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

February 27, 2010

This is what happens when a tsunami reaches land

The scale of the waves is hard to determine at first, and then, at about the 2:25 minute mark, the camera zooms out and you can see a little speck of a person standing on the beach just before the water overtakes him.

Massive 8.8 Quake Strikes Chile

Everyone's waking up to this grim news:
SANTIAGO (Reuters) - A massive magnitude-8.8 earthquake struck south-central Chile early on Saturday, killing at least 85 people, knocking down buildings, homes and hospitals, and triggering a tsunami.
Yahoo has a large number of pictures of the devastation. It appears that the death toll will be quite high.

Eerily, like a broken watch with its hands frozen at the moment of its demise, some of the Chilean press is (thus far, at least) frozen in its news cycle just before the earthquake struck. Many Chilean press outlets are functional and reporting first-hand news of the quake in Spanish, such as here, here, here, and here.

First, the devastating quake in Haiti 45 days ago, and now this one in Chile. My guess is that more of these disasters will strike more frequently. I hope not, but that's a hunch. Sooner or later, one of these BIG quakes will strike within the U.S. — Los Angeles? St. Louis? Chicago? San Francisco? New York? It's just a matter of time, the scientists have been telling us.

Two things we should do:

1) Always be ready to meet the Lord by staying close to him in prayer and the sacraments, especially frequent confession. This is a no-brainer, but it's amazing how many people, including Catholics, never give the four last things any thought: Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell.

And 2) If you haven't already, start making practical preparations in your own home so that, if find yourself in a quake-stricken area, you and your family can fare better and be in a position to help those around you. Lay in a supply (even if just a small one) of extra water, foods that will keep without refrigeration, medicines like Ibuprophin, a hand-crank radio (no batteries needed), etc. Make a plan with your family, especially your kids, so that they will know where to meet up. You know, those kinds of basic preparations.

February 26, 2010

My Friend Monsignor Eugene Morris

I was just recently a house-guest at Monsignor Eugene Morris's rectory in St. Louis (
St. Mary Magdalen), when I was in town for some projects. What a treat!

I've known Monsignor Morris for a year or two, though not very well, so it was good to have the chance to get to know him better during my visit. In addition to his being an all-around good guy and a gracious host, I am impressed by his personal orthodoxy, erudition, bon homie, and dedication to furthering the mission of re-evangelizing and recatechizing young Catholics.

Apropos of that, here's a video clip of the good Monsignor commenting on the many merits of the Didache catechetical series.

Cremation . . . Jewelry?

I shall pass over this one in discrete silence.

From the website:
Cremation jewelry is, simply put, jewelry that contains some of the cremated ashes of a deceased family member or loved ones. Cremation jewelry has many names and comes in a variety of forms, but no matter the words used, cremation jewelry is among the newest and most popular ways to memorialize loved ones.

(My thanks to the blogger whose site I saw this on, though now I can't remember where!)

February 25, 2010

What if we just said, "Why don't you just get over it?"

The jungle drums of frustration and consternation are beating in reaction to the impending revision of the Roman Missal. Granted, the syncopation is a bit uneven, and the decibel level less than robust, but it's there.

And it's . . . it's simply ineffable.

The Community of Disciples over at America Magazine and their fellow travelers at the National Catholic Reporter are scrambling for the panic button.

They are shocked (shocked!) that the Catholic Church would have the audacity to implement a (long overdue, sorely needed, and eagerly anticipated) new English translation of the Missal without their approval.

On the "What if we just said wait?" website, in the "Statement of Concern," they agonize ...
We are very concerned about the proposed new translations of the Roman Missal. We believe that simply imposing them on our people -- even after a program of preparation -- will have an adverse effect on their prayer and cause serious division in our communities.
We are convinced that adopting translations that are highly controversial, and which leaders among our bishops as well as many highly respected liturgists and linguists consider to be seriously flawed, will be a grave mistake.
For this reason we earnestly implore the bishops of the English-speaking world to undertake a pilot program by which the new translations -- after a careful program of catechesis -- can be introduced into some carefully selected parishes and communities throughout the English-speaking world for a period of one (liturgical) year, after which they can be objectively evaluated.

We are convinced that this approach will address the concerns of those many bishops who feel that they have lost their voice in this matter and that it will also give a voice to the People of God whose prayer is at stake and who accordingly have the most to gain or lose by the translations.
The irony here is rich indeed. These are the same people who cheered on (whether because they were alive at the time or, if they weren't, because they sympathize with those who were) the wholesale imposition in the mid- to late-1960s of radical liturgical changes, often accompanied by serious liturgical abuses, upon unprepared, unsuspecting Catholics who did experience an adverse affect on their prayer and piety as a result.

But now that the shoe is on the other foot and the Church is well on its way to finally correcting certain deficiencies and implementing the actual letter and spirit of Vatican II's document on the Eucharistic Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, now these same people are indignant (indignant!) that such a thing should be done. How dare the pope and the bishops impose changes in the Liturgy on the faithful?!

It's time for the fastest 2 hours in Catholic radio

Starting my "Open Line" radio show in a couple of minutes. You can listen online here: http://ewtn.com/radio/index.asp (3-5 pm ET).

February 24, 2010

Here's yesterday's "Catholic Answers Live" show (2nd hour)

Ronald Reagan's 1960 warning about socialized medicine

What goes around comes around, baby

These people's hypocrisy is staggering, boundless, sickening, but not at all surprising.

Dear Leader & Dems in 2005: complaining that the 51 vote "nuclear option" is "arrogant," a "power grab against the Founders' intent," etc.

I could listen to this priest preach for days on end

This Spanish priest is literally on fire with zeal for the Lord. His message about sin, hell, repentance, and forgiveness (todo dado en español) is powerful. As a spiritual work of mercy this Lent, I'd suggest you share this around with your Spanish-speaking friends and family. Post it to your FaceBook pages, blogs, etc. I don't know who the priest is (yet), but he's really nailed this subject.

How to Go to Confession

Maybe it's been a long time since you've received this sacrament, or perhaps you'd like to show this to your youngster who's preparing to receive First Holy Communion. Or maybe you're not Catholic and you're just curious what happens when a Catholic goes to confession. Whatever the reason, this video may prove helpful to you.

February 23, 2010

Tracy (CA) Residents to Pay Big Bucks For 911 Calls

I was born and raised in Southern California and lived most of my life there. I've known for a long time that the state has been run into the ground by the seemingly unending cavalcade of inept and venal politicians who have been running (and ruining) the show there for decades.

I know things in California are going from bad to worse, but I didn't realize it had come to this:

Tracy residents will now have to pay every time they call 9-1-1 for a medical emergency.

But there are a couple of options. Residents can pay a $48 voluntary fee for the year which allows them to call 9-1-1 as many times as necessary.

Or, there's the option of not signing up for the annual fee. Instead, they will be charged $300 if they make a call for help.

"A $300 fee and you don't even want to be thinking about that when somebody is in need of assistance," said Tracy resident Greg Bidlack.

Residents will soon receive the form in the mail where they'll be able to make their selection. No date has been set for when the charges will go into effect.

You're not seeing what you think you're seeing

Incredible, mind-blowing technology is being used in movies these days that convinces you you're seeing something that's not really there, as this series of back-lot scenes from TV-shows and movie sets reveals.

From an entertainment standpoint, I think all this is truly marvelous. I love how they can simulate anything, any location, any situation using green-screen shoots overlaid with computer graphic illustration (and other such technically devised illusions). But this is also a cause for concern if this grand technology were ever employed nefariously in an effort to deceive people on a wide scale — e.g., to make them think they are seeing, let's say, something menacing or enticing in the sky.

Don't get me wrong. I am happy to see these amazing advances in technology which allow us to expand our ability to imagine. I'm just a little leery about the potential for its misuse. In any case, sit back and enjoy a few minutes of cinematographic magic.

February 18, 2010

All your football are belong to them

Remember how, when you were a kid, and you were gonna play football with a bunch of other kids and the two captains would pick teams and everyone would stand around waiting to get picked and you were never picked first, or second, or third, or even fourth, and possibly not even fifth? Remember that? Well, these are the guys who always got picked first.

February 17, 2010

Remember, man, that thou art mud, and to mud thou shalt return

Here's a humorous visual for your Ash-Wednesday start of Lent. Yes, today is a day of serious introspection and prayerful contemplation. So, think of this video as a reminder of how often we fail.

Pat's Top 10 Least Popular Medieval Penances

Just in time for Lent! Take your pick:

Patrick Madrid's Top 10 Least Popular Medieval Penances —

10. Standing barefoot in the snow for hours

9. Skunk hair shirts

8. Scrubbing castle walls with toothbrush

7. Memorizing the Summa Theologiae

6. Chewing tinfoil

5. Delivering papal condemnations to Martin Luther

4. Hand copying the entire Bible

3. Wasp licking

2. Anything involving anthills

1. The "thorn paddle"

February 16, 2010

Lenten Jackpot! Look at all these free books

Catholic blogger Teófilo de Jesús has posted a mother lode of classic spirituality books — all free as PDF docs — by some of the Church's top practitioners. The list of books is simply too long to post here, so let's just say that for those of you who like to read classic works on Catholic spirituality, you've just hit the jackpot.

Renegade Phoenix Priest Laicized

The Diocese of Phoenix announced today that the long-running saga of a former priest who, after being dismissed from ministry some years ago, and who has been running a charismatic para-church operation drawing hundreds to Sunday services, has been reduced to the lay state.

Below, is the official diocesan statement which should be read in conjunction with the diocesan paper's coverage of the story and a helpful Q&A statement which explains the specifics of what has happened here, theologically, canonically, and practically.

Needless to say, this man and the many who follow him need our prayers.

The Diocese of Phoenix announces that the former Monsignor Dale J. Fushek has been returned to the lay state by the Roman Catholic Church through a process that is commonly referred to as “laicization.”

In January of 2010, Most Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix, received a “Decree of Dismissal” from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (“CDF”) in Rome, in which the Bishop was notified that the penalty of dismissal from the clerical state has been imposed on the former Monsignor Dale J. Fushek. The CDF, which addresses offenses against the Sixth Commandment that are committed by priests and deacons with minors, issued its decision ex officio. This means that the penalty was imposed by order of Pope Benedict XVI and further, that the decision is not open to appeal. By the same Decree, Mr. Fushek has also been dispensed from the obligations of the clerical state.

Under the Church’s legal system, a cleric can be dismissed from the clerical state for serious violations of canon law, by committing certain delicts or ecclesiastical crimes. In Fushek’s case, the Diocese of Phoenix received several accusations regarding Fushek’s alleged sexual abuse of minors, and referred those accusations to the Holy See. The Holy See then directed the Diocese of Phoenix to conduct an investigation into the allegations. The results of that investigation were forwarded to the CDF. Based on the CDF’s review of the findings of that investigation and on Fushek’s abandonment of his ministry and his subsequent schismatic acts, the CDF issued the “Decree of Dismissal” and forwarded it to the Diocese of Phoenix. Fushek has been notified of the laicization, which took effect the moment the Decree was signed, and he has been informed of its consequences.

It should be noted that the Decree was issued in connection with an ecclesiastical administrative proceeding that was conducted by the Holy See pursuant to Church law. It has no bearing on any criminal or civil case that may involve or affect Mr. Fushek. The intent of the Decree is to prohibit Fushek from continuing to function as a cleric or priest in the Roman Catholic Church and it eliminates any rights, obligations or benefits that might have previously followed his status as a cleric.

The penalty of excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church that was previously imposed on Mr. Fushek remains in place. Thus, Mr. Fushek is not permitted to participate in the celebration of the sacrifice of the Holy Eucharist or in any other sacramental or liturgical ceremonies of Catholic worship. Now, having been laicized, Fushek no longer has the rights of a cleric, which includes referring to himself as “Father,” “Reverend,” or “Monsignor.” Nor should he be addressed as such.

Bishop Olmsted again expresses his grave concern for Catholics who may be misled or confused by the continuing actions of Dale Fushek, particularly as they relate to the Praise and Worship Center. Catholics are reminded that any ceremonies, such as baptisms, weddings, confessions, and the anointing of the sick, if performed by Mr. Fushek or others at the Praise and Worship Center, are not legitimate sacraments for Catholics and would not be recognized by the Catholic Church. Bishop Olmsted asks that we continue to pray for reconciliation and healing in this difficult situation. . . .
(continue reading)

February 15, 2010

Don't let another Lent pass your family by

Take Me Driving With You This Lent

This lecture series is available as a 9-CD set.

The individual talks in this set are:
Search & Rescue: How to Bring Your Family and Friends Into (or Back Into) the Catholic Church

Why Be Catholic When You Can Be Anything Else?

The Bible and the Catholic Church: A Marriage Made in Heaven

Is Everything Up for Grabs? A Catholic Critique of Moral Relativism

Answers to Lies Society Tells You

The Case for Christ: Examining the Evidence for the Existence, Resurrection, & Divinity of Jesus

Pope Fiction: Answers to Myths and Misconceptions About the Papacy

Where Is That in the Bible?

The Ticking Time Bomb – How Global Aging Will Affect You

Lent is a good time to turn off those lame "Morning Zoo" radio shows on your way to work in the morning. Listen to these talks instead, and you'll start bulking up on your knowledge of Scripture and the Faith. Check out my MP3 downloads, too.

Oh, how I love these Hitler diatribe videos

(courtesy of Mark Shea)

February 10, 2010

"Will You Sing Me A Lullaby Before I Go?"

Dear Mom and Dad, I want you to know

My young heart is beating, my eyes fill with tears,
I pray that your love will conquer your fears.
God knit me here, you are my lifeline,
Will you sing to me, sweet Mother of Mine?

If you do not want me, please give me away,
There are loving arms waiting that want me to stay.
You will think of me each day of your life,
And the doctor who tore me from you with his knife.
Why would you want us to suffer this pain?

If I'm lost forever, what would you gain?
My Daddy, Listen, can you hear my screams?
Help Me! I cry for you in my dreams.
A farewell lullabye, please sing to me, Dad,
The pain is so great and I am so sad.
My heart aches to see, to feel and to touch
The Mom and Dad who I love so much.
Will I never run, or sing, or play,
Or hear the kind things that mothers say?

I would love to see Grandmom and play with toys,
And hug my Daddy like most girls and boys.
To money and things my parents are drawn,
But when their arms long to hold me, I will be gone.
The tears of the Angels flood Heaven today
As I join fifty million souls who perished this way.
We are crying our hearts out and trembling with fears,
But ours screams for mercy fall on deaf ears.
Does anyone out there have compassion for me?

When you were sown in her womb, your mom let you be.
I am being tortured in this home that I know,
Will you sing me a lullabye before I go?

A stranger prays and sings on the street
For all the children they never will meet.
Someday in Heaven, I'll find you to say;
Thank you for praying and singing that day.
As I lay there dying, I saw you weep,
With a sweet lullabye you sang me to sleep.
The Angels will carry me home when I cry
With millions of infants who pray in the sky
For the souls of the parents they yearned to kiss
And never will know the babies they'll miss.
My Savior awaits my arrival today,
"Vengeance is Mine," I heard the Lord say.
Your soul, Mom and Dad, you have defiled.
Oh Beg for God's mercy for killing your child!
The Angels sing lullabyes at Heaven's door
And play with the Babies, our tears shed no more.

Catherine Walsh

The Plot to Kidnap Pope Pius XII

By Ronald J. Rychlak

In July 1943, Italian partisans toppled Fascist leader Benito Mussolini and threatened the German-Italian alliance. Hitler, on learning of Mussolini's ouster, concluded that "Jew-loving" Pope Pius XII was involved. The Führer wasted no time in sending his troops into northern Italy and occupying an allied nation, including its capital, Rome.

Israel Zolli, the chief Rabbi of Rome (later a convert to Catholicism) wrote about the terror felt by his community as the Nazis took control of the city. Zolli personally snuck past German patrols to enter neutral Vatican City and request a loan to pay a ransom so that the Nazis would not deport his people. The pope agreed to provide as much gold as was needed for as long as was necessary. The Jews gave their gold to the Nazis, but it did not prevent the deportations. Roman Jews went into hiding or they were deported.

As the persecution of the Jews intensified, Pius was widely recognized as a "lonely voice" out of the silence enveloping the continent. Victims thanked him, rescuers cited him as their inspiration, and the Nazis despised him. In retrospect, however, many modern critics blame Pius for being too quiet during the occupation. . . . (
continue reading)

2001: A Space Odyssey Comedy

This can't possibly be any more annoying to Iranians than Press Secretary Robert Gibbs is to Americans

"Iran's telecommunications agency announced Wednesday that it has permanently suspended Google's e-mail services and that a national e-mail service for Iranians will be rolled out soon. . . .

The announced suspension of gmail comes as Iranian authorities have deployed in force across Tehran to conduct last-minute security sweeps and warn residents to refrain from joining antigovernment protests planned for Thursday -- the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution."

(continue reading)

Meditations on the Stations of the Cross for Your Lenten Journey

This just out from Belmont Abbey College:

CLICK HERE to receive a copy of our inspiring booklet, Meditations on the Stations of the Cross,* plus a special companion CD recording of the meditations and accompanying prayers recorded by the author and Belmont Abbey College students.

Just sample the powerful words and images that await you. Both versions of our Meditations on the Stations of the Cross will enrich your Lent by helping you deepen your relationship with Love Himself, Jesus Christ.

But that's not all you can get by acting right now. We have two additional offers for you:

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This stirring full-color booklet brings the beauty of our 130-year-old Benedictine campus into your home. The audio CD lets you take the serenity of our Basilica into the grind of daily traffic to make this year's Lent a prayerful and fruitful time for you.

For just $1 when you use your discount coupon code "MADRID" (in all caps), both versions of the Meditations bring the Passion home to your heart this Lent as Dr. Thomas' ardent love of Christ sets your life ablaze.

Now a theology professor at Belmont Abbey College, Dr. Thomas received his doctorate from England's University of Cambridge. An arduous search, which included 18 years of Protestant ministry, led him to the Catholic faith. (More about Dr. Ron Thomas)

You might even want to order bulk copies at special prices, sharing them with your family, parish, and Bible study group. They'll love the stunning photos of the Stations from Basilica Mary Help of Christians at Belmont Abbey.

But most important, you'll save $9 right now and receive the audio CD and the stunning full-color companion booklet for just $1 (plus $4.95 shipping and handling) when you order today! Please be sure to use the MADRID discount code.