Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Modern Freedom and Modern Fear

"Most modern freedom is at root fear. It is not so much that we are too bold to endure rules; it is rather that we are too timid to endure responsibilities -- GK Chesterton

We met the most charming young couple this weekend. They will be renting a small cottage on our property. The young man will be moving in in a week or two and the young lady once they are wed. Isn’t that refreshing? And eventhough that is the way it should be it is so often nowadays the very way it is not.

In the initial awkwardness of getting to know one another they asked when we met and when we married. It seems that some of their friends have cautioned them that they are getting married- too young- too soon and they should wait a few years.

Why? For temptation to grow? For ennui to set in? For distractions from the purpose of life to take hold, like self inclination?

I remember when the book by Pope John Paul II came out- Crossing the Threshold of Hope and the opening theme was “Be Not Afraid”. I remember thinking- this is the very problem with modern man. He acts badly and selfishly not because he is bold and courageous but because he is timid and fearful. He fears that something may be required of him. Even something hard.

I have been following the sad tale of Tom Brady and his moral demise. For those who are not football fans (if such a person exists!) he is the quarterback of the New England Patriots. It used to be that Mr. Brady was well regarded as a moral and upright individual. There were pictures of him having an audience with the Holy Father after winning the Super Bowl. He had a long time girl friend and it was thought that they would wed. However now Mr. Brady is globetrotting the world with someone new, while his ex-girlfriend is carrying his child. Even more tawdry his new girlfriend is known as the “face” of Victoria Secret. In a magazine article coming out, in which naturally Mr. Brady is on the cover, he reacts against the suggestion that his behavior is untoward. According to the writer the expression on Tom Brady's face says:

“What kind of a world is it when I have to justify having sex with Gisele Bundchen?”

Note- the article says that this is the look that is shot, not that this is the comment that Tom Brady makes. I appreciate the reader who caught this distinction. However in the context of Mr. Brady's actions I think the writer is accurate in his depiction.

What kind of a world indeed when a man need not explain his immoral and scandalous behavior? What kind of a world when a man cannot even attempt to justify the illegtimacy of his child and the utter selfishness that has caused that to be? Shame? Regret? Never.

So this is where we find ourselves; a beautiful young couple, devout in their Faith, hopeful and optimistic, ready to take on the challenges of adulthood are cautioned, warned, disapproved of and the libertines- well they have no need to justify themselves and neither should we.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Marriage: You Exist to Inspire

A friend sent me this acrostic.

On the Occasion of a 50th Wedding Anniversary

Matrimony, a Sacrament of God's love
Acquiescing to His Holy Will.
Requiring love and commitment
Resplendent with consanguineous joy
In sickness and in health
Agape, and leading your spouse to
God. You exist to inspire achievement of
Everlasting happiness in heaven.

written by Mrs. Gina Mateer

Thursday, May 24, 2007

"Without the Catholic Church There Would be no Western Civilization"

Exactly right.

And even atheists are willing to admit it.

Holy Father in Damage Control Mode

I'm getting a little sick of this-

"The Holy Father in Damage Control Mode, Again".


Because when the Holy Father said that the native people of Brazil were longing for Christ the "leaders" of indigineous peoples were "offended".

Oh no. Not that!

When are we going to get an apology for the brutal deaths of Catholic martyrs who in every age have sacrificed their lives to bring the Truth of the Faith?

I won't hold my breath.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

So Majestic in Their Summer Robes Arrayed

I just had to do something in honor of the lilacs that are blooming so beautifully here in New England. They fill the air with fragrance, the heart with gratitude and the spirit with hope.

The Lilacs Mother Planted

I listened by the doorstep as the evening shadows fell,
While from the distance floated the faint tinklings of a bell,
The night hawk circled overhead then dropped straight down below,
The same as when I first lived there, in childhood, long ago.
The trees have grown much taller in the yard where once I played,
And now looked so majestic in their summer robes arrayed;
And near the walk the lilacs flung their fragrance to the air
The lilacs that my darling mother planted for us there.

Ah, yes, what tender memories are forced on us again,
Who leave our home in boyhood days and then return grown men;
To seek again the playgrounds which in youth we loved so well,
The shade beneath the apple tree, the old pump at the well,
The woodpile, and the cellar door, the dear old blacksmith shop,
The granary that held the corn with martin box on top.
But dearer than the playgrounds was the perfume in the air,
From those dear lilac bushes that my mother planted there.

Oh, sweet and fragrant lilac, the one she loved so well,
Thy fragrance brings to memory sad thoughts I cannot tell;
Sweet lullabies of childhood sung at the evening rest,
By mother clasping closely the one she loved the best.
A voice that gently whispered sweet words of love to me,
A face so kind and gentle, a heart with love so free;
Still yet my heart throbs feel them, still yet I see them there,
When lilacs that she planted with fragrance fill the air.

by: Ed Blair


Ruth Pratt Bobbs, The Spanish Shawl, 1911, Swope Art Museum

Attack on femininity

Degradation of femininity

Resist it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


What has brought me to this point?

Two night shifts at a job that is an awful lot of aggravation for not much money

Teaching my daughter to drive a standard transmission

Being up so late last night that I slept in my clothes

Having company that I enjoyed talking with so much I stayed up late to talk because that was more fun than going to bed

Having my husband out of town on business for two weeks

A kitchen half painted, with wallpaper half stripped and flooring half torn up

The realization that there are only 11 days left of school and wondering if we will make it

Plans, schemes and adventures beckoning with never enough time to indulge in them

A diet that has produced nothing but hunger, lightheadedness and the realization that at my age I must eat this little ….to weigh this much.

Very busy toddlers who can play outside, empty cabinets, write on themselves with permanent markers, spill their drinks, trample just planted flowers, sneak out of the house, refuse to eat, jump in mud puddles and generally create delightful havoc

Suffering the news that a dear family friend has cancer and she is young

Watching the price of gas creep higher and higher and wondering how much longer it will climb?

Being immensely proud of your children and knowing that the toughest years are ahead. Dreading the mistakes they will inevitably make and the suffering they will undergo and knowing that you will be helpless to make it all go away.

Monday, May 21, 2007


"Most Holy Land, I commend thee to the care of the Almighty; and may He grant me long life enough to return hither and deliver thee from the yoke of the infidels!"
King Richard the Lionhearted


"If you say the Rosary faithfully until death, I do assure you that, in spite of the gravity of your sins 'you shall receive a never-fading crown of glory.' Even if you are on the brink of damnation, even if you have one foot in hell, even if you have sold your soul to the devil as sorcerers do who practise black magic, and even if you are a heretic as obstinate as death for the purpose of knowing the truth and obtaining contrition and pardon for your sins, sooner or later you will be converted and will amend your life and will save your soul, if-- and mark well what I say-- if you say the Holy Rosary devoutly every day until death."

This is a famous saying by St. Louis Marie De Montfort when he wrote “The Secret of the Rosary.” You might ask what this has to do with perseverance, but this has a lot to do with Perseverance. In other words, the Rosary can be an answer to almost everything. If we can strive to say the Rosary for help in life, if what we ask for is in accordance with God, we are showing that we want God’s grace to persevere in life and live with him in eternal happiness in heaven.

Perseverance is always needed at every time in life. Whether your struggling to finish some difficult homework or you're trying to prove what you believe in is right. No matter when or where, perseverance is always needed. That is why praying is so important because we have to pray for perseverance to begin with, if we can’t strive to pray for perseverance then we won’t be able to persevere in life. Another perfect example of perseverance is a famous quote by Charles Spurgeon, he once said, ”By perseverance the snail reached the ark.” In other words, Charles Spurgeon is saying that one of the slowest animals in the world was able to save its life from the flood, and if that’s the case we should be able to accomplish our goals through perseverance. If you have never thought of this, think about it. It makes perfect sense. If a snail can achieve a difficult task then so can we. So ask yourself do you always try to persevere in every moment of your life? If you have, be proud of yourself. And if you haven't, pray to do better. Think of ways to perfect perseverance, and ways to perfect your life.

Written by Andrew Alexander
Seventh Grade
Immaculate Heart of Mary School

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Castle for Sale

In Great Barrington, Massachusetts. The castle is set on 90 acres and is in the heart of the Berkshires, New England's playground of the rich and famous. The price tag is $15 million. It has 36 fireplaces, lots of beautiful marble and most importantly a dungeon. No indication about whether or not there is a ghost in residence. We must hope.

I was surprised to find that there are other "Searle" Castles in the area- one in Windham, NH pictured below. The Castle is currently operated as an event locale and owned by the Sisters of Mercy. At one time the Sisters operated a College but the building was in need of such extensive repairs they moved the college. With the help of grants, and donations of talent and materials by interior designers the castle has been restored to its current grandeur.

And one in Methuen, Massachusetts. Seen here:

According to a Methuen Historical website the property is still used by the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary:

1957 the 74 room " Searles castle" was sold to the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary for $160,000. The Presentation of Mary Academy and convent now occupies this site and the Searles Chapel is known as Our Lady of Sacred Heart. The St. Claire Residence, named for Mother Claire D'Assise, was built in 1958, the new Academy wing in 1962, and the new Provincial House in 1985.

So it seems only right that the Great Barrington castle be purchased by a Religious order. I have a few in mind and I'll have to forward the listing to them.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Priest Invites Gang of 18 to...

... leave the Church formally since they've left publically. And I think Fr. Enteneur would look very nice in red. Don't you? Like maybe in a red hat or something.

Catholic Priest Invites Gang of 18 To Leave Church

FRONT ROYAL, VA — The Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, STL, president of Human Life International, (HLI) today said “Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro (CT-3) and seventeen other members of Congress who describe themselves as Catholic not only are ignorant of their faith but also need a civics lesson.”

Father Euteneuer was responding to their rebuke of Pope Benedict XVI in a press release from DeLauro’s office which stated that the Pope’s recent comments that Catholic politicians risk excommunication and should not receive Communion by saying, “Such notions offend the very nature of the American experiment and do a great disservice to the centuries of good work the church has done.”

Father Euteneuer said, “It is an embarrassment that a Catholic, much less a member of Congress should make such an absurd statement. Even if this statement were true, the Holy Father answers to a Higher Power than Rep. DeLauro and the Gang of 18.”

“The truth is,” Father Euteneuer said, “nothing threatens the American experiment more than the legal but unjust killing of human beings by abortion which stands in stark contrast to the very first right enumerated by our Declaration of Independence: The Right to Life. The humanity of the unborn child is no longer even debated. It is a scientific fact. Abortion is murder, and murder is against the law. Like Dred Scott before it, which violated certain citizens’ Right to Liberty, Roe v. Wade is bad, dishonest law and will eventually fall.”

“Excommunication is a pastoral and medicinal penalty, not a political one. The Pope is well within his free expression of religion guaranteed by the US Constitution—and his pastoral duty—to warn any Catholic when their eternal salvation is jeopardized by their actions” Father Euteneuer said. “This is what the Catholic Church teaches and what Catholics believe. If the Gang of 18 believes otherwise, honesty and integrity requires they find another church that tells them what they want to hear. If they have that much of a problem being Catholic, no one is forcing them to stay. We certainly don’t need their hypocrisy.”

Girls Gone Mild

Wendy Shalit, author of "A Return to Modesty: The Lost Virtue" has a new book, "Girls Gone Mild: It's Not Bad to be Good". Her first book was written at the ripe old age of 23 and is well written, and interesting. Every parent should read it. You will find out exactly what is going on at college campi across the country.

Wendy Shalit was raised as a secular Jew but converted to Orthodox judaism- if you read "A Return to Modesty" you will figure out why. Let me just hint that it has a lot to do with tradition. Rather than waxing and waning about the book- let me just say she's good. She gets it and in spite of the fact that I hate the cover and am less than crazy about the title, this book will be well worth reading and buying. It's sure to be an excellent antidote to the naivete that can afflict some parents.

There is also a blog- Modestly Yours
that Wendy contributes to.

L.A.- in a Nutshell

Uncle Di on the Los Angeles beat.
Because nobody has a better take on the situation.

I sometimes wonder, in quiet times which are few and far between, what would happen if someone like Diogenes were placed in a position of administration within a Diocese like L.A. or Boston.

Wouldn't it be fun?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Ascension

"And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world."
Matthew 28:20

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Crunchy Cons May Want to Skip This Post

I friend just sent me this website and I hope he knows that there is no way this is not going on my blog.

The perfect Father's Day gift
. Especially for the father of a large family. Especially for the rich, white, Republican father in your life. Which sadly leaves my husband out. On two counts.

Maybe I'll just get him a chainsaw.

Of Monks and Madness

A beautiful film review of Into Great Silence by a columnist from Commonweal (of all places.)

May 18, 2007 / Volume CXXXIV, Number 10
Of Monks & Madmen

There has been a lot written about Into Great Silence, a film which shows the life of monks in the Carthusian monastery of Le Grande Chartreuse. I saw it not long ago, and so should you if you get the chance-which you may not; so far its distribution has been limited, and it is easy to see why: there is very little talking, no background music, and nothing like a plot. The film lasts for nearly three very quiet hours. But here in New York, it packed them in at Film Forum and was held over for weeks.

Philip Gröning, the director, said during one interview that he found looking at the paintings of Mark Rothko helpful when he was editing the film, and I can see the connection. There is a similarity between the esthetic stillness in Rothko’s paintings and the contemplative stillness the monks seek in prayer. This sensibility shows up in Gröning’s camera work, in the images of flame and snow that begin the film, in the passage of time in slow seasonal change captured by time-lapse photography, in the rhythm of the communal liturgical hours and the solitude of the monks in their hermitages, in the scenes we are offered of their solitary prayer and study.

The film has been a huge hit, not only in New York but also in allegedly secular Europe. Its success reminds me of the rave reviews given to Marilynne Robinson’s wonderful, quiet, and unabashedly Christian novel Gilead. There is a spiritual hunger that goes deep. Some of its expressions can be shallow, but the need is heartfelt and real. Many churches may not meet it, but some places and ways of life (monasteries and monasticism, for example) attract people because they offer the hope that there is an answer to an eternal, deeply felt need.

It wasn’t long after my wife and I saw Into Great Silence that the murders at Virginia Tech happened. Two comments that came up in the news reports have stayed with me. A survivor said that she would never forget the laughter of the gunman; and one of Seung-hui Cho’s teachers said that when he came to her for tutoring, he always wore dark glasses, behind which he seemed to be weeping.

We are called into being from nothing, and the monks face this as a vocation. They have tried in the life they have chosen to eliminate the distractions that keep us from being what we are called to be. Not all of us are called to this way, but it does illuminate a central truth about life: Ultimately we are alone before God. The paradox is that this solitude is shared with all of humanity, and we are obliged to take up what it means to share it, through charity, through family, through community, and above all through prayer-which means a moment-to-moment acknowledgment of our absolute contingency, our dependence on the will of God who calls us to be.

A lot of what followed the Virginia Tech massacre was predictable: editorials about gun control and the treatment of mental illness, interviews with people about the need for reaching out. Some students expressed their concern that they may not have done enough to help Cho, though it is not at all clear that they could have. All I can think about are the human extremes here: monks who spend their time in solitary silence before God, listening deeply; and someone weeping in his own howling, desperate isolation, one that turns to evil rage and the destruction of other lives. This is the range of human possibility: you can be a person who moves through silence toward the light, or you can be destroyed by darkness. There is nothing here about morality or moral choices. This is about what we are called to be, and about those things that assist or prevent us from getting there.

I do not know what might have been done differently to prevent the Virginia disaster. It is impossible to determine what led Seung-hui Cho to his final terrible moments or if he was capable of making any clear choices at that point in his life. But it is the source of some hope to know that in a world where such horrors can happen, within any human heart, people still make the sign of the Cross and sit in silence before God, whose love has called both the monk and Seung-hui Cho into existence.

Dropping the Baby Off

On the very day that Japan's first "Baby Drop Box" was opened at a Catholic hospital a 3-4 year old little boy was left. According to the child, "Daddy brought me."

Interestingly, it is a Catholic hospital that opened the drop box and government officials expressed concern that parents should not be allowed to drop off their babies anonymously.

While well meaning it makes it awfully easy to escape our responsibilities when they become too difficult. I know that child abandonment has existed in every culture and in every time. Of course abortion and birth control were supposed to eliminate these messy dilemmas for the modern man. But it doesn't seem to have done that. Darn.

It used to be that the extended family would help out when the difficulties of raising children due to poor health or economic struggles- but everyone is too busy now and working.

Italy and Austria also have baby drop offs. Below can be seen a baby drop off in Padua. It looks very much like a coffin doesn't it?

I mean what are we supposed to hope for here? That people only drop off little babies? That the age limits are extended so that a child of any age can be dropped off? If we cannot rely on the natural or even moral inclination for a mother to take care of her baby- how do you fix that? Better daycare? More money for working mothers? Eliminate the social stigma of single motherhood?

Maybe instead of concentrating on how we can make things easier for people we should try to communicate the idea that life is hard, struggle along the best you can, don't expect ease or even success and it will be the struggle that will define your character.

I saw "The Pursuit of Happyness" starring Will Smith and his little son. It was a beautiful movie of a struggle against incredible odds. The movie was completely lacking in sentimentality and by the end of the movie, eventhough you do figure out how things will probably work out (well)you come to the realization that no matter what the outcome, the battle has been won- the battle against despair and surrender and self pity.

"I have fought a good fight: I have finished my course: I have kept the faith."
2 Timothy 4:7

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Sex Offenders' Rights Violated

Action taken against myspace members who are sex offenders. They are (gasp!) having their profiles deleted.

What about their civil rights?

They've paid their debt to society.

Next their homes will be burnt and the poor sex offenders will be in danger of lynchings!

In response to this terrible outrage I propose that all sex offenders be placed in protective custody- their local jail- for their own protection.

That would solve so many problems all at once.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Crystal Hammers Oh Her Love

PIERO della FRANCESCA (b. 1416, Borgo San Sepolcro, d. 1492, Borgo San Sepolcro)

In honor of Our Lady during her month of May and thanks to the talent of Mother Mary Francis P.C.C., I found this poem:

Queen of Craftsmen

Blow by exquisite blow,
The crystal hammers oh her love
Fasten the careful joinings of His bones.
Prophets have sung this craft: how men may number
These bones, but never break an one of them.

What blueprint guides you, Queen of architects,
To trace sure paths for wandering veins
That run Redemption's wine?

Who dipped your brush, young artist, so to tint
The eyes and lips of God? Where did you learn
To spin such silk of hair, and expertly
Pull sinew, wind this Heart to tick our mercy?

Thrones, Powers fall down, worshipping your craft
Whom we, for want of better word, shall call
Most beautiful of all the sons of men.

Worker in motherhood, take our splintery songs
Who witness What you make, in litanies:
Oh, Queen of craftsmen, pray for us who wait.

Mother Mary Francis P.C.C.
Summon Spirit's Cry: A Collection of Poems.
San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1996.


Cloistered carmelite nuns.

A friend wrote that ABC's 20/20 will be having a special on tonight called "Silent Sisters" about cloistered nuns.

Featured will be the Poor Clares in Roswell, New Mexico (I know that can't help but make you smile) who became very well known because of the literary efforts of their superior Mother Mary Francis P.C.C. who authored books and plays including her most famous work "A Right to Be Merry". You might think a book about contemplative life would be, well boring. But the book in a word is hysterical. I won't ruin it for you. I found there is also a sequel to the book called "Forth and Abroad: Still Merry By Land and Sea". For all the books by Mother Mary Francis you can go here.

Sadly she died just last year in February of 2006. Here is a picture taken of her in 2002.

This is from the vocations page of the Diocese of New Mexico that shows the cutting of the Bridal cake at the Profession of two young sisters.

The show will also show several young women who visit the Abbey of Mount St. Marys to try to discern if they have a vocation. The cloistered convent is located in Wrentham, Massachusetts- just a hop, skip and a jump from here.

Here is what the Sister's website says about the show this evening:

ABC Television Program
20/20 Scheduled to Air

Last spring ABC crews were here to film both women discerning their vocations and our monastic life. Diane Sawyer came later to interview several sisters. Originally the segments were to be part of a larger piece and likely still are. We learned that the scheduled time is May 11 -- ABC's 20/20. The program starts at 9 pm-- a special 2 hour show on faith. It was an act of trust allowing this and we can hope that the program will be positive.

Yes, Let's hope.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I Wonder if....

...Pope Benedict will be travelling to Campos, Brazil or if he will be receiving Bishop Rifan?

A little background on who Bishop Rifan is and the Society of St. John Vianney

If you read portugese that is but Wikipedia as a bit of information too.

Since the reconciliation I've heard almost nothing about Bishop Rifan and how the Society is doing.

Catholic Cartoons

Well it's about time we had a Catholic Traditional cartoon site. Now all we need is an authentic Catholic college with a science, engineering and technology emphasis. The whole liberal arts thing is so overrepresented.

"Life is a Gift not a Threat" , Pope Benedict

The Pope, on the plane to Brazil, gives his support to Mexican Church officials who are threatening excommunication for politicians who are supporting abortion.

While this is a "Duh moment" for most of us there are a lot of "Catholics" in this country who do not get it. Starting with the Bishops. Then there are the Catholic politicians who support abortion and find priests and bishops who are falling all over themselves to support them, endorse their candidacies and formally cooperate in their evil.

And wouldn't that quote make an excellent bumper sticker? I'll have to send it into production along with my other favorite, "Overpopulation and Overconsumption: these are my core values". Best expressed on an SUV or 15 passenger van.

The Killing Fields,

90% of Babies diagnosed with Down's Syndrome are aborted.

(because if I can't have a perfect child I'll just kill it)

Guiliani donates to Planned Parenthood.

(and in spite of being personally opposed too)

Couples kills two of their IVF babies and are proud of it

(and the problem is the Supreme Court, a huh)

U.K. Clinic to screen for cosmetic defects

(like hair color)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

On the Occasion of a Birthday

Anastasia, my oldest, is 17 today. And on the occasion of her birthday I want to make some random recommendations on raising teenage girls. In no particular order and with a minimum of effort- here it is:


Give your daughters a taste for elegance, modesty and propriety by emphasizing paperdolls of 18th century young ladies, movies like Emma and Sense and Sensibility, Little Women, teas, luncheons.

Teach them to make good friends; friends who are of good character, unselfish, good Catholics who are neither dreary nor dull. They need friends that have the liveliness and wholesomeness of Anne of Green Gables.

Encourage dancing to teach deportment and confidence and coordination, especially ballet, ethnic dancing, folk and square dancing and even swing dancing. Sports and physical fitness are to be encouraged because of the virtues they teach.

Make sure they learn to work extremely hard and to serve others as a matter of habit. Taking care of younger brothers and sisters, sick relatives, cooking, painting , sewing, wallpapering and gardening. Make prolife work a priority.

Encourage obedience to proper, right ordered authority- not rebellion- in attitude, clothing styles, hair and makeup styles.

Make sure they are familiar with the lives of the saints, foreign languages, musicals, operas, ballets, Shakespeare, other cultures, history, mythology, interesting current events, the seven wonders of the world, and jokes, riddles and brain teasers.


Entertaining any parenting advice from Greg Popzcak or from books authored by him

Video games, myspace, the Mall, Victoria Secret, teen magazines, make up (except for special occasions), fertility awareness or NFP, dating, romance novels, Church youth groups, Lifeteen, co-ed retreats, rebellion, profanity, crudity, vulgarity, lives of celebrities, presuming that marriage will be their path to the exclusion of a religious vocation, selfishness, vanity, "independence", freedom, too much spending money, privacy, a disrespectful attitude, gossip, bullying, making excuses or ignoring character flaws and failures. [Remember the scene in Emma when Mr. Knightley takes her to task for her unkindness] Idleness, boredom, laziness and lack of interest in those around her.

And finally, before Mass say three Hail Marys for your teenage girl's purity.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Liberation Theology is a Singular Heresy

As the Pope prepares to travel to Brazil the New York Times has a piece on the strength of Liberation Theology and its hold on Brazil. Ostensibly, at the service of the "poor" it is really thinly disguised Marxism.

And since Marxism has worked out so well in Russia, Cuba and North Korea, well you get the idea.

Interesting fact from the article- Brazil is home to HALF of the World's Catholics. Incredible.

Now that's efficiency. In just one trip the Pope will visit half is flock.

The article.

There will be a canonization.

Somebody did their homework-
Blog with all the information on the Pope's trip.

John Allen's article
which mentions the hemoraging of Catholics to the heresy of Pentecostalism and the problem of not enough vocations in Brazil.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

And Again...

Children 'bad for planet'

By Sarah-Kate Templeton in London

May 07, 2007 12:00am
Article from: The Australian

HAVING large families should be frowned upon as an environmental misdemeanour in the same way as frequent long-haul flights, driving a big car and failing to reuse plastic bags, says a report to be published today by a green think tank.

The paper by the Optimum Population Trust will say that if couples had two children instead of three they could cut their family's carbon dioxide output by the equivalent of 620 return flights a year between London and New York.

John Guillebaud, co-chairman of OPT and emeritus professor of family planning at University College London, said: "The effect on the planet of having one child less is an order of magnitude greater than all these other things we might do, such as switching off lights.

"The greatest thing anyone in Britain could do to help the future of the planet would be to have one less child."

In his latest comments, the academic says that when couples are planning a family they should be encouraged to think about the environmental consequences.

"The decision to have children should be seen as a very big one and one that should take the environment into account," he added.

Professor Guillebaud says that, as a general guideline, couples should produce no more than two offspring.

The world's population is expected to increase by 2.5 billion to 9.2 billion by 2050. Almost all the growth will take place in developing countries.

The population of developed nations is expected to remain unchanged and would have declined but for migration.

The British fertility rate is 1.7. The EU average is 1.5. Despite this, Professor Guillebaud says rich countries should be the most concerned about family size as their children have higher per capita carbon dioxide emissions.

The Sunday Times

The Goings On in France

The French have elected a conservative for President.

It must be the end times.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Pope St. Pius V

Today is the Feast Day of Pope St. Pius V. Best known for his encyclical Quo Primum, well at least to us "Latin Mass Fanatics". (I say Fanatics because it sounds only slightly better than Schismatics).



Pope St. Pius V - July 14, 1570

Let all everywhere adopt and observe what has been handed down by the Holy Roman Church, the Mother and Teacher of the other churches, and let Masses not be sung or read according to any other formula than that of this Missal published by Us. This ordinance applies henceforth, now, and forever, throughout all the provinces of the Christian world, to all patriarchs, cathedral churches, collegiate and parish churches, be they secular or religious, both of men and of women - even of military orders - and of churches or chapels without a specific congregation in which conventual Masses are sung aloud in choir or read privately in accord with the rites and customs of the Roman Church. This Missal is to be used by all churches, even by those which in their authorization are made exempt, whethe other manner whatsoever.

Pope St. Pius V was also known as a reformer and enemy of heresies. He excommunicated Queen Elizabeth I and was such an emphatic Inquisitor that he was relieved of his post. This did not stop him from being elevated to the Papal Throne a short time later at the urging of Cardinal Borromeo.


(from the EWTN library)

On October 7, 1571, a great victory over the mighty Turkish fleet was won by Catholic naval forces primarily from Spain, Venice, and Genoa under the command of Don Juan of Austria. It was the last battle at sea between "oared" ships, which featured the most powerful navy in the world, a Moslem force with between 12,000 to 15,000 Christian slaves as rowers. The patchwork team of Catholic ships was powered by the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Knowing that the Christian forces were at a distinct material disadvantage, the holy pontiff, St. Pope Pius V called for all of Europe to pray the Rosary for victory. We know today that the victory was decisive, prevented the Islamic invasion of Europe, and evidenced the Hand of God working through Our Lady. At the hour of victory, St. Pope Pius V, who was hundreds of miles away at the Vatican, is said to have gotten up from a meeting, went over to a window, and exclaimed with supernatural radiance: "The Christian fleet is victorious!" and shed tears of thanksgiving to God.

Important and interesting fashion fact: up until the time of Pope St. Pius V, the Popes wore red, just like the Cardinals do now. Because Pope Pius was a Dominican he continued to wear a white habit. The practice has continued up until the present time though some of the Pope's accessories may be red- for example papal, camauro and shoes.

Friday, May 04, 2007

The Soul of Art

Little Holy Family by Raphael

Rome's Zenit News

Rediscovering the Soul of Art
ROME, MAY 4, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Art and architecture of today is no longer spellbinding, says an artist and art historian.

Rodolfo Papa spoke about the limitations of modern art during a recent conference at Rome's Pontifical University of the Holy Cross on "Poetics and Christianity."

Papa, a sculptor and painter, is an art history professor at the Pontifical Academy of Arts and Literature at the Pantheon, a post to which he was nominated by Pope John Paul II in 2000.

Papa told ZENIT that modern architecture and art are afflicted by "the loss of a sense of tradition and, with that, the abuse of tradition."

The whole article.

Ya think?

Thursday, May 03, 2007

A Mother's Work

According to this article, a mother's work is worth $138,095. Not bad although I still think it's a little low. Just make sure you begin as a partner.

Stop Having Babies and Causing Global Warming Already!

In case you didn't know where the hype about "Global Warming" is really going:


He said China's one-child per couple policy introduced in the early 1980s, for instance, had a side-effect of braking global warming by limiting the population to 1.3 billion against a projected 1.6 billion without the policy.

The whole article.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Painting by Edgar Degas

My sister sent me this article from The Tidings of all places. (The diocesan paper for the diocese of Los Angeles). In light of the recent hullabaloo about Purity she thought it would helpful to prolong the agony. If you are reading this and think it may be directed at you, you are probably correct.

Overcoming Hypersensitivity

By Father Ronald Rolheiser (The Tidings: March 30th 2007)

In her autobiography, Saint Therese of Lisieux describes what she considers as one of the key moments of conversion in her life:

She was the youngest in her family and her father's favorite. He doted on her and every year when the family came home from church on Christmas Eve, he had a little ritual he played out as he gave a gift to her, his youngest and favorite daughter.

One Christmas eve when Therese was nine years old and still tender and sad from her mother's death, as the family returned home from church, she overheard her father tell one of her older sisters that he hoped that, this year, he would no longer have to play that little, childish charade with Therese.

Overhearing this, Therese, a deeply sensitive child, was stung to the core, felt betrayed, and fell into a long period of silence and depression.

Eventually she emerged from it and regained her resiliency and joy.

Looking back on it years later, she saw her giving up of that particular hurt, and the hypersensitivity that provoked it, as one of the key moments of conversion in her whole life.
We usually wouldn't define overcoming sensitivity as a religious conversion, but it is precisely that, a conversion with immense religious and emotional repercussions. Our happiness depends upon having the resiliency to accept the many hurts, disappointments, and injustices of life so as to live in the give-and-take that is required for family and community living. And we learn that lesson slowly.

The older I get, the more I am coming to know how sensitive people are and how easily they get hurt. It doesn't take much for someone to ruin your day. We don't just get hurt when we meet open hostility, insults, unfairness or hatred. We can get deeply hurt just by overhearing a casual remark or simply by not being noticed, appreciated or invited. The human heart is easily bruised, too easily.

And then, like Therese, the impulse is to withdraw, withhold, grow silent, nurse the wound, become depressed, grow cold. That is why we are often so cautious and paranoid inside of our families and communities. We don't want to be cold, but we're hurt.

Moreover, that doesn't bring out the best in us. Pettiness too often spawns pettiness. Thomas Aquinas once suggested that we have two souls inside us: an anima magna (a grand soul) and an anima pusilla (a petty soul). When we act out of our grand soul, we are generous, hospitable, big-hearted and warm. Conversely, when we act out of our petty soul, we are paranoid, bitter, over-protective, cautious and small- hearted. When we feel hurt, it is all too easy to act out of the petty half of our souls.

We know the truth of that from everyday experience: One minute we can be feeling generous, hospitable and big-hearted, and then an insult or a simple slight can trigger feelings of disappointment, bitterness and pettiness. Which is really us? They both are! Everything depends, day to day, minute to minute, upon which soul we are drawing our vision and energy from at a given moment.

Of course we can always rationalize our bitterness, coldness and pettiness by appealing to our sensitivity. We feel slights and insults deeply precisely because we are deep. There's truth in that. The more sensitive we are, the more deeply we will feel both love and its betrayal.

But, and this is the point, we need, like Therese, to see our hypersensitivity as something to be converted from so that we can be resilient enough to absorb the bumps and bruises of everyday living.

Nobody can live for any length of time within a family or a community without hurting others and without getting hurt. The challenge is to have the resiliency to live with that.

Daniel Berrigan once commented that if Jesus came back today he would go into every counseling office in the world and drive out both the doctors and their clients with the words: "Take up your couch and walk! You don't have to be this sensitive!"

Perhaps that's strong, but it contains an important challenge to conversion. Henri Nouwen used to say that one of the key elements in spiritual conversion is to move from hostility to hospitality. All major spiritualities tell us the same thing.

In Tibetan Buddhism, the bowl is the image for resentment. In it is contained all our bitterness, disappointment and disillusionment. We sit holding that bowl in our hands. We can either pour it forwards, so that the resentment flows away from us, or we can tip it onto ourselves, allowing all that poison to infect us. Our happiness depends upon which way we tip that bowl.

How can we let go of our hypersensitivity? A priest that I know once gave me this advice: Whenever you feel stung and hurt, pull away, sit in prayer, and stay there until the pain softens enough so that you can face others with warmth again.