Feb 102015
 

VATICAN CITY – Last Wednesday during the Pope Francis’ weekly General Audience he touched on the issue of corporal punishment within a family when he said:

A good father knows how to wait and knows how to forgive from the depths of his heart. Certainly, he also knows how to correct with firmness: he is not a weak father, submissive and sentimental. The father who knows how to correct without humiliating is the one who knows how to protect without sparing himself. Once I heard a father at a meeting on marriage say: “Sometimes I have to strike the children lightly… but never in the face so as not to humiliate them”. How beautiful! He has a sense of dignity. He must punish, but he does it in a just way, and moves on.

The resultant outcry has covered the gamut from groups advocating for the protection of children to even members of the Vatican sex abuse commission.

The Vatican commission, comprised of 17-members, affirmed that it would make recommendations to the papacy about protecting children from corporal punishment.

Dr. Krysten Winter-Green, another commission member from New Zealand, urged parents to use different methods when disciplining children:

“There has to be positive parenting, in a different way,” she said.

There have been leaked reports that Pope Francis in his continued catechesis on the family will again bring up this topic. This time in regards to how children should be obedient in the face of such punishment done withing the context their dignity. One translation of the leaked text says:

Children you should always honor your mother and father as the commandment says. When you have transgressed against them and deserve punishment receive that light spank in a spirit of humility and contrition and even as Jesus said to “turn the other cheek.” (cf. Luke 6:39)

Feb 052015
 

Another thing I love about the Church is the humor of the faithful. You just have to look at any list of patron saints and find the ironic funny bone of the Body of Christ.

I find this information regarding the reason for the naming of a Catholic parish hilarious.

Though Nevada was the last of the continental 48 states to establish its own diocese, between 85% and 95% of the state’s Catholics live in the Diocese of Las Vegas. The city’s Catholic roots extend as far back as 1908, when its oldest Church, St. Joan of Arc, was built for a town of just 700 people — only 70 of whom were Catholic.

“When it was founded, Las Vegas was a railroad town,” explained Father Timothy Wehn, a 47-year resident of Las Vegas and pastor of the diocese’s Guardian Angel Cathedral, “and one of the Catholics living there had purchased a plot of land specifically for a church.”

Though Joan of Arc hadn’t yet been canonized in 1908, Bishop Lawrence Scanlan of Salt Lake City — the diocese overseeing Las Vegas at the time — insisted the church be named for her. Among the bishop’s reasons for the name was Las Vegas’ blistering summer temperatures.

The rest of the article Sin City’s Secret: Catholicism Is Booming by Chris Kudialis is also interesting.“ ”

Well “Law came in, to increase the trespass; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,”. (Romans 5:20)

Still it must be difficult for Catholic parishes to raise funds in Las Vegas, I mean can Bingo really compete?

There is one aspect of Las Vegas that mirrors a sacrament. That is the Sacrament of Confession in that “What happens in confession, stays in confession.”

Feb 032015
 

I knew I was in for some trouble when I heard the opening lines of a homily on Sunday. It was one of those using the Super Bowl as an extended metaphor and framework for the homily. So yes bad metaphor alert. It was just as cheesy as you might imagine. The two teams rivaling each other were the “Holy Ones” and “Satan’s Team” (which apparently was not a reference to the Patriots).

The eternal battle between these two teams lead by the Quarterback Jesus. Yes that was the words actually used. It was quite awkward as intentional laughter was threatening to break out over the unintentional humor of the bad metaphors. Maybe the worst part is that a fairly decent homily could have been salvaged without the football comparisons. He didn’t even go for the cheap laugh over the “Hail Mary” reference. Really it was delivered very deadpan which made the delivery deeply serious. This extended football metaphor might just possible had been pulled off to good effort if delivered with some humor.

So I thought I had it bad until I saw this the following day.

Source.

Parish: St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Marysville, WA.

Deacon Greg Kandra said “Out of bounds? Yeah. I’d say so.”

Or to extend the joke, the priest should be sacked over this. Well at least the colors were Ordinary Timish. Still if you watch the video it gets worse.

While not his diocese, Cardinal Dolan could not be reached for comment.

Dec 132014
 

When I first started seeing headlines about Pope Francis saying animals go to Heaven I pretty much ignored the headlines and their supposed content. I doesn’t take much intelligence to know that this would be either total fabrication or something close to that. The headlines have had staying power and have continued throughout the week in various forms of media.

Thus I figured it wouldn’t be long until Jimmy Akin had a post refuting the whole thing. Today he published Did Pope Francis say animals go to heaven? in which he summarizes at the start “But the thing is … the whole story is false.”

Now Pope Francis speeches are not known for their exactness and are prone to generalities over precision. So in the back of my mind I thought there was a possibility that this tendency lead to this story in the typical distorted amplification of his words. Wow not only did they invent Pope Francis’s words for the story but came up with some new ones for St. Paul. Must have been from the lost Gospel of Fido.

Now even if all animals went to Heaven I would have serious questions about the salvation of journalists and editors and members of news agencies. This is just another case in a long line of cases where journalists have no love for the truth or any concern regarding the truth. Maybe Pontius Pilate is the patron of journalists. This case being even more egregious than normal. No fact checking just passed along from one news agency to another. The false quote of St. Paul should have been a major tipoff. It is so obvious that zero attempt was made to acquire even the most basic facts or even spending 5 minutes on Google.

So how does such a story get passed on? No doubt there are multiple reasons. When it comes to reporting on the Church any stick will do to beat the Church including one used to play fetch with their pet dog. Page views and driving traffic for advertising dollars is probably another aspect. Sensationalism in journalism is nothing new, but click-bait headlines and stories low or totally barren of facts bring this to a new level and a declining one at that. Sure such stories are gist for the mill of headline writers.

I found CNN’s Did Pope Francis open a doggy door to heaven? to be the funniest of the lot. The story itself tried to update itself but failed even at that.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story, citing a newspaper, attributed a quote to Pope Francis. The quote actually comes from Pope Paul VI.

The problem with that is we have no evidence that Pope Paul VI said it either. As Jimmy Akin points out:

7) Did Pope Paul VI say to a bereaved boy what is attributed to him?

Who knows?

If you search the Vatican web site for the relevant quote, you get nothing.

At this point, I don’t see why anyone should trust anything attributed to a pope about animals going to heaven—not without a solid reference to a checkable, primary source document.

I have heard several attempts to try to side step this understanding especially when talking with children. A lot of people really want the idea of their pets going to Heaven. So it seems strange to me that if Blessed Paul VI ever said this that the quote would be in use in a larger circulation. C.S. Lewis also speculated on this in his book “The Problem of Pain.” Still it seems to me there is often more an emotional appeal to a theological appeal.

The CNN article goes on.

While Catholic teachings don’t reject the notion that animals have souls, traditional dogma has long held that animals don’t go to heaven.

Well Catholic teaching has long held distinctions between, plant souls, sensitive souls (such as animals), and the rational soul such as we have. All living things have souls as the soul is the form of the body. St. Thomas Aquinas detailed the thrust of the distinctions as we currently understand them. Still as far as I know there is no magisterial teaching on this as to the classes of souls. Much less a dogmatic (hey that’s pretty funny in context) teaching that animals don’t go to heaven. The CNN articles tries to be somewhat skeptical of the story, but still totally blunders in its corrections. As Mark Shea says about reporting on the Church is that you can take off 50 IQ points.

Another aspect of the ridiculous coverage of the Church that I have notice growing in the last year is how often so-called traditionalists fall for them. Most serious Catholics are highly skeptical of Church reporting for good reason. Yet I keep seeing more and more stories on “traditionalist” sites that take these stories as Gospel. Instead of any stick to beat the Church it is any stick that can beat Pope Francis. There not skeptical of the stories because they are skeptical of Pope Francis and see even bad reporting via confirmation bias. This annoys me since I have common cause with many of the liturgical complaints of “traditionalists”, but this hatred or loathing of Pope Francis makes them as agenda driven as most secular journalists.

On the lighter side the brilliant “Eye of the Tiber” presents Pope Francis confirms casts still going to Hell. I have a couple of cats, but that is still pretty funny. Surely the Cat-echism say otherwise.

Dec 042014
 

Leave it to LarryD of Acts of the Apostasy to come up with a hilarious post titled Star Wars Characters in the Confessional. Quite fun.

Although he left me some low-hanging fruit to add on in reaction to his post.

Ja Ja Binks

Ja Ja: “Father forgive missa for my sinn.”

Priest: “Sorry you can not be forgiven as a character and considering your horrible accent I am quite sure you have commited the sin against the Holy Spirit or at least against all Star Wars fans.”

R2-D2

R2: “twerp beep crang blurp dwing.”

Priest: What?

R2: “twerp beep crang blurp dwing.”

Priest: “One more time please.”

R2: “twerp beep crang blurp dwing.”

Priest: “Hmm, well if you are repentant of your sins beep out a series of binary coded Hail Marys and next time bring C–3PO with you to translate.”

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.

Oct 152014
 

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The leader of Rhode Island’s Catholics suggests voters could write in Mother Teresa or sit out the Nov. 4 election because of a field of candidates he says isn’t “terribly promising” on the abortion issue.

Bishop Thomas Tobin says in The Rhode Island Catholic diocesan newspaper that writing in Mother Teresa in protest would send a signal that some voters want an anti-abortion candidate.

Tobin recently took aim at Democratic gubernatorial nominee Gina Raimondo (ray-MAHN’-doh), who is Catholic, after she won the endorsement of Planned Parenthood and spoke in favor of reproductive rights. Republican nominee Allan Fung also supports abortion rights.

Tobin says it’s a “pathetic spectacle” when Catholic candidates “choose” Planned Parenthood over the church.

He says voters don’t necessarily need to vote for every office or at all. Source

In the runup to the 2008 election I proposed voting for two Doctors of the Church instead in this parody video.

Oct 132014
 

While the modern idea of the rapture as popularized in the 1830s by John Darby is a modern invention believed by some Protestants, there seems to be even a more modern version of the rapture regarding Catholics.

Now this is all guess-work and not yet proven. Purely speculation, although it seems to fit some of the facts.

I think I had always been aware of this phenomenon, but I started to connect the dots. Usually sitting in close to the back I am one of the last to receive Communion. Going back to my pew I find that almost half the people sitting around me are now gone. Now since often during Mass I close my eyes to concentrate to attempt to pray I can’t say for sure what happened to these people. Still I draw a couple of speculations together. As Cardinal Arinze said “The Apocalypse, or the Book of Revelation, as it also known, presents a striking imagery of the heavenly liturgy and helps us appreciate how the Eucharistic celebration, as it were, looks heavenward.” Maybe these missing Communion recipients were so caught up in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and receiving Holy Communion that they were raptured up into heaven?

Looking at Matthew 24:40 “Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left.” That sounds a lot like the proportion of people that make it all the way past the first verse of the closing hymn.

Still I could find nothing in the Catechism or the writings of the Church Fathers to validate this. Another theory which I much less prefer is that people are just leaving after receiving Communion. I would rather believe in the Catholic rapture than that. I really can’t discount this though in this materialistic age. People can be so caught up in the idea of shopping that they have to leave early to go to the mall and do even more shopping. In Catholic shopping Eschatology this can be described as:

  • Pre-mall: Christ returns before a thousand day shopping spree.
  • A-mall: The shopping occurs in heaven and those who have died in the faith share in this shopping during the current church age.
  • Post-mall Christ returns after a thousand day shopping spree.

Photo credit: itmpa via photopin cc