Thursday, May 31, 2007

Study verifies airborne cocaine in Rome

"Cocaine in the air in Italy: study" (, May 31, 2007) reports that an Italian scientific study has found particles of cocaine in Rome's air. The study by the council's atmospheric pollution institute, also found traces of cannabinol, a component of marijuana and hashish, as well as nicotine and caffeine, a statement from the council said.
"The highest concentration of cocaine was found in the centre of Rome and especially in the University of La Sapienza area," the study said.

"We cannot in any way confirm that the consumption or trafficking of drugs is more common in that area," the statement said, adding that more in-depth study would be needed to determine that.

The highest concentrations of cocaine (about .1 nanograms per cubic metre) were detected during the winter months, according to the study.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Where else but in Kentucky?

You won't believe this. A reader recently sent in the links below with the following (edited) remarks:
Me and the Bride were visiting family in Lexington, Ky about a decade ago. On the return back to Lexington from Mammoth Caves, we passed this roadside attraction. Back then, it was still open and still the #1 shaded biblical mini golf course in America- prolly in the world (Dubai excluded)

You just can't make this stuff up. I laughed my butt off. I got out, took pictures etc. ...

Where else but in Kentucky would a man think - "Honey, call me crazy but if we combined Mini-Golf and the Crucifixion . . ."
[Hat tip to Sun and Wine]

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The new pickpockets in Rome

Like the earlier teams of pickpockets in Rome, the new teams appear to be made up of family members working in concert, using the younger members to distract.

[Hat tip to M.K. - edited]

Monday, May 28, 2007

How "The Pill" causes embryonic abortions

Animation showing how "The Pill" causes embryonic abortions:
"Abortifacient" []
[Hat tip to M.F.]

Christian Iraq at risk

"A Final Appeal: Save Christian Iraq" (Sandro Magister, www.chiesa, May 28, 2007):
It is the only country where the liturgy is still celebrated in Aramaic, the language of Jesus. But Christianity is in danger of dying out there. Killings, aggression, kidnappings. And now also the "jiza," the tax historically imposed by Muslims on their "infidel" subjects, those who have still not fled the country.

Head coverings, again -- for the record

We've been through this before, and we know about the controversy regarding the new Code of Canon Law (1983) and its silence on the question. For the record, however, here is an article from The Atlanta Journal (June 21, 1969) entitled "Women Required to Cover Head, Vatican Insists," which my wife received in a mailing from Halo-Works:
"A Vatican official says there has been no change, as reported,in the Roman Catholic rule that women cover their head in church. The Rev. Annibale Bugnini, secretary of the New Congregation for Divine Worship, said the reports stemmed from a misunderstanding of a statement he made at a news conference in May. 'The rule has not been changed,' he said. 'It is a matter of general discipline.'"
ZENIT recently carried an article (May 22, 2007) interviewing Fr. Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum university, on several subjects, among them, head coverings for women. McNamara, not surprisingly, sees the practice as a culturally conditioned custom of no abiding significance. Among other things, he says:
This custom was considered normative and was enshrined in Canon 1262.2 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law alongside the recommendation that men and women be separated in Church and that men go bareheaded. This canon was dropped from the new Code of Canon Law promulgated in 1983, but the practice had already begun to fall into disuse from about the beginning of the 1970s. Even though no longer legally binding, the custom is still widely practiced in some countries, especially in Asia. It has been generally abandoned in most Western countries even though women, unlike men, may still wear hats and veils to Mass if they choose.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The case of Madeleine Mccann's parents

Like everyone, I have heard that Madeleine Mccanne's parents are guilty of gross negligence in leaving their daughter alone in a hotel room while they went out dining in Portugal. That's reportedly when she was abducted. There's a good bit of Internet blog discussion about this -- for example, "Parents Who Neglect Their Children" (AOL United Kingdom News, 5/12/07). Many of you have no doubt heard the reports that the Holy Father has agreed to meet with Gerry and Kate McCann, who are both Roman Catholics (e.g., "Pope To Meet Madeleine's Parents" (Sky News, May 27, 2007). Some see this as part of a deliberate strategy of media manipulation, designed to portray themselves as victims, and it well may be. In any case, there is no question that Madeleine Mccanne is a victim in the case, and her parents quite clearly need our prayers as well.

[Hat top to J.W.]

Without comment

[Hat tip to S.F.]

Friday, May 25, 2007

The narcissist generation

Complaints about the younger generation have always been commonplace among the older generation. Yet Jean M. Twenge argues that the current generation is unique in Generation Me: Why Today's Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled--and More Miserable Than Ever Before (Free Press, 2007). She presents evidence that "Generation Me," those born after 1982, is rooted in profound pathology of narcissism. In some ways, her thesis is reminiscent of Christopher Lasch's magisterial Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations (1979; W. W. Norton & Company; Revised edition, May 1991). Only, her focus is narrower and her approach more popular. Spoiled beyond reckoning, members of "Generation Me" have heard since infancy that "I'm okay, and you're okay," that they were "special," and that "God don't create junk." The latest navel-gazing technological innovations of MySpace, FaceBook, YouTube, iPods, -- not to mention the inanity of most uses of cell phones and text messaging among them, only reinforces the pervasive sense of entitlement -- and equally profound misery, alienation, and ennui.

. . . and ugly clothing

Oh, and by the way, the picture on the book cover reminds me of what Alice von Hildebrand once said in a speech in Charlotte about modern clothing styles having become unworthy of the dignity of human beings. These low-riding, 3-4 inch-above-the-crotch, G-string baring jeans are the female equivalent of the low-slung ghetto-'n'-grunge look sported by derriere-cleavage-baring knuckle draggers who can't seem to keep their pants above their hips. Watch a woman wearing a pair of tight low-riders try to sit down in public. It's a seesaw trick between revealing too much butt cleavage in the back and too much thong (or, worse,) pubic fuzz in the front. People who think there's anything aesthetically pleasing about such clothing are fashion-myopic morons. For a woman, such clothing is the moral equivalent of wearing a sandwich board sign saying "I'm a cheap and easy, have no aesthetic taste or self-respect." For a man, it's the equivalent of a sign that says "I'm an unrefined boor with no future." In either case, the clothing announces a loud lack of self-respect. As von Hildebrand says simply, "It's ungly. It's clothing unworthy of a being created in God's image." Here's to an authentically Catholic counter culture!

Atheist donates $22.5 Million for Catholic Fund

Patrick Cole, "Atheist Wilson Gives $22.5 Million for Catholic Fund" (, May 25, 2007), says that philanthropist and retired hedge-fund manager Robert W. Wilson is giving $22.5 million to the Archdiocese of New York to fund a scholarship program for needy inner-city students attending Roman Catholic schools. When Wilson, 80, was asked why, he replied: "Let's face it, without the Roman Catholic Church, there would be no Western civilization ... Shunning religious organizations would be abhorrent." Let's hear it for enlightened atheism!

An actor with a brain?

I shouldn't be so jaded, but apart from a few British and American actors like my friend Donegan Smith -- a graduate of William and Mary and highly literary, I know of few actors who seem to exhibit much depth of thought. My world may simply be too narrow. In any case, I have to confess I was a trifle surprised to find this Archive of articles by Chuck Norris written for WorldNetDaily, the most recent of them dealing with atheism, the impact of anti-religious media on the younger generations, and referencing writers like C.S. Lewis. An actor actually swimming against the cultural riptide?

Blair to meet Pope before stepping down and poping?

"Blair to meet Pope before he steps down" (, May 24, 2007) says that Tony Blair will meet the Pope at the Vatican next month as part of a visit to Italy before he leaves office on June 27th and that this will be his second visit with Benedict XVI. The article reminds us that: "Mr Blair, whose wife Cherie is Catholic, has been widely rumoured to be prepared to convert to Catholicism when he leaves office."

German revolt against CDF

Reuters Religion Editor, Tom Heneghan, in "Theologians say Vatican doctrine office needs overhaul" (May 25, 2007), says that Pope Benedict is coming under mounting criticism from his former German theologian colleagues, "one likening the Catholic Church's doctrinal office, that the pontiff once headed, to a 19th century censorship bureau." What do these folks think the CDF ought to be, a March of Dimes appeal?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Castrillón in Aparecida: Pope wishes to make 1962 books available to Latin Church

Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos in Aparecida, addressing Latin American bishops, May 16, 2007:
The Holy Father, who was for some years a member of this Commission, wishes it to become an organ of the Holy See with the proper and distinct end of preserving and maintaining the worth of the Traditional Latin Liturgy. Yet it must be said with all clarity that it is not a turning back, a return to the time before the 1970 reform. It is, instead, a generous offer of the Vicar of Christ who, as an expression of his pastoral will, wishes to put at the disposal of the whole Church all the treasures of the Latin Liturgy which for centuries has nourished the spiritual life of so many generations of Catholic faithful.The Holy Father wishes to preserve the immense spiritual, cultural, and aesthetic treasures linked to the Ancient Liturgy.

... For these reasons, the Holy Father has the intention of extending to the entire Latin Church the possibility of celebrating Holy Mass and the Sacraments according to the liturgical books promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962. There is today a new and renewed interest for this liturgy, which has never been abolished and which, as we have said, is considered a treasure, and also for this reason [the interest] the Holy Father believes that the time has come to ease, as the first Cardinalatial Commission of 1986 had wished to do, the access to this liturgy, making it an extraordinary form of the one Roman Rite.
"Aparecida Notes: Castrillón to Bishops of Latin America Pope wishes to 'extend the possible use of the 1962 books to all Latin Church'" (Rorate Caeli, May 17, 2007). According to Rorate Caeli (May 19, 2007), the Italian Press has been filled with articles on the liberalization of the Traditional Roman Rite for the past two days as a result of Castrillón's address.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Hackneyed moronic logic

Barely had the Holy Father left South America and Bishop Celso Queiros, one of the members of the Fifth General Assembly of the Latin American bishops said this (in Portuguese, from the official website of the Brazilian Episcopal Conference):
"The Pope recognized that the Church has a certain debt to women. We know that, at this time, the dialogue on the possible ordination of women is closed in the Church. Which does not mean that it cannot be opened."
With all due respect: write that out in symbolic logic, put it in your pipe, and try smoking it.

[Hat tip to Rorate Caeli, "Aparecida Notes: Latin American bishop says 'Women's ordination is not a closed matter'"]

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Is our problem with the New Mass psychological?

Back a couple of weeks ago, Jimmy Akin posted an article by Tim Jones to his blog entitled "Cognitive Dissonance and the New Mass" (JimmyAkin.Org, May 2, 2007). Some of you may have read it. Jones is a thoughtful convert with an outlook generally appreciative of things historical and traditional. He imagines the cognitive dissonance many Catholics must have felt when they experienced the liturgical revolution but where told by their pastors that this was Mass -- the NEW Mass. He then writes:
"But," you might ask, "what about the Old Mass? Can't I go to the Old Mass?"

And that's the kicker. I doubt, really, that most of these "Rad-Trad" folks would have had that big a problem with the mere existence of the Novus Ordo mass, had the Old Mass been allowed to continue alongside it. The problem - perhaps - wasn't so much the introduction of the New Mass as the fact that the beloved Old Mass was, for all practical purposes, swept away to make room for it. If those strongly attached to the TLM still had access to such a mass in their own parish (or nearby) I doubt we would see the level of anger and the veiled - or explicit - charges that the Novus Ordo is invalid and a tool of the devil.
Do you think that the true?

Pope Benedict XVI

  • "Pope shows more signs of swinging to the right in public" (International Harold Tribune, May 14, 2007).

  • See also "Aparecida Notes: The Pope in Brazil - IV: A Remarkable Speech" (Rorate Caeli, May 11, 2007):
    Not even the setting (the beautiful and vast Metropolitan Cathedral of São Paulo), the music (some tasteful polyphonic pieces and an aesthetically deficient, yet dignified, use of plainchant for the psalms and hymns of Vespers -- unfortunately, in the vernacular), nor the overall attentive mood of those who were present at the event could possibly have prepared the largest episcopate in the world for the remarkable speech of the Holy Father to the Bishops of Brazil.

    The Holy Father delivered a precise diagnosis of the deep crisis of the Catholic Church in Brazil - extensive to many other nations: all important topics were covered by the Pope, from liturgical disobedience to attentiveness to the sexual maturity of seminarians, from a condemnation of the use of the Church as a field for ideological confrontation to the need to be clear in all ecumenical settings that the only Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church presided by the Successor of Peter.

    In our modest opinion, this remarkable speech (in English - called a "homily" in the Official Program, due to its liturgical setting, but not particularly homiletic) is one of the most important of the Pontificate, along with the Christmas Address of 2005 and the Regensburg Address of 2006. The true question is, however: will the bishops of the world understand and take heed of this Papal reprimand? (Note: see also Rorate Caeli's own translation of excerpts from the Portuguese at the above-linked page.)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day Quiz

Test your Bible knowledge. Match the mother (1-14) with the child (a-n) below:
1. Hagar
2. Bathsheba
3. Jochebed
4. Hannah
5. Eve
6. Sarah
7. Ruth
8. Eunice
9. Lois
10. Rebekah
11. Naomi
12. Rahab
13. Mary
14. Elizabeth

a. Obed
b. Jacob
c. Jesus
d. Solomon
e. Timothy
f. Moses
g. John the Baptist
h. Ishmael
i. Boaz
j. Cain
k. Isaac
l. Samuel
m. Eunice
n. Mahlon

Commentary on our times?

A friend of mine recently returned from a ten-day business trip to Europe, during which he spent several days in Zurich, Switzerland, and Mainz, Germany. We talked about how a-religious Europe had become over the last decades, and I was dismayed to hear him say how disgustingly open the pornography had become in cities like Zurich in my ancestral homeland of Switzerland.

While in Zurich, he said, he had sought the opportunity for sacramental confession before Mass, but was told a priest was unavailable. Disappointed, he chalked the matter up to bad scheduling on his part, and moved on to his business appointments in Mainz, Germany -- only to run into the same difficulty there: no priests available for confession! Finally, he told me, he spotted a priest in the middle of a busy street, got his attention, and managed to communicate to him his story about how he had been unable for several days to find a priest to hear his confession. This priest drew him aside adjascent to a kiosk vending tournist articles and heard his confession then and there. O tempore!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Canon law question

I should know this, but don't want to rely on my memory at the moment to answer for a certainty: A reader asks whether, when attending the TLM today, one is subject to the law of fasting under the old code of canon law or that under the new. Can anyone confirm the correct answer?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Off-color . . .

Don't read this if you're offended by off-color scatological humor, but if you've the stomach for a bit of earthy ribald humor for the weekend, here's one for the road: Our two-year-old daughter, Hannah, last night passed wind in her sleep of such magnitude and audible explosiveness that she woke herself up and started crying of fright. Her mother and father couldn't stop laughing for a full five or ten minutes -- crass philistines that they are.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Jewish Olympic swimmer

"... and in lane 4, Obediah Klinghoffer takes the lead, with his personal trainer, Moses Steinberg, cheering him on with his famous gesture of the "Raised Rod!" "

Passing of a friend

Alexander Nikolaevich Shalfeieff died of a massive heart attack sustained while driving on the expressway, Sunday March 25, 2007, in Sapporo, Japan. No other cars or people were injured. Alex, or Sasha, was a childhood friend of mine. I remember his parents being called "White Russians," distinguishing them from the "Reds." They had escaped Communist Russia through China and come to Japan where they started over even though they were never able to establish citizenship. Their three sons, however, did acquire Japanese citizenship, which yielded some remarkable ironies, as when, speaking impeccable Japanese, they would try to pick fights with their fellow Japanese classmates in school by telling them that they were actually Koreans!

Alex was in my 8th and 9th grade classes at the Hokkaido International School in Sapporo several 'lifetimes' ago. He was a little older than the rest of us, much taller, and won many basketball games for us. Back in those days, most of the students attending the school were missionary kids, although there were some with parents in business and the diplomatic corps. Our home room teacher was a wonderful Missouri-Synod Lutheran gentleman (now deceased) by the name of Mr. Kempf. I remember Alex and I getting into trouble a couple of times with poor Mr. Kempf. Now the school has many more native Japanese students enrolled in order to improve their English proficiency for later study abroad.

My memories of the Shalfeieff family are both happy and sad. The happy memories include visits to their Sapporo home where Mrs. Ariadna Shalfeieff would fix us wonderful Russian meals, complete with piping hot hand-made peroshiki, which were about as good as anything you could imagine eating. They had a wonderful house with big cats dozing on the mantle and big hunting dogs they occasionally let into the living quarters. I also remember their home being open to all. On one occasion at dinner we had, as I recall, a Russian Orthodox family (the Shalfeieff's) hosting several Protestants, a Muslim, and, I think, a Jew. (Any Japanese visitor might have been simultaneously a Buddhist, Shintoist, and, in some sense, a Confucianist as well.) They were large-hearted folk who lived generously. To this day, Mrs. Shalfeieff sends my father an exquisite fruitcake every Christmas.

The sad memories include the progressive deaths of members of the Shalfeieff family. The father, Nikolai, died of a heart attack many years ago. Then, when the boys were in college, Andrei, the youngest of the three, suddenly and unexpectedly committed suicide, gassing himself to death in his Tokyo apartment. And now Alex, the eldest son, has died of a heart attack, leaving Peter, the middle son, to tend to his grieving mother. My friend, John Bell, whose daughter was received into the Church in Atlanta this Easter, also knew Alex. In fact, his family roomed and boarded the Shalfeieff boys during their high school years in Tokyo. He is still in shock over Alex's passing, as am I.

Over the years I have received many beautiful Christmas cards from Mrs. Shalfeieff, written in a magnificent hand, catching me up on family news and always asking for prayer for Andrei, the youngest son. I have prayed, in my poor fashion, as I have remembered to do so. Here I ask any of you willing to join us in remembering in your prayers the entire Shalfeieff family, the deceased (Nikolai, the father; Alex, the eldest son; Andrei, the youngest son), and those who survive them, the living (Ariadna, the mother; Peter, the middle son; and Alex's wife, Kay, and their children). May God be with them and be gracious to them, look kindly upon them, and give them peace.

Pope: abortion "incompatible with communion"

Philip Pullella, "Pope warns Catholic politicians who back abortion" (Reuters, May 9, 2007):
ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (Reuters) - Pope Benedict on Wednesday warned Catholic politicians they risked excommunication from the Church and should not receive communion if they support abortion....

The Pope was asked whether he supported Mexican Church leaders threatening to excommunicate leftist parliamentarians who last month voted to legalize abortion in Mexico City.

"Yes, this excommunication was not an arbitrary one but is allowed by Canon (church) law which says that the killing of an innocent child is incompatible with receiving communion, which is receiving the body of Christ," he said.

West Palm parents graduate um ... "Parent University"

WEST PALM BEACH--Pearl Boo Doo gives thumbs up her daughters Kirena (left), 6, and Kristina (right), 7, after watching a video presentation by students congratulating parents on their graduation from "Parent University" at Benoist Farms Elementary School. Parents attended free workshops presented by the Parenting Center of West Palm Beach for seven months. (Allen Eyestone/ The Post)

See: Don Jordan, "Program ties relationships, student performance" (, May 9, 2007).

[Hat tip to Sun and Wine]

Time admits critics of 'gay' rights decision were right

"Court ruling does support incest, polygamy" (, May 8, 2007):
When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Texas prohibition on homosexual sodomy, leaders including then-Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., warned the decision would be used in support of incest, adultery and polygamy. While Santorum got "holy hell" for his prediction, a media leader of no less influence than Time magazine now admits that he was right.

"It turns out the critics were right," the magazine said in a recent article addressing the use of the precedent in a series of other cases. "Plaintiffs have made the decision the centerpiece of attempts to defeat state bans on the sale of sex toys in Alabama, polygamy in Utah and adoptions by gay couples in Florida."

Also, in Ohio, a man's conviction of incest for having sex with his 22-year-old stepdaughter also is being challenged based on the Lawrence vs. Texas decision, the magazine said.
And there's much more where that came from ...

[Hat tip to M.F.]

Kidnapped in Portugal

A reader writes:
Could you please circulate this prayer request for Madeleine McCann and her family? Madeleine is the UK toddler kidnapped while on holiday with her family in Portugal. See the UK online news - "Mother's appeal: 'Please do not hurt her'" (, May 9, 2007). This is a Catholic family. As a parent, I can only imagine the terror of this situation. Please, please pray for Madeleine. PLEASE ask people to pray for this little girl and her family.
[Hat tip to J.W. - a new Catholic convert - Easter 2007]

Update 5/14/07
Half a million pilgrims in Fatima pray for missing British girl (EUX.TV, May 13, 2007)

[Hat tip to J.W.]

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Skiing in Arabia

In Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The construction phase, in the middle of the scorching desert, where temperatures reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit ...

All finished. Notice the size of the palm trees outside, beneath the arches to the left .......... Can you guess what it is ???

The inside view -- unbelievable, but true: a self-contained Ski Resort ... so they can snow ski in the 120 degree desert!

The 'Facts and Features' page of the Ski Dubai website states:
An amazing 22,500 square metres covered with real snow all year round.

Ski Dubai has 5 runs that vary in difficulty, height and gradient, the longest run being 400 meters with a fall of over 60 meters. Test your skills on the world’s first indoor black run or practice your turns on the gentle beginner slopes. Skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels will enjoy these various slopes and snowboarders can also practice their stunts in the Freestyle Zone. Kids and parents alike will have fun in the huge interactive Snow Park, which at 3000 square meters is the largest indoor snow park in the world.

You don’t have to worry about ski clothing or equipment either. Ski Dubai has thought of it all and offers guests the use of winter clothing, ski and snowboard equipment. Your skis will carry you down the slope, and our quad-chairlift and tow lift will promptly carry you back to the top for another run.

You will enjoy our themed restaurants; St Moritz Café at the entrance to Ski Dubai, and Avalanche Café at mid-station, with views of the slope. Our exclusive retail shop, Snow Pro, has expert staff to advise you on your equipment needs and our team of professional Snow School instructors will guide you through the simple, fun process of learning to ski or snowboard.
  • 22,500m covered with real snow all year round – (equivalent to 3 football fields)
  • Temperature maintained at a comfortable -1º to -2º (Centigrade) [= 28º to 30º Fahrenheit]
  • 85 meters high (approximately 25 stories) and 80 meters wide
  • 5 different runs of varying difficulty and length, longest run of 400 meters
  • Full capacity of 1500 guests
  • Freestyle zone
  • Corporate and group bookings
  • 3,000m Snow Park with a snow cavern
  • Quad chairlift, tow lift and flying carpets
  • Mountain resort theme
  • Rental of quality equipment and clothing included in the ticket price
  • Qualified professional instructors
  • State of the art ticketing system
  • Changing areas with locker rental
  • Private kids party rooms
  • Exclusive retail shop – Snow Pro
  • St Moritz Café and Avalanche Cafe
So now you know how some of your $2.95 a gallon for regular unleaded is being spent by those who supply you with fuel.

[Vetted and verified by, "Ski Dubai"]

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Jordan Potter's eldest receives 1st Communion

"My eldest child just received his First Holy Communion today, and I'm very happy ...." (Jordan Potter, May 5, 2007) Congratulations, Mr. Potter! Heaven and earth rejoice!

Frank Beckwith explains why he returned to the Catholic Church

Frank Beckwith, author of numerous books and articles published by the likes of Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy and Notre Dame Journal of Law and International Philosophical Quarterly, was raised Catholic, but found his way into Protestant (specifically Reformed) circles, and served as president of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) until he resigned his position yesterday because of his decision to embrace Catholicism once again. His own story about how he found his way back to the Catholic Church is posted in an article under the title of "My Return to the Catholic Church" (Right Reason: the weblog of conservative philosophers, May 5, 2007). The first paragraph of his inspiring reflection will get you started; but read the whole thing in order to garner the measure of this man's integrity. He made his move at some cost to himself.
During the last week of March 2007, after much prayer, counsel and consideration, my wife and I decided to seek full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. My wife, a baptized Presbyterian, is going through the process of the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA). This will culminate with her receiving the sacraments of Holy Communion and Confirmation. For me, because I had received the sacraments of Baptism, Communion, and Confirmation all before the age of 14, I need only go to confession, request forgiveness for my sins, ask to be received back into the Church, and receive absolution.
Soli Deo gloria. Pray for the Dr. Beckwith and his family. Pray that their journey of discovery will continue and their Catholicism will take deep root now that they've truly come home.[Hat tip to E.E.]

Friday, May 04, 2007

Meanwhile, as the band plays on . . .

Islam continues to proclaim its gospel of peace, brotherhood of men, and reconciliation with Israel . . .

[Hat tip to M.F.]

Bill Cork UnPopes

Catholic convert, Bill Cork, has just announced his decision to jump ship, or, as he sees it, to flee the untrustworthy and unstable sectarian hierarchy of Rome and return to the faithful and reassuring Mother Church of Seventh Day Adventism ("The Journey Home," Built on a Rock, May 3, 2007):
On Sabbath, April 21 (my baby brother’s birthday), I returned to the Seventh-day Adventist faith in which I spent the first 21 years of my life through rebaptism. When I got home that day, I immediately submitted my resignation as Director of Young Adult and Campus Ministry of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

... Farewell, St. Blog’s. I’m not going to enter into debate or discussion. I’ve been laying out theological and ecclesial issues over the past two months that were contributing factors to my loss of trust in the authority of Rome and the Catholic Magisterium. And that’s what so much of Catholic life and teaching is built on: “Trust us.” If you do, you can accept everything; if you don’t, then you must fall back on something else–the Word of God.

I took these steps with fear and trepidation. It’s humbling to be in the position of the prodigal son–and to be welcomed back with such joy as I’ve received … the fatted calf has been killed indeed.

God is good.
There is so much one wants to say but restrains himself. Impressionability and all that. But the cat is out of the bag. What's the point? Do remember Bill in your prayers.

Of related interest:[Hat tip to Sun and Wine]

Estrogen: an environmental hazard?

Widespread use of birth control pills harming the environment, says "Estrogen overload," California Catholic Daily (April 29, 2007). Tests of river fish indicate their flesh carries enough estrogen-mimicking chemicals to cause breast cancer cells to grow, says Scientific American in an article entitled "Bringing Cancer to the Dinner Table: Breast Cancer Cells Grow Under Influence of Fish Flesh" (April 17, 2007). Finally, even the concept of excess estrogen being passed into the water supply through urine may be plausible and seems to be supported by the following article, "Dr. Lee's 3 Rules for Hormone Replacement Therapy," which says to "use a sprinkle of common sense and a dash of logic."

[Hat tip to M.F.]

How to tell if a Catholic is driving too fast

Thursday, May 03, 2007

For the record

"Fellay: Motu Proprio 'probably at the end of the year, or even later'" (Rorate Caeli, May 4, 2007), audio file from sermon by Superior General of FSSPX/SSPX, Bishop Bernard Fellay at Mass after consecration of an altar in Lausanne, Switzerland on April 29, 2007.

[Hat tip to New Catholic]

Addendum 5/4/07

From the Universal Indult Blog, which bills itself as "A Blogging Companion to the Motu Proprio/Universal Indult Forum," we thought you'd enjoy this:
Any Catholic who, after the publication of the Motu Proprio, refuses to acknowledge either its existence, its pragmatic necessity, or its potential for good in the Church and the salvation of many souls.
Obviously, potential "Motards" exist in both the modernist and schismatic camps. Please, education is a necessity. Don't let anyone you love...become a "Motard."



This Public Service Announcement (PSA) was brought to you by the dedicated staff of the Universal Indult Forum and Blog.

However, please be advised that this PSA may technically be in violation of Rules for Engagement for When and If the Motu Proprio Comes currently in force.

We take no responsibility for any aberrant behavior on the part of any "Motards" who may come in contact with, or take offense at, this PSA.
Of related interest, see also this: "Pope: Don't be a Motard."

Two bohemian patriarchs: Francis Schaeffer and Russell Kirk

An interesting article comparing Francis Schaeffer (the Evangelical) and Russell Kirk (the Catholic), by Darryl Hart, "Francis Schaeffer: An Evangelical Russell Kirk?" (Witherspoon Lectures, Family Research Council, Nov. 17, 2004).

[Hat tip to S.F.]

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A Kierkegaardian reflection on the Novus Ordo

Michael Novak, Confessions of a Catholic (1983, p. 87):
I concede to Kierkegaard that aesthetic pleasure is not the criterion of true religion. Indeed, it has sometimes seemed to me that one feels more keenly union with the Crucified when the choir is awful, when the sermon is attic-dry, when the church service is like a suburban sensitivity lesson with guitars, dancing, and clapping hands, and when the soul cries out in desperate anguish and despair. The "new liturgy" that has followed Vatican II is often a torture to the soul. How ugly and how vulgar it often is. Amateur songs, syrupy renditions of tragic verses from Scripture, clouds of peace, light, love, and joy affect a soft sentimentality far worse than anything we encountered in our childhoods, even at novenas or forty hours, and sicken the healthy aesthetic sense. Compared to the chaste Gregorian chants of our youth, the songs sung in our churches in the 1980s, written by flying nuns and long-haired scholastics (seen on dust jackets, as I once was, in their jeans and turtlenecks) disgust the soul. True religion survives maudlin aesthetics. Believing in the church is often a form of crucifixion. Desolate, the soul cries out for liberation from such abuse. Nevertheless, we pray: "Not my will but thine be done."
[Hat tip to S. Ramos, via Christopher]

Anti-Western Orthodoxy, again

Even while objecting to Rod Dreher's defection for Eastern Orthodoxy, which we discussed as a question under a larger consideration of the question of "Apostasy (αποστασία)" (Musings, December 16, 2006), one might sympathize with his complaints about how troubling and confusing things seem to be aboard the Barque of St. Peter at times. Perhaps you recall his laundry list of complaints -- sex scandal, poor catechesis, infighting, ambiguity, etc., etc.

Yet, having said that, when not being in communion with the Bishop of Rome becomes the sine qua non of one's identity as an Orthodox Christian, one may begin to question what master he serves. We examined the phenomenon of "Anti-Western Orthodoxy" back in Musings, January 26, 2005. And I've just received notice of an article entitled "Mount Athos Objects to Ecumenical Openness" by George Weigel recounting how dismayed the Athonite monks were with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the way he treated his Roman guest, Pope Benedict XVI, in Constantinople last December.
Why? Because, the monks complained, "the Pope was received as though he were the canonical bishop of Rome." There were other complaints, but that was the first listed in a statement released last December 30 by the Assembly of Representatives and Superiors of the twenty monasteries: Why was Bartholomew treating Benedict as though the latter were, in fact, the bishop of Rome?
If we can't agree on that much, we may have a little problem.