“Just another guy with a blog.  No big whoop.”

December 31, 2008

Lessons Learned in 2008

I wish I had thought to write about this, but Elizabeth Foss has already done it, and more gracefully, insightfully, and interestingly than I could have. She's coming at this from the perspective of a wife and mother, so her insights should be particularly relevant to you ladies, but I still found a lot there for my own personal reflection as a man. This is worth sharing with your network of friends and followers.

December 30, 2008

Funny, Yes, But Also (Sometimes) True

10 Municipal Bankruptcies in Coming Next Year?

From the “how bad will it get?” file, comes this recent story from Bloomberg.com about the likelihood of a slew of cities and counties, especially in my home state of California (we're expats living in Ohio now), going belly up. It's already happened (e.g., Vallejo & Orange County), and what I worry about is the potential domino effect that can bring a lot of other things crashing down when a cascade of bankruptcies picks up momentum.

The accountant who predicted the nation’s largest municipal bankruptcy says as many as 10 insolvencies will roil the $2.7 trillion U.S. market for state, county and city debt next year as public finances worsen amid calls for federal aid to state and local governments. . . . ” (read more)

The Pornification of Our Generation

My compliments  to Matthew Archbold at Creative Minority Report for articulately verbalizing something my wife and I have groused about for a long time:

So I took the kids out to the mall to shop for Mom two days before Christmas. I want them to know that Christmas is not just about receiving but giving as well. 

“Now let me ask a weird hypothetical. If I showed up at the Mall wearing only briefs and say my wife showed up in a minuscule bra and panties we'd likely be dragged from the premises and arrested. And rightly so, especially if you've seen me in briefs. But no matter what, it's bad, right? So why is it OK for some of these stores to have huge window displays of essentially naked people. I mean, are these store owners out of their minds. Walking by Abercrombie or Victoria's Secret is essentially a walking tour of porn for children. Hey kids step on up and peer inside the sick twisted mind of adulthood where we view others as vessels of flesh waiting to be boarded and devoured.  . . .” (read more)

Yet Another Reason Why I Love Technology

“Lectures in Dominican History,” given in to Dominican seminarians the 1980s by Father John Hinnebusch, O.P., are now available in a complete collection at i-Tunes. Check it out! (Because, for some reason, there is no permalink embedded on the blog I'm sending you to, be sure to scroll down to the post titled “Dominican History Podcast” to access the stuff I'm talking about.

A Lesson in Joy: The Death of a Young Catholic Wife and Mother

Although I never met Emilie Lemmons, a writer for The Catholic Spirit newspaper (Archdiocese of St. Paul and Mineapolis), I saw her work regularly, and I was shocked and saddened to learn of her death on Christmas Eve from lung cancer. She was just 40.

One of her final columns was a wrenchingly honest account of her struggle to find true joy in the midst of her painful trek toward her own Calvary. . . .

“On a recent Sunday morning at Mass, I was glancing at the program and saw an invitation to participate in the Advent liturgy with “a joyous heart, mind and spirit.

Immediately, I became angry. How on earth can a person with stage 4 cancer that is progressively getting worse feel joyous, I thought. My resentment seethed, and I sat like a hard stone all through Mass.

When the intentions mentioned those who are ill, I identified myself immediately and felt like such an outsider — just like the homeless people and other people on the fringes with whom I was lumped in the same intention. I felt miles away from normal, and it was hard to accept.

I’ve been like this for a few weeks now, ever since I was hospitalized for a week in November for a pulmonary embolism and fluid build-up in my lungs, ever since a CT scan found even more tumors growing there.

It’s hard to cope when I’m so angry, depressed and hopeless — yet somehow it feels fitting in this dark season of Advent.

In these weeks, we watch and wait, lighting candles that progressively light the way to Christmas Day. In my own life, when I feel so plunged in darkness, I watch and wait as I contemplate what those candles might illuminate. . . .

Sometimes I see myself in the description of people who fight toward a specific outcome and are “haunted by the specter of failure and disappointment.” It’s the mother in me. I rage against the possibility that I might die and leave my children motherless, my husband a widower. Even though the medical odds are against me, and my rational mind knows I could die, it is hard for me to accept death as an outcome.

What if I just let go of that? What if I trust that even if I die tomorrow or next month or next year, things will somehow work out? What if I allow myself to put the outcome in God’s hands and just live intensely in the present, absorbing and em bracing life as it happens? It’s not indifference or admitting defeat; it’s seeing the bigger picture. . . .
(read more)

Emilie's blog was “Lemmondrops,” where she wrote “sweet and sour stories of life, love, and little ones.”

As a father, I can only imagine her sadness and sorrow at knowing she would soon have to let go of her little ones, say goodbye to her beloved husband, and pass alone through the portal of death into the life beyond. Surely, her emotional sufferings were purgative, and her writings toward the end reveal how much she desired to trust in God and draw as close to Him as possible. Let's all remember her husband and children in our prayers. May the Lord bring them joy in the midst of their suffering. And may perpetual light shine upon Emilie, and may God grant her eternal rest and peace and joy in heaven.

December 29, 2008

Here's What the Pope Really Said About Rainforests

The California Catholic webiste carries this interesting article, another example of how some media seem to intentionally distort papal statements with the apparent goal of stirring up even more opposition.  

“A gay-bashing tirade?”

Both mainstream and homosexual media around the world launched into a full-court and often vicious attack on Pope Benedict XVI following his Dec. 22 Christmas address to the Roman Curia. The furor began after the Holy Father said that protecting humankind from self-destruction was as important to Catholics as protecting the tropical rainforests. Although the pope nowhere used the word “homosexuality” in his discourse, homosexuals and others seized on a portion of his description of the Catholic understanding of the created natural order in which he described the “sacrament of creation” as “matrimony - which is the lifelong bond between a man and a woman.”

Various media called Benedict XVI’s address to the Curia a “gay-bashing tirade,” a “homophobic attack,” an “anti-gay message,” and a “toxic Christmas message.” In the interest of clarity and justice, California Catholic Daily has excerpted the portion of the Holy Father’s speech that prompted the widespread outrage (it was only a brief part of an address that covered many other topics). We leave it to our readers to decide whether there was any legitimate justification for the attacks on Pope Benedict XVI.

Relevant excerpt from Pope Benedict XVI’s Dec. 22 address to the Roman Curia:

“First of all, there is the affirmation that comes to us from the start of the story of Creation, which tells of the Creator Spirit that moved over the waters, created the world and continuously renews it.

Faith in the Creator Spirit is an essential element of the Christian Creed. The fact that matter has a mathematical structure, is full of spirit (energy), is the foundation of the modern science of nature.

Only because matter is structured intelligently, our mind is able to interpret it and actively remodel it. The fact that this intelligent structure comes from the same Creator Spirit that also gave us our spirit, implies a task and a responsibility.

The ultimate basis of our responsibility towards the earth is our faith in creation. The earth is not simply a property that we can exploit according to our interests and desires. It is a gift of the Creator who designed its intrinsic order, and through this, has given us the orientative indications to follow as administrators of his Creation.

The fact that the earth, the cosmos, mirror the Creator Spirit also means that their rational structure -- which beyond their mathematical structure, become almost palpable through experimentation - carries in itself an ethical orientation.

The Spirit that shaped them is more than mathematics -- it is Goodness itself, which, through the language of creation, shows us the road to correct living.

Since faith in the Creator is an essential part of the Christian Creed, the Church cannot and should not limit itself to transmitting to its faithful only the message of salvation. She has a responsibility for Creation, and it should validate this responsibility in public.

In so doing, it should defend not just the earth, water and air as gifts of Creation that belong to everyone. She should also protect man from destroying himself.

It is necessary to have something like an ecology of man, understood in the right sense. It is not outdated metaphysics when the Church speaks of the nature of the human being as man and woman, and asks that this natural order be respected.

This has to do with faith in the Creator and listening to the language of creation, which, if disregarded, would be man's self-destruction and therefore a destruction of God's work itself.

That which has come to be expressed and understood with the term 'gender' effectively results in man's self-emancipation from Creation (nature) and from the Creator. Man wants to do everything by himself and to decide always and exclusively about anything that concerns him personally. But this is to live against truth, to live against the Spirit Creator.

The tropical rain forests deserve our protection, yes, but man does not deserve it less as a Creature of the Spirit himself, in whom is inscribed a message that does not mean a contradiction of human freedom but its condition. . . .
(read more)

December 28, 2008

A Tweet For All Catholics

There's a Catholic group on Twitter. I joined. Go check it out and sign up, and you can tweet at me thusly.

The 5 Stages of Twitter

Honestly, I haven't been a member of this dang, crazy, wonderful thing called Twitter for more than a month, but I think I am now somewhere between stages 4 and 5, and I definitely recognize all the preceding stages. 

So . . . if you want to “follow” me on Twitter, my name there is patrickmadrid


December 23, 2008

Catholic Radio Comes On Strong in Columbus, Ohio

As a member of the board of directors, I'm delighted and grateful to God to be able to bring you the following announcement:

St. Gabriel Catholic Radio Now Reaches all of Central Ohio!

Tune into 1580 AM starting right now!
And listen online at http://www.stgabrielradio.com
St. Gabriel Catholic Radio is now also on 1580 AM. Merry Christmas! What a blessing to be able to provide a clear signal that will now reach all of Central Ohio. Rejoice!  

Of course this exciting news would not be possible without 
you, our faithful supporters, generous benefactors and volunteers. Thank you. By sharing your gifts, we are now able to provide good, solid Catholic programming to nearly 2 million people. 
Although this is joyful news, now is not the time to just hope that people will listen.  We need you to help us get the word out to our family and friends.   
  • Use the link below to forward this email to those who might be interested 
  • Personally invite others to tune in
  • Listen to the station when driving with others
  • Stop by and pick up a magnetic bumper sticker to put on your car.  It might be just the invitation that someone needs. (Stickers will be available after January 1st).
  • Consider advertising your business on St. Gabriel Radio.  Call 614-442-1270.
By doing our part, we can help more souls on their journey to know, love, and serve God.    
Peace in Christ,
The St. Gabriel Team
P.S.  Like all AM stations, the daylight signal is much stronger than the night-time signal.  During daylight hours the new signal reaches Newark, Lancaster, Mount Vernon, Marion, Marysville, and Circleville and, after dusk, the signal reaches those inside the I-270 outer belt.

December 22, 2008

Time Is Running Out

No, this isn't an apocalyptic post. I admit that I find myself growing more concerned about all the upheaval in the world these days, not to mention the upheavals that may well be on the way, but I'm not alluding to any of that.

I just want to say how strangely accelerated time seems to have become lately, racing by faster and faster. The days and weeks flash by in a way that I find disconcerting. I know we each have an allotted number of days and we have to put them to the best use, out of love for God. And it would be natural to feel some concern over whether one is living out those allotted days according to God's will. But this is different.

Time just seems to be going . . . faster. I can't explain it. I wonder if any of you feel it, too. 

"How Much Do You Have to Hate Someone to Not Proselytize?"

This is an amazing little video commentary from comedian Penn Jillette (from the act Penn & Teller), a profane, outspoken atheist who has been vicious at times in his public attacks on religion. Even so, this video clip is worth watching. He speaks candidly about a post-show encounter he had recently with a Christian audience member who gave him a Bible. He asks rhetorically a very important question that makes perfect logical sense, coming from an atheist. I just wish more Christians were in a position to answer it.

It may well be that, down the road, according to God's merciful providence, Penn Jillette will come to believe in God. You never know. 

(With thanks to Jeff Miller for his earlier blog post about this.)

December 16, 2008

Here's Today's Catholic Answers Live Radio Show


Of all the radio shows in all the towns in all the world, she tunes into mine

I got hammered today (no, Father Bud, not that kind of hammered) in a letter I received from a Catholic couple who are really upset with me for something I said — or, as it turns out, something I didn't say — on my EWTN Open Line radio broadcast (Thursdays at 3:00 p.m. ET) this past Thanksgiving Day, November 27. They accuse me of being arrogant, judgmental, inappropriate, and a blunderer in my comments about President-Elect Obama that day.


On my radio show, during the final months before the election, I got plenty of angry and confrontational calls from “pro-Obama” Catholics who were displeased that I continued to remind my listeners that I believe voting for a pro-abortion candidate, regardless of his or her party, is to make oneself complicit in the crime of abortion. If you go back to the archives and listen to previous shows, you'll hear what I mean.  I'm not saying that the folks who wrote me this letter are pro-Obama, but they were definitely lit up by what they thought they heard me say about him.


Here is their letter, which I reproduce for you verbatim, complete with the original punctuation, capitalization, and emphases — not to embarrass them, but for complete authenticity. After you've read it, please click the link and listen to what I actually said on the show.


We were astonished at your program on Thanksgiving Day. I wanted to turn it off, but I HAD to find out who was talking. I never have written a letter like this . . . EVER. But my precious church and EWTN are too important not to comment. You used the legitimacy you have gained from being on EWTN to “air” your personal opinion making it sound like an official church position. Your statement, “We have elected evil” sounds like Barack Obama is evil. You tried to correct yourself by saying, “We have elected an evil.” Believe me, that didn't fly. Making a statement like this on EWTN puts us all in the same group as though we Catholics go around condemning people like we know what is in another's heart.


I love everything about our faith. This statement is the first thing I have heard that, as a Catholic, I am offended at being drawn into association with  . . . a network making a sweeping condemnation like that, as if we know what was in another person's heart. It was arrogant and inappropriate.


We are all aware of our church's stand on the evil of abortion. We can count on these doctrines to be the heart of Jesus. It is one thing to say we are sinners as the church does, but you targeted an individual as an “evil.” Correcting your statement to “an evil” is too judgmental. We can say abortion is evil without looking stupid.


We urge you to discern the difference we are talking about here. We don't get to judge others. You could have said the Democratic stand on abortion is unconscionable. We, too find it regrettable that the Democratic party has embroiled itself in its stance on abortion and the foolishness of “so-called” gay rights.  


Where does the sweeping condemnation of a statement like this stop? Barak Obama is evil, the Congress is evil, American Democracy is evil, and by associate, America is evil too. Unfortunately, anyone listening to this might conclude the church condones this opinion, that the Catholic Church is saying America is evil because Barak Obama was elected.


What you say, SHOULD be official church doctrine. Isn't that your real job? Unfortunately, because that is what your job is, what you say comes off like it is the official stances of the Catholic Church.


Watch yourself carefully. You are not an official voice of the Catholic faith. You might be an authority on Canon Law or church doctrine, but you certainly are not an expert on what lies in another man's heart. If you think you are, God help us all.


Why [did we] write this letter? Because you will be on EWTN again and again. We listen to EWTN all the time. We will hear you again. It has taken me a lifetime to find my beloved Catholic Church, to overcome the protestant bigotry I have heard all my life. A blunder like this supports all that old bigotry and, in fact, literally pushes people away from becoming interested in the Catholic Church.


We want to thank you for considering what this letter is intended to say. It is hard to take criticism. We want you to think about what you have said. Think faster. Talk slower and think about the repercussions of broad statements like this.


With kind regards,


N. & N.


Me again. While I do appreciate their taking time to contact me by letter with their concerns, these folks simply misheard and, therefore, completely misunderstood, what I actually said.


Here are my exact words from that show (which you can listen to in its entirety here http://ewtn.edgeboss.net/download/ewtn/audiolibrary/ol_11272008.mp3, starting about 30% into it, with the second caller). Please note my comments in bold:


[Referring to bygone laws, such as legalized slavery] “. . . Those were unjust laws, they were morally reprehensible, and yet, they were legal for a time in this country. And my hope is that the morally reprehensible ‘legality’ of killing unborn children will go the way of the dodo bird. I hope it goes the way of the Jim Crow laws when, eventually, enough people come to their senses and say, ‘We cannot have this. We cannot live in a country that can tolerate these kinds of atrocities.’


“Now, God permits this [kind of thing], and we're no different than any other generation. Let's not forget that every generation of human beings has had to go through its share of travails. And so, whether it's bad governors and bad government, whether it's war or famine or disease or natural disasters — there are all kinds of things that go on, and many of those, they bring forth situations in which people have to make moral decisions. They have to choose good or evil. And I'm sorry to say that over half the people in the United States, on November the 4th, chose a great evil, and I don't mean the person Barack Obama when I refer to that ‘evil,’ I'm referring to the great evil that he stands for and represents and supports — the evil of abortion. And it's saddening, it's astonishing, that that so many people could be so wrong on such a basic issue, but yet, there it is.


“So, yes, God does permit this, and I think also, there must be taken into account the element of punishment, of chastisement; that God will allow human freedom to run its course. And so our sins and the repercussions of those sins are going to have consequences. And the devastating consequences of the sin of abortion are going to be felt far and wide in this country, as they have been for the last 30 some odd years since it [abortion] was legalized. So, the element of God’s chastisement through letting us get what we deserve, even those of us who didn’t vote for this man, nonetheless as a society, this society will suffer as a whole by having bad leaders with immoral positions, and evil positions — evil stands that they take — on those kinds of issues. So I think that has to be taken into account as well. . . .”


A Catholic Case Against “Gay Marriage”

Dr. Mark Lowery is a Catholic moral theologian at the University of Dallas. In this article, which originally appeared in Envoy Magazine.  I hope you find it helpful in your own efforts to understand and explain this issue.

The Knot That Can't Be Tied: Secular, Natural, and Sacramental Marriage
By Mark Lowery, Ph.D.

MAN'S SEXUAL ENERGIES are of extraordinary power and complexity. Is this energy something we can use however we wish, or is there some objective standard to which this energy should be conformed?

The Western tradition, like many other traditions, has consistently held that there is such an objective standard, and it is the reality called "marriage." Today, however, many think that marriage can be whatever they want it to be. Instead of seeing marriage as an objective reality to which we align ourselves, it is seen as something that must conform to our notions and desires. Let's call this perspective on marriage "secular marriage."

Here's an example of the "secular marriage" mindset. Jessie Bernard, in The Future of Marriage, describes marriage as follows:

“Both of us commit ourselves to: 1) continue to grow, each in his or her unique way; 2) retain future choices about our relationship, recognizing that the risks of growth include the risks of growing apart; 3) give room for the process of growing; 4) provide a climate that stimulates and invites growing; 5) take risks; 6) respect differences of belief or viewpoint. . . .”

According to this scheme, marriage is what one wishes it to be. All the criteria Bernard lists are subjective, and there is no hint that, by marrying, the spouses are entering into a permanent reality. It's exactly this type of subjective misunderstanding of marriage that sets the stage for recent political and legislative efforts to legitimize homosexual relationships under the guise of marriage.

How can we effectively respond to those who promote the notion of "secular marriage," and how can we demonstrate that marriage is an objective reality? One method is to rely on the evidence we see in God's divine revelation. As important as such a method is, however, because of the separation of church and state we cannot base civil laws on any particular religion's understanding of God's revelation.

There are many people these days who deny that there are any objective truths at all, whether knowable by reason or revelation, so using religious explanations alone isn't always sufficient to make your case.

The purpose of this article is to lay out a five-step argument about the nature of marriage, with the specific aim of showing why homosexuality (and homosexual "marriage") is incompatible with that objective reality. . . (continue reading this article at www.envoymagazine.com; all rights reserved. If you wish to post a link to this article, please include a live link to Envoy's site).

Help a Friend and Get Some Nifty Flair for Your Trouble

If you'd like some cool “flair” to add to your own blog or website, please glance left and click on the “help me spread the word” banner. It will load the page where you can  grab the code for any of the banners there. Post one of these snazzy banners on your site, and it will link back to mine. I''d be very grateful. Thanks.

Great Catholic Apologetics Videos — Cheap!

Download these full-length MPEG videos by your humble bloghost, Patrick Madrid

The Bible and the Catholic Church 

Patrick Madrid Talks to Teens 

How To Do Apologetics Right 

Why Be Catholic? 

One Month Ago, I Hadn't Even Heard of Twitter

While I can't guarantee that I fully comprehend all the whys and wherefores that lurk behind blogging and twittering and suchlike (although Father Bud has been very generous in giving me a series of painstaking tutorials on these matters — the pain was all his, not mine), I am slowly beginning to comprehend the amazing reach and capability these apps have for the average person, like moi. 

For one thing, I've started using Twitter now, as a way to begin building a network of friends and non-hostile interested bystanders for whom I can provide updates on my activities in the Catholic world, speaking engagements, etc. If you'd like to join that cadre — and I would be delighted if you did — my Twitter name is “patrickmadrid.” You can sign up via this blog to “follow” me by scrolling down on the left side to where it says “Twitter.”

Another thing I'm working on, with Father Bud's help, of course, is to make this blog and my main home page — www.patrickmadrid.com — more interesting and beneficial to all of you kind folk who take time to visit. As I get better at this stuff, I hope you begin seeing some nice improvements. Though, if you don't like them, it will be Father Bud's fault.  

December 15, 2008

Some Days . . .

Dale Fushek Has an Out-of-Body Experience

The “It's All About Me!” way this man has been carrying on after his dismissal from priestly ministry is strange, deplorable, and embarrassing. What follows is the latest ignominious milestone in his bizarre jaunt out of the Church.  


Re: The excommunication of Dale Fushek and Mark Dippre

December 15, 2008


The Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix, has issued a Decree of Excommunication to Reverend Monsignor Dale Fushek and Reverend Mark Dippre.

Fushek and Dippre have incurred the censure of excommunication because they have chosen to be in schism with the Catholic Church by establishing and leading an opposing ecclesial community known to the public as the Praise and Worship Center.  Both priests have consistently refused to comply with explicit directions by Bishop Olmsted to discontinue engaging in public ministry. The excommunications were incurred after repeated offers of reconciliation were ignored.  The decree of excommunication by Bishop Olmsted declares the censure that Fushek and Dippre, as ordained priests, have brought upon themselves.  The purpose of these sanctions is to reconcile both men with the Catholic Church and to preserve the integrity and unity of the Diocese.

As excommunicated priests, Fushek and Dippre cannot participate in the celebration of the sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist or in any other ceremonies of worship.  They are also prohibited from celebrating or receiving any of the sacraments.  In addition, they forfeit the benefits of dignity, office, or any function that they had previously acquired in the Catholic Church.

Diocese of Phoenix)

Why Studying St. Thomas Is Still as Important as Ever

While I'm at it, here's a recent lecture given by another Dominican luminary, Fr. Romanus Cessario, O.P., on “the perennial relevance of St. Thomas Aquinas to aspiring theologians in the service of the Church.”


Dominican Wisdom on How to Teach Young People the Faith

We are parishioners at St. Patrick's, a wonderful Dominican-run parish in Columbus, Ohio. St. Patrick's has a wide and well-deserved reputation for orthodoxy. Confessions are heard by two priests for a few hours each day. The confession lines are long, Masses are typically packed, and large families are practically the norm there. I can think of at least five families we know personally who are parishioners at St. Patrick's, who have 10 or more children. Families with 5, 6, 7, and 8 children are inumerable.

Anyway, that's all background for saying that St. Patrick's and the Dominican friars who staff it are part of the Dominican Province of St. Joseph, which has its headquarters in Washington, DC (just across from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception). This province is known for producing orthodox and erudite men for the priesthood. Many of them have passed through the hallowed walls of St. Patrick's Parish, over the years.

One of the intellectual powerhouses of the St. Joseph Province is Father Augustine De Noia, O.P., undersecretary for the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He has written a very insightful piece on “Clearing Away the Barriers: Preaching to Young People Today.” I've put in bold a particularly important passage. Enjoy!

An effective preacher needs to understand how this background shapes young people’s understanding of the Catholic faith. The influence of the beliefs and attitudes of non-Catholic friends on young Catholics also have to be taken into account. Research conducted by an evangelical think tank (the Barna Group) suggests that a significant percentage of Christian young people share the negative perceptions of Christianity held by their non-Christian fellows.

We have to respect and be willing to engage the intellectual challenges and questions young people pose in their struggle to understand their Catholic faith. “Young adults enjoy challenging the rules. They are extremely-you might say innately-skeptical. Today’s young people are the target of more advertising, media, and marketing than any generation before. And their mindset is both incredibly savvy and unusually jaded” (Kinnaman 2007, 21-22). They are “the ultimate conversation generations. They want to discuss, debate and question everything” (Kinnaman 2007, 33).

In our conversations with young people, we have to avoid the temptation to fudge-to adapt the Catholic faith so as to make it palatable to modern tastes and expectations. This so-called “accommodationist” approach generally fails, and it fails doubly with young people. There is a risk in this approach that the Christian message becomes indistinguishable from everything else on offer in the market stalls of secularised religious faith: “In the powerful yet soft secularising totalitarianism of distinctively modern culture, our greatest enemy is…the Church’s ‘own internal secularisation’ which, when it occurs, does so through the ‘…largely unconscious’ adoption of the ‘ideas and practices’ of seemingly ‘benign adversaries’” (Nichols 2008, 141).

Clearing away the barriers-whatever the audience we have in view-demands a robust sort of apologetics. No one in his or her right mind will be interested in a faith about which its exponents seem too embarrassed to communicate forthrightly. We have to be convinced that the fullness of the truth and beauty of the message about Jesus Christ is powerfully attractive when it is communicated without apologies or compromise.

Our reasoning has to be based on solid theological principles and to operate within a vision of the Catholic faith in its integrity and interconnectedness. “Apologetics is a theological art that must rest on the firm foundation of theological science. If our defense does not flow from deep preparation, deep Christian formation, it will be unconvincing at best, but merely offensive at worst” (Hahn 2007, 12). Sometimes the response “it’s a mystery” is just a cover for theological ignorance on the part of people who should know better. Especially with young people who have questions, it is a mistake to cry “mystery” when an explanation is available and needed. (continue reading)

December 12, 2008

A Representative of the Idiotocracy

33 MINUTES: Something to Think & Pray About

The Real Estate Downfall

(Thanks, Jim.)

December 11, 2008

When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get on Their Knees and Pray

Which is exactly what my friend, Father Bud, is doing in the wake of a recent discussion he had with a parishioner who gently challenged him about finding ways to provide for special-needs children in the soon-to-be-built parish school. You can read about it in his blog post today, “God's Throwdown.”

Excellent food for thought which, as those who know him know, is typical of Father Bud.

Undercover at an Abortuary

Tune in to my radio shows today, if you can

A heavy radio day for me today. I'm not complaining, though. I enjoy it.

First, I'll be doing my regular “Open Line” live radio broadcast today from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. ET, and then I'll immediately tape another show from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. ET, which will be aired on Christmas Day.

You can tune in on any of the 130 or so Catholic AM & FM stations around the country that air this program, or you can catch it on Sirius Satellite Radio, or you can listen online at the EWTN radio site

If you'd like to ask a question or make a comment on the air — for either hour — just call 800-585-9396 or 205-271-2985. Call in! I can especially use your calls the second hour, because we won't be live while taping that show. Please help me out and call the show to question or comment especially between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. ET this afternoon.

Next, I'll be handling both hours of Q&A today on the Catholic Answers Live radio show, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET.

If you'd like to call in, that number is 888-318-7884, and if you don't live in an area with Catholic radio, you can listen online at the Catholic Answers website (click the “Listen Live” thingamabob to launch the stream).

When you say your prayers today, please include an intention for me, that my mind and voice will hold up for the four hours of gabbing I have to do this afternoon and evening. Thanks.