Nov 262014
 

Via Brandon Vogt:

This morning Fr. Robert Barron launched AdventReflections.com, a place where people can sign up to receive FREE daily reflections throughout Advent.

Each day, from November 30 until Christmas Eve (December 24), Fr. Barron will email a short reflection on an Advent theme, in either English or Spanish (your choice!). In addition, subscribers receive exclusive videos not found anywhere else,** special discount codes** for new products, and several giveaways throughout Advent including DVDs, CDs, signed books, and more. The best part? It’s totally FREE!

Sign-up now at AdventReflections.com.

Also Amy Welborn has a new Avent devotional out. Prepare Him Room: Advent Family Devotions. Kindle version is a steal at .99! I super enjoyed her Lenten devotional and so look forward to reading this one.

Nov 242014
 

Thomas L. McDonald at God and the Machine started a series called “How I Pray”. As Tom said this is a “shameless rip off” of the Lifehacker series “How I work”.

Every Monday in How I Pray, I ask various Catholics about their prayer routines, their prayer lives, and their experience of prayer.

In the first week of the new series he subjected himself to the questions to be answered, in the second week it was my turn to answer How I Pray and this week it is Jimmy Akin’s turn.

Tom’s and Jimmy’s answers are a nice read and I look forward to further entries in this series. It is really excellent to see concrete examples of how other work out their prayer life and what helps them.

Nov 242014
 

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 6 November – 22 November 2014.

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

General Audiences

Letters

Speeches

Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

Papal Tweets

Note: There are still a large number of documents that have not yet been translated into English.

Nov 122014
 

I can almost always rely on maximum spin and distortion for a story from the Religion News Service. This article by Kimberly Winston delivered via RNS and Crux is very laughable in a sad way.

Were some Catholic saints transgender? Berkeley show raises eyebrows

BERKELEY, Calif. — Step into the one-room art gallery inside the Pacific School of Religion and look closely at the saints in the paintings: Some have beards; some have buzz cuts; some have their breasts obscured; some appear in unisex clothes like tanks tops and jeans.

Are they women or men?

That’s the point of artist Alma Lopez’s new show, “Queer Santas: Holy Violence,” on display at this theological school known for its embrace of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons. In playing with the gender characteristics of religious icons usually depicted as feminine, Lopez asks us to reconsider our ideas of religion, beauty, and gender.

Justin Tanis, who teaches at the school, said it’s as if these saints, with their direct eye contact and open arms, are saying, “‘I am natural, I am one of God’s people.’ And yet this is an image that many people would consider heretical because gender play is involved.”

Gender play is at work in each of the icons in the show — St. Lucia, St. Wilgefortis, and St. Liberata.

Lopez, a visiting artist at the University of California, Los Angeles, said she was attracted to these saints because their stories have a common theme — each one tried to step out of the expected role for a woman of her time and, as a result, was the victim of terrible violence.

Take St. Wilgefortis’ story. A 14th-century noblewoman promised in marriage without her consent, she prayed to God to be made ugly so she could keep a vow of chastity she made to Jesus. God granted her a man’s beard. The marriage was off, but Wilgefortis — whose name means “strong face” — was crucified by her father.

The stories of St. Liberata and St. Lucia are similar: Liberata sprouted a beard, and Lucia had her eyes torn out when she disappointed her family.

“All of these saints are women who took their own agency and stepped outside gender norms,” Tanis said as he stood before Lopez’s rendition of St. Liberata, arms splayed in a way that suggests both crucifixion and winged flight. “In that sense, they were queer and violence was done to them for it.”

As they say “Read the whole thing” if you want to get hit repeatedly with the stupid hammer.

“So far it’s been quiet,” he said. “But we are prepared to offer hospitality to any protesters.”

In other words “Where are the protesters? We did something shocking to draw the loving media gaze and nobody is giving us free publicity by protesting us.”

Nov 102014
 

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 10 May – 9 November 2014.

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

General Audiences

Homilies

Speeches

Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

Papal Tweets

Nov 032014
 

Another excellent column by Msgr. Charles Pope.

If the ladies will pardon me (for women have their own sort of strength), I want to issue a special summons to men, especially fathers, husbands, and priests. The summons is simple: be a man. We need men in these dark days, men who will heroically speak and act, men who will announce the truth and insist upon it wherever they have authority, men who will stop being passive fathers and husbands, priests who will stop “playing it safe” by remaining silent in the moral storm. Yes, be a man.

It has often been observed that men are rather disengaged from the practice of the faith and attendance at the Sacred Liturgy. Frankly, there is a reason—not a politically correct one, but a reason nonetheless. Most of the men I talk to find the Church rather feminized. There is much talk in the Church about forgiveness and love, about receptivity and about being “nicer.” These are fine virtues, all of them necessary. But men also want to be engaged, to be sent into battle, to go forth and make a difference.

After years of radical feminism, men are shamed for seeking to take up leadership and authority in their families and in the Church. It starts early. Any normal boy is full of spit and vinegar, is aggressive, competitive, and anxious to test his wings. But many boys are scolded, punished, and even medicated for these normal tendencies. They are told to behave more like girls and to learn to be nicer and to get along, etc. It will be granted that limits are necessary, but the tendency for boys to roughhouse is normal. The scolding and “socializing” to more feminine traits continues apace into early adulthood. And then there are other cultural phenomena such as the slew of “Men are stupid” commercials, etc.

Though many in past decades have sought to describe the Church as “male-dominated,” nothing could be further from the truth. Most parish leadership structures are dominated by women. And women do fine work. But the Church has done a very poor job of engaging men as men and equipping them to be strong husbands, fathers, and priests. Virtues related to bold leadership and the effective use of authority are in short supply whereas other virtues such as collaboration, listening, empathy, and understanding are overemphasized.

This lack of balance, wherein traditionally manly virtues are downplayed—even shamed—has led many men to become disengaged from the Church.

As they say “Read the whole thing

I was thinking about this to some extent at Mass yesterday once again noticing how few men are in attendance compared to women.

Nov 032014
 

Despite the good intentions of some in spreading the Gospel. Sometimes it can go totally awry with proselytism in the pejorative sense. Case in point:

Sioux Falls officials could face a cloudy legal fight over a dispute about religious artwork that students painted on two city-owned snowplows despite a disclaimer that is being added to the plows.

City officials said the disclaimer would be attached to the 27 student-decorated snowplows to show the city isn’t endorsing a particular point of view, but the message doesn’t appear to be enough to satisfy the concerns of the artwork’s critics, the Argus Leader reported Sunday.

Students at Lutheran High School and Sioux Falls Lutheran School painted the plow blades as part of the city’s Paint the Plows program. One blade includes the words “Jesus Christ” and the other “Happy Birthday Jesus.”

The Siouxland Freethinkers complained, arguing the religious artwork on publicly owned vehicles violates the constitutional separation of church and state

… Two days later, Huether and city attorney David Pfeifle announced the disclaimer would be added to all the student-decorated plows.

Part of the disclaimer reads: “Any message or views expressed are not those of the city or endorsed by the city.”

I can feel for the poor atheist who thought at least snow plows were free from religious messages. The forced conversions due to atheists inadvertently seeing such a message on an intimidating machine is proselytism in the worst sense. This is just another sacred plow that must be eliminated. Hopefully the disclaimer will be large enough to prevent accidental conversions.

Nov 032014
 

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 4 October – 1 November 2014.

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

General Audiences

Messages

Speeches

Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

Papal Tweets

Oct 292014
 

I have been very impressed with the work of Trent Horn of Catholic Answers. I always enjoy when he is answering calls on Catholic answers and his last book Answering Atheism: How to Make the Case for God with Logic and Charity was excellent. So when I had heard he was writing a new book I certainly looked forward to it.

Now having read Persuasive Pro Life: How to Talk about Our Culture’s Toughest Issue which was recently released I can say this book is another winner. Still I had wondered if this book would just be a collection of all the pro-life defenses I have heard. I should have known better.

Since Trent Horn hosts the mostly shows where he answers questions from atheists and considering his last book I thought apologetics regarding this topic was his expertise. I did not know about his years working full-time in the pro-life movement and all that he had learned during those years. He references some of his work during this time and what he had learned from his own mistakes in talking to people.

What I especially found worthwhile is that what he lays out in this book is not just confined to pro-life apologetics. There are many basic principals that apply when talking to people on most subjects that are highly polarized. The basics of actually listening to people and not just waiting to unleash your counter-argument is evident, but so easy to be forgotten. Asking questions and not just making statements also helps.

He provides a wealth of practical advice when dealing with others. A central theme seemed to be staying on point. There are so many side channels that such discussions can diverge on. Rabbit holes crossed with connecting gopher holes. In this case always leading the discussion back to the central question “What are the unborn?” He provides lots of advice on how to do this. The tool _“Trot Out a Toddler (TOAT)” is one of those ideas that can stick in your mind and to help in these discussions. He provides other mental tools and acknowledges their sources.

Much of the book provides tactics in how to stay on track and to be able to answer both common and more uncommon questions. He goes in-depth regarding just how to answer these questions and to drive the question back to the central point. While ad hominem arguments are common among those who defend abortion, he also points out ad hominem arguments that are common among pro-lifers. I think his prudential approach to some common pro-life arguments and while some of them are very good points, they don’t prove the central point. This book is very thorough in answering objections and categorizing these objections for later reference. Appendices at the end of the book goes into How to Talk to Pre- and Post-Abortive Women and Answering Infanticide.

This book is just a treasure-trove in regards to both information and advice. Really this is the best presentation on this topic I have ever seen. I would say it would be highly useful to anybody from someone who might have casual arguments on this topic with co-workers and friends to those on the front lines of defending life.

Oct 292014
 

Maureen aka suburbanbanshee posts Worst Vatican Translation Yet at # Over the Rhine and Into the Tiber

On October 27th, Pope Francis addressed the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and talked about evolution as one of God’s probable methods of Creation. News reports in English had the Pope saying, “God is not a divine being.”

What the Pope actually said was, “….Dio non è un demiurgo….” which is the Italian for “God is not a demiurge.”

In heretical Gnostic theology, the creator of the material universe was an evil or depressed lesser being called the Demiurge [Builder] who was often identified with Satan, whereas God was a higher being (or beings, or eight beings, or….) who never wanted matter created at all. Christian Gnostics justified this term (like many others they used) because it was used once in the Bible in Hebrews 11:10 – “For [Abraham] looked for a city that has foundations, the Architect and Builder of which is God.” (Of course St. Paul didn’t mean it like they meant it.)

So yeah, maybe some of you will believe me now about the pathetic inaccuracy of the current Vatican English translations.

I do have to wonder if the English translator is a native English speaker or not since there have been so many egregious translations. Is there even a team that cross-checks translatons? I would not be surprised at all to find out there isn’t.

Her primary blog is Aliens in This World which covers a cornucopia of topics and has been a long-time favorite of mine.