May 24, 2005
After much thought and prayer, I have decided to exit the world of blogging and to stop updating A Saintly Salmagundi. The archives will still remain on-line however.
I assure you that I have not been "silenced" nor forced to make this decision by any outside authority. It is my choice and one that I have been contemplating for some time now. I've decided to shut down the blog for three main reasons:
1. I feel that the life of the blog has run its course. I have been finding it difficult to find quality things on which to post and was having a difficult time keeping it up to date with items of substance. The best analogy I can use is that like a good sitcom, it went off the air before it stopped being funny.
2. This original purpose of this blog was to provide a laugh here and there, but I noticed as it began to grow more popular it became a cause for more contention than jocularity. Now I have to be cautious with just about everything I post because it could lead to a slew of rude and condescending remarks. I never wanted the blog to be an occasion of strife and dischord.
3. Most importantly, I have a number of large projects that I would like to complete in the near future (including a book on John Paul II's "Theology of the Body") and I would like time to concentrate on those.
So, it has been a great run. I thank all my faithful readers for their support over the years. God bless and keep the faith!
Eucharistic Reflection no. 31
It takes the gift of faith for a Christian to see beyond the appearances of bread and wine and to perceive Our Blessed Lord present there. In addition, it takes the same gift of faith to see beyond the appearances of the man chosen to be the Successor of Peter on earth and perceive Our Blessed Lord present there. Indeed, both the Eucharist and the papacy are united not only as gifts left to the Church by Christ, but also as two ways of being present to his Church after his Ascension, albeit it in a hidden manner. Christ still walks among us in the Blessed Sacrament and in the Holy Father, but it takes faith to see him present there. This veiled existence unites both of these mysteries in a mysterious way that only those with a deep faith are able to perceive.
May 23, 2005
Paolini vs. Paoline
Important! From a Daughter of St. Paul friend:
The current issue of America, in reporting on Thomas Reese's resignation, refers to a Vatican action in response to complaints about Famiglia Cristiana, a "Pauline" magazine in Italy. I have already tried to notify our publishing house about this error-but everyone is on retreat, so I am doing something provisional myself here and now:
Famiglia Cristiana is published by "StPauls," the publishing division of the Society of St. Paul, our brother community. They are a distinct canonical entity and their publishing house, imprint, logo and everything else (other than the Pauline spirituality and charism itself) is specific to them. In Italian, the brothers are sometimes informally called "Paolini" (notice the final "i," which is a masculine plural ending), but in publishing the adjective "Pauline" (final "e" is feminine plural) refers to the Daughters of St. Paul publishing houses. This distinction cannot be conveyed in English, and so it leads to mistakes when translated directly, which is obviously what happened with the news service on which America was dependent.
Further info: the action was limited not only to the Society of St. Paul, but to the Italian province of the Society of St. Paul. Our brothers here in the U.S. (StPauls, Alba House) were not at all touched by this, except perhaps emotionally.
May 22, 2005
Paul is currently Dean of Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, Ambridge PA... he has an encyclopedic knowledge of popular culture.
From a Reader
I think I must share something very disturbing with you. Considering your work in the field of orthodox catholic preaching and the collection of action figures, it is clear you are the foremost expect in these fields.
I must tell you the truth. It may shock you. It may make you cry. It might make you want to blow things up with firecrackers. It may give you the hooboo jeebies. I'm not sure how you'll react. But I must take this risk. What follows is The Truth™.
The Truth™: Cats is trying to steal our base by launching every cheesy OCP "hymn."
I discovered this last Friday while driving home from my home parish. I am your garden variety orthodox Tiber-tempted Anglo-Catholic (and there aren't many of us around in New Jersey). It takes me 45 minutes to get home from the parish now that I moved to Central New Jersey. (Our motto: It doesn't smell too bad down here.) Suffice it to say, I know every inch of New Jersey's most infamous expressway.
Anyhow, while driving on the New Jersey Turnpike, in the more carcinogenic areas thereof...this revelation came to mind. While humming the New Jersey Roman Catholic Standard, "On Eagles Wings," the aliens (or toxic chemicals of the Turnpike) communicated their dangerous message: All our base are belong to them (us).
The evidence? Listen to this!
Is this a coincidence? I DON'T THINK SO! The same can be said for "Celtic Alleluia," which is equally insidious.
It is obvious that we get signal (what?) and we are on the way to destruction unless we launch every plainsong chant for great justice.
May 21, 2005
Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards said Friday that members of a Ponchatoula church cult accused of sexually abusing children and animals told detectives they carried out the practices for years as part of a devil-worshipping ritual involving cat blood.
May 20, 2005
Fr. Lappe preaches up a storm!
May 19, 2005
Another Letter to the Editor About Cloning
The logic used by John Maginnis in his May 18, 2005 article in The Times entitled “Research Stems Controversy” escapes me. He says that the “cell created and divided in the petri dish is not a human being and cannot grow into one, as the process of transferring the nucleus destroys certain essential enzymes.” I was under the impression that both “reproductive” and “therapeutic” cloning use the same process of cloning (somatic nuclear cell transfer) to produce the embryo, but “therapeutic” cloning harvests stem cells at an early stage (thus destroying the embryo), while “reproductive” cloning allows the embryo to develop until some stage it is implanted into a womb to continue growing. If the cell created is not a “human being” in “therapeutic” cloning, logically it would not be a human being in “reproductive” cloning either, since they both come from the same process. So, by his own logic neither can be called human beings because they would both lack the “essential enzymes” needed to become a human being. Therefore, why does Mr. Maginnis seem to oppose “reproductive” cloning and not “therapeutic” cloning? Under his view both would be harmless, since according to his argument, cloning a human being would be simply impossible.
May 18, 2005
Tonight - Buddhist Monk to Speak at Local Catholic Hospital
Tonight from 7:00-9:00pm at Our Lady of
Lourdes Medical Center in Lafayette, LA a Buddisht Monk named Khentrul Rinpoche will be speaking on "The Wheel of Mindfulness." This will not be the first time this Buddhist monk will have spoken at this hospital.
If you would like more information, or if you would like to lodge a complaint that a Buddist monk will be allowed to speak at a Catholic hospital, you can contact the Executive Department of the hospital at this e-mail address. Please be charitable.
The Vatican Website is reporting that the resignation of the Bishop of Linz was accepted today according to Canon 401§2 which reads:
A diocesan bishop who has become less able to fulfill his office because of ill health or some other grave cause is earnestly requested to present his resignation from office.
I have a funny feeling that the Vatican "earnestly requested" his resignation.
May 17, 2005
This one is about Fr. Reese and America magazine.
Can anyone out there tell me anything about this supposed "healing-mystic"?
A dramatic rise in repeat abortions has reinforced fears that women are increasingly having terminations for lifestyle reasons.
One in three abortions is now carried out on women who have had at least one before. Figures from the British Pregnancy Advisory Service suggest that women who become pregnant at university or at the start of their careers see abortion as a means of delaying motherhood.
May 16, 2005
I am not sure if any of you are aware, but Cardinal Ratzinger ordained my class at the North American College to the deaconate on October 7, 1999 at St. Peter's Basilica. I had already been ordained by my own bishop the previous summer - but I was still able to attend in choir.
So, for those interested here is the text of his homily from that ordination.
What is almost as impressive as the martyrdom St. Andrew underwent was the language employed by Pope Pius XII in the encyclical Invicti Athletae to describe his torture and death. After having been interrogated about and admitting to being a Catholic Priest the Cossacks became enraged. The Vicar of Peter describes his final hours, “At these words, those wicked men, utterly devoid of humanity, were roused to a fiendish barbarity, and reached such a degree of cruelty that they inflicted still more horrible sufferings on the soldier of Christ. Once again, ‘he was scourged, a crown like that of Jesus Christ was bound about his head, he was struck heavy blows and lay wounded by a scimitar. Next, his right eye was gouged out, strips of skin were torn off, his wounds were savagely scorched and rubbed with prickly bundles of straw. Nor was that enough: his ears, nose and lips were cut off, his tongue torn out by the root, and finally, a weapon plunged into his heart. And, at long last, the valiant athlete, three hours after midday, displaying a truly marvelous example of fortitude, was pierced by a sword and achieved the glory of martyrdom’" (no. 19).
Kiddies, eat these Pop Tarts and be evil like me!
Here's my question - if Darth Vader is advertising for Pop Tarts, that must mean he likes to eat them. So, how does he eat them? Does he turn them sideways and put them through that little grill near his mouth? Or as one reader has suggested - maybe the little grill thing is actually a toaster (and the buttons on his chest, besides getting cable, actually have a "light" and "dark" knob for the toaster).
Another thing - Darth Vader is a ruthless intergalactic killer (he is the Dark Lord of the Sith, for crying out loud), do I really want him advertising a kid's food? What kind of message is that sending to our children?
May 15, 2005
A French study of 2,837 births - the first to investigate the link between terminations and extremely premature births - found that mothers who had previously had an abortion were 1.7 times more likely to give birth to a baby at less than 28 weeks' gestation. Many babies born this early die soon after birth, and a large number who survive suffer serious disability.
May 14, 2005
My Letter to the Editor
I sent this letter to the editor of The Advocate yesterday. I am waiting to see if they will publish it.
The Friday May 13, 2005 edition of The Advocate contained two pieces on cloning and embryonic stem cell research. The first was a front-page article entitled “Cloning bills head to House floor” dealing with the current debate on the floor of the state legislature. The second was an opinion piece by Froma Harrop entitled “Antiscience militants cost Midwest” in which the author laments the fact that the Midwest is hesitant to accept therapeutic human cloning. In regards to the status of the cloned embryo (presumably at the early stages of development) the first article quotes Dr. Claude Bouchard, a proponent of therapeutic human cloning, as saying, “We are not talking about human life here. We are talking about a cell culture.” And in her piece, Ms. Harrop presents a similar argument to justify cloning when she writes, “Some ‘pro-life’ activists oppose this work because it destroys embryos. We’re talking about a few cells in a lab dish.”
The comments of both individuals cut to the heart of the therapeutic cloning and embryonic stem cell research debate – the status of the cloned embryo. If it is not truly human (and just a clump of cells, as they argue) then there is no ethical problem. But, on the other hand, if it is truly a human then such experimentation is morally and legally unacceptable.
The core of both of their arguments is that what is produced through the cloning process is a small amount of cells and not truly a human being. An embryo has fewer cells than a one-year-old infant, and a one-year-old infant has fewer cells than a grown adult. If the number of cells is the distinguishing characteristic for defining what makes a human being, at what number of cells is the cut-off point for being human nor not? (What’s more the defining cell count will have to always be defined in relation to another more fully developed being of the same species). If the embryo is somehow “less human” because of the amount of cells it has, then is the one-year-old infant “less human” because of the inferior amount of cells it possesses in comparison to the grown adult?
This “cell culture” is also not as well developed as fetus, a toddler, or an adult – does it make it less than human? A basic knowledge of philosophy will help us to see that these distinctions are nothing more than “accidental” stages of development in an individual member of the human species. Each are individual human “substances” at a different stage of development. To say that the cells at the earliest stage of development are not human is to confuse the categories of “substance” and “accidents” – substantially it is a human being in the stage of development as a zygote (“cell culture”). Otherwise, to accept this flawed logic would be the equivalent of saying that a substantial change is possible – that a human could become a giraffe.
This level of discourse might seem challenging, however it is necessary unless we reduce ourselves to arguments based on emotion or on other logical fallacies. Science is important to clarifying our thought in this discussion, but even more important is philosophy. Unless we can clarify our terms as to what it means to be a human being, we risk the exploitation and slaughter of millions of humans simply because they are understood and defined by some individuals as less than human.
By divorcing marital relations from the possibility of having children, Keyes said, society has spawned an ethic that not only sanctions abortion (because producing children is deemed undesirable and irrelevant to sexual relations), but supports same-sex marriage--which centers in sexual activity without the possibility of procreation.
A woman's daughter was raped, and she's trying to figure out why a pharmacist refused to fill a doctor's prescription for the Morning-After Pill. To avoid identifying the rape victim, we are not identifying her mother who says a pharmacist at Walgreen's on Moss Street in Lafayette told her, "she could not fill it, because it was against her beliefs." She went on to say, "This lady took it on herself to make the decision for me and my family, and I think it's wrong."
May 13, 2005
Levada will be the head of the CDF.
May 12, 2005
The same predictable stuff.
Check out this German car ad. If you look close about halfway through you'll see some ghostly mist appear around the car. This unexplained mist freaked the producers out so they never aired it, but it later got leaked on the internet. You've got to look close, but it is creepy.
I've been hearing a lot about this book, I'll need to pick up a copy.
Bouncing Baptized Babies
May 11, 2005
Drink this tasty adult beverage from Germany to toast the new Pontiff!
Especially Summary #3.
This is Why I Usually Do Not Dialogue
First, it is an undeniable fact that you can get the published works of Margaret Sanger and read the eugenic and racist quotes yourself. It is not like they are quoting from some private interview. Either the quotes are in the books or they are not. It is that simple. So one can question the person who uses the quotes, but regardless of the impeccability of the author, the quotes are either there are they are not there and empirical investigation can prove it.
Second, for liberteaser - the same argument brought up by the commentors for the post applies to what you said. We are talking about the founder of an institution. The analogue to Margaret Sanger here would be Jesus, not any of his followers. Logic 101 would teach you that. Was Jesus a eugenicist? Was he a racist?
This is the problem all rules of discourse and logic are thrown out in dialogue with pro-aborts. It is a pointless venture. That is why I usually resort to satire.
Again, it has made me return to this previous post.
Eucharistic Reflection no. 30
It was in the Upper Room that Our Blessed Lord gave us the gift of his Body and Blood in the Eucharist. It was also in that same Upper Room that he poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit upon his disciples as tongues of fire. It is the continuity of the two gifts given in the Upper Room that help us to better understand the intimate connection between the Eucharist and the Holy Spirit. But if center ourselves in the Upper Room meditating on these two mysteries we will see that Pentecost was not the first time the Holy Spirit descended upon that room in power. The first time was indeed at the first gathering of the apostles with Our Lord during the Last Supper where He gave the Church the gift of the Eucharist; for even that first time in order to transform the bread and wine into his body and blood he would have called down the Holy Spirit upon those gifts (epiclesis) just as the priest standing in persona Christi at each Holy Mass must do. So the mystery of the Upper Room and the union of the two gifts continues even today in Christ’s Church.
Ratzinger on Tongues of Fire
This is an awesome quote taken from a 1986 Bavarian radio broadcast:
That is what distinguishes the Christian—that he has received a tongue of fire in addition to his human nature. That is how the Church came into being. Each person receives the tongue of fire that is wholly and personally his and, as this person, he is a Christian in a unique and inimitable way. Admittedly, on who encounters the average Christian today is likely to inquire: “But where, then, is the tongue of fire?” The words spoken by Christian tongues today are unfortunately anything but fire. They taste all too much like water that has been left standing and is barely lukewarm, neither hot nor cold. We have no desire to burn either ourselves or others, but in not doing so we place ourselves at a distance from the Holy Spirit and our Christian Faith degenerates into a self-made philosophy of life that wants to disturb as few people as possible of our comfortable habits and relegates the sharpness of protest to a place where it can cause the least inconvenience to our customary way of life. If we elude the burning fire of the Holy Spirit, it is only at first glace that being Christian seems easy for us. What is comfortable for the individual is uncomfortable for the whole. Where we no longer expose ourselves to God’s fire, the frictions among us become insupportable and the Church… is torn by the cries of interior factionalism. Only when we are not afraid of the tongues of fire or of the strong wind that accompanies them does the Church become an icon of the Holy Spirit. And only then does she open the world to the light of God. The Church had her origin when the disciples gathered with one mind in the room where they celebrated the last supper and prayed there together. It is thus that she begins over and over again.
Maybe they could use some non-invasive touch therapy?
May 10, 2005
Time Magazine is reporting on it as a "done deal" and from what I understand it is the buzz around Rome ever since a newspaper there broke the story this morning. Sources say it may even happen by the end of the week.
I eagerly await the response of the blogging community.
Rube Goldberg Machine Video Game
About 10 years ago I was addicted to a PC game where you had to sucessfully build a Rube Goldberg machine on each level to advance to the next more complex one. Does anyone out there know if there is any video game out there now that lets you build these virtual Rube Goldberg machines?
Thanks to Dawn Eden, I have found out that our "friends" at Planned Parenthood have a little write-in advice column with gynecologist Dr. Vanessa Cullins. In this week's column, she informs us that personhood begins "when a baby takes its first breath." Brilliant.
I was so impressed by her response, that I decided to e-mail her a few questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Here are the ones I sent. I eagerly await my response.
1. Dear Dr. Cullins,
I read in one of your recent columns that you believe that one becomes a person once they take their first breath. So, in regards to "partial-birth abortions," presumably the fetus takes a breath while its head is in the mother's birth canal before its brains are sucked out. According to your definition, does that mean you are killing a person?
2. Dear Dr. Cullins,
From the Planned Parenthood website, it appears to me that you are an African-American. How do you feel being employed by an organization founded by Margaret Sanger who is quoted as saying, "We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population"? This of course was to be achieved through her so-called ""Negro Project" - which would exterminate blacks and other minorities as "undesirables".
And don't you find it ironic that you are a Negro physican employed by her organization, especially after she once wrote, "I note that you doubt it worthwhile to employ a full-time Negro physician. It seems to me from my experience … that, while the colored Negroes have great respect for white doctors, they can get closer to their own members and more or less lay their cards on the table, which means their ignorance, superstitions and doubts. They do not do this with white people and if we can train the Negro doctor at the clinic, he can go among them with enthusiasm and … knowledge, which … will have far-reaching results among the colored people." It seems that you are a fulfillment of her wish.
Maybe they will have to bring in the wrestling midgets?
May 09, 2005
Ignatius Insight is doing a series of pieces on Catholic bloggers. Check it out.
May 08, 2005
May 07, 2005
Eucharistic Reflection no. 29
In the oft-quoted words of a 20th century social critic, as a society we are “entertaining ourselves to death.” Our culture is being slowly decimated by the constant need to be amused and entertained. The same holds true today for the Catholic Church in the United States. People have come to expect the priest to be a joke-telling entertainer, a nice guy who puts-on a lively mass filled with action and loud music. They expect the same thing from liturgy as they do from the Cineplex. And unfortunately, this is a reality in too many Catholic parishes across the nation, which has led to watering-down of the faith-lives of so many Catholics. But the truth is that the Eucharist is not entertainment and is not meant to be “fun.” If the Mass is truly a sacrifice, then it is there for our salvation and not our amusement. This certainly does not mean that we cannot approach the Mass with joy for this great gift, nor does it mean that Mass must be unduly somber. But it does mean that priests and faithful must be on guard to protect the sense of mystery and awe within the Sacred Liturgy.
I am sure this is going to give everyone a chance to weigh in if they agree more with John Paul's or Benedict's theory on beatification and canonization.
May 06, 2005
Get more details here.
May 05, 2005
Will these people ever learn?
Cloned People, OK. Cloned Cats, Not OK.
There is a bill being proposed in California that would outlaw the cloning of cats and other shuch pets, because animal rights activists say it is "unethical." However, a majority of Californians feel that it is OK to clone humans and destroy them to harvest stem cells.
Please visit the site of Dr Marcellino D'Ambrosio. He has a large number of great Catholic resources.
Faith-based video games.
Can you think of some possible titles?
May 04, 2005
The news media were quick to point out that many liberal American Catholics disagree with the church on such issues as celibate priests, no women being ordained and birth control. Well, there is a simple solution. Let them get out and become Unitarians or whatever pleases them.
If, after counseling, the dissidents won't shut up, then they should be ex-communicated. That's the church's polite way of saying "Go to hell."
I would suggest to Protestants that they worry more about preachers with six-figure salaries, mansions and expensive cars than whether priests are married or celibate. I believe Christ said something about it being easier to push a camel through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. That is certainly not a modern thought.
Eucharistic Reflection no. 28
“If only I could touch the hem of his garment, then I would be cured,” thought the woman afflicted with a hemorrhage (cf. Matt 9:21). So she reached out in faith, and the power flowing out of Christ healed her. If simply touching the hem of Our Blessed Lord’s garment provides such a powerful healing, imagine what type of healing consuming his body and blood should bring! Christ becomes our food and drink and in doing so wishes to heal us in the deepest parts of our being, in a way that would eclipse the healing granted to the woman with the hemorrhage. Yet how little faith we often have! How we doubt Our Lord’s ability to heal, especially through the gift of the Eucharist. If only we had more faith in his power to heal us, imagine the miracles the Eucharistic Lord could work in our lives.
AMITE -- More than 500 people crowded into the Tangipahoa Parish School Board room Tuesday as the board voted unanimously to ask its insurance carrier to reconsider hiring a Christian legal defense team in the board's case against the ACLU.
More Great New Music
May 03, 2005
I used to be a big fan of Ryan Adams back in the late 90s when he was with Whiskeytown and in the year 2000 with his Heartbreaker album. But ever since then, in my opinion, he has been stinking it up - erratically going all over the place with his music with no direction. Well with his new band and his new double CD called Cold Roses he is back to doing what he does best - Whiskeytown-style alt country. If you liked old Whiskeytown you will dig this new CD.
Great Ordination Gift
With ordination season just around the corner, might I make a suggestion for a great ordination gift? How about the little book of Latin prayers entitled Preces Selectae available from Editiones Familiae Sancti Hieronymi in Florida (no. 24 on the page). They have nice prayers for priests in the back.
May 02, 2005
Coming to a college campus near you.
You'll never belieive it, but I know Fr. TQ. Back when I was in Rome he was in the Sabbatical program at the North American College. He is just as wacky as what this article says. In fact I have a letter he sent out at Christmas time where the cover had a picture of the Pope, a piece of pumpkin pie, and some other items floating in space.
May 01, 2005
This should provide great reading for this month dedicated to Mary.