Monday, November 26, 2007

Tribute to JP2

A cool video...

The late Pope John Paul II is the star in a new “trip hop” music video backed by the Vatican which is expected to challenge for the number one slot in the Christmas DVD charts.

With music composed by British composer Simon Boswell, an agnostic who made his name scoring for Italian horror movies, Santo Subito! is intended to build on the growing cultic veneration of the late Pope and add impetus to the campaign to make him a saint.

Home to Rome

I read an announcement in my parish Sunday bulletin yesterday and it requested prayers for what could be a very large number of Anglican, Episcopalian church member, coming into the Catholic Church.

The number in the bulletin was around 400,00 although I have not been able to verify that number yet.

I did find this article: 'Will Anglican's Come Home to Rome?

Another article from earlier in the year: 'Churches back plan to Unite under Pope'

Radical proposals to reunite Anglicans with the Roman Catholic Church under the leadership of the Pope are to be published this year, The Times has learnt.

The proposals have been agreed by senior bishops of both churches.

In a 42-page statement prepared by an international commission of both churches, Anglicans and Roman Catholics are urged to explore how they might reunite under the Pope.

The statement, leaked to The Times, is being considered by the Vatican, where Catholic bishops are preparing a formal response.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Eco Extremism

The story of Eco-Extremism.

Protecting the Environment as servants of God, is one thing. When we take that call to another level, a level beyond the teachings of Christ is another.

Case in point...

Meet the women who won't have babies - because they're not eco friendly

Had Toni Vernelli gone ahead with her pregnancy ten years ago, she would know at first hand what it is like to cradle her own baby, to have a pair of innocent eyes gazing up at her with unconditional love, to feel a little hand slipping into hers - and a voice calling her Mummy.

But the very thought makes her shudder with horror.

Because when Toni terminated her pregnancy, she did so in the firm belief she was helping to save the plant. there you have it. No people is the best way to protect the environment. Don't you think that God would have created the world that way, without the creation of Man, if that was his main objective? A perfect environment more important than Man?

Catechism of the Catholic Church:

342 The hierarchy of creatures is expressed by the order of the "six days", from the less perfect to the more perfect. God loves all his creatures209 and takes care of each one, even the sparrow. Nevertheless, Jesus said: "You are of more value than many sparrows", or again: "Of how much more value is a man than a sheep!"210

343 Man is the summit of the Creator's work, as the inspired account expresses by clearly distinguishing the creation of man from that of the other creatures.211

344 There is a solidarity among all creatures arising from the fact that all have the same Creator and are all ordered to his glory: May you be praised, O Lord, in all your creatures, especially brother sun, by whom you give us light for the day; he is beautiful, radiating great splendor, and offering us a symbol of you, the Most High. . .

May you be praised, my Lord, for sister water, who is very useful and humble, precious and chaste. . .
May you be praised, my Lord, for sister earth, our mother, who bears and feeds us, and produces the variety of fruits and dappled flowers and grasses. . .
Praise and bless my Lord, give thanks and serve him in all humility.212

345 The sabbath - the end of the work of the six days. The sacred text says that "on the seventh day God finished his work which he had done", that the "heavens and the earth were finished", and that God "rested" on this day and sanctified and blessed it.213 These inspired words are rich in profitable instruction:

346 In creation God laid a foundation and established laws that remain firm, on which the believer can rely with confidence, for they are the sign and pledge of the unshakeable faithfulness of God's covenant.214 For his part man must remain faithful to this foundation, and respect the laws which the Creator has written into it.

347 Creation was fashioned with a view to the sabbath and therefore for the worship and adoration of God. Worship is inscribed in the order of creation.215 As the rule of St. Benedict says, nothing should take precedence over "the work of God", that is, solemn worship.216 This indicates the right order of human concerns.

348 The sabbath is at the heart of Israel's law. To keep the commandments is to correspond to the wisdom and the will of God as expressed in his work of creation.

349 The eighth day. But for us a new day has dawned: the day of Christ's Resurrection. The seventh day completes the first creation. The eighth day begins the new creation. Thus, the work of creation culminates in the greater work of redemption. The first creation finds its meaning and its summit in the new creation in Christ, the splendor of which surpasses that of the first creation.217

...further... Is nature more important than Man? Does man have a responsibility of Stewardship?

Respect for the integrity of creation

2415 The seventh commandment enjoins respect for the integrity of creation. Animals, like plants and inanimate beings, are by nature destined for the common good of past, present, and future humanity.195 Use of the mineral, vegetable, and animal resources of the universe cannot be divorced from respect for moral imperatives. Man's dominion over inanimate and other living beings granted by the Creator is not absolute; it is limited by concern for the quality of life of his neighbor, including generations to come; it requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation.196

2416 Animals are God's creatures. He surrounds them with his providential care. By their mere existence they bless him and give him glory.197 Thus men owe them kindness. We should recall the gentleness with which saints like St. Francis of Assisi or St. Philip Neri treated animals.

2417 God entrusted animals to the stewardship of those whom he created in his own image.198 Hence it is legitimate to use animals for food and clothing. They may be domesticated to help man in his work and leisure. Medical and scientific experimentation on animals is a morally acceptable practice if it remains within reasonable limits and contributes to caring for or saving human lives.

2418 It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly. It is likewise unworthy to spend money on them that should as a priority go to the relief of human misery. One can love animals; one should not direct to them the affection due only to persons.

Not to mention God's command to "Be fruitful and multiply..."

This thought process of the enviornment over Man (and of course I mean Man and Woman) is so wrong...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanskgiving !

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

.... now turn off that computer and enjoy the company of your family and friends...

WCC +<><

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Stem in the Right Direction

Finally, a breakthrough that has the proponents of embryonic stem cell research turning on their ear.

A breakthrough that may change the course of cloning and finally, maybe not stop, at least take a major step away from destroying babies (embryo's).

It’s called “reprogramming.”

Another technical term for it is “somatic cell dedifferentiation.” Just get those terms into your vocabulary because they’ll be around for the foreseeable future. As reported in two scientific papers published today, reprogramming is now the future of stem cell research and renders ethically controversial therapeutic cloning obsolete (MORE).

Another article...

Richard Doerflinger, deputy director of pro-life activities for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, called the new work "a very significant breakthrough in finding morally unproblematic alternatives to cloning. ... I think this is something that would be readily acceptable to Catholics."

Also this from the Catholic World News...

A new technique for obtaining stem cells could eliminate the public pressure for destructive research on human embryos, a Catholic think-tank reports.

The National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) has welcomed the results of research by Dr. Shinya Yamanaka and Dr. James Thomson, who have found a method of using skin cells to obtain pluripotent stem cells. By "reprogramming" the skin cells, the researchers found that they could reproduce the features that scientists find most desirable in embryonic stem cells.
Research using stem cells obtained from human embryos has met with resistance from Catholic ethicists, since the embryos are destroyed in the process of harvesting the pluripotent stem cells. The Yamanaka-Thomson research promises a means of obtaining stem cells readily without ethical problems.

The new technique "fully conforms to what we have hoped to see for some time," the NCBC announced. "Such strategies should continue to be pursued and strongly promoted, as they should help to steer the entire field of stem cell research in a more explicitly ethical direction by circumventing the moral quagmire associated with destroying human embryos."

Hopefully things are headed in the right direction....

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Human Experience

Wow, I found this on the 'American Papist' blog the other day and I thought I'd pass the info on...

It's about what seems to be an amazing film put out by a small media company in the heart of Brooklyn N.Y.

Grassroots film is the producers of this film .... and you've got to watch the trailer to know what I'm talking about.
American Papist has a great write-up on the film so visit there for the full details
I've got to see how to get this screening in our area...
As AP suggest... pass the word on.
WCC +<><

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Catholics in Iraq

Great news from the front lines. Michael Yon embedded with the troops in Iraq, posts from his ONLINE MAGAZINE the daily happenings from the frontlines.

I'm reminded of the Moses' plea "...How about if there were 50 (faithful)? Would you spare them? How about 40... 20... 10?"
We know Gods' answer.
What is ours?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Catholic - Podcast

I love to read and it seems that I've been having more and more trouble finding the time for this.
I've been listening to books on CD, on my long commute to/from home and that's been working out well.

Another remedy to this lose of reading time, are podcasts. Podcast started out hot and heavy back around 2005 with shows like Adam Curry of MTV fame as well as hundreds, of iPod downloadable shows.
Today I'm not sure just how popular podcasting still is but there are some very good ones that deserve a mention.

I found one Podcast that I'd like to pass on. One called 'Daily Breakfast' created by Father Roderick. It's not your typical catholic content podcast show or blog. Fr. Roderick adds content on many topics, including popular TV shows, movies, maybe a lead story in the news to PS3 games... whatever. He does answer a question or two on Catholic teaching when an emailer or caller asks, however most of the show is about the everyday common interest of a Catholic Priest ( in the Netherlands no less) who surprisingly ( or not so surprisingly ) has many of the same interest you and I have.

If you find yourself with less time to read, check out an episode or two. He's SQPN network is the home of many other similar podcasts. Secrets of the Lord of the Rings, Secrets of the Pirates of the Caribbean & Harry Potter, the Catholic Insider, The Catholic Show, Rosary Army .... to name a few.

Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship

Here it is, the Bishops' document on Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship.

Not too much reation yet, I'm planning to read it this weekend.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

"Forming Citizens for Faithful Citizenship"

With the election campaigning in full swing, a new document by the U.S. Bishop's conference has been approved and should be available soon.

I hope this document is better than the last document they put out. The last edition was, in my option... weak.

But the good Bishop's promise a completely revised version which "underwent multiple revisions and was brought before the whole bishop' conference for approval". It even passed with a 97.8% approval.

Well, I'm looking forward to reading it, however I remember a couple of years ago our parish men's group purchased a few hundred voter guides from Catholic Answers organization and our diocese decided to prohibit us from distributing them on church property. All this in favor of their then version of this new document (...which was very weak).

Catholic Answers puts out a terrific voters pamphlet which I highly recommend. You can check it out yourself HERE: VOTER'S GUIDE FOR SERIOUS CATHOLICS

The fact that the new document was approved by 97.8% consensus is a good sign. I still would like to know who the three votes against it came from.

Excerpt from CNA article:
Baltimore, Nov 14, 2007 / 11:56 am (CNA).- A new document concerning the duties of Catholic voters has been overwhelmingly approved at the Baltimore meeting of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops this morning. Many of the bishops expressed their belief that this is document is a great improvement over teachings from past years.

Titled "Forming Citizens for Faithful Citizenship," the document is an update to past conference statements of the same name. Unlike previous years, this version underwent multiple revisions and was brought before the whole bishops' conference for approval. The bishops approved the document with 97.8 % in favor and only three votes against it.

Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn led the presentation of the document to the bishops' conference. He said the document takes its inspiration from Pope Benedict XVI's encyclical "Deus Caritas Est," where the Pope says that the Church “wishes to help form consciences in political life.”

The bishop emphasized that following those words was their goal. "This document is not about bishops and politicians," he said, "it’s about helping Catholics form their consciences."

Excerpt from the U.S. Catholic Bishops on Faithful Citizenship:

WASHINGTON (November 14, 2007)– The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) today overwhelmingly approved a statement called Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United States. The statement urges Catholics to be involved in public life and to use the values of their faith to shape their political choice. It was approved at the bishops’ general meeting in Baltimore, November 12-15.

“In this statement, we bishops do not intend to tell Catholics for whom or against whom to vote,” the bishops explain. “Our purpose is to help Catholics form their consciences in accordance with God’s truth. We recognize that the responsibility to make choices in political life rests with each individual in light of a properly formed conscience, and that participation goes well beyond casting a vote in a particular election.

”The church’s role in helping Catholics to form their consciences is a central theme of the document. “With this foundation,” the bishops explain, “Catholics are better able to evaluate policy positions, party platforms, and candidates’ promises and action in light of the Gospel and the moral and social teaching of the Church in order to help build a better world.

”The bishops affirm their legitimate role in public life. “The obligation to teach about moral values that should shape our lives, including our public lives, is central to [our] mission,” they state. “Our nation’s tradition of pluralism is enhanced, not threatened, when religious groups and people of faith bring their convictions and concerns into public life.

”Respect for the dignity of every human being is a foundation for Catholic teaching about “faithful citizenship.” The statement explains the necessity of opposing actions that are intrinsically wrong, such as abortion and euthanasia, because these actions involve directly andintentionally ending an innocent human life. It also affirms the obligation to promote the common good by combating such threats to human life and dignity as hunger, poverty, racism, unjust immigration policies, and unjust war. “Both opposing evil and doing good are essential obligations.”

I'll post a link to the document as soon as I find it.

The Big One...That Didn't Get Away

Photo Slide Show...

I saw this slide show this morning over coffee... and thought I'd pass it on


Monday, November 12, 2007

Veteran's Day

I didn't post anything on this special day, however I did want to thank all the men and women of our Armed Forces.

Thanks for all your dedication, perseverance & self sacrifice. Without you there would be no great nation of America.

Thank you also to all the Mothers, Fathers, Brothers and Sisters who have loved one's in the Service of their country.

God Bless you all and thank you.

A daily visit to this link will update you on what is ACTUALLY happening in Iraq: Michael Yon: Online Magazine

...and a personal Salute to a fallen solider: Lt. JP Blecksmaith, USMC who is from my neck of the woods.

Archaeologist: 5th Century B.C. wall built by Nehemiah

Interesting archaeological find:

Dr. Eilat Mazar, one of Israel's top archaeologists, ended her presentation Wednesday to the 13th Annual Conference of the Ingeborg Rennert Center for Jerusalem Studies on "New Studies on Jerusalem," with a surprise announcement. She had discovered remnants of the fifth century B.C. wall built by Nehemiah, the account recorded in the Old Testament book of the same name.

According to the biblical account, Nehemiah served as cupbearer for the Persian King Artaxerxes in the city of Susa. The Persians had conquered the Babylonian empire that had destroyed Jerusalem in 586 B.C. and taken most of the inhabitants of Judah into captivity in what is now modern Iraq.(WND)

A Step Closer to the Cliff...

The big headlines today "Cloning... a step closer". The obvious claims of curing the sick and terminally ill, very noble causes all scientist, doctors should strive for.

But at what cost? The cost of helpless innocent lives (Embryos = Babies)? Why are scientist pursuing embryonic stem cell research when there has not been success of this method to date. Especially when success is found elsewhere, namely adult stem cells, umbilical cord blood stem cells...

...the only strive for HUMAN CLONING!

A technical breakthrough has enabled scientists to create for the first time dozens of cloned embryos from adult monkeys, raising the prospect of the same procedure being used to make cloned human embryos.

Attempts to clone human embryos for research have been dogged by technical problems and controversies over fraudulent research and questionable ethics. But the new technique promises to revolutionise the efficiency by which scientists can turn human eggs into cloned embryos.

"Against the Tide"

Pope Benedict's call to all young adults...not just Catholic.

B16 said that young Catholics are "called to go against the tide," during a November 9 meeting with an Italian students' organization.

In contemporary society, the Holy Father said, too many people are caught up in "a race, sometimes a desperate race, toward appearance and possession at all costs-- at the expense, unfortunately, of being." Young Catholics, he said, should be constantly cautioned to avoid that mistake, and "not to fear choosing alternative paths which only Christ can indicate."

...In university life today, the Pope continued, students are confronted with appeals to "arrogance and the achievement of success at all costs." In opposition to that attitude, he said, Christian students should bear "convinced and courageous evangelical witness." He asked the young people to help demonstrate to their peers that faith and reason can strengthen and support each other.(CWN)

Great motto to live by...for all adults young and old, Catholic and non-catholic, Christian and non-Christian...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Crisis Magazine - New Look

Crisis Magazine has just gone completely to a online publication and with that a new website

The content is great and extensive. Lot's of great articles from some knowledgeable writers. Mark Shea, Brain Saint -Paul, Dinesh D'Souza, Harry Crocker, cover everything from faith and culture to politics. You'll find videos and audios, links to the older Crisis Magazine (which is still up and running with it's 'must read ' content) to the Morley Institute link. They also have a blog to share one's thoughts.

I'm adding this link to my site. Pay them a visit it's well worth adding them to your favorites list.

All Saints Day - Holy Day of Obligation

All Saints Day is a Holy Day of Obligation....that means all Catholics are obligated to attend Mass.
We don't have very many of these days. Many have been transferred to the following Sunday.

I kind of like to see Catholics gathering on a weekday. There is something about attending Mass during my lunch time (which I'll probably do today) and seeing the Church pews full. Some come in business suits, some busy mothers taking time to bring their pre-schoolers. The elderly always make up the majority.

At the last Holy Day in September, I even saw a few of my colleagues from work at Mass. We made eye contact and there was that look "I didn't know you were Catholic?".


Here's a little read: All Saints Day