(Courtesy of the illustrious and slender Father Shane)
November 30, 2009
(Courtesy of the illustrious and slender Father Shane)
November 27, 2009
November 25, 2009
There are plenty of creative and effective things Catholics and other Christians can do to push back against militant secularism, and this new button campaign is a good example. It's an overt way of publicly making an important point — i.e., Christmas is about Christmas, not some generic "holidays" — and you don't even have to open your mouth to do it. To be sure, wearing one of these buttons will likely lead to opportunities to speak verbally about this message, but even if no one queries (or challenges) you about it, they will read the message, and it will stick with them.
Over 200,000 shoppers are wearing buttons this Christmas season that proclaim a straightforward message to retailers: "It's OK, Wish Me A Merry Christmas(tm)." Individuals and churches around the country are partnering with the Wish Me A Merry Christmas Campaign mobilizing advocates energized for a return to the traditional, convivial greeting, bearing buttons that make a clear statement - "It's OK, Wish Me A Merry Christmas(tm) (www.wmamc.com)". Over 200,000 of these buttons have been distributed nationally.
With over 200,000 buttons on the streets and in stores this year, local store associates are likely to be presented with the opportunity to deviate from the corporate holiday wishing policy of top retailers like the Gap and Best Buy, and stealthily wish their customer "Merry Christmas" instead of the generic "Happy Holidays". But since 96% of Americans celebrate Christmas (Gallup Poll, 2004), it's likely that the store cashiers would prefer to wish their customers "Merry Christmas" as well. In fact 88% of Americans state that "It's okay to wish 'Merry Christmas'." (Gallup Poll). . . . (source)
November 24, 2009
November 23, 2009
November 20, 2009
November 19, 2009
In related news, a junior-high science teacher in Dismal Seepage, Illinois, is urging the dean of the MIT science department to change his mind about the law of gravity.
The archbishop of Canterbury today pleaded with Roman Catholics to set aside their differences with Anglicans over the issue of female bishops, insisting there was more uniting the denominations than dividing them.Rowan Williams was giving a lecture in Rome before Sunday's meeting with the pope, their first encounter since the Vatican's surprise announcement of a special institution for traditionalist Anglicans wanting to convert to Catholicism.In his address at the Gregorian University, Williams said the Anglican communion was proof that churches could stay together in spite of their differences.The communion has teetered on the edge of schism for nearly a decade over the issue of gay clergy but has retained a sliver of fellowship. Williams urged Roman Catholics to continue their 35-year dialogue with Anglicans in spite of theological and ideological divisions.He said: "The various agreed statements of the churches stress that the church is a community, in which human beings are made sons and daughters of God."When so much agreement has been established in first-order matters about the identity and mission of the church, is it justifiable to treat other issues as equally vital for its health and integrity?"Those issues included papal primacy, female clergy and the relations between the local and universal church in making decisions. "Is there a level of mutual recognition which allows a shared theological understandingof primacy alongside a diversity of canonical and juridical arrangements?" he wonderedWilliams challenged Roman Catholic thinking on female bishops, saying there was no proof that their ordination damaged the church.For his part the "ecumenical glass" was "genuinely half-full". Catholics and Anglicans had achieved "striking" agreement on the broader questions. All that stood between them now were the "second order" issues of church organisation.In an explicit but fleeting reference to the pope's move last month, Williams said it was an "imaginative pastoral response, but did not break any new ecclesiological ground." His speech was aimed at reviving dialogue between Anglicans and Catholics. But it also carried an implicit threat that there would be little point in continuing if the Catholic side continued to insist that the obstacles were insuperable.Williams said: "The question is whether this unfinished business is quite as fundamental as our Roman Catholic friends believe."He seemed tense, biting the sides of his fingers while he listened to the speaker who followed. His anxiety is understandable. . . . (continue reading)
November 17, 2009
Neither did I. And that's why this article in today's Daily Mail online caught my eye and raised my eyebrows.
Nazi Germany celebrated Christmas without Christ with the help of swastika tree baubles, 'Germanic' cookies and a host of manufactured traditions, a new exhibition has shown.
The way the celebration was gradually taken over and exploited for propaganda purposes by Hitler's Nazis is detailed in a new exhibition.
Rita Breuer has spent years scouring flea markets for old German Christmas ornaments.
She and her daughter Judith developed a fascination with the way Christmas was used by the atheist Nazis, who tried to turn it into a pagan winter solstice celebration.
Selected objects from the family's enormous collection have gone on show at the National Socialism Documentation Centre in Cologne.
'Christmas was a provocation for the Nazis - after all, the baby Jesus was a Jewish child,' Judith Breuer told the German newspaper Spiegel. 'The most important celebration in the year didn't fit with their racist beliefs so they had to react, by trying to make it less Christian.'
The exhibition includes swastika-shaped cookie-cutters and Christmas tree baubles shaped like Iron Cross medals.
The Nazis attempted to persuade housewives to bake cookies in the shape of swastikas, and they replaced the Christian figure of Saint Nicholas, who traditionally brings German children treats on December 6, with the Norse god Odin.
The symbol that posed a particular problem for the Nazis was the star, which traditionally decorates Christmas trees. . . . (continue reading)
November 16, 2009
Ireland, once a mighty powerhouse of priestly vocations, sent men by the thousands to the United States, Canada, and elsewhere to help build the Church here, over the last 150 years. But the Emerald Isle is now struggling just to ordain enough priests to meet its own ever-dwindling church-going Catholic population.
DUBLIN’S CATHOLIC archdiocese will soon have barely enough priests to serve its 199 parishes, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has said.“We have 46 priests over 80 and only two less than 35 years of age. In a very short time we will just have the bare number of priests required to have one active priest for each of our 199 parishes,” he said in Dublin’s pro-cathedral at the weekend.
He was speaking at a Mass on Saturday to celebrate the feast of St Lawrence O’Toole, principal patron of the Dublin Catholic archdiocese, of which he was archbishop from 1162 until 1180. Last April Archbishop Martin said there were now 10 times more priests over 70 than under 40 in the archdiocese.
In April also it emerged that the number of priests in Tuam Catholic archdiocese is set to fall by 30 per cent over the next four years, leaving most parishes there with just one resident priest. . . . (continue reading)
A call came in recently from a woman who wanted to remind me about all the "good fruits" associated with the alleged Marian apparitions at Medjugorje. You know, the thousands of confessions and conversions, rosaries and other prayers prayed, and even numerous priestly vocations which are attributed to men having made a pilgrimage there.
November 14, 2009
The Archdiocese of Nassau, Bahamas, has come out in support of legislature to deal with marital rape.“To the extent that the proposed legislation seeks to address the unfortunate reality of marital rape and in the measure that it seeks to preserve the dignity of every person and to safeguard marriage as a covenant of life and love between a man and woman, the Catholic Church offers its prayerful support”, reads an August 27 statement from Archbishop Patrick Pinder on the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill 2009.Giving the Church’s perspective, Archbishop Pinder said God created man and woman in such a way that through their bodies “it would be self-evident that they are called to love and give themselves to one another in the gift of marriage”, a sacrament according to the Catholic understanding. “By its nature, then, marriage is an intimate union of life and love.” . . . (continue reading)
Here's more good and encouraging news from the episcopal front, this time coming from Spain, where the Catholic bishops there are girding for battle with the country's leftist, pro-abortion government.
MADRID, November 13, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The secretary general of the Spanish bishops' conference, Auxiliary Bishop Juan Antonio Martinez Camino of Madrid, warned that Spanish Catholic legislators who vote in favor of a bill to liberalize abortion which is currently before parliament would publicly place themselves in an "objective state of sin" and therefore may not receive Communion."Excommunication is provided in the Code of Canon Law for those who cooperate actively in the practice of abortion," Bishop Martinez Camino stated in an AFP report.He said Catholics cannot support the legalization of abortion and if they do "they will objectively find themselves in a public state of sin and may not be admitted to Holy Communion."While "the Church cannot judge their subjectivity," he added, those who "directly collaborate" in or promote abortion incur excommunication.At the same time, Bishop Martinez Camino said the Church reaches out to women who have had an abortion or who are tempted to abort.Encouraging those who have aborted to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, he said, "Those who have not gone to confession are encouraged to do so because God wants to offer them a solution and deep peace." . . . (continue reading)
Catholic radio is expanding rapidly across the country, and it's very gratifying to see how many good things are happening — in particular conversions to the Catholic Church — that result when Catholic radio starts up in a given locale. A new station in the Immaculate Heart Radio network has gone live recently in Salt Lake City, blanketing most of the State of Utah, and another large station will go live in December, booming across the metro Phoenix area with 24/7 Catholic programming.
November 12, 2009
I'll tell you what. I am stoked to see the new wave of American bishops taking courageous, articulate, and effective public stands against evil in its many forms. This is exactly what the Heavenly Doctor ordered (John 10:11-15), and it's something I haven't seen, at least not like this, not in such numbers, in my nearly 50 years of being Catholic. Thank God Almighty that more and more of our bishops are standing up like men to fight the good fight. May the Lord strengthen them!
Archbishop Robert J. Carlson [is under attack] for donating to the effort to uphold traditional marriage in Maine. This successful effort defeated a ballot initiative that would have allowed couples to pretend that living in a sodomitical relationship is the same as marriage, with all of the attendant legal rights and obligations thereof.
Tim Townsend has the story at STLToday. He attempts to paint the Church in a bad light by juxtaposing this donation against the layoffs this summer at Catholic Charities:
The St. Louis Archdiocese released the following statement to the Post-Dispatch:
In June of this year, Archbishop Richard Malone of Portland, Maine sent a letter to all U.S. bishops asking for financial support for issues the church considers to be moral issues. Archbishop Robert J. Carlson approved a donation for $10,000 which was charged to the special needs fund. This fund has traditionally been the archbishop’s for discretionary spending, not for formal operations, and is funded by private gifts. These funds were already available when Archbishop Carlson arrived in St. Louis. Archbishops of St. Louis have made donations in the past to help other dioceses around the world for various causes ranging from disaster relief, to pro-life issues.
Carlson was installed on June 10. The contribution from the St. Louis Archdiocese was received by the Portland diocese on July 16.
Less than a month earlier, on June 22, the archdiocese eliminated four positions at Catholic Charities, the largest private provider of social services in Missouri. Catholic Charities president, Monsignor Mark Ullrich said at the time that the job cuts were “due to our need to economically downsize.”
The archdiocese has been stung by the struggling economy. In January, it eliminated 25 part-time and full-time positions - representing 6 percent of the jobs within its administrative and educational offices, not including Catholic Charities. Last November, the archdiocese said its revenue had dropped 37 percent because of decreases in investment income and contributions.________________________See, the insinuation here is that the Archdiocese is either lying about the reasons for the layoffs, or else is willing to spend money to discriminate against homosexuals but won't spend money to help the poor. A pretty lame effort, even for the Post-Dispatch.
November 11, 2009
As for the question about racism in the doctrines and practices of the Mormon Church, your indignant comments fly in the face of the facts. For the last century and a half the Mormon Church has preached a message of racial inequality based on the theory that God has "cursed" certain people with dark skin. As you well know, this curse applies both to blacks and those of "Lamanite" descent, although for different reasons. To make my point I'll focus just on the Lamanites.
THE BOOK of Mormon says God "cursed" the Lamanites (whom Joseph Smith alleged were originally white-skinned Palestinian Jews from the family of Laman, son of Lehi, who settled in the New World around the year 600 B.C.) in retaliation for their sins by turning them into Indians with dark skin and hair (1 Nephi 12:23; 2 Nephi 5:21-24; Jacob 3:3-5; Alma 3:6; Mormon 5:15).
The Mormon Church teaches that the Lamanites were the forerunners of North American Indians as well as of Mexicans and other Latin Americans. These are described in the Book of Mormon in unflattering terms: "dark," "filthy," "abominable," "loathsome," "idle," "wicked," "sorely cursed with skins of darkness," and "beyond the description of that which hath ever been amongst us."
If this weren't enough to demonstrate that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints teaches that certain races are inferior because of the color of their skin (isn't that the definition of racism?), please recall that the Book of Mormon repeatedly emphasizes the notion that white skin is "pure and delightsome" and that brown skin is "filthy and loathsome."
TO BE FAIR, I should mention that the Mormon Church does hold out hope to Indians, Mexicans, and all those who have been tainted by the Lamanite curse. The Book of Mormon explains that "Lamanitish" people who accept the Mormon gospel can hope to have their skins turned white.
In Jacob 3:8 the white-skinned Nephites are warned about the wages of sin: "O my brethren, I fear that unless ye shall repent of your sins that their [the Lamanites'] skins will be whiter than yours, when ye shall be brought with them before the throne of God." If you need more convincing about this issue see also 3 Nephi 2:15, 2 Nephi 30:6, and Alma 23:18.
Notice that I quote from the Book of Mormon--I'm not sneaking in "obscure comments," although I could have quoted zillions of 'em, and you know it, from "obscure" Mormon leaders such as the prophets Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, plus Bruce R. McConkie and Mark E. Peterson, both former members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
Truth or consequences, Robert. Do you believe God "cursed" people by giving them dark skin, or don't you? The ramifications of your answer seem agonizingly clear: If you don't believe it, you deny an explicit teaching of the Book of Mormon and over 150 years of official Mormon doctrine promulgated by prophets, apostles, and general authorities. If you do believe God curses some people with dark skin, you'll have a hard time convincing people Mormon theology isn't racist. . . . (continue reading)