Tuesday, January 30, 2007
While Church leaders had asked for an exemption to this proposed law, because of Church teachings, Tony Blair has denied the request. Tony Blair's wife is a practicing Catholic.
This decision may force the hand of the Church to close all Catholic run adoption agencies in the UK. While I think this would be tragic, I believe the Church should stand by it's consistent commitment to up hold Catholic teaching.
Read the article: No Exemption For British Catholic Adoption agencies
Monday, January 29, 2007
Shortly after the House of Representatives voted January 11 for passage of HR 3 — the bill that requires the federal government to fund embryonic stem-cell research (ESCR) — a number of the bill's Congressional supporters gathered for a press conference wherein they promised that when this bill becomes law, the new research will soon lead to the cure of a host of terrible maladies. Among the maladies not mentioned by the legislators were stupidity and hypocrisy.
After considerable investigation into this subject, I am convinced that the push for government funding of embryonic stem-cell research has nothing to do with curing sick people. If it did, the people who are lobbying for that research would switch their efforts to adult stem cells, the real next great leap in medical technology.
"If man Chooses to treat himself as raw material, raw material he will be" (C.S. Lewis)
This would make a great bumper sticker..
But politeness at any cost is not God's style. The reason for this is that God is love, and love is more concerned about the welfare of others than with one's own image. So if someone is on a seemingly pleasant canoe ride down a lazy river, love cares enough to warn the passengers that Niagra Falls is up ahead. "But everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion!" Nevertheless, opinions don't change the fact that going over the falls in a canoe will kill you.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Here's a review by Karl Keating:
This powerful and timely book, written by a former Fundamentalist, is a thorough critique of the popular Fundamentalist notion of the “Rapture”—the belief that Christians will be removed from earth prior to a time of Tribulation and the Second Coming. It examines the theological, historical, and Biblical basis for “premillennial dispensationalism”, the belief system based around the Rapture, and popularized in the best-selling Left Behind books and taught by “Bible prophecy” writers Tim LaHaye, Hal Lindsey, Jack Van Impe, and many others.
Written for both the lay person and the serious student, this book combines an engaging, popular approach with detailed footnotes and exhaustive research. Beginning with the big picture, it focuses first on key concepts such as eschatology, the Parousia, and the relationship between the Kingdom and the various Christians over the centuries. Olson then shows howChurch. It then examines the Book of Revelation, providing insights into the nature and purpose of that difficult, final book of the Bible. Another chapter looks at the concept of the “millennium” and how it has been understood by Left Behind creator LaHaye’s many works on “Bible prophecy” are filled with attacks on Catholicism, and often rely on sensationalism, shaky scholarship, and subjective interpretations of Scripture
Olson, a former dispensationalist who now edits Envoy magazine, also presents a history of apocalyptic belief and theology, beginning with the Early Church Fathers and including the Montanists, St. Augustine, Joachim of Fiore, the Protestant Reformers, and the American Puritans. He shows how John Nelson Darby, an ex-Anglican priest, developed the premillennial dispensationalist system, which hinges on the Rapture, in the 1830s and how Darby relied upon faulty assumptions about Jesus Christ, the Church, and the Bible.
The second part of the book, “A Catholic Critique of Dispensationalism,” focuses on three important topics: the relationship between Israel, the Church, and the Kingdom; the interpretation of Scripture; and the nature of the Rapture event. Filled with a wealth of information drawn from both Protestant and Catholic sources, this section provides a complete rebuttal to the premillennial dispensationalist system and the “left behind” theology. The book concludes with a reflection on the Catholic understanding of the end times, salvation history, and the final judgement. Glossaries of key persons and terms are also included.
A strong, but fair, critique of a dangerous and popular belief, Will Catholics Be “Left Behind”? provides Catholics and Protestants, lay people and clergy, and students and scholars with important answers and information about the roots and meaning of the “Rapture”.
“Millions of Americans believe the Lord will snatch them up any day now, leaving the rest of us to the horrors of a seven-year tribulation. The hitch is that the ‘Rapture’ has no pedigree. As Carl Olson shows, no Catholic or Protestant believed in it prior to the nineteenth century. It is an authentic Fundamentalist ‘invention’.”
Friday, January 26, 2007
20,000+ showed up to voice their support for life....
.... Police reported no arrests ofr incidents in connection with the two events.
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Is the opinion to be taken as a teaching... a suggestion? Can we as lay Catholics disagree with the various Bishop and Cardinal views?
When liberal Catholic politicians support abortion rights, conservatives are quick to accuse them of being cafeteria Catholics. When conservative Catholic politicians oppose increasing the minimum wage, liberals are quick to hurl the same accusation.
The metaphor is an apt one. Many Catholics stroll past the array of teachings offered by the Church, choosing to obey those that appeal to them personally and rejecting those that do not. Unfortunately for cafeteria Catholics, however, the Church makes clear that the cafeteria approach is not an authentic form of Catholicism. To the contrary, the faithful "have the duty of observing the constitutions and decrees conveyed by the legitimate authority of the Church." (Catechism ¶ 2037.)
At the same time, however, the Church encourages lay initiative "especially when the matter involves discovering or inventing the means for permeating social, political, and economic realities with the demands of Christian doctrine and life." (Catechism ¶ 2037.) Clearly, there areas that the Church leaves to the prudential judgment of the faithful.
How do we distinguish between those areas in which faithful Catholics may properly disagree with pronouncements by the Pope or a bishop and those as to which faithful Catholics must give their assent even if their personal judgment is to the contrary? (Read more...)
What a great theme. For those of you that have children, nephews, nieces, grandchildren, you are aware of the growing trend of the media, be it TV, Music, fashion trends, Video Games, Movie Theater Showings, to be emphasising sex, violence and non-morality more and more.
"Hey, this stuff sells" is the mantra. But at what cost?
The Pope explains: "The relationship of children, media, and education can be considered from two perspectives: the formation of children by the media; and the formation of children to respond appropriately to the media.
"A kind of reciprocity emerges which points to the responsibilities of the media as an industry and to the need for active and critical participation of readers, viewers and listeners."
The Pontiff adds: "Within this framework, training in the proper use of the media is essential for the cultural, moral and spiritual development of children.
"Educating children to be discriminating in their use of the media is a responsibility of parents, Church, and school.
"Media education should be positive. Children exposed to what is aesthetically and morally excellent are helped to develop appreciation, prudence and the skills of discernment."
I like the way B16 brings about the point that it's not just the children we need to educate, but the media as well.
The Holy Father appeals in his message "to the leaders of the media industry to educate and encourage producers to safeguard the common good, to uphold the truth, to protect individual human dignity and promote respect for the needs of the family."
Reprinted with permission from the National Post, Canada. All rights reserved.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Monday, January 22, 2007
(photo courtesy of CNN)
On Sunday Pope Benedict XVI commented on the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which is taking place Janurary 18-25. The Holy Father told the pilgrims gathered below his window that, by way of their prayers, all Christians can take part in the task of ecumenism.
The Pope recalled that the theme for this year’s Week of Prayer - "He even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak" - is "taken from the Gospel of St. Mark and refers to the people's amazement at Jesus' healing of the deaf man." (CNA - Catholic News Agency)
Christian Unity not only refers to the Eastern Church or our fellow non-Catholic Christians, but also to the growing Catholic Church in China.
This past week the Vatican has held meetings to address the faithful in China: Vatican City, Jan 20, 2007 / 01:36 pm (CNA).- The Press Office of the Holy See has made public a communication which honors the many bishops, priests, and faithful of China, who have, “without compromise,” maintained full communion with the Pope, “even in times when the cost is grave suffering.” The communiqué also states that Pope Benedict XVI will soon write a letter to Catholics in China.
The Vatican message follows a meeting, conducted over the 19th and 20th of January, in which several Vatican officials and Chinese bishops examined “the most grave and urgent” problems for the Church in China and offered their best solutions in light of “the fundamental principles of the Divine Constitution of the Church and of religious liberty.”
The Holy Father also wishes to write a letter to the faithful Catholics of China, both those of the CCPA (Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association) or the "Open Church", and to those of the underground Catholic Church. It appears from the articles that the Vatican is no longer referring to two distinct churches in China, but a greater emphasise is being placed on unity. Both communities in China are being persecuted.
This article (Two Chinese Churches? Or One?) at Ingatius Insight gives some great insight in Chinese faithful with a visit to this community:
On a typically hot and humid summer afternoon I walked through the crowded streets of Taipei to a small Catholic chapel under the care of an Order of missionaries not known by most Americans. I was welcomed at the front door by the Italian pastor, Fr. Consonni Paulo, and directed to the fourth floor where the four priests in residence live in humble rooms. Once there, Fr. Daniel Cerezo, from Spain, offered me a cup of coffee and a biscuit, then showed me to his office. A poster of the saints of China hung behind him and an article about a recently deceased bishop in Mainland China was on his desk. The bishop, one in the "open Church," was his friend. The four missionary priests were invited by the bishop in Taipei several years ago to run a small church in the Jen Ai area of Taipei. They are Comboni Missionaries of the Heart of Jesus, an Order founded by Saint Daniel Comboni, a holy laborer in the Lord’s vineyard in Africa. Asia is a long way from Africa, but the sons of St. Comboni are now among the few Orders that still bring the Catholic faith into China.
Fr. Cerezo is in an uncommon position; he associates with Catholic bishops, clergy, and faithful in both state-registered and unregistered communities and he is well acquainted with the situation of the Church in China. He speaks warmly of their devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Our Lady, and St. Joseph. I was honored that he was agreeable to chatting with me about his impressions of what is happening among the Catholic community in Mainland China, persecuted as it is under what is still an ideologically.
China, and it's growth both in terms of economical as well as military might has been in the news quite frequently. Just last week I read an article about the Chinese military performing it's first anti-satellite test success with the destruction of an aging weather satellite. The Governments suppression of human rights (one child per family), religious rights (arrest of church leaders) reminds me of the old Soviet Union of late (..actually I believe this old regime hasn't really gone away completely).
Friday, January 19, 2007
Over at Catholic Exchange:
Oprah and Her American Faith
Minimum Wage and Common Sense
Abortion or a Son
Over at Insight Scoop
A Black and White Issue
A Short Guide To Ancient Heresies
The Fathers and America
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Californians are know for their high tech ways. We've figured out how to grow frozen orange juice...on the tree.
Where else do you send your kids off to school in the snow...wearing shorts and a jacket?
...only in California.
Read this one First:
Archbishop Roberto Luckert of Coro, Venezuela (Hugo Chavez country) and vice president of the Venezuelan Bishops’ Conference expressed his concern this week over the growing sense of fear that has gripped the country due to the actions of President Hugo Chavez’s government.In statements to Union Radio, the archbishop defended the right of bishops to express their opinions when they feel it is necessary. “This government’s plan is to instill fear in the people, and that is what they are doing; through power they are instilling fear in the Venezuelan people. The spouses of political prisoners are trying to get signatures for an amnesty law and they are telling us that nobody wants to sign because they are afraid, that if they sign they will lose their jobs, and that is part of the plan. Just as Fidel imposed his rule through an iron fist, here too we are being cowed with terror and fear,” he said.Archbishop Luckert called on the opposition to bring this subject out into the open with the people. “It seems that they want to corner us, just as they cornered the media, university professors, unions, businessmen. The idea is to shut us up and instill fear in us, and that would make us be quiet and would be the most disturbing and shameful thing that could happen in the country, that out of silence and cowardice we shut up,” he added.The archbishop also explained that the Church defends freedom of expression and that the bishops have the obligation to “denounce what is coming to this country. What they want to do is make us a carbon copy of way things are done in Cuba.”
Now read this article:
Not his style:
Archbishop Donald Wuerl goes on record: he will take no action to prevent Nancy Pelosi from receiving Communion despite her obstinate support of abortion and same-sex marriage
Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., who has come under fire for failing to speak out against Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s attendance Jan. 3 at a Mass at her alma mater, Trinity University, came to San Diego’s Kona Kai Resort the weekend of January 13-14 to speak at an international Communion and Liberation conference.
While in San Diego, Wuerl told California Catholic Daily reporter Allyson Smith that he has no plans to discipline the newly elected Democratic Speaker, who is now the most powerful Catholic in Congress -- and an ardent supporter of abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and pro-homosexual legislation.
Smith: “Did you make any statement last week about Nancy Pelosi going to Mass at Trinity University?”
Wuerl: “That was a matter between the university and Nancy. They were offering their location, and the Mass was celebrated by a priest with faculties, and there was no reason to make any comment.”
Smith: “Do you intend to discipline her at all for being persistent and obstinate about her support for abortion and same-sex marriage?”
Wuerl: “I will not be using the faculty in the manner you have described.”
Smith: “Will you make a statement to your priests and deacons to warn her not to allow her to receive if she presents herself for Communion?”
Wuerl: “You’re talking about a whole different style of pastoral ministry. No.” Smith: “No? Thank you.”
Okay, is it just me or do you see a distinct difference. Archbishop Roberto is in a country where speaking out as a Catholic Leader against the ills of the community, society, state, nation, can indeed get you killed. But that didn't stop this good leader from speaking out.
"That's why it was weird when I'd go to these places and ... people would say, 'It's in the Bible.' And they fall back on the Bible for everything."
"Because if I don't, he will be called 'unchurched' and (those are the people) most susceptible to some of the more extreme religions later in the life," Pelosi says.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
"Unity," said the Pope, "is a gift from God and the fruit of the action of His Spirit. For this reason it is important to pray. The closer we draw to Christ, converting ourselves to His love, the closer we also draw to one another."
"The road to unity remains long and difficult, but we must not be discouraged, and continue our journey, relying on the sure support of Christ" said the Pope. He also noted how he’s had the opportunity to see firsthand, over years of meetings with representatives from other Churches and ecclesial communities, "and in a particularly moving way, during my recent visit to the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I in Istanbul, how deeply felt the desire for unity is.”
“That experience and others like it, have brought hope to my heart," the Pope said of his recent meeting with the head of the Eastern Orthodox Communion.
The United States Senate will soon vote on Senate bill S1 that may prohibit advocacy groups including pro-life groups from sending e-mails informing voters about certain bills and urging them to contact their elected officials.
There's so much talk about free speech, but the actions of some in power can define that term to their own agenda.
Senate bill S1 is intended to reform lobbying in Washington and includes a provision in the disclosure of paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying. This provision would in effect create complicated and expensive reporting requirements on advocacy groups. Organizations such as National Right to Life, Family Research Council, American Family Association, and the Population Research Institute, along with many others are concerned.
Advocacy groups could be fined up to $100,000 for urging Americans to contact their elected officials if they do not meet quarterly reporting requirements, if passed in its current form. Advocacy groups would be required to register with the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives.
Does that mean no more Catholic Answers Voter's guide?
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
“For better or worse, women are less dependent on men or the institution of marriage,” Dr. Frey said. “Younger women understand this better, and are preparing to live longer parts of their lives alone or with nonmarried partners. For many older boomer and senior women, the institution of marriage did not hold the promise they might have hoped for, growing up in an ‘Ozzie and Harriet’ era.”
Thursday, January 11, 2007
The email had a wide distribution to fellow parishioners and friends as well as many names I didn't recognize.
The original email outlined some allegations about Mr. Obama regarding his Muslim faith ties, (he claims presently to be Christian) as well his well documented stance on pro-abortion, gay marriage and pro-embryonic stem cell research.
This was my original response:
I for one, don't know if these allegations of his Muslim ties are true or not. Also, the titles of Democrat or Republican are not at the top of my reasoning of being for or against politicians.
What I am is Catholic and that is foremost to all. Mr. Obamas' opinions on the issues of pro-abortion, pro-gay marriages, and pro-embryonic stem cell research however, are true and that's all I need, as a Catholic to deny my vote or political support for Mr. Obama...at all.
"YOU CAN'T BE CATHOLIC AND PRO-ABORTION." Pope Benedict XVI
Someone on that distribution list (I will not name the individual) decided to respond to my email directly to me, as opposed to a general response to all on the distribution list. This would have allowed others to add their thoughts.
Well for the past few days, we've been going back and forth. This individual is pro-abortion and a teacher. It's been a courteous exchange, and the center of the friendly exchange has been around the number of abortions performed daily. I've heard the number 3,000 per day given (which is like a 911 event every day) in various articles and homilies, and by many intelligent people who have dedicated their carreers and lives to this cause.
So I'd like to ask for your prayers as I continue to provide the arguments for pro-life to this individual. For Jesus' Glory, not mine.
Here are some links and statistics which I've used in my email exchange:
This statistic is reported at the National Right to Life website ( www.nrlc.org/abortion/aboramt.html )
Year Annual Number of Abortions
1998 1,328,000 Estimate
1999 1,328,000 Estimate
2000 1,328,000 Estimate
2001 1,328,000 Estimate
Total abortions from1973 to 1998 -- 38,010,378
(Based on numbers and estimates reported by the Alan Guttmacher Institute 1973-1996,with NRLCestimates of 1,365,730 for 1997 and 1998. AGI estimates a possible 3% underreporting rate,which is factored into the total.)
Source for statistics for 1973 through 1992: Stanley K. Henshaw, et al.,"Abortions Services in the United States, 1991 and 1992," Family Planning Perspectives, vol.26, no.3 (May/June 1994), p.101.
That last number for the year 2001 breaks down to around 3600 a day.
That's not counting the 3-6% not reported (which I believe is higher). Present day numbers usually lag behind a few years. Various reasons: Planned Parent Hood doesn't report very accurate answers. I've heard recordings of a person posing as an under age girl coming to the clinic for an abortion. The receptionist advises her to place false information on the paper work she is filling out to document the visit. I'll try and find that recording for you.
More verifiable info at this site: http://www.nrlc.org/abortion/facts/abortionstats.html
2003-05 estimates listed at above link: 1,293,000 abortions.
Here's another website you can visit to verify the statistics: www.ncbcenter.org
Total abortions since 1973: 47,282,923 approx.
These figures are also reflected in various articles about the decline of European birth rate ( http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4793997.stm ) The decline is attributed to abortion and contraceptives. (http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/09/03/news/birth.php ). Europe is slowly killing it's self. The only increase in births is coming from the Muslim population.
This site offers some insight into this fact: ( http://www.cfr.org/publication/8252/europe.html ).
I can give you ton's more references if you like.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Monday, January 08, 2007
At first glance I thought this was just a re-hash of the priest who acknowledged his spy activities against then Pope John Paul II. Apparently this is a new instance of a spy who came in from the cold. This accusation was confirmed by an investigatory commission established by the Catholic hierarchy in Poland (read this)
Friday, January 05, 2007
Thursday, January 04, 2007
The 4th Annual Biblical Studies Conference will be held in a few weeks at the Riverside Convention Center in Riverside California. Visit the Catholic Resource Center website for more details and a down loadable pamphlet.
This year's conference will focus on the End Times. The speakers will be Jesse Romero, Dr. Brant Pitre and Michael Barber.
Michael is a professor at the new Pope Paul the Great University in San Diego, California. He's got a terrific website, Singing in the Reign
It's on January 13-14th. Scott Hahn won't be there this year, however it should be a great conference.
L.A. Catholic pointed out this post from the 'American Life League' Which in turn points to an ad in today's Washington Times.
(tid-bit of article)
Roman Catholics are the largest single U.S. religious denomination among members of the new U.S. Congress which also includes two Buddhists and a Muslim.
1. Does this mean that these are practicing Catholics? If so does that mean that abortion and other such issues will be expunged from our society?
The breakdown for the 535 members of the 110th Congress being sworn in Thursday:
Catholic 155; Baptist 67; Methodist 61; Presbyterian 44; Jewish 43; Episcopal 37; Protestant nondenominational 26; Christian nondenominational 18; Lutheran 17; Mormon 15; United Church of Christ 7.
Eastern Orthodox 5; Christian Science 5; Assemblies of God 4; Unitarian Universalist 2; African Methodist Episcopal 2; Buddhists 2; Evangelical 2; Seventh Day Adventists 2; Christian Reformed 2; Disciples of Christ 2; Church of Christ 2; Congregational Baptist 1; Anglican 1.
2. With so many Christians in Congress will that mean new laws promoting the family are on the way? Things like NO abortion, NO euthanasia, More parental notification, marriage laws promoting one man and one woman?
Let us pray for our new Congress, may they seek God's guidance in all the do and say.
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
The Getty Museum in Los Angeles is a set of magnificent architecture structures that house some of the worlds greatest collections of art.
A few days ago my wife and I joyed viewing the 'Icons of the Sinai' exhibition at the Getty.
These treasures from the Monastery of Catherine located in the Sinai Peninsula at the foot of Mount Sinai, are some of the most wonderful pieces of ancient art I've seen. Preserved through the crisis of the Iconoclasm of the Byzantine Empire in the 700's and 800's.
The exhibit showed a number of icon's and manuscripts that were simply amazing. Pictures where not allowed of course, but take this little video excursion at this link..
If you're in town you can't miss this.
Besides the Museum grounds are beautiful. You can see the ocean from the hills and the sunsets are spectacular. View slide show
I had a week off from work and I used this time spending it with my family. I've been spending as much time with them as I can before I get back to our busy schedule of work and school.
During this time I took my family to the Getty Museum to view the "Icons from the Sinai". These are treasures from the Monastery of Catherine in the Sinai desert. I'll post on this later.
We also managed to see a few more movies then we usually see. One was a movie entitled "Pursuit of Happyness". This movie stars Will Smith, Thandia Newton, and Jadon Christopher Syre Smith. It's a very inspirational movie about Christopher Gardner a struggling father in San Fransisco who loses his wife and has a young son to take care of. He becomes homeless and is without a job when he pursue a career with a brokerage firm. It gives another instance of endurance and persistence (as the Rocky movie) in the face of adversity.
Check it out when you get a chance.