Jul 282015
 

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 11 June 2015 to 28 July 2015.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s The Weekly Francis. Jimmy Akin came up with this idea when he started “The Weekly Benedict” and I have taken over curation of it.

Angelus

Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

Messages

Speeches

Papal Tweets

  • “Now is the time for a change in mindset and to stop pretending that our actions do not affect those who suffer from hunger.” @Pontifex 15 July 2015
  • “When everything falls apart, only one thing sustains our hope: God loves us, he loves everyone!” @Pontifex 17 July 2015
  • “The Church is called to be ever more attentive and caring toward the weak.” @Pontifex 21 July 2015
  • “The one who helps the sick and needy touches the flesh of Christ, alive and present in our midst.” @Pontifex 23 July 2015
  • “Christian witness is concrete: words without actions are empty.” @Pontifex 25 July 2015
  • “Dear young friends, do not be afraid of marriage: Christ accompanies with his grace all spouses who remain united to him.” @Pontifex 28 July 2015
Jul 222015
 

Lamborghini

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Lamborghini?
My friends all rend babies, with parts so many.
Worked here all my lifetime, abortion debris.
So Lord, won’t you buy me a Lamborghini?

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a manual vacuum aspirator?
Less crunchy procedures so that I can make more.
I wait for delivery each day until four,
So oh Lord, won’t you buy me a manual vacuum aspirators?

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a ultrasound machine?
I’m counting on you, Lord, not crush organs unseen.
Prove that you love me and don’t make a scene,
Oh Lord, won’t you buy me an ultrasound machine?

Everybody!

Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Lamborghini?
My friends all rend babies, with parts so many.
Worked here all my lifetime, abortion debris.
So Lord, won’t you buy me a Lamborghini?

That’s it!

(With apologies to Jani Joplin, Michael McClure, and Bob Neuwirth)

News story on 2nd Planned Parenthood video

Jul 202015
 

I recently saw this picture on Facebook.

1513199_10152847610581082_2499001853248154363_n

Well if you don’t have an automatic, possibly they could do an “Anointing of the Stick” or some form of “Last Rides” for ailing engines.

Soon after this headline caught my attention San Francisco techies are hiring this Wiccan witch to protect their computers from viruses and offices from evil spirits.

Talley is one of those mystics, a Marin County witch boasting three master’s degrees and over 40 years of experience. Though tech problems are not the only ones Talley tackles, she is routinely called upon to debug people’s tech woes with spiritual energy.

“Most people want me to protect their computers from viruses and hacks,” she told SF Weekly. “So I’ll make charms for them. I like to use flora.” And when there are problems in office hardware, Talley turns to “Jet,” a black stone that serves to block energy. In extreme cases, she casts protection spells of her own over the entire company.

Talley recounts one particular tale to SF Weekly, when a startup’s office alarm would blare at all hours of the day, and no one knew why. After multiple electricians (the “rational” choice) completely failed to solve the problem, the company called in Talley.

“I got the spirit out,” she told SF Weekly.

Talley’s website says she welcomes issues too unusual or dangerous to take the the straight world of Western helpers. But she also says no problem is too big or small, even, perhaps, your printer malfunctioning. However before you jump on the phone, you should be aware that Talley’s services do not come cheap. She charges $200 an hour (though a phone consultation is free).

Well judging by her outfit shown in the article she is a “Black Hat” hacker.

Jokes aside, this is great if you want to open up your company to a zero day spiritual attack.

I’ll stick with sacramentals, although dousing equipment with holy water is probably not a good idea.

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has a Prayer for Computer Users.

Bless again this day the mysterious computer

which awaits your power and my human effort.

Grant wisdom, knowledge and a clear memory to my mind

as I sit before this new creature of your infinite power.

Bless my heart with endless patience whenever needed.

Guide my hands that I may be your faithful servant in every key I press.

Enable my limited efforts to bring glory to your Name

and blessings to your people everywhere.

Delete me not from your Kingdom

and save me from all fear and from all error of sin and ignorance.

I whisper this prayer, mindful of the needs of all with whom and for whom I work,

through the power of your Word and the life-giving energy of your Spirit.

Amen

Although I have to admit that the wording of this prayer tickles my funny bone inadvertently. Seriously “Delete me not from your Kingdom”?

Jul 162015
 

I admit to be a total fanboy when it comes to author John C. Wright. Read and enjoyed all his books including short story collections along with being an admirer of his blog. So when a new book of his comes out I buy it on the first day.

His newest book is Somewhither: A Tale of the Unwithering Realm. The opening paragraph from his publisher says:

SOMEWHITHER is the first part of A TALE OF THE UNWITHERING REALM, a new science fantasy series from science fiction master John C. Wright. It is an adventure, it is a romance, and it is a coming of age story of a young man who is not a man, in a world that is only one among many. It is a tale of a greater and darker evil with longer reach than anything he could imagine, of despair without bounds, of pain beyond measure, and of the faith required to surmount all three. It is a story of inexorable destiny written in the stars and the stubborn courage that is required to defy it.

This takes some fantasy tropes and expands them. The young man who doesn’t really fit in and whose family seems different from the surrounding. A father who disappears one trips for an expanded period of time who job is really not known. So from the start you know the main character Ilya Muromets is going to find out who he really is and go on some epic adventure. What follows though could only come from the mind of John C. Wright and of course there is a Space Princess involved.

Trying to pin a genre on this novel is rather difficult. His science fiction has a pagan mythos and his fantasy has scientific aspects. So there is often a blend of these genre informed by mythic elements. Finely blended so that it seems natural. Especially true here where there are many worlds and travel between them, but also a full range of mythical creatures.

There was so much I like about this story. There is a certain playfulness in his characters such as lya Muromets here or Montrose and del Azarchel in the Count to the Eschaton Sequence. Perhaps my only criticism of this book is that these two characters are reminiscent of each other with the bravado and inventive cursing. At first another aspect of this book was putting me off regarding an extended sequence involving escape. Later I realized how necessary this sequence of this book was to the plot involving a Calvinistic world that is a deterministic nightmare. Again I am amazed by how inventive he is with plot ideas. There are several here where a competent author could take just one of them to make a good book.

As a lover of SF and Fantasy, along with being both a geek and a Catholic, there are not many books that bring satisfaction on the geeky Catholic level. There are tons of geeky references in the book and I think I caught on to most of them, but doubt I caught them all. This was part of the playfulness of the book. Still it was a pleasure regarding all the Catholic aspects. Ilya Muromets as a hero is a Catholic and one that prays and calls to saints whenever he is in danger. He has to appeal to saints a lot. Even better it is an appeal to an appropriate patron saint regarding the situation. So I enjoyed how this was weaved into the story and was a natural part of it and really added to the character.

There is so much to discuss about this book, but too hard to move into spoiler territory in any discussion. So I will leave it at that. I enjoyed this book immensely and like every start in a new series eagerly await the next book.

Still I feel kind of like I had shoplifted this book since the Kindle price was only $4.99. Just doesn’t seem right considering how much enjoyment I got.

Jul 142015
 

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 7 July 2015 to 12 July 2015.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s The Weekly Francis. Jimmy Akin came up with this idea when he started “The Weekly Benedict” and I have taken over curation of it.

Angelus

Homilies

Speeches

Jul 072015
 

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 15 June 2015 to 6 July 2015.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s The Weekly Francis. Jimmy Akin came up with this idea when he started “The Weekly Benedict” and I have taken over curation of it.

Angelus

Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

General Audiences

Homilies

Messages

Speeches

Papal Tweets

  • “A great challenge: stop ruining the garden which God has entrusted to us so that all may enjoy it.” @Pontifex 2 July 2015
  • “That which gives us true freedom and true happiness is the compassionate love of Christ.” @Pontifex 4 July 2015
Jul 072015
 

I had recently positively reviewed Fr. Mike Driscol’s Demons, Deliverance, Discernment : Separating Fact from Fiction about the Spirit World. So when I found that he also recently released a novel I was intrigued. The book is a collection of short stories called The Father Capranica Mysteries: Stories of the Strange and Supernatural.

As the author wrote:

“The Fr. Capranica Mysteries are my attempt to imitate both G.K. Chesterton’s Fr. Brown Stories and the things-that-go-bump-in-the-night feel of Alice Cooper.”

Overall I did enjoy this collection of stories. This collection starts out pretty strong with a story called “Storm Sirens”, and then “Walk Through Walls”. This promise at the start is mostly kept throughout the collection with plenty of solid stories.

The main character Fr. Capranica is a time traveling priest, but with certain limitations. He will travel through time, but only forward. He and pilgrims like him jump through time guided by divine providence to be where they are needed. This limitation reminded me that we are all sequential time travelers always moving forward in time and with cooperation with grace can be where God wants us to be.

These stories are more X-Files than Alice Cooper, although Alice Cooper is a prominent character in the last story. It is obvious the author is a fan of him as I am. The reason I saw X-Files is that often the stories involve obscure folklore from multiple cultures. From pagan to Christian. Fr. Capranica besides his priestly duties is often called upon to investigate strange going ons. Just this aspect of the storytelling is satisfying. Included is a spiritual depth that adds to the stories. They often make a serious point spiritually without hitting you in the head providing a Fr. Brown aspect. This provides a layer to the story without sacrificing the story itself. Fr. Driscoll did lots of research on possession and exorcism in his Ph.D. program for counseling. The start of his book on exorcism includes information worldwide across cultures and history regarding exorcism and you can see that all this served well in providing information for these stories. It is nice to be able to read stories of this type without all the bad theology you often get.

The stories are not told in a time sequential manner so you have stories mixed in of Fr. Capranica in early times of Church history. So you have some stories involve famous saints while being coy about who they are until close to the end of the story. Some of these specific stories were I think the weaker of the collection, although probably because I am put off by talking about a famous person with the slow reveal. Still even the lesser stories held my attention and this collection as a whole was worthwhile for me. I could easily see my self going back to it at a later date.

The story involving Vincent Furnier (Alice Cooper) revolved around the origin of his stage name which actually makes for a pretty good story of this type. After his Christian conversion something happens that causes his family to bring in Fr. Capranica. Although it is an urban legend that he got his name from a Ouija board, it does provide a good basis for the story told as if it was fact and what the consequences could be.

On another note while it is true that “You can’t just a book by its cover”, it’s also true that we do so anyway. Can’t say I am a fan of the cover and it makes the book look unprofessional. The book is published by Bezalel Books, a Catholic publishing company. Looking through their books I saw a similar problem in that many of their book covers were rather amateurish. They look like something that I could splice together and that is not an endorsement.

Jul 072015
 

Yes that was a totally link bait headline. Yet their is truth to it. Specifically the Vatican has lent the Diocese of St. Augustine a relic of one of his fingers. So for a Diocese patron saint that counts as “the finger”.

A relic dating back to 430 A.D. isn’t something that’s easy to acquire.

So when the Diocese of St. Augustine was loaned a first-class relic of St. Augustine of Hippo late last month, it was considered a blessing and the culmination of many years of effort.

“One of my dreams was to find a way to get the relics of Saint Augustine here for the 450th to finally say the man for whom this city is named, his relics came here,” said the Rev. Tom Willis of Cathedral Basilica.

The relic is the finger of St. Augustine of Hippo – and it’s never before left Italy where it is part of the Vatican Treasury.

Kathleen Bagg, director of communications for the diocese, has done extensive research on the relic.

“This is a first-class relic because it is an actual piece – body part – of the saint,” she said. “It’s just taken a really long time because [officials in Italy and at the Vatican] didn’t want to let go of it.”

Encased in what is known as a reliquary – a container for holy relics – it is on loan to the diocese in celebration of St. Augustine’s 450th anniversary and the founding of America’s first Catholic parish. (Source)

Jun 302015
 

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 23 June 2015 to 30 June 2015.

The Weekly Francis is a compilation of the Holy Father’s writings, speeches, etc which I also post at Jimmy Akin’s The Weekly Francis. Jimmy Akin came up with this idea when he started “The Weekly Benedict” and I have taken over curation of it.

Homilies

Messages

Speeches

Papal Tweets

  • “In Confession, Jesus welcomes us with all our sinfulness, to give us a new heart, capable of loving as he loves.” @Pontifex 25 June 2015
  • “The Church is a mother with an open heart, ready to help all people, especially those who try the hardest” @Pontifex 27 June 2015
  • “How wonderful it is to proclaim to everyone the love of God which saves us and gives meaning to our lives!” @Pontifex 30 June 2015
Jun 292015
 

Part of my daily devotional reading includes Paul Thigpen’s A Year With the Saints: Daily Meditations with the Holy Ones of God. He finds and frames a wide variety of quotes from the saints. Including the more well known and the more obscure quotes that should be more well known. Just rich spiritual reading.

Now another book of his is also part of my daily devotional reading. A Year with Mary: Daily Meditations on the Mother of God. Again a plethora of quotes framed with a short introduction and a very short reflection and prayer follow up.

I really have to give kudos to not only the quality of work being published by Tan and St. Benedict Press, but also the aesthetic quality of their books. A Year With Mary is no exception. The ad copy states “Premium Ultrasoft with two-tone sewn binding, ribbon marker and gold edges”, which really does not describe the aesthetic beauty of the cover and the feel of it, the quality of the paper used, and the edge gilding. I just love holding it my hands when reading it. I might have pretty much totally moved over to ebooks, but prayer books require a more sacramental feeling. There is such craftsmanship and attention to detail down to the color of the paper and the rounded edges.

aYearWithMary

This picture only gives you a vague idea of the quality.

aYearWithMaryKirara

My cat Kirara even likes the feel of the soft cover.