View from the choir
I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.
- Name: A Secular Franciscan
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
St. Francis, St. Joseph and St. Thomas More are particular favorites of mine. I see bits of myself in them, and they provide wonderful role models.
I've also always had warm feelings for St. Jerome. Not for his intellectual, linguistic or scholastic prowess (much as I wish I had similar gifts), but rather for his tendencies toward bluntness, sarcasm and offending others.
I am good at those things as well - if "good" is the right word.
Even as I struggle with them, his life gives me hope. If he made it, maybe an old curmudgeon like me might have a chance if I keep at it.
And the story of him helping the lion with a thorny problem is one I've always appreciated. My students know well that I try to avoid hurting even the occasional bees, spiders and ants that wander into class, preferring to capture the critters (the insects, not the students) and let them back out a window. My dictum is that I try never to kill one of god's creatures unnecessarily.
Despite my ministrations, however, no bee, spider or ant has become devoted to me as that lion did to Jerome. Maybe I need to help out larger beasts. I could start with my middle schoolers!
Ken and I were friends in college many years ago. I remember conversations about faith and St. Francis, and one night spent talking about Brother Sun, Sister Moon after viewing it. He had considered a vocation to the Franciscans, but discovered that his vocation lay more with the Secular Franciscans and marriage. He is my oldest daughter's godfather, and he used to stop by the house to visit. The girls knew him as "Uncle Cheese Doodle" because he always seemed to bring a bag with him.
Alas, we had not talked in 20 years or so, and he lives in another city. But our Secular Franciscan group is going to read Francis and Clare: The Complete Works. When I dug out my old copy, I discovered Ken had given it to us back when Clare was baptized.
I called the number I had found, and sure enough it was the right Ken.
He is still a Secular Franciscan, and was pleased to hear that I was exploring the order.
We talked about family, including spiritual concerns we both share. It was a good conversation.
Oh, and he's a Bills fan, too. 4-0!
Monday, September 29, 2008
McCain can't win!
He shows up for a foreign policy debate at which he might excel, and half the debate is about the economy.
He helps to get some of the House Republicans to craft a compromise bail-out deal, but is quiet about it and is told he needs to speak up. He finally does, and the deal falls through making him look clueless and like a loser.
Did McCain mess with Karma or something??!
Watch, on Thursday Palin will get a sneezing fit or trip over a carpet in the middle of the debate.
It could be worse: The Mets could be eliminated from the playoffs.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Bigoted comment about Palin
I had mixed feelings about what I did see and hear. I think McCain won it on points, but barely. And given the supposed "edge" he had on foreign policy, it may not have been enough.
Both had gaffes and made factual errors.
Obama was vague and seemed shallow - and as a former radio announcer, his pauses and "ands" are starting to drive me nuts! - but for many people watching, he may have seemed okay enough for them to imagine him as President. Not good.
One bit jumped out at me though. When McCain mentioned the bracelet he was wearing, Obama jumped in and said he had a bracelet too - then couldn't remember the name of the person!
Southern Appeal posed this response to the Obama stumble, which I think is perfect: http://www.forumammo.com/cpg/albums/userpics/10071/picard-no-facepalm.jpg
Palin had better do better in her debate than she has been doing in interviews lately, and McCain really needs to hit stride in the next debate. A settlement of the Wall Street crisis this weekend - with McCain getting some credit (HEY Republicans - if you want your guy to win, you might want to pull out something fast!) would really help boost his chances.
40 Days for Life: First shifts
Labels: 40 Days for Life
Friday, September 26, 2008
40 Days stops an abortion
Anne and Sue were quietly praying, After seeing several ladies going into PP, Sue felt it would be better to hold up the 40 Days for Life sign. A lady walked by and asked about the verse on the sign ("Before I formed you in the womb I knew you" Jeremiah 1:5). It turns out, this lady was on her way to PP to have an abortion! The lady felt that Anne and Sue were a sign to her not to have an abortion. She didn't go into PP and Sue drove her home!!! Praise be to God!!!
A life saved. Think of how many lives are being saved through this campaign.
Labels: 40 Days for Life
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
40 Days for Life in Rochester (2)
Sunday, September 21, 2008
40 Days for Life in Rochester
He wanted to make sure that any Rochester area readers know the kick-off rally for 40 Days for Life here in Rochester is 5:30 p.m. this Tuesday, September 23, at Our Lady of the Americas Church on Main Street. (The church used to be called Corpus Christi.)
The peaceful prayer vigils start on the 24th and will run through November 2 at the Planned Parenthood Killing Center on University Avenue.
I hope to make the rally, and plan to take part in the vigils.
One side note: Rivera is a member of the Knights of Columbus.
Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, Carl Anderson, has written an open letter to Democratic VP Candidate Joe Biden, a pro-choice Catholic, urging him to reconsider his views on the issue.
I liked one part in particular: "You have a choice: you can listen to your conscience and work to secure the rights of the unborn to share in the fruits of our hard-won liberty, or you can choose to turn your back on them."
Let' see, more than a million K of C members. With spouses, well over a million potential voters.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Interesting Timothy verse
"I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these instructions to you so that, if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of the God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of truth." - I Timothy 2: 14-15
He realized that Paul is talking about the Church as the pillar and bulwark, and not the Bible. That helped to undermine his Protestant beliefs in the Bible alone and eventually to lead him to the Church.
It took a Bible-knowing Protestant turned Catholic to help open his eyes. How many of us cradle Catholics know our Bible well enough to point to the right verses in such discussions? I certainly am humbled when I encounter such knowledge.
I must reread Colossians for the SFO meeting to see what I missed!
Obama in your face
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Obama's Sex ed for kids
But the Review alleges that the bill used the SEICUS standards and so went far beyond what Obama's campagin claims.
Here are a few parts of those standards:
Developmental Messages: Level 1 (ages 5-8)
• Each body part has a correct name and a specific function.
• A person’s genitals, reproductive organs, and genes determine whether the person is male or female.
• A boy/man has nipples, a penis, a scrotum, and testicles.
• A girl/woman has breasts, nipples, a vulva, a clitoris, a vagina, a uterus, and ovaries.
• Some sexual or reproductive organs, such as penises and vulvas, are external or on the outside of the body while others, such as ovaries and testicles, are internal or inside the body.
• Both boys and girls have body parts that feel good when touched.
• Vaginal intercourse – when a penis is placed inside a vagina – is the most common way for a sperm and egg to join.(Page 26)
Developmental Messages, Level 1 (ages 5-8)
• Most children are curious about their bodies.
• Bodies can feel good when touched.
Subconcept: Masturbation is one way human beings express their sexuality.
Developmental Messages:Level 1
• Touching and rubbing one’s own genitals to feel good is called masturbation.
• Some boys and girls masturbate and others do not.
• Masturbation should be done in a private place.(Pages 51-52)
Topic 3:Shared Sexual Behavior
Subconcept: Individuals express their sexuality with a partner in diverse ways.
Developmental Messages:Level 1
• People often kiss, hug, touch, and engage in other sexual behaviors with one another to show caring and to feel good.
Topic 5:Human Sexual Response
Subconcept: Female and male bodies respond both similarly and differently to sexual stimulation.
Developmental Messages:Level 1
• Both girls and boys may discover that their bodies feel good when touched.
Sounds like a bit more than what the Obama campaign is claiming.
See the article and links to SEICUS at http://illinoisreview.typepad.com/illinoisreview/2008/09/whats-age-appro.html
Kitty Litter Cake
Secular Franciscans and Colossians
The St. Paul connection is there in this Pauline year, so perhaps that is the reason for reading one of his letters. But is there a particular Franciscan connection to Colossians? I plead ignorance.
The issues of false teachers, questionable spiritual beliefs (placating spirits) and ascetical practices have resonance today.
The verse, "Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry." (3, 5) certainly touches on issues with which I struggle.
The next meeting is next Friday - the night before the Rochester Chesterton conference. A full weekend indeed!
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Abortion - Obama
Monday, September 15, 2008
Lay Preacher = No Contributions
The issue is over preaching.
The guidelines from the U.S. Bishops are clear: the Homily is reserved for the priest or deacon, not lay people.
Preaching the Word of God is among the principal duties of those who have received the sacrament of orders (can. 762-764). The lay faithful can be called to cooperate in the exercise of the Ministry of the Word (can. 759). In accord with canon 766 the National Conference of Catholic Bishops hereby decrees that the lay faithful may be permitted to exercise this ministry in churches and oratories, with due regard for the following provisions:
If necessity requires it in certain circumstances or it seems useful in particular cases, the diocesan bishop can admit lay faithful to preach, to offer spiritual conferences or give instructions in churches, oratories or other sacred places within his diocese, when he judges it to be to the spiritual advantage of the faithful.
In order to assist the diocesan bishop in making an appropriate pastoral decision (Interdicasterial Instruction, Ecclesiae de Mysterio, Article 2 §3), the following circumstances and cases are illustrative: the absence or shortage of clergy, particular language requirements, or the demonstrated expertise or experience of the lay faithful concerned.
The lay faithful who are to be admitted to preach in a church or oratory must be orthodox in faith, and well-qualified, both by the witness of their lives as Christians and by a preparation for preaching appropriate to the circumstances.
The diocesan bishop will determine the appropriate situations in accord with canon 772 §1. In providing for preaching by the lay faithful the diocesan bishop may never dispense from the norm which reserves the homily to the sacred ministers (can. 767 §1; cf. Pontifical Commission for the Authentic Interpretation of the Code of Canon Law, 26 May 1987, in AAS 79 , 1249). Preaching by the lay faithful may not take place within the Celebration of the Eucharist at the moment reserved for the homily.
Lay people can preach under special circumstances, but only with prior permission of the Bishop, and not at the time of the Homily.
At my parish, unfortunately, the pastor has decided to permit a lay person to preach in place of the Homily on a regular basis. (She's actually a better preacher than any of the priests are!)
Now granted, he is the only priest assigned to the parish - there are two retired priests in residence, but they are often at other parishes substituting. On the other hand, he is not entirely alone when it comes to preaching duties: There is also a deacon assigned to the parish.
I do feel bad for the pastor, who seems at times almost overwhelmed. He is loaded up with administrative duties, a slew of funerals, the loss of a school in the recent Diocesan closings, and decreasing attendance - so he's go a lot on his mind.
But preaching is a major duty that should not just be divested by a priest on his own volition.
I have seen services in which both the priest and deacon are present sitting on the altar, and still the lay preacher preaches in the spot reserved for the homily.
I approached the pastor about this, and asked if she had been approved by the bishop or gone through the diocesan process. He said no. I then pointed out the regulations. His response was a frustrated, "Do you expect me to preach every week?"
Well, yeah, that is part of your job description. I hate grading papers, but that's part of my job as a teacher, so I do it.
When she preached again, I spoke to another staff member. I was told it was what the pastor decided.
The next time the lay person preached, I pocketed my weekly envelope. I then wrote out a donation for the same amount to a Church-related charity.
It happened again this past Sunday. Another pocketed check. Another donation going out elsewhere.
I have decided that until this situation changes, I will be continue sending my contributions elsewhere whenever she preaches. Catholic Family Center. Women's Place. Andrew's Center. Mt Carmel House. The American Chesterton Society. I will also help out individual parish programs. I'm sure they will be happy.
I will, of course, let the pastor know what I am doing and why. I will also contact the parish council, and I will also let him know that I plan to contact the diocese.
I could just leave the parish, but I don't want to. I am heavily involved in the music ministry there in a way I have not been able to be elsewhere. Maybe that's selfish. But I also like the people at the parish, and so much else going on there. And given the way things are in other area parishes, I'm going to run into issues elsewhere as well.
Sometimes being an orthodox Catholic is not easy. But then, Jesus kind of warned us about that.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
The Strong boys
First Secular Franciscan Order meeting
Labels: Secular Franciscans
Obama - mocks McCain for disability
One problem with the computer dig - McCain CAN'T use keyboards - or tie his own shoes or comb his own hair - for a physical reason: His war injuries.
So it's not a matter of being out of touch. It's a matter of physical disability. Are the Democrats making fun of him for that??? That's pretty low.
McCain actually does know computer technology. He gets around his physical limitations in various ways, including reading e-mails with an aid or his wife and dictating responses for them to type.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
And let us pray for healing.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Palin should have aborted, eh?
Bishops respond to Biden
WASHINGTON-Cardinal Justin F. Rigali, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Bishop William E. Lori, chairman, U.S. Bishops Committee on Doctrine, issued the following statement:
Recently we had a duty to clarify the Catholic Church’s constant teaching against abortion, to correct misrepresentations of that teaching by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on “Meet the Press”. On September 7, again on “Meet the Press,” Senator Joseph Biden made some statements about that teaching that also deserve a response.
Senator Biden did not claim that Catholic teaching allows or has ever allowed abortion. He said rightly that human life begins “at the moment of conception,” and that Catholics and others who recognize this should not be required by others to pay for abortions with their taxes.
However, the Senator’s claim that the beginning of human life is a “personal and private” matter of religious faith, one which cannot be “imposed” on others, does not reflect Catholic teaching. The Church teaches that the obligation to protect unborn human life rests on the answer to two questions, neither of which is private or specifically religious.
The first is a biological question: When does a new human life begin? When is there a new living organism of the human species, distinct from mother and father and ready to develop and mature if given a nurturing environment? While ancient thinkers had little verifiable knowledge to help them answer this question, today embryology textbooks confirm that a new human life begins at conception. The Catholic Church does not teach this as a matter of faith; it acknowledges it as a matter of objective fact.
The second is a moral question, with legal and political consequences: Which living members of the human species should be seen as having fundamental human rights, such as a right not to be killed? The Catholic Church’s answer is: Everybody. No human being should be treated as lacking human rights, and we have no business dividing humanity into those who are valuable enough to warrant protection and those who are not. Even this is not solely a Catholic teaching, but a principle of natural law accessible to all people of good will. The framers of the Declaration of Independence pointed to the same basic truth by speaking of inalienable rights, bestowed on all members of the human race not by any human power, but by their Creator. Those who hold a narrower and more exclusionary view have the burden of explaining why we should divide humanity into the moral “haves” and “have-nots,” and why their particular choice of where to draw that line can be sustained in a pluralistic society. Such views pose a serious threat to the dignity and rights of other poor and vulnerable members of the human family who need and deserve our respect and protection.
While in past centuries biological knowledge was often inaccurate, modern science leaves no excuse for anyone to deny the humanity of the unborn child. Protection of innocent human life is not an imposition of personal religious conviction but a demand of justice.
I bolded a couple of sections.
I notice that Biden did not show up for the installation of his new Bishop, perhaps recognizing that it would be awkward given the situation.
Meanwhile, Biden has also stepped over Church teachings to support stem cell research, even attempting to use it as a weapon against the Governor Sarah Palin.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Biden - insert foot
“I hear all this talk about how the Republicans are going to work in dealing with parents who have … the joy and the difficulty of raising a child who has a developmental disability. Well guess what folks? If you care about it, why don’t you support stem cell research?”
Um, first, stem cell will not help to treat Down syndrome.
Second, embryonic stem cell research is against the teachings of the Catholic Church, a Church he claims to belong to. A Church that operates programs around the world to help children, the poor, the neglected, the rejected. During a church-group visit to Haiti, for example, I spent time in a children's center run by Mother Teresa's order. Is he saying she did not care?
So again, Biden is going against Church teachings.
Monday, September 08, 2008
Biden - one of the reasons why ...
Sunday, September 07, 2008
Francis and the larks: Haiku
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Brother Sun, Sister Moon
Labels: St. Francis
Pro-abortion gangs target Palin
"... Three major advocates of abortion rights are planning to spend nearly $30 million to defeat John McCain's run for president, citing his new running mate as the core reason, The Hill reports.
NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood and EMILY's List plan to spend $30 million, combined, to defeat McCain's presidential run, citing his anti-abortion running mate as the main reason. ..." http://news.aol.com/political-machine/2008/09/05/abortion-rights-groups-target-palin/?icid=200100397x1208663456x1200482026
They really are scared!
Meanwhile, various networks - such as the Obama Fan Club at MSNBC - have been fighting back trying to counter charges that they have been biased in their coverage of Palin. It's been fun watching them get flustered and angry, and caught again and again. The Buchanan/Matthews exchange was priceless. But my favorite moment was when Chris Matthews was questioning a Democratic operative and his convoluted and lengthy question was such an obvious attempt to frame the response that even Matthews recognized it and quipped that he was doing the Democratic operative's job! Yes Chris, you were, and you have been.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
The Palin Speech: Good, but ...
I think she dispelled fears that she was lightweight, or would cave under the anti-Palin onslaught (MSNBC - the Obama network - leading the way).
She was funny and articulate, and began to address issues (such as energy policy, about which she has knowledge) and foreign affairs. Yes, I know she had help writing the speech, but that's a common practice so I don't hold that against her. Moreover, no matter how well-written, a speech needs to be well-delivered for it to work - and she certainly did a great job. Her accent - Midwest? -and folksy style played well. If she campaigns a lot in Western states and places like Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, she may help to give those states to McCain. I think she will really appeal to moderates, conservatives, and small town folks.
It went a bit long. It was as if she was trying to pack too many different things in.
There are some issues she could have addressed to counter some of the attacks. For example, she used the Bridge to Nowhere story again, but she could have addressed the flip-flop charge by saying something like, "Yes, when I was campaigning for governor, I supported the project. But once elected, once I saw the overall budget and the needs across the state, I realized that bridge was not the best way to use to money, so I decided against it. That's not a flip flop - that's showing judgment and leadership."
She only indirectly alluded to abortion when she talked about the birth of her fifth child, who has Down syndrome. It was nice to see her reach out to families with special needs children. Still, I would have liked to have seen something more direct.
My biggest problem, though, is she got too sarcastic and sometimes unfair in her attacks on Obama. Her tone didn't cross the line into outright nastiness, but it came close. It made me wonder what's going to happen on the campaign trail as voters and reporters challenge her. How will she respond?
Still, overall it was a good, solid, even inspiring speech. She gave herself and the campaign a real boost. Two weeks ago, I would have said the odds were in Obama's favor. Now, I think McCain might just have an edge. And if the energy he's shown since picking her continues, if the enthusiasm among his supporters continues to grow, and if she performs on the road the way she has so far, I think we may just have our first woman Vice President.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Obama - Abortion
OBAMA: I'm Barack Obama, candidate for president, and I approved this message.
VAL BARON: As a nurse practitioner with Planned Parenthood, I know abortion is one of the most difficult decisions a woman will ever make. I'm Val Baron. Let me tell you: If Roe v Wade is overturned, the lives and health of women will be put at risk. That's why this election is so important. John McCain's out of touch with women today. McCain wants to take away our right to choose. That's what women need to understand. That's how high the stakes are.
ANNCR: As president, John McCain will make abortion illegal. McCain says quote, "I do not support Roe v. Wade. It should be overturned." And listen to McCain's answer on Meet the Press:
RUSSERT: "A constitutional amendment to ban all abortions. You're for that?"
McCAIN: "Yes, sir."
VAL BARON: We can't let John McCain take away our right to choose. We can't let him take us back.
ANNCR: Paid for by Obama for America.
(http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/ - "Obama's abortion attack")
Now I have not heard the ad - NY is not a swing state and airplay here is unlikely. But if the Politico reporting is accurate, it's just another instance of Obama's ties to abortion and Planned Parenthood. Think back to his "punish with a baby" comment when supporting abortion, his "above my pay grade" comment at Saddleback, and his opposition to a bill to provide medical assistance to aborted children born alive and his lies about his vote on that issue.
Monday, September 01, 2008
Labor Day - back to work (almost)
St. Francis and light
Labels: St. Francis