Monday, March 31, 2008

Too Close to Call

Since there is no clear winner in the current poll, I'm going to let it run for another week. Maybe as more people have a chance to vote, one answer will jump ahead of the other. Right now it's tied, 11-11.

Make sure you vote in the poll in the sidebar, and check back next Monday (4-7-08) to see the results and to vote in the new poll. Also, don't forget that after you vote (or when you click on the link to see the results), you'll see a "Comments" link that you can click on and leave your thoughts on the current poll. I'd imagine that there is some debate over this one. Let's hear what you think!

Pax Christi,

Daily Dose of Discernment: 3/31/08

As Mr. Blatchford says, "The world does not want piety, but soap -- and Socialism." Piety is one of the popular virtues, whereas soap and Socialism are two hobbies of the upper middle class.
-- G. K. Chesterton, What's Wrong with the World

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When Christ is lifted up on the cross do not let your inward gaze dwell only upon the appearance he had in the eyes of the wicked, to whom the word was addressed through Moses: Your life will hang before your eyes; night and day you shall be in dread, and have no assurance of your life.

Oh the marvelous power of the cross, the glory in the passion! No tongue can fully describe it. Here we see the judgment seat of the Lord, here sentence is passed upon the world, and there the sovereignty of the Crucified is revealed. You drew all things to yourself, Lord, when you stretched out your hands all the day long to a people that denied and opposed you, until at last the whole world was brought to proclaim your majesty. You drew all things to yourself, Lord, when all the elements combined to pronounce judgment in execration of that crime; when the lights of heaven were darkened and the day was turned into night; when the land was shaken by unwonted earthquakes, and all creation refused to serve those wicked people. Yes, Lord, you drew all things to yourself; the veil of the temple was torn in two and the Holy of Holies taken away from those unworthy high priests. Figures gave way to reality, prophecy to manifestation, law to gospel.
-- Leo the Great, Sermo 8 de passione Domini 6-7: PL 54, 340-341

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Daily Dose of Discernment: 3/30/08

Every man is dangerous who only cares for one thing.
-- G. K. Chesterton, The Napoleon of Notting Hill

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He is the One who brought us out of slavery into freedom, out of darkness into light, out of death into life, out of tyranny into an eternal kingdom; who made us a new priesthood, a people chosen to be his own for ever. He is the Passover that is our salvation.

It is he who endured every kind of suffering in all those who foreshadowed him. In Abel he was slain, in Isaac bound, in Jacob exiled, in Joseph sold, in Moses exposed to die. He was sacrificed in the passover lamb, persecuted in David, dishonored in the prophets.

It is he who was made man of the Virgin, he who was hung on the tree; it is he who was buried in the earth, raised from the dead, and taken up to the heights of heaven. He is the mute lamb, the slain lamb, the lamb born of Mary, the fair ewe. He was seized from the flock, dragged off to be slaughtered, sacrificed in the evening, and buried at night. On the tree no bone of his was broken; in the earth his body knew no decay. He is the One who rose from the dead, and who raised us from the depths of the tomb.
-- Melito of Sardis, Paschal Homily 65-67: SC 123, 95-101

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Daily Dose of Discernment: 3/29/08

The modern humanitarian can love all opinions, but he cannot love all men; he seems sometimes, in the ecstasy of his humanitarianism, even to hate them all. He can love all opinions, including the opinion that men are unlovable.
-- G. K. Chesterton, Introduction to "Hard Times"

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Gentle First Truth is teaching you and leaving you as a commandment: to love God above all things and your neighbor as yourself. He gave you the example, hanging on the wood of the most holy cross. While the Jews cried, "Crucify him!" he cried out humbly, meekly: "Father, forgive those who are crucifying me, because they don't know what they are doing!" Look at his boundless charity! He not only forgives them, but excuses them before the Father. What an example! What a teaching! The just one, who never had the poison of sin in himself, suffers at the hands of the unjust to atone for our sin! Oh how ashamed we should be to follow the teaching of the devil and sensuality, more concerned about acquiring and keeping worldly riches—which are all empty and pass like the wind—than we are about our own and our neighbors' souls! For as long as we live in hatred for our neighbors we are hating our own selves, because hatred deprives us of divine charity. How stupidly blind not to see that with the sword of hatred for our neighbors we are killing ourselves!

So I am asking you and I want you to follow Christ crucified and be a lover of your neighbors' salvation. Show you are a follower of the Lamb, who in hunger for his Father's honor and the salvation of souls chose his own physical death.
-- Catherine of Siena, Letter 78, from The Letters of St. Catherine of Siena, Suzanne Noffke, O.P., volume 1, Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, 1988, 238-239

Friday, March 28, 2008

Answering the "Fundamental Questions": Part 2

This is the conclusion of my response to the challenge sent to me by "E.L." See Part 1 for Questions 1-4.

That said, on to Question #5:

(5) Is the resurrection a resurrection of the dead or the living? Why did Jesus not agree with Martha when she connected the resurrection to the Last Day? Has the resurrection already taken place and if so when?
To answer the first question, the resurrection is of the dead. In other words, when Jesus comes again, the bodies of all who have died will rise again and be united once again with their souls. The righteous souls will receive glorified bodies. The wicked souls will receive bodies that will only add to their torment.

Why did Jesus not agree with Martha when she connected the resurrection to the Last Day? From what I can tell, he did not actually disagree with her. Instead, I think he simply refocused her attention. Here is the passage in question:

Jn 11:21-27 Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 And even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you." 23 Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." 24 Martha said to him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." 25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?" 27 She said to him, "Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world."

Basically, Martha says, "I know he will rise again at the last day" and Jesus replies, "He can rise today, as a symbol of the power of your faith, if you in fact believe in me." Of course, Martha does, and so Jesus brings Lazarus back to life. I don't think that this necessarily precludes the resurrection of the body that we will experience when Jesus comes again.

Also, we know that Jesus would never deny a connection between the resurrection and the last day, for he affirmed this very connection when he said, in at least two places:
  • Jn 5:28-29 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment."

  • Jn 6:39-40 [A]nd this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day."
So, I see no disagreement here between Jesus and Martha.

(6) If God gave us dominion or ownership rights over creation did He also give us ownership rights over human beings? If He did not then who owns human beings? What is the consequence of this?
Well, no one has the right to own another human being, as if he were property to be bought and sold. Human beings are unique in that they exist for their own sake, not for the sake of anyone or anything else. This is affirmed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
  • 1703 Endowed with "a spiritual and immortal" soul, the human person is "the only creature on earth that God has willed for its own sake." From his conception, he is destined for eternal beatitude.

  • 2414 The seventh commandment forbids acts or enterprises that for any reason - selfish or ideological, commercial, or totalitarian - lead to the enslavement of human beings, to their being bought, sold and exchanged like merchandise, in disregard for their personal dignity. It is a sin against the dignity of persons and their fundamental rights to reduce them by violence to their productive value or to a source of profit. St. Paul directed a Christian master to treat his Christian slave "no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother, . . . both in the flesh and in the Lord."
The only one who could rightly claim "ownership" of human being is God Himself.

(7) Why did Jesus always sidestep questions connected with the running of the State even when it concerned the Law of Moses e.g. the coin of tribute and the woman caught in adultery?
Jesus does not "sidestep" anything. I think that to say such a thing is to attribute a disingenuous quality to Jesus that is simply not characteristic of Him. Let's look at Jesus' responses in the two examples you mentioned.

First, the coin of tribute:

Mt 22:15-22 (cf. Mk 12:13-17; Lk 20:20-26) Then the Pharisees went and took counsel how to entangle him in his talk. 16 And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Hero'di-ans, saying, "Teacher, we know that you are true, and teach the way of God truthfully, and care for no man; for you do not regard the position of men. 17 Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?" 18 But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, "Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? 19 Show me the money for the tax." And they brought him a coin. 20 And Jesus said to them, "Whose likeness and inscription is this?" 21 They said, "Caesar's." Then he said to them, "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." 22 When they heard it, they marveled; and they left him and went away.

Jesus did not sidestep this issue. Instead, he answered it in a way that foiled the plot of the Pharisees. Their question to Him was purposefully difficult. If Jesus says, "Yes, pay the tax," then He will anger the Jews, who generally thought that it was unjust for the People of God to pay taxes to someone who wasn't there rightful king (Herod was not of the line of David); and if He says, "No, do not pay it," then He will be accused of treason and the Herodians, who were standing right there, would have captured Him right away and had Him killed.

So, instead, he affirms the rights of both. Pay to Ceasar what is Caesar's, and pay to God what is God's. It is the middle ground that avoids both extremes, and in His wisdom, He knew that this would stump them. For more on the coin of tribute, see the following resources: Now, for the second example you mentioned: the woman caught in adultery:

Jn 8:3-11 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, "Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?" 6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her." 8 And once more he bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus looked up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" 11 She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again."

Here too the Pharisees are attempting to trick Jesus into giving them a reason to seize Him. St. Augustine explains the situation beautifully:
  • What answer, then, did the Lord Jesus make? How answered the Truth? How answered Wisdom? How answered that Righteousness against which a false accusation was ready? He did not say, "Let her not be stoned," lest He should seem to speak against the law. But God forbid that He should say, "Let her be stoned," for He came not to lose what He had found, but to seek what was lost. What then did He answer? See you how full it is of righteousness, how full of meekness and truth! (Augustine of Hippo, Tractates on the Gospel of John, 33:5)
Of course, we all know His answer: "He who is without sin cast the first stone."

At first, it may seem as though Jesus has transgressed the law by not stoning the woman. But, instead, He has fulfilled it. Ultimately, the Law is fulfilled when it is enforced, not by sinners who themselves are transgressors of it, but by He who is sinless, a transgressor in no way of the Law of God (cf. Heb 4:15). In exposing them to their own sinfulness, Jesus has shown the Pharisees that HE is the Just and Merciful Judge, not them. Plus, He did judge the sin when He told the woman, "Go and sin no more." So, I see now way in which Jesus should be accused of skirting the issue.

For more on Jesus' response to the woman caught in adultery, see the following resources: Thank you "E.L." for presenting this challenge to me. I hope that I have resolved it to your satisfaction.

Pax Christi,

Daily Dose of Discernment: 3/28/08

Cruelty to animals is cruelty and a vile thing; but cruelty to a man is not cruelty; it is treason. Tyranny over a man is not tyranny: it is rebellion, for man is royal. Now, the practical weakness of the vast mass of modern pity for the poor and the oppressed is precisely that it is merely pity; the pity is pitiful, but not respectful. Men feel that the cruelty to the poor is a kind of cruelty to animals. They never feel that it is injustice to equals; nay, it is treachery to comrades. This dark, scientific pity, this brutal pity, has an elemental sincerity of its own, but it is entirely useless for all ends of social reform. Democracy swept Europe with the sabre when it was founded upon the Rights of Man. It has done literally nothing at all since it has been founded only upon the wrongs of man. Or, more strictly speaking, its recent failure has been due to its not admitting the existence of any rights or wrongs, or indeed of any humanity. Evolution (the sinister enemy of revolution) does not especially deny the existence of God: what it does deny is the existence of man. And all the despair about the poor, and the cold and repugnant pity for them, has been largely due to the vague sense that they have literally relapsed into the state of the lower animals.
-- G. K. Chesterton, Charles Dickens
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I will not pardon the sin in you, I will punish it severely, but I myself will suffer the penalty for you. I will not forgive your debt at no cost, but I myself shall pay it for you. The Lord will repay me, that he might oblige me more. Surely it is a greater mercy of God, a greater clemency of God, a greater generosity of God to pay the price, rather to give himself as the price, than it is to remit the debt. Surely you could have done otherwise, Lord, but you paid the cost that you might commend your love to me in your death for me, that all my heart and my soul might be moved by you, that amazed, trembling, and fainting, I might consider how you died on my behalf.

O love! O charity! O goodness! O kindness of my God! Oh how much you love me, my love, how much you love me! Impress your death on my heart, for this is the heat lifting my soul to you; this is the fountain of water rising up and lifting my soul to eternal life. Your other works, Lord, move me to love you, but your passion leads me to ecstasy, it seizes me and inflames me above myself, so that I am completely dissolved in your love. And you have loved me in such a way that when I will have given all of myself to you, I will have given nothing, because you have given me your full self, my entire God.
-- Thomas of Villanova, Friday after the Third Sunday of Lent, Sermon 2-4: Opera Omnia II, 61

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Answering the "Fundamental Questions": Part 1

I recently received the following challenge from "E.L.":
I see on your website that you are interested in defending the Catholic Church. May I suggest that in order to do this you should be able to answer the following fundamental questions:
  1. What is the difference between the Kingdom of Heaven ruled by Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God the Father?
  2. What exactly is the New Covenant? What does the New Covenant promise?
  3. Why is Baptism connected to the Kingdom of Heaven? What does baptism do for us?
  4. What is the Church? Is it a building or residence as Scripture suggests? Who lives there? What is the connection between the pope and the Church? Does the pope have authority to govern the Church?
  5. Is the resurrection a resurrection of the dead or the living? Why did Jesus not agree with Martha when she connected the resurrection to the Last Day? Has the resurrection already taken place and if so when?
  6. If God gave us dominion or ownership rights over creation did He also give us ownership rights over human beings? If He did not then who owns human beings? What is the consequence of this?
  7. Why did Jesus always sidestep questions connected with the running of the State even when it concerned the Law of Moses e.g. the coin of tribute and the woman caught in adultery?

Of course, I'm never one to back down from a challenge, so let's go through these one at a time and see what we can come up with.

(1) What is the difference between the Kingdom of Heaven ruled by Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God the Father?
There is no difference. The two kingdoms are in fact one and the same. After all, everything that the Father has is also the Son's, as the Gospels repeatedly tell us (cf. Mt 11:27; Jn 3:35; 13:3; 16:15). There's no notion in the Bible of two different kingdoms.

(2) What exactly is the New Covenant? What does the New Covenant promise?
Here's two helpful definitions:
  • Essentially the same as New Testament, but with several distinct connotations. It is a sacred agreement instituted by God in the person of Christ. It is a completion of the Old Covenant that Yahweh made with the Jews. It is an eternal covenant whose fulfillment is destined for heaven. It is a promise on God's part to confer the blessings foretold in the Sermon on the Mount and at the Last Supper, provided the followers of Christ are faithful in their generosity toward God. (Modern Catholic Dictionary, "New Covenant").

  • The new "dispensation," order or Covenant, established by God in Jesus Christ, to succeed and perfect the Old Covenant (cf. 612, 839). The New Law or Law of the Gospel is the perfection here on earth of the divine law, natural and revealed; this law of the New Covenant is called a law of love, grace, and freedom (1965-1972). See Covenant; Gospel, Law of the (Catechism of the Catholic Church: Glossary).
What this covenant promises is eternal life to all those who live according to it.

(3) Why is Baptism connected to the Kingdom of Heaven? What does baptism do for us?
Baptism is connected to the Kingdom of Heaven in that it is through baptism that we enter into the Kingdom. "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God" (Jn 3:5). In fact, this baptism does several things for us:
  • Cleanses us of all sin, original and actual
  • Makes us children of God
  • Initiates us into His Body, the Church
  • Makes us a "new creature" by an indelible mark placed upon our soul
  • Grants us the gifts of the Holy Spirit
For more on the effects of baptism, see the Catechism of the Catholic Church: 1262-1274 and the Catholic Defense Directory: Effects of Baptism.

(4) What is the Church? Is it a building or residence as Scripture suggests? Who lives there? What is the connection between the pope and the Church? Does the pope have authority to govern the Church?
"What is the Church?"....that's a difficult question to answer succinctly. Here are two possible definitions:
  • The faithful of the whole world. This broad definition can be understood in various senses all derived from the Scriptures, notably as the community of believers, the kingdom of God, and the Mystical Body of Christ.
    As the community of believers, the Church is the assembly (ekklesia) of all who believe in Jesus Christ; or the fellowship (koinonia) of all who are bound together by their common love for the Savior. As the kingdom (basileia), it is the fulfillment of the ancient prophecies about the reign of the Messiah. And as the Mystical Body it is the communion of all those made holy by the grace of Christ. He is their invisible head and they are his visible members. These include the faithful on earth, those in purgatory who are not yet fully purified, and the saints in heaven.
    Since the Council of Trent, the Catholic Church has been defined as a union of human beings who are united by the profession of the same Christian faith, and by participation of and in the same sacraments under the direction of their lawful pastors, especially of the one representative of Christ on earth, the Bishop of Rome. Each element in this definition is meant to exclude all others from actual and vital membership in the Catholic Church, namely apostates and heretics who do not profess the same Christian faith, non-Christians who do not receive the same sacraments, and schismatics who are not submissive to the Church's lawful pastors under the Bishop of Rome.
    At the Second Vatican Council this concept of the Church was recognized as the objective reality that identifies the fullness of the Roman Catholic Church. But it was qualified subjectively so as to somehow include all who are baptized and profess their faith in Jesus Christ. They are the People of God, whom he has chosen to be his own and on whom he bestows the special graces of his providence (Modern Catholic Dictionary, "

  • The name given the "convocation" or "assembly" of the People God has called together from "the ends of the earth." In Christian usage, the word "Church" has three inseparable meanings: the People that God gathers in the whole world; the particular or local church [diocese]; and the liturgical [above all Eucharistic] assembly. The Church draws her life from the Word and the Body of Christ, and so herself becomes Christ's Body [752]. In the Creed, the sole Church of Christ is professed to be one, holy, catholic, and apostolic [811] (Catechism of the Catholic Church: Glossary).
Is it a building or a residence? Yes, in the sense that we call the place where Christians gather for worship a "church." But, the church, even the local church, is much more than a building, as the definitions previously cited explain.

Who lives there? I don't really understand your question.

What is the connection between the pope and the Church? The pope is the Vicar of Christ, the visible head on Earth of the Church of Christ and "the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful" (Lumen Gentium, 23).

Does the pope have authority to govern the Church? Indeed! "For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered" (Lumen Gentium, 22).

I hope that adequately addresses Questions 1-4. I will address Questions 5-7 in a subsequent post.

Pax Christi,

Daily Dose of Discernment: 3/27/08

For human beings, being children, have the childish wilfulness and the childish secrecy. And they never have from the beginning of the world done what the wise men have seen to be inevitable.
-- G. K. Chesterton, The Napoleon of Notting Hill

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Not only need we feel no shame for the death of the Lord our God: we should put all our trust in it and take pride in it, since having taken up himself the death he found in us, he has promised that we shall find our life in him, a life we could never have of ourselves. If he who was sinless so loved us as to be willing to suffer what we had deserved for our sins, then surely he who has justified us will gladly give us the recompense of the just. Will he not reward his saints according to his faithful promise, when he took upon himself, guiltless though he was, the punishment due to the guilty?

And so, let us confidently acknowledge and openly declare that Christ was crucified for our sake, proclaiming it with joy and pride, not with fear and shame. The apostle Paul saw in this reason for boasting. He could have told us many great and holy things about Christ: how as God he shared with his Father the work of creation, and how as man like us he was master of the world. But he would not glory in any of these wonderful things. God forbid that I should boast of anything, he said, except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
-- Augustine of Hippo, Sermo 218C

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Daily Dose of Discernment: 3/26/08

It is one of the mean and morbid modern lies that physical courage is connected with cruelty. The Tolstoian and Kiplingite are nowhere more at one than in maintaining this. They have, I believe, some small sectarian quarrel with each other: the one saying that courage must be abandoned because it is connected with cruelty, and the other maintaining that cruelty is charming because it is a part of courage. But it is all, thank God, a lie. An energy and boldness of body may make a man stupid or reckless or dull or drunk or hungry, but it does not make him spiteful.
-- G. K. Chesterton, What's Wrong with the World
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Determined to give his disciples an example they could imitate, our Lord himself became one with them by assuming a human soul like theirs. This enabled him to enter into their sentiments and thus to sow the seeds of comfort in their hearts. He acquainted himself with their fear in order that the knowledge of his resemblance to themselves might restrain them from boasting of their readiness to meet death while it was still far off. Fearless though he was, our Lord actually experienced fear and prayed to be delivered from suffering, even though he knew his prayer could not be granted. Surely then before temptation assailed them his disciples should have prayed all the more earnestly to be saved from failing the test!

We may also tell ourselves that we too were in our Lord's mind as he prayed. In time of temptation our minds become confused and our imagination runs riot. By persevering in prayer Jesus was showing us how much we ourselves need to pray if we are to escape the wiles and snares of the devil. It is only by sustained prayer that we gain control of our distracted thoughts.
-- Ephrem of Edessa, Commentary on the Diatessaron 20, 3-4, 6-7: CSCO 145, 201-204

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Daily Dose of Discernment: 3/25/08

Fearfully plain the flowers grew,

Like a child's book to read,
Or like a friend's face seen in a glass.
He looked, and there Our Lady was;
She stood and stroked the tall live grass
As a man strokes his steed.

Her face was like a spoken word
When brave men speak and choose,
The very colours of her coat
Were better than good news . . .

'The gates of heaven are tightly locked,
We do not guard our gain,
The heaviest hind may easily
Come silently and suddenly
Upon me in a lane.

'And any little maid that walks
In good thoughts apart,
May break the guard of the Three Kings,
And see the dear and dreadful things
I hid within my heart.'
G. K. Chesterton, Ballad of Alfred
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Today's feast, recalling the extraordinary way in which the Virgin conceived, celebrates the beginning of our reconciliation and proclaims the unerring disposition of God's mercy and power. There is a profound and wonderful mystery hidden in this conception by which the bond of our transgression is canceled, the divine is joined to the human, and two, that is Christ and the Church, become one body. The Virgin's womb was the bridal chamber for this union, and at the end of the normal period for carrying a child, Christ together with his spouse, our flesh, like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, placed his dwelling, the body he had assumed, in the sun; for he made his body through which he was to vanquish the foe visible to all.

Let us ponder all this with care and with deep longing savor the graciousness of God, considering how wonderful are the rewards promised us in heaven. Let us model ourselves on the one who gave his life on earth as a pattern of Christian living.
-- Ivo of Chartres, Sermo 15 de Annunciatione B. Mariae: PL 162, 583-586

Monday, March 24, 2008

Poll-Release Monday #47

Here is your new poll question for this week:

True or false? It is better that the universe be destroyed than that one sin be committed.
I like these possibly-controversial poll questions :D This one, like my last 4 or 5 polls, comes from the USCCB's Quiz on the Catechism, which, I'm finding, is not always very good at wording it's questions. But, it sparks conversation and it gets people thinking, so that's good.

As for last week's poll, here are the results:
  • True or False? The indispensable element which makes a marriage is the consent of the spouses.
    • True: 18 (78%)
    • False: 5 (22%)
The correct answer is: True. From the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we read:
  • 1626 The Church holds the exchange of consent between the spouses to be the indispensable element that "makes the marriage" (CIC, can. 1057 § 1). If consent is lacking there is no marriage.
The canon cited above reads as follows:
  • Can. 1057 §1 A marriage is brought into being by the lawfully manifested consent of persons who are legally capable. This consent cannot be supplied by any human power.

    §2 Matrimonial consent is an act of will by which a man and a woman by an irrevocable covenant mutually give and accept one another for the purpose of establishing a marriage.
I hope that answers any questions you may have had about this topic. The entire section on consent in the Catechism is an interesting read. It's amazing how something so simple as the consent of the spouses is so vital to the validity of the sacrament of marriage.

I thank you all for voting.

Pax Christi,

Daily Dose of Discernment: 3/24/08

Social reformers have fired a hundred shots against the public-house, but never one against its really shameful character. The sign of decay is not in the public-house, but in the private bar; or rather the row of five or six private bars, into each of which a respectable dipsomaniac can go in solitude, and by indulging his own half-witted sin violates his own half-witted morality. Nearly all these places are equipped with an atrocious apparatus of ground-glass windows which can be so closed that they practically conceal the face of the buyer from the seller. Words cannot express the abysses of human infamy and hateful shame expressed by that elaborate piece of furniture. Whenever I go into a public-house, which happens fairly often, I always carefully open all these apertures and then leave the place in every way refreshed.
-- G. K. Chesterton, George Bernard Shaw
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Jesus Christ, the immortal God, came not to save himself but to save those condemned to death; he suffered not for his own sake but for ours. He took upon himself our wretchedness and poverty so as to enrich us by his own wealth. His suffering is our freedom from pain; his death is our immortality; his grief is our joy, his burial our resurrection, his baptism our sanctification. For their sake, he says, I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth. His bruising is our healing, for by his stripes we were healed. His chastisement is our peace, for the chastisement of our peace is upon him, that is to say, for the sake of our peace he is chastised.

Moreover, when on the cross he says: Father, into your hands I commend my spirit, Jesus commends us all to the Father through himself, all of us who are being brought to life in him. They are his members, and many members are one body, and the body is the Church. As Saint Paul writes to the Galatians: You are all one in Christ Jesus. In himself, therefore, Jesus commends us all to the Father.
-- Marcellus of Ancyra, On the Incarnation and Against the Arians 2-5: PG 26, 987-991

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Results Are In!

The final votes have been counted for the 2008 Catholic Blog Awards. You can view the entire list here.

I didn't do half bad, with 7 finishes in the top-20 and 1 top-10 finish:
  • Best Apologetics Blog: 7th
  • Best Designed Blog: 14th
  • Best Overall Blog: 16th
  • Best Written Blog: 19th
  • Smartest Blog: 19th
  • Most Informative/Insightful Blog: 20th
  • Most Spiritual Blog: 20th
  • Best Individual Blog: 21st
I'll be honest, I was hoping to do better in the Apologetics category this year, but that's ok, 7th place is still pretty dope. Plus, my posting has been down for the last month or so, which may have also effected things.

WDTPRS? stole the show this year, finishing in the top-3 in 12 CATEGORIES (basically every category it was eligible for), and winning FIRST PLACE in NINE of the 12!! That's just sick!! Well done, Fr. Z! You are a gentleman and a scholar.

My thanks to everyone who voted for me this year. Phatcatholic Apologetics is still the little blog that could :D

Pax Christi,

Monday, March 17, 2008

Poll-Release Monday #46

After another long wait (sorry about that!), here is your new poll question:

True or False? The indispensable element which makes a marriage is the consent of the spouses.
What do you think? Vote in the poll in the sidebar. Also, these polls have a new comment feature where you can leave your thoughts on the poll. Just lick on the "Comments" link at the bottom of the poll.

As for last week's poll, here are the results:
  • True or False? The meaning, nature, and essential attributes of marriage can change depending upon those cultures or societies in which marriage takes place, or upon the intentions of the individuals who desire to marry each other.
    • True: 4 (9%)
    • False: 42 (91%)
This question came from the USCCB's Quiz on the Catechism, in the section on Marriage. According to this quiz, the answer is:
  • False.

    Para. 1603: "The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws. . . . God himself is the author of marriage" (GS 48 § 1). The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator. Marriage is not a purely human institution despite the many variations it may have undergone through the centuries in different cultures, social structures, and spiritual attitudes. These differences should not cause us to forget its common and permanent characteristics. Although the dignity of this institution is not transparent everywhere with the same clarity (Cf. GS 47 § 2), some sense of the greatness of the matrimonial union exists in all cultures. "The well-being of the individual person and of both human and Christian society is closely bound up with the healthy state of conjugal and family life" (GS 47 § 1).
That question may have been a little confusing too (which is one reason why I chose it, haha!). The "nature" of marriage can encompass a lot of things. I think "laudate dominum" said it best when he left this comment:
  • As far as the marriage question goes I would say false because the objective meaning and nature of marriage is rooted first in the objectivity of human nature and natural law. But of course the accidentals are conditioned by variable anthropological and subjective factors.
Agreed! Oh, and Tina was right: this post explains why marriage has been the focus of my recent polls :D

Thank you all for voting.

Pax Christi,

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Quick Q&A

I am still working on that project (the entire class received an extension), but I wanted to just quickly respond to some emails and comments that I have received in the last few weeks that do not require extensive elaboration.

In response to my short, 3-paragraph post on catechetical methodology, "CTM" wrote the following:
Your brief paper on Methodology is good to begin with but I would be interested for you or anyone who has read your paper to translate this info to how that works in a religious education setting, an adult faith formation setting, or a presentation to a youth group. Would you choose the Ecclesial Method or something different?
I think that all of the criteria mentioned in my post can be met using the Ecclesial Method. In case you are unsure what that means, Catechetics Online has a nice explanation. The Ecclesial Method is the method that they teach us to use here at FUS, and I have see it done with amazing results. I use it myself (as much as possible) when I'm teaching in RCIA.
- - - - - - - - - -
In response to my latest installment in the masturbation debate, a different "Anon" wrote the following:
This may be a case of irreconcilable differences since I'm non-Christian and don't believe in the fall, but:
With humans it's very hard to discern intrinsic ("normal") behaviour from learned behaviour since all humans we know have an inseparable combination of both. Add the concept of a 'fallen' and 'unfallen' normal and things get even more complicated.
As such, I look to mankind's closest relative who shares 95-98% (depending how you count) of our DNA: the Chimpanzee.
Chimps engage in (and presumably enjoy) masturbation. It's not definitive, of course, but if that's normal behaviour for our closest relative, it seems likely that it's normal for us too.
Well, there's the problem we've already addressed regarding the "normal" argument, that no matter how you define it, that doesn't make masturbation morally good, or even neutral. That leads to a second problem I have with this argument. This debate is about the morality of a particular action. As such, to compare human beings to chimpanzees, is really apples and oranges, regardless of any similarity in DNA. Chimpanzees have no ability to reason, and thus their actions have no moral quality to them whatsoever.
- - - - - - - - - -
Finally, the following three questions all come from submissions to WikiAnswers, in the Catholicism category:
What is a 2nd class relic?
A second class relic is any object that a saint touched or used during his lifetime. An example would be an item of clothing he wore or any of his personal belongings. This is different from a first class relic, which is a part of a saint's body (his blood, bones, hair, etc.), and a third class relic, which is anything that has come in contact with a first class relic.

What does the water represent in baptism?
Water is a very rich symbol in baptism, and it represents many things. It represents death in that when you go under the water this is symbolic of death to your old, sinful self. It represents life in that when you come out of the water, this is symbolic of a resurrection. Water is also symbolic of birth, since, just as we are physically born when we come out of the water of the womb, we are "born again" or experience a spiritual rebirth when we come out of the waters of baptism. Finally, water is symbolic of cleansing. Just as regular water cleanses dirt from our bodies, the water of baptism --water imbued with the Holy Spirit-- cleanses us of "spiritual filth" or sin.

What is meant by the seal of the confessional?
The "seal of the confessional" is basically the obligation that the priest has to never reveal the contents of a Sacramental confession. This is so important that he will be excommunicated if it is discovered that he has not maintained this confidentiality.

This is outlined in the following canons from the 1983 Code of Canon Law:
  • Can. 983 §1 The sacramental seal is inviolable. Accordingly, it is absolutely wrong for a confessor in any way to betray the penitent, for any reason whatsoever, whether by word or in any other fashion.

    §2 An interpreter, if there is one, is also obliged to observe this secret, as are all others who in any way whatever have come to a knowledge of sins from a confession.

    Can. 984 §1 The confessor is wholly forbidden to use knowledge acquired in confession to the detriment of the penitent, even when all danger of disclosure is excluded.

    §2 A person who is in authority may not in any way, for the purpose of external governance, use knowledge about sins which has at any time come to him from the hearing of confession.

    Can. 1388 §1 A confessor who directly violates the sacramental seal, incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See; he who does so only indirectly is to be punished according to the gravity of the offence.

    §2 Interpreters and the others mentioned in can. 983 §2, who violate the secret, are to be punished with a just penalty, not excluding excommunication.
Pax Christi,

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Quick Update

Despite the blizzard we had to drive through, Amy and I made it back to Steubenville safe and sound. We had to say goodbye to the Jeep Patriot, which was a sad day. Now it's back to sliding around in my Chevy Berreta.

I haven't been able to post at all this week because of various projects I've been working on for class. Please pray for me that I can finish them without pulling all of my hair out first.

Despite this down time, I'm currently in FIFTH PLACE in the "Best Apologetics Blog" category! I'm not even in the top 10 in the "Best Designed Blog" category, but that's ok. With your help, I think I can move up in both. Voting ends Monday, March 17 at Noon CST.

Pax Christi,

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

On the Morality of Masturbation: Part 3

Below is Anon's second response to my stance on masturbation (see also my original post and his first response). It's basically just more of the same, as I hope to reveal.

Pax Christi,
- - - - - - - - - -
First, let me say that I respect that the goal here is to create good in the world and prevent bad. So we are aligned there, and I respect you for it. There is certainly an abundance of unhealthy sexuality in our society, and that is to be frowned upon. However, it doesn’t mean we have to throw the baby out with the bathwater, as it were.
I agree

To say we shouldn’t do it because it says so in book X on page Y avoids real analysis.
You can't minimize my argument like that. I gave many more reasons for condemning masturbation other than, "Because the Church says so."

That said, I don't know if you're a Catholic or not, but we believe that the Magisterium's authority on matters of faith and morals comes from Jesus Christ Himself. So, if the Church says masturbation is wrong, you better believe I'm going to accept that, and I'm going to put a great deal of "real analysis" into understanding why the Church teaches what She does so I can explain it to other people.

In response to your post, I agree that masturbation is not “normal” simply because most people do it, nor is whatever many people do “normal” and acceptable simply by the fact that many are doing it. Many people do things which are abnormal and unhealthy behavior, and many people do things that are not acceptable. However, masturbation is in fact normal, and fully acceptable.
I don't know if you realize this, but you just wrote two sentences explaining why the normalcy of something isn't an argument for it, and then you used the normalcy of it as an argument for it! You basically just contradicted yourself.

In and of itself, it causes no harm.
Wrong. Masturbation is harmful on many levels. For one, when images of persons are used as the stimulus, masturbation results in the objectifying of people. The person performing the act is basically using another person for the sexual gratification that he can receive from him or her. As I outlined in my previous post, our sexual faculties are meant for unity and procreation and LOVE, not for using other people.

Even when there is no visual stimulus of another person involved, masturbation is still harmful because it fosters the misconception that the sole purpose of a person's sexuality is to provide him or herself with gratification. That's all masturbation offers: momentary sexual gratification. But, as I've already shown, that is not the sole purpose of our sexual organs and urges. They are meant to facilitate the unity between two people, the two becoming one flesh, and bringing new life into the world. Masturbation simply ignores these purposes of human sexuality, and the more we engage in it the more we forget what human sexuality is truly meant to be and do.

Masturbation also destroys relationships. What message do you think it sends to a woman to find that her husband masturbates? I'll list a few possibilities:
  • "He doesn't love me enough to save himself for me."
  • "He doesn't find me sexually attractive."
  • "He'd rather be with his fantasy women than with me."
  • "I have to try to live up to the girls in the magazines and the videos."
Masturbation ostracizes the very people we are supposed to love and cherish and give ourselves completely to. It creates a private sex life ulterior to the sex life of the couple, a secondary and competing sex life. It's just not healthy to have a sex life with anyone other than the person you married, and the messages that this gives to that person is degrading and damaging.

Finally, I think that any sins we commit alone, in privacy, with no one else around are often times the most dangerous ones. Sins like this give us a false sense of independence and the mistaken perception that a person's private sins don't effect anyone but himself. That's just dead wrong. We are one Body, and we rise and fall together. "If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together" (1 Cor 12:26). Christians are not only united to Christ but also to each other:

Rom 12:4-5 For as in one body we have many members, and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

1 Cor 12:13,26 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--Jews or Greeks, slaves or free--and all were made to drink of one Spirit. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

2 Cor 2:5 But if any one has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure--not to put it too severely--to you all.

Eph 1:9-10 For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fulness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

Eph 2:19-21 So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord;

Eph 4:15-16,25 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love. 25 Therefore, putting away falsehood, let every one speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

Col 2:18-19 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, taking his stand on visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

Heb 13:3 Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them; and those who are ill-treated, since you also are in the body.

This interconnectedness means that, if masturbation is a sin (and I think I've already proven that it is), then it negatively effects everyone, not just yourself.

Quite the contrary, masturbation helps you understand your sexuality better, instead of denying it. Being sexual in a healthy way is a normal part of life. Males and females are designed to be sexual, and to be attracted to each other. This is normal and what keeps us going as a species.
More of the tiresome "normal" argument. I agree that "being sexual in a healthy way is a normal part of life" and that "males and females are designed to be sexual, and to be attracted to each other." BUT, you have yet to provide any evidence that masturbation is a healthy way to be sexual, nor that it is an appropriate way to communicate our attraction to each other. There is still a right and a wrong way to communicate that attraction, and masturbation is the wrong way.

Are you a Christian? Do you belive that the Bible has any authority in this debate? If you do, then I've already offered the Biblical principles for human sexuality and I've already shown how masturbation is contrary to these principles. All you've done so far is say that masturbation is "healthy" and "normal."

But the notion that because it is what keeps us going as a species, therefore it cannot be used for anything but making another human, has no basis in anything real.
Again, you have offered only a caricature of my argument. I said that sex must be procreative and unitive. It must be an act of selfless love and intimate communion, when two become one flesh, as Scripture tells us. That is our guideline in determining the morality of sexual actions. It is very grounded in the "real" b/c it is based on the teaching of God Himself, who determines all that is real and true.

You can either accept this in a healthy way, or fight it. I contend that it is unhealthy to suppress sexual feelings, or to pretend they aren’t there - and it seems there is ample evidence of this as you are likely aware.
Shall we then act on every sexual impulse we have? That's the logical conclusion of what you're saying here. If we shouldn't suppress our sexual feelings, then I hope you're ok with incest, pedophilia, homosexuality, rape, adultery, orgies, and every other way in which human beings act on their sexual impulses.

The fact is that there is a right and a wrong way to act on our sexual impulses, and not all sexual impulses can be acted upon. I say that masturbation is the wrong way to act on your attraction towards another person. We must order ourselves and our thoughts and feelings towards the Will of God. That is the only way to live "healthy."

You wrote “learning about and enjoying our sexuality does not mean acting on every sexual impulse and having sex however and whenever we want”. Agreed. Clearly this is not what I stated, nor does it have anything to do with masturbation. I think you will concur that masturbation is not “acting on every impulse and having sex however and whenever we want”. Masturbation is a single type of safe and enjoyable act with yourself, at an appropriate time and place, and is harmless.
I've already responded to this.

The challenge with masturbation is not to strive to avoid it altogether. As many likely know, this is an exercise in futility. The challenge is to enjoy it responsibly, at appropriate time and place. This big thing you fear giving into, suddenly becomes no big deal when you realize and accept it is just a normal fun part of life.
Again with the "normal" argument.


Also, to avoid masturbation is not in fact an exercise in futility. Every day, Christians are learning how to gain mastery over their sexual feelings and to properly order them towards what gives honor and glory to God. "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it" (1 Cor 10:13). God will give us the grace to do His will.

I think the main reason many are afraid of saying masturbation is fine, is because they fear their own sexuality. Because they don’t know it, and don’t get to know it, they decide they better just suppress it altogether, because they are afraid of what lurks in that box, so to speak. They fear that recognizing their sexuality will lead to something bad. I content that it is impossible to deny it, and is worse to deny it than it is to learn about it and enjoy it responsibly.
This is a strawman if I've ever seen one. Condemning masturbation is not about fear, it's about freedom....freedom from slavery to ourselves. If we give in to everything that feels good, then we slowly lose the power and freedom to say no, to the point that we become the puppet of our own physical urges. Would you rather be in control of your urges, or have your urges be in control of you?

God has shown us what His Will is regarding our sexuality. Anything contrary to this simply will not make us happy. Masturbation leads to short-term gratification and long-term pain. I'd rather deny myself now in anticipation for when I can act on my sexual impulses in a way that it is the most fulfilling and rewarding. You can have the cheap thrill. I'm waiting for the true happiness.

Pax Christi,

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

May the Best Man Win!

Voting opened yesterday for the 2008 Catholic Blog Awards. I was nominated in several categories, but there are two that mean the most to me: "Best Apologetics Blog" and "Best Designed Blog." If everyone who reads this blog on a daily basis would vote for me in those two categories, then I would easily win.

Please vote! These awards are important to me b/c they bring more people to my blog, which means more people that I can help with what I do. In case you're on the fence as to who you want to vote for, here's my sales pitch.

Best Apologetics Blog

Regarding my qualifications for the "Best Apologetics Blog" award, note first of all that a lot of times the blogs nominated in that category are not actually geared to apologetics. I think that in order to be in the running for that award, apologetics has to me your main priority, and I can definitely say that about this blog.

Also, my blog is not only geared towards apologetics, it is consistently about defending the faith. The only blog I can think of that does apologetics on a more regular basis than I do is cor ad cor loquitur. I am dedicated to providing as much information about and in defense of Catholicism as I possibly can.

Thirdly, I think the content is pretty good. I put a lot of work into this blog.

Fourthly, I've written on a wide variety of subjects, which you can see via the Topical Index. At my blog you can find original content on almost every subject of concern to Catholics.

Finally, along with what I have written myself, I also have a sidebar with links to just about every resource you could possibly need to aid you in your apologetical endeavors. I am not aware of anyone who has a more extensive sidebar than I do. I've probably spent more time compiling links than I have actually blogging! If you can't find what you need in the Topical Index, you can find it in my sidebar.

Best Designed Blog

As for the "Best Designed Blog" award, I think I have a good chance of winning this one too. For one, I think all of the colors go together well, and they incorporate the whole "spiritual warfare" theme. This blog isn't hard to look at, which is always good.

The sections that open and close make this blog more streamlined, and not as cumbersome as other blogs. It also adds an interactive component. You choose the content you want to see and not see. The poll and the messenger in my sidebar add interactivity to this blog as well. There's also the "Daily Catholic Quotation," a widget I created that provides a new Catholic quotation every day. Things like this make my blog not only informative and easy to look at, but also fun.

Finally, the content is organized so that you can easily find what you are looking for. With the creation of the Topical Index (at the top of my blog), you can quickly find what I've written on various Catholic topics. The sections in the sidebar are intuitively labeled as well.

I hope that helps as you're contemplating who to honor with your vote. To vote, go here.

Pax Christi,

I'm Engaged!!

"The woman was of good understanding and beautiful, but the man was churlish and ill-behaved" -- 1 Sam 25:3

I proposed to my girlfriend yesterday and, despite my various peculiarities and idiosyncracies, she said yes :D

Praise God! I have found my pearl of great price, and I intend to never let her go.

For some pictures of her and of us together, see this slideshow.

Pax Christi,

Monday, March 03, 2008

Poll-Release Monday #45

Here is this week's new poll question:
True or False?
  • The meaning, nature, and essential attributes of marriage can change depending upon those cultures or societies in which marriage takes place, or upon the intentions of the individuals who desire to marry each other.
What do you think? Do you know what the Church teaches about the Sacrament of Marriage? Vote in the poll in the sidebar.

As for last week's question, here are the results:
  • True or False?: "A repentance motivated by a love of God above all else obtains forgiveness of mortal sin."
    • True: 23 (61%)
    • False: 15 (39%)
The correct answer is "True." Now, I realize that there might be some controversy about this one. It's somewhat of a trick question, but I didn't make it up, the USCCB did ;) Here's the question and answer from the Penance section of their Catechism quiz:
  • True or false. A repentance motivated by a love of God above all else obtains forgiveness of mortal sin.

    • True.

      Para. 1452: When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called "perfect" (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible (Cf. Council of Trent [1551]: DS 1667).

      Para. 1453: The contrition called "imperfect" (or "attrition") is also a gift of God, a prompting of the Holy Spirit. It is born of the consideration of sin's ugliness or the fear of eternal damnation and the other penalties threatening the sinner (contrition of fear). Such a stirring of conscience can initiate an interior process which, under the prompting of grace, will be brought to completion by sacramental absolution. By itself however, imperfect contrition cannot obtain the forgiveness of grave sins, but it disposes one to obtain forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance (Cf. Council of Trent [1551]: DS 1678; 1705).
Perhaps the more precise answer would have been, "True, with qualification." I just wanted to see if this one would stir up any conversation.

Thank you all for voting. For more info on the Sacrament of Reconciliation, see the Catholic Defense Directory: Confession and Penance, or the Topical Index: Sacraments and Sacramentals.

Pax Christi,

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Calculated Charisma

Check out this post from Jenny of A Great Deception on why Barak Obama is such a dangerous man:
  • Barack Obama is a cool guy, a stud, the class president who is polite and talented, possessing the uncanny knack to charm mothers and daughters alike. He's a smooth talker, gifted with an inborn political savvy that makes our current Commander in Chief sound even more, well, Texan than he already does. (Don't get me wrong, if Texas secedes I'd go with them in a heartbeat)

    But this Obama, he's cool. The kind of cool that makes you check your hair and makeup in the rear view mirror before stepping out of the car, the kind of cool that flusters even hardened news anchors and pundits alike, the kind of cool that sits back and nods in approval and recognition during a satirical roast of his mannerisms and idiosyncrasies.

    In other words, he's cool enough to make me forget, even momentarily, where he stands on certain issues, what his true values consist of, and the chilling plans he has for a nation where the universal health care plan would offer abortions on demand on my tax dollar.
I think Jenny is on to something. For the rest of the post, go here.

And all this time, I thought Hillary was the anti-Christ....

Pax Christi,

Safe and Sound

We made it up to Maine in one piece. Actually, it was as pleasant as a 12-hr drive could possibly be. We rented a Jeep Patriot. It was, oh, I don't know.... D-O-P-E!!

More to come after the UK game. Just wanted everyone to know that I was safe. Thank you all for your prayers.

UPDATE: We lost. I'm gonna go cry now....

Pax Christi,
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