Sep 212015

Via my email a family business called Dolls from Heaven.

Dolls from heaven are 18 inch Saint Dolls. They come with an outfit based on what the Saint wore during their life. They also come with a book that will inspire children to become saints. Our first Doll is Saint Therese of Lisieux. Saint Therese is one of our favorite saints. She has not only inspired our family but millions of people with “her little way”. We hope that our Therese doll will encourage young children to make Jesus the focus of their lives.

We also made an additional outfit , her second dress is Therese’s Sunday best; this outfit was inspired by her childhood and her love for going to church. Our hope is to have her debut before Christmas 2015.

Sep 212015

So I was watching Season 4, Episode 4 of Longmire and heard this being said:

“My brother would have been a good man if there was somebody there to shoot him every moment of his life.”

So either that line was a homage to Flannery O’Connor or just a blatant rip off.

In her story “A Good Man is Hard to Find” at the end of the story is the semi-famous line:

“She would of been a good woman,” The Misfit said, “if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.”

Either way certainly Flannery O’Connor influenced.

As for the show Longmire itself. It is one of those shows I found interesting, but one that also slowly developed. The story arc has spanned the four seasons so far and with a plot arc pay off early in season 4. This show is very character driven where dialog does not fill all screen time. Slowly developing camera shots and seeing the wheels of the mind think on the problem to be solved. No doubt not for everyone, but I like long story arcs and solid season ending cliffhangers. I also like the misdirection where the seeming suspect is almost always not the actual wrongdoer. Even when you have gotten the flow of this device as used in the show I found myself falling for it most times. So either this is craftily done or I am just easily duped.

Sep 152015

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from from 3 September 2015 to 15 September 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.


Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

General Audiences



Papal Tweets

Sep 082015

Today two related motu proprio’s were issued which reform the annulment process in both the western and eastern Catholic churches.

As usual Jimmy Akin provides a good summary Pope Francis Reforms Annulment Process: 9 things to know and share. The documents also have not yet been translated to English.

Canon lawyer Ed Peters also has a A first look at Mitis ludex with more analysis coming later.

What I find more interesting than an attempted streamlining of the annulment process, but the seriousness of the Church’s teaching on marriage. Really only the Catholic church is a champion of the indissolubility of marriage and takes Jesus’ teaching seriously. This is partly true of the Orthodox churches, but in these various churches there have also been some accommodations regarding remarriage.

On the outside people see canon law and the various rules as something piles on and not essential. Yet when you look closer you can see how it is theology that informs it. The Church has thought deeply on Jesus’ teaching on the indissolubility of marriage. This has lead to an understanding that in some cases there is a defect at the beginning that prevented a valid marriage from occurring. A possible lack of consent or intent. The easiest and obvious example being a “shotgun wedding” which would be no marriage at all. What constitutes such an initial defect is something that has developed over time like much of the Church’s theology as it is deepened.

It is also interesting to look at Protestant denominations and non-Christian splits from Christianity regarding how they deal with what Jesus taught on marriage. I am reminded of what Jesus said “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard.” It is I believe accurate that basically these other denominations and groups have reversed back to Moses. Whenever you talk about Protestantism you can hardly ever lump them all together in making a statement. Still I can’t think of any examples of any kind of investigation into a marriage when there is an attempt at a subsequent marriage after divorce. There is no parallel to the annulment process outside of the Catholic church, except for the Eastern Orthodox churches which have some process (although with some differences regarding the theology of marriage).

Mostly it seems outside the Church marriage and divorce has become something unfortunate, but it would be too much of a burden for people to actually take Jesus’ teaching seriously. The attack on marriage is nothing new and Anglicanism in part flowed from creating a justification for divorce and remarriage. It is very easy to have empathy for people in irregular marriage situations. Listening to a lot of Catholic radio you often hear wrenching stories regarding this. A lot of the kerfuffle regarding the Synod on the Family such as Cardinal Kasper’s suggestions flow from such empathy. Unfortunately such suggestions do not flow from the theology regarding marriage. The legal maxim “Hard cases make bad law” can be restated as “Hard cases make bad theology.”

I have really come to love the Church’s teaching on marriage. Especially as I had initially grasped the idea of the indissolubility of marriage as an atheist. I love how deeply the Church as taught on this and the practical applications that have flowed from it. That is also includes the common sense approach that there should be separation and the allowing of civil divorce in cases of abuse. The Church is really the last defender of the reality of marriage. Not that I am Pollyannish in believing the clergy and the laity have done a bang-up job teaching and living this truth. We all too easily think it is out of hardness of our hearts to not allow divorce when Jesus said the opposite.

Sep 082015

When it comes to books on the Early Church Fathers there seems to be an increasing wealth of good books on the subject. One of my favorite books in this area is Rod Bennett’s “Four Witnesses: The Early Church in Her Own Words”. The reason I so loved this book is that Rod Bennett is a natural storyteller along with being a good historical researcher. His writing not only brought these men alive, but the historical era as well.

So I was delighted to find another book on the Church Fathers that was as readable as “Four Witnesses” because of storytelling and grasp of the history. This book is Marcellino D’Ambrosio’s “When the Church Was Young: Voices of the Early Fathers.” This book covers the period from Saint Ignatius of Antioch to St. Gregory the Great. The actual category as to the time period of early Church Fathers is rather loosely defined and subjective as the the end of it. Marcellino D’Ambrosio offers a good definition. “The Church Fathers are those great Christian writers who passed on and clarified the teaching of the apostles from approximately the second through eight centuries.” This definition makes more sense when you think of early ecclesiastical writers such as Origen and Tertullian as it does not rely on the writer’s sanctity or full orthodoxy.

I am generally read in this era of history and so the stories of the men contained were not unfamiliar to me. Still I learned a lot along with history being put into further context. This book is much more than a historical litany of facts. The presentation brought to me a larger view and helped me integrate the information I already knew with the wealth of stories regarding these men. Plus while this book contains a good sample of their writings, it makes you want to go to the sources to read more. This was totally an engaging read that will not just pass out of my memory in a fog of facts. When I compared this to Rod Bennett’s book I consider that high praise indeed and these two books together certainly have my recommendation.

Sep 082015

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from From 23 August 2015 to 7 September 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.


Daily Homilies (fervorinos)

General Audiences

Papal Tweets

Sep 022015

Being Catholic without having a funny bone would be a great cross. How else could we read media coverage of the Church if we couldn’t laugh at how bad it is. It really is funny to read the coverage by people who have no clue to what they are talking about.

I found this story that ran on NPR typically bad Pope Francis Announces Window To Forgive Women Who Had Abortions.

The article mentions that the procurement of abortion “triggers” automatic excommunication. But provides no other context to what the Pope is doing and why. No background that some canonical penalties are reserved to the local ordinary as in this case. No mention that at least in the United States that most American bishops have given permissions to priests to remit the abortion excommunication in confession. I have not heard of any diocese that has not done this in America. Not sure worldwide how widespread this permission is given.

Still it is very important context to this story that what NPR calls a “window” is actually long term practice in many places. The Pope has extended this permission worldwide.

Another important aspect is that incurring the latae sententiae excommunication is not something that happens under every circumstance regarding procurement of abortion. Jimmy Akin has an excellent post regarding this along with other information Holy Year Gestures on Abortion and the SSPX: 12 Things to Know and Share.

Now, the Pope’s letter does not mention people who perform abortions, so we don’t know what their status is.

Because it would be so hard for NPR to reach out to someone within the Church for any fact checking at all. To find out that the Canon law regarding this that those immediately involved with the abortion all have the same status regarding this.

MARTIN: So what does this mean for Pope Francis’s larger mandates, Sylvia? Is this, in some way, a gesture to the church’s more liberal wing?

As if the “church’s more liberal wing” thought abortion was a sin at all. They deny it is a sin and that it would require repentance.

Here is the section of the Pope’s letter that pertains:

One of the serious problems of our time is clearly the changed relationship with respect to life. A widespread and insensitive mentality has led to the loss of the proper personal and social sensitivity to welcome new life. The tragedy of abortion is experienced by some with a superficial awareness, as if not realizing the extreme harm that such an act entails. Many others, on the other hand, although experiencing this moment as a defeat, believe they they have no other option. I think in particular of all the women who have resorted to abortion. I am well aware of the pressure that has led them to this decision. I know that it is an existential and moral ordeal. I have met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonizing and painful decision. What has happened is profoundly unjust; yet only understanding the truth of it can enable one not to lose hope. The forgiveness of God cannot be denied to one who has repented, especially when that person approaches the Sacrament of Confession with a sincere heart in order to obtain reconciliation with the Father. For this reason too, I have decided, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, to concede to all priests for the Jubilee Year the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it. May priests fulfil this great task by expressing words of genuine welcome combined with a reflection that explains the gravity of the sin committed, besides indicating a path of authentic conversion by which to obtain the true and generous forgiveness of the Father who renews all with his presence.

Still NPR’s poorly written coverage is a gem compared to MSNBC’s “Pope says priests can allow this catholic sin”. See GetReligon’s coverage of this.

Aug 262015

pope-francis2-300x187This version of The Weekly Francis covers material released in the last week from 3 July 2015 to 11 August 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.


General Audiences



Papal Tweets

  • “Mary is full of grace. She is a sure refuge for us in times of temptation.” @Pontifex 13 August 2015
  • “Mary’s life shows that God accomplishes great deeds through those who are the most humble.” @Pontifex 15 August 2015
  • “When we experience the merciful love of the Father, we are more able to share this joy with our neighbour.” @Pontifex 18 August 2015
  • “Reading the Gospel each day helps us to overcome our selfishness and to follow Jesus our Teacher with dedication.” @Pontifex 21 August 2015
  • “A Christian who is too attached to riches has lost his way.” @Pontifex 25 August 2015
Aug 182015

“It’s a test to see if the average person or people of Philadelphia are kind enough, gentle enough to treat Pope Bot with respect and take it from place to place and have it be just fine,” radio host Preston Elliot said.

The radio station is hoping Pope Bot’s successful odyssey will show that Philadelphia and its residents are more than ready for Pope Francis’ visit next month.

“To show this area is loving, caring, nurturing and can serve as a proper host for the actual pope,” radio host Steve Morrison said.

Pope Bot was created in part due to the destruction of hitchBOT, a hitchhiking robot that captured the hearts of fans worldwide.

The Canadian researchers who created hitchBOT as a social experiment told The Associated Press that someone in the city damaged the robot beyond repair two weeks ago, ending its first American tour after about two weeks.

“Sadly, sadly it’s come to an end,” Frauke Zeller, one of its co-creators, said. Source


Well if you wanted to test survivability “Philadelphia or Bust” might not be the best phrase.

A Robot Pope is nothing new though. The short story “Good News from the Vatican” by Robert Silverberg involved the election of a robot Pope. It won the 1971 Nebula Award for Best Short Story. Of course a robot pope would be an anti-pope or is that antifreeze-pope?

Still I have to wonder about a robot Pope ruled by Asimov’s The Three Laws of Robotics. Which of course were loopholes galore so that stories could be made based on them.

Really regarding the Pope their is only one rule as defined by Vatican I.

A pope is protected from error when he “proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals” (CCC 891)

So lots of bad popes, but no loopholes within this very limited definition. Still the Holy Spirit is much wiser than positronic brains.

Now as to the build quality of Pope Bot, I can’t say I am impressed. I built robots in my basement as a kid and I think I could have done better than this.

Aug 162015

Matthew Kelly has a new book in his “Rediscover” themed books. Originally “Rediscover Catholicism”, then “Rediscover Lent” and now Rediscover Jesus: An Invitation.

This is a book for the seeker or somebody that wants to investigate who Jesus was. In the middle of this book he states something I found rather accurate.

Most Christians have been inoculated against the Gospel. They have been given a “vaccine” that contains a small-enough dose of Christianity that they have become immune to the Gospel. Somewhere along the way they where given a little bit of Christianity and now they think they know all about it. Millions who have rejected Christianity have no idea what they have rejected. Many Christians have been inoculated against Christianity. They may go to church on Sunday and in many ways be good members of society, but the inoculation prevents them from truly embracing the Christian faith.

G.K. Chesterton put it more succinctly.

“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.” -What’s Wrong With the World (1910)

Still there are certainly people who want to rectify this situation and to move from Jesus as cultural background noise to something deeper. This book starts from the central question Jesus asked the Apostles “Who do you say I am?” and asks the reader the same question. I then builds on this as to what Jesus said about himself and his actions.

This book with forty chapters is meant to be read daily as the question is explored about who Jesus is and our reaction to the truth of this. The chapters are short and succinct as the cover each topic. At the end I found the topics to be nicely balanced covering the important aspects of sin, repentance, redemption, and growing in holiness. These are the basics and they are well presented and manage to cover a lot of territory. Plus coverage of practical aspects of leading the Christian life. The approach of this book is a generic Christianity for a larger audience beyond just Catholics. It mostly succeeds doing this.

So for the audience this book is intended for, it covers the basics and can be useful for helping someone go further.

My only caveat would be that there are aspects to his writing that annoy me. Much of language is in “motivational speaker mode” like “God wants to see your amazingness” and the-very-best-version-of-ourselves. Also he uses the word “radical” way to often and even more than once in the same sentence. Although as I read this book in one setting, I was more aware of the continuous use of this word.

rediscover Jesus

You can pre-order your copy of Rediscover Jesus_ on either or Readers who pre-order the book by August 16, 2015, have a chance to win one of several prizes, including an all-expenses-paid trip to Italy with Kelly and those going on the Dynamic Catholic Pilgrimage to Rome this November. To learn more about this sweepstakes, visit _Anyone who pre-orders the book will also have access to an exclusive webinar with Kelly, during which he will talk about his writing process, why he decided to write Rediscover Jesus, and why he thinks this is the most important book he has ever written.

This post is part of the the #RediscoverJesus blog tour! To read the next stop, please visit Lisa Cotter writing for FOCUS on the 18th.