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

December 31, 2010

Do you know the early warning signs of a Catholic losing his Faith?

I do. I've seen them many times in many people over the past 25 years that I've worked in the field of Catholic apologetics and catechetics. They include:

  • Apathy
  • Lack of knowledge about Catholic teaching
  • Lack of knowledge of how to explain, defend, and share his beliefs from the Bible
  • Being bombarded with messages, arguments, and "come-to-our-church!" invitations from non-Catholic missionaries
  • Uncertainty
  • Doubt
  • Difficult moral challenges and temptations
  • Feeling a lack of love and acceptance by his fellow Catholics

No doubt, you've seen these warning signs in Catholics (or former Catholics) you know. And I'm sure that, if you're like me, you want to do something to help — to show a Catholic who's teetering on the edge of abandoning the Faith that there are good, solid, compelling answers to the questions, doubts, temptations, and difficulties they may be facing.

Helping people in that situation is something very dear to my heart. That's why, nearly four years ago, I established the Envoy Institute of Belmont Abbey College as a means of reaching out to Catholics of all ages, and especially younger Catholics in high school, college, and who are just starting out in life as a young adult. Our goal at the Envoy Institute is to help equip them before they run into doubts and difficulties with the knowledge and tools the need to remain strong in their love for Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. Through Envoy Magazine, our conferences, summer apologetics camps, online materials, and more, we seek to teach Catholics how to explain their Faith more intelligently, defend it more charitably, and share it more effectively.

And you can be part of that outreach by becoming a member of the Envoy Institute.  In addition to getting an automatic subscription to Envoy Magazine, as well as a bunch of other excellent benefits and insider perks, you'll also gain the satisfaction of knowing that you are personally doing something positive for untold numbers of young Catholics who are in real danger of losing their Catholic Faith when they get to college or head out into the workforce for the first time. (Those are the two must vulnerable transition points, by the way, the two key life junctures where  many Catholics lose their Faith.)

You can get more information here about the Envoy Institute, who we are, what we do, and how you can join us as a sustaining member. Here are my goals as we head into 2011: 
135 members at $10 per month. We have 112 now, so we need another 23
100 members at $30 per month. We have 45 now, so need another 55
45 members at $50 per month.  We have 18 now, so need another 27
We also need more one-time annual donors at higher levels:
We currently have 5 members at $1,200 annually, but we need 20
And I'm looking for 10 members who pledge $2500 annually. Are you one of them? 
Of course, as you might expect in this touch economy, the Envoy Institute is running a deficit right now for 2010, based largely on the cost of printing and shipping over 80,000 copies of Envoy magazine FREE to thousands of college students around the country (on nearly 50 major college and university campuses!). We also have a deficit incurred by our first-annual apologetics summer camp, which was extremely well received and promises to expand quickly in 2011. If you'd like to help me expand our Envoy Institute camps other venues in the summer of 2011 and beyond, as well as provide student scholarships for young Catholics whose folks aren't in a position to send them to camp, you can do that and much more good by becoming a member of the Envoy Institute.
Becoming a member of the Envoy Institute is simple and easy, and it helps us in our outreach to Catholic students — high school & college — and Catholic young adults. To enroll, please call Ms. Joan Bradley at 704-461-6009 or e-mail her at joanbradley@bac.edu or visit http://envoyinstitute.net/memberships.html.
Thank you, God bless you, and Happy New Year!http://envoyinstitute.net/index.html

December 30, 2010

The woman who inspired the iconic WWII "Rosie the Riveter" poster has died

“Geraldine Doyle, 86, who as a 17-year-old factory worker became the inspiration for a popular World War II recruitment poster that evoked female power and independence under the slogan "We Can Do It!," died Dec. 26 at a hospice in Lansing, Mich.

“Her daughter, Stephanie Gregg, said the cause of death was complications from severe arthritis.

“For millions of Americans throughout the decades since World War II, the stunning brunette in the red and white polka-dot bandanna was Rosie the Riveter.

“Rosie's rolled-up sleeves and flexed right arm came to represent the newfound strength of the 18 million women who worked during the war and later made her a figure of the feminist movement.

“But the woman in the patriotic poster was never named Rosie, nor was she a riveter. All along it was Mrs. Doyle, who after graduating from high school in Ann Arbor, Mich., took a job at a metal factory, her family said.

“One day, a photographer representing United Press International came to her factory and captured Mrs. Doyle leaning over a piece of machinery and wearing a red and white polka-dot bandanna over her hair.
“In early 1942, the Westinghouse Corp. commissioned artist J. Howard Miller to produce several morale-boosting posters to be displayed inside its buildings. The project was funded by the government as a way to motivate workers and perhaps recruit new ones for the war effort.
“Smitten with the UPI photo, Miller reportedly was said to have decided to base one of his posters on the anonymous, slender metal worker, Mrs. Doyle. . . .” (continue reading)

December 28, 2010

A winter's day meditation: Tempus fugit. Memento mori.

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and get gain’;whereas you do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that’” (James 4:13-15).

Inconvenience Store

Makes me wonder how far away their bathroom is located.

December 24, 2010

Madrid Family Holiday Traditions

Over the years, we've treasured several fun and nostalgic Christmas traditions here at Rancho Madrid. One of my favorites, for example, is the enjoyable holiday game we love to play called "Pin the Cleanup on the Guest."

Good times.

December 23, 2010

Take a virtual tour of St. John Lateran Basilica in Rome

Like the virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel that I posted on this blog a few days ago, here's another one that lets you explore the the exquisite Cathedral church of the Archdiocese of Rome. And for the historical background on this venerable house of God, here's a portion of the article about it taken from the Catholic Encyclopedia:
This is the oldest, and ranks first among the four great "patriarchal" basilicas of Rome. The site was, in ancient times, occupied by the palace of the family of the Laterani. A member of this family, P. Sextius Lateranus, was the first plebian to attain the rank of consul. In the time of Nero, another member of the family, Plautius Lateranus, at the time consul designatus was accused of conspiracy against the emperor, and his goods were confiscated. 
Juvenal mentions the palace, and speaks of it as being of some magnificence, "regiæ ædes Lateranorum". Some few remains of the original buildings may still be traced in the city walls outside the Gate of St. John, and a large hall decorated with paintings was uncovered in the eighteenth century within the basilica itself, behind the Lancellotti Chapel. A few traces of older buildings also came to light during the excavations made in 1880, when the work of extending the apse was in progress, but nothing was then discovered of real value or importance. 
The palace came eventually into the hands of Constantine, the first Christian emperor, through his wife Fausta, and it is from her that it derived the name by which it was then sometimes called, "Domus Faustæ". Constantine must have given it to the Church in the time of Miltiades, not later than about 311, for we find a council against the Donatists meeting within its walls as early as 313. From that time onwards it was always the centre of Christian life within the city; the residence of the popes and the cathedral of Rome. The latter distinction it still holds, though it has long lost the former. Hence the proud title which may be read upon its walls, that it is "Omnium urbis et orbis ecclesiarum mater, et caput".
It seems probable, in spite of the tradition that Constantine helped in the work of building with his own hands, that there was not a new basilica erected at the Lateran, but that the work carried out at this period was limited to the adaptation, which perhaps involved the enlargement, of the already existing basilica or great hall of the palace. The words of St. Jerome "basilica quondam Laterani" (Ep. lxxiii, P.L., XXII, col. 692) seem to point in this direction, and it is also probable on other grounds. 
This original church was probably not of very large dimensions, but we have no reliable information on the subject. It was dedicated to the Saviour, "Basilica Salvatoris", the dedication to St. John being of later date, and due to a Benedictine monastery of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist which adjoined the basilica and where members were charged at one period with the duty of maintaining the services in the church. This later dedication to St. John has now in popular usage altogether superseded the original one. A great many donations from the popes and other benefactors to the basilica are recorded in the "Liber Pontificalis", and its splendour at an early period was such that it became known as the "Basilica Aurea", or Golden Church. This splendour drew upon it the attack of the Vandals, who stripped it of all its treasures. 
St. Leo the Great restored it about 460, and it was again restored by Hadrian I, but in 896 it was almost totally destroyed by an earthquake ("ab altari usque ad portas cecidit"). The damage was so extensive that it was difficult to trace in every case the lines of the old building, but these were in the main respected and the new building was of the same dimensions as the old. This second church lasted for four hundred years and was then burnt down. It was rebuilt by Clement V and John XXII, only to be burnt down once more in 1360, but again rebuilt by Urban V. 
Through these various vicissitudes the basilica retained its ancient form, being divided by rows of columns into aisles, and having in front an atrium surrounded by colonnades with a fountain in the middle. The façade had three windows, and was embellished with a mosaic representing Christ as the Saviour of the world. The porticoes of the atrium were decorated with frescoes, probably not dating further back than the twelfth century, which commemorated the Roman fleet under Vespasian, the taking of Jerusalem, the Baptism of the Emperor Constantine and his "Donation" to the Church. 
Inside the basilica the columns no doubt ran, as in all other basilicas of the same date, the whole length of the church from east to west, but at one of the rebuildings, probably that which was carried out by Clement V, the feature of a transverse nave was introduced, imitated no doubt from the one which had been, long before this, added at S. Paolo fuori le Mura. It was probably at this time also that the church was enlarged. When the popes returned to Rome from their long absence at Avignon they found the city deserted and the churches almost in ruins. Great works were begun at the Lateran by Martin V and his successors. The palace, however, was never again used by them as a residence, the Vatican, which stands in a much drier and healthier position, being chosen in its place. It was not until the latter part of the seventeenth century that the church took its present appearance, in the tasteless restoration carried out by Innocent X, with Borromini for his architect. The ancient columns were now enclosed in huge pilasters, with gigantic statues in front. In consequence of this the church has entirely lost the appearance of an ancient basilica, and is completely altered in character. . . . (continue reading)

December 21, 2010

Christmas decorations taken too far. Would you be embarrassed if this were your next-door neighbor?

Here are 25 houses I wouldn't want to live next to. I wouldn't want them in my neighborhood. I wouldn't want them in my state. They are kind of funny, but I prefer to enjoy this kind of humor from a distance  — like from over the Internet. 


December 20, 2010

A Social Network Christmas

Here is an ingenious and touching video depicting how the Good News of the Incarnation and birth of Christ the Lord might have been shared on Facebook, had it happened today. Share this on Facebook!

December 19, 2010

Take a virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel

This is very nice!  The level of detail is superb, making it almost as if you were there, inside the room itself where conclaves are held and popes are elected. Check it out.

December 14, 2010

The most unusual review of one of my books I've ever seen

Lost in Translation:

A remarkable book review of my most recent book, The Godless Delusion: A Catholic Challenge to Modern Atheism (co-authored with Ken Hensley), popped up this morning on my Google Blog Search app.

I think I get the gist of what the reviewer is saying, though I cannot be entirely sure. The review is in English, sort of, though it reads as if it were washed and rinsed through an online translator program. Maybe it was first written in Slovak or Hindi and then translated into Finnish and then translated into English. I can't tell. But I am pretty sure it's an all around positive review, for which I am grateful in any language.

The review is of "Delirium Without God," which I find to be an amusing and entirely apt rendering of what the book's title, "The Godless Delusion," connotes.

Among the many unique and remarkable phrases contained in this review, I have learned some new verbs, such as the picturesque "booty up,"  adjectives such as "abaft," and nouns such as a "blazon of altercation." I quite like that last one. And there is also this complimentary description of me, which I find interesting:
I acquisition this is one of Patrick Madrid's abundant assets. He has become one of my admired apologists for the the Catholic faith. He does not appear out all pumped up, attractive for a fight. He starts with simple honest questions and lets logic, understanding, and animal acquaintance backpack the altercation forward. 
I must confess that it honestly has never occurred to me to implement that old art-of-war tactic of engaging in "animal acquaintance" in order to backpack an altercation forward.  I'm all about backpacking altercations forward, of course, but I just don't think that animal acquaintance should have any role to play in that regard. But then, that's just me.

My thanks to the reviewer for taking the time to booty up the agitation.

December 6, 2010

Hey! I used to go to school with that guy

Now this is pretty amazing. Dave Beaumont was in my class ('78) when we both attended "Our Lady Queen of Angels" high school seminary in San Fernando, CA. I haven't seen or heard from him since those long ago days, though I did hear from some classmates of ours that he had entered the Capuchin order. 

And just now, I see Dave turn up in, of all places, the Washington Post as Fr. Dave Beaumont, O.F.M., Cap.  I'm not surprised at all to learn that he's a dedicated friar engaged in some wonderful, grueling, sacrificial, and quite dangerous work, ministering to his flock in rural northern Mexico -- right in the heart of where the drug-related violence is raging. I doubt you'll ever see this post, Dave, but you sure can count on my prayers for protection and guidance. May God reward you. Siempre adelante!

You can't always get what you want

My grandson Patrick was not happy today when my daughter Bridget and her husband Al broke the news to him that their new baby on the way is a little girl. As you can see, though, his kid brother Joey wasn't the least bit bothered by the news. And neither were Nancy and I and the rest of the family!

Tom Peterson of "Catholics Come Home" talks with Fr. Benedict Groeschel

Many of you are familiar with the wonderful media outreach to fallen-away Catholics that has been conducted for several years by the good people at Catholics Come Home. Their television commercials, which air around the country on secular television stations and networks, have proven to be quite effective in helping many thousands of  people come into, or back into, the Catholic Church.

Tom Peterson, the president and genius behind Catholics Come Home and Virtue Media was recently the host on Fr. Benedict Groeschel's EWTN television program, "Sunday Night Live," explaining the behind-the-scenes work of the apostolate. It's well worth the watch.

December 3, 2010

Understatement of the year: "This debate will be followed closely at the Turkish embassy."

As Europe slowly begins to wake up to the serious danger it faces, a gutsy Catholic member of the Austrian parliament, Ewald Stadler, adds a few choice words of his own. Please watch all five minutes of this amazing speech.

Courtesy of Eponymous Flower.

December 2, 2010

I'm not entirely sure what this means, but it made me chuckle

Their name is Luka

December 1, 2010

Did NASA Discover Life on One of Saturn's Moons?

Gawker reports:

NASA is 
holding a press conference on Thursday "to discuss an astrobiology finding." Are they going to announce that they've found evidence of extraterrestrial life?
Blogger Jason Kottke took a look at NASA's press release, which touts "an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life" (astrobiology, besides being a cool word, is "the study of the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe"), and decided to investigate further by looking at the participants' resumes. So who are the participants?
  • A geobiologist who's written about "geology and life on Mars";
  • an oceanographer who's done extensive work on arsenic-based photosynthesis;
  • a biologist examining Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, and its similarities to early Earth;
  • and an ecologist investigating the "chemistry of environments where life evolves."
(. . . continue reading)

A Catholic college girl's lament

So, you think it's safe to send your children to (at best) a nominally Catholic college or university? Think again. Meet Emmy Cecilia (her pen name), a young Catholic woman who made the uninformed and greatly regretted decision to enroll in a prestigious, four-year "Catholic" university out West. She explains what it's like for a student who believes what the Church teaches to attend a school where practically no one else does, especially her professors, who seem bent on expunging any traces of Catholic orthodoxy in their students before they graduate. P.S. I should mention that I know this young woman personally, and I can vouch for her credibility, sincerity, and honesty.

Being at a CINO (Catholic in Name Only) college is hard and getting harder. I'm beginning to see certain assignments marked down. The tension between professors and certain students (myself included) is beginning to increase. My anxiety's also beginning to get a lot worse. . . .

On Friday I was talking to another faithful Catholic and she was talking about leaving the school as soon as the semester was over... and she's not the only one. Many of us who do not agree with the "teachings" that happen at that school are considering transferring elsewhere, even if it means losing this semester. I had the good fortune of meeting a former student and she said she left after a year because she went through the same that I went through with the professors . . . and she had the same professors, years ago, that I have now.
You can just imagine how bad things are. I don't 100% regret going there only because it's taught me a valuable lesson, but I wish I would've really looked at the school before even applying. I knew things were bad but I didn't know the extent of it until I actually got there. I think I can withstand the abuse (and I feel like it is a form of abuse) for another semester or even until I graduate but I am not 100% sure. As I said, my anxiety is getting worse (so much worse) so I am really thinking about what to do. . . . (continue reading)