Is Anybody There?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says Yahweh Sabaoth" Zach 4:6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dio di Signore, nella Sua volontà è nostra pace!" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin 1759

Monday, December 31, 2007

How Did I do in My 2007 Predictions?

Some good, some not so good. Here's my preditions & their accuracy (Correct, Partially right, Wrong:

1. The Iowa economy will get a huge uplift due to the influx of presidential hopefuls, their staffs & the news media. This will all come to a climax with the media feeding frenzy that will be their coverage of the 2008 Iowa Caucuses followed by a period of blissful quiet until after the 2008 conventions.
Technically, this 1 carries over into 2008. The frenzy had a lot of added excitement with the moving up by other states of their dates for primaries & caucuses. In fact at 1 point this nearly did become wholy a 2007 prediction when it began looking like the caucuses would have to be held in Dec 2007. Final numbers aren't in yet, but I can safely say I was right on all counts for this 1 as it is a no-brainer. So this is a correct as far as I'm concerned.
2. (As long as we are on politics) Ralph Nader will announce that he is again running for president despite the fact that he is long past the point of irrelevance, let alone relevance, thus proving the fact that Mr. Nadar has lost all connection with reality.
So far, no announcement, but there is a Draft Nadar for the Green Party campaign. So, I may only be off on my timing.
3. (More politics) Speaker Nancy Pelosi's so-called ethical regime will face new challenges as some huge scandals will errupt forcing some Democrats to actually have to resign. The resulting elections will se an upswing in the number of Republicans but will still not regain control. However it will give them a base to build on to regain control in 2008, if they don't do something stupid to blow it.
No such luck!
4. The (Out of the) Main Stream Media (MSM), CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, NY Times & their ilk, will continue its decline. Failing to realize this they will aide their decline by finding new ways to misreport things that will make Dan Rather's bit with the faux National Guard papers look like the model of investigative reporting. Their bias will become so slanted so as to approach Ralph Nader in irrelevance.
The decline definitely continues & with the elections still looming the slant IS becoming more quantifiable. (Recent research is even beginning to show it.) So this is on the way to being correct. So, I'll give it a partial for now.
5. Katie Couric will lose her last shard of perkiness as her ratings continue to decline. Desperate for ratings CBS will make changes to the News that will prove the former Tiffany Network has become the Cubic Zirconia Network & will take tabloid jounalism to a new low.
A YEAR TO FORGET MILLIONS OF VIEWERS WAVE GOODBYE TO COURIC Per this report in the NY Post she lost 1.1 million viewers over the last year. & a lot of other things have proven CBS is now the Cubic Zirconia Network, so I'll give this a partial.
6. Iran & Syria will throw off its last vestiges of decency as it openly works for the destruction of Israel. They will make an attack on Israel whose justification will be so patently fraudulent that even the UN will be forced to do more than pass another resolution.
This still may happen, but since it didn't in 2007, I'll count it as a miss.
7. The above incident will also put the cesspool of corruption in the UN so out into the open that the possibility of real reform will be possible for the 1st time in ages. How likely this will actually happen depends on the strength of will of the new Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon & the new United States ambassador to stand up to the European members who will still be in a state of denial about the facts.
8. Sightings of the indult (motto propio) to allow a greater use of the Traditional Latin Mass (so-called Tridentine) will continue to be reported. When the indult does finally surface those moonbats on the left will go into shock but quickly scream loudly about how this is a betrayal of the "Spirit of Vatican II". Sightings of this mythical "Spirit" will begin to rival that of Bigfoot & Elvis combined. (Note: There is a real Spirit of Vatican II, it is the Holy Spirit. & what He did in Vatican II is found in the documents of Vatican II not these moonbats imaginations.) This indult will not placate those on the far right as they reject Vatican II & this indult will rightly uphold the Council. While the increased use of the Traditional Mass will increase it will not always be done in the so-called mythical pre-Vatican II reverance. (As someone who remembers those days I can honestly say that it isn't the old or new liturgy as much as it is the reverance of the priest & others involved.)
BINGO!!!!! Nothing more to add.
9. The new English translation of the "Novus Ordo" will get final approval by Rome. When the texts are compared to the 1970s translation that translation will so pail in translation to the new 1 that most people will wonder how the ICEL could ever have allowed it. The usual suspects will continue to decry the new translation using the same old canard of how it will create confusion. The truth is they know it will show up the decades of confusion that they have foisted off on the Church in America. How well it is implimented will depend on the bishop of the diocese. Those like Bishops Finn, Bruskewitz, & Doran will see that it is done right, others will allow the abuses to continue until a new bishop takes over. Vox Clara will rightly be acclaimed & orginizations like Adoremus will be called on to help with its proper implimentation. Where the new translation is done right it will prove that the Novus Ordo is just as reverant & valid as the Traditional Mass.
Still waiting for its release, but the decrying has continued loud & clear. So, I'll give this a partial awaiting future developments.
10. Because of the 2 above events those on the far left & far right will become even more marginalized in the Church. Sadly they will continue to live in denial of reality. They will prefer the delusion that they are on the right path to the truth that what is actually going on is the work of the Holy Spirit.
Even with the above events this is predicated on not yet completely fulfilled everything else has been so accurate (esp with the liberals) I have to say this is a correct.
11. Papa Benedetto will come out will several controversial statements. They will be controversial because they uphold Catholic teaching on abortion, homosexuality, pre-marital sex etc. In other words the Pope will do his job as Chief Shepherd of the Church like he should.
Given the recent document on evangelization, the Pope's newest encyclical, books etc, this is 100% accurate.
12. Europe's spiritual decline will continue while in the 3rd World the growth of the Catholic Church will accelerate. This growth will be because the Gospel is faithfully proclaimed in an orthodox manner. Things in Europe & the USA won't be all bad. Many more islands of orthodoxy will spring up as more new bishops who will do their job are appointed. But this won't take place overnight.
This is in part a long range prediction by with the appointment of bishops like Coadjutor Archbishop John C. Nienstedt & Archbishop Daniel N. DiNardo being made a cardinal, it is looking fairly accurate. & 3rd World growth of the Church continues. But since it is long range I'll only count it as a partial.
The fantasy predictions don't count. But it looks like I didn't do too bad. Lets count up the score. I give myself 1 point for each right, 1/2 for each partial & 0 for each wrong. The final count is 4 right, 5 partial & 3 wrong resulting in a 6.5 point total (out of 12 possible) & 9 out of 12 at least partial is pretty good. Maybe I'll try it again for 2008!

2007 Books list

This year, I've read a lot of good books worth recommending. I've mentioned a couple on this list over the course of the year. They are worth a 2nd (or 3rd) mention.
Anyhow, here are the books that I suggest are worth your taking a look at:
Dinesh D'Souza has been busy this year with 2 books coming out. The 1st, The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibilty for 9/11 (Doubleday ISBN-13: 978-0385510127, paperback: Broadway ISBN-13: 978-0767915618, 12 Feb 2008) created a lot of controversy. In it he places some of the blame for the 9/11 attacks on the American liberal left & their cultural agenda. He makes some very interesting points about how what the left's agenda is & how it IS a slap in the face of radical, & moderate Islam.
Some on the right have rejected his thesis. They see D'Souza's claims as justifying the attacks. He isn't. The radicals hate us & would have attacked even if the West. But what his book proves is that we HAVE given them addition ammo to justify the attacks & enable the radicals to gain creedance with moderates & make it impossible to work with us.
As for those of the left, they say he is calling us to give up our freedoms. I'm sorry, he isn't talking about us exercising freedom. The garbage the left promotes as freedom is licence, NOT freedom. & there is no God given right to that. Part of the book is a call for us to return to true freedom, as our Founding Fathers intended us to have. This freedom is based on Natural Law & responsibility to act & live morally.
His 2nd book, What's So Great About Christianity (Regnery, ISBN-13: 978-1596985179) is his response to all those attacks against Christianity that have recent appeared in book stores. I am still in the process of finishing the book, but I have been very impressed with what I have read so far. D'Souza takes on the critics using their own arguements, showing the holes & falicies in their arguements. He does so using classic philosophical methods to make his points & tear down the atheistic arguements against God & Christianity. & while he uses philosophy, you don't need to be an expert in philosophy to understand what he is saying.
I see only 1 weakness in the book, & that is given the fact that he is covering so many different arguements he can only give a basic overview of his arguements. Each chapter could be a book f its own. He has debated many of these topics & is able to go into greater detail during those debates.
A few years ago, I had the pleasure to meet Mr. D'Souza after a lecture he gave here at Loras. After the talk he was meeting with people & autographing his books. Right before I got to talk to him someone attacked 1 of his statements in his talk. I was very impressed with how he was able to respond, defend his position & do so in a way that was respectful of the person while still proving him wrong. He was the total opposite of the person attacking him.
I am a big fan of good mystery novels. Over the years have become a fan of Lilian Jackson Braun & her feline detectives Koko & Yum Yum, aided by their owner(?) Jim Qwilleran. Her latest addition to the series is The Cat Who had 60 Whiskers (Paperback: Jove ISBN-13: 978-0515143959). Some of the novels in the series have been disappointing. This 1 started off with a way too long intro reviewing the history of the main characters. This time, 1 of the murders involves a bee sting. Beyond that, I won't go into much detail. While there were things about the novel I liked, something was missing. & some of the changes in the lives of a couple of the main characters (human) just made no sense at all. This is not a book to start out the series with. It is for die-hard fans.
On the other hand, Diane Mott Davidson's latest novle about her mystery solving caterer Goldie, was much more satisfying. Sweet Revenge (William Morrow ISBN-13: 978-0060527334) takes place at Christmas. & as usual murder is on the meadow. This time, it is clearly motivated by revenge. But why? & what does supposedly dead Sandee Brisbane have to do with it? As usual, the story mixes murder mystery with good food & some interesting (& anything but lo-cal) recipes. & it has a couple of tasty surprizes before it reaches the end.
These 2 series take place in smaller towns. This raises an interesting question, after all these years why is anyone still alive in either 1. These towns have higher murder rates than New York City. Still, the same was true of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple & Hercule Poirot. They seemed to attract murder wherever they went.
For fans of The Addams Family, Linda H. Davis has written a bio of their creator. Chas Addams : a cartoonist's life (Random House ISBN-13: 978-0679463252) reveals the man behind the cartoons. & it isn't always a pretty picture. But, the person who comes out worst (deservedly so) is his 2nd wife, Estelle B. Barb (Barbara Barb). Like his 1st wife, she bore a resemblance to his character Morticia. She was also evil scheming & manipulative, a lawyer who lived down to the bad reputation the often have. She tricked him into giving her partial right to his Family. As a result the TV series came close to never existing. The book has some intersting insites into the man. & if you are an Addams fan, it is well worth reading.
Fr. C. John McCloskey is the former director of the Catholic Information Center. A memeber of Opus Dei, he is well known as a convert maker. People whom he has helped lead into the Catholic Church include Senator Sam Brownback, publisher Alfred Regnery, Dr. Bernard Nathanson & journalist Robert Novak. He cowrote Good News, Bad News Evangelization, Conversion, and The Crisis of Faith (Ignatius Press ISBN 1586171259) with Russell Shaw. This book is a practical guide to evangelization.
Judie Brown's Saving Those Damned Catholics has already been looked at by me in greater detail. There is nothing more I can add but to repeat what I said before. Read it.

Fr. Benedict Groeschel takes a look at some old friends that have been forgotten by most, declared meaningless or unimportant for today by others. The Virtue Driven Life (Our Sunday Visitor ISBN-13: 978-1592762651) looks at the Cardinal & Theological Virtues. Each chapter looks at a virtue & how they are they are to function in a person's life. This is a much needed book. Our society needs to rediscover these virtues. & Christians must have these virtues if we are to make the difference God wants us to make. Fr. Groeschel has given us an excellent tool to understand & live out these virtues.

Raymond Arroyo's latest, MOTHER ANGELICA'S LITTLE BOOK of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality (Doubleday ISBN-13: 978-0385519854) is an excellent followup to his biography of Mother Angelica. This book is a collection of her thoughts & sayings on various subjects. It is loaded with her spiritual wisdom & insights. This is not a book to be simply read & put on the shelf. It is divided into subjects & is an excellent resource to be drawn upon in times where you need spiritual insight into the subject. & esp when you want Mother Angelica's inimitable style of doing so. The only thing is, I wish it had more in it. Yes, it covers a wide range of topics, but I know there is a lot more Mother has to offer that was left out. I'd like to see a complete collection of her writings. Maybe a future project?

Most people are familiar with the Knights of Columbus. But until recently, very few people besides KC members knew anything about it's founder, Fr. Michael McGivney. Douglas Brinkley and Julie M. Fenster have taken care of that problem in Parish Priest : Father Michael McGivney and the American Catholicism (Hardcover, William Morrow ISBN-10: 0060776846; Paperback, Haper Perennial ISBN-13: 978-0060776855). The biography looks at Fr. McGivney's all too short life. It does an excellent job at looking at his childhood, what influences made him into the man (& future saint) he would become. It looks at the anti-Catholicism of his time & the hardships facing Catholic families (poverty, starvation, etc) that were prelevant then. Some of his insights in dealing with the problems came from his own life's experiences & struggles. You come to understand the heart of the man & his desire to serve Christ & serve God's people as a priest. You also come to understand why he started the KCs. This book shows why he should become the 1st American born priest to be canonized by the Catholic Church.
Laura Ingraham has done it again. She not only looks at the problems we face & accurately diagnoses the problem, she provides us with the prescription to find the cure. In Power to the People (Regnery ISBN-10: 159698516X) she looks at the current sorry state of American culture as well as takes on the cultural elites of the left & right. She not only looks at the problems, she gives practical solutions to deal with them. & the overlying practical solution is simple, fight back. This book isn't so much a list of things to do. Rather it is a call to arms. If each of us does our part, then we can take back America, return it to its Judeo-Christian foundation on which the Declaration of Independence & Constitution were built & restore it to what it was ment to be. This is a book the elites won't want you to read. It is a must read in my mind. She takes the old 60s rallying cry of the Left, Power to the people!, that really ment power to the elites & gives it the meaning & challence the phrase was ment to have.
Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light (Doubleday ISBN-13: 978-0385520379), with commentary & editing by Fr. Brian Kolodiejchuk MC, has been a very controversial book. It takes the private writings of Mother Teresa & lets us see the struggles she went through in trying to obey the call from God to be a witness to Christ. Many people were upset that these writings were made public. Others were shocked by the revelation of her years of struggle with feeling unloved by God.
& the media once again showed how it just doesn't get it when it comes to true faith in Jesus. Some of the reviews have totally missed the message of her life. Sadly 1 of the worst was by a Dominican nun who made the book sound like Mother Teresa was a proto-feminist struggling against the oppresive male dominated power structure of the Catholic Church. What that so-called nun calls "speaking truth to power" was anything but. Mother Teresa was not fighting the male heirarchy, she was fully submissive to it. The aggresiveness shown by Mother was born of her strong desire to obey the call by Christ to bring souls to Him to satisfy His thirst for their salvation.
This book is not an easy book to read. It is uncomfortable while also being comforting. Uncomfortable in that it challenges the reader to a more radical living of the Gospel. Comforting in that if a great saint like Mother Teresa can struggle with doubts & spiritual darkness & go on, then so can the rest of us. & it shows how & why Catholic social action should exist, not as an end in itself as so much of the social Gospel crowd have perveted into. Feeding the poor, clothing the naked, etc are a part of the Christian's call to evangelize & bring all people to a saving knowledge of Jesus. Mother did so on the best foundation possible, the Eucharist. Throughout her deepest & darkest night of the soul, she never abandoned her deep devotion to the True Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. & that is why she included daily Eucharistic adoration as a key part of every Missionary of Charity's day.
This is a book that is a must read for anyone who wants to be inspired to grow in his or her faith. As I said, it is also a very challenging book. But a challenge well worth it.
Papa Benedetto's Jesus of Nazareth (Doubleday ISBN-13: 978-0385523417) is 1 of several books under his by-line that came out this year. Others include a collection of some of his addresses at his Wed audiences. This book is part 1 of his 2 part meditation on the life of Christ. It is also a strong answer to those who try & claim Jesus didn't say everything the Bible says He did, or do the miracles either.
He starts of in the Introduction by showing how exclusive use of the historical -critical method has led to an understanding of Jesus that is anything but historical. Historical-critical can help us understand the times that were those of Jesus, but alone, it cannot help us to truly know or understand who Jesus is. Jesus is to be understood in the context of the whole of Scripture, Old as well as New Testament. What he then goes on to do is present some rich meditations on the life & teachings of Jesus. & I do mean rich. This is NOT a book to be read in a single sitting. Instead it is 1 to be read slowly, savoring & meditating on the thoughts & insights Papa Benedetto presents. He starts with the Baptism of Jesus by John & works up to the Transfiguration. I can't wait for book 2 & hope he is able to include the infancy naratives.
Meanwhile, I've already begun my 2008 list. I just got Ann Coulter's If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans & hope to soon get Justice Clarence Thomas' My Grandfather's Son: A Memoir to read. & I see a new Cat Who novel is on its way out. 2008 holds a lot of promise for good reading, esp as an alternative to all the political rhetoric. (Thank God we get a break here in Iowa after next Thursday!)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Candidates Who Live in Glass Mansions . . . .

Shouldn't have their supporters sling mud!!!!!

In this case I am refering to Governor Mitt Romney.
The other day in a post on Governor Mike Huckabee I made mention about the fact that he was going to be speaking at John Hagee's Church (Mike Huckabee Visits DBQ/Loras College). I said that I wasn't happy that he was doing so but understood why. I made reference to the fact that it was no different than Bush's visit to Bob Jones U in 2000.
But part of my comment also made mention of the fact that I found out through the Romney campaign. Actually it was an e-mail sent out by a paid staffer under her own name, but clearly ment to get Catholics to support Romney. I made the following comment: "I would like to ask Gov Romney if he opposed President Bush's 2000 campaign visit to anti-Catholic Bob Jones Univesity as vocally." I soon found out something even more interesting about Romney & Bob Jones. It came in the form of a comment on my post by a Huckabee supporter. It turns out Romney was endorsed by Bob Jones III.
I did a little research & found an article on Newsmax that had the following statement by Romney about his Bob Jones endorsement: ""We're proud to have Dr. Jones' support and look forward to working with him to communicate Governor Romney's message of conservative change to voters," Romney spokesman William Holley said in a statement." (Bob Jones III Backs Romney)
So what do Bob Jones III, his dad Bob Jones Jr, & Bob Jones University feel about the Catholic Church. I'll share what I said in the response e-mail I sent out to all those who got the same e-mail I got. I also sent it to the Romney supporter who sent it to me.
"At 1 time they posted this on the University website: " If there are those who wish to charge us with being anti-Catholicism, we plead guilty.
We love the practicing Catholic and earnestly desire to see him accept the Christ of the Cross, leave the false system that has enslaved his soul, and enjoy the freedom of sins forgiven that is available for any of us in Christ alone.""
"Bob Jones Jr. said the following (fully supported by Bob Jones III) about the Catholic Church: "It is a satanic counterfeit, an ecclesiastic tyranny over the souls of men....It is the old harlot of the book of the Revelation—'the Mother of Harlots." He also said that every Pope is demon possessed."
I went on to say in that e-mail: "My question is this: If it is wrong for Huckabee to talk at Hagee's Church, isn't it just as wrong for Romney to be endorsed by Bob Jones III?"
Well, isn't it????? In fact isn't it ever more so?
This attempt by Romney's campaign has been done in a way that allows for plausable deniability by Romney. Since it was sent out by a supporter, but without mentioning Romney's name, they can deny it is a part of the campaign.
But it is a 2-edged sword that can come back & bite the Romney campaign. Huckabee has denounced Hagee's anti-Catholic stands. & that will definitely keep the damage to a minimum. I have yet to see any comment by Romney decrying Jones' views on Catholics. Romney will be the 1 who comes across as anti-Catholic, not Huckabee. He will also be viewed as someone who uses dirty tricks. That will be in part because of the fact that it is his supporters spreading the word about Huckabee & Hagee. It will raise questions in the minds of people who are still undecided, as well as many of his weaker supporters. & the end result will be the net loss of support in Iowa & beyond.
I was a Brownback supporter. When he dropped out I began looking arround to see who I liked best. There are 3 candidates that I like. So, I am still not 100% sure who I am supporting next Thursday at the Iowa Caucuses. But I am sure of who I am not supporting. & that is Gov. Romney.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Don't Leave Rome Without It!

Recently of his blog What Does the Prayer Really Say, Fr. John Zuhlsdorf wrote a post (Jingle keys, jingle keys, jingle all the way ) in which he talks about the vestments, etc used in recent papal liturgies. His comments on the Urbi et Orbi led me to be inspired to do a parody on a certain credit card company's promos for using their card.
Precious miter of John Paul I,
cope of John XXIII,
throne of Leo XIII.

Beauty that gives glory to God, Priceless!

There are some things money can’t buy,
For Liturgies done right, there’s Papa Benedetto!
Well, apparently my being thus inspirated led to some more inspiration by someone else. The result was the above Papal Express Credit Card. (Don't Leave Rome Without It) I suspect the annual fee is an Our Father, Hail Mary & Glory Be for the Papal intentions.
Given the Church's teachings on usury, I also suspect that the interest rates are a lot lower than those of any other card. My question, Where do I go to sign up & transfer my accounts?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The End of An Era in Balltown

(L: CR Gazette file photo, 1991; R: DAVE KETTERING/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Yesterday morning Iowa lost its oldest & probably most unique restaurant. Breitbach’s Country Dining in Balltown (N of DBQ.) burned down after an explosion that occurred about 7:30 am. Normally Breitbach's is closed on Mondays during the Winter. 6th generation owner Mike Breitbach was there to prepare for a funeral dinner. He was there with his sons & a couple regulars who stopped by for coffee. He had just left the kitchen when he heard an explosion. According to some reports the explosion sounded like it came from the basement. However the actual cause is still unknown & under investigation.

The DBQ Co. Sheriff's Dept. was called & soon firefighters from Sherrill, Holy Cross/North Buena Vista, Farley & Asbury (all volunteer departments). The fire was under control by 10:30 a.m. but it was impossible to save the building. According to a report from KWWL-TV 7: "When firefighters arrived, they thought they had a shot at controlling the fire, but years of renovating and remodeling the building made it an impossible task."That type of structure with the many additions and the balloon type structure and starting in the basement with the explosion, it made it quite difficult," says Chief Joe Specht of the Sherrill Fire Department."

Breitbach's began on 23 August 1852 as a stage coach stop. In 1855 the Breitbach family bought the business. Jacob Breitbach operated it as a tavern & store until 1892 when Peter Breitbach took over. In 1923 son Victor took over. He ran it until 1957 when Mike's parents began running it. In 1981 Mike took over & has been run by him & his wife Cindy.
Anyone who has ever eaten at Breitbach's knows that a huge part of what made the place was its decor. & while some of the photos & keepsakes were saved, a huge part of DBQland history has gone up in flames. No 2 tables were the same. Eclectic is the best term to describe the furnishings & docor. Old feed signs, pictures of famous visitors, classic farm equipment & home cooking equipment all made up a part of the decor. 1 of the biggest losses was a wall mural painted by gypsies in the 1920s. It showed the Mississippi Valley as viewed from the restaurant. But while the ambiance was unique, it was the food that was the star. Every salad was homemade. The buffet had an excellent sampling of down home Iowa food as did the menu.
Last Fall The Food Network's Feasting on Asphalt 2 starring Alton Brown featured Breitbach's. It was also featured in Midwest Living .
& while it will be a while before the insurance, etc. are settled, Mike Breitbach & his family have said they hope to rebuild. I sincerely hope they do. & even though it won't quite be the same, it should still be a feather in DBQ Co's cap.
Also, as someone who grew in in a small town with relatives & friends who were members of the volunteer fire dept, I have to salute the brave firefighters who did their best to save the place. They work just as hard & train just as much as the pros. Without them Iowa's small towns would be nowhere near as safe.

Papa Benedetto - NATALE 2007 Midnight Mass Homily

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
"The time came for Mary to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn" (Lk 2:6f.). These words touch our hearts every time we hear them. This was the moment that the angel had foretold at Nazareth: "you will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High" (Lk 1:31). This was the moment that Israel had been awaiting for centuries, through many dark hours - the moment that all mankind was somehow awaiting, in terms as yet ill-defined: when God would take care of us, when he would step outside his concealment, when the world would be saved and God would renew all things. We can imagine the kind of interior preparation, the kind of love with which Mary approached that hour. The brief phrase: "She wrapped him in swaddling clothes" allows us to glimpse something of the holy joy and the silent zeal of that preparation. The swaddling clothes were ready, so that the child could be given a fitting welcome. Yet there is no room at the inn. In some way, mankind is awaiting God, waiting for him to draw near. But when the moment comes, there is no room for him. Man is so preoccupied with himself, he has such urgent need of all the space and all the time for his own things, that nothing remains for others - for his neighbour, for the poor, for God. And the richer men become, the more they fill up all the space by themselves. And the less room there is for others.
Saint John, in his Gospel, went to the heart of the matter, giving added depth to Saint Luke's brief account of the situation in Bethlehem: "He came to his own home, and his own people received him not" (Jn 1:11). This refers first and foremost to Bethlehem: the Son of David comes to his own city, but has to be born in a stable, because there is no room for him at the inn. Then it refers to Israel: the one who is sent comes among his own, but they do not want him. And truly, it refers to all mankind: he through whom the world was made, the primordial Creator-Word, enters into the world, but he is not listened to, he is not received.
These words refer ultimately to us, to each individual and to society as a whole. Do we have time for our neighbour who is in need of a word from us, from me, or in need of my affection? For the sufferer who is in need of help? For the fugitive or the refugee who is seeking asylum? Do we have time and space for God? Can he enter into our lives? Does he find room in us, or have we occupied all the available space in our thoughts, our actions, our lives for ourselves?
Thank God, this negative detail is not the only one, nor the last one that we find in the Gospel. Just as in Luke we encounter the maternal love of Mary and the fidelity of Saint Joseph, the vigilance of the shepherds and their great joy, just as in Matthew we encounter the visit of the wise men, come from afar, so too John says to us: "To all who received him, he gave power to become children of God" (Jn 1:12). There are those who receive him, and thus, beginning with the stable, with the outside, there grows silently the new house, the new city, the new world. The message of Christmas makes us recognize the darkness of a closed world, and thereby no doubt illustrates a reality that we see daily. Yet it also tells us that God does not allow himself to be shut out. He finds a space, even if it means entering through the stable; there are people who see his light and pass it on. Through the word of the Gospel, the angel also speaks to us, and in the sacred liturgy the light of the Redeemer enters our lives. Whether we are shepherds or "wise men" - the light and its message call us to set out, to leave the narrow circle of our desires and interests, to go out to meet the Lord and worship him. We worship him by opening the world to truth, to good, to Christ, to the service of those who are marginalized and in whom he awaits us.
In some Christmas scenes from the late Middle Ages and the early modern period, the stable is depicted as a crumbling palace. It is still possible to recognize its former splendour, but now it has become a ruin, the walls are falling down - in fact, it has become a stable. Although it lacks any historical basis, this metaphorical interpretation nevertheless expresses something of the truth that is hidden in the mystery of Christmas. David's throne, which had been promised to last for ever, stands empty. Others rule over the Holy Land. Joseph, the descendant of David, is a simple artisan; the palace, in fact, has become a hovel. David himself had begun life as a shepherd. When Samuel sought him out in order to anoint him, it seemed impossible and absurd that a shepherd-boy such as he could become the bearer of the promise of Israel. In the stable of Bethlehem, the very town where it had all begun, the Davidic kingship started again in a new way - in that child wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. The new throne from which this David will draw the world to himself is the Cross. The new throne - the Cross - corresponds to the new beginning in the stable. Yet this is exactly how the true Davidic palace, the true kingship is being built. This new palace is so different from what people imagine a palace and royal power ought to be like. It is the community of those who allow themselves to be drawn by Christ's love and so become one body with him, a new humanity. The power that comes from the Cross, the power of self-giving goodness - this is the true kingship. The stable becomes a palace - and setting out from this starting-point, Jesus builds the great new community, whose key-word the angels sing at the hour of his birth: "Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to those whom he loves" - those who place their will in his, in this way becoming men of God, new men, a new world.
Gregory of Nyssa, in his Christmas homilies, developed the same vision setting out from the Christmas message in the Gospel of John: "He pitched his tent among us" (Jn 1:14). Gregory applies this passage about the tent to the tent of our body, which has become worn out and weak, exposed everywhere to pain and suffering. And he applies it to the whole universe, torn and disfigured by sin. What would he say if he could see the state of the world today, through the abuse of energy and its selfish and reckless exploitation? Anselm of Canterbury, in an almost prophetic way, once described a vision of what we witness today in a polluted world whose future is at risk: "Everything was as if dead, and had lost its dignity, having been made for the service of those who praise God. The elements of the world were oppressed, they had lost their splendour because of the abuse of those who enslaved them for their idols, for whom they had not been created" (PL 158, 955f.). Thus, according to Gregory's vision, the stable in the Christmas message represents the ill-treated world. What Christ rebuilds is no ordinary palace. He came to restore beauty and dignity to creation, to the universe: this is what began at Christmas and makes the angels rejoice. The Earth is restored to good order by virtue of the fact that it is opened up to God, it obtains its true light anew, and in the harmony between human will and divine will, in the unification of height and depth, it regains its beauty and dignity. Thus Christmas is a feast of restored creation. It is in this context that the Fathers interpret the song of the angels on that holy night: it is an expression of joy over the fact that the height and the depth, Heaven and Earth, are once more united; that man is again united to God. According to the Fathers, part of the angels' Christmas song is the fact that now angels and men can sing together and in this way the beauty of the universe is expressed in the beauty of the song of praise. Liturgical song - still according to the Fathers - possesses its own peculiar dignity through the fact that it is sung together with the celestial choirs. It is the encounter with Jesus Christ that makes us capable of hearing the song of the angels, thus creating the real music that fades away when we lose this singing-with and hearing-with.
In the stable at Bethlehem, Heaven and Earth meet. Heaven has come down to Earth. For this reason, a light shines from the stable for all times; for this reason joy is enkindled there; for this reason song is born there. At the end of our Christmas meditation I should like to quote a remarkable passage from Saint Augustine. Interpreting the invocation in the Lord's Prayer: "Our Father who art in Heaven", he asks: what is this - Heaven? And where is Heaven? Then comes a surprising response: "... who art in Heaven - that means: in the saints and in the just. Yes, the heavens are the highest bodies in the universe, but they are still bodies, which cannot exist except in a given location. Yet if we believe that God is located in the heavens, meaning in the highest parts of the world, then the birds would be more fortunate than we, since they would live closer to God. Yet it is not written: 'The Lord is close to those who dwell on the heights or on the mountains', but rather: 'the Lord is close to the brokenhearted' (Ps 34:18[33:19]), an expression which refers to humility. Just as the sinner is called 'Earth', so by contrast the just man can be called 'Heaven'" (Sermo in monte II 5, 17). Heaven does not belong to the geography of space, but to the geography of the heart. And the heart of God, during the Holy Night, stooped down to the stable: the humility of God is Heaven. And if we approach this humility, then we touch Heaven. Then the Earth too is made new. With the humility of the shepherds, let us set out, during this Holy Night, towards the Child in the stable! Let us touch God's humility, God's heart! Then his joy will touch us and will make the world more radiant. Amen.

What Really Happened When Washington Crossed The Delaware!

Everyone who knows a little about the American Revolution knows that on Christmas of 1776 Washinton lead a small army of 2,400 men across the Delaware River at McKonkey's Ferry, Pennsylvania on their way to attack a Hessian Garrison of about 900 in Trenton, New Jersey. They left at 3 pm on Christmas & landed at 3 am on the 26th. & while we are familiar with the results most people are unaware of the whole story. Almost no one knows what words of inspiration General Washington said to the troops on that historic night. But, thanks to Lou Monte we finally know the answer to the question What Did Washington Say (When He Crossed the Delaware):

Bet you did nae know that George Washington spoke Italiano, did you?
Anyhow, in this case for General Washington it really was a BUON NATALE!!

A Pro-Life CHRISTMAS!!! Wish

Monday, December 24, 2007


Recently Hillary Clinton began running a Christmas ad for her campaign:

What she fails to do is tell us who will pay for it. & that is what makes it scary. Part of the cost will be dollars & cents. But the biggest cost is that we are giving more & more control TO A BUNCH OF ELITISTS who think they know better than the you or me. & this is definitely NOT what any of our Founding Fathers wanted.
As for the dollar cost, I can see someone coming up with an ad taking off on those Master Card "Priceless" ads to show how the average person would be who would really pay the costs.
Meanwhile, HotAir has come up with a take-off of the ad. (Please watch before reading comment below it.)
That final gift, while a look at her supposed success in the futures market, catches the fact that the claim that she really did so is as factual as her claims that only the rich will pay for her gifts to the rest of us.
Meanwhile, here is a look at what the Dems REALLY want to give us. Now THIS IS scary!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Mike Huckabee Visits DBQ/Loras College

Friday night (21 Dec 2007) Governor Mike Huckabee was in DBQ & spoke at Loras College. After a few introductory remarks, he answered questions from the audience of about 90-100 people.
Naturally, part of the focus was on the recent attacks on his record as governor of Arkansas by his opponents, Romney in particular. Gov Huckabee refused to mention any names of those attacking him. But he did have some strong words to say on how the facts were being presented. "When you tell a half-truth as if it were a whole truth, it becomes an untruth."
He talked about the number of pardons/comutations made under his administration. He pointed out that while the number seems high, that it was only about 1/9th of the requests that came before him. He told the stories of 2 of his commutations. & to be honest, I would have reached the same decision as he did. Giving commutations are a part of the job, & there are good reasons for doing so. He did admit that there were a couple he did regreat because of the results.
As for taxes being raised, he pointed out how part of the tax raises were the results of a court order. & that the 1 tax raise was the result of an 80% voter approval.
He made a call for America to be energy independent within 10 years. He said that if we could get to the moon in 10 years, we could do this.
As for the 2nd Amendment, he made it clear that he believes it clearly includes allowing the ownership of semi-automatic as well as automatic weapons by individuals.
Other questioned focused on immigration, no amnesty, health care, more focus on preventative & same sex marriage (against). (1 other I mention below in my comments.)
He also said that the Iowa caucuses can show that money alone won't buy a win. The said that our system is such that the people are the rulers & elected officials are supposed to be servants.
Overall, I think he handled himself very well. When talking to the person who supports same sex marriage, he was very respectful of the person while making it clear he disagreed & why he thought she was wrong in her views.
I have to add a couple of comments about our local paper's coverage. In the TH it said the crowd was only 60. At 1 point before the appearance I was already well past that in my count. 2ndly, I found it interesting that the article mentioned every question asked but 1. That question was on the myth that is propagated about what the 1st Amendment actually says about religion & the seperation of Church & State. Let's say that I wasn't surprized they omited it. & by doing so once again proved their anti-Christian bias they so often show.
In the last 2 days another controversy has sprung up. Gov. Huckabee is scheduled to speak at Rev. John Hagee's church today (23 Dec.). The problem is Hagee is virulently anti-Catholic. (Mike Huckabee to speak at strongly anti-Catholic preacher's church) Personally, I wish he wouldn't speak there. But what I find even more interesting is the fact that the Romney campaign is adding this to the tax/commutation attack list against Huckabee. I would like to ask Gov Romney if he opposed President Bush's 2000 campaign visit to anti-Catholic Bob Jones Univesity as vocally. Again, I wish Pres. Bush hadn't made that visit either. Still, I understand why Huckabee is doing so, even if I think he shouldn't.

A כ ש ר (Kosher) CHRISTMAS?

Courtesy of Jackie Mason.

O Emmanuel

O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster,
exspectatio Gentium, et Salvator earum:
veni ad salvandum nos, Domine, Deus noster.

(O Emmanuel, our King and our Law-giver, Longing of the Gentiles, yea, and salvation thereof, come to save us, O Lord our God!)

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son and his name shall be called Emmanuel. Isaiah 7:14

Saturday, December 22, 2007

O Rex Gentium

O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum,
lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum:
veni, et salva hominem,
quem de limo formasti.

(O King of the Gentiles, yea, and desire thereof! O Corner-stone, that makest of two one, come to save man, whom Thou hast made out of the dust of the earth!)

His empire shall be multiplied, and there shall be no end of peace: he shall sit upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom; to establish it and strengthen it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth and for ever: the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. Isaiah 9:6

And he shall judge the Gentiles, and rebuke many people: and they shall turn their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into sickles: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they be exercised any more to war. Isaiah 2:4

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas 2007 Gift Ideas

OK, I know I promised this a while ago. I apologize. I just let it slip. But since most of these should be available at a Catholic Book Store within a reasonable distance to most of you, it still isn't too late.
I have focused on books. I have a few DVDs at the end.
For the person who is looking to learn more about the basics of the Catholic faith there is nothing better than a copy of The Catechism of the Catholic Church. This book has a good overview of the Church's teaching. Should you feel that is a bit overwhelming then The Compendium of the Cathechism of the Catholic Church would be a good starter. If the person wants to go deeper into Catholic Social Teaching then there is The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church.
If you are an Eastern Catholic or looking to learn more about how the Eastern Catholic Churchs present the basic truths of the faith I would like to suggest the Light for Life series put out by the Eastern catholic Bishops of America. The 3 books in the series are The Mystery Believed, The Mystery Celebrated & The Mystery Lived. these books are available from Theological Book Service if you can't find them locally. But they won't be here in time for Christmas.
There are 2 other catechisms worth looking at as additions to your library. The 1st is The Catholic Catechism by John A Hardon SJ. (Image, ISBN-10: 038508045X, ISBN-13: 978-0385080453) This book was originally published in 1975 but is still as fresh today as then. The cause for Fr. Hardon's canonization is in its early stages.
Queenship Publishing has put out 2 versions of a catechism that is indexed to the Catholic Catechism. They are A Scriptural Catechism (ISBN: 1-57918-268-2) & A Scriptural Catechism, Expanded Edition (ISBN: 1-57918-298-4)They give a good overview of the Catholic faith, esp for the younger person.
Earlier this year Raymond Arroyo (The World Over, EWTN) came out with Mother Angelica's Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality (Doubleday ISBN-10: 0385519850, ISBN-13: 978-0385519854). It is a collection of Mother Angelica's teachings that cover a wide variety of subjects. His 1st book, a biography of Mother Angelica, Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and a Network of Miracles is now available in paperback (Image ISBN-10: 0385510934, ISBN-13: 978-0385510936) as well as hardcover (Doubleday ISBN-10: 0385510926, ISBN-13: 978-0385510929). A classic, Mother Angelica's Answers, Not Promises (Ignatius ), is also available.
There has been some controversy about the recent book about Mother Teresa that included a lot of her private writings he asked to have destroyed, Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light (Doubleday ISBN-10: 0385520379, ISBN-13: 978-0385520379) Thank God they weren't. This book is not an easy read. It will challenge you in many ways to more fully live out your faith. But it is also a comforting book. Many of us have had struggles & doubts. This book shows that even the greatest saints have their struggles. & if God can work through them, then there is hope for us.
Another excellent bio is Parish Priest: Father Michael McGivney and American Catholicism (Hardcover, William Morrow ISBN-10: 0060776846, Paper, Harper Perennial ISBN-10: 0060776854, ISBN-13: 978-0060776850). Fr. McGivney started the Knights of Columbus & is up for sainthood.
Papa Benedetto's latest book, Jesus of Nazareth (Doubleday ISBN-10: 0385523416, ISBN-13: 978-0385523417) is well worth getting. This is a book that is best read in small doses so you can meditate on the riches found in it. Ignatius Press has a huge selection of books by Pape Benedetto, many written as Cardinal Ratzinger. 1 of those is An Invitation to Faith: An A to Z Primer on the Thought of Pope Benedict XVI (ISBN: 1586172131).
This year Dinesh D'Souza has come out with 2 excellent books. His latest, which I am currently reading is What's So Great About Christianity (Regnery ISBN-10: 1596985178,ISBN-13: 978-1596985179) This book is an excellent answer to all those recent attacks on Christianity that are out there. For the politcal junkies, he came out with a book earlier this year that looks at a huge area of the conflict with Islam that is often overlooked. The Enemy At Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11 (Doubleday ISBN-10: 0385510128, ISBN-13: 978-0385510127) looks at how the left has played a huge role in the hatred that radical Islam feels for us & how the media ignores it because of their complicity in it. I met Mr. D'Souza a few years ago when he spoke at Loras College. He is very knowledgable & always gives you plenty to think about even if you don't fully agree with him.
While we are on politics, another book I am reading is Laura Ingraham's latest, Power to the People (Regnery ISBN-10: 159698516X, ISBN-13: 978-1596985162) The book is a call to take back our country from the elites on the left & right. & while we are on the culture wars, there is Teresa Tomeo's Noise: How Our Media-saturated Culture Dominates Lives and Dismantles Families (Ascension ISBN-10: 1932927948, ISBN-13: 978-1932927948) I've heard her speak on the topic & she not only gives an excellent expose of the problem, she has some very practical solutions.
There are 2 other books that I haven't got yet, but also look promising. 1 is Ann Coulter's latest, If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans (Crown Forum ISBN-10: 0307353451, ISBN-13: 978-0307353450. I've said it before, sometimes she comes off a little to strident but she does challenge you to think. The other is by Laura Ingraham's former boss, Justice Clarence Thomas, My Grandfather's Son: A Memoir (Harper ISBN-10: 0060565551, ISBN-13: 978-0060565558)
A couple I've highly promoted before that are still worth getting & giving are Thomas Woods Jr's How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization (Regnery ISBN-10: 0895260387, ISBN-13: 978-0895260383) & Judie Brown's Saving Those Damned Catholics (Xlibris Corporation Paper: ISBN-10: 1425723462, ISBN-13: 978-1425723460 Hardcover ISBN-10: 1425723470, ISBN-13: 978-1425723477)
There are several authors worth looking at. They have a huge selection of books that cover a wide variety of topics. In this list I include C. S. Lewis, Archbishop Fulton Sheen, Fr. Benedict Groeschel & G. K. Chesterton. Depending on the person's interest you could find a book by them that would be perfect as a gift.
C. S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia makes an excellent gift for a child as well as adult. Then there is is Sci-Fi Trilogy, Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, & That Hideous Strength. Of course there are his other classics, Mere Christianity, The Great Divorce, & The Screwtape Letters. Then there is a collection of daily readings, A Year with C. S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works (HarperOne ISBN-10: 0060566167, ISBN-13: 978-0060566166), that gives an excellent overview of his writings.
Not all of Archbishop Sheen's books are in print. But fortunately many of them are. & with the canonization process moving ahead, many more soon will be. Ignatius Press has many of his books. They include Life is Worth Living: First and Second Series and Through the Year with Fulton Sheen. From another publisher there is From the Angel's Blackboard, the Best of Fulton J. Sheen. It is contains selections from his various writings. 1 caveat, the editor decided to be PC & update the language to be inclusive. She claims Archbishop Sheen would approve. I doubt it.
Fr. Benedict Groschel CFR has a wide selection of books worth looking at. 1 that I highly recomend is The Virtue Driven Life. He takes a look at the theological & cardinal virtues. Fellow CFR monk, Fr. Andrew Apostoli, also has many good books.
Then there is G. K. Chesterton. Where do I begin. For the mystery lover there are his Father Brown stories. An interesting novel with some very surprizing twists is The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare. He also wrote 2 biographies, St. Francis of Assisi & St. Thomas Aquinas. There are his classics Orthodoxy & The Everlasting Man. For a good sampling of his works there is Chesterton Day by Day: The Wit and Wisdom of G. K. Chesterton. For more info go to The American Chesterton Society website.
Then there are the spiritual classics. They are always welcome. Thomas à Kempis' Imitation of Christ will challenge both young & old to grow in faith. St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort has 2 excellent books, True Devotion to Mary & The Secret of the Rosary. St. Therese of Lisieux's book, The Story of a Soul, is always welcome. St. John of the Cross & St. Theresa of Avilla's writings are also worth considering. As is The Rule of St. Benedict. I could go on & on here. Just 1 consideration, make sure you get a god translation that doesn't go in for PC or updating. Often those versions do damage to the original thoughts. & watch out for comentaries on their writings unless you are sure the author is orthodox.
Finally, a few DVDs worth considering. The 2003 bio Terese does an excellent job of telling the story of St. Therese of Lisieux. Criterion has a couple of excellent classic biographies of saints; The Passion of Joan of Arc & The Flowers of St. Francis. Then there is always Mel Gibson's classic The Passion of the Christ. Another excellent movie is The Hiding Place, the true story of the ten Boom family & their efforts to hide Jews during WWII in Nazi overrun Netherlands. For the younger viewer there is always The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe, the 1st in the new Chronicles of Narnia series being made. (Prince Caspian comes out next April.) Then there is the Lord of the Rings trilogy. (Good news there, Peter Jackson has worked tings out & will be making The Hobbit into 2 movies the same way he did LoR.)
Again, I apologize for the delay. But, as I said at the start, many of these are available locally. & if not there are always birthdays & other events in 2008 for which these would make good gifts.

This Just In - 2008 Dems Convention Plans

Except for the fact that Bill Clinton isn't eligible to run as VP (not that little matters like the niceties of the US Constitution matter to them) this is definitely a highly possible scenario:

7:00 pm ~ Opening flag burning
7:15 pm ~ Pledge of Allegiance to the UN
7:20 pm ~ Ted Kennedy proposes a toast
7:25 pm ~ Nonreligious prayer and worship with Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton
7:45 pm ~ Ceremonial tree hugging
7:55 pm ~ Ted Kennedy proposes a toast
8:00 pm ~ How I Invented the Internet — Al Gore
8:15 pm ~ Gay Wedding Planning — Barney Frank presiding
8:35 pm ~ Ted Kennedy proposes a toast
8:40 pm ~ Our Troops are War Criminals — John Kerry
9.00 pm ~ Memorial service for Saddam and his sons — Cindy Sheehan and Susan Sarandon
10:00 pm ~ "Answering Machine Etiquette" — Alec Baldwin
11:00 pm ~ Ted Kennedy proposes a toast
11:05 pm ~ Collection for the Osama Bin Laden kidney transplant fund — Barbra Streisand
11:15 pm ~ Free the Freedom Fighters from Guantanamo Bay — Sean Penn
11:30 pm ~ Oval Office Affairs — William Jefferson Clinton
11:45 pm ~ Ted Kennedy proposes a toast
11:50 pm ~ How George Bush Brought Down the World Trade Towers — Howard Dean
12:15 am ~ "Truth in Broadcasting Award" — Presented to Dan Rather by Michael Moore
12:25 am ~ Ted Kennedy proposes a toast
12:30 am ~ Satellite address by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
12:45 am ~ Nomination of Hillary Rodham Clinton by Nancy Pelosi
1:00 am ~ Ted Kennedy proposes a toast
1:05 am ~ Coronation of Hillary Rodham Clinton
1:30 am ~ Ted Kennedy proposes a toast
1:35 am ~ Hillary Rodham Clinton announces Bill Clinton as her running mate for VP
1:40 am ~ Bill Clinton asks Ted Kennedy to drive Hillary home
(Source: Moonbattery)

O Oriens

O Oriens,
splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae:
veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

(O Dayspring, Brightness of the everlasting light, Son of justice, come to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death!)

The people that walked in darkness, have seen a great light: to them that dwelt in the region of the shadow of death, light is risen. Isaiah 9:2

Thursday, December 20, 2007

O Clavis David

O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel;
qui aperis, et nemo claudit;
claudis, et nemo aperit:
veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris,
sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

(O Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel, that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth, come to liberate the prisoner from the prison, and them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.)

And I will lay the key of the house of David upon his shoulder: and he shall open, and none shall shut: and he shall shut, and none shall open. Isaiah 22:22

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Planned (Non)Parenthood's Christmas 2007 Infamia

Blasphemy is almost too nice of a word for PP's use of Christmas to promote its attempts to make Murder INC. look like a bunch of boy scouts helping little old ladies accross the street. (& this is putting it nicely in keeping with the spirit of the season.
Caution: some scenes in this video are not suitable for younger eyes. (Actually the PP materials shown should never have seen the light of day let alone be seen by anyone.)

American Life League

O Radix Jesse

O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum,
super quem continebunt reges os suum,
quem Gentes deprecabuntur:
veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.

(O Root of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people, at Whom the kings shall shut their mouths, Whom the Gentiles shall seek, come to deliver us, do not tarry.)

And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root. Isaiah 11:1

In that day the root of Jesse, who standeth for an ensign of the people, him the Gentiles shall beseech, and his sepulchre shall be glorious. Isaiah 11:10

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Only 5 Days to the Big Holiday. . . .

Festivus, for the Rest of Us!

Santa Papa - Spe Salvi Gift for Youth

[photo: AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia]

On 13 December 2007 Papa Benedetto spoke to students from Rome's Universities gathered for Mass. In his speech he said that his new encyclical Spe Salvi had a special application for them.

"I spiritually entrust [the encyclical] to you, dear university students of Rome, and through you, to the entire world of the university, the school, culture and of education.

Is the theme of hope perhaps not particularly suitable for youth?"

He went on to say: "I propose to you that you reflect, individually and in groups, on that part of the encyclical which speaks about hope in the modern age.

In the 17th century, Europe went through an epoch-making change. Since then a mentality has become ever more widespread, according to which human progress is the work of science and technology, while faith concerns only the salvation of the soul. The two great concepts of modernity -- reason and freedom -- have been, so to say, 'disengaged' from God."

Benedict XVI pointed out that reason and freedom have "become autonomous and work together in the construction of the 'kingdom of man,' which in practice contrasts with the Kingdom of God. Hence, the spread of materialist ideas, nourished by the hope that, by changing economic and political structures, it will finally be possible to achieve a just society in which peace, freedom and equality reign.

However, this process ," he continued, "which is not without its merits and its historical causes, contains a basic error: Man is not just the result of certain economic and social conditions. Technological progress does not necessarily coincide with the moral development of mankind. In fact without ethical principles, science and technology can be used -- as has happened and unfortunately still does happen -- not for the good but to the detriment of individuals and humanity."

(Source: Zenit, Pope to Youth: "Spe Salvi" Is for You)

Papal address (In Italiano)

Its Been 3 Years Today Since I . . .

started this blog. For a while I let it slide. It has been fun, & at times very interesting to see the reactions to some of my posts. Hopefully I've enlightened, entertained & challenged my readers to think about some issues that are important to me. & that I've been able to leave the blogosphere a little better place. Most most importantly, that I did it for the Glory of God!
TE DEUM laudamus!!!!!
Anyhow, on to the entertainment portion of our show:

O Adonai

O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel,
qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti,
et ei in Sina legem dedisti:
veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.

(O Adonai, and Ruler of the house of Israel, Who didst appear unto Moses in the burning bush, and gavest him the law in Sinai, come to redeem us with an outstretched arm!)

But he shall judge the poor with justice, and shall reprove with equity the meek of the earth: and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. And justice shall be the girdle of his loins: and faith the girdle of his reins. Isaiah 11:4-5

Monday, December 17, 2007

Is Jackie Mason Right About Gun Control?

Yes, according to רעֶבּ Yacov Moshe Maza.

& here is the original vlog where he 1st laid out the facts that he has since (regretably) been proven right about:

O Sapientia

O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
attingens a fine usque ad finem,
fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia:
veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.

(O Wisdom that comest out of the mouth of the Most High, that reachest from one end to another, and orderest all things mightily and sweetly, come to teach us the way of prudence!)

And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom, and of understanding, the spirit of counsel, and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge, and of godliness. And he shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord, He shall not judge according to the sight of the eyes, nor reprove according to the hearing of the ears. Isaiah 11:2-3

O Antiphons

For the next 7 days as a part of Evening Prayer in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, the antiphon that is used for the recitation of the Magnificat is 1 of the 7 O Antiphons. Many people are more familiar with them as the verses of the song Veni, Veni Emmanuel (Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel). Each of the antiphons contains a Messianic title taken from the prophecies of Isaiah. Last year some student Dominicans from England made videos for each of the antiphons where they chanted them. For the next 7 days I will post these antiphons.
As an interesting aside, if you take the 1st letter of each title, beginning with the 1 for the 23rd & working your way back to the 17th the Latin phrase ero cras , meaning "Tomorrow, I will come", is formed. It is suspected that the Benedictine Monks intentionally ordered them that way so that those words were formed.

The Run for the Roses is Over

Yesterday (16 December 2007) Dan Fogelberg, 1 of the leading soft rock artists of the 70s, passed away from prostate cancer. He was 56 years old. While he had several hits, (mostly his own compositions) including an excellent cover of Rhythm of the Rain, my all time favorite song of his was his salute to the Kentucky Derby horses that has sense become an unofficial theme for the race:
Run for the Roses

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Papa Benedetto - The 1 Sure Way to Prevent STDs

From the address given by Papa Benedetto to H.E. Mr Peter Hitjitevi Katjavivi, the new Ambassador of the Republic of Namibia to the Holy See on 13 December 2007 :

"Namibia’s vision for the future recognizes the urgent need to bring the troubling spread of infectious disease to a halt. The tragic toll which HIV/AIDS has had in Southern Africa has been particularly alarming. In this regard, I assure the people of your country that the Church will continue to assist those who suffer from AIDS and to support their families. The Church’s contribution to the goal of eradicating AIDS from society cannot but draw its inspiration from the Christian conception of human love and sexuality. The understanding of marriage as the total, reciprocal and exclusive communion of love between a man and a woman not only accords with the plan of the Creator, it prompts the most effective behaviours for preventing the sexual transmission of disease: namely, abstinence before marriage and fidelity within marriage. It is for this reason that the Church dedicates no less energy to education and catechesis than she does to health care and corporal works of mercy. Mr. Ambassador, I encourage the leaders of your nation to legislate in a way that promotes the life of the family, which must always be held as sacred and most fundamental for a stable society." (emphasis mine)
Simple solution, no sex before marriage & fidelity within marriage. Guarenteed 100% effective with no side effects either. Once again, God's ways are the best. So, why do people want to settle for anything less than the best?

& Now For Something Somewhat Different for Gaudete Sunday

Since Gaudete Sunday gets its name from the 1st word of the Introit, gaudete (rejoice) something in a humorous vein seems appropriate. In this case, a slightly different look at the 12 Days of Christmas.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Vatican - Thou SHALT Evangelize

Since the close of Vatican II there have been several so-called "Spirit(s) of Vatican II" floating arround, each claiming it was the true "Spirit". These "Spirits" got a lot of attention, while the true Spirit of Vatican II that was found in the letter of Vatican II was ingnored. Over the years there have been plenty of people supporting those false spirits & ignoring, denying or downright attempting to malign the true "Spirit".
But, the true "Spirit" cannot & will not be silenced. & the Catholic Church will always ensure that the TRUTH IS proclaimed. So why am I saying all this? Simple what I said is leading up to the latest document issued from the Vatican to put a stake in the heart of another 1 of those false spirits by proclaiming the actual truth. This time the document comes courtesy of Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, with a little help from his friends Cardinal Ivan Dias, prefect of the Congregation of the Evangelizations of Peoples & Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. They were all at the press conference announcing the release of the document on Friday.
That document, entitled Doctrinal Note on some Aspects of Evangelization, was approved by Papa Benedetto on 6 October 2007. Short summary: anyone who claims that Catholics should not evangelize, that we don't have to & should not proclaim the truth of Jesus Christ as found in the Gospels & taught by the Catholic Church is WRONG!!!!! In other words, we not only should evangelize, we have a responsibility TO evangelize. Like I said a week ago, let the firestorm begin. There will be people who will ignore this, there will be those who try to downplay it. & there will be those who will attack it & say that it is totally wrong, & a betrayal of the "Spirit of Vatican II". These naysayers are the true betrayers of the real Spirit of Vatican II, The Holy Spirit.
So what does the document say? A lot! From the 1st paragraph it makes it clear that the Church's very existance is for evangelization. "Jesus Christ was sent by the Father to proclaim the Gospel, calling all people to conversion and faith. . . . By means of the Church, Christ wants to be present in every historical epoch, every place on earth and every sector of society, in order to reach every person, so that their may be one flock and one shepherd (cf. Jn 10:16) ‘Go out into the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature’ (Mk 16:15)." It uses Scripture, the writings of Popes Paul VI, John Paul II & Benedict XVI as well as the documents of Vatican II to show that this is true. It attacks relativism & the spirit of confusion that relativism has brought about.
The document discusses what is & isn't true evangelism. In other words, no "coercion or tactics unworthy of the Gospel". Rather it needs to be done "by the power of the word of God". Our real motive is to be "the love of Christ for the eternal salvation of all." It also reminds us that the mission is universal. & it is every Catholic's responsibility to participate in this mission.
It also points out that even though we are to respect our non-Catholic Christian brethren "Catholics must enter into a respectful dialogue of charity and truth, a dialogue which is not only an exchange of ideals, but also of gifts, in order that the fullness of the means of salvation can be offered to one’s partners in dialogue. In this way, they are led to an ever deeper conversion to Christ." It goes on to say: "In this connection, it needs also to be recalled that if a non-Catholic Christian, for reasons of conscience and having been convinced of Catholic truth, asks to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church, this is to be respected as the work of the Holy Spirit and as an expression of freedom of conscience and of religion. In such a case, it would not be question of proselytism in the negative sense that has been attributed to this term."
At the press conference Cardinal Leveda explained the reason for its release now: "Why a document on evangelization? From its conversations with Bishops around the world, and from its analysis of a certain confusion about whether Catholics should give testimony about their faith in Christ, the Congregation decided to address some specific points which seem to undermine the fulfillment of Christ’s missionary mandate."
Cardinal Arinze had this to say: "I consider this Doctrinal Note of great relevance and actuality." In talking about why we should evangelize he said: "The sharing of our Catholic faith with others who do not yet know Christ should be regarded as a work of love, provided that it is done with full respect for their human dignity and freedom. Indeed if a Christian did not try to spread the Gospel by sharing the excelling knowledge of Jesus Christ (cf Phil 3:8) with others, we could suspect that Christian either of lack of total conviction on the faith, or of selfishness and laziness in not wanting to share the full and abundant means of salvation with his fellow human beings.
Conversion to Christianity is rightly seen as liberation, as St Paul puts it in his letter to the Colossians. It is entrance into "the kingdom of his (God’s) beloved Son in whom we have redemption and the forgiveness of our sins" (Col 1:13-14)." (Full Press conference remarks )
It sounds to me like the true Spirit of Vatican II is speaking loud & clear. The Holy Spirit is working to ensure that the truth is out there. & He IS speaking loud & clear.
I can think of no better way to conclude this post than with the conclusion found in the Note (quoting Papa Benedetto). It summarizes the document perfectly & reminds us that this document is a clarion call & challenge to all of us to get out there & evangelize. "The proclamation of and witness to the Gospel are the first service that Christians can render to every person and the entire human race, called as they are to communicate to all God’s love, which was fully manifested in Jesus Christ, the one Redeemer of the world. The love which comes from God unites us to him and ‘makes us a we which transcends our divisions and makes us one, until in the end God is all in all (1 Cor 15:28)’."
As an aside, the document was sent to every Episcopal Conference by Cardinal Levada on 23 October 2007. In a cover letter sent with it he asked that the text be brought to the attention of every bishop by the 15th of November. Why? "The Dicastry is confident that the Episcopal Conference itself, as well as individual Bishops, will do everything possible to ensure the favourable reception of this document by priests, religious and the lay faithful. In this way, the Doctrinal Note will serve as a normative point of reference with regard to the questions treated." It will be interesting to see how well this document is proclaimed & followed. This document is another one, along with many recent documents from the Vatican, that can be used as a litmus test to see whether something is following the true Spirit of Vatican II or is a false "Spirit" to be rejected & driven out. Headlines

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