lord to hasten his glorious coming among us, among all those who are suffering, as only in him can they find the answer to the authentic expectations of the human heart.

May this Star of light that never sets, communicate to us the strength to follow always the path of truth, justice and love! Let us live intensely these days that precede Christmas together with Mary, the Virgin of silence and listening. May she, who was totally enveloped by the light of the Holy Spirit, help us to understand and to live fully the mystery of Christ's Christmas.

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Cardinal Husar has big dreams


The head of the Ukranian Greek-Catholics believes the Orthodox and Catholic Christians of the Ukraine can unite.

He noted that ‘the unity of Churches is possible. This is not a fantasy, not an unattainable dream. It is a condition we can achieve, but how is a big question’.

While noting that Christians in Ukraine are divided dogmatically and canonically, he emphasized the need to realize that ‘we all are human beings whatever confession we may belong to, whatever canonical injunctions we may confess’.

I love his optimism, but he's got a tough row to hoe.

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Jacque Jones in right


I said a couple of weeks ago that I would be OK with a less-than-superstar in right field. I fear Jim Hendry was reading this and took me a little bit too seriously. He signed former Minnesota Twin Jacque Jones to a three year deal.

The good news is Jones comes cheaper than it would have been to keep Burnitz around, so if they're still looking to make some moves, that's at least $2 millions more to work with.

On the whole, it was a good move for the Cubs. Jones is durable and solid. On the other hand, they could have snagged somebody comparable for less money. It could be worse, however. I sure am glad we didn't shell out $52 million for Johnny Damon like the Yanks just did.

I hope Hendry isn't done yet. We could still use a starter and a middle infielder.

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Been busy


The first full day at the new job was yesterday and went great. I'm still part-time at the old job, so things will be busy.

Our due date came and went and no baby, so now we're on the reverse countdown. T + 1 day and counting. I'm bucking for Thursday, as it looks like I'm going to have a 4-day weekend.... :)

Don't expect to see anything here for a while... maybe baby pics once the new arrival comes. In the meantime you can use the time you would normally spend here praying for a safe delivery!

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More than you ever needed to know.

(But if you're like me, you'll read it anyway.)

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Mercifully, I watch little enough television that I've yet to see any commercials for Brokeback Mountain. Discussing it with Mama-Lu on Thursday, I found out that Heath Ledger is one of the cowboys. Ack! I don't know if I can ever watch A Knight's Tale again!

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Ora Pro Nobis

Yes, we want to thank you, Virgin Mother of God and our most beloved Mother, for your intercession for the good of the Church. You, who in embracing the divine will without reserve were consecrated with all of your energies to the person and work of your Son, teach us to keep in our heart and to meditate in silence, as you did, upon the mysteries of Christ's life.

May you who reached Calvary, ever-deeply united to your Son who from the Cross gave you as mother to the disciple John, also make us feel you are always close in each moment of our lives, especially in times of darkness and trial.

You, who at Pentecost, together with the Apostles in prayer, called upon the gift of the Holy Spirit for the newborn Church, help us to persevere in the faithful following of Christ. To you, a "sign of certain hope and comfort," we trustfully turn our gaze "until the day of the Lord shall come" ("Lumen Gentium," No. 68).

You, Mary, are invoked with the insistent prayer of the faithful throughout the world so that you, exalted above all the angels and saints, will intercede before your Son for us, "until all families of peoples, whether they are honored with the title of Christian or whether they still do not know the Savior, may be happily gathered together in peace and harmony into one People of God, for the glory of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity" (ibid., n. 69). Amen.

Pope Benedict XVI praying before the satue of Mary in Piazza di Spagna on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

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General Audience 12-14-05


Here is the English translation of the address Pope Benedict XVI delivered this past Wednesday at his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square.


Even darkness, in which it is difficult to advance and see, is penetrated by the gaze and by the presence the Lord of being and of time. He is always willing to take us by the hand to guide us on our earthly path (cf. verse 10). Therefore, it is not a closeness of a judge that provokes terror, but rather of support and freedom.

In this way, we are able to understand the ultimate, essential content of this psalm. It is a song of confidence: God is always with us. Even in the dark nights of our life, he does not abandon us. Even in the difficult moments, he is present. And even in the final night, in the final solitude in which no one will be able to accompany us, in the night of death, the Lord does not abandon us. He accompanies us, as well, in this last solitude of the night of death. And for this reason, as Christians, we can be confident: We are never alone. The goodness of God is always with us.

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In Truth, Peace


Below is Pope Benedict XVI's message for the World Day of Peace, which will be celebrated on January 1, 2006.

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Tejada backs down from trade demands.


Way to whip a whole city into premature hysterics, Mikey.

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Get. Tejeda. Now.

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Jay Mariotti on the Cubs' need to land Tejeda.

The new game in town, if you haven't noticed, is whether the Cubs can match the breakthrough of the 2005 White Sox. Based on their hit-and-miss offseason so far, I will assume they cannot ... unless they shock me by seizing a wonderful new opportunity. I would like to think Jim Hendry and the Tribsters, flush with cash in their Sammy-and-Nomar-free budget, are sincere in their assertion that they will inquire about Miguel Tejada, a wise man who wants out of a hideous situation in Baltimore.

Amen to that. When my kid cousin can gloat and all I can do is hang my head, something has to change (j/k Eric).

Enter the Cubs. The area code for Crabtown, in case Hendry forgets from his Sammy Sosa-peddling days, is 410. Still searching for a prominent middle infielder and armed with megabucks after whiffing on Furcal, he never has encountered a more important possibility in his suddenly wobbly general-managing tenure. Package kid shortstop Ronny Cedeno, kid pitcher Rich Hill, the useless Patterson -- really, any collection of players the Orioles want other than Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Pierre, Mark Prior and Carlos Zambrano. Throw in the ticket-scalping operation, if need be. Because fun as it will be watching Pierre scratch his way onto base, he isn't worth 20 victories by himself. Let Hendry be excited about Cliff Floyd, who had a nice year for the Mets. And Julio Lugo, who would be a serviceable shortstop. And Milton Bradley, whose over-under on his first psycho temper tantrum is April Fools' Day. None of those moves would push the Cubs toward the Holy Grail.

Tejada is another story.

I like Mariotti's list of untouchables, although I would add a few of our prospects to it after watching us give up a swath of great pitching prospects for Pierre.

The problem is this: Tejada wants out, but the Orioles aren't desperate to sell. And since they're not looking to unlead him, the Cubbies are going to have to give up something real.

Yes, it will probably hurt, but landing Tejada would give the Cubs three all-star infielders all age 30 and other. That, to me, spells endurance.

So who are some of the players not on the list that the Orioles might take? The one that jumps out is Ryan Dempster. Slated to be the Cubs' closer, he is an able big-league starter and he's only 28 years old. The Orioles could use him either way. They struck out landing a closer at the winter meetings, and their rotation is full of holes as well.

In addition to Dempster, the Cubs could throw in Neifi Perez, who would fill the O's hole in short. There's also Patterson (if they want him) and prospects like Ronny Cedeno or one of the young bullpen arms the Cubs have (Novoa, Wellemeyer, Ohman); all are expendable for the right cause.

This would leave the Cubs without a closer, but we just spent almost $25 million on relievers, so some combination of existing hurlers should be able to get the job done. Personally, I think Scott Williamson or Todd Wellemeyer (if he's still around) could do well in the role, but I've been accused of naive enthusiasm for these two.

Regardless, the opportunity here is to have the best infield in the National League and the second best in the majors, and that is just too good to pass up.

If the Cubs could pull this off, the could start Jose Macias in right field for all I care.

Mariotti closes by nicely summarizing what's at stake:

No team in American sports should feel more urgency than the Cubs. Now that the Sox have beaten them to the ultimate Chicago dream, every day is going to be hell until they write the same story.

UPDATE: Tejada is backing off the trade demand. Grrr...

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Mary's house


Asia news (via Amy Welborn) has a piece on Meryem Ana Evi (the house of Mary) in Ephesus, which alleges to be the final home of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The translation might be a bit off (the article claims the home was discovered in 1891 and then states in the next paragraph that pilgrims have been visiting "since ancient times." They may be talking about the town of Ephesus, but it's not clear. it's still a great story though.


Amid the silence and greenery, a simple brick house, composed of two areas identified as the living room and bedroom of the Virgin who ended her earthly life here. The suffused light shining through the small windows is made even more suggestive by countless candles which constantly light up the small sanctuary.

Fr Tarcy, an Indian Capuchin who has been there for a dozen years or so, said: “Often I see people, men and women, young and old, deeply moved and even in tears. When asked, ‘why do you cry, are you sad?’, the reply is always the same: ‘No, I am not sad, I am deeply moved, I feel something special, a peace, a joy, a warm welcome, a happiness which… I want to stay here forever.”


Everyone feels at home. Meryem Ana Evi is a place of prayer all year around for Catholics who live there and who each morning celebrate holy Mass, and it is place where Christians from Turkey and all nations of the world visit to pay their devotions. Although they belong to various Churches, here they have the possibility to celebrate services in their own language and tradition. Just as the house is visited by Christians, it is a place of pilgrimage for Muslims too. In the Koran, in fact, only one woman gets a mention about 30 times: Mary the Mother of the Prophet Jesus. “When our Muslim brothers and sisters come to Meryem Ana Evi, they do not come as tourists and mere visitors: they come here to pray,” continues Fr Tarcy. “Perhaps this is the only place in the world where people of the two great religions – Islam and Christianity – can pray together without tension.”

Here is the full story.

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Tech bleg:

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Using Internet Explorer, I cannot highlight and copy any text below the first line of each column. Does anybody know how I can solve that problem? I can email my stylesheet and template html to anybody who can help. Thanks!

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Bush love.... from Pakistan


Talk about news of the really friggin' weird. Check out the fourth piece down here.

A fawning poem about President Bush has been published in Pakistani school textbooks. Bush isn't named in it, but the First lines of the poem are an acrostic spelling President George W Bush. The linked piece is an interview with a Pakistani pol, whose not sure if it's real or satire.

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I'm syndicated

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I subscribe to a couple of RSS feeds that bring me news about the Pope and the Church. Well, the Pope feed has started bringing me... me. Today I recognized the title of the link in my newsreader as the same title I gave to the post two down. Sure enough, it was my own blog. It's sort of flattering, but sort of annoying too. I don't write news here, and any reader that picks up my blog entries is looking in the wrong space for news. Ah well... I guess I'm getting what I pay for...

Ha! I just noticed that I'm also getting news hits for the post about who should be the Cubs' new right fielder. It's currently the "Top Story." This is amusing.

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The next two weeks

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Well, it looks like next week I'll be splitting time at my jobs, training for the new one while wrapping up things at my old one. I also have two finals - one for the world's worst class and one for Intermediate Accouting, which I learned last night will thankfully not be as hard as I thought, but which will be comrehensive. I haven't taken a comprehensive final in about 4 years.

Oh, and by the way, Mama-Lu could theoretically go into labor any day now. Which reminds me, I also have to give myself a crash refresher course in birth-coaching. The due date is the 19th, which is the day I'm scheduled to start my new job. It is also the Eastern (Ukranian Rite, I believe) feast of St. Boniface, one of our family's dearest patrons.

I, however, was bucking for the 12th as the due date on account of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The name we have picked out for a girl is Maria Regina Caeli Lu-. I commented with Mama-Lu that she should go into labor today (Immaculate Conception) and give birth to a girl on Monday (Our Lady of Guadalupe), then we could name our baby Maria Concepcion Guadalupe Regina Caeli Lu-. Unfortunately, she didn't seem enthusiastic about 96 hours of labor. Some people...

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What about right field?

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So the Cubs have a center fielder/lead-off man, and a good one at that. That leaves right field as the hole remaining to be filled.

There are several option, but let's look at what the Cubs need by first looking at what they're replacing.

Jeromy Burnitz played a decent right field for the Cubs last year. I have to admit I was annoyed when the Cubs picked him up, but he did the best job anybody could filling in for Sammy Sosa: he provided a decent bat and kept his mouth shut. I think the Cubs should have given him a class bonus before sending him on his way.

Anyway, here are his stats:

AVG: .258 HR: 24 RBI: 87 R: 84 SB: 5

Like I said, decent.

I don't think the Cubs need to do all that significantly better than this statistically to be great this year. The more, the merrier of course, but what matters are consistency and presence.

With that in mind, here are my suggestions:

  1. Reggie Sanders - Were he not appraching 39 years old, I would say this is the end of discussion, but his age merits some careful consideration. Reggie is a complete player; here are his stats from last year for when he played just 93 games for St. Louis

    AVG: .271 HR: 21 RBI: 54 R: 49 SB: 14

    Extrapolate those out to 150 games and you have about 35 HR and 75 RBI. Plus, he brings a veteran presence to a line-up that isn't as full of proven veterans as Dusty Baker is used to working with.

  2. Juan Encarnacion - Here are ths stats:

    AVG: 287 HR:16 RBI:76 R:59 SB:6

    Encarnacion is not yet 30, meaning if he works out, he could hang around for a while. An ex-Marlin, he's familiar with Juan Pierre and Derek Lee, adding chemistry as the Cubs could build up their ex-Marlin army.

  3. Rondell White - "Didn't we try this guy already?" you ask. Indeed we did, but this time around, he wouldn't be playing second-fiddle. He'd be fourth- or fifth- fiddle, which is more appropriate for him.

    The stats last year, in just 97 games:

    AVG: .313 HR: 12 RBI: 53 R: 49 SB: 1

    That comes out to about 17 HR and 75 RBI over 150 games.

    UPDATE: A commenter pointed out that Rondell might well be nicknamed "Mr. Glass." Not something the Cubs need.

  4. Preston Wilson - Another ex-Marlin, Preston could fit right in with the Cubs line-up. Put him between Lee and Ramirez and he could see some pretty good pitches and build upon these stats from last year:

    AVG: .260 HR: 25 RBI: 90 R: 73 SB: 6

  5. Kenny Lofton - Another veteran, Lofton would bring a different set of skills than the previous guys.

    AVG: .335 HR: 2 RBI: 36 R: 67 SB: 22

    Less power and more speed with a higher average. Adding his run-scoring to Pierre's could be the right mix for the big bats of Ramirez, Lee and Matt Murton (if he proves to be as good as management thinks he will be).

  6. Carl Everett - Fresh off of a championship season, he could bring a winning attitude to the clubhouse. I seem to remember reports of him being a hot-head, though (anybody confirm or deny that? Eric?). If so, I would say stay away.

    AVG: .251 HR: 23 RBI: 87 R: 58 SB: 4

Those are the free agent options. Any of them would be at least equal to Burnitz, and many of them bring an element of winning experience that the Cubs sorely need.

UPDATE: Welcome to subscribers! Feel free to look around and comment on anything you see here.

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December 07, 2005 General Audience


Here is Zenit's English translation of the address Pope Benedict XVI delivered during today's general audience in St. Peter's Square.


[T]he psalmist extends his gaze over the world and imagines that his testimony spans the whole horizon: "All the kings of earth," in a sort of universal adherence, associate themselves with the Hebrew psalmist in a common praise in honor of the Lord's grandeur and sovereign power (see verses 4-6).

The content of this common praise that rises from all the peoples enables one to see already the future Church of pagans, the future universal Church. This content has as its first subject the "glory" and "ways of the Lord" (see verse 5), namely, his plans of salvation and his revelation. Thus one discovers that God is certainly "high" and transcendent, but "cares for the lowly" with affection, while he averts his gaze from the haughty in sign of rejection and judgment (see verse 6).

UPDATE: Welcome subscribers! Please feel free to look around and comment on anything you see.

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Cardinal Schonborn on Evolution and Creation


Monika and any other German-speakers may want to check out the homepage of the Archdiocese of Vienna.

For English speakers, the page includes the first two installments (1, 2) of a series of catecheses by Cardinal Schonborn on evolution and creation. (Link via Amy Welborn.)

If you remember, Cardinal Schonborn was the one who kicked off the crapstorm of controversy on evolution and creation over the summer with his Op-Ed in the New York Times.

Excerpt from the second catechesis:

Now there is another misunderstanding that is constantly found in the ongoing discussion, and I have to deal with it right here at the beginning. I refer to what is called "creationism.” Nowadays the belief in a creator is automatically run together with "creationism.” But in fact to believe in a creator is not the same as trying to understand the six days of creation literally, as six chronological days, and as trying to prove scientifically, with whatever means available, that the earth is 6000 years old. These attempts of certain Christians at taking the Bible absolutely literally, as if it made chronological and scientific statements - I have met defenders of this position who honestly strive to find scientific arguments for it - is called "fundamentalism.” Or more exactly, within American Protestantism this view of the Christian faith originally called itself fundamentalism. Starting from the belief that the Bible is inspired by God, so that every word in it is immediately inspired by Him, the six days of creation are taken in a strict literal way. It is understandable that in the United States many people, using not only kinds of polemics but lawsuits as well, vehemently resist the teaching of creationism in the schools. But it is an entirely different matter when certain people would like to see the schools deal with the critical questions that have been raised with regard to Darwinism; they have a reasonable and legitimate concern.

The Catholic position on this is clear. St. Thomas says that "one should not try to defend the Christian faith with arguments that are so patently opposed to reason that the faith is made to look ridiculous.” It is simply nonsense to say that the world is only 6000 years old. To try to prove this scientifically is what St. Thomas calls provoking the irrisio infidelium, the scorn of the unbelievers. It is not right to use such false arguments and to expose the faith to the scorn of unbelievers. This should suffice on the subject of "creationism” and "fundamentalism” for the entire remainder of this catechesis; what we want to say about it should be so clear that we do not have to return to the subject.

And now to our main subject: what does the Christian faith say about "God the creator” and about creation? The classical Catholic teaching, as we find it explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, or more compactly presented in the Compendium of the Catechism, contains four basic elements.

Check out the whole thing.

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More evolution


The evolutionist denial of a Creator God seems to go something like this:

An immaterial force active in the evolution of life on earth is not scientifically observable.

Therefore, such a force must not exist.

There is a hidden premise here, and that is:

Any immaterial force active in the evolution of life on earth would be scientifically observable.

The error is in that hidden premise. From the perspective of the Christian, it is ridiculous. It boils down to a scientist saying. "I can't see the invisible." To which a believer might reply, "Duh!"

The scientist must respect the bounds of his profession. He can only present facts about the material realities, no more. To take those facts and attempt to draw conclusions about beliefs that concern the immaterial is a misapplication. This is not to say that science and faith don't communicate. The knowledge of the scientist teaches the faithful more about the mechanisms of creation, sometimes challenging faith and in the end strengthening it. Similarly, the theologian can teach the scientist more about the meaning of creation, challenging the moral and ethical assumptions of the scientist.

The problem is that frequently the two don't listen to each other. The scientist can ignore the ethical warnings that come from faith, resulting the assaults on human dignity we see in the field of biotechnology. Similarly, the Christian can ignore the facts produced by empirical observation of the created world, resulting in an overly literal reading of Scriptural texts whose deepest, truest and most consequential meanings are spiritual and moral, not geological or biological.

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2 pieces of news:

First the good: It looks like the Cubs are going to land Juan Pierre.

Bravo! For once we can count on the tables being set for the big guys.

Now, the bad news: Dusty went to talk to Milton Bradley of the Dodgers to consider him for right field.

All I have to say is... WHAT?!!? Milton Bradley? Are you kidding me? Leave this psychopath where he is!

Does the Cubs management have some kind of love for the Dodgers? First Hendry lets Furcal get away and sign with L.A. and now Dusty wants to relieve them of this high-strung maniac? My heart! AAAHHHHH!

Here's the money quote from Dusty:

"I don't know if I can make a difference. It's a risk," Baker said. "I talked to Manny Mota and talked to some people on the Dodgers, and they said there's a good chance [Bradley] can relate to you and perform.

Oh! The psychopath's current employer thinks he'd fit in somewhere else! Well then, it must be true! Surely they have no motive for getting rid of him.

Tell you what Dusty. I have an old brick here that I think you could really do something with. A little work, some mentoring, and I think this brick would be great in right field for you. You're good with inanimate objects and I think it "can relate to you and perform." Just give me Todd Walker and your top two prospects and $4 million dollars...

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The problem with Darwinists

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Right here.

Eminent biologist E.O. Wilson argues that evolution has completely shot down the notion of a Creator God. Not just, mind you, that evolution is true, but that the fruits of certain lines of scientific inquiry prove that there could not possibly be a plan to the evolution of life on this planet.

Many Christians believe the world evolved on the material level in the way Wilson describes. They also believe that this evolution was initiated and guided by a loving and infinitely good immaterial God who created the world, and who exists outside of time and works in ways nobody - scientist nor theologian - can precisely describe from this side of eternity. They further believe that just as theology can neither prove nor disprove the mechanisms of the laws of natural selection or random variation, science can neither prove nor disprove the truth of God's purpose in His creation or about man as center and steward of this creation. They do however, believe that anybody can look at the beauty and goodness of the world and reasonably conclude that there is a Creator.

To suggest what Wilson does - that science has conquered God - is to misunderstand God. There is no scientific discovery - short of an archaeological finding of the bones of Jesus - that can alter the faith of these Christians.

Ultimately, Wilson does not and cannot ever prove his theory that evolution was unplanned, unguided and meaningless. There is no mechanism for peering empirically into the immaterial.

How then, can the Christian have faith in this God despite the apparent randomness of the evolution of life? The answer is that millions have experienced God in prayer. This experiential evidence is something that can never be seen, measured or tested. It simply exists, and those who have entered into this mystery possess a knowledge of God.

Those who have this knowledge gained through prayerful experience know that as creator of the laws that the scientists study, God cannot be contradicted by those laws, and so the knowledge gained by the natural sciences will ultimately always be reconcilable with the revelation of God we have publicly through Scripture, through the authoritative teachings of the Church throughout the centuries, and privately through prayer.

A biologist simply cannot contradict this knowledge, and any attempts to use the laws of nature to do so - as I said before - misunderstands God.

I am not a huge proponent of Intelligent Design, mostly because I agree with John Derbyshire that it's not science. On the other hand, it's an understandable reaction to scientists like Wilson claiming that evolution defeats revealed faith. A believing Christian can easily see that this is not true, and evolution then becomes an enemy in a sense.

I don't claim to speak for all Christians, I know there are young-earth Christians out there, just as there are still geo-centrists. I believe they err in reading Scripture literally. In the end, the believer must understand that God is the author of scientific laws, and so they can never contradict Him.

For their part, scientists who are non-believers must respect the faith of Christians and understand that the existence of the Christian God is not something which can be empirically proven.

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As a postscript to my post two down about my new job, I wish to say to any of my family members (specifically my mother, brother, sister) reading this, the reason you have not heard the news from me directly is that we can't find our cell phone and it's dead so we can't call it to find it.

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Furcal signs with Dodgers


Sorry, Larry.

So now it seems Hendry is going after Juan Pierre and may trade Todd Walker. NOOOOOOOOOOO. Yes, get Pierre. He is the absolute best we can do for center field/lead-off, but we still need more power, and having Jerry Hairston Jr. at second over Todd Walker is a serious step back in every way.

Right now, the infield looks like this: the corners are anchored with Lee and Ramirez. The center has Walker and Neifi Perez. If we get rid of Walker and start Hairston at second, we better be trading Walker for one of the TWO sluggers we would then need to bring into the outfield. We would be comitting to hairston at lead-off, which is fine if we fill center and right with big bats.

Here's an option: Roger Cedeno is a free agent. We could pick him up as a cheap center field/lead-off man and spend big bucks for a major slugger for right field.

Another option: Kenny Lofton for center field. He's already played for the Cubs, beng part of the Pittsburgh Three that almost got the Cubs to the World Series in '03. Additionally, he's a veteran of the type that Dusty Baker manages so well. With him in center, we could go for a cheaper right fielder, somebody like Preston Wilson or Reggie Sanders.

Through all this, I still have yet to see a name seriously floated for right. Burnitz - who served admirably as the replacement for Sammy Sosa - is gone, and we need somebody serious there.

I'll say it again - if the Cubs don't acquire a productive player for the outfield, we're cooked. It doesn't have to be a star - we've got Lee and Ramirez to hit the homeruns. We just need people to beef up the bottom half of the line-up.

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It's official!


Friday I gave my two week notice, sort of...

I'll be staying on where I am now part-time, probably through the spring, which is exactly what I had hoped would happen. I was already planning on not taking classes next semester, so the time will be there. I've long thought my position could easily be done by a part-timer (not the kind of thing you advertise though, ya know?) My boss actually feels the same, and I'm sure she likes the impact it will have on her bottom line. :)

Additionally, Mama-Lu and I spent Saturday setting up an office in the apartment. Much of the work at my current job can be done from home, and now I'll have a place to do it (relativey) undisturbed.

The next 4-5 months will be incredibly busy from me. I'll have two jobs and a new baby. I suspect I'll have little time to blog, but really for a while I've been doing more "linking" then "blogging" anyway.

I'm very excited about this move, and I really think this is best for our family and for me professionally at this time.

Praise God!

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Time flies

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Benedict possibly to visit Poland in 2006


Archbishop Dziwisz says it's possible.

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How to get your IP address banned from this blog


Leave an anti-Catholic link in a comment unrelated to the post you where you leave it. No comment, no attempt at discussion, no email where you can be reached, just a link. Goodbye Mike! Drop me an email if you actually want to discuss anything.

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Bad Nativities


Amy points us to The Cavalcade of Bad Nativities at the Going Jesus blog.

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A Protestant in Taize


Otto Selles, a professor at Calvin College, took a group of 19 students to visit the Taize community in France. Christianity today published his reflections, which include some quotes from his students.

"When the singing started," said Ryan Poling, a 20-year-old junior from Chicago, "I sat there and let the soothing melodies wash over me. I added my own voice, too, and before I knew it, I was among only four other singers, three-and-a half hours later. It felt too soon to leave."

The article is interesting in that it's from a perspective that isn't wholly in love with Catholicism, although there is no open hostility.

UPDATE: I should note that Taize is an interfaith community. Although the worship services are Catholic Masses, the community members are of many different Christian denominations. Thanks, Brandon!

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Priests arrested, beaten in China

BEIJING -- Police have arrested six priests from China's underground Catholic Church and severely beaten two of them, a US-based religious rights group said Tuesday.
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November 30, 2005 General Audience


Here is the Zenit translation of the address given by Pope Benedict XVI.

Here is an excerpt:

God, who is the ultimate arbiter of history, will be able to understand and accept, according to his justice, the cry of the victims, beyond the harsh tones that it sometimes acquires.

We want to commend to St. Augustine a further meditation on our psalm. In it, the Father of the Church introduces a surprising element of great timeliness: He knows that also among the inhabitants of Babylon there are people who are committed to peace and the good of the community, despite the fact that they do not share the biblical faith, that they do not know the hope of the Eternal City to which we aspire. They have a spark of desire for the unknown, for the greatest, for the transcendent, for a genuine redemption.

And he says that among the persecutors, among the nonbelievers, there are people with this spark, with a kind of faith, of hope, in the measure that is possible for them in the circumstances in which they live. With this faith in an unknown reality, they are really on the way to the authentic Jerusalem, to Christ. And with this opening of hope, valid also for the Babylonians -- as Augustine calls them -- for those who do not know Christ, and not even God, and who nevertheless desire the unknown, the eternal, he exhorts us not to look only at the material things of the present moment, but to persevere in the path to God. Only with this greater hope can we transform this world in a just way.

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Chicago gets a new bishop


From Vatican Information Service:

VATICAN CITY, DEC 1, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father...

- Appointed Fr. George J. Rassas of the clergy of the archdiocese of Chicago, U.S.A., vicar general, as auxiliary of the same archdiocese (area 3,653, population 6,104,000, Catholics 2,442,000, priests 1,781, permanent deacons 632, religious 3,953). The bishop-elect was born in 1942 and ordained a priest in 1968.

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Benny to Bart


Here is the text of the Pope's message to Bartholomew I, Patriarch of Constantinople to celebrate the feast of St. Andrew. The Pope had hoped to visit Constantinople on this date, but that didn't quite pan out.

To His Holiness Bartholomew I Archbishop of Constantinople Ecumenical Patriarch

"The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you!

My love to all of you in Christ Jesus " (1 Cor 16:23-24).

It is with great joy that I write to Your Holiness on the occasion of the Feast of Saint Andrew, apostle and brother of Saint Peter
The delegation which I send to you, led by the President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, His Eminence Cardinal Walter Kasper, brings you the warmest fraternal greetings of the Church of Rome. While I myself would have wished to be present to assure you personally of my affection for you in the Lord and to pray with you, I nevertheless convey my fervent hope for an even deeper communion which will overcome those obstacles remaining between us and enable us to celebrate together the Holy Eucharist, the one sacrifice of Christ for the life of the world.

This year we commemorate the Fortieth Anniversary of 7 December 1965, that day on which Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras, dissatisfied with what had occurred in 1054, decided together at Rome and Constantinople "to cancel from the Church’s memory the sentence of ex-communication which had been pronounced". That momentous event became the basis of a renewed relationship marked by reciprocal respect and reconciliation. We remember with joy the inspiring words pronounced that day in the Cathedral of the Phanar by the beloved Patriarch Athenagoras : "God is Love (1 Jn 4:9): love is the God-given mark of the disciples of Christ, the power which gathers in unity the Church, and the source of its peace, harmony and order, as a perpetual and brilliant manifestation of the indwelling Holy Spirit" (Response to The Common Declaration, 7 December 1965).

Indeed, this cancellation marked the beginning of a new season of ecclesial life, a season of dialogue, which has seen significant progress yet remains challenged to continue the rigorous pursuit of its much cherished goals. In this regard, it is a source of great satisfaction to me that after a pause of some years our theological dialogue begins once again. I pray that it will indeed be fruitful and am confident that no effort will be spared to make it so. He who puts his hand to the plough must not turn back (cf. Lk 9:62). Rather, he must persevere and bring his work to completion, sowing the seed and awaiting the abundant harvest that God in his goodness will provide. Attentive then to what the Spirit says to the needs of the Churches today and in the future, I assure Your Holiness and the Holy Synod, and through you all the Orthodox Churches, that the Catholic Church remains irrevocably committed to promoting all suitable and helpful initiatives to strengthen charity, solidarity and theological dialogue between us.

In the joy of the Feast of Saint Andrew, Holy Guardian of the Church of Constantinople, I renew to Your Holiness my fraternal love and send you my warm greetings in the embrace of peace.

From the Vatican, 26 November 2005

Text courtesy of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

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Papal Prayer Intentions


Here are the Pope's prayer intentions for the month of December.

General prayer intention:
"That the dignity of men and women may be ever more deeply understood, according to the Creator's plan."

Missionary prayer intention:
"That, on earth, the search for God and the thirst for truth may lead every human being to meet the Lord."

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Mama-Lu's Etsy Shop

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