Apr 252016

There has been a lot of virtual ink spilt over this one footnote in the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

I would also point out that the Eucharist “is not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak”

This little footnote has become like a Rorschach test for Catholics who see what they want to see in it.

Still while the concept of the Eucharist as medicine is nothing new, it did get me thinking about all those medicine commercials with a list of side effects half the length of the commercial. So I came up with this:

Previously posted by Ed Peters.

Some seem upset that I agreed with Pope Francis that the Eucharist is “powerful medicine” for sinners, a figure of speech the pope used in Amoris laetitiae fn. 351 (see also his Evangelii gaudium 47). May I suggest that those objecting to the pope’s phrasing, and my agreement with it, need to familiarize themselves better with the Church’s rich understanding of the Eucharist. Doing so will, I think, enable them not only to see what is profoundly right about the pope’s choice of words, but help them to articulate what is profoundly missing from it.

The bounteous effects of the Eucharist, specifically in regard to forgiveness of and preservation from sin, are laid out in the Catechism of the Catholic Church 1393-1395, 1436, and 1846. These passages amply support the pope’s phrasing in fn 351. But missing from the pope’s commentary here is an acknowledgement that, as is true of a “powerful medicine”, taking the Eucharist improperly can be harmful, even spiritually deadly, to the recipient.

I don’t expect a footnote to contain every nuance of Church teaching or else a footnote would become another document with it’s own footnotes and on and one. So my prescription is to drink a glass of water and just read Church documents with the mind of the Church.

Mar 302016

At the end of his weekly general audience today, Pope Francis pointed to the sky and said Mother Angelica “is in heaven”.

The Holy Father gave his blessing and made the remark to members of EWTN’s Rome bureau as he greeted the faithful in St. Peter’s Square.

The staff had brought with them an image of EWTN’s founder as a sign of affection and remembrance for Mother Angelica after she passed away on Easter Sunday at the age of 92. National Catholic Register.

In response to the Pope’s action todays several noted theologians are divided on the theological significance of the Pope’s index finger point to Heaven with a statement referring to Mother Angelica.

Fr. Cyrus Winfield questioned the idea of whether the Pope’s digitus secundus pointing up exercised an infallible act. He noted the missing of words such as “formally declare or define” and the context regarding speaking to a group of faithful and not to the whole Church. He said “While this is certainly in the area of faith it is uncertain as to whether this must be held by the whole Church or locally such as in regards to beautifications.”

Lay theologian Irvin Brock, who entered the Church last year, had more definite ideas about this. “If the Pope had simply said she “is in Heaven” than this would be a simple case of him speaking off-the-cuff and would in no way have have invoked the charism of infallibility.“ He went on to say “Still that combined with the finger pointing in the traditional direction of Heaven makes this a totally different act. This could be papal sign language for “I define” we will just have to wait and see.

In the meantime Fr. Lombardi has not yet issued a statement regarding this.

Mar 212016

Once again my plans for a Holy Lent have been dashed by reality.

Sure I had a framework planned out involving more prayer and fasting. Most of that lasted the whole first week of Lent and then I started to find excuses to lighten up. Not that my initial plan was over the top or beyond my reach. Just that once again I tried to brute-force holiness by doing stuff and forgetting to invite God into this. A stoic at prayer.

Not that it was a total failure. I did manage to be very consistent in the course of spiritual reading I set out for each day. With the help of the Strides app I have also managed to pray the Rosary each day when before I was rather less consistent on weekends.

Still I notice the same awful tendencies I have and self-centeredness. Still Lent does help me to be more aware of this and even failing I see myself failing and resorting to prayer. I try to put the Jesus Prayer on continuous loop at these times. Lent can often be a good cure for spiritual pride as you find any spiritual pride to be rather ridiculous in face of the truth. I provide myself comic relief by laughing at myself.

Last night while thinking about my Lenten misadventure I remembered Lent wasn’t over yet.

So I am going to cram for Holy Week. Pick up that dropped framework and carry it out for the rest of Lent and the Triduum before Easter.

Like most crammers I have the expectation that I can make up my lack of progress the night before Easter. I will just pull a Lenten all-nighter figuratively. Yeah that’s the ticket. Besides Jesus paid those late workers in The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard. So I’m holding him to that.

Mar 132016

Such a headline:

“Pope imposes financial oversight for saints after abuses”

You would think those saints in Heaven wouldn’t be such spendthrifts. I guess they get giddy with their mansions in our Father’s house.

Still I got to love phrases like:

Vatican’s multimillion-dollar saint-making machine

Although there was very good reason for reform as bureaucracies tend towards corruption. The Congregation for the Causes of Saints is not necessarily staffed by saints to say the least.

The books estimated the average cost for each beatification at around 500,000 euros ($550,000), with much of the proceeds going to a few lucky people with contracts to do the often time-consuming investigations into the candidates’ lives. The family of one well-known investigator, for example, also had the Vatican monopoly on printing the documentation for each saintly cause, studies that often amount to dozens of volumes.

While candidates who inspire wealthy donors would sprint ahead, those with less wealthy fans would languish. American saints often cost the most precisely because the most money was donated, and the postulator could spend it on the best researchers to get the cause through, according to the book “Avarice” by journalist Emiliano Fittipaldi.

This shows one reason why I am thinking ahead for my own canonization. I was thinking about running a GoFundMe campaign to make sure I have the necessary bucks to sustain the costs involved. Plus I just can’t rely on large crowds of people chanting “Santo Subito” after I die, especially the people that knew me.

Another phrase I liked in the article was “science-defying miracles” – take that science. That might be a common view of miracles, but an incorrect one. I like this explanation from Catholic Answers

A miracle may be defined as an event that occurs in nature but that has a cause lying outside nature, that is, a supernatural cause. Miracles are not violations of the laws of nature. The way we know if an event is a miracle is by seeing if it could have been caused by natural forces.

The language in this article cracks me up.

Martyrs, or people who were killed for their faith, get a free pass and can be beatified without a miracle.

Martyrs are encourage by that “free pass”, dying for their faith is such a shortcut.

Still it does remind me of that wonderful line in Flannery O’Connor’s “A Temple of the Holy Ghost”:

“She could never be a saint, but she thought she could be a martyr if they killed her quick.”

Still as awkward as this article was at times in how it was worded, it is at least one that tried to do the subject some justice. However clumsily that was.

Feb 112016
  1. Complain that in the Latin Rite, fasting norms are rather wimpy when compared to Eastern Rite Catholics.
  2. Someone reminds you that you can personally adopt their Lenten fast yourself.
  3. Never mind.
Jan 242016

This is pretty funny – TrumpScript is a programming language that thinks and acts like Donald.

Warning: Programming geek humor ahead.


  • All numbers must be strictly greater than 1 million. The small stuff is inconsequential to us.
  • There are no import statements allowed. All code has to be home-grown and American made.
  • Instead of True and False, we have fact and lie.
  • Only the most popular English words, Trump’s favorite words, and current politician names can be used as variable names.
  • Error messages are mostly quotes directly taken from Trump himself.
  • All programs must end with America is great.
  • Our language will automatically correct Forbes’ $4.5B to $10B.
  • In its raw form, TrumpScript is not compatible with Windows, because Trump isn’t the type of guy to believe in PC.
  • The language is completely case insensitive.

To which I would add:

  • Has localization where text can change based on location such as Iowa. This feature is found in all standards politican-based languages.
  • TrumpScript does have inheritance, since your business logic needs an eight figure inheritance to start off just like Donald.
  • Also includes interfaces, but it is pronounced “In your faces”.
  • All items are objects since TrumpScript has no class.
  • In addition to Windows, TrumpScript also can not be compiled on Macs until Apple ‘start building their damn computers and things’ in the US.
  • TrumpScript is built for security. It’s sandboxing is a walled-garden and he is making the Mexicans pay for it.
  • While TrumpScript only uses integers this is despite them being rational numbers. Just that he is ratioally insensitive.
  • There is no decrementing such as — since TrumpScript makes everything great again and there is alway incremental progress.
  • All comments must be written in caps and exclamation marks are required at the end of all comments.
  • Compiler warnings are phrased in terms of insults regarding how crappy of a programmer you are.
  • You should use interfaces, properties, methods, and events in a programming model since Trump married three models.
  • TrumpScript is totally object-oriented and women are always objectified.
  • The language is especially suite for generating comments on blogs and other web sites.
  • Best practices for TrumpScript encourages lots and lots of properties and the acquisition thereof, which must be named starting with Trump.
Jan 212016

The major snow storm last year affected the March for Life where some groups had to cancel busses of people who had planned to attend. Despite the awful weather conditions people still turned out to protest and pray to end abortion. Really an amazing turnout despite the weather.

Still most were not exactly thrilled with the cold conditions and the snow. Last year we talked to Karon Braswell from South Carolina who paraphrased St. Teresa of Avila “If this is how you treat your friends, no longer you have so few of them.”

This year due to an enterprising pro-life business many of these problems will be minimized despite the weather. During the 2016 march Aaron Horton started thinking about what could be done to increase participation.

“While each year there is a significant turn out, there are still people who don’t participate with the weather being one of the factors. Plus there are many who would love to march to end the scourge of abortion, but just can’t get here. My day job involves helping businesses to facilitate remote working conditions and to provide maximum virtual interaction through the use of telepresence robots. These robots can be remotely driven and display a picture of the face of the person operating it. I realized that this would be perfect for those unable to attend.”

Aaron Horton made available a large fleet of telepresence robots that he ironically calls Roe-Bots. While Roe V. Wade was the landmark decision by the Supreme Court regarding abortion, the anonymous Jane Roe in the decision (Norma McCorvey) never had an abortion and has been active in pro-life demonstrations. His Roe-Bots have been equipped with snow treads for the typical climate conditions in Washington D.C. in January.

Some of this years marchers have wondered if this large number of telepresence robots marching along with the other marchers would be reported negatively by the Press. Some joked that telepresence robots representing reporters would be sent to cover the event. As events unrolled though it was obvious that this years March for Life would once again get the media’s undivided neglect. After this year’s march Perry J. Lambert from Los Angeles, Ca remarked about the media’s refusal to cover this event. “They are like the Eye of Sauron, they are looking everywhere with unblinking intensity except where Sam and Frodo are in their attempt to destroy the evil ring. Hopefully we will one day provide the Mt. Doom to abortion.”

A group of Telepresence Marchers