Thursday, August 25, 2011

Fr. Barron's 'Catholicism' - Awesome!

Can't wait to get this. I've decided to use Father Barron's new series call Catholicism as a study for our parish Men's Fellowship.

We'll use the book to read and use 1/2 increments of the video in our 1 1/2 hr Saturday meetings. The book for home study, the video shown at the meetings to stimulate discussion.

Hope to show this series to the rest of the parish as well.

Check out the new trailer:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

B16 : The Common Good

My eyes are slowly being opened to a new vocabulary, at least for me, that I read in the comments, talks and speeches that Benedict XVI uses when addressing the public.

Here's his latest:

Pope Demands Greater Morals & Ethics in Global Economic Policy 

MADRID (The Blaze/AP) — Pope Benedict XVI denounced the profit-at-all-cost mentality that he says is behind Europe’s current economic crisis as he arrived in hard-hit Spain on Thursday, and said morals and ethics must play a greater role in formulating economic policy in the future.

Benedict made the comments as he traveled to Madrid for the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day, a weeklong Catholic festival that is taking place against a backdrop of the European debt crisis and social unrest among the young that exploded recently in the riots in Britain.

It's not that the vocabulary is new, it's just that I'm now becoming more aware of it through my read of Brian Benestad's book 'Church, State, And Society - An Introduction To Catholic Social Doctrine'.

I'm doing some studying on Catholic Social Doctrine. It seems to me that so many people, in the media especially want to tell us (Catholics) what Catholic social justice, social doctrine is or should be, that it's confusing the heck out of Catholics in the pews. And let's face it not many of the pew dwellers want to take time to do a little studying or at least looking into what the Church actually says.

I haven't run across too many homilies either that explain this teaching. Granted 10 minutes at mass isn't enough time but B16 gives some wonderful brief talks during his weekly audiences.  You can find these talks compiled in books if you've missed them. He's talks on the Church Fathers in one of my favorites.

I'm finding it a little difficult myself with 10 hour work days, a 3 to 4 hour commute to and from, two grandchildren vying for attention, and my wonderful patient wife waiting her turn to catch a few minutes with me. So I can empathize with finding enough time. I know my schedule doesn't compare to some out there with even busier life schedules.

But let's face it, as Catholics our knowledge of our faith doesn't end in CCD. I've heard so many fallen away Catholics say "I have 12 years of Catholic education under my belt and I'm still not convinced the Catholic Church is the true faith".

Let's be real about this. They're talking about elementary, middle and high school education in the Catholic school system. Along with the essentials of an education (math, reading, writing, science) they may teach a few prayers or the basic tenants of the faith, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.

They may teach "Love God with all your might, all your strength, with all your mind and Love your neighbor as yourself". But my guess is they didn't go into a deeper understanding of these  two golden rules into the realm of 'Common Good' in regards to Catholic Social Doctrine.

I myself attended the Minor Seminary for four years and I only began to start studying my faith with any substance until I left the Seminary life for my calling as a husband and father; ten years into married life. I'm still only scratching the surface after 29 years of marriage.

And I'm loving every moment of my continued study of the wonderful Catholic faith.

So when I picked up this book by Benestad it really is giving me a better understanding of Catholic Social Doctrine.

With regards to Pope Benedict's point of "morals and ethics must play a greater role in formulating economic policy in the future", it's beginning to make perfect sense.

So many times we are told that we must give the 'instrumental' needs to the poor and needy. Instrumental meaning food, shelter, clothing etc.,  but not much emphasis is given to the true definition of Catholic Social teaching and that along with the instrumental giving there must be 'substantive' (Benestad, Church, State and Society, pg 82) part of that giving. Substantive meaning the promotion of "virtue in the lives of every individual, while preserving or establishing good mores and institutions"

This is what B16, I believe is talking about. He sees the tragic happenings throughout Europe and especially Great Britain with regards to the riots and recognizes that there is NOT this promotion to virtuous living.

The State can not just give the food shelter, jobs, clothing and whatever else without an instruction to it's citizens to live virtuous lives.

The Raider/ 49er melee this weekend is just another example of the loss of virtue in our society. This picture says it all. Everyone carrying beers, looks like an infant or toddler being held in the crowd and no one cares.
There seems to be more violence and disregard for “love thy neighbor as thyself” and more a “love myself more than my neighbor” mentality today.

That ‘love myself’ mentality is flowing into every niche of society. Even in the way we think of Catholic Social doctrine. There seems to be more of an emphasis on the ‘instrumental’ side and less of the ‘substantive’ side of the teaching.

Sometimes we may think that in giving only, we can solve the problems of poverty or injustice. And while I agree that we should give as much as we can, there should also be the other side of that coin in that those that receive have their ‘duties’ to perform.

We hear so much about ‘rights’ and not enough about ‘duties’.

As I study more on the Churches social doctrine and the Common Good, I see that the “political community, the institutions of civil society, and individuals both [have a duty] to restrain evildoers and remedy unjust situations, and to promote the practice of virtue in the lives of every individual, while preserving or establishing good mores and institutions” (Church, State and Society- Brian Benestad, pg 83)

I think it most important to know what Catholic Social Doctrine is and what it's not. With the elections coming up it's no secret that political Left as well as the political Right will once again try to convince Catholics that they know the faith better than we do.

We as Catholics should be aware that we are Not Left or Right, Liberal or Conservative, Democrat or Republican. We are members of God's family through baptism and we must be the light in the world we are called to be.

That means to know your faith and able to explain it without fear at all times.

Living here in California is not an easy place for doing that. The thought here is 'keep your faith on Sunday', and I mean at church not at the football game or at the office and definitely not in the voting booth.

Some have lost the will to battle the forces against the church. Especially when we seem to be battling our fellow Catholics who have their own ideas on what the Catholic Church is.

Catholic Social Doctrine is one of those subjects that is raging in many parishes today.

Political groups are infiltrating our parishes. At my parish a group called UCIC has been invited into our Youth Group by the pastor, endorsed by the Bishop.

It's a group bent on defining Catholic Social Doctrine on their own terms for their own means with a definite political agenda.

That's why it's important to study your faith. That's why I'm studying what the Church teaches on Social Doctrine. One must know the vocabulary and terms and teachings. Through the encyclicals, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Church Doctors and saints.

For a great intro into Catholic Social Doctrine, Brian Benestad's book is a good place to start.

Keep studying your faith.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

A Touching Story of a Precious Family

A truly inspirational stor A family with God at their center.

See the video and give your family a hug....and thank God for all his blessings.


Seal Team Six - A Deadly Day

Some very sad news just a few weeks passed the events surrounding the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

25 Seals (Team Six) parish when their helicopter was shot down.

My prayers go out to them and their families.Thank you for  your service and sacrifice.

31 Americans, 7 Afghans killed in helicopter crash   
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- A military helicopter was shot down in eastern Afghanistan, killing 31 U.S. special operation troops, most of them from the elite Navy SEALs unit that killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, along with seven Afghan commandos. It was the deadliest single incident for American forces in the decade-long war.

USA Credit Rating Downgrade - It's Here

For me it wasn't a surprise. I was hoping that it wouldn't come but it was already a given when the credit rating groups (S&P) stated that just raising the debt ceiling was NOT ENOUGH.

That was ignored.

I'm already hearing the arguments for who is to blame, the Right the Left, the Tea Party, the Treasury, the President.

Tomorrow or Sunday we'll hear another President Obama speech with who he blames; a previous President, the Republicans, but there's no ignoring the 15 Trillion dollar of debt which the majority happened under his watch including the 2.4 trillion additional debt with this last deal.

The only way now is to immediately come up with a plan to make some drastic cuts in an attempt to regain the triple 'A' rating.

Will we cut what needs to be cut or will the government use this as an excuse to make cuts that will hurt the workforce even more.

I'm thinking the cuts won't come from Obama Care. No, it will be about cutting the Defense budget.
That would lead to more layoffs. Thousands more out of work.

Are you then going to raise taxes too Mr. President?

Yikes, I know I will be dedicating this Sunday's Mass to our nation.

God save America. I'm praying that we can now come together to right the ship before we take on anymore water.

S&P downgrades U.S. credit rating for first time 

Standard & Poor’s announced Friday night that it has downgraded the U.S. credit rating for the first time, dealing a symbolic blow to the world’s economic superpower in what was a sharply worded critique of the American political system.
Lowering the nation’s rating to one notch below AAA, the credit rating company said “political brinkmanship” in the debate over the debt had made the U.S. government’s ability to manage its finances “less stable, less effective and less predictable.” It said the bipartisan agreement reached this week to find at least $2.1 trillion in budget savings “fell short” of what was necessary to tame the nation’s debt over time and predicted that leaders would not be likely to achieve more savings in the future.


Friday, August 05, 2011

ObamaCare and Paid for Abortions

I can't tell  you how many Catholic friends I know who tell me that Obama promised that the Health Care law would not make us pay for Abortions or contraception.

Surprise! ....or not so much of a surprise.

Here's the sad story:
Oh and thanks Kathleen Sebelius...NOT!

New Poll: Americans Oppose Requiring Contraception Coverage 46%-39%, And What We Can Do

Rasmussen Reports polled Americans this week and finds they are not in favor of the Obama administration’s decision to require private health insurance companies to cover contraception:

“The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of American Adults shows that 39% believe health insurance companies should be required to cover all government approved contraceptives for women, but 46% don’t think they should be. Another 15% are undecided.”
Rasmussen did not even mention in the polling that one of the “contraceptives” covered under these new rules is actually the abortifacient pill Ella — that would surely sway even more people to oppose the new rules. As it stands, 15% remain undecided (which means we need to figure out how to reach those 15%).

Toy Truck ->IED->Saved Soldiers

Love this story...keeping our soldiers safe, one remote controlled truck at a time.

Remote Controlled Truck Sent to Soldier (see video)
Staff Sgt. Christopher Fessenden is on duty in Afghanistan now after tours with the Army in Iraq. He has traveled with standard-issue equipment -- weapons, helmet, uniform, boots and so forth -- plus a radio-controlled model truck his brother Ernie sent.
The truck is not a toy to him. He says it just saved six soldiers' lives.
"We cannot thank you enough," said Sgt. Fessenden in an email from the front that Ernie, a software engineer in Rochester, Minn., shared with ABC News.

Harry Potter and Catholics

Ever criticize Harry Potter to someone who is a fan?

Great article with a lot of good points on the Potter franchise.

Michael O’Brien Responds to his critics re: Harry Potter 

 In the interview O’Brien explains why he became involved in critiquing the Harry Potter series, his views on why the series has become so popular and the astonishing and at times hateful criticism that Potter critics have received, such as O’Brien himself being called “the anti-Christ” by a Potter fan. O’Brien also answers the question of what he meant by “the evil means” used by Harry to defeat Voldemort, why Harry Potter is not just “entertainment”, why it is appropriate for LifeSiteNews to cover the Harry Potter issue, how Rowlings pro-homosexual views may be reflected in the novels, and more:   

Teen Choice Award Nominees...Yikes!

..Just what the heck is happening to our youth...the future of America?

Looking at the list of nominee's for the 'Teen Choice' award the future isn't looking very good.

No God...No future.

Producers Pick Lesbian Kiss, R-Rated Movies as Teen Choice Award Nominees  

A girl-on-girl lip lock, a movie in which a bulldog masturbates, and a marijuana-smoking middle school teacher are among the nominees for the 2011 Teen Choice Awards. Yes that’s right, an awards show specifically aimed at 13-19 year olds will be featuring inappropriate content more suited for the panel of adults that chose the nominees.


Monday, August 01, 2011

And Now a Word from Our Sponsor

Just my way of saying... let's take a short break from the madness of the day.

The news is covered with a doomsday scenario of dark days ahead and well I need to divert my attention, if just for a moment to take a breath and gather my thoughts.

Just like a boxer must go to his corner for a moment to collect himself

So check out this short clip of Shakespearean ramble done by impressions of familiar voices from a very talented man.

(As a form of 'Disclaimer - I took this from Creative Minority Blog who lifted it from the American Catholic Blog; Both great blogs which I visit daily. Please, Please visit them frequently)

Thanks WestCoastCatholc

Bagels, Pies and the Free Market

Crisis Magazine has an article explaining the 'Free Market' by putting forth an example of producing bagels an pies.

Hey, I'm always looking for a way to simplify my understanding of the complex world of economics.

  Cooperation: A Free Market Benefits Everyone

The following will explain the most important idea in the history of social analysis. The notion (actually, it’s a description of reality that is all around us but rarely noticed) has been around for many centuries. It was first discovered by late-medieval monks working in Spain. It was given scientific precision in the classical period. It is the basis of advances in social theory in the 20th century.
In fact, it is an essential part of the case for freedom. It was the basis of the belief of our ancestors that they could throw off tyrannical rule and still not have society descend into poverty and chaos. The failure to comprehend this idea is at the very root of the pervasive bias against liberty and free enterprise in our times, on the left and the right.

Not simple enough?

American Catholic Blog has a nice video...nice and simple

St Paul - A Catholic Saint

So many good books read.

Taylor Marshall has a new (2010) book that I've been wanting to read. St. Paul is the topic and it look like a good one.

Check out the video: