Monday, February 28, 2011

Well. I Don't Know What to Make of This

But I was sold at the bottle dance.

"The West's On-Going Capacity for Self-Delusion"

Ouch.  A fascinating piece, surveying a wide swath of territory.  Excerpts:
These geo-strategic trends – the rise of the East and the fall of the West – have been apparent for several decades. But they have been accelerated and accentuated by the Western world's "sub-prime crisis"...

While the West accepts the diplomatic furniture has been re-arranged, we still act as if the world outside has not. "The maintenance of undervalued currencies by some countries has contributed to a pattern of global spending that is unbalanced and unsustainable," Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke, boomed at the summit.

Bernanke was pointing the finger at China – reiterating the Western view that our woes are all due to Beijing's reluctance to let the yuan (which has risen 20pc against the dollar since 2007) appreciate faster still. The response of almost every economist outside the Western world, on reading Bernanke's words, would surely be: "Who are you kidding?"

When it comes to under-valuation, America's "strong dollar" policy of recent years has been a study in how to keep a currency weak. Now the US, and the UK too, have resorted to "quantitative easing", the modern-day equivalent of the beggar-thy-neighbour currency devaluations of the 1930s....

Bernanke's G20 rhetoric fools no-one. But it does remind the rest of the world of the West's on-going capacity for self-delusion...

China's influence, and its financial muscle, is rising exponentially. Last year, the country loaned more to emerging nations than the World Bank. The fact that Beijing can propose building a new Trans-Continental Railway, in America's backyard, across a land-mass of unmatched strategic importance, and be taken seriously, speaks volumes.

The global power balance is shifting inexorably. The Western world needs to accept that. But as the G20 showed, the policies we propose and the decisions we take, are designed to deny, rather than accommodate, this new reality.
Too much good stuff to copy. Go read the original.

The Jewish Roots of the Eucharist

Brant Pitre's new book. Simcha Fischer, Hebrew Catholic, reviews it--and is quite excited. Excerpts:
Having celebrated thirty-five Passover Seders with my Hebrew Catholic family, I anticipated already knowing most of what Brant Pitre has to say in Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper. I already knew that Moses prefigured the Messiah to come; that the Last Supper was a Passover meal; that Jesus is both the paschal lamb and the unleavened bread eaten by the Jews, and that we celebrate this same mystery at Mass.

But, the details!...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

On Images of Horror

and the pro-life struggle.  Advice from a formerly pro-choice atheist. Excerpts:
I used to be pro-choice — vehemently so. I once said that I’d lay down my life to defend a woman’s “right to choose,” and I meant it. Now that I’ve come to my senses and am on the right side of the battle lines, one of the most common questions I’m asked is: “Do you think graphic images are effective for changing hearts and minds about abortion?”

The short answer is: Yes. But only under certain circumstances.

Father Frank Pavone has a saying that “America won’t reject abortion until America sees abortion.” In general, I agree with him. The bodies of the victims of this procedure are hidden behind closed doors, so it’s easy for the average person to slide this issue to the backburner of his consciousness. However, as I know from being on the other side of the debate, when pro-choice folks have graphic images of aborted babies unexpectedly shoved in their faces, it rarely achieves the desired effect.

I think there is a place for showing the American people the truth about abortion, but only if under the following conditions...

Indian Christians Facing Hindu Persecution

I've been told it's only in one province--don't get the wrong idea. But remember your brethren across the world.  Excerpts:
Nineteen Catholic and Protestant bishops have staged a sit-in protest against a report that clears Hindu fundamentalists of a series of attacks on Christian targets in southern Karnataka state in September 2008.

The clerics, including 13 Catholic bishops, were joined by nearly 500 Church leaders in the southern city of Bangalore, where they again criticised the findings of a commission chaired by Judge B. K. Somashekhara for not identifying the attackers in 57 incidents involving Christian churches and other sites.

The demonstrators gathered in central Bangalore, with the bishops sitting on chairs in their clerical garb under a midday sun...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Jesus is the Head of the Church

and, absent the head, the body will be dead. One parish comes to life again. Excerpts:
A little church in a small town, St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church was facing tough times. The congregation was dwindling, and Mass attendance was at an all-time low. The empty confessional was collecting dust, and donations were dismal.

But then the unthinkable happened.

Today, St. Francis Xavier is one of the most vibrant parishes in the diocese with standing-room only Masses, confessional lines, a busload of parishioners participating in the March for Life, and an abundance of freewill donations that will make them debt-free by April.

"Jesus is on the property," said Mary Cardoza, the spark that inflamed the parish. "We are a church on fire...

"It was on a group pilgrimage to the Divine Mercy Chapel in Stockbridge, where she had a life-changing experience. A message board of activities listed "Eucharistic Adoration".

"What's Adoration?" she asked the group. "Jesus is really in the Eucharist," they answered. "But what do you do?" she asked. "You talk to Him," they said. "Okay, so I go in there, kneel down and something happens — a spiritual experience. I'm on fire for an hour,' she said." I knew without a doubt Jesus was in the Eucharist. He was real. We were connected."

Back at home, she had no idea what to do with her newfound faith.

After Sunday Mass, her pastor, the Rev. Daniel Lacroix, asked her to attend a Stewardship Committee meeting.

"So I go to this meeting, and it is the most depressing meeting I've ever been to," she said. "They start telling me all the stuff that is wrong — church attendance and collections were down; no one was going to Confession; not many people were attending church activities. I go home and cry."

But then, she said her prayers were answered with the solution to all that ailed her parish.

"I go back to Father Dan and tell him I have the answer — Adoration," she said...

NARAL Founder Deceased

RIP.  The poor man--the latter part of his life was one long act of penance for his role in bringing about legal abortion in America.  NCRegister has the story.  Excerpts:
Dr. Bernard N. Nathanson, an obstetrician who oversaw the performance of about 75,000 abortions before becoming a leading pro-life advocate and a convert to the Catholic faith, died at his home in New York Feb. 21 after a prolonged battle with cancer. He was 84.

After performing his last abortion in 1979 and declaring himself to be pro-life, Nathanson produced the 1985 film The Silent Scream, which shows sonogram images of a child in the womb shrinking from an abortionist’s instruments, and the documentary film Eclipse of Reason, which displays and explains various abortion procedures in graphic detail. Both films had a significant impact on the abortion debate, solidified his credentials among pro-life advocates and earned him the scorn of his former pro-abortion friends and colleagues.

He also published a number of influential books, including Aborting America, written in 1979 with Richard Ostling, then a religion reporter for Time magazine, in which he exposed the deceptive and dishonest beginnings of the pro-abortion movement and undermined the argument that abortion is safe for women.

He often admitted that he and other abortion advocates in the 1960s lied about the number of women who died from illegal abortions at that time, inflating the figure from a few hundred to 10,000 to gain sympathy for their cause.

In his 1996 autobiography The Hand of God, he told the story of his journey from pro-abortion to pro-life, saying that viewing images from the new ultrasound technology in the 1970s convinced him of the humanity of the unborn baby. Outlining the enormous challenge of restoring a pro-life ethic, he wrote, “Abortion is now a monster so unimaginably gargantuan that even to think of stuffing it back into its cage … is ludicrous beyond words. Yet that is our charge — a herculean endeavor.”

He noted, regretfully, “I am one of those who helped usher in this barbaric age...”
Here's The Silent Scream:
Dr. Ed Peters has some interesting thoughts. Excerpts:
...I had the pleasure of meeting him once, some 30 years ago, but had time enough only to thank him for writing Aborting America (1979). Hardly had I spoken, though, when I realized that it was cross for him to accept compliments on book that could only have been written by one who had been a monster. I’ve never forgotten it...

...we do know this: Nathanson’s baptism at the hands of Cdl. John O’Connor in 1996 completely forgave him all his sins up to that point (all of his 75,000 supervised or directly-performed abortions, including one of his own children, his multiple divorces, and God knows what else) and totally paid all of the punishments due for such sins. CCC 1263. Everything, everything, Nathanson did up to the day of his baptism is buried forever in Christ...

Friday, February 25, 2011

And Further on Deification

This post--excerpts follow:
...The longest tradition of the Catholic Church understands our redemption and sanctification, our one time rescue and our growing into holiness, as an on-going process of turning each of us individually and all of us together into Christ. The Biblical tradition, the Patristic tradition, the scholastic tradition, and all of the traditions of the Church loyal to the magisterial ministry of Peter agree: God became man so that men might become God. That’s right. You heard me correctly: to be saved is to be made God. We call this deification or divinization—the God-initiated, God-driven, God-bound process of bringing a man or woman into the fullest possible participation in the divine life. Think about what the phrase “to partake” means. We can partake in a meal. Partake in a game of poker. Partake in an discussion. This means that we are involved, engaged, deeply committed to the activity, and open to the players, the actors; open to the game, and ready to be caught up, absorbed, taken in and changed. You eat a steak and that steak becomes part of you. You drink a glass of water and that water becomes part of you. You marry and your single flesh joins another single flesh to become one flesh. You eat the Body and drink the Blood of Christ and you become Christ. You are what you eat!...

The Budget, Penny by Penny

Thursday, February 24, 2011

NEA General Council: It's About Power

Huh. I seem to detect Paulo Freire's influence here.

Defunding Planned Parenthood An Assault on Black Women?

Really?  I mean...really?  The chutzpah...

I've posted before on the odd relationship between abortion and the black community.  Peter Kreeft recommends Grand Illusions: The Legacy of Planned Parenthood as a great overview of that organization's odd background.  Now...well, read for yourself.  Excerpts follow:
..."In attacking Planned Parenthood, the House Republican leadership has launched an outrageous assault on the millions of Americans who rely on Planned Parenthood for primary and preventative health care, including life-saving breast and cervical cancer screenings, annual exams, family planning visits, birth control, HIV testing, and more," Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a prepared statement.

"To be clear, the amendment to prohibit Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funding does nothing to reduce the deficit and it does nothing to improve the economy," she continued. "In fact, health professionals will actually lose their jobs as a result, and, most egregiously, it takes health care away from American women who cannot afford to pay for it on their own."

Planned Parenthood says it serves three million patients a year, and about 48 percent receive Medicaid and/or Title X funding. Many of those patients rely on Planned Parenthood for services other than abortions, the group stresses...

The vote comes as no surprise. Abortion foes and conservatives across the country have led a robust grassroots campaign in recent months, with a special appeal to the black community. Activists emblazoned billboards with the alarming message that the womb is the most dangerous place for black children because of the high abortion rate among black women. Many of the attacks were centered on Planned Parenthood, which its critics accused of overpopulating black neighborhoods with abortion clinics. And for the most part, the 95-year-old organization has stood silent during this period, saying its history speaks for itself...

TR: Specifically, how will the vote affect black women?

WP: African-American women tend to have more chronic illness and disease. So in terms of having just basic health maintenance and well-woman care, when women get a general health assessment and exam, many things get discovered like undiagnosed hypertension and diabetes and all of those basic primary health care needs. Usually, Planned Parenthood helps get that patient to someone who manages chronic illness. So, 15 percent of our patients are African-American women. Many are often uninsured, and programs like Medicaid and Title X allow those women to have access to basic health screenings. If they didn't have Planned Parenthood, where they could come to be seen on a sliding scale, or where we might be the only agency in their region that takes Medicaid, or where many African-American women have their medical home, you are destabilizing the safety net that many people of color rely on. A hit on Planned Parenthood really becomes a hit for African-American women.
Um. Really? Cause, you know, there'd be a lot more African-American women if Planned Parenthood hadn't been around. And I think that'd be a better situation for everyone concerned.
For those who've had abortions: Women, others have gone through the same thing and lived to regret it. There is forgiveness, there is healing, there are people willing to walk with you through your grief. There are people who will pray with you, and cry with you, and know your pain.  See Resources for Help After Abortion or Hope After Abortion for some place to start finding the help you need.

As Dr. Alveda King has said, How Can the Dream Survive If We Murder the Children?: ABORTION IS NOT A CIVIL RIGHT!  Where could those women go for health care if Planned Parenthood went away?  Mebbe those crisis pregnancy centers or other "limited service pregnancy centers" that Planned Parenthood keeps trying to drive out of business?  Text of the bill here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wanna Listen to Vatican Radio?

There's an app for that.

St. Thomas Speaks on Mary

and the Hail Mary.  Excerpts: should be known that in ancient times it was an especially great event when an angel appeared to men, so that men might show them reverence, for they deserve the greatest praise. It was written in praise of Abraham that he received angels hospitably and that he showed them reverence. But it was never heard that an angel showed reverence to a man until he saluted the blessed virgin, saying reverently, Hail.

The reason why in antiquity the angel did not reverence man but man the angel is that the angel was greater than man, and this in three respects. First, with respect to dignity, since the angel is of a spiritual nature. Psalm 103,4: “who makes: the angels spirits”. But man is of a corruptible nature, hence Abraham said {Genesis 18:27): “I will speak to my Lord, whereas I am dust and ashes.”

It was not then fitting that a spiritual and incorruptible creature should show reverence to a corruptible creature, namely, man. Second, with respect to familiarity with God. For the angel is a familiar of God, as assisting him. Daniel 7:10: “thousands of thousands ministered to him, and ten thousand times a hundred thousand stood before him”. But man is like an outsider, put at a distance from God through sin. Psalm 54:8: “Lo, I have gone far off, flying away.” Thus it was fitting that man should reverence the angel as one close to and familiar with the king. Third, he was preeminent because of the fullness of the splendor of divine grace: for angels partake most fully of the divine light. Job 25:3: “Is there any numbering of his soldiers, and upon whom shall not his light arise?”

Therefore he always appears with light. But men, although they partake something of the light of grace, it is but little, and with obscurity. Therefore it was not fitting that the angel should show reverence to man until someone should be found in human nature who exceeded the angels in those three respects. And this was the Blessed Virgin. In order to signify that she exceeded him in these three things, the angel wished to show her reverence; hence he said, “Hail.” So the Blessed Virgin exceeded the angels in these three. First, in fullness of grace, which the Blessed Virgin has more than any angel. It was to indicate this that the angel showed her reverence, saying, “full of grace,” as if to say: I will show you reverence because you excel me in the fullness of grace.

He says that the Blessed Virgin is full of grace with respect to three things. First, with respect to soul, which has every fullness of grace. For the grace of God is given for two reasons, namely, in order to act well, and to avoid evil. And with respect to these two the Blessed Virgin had most perfect grace. For more than any other holy person save Christ alone she avoided all sin. For sin is either original, and of this she was cleansed in the womb[1]; or mortal or venial, and of these she was free. Hence the Canticle of Canticles 4:7: “Thou art all fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee.” Augustine in “On Nature and Grace” writes: "The holy virgin Mary excepted, if all the holy men and women were here before us and were asked if they were without sin, they would cry out with one voice: 'If we should say we have no sin, we would delude ourselves and the truth is not in us.’"

Except for this holy virgin, I say, of whom for the honor of the Lord, when sin is spoken of, I wish no question at all to be raised...

The Lord is with the Blessed Virgin differently than he is with the angel; he is with her as her son, but with the angel as Lord: the Lord the Holy Spirit, as in the temple, hence she is called the temple of the Lord, the sacred place of the Holy Spirit, “who conceived of the Holy Spirit” (Luke 1:35 ): “the spirit of the Most High shall come upon you.” So it is that the Blessed Virgin is more familiar with God than the angel, because with her is the Lord Father, the Lord Son and the Lord Holy Spirit, that is, the whole trinity is with her. Thus it is sung of her: noble resting place of the whole Trinity. To have said of her, “the Lord is with thee,” is the most noble thing that could be said of her. Rightly then does the angel revere the Blessed Virgin, because she is the mother of the Lord, and therefore mistress herself. The name Mary thus becomes her and in the Syrian tongue it means mistress...
She is celebrated throughout Christian history, in order to rightly celebrate her Son. She who is Theotokos, God-Bearer, by definition of the ecumenical Council of Ephesus is worthy of honor and praise, most blessed among woman. To paraphrase Elizabeth from Scripture: who are we that the Mother of God has come to us? Who are we that Mary should have been borne from among us, to be mother of the Most High God in his flesh?

Wisconsin Protests and Democratic Flight

Heck, AP is getting snarky on this one.  Excerpts:
...Outside the Capitol, demonstrators marched in a procession led by Jesse Jackson, who said workers "should be at the table full-strength to solve the problem."

The governor "should not crush them to solve the problem. The labor-business-government is the balancing wheel. If you crush labor, there is no balance."

Walker insists the concessions he is seeking from public workers — including higher health insurance and pension contributions — are necessary to deal with the state's projected $3.6 billion budget shortfall and to avoid layoffs.

Eliminating their collective bargaining rights, except over wage increases not greater than the Consumer Price Index, is necessary in order to give the state and local governments and schools the flexibility needed to deal with upcoming cuts in state aid, Walker said.

The arguments don't wash with Democrats who say the fight is really about political power and quashing the unions, longtime supporters of Democrats. Protesters and Democrats are also furious over the speed that Walker's moving — he publically unveiled the proposal just one week ago.

"This isn't the Wisconsin we want," said Mary Bell, president of the 98,000-member statewide teachers' union. "We want a voice in the process."

Ironically, Democrats were trying to remove themselves from the process as a way to get what they want...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The LiveAction and Lying Debate

Why I'm Catholic has this magnificent overview post of the debate that has erupted in the Catholic blogosphere over the morality of LiveAction's tactics in their investigations of Planned Parenthood.  Interesting stuff.
Funny note: one of the consistent articles of evidence used by the people for the tactics used is the mammoth campaign of deception waged by Pope Pius XII to save Jews during World War II.  For more on that, see here or Hitler, the War, and the PopeThe Myth of Hitler's Pope: Pope Pius XII And His Secret War Against Nazi Germany, and Before the Dawn: Autobiographical Reflections by Eugenio Zolli, Former Chief Rabbi of Rome.

The Atlas Shrugged Trailer

Not, mind you, because I necessarily agree with her on all points (as has been mentioned in the past), but because--confession--I just enjoyed the book.

In Debt Like It's 1946

According to the Washington Post. Excerpts:
The daunting tower of national, state and local debt in the United States will reach a level this year unmatched [since] just after World War II and already exceeds the size of the entire economy, according to government estimates.

But any similarity between 1946 and now ends there. The U.S. debt levels tumbled in the years after World War II, but today they are still climbing and even deep cuts in spending won't completely change that for several years...

After World War II, the federal debt - including debt purchased by the Social Security Trust Fund - hit nearly 122 percent of gross domestic product. State and municipal debt back then was minimal. By the time Dwight Eisenhower was elected president six years later, the federal government's debt had dipped to about three-fourths of GDP.

The key factor in the rapid drop in government debt, said Harvard University economist Kenneth Rogoff, was fast economic growth. Spurred by a young labor force, world-leading manufacturers, high personal savings rates, a pent-up demand for consumer goods after years of war and the Depression, and a bout of inflation, the economy grew 57 percent in six years. Thanks to sharp postwar cuts in defense outlays, federal government spending also tumbled for a couple of years.

But today the U.S. economy is in a polar opposite condition...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Why Heteronormative Marriage Matters

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse of the Ruth Institute speaks (video and audio at the original.)  Excerpts:
..."Marriage in every society is the preferred place for sex and childbearing. Childbearing and sex are somehow related," said Morse, author of Love and Economics: It Takes a Family to Raise a Village. "The sexual revolution took these three things—marriage, sex, and childbearing—apart."...

And this disintegration matters hugely. "The essential public purpose of marriage is to attach mothers and fathers to their children and to one another—because you've got a mother and father for reproduction and a long period of dependency. Someone's got to take care of the kids," said Morse, author of Smart Sex: Finding Life-Long Love in a Hook Up World...

The institution of marriage serves to protect the vital interests of the most helpless, of the defenseless. "Children are entitled to a stable relationship with both parents. Kids can’t march to protect their own interests. A society has to protect a child's interests in advance of harm being done. Marriage is adult society's way of protecting children's rights proactively."

In order to permit same-sex couples to perform an act society would call "marriage," the state has to redefine marriage....

Morse laid out four principles underlying traditional marriage in law and society that redefining marriage would change:
  • children are ordinarily entitled to a relationship with their mothers and fathers, and something extraordinary has to happen for that not to be true;
  • mothers and fathers are not interchangeable;
  • biology is the primary, normative way we define parenthood;
  • and the state normally recognizes parentage as a biological fact and does not define or control parentage.
In treating same-sex couples as parents, a child's right to a stable relationship with both biological parents would go away, mothers and fathers would be assumed to be interchangeable, and biology would become irrelevant to state recognition of parentage. Recognition would now rest on state-created tests for parentage, investigating family lives to determine who took care of the child, who was legally married to the biological parent, and other such criteria.

"Natural marriage is an organic, self-sustaining reality," Morse, who'd campaigned for Proposition 8, explained. "Same-sex marriage is a totally state created and enforced reality. It will survive with the help of the state..."

Why Curse the Canaanites?

It's all in the family. Literally. Dr. Hahn et. al explain. Excerpts follow:
...As Adam (whose name in Hebrew literally means "ground") was given a garden to till, Noah plants a vineyard and becomes "a man of the soil" (compare Genesis 1:2 and 7:11). And as the forbidden fruit of the garden proves to be Adam’s downfall, so the fruit of Noah’s vine - wine - becomes his. And like Adam’s fall, Noah’s exposes his sin and nakedness (see Genesis 3:6-7; 9:21) and results in a curse (see Genesis 3:14-19; 9:25).

What’s going on in the story of Ham uncovering "his father’s nakedness" (see Genesis 9:22)? In Hebrew, this phrase is a figure of speech used to describe incest (Leviticus 20:17; 18:6-18. Note: In other places besides the story of Noah and Ham, The New American Bible translates this phrase as "to have intercourse with." The Revised Standard Version in all cases keeps the more literal translation "uncover the nakedness of." See RSV-Leviticus 20:17; 18:6-18).

To uncover the nakedness of your father is to commit incest with your mother. To state it bluntly, in all its brutality - while Noah was drunk, Ham slept with his mother. We don’t know what Ham was thinking. It could be that he wanted to seize power from his dad and this heinous act was his way of insulting Noah and showing his total disrespect (see similar episodes in Genesis 29:32; 35:22; 49:3-4; 2 Samuel 16:21-22).

But notice that Noah doesn’t curse Ham. He curses Canaan - the son born of this incestuous encounter. Why Canaan? It’s another hint in the text of what Ham’s crime was. As we’ll see later, Canaan will be the founding father of a nation that will be known for its abominable practice of maternal incest (see Leviticus 18:6-18; Exodus 23:23-24).

Canaan is the bad fruit born of Noah’s sin. But as Adam bore both Cain, the slayer of his brother, and Seth the righteous one, Noah too has a good seed: his firstborn son Shem, who had tried to "cover" his father’s nakedness (see Genesis 9:23).

As he curses Canaan, the bad seed, Noah blesses Shem: "Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem" (see Genesis 9:26) and says that he will prevail over the wicked spawn, Canaan.

It is interesting to note, too, that the only other episode of drunkenness in Genesis is also associated with incest - and the birth of immoral nations hostile to the people of God. That’s the story of Lot’s daughters, who ply Lot with wine and then lie with him in incestuous unions that are the origin of the Moabites and the Ammonites (see Genesis 19:30-38).

And so Genesis continues - telling the story of the conflict between the two seeds of Noah, the good and the bad. The descendants of Ham become the great national enemies of the people of God - Egypt (10:6), Canaan (10:6), Philistia (10:14), Assyria (10:11), and Babylon (10:10)...
As he also explained elsewhere rather recently, the fertility cult of the Canaanites centered around the reenactment of the founding of their nation--which means people were related to the temple prostitutes they were "celebrating the rituals" with. For more from him on Genesis, see the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: Book of Genesis.

See also a discussion of the claim regarding Ham here. For a scholarly discussion of the idea, see here. So the later conquests described in the Old Testament are in the context of earlier curses and wars within the family. Why? Because of the trustee family structure common to ancient societies, as discussed  in Family and Civilization, and the dire consequences for betrayal of the family.  Families went to war, not arbitrary nations. Nations emerged from patriarchs and their lineages. The consequences for sins against the family covenant were most severe, since the covenant is the source of all law, of all order, of all trust and is the most binding sort of tie that can be established. Indeed, it makes others kin and reinforces the familial relationship...oh, just go and read A Father Who Keeps His Promises: God's Covenant Love in Scripture.

Or (if you can ignore the unnecessary music in the background), watch this:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Grim News from Philadelphia Archdiocese

Words fail.  What can the faithful do?  What should the faithful do?  Excerpts:
...To read the grand jury report is to invite a crisis of faith.

Many Catholics may quit the church or, in fear, remove their children from Catholic schools. At least they will stop dropping money into collection plates. Who can blame them?

But before heading to the exits, Catholics should consider this.

Judas was an apostle.

That is to say, the church from its earliest days, has been convulsed with heartbreaking scandal.

In the 16th century, after Tetzel and other scandals sparked the Protestant Reformation, Saint Francis DeSales began the church anew.

It was a sullen task. Twice, he was beaten and left for dead in his evangelical travels through Europe.

Asked why he stuck with it, he said, "While those who give scandal are guilty of the spiritual equivalent of murder, those who take scandal, who allow scandals to destroy their faith, are guilty of spiritual suicide..."
Ladies and gentlemen, to read about what has occurred is to reinforce everything Paul VI said about the devil's continued existence. It is to reinforce the truth that we are engaged in mortal combat with the powers and principalities of this present darkness, that all of us are subject to temptation, all of us are concupiscent or inclined towards disordered desire and sin by birth, and that nobody is immune from the combat.

We are in a war, everyone--a war for our souls, and a war for all those we hold dear. Prayer, and fasting, and works of mercy--cause God knows we need them--are the tools, the weapons, given us to hand. The sacraments, and the Scriptures, and the hierarchy, and the whole mystical body of Christ are given us as our family, our safeguard, our fortress, and our font of grace. Why should it be any surprise that there are sinners in the ranks? We are in the ranks, for starters, and I the greatest sinner among them.

We are in the field, where the enemy has sown weeds among the wheat, and the bad fish shall have to be separated from the good, and the angels of the Lord, at the end of the ages, will gather the bad from among the Church and throw them into the fire. And it would then be better for a millstone to have been put around their neck and them thrown into the sea than that any among us shall have caused the children to fall. Jesus was not joking.

So this is not the final word, or even the beginning of the final word. Nor is this the worst trial we shall have to face in this lifetime, or in this age of the Church. Pray for our priests and our bishops. Hold them to account, but pray for them. Forgive, as Christ forgives us, as we ask the Father to forgive us--for it is not the light sins that need forgiving most, but those sins we call unforgivable. For Jesus. even when we were enemies of his, came among us for the salvation of sinners and the reign of God among men. He loved us before we loved him, loving us even to death, even death on the cross. And it is for sins such as these that he was crucified.


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