Ummm yeah. Lots of press on this item. I wonder if I could get some air time if I tried to get my pet fish ordained? As I have posted in the past
"... I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful." - -Pope John Paul II, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, May 22, 1994
Just finished first 8 chapters of Introduction to the Devout Life
Friday, July 28, 2006
If anyone is interested, catch up with me ... its a good stopping point to discuss the first 8 chapters ... here is your link ... no excuses ... click it. Go ahead. The chapters are well written and short.
A question to throw out for the idea of hating sin ... How to go about it? Should we focus on its negative effects to develop such hatred? Should we bother with sins that do not affect us (like, I am not personally every going to have an abortion) ... Should we focus on the ones that tend to affect us and especially those to which we are most prone to?
I personally have come to loathe the idea of using contraception (you might note that I rail on it occasionally) thus it isn't a tremendous temptation any more. In fact, I bore of railing against it. Would slacking on hating sin cause a love of it to return?
I can think of a few I need to loathe more ..
Just some thoughts after having read Chapter 8 ...
I think this is awesome and more consideration should be given to such things. I am personally tired of hearing ads for 70-billion square-foot metal buildings for every manner of use. I hear the ads because the demand for bland buildings serving their "function" is quite high. Functionality is great for, say, a warehouse.
I am pleased that most of the new establishments where people actually congregate are starting to look nicer.
So ... now I want to see the massive Gothic retail outlet.
Among the four primary sources of human stem cells (human embryos, fetal tissues and organs from aborted or miscarried babies, pregnancy matter (umbilical cord, placenta, amniotic fluid), and adult tissues and organs), the extraction of stem cells from human embryos is always morally evil on account of the method necessarily destroying the life of the embryo. Fr. Pacholczyk explained that the Catholic Church only applauds that research which uses stem-cells procured from methods that do not violate human life.
I found this nifty tool that I am using to display my 10 most recently listened to songs from Last.fm. I tried using the images. This, however, is much cooler. You can take any RSS feed and publish it in a block on your blog (or website).
"Police have made no linkage between his disappearance and Opus Dei."
So why include the organization in the lead of the article? I happen to know that lots of people have been abducted in Wal-Mart parking lots and then found brutally murdered. That doesn't mean that the "secretive" retail giant had them knocked off.
I don't get this. I have had no problem finding anything out about Opus Dei. Of couse, the reason I have never joined is the temptation to use my membership to freak out Da Vinci Code believers. *smile*
Asians make up just 1 percent of the Catholic Church within the United States but account for 12 percent of all Catholic seminary students nationwide
I have seen this first hand. We have a beautiful parish in our diocese that is heavily Vietnamese. In fact, they even have one of the masses entirely in Vietnamese. You could hardly identify a Vietnamese population in Baton Rouge 20 years ago. Today they have taken one of the dying inner city parishes in an unsafe part of town and turned it into a vibrant Church filled with tremendous works of mercy. It is also one of the most beautiful churches in town. The glory of Christ shines brightly with the Vietnamese Catholics in our diocese. I am glad to hear that the same holds true elsewhere.
Apparently the world has learned to use RSS readers and whatnot so more people are visiting even though my posting has been somewhat spotty. That and Google is picking me up so I am still getting about 4 times as many visitors as I got at this point last year from Google searches alone.
Powerful Stuff - "Rosalind Moss's talk, "Mary, Our Jewish Mother" which can be found on iTunes under Ave Maria University Presents" - Rosalind Moss is one of the many puzzle pieces in my return to the faith. You have to love the sincere zeal displayed from a woman who clearly loves the Church as much as she does. An example from her conversion (and on Houshold of Faith, the video series she did with Kristine Franklin)
"If Christ's sacrifice was sufficient, then how was it that we added to it? Because to offer ourselves with Christ is to say that His sacrifice is not sufficient. And everyone I had asked said we didn't add to it because they wanted me to understand that the Catholic Church believed that Christ's sacrifice was sufficient. But Msgr. O'Connor said to me, 'Yes, we add to the sacrifice of Christ; and yes, His sacrifice was sufficient. No, He doesn't need us; but He receives us. We legitimately add.'
"I thought, 'Aha! The truth is out at last. This is heresy. You believe that we add to the sacrifice of Christ and now it's out in the open. I <knew> I couldn't trust the Catholic Church.'
"And in the next moment what he had said penetrated my mind, or my heart, and became the most beautiful thought I'd ever heard. I thought immediately of a mother baking a cake, and her little child in the kitchen with her. The mother has everything there sufficient for the cake; but here comes the daughter and says, 'Mommy, I want to help.' So the mother receives the daughter because that love receives. She lets the daughter put the eggs in. Is the mother sufficient? Yes. Does she need the daughter? No. Does she allow the daughter to add? Yes. The daughter's addition is not needed, but it's received and it's a true addition. And I thought, 'That's love.'
"The human mind, and certainly the Protestant mind, could never conceive of it. Two weeks later, driving home from Mass, I realized for the first time, 'I don't think I want to be outside of this too much longer.'"
* I am averaging about 208 in the few games (10, was injured after game 1 last week) I have bowled in league this season. I am not sure I will make 21 games though so my highest official average will likely remain 202.
* I was putting my oldest son to sleep last night after watching the Dreamworks film "Prince of Egypt" which is about Moses and the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. Anyway, afterwards he was interested in hearing more of the story so I started to read Exodus to him. I figure any opportunity to read large blocks of the Bible to your kids is a good one to take. As he started to fall asleep I started to summarize the plagues and ask him questions.
A little background is necessary here. We have lots of frogs around the home and we even have a few regulars that clean our windows of flying insects at night.
At one point, I queried "Hey, did you realize there was a plague of frogs?" He peeked up at me and went "Yeah Dad .. remember *I* saw the movie and YOU didn't"
So I finally found Last.fm (My User Page) - This is a list of the last 10 songs that I have listened to (with 1 being the most recent)
My favorite view so far is this 90's synth/DJ looking screen. I need to find a good one that fits in the right column OR I need to use the RSS feed to populate something similar to the way the Blogroll is done in Bloglines.
I just thought I would warn people of something you might not consider when you are posting something to your blog.
Do not post in anger or haste on your blog and then reconsider and delete the post. By the time you reconsider an aggregator like Bloglines has likely alredy picked up the post. I have noticed a few blogs that I read where the posters do this and then go back and delete the post. I have even done it once (although I plan to eventually post that tirade when I clean it up) ... Bloglines stored my post.
Be careful. Once you hit submit, it might be a matter of seconds before you will never be able to purge that information from cyberspace.
This should be a good enough warning to do what you should already be doing. Pause ... think ... say a prayer ... listen ... If you are angry, wait for half an hour and repeat the process. After much care, post.
At adoration the other night I feel God really wanted me to take stock of where I have been in the past few years and where he has me now. My focus has been mostly on the intellectual side of the faith -- proofs of doctrinal points and just simply learning more about the faith. As a result of that course, my blog has tended to contain some apologetics material and general linking with mild commentary on regular Catholic news. Recently, however, I am starting to gather that my role as a husband and father (especially with a fourth child on the way) cannot be adequately staffed, so to speak, without either multiple me's or a tremendous increase in the grace of God. Keeping this blog up seems almost useless at times like this ... However, I feel God wants me to keep blogging. After all, I am going to mess up and blog about it. It might as well be a "public trainwreck of benefit" for another dad with three young ones and a fourth on the way.
I still plan to continue with the same material that I have blogged on in the past. I am forever interested in conversion, patristics, apologetics and family issues. Don't be shocked if marriage and family issues rise to the forefront as my role continues to change. Be even less shocked if I start posting "Ah HA" posts about prayer. It may be super easy stuff for most of St. Blogs. I am the remedial version of St. Blogs so you get the Catholic 101 stuff and for now, prayer is taking a front seat in my spiritual walk.
So what is it with me and prayer?
Its hard to admit this even to myself, but quite simply my prayer life needs work. God is asking me to get serious and organize a little bit better in this area of my life. Adding weekly adoration has worked wonders for me and it is the reason I feel prayer is at the forefront of where God wants me to start going. I cannot continue to slack on such an important avenue of grace in my life. Its kind of cheap to expect a relationship with God to occur without taking advantage of the "ask" feature. The fact is, I need the grace. We all do. I can see a great need coming. I would be a fool to ignore it. The answer, as always, has been turn to Him. I know that in my brain and I know that from experience.
Here I am Lord.
Since I also read a lot, my current reading will be long term and will cover the following material:
Apologies for those who try to read this blog on occasion. Life hit hard in the last two weeks.
I have decided to post a fun personal post here from a forum that I vist. It is weather related.
The question was What are the 10 worst natural disasters you have been in?
I have lived in Baton Rouge almost all of my life ... so some of this was just feeder bands and whatnot .. I will rank them in terms of effect to my family and/or property
1. Hurricane Andrew ... eye went pretty much over the city. Power out 3 days. I worked at McDonalds during that time frame and ours was the first in the city to get power. Worst working conditions I can ever remember. 2. Hurricane Katrina ... I actually left town since it was the weekend and went to visit relatives in Beaumont. We are still feeling the aftermath of that storm in terms of infrastructure limitations due to unexpected growing pains. 3. Tropical Storm Allison - Not just a Houston event. My parents had 2 feet of water in their home in Baton Rouge. 4. Hurricane Rita ... relatives drove in from Beaumont at the last minute. Baton Rouge got some TS gusts but not much more. 5. Jun 8, 1989 Southeast Louisiana tornado outbreak. "8 tornadoes struck southeastern Louisiana during the early morning hours" (from Intellicast.com) .. I will never forget being in the bathtub at 6am before we realized that the tornado had already lifted prior to reaching our part of town 6. 1983. 4 feet of water in my parents home from local flooding
And yall might laugh at this but when it snows in Baton Rouge it is a disaster
7. Late winter/early spring 4-6 inch snowfall in 1987. We had 6" in our front yard. A day later it was in the 70's. 8. The LSU wins the Sugar bowl over Illinois snowfall. I am not even a huge LSU fan (which is unusual for around here) but it is hard not to tie the two events together.
I so pray that many conservative Episcopalians would come home and be a blessing to the Catholic Church. They have GOT to be asking why this isn't happening in the Catholic Church (at least doctrinally).
In an episode of Detroit Cardinal Adam J. Maida's talk show, "Dialogue," that aired on the Catholic Television Network of Detroit, the cardinal urged Catholics to adhere to the truth of Christ, despite popular media's tendency to mix it with fiction for entertainment purposes.
"In many ways, this is a good opportunity for us to catechize, to evangelize, to explain," the cardinal said. "These questions brought up in the novel have been with us for 2,000 years. What we need to understand is that ... in the end ... these are matters of faith, not fiction ... and faith is a gift given to those who can see Jesus as the Son of God. That's our reality."
Democrats lead passage of pro-life bill in Louisiana This is the enigma of the Southern Democrat and why so many Catholics in Louisiana remain Democrats. The fact is Republicans ought to be scared out of their wits by Democrats taking the "legal but rare" line and actually moving to do something about abortion in this country. I am hopefully optimistic here. A step away from the killing of millions to the killing of thousands is progress in the right direction. Democrats for Life has a proposal that, while it would not make abortion illegal, would reduce the number of abortions in this country by 90%. If that plan were successful, then I promise you Republican voters who have justified their votes almost solely on the pro-life issue are going to feel alienated.
But some worry about changing a fundamental rite of worship that is so much a part of Catholic identity, especially now.
It is amazing how progressives mysteriously turn into traditionalists when their novelties are at stake, but when the traditions of the Church are at stake, jettisoning them is the first order of business.
You want something SO much a part of Catholic identity? How about some music that is older than the 60's? ... Chant would be nice ... Toss in a little Latin as well to tie us to the past. If you were REALLY concerned about identity you wouldn't have led the charge to throw every aspect of a mass that Catholics had grown accustomed to over centuries ... you know ... the ones that made OBVIOUS the doctrines of the faith? In 1962 it was fine ... today it is not ...
As fertility rates decline, populations, then economies, then military power, then world influence, diminish.
I think this trend is going to change in short order and let me point out why. I took the 1800 fertility rate of 7 and used it as the basis of a series of assumptions. I also took a rate of 5% for percentage of people that believe currently that contraception is immoral. In Canada, based on a recent poll (source), that number is actually 8%.
If those who do not contracept have a fertility rate of 7 and those who do contracept have a fertility rate of 2 and we start with 1 person in 20 who does not contracept AND we make the assumption that 5% of contracepting parents kids "convert" to the non-contracepting position, while non-contracepting parents pass this teaching on to 60% of their kids, watch what happens.
Gen 0: 1/19 or 5% believe contraception is immoral Gen 1: 6/39 or 13.3% believe contraception is immoral Gen 2: 29/91 or 24.1% believe contraception is immoral Gen 3: 131/254 or 34.0% believe contraception is immoral Gen 4: 575/850 or 40.3% believe contraception is immoral
From that point it grows slowly to 46% by the 10th generation, at which point we are dealing with millions of people from the original 20. The most significant amount of swing in belief would occur in the first 4 generations.
If I cut the 7 fertility rate down to 5 the percentages are as follows
Gen 0: 5%% believe contraception is immoral Gen 1: 11.6% believe contraception is immoral Gen 2: 18.8% believe contraception is immoral Gen 3: 25.1% believe contraception is immoral Gen 4: 30.0% believe contraception is immoral
My point is that IF non-contracepting couples have children AND IF they pass their values on this trend will change and the society will begin to adopt values shared by non-contracepting couples over those of contracepting couples.
Essentially, contracepting couples are killing their culture and heritage. I take obvious note of the major assumptions here, however, I think they are not at all unreasonable because the majority of parents not contracepting today are intent on passing their values, particularly this one, on to their children.
First I make a ridiculously false statement, like the one about Constantine striking three days out of February. Then, under a different name, I make the same statement in another book, citing the first book as my source in a footnote.
Been short on time. I had an opportunity to answer a question about what got me interested in the Catholic Church which caused me to write a VERY concise conversion summary.
Here is what got me interested ... the whirlwind short version.
I attended a Billy Graham evangelical church. I got irritated that they wanted to "save Catholics" because "Catholics teach that their sins can be forgiven through indulgences". I knew this was wrong. That was seed #1. I left and I became Episcopalian after getting married. My wife and I discovered that all Christian churches agreed with the Catholic Church in 1930 on contraception. That was seed #2. I read the 39 Articles in the Book of Common prayer and got bent out of shape, mostly about not seeing marriage as a sacrament amongst other beliefs that seemed more akin to the church I used to attend. Seed #3. Then, upon prodding, I discovered that everyone I went to church with differed WILDLY on beliefs and the Episcopal church had few stances on doctrine. Seed #4. Then the reading started. I figured that I had to let Catholics defend their faith rather than taking someone elses word for it. I read "Rome Sweet Home" I read "Fundamentalism vs. Catholicism" I read "Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic" I watched two tapes of a show that aired on EWTN called "Household of Faith" that detailed common objections to the Church. I realized I agreed with most of it already. I got really excited at the possiblity that the Church founded by Christ on Peter really existed. I defended infant baptism against the Funadmentalist position using Martin Luther as a source. Seed #5 was found in my reading. I started reading Dave Armstrong's website. I found his essay on the ECF's and Catholic Distinctive doctrines. Seed #6. At this point I picked up Jurgens' "Faith of the Early Fathers" from my parents. I was stunned. This was the sinker. The early church was Catholic. I read the intro to Newmans Essay on the Development of Doctrine. Everything else I struggled with was elementary in the sense that I felt at that point to be honest in my relationship with Christ required assent to the Catholic Church.
Seed #1: Protestants very frequently misrepresent the Church Seed #2: History of Christian teaching on contraception Seed #3: Downplaying of sacramentality of marriage Seed #4: Diversity of belief on "essentials" within Protestantism was disturbing. Seed #5: The Catholic Biblical case is solid. Seed #6: The Catholic historical case is undeniable.
Christianity: Vagueness or a list of rules? - "Young people must be taught that Christianity is not a bodiless, abstract faith; nor is it a series of prohibitions, Pope Benedict XVI told a Rome audience on Monday evening"
You cannot make this stuff up - Curt Jester skewers another new, ummm, building project ... supposing to ... attempt to be ... a Catholic Church.
I know nothing about being a super influential blogger but I HAVE picked up a few things in two years of doing this. If I adhered to my own seven items I would have far more readers ...
Here are mine
1. Narrow your focus. When I first started blogging I intended to stick with Catholicism and the documenting of my conversion. My traffic died when I started focusing on my severe weather interest. I refocused and have kept my blog more on topic. My focus is: Catholicism - within that; marriage, family, homeschooling, conversion, Early Church Fathers.
2. Post comments on and link to other blogs. Also, use the trackback feature (mine is broken right now and it hurts to have such an important feature disabled) ... This personal interaction lets people know that you are interested in their blog and not just interested in traffic from their blog.
3. Post frequently and consistently -- preferably at least daily. If your brain is suffering from a lack of creativity or just plain fatigue, collect some items of interest on other blogs and link them.
4. Increase your incoming links. Use Technorati and TTLB Ecosystem. Join relevant blog rings and groups (see column to the right under the TTLB Ecosystem). This ensures blog search engines place you high on search items relevant to your blog. Many of my hits come from Yahoo and Google search results.
5. Invest the time in setting up an aggregator (Bloglines is a good online one and I use RSS Bandit). This allows you to monitor scores, if not hundreds of related blogs without actually having to navigate manually to all of them. Bottom line. Keep up with this technology. It gives you a leg up on finding stories and items unique to your niche. FWIW I use Google Reader now.
6. Invest the time in maintaining a blogroll (Bloglines is useful here as well). Link to blogs you read regularly and especially to friends you pick up in blogland that link to you. See also my post on setting up a "fresh blogroll"
7. Include some occasionallocal flare and outside interests. Note the word occasional. This allows people to know more about who you are but do not allow this to detract from item #1 (FOCUS) ... My list of local churches to visit drives an amazing amount of traffic through my blog.
Overall I think there is some good information in this article, however I take exception with ONE item they label a "myth". MYTH:"This is a once-in-a-lifetime event."--New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin, press conference, Aug. 28, 2005
The article then argues that It was "just" a Category 3. Wilma and Rita proved it was an average storm by standards of how storms are now (comparison to two storms is statistically negligible) Andrew and Camille were worse because they were Cat 5s.
If ANYTHING Katrina outlined the overly simplistic nature of the Saffir-Simpson scale. We are talking about a storm that produced more deaths than any storm in 75 years, produced the highest surge measured on American soil and produced BY FAR the highest $$$ figure in losses for a hurricane in American history. If that does not qualify as a once in a lifetime event, I don't know what does. It is downplaying the magniture of the whole event.
The significance of hurricanes is not determined by a sigle number. It is determined by a whole myriad of conditions coming together at the same time. There are a handful of places where Cat 3 or higher storms cause this kind of a problem. It just so happens that one of them was hit this past year.
I have said this other places and I will say it again ... Hurricane Stan was a Category 1 and killed as many or more people than Katrina. You likely didn't know that.
It doesn't take a Category 5 to be the top storm.
Finally, I know someone who was in the Convention Center. Lets just say that the overblown press coverage more accurately detailed the dire conditions inside the building than the "just a few people died" cleanup piece published by local papers days later. The situation was horrible regardless of whether or not the numbers were more correct in the later piece.
In other hurricane prep news ... You are on your own
The editors of TIME, like those who A. M. Rosenthal worked for back in the 1950s, would surely not normally consider this news. But on a day that the German Pope came to Auschwitz to ponder God’s silence, that surprising explosion of colors seemed well worth reporting.
work in progress .. to collect and organize thoughts on the topic
I want to thank the many parents who visited and commented on my question below.
In the previous entry I detailed my public school experience in terms of competition and asked homeschool parents whether lack of competition proved to be a problem of the movement. There are a few more points I want to clarify and then I want to attempt to answer the question given what I have read from the comments below and in discussion with other homeschool parents.
First off, my educational experience was unusual. I would label it an excellent public school experience. It was supported by the parents, well funded by local industry and it produced a high percentage of students who went to and completed college. Most of the top 10% graduates went to Ivy League schools. Almost everyone in my class had scholarship money to go to college and the two students (of 157) who didnt go went into the military to raise money for college. The competitive environment I encountered was artificially created by collecting the high achievers into groups. The number of students which drove me to peform better was small (the HSEP school at my high school consisted of about 30 students with an ACT average of almost 28 -- in 1991, for reference). If I had gone to a normal public high school, as many of my friends in college did, I might not have encountered this type of competition (in fact I very much doubt so). Many of my friends in college had to adjust to the rigors of college because they were not driven in high school.
My wife went through a similar environment. Consider that given the above, we will NOT be sending our kids to public school. We had some of the best of what the public school system has to offer and still find homeschooling to be a preferable option for our children.
Which brings me to motivation.
A high level of competition in academic areas can be demonstrated by the performance of homeschooled children in actual academic competitions. The most obvious example of this is the spelling bee competitions. I have been assured by parents that ample opportunity exists to expose children to the necessary environments to drive them to excellence. This is part of the normal social environment sought out by homeschool parents. Still, to me this differs from the socialization question (**1) which to me focuses on the ability of children to participate effectively in society and develop the necessary social skills to do so. The competition aspect focuses more on performance against peers of the same or similar ages. This begs the question: Why limit competition to your age group? Furthermore, doesn't the parent know best how to inspure their own children and seek out the opportunities necessary for intellectual growth?
The homeschool solution for kids who thrive on competition 1. Seek out competitive environments, both academically and athletically to challenge your children to perform in such environments. 2. Get high school kids to take classes at a local community college 3. Set high expectations for children who need them. It doesn't take 30 kids of the same age to do that. 4. Siblings offer competition 5. Self-motivation and competition against yourself cannot be discounted (the runner analogy)
I think, possibly, I have come up with a decent criticism of homeschooling. I realize that most of the arguments against homeschooling (socialization and whatnot) are suspect at best. However, I am starting to wonder if a lack of competition is healthy?
Let me explain (and this is not to brag about me)
In elementary school I was always near the top in the class. My parents decided to try and get me into the magnet program, which is where they take the best students at all of the schools and bus them to two schools collecting the so called academic elite. I got in. When I got to middle school I was an average to slightly above average student. I was actually intimidated by the number of kids who were more intelligent than I was. In high school, the competition got worse. I don't think I graduated in the top half of my class. Bottom line is, I had to deal with the stark reality that I wasn't really as smart as I thought I was. By high school, I realized that if I was going to amount to much, I was going to have to work my tail off. That was a necessary realization for me. There were clearly others who could skirt by on their brains far more than I could. Even for them at some point they have to work hard to reach their potential. This competition was good for me and it drove me to actually work harder. There were people there who performed at a high level and I could see that.
How am I going to approximate this at home? Is it even necessary? I read somewhere recently about a homeschooled boy who started studying special relativity at the age of 13. Stanford took him in a heartbeat because he had demonstrated a drive to tackle hard subject matter on his own. Did he need the competition or did the love of learning drive him to excellence? If he had the competition, where did he get it? I don't know. I might be looking at the competition aspect all wrong. Maybe athletics is a better place to drive home that point rather than in academia. Then again, I know with bowling, competition is ultimately with yourself, however, you are not going to get really good at that without help (actual or competitive) from people who are better than you are.
If any of you homeschoolers are reading this I would like your input. The more the merrier.
This is a "fresh" blogroll. It tends to list blogs most frequently updated at the top. It will also drop blogs not updated for a few days. Never fear though, if you post, it will show back up. If you are interested in how I did it see this post.