Jul 172017
 

I keep looking for a no fuss Rosary. I like the beaded ones with metal links, but I want to try to pray the Rosary, not spend time keeping it repair. The last Rosary I bought was a knotted Rosary to prevent this problem, but recently the wooden Crucifix on it broke. Yes I enjoy a certain conceit in wearing out Rosaries. Which sucks that I can be conceited about this.

So this time I turned to Rugged Rosaries which I had previously run across.

Most of the Rosaries they sell use military grade paracord which is “Durable, waterproof, and very difficult to break.” They have a variety of colors and styles. When ordering you can choose to add medals to the Rosary. I choose to add the Divine Mercy and St Benedict Medals.

The model of Rosary I choose was the Catholic Gentleman Rosary – Be a Man. Be a Saint.

So using this Rosary over the last week I found it was exactly what I wanted.

During the work day I take two prayer walks. One to pray the Rosary and the other the Divine Mercy chaplet at 3:00 PM (when I am able). What I enjoy the most about this Rosary beyond the sturdiness and build quality is the heft of it. It has a nice weight too it. Plus I can easily hold it one handed going through the beads as I am walking and my arms are swinging to some extent. Just love the aesthetic feel of it in my hands. But mostly I don’t have to think about it.

Combining some exercise with prayer works for me. When I first started to take daily walks I was usually listening to audiobooks and podcasts. Usually would pray the Rosary before going to bed. Often though I would fall asleep while praying it. Yes I heard the bit about your Guardian Angel finishing a Rosary for you when you fell asleep. Still it finally dawned on me to combine the walks with praying. I found for myself it helps me focus better and that from time to time prayer actually breaks through the distractions.

Jul 112017
 

I used to complain about the disparity regarding reporting on the Church. Reporting by people who had no idea what they were writing about. Now all reporting is equally as bad on pretty much every subject.

The latest silliness is Why does the Church hate those with celiac disease.

So what happened that all of a sudden Pope Francis banned gluten-free Communion hosts? Why of course nothing has changed and this is not new information.

I guess it is hard to get click-bait headlines saying “The Catholic Church continues to teach what it had already been teaching.”

So why exactly the rash of new stories? Cardinal Sarah of the _Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments" issued a circular letter to bishops on the bread and wine for the Eucharist.

A rather short letter reminding bishops to be careful on their sources for hosts and wine used for the Eucharistic Sacrament and that they are valid matter. You just can’t go to the local Trader Joe’s for supplies, which has been done.

Time Magazine wrote:

The ban comes from a letter to Catholic bishops worldwide, published by Vatican Radio.

Wow, didn’t know Vatican Radio was now the official publisher of text for the CDW. Tell me more.

As usual, Get Religion provides good coverage.

Jun 012017
 

On Thursday, the NBCUniversal cabler unveiled the fifth edition will be titled Sharknado 5: Global Swarming. The tagline is also Trump-inspired: “Make America bait again.”

Both stem from a social initiative launched in April to crowd-source ideas for titles and taglines from users via Facebook.

Syfy has also revealed the guest cast on tap for Sharknado 5, which includes model Fabio playing the pope (sorry, Jude Law). Musician and actress Charo will portray the Queen of England, and Chris Kattan is set as the English prime minister.

Other guest stars include Tony Hawk, Clay Aiken, Olivia Newton, Bret Michaels, Margaret Cho, Gilbert Gottfried, Greg Louganis, Tom Daley, Porsha Williams (The Real Housewives of Atlanta), Dan Fogler and Game of Thrones’ Ross Mullan. Today hosts Al Roker, Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb will appear as themselves.

Reality keeps intruding on writing satire.

Now all they need in this movie is someone playing President Trump to round it out.

Donald Trump withdrawing from Paris agreement will be like slapping the Pope in the face, Vatican says

A withdrawal “would not only be a disaster but completely unscientific,” said Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, head of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, which has hosted numerous international conferences on climate change. “Saying that we need to rely on coal and oil is like saying that the earth is not round. It is an absurdity dictated by the need to make money.”

Well at least we have not met peek strawmen.

Then Mark Shea posted Trump Flips Off Francis, Trumpian Catholics Cheer. For Christmas I am thinking of setting Mark a set of fine brushes, because I have stopped reading what he writes since everything is broad brush. I love Mark like a brother and miss his podcast being five days a week. Still posts like this, as if a campaign promise Trump made was anything about flipping off the Pope. Plus even if you accept climate change, or whatever they call it this week, – this toothless accord does nothing but increase bureaucracy and make people feel good. The whole outcry over this to my skeptical mind is more about virtue signalling than actually addressing what they say they care about. But I guess I am just not falling in line with jet-setting yacht-owning environmentalist warriors.

May 112017
 

One of the developments of the last two Presidential Administrations has been the use of Religious Sisters to support their goals.

President Barack Obama said that the Affordable Care Act—AKA Obamacare—would not have been enacted had it not been for Sister Carol Keehan. She was at the signing center for the “Affordable Care Act” and was given the pen the President used to sign the bill. She did not hold out for the traditional 30 pieces of silver.

“And it’s true, I just love nuns, generally. I’m just saying,” said Obama.

That love did not apply to the Little Sisters of the Poor or other religious groups as the so-called “Contraception Mandate” was forced on them where multiple accommodations led to no real accommodation and only to the courts where this is still not resolved.

Recently on May 4th.

President Donald Trump invited members of the Little Sisters of the Poor on stage ahead of his signing of a religious liberty executive order Thursday.

“We know, all too well, the attacks against the Little Sisters of the Poor,” Trump said, “Incredible nuns who care for the sick, the elderly and the forgotten.”

So finally the problems the Little Sisters of the Poor had has been resolved. Well not really. The Executive Order is weak sauce and the problem should have been taken care of at HHS where the “Contraception Mandate” was created as an interpretation of ACA.

So again we have Nun Props for a President to use. (Yeah I know their Sisters, but Nun Props flows better). I felt embarrassed for the Little Sisters of the Poor being used for a photo op. Time will tell if the actual problem gets fixed, but so far President Trump seems to like the idea of appearing to want to protect Religious Freedom over actually doing something. Yeah typical politician.

Nov 242016
 

While Chesterton has been tagged as being the Apostle of Common Sense, I would add also a the Apostle of Gratitude and Thanksgiving. Nothing makes me see the actual wonder of our lives as much as GKC does.

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” (A Short History of England » Ch. 6: The Age of the Crusades)

“When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?”

This one described much of my life as an atheist to a T (there is a Tau joke in there no doubt).

“The worst moment for an atheist is when he is really thankful and has no one to thank.”

“You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.” (early notebook, mid 1890s)

And lastly:

“The Americans have established a Thanksgiving Day to celebrate the fact that the Pilgrim Fathers reached America. The English might very well establish another Thanksgiving Day to celebrate the happy fact that the Pilgrim Fathers left England.” (Chesterton in America “And What about the Quakers?”)

Sep 122016
 

Tim Kaine claims Catholic Church could change on gay marriage.

Washington D.C., Sep 11, 2016 / 04:50 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine, a Catholic who is currently the junior Virginia senator, said on Saturday that he thinks the Church will eventually drop its opposition to same-sex marriage.

“I think it’s going to change because my church also teaches me about a creator who, in the first chapter of Genesis, surveyed the entire world, including mankind, and said, ‘It is very good’,” Kaine said Sept. 10, according to the Associated Press.

His comments came during his keynote address at the national dinner for Human Rights Campaign, an influential LGBT advocacy group, in Washington, D.C.

Tim Kaine is no doubt another great Selfie Prophet. Being able to predict that the Church will change to his beliefs. That after close to 2,000 years finally we have a theologian with the depth of Kaine to set us straight (pun always intended).

Just like the religious sisters who proclaim themselves part of a prophetic movement. More like a pathetic movement. They are prophets not calling for people to repent, but for the Church to do so. Prophets applauded rather than persecuted. The Old Testament prophet had to call out the people for being lax and following the spirit of the age. These modern “prophets” say “Hey get with the spirit of the age” and that those who actually follow and believe Church teaching must repent.

The hubris of the age is “The Church is wrong and I am right.” My will be done. In my own experience I found the exact opposite to be true.

Really I can’t understand the idea of wanting to belong to a Church that could change here teaching. One that does is a human institution with no authority to teach. Development of doctrine is one thing, theological U-Turns quite another.

An imbecile habit has risen in modern controversy of saying that such and such a creed can be held in one age but cannot be held in another. Some dogma was credible in the 12th century, but is not credible in the 20th. You might as well say that a certain philosophy can be believed on Mondays, but cannot be believed on Tuesdays (G.K. Chesterton – Orthodoxy)

If same-sex marriage was actually marriage then you would have to say the Holy Spirit was rather incompetent. That somehow nowhere in scripture is there one example of same-sex marriage being normative. That God from the beginning intended homosexual acts to be normative, and yet never mention this fact or guides his people to this fact. That we had to wait for abortion loving Democrats to finally learn the truth.

Recently we had a Catholic Vice President officiate a so-called same-sex marriage, and now a Catholic VP candidate telling us how the Church will change regarding this.

Aug 252016
 

From St. Augustine’s City of God.

So we must not grumble, my brothers, for as the Apostle says: Some of them murmured and were destroyed by serpents. Is there any affliction now endured by mankind that was not endured by our fathers before us? What sufferings of ours even bear comparison with what we know of their sufferings? And yet you hear people complaining about this present day and age because things were so much better in former times. I wonder what would happen if they could be taken back to the days of their ancestors–would we not still hear them complaining? You may think past ages were good, but it is only because you are not living in them.

It amazes me that you who have now been freed from the curse, who have believed in the son of God, who have been instructed in the holy Scriptures–that you can think the days of Adam were good. And your ancestors bore the curse of Adam, of that Adam to whom the words were addressed: With sweat on your brow you shall eat your bread; you shall till the earth from which you were taken, and it will yield you thorns and thistles. This is what he deserved and what he had to suffer; this is the punishment meted out to him by the just judgment of God. How then can you think that past ages were better than your own? From the time of that first Adam to the time of his descendants today, man’s lot has been labor and sweat, thorns and thistles. Have we forgotten the flood and the calamitous times of famine and war whose history has been recorded precisely in order to keep us from complaining to God on account of our own times? Just think what those past ages were like! Is there one of us who does not shudder to hear or read of them? Far from justifying complaints about our own time, they teach us how much we have to be thankful for.

There is much just critique of the cult of progress where history is seen as a line sloping up. Progress measured by an ever changing metric.

“Progress should mean that we are always changing the world to fit the vision, instead we are always changing the vision.” G.K. Chesterton (Orthodoxy)

At the same time there is a view taking the opposite direction of regression and decline. A nostalgic take for a world that never existed.

Both view things that we are in a point of history that intersects either a line going upward or downward. As a pessimistic/optimist I am at times drawn to both viewpoints. Still I think Dicken’s famous introduction regarding it being the best of times and the worst of times is the correct view that straddles all points of the timeline. The present is always a mixture of various rise and falls.

“I am a Christian, and indeed a Roman Catholic, so that I do not expect ‘history’ to be anything but a ‘long defeat’ – though it contains some samples or glimpses of final victory.” J.R.R. Tolkien

With a clear-headedness we can see all that we have to be thankful for even in the most tumultuous of times. There has never been a time when someone could not be a saint. If anything society’s brokenness can shine a light on our own brokenness.

“At times of course it is hard to understand this profound reality, because evil is noisier than goodness; an atrocious murder, widespread violence, grave forms of injustice hit the headlines; whereas acts of love and service, the daily effort sustained with fidelity and patience are often left in the dark, they pass unnoticed” (Te Deum and First Vespers: Homily of Benedict XVI, 31 December 2012)

So easy to put a lot of effort in what’s wrong with the world and others, and little effort with the same in ourselves. I would rather rant than pray. Long for holiness while not wanting to put much effort into that desire. Knowing I suck, while seriously trying to not block the grace to reduce my suckitude.

The saints are oases around which life sprouts up and and something of the lost paradise returns. (Pope Benedict XVI Jesus of Nazareth P. 248)

Jul 192016
 

When it comes to Donald Trumps presidential campaign there are all kinds of theories involving it. One common one is that he was setting this up for Hillary as he previously supported her. Considering his ego, I don’t find that compelling.

What can explain such a badly run campaign on every level? It’s like he is doing everything he can to loose.

Some have conjectured that Trump was never really in it to win, but as a vanity run for self-promotion.

“good publicity is preferable to bad, but from a bottom-line perspective, bad publicity is sometimes better than no publicity at all. Controversy, in short, sells.”
― Donald J. Trump, Trump: The Art of the Deal

I find this theory to fit the facts better, but doesn’t fully account for his ego.

If this explanation has any merit it dawned on me a movie plot that explained everything.

In the plot of Mel Brooks’s The Producers (1967) they hit upon a plot for creating a play sure to fail, while getting seed money from rich old ladies with each promised a substantial take of the profits. So they proceed to write a musical about Hitler while hiring the worst actors possible. Of course it becomes a big hit and their scheme fails in the worst way possible.

So if you wanted to run a failed GOP presidential campaign:

  • Write crazy stream-of-consciousness Twitter feed.
  • Make outrageous remarks during debates and speeches.
  • Praise Planned Parenthood.
  • Appeal to our worst nature and say things that would make Know-Nothings proud.
  • Offer to pay legal bills if fans beat up protesters.
  • Say that the father of a rival candidate helped killed Kennedy.
  • Make policy positions all over the map, that change constantly.
  • No understanding of foreign policy while not doing basic homework.
  • Spending little or no money for political advertisements.
  • This list can go on and on.

Guaranteed to ensure a failed run, except like in The Producers where “Springtime for Hitler” became a hit – so does The Donald. Writing a play so outrageous and in such bad taste was hilarious in The Producers. Not so funny when a equally deplorable script has become the election season.

You can’t make this stuff up.

What scares me is not that he can’t win against Hillary, but that he could. Pundits have been wrong pretty much about every projection regarding his run.

So those in the GOP who were screaming for a “Big Tent”, well we got one full of clowns. A convention turned into a circus. We have gone from “Character counts” to “Character Assassination Counts”. Great way to defeat the despicable morally corrupt Hillary Clinton, by countering at the same level.

Reality was better when you could discern it from satire.

Jun 272016
 

WASHINGTON—On June 27, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-3 ruling in the abortion facility medical standards case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. Deirdre McQuade, assistant director for pro-life communications at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities, reacted to the loss.

“The Court has rejected a common-sense law protecting women from abortion facilities that put profits above patient safety,” McQuade said. “The law simply required abortion facilities to meet the same health and safety standards as other ambulatory surgical centers – standards like adequate staffing, soap dispensers, and basic sanitary conditions. It required abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, and that hallways be wide enough to allow emergency personnel through with stretchers, should a life-threatening emergency arise.” USCCB

Because abortion must be protected at all costs, regardless of the cost to women. Because access to unsanitary, unsafe, clinics staffed by “doctors” with insufficient credentials is a “right” don’t-you-know.

Modern progressivism will regulate everything from toilets to lightbulbs and constantly demand more regulation. But in this case “Keep your hands off our dirty clinics!”.

If abortuaries have to shut down because they can’t keep the same standards of ambulatory surgical centers, the problem is not with the law. Remember when Democrats wanted abortion to be safe, legal, and rare? Well “legal, legal, and legal” is good enough.

The Washington Post weighs in with Supreme Court rules against Texas and for science in abortion case. Wow science!

Wow I wish I could be as pro-women as The Daily Show.

As Mary Eberstadt notes:

In the new dispensation, traditional restrictions and attitudes are viewed as judgmental, moralistic forms of socially sanctioned aggression, especially against women and sexual minorities. These victims of sexuality have become the new secular saints. Their virtue becomes their rejection and flouting of traditional sexual morality, and their acts are effectively transvalued as positive expressions of freedom.

The first commandment of this new secularist writ is that no sexual act between consenting adults is wrong. Two corollary imperatives are that whatever contributes to consenting sexual acts is an absolute good, and that anything interfering, or threatening to interfere, with consenting sexual acts is ipso facto wrong.

Note the absolutist character of these beliefs as they play out in practice. For example, it is precisely the sacrosanct, nonnegotiable status assigned to contraception and abortion that explains why — despite historical protestations of wanting abortion to be “safe, legal, and rare” — in practice, secularist progressivism defends each and every act of abortion tenaciously, each and every time.

On a side note, who is writing headlines for the USCCB “Bishops’ Pro-Life Spokeswoman Laments High Court Decision Rejecting Abortion Clinic Safety Law”.

May 172016
 

A couple of weeks I listened to an episode of Catholic Answers Focus where Patrick Coffin interviewed Father Douglas Joseph Shimshon Al-Bazi, a Syriac-Catholic Priest who was captured and tortured by Islamic State terrorists. Quite a harrowing story. What got to me most about the interview is how Fr. Al-Bazi described what happened to him in such a calm manner. He mentioned having his teeth knocked out by a hammer as I would talk about falling and skinning my knees. While he is raising a rallying cry about the situation in the Middle East, he talks with zero malice towards his captures.

From a new article in the National Catholic Register about him:

“I don’t speak out now to complain or look for pity, but, rather, to confront the world, which has turned a blind eye to the violence that is meant to wipe us out completely,” explained Father Al-Bazi by phone on May 2.

“Look at what has happened with ISIS to my people. We must discuss this. We cannot ignore it. We must put an end to this before it destroys us,” the priest explained of the atrocities.

“It is obvious to anyone who will look at the facts that ISIS and other Muslim terrorists are specifically targeting and killing Christians. They attack others, certainly, but 80% of their efforts are against us. They want us out or dead.”

Listen to or download Catholic Answer’s Focus interview


In other news, yesterday the Same-Sex Attracted pastor who had accused Whole Foods of baking a cake with an anti-gay slur apologized – kind of.

Today I am dismissing my lawsuit against Whole Foods Market. The company did nothing wrong. I was wrong to pursue this matter and use the media to perpetuate this story. I want to apologize to Whole Foods and its team members for questioning the company’s commitment to its values, and especially the bakery associate who I understand was put in a terrible position because of my actions. I apologize to the LGBT community for diverting attention from real issues. I also want to apologize to my partner, my family, my church family, and my attorney.

I remember when this story first broke and pretty much everyone on my Twitter feed nailed this as another hate crime hoax. Soon after Whole Foods said they would countersue him and they had video to back them up.

The psychology of hate crime hoaxers is hard to understand. When you have to gin up your own hate crime to illustrate discrimination you kind of miss the point. It is easy to psychoanalyze these acts as attention getting, especially as center of attention getting. But people are complicated and guessing at motives is just guessing.

Still this particular case is odd on several levels. First off if you are creating a hate crime hoax, an Austin Whole Foods has to be the dumbest target ever.

What gets me is that a Christian pastor decides to order a “Love Wins” cake and then adds a slur himself. Wow love really won there. Bearing false witness is such a great idea as long as it is for a cause. He had so much love for the staff at the bakery and other employees. Well if you are going to falsely accuse bakers, you have to break a few eggs as the saying goes.

In this case “Self Love Wins” as he demonstrates the art of the non-apology without the slightest hint of contrition, besides being caught. Still while he actions pretty much aggravate me, I still have managed to pray for him. It is easy to fall in to the same trap of demonizing others who disagree with you.


With the Supreme Court sending the case involving The Little Sisters of the Poor back to the lower courts, I saw lots of people calling this a win. Perhaps it is, but I will wait to see what “accommodation” is made. After all the Obamacare mandate has going through several “accommodations” without ever actually being accommodating. Still the government undermined it case in statements made to the court to such an extent EWTN asked for a rehearing based on it.

So while this is not exactly a win yet, it is certainly not a loss and it was a unanimous decision to return it to the lower courts. The whole thing has been in bad faith from the get go since those involved in the government tightly focused the mandate in the first place to target Catholic institutions. Administration targeted Catholic groups for contraceptive mandate. So we shall see what actually happens with The Little Sisters of the Poor and other Catholic institutions.