September 2006 Archives

October Prayer Intentions


Here are the Holy Father's Prayer Intentions for the month of October:

General Prayer Intention: That all those who are baptized may mature in their faith and manifest it through clear, coherent and courageous choices in life.

Missionary Prayer Intention: That the celebration of World Mission Day may everywhere increase the spirit of missionary animation and cooperation.

World Mission Day is Sunday October 22nd.

Bookmark and Share

The Hamelly Formula

| | Comments (2)

This is sort of an inside joke, but the formula which many people I know attribute to one C. Hamelly (if John Derbyshire's memory serves) was actually devised by Aristotle.

Just on an arithmetic note: The classical formula (due to Aristotle IMS) for ages of man and wife is X vs. (X/2)+7. So the ideal partner for a 35-yr-old woman would be a 56-yr-old man.
Bookmark and Share

Don't Mess With Texas


Man shows up at Dallas playground with "adult" pictures, receives a**-whipping.

Bookmark and Share

Craig's List


We're using Craig's List both to buy and sell a car. It is working out quite, quite well, but doing both at the same time is a bit exhausting. Hopefully, it'll all be done by the weekend.

By the way, I'm selling a 1990 Camry. Anybody looking for a fixer-upper, drop me an email.

Bookmark and Share


| | Comments (1)

Here is a list of words that sound like the f-bomb when spoken by Matthew:

fix it

Needless to say, his extended family finds this hilarious.

Bookmark and Share

Our weekend

| | Comments (3)

Well, the Lu-family is in the middle of our first major family purchase. We're buying a station wagon to haul the family around in. It's a white 97 Volvo with the old-school third row of seating that faces the rear. We went up to Chicago to see it and leave a down payment on Saturday. On Monday morning, I'm going to swing by the bank and get our loan which we got approved for and then we're going to head back up north to pick up the new Loogy-Mobile!

Bookmark and Share

Day of pride


It's not every day when I can hold my head up high and proclaim myself the number one Internet authority on a subject.

Here is the "proof": I am Google's number one search result for gem clear 190 proof.

I'm not even in the top 100 if you use Yahoo, so I guess we know which search engine I'll be using from now on.

Bookmark and Share

More babies = better mommies


To pick up an old thread, yes pregnancy might make you stupid, but having more and more children might make you a better mother.

Or at least it works for rats .

What about the poppy rats?

Hat-tip: Danielle Bean (who just had a new baby!)

Bookmark and Share

Papal Controversy


I wrote a lengthy post on Monday about the Pope's Regensburg lecture that ignited way too much controversy, but I lost it. Aaaaargh. I'll sum up here.

The German Pope, speaking to a German audience of scholars and scientists, quoted the scholarly work of a renowned German scholar who had recently translated the work of Manuel II Paleologus, a Byzantine Emperor from 6 centuries ago. This emperor, when he wasn't fighting off usurping relatves, spent much of his rule defending his empire from Muslim Turks, so he had a particular hard spot in his heart for Mohammed. The Pope took pains to make clear that the emperor's words were not his own, the German original shows an even greater effort on the part of the Holy Father to separate himself from those actual remarks. The remark about Islam bringing things "evil and inhuman" was a tiny bit of the quote from Manuel. The Pope further quoted an eloquent passage from Manuel concerning reason and faith. This was the basis for using the quote.

Indeed, the Holy Father had this to say yesterday:

Unfortunately, this quotation has given room to a misunderstanding. For the careful reader of my text it is clear that I did not wish at any time to make my own the negative words uttered by the medieval emperor in this dialogue and that its controversial content does not express my personal conviction. My intention was very different: Based on what Manuel II affirms afterward in a very positive way, with very beautiful words, about rationality in the transmission of the faith, I wished to explain that religion is not united to violence, but to reason.

He further quoted Muslim scholars who seemed to be saying that God cannot be described as necessarily reasonable.

The mention of Islam was the launching pad for a discussion of reason and faith, during which Islam was not mentioned. If Benedict's lecture could be seen as slamming anybody, it would be not Islam, but rather:

  1. liberal Protestant and Catholic theologians who wish to divorce Catholic faith from the hellenistic thought into which it was born and which had already been in dialogue with Judaism centuries before Christianity came about,

  2. secular scholars and scientists who pretend that empirical research alone can get to the truth of who we are and why we exist,

  3. believers of all stripes who use violence or any irrational means to promote their religion.

That said, given the fact that anything the Pope says to any audience gets worldwide amplification, he should have been more careful in his wording. It's true, that as the Holy Father said, "a careful reading" of the text shows he was not agreeing that Islam has only brought evil, but with the nature of the soundbyte information age, and the fact that he was speaking over the heads of most of the world, an explicit statement that he did not agree with the statements was appropriate to not cause offence to Muslims. "Careful" readers are few and far between among those with the largest megaphones.

This does not in any way make the Pope responsble for violence, rioting and murder. But as a representative of Catholics and Christians living in Muslim countries that are quick to violent oppression, he has a responsibility towards them. Again, this doesn't make the Pope responsible for the actions of those who need only an excuse to persecute Christians.

Finally, it was disappointing to see so many commentators and fellow Catholic bloggers agree with the Pope's remarks when they thought he really meant the Islam has only brought things inhuman and evil.

Bookmark and Share

St. Matthew, Apostle & Evangelist



Happy Feast Day, Matthew Boniface!

Party at my parish after mass this evening!

Catholic Encyclopedia entry for St. Matthew.

Bookmark and Share



From Fr. Stephanos, O.S.B. at Open Book at this thread (where yours truly makes an appearance):

j-g, "berettas" are guns, "birettas" are hats, and "birra" is the Italian for "beer".

As an adult, a priest and a U.S. citizen,
I am entitled to use all three.

Bookmark and Share

9/11 Where I was


I logged into my email from the worship office at the U of I Newman Center, where I worked as a sacristan. There was a message on a Church email list (the K-list, for those who know what that is) from, I believe, John Bambenek, stating that one tower had been hit and that another plane had gone missing. A follow-up email from somebody else reported that the towers had fallen. Struck with disbelief, I went downstairs to the Newman Hall lounge. The first person I saw simply said, "They're gone."

I went to one class at mid-day, and though we discussed the events, nobody really knew what was going on. The rest of the day I spent in or around the chapel. Fr. Stanley, the associate chaplain there at the time, had asked the Sacristans to be around in case students wandered in looking for people to pray with or a priest to talk to.

I talked to a few distraught students, not very many, and instead spent much of the time in the chapel or sacristy, alternately praying and reading a book for an upcoming paper. Later, we locked up the chapel and some of the sacristans converged to relax after a long and spiritually tough day.

It was then that I first saw any images of what happened. Throughout the day, I had heard snippets of info from friends: people jumping from the towers, maniacs in the Middle East dancing in celebration, etc, and so I was intensely curious to view some of these images myself.

It was jarring to see the second plane hitting the tower, but I found that I was not nearly as disturbed (or distraught, or pissed, or whatever adjective you wish to use) as many other people I talked to in the following few days. It kind of bothered me, and I really wanted to get to the bottom of why I felt this way. Was I that heartless?

The answer - to an extent - is yes. I did some self-examination of my disposition in the months following 9-11-01 and I realized that death has never much disturbed me. I've found that at funerals and other situations of grief, I tend to be moved and saddened more by the grief of others than by the actual events that transpired. Deep down, a part of me gets frustrated with people who get overly-emotional. It's not something of which I'm particularly proud, but I dealt with some pretty rotten stuff by myself when I was a kid, and I think some of this inner hardness of heart stems from that. I don't like it, but to be honest, it's there.

On the other hand, this was different. I *was* pissed. I was horrified by what I heard and angry at the injustice that had been perpetrated. I saw people all day - many of them friends whom I love dearly - who were wrecks, and more than anything THAT made me angry and frustrated. Why were they more "affected" than I?

Quoth the trauma experts:

In a nationally representative sample of 2,773 adults, clinically significant distress was associated with hours of terrorism-related television watched per day and number of different types of graphic terrorism-related content watched. It should be noted that the prevalence of general distress was not greater than that typically seen in community samples.

Furthermore, in a subset of 691 New York City dwellers, number of hours of terrorism-related TV coverage watched was significantly associated with higher PTSD symptom endorsement but the content index was not (Schlenger et al., 2002).

Every time I think about that day, I'm grateful that I wasn't sitting in front of a television watching that second plane hit and watching the towers fall. Death is real and terrible. Evil is real and terrible and cannot be ignored or wished away. In that sense, the terrorist attacks on 9/11 were a wake-up call to our county. But that is all too metaphysical. The cold reality is that many of us watched mass-murder live on TV.

The real-time video coverage of the events of 9/11 did real psychological harm to citizens of our country. We should all pray that we never again experience something like that day. We should all desire to protect our families and our children from witnessing such evil. Yet the next time it happens (pray it does not), how many of you will let yourselves watch and be wounded? Or expose your children to it.

I count myself lucky, blessed, that I had all day to reflect and pray before being confronted with the images. I refer back to them as rarely as possible, not because I can make 9/11 go away and forget about it, not because terrorism is an over-hyped myth, but because it's masochistic to repeatedly and intentionally introduce such tragedy into life.

This is why I don't understand those who think a good way to commemorate the occasion is to replay the massacre in slow motion. It's like ripping open the wounds all over again. Yes, it may ensure that we "never forget," but it also ensures that we never forgive or heal.

Far better to remember those who perished, both on that day and from the ensuing wars, to give thanks for their lives and to recount the real heroism that took place amid the horror, to pray for their eternal rest, and to ask God to forgive their murderers and to forgive and convert those who conspired to kill them.

Mary, Mother of Sorrows, pray for us!

Bookmark and Share

McSweeney's: Ikea Product or Lord of the Rings Character?

Bookmark and Share

Harold's coming to Champaign

| | Comments (3)

Unless you've been to a Harold's Chicken Shack, you cannot grasp what it means that one is coming to Campustown.

Let's put it this way: every one I've been to has bulletproof glass between the cashier and customer.

Bookmark and Share

On being a Buckeye

| | Comments (1)

OK, here's the deal. Mama-Lu and I, upon the arrival of our first-born, struck a number of compromises. Fortunately, we're both Catholic, so there was no need to debate that matter. Sports, on the other hand...

I grew up on the north side of Chicago, about a mile away from Wrigley Field, so that was a no-brainer. Our boys will be raised Cubs fans. I don't give a rats rear about any other professional teams*, so no problems there.

College, on the other hand, presents a problem. We're both U of I alumni, but Jenny is a sort of "first-generation" transplantee from the world's greatest football town: Columbus. The compromise was suprisingly easy to strike: the Buckeyes will get the boys for football, but we will be an Illini basketball family. I think this will be a nice way to bring the boys up in the winningest tradition in each sport (and hopefully make up for the emotional scars that rooting for the Cubs will inflict upon them).

So yes, I am a Buckeye fan. And rooting for them this past week was surprisingly easy. It's been a long time - all my life - since I had a winning college football team to root for.

Stuff like this, though, gives me pause.

Couches and mattresses were set on fire outside houses in Ohio State University student neighborhoods and three people were struck by a car following the No. 1-ranked Buckeyes' 24-7 win over No. 2 Texas.

There were 35 to 40 fires set in student neighborhoods Saturday night, said Columbus police Sgt. David Howson, whose department arrested about 17 people, five of them on arson charges. A trash bin also was set ablaze, burning two nearby cars, he said.

Battalion Fire Chief Kevin O'Connor said he was treated for bumps and bruises after he and two others were struck by a car that came through a temporary command post set up in the driveway of a student union building.

What the freak goes on over there? Is there something my wife and in-laws aren't telling me about Buckeye sub-culture?

* Once, a long time ago, I was a rabid Bull's fan. But when the first season you ever follow the sport, your team wins the first of six championships in eight years, unreal expectations are created. I might have hung in there, but the NBA has become an embarrasment. If they want to have a future, they need to stop drafting teenagers.

Bookmark and Share

Dem's my Boys!

| | Comments (2)


Check out more pictures of Matthew and Charles dating from ~January to August here.

Somebody let me know if you have to login. You shouldn't have to.


Bookmark and Share

Vatican Photo Archive


Behold. L’Osservatore Romano, the official unofficially official newspaper of the Vatican has created an on-line photo archive. The pics are watermarked, so they're not good for downloading (sorry, bloggers), but you can order prints.

Bookmark and Share

Rauch & Penalver: There is no Moderate Pro-Life Position


Update: Ramesh points us to his own explanations of why it's reasonable to favor abortion restrictions without wanting to throw women in jail.

They are here, here and here (already cited below).


There's been an interesting back and forth over at Mirror of Justice that was sparked by this Jonathan Rauch review of Ramesh Ponnuru's Party of Death.

Rick Garnett starts here
Eduardo Penalver replies
Back to Garnett
Garnett also quotes a bit of Ponnuru's own refutation of the Rauch/Penalver critique (the piece he quotes can be foud here.)
More Penalver
One last bit from Garnett

The critique in Rauch's review that fails to impress Garnett but which finds support from Penalver is this:

“Eight-week-old fetuses do not differ from 10-day-old babies in any way that would justify killing the former,” [Ponnuru] writes. “The law will either treat the fetus as a human being with a right to be protected from unjust killing or it will not.” If those are the only choices, and if the right position is that an early-term fetus is a full-fledged person, why not impose jail terms on women who seek abortions? After all, they are taking out a contract for murder. Instead of confronting that question, Ponnuru equivocates, mumbling that “the pro-life movement” does not necessarily seek jail time for women and that fining doctors and revoking medical licenses might suffice.

He believes that discarding or destroying embryos should be forbidden, but should it be punishable as first-degree murder? If not, why not? If an embryo is morally indistinguishable from a newborn, then killing it is surely a heinous crime. If human life is “inviolable,” then why should it matter whether a hopelessly vegetative patient — someone like Terri Schiavo — left instructions not to be fed? Surely, from Ponnuru’s perspective, the doctors caring for her cannot ethically conspire to starve her to death even if she would prefer to die. If every abortion is infanticide, could even the most life-threatening pregnancy be ended? We don’t have a “health exception” to the murder laws.

This argument is being increasingly used against pro-lifers, especially since the release of Ponnuru's book. As pro-lifers succeed in making it more and more clear that abortion is an unjust killing, abortion supporters shift the debate and accuse them of not having the courage of their convictions. Rauch, indeed, does not express much disagreement with Ponnuru's arguments in Party of Death. If abortion is murder, then why not the death penalty for mothers who abort? Since pro-lifers don't generally support any criminal sanctions for these women, then they must not really believe that abortion is murder, or else there is some other inconsistency that makes pro-lifers wrong. Whatever the answer is, pro-lifers are wrong, wrong, wrong.

Bookmark and Share

Only in Catholic Blogland...


...can you find discussion like this that yield statements like this:

Being feminine doesn't mean frumpy, just as there are concerns about low waisted jeans there is a legitamite concern about high waisted pants or shoes that makes your ankles look fat. Even if you are covered, some styles make you look like all butt. Who wants to be all butt, when they are in presence of the Lord?

Bookmark and Share

Colbert and Stewart at the Emmys


I've told a few people about this, watch it for yourselves.

Bookmark and Share

2006 St. Blogs Conference


Bill White is volunteering Champaign-Urbana to host a conference for St. Blog's cyber-parishioners sometime in 2007. Head on over to his place to put your $.02 in on dates.

Here is the start of what will undoubtedly very soon be a glorious and wonderful homepage!

Bookmark and Share



Andre Agassi concluded his career with a four-set loss on Sunday.

The Fynal Cut has his emotional parting words.

Deadspin has a picture of fellow American James Blake's tribute to Andre: he wore Agassi's old pink get-up from the mullet days (though if you check out the original, fuller-length picture here, you'll see that he wimped out on sporting the pink biker shorts).

Speaking of Blake, he's pretty much The American to Root For now. He's ranked 9th in the world, fifth in this year's Open, and he played a memorable match against Andre in this same even last year. Actually, Blake's role wasn't so memorable, as he choked, but it was Agassi's last truly great match, and Blake has been on the rise since.

Bookmark and Share

The Freak Train Rolls On


The freakish string of injuries that has doomed yet another Chicago Cubs season came to new shuddering heights Saturday, as...

Bookmark and Share

September Prayer Intentions


The Pope's general prayer intention for September is: That those who use the means of social communication may always do so consciously and responsibly.

His missionary prayer intention is: For the People of God in mission lands: may they realize their right and duty to keep up-to-date with developments in the faith and the Church.

Bookmark and Share

New digs


RC has moved us over to a new server and upgraded our version of Movable Type. For the past few months, I've been unable to edit my sidebars, so look for new links over on the right!

Bookmark and Share


Mama-Lu's Etsy Shop

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from September 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

August 2006 is the previous archive.

October 2006 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.