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Today on CMR - June 30, 2008

Bishop Knew of Abortion Plan - Did Nothing!
—Bishop says he is embarrassed but did not violate state law.

I'm A Wii Catholic
—Going through the motions but accomplishing little.

The Cafeteria Is Closed
—Once popular Catholic blog dies of "nuance".

NYT: Where All The Babies At?
—The rosy side of demographic suicide.

And You Thought Preaching Was Bad in Your Church
—Jerusalem Church catches "Spirit of Vatican II?"

Schism! No Not Those Guys, The Other Guys.
—Dear Anglicans, do we have a deal for you!

Doomed! Big Fireball. Doomed.
—If you are going to be a doomsday prophet, at least have some style.

Crucified Ronald McDonald Is A Cliche
—Painting by numbers. Deconstructing the "Sacrilegious Art" story.

All Hail King Kennedy
—Meet the most powerful man in America.

Take the Money, Leave the Faith
—Archdiocese is creating faith-based schools without the faith.

SSPX Williamson: Rejoice in Formal Schism!
—Bishop Williamson tries to derail re-unification.

You Might Not Be A Catholic If...
—If you see yourself in any of these you may not be a Catholic.

Bishop Knew of Abortion Plan - Did Nothing!

People use the word shocked for things that are actually not that shocking. This is not one of those instances.

A scandal has been brewing in the Diocese of Richmond over Catholic Charities Richmond assisting an underage woman to procure an abortion going so far as to sign the consent forms for the death. We have held off on calling for the action against the Bishop (naively it turns out) because we did not understand the level of his culpability. While a Bishop certainly sets the tone for the diocese (Can you imagine something like this happening under Bishop Bruskewitz in Nebraska?), we had hoped that this happened because the Bishop is just an extraordinarily bad administrator who had no idea what is going on under his nose. Those hopes have now been dashed. The Bishop knew in advance of the plan, and did NOTHING.

[Washington Times] The Roman Catholic bishop of Richmond was told that a diocesan charity planned to help a teenage foster child get an abortion in January and did not try to prevent the procedure.

Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo "was told erroneously that everything was in place and there was nothing he could do to stop it," said Steve Neill, Bishop DiLorenzo's communications officer. "He is very apologetic about the whole episode.

"It is very awkward, it is very embarrassing. A human life was taken. He certainly has not taken it lightly in any way. He is clearly opposed to abortion."
...
Bill Etherington, an attorney for the diocese and CCR, said Bishop DiLorenzo was given bad information about whether the abortion could be prevented, but didn't elaborate as to how.

"He was told it could not be stopped," Mr. Etherington said. "It was erroneous information. He didn't have to sign off on it. He was not personally involved."

He added, without elaborating, that the underage abortion did not violate state law.
Embarrassing? Did not violate state law? Erroneous information? Did everything he could do?

This is murder we are talking about! The monstrosity of this scandal is beyond words. The attitude of the Bishop and his lawyers only serve to compound the scandal.

For the good of all the faithful in Richmond and the Church as a whole, Bishop DiLorenzo should resign. Immediately.

I'm A Wii Catholic

You know how you buy Christmas gifts for people and then you just never get around to seeing them. I've had two candy-cane gift wrapped boxes in the corner of the television room for months. I've actually dusted them. So on Thursday my wife begged me to go see this friend of ours who I speak to on the phone and exchange emails with often but never see.

So I went over to drop off gifts for him and his wife. We all laughed about the gifts and had a good time. While I was there my friend showed me his children's video game system. A Wii. Now, mind you his twins are four years old so something tells me the Wii is more for him than for the children but...we played an inning of baseball (OK, a few innings.) I didn't do so well as "my friend" wasn't very forthcoming with the "how to play" instructions. He reveled in the fact that my poor Mets were destroyed.

The whole thing felt a little awkward to me though. You're standing in the middle of a room throwing invisible balls and swinging invisible bats. Weird. You're doing all the motions but not really accomplishing anything.

On the way home, I had my rosary beads out as is my habit and I prayed while listening to the radio. When I returned home I took care of the children essentially by reading near where they played. That night, my wife and I sat silently on the couch watching a movie. There was a stack of bills and a pile of laundry nearby mocking me, depressing both my wife and me but neither of us had the energy to charge those hills.

Something just hit me on Friday though. I wondered if sometimes I was a Wii Catholic, a Wii parent, A Wii husband? I've been going through the motions but not really accomplishing anything. Faking it. I think at times I live a Wii life. I realized that reading near the children is not raising them. Watching t.v. next to my wife is not spending time with her. Praying while listening to talk radio is actually just listening to talk radio. I've been where I was supposed to be but not really accomplishing anything.

I need to remind myself to live more intentionally. Sometimes folding laundry, doing dishes or paying bills is the most loving act you can do for your spouse. Sometimes reading a story to a child is what they want most- even when Hannah Montana's on. Sometimes the rosary is the best thing you can do for everyone.

I know I sometimes enjoy my interior life too much. I am comfortable in the well worn grooves of my mind. I think sometimes I just have to disconnect a bit from my own thoughts to reconnect with others. And the funny thing is that I always discover that life outside of my head is a lot more...unpremeditated. Effusive. Enjoyable.

At Ikea Saturday, my three year old son whispered to his sisters that he wanted to ride the six foot tall paper mache pony statue. My six year old warned him security would kick him out. My five year old daughter looked around and said, "You know, I haven't seen security around in a while." I think most days I would've missed that.

Last night, my wife gave me the choice of DVD to put in. Now normally that means it's "Lord of the Rings" time at the Archbold house. Instead, I turned off the television and we talked. About work. Neighbors. Funny stories about the kids. Worries about the kids.

On Sunday, my children and I drove over to Valley Forge as the sun went down. My kids love the open fields, the excitement of woods, the unexpected interruption of deer, and walking through the old log cabins.

We rolled ourselves down a long grassy hill to see who could roll fastest. I tried to come in last but at some point once you get me rolling I pick up speed...that is until I collide with a six year old who can't roll straight. We all laid there at the bottom until we were able to stand again. We watched the clouds brightening as they passed briefly before the Sun and then fade into darkness, their edges purpling as they drifted over the forest.

It was a great day. A non-Wii day. I don't think rolling down hills accomplishes anything necessarily but at least I felt like I was back in the game. The real one.

The Cafeteria Is Closed

Gerald Augustinus is closing down his Cafeteria blog.

We wrote about the difficulties Gerald was having in his faith and on his blog some weeks ago. In the post we referenced at that time, Augustinus strayed far from Catholic teaching on the issues surrounding homosexuality and gender change. Even though I don't read him anymore, it came to my attention that he recently had an even more shocking and disgusting post on the topic of masturbation. The once popular blogger is now shutting down the once very Catholic and very popular site for a new blog. Something not Catholic. Gerald explains:

I know that there will be more photos, for one - one a day as minimum.
It won't be a blog with a theme, ie not a Catholic or Republican etc. blog
It won't be all-Catholic-news-that's-fit-to-print, it's so much work to sift through th e web and I have to focus on business, ie photography. Amy got exhausted after a few years, too.
Whether it'll have any readers - I don't know. It's easier to be strictly one thing, like, say, DailyKos, or Michelle Malkin.
Topics - politics, culture, religion, art, books, music, and of course photography.
...
What I can tell you is that I'm not going to argue whether homosexuality is immoral or not :P It'll be a personal opinion blog with no claims to anything.
...
The current blog has run its course - I'm just teasing people now so that's not nice :) I'll keep posting political and other stuff for a few days until the new one is ready, but nothing church-related that's controversial.

I've become more, uh, nuanced, so some of my old posts sound horrid to me now, downright Manichean. Apologies to 'old hippies' - you're not all bad ;o) I've become mellow with marriage !
I think he has it backward of course. If anything, Gerald is more Manichean now then ever. Manicheans deny the infinite perfection of God and postulate the existence of two equal and opposite powers. Good and Evil. What Gerald seems to be choosing is a middle road between these two powers.

Holding this middle-of-the-road philosophy up as the ideal, he congratulates himself on his keen perception of "nuance". Of course, being middle-of-the-road sounds an awful lot like lukewarm and you know what Jesus said about them. As for the old hippies, at least they stick to their worldview. Upside down as it may be.

I have mixed feelings about this closure. For certain, I think it is good that his writing that veers of the road of orthodoxy will no longer have a perceived imprimatur by virtue of his Catholic blog status. My fear, however, is that by cutting his tether to other Catholics he may stray further from the truth. I pray that doesn't happen as I am sure that you do.

As Cardinal Newman once said, "We can believe what we choose. We are answerable for what we choose to believe."

Please pray for Gerald Augustinus.


Thanks to David Alexander for the tip
.

NYT: Where All The Babies At?

Christians of various sort have been been sounding the alarm about the demographic mass suicide occurring in Europe for years only to be greeted by the sounds of a mass yawn. But it seems that cognoscenti may be rising from their slumber. Guess who just noticed that Europe is nearly pitter-patter free? The New York Times in a piece entitled "No Babies?" in which they ponder the question, "is this something we should worry about?"

In the 1990s, European demographers began noticing a downward trend in population across the Continent and behind it a sharply falling birthrate. Non-number-crunchers largely ignored the information until a 2002 study by Italian, German and Spanish social scientists focused the data and gave policy makers across the European Union something to ponder. The figure of 2.1 is widely considered to be the “replacement rate” — the average number of births per woman that will maintain a country’s current population level. At various times in modern history — during war or famine — birthrates have fallen below the replacement rate, to “low” or “very low” levels. But Hans-Peter Kohler, José Antonio Ortega and Francesco Billari — the authors of the 2002 report — saw something new in the data. For the first time on record, birthrates in southern and Eastern Europe had dropped below 1.3. For the demographers, this number had a special mathematical portent. At that rate, a country’s population would be cut in half in 45 years, creating a falling-off-a-cliff effect from which it would be nearly impossible to recover.
...
There is no shortage of popular explanations to account for the drop in fertility. In Athens, it’s common to blame the city’s infamous air pollution; several years ago a radio commercial promoted air-conditioners as a way to bring back Greek lust and Greek babies. More broadly and significant, social conservatives tie the low birthrate to secularism. After arguing for decades that the West had divorced itself from God and church and embraced a self-interested and ultimately self-destructive lifestyle, abetted above all by modern birth control, they feel statistically vindicated. “Europe is infected by a strange lack of desire for the future,” Pope Benedict proclaimed in 2006. “Children, our future, are perceived as a threat to the present.” In Germany, where the births-to-deaths ratio now results in an annual population loss of roughly 100,000, Ursula von der Leyen, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s family minister (and a mother of seven), declared two years ago that if her country didn’t reverse its plummeting birthrate, “We will have to turn out the light.” Last March, André Rouvoet, the leader of the Christian Union Party in the Netherlands (and a father of five), urged the government to get proactive and spur Dutch women to have more babies. The Canadian conservative Mark Steyn, author of the 2006 best seller “America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It,” has warned his fellow North Americans, whose birthrates are relatively high, that, regarding their European allies, “These countries are going out of business,”" and that while at the end of the 21st century there may “still be a geographical area on the map marked as Italy or the Netherlands,” these will “merely be designations for real estate.”
Leave it to the Times to find analysts who suspect another interesting culprit for the birth dearth. Not to be caught using the arguments of the religious or common sense, the Times puts forward those who propose that one of the culprits may be those pesky traditional mores. Yes, traditional views toward families might be the problem.

Wondering how the U.S. maintains a healthy birth rate compared to our European comrades glibly notes that "The old conservative argument — that a traditional, working-husband-and-stay-at-home-wife family structure produces a healthy, growing population — doesn’t apply." and that the key to our success is our flexibility compared to Europe. Inflexibility coupled with those traditional family values and bingo, population implosion.
There is also a social stigma in countries like Italy, where it is seen as less socially accepted for women with children to work. In the U.S., that is very accepted.” By this logic, the worst sort of system is one that partly buys into the modern world — expanding educational and employment opportunities for women — but keeps its traditional mind-set. This would seem to define the demographic crisis that Italy, Spain and Greece find themselves in — and, perhaps, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan and other parts of the world.
Lest all this talk of demographic problems get you down, some demographers say "no biggie, who needs all those people anyway?"
James W. Vaupel, founding director of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany, suggests that “on balance, the future will probably be better than the past. People will probably live longer, healthier lives. Continued economic growth, even if at a slower pace than in the past, will further raise standards of living.”
The Times finishes with an a quote from Carl Haub of the Population Reference Bureau referring to the rosy prognostications of demographers and economists who try to convince that a non existent birth rate is a good thing.
“But you can’t go on forever with a total fertility rate of 1.2. If you compare the size of the 0-to-4 and 29-to-34 age groups in Spain and Italy right now, you see the younger is almost half the size of the older. You can’t keep going with a completely upside-down age distribution, with the pyramid standing on its point. You can’t have a country where everybody lives in a nursing home.

Weekend on CMR - June 28-29, 2008

And You Thought Preaching Was Bad in Your Church
—Jerusalem Church catches "Spirit of Vatican II?"

Schism! No Not Those Guys, The Other Guys.
—Dear Anglicans, do we have a deal for you!

Crucified Ronald McDonald Is A Cliche
—Painting by numbers. Deconstructing the "Sacrilegious Art" story.

Doomed! Big Fireball. Doomed.
—If you are going to be a doomsday prophet, at least have some style.

The Etiquette of Indecent Exposure
—Apropos of nothing but way too waggish to ignore.

All Hail King Kennedy
—Meet the most powerful man in America.

Take the Money, Leave the Faith
—Archdiocese is creating faith-based schools without the faith.

SSPX Williamson: Rejoice in Formal Schism!
—Bishop Williamson tries to derail re-unification.

You Might Not Be A Catholic If...
—If you see yourself in any of these you may not be a Catholic.

U.S. Bishops Engage in Sympathy Boycott
—You'll never guess the movie they're condemning.

Where do Demons Live?
—The nine percent of the population you don't want to hang out with.

Monkey Brains
—You maniacs! You did it! You really did it! Damn you all to Hell!

And You Thought Preaching Was Bad in Your Church

I had the good fortune to visit Jerusalem this last week, and found this plaque neatly affixed to one church entry.


Schism! No Not Those Guys, The Other Guys.

The Anglican Church has split! Meeting in Jerusalem at the Global Anglican Future Conference, the conservative members of the Anglican Church, many of whom will be boycotting next month's Lambeth conference issued a statement. This statement is a very serious, if not fatal blow to the Anglican Communion. Read this, but hang on for an alternate suggestion.

[W]e grieve for the spiritual decline in the most economically developed nations, where the forces of militant secularism and pluralism are eating away the fabric of society and churches are compromised and enfeebled in their witness…Sadly, this crisis has torn the fabric of the Communion in such a way that it cannot simply be patched back together.
...
The Anglican Communion, present in six continents, is well positioned to address this challenge, but currently it is divided and distracted. The Global Anglican Future Conference emerged in response to a crisis within the Anglican Communion, a crisis involving three undeniable facts concerning world Anglicanism. The first fact is the acceptance and promotion within the provinces of the Anglican Communion of a different ‘gospel’ (cf. Galatians 1:6-8) which is contrary to the apostolic gospel. This false gospel undermines the authority of God’s Word written and the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as the author of salvation from sin, death and judgement. Many of its proponents claim that all religions offer equal access to God and that Jesus is only a way, not the way, the truth and the life. It promotes a variety of sexual preferences and immoral behaviour as a universal human right. It claims God’s blessing for same-sex unions over against the biblical teaching on holy matrimony. In 2003 this false gospel led to the consecration of a bishop living in a homosexual relationship.

The second fact is the declaration by provincial bodies in the Global South that they are out of communion with bishops and churches that promote this false gospel. These declarations have resulted in a realignment whereby faithful Anglican Christians have left existing territorial parishes, dioceses and provinces in certain Western churches and become members of other dioceses and provinces, all within the Anglican Communion.
...
We believe this is a critical moment when the Primates’ Council will need to put in place structures to lead and support the church. In particular, we believe the time is now ripe for the formation of a province in North America for the federation currently known as Common Cause Partnership to be recognised by the Primates’ Council.

Read the entire statement >>>>>
Note to our friends the Anglicans, what you are proposing to do is an awful lot of work. What with setting up your own provinces, appointing new leadership, and not to mention all political headaches that will come along with this. I have a suggestion. Save yourselves all that trouble. If you want to belong to a church that does not condone "a variety of sexual preferences and immoral behaviour as a universal human right. It claims God’s blessing for same-sex unions over against the biblical teaching on holy matrimony." If you want to get away from all that but maintain some sort of unity (perhaps with, say..., the apostles?), why not just join the Catholic Church. Hey, we even let you use your Anglican prayer books and everything. It is quite the bargain.

C'mon guys, cross the Tiber. The water is fine. Save yourself all that trouble. You won't regret it.

Crucified Ronald McDonald Is A Cliche

This story from the Hornsey and Crouch Journal has every element I love in a sacrilegious art story. First, introduce the brave courageous artist, bring in the overreacting Christians, sprinkle on a suggestion that religious fanatics are responsible for all the world's evils, and finally wheel out the wimpy clergy. Seriously, go back to every blaspheming art story over the past decade and it will have these elements.

So over in England, an effigy of the fast food icon Ronald McDonald was crucified sparking a mini-outrage among neighboring Christians last week.

And then the man responsible for the exhibit cried tearfully to the press that he was scared of being beat up - by a bunch of girls.

Teenage girls who he called "protestors" allegedly pinned the exhibition organiser to a wall as they demanded the removal of a figure of Ronald McDonald hanging from a cross.

Tony Peakall, organiser of the Tidy Art exhibition, revealed how he was attacked by around 10 girls (that means probably three.) They reportedly grabbed him and shouted at him to take it down. He said: "When I tried to explain about the piece they said if it was a Muslim symbol we wouldn't do it because we would get bombed. It was scary. They threatened me saying I would be lucky if something doesn't happen to me. We have no plans to remove it."

Wow. He got threatened by a bunch of girls and told on them and then added snottily while wiping his nose that he didn't care what those mean old girls said to him that he was going to be a brave big boy.

But here then comes my favorite quote from every artist who creates some stupid sacrilege. They're always shocked, just shocked that they're causing an uproar. Janitzio Moreno, 47, said: "I'm not apologising for it. If there are reactions then it tells us more about the society we live in. I think a lot of evils in the world are a direct result of religious fanaticism, and this is another little example."

There's been a lot of evil in the world from failed artists too. Remember, uhm...HITLER!

And now bring in the ineffectual clergy. "The Bishop of Edmonton, The Right Reverend Peter Wheatley, declined to comment."

So while the clergy couldn't muster a comment, some common sense was to be had from a spokesman for McDonald's, who said: "It seems inappropriate to place an image of Ronald McDonald on any religious artifact." Wow. Was that really so hard?

So there you have my deconstruction of every blaspheming artist story that ever was and ever will be. This story will be repeated often in coming years until they once again get brave enough to start feeding us to lions. I'll also try to have funny little stories about that too for your enjoyment because we might as well laugh while the world is being flushed down the toilet. Oh excuse me, something is growling and pawing at my front door. I'll be right ba...

The Etiquette of Indecent Exposure

Apropos of nothing but way too waggish to ignore, I give you J.D. Carriere. cmrHT to Jeff Culbreath.

You have, Dear Reader, perhaps had stuck between your teeth something vegetable; a poppy seed, spinach, whatnot.

Likewise indecent exposure. To rectify one's unintended display, be it buffet or bosom, it is always better to know.

So when a lady has fallen the rest of the way out of her summer top, it is not proper for the gentleman to assume she meant to, whatever the prevailing fashion of the place.

Though he be divided between his own discomfort at raising the topic and the plight, unsightly or otherwise, of the hapless lass, the truly decent gentleman willingly undertakes in all things to subordinate his own comfort in service to the other.

He may not shirk, lest, imagine the tumult, the exposed lady next meet her clergyman or her grandfather.

Neither may he snicker or leer. Leering is to be saved for his wife and snickering for later.

So the gentleman will proceed, delicately, thus:

"Forgive my noticing, Miss, but to save you a felony charge it is my profound discomfiture to inform you that you appear to have misplaced your areola. Not, mind you, that it is lost. Rather, Miss, you see it is very much in evidence. I thought it best you should know. Good day.".

His duty done, he may retire for cocktails.
Like I said...

Doomed! Big Fireball. Doomed.

Gianna Talone Sullivan claims to have visions of the Virgin Mary.

I am not one of those immediate skeptics that thinks that any and all visions or claims of apparitions are de facto frauds if they don't rhyme with Fatima. With that said, I am not a maroon or a gull a bull. The following strains credulity.

Ms. Sullivan has the distinction of have a achieved a rare kibosh from the local diocese.

On September 8, 2000, the Archdiocese of Baltimore issued a statement with the approval of Cardinal William H. Keeler, indicating that it "finds no basis" for the alleged apparitions and messages of the Blessed Virgin Mary which Gianna Talone-Sullivan claimed to receive during the Thursday evening prayer services at St. Joseph in Emmitsburg.
In the wake of the latest "message" from that seems rather prescient.

Let me stipulate that while I am confident that we will soon be on the receiving end of some very serious biblical comeuppance, I have my doubts as to whether the Blessed Mother would describe things this way. (guvment conspiracy included for no charge.)
Children, for the last 20 years I have oftentimes spoken of “change.” I have told you that there is no time for fear; there is only time for change. You must know by now that I have recently spoken of an arising of “two suns.” When you see the two suns on the horizon, you must know that this is a time of change, a time of this new beginning about which I have spoken to you before. After you see the two suns, there is only a short time before you will see a tremendous change in weather. After this, as you know, there are more changes to come.

Children, God did not create only the Earth. God is the Creator of the cosmos, with its many galaxies, many orbits, different stars and different planets. God is the Creator! There are other planets like earth, far beyond your understanding.

I can tell you this: Even your governments and the Church authorities already have knowledge of the stars aligning and its implications upon you. You must not fear but must be prepared, primarily spiritually.

After awhile, you will see a time when there is another body in orbit around your solar system, coming between Earth and the Sun and leading to tremendous devastation. Approximately 60-70% of the world’s population, as you know it, will cease. Of those who survive, 60% of them could die of disease and starvation.
...
But I can assure you that secretly those in governmental positions around the world and Church authorities all know.
I didn't know that there would be math involved. Ok, let's see. multiply six billion by .65. Take the result and divide by.... carry the one ... and ummm. Anyway. Lotsa people in the cemetarial suburbs.

Hint to would be pseudo-prophets, the less specific you are the better. Verifiable results are not your friend. I don't think, although I could be wrong on this, that Jesus uses his mother to send messages with the words "Approximately 60-70%". Just not catchy enough.

Try for instance "The fourth angel sounded his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night."

Now that has a certain style. "World to blow up Tuesday" just doesn't have the same ring to it. If you are going to be a doomsday prophet, at least have some style.

Today on CMR - June 27, 2008

All Hail King Kennedy
—Meet the most powerful man in America.

Take the Money, Leave the Faith
—Archdiocese is creating faith-based schools without the faith.

SSPX Williamson: Rejoice in Formal Schism!
—Bishop Williamson tries to derail re-unification.

You Might Not Be A Catholic If...
—If you see yourself in any of these you may not be a Catholic.

U.S. Bishops Engage in Sympathy Boycott
—You'll never guess the movie they're condemning.

Where do Demons Live?
—The nine percent of the population you don't want to hang out with.

Monkey Brains
—You maniacs! You did it! You really did it! Damn you all to Hell!

New Legal Sport: Throw Stink Bombs at Pro-Lifers
—It's open season on pro-lifers

I Got Nowhere Else To Go!
—Which party will get you to purgatory?

Religion in the Hook-up College Culture
—Clergy and parents turn a blind eye.

Want Full Communion? Act Like Grownups
—The five conditions set forth for return of the SSPX.

Michelangelo was an Anti-Catholic Kabhallist
—New bestseller sees secret codes in Sistine Chapel.


All Hail King Kennedy

History is largely made up of stories of men and women struggling for power. Our history books are filled with battles between someone was king and someone who wanted to be king. It's been written often that George Washington easily could have become king of the very young America. His refusal to grasp at power is such a historical anomaly that he stands out as one of the greatest historical figures in the history of man.

Presidents have limited power because a great man like Washington limited his own power. Unfortunately, Justice Anthony Kennedy is not a great man.

Hey, America went two centuries without a king. It was time we got one, right? Justice Anthony Kennedy is the new king of America. Unelected. Legislating without limit. And cool robes.

Appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan, Kennedy acts as the Court's swing vote in many cases, and as a result has held special prominence in many politically charged 5–4 decisions.

The past week offers two examples of 5-4 decisions which show that Kennedy is now the most powerful man in America.

In writing the majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy noted that child rapes may be “devastating,” but don't compare to murder. He didn't get that from The Constitution. Justice Kennedy wrote that, “Evolving standards of decency must embrace and express respect for the dignity of the person, and the punishment of criminals must conform to that rule.” Now, of course, pro-lifers will scoff a little at a justice who allows abortion to wax poetic about "the dignity of the person." But it's the "evolving standards" line which also irks me. He's supposed to be basing his opinion on the Constitution, not evolving standards which exist in the mind of Justice Kennedy.

Here's the thing -I'm pretty sure that if you took a poll you'd get a pretty good consensus that the death penalty for child rapists might be a good thing.

What also troubles me is another ruling issued yesterday where the RIGHT to bear arms was up in the air yesterday. Mind you, it is an enumerated right yet it was nearly taken away yesterday but for the opinion of one justice - Anthony Kennedy.

I get a little worried about a man who can "disappear" a right. It seems rights are no longer from our Creator but are derived from Justice Anthony Kennedy.

And in the many 5-4 rulings by the Supreme Court, Kennedy is often the swing and decisive vote.

Abortion in the ninth month of pregnancy is likely legal in every state in America currently because Anthony Kennedy is pro-choice.

Terrorists have habeas right because Kennedy has deemed it so.

We have the right to own a gun because Justice Kennedy has deemed it.

Students can't raise a banner saying "Bong hits for Jesus" because Kennedy said so.

Anthony Kennedy ruled that local governments have more or less unlimited authority to seize homes and businesses in his eminent domain concurrence.

Partial-birth abortion can be limited because Kennedy joined the constructionists of the Court in Stenberg v. Carhart.

Now, mind you I sometimes agree with Justice Kennedy just as I would likely agree with the actions of a well meaning monarch. The problem I have is that he has the power to make those decisions. A tyrant can do many good things. That is not the question. I question from where his power is derived in America.

George Washington shunned an excess of power. Justice Anthony Kennedy seems to accrue it.

Justice Kennedy's actions seem to shine a light on the importance of the power of the President to nominate justices, making this election of even more importance. Justice John Paul Stevens is 88. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 75. David Souter, who is only is 68, is reportedly interested in retiring. If McCain is elected we could possibly curtail the power of the judiciary and return power to the people and their elected representatives.

SSPX Williamson: Rejoice in Formal Schism!

Bishop Richard Williamson has persistently been the most hard line of the leadership of the SSPX. Over the past days there has been much talk about the pre-conditions set by Rome for some sort of gesture toward the SSPX seeking to heal rift between them and the Church.

Bishop Fellay, Superior General of the SSPX, has cast doubts about whether the SSPX will respond positively to the five conditions in some remarks made last week in a speech.

Bishop Fellay's comments are reasonable and temperate compared to Bishop Richard Williamson. It is difficult to impossible to know the internal politics of the SSPX being played out in public, but Bishop Williamson seems absolutely determined to insure that the SSPX does not respond positively to the request on Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos. Brian Kopp, writing at SummorumPontificum.net explores some of the political possibilities of what may be happening behind the scenes at the SSPX. One thing is for certain, however, Williamson is determined to derail the entire process.

Bishop Williamson, writing on his blog, not only throws cold water on the prospects of reunification but relishes the idea of being declared in open schism, calling it a cause for celebration.

However, when in the next few days the Society makes no gesture towards Rome sufficient for Rome's purpose of dissolving the resistance of Catholic Tradition, I am for my part not at all sure that Rome will really go ahead with any declaration of formal schism. Maybe after eight, or 20, or 38 years of the Society's resistance they really are losing patience, but does not all past experience tell them that each time they use the stick, it stiffens rather than dissolves that resistance?

And if they did go ahead with such a declaration [of schism], Catholics should rejoice, because after several years of some ambiguity there would once more be some clarity ! Twenty years ago, all Society Superiors gathered in Econe rejoiced in their bishops' "excommunication". Would not the same thing happen this time round if Rome also cast priests and laity into its outer darkness ? Not that any of us would rejoice in Rome's self-abasement.
It is time for Bishop Fellay to put an end to such talk by one the leaders of the SSPX. If there is ever to be any hope of reconciliation Williamson should be formally censured or expelled from the SSPX. Being declared in formal schism is a cause for joy for this man, a badge of honor.

Further the priests of the society, if this offer is rejected, should seek reconciliation with Rome on an individual basis for if you don't, you are now allied with a group that openly relishes the idea of schism. Nothing remotely catholic about that.

This goes double for the faithful. The Church has its problems, no doubt, but if you stay allied with the SSPX at this point, you are most certainly part of the problem and not part of the solution.

Bishop Fellay, please do the right thing and say yes to the Pope and no to Williamson. Souls depend on it.

Take the Money, Leave the Faith

On June 16, seven Roman Catholic schools in Washington, D.C., were transformed into seven public charter schools by a unanimous vote of the D.C. Public Charter School Board. It’s a conversion story - but in reverse.

The archdiocese is creating faith-based schools without the faith.

Establishing a charter requires the schools to shed its religious identity because “religious charter school” is according to politicians a First Amendment oxymoron. Although free from some regulations that apply to traditional public schools, charters are still public schools which means they must be nonsectarian — neither promoting nor denigrating religion.

Quick question: Since when does godlessness mean neutrality?

So why do people of faith leap to schools of no faith? In the case of the Washington Catholic schools, it’s about the bottom line. Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl told The Washington Post, the archdiocese simply didn’t have the resources to keep all those schools open. So they applied for money and gave up just one itty bitty thing to get it -God.

Take the Catholic out of Catholic schools and what’s left? According to the archbishop, “They will have the same teachers, the same kids, the same environment. There will still be a level of value formation.”

But where do the values come from in a godless school? It seems to me that it leaves a spiritual vacuum which will be filled by our ever spiraling culture.

Signing off with this quote from a book that won't be in the library of these schools: "No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." Matthew 6:24

Today on CMR - June 26, 2008

You Might Not Be A Catholic If...
—If you see yourself in any of these you may not be a Catholic.

U.S. Bishops Engage in Sympathy Boycott
—You'll never guess the movie they're condemning.

Where do Demons Live?
—The nine percent of the population you don't want to hang out with.

Monkey Brains
—You maniacs! You did it! You really did it! Damn you all to Hell!

New Legal Sport: Throw Stink Bombs at Pro-Lifers
—It's open season on pro-lifers

I Got Nowhere Else To Go!
—Which party will get you to purgatory?

Religion in the Hook-up College Culture
—Clergy and parents turn a blind eye.

Want Full Communion? Act Like Grownups
—The five conditions set forth for return of the SSPX.

Michelangelo was an Anti-Catholic Kabhallist
—New bestseller sees secret codes in Sistine Chapel.

I Want Mass to Have Top-Ten Music
—Time for the Church to get with the times!

Pope to SSPX: Now or Never?
—Pope tells SSPX: Sign on the dotted line!

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You Might Not Be A Catholic If...

When asked what religion you are, you say, "I was raised Catholic..."

If you've said, "I'm a Catholic but I think for myself..."

You refer in an un-mocking manner to "The Spirit of Vatican II."

If you're pro-choice.

If you're on the NY Times speed dial for their religion stories.

You're Father Richard McBrien.

You can't remember if you went to Mass last Christmas.

If upon someone questioning your devotion to your faith you say, "Well what about the priest sexual abuse scandal?"

If you've said, "The Church is all about money."

If you didn't get the big deal about "The DaVinci Code."

If you say, "I'm more spiritual than religious..."

If you attend Saint Joan of Arc in Minneapolis.

If you've said, "The Church should stay out of my bedroom!"

If you call Jesus "a great philosopher."

If you think the overriding message of the gospels is "Judge not lest ye be judged."

If you think the puppet gave a good sermon.

If you believe the frump in the moo-moo has a valid ordination.

If you're an Obamaniac.

If you believe we haven't had a Pope since 1958.

If your name is Bishop Williamson.

If your house was on fire and you'd save your Marty Haugen's Greatest Hits Volume II CD.

U.S. Bishops Engage in Sympathy Boycott


While Hollywood makes at least a dozen anti-Catholic movies every years, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) announced today that they are coming out strong against a recently released movie, says Sify Movies.

The USCCB is classifying the new Mike Myers movie "The Love Guru" as morally offensive because it's anti-Hindu.

Hindu leader Rajan zed, who is leading a campaigning against the movie for "lampooning" Hindus, is happy that other religious groups have taken up the cause and called the USCCB move a "remarkable inter-faith gesture".

USCCB officials called the film "vulgar and tasteless", saying it "wallows in endless penis jokes and fairly yucky potty humour."

Sorry but I don't remember this kind of outrage from the USCCB about all the virulently anti-Catholic movies which come out a few dozen times each year. I guess anti-Catholicism doesn't rank as high as "yucky potty humor" for the USCCB.

If you recall, this is the same USCCB inexplicably gave the movie "The Golden Compass" a family-friendly A-II rating.

And "Agnes of God" which was about a nun accused of strangling a baby didn't live up to the "morally offensive" classification.

Remember 1994's "Priest"-that critically acclaimed drama where a young priest initiates several homosexual encounters, partly out of torment at his helplessness in stopping a case of incest revealed in confession. The USCCB described that cute little dramedy as a "credible picture of a lonely priest in a busy parish." That movie also failed to receive the "Morally Offensive" classification from the USCCB.

So excuse me if I am a little suspicious about their politically correct sympathy condemnation of "The Love Guru." Are these guys drunk? Off their meds? While the culture has turned rabid on all things Catholic, the USCCB picks a fight against "The Love Guru?" Now, that's leadership.

Where do Demons Live?

Something a little odd struck me in reading the recently release Pew Statistics on Religion in America Report.

The good news is that Americans are nearly unanimous in saying they believe in God
(92 percent) and large majorities believe in life after death (74 percent), according to the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life’s 268-page study released Monday.

But here's something that caught my brain. The study found that 59 percent of Americans believe in hell while 68 percent believe demons are active in the world.

Question: Where do the nine percent of people who believe in demons but don't believe in Hell think demons live? New Jersey? Sheboygen?

I don't think they've thought this through.

Monkey Brains

"You maniacs! You did it! You really did it! Damn you all to Hell" --Planet of the Apes

Well, the stupid monkeys went ahead and did it. Right to life for monkeys, not babies.

[RO]Spain may be better known throughout the world for bull fighting than animal rights, but its parliament declared support on Wednesday for the right to life and freedom of the nation’s great apes.

The move is the first time any national legislature has called for rights for non-humans.

The parliament’s environmental committee approved the resolution, which calls on Spain to comply with the Great Apes Project. The initiative, originated by philosophers Peter Singer and Paola Cavalieri in 1993, promotes the position that "non-human hominids" such as gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans and bonobos should enjoy comparable rights as humans, including the right to life, freedom and not to be tortured. The philosophers believe the apes are our closest genetic relatives.
The right to life and freedom! At the same time, moves are afoot to liberalize abortion laws in Spain.
The Spanish newspaper ABC reported this week that the country’s Health Minister, Bernat Soria, who supports the legalization of abortion, is “hoping” to get a majority of lawmakers to back a Congressional proposal to change Spain’s law on abortion.
“The reform of a norm is something that is usually proposed by the government, and I hope we achieve a consensus,” Soria said.

Nevertheless, the Zapatero administration “has not said whether or not it would take up the initiative, and we only know that it intends to issue norms on the confidentiality, the quality of services and the legal protection of those who practice abortions,” ABC reported.
The philosophers believe the apes are our closest genetic relatives. Babies. Wouldn't babies, fetuses, or embryos be closer genetic relatives? Don't they share 100% of our DNA. Europe, having lost all faith, has now lost all reason. Only wickedness remains.

Today on CMR - June 25, 2008

New Legal Sport: Throw Stink Bombs at Pro-Lifers
—It's open season on pro-lifers

I Got Nowhere Else To Go!
—Which party will get you to purgatory?

Religion in the Hook-up College Culture
—Clergy and parents turn a blind eye.

Want Full Communion? Act Like Grownups
—The five conditions set forth for return of the SSPX.

Michelangelo was an Anti-Catholic Kabhallist
—New bestseller sees secret codes in Sistine Chapel.

I Want Mass to Have Top-Ten Music
—Time for the Church to get with the times!

Pope to SSPX: Now or Never?
—Pope tells SSPX: Sign on the dotted line!

Follow the SSPX Saga
—Keep up to date on the possible SSPX reconciliation at SummorumPontificum.net

Even A Broken Clock ...
—America Magazine made sense?

Photo Essay of Obama by Objective Press
—Halos, crosses, doves, sunbeams! And the race isn't even close yet.

Gay Bishops Have Changed My Mind
—Gay Bishops memoirs cause writer to ask, "Whose Gospel is it?"

Zut Alors! More Canadian Rivest-ance
—Canadian Bishop: How do you say "never" in Latin?

New Photos from Thomas Aquinas College
—Whose in charge of the zeitgeist around here?

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New Legal Sport: Throw Stink Bombs at Pro-Lifers

The lunatic abortionist George Tiller who has been under investigation for years for illegal abortions had his security guards toss stink bombs near pro-life protesters, according to The Wichita Eagle.

A local pro-life activist lost a small-claims lawsuit Tuesday when a judge ruled he was not damaged when a security officer used a "stink bomb" to ward anti-abortion volunteers away from a Wichita abortion clinic.

"The judge ruled that Tiller has the right to stink bomb us if he wants to as long as the stink bomb is on his property," said one pro-life protester. "I fully expect it to be used on us again."

Evidence at the trial showed that the "stink bomb" consisted of foul-smelling catfish bait. The lawsuit said the incident prompted many moms who brought young children to the clinic to stop coming.

The pro-lifer said he didn't plan to appeal the ruling because it would just be too expensive.

Now could you just imagine if say...an Armed Forces recruiting station did the same exact thing to anti-war protesters? It would be seen as Kent State all over again. MSNBC would have hour long specials, reenactments, interviews, and Keith Olberman blaming Karl Rove.

Or could you perhaps imagine if some pro-lifers used a stink bomb near the entrance of abortion clinics to ward off women. Something tells me the media would discuss this a wee bit more than they did for this case...which was never.

I Got Nowhere Else To Go!

Sometimes, when asked why I typically vote Republican, I feel like Richard Gere (sans small mammal, of course) in An Officer and a Gentlemen shouting in pain, "I got nowhere else to go!" However, it seems many Catholics have found somewhere else to go.

David Gibson at Pontifications reports the Catholic party identification with Republican has been plummeting.

There is so much to chew over in the latest batch of data from the Pew Forum's prodigious Religious Landscape Survey, but combine the Pew's numbers on Catholic party affiliation with a lesser-noted new survey from Georgetown's CARA institute, and the most important and eye-popping shift of all jumps right out: Namely, that the Republican party is losing--in droves--the Catholic voters who are critical to success in November and into the future.

The Pew numbers alone suggest the growing GOP losses among what is considered the biggest religious swing vote: A 2004 Pew survey concluded that the historic Democratic dominance among Catholics was at an end, with Republicans "approaching parity with the Democrats among Catholics, who once were a heavily Democratic constituency. The Democratic margin has shrunk from 43%-to-38% in 1992 to 44%-to-41% today," the 2004 report said. The data released yesterday (June 23) show that just 23 percent of Catholics identify as Republican, and 10 percent "lean" to the GOP, for a total of 33 percent, while 33 percent of Catholics identify as Democrats and 15 percent "lean" Democratic, for a total of 48 percent--a hefty 15 percent differential. Ten percent identified as independent, according to the Pew results.

Now check out the June 20 survey, "Election '08 Forecast," from CARA (the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate) at Georgetown, and the shift is even more dramatic: Only 21 percent of Catholic voters (some 47 million adults) either strongly or weakly affiliate as a Republican today compared to 31 percent who identified as Republican in 2004.

By contrast, 38 percent of Catholic voters identify themselves, either strongly or weakly, with the Democratic Party, down just one percentage point from CARA's numbers in 2004. In fact, even among weekly Mass attenders the Dems have a big edge, though not as large as in the wider Catholic community:

Read the rest >>>>
When I see numbers about "Catholic" party identification I usually hold them suspect. Anyone can claim to be Catholic. But when I see that the democrats have an edge even among regular mass goers, I scratch my head.

Let me stipulate, the Republican party has been a continual source of frustration for me. But yet I hang in there because there are issues much more precious to me that tax policy and regulation. Innocent lives are at stake.

On judgment day I can take my comeuppance for being on the wrong side of immigration reform, supply side economics, or global warming. I don't want the slaughter of innocents on the list.

"Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me."

Can't take that chance.

Religion in the Hook-up College Culture

The sexual “hook-up culture” is widespread on college and university campuses, regardless of whether the institutions are Catholic or secular, a Catholic academic says, according to the California Catholic Daily.

Boston University religion professor Donna Freitas reports her findings in a new book, Sex & the Soul: Juggling Sexuality, Spirituality, Romance, and Religion on America’s College Campuses.

She says that “with the exception of evangelicals, American college students see almost no connection between their religious beliefs and their sexual behavior."

I'm not surprised but so many of us don't seem to be preparing our children for the college hook-up culture.

According to Freitas, the prevalence of the “hookup culture,” where students seek sexual experiences with a variety of partners, was a disturbing enough trend. But, “the theme party culture is probably the most shocking shift."

In theme parties, men and women dress up, the women acting as sex objects. Themes include “CEOs and Office Hos,” “Millionaires and Maids,” and “Golf Pros and Tennis Hos,” she told the Reporter. According to Freitas, young people often regret their participation in such parties, but they “feel they have to go along with it to make friends, or to find a guy if they want a boyfriend.”

According to Freitas, 41% of students, both men and women, who engage in the “hook-up culture” are “profoundly upset” about their own behavior. Of the students at Catholic colleges and universities, 45% said their peers were too casual about sex – an opinion expressed by 36% of students at nonreligious private and public schools. But, Freitas told the Wall Street Journal in April, “with the exception of evangelicals, American college students see almost no connection between their religious beliefs and their sexual behavior. This radical separation of religion and sex tells us important things not only about the power of the college hookup culture but also about the weakness of religious traditions in the face of it.”

But here's the real truth. Freitas believes that Catholic colleges and universities forsaken values for admissions. Freitas said Catholic colleges have ignored the sexual hook-up culture because they fear alienating prospective students.

I can honestly say that I never once heard a sermon about casual sex from the Jesuits when I went to college. It is by far the most prevalent issue on campus. That and drinking. But never once did I hear anything about casual sex. They ignored it completely.

But Freitas says the parents have plenty of the blame as well. She suggests that parents of prospective students be given a list of questions. Ten of the questions should be about sex and the hookup culture. “Parents have to buck up and look beyond the ivy. My theory is the parents and applicants hold all the power. When students are in the middle of it, they don’t know how to get out of it.” But I fear that too many parents are more concerned with being their child's friend than acting as a parent.

So what we have is a negligent clergy who never discuss sex, colleges which turn a blind eye to sexual behavior to pump up admissions, and parents who want to be cool. And who pays the price? The children. They pay with broken hearts, STD's, and abortions. And then all of the adults shake their head wondering about kids today.

Today on CMR - June 24, 2008

Want Full Communion? Act Like Grownups
—The five conditions set forth for return of the SSPX.

Michelangelo was an Anti-Catholic Kabhallist
—New bestseller sees secret codes in Sistine Chapel.

I Want Mass to Have Top-Ten Music
—Time for the Church to get with the times!

Even A Broken Clock ...
—America Magazine made sense?

Pope to SSPX: Now or Never?
—Pope tells SSPX: Sign on the dotted line!

Photo Essay of Obama by Objective Press
—Halos, crosses, doves, sunbeams! And the race isn't even close yet.

Gay Bishops Have Changed My Mind
—Gay Bishops memoirs cause writer to ask, "Whose Gospel is it?"

Zut Alors! More Canadian Rivest-ance
—Canadian Bishop: How do you say "never" in Latin?

Pray Like A Bunch of Byzantines!
—Save the Austin Byzantine Mission.

New Photos from Thomas Aquinas College
—Whose in charge of the zeitgeist around here?

Secular Report: No One Wants Latin Mass
—Paper really really wants you to know that nobody wants the Latin Mass.

Telling Children about Abortion?
—When is the right time to explain abortion?

Want Full Communion? Act Like Grownups

Andrea Tornielli reports on the five conditions set forth for the SSPX to return to full communion. Translation by Fr. Z.

I have gotten hold of the letter (written in French) which Dario Card. Castrillon Hoyos wrote with the five conditions sent to [Bp.] Fellay in view of a return to full communion with Rome. Contrary to the first leaks, there is no mention of acceptance of the Council or the new Mass: they are prior general conditions. In fact the Holy See, showing a great generosity, asks that they not attack the person of the Pope. [Bp.] Fellay asked Benedict XVI for the revocation of the excommunication, so the request to respect authority without first pretending to be the recipients of a a "superior" Magisterium to that of the reigning Pontiff seems to me to be a commonsensical condition! This is the text of the letter which bears the signature of the Cardinal President of Ecclesia Dei:

Conditions resulting from the 4 june 2008 meeting between Dario Card. Castrillon Hoyos and Bishop Bernard Fellay:

1. A commitment to a proportioned response to the generosity of the Pope.
2. A commitment to avoid any public speech which does not respect the person of the Holy Father and which can be negative for ecclesial charity.
3. A commitment to avoid the pretense of a Magisterium superior to the Holy Father and to not put forward the Fraternity [SSPX] in opposition to the Church.
4. A commitment to demonstrate the will to behave honestly in full ecclesial charity and in respect to the authority of the Vicar of Christ.
5. A commitment to respect the date – fixed at the end of the month of June – to respond positively. This will be a required and necessary condition for the immediate preparation for adhesion to have full communion.
Noticeably absent is any repudiation of the concerns of the SSPX. The articles are only requesting that the leadership of the SSPX act like grown-ups. If they cannot to commit to this reasonable behavior, then they really show their true colors. They would do well to remember 1 Corinthians 13
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, [1] but have not love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; [2] 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Cross Posted at SummorumPontificum.net

Michelangelo was an Anti-Catholic Kabhallist

Michelangelo hid a secret code in the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel comprising mystical Jewish symbols and insults aimed at the Pope, according to a new book which was (surprise surprise) written by a Rabbi. This according to The West.com

According to Rabbi Benjamin Blech, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, which the artist worked on for four years in the early 16th century, is actually a “bridge” between the Catholic Church and the Jewish faith, according to "The Sistine Secrets: Unlocking the Codes in Michelangelo’s Defiant Masterpiece."

Besides having one of the longest titles ever recorded, the book is on the New York Times best-seller list. Come on. Anything that nowadays speaks of secret codes against the Catholic Church is going to go big. I'm still trying to convince myself it's because people love secret code stories rather than people hate the Church.

But anyway, scanning through the arrangement of figures on the 1300sqm ceiling, the Rabbi found shapes that correspond to Hebrew letters. For example, the figures of David and Goliath form the shape of the letter gimel, which symbolises g’vurah, or strength, in the mystical Kabbalah tradition.

Kabbalah is a set of ancient esoteric teachings which are meant to decode the inner meaning of the Tanakh, or Hebrew Bible, and to explain the reasons for Jewish religious observances.

Kabbalah is considered by its followers to be the true meaning of Judaism. It's considered by many others to be kookery. One of their beliefs is while all human souls emanate from God, that at least part of the Gentile soul emanates from the "left side" of the Sefirotic structure (don't know what that is) and that non-Jews therefore have a dark or demonic aspect to them that is absent in Jews.

In the chapel on the opposite wall to David and Goliath, the scene showing Judith and her handmaiden carrying the head of Holofernes, an Assyrian general, is in the shape of the Hebrew letter chet, which represents chesed, or the characteristics of “loving kindness”. “There are so many layers of meaning on meaning, and most of it is from the Jewish tradition,” Mr Doliner said.

Rabbi Blech said all the figures in the nine scenes on the ceiling were Jews. “He emphasises only Old Testament figures in the entire ceiling, and what he was trying to say was: Why have we ignored our true roots?” he said.

Did Rabbi Blech ask Michelangelo? Because I'd be careful about that Italian artist's soul because I'm pretty sure it emanates from the "left side" of the Sefirotic structure (still don't know what that is.)

The book adds that the tree of life in the fresco is not, as usually thought, an apple tree, but a fig tree according to ancient Jewish tradition. The authors believe the entire Sistine Chapel is a “lost mystical message of universal love” which was intended to be decoded.

Because you know us Catholics don't believe in universal love.

The authors believe Michelangelo picked up his knowledge of Judaism while at the court of Lorenzo de Medici in Florence. In addition, they say several attacks on Pope Julius II, who commissioned the work, are embedded in the painting.

Disgusted with papal corruption, they think Michelangelo painted the prophet Zechariah in the pope’s likeness. Behind him, one angel is “making an extremely obscene hand gesture at the back of his head."

Critics of the book point out that there is no record in Michelangelo’s extensive and well-preserved writings of any secret code in the ceiling. Dr Arnold Nesselrath, a curator at the Vatican museums, said there was no way that Michelangelo could have painted any of the ceiling without the pope’s express consent.

I just keep hoping that people reading authors whose intent is to destroy and tear down Catholicism are intrigued enough to look into the real thing. We've got all sorts of paintings and statues that you could try to find something hidden in. Jesus said all sorts of riddles for you to consider like "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church." Figure that one out and your life will change.

I Want Mass to Have Top-Ten Music

In a complete turnaround from every point of view I've ever held, I believe we should cater to the dictatorship of the young when it comes to music in the liturgy. I think we've been stuck in the old ways for way too long. With mass attendance dropping and the younger generation feeling disconnected from the liturgy we need to do something drastic to bring them back into the pews.

Since we've been stuck with folk music for 40 years, I say we give a top ten album a try for another 40 years and let's see how it works out.

We need something hip. Something trendy. Something kids can hear in their video games and on their FM radio stations. Something that's big over in Europe.

Oh Ok. Here I found just the thing - The Cistercian monks of the Stift Heiligenkreuz Abbey are unlikely candidates to make pop music's Top 10 list -- but they did just that, debuting at No. 9 in the United Kingdom last week.

A CD of their prayer, "Chant: Music for Paradise," (sold as "Chant: Music for the Soul" in some countries) has been called a "must-have" by reviewers.

Cistercian Father Karl Wallner, rector of the Benedict XVI Papal University of Heiligenkreuz, attributed the CD's overwhelming welcome to the fact that "Gregorian chant spreads harmony, peace and consolation in the depth of the soul."

You must admit it's a little hilarious that the hippies threw out all the great music of the church in order to "connect" with "the people." And all we got are a lot of pretty awful folk songs. And then video games go Gregorian chant crazy and people all over the place are seeking out this wonderful sound.

But do you think the old hippies will change their minds. Ask them with mass attendance dropping and the younger generation feeling disconnected from the liturgy do we need to do something drastic to bring them back into the pews?

Don't bet on it.

Even A Broken Clock ...

I was perusing America Magazine, admittedly to find something silly that I could use my God given sarcastic talents to ridicule. As it turns out, my sarcastic talents provide me and my clan an evolutionary advantage. (Who Knew?) However, even though I am genetically superior to the sarcastically challenged, I would not be able to display my genetic edge today.

On my excursion, I ran across an article by a turtleneck wearing Jesuit (not good signs) but incredibly found myself in agreement. Fr. John Kavanaugh, an professor of ethics at St. Louis University (also a bad sign), was writing about the recent Wright / Pfleger disaster. Imagine my surprise when he actually made sense. Yes I have been drinking, too much to drive but I am probably ok to fly a plane. Anyway, Fr. Kavanaugh addresses the problems of the preacher as the center of attention.

Neither Pfleger nor the other three pastors are crazy persons. But they do have problems of their own. And they are the problems of the preacher. The preacher’s main temptation is in the preaching. In that wholly unmerited position and opportunity, in the context of sacred word, worship and sacrament, one is attended to, listened to by believers. There is a terrible seduction in this. One can preach to the choir and hear a chorus of approval.

As a preacher myself, I know there are few moments to compare with the affection and approval of parishioners after Mass, especially if you have been helpful in strengthening their faith. But the most distressing moment for me was the one homily I gave that evoked applause. Of course, it was gratifying; but it was disturbing. What was the applause for? The Gospel? The Eucharist? Maybe the stirring indictment of both church and state? Or for me?

There are many styles of preaching. But I have always felt a suspicion of styles that call too much attention to the preacher, whether by extravagant display or studied hyperbole. This becomes particularly dangerous when “preaching to the choir,” who applaud your indictments of everyone but the choir.

The priest preacher is a mediator. The danger is that the mediator can become the message. If the preacher is short on self-knowledge and personal restraint, his own preaching becomes, sadly, more important even than the Eucharist itself or, in non-eucharistic congregations, more important than even the Gospel. The preacher becomes the message. And that is disastrous.

The disaster finally hit Father Pfleger and the parish he loves. It also wounded Barack Obama. In the senator’s search for a new faith community, I hope he finds a church that nourishes his faith and family. I hope, also, he finds a preacher who is more into the Gospel than he is into his performance.
I doubt Fr. Kavanaugh would share my opinions about what exacerbates these problems within the Catholic Church, however credit should be given when credit is due. Fr. Kavanaugh is on the money. Does this mean I will revisit my reflexive opposition to anything a Jesuit says? Probably not. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

Today on CMR - June 23, 2008

Pope to SSPX: Now or Never?
—Pope tells SSPX: Sign on the dotted line!

Photo Essay of Obama by Objective Press
—Halos, crosses, doves, sunbeams! And the race isn't even close yet.

Gay Bishops Have Changed My Mind
—Gay Bishops memoirs cause writer to ask, "Whose Gospel is it?"

Zut Alors! More Canadian Rivest-ance
—Canadian Bishop: How do you say "never" in Latin?

Cruise Ship or Barque of Peter?
—What type of Church have you chosen and why?

Pray Like A Bunch of Byzantines!
—Save the Austin Byzantine Mission.

New Photos from Thomas Aquinas College
—Whose in charge of the zeitgeist around here?

Secular Report: No One Wants Latin Mass
—Paper really really wants you to know that nobody wants the Latin Mass.

Telling Children about Abortion?
—When is the right time to explain abortion?

Who Gets Born?
—Murder in search of the perfect baby.

Let No One Deceive You
—It is always unwise to assume we know more than the Church.

Catholic Judge in Limbo
—Catholic Judge Accused of Anti-Catholicism because he's Catholic. Got it?