Thursday, July 25, 2002

Canadian writer, John O'Sullivan, of the National Post, Thursday, July 25, 2002 has an article How long will the age of secularization last? The article says "...regular church attendance in Western Europe has sunk to single digits -- 7% for most Christian denominations in Britain, even lower in France and Germany. By comparison with this gloomy picture, North America still looks moderately devout. About 40% of Americans and 20% of Canadians say they go to church regularly -- and probably at least half of them are telling the truth.

If Europe is a post-Christian society, then North America is a dutifully observant one. But both exist in a world where Asia, Africa and Latin America are passionately devout."
"But things may not be what they seem. Europe may simply be further along the road of modernist "disenchantment" with religion than either the United States and Canada. From the 1930s to the 1950s, European churchgoing imperceptibly became a matter of social respectability rather than a desire to serve God. In the 1960s when everyone suddenly realized that his neighbour would prefer to sleep in on Sunday as well, church attendance progressively collapsed. Over time society became increasingly secular in law, custom, social atmosphere -- and eventually in religion too.

And this is producing a religious paradox worthy of G.K. Chesterton. Paul M. Zulehner, dean of the theology department in Vienna Catholic University, sees what is happening in Europe not as irreligion but as a frustrated religious impulse: "We are observing a boom in religious yearning and at the same time a shrinking process of the churches." Why so? Because, says Zulehner, "the churches have secularized themselves."

Another article Youth do not share media's focus on issues gives some commentary on youths at World Youth Day. These youths don't want to secularize the Catholic church. Strange that such wisdom comes from youth, not gray-haired folks.

The two articles make an interesting contrast.
Kathy Shaw and Bill Mitchell's Clergy Abuse Tracker blog gives summaries and links to scandal news. I suggest you read it in small doses if you don't want to lose your lunch.
Commentary and Analysis by Ted Gausmann, A Nation of States, Under God; Founders Did Not Envision Separation of Religion and State, says the recent federal ruling making school recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional because it includes the words "under God" is terribly flawed. The majority of the state constitutions existing at the time the federal Constitution's signing explicitly endorsed and established Christian principles in the state governments. The new federal Constitution did not replace those state constitutions. Gausmann gives quotes to related documents to prove his point. This article shows that the states intended the nation to be based on the Christian Protestant religion. If you want to read about the history of anti-Catholicism, this article is a good start.

Wednesday, July 24, 2002 has an article called, ACLU Promises to Continue Fight Against School Choice. The article states, "More than anyone else, parents know what education their children need. With vouchers, parents regain some of their lost authority, while the self-proclaimed elites lose power they never should have had. ... We look forward to hearing the ACLU defend the language of Blaine Amendments in the courts and legislatures. They will say it's "separation of church and state," but that's just 21st century code for bigotry against traditional American religion." This article explains the background for the struggle ahead to gain vouchers for all children that want them.

In another article, Cal Thomas opines in Gephardt Proposal "Just when we need more control of our borders and more information about those who are here illegally and wish us harm, the leading Democrat (Gephardt) in the House wants to make it easier for people to come here and stay illegally."

I'm ashamed to say that Gephardt is from my hometown. He's another pro-lifer that switched sides after he got elected and started dreaming about the White House. Now we can't get rid of him due to his incumbent advantage. Don't blame me. I didn't vote for him!

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

I got a call from my daughter in Toronto. How sweet to hear her voice and know that she has arrived safely. Now Mom can sleep and breathe a little easier. I'm asking everyone I know to pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the young folks at WYD. I'm asking Mary and the whole communion of saints to work a miracle in their hearts for the benefit of the church of the future.
St. Michael, the archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wiles and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray and do thou, O prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits that prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Take that, Catholics for Free Choice!!!

Thursday, July 18, 2002

I'm taking a day off tomorrow to get my daughter ready for World Youth Day in Toronto, so no blogging till Monday.
The Christian Science Monitor has an article today called Can marriage be taught?

Oklahoma tests the idea that government can, and should, foster stronger marriages
The lack of prosperity is one reason the Marriage Initiative was launched three years ago. Prior to announcing the program, Gov. Keating had asked a group of Oklahoma economists to sort out why the state wasn't thriving more.

They came back with some of the usual answers. The state's income tax was too high. It didn't have enough college graduates. Then, says Mr. Keating, they did something economists rarely do: "They turned the page and said, 'You have too many divorces. You have too much violence and drug abuse.' "

Perhaps, some folks are realizing the importance and benefits of marriage after all. Humm......

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Leslie Carbone's article in the National Review Hypocrites on Homosexuality states "The Boy Scouts have had the right idea". She discusses the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) S. 1284/HR 2692. Sen. Ted Kennedy (D., Mass.), is the bill's chief sponsor. Ted Kennedy must have his head in the sand. Hasn't he listened to the news this year? Traditional Values Coalition has the full story. Click here to write your congressman.
I've had problems getting my posting to show, so I checked the discussion board and found this:
Help.. I'm getting this message..
Error 503:Unable to load template file: /www/
How can I fix it??
– Lady StarShadow [1/10/2001 5:19 AM]

hey gang, we're working on this problem, but for the time being, there's a solution if you get this error. go to your template, don't change anything, and click "save changes." do the same thing with your archive template. (click "archive all" if neccessary.) then publish. if you receive an error the first time, try again. this should get you back up and running. we're working on a more permanent solution right now.
– jack saturn [1/10/2001 12:19 PM]

If you've had the same problem, give it a try. Republishing the past week's archive seemed to do the trick.

Monday, July 15, 2002

I just finished reading Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God In The Word of God by Scott Hahn while I was on a trek to celebrate my mom's 80th birthday. There seems to be an interesting parallel there between honoring my bio mom and honoring my spiritual mom. Both have blessed me and helped me grow in faith and love for Jesus. Scott Hahn's book, though, gives me the head knowledge to help me understand my heart knowledge. I've known for a long time in my heart that honoring Mary helped me grow, but Hahn's book filled me in on the Scriptural basis for honoring Mary. This satisfies the underdeveloped rational side of myself. For some folks that is necessary, but for me, I can get along fine without it. Nevertheless, Hahn's analog of the Church being like Mary's womb that creates new brothers and sisters for Christ is an eye opener. I've never heard that so it will give me lots to think about this week.

Friday, July 12, 2002

Unhappily wed? Put off getting that divorce. An article in USA TODAY by Karen S. Peterson says divorce doesn't necessarily make adults happy. Humm... I wonder if the media is getting the message that divorce is not the wonderful thing they've portrayed it as? Do I hear the sound of a pendulum swinging?

Thursday, July 11, 2002

'Astonishing' skull unearthed in Africa This should give the creationists a fit. Creationists deny that the Creator could have directed all the evolution. I believe in 'theistic evolution.' I think God can could have created the world however he wants in the amount of time he wants. Contemporary Darwinists define the term 'evolution' as an unsupervised process of evolution, which draws its creative force from the interplay of random genetic mutation and natural selection. Yeh, right. Despite what my kids think, I was not around when the world was created, so I guess I can't scientifically prove how God did it. Perhaps that will be the first question I ask Him after I get through the pearly gates.
For those who send their children to public schools and do not like what your child is being taught...
Life's Silver Linings has an article on Tools to Protect Your Children from invasions of privacy and instruction that is not consistent with the parent's values in the public schools. This is based on the Protection of Pupil Rights in Goals 2000. This makes me glad I'm sending my kids to Catholic schools.
Republican member of Congress is accusing NPR of having a liberal bias.
NPR apologizes to Christian group National Public Radio president/CEO Kevin Klose dramatically apologized Wednesday to Traditional Values Coalition, a conservative Christian lobby for a news story mentioning the group in connection with the anthrax investigation.

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

I found this interesting article at It sounds like the Catholic Church's pro-family, anti-divorce position will one day be considered the cure-all to our society's ills. Losing the ties that bind Why men in their 30s remain unmarried.

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Joke day:
Timmy was a little five year old boy that his Mom loved very much and, being a worrier, she was concerned about him walking to school when he started Kindergarten. She walked him to school the first couple of days; but then he came home one day, and he told his mother that he did not want her walking him to school everyday. He wanted to be like the "big boys." He protested loudly, so she had an idea of how to handle it. She asked a neighbor, Mrs. Goodnest, if she would surreptitiously follow her son to school, at a distance behind him that he would not likely notice, but close enough to keep a watch on him. Mrs. Goodnest said that since she was up early with her toddler anyway, it would be a good way for them to get some exercise as well so she agreed. The next school day, Mrs. Goodnest and her little girl, Marcy, set out following behind Timmy as he walked to school with another neighbor boy he knew. She did this for the whole week. As the boys walked and chatted, kicking stones and twigs, the little friend of Timmy's noticed that this same lady was following them as she seemed to do every day all week. Finally, he said to Timmy, "Have you noticed that lady following us all week? Do you know her?" Timmy nonchalantly replied, "Yea, I know who she is." The little friend said, "Well who is she?" "That's just Shirley Goodnest," Timmy said. "Shirley Goodnest? Who the heck is she and why is she following us?" "Well," Timmy explained, "every night my Mom makes me say the 23rd Psalm with my prayers 'cuz she worries about me so much. And in it, the prayer psalm says, "Shirley Goodnest and Marcy shall follow me all the days of my life," so I guess I'll just have to get used to it.

A doctor made it his regular habit to stop at a bar for a hazelnut daiquiri on his way home. The bartender knew of his habit, and would always have the drink waiting at precisely 5:03 p.m. One afternoon, as the end of the work day approached, the bartender was dismayed to find that he was out of hazelnut extract. Thinking quickly, he threw together a daiquiri made with hickory nuts and set it on the bar. The doctor came in took one sip of the drink and exclaimed, "This isn't a hazelnut daiquiri!" "No, I'm sorry," replied the bartender, "it's a hickory daiquiri, doc."

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

As I watched the news about congressional WorldCom accounting hearings, I sensed that our society thinks the answer to lapses of business ethics should be more government regulation and laws. I wonder if it has ever occured to law makers that the answer is really conversion of heart. Society regulated by laws alone is called totalitarianism. Freedom from totalitarianism requires self-control if the society is to remain free. Perhaps the Ten Commandments need to be displayed not just in churches but also in parks, court houses, schools and corporate boardrooms.

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Monday, July 08, 2002

I saw the movie The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood last week. I feel uneasy about the way the priest was portrayed. When the mom goes to confession to repent of her anger about wife abuse, the priest advises her to pray for the grace to bear her cross. Did priests say things like that 50 years ago? It's hard for me to believe that any priest would say that or has the attitude about divorce changed that much? I don't know what to think.

This movie deserves an Oscar for delving into some of our society's dirtiest secrets -- wife abuse and child abuse.

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I'm reading a book called Salvation Controversy by James Akin. This book makes the light come on! The book explains the definition of salvation in a way that I've never heard before. Why didn't anyone explain this to me before? I've been a cradle Catholic for 50 years and I've never had anyone explain this topic this clearly to me. The book answers questions I didn't know I had and puts the pieces together for me. I don't know if I'm an unusual Catholic, but this kind of theology is interesting and I think essential to understanding the faith. For example, Catholics have four defintions for the word salvation, while Protestants have only one. Mr. Akin says this is why we don't understand each other. This may be news to Protestants, but it is also news to me. So what do Catholics mean when we use the word Salvation? Read this book. At $9.95, it is well worth it. And BTW, I'm not a sales rep for Catholic Answers.

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Wednesday, July 03, 2002

The Voice of the Faithful web site has a Summary of Scandal Hot Spots. This shows how big the problem really is. I can't decide how faithful to orthodoxy Voice of the Faithful is, but this nugget is worth checking out. Since I'm from St. Louis, I want to fill you in on details. The 50 cases in St. Louis includes 22 by one defrocked priest who abused 9 boys while he was a priest. So 13 cases of the 50 were perpetrated by a defrocked priest; however the media insists on including them in the total. This makes me wonder if this will be the case after all the offending priests are laicized; that is, will the media keep pounding the church even after the church defrocks them? If this is the case, this indicates smearing the church is the goal, not really reform.

Tuesday, July 02, 2002

This is an answer to a question I've been wondering about. Why did the bishops act the way they did? Why hasn't anyone said this before?
Scroll down to:
The Bishops Respond
Msgr. Francis J. Maniscalco from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops defends the bishops. Click on "defends the bishops." This article should display:

"Avoid Simplistic Judgments
About Church Leadership
Difficulties arise not because bishops have abused power, but because canon law limits their power to remove priests. When it comes to disciplining priest offenders, the problem for bishops has not been the dereliction of duty--as has been too quickly assumed--but rather a conflict of duties.

The Catholic Church firmly believes that, once ordained, a man is a priest forever. Even laicization (defrocking) does not deprive a priest of fundamental priestly powers to say Mass or forgive sins. "

Time Magazine, Jun 17 issue has this article:
Apocalypse Now

What do you watch for, when you are watching the news? Signs that interest rates might be climbing, maybe it's time to refinance. Signs of global warming, maybe forget that new SUV. Signs of new terrorist activity, maybe think twice about that flight to Chicago.

Or signs that the world may be coming to an end, and the last battle between good and evil is about to unfold?

For evangelical Christians with an interest in prophecy, the headlines always come with asterisks pointing to scriptural footnotes. That is how Todd Strandberg reads his paper. By day, he is fixing planes at Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue, Neb. But in his off-hours, he's the webmaster at and the inventor of the Rapture Index, which he calls a "Dow Jones Industrial Average of End Time activity." Instead of stocks, it tracks prophecies: earthquakes, floods, plagues, crime, false prophets and economic measurements like unemployment that add to instability and civil unrest, thereby easing the way for the Antichrist. In other words, how close are we to the end of the world? The index hit an all-time high of 182 on Sept. 24, as the bandwidth nearly melted under the weight of 8 million visitors: any reading over 145, Strandberg says, means "Fasten your seat belt."

One way or another, we all will face an end to this world. I'm not holding my breath though. The big question is, "Are we ready?"

How do I overcome apathy to Mass attendance among fallen away Catholics? Some folks think of the Church as an optional support group. That is, if the know and obey the moral code and don't think they need any help with self-improvement, then they don't have to go to Mass. I believe the Catholic Church is the necessary tool for salvation. (I know there is salvation outside the Catholic Church for those who are honestly seeking truth, but that isn't the issue here.) Am I wrong about this?

It seems easier to refute doctrinal errors by quoting Scripture than it is to convince someone who doesn't care about salvation, Scripture, virtue, etc. These folks think that if they live a moral life and do charitable works, that is enough. Or some think that the Church is a useless place to donate money - if less was put in the collection to support the parish, then more could be spent on helping the poor.

Should I just pray for their enlightment by the Holy Spirit or should I just hope God will be merciful to them? Will they go to heaven with this kind of attitude?
What do you think?

Monday, July 01, 2002

I always knew the Boy Scouts were right.
Homosexuals more likely to molest kids, study reportsMay 30, 2001
By Ken Walker
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)--A social researcher who has studied sexual behavior for 24 years believes the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has sound reasons for maintaining its prohibition against gay scoutmasters.