30 March 2011

More Lies from Planned Parenthood

Last February, Cecile Richards, CEO of Planned Parenthood, claimed that removing federal funding from PP would reduce its ability to provide services like mammograms. The intrepid investigators of Live Action, however, discovered otherwise. In 30 calls to clinics in 27 states, PP employees are taped repeatedly asserting that PP does not provide mammograms, and in fact no PP clinic does.

Look, Honey! Here's a good one for our daughter!

Bad Boy ISO Good Girl
Age: 25
Location: Vegas, Baby

So...ya, I was thinking I need someone opposite me...I'm kind of a bad boy, but not super bad, not like prison bad...maybe a couple of 48 hrs in a cell or something, nothing crazy. I have strong morals and family values and stuff...Let's put it this way...I've always been subjected to negative stuff, I'm not a drug addict or nothing like that, either...just the way I was raised and taught to do things I guess are "bad". At least in my mind....I don't know, I guess I just want a good girl, someone opposite me...a girl that can show me the other side of things I guess...That's just how I've been feeling lately.....I'm not ugly so any response's, please don't be either...

(via I Can't Believe He's Still Single)

Hope you got that

With You Always

Wherein Jesus communicates his love to us in the ordinary and mundane...

"I love you, Jane. I love you because you stay home all day and make pies. You’re special… No, you are… just because I said so."

Lady Gaga Mass

27 March 2011

Fasting on Beer

Following the tradition of a group of 17th-century Bavarian friars, this fellow is living on nothing but doppelbock for Lent.
The beer, which is sweeter, stronger and darker than normal lager, is filled with nutrients and was called “liquid bread”. Doppelbock received papal approval in the late 1600s, so the legend goes, because the Paulaner friars sent a cask of the brew to Rome which turned sour on the long journey across the Alps. The pope tasted the sour liquid and decided that anything so disgusting must be good for penitents, giving it his sanction.
He's documenting his fast on his blog.

Political Correctness & Wikipedia

I've never considered Wikipedia the most accurate source, and this is one of the reasons why. The original Wikipedia entry claimed Memorial Day was first implemented by "formerly enslaved Africans" to honor the Union dead. This overly romanticized view rightly caught the attention of Thomas DiLorenzo, who clarified that it was more likely enacted by a group of women to honor both the Union and Confederate fallen.

It seems after his critique, the current entry has been revised to reflect the facts as they happened, and not as some individuals wished them to have happened.


Yet another reason going to Mass is good for you.
Religious leaders have contended for millennia that burning incense is good for the soul. Now, biologists have learned that it is good for our brains too. An international team of scientists, including researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, describe how burning frankincense (resin from the Boswellia plant) activates poorly understood ion channels in the brain to alleviate anxiety or depression. This suggests that an entirely new class of depression and anxiety drugs might be right under our noses.
(via CBP)

26 March 2011

Not a Dollar Bill

I've always been attracted to those who speak frankly in pursuit of Truth, who don't give a damn what others think, or go to pieces because another takes offense at their words. One of the reasons Hilaire Belloc and St. John of the Cross rank at the top of my list is precisely because they don't mince words. (Of course, eloquence and erudition are part of the package; no one wants a bigmouth who has nothing to say, or who says it appallingly.) From them one is going to hear Truth, and sometimes it'll sting--but the pain of that sting is a good one, the sort that spurs one on toward the Good and the Beautiful.

At adoration today, I happened to pick up a stray copy of The Way sitting amidst a pile of books in the pew. I know next to nothing about Opus Dei, and even less about its founder, but opening up his book and reading the first few notes hit me like a ton of bricks.
1. Don't let your life be sterile. Be useful. Blaze a trail. Shine forth with the light of your faith and of your love. With your apostolic life wipe out the slimy and filthy mark left by the impure sowers of hatred. And light up all the ways of the earth with the fire of Christ that you carry in your heart.
The first note. It woke me up. And then:
3. Maturity. Stop making faces and acting up like a child! Your bearing ought to reflect the peace and order in your soul.

4. Don't say, "That's the way I am--it's my character." It's your lack of character. Esto vir!--Be a man!

5. Get used to saying No.
7. Don't fly like a barnyard hen when you can soar like an eagle.
9. What you have just said, say it in another tone, without anger, and what you say will have more force... and above all, you won't offend God.
Yes. I like this. Quite a lot. I was now beginning to realize St. Josemaria Escriva would be just the man to whip me into spiritual shape this Lent.
14. Don't waste your energy and your time--which belong to God--throwing stones at the dogs that bark at you on the way. Ignore them.
20. You clash with the character of one person or another.... It has to be that way--you are not a dollar bill to be liked by everyone.

Besides, without those clashes which arise in dealing with your neighbors, how could you ever lose the sharp corners, the edges--imperfections and defects of your character--and acquire the order, the smoothness, and the firm mildness of charity, of perfection?

If your character and that of those around you were soft and sweet like marshmallows, you would never become a saint.
That was enough. I discreetly "borrowed" the book and took it home. The nuggets of wisdom continue on page after page, and I look forward to mining them in the coming weeks.

The Beggar and the Pope

I visited a parish tonight where the following true story was given of the late Holy Father:
A priest from the Archdiocese of New York was visiting Rome. As he was walking into a church to pray, he noticed a beggar sitting at the front door—not an unusual sight in Rome. But something about this particular beggar bothered him. He didn’t figure it out until he began to pray: he suddenly realized that he knew the man from his days in the seminary.

He immediately went back outside and said to him, "Excuse me, do I know you?" Sure enough, the beggar had been in the seminary with him many years earlier. He had been ordained a priest, but had [in his words] "crashed and burned" in his vocation.

The priest from New York was understandably shaken up when he left the beggar a few minutes later.

That afternoon he was at the Vatican, and had the opportunity to meet the pope and speak with him. He said to him, "Please, Holy Father, pray for this particular man. I went to seminary with him, and he’s now a beggar on the streets of Rome. Please pray for him, because he’s lost."

The Holy Father instructed the priest to go back to the beggar.

He found him—once again—in front of the church, and he said to him, "I have an invitation for the two of us to have dinner with the pope tonight." The beggar said, "No, I can’t." The priest responded, "You’d better, because I’m not going to have dinner with the pope any other way."

So the priest took the beggar to his room, where he provided him with a razor, a much-needed shower, and some clean clothes.

Then they went to dinner. About an hour into the meal, the Holy Father asked the priest from New York to leave the room. He then said to the beggar, "Would you hear my Confession?"

The beggar said, "I’m not a priest anymore." The pope replied, "Once a priest, always a priest."

The beggar said, "But I’m not in good standing with the Church." The pope shot back, "I’m the pope. I’m the bishop of Rome. I can re-instate you now."

The beggar agreed, and Pope John Paul II proceeded to confess his sins.

The beggar-priest barely got the words of absolution out of his mouth before he dropped to his knees and tearfully asked, "Holy Father, will you please hear my Confession?" He confessed, and was restored to good graces with our Lord and the Church.

The Holy Father then invited the New York priest back into the room, and he asked him at what church he had found the beggar. The priest told him. The pope then said to the beggar-priest, "For your first assignment, I want you to go to the pastor there and report for duty, because you’ll be an associate at that parish with a special outreach to the beggars in that area."

And that’s where he is today, serving God and the poor as a priest.
After some digging, I believe the priest is one "Fr. Jim" at the church of St. Maria sopra Minerva.

Abercrombie is evil

I've long known this sex-saturated clothing company was to be avoided. Past ad campaigns have consisted in wall-sized, black-and-white photos of bare teen torsos; how this relates to selling clothing is beyond me. It seems Abercrombie has sunk to new depths: the store is now selling push-up bikini tops for little girls--you know, because an 8-year-old really needs to be thinking about her bust size.

Buy a ticket, remove your clothes

I remember on first hearing about the TSA body scanners feeling complete shock that it had now come to this: if I wanted to fly, my government now forced me to submit to either (1) a humiliating, invasive, virtual strip search that offers a graphic view of my nude body for some stranger to view, or (2) a humiliating and invasive pat down that includes touching of my breasts and genitals. This was so obviously wrong that I was even more disturbed by the indifference manifested by people I thought should know better (some of them my own relatives). Arguments ranged from, "Oh, we live in a different world now" to "the images aren't that bad" (unless you view porn regularly and have been desensitized, um, yes, they are) to "how else are they supposed to protect us from terrorists?" What hogwash! It's enough to drive one mad.

Now it seems the Department of Homeland Security isn't content to stick to virtual strip searches--it believes it has the right to literally strip search any passenger before he boards a plane.
The Department of Homeland Security told a federal court that the agency believes it has the legal authority to strip search every air traveler. The agency made the claim at oral argument in EPIC's lawsuit to suspend the airport body scanner program. The agency also stated that it believed a mandatory strip search rule could be instituted without any public comment or rulemaking.
I had already wondered whether or not I'd fly based on my concern over body scanners/pat downs; if the DHS starts implementing strip searches as well, sorry--family members will have to be the ones to fly here if they expect to see us.

24 March 2011

First Traditional Latin Mass at Harvard since VII Council

Rorate Caeli reports that Mass in the extraordinary form will be offered Friday, March 25th, 2011 at St. Paul Catholic Church, Bow and Arrow Streets, Cambridge, MA--Harvard Square. All those in the area welcome to attend.

Last of the July 20 Plotters

Andrew Cusack has a link to an interview at Spiegel Online with Ewald von Kleist, the last surviving member of Operation Valkyrie. Among his insightful remarks:
SPIEGEL: The Bundeswehr is defending universal values -- that is, human rights -- in Afghanistan. Isn't that an honorable goal?

Kleist: The real question is whether it's right for our people to have to die so that girls can go to school in Asia. The answer to that doesn't seem very clear to me.

SPIEGEL: So, what is worth dying for?

Kleist: Risking the lives of German soldiers is only justified when our vital interests are threatened. Exactly what those vital interests are has to be decided on a case-by-case basis. Then, we have to determine whether we have the means to achieve our goals. And, finally, I have to ask myself how I can get back out. A military mission is only justified when we have a convincing answer to these questions.
And on decision-making in war:
Kleist: If only the people who talk about war today and make the decisions had experienced what it's really like. A father-son relationship develops between the commanding officer and the soldier, even if the officer is much younger. And then those things happen that happen in war. Someone gets hit and is lying there, and you have to go to him and watch him die, watch one of your own children die. And he had believed he was sacrificing his life for something just and necessary. It's horrible, you know.

SPIEGEL: Do you get inured to it after a while?

Kleist: Many people got used to it, but I never did. I still feel that way today, which is why security policy interests me. And that's why I'm worried that we sometimes treat these issues very recklessly.
America has the laxest abortion laws in the world.

Now it has the worst family cohesion in the world, second only to Latvia.
Just 70 percent of American children grow up with both parents, worse than the developed world average of 84 percent.... And American marriages fail more than anywhere else except Latvia, the report says.
I've heard a lot of Christian triumphalists claim our nation is the greatest on earth; these are usually the same people who think America is blessed and favored by God, who've bought into the notion that our founding had its roots in religious freedom, that the Founding Fathers were each devout Christians, and who think no form of government could possibly be greater than democracy.

Considering the objective evidence of our great love of abortion and divorce, such triumphalists need to think twice before claiming the Divine somehow "favors" America over other nations...

09 March 2011

Good News

Rorate Caeli reports on positive developments regarding the upcoming Instruction on the motu proprio. Quite possibly because of the recent international appeal and petition requesting that the motu proprio not be watered down, the final draft will include, among other things, the clarification that
"bishops cannot and must not publish [parallel] rules which limit the faculties granted by the motu proprio, or change its conditions", but "are rather called to apply it". That is, the Instruction would make clear that all such diocesan 'instructions and regulations' regarding Summorum are null and void.
Good news, indeed!

Next time you're looking to buy Legitimist wine...

08 March 2011


Sermon delivered on Quinquagesima Sunday by Canon Aaron Huberfeld:
Charity is patient, it is kind…it is not provoked to anger.

As we pursue our course of violet Sundays and our series of sermons, we discover that these Sundays are perfectly in accord with the traditional ordering of the Seven Deadly Sins. The list begins and ends with the most spiritual of these vices. We began with the two most miserable, and we will end with the one most diabolical. Today we begin to consider the four other deadly sins, the four that go together because they are the most human – they can exist only in the human soul. Devils are incapable of committing them, though our human language may often attribute these sins to them. And the first of these is the deadly sin of wrath.

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