Saturday, May 26, 2007


This is so wrong. And so funny. My pick for the best is #4 because of the "hairdo".

Funniest is the hate mail page. I'm so jealous. My faves:

I think u should die u stupid geek that is so mean to the cats its not funny its just plain mean I feel so sorry for the cats close this site down or die
- Dominic from Philip Morant School in Essex

I myself think this site is a disgrace.:( Hitler killed everything living thing there was and he would kill these cute cats if he was still here. Thank you.
- Rockell

Wow, Dominic wants people to die. Sign him up for the Kitty SS.

Sieg meow.

The Holy Angels

We're all thankful that John McG emerged unscathed from a nasty bus accident in St. Louis where he lives. John is a reader here and is very witty. I first discovered his blog during the Knights of Malta hype back in January from this post and I've been checking his stuff out ever since. Just one more plug for his style of comedy writing: "Alternative Vocation" is a must read.

I've been in many accidents in my life and near misses, totaled two cars, etc. Somewhat surprisingly, none involved alcohol. The good that has come out of it for me is a greater devotion to the God's Holy Angels. I say this prayer every morning and every night:

Angel of God, my Guardian dear,
To whom His love commits me here,
Every this day (night) be at my side,
To light and guard, to rule and guide.

Some might think of this as a "children's prayer", which, of course it is. To the Holy Angels I would guess that we're all a bunch of kids since they "always see the face of my Father". Besides, I have a priest-friend who is very scholarly and possesses two master's degrees in Hebrew and Greek, but he told me he says the this prayer every morning and every night. You could also pray the prayer in Latin, which is the official language spoken in Heaven, our true home and that of the Holy Angels:

Angele Dei, qui custos es mei,
Me tibi commissum pietate superna;
Hodie (Hac nocte) illumina, custodi, rege, et guberna. Amen.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Religion Writing and Me

Someone asked me recently if I ever thought about doing this writing thingy as a career. I was flattered. But I'm really not sure it's a good idea, especially since I write on religious topics so much. Let me try to explain.

If I started getting paid for giving out my opinion on religion there's a good chance that I would start viewing religion in instrumentalist terms. Think about it; if you took away my writing about religion from this site what would be left? Not so much. A few links to jokes I found and some political commentary. Maybe a few laughs worth a buck a month from Google Ads. Best go back to being a jitney driver.

And if I was getting paid or accepting donations to do this blog then I would be receiving utility from my faith? That would make me basically be a faith-based utilitarian, an FBU for short. Kind of a "whatever works" type.

I could see if I was actually really knowledgeable or was a priest or had a theology degree; if I had something to say about this whole religion thing. Naturally I teach my children about religion and I talk to friends about it when the opportunity is presented. But I don't get paid to do that.

It is so darn easy to talk about religion. Look at Madonna, for instance. She's talking about religion now that she's 96 in female pop-star years and she's not as fresh, young and perky and no one cares as much about her as the newer models coming out. If she blogged for some online magazine the editors would probably advise her to convert from Kabala to Yoga or astrology just to beef up the hit count for advertising. "Pimp yo conversion!" Madonna's probably not that hard up for cash though, so we'll most likely be spared from anything of that sort.

But we have enough writers out there who "manipulate God for their own ends"; they are the loudest about their own religions and even more so about that of others are often the least qualified to say anything and are nothing short of offensive in their pronouncements. Andrew Sullivan is ostensibly a Catholic who sees barbarous hordes of what he calls "Christianists" around every corner. He speaks of these politically conservative Christians with wild-eyed paranoia reminiscent of nativist Know-nothing hysteria. Best I can tell they are closest to Islamist suicide bombers, only they are worse because they never actually kill anyone. Damn these wily Christianists! They exploit religious faith and they don't have the decency to blow themselves up. But he has been dining out on this intriguing concept for quite some time, he even wrote a book on the topic. By his own wobbly definition, this makes Sullivan a fundy and an exploiter of a different stripe.

If that is paid religion writing, the hell with it. So say I. There's a reason why Jesus warns about the Pharisees who "strain a gnat and swallow a camel."

I apologize if there are people who really want me to do this more and make a career out of it. Sorry to disappoint you. I just really can't see the point of selling out my religious identity for material success, to "gain the world and lose my soul". If I obsessed wrote about the Catholic Church for a living, I might start taking notes on how Father X does the Consecration, roughing in an outline for my next blog post during my thanksgiving for Holy Communion. I'd ruminate on how Deacon Y said something that I'm not exactly sure I agreed with instead of meditating on the Five Wounds. I'd start noting the banal architecture in the suburbs and motes in the eyes of bishops. Worst of all, I would see all of life in business transaction-like terms: salvation, the end-product; the Sacraments, a service performed; bishops as salesmen....

You know, I think I'm getting really good at the detection of projection, and that's all I'm going to say about that. For now.

(By the way, there are people pimping Lou Reed's new meditation album from a religious perspective, belief it or not. Read it if you want the Rock 'n Roll Animal to teach you about cool stuff like tai chi and alpha states. You can't make this up.)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Bishops’ Conference Responds To 18 Democrats Critical Of Pope

WASHINGTON (May 18, 2007) — The 18 Democrats who recently criticized Pope Benedict XVI when he answered questions about Mexico’s legalizing abortion both misrepresented the Pope’s remarks and defied freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

The position was noted by Sister Mary Ann Walsh, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Director of Media Relations in a May 18 statement, which follows.

Response to 18 Democrats
Sister Mary Ann Walsh, RSM
Director of Media Relations
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

In an unfortunate May 10 statement, 18 of the 88 Catholic Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives criticized Pope Benedict XVI’s remarks concerning Mexican lawmakers legalizing abortion. The Representatives’ statement misrepresents the Holy Father’s remarks and implies that the Church does not have a right to voice its teaching in the public square.

The Holy See has made clear that neither the Mexican bishops nor the Holy Father have excommunicated any legislator. Rather, the Holy See reiterated longstanding Church teaching that anyone who freely and knowingly commits a serious wrong, that is, a mortal sin, should not approach the Eucharist until going to confession.

“The Catholic Church proclaims that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision of society.” (United States Catechism for Adults, p. 442) Consequently, every Catholic is obliged to respect human life, from conception until natural death.

To suggest that the Church should not clearly voice its teaching and apply it in a pluralistic society is to attack freedom of speech and freedom of religion. The Catholic Church always will and must speak out against the destruction of innocent unborn children. The right to do so is guaranteed by the Constitution that all legislators are elected to uphold. Speaking and acting against abortion is not a matter of partisan politics. It is a matter of life and death.

The bishops urge all Catholics, especially those who hold positions of public responsibility, to educate themselves about the teaching of the Church, and to seek pastoral advice so that they can make informed decisions with consistency and integrity.

Monday, May 21, 2007

My New Job as an Editor

This article is my first assignment.

Making the Latin mass more readily available may be a key to reconciliation between the Vatican and a[n] ultra-orthodox splinter Catholic group, a report said.

"The pope believes the time has come to favor access to this (Latin) liturgy," said Cardinal Dario Castrillon, who is negotiating the return of the Society of St. Pius X, which was established in 1970 and has about 450 priests worldwide, the Italian news agency ANSA said.

The Society of St. Pius X shuns the modern liturgy approved by the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s. The group's late founder, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, was excommunicated in 1988 for causing a schism in the Catholic Church by contesting some modern reforms of the Council, ANSA said.

Although the Latin mass was not banned by the Council, bishops priests presently need authority permission from superiors their ordinaries to celebrate it.

Pope Benedict XVI, 80, is fond of saying mass in Latin. When he was elected, he celebrated his first official mass at the Sistine Chapel in the ancient language of the Romans official language of the Roman Catholic Church.

La Shawn on the (un)Fairness Doctrine

La Shawn gets it; the simplest and best way to discern the motives of the left is to look on that ol' list of capital sins, in this case, envy. Excerpt:

It's funny how liberals manage to find a "right to privacy" to slaughter unborn babies and a "civil right" for two men to marry each other in the Constitution but ignore the explicit right to free speech, no matter how unpopular or "intolerant" the speech.

Jonah on Ron Paul

Good, especially with regard to different problems requiring different answers. Here's a paragraph:

Ron Paul gets to luxuriate in the intellectual comfort of the Wrong Turn Ideologue. He claims all of our problems are the product of "fifty-years of bad policy." Translation: America was wrong to stand up to the Soviet Union. If you think he's right, good for you. There are some smart and serious people who think the Cold War was a giant mistake. But I'm not one of them (save for the argument that, had it been possible to muster the will, we should have toppled Stalin before he got the bomb). The gist of his fifty-year-mistake stance also suggests that America was non-interventionist before the Cold War. It was, immediately before the Cold War and World War II. But outside of those brief parentheses, it has been more interventionist than Paul & Co. would have you believe. Besides, is it really so compelling to say that American foreign policy in the 1930s was America's finest hour?

His conclusion is charitable and balanced, yet firm:

I like having Ron Paul in this race and participating in these debates. But not only is he no Robert Taft, but, when it comes to foreign policy, we couldn't use him if he were.

I tend to feel like anti-interventionism should be viewed in the wouldn't-it-be-nice category. Is it really possible for America to disengage from world affairs at this point, and would it be the right thing to do? All for the sake of avoiding the "blowback" and beating ourselves up for former foreign policy missteps?