Monday, May 28, 2007

The Catholic Show- Podcast

I've been a fan of Father Roderick and the SQPN podcasting for quite awhile. I don't know how many of you are familiar with his work but he is leading the way in Pope John Paul II call to use the media to spread the Gospel.

You can download his "Daily Breakfast" series on to your iPod (or listen on line) or any number of other podcast series that my fall into your interest. His "Catholic Minute" podcast is a great way to introduce Catholics and non-Catholics to the faith... in a minute!

A new SQPN series is just getting started and I'm introducing it below:

The Catholic Show is short but to the point in introducing Catholic stuff in a light but orthodox way.

You've got to check it out. You can subscribe free on their website or on iTunes.


Pentecost Sunday and Memorial Day

I have a wonderful parish with some wonderful priests. Yes we are lucky to have more than one priest at our church.

But I was a bit disappointed on Pentecost Sunday, the Church's Birthday with a homily that described Our Lord Jesus as not having the strength to over come his sadness at not being accepted as the Messiah and so had to ask the Heavenly Father to forgive them, cause he couldn't.

"Father forgive them, for they know not what they do..."

What? Jesus in his weakness could not forgive those that Crucified him? That's a new one for me.

Then as we closed the worship celebration with the exit song being "God Bless America" in light of the Memorial Day celebrations the next day, three quarters of the congregation emptied the church before the end of the first verse.

I don't know...I'm I being too picky?

Thank you Heavenly Father for the Church you gave us, for the Holy Spirit you sent to guide us and for our soldiers that protect us.

130 Theologians or Pope Benedict XVI

Seems 130 liberal theologians of Europe have a bone to pick with the decision of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith to proclaim the works of Father Sobrino include "erroneous or dangerous elements".

Since B16 appointed the head of the CDF and agrees with it's findings, I might like to read their (the 130 theologians) petition as a matter of interest, but I'm relying on the Vatican's stance.

Well that's a no brainer for me. I trust the judgement of B16 over 1000 of these liberal theologians.

as a matter of interest:

Catholic and Pro-Abortion?

What a great clarification on the question of "Can one be Catholic and pro-abortion?

Carl Olsen of InsideScoop has posted a piece by Canon Lawyer Ed Peters that clarifies this question. It's one that I think needs to be read.

Well, since you asked, Yes, pro-abortion Catholics are still Catholic...

Mark Brumley's comment at the InsideScoop counters with another good insight on the same issue.

I learn so much from guys like these...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Salvation Outside the Church

In our parish Men's Group we discuss various topics presented by member of the group. The topics can be about Church History (we did a two year study on this), many topics on Apologetics, even politics from a Catholic perspective.

This last Saturday morning meeting we had the opportunity to discuss 'Salvation Outside the Church'. And so this timely article from Crisis Magazine by Mark Shea

'Just Exactly Where Is the Church? Unam Sanctam, Vatican II, and the Salvation of Non-Catholics'

The average modern reader concludes (AFTER READING THRU 'UNUM SANCTAM') that these words mean: “We know exactly where the Church both is and is not. It’s in the visible Catholic communion and only members of the visible Catholic Church go to heaven.”

After this basic assumption has been made, most people go on to assume it is simply a matter of deciding what you think about that proposition. Generally, people fall into one of the following groups:

1. Those nice people who say hopefully, “That statement was not dogma, but just Boniface’s opinion.”

2. Those progressive dissenting Catholics who say, “That statement used to be narrow-minded Catholic dogma, but Vatican II thankfully contradicts all that. How the Church has grown!”

3. Those anti-Catholics who say derisively, “That statement used to be unbiblical Catholic dogma but Vatican II reversed all that. Now the supposedly infallible Church has flatly contradicted the Bible and itself!”

4. Those reactionary dissenting Catholics who say, “That statement used to be glorious Catholic dogma, but Vatican II betrayed all that. How the Second Vatican Council has corrupted the One True Faith!”

5. Those orthodox Catholics who say, “Unam Sanctam’s definition is still dogma, and the teaching of the Second Vatican Council does not contradict it or the Bible. Rather, the council develops the Faith of the Church infallibly taught since the apostles, a faith that has never demanded we believe that the Church is found solely in the visible Catholic communion, nor that only members of the visible Catholic Church can go to heaven.”

Let’s look at these five views of Unam Sanctam...

Unum Sanctum

Another good source is Fr. William Most:

'Is There Salvation Outside the Church' This was a cool document because it outlines this issue goes back to the Early Church Fathers.

I just finished reading a piece by Francis Beckwith (ex-President of The Evangelical Theological Society) about his reasons for deciding to enter the Catholic Church. In Mr. Beckwith's "My Return to the Catholic Church" , he mentions ...

"... in January, at the suggestion of a dear friend, I began reading the Early Church Fathers as well as some of the more sophisticated works on justification by Catholic authors. I became convinced that the Early Church is more Catholic than Protestant and that the Catholic view of justification, correctly understood, is biblically and historically defensible. Even though I also believe that the Reformed view is biblically and historically defensible, I think the Catholic view has more explanatory power to account for both all the biblical texts on justification as well as the church’s historical understanding of salvation prior to the Reformation all the way back to the ancient church of the first few centuries. Moreover, much of what I have taken for granted as a Protestant—e.g., the catholic creeds, the doctrines of the Trinity and the Incarnation, the Christian understanding of man, and the canon of Scripture—is the result of a Church that made judgments about these matters and on which non-Catholics, including Evangelicals, have declared and grounded their Christian orthodoxy in a world hostile to it. Given these considerations, I thought it wise for me to err on the side of the Church with historical and theological continuity with the first generations of Christians that followed Christ’s Apostles. "

Peace +<><

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

WiFi Anti-Radiation Underware...

You've got to be joking!
Okay, another entry in the things that can kill us, along with bottled water, microwave ovens, pickles and frosted flakes...well I'm kidding about the last two items.

But anyway check out this article on solving the WiFi radiation affect on men. Wifi underwear! Looks like those trying to make a buck on this are on the prowl.

Morning Reading Selection...

I'm sipping my morning coffee a tad earlier than usual this morning. I thought I'd pass on some reading selection..

Religious Tolerance and the Common Good: Carl Oslen (Insight Scoop) brought this to my attention with an article at First Things - Archbishop Charles Chaput

YouTube Catholics Tim Blake of The National Catholic Register discusses new and old online technology to spread the faith

A Soldier's Sacrifice Also from The National Catholic Register. 'No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends.' Remembering Sgt. Tollett and all those who died for us.

US Bishop's Conference Responds To 18 Catholic Legislators (Democarats) Who Took Pope Benedict To Task For His Support Of Mexican Bishops Who Denounced Catholic Politicians In Their Support Of Abortion. Not the strongest statements that we'd like to hear from this group of Church leaders...but it's something.

A Million Moderate Muslims on the March Not something you hear about much in the news...." A moderate Muslim? What's that?"

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

60 Year Old Woman give birth to Twins

The babies were delivered at Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, N.J., by caesarean section.
(photo courtesy of Fox News)

"Baby A" weighed 4 pounds, 11.4 ounces, and "Baby B" weighed 4 pounds, 11 ounces.
Birnbaum said she felt great after delivering the two boys. "This is so wonderful, I feel so relaxed. It has been a great experience," she said.

Birnbaum, who is a psychologist, and her husband Ken, a Manhattan attorney, have three other children — a 6-year-old son, a 29-year-old daughter and a 33-year-old son. READ MORE

You heard right, Twin boys as a matter of fact. Cute little buggers too...

She had in-vitro fertilization in Cape Town, South Africa. It's been said that this process gives hope to those that can not otherwise conceive a child through natural methods.

That sounds all promising and good, but there are a few concerns. First the harvesting of eggs from the mother is a dangerous process. One of my earlier posts talks about the dangers of hyper-dilating the ovaries. Scientist in other countries are doing this to supply eggs for their experimentation's, despite the risk to the mothers health.

Another concern is where they get the sperm to fertilize these eggs. Usually this is supplied by the husband who is instructed to masturbate to collect the sperm. This is against the Churches teaching.

Also what is done to the unused eggs. Are they discarded? Are they kept for other embryonic stem cell research?

Then there's the question of Down-Sizing. What if they implant, lets say 6 eggs and 5 of them take. Many doctors will ask you to down-size to a more acceptable level and eliminate lets say 2 or 3 of the embryo's (babies)...that's called abortion.

With multiple births, the children may be born with complications (I've seen this first hand). Eye sight deficiencies, lung capacity problems (asthma), autism in some cases, eating disorders. Learning difficulties. The children are a blessing but it's very painful to see children suffer...

Then there's the question of the age of the parents. In this case 60 years old...that means she will be 70 when the twins are 10. That's still in elementary school. She'll be close to 80 come High School graduation.
All she can say is "I plan to be around for a very long time." With all my heart, for the sake of the children I hope it's in God's plan.

I pray that these two new little ones have all of God's blessings on them. I hope they have a wonderful life.

I pray that the mom didn't do this just to be THE OLDEST MOTHER TO GIVE BIRTH.

Rosary Bowl Success !

Our parish had a bus load of parishioners attend the Rose Bowl Rosary event. It didn't start until the late afternoon because people just kept coming!

Approximately 50,000 people !

This article from the Saturday before the event:

No exact number on the event but 50,000 seem to be what I heard on the evening news.

Hope this becomes an annual event again.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Hugo Chavez demand B16 apology...

Apologize for want?

Caracas, May 21, 2007 / 10:29 am (CNA).- The president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, is demanding that Pope Benedict XVI apologize to the indigenous peoples of Latin America for having “denied” the “aboriginal holocaust” during his discourse inaugurating the 5th General Conference of the Latin American Bishops’ Conference.

“Something much more serious occurred here than during the holocaust of World War II, and nobody can deny that this is true, and neither can his Holiness come here, to our own land, and deny the aboriginal holocaust,” Chavez said over the weekend on Venezuelan radio and television.

“So, as a head of State, but clad in the humility of a Venezuelan farmworker, I implore his Holiness to apologize to the peoples of our America,” Chavez demanded.

Chavez said he paid close attention to everything the Pope said in Brazil, and that after hearing him say that the gospel was not imposed upon the natives, he called Venezuela’s Minister for the Indigenous Peoples, Nizia Maldonado, who said she did not share the Pope’s opinion and that it was “difficult to support, for God’s sake!”

“Is that why the Catholic Church is losing more believers every day?” Chavez said. “I think it’s because of this.”

What I think Chavez is really upset about is the real message of B16 pertaining to Catholics in his country. "Give Christ to the Poor". It makes sense that Chavez would divert attention of the poor in his country by trying say B16 insulted them. Hugo is more than willing to give away oil to sway Americans to side with him than to feed his own countrymen.

His attempt to pick a fight with B16 in order to try to convince those in his country and the world that somehow the Pope (The Catholic Church) is somehow responsible for a "aboriginal holocaust". This after he hosted the President of Iran who deny's the Jewish Holocaust.

Sorry, Hugo you lost me there...

It's just Hugo trying to alter the focus of the 5th General Conference of the Latin American Bishops' Conference.

The Archbishop of Brazil has the courage to stand up for the faith "The Spirit gives Christians courage to proclaim authentic gospel values...Archbishop Geraldo Lyrio Rocha"

My only concern is for the Catholic Church in Venezuela. He will definitely try to put more pressure on the Church there.

Let's keep them in our prayers.

Semper Fidelis...

Semper Fidelis.... always faithful, to the Church that is.

As the Presidential candidates position themselves for the upcoming primary elections and the Presidential elections next year, Catholics and indeed all Christians should be collecting information on those running for office.

I'll tell you though, it's getting tougher to distinguish what the truth of their stands are on issues and what they want you to believe the truth of their stands are.

On the drive into work in the mornings, I have my routine of saying my morning prayers, followed by a rosary. Then I usually listen to the headline news to see what's going on in the world. I use to listen to the traffic news, but in L.A. that's a futile venture.

Anyways, along with the news channels one of the stations (Sirius Channels) I switch to is EWTN's Catholic Connection with Teresa Tomeo.

Teresa does a great job touching on all things Catholic in the News, Pro-life, brief interviews and politics from a Catholic prospective. This morning I caught the tail-end of a conversation with Joseph Cella, President of Fidelis (

It's a pretty good site for Catholics defending life, faith and family (as their banner reads)in the public forum.

Here's their ABOUT page:

Fidelis: (adj) faithful, loyal, true.

The name Fidelis, is widely recognized as a part of the United States Marines motto “Semper Fidelis” (always faithful). The family of Fidelis organizations chose this name because it represents the deepest aspirations of our combined work – to encourage and advance a spirit of faithfulness in American public life, in both the duties of citizens and in our commitments to religious faith.

Fidelis is a Catholic-based advocacy organization established to help elect pro-life, pro-family and pro-religious liberty candidates to public office, support the confirmation of judges, and promote and defend laws faithful to the Constitution in Congress and the Courts.
Fidelis is principally focused on protecting the right to life at every stage, upholding the time-honored institutions of marriage and family, and advancing the role of religious liberty in the renewal of American culture. These truths have united millions of Americans since the founding of our nation and continue to unite people of faith today.

In order to best address many of these issues, Fidelis is uniquely set up to participate in political campaigns, legislative initiatives, judicial confirmation battles, and public interest litigation. We believe this multi-prong strategy will effectively advance our mission in ways never done before.

Fidelis consists of four legal entities: Fidelis, Fidelis America, Fidelis Center for Law and Policy, and the Fidelis Media Fund. Each of these entities is organized to comply with all applicable laws governing our activities.

Hope this is helpful when collecting your info...


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Tip of the Iceberg?

In reading this I was instantly reminded of the San Diego Diocese, our neighbor to the South. They, as you know filed for bankruptcy.

Los Angeles, May 16, 2007 / 08:52 am (CNA).- Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles announced yesterday that the archdiocese will have to sell its headquarters so that it can meet its financial obligations to “the alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse.”

The sale will include other “non-essential real estate properties” such as those previously purchased for establishing “new parishes, schools, various charitable institutions, convents, etc.” or are being “held for future parishes, future schools, and similar ministry purposes."

Hillary and Mother Teresa

I read this at CNA -"Hillary campaign uses image of Blessed Mother Teresa"

I haven't seen the video yet (... our company has banned all streaming video and audio) but I don't see the comparison, at least in a positive lite that her campaign would like to have it.

Here's a hint the article provides:

The video, which can be viewed on YouTube (, contains an image of Hillary and Blessed Teresa at approximately 2:26 into the video. When the picture appears, the former president can be heard saying: “Hillary, in effect, was the face of America…in India”.

The video then goes to a clip of the former First Lady’s address at the 1995 Beijing Conference, where a push was made to declare abortion a fundamental “human right.”

I don't' get the comparison... more like the face of Death instead of the face of America. And I'm don't mean her looks, but Hillary bringing her influence to support abortions in India.

Mother Teresa I'm sure is appalled to know her efforts in India are equated to Ms. Clinton's campaign.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Last Nights Debate

Okay, so I listened to the debate on my drive home from work (obviously West Coast time..) and it gave me a brief chance to hear the limited responses of the candidates on certain topics

First, I was disappointed with Sam Brownback, a fellow Catholic, who just didn't seem strong. Yes he was pro-life so that was a big plus in my column for my vote. He just seemed to get lost among the other nine. I was hoping for more from him.

Huckabee's remarks about Giuliani's stand on abortion was another plus in my column at least as far as this debate is concerned. He's Edward's was funny, but I wasn't' looking for funny.

Giuliani, as expected was strong on defence and more in line with my views on the WOT. I don't think we can afford to lose this fight. Rudy's now famous 'Robert De Niro' confrontation with Ron Paul showed he's not afraid to continue to stand up for what he believes.

On the other hand I wish Rudy would defend the rights of the unborn as he defends the rights our soldiers & troops. I still will not vote for anyone who is pro-choice.

Well, still a ways to go before election time. I'm still looking for a candidate who will get my vote. No clear cut leaders for me so far.

Faith, not politics

Pope Benedict XVI left a very important message not only to Brazil but for America as well.
Faith, not politics, will save Latin America...

Pope Benedict began his address by noting that the culture of Latin America is thoroughly permeated by Christianity. The Pope rejected the argument that Christianity came to the region through the suppression of an existing culture. The evangelization of the continent, he argued, "did not at any point involve an alienation of the pre-Columbian cultures, nor was it the imposition of a foreign culture." Quite the contrary, he said, "The wisdom of the indigenous peoples fortunately led them to form a synthesis between their cultures and the Christian faith." (Father Serra comes to mind)

The same materialism that characterizes Marxism, he said, can also be seen in secular societies based on consumerism (plenty of that here...), "where the distance between rich and poor is growing constantly, and giving rise to a worrying degradation of personal dignity through drugs, alcohol and deceptive illusions of happiness."

Assessing the religious life of the continent, Pope Benedict praised the "notable degree of maturity in faith" among lay evangelists. But he added that "one can detect a certain weakening of Christian life in society overall and of participation in the life of the Catholic Church, due to secularism, hedonism, indifference and proselytism by numerous sects, animist religions and new pseudo-religious phenomena." (Bingo!... nail on the head) He later added his concern about "a flight toward emotionalism, toward religious individualism." READ MORE...

Lot's of comparisons to Latin America.

Cat Poo Coffee

For you coffee connoisseurs, the Aussies are crazy for this tastee delight.


CANBERRA (Reuters Life!) - Cafe-crazy Australians in the last decade have embraced coffee in all its forms, but they've saved the most expensive -- and excremental -- for last.
Kopi Luwak, made in neighboring Indonesia from coffee beans excreted by native civet cats, is reputedly the world's rarest and most expensive coffee, painstakingly extracted by hand from the animals' forest droppings.

When roasted, the resulting beans sell for around $1,000 a kilogram ($450 a pound) and brew into a earthy, syrupy, coffee acknowledged by connoisseurs as one of the world's finest.

Read more

I hope this doesn't show up on the Star Bucks menu... coffee breath would be unbearable.

Jerry Falwell

Thank you Jerry.
My prayers are with you and your family.

Rest In Peace <><

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Catholic, Muslim Exchange...

This from New Oxford Review, "Cardinal Scola Exchanges Views With A Muslim Leader"

I tend to avoid interfaith dialogues. But I made an exception when I heard that Cardinal Scola was participating in what was billed as a "Distinguished Dialogue." It would be held on January 17, at the John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C. Angelo Cardinal Scola, the Patriarch of Venice, would exchange views with Dr. Muzammil H. Siddiqi, the Director of the Islamic Society of Orange County, Calif., and the past President of the Islamic Society of America. (Venice, for some reason, has a patriarch rather than an archbishop.) Their topic: "The Primordial Relationship between God and the Human Person in Catholicism and Islam."

Let the Holy Spirit do the talking...

Fighting the maddness...

Human egg-harvesting is something one doesn't read about much, but it's out there. Hyper-stimualting a woman's ovaries to gather eggs for stem-cell research and cloning experimentation may cause what's called OHSS or Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome.

"In the last year alone, two women who have undergone egg extraction in the United Kingdom have died after developing severe ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), which causes rapid accumulation of fluid in the abdomen, chest, and around the heart. Symptoms include severe pelvic pain, nausea, vomiting, weight gain, ovarian enlargement, respiratory problems, blood clots and liver dysfunction," says Cook, who is operations assistant for Concerned Women for America and a graduate of Notre Dame University.

Opponents argue that if egg harvesting becomes widely used for the purposes of stem- cell research and therapeutic cloning, the number of cases of severe OHSS will rise considerably. Dr. David Prentice of the Family Research Council points out that of the 80 million women who would be required for egg harvesting to treat diabetes alone, as many as 800,000 would experience OHSS.


Mister, Mister

I don't think California can turn anymore to the left than what I just read in this article.

Yup... you read correctly. In a homosexual partnership in California, one of the two will be able to change their names to take on the other partners surname if this bill is passed.
How do you figure that one out just boggles the mind. We can thank Assembywoman Fiona Ma, D-Sacramento for her contribution to legislation in California's slide into the abyss.
The bill would also extend to domestic partners and married men who change their surnames a protection currently accorded only to a woman who has changed her surname, prohibiting businesses and service providers from discriminating against a domestic partner in connection with the use of his or her birth name or former name. The bill would also allow a certificate of domestic partnership, as well as a marriage license, to be used as a legal form of identification establishing a surname.

Who were the backers of this worthless law?
The ACLU and the pro-homosexual lobby group Equality California co-sponsored the Ma bill. The bill follows a 2006 ACLU lawsuit in a Los Angeles federal court challenging current state law that allows only a woman to change her surname through the marriage license. Michael Buday had wished to change his surname to that of his wife but in order to do so had to go through the courts, paying a court filing fee and a $32 application fee on top of the $70 marriage license fee, as well as advertising the proposed name change for four weeks in the newspaper. The ACLU says that this burden on males constitutes “gender discrimination” and violates the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Another step toward legalizing same-sex marriages.

Thanks.. Assemblywoman Fiona Ma.........NOT!

Jesus of Nazareth in Newsweek

Excerpts from B16's latest book 'Jesus of Nazareth' are printed in this weeks edition of Newsweek.

I've got to get me a copy...and I hope it comes out on CD. I'd like to listen to it on the ride home from work.

By Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI
Updated: 4:10 p.m. ET May 12, 2007

May 13, 2007 - Conflicting movements, hopes, and expectations shaped the religious and political climate around the time of Jesus’ birth. Judas the Galilean had called for an uprising, which was put down by the Romans with a great deal of bloodshed. Judas left behind a party, the Zealots, who were prepared to resort to terror and violence in order to restore Israel’s freedom. It is even possible that one or two of Jesus’ twelve Apostles—Simon the Zealot and perhaps Judas Iscariot as well—had been partisans of this movement. The Pharisees, whom we are constantly meeting in the Gospels, endeavored to live with the greatest possible exactness according to the instructions of the Torah. They also refused conformity to the hegemony of Hellenistic-Roman culture, which naturally imposed itself throughout the Roman Empire, and was now threatening to force Israel’s assimilation to the pagan peoples’ way of life. The Sadducees, most of whom belonged to the aristocracy and the priestly class, attempted to practice an enlightened Judaism, intellectually suited to the times, and so also to come to terms with Roman domination. The Sadducees disappeared after the destruction of Jerusalem (A.D. 70), whereas the pattern of life practiced by the Pharisees found an enduring form in the sort of Judaism shaped by the Mishnah and the Talmud. Although we observe sharp antagonism between Jesus and the Pharisees in the Gospels, and although his death on the Cross was the very antithesis of the Zealot program, we must not forget that people came to Christ from every kind of background and that the early Christian community included more than a few priests and former Pharisees.

Monday, May 14, 2007

A Plug for my Employer...

This is cool.

The picture is 1:1 scale mock-up of a project I've worked on at my place of employment. It's a very cool project called JWST (pronounced "J- West"). It's really call the James Webb Space Telescope and it's set to replace the present Hubble Telescope.

Here's the press release:

REDONDO BEACH, Calif., May 8, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) is displaying a full-scale model of the James Webb Space Telescope on the National Mall in conjunction with Public Service Recognition Week from May 10 to May 12. The model will be on the Mall near the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

The public is invited to view the full-scale, tennis-court sized model, talk to scientists about the next generation space telescope, learn about its mission, and build subscale Webb Telescope models using Lego(r) blocks.

The Webb Telescope, designed to succeed the Hubble Space Telescope, will be NASA's premier space observatory following its launch in 2013. It will travel almost a million miles from Earth into deep space to peer some 13 billion years back in time, capturing infrared images of every phase of our cosmic history -- from the first luminous objects to the birth of stars, assembly of galaxies and formation of planetary systems.

The Webb Telescope is currently being built by Northrop Grumman and its teammates under contract to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. The team, including Ball Aerospace, ITT Industries and ATK, is using cutting-edge design, manufacturing and optical technologies to construct the first deployable telescope ever to go into space. It features an ultra-light weight 6.5-meter diameter primary mirror and a unique, five-layer sunshield for passive thermal control.

Public Service Recognition Week is being sponsored by the Council for Excellence in Government and will feature more than 100 federal and civilian displays and programs on the National Mall. This event honors the men and women who serve America as federal, state and local government employees.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $30 billion global defense and technology company whose 122,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.

In the picture above you can see just how big this spacecraft is. It actually folds up to fit nicely into the Faring (nose cone) of the space vehicle. The gold mesh feature in the picture will actually be Beryllium mirrors that make up the dish, and will reflect light into the sub-reflector.

The tarp like feature is meant to shield the dish from the Sun's light so as not to interfere with the dish as it searches the heavens for distant stars and galaxies.

Exploring God's creation.

Also check out this link to a short news video on the Jame Webb Telescope.

Setting the Story Straight...

Over at Catholic Exchange George Weigel sets the story straight as he reviews an article in The New Yorker by Jane Kramer entitled "The Pope and Islam" (April 2, 2007 - The New Yorker)
Jane does her impression of a non-bias journalist (not a very good impression by the way) as attempts to compare Benedict XVI and John Paul II.

These are fierce theological times. It should come as no surprise that the Vatican and Islam are not getting along, or that their problems began long before Pope Benedict XVI made his unfortunate reference to the Prophet Muhammad, in a speech in Regensburg last September, and even before the children of Europe’s Muslim immigrants discovered beards, burkas, and jihad. There are more than a billion Catholics in the world, and more than a billion Muslims. And what divides the most vocal and rigidly orthodox interpreters of their two faiths, from the imams of Riyadh and the ayatollahs of Qom to the Pope himself, is precisely the things that Catholicism and Islam have always had in common: a purchase on truth; a contempt for the moral accommodations of liberal, secular states; a strong imperative to censure, convert, and multiply; and a belief that Heaven, and possibly earth, belongs exclusively to them.

Jane goes right in to the insults.

Anyways, Mr. Weigel corrects the obvious and shows the mis-information and flawed interpretation that litters the article.

Check it out.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Straight Talk from B16

That's what I like about Pope Benedict XVI. When asked about life, there's no beating around the bush.

The Pope was asked whether he supported Mexican Church leaders threatening to excommunicate leftist parliamentarians who last month voted to legalize abortion in Mexico City.

"Yes, this excommunication was not an arbitrary one but is allowed by Canon (church) law which says that the killing of an innocent child is incompatible with receiving communion, which is receiving the body of Christ," he said.

This will probably be ignored by our own catholic politicians but they can't say that they don't know what the Churches teachings on abortion is.

And as Catholic voters, we should understand what the Holy Father is saying to us. What are the Presidential Candidates views on this important issue.

During the Democrat debates the question was posed to them about what they thought of the U.S. Supreme Courts decision to uphold the Ban on Partial Birth Abortion. Their answer was not surprising but we tend to ignore this answer (...they are for allowing PBA) because we may like what they have to say on other issues.

The Republicans aren't any better. I look at the candidates jocking for position and the pack leaders are afraid to admit there support for abortion. What are they thinking? They can fool us into liking what the say on other issues?

I'm not impressed and a little frustrated at the selection. But I'm still looking and collecting data. I don't consider myself Democrat or Republican or even Libertarian or Independent.

I will vote for whomever I feel is best for office and I will vote with my Catholic conscience.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Babies cause Global Warming...

It was only a matter of time for these claims would come out. An environmental group Think Tank has this thought on Global Warming:

HAVING large families should be frowned upon as an environmental misdemeanour in the same way as frequent long-haul flights, driving a big car and failing to reuse plastic bags, says a report to be published today by a green think tank.

They claim that one child is equivalent to 620 airline flights. Why would anyone lower the value of a human life and equate that to an airline flight is beyond me.


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

4 Million and Climbing...

(Photo:Los Angeles Times)
The City of Angels - Los Angeles just passed an milestone. It now has more people than 24 states. More people than the country of New Zealand even!

Woow baby. I knew that drive home was taking me longer.
And the State is at an all time high of 37.7 Million. Don't believe anyone telling you that Californians are leaving in droves cuz they're coming to the State in freeway clogging masses.

(photo: Los Angeles Times)

The local amusement parks aren't any fun anymore either. They're way over crowded, not to mention way over priced.

Anyway, we're feeling some growing pains here in LA. Well I better head out on the road...

.. it's going to be a long drive.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Elephant in the room...

I just read a piece by RICHARD JOHN NEUHAUS of First Things entitled "The Much Exaggerated Death of Europe"

His review of author Philip Jenkins book "God’s Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe’s Religious Crisis and his views of 'things aren't as bad as they seem' is a must read this morning.

Here's an excerpt:
Philip Jenkins begs to differ. But first a word on the discussion that prompts his dissent. Over the years, FIRST THINGS has devoted substantial attention to the thesis that Europe is a dying continent. In the fine phrase of David Hart, Europe is dying of “metaphysical boredom.” We were among the first to give a sympathetic hearing to the work of Bat Y’eor, who argues that Europe is, probably irreversibly, on the way to becoming “Eurabia.” Catastrophically low birth rates, combined with a burgeoning Muslim population, led the sage Bernard Lewis to comment in 2004: “Current trends show that Europe will have a Muslim majority by the end of the twenty-first century at the latest. . . . Europe will be part of the Arab West—the Maghreb.”

Then there was George Weigel’s “Europe’s Problem—and Ours” (February 2004), later expanded into his influential book The Cube and the Cathedral, in which he asks us to envision the prospect of a “Europe in which the muezzin summons the faithful to prayer from the central loggia of St. Peter’s in Rome, while Notre Dame has been transformed into Hagia Sophia on the Seine—a great Christian church become an Islamic museum.” Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum writes in National Interest that Europe is faced with three choices, two of them very stark: peaceful integration of its Muslim population; a reversal of immigration policy, joined to a brutal campaign to expel Muslims; or an Islamic takeover of Europe. And then there is Mark Steyn in America Alone, who says the takeover is already unstoppable. Bat Y’eor, Bernard Lewis, George Weigel, Daniel Pipes, Mark Steyn—with varying levels of scholarship and restraint—suggest little or nothing for Europe’s comfort. Other authors could be added to the list. Lawrence Wright in Looming Tower, Melanie Phillips in Londonistan, Bruce Bawer in While Europe Slept, Ian Buruma in Murder in Amsterdam, and, or so it seems, a grim new book-length diagnosis of Europe’s terminal illness almost every other week.

Enter Philip Jenkins with God’s Continent: Christianity, Islam, and Europe’s Religious Crisis. This is the third volume of his ambitious trilogy examining religion in global perspective. There was The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity, followed by The New Faces of Christianity: Believing the Bible in the Global South, which was his subject for our 2006 Erasmus Lecture published in our January 2007 issue. In God’s Continent, Jenkins seeks to counter what he views as the excessively dismal, even alarmist, analyses of the future of Europe.

Some good points to think about from Philip Jenkins however you just can't ignore an Elephant in the room...especially when he's intent on stepping on you.

1 Million Copies Sold... A Best Seller

Looks like B16's new book is doing rather well in bookstores around the world and it's not even in English yet.

More than 1 million copies of the new book by Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth, have been sold in just 2 weeks. (

The Italian edition of Jesus of Nazareth has sold 510,000 copies, while the German edition has sold 480,000, and the Polish edition 100,000, the latest figures show. The book went on sale on April 16, the Pope's 80th birthday.
The English-language version of the book, to be published by Doubleday, is due to appear on May 15.

I'm also looking forward to his other new book on Evolution.